Saturday, December 12, 2009

20 Best Science Fiction Books Of The Decade

20 Best Science Fiction Books Of The Decade - Books - io9

Which proves how far out of it I am when it comes to current SF.

This Sounds Like Joke . . .

. . . but it's not.

Want Everyone To See Your Credit Card Transactions? Of Course You Do. Meet Blippy.: "As the Internet matures, slowly but surely everything we do in the real world is going social. But there’s a limit to how much information we can explicitly share on all the various services. A new service, Blippy, launching today in private beta, has an interesting way to take something you do everyday, buy things with your credit card, and automatically push those transactions online for others to see and interact with.

Yes, I know this is a controversial idea — that’s part of what makes it potentially a great one. Imagine being able to see everything your friends buy with a credit card as they do it. This not only tells you what kind of things they’re actually into (rather than someone just saying they like something), but also other information like how cheap they are, as well as where they actually are at a given time. There is actually a lot of data tied into the transactions we make, and Blippy takes that and makes it social."

Can You Imagine Saying This about a Kindle?

Well, maybe so.

The Writer's Almanac : "Gustave Flaubert. . . said, 'I can imagine nothing in the world preferable to a nice, well-heated room, with the books one loves and the leisure one wants.'"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Archeological dig near Hempstead provides clues to Texas history - 12/11/09 - Houston News - "Archeologists are working at a unique site just outside of Hempstead. The Bernardo Plantation once served as a staging area for General Sam Houston.

Just 50 miles north of Houston there is a place where history is being uncovered.

Jim Bruseth with the Texas Historical Commission explained, 'This is the beginning of the plantation system in Texas.'

A piece of Texas past being seen for the first time in 200 years, it's called Bernardo, a plantation established in 1822 by Jared Groce, one of 'the old three hundred' settlers of Stephen F. Austin's colony. His property at the time was the largest plantation in Texas and would become the staging ground for General Sam Houston's troops before the battle of San Jacinto."

Croc Update (Live Bait Edition)

The Punch:: I used young girls as baits: "“Crocodiles are lovers of girls, so I used young girls to trap the crocodile and bring it out of the water.”

Those were the words of 32-year-old fisherman, Benjamin Abu, as he narrated how he killed a man-eating crocodile that had terrorised a community in Niger State for months. Abu shared his story with an audience, including the Governor of Niger State, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu, at Government House Minna. However, the crocodile hunter assured that the girls were placed at a great distance from the crocodile and their lives were never in danger."

Guest Blogging, Again

There must be something about the season that encourages people to invite me to be a guest on their blogs. My latest rumination is at Mayhem and Magic. Take a look.

James Cameron Update

Next for Cameron: Two 'Avatar' Sequels and 'Fantastic Voyage' - Cinematical: "Aside from Avatar sequels, Cameron will also be producing -- and subsequently applying his new technology -- to a remake of the 1966 sci-fi flick Fantastic Voyage, about a dying scientist whose survival depends heavily upon the five colleagues who are shrunken down and injected into his failing body."

Excitable Boy

I bought this album when it first came out. Nobody else in Brownwood, Texas, was interested in it. In fact, the record store (yes, there were record stores in those long-ago days, kiddies) had to order it for me. When it arrived, the clerk, who happened to be one of my students, suggested that I listen to a few cuts to be sure I actually wanted to buy it. When the first couple of bars of "When Johnny Strikes up the Band" played, I told her I was sure. When I got it home and played it all the way through, I knew I'd be listening to it for a long time.

I was right. I listened to it again yesterday (I have it on CD now), and it's a fresh and and wild and crazy as ever. Songs like "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner," "Lawyers, Guns, and Money," "Werewolves of London," "Excitable Boy," "Vera Cruz." They don't write 'em like that anymore, and for that matter nobody else ever did. I bought Zevon's earlier albums, and all the subesquent ones. There are plenty of great songs on all of them, but Excitable Boy remains my favorite.

