Saturday, July 09, 2011

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (9780425241288): Susan Wittig Albert: Books: "A brand-new mystery in the 'exceptional' (Booklist) series by the national bestselling author.

Rumors are sprouting in Depression-era Darling, Alabama. The town's newest visitors, Nona Jean Jamison and Miss Lake, may be the Naughty and Nice Sisters from the Ziegfeld Frolic, who specialize in dancing nearly naked.

The Dahlias suspect more than modesty when Nona denies her association. They'll have to dig through clues to get to the root of the mystery..."

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention


The 10 Greatest Scenes in the History of Gore

Be warned: It's really gory, but it's video, so you don't have to watch the scenes. You can just read about them.

The 10 Greatest Scenes in the History of Gore

Dream Bookshelf

Dream Bookshelf Is Not Just For Fantasy Novels

Link via Neatorama.

Today's Vintage Ad


Orrie Hitt, Nudist Camp, Beacon, 1957.

‪Noir Night 2 at Murder by the Book‬‏


Coming Soon: Chutes and Ladders -- The Movie

Telegraph: "Hollywood is turning to board games and video games as the basis for new blockbusters amid suggestions studios are running out of original ideas."

Today's Western Movie Poster

It's About Time "“The men’s-wear set has recently rediscovered the joy of proper mechanical timepieces,” Mr. Williams said. “Right now there is no clearer indication of cool than wearing a watch. If it was your grandfather’s bubbleback Rolex, even better.”"

It's Baaaaaaack

Dallas TNT | Inside TV | "It’s official: TNT is bringing back Dallas, and with original series stars Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray.

The 1980s hit will get a modern makeover on the cable network, which just gave its new version of Dallas a 10-episode series order (full official description below). But you don’t have to wait until next summer, when the series debuts, to get a look at the show: TNT will give viewers a preview of the pilot on Monday night during the season premieres of The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles."

18 Attributes of Highly Effective Liars

18 Attributes of Highly Effective Liars

Criminal Genius of the Day "Investigators from the sheriff's office were called. They noted that the package was addressed with a preprinted label from the Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Inside Schaffer's house, investigators found a sheet of identical labels, minus one."

Andy Hardy Meets Debutante


Friday, July 08, 2011

No Comment Department

Marin residents very upset about new Pizza Orgasmica paint job, fear "Tacos Fellatio"

Hat tip to Art Scott.

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention Books Can Be Deceiving (A Library Lover's Mystery) (9780425242186): Jenn McKinlay: Books: "Lindsey is getting into her groove as the director of the Briar Creek Public Library when a New York editor visits town, creating quite a buzz. Lindsey's friend Beth wants to sell the editor her children's book, but Beth's boyfriend, a famous author, gets in the way. When they go to confront him, he's found murdered-and Beth is the prime suspect. Lindsey has to act fast before they throw the book at the wrong person."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Hasidic Thriller

The Private Eye Wears a Skullcap and Tzitzit - "Not your usual private eye, Mr. Levin is a practicing Orthodox Jew, a member of the Bobov Hasidic sect and the founder of T.O.T. Private Investigation and Consulting, a New York-based company that specializes in Orthodox-related cases worldwide. The company, whose focus is uncommon — and perhaps unique in the United States — hires forensic experts, former homicide detectives, photographers and even pilots, mostly on a per-case basis. Its services range from investigations into international banks and Israeli investment companies to local background checks for prospective Shidduchim, or Orthodox marital arrangements."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Banana at Large!

Banana at Large After Attacking Gorilla

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Yet Another List I'm Not On

Best Websites: "107 Best Websites On The Web"

Today's Vintage Ad

Paris Hilton Quote of the Day

Paris Hilton: "'I'm very fun, and I'm very daring. I don't copy anybody,' she said. 'I'm like my own Barbie doll!'"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Harlingen, Texas: Cheapest Place To Live In America

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Day Keene, Joy House/Milton K. Ozaki, City of Sin, Lancer, c. 1962

New Post at the Running Blog

Today I Met Alonzo.

Croc Update (Floor Covering Edition)

The National: "A six-bedroom penthouse with crocodile skin floors in Knightsbridge is billed as the most expensive rental in London's already over-heated market."

