Saturday, December 09, 2006

Chupacabra Update

DangerousNews: "In Russia the first evidence has appeared of a half mythical creature which sucks blood from animals, even large ones.

Abroad it is known under the name Chupacabra. No one knows for certain what it looks like, but in 2005 a farmer in Texas caught in a trap something looking like a cross between a bald dog, a rat and a kangaroo, which was sucking blood out of his chickens and turkeys.

And now a mystery bloodsucker has appeared around Orenburg. The worries began at the end of March 2005 not far from the regional centre of Saraktash. On the Sapreka farm two farming families suddenly lost 32 turkeys. The bodies of the birds, found in the morning, had been completely drained of blood. None of the farmers either saw or heard the beast that killed them."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Wrap up: Glock offer targets police homebuyers | - Houston Chronicle: "Pearland-area real estate agent Julie Upton has decided to throw down on the competition.

Like any good salesperson, Upton is always looking for new ways to attract customers. Recently, she struck upon what she thinks is some tantalizing bait — at least when it comes to police officers.

Instead of a free toaster, TV or a stay at a luxury hotel, Upton, of Realty Associates, is offering officers a free Glock pistol with any home purchase of at least $150,000.

'It's attracted a lot of attention,' she said of her ads in Badge & Gun, the monthly publication of the Houston Police Officers' Union. She said she came up with the idea with help from Blue Cat Creative Consulting and Design.

Upton has given away two Glocks. 'So (the ad) has already paid for itself,' she said. But not all of her law enforcement customers have been interested in another gun.

'So I just give a $500 American Express gift check,' said Upton, whose husband, officer Randy Upton, is a 15-year Houston police veteran."

The First Star Wars Trilogy as a Silent Movie

Stephen King's Top Music Picks for 2006

Entertainment Weekly's | Feature: Stephen King's top music picks for 2006: Stephen King says: "Between Chuck Berry and Nirvana, I had a passionate 40-year love affair with the kind of music my mother called ''hard swing.'' I fell out of touch for a while, during that time when all the pop singers on the radio — female as well as male — had started to sound like Michael Jackson, and guitars were banished in favor of synthesizers.

What brought me back were two radical innovations: satellite radio (my brand happens to be XM) and iTunes (also my iPod, but for me that came later still). These were digital honky-tonks where I found — to my joy — that hard swing was alive and well. I've been listening, usually with the volume turned up to 11, ever since. These are the tracks that moved me in 2006...quite often enough to get up and shake my increasingly elderly ass."

Stephen King and I don't have the same musical tastes, but this year he has some great items on his list. I particularly recommend "Snake Farm" by Ray Wylie Hubbard, my favorite song of the year.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Word of the Year

`Truthiness' Is Named Word of the Year | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited: "SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - After 12 months of naked partisanship on Capitol Hill, on cable TV and in the blogosphere, the word of the year for 2006 is ... ``truthiness.''

The word - if one can call it that - best summed up 2006, according to an online survey by dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster.

``Truthiness'' was credited to Comedy Central satirist Stephen Colbert, who defined it as ``truth that comes from the gut, not books.''

``We're at a point where what constitutes truth is a question on a lot of people's minds, and truth has become up for grabs,'' said Merriam-Webster president John Morse. ```Truthiness' is a playful way for us to think about a very important issue.''

Other Top 10 finishers included ``war,'' ``insurgent,'' ``sectarian'' and ``corruption.'' But ``truthiness'' won by a 5-to-1 margin, Morse said."

I Just Hope It's Not Too Late

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for this timely fashion update.

Paris to Makeover Britney in Her Image - "Paris to Makeover Britney in Her Image

Paris Hilton's tutelage of new pal Britney Spears is entering the graduate phase. Mazel tov!

While on a retail romp through her favorite Melrose Avenue boutique, trendy Sielian's Vintage Apparel, Hilton revealed that she would be bringing new BFF Britney on her next charge-a-thon."

What I'm Listening To

The Wailin' Jennys. George Kelly sent me a link to NPR : Folk Alleys Top 10 CDs of 2006, and so far I haven't gotten past this group. Good group, good songs. And a great name. Check 'em out.

