Saturday, August 01, 2009


'Captain Blood' in space? Think 'Treasure Planet' or (gulp) 'Ice Pirates' | Hero Complex | Los Angeles Times: "When you think of classic pirate films, right at the top of the list is Captain Blood, which was released right after Christmas Day 1935 and captured the imagination of America. The film was nominated for five Oscars, including best picture and best director for Michael Curtiz (who would later win the trophy for 'Casablanca'), and it made a star of first-time leading man Errol Flynn.

It's a bit risky tampering with such esteemed Hollywood history, but that's just what's happening with talk of a remake.

Oh, and it's going to be set in outer space."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas college tuition fund going broke
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- A fund offering Texas parents a guaranteed rate on their children's college tuition is about to go broke.

The Texas Tomorrow Fund was offered between 1996 and 2003, before being changed and renamed. The plan allowed parents of young children to prepay tuition at guaranteed rates regardless of how much costs went up before their children started college.

The problem is that deregulation [of college tuition] sent prices skyrocketing, meaning the fund will need a supplement from taxpayers.

I thought deregulation was supposed to lower prices. But when Texas also deregulated electric rates, giving us some of the highest prices in the nation.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Donors act fast to help cat with no eyelids: The first thing Dawn Shepherd noticed was the loud yowling coming from the live trap she had set outside an abandoned house in Taylor one June night.

When she looked inside the cage she saw a brown tabby with a strange expression on its face. "He looked like he had been bitten by a snake because he was squinting and his cheeks were really big," she said.

Shepherd took the cat to the Austin Humane Society to get it neutered and got a far worse diagnosis. The 2-year-old cat was missing big sections of its eyelids. It couldn't blink or produce any natural lubrication to clear its eyes. Without surgery it would eventually go blind.

Shepherd, a bookkeeper for the Central Texas Cat Hospital in Round Rock, said she started crying when she heard the diagnosis and immediately called Sheila Smith, founder of a nonprofit group called Shadow Cats, which provides care for feral and stray cats.

Smith, who co-owns Central Texas Cat Hospital with her husband, Dr. Roy Smith, sent out a plea in the first part of July through her nonprofit group's Web site and through Craigslist for donations to pay for the surgery needed to repair the eyelids of the cat Shepherd named "Noble."

In two days she received the needed $2,000.

When Cows Attack

Dangerous Cows - TierneyLab Blog - "The image of cows as placid, gentle creatures is a city slicker’s fantasy, judging from an article published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which reports that about 20 people a year are killed by cows in the United States. In some cases, the cows actually attack humans—ramming them, knocking them down, goring them, trampling them and kicking them in the head—resulting in fatal injuries to the head and chest."

It Had to Happen: Crocs on a Plane!

Crocodile causes chaos on plane | IOL: "A baby crocodile wriggled out of an airline passenger’s hand luggage and caused chaos on a flight into Cairo today."

Top 100 Skills Everyone Should Know – Video – Top 100 Important Skills - Popular Mechanics

Types of Skills Everyone Should Know – Video – Top 100 Important Skills - Popular Mechanics: "100 Skills Every Man Should Know: The Instructions (With Videos!)
Brains and charm are fine, but a real guy needs to know how to do real stuff. After months of debate among PM’s expert editors—and a preview of 2008’s ultimate DIY list—now you can explore how to perform life’s essential skills, broken down in 10 categories for the competent man—plus 20 tools you need to own. Did we leave anything out—or included a skill you don’t think is worthy? Scroll down and click through for tips, then sound off in our chat, or take PM’s interactive DIY quiz to see how you measure up against the MythBusters and more TV know-it-alls."

Gator Update w/Wild Hog Bonus

2 Pasadena men charged with killing 600-pound gator | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A day of hunting wild pigs turned sour for two Pasadena men after they caught — and, authorities say, illegally killed — a 600-pound, 13-foot-long alligator that had been the star of Armand Bayou Nature Center ecology tours.

Charged with taking wildlife resources, a misdemeanor offense that could send the men to jail for a year upon conviction, were David Roach and Bryan Elliott. The offense also carries a fine of up to $4,000.

