Saturday, December 02, 2006

A List for all You Metalheads

BLABBERMOUTH.NET - ROB HALFORD, ROBERT PLANT, BON SCOTT, OZZY Are Among 'Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists': "Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST), Robert Plant (LED ZEPPELIN) and Ronnie James Dio (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, RAINBOW) are among the singers who appear on Hit Parader magazine's (cover) list of 'Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists' (published in the November 2006 issue)."

Dewey 's Gone

Dewey the cat dies in librarian's arms - Yahoo! News: "SPENCER, Iowa - The final chapter is closed on Dewey Readmore Books. The 19-year-old cat, who became a mascot for the city's library after being found in a book drop, died Wednesday in the arms of librarian Vicki Myron.

The temperature was minus 10 when Myron and another librarian found Dewey under a pile of books in the library's book drop when they came to work one morning in January 1988.

'We didn't know if someone abandoned him or if a Good Samaritan found him on the street and shoved him in the book drop to get him out of the cold,' she said. 'His paws were frozen. We warmed him up and fed him and he just purred and cuddled. From day one, we felt he'd be the right personality for the public.'

Since then, Dewey became famous, with television crews coming from as far away as Japan to do stories about him, Myron said."

So Long, PWG.

Crimedog One: "When the gang and I started Plots with Guns back in '99, we didn't have much in the way of expectations, just a little website to give a home to tough, no-holds-barred fiction that seemed to have a hard time landing in other journals. In the end we were all just exhausted, but very proud to have published five years of stunning noir that exposed us to new writers, strong stories, and the thirst out there for what some call 'High Pulp'. We made a lot of friends during those years, and a few mortal enemies (well, maybe not, but that would be cool if we had), and we just kept pushing our vision of crime fiction, hoping it would catch on. Crimedogs forever. These guys and gals wrote some very brutal stuff.

The corpse of PWG is still up, but it's come time to pull it down. While we will keep the domain name (just in case...), the archives will no longer be online as of December 11th, 2006. So take a trip down memory lane and explore our evolution."

I highly recommend that you check it out if you haven't already read the stories. And even if you have.

My Wife Is Crazy

Judy is in the other room watching Ishtar. She watches it whenever it's on. She says, "I don't see why people don't like this movie. It's the funniest thing I've ever seen."

I Suspect Some of You Knew all 70 of These

70 things you didn't know about James Bond - Entertainment news, gossip & music, movie & book reviews on "Where did Ian Fleming get the idea for James Bond, how did he choose Sean Connery as the first man to play him in the films, who was the one woman to get Bond down the aisle and how did the famous catchphrases we all know so well come into existence?

Here are 0070 things you never new about the super spy."

Sounds Like Something That Would Happen to Me

The Sun Online - News: Salesman is a Lott worse off: "SALESMAN Chris Tibbetts pulled out of his works’ lottery syndicate just HOURS before they scooped a ?5.2million share of the jackpot.

Last week he told colleagues he believed his ?1.50 could be better spent elsewhere.

And he even joked with the 18-strong syndicate that their luck would change now he was not in it any more.

That night, they each scooped ?288,000 on EuroMillions.

Chris, 56, who works at Arcelor Auto Processing factory in Willenhall, West Midlands, said: “I was the only one in the office who had not won. It is hard but not the end of the world. Nobody died.”"

So That's How They Did It

More info at the link. The Ancient Egyptians built their great Pyramids by pouring concrete into blocks high on the site rather than hauling up giant stones, according to a new Franco-American study.

The research, by materials scientists from national institutions, adds fuel to a theory that the pharaohs’ craftsmen had enough skill and materials at hand to cast the two-tonne limestone blocks that dress the Cheops and other Pyramids.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Will the Persecution Never End? (Anna NIcole Smith Edition)

Ace reporter Jeff Meyerson files this update.

Court Orders Anna Nicole To Scram - "A court in the Bahamas has ordered Anna Nicole Smith to vacate the house she's living in -- STAT.
Smith docs

TMZ has obtained a default judgment issued yesterday against Smith (aka Vickie Lynn Marshall). G. Ben Thompson, the owner of the home in which Smith has been living, recently filed papers to evict her. Smith was required to respond to Thompson's filing by Monday, November 27, but failed to do so.

Yesterday, the court entered a default judgment, which means Thompson can now force Smith out of the house.

TMZ obtained a letter that Thompson's lawyer sent to Smith after the default judgment was entered, demanding that she vacate within 48 hours.

Thompson was once romantically involved with Smith and claims she told him he was the father of her baby. Thompson says he put a quick end to Smith's claim when he informed her that he had a vasectomy several years ago."

