Saturday, January 12, 2008
Update: Hollywood Elsewhere: "I've said over and over for years that movies like this are a major symbolic reason why Islamic fundamentalists despise Western culture and materialist values, and not without justification.
I have an idea that addresses this. In the same way that primitive South Sea cultures have been known to sacrifice a young girl to the Gods by throwing her into a volcano, we give Paris Hilton to Al Qeada. We deliver her, sedated, bound and blindfolded, to a location of their choosing and let them do whatever they want to her. It would be our way of saying, 'As far as Paris Hilton is concerned, we get where you're coming from. In fact, we sort of agree with you.'"
As for me, I watched the trailer. Paris is a cinch for an Oscar nom.
Ricky Van Shelton, no slouch as a singer himself, also has a birthday today. He's 56.
Maria Elena Holly said Friday that Peggy Sue Gerron's Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue? is unauthorized and will harm Holly's name, her reputation and that of her company, Holly Properties.
'It's very interesting that this woman makes up all these stories,' Maria Elena Holly said from her home in Dallas. 'He never, never considered Peggy Sue a friend.'"
Teacher Accused Of Giving Teens Beer - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston: "DANBURY, Texas -- An alleged teen drunken driving incident led deputies to a teacher's home, KPRC Local 2 reported Friday.
Brazoria County sheriff's deputies said two teenagers, who were stopped on suspicion of drunken driving, told them they drank alcohol at teacher Robin Ater's home in Danbury."
Olga Kurylenko cast in Bond 22 | Bond babes | Choose your favourite | The Sun |HomePage|Features: "Ukrainian beauty Olga Kurylenko was this week unveiled as Daniel Craig's latest sexy co-star for the upcoming Bond movie.
But is she your favourite ever? Does she send you to 007 heaven?
Or do you prefer classics like Ursula Andress, who will always be remembered for that scene."
Friday, January 11, 2008
Crocodiles roamed the Arctic and sea surface temperatures in the western tropical Atlantic Ocean reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius), compared to today's 84 F (29 C) during the extremely warm Turonian stage of the late Cretaceous period."
Next year in California, state regulators are likely to have the emergency power to control individual thermostats, sending temperatures up or down through a radio-controlled device that will be required in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages."
The review is not exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to find on a site devoted to The Mickey Mouse Club, but it's complete and accurate. I've just finished reading the second story in the book, "Dogging It," and if I thought the first story was a test, it was merely part one. "Dogging It" is the tale of a masked (and caped) biker who's killing dogs. The descriptions are graphic. The terrible thing is that I laughed, especially at the end of a comment by a cop about the difference between killing humans and killing dogs and why, while nobody cares about the humans, everybody cares about the dogs. You might be surprised at how the entire comment changes your ideas about the story. I was.
Alligator sanctuary approved in Athens Township | Battle Creek Enquirer - www.battlecreekenquirer.com - Battle Creek, Mich.: "ATHENS — Athens Township will have some scaly new residents and a potential economic boon following tonight's approval of an alligator sanctuary site plan.
The Athens Township Planning Commission at its regular meeting unanimously approved the site plan for the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary & Zoological Park."
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Attorney General to investigate Harris DA e-mail case | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal will face a state investigation into whether campaign-related e-mails on his government computer warrant removal from office, officials said today.
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office informed county officials today that it would try to determine whether Rosenthal's actions were ``official misconduct.'' The process could lead to Rosenthal's removal, and even criminal charges.
Rosenthal's computer also contained some racist jokes and sexually explicit videos, which has fueled outrage from public officials and calls for his resignation in recent days."
Alligator people really do inhabit our swamps. They speak gator language, swap gator tales, and collect gator memorabilia. They cook gator chili and barbecue gator ribs. And they keep gators, enormous scaled pets with names such as Rusty, Godzilla, and Rambo, with whom they've developed a deep-swamp symbiosis."
One thing that bothered me about the previous book was a huge coincidence. What bothers me about this one is that the whole thing is so preposterous that I can't suspend enough belief to enjoy it.
A California town is wiped out in a flood in 1954. 50 years later, a disgraced reporter starts digging into the story. Massive cover-up. They're out to get him. Paranoia runs rampant. Plot complications abound. Square that. Or cube it. You'd have to be nuts to think a such a complex cover-up would work, or even to consider it. So naturally the book has been sold to the movies and will probably sell a zillion copies, while my simple-minded little novels will be lucky to sell two copies. So who am I to talk?
