Saturday, December 16, 2006
On September 27 Fred went to Austin because doctors had discovered that Jennifer had cancer. He's been there ever since. The cancer was of a rare and virulent kind, and there was nothing the doctors could do, though of course they tried. Jennifer died earlier this week. Things like this really shouldn't happen, but they do. If you have a CD with Willie Nelson's "Turn Out the Lights" on it, play the song this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. CST and think about a young woman who should have lived for many, many more years.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane? She was fine as Sandra Dee in Beyond the Sea, but she looks way too young to be Lois.
Brandon Routh as Supe? Bland, mostly monosyllabic.
Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor? Okay, but he doesn't really breaks loose the way Gene Hackman did. He comes close a couple of times, but the attempt at comedy in his last scene falls flat. The scene where Lois discovers the wigs seems stolen directly from one of my favorite episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show. It made me long for Carl Reiner as Alan Brady. He'd have made this into a great scene.
The plot? Doesn't make a whole lot of sense.
A couple of nice action set-pieces. That's about it. I was disappointed in this one.
That's what police said they discovered after a man was shot in an alley behind the fraternity house in October as he was searching the trash for returnable bottles and cans.
Police found more than two-dozen weapons in the Alpha Gamma Rho house, including the 22-caliber rifle that was used to shoot and injure Dennis Sanderson.
In interviews with fraternity members, police said they learned the young men deeply resent the transients who rummage through the alley and have fired shots at them over the past year.
Police arrested 19-year-old Joshua Grimes and charged him in Sanderson's shooting. He faces charges of assault and unlawful use of a firearm.
Oregon State said it will conduct roundtables next year to help fraternity members better understand the issues of homelessness and hunger."
I'm certain that these roundtables will take care of everything.
Bill would allow legally blind Texans to hunt | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "AUSTIN — A state lawmaker wants to make sure no Texan is left out when it comes to hunting, even if the hunter is legally blind.
Rep. Edmund Kuempel, a Seguin Republican, has filed a bill for the 2007 legislative session that would allow legally blind hunters to use a laser sight, or lighted pointing instrument. The devices are forbidden for sighted hunters.
Blind hunters would also have to have a sighted hunter along with them, but they could hunt any game that sighted people can hunt in the same seasons and using the same weapons.
'This opens up the fun of hunting to additional people, and I think that's great,' Kuempel said.
Visually impaired people are able to shoot with the aid of a sighted person, he said."
Stephen King's Top Ten Book Picks for 2006Entertainment Weekly's EW.com | Feature: Stephen King's top book picks for 2006: "The Pop of King on his favorite reads for the past year by Stephen King:
Here are the best ones I read in 2006...and as always, please keep in mind that doesn't mean they were published in 2006. This is just my list of the ones that best furnished my interior room this past year."
At issue is the will of oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall III, which did not include Smith. She has argued he intended to provide for her through a special trust.
David Madden, a spokesman for the court, said Smith was at the building, which houses the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, for a mediation hearing. Calls to lawyers weren't immediately returned."
The women, who go by pseudonyms such as Sandra Claws, Tinsel the Bohemian Christmas Fairy, Chocolate Thunder and Backhand Betty, gather at a bar to do battle in a blow-up kiddie pool full of clear, unflavored gelatin, Reuters reported.
The 11 female participants swear that the sport is empowering and is not about naked women rolling around for drooling male spectators.
'We work hard to promote it as a feminist thing and the night is really like a community night in that it is really what the women make of it,' said Annie Rock, 26, one of the organizers.
The show, which happens once a month, is completely put together by women, and they agree that the sport is 'fun, friendly competition.'"
Of course, that's assuming you've got $200,000 liquefying your Tiffany money clip.
The Personal Blimp from Skyacht Aircraft made its maiden voyage in late October, and although the company calls it a blimp, it's essentially a steerable hot-air balloon. It utilizes hot air in place of helium and is propelled by electric motors."
After an immigration check in 1999 found undocumented workers on its payroll, Golden State promised to clean house. But when followup checks were made in 2004 and 2005, some of those same illegal workers were still on the job. In fact, U-S Attorney Carol Lam says as many as a third of the company's 750 workers may have been in the country illegally."