Capt. Albert Lynch with the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife's Houston game warden division, said the men broke the law by killing the animal in a protected coastal preserve, where hunting is prohibited, and by dispatching it with a pistol rather than by bow and arrow."

New Blog on the Block

Do Some Damage: "What is Do Some Damage?

Seven writers. Seven voices. One blog.

Mission statements are for soldiers and themes are for superheroes. Ideas are what it’s all about, and we have a few.

Writing can be lonely. Sitting at a desk typing. Walking in the park thinking. Throwing things at the wall screaming. These are not things that we do in polite company. But who says we have to be polite?

This Web site is a collaboration of seven crime writers sharing their thoughts on reading, writing, publication and modern media. What is the future of crime writing? And which bits of the past are worth keeping?

There will be something here for all crime fiction fans. Looking for reviews, recommendations and interviews? Stick around because some really cool things are on the way. If you’re an aspiring writer, looking for tips on how to break a story or an insight into how the publishing industry works, keep reading. Already involved in the industry? We’ll be asking some interesting questions and inviting you clever folks with such great taste to join in the discussion."

Erik the Conqueror

Friday, July 31, 2009

Rare Star Wars Photos

Rare Star Wars Photos | Unique Scoop

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

'Potter' bad for newspapers? - "WACO, Texas, July 30 (UPI) -- The way newspapers are represented in the Harry Potter books could have a negative impact on young people's understanding of journalism, U.S. researchers say."

Croc Update (Miss Universe Edition)

Miss Universe Australia Rachael Finch flees monster croc | Travel News | "MISS Universe Australia Rachael Finch met some crocodiles during her Northern Territory visit yesterday and had to run for her life when a 5m croc named Eric lunged at her.

The stunner told the Northern Territory News it was an incredible - yet scary - experience."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
Photo at link.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Governor Rick Perry Accuses Opponent of Slander, Including Hidden Phrases on Web Site - Political News - "AUSTIN, Texas -- A Web site for U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison contained hidden phrases including 'rick perry gay.'

So Gov. Rick Perry's campaign is accusing the Hutchison team of being slanderous and of setting a negative and divisive tone."


How big is the internet? | Latest news | "There are more [web] addresses than there are people on Earth. The current global population stands at more than 6.7 billion.

That means there are about 150 web addresses per person in the world.

Translated: If you spent just one minute reading every website in existence, you’d be kept busy for 31,000 years. Without any sleep."

Amazing Art

Pictured: Incredible watercolour paintings by boy aged just SIX | Mail Online: "A street scene from the paintbrush of a child usually involves triangle-topped boxes for houses. And often an unnaturally large dog.

But Kieron Williamson's attempts are so beautifully rendered that artists ten times his age will be filled with envy.

Experts have said that the six-year-old's atmospheric paintings, which began with harbour scenes and expanded to include rural vistas, animal portraits and landmarks, have perspective, shadow and reflections that demonstrate an ability well beyond his years."

Pictures at the link. As I said, amazing.

Forgotten Books: THEY THIRST -- Robert McCammon

Okay, this is a first for me: a book that the author wants people to forget. Robert McCammon now forbids the reprinting of his first four novels, of which They Thirst is the fourth. He says the books don't represent his best work, that he was just a kid when he wrote them, and that he was "learning to write in public." He's certainly entitled to his opinion.

My opinion is somewhat different. I like it a lot. Vampires are everywhere now. You can't go into a bookstore without bumping into a vampire book every time you turn around. But back in 1981 when They Thirst was published, it was hard to find a good vampire book. It was hard to find any vampire books at all, for that matter.

Joe Lansdale recommended McCammon's books to me, and if I recall correctly, he likes this one quite a bit. It has everything: a serial killer known as "The Roach"; a 700-year-old vampire who's the King of the Undead and who's decided to go to war with humanity, starting with the conquest of Los Angeles; a Hell's Angel who's going to command the vampire army; a teenager who loves horror movies; and so on.

