Saturday, September 19, 2009
It was the perfect accomplice.
Included in the items the German army allowed humanitarian groups to distribute in care packages to imprisoned soldiers, the game was too innocent to raise suspicion. But it was the ideal size for a top-secret escape kit that could help spring British POWs from German war camps."
Plots and counterplots? You better believe it. Twists? Yep. Machinations within the church and its hierarchy? Check.
But this isn't Dan Brown. The pace is a lot more leisurely. The chapters are short, but there are plenty of paragraphs that cover almost an entire page. Lots of description, which is done well but which readers looking for a really fast pace might find distracting. I didn't, but I did think the book was a bit too long. I say that about most books, though, so you can probably disregard it. If you're looking for something a little different, but familiar at the same time, give this one a try.
And then there who is editor of international affairs at a prestigious magazine in London. Her father, Raul, is a Portugese military officer, and was involved earlier with Sarah when they looked into the death of John Paul I. Another returning character is Father Rafael Santini; caught up in religious politics and secretive about the things he knows. There are representatives from the CIA, the Masons, the Opus Dei, the police forces of several countries, and the Catholic church.
that the truth behind the 1981 attempt on the life of John Paul II was never revealed—is undercut by a muddled story line and such winks to the reader as naming a British agent Simon Templar (the hero of a popular 1960s TV series starring Roger Moore) and one character telling another that the previous book (i.e., The Last Pope) is available for sale in the bookstores. Long-winded descriptive passages, like the opening set at an expensive restaurant in an unnamed city, dampen the tension in a novel alleging dark doings at the heart of the Vatican. Still, those with a limitless appetite for stories about evildoing involving the Catholic Church may be satisfied. (Aug.)
are as fond of evocative descriptive writing as you are of clandestine plots involving the Roman Catholic Church –- and really, who isn’t fascinated by a bit of Vatican-spiced intrigue? –- you’ll find much to admire in this follow-up to Mr. Rocha’s The Last Pope, an account of the conspiracy lying beneath the 1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.
The Holy Bullet digs deeper into the hidden plots and treacheries of the shadowy figures in the upper echelons of the Catholic hierarchy. Incorporating everything from a female British journalist to a Muslim who has visions of Christ’s mother Mary to a priest who, conveniently, doubles as an assassin, it seems, at times, as if Mr. Rocha has created a story that threatens to collapse under its own weight. However, the cool, intricately constructed prose prevents the byzantine plot from being too annoying. The Da Vinci Code this is not; but it’s an intriguing tale in its own right.
In May of 1981, the world was shocked when a Muslim terrorist attempted to assassinate the beloved Pope, John Paul II. Although greviously wounded, he survived and lived to fulfill God's mission for him. Even more shocking to many, Pope John Paul met with his attempted assassin, Mehmet Ali Ağca after the attempt, and fully forgave him. Luis Miguel Rocha's new novel, The Holy Bullet, is written around this shocking event.
John Paul II came to the office after the short tenure of John Paul I. His short time in office led to rumours that his death was not natural. The attempted assassination of John Paul II so quickly after his ascension to Pope reinforced the belief that there were powers plotting against the papacy. Now, warring factions form alliances and opposing forces to try to either discover or hide the truth of this event, depending on which side they are aligned with.
The reader is faced with a dizzying array of characters. There is There are plots, counterplots, betrayals and surprising facts that are revealed. Over all looms the question of whether Sarah and Rafael can discover what lies behind the plot against the papacy, and whether they can use that knowledge to save the Pope.
Fans of Miguel Luis Rocha's first novel, The Last Pope, or those who enjoyed The DaVinci Code, will enjoy The Holy Bullet. The author insists that not only is the book based on true facts, but that some of these facts were given to him only years after the attempt on John Paul's life by a man who claimed to have been involved in the death of the first John Paul. The plotlines are tight and intersect compellingly, and the reader is pulled along, afraid to read what comes next but afraid also not to. The characters are interesting, and their motivations twine and twist until none of them is predictable. This book is recommended for suspense readers.
