Saturday, March 07, 2009
Retired businessman and amateur scientist Tom Kaye said his team of amateur investigators have conducted experiments with money in the Columbia River to try to reconstruct the path taken by some of the cash taken by the hijacker, who called himself D.B. Cooper, The Oregonian reported Friday.
'The money is the only path to what happened to him after he left the plane,' he said.
Cooper hijacked a 1971 Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle. He released the plane's passengers in Seattle, demanded $200,000 and ordered the plane to fly to Mexico City. The hijacker jumped out with the money and two parachutes somewhere over southwest Washington."
Whoops. Did we say submarine? It's a submersible that can 'fly' underwater."
Video at the link.
For example, did you know that Bob Steele sang in several cowboy movies three years before John Wayne appeared as Singin' Sandy? And did you know that Steele's twin brother dubbed Wayne's singing in that movie? (Others may tell you differently, but I trust Green.)
The Sons of the Pioneers are covered in depth, and Green devotes seven pages to a timeline with the group's different configurations.
Tex Ritter, Monte Hale, Rex Allen, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Dick Foran, Bob Baker, Vaughn Monroe (yes, Vaughn Monroe), Whip Wilson (you didn't know Whip was a singing cowboy?), and on and on. If you, like me, spent many of your Saturday afternoons in a crowded theater listening to singing cowboys, you can't go wrong with this book. And did I mention the great illustrations? Check it out.
The technology push is getting a boost from a special House committee that warned about the consequences if Texas is stuck in the past when it comes to classroom materials. Among the reasons: the higher cost of printed books, the expense of transporting and storing them, and the fact that they can be outdated before students get them."
In its latest animal-central project, Fox has signed director Tom Dey to develop a big-screen adaptation of 'Marmaduke.'"
Friday, March 06, 2009
15 Incredible Library Special Collections | Online Courses: "Large libraries, be they university or city, aren’t just good for research and circulation. They also often have amazing special collections centered around singular, often esoteric, topics. These collections are often donated via will by individuals who collected the items over a lifetime of obsession. Many library patrons may not realize it, but often these special collections are surprisingly accessible. The items usually don’t circulate, but libraries often put on exhibits or provide special reading rooms for people who want to take in the collection. There are many, many special collections around the world worthy of discussion, but here are 15 that we found particularly interesting."
Link via Neatorama.
“I was doing the backstroke, looking up at the trees and the birds. I remember seeing white egrets and hearing the howler monkeys in the trees,” Waggoner recalled. “I remember thinking, this is paradise. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
That was, literally, an instant before a crocodile’s powerful jaws clamped down on his head and pulled him forcefully under water."
There's a link to photos of Waggoner's surgery. Parental discretion advised.
Hat tip to Mike Galbreath.
Research has identified a handful of modern words that have changed so little in tens of thousands of years that ancient hunter-gatherers would probably have been able to understand them.
Anybody who was catapulted back in time to Ice Age Europe would stand a good chance of being intelligible to the locals by using words such as “I”, “who” and “thou” and the numbers “two”, “three” and “five”, the work suggests."
The ranch is home to 18 foot alligators and you are welcome anytime. 'Well we don't have to many hotels in town when we have a celebration or when people come in for a funeral, not to many places to stay,' said Dean Coates, Owner."
To begin with, it's set in Farmer's native Peoria. Is there another p.i. novel set there? If there is, I've never read it. Tom Corbie is the detective's name. His wife is Glinna, and she's a wiccan. They live in an apartment where they're plagued by noisy redneck neighbors. One of the extended subplots deals with Corbie's war with these neighbors, but the first case that Corbie's called to deal with has to do with extortion, and that leads to his capture by the lowest of the backwoods low. Later, he's hired to work for one of the wealthiest families in Peoria. And -- you guessed it -- the cases turn out to be related. But it's how they're related that'll get you. Nothing Burns in Hell is one of the most labrynthine tales I've read in many a year. Raymond Chandler's plot in The Big Sleep is simple compared to this one.
Along the way, Farmer gives you details of Peoria's history, talks about native American myths, tosses in seemingly unrelated stories that turn out to be important to the plot, and generally has a great time. I think I can safely say you'll never read another p.i. novel like this one, should you be brave enough to give it a try.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
Hat tip to Steve Stilwell.
A few moments later he noticed a traffic officer flashing his lights at him and gesticulating at him to stop his Renault.
When Mr Saunders got out of his car, the policeman told him: 'Laughing while driving a car can be an offence.'"
Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.
[. . . .]
Ahumada said he didn't think the occupants of the apartment were home. So, to save the pooch, Ahumada mobilized emergency response services to assist him with the rescue effort. Two patrol cars, one fire engine and one animal control vehicle responded to the scene."
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
'The Killer Inside Me' is a crime thriller based on a 1952 pulp novel by Oklahoma-born author Jim Thompson. The film will be directed by Michael Winterbottom, an award-winning British filmmaker best known for helming 'A Mighty Heart' and 'Jude.'"
