Saturday, November 06, 2010

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: The Takedown Heart :: Kieran Shea

Here's the Plot for Your Next Techno Thriller

Northrop’s Huge Army Spy Blimp Floats On | Danger Room | "The Army awarded Northrop a $517 million contract in June to develop a trio of unmanned, seven-story, football-field sized mega-blimps called Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicles. If successful, the blimp will stay in the air for up to three weeks at a time, using 2500 pounds’ worth of “sensors, antennas, data links and signals intelligence equipment” to capture still and video images of civilians and adversaries below and send the pictures to troops’ bases. It should work with the Army’s standard drone-controlling system, called the Universal Ground Control Station. And it’s a hybrid, lifted into the air by helium and propelled by four diesel engines."

If You're a Long-Time Reader of this Blog . . .

. . . then you already know my answer.

Do we still need daylight saving time? | MNN - Mother Nature Network


Horace McCoy, I Should Have Stayed Home, Signet, 1951.

The Doctor Is In... Literature

AbeBooks: The Doctor Is In... Literature: "Doctors of one kind or another have often been portrayed in many ways through fictional literature over the years, including the evil doctor, the mad scientist, the quack and the idealistic doc. Whether good or evil, stories about medical practitioners have always grabbed the attention of the reader."

Jess Nevins' New Column

Where did science fiction come from? A primer on the pulps.: "Pulp historian Jess Nevins, author of Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana, takes you deep into the weird history of the scifi pulps, 1900-1950. Get ready for amazing science and astounding adventure! This is the first in a series on the pulps."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Gator Update (Terrier Edition)

Man shoots to free dog from alligator: "A Hillsborough County man had to open fire to free his dog from the jaws of an alligator.

Tom Martino said he was walking his Jack Russell terrier, named Lizabeth, along the Hillsborough River Thursday when the gator grabbed the dog, dragging her underwater.

Martino started shooting into the water until the alligator released the dog, and he was able to pull Lizabeth out. Martino does have a concealed weapons permit.

He then performed CPR on the dog until it began breathing again. Lizabeth, who has an auto-immune disease that is making it difficult for veterinarians to treat her, is struggling to recover from the alligator bites and lung injuries."

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

Neither does Brooklyn. But . . . Arkansas?

Great Pizza Places - Photos -

This Sounds Like a Nice Place

Unique Hotel Manhattan | The Library Hotel | New York City: "The Library Hotel NY near Grand Central Station in New York City is the first unique hotel in Manhattan ever to offer its guests over 6,000 volumes of books organized throughout the hotel by the Dewey Decimal System. Each of the 10 guestroom floors honor one of the 10 categories of the DDC, and each of the 60 rooms are uniquely adorned with a collection of books and art exploring a distinctive topic within the category it belongs to."

Hat tip to The List Universe.

Jill Clayburgh, R. I. P.

Jill Clayburgh, Oscar-Nominated Actress, Dies at 66 - "Jill Clayburgh, an Oscar-nominated actress known for portraying strong, independent women, died on Friday at her home in Lakeville, Conn. She was 66.

The cause was chronic leukemia, with which she had lived for 21 years, her husband, the playwright David Rabe, said."

It's Beginning to Feel a Lot Like Christmas

Programming : Programming & Music : AC's 100 Most Played Holiday Songs | "As holiday programming gears up around the country, and Nielsen BDSradio, in conjunction with Billboard, are pleased to provide readers with the 100 most played holiday songs on AC [Adult Contemporary] radio in 2009 as monitored between Nov. 1 and Dec. 31. While the number of stations monitored fluctuated through the holiday period depending on when stations changed, there were 95 stations reporting to the AC chart on Dec. 25."

