Saturday, March 14, 2009
So here’s introducing March-is-love-your-Indie-Bookstore: The Contest.
How to Play: Go to a local independent bookstore. Buy something. Save the receipt. Send a photo or scan of the receipt to this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure either your e-mail or your receipt includes the name and phone number of the bookstore in question.
Prize: At the end of March I’ll have a random drawing, and send the winner a signed slipcased copy of GUNPOWDER."
Many of those seeking shelter had good jobs and stable family lives until the economy spun out of control.
Some 300 people call a tent city in Sacramento home, including Tracy Vaughan, who moved to the city with her husband six months ago."
Celebrated classics professor Mary Beard has brought to light a volume more than 1,600 years old, which she says shows the Romans not to be the 'pompous, bridge-building toga wearers' they're often seen as, but rather a race ready to laugh at themselves.
Written in Greek, Philogelos, or The Laughter Lover, dates to the third or fourth century AD, and contains some 260 jokes which Beard said are 'very similar' to the jokes we have today, although peopled with different stereotypes – the 'egghead', or absent-minded professor, is a particular figure of fun, along with the eunuch, and people with hernias or bad breath."
'It is absolutely revolutionary,' Werner J.A. Dahm, chief scientist for the Air Force, said of the proposed unmanned airship -- describing it as a cross between a satellite and a spy plane."
Link via Boing Boing.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Here are the rules:
You must include the person that gave you the award, and link it back to them.
You must list 5 of your Fabulous Addictions in the post. You must copy and paste these rules in the post. Right click the award icon & save to your computer then post with your own awards. To my way of thinking, this is not only a nice tribute, it widens the reading audience.
Here are Five Fab Blogs:
And of course the rest of the blogs I read are fabulous, too, but I can list only five.
5 addictions: 1. The Internet (not really; I can quit any time I want to); 2. Books, especially old paperback books; 3. Reading; 4. Jogging; 5. Chocolate.
An irrational number that has been calculated to more than 1 trillion digits, pi is a concept not totally foreign to today’s Washington. But in this case, the goal was to promote efforts by the National Science Foundation to improve math education in the United States, especially in the critical fourth to eighth grades.
Rounded off, pi equates to 3.14, hence the designation of March 14 as Pi Day under the resolution. Informal celebrations have been held around the country for at least 20 years, but Thursday’s 391-10 vote is the first time Congress has joined the party."
And scientists say it's all in their gallop.
Freshwater crocodiles in the Northern Territory are one of the last crocodile species in the world which have retained an ability to run over land."
What’s a Whopper Bar? It’s like a regular Burger King, except the menu, to borrow a phrase from a neighboring joint, is kicked up notches unknown to mankind.
Guests can order a Whopper, a Double Whopper or debuting burgers like the Steakhouse XT, an extra thick premium hunk o’ meat, or a Bourbon Whopper, or Three-Cheese Steakhouse XT. There is a topping bar, resplendent with 22 burger accessories, from onions to A1 Steak Sauce to guac.
Here’s where it gets just plain silly. Your burger will be prepared by a highly trained and suitably snobby “Whopper-ista,” dressed in a flattering tailored uniform."
Demis Hassabis, co-author of the study, said it was “a small step towards the idea of mind reading, because just by looking at neural activity we were able to say what someone was thinking”."
In Mr. Monk Goes to Germany, Monk has a crisis. His shrink, Dr. Kroger, is going to Germany for a conference. This means that Monk will have to miss his weekly meetings. Monk pretty much falls apart at the prospect, so much so that Captain Stottlemeyer fires him. Monk determines that his only way out is to go to Germany for his regular meeting with Dr. Kroger. To face the 12-hour flight, he takes the experimental drug Dioxynl, which eliminates his symptoms and turns him into the life of the party, which is what the flight becomes. Monk in lederhosen? You betcha.
Naturally Monk drags Natalie Teeger, his assistant and the narrator of the books along, and naturally there's a murder for him to solve when they get there. It's connected to a man with six fingers that Monk spots in the town of Lohr, where the conference is held. It was a six-fingered man who planted the bomb that killed Monk's wife, Trudy, and caused him to become the person he is.
