Saturday, September 18, 2010

James Bacon, R. I. P.

James Bacon, Hollywood columnist, dies at 96: "James Bacon, who began his career at The Associated Press in the 1940s and spent 75 years chronicling Hollywood's biggest stars as a reporter, author and syndicated columnist, has died. He was 96.

Family friend Stan Rosenfield says Bacon died in his sleep of congestive heart failure Saturday at his Northridge home.

As a reporter for the AP and later as columnist for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Bacon had a knack for befriending A-list celebrities. He palled around with John Wayne, shared whisky with Frank Sinatra, was a confidant of Marilyn Monroe and met eight U.S. presidents."

Jeffery Deaver Interview

027 Reading & Writing podcast – Jeffery Deaver interview

Another Fine Mess -- Saul Austerlitz

The subtitle of this book is A History of American Film Comedy, and Saul Austerlitz sets out to tell us about thirty great comic figures, devoting a chapter to each one. Surely there won't be any argument about his choices. Judd Apatow, anyone? Well, before you start, read the book. Austerlitz makes a case for at least a couple of figures that I'm really pleased to see included. Doris Day, for one. And while there's a chapter on Mel Brooks, Austerlitz thinks he's overrated.

The approach is roughly chronological, beginning with Charlie Chaplin and ending with Apatow, and the connections that Austerlitz makes are quite interesting.

But I just lied. The book doesn't end with Apatow. In fact, my favorite part of it comes after Chapter 30. There are almost 100 pages of "Short Entries" on various actors. These entries make for fascinating reading, especially when I agree with it. How could I not love a book whose author says, "Rio Bravo is not only the finest comic western ever made; it might also be the finest western, period." Take that, Brian Garfield!

The book's actual conclusion, and another thing that the docile readers of this blog won't care to argue with, I'm sure, is a list of the "Top 100 American Comedies."

This is a really entertaining and interesting book. If you care about comedy or movies, you'll certainly want to have it in your library.

I Can Hardly Wait

Soon, float unassisted through the sky in 'see-through' passenger planes! - The Economic Times: "Aircraft manufacturer Airbus has come up with the idea of building see-through passenger planes in the future, one that will have a completely transparent fuselage.

The concept works by the captain pushing a button, which in turn sends an electrical pulse through a high-tech ceramic skin, which then makes the main body of the plane see-through."

Hat tip to Art Scott.


Frederick Lorenz, Night Never Ends, Lion Books, 1954.

Get a Rope!

Authorities find 36 dead alligators in truck - Florida AP - "Two men face poaching charges after deputies found 36 dead alligators and a bag containing 19 live hatchlings in the bed of their truck."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton takes plea deal to avoid jail time on drug charge - gets one year's probation

Hat tip, as usual, to Jeff Meyerson.

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton 'rescues' 20 bunnies from snakes; snakes now very hungry: "As per Paris Hilton's Twitter feed, the heiress is now the new mommy to 20 'rescued' bunnies.

'The bunnies were meant to be feeders,' Hilton explained in a reply Tweet to one of her followers. 'I saw them at the petstore & they told me they were for snake food and I had to save them.'

What about the snakes? Will no one think to save them?"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

And Keep Off His Lawn!

Wesley E. Brown, 103, is Oldest Federal Judge - "At 103, Judge Brown, of the United States District Court here, is old enough to have been unusually old when he enlisted during World War II. He is old enough to have witnessed a former law clerk’s appointment to serve beside him as a district judge — and, almost two decades later, the former clerk’s move to senior status. Judge Brown is so old, in fact, that in less than a year, should he survive, he will become the oldest practicing federal judge in the history of the United States."

Today's Western Movie Poster

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

Will you take this bride, in sickness and with surgery? - Yahoo! News: "Cable network E! has announced a new show 'Bridalplasty' in which 12 engaged women live in a mansion together and compete in 'wedding-themed' challenges to win plastic surgery procedures from each bride's wish list."

Top 10 Pirate Songs

Top 10 Pirate Songs - AOL Radio Blog

Didn't I Read about this in Amazing Stories in 1957?

Spray-on clothing becomes a reality | Science | "A Spanish fashion designer has developed the world's first spray-on clothing that can be worn, washed and worn again.

