Saturday, January 24, 2009
A Mexican military statement said Santiago Meza Lopez confessed to disposing of at least 300 bodies over a decade, but authorities provided no further evidence to back the claim. Officials contend he dumped the bodies in graves, poured acid on them and let them dissolve underground."
Archeologists are waiting for permission to open the tomb in the Tyn Cathedral, one of the landmarks of the Old Town in Prague. Brahe, the first astronomer to describe a supernova, in 1572, is also famous for his incredibly accurate measurements of celestial movements in the pre-telescope era and for having catalogued more than 1,000 new stars.
The wealthy nobleman is said to have worn a prosthetic nose of gold and silver after losing his own at the age of 20 in a rapier duel resulting from a row over a mathematical formula.
A new theory by Danish scholars claims that Brahe was poisoned with mercury on the orders of Christian IV, the King of Denmark, because the astronomer had an affair with his mother. It is even suggested that Shakespeare used the alleged liaison as an inspiration for Hamlet."
People were buying them, and plenty of those customers were young. Teens. Kids.
It's hard to deny: Music history is repeating itself at 33 rpm."
Friday, January 23, 2009
The venerable humor magazine today announced that starting with issue #500 in April, it will move to a quarterly publication schedule from its current monthly. The magazine’s version for younger readers, MAD Kids will cease publication with the issue on sale February 17th, while the final issue of MAD Classics will go on sale March 17th."
Thirty-nine-year-old Shelly Koontz was arrested Thursday night on a fifth-degree theft charge. She is accused of keeping ``The Freedom Writers Diary,'' which she checked out from the Jesup Public Library in April 2008."
Press Release: 2 June 2008
Drawn from Universal’s crypt of classic monsters and updated with spectacular Broadway production values and special effects, “Creature from the Black Lagoon—The Musical,” will rise, live, on stage at Universal Studios Hollywood beginning spring, 2009.
With state-of-the-art stagecraft, acrobatic choreography and hilarious, toe-tapping music, the Creature will be brought to life in a story based on the original screenplay, updated to emphasize the element of romance and just a bit of comic relief. Original new music and dazzling production numbers will keep the attraction contemporary and lively."
In a report headlined 'The Frigid Fingers Were Live, but the Music Wasn't', The New York Times said that the four, including the violinist Itzhak Perlman, had already recorded their contribution two days earlier and played along just for show."
Nicky is reportedly distancing herself from her sister because she hates Brittany Flickinger, the winner of Paris' reality TV show My New BFF.
A source told the New York Post newspaper: 'Nicky can't stand Paris' new BFF.'
Either way, it boils down to this: You sit down behind the steering wheel, drive to the runway, unfold two wings and take off. You can fly 500 miles on a tank of gas — regular unleaded —and when you land, you simply fold up the wings and drive where you want to go. At the end of the day, you fly back, drive home and park inside your garage."
Hilton also earned a worst supporting actress nomination for Repo! The Genetic Opera."
In Murder of a Mistress, one of Gray's patients is accused of murder. Gray doesn't believe she's guilty. Then three other people confess to the crime. The cops don't care because they already have the person they've convinced committed the murder. Gray agrees that none of the people who confessed is the killer. He thinks the killer is someone else entirely.
Then one of the people who confessed is murdered. Gray discovers that his client's sister was murdered months earlier, and there's an attempt on Gray's life. Gray uses psychology instead of police procedure to come up with the solution, as he does in all the books of the series.
While the psychology is dated now, the Michael Gray books are still fun to read. Kuttner was such a talented writer that he could do just about anything. As most of you know, I'm sure, his wife was C. L. Moore, and they often collaborated on their work. I'm not sure how much Moore had to do with this series, if anything.
NOAH MILANO is a Los Angeles security specialist who's not afraid to get a little action in. And who has more than a few "family" problems. Because, in his case, his family is "the family."You see, he's the estranged son of a mobster and this, as his creator puts it, "creates a big deal of tension and more than a few problems." Fiercely independent, and determined to sever all ties with his past, Noah has to adjust from being a spoiled mobster son to being an independent operator with little money. Fortunately he's learned a great deal about security from his years as his dad's personal bodyguard. Perhaps in penance, he now uses these skills to earn an honest (well, relatively) living.
