Saturday, May 02, 2009

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: The Hard Sell :: Jay Stringer

Babylon Revisited

Babylon Ruins Reopen in Iraq, to Controversy - "BABYLON, Iraq — After decades of dictatorship and disrepair, Iraq is celebrating its renewed sovereignty over the Babylon archaeological site — by fighting over the place, over its past and future and, of course, over its spoils."

The 20 Best Bad Movies of the Past 20 Years

The 20 Best Bad Movies of the Past 20 Years [I Heart Movies] | I Heart Chaos: "Movies, like any other art form are highly subjective-- one man's Titanic is another man's Toxic Avenger. But there are some movies, for one reason or another, are generally accepted as being bad movies. Either because they flopped at the box office or because of budget constraints or public perception or just because they tried and succeeded in being a bad movie."

I'm glad to see Robot Jox on the list, as I got to kid Joe Haldeman about it at Armadillocon last year.

Link via Neatorama.

I00 Best First Lines

Via BigKirk on Twitter:

Gator Update

TAMPA, Fla. (April 24) - Florida alligators are known to roam in springtime when they search for mates, but a Tampa woman was mystified to find one parked on her doorstep.

Belinda Donaldson got a call Thursday morning from a neighbor who warned her to stay inside because an 11-foot alligator was lounging on her front stoop. She looked out the window and there it was, just outside her door.

Great photos at link! 
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Will the Persecution Never End?

SCARLETT SUFFERS DIRECT BLOW- New York Post: "SCARLETT Johansson's dream of being a director was dashed on her first try.

Johansson -- who's said in the past she'd prefer to direct rather than act -- helmed a segment for the upcoming movie 'New York, I Love You,' a series of intertwined love stories shot by several auteurs, including Brett Ratner and Natalie Portman.

But unfortunately for Johansson, her segment, starring Kevin Bacon and shot in black and white, was deemed 'unwatchable,' sources said."


Splash Page � J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof To Adapt Stephen King’s ‘The Dark Tower’ After ‘Lost’ Is Over: "“Damon Lindelof and I talked to Mr. King,” [J. J.]Abrams told IGN while promoting the upcoming “Star Trek” film. “We got the rights for ['Dark Tower'] as a film. Damon is obviously still on ‘Lost’ and we’ve been working on ‘Star Trek’ together. As soon as ‘Lost’ is done, hopefully we’ll begin tackling that.”"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Sheriff's Deputies Investigate Bizarre Child Custody Case - News Story - KFOX El Paso: "EL PASO, Texas -- El Paso County sheriff's deputies say charges are expected following a bizarre custody child case that began when a Westway woman claimed her son had been kidnapped and taken to Mexico.

Investigators said they were called to the 1200 block of Lakewood Street. in reference to a child custody dispute over the weekend. Deputies met with a woman who told authorities her 20 month-old-son had been abducted by her sister-in-law and taken to Juarez, presumably to sell the baby for $10,000.

After an investigation by deputies, investigators learned that the accused abductor was actually the biological mother of the child. Further investigation determined the woman and her sister-in-law had previously made a verbal agreement in which they decided that the child would be given to the woman shortly after birth. Instead of pursuing a legal adoption plan through the courts, investigators said, the two instead allegedly planned for the biological mother to assume the other woman's identity in the hospital during birth so the two could later claim false legal motherhood of the child."

At Least Her Mouth Was Clean

Woman Accused in Maine of Bid to Bite Flight Crew - ABC News: "A British woman accused of downing prescription drugs, two or three bottles of wine and liquid soap from a London-bound jetliner's lavatory before scuffling with flight attendants will remain in jail in Maine over the weekend.

Prosecutors say Galina Rusanova punched and kicked attendants on the Chicago-based United Airlines flight. They say she snapped 'like a dog' while trying to bite one."

Conan the Barbarian

Friday, May 01, 2009

50-Year Killing Spree?

Police Say Man, 72, Tied To SoCal Serial Killings - Denver News Story - KMGH Denver: "On Thursday, the Los Angeles Police Department announced it had solved McKeown's case. The suspect, they said, was likely responsible for the murders of as many as 30 women, dating to the mid-1950s, which would make him the most prolific killer in city history."

