Saturday, January 10, 2009
In the photo Charles shows off two neckties that were given as doorprizes (I didn't win one). They're decorated with partials of the Gabriel Hunt covers.
Scott D. Parker gives me the evil eye as he talks to Charles.
George, the 20-pound supercentenarian crustacean, was freed by City Crab and Seafood in New York City.
'We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace,' said Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals."
Thanks to Jeff Segal.
For John and his wife Julie, who moved to Schoenmakerskop from the UK in 1995, the popularity of their product - appropriately called Repcillin - which they started off testing on friends three years ago, is mind-blowing.
Fast becoming a world-wide hit sold in stores ranging from pharmacies to US beauty salons and Scandinavian corner shops, Dr Croc products are in hot demand, despite being derived from a rather unusual source."
Alberto Montiel, Ruben Vela and Rolando Flores, all of eastern Hidalgo County, were arrested Wednesday at a Burger King not far from the Rio Grande, said Mission Police Sgt. Jody Tittle."
'I’ve been working on my singing and I have another album coming out soon with songs I wrote like Jailhouse Baby, which is about my time behind bars,' she added."
Sam Lovullo, who produced 'Hee-Haw' and was a friend of Hager's, said Hager was found dead in his apartment in Nashville Friday morning. He was found in bed and apparently died in his sleep.
Lovullo said Hager had been in poor health and was depressed since his identical twin brother, Jim Hager, died in May 2008."
Nab, we quickly learn is a liar and a thief. He sees in Ren a "gold mine" for a guy like himself and his partner, Tom, and they quickly find many uses for the boy without only one hand.
In the town of North Umbrage, with its towering mousetrap factory, Ren acquires a sort of surrogate family. Besides Nab and Tom there are a landlady who always shouts because of her deafness, a dwarf who lives on a rooftop, four mousetrap girls who work in the factory, and a humongous professional killer.
Things go bad when Nab, Ren, and Tom get into the resurrectionist business, and there are some gruesome and violent episodes. In about the last quarter of the book, Tinti begins to tie things together, and by the end all is resolved, though I wouldn't say happily.
Tinti owes debts to Dickens and Stevenson, but she has her own way with the grim and the grotesque. The Good Thief might not be for everybody, since Tinti goes overboard at times, but it's fine entertainment if you're in the right mood. Check it out.
Now a new theory aims to rewrite it all by proposing the seemingly impossible: Earth has not one but two inner cores."
Friday, January 09, 2009
Gu Gu, a 240-pound (110-kilogram) panda, mauled the man's legs and refused to let go until zookeepers pried his jaws open with tools, said a zoo spokeswoman surnamed Gong. She would not give her full name, as is common among Chinese officials."
Hat tip to Jeff Segal.
Ray Dennis Steckler - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Ray Dennis Steckler (January 25, 1938 - January 7, 2009),  widely known by the pseudonym Cash Flagg, was a American film director, born in Reading, Pennsylvania.
He served briefly during the late 1950s in the Army, then began working with cinematography in the Los Angeles area. He directed Wild Guitar and appeared under his onscreen name Cash Flagg. In 1963 he produced The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?, which was later lampooned in 1997 on Mystery Science Theater 3000. His wife Carolyn Brandt appeared in the film.
He continued to produce a number of low-budget films which soon attained cult status, including Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (a spoof of Batman) and Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters (an homage to The East Side Kids films). He also directed the video for Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit.' In his 1969 film Body Fever, Steckler created a bit part for destitute fellow director Coleman Francis, who, by coincidence, also achieved belated fame via Mystery Science Theater 3000."
[. . . .]
Antes worked as an exotic dancer and waitress at Rick's Cabaret in Minneapolis between 2004 and 2006. A tipster called the Department of Revenue to report that Antes had made around $80,000 per year in tips that she didn't report."
Let's see . . . who do I know who lives in Minneapolis and is a big tipper?
Yet Texans willing to forgo travel and authenticity don’t even need to cross the state line to enjoy lesser-known replicas of these landmarks that — for whatever reason — are within driving distance.
