Saturday, December 15, 2007
Paris Hilton Is A Painkiller | Dlisted: "Scientists have found that Paris Hilton causes male mice to calm down from stress and pain. A cardboard cutout of the skank heiress is being used on lab mice to see if being around humans has any effect on them. They found that when the cutout is around male mice stop licking their wound from a painful injection. The cutout has no effect on the female mice."
Q. How many alligators live at Brazos Bend State Park?
A. The park is home to as many as 300 American alligators.
Q. When are visitors most likely to see one?
A. A mild, sunny day.
Q. What do alligators eat?
A. Turtles, fish, snakes, crawfish, frogs and sometimes armadillos and raccoons.
Q. Should park visitors be afraid of the alligators?
A. No. Just be sure to keep a safe distance — at least 30 feet.
Q. What's the difference between an alligator and a crocodile?
A. Crocodiles have longer, pointed snouts and are generally more aggressive than alligators. There are no native crocodiles in Texas — the closest are on the southern tip of Florida."
Friday, December 14, 2007
If it's not too late, maybe you can con someone into giving you this for Christmas, and you can see if you can figure out the answer and help Dr. Watson get out of jail. Yes, jail. What? You didn't know he was ever jailed? Then you definitely need to read this book.
The guy's really into crocs and gators.
He used to keep a pet alligator in his office. He'd show the gator in his Age of Dinosaurs lectures here at the UI, where he is an associate professor of geoscience. But Wally got too big, so Brochu sent him to an alligator farm in Florida midway through the semester.
'I miss him, but I don't think he misses me,' he said, explaining that 'crocodilians have two emotions - indifferent and enraged.'"
:: rogerebert.com :: Reviews :: Starting Out in the Evening (xhtml): "I am no novelist, but I am a professional writer, and I know two things that interviewers never believe: (1) the Muse visits during, not before, the act of composition, and (2) the writer takes dictation from that place in his mind that knows what he should write next."
The barnacled cannons and anchors found stacked beneath just 10 feet of crystalline coastal waters off Catalina Island are believed to be the wreckage of the Quedagh Merchant, a ship abandoned by the Scottish privateer in 1699, Indiana University researchers say."
The book itself is sort of a proto-Gold Medal, published a good 15 years before GM went into the pb original business. Johnny Thompson falls for the wrong woman. He's not handsome or rich, just a down-on-his luck former boxer with a flat nose and a low-paying job as an armored-car guard. The woman marries a guy named Slim, who's a low-level heister. She doesn't love Slim, and, while she doesn't love Johnny, either, she doesn't mind a little extra-marital hanky-panky (this book's surprisingly sexy for a 1934 novel, about as frank as a typical '50s Gold Medal, in fact).
Slim finds out about the hanky-panky, and asks Johnny to help him knock over an armored car. Johnny goes along with the idea, knowing that Slim plans to kill him. Johnny's idea is to turn the tables, and he does. He comes out looking like a hero.
If you think that's the end, though, you're wrong. Being a hero isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when you're still hooked on the wrong woman. Johnny gets the idea that he can hear Slim laughing at him, though Slim's no longer among the living. And, sure enough, Slim has the last laugh.
This is a neat little noir, told in the flat, objective style that was coming on strong in the '30s. If you've only seen the movie, you might want to check it out.
And by the way, think a bit on Don Tracy. He wrote some nice pb originals himself later on, as well as some historical novels. I believe that as "Roger Fuller" he continued the Peyton Place series after Grace Metalious's death, as well as writing other media tie-ins (like Son of Flubber). He was a good writer, now mostly forgotten.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Ed Gorman's recently had some blog posts (here, here, here, and here) about another Mac, John D. It seems that his writing doesn't hold up for the younger crowd. They find it "slow," and I've heard much the same complaint about Ross Macdonald's work. Too bad. For me, he'll always be one of the greats.
iWon News - Madonna, Mellencamp Newest to Rock Hall: "CLEVELAND (AP) - The Material Girl is about to become a Hall of Famer.
The ever-evolving Madonna was announced as a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee on Thursday along with John Mellencamp, The Ventures, Leonard Cohen and The Dave Clark Five.
