Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Review from The Little Professor

The Little Prof reviews Ian Rankin's The Naming of the Dead.

Happy Rockin' New Year

Dick Clark plans to rock in another new year - TELEVISION - "NEW YORK - As he did last year, Dick Clark will co-host the annual “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.”

The former “American Bandstand” host, now 76, will join Ryan Seacrest and musical guest Christina Aguilera to ring in 2007 before a national TV audience of millions. Clark missed the show two years ago when he suffered a stroke but returned to the holiday staple last New Year’s Eve."

Will the Persecution Never End? (A Continuing Series)

Paris Hilton’s fan mistakes her for herself!: "London, Oct 28: Socialite Paris Hilton was recently left completely embarrassed when a diner mistook her for her look-alike.

Hilton and Pamela Anderson were dining at Los Angeles' lavish Koi restaurant, when another customer approached the heiress and apologetically said, 'Don't take this the wrong way, but you look like Paris Hilton,' reports the Sun.

According to New York Daily News, the fellow diner’s comment left Hilton completely flustered and at a loss of words.

The embarrassed and offended heiress irritably replied: 'I AM Paris Hilton.'

However, the encounter wasn't Paris' only social snub in recent weeks, for she was reportedly banned from an A-list party recently.

‘The House of Wax’ star was told not to show up at the week-long Esquire Show House event in Los Angeles because organizers 'don't want her type there.'

She was also reportedly banned from a top New York celebrity hangout, the Gramercy Park Hotel.

The host apparently told his security team not to let Paris in because 'the likes of Paris Hilton and her ilk are not welcome here.'

Two weeks earlier, Paris was refused entry to Bungalow 8, in New York. She was told by security guards on the door that the club was 'full to capacity.' "

20 Scariest Horror Movie Killers?

Check out the list in Geekzine. Includes bonus lists such as "body count rankings."

Friday, October 27, 2006

Gimme a Break

Bon Jovi's 'Livin' On a Prayer' Is Voted Best 80s Tune - Starpulse News Blog: "Bon Jovi's 'Livin' On A Prayer' has topped a new VH1 poll to find the ultimate hit of the 1980s. The cable music network will count down the top 100 hits of the decade during a five-part series next week after receiving over 40,000 votes as part of an online poll.

The other hits in the top five are Def Leppard's 'Pour Some Sugar On Me,' Duran Duran's 'Hungry Like The Wolf,' 'Billie Jean' by Michael Jackson and 'When Doves Cry' by Prince."

More From Harry Whittington

From the same source as this comment below.

"I have the desire to write. I've never looked at writing as an easy job, or an escape. It was what I wanted to do. Sixteen years I worked eight hours a day at another job. I always found time to write. When I was reporting to work at 5 in the morning, sometimes I was writing until 1 A. M.

"While I was working at this other job, I managed to turn out novels, short stories, and novelettes. It was ten years after I started collecting rejection slips before I sold my first short story. I have boxes of stories written before that time, stories that never sold and never will. But I got something from them, facility, satisfaction and knowledge of the craft."

Joe Queenan Makes a Good Point

Mitts in the air, pal ... | Features | Guardian Unlimited Film: "[Sterling[ Hayden is the kind of actor who does not exist any more: dangerous but seductive, grizzled but glamorous, tough but tender. In short: not Orlando Bloom. Like his granite-jawed contemporary, Robert Ryan, Hayden evokes a bygone era when men with doxies named Blanche LaRue kept puffing on their stogies even when they'd just taken a .38 slug to the solar plexus. The closest thing we have to Hayden today is Russell Crowe, who is about 28 inches shorter, or Clive Owen, who seems a bit too cerebral to pass as a thug. It is telling that when Americans start casting about for an actor who resembles the charismatic tough guys of the 1940s and 50s, they must look to the Commonwealth. Leonardo won't do. Matt Damon won't do. Mark Wahlberg won't do. Johnny Depp is too sweet, Val Kilmer too weird. Only Sean Penn is in the ballpark. But Sean Penn is not a looker."

Happy Birthday, Great Pumpkin!