Endangered Feces Would Be a Good Name for a Rock Band

Topeka Zoo Turns Endangered Feces Into Unique Art: "Through a collaboration between Friends of the Topeka Zoo and the Topeka Zoo, staff and volunteers are becoming “manurologists” by taking “endangered feces” and turning it into unique art pieces called “My Pet Pooh”. After collecting the perfect specimens, the dung is allowed to fully dry. Following the proper curing, the dung is created into art using paint, beads, buttons and more! The artwork comes with a special certificate of authenticity including the name of the piece, its personality, and more!"

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Friday, November 05, 2010

Croc Update (Urkel Edition)

Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus vs. Mega Python vs. Gatoroid vs. L.A.liens vs. Almighty Thor | Horror Movie, DVD, & Book Reviews, News, Interviews at Dread Central: "December 21st is the release date for Mega Shark vs. Crocosaurus, the super-sized sequel to The Asylum's kitsch hit Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus. Directed by Chris Ray, son of b-movie kingpin Fred Olen Ray, this time the fate of the world trapped between the jaws of a megalodon shark and a prehistoric crocodile falls into the capable hands of Jaleel 'Urkel' White and Robert Picardo of 'Star Trek: Voyager' and The Howling fame."

I May Have To Watch This

Into the Dragon's Layer | Animal Planent | Electronic Press Kit: "COME FACE-TO-FACE WITH KILLER CROCS IN ANIMAL PLANET’S INTO THE DRAGON’S LAIR

--Two Underwater Adventurers Risk Their Lives to Capture the Mysterious, Dark World of Nile Crocodiles --"

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

Soon to Be a SyFy Movie!

Local News | Radioactive rabbit trapped at Hanford | Seattle Times Newspaper: "A radioactive rabbit was trapped on the Hanford nuclear reservation, but there is no sign any people were exposed to the animal.

Washington state Health Department workers with the Office of Radiation Protection have been searching for contaminated rabbit droppings. None have been found in areas accessible to the public, regional director Earl Fordham said Thursday."

Hat tip to Vince Keenan.

Gator Update (Corndog Edition)

The 72 Inch Burrito : Outrageous Food : Food Network: "Next stop: Chicago's Dog House in Chicago, a hot dog joint that redefines this classic with an alligator corn dog for the truly adventurous type."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Frank C. Robertson, A Man Called Paladin, Macfadden, 1964.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Muffin exchange leads to assault, arrest: "An angry dispute that ended with a local man being charged with a felony aggravated assault began when he and the woman he was with threw a muffin at each other, San Antonio police said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

They Caught Him Because He Wasn't Worried about His Lawn

Great photos at the link.

Exclusive: Man in disguise boards international flight - "Canadian authorities are investigating an 'unbelievable' incident in which a passenger boarded an Air Canada flight disguised as an elderly man, according to a confidential alert obtained by CNN.

The incident occurred on October 29 on Air Canada flight AC018 to Vancouver originating in Hong Kong. An intelligence alert from the Canada Border Services Agency describes the incident as an 'unbelievable case of concealment.'"

Happy Birthday, Judy Crider!

Today's Western Movie Poster

Remember Remember the Fifth of November

Remember Remember the Fifth of November rhyme: "Words of 'Remember Remember' refer to Guy Fawkes with origins in 17th century English history. On the 5th November 1605 Guy Fawkes was caught in the cellars of the Houses of Parliament with several dozen barrels of gunpowder. Guy Fawkes was subsequently tried as a traitor with his co-conspirators for plotting against the government. He was tried by Judge Popham who came to London specifically for the trial from his country manor Littlecote House in Hungerford, Gloucestershire. Fawkes was sentenced to death and the form of the execution was one of the most horrendous ever practised (hung ,drawn and quartered) which reflected the serious nature of the crime of treason."

Time to Vote!

A Thriller a Day...: Thriller Your-Way: It's Time to Vote: "Now that we've gotten past what is all but universally agreed upon as Thriller's last class act, we thought it was a safe time to ask you all to vote for your top ten favorite Thrillers (and order is important). If you have a different list of the best, or most important Thrillers, tuck that away for a rainy day. We're looking for your favorites to compile the results of the Thriller community's votes for the best of the best."

