Saturday, August 30, 2008

Will the Persecution Never End?

<em>Paris</em> Screenings Pulled :: Hollywood Elsewhere: "Some kind of intense drama is happening with Toronto Film Festival screenings of Adria Petty's Paris, Not France, a documentary about Paris Hilton. Two out of three public screenings have been cancelled, and both press screenings have also been jettisoned."

Coming Soon to a Cover Near You

E-Commerce News: Technology: Esquire to Put Digital Moving Pix on Mag Cover: "To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Esquire magazine, the publication's editors plan to release 100,000 copies of its October 2008 edition with a cover made of electronic paper.

E Ink, an electronic paper developer, has taken the technology it used in devices such as the Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) Latest News about Kindle and Sony (NYSE: SNE) Latest News about Sony eReader to develop a version of the technology for use on the Esquire cover.

The resulting cover, hitting newsstands in September, will feature words and images that scroll across the flexible electronic page. In addition, the inside cover will offer readers their first e-paper advertisement, with automaker Ford pitching its new Flex vehicle in a double-page ad."

Hat tip to Gerard Saylor.

Happy Birthday, Kitty Wells!

89 today.

Hari Puttar Update

Bollywood producers defend 'Hari Puttar' film: "The makers of Bollywood film 'Hari Puttar,' which has prompted a lawsuit by Hollywood studio Warner Bros, say the flick has nothing in common with the Harry Potter movie series.

The Hollywood studio, which owns the rights to the boy wizard movies, has taken the Indian producers to court over the film's title, which it says sounds like Harry Potter.

'Our film bears no resemblance to the Hollywood film Harry Potter and it is a completely different story,' said Munish Purii, chief operating officer of Mumbai-based production house Mirchi Movies Ltd, late on Friday."

Top 5 Gadgets that Could Get You Arrested

Some of you probably already own a couple of these.

Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Review

I don't mention reviews often, but this one over at Gravetapping pretty much gets to the heart of what I try to do in the Sheriff Rhodes books. I couldn't have put it better myself.

Gravetapping: RED, WHITE, AND BLUE MURDER by Bill Crider: "Red, White, and Blue Murder is the first of Bill Crider’s novels I have read and it was better than I imagined. It is a unique blend of whodunit and American style hardboiled—probably something like 75% of the former, and 25% of the later. The whodunit part is the comfortable setting, the townspeople—pestering, conniving, kind, and likable. It is a place the reader would love to visit, and in a literary manner, it is a place you have been before, but not for a very long time."

Mike Ripley's Latest Column Posted at Shots Magazine

Click here. Great stuff, as always.

Summer Issue of PWG is Now On-Line

Crimedog One: PLOTS WITH GUNS GIVES YOU AN ATOMIC WEDGIE: "Blistering skin, hurricane warnings, and melted ice cream all over the concrete. Despite the sun and the waves, summer can be ugly, too. Sublimely ugly. Just like the eight new stories in the Summer 2008 issue of PLOTS WITH GUNS, now live online.

Some sick tales ready to bust out like they were left in a car with the windows rolled up on a hot-as-balls afternoon: Tony Black, Kyle Minor, Jedidiah Ayres, Kent Gowran, Glenn Gray, Mark Joseph Kiewlak, Fred Snyder, and Garnett Elliot. Yeah, smells funky, right?"

Memoir Update

News from The Associated Press: "WOBURN, Mass. (AP) -- An author who fabricated a best-selling memoir about surviving the Holocaust by living with wolves asked a judge Thursday to affirm a $32.4 million jury award in her favor.

Misha Defonseca said her publisher is too late to try to overturn the 2001 verdict the author and her ghost writer won in a fight over the book's profits."

Zodiac Update - Zodiac Killer's Identity And Weapon Uncovered?: "Reporting Kris Pickel
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) ― The Zodiac Killer attacked at least eight people, terrorizing the Bay Area and taunting police in the 60's and 70's. Thursday, the FBI confirmed to CBS13 they are now running laboratory tests on some items that may link a suspect to the killer.