Christopher McGinn, who has since quit his job, gave his friends lines of the Class-A drug in exchange for pints of beer in pub toilets.
He even used an iTunes card to snort his own drugs."
Friday, September 18, 2009
Hat tip to Jeff Segal.
Doctors at Duke University Medical Center say the plastic fragment of an eating utensil — with the Wendy's logo still legible on the side — was likely to blame for the coughing, fatigue and pneumonia spells that plagued John Manley for almost two years."
Hat tip to Scott Cupp.
Okay, so I'm a day late. I apologize. Photos at link.
The federal Tax Court denied the deductions, claimed by lawyer William Halby as medical expenses for sex therapy. TaxProf Blog reported on yesterday's ruling, first noted by Tax Update Blog.
The U.S. Tax Court opinion (PDF) involved more than $100,000 in deductions for 2004 and 2005. Halby noted his visits to prostitutes in a tax journal, but they were not part of a physician-ordered therapy and they are illegal in New York, the Tax Court said."
Hat tip to Ted Hertel.
Josh Olson's Comments about Reading Your Script Prompt The Little Professor to Give a Historical Perspective
[. . . .]
People like to make fun of Florida, but a state where hot blondes will go hunting with you in a swamp can't be all bad."
Photo of blonde and gator at the link.
Experts believe the suspect had been smuggling the animals into South Africa to sell as part of the lucrative global trade in endangered species.
The 28-year-old was arrested after apparently stashing several of the valuable reptiles in his bags, along with dozens of snakes, a turtle, spiders, scorpions and frogs."
A stage version of 'Ben Hur' is opening Thursday at London's 02 arena before going on tour across Europe. German producer Franz Abraham has worked for 15 years to create 'Ben Hur Live', which features music by Stewart Copeland, former drummer with rock band The Police.
Copeland said the show was 'more of a circus of Ben Hur' than a play. In addition to thoroughbred horses, the cast features donkeys, eagles and chickens."
Hat tip to Scott Cupp.
When I was a graduate assistant at The University of Texas, the freshman English instructors had a saying: "When all else fails, teach The Cuckoo's Nest." It always connected with the students; it could save a whole semester. After I started teaching full-time, I taught it for years in an American fiction class. I don't know if the students loved it, but I did, and I went over it so many times that I practically had it memorized. If you've seen the film but never read the book, you really should give the novel a try. I think you'll be glad you did.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
However, emergency responders quickly determined that what appeared to be a grenade was actually hair clippers and a bottle of cologne, said Jim Durwin, assistant superintendent of airport operations."
The devastation that remained at Alvin Community College amounted to $15 million worth of damage resulting from flooded buildings, molding books, useless computers, and mangled roofs. Then (within hours) this college community came together to find a way to rebuild. Standing amid the debris that first day after the storm, the college administrators held an impromptu meeting, considering the task ahead and how they could turn tragedy into opportunity. 'At the time, we were so sad and it was hard to imagine,' said ACC Dean of Financial and Administrative Services Dr. Darryl Stevens.
The most significant damage was discovered in the library. As ACC Librarian Tom Bates was returning home to assess his own personal situation, he received a call from Dean of Academic Programs Drew Nelson: 'You'd better get back to work, Tom,' he said. 'Your library just got destroyed.'"
Hat tip to Gerard Saylor.
I went to the library a couple of weeks ago. It looks great, and I'm glad they've managed to achieve so much.
Nasty. Brutish. Short.: The Case of the Piss-Poor Gold by Lee Goldberg
James Butler Hickok Stark (aka Sandman Slim) is a magician. A real one. Some his pals get rid of him by sending him to hell, not as a dead man but while he's still alive. Then they kill his sweetheart.
He's trapped in hell for 11 years, fighting monsters as a gladiator and serving as a hit man for demons. The book opens with his return to Los Angeles, and he's bent on revenge. To get it he has to fight demons, angels, magicians, and the kissim, beings that aren't demons or angels but worse than either.
