Saturday, September 30, 2006

Itsy Bitsy Update | 09/29/2006 | Big mistake: 'Itsy Bitsy' songwriter isn't dead: "The man who wrote the famous novelty tune Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini is alive and well and living in Coral Springs.

This is news to some because it was widely reported this week that Paul Vance was dead.

''It's not bad here in heaven,'' joked Vance, 76, who wrote the 1960 hit made famous by teen idol Brian Hyland. ``On Thursday, we get Milton Berle and Frank Sinatra performing.''

Joking is the only thing a man who has been told he is dead can do, explained Vance, who said the phone has not stopped ringing since The Associated Press circulated his obituary on Tuesday.

''At first, it wasn't funny,'' Vance said. ``My grandchildren heard about it from the news, and they believed it. And then it turns out the man they wrote about is an impostor. They wrote about the death of some guy who for years had been taking credit for writing my song.''

The AP reported on the death of a 68-year-old man named Paul Van Valkenburgh of Ormond Beach, Fla., who claimed to have written the song under the name Paul Vance. The story cited the man's wife, Rose Leroux, as the source for that claim.

Leroux said her late husband -- who made a living as a salesman and then a painting contractor -- claimed to have had a music career before they met 40 years ago. He said that he wrote the song, but sold the rights when he was 19."

Anna Nicole Smith Update

Autopsy Says Mix of Drugs Killed Smith's Son - Los Angeles Times: "Actress and model Anna Nicole Smith's 20-year-old son died from a lethal combination of methadone and two antidepressant drugs, the U.S.-based pathologist who conducted a private autopsy said in San Juan.

Toxicology tests showed that Daniel Smith had methadone, Zoloft and Lexapro in his system when he died Sept. 10 in a hospital room in the Bahamas where his mother was recuperating from giving birth, according to pathologist Cyril Wecht. Methadone is used to treat heroin addiction."

Top 10 Singalong Pop Hits Of All Time

Top 10 Singalong Pop Hits Of All Time: "Whether it's in the car listening to the radio, at a sports event, in a bar, or in the shower, one of the great things about pop music is it invites you to sing along. Some songs clearly are better than others for singing along, and it takes some time for a pop song to establish itself as a clear favorite. Read on for your guide's picks of the best of the best in singalong favorites."

Yet Another List

The books that inspired Laura Bush to campion literacy. The list is here.

Gillian Roberts/Judy Greber at Bouchercon

Nancy Pickard at Bouchercon

J. D. (Dusty) Rhoades at Bouchercon

Dusty is the author of The Devil's Right Hand and A Good Day in Hell.

Jim Lee's Texas

James Ward Lee, who says he's a "learner" when it comes to blogging, actually has a great blog, as you can discover if you click the link. And I'm not just saying that because he has great taste in literature.

Jim Lee's Texas: "One of my favorite Texas writers is Bill Crider, who was called by the Brazosport paper “the Bard of Alvin.” Crider is author of at least fifty books—mysteries, westerns, horror tales. He writes them faster than I can read them. My favorites may be the Carl Burns mysteries which are set in a small college in near West Texas. A Dangerous Thing, a very early Crider, is not only a fine crime novel, but a pretty wonderful satire on small college life."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Lee Goldberg at Bouchercon

Charlaine Harris at Bouchercon

Anna Nicole Smith Update

Movie & TV News @ - WENN: "Anna Nicole Smith has wed her longtime attorney Howard K. Stern in a wedding in Nassau, the Bahamas, according to US reports. Stern, who revealed he was the true father of the actress/model's baby girl Dannilynn on CNN show Larry King Live earlier this week, exchanged vows with Smith on a catamaran anchored off Blackbeard's Cay in Nassau yesterday morning, according to America's Star magazine. The wedding comes just 18 days after the death of Anna's son Daniel Smith, 20, who passed away in his mother's hospital room three days after his baby sister was born on September 7. An eyewitness to the nuptials tells the Star, 'There was heavy security around the yacht, plus extra speedboats to deliver more supplies as needed from the island to the catamaran.' The source adds, 'Anna was wearing a pink bikini' for a post-wedding swim party. On Tuesday, Stern told CNN anchor Larry King he was the father of Smith's baby girl, disputing claims by the actress' ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead that the child was his. He went on to tell King via satellite from the Bahamas that he and Smith were planning to wed: 'I've loved her for quite some time and hopefully the feeling's mutual. At some point, we will (get married).' If the reports are true, this will be Smith's third marriage. Her first husband was tragic Daniel's father Billy Wayne Smith and she wed 89-year-old oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall in 1994. He died in 1995."