American before Pearl Harbor (in Kodachrome Color)

Daily Kos is a political site, but these photos aren't really political, and they give a wonderful look at an America that's long gone now. Check 'em out.

Will the Persecution Never End?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY - McCONAUGHEY TOPS PARTY PEOPLE POLL: "MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY has stunned Hollywood by beating PARIS HILTON to the top of a new party animals poll. MCConaughey, dubbed The Life Of The Party, is the unlikely choice to lead In Touch magazine's new Hollywood's Biggest Party Animals list. Editors insist the SAHARA star has 'perfected sexy socialising'. Party girl Hilton, nicknamed The Social Secretary by the US magazine, comes in second, while Irish wildman COLIN FARRELL's rehab stint last Christmas (05) hasn't kept him from enjoying life in 2006 - he makes the list at number three. "

Where Are They Now?

Rudolph, the red-nosed puppet, returns | "You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. And you know the most famous reindeer of all.

But you don't know the story of this Rudolph — a 5-inch-high little guy made of wood, wool and wire. Once a star, then forgotten for decades, he's making an unusual comeback starting today at Atlanta's Center for Puppetry Arts.

The Rudolph scheduled to go on display at the center today is the well-known figure used in making the 42-year-old animated TV special 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,' which airs at 8 tonight on CBS. The Santa puppet from the same show will join his lead reindeer at the center."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Waterloo Bridge

I watched the 1931 "pre-code" version of Waterloo Bridge on TCM the other night. (The movie was remade around 1940 with Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh; it was made again 1956 with Leslie Caron and John Kerr. I've never seen those versions.) I thought that because the movie was pre-code, it might be pretty racy. I was wrong. Sure Mae Clark plays a prostitute, and the movie is pretty frank, for the time, about her profession. But that's it. No nudity, no actual immoral acts, and *SPOILER ALERT* Mae certainly gets punished for her sins. In fact, to me, at least, the punishment came more or less abruptly out of left field, just as it would have in a movie after the Production Code was created *END SPOILER ALERT*.

Mae Clark's performance is wonderful. I've seen her in is the famous "grapefruit scene" with Cagney in The Public Enemy and in Frankenstein but she later was doing things like the great Republic serial King of the Rocketmen. She proves here that she could've been a contender. Hell, she was a contender. I guess she never got another role like this one.

Kent Douglass plays the naive young soldier who falls for Mae without ever figuring out her profession, and he's also good. He's believable in a role that's hard to believe in, in these more enlightened times.
I enjoyed the performance of Frederick Kerr as Douglass' hearing-impaired stepfather, and seeing Bette Davis in a small role was a treat.

The movie was directed by James Whale, who's better known as the director of a couple of Universal horror classics. The B&W photography is beautiful. I don't usually watch movies like this one, but I'm glad I took the time for
Waterloo Bridge.

Bette Midler Slams 'wild and woolly slut' Britney

Wild? Maybe. Woolly? Obviously Bette hasn't seen the photos.

Bette Midler slams 'wild and woolly slut' Britney | the Daily Mail: "After fifty years in showbusiness, Bette Midler probably felt that she had seen and done it all.

Until, that is, she was confronted with the brazenly obscene antics of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

So, in a scathing, no holds barred attack, the 61-year-old actress has branded the pair 'wild and woolly sluts'."

Ramble House Update from Fender Tucker

The Ramble House Rambler #50
December 6, 2006

Newsletter of Ramble House, publisher of Harry Stephen Keeler and other loons, produced by Fender Tucker (, mailed whenever something happens. To be removed from this list, please respond to this message and ask, or go to the RH website and unsubscribe. Fender Tucker, 443 Gladstone Blvd. Shreveport LA 71104, 318-868-8727.

