Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jack the Ripper Update

Jack the Ripper was Arthur Conan Doyle � Probaway – Life Hacks: "This blog has posted unequivocal clues pointing to the identity of Jack the Ripper for several months. No one has come forth with his name so having said the name time and again in very thinly disguised code here it is in plain text. Jack the Ripper was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. There I have said it publicly on the internet for everyone to see. With that simple revelation you can now easily decipher why each of the clues point to one and only one person, Conan Doyle."

Link via The Tainted Archive.

But Is It a National Record?

City of Houston saw a big increase in robberies this year - 12/18/09 - Houston News - "Harris County could see a new record when it comes to bank robberies, according to the FBI.
[. . . .]
There have been 152 bank robberies so far in 2009. In 2008, there were just 131. The city is now about 10 robberies away from setting a new record."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Police: Former County Employee Stole $232K from Victims’ Fund | "A former Harris County employee and her husband have been charged with theft -- accused of stealing more than $232,000 for a victims assistance fund."

No Comment Department

Killer Hector Quinones Plunges to His Death After His Pants Fall Down - Sphere News: "A career criminal massacred three members of a family in their apartment but fell to his death when he tripped over his own baggy pants."

Hat to Todd Mason.

Please, No Pig Jokes

Paris Hilton shows off her ultra-cute micro pig Ms Piglet | Mail Online: "Paris Hilton showed off the cutest addition to her menagerie of pets - her micro-pig Ms Piglet.

The socialite was appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show last night and told the host: 'This is my new piglet - Ms Piglet - she's so adorable.'"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Track of the Cat

Friday, December 18, 2009

Okay, This Time Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

CDC: People in sunny states happiest, New York least - "People in sunny, outdoorsy states —Louisiana, Hawaii, Florida — say they're the happiest Americans, and researchers think they know why. A new study comparing self-described pleasant feelings with objective measures of good living found these folks generally have reason to feel fine.

The places where people are most likely to report happiness also tend to rate high on studies comparing things like climate, crime rates, air quality and schools."


The state-by-state list (including Washington, D.C.), from happiest to least cheery:

1. Louisiana
2. Hawaii
3. Florida
4. Tennessee
5. Arizona
6. South Carolina
7. Mississippi
8. Montana
9. Alabama
10. Maine
11. Wyoming
12. Alaska
13. North Carolina
14. South Dakota
15. Texas
16. Idaho
17. Vermont
18. Arkansas
19. Georgia
20. Utah
21. Oklahoma
22. Delaware
23. Colorado
24. New Mexico
25. North Dakota
26. Minnesota
27. Virginia
28. New Hampshire
29. Wisconsin
30. Oregon
31. Iowa
32. Kansas
33. Nebraska
34. West Virginia
35. Kentucky
36. Washington
37. District of Columbia
38. Missouri
39. Nevada
40. Maryland
41. Pennsylvania
42. Rhode Island
43. Ohio
44. Massachusetts
45. Illinois
46. California
47. New Jersey
48. Indiana
49. Michigan
50. Connecticut
51. New York

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Man in woman's clothing robs Wharton bank | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A man apparently tried to disguise himself as a woman — complete with a wig with blond highlights and press-on fingernails - when he robbed a bank Wednesday afternoon in Wharton, FBI officials said."

Dan O'Bannon, R. I. P.

Dan O'Bannon 1946-2009: "Dan O'Bannon, the sci-fi and horror screenwriter behind some of the genres' most recognisable titles, has died in Los Angeles following a short illness. He was 63.

A USC graduate in the same year as John Carpenter, O'Bannon was instrumental in Carpenter's cracking (and crackpot) first feature Dark Star, serving as co-writer, FX supervisor, production designer and editor, and playing Sgt Pinback (who turns out not to be Sgt Pinback at all). O'Bannon is the one who chases the beachball alien all over the spaceship; an idea that would sort of resurface later..."

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

6 TV Shows That Went Bad

Warning: Vulgar language at the link.

6 TV Shows that Went Bad.

Hat tip to Toby O'B.

The Decade's Top 14 Unscriped Moments

Matthew Gilbert's TV-14 - Decade's best unscripted TV moments -

Hat tip to Toby O'B.