Riders in the Sky

Friday, December 11, 2009

He Didn't Know the Gun Was Loaded

Man accused of shooting wife says he didn't know gun loaded - Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009 | 7:26 p.m. - Las Vegas Sun: "A Laughlin man arrested in the shooting death of his wife told police he had pretended to shoot her during an argument four years ago to “shut her up” and believed the gun was unloaded when he pulled the trigger on Sunday, according to an arrest report."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

No Comment Department

DISNEY OPTIONS 'FALLEN', AN ANGEL BOOK THAT WANTS TO BE TWILIGHT | FilmDrunk: Movie news you can make fun of: "Disney has optioned rights to “Fallen,” a young-adult novel by Lauren Kate that features angels. The book, released this week by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, is part of a four-tome series, all of which were included in the deal. The contemporary story centers on an alienated girl torn between two charismatic young men, unaware that they are fallen angels who have battled over her for centuries.

“Twilight” comparisons are inevitable, and angels have been identified as the next trend in young-adult fiction with vampire and werewolf tales having inundated the market."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Former cop accused of using Taser on girlfriend might not do time - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |: "The woman who said she was repeatedly stunned with a Taser by her live-in boyfriend, a former Police Chief in Oakwood, is not happy with his purposed plea deal."

Happy Birthday, Teri Garr!

Teri Garr Biography - "Born December 11, 1949, in Los Angeles, California. The daughter of a vaudeville performer and former Rockette, Garr aspired for a career in the dramatic arts at an early age. At the age of 16, she made her professional debut with the San Francisco Ballet. Garr attended North Hollywood High School followed by California State University at Northridge, where she excelled at stage acting and dancing. While still a teenager, Garr relocated to New York City and enrolled at the famed Actors' Studio."

A Charlie Brown Christmas Gets Shorter

An Open Letter to ABC from my friend, Leon. | Dork Tower: "TO: ABC
FROM: Leon Lynn
RE: Desecration of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”

Dear ABC,

How could you?

For years and years I have awaited the network broadcast of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” as the true herald of the holiday season. I brought my kids up with the same tradition — one which has been made no less special for us by the fact that they happen to be Jewish.

Tonight we sat in horror and watched what you have done to the single greatest cartoon ever made.

How many minutes did you cut out of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” so you could run more commercials?

Gone was Sally’s materialistic letter to Santa, which finally sends Charlie screaming from the room when she says she will settle for 10s and 20s.

Gone was Schroeder’s miraculous multiple renditions of “Jingle Bells” from a toy piano, including the one that sounds distinctly like a church organ.

Gone was Linus using his blanket as an improvised slingshot to knock a can off the fence no one else can hit, complete with ricochet sound effect.

Gone were the kids catching snowflakes on their tongues and commenting on their flavor.

Gone even was poor Shermy’s only line. He thought he had it bad because he was always tasked to play a shepherd. He had no idea."

There Was a Better Class of Ciminal in the Old Days

lineups - a set on Flickr

I Haven't Read this eBook

. . . but it looks like a classic to me.

Fictionwise eBooks: The Crider Chronicles by Anderson Gentry: "The nations of humanity thought they were alone in the Galaxy. They were wrong, and now humanity faces a threat greater than all the wars in all their history. From the mountains of Idaho to the depths of space comes Mike Crider, the one man who might just be able to save them. Through guerilla battles in the deep woods, canyons and prairies of the wilderness world Forest, through the struggle to set up a new interstellar government, through the battles of the first Galactic War, the Crider family overcomes the forces of the hostile Grugell Empire to emerge as the Galaxy's Founding Family. The Crider Chronicles is the first of four books in the Galactic Confederation series."

Tips for Single Ladies

Jeff Meyerson included this link in a comment, but I thought it was so helpful that I'd move it into the regular postings.

Tips for Single Ladies (1938) |

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

And keep off his lawn!

The Galveston County Daily News: "Despite giving up 5 inches and 50 pounds, a 79-year-old man knocked an acquaintance unconscious in a bar fight about a woman, authorities allege.
[. . . .]
An argument led Dickson to punch Joseph Swart, who is 5-feet 7-inches tall and weighs 170 pounds, Cook said. Swart is known at the bar as “Old Man Joe,” Cook said.

“The old man knocked him to the floor, jumped on top of him and was banging his head into the floor,” Cook said.

Criminal Mastermind of the Week - News From AP: "Police in central Pennsylvania followed footprints in the snow to catch a man who allegedly tried to burglarize a convenience store by throwing a brick through a window.