Manel Torres joined forces with scientists at Imperial College London to invent the spray, which forms a seamless fabric on contact with the body."

Tarzan the Ape Man

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gator Update

Woman Corrals 900-Pound Alligator - Detroit Local News Story - WDIV Detroit: "A Massachusetts woman's day on the lake ended Wednesday with a hefty prize -- a 900-pound alligator.
Mary Ellen Mara-Christian reeled in the 13-foot gator, nearly eight times her own size, while hunting for the reptiles with her husband and some friends on Lake Moultrie in South Carolina. The state has a one-month gator hunting season."

Click on the video link!
Hat tip to Art Scott.

Q&A: Otto Penzler on The Best American Noir of the Century

Q&A: Otto Penzler on The Best American Noir of the Century: "Otto Penzler is a household name to mystery lovers. Editor, publisher, bookshop owner, and mystery aficionado extraordinaire, he is the driving force behind two new volumes, The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories, a collection of vintage hard-boiled mysteries, and The Best American Noir of the Century, coedited with James Ellroy. Most readers mistakenly interchange hard-boiled with noir, but Penzler contends they're different animals."

And They All Stayed Off His Lawn

Henry 'Pop' Brown dies in Fort Lauderdale, leaving 379 grandchildren - South Florida "Henry Brown Sr., who started life in the cotton fields of rural Georgia, came to Fort Lauderdale in 1952 to grow his family, practice various trades and preach the glories of education. He did those things exceedingly well.

By the time 'Pop,' as he was called, died at his home Friday at age 98, he had seen the birth of 10 children and a school's worth of younger offspring: 61 grandchildren, 130 great-grandchildren, 162 great-great-grandchildren, and 26 great-great-great-grandchildren."

Understatement of the Day?

In Professor-Dominatrix Scandal, U. of New Mexico Feels the Pain - Faculty - The Chronicle of Higher Education: "Life has become extremely complex in the University of New Mexico's English department in the three years since Lisa D. Chavez, a tenured associate professor, was discovered moonlighting as the phone-sex dominatrix 'Mistress Jade,' and posing in promotional pictures sexually dominating one of her own graduate students."

Stranglehold -- Ed Gorman

A couple of years ago, I reviewed Ed Gorman's Sleeping Dogs, a crime novel about political consultant Dev Conrad. I commented at the beginning of the review that I seemed to be reviewing the same books as James Reasoner at about the same time and that I often seemed to feel the same way about the books. Well, here we go again.

This time Dev's firm is working for Natalie Byrnes on the campaign of Susan Cooper, Natalie's stepdaughter. Susan's running for reelection to congress, and she's been behaving strangely. Dev's associates call him for help, and when he starts looking into things, he discovers a tangled mess of family secrets that are likely to hurt his client's chances. This could happen to any consultant, I guess, but then people start getting murdered. Something like that can really liven up a campaign.

Stranglehold is cynical about politics and the political process, and it's full of pathetic characters. But it's also very funny at times. Dev's a decent guy who's trying to make a living while working with people who are, shall we say, a bit less than decent. His observations have a lot of bite, and the depressing thing is that they're probably accurate. This isn't the kind of book that's going to make you feel any better about the campaigns that are going on all around us right now, but it's bracing entertainment just the same. Gorman's writing is, as usual, clear, concise, and trenchant. Don't miss this one.

Why We Grieve for Deceased TV Series

Cold Case, Numb3rs - "And of all the abrupt endings in the arts — musicians who disappear after a single hit, novelists who kill off beloved characters, movie stars who nix sequels — none is quite as traumatic as the cancellation of a favorite TV series."


Robert O. Saber, A Time for Murder, Graphic Books, 1956.

Happy Birthday, Elvira!

He Needs a Holder on the Steering Wheel, Like the one for the iPad

Rider records TriMet driver reading Kindle on I-5 | | KGW News | Portland, Oregon: "A TriMet bus driver was caught on video by a passenger, reading a Kindle while driving down I-5.

As the driver reached into his bag, pulled out the Kindle and set it on the dashboard, the passenger decided to catch it all on camera.

