Whatever Happened to Edmund Jackstein?


Edmund Jackstein, an 18th century novelist who published exactly one book in his life, vanished mysteriously in the winter of 1883, in Vermont. Here is what little we know of his time. There are other scattered bits of information, but most are speculative:


’til next time…Adios.

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Looked for Coffee, Found Some Yetis, the Conclusion

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On Sunday we traded our coffee mugs for wine glasses at Talon Winery. Wendy and I and a bunch of our jazzy friends caravanned out there, packing fold-out chairs and snacks, and set up the chairs, round-up style, beneath one of the big shade trees, ready to hear some great jazz from The Baja Yetis at Talon’s Jazz on the Porch concert series.

It’s funny. Growing up in the 60s and 70s I listened only to rock. I never paid much attention to jazz back then, although I was aware of it—mostly through old cartoon shows where they’d have some Cool Daddy jazz group playing. But perhaps my first taste of jazz came from my two favorite Peanuts TV specials—It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, and A Charlie Brown Christmas—where they used the iconic Vince Guaraldi’s music.

Years later, with MTV (back when MTV was truly Music TeleVision, and not reality shows, but that’s a subject for another post), I was introduced to a few different styles when I heard Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Al Di Meola, Jean-Luc Ponty. I’ve never looked back.

Now, while I don’t know all the jazz artists as well as I knew my old rockers, I’ve learned a little, and I know what I like, and the first time I heard the Baja Yetis at a jazz concert a few years back at Talon, I was hooked. Yeah, listening to some West Coast jazz on my headphones or in the car is fine, but nothing beats hearing it live by people love playing it. And you can tell they get into it. All you have to do is listen.

What an afternoon that was. Sunday, a little warm but with a nice breeze, great friends, a little red wine, Talon-style, and truly fine jams. We got to hear some Miles Davis, a little Horace Silver, Dave Brubeck, and several of their original compositions.

The Yetis are: Billy Underwood on Saxophones & Woodwinds, Cowbell (more Cowbell!); Shawk on Trumpets & Flugelhorn; Mark Gardner on Keyboards; Brandon Bowlds on Guitars; Mark Falk on Bass, Moogs, Space, and Monkey Noises (don’t recall if I got to hear any monkey noises on Sunday—now I want to hear some monkey noises); Danalog provides the Drums, Zendrum, Loops/Samples, Lunchboxes, and UFO Landings; D and Big Chill bring in the Vocals. Check them out on Facebook. Buy a T-shirt. https://www.facebook.com/TheBajaYetis.

A tip o’ th’ hat to Talon Winery to giving us Jazz on the Porch and some great wine and music. They said this Sunday we set a record for attendance this season with 350-plus folks. How about that?

Check out the Yetis. You’ll be glad you did. They’re playing tonight at Cosmic Charlie’s (September 2nd) and they’ll be at the Fort Harrod Jazz Festival in Harrodsburg Festival on September 19th.

Support live jazz. Jazz is good for the soul.

And that’s a wrap on the Wendy and Tom tour. We’ll be back with more exciting adventures, so stay tuned. We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

‘til next time…Adios.

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Looked for Coffee, Found Some Yetis, Part Deux

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Continuing with yesterday’s post, on the road, Wendy and I headed on down to Somerset, Kentucky, where our Hampton Inn awaited. What a wonderful room—quiet, with a Jacuzzi in the room. We’d promised ourselves a getaway for a while, and we finally had our opportunity to hit the road.

Somerset’s an interesting town. One long stretch of road, US Highway 27, with tons of restaurants. One of our favorites is Guthrie’s River House, which, if you’re lucky enough to grab a spot to eat outside, has an unbelievable view of Lake Cumberland. Oh, yeah, and great seafood. You’ve got to try the catfish. Here’s their website: http://www.guthriesriverhouse.com/. The tilapia with crab was good, too. And, no, I didn’t have both the catfish and the tilapia at the same meal. Thought about it, though.

Now, everything’s not just on either side of 27. If you head downtown, you’ll find the Carnegie Community Arts Center, http://carnegiecommunityartscenter.yolasite.com/, featuring works by local artists. They have concerts there, a nice gift shop, and there’s even a writers’ group. I’m always on the lookout for writers’ groups.

