Hollywood Smokehouse update…

During my last visit to Aruba, the Hollywood Smokehouse and Diner had just opened in my favorite town of San Nicolaas. Well, upon arrival, I made plans to stop in for some great food and, man, was I well-satisfied. Mike, the owner, was there. He updated me on new things on the island before setting me up with a couple of brisket platters for take away. And here’s the sight to behold:

That’s a beef brisket platter with cole slaw, potato salad, and beans for the low price of afl. 22.00. (About $12 US) Fair enough and plenty filling. That brisket will cut with a fork so forget the knife. Plus, chatting with Mike and the other patrons enhances the experience if you eat in. On you way to or from Baby Beach or just rambling about the island, don’t miss the Hollywood Smokehouse and Diner. Most excellent and highly recommended. Here is a shot of the menu card.

And the opposite side showing the location and the story of the place.

No excuses! Get there and fill in your bikini.

Tux returns!

Arrived Aruba and the little stray cat that lives near my house returned in short order. Regular blog readers will remember his name: TUX. He’s a tough one, suffering at the paws of other strays and who knows what else. But he’s on the good food program now and will be bulking up. Here’s a quick video I made to practice with the new software.

Now that I’m in Aruba, I’ll be making some more interesting videos with excellent content. They will feature local characters, some of whom have shown up in my novels. So, stay tuned!

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 1:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Paragliding (video)

Paragliding is one of the most basic forms of human flight. There is no engine, no rigid frame, nothing but a fabric wing. The wing is much like a parachute except that it allows the pilot much more control. Once “inflated” by air entering from forward motion, the wing takes shape and provides a decent glide ratio. By using thermals and other currents, the pilot is able to inscrease his altitude in the same manner as soaring birds. Take a look at the video.

That’s some impressive flying from various spots around the world. There was a time when I wanted to try this sport. However, cross-country flying is more my style as regular readers of this blog have seen. Still, I have tremendous respect from people who are able to excell as this sport. You have to channel your inner eagle to ride those currents.

Published in: on July 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Up Close and Personal

In Clandestine, James Ellroy takes the reader inside the world of one ambitious cop. Fred Underhill is a young LAPD officer who cleverly dodged service in World War II and makes no bones about his desire to climb the rungs of the police department. He finagles and manipulates, breaks the law and justifies his actions, all in a quest to advance his career. His foibles are many, including an early penchant to pursue women for one night stands and a desire to maintain his golf game.

One of Underhill’s female conquests turns up dead and he notices a pattern in this and another murder. At this point the fuse is lit. Underhill goes beyond the law to catch a killer. In the process, he falls for an assistant district attorney, Lorna, who looms large in everything he does. He also encounters a future James Ellroy larger than life but entirely believeable character: Dudley Smith. Smith and his crew co-opt Underhill, leading him down the road of self-destruction at full speed. Underhill soon implodes as his case evaporates based on new evidence. He subsequently loses Lorna but never his desire to solve the case. Toward the end, the story goes on a rambling quest half way across the USA as Underhill, the crusader turned knight errant, redeems himself by ultimately catching the killer.

Where Clandestine excels is in the vividness of the characters. Underhill, his early partner, his commanding officer, his lovers, and his golf partners, all of them are drawn with the skill of a master. James Ellroy pulls no punches, dilutes no dialog, and reveals everything raw in the course of this story. At times, the emotionally intensity may seem overwrought, but the setting is 1950’s LA, a place where the bloom was off the rose and the thorns sharper than ever. Read, enjoy, and contemplate why other authors don’t measure up, especially the recent slew of flat, thinly worded mystery/thrillers that lack any measure of proper development. Ellroy is a master of the genre. This early example of his work proves the point.