Saturday, February 10, 2007
I've heard rumors that this might be the last book in the series. I'd be sorry if the rumors were true, but if they are, there's thematic support for them. Deadwood is changing, and there are more departures than arrivals in the story, giving it an appropriately elegiac tone.
This whole series is highly recommended and contains some of the author's best writing to my of thinking. You should start with the first book and read them in order if possible. Check 'em out, the sooner, the better.
iWon News - Deputies Find Alligator During Drug Bust
BUCKLEY, Wash. (AP) - Pierce County sheriff's deputies were startled when they entered a house near here during a drug bust and found- an alligator.
"It's alarming in that it's big enough and its mouth looked big enough, that if it were to bite it would definitely do some serious damage," sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said of the 4-foot-long alligator.
Sheriff's officers said they believed the alligator belonged to one of two men arrested in Friday's raid. He will also face investigation for illegal possession of an exotic animal as well as drug allegations.
As for the alligator, deputies contacted animal services, which turned it over to an animal rescue group called Predators of the Heart. A rescue group representative said the alligator was in good condition.
powered by performancing firefox
Anna seen pounding booze, and her room was full of pills
BY ANGELA MOSCONI in Hollywood, Fla.
and CARRIE MELAGO in New York
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
It's a scene similar to those that reportedly preceded her death. In these photos from 1995, the party girl balances a shot glass inside her T-shirt ...
... then dramatically empties it ...
... without using her hands.
Yesterday Smith's mother, Virgie Arthur, had a tearful interview on 'Good Morning America,' in which she blamed drugs for her daughter's death.
Anna Nicole Smith's final days were a booze-fueled frenzy that ended in a hotel room so stocked with meds that it resembled a "pharmacist's shop," according to reports.
While an autopsy performed yesterday could not immediately determine what killed Smith, witnesses who saw the troubled bombshell in the days before her death say she was partying and falling-down drunk.
A bouncer at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, where Smith later died, said the centerfold was drinking into the early morning on Tuesday.
"I saw two guys walking her out. She was pretty much all trashed. She was messed up. She couldn't walk on her own. ... Her bouncer was on one side and her lawyer friend on the other," the bouncer said.
Just hours before she died, Smith was back at the Hard Rock's 24-hour Center Bar in the middle of the casino floor.
A bartender named Mike told the Daily News that Smith was tossing back double shots.
"Her eyes were droopy. It looked like she was really, really drunk. She was slurring her speech. She looked plastered," he said.
Mike said fans surrounded Smith that night, snapping pictures of her as she laughed and downed drinks.
"She talked to a few people but she was mostly concentrating on the drinking," he said. "She was wasted out of her mind, but that's the Anna Nicole me and my friends have grown to know."
Smith's hard-partying ways appeared to extend into her posh suite on the sixth floor of the hotel.
A source told Star magazine that entering the room was like "walking into a pharmacist's shop." Outfitted with a canopy bed, tall plants and leopard-print hangers, the room was filled with prescription medication including Xanax, Provigil, Vicodin and "a ... lot of methadone," Star reported.
powered by performancing firefox
Friday, February 09, 2007
Group Names Top 10 Polluting Refineries - Newsday.com: "The Washington-based advocacy group also released a list of the top 10 most polluting refineries in the country, based on an analysis of 2004 emissions data from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Topping the list, with nearly 2.1 million pounds of carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde was BP PLC's refinery in Texas City, Texas, though the advocacy group said that number was skewed dramatically upward due to a one-time release of nearly 2 million pounds of formaldehyde in 2004. "
SignOnSanDiego.com > News > Metro -- It's just what the doctor ordered: paid advice for the prison-bound: "Dr. Prison is a consulting business, based in La Mesa and run by a San Diego man, that coaches men and women who are about to serve sentences in jail or prison. Dr. Prison teaches them how to talk, how to carry themselves, how to make allies and how to avoid making enemies. Really, how to survive.
“Dr. Prison's mission is to help you avoid being physically hurt, extorted, or possibly killed in prison,” the business says on its Web site, www.drprison.com."
Lee Hoffman: "Lee Hoffman is one of those marvelous people who defy being categorized. Her fascinating life has spanned a wide spectrum of human endeavors. Amateur archaeologist, artist, author, horsewoman, race car inspector, where does one begin? You might find her sipping wine in New York or sampling the waters of the Okeefenokee Swamp. If you find her relaxing in front of a radio, she may be listening to folk music or to police dispatches. The clack-clacking in the next room might be Lee writing a novel, or disassembling the typewriter to see how it works. Read on to find out more about this renaissance woman."
