Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Vengeance on the 18th :: David Cranmer

You Can't Go Wrong with Plots for Ray Guns!


Not Exactly Leading the Way

Study: Only 58.5% of Houston freshmen graduate | Chronicle | - Houston Chronicle: "As thousands of Houston-area high school seniors prepare to accept their diplomas in the coming weeks, a study released Friday shows that only 58.5 percent of the region’s freshmen make it to graduation day.

Children at Risk, a Houston-based advocacy group, commissioned the Texas Education Agency to conduct study of six-year graduation rates for the region’s 130 high schools. They learned that 53 percent of the students who begin as ninth-graders in the Houston Independent School District had not graduated from any Texas high school in six years. The combined graduation rate for the entire region’s high schools is 58.5 percent."

Once Agin, Texas Leads the Way

Big Brother says, "Don't forget to zip up!"

Video Surveillance on the Fly: Here’s Looking at You! � Swamplot: Houston’s Real Estate Landscape: "Acute airport-urinal observer and SnapStream CEO Rakesh Agrawal catches this unlikely warning posted in a men’s restroom at the newish Southwest Airlines terminal at Hobby. The text below the Dept. of Homeland Security logo at the top of the urinal reads:

"Automatic infrared flush sensors also provide video monitoring for security purposes."

Chopper, R. I. P.

Old age claims life of Chopper, famous pet alligator of south Forrest County | | Hattiesburg American: "He was first spotted along the Chickasawhay River carrying a beaver in his mouth. Then for 51 years, he lived placidly in the pond of a Brooklyn family and became, in the process, a local phenomenon.

Now Chopper, the 11-foot long, 500-pound pet alligator, is mourned. He died at his home May 11 of what is presumed to be a case of old age.

Carness Archer Sr., captured the alligator in 1958. In a 1977 Hattiesburg American article, he explained that he had heard someone wanted to buy an alligator for $1,000. So he and a friend combed Black Creek and then the Chickasawhay before capturing one."

Today's Scare

BBC NEWS | Health | Too much cola zaps muscle power: "Excessive cola consumption can lead to anything from mild weakness to profound muscle paralysis, doctors are warning.

This is because the drink can cause blood potassium to drop dangerously low, they report in the International Journal of Clinical Practice."

Pop a Top

This Prom Dress Is Made Of Coke Can Pop Tops - Entertainment News Story - WSB Atlanta: "When Maranda Smith arrived at her West Forsyth High School Prom, she didn't worry that another student might be wearing the same dress she was wearing. That's because her dress was made of soda can pop tops. That's right. Her dress was made of those tabs on top on soda cans."

Slideshow at link.

Marshal of Cedar Creek

Friday, May 22, 2009

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton gets naughty with Doug Reinhardt in Cannes | The Sun |Showbiz|Bizarre: "IT seems PARIS HILTON has failed to learn from her only worthwhile work to date, that sex tape 1 Night In Paris. Now how long before the footage here hits t’internet?

The heiress straddled her baseball star boyfriend DOUG REINHARDT and fondled her bangers at the VIP Room nightclub in Cannes as he clutched a... video camera."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.  

Naughty photos at the link.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Stimulus funds to repair Texas Governor's Mansion - Yahoo! News: "While Gov. Rick Perry is criticizing Washington bailouts, state lawmakers are planning to use $11 million in federal stimulus money to help rebuild the badly burned Texas Governor's Mansion."

Grumpy Old Max

Perez Hilton: 4th Mad Max Sequel In The Works!: "With the 25th anniversary of the third installment of the sci-fi thriller Mad Max approaching, director George Miller has decided to film a 4th sequel to the Mad Max franchise!

Miller has been pokin' around Australia looking for filming locations and hopes to start filming later in the year, according to reports.

So will Mel Gibson be reprising his breakout role of Max?

Don't count on it!"

Who You Gonna Call?

Perez Hilton: Ghostbusters Sequel A GO!: "As we first mentioned last year, Columbia Pictures hired the exec producers from The Office to write a Ghostbusters reunion movie.

Ghostbusters III!

And rumors were the original cast might be making a return to the flick.

Well, it's happening! In a new interview, Dan Aykroyd confirms that he Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Harold Ramis, and even Sigourney Weaver are on board for the third movie."

Has Art Bought His Ticket to Vegas Yet?

Girls Escort Guys on the Golf Course: "One business in Las Vegas is 'redefining the world of golf entertainment.'

Play Golf Designs offers up rounds of golf with attractive girls who wear a little less than the usual argyle vests and khaki pants. The idea is for guys to spice up an otherwise dull corporate outing or bachelor party. All of the golfers hired play at the elite level, being members of the LPGA, Ladies European Tour, CN Canadian Tour and more."

Are Any of You in this Contest?