The headlines:

~ Gwine to Colorado

~ Many New Titles at

~ Marblehead: A Novel of H.P. Lovecraft by Richard A. Lupoff

~ The Ramble House Lulu Store is Open

And now, the details:

~ I am planning on driving this Saturday to Pagosa Springs Colorado where I'll visit some friends and my brother, John, who is in the States for a while. He lives in Thailand and I haven't seen him in years. I'll have access to a computer so I can check e-mail and process orders for books with -- but then, so can anyone. I'll be back in Shreveport the following weekend.

~ Many New Titles from Ramble House Available at

THE SKULL IN THE BOX by Harry Stephen Keeler. Our best deal yet. All four novels of the series in one volume. THE MAN WITH THE MAGIC EARDRUMS, THE MAN WITH THE CRIMSON BOX, THE MAN WITH THE WOODEN SPECTACLES, and THE CASE OF THE LAVENDER GRIPSACK. $25 in trade paperback. A huge collection of Keeler words and one of the most amazing courtroom trials ever.

GREY SHAPES by Jack Mann. The werewolf novel of the Gees series.

DR. SCARLETT by Alexander Laing. A terrific medical adventure thriller set in the Tibetan jungles.

BLOOD ON HIS HANDS by Australia's Max Afford. Classic locked room mystery.

NIGHT OF HORROR a collection of short stories by Joel Townsley Rogers, edited and introduced by Barry Warren. This is the first collection of stories by the author of THE RED RIGHT HAND ever published.

DOPE TALES #1 the first in a new series by Ramble House. It's a double book with two classic tales of drugs and murder from the 30s: DOPE RUNNERS by Gerald Grantham and DEATH TAKES THE JOYSTICK by Phillip Conde. As often as we can we plan to bring back two enjoyable dope novels from the days when our grandparents were doing all the snorting and puffing -- and I'm not talking about the 60s. Both novels are available separately, but you'll like the price and cover of the exciting new DOPE TALES series.

~ But the piece de resistance of 2006 is the brand new mainstream novel by Richard A. Lupoff, whom we are privileged to publish -- MARBLEHEAD: A Novel of H.P. Lovecraft. It's a huge chronicle of the year 1927 in the life of the budding author, H.P. Lovecraft, as he tries to get published and is both aided and thwarted by proto-Nazis, mafiosa, other authors of the day, anarchists and his lovely wife, Sonia. Lupoff has done extensive research into the Providence/Boston area of the time and into Lovecraft's life and has written previously about him. This is a major new novel and you can place an order for it with me immediately. If you catch me before I leave this Saturday, you may even get it by Christmas. It has a mapback cover by Gavin O'Keefe. $24

~ The best way to keep up with our new titles is to bookmark the Ramble House Lulu store and visit often. I always put new books on the first page of the store, near the top of the page. It's easy to find the store; just click here.

No Comment Department

There are some stories about Paris Hilton that this blog just won't link to. This is one of them.

Happy Birthday, Tom Waits!

Tom Waits: Biographical Details
Thomas Alan Waits was born on the eighth anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He was born on December 7, 1949 in Pomona, California. He and his two sisters grew up moving around from city to city in California. His parents who are both school teachers divorced when he was 10. They then moved to National City. Tom's grandfather was christened Jesse Frank Waits and his father Frank Waits. Tom is Scottish and Irish from his father's side of the family and Norwegian from his mother's side.

I've been a fan of Tom Waits since the days of Fernwood2Nite. Hard to believe that was 30 years ago. Anyway, if you haven't heard any of Waits' work, you're missing something different from pretty much anything else out there. There's a new box set called Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards. Check it out.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Top 5 Werewolf Movies?

Check the list here and see if you agree.

This Is What the World Has Been Waiting For!

Popcorn Junkies: Another 80s Classic Gets The Remake Treatment: "If there was any doubt that the 80s were back in vogue, look no further than the news that Short Circuit will soon be remade. After years of trying to get Short Circuit 3 made, it looks as if the folks with the rights to Johnny 5 will instead do a remake. It also looks as if some of the original group involved in the first film will be involved in the remake as well. One person who definitely will not be involved in the remake is the film's director, John Badham."

Badham directed last night's episode of Heroes, I believe.

Only Number Four?

Photos at link.

The Sun Online: YAHOO! It's time to gaze at the celeb girls who put the "ogle" into Google.