10 Terrifying Literary Monsters That Still Gave Us Nightmares

10 Terrifying Literary Monsters That Still Gave Us Nightmares

Jerry Bock, R. I. P.

OBITUARY: Jerry Bock, composer of 'Fiddler on the Roof,' is dead at 81 - "When composer Jerry Bock started work on a musical about a rural Jewish community at the turn of the century, few expected the show to have much commercial appeal. But Mr. Bock was penning a score that became, arguably, the most broadly popular theatrical score ever written.

'Fiddler on the Roof' opened on Broadway in 1964 and has been revived there several times. Its tours have crisscrossed the globe for decades and countless parents of brides and grooms have lamented the too-rapid passing of time by crying over Bock's 'Sunrise, Sunset' at generations of bittersweet weddings."

Forgotten Books: THE GODWULF MANUSCRIPT -- Robert B. Parker

It's Robert B. Parker's first novel, the one that introduces Spenser. What? You haven't forgotten this one? Okay, but when's the last time you read it? I hadn't read it since it first appeared in 1973, so when I saw this recent reprint the other day, I picked it up to see what had changed.

Do you remember that Spenser's hobby was woodcarving? He's been working on his current project for six months. He's quite the horndog, too, bedding both a mother and her daughter. Susan Silverman wasn't on the scene yet, of course.

Then there's the drinking. Spenser's a bourbon and bitters guy in this book, but he drinks a lot of cheap bourbon right out of the bottle, too. A couple of gallons, at least.

Oh, and the text. This book is 204 pages of densely packed type. Almost no white space. Very unlike the Spenser novels we currently know and love.

Some things are pretty much the same. Spenser's a smartass and a quick man with a quip, and he's tougher than anybody around. He slaps people around a lot more than he does in the later books, though. Quirk, Belson, and Joe Broz are here, and they continue to show up throughout the series.

At one point, Spenser thinks he might be too old for the work he's doing. He's around 37 or 38. I guess he didn't know he'd still be doing it 37 years later.

Reading the book with a more critical eye than I did in 1973, I can see more wrong with it than I did then. The title manuscript, for example, is nothing more than a device to start the plot in motion. As far as I can see, the theft was incredibly stupid, and Parker resolves it in seconds about halfway through the book, having figured out a different plot, one that won't surprise anybody who's read a book from this era. The theme is one every Parker fan will recognize, that of the young woman whose parents don't get it and who needs someone to help out. Spenser's always going to be there for someone like that.

The best thing about the book, for me, is the descriptions of the college campus and the students. Parker was great at description, but he stripped most of it out of his later dialogue-driven books. Too bad. Reading this one was like time traveling for me. I spent most of my life on college campuses, and Parker's right on the money. I loved it.

And here's the thing. After reading this book, I'm not at all sure it's any better than some of the more recent ones. Maybe not even as good. Read it yourself and let me know what you think.

V for Vendetta

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sparky Anderson, R. I. P.

Hall-of-Fame manager Sparky Anderson dies – This Just In - Blogs: "Sparky Anderson who managed three teams to World Series championships died today at the age of 76.

A family spokesman said Anderson died from complications from dementia at a hospice in Thousand Oaks, California.

Anderson managed the famed “Big Red Machine” Cincinnati Reds teams to World Championships in 1975 and ’76 and the Detroit Tigers to a title in 1984."

Seepy Benton's Secret Revealed!

Electric Brain Stimulation Can Improve Math Skills - ABC News: "LONDON (Reuters) - Stimulating the brain with a very low electric current can enhance a person's maths ability for up to six months, British neuroscientists said on Thursday."

Another List I'm Not On

Library Journal Announces Inaugural Top Ten Best Books List

Hat tip to Gerard Saylor.