Another Derringer Update

From Gerald So:  "There was an oversight in the Best Flash category. A new vote will determine this year's winner."

Derringer Update

 Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement goes to Clark Howard.   

I can't think of a better choice.  Fine writer, great guy.

Derringer Awards

The Short Mystery Fiction Society has announced the winners of its annual Derringer Awards.  As a past winner, I'm happy to congratulate this year's recipients: 

"There was an oversight in the Best Flash category. A new vote will determine this year's winner."

"The Cost of Doing Business" by Mike Penncavage 
Published in: THUGLIT

BEST LONG STORY, 4001 to 8000 WORDS: 
"The Quick Brown Fox" by Robert S. Levinson 

BEST NOVELETTE, 8001 to 17500 WORDS:
"Too Wise" by O'Neil De Noux 

Jack the Ripper Update

Jack the Ripper 'was invented to win tabloid newspaper war'
| Mail Online
: "Jack the Ripper was a forgery invented by journalists to link a series of unrelated murders and sell newspapers, according to a new book.

The unsolved murders of five prostitutes in London's East End in 1888 have spawned innumerable theories over the identity of the 'real' Jack the Ripper - with candidates including artist Walter Sickert, Alice In Wonderland author Lewis Carroll and even Queen Victoria's grandson the Duke of Clarence.

But now historian Dr Andrew Cook claims to have blown all these theories out of the water by dismissing the notion of a brutal, murderous spree by one 'serial killer' altogether."

2009 Spur Awards and Finalists

You can find them here.

Thanks to Todd Mason for the link.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Enjoy a drink at this Texan bar - but watch out for the pool sharks... | Mail Online: "Here's a bar with a difference - but you might want a stiff drink before stepping on the dancefloor.

For nine inches beneath your feet are two species of shark and four species of stingray, all swimming around and no doubt peeking up at the tasty legs standing just above their heads.

The bar, in Austin, Texas, boast a 20,000 gallon tank filled with black tip reef shark and leopard sharks."

I may have blogged this before, but this time there are photos at the link.

I'll Bet Steve Brewer Knows This Guy

Redding man third-fastest tire changer : Latest News : Redding Record Searchlight: "A tire technician at Redding’s Big O Tires on Cypress Avenue has placed third in the 2009 Tire Rodeo in Orlando, Fla.

“It was pretty tough, pretty entertaining,” said 23-year-old Michael Shreffler as he waited for his flight home at the airport today. “It was definitely a challenge.”

Shreffler, a Redding native and 2004 graduate of Central Valley High School, was one of just eight contestants chosen to compete from across the country. He advanced to the national finals after winning the Western division contest by posting a winning time of 4 minutes, 19 seconds.

His time Thursday was 2 minutes, 38 seconds. The quickest tire-changer had a winning time of 2 minutes, 11 seconds, Shreffler said."

I'd Love to Have a Look

WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather - Sears Skydeck to install glass ledge: "A new thrill is planned for the Skydeck at Sears Tower. 103 stories up, ledges are to be built with clear floors so you can look straight down.

Admittedly, it won’t be for everyone, at least those with fear of heights.

Those who’ve ever pressed their noses against the window trying to eyeball the street below now will have four ledges to step onto that extend about 4 and one-third feet beyond the edge of the building."

May Day is "Buy Indie" Day, Too

Don't forget to drop by your neighborhood independent bookseller and buy a book today.  Or two books.  Make a bookseller happy.  And if you live in the boonies, don't forget all the indies that are on-line.

At Least They Wore Their Flip-Flops

Nude couple shock diners with Singapore stroll: "SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A couple treated open air diners to a 15-minute naked parade in Singapore, triggering both embarrassment and applause for a scene almost unheard of in the conservative city-state.

Pub manager Terence Chia told the Straits Times newspaper he saw the couple taking off their clothes on Saturday night at a staircase in a block of flats in Holland Village, known for its popular nightspots.

'Then, clothes in hand, they coolly walked in their flip-flops towards the market,' he said, adding when the couple did a U-turn a sea of spectators was ready and poised with cameras."

