The Blues

Ted Lewis was the godfather of British crime fiction—Raymond Chandler, Jim Thomson, and Mario Puzo rolled into a single Brit. There have been plenty of others since, but the entire genre in Britain traces back to Lewis. He’s less well known here in the US than in England, perhaps because English noir is so bound up with the particulars of the landscape, argot, and style. Nevertheless, many Americans will know Mike Hodges’ memorable 1971 film adaptation of Lewis’s 1970 novel “Jack’s Return Home” entitled “Get Carter”, starring Michael Caine (The novel was later re-published in 1990 as “Get Carter to match the movie.”)

Even today, fifty years later, the vicious milieu of Guy Ritchie’s films hearkens directly back to Lewis, much as every movie about the Mafia one way or another must acknowledge Mario Puzo, even if only to reject him.


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Work Like an Egyptian

The Great Pyramids of Giza

Photo courtesy of Ricardo Liberato

I just saw yet another documentary on building the pyramids. Once again, it was the age-old question of how they got all those blocks up there. It’s been a favorite of archaeologist and crackpot alike since the return of the scholars who went to Egypt with Napoleon’s army in 1798. Why people still care, more than 200 years later, is a mystery in its own right because the building of the pyramids presents much more interesting problems, but it is fun to think about if you’ve ever moved anything heavier than a couch. Continue reading “Work Like an Egyptian”