More Recommended Reading

pattinase: HOW I CAME TO WRITE THIS BOOK-Bill Crider

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston rapper sent to federal prison for wire fraud | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A Houston rapper who was part of the group Geto Boys was sentenced to one year and a day in federal prison for wire fraud in a case where he offered for sale electronics he did not have.

William James Dennis, aka Willie D, was accused of defrauding 35 people that bought electronics from him of $194,087 between September 2008 and April 2009."


Louis L'Amour, The Tall Stranger, Gold Medal, 1957.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Sugar Land Peeping Tom: Intruder Watches Women Sleep - KIAH: "Women in one Sugar Land community are not sleeping so well. Police said a peeping tom has been sneaking into condominiums late at night and watching women sleep."

She Should Have Bought Him a CPAP Machine

Duncan Woman Calls Deputies on Snoring Husband | WSPA: "A Duncan woman called deputies because her husband was snoring too loudly.
[. . . .]
According to a police report, the woman and her husband both work third shift. She says she was trying to sleep but he was snoring too loudly so she asked him to go to another room.

She couldn't go back to sleep and when she got up, she called him a 'bastard' and the two began arguing."

Croc Update (Advertising Edition)

AdFreak: Rum brand defiant after exploding crocodile

Today's Western Movie Poster


How Psychopaths Choose Their Victims | Psychology Today

Recommended Reading

Lesa's Book Critiques: Bill Crider, In Defense of Libraries

12 Craziest Headstones

12 Craziest Headstones -

A Streetcar Named Desire

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

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

Gator Update

Alligator trapped in Orlando breaks state record for length: "An alligator trapped Sunday by an Orlando man in a Brevard County lake broke the official state record for length.

Tres Ammerman, who traps gators as a hobby, caught the 14-foot, 3 1/2-inch male alligator in Lake Washington.

The previous official state record for length, set in 1997, was a 14-foot, 5/8-inch male alligator from Lake Monroe in Seminole County."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

But What about her Lawn?

Grandmother Carol Bone had sex with more than 200 toyboys |

New Issue of Gumshoe Mystery Review Now On-Line

Gumshoe Mystery Review - November 2010

And Keep Off His Lawn!

Sydney Invalid pins burglar to wall with stick: "An invalid pinned a burglar to the wall at his home in south-western NSW while his wife called police early today.

The burglar forced his way into the house in Elizabeth Street, Narrandera, about 2am, as the 61-year-old man and two women, aged 58 and 80, were sleeping.

When the younger woman, woken by a noise, found the burglar ransacking the home she woke her husband who confronted him and pinned him to the wall with his walking stick until police arrived."

And They Say Romance is Dead

Uh, yeah. � Criggo

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

This light bulb in the Stockyards museum in Ft. Worth has been burning since 1908. But Art Scott will point out that the one in Livermore, California, has been on longer.


John A. Lucchese, Joey Dee and the Story of the Twist, Macfadden, 1962.

For Those of You Who Just Can't Get Enough Zombie Material

5 books on zombies

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Feeling Safer Now?

Memos Detail TSA Officer's Cocaine Pranks | The Smoking Gun: "The Transportation Security Administration worker who earlier this year was canned for falsely claiming to have discovered cocaine in the luggage of travelers was a bomb appraisal officer who was supposed to be evaluating new screening equipment at the time he was pranking his unsuspecting targets, records show."

Today's Western Movie Poster

A Contest


Never Assume

I was a member of the Hard Case Crime Book Club at Dorchester. I joined up at the beginning so I could get each Hard Case Crime book as it was published. I assumed that the book club would come to an end since Hard Case was no longer with Dorchester. I was wrong.

In yesterday's mail I received a package just like those I'd been getting, except that the return address says "Hardboiled Book Club" instead of "Hard Case Crime." What was inside the package? A paperback copy of Robert B. Parker's Perish Twice, a Sunny Randall paperback from 2001. Not only did Dorchester switch me to a new club without asking, but I was sent a paperback that's nine years old.

