Saturday, September 04, 2010

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Hunt on for Montrose bank robber who took cab ride | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A robber took a cab after he held up a bank in Montrose, FBI officials said on Friday.

The robber struck about 11:30 a.m. on Thursday at the Chase bank branch at 4313 Montrose near Richmond. He passed a threatening note to the teller demanding cash, FBI officials said.

When the bank employee handed over the money, the robber walked out of the bank and caught a Yellow Cab minivan taxi."

The Perils of Playing Strip Monopoly

Strip Monopoly ends in scuffle | The Sun |News

Joe Domenici, R. I. P.

Sad News: Joe Domenici, RIP Lawrence Person's Futuramen: "A poster on one of my Armadillocon photo threads said that Joe Domenici, former co-owner of Houston specialty SF bookstore Future Visions, and more recently a thriller writer living here in Austin (his first novel, Bringing Back the Dead, came out in 2008) died on Tuesday."

10 Ways Data Is Changing How We Live

10 ways data is changing how we live - Telegraph: "The availability of new sets of data has changed the way we live our lives: here are 10 examples of data which have changed everything from how we assess wars to how companies deliver milk."

10 Criminals Dumber Than the Crime

10 Criminals Dumber Than the Crime | Forensic Colleges

Today's Western Movie Poster

Washington Leads the Way

Washington Leads U.S. Cities in Auto Accidents, Allstate Says - Bloomberg: "Washington had the most accident- prone drivers of any U.S. city for the third straight year, according to Allstate Corp., the biggest publicly traded U.S. auto insurer.

Washington’s drivers get in a collision every 5.1 years, meaning that they have a 96 percent higher chance of being in an accident than the average American driver, Allstate said today in a statement. Baltimore was second, with crashes every 5.6 years, or 79 percent higher than the national average. New York, the most populous U.S. city, ranked 159th, with drivers crashing about every eight years."

No Comment Department

Earth 'facing mass extinction' | "THE world is facing a mass extinction event that could be greater than that of the dinosaurs, new Australian research shows.
[. . . .].
The findings, published this week in the international journal Science, showed a major extinction event was currently underway that had the potential to be more severe than any others in history."

A Syllabus and Book List for Novice Students of Science Fiction Literature

A syllabus and book list for novice students of science fiction literature: "Want to start reading some science fiction, but aren't sure where to begin? We've put together an introductory scifi lit syllabus just for you."

The Dirty Dozen

Friday, September 03, 2010

I Believe I Mentioned that They Are Everywhere

Mich. man gathering corn confronted by alligator: "A man gathering sweet corn in southern Michigan is the latest to have an unexpected encounter with an alligator. The animals have been showing up far north of their traditional habitats this summer."


Syfy readies a 4-hour Peter Pan origins tale, Neverland: "Syfy is bringing you the backstory to Peter Pan in a four-hour miniseries called Neverland."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton - Paris Hilton In Contract Breach - Contactmusic News: "Paris Hilton may have to pay around $160,000 damages to producers of her 2006 movie 'National Lampoon's Pledge This!' after breaching her contract."

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: A Rip through Time: The Dame, the Doctor, and the Device :: Chris F. Holm

Six Brands In The Movies You Can’t Find In The Store

Six Brands In The Movies You Can’t Find In The Store - Weird Worm

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

Latest Getting Away With Murder Now On-line

Shots Ezine: Getting Away With Murder, The Mike Ripley Column - Get The Latest Trade News and Gossip from the Crime, Mystery and Thriller genres

Today's Western Movie Poster

Long, Long Ago, in a Galaxy Far, Far Away . . . .

The Lasso, Yearbook of Howard Payne University, 1978 : The Portal to Texas History

Comic Book Wallet

Dynomighty Design - Comic Book Mighty Wallet®: "Printed with a collage of Golden Age of Comics (between the late 1930s until the late 1940s) when modern comic books created the archetype of the superhero."

You can design your own if you don't want the designs they already have.

Vance Bourjaily, R. I. P.