Altoona police say they followed the tracks early Wednesday to a home where 28-year-old Joshua Phillips, of Tennessee Ridge, Tenn., had been staying with relatives. Officers say Phillips claimed to be home asleep all night even though his sneakers were wet and he had two pair of wet pants with him."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Top Ten Space Finds of 2009

Top Ten Space Finds of 2009: Nat Geo News's Most Viewed

Forgotten Books: JOYCE OF THE SECRET SQUADRON -- R. R. Winterbotham

When I was a kid, there weren't many books in our house. The few I owned were passed down to me by my cousins, Billy and Crider King. One of the books they passed along was Joyce of the Secret Squadron, and I read it several times. I later read SF stories, most of them pretty bad, by Russ Winterbotham, without realizing that he was the author of this book.

I was a fan of the Captain Midnight radio show, and one of the things I liked best about this book was the endpapers with pictures of the characters. I don't think I knew what jodhpurs were, but I thought they were cool. (My copy of the book doesn't have a dust jacket, but I found one on the 'net to put here.)

The setting is the mid-'40s. WWII is in full swing. Captain Midnight and the Secret Squadron are holed up on their own island somewhere in the Pacific when a mysterious plane lands. A messenger debarks to ask Captain Midnight for help. The messenger identifies himself by drawing a mysterious symbol known only to four men in the world. It includes a winged clock with both hands pointing to twelve, but there are other markings that aren't described because, after all, only four men in the world know what they are. Satisfied that the guy's legit, Captain Midnight listens to his plea. It seems that the U. S. has lost "a new type of airplane . . . one that is likely to revolutionize modern aerial warfare and place control of the air in the hands of Uncle Sam." Yes, that's right. They've lost the Flying Wing!

Also somewhere in the Pacific, holed up on his own island, are the Barracuda and his various henchpersons, all of them intent on bringing down the U. S. The Barracuda has captured the pilot, but he doesn't have the Flying Wing, which has crashed on yet another island that the Barracuda can't seem to locate. So he sends out his most trusted operative, Carla Rotan, to find it. She stumbles, so to speak onto Captain Midnight's island.

Now the Captain's identity is supposed to be a secret, and so are the identities of the members of the Secret Squadron. (Hey, it's not the Well-Known Squadron.) They all carry a Codograph that serves as identification and as a way to solve the codes that they're always receiving. The Codograph, by the way, plays a big part in the story. I'm sure the radio show's sponsor, rich and chocolaty Ovaltine, had a hand in that. Ichabod Mudd (aka Ikky) is the genius behind the Codograph, and when one is captured, he has to design a new one. This fits right in with the radio show because a new version was offered as a premium every year or so. But I digress. Nobody shows Ms. Rotan a Codograph, but it doesn't take her long to figure out who she's dealing with. (Check the endpapers. I think the little winged clock on everybody's outfight might have clued her in.)

Joyce is the only one, at first, who's suspicious of Ms. Rotan at all. Joyce is keenly intelligent, and though she's just a kid, she's an expert pilot. And she's mighty handy with a gun and a knife. An excellent role model for young women. There are air battles with the Barracuda's Swarm (sounds deadlier than the Barracuda's School, I guess), explosions, blazing guns, and light romance. I will not reveal what happens to the Flying Wing.

I loved this book as a kid, but reading it again I can see how much things have changed. They don't write 'em like this anymore because no kid would read it. The writing's clunky, the dialogue's unbelievable, and the characters are pure stock. I don't care, though. For a geezer like me, it's still fun to revisit the past now and then.

The Blues Brothers

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gene Barry, R. I. P.

The Associated Press: Actor Gene Barry, dapper TV hero, stage star, dies: "Gene Barry, who played the well-dressed man of action in the television series 'Bat Masterson,' 'Burke's Law' and 'The Name of the Game,' has died at age 90 of unknown causes, his son said Thursday.

Fredric James Barry said the actor died Wednesday at a rest home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Woodland Hills.

Gene Barry essentially played the same character in all three series, which spanned the 1950s to the 1970s. Always fashionably dressed, the tall, handsome actor with the commanding voice dominated his scenes as he bested the bad guys in each show."

Happy Birthday, Melvil Dewey!

Melvil Dewey biography [OCLC - Educational resources]: "Melville Louis Kossuth Dewey was born on December 10, 1851 to a poor family who lived in a small town in upper New York state. Keenly interested in simplified spelling, he shortened his first name to Melvil as a young adult, dropped his middle names and, for a short time, even spelled his last name as Dui.