In this collection all of his short stories are collected in one handy volume, featuring introductions by great PI writers like: Lori B. Armstrong, Les Roberts, Robert J. Randisi, Dave White, Wayne D. Dundee, Mark Coggins, Ace Atkins and Sean Chercover.
Even the introductions sound good.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Plans are to bring the constantly warring cat and mouse to life as CG characters that run around in live-action settings.
Studio-based Dan Lin, currently producing the upcoming 'Sherlock Holmes' and exec producer on 'Terminator: Salvation,' will adapt the classic Hanna-Barbera property as an origin story that reveals how Tom and Jerry first meet and form their rivalry before getting lost in Chicago and reluctantly working together during an arduous journey home."
On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the Needville Independent School District’s policy violated state law and the U.S. Constitution by punishing the American Indian kindergartner for religious beliefs that require him to wear his hair long."
Okay, I got a little carried away there. Let me take a deep breath. Right. I'm calmer now. But I'm not kidding. I read this kind of thing by the truckload when I was a young'un, and I never tired of it. A. Merritt? Bring it on. Robert E. Howard? Even better, and Kuttner was a match for them, terrific and prolific.
The only time I got to write in this vein was for a story in an anthology honoring Michael Moorcock's Elric tales. My story was as much Kuttner as Moorcock, but I'd bet a dollar that Moorcock read Kuttner, maybe even this book. To me, there's an obvious parallel, but I'm usually wrong about stuff like that. Never mind. Check it our for yourself and see what you think.
'This maritime farming community had been successful for over 2,000 years, they had no incentive to change, and then all of a sudden, boom, they just got the props knocked out from under them,' anthropologist Mike Moseley of the University of Florida said in a statement.
Moseley and colleagues were studying civilization of the Supe Valley along the Peruvian coast, which was established up to 5,800 years ago."
The woman, who has been deaf since childhood, has consumed large quantities of the beverage, as well as other sugary foods for many years, according to the report."
Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I want to interview you. I'm not certain what form this project will ultimately take, but I'm not one for doing things half-assed."
Eddie is a student in Jack's special class on evil through the centuries. This seems to me a pretty contrived situation; I can't imagine such a class actually being taught in 1954. In Mississippi. But let that go. Eddie's in the class, and he's going to write a paper on his father. Jack sees this as a way for the boy to exorcize his demons. Let's just say that things don't work out as planned.
In this novel as in some of Thomas Cook's earlier books (Breakheart Hill, for example), the narrator is a man grown old who's telling us of events long past. He lets us know right away that terrible things have happened, and in case you didn't get it the first time, he reminds you again. Often. It's a form of the "had I but known" approach, and some readers might find it irritating.
Here's the opening: "I was badly shaped by my good fortune and so failed to see the darkness and the things that darkness hides. Until the stark moment came, evil remained distant to me, mere lecture notes . . . ." So we know right away that Bad Things are going to happen. Then we get "the whole room [was] suffused with light, as dark beginnings almost always are." And "the morning light came straight from heaven and seemed -- like me -- as yet untouched by darkness." And so on. By the ending, everybody's touched by darkness, as is the case in most of Cook's novels. He's a noir kind of guy, though maybe not in the usual sense.
Cook writes beautifully, and when the narration is broken with excerpts from Eddie's paper and from a trial (we don't know exactly whose on trial or for what), the changes work very well. What you'll think of the book might depend on how much you like the writing and how well you can put up with a narrator's withholding so much information, stuff he knows very well, for 350 or so pages before finally getting to the darkness that he's promised. Cook also likes to have a little "snapper" in some of his books. I didn't think the one this time worked very well, but that could just be me. I noticed this novel on several "best of 2008" lists, so it's very well thought of. I'm ambivalent. I wanted to like it more than I did.
