Saturday, February 02, 2008

Peru Update

The surfing cat. Great photo at the link.

Hollywood Elsewhere on The Friends of Eddie Coyle

• Hollywood Elsewhere •: "Six years and three months ago, I begged Paramount Home Video to please think about issuing a DVD of Peter Yates' The Friends of Eddie Coyle. Beloved by serious crime fans, one of greatest hard-boiled noirs of the '70s, a classic of its kind and still absent from the shelves and the Netflix rent list in early '08."

Free Trip to Mars

Inside Victoria Crater.

Anna Nicole Smith Update

E! News - Daniel Smith's Pictorial Postmortem? - Anna Nicole Smith: "If only these pictures could speak for themselves.

Howard K. Stern took several photographs of Daniel Smith's lifeless body, thinking he could make a profit on the morbid shots, a former companion of Anna Nicole Smith's testified Wednesday during the ongoing inquest into her 20-year-old son's 2006 death."

Friday, February 01, 2008

Ral Donner

He sounded more like Elvis than Elvis.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Popular dancing video game making its way to area P.E. classes: "Midway elementary schools have a new secret weapon to get kids moving — video games.

“Dance Dance Revolution,” the hit video game from Japanese arcades to American living rooms, is now the hot new activity in South Bosque Elementary School’s physical education classes.

“It’s good for cardiovascular, rhythm, coordination, timing,” said South Bosque PE teacher Brenda Schaefer. “It really is a well-rounded blend of things.”"

This Year's List

You'll have to excuse me. I'm going to put on my shawl and sit in front of the fire.

Beloit College Public Affairs: "Most of the students entering College this fall, members of the Class of 2011, were born in 1989. For them, Alvin Ailey, Andrei Sakharov, Huey Newton, Emperor Hirohito, Ted Bundy, Abbie Hoffman, and Don the Beachcomber have always been dead."

Which Predictions Did Golden Age Science Fiction Get Right & Wrong?

SF Signal: MIND MELD: Which Predictions Did Golden Age Science Fiction Get Right & Wrong?: "Although science fiction fans know better, the general populace likes to think of sf as being written with the express purpose of predicting the future. So we posed the following question to a bunch of people in the since fiction community:

Science fiction is often accused of being The Great Predictor. Which predictions did Golden Age science fiction get right? Which ones were way off the mark?"

Great Opening Lines

One guy's list. Surprisingly, I've read all these novels except one.

A Study in Scarlet

The Little Professor has some entertaining commentary.

Gator Update (Sawed-Off Edition)

Man convicted of having sawed-off shotgun in stuffed alligator -- "ALBANY, N.Y. - A 50-year-old man faces up to 15 years in prison for having a sawed-off shotgun inside his stuffed alligator, according to prosecutors."

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cheeseburger in a Can Update

If you click here, you can get the whole experience in pictures, from the purchase to the eating. You have to scroll through a number of posts, but it's all there.

Croc Update (Missing Link Edition)

Brazil finds fossil of missing link to crocodile | Science | Reuters: "RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Brazilian paleontologists said on Thursday they had found the fossil of a new species of prehistoric predator that represented a 'missing link' to modern-day crocodiles.

The well-preserved fossil of Montealtosuchus arrudacamposi, a medium-sized lizard-like predator measuring about 5 1/2 feet (1.7 meters) from head to tail, dates back about 80 million years to the Late Cretaceous period.

'This is scientifically important because the specimen literally is the link between more primitive crocodiles that lived in the era of the dinosaurs 80-85 million years ago and modern species,' said paleontologist Ismar de Souza Carvalho of Rio de Janeiro Federal University."

UFO Update Update (Yes, Another One from Stepheville)

Secret technology might account for UFO sightings : Big Country : Abilene Reporter-News: "WASHINGTON -- Put the alien theories on hold; at least that's what some experts would suggest.

Instead of beings from outer space visiting Big Country skies, the Air Force could be secretly working out the kinks in the next U-2 spy plane or B-2 stealth bomber.