Dewey invented the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) system when he was 21 and working as a student assistant in the library of Amherst College. His work created a revolution in library science and set in motion a new era of librarianship. Melvil Dewey well deserves the title of “Father of Modern Librarianship.”"

The Top 10 Everything of 2009

Full List - The Top 10 Everything of 2009 - TIME: "The Top 10 Everything of 2009"

No More Kirkus

Poynter Online - Romenesko: "In addition, we've made the decision to cease operations for Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews."

Hat tip to Janet Rudolph via Twitter.

Joseph Wambaugh Video Interview

Joseph Wambaugh – video interview � BSCreview

Here's the Plot for Your Next Con Man Novel

'Butch' Ballow: A Wanted Man - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston: "'Not only did he con the folks he took money from, but he also conned the United States government into setting him free,' said Moritz."

Croc Update (Cage of Death Edition)

Movie star crocodile in Cage of Death attraction | TRAVEL News: "Adventurers are flocking to experience 15 minutes in a Cage of Death, sharing a large glass tank with a 700kg crocodile at Crocosaurus Cove in downtown Darwin, Australia."

I think I'd rather go to a good movie.

5 Favorites of 2009: Vince Keenan.

Crimespree Cinema: 5 Favorites of 2009: Vince Keenan.

Croc Update (Ladykiller Edition)

Monster cannibal crocodile feasts on last two girlfriends | "IGOR has everything a self-respecting crocodile needs to be a good lover - he's big, he's strong and he's dashingly handsome.

But the 4.62m saltie doesn't seem to know the difference between love-making and dinner.

He killed his last two girlfriends, according to a report in the Northern Territory News.

And that was enough for the Darwin Crocodile Farm - Igor had to go."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Here's the Plot for Your Next Imitation Dan Brown Thriller

Adolf Hitler skull fragment is genuine evidence of suicide, insists Russia - Telegraph: "Russian officials have insisted a skull fragment with a bullet hole at the state archive is that of Adolf Hitler, despite claims by American scientists who carried out DNA tests on it.

Russian security officials have insisted a skull fragment at the state archive in Moscow is that of Adolf Hitler, despite claims by American scientists who carried out DNA tests on it.
Adolf Hitler's suicide in a bunker has been called into question.

The chief archivist at the Federal Security Service in Moscow repeated Russia's assurances that the skull, and a jaw bone, were the “only documentary evidence” of the Nazi leader’s death despite the claims, in a United States documentary.

The four-inch skull fragment has a hole where a bullet reportedly passed through Hitler’s left temple when he shot himself."

Harry C. Crosby, aka Christopher Anvil, R. I. P.

Author Harry C. Crosby, aka Christopher Anvil, dies - SFScope - Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror: "Locus is reporting the death of Harry C. Crosby, Jr., on 30 November 2009. Born 11 March 1925, in Norwich, Connecticut, he was better known by his pseudonym, Christopher Anvil.

Crosby's first published story, 'Cinderella, Inc.', appeared in the December 1952 issue of Imagination. He adopted his pseudonym within a few years, and over his career, published more than 100 stories and several novels and collections. Much of his shorter work appeared in Astounding/Analog, and he is probably best known for his 'Federation of Humanity' stories (which he also called his 'Colonization Series'). Baen Books has recently been collecting his shorter works into books edited by Eric Flint."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Animal House

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Guest Blogging

Murder by the Book has a new blog at the Houston Chronicle, and I'm the guest blogger today. Check it out.

Murder By the Blog | Houston's mystery writing scene from Murder by the Book | - Houston Chronicle

Top 10 Movies About Aging

I See Old People: All-Time Top 10 Movies About Aging | Psychology Today

No personal remarks, please.

The Worst Fake Accents in Movie History

The Worst Fake Accents in Movie History - Movies - Gawker.TV

I'll be On the Air Tonight

When and where Murder, She Writes is aired: For this special event, we are broadcasting on live from 7 to 8:00 p.m. Central time on the main channel of Blog Talk Radio.

The show will then be replayed twelve hours later that same day. Each show will be archived for listening 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The archives are also available for MP3 downloads.

Taser Update

Taser found on bus, driver suspended - Little Rock, AR: "A Pulaski County Special School District bus driver was suspended from his duties for bringing a weapon on a bus. The driver is on paid leave. The district is investigating an incident from Thursday just outside Maumelle Middle School."

Hat tip to John Duke, who says he'd want a taser if he drove a school bus in Arkansas.