Ken Bruen at Bouchercon

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters

Pinup Girl Mural Turns Heads On Highway

Painting Was Gift On Homeowner's Birthday

A mural of a pinup girl painted on the side of a north Seattle home has heads turning on a nearby highway.

The two-story painting of a topless Bettie Page is painted on the side of a house on Interstate Even though the pinup girl appears topless, she's strategically censored by a roof beam.

The owner of the home had his friend paint the mural for his birthday.So far, he said he has had no complaints from his neighbors.

Thanks to Graham Powell of Crimespot for the link.

On-Line Mystery Art Exhibit

George Hagenauer planned an art exibit for Bouchercon, but it didn't work out. However, you can see some of the paintings on line here. Check it out.

Chris Aldrich at Bouchercon

Max Allan Collins at Bouchercon

Al Guthrie at Bouchercon

Sarah Weinman at Bouchercon

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Possum Update

IR // AP News // Opossum Clash Ends With Arrest, Dog Shot: "SAN DIEGO - A dispute that began over the capture of an opossum in a residential neighborhood ended with police shooting a Rottweiler and arresting a man after stunning him with a Taser gun.

A fight broke out in the Talmadge area of San Diego after a resident saw a large opossum running in the area Tuesday and asked a maintenance worker to corral the feral animal, prompting a call to police.

An officer at the scene shot a Taser gun at one man who became combative, according to police reports.

The man removed the barbs and fled through a neighboring yard, where a Rottweiler allegedly came at the officer. The officer fired several shots in self-defense, police said."

We're Here

It's 6:10 p.m. and we're in our very nice room at the Madison Concourse Hotel, a mere 12 hours after getting up this morning. We've already see Robin Burcell, Sarah Weinman, Randy Hicks, Jim Winter, George Easter, Larry and Harriet Stay, George and Diane Kelley, Judy Bobolink, and probably others. And that's just in the lobby while checking in. I'll try to get some video subejcts lined up tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Off To Bouchercon

Tomorrow morning bright and early, Judy and I will be heading to Houston Intercontinental Airport for the long trip to Madison, Wisconsin. Okay, so it's not such a long trip as the crow flies, but we're not using a crow. We're using Continental Airlines, which means that we go to Cleveland, lay over for a few hours, and then go to Madison.

We'll be getting up here at 6:00 A.M. and getting to the hotel in Madison at about 6:00 P.M. So it's a long day's journey into night. Or, in this case, into the frozen north. We're basking in the 80s here this week, as opposed to the 90s last week, but the forecast for Madison looks pretty chilly to us, as it'll going into the 30s on Thursday night. That's the dead of winter.

At any rate, I'll be taking along the little video camera, and if all goes well, I'll post a video or two while we're gone. We'll be getting back here late on Monday, so the blog should return to what passes for normal sometime next week. Talk amongst yourselves until then.

"Paul Vance" R. I. P.

News Times Live Composer of 'bikini' song, Paul Van Valkenburgh, dies: "The New Milford native and composer of the 1960s novelty tune 'Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini' died earlier this month.

Paul Van Valkenburgh, 68, who wrote the song and several others as a young man under the name 'Paul Vance,' died at his Ormond Beach home in Florida on Sept. 6.
The owner of a painting and decorating business in Florida, Van Valkenburgh was a Navy veteran who fought in the Korean Conflict, and who in his early years wrote several songs.

His silly, snappy tune about a girl wearing a very revealing 'yellow polka dot bikini' was a hit when it was released on Aug. 8, 1960, by artist Brian Hyland."

In Other News, Cap'n Bob Applies to be Florida Cop

Vice Unit Thorough In Probe Of Bikini Bar: "TAMPA - East Hillsborough Avenue is hardly innocent.

Drug deals are made next to rundown buildings, prostitutes barter for cash, and a handful of adult businesses offer erotic massages, pornography and scantily-clad dancers.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says there even is a place where men have paid women to straddle their laps and show them more of a good time than allowed by law.

They know this because some of those men were undercover deputies.

From February 2004 to May 2006, vice unit detectives watched erotic dancers expose breasts and genitals during 92 lap dances in the VIP room of Lil Tootsie's nightclub, at 5634 E. Hillsborough Ave., according to county documents.

