Saturday, August 27, 2005
We now return to our regular programming.
Some of the movie's real horrors have nothing to do with the plot and everything to do with the extreme hassle that air travel has become. Judy and I are flying to Chicago for the Bouchercon next Wednesday, and I should never have gone to this movie. My travel anxieties were high enough already. Now they've been cranked up another notch.
As for the plot, the less said about it, the better. You don't want to know to much going in, or that would spoil the fun. Let's just say that if you thought you've had bad seatmates on an airplane before, you're lucky you didn't have Cillian Murphy sitting beside you. Sure there are lots of holes in the plot, but only a picky person would even mention them. So I won't. Just go along for the ride, so to speak, and enjoy yourself.
Rachel McAdams does a fine job here as the woman in jeopardy who's better equipped to deal with things than you might think at first, and Cillian Murphy is smoothly ruthless. These two characters have to carry the movie, and McAdams and Murphy are more than up to it.
I don't know if Wes Craven of Nightmare on Elm Street fame has directed a thriller of this kind before, but he's certainly good at it. Check it out.
And then there's Tuesday Weld, 62 today. The first time I ever saw her was in Rally Round the Flag, Boys, a movie I still remember with affection. She played a character named Comfort Goodpasture, and Dwayne Hickman sang a song called "You are my Boojum" to her. One reason I remember the movie is that a friend of mine named John Black and I went to see it after we had our senior pictures made for the high school yearbook. That was a long time ago, for sure. John went on to a hugely successful career in the import business, and Tuesday went on to star with Hickman in the Dobie Gillis TV series. Both the movie and the series were based on books by the now-forgotten Max Shulman. Not forgotten by me, of course. I read all his books I could find and thought they were hilarious. Later in her career, Weld starred in a movie that I liked a lot, Heartbreak Hotel. I don't think anybody else liked it, however.
Bone wax, tissue expanders for breast implants and other devices could face stronger regulation."
Andy's praise of maggots and leeches is here.
Reggie Lagow set a trap last week after a number of his chickens and turkeys were killed.What he found in his trap was a mix between a hairless dog, a rat and a kangaroo.The mystery animal has been sent to Texas Parks and Wildlife in hopes of determining what it is.
There's a slideshow with pics of the "creature" here.
Jayme has a photo here.
Friday, August 26, 2005
And the book turned out to be pretty darned good. It's got a couple of problems, but it moves fast, has some good humorous moments, and gets the job done.
It's the old story about a drifter who gets into the middle of a range war, but it's handled differently than any story of its type that I've read. The local sheriff is a great character and adds a lot to the book, and Constiner seems to know what he's writing about when he discusses tracking and cattle. He also handles the violence (of which there's plenty) well. Nothing is drawn out. It's just fast, dirty, and done with. This seems to have been intended as the first book in a series. I guess I'll have to ask Richard if there was ever a sequel, since I'd like to read it. And I'll probably be reading other books by Constiner as well.
Thursday, August 25, 2005
This blog is maintained by the Alvin Museum Society,and there's a nice photo of one of the town's historical houses.
HERE'S a lesson in bad record sleeve design from the idiots who put the bum into album.
We've pulled together the funniest covers from the past few decades of disks for our latest slideshow below.
It includes some shockingly bad releases including Swing That Gospel Axe and Trees Talk Too.
One wacky cover by Millie Jackson shows her boobs distorted through a crystal ball.
While Pooh-Man's album Funky Like I Do has a spread-eagled woman with the artist's head between her legs."
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
It's just as well that I didn't. David Morrell had the same idea, and he's done a dandy job with it. He's more twisted than I am, so he was able to come up with all sorts of horrible things that would never have entered my mind. He's used them all in Creepers, his new novel from CDS Books.
Five people enter the Paragon Hotel, abandoned and deserted for many years. Or so they think. Before they're inside long, it turns out that rats and mutant cats are the least of their worries. The old building is falling down around them, and they have company. Bad company. Things start happening on the first page of Creepers, and they don't stop until the end. You won't be able to guess what's coming, since some of the people aren't at all what they seemed to be, and their motives for entering the Paragon aren't what they said they were.
And that's all I'll say about the plot, so as not to spoil the fun for you. OK, one other thing. I think that Stephen King once said that an essential requirement for a book like this is that "anyone can die at any time." Consider the requirement met.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
FANTASTIC FOUR star JESSICA ALBA counts SIR MICHAEL CAINE, MORGAN FREEMAN and SIR SEAN CONNERY among her list of Hollywood crushes.
The stunning actress, 24, admits she likes an older man, and the screen veterans list among her ideal dream partners."
Monday, August 22, 2005
I don't doubt that all that's true. But when I started reading SF all those years ago, I wasn't looking for literary quality or a sophisticated writing style, much less up-to-date scientific knowledge. I was looking for fast-paced stories, and if the cover of the magazine or book I bought had a scantily clad babe on the cover, so much the better.
One of the writers whose stories were everywhere in the 1950s was Murray Leinster, and my favorite purchase of the convention is the copy of a new collection from Baen Books pictured here. Leinster wasn't a stylist, and he wasn't aiming to create literature. But he could sure tell a story. "A Logic Named Joe" is a fine example, and so are novels like The Pirates of Zan (which is included in the collection). I've read everything in the book already, and I have copies of everything in other editions. Nevertheless I had to have this new one, and I'll probably read everything in it all over again. Baen Books has another Leinster collection, with at least one more to come. Which I think is great.
My question is, where do kids these days go for that old sense of wonder? Probably not to works with literary quality or sophisticated style. Maybe media tie-ins sell so well because they hark back to the older kind of SF. But what do I know?
Sunday, August 21, 2005
Mystery Novelist Dennis Lynds Dies at 81
By ALEX VEIGA
The Associated Press
Sunday, August 21, 2005; 1:36 AM
LOS ANGELES -- Dennis Lynds, whose tautly written mysteries featuring the one-armed Dan Fortune were praised for reflecting contemporary political and social issues, has died. He was 81.
Lynds, who wrote under the name Michael Collins, among others, died Friday at a San Francisco hospital from septic shock caused by bowel necrosis and multiorgan failure, Mark Powning, an investigator with the medical examiner's office, said Saturday.
Lynds collapsed Thursday in the parking lot of the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center while trying to visit his eldest daughter, who had been hospitalized there, said Kathleen Sharp, a family friend.
He died the next day at San Francisco General Hospital, Powning said.
Sharp said the author, who lived in Santa Barbara, had been ill for some time and had undergone several surgeries for a stomach condition.
In a career spanning more than four decades, Lynds wrote more than 80 novels and short stories, according to his Web site.
The first Dan Fortune novel, "Act of Fear," was published in 1967 and won the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award for best first novel. The last novel in the series, "Fortune's World," was published in 2000.
The Fortune novels were praised for their writing and for their willingness to reflect on contemporary political and social controversies.
"I write mysteries to say something, not just for entertainment," Lynds told the Santa Barbara News-Press in 1982.
Lynds was born in New York and moved to Santa Barbara in 1965.
© 2005 The Associated Press