In addition to Stonehenge II in Hunt, the Paris (Texas) Eiffel Tower and the Globe of the Great Southwest in Odessa, there is a faux Forbidden City in Katy and even a second Alamo outside Brackettville. None may anchor a vacation, but there’s enough around them to piece together a fun time."
Cheryl Holdridge, the beautiful blond actress who first gained fame as a Mouseketeer on TV's 'The Mickey Mouse Club' in the 1950s, has died. She was 64.
Holdridge died Tuesday at her home in Santa Monica after a two-year battle with lung cancer, said Doreen Tracey, another former Mouseketeer."
The outcome is that people who have added many more years to their lives than their ancestors enjoyed will suffer from deteriorating night vision and even blindness."
Even it it ain't so, however, I'd bet that the only books in print are from the Travis McGee series, which means that dozens of titles are on the way to being forgotten. And that's too bad.
Sure MacDonald was, as people like to say, "of his time." Sure he occasionally gets a little preachy. Who cares? The guy could flat-out tell a story. After all, he sold millions of books in the '50s without reviews and without hype. Most of the books were sold to blue-collar guys who probably didn't even think of themselves as readers.
The Brass Cupcake is still one of my favorites among MacDonald's many standalones. Look at that blurb above the title: "A hard-boiled ex-cop. A hard-boiled dame. A hard-boiled murder." Tell me you don't want to read this book.
The cupcake of the title, in case you're wondering, is the ex-cop's badge. That's all I have to say. Find it and read it if you want to know more. I'll always be a MacDonald fan.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
ABC's revival of the series will pair eight celebrities with a professional athlete before the teams compete against each other in various sporting events including swimming, biking, running, kayaking and other head-to-head athletic challenges."
Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett testified at a Wednesday court hearing that he made $212,000 over three years by cheaply feeding prisoners — every cent of it legal under a Depression-era state law and reported on his tax forms as income."
The book's subtitle is "A Memoir," and that's what it is. Lucian, a demon, tells his story to a man named Clay, who's an editor at a Boston publishing house. In the process of hearing the tale, Clay realizes that Lucian' s story is in some way Clay's story, too.
Lucian's story doesn't come all at once. It's intertwined with the story Clay's own life, which isn't going so well. His wife has left him, his work is suffering, and he hasn't been able to write that novel he's always wanted to get published. It's an interesting story, but it doesn't seem at first to compare to Lucian's which is the story of the fall, of Eden, of creation, of the coming of Jesus, his death and his resurrection. Sure, that's a story you may have heard before, but not from the point of view of a demon. It's a unique perspective.
Lee's lucid style pulled me into the book from the very beginning, and then I got interested in Clay's problems as well as the theology. It's all handled very well, and it's surprisingly suspenseful. Demon isn't some uplifting spiritual tract. It's a good story, well told. Check it out.
In this book, Sam gets a visit from his past in a dandy opening action scene. He finds out that he can't quite escape old life, and with big bucks in the offing, he takes on a job for his ex-employer. What he turns up is high-level chicanery and, of course, murder. Not necessarily in that order.
Sam's a tough guy, which is a good thing, since he takes a bit of punishment. He can dish it out, too, and when he gets on a case, he doesn't let up. His friends from the previous book, including his dog, Eddie, are all here, and a couple of enemies, too. Sam's not as depressed as he's been because things are going pretty well for him. He's still hitting the booze pretty heavily, but it's under control. Before the story's all over, Sam finds out the real reason he lost is former job. He doesn't get the big bucks, but he does get a measure of satisfaction.
Good writing, some humor, a complex mystery. If you haven't met Sam Aquillo yet, this would be a good book to begin with. Or go back and read the others first and catch up. You'll have a good time.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Bob has been working on the 30ft steel crocodile for the last six months and the project is now nearing the completion.
This beast of a work of art weighs around two tonnes and will soon be appearing at Avisford Park Golf Club where several of Bob's previous sculptures reside."