Downtown Somerset is (or rather, was) the home of the Virginia Cinema, which I already wrote a couple of posts about. What I’d forgotten to mention in my previous posts is that the Virginia lives on in the Virginia Lawn Chair Theater. Everyone packs their lawn chairs out to the downtown square, and watches a second-run family film, projected on a huge screen on one of the buildings. For more info, you can check out the Downtown Somerset Development Corporation’s Facebook page. I think the movie they had back in August was Paddington. Didn’t look as though any movie was happening in September.

One of the things I mentioned we love to go to is a good coffee shop. We’ve been several times to Baxter’s Coffee Shop there in Somerset. Great place to write. This time we tried Ugly Mugz. Just had to go there if only for the name. They did have good coffee and convenient outlets for the laptops. More about that in my writing blog, Stuff I Write. http://www.uglymugzcoffee.com/.

Winding our way back home on Saturday, we wanted something a little different. I’d looked up other nearby breakfast places and found Sharon’s Mill Springs Restaurant. We’d also decided we wanted to go old school, hang up the silly-phone GPS thingamajig and pull out the paper map. So, we wandered around a little, found our way to Highway 80, and made our way to Nancy, Kentucky. Ah, what a place. It was nice getting back on some two-lane roads, anyway. Nice, peaceful drive. Sharon’s is a true, Mom ‘n’ Pop diner, everything cooked when you order it, no cooking ahead. I had the French toast and some fried potatoes. Wendy had eggs and toast. This is the way breakfast is supposed to be. Plus, they have fried bologna sandwiches, another guilty pleasure of mine. Sharon’s is on Facebook. Breakfast is 7 am to 11 am, Monday through Saturday.

We meandered around on 80, ran through Columbia and Campbellsville, eventually ending up in Harrodsburg for lunch at the Kentucky Fudge Company, downtown, just in time for lunch. Once again, everything fresh, everything a winner. An olive nut sandwich, a pimento cheese sandwich, two root beer floats, and we were ready to go. http://www.kentuckyfudgecompany.com/. Also on Facebook.


Well, closing for now. We’ll wrap up our tour tomorrow when we trade our coffee cups for wine glasses at Talon Winery and listen to some jazzy Yetis.

‘til next time…Adios.

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Looked for Coffee, Found Some Yetis


Greetings, friends. Your roving reporters, Wendy and Tom, have just returned from a mini-vacation, touring some areas south and east of Lexington.

I worked on edits to my novel some, read a lot, and did a little writin’ in the blog. So, this will be a bit unusual for my blog, as it’s more of a travelogue. But, hey, it’s writing, and I’ll get in some media stuff, too.

At one time I used to keep more thorough travel notes. I’ve sort of gotten away from that. Let’s see what I can remember.

Last Thursday we headed south on US Highway 27, Somerset bound. We went in search of a getaway, quiet, interesting eating places and coffee shops, and bookstores. First, though, before Somerset, we took a diversion into Stanford, KY. Destination: the Bluebird Cafe, at 202 West Main. Here’s their website:


Man, what a wonderfully kitschy place. A friend of mine told me to check it out, but we thought we’d find a little Mom ‘n’ Pop diner. Which we love. Can’t beat the Mom ‘n’ Pops. But this was a nice surprise. Right in the middle of a clean downtown, we walked into New York-chic. But we felt perfectly comfortable and at home in our jeans and T-shirts. Service was fantastic, as was the food. And they love to put gouda cheeses on their food. Which we also love. Everything fresh, coffee from a coffee shop in Somerset called Baxter’s (Yay, Baxter’s!). The food was hot and delicious. We’ll go back.

Sorry about this, folks. Looks as though I’m getting a little long-winded here. Might have to bust this up into two or three posts, as the more I write, the more I remember.

We walked around the downtown a little and met some super-nice folks. The local newspaper, The Interior Journal, has its offices directly across the street from the Bluebird. What a great location! (Okay, Tom, enough with the exclamation marks. Stick with your ellipses…)

This post will probably run over a couple of days. There are also parts that will go in my other blog, Stuff I Write (http://writefromthegitgo.blogspot.com/), as they will cover more of the writing part of our trip.

