Saturday, January 27, 2007

Tune In Tomorrow!

Coming up on "It's a Mystery":
Jan 29th: Anthony Award winner and Edgar nominee Bill Crider, author of numerous mysteries including Murder among the OWLS featuring Sheriff Dan Rhodes, and part 1 of a radio production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood starring Herbert Marshall. The show runs 11:00 until noon Eastern time, 10:00 Central.

Here's the site where you can listen live, or you can listen later to the archived show.

Who is the host of "It's a Mystery"?
Elizabeth Foxwell produces and hosts "It's a Mystery." Elizabeth won the Agatha Award for Best Short Story for "No Man's Land," which also was nominated for a Macavity Award; is the managing editor of CLUES: A Journal of Detection, the only US academic journal on mystery and detective fiction; and has published several short stories and numerous articles on mysteries as well as edited nine mystery anthologies.

Searching for the Worst Sound in the World

You can vote if you'd like to. There are about 30 sounds, but you can quit at any time. Link via Neatorama.

Sound 101 :: Bad Vibes: "Fingernails scraping down a blackboard... the scream of a baby... your neighbour's dog barking: what is the worst sound in the world? This is what this website has been trying to find out.

Acoustic science is concerned with the production, transmission, manipulation and reception of sound, from unwanted traffic noise to beautiful music. Acoustics is about both the physical properties of sound waves and the reaction of humans. This website is interested in the often complex ways in which people perceive and interpret sounds. The aim is to increase awareness of sound psychology by examining what makes a sound unpleasant to hear. Your votes on the site will also give us an insight into what is the worst sound in the world, and maybe why it is the worst sound.

The project is being led by Prof. Trevor Cox of Salford University’s Acoustic Research Centre. Salford has been carrying out teaching, research and consultancy in acoustics and audio for three decades. We teach pre-degree, degree and postgraduate courses in acoustics, audio and video. Our graduates work in the industry worldwide. We are a centre of excellence in research, gaining a 6* in the last RAE. Salford has world class laboratories for commercial work, teaching and research."

Novelists Are Often Absent-Minded

Nevada Appeal - News: "An acclaimed novelist lost his office in Carson City on Thursday when he threw a lit piece of paper into gasoline.

Fantasy writer David Eddings, 75, said he was using water to flush out the gas tank of his broken-down Excalibur sports car, when some fluid leaked. In a lapse of judgment he readily admitted, Eddings lit a piece of paper and threw into the puddle to test if it was still flammable. The answer came in an orange torrent.

The fire raged through the garage and a quarter of the way into the office that occupies the lot next door to his home. His 95-year-old mother-in-law inside the home, came outside to find the juniper trees lining the driveway had gone up in flames, too.

Eddings said his intention to was to prevent a fire - he was afraid to leave a tank full of gasoline in a car that had gone kaput - but instead he did the opposite.

'One word comes to mind,' the renowned wordsmith said as he stood in a pajama shirt and slippers. 'Dumb.'"

Friday, January 26, 2007

Bookseller Sees the Bright Side of Publishing Noir

Bookselling This Week: Bookseller Sees the Bright Side of Publishing Noir

For 18 years, David Thompson has sold the best in mystery, crime, and thrillers to customers at one of the most celebrated mystery bookstores in the nation, Murder By the Book, in Houston, Texas. Now, Thompson, the store's assistant manager and the founder of Busted Flush Press, is the publisher of an anthology featuring a 2007 Edgar Award nominee in the Best Short Story category.

"Cranked" is written by Bill Crider and is one of 27 original stories in Damn Near Dead: An Anthology of Geezer Noir, edited by crime writer Duane Swierczynski and published by Thompson. Damn Near Dead is the first anthology of original work to be published by Busted Flush, which Thompson founded in 2005 with the intention of reissuing out-of-print favorites.