Peanuts fans can revisit Great Pumpkin on TV, DVD: "When It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown makes its annual prime-time appearance on ABC Oct. 27 (7 p.m., Channel 13), it will mark the 40th anniversary — to the day — that Charles Schulz's Peanuts gang were brought to animated life for Halloween. Every year since, Charlie Brown has tried to kick Lucy's football, cut too many holes in his ghost costume and played second fiddle to Linus' belief in the mythical Great Pumpkin."


Okay, so I'm sitting here listening to Clarke Davis on The Big Show on Rock-it Radio, and he's playing the Cash Box Top 100 from 1963, the week of January 5 to be precise. Listening to Little Esther Phillips belt out "Release Me," I started thinking about what I must have been doing then and went into a veritable frenzy of nostalgia (to quote a comedian who was popular in those days).

I was a senior in college, and it was near the end of the Christmas break, so I was about to go back to Austin from my final semester. Later that semester, I'd be going in for job interviews. I had only a couple, and when I was offered a teaching job in Corsicana, Texas, I jumped at it. Corsicana was only 30 miles from my hometown, and only 50 miles from the town where Judy Stutts lived. It was the second figure that was more important.

A couple of years earlier I had a history teacher named (I'm not making this up) John Quincy Adams. I'm not sure if he was rich or just a clothes horse, but he wore a different sport coat to every class meeting of the semester. He was a wild-eyed liberal, so far out that he'd created a sensation one semester when the John Birch Society had students take tape recorders into his class and secretly record him to prove to the world that he was a commie. The thing he said that I'll always remember was this: "The government is lying to you about a place called Viet Nam. There are already more American troops there than they're telling you, and this is going to be the worst thing that ever happened to this country." He said this around 1961, and in 1963 I still couldn't have located Viet Nam on a map.

One thing I remember about that final semester is moving my roommate to the Presbyterian seminary where he was going to continue his education. Some big hit by the Crystals (probably "Da Do Ron Ron") was playing on the radio when we drove over there. He's a retired minister now, living in West Virginia. He calls now and then, and we still like to talk.

I remember moving my stuff out of the dorm for the last time that May. I put everything I owned in to my 1953 Ford Tudor and drove out of town. I never thought I'd be back. Little did I know I would later return to work on my Ph.D.

John F. Kennedy was president. Little did I know how that would end, either.

Brook Benton's singing now. "Hotel Happiness." I remember all these songs all too well. Sometimes I think I'm still living in January, 1963. Sometimes I think it wouldn't be so bad if I were.

Will the Persecution Never End? (Anna NIcole Smith Edition)

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

iWon News - Ex Files 2nd Lawsuit Against Smith: "LOS ANGELES (AP) - An attorney for the former boyfriend of Anna Nicole Smith has filed a second lawsuit against the reality TV star, this time alleging fraud and conspiracy, his lawyer said Thursday.

The lawsuit was filed in the Bahamas on behalf of photographer Larry Birkhead, who claims he is the father of Smith's 6-week-old daughter, said Birkhead's attorney, Debra Opri.

Meanwhile, authorities are investigating whether Smith legally obtained permanent residency in the Bahamas, where she has been living since the birth of her daughter, the country's immigration director said Thursday.

Birkhead has been seeking a paternity test, claiming he is the father of Dannielynn Hope Marshall Stern. He filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles seeking a court order to demand Smith bring the baby to California for a test.

In the new lawsuit, Birkhead alleges Smith provided fraudulent information when applying for her daughter's birth certificate in the Bahamas. Smith identified her lawyer, Howard K. Stern, as the father. The lawsuit asks that Stern's name be deleted from the girl's birth certificate and replaced with Birkhead's."

Thursday, October 26, 2006

More From Harry Whittington

Here's another comment from Harry Whittington's articles in The Mystery Writer's Handbook. This one's from "Why I Write": "Writing isn't an easy business (even when you love it as much as I do). The more you're conditioned to take disappointments, distractions, and bad breaks, the more likely you are to get where you want to go."

Whew! What a Relief!

Link thanks to Jeff Meyerson. - Vampires a Mathematical Impossibility, Scientist Says: "A researcher has come up with some simple math that sucks the life out of the vampire myth, proving that these highly popular creatures can't exist.