Here's something that really bothered me, though. From page 141: "She averted my eyes . . . ." It that even physically possible? Maybe it is, and I just don't know the meaning of averted. This is from page 147: "A 3-year-old girl who'd rode out the flood. . . ." That's not dialogue. That's in the narration. Gimme a break. Or not. Remember at movie sale. I'm just bitter.
Update: Thanks to Brent McKee for this link to the video.
Zoo lets guests play tug of war with lions, tigers | News for Austin, Texas | kvue.com | Top Stories: "While visiting the Houston Zoo recently, Ayala, a Houston attorney, recorded a short clip of video which is now posted on YouTube.
It shows caretakers at the Houston Zoo taking a 20-pound chunk of raw meat tied onto a rope and tossing it into a lion’s pen.
Guests then got to tug on the rope."
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
Airlines: TSA Detains 5-Year-Old As National Security Risk: "A 5-year-old boy was detained as 'security risk' because he had the same name of someone on the TSA 'No-Fly' list. The TSA had to conduct a full search of their persons and belongings. When his mother went to pick him up and hug him and comfort him during the proceedings, she was told not to touch him because he was a national security risk."
Great video. It's in Japanese, but there's a translation provided underneath the video. Hat tip to Boing Boing.
If you've read "No Class Chick" and liked it, then you're already sold on this collection, and you know what kind of stories it contains. If you don't know, well, the cover illustration might give you an idea. And that little note at the bottom about "socially unredeeming tales."
You think you've read edgy stuff before? These stories are over the edge. The very first story is "Black Biker," which is only a few pages long but which contains something to offend just about everybody I can think of.
It's so unPC that you might not be able to believe it. It's a test to see if you can read the others, I suspect. The other story I've read so far is "The Burial of Mokes," which is almost as sick and warped as "No Class Chick." I mean that in a good way, but you'd have to be as warped an nuts as I am to understand.
So if you want something completely different, something really out there, you can order a copy by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The price is $13.13, plus postage. You might even get a signed copy, though the author objects to defacing books.
Federal and local authorities on Tuesday captured Jose Espinosa, 20, who broke out of the Union County Jail on December 15 with fellow inmate Otis Blunt, 32, Union County prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.
The two left behind dummies in their beds, along with a note thanking prison guard Rudolph Zurick "for the tools needed" and saying, "You're a real pal! Happy holidays."
Zurick committed suicide this week at his home in Sayreville, New Jersey. His attorney, Michael Mitzner, said Zurick had not been charged in the jailbreak and was cooperating with investigators.
Benjamin Glen Watts, 19, pleaded guilty in court Tuesday to twice breaking into a wildlife park on the outskirts of the tropical city Darwin last July, Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio reported on its website. Watts said he planned to sell the stolen baby crocodiles and the marmoset but had been unable to find buyers, ABC reported."
To tell the truth, there's not much emphasis on the science in the story. An alien artifact is discovered. it leads to another artifact, which contains gateways to other worlds. Instead of exploring those worlds Jack McDevitt chooses instead to explore ours. If such an artifact were found, what would be the effects on the economy? On religion? On politics? How would we deal with it?
This is a big-canvas novel: lots of characters popping in and out, lots of scenarios presented, lots of plot threads developed. That's not to say that McDevitt forgets the human scale of things. A couple of characters carry through the novel, and I was interested in their fates. I kind of enjoyed the idea that there were people who could actually be more powerful than the government, in a way, and I got a little kick out of their brief appearance in the novel.
The ending leaves from for a sequel, several sequels for that matter, but I don't know if there's been one. I'm sure I'd read it if I ran across it.
She likes a good back scratch every now and then; she packs on a few pounds each winter; and if she gets agitated, it's best to stay out of her way.
But this woman is cold-blooded - for real.
The nearly 7-foot-long American alligator, who takes her name from powerful vocalist Tina Turner, is digging her recently upgraded digs at the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, officials there say."
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
How Australia's pet crocs become pest crocs | csmonitor.com: "Sydney, Australia - She watches TV on the couch with him, rolls over on her back to get her tummy tickled, making squeaking-barking sounds to indicate her delight, and is uncharacteristically (for her species) pliant while being fed. Her meals consist of goldfish, defrosted rats, mice, and day-old chickens.
Now four years old and four feet long, Stampy, a female crocodile, was once someone's abandoned pet. She was found one night wandering the streets of suburban Darwin in northern Australia.