Time for Some Good News

7 Pieces of Good News Nobody Is Reporting

Today's Western Movie Poster

Here's the Plot for Your Next Soccer Mom Thriller

Philadelphia Daily News | 07/07/2011: "Three former PTA mothers used their connection with a suburban elementary school to recruit investors in a phony $14 million get-rich-quick scheme, authorities said yesterday."

Those Were the Days

30 Years of the Space Shuttle Program in Pictures

10 famous actors and their weirdest film choices

10 famous actors and their weirdest film choices

Next: Hula Hoop -- The Movie

Hollywood Reporter: "Get ready for the Space Invaders movie.

The classic 1980s arcade game from Taito and Midway, which is ranked as the top arcade game of all time by Guinness World Records, is heading to the big screen courtesy of producers Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Odd Lot Entertainment’s Gigi Pritzker."

10 Most Controversial Prisoner Pardons in History

10 Most Controversial Prisoner Pardons in History

Forgotten Books: Unfaithful Servant -- Timothy Harris

Some time ago, I did a "Forgotten Books" post on Timothy Harris. I mentioned that after two really good private-eye novels featuring Thomas Kyd, Harris got into the movie biz and didn't write any more novels until after a lapse of many years he published Unfaithful Servant in 2004. I knew I'd have to read that one, eventually, and I finally got around to it. I'm glad I did.

Kyd's still a burnt-out case, running his one-man p.i. operation and not making a lot of money, when Hugo Vine tries to hire him. Hugo's 14, his mom's a famous actress, and he think his father was murdered. Kyd turns him down, but circumstances conspire to bring them together again. Kyd is hired by the family to be Hugo's minder, and before long the murder investigation is in full flower. Like Chandler's The Long Good-Bye, it's a story of friendship as much as it's about a murder case.

This book is another example of how good Harris is, and another example of why I'm sorry he didn't write more books. It has the traditional Chandlerian L. A./Hollywood setting and the requisite side trip to Las Vegas. It has fine prose. It has narrative drive. It has a big cast of believable characters. It has sharp observations and descriptions on every page. This is the way it should be done.

But apparently no big publisher wanted it. Thank goodness for Five Star, which over the years has published a lot of fine crime fiction with little credit for the great job it's doing. If you haven't read anything by Harris, you should start with his first two novels, but even if you want to jump in with this one, you'll be amply rewarded.

‪Andy Hardy's Double Life‬‏


Thursday, July 07, 2011

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention The Square Root of Murder (Professor Sophie Knowles) (9780425242193): Ada Madison: Books: "Dr. Sophie Knowles teaches math at Henley College in Massachusetts, but when a colleague turns up dead, it's up to her to find the killer before someone else gets subtracted."

Gator Update (Onion Edition)

Study: Alligators Dangerous No Matter How Drunk You Are | The Onion

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

Notorious New Mexico Nipple Ripper WBAGNFARB

The Smoking Gun: "Notorious New Mexico Nipple Ripper Pleads Guilty To Attack On Daughter-In-Law"

Here's The Plot for Your Next Da Vinci Code Thriller

BBC News: "A hugely valuable illuminated manuscript has disappeared from the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, say police.

The Codex Calixtinus dates from the 12th Century and was compiled as a guidebook for medieval pilgrims following the Way of
Saint James."

Hat tip to Rich Prosch.

Iain (Emma) Blair, R. I. P.

Emma Blair - Telegraph: "Emma Blair, the romantic novelist who died on July 3 aged 69, was, in reality, Iain Blair, a burly 6ft 3in Glaswegian actor with a 60-a-day habit and a fondness for a good pint."

Feeling Safer Now?

Palm Beach News - The Daily Pulp: "While most Transportation Security Administration employees are busy groping people or taking naked pictures of them, the cops say one of those employees was putting fliers' electronics down his pants.

The Broward Sheriff's Office says 30-year-old Nelson Santiago stole around $50,000 worth of electronics over the past six months from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's Terminal 1.

Santiago -- a TSA officer since 2009 -- was caught earlier this week by a Continental Airlines employee taking an iPad out of someone's luggage and stuffing it into his pants, the cops say."

Free Willie!

The Raw Story: "A west Texas judge said this week that she was rejecting a plea deal for legendary country-western musician Willie Nelson, who now faces up to a year in prison for marijuana possession."