Mustache Update

Mustaches of the Nineteenth Century: "Dear Gentle Reader,
Many of the following pages have graphic and clear images of the masculine mustache in all its forms, both sublime and grotesque. My intent is not to shock or titillate, but merely to inform on the subject. The Nineteenth Century gave us many things, but above all it was a hotbed of facial hair experimentation and this is but a poor sampling of those many lost forms."

Link via The Bunburyist.

May Day

May Day — "May 1st, often called May Day, just might have more holidays than any other day of the year. It's a celebration of Spring. It's a day of political protests. It's a neopagan festival, a saint's feast day, and a day for organized labor. In many countries, it is a national holiday."

I'm a Guest Blogger

Gary Dobbs invited me to contribute a guest blog to The Tainted Archive, leading up to the next Wild West Monday, so I wrote about one of my favorite western movies. You can read it here.

Forgotten Books: BLUES FOR THE PRINCE -- Bart Spicer

If Bart Spicer's been forgotten, it's a real shame. He was one of the best writers of private-eye fiction in the last century. Blues for the Prince, Spicer's second novel about p.i. Carney Wilde shows you why.

Start with the writing: smooth, literate, and assured. Characters? Real as can be. Plotting? Way above the usual. The Prince (Harold Prince is his name) is a black jazzman, murdered, it seems, by an arranger who worked for him. Open and shut. But (you guessed it) there's a lot more too it than that. When he's arrested, the arranger has documents that seem to prove he wrote all the songs credited to Prince. The fiance of Prince's daughter, a doctor, hires Wilde to look into things. Complications ensue.

This book was published 59 years ago this April. Spicer's take on race is considerably ahead of its time, as you'll discover. It took a while for other mystery writers to catch up with him. And Spicer knows his music. If you like jazz, you should like this book.

Carney Wilde is unlike a lot of fictional private-eyes in that he starts out as a one-man operation and eventually starts making money. By the end of the series, he's got a fairly sizeable agency. His love life advances, too, believe it or not. He even gets married.

Spicer went on to write big standalone novels, but the books in the Carney Wilde series remain my favorites among his works. If you haven't read them, you've missed something.

Today You Die

Thursday, April 30, 2009

And the Edgar Winners Are . . .

Congrats to all, and thanks to Sarah Weinman, who passed these along via Twitter as they were announced.

Here are the Edgar Winners for Works written/produced in 2008.
Robert I. Fish Award: Joe Guglielmelli of Black Orchid Books
Raven Award: Edgar Allan Poe Society and Poe House
Grand Master #1: Sue Grafton
Grand Master #2 James Lee Burke

Best Film Screenplay: In Bruges by Martin McDonagh
Best TV Episode Teleplay: "Pray in the Blood", Wire in the Blood, by Patrick Harbinson
Best Play: The Ballad of Emmett Till by Ifa Bayeza
Best Juvenile: The Postcard by Tony Abbott
Best Young Adult: Paper Towns by John Green
Best Fact Crime: American Lightning by Howard Blum
Best Critical/Biographical: Edgar Allan Poe: An Illustrated Companion by Harry Lee
Best Short Story: "Skinhead Central" by T. Jefferson Parker in the Blue Religion
Best Paperback Original: China Lake by Meg Gardiner
Best First Novel: The Foreigner by Francie Lin
Best Novel: Blue Heaven by C.J. Box

Final Issue of Crime and Suspense Now On-Line

Crime and Suspense

Stories and reviews.  Check it out.

New Issue of Pulp Pusher Now On-Line

I know that for many of you the words "Roy Orbison in cling film" will be enough, but there's plenty more.  Check it out right here.

Happy Birthday, Willie Nelson!

Willie: Texas Monthly: "So much has been written about him in the past 75 years (a good chunk of it in Texas Monthly) that we wondered if there was anything left to say. Which is why we called the people who know him best: the friends and admirers and collaborators who've been with him through every phase and stage of his life. Jimmy Carter, Emmylou Harris, Robert Redford, Lyle Lovett, and many more pay a special seventy-fifth-birthday tribute to the most important musician ever to come from Texas—and, perhaps, the most iconic Texan of all."

Some great photos and stuff at the link, which comes to us via Banjo Jones at the Brazosport News.

Hans Holzer, R. I. P.

