The Atlanta Braves Win the 2021 World Series!

Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves, on winning their fourth World Series championship!

Of course, I was hoping the Astros would win. It’s not that I’m really a supporter of either the Astros or the Braves. I’m a long-suffering Rangers fan. But I was hoping the Astros would pull out a victory in Game 6 because I didn’t want the season to end!

It didn’t happen, though. The Braves won and they won decisively. Congratulations on the victory, Atlanta! You earned it and you deserved it!

As for next season, here’s hoping my Rangers can finally get it together. I’m a baseball fan. I never give up on my team.

by V.E. Pyles

Cattle Drive (1951, directed by Kurt Neumann)

In this coming-of-age Western, Dean Stockwell plays Chester Graham, Jr., the spoiled and unruly son of a railroad owner (Leon Ames).  While riding on his father’s train and making trouble for the conductor, Chester overhears his father talking about sending him to a military school.  When the train makes as top, Chester impulsively runs away.  The train leaves without him and Chester finds himself stranded in the middle of the wilderness.  That’s when he sees cowboy Dan Matthews (Joel McCrea) trying to catch a wild stallion.

Dan is a part of a cattle drive.  Knowing that he can’t leave Chester to die in the wilderness, Dan brings him back to his camp.  The other members of the company aren’t too keen on having to look after a spoiled brat along with the cattle and Chester isn’t too happy to hear that he’ll be expected to work if he expects to get fed.  But with no choice but to work together, Chester, Dan, and the rest of the company make the journey to Santa Fe.  Chester finally drops his attitude enough to work with the company’s cook (Chill Wills) while Dan deals with a rival cowboy named Currie (Henry Brandon). Chester learns about responsibility and Dan finally finds the courage to consider settling down.

Of the many westerns that Joel McCrea made over the course of his career, he considered Cattle Drive to be his favorite and it’s easy to see why.  Cattle Drive features McCrea doing what he did best, playing a tough but good-hearted and down-to-earth cowboy who looked after an outsider.  If you were ever lost in the old west, Joel McCrea is precisely the type of cowboy that you would hope would come to your rescue.  The plot features almost every single cattle drive cliché that you could imagine but McCrea plays his role with a winning combination of grit and compassion and he and Dean Stockwell, who is also very good, make a good team.  Shot in Death Valley and Utah, Cattle Drive feels and look authentic and should be enjoyed by anyone looking for good, heartfelt western.

Game Review: The Song Of The Mockingbird (2021, Mike Carletta)

The Song of the Mockingbird is an entrant in 2021 Interactive Fiction competition.  Browse and experience all of the games by clicking here.

You’re not just a cowboy. You’re a singing cowboy! You’re as fast with your guitar as you were with your six shooter. You’re in love with Rosa, a sensuous dancer. Unfortunately, Black Blade’s gang of outlaws have not only abducted Rosa but they also stole your gun! If you’re going to rescue, Rosa you’re going to have to use your wits and your ability to pay attention to all the little details of your surroundings. It won’t be easy. From the minute you start the game, you go from happily singing The Yellow Rose of Texas to being ambushed by Black Blade’s men.

The Song of the Mockingbird is a western. There really haven’t been that many western IF games, which is strange because the western genre seems like it would be a natural fit for the Interactive Fiction format. The Song of the Mockingbird makes a good case that maybe there should be more western games. Well-written and full of memorable details, The Song of the Mockingbird is an entertaining and fun Inform game. It’s a text adventures but the descriptions are so vivid that you don’t really need any fancy graphics to help you visualize the world of the game. The game mixes serious western action with some satirical but affectionate digs at the whole singing cowboy genre.

There are a lot of puzzles in The Song of the Mockingbird. Some of them are simple and some of them are not. Of course, having to solve puzzles have always been my downfall when it comes to IF games. Fortunately, Song of the Mockingbird comes with a walk-through, which you can use as a last resort. I will admit that I referred to it a few times but, when I did, I discovered that Song of the Mockingbird’s puzzles aren’t really difficult. They just require the play to pay attention to every detail of their surroundings. This is a game where it pays to be attentive.

Play The Song of the Mockingbird.

High Times Of The Pulp Era

Artist Unknown

Drug abuse is not a new problem in the United States.  The pulp era wrestled with the problem too, with many publications and novels telling the story of young women and young me who fell afoul the pushers and were enticed into a life of sin.

Here’s just a sampling of the high times of the Pulp Era:

by Bill Edwards

by Bill Fleming

by Gerald Gregg

by Howell Dodd

by Rafael DeSoto

by Raymond Johnson

Unknown Artist

by Victor Seach

by Warren King

Artist Unknown

Music Video of the Day: Vienna by Ultravox (1980, directed by Russell Mulcahy)

On August 1st, 1981, MTV premiered. Over the course of 24 hours, 116 unique music videos were played on MTV.  Yes, there was a time when the M actually did stand for music.