Stampy was picked up and nursed back to health from a dehydrated state by Chris Pebedy, who captures deadly snakes and other reptiles from urban areas for a living. Mr. Pebedy keeps nine crocodiles and one alligator on his property"
A guided tour of Texas-based mysteries: "SAN MARCOS — A new landscape for the Lone Star State, one dotted with make-believe murders and other fictional felonies, is rising from the ether — although rooted in Texas soil — as more crime writers craft novels set here.
A new anthology of Texas-based mysteries takes readers on a guided tour of the fictional crime scenes across the state."
Mexia Daily News - Mexia Little Dribblers Opening Ceremonies: "Mexia Little Dribblers will kickoff their 2008 youth basketball season for their ages 4-14 boys and girls with Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday January 9, 2008 at the Mexia Old Jr. Gym at 6pm. All 38 teams players will be introduced with their parents at the Ceremony. There will be Music, Prizes and Basketball shooting contest and much more fun."
Daytona Beach police Chief Mike Chitwood said the slaying of Stacey Gage, 30, of Holly Hill last week is 'eerily similar' to the slayings of three known prostitutes in December of 2006.
'There are a whole bunch of things that I'm not going to get into but from an investigator's perspective, when you sit back and look at the circumstances, you look at the location and look at other things that may be in her background, it gives us pause to say, 'You know, we may be heading down this road again,'' Daytona Beach police Chief Mike Chitwood said."
Monday, January 07, 2008
The dazzling pictures reveal a key step in the process of cell division, which all organisms must undergo to survive. The moment occurs deep within a cell, as two proteins work in concert to unzip a strand of DNA to create two new cells.
But until now, scientists seeking to directly observe this essential process only could view fuzzy images taken by an electron microscope.
A scientist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has changed that by perfecting a technique employed by biophysicist Rosalind Franklin more than half a century ago to gather the first images of DNA."
Dark Scribe Magazine - Drawing First Blood: "Few emerging writers can stake claim to blurbs from the likes of David Morrell and Jack Ketchum - especially for their debut novel. But newcomer David Jack Bell can proudly do just that, with praise coming in from all directions for The Condemned. DSM wanted to meet the buzz-generating Dr. Bell and get the scoop on what promises to be a meteoric rise to stardom in the horror genre."
Authorities believe that the 25-year-old man arrested in the death of his 21-year-old girlfriend cooked parts of her body and may have tried to eat them — actions he described to them in the emergency call that led them to the grisly discovery."
Sunday, January 06, 2008
Naked anger as Peter Pan's Wendy gets porno rewrite - Scotsman.com News: "PETER Pan is known to generations of children as the boy who never grew up.
But his sweetheart Wendy is depicted in a series of adult situations in a hugely controversial new adaptation of JM Barrie's classic tale.
In the extremely graphic graphic-novel Lost Girls, Pan's demure companion is shown in a serious of erotic trysts.
The illustrated adult book, which depicts Tinkerbell being raped and Wendy being spied on by paedophile peeping toms, has provoked children's campaigners and devotees of the original Barrie fable to demand it be taken off the shelves."
Reflections: "It’s an episode more than half a century old that I think will stir some emotion in the bosom of anyone who, like myself of long ago, found it exciting to collect the science fiction magazines of ancient days."
| Showbiz | News of the World: "A panic call from Britney Spears' husband sparked her stand-off with cops - because he feared she would SHOOT DEAD their two sons.
As Brit left hospital, a pal said: 'K-Fed was terrified. He realised she had a gun where she was holding them.'
We can reveal that Kevin Federline feared his ex would use the Beretta pistol he bought her as a birthday gift to MURDER their two young sons."
The calculations suggest that, measured by gross domestic product per capita, Britain can now hold its head up high in the economic stakes after more than a century of playing second fiddle to the Americans."
Angleton man dies in police custody after eating bag of crack | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "ANGLETON, Texas — An Angleton man who was being booked into the Brazoria County Jail on drug possession charges died after eating what authorities say was a bag of crack.
William Yendis Franklin, 28, was taken to the county jail on Thursday after a Texas state trooper arrested him on a charge of possession of a controlled substance. As Franklin undressed for a body search during the booking process, he reached into his underwear and pulled out a small bag, officials said.
Franklin, whose handcuffs had been removed so he could undress, had been cooperative, said Brazoria County Sheriff's Lt. Russ Baker. Two officers were in the room at the time.
Franklin chewed on the bag, then pulled the empty bag from his mouth, Baker said. Franklin was taken by ambulance to Angleton-Danbury Hospital, where he died in the emergency room."