Hans Holzer, Ghost Hunter, Dies at 89 - Obituary (Obit) - "Hans Holzer, whose investigations into the paranormal took him to haunted houses all over the world, most notably the Long Island house that inspired “The Amityville Horror,” died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 89."

Let's hope he's not haunting that house in Amityville now.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

A Plug for Mystery Scene


There's a nice preview at the link.  Of course I'm only doing this because it mentions my column.

And You Thought the Flu Was Dangerous

7 Mexican cops shot dead in 60-minute span - Focus on Mexico- "TIJUANA, Mexico - Seven police officers were assassinated over the course of about an hour in what authorities said Tuesday was a coordinated effort that followed months of relative calm in a border city stricken by drug-fueled violence. Two other officers and a convenience-store employee were injured."

Surprisingly, Not Everyone Believes Her

Woman: Dad was the Zodiac, and I can prove it: "The Zodiac killer, it turns out, was a Jekyll and Hyde carpenter from Orange County who dragged his 7-year-old daughter along for thrills as he carried out his reign of carnage in the Bay Area 40 years ago. At least that's what the daughter, Deborah Perez, told reporters and a frenzied mob of Zodiac buffs Wednesday."

Buy Indie Day

Tomorrow is "Buy Indie Day."  Visit your local independent bookseller and buy a book.  Or two.  Or three.  And if you happen to buy one of my books, so much the better.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Video: Bus driver fired after crash while texting | "A Texas bus driver has lost his job, after causing a crash because he was texting on his cell phone, while driving.

Security video from inside the San Antonio public transportation bus shows traffic stopped on the highway in June of 2008, as the bus barrels toward cars at a standstill."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Invasion U.S.A.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Vern Gosdin, R. I. P.

Vern Gosdin dies at 70; country music singer-songwriter - Los Angeles Times: "Vern Gosdin, a singer-songwriter whose 'Chiseled in Stone' was named the Country Music Assn.'s song of the year in 1989, has died. He was 70.

Gosdin died late Tuesday at a Nashville hospital, according to Michael Illobre, funeral director at Mount Olivet Funeral Home in Nashville. The singer reportedly had suffered a stroke a few weeks ago.

Specializing in straight-ahead, traditional country music, Gosdin spent decades making music. His hits included 'Set 'em Up Joe,' 'I Can Tell by the Way You Dance,' 'I'm Still Crazy,' 'That Just About Does It,' 'Who You Gonna Blame It on This Time,' 'Way Down Deep,' 'Dream of Me' and 'Yesterday's Gone,' a duet with Emmylou Harris."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Lysistrata Update

Kenyan women's group tells men: Make war? No love: "Thousands of Kenyan women vowed Wednesday to begin a weeklong sex strike to try to protest their country's bickering leadership, which they say threatens to revive the bloody chaos that convulsed the African country last year."

50 Best U. S. TV Shows from a British Perspective

Best US television shows: best TV imports, including Sex and the City, House and The Wire

Another Oldie

� TMF Review by Bill Crider: DAVID ANTHONY - The Organization.

A review I write 37 years ago.  How time flies.

Never Mind - National Science Foundation (NSF) News - New Blow for Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Theory - US National Science Foundation (NSF): "The enduringly popular theory that the Chicxulub crater holds the clue to the demise of the dinosaurs, along with some 65 percent of all species 65 million years ago, is challenged in a paper to be published in the Journal of the Geological Society on April 27, 2009."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

First swine flu death in U.S. began with fever April 8 | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "The first reported death in the United States from the swine flu outbreak was that of a 23-month-old Mexico City boy who fell ill in Brownsville and was transported for treatment at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, where he died Monday, officials said.

Dr. David Persse, director of the city's emergency medical services, said the acutely ill child was admitted to a Brownsville hospital on April 13 and immediately was rushed by medical transport to Houston."

I Think Brad Would be a Better Dagny, but Crowe Already Has the Haircut

'Atlas Shrugged' author sees resurgence - "In 2006, Angelina Jolie was said to have been signed to star as Rand's heroine, rail magnate Dagny Taggart, and names such as Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt have also been floated. However, as of early 2009, the status of the film remains unknown."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Woman charged with biting off part of boyfriend's lip : Local : "A bond of $30,000 was set for a San Angelo woman accused of biting off part of her boyfriend's lip during a fight, San Angelo police said.