A panel of 600 industry figures selected the five acts to be inducted at the annual ceremony, to be held March 10 in New York.
'The 2008 inductees are trailblazers - all unique and influential in their genres,' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation President and CEO Joel Peresman said in a statement. 'From poetry to pop, these five acts demonstrate the rich diversity of rock and roll itself.'"
FOXNews.com - Paris Hilton Wears Nothing but Gold Paint for Champagne Ad - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment: "Paris Hilton wears nothing but a coat of gold paint in a new ad campaign for a champagne brand.
The ad for Rich Prosecco shows the socialite posing provocatively in a desert setting."
Once upon a time, Cody, Hickok, and Omohundro trod the boards in a couple of dramas called Scouts of the Plain and King of the Border Men. Their acting ability was negligible, but people who packed the Eastern theaters didn't care. They'd come to see three authentic western heroes shoot Indians. And maybe to see Giuseppina Morlacchi dance.
Boggs' book is about that season of play-acting. It's divided into three "acts," with each of the principals having an opportunity to narrate in the first person. Since there's not really much of a plot (more like a succession of incidents), it's a good thing the narrators are so engaging. And so funny. They seldom remember their lines, which were awful in the first place, and so they just talk to each other or even to members of the audience. If a "dead" Indian jumps up because Hickok fired a blank too close to his leg, Hickok or one of the others just "kills" him again. Audiences love it. You probably will, too.
Omohundro is the serious one. He likes being on stage, and he likes acting. He marries Guiseppina early on, and he's incensed when Hickok tries making out with her on stage.
Hickok hates the whole thing and does all he can to get Cody to fire him. He does most of the shows drunk, and he can never quite get past the idea that the audience is laughing at him, not with him. Mainly because he's not laughing at all.
Cody gets the show-biz bug. He likes the money, and he likes the adulation. He has a tough family life, but he never messes around with other women. At least not when his wife is traveling with him.
This is quite different from the usual powder-burner, and I believe Johnny D. Boggs was just voted by the readers of True West as the best living western writer. That's a pretty good recommendation in itself. Check it out.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
'I changed all the light bulbs to energy-safe light bulbs and I'm buying a hybrid car right now,' the 26-year-old celebrity heiress said Wednesday.
Hilton said she turns off the lights, doesn't leave the TV on or the water running when she leaves her house."
'He did pass away this morning' at his home in San Marcos, in northern San Diego County, said Scott M. Hanover of Thrill Entertainment Group, which managed Turner's musical career."
This video (recommended by Walter Satterthwait) is long, and Ike's a bit player, but it's well worth watching.
There is, as they say, good news and bad news.
The good news is very good. The doctor says that Judy is in "complete remission."
The bad news is that he wants her to take two more rounds of chemo as "insurance." He says that it's not even a close call. She really needs to do it. The next treatment will be on Monday. This knocks a good bit of the shine off our Christmas season, as Judy will still be feeling pretty rotten on the 25th. The usual festivities will have to be cut back, but we'll still do what we can to celebrate the holiday.
Thanks as usual for all your prayers, good thoughts, and encouragement. We believed we were at the top of the hill, but there's still a little more climbing to be done before we get there. We will get there, though. I'm sure of that. Meanwhile, we'll try to dwell on the good news.
Link via Boing Boing.
BBC NEWS | Americas | Mexican 'cannibal' kills himself: "A Mexican man accused of murdering his girlfriend and eating her body parts has been found dead in his prison cell.
Jose Luis Calva was found hanging by his belt in the jail in Mexico City after apparently committing suicide, the department of corrections said.
Mr Calva was arrested on 8 October by police investigating the disappearance of his girlfriend, Alejandra Galeana.
In his flat in the capital, they found her dismembered body and a draft of an unfinished novel, Cannibal Instincts."
'It looks different than almost anything out on the landscape today. There really isn't anything that's comparable today in terms of its body form,' John Flynn of the American Museum of Natural History in New York, one of the scientists, said in a telephone interview.
The creature, Parapropalaehoplophorus septentrionalis, was a primitive relative of a line of heavily armored mammals that culminated in the massive, impregnable Gyptodon, a two-ton, 10-foot(3-meter)-long beast covered in armored plates and a spiky tail."