The evidence was given to the FBI by a Pollock Pines man who also claims he recently found the disguise worn by the Zodiac Killer during one of his attacks."

Gator Update (Zombie Edition)

Interesting (but graphic) video promo.

Blogging Texas

Will Howard has created TEXAS BLOG NOTES, which "is a storage place for the e-book Texas Historical and Literary Blogs - 2008, and a place for further notes or discussion of blogs of meaningful contribution to quality life, understanding, and literature of Texas. My blog is included in the list (which has links), along with many others on many Texas topics (literature, history, art, and so on). Some great stuff. Take a look.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Identity Theft: WHH Ranch Company Uses Shredded Checks As Package Cushioning: "A Texas cannery has been using shredded checks from the local bank as packing materials for the past twenty years. The WHH Ranch Company claims that Michelle McBride of Kansas is the only customer to ever complain about the checks, which plainly displayed routing and account numbers for hospitals, medicare, schools, businesses, and personal accounts."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina | Angry telemarketer calls back, berates man after he hangs up: "AUSTIN, TX (NBC) - Randall Whited got quite a surprise when he recently hung up on a telemarketer.

The telemarketer called the Austin, Texas resident back and unleashed a tirade of verbal abuse.

'If you don't want to get contacted if somebody wins, then don't put your name in it. That was just such a girl thing to do. Wimp,' the telemarketer yelled."

You Can't Get a Burger at the Bug Bistro How to eat fried worms: "HALIFAX — It's the kind of revelation that would have Howard Hughes turning in his grave: The average sleeper ingests four insects a night.

But Mary MacDonald, who offered up this surprising fact, has quite the opposite reaction.

'People have been eating insects for a very long time,' says Ms. MacDonald, a naturalist who works with the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History. 'You're already eating bugs, and they're a great source of protein. So why not try them?'"

Forgotten Books: BRIDGE OF BIRDS -- Barry Hughart

Bridge of Birds is likely to have been overlooked by mystery readers because it's a fantasy novel set in "an Ancient China that never was." But it's a lot more than that. It's also an adventure, a quest, and a mystery. Its narrator, Number 10 Ox, is the Watson to Master Li's Holmes. Li is a master of deduction, albeit with "a slight flaw in his character."

Love, death, myth, monsters, mayhem (lots), and wonderful writing all combine to make this book, for me, unforgettable. I was reminded of it recently because I received an e-mail from Subterranean Press, which is about to release an omnibus volume that will include all three novels about Master Li and Number 10 Ox (
Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, and Eight Skilled Gentlemen). While the latter two aren't quite as wonderful as the first, they're still well worth your time.

Godzilla vs. Megalon

Thursday, August 28, 2008


The Anahuac Progress: "Come to Texas GATORFEST 2008 where a weekend of family fun, food and entertainment awaits one and all at historic Fort Anahuac Park. Texas GATORFEST is truly the most unique festival in the state, combining the alligator and family fun for a good old Texas two-stepping good time! Witness the Great Texas Alligator Roundup, take and airboat ride or a river boat tour, enjoy four stages of entertainment, Texas Artisans, merchants and the scenic waterfront beer garden.

Take a whirl on the adult carnival rides and treat the kids to the kiddie rides, pony rides and petting zoo. On Saturday and Sunday, witness the Great Texas Alligator Roundup and visit the Alligator Education Tent to get an up close and personal view of live gators, which outnumber Chambers County citizens by almost 3 to 1.

Texas GATORFEST 2008 kicks off Friday night, September 12th with the festival gates opening at 6 pm. A variety of attractions and entertainment including a street dance featuring Al White and Chaparral that will continue until 12 midnight. The festival continues on Saturday, September 13th from 10 am until 12 midnight with a main stage entertainment line up including Casey Donahew, Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers Band. Sunday’s GATORFEST opens from 12 noon until 6 pm with head liners The Zydeco Dots, Hunter Hayes and Wayne Toups taking the main stage."