Aubrey Joyce Garcia, 27, was arrested late Sunday night and booked into the Tom Green County jail. According to jail records, she was charged with aggravated assault date/family/house with a weapon."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Harry Whittington from Stark House

David Laurence Wilson provides the best, most complete Harry Whittington bibliography ever in this Stark House volume, and that alone is enough reason to buy it.  But, as they say on TV, that's not all.  You also get Wilson's fine introduction, in which he explains how he solved a mystery that's plagued me for 30 years.  He's uncovered the titles of Whittington's 36 soft-porn novels and the house names they were published under.

For me, this poses a problem.  Should I try to complete my Whittington collection by finding those 36 books?  Probably not.  The prices are already prohibitive, and they'll only go up as soon as dealers get the word of Whittington's authorship.  The books aren't even pure Whittington, and Wilson suspects that Whittington never bothered to read the printed versions.  I'd probably never read them, either.  But still, . . .  What to do, what to do?

I'd certainly read the three books in this volume, though.  What a bargain.  Three hard-to-find Whittington novels titles under one cover.  You just can't go wrong.  I've read two of them, and I have the third one, but it's in French, which I can't read.  Now that I have the English version, I'll be sure to read it soon.

There have been many great Stark House publications mentioned on this blog, but for me, this one tops them all.  July is the publication date.  Don't forget.  Better yet, pre-order it. You won't be sorry.

Hunt at the Well of Eternity -- Gabriel Hunt, as Told to James Reasoner

If you were going to start a new adventure series in the tradition of the old pulp magazines and Republic serials, you couldn't find anyone better suited to kicking it off in grand style than James Reasoner.  Being a savvy guy, Charles Ardai knew that, and so we have the first book in the Gabriel Hunt series getting things off to a rousing start.

A mysterious woman shows up at a gala party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  She has a couple of things for Gabriel Hunt: a whiskey bottle full of what appears to be water and the battle flag of a Confederate cavalry regiment.  Before she can give them to Hunt, someone snatches the package.  A fist fights and gun battles ensue, followed by car chases, motorcycle chases, airboat chases, lots more shooting, some mild sex, a bull-whip fight (with a nice aside), a fight on a plank bridge across a deep gorge in the Guatemalan jungle, and probably more things I've forgotten.  Things never slow down, so take a deep breath before you start to read.  You might not come up for air for a while.

I had a wonderful time reading this book.  I am, after all, the target audience.  But I can't see why anybody wouldn't love it.  It got a starred review in PW, so I'm certainly not alone.  Highly recommended.

Gator Update (He Was Shopping for an SUV)

Alligator caught at car dealership: "NEW PORT RICHEY - An alligator was not one of the features Denise Anderson was looking for at Sun Toyota in New Port Richey Tuesday. She was simply hoping to test drive a car. As soon as she got to the car of her choice she noticed something lying underneath.

'As soon as I saw it and looked down to see how big the head was I just ran. I didn't care, I wasn't staying around any alligators,' she said.

It turned out to be a nearly 9 foot alligator. Shortly after Anderson ran into Sun Toyota's showroom dozens of people came out to look at the large reptile."

New Issue of Thrilling Detective Now On-Line

The spring issue is here. More great reading, so check it out.

Vigilante Force

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ann-Margret!

Ann-Margret - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Ann-Margret (born April 28, 1941) is a Swedish-born American actress, singer and dancer. She has won the Golden Globe Award five times, and has been nominated for the Academy Award, Emmy Award and Grammy."

Where Does the Line Form for Tickets?

The show's poster was designed by Eric Tillman and Assoc.

Ten Best Floggings In Literature

Ten of the best floggings |
Books |
The Guardian

Pennsylvania Leads the Way

Some Harrisburg schools closing early because of heat - "Harrisburg's SciTech High in Harrisburg will dismiss at 10 a.m. today and William Penn ACTS and Career and Technology Academy at 11:30 a.m., due to unseasonable heat, according to Harrisburg School District spokeswoman Lisa Paige.

Temperatures in the Harrisburg area are forecast to be near record highs, topping 90 today and in the upper 80s tomorrow."