Will the Persecution Never End? (Anna NIcole Smith Edition)

Jeff Meyerson checks in with this bulletin.

New flash: Anna Nicole Smith is a mess. Again. And pregnant. Again. - Blogging Baby: "New flash: Anna Nicole Smith is a mess. Again. And pregnant. Again.

Posted Nov 30th 2006 2:35PM by Jonathon Morgan
Filed under: Pregnant celebrities, Rumors, Celebrity parents

'I might be pregnant again...Did that just come out?'

Yes, Anna. It did.

Meanwhile, a Los Angeles judge ordered that Smith submit her daughter for a paternity test. Larry Birkhead, her ex-boyfriend is still insisting that he's the father -- not Howard K. Stern, Smith's current beau. This means that Smith either a) was having sex with both at the same time, or b) is knowingly denying Mr. Birkhead his paternal rights because she's shacking up with someone new. Classy Anna, real classy.

But wait, Smith apparently told a Mr. G Ben Thompson, her landlord, that he was the father of her baby. After informing Smith that he'd long ago had a vasectomy, Thompson evicted Smith from the home he currently rents to her. She's got 48 hours to pack."

But I Thought Juri Nummelin Was Finland's Sexiest Man

"Finland's sexiest man" ends romance with txt msg - Yahoo! News: "HELSINKI (Reuters) - Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, dubbed Finland's sexiest man, broke up by text message with the girlfriend he had met on the Internet, she said in a magazine interview.

'Matti dumped me in a text message, where he said 'that's it',' Susan Kuronen told the magazine Me Naiset (Us Women) in an interview published on Friday.

Her relationship with Vanhanen, a divorced 51-year-old father of two, ended a few weeks ago, but continues to make headlines as Susan, 36, pours her heart out in local media.

Vanhanen, who declines to comment on the relationship, was cited as Finland's sexiest man by French
President Jacques Chirac earlier this year, when Finnish tabloids were running daily front-page details of the romance."

Your Tax Dollars at Work | The Modesto Bee: "FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - A fired CIA employee has admitted breaking into 10 homes near the agency's headquarters and stealing jewelry including Camp David cufflinks, Cartier earrings, a Tiffany ring and a sapphire-diamond necklace.

George C. Dalmas III, 48, pleaded guilty Wednesday to the burglaries, which each carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Dalmas, a mid-level administrator who joined the CIA in 1986, was suspended in February, when the charges were filed, and fired in August. He admitted to robberies beginning in October 2005.

Sentencing was set for Feb. 9. The plea agreement did not recommend a specific range of penalties, and Dalmas did not explain his actions during his guilty plea.

No one at Wednesday's hearing mentioned the most curious objects listed in court documents as being seized from Dalmas' home: 1,074 pairs of women's underwear."

Serials Issue of Blazing Adventures Magazine Now On-Line

Blazing Adventrues Magazine HomePage: "Welcome to the Serials issue of Blazing Adventures!

In this issue we see the origin of 'The Granite Man' by T.J. Glenn-

In Runaway Visions, 'Big Steak' Frank Dillon & Precog Scientist Miles Go against a power no two men can ever defy, 'The Government'! by Matt Casey-

And in 'Guns' Moses Gunn, in his second adventure, runs into the man behind his problems, meets a woman of mystery, and meets his brother for the first time in 10 years. Which isn't always a good thing! by Xavier Treadwell"

New Thug Lit Now On-Line

In other news, ThugLit will be going monthly in January. Check it out.

Thug Lit - Todd Robinson, Writing About Wrongs: "You better not shout, you better not cry
You better watch out, we know where you live

Santa Thug is coming to town.

Your pal Johnny Kneecap back to brighten up your bleak holiday season and bring you some yuletide cheer.

Yeah, right.

I’m thinking more of a real, traditional holiday, you know - Santa with a leather mask, razor wire strung with twinkling lights and bright, shiny, new stilettos (heels, or otherwise) under the tree. You know, Ralphie gets a Sig Sauer SG550 5.56 mm. with a Nikon Laser Scope. Put Skut’s eye out (well pretty much mince his whole toboggan) at 300 yards. Ho Ho Ho.

Anyway – sit back (or up, or across the nice furniture) and check out these hairy chestnuts, they’ll be hot, but they ain’t gonna be cozy.

Oh, and leave a few slugs out for Santa."

