Saturday, November 04, 2006
The Plano and Irving school districts have already introduced e-books into some of their classrooms, and the Midland school district is moving away from old-fashioned textbooks entirely, said Anita Givens of the Texas Education Agency.
'In some classrooms, teachers give students traditional textbooks to keep at home, and they use online books or other resources at school,' Givens said.
Forney schools are planning the most complete overhaul, with a school bond package that would provide $11.8 million for laptops for students. The plan is to have most students using only electronic textbooks within two years, school officials said.
If that happens, Forney would probably be the first school district in Texas to use e-books in every classroom from fifth grade on up, Givens said."
Lawmakers this year approved a bill that sets the standard for driving while intoxicated at 0.18 grams of alcohol in a person's blood.
A person's body might produce that much alcohol naturally, said Ed Fiandach, a DWI lawyer in Rochester.
Instead of using grams, the law should have used blood alcohol content as a measure.
'It was a typo,' said Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester, who heads the Assembly Transportation Committee that approved the bill before it went to the Legislature. 'If you go through our laws, mistakes are made all the time. We're human beings.'"
The first verdicts on Craig - who was a controversial choice to play the spy - have been gushing.
The Daily Mirror said he was seen 'oozing the kind of edgy menace that recalls Sean Connery at his best'.
And the Daily Telegraph wrote that he 'steps with full assuredness into Sean Connery's old handmade shoes'."
Thank you for helping test this important capability."
My biggest surprise of the con came yesterday when I was talking to Neal Barrett, Jayme Blaschke, and Peter Beagle. Beagle's the author of The Last Unicorn, one of the finest fantasy novels of the last century, and not exactly the person I'd think would be interested in some of the stuff that I like. So when he started talking about how much he loved Gold Medal Books and how his youthful reading was of guys like David Goodis and John D. MacDonald, I was a little taken aback. But of course it was great to meet another fan of the Good Old Stuff.
Last night was the mass signing, and all the contributors to Cross Plains Universe sat in a group. I've never signed so many books before. One contributor said, "I hope I get to have one more signing like that before I die." Of course all Joe Lansdale's signings are like that, so he took it in stride.
Friday, November 03, 2006
CBC NEWS: There was no Harry Potter book this year — and that cost Indigo Books & Music Inc. dearly.
Total sales for Canada's largest bookstore chain fell 2.4 per cent to $182.2 million in the fiscal second quarter, largely because there was no Harry Potter book to sell. And a quarterly profit last year turned into a $1-million loss.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
If Daniel Boone was destined to become a man of the wild, an explorer of unmapped spaces, his boyhood was the perfect preparation. He came to know the friendly Indians in the forests, and early he was marking the habits of wild things and bringing them down with a crude whittled spear. When he was twelve his father gave him a rifle, and his career as a huntsman began."
Viruses that cause a range of ills from the common cold to polio may be able to infect the brain and cause steady damage, a team at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota reports.
'Our study suggests that virus-induced memory loss could accumulate over the lifetime of an individual and eventually lead to clinical cognitive memory deficits,' says Dr Charles Howe, who reports the findings in the latest issue of the journal Neurobiology of Disease. "
iWon News - Anna Nicole Smith Had Pain in Her Side: "NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) - Anna Nicole Smith was suffering from pain in her side when she checked into the hospital where doctors diagnosed a case of pneumonia, her attorney said Wednesday.
The 38-year-old former Playboy Playmate arrived Monday at Doctors Hospital, the same medical center where she gave birth to a daughter, Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern, on Sept. 7. Her 20-year-old son died three days later while visiting his mother and sister.
'The impression I got is they took her in because her ribs were hurting, and then they discovered she had pneumonia,' attorney Wayne Munroe told The Associated Press.
Smith's companion, Howard K. Stern, said in a statement to the TV show 'Entertainment Tonight' that Smith underwent a procedure Tuesday to drain fluid from a lung that had partially collapsed."
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Novelist William Styron Dead at 81 - Forbes.com: "William Styron, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose explorations of the darkest corners of the human mind and experience were charged by his own near-suicidal demons, died Wednesday in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. He was 81."
UK 'air plot:' Brothers released - CNN.com: "LONDON, England (CNN) -- Two brothers charged in an alleged plot to blow up U.S.-bound airliners have been released after a British court ruled there was insufficient evidence to warrant a trial.
Westminster Magistrate's Court confirmed that the case of Umair Hussain, 25, and Mehran Hussain 23, was discharged due to 'insufficient information evidence.'
The two faced charges of failing to disclose information about the suspected role of their brother Nabeel Hussain, 22, one of 11 people charged with conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of terrorism in the plot."