The recording took place on Line 96 Bus from Bridgeport Village to downtown Portland, TriMet officials said Thursday."

Today's Western Movie Poster


Bearded Lady Vivian Wheeler Finds Her Son After 33 Years: "[The letter] also informed him that both his mother and his maternal grandmother had hypertrichosis, known as werewolf syndrome. Each had facial hair, even as children. The letter further stated that his mother was born a hermaphrodite, with both male and female reproductive organs."

Reading This Made Me Anxious, Irritable, and Pessimistic

Type D Personalities Should Be Very Concerned About Their Health: "Now, Type D's have been described as anxious, irritable, and pessimistic. They are the grumps and the grouches of the world. They are not necessarily clinically depressed; negativity is just an overwhelming feature of their personalities.

Though some early studies had shown that Type A's were at the greatest risk for cardiovascular disease, later research found fault with that data. Now an in depth literature research of 49 previous studies involving 6000 patients, found that it's Type D personalities who are the most likely to have cardiovascular disease and are those most likely to have another cardiac incident after experiencing the first one. They are three times more likely than other personality types, according to this research, to experience peripheral artery disease, heart failure, and heart attack."

Just the News I Wanted to Hear

Memory loss is NOT a normal part of aging, say experts | Mail Online: "Mild memory lapses experienced by older people are often excused as 'senior moments,' but a new study has found the brain changes that cause the forgetfulness are also responsible for dementia.

The findings contradict a long-held notion that memory loss is a normal part of ageing, the U.S. team said."

Forgotten Books: THE BEST FROM FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION SIXTH SERIES -- Edited by Anthony Boucher

I've admitted several times that when I was a kid in the '50s, I really loved the low-end SF digests (Imagination, Imaginative Tales, Amazing Stories, Fantastic, etc.). But my real favorite, the place where I read the stories that really touched me most, was The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I liked everything about that digest, the stories, the book reviews, even the poetry. I bought five or six volumes of "Best Of" collections from the SF Book Club, and I still have them. That group includes this one, but when I ran across the paperback the other day, I couldn't resist picking it up. The cover, after all, was worth the price.

When I got home, I looked at the ToC, and then I couldn't resist rereading some of the stories, most of which I hadn't looked at in more than 50 years. (The stories in this collection were published in 1957). I was surprised at how well I remembered some of them. I was a big fan of Mad Magazine back in those days, so maybe that's why I remembered Poul Anderson's Conan parody "The Barbarian" so well. It's still funny, though maybe not as funny as it was in '57. Boucher's introduction is classic. Theordore Sturgeon's "And Now the News . . . " is still killer stuff with a knockout last line, and it's as relevant today as ever. Considering cable news and talk radio, maybe it's even more relevant. Great story. Ray Bradbury's "Icarus Montgolfier Wright" isn't even a story. It's a prose poem, but I loved it when I was a kid, as I did nearly everything I read by Bradbury. And speaking of poems, there are several included. The one I remember is Bird Ferguson's "The Interview." I tried writing a few poems like that, myself, at the time. And Randall Garrett's four-liner is still funny. Anderson has two stories in the volume. "The Man Who Came Early" is the cover story, and I liked it as much as ever.

Tarzan the Ape Man

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Good News! bare•bones is Back!

bare•bones e-zine: "Just what the hell is this?
What we've got here is the new and vastly improved bare•bones e-zine. If you’re new to bare•bones, get ready for a lot of fun. If you’ve been with us since the ride began, you’ll know what to expect. You’ll be exposed to the minds of two very disturbed individuals."

If You're on Facebook, . . .

. . . and you like the work of Robert B. Parker, there's a new fan page with some nice photos.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas man stung by 1200 bees

New Jersey Leads the Way

Jersey City woman says boyfriend beat her with a cat, Hoboken cops say |

German SyFy Channel Commercial

Hand Dancing

And Keep Off His Lawn!

HPD: WWII vet shot attacker in self-defense | | Local News: "'I took the shotgun, cocked it and while he was standing there, boom, all his face tore up,' Hands said."

Want to Read a Ghost Story?

Here's a good one.

Hat tip to SF Signal.