Via Sarah Weinman from Twitter.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
In screenplays for such movies as “Tender Mercies,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “The Trip to Bountiful,” and in plays like “The Young Man From Atlanta” and his nine-play cycle “The Orphans’ Home,” Mr. Foote depicted the way ordinary people shoulder the ordinary burdens of life, finding drama in the resilience by which they carry on in the face of change, economic hardship, disappointment, loss and death. His work earned him a Pulitzer Prize and two Academy Awards."
The pride of Wharton, Texas, and a great writer. I'm very sorry to hear the news.
Mystery readers at least have a couple of magazines devoted just to the art of the short story, other publications that include a story or two in each issue as well as the several anthologies published each year. There’s also several online publications that include short stories."
Creative Paper attracted worldwide interest for its 'roo-poo' paper in 2005.
Darren Simpson from Creative Paper says the paper is green or gold depending on the time of year the droppings are harvested."
'I refused to turn off the car until he said please. He didn't. And he has the gun, I guess, so he sprayed me,' said Desiderio Fortunato, a Coquitlam, B.C., resident who frequently crosses the border to visit his second home in the state of Washington. 'Is that illegal in the United States, asking an officer to be polite?'"
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
When you get right down to it, is there any reason at all to have DST? I'd love to have someone give me one that's logical and proves it's necessary or a good thing. As it is, I think we're just sheeping along, allowing the government to mess with our circadian rhythms with out protest.
The only person I know who resisted was my grandmother, God rest her soul, who refused to change her clocks. She let the world go on DST, and she stayed on Central Standard Time.
A couple of states opt out (Hawaii, Arizona). I wish Texas would.
San Antonio: Singer Phil Collins said his life now revolves around the Alamo.
Collins is in town, set to appear at local events commemorating the anniversary of the siege and battle of the Alamo. Though he's mulling the idea of recording a tribute cover album of 1960s songs, he said he's making the Alamo “my main thing” as a collector, history buff and possible author.
“Basically, now I've stopped being Phil Collins the singer. This has become what I do,” he said Monday, standing beside a 13-foot-by-15-foot model of the 1836 Alamo compound that will open to the public this week.
Collins, who is British, said he has “hundreds” of cannonballs, documents and other artifacts from the Alamo, possibly the largest private collection anywhere, in the basement of his home in Switzerland. He said he's collaborating with artist Gary Zaboly on a book about his collection.
His most prized item is a receipt signed by Alamo commander William Barret Travis for 32 head of cattle used to feed the Alamo defenders.
In 1985, the writing team of Ann and Evan Maxwell began a series about a private-eye named Fiddler and his ex-wife, Fiora. Eventually the series totaled nine books, the first of which was Just Another Day in Paradise. The series was a big hit with both readers and reviewers, but it's been out of print for years. Now, David Thompson at Busted Flush Press is bringing back some of the books, which is going to make a lot of readers happy.
Fiddler has a murky past, having partnered with his drug-smuggling uncle Jake, and he has plenty of money. He's not looking for work. He just fiddles around, and he would even play a real fiddle if he could stand it. Because the sounds he hears with his ears don't match the perfection he hears in his head, though, he doesn't play. Instead he helps people out, Fiora in this case. While they might not get along in some way, they still love each other, and when Fiora asks Fiddler to help her twin brother out of a mess, he agrees, not that he wants to.
Fiddler soon finds out that the mess is much worse than it first appeared, and it involves the KGB, the FBI, U. S. Customs, and even a bunch of tough Vietnamese. The plot is of the Silicon Valley variety. The McGuffin is a high-tech machine that the Russians need and that no one wants them to have. But the Russians, in the form of Volker, Fiora's lover and a memorable villain, wind up with Fiora. Volker will kill her if he doesn't get the machine.
Fiddler is tough, resourceful, and competent. Fiora is beautiful and smart. Maxwell keeps turning up the tension, and the book doesn't pause for breath. If you're not acquainted with the series, this is a great time to change that. If you remember it fondly, now you can read it again in a good-looking trade paperback edition. Check it out.
The math-buffs' holiday, which only occurs nine times each century, falls on Tuesday — 3/3/09 (for the mathematically challenged, three is the square root of nine).
'These days are like calendar comets, you wait and wait and wait for them, then they brighten up your day — and poof — they're gone,' said Ron Gordon, a Redwood City teacher who started a contest meant to get people excited about the event.
The winner gets, of course, $339 for having the biggest Square Root Day event.
Gordon's daughter even set up a Facebook page — one of a half-dozen or so dedicated to the holiday — and hundreds of people had signed up with plans to celebrate in some way. Celebrations are as varied: Some cut root vegetables into squares, others make food in the shape of a square root symbol."
Monday, March 02, 2009
One in 26 Louisiana adults is under correctional control, if probation and parole are included, the group found."
Shane Scully is apparently booted out of the LAPD for so many serious indiscretions that it's hard to count them all. The next thing you know, he's hired to work for the department in Haven Park, a small incorporated city within Los Angeles. It's the dirtiest department you'll ever read about with the crookedest cops you can imagine. Scully seems to take to the graft like a natural.
Cannell tells his story in stripped-down prose that carries things along at warp speed. There's not a lot of time for reflection and angst; just pure storytelling. Check it out when you're in the mood for something fast, furious, and fun.