Which Netflix Rental Have You Kept Unwatched Longest?

You can confess here.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Foods vie for best of fried title at State Fair of Texas | Dallas Morning News | News for Dallas, Texas | Latest News: "Who will be crowned this year’s king or queen of fried fair goodness?

Maybe it will be a cook who whips up something sweet, like the Fried Banana Split or Texas Fried Jelly Bellys or Fire & Ice, a deep-fried pineapple ring.

Or something chocolate, like the Fried Chocolate Truffles or Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Waffle Balls or Deep Fried S’mores.

Then again, it could be something savory, like Chicken Fried Bacon or Fernie’s All-American Fried Grilled Cheese Sandwich.

These are the eight items vying for Monday’s fourth annual Big Tex Choice Awards, when the best new foods of the upcoming State Fair of Texas are judged."

It's Not Bigfoot, but . . . .

Swedish sea monster 'caught on film' - The Local: "A group of filmmakers claim to have successfully captured Sweden’s legendary Great Lake Sea Monster (Storsjoodjuret), which is said to lurk in the waters of the Storsjon outside Ostersund in northern Sweden.

A film crew which set up cameras on one of the lake’s islets last spring now say that they have an image of the seamonster, according to Svergies Television.

The film clip shows a blurry, long and narrow silhouette moving in the lake’s depths."

Bouchercon Panels

The Bouchercon panels are all listed here. To save you the time of looking, mine are on Thursday at 8:30 [GOLDEN YEARS (David Bowie) Age is Just a Number. Maggie Toussaint(M), Bill Crider, Robin Hathaway, Sophie Littlefield, Frederick Ramsay] and Friday at 3:00 [MONEY BACK GUARANTEE (5 Man Electric Band) Books We Love that You Should Too. Dana Kaye(M), Patti Abbott, Lee Child, Bill Crider, Rae Helmsworth, Ali Karim]. Why they put me on that first one is a mystery to me. I hope to see many of you there, however.

Top 50 Movie Beach Scenes

The 50 best beach scenes in the movies - Telegraph: "Sex, fun and nuclear apocalypse: beaches provide the backdrop for some of the most memorable scenes in film. Our critics get out their buckets and spades and dig out their favourites."

Peru Update

Oh mummy! Archaeologists unearth ancient tribe members sacrificed 1,300 years ago | Mail Online: "Piercing blue eyes undimmed by the passing of 1,300 years, this is the Lady of the Mask – a mummy whose discovery could reveal the secrets of a lost culture.

She was found by archaeologists excavating a pyramid in Peru’s capital city Lima, alongside two other adult mummies and the sacrificial remains of a child.

It is the first time a tomb from the region’s Wari culture has been discovered intact and gives historians the chance to pin down exactly how the pre-Incas buried their dead."

He's Got My Vote

Frequent commenter Doc Quatermass throws his hat in the ring.
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Gigantis the Fire Monster

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Hobbit" Update

Bone Parts Don't Add Up To Conclusion Of Hobbit-like Palauan Dwarfs: "ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2008) — Misinterpreted fragments of leg bones, teeth and brow ridges found in Palau appear to be an archaeologist's undoing, according to researchers at three institutions. They say that the so-called dwarfs of these Micronesian islands actually were modern, normal-sized hunters and gatherers."

Original post here.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas City police using city code to clean out blighted area | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "TEXAS CITY — A specially trained squad of police officers recently descended on one of the most blighted, crime-ridden areas of Texas City.

Instead of kicking down doors earlier this month, the officers knocked at homes in the Chelsea subdivision, which city officials say is infamous for its crack houses and yards piled with debris and old cars.

Eight officers are spearheading an experiment aimed at improving conditions in the community by enforcing city codes.

The city replaced civilian code enforcement officers with police officers after finding that residents tended to ignore civilian officials, who must go through a lengthy process to force compliance, said George Fuller, city director of community development.