U.S. military pilots could have been at the helm of unidentified flying objects decked out with secret technology, accounting for reports from Erath, Brown and Comanche counties in the past month.

After all, the military possesses experimental technologies the public might not know about until decades after development."

Couldn't they Arrest the Baggage Handlers?

For dwarf tossing?

Thanks to Steve Stilwell for the link.

Dwarves zipped in suitcases steal from Swedes - Telegraph: "Criminal gangs are using dwarves in a ruse to steal from the luggage holds of long-distance coaches, by hiding them inside suitcases, according to police.

The bizarre crime is on the rise in Sweden and officers say thieves have got away with thousands of pounds in cash, jewellery and other valuables in recent months.

Gangs are said to sneak the dwarves into the luggage hold, hidden inside baggage.

Then, once the journey has begun, the stowaways are free to rifle through the bags of other passengers without fear of being apprehended."

Spinetingler Awards

Congratulations to all and especially to the winners.

And the new issue of Spinetingler is up, too.

Then there's At Central Booking, a new networking site. Sandra Ruttan's been busy.

Check it all out.

We're UN Troops . . .

. . . and we're here to deface your prehistoric art.

UN vandals spray graffiti on Sahara’s prehistoric art - Times Online: "Spectacular prehistoric depictions of animal and human figures created up to 6,000 years ago on Western Saharan rocks have been vandalised by United Nations peacekeepers, The Times has learnt.

Archaeological sites boasting ancient paintings and engravings of giraffes, buffalo and elephants have been defaced within the past two years by personnel attached to the UN mission, known by its French acronym, Minurso."

Cheeseburger in a Can

Civilization marches on.

Thanks to Steve Stilwell for the tip.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

James Reasoner Update

This is from Rusty Burke and was posted on the REHUPA list. I'm reprinting it with Rusty's permission.

I just talked to Jim, he seemed in pretty good spirits, all things
considered -- he was bein' Jim. Says they don't have any real immediate needs -- Red Cross gave them some assistance, insurance gave them some (and house, truck, etc. were insured, though of course the books and pulps and such are probably irreplaceable). They're staying with his in-laws for now. But in spite of my bringing up the offer several times, he says they don't need any immediate help, they are well taken care of.

He did say that once they get settled and he has the space, he would
certainly appreciate donations such as Larry is talking about, books about the West, copies of his own work, etc.

He lost the book he was working on, which was about half done. He
emailed his editor when he was at the library and says he was told "I would drive nails through my hands before I'd take that book away from you." Now there's a good editor! Has five books lined up and is going to get working as soon as he can pick up a new laptop.

As to the origin of the fire: as most of you know, it's been dry in
Texas, and there are burn bans all over the state. He says the wind was blowing like hell yesterday, and the fire department thinks that some electrical wires blew together and arced, sending sparks into the dry grass, the wind whipped it up and sent it racing right at his house. He was at home alone -- the girls were off at their schools student teaching and Livia was running errands -- and he smelled smoke. He went outside and saw the field on fire, racing toward the house. He grabbed the hose, turned back around and saw how fast the fire was coming, said the hell with it, threw down the hose and ran into the house and grabbed the dog and ran like hell. Said the whole time from when he saw the flames to when he was running for his life was about a minute and a half. That fire must have been damned hot to take the house and studio as quickly and totally as it did. He also lost that beautiful new F-150 I was admiring when I saw him at the REH Birthday Bash just a little over a week ago.

I should let Jim tell his story himself once he gets up and running
again -- he promises that once he has the laptop he'll find a wireless joint and get back online and bring us up to date. But like I say, he seemed to be in pretty good spirits. So keep sending good thoughts their way, but we don't need to organize any immediate relief efforts.

If you have or can get copies of his books
or the anthologies with his contributions, or books about Texas and the West, I know that when the time comes that he can start putting a library together again he will appreciate it.