Ralph Hayes, Hellhole, BT 1973

Archaeology Update

Undersea Cave Yields One of Oldest Skeletons in Americas: "Apparently laid to rest more than 10,000 years ago in a fiery ritual, one of the oldest skeletons in the Americas has been retrieved from an undersea cave along Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, researchers say.

Dating to a time when the now lush region was a near desert, the 'Young Man of Chan Hol' may help uncover how the first Americans arrived—and who they were.

But Will Mark Finn & Kasey Lansdale Star and Sing "Don't Shoot that Monkey"?

The Associated Press: `King Kong' musical could make it to Broadway: "A musical version of 'King Kong' could be roaring onto a Broadway stage in a few years if its producers get their way.

Global Creatures, the Australian company behind the hit arena show 'Walking With Dinosaurs,' is hoping its production of the classic ape story can find a theater on the Great White Way as early as 2013."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Top 11 Conspiracy Theory Movies

11 Badass Conspiracy Theory Movies | KoldCast Entertainment

Today's Western Movie Poster

10 Fun Facts about Bewitched

10 Fun Facts about Bewitched: "Bewitched was an American television series that ran from 1964 to 1972. The premise was that a witch (Samantha Stephens) married an advertising executive (Darrin Stephens), but in order to blend in with “mortals”, Samantha had to keep her supernatural powers secret. However, neither she nor Darrin could control her wacky relatives -particularly Samantha’s magically meddling mother Endora! In most episodes their cover was nearly blown, but the couple explained away the most ridiculous situations as a “demonstration” of a creative new advertising campaign."

The Queen of Crime Writing - Agatha Christie

AbeBooks: The Queen of Crime Writing - Agatha Christie: "It has been suggested that close to 2 billion copies of Christie's books have been sold worldwide. It should come as no surprise that AbeBooks has an incredible selection of Agatha's work, including scarce first editions, signed copies and affordable copies of her best work. An English edition of Christie’s first novel, in a fine facsimile first edition dust jacket sold on AbeBooks for $8,000."

No Comment Department

AFP: US Internet users staying connected during sex: study: "Computer security firm PC Tools late Wednesday released a study showing that nearly a quarter of US residents think it is fine to be 'plugged in' to the Internet during sex.

The survey conducted by Harris Interactive also showed that 29 percent of people in the country believe it is not a problem to be connected online during a wedding and the percentage climbed to 41 percent for family dinners."

John Carpenter's Vampires

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Louisiana Leads the Way - Long-Shot Louisiana Senate Candidate Challenges Vitter to Cage Fight: "A dark horse Senate candidate is trying to bring back the art of the duel, challenging Louisiana Sen. David Vitter to a mixed-martial arts cage fight next month in the run-up to the election.

Third-party candidate Mike Spears, a Louisiana businessman, is an ultra-long shot in the race dominated by Vitter, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Rep. Charlie Melancon. If Spears can't beat Vitter at the polls, he's at least hoping to beat him in the ring -- or cage, as it were.

Old-fashioned duels were usually called to resolve quarrels and restore the honor of an offended party, but Spears said he's calling this match to restore the honor of Louisiana."

Jane Yolen Update

Jane Yolen: Jane Yolen Writes 300th Book: Award Winning Children's Book Author Writes About Desire To 'Type Faster' (PHOTOS)

Georgia Leads the Way

Study Finds That Many Don’t Wash After Using Public Restrooms - "The next time a man hands you a hot dog after making a run to the restroom and the concession stand at an Atlanta Braves baseball game, be careful: there is a good chance he did not wash his hands, according to a report released Monday by a group that sends spies into public restrooms in the name of science.

Only about two-thirds of the men observed washed their hands after using the restroom at Turner Field — the lowest rate for any of the locations cited in the observational study and survey on the hand-washing habits of Americans."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Cartoon of the Day

Hat tip to Jim Kitt.

Edwin Newman, R. I. P.