University of Central Florida physics professor Costas Efthimiou's work debunks pseudoscientific ideas, such as vampires and zombies, in an attempt to enhance public literacy. Not only does the public believe in such topics, but the percentages are at dangerously high level, Efthimiou told LiveScience.

Legend has it that vampires feed on human blood and once bitten a person turns into a vampire and starts feasting on the blood of others.

Efthimiou's debunking logic: On Jan 1, 1600, the human population was 536,870,911. If the first vampire came into existence that day and bit one person a month, there would have been two vampires by Feb. 1, 1600. A month later there would have been four, and so on. In just two-and-a-half years the original human population would all have become vampires with nobody left to feed on.

If mortality rates were taken into consideration, the population would disappear much faster. Even an unrealistically high reproduction rate couldn't counteract this effect.

'In the long run, humans cannot survive under these conditions, even if our population were doubling each month,' Efthimiou said. 'And doubling is clearly way beyond the human capacity of reproduction."

The Spider, Master of Men!

Thanks to Ted Hertel for the tip.

Moonstone Books - The Spider: "The Spider is the most extreme vigilante crime fighter of all time. His stories are some of the most vivid,lurid, violent,
and just all out relentless action ever put to paper! Moonstone gives THE SPIDER the illustrated prose anthology treatment!

There will be NEW stories by: John Jakes (yes, the guy who wrote “The Kent Family Chronicles” as well as “North and South”!), and (in alphabetical order): Mort Castle, Bill Crider, Shannon Denton, Chuck Dixon, Steve Englehart, Ron Fortier, Joe Gentile, Rich Harvey,John Helfers, CJ Henderson, Howard Hopkins, James Anthony Kuhoric, Elizabeth Massie, Christopher Mills, Will Murray, Rafael Nieves, Ann Nocenti, Martin Powell, Richard Valley, & Robert Weinberg.

With interior art by: Thomas Floyd


Borat Gives Maxim his Top Ten Dating Tips

Borat's Dating Tips for Maxim MAXIM ONLINE: "I like you? I like sex! Here I make my tops 10 checkings list for Americans mens on sexytime."

Texas Leads the Way?

They should use those books as shields.

School district stops teaching students to attack?intruders - "BURLESON, Texas (AP) -- A suburban Fort Worth, Texas, school district has halted a program teaching students to attack a gunman if he invades a classroom, administrators said Wednesday.

The district will continue to train students in how to respond to life-threatening situations but no longer will show them how to take down an attacker, spokesman Richard Crummel said.

Robin Browne, an instructor for Response Options, the security company that provided the training, had recommended that students and teachers 'react immediately to the sight of a gun by picking up anything and everything and throwing it at the head and body of the attacker and making as much noise as possible. Go toward him as fast as we can and bring them down.'"

Gator Update - Local News - Fla. Man Pulls Dog From Gator's Jaws: "NAPLES, Fla. -- A Lee County man and his dog will probably be staying out of canals for a while after a scare with a gator.

Terry Weaver said he pulled his dog from the jaws of a 6-foot long alligator.

The dog had gone in the canal when Weaver jumped on the alligator's back and wrestled to set the dog free. The dog wasn't seriously injured."

Rod Stewart

Rod Stewart's new CD has been getting a slew of bad reviews. Here, for a change, is a good one.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Crime Fiction IV - Allen J. Hubin

This is fine stuff, folks, with cover scans, links and photos. I hope you all have the CD-ROM version of Crime Fiction IV, but you'll want to look at this even if you don't. And don't miss Al's fine introduction that tells how this massive project got started.

Crime Fiction IV - Allen J. Hubin: "Crime Fiction IV: A Comprehensive Bibliography 1749-2000
by Allen J. Hubin

Addenda to the Revised Edition.

If you are a first time visitor, you are encouraged to read the introduction to this Addenda before continuing further. Otherwise, welcome back, and please stop by often. Thanks to the assistance of Steve Lewis, who is maintaining this website, new information, images and links are constantly being added. Your suggestions and comments are always welcome."