There are no nice vampires here. They're the spawn of Satan (did I mention that he's in the book, too?), and they're pure evil. The book, however, is pure fun. McCammon doesn't want it reprinted, as I mentioned, and I suppose he'd prefer that you not read it. So I won't even mention how cheap copies used copies are on the 'net.

Computer Crash

My main computer appears to have crashed. All I can see when it boots up is the Windows XP screen. After that, nothing. I'll still be doing a little blogging, but there might be a lot of whining thrown in.

Driver Personality Quiz

KUSA: Want to see what kind of driver you might be? Take the Driver Personality Quiz they used as the basis for the survey below, add up the points, and look for the category at the bottom.

They Made Me a Criminal

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Thousands evacuated amid Texas factory fire - Los Angeles Times: "A fire at a chemical storage warehouse in Bryan, Texas, has prompted the evacuation of about 70,000 people, according to the town's fire marshal.

There have been no reports of major injuries, Marc McFeron said, but some people have been hospitalized for skin irritation and smoke inhalation."

Now in Paperback Leather Maiden (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) (9780375719233): Joe R. Lansdale: Books

Croc Update (Crikey! Edition)

Cucumber truck hits buff near jumping crocs - Northern Territory News: "A TRUCK driver had a lucky escape when his cucumber-laden rig rolled near a crocodile-infested river after hitting a buffalo yesterday.

The 22-tonne heavy rigid freight truck came to rest on its side when it ran into a power pole, spilling its load of cucumbers over the road.

The truck was travelling towards Darwin along the Arnhem Highway near the Adelaide River Queen Jumping Crocodiles tour site when it hit the large buff and rolled just after midnight."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Sound Investment Advice

Movie posters yield blockbuster returns - The Globe and Mail: "When actor Nicholas Cage auctioned a rare Dracula poster in April, Ralph DeLuca knew he would outbid whomever dared raise their auction paddles against him in an effort to capture a piece of movie history.

The 1931 poster, one of only three remaining from the movie's original run, sold for a stunning $310,700 (U.S.). Mr. DeLuca, who lives in New Jersey, insists that he landed himself a dependable investment.

“I got out of investment banking a couple of years ago and started investing in posters,” he says. “The prices keep going up for the really rare things, and I'd rather put my money in something tangible than in stocks.”

Mr. Cage likely agrees – he bought the poster 10 years ago for $77,000. His 303-per-cent gain easily outpaced the minus-10-per-cent total return he would have earned on the S&P 500 over the same time period. British insurance broker Stackhouse Poland said posters have multiplied in value by up to 10 times over the past five years."

Happy Birthday, Paul Anka !

Paul Anka - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Paul Albert Anka, OC (born July 30, 1941 in Ottawa, Ontario) is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and actor of Lebanese origin.[1] He became a naturalized US citizen in 1990.[2]

Anka first became famous as a teen idol in the late 1950s and 1960s with hits songs like 'Diana'', 'Lonely Boy', and 'Put Your Head on My Shoulder'. He went on to write such well known music as the theme for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Tom Jones biggest hit 'She's A Lady', and the English lyrics for Frank Sinatra's signature song 'My Way'."

Lonely Boy - Paul Anka

Happy Birthday, Edd "Kookie" Byrnes

Edd Byrnes | Biography, Photos, Movies, TV, Credits | "During the late 1950s and early 60s, Edd Byrnes was a bona fide TV star, receiving in excess of 15,000 fan letters a week. As Gerald Lloyd 'Kookie' Kookson III, the jive-talking, ultra-cool parking lot attendant, on the hit ABC series '77 Sunset Strip', the actor created one of the nascent medium's better known characters."

Kookie Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb) - Connie Stevens with Edd Byrnes

Tarzan Update

Remember the Tarzan exhibit in Paris? One of the blog's readers got to see it.

Win Scott Tarzan exhibit at the Musee du quai Branly in Paris

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Ananova - Perfume sets off call-centre hysteria: "Thirty-four staff were taken to local hospitals in Fort Worth after Bank of America staff started complaining of dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pains and headaches, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Local fire chief Lt Kent Worley said that the situation started when two workers at the office said they felt dizzy after a co-worker sprayed some perfume.