If that sounds like a lot of plot, it is, but the book reads smoothly and quickly, with plenty of laughs and a smile on every page. Which is quite an achievement, considering that Monk is in reality a sad case, a slave to his phobias and compulsions. Even Natalie loses control in this one, but to good effect. And at the end, well, she pulls quite a stunt. I'm not spoiling anything by telling you that the next book in the series is set in France. Sitting in hospital waiting rooms is no fun at all, but Mr. Monk Goes to Germany brightened my time in them this week, and it might brighten your day, too. Check it out.
Howard K. Stern, her lawyer-turned-confidant, and Drs. Sandeep Kapoor and Khristine Eroshevich were charged in an 11-count felony complaint on Thursday, including conspiracy, unlawfully prescribing a controlled substance and prescribing, administering or dispensing a controlled substance to an addict."
Spicer wasn't hesitatant to deal with racial issues (see also, and especiall, Blues for the Prince). In The Dark Light, Wilde is hired by a deacon in a black church to find his minister, who's disappeared. Almost immediately, people start dying, including the deacon. Spicer was a fine plotter, and the disparate elements that make up the mystery include a diamond earring, a tough cop, and a beautiful woman.
Bart Spicer's been criminally overlooked in the last few decades, but he wrote one of the best p.i. series of the '50s, or for that matter any of the decades afterward. If you like tough but compassionate ops, careful plotting, well-developed characters, and good writing, you owe it to yourself to read Spicer's novel.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., has asked several anesthesiology journals to retract the studies, which appeared between 1996 and 2008, the WSJ reports. The hospital says its former chief of acute pain, Scott S. Reuben, faked data used in the studies.
Some of the studies reported favorable results from use of Pfizer’s Bextra and Merck’s Vioxx, both painkillers that have since been pulled from the market. Others offered good news about Pfizer’s pain drugs Lyrica and Celebrex and Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor XR. Doctors said Reuben’s work was particularly influential in pain treatment and that they were shocked by the news."
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Federal data show the rise comes despite the removal of 33,000 entries last year by the FBI's Terrorist Screening Center in an effort to purge the list of outdated information and remove people cleared in investigations."
The croc went head-to-head with the shark last week only metres from a boatload of surprised fishermen."
Great photo at the link, for which, hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
Today in his syndicated column on WorldNetDaily Norris reiterates the point: “That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state.”"
Hat tip to Richard Prosch.
End of story? Not quite. About fifteen minutes later, the cashier called the guy and said, "He's back. He just filled up another car with gas."
How'd she know the guy was back? Because he came to the window to tell ask her for help because the pump wouldn't accept his credit cart. The cashier told him to go back to the pump, and she'd see what she could do. He left, and she called the cops, who swooped down and caught him, still waiting at the pump.
The guy I know lost about 60 bucks and has to get a new credit card, but it could've been worse.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.
SeeqPod - Playable Search
His son Hank Adam Locklin announced the death.
When the elder Hank Locklin sang a tear-jerker like “Danny Boy,” his piercing, sorrowful voice could make people shiver. The Birmingham News in 2001 called that voice “a trembling hillbilly tenor,” adding that it “rises and falls like some lonely backwoods highway in the great by and by.”"
Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.
Here's his summation if the results:
'They find that each extra close friend in high school is associated with earnings that are 2 percent higher later in life after controlling for other factors. While not a huge effect, it does suggest that either that A) the same factors that make you popular in high school help you in a job setting, or B) that high-school friends can do you favors later in life that will earn you higher wages.'
Come on, you've gotta be kidding me.
I thought the geeks were supposed to inherit the earth."
washingtonpost.com: In 1969, when Alice Echols went to college, everybody she knew was reading "Soul on Ice," Eldridge Cleaver's new collection of essays. For Echols, who now teaches a course on the '60s at the University of Southern California, that psychedelic time was filled with "The Autobiography of Malcolm X," "The Golden Notebook," the poetry of Sylvia Plath and the erotic diaries of Anaïs Nin.
Forty years later, on today's college campuses, you're more likely to hear a werewolf howl than Allen Ginsberg, and Nin's transgressive sexuality has been replaced by the fervent chastity of Bella Swan, the teenage heroine of Stephenie Meyer's modern gothic "Twilight" series. It's as though somebody stole Abbie Hoffman's book -- and a whole generation of radical lit along with it.