Edwin Newman, TV Journalist, Dies at 91 - Obituary (Obit) - "Edwin Newman, the genteelly rumpled, genially grumpy NBC newsman who was equally famous as a stalwart defender of the honor of English, died on Monday in Oxford, England. He was 91."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

This Is a Joke, Right?

iPad Steering Wheel Mount: "The Apple iPad is the ideal automotive communications and entertainment device. The iPad is sized perfectly to mount using the iPad Steering Wheel Mount without obscuring the driver's view."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Chef Successfully Deep-Fries...Beer! | Field & Stream

Surely Janet Rudolph Owns This Purse

Yummy Pockets - Chocolate Bar

Here's the Plot for Your Next WW II Thriller

War heroine’s past discovered only after she dies in obscurity - World - "Her secret is out. But it is too late for Eileen Nearne to bask in the glory Britain loves to bestow on its Second World War heroes.

She died alone, uncelebrated, on Sept. 2 of a heart attack at 89. Only on Tuesday did the nation learn of her bravery behind enemy lines: She went on a clandestine mission to France in 1944 at the tender age of 23 to operate a wireless transmitter that served as a vital link between the French Resistance and war planners in London.

Nearne posed as a French shop girl. She meanwhile helped co-ordinate supply lines and weapons drops in advance of the D-Day invasion that marked the beginning of the liberation of Europe, then stayed on the job until the Nazis caught her in July 1944 and sent her to the Ravensbruck concentration camp. She later escaped after being sent to a smaller nearby camp."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Shaq Hack Attack

NBA star Shaquille O'Neal sued for computer hacking, framing former employee: "NBA veteran Shaquille O'Neal faces allegations that he hacked into a computer and destroyed email evidence in an attempt to frame a former employee, RadarOnline reported Wednesday."

Drugs and Crocs -- Even in Australia

Crocodile, cash and stash found in Sydney drug raid: "A crocodile has been found during drug raids in Sydney's west, police say."


Peter Cheney, The Man Nobody Saw, Avon (no date).

Louisiana Leads the Way

Police: Naked woman steals Louisiana cab: "Police in Louisiana say a woman stripped in the back seat of a cab, demanded the driver take her to her home state of Michigan and when he refused, stole his cab."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp and Jeff Meyerson.

Agatha Christie Update from Kate Stine

Hi everybody,

Mystery Scene and others are gathering to celebrate Agatha Christie's 120th birthday at Barnes & Noble Book Club.

You can see the posts here, you'll have to look for the header with Mystery Scene mentioned.

Stop by and say hi, they get lots of readers!


Archaeology Update

FEATURE-Home of Ice Giants thaws, shows pre-Viking hunts | Reuters: "Climate change is exposing reindeer hunting gear used by the Vikings' ancestors faster than archaeologists can collect it from ice thawing in northern Europe's highest mountains.

'It's like a time machine...the ice has not been this small for many, many centuries,' said Lars Piloe, a Danish scientist heading a team of 'snow patch archaeologists' on newly bare ground 1,850 metres (6,070 ft) above sea level in mid-Norway.

Specialised hunting sticks, bows and arrows and even a 3,400-year-old leather shoe have been among finds since 2006 from a melt in the Jotunheimen mountains, the home of the 'Ice Giants' of Norse mythology."

Today's Western Movie Poster

10 Everyday Things You Didn’t Know Are Made in Prisons

List o’ 10 Everyday Things You Didn’t Know Are Made in Prisons |

Link via Neatorama.

Top 10 1980s TV Themesongs

Top 10 1980s TV theme tunes, including Hill Street Blues and Knight Rider - Telegraph

Yes, but . . . .

Will I watch Terriers again this week? Yes, but only to see if it improves. I liked the actors, but the show pulled out nearly every private-eye cliché you can think of. To wit:

1. The down-and-out unlicensed p. i. who's a recovering alcoholic. Oh, yeah, and he's divorced but still loves his ex.

2. The old friend who might as well have been wearing and "I'm going to be murdered" T-shirt.

3. "You might be an addled druggie, and bad men might be trying to kill you, but you are the daughter of my old friend, so I will save and protect you.

4. The rich and powerful and evil California real estate developer.

5. "You might be a rich and powerful and evil California real estate developer, but you had my old friend killed, so I will destroy you."

6. And probably others I've already forgotten.

Maybe the second show will turn all this stuff on its head. We'll see.

Village of the Damned

Houston Chronicle on David Thompson's Passing

David Thompson, of Houston's Murder By The Book, dies suddenly | Death Notices | - Houston Chronicle

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Billie Mae Richards, R. I. P.