The Story With No Name Continues

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: The Story With No Name, Part 19 by Richard Prosch: "The Story With No Name, Part 19 by Richard Prosch"

Frosty the Perv

Adult-themed ‘Frosty’ videos stir outrage - Television- "Jolly Frosty the Snowman bragging about his porn collection, discussing breast size and bullwhips, and then soaring off in Santa's sleigh announcing that he's off to an execution?

CBS promotions staff apparently thought that two mashups of the iconic cartoon character spliced to look as if he were uttering adult lines from 'How I Met Your Mother' and 'Two and a Half Men' were just harmless fun."

MWA's 2010 Grand Master, Raven & Ellery Queen Recipients

MWA Announces 2010 Grand Master, Raven & Ellery Queen Recipients: "Mystery Writers of America Announces the 2010 Grand Master, Raven and Ellery Queen Award Recipients"

How To Win at OTB

One Man’s Discarded Ticket Can Be Another Man’s Salary - "For the past 10 years, Jesus Leonardo has been cleaning up at an OTB parlor in Midtown Manhattan, cashing in, by his own count, nearly half a million dollars’ worth of winning tickets from wagers on thoroughbred races across the country.

Jesus Leonardo with a credit voucher for $6 that he earned in his “work” at an OTB parlor in Midtown Manhattan.

During his glorious run, Mr. Leonardo, 57, has not placed a single bet.

“It is literally found money,” he said on a recent night from his private winner’s circle. He spends more than 10 hours a day there, feeding thousands of discarded betting slips through a ticket scanner in a never-ending search for someone else’s lost treasure."

The Decade in Pro Football

Tom Brady, Patriots are tops in NFL decade; Lions at bottom - 2000s: The Decade in Sports -


Soft toilet paper becomes target of environmentalists | McClatchy

Top 10 Annoying Movie Sidekicks

Top 10 annoying movie sidekicks - Den of Geek

B.O.L.O. for Missing Dinosaur

BBC News - Walking With Dinosaurs robot stolen from Mexico show: "A remote-controlled dinosaur robot worth about 100,000 Australian dollars (€55,600) has been stolen from a Walking With Dinosaurs show in Mexico.

Staff noticed the 1.5m tall robot was missing after the show closed on its opening day in Guadalajara on Friday."

The Devil's Rain

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Photos at the link.

Real-life Edward Scissorhands | The Sun |News: "A HAIRDRESSER has come up with a cutting edge way of saving time - attaching tiny clippers to the ends of his fingers.

Valentino LoSauro, dubbed the real-life Edward Scissorhands, after the character in the Tim Burton film, is the proud inventor of the 'Clawz'."

The Perfect Christmas Gift?

The Famous Moustaches Mug.

Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.

Lawrence Block in Mystery Scene

Mystery Scene Welcomes Lawrence Block as New Columnist


Debut column “The Murders in Memory Lane” Out Now
Mystery Scene Holiday Issue #112

New York, NY — Mystery Scene Magazine is pleased
to announce a new column by Lawrence Block, a
Mystery Writers of America Grand Master and fourtime
winner of the Edgar Allan Poe and Shamus
Awards. One of the most celebrated mystery writers of
all time, Block has written over 60 novels, including
the bestselling Matt Scudder and Bernie Rhodenbarr
series, as well as numerous short stories and
screenplays such as Wong Kar-Wai’s My Blueberry
Nights. He will bring a treasure trove of memories,
anecdotes, and insights from a literary lifetime to his
Mystery Scene column “The Murders in Memory

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Naked Santa statue not popular with Texas | "A Texas homeowner who put a naked statue of Michelangelo's David dressed as Santa has been forced to give his nude Santa more clothes - after complaints from his neighbours."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Here's the Plot of Your Next Big Caper Novel

BBC News - Brazil thieves steal $6m during football season finale: "Thieves in Brazil have stolen more than �5m ($6m) from a cash delivery firm, taking advantage of the nation's passion for football, police say.

Police believe the thieves - who had dug a tunnel into the firm's building - struck when season-ending matches were played in Sao Paulo on Sunday.

A security guard later told local media he had heard a loud noise but thought it was fireworks lit by fans.

The theft was only discovered on Sunday evening - after the matches had ended."

It's No Wonder I Feel Safer When I Fly

It's great that our security is in the hands of highly trained professionals.