A list of the babes who web users most often searched for in 2006 has been released.

And the internet's most popular honey is… Britney Spears.

Remarkably, it's the fifth time in six years that the pants-spurning star has topped the list by Yahoo.

Runner-up was Hips Don't Lie singer Shakira, followed in the top five by Jessica Simpson, Britney's new partner-in-crime Paris Hilton and Beyoncé Knowles.

Croc Update

Human body parts found inside croc - "JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) -- Villagers discovered two human hands, a leg and a T-shirt inside a 500-kilogram (1,000-pound) crocodile they trapped and killed in eastern Indonesia, a media report said Wednesday.

The five-meter long reptile, suspected of eating a 59-year-old fisherman last seen a week ago near a river in East Nusa Tenggara province, was hacked open by residents after it got caught Monday in a nylon snare, The Jakarta Post said.

When the villagers got over the shock of finding human body parts inside its abdomen -- together with skull fragments, strands of hair and a pair of shorts -- they cut the beast into pieces and divided up the meat.

It was unclear how many people the crocodile had eaten, but the paper said at least three have disappeared in recent months, all while fishing at the mouth of the Dusan II River."

Your Tax Dollars at Work

It's things like this that make me look forward to April 15.

Audit Says FEMA Squanders Katrina Aid | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited: "WASHINGTON (AP) - One year after Katrina, the government is still squandering tens of millions of dollars in wasted disaster aid, including $17 million in bogus rental payments to people who had already received free trailers and apartments, federal investigators said Wednesday.

At the same time, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has recovered less than 1 percent of the $1 billion it wasted on fraudulent hurricane assistance after the August 2005 storm, highlighting a need for stronger controls the next time a major hurricane strikes.

The report by the Government Accountability Office, set to be released later Wednesday, paints a picture of an agency still struggling - at substantial taxpayer expense - to find the balance between distributing quick aid to those in need while guarding against substantial abuse."

Happy Birthday, Dave Brubeck!

Dave Brubeck, 86 today. I saw his quartet in concert long, long ago, when he had a song called "Take Five" on the charts. That was the first jazz recording to sell a million copies, I think, and the melody's still haunting today.

No Comment Department

E Canada Now - Breaking News ? Paris Hilton Wants To Be A Mom: "Los Angeles (eCanadaNow) - Paris Hilton is desperate to have a baby after befriending young mum Britney Spears.

The hotel heiress - who has been introducing Britney to the Los Angeles party circuit since she split from husband Kevin Federline - has become broody after helping look after the singer’s two sons, 15-month-old Sean Preston and three-month-old Jayden James.

Paris is convinced she would be a good mother because she has so many pets.

Paris told Life and Style Weekly magazine: “It’s been my dream to have four babies by 30. I look after animals, so I’d have a lot to give my kids.”"

New Horror Film from Disney

Experiment #214

The Diet Coke and Mentos guys are at it again. This one is their masterpiece (so far), and if you watch the video all the way through and wait a second, they issue a challenge to anyone wanting to create a video fountain. It's a contest you might want to consider.

Thanks to Neatorama for the link.

Otto Penzler Reviews Mystery Muses

And of course I'm linking to this because my contribution is mentioned in the review.

Small Treasures - December 6, 2006 - The New York Sun: "A bit of an oddity is 'Mystery Muses' (Crum Creek Press, 212 pages, $15.00), edited by Jim Huang and Austin Lugar. The entire book is devoted to the ubiquitous question asked in every interview with a mystery writer: Was there a mystery story that influenced you to become a writer or to write the way you do today? One hundred crime writers answer in these pages."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Last Minute Shopping?

Stark House has you covered with their December release from Peter Rabe. Check it out.

New Issue of Crime and Suspense Now On-Line

There are a lot of e-zines that have new issues lately. Here's another one to check out. There's even a download of "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar."

