Saturday, June 16, 2007

Croc Update

Very cool photos at link.

Disguise that took the intrepid zoologist into the crocodiles' lair | the Daily Mail: "When Dr Brady Barr decided to dress up as a crocodile, the disguise needed to be good.

Otherwise he was in grave danger of being eaten by the real thing.

The zoologist adopted his bizarre outfit in the hope of getting closer to a colony of Nile crocodiles, which can grow up to 20ft.

His disguise was a prosthetic head attached to the front of a protective metal cage covered with canvas and a generous plastering of hippo dung to mask his human scent."

Im in ur skulz

Osprey Media. - The Kingston Whig-Standard - Ontario, CA

In a questionnaire at the end of the test, 91 per cent of the Kingston students taking the test for the first time reported that they read websites, e-mails and chat messages more than novels, magazines and newspapers outside of school. The questionnaire also asked what types of writing students do, and 92 per cent spend more time writing e-mails and chat messages than any other type of writing.

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New Cozy Times Newsletter Now On-Line

You can see it here. Check out the offer for signed Elaine Viets bookplates while you're there.

O. J. Update

Goldmans get rights to Simpson book - Yahoo! News: "MIAMI - A federal bankruptcy judge Friday awarded Ron Goldman's family the rights to O.J. Simpson's canceled book, 'If I Did It,' which the Goldmans want to rename 'Confessions of a Double Murderer.'

Goldman was slain along with Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson in 1994. The Goldmans want the book's proceeds included as part of a nearly $33.5 million civil jury award they have been trying to collect for almost a decade.

The ruling 'ensures that Mr. Simpson will never see another dime from this book,' said Paul Battista, an attorney for the Goldman family."

New Issue of Thrilling Detective Now On-Line

The latest Thrilling Detective is now up and ready for reading. Stories by Fleur Bradley, Patricia Abbott, Michael Bracken, Stephen D. Rogers, and Barry Ergang. Other good stuff, too. Check it out.

Friday, June 15, 2007

To Hell in a Handbasket

The unkindest cut is Dickens minus 40% - Opinion - "My new-found evangelism for literature has been energised by the news that Britain's Orion Publishing Group has reissued some classic novels with as much as 40 per cent of the original text removed. This is an act of cultural vandalism.

The first six of these compact editions — Vanity Fair, David Copperfield, The Mill on the Floss, Anna Karenina, Moby Dick and Wives and Daughters — will be available in Australian bookstores in July.

They are intended for trouble-free consumption by people with far better things to do than read the whole books."

It Helps me to Write about This. . .

. . . but you don't have to read it.

There are a couple of things we're dealing with now.

The certainty and the uncertainty.

The certainty is that Judy has non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

That's the good news.

The uncertainty is worse.

What will the tests at M. D. Anderson tell us? What stage is the cancer in? What will the treatment be? How long will it last? What's the prognosis? What can we expect?

So we're riding a roller coaster between the peaks of hope and terror. thanks again to all of you for caring.

Croc Update (George Bush Edition)

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the tip. Photo at link.

George W. Bush caught wearing Crocs - Styledash: "Love him or hate him, there's one thing we can all agree on when it comes to President Bush: he is not a fashionable man. So, now that the commander-in-chief has been caught wearing Crocs, can we officially declare these sandals as the ugliest pieces of footwear on the planet?"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gator Update (Music-Lovers Edition)

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Features: Musical note sends gator into bellowing ecstasy

On the way to playing tuba for an audience of alligators, William Mickelsen felt cocky enough to talk about his musical chops.

His well-trained jaw muscles, his lips and his tongue felt up to the task. His majestic lungs felt strong and elastic. He and his tuba were ready for whatever reptilian drama lay ahead. The night before, he and his fellow artists in the Florida Orchestra had played at Ruth Eckerd Hall behind composer Marvin Hamlisch, the Oscar winner for The Way We Were. Everything had gone swimmingly.

At Gatorland, the old tourist attraction near Kissimmee, Mickelsen was going to play a deep B flat for a battle-scarred, amorous male alligator named Toxic.

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From Pulitzer to Paris

Thanks to Todd Mason for the link.

From Pulitzer to Paris
Thrity five years to the day after taking the iconic photograph of a naked Vietnamese girl running from a napalm attack, AP photographer Nick Ut snaps a crying Paris Hilton. We talk with Ut about the coincidence.


The photograph that earned Ut the Pulitzer prize

Paris Hilton in police car crying

Will the Persecution Never End?

Maybe, thanks to Marvel Comics and Stan Lee.

New Issue of Mouthful of Bullets Now On-Line

Looks like a solid issue for this e-zine's first anniversary. Lots of familiar names among the contributors. Click here.

A Young Couple with Vision

Ya gotta love it. I wish them well.