Paris Hilton, Doing Good Wherever She Can

Celebrity Week - Where Hollywood Meets the Las Vegas Strip - Paris Speaks Out Against Drunk Driving: "Paris Hilton is speaking out against drunk driving.

The December issue of Seventeen magazine features Hilton, 25, warning teens not to get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.

“All it takes is one drink to mess with the way you drive – it clouds your judgment and slows your reflexes,' she says in the ad. 'Don’t take any chances. It just isn’t worth it.'

In the magazine's cover story, the heiress also says she hasn’t reached her sexual peak. “I think you like [sex] when you’re, like, in your thirties,” she says. “That’s what someone told me. We’ll see.”

Hilton was arrested on September 7 in Los Angeles for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol."

No Comment Department

Townsville Bulletin: Man 'repeatedly headbutts road' during arrest [ 25oct06 ]: "Man 'repeatedly headbutts road' during arrest


A PERTH man who injured his face by headbutting the road after crashing his car into a fence has been charged with drink-driving and kicking police.

The 27-year-old was found asleep in his car by police investigating who had hit a fence in southern suburban Calista about 12.30am WST today.

The man became agitated and aggressive when they tried to take him back to their station for a breath test, police said.

During a struggle, an officer was kicked in the thigh, police said.

'The man was taken to Fremantle Hospital for treatment to facial injuries after he headbutted the bitumen of the road several times,' police said."

They Never Said It

New book takes humbug out of quotations?|?Oddly Enough?|? "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Showman P.T. Barnum never said 'There's a sucker born every minute' although he wished he had. And Civil War Admiral David Farragut probably never said 'Damn the Torpedoes! Full Speed Ahead' -- words that have inspired generations of fighting men.

To make things even more complicated, it is doubtful that Paul Revere warned that 'The British are coming' when he would have at the time of the American Revolution thought himself British, although a revolting one. He probably would have said 'The Redcoats are coming.'

A new, meticulously researched book of quotations attempts to set the record straight on those beloved phrases that have crept into everyday use as signs of wisdom and wit, including Sigmund Freud's sage advice that 'sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.' (He didn't quite say that, although his biographer thinks he would have approved of the idea.)

'The Yale Book of Quotations' has a simple thesis: famous quotes are often misquoted and misattributed. Sometimes they are never said at all but are, instead, little fictions that have forged their way into public consciousness."

Handwriting Analysis

You can get your handwriting analyzed here. Of course you have to be able to write cursive to do it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Crimes of Jordan Wise -- Bill Pronzini

There's no doubt in my mind that if Bill Pronzini had been writing in the 1950s, he'd have been writing for Gold Medal Books. Check out his recent standalone novels for Walker and see. A case in point is the most recent, The Crimes of Jordan Wise.

The book's narrator is an ordinary guy, with an ordinary job. Then he meets a woman who wants an extraordinary guy, and he's changed. He commits the perfect crime, embezzling more than half a million bucks. He and the woman move to the Virgin Islands where they live happily ever after.

Except, of course, they don't. That's not the way things go in the world of noir. One crime leads to another, and in this case to another. Three perfect crimes that lead the narrator to the dead end where he spends the rest of his life.

Prime stuff. Check it out.

Happy New Year!

Tittle-Tattle Too: Paris Hilton Will Host Your New Years Eve Party For 100 Grand - The Post Chronicle: "
Paris Hilton is hiring herself out for New Years parties. The socialite-turned-actress will host a bash in either Miami, New York or Los Angeles in your honour for $100,000 plus expenses and a private jet.

An insider told BANG Showbiz: 'Who wouldn't want Paris to throw a party for them? She's got a reputation for throwing some of the most lavish events going - when she's not crashing them that is.

'However, people might balk at the price, and you have the wonder why she doesn't have better things to do on New Years Eve than throw a party for a stranger?'"

Is "Dortmunder" a Romanian Name?

Thanks to Steve Stilwell for the tip.

IOL: Robbers hit jackpot. Not!: "A gang of Romanian robbers broke into a bank's headquarters in a daring overnight raid - only to find it empty.

The three criminals expected to hit the jackpot with their raid on the bank in Constanta city centre.

But they did not know that the bank was relocating to new premises and the building was empty."