Top 35 Children's Stories (British Edition)

Classic children's stories top list as JK Rowling fails to work her magic - News: "FROM Charles Dickens' OIiver Twist to the 2008 paperback Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear, a huge comic hit with reviewers last year, top British children's writers named their all-time favourites yesterday.

The 35 top titles named by the five 'children's laureates' in a comprehensive list ran from Robert Louis Stevenson to Enid Blyton. But they ignored two writers whose works have transformed children's literature in the 21st century – JK Rowling and Philip Pullman."

Take the Bus and Leave the Driving to Us

Federal convicts travel unescorted from prison to prison | Latest News |
: "DALLAS – Among the hundreds of bus passengers arriving everyday in downtown Dallas, there are some the government doesn't want the public to know about.

'It's an inherent safety and security risk for the industry as a whole,' said Kim Plaskett, a spokeswoman with Greyhound Bus Lines."

Legion of the Damned

You think today's Scots are tough?  Read about their ancestors.

Legion of the Damned: Did Boudicca's curse cause 6,000 of Rome's fiercest warriors to vanish without trace? | Mail Online: "Even today, when deep foundations are dug in the City of London, the builders invariably encounter a stratum of reddish ash: Boudicca's burning.

As many as 70,000 civilians were slaughtered, some in the cruellest ways imaginable.

'They could not wait to cut throats, hang, burn, crucify,' wrote the Roman historian Tacitus."

Smokey and the Bandit

Monday, April 27, 2009

Save Big Al! | Hilton Head woman tries to wrestle up support to save 'Big Al,' the alligator: "To some, he's known as 'Big Al.'

Others call him'Norm.'

He's a 10-foot-long alligator who has earned such nicknames because of his intimidating size. It's his size that now has some worried he could be a danger, while others work to save his life."

2009 Locus Award Finalists

Locus Science Fiction & Fantasy News: 2009 Locus Award Finalists

Full results at the link.

Free at Last

Deputy Hits, Kills Man Leaving Jail - Traffic News Story - WKMG Orlando: "An Orlando man was struck and killed by a sheriff's deputy's cruiser outside the Orange County Jail minutes after he was released from the facility.

Orange County sheriff's Deputy Armando Harwood, 43, of Orlando, was driving northbound in a marked patrol vehicle at about 3:10 a.m. when he approached 33rd Street and had a green light, Florida Highway Patrol troopers said. The man attempted to cross the street and was struck, troopers said."

Road Rules

Have I mentioned that Jim Winter is serializing his novel Road Rules on-line?  Well, if not, I should have.  Check it out.

Tiptree Award Winners

James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council: "The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award Council ( is pleased to announce that the 2008 Tiptree Award has two winners: Patrick Ness's young adult novel, The Knife of Never Letting Go (Walker 2008) and Nisi Shawl's short story collection, Filter House (Aqueduct Press, 2008).

The Tiptree Award will be celebrated on Memorial Day weekend at WisCon in Madison, Wisconsin. Each winner will receive $1000 in prize money, an original artwork created specifically for the winning novel or story, and (as always) chocolate."

The Roman Book Trade

Essay - Ancient Roman Literary Culture and Its Similarities to Our Own - "“My book is thumbed by our soldiers posted overseas, and even in Britain people quote my words. What’s the point? I don’t make a penny from it.” This is not the complaint of some young American author who has suddenly discovered that his contract pays him nothing for foreign sales. These are the words of the Roman poet Martial, first-century satirist and defender of authors’ rights."

They're Going to Call it the "Hal 9000"

Computer Program to Take On ‘Jeopardy!’ - "YORKTOWN HEIGHTS, N.Y. — This highly successful television quiz show is the latest challenge for artificial intelligence.

What is “Jeopardy”?

That is correct.

I.B.M. plans to announce Monday that it is in the final stages of completing a computer program to compete against human “Jeopardy!” contestants. If the program beats the humans, the field of artificial intelligence will have made a leap forward."

Thunder and Lightning

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Line-Up: Poems on Crime Issue #2

I've been reading the poems in the second issue of The Line-Up today, and if you like crime, poetry, and poetry about crime, you should take a look, too. I believe it will be available for purchase soon, and I'll have an announcement here when it is.

