Friday, May 27, 2005

My 15 Minutes (or maybe 15 seconds)

Bloggers Say the Darnedest Things By David Wallace-Wells: "'Maybe those hundreds of SF stories I read back in the '50s weren't so far off the mark, after all,' writes Texan and novelist Bill Crider, who joins most bloggers in being charmed but not convinced. At science and technology superblog Boing Boing, Ben Garvey provides some visual (and somewhat gruesome) counterevidence, while Cory Doctorow adds: 'To be clear -- the interesting thing about this story isn't the possibility that it's true. It clearly isn't. It's that there are doctors participating in a Big Lie regarding the ongoing tragedy of Chernobyl.'"

Thanks to Vince Keenan for the heads-up on this one.

Vintage Gun Leather

Vintage Gun Leather

This is a site for fans of old western movies, or for those of you who've been looking for a holster for your antique firearm. Some wonderful stuff. Check it out.

The All-Time Top 100 Voices in the Movies The All-Time Top 100 Voices in the Movies

Yes, it's another of those annoying lists! I got the link from Ray Banks over at The Saturday Boy, so blame him.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cold Service -- Robert B. Parker

I've expressed my affection for the works of Robert B. Parker before, here and here. And also here. So it won't come as a surprise to regular readers of this blog that I enjoyed Cold Service, the latest in the Spenser series. I'm sure the title refers to the way revenge tastes best, and this is a revenge book. Remember the book in which Spenser gets all shot up and has to be nursed back to health so that he can get revenge and become himself again? Well, this time it's Hawk who's all shot up and who has to be nursed, etc. Naturally there's much discussion of how a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do and how if he doesn't do it he's not a man and so on. What did you expect? This is a Spenser novel, right? Anyway, it's also a "one man against municipal corruption" book, except that it's really two men, Hawk and Spenser. It's Parker's version of Hammett's Red Harvest.

I've decided that Parker is writing minimalist crime fiction. Cold Service is mostly dialogue (as are all Parker's novels these days). It's fast, it's efficient, it gets the job done. A lot of it is overly familiar (even I, as big a fan as there is, get a little tired of the stuff with Susan, not to mention the dog), but I still enjoyed just about every page of it. Whatever it is that Parker does, he does it extremely well. I'd love to be able to write that way.


The Sun Online - News: 'Mutant' children are best

THE Chernobyl nuclear disaster has spawned a generation of ‘mutant’ super-brainy children.

Kids growing up in areas damaged by radiation from the plant have a higher IQ and faster reaction times, say Russian doctors.

Maybe those hundreds of SF stories I read back in the '50s weren't so far off the mark, after all.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

An Erotic Bakery?

Nooky's Erotic Bakery -Houston Bachelorette, Bachelor Party Cakes, party supplies, erotic edibles, Photo cakes

Thanks to Off the Kuff, I've discovered that Texas has an erotic bakery. That's right, an erotic bakery, and it's located only about 25 miles from where I'm sitting. In Tom DeLay's home district. Do you think there'll be controversy? Off the Kuff directs us to the hilarious lowdown, here. This is highly recommended reading. Check it out.

Still River -- Harry Hunsicker

Hey, Guys! Thinking about getting a testosterone shot? Why bother? Just read Harry Hunsicker's Still River. It's cheaper, less painful, and more fun.

There are a couple of p.i. novel titles that I really like and that I think would better describe this book, but they're both taken. One is Joe Lansdale and Lewis Shiner's
Private-Eye Action as You Like It. The other is Let them Eat Bullets, from an old Gold Medal book by Howard Schoenfeld. Either title would fit Still River. This book never slows down to catch its breath. There are more firefights than on a bad day in Baghdad, not to mention martial arts, explosions, and hair dryers. In fact, if the U.S. gov would just send Lee Henry ("Call me Hank") Oswald to Iraq, he'd probably take out the insurgency in under a month. I believe Hunsicker has already signed on to write at least two more books in this series. By the time they're done, the population of Dallas, which is the setting, might be reduced to the size of Alvin's.