Massive TSA Security Breach As Agency Gives Away Its Secrets - ABC News: "In a massive security breach, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) inadvertently posted online its entire airport screening procedures manual, including some of the most closely guarded secrets regarding special rules for diplomats and CIA and law enforcement officers.

The most sensitive parts of the 93-page Standard Operation Procedures were apparently redacted in a way that computer savvy individuals easily overcame.

The document shows sample CIA, Congressional and law enforcement credentials which experts say would make it easy for terrorists to duplicate."

'Billy Goat Bandit' Update

FBI: 'Billy Goat Bandit' trims whiskers, strikes again | | News: "The Houston FBI Bank Robbery Task Force is seeking the public’s help identifying a suspect in at least five Houston-area bank robberies.
[. . . .]
In previous robberies, investigators said the robber had a unique, scraggly beard with extra-long chin hair, earning him the nickname 'Billy Goat Bandit.'

During his most recent robbery, the suspect’s chin whiskers were more neatly trimmed."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Clute police officer seriously injured in rollover accident some blame on horseplay - 12/07/09 - Houston News - "The wreck was so serious that the on-duty Clute police officer behind the wheel is lucky to be alive after he was ejected from his squad car. It all started when he lost control, skidded across three lanes of traffic and slammed into a guardrail.

Captain Robin Carlton Clute Police Department said, 'He had a broken pelvis, front and back, broke both ankles, had a collapsed lung, contusion to his chest, some bleeding on the brain.'

What's more, Captain Carlton believes the driver -- Clute Police Patrol Officer Scott Morton -- has no one to blame but himself.

'Horseplay. That's the only way I can describe it,' said Captain Carlton. 'I mean, they were out there playing around, at least one of them was, anyway.'"

Classic Crime Short Stories -- Not a Top Ten List

DO THE MATH: Classic Crime Short Stories: "A good crime story is perfect short-range entertainment. It snaps open, sucks you in, plays with your emotions, and expels you slightly wiser just a few pages later."

There's an interesting list at the link. Check it out and see what you think.

Remembrance of Things Past

Sometimes I'm amused by how my past intrudes on the present. This morning I was thinking about a couple of things I need to do today, and from somewhere in my head a voice said, "So let it be written, so let it be done."

Yul Brynner, of course, in The Ten Commandments. I haven't see that movie since it first hit the big screen, but the line's been lurking in my brain ever since. When I was a kid, a lot of us thought that was just the thing to say. For weeks, whenever anybody asked us to do something or other, we'd all say, "So let it be written, so let it be done." Were we cool, or what? Great days, great days.

No Comment Department

Daniel Radcliffe to do 'very sexy' (nude?) scene in next 'Harry Potter' - "Daniel Radcliffe is going to get naked in the next Harry Potter film.
[. . . .]
Director David Yates tells The Telegraph that in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows there will be a a 'very sexy' love scene in which Radcliffe might appear nude alongside co-star Emma Watson."

One-Hit Wonders

Pop quiz: Test yourself on 50 years of one-hit wonders - St. Petersburg Times

Too easy.

13 Most Dangerous Movie Stunts Done Without Stunt Doubles

13 Most Dangerous Movie Stunts Done Without Stunt Doubles

Some annoying ads, but a kind of interesting list.


Monday, December 07, 2009

Hey, It's Better than Soylent Green

Crematorium to use burning bodies to generate electricity - Telegraph: "Hastings Borough Council in East Sussex says it would be the first in Europe to invest in technology which converts excess heat from cremations into reusable energy."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Even better than Badge 714?

HPD officer's '666' badge scares the devil out of some | Top stories | - Houston Chronicle: "Houston Police Officer Carl Black still remembers getting ready to fight the hulking 6-foot-6, 280-pound thug who was threatening him about 17 years ago.

The suspect readied to attack as he ripped off his shirt and shouted “You're not going to take me to jail!”

Then he looked at Black's uniform, fell to his knees and gave up.

After putting him in his police car, the young officer asked why he had surrendered.

“I ain't fighting the devil,” the man said.

The suspect had caught a glimpse of Black's badge number. It was 666."

Point Break Update

L.A. bank robber wears Richard Nixon mask | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times: "The FBI is searching for a man who wore a mask of Richard Nixon when he robbed two banks in Encino.