Why they now look up to Paris: "Paris Hilton is being hailed as a hero after 'rescuing' a little person injured as part of an Oompa Loompa act during Art Basel Miami Beach Saturday night.
The shocking accident happened during a Beacher's Madhouse performance, sponsored by Ariva, at Cameo nightclub."
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Anyway, this time the Kid isn't out to avenge the death of his father. He's out to get the train robber mentioned at the end of The Return of the Durango Kid. Except that's not all. The robber is offed pretty quickly, and then the Kid has to take care of the saloon owner (who looks exactly like the saloon owners in the two previous movies), who's now in possession of the gold that the train robber had.
Then there's a classic twist, where a poor prospector named Grubstake, who's been supporting his daughter's family by begging, since he can't find gold, is getting a visit from his granddaughter. Grubstake asks the saloon owner to help him out, and anyone who's see the dozens of variations on this plot on The Andy Griffith Show knows what comes next. Everyone in town's going to pretend that Grubstake is a wealthy man about town. (This has something to do with the gold, trust me.)
The Jesters are back, and so is Tex Harding as the singing sidekick. Dub Taylor is along for the alleged comedy relief, and Pat Parrish looks good as the granddaughter. All is resolved at the end, after a lot of killing, and Tex gets the girl. Even though they're going to be married, never fear. Tex will turn up again as the sidekick in the next movie. And there will be another one, because once again Starrett announces that there's trouble somewhere or other and that the Durango Kid will be needed. Which is interesting since he's supposed to be a Texas Ranger, and he's supposed to be returning the gold to Texas.
As with the other Durango Kid movies I've seen, lots of stuff makes no sense at all. For example, there's an attempted bank robbery. Nobody even knows the Durango Kid is in town, and there's no way he could know about the robbery. Neverthelss, when the baddies open the bank door, he's standing right there waiting for them.
But who cares about stuff like that? What we want to see is some ridin' and shootin', and there's plenty of that. I don't have any more Durango Kid movies recorded, which is probably just as well, but it was fun to revisit my kidhood for a few hours with these.
Anne Darwin said that for much of the five years he was presumed dead, her husband was in fact living at their home in Hartlepool and sharing her bed."
'W00t,' a hybrid of letters and numbers used by gamers as an exclamation of happiness, topped all other terms in the Springfield dictionary publisher's online poll for the word that best sums up 2007.
Merriam-Webster's president, John Morse, said 'w00t' was an ideal choice because it blends whimsy and new technology."
Personal flying jet packs on the way | NEWS.com.au: "FUTURISTIC jet packs could be sold to the masses as early as next year, with a company already taking orders for 'personal flying machines'.
Jet Pack International in the US is planning to release a $226,060 jet pack next year which could travel 16km without refuelling, the Fortune Small Business magazine reported."
Eight different dinosaur species, including several kinds of armor-clad plant-eaters that were among the world's largest types of dino, have been identified among the 8,000 fossils found to date, according to experts excavating the site.
Uncovered last June during the construction of a high-speed rail link near the city of Cuenca (see map), the fossil boneyard may represent the largest and most diverse dinosaur site known in Europe, scientists say."
I'd been meaning to start this series for several years, since I've enjoyed being on panels with Rachel Caine (or Roxanne Longstreet Conrad, if you prefer) at a lot of conventions. I'm glad I finally got to it. I was reminded a bit of the kind of novellas that used to appear in Imaginative Tales back when I was a youth, strong science fantasy, with plenty of action and characters you care about.
Joanne Baldwin is a weather warden, and she's in a heap of trouble. Just how much, the reader learns about only gradually, but even at the beginning she's fleeing from a murder rap. Things just get worse as she crosses the country from New Jersey to Oklahoma, where the wind (and plenty of other weather disasters) comes sweeping down the plain. You've got mystery, Djinn, and weather galore, not to mention plenty of surprises along the way.