Please, No "Mile-High City" Jokes

My Way News - Dude, they're putting pot in more than brownies: "Any slacker living over his parents' garage can make pot brownies. Gourmet chefs are taking the art of cooking with marijuana to a higher level.

In Denver, a new medical-marijuana shop called Ganja Gourmet serves cannabis-infused specialties such as pizza, hummus and lasagna. Across town in the Mile-High City, a Caribbean restaurant plans to offer classes on how to make multi-course meals with pot in every dish."

Snapple Real Fact #909

Snapple Real Fact #909: In Texas, it is illegal to graffiti someone's cow.

Forgotten Books: FLIGHT TO DARKNESS -- Gil Brewer

Gil Brewer's not really forgotten.  In fact, he's having something of a revival now, what with the recent reprints by Stark House Press and the proposed four-volume collection of his stories to be published by Dancing Tuatara Press in cooperation with Ramble House.  And now New Pulp Press is re-issuing Flight to Darkness, originally published by Gold Medal in 1952.

This is one of those stories that Brewer and Gold Medal did so well, with the first-person narrator pushed from one seemingly impossible situation to the next.  Eric Garth is hospitalized after the Korean War for "battle fatigue."  He keeps having a dream that he's beaten his brother to death, and he's afraid that if he's released from the hospital, he'll make the dream come true.

Then he meets a nurse named Leda.  Wow.  Leda is one of those Gold Medal women who exudes sex appeal.  She is sex appeal.  Eric has to have her.  He knows she's trouble, but she's impossible to resist.  Eric wins his release, and the next thing he knows, he's framed for a hit-and-run accident.  Then he's locked away in another hospital.  Leda and his brother show up to visit him, and now they're man and wife.

Eric escapes and returns to his hometown.  His brother's a wealthy man, and he has no intention of giving Eric his half of the family business.  Leda gets Eric in bed again.  Then Frank is brutally murdered in just the manner of the dream.

Leda is as bad as they come, and Eric is just as driven as she is.  When it comes to depicting people like this, all rough edges and raw emotion, Brewer comes close to his friend Harry Whittington.  Both can grab a reader on the first page and wring him out for a couple of hundred more.  If you like the old paperbacks with their fast action and blue-collar desperation, grab this new edition and give Brewer a try. 

The Gunfight at Dodge City

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Jennifer Jones, R. I. P.

Jennifer Jones Died, Best Known For Oscar Role in "The Song of Bernadette" and Marriage to David O. Selznick - Speakeasy - WSJ: "Jennifer Jones, the golden-era Hollywood star best known for her Oscar-winning role as a nun in “The Song of Bernadette,” died today at 90 of natural causes at her home in Malibu. Jones was nominated for an Academy Award five times including the “Bernadette” win and starred in such movies as “Duel in the Sun” (with Gregory Peck) and “A Farewell to Arms” (with Rock Hudson)."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Howard Fans Mount Heroic Defense

I just learned about this article today from reading about it over on Missions Unknown. Howard fans were irate, as you'll see if you read the comments, and a long editorial disclaimer has been added at the beginning. According the the piece on Missions Unknown, the author has apologized, so the fun is over for now.

Sheriff Joe Leads the Way

Inmates Sue Over Holiday Tunes - Holidays News Story - WBAL Baltimore: "Maricopa County jails will play Christmas music and holiday hymns throughout the season, continuing an annual tradition despite multiple lawsuits filed to prevent it, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has announced in a news release.
[. . . .]
In years past, Sheriff Joe Arpaio has personally chosen some of the songs and performers featured, including tunes from Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Bing Crosby and Doctor Demento."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Laredo Could Be Largest US City Without Bookstore - ABC News

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

FRISCO Blog | The Dallas Morning News: "Long the leader in dress code enforcement, nearby Mesquite ISD has taken one of its most drastic actions yet.

DMN colleague Karol Halloway reports that 4-year-old Taylor Pugh cannot attend Floyd Elementary classes because his hair is too long. He receives private lessons in the library instead.

District officials say all students must abide by the code, regardless of age. They say the dress code prepares students for a business-orientated society where appropriate dress is critical."

The Decade in Pictures

Decade in Pictures - Picture Stories-

Even Better than the Necky

ThinkGeek :: Magic Wand - Programmable TV Remote: "You know you have always wanted to be a wizard. But not one of those swish and flick wizards from the movies. You want to be the Dungeons & Dragons wizard - the party's controller."