The anthology grew from an idea hatched at a Murder by the Book signing for Swierczynski. "We came up with a great idea. Most mystery anthologies have a theme," Thompson told BTW. "Some are based on a setting, like Brooklyn, or an activity like basketball or cooking. We wanted something dark, and what is darker than getting old? One of us came up with the term Geezer Noir.

"Every short story [in the anthology] had to have protagonists who were elderly men or women -- active people -- no knitters or people with cats," he noted. In addition, each was never published before. (To be considered for this year's Edgar Awards, all work must have been published initially in 2006.)

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I Say We Hang 'em

Girls charged with conspiring to kill classmates, Oprah - "CHATTANOOGA, Tennessee (AP) -- Six girls at a rural high school were charged with homicide conspiracy after their principal found a list of 300 names and officials discovered online postings suggesting they kill people, authorities said Thursday.

School officials said the list, discovered in a classroom trash can, mostly named students and faculty members but also included Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey and the Energizer Bunny.

Sequatchie County High School Principal Tommy Layne said that he initially considered it a joke, but that authorities then found the ninth-graders' online MySpace pages and postings that included the word 'kill.'

'In general terms, it was like, 'Let's kill these people,' ' Dunlap Police Chief Clint Huth said. He declined to provide the specific wording on the posting, which has been removed."

cityrag: 20 Greatest Guitar Solos Ever, With Videos

cityrag: 20 Greatest Guitar Solos Ever, With Videos: "20 Greatest Guitar Solos Ever, With Videos
Guitar World complied a list of the '100 Greatest Guitar Solos'. Over the last few days the Howard Stern Show has been playing clips from the list. We've found listening to these great classics a very moving experience, so we took it a step further and dug up a video link for each of the top 20! Listen and watch the musical genius and mastery that made these classics famous!"

In Honor of Barbara Seranella

Buzz, Balls & Hype : In honor of Barbara Seranella - DO THIS!: "In honor of Barbara Seranella - DO THIS!

A wonderful mystery writer and terrific woman died this week, while she was waiting for a liver transplant and we are all saddened and bereft.

Please consider being a donor in Barbara's honor. Find out more here. And please, please post this link on your sites and your blogs.

Lets see how many sites and blogs we can get in a week to link to the organ donor page. There are enough organs, there are just not enough people who sign the cards.

I live with someone who was lucky enough to get a kidney in 1999 and I can tell you that there is no gift that means more."

Just a Reminder

"N-Word" Ban Update

Brazoria mayor ends battle to ban racial epithet | - Houston Chronicle: "By RICHARD STEWART
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

After facing intense opposition against a proposed ordinance that would have outlawed the use of the 'n-word' in his town, Brazoria Mayor Ken Corley announced Thursday he would drop the proposal altogether.

Corley's decision brought applause from most of the 200 people who gathered in the middle of Main Street to discuss the issue.

The meeting was held outside Thursday because the town's council chamber is too small.

Though almost all speakers said they condemned the use of racial epithets, most said the Brazoria County town of 2,800 has few racial problems, and the proposed ordinance would cause more problems than it would cure.

'I'm embarrassed for my little town,' said Bill Lott, who is white. 'We need to unite, not divide.'

The Rev. Melvin Johnson, who is black, said he thought it was wrong to single out one word."

Hardluck Stories on Comedy Central

The Comedy Central Insider: "Attention noir writers, Hardluck Stories, the online magazine dedicated to hardboiled crime fiction has sent out the call for its 'Truthiness' issue dedicated to the Colbert Report.

Editor Dave Zeltserman posts:

'What I'm looking for are the same typically brilliant noir stories that Hardluck routinely publishes, but stories that are somehow inspired by the Colbert Report show, possibly even by the concept of 'truthiness'.

'These could be stories featuring a Colbert-type character or inspired by an episode of Colbert Report or capture the essence of what Colbert is doing or whatever else your imagination can concoct as long as Colbert, his show or 'truthiness' is a key element of the story. What I'm not looking for is fanfic.' (Ed. - Emphasis ours. Sorry, fan fiction scribes)"

Big Contest! Win a Free Book!

