Saturday, September 29, 2007
When I arrived, I was met by Fred Williams. He was one of my best friends during high school, college, and a couple of years of grad school. We've kept in touch (we e-mail just about every day) and visited over the years, so I knew what he looked like, not that he's changed much. We chatted for a while, looked over the old building (which now houses the school museum), and then went down to where the Class of '57 was gathered.
I have to say, it was great to see them again. Sure, it was hard to recognize some of them, though some of them looked so much the same, I could name them easily. What always strikes me about things like this is that it's as if no time has passed. We all share so many of the same memories of a crucial time in our lives that we can pick up as if we'd just seen each other yesterday.
Faye Lynn Eubanks was there. She's the sister of the late Ray Eubanks, without whom I'd never have gone to school. Faye Lynn and Ray walked by my house every day, and my mother dragged me out and gave me over to them. Ray's the one who forced me to go with him and his sister to the school. He did it every day for probably the entire first grade. He's been dead for a long time (massive heart attack), but Faye Lynn remembered all about those days. In fact, she'd been telling people about them before I ever showed up.
Suzanne Hayter was there. Suzanne was the band drum major, and a lovely girl back in 1956. She's a lovely woman now, and she looks about 15 years younger than I do, even though she's older. I'd love to know her secret.
Robert Isham. Quickest wit around fifty years ago. Now a wealthy man, or so rumor has it. I hope it's true.
Warner Dean Hancock, who claims to have introduced me to Judy. I owe him big if that's the case.
And a lot of others. I stayed for about three hours and had a wonderful time. I wish I could have spent more time with them, hearing about their lives. Everything about them is interesting to me. That probably makes me pretty weird. But I don't care.
The unidentified 12-year-old female student at Dean Middle School in Harris County, Texas, threatened to kill a teacher and students, and was sent to the office at about 8:30 a.m. for starting a fight, police said, according to KPRC-TV."
2 Chattanooga Men Say They May Have Landed "Bigfoot" Say Hulking Furry Figure Is On Video Shot In Remote New Mexico posted September 28, 2007 Two Chattanoogans say they may have bagged the mythical "Bigfoot".
Lindsay Lemmon and Austin McGee said after returning from a trip out west, they found that video shot out the window along I-40 in New Mexico has a glimpse of what appears to be a hulking furry figure walking.
Mr. Lemmon, a local contractor who specializes in historic homes, said, "I'm still skeptical, but it does look like a figure to me. If it was a prank, then it was awfully hot and it was out in the middle of nowhere."
Mr. McGee, who shot the footage, is much more positive.
He said, "I believe it whole-heartedly. Every time I look at it on the VCR I see a figure with real long arms hanging below the knees. He is walking and swinging those arms." He said a close examination of the figure reveals "a tan round face."
Mr. Lemmon, who went to Las Vegas for filming of a Discovery Channel show on drag racing, has contacted his CPA and is in the process of getting all rights to the video.
Mr. Austin said he contacted two groups that specialize in Bigfoot lore - one from Atlanta and another from Texas. He said, "They were ready to come to my house right then. They were freaking out. They were trying all sorts of ways to get to see it."
Stephen Blake is involved in an bank robbery that goes wrong. His best friend dies, but he winds up with tons of money that his girlfriend knows how to launder. She works on that from Ireland, while he comes to the U.S. Blake, I should mention, is the sort of Good Guy, and he's up against as twisted a bunch of loonies as you'll ever encounter, including Dade, a killer who's obsessed with Tammy Wynette; Sherry, a woman who loves sex and killing people, not necessarily in that order; Stapleton, an Irish killer who's tougher than stones; and several others. All their stores come together eventually, and there are a couple of things you can be sure of in with a Bruen book: it's going to be darker than dark and that it's not going to end well for anybody involved. So be warned. This isn't a cozy by any stretch of the imagination.
This is the longest Bruen novel I've read, and it's the first one that seems clearly set up for a sequel. I don't know if there'll be one, but I'm sure I'll read it if there is.
Here's the deal. It's the Napoleonic Wars, but this time with dragons. Dragons, it seems, hatch from the shell able to speak English (and French, too), and they choose their partners at once. Will Laurence captures a dragon's egg from a French frigate, little suspecting that he will no longer be captain of his own ship but a member of the Aerial Corps, fighting sky battles from the back of the dragon Temeraire.