Harry Whittington Says . . .

While rummaging through some old papers yesterday, I found a couple of things I'd photocopied from an old edition of The Mystery Writer's Handbook. Both were short articles by Harry Whittington, one on "Why I Write" and one on "The Paperback Original." Here's something he says about the latter:

"If you want to sell to Gold Medal Books, don't read Gold Medal and ape them. Read Faulkner, Hemingway, Dostoevski and Scott Fitzgerald, O'Hara and Herman Wouk.

If you read Gold Medal Books, you might hit a market several pay grades lower. In order to hit those markets, read Gold Medal. But to hit Gold Medal, read Faulkner. Don't read Graphic Books to write their mysteries. Read Fred Brown, and Cornell Woolrich, and Chandler and Huggins."

Happy Birthday, Bob Kane

James Reasoner's review of Batman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told seems like reason enough to celebrate Bob Kane's birthday today. James says he isn't fond of the Batman of the '50s, and maybe this cover scan is a good reason why (though I'm not certain it's a cover from the '50s).

Will the Persecution Never End? (A Continuing Series)

Survey Says Paris Hilton Should Be Killed Off On Film - Starpulse News Blog: "Paris Hilton has topped a grisly new poll as the celebrity film fans would most like to see as the victim in a horror movie. The star claimed 39 percent of the vote, beating Lindsay Lohan, who scored 18 percent.

The socialite-turned-actress/singer was killed off in horror film remake House Of Wax, but fans want to see Hilton meet another gruesome end, according to a new Harris Interactive survey."

Will the Persecution Never End? (Anna NIcole Smith Edition)

Anna Nicole skips meeting lawyer over paternity dispute: "SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Anna Nicole Smith didn't appear Monday for a meeting in the Bahamas requested by the lawyer for an ex-boyfriend who claims he is the father of her 6-week-old daughter.

Photographer Larry Birkhead has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles seeking a court order to demand Smith bring the baby to California for a paternity test. Her attorneys have argued the court does not have appropriate jurisdiction.

Debra Opri, a lawyer for Birkhead who traveled from Los Angeles to take a deposition from Smith in the Bahamas, said she would use Smith's nonappearance Monday to argue for dismissal of that challenge.

'We're letting her know if she wants to make it this way, we're not going to make it easy for her,' Opri said in a phone interview from Nassau."

Monday, October 23, 2006

Sounds Like a Gil Brewer Novel

Print Story: Sailor kills Marine after lie about rape on Yahoo! News: "A sailor pleaded guilty Monday to abducting and killing a Marine corporal he thought had been involved in a gang rape. The rape turned out to be a lie, but the truth surfaced too late.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Cooper Jackson, 23, pleaded guilty Monday to premeditated murder, kidnapping, impersonating a Naval Criminal Investigative Service agent and obstruction of justice in connection with the death of Cpl. Justin L. Huff, 23.

In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors agreed to spare him a possible death sentence.

Federal agents had testified at his Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a grand jury investigation, that Jackson had been fooled into falling in love with a woman who called herself Samantha and made up a story about being raped by servicemen.

'Samantha' turned out to be Ashley Elrod, a 22-year-old hotel clerk on North Carolina's Outer Banks, who testified that she lied about being raped. She said she 'might have' told Jackson that one of the Marines was named Huff or Huffman, and she said Jackson called her after Huff was killed. Elrod has not been charged.

During his court-martial, Jackson told the Navy judge how he posed as an NCIS agent and took Huff to North Carolina to get information about the purported rape. He said he then slit Huff's throat and buried the body to avoid being caught.

'I'd broken several laws and I had a missing Marine with me,' Jackson said at his hearing Monday. 'Quite frankly, I was scared of the consequences of what would happen, of being caught, more so than I was of the consequences of taking his life.'"

Art Scott Comments

Art Scott offered this comment on the cover of the
Gil Brewer double from Stark House: "The cover interests me. It's one of Bob Maguire's model photos; I suppose they got it from Maguire's daughter Lynn. It's similar to the pose he used on the cover of the Monarch edition of Wild to Possess (and Signet's Kiss for a Killer and many others), but not an exact match. The exact match is to a Bee-Line title, Joy Ride, a 'Jane Blonde' spy knock-off."