Furry-faced men from across the globe trek to Alaska to compete for title of fanciest whiskers: "On Friday, the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships will come to Anchorage, where more than 200 competitors from 12 countries will brandish facial hair ranging from delicate Salvador Dali-style mustaches to bushy full beards."

You Can Hear the Theme Already, Right?

Kooky! Addams Family is headed to Broadway.: "When I had heard about an Addams family musical, one thought came to mind: 'How come this hasn't been done already?' It has a theatrical A-list cast with Nathan Lane (THE PRODUCERS) as the patriarch, Gomez and Bebe Neuwirth (TADPOLE, LAW & ORDER) as Morticia.

The story will be about Wednesday Addams, who is played by Krysta Rodriguez (GOSSIP GIRL)who falls in love with a nice, normal boy. All of the famous family will be in it, from Uncle Fester to Grandmama and Pugsley."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery -- Sarah Cortez & Liz Martinez, Editors

Hit List is an entertaining anthology of stories by Latino authors.  Not all of them are mysteries, but all of them are crime stories of one kind or another.  The book begins with two short-shorts, Mario Acevedo's "Oh, Yeah" and Lucha Corpi's "Hollow Point at the Synapses."  Acevedo's is one with a twist, while Corpi's is from a unique point of view.  You'll have to read it yourself to find out what it is, since I don't want to spoil it for you.

Being familiar with the work of Steven Torres, I read his story first.  "Caring for Jose" features Luiz Gonzalo from Torres' Precinct Puerto Rico series.  Who would care if someone killed one of a small town's least desirable citizens?  Well, the sheriff would, because it's his job, but matter of defining justice and the law is sometimes more complicated that it might seem.  

I've enjoyed John Lantigua's novels, too, and his story of a Labor Day weekend party gone wrong presents Detective Sergeant Roberto Rivas with a complicated puzzle.  A celebration of a young man's reunion with his family is interrupted by a murder, and Rivas quickly discovers that there aren't any suspects.  So who killed the man?  Trust Rivas to find the answer.

A couple of stories with great titles are "The Skull of Pancho Villa" by Manuel Ramos and "In the Kitchen with Johnny Albino" by R. Navaez.  The stories manage to live up to the titles, with simple and direct justice being involved in both.

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith's name is well known in Texas literary circles.  His story is "Nice Climate, Miami," and it's about a hit man named O'Hara.  Terse, tense, and tough.

I could go on about the other stories, but I think I'll stop.  I enjoyed them all, and I think you might, too.  If you want a book filled with crime stories coming from a slightly different perspective from the one you're used to (or at least the one I'm used to), you can't go wrong with Hit List.

The Quality of Mercy is not Strained

Pa. middle school expels teen with eyebrow shaver - Yahoo! News: "A Pittsburgh-area teenager has been suspended from middle school when a random search turned up an eyebrow shaver in her handbag. Officials at Linton Middle School in Penn Hills recommended at a Wednesday disciplinary hearing that 15-year-old be expelled for the rest of this year and 45 days next year."

Forgotten Books: THE CHISHOLMS -- Evan Hunter

I wrote about this one on the blog around 5 years ago, but I figure you might have forgotten (heh heh).  Sure, it's a western, but it's by Evan Hunter.  I was in a thrift store the other day, saw a copy of the paperback, and picked it up.  I figure you can never have too many copies of Evan Hunter books.

The Chisholms appeared in hardcover in 1979, and it was the basis for a TV mini-series that year, screenplay by Hunter.  (Maybe you recognize Robert Preston there on the book's cover as the Chisholm patriarch.)  The mini-series led to a short-lived TV series (13 episodes) in 1980.  The book is a family saga and "way west" epic.  It has a little bit of everything, and it's all good.  The Chisholm family leaves Virginia to travel to Oregon and make a new start.  Here's what I had to say in the original review:  "They leave at the wrong time of year and so have to travel virtually alone rather than with a wagon train.  They run into scamsters [crime element!], Indians, bad weather, and plenty of other problems."  

As far as I know, Hunter never wrote another book like this one.  It's quite a change of pace from his crime novels, and I recommend it highly if you're looking for something a little different.

Robin Hood -- Prince of Thieves

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wal-Mart Crime Update

Police: Shoplifting aunt used baby as weapon - WMC-TV: News, Weather, Traffic, Radar, and Sports for Memphis, TN; |: "Memphis police are searching for a shoplifting suspect who used a tiny baby as a weapon against a security guard during an escape attempt Wednesday.

The incident happened early Wednesday afternoon at Wal-Mart on Austin Peay in Raleigh, where police say a woman was caught shoplifting. While attempting to escape, the woman hurled her two-month old nephew at a security guard. The infant, seated in a carrier, fell onto the concrete floor.

The suspect then threw the baby at a good samaritan who tried to tend to the infant.