The 98th music video to premiere on MTV on its first day of broadcast was this video for Ultravox’s Vienna. Due to budgetary limitations, half of this video was shot in London while the other half was shot in Vienna. Ultravox’s label was not convinced that music videos would ever catch on so they weren’t willing to put out a lot of money to make one. You would not know that from watching this video, which in many ways predicted the type of narrative-driven music videos that would become popular as MTV grew and developed.

One reason why this video looks so good is because it was directed by Russell Mulcahy, of Highlander fame. Mulcahy also directed the video for Video Killed The Radio Star which, of course, was the very first video to ever air on MTV.


The First Videos Shown on MTV:

  1. Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles
  2. You Better Run by Pat Benatar
  3. She Won’t Dance With Me by Rod Stewart
  4. You Better You Bet By The Who
  5. Little Suzi’s On The Up by PH.D
  6. We Don’t Talk Anymore by Cliff Richard
  7. Brass in Pocket by Pretenders
  8. Time Heals by Todd Rundgren
  9. Take It On The Run by REO Speedwagon
  10. Rockin’ in Paradise by Styx
  11. When Things Go Wrong by Robin Lane & The Chartbusters
  12. History Never Repeats by Split Enz
  13. Hold On Loosely by .38 Special
  14. Just Between You And Me by April Wine
  15. Sailing by Rod Stewart
  16. Iron Maiden by Iron Maiden
  17. Keep On Loving You by REO Speedwagon
  18. Better Than Blue by Michael Johnson
  19. Message of Love by The Pretenders
  20. Mr. Briefcase by Lee Ritenour
  21. Double Life by The Cars
  22. In The Air Tonight by Phil Collins
  23. Looking for Clues by Robert Palmer
  24. Too Late by Shoes
  25. Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around by Stevie Nicks and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  26. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy by Rod Stewart
  27. Surface Tension by Rupert Hine
  28. One Step Ahead by Split Enz
  29. Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty
  30. I’m Gonna Follow You by Pat Benatar
  31. Savannah Nights by Tom Johnston
  32. Lucille by Rockestra
  33. The Best of Times by Styx
  34. Vengeance by Carly Simon
  35. Wrathchild by Iron Maiden
  36. I Wanna Be a Lifeguard by Blotto
  37. Passion by Rod Stewart
  38. Oliver’s Army by Elvis Costello
  39. Don’t Let Me Go by REO Speedwagon
  40. Remote Control and Illegal by The Silencers
  41. Angel of the Morning by Juice Newton
  42. Little Sister by Rockpile with Robert Plant
  43. Hold On To The Night by Bootcamp
  44. Dreamin’ by Cliff Richard
  45. Is It You? by Lee Ritenour 
  46. Tusk by Fleetwood Mac
  47. He Can’t Love You by Michael Stanley Band
  48. Tough Guys by REO Speedwagon
  49. Rapture by Blondie
  50. Don’t Let Go The Coat by The Who
  51. Ain’t Love A Bitch by Rod Stewart
  52. Talk of the Town by The Pretenders
  53. Can’t Happen Here by Rainbow
  54. Thank You For Being A Friend by Andrew Gold
  55. Bring It All Home by Gerry Rafferty
  56. Sign of the Gypsy Queen by April Wine
  57. The Man With The Child In His Eyes by Kate Bush
  58. All Night Long by Raindow
  59. Boys Keep Swinging by David Bowie
  60. Rat Race by The Specials
  61. Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads
  62. Victim by Bootcamp
  63. Tonight’s the Night (Gonna be Alright) by Rod Stewart
  64. Cruel to be Kind by Nick Lowe
  65. A Little In Love by Cliff Richard
  66. Wild-Eyed Southern Boys by 38 Special
  67. Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
  68. Celebrate The Bullet by The Selecter
  69. More Than I Can Say by Leo Sayer
  70. A Message To You, Rudy by The Specials
  71. Heart of Glass by Blondie
  72. Oh God, I Wish I Was Home Tonight by Rod Stewart
  73. Kid by The Pretenders
  74. Come What May by Lani Hall & Herb Alpert
  75. I Got You by Split Enz
  76. Sister Disco by The Who
  77. Fashion by David Bowie
  78. Love Stinks by J. Geils Band
  79. Johnny and Mary by Robert Palmer
  80. Tomorrow by Shoes
  81. Prime Time by The Tubes
  82. Cruel You by Shoes
  83. Calling All Girls by Hilly Michaels
  84. I Was Only Joking by Rod Stewart
  85. Let’s Go by The Cars
  86. Do You Remember Rock’N’Roll Radio by The Ramones
  87. Ridin’ The Storm Out by REO Speedwagon
  88. You’re In My Heart by Rod Stewart
  89. So Long by Fischer Z
  90. I Don’t Want To Know by Robin Lane and the Chartbusters
  91. Go Back Home Again by Andrew Gold
  92. Time For Me To Fly by REO Speedwagon
  93. Rough Boys by Pete Townshend
  94. Dangrous Type by The Cars
  95. Turn It On Again by Genesis
  96. We’re So Close by Carly Simon
  97. Kid Blue by Louise Goffin