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Which is far too long. I like the idea of the free-running stunts in the long chase near the beginning, but it all goes on too long, as do several scenes.
The B&W sequence before the main titles is nice, and the titles themselves are great. I don't know who cooked them up, but they really set a tone. The song, on the other hand, pretty much bit the moose.
I liked the harder edge for Bond, and I liked the way the script shows how he's hard but still vulnerable, at least until the final betrayal and its result.
Having read the book more than 45 years ago, I still remember it well. I also recall my favorite line, spoken by Le Chifre in the torture scene: "Kiss it goodbye, Mr. Bond." The line's not in the movie, more's the pity. For that matter, maybe it's not even in the book. After 45 years, I can't be sure. Maybe I just made it up.
When it comes down to it, I'm still a Sean Connery kind of guy, and my favorites Bond movies are still the first three. This one was okay, but not in their league. Check it out, though. It's still worth a look if you're a fan of the series.
Ertegun remained connected to the music scene until his last days — it was at an Oct. 29 concert by the Rolling Stones at the Beacon Theatre in New York where Ertegun fell, suffered a head injury and was hospitalized. He later slipped into a coma."
What can you say? Atlantic Records. Big Joe Turner. Ruth Brown. Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters. The Clovers. Stick McGhee. Professor Longhair. Ray Charles. Leiber and Stoller. Atco. The Coasters. Chuck Willis. LaVern Baker. I could go on. Ertegun was a giant in the music world that I cared about when I was young.
The prospect was raised at a news conference at which Vatican officials unveiled the results of an archaeological dig which has made part of the sarcophagus in Rome’s Basilica of St Paul’s Outside the Walls visible to pilgrims."
# Naked victims left wearing their jewellery
# No other recent murders match pattern
All five victims of one of Britain’s most prolific serial killers were suffocated or strangled and left naked but for their jewellery, senior detectives have told The Times.
Police sources said that as a result of the “striking similarities” uncovered they had been able to rule out any link between previous unsolved murders or attacks by strangers across the country in recent years. Last night items of women’s clothing were found in the River Orwell, which runs close to Nacton and Levington where three of the bodies were found."
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I never saw Raymond. What I remember is the great "Puttin' on the Ritz" scene in Young Frankenstein (and of course the funny final scene he has with Madeline Kahn). And Joe.
OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts: "From Pen to Sword
Conan the Barbarian was first a literary figure.
BY JOHN J. MILLER
Wednesday, December 13, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST
Actor-turned-politician Arnold Schwarzenegger recently won an easy re-election as California's governor. His movie-screen alter ego, Conan the Barbarian, never had to bother with yawping masses of voters--but he seems no less popular these days, judging from a revival movement that's winning a new generation of fans for one of the best-known characters that American literature has produced.
If Conan isn't first remembered as a literary figure, it's because the culture has embraced him so completely on film, in comic books, and as an icon of thick-muscled, sword-wielding manhood. Yet he got his start on the printed page as the invention of Robert E. Howard, a rural Texas pulp writer who lived from 1906 to 1936."
What's on the way out? Bailey and Makayla are falling fast for girls, and for boys, Julian plummeted 17 spots to #95, so it may heading for the exit."
Armed police officer on duty at UK airport
The alleged plot prompted a massive security clampdown
A Pakistani judge has ruled there is not enough evidence to try a key suspect in an alleged airline bomb plot on terrorism charges.
He has moved the case of Rashid Rauf, a Briton, from an anti-terrorism court to a regular court, where he faces lesser charges such as forgery.
Pakistan has presented Mr Rauf as one of the ringleaders behind the alleged plan to blow up flights out of London.
The British authorities say they foiled it with Pakistan's help in August.
The arrest of Rashid Rauf in Pakistan triggered arrests in the UK of a number of suspects allegedly plotting to blow up transatlantic flights.
The Pakistani authorities described him as a key figure.
But an anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi found no evidence that he had been involved in terrorist activities or that he belonged to a terrorist organisation."
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
By Janet Stobart, Times Staff Writer
5:48 PM PST, December 12, 2006
London -- Dread mounted that the peaceful east coast of England had given birth to a new 'Ripper' as police hunted Tuesday for the killer of five women whose bodies were discovered in the past two weeks.