Police officers can issue a ticket on the spot or make an arrest if needed, Fuller said.

'It's a very unique approach to a common problem,' he said. 'We're just trying a pilot program to see if it works.'"

Happy Birthday, Tuesday Weld!

Turns 65 today.

1001 Midnights Update

Steve Lewis has published another review from 1001 Midnights at Mystery*File.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

iWon News - Boy, 12, accused of fleeing Texas police at 60 mph: "CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) - A 12-year-old boy took his grandmother's car and led police on a chase at speeds up to 60 mph before swerving to avoid spikes in the road and crashing into a fence, police said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Good News from the Cap'n

Cap'n Bob Napier, a frequent commenter on this blog, sends word that his second novel, tentatively titled The Toyman Rides Again, has been accepted for publication by Five Star. Way to go, Cap'n!

Living the Cliche - Robber Shoots Self, Gets Stabbed in Back During Botched Holdup - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News: "A Chicago robber who planned to hold up a South Side convenience store is in police custody Tuesday after officials said he shot himself in the foot and was then stabbed by the store's owner."

Pajama Party

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Up to 500 North Texas students suspended over belts | News for Austin, Texas | | Top Stories: "Dress code violations at Seagoville High School caused serious problems today.

Somewhere between 150 and 500 students were banned from class because of their belts."

The Birth of Superman?

This sounds oddly like the Batman story to me. Thanks to Doc Quatermass for the link.

The crime that created Superman: Did fatal robbery spawn Man of Steel? - "On the night of June 2, 1932, the world's first superhero was born — not on the mythical planet of Krypton but from a little-known tragedy on the streets of Cleveland.

It was Thursday night, about 8:10 p.m., and Mitchell Siegel, a Jewish immigrant from Lithuania, was in his secondhand clothing store on the near East Side. According to a police report, three men entered. One asked to see a suit of clothes and walked out without paying for it. In the commotion of the robbery, Siegel, 60, fell to the ground and died."

Kasey Lansdale and Danny Kelly at Murder by the Book

Bigfoot Update

Sasquatch and Bigfoot Meet Serious Science | Newsweek Animals and Pets | "These are hard times for Bigfoot believers, a human subspecies that includes a fairly hairy collection of fantasists, charlatans, grifters and fools. But there is also a small coterie of serious scientists interested in the possibility—as they see it, the likelihood—that somewhere in the deep woods of North America enormous ape-men really are alive and well and just barely eluding detection."

Archaeological Update

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Huge statue of Roman ruler found: "Parts of a giant, exquisitely carved marble sculpture depicting the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius have been found at an archaeological site in Turkey.

Fragments of the statue were unearthed at the ancient city of Sagalassos."

The Top 10 Films about Political Campaigns

The top 10 films about campaigns: "With bloated staffs and citizens e-mailing opinions 24/7, Barack Obama and John McCain probably don't feel the need for any more advice. But the presidential candidates could learn a thing or two by watching the best of the movies that have been made about political campaigns."

Paris Hilton Update

The Ultimate Fashion Accessory: The Bandit.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come (and Possibly Gone)

Cher ... the next Catwoman?: "Cher is reportedly in talks to play Catwoman in the next Batman movie.

At 62, the Oscar-winner would be the oldest actress to fill the catsuit, following Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry.

But the new Catwoman, 'will be the absolute opposite of Michelle Pfieffer and Halle Berry's purring creations,' a studio exec tells Britain's Telegraph newspaper.'

Cher is reportedly director Christopher Nolan's top choice to play the role."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Errol Flynn Goes West

New DVDs - New DVDs - ‘Errol Flynn - The Warner Brothers Western Collection’ - "John Ford’s “Stagecoach,” the legend goes, rescued the adult western from the B-movie category into which it had fallen during the first years of the Depression, making it safe again for big budgets and big stars.