She dug into a box and pulled out a baseball card. She stopped for a moment and admired the picture. 'Red Stocking B.B. Club of Cincinnati,' the card said, under a sepia tone photo of 10 men with their socks pulled up to their knees. The card itself was dirty and wrinkled in a few places.
It was definitely old, Gallego thought. As a collector and seller, it's her job to spot old items that might have value today, to find the gems among the junk."
Habitat for Travis: "On the morning of January 4th Travis Erwin's house burned down. Erica Orloff and friends have launched an effort to help him build a new one.
Travis takes life incrementally (one word, one rung, one day at a time), so that's the way we're going to do it: one brick at a time.
The price of each brick in Travis's new house is $25, and you can buy as many as you like. If you buy enough to complete an entire room, we're pretty sure Travis will let you sleep in it."
One in 10 said Snow White should be re-named because 'the dwarf reference is not PC'.
Rapunzel was considered 'too dark' and Cinderella has been dumped amid fears she is treated like a slave and forced to do all the housework."
The number of people taking part in the English folk dance is falling while the average age of the dancers is going up."
The Simple Life star has had high profile relationships with former Backstreet Boys star Nick Carter and Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden, but is currently single after splitting from the rocker in November. And Hilton insists she just kisses the majority of her suitors, and plays 'hard to get' to ensure men are serious about dating her."
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
The wait is over. In the last two weeks, the Fox Reality Channel has broadcast “Smile ...You’re Under Arrest,” a prank-fueled effort to bring nonviolent offenders with outstanding warrants in or near Phoenix to justice.
Television producers, with Mr. Arpaio’s enthusiastic assent, sent out notices to scofflaws suggesting that they had won a contest and need only show up to claim a $300 prize. Once there, they are hoodwinked into participating in fake fashion shows or movie shoots before uniformed deputies come out from behind the curtain and slap bracelets on them."
Hat tip to Vince Keenan.
A&E is seeking to one-up Sci Fi's 'Ghost Hunters' with a new series that blends paranormal investigation with law enforcement.
The network has greenlit a new unscripted series called 'Paranormal Cops,' about a group of Chicago police officers who moonlight as ghost chasers in their spare time.
Given the team's law enforcement credentials, the format seeks to add a new layer of credibility to an increasingly popular reality TV genre which has featured ghost hunting teams founded by professional plumbers, college students and academics."
nytimes.com: “Homeland Security USA,” an ABC reality series about the men and women who police our borders, has the look and sound of a documentary without the pesky burden of responsibility — it’s homage, not reportage. And that’s not a surprise, given that the executive producer, Arnold Shapiro, the creator of “Rescue 911” and “Big Brother,” is also the mastermind behind “Blow Out,” a reality series about Beverly Hills hairdressing.
Viewers long ago became inured to the blurring of news and entertainment. Shows like “Cops,” on Fox, which follows real-life deputies and police officers as they raid crack dens, break up domestic disputes and chase speeding cars, have proven appeal. Yet there is something more than usually troubling about a network series that purports to cover the full canvas of homeland security and that is made with the assistance — and censorship (they call it “prescreening”) — of the Department of Homeland Security. The result is an exclusive, inside look at a recruitment video.
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
It's exactly what happened in St. Joseph County on Sunday night, after an intruder broke into an elderly woman's home on Portage Road.
The woman held the man at gunpoint until police arrived. That man is 28-year-old Cyrus Brown. Brown is being held in jail on a number of charges, including burglary and intimidation."
Longtime Houston radio personality Ronnie Renfrow and his Classic Cool team have created a format that is unique not only to Houston, but to the national radio scene as well.
“This is by far the biggest programming void in radio. The artists of Classic Cool are selling millions of CD’s annually, but listeners have had nowhere to go on the dial – until now,” Renfrow said.
“This is definitely not a nostalgia format,” Renfrow stressed. “Classic Cool is far removed from that approach in that we will feature new music from contemporary artists who are all over the Billboard charts.”
Classic Cool will present a blend of singers, classic jazz, Latin, and blues. Stars of the show include Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, and B.B. King, to name just a few.