In recent days, police reported that three bodies had been found naked and abandoned around the city of Ipswich in Suffolk county. Tuesday afternoon, Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull, head of the Suffolk police crime-management team, told journalists that officers had found two more bodies.
Gull said the women were believed to be prostitutes, although the bodies found Tuesday had yet to be identified. The discoveries revived memories of the reign of 'Yorkshire Ripper' Peter Sutcliffe, who killed 13 women, many of them prostitutes, in northern England in the late 1970s. Nearly a century earlier, Jack the Ripper slit the throats of five prostitutes in London's East End; his identity is still a mystery.
Helicopters and divers were hard at work Tuesday in fields, rivers and woods dotted around a countryside known for pastoral tranquillity. Police were in a race against time to track down a criminal they refrained from calling a serial killer.
And he was. I've read most of the novels since, maybe missing one or two, and I've also read a couple of other Fraser novels, The Pyrates and Mr. American. The former is still my favorite pirate book of all time.
As you all no doubt know, Flashman is the author of "the Flashman papers," which have been edited for publication by Fraser. They've been presented not in chronological order but in whatever order struck Fraser's fancy.
Flashman, as it happens, was involved in nearly every military encounter of the 19th century. He was in the Charge of the Light Brigade. He was at Harper's Ferry. He was at the Little Big Horn. And that's just for starters. He's also a no hero, however. He's a bounder, a sniveling coward, and a liar, but he never lies to his readers. As far as I know, nobody's ever questioned the accuracy of the history in any of the books.
Flashman on the March is, I think, the twelfth of Flashy's memoirs to be made public. There are many more, and the one I'd really like to read is the one that tells of his Civil War experiences. He's referred to them often, and we know that he fought on both sides, but we don't know the details. I, for one, would welcome them.
This time he gets reluctantly involved in the Abyssinian War, a very short one, indeed, but with plenty of room for typical Flashy adventures, both in and out of the bedroom. There's plenty of action, and there are a number of battle scenes. Fraser, or Flashy, has the ability to show these so clearly that it's like looking at a painting of watching a movie. Great descriptive power at work. As usual, Flashy becomes quite the hero while doing his best to avoid doing anything heroic; and, as usual, he's pleased to take the credit.
If you've never read any of the Flashman books, you've missed some real reading pleasure. Check 'em out.
Sadly, as Todd mentions, that editorial isn't posted on-line, but it's nice to know that P. H. got a mention in such a classy fictionmag.
In the current issue of SPINETINGER Magazine:
In an author interview three pack, Sandra Ruttan speaks with Mark Billingham, Jess Lourey and Duane Swierczynski.
Stories by Stephen Allan, Susan M. Boyer, Bill Cameron, Annette Dashofy, David Harrison, Vincent H Keen, Christine Jackson, Angie Johnson-Schmit, JD Rhoades and Malina Roos.
Author profiles by CJ Lyons, JB Thompson, Derek Nikitas and JT Ellison.
Website profiles of Crimes Scene Scotland and In For Questioning"
Variety.com - 'Marlowe' on ABC's case: "Philip Marlowe could soon be back on the case.
ABC is teaming with producer Sean Bailey for a fresh take on Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled detective. Greg Pruss and Carol Wolper will write and exec produce the potential series along with Daniel H. Blatt, Phil Clymer and Bailey.
Hourlong drama 'Marlowe' -- one of three scripts Bailey has set up at the Alphabet this season via the LivePlanet banner -- would be a present-day procedural crime drama with noir aspects and set in Los Angeles.
Touchstone Television, which has an overall deal with Bailey, will produce if the project goes to pilot.
Bailey said 'Marlowe' will be 'a detective show, but very much a character-based one.
'He's a guy who can travel in the highest echelons of power and the darkest and dirtiest corners of the city,' he added, noting the new Marlowe will still 'get his ass kicked every once in a while.'
As of now, there are no plans to use any of Chandler's Marlowe books ('The Big Sleep,' et al.) as source material for storylines."
Well, life on Answers just got interesting (again). Last week Michael Crichton asked a question in biology. This week, he’s decided to start answering users’ questions in a category a little closer to his area of expertise. So, keep asking fantastic questions, you never know who you might get an answer from…"
Monday, December 11, 2006
'50s Pop Singer Georgia Gibbs Dies at 87 - Forbes.com: "Georgia Gibbs, a versatile singer who starred on the popular show 'Your Hit Parade' and reached the top of the charts in the 1950s with covers of songs by black artists, has died. She was 87.
Gibbs died Saturday at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, family friend Leslie Gottlieb said. The cause was complications from leukemia.
Among her 15 Top 40 hits, mostly for Mercury Records, was the tango-based 'Kiss of Fire,' which went to No. 1 in 1952.
But she is known historically - and controversially - as one of the whites who gained success in the 1950s covering rhythm and blues hits by black artists, sometimes upstaging the original versions with sanitized lyrics."
Officials say the agents found the four-foot, four-year-old cayman alligator during a routine freeway checkpoint search on Thursday night
A spokesman says a drug-sniffing dog became alert near the man's car. Inside, agents found thirteen grams of marijuana. Then they found the alligator."
mtv.co.uk: Sorry lads, but Britney Spears has vehemently denied rumours that she’s having a lesbian fling with Paris Hilton, according to The Star.
Despite rumours, partly spread by ex husband Jason Alexander who said Britney had “always had a thing for Paris” and suggested she was “experimenting with her” after being “locked down for two years,” Britney says the claims are “ridiculous.”
She went on: “We’re two successful, independent women … we’re not a pair of Lesbian blondes.”
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Toward that end, I have instituted a short-fiction writing contest on the site. You have to write a flash piece (under 500 words) and use a picture there on the site as the inspiration or starter for your story.
Here's the way it goes:
1st place: $25 Amazon gift certificate
2nd place: Movie-theme t-shirt
3rd place: Movie-theme fatigue cap
4th place: Movie poster
Anyway, if you want all the details, go to the Crime and Suspense website (http://www.crimeandsuspense
And get started writing! You have very little time!
Editor, Crime and Suspense
The title of the memoir -- 'Since Then: How I Survived Everything and Lived to Tell About It' -- hints at the perennial Crosby question: How did he survive his various drug addictions, prison stint and stage highs with former band The Byrds and the still-touring Crosby, Stills and Nash?"
"If I was writing about a life like Paris Hilton's, I wouldn't want to read it, it would bore me to tears. But this is real stuff, life and death."
On the Dec 11th broadcast of "It's a Mystery," I'll be talking to Gary
Mitchem, acquisitions editor for McFarland & Co, about McFarland's
nonfiction mystery titles and what he is looking for in future
Also, in honor of the Dec 12th birthday of the Chairman of the Board, I'll
be airing "Messenger for Murder," an episode of "Rocky Fortune," in which
Frank Sinatra plays a scrappy, smartaleck sleuth.
"It's a Mystery" is Webcast at 11 AM ET on Mondays at
First of all, while it's not a silent movie (the music is great throughout), it's a movie almost entirely without words. Which is fine because they've unnecessary; you can figure everything out just by watching.
It's the story of a young boy who's living with his grandmother. He's unhappy (maybe because of the deaths of his parents), so she buys him a puppy. That helps, but what really enchants him is bicycles. So she buys him a trike.
Time passes (a really nice sequence), and the next thing we see is the grandmother training her now grown grandson for the Tour de France. During the race, he and two other riders are kidnapped by some nefarious gangster types. The dauntless grandmother tracks them all way way across the sea (they use a ship; she uses a paddleboat) to Belleville, where she eventually rescues him with the help of the titular triplets, elderly singers who were seen on a TV screen in the film's opening sequence.
I have to admit that I had no idea where the movie was going when it began, which was part of the fun that I've spoiled for you with a plot summary. But that aside, there are still the pleasures of the score, the wonderful animation of more and more grotesquely exaggerated characters, the great look of the whole thing, and the sometimes dark, sometimes gentle humor. The grandmother and the dog are my favorite characters, but those triplets are remarkable, and their eating habits are hilarious. Check this one out if you haven't seen it.