Billie Mae Richards dies at 88; Canadian actress best known as voice of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - "Billie Mae Richards, a Canadian actress best known for voicing Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in the enduring animated 1964 television special, has died. She was 88."

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

Everywhere. Repeat: Everywhere

Man drops off 2-foot alligator he 'found' in Brooklyn park at police station: "The city is going to the gators: Another baby alligator surfaced on the streets of New York over the weekend - and animal control officials are scrambling to find the cold-blooded critter a new home."

Hat tip to Todd Mason and Jeff Meyerson.

David Thompson

I met David Thompson when he first went to work at Murder by the Book 21 years ago. He was just a kid. The last time I saw him was at my signing on Saturday, September 4, just over a week ago. He really hadn't changed much over the years. He still bubbled over with enthusiasm for the signing, for books, for what he was going to do in the future with Busted Flush Press, for the publication and promotion of Damned Near Dead 2, for his life with McKenna, and at least a dozen other things. I heard about all of this in about ten minutes. Those of you who knew David will know what I mean. For a Texan, he could sure talk fast.

And now he's gone. No more of his book recommendations on those little cards in the store. Now more more e-mails, no more talking about what we've read. It's hard to believe that someone so bright, so young, and so full of plans can just not be here, can be gone, just like that. Judy and I have been stunned all day. We can't stop talking about it. A few tears have been shed.

Not that David's really gone, of course. He'll be remembered by hundreds of people. Surely everyone in the mystery community knew him, even if they hadn't met him. He touched us all in one way or another.

I suspect a lot of people have gone by the store today just to be there and to say how much they'll miss David. If I could have, I'd have gone by, too, but it wasn't in the cards. So I'll just say good-bye here. Ave atque vale, David.

David Thompson, R. I. P.

I've just heard that David Thompson of Murder by the Book in Houston died yesterday. I've known David for years, ever since he first started to work part-time at the store. He's been a great friend to me and to everyone in the mystery community. I'm still in shock. I don't have any more details, but my heart goes out to McKenna, to everyone at the store, and to all David's many friends.


Richard Himmel, Cry of the Flesh (Gold Medal, 1955).

B. O. L. O.

Monkey chased in Bexar subdivision: "A spider monkey was spotted in North Bexar County on Monday after escaping last week from Primarily Primates, a local nonprofit animal sanctuary.

Sanctuary staff members chased the ateles geoffroyi, a small, quick and gangly primate, through the Serene and Scenic Hills subdivision but it stayed out of reach in trees. On Monday alone, it had traveled nearly six miles and was last seen heading toward Helotes on Scenic Loop Road."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

No Comment Department

Paging Isaac Asimov

Why you can't trust robots - Telegraph: "A new program enables a robot to detect whether another robot is susceptible to lies, and to use its gullibility against it by telling lies, researchers claim.

The robot could be capable of deceiving humans in a similar way, according to the scientists, based at the Georgia Institute of Technology."

They Always Get Their . . . Oops

Courtenay RCMP apologize after marijuana raid yields only dahlias and tomatoes: "The police search had yielded only dahlias and garden tomatoes -- plants that had mistakenly been identified by police as marijuana over a two-week investigation that included aerial surveillance of the couple's back yard."

Today's Western Movie Poster

The 5 Worst Cereals for your Diet

Raisin Bran among 5 worst cereals for your diet - foodwine -

A Brief History of a Fine Magazine

What, Me Worry?

Harold Gould, R. I. P.

Harold Gould, Longtime Character Actor, Is Dead at 86 - Obituary (Obit) - "Harold Gould, a widely recognizable character actor in film and television who specialized, especially late in his career, in playing suave, well-dressed gentlemen in popular sitcoms, died Saturday in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 86."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Anybody Can Make a Mistake

'40-Year-Old Virgin' actor: I stabbed girlfriend by mistake - "The '40-Year-Old Virgin' actor Shelley Malil testified Thursday he stabbed his girlfriend 20 times when he wrongly thought that she was somebody else going after him in the dark.

'I'm sorry,' Malil, 45, said in a Vista, California, courtroom. 'I had no idea. I saw the pictures (of her wounds) for the first time, I was stunned. When I look at those pictures, I still can't believe the knife I was holding was responsible for all those injuries.'"