Our authors this month are Charles Schaeffer, Steve Haberlin, Jan Christensen, Nicole Alexander, Peggy Ehrhart, Stephen D. Rogers, Dan Devine and Jeremy Schneider. You can read more about all these authors in the Rogues' Gallery on the Crime and Suspense website. Almost everyone in the list is making their Crime and Suspense ezine debut in this issue, too!

Tony Burton tells his readers about the enjoyable Death Comes Too Soon by Patricia Harrington and Diane Grace delivers the deadly news about C.V. Herst's Dead Certain. And a new feature by Sunny Frazier starts this month, Coming Attractions!

As an added fillip to the mix this month, there is a radio episode of "Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar" available for download.

Quote of the Day

From the google homepage:

To be a book-collector is to combine the worst characteristics of a dope fiend with those of a miser.
- Robertson Davies

Happy Birthday, James Lee Burke!

My sentiments from last year still apply.

James Lee Burke - About the Author: "James Lee Burke was born in Houston, Texas, in 1936 and grew up on the Texas-Louisiana gulf coast. He attended Southwestern Louisiana Institute and later received a B. A. Degree in English and an M. A. from the University of Missouri in 1958 and 1960 respectively. Over the years he worked as a landman for Sinclair Oil Company, pipeliner, land surveyor, newspaper reporter, college English professor, social worker on Skid Row in Los Angeles, clerk for the Louisiana Employment Service, and instructor in the U. S. Job Corps."

A Special Welcome!

Will the Persecution Never End?

Top 10 Most Annoying Pop Songs 2006: "Successful pop music is not always good pop music. Many of us know that intuitively, but it doesn't really sink in until there is a particular song we wish would go away. Here are 10 that I have chosen (with the indispensable assistance of Daniel Wolfe) as the songs I think we've heard enough times already. Without further adieu...the 10 most annoying pop songs of 2006:
1) Paris Hilton - Stars Are Blind

The only justification for this song's presence on pop radio in the summer of 2006 that I heard was that it didn't turn out as badly as expected. That is no reason to turn a song into a hit. Thankfully, it seems that Paris Hilton has moved on from her dreams of being a pop star. She has moved on to befriending the post-K-Fed Britney Spears."

David Goodis Update

From Aaron Finestone:

I have updated my David Goodis webpages with an interview of Len Cobrin,
long time friend of David Goodis. Parts of the interview appear at the
following pages:

Death of David Goodis
Mystery of David Goodis
Len Cobrin remembers David Goodis

Good stuff. Check it out.

Great Moments in American Civilization

MSNBC: The panty-eschewing singer [Britney Spears] has been pole-dancing with her new best friend, Paris Hilton, who has been giving her private striptease lessons, according to U.K. reports. The two have reportedly been practicing on a stripper pole in Hilton’s Hollywood house.

“Paris took Britney upstairs where she fitted her in a blue tutu, and then Paris put on a matching tutu,” a source told the London Star. “They then went downstairs and danced at Paris’ in-house stripper pole. Britney loves her new moves and can’t wait to get a fella and test them out.”

Monday, December 04, 2006

Reviewing Books for Fun and Profit

The Secret Life Of An Online Book Reviewer - "Over the last seven years, Donald Mitchell, a 60-year-old strategy consultant in Boston, has made $20,000 writing book reviews on He's so good, and so prolific--with 2,923 reviews to date--that Amazon customers have consistently voted him among the top five reviewers on the site. (The top reviewer, a former librarian from Pennsylvania named Harriet Klausner, has reviewed 12,753 books. Skeptics doubt that she actually exists.)

Mitchell is part of an online subculture that has helped democratize the reviewing process and cemented Amazon's (nasdaq: AMZN - news - people ) significance in the publishing world. Oprah Winfrey and the New York Times can elevate an obscure debut novelist to a best seller, but Amazon provides the shortest path between a good review and an actual sale: The two are just a click away."

Greywalker -- Kat Richardson

Kat Richardson was on a panel I moderated at the Bouchercon. Greywalker, her first novel, had just been published, and there were only a few copies available at the convention. I bought one of them just before they sold out.