Mystery Scene Update

Summer, Issue #120 Contents

Today's Vintage Ad


Harry Whittington, Backwoods Shack/Doug Deperrault, Spotlight on Sin, Lancer, c. 1962

Gator Update (NFL Edition #2) "Arizona Cardinals defensive juggernaut Darnell Dockett dropped down into a death-defying 3-point stance last weekend -- directly over a LIVE alligator -- and we're told, he paid $225 for the privilege."

Great photo at the link.

Gator Update (Mudbogging Edition) "'They had it tied to the roof of the pickup and were mudbogging,' the sheriff explained."

Photo at the link.

A Favorite Genre of Mine

AbeBooks: Bildungsroman Novels: The Literary Journey of Youth to Maturity

Today's Western Movie Poster

The Good News Is That You Don't Have to Change Blades Often

The $100,000 Zafirro Iridium Razor

Here's the Plot for Your Next Forensic Thriller

Herald Sun: "TECHNOLOGY, history and 'good old-fashioned detective work' have combined to solve a gruesome 132-year-old murder mystery.

And it all took place in the backyard of BBC nature show supremo Sir David Attenborough."

Key quotation: "The boys ate two bowls of lard which was unfortunately Mrs Thomas."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

iWon News: "Dallas wide receiver Roy Williams has sued his ex-girlfriend for return of an engagement ring he included in a marriage proposal-by-mail spurned by the ex-beauty queen."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Me, Me, Me

author interviews: Bill Crider

10 Summer Movies That Didn’t Insult Our Intelligence

10 Summer Movies That Didn’t Insult Our Intelligence

The Major and the Minor

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

New Story by Rich Prosch

Sea of Red

Look Who Has a Blog


PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention Drunk on the Moon eBook: Paul D, Brazill: Kindle Store: "When a full moon fills the night sky, P I Roman Dalton becomes a werewolf and prowls the dark streets of the city battling creatures of evil. Paul D Brazill's Drunk On The Moon is an intense and hard-boiled noir / horror series, brought to you by some of the finest dark fiction writers around.

Spinetingler Award nominee Paul D. Brazill was born in England and lives in Poland. His writing has appeared in a number of magazines and anthologies, including the 2011 Mammoth Book Of Best British Crime. His short story collection '13 Shots Of Noir' will be published in 2011. He writes regularly for Pulp Metal Magazine and Mean Streets Magazine. His influential blog is You Would Say That, Wouldn't You? "

Ghost car

Ghost Car --�A 1939 Plexiglas Pontiac Deluxe Six -- To Be Auctioned: "One of only two 'Ghost Cars' ever built will be up for grabs at the RM Auction in Michigan on July 30 and the plexiglas 139 Pontiac Deluxe Six could fetch up to $475,000."

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention What a Croc! eBook: Bill Crider: Books: "A former pirate and his devoted minion pursue a rogue crocodile through time and space. Sewers! Shotguns! More pop culture references than you can shake a stick at! A short story with fun for all!"

You Don't Pull the Mask Off the Ol' Lone Ranger . . . . "Police in Iowa said a woman was arrested on an interference with official acts charge for allegedly tugging on a police horse's tail."

Chuck Klosterman interviews Bill James

Chuck Klosterman interviews Bill James - Grantland: "The father of sabermetrics on his new book and what makes a murderer"

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Wasn't this an American-International Picture?

Giant hogweed that can cause BLINDNESS invades New York

Hat tip to Art Scott.

O. M. G.

Just read it: Roger Ebert's Journal

Get Your Free Sample Right Here

CheapLit: Free ebook sample of "When Old Men Die" by Bill Crider (powered by Smashwords)

Today's Vintage Ad

A Hard Case Crime Cover Gallery

In Praise of Pulp Fiction - Photo Gallery - LIFE

A Very Interesting Discussion -- Check it Out

Top Suspense Group: INSIDE TOP SUSPENSE: SEX: "It’s gonna to be a long, hot summer, and you’re probably wondering how you’ll get through it. What do you think about when the nights are hot and heavy, it’s impossible to move without sweating, and the smell of someone's perfume or aftershave hangs in the air? Well, if you’re INSIDE TOP SUSPENSE, you think about sex.

So that’s our topic this time. How do you mix sex, murder, and suspense? Do they go together at all? When you write sex do you close the door and cut to the next scene? Or do you give readers all the details? Top Suspense gives you our opinions, starting with the Mistress of Erotic Suspense, Vicki Hendricks. You'll also hear from Lee Goldberg, Ed Gorman, and Naomi Hirahawa."