For whatever reason, corps members are practically outcasts from society, and Laurence isn't looking forward to becoming a member. He has no choice, however, and soon he's trying to adjust to the informality and strange ways of the group. He's noble, fair, and right-minded in the extreme, however, and he makes his way without too much difficulty. Soon he and Temeraire have bonded in a way that makes any thought of a return to his old life impossible.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and I've already obtained the next two in the series to read at a later date. If you like fantasy, dragons, or alternate universes, check it out.
Note: Some of you might not be aware that Novik is the wife of Charles Ardai (sometimes known as Richard Aleas), of Hard Case Crime, so I just thought I'd mention it.
Friday, September 28, 2007
That's about all that can be revealed without telling you more than you need to know if you plan to see the movie. Let me just add that things blow up real good, there's romance, there's gunplay, and there are car chases that threaten to kill more people than the explosion. Jerry Bruckheimer is the producer, and Tony Scott is the director, so you'd expect those things, but it's got a lot of quiet moments, and the cast is uniformly good. Check it out.
Alligator Found Swimming In YMCA Pool - Local News Story - WKMG Orlando: "A swimmer discovered an alligator at the bottom of a Central Florida YMCA pool on Friday morning.
The gator, which was about 4 feet long, was found swimming in the pool, which is located on the campus of Brevard Community College on Clearlake Road in Cocoa.
A YMCA worker joked that the alligator was targeting her because she was wearing an Auburn Tigers sweatshirt."
The book is an alternate history police procedural, narrated by an NYC cop named Bill. In his world, Germany won WW11, and all the Jews in the world have been exterminated. Except that one has suddenly appeared in NYC. Bill and a member of the Gestapo are assigned to find him. You think cops in regular police procedurals wander through a dark and terrible world? You should read about Bill's.
To Bill, there's nothing unusual in what he sees. He just tells us about it without comment or surprise. The reader, however, is likely to be surprised. Not to mention horrified and disgusted. What we might consider depraved is just more of the usual to Bill. Even 30 years after its publication, this novel has the ability to shock. Just one example: crucifixion as entertainment in cheap nightclubs.
I read The Ultimate Solution when it was first published, and I've remembered it ever since. Last night I pulled it off th shelf and read it again just to see if it was as powerful as I remembered. It is. Only 140 pages, but it packs a heck of a punch.
I'd suggest that you check it out, but I looked on the 'Net and saw only a couple of copies for sale, the cheaper of the two being $100. It's good, but it's not that good.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
“The Search for the Next Elvira” premieres on the Fox Reality Channel on Saturday, October 13 at Midnight. Queen 'B' Productions and Panacea Entertainment are producing The Search for the Next Elvira series exclusively for Fox Reality Channel in association with Natural 9 Entertainment."
A mere 60 miles from Alvin.
PRINCETON, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG) and South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company (STPNOC) will file a Combined Construction and Operating License Application (COLA) today with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to build and operate two new nuclear units at the South Texas Project (STP) nuclear power station site. The total rated capacity of the new units, STP 3 and 4, will equal or exceed 2,700 megawatts (MWs) – enough to power more than two million homes. NRG expects to bring the units on line in 2014 and 2015 in order to provide reliable and affordable power to fuel Texas’ continued growth and economic prosperity.
“It is a new day for energy in America. Advanced technology nuclear power plants like STP 3 and 4, generating a vast amount of electricity cleanly, safely and reliably, will make an enormous contribution toward the greater energy security of the United States,” said David Crane, NRG’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “But equally, this announcement heralds a new day for the environment. Advanced nuclear technology is the only currently viable large-scale alternative to traditional coal-fueled generation to produce none of the traditional air emissions—and most importantly in this age of climate change—no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases.”
Here at DEMOLITION when we think Fall, we think about bodies falling
from great heights, innocent people taking the fall for crooks, and
the slow spirialing fall from success of people in the wrong place at
the wrong time. Maybe we're just a sick bunch.
If you're like us, you'll enjoy the latest issue of DEMOLITION now
live. We've got stories from pros like Patti Abbott, Mike Maclean,
Stephen D. Rogers, and Scott Wolven, along with Chris Holm, Brian
Ross, Steven Messner, Tony Black, and the legendary Fred Zackel.
