Saturday, March 06, 2010

Worrying about the Alamo

Ceiling cracks and leaks at Alamo worry many Texans | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "SAN ANTONIO — As Texans observe today's anniversary of the 1836 battle for independence, concern looms over the structural integrity of the Alamo, and some say, the overall preservation of the state landmark."

Here's the Plot of Your Next Big Caper Novel

Armed robbers raid poker tournament - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "Armed robbers have struck at Germany's largest poker tournament, stealing money and injuring gamblers.

The masked gang burst into the Grand Hyatt hotel in central Berlin, where the tournament was taking place, threatening security staff and prompting a brief panic, police spokeswoman Heidi Vogt told AFP.

Berlin's Tageszeitung newspaper reported on its website that six raiders armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles and grenades made off with 800,000 euros ($1,200,000)."

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: The Redemption of Tom Chatham :: Garnett Elliott

Trailer for Every Film that Won an Oscar®

Because This Is a Family Blog, . . .

. . . I can't link to this story:

FHP: Driver lacked razor-sharp focus |

The Boneyard in High Res Photos

The World's Largest Airplane Graveyard in High Resolution, Now On Google Maps | Popular Science

The Bottom of Every Bottle -- Robert J. Randisi

Perfect Crimes Books is a new small press that's off to a fine start with a line-up that includes a new novel by Bob Randisi. I've known Bob for a long time. I still remember, though he probably doesn't, a hotel room at a long-ago Bouchercon where people were discussing the importance of punctuation. Bob said something like, "I don't know a lot about commas, but I know how to end a chapter." He did then, and he does now, as The Bottom of Every Bottle proves.

It's not a private-eye novel, but it operates the same way. Rob Gilmartin's a gunnery instructor in the army and had thought about making the military his career. Now he's not so sure. Then he gets a call from his mother, who tells him that his estranged father, Jake, a New York City cop, is in big trouble. Rob's reluctant to help his father, but takes some leave time. Before he can even leave town, however, someone tries to kill him, and we're off and running.

Jake Gilmartin's an honest cop who's been framed and suspended. Now someone's trying to kill him. Internal Affairs is after him, and so is everyone else, now that he's killed a cop. He has to stay in hiding, but Rob arrives, and he begins asking questions. Things get complicated when it appears that there's a conspiracy in the police department, and Rob doesn't know whom to trust, other than his father and a taxi driver named Angela. Eventually the chase leads outside New York, all the way to Alaska.

This is a fairly short book with no fat on its bones, and it never slows down. It would have made a good opener for a series of Gold Medal books, and in fact the ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel. Meanwhile, this one's plenty of fun. Check it out.

eBay Deal of the Day

Extremely rare 45 rpm recording.

You be the judge.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Jailer has been fired for giving cell phone to murderer | Austin Legal: "Former Travis County corrections officer Tasha Lass, who testified she gave a cell phone to now convicted killer Milton Dwayne Gobert in jail, has been released from jail.
[. . . .]
During the punishment phase of Gobert’s trial Thursday, at which he faces a possible death sentence, Lass testified that she has had an ongoing improper personal relationship with Gobert. She also testified that she had given Gobert a cell phone to use from jail so the two could talk without having their conversations recorded."

The Stranger Wore a Gun

Friday, March 05, 2010

The 5 Best Movies About Television

The 5 Best Movies About Television

This isn't a bad list.
Another tip of the Crider chapeau to Toby at Inner Toob.

The Best TV Appearances by Oscar-Winning Actresses

The Best TV Appearances by Oscar-Winning Actresses -

Hat tip to Toby at Inner Toob.

Will the Persecution Never End?

See third page.

AdFreak | 66 Great Movie Taglines From the Past 30 Years

At First I Thought It Said "Swierzy"

Union man driving go-kart tries to elude police | Sports | "The deputy reported, “Sweezy was intoxicated and became irate when I asked him to step off the go-kart and began to curse and yell.”"

Roger Smith – Interview

Roger Smith – Interview | Spinetingler

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

'Frugal Felon' Turns Down Extra Cash During Heist: "FBI detectives are searching for a 'Frugal Felon'--a bank robber who turned down extra cash offered by a teller during the heist.
[. . . .]
The man pushed a note demanding cash across the counter, so the teller complied, putting some money on top of the note, according to the statement.

When the teller reached down to grab extra cash, the man told her, 'No, that's enough,' and left, according to the statement."

Donald A. Wollheim Interview

This interview was originally published in Paperback Quarterly, Fall 1978 (Volume 1, Number 2)

Croc Update (CT Scan Edition)

SCOPE - medical blog - Stanford University School of Medicine: "Here by popular demand are two very preliminary renderings of one of the Greco-Roman crocodile mummies scanned last week at Stanford. These images were generated from the clinical CT scanner data obtained at the Stanford Medical Imaging Center."

Forgotten