Orrie Hitt, Lust Prowl, Domino Books, 1964

She Shocked Him First

Jilted husband built electric chair in garage in attempt to kill wife

8 Acclaimed Screenplays That Were Born on a College Campus

8 Acclaimed Screenplays That Were Born on a College Campus

Today's Western Movie Poster

The 10 biggest movie flops of 2011 (so far)

The 10 biggest movie flops of 2011 (so far)

Bobby Vee Update

St. Cloud TIMES | "Like many local neighbors and friends his age, Bobby Vee is planning to sample “retirement living.” He’s just doing so after more than 50 years of steady touring and churning out top 40 hits.

“Those things that I’ve cherished, I’ll now have more time to do,” Vee said."

20 Most Awe Inspiring Writer’s Rooms

20 Most Awe Inspiring Writer’s Rooms

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Army’s $2.7 billion cloud computing system does not work | The Raw Story: "Designed by Northrop Grumman to relay real-time intelligence to commanders from multiple sources; the system known as DCGS-A is meant to enable a battlefield officer to search for an insurgent by collecting and relaying data from multiple sources.

Instead, analysts say the system is unable to perform 'simple analytical tasks,' has trouble finding reports, and the mapping software is incompatible with the search software."

Hard Case Crime Update from Charles Ardai

Hard Case Crime has published books by a number Mystery Writers of America 'Grand Masters' over the years -- Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Mickey Spillane, Ed McBain, Stephen King -- but in 2012 we're going to add to this illustrious list a Grand Master from the other side of the aisle, the Science Fiction Writers of America: Robert Silverberg.  
Five-time winner of the Nebula Award, five-time winner of the Hugo Award, author of acclaimed, mind-bending fantasy novels that have won praise from people like Jonathan Lethem and Michael Chabon, Bob began his career writing under fake names for the last surviving pulp magazines. For the very last issue ever of TRAPPED DETECTIVE STORY MAGAZINE, the editor asked if he could supply a complete novel, and Bob did, an action-packed suspense thriller about a government agent going undercover in the Philadelphia Mob to root out a master currency forger from within. The issue of TRAPPED appeared on newsstands in 1962 -- and after it went off sale a few weeks later, this work by Silverberg vanished. It never appeared under the author's real name, never appeared in book form -- never appeared in any form for the past half-century.  
And it's a great read. April 2012, Hard Case Crime will be giving BLOOD ON THE MINK its first-ever proper publication, including a new afterword by Silverberg discussing the novel's genesis and his work for the pulps, as well as two short stories he wrote for the pulps that have a connection to the novel, and that also haven't seen the light of day for more than 50 years.  
See for some more information, a sample chapter, and a peek at the exciting cover art by Michael Koelsch. We're very excited about this book -- if you'd like to know more about it, don't hesitate to get in touch...  
Best, Charles 
Charles Ardai Editor, Hard Case Crime 

Two Weeks in Another Town

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Alameda Leads the Way

Cringe at the World’s Largest Hamburger at the Alameda County Fair: "About a month ago, Inside Scoop brought word of the Alameda County Fair’s plan to construct the monstrosity that is the world’s largest hamburger.

Over the weekend, they made the dream a reality, thereby adding giant hamburger-building to the Fourth of July traditions of gorging on hot dogs for television and blowing stuff up.

The final burger, per the AP, clocked in at 777 pounds total, which is way more than the planned 625."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Check it Out!

Vince Keenan: Q&A: Bill Crider

Don't Worry, Folks. I'm Safe at Home in Alvin.

Peeper Arrested at Paris Hilton's Malibu Home

Gator Update (NFL Edition)

Arizona Sports News from USA Today: "Arizona Cardinals defensive lineman Darnell Dockett played at Florida State so it would be hard to believe that he’s got an alligator as a pet.

Now, a crocodile we could believe."

Photo at the link.

Now Available as an e-Book! The Dead Man: The Blood Mesa eBook: James Reasoner, Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin: Kindle Store: "BOOK #5 in thrilling DEAD MAN saga, the action/horror series that readers and book critics alike are hailing as 'an epic tale' that compares to the best of Stephen King and Dean Koontz...