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Everyone knows that she worked at Jim's Crispy Fried Chicken, married early, and went to Houston, where she changed the color of her hair (and perhaps had a few other augmentations), posed for some photos, and became famous. I expect that she achieved a success beyond her wildest imaginings, and she was hardly equipped to deal with it. If you saw any of her TV reality show, you know what the real Beverly Hillbillies would be like: a lot more sad than funny.
I suppose her early death was more or less to be expected, considering the tales of drug abuse that followed her around. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that her drug use had increased after the death of her son. The story of her life and career isn't tragic. It's more like pathetic. I hope her infant daughter gets some of those many millions that Anna Nicole has fought for in court for so long.
My brother doesn't like to talk to people about Anna Nicole. I just heard from him, and he has declined an on-camera interview with a Waco channel about Anna's death. He's implied to me that most people in Mexia are sort of ashamed of her. I think that's entirely the wrong attitude. To me, she's a great American story.
KWTX | Anna Nicole Smith Found Unconscious In Hotel Room: "(February 8, 2007)—CBS News was reporting Thursday afternoon that one-time Mexia chicken restaurant waitress turned Playboy model turned heiress turned reality TV star Anna Nicole Smith has been found unconscious in her hotel room at the Hard Rock Cafe and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
CNN reported CPR was performed at the scene.
A fire department spokesman told MSNBC TV Smith was unresponsive.
Access Hollywood reports Smith was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital and that she was on a respirator as she was placed in the ambulance.
The report comes a day after Smith and the diet company TrimSpa were targeted in a class-action lawsuit that alleges TrimSpa's marketing is false or misleading."
On October 17, 2005, the 40 greatest magazine covers of the last 40 years were unveiled at the 2005 American Magazine Conference (AMC) in Puerto Rico, by Mark Whitaker, Editor of Newsweek and President of American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), and AMC Chairman Evan Smith, Editor of Texas Monthly.
powered by performancing firefox
Some of you have seen the attached article that ran in Variety yesterday; for those of you who haven't, I'm attaching it below. The gist of it is that we've hooked up with Papazian-Hirsch, the producers of (among many other things over the past 30+ years) the outstanding HBO series "Rome," to create a series of Hard Case Crime movies. These are early days yet, so just how many films will get made or which of our books they'll be based on is still up in the air -- but we definitely feel we're in good hands, and will keep you posted as things begin developing.
Meanwhile, in a less noteworthy but still fun bit of film-related news, if you pick up the new DVD edition of "Ocean's 11" that's coming out later this year and turn to the DVD extras, you'll find a documentary about heist pictures and heist novels featuring interviews with a number of our authors, including Jason Starr (BUST), Peter Pavia (DUTCH UNCLE), and yours truly [Charles Ardai]. While I don't think the three of us will give Clooney, Pitt, and Damon any serious competition in terms of sheer on-camera charisma, it's a treat to be part of the crew, even in a small way...
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
As we all know, no good deed goes unpunished, and saving the stranger leads Modesty into all sorts of difficulties, all of them entertaining, to wit: homicidal twins, an evil nannie mastermind, flamethrowers, a panther, fights to the death, deeply buried memories, a treasure beyond price, and more derring-do than you can shake a whip at. There's also another incredible coincidence, but in a book like this that kind of thing doesn't bother me in the least.
Peter O'Donnell is an outrageously entertaining writer, and he whisks you from one exotic setting to another with the ease of a born storyteller. I have only four or five Modesty Blaise novels, so I have to space them out carefully. If you're lucky enough to have one that you haven't read, now might be the time.
[When he died, Spillane] had just finished a novel called The Last Stand, which is not a crime novel, more an adventure novel in the Something’s Down There vein. It’s a good book but not typical Spillane in content (although typically Spillane in theme), and we--Jane and I--did not want this to be the first book to appear after Mickey’s passing. So Dead Street, which is about a tough cop in retirement, seemed perfect.
And now, those novels - which will be completed and edited by Collins - have found a home with Harcourt, specifically Otto Penzler's imprint. Publishers Weekly reports that Penzler acquired world rights to THE GOLIATH BONE, KING OF WEEDS as well as a third Hammer novel, THE BIG BANG from Dominick Abel. Look for BONE to be out in Spring 2008, with the others to follow thereafter.
She's one of 10 students among the club's 35
dancers, working to earn enough money in tips to cover books and tuition.
Though tips can be high, working as a dancer while being a full-time student still has its downsides, from both a social and an academic perspective.
Balancing herself upside down while spreading her legs on a pole appears to be easier than balancing working late at night and getting up early for class.