To Dorchester's credit, canceling the membership was easy.

Bigfoot Update

BIGFOOT SIGHTING: Man Claims He Caught Bigfoot on Video - WGHP: "After seeing the video, Greene was convinced he had captured video of the much-discussed creature Bigfoot."

Top 10 Unsolved Missing-Person Cases

Top 10 Unsolved Missing-Person Cases | Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Thought for the Day


Picnic at Hanging Rock

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Battle of the Superheroes

Cops: 'Superheroes' brawl at Conn. parking garage: "It is assault charges for Spider-Man and Captain America, and breach of peace for Poison Ivy. Police in Connecticut said a man dressed as Captain America and another as Spider-Man have been arrested after getting into a fight in Stamford over the Halloween weekend."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Catch of the Day

Toddler survives seven-floor fall in France - Yahoo! News: "An 18-month-old boy survived after falling seven floors and bouncing off a Paris cafe awning into the arms of a passer-by, witnesses said Tuesday.

'My son saw a little boy on a balcony. He had gone right outside the railing... I said to myself I mustn't miss him,' the toddler's saviour, local doctor Philippe Bensignor, told AFP, recounting Monday's drama."

Want a Spotless Mind?

Eternal sunshine? Scientists find technique to delete traumatic memories for good | Mail Online: "Researchers have found a way of permanently deleting painful memories, which they say could lead to drugs for post-traumatic stress disorder."

La Ronde, part 5

The View from the Blue House: "Here is Part 5 of the La Ronde being run by Patti Abbott. We left Part 4 with India Hamilton, wife of James Preston, framing his PA, Jeanette Campbell, for his murder. Here, we find India contemplating her actions and future. Parts 1-4 can be accessed here."

No Comment Department

Caine, Winstone, Jones, Depardieu and Jacobi set for sci-fi Henry V | Hollywood News: "Production Weekly are reporting that Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Vinnie Jones, Gerard Depardieu and Derek Jacobi have been cast in HENRY5, a sci-fi thriller based on Shakespeare’s Henry V."


Edwin West (Donald E. Westlake), Brother and Sister, Monarch, 1961.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Suit centers on silhouette cowboy: "BOERNE — A Comfort photographer is suing the state over roughly 4.5 million vehicle inspection stickers that appear to incorporate, without his authorization, an image of a saddle-toting cowboy he created in 1984.
[. . . .]
The stickers were produced by state prison inmates under a Texas Department of Criminal Justice contract with the DPS. Both agencies, which are named as defendants, declined comment Friday.

The suit says Langford's photo was illegally appropriated by an inmate who scanned it from a copy of Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine in 1998."

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

In Pictures: America's Most Affordable Cities - 10. Austin, Texas -

Comic Strip of the Day


Today's Western Movie Poster

Free Fiction from Andrew Vachss

As the Crow Flies | Mulholland Books

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

Semenovich bought incinerator to burn husband: witness: "EDMONTON — A 74-year-old woman accused of killing her husband and disposing of his remains in an incinerator told a combustion expert months before the body was found that she wanted an incinerator in which to burn her husband."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Confusing Thriller

Cross-dress 'killer' having sex change | The Sun |News: "A PERSON accused of murdering a cross-dressing human rights lawyer is a man undergoing a sex change, it was revealed today."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Kidnap Thriller

Tortured Scot on the mend after having body parts severed during kidnap ordeal - The Daily Record: "TORTURED Scot James Ross has told pals he is on the mend and desperate for a pint after his 13-day ordeal in Portugal.

Ross, 26, is understood to have had a testicle, his wedding finger, an ear and two toes sliced off by his kidnappers."

A Penny Saved . . . .

Rogue Dunkin' Donuts 'Has Decided To Eliminate The Use Of Pennies' : Planet Money : NPR

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Supreme Court Cites The Wisdom Of Spock On Star Trek | Techdirt: "NSILMike points us to an amusing bit of news concerning a recent ruling in the Texas Supreme Court, where the court cited Star Trek's Spock (though, it's mostly hidden in a footnote)."