The suspect ran from the store and escaped in a blue Ford Escort, abandoning the baby and his mother, who was in the women's restroom during the incident."

Paris Hilton: Doing Good Wherever She Goes

Brooklyn teen will go to prom in Paris Hilton's gown: "High school senior Jonisa Albert will be going to her prom dressed like royalty - Paris Hilton.

The 17-year-old snagged a turquoise drop-waist dress donated by the Hollywood drama queen at an event Wednesday dubbed Operation Fairy Dust.

'I can't even describe how it feels,' said Albert, who attends Progress High School for Professional Careers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

'When they told me it was her dress it made it even more special.'"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

A Story with Bite in It

Man Demands Dentures During Alleged Stick Up |
NBC New York
: "Talk about a toothless business deal. A Staten Island man is accused of ordering an associate to take out his dentures at gunpoint.

Joseph Nativo, 47, claims he paid for his ex-colleague's fake teeth and now he wants them back. He allegedly pulled a gun on 40-year-old Gennario Sibbio and demanded he fork them over."

Must-see photo at link!

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The Associated Press: A Texas mayor resigns abruptly _ for love: "SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) — The mayor of a West Texas community abruptly resigned Wednesday, picking love over his love of office.

J.W. Lown told the San Angelo Standard-Times in a telephone interview from Mexico that he was involved in a relationship with a man who does not have legal status in the United States.

Lown, 32, said he didn't want to take the oath of office knowing he was 'aiding and assisting' someone who is not a U.S. citizen."

Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Book America Has Been Waiting For

University Press of Florida: "Glazed America

Professor Paul Mullins tells us about his love for doughnuts and how it led to his book about the history of doughnuts."

Video at the link.

Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.

Texas Keeps Trying to Lead the Way

Texas Senate OKs guns at colleges - Politics AP - "AUSTIN — The Senate gave preliminary approval Tuesday to legislation that would allow concealed handguns at colleges and universities, but with less than two weeks left in the 2009 Legislature, the bill's ultimate outcome is uncertain.

'That's the real question. I don't know the answer to that,' said Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, when asked whether there is enough time to win final passage in the Senate and rush the bill through the House before the June 1 adjournment.

The bill would allow Texans who have concealed-handgun permits to carry the weapons into college and university buildings, classrooms and dormitories. Wentworth said permit holders can currently carry guns onto campuses, but not into buildings."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Destructive ants marching on San Antonio | Latest News |
: "A destructive menace is heading west on I.H. 10 with San Antonio in its sites. It's the crazy Raspberry ant that was first spotted in Houston in 2002. No one knows where it came from or how to control it but it reproduces faster than any insect experts have ever seen.

'This is an alien species,' says Sam Houston State University Entomologist Dr. Jerry Cook. 'This is in higher densities than any other insects I've ever seen. They number in the billions and cover everything around them."

The Pause that Refreshes

The Ridiculant | Metro: "It's a feeling many of us will be familiar with: sitting in a cinema, realising you need the toilet - but there's still over an hour of the film to go, and you just know that if you dash out now, something really important will happen and you'll miss it.

Well, don't worry - as is so often the case, the web is here to help. is a website that lets you know when it's safe to, well, run for a pee."

U. S. Students Flee to Canada

But not to avoid a war. American brains are Canada's gain: "Libby MacCarthy had never been to Canada when she applied to Dalhousie University at the suggestion of a friend. After a campus visit during a cold snap in April, the Maine native was still undecided about the merits of a Canadian education.

But when the offer from her top U.S. choice arrived without a promise of financial aid, the annual $25,000 (U.S.) difference in cost made up her mind.

'Canadian universities are like hidden gems,' said the 21-year-old, who starts her fourth year in Halifax in September. 'A lot of them are Ivy League-quality schools and they are just a lot less expensive.'"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

A passion for possums: "Shives, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, has nursed more than 1,000 possums over the past six years and shares her Northeast Austin ranch with 65 of the much-maligned animals."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

FBI: Mexican Gulf Cartel training to take out competitors | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "The FBI is advising law enforcement officers across the country that a Texas cell of Los Zetas — an increasingly powerful arm of the Mexican Gulf Cartel drug trafficking syndicate — has acquired a secluded ranch where it trains its members to “neutralize” competitors in the United States.

In order to ensure its share of the lucrative illegal drug trade, the cartel’s members reportedly are operating north of the border to collect debts and spy on competitors. They have also protected cocaine and heroin shipments that were bound for Houston, where they were repackaged and shipped on to Alabama, Delaware, Georgia and Michigan, according to the FBI."

The Adventures of Robin Hood

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sherlock Holmes

Thanks to Walter Satterthwait for the link.

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

But then neither does New York.

WBBM 780 - Chicago's #1 source for local news, traffic and weather - Chicago neighborhood pizza named nation's best: "A Chicago pizzeria has been named the best in America.