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Christmas Cartoon of the Day

From The Argyle Sweater.

Two Things I Learned Yesterday about Dooley Wilson

He was born in Texas, and he couldn't play the piano.

Archaeology Update

Shroud from Jesus' era found, researchers say - "Researchers said Wednesday for the first time they have found what they believe to be pieces of a burial shroud from the time of Jesus.

The find is of importance because tests on the shroud and the body it wrapped revealed the earliest proven case of leprosy in the Old City of Jerusalem."

The Man from Laramie

No Comment Department

Nexus: Did Google Dream of Electric Lawsuits? | Gadget Lab | "Isa Dick Hackett, daughter of the paranoid science fiction genius Philip K Dick, isn’t happy about the new Googlephone. The still unofficial handset may or may not be called the Nexus One, but Isa is already “shocked and dismayed” about intellectual property infringement, according to the New York Times: Roy Baty and his replicant cohorts in Dock’s novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep were all Nexus-6 models."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

25 Vintage Paperbacks That Time Forgot

25 Vintage Paperbacks That Time Forgot on AbeBooks

Maybe time has forgotten them, but I haven't.


The Necky.

Worst TV Shows of the 2000s

Worst TV Shows of the 2000s - Inside TV

As you might imagine, it's a long list.
Hat tip to Toby O'B.

Evolution of Horror Movie Poster Designs: 1922 – 2009

Evolution of Horror Movie Poster Designs: 1922 – 2009 | Inspiration

Some great stuff here.

The Story With No Name Thunders On

Laurie's Wild West: Story With No Name, Part 20

The Top Ten Most Annoying Characters on TV

The Top Ten Most Annoying Characters On TV -

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.


Nation & World | U.S. wants to capture cows' global-warming methane | Seattle Times Newspaper: "The United States is counting on cows to save the planet.

U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack announced an agreement with the American dairy industry Tuesday to reduce the industry's greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020, mostly by convincing farmers to capture the methane from cow manure that otherwise would be released into the atmosphere."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Toilet Seat Museum Named Top Attraction - San Antonio News Story - KSAT San Antonio: "The Alamo and the Riverwalk may attract millions of visitors each year, but a little museum in Alamo Heights ranks higher than both of them when it comes to off-the-wall attractions., a popular online travel community, has just named the Toilet Seat Museum the Wackiest Attraction in America. The museum is located in Barney Smith's garage in the 200 block of Abiso Avenue."

Will the Persecution Never End?

America through the reality lens -- "Reality show culture has thrived in that moral vacuum, accelerating the decay and helping to create a society in which celebrity is the new nobility. One senses that Richard Heene thought -- and perhaps still thinks -- that the way to make his kids proud of him was to land a reality show. Paris Hilton, famous for being famous thanks in part to a 'reality' sex tape released days before her 2003 reality show, 'The Simple Life,' is now a cultural icon of no redeeming value whatsoever."


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Happy Holidays

Woman Named Merry Christmas Arrested In Boynton Beach - West Palm Beach News Story - WPBF West Palm Beach: "Boynton Beach police said a woman named Merry Christmas was arrested Sunday night on an obstruction of justice charge.

Police said officers were called to a disturbance where a large crowd was gathered in the 1600 block of Northeast First Court. Police said an officer was questioning a woman when Christmas, 44, started yelling and refused the officer's commands to go inside."

Happy Birthday, Tim Conway!

Tim Conway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Thomas Daniel 'Tim' Conway (born December 15, 1933) is an American comedian and actor, primarily known for his roles in sitcoms, films and television. Conway is best-known for his roles as Ernest Borgnine's inept second-in-command officer, Ensign Charles Parker, in the popular 1960s WWII sitcom, McHale's Navy, and for co-starring alongside Carol Burnett on The Carol Burnett Show."

An Offer You Can't Refuse

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: A Fistful of Legends - Special Pre-Pub Offer! Express Westerns' second anthology, A Fistful of Legends, will be available from online retailers on January 31, for $15.95 plus postage.

You get free shipping if you order now. But wait! That's not all! Click the link for full details.