According to the FBI, the so-called Ex-President Bandit hit a Santa Barbara Bank & Trust on Dec. 2 and a branch of U.S. Bank on Nov. 25.

The robber may be taking a page from the movie 'Point Break,' in which bank robbers wore masks of Nixon, Ronald Reagan and other former presidents to rob banks in the Los Angeles area."

Mine Would Bring about a Buck

Cormac McCarthy’s Typewriter Brings $254,500 at Auction - ArtsBeat Blog - "The little typewriter that clacked out about 5 million fairly renowned words over 50 years — with the able assistance of the novelist Cormac McCarthy — ended up being worth a lot more than anyone expected.

A heavily weathered, light blue, Lettera 32 Olivetti manual machine that Mr. McCarthy said he bought in 1963 for $50 and used to type all his novels, including a couple that won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, sold Friday at Christie’s to an unidentified American collector for $254,500, more than 10 times its high estimate of $20,000."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

One Too Many Blows to the Head -- JB Kohl & Eric Beetner

It's Kansas City, 1939, and Rex Ward's an up-and-coming fighter managed by his brother Ray. Things are going well for the brothers until Rex is killed in a fight. It's not an accident, and Ray's intent on finding out who's responsible. Turns out Ray has quite a temper, and that's bad news for the people he questions about his brother's death.

The book is told in alternating first person chapters by Ray and by Dean Fokoli, the bent cop who's trying to find Ray as he kills his way up the chain of command in the boxing world to find the fixer. Fokoli has troubles of his own. His wife is slowly poisoning herself with alcohol because of something Fokoli did, and Internal Affairs is after him for that, too, among other things. The other cops don't like him or trust him, either.

The prose is hardboiled and lean, and there's plenty of violence. The book is, as we famous bloggers who love a cliché like to say, not for the faint of heart. There's a surprise or two along the way, and you'll want to know what happens to Fokoli and Ray. They're deeply flawed, but Beetner and Kohl keep them human, which is quite an accomplishment when you consider the circumstances. Does either man find a kind of redemption at the end? Or do both of them? Check it out and see.

Electro-Pulp Video Magazine

Electro-Pulp Video Magazine Vol 1, No 1 from steve davidson on Vimeo.

Link via Boing Boing.

Mr. Monk Gets the Ratings

'Monk' finale sets cable ratings record: "'Monk' ended its eight-season run with a bang, becoming the most-watched hourlong series on basic cable.

The Friday series finale of the USA Network dramedy drew about 9.4 million viewers, 3.2 million of them in the adults 18-49 demographic."


The 6 Weirdest, Scariest Processed Foods | Health and Wellness | AlterNet

Pearl Harbor

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Zombieland Update

Zombieland Producer Confirms 3D Sequel :: Movies :: News :: Paste: "Unlike most flicks of its genre, Zombieland wasted little time introducing its supporting cast of bloodthirsty, flesh-eating monsters. In precisely the same manner, Sony waited less than two months after the film’s premiere to sign off on production for a 3D sequel."

Croc Update (Bah, Humbug! Edition)

Unhappy Snappy takes a taste of Tracey: "Reptile handler Tracey Sandstrom can't explain why her two-metre saltwater crocodile, Snappy, sank his teeth into her arm at a Christmas party in Victoria."

The REAL King of the Jungle

The REAL king of the jungle | Mail Online: "Former British Army captain Ed Stafford, 33, is well on the way to becoming the first man in history to walk from the source of the Amazon in the mountains of Peru to its mouth in Brazil. And he's not doing it in the hope of achieving notoriety, nor is he being paid handsomely for his efforts. No, he's doing it out of a sense of adventure - for the sheer derring-do.

He is 612 days in - and looking to finish next August. If he achieves his aim, it will be a stupendous achievement, right up there with Hillary's ascent of Everest and the conquerors of the poles.

The challenges he faces are monumental. So monumental, in fact, that Arctic explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has written to Ed to warn him that the stage in front of him - the deep Brazilian jungle - will be 'difficult'. You can take it that this is something of an understatement, given that it comes from a man who once sawed off his own fingers after they became frostbitten."

Minneapolis Leads the Way

Klingon Christmas Carol -- Commedia Beauregard: "The Twelve Nights of Klingon Christmas!

Back for another year with more performances than ever before!"

New Issue of New Mystery Reader Magazine Now On-Line

New Mystery Reader Magazine

The Invasion of the Vampires