'It's hard to get up for your 8 a.m. after giving lap dances until 3:30 a.m.,' said Portia, a junior. 'By the time you get home, it's almost time for class.' "
CSPI Picks the Best and Worst Fast Foods ~ Newsroom ~ News from CSPI: "Fast-food menus are getting better ... and worse, says the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Burger King swept the Worst category with its Double Whopper with Cheese, French Fries, Old Fashioned Ice Cream Shake, Hash Browns, and Value Meals. But Burger King also sells two items in the Best category–the Chicken Whopper Jr. and BK Veggie Burger. McDonald’s Fruit ’n Yogurt Parfait, Wendy’s Mandarin Chicken Salad, and Subway’s Low-fat Subs were also among the Best."
Update: Thanks to Todd Mason for this link to a nice NPR tribute.
FRANKIE LAINE: 1913-2007 / Pop singer -- sang 'Rawhide' theme
(02-07) 04:00 PST San Diego -- Frankie Laine, the singer with the booming voice who hit it big with such songs as "That Lucky Old Sun," "Mule Train," "Cool Water," "I Believe," "Granada" and "Moonlight Gambler," died Tuesday at age 93.
Laine entered Mercy Hospital over the weekend for hip replacement surgery but suffered complications from the operation, said his friend A.C. Lyles, the longtime producer at Paramount Pictures who announced Laine's death.
In all, Laine sold well over 100 million records and was hugely popular not only in the United States but also in Britain and Australia.
Even after his popularity crested with the rise of rock 'n' roll, Laine was heard for many years singing the theme to the TV series "Rawhide," which featured Clint Eastwood.
Most of those who remember Laine for his biggest hits would hardly know that his body of work included "Baby That Ain't Right," "Rosetta" and many other songs that were more in the style of what Laine considered his roots: jazz and blues.
"Years before Elvis Presley, Laine brought a potent blend of blues, jazz and country to popular music," jazz critic Don Heckman said. "Rarely acknowledged in Laine's work, he sang with the easy, loose phrasing and imaginative articulation of jazz performers."
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The movie's not just pretty, however. It does have a plot. I thought it would be a martial arts fantasy adventure. It turned out to be a martial arts fantasy romance.
It has all the trappings of adventure: the emperor is corrupt and weak, and a secret society (the Flying Daggers) opposes him. A young cop is assigned by his friend to cozy up to the blind dancer by rescuing her from jail. They hope she will lead them to the Flying Daggers. But things, as often, aren't what they seem, and people aren't who they seem to be, either.
The plot revelations would have been better if spread out through the movie instead of being lumped into about five minutes of it, but who cares? It's not about the plot, anyway. It's about the beautifully choreographed battles and individual fights, about the impressive scenery, about the costumes and the color and the movement.
Walter Satterthwait told me that this movie had "a jolly ending." Walter's a card. Check it out for yourself.
Update: Todd Mason likes this link better. Check 'em both out.
Killers Kill, Dead Men Die: The 2007 Hollywood Portfolio: Entertainment & Culture: vanityfair.com: "Menace behind every shadow … fear in every dimly lit scene! For this year's Hollywood Issue, Annie Leibovitz and Michael Roberts created a film noir masterpiece to die for. The spectacular 33-page portfolio is in the March issue, about to hit newsstands."
The cast: Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Jessica Alba, Pedro Almodóvar, Alec Baldwin, Adam Beach, Jessica Biel, Abigail Breslin, Jennifer Connelly, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Robert De Niro, Robert Downey Jr., Kirsten Dunst, Aaron Eckhart, James Franco, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Hudson, Anjelica Huston, Rinko Kikuchi, Diane Lane, Derek Luke, Tobey Maguire, James McAvoy, Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, Jack Nicholson, Bill Nighy, Ed Norton, Peter O'Toole, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Kerry Washington, Naomi Watts, Forest Whitaker, Bruce Willis, Patrick Wilson, Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood.
Video narrator: Ben Shenkman. Music: "Blue Dahlia." Composed by John "Scrapper" Sneider. Produced by Frank Aloi. Performed by the Film Noir Project. Courtesy of JSM Music Inc. Video producer: David Schisgall.
Janet Luna and three people identified as her guardians were named in a lawsuit filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges deceptive business practices and a violation of California's unfair competition law.
They are asking for unspecified damages, restitution and an injunction preventing Smith and New Jersey-based TrimSpa, maker of TrimSpa X32, from making claims that users of the pills can lose substantial amounts of weight.
Smith, 39, has endorsed TrimSpa and is a spokeswoman."