Not from me, though. From Duane Swierczynski over at the Secret Dead Blog. You'll get a copy of Damn Near Dead signed by yous truly if you win. Maybe Duane will sign it, too. There will be three winners. Check it out.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Truth about Megan Abbott's Covers!

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Roy Head's son, Sundance, wows Idol judges | - Houston Chronicle: "American Idol found a strong front-runner Tuesday night in Sundance Head, a barrel-chested Memphis auditioner with a huge voice.

As Sundance mentioned on the show, he's the son of singer Roy Head, who had a No. 2 pop hit in 1965 with Treat Her Right.

'He's a dancing fool, and I got no moves,' Sundance said on the show before wowing the judges. A 1965 clip of Roy Head on YouTube, true to his son's description, he was a fleet-footed wonder.

Of his name, Sundance told Idol, 'My folks were hippies, I guess. It was hell to grow up with.'"

And just to prove that Sundance was right about his daddy:

Stark House February Book

I really like Sid Fleischman's books for children and young adults. They've won just about every award there is, but I'd been reading them for quite a while before I found out that Sid Fleischman was the A. S. Fleischman who'd written for Gold Medal more than 50 years ago (he's still writing; visit his website). Now Stark House has made it easy for you to own a couple of the great old Gold Medal books, with new introductions by Steve Lewis and Fleischman himself. Read a page of either Look Behind You, Lady or The Venetian Blonde, and you'll be hooked. Check 'em out.

Probably Everyone But Me Knew about "Danielle Brown"

Features : Radar Online: "Thanks to the Web, literary fiascos may never again slip softly into the safety of oblivion. 'Out of print' no longer means not available. And though you might be able to buy up all the copies listed on Amazon, good luck purging your dud from all those used book stores. Even if your involvement in a project was entirely tangential, you're unlikely to escape the rude gaze of public scrutiny. Former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey, for example, wrote the introduction to a book called SWAT Fitness in 2003, a skeleton he'd no doubt prefer remain in the closet. Radar scoured the remainder bins so you don't have to. Below, some less-than-proud moments from the world of publishing."

Joe Lansdale -- Grandmaster!

Congratulations to Joe on a well-deserved award.

World Horror Convention 2007 <> is proud and delighted to announce that hisownself, JOE. R. LANSDALE, has been voted the winner of the 2007 Grand Master Award.

The number of votes cast this year by members of the convention was the highest in the history of the seventeen-year-old award, and Lansdale joins the distinguished ranks of such other honoured recipients as Robert Bloch, Stephen King, Richard Matheson, Anne Rice, Clive Barker, Dean R. Koontz, Peter Straub, Brian Lumley, Ramsey Campbell, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury, Charles L. Grant, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Jack Williamson, F. Paul Wilson and Ray Garton.

Texas-born Mojo storyteller and scriptwriter Joe R. Lansdale is the author of more than thirty novels in all genres, including crime, Western, horror and pulp adventure. The author of ACT OF LOVE, THE NIGHTRUNNERS, COLD IN JULY, SAVAGE SEASON, THE BOTTOMS and THE DRIVE-IN series, he is also known for his seven novels about two unlikely friends, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, who live in a town in East Texas and find themselves solving a variety of often violent or macabre mysteries. The series began with SAVAGE SEASON in 1990 and CAPTAINS OUTRAGEOUS (2001) is the most recent title in the on-going saga.

Lansdale has also written scripts for comic books and animated television shows, and his novella BUBBA HO-TEP, about an aged Elvis Presley and black John F. Kennedy battling a soul-sucking mummy, was filmed by Don Coscarelli in 2002. His short story, "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road" was adapted as the first episode of the first season of TV's MASTERS OF HORROR series.