The Austin Chronicle: Screens: No Strangers to Drama: Austin couple rescues Vernon Plaza Theatre: "In Albert Brooks' zany Eighties zeitgeist film Lost in America, thirtysomethings David and Linda Howard, as portrayed by the neurotic Brooks and the fey Julie Hagerty, leave their jobs, sell all of their possessions, and set out in a Winnebago in search of their dreams. Maybe author Mark Finn and his wife Cathy Day will someday show it in the old movie house they recently bought after leaving their successful jobs in Austin.

Finn, author of the acclaimed Robert E. Howard biography Blood & Thunder, walked away from his day job as a manager at BookPeople, the largest independent bookstore in Texas. After 12 years, Day gave up her career as an elementary special-education teacher. They agreed that it was time. 'We've always wanted to do something like this, and the opportunity presented itself,' Finn says."

Another Jane Goes to Jail

Thanks to Walter Satterthwait for the link.

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Merseyside | Woman jailed for testicle attack: "A woman who ripped off her ex-boyfriend's testicle with her bare hands has been sent to prison.

Amanda Monti, 24, flew into a rage when Geoffrey Jones, 37, rejected her advances at the end of a house party, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

She pulled off his left testicle and tried to swallow it, before spitting it out. A friend handed it back to Mr Jones saying: 'That's yours.'"

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

They're Baaaaaaack

Video at link. - UFO Sighting In Salt Lake City?: "Is it a rocket? Is it a blimp? Is it a UFO?

A strange object seen in the skies above in Salt Lake City has residents scratching their heads.

What appears to be a huge air balloon was seen floating above the valley Wednesday morning.

The silver, rocket-shaped craft was sighted about 8 a.m. and floated about for several minutes before disappearing.

Salt Lake Air Traffic Control said they didn’t pick up the object on radar and had no knowledge of the craft. "

Help Catch this Bastard

I ran across this info on an abebooks forum, and I'd like to spread the word.

Early in the pre-dawn hours of Saturday, June 9, a thief robbed an Austin, TX Half Price Books at 2222 of over forty rare and collectible books. Unlike many of the other Half Price locations, these books are the centerpiece of the store, complete with their own room and many locked cases.

The unscrupulous individual absconded with some of the finest items in the store's inventory. Unique titles such as

    Leonard Feather's The New Encyclopedia of Jazz signed or inscribed by over twenty-seven jazz musicians, some multiple times including legends Charlie Byrd, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, and Nina Simone
    The Bretano's edition of R. C. Sherriff's famed World War I play Journey's End signed by Sheriff, producer (and poet) Maurice Browne, and legendary director James Whale (who directed this version and would later direct the 1930 film version)
    Author Eugene C. Barker's personal copy of The Life of Stephen F. Austin complete with his penciled notes on changes made to the published text.

Or rare titles such as the

    1875 first French edition of Karl Marx's Das Capital
    signed first edition of Larry McMurtry's The Last Picture Show
    first edition of Under the Volcano by Malcom Lowry
    first edition of Hammet's Maltese Falcon
    the first US edition of Edwin Abbot's cult novel Flatland.
Among the missing:
signed books by Edward Gorey, Stephen King, Hunter S. Thompson, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon
first editions by Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck, J. D. Salinger, Cormac McCarthy, Dr. Seuss, and Maurice Sendak.

Anyone with information is asked to contact me directly either via email at or at the store (512-451-4463).

Rick Klaw
Half Price Books Austin

Back in PrintL 1001 Midnights

Mystery*File: "Although I’ve yet to hold a copy in my hands myself, Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller have theirs, and so it’s safe to say that it’s ready for purchase. Ordering information at the bottom of this page.

Originally published in hardcover by Arbor House in 1986, 1001 Midnights by Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller, one of the finest reference texts ever published in the field of mystery fiction, quickly went out of print, but it has been in high demand in the used book market ever since."


Believe me, I've been deeply touched by all the comments and e-mails. It's a big help to know that so many people care about me and Judy. We have our first appointment at M. D. Anderson on June 20, one week from today. We'll meet with the doctor and schedule a series of tests, some of them not so pleasant. After that's all done (it will take 8 or 10 days), Judy will start her treatments. Keep those good thoughts coming our way.

20 Best Gibberish Lyrics

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

20 Best Gibberish Lyrics: No. 20 - - Free MP3s, Interviews, Music News, Live Performances, Songs and Videos: "Frank Sinatra once called rock 'n' roll's lyrics 'imbecilic.' To prove him wrong, we've compiled 20 examples of rock at its most poetic -- which is when it doesn't concern itself with actual words."

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Will the Persecution Never End?


Mr. Wizard, R. I. P.

I remember watching his show in black & white or our first TV set when I was a kid.