For the footnote, click the link.

Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Monday, November 01, 2010

Unpublished Authors, Take Note

The kind of story you'd have to write is explained at the link.

Short Story Opportunity: "The details are important, so please read this carefully... IF YOU ARE AN UNPUBLISHED AUTHOR, you may send one (1) submission via email to between January 25th and February 1, 2011. Stories that come before or after those dates will be rejected out of hand. Stories must be in standard manuscript format, and in either Microsoft Word or RTF. I will accept ONLY the first twenty-five (25) stories submitted to me. Should that happen prior to February 1, I will announce that here on the blog and on Facebook. Any questions should be sent to me via email.

Let me repeat, I'm looking for submissions from UNPUBLISHED AUTHORS. For my purposes here, I mean that you have not previously sold a short story (or novel) in a professional paying market, as defined by SFWA."

It's About Time

A cure for the common cold may finally be achieved as a result of a remarkable discovery in a Cambridge laboratory - Science, News - The Independent

I Think I'll Take Basket Weaving Instead

Course in Lady Gaga offered at US university - Telegraph

Chupacabra Update - The 8-legged Monster Behind Chupacabra Mystery

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Reading and Writing podcast – Steven Polansky interview

029 Reading and Writing podcast – Steven Polansky interview

Too True to be Funny

Criminal Mastermind of the Week

Body Found During Bomb Search - News Story - KRDO Colorado Springs: "LITTLETON, Colo. -- Deputies in suburban Denver found a dead body in the trunk of a car parked outside the jail and arrested the driver on a murder charge, officials said.

The Arapahoe County Sheriff's Department said Robert L. Johnson, 40, of Byers went to the jail Saturday to surrender on an outstanding warrant from another, unspecified incident."


Gary Gordon, Sins of our Cities, Monarch, 1962.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

And keep off his lawn.

80-year-old clocks 39,000 miles on foot - "DALLAS, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- An 80-year-old Dallas man who has run at least a mile a day every day since Nov. 5, 1974, says it is just something he's 'got to do.'"

Today's Western Movie Poster


This is a photo of a photo I saw in the Stock Exchange Building in Ft. Worth.

Gideon's Sword -- Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

I got an ARC of this book at Bouchercon.

Gideon Crew is a rocket scientist. Okay, maybe not, but he works at Los Alamos, and that's close enough for me. He's also a Ph. D. who was for a long time a professional thief, but then after he avenged the death of his father, he decided it was time to settle down. Before he can relax, he's recruited by a super-secret organization to do a little job for them. He decides to do it only after he discovers that he's going to die within a couple of years because of a rare medical condition.

If you think Crew sounds like a character in a lot of other bestsellers, well, you're probably right, and this book's probably headed for that list as soon as it hits the street. Even though it won't be published until February, Michael Bay has already bought it for the movies and commissioned a script.

I'm not sure what the title of the book means, but then I'm not a biblical scholar. I remember that Gideon's sword is metaphorical, or at least that's what I think I remember. As far as I can tell there's no sword, literal or metaphorical, in this novel. Crew is after a mcguffin. Nobody knows what it is, but then it doesn't really matter, does it? Nodding Crane, a Chinese assassin who plays a mean blues guitar and kills people with his special finger picks (again, a bestseller character if there ever was one), is out to prevent him. There are no prizes if you guess who wins.

I've read only one other book by Preston and Child. I thought it suffered from the "extended climax syndrome," which means that the climactic scene goes on and on. And on. That's true here, too. I admit that I skimmed a lot of pages toward the end. Compared to the other book by the pair that I read, though, this one's pretty short, a mere 342 pages of decent-sized print. It reads fast. If you like this kind of stuff, this is exactly the kind of stuff you'll like.