This is the same hotel where the Bouchercon was held a few years ago when I was Fan Guest of Honor. I was hoping I'd get the same nice suite I had then. No such luck.
I'll probably do a little blogging at the convention, but I don't know many fantasy writers, so there might not be video. Except that, for you Dirty Old Men (and you know who you are), I'll try to have a video of Kasey Lansdale, who, I believe is the opening act for Ray Price this weekend. Soon she'll be a chart-topper, but I'll always remember her as the kid who lost out to a ferret in the Miss AggieCon contest.
'I think he was going to hold (the gator) for ransom, or something,' Crawford County Sheriff Kirk Wakefield told the Traverse City Record-Eagle for a story Tuesday. 'It's really weird.'
The alleged gator-napping arose from a Sept. 25 drug bust at a house west of Frederic, a rural village 200 miles north of Detroit, Wakefield said.
Police confiscated a cache of drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine and Ecstasy pills, plus $900 in cash and two handguns.
'Apparently the guys we took this from owed somebody for what we took,' Wakefield said. 'That somebody hired this guy to go get that money.'"
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
When I wrote that, I also mentioned that Lange was actually a pen name. That's not mentioned anywhere on the Hard Case Crime book I just read, however, so I won't mention it, either.
So what's Grave Descend like? It's like those great old paperbacks they don't write any more. Short (my guess: 50K words), and it gets the job done. The setting's Jamaica. MacGregor is a diver living more or less hand-to-mouth. He's hired to do a seemingly straightforward job, except that everybody who talks to him has a different story, and there are all sorts of little things that bother him. He's right to be bothered. There's more plot in this book than in most of the doorstop-sized thrillers published today. Not much character development. Hardly any, in fact, but there's action, color, movement to spare. Sharks. Femme fatales. Smart cops. Spear guns. And crocodiles, a huge plus here at Chez Crider. Pure paperback storytelling and fine local color, too. There's even this quotation from Samuel Johnson: "Much may be made of a Scotchman, if he be caught young." What's not to like? Check it out.
FOXNews.com - Anna Nicole Smith Treated for Pneumonia, May Have Dyed Baby's Hair - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment: "NASSAU, Bahamas — Anna Nicole Smith has been hospitalized with pneumonia at the same medical center in the Bahamas where her 20-year-old son died under mysterious circumstances in September, an attorney for the reality TV star said Tuesday.
Smith, whose son died while visiting her in the hospital three days after she gave birth to a daughter, was being treated at Doctors Hospital in Nassau, attorney Wayne Munroe said.
'She has a slight case of pneumonia,' Munroe told The Associated Press. 'We've had a sudden change of weather here due to a cold snap.'
Click here for more Anna Nicole Smith headlines
Smith's 20-year-old son Daniel died in her hospital room hours after arriving in the Bahamas, where his mother had moved during her pregnancy. The results of official toxicology tests and a police investigation into his death have not been released.
Meanwhile, an attorney said she believes that Smith dyes her new daughter's hair.
The model, who usually sports platinum blonde hair, may have dyed her infant daughter's locks to make it appear the father is Smith's current companion, Debra Opri, lawyer for Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead, said Monday."
One woman was taken to hospital and two other adults were treated by medics after fainting in Stevenage, Herts.
And in a separate case, a man collapsed at a cinema in Peterborough, Cambs, "due to the film's content".
"If you know you're squeamish, don't go," warned a spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service.
"This is obviously a blood-thirsty film. Some of the scenes are fairly horrific," Matthew Ware told the BBC News website.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also is ruling that homeowners be allowed to kill nuisance alligators on their property or hire a trapper to do so.
The commission will consider the recommendations at its December meeting.
Officials say the suggestions were made through input from an online survey and partially because the alligator population has topped one million, not because there have been three fatal alligator attacks in Florida since May.
Lake Worth trapper Rick Kramer says many of his colleagues don’t support the new recommendations.
He says it may lead to people getting hurt and injured alligators."
We look back at the best Simpsons Halloween segments!
by Eric Goldman, Dan Iverson & Brian Zoromski
October 30, 2006 - As we don our Halloween costumes and prepare for All Hallow's Eve, here at IGN TV we're taking a look back at one of our favorite show's annual Halloween specials, The Simpsons' 'Treehouse of Horror.' While the episodes haven't actually aired on or before Halloween for seven years (FOX's airing of the World Series has pushed the 'Treehouse' episodes to November since 2000), the 'Treehouse of Horror' eps are always some of our favorite Halloween specials.