The line-up:
Division of the Spoils - by James Williams

Contingencies - by Kevin McCarthy
A Goat, A Jaguar and Some Yams or The Aesop Of The Bronx - by
Cristobal Camaras
Maxwell's Demon Strikes Again - by Miles Archer
The Memory of My Legs - by Hana K. Lee
BTS - by Ann Androla
First Day Back - by Patrick J Lambe
Mom's Money, Dad's Gun - by Hugh Lessig
Like Riding a Moped - by Jordan Harper
What Was He Thinking? - by Marianne Rogoff
Gladiator - by Mark Bowen
Blood - by Peter J Hogenson

Killer Fairies

Thanks to Scott Cupp for the link. FOUR people buried 450 years ago in an English parish had been scared to death by FAIRIES, a historic document has revealed.

Seven were “bewitched” and one was led to a pond to drown by a will o’ the wisp — a ghostly light.

They are among the causes of death in the burial register for the parish of Lamplugh in Cumbria between the years 1656 to 1663 — which even recorded that “Mrs Lamplugh’s cordial water” claimed two lives.

Details were revealed yesterday after it was found in the county’s archives — showing that 17th-century England was a deeply superstitious and often brutal place.

Brits Take Reality TV to a New Level

C4 to film oldest virgin's first time sex | the Mail on Sunday: "A new Channel 4 reality show will feature a real-life 40-year-old virgin - and audiences will see his introduction to the joys of sex.

Producers plan to film a retired vicar - who has not yet been named - being taught how to have sex and cameras will be there to capture the moment when he puts what he has practised into action.

Producers have sent him, along with three other virgins, to an Amsterdam sex school. The four novices will spend two months learning 'the art of intimacy' in the sin city. They will be coached by a series of sex therapists who, at the end of the teaching period, will deflower the foursome.

Cameras will follow the entire process - including filming the final act.

The contestants are aged from 20 upwards and the retired vicar has been dubbed by producers as 'the real 40-year-old virgin' after the character played by Steve Carell in the hit movie.

An insider on the Zig Zag Productions' programme, titled Virgin School, said: 'We will show as much as we're allowed.'"

More about Out of the Gutter

My original post is here. There's an interview with the editor at the link.

The Rap Sheet: "Following on last month’s debut of the semi-annual magazine-cum-book Murdaland: Crime Fiction for the 21st Century comes news that Out of the Gutter (OOTG), another genre print periodical--this one from southern Oregon writer-editor Matthew Louis--will make its premiere appearance on February 1 of next year. Subsequent issues will be published thrice-annually, every four months."

The 10 Best Books of 2006?

The 10 Best Books of 2006 - New York Times: Once again I failed to make the list.

Thanks again to Jeff Meyerson.

Will the Persecution Never End? (Anna NIcole Smith Edition)

iWonNews: NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) - A former boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith has obtained a court judgment ordering the reality TV star out of her oceanfront residence and he plans to seek her forcible eviction, his lawyer said Thursday.

But an attorney for Smith, Wayne Munroe, said he secured a temporary stay of the order and his client has no intention of leaving.

Emerick Knowles, the attorney for South Carolina businessman G. Ben Thompson, entered the default judgment on Tuesday after Smith missed a deadline to respond to a suit declaring his client the rightful owner of the gated mansion known as "Horizons."

Thanks to Anna fan Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Find the Feathered Serpent -- Evan Hunter

I've mentioned this book more than once on the blog. (Here, here, here, here, and here.) Obviously it impressed me a lot back there in 1952. When I saw a copy at the World Fantasy Con for a mere $165, I was tempted to buy it, but Scott Cupp said, "Hey, don't do that. I'll send you a copy of the Gregg Press edition." I couldn't turn down such a generous offer, and it turned out to be even more generous that I'd suspected. When the book arrived I discovered that it was signed. Thanks again, Scott!

Naturally I read it almost immediately. It's a time-travel story, about Neil Falsen. whose father builds a time machine thanks to a "temporium crystal." The plan is to go back to the Yucatan and discover who or what inspired the story of Kukulkan. Not the second one. The first one. Among the many things that never occurred to me when I first read the book is why anybody would make that particular trip the very first one for a time machine.

Neil, who's 16, gets to make the trip because his father's laid up with a bum leg. Things like that happened in the '50s. It's like the fact that there's no publicity about the time machine. Nobody knows about it, and it's guarded by only one guy. Anyway, the time machine takes off (it has rotors like a helicopter and is powered by gasoline), and things go wrong. The machine gets out of control Two of the four crew members are killed on landing, and Neil and the pilot don't know where or when they are.

Turns out they're near the Yucatan, though, where they're rescued by Vikings, blown off course in a storm. The Viking captain is Eric, a red-bearded man with a winged helmet, so you can probably guess who Kukulkan will turn out to be.

There's a lot of action in the novel and two big scenes of fierce fighting. The violence is surprisingly graphic, or it surprised me on this reading. There's blood all over the place, and heads roll. Literally. No wonder I loved this book. Hunter slows it down for some teaching scenes about the importance of crop rotation and such, but not enough to have bothered me much, I guess.