For those who want to check his work, he sent the two cover scans presented here.

Happy Birthday, Michael Crichton!

The Writer's Almanac from American Public Media: "It's the birthday of Michael Crichton, (books by this author) born in Chicago (1942). He decided to pursue writing at Harvard, but his writing style was continually criticized by his teachers and he earned a C average. He decided it was the school, not he, that was in error. So for the next assignment, he retyped an essay by George Orwell and submitted it as his own. The professor did not catch his plagiarism, and gave Crichton a B minus. Crichton decided to change his major to anthropology.

To pay for his medical studies, he began writing paperback adventure novels under the pseudonym John Lang. On top of his schoolwork, he managed to produce 10,000 words a day, ultimately publishing eight novels with titles such as Zero Cool (1969), The Venom Business (1969), and Drug of Choice (1970). Just one year out of medical school he published the novel that made his name: The Andromeda Strain (1969), about scientists racing to stop the spread of a deadly new bacteria introduced to Earth from outer space.

Crichton went on to become the author of many best-selling thriller novels, but he also directed several films, and created the popular TV show ER about the daily lives of hospital emergency room employees. He's one of the rare popular writers who's never settled down to one genre. Most of his books touch on science, including Jurassic Park (1990), about dinosaurs brought to life through genetic engineering. But he's also written about Vikings and Japanese businessmen, sexual harassment, and nanotechnology."

Jane Wyatt, R. I. P.

She'll always be Margaret Anderson to people my age. Photo is of her and Robert Young from Father Knows Best.

The Seattle Times: Arts & Entertainment: Stage, screen star Jane Wyatt, 96: "HOLLYWOOD — Jane Wyatt, a three-time Emmy Award-winner for her portrayal of the patient and understanding housewife and mother on the classic 1950s family situation comedy 'Father Knows Best,' has died. She was 96.

Ms. Wyatt, whose acting career spanned stage, screen and television over seven decades, died Friday in her sleep at her Los Angeles home, her grandson Nicholas Ward said.

A Broadway veteran who made her screen debut in 1934, Ms. Wyatt appeared in more than 30 movies as both a leading and supporting player, including 'None But the Lonely Heart' with Cary Grant and 'Gentleman's Agreement' with Gregory Peck.

Her most memorable screen role was the ethereal Shangri-la beauty who enchants Ronald Colman in the 1937 Frank Capra film 'Lost Horizon.'"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Anna Nicole Smith Update

ANNA NICOLE SMITH - ODD BEHAVIOUR LEAVES ANNA NICOLE'S FUNERAL DIRECTOR BAFFLED: "Grieving mum ANNA NICOLE SMITH is still struggling to come to terms with her son DANIEL's death six weeks after the 20-year-old passed away in his mother's hospital bedroom, according to the funeral home boss who oversaw the family memorial. LORETTA BUTLER-TURNER was shocked by the busty blonde's behaviour as she laid her son to rest in the Bahamas on Thursday (19OCT06). The funeral home boss reveals the actress/model sobbed, wailed and lashed out during the service, but it was her comments after the ceremony that left her convinced Smith might need a little help coping with her grief. After spending 20 minutes alone by her son's graveside, Butler-Turner says Smith left her baffled with an odd request. She says, 'I think reality truly has not set in and she wanted to know if she could take him home and give him a warm bath.' Meanwhile, in an obituary released to all mourners at the burial, Smith revealed her son had been teaching her how to play the guitar before his death on 10 September (06). Bahamian police authorities have announced they have closed the investigation into Daniel's death, sparking speculation that his passing will be ruled an accidental drug overdose."