Greywalker is the story of a private-eye named Harper Blaine. When she's assaulted, she suffers a severe head injury and "dies" for two minutes. After she recovers, she finds that she has the ability to enter "the grey," a sort of half-world between life and death. There are lots of strange things in there, and the adjustment isn't an easy one, which is one of the things I liked about the book. Unlike a lot of fictional characters in similar situations, Blaine doesn't immediately figure out what's going on and make the most of it. She fights it, and she's still fighting it when the book ends (though you can bet she'll be back and have a lot more to do with the grey before the intended series runs its course).

This first novel involves a missing person, vampires, an antique parlor organ, an Irish witch, and of course "the grey." There's enough action to satisfy just about anybody, along with some humor, and Blaine's first-person narration moves the story along at a good clip. Sure, Richardson is mining some of the same territory staked out by the likes of Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton, and Charlaine Harris, to name a few, but she has her own original take, and it's worth a look. Check it out.

Quote of the Day

On the google homepage today:

Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I'll have a long beard by the time I read them.
- Arnold Lobel

The 10 Hottest Alien Babes of Film and TV

Photos and list at the link.

YesButNoButYes: The Hottest Alien Babes of Film and TV: "There’s nothing like a good sci-fi flick to really capture a guy’s attention. The spaceships…the laser guns…. the distant worlds full of adventure…and those saucy alien chicks in miniskirts whose morals seem looser than William Shatner’s toupee.

But golly gee, there’s so much alien hotness to choose from. How do you decide which babe with green skin is worth your time? Well rest easy fellow space traveler, I’ve done the hard work for you. Allow me to present you with a list guaranteed to appeal to the Buck Rogers in all of us."

The Dude Rules!

CULT OF THE DUDE By TAL PINCHEVSKY - New York Post Online Edition: Seven: "December 3, 2006 -- IN film circles, the term 'cult classic' often gets thrown around liberally. Maybe a movie inspires a generous online message board or even a drinking game. Then there's 'The Big Lebowski.'

The 1998 Coen brothers film has such a rabid underground following that it's managed to inspire an online Church of the Latter-Day Dude, a speaking tour featuring Jeff 'the Dude' Dowd (the independent film consultant credited with inspiring the film's main character), an online petition calling for Jeff Bridges (the film's star) to run for president in 2008, and, oh yeah, a drinking game.

But perhaps the greatest display of obsessive behavior from Lebowski lovers is Lebowski Fest. A multiple-day event where fans come together across the country to pay homage to the object of their cinematic affection."

College Hasn't Changed a Bit Since I Graduated

S&M, nude parties rule at Columbia University: "NEW YORK - Famed as a hotbed of debate over academic freedom, New York's most elite school is also a playpen for sexual high jinks.

While their parents shell out $33,246 a year in tuition, Columbia University students attend naked parties, flock to sex-toys workshops, broadcast porn on campus TV, bake anatomically correct pies for the 'Erotic Cake-Baking Contest' and heat up the library steps in a mass makeout session.

And, of course, there's always the stimulating game Guess the Number of Condoms in the Jelly-Bean Jar.

Others volunteer for the bullwhip at Conversio Virium, the university-sanctioned S&M club. It calls itself a 'discussion group' that provides 'education and peer support' and promotes 'safe, sane and consensual play.' But the club doesn't just talk.

Late on the night of Nov. 13, a Daily News reporter sat in Room 303 of Hamilton Hall, a venerable classroom building where Columbia students have studied Poe, Plato and Plutarch for nearly 100 years.

As a female student volunteer stood facing the blackboard, and 24 Columbians watched, a lecturer who identified himself only as Dov flogged her with whips, rubber hoses and a cat-o'-nine-tails. "

Will the Persecution Never End?

People News: A source told the New York Post newspaper: "Britney and Brandon were getting along really well. They even went to the bathroom together."

The two 25-year-olds were first seen on a dinner date together in Los Angeles last Thursday (30.11.06).

Oil heir Brandon was close friends with Britney's new best friend Paris Hilton.
However, Paris and Brandon are no longer on speaking terms after their friendship and rumoured romance came to a bitter end earlier this year.

Brandon recently branded Paris a racist, saying she was forever referring to black people as "n*****s".