Village of the Damned

Monday, September 13, 2010

Zombie Hotels Taking Over the Emerald Isle

Zombie Hotels Taking Over the Emerald Isle — Can They Be Good for Visitors? | Irish Fireside

Keep your brains locked in your luggage.
Hat tip to Art Scott.

I'm Everywhere!

I know I've said it before, folks, but this clinches it.

A Vampire Named Fred: Chapter 1: "Today the Herald begins a weekly serialized children's story, 'A Vampire Named Fred,' written by Bill Crider and illustrated by Jonathan Rankin. Check back for the next 13 weeks on Mondays to see how this biting tale unfolds."

Thank Goodness Law Enforcement is Getting Involved

Florida deputies wrangle, handcuff 7-foot-long alligator near elementary school | L.A. Unleashed | Los Angeles Times: "Deputies in Florida had to handcuff a rather unusual suspect -- a 7-foot-long alligator.

A crossing guard at a Tampa-area school spotted the gator lounging near an elementary school Monday morning around the time children would be walking to school."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

E. C. Tubb, R. I. P.

Edwin Charles Tubb - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Edwin Charles Tubb (15 October 1919-10 September 2010) was a British writer of science fiction, fantasy and western novels. The author of over 140 novels and 230 short stories and novellas, Tubb is best known for The Dumarest Saga (US collective title: Dumarest of Terra) an epic science-fiction saga set in the far future. Michael Moorcock wrote 'His reputation for fast-moving and colourful SF writing is unmatched by anyone in Britain.'[1]"

Another Classic Now Available in eBook Format

Ryan Rides Back – a Bill Crider Western

Have I Mentioned this Great Review Before?

If so, I'm mentioning it again.

Ted Stephens: "Although it’s set in the early seventies, the hard, tight Mississippi Vivian by Bill Crider and the late Clyde Wilson actually brings to mind an earlier era -- it actually reads like some long-lost Fawcett Gold Medal paperback from the late fifties. And that’s high praise indeed."

Two Years Ago

Hurricane Ike - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Ike made its final landfall near Galveston, Texas as a strong Category 2 hurricane, with Category 5 equivalent storm surge, on Sept. 13, 2008, at 2:10 a.m. CDT. Hurricane-force winds extended 120 miles (193 km) from the center."


Richard Ellington, Shakedown (Bantam, 1954).

Bad Landing

Burglary suspect falls at feet of sheriff's deputies, but jewels remain missing | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times: "A suspected burglar was arrested at a Pico Rivera shopping center Saturday after he fell through the ceiling of a jewelry shop and landed at the feet of sheriff’s deputies who were searching for him, authorities said."

Hat tip to Laurie Powers.

No Comment Department

BBC News - Reading men 'made £250,000 from sperm website'

Hat tip to Richard Prosch.

They Were Practically on his Lawn

Angry pensioner dumps own excrement over 'too loud' guests | "Most people who are fed up with noise might politely ask the person to keep it down – or call the police as a last resort."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

20 Essential Works of Cyberpunk Literature

Best Online Colleges: 20 Essential Works of Cyberpunk Literature

Today's Western Movie Poster

Long May they Pick and Sing

Kingston Trio's fame and music have endured - Lowell Sun Online: "The Kingston Trio has amazingly been around for more than a half-century and while its current lineup boasts no original members, that's not to say what you see today is a tribute group.

Far from it, in fact, as George Grove has been part of the Trio since 1976. (The other current members, Bill Zorn and Rick Dougherty, have been with the group since 2004 and 2005, respectively.)"

National Punctuation Day is on the Way

National Punctuation Day: "This year we're trying something a bit more literary—our first National Punctuation Day Haiku Contest, with the winners receiving a plethora of punctuation goodies.

Send your best 5-7-5 (syllables, that is) poetry to me at, and let the literary games begin! Haikus must be received by September 30 to be considered for prizes."

Sample haiku at the link.