Will the Persecution Never End? (A Continuing Series)

BACKSTREET BOYS - CARTER: 'HILTON STUFFS TEDDY WITH CANNABIS': "BACKSTREET BOYS star NICK CARTER has slammed ex-girlfriend PARIS HILTON for being reliant on marijuana, and he insists she even resorted to stuffing her teddy bear with the drug when she travelled abroad. Earlier this month, (09OCT06) the socialite furiously denied being in possession of cannabis after British newspapers printed images of the socialite inadvertently displaying an incriminating sachet inside her bag. Her publicist maintained the bag merely contained tobacco. Carter says, 'She relied heavily on drugs and drink to give her confidence in the bedroom and was more often than not too wasted to even perform. 'I lost count of the nights I had to pick her off the floor and drag her to bed passed out. 'If she was going overseas she'd cut a hole in her teddy and stuff it with cannabis. She had to have her own private stash with her at all times regardless of the consequences.'"

The Word "Irony" Comes t o Mind - Spotlight - Tough to be weird, Al: "TORONTO -- An '80s MTV song parodist? If there ever was a recipe for fried flash-in-the-pan, Weird Al Yankovic should have been it.

Amazingly, two-plus decades after sending up Michael Jackson with "Eat It", the world's funkiest accordionist has proven more durable than any of the acts he sends up.

He surfed genres through the '90s and into the new millennium, spoofing grunge ('Smells Like Nirvana'); alternative ('Gump', to the tune of Presidents of the United States' 'Lump'), and R&B/hip-hop (the Coolio take-off 'Amish Paradise').

And he has just put out his highest-charting single - 'White and Nerdy' (a spoof of rapper Charmillion's 'Ridin'') from his new album Straight Outta Lynwood."

Hooray for Stark House!

Along with Hard Case Crime, there's Stark House, bringing back the best of the old hardboiled and noir writers. This new Gil Brewer double, coming in December (just in time for Christmas giving) is a special treat because A Taste for Sin is one of those high-dollar items, if you can even find a copy. The extras in this volume include a new essay on Brewer by Greg Shepard and reprints of essential essays by Bill Pronzini and Verlaine Brewer. Highly recommended.

More Italian Covers

Some "interesting" Doc Savage covers and some fantasy covers.

Scots, wha hae wi Wallace Bled

I really object to the "no fashion sense" remark. It's a blatant falsehood, as anyone can see.

Tourist guide says we are violent drunks - Sunday Times - Times Online: "SCOTS are depicted as a race of violent, foul-mouthed, anti-English drunks in a new guide book that threatens to undo the work of the executive in selling Scotland abroad.

The CultureShock! guide to Scotland describes the country as being in a state of permanent inebriation and where racial harassment and verbal and physical abuse are commonplace.

The book, from the American publisher Marshall Cavendish, also portrays Scots as promiscuous and having no fashion sense.

On a visit to America last week Jack McConnell, the first minister, announced plans to boost the number of US tourists coming to Scotland by a third to almost 500,000 in the next five years.

However, the guide, aimed at American tourists, states: “The Scottish people’s resentment of their English neighbour is still palpable. There are certain pubs in the rougher areas of Glasgow and Edinburgh where it is best not to enter if you have an English accent. To avoid trouble, particularly if you are a young male, avoid eye contact with young men. This can be interpreted as an invitation for a fight.”"

This Is How We Won the Cold War

Phyllis Kirk, R. I. P. - AP Entertainment News - 'House Of Wax' Actress Kirk Dies At 79: "LOS ANGELES -- Phyllis Kirk, who played the raven-haired beauty stalked by Vincent Price in the 1950s horror film 'House of Wax,' has died. She was 79.

Kirk died Thursday of a post cerebral aneurysm at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills, said her publicist, Dale Olson.

Born Phyllis Kirkegaard in Plainfield, N.J., she moved to New York City in her late teens to study acting and shortened her last name to Kirk. She appeared in several Broadway plays before moving to Hollywood, where she co-starred with such leading men as Frank Sinatra ('Johnny Concho') and Jerry Lewis ('The Sad Sack').

She gained the most attention for her role in 'House of Wax' because it was the first major 3-D movie.

Kirk later worked in television, memorably playing Peter Lawford's wife in the series 'The Thin Man.' She was also a regular on 'The Red Buttons Show' and hosted the ABC talk show 'The Young Set.'"

I was hugely impressed with House of Wax, which I've seen in 3-D a couple of times, but I remember Kirk best from The Thin Man on TV and also from The Red Buttons Show, which was a favorite of mine.