L. A., it seems, is a hotbed of magic, and Kadrey's good at presenting it as a nightmare. So Slim's is not an easy job. Heads roll. Not to mention other things. There's violence enough for anybody, but Stark's one of those badasses who, we just know, is really decent at the core, no matter who or what he kills and how many nice people he damages in pursuit of vengeance.
The book's too long, and it's obviously the set-up for a sequel, but I had a good time reading it. If you give it a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed. For sure you won't read anything else like it this year.
Now 92-years-old, Lynn has a good reason to raise a glass.
The re-released recording of her songs on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the war has shot to No. 1 on the U.K. charts with a bullet. It's even eclipsed the re-release of the Beatles discography."
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
The band's publicist, Heather Lylis, says Travers died at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut on Wednesday. She was 72 and had battled leukemia for several years.
Travers joined forces with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey in the early 1960s.
The trio mingled their music with liberal politics, both onstage and off. Their version of 'If I Had a Hammer' became an anthem for racial equality. Other hits included 'Lemon Tree,' 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' and 'Puff (The Magic Dragon.)'
They were early champions of Bob Dylan and performed his 'Blowin' in the Wind' at the August 1963 March on Washington."
Hat tip to Art Scott.
Four Pound Burger A Financial Success - Sports Biz with Darren Rovell - CNBC.com: "Mickey Graham, the team's director of marketing and media relations, said that 476 people attempted the meat feat, meaning that 62.6 percent of people who tried to do it actually finished it."
Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.
Gibson died late Monday night after a short battle with cancer at his home in Malibu, said his son, Jon.
Gibson, who more recently played a recurring role as cantankerous Judge Clark Brown on 'Boston Legal,' was part of the original ensemble cast of 'Laugh In,' which ran on NBC from 1968 to 1973."
Keep a'goin', Henry!
Harlan Ellison's Dramatic Reading of the Seussified "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script" - New York News - Runnin' Scared: "Several of our commenters have struck on the Dr. Seuss-like cadence of Josh Olson's popular manifesto, 'I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script.'
One of the first to point it out was Steve Jarrett, a writer and teacher in Winston-Salem who sent Olson the following parody. Olson asked his friend, legendary writer Harlan Ellison, to give it life."
The book's UK publisher Transworld said it was aware of the transgressions and was taking action to have the illegal downloads removed. 'It is available on a number of pirate sites,' said associate publicity director Alison Barrow, who added that the publisher was asking websites to take down digital copies of the book. 'We are not being complacent about this,' she said. 'It's only the US version so far.'
The Lost Symbol was available for download via peer-to-peer sites including The Pirate Bay and Scribd.com on Wednesday morning. 'Thank you so much! You just made my day. :)' said one Scribd user, while another requested that the book file be sent to their email."
It is now my pleasure to pass on this award. These are the rules for those individuals I choose. They are simple:
1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person.
2) Pass the award on.
3) Notify the award winners.
I read so many blogs every day that to mention them all would take forever. I'm passing this on to a few of them, though I could list dozens more. James Reasoner, George Kelley, Rick Robinson, and Patti Abbott, here ya go.
* Urinating in a toilet bin
* Slashing furniture and colleague's coats in the staffroom
* Setting off a fire extinguisher
* Filming firefighters responding to a false alarm
* Playing cricket and football with stock
* Poking his fingers in, stamping on and licking an uncooked chicken
* Smashing boxes of eggs in the stockroom"
Cammie Colin, 16, helped catch a gator that was 10 feet, five inches long and weighed 353 pounds.
[. . . .]
Colin then used a crossbow to shoot the gator. She and four others then taped the alligators mouth shut and took it back to land.
The junior varsity cheerleader at White Knoll High School has been on deer hunts with her father, but this was her first time alligator hunting."
Photos at the link.
Michael Meissner, a 39-year-old described by some as a 'gypsy' officer for holding more than a dozen law enforcement jobs in the past 18 years, remained in jail on a $1.5 million bond, Dallas County Jail records show."