I've Heard Too Many of These

100 Worst Songs Ever - AOL Radio Blog: "What takes a song from bad to one of the worst songs of all time? Well, it takes all sorts of half-baked musical ideas, crimes of imaging over talent or reliance on quickly burned-out trends to land on our list. We know we're gonna take some flak from people who love some of these songs, and truth is we're sure we missed some real stinkers."

Escape from L. A.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Kevin McCarthy, R. I. P.

Kevin McCarthy, Star of 1956 Sci-Fi Classic `Body Snatchers,' Dies at 96 - Bloomberg: "Kevin McCarthy, the actor best known as the star of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” the classic 1956 science-fiction film about humans taken over by giant seed pods from outer space, has died. He was 96.

He died yesterday at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A versatile character actor with the chiseled jaw and blue eyes of a leading man, McCarthy was adept on stage, in movies or on television shows. He acted in almost 100 films over seven decades and was a familiar presence on prime-time TV from the 1950s through the 1990s."

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

The End of Marking Time -- C. J. West

I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book, and it's probably better that you don't know, either. So you'll have to decide for yourself whether to read further.

The book is narrated by Michael O'Connor, who's speaking to an audience that the reader isn't at first certain of, telling the story of his life. A successful burglar who's been a criminal for years, he's still quite young. When he's caught and jailed, the book takes a turn that surprised me. The bus taking him to prison is hijacked, and O'Connor's severely injured. He goes into a coma that lasts for four years. When the sleeper wakes, he's in a brave new world.

The courts have ruled that long-term imprisonment is cruel and unusual. Every prisoner in the U. S. is released. Michael has no idea how to deal with the new system, in which he's a "relearner," someone who's supposed to learn to live the straight life. He has a mentor, an ankle bracelet, and many learning DVDs to watch. He appears to be free to come and go and to make his own choices, but that's not quite true, and there are plenty of twists before the final one at the conclusion.

This is an unusual crime/SF novel. There's mystery and suspense, but it's not the standard kind. The book is as much concerned with crime and punishment and rehabilitation as it is with the story. If you're looking for something a little off the beaten track, give this one a try.


Shel Walker, The Man I Killed (Lion, 1952).

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: The Wanted Man :: Matthew Pizzolato

Get a Rope!

Man caught with Viagra pill | caught, destin, pill - News - Northwest Florida Daily News: "A 31-year-old man was arrested after deputies found a little blue pill in his pants pocket, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s report.
[. . . .]
The man said he had gotten the pill from a friend and did not have a prescription, the report said."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Claude Chabrol, R. I. P.

French Filmmaker Chabrol Dies at 80 - "French director Claude Chabrol, one of the founders of the New Wave movement that revolutionized filmmaking in the late 1950s and '60s, died Sunday. He was 80.
[. . . .]
A prolific director, Chabrol made more than 70 films and TV productions during his more than half-century-long career. His first movie, 1958's ''Le Beau Serge'' won him considerable critical acclaim and was widely considered a sort of manifesto for the New Wave, or ''Nouvelle Vague'' movement, which also included directors like Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Say It Ain't So!

Liberace Museum to Shut Down in Las Vegas: "The Liberace Museum, long one of this city's best-known and unusual attractions, is shutting down next month, the latest victim of a brutal recession that has hit Nevada particularly hard.

A singular landmark since its opening in 1979, the two-building spread topped by a skyward sculpture of a keyboard contains thousands of artifacts from the career of its namesake, who once reigned in the Strip's showrooms by pounding sonatas out of rhinestone-encrusted pianos while donning outlandish sequined capes."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Joe Lansdale Talks about Hunting

Blood Sport - The Texas Observer: "T’S EARLY YET, BUT MIGHTY EAST TEXAS HUNTERS SHOULD GET OUT THEIR guns and oil them up, buy shells, proper clothing and a game bag, and pack a lunch. Squirrel season is upon us—in a few months. So, if you do pack that lunch, I suggest something not immediately perishable. But it’s always good to have things ready so when the time comes, you can grab your gear on the way out the door."

Get off My Lawn, Anyway!

Old age doesn't start at 65 - scientists | "Scientists at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, based near Vienna, said a person reaching 65 should no longer be considered old - and that the burden expected to be caused by an increasingly ageing population was overestimated because people are much fitter and healthier into retirement age than they were decades ago."

Escape from New York