Top Ten Zombie Flicks

Even Before The Walking Dead, Zombies Ruled in the Top Ten Zombie Flicks - AMC Movie Blog - AMC

Did Texas Lead the Way?

Hallowe'en was different when I was a kid. For one thing, it wasn't Halloween. I don't know when the apostrophe disappeared, but I know it was after I got out of the public schools. I learned to put the apostrophe in, but now the spellchecker doesn't like it.

But I digress. What I meant to talk about was what kids did when I was one of them. Life then was more like a Peanuts comic strip. You know the ones, where the kids are out roaming the streets, trick-or-treating with their paper bags and not an adult in sight. About sundown, off we'd go. The most elaborate costume I remember wearing is a Lone Ranger mask. I thought those were cool. A couple of friends and I would walk all over town, knocking on doors and ringing doorbells, and it was all great fun. When we'd gotten enough candy, we'd go to the community Hallowe'en carnival and try our luck at bingo or the cakewalk. When the booths started to shut down, we'd walk home.

Nobody worried that the candy we'd scored would poison us. Nobody worried that we'd be stolen off the streets and assaulted or killed. I'm not sure anybody was ever poisoned by Hallowe'en candy except for one kid in Texas, and he was poisoned by his own father, who wanted to collect the insurance money. Aside from that one incident, Hallowe'en candy's pretty safe as far as I know. Maybe it's all that guy's fault that things have changed. The assaults and the murders might be happening, but I lived in a small town, and that kind of thing never happened in the old days. Maybe it does now.

I still remember those October nights and how much fun they were. I guess kids still have fun, just not the way we used to do. I'm fine with that, as long as they keep off my lawn.

Ninja Cheerleaders

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ted Sorensen, R. I. P.

Post Mortem - Ted Sorensen dies: JFK's speechwriter was 82: "Ted Sorensen, who served as President John F. Kennedy's adviser and primary speechwriter, died today at New York Presbyterian Hospital of complications from a stroke he suffered last week. He was 82."

World Fantasy Awards Winners

Locus Online News � World Fantasy Awards Winners

Want to See Something Really Scary?

Dark Roasted Blend: Siberian "Ghost" Cities Scare: "We'd like to call them 'ghost towns', but they are clearly not abandoned. Amazingly, people still live in them, go to work in harshest possible conditions (paradoxically making it the richest and mightiest industrial area in Russia) and then come 'home' to relax in this inhuman weather, non-existing infrastructure, in dangerously dilapidated buildings..."

Ft. Worth Public Library Painting

This "Texas Tales™" painting by Marjorie Stark Buckley is in the Ft. Worth Public Library. It was commissioned to commemorate the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. I'm standing under the plaque with my name on it. I'm still a little overwhelmed that I was chosen.


Alex Rivere (Charles Neutzel), Lost City of the Damned, Pike, 1962.

Today's Western Movie Poster

I Grow Old, I Grow Old

Texas Exes | Jester Center Gets Snazzy Updates After 41 Years: "Its own ZIP code is gone, but beds for 3,066 people — more than in some entire Texas towns — remain.

Forty-one years later, Jester Center is still one of the largest residence halls any university has ever built. But the epic dorm has come a long way, especially in the past few years."

This dorm opened ten years after I entered the university. It's on the site of what was the intramural field when I was an undergrad. In 1969, I'd returned to Austin to graduate school, and I still think of Jester as "the new dorm."

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin carving by Ray Villafane. To visit his Gallery of Pumpkins, click here.

Suspicions Confirmed

Extending daylight could boost health, help planet - Yahoo! News: "LONDON (Reuters) – Putting the clocks back in winter is bad for health, wastes energy and increases pollution, scientists say, and putting an end to the practice in northern areas could bring major health and environmental benefits."

Spooky Styles a Century Ago

Halloween Costume Pictures: Spooky Styles a Century Ago

Dark Night of the Scarecrow