Rachel Caine (or Roxanne) is challenging James Reasoner as Texas' most prolific writer, and if you'd like to try her work, this is a great place to start.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Okay, the plot of The Durango Kid had Charles Starrett playing Bill Lowry, who returns to the old homeplace to avenge the death of his father. The plot of The Return of the Durango Kid has Charles Starrett as Bill Blaydon, who's out to avenge the death of his father. Hey, nobody ever said originality was the strong point of the B-Western.
And besides, there are some changes besides the Kid's name. The Sons of the Pioneers have been replaced by the Jesters, who aren't bad, to tell the truth. The villain isn't the same guy, but he looks like the same guy, with the same moustache. He's slick with a derringer, though, and the other one wasn't. Tex Harding is introduced as a sort of non-comic singing sidekick. Tex was Dorothy Dix's brother. That's for you codgers who are old enough to remember Dorothy Dix. And for the same crowd, one very minor bit player in the movie is Elmo Lincoln. One or two of you will know who that is.
The movie rambles a long without much pretense at making sense, but the plot is sort of a Yojimbo deal (or maybe a Red Harvest deal), as Starrett plays off the members of the gang against each other until all but one is jailed or dead. Starrett makes almost no attempt to conceal the fact that he's the Durango Kid, and in fact the disguise plays no sensible part in the movie. Starrett could have done everything without it. But he looks good in black. And speaking of looking good, Jean Stevens does, too.
At the end of the movie, the Kid rides off into the (metaphorical) sunset after saying that Dan Cass, the Texas train robber, has escaped from prison, and something has to be done about him. So we can rest assured that the Kid will return.
The mob museum will stand as frank acknowledgment of the major role mobsters played in developing Las Vegas into the gambling capital of America and giving the city its rakish glamour during the 1940s and '50s.
'Let's be brutally honest, warts and all. This is more than legend. It's fact,' said Mayor Oscar Goodman, a former defense attorney whose clients once included mobsters Meyer Lansky and Anthony 'Tony the Ant' Spilotro. 'This is something that differentiates us from other cities.'
The project has gained the support of the FBI and is guided by a retired FBI agent."
That's because commuters on the lines got their two bucks worth - and then some - when four leggy New Yorkers set out to turn the subway cars into strip-club Champagne lounges.
On a dare from a Web site promising $10,000 for the best pole dancing in public, the quartet took a ride on the wild side and their winning video has become a rage on the Internet."
Paris Hilton Left Standing Naked At Fashion Show Says Miranda Kerr - Tittle-Tattle Too™: The Post Chronicle: "Miranda Kerr, the Australian supermodel who was discovered by Dolly magazine in 1997 and is well known for campaigns with Maybelline and Victoria's Secret, recently revealed just how much of a spoiled brat Paris Hilton can be after dishing on a incident at the Victoria's Secret fashion show.
Miranda Kerr speaks candidly to Sassybella blog about the incident, which would eventually see Paris naked and humiliated."
Of All Sad Words: A Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery
Bill Crider. St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne, $23.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-312-34810-6
Crider's winning 15th Sheriff Dan Rhodes mystery (after 2007's Murder Among the OWLS) pits the wry Texan against a local drug ring. Skeptical when Clearview, Tex., newcomer C.P. Benton complains that his neighbors, the Crawford brothers, are cooking meth, Rhodes finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation when the Crawford trailer explodes, leaving one of the brothers dead. But instead of finding evidence of meth, Rhodes stumbles on a still with a fresh batch of old-fashioned hooch. The remaining Crawford brother plays dumb, blaming his sibling for the illegal operation, but Rhodes doesn't buy the act. The discovery of a second still complicates matters, and Rhodes must ignore his bickering deputies and a whiny county commissioner to get to the bottom of Clearview's crime wave. Crider expertly evokes this small Texas town and its eccentric cast of characters, and his dry humor will satisfy longtime fans of this popular series. (Feb.)
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Paris Hilton's Parents Partied Like It Was 1977 At Studio 54 | December 9, 2007 | AHN: "New York, NY (CNS) - Paris Hilton's parents allegedly once snorted cocaine off a floor with The Village People's cowboy Randy Jones.
The ''Y.M.C.A.' singer claims he shared a table with hotel moguls Rick and Kathy Hilton at New York's famous Studio 54 club in 1977, where they indulged in some recreational drug taking."