The city, which lies just across the border from El Paso, Texas, in the state of Chihuahua, has one of the highest homicide rates in Mexico. El Universal reported that Martin Castro Martinez was one of 15 people killed execution-style in 24 hours.
Castro Martinez was abducted Saturday, four days after he became police chief in the suburb of Praxedis G. Guerrero. Five other officers and a civilian man were also snatched.
The police chief's head was left at the police station Sunday afternoon. A message threatened the Sinaloa Cartel with violence from La Linea, the drug cartel dominant in Chihuahua."
A: The end of the culture of the book. I’m pessimistic. Mainly it’s the flow of people into my bookshop in Archer City. They’re almost always people over 40.
I don’t see kids, and I don’t see kids reading. I think little kids love to have stories read to them, but when they get to 10 or 11 or 12, they run into this tsunami of technology: iPod, iPhone, Blackberries.
They don’t resist it, and it’s normal that they wouldn’t; it’s their culture. I’m not so sure they ever come back to reading. Some will, but most won’t."
Snorkeller must be crockers | The Sun |News: "SNORKELLER Sean Manning displays no fear and carries no protection, as he snorkels with a NINE FOOT long American alligator.
The fearsome water beast has the crushing power of 3,000-pounds-per-square-inch.
But the alligators allow Sean to get closer than any normal person would ever consider.
He is part of a highly dangerous show at Miami’s Jungle Island Zoo, in Florida, US."
A UK researcher said he found evidence that the Persian Empire used poisonous gases on the Roman city of Dura, Eastern Syria, in the 3rd Century AD.
The theory is based on the discovery of remains of about 20 Roman soldiers found at the base of the city wall."
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
In-flight confrontations can lead to terrorism charges - Los Angeles Times: "At least 200 passengers have been convicted of felonies under the Patriot Act, often for behavior involving raised voices and profanity. Some experts say airlines are misusing the law.
[. . . .]
In one case, a couple was arrested after an argument with a flight attendant, who claimed the couple was engaged in 'overt sexual activity' -- an FBI affidavit said the two were 'embracing, kissing and acting in a manner that made other passengers uncomfortable.'"
Julie Parker, 30, was shot by a Houston police officer after being wounded by at least one of two employees who are licensed to carry concealed handguns and fired their weapons before police arrived, investigators said.
Armando Silva, another employee at Texas Components Corp. in northwest Houston, is recovering after doctors removed an arrow from his chest."
A skull, pelvis, legs, and pieces of a torso wrapped in linen lay inside a 16-foot-tall (5-meter-tall) pyramid—the third 'subsidiary' tomb found next to that of the pharaoh Teti, who ruled for 22 years before he was assassinated.
Seshseshet's pyramid was discovered last November in Saqqara, the vast burial ground near modern-day Cairo that was part of the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis."
The 824 so-called staters were found, using a metal detector, in a broken pottery jar buried in a field near Wickham Market.
Jude Plouviez, of the Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service, said the coins dated from 40BC to AD15."
Monday, January 19, 2009
His friend Jacqueline Martinez said that he had a stroke two and a half years ago and that his health had steadily deteriorated.
Ms. Ronstadt included “You’re No Good” on her “Heart Like a Wheel” album, which was released in 1974 and itself reached the top of the Billboard album chart in 1975. Dee Dee Warwick and Betty Everett had earlier recorded the song, both in 1963. The next year, the Swinging Blue Jeans had a Top 10 hit with it in Britain.
Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders made “The Game of Love” a No. 1 hit in the United States and a No. 2 hit in Britain in 1965. It was one of the songs the disc jockey portrayed by Robin Williams played in the 1987 movie “Good Morning, Vietnam.”
With Fred Tobias, Mr. Ballard wrote “Good Timin’,” which Jimmy Jones took to the top of British charts and to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in 1960. The Hollies reached No. 1 in Britain with Mr. Ballard’s “I’m Alive” in 1965."
'Memory pill' that could help with exam revision could be available soon - Telegraph: "A 'memory pill' that could aid exam revision and help to prevent people forgetting important anniversaries may soon be available over the counter."