Script Doctor

Dr. Mark R. Brinker not ready to quit his day job | - Houston Chronicle: "Houston doctor Mark R. Brinker has scored his first Hollywood credit: as a co-screenwriter of Untraceable, the moody cyber-thriller starring Diane Lane that opened last week. Better still, he and writing partner Robert Fyvolent have already signed for their next project: They're adapting Fatal Frame, a popular video game, into a horror flick for DreamWorks Pictures.

But that doesn't mean Brinker is ready to quit his day job.

Based in Houston since 1993, the 47-year-old Brinker is a top-notch orthopedic surgeon, specializing in trauma, acute injury and reconstructive repair. He holds active staff appointments at Texas Orthopedic Hospital and Hermann Hospital."

The Man with the Getaway Face

Mugshot here.

Judy Update

I'm still reeling from the news about James and Livia Reasoner's house and studio being lost, but I do have some good news. Judy and I went to M. D. Anderson today to find out about the battery of tests she had on Monday. The results were excellent. She's completely free of the lymphoma. The doctor says that 50% of patients who receive "standard of care" treatment go five or more years before symptoms return. He hopes, as we do, that the clinical trial Judy was on will have even better results.

Thanks to all of you for your support during this tough time. All the good thoughts, prayers, and positive energy were more help than I can say. Don't forget us, but turn some of that stuff Jame and Livia's way.

There Just Aren't any Words

After reading this, I can't imagine what James and Livia must be feeling and going through. I'm stunned and sick about it. I know you'll all want to remember them in your thoughts and prayers.

Smoked Rat Update

Customs officers seize hundreds of headless rats destined for London restaurants | the Daily Mail: "Customs officers have seized hundreds of headless rats which were being smuggled to London So African diners could crunch into their bones and flesh.

Hundreds of rat corpses - which had been smoked to improve their flavour - were found at Tilbury Docks, in London.

The grisly discovery was made by customs officials as they made a routine inspection of a shipment of synthetic hair at the docks."

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Crime Update

Thanks to John Duke for the link.

The Associated Press: Archivist Accused of Stealing
Artifacts: "NEW YORK (AP) — A state archivist was charged with stealing hundreds of artifacts — documents representing 'the heritage of all Americans,' according to the history buff who found some of them on eBay — to pay his household bills.

Daniel Lorello, 54, is accused of taking the rare items from the New York State Library, including Davy Crockett Almanacs, Currier and Ives lithographs and the 1865 railroad timetable for Abraham Lincoln's funeral train. Authorities believe he hawked them for tens of thousands of dollars, using much of that to pay off his daughter's credit card debt."

Croc Headline of the Day

Man dies in crocodile orgy | The Courier-Mail: "AMOROUS crocodiles are causing so much havoc to a Papua New Guinean coastal community that authorities have ordered a cull.

Police on the northern PNG island of Manus asked licensed firearm holders to form a hunting party after mating crocodiles killed one man last week.

Earlier in the month a youth from nearby Kali Island was diving with friends when he was attacked by crocodiles."

Bond. James Bond.

James Bond: the spy who changed me - Telegraph: "The films are flawed, the books somewhat crude, so why, in his creator's centenary year, are we still in love with James Bond? The writer Anthony Horowitz, whose Rider novels were inspired by 007, says he's a Byronic hero of our time - with a touch of Harry Potter."

Pirates of the Caribbean -- At World's End

In 30 seconds, with bunnies.

Liar's Diary -- Patry Francis

Today, January 29, is the day a lot of bloggers are helping out Patry Francis, who's not able to tour for her book because of her fight with cancer. I'm glad to do what I can for her, and here's a link to the Amazon page if you'd like to buy her book. The paperback is available now. It would be particularly nice if you'd buy from January 29-February 1.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Seeker -- Jack McDevitt

Not so long ago, I mentioned Jack McDevitt's Ancient Shores. George Kelley wrote to say that Seeker was even better, and to prove it, he sent me a copy of the novel. since I had a long day in waiting rooms yesterday, I thought I'd give it a try.