There are some good one-liners in the midst of all the carnage. Plus there are characters named Clairol and Poon. If you put copies of books by James Crumley and Dan Jenkins too close together on a library shelf and they mated to produce an illegitimate offspring, the result might be
Still River. I suggest that you buy a copy today. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Excellent Career Move

Tonight - Star Wars star wants to try another career: "Star Wars star wants to try another career
May 24, 2005

Hayden Christensen is set to quit acting to become an architect. The Star Wars actor says he plans to swap the big screen for building design - because the movie industry doesn't excite him anymore.

He told Britain's The Sun newspaper: 'Maybe the new Star Wars will be my last movie. 'I don't find Hollywood interesting, so I'm thinking about studying architecture instead.'"

Considering Christensen's alleged "acting" in the Star Wars movies I've seen, I think this is his best bet.

Three to Conquer -- Eric Frank Russell

Back in the '50s there were a lot of books and movies like this one. Aliens were among us, and the scary thing was that they were nearly impossible to detect because they either assumed our forms, invaded our bodies, or attached themselves to us. They looked just like we did. My personal favorite has always been Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, but I also like Jack Finney's The Body Snatchers. I like both movie versions of that one, too. Other movies on the same theme I like include It Came from Outer Space and Invaders from Mars. I'm sure there are plenty of others.

Three to Conquer
was originally a serial in Astounding, and the title there was Call Him Dead. I read it first in the edition in the picture, half of an Ace Double. The invaders are from Venus, and apparently they're some kind of microbial parasites that can take over human beings, and the only person who can spot them is the world's only (as far as he knows) telepath, Wade Harper. Who, of course, just happens to be in the right place at the right time, at the very beginning of the invasion. The story moves fast, in a no-frills semi-hardboiled style (with a few Britishisms along the way, a little distracting since the story's set in the U.S.). There's nothing fancy about it, and someone should have made a low-budget black-and-white movie of it in the '50s, with Frank Lovejoy.

I liked Russell's work a lot when I was a kid.
Wasp is my favorite of his books, and I remember several short stories ("Dear Devil," "Late Night Final") with affection. Most of the younger SF fans have probably never heard of him.

Monday, May 23, 2005

:: Kinky Friedman Official Site

:: Kinky Friedman Official Site ::

The Kinkster has a new website, and he has a blog. And he's hired a media consultant. This guy is serious about running for governor of Texas. Check it out.
Want To Know What To Read? Will Do the Math: "Want To Know What To Read? Will Do the Math
May 20, 2005
By Rachel Deahl

The notion that taste is personal may have gone the way of eight tracks and Hammer pants. A number of new companies are pioneering a variation of the search engine, known as 'recommendation technology,' which would use hard data to essentially tell consumers what music, movies and clothing they will like . . . even if they don't know it yet themselves. While this software is already present in the book industry—anyone who's ever been startled by Amazon or B&N's seeming omniscience ('Geez, how'd they know I'd love Knitting to the Oldies?') can attest to this—some companies are now gearing up to bring it to readers in a more ambitious way"

You can check out Storycode here.

Elvis Is Still #1 in England


Eighteen "Top 5" hits in 2005? No wonder he's The King.

TIME Magazine - ALL-TIME 100 Movies

TIME Magazine - ALL-TIME 100 Movies

Yes, another list you can read and disagree with. Check it out.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Howard Morris, R.I.P.

news from me: "Howie died yesterday at the age of 85. It was not a surprise -- he'd been in poor health for some time -- but it still hit me like a stone lobbed through the window of the Mayberry Sheriff's Station by Ernest T."

I remember Morris best as Earnest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, and I still think that those episodes are classics, but I saw him earlier on comedy shows like Your Show of Shows. He was a very funny guy. The link above will give you a couple of links to watch if you have the time. Check 'em out.