Sheriff David Gee said the investigation was a response to numerous calls for service, including violence, drug and DUI arrests where the driver had been drinking at the club. The investigation comes at a price for taxpayers. In addition to the detectives' time, they spent $6,400 on drinks, entry fees and tips, Lt. Gary Ganey said. Records show that in a single day, detectives visited the club three times and spent $260."

I, For One, Am Thrilled

Blame Jeff Meyerson for sending this link.

Paris Hilton And Nicole Richie Are Friends Again! - Entertainment News, Reviews, Competitions - Entertainmentwise:
Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie are reportedly making the first movements to becoming friends once again.

The Simple Life pair haven’t spoken for a year after a feud which neither will reveals the origins of.

However, on Friday they were filmed talking on the phone after Paris called to wish Nicole a belated happy 25th birthday according x17online.

Nicole apparently took the call while filling her car with gas and [was] so excited that she dropped her phone."

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like . . .

. . . Christmas! I had to go to Wal-Mart today for some last-minute travel stuff (snacks). Sure enough, the plastic trees are out, the decorations are on the shelves, and old Santa's standing by. Only three months to go!

The Killer Year' New Site is Launched

The Killer Year: "Welcome to Killer Year, your resource for the finest debut mystery and thriller novels of 2007.

Over the coming months, will be your one stop shop. We will provide you with a comprehensive community, a neighborhood to call your very own, and a bevy of new authors to discover. Booksellers, reviewers, readers and writers, all living under one roof. You'll be able to buy our books, read our reviews, find out when we'll be in your neck of the woods, and get a glimpse into all of our dirty little secrets."

Will the Persecution Never End? (A Continuing Series)

Found at Neatorama. Original is here.

Free Streaming Movies

From J. D. (Dusty) Rhoades comes this link to a ton of free movies. The Giant Gila Monster? It's there. Hercules vs. the Moon Men? There. So is Birth of a Nation, for that matter. It's a long list. Check it out here.

I'm on The Brazosport News!

THE BRAZOSPORT NEWS: "I've been calling him 'The Bard of Alvin' for a year or two now, given his prodigious output of fiction, and he heeded our call sometime back to clean up the Nolan Ryan statue in front of Alvin City Hall, which he accomplished with a single phone call."

There's even a photo of me. I have no idea where it came from.

Top Ten Dark Comedies?

You can check out the list here, and see if you agree. I don't see how there could be any argument with #1.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Will the Persecution Never End? (A Continuing Series)

The morbidly curious (none of you, surely) can see the pics from the ads here.

Paris Hilton's w(h)ining outrage - Showbiz News - Life Style Extra: "LIFE STYLE EXTRA (UK) - Paris Hilton has caused outrage by starring in a wine advert just weeks after being arrested for drink drivingView the profile for Paris Hilton on Celebrity Spotlight.

The 'Stars Are Blind' singer agreed to be the face of Italian wine-maker Prosecco and posed for raunchy photos to promote their sparkling wine range 'Rich'.

However, road safety campaigners have been left fuming over the sexy ads, saying Paris is not suited for the campaign after her recent drink-driving scandal.

Andrea Dan, the president of Italy's Road safety Society said: 'She has just only been arrested for drink-driving and a few days later she is promoting an alcoholic drink. What sot of image is that?'

The 25-year-old was arrested on 7 September in Hollywood after she was pulled over for 'driving erratically' and failed a sobriety test.

Meanwhile, Paris stunned onlookers in Los Angeles when she broke down in tears after being approached by a young fan.

One onlooker said: 'Paris seemed really sad and tried to explain that she was in a rush. When the young girl asked if everything was OK, Paris shook her head before fleeing in tears.'"

Joseph Hayes, R. I. P.

Joseph Hayes, 88, Author of ‘The Desperate Hours,’ Dies - New York Times: "Joseph Hayes, who wrote the novel “The Desperate Hours,” which he later turned into a Tony Award-winning play and a movie, died on Sept. 11 in St. Augustine, Fla., where he lived. He was 88.

Mr. Hayes died in a nursing home of complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said his son Daniel Hayes.

Though Mr. Hayes had already made it to Broadway in 1949 with a short-lived play, “Leaf and Bough,” he was catapulted to fame with “The Desperate Hours,” his 1954 suspense novel about a suburban family taken hostage at home by three escaped convicts. In his review in The New York Times, the critic Orville Prescott called it “an expert study of the agonizing dilemma of a group of sharply delineated and deeply understood characters.”