Another tip of the Crider chapeau to Beth Foxwell.
The journal will include all forms of 'sequential imagery' including precursors of the comic but in the main emphasis will be on twentieth and twenty-first century examples, reflecting the increasing interest in the modern forms of the comic, its production and cultural consumption."
Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.
prominent ePulp magazine, today announced the release of their seventh
Seven issues into its amazing run, AAM and the Darke Media Group
continue to provide the highest quality free fiction eZine on the Net
while exploring ways to redefine the traditional publishing mode. Darke
Media is launching a new web serial with a second serial, starring the
mascot of AAM Scarlett, scheduled for early 2010.
*Astonishing Adventures Magazine Issue 7 – Free online/$10 print issue*
Have some crazy fun with the wonderful stories from writers like Mike
Hughes, Christine Pope, Katherine Tomlinson, Sidney Harrison, Roger
Alford, Brian Trent, Sarah Vaughn, Kat Parrish, Michael Patrick
Sullivan, G. Wells Taylor, and Cormac Brown.
Soak in the amazingly beautiful images by artists like Joanne Renaud,
Larry Nadolsky, G. Wells Taylor, Sarah Vaughn, and Susan Schader.
These are tales that will thrill and chill you well after you finish
*Purchasers of the print copy will receive a free audio version of “The
Dark” adventure by John Donald Carlucci and read by vocal jihadist
For more information on Astonishing Adventures please visit the
dedicated website at http://
*Release date to the public September 15, 2009*
But while they were engaged in what Wichita police described as 'an intimate moment,' they were robbed by a man armed with a pocket knife."
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
You can click the photos at the link and watch them change from before to after, a very cool effect.
The student said he escaped by jumping out of the car but wasn't able to grab his bookbag, which contained the report card."
Each month AHMM and EQMM will be posting news stories. Stay tuned."
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
Monday, September 14, 2009
Burke, who had leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, died with wife Lyn at his side at his home in Palm Springs, family spokeswoman Daniela Ryan said.
Burke was featured in dozens of TV series in his four-decade career, including prominent parts on '12 O'Clock High' and 'Dynasty.'"
Hat tip to John Hall.
Swayze's publicist Annett Wolf says the 57-year-old 'Dirty Dancing' actor died Monday with family at his side. He came forward about his illness last spring, but continued working as he underwent treatments."
Crazy ants, so named because they move in all directions rather than in a straight line, first surfaced in Houston seven years ago and had previously been confirmed in 14 southeast Texas counties as far north as Huntsville.
Now the ants have been seen beyond the Houston area, with sightings in San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley."
Hat tip to Jeff Segal.
Full List: America's Most Stressful Cities - Forbes.com: "Sinking property values, high unemployment and prices, and poor environments add to the pressure felt by residents in these metros."
Depressed yet? There's more. Plenty of loss and suffering. Death and dementia. Loneliness. All those things we hate to think about.
Luckily Rosofsky has a sense of humor and great humanity. The book's not nearly as depressing as it could have been. And we all need to know this stuff. How should you choose a nursing home? What about those even more final decisions, the ones that come at the very end.
If you have elderly parents, you should read this book. If you've getting along yourself, you should read this book. It won't cheer you up, but it'll be good for you.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Hat tip to Jeremy Lynch.
Hippo kills poaching soldier in DR Congo park - Yahoo! News: "A hippopotamus killed a member of Democratic Republic of Congo government forces at Virunga National Park while he was fishing illegally, a local environmental NGO said Saturday."
An interesting article and excerpts don't do it justice. If you like this kind of thing, read all of it. I think "fairy tales" is the wrong name, by the way.
The violence in this book is more subdued than that in Bad Thoughts, but it's certainly there. The story is also a pretty straightforward p.i. tale, though not without some horror and New Age elements, which once again proves Zeltserman's versatility (he's doing noir novels and Nero Wolfe pastiches in EQMM, among other things). If you haven't read Zeltserman's work, it's time to start. He's making quite a name for himself these days.