Not that I ever doubted it, but George was right. This is the kind of book I'd have loved when I was 15, which is to say it's got all the stuff I like: deep space, the far future, mystery, exploration, lost planets, and readable prose. And I like it that even many thousands of years in the future, people still read books and remember Byron's line about the Assyrians.

Alex Benedict and Chase Kolrath deal in antiquities. When they come across a cup that appears to have been on a ship presumed lost thousands of years previously, a ship that carried colonists from Old Earth to a new home, they're naturally curious. Their investigation leads to them to some dangerous characters and some wonderful discoveries. This is prime stuff, and I enjoyed it.

Dino Update: Save the Tracks!

The first time I saw this exhibit, I was just a tot. It was a big deal for me at the time. I hope they can to something to preserve it.

Dinosaur tracks could be relocated - Top Stories: "UT's Texas Memorial Museum is pressuring University officials to help salvage the remains of a set of prehistoric dinosaur tracks, one of the last of its kind in the world.

Because of improper preservation during the initial excavation in 1938, the 30-ton slab of fossilized sauropod and theropod dinosaur footprints has been deteriorating for more than two decades in the small trackway house outside of the museum."

Fred Savage is 31? Good Grief. | Actor Fred Savage and Wife Expecting Second Child: "Fred Savage and his wife Jennifer Stone have another little one on the way!

'We are expecting baby number 2!” the actor, 31, told at the 60th annual Directors Guild of America Awards in L.A. Saturday."

You Probably Thought My Score Would be Higher

I saw a link to this quiz on Jaime Weinman's blog and couldn't resist.

71%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

WFAA TV: Denton County prosecutors decided Friday to wash their hands of a case against a Lewisville middle school student accused of trying to get high by sniffing his teacher's hand sanitizer.

Three days after filing delinquency charges against the youth, prosecutors did a turnaround and decided that the common cleaning gel is not an abusive inhalant under the Texas Health and Safety Code.

"It's not a crime. Hand sanitizer does not fall within that statute," said Jamie Beck, first assistant district attorney in Denton County. "The police agency brought it up mistakenly thinking it was."

Free Music Update Update

Daily Mail: Music fans around the world faced confusion today as it was announced they would be able to download unlimited, free songs without breaking the law.

A revamped online file-sharing service had vowed to offer a catalogue of 30million free songs that are compatible with iPods, but record labels have denied they had granted permission to share the songs.

Free Music Update

From today, feel free to download another 25 million songs - legally - Times Online: "After a decade fighting to stop illegal file-sharing, the music industry will give fans today what they have always wanted: an unlimited supply of free and legal songs.

With CD sales in free fall and legal downloads yet to fill the gap, the music industry has reluctantly embraced the file-sharing technology that threatened to destroy it. Qtrax, a digital service announced today, promises a catalogue of more than 25 million songs that users can download to keep, free and with no limit on the number of tracks."

Another Day at MDA

Judy and I will be at MD Anderson all day today. She's going to get the full array of tests: bone marrow biopsy, CT-scan, PET scan. Our son is visiting from Austin, and he'll stay here at the house with his grandmother while we're gone. We hope this is going to be the last of the testing for a while, and of course we're hoping that the results are all positive. Judy's feeling like a lab rat about now, and she thinks that once you get into the hands of the medical establishment, they never let you go. But at least maybe they'll give her a short break.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Happy Birthday, Angela Antoinette Crider!

Duck and Cover

The Associated Press: Defunct Spy Satellite Falling From Orbit: "WASHINGTON (AP) — A large U.S. spy satellite has lost power and propulsion and could hit the Earth in late February or March, government officials said Saturday.

The satellite, which no longer can be controlled, could contain hazardous materials, and it is unknown where on the planet it might come down, they said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is classified as secret.

'Appropriate government agencies are monitoring the situation,' said Gordon Johndroe, a spokesman for the National Security Council. 'Numerous satellites over the years have come out of orbit and fallen harmlessly. We are looking at potential options to mitigate any possible damage this satellite may cause.'"