Check it out before we carve you up like a rotten pumpkin.
A crew from the SPCA picked up the alligator, who had some front teeth missing, but Gross said it was still capable of inflicting serious injury to humans and death to small animals and pets."
It's about Pearce, the hard man from Hard Man (among others), and this time he gets involved in a bad situation when an old girlfriend shows up and asks for his help. Since she ditched him years earlier after he gave her an expensive engagement ring, and since he believes she's running some kind of scam on him, Pearce isn't eager to offer his assistance. Besides, she has her two foul-mouthed offspring in tow. But a couple of things convince Pearce that she's on the level, and he agrees to do what he can.
If Pearce is involved, you can be sure that things are going to get violent and maybe even take a turn for the worse. So I'll leave it to you to discover just how things work out this time. To whet your appetite, I'll say that Hildy, Pearce's three-legged dog, is back; that Pearce hasn't mellowed a bit; and that you're probably going to be surprised a time or two.
It's quite a bit of fun, and you should be able to read the whole book in a half hour or so. Guthrie does a really admirable job with the limited vocabulary required for a book like this one. Check it out.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Apparently making good on her post-jail promise to help others, the socialite, 26, tells E! Online about her African ambitions, 'I'll be going in November, after I get back from filming my movie. There's so much need in that area, and I feel like if I go, it will bring more attention to what people can do to help.' "
UnSecureFlight.com :: Read Your Own DHS Travel Dossier: "The Department of Homeland Security already knows everything about your travel. Now, for the first time, The Identity Project makes it easy for you to request the unclassified parts of the dossier that the DHS has complied on you.
Warning: You can only request records on behalf of yourself or others with their written explicit permission. There are severe penalties for making requests for records on someone else without their knowledge.
Are you prepared to find out for yourself the outrageous amount of personal information Homeland Security has been vacuuming-up on you? "
Link via Boing Boing.
kutv.com - Seattle To Allow Pygmy Goats As Pets: "(AP) SEATTLE
They have hoofs instead of paws and aren't known for fetching sticks or chasing mice, but pygmy goats are now legally pets in Seattle.
The City Council voted unanimously to reclassify the goats _ also known dwarf or miniature goats _ as small animals rather than farm animals after testimony touting the virtues of the dog-sized critters as companions, weed eaters and milk producers. '
One small step for man, one giant step for goatkind,' council member Richard Conlin, who sponsored the measure, said after Monday's vote.
The little goats -- up to 2 feet tall and weighing 50 to 100 pounds -- must have pet licenses, just like cats, dogs and potbelly pigs. However, these pets must be dehorned and males must be neutered to reduce musky odors.
They're not allowed outside the owner's yard -- but other people can borrow them for grazing.
The measure was suggested to Conlin by Jennie Grant, president of the Goat Justice League, which she says has 100 members."
There are plenty of suspects, since nobody seems to have cared much for Will Ann. Kitty's problem is that all the suspects are her family members either by blood or marriage, and while all of them have rock-solid alibis, she suspects that one of them must be the killer. And then somebody tries to kill her, coming all too close to succeeding.
Kitty's a fine amateur detective, and she'd probably have solved the case sooner if amnesia resulting from the attempt on her life hadn't slowed her down. But she gets to the end of things eventually, and as the book closes, she and Jack have signed up for a Citizens Police Academy. You can bet there's more murder in their future.
Kitty and Jack are an attractive pair, and Lonnie Cruse gets all the details of small-town life and marriage right. Laughs, tears, old cars, and murder. What more could you want?
As an aside, I see in the the book's biographical sketch that Lonnie and her husband own a '57 Chevy. My envy knows no bounds.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
In the late '70s, I'd been contributing reviews and articles to mystery fanzines for years, starting with Len and June Moffatt's JDM Bibliophile, Lianne Carlin's The Mystery Lover's Newsletter (the title later changed to The Mystery Reader's Newsletter) and Al Hubin's The Armchair Detective. I continued in such fabulous venues as Jeff Meyerson's The Poisoned Pen, Guy Townsend's The Mystery FANcier, and Andy Jaysnovitch's The Not-So Private-Eye. Later on, there was MDM Cap'n Bob Napier's inimitable letterzine. It was around 1976 that Steve Lewis' personalzine The Fatal Kiss that lured me into the ranks of DAPA-Em, where I remain happily ensconced today.