Man killed by dinner train in southwest Florida | Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota | 10 Connects: "North Fort Myers, Florida - The Lee County Sheriff's Office is continuing to investigate how a man ended up being struck by a train Monday night in North Fort Myers.

The man, who has not been identified by authorities, was struck and killed by a Murder Mystery Dinner Train around 9:15 p.m."

43 Facts about 44 Presidents

43 Facts about 44 Presidents – Neatorama

10 Best Opening Title Sequences of the Last Decade

YesButNoButYes: Top 10 Best Opening Title Sequences of the Last Decade

It's About Time

The Associated Press: ABBA, Genesis among new rock hall inductees: "The 1970s Swedish pop group ABBA is dancing its way into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, along with Genesis, Jimmy Cliff, The Hollies and The Stooges.

The list of the next class of inductees was released Tuesday by the hall, which is based in Cleveland."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

DTG :: News :: Dallas Cowboys show live 3D broadcast: "The first live 3D broadcast ever to be shown on giant video screens at a major sporting event has been unveiled at the Dallas Cowboys' Stadium.

Beginning with the second half kickoff of the Dallas Cowboys-San Diego Chargers American football game, the 'world's largest' high definition television was converted from high definition 2D, enabling fans to view both live action and instant replays in 3D."

It didn't work out so well, however. The fans booed, and the screen reverted to the regular 2-D.

The Steve Weddle Memorial Airport Flash Fiction Entries

Going Ballistic: "All hopes of a peaceful holiday travel season full of good will toward men have gone down in flames. Thanks to all for helping with the mayhem. Click on the links below to find out what some twisted minds think of while waiting at the gate . . ."

Suspicions Confirmed

Are first shoes really closer to a girl's heart than her first kiss? | Mail Online: "It's what many a downtrodden chap has long suspected - shoes are closer to a girl's heart than he can ever be.

In fact she is more likely to harbour memories of her favourite pumps, mules and stilettos than she is of boyfriends she has booted out, research shows.

Some 92 per cent of women remember the first shoes they bought with their own money - whether they were Carrie Bradshaw-inspired Manolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choos, or simply a high street bargain."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Rivals High - Pregnancy raises participation issue in Texas: "Should a pregnant girl be allowed to compete in high school sports?

And whose decision should it be anyway?

These questions and a whole lot more are playing out at Arlington Heights High School in Fort Worth, Texas.

Mackenzie McCollum, a 17-year old volleyball player, filed a Title IX complaint against the school earlier this fall - alleging she was discriminated against when the school learned she was pregnant."

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Gator Update (Christmas Shopping Edition)

Alligator captured in Walmart parking lot on Hilton Head; no one hurt | "A 7-foot-long alligator was caught in the parking lot of the Walmart on Hilton Head Island late Sunday after surprising some shoppers and employees."

Lost Civilization Update

Ancient Amazon civilisation laid bare by felled forest - life - 10 December 2009 - New Scientist: "Signs of what could be a previously unknown ancient civilisation are emerging from beneath the felled trees of the Amazon. Some 260 giant avenues, ditches and enclosures have been spotted from the air in a region straddling Brazil's border with Bolivia.

The traditional view is that before the arrival of the Spanish and Portuguese in the 15th century there were no complex societies in the Amazon basin – in contrast to the Andes further west where the Incas built their cities. Now deforestation, increased air travel and satellite imagery are telling a different story."

The Top Seven Awesome Things You Didn't Know About Steven Seagal

The Top Seven Awesome Things You Didn't Know About Steven Seagal | SPIKE: "The Top Seven Awesome Things You Didn't Know About Steven Seagal"

Val Avery, R. I. P.