When others started to complain of the same symptoms, panic spread through the building, with workers fearing they were under chemical attack or the victims of a carbon monoxide leak."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Best News of the Day

A Writer's Life: Spy News: "Variety reports the very good news that Steven Spielberg's next movie might be a new adaptation of Donald Hamilton's MATT HELM books. The Paramount project has been in development at various studios for decades, but apparently a script by A-list screenwriter Paul Attanasio that's closer to Matt Damon's BOURNE IDENTITY than Dean Martin's campy 1960s Matt Helm movies has everybody excited."

And in other news (also via Lee Goldberg):
A Writer's Life: ROCKFORD Revived: "Variety reports that HOUSE creator/showrunner David Shore has been tapped by NBC/Universal and Steve Carrell's production company to revive Stephen J. Cannell's THE ROCKFORD FILES. It's no surprise that they approached Shore for the coveted gig...he's a TV A-lister who tried to spin-off a Rockf0rd-esque character from HOUSE last season."

Headline of the Day

Click here.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas librarians show wild side in calendar - Yahoo! News: "AUSTIN, Texas – So much for the stereotype. Texas librarians are baring their skin and revealing their tattoos — all to raise disaster relief money to help damaged libraries. Photos of the librarians and their body art appear in a new calendar sold by the Texas Library Association."

I Was Framed!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Feel This Is Only Right and Fair

Chimp's Memoir Is Contender for Prestigious Literary Award - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News - "The purported autobiography of a movie-star chimpanzee is among the contenders for Britain's most prestigious literary award.

'Me Cheeta' is one of 13 novels on the Booker Prize longlist. Originally published anonymously, James Lever's book claims to tell the life story of the chimp who gained 1930s Hollywood stardom in 'Tarzan' movies.

Other contenders announced Tuesday are former Booker winners A.S. Byatt and J.M Coetzee, as well as Adam Foulds, Sarah Hall, Samantha Harvey, Hilary Mantel, Simon Mawer, Ed O'Loughlin, James Scudamore, Sarah Waters, William Trevor and Colm Toibin."

William G. Tapply, R. I. P.

William G. Tapply Online

I just read about Tapply's death on Sara Weinman's blog. Very sorry to hear it. I've never met Tapply, but I've enjoyed more than a few of his novels.

Dames, Dolls & Delinquents -- Gary Lovisi

Gary Lovisi is a publishing industry unto himself with things like Paperback Parade, Hardboiled, and so on coming from his Gryphon Books. Recently I reviewed an anthology of crime stories he edited. It has a great Maguire cover (see yesterday's post on Maguire). And now he's got a fat coffee-table book filled with those great paperback covers we all love, books like The Queer Sisters, Dance Hall Dyke, and Four Dames Named Sin. I'd break the bank to own all the books pictured inside this book. As who wouldn't?

My only complaint is that some of the covers aren't reproduced faithfully. The colors are off, over-saturated or something. Certainly not all of them, though, and don't let the ones that are stop you from buying this. It's an essential part of every paperback fan's library.


Search for fish unearths history: "Bass fishermen see the craziest things on their electronic fish finders, but San Diego angler Duane Johnson couldn't believe what he spotted as he was idling across Lower Otay Reservoir.

“I turned to my fishing buddy and said, ‘That looks like a plane,’ ” Johnson said."


Man inhaled 28 cans of whipped cream at Walmart - Police - The News Herald: "A man was arrested after inhaling 28 cans of whipped cream at Destin Wal-Mart.

The 33-year-old man was observed by a loss prevention officer picking up, opening and sniffing the seven-ounce cans of whip cream, according to the arrest report.

Each can contained nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, and when inhaled will 'induce a condition of intoxication.'"

3 Stooges Update

How Howard Stern and Tom Bergeron Brought The Three Stooges to Satellite Radio: "Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney may have had a stage in a barn but Howard Stern has two Satellite Radio channels. That's why 'The Three Stooges: Lost and Found Interviews' will air July 31 at 2:00 pm ET on Howard 101. As part of the interviews, Moe and Larry discuss the history of the Stooges plus the Curly/Shemp/Curly-Joe/Joe “third Stooge” evolution.