The big surprise was the ball-playing scene. It's very short, only a page or so, but there's a much longer scene in an unpublished book called The Heart of Ahriman that Charlotte Laughlin and I wrote. I wrote the scene entirely on my own, and I had no idea that I'd ever read one before. I thought I'd come up with a unique idea, all on my own, with the help of National Geographic. The unconscious is a scary thing sometimes. (Two chapters from the novel are contained in Cross Plains Universe, by the way.)

It was a real pleasure to re-read Find the Feathered Serpent after so many years and to find that it was still fun. Unsophisticated? Sure. Dumb? Maybe. But fun. And the last scene between Eric and Neil still managed to get me choked up. This may have been Hunter's first novel, but he knew what he was doing.

Gator Update

The 911 call about this guy is here. Click on "Video Story" under the photos at the right. A window will open. Click on the first item under "Headlines" on the right. This is an incredible call. You have to hear it to believe it.

Jim Winter Discovers the 87th Precinct

It's always fun to me when someone starts reading a series that I've enjoyed for many years (more than 40 in this case) and finds out how good it is. Jim Winter has a post about the first three books in Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series that's worth checking out. So have a look right here.

The Top 10 Hottest Animated Disney Women

The Being a Man Spot - The Top 10 Hottest Animated Disney Women - Fanpop: "So it's the day after the long Thanksgiving weekend and I'm sitting at my desk at work thinking 'Oh man, I wish I was still on vacation' when I hear two of my coworkers discussing Disney women. Or, more specifically, discussing which Disney cartoon female is the hottest of them all: . . .

"And that got me thinking, 'you know, there are a lot of hot animated Disney babes! Surely someone has made a list of them!' But alas, there was no list to be found on the internets. So yours truly decided to spin some precious cycles trying to crunch the numbers and come up with a list of the finest Disney women of all-time. The only real requirements for consideration:
1. She must be a cartoon
2. She must be, mostly, human (no cats, mice, etc.)
3. She cannot be evil (only heroines)

So without further ado, here they are. The all-time hottest Disney babes."

Antikythera Mechanism Update

Back in August I posted about the Antikythera Mechanism. The article said that scientists were "very close" to discovering how it worked. Now it seems that they have. There's more at the link. Scientists have finally demystified the incredible workings of a 2,000-year-old astronomical calculator built by ancient Greeks.

A new analysis of the Antikythera Mechanism [image], a clock-like machine consisting of more than 30 precise, hand-cut bronze gears, show [sic] it to be more advanced than previously thought—so much so that nothing comparable was built for another thousand years.

"This device is just extraordinary, the only thing of its kind," said study leader Mike Edmunds of Cardiff University in the UK. "The design is beautiful, the astronomy is exactly right…In terms of historical and scarcity value, I have to regard this mechanism as being more valuable than the Mona Lisa."

The researchers used three-dimensional X-ray scanners to reconstruct the workings of the device's gears and high-resolution surface imaging to enhance faded inscriptions on its surface.

Gator Update In further news of the misadventures of people who are naked, a naked man on crack was pulled from the jaws of an alligator in Florida on Wednesday.

He was only saved when sheriff's deputies jumped into the lake where he was being eaten, and wrestled with the alligator until it let go of the man, before pulling the man about 40m back to the shore.

Stock photo of naked guy in water at link.

Happy Birthday, Dick Clark!

I couldn't let the day to by without wishing Dick Clark a happy birthday. My comments of last year still apply.

Another music guy having a birthday today is Jimmy Bowen, a legendary music producer, but I remember him mainly from his days with Buddy Knox and the Rhythm Orchids. Bowen had one great single hit, "I'm Sticking with You."

And then there's Jeannie Kendall of The Kendalls. "Heaven's Just a Sin Away." Great stuff.

Lots of other music-related birthdays today, but these are the ones that matter to me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Kirkus hasn't always been kind to my books, but this time someone slipped up. There are a couple of snide remarks, but overall this is a pretty positive review.

As Sheriff Dan Rhodes of Blacklin County, Texas, prepares to crack his 14th case (A Mammoth Murder, 2006, etc.), he confronts a cat he'd prefer on someone else's hot tin roof.

Dan Rhodes and Sam, the feline he instantly dislikes, are brothers under the fur. They're both laid back to the point of somnolence, but they're deceptively smart. Dan grudgingly acknowledges the intelligence of the unwanted guest who's taken up residence on his back porch, a place he probably wouldn't have been if his rightful owner hadn't just met the grisliest of ends. Now elderly Helen Harris is stretched out on her kitchen floor, her white curls battered and bloody. As Dan, Sam in hand, stares down at her, that perennial sleuth's question is uppermost: Who would have wanted to harm her? In the days that follow, a surprising variety of candidates put themselves forward, beginning with the ladies of OWLS (Older Women's Literary Society), a group that belies the surface gentility Dan at first takes for granted. As he wises up, he discovers that owlish ladies can have smoldering passions. And, oh yes, that a clever cat can have his ways.