Matt Cahill finds himself trapped atop a blood-red mesa in the desolate American Southwest when an archeological dig goes terribly, dangerously wrong, awakening an ancient evil with an insatiable hunger. Now Matt, armed only with his trusty ax, must somehow escape...rescue a handful of terrified innocents... and prevent a slaughter of epic proportions."

Today's Vintage Ad

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The Raw Story: "Crime is on the rise in one small Texas city because the police department has been padlocked and the officers sent home.

The city of Alto laid off its entire police force about two weeks about because the city council completely cut the department's budget."

This is the Big Day

The Wild Hog Murders is hitting the streets today, and the coming-out party is at Houston's Murder by the Book at 6:30 this evening. If you can't be there, they'll be happy to send you a copy. Or you can buy one somewhere else. Just be sure to buy one so I continue to live the high-maintenance life of a rich and famous writer to which I've become accustomed. I thank you for your support.


How One Man Survived the Mount Pelee Eruption that Wiped Out 30,000 People


Henry Lewis Nixon, Confessions of a Psychiatrist, Beacon, 1954

10 States That Consume Too Much Fast Food

10 States That Consume Too Much Fast Food

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Feeling Safer Now?

Pixiq: "A Miami photographer was escorted off a US Airways plane and deemed a “security risk” after she snapped a photo of an employee’s nametag at Philadelphia International Airport Friday.

Sandy DeWitt said the employee, whose name was Tonialla G., was being rude to several passengers in the boarding area of the flight to Miami."

Prison Break Update

Yahoo! News: "Police say a woman was caught trying to sneak her common-law-husband out of a Mexican prison in a suitcase following a conjugal visit."

Photo at the link.

The 10 Absolute Creepiest Moments in David Lynch’s Oeuvre

The 10 Absolute Creepiest Moments in David Lynch’s Oeuvre

Today's Western Movie Poster

Dune is #1

AbeBooks' Top 10 Most Expensive Sales in June 2011

Famously Filthy

15 Famously Filthy People From the Pages of History

How do you mix sex, murder, and suspense?

Top Suspense Group: "So that’s our topic this time. How do you mix sex, murder, and suspense? Do they go together at all? When you write sex do you close the door and cut to the next scene? Or do you give readers all the details? Top Suspense gives you our opinions, starting with the Mistress of Erotic Suspense, Vicki Hendricks. You'll also hear from Lee Goldberg, Ed Gorman, and Naomi Hirahawa.

Hope you’ll join the conversation, too… it’s bound to be a hot one."

Anna Massey, R. I. P.

Anna Massey dies aged 73 | "Daughter of actor Canadian actor Raymond Massey and British actress Adrianne Allen, Massey was a star of both big and small screen with roles in Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy, Possession with Gwyneth Paltrow and the 2002 adaptation of The Importance of Being Earnest starring Reese Witherspoon and Rupert Everett."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Forgotten Films: The Bad and the Beautiful

When I was a kid, I liked to go to the movies. It didn't matter what the movie was about. I thought a movie was a movie, and if there was any chance of going, I wanted to go. So I saw not only the westerns that were standard fare for kids in those days, but a lot of other things as well. I think I saw this one because of the title, which I found irresistible for some reason or other. Still do, for that matter.

Kirk Douglas starred. It seems to me now that in every movie I saw him in when I was a kid, he played a heel, someone who thought of himself as being a little bit smarter than everybody else and willing to use them to get what he wants. Here he's a Hollywood producer, down on his luck, whose story is told by three people in separate flashbacks that give the members of a great cast a chance to show their stuff as Douglas uses each of them and tosses them aside.

I thought it was brutal realism when I saw it long ago, but now I can see that it's really all Hollywood glamour and gloss. But I don't care. It's great stuff, anyway, the kind of big honking soap opera they really don't make anymore. Filmed in glorious black and white.

The Bad and the Beautiful

Monday, July 04, 2011

And Certain Guys I Know Make Plans to Move to China

China’s women show taste for fast cars and whisky

Hitchcock Update

The Raw Story: "Restored silent Hitchcock films will be screened complete with new orchestral scores as part of the build-up to the 2012 London Olympic Games, the British Film Institute announced Monday.

The 1920s classics are being cleaned up and restored to create perfect-as-possible digital versions that will premiere during the Cultural Olympiad, a programme of events surrounding the Games."