Also right around the corner (“Just a half a mile from the railroad track…” Sorry, my roots are showing. Couldn’t help breaking into a little “Alice’s Restaurant”.) from the Bluebird are five little guess cottages for rent. Called the Wilderness Road Guest Houses, these are fully furnished “tiny houses” available for rent. We just learned of them the other day, and might have to consider them for another trip. Perhaps a writers’ weekend. Once again, more on that in the other blog. Here’s the site for the cottages: http://www.wildernessroadguest.com/about.htm.

Okay, that’s enough for the night. Time to shut down. Be back tomorrow for more Wendy and Tom adventures, and our discovery of Ugly Mugz.

‘til next time…Adios.

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Will There be a Santa Claus, Virginia?

Short addendum to my post from yesterday about the Virginia Cinema. We headed back downtown today to get some photos of the Grand Old Lady. Also, we got to talk to a Somerset resident who said it had a balcony once, but it’s fallen down. The place is currently unsafe to enter, and at present there’s no plan on how to update it. Here’s to hoping they’ll figure it out, though.

Scattered throughout this post are photos from today.

’til next time…Adios.

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Old Theaters Never Die, They Just Go to that Great Film Library in the Sky

Virginia Cinema

As with most of my stuff, this one’s composed on the fly. Wendy and I just took a walk around Somerset, Kentucky’s downtown, on one of our little day-trip sojourns.

We turned a corner, walked up East Mt. Vernon Street, and there it was, covered by a huge photo montage of classic movie scenes, and across the glass doors were full-size photos of young ushers from back in the day.

As with so many of our great theaters, it’s a shell now. Only the ghosts of audiences and actors roam about. But I just want to take a moment to pay tribute to this grand old theater from what information I’ve cobbled together.

According to the cinematreasures.org website, its address was/is 218 E. Mt. Vernon Street, and it had 750 seats. One screen. As all good theaters should. Check out the Cinema Treasures site for some great old photos.

Check out Somerset’s 1798 Magazine link, http://www.1798mag.com/meet-virginia/, where they give some excellent history on the old theater. It was built in 1921 for silent films, and some live performances. It had a piano on the left, pipe organ on the right, and an orchestra pit.

Finally, check out this link, https://somersetkentucky.wordpress.com/2015/03/11/ever-wonder-what-the-inside-of-the-old-virginia-cinema-looks-like-well-here-ya-go/, where you see some photos of the inside now. It’s sad.

Its fate, currently? Well, from what little I’ve read, it’s a back-and-forth. Tear it down, restore it… I did find this link, dated August 25, 2014, where the Downtown Somerset Development Corporation (DSDC) is trying to get something going to bring the Virginia back to life. Let’s hope they do. Here’s the link: http://www.cityofsomerset.com/somerset/services/downtown_development/uploads/DSDC_Virginia_Announcement.pdf.

We really do need to preserve our old theaters. They’re such an important part of our history. Some of my favorite childhood memories are of watching classic films on these golden, silver screens.

’til next time…Adios.

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Hold On, Let Me Look That Up…


There are times when we need to search for info on something we’re writing about. But what do we do when the library’s closed? The answer is as close as your electronic device of choice:


’til next time…Adios.

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Writin’ and Readin’, Readin’ and Writin’


As writers, we need to read. All kinds of stuff. It gives us an opportunity to see how our writerly friends express themselves. Whether it’s a comic book or a textbook, there’s something we can gain from it.

Have a look at my latest post on my new site, where I talk briefly about one of my favorite authors, L. Frank Baum:


’til next time…Adios.

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Writing a Novel is Easy, They Said…


Hi, folks. Just completed a tongue-in-cheek guide on how to write the first draft of a novel in just ten-plus years.


’til next time…Adios.

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Goodbye, Batgirl


I just heard that Yvonne Craig left us. At 78 years young, she lost her battle with cancer.

Throughout the late 50s and into the 70s she was everywhere on TV, including The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, and 77 Sunset Strip. But what I and most of us Boomers remember her from is the TV series Batman. She did the cape justice as Batgirl, riding in on her Batcycle to give Batman and Robin a hand.

And, for all us Trekkies, she was in the Star Trek episode “Whom Gods Destroy”, as Marta, the green girl.

Ms. Craig began her career as a dancer, and you could tell from her high-flying kicks as Batgirl.

She will be sorely missed. She was such a part of our lives growing up.

’til next time…Adios.

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