Val Avery, Who Portrayed Tough Guys on Film and TV, Dies at 85 - Obituary (Obit) - "Val Avery, whose craggy features and threatening aura ensured him nearly 50 years of work playing tough guys on both sides of the law in dozens of television series and films like “Hud,” “Hombre” and several directed by John Cassavetes, died Saturday at his home in Greenwich Village. He was 85.
[. . . .]
Mr. Avery played the Mafia psychopath Socks Parelli in the Sidney Lumet caper film “The Anderson Tapes” (1971) and the Mafia godfather who cuts off Eric Roberts’s thumb in “The Pope of Greenwich Village” (1984). He also made frequent guest appearances on “The Fugitive,” “Gunsmoke,” “Columbo” and other television series."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Manitou

20 Greatest SF Movies Of The Past Decade

20 Greatest SF Movies Of The Past Decade - Superheroes - io9

Monday, December 14, 2009

Cartoon of the Day

From The Argyle Sweater

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Man suspected of breaking into east Texas house arrested while taking a bath -- "A 25-year-old man suspected of breaking into an east Texas house is jailed after police found him taking a bath in the house. The incident happened about 3:30 a.m. Sunday in a blue-collar neighborhood of northwest Tyler. Police Sgt. Matthew Smyser said a resident called to report that a man had kicked in the front door of the house. While en route, officers were advised the resident had left the house but the intruder remained inside."

A tip of the Crider Stetson to Richard Wheeler.

10 Crazy Old Christmas Ads

10 Crazy Old Christmas Ads - (vintage christmas ads)

I remember nearly all of these.

Unfolding the Globe

Clever folds in a globe give new perspectives on Earth - tech - 10 December 2009 - New Scientist: "A new technique for unpeeling the Earth's skin and displaying it on a flat surface provides a fresh perspective on geography, making it possible to create maps that string out the continents for easy comparison, or lump together the world's oceans into one huge mass of water surrounded by coastlines."
Photo gallery here.

Top 100 Tracks of the Decade

Top 100 Tracks of the Decade - Play | The Rhapsody Editorial Music Blog

So how many can you hum?

Liberal Judges Strike Another Blow againts Law Enformcement

Ohio Appeals Court: No Speeding Tickets for Fast Sounding Cars: "The Ohio Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that a motorist cannot be convicted of speeding based solely on how fast his car may have sounded."

Seems Reasonable

Women to row Atlantic naked - "Two British women attempting a world record by rowing across the Atlantic say they hope to shave a few days off the trip by completing the feat naked."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Girl's Town

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Who's Going to Tell the Philly Poe Guy?

Claiming Poe - The Boston Globe: "Boston College professor Paul Lewis, 60, curated a Boston Public Library exhibition on Edgar Allan Poe, opening Thursday, and argues that the writer born downtown is ours."

Hat tip to Ted Fitzgerald.

Robert Langdon Is Sure to Win

Criminal Brief: The Mystery Short Story Web Log Project: "In the spirit of the season, CB announces its first ever Reader Contest. Beginning with this one, a secret Christmas-themed message is hidden in every CB piece from now through next Saturday, December 19. Every one of us enjoys mysteries and most of us enjoy word games[1], so I’ve concocted a way for you to exercise your mind and be rewarded–and the rest of the gang is happy to assist. It is our way of saying “thank you” for your constancy toward us."

Maybe I Should Be on This List, Too

A Catalogue of Everyday Stuff That Has Become Extinct - The 00's Issue-- New York Magazine

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Shut Up and Kill Me :: Robert J. Randisi

Maybe She Should Change Her Name

Previously convicted of prostitution, Deanna Hooker faces new charge - 12/11/09 - Houston News - "A woman has been charged with prostitution, but her name is the part of the story gaining attention.
[. . . .]
Hooker was previously convicted for prostitution in 2006, 2007 and 2008."

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

Ingram delivers Alabama its first Heisman - College Football - "Mark Ingram dabbed his eyes, took a deep breath and tried to steady himself. All set, he accepted the Heisman that completes Alabama’s trophy case.

The tough-running tailback turned tearful after winning the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night in the closest vote in the award’s 75-year history. Next, he’ll try to lead the most storied program in the South to a national championship."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston news, entertainment, search and shopping | - Houston Chronicle: "Among Saturday's milestones:
1.) First openly gay person to lead a major U.S. city.
2.) First candidate in a generation to beat choice of business establishment."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way blog: Houston-area movie theater gets motion seats: "Santikos Theatres' Silverado 19 in Tomball will get some movie theater seats that move with the film's action:

With its unique, patented technology, <> uses motion codes specifically programmed for each film, TV program or video game, which are sent to a motion generating system integrated within either a platform or a seat. The resulting motion is perfectly synchronised with all onscreen action, creating an unmatched realistic immersive experience."

Where Danger Lives