Joe R. Lansdale is the winner of six HWA Bram Stoker Awards, the British Fantasy Award, the MWA Edgar Award, the American Mystery Award, the Horror Critics Award, the "Shot in the Dark" International Crime Writer's award, the Booklist Editor's Award and the Critic's Choice Award.

We are extremely pleased that JOE R. LANSDALE will be joining our previously-announced Guests of Honour MICHAEL MARSHALL SMITH, the multiple award-winning British author of such novels as SPARES, ONLY FORWARD, ONE OF US and the best-selling THE STRAW MEN trilogy; Montreal-based author NANCY KILPATRICK, whose books include novels NEAR DEATH, CHILD OF THE NIGHT, JASON X: PLANET OF THE BEAST and THE GOTH BIBLE: A COMPENDIUM FOR THE DARKLY INCLINED; Chesley Award and World Fantasy Award-winning American illustrator JOHN PICACIO; British writer/editor/publisher PETER CROWTHER and Toronto editor and pulp magazine authority DON HUTCHISON, and British-born Hollywood scriptwriter PETER ATKINS (three HELLRAISER sequels; WISHMASTER). Canadian writer SEPHERA GIRON, author of such novels as HOUSE OF PAIN and BORROWED FLESH, is Mistress of Ceremonies.

For the first time in its seventeen-year history, The World Horror Convention is being held outside the United States. With a theme exploring "The Diversity of Horror", World Horror Convention 2007 will take place over March 29-April 1 at the TORONTO MARRIOTT DOWNTOWN EATON CENTRE, located in the heart of Toronto, Canada.

Among those authors, editors and publishers also scheduled to attend are

The convention already has more British and Canadian attendees than any previous World Horror, making it a truly international event, and PROGRESS REPORT #3 (which will include travel information and a list of attendees) will be mailed to all registered members in early March.

THE 2007 Horror Writers Association BRAM STOKER AWARDS PRESENTATION will be held at the convention on the Saturday evening. For details about how to purchase your tickets to this very special event, please consult the HWA or WHC websites.

The convention's official airline is AIR CANADA, a Star Alliance Member <>.

For more information, please contact Convention Chairperson: AMANDA FOUBISTER <>

Hungry Like the Wolf

Rome's Palatine Hill reveals new treasures as archaeologists work to save its monuments - International Herald Tribune: "ROME: Work on Rome's Palatine Hill has turned up a trove of discoveries, including what might be the underground grotto where ancient Romans believed a wolf nursed the city's legendary founders Romulus and Remus.

Archaeologists gathered Tuesday at a conference to save crumbling monuments on the Palatine discussed findings of studies on the luxurious imperial residences threatened by collapse and poor maintenance that have forced the closure of much of the hill to the public.

While funds are still scarce, authorities plan to reopen some key areas of the honeycombed hill to tourists by the end of the year, including frescoed halls in the palaces of the emperor Augustus and of his wife Livia.

After being closed for decades, parts of the palaces will be opened for guided tours while restoration continues, officials said.

It was during the restoration of the palace of Rome's first emperor that workers taking core samples from the hill found what could be a long-lost place of worship believed by ancient Romans to be the cave where a she-wolf suckled Romulus and Remus, the abandoned twin sons of the god of war Mars."

William Shatner Salutes George Lucas

He sings, he dances, he emotes! Well, sort of.

What the Well-Equipped Vampire Hunter Carried

Van Helsing's 19th Century Vampire kit is shown here.

E. Howard Hunt Redux

Mark Coggins points out that Hunt knew his Chandler.

Riordan's Desk: E. Howard Hunt and Raymond Chandler: "Steve Lewis, Bill Crider and J. Kingston Pierce at the Rap Sheet have pointed out that recently deceased Watergate burglar E. Howard Hunt was also a spy novelist.