New Serial Beginning at Thunderdome

Helen Topaz, Henry Dollar, Part I | July Writer in Residence, Pablo D'Stair

No Comment Department

Almost a Fourth of Americans Do Not Know When the U.S. Declared Independence - The Note: "American Fourth of July traditions are tightly woven into the fabric of U.S. society, but the history of the country’s independence seems to have slipped through the seams.

A Marist poll released Friday shows that only 58 percent of Americans know when the country declared independence. Nearly a fourth of respondents said they were unsure and sixteen percent said a date other than 1776, when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

Young people posted the most troubling scores with 41 percent of people ages 18 to 29 saying they were unsure when the Declaration of Independence was signed and 27 percent saying the wrong date.

One in four Americans do not even know which country the U.S. gained independence from. The correct answer, of course, is Great Britain, although 20 percent of respondents were unsure of that fact.�"

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention Croaker: Tequila Mockingbird eBook: Paul Bishop: Books: "The third Detective Fey Croaker L.A.P.D. novel.

Paul Bishop is one of Los Angeles's most respected cops. For over thirty five years, he has played hardball on the streets for one of the toughest police departments in America. As a result, he brings the kind of authenticity to his Fey Croaker novels only an insider could achieve.

When Croaker: Tequila Mockingbird opens with a blistering start, the murder of a highly decorated detective assigned to the L.A.P.D.'s clandestine Anti-Terrorist Division appears to be an open-and-shut case of domestic violence turned deadly.

However, nothing is what it seems – as Fey Croaker discovers after the chief of police removes responsibility for the investigation from the department's elite Robbery-Homicide Division and assigns it to her. But the price of truth is high – maybe even higher than Fey can pay."

Apollocon 2011 Pictures

Apollocon 2011 Pictures Lawrence Person's Futuramen

If you scroll through these, you'll discover that I'm in a few of them.

First It Was the Convict . . . .

San Antonio Express-News: "A former economics professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio who was fired in 2007 for viewing pornography on an office computer has sued the university in federal court to get his job back, claiming officials violated his constitutional right to free speech."

Stars & Stripes Forever


Today's Vintage Ad

Cell Phone Update

It seems like only yesterday that I was telling you about my new cell phone. Oh, wait. It was only yesterday. Now that we've returned from the big homecoming that we attended, I have an update.

The reason I bought the cell phone was that in Judy's old hometown, we don't have access to the Internet. I figured that I'd use the phone for that. When I shopped for the phone, I asked the Verizon rep if I could get data coverage in the 76687 area code. She looked it up on the Internet and assured me that I could. "Not 4G coverage," she said, "but you can get full 3G coverage. You can surf the 'Net, watch videos, and everything." I asked if she was sure. She even went to the actual street address and showed me the full coverage picture on the map.

I was sold, so I bought the phone. Once again, however, my trusting nature has led me to disaster. Not only could I not surf the 'Net or watch videos, I couldn't even make a phone call. Well, I could do all those things for about 10 seconds. After that, the service went away. Now and then it would return, but not for long.

It's very annoying to be misled by someone, even though I'm sure the rep wasn't at fault. Like me, she believed Verizon. There's a lesson to be learned here. Too bad I probably won't learn it.

Poor Guy

Jail inmate: Lack of porn violates US Constitution: "A Michigan jail inmate says he's being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment because he can't have pornography.

In a handwritten lawsuit, 21-year-old Kyle Richards claims his civil rights are being violated at the Macomb County Jail. Richards says denying his request for erotic material subjects him to a 'poor standard of living' and 'sexual and sensory deprivation.'"

Hat tip to Art Scott.


Charles Eric Maine, World without Men, Ace, 1958

Yankee Doodle Dandy


Happy 4th of July!


7 Deadliest Man-Eating Animals in Modern History

7 Deadliest Man-Eating Animals in Modern History

Today's Western Movie Poster

I Remember them Well

Those Aren’t Your Father’s Fireworks: "There were always whispers of more powerful holiday ordinance from the days of yore, though. M-80s. Cherry bombs. Silver salutes. The kind of fireworks that Bart Simpson could throw down a toilet and detonate the whole plumbing system. What happened to these legendarily destructive fireworks, and are they really illegal?"

Can These Fiends be Stopped?