Immediately after the book’s debut, Mr. Hayes joined with an actor-turned-producer, Howard Erskine, to bring the theatrical version to Broadway. Their production, based on Mr. Hayes’s adaptation and starring a young Paul Newman, won the 1955 Tony Award for best play. Mr. Hayes also developed the novel into a screenplay; the movie, directed by William Wyler, with Humphrey Bogart in the role that Mr. Newman originated and Fredric March as the homeowner, won an Edgar Award in 1956. The film was remade in 1990 by Michael Cimino."

News for all You Gourmets

First, there's this. And then there's this. My advice is simple: Don't click on either link. Especially not the second one.

Happy Birthday, William Faulkner!

I'm a fan of William Faulkner. I've probably read The Sound and the Fury six or eight times. In fact, I've read an awful lot of Faulkner's work, and I've enjoyed about 90% of it. Faulkner, besides being a lot of other things, was a crime writer (Sanctuary) and a mystery writer. Check out the stories in Knight's Gambit, which is listed in Queen's Quorum. One of the stories, "An Error in Chemistry" originally appeared in EQMM, I believe.

Interview with Me

Author Steven Torres has posted an interview with me at his site. For those of you who are already bored with me, there are some other cool interviews, too. Check 'em out.

To the Surprise of Absolutely No One

The Scotsman - Entertainment - Sir Sean voted best-ever Bond: "SIR Sean Connery has been named as the best James Bond of all time.

The star beat his fellow Bond actors Pierce Brosnan, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby in the poll.

The 1964 film Goldfinger, starring Sir Sean, was named the favourite of all the 007 movies.

Ursula Andress was voted the best Bond girl of all time in the survey for the science fiction and fantasy magazine SFX.

The survey of Ian Fleming's screen spies put Brosnan in second place, followed by Moore, Dalton and Lazenby."

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Yet Another List

Ever wondered which movies Leonardo di Caprio thought were the ten best? Now you can find out. Just click here.


Bouchercon is coming up. We'll be making our way to Madison, WI, on Wednesday, and one of the panels I'm on (Sunday morning, 9:00 A. M.) will include Louise Ure. Besides having been nominated for a Shamus for her first novel (Forcing Amaryllis), she was involved in advertising for a while and was connected to some extent with the California Raisins (yes, they even have their own Wikipedia entry). I'm going to have to be sure to ask her about that.

Anna Nicole Smith Update

I guess no personal sorrow is so bad that somebody can't make a few bucks off it.

Anna Nicole Smith's Unfathomable Sorrow Worth Low To Mid Six-Figures - Defamer: "On Friday, our East Coast big sister Gawker noted that an email had landed in the inbox of all the celebrity weeklies' top editors, offering them the once-in-a-newscycle opportunity to cash in on someone's else's tragedy. Getty Images informed them that for $200k, plus an assurance of 'no negative press,' they could have 17 photos of Anna Nicole Smith beaming in a hospital bed with newborn daughter and Daniel, the son who would be found mysteriously dead in the same building the very next day, at her side. A bidding war ensued, with third-tier glossy In Touch reportedly scoring the World's Most Depressing Photoset for a sum well north of $300k, . . ."

Good News at Secret Dead about Damn Near Dead

Secret Dead Blog: "Damn Near Dead is a Bestseller!

No, not on the New York Times, USA Today, or any of those other so-called 'bestseller lists.' Feh. I'm talking about the Independent Mystery Bookseller Association, which reports that Damn Near Dead was the sixth bestselling paperback in August among fine indie mystery bookstores everywhere."

Make a Wallet from a Paperback Cover.

From Eat Your Heart Out, Martha: "I'm always looking for new ways to work all the odds and ends I collect into something useful. In this case, I ravaged a stack of old paperback novels and concocted a wallet just right for carrying business cards and a little cash. From start to finish it takes no more than 15 minutes to make one of these babies!

"With a trip to a used book shop and a fabric store, plus an hour or two to spare, you can make several of these for five dollars or so. Pick books with a proper theme, slip a little note inside (or even some $$) and they would make sweet little gifts for just about everybody.

Check it out. Thanks to Mary Root for the link.

Night of the Living Dead -- in 3-D

Yes, the next Night of the Living Dead will be in startling 3-D, and if you've got an old pair of those red and green 3-D glasses around the house, you can see some great stills, particularly this one. Check 'em out.