Charleston Daily Mail: "Don Herbert, who explained the wonderful world of science to young baby boomers on television in the 1950s and '60s as 'Mr Wizard' and did the same for a later generation of youngsters on the Nickelodeon cable TV channel in the 1980s, died today. He was 89.

Herbert died at his home in Bell Canyon after a long battle with multiple myeloma, said Tom Nikosey, Herbert's son-in-law.

A 1940 graduate of LaCrosse State Teachers College who served as an Army Air Forces pilot during World War II, Herbert worked as an actor and model before launching his weekly science show on NBC in 1951. Broadcast live from Chicago the first three years and then from New York, 'Watch Mr. Wizard' ran for 14 years.

The show won a Peabody Award, three Thomas Alva Edison Awards, four Ohio State University awards and two Emmy nominations."

Die Hard in 30 Seconds

With bunnies.

Megan and Vicki

Megan Abbott and Vicki Hendricks are signing at Murder by the Book in Houston this evening at 6:30. Judy and I were planning to be there, but now our plans have changed. If you're in the Houston area, though, this should be a great event. You should be there in my place. Or your own place.

Starting Over

I've truly appreciated the comments from everyone, even though I haven't tried to answer them. I get a little teary just to think you care about me and Judy enough to say so.

I don't handle stress well. I slept maybe three hours last night. Maybe I'll do better when some of this sinks in on me a little more. Right now I'm still in shock, but I'm determined that Judy is going to get well. I guess I'm some kind of control freak, and it drives me nuts that I can't do something to make things right. Instantly. I feel as if that's my job.

To keep from going nuts, I'll be posting here, maybe rambling self-pitying stuff like this, but I hope more cheerful things, too.

Thanks to you all.

Monday, June 11, 2007

No Surrender!

I got some good advice today from Steve Stilwell, who said, "don't let this illness control everything in your life. And it will try to do so." Steve's been there, and he knows.

So, by God, I'm not going to close down the blog. The comments down below have warmed my heart, believe me, and I'm going to keep on truckin' and smiling and pretending everything is just fine. You guys are great. Maybe there won't be quite as many posts here, maybe they won't all be chipper, but I'm gonna be here.

And now for an update on Judy. We're trying to process a lot of information, but here's what I think right now. Her lymphoma is of the non-Hodgkins variety. It's also "indolent." That means it grows slowly (good news) but is incurable (definitely not good news). It can be kicked into remission, though, and we'll settle for that until the cure is found. We have a long road ahead of us, and it might take a while to get into M. D. Anderson, but we're going to come out on the other side smiling. I hope you'll all be here with us when that happens.

Some Fairly Bad News

I hate to put this kind of news on such a formerly light-hearted blog, but I think I'd better get it out of the way. Judy's been going through some medical testing, and we thought things were going to turn out fine.

We were wrong.

Today we were told that she has lymphoma. That's not good news. So far, that's all we know. We don't know if it's Hodgkins or non-Hodgkins. Or anything else. She's being referred to M. D. Anderson, which is a fine cancer facility, and she'll get the best of care, I'm cure. I don't know what this means to our future, but for now I'm pretty much going to shut down the blog. If there's any good news, or bad news, I'll post it here eventually.

It's been fun, but I think the fun's over for a while. Prayers and good thoughts will be much appreciated. You guys behave yourselves.

Make-up Hints for Janes in Jail

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for this link.

Back when I was chair of the English Deparment at Alvin Community College and teaching in the prisons, we held classes at one unit with a number of gay inmates. Their ingenuity was astounding. As one of the instructors said, "It's a wonder what a guy can do with a little bit of color." If only they'd spent as much time on their English assignments. . . .

How Cops Keep Cool

CoolCop - Body Armor Air Conditioning: "On a hot day there's nothing more uncomfortable than having to wear a T-shirt soaked with sweat. Add a bullet proof vest over it and no amount of air conditioning coming from your car vent is going to keep you cool & dry. CoolCop™ gives you relief!

CoolCop™ attaches to your vehicle's A/C and directs cool, dry air behind your vest where you need it most. You stay comfortable, dry, energized, and ready to face the heat on the street."

Bigfoot Bust

The should have used one of these photos on the cover of my book.

Harry Potter Update

How to lose money selling blockbuster novels.

Persecution Update

Paris has got religion.

Persecution Update

Paris on drugs, not liking prison food.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

World's Biggest Beatles?

Mike McGruff has the pictures on his flickr account. Click here. I think the faces are more like the originals than the article implied.

And for more on the Beatles, click here.

Bigfoot Not Confined to Blacklin County, Texas

Daily Times - Leading News Resource of Pakistan - India’s ‘bigfoot’ sightings prompt official probe: "TURA: Authorities in India are to investigate claims by terrified villagers that “bigfoot”-type hairy giants are roaming the jungles of the remote northeast, a local official said.