What may be less generally known is that Hunt and Raymond Chandler once corresponded. In 1952, Chandler wrote a two page letter in response to--of all things--charges from Hunt of ethical violations of 'self-plagiarism.' Hunt had written to complain that several of Chandler's 1930s Black Mask short stories, anthologized in the 1952 collection The Simple Art of Murder, had been the cannibalized to provide the plot lines for his first four novels."

I'm in Awe

Art Garfunkel - Official Website: "Garfunkel Library

Since the 1960's, Art Garfunkel has been a voracious reader. We are pleased to present a listing of every book Art has read over the last 30 years. To view a list of Art Garfunkel's favorite books, go to 'Favorites'. This book list has been divided into several pages to allow easy downloading. Each page indicates the author, title, date of publication and number of pages (when available)"

Link via Incoming Signals.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Virgin Komodo Dragon Birth Update

Previous post is here. Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the update. Photo of the little lizard at link.

Virgin Komodo dragon gives birth - Science - "MANCHESTER, England - A British zoo announced Wednesday the virgin birth of five Komodo dragons, giving scientists new hope for the captive breeding of the endangered species.

In an evolutionary twist, the newborns’ eight-year-old mother Flora shocked staff at Chester Zoo in northern England when she became pregnant without ever having a male partner or even being exposed to the opposite sex."

I Am So Ready For This

NICOLAS CAGE - CAGE CONFIRMED AS LIBERACE FAVOURITE: "LATEST: NICOLAS CAGE has been confirmed as the favourite to play camp showman LIBERACE in a new movie musical. The actor has been linked to the role for years, but now screenwriters JASON FRIEDBERG and AARON SELTZER have confirmed Cage is in talks to show off his musical skills as the late pianist. Speaking at the Sundance Film Festival, where the writers are promoting their new comedy EPIC MOVIE, Seltzer says, 'We met with Nicolas Cage last year and he really wanted to star in it; he wanted to direct himself in it too.' "

The Novels of E. Howard Hunt

The newspaper articles that appeared when E. Howard Hunt died barely mentioned his writing career. So I thought I'd do my part by posting a slideshow of the covers of the books I have. You can see it right here.

Somebody Stop Me!

Before I link to this!

The Lightning Thief -- Rick Riordan

Suppose the Greek gods were real. Now suppose that they're still around. (They're gods, after all.) Wouldn't they be up to their usual shenanigans, fooling around with mortals and leaving a few offspring behind, and wouldn't those offspring be demi-gods like the heroes of old? Sure they would, and one of them is Perseus "Percy" Jackson, whose discover of his parenthood and of a conspiracy against the immortals is the story that unfolds in The Lightning Thief.

This is a YA novel, but I've said before that some of the best writing around is in YA novels. Here's another cas in point. Rick Riordan is a much-lauded writer of mysteries for adults (and deservedly so), but this book has won more awards than all his mysteries put together. If you're looking for action, adventure, great characters, and a few laughs, not to mention a fine short course in Greek mythology, look no further. This is a book that kids and their parents can both enjoy, and it should give the Harry Potter novels a run for their money. The movie will be out next year, and the Percy Jackson books will no doubt be launched into the stratosphere, if they aren't already there.

I'm a little late to the party, since book two is already out, with book three coming along in May, but you can bet I'll be catching up. Check 'em out for yourselves.

Happy Birthday, Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine Turning 90 on Wednesday - Los Angeles Times -

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — At a recent reunion of the cast of the 1960s TV comedy "McHale's Navy," the actors were appalled at the arrival of their former commandant. A driver helped Ernest Borgnine from the car. The once-exuberant Lt. Cmdr. Quinton McHale was stooped over and walked haltingly, muttering gibberish.

His former ensign, comedian Tim Conway, rushed forward and exclaimed, "Ernie, what has happened to you?"
Suddenly Borgnine straightened up, threw out his massive chest and bellowed, "What's going on here?" followed by his signature high-decible laugh.