Vance Bourjaily, Postwar American Novelist, Dies - Obituary (Obit) - "Vance Bourjaily, a novelist whose literary career, like those of Norman Mailer and James Jones, emerged out of World War II and whose ambitious novels explored American themes for decades afterward, died on Tuesday in Greenbrae, Calif. He was 87."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Forgotten Books: THE MAN I KILLED -- Shel Walker

When I learned that Shel Walker was actually Walt Sheldon, I thought I'd give this one a try. It's the old story of the guy who returns to the scene of the crime. He calls himself a couple or three names, but we'll stick with Lew Ross. Lew got into a fight at a night club and killed a man. Ten years later, he returns to the town and to the night club. This time he gets involved with a woman, some goons, and the crooked owner of the club and finds himself framed for murder.

According to the back cover blurb, the book "is not only a high tension story of crime and violence. It is also the important story of what happens when thugs, gangsters and degenerates take over a small American town." Sure it is. But mostly it's about crime and violence. Check out the cover. Lew gets the crap kicked out of him several times, most memorably by the cops. And of course there's some gratuitous sex with an early '50s attitude that many of you might find appalling. Worth a look if you like the old paperbacks and aren't too bothered by that kind of thing, though. Not great, but it's so short you can read it in an hour or a bit more, so you don't have a lot to lose. Check it out.

The Exterminator 2

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Cammie King Conlon, R. I. P.

'Gone with the Wind' child actress dies at 76: "Cammie King Conlon, the actress who portrayed the doomed daughter of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara in 'Gone With the Wind,' has died at the age of 76.
[. . . .]
Conlon was picked to play the small, but pivotal role of Bonnie Blue Butler in the 1939 film at age 4. Her character's death in a fall from a pony irrevocably damages Rhett and Scarlet's tumultuous marriage."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Did I mention that They're Everywhere?

Woman Finds Alligator In NJ - "A woman on a nature walk in northern New Jersey ended up taking a walk on the wild side.

The woman saw a four-foot alligator outside George Washington Middle School in Wayne Wednesday."

Will the Persecution Never End?

RADAR EXCLUSIVE: Paris Owns Purse That Appears Identical To One She Claimed Was Borrowed Night Of Cocaine Arrest | "A photograph posted by Paris Hilton more than a month prior to her drug arrest in Las Vegas could blow up her claim that the purse she was carrying -- which contained cocaine -- did not belong to her, is exclusively reporting.

In mid-July, Paris Tweeted a photograph of a purse and wrote: 'Love My New Chanel Purse I Got Today :)' That purse appears to be identical to the purse she was carrying when arrested on cocaine possession charges in Las Vegas last weekend."

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

The Good News Just Keeps On Coming

CBC News - Health - Mental activity may slow, then speed up dementia: "Mental activity such as crossword puzzles, reading or listening to the radio may slow the decline of cognitive skills initially, but speed up dementia later in old age, according to new research.

The research suggests that mental activities tend to compress the time period that a person spends with dementia — delaying its start and then speeding up its progress."

They'd Better Stay Off Her Lawn!

Police seeking two men involved in two carjackings in La Marque, Friendswood | "A 56-year-old woman in the parking lot of a La Marque superstore in the 6000 block of Interstate 45 told police that a man attacked her during an attempted carjacking. But the woman, who's a concealed handgun license owner, pulled out her pistol and pointed it at her attacker, scaring him away.

The man jumped into a car being driven by another suspect, and the woman fired several bullets at the back of their getaway car."

No More DJs?

Political Mavens The Vanishing Pleasure Of Listening To The Disc Jockey

The Greatest SyFy Movie Ever?

Syfy Video: "Watch a sneak peek scene from 'Mega Python vs. Gatoroid.' Starring Tiffany and Deborah Gibson. Coming soon to Syfy."

You have watch a commercial, but it's worth it.
Hat tip to Paul Bishop.

No Comment Department

Zsa Zsa Gabor husband wants to plastinate wife's body: "The German husband of ailing 93-year-old Hollywood actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor said he wanted preserve her body by plastination after she dies, the Bild newspaper reported on Thursday.

'My wife has always dreamt that her beauty would be immortal,' Frederic von Anhalt said, 'I would like to show the plastinated body of Zsa Zsa Gabor in the context of a scene in one of her films.'"

Archaeology Update

News - Science: Jordan uncovers 3 000-year-old temple: "Amman - Jordan's Department of Antiquities has unveiled what it labelled as one of the most important Iron Age discoveries in the region, a 3000-year-old Moabite temple, media reports said on Thursday.

The three-storey temple, which dates back to between 1200 and 600 BC, yielded over 300 Moabite artefacts, leading experts to believe it was once a political and religious base for the Moabite kingdom, department director general Ziad Saad said."

