Saturday, April 11, 2015


For the first time in over a year, the Diamondbacks are over 500 on their season, and that’s courtesy of young Archie Bradley, who made his long-anticipated Major League debut tonight, giving up one hit in six innings, while his Dodger counterpart, the great Clayton Kershaw, got slapped around to the tune of ten hits.

Your Humble Narrator was there to take in the happy 6-0 spectacle—solus, alas, as The Wife stayed home sick and The Kid is staying with friends—gorging myself on all-you-can-eat hotdogs all the while, in the flawless-for-baseball weather (among a crowd, by the way, that was about half attired in Dodger Blue, I’d guess).

Plus, I got my Diamondbacks Hello Kitty bobblehead:

Assorted other stuff:

You can check out my stories in the April issue of Phoenix Magazine, on the avocations of Valley doctors on page 210 (or a preview here), and on the amazing Lance Greathouse, a whimsical Valley wheelchair customizer, on page 98 or here. You can also check out my pal Dewey’s local history story on the Sherri Finkbine case, here.

The other night I was watching a poverty-row thriller from 1940, Phantom of Chinatown, the sixth and last of Monogram’s “Mr. Wong” mystery series, based on the Collier’s magazine tales of Hugh Wiley.

In the earlier films Wong was played by Boris Karloff, but he was unavailable for this last one, so Monogram took the astounding step of having an “Oriental” detective played by an actually Asian actor, Keye Luke. The wonderful, wildly prolific Luke’s career ranged from playing Charlie Chan’s Number One Son and The Green Hornet’s sidekick Kato to the blind Master Po on Kung Fu to Mr. Wing in the Gremlins movies.

Phantom of Chinatown was a rare (maybe sole) starring role for Luke. It’s not a great movie by a long shot, but it’s an enjoyable relic, and there’s a startling moment of snark in the middle that feels almost subversive, directed toward Western cultural imperialism: Wong hears about an American archeological expedition to China, and remarks: They tell me that a Chinese archaeological expedition is digging up the body of George Washington, in exchange.” And then, almost under his breath: “Well, it gives you a rough idea…

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