Love is ... a pair of really good jeans - Yahoo! News: "NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters Life!) - For most women, the choice between sex and a new wardrobe is simple -- they go for the clothes.
Women on average say they would be willing to give up sex for 15 months for a closet full of new apparel, with 2 percent ready to abstain from sex for three years in exchange for new duds, according to a new survey of about 1,000 women in 10 U.S. cities.
Sixty-one percent of women polled said it would be worse to lose their favorite article of clothing than give up sex for a month."
Jamal Jafaar Mohammed's seat in parliament gives him immunity from prosecution. Washington says he supports Shiite insurgents and acts as an Iranian agent in Iraq."
Sky News: When Sex Is Not Enough: "Most adults would prefer to cuddle up with a good book at bedtime rather than make love to their partner.
A survey of 2,000 people showed lovemaking was fourth in a list of 'favourite activities' when hitting the sack, behind reading, watching TV - and going to sleep.
Women were more likely to prefer to read at night, according to the survey by hotel chain Travelodge.
The most popular books of the moment were The Da Vinci Code, Lord of the Rings, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, To Kill a Mocking Bird, and Treasure Island.
Travelodge spokesman Wayne Munnelly said: 'Reading is the perfect way to wind down at the end of the day.
'Anxiety levels will drop as it provides a gentle distraction, pushing any worries out of your mind which will ultimately help you relax and fall asleep.'"
Monday, February 05, 2007
They turned up at a Darwin pool early this morning to find that a crocodile had got there first.
The children noticed a dark shape in a shaded corner which then scuttled across the lawn and into the public pool.
Amid screams and shrieks, they quickly realised the shape in question was a crocodile.
The 1.6 metre reptile remained under water for more than two hours before it was tackled by a catcher who managed to tie it up, lift it from the pool and then take it to a nearby crocodile farm."
I am as much a film geek as a tech geek. In a previous life, I reviewed music and movies, and had lots more fun with the latter. If someone offered me a film-review job that paid my mortgage, I'd take it in a second, but I have a feeling that will remain a part of my past rather than become my future.
Sadly, most of the film reviews I wrote back then are not online . . . I'd love to share the absolutely horrible review I wrote of The Story of O for the Daily Texan, circa 1975. But alas . . .
Geeks and movies go together quite nicely. I've been thinking about films that reflect tech and geek culture, and have pulled together a list of 15 movies that should probably be on any geek's must-see list.
These are in no particular order, except that the first one is my No. 1 Must-Watch-for-Geek-Cred film."
I've seen 14 of these.
Thanks for your interests in our unique underground properties. Built at a cost of millions, these heavily reinforced historic structures were designed to withstand nuclear attack. They bring new meaning to the word "shelter". Centuries from now they will remain.
Very few of these first generation missile sites were built. All other sites decommissioned after 1965 are being destroyed to conform to international treaty agreements. No more structures of this size and strength are being built. Most of these properties are rough after 30 years of neglect, but with some clean up and reconstruction inside, their grandeur is restored.
powered by performancing firefox
The rare find is a significant step in the study of the pre-historic life in Narmada Valley.
'All the eggs were discovered from a single nesting site in a start to end exploration for 18 hours at the site in Kukshi-Bagh area, 40 kms from Manavar. As many as 6-8 eggs were found per nests,' an excited Vishal Verma of the Mangal Panchayatan Parishad, a group of amateur explorers, told Hindustan Times from near the site.
'The eggs are from upper cretaceous era when the dinosaurs were yet to be extinct. These eggs can be categorised in three types of soropaud dinosaurs, which were herbivorous. These animals used to come from far away areas to lay eggs on the sandy banks of the rivers in this area, identified scientifically as Lameta bed,' Verma said."
Key quote: "The eggs are from upper cretaceous era when the dinosaurs were yet to be extinct."
Gee. Ya think?
Bob Randisi is the author of more books than I can count, much less consider writing. He's been publishing stories and novels for well over 25 years under many different names, but lately things have started to break his way for novels done under his real moniker. Here's a little update from Bob:
Check 'em out.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
Bonus: the commentary includes a Paris Hilton slam. Will the persecution never end?
FTTW - a daily magazine: "Time to Vote: Worst Songs of the 70's
The nomination process is over and now that all those songs got stuck in your heads, we will make a half hearted attempt to apologize.
Vote as many times as you want. If clicking 'Paradise By The Dashboard Light' for four straight hours is your thing, then go for it. We're sure one of the editors of FTTW will be right behind you.
Poll stays up til Sunday 2pm. We're closing early this week because most of you will be doing Super Bowl partying Sunday anyhow."