Larry reminisces about working with Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and in one surprising moment, Moe takes a swipe at legendary comedians Jerry Lewis and Bob Hope. The interview with Larry Fine was done just months before his death in 1975."

Glen or Glenda?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Birthdays, Again

Thanks to all for the kind birthday wishes. Very much appreciated.

When I was a kid I wondered what it would like to be and old guy. Now I know.

Bring 'em Back

Recalled To Action: 20 Heroes Pulled Out Of Retirement - Hero's journey - io9: "Just when you thought you were out, they teleport you back in. The hero who comes out of retirement for One. Last. Mission. is one of the great cliches of science fiction. Here are twenty heroes who can't go quietly."

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

Dames, Dolls & Gun Molls -- Jim Silke

A beautiful book, subtitled The Art of Robert A. Maguire. Maguire was one of the great GGA cover artists, and this over-sized book gives you a plethora of wonderful covers to contemplate. Besides the informative text, there are some shots of the models Maguire used, and these are placed next to the covers derived from them. Some rough sketches are included, too. If you already have the McGinnis art books (and maybe even if you don't), you'll want to add this one to your collection. It's a book you can peruse again and again.

The cover that really nails me is the one for The Revolt of Mamie Stover, a book that in 1957 or so defined hot stuff for some of us youth in a small Central Texas town. I've never forgotten that one.

Jason Bourne Should Have Tried This

Transvestite, spy, Messiah - all the same person - World - NZ Herald News: "Recently, this jewel of the Surrey stockbroker belt has added a more unconventional element to its list of attractions - a 6ft transvestite squatter called Delores Kane who believes he is the Messiah and happens to be Britain's best-known renegade former spy.

A short distance from the home of the novelist EM Forster, David Shayler and his miniskirt-clad alter ego have taken up residence in a 17th-century National Trust farmhouse after a decade of spiritual contemplation which has led the one-time MI5 officer to the conclusion that he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and that all of humanity's ills can be cured by a four-year programme of hemp cultivation."

That's Miami, Ohio, Folks

Alligator caught by police officer in Hamilton: "HAMILTON — Hamilton police Sgt. Craig Bucheit is used to catching elusive suspects — they just usually don’t have scales.

Bucheit was called upon Saturday, July 25, to capture a 3-1/2-foot alligator near the Great Miami River."

Hat tip to Rusty Burke.

The Return of Kong

Mobius -> KING KONG prequel in the works: "Spirit Pictures is looking to breathe new life into King Kong and a project initially developed by effects legend Ray Harryhausen.

Producers at the shingle have picked up the rights to the book 'Kong: King of Skull Island,' a prequel to the well-known tale of the big ape.

Penned by Joe DeVito and Brad Strickland, book focuses on the backstory of Skull Island and how the giant gorilla became king there. It introduces other giant gorillas and dinosaurs only hinted at in the previous films.

The book was published at the same time Peter Jackson was producing his remake of 'King Kong.'"


On this date in 1915, my father, Billy Crider, was born. Twenty-six years later, I came along. I grew up thinking I was the best birthday present anybody could ever have had. Looking back on it, I see that I might possibly have been mistaken. But maybe not.

I wasn't the first child to be born to my mother, Frances. I had an unnamed older brother who lived for only a few hours. I knew him only as a small stone in a cemetery. The stone's still there, and now there's a stone for me, too. Only one date's on it, so far, and I hope the other one doesn't have to be added for while. A long while.

As an imaginative kid, I used to wonder how it would have been to have an older brother. What would he have been like? What might he have become? How would we have gotten along? I still think about it now and then.

And speaking of birthdays, it's also the blog's birthday, seven years old today and headed for its 10,000th post sometime later this year. Probably next month.