Laconic, wryly amusing Sheriff Dan is in top form in his best excursion in a long time.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

80(R) HCR 15 - Introduced version - Bill Text: "WHEREAS, Athens, Texas, boasts a strong claim to being the original home of one of the nation's favorite foods, the hamburger; and

WHEREAS, Although accounts differ as to the origins of this American classic, the staff at McDonald's management training center has traced its beginnings back to the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair, where it was sold by a vendor on the midway; a reporter for the New York , writing about the fair, made note of the new sandwich in an article and commented that it was the vendor's own creation; and

WHEREAS, The vendor, Fletcher Davis, had moved from Missouri to Athens in the 1880s to take a job at the Miller pottery works; Mr. Davis had a flair for preparing food and usually served as chef at his employer's picnics; when the business slowed down in the late 1800s, he opened a lunch counter on the courthouse square, where he sold the sandwich that would become such a staple of the U.S. diet; and

WHEREAS, Although it was served with slices of fresh-baked bread instead of a bun, this early version of the hamburger was then much like it is today and contained ground beef, ground mustard mixed with mayonnaise, a large slice of Bermuda onion, and sliced cucumber pickles; customers could also enjoy fried potatoes, served with a thick tomato sauce; when the journalist from the was told that Mr. Davis had learned to fix potatoes in that manner from a friend in Paris, Texas, he misunderstood and described the item to his readers as french-fried potatoes; and . . . ."

There are some more "Whereases" at the link.

Is This a Great Country or What?

Thanks, as ever, to Jeff Meyerson (photos at link):

3 BIMBOS OF THE APOCALYPSE By MAUREEN CALLAHAN - New York Post Online Edition: Seven: "November 29, 2006 -- THEY have already been dubbed 'The Brit Pack': three girls, increasingly famous for making spectacularly bad choices, marshaling their collective brain power to navigate the booths and banquettes at Hyde or Spider Club or wherever it is they're drinking it off on any given night.

Paris Hilton, her frenemy Lindsay Lohan, and newly separated Britney Spears: three party girls without a care (babies? what babies?), a high tolerance for alcohol, or a good publicist."

Caiman Update

From Jeff Meyerson (legend "origin story" at link):

iWon News - NYC Police Capture 'Caiman-In-The-Box': "NEW YORK (AP) - See you later, alligator. After while, crocodile. What rhymes with caiman? Well, nothing, really. But that doesn't keep the scaly critters from turning up in New York City, far from their native habitats in the tropical Americas, and replenishing one of the city's most enduring urban legends.

The last time it happened was in June, 2001, when a small caiman was discovered in the Harlem Meer, a lake in the northeast corner of Central Park. After it eluded capture for five days, a self-described alligator expert flew in from a Florida game park to save the city. After some posturing, he used a canoe and a flashlight to retrieve the reptile in minutes.

On Tuesday, police responding to a 911 call in Starrett City, a public housing complex in Brooklyn, found a two-foot caiman (Spanish for anything 'crocodilian,' according to one Internet site) in a cardboard box, with a shoelace firmly tied around its jaw.

Not requiring outside help, the 75th Precinct cops gathered up the croc-in-the-box and turned it over to Animal Care & Control, a privately funded organization that handles all manner of animals, wild or domestic, that are lost, injured or in distress."

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Ice Harvest

Being in the mood for a little holiday cheer, Judy and I decided to watch a Christmas movie. The Ice Harvest figured to be just what we needed.

It's Christmas in Wichita, and Charlie (John Cusak) and Vic (Billy Bob Thornton) have just stolen a couple million bucks from Guerrard (Randy Quaid). They figure it's a perfect crime. All they have to do is behave normally for one night, and the next morning they leave town with the money.

Who's to hold the money until they leave? They haven't discussed that. Vic makes it clear that he's the guy. Charlie leaves and tries to act normally. Doesn't work. First thing you know, he's ordering drinks with umbrellas in them at his topless bar. Then he sees Guerrard's best boy looking for him, and that's bad news. He goes to a restaurant to talk to Vic and meets up with Pete (Oliver Platt), who's married to Charlie's ex-wife and living Charlie's ex-life, a life he's desperate to get out of.

Things hum along with everybody double-crossing everybody else until there's a last man standing. The movie doesn't end like the book, and whether that's good or bad is something you'll have to decide for yourself.