He'd Probably Been on Her Lawn

Police: Stroudsburg woman hit husband in crotch with crowbar | "Dale Morris, 61, of Stroudsburg, is charged after allegedly hitting her husband in his groin and then his head with a crowbar Monday evening in their home."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Tools Everyone Should Own

Tools Everyone Should Own - Yahoo! Shopping

The Antiques Roadshow's Five Most Valuable Finds

The Antiques Roadshow's Five Most Valuable Finds - DailyFinance

Today's Western Movie Poster

Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for August

Discover the Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for August 2010

No Comment Department

Older people enjoy reading negative stories about young - Yahoo! News: "Older people like reading negative news stories about their younger counterparts because it boosts their own self-esteem, according to a new study."

They Can Remember If You Get on Their Lawns, Though

Why your grandpa tells stories over and over - Health - Aging - "There may be a reason grandparents repeat the same stories over and over again. According to a new study, older people are more likely than younger people to forget with whom they've shared information."

It's a Good Thing She Wasn't on her Lawn

Angry grandma allegedly knifed 12-year-old's ear | "An Apple Valley grandmother has been charged with felony assault after she allegedly went after her 12-year-old granddaughter with a knife during a dispute involving a jigsaw puzzle."

The Exterminator

Warlords of the 21st Century

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Will the Persecution Never End?

iWon News - Hilton banned from Wynn resorts after Vegas arrest: "A casino official says celebrity socialite Paris Hilton has been banned from two Wynn resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and her boyfriend has been dismissed as nightclub manager following their arrests."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Shocking? I'm Sure No Pun Was Intended

Marin man claims excessive force after being Tased at home | "'There's got to be a problem in terms of training and on supervising deputy sheriffs in the county; it's hard to imagine something so shocking could happen,' McFarland's attorney John Scott said."

Texas Wants to Lead the Way

City Council members propose $25 fee for garage sales in Dallas | DALLAS CITY HALL Blog |

The Insider -- Reece Hirsch

Will Connelly is an coporate attorney at a high-powered San Francisco law firm. Things are going well for him, and he has high hopes that he's about to be named a partner. One day he's at work early. He glances out the window and sees one of his colleagues hurtle past. The next thing he knows, the cops think he's guilty of murdering his colleague, he meets a dangerous dame, he gets entangled with the Russian mob, and the SEC is after him for giving out information that leads to insider trading. After that, things get complicated.

This is Hirsch's first novel, but he handles things like a pro. The story moves right along, there's plenty of action, and Hirsch tosses in a couple of unexpected twists. At first Connelly's didn't seem like a particularly likable guy to me, but I warmed up to him. Soon enough I was rooting for him to find a way out of all the messes he'd gotten into, and I think you will be, too.

As an aside, how can you resist a cop who sells first editions on eBay? Especially one who gloats about finding a nearly pristine copy of The Galton Case at a garage sale. A minor character, maybe, but my kind of guy.

Daily Science Fiction

Daily Science Fiction is a new idea to me. You can sign up and get a free SF story delivered to your e-mailbox every day. The first month's stories are listed at the link.

Link via SF Signal.

Today's Western Movie Poster

I Never Find Stuff Like This

NC farm produces emerald shaped into massive gem - Yahoo! News: "An emerald so large it's being compared with the crown jewels of Russian empress Catherine the Great was pulled from a pit near corn rows at a North Carolina farm.

The nearly 65-carat emerald its finders are marketing by the name Carolina Emperor was pulled from a farm once so well known among treasure hunters that the owners charged $3 a day to shovel for small samples of the green stones. After the gem was cut and re-cut, the finished product was about one-fifth the weight of the original find, making it slightly larger than a U.S. quarter and about as heavy as a AA battery."

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow?

Football Player Gets Hair Insured for $1 Million: "Troy Polamalu plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He wears long hair to honor his Samoan heritage. It’s gotten Polamalu in trouble before — he was once tackled from behind by his someone who grabbed his locks. . . . To make sure that nothing unfortunate happens to his hair, Polamalu has insured it for a million dollars."

10 Classic Dying Lines in Movies [SPOILERS]

10 Classic Dying Lines in Movies - Top 10 Lists | Listverse

Le Comte de Monte Cristo

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rod Serling Update

Rod Serling on the Twilight Zone: We failed frequently, but we created more than we imitated: "A never-before-seen interview with Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling is hypnotic viewing, as he talks honestly about the show's successes and failures in that deep, reflective voice that narrated your childhood."