Crime spree

No Comment Department "The family of a coldblooded killer serving 25 years to life in state prison for shooting a man in the head complains he's being stigmatized -- by the use of the term 'inmate.'

The label 'implies that our brother is locked up for the purpose of mating with other men,' claims Marie Domond in a lawsuit against the state Correctional Services Department.

The Brooklyn federal court filing demands that officials immediately stop calling Gerard Domond 'an inmate.'

It apparently hurts his feelings. Sis seeks $50 million damages for 'mental anguish.'"

End of an Era

The Raw Story: "As the United States winds down its shuttle programme in a symbolic twist in a long-running space rivalry, Russia will gain complete control of access to the International Space Station.

The Russian space agency plays down any triumphalism, but US astronauts will remain dependent on Russia for access to the ISS at least until 2015 and will have to pay for seats in its Soyuz space capsules."

Have a Glorious 4th!

Independence Day (United States) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the national day of the United States."

Independence Day

Sunday, July 03, 2011

No Comment Department

Helmet Would Have Saved Motorcyclist Who Crashed During Anti-Helmet Protest Ride

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Ruth Roberts, R. I. P. "Ruth Roberts, the songwriter who penned 'Meet the Mets,' died Friday at her home in the village. She was 84.

Recorded for the New York Mets after their inaugural season in 1962, 'Meet the Mets' was written as an upbeat fight song for the struggling young baseball team."

She also wrote "They Call Him Mr. Touchdown," among others.

Archaeology Update

The Raw Story: "Egyptian and French archaeologists have unearthed a 2,700-year-old stone gate belonging to Nubian King Shabaka while digging near Luxor's Karnak temple, the ministry of antiquities said on Sunday.

The gate, which was found to be 'in good condition,' once led to the room holding the king's treasures, the ministry said."

New Serial Chapter at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: A Rip through Time: Chaos in the Stream :: Garnett Elliott

The End of Everything -- Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott's books have always seemed to me to tilt toward the mainstream, and while I don't know how The End of Everything is being marketed, it could easily be put into the mainstream section of the bookstore. It's a coming-of-age story told by Lizzie Hood, who's looking back on certain events from her childhood. However, she maintains a 13-year-old's point of view for the most part, so Lizzie's understanding of things might not be ours. We can see things from a different perspective.

Lizzie thinks the Ververs, her next-door neighbors, are more or less a perfect family. Their daughter Evie is her best friend. And then one day Evie disappears. Everyone is sure she's been abducted, and Lizzie uses her special knowledge to do some investigating of her own. She's not above planting evidence if she has to.

There's not much mystery in the usual sense here. Everyone seems to know who the culprit is. The question is what really happened. And why. Those are the things that bother Lizzie, too, and she gradually finds out the answers. Maybe not all of them, but the reader again understands a little bit more than she does.

Excellent and evocative writing as usual from Abbott. Check it out.

20 More Commonly Mispronounced Food Words

20 More Commonly Mispronounced Food Words

Today's Vintage Ad


Sam Merwin, The Sex War, Galaxy/Beacon, 1960

A Coincidence

Years ago, I have no idea how many, I signed up with the college where I was teaching to get a cell phone at a special discount rate. It was so long ago that I had to haul the cell phone around in a wagon. Okay, it wasn't that big, but it was big. It was an analog phone. Later on I traded it in for a digital model, just the kind I needed. It wouldn't do anything other than make and receive calls. It wouldn't even take pictures.

The other day, I decided it was time to update myself and get a smartphone. So I did, from the same carrier. I couldn't get the same deal, though, and the rep at Best Buy couldn't even transfer the number or cancel the old contract because of the special deal. I'd have to take care of that at the college.

So on Friday I went out there and walked into the office of Janet Schweibel, who's in charge of the phone accounts. As soon as I came through the door, she said, "I hope you're not here about your cell phone."

I was taken aback. I said, "How did you know?" It turned out that she didn't know. She thought I might be there about getting a new phone or adding someone to the account or something like that. She'd asked the question because, as she explained, she'd just heard from the carrier, and the college was going to cancel the program. She was going to have to notify everyone that they'd no longer be able to use their cell phones and that they'd have to get new ones.

I'm glad I'm always (barely) ahead of the curve.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Or Maybe You Did

25 Cartoon Characters Whose Real Names You Never Knew

Excellent Advice

Fido! NO!

Alice in Wonderland