But that is an honor rightfully shared with Errol Flynn. This unruly Australian-born star lent his immense popularity to three hugely successful westerns in a row, beginning with “Dodge City,” released in April 1939, a month after “Stagecoach,” and continuing in 1940 with “Virginia City” and “Santa Fe Trail.” (“Stagecoach” was itself preceded by Henry King’s Technicolor “Jesse James,” released in January 1939, starring Tyrone Power.)"

Hat tip to Richard Wheeler.

Dementia 13

Monday, August 25, 2008

1001 Midnights

Steve Lewis, over at Mystery*File, is reprinting (with permission) some of the reviews from Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller's 1001 Midnights. Looks as if the first reprint was written by someone we know.

No Comment Department

It's 'The End' for popcorn at the movies | Life and style | The Observer: "[T]he dominance of popcorn may be at an end. A growing number of cinemas are banning it, and next month the largest art-house chain will introduce popcorn-free screenings.

'Popcorn is a contentious issue. Lots of people absolutely hate it and have asked us to ban it, so we're going to do exactly that,' said Gabriel Swartland, head of media at the Picturehouse Cinema, a chain that comprises 19 Picturehouse-branded screens across the country, . . ."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Today, the Pits. . . !

Hat top to Neatorama.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Murder: Obese Texan Mayra Lizbeth Rosales Texas Charged Over Death | Health | Sky News: "A woman is accused of killing her two-year-old nephew but prosecutors in Texas do not yet know how to get her to jail and court - because she weighs nearly half a ton.

Mayra Lizbeth Rosales, from La Jola, Texas, is bedridden and weighs nearly 1,000lbs.

But she cannot get through her front door to be taken to jail and, later, court."

With a Pencil in his Hand

Houston artist found a niche illustrating comic books | Top stories | - Houston Chronicle: "Marion Sitton sat mum as Stan Lee looked over his artwork. Sitton studied the future Spider-Man creator's face as he took in the OK Corral scene Sitton had completed the previous week.

Lee praised the authentic-looking boots and other lifelike features of his cowboys.

'You can draw,' he said, 'I'll give you that.'

Those words granted Sitton membership in 1948 into Timely Comics' artists bullpen. During the next six years, he was one of dozens of artists at Timely, later renamed Marvel, who drew dueling cowboys, fedora-wearing mystery men and embracing lovers. Superheroes were not in his repertoire."

First Day of School

Yearbook Yourself

How would you have looked in a 1982 yearbook? Or one from 1958? Find out at YearbookYourself. On the left? That's the 1982 me. Duuuuuude.

30 Days of Night. . .

. . . with bunnies.

Yet Another List I'm Not On

Hottest Male Blogger.

Hat tip to Brent McKee, who's also not on the list.

Reform School Girls

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Device to track truant students raises privacy concerns | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "SAN ANTONIO — Court authorities will be able to track students with a history of skipping school under a new program requiring them to wear ankle bracelets with Global Positioning System monitoring."

Gator Update (Robot Arm Edition)

A LIVING LEGEND AT AGE 12- "One minute, Devin Funck was a typical kid living a typical life in suburban Slidell, spending a lazy summer afternoon swimming with four friends in a lake near his home. The next minute, he was being dragged by his arm through the waters of Crystal Lake, fighting a 500-pound alligator named Big Joe with all the tenacity a 12-year-old boy could muster.

'It was Godzilla,' he would recall of the monster that ripped off and swallowed his left arm in the July 30 attack.

By the day's end, doctors at Ochsner Medical Center broke the news to Devin and his parents that they could not reattach his arm, which authorities had retrieved after hunting down the alligator and killing it."

Yet Another List I'm Not On

The top 100 undiscovered websites.

Joe R. Lansdale Update

Joe R. Lansdale, phrase maestro | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times: "Joe Hill raves about Joe R. Lansdale, left. The editors of 'Steampunk: An Anthology' rave about him. So does the guy running the fan site that calls him 'the greatest writer to come from Texas.' Our reviewer, Del Howison, raves about Lansdale's new novel 'Leather Maiden' in Saturday's paper."

Terror Train