I found the movie very funny and entertaining, if a little slow at the start. It's also plenty violent. The movie's comedy is all of the dark kind. Cusak is great, and he makes you believe a guy who owns a topless bar and is a mob lawyer can be a good guy at heart. This isn't easy, considering some of the things he does in the course of the movie, but Cusak pulls it off. Thornton plays one of his patented roles, rotten to the core but covering it up very well until the chips are down. Oliver Platt is hilarious and nearly steals the movie. And then there's Renata (Connie Nielsen). Did I mention her? She looks like a cross between Jessica Rabbit and Lauren Bacall.

If you're looking for a different kind of holiday movie, this one should do just fine. Check it out.

I Knew All Along that Paris was Innocent

New York Daily News - Daily Dish & Gossip - Rush & Molloy: Nets hot for juicy interview with O.J.: "Lindsay Lohan is mad at whoever spread the story that Paris Hilton hit her over the weekend in L.A. Too bad it's herself. Sunday night, as she got into the world's scariest carpool with Hilton and Britney Spears, the 'Mean Girls' star told digirazzi, 'Paris never hit me. She's my friend. Everyone lies about everything. ... Please, stop trying to make us hate each other.'"

Time to Begin Planning my Vacation to Sweden

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson, who's off the P.H. Patrol for the day.

iWon News - Plans for ABBA Museum Unveiled in Sweden: "STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - An ABBA museum dedicated to the music, clothing and history of the legendary Swedish pop group and its four members will open in Stockholm in 2008, organizers said Tuesday.

The interactive museum will feature original outfits and instruments used by the group, handwritten song lyrics, a display of different awards, and 'all other things we can think of and find,' said Ulf Westman, an event consultant who is spearheading the project with his wife Ewa Wigenheim-Westman.

The museum will also feature a studio where visitors can record their own ABBA songs, and an interactive experience that 'will recreate the feeling of being at Wembley stadium and seeing ABBA live with 50,000 others,' Westman said.

Organizers are still searching for a suitable location for the museum, but said it will open somewhere in central Stockholm during 2008."

Will the Persecution Never End? (Anna NIcole Smith Edition)

Fametastic ? Anna Nicole Smith moves out of contested Bahamian home: "Anna Nicole Smith and partner Howard K Stern have been granted a restraining order to keep an unnamed person (presumably G Ben Thompson or someone working for him) away from her Bahamian home.

Thompson claims the property belongs to him and sought to evict Anna Nicole and her family from $1million home as well as cutting off the power to the house.

Smith and Stern played down reports at the time but now Stern has admitted: “Somebody did try and shut the power off but we have a court order against this person so he can’t come on the property or try and shut the power off, or the water.”

However, Anna Nicole has decided to move out of the contested property to avoid further disruption: “I’ve actually bought a new house and it’s really nice. It’s on a dock and it’s a big house, lots of bedrooms and I’m really excited about the house.”"

Happy Birthday to my Homie, Anna Nicole Smith!

Anna Nicole Smith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Anna Nicole Smith (born November 28, 1967) is an American model, actress and buxom blonde celebrity, who first gained popularity as Playboy magazine's 1993 Playmate of the Year."

PKD, Great American Writer

Hat tip to Ed Gorman. GalleyCat: "Buried at the tail end of Mark Sarvas's interview with Jonathan Lethem comes news of one project on the novelist's plate: 'I'm helping preside over the utter and irreversible canonization of one of my (formerly outsider) heroes, Philip K. Dick: I'm writing endnotes for The Library of America, which is doing a volume of four of his novels from the sixties, which I also helped select.' Unless I'm overlooking somebody, that would make Dick the Library's first science fiction writer—unless you count H.P. Lovecraft, but I'm filing him under fantasy/horror.

So which novels are they? Sure, we could always email Lethem and ask, but it's much more fun to guess! Three of the four slots are no-brainers: The Man in the High Castle, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and Ubik. But that fourth...there's a few good candidates, but I'm going to go with The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch. And then I'm going to cross my fingers that this all works out, so that the Library will then go back and publish an omnibus edition of the VALIS trilogy, the three mind-blowing novels Dick wrote at the end of his career."

No Comment Department

Top 5 Undeserving Rock & Roll Hall of Famers.

100 Greatest TV Catchphrases

Complete list at the link. And yes, this one is on the list: "That's hot" (Paris Hilton, "The Simple Life")

AP Wire | 11/27/2006 | Dyn-O-Mite! TV Land lists catchphrases: "NEW YORK - Sometimes it takes only a word, or just a few, to become immortalized in television history. The TV Land cable network has compiled a list of the 100 greatest catchphrases in TV, from the serious - Walter Cronkite's nightly signoff 'And that's the way it is' - to the silly: 'We are two wild and crazy guys!'