Naturally Delilah wants things to go smoothly, but they don't. Her recent divorce continues to worry her. Bickering with her family members, who are also her employees, is another of her problems, which come to include the murder of Rhett Butler. Okay, just kidding to see if you were paying attention. Rhett isn't murdered, but the actor portraying him at the imitation Tara plantation is. Right in the middle of the ball. This isn't at all the way Delilah wanted to start her new career.
Amateur sleuthing with, of course, an interesting man (a professor of literature) for Delilah, and lots of fun for the reader. The book is about murder, but it has plenty of laughs, loads of local color, Gone with the Wind lore, and a well-honed plot. Sure, it's a cozy. You wanna make something of it? Check it out.
It’s the story of Darnell Riley, who held “Girls Gone Wild” millionaire Joe Francis at gunpoint and videotaped him in a compromising position; bought 14 hours of naughty Paris Hilton video from Russian thieves; who boxed with Rick Salomon and picked up girls with Mickey Rourke."
City Council members on Monday night approved rules that limit parking on streets. Only people who live in or are visiting a home may park in front of it from 2 to 8 a.m. Residents or guests who park elsewhere can receive a citation, with a fine of up to $500."
Sunday, January 18, 2009
'The Thin Man,' Dashiell Hammett's fifth and final novel, turns 75 this month.
Written in the wake of the same author's hard-boiled 1930 private-detective classic, 'The Maltese Falcon,' and his bleak 1931 thriller of civic corruption, 'The Glass Key,' the amusing and flippant-seeming 'The Thin Man' (in which almost all violence occurs offstage) took readers by surprise in 1934. Reviewers' judgments at the time were mixed: The New York Herald Tribune thought it 'a new hard-boiled opus worthy to stand beside the best of his other works,' but the New Republic found it 'a less excitingly fresh performance.'
The author himself made no great claims for his creation. 'Nobody ever invented a more insufferably smug pair of characters,' he said of the book's married protagonists, Nick and Nora Charles; and in 1957, four years before his death, he would claim that ''The Thin Man' always bored me.'
Yet Hammett -- often as hedonistic in life as the heavy drinkers in his stories -- was sober and industrious while writing the novel during his tenancy in an unimpressive New York hotel managed by his friend and fellow author Nathanael West; and, one way or another, the book and its characters would earn Dashiell Hammett (according to biographer Richard Layman) close to a million dollars."
Check out the whole article.
A tip of the Crider fedora to Art Scott.
The bright yellow swimming star of the California Academy of Sciences - more popular with the paying public at times than any of the fish in the academy's Steinhart Aquarium - was bitten the other day by Bonnie, his black female companion in the Swamp exhibit. The two often tussle for basking rights to the cozy flat rock in the center of their large and watery tank home."
I also like country music, especially when it's sung by Texans. So you know I'm going to give Texas Country Singers a good review. It's short (87 pages) and compact. It has biographies of 25 Texans who should be in everybody's country music collection. Some of them probably are (George Jones, Jim Reeves, Bob Wills, etc.); some of them might not be (Milton Brown, Adolph Hofner). Reading about those folks is always fun, and you get the impression that Fry and Lee love the music as well as the people they're writing about.
One of the singers they discuss is Moon Mullican. The band my son, Allen, works with, the Cornell Hurd Band ("Country Music's Worst Nightmare"), had just released a CD of Mullican's turns, and you can buy it right here. As well you should. It's great. Trust me.
A graduate student at the University of California, Santa Barbara, came across the tusk while working in a canyon on the island's remote north shore earlier this month. Nearby were several rib bones and possible thigh bones, said Lotus Vermeer, the Nature Conservancy's Santa Cruz Island project director."
It appears that a three-pound alligator (pictured) was among the goods seized after the Emergency Task Force entered a home on Eglinton near Keele.
According to police, officers with a warrant went into the home at 2675 Eglington Ave. W shortly before 3am Sunday.
Inside, they found a menagerie - and, allegedly, a more typical cache of weapons and drugs."