GQ Magazine food writer Alan Richman singles out Mortadella Pie from Great Lake pizzeria at 1477 West Balmoral Avenue as having the best he's tasted after traveling 20,000 miles searching for the perfect pie."
[. . . .]
And here's GQ's 25 Best list:
  1. Chicago: Great Lake - Mortadella Pie
  2. Brooklyn: Lucali - Plain Pie
  3. San Francisco: Pizzeria Delfina - Panna Pie
  4. Phoenix: Pizzeria Bianco - Margherita With Prosciutto
  5. Providence: Bob & Timmy's - "Spinach-And-Mushroom Pizza"
  6. New Haven, CT: Sally's Apizza - "White Pie With Potato"
  7. Los Angeles: Tomato Pie -"The Grandma"
  8. New York City: Co. - "Margherita"
  9. Philadelphia: Tacconelli's - "White Pie"
  10. Brooklyn: Totonno's - "Margherita With Pepperoni"
  11. Port Chester, NY: Tarry Lodge - "Clam Pie"
  12. New Haven, CT: Frank Pepe - "The Original Tomato Pie"
  13. Harrison Township, MI.: Luigi's "the Original" - "Gourmet Veggie Pizza"
  14. San Francisco: Gialina - "Wild-Nettle Pie"
  15. Detroit: Buddys - "Cheese Pizza"
  16. Marina Del Rey: Antica Pizzeria - "Pizza Del Cafone"
  17. San Francisco: A16 - "Romana Pie"
  18. Providence, RI: Al Forno - "Grilled Pizza With Roasted Eggplant"
  19. Boston: Galleria Umberto - "Square Slice"
  20. New York City: Famous Joes - "Slice"
  21. Farmington Hills, MI.: Tomatoes Apizza - "Pepperoni Pie"
  22. Philadelphia: Osteria - "Zucca Pie"
  23. Boston: Santarpio's - "Homemade-Sausage Pie"
  24. Detroit: Niki's - "Cheese Pizza With Feta"
  25. New York City: Una Pizza Napoletana - "Margherita"

Anthony Awards Nominations

Bouchercon 2009 World Mystery Convention, ANTHONY AWARDS: "2009 Anthony Award Nominations"
2009 Anthony Award Nominations

Best Novel

Trigger City by Sean Chercover [William Morrow]
The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly [Little, Brown and Company]
Red Knife by William Kent Krueger [Atria]
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson [Knopf]
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny [Minotaur]

Best First Novel
Pushing Up Daisies by Rosemary Harris [Minotaur]
Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer [Doubleday]
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson [Knopf]
Death of a Cozy Writer by G. M. Malliet [Midnight Ink]
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith [Grand Central]

Best Paperback Original
The First Quarry by Max Allan Collins [Hard Case Crime]
Money Shot by Christa Faust [Hard Case Crime]
State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy [Berkley]
In a Dark Season by Vicki Lane [Dell]
South of Hell by P. J. Parrish [Pocket Star]

Best Short Story
“The Night Things Changed” by Dana Cameron from Wolfsbane and Mistletoe [Ace]
“A Sleep Not Unlike Death” by Sean Chercover from Hardcore Hardboiled [Kensington]
“Killing Time” by Jane K. Cleland from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (November)
“Skull and Cross Examination” by Toni L. P. Kelner from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (February)
“Scratch a Woman” by Laura Lippman from Hardly Knew Her [William Morrow]
“The Secret Lives of Cats” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (July)

Best Critical Nonfiction Work
African American Mystery Writers: A Historical and Thematic Study by Frankie Y. Bailey [McFarland]
How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries by Kathy Lynn Emerson[Perseverance Press]
Anthony Boucher: A Biobibliography by Jeffrey Marks [McFarland]
The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective by Kate Summerscale [Walker & Company]

Best Children’s/Young Adult Novel
The Crossroads by Chris Grabenstein [Random House]
Paper Towns by John Green [Dutton Juvenile]
Kiss Me, Kill Me by Lauren Henderson [Delacorte]
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey byTrenton Lee Stewart [Little, Brown]
Sammy Keyes and the Cold Hard Cash by Wendelin Van Draanen[Knopf]

Best Cover Art
Death Was the Other Woman designed by David Rotstein and written by Linda L. Richards [Minotaur]
Death Will Get You Sober designed by David Rotstein and written by Elizabeth Zelvin [Minotaur]
The Fault Tree designed by David Rotstein and written by Louise Ure [Minotaur]
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo designed by Peter Mendelsund and written by Stieg Larsson [Knopf]
Money Shot designed by Steve Cooley and written by Christa Faust [Hard Case Crime]

Special Service Award
Jon and Ruth Jordan
Ali Karim
David Montgomery
Gary Warren Niebuhr
Sarah Weinman