The network will air a countdown special, 'The 100 Greatest TV Quotes & Catch Phrases,' over five days starting Dec. 11.

'We have found that television is such a huge part of baby boomers' DNA that it makes sense that so much of America's pop culture jargon has come from TV,' said Larry Jones, TV Land president.

The greatest number of moments, 26, come from the 1970s. TV Land identified nine moments from this decade. Ten are from commercials, and 28 from comedies, including six from 'Saturday Night Live.'"

Power to the Geezers!

Age no bar as baby boomers rock the music industry | News | Guardian Unlimited Music: "Rod Stewart knows about it. So does Elton John. And Barry Manilow. Tony Bennett, to his joy and surprise, is just finding out about it. And next year Earth, Wind and Fire will get in on the act.

The chart-topping but ageing artists have all been on the receiving end of help from their peers. The latest US research shows baby boomers and beyond now account for the largest share of music buyers. Figures compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America show that consumers over 45 accounted for 25% of music sales last year, more than twice the share of any other age group, and up from 15% a decade ago. Perhaps most surprisingly, the over-50s were responsible for 24% of the music industry's online sales."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way Metro | State: "AUSTIN — A Texas official who receives any sum of cash as a gift can satisfy state disclosure laws by reporting the money simply as 'currency' without specifying the amount, the Texas Ethics Commission reiterated Monday."

Monday, November 27, 2006

The 10 Best Teachers in Movie History :

The 10 Best Teachers in Movie History : "One of the great things about adulthood is that we don't have to go to school anymore, and yet we keep returning by way of the movies. Why do we keep going back? To imagine what it would have been like to have good teachers rather than the sadists who tormented us in Algebra I and European History? To remember the moments when we really connected with a teacher and felt a wave of knowledge washing over us? Whatever the reason, we know as the lights dim that the best big-screen teachers will help their cinematic students learn plenty of small lessons and maybe some big life lessons too. How many of these memorable educators have you met?"

This Doesn't Surprise Me at All

Study: Money-happiness link is complex - Yahoo! News: "NEW YORK - Does money buy happiness? It's sometimes said that scientists have found no relationship between money and happiness, but that's a myth, says University of Illinois psychologist Ed Diener.

The connection is complex, he says. But in fact, very rich people rate substantially higher in satisfaction with life than very poor people do, even within wealthy nations, he says.

'There is overwhelming evidence that money buys happiness,' said economist Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in England. The main debate, he said, is how strong the effect is."

I'm Sure U.S. Teachers Would Do Much Better

Half of teachers make simple apostrophe mistake | the Daily Mail: "Teachers' shaky grasp of grammar and punctuation has been exposed in a survey of the nation's literacy skills.

Two-thirds made a basic apostrophe mistake in a test administered to more than 2,000 workers from key professions. Eight per cent even muddled the use of I and me.

Test yourself - would you get it right?

Teachers made a string of blunders despite being responsible for drumming correct English into the next generation.

Their less-than-polished performance left them lagging behind employees in the creative and arts sectors."

I'm Sure that U.S. Teachers Would do Much Better

Half of teachers make simple apostrophe mistake | the Daily Mail: "Teachers' shaky grasp of grammar and punctuation has been exposed in a survey of the nation's literacy skills.

Two-thirds made a basic apostrophe mistake in a test administered to more than 2,000 workers from key professions. Eight per cent even muddled the use of I and me.

Test yourself - would you get it right?

Teachers made a string of blunders despite being responsible for drumming correct English into the next generation.

Their less-than-polished performance left them lagging behind employees in the creative and arts sectors.

They managed only to match financial workers, who are hardly known for their strong literacy skills."

Bigfoot Update (and a Shameless Plug)

'Bear-Wolf' Stalks Southern Wisconsin - News - | WISN: "MILWAUKEE -- Bizarre local sightings evoked a nationwide fascination with Big Foot.

In Washington County there have been several reports of a 7-foot hairy creature with pointy ears.

Steve Krueger was doing his job on Nov. 9 -- removing road-side deer carcasses overnight for the Department of Natural Resources.

Krueger said he had just made a pick-up along a remote road near Holy Hill about 1:30 a.m., and he was in the cab doing some paperwork. When his parked truck started shaking, he looked in the rear view mirror and got the scare of his life.

He said his flashing lights illuminated a huge hairy beast standing on its hind legs -- dragging a deer off the open tailgate.

'All I saw was the creature. One paw -- or whatever was on it -- reaching over to grab the deer. The head looked like a cross between a bear and a wolf,' said Krueger. 'It had big pointy ears like a wolf. It scared the living heck out of me. I threw it into drive and off I went.'