Battle of the Amazons

Monday, July 27, 2009

TOWER interview #2: Reed Farrel Coleman

Busted Flush Press: TOWER interview #2: Reed Farrel Coleman

A Review

Steve Lewis has reprinted another of my old reviews from 1001 Midnights, this one of Nick Quarry's The Hoods Come Calling.

Croc Update (Loser Edition)

First time ever: Leopard kills croc!- Hindustan Times: "Onlookers were amazed to see the leopard drag the crocodile from the water as the reptile fought back. Eventually the big cat was able to sit on top of the reptile and suffocate it.

In the past, there have been reports of crocodiles killing leopards, but this is believed to the first time that the reverse scenario has been seen."

I Just Hope She Wasn't Talking about Paris Hilton

Palin resigns, blasts press, 'starlets' - Yahoo! News: "She went after reporters but also what she called the Hollywood “starlets” who rail against gun rights and the “partisan operatives” who filed the ethics complaints that helped drive her from office."

I'm Tasin' You, Bro!

And you. And you, too.

New Taser stun gun can shock 3 at a time: "Stun gun maker Taser International has unveiled its first new stun gun since 2003, a device that can shock three people without reloading.

Older Taser models now used by law enforcement agencies and civilians throughout the country have to be reloaded after one shot, which can be a problem for an officer who has missed a target or has more than one suspect to subdue."

Dope Menace -- Stephen J. Gertz

I'm getting around to this a little late, so you probably own Dope Menace already. If you don't, you should get yourself a copy as soon as you can. That is, you should if you love old paperback covers as much as I do. Sure, there's text, and it's good text, too, well-researched text. Interesting and entertaining text. But you might as well admit it. What you really want to see is covers of books like or Home is the Humper or Narco Nympho. If you're like me, you'll wish you owned them. I have some wonderful stuff, but there's always more. For now, though, I'm happy just to page through the wonderfully reproduced covers here. I don't know much about art, but I know what I like.


Phil Spector - Manson Courts Spector Behind Bars - Contactmusic News: "Jailed music producer PHIL SPECTOR has been targetted behind bars by killer CHARLES MANSON, who wants his help launching a singing career.

Spector, serving a 19-year sentence for the murder of actress Lara Clarkson, has been moved to the same California prison as Manson, who was jailed for life for masterminding the 1969 murders of actress Sharon Tate and her friends Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

Manson was a wannabe rocker before the murders, and Spector's wife claims the cult leader has hounded her husband for musical tips."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Police can use force to compel hurricane evacuation : Corpus Christi Local | Caller-Times |: "A new state law will allow police to arrest people who don’t leave town under mandatory evacuation orders.

As it stands, officials cannot compel people to evacuate, only warn that those who stay behind won’t have any emergency services at their disposal. The new law gives county judges and mayors the power to authorize use of “reasonable force” to remove people from the area."

Don't tase me, bro!

I, For One, Welcome Our New Chipmunk Overlords

Breakout fuels killer chipmunk fears | The Sun |News: "VICIOUS killer chipmunks that escaped from a British park four years ago have never been found - and could now have bred into a horde thousands strong, The Sun can reveal."

Alvin, Simon, and Theodore wanted for questioning.

Happy Birthday, Harry Patterson!

Also Hugh Marlowe, James Graham, and Jack Higgins. The first novel I read by Patterson was Passage by Night, published under the Hugh Marlowe name. I still have the Avon paperback I bought in 1965 or 1966. I wasn't terribly impressed, but I must have liked it well enough. It was some years later that I bought The Savage Day, by Jack Higgins, when Patterson's U. S. publisher became Fawcett. I bought everything I could find by Higgins after that, and after reading about two pages of A Game for Heroes, a Dell paperback, I realized that Higgins had to be Graham. The styles were just too similar for any other explanation. So I bought the Graham books, too. I've found that for my tastes, the middle period Higgins/Graham books are the most entertaining. The Higgins books these days seem to me as if they're written by someone on autopilot. They're fun, but nothing like the earlier stuff, which is right at the top of the line.