The format’s web site – classiccool.com - is the first of its kind, exploring music both new and vintage. Visitors to the site can register to win rare and valuable prizes, including musical collectibles. Listeners will also be able to participate in online exchanges with the hosts, who are experts on the artists and the music. Additionally, the web site will be a resource for information on live music performances in Houston.
Hat tip to Mike McGruff.
So, Sigourney, any word on that proposed 'Ghostbusters' sequel?
'I hear it's a real thing,' she said while promoting her new, animated 'The Tale of Despereaux.' 'I hear that Bill's [Murray] going to do it.'"
Wayne State University's 'Word Warriors' Web site, which can be seen at www.wordwarriors.wayne.edu, states its goal as to 'bring good words back from oblivion,' The Detroit News reported Monday.
The Web site lists 'mercurial,' a synonym of fickle; 'sycophant,' another word for a suck-up; and 'charlatan,' a term for an imposter, among its initial group of words that need saving."
Monday, January 05, 2009
The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram spent millions of dollars to expand their staffs and cover the smallest meetings and sporting events.
Twelve years later, it might come as a surprise that the two North Texas rivals started sharing photos and concert reviews in November."
Broker Pam Harris said upon hearing that Barry Reynolds had offered to add a new car to any finalized sale of his 5,500-square-foot home, she was immediately intrigued, KHOU-TV, Houston, said Monday.
She said by offering the new car to potential buyers, Reynolds was making his real estate offering more attractive to the limited number of home buyers during the ongoing economic crisis."
Forget the bungalow, retire to Mars - Times Online: "When someone looks you in the eye and tells you he’s planning a supersonic electric plane and a retirement community on Mars, it can be hard to take him seriously.
It gets a little easier when you realise he is worth more than $325m, owns the world’s most successful electric sports car company, has put a rocket into orbit and was hired by Nasa last month to help it keep the International Space Station supplied."
Indeed, the store and its employees have long been tied to Sookie and her creator.
Harris’ first Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Until Dark, sputtered into existence in 2001 with some help by Dean James, then the general manager of Murder By the Book."
Kyle Nevin, just released from prison, is looking for a couple of things: revenge and a big score. He's out to get back at Red Mahoney, who set him up to take the fall, and his former girl friend. The big score is a kidnapping planned by guy who was in prison with Nevin. To do the job, Nevin needs the help of his brother, Danny, who's now living the straight life and thinking it's not too bad.
If I told you any more, I'd be taking a lot of the fun out of your reading the book, which is fast, furious, and funny. I haven't even mentioned what goes on in the last third of the story, which was, for me, the most amusing part of the book. I don't mean this is a farce. It's far from a comedy, but it's sharply satirical and mean as a junkyard dog with a burr on its butt.
Pariah is from Serpent's Tail, and it's available in Britain right now. You can order a copy, or you can wait for the U. S. publication this year. If you have any interest in tough-guy noir, you'll want to get hold of this one as soon as you can.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
Yes, that's right -- amid the worst economic crisis to hit the United States in decades, publishing executives are still making what many see as outrageous gambles on new manuscripts."
But not on mine.
PARADE Magazine | They'd Give Their Lives For The President: "Special Agent Malcolm D. Wiley Sr., a former college-football player, has a winning smile and a handshake that could bend steel. He's been in the U.S. Secret Service for 17 years, part of that time directly guarding the President. How does it feel to go to work knowing that he may have to take a bullet? 'It comes with the job,' he says crisply. 'It's an honor to protect the President. End of discussion.'"
James Bond (ornithologist) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "James Bond (January 4, 1900 – February 14, 1989) was a leading American ornithologist whose name was appropriated by writer Ian Fleming for his fictional spy, James Bond."
Rows and rows of boots, in immaculate, perfect order, not a speck of dirt on them, line the shelves.
There are exotic boots made from the mountainous, craggy skin of an alligator, scaly boots made from snake skin, electric blue boots, deep green boots and a beautifully tooled pair of 'Tyler' boots, complete with the words 'Lone' and 'Star' emblazoned on them.
Even with 126 pairs, Edwards, a Tyler businessman and self-proclaimed collector, is still searching for more."