He said the creature was the color of a bear and had a snout like a bear."

Oh, Paris! How Could You?

All Headline News - Lindsay Lohan Says Paris Hilton Hit Her - November 27, 2006: "Los Angeles, CA (AHN) - Sometimes it's hard to tell whether Lindsay Lohan is keeping it real or just likes to trash talk her friend Paris Hilton.

In the wee hours of Monday morning, LinLo revealed exclusively to that her best friend had simply lost her mind and hit her - yes, hit her. Obviously, there are two sides to every story and whether the 'Mean Girl' was just feeding us a lot of you-know-what, or is jealous that Paris is now sharing stockings with Britney Spears, who knows.

However, after leaving a friend's house and calling it a night, LinLo told the snapping paparazzi that she would give them a video if they would back off and quit taking pictures.

Once they miraculously agreed, the fiery red-head approached the photographers and said, 'This is a video to Paris Hilton - and I'm saying this on tape - she hit me last night, for no reason apparently at my friend's house and I didn't know she'd be there and she hit me. She hit me with a drink and poured it all over me and it hurts and it's not okay.'"

Sunday, November 26, 2006

William Diehl, R. I. P.

'Primal Fear' Author Diehl Dies at 81 - "ATLANTA -- William Diehl, best-selling author of 'Primal Fear' and other novels, has died at Emory University Hospital. He was 81.

Diehl died Friday, said Sarah Carter of H.M. Patterson & Son funeral home in Atlanta. Two longtime friends, Michael Parver and Don Smith, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Diehl died of an aortal aneurysm.

He started on his first novel, 'Sharky's Machine,' while serving as a juror. Diehl, then 50, was bored by the trial and started writing fiction on a notepad. The book, published in 1978, became a best-seller and _ later _ a movie starring Burt Reynolds.

Diehl was unemployed when he got the news that the book was going to be published, Parver said. When his agent first called to tell him, the phone line went dead. Diehl hadn't paid the bill, Parver told the Journal-Constitution."

Will the Persecution Never End? (A Continuing Series)

Thanks, as is often the case, to Jeff Meyerson. | 11/26/2006 | Custom-Printed Toilet paper: "Whether you like it or not, your toilet paper makes a statement about you. If you purchase ordinary supermarket toilet paper, it is making the statement that you don't care if you or your guests have a commode experience that lacks individuality and -- yes -- class.

This is why more and more celebrity entertainers such as Martha Stewart and the late Duke of Windsor have their toilet paper custom-printed. And now, thanks to the Internet, you can do the same thing. Here at the Gift Guide we ordered a set of rolls imprinted with a photograph of multitalented international superstar Paris Hilton, and we can state in all honesty that we have not been contacted by her attorney so far that we are aware of. And if that is not the true meaning of the holiday season, we don't know what is."

Happy Birthday, Charles Schulz!

I was a "Peanuts" reader from very early in the strip's history. There were times back then when I thought Charles Schulz was an authentic genius. There are still times when I think that. I bought the first hardback collection of "Peanuts" strips, and I still have it. I am, of course, buying the Fantagraphics reprints as they come out. I can read the strips from the middle to late 1950s over and over with great pleasure. If I didn't say on Thanksgiving that I was thankful for Charles Schulz, I should have.

There's Bound to be a Moral Here Somewhere

Missing woman found dead behind bookcase - "NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. --A woman's body was found wedged upside-down behind a bookcase in the home she shared with relatives who had spent nearly two weeks looking for her.

A spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said Mariesa Weber's death was not suspicious. Family members said they believe she fell over as she tried to adjust the plug of a television behind the bookshelf.

Weber, 38, returned home Oct. 28 and greeted her mother, then wasn't seen again. Her family thought she had been kidnapped and contacted authorities. Family members scoured her room for clues but found nothing, though they did notice a strange smell."

I Miss the Old Days

News from The Associated Press: ". . . child development experts say that physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are now common among 'tweens' - kids ages 8 to 12.

Some of them are going on 'dates' and talking on their own cell phones. They listen to sexually charged pop music, play mature-rated video games and spend time gossiping on MySpace. And more girls are wearing makeup and clothing that some consider beyond their years."

Rachael Ray: A Uniter, not a Divider

Hatred of Rachael Ray can be a powerful uniting force - The Boston Globe: "Consumer culture and indeed popular culture revolve in large part around shared admiration, shared likes: Fandom, in a word, is a thing that can bring us together.

But what about shared dislikes? Can a community form around that? What is the opposite of a fan club? The answer is the Rachael Ray Sucks Community."