He said: "She is a racist, plus an idiot. I don't want anything to do with her. I don't need anything from her. She is no longer my friend. She is just not a nice person."

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Monday on "It's a Mystery"

From Beth Foxwell: In honor of Cornell Woolrich's 103rd birthday on Dec 4th, I'll be airing "Deadline at Dawn," an episode of the Molle Mystery Theater, on Monday's "It's a Mystery."

For those who love culinary mysteries, I'll also be interviewing Nancy Fairbanks, author of _Crime Brulee_, _Bon Bon Voyage_, and other titles featuring food columnist Carolyn Blue.

"It's a Mystery" is Webcast at 11 AM ET on Mondays at

Interesting Richard Stark Review/Essay by James Wolcott

Lots more at the link. This is the New York Times, so you have to be registered to read it.

Ask the Parrot By Richard Stark - Books - Review - New York Times: "In 1997, Donald E. Westlake — whose prodigious versatility in crime fiction makes the competition look like plow hands — dusted off his literary pseudonym Richard Stark and defrosted his antihero Parker for a knuckle sandwich aptly titled “Comeback.” It had been nearly a quarter-century since the last Parker outing (“Butcher’s Moon,” published back when Gerald Ford was president), but if any hood could survive literary limbo that long in the meat locker, it was this ageless, unnervable, packed-solid, viciously adaptable commando, whose presence is stamped on the page with an abstract force."

New Issue of Mysterical-E is Up and Ready

One one the longer-lasting mystery e-zines. Here's the link and the short-story line-up. Check it out.

"Sometimes Boring is Good by Jan Christensen

Easy Mark J. Alan Brown
Bones of Contention by Charles Schaeffer
In The Garden of the Gods by Fleur Bradley
Krung Thep by Scott Robinson
Majestic-12 by Gay Toltl Kinman
Poochie's Progress by Luc Beaubois
The Perfect Gift by Suzanne Berube Rorhus
Repaid Debts by Sandra Seamans
The Root of the Matter by Bob Liter
A Signature in Blood by Annette Dashofy
Small Town Secrets by Pam Skochinski
Stranger in Town by Jonette Stabbert
Criminal Conundrum by Daniel B. Young
When It Went Wrong by Patrick Reed"

Hard Case Crime Update

Here's the latest cover. Robert Terrall is 92 and still with us. I have this book in the old Dell printing, but you can be sure I'll bet the Hard Case edition. After all, I'm a subscriber. You can see a lot of the new covers here. Check 'em out.

Will the Persecution Never End?

MSN - News - Hilton Spurns Billboard Awards Because of Jokes: "Paris Hilton won't joke about her peeps. The hotel heiress canceled an appearance at next week's Billboard Music Awards because she didn't like the jokes written for her, according to a spokesman.

'It is my understanding that some satirical references ridiculed some of her peers,' her spokesman, Elliot Mintz, said in a statement. 'Paris did not want to say anything that could appear hurtful or embarassing about people she knows.'

Mintz said Hilton received a script Friday that contained material she found 'objectionable.' Representatives for Hilton and the awards show could not come to an agreement about the script's content so she decided to scrap the appearance, he said."

Good News for Movie Fans!

Just when you thought life couldn't possibly get any better:

Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan in Witches of Eastwick: "HOLLYWOOD - Viacom chairman, Sumner Redstone, is expected to announce early next week that Viacom subsidiary Paramount Pictures has signed Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan to star in a remake of the 1987 comedy-thriller The Witches of Eastwick." - Health - The write stuff: Hospitals resort to penmanship classes for doctors - October 4, 2000

We've talked handwriting before. Here, for example, and here. Now there's this: - Health - The write stuff: Hospitals resort to penmanship classes for doctors - October 4, 2000: "He's a veteran physician who works as a trauma surgeon. Just don't ask Dr. Sheldon Brotman to write a legible prescription.

That's why he's here, sitting in a handwriting class at Atlantic City Medical Center, learning how to hold his pen, position his paper and put a sharp angle on his 'z' so it doesn't look like an 's.'"