From letters appearing in some of the fanzines, I learned about two other Texas mystery fans, both of them on their way to becoming famous: James Reasoner and Joe Lansdale.
I was at an AggieCon around 1979 when I saw a guy and his wife sitting in the hallway outside the dealer's room. I read the guy's nametag and discovered that he was Joe Lansdale. I still remember how I introduced myself: "I think I know you from another fandom." Joe was skeptical (go figure), but when I told him I'd been reading his letters in The Mystery FANcier and The Poisoned Pen, we immediately became pals. We began corresponding right after the convention.
I'd already been corresponding with James, I believe, thanks to letters in the same fanzines. Even then, James wasn't big on attending conventions, so I hadn't met him yet. That would come a little later.
I was living in Brownwood, Texas, teaching at Howard Payne University, where I was in a writers' group with four or five others. I was writing poetry, some of which was being published in little magazines, and even in a couple of national magazines. Jack Davis, husband of one of the group members, is the one who suggested that he and I could write a Nick Carter novel. I wasn't so sure, but Jack sent off for the guidelines, and we got started on what was to become The Coyote Connection, which eventually sold and which was published in January 1981.
At the same time Jack and I were writing The Coyote Connection, James was working on Texas Wind, and Joe was writing, among other things, Act of Love. All three of those books came out about the same time, and I can well remember how elated all three of us were. I was getting a much later start than James and Joe, a point that was brought home forcefully to me at the 1981 AggieCon when I met Lew Shiner. He spotted me in the dealer's room and introduced himself, saying that Joe Lansdale had told him he should meet me. I've never forgotten Lew's next words: "I thought you were a young guy, like us." While I've never forgotten, I have, over the years, managed to forgive him.
My first meeting with James occurred soon after the publication of The Coyote Connection. My half of the flat fee for the book was $1250. I used the money to to buy my first VCR, and I bought it from James Reasoner's dad, since James said he'd deliver it in person. He brought it to Brownwood and helped me hook it up. Later we went to Greenleaf Cemetery and visited Robert E. Howard's grave. (In case you're wondering, the first thing I ever taped was The Great Race.)
As I mentioned, James and Joe have gone on to fame and fortune. The fanzines, I'm sad to say, have all but disappeared. Certainly the print versions are long gone. Sure, rara-avis, DorothyL, Crimespace, and The Big Adios are great. And Mystery*File is a wonderful resource, but I miss the print zines. We have things like Crimespree, The Mystery Readers Journal, and Mystery Scene, but it's not quite the same.
Yesterday was the birthday of F. Scott Fitzgerald, who said it much better than I can: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
Well, some of us, anyway.
Monday, September 24, 2007
NFL Bans Cheerleaders From Flaunting It in Front of Visiting Players - FanHouse - AOL Sports Blog: "CBS NFL analyst Charlie Casserly reported on today's pregame show that the NFL sent a memo to all 32 teams last week informing them that home teams are not permitted to tell their cheerleaders to warm up, stretch, or otherwise do anything in front of the visiting team's bench that might distract the players before the game.
Apparently there were concerns around the league that some teams had specifically told their cheerleading units to warm up prior to the game right in front of the visiting team, in hopes that the visiting team's players would be too distracted checking out the cheerleaders to pay attention to their coaches' pregame instructions. "
Sunday, September 23, 2007
To determine whether you'd watch it or not, decide how you'd respond to this sentence: Will Ferrell in spandex. Okay, that's eliminated about 99% of you, who can now go back to discussing the ending of Blow Up.
For the rest of you, the movie's about what you'd expect from a Will Ferrell spoof of figure skating. What? You say figure skating's doing a fine job of spoofing itself? True, but the movie goes a little beyond that, and I found a lot of it very funny. Dumb? Yes. But funny. When it comes to playing macho pigs, Ferrell is one of the best. And Jon Heder's performance is pretty funny, too. I'd give the movie a 5.8. You might just wish it would go away.
He ended up having sex four times in the name of justice.
When that fact emerged this week during a Lehigh County Court hearing for one of two spa employees charged with prostitution in the 2006 case, it cast light on a surprisingly common and irony-rich investigative procedure: having civilians pay for sex during crackdowns on sex-for-pay."