Video at the link.

Some Good News from Max Allan Collins

Friends/Family/Fans of Max Allan Collins: "I am in frequent touch with Charles Ardai, who is being courted by a number of publishers in the search for a new home for Hard Case Crime (and QUARRY’S EX). I can’t be specific, but I will say I’m optimistic. And one of my first projects for a new Hard Case may be finishing THE CONSUMMATA, Mickey Spillane’s sequel to THE DELTA FACTOR with modernday pirate, Morgan the Raider."

Lawsuit of the Day

The Associated Press: NH teen who zapped nipples during shop class sues: "A New Hampshire high school student shocked so severely in shop class that his heart stopped beating is suing his teacher, the school district and the city of Dover.

Kyle Dubois and his parents claim teacher Thomas Kelley did not warn Dubois and other students of the dangers of the electrical demonstration cords in their electrical trades class.

On March 11, Dubois attached an electrical clamp to one nipple while another student attached another clamp to the other. A third student plugged in the cord."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

The Goat Was on His Lawn - News From AP: "Officials say an 88-year-old man died a week after a goat attacked him outside his home in northern Georgia."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Phony Baloney

Mass. police seize cocaine embedded in bologna - U.S. news - Weird news - "A Massachusetts man has been arrested after a kilogram of cocaine hidden inside a hollowed-out chunk of bologna was delivered to his home."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

A Gallery of Spies

Amazing Real-Life Spies - Photo Gallery - LIFE

The Women of Pulp

The Women of Pulp on AbeBooks: "Some can't be tamed. Some can't be trusted. In they stroll with a sob story as familiar as the day is long, and yet, we fall for it every time. Blondes, brunettes, redheads - it doesn't matter. These voluptuous vixens, these dangerous dames, these buxom bombshells might seem a dime a dozen, but each ruby-lipped temptress is more tempting than the last."

Scary Food Update

Scariest New Restaurant Foods

The Count of Monte Cristo

Monday, August 30, 2010

Everywhere. Repeat: Everywhere

Alligator at Rhode Island pond; people cautioned - "A three-foot-long alligator has been spotted at a pond in Rhode Island, and authorities are working on a plan to capture it.
[. . . .]
Portsmouth Police Detective Lt. Brian Peters says the animal was first spotted Saturday at Sisson Pond. Authorities from Portsmouth and the state Department of Environmental Management saw it themselves on Monday.

20 Recession-Proof Cities

Recession: Cities with Jobs, Economic Growth - The Daily Beast

Texas is #2.

And Stay off His Lawn!

Yard sale shopper clobbers another with a cornbread pan in Sonora - Crime & Courts - "Yard sale etiquette apparently went out the window Friday in Sonora after a 70-year-old man hit another man over the head with a cornbread pan while the two were trying to get access to the sale items."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton Charged With Felony Cocaine Possession; Read The Complaint |

Dick & Jane Update

Dick and Jane and Vampires: Behind the Scenes - GalleyCat

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Croc Holiday

The ultimate extreme sports holiday: Face to face with a deadly saltwater crocodile | Mail Online

I think I've blogged this before, but it's worth another look at the photo at the link.

Beer on a Stick

The Hopsicle Experience | Introducing the Beer Popsicle | New York City | NYC | East Village | Restaurant

Behind the Hits -- Bob Shannon & John Javna

This is my kind of book, nearly 250 pages of anecdotes and interviews about how hundreds of songs came to be written and recordings came to be made. There's the story of how a #1 hit was written to kill time during a blackout in NYC and the one about how Tommy Boyce got "Be My Guest" to Fats Domino" and the one about how a #1 song from 1965 was actually recorded as a practice track at 4:00 A. M. The stories, like the hits, just keep on coming. I can't resist stuff like that. since the book was published in the mid-1980s, there are no stores from after that time, but that didn't bother me at all. I'm an Old Guy, so the era I care about is covered quite well.

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for calling this one to my attention.