The creatures have apparently been spoken of, and occasionally spotted, for years, but a rise in the number of sightings over the past month has prompted authorities to look into the matter further. The bizarre sightings have reportedly been made in the Garo hills area of Meghalaya state, close to the borders with Bangladesh and Bhutan. Villagers have dubbed the mysterious creatures “Mande Burung” - or Jungle Man. “A team of wildlife officials and other experts will conduct a study to find out if there is any truth in the locals’ claims about these hairy giants,” said Samphat Kumar, a district magistrate in the West Garo Hills district. One local farmer, 40-year-old Wallen Sangma, claimed he had seen an entire family of the creatures - possibly a lowland relative of the Himalayan Yeti, or perhaps a distant cousin of the North American bigfoot known as Sasquatch, or Australia’s Yowie."


See full obit at link, for which thanks to John Stickney.

Ron Porambo, 67, Journalist Turned Robber - November 7, 2006 - The New York Sun: "Ron Porambo, who died October 22 at 67, made a fateful and most unusual career choice when, in the early 1970s, soon after publishing an impassioned book about the 1967 Newark, N.J., riots, he turned to a life of crime as a stickup artist."

Robert E. Howard Days Update

Brownwood Bulletin

CROSS PLAINS — Conan — or “the Barbarian,” as portrayed in cinema by Arnold Schwarzenegger — is the character most Americans associate with author Robert E. Howard, the Cross Plains resident whose works have put this community on the literary map.

But attention was also given many of his other literary works during this weekend’s Robert E. Howard Days that concluded Saturday night.

The annual event, co-sponsored by Cross Plains Project Pride and the Robert E. Howard United Press Association, opened Thursday and attracted Howard fans and scholars from throughout the United States. By early Saturday afternoon, almost 200 people had registered at the Robert E. Howard Museum on Highway 36, the home where Howard lived and wrote most of his manuscripts.

Hundreds more arrived in Cross Plains to attend seminars at the high school and enjoy a variety of activities for all ages downtown as part of the community’s Barbarian Festival. Arts and crafts, car shows, games and live music were part of the events Saturday.

Though most prominently known for creating the genre now known as “Sword and Sorcery,” Howard’s body of work also includes historical adventure, suspense, epic poetry, gothic horror, sea stories and Western burlesques in the vein of Mark Twain.

Over the past 75 years, Howard’s original work — including more than 800 stories, poems and novels — has gained a vast international audience. These works have been the inspiration for major motion picture franchises, TV series, comic book and graphic novel adaptations, games, toys and merchandising.

One of the seminars held Saturday focused on Howard’s personal interest in boxing, and the stories he wrote about the sport. It was moderated by Chris Gruber, editor of the book “Robert E. Howard: Boxing Stories” published by the University Nebraska Press. Gruber was joined by other Howard researchers to discuss famous boxers like Jack Dempsey and Charles “Kid” McCoy, whose personal characteristics influenced Howard’s numerous boxing stories.

Gregory Manchess of Beaverton, Ore., was the featured guest this year. He led a Friday seminar on his work in illustrating “The Conquering Sword of Conan” and was featured at Friday night’s banquet. Manchess paintings have appeared in magazines like Time, Newsweek, The Smithsonian and National Geographic. He has illustrated film posters, billboards, children’s books as well as the covers of two Major League Baseball World Series programs.

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Persecution Update

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for this link.

We're from the Army Corps of Engineers. . .

. . . and we're here to help you.

Engineer report: Some flaws remain in outfall canal pumps | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | Local News | News for New Orleans, Louisiana | "An Army Corps of Engineers report found mechanical and contracting problems with drainage pumps installed by the corps before the start of the 2006 hurricane season, prompting a Louisiana senator to call for a Justice Department investigation.

Although the pumps have been extensively overhauled, critical flaws remain a year later, according to the report, which was released Friday.

The review by three corps engineers from outside the New Orleand district office backed up findings of a May 2006 memo by a corps mechanical engineer working on the $32 million pump project. The memo warned the pumps were faulty and would not work during a hurricane."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Thanks to Jeff "Mr. District Attorney" Meyerson for the link.

Everything you always wanted to know (or didn't want to know) about Paris Hilton's servitude.

Gator Update: the Big Kill

Photo at the link.

The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas - Local men bag 13-foot alligator: "Every good hunter dreams of that one big kill, the one unforgettable story that he can tell over and over again and can be passed on for generations to come.

Palestine native David James got his catch, and his story, over Memorial Day weekend when he, with the help of his dad Dr. Barry James and brothers Jeff and Scott James killed and hauled in the biggest alligator they had ever seen."