Last year Meyer sold more books than any other author -- 22 million -- and those copies weren't all bought by middle-schoolers. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the best-selling titles on college campuses are mostly about hunky vampires or Barack Obama. Recently, Meyer and the president held six of the 10 top spots. In January, the most subversive book on the college bestseller list was "Our Dumb World," a collection of gags from the Onion. The top title that month was "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" by J.K. Rowling. College kids' favorite nonfiction book was Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers," about what makes successful individuals. And the only title that stakes a claim as a real novel for adults was Khaled Hosseini's "A Thousand Splendid Suns," the choice of a million splendid book clubs.
Here we have a generation of young adults away from home for the first time, free to enjoy the most experimental period of their lives, yet they're choosing books like 13-year-old girls -- or their parents. The only specter haunting the groves of American academe seems to be suburban contentment.
Men and women with the most sluggish response times are more than twice as likely to die prematurely."
Muziic software created by 15-year-old David Nelson enables computers to mine YouTube's rich database of songs and play customized lists of tunes free of charge.
'The Muziic player is a pretty cool little thing,' said analyst Matt Rosoff of technology industry tracking firm Directions On Microsoft.
'It looks and works a lot like iTunes in that it is a downloable desktop application; but you get all the content from YouTube. You have an all-in-one-place library of music for free.'"
This version will be updated, like most of the new action reboots, to reflect current realities: The movie will be set in the current Iraq war and involve an action hero on a mission in the Middle East."
However, later on he co-wrote and starred in what must be one of the worst movies ever, Fiend of Dope Island. Sure, it has a great title. The Cramps even ripped it off for the title of one of their albums. And, yes, I have to admit that any movie that co-stars a woman referred to in the credits as "The Yugoslavian Bombshell" has a lot going for it right there. In fact, Tania Velia, the aforementioned bombshell, isn't all that bad, and she looks fantastic. She never made another movie, though. And then there's Robert Bray, was on Lassie and just about every TV western ever made. He looks tired and bored. I don't blame him. Bruce Bennett's alleged acting is a sight to behold, but he does wield a mean bullwhip. That counts for something.
You want to see the worst fight scenes ever filmed? Look no further. Appalling sentimentality, atrocious "comedy," jaw-dropping direction? You got it. A musical score that has to be heard to be believed? Check. Sets that couldn't have cost more than a buck ninety-five? All there in black and white.
I can't even begin to describe the two wonderful dance sequences, so I won't try. All I can say is that this trailer doesn't begin to present the awesome awfulness that is Fiend of Dope Island. Check it out.
Monday, March 09, 2009
But in a case of mistaken identity, Jose Perez ended up dead. The intended target — the Houston-based head of a Mexican drug cartel cell pumping millions of dollars of cocaine into the city — walked away.
Perez, 27, was just a working guy, out getting dinner late on a Friday with his wife and young children at Chilos, a seafood restaurant on the Gulf Freeway."
Hat tip to Walter Satterthwait.
No other image, executed at first hand, is thought to exist of Britain’s greatest writer.
The claim will be supported by the world’s foremost expert on Shakespeare, Stanley Wells, emeritus professor of Shakespeare studies at Birmingham University and general editor of the Oxford Shakespeare series for 30 years."
Sunday, March 08, 2009
Parker, 62, of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, died Saturday morning surrounded by her family at the Hospice By The Sea in Boca Raton after a long illness."
A sad loss.
In that position, she supports and helps coordinate activities for PTAs at all district schools.
'I’m the head cheerleader for the PTA,' said Harding, of North Richland Hills.
She also does volunteer work at her daughters’ school, and she sells cosmetics.
Did we mention that she also plays roller derby? She’s a blocker for the Slaughterers in the Dallas Derby Devils league. They skate at the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills."
The incident happened in Springtown, a tiny city west of Fort Worth. Lavern Hockett was in bed at 1:30 a.m. when a man kicked in her door.
'When 911 didn't answer, I was so scared I couldn't think,'said Lavern .
Hockett then got on the horn to her daughter and son-in-law, Debra and David Turpin, who had a faster response time: 5 minutes. They arrived packing heat."
The moon's spooky influence on Earth and its denizens is legendary, and rightly so. From fertility to suicide, most phenomena attributed to Luna are almost exclusively superstition."