Each 'Treehouse of Horror' episode is split into three segments -- ranging from great, to OK, to not as memorable. We took a look through the 48 'Treehouse' segments from the past 16 installments of the seasonal special and picked out our favorite ten segments. There were many great segments to choose from, so if we missed your favorite moment from The Simpsons' 'Treehouse of Horror,' let us know and we'll include it in an edition of the IGN TV Mailbag."
And from the New York Times: Despite its title, “Lunatic at Large” is not a horror story. It’s a dark and surprising mystery of sorts, in which the greatest puzzle is who, among several plausible candidates, is the true escapee from a nearby mental hospital. Mr. Clarke, the screenwriter, said that the recovered treatment (a prose narrative dramatizing an idea by Mr. Kubrick) was a “gem” but also “pretty basic,” and that he expanded it a bit, adding a new subplot, among other things, to make the solution less obvious. Mr. Clarke’s experience consists mostly of writing for British television, so he prepared for his new task by rereading Mr. Thompson and studying old Bogart films.
Monday, October 30, 2006
BADGE BABE PARIS By LEELA de KRETSER - New York Post Online Edition: Seven: "October 29, 2006 -- Life imitates, er, art?
Paparazzi princess Paris Hilton shows she might actually have some imagination by showing off an ingenious Halloween costume as LAPD cop 'Officer Naughty' outside her Beverly Hills home.
The blond bubblehead mocked her recent DWI run-in with the law (inset) and strutted out wearing a busty, blue police outfit, complete with a holster on her tiny hips and a 'Naughty' name tag.
This time, however, the cuffs were off Hilton's wrists - a far cry from last month when she was busted for driving while intoxicated and dragged into a Hollywood precinct."
"The lowest advance I've been paid for a paperback original was $625. May writers regularly accept $500 less the agent's 10 per cent. In three years, beginning in November 1950, I sold and had published thirty-two novels. Counting foreign reprint rights, I've earned at least $1000 on each one and several times that on a few."
Monday's guest on "It's a Mystery" is Maggie Barbieri, whose lively debut
mystery is Murder 101, in which the body of a student turns up in the
trunk of a professor at a small Catholic college. Barbieri's work is
filled with bon mots such as "[o]ur school has an unwritten motto: 'Keep
your alumnae close and your rich alumnae closer.'"
Also, in honor of Halloween, I'll be broadcasting a radio production of
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart."
"It's a Mystery" is Webcast at 11 AM ET on Mondays at
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Several hundred people were attending the Trail of Spooks Hay Rack Ride on Saturday night when Frank Kester was fatally injured.
'The cable that kept him suspended snapped,' said Kassie Johnson, who was on the ride when the accident occurred. 'At first I thought it was just a dummy falling out of the tree. The trailer bumped up in the air when he hit. Then everyone started screaming.'"
. . . if he'd read this book.
al.com: NewsFlash - Gun blast ignites fireworks shop: "LAC DU FLAMBEAU, Wis. (AP) — A man attempting to rob a fireworks shop fired his shotgun, igniting fireworks and starting a blaze that destroyed the business, authorities said.
No injuries were reported at North American Fireworks, the Vilas County Sheriff's Department said in a statement Saturday. A 20-year-old man was being held in jail after being tracked to a home about 10 miles away.
The owner told deputies a male entered the business Friday wearing a ski mask and armed with a shotgun. He fired indoors, and a shot apparently ignited fireworks, authorities said."
Terry Chimes, drummer with the Clash, literally turned his back on rock and roll - and became a chiropractor in Essex. His stage appearances are now limited to motivational seminars for doctors.
So how did he get from playing in a band to the treatment table?
'I felt it was time to completely change - and over the time I'd been a musician, I'd already become a non-drinking, non-smoking, non-drug-taking vegetarian who does yoga.'"
Bloodlines: a Horse Racing Anthology isn't exactly all crime fiction, though some of it surely is. With contributors like Estep and Starr, along with Ken Bruen, Joe R. Lansdale, Lee Child, Daniel Woodrell, Scott Phillips, Charlie Stella, Laura Lippman, among others, it's a must-have item. I have a longer comment on the Lansdale story here. Check it out.
iWon News - Book Paints Escape-Artist Houdini As Spy: "NEW YORK (AP) - Eighty years after his death, the name Harry Houdini remains synonymous with escape under the most dire circumstances. But Houdini, the immigrants' son whose death-defying career made him one of the world's biggest stars, was more than a mere entertainer.
A new biography of the legendary performer suggests that Houdini worked as a spy for Scotland Yard, monitored Russian anarchists and chased counterfeiters for the U.S. Secret Service - all before he was possibly murdered."