Saturday, October 29, 2005
Showtime has a new series called Masters of Horror, 13 one-hour movies by the directors of famous horror films and based on stories by some of the greats, including Joe Lansdale, whose "Incident on and off a Mountain Road" kicks things off. I guess they wanted to get off to a rousing start, and this story does the job. A young woman, whose husband has given her considerable survival training, has an accident along a deserted stretch of highway and finds herself mixed up with Moonface, a serial killer who makes Hannibal Lecter look like Archie Andrews. She turns out to be a lot more resourceful than Moonface figures, but that's not the whole story. You'll have to read the short or watch the movie to find out more because I'm not going to spoil it for you. It'll make your Halloween weekend even creepier, but don't watch right after you eat. Great stuff. Check it out.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Smith’s protesting pooches are refusing dog food from Iams in a new advertisement for PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
“Marilyn, Sugar Pie and Puppy are boycotting Iams until it stops testing on animals in labs,” the poster reads beneath a picture of Smith, a former Playboy model, and her three dogs.
PETA claims an undercover investigation in 2002 and 2003 revealed “deplorable” conditions in Iams’ contract laboratory. The group said at least 27 dogs were killed, and listed abuses including cramped conditions and having dogs’ vocal cords removed to prevent barking.
It's the story of a body found on a beach in Maine, told by two colorful geezers to a much younger woman many years after the fact, so there's another story going on too, about the young newspaper reporter who's coming to love life on the island where she's working as an intern and who's learning a lot from the two old men who run the newspaper there.
The cover asks the question, "Would she learn the dead man's secret?" SPOILER ALERT! The answer to that is, no, she won't, and that's the whole point of the story. She learns a lot of things, but the major questions go unanswered. Some mysteries can't be explained, and they're all the more interesting for that. END SPOILER ALERT!
This book is neither hardboiled nor noir, but it's entertaining enough. It's slight, but it's certainly not disappointing, and I enjoyed reading it. It's brought Hard Case a ton of free publicity, which is great. I'm happy to add it to my Hard Case shelf.
Thursday, October 27, 2005
From the Associated Press: FREDERICA, Del. - The apparent suicide of a woman found hanging from a tree went unreported for hours because passers-by thought the body was a Halloween decoration, authorities said.
The 42-year-old woman used rope to hang herself across the street from some homes on a moderately busy road late Tuesday or early Wednesday, state police said.
The body, suspended about 15 feet above the ground, could be easily seen from passing vehicles.
State police spokesman Cpl. Jeff Oldham and neighbors said people noticed the body at breakfast time Wednesday but dismissed it as a holiday prank. Authorities were called to the scene more than three hours later.
1. What changed Brad Lidge from one of the league's best closers into just another ordinary relief pitcher?
2. For that matter what happened to Morgan Ensberg?
3. Why didn't Jose Vizcaino start at shortstop in game 4? Adam Everett couldn't buy a hit and struck out in crucial situations at least three times in the Series. I think he might have had one hit in the four games with the White Sox.
4. Will the Chronicle break out that tombstone again? This time it might be deserved.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
You won't be interested in this link to the same site's list of "10 Pioneers of Striptease" (with pictures).
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
The 42-year-old English biogerontologist [Aubrey de Grey] has made his name by claiming that some people alive right now could live for 1,000 years or longer. Maybe much longer. Growing old is not, in his view, an inevitable consequence of the human condition; rather, it is the result of accumulated damage at the cellular and molecular levels that medical advances will soon be able to prevent — or even reverse — allowing people to go on living pretty much indefinitely. We'll still have to worry about angry bears and falling pianos, but aging, the biggest killer of all, will cease to be a threat. Death, as we know it, will die.
Monday, October 24, 2005
We also listened to an episode of Suspense. This was a really popular show at my house when I was a kid, and everyone knew what your were talking about when you intoned, "a tale well calculated to keep you in . . . suspense!" The one we heard starred Howard Duff as a radio-show writer whose boss tells him he's no longer any good. Duff, who had ambitions of being a great novelist and feels he lowered himself to write radio shows for money, is naturally resentful, so he decides to kill his boss and record the murder for a radio show. Suspense nearly always had a twist ending, and so does this one (it even kids the idea), but it's not much of a twist. Anybody who hears it will probably guess the ending about five minutes into the show. Heck, you've probably guessed it already. Still, it was fun. Duff was one of my favorite radio actors in Sam Spade, another one we never missed, and it was nice to hear him in this bad-guy role.
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Be there or be square.