As Patrick Shawn Bagley says in his intro, you'll find poems about "prison guards, losers heading for the final fall, burned out detectives, victims of sexual abuse, victims of random violence, shoplifters, rubberneckers, and people who slide into crime as their only remaining means of survival." And damned good poems they are, too.

And Keep off His Lawn!

The strongest 72-year-old you'll ever meet - Evening Sun: "ALLENTOWN, Pa.—Fred Glass is 72 years old, stands 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs only 151 pounds. But he routinely hoists barbells twice as heavy—300 pounds, or, on a good day, 400 pounds or more—into the air.

His calves are spindly, but on his small frame are muscles of steel: the backs of his thighs look armor-plated, his triceps are spectacular and when he flexes, the muscles encircling his chest and back are peerless. Younger and taller men may have bulkier muscles, but Glass' strength is world class."

Hasn't This Happened to All of Us at One Time or Another?

British spy loses secrets in a handbag - Times Online: "A BRITISH agent has thrown the war against drug traffickers into chaos by leaving top secret information about covert operations on a bus in South America.

In a blunder that has cost taxpayers millions of pounds and put scores of lives at risk, the drugs liaison officer lost a computer memory stick said to contain a list of undercover agents’ names and details of more than five years of intelligence work.

It happened when the MI6-trained agent left her handbag on a transit coach at El Dorado airport in Bogota, Colombia. Intelligence chiefs were forced to wind up operations and relocate dozens of agents and informants amid fears the device could fall into the hands of drugs barons."

The 2009 Nebula Winners

Locus Science Fiction & Fantasy News: Nebula Awards Announced: "The 2008 Nebula Awards were presented on Saturday, April 25 in a ceremony at the 2009 Nebula Awards Weekend held in Los Angeles, California. Janis Ian was Toastmistress, and Chuck Lorre gave the keynote address.

The Nebula Awards winners are:

Novel: Powers, Ursula K. Le Guin (Harcourt)
Novella: 'The Spacetime Pool', Catherine Asaro (Analog Mar '08)
Novelette: 'Pride and Prometheus', John Kessel (F&SF Jan '08)
Short Story: 'Trophy Wives', Nina Kiriki Hoffman (Fellowship Fantastic)
Script: WALL-E, Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon. Original story by Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter (Pixar)
Andre Norton Award: Flora's Dare, Ysabeau S. Wilce (Harcourt)

Harry Harrison was honored as Damon Knight Grand Master; M.J. Engh was honored as Author Emerita; Kate Wilhelm, A.J. Budrys, and Martin Greenberg received the Solstice Award; and Joss Whedon received the Ray Bradbury Award. Victoria Strauss received the SFWA Service Award."

But What Does he Think of the Crime Writers?

TV historian sparks fury of a nation with 'feeble little Scotland' jibe - News: "A LEADING historian was under pressure to apologise yesterday after he described Scotland as a 'feeble little nation'.

David Starkey also hit out at Robert Burns, describing him as a 'boring provincial poet', and dismissed bagpipes as 'awful' on BBC's Question Time."

Might as Well Make the Movie Since the Trailer's already Done

Robert Rodriguez wields 'Machete' - Entertainment News, Gotham, Media - Variety: "Robert Rodriguez is ready to cut a wide swathe, and his plans include re-launching the 'Predator' franchise for Fox and co-directing 'Machete.'

For the later, the filmmaker will create a feature out of the blade- wielding antihero who appeared in a mock trailer that was part of 'Grindhouse.'

Rodriguez is eyeing a June start date in Austin for 'Machete,' a film that is financed and produced by Overnight Productions, with Danny Trejo starring as the title character."

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: You Don't Get Three Mistakes :: Scott D. Parker

Gator Update: Louisiana Leads the Way

The Natchez Democrat - Ordinances outlaw drunken elephants, stealing alligators, wrestling bears: "Other laws that are likely unique to Louisiana include theft of crawfish and theft of alligator, Seventh Judicial District Attorney Brad Burget said.

Alligator theft is defined as, “misappropriation or taking of an alligator, an alligator’s skin, or a part of an alligator, whether dead or alive, belonging to another.”

The consequences for alligator theft of $500 or more can be 10 years in prison and a $3,000 fine."

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