I don't understand why Patterson hasn't been named a Grandmaster by the Thriller Writers of America. I mean, Sandra Brown has. Nothing against her. She's a Texan, and I like her. She sells a lot of books. Good books. But she's no Harry Patterson. Or James Graham or Jack Higgins. Read The Savage Day, Toll for the Brave, A Prayer for the Dying, The Last Place God Made, East of Desolation, The Khufra Run, The Run to Morning. You'll see what I mean.

Iowa Leads the Way

'Historic' sewers add expenses for cities | | The Des Moines Register: "A state office charged with saving Iowa's history and complying with federal law is forcing cities to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars to determine whether sewers should be considered historic and indefinitely preserved.

The Des Moines City Council, for example, will vote Monday on a plan to spend $27,500 to hire an Iowa City company to evaluate some of its sewers. The study will determine, in part, whether city leaders destroyed history when doing work completed as long as five years ago."

A couple of nice sewer pics at the link.

Journey to the Center of the Earth

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Cypress man wins Hemingway look-alike contest | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A 55-year-old Texan wearing the requisite white beard and sporting a sweater won an Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest — one of the highlights of a six-day annual festival honoring the late Nobel prize-winning author.

Dressed in a wool fisherman's turtleneck sweater despite 90-degree temperatures, David Douglas of Cypress bested 139 other contenders at the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest, staged Saturday night at Sloppy Joe's Bar, the author's favorite watering hole."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Drought turning Texas as dry as toast - Weather- "DALLAS - Off-duty police officers are patrolling streets, looking for people illegally watering their lawns and gardens. Residents are encouraged to stealthily rat out water scofflaws on a 24-hour hot line. One Texas lake has dipped so low that stolen cars dumped years ago are peeking up through the waterline.

The nation's most drought-stricken state is deep-frying under relentless 100-degree days and waterways are drying up, especially in the hardest-hit area covering about 350 miles across south-central Texas. That's making folks worried about the water supply — and how long it might last."

The Case of the Pen Gone Missing -- René Saldaña, Jr.

Here's a neat idea, a book for young readers in the style of an old Ace Double, with the English version on one side and the Spanish version on the other. Mickey Rangel is a fifth grader who's taken detective courses on the 'net, which makes him the only hardboiled p.i. in his class. When his pretty classmate, Toots Rodríguez, is accused of stealing a fountain pen used by the president to sign an important bill, she hires Mickey to find out who did it. Well, you know how it is with a p.i. and an attractive client. Mickey is on the case, and he cracks it with the assistance of a mysterious "Angel" who leaves him notes.

The book's only about 30 pages long, with illustrations, so reluctant readers should find it attractive. The story will hold them, and other youngsters, too. My Spanish is rusty, but I had fun taking a stab at that version. I could read quite a bit of it, so I'd guess it would work fine for kids whose first language is Spanish. A neat little book.

Harry Potter and the Media Muggles

The Harry Potter movies cast with media personalities.

Harry Potter | Media Muggles | Online | Mediaite

Amnesty Day (Exotic Pet Edition)

Owners Allowed To Drop Off Exotic Pets, No Questions Asked - "The alligator some evicted tenants left in a Milford apartment, an iguana too difficult for a pregnant Shelton couple to keep once the baby comes, and 134 other creatures were dropped off Saturday at the state's first exotic animal amnesty day."

Nice gator photo at the link.
I'm wondering about that Shelton couple, though. A pregnant couple? I wish there had been a photo of them instead of the gator.

Gator Update

Alligator numbers fall in aftermath of Ike | Shannon Tompkins | - Houston Chronicle: "As experts predicted, recently completed research shows the number of alligators in the coastal marshes and other wetlands along the upper Texas coast this year is down considerably as the reptiles and their habitat struggle with Hurricane Ike's lingering impact.

Researchers conducting aerial surveys of alligator nesting activity in Jefferson, Chambers and Orange counties, the most alligator-rich in Texas, counted barely 10 percent the number of alligator nests they saw a year ago.

Researchers conducting aerial surveys of alligator nesting activity in Jefferson, Chambers and Orange counties, the most alligator-rich in Texas, counted barely 10 percent the number of alligator nests they saw a year ago."

At the Earth's Core