Prankster Borgnine shows little evidence of aging as he approaches his 90th birthday on Wednesday. His round, pudgy face is little changed. His only concession to age was abandoning the bus he used to drive around the country, talking with local folks along the way.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

E. Howard Hunt, R. I. P.

Hunt was a writer before he was a spy, but there's no mention here of his many novels under his own name or as David St. John, Robert Dietrich, and Gordon Davis. Thanks to Richard Heft for the link.

Watergate figure E. Howard Hunt dies - Yahoo! News: "MIAMI - E. Howard Hunt, who helped organize the Watergate break-in, leading to the greatest scandal in American political history and the downfall of
Richard Nixon's presidency, died Tuesday. He was 88.

Hunt died after a lengthy bout with pneumonia, according to his son, Austin Hunt.

The elder Hunt was many things: World War II soldier,
CIA officer, organizer of both a Guatemalan coup and the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, and author of more than 80 books, many from the spy-tale genre.

Yet the bulk of his notoriety came from the one thing he always insisted he wasn't — a Watergate burglar. He often said he preferred the term 'Watergate conspirator.'

'I will always be called a Watergate burglar, even though I was never in the damn place,' Hunt told The Miami Herald in 1997. 'But it happened. Now I have to make the best of it.'"

The Pride of Mexia, Texas

No, it's not Anna Nicole. It's Cindy Walker in three "soundies." I particularly like the second one, a backwoods number, with Cindy looking like Daisy Mae.

If I Were Still Blogging about Paris Hilton. . .

. . . I would definitely not link to this. No one would believe it, anyway.

Except John Duke, who sent the link.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Using the 'N-word' in Brazoria may cost you $500 | - Houston Chronicle: "Brazoria Mayor Ken Corley wants offensive use of the 'n-word' to be punishable by a fine of up to $500 in his town.

'It's not a particular problem in Brazoria,' Corley said, 'but it's a national problem.'

Corley said he got the idea while watching two black ministers talking on television about how offensive that word is. 'I just think it would be great if this little town of Brazoria, with 2,800 people, leads the way in fighting against this offensive language,' said Corley.

He said if the ordinance passes, he may ask for it to be expanded to include other racial slurs."

Bad Cop Update

With blacked-out photos. Thanks to the alert Karin Montin for the link.

Bad Cop News � Blog Archive � Two Manitoba Canada Sheriff’s Officers Want Video Showing Them Having Sex With Porn Actress Removed From The Web, But It Doesn’t Appear That Was A Concern When It Was Shot…: "Two Manitoba Canada Sheriff’s Officers Want Video Showing Them Having Sex With Porn Actress Removed From The Web, But It Doesn’t Appear That Was A Concern When It Was Shot…"

Monday, January 22, 2007

Barbara Seranella R. I. P.

This sucks. I met her at the Bouchercon, and she was great. Just coming into her own as a writer, too. She'll be missed.

Barbara Seranella's Home Page: "Barbara Seranella
Born April 30, 1956
Died January 21, 2007

Barbara Seranella, 50, bestselling mystery author and resident of Laguna Beach and PGA West in La Quinta, died peacefully on January 21, 2007, at 4:15 p.m. EST (1:15 p.m. PST) at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio, with her husband Ron Seranella and her brother Dr. Larry Shore at her side. Barbara, who died of end-stage liver disease while awaiting a liver transplant, leaves behind her husband Ron, brothers Larry Shore of San Francisco and David Shore of Woodacre, parents Nate and Margie Shore of La Quinta, and stepdaughters Carrie Seranella and Shannon Howard.

Private funeral arrangements are being made by the family. A celebration of Barbara's life is being planned for February; details will be announced later."

Private-Eyes Down Under (Pun Definitely Intended)

Jeff Meyerson just keeps sending me these things.