Gender-Neutral Pronoun Update

OUPblog � Blog Archive � The Gender-Neutral Pronoun: 150 Years Later, Still an Epic Fail

Link via Neatorama.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Looks Fishy to Me

Water way to spend a honeymoon: The ultimate newlyweds suite gives romantic meaning to the phrase 'sleeping with the fishes' | Mail Online

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

Here's a List of the Emmy Winners

2010 Emmy Awards: 'Modern Family' triumphs, 'Mad Men' wins again | "Modern Family triumphed with trophies for best comedy, best supporting actor and writing, while Mad Men won its third consecutive Emmy for best drama at the 62nd Primetime Emmys, held�Sunday in Los Angeles and broadcast on NBC."

I'll Just Go to McDonald's, I Think

Have a ball at Serbia's testicle cooking contest | Life and style | "Chefs cook up bull, camel and kangaroo testicles while public figures including Barack Obama are honoured for being 'ballsy'"

The Count of Monte Cristo

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Yes, The Drunk Baboons Would be a Good Name for a Rock Band

Drunk baboons plague Cape Town's exclusive suburbs - Telegraph: "The sun is setting over South Africa's oldest vineyard and the last of the wine-tasting tourists are climbing onto their buses. But one large family group has no intention of leaving – and there is little the management can do about it."

Jackson Gillis, R. I. P.

Jackson Gillis, Prolific TV Writer, Dies at 93 - Obituary (Obit) - "Cops and detectives, doctors and lawyers, spies and cowboys, heroes, superheroes and semi-superheroes. These are staples of television drama, and one of the unsung people who stapled them was Jackson Gillis, a prolific slogger in the trenches of television writing whose career spanned more than four decades and whose scripts put words in the mouths of Superman, Perry Mason, Columbo, Wonder Woman, Zorro, Tarzan, Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, Jessica Fletcher and, in a manner of speaking, Lassie.

Mr. Gillis died of pneumonia in Moscow, Idaho, on Aug. 19, his daughter, Candida, said. He was 93."

Bad Phrasing of the Week

There's only one class of joke, and that's funny | Victoria Coren | Comment is free | "Bad phrasing of the week: Brent Kandra, a zookeeper at an Ohio wildlife park, has been mauled to death by a bear while playing with it. Sam Mazzola, owner of the park, says, 'I loved Brent and will miss him, but it's what he wanted.'"

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

OED Update

Internet wiping out printed Oxford Dictionary | World news | - Houston Chronicle: "It's been in print for over a century, but in future the Oxford English Dictionary — the authoritative guide to the English language — may only be available to peruse online.

Publisher Oxford University Press said Sunday that burgeoning demand for the dictionary's online version has far outpaced demand for the printed versions. By the time the lexicographers behind the dictionary finished revising and updating the latest edition — a gargantuan task that will take many more years — publishers are doubtful there will still be a market for the printed form."

Question of the Day

So I'm reading this highly acclaimed crime novel, and on page 380 I come to the part where the protagonist and a sheriff are looking at a murder scene. The murder weapon is a .22 revolver. "The sheriff picked it up and flipped out the cylinder. 'The shooter took his brass with him,' he said."

I don't get it. Why take the brass from a revolver and leave the pistol there? Help me out here.

Stay Away from This Guy

Unexpected Deaths No Stranger To Disbarred Attorney: "40-year-old Shawn Roland Roberts was the last person to see his girlfriend, his mother, his roommate and his wife alive.

All 4 people died in Roberts' presence within just a couple of years."

First, the Gators, Now, . . .

I caught a piranha the Thames | The Sun |News: "AN angler told yesterday how he caught a piranha - in the RIVER THAMES.

Richard Salmon, 38, was trying to catch chub when he reeled in the razor-toothed beastie - fabled as the world's most fearsome freshwater fish."

Today's Western Movie Poster

No Gyro Gearloose = Fail

The 10 Greatest Fictional Inventors of All Time

Lawsuit of the Day

Fraser Island backpacker sues Queensland Government, tourism operators for injuries at Lake Wabby | Courier Mail: "A FOREIGN backpacker injured after running down a sand dune and tumbling into a popular Fraser Island lake is suing the state and tourism operators for failing to warn him of the dangers.
[. . . .]
He claims the Environmental Protection Agency, despite being aware of the dangers associated with tourists running down the dune, failed to properly warn of the risks or take precautions to minimise them."

Didn't I See This Movie in 1958? - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: Man eating giant squid devouring fish stocks: "DEADLY sea monsters have woken from the deep to cause carnage among some of the world’s richest fishing grounds.

Millions of killer giant squid are not only devouring vast amounts of fish they have even started attacking humans."

The Count of Monte Cristo