Private-eyes paid to have paid�sex - "SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Sydney officials have paid private detectives thousands of dollars to have sex with prostitutes to gather evidence needed to shut down illegal brothels, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Nine local councils have paid private investigators a total of 25,000 Australian dollars (US$19,740) over the past three years to go undercover and root out the illicit trade, according to The Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

Nick Ebbeck, the mayor of Kuringai council, which has reportedly spent A$7,000 (US$5,520) in the past month employing detectives to have sex with prostitutes, said extreme measures were necessary.

'We have to employ private investigators to actually go through with the act and come up with reports that will suffice in a court process,' he was quoted as saying.

'On numerous occasions over numerous days and times they had to fulfill the act.'"

I Am Definitely Not Linking . . .

. . . to this.

Even though Jeff Meyerson thinks I shouldn't pass up a good Paris Hilton post.

Getting Away with Murder

A new column from Mike Ripley at Shots. Click here.

In Keeping with my Policy of not Blogging about Paris Hilton. . .

. . . I will not be linking to this.

And thanks to Jeff Meyerson for not telling me about it.

Then Came Bronson

Lee Goldberg's been posting opening themes from TV shows for a while. Here's one of my favorite openings. It has the end credits, too.

Most Notable Quotes of 2006

There's even one from Talladega Nights!

Bush quotes most notable of 2006 expert says�|�Oddly Enough�|� "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - President Bush scored high Thursday on a list he may not be keen to top.

Three of Bush's quotes, led by his 'I'm the Decider' remark in April, head 2006's most notable quotations compiled by Fred R. Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations.

Bush's comment that 'I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense' is followed by his State of the Union address quote that 'America is addicted to oil' and by his comment on Hurricane Katrina to high school students in New Orleans: 'I take full responsibility for the federal government's response.'"

But Will It Fly?

South Bend Tribune: "CLINTON, Mich. (AP) -- Some people may call Alfie Carrington crazy or foolish.

How else do you describe a man who has spent more than half his life building a flying saucer?

By day a construction worker, Carrington spends his free time inside a rented storage garage in Macomb County's Clinton Township where he broods over a 14-foot-wide, carbon fiber, fiberglass vessel."

And What about their WMD?

Damned Lies and Statistics: Is the Vatican a Rogue State? - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News: "The top crime neighborhood in the world isn't in Sao Paulo or Lagos. It's not the Bronx in New York, or even Wedding in Berlin. It's the small city ruled by Pope Benedict XVI, which apparently sees more criminal cases per capita than any other part of the world.

The Vatican's attorney general Nicola Picardi released the astounding statistic at the start of 2007: The tiny nation's justice department in 2006 had to contend with 341 civil and 486 criminal cases. In a population of 492, that measures out to 1.5 cases per person -- twenty times the corresponding rate in Italy."

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Because I Couldn't Resist

Call for Submissions at Hardluck Stories

Hardluck Stories is opening up submissions for a special Stephen Colbert "truthiness" issue. The guidelines are posted on the Hardluckstories website.

The ploy is that someone on Colbert Nation's staff sees this and that Colbert uses this as part of his shtick and mentions Hardluck on the air. Dave Zeltserman is going to be investing some money in this-both putting out press releases in announcing submissions and when the issue is published. As far as the guidelines--opening up the story to plots involving "truthiness" really opens this up to any true noir story since self-deception can be such a powerful part of a true noir story.

Phoenix Press

Steve Lewis is doing great work on the Internet. Here's a little about his latest project on Phoenix Press: "Most of their output, mysteries, westerns, romances, straight fiction, went directly to lending libraries, making them fairly scarce today. Some are nearly impossible to find, and even more so if you're looking for one with a dust jacket. In conjunction with another project, Bill Pronzini and I are putting together a gallery of all the covers for the Phoenix Press mysteries. It's
still very much in the construction stage, but there's certainly no harm in anybody looking. It's right here. You might also like to read Bill's overall analysis of Phoenix's line of mystery fiction which is here."

This is highly recommended stuff. Check it out.

Happy Birthday, Charles Lane!

I missed this one on Friday. I found out today on That Little Round-Headed Boy. I remember Charles Lane mostly from TV, and he was on hundreds (literally) of shows. Most people recall him from It's a Wonderful Life, I suppose, and I hope his own has as been as wonderful as it's been long (102 years).

If I Were Doing Paris Hilton Links . . .

. . . which of course I'm not and would never stoop to, I'd link to her grade school photos, the way Bumpshack did.

Why Dogs Will One Day Rise Up to Destroy Humanity

Reason #1.

Link via Neatorama.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

By Ken Levine: Please give a warm welcome to Ted Nugent!: "So when Ted Nugent performed at the Texas Governor's Inaugural Ball with machine guns, a Confederate Flag T-shirt, and started shouting offensive remarks about people who don't speak English, uh was this a surprise to anyone? This wasn't John Davidson they hired. This was Ted Nugent, he of the biting live chickens on stage rumors.

Even if Mr. Nugent (or, as he's also known, Sweaty Teddy, Deadly Tedly, Great Gonzos, and my personal favorite, Theodocious Atrocious) was told to just sing his big hits that would mean "Wang Dang Sweet Poontang." Imagine starting the ladies choice dance with that?

Were the Johnny Mann Singers just unavailable that night?"

It's Coming!

Deadlier than the Male

Jaime Weinman has some dandy clips from Deadlier than the Male, a James Bond wannabe from the late '60s. Check 'em out here.

Ummmmm . . . Chocolate

Testing for Perfection: Milk Chocolate at Gourmet Features at "We tasted milk chocolate straight, then in a dessert sauce, and showcased the winners in our February 2007 issue (Testing for Perfection: 'Milk Chocolate Lab'). Here is the full list of chocolates included in the testing, in order of our preference, with tasting notes."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

New dollar coin to debut in Houston, Chicago | - Houston Chronicle: "The eyes of third- and fourth-graders may grow as wide as silver dollars next week when a bewigged and costumed 'living biographer' of George Washington strides into Poe Elementary to tout the U.S. Mint's new dollar coin, the first in a series honoring the nation's presidents.

The Houston children will be among the first Americans to view the coin, which is set to begin circulating Feb. 15. The coin, featuring the likeness of Washington on one side and the Statue of Liberty on the back, also will be unveiled in Chicago.

In approving the Presidential $1 Coin Act of 2005, Congress lauded the program as an educational aid for the American public, many of whom, leaders contended, are unfamiliar with presidential history. The program is modeled loosely after the series of 25-cent pieces that featured the nation's states."

For the Love of Zeus

Zeus worshippers demand access to temple - Yahoo! News
ATHENS, Greece - After all these centuries, Zeus may have a few thunderbolts left. A tiny group of worshippers plans a rare ceremony Sunday to honor the ancient Greek gods, at Athens' 1,800-year-old Temple of Olympian Zeus. Greece's Culture Ministry has declared the central Athens site off-limits, but worshippers say they will defy the decision.

"These are our temples and they should be used by followers of our religion," said Doreta Peppa, head of the Athens-based Ellinais, a group campaigning to revive the ancient religion.

"Of course we will go ahead with the event ... we will enter the site legally," said Peppa, who calls herself a high priestess of the revived faith. "We will issue a call for peace, who can be opposed to that?"

Peppa said the ceremony will be held in honor of Zeus, king of the ancient gods, but did not give other details. The daily Ethnos newspaper, citing the group's application to the Culture Ministry to use the site, said the 90-minute event would include hymns, dancers, torchbearers, and worshippers in ancient costumes.

Greece's archaic religion is believed to have several hundred official followers, mainly middle-aged and elderly academics, lawyers and other professionals. They typically share a keen interest in ancient history and a dislike for the Greek Orthodox Church.

Where Are They Now?

Thanks to Todd Mason for this link to Barack Obama's senior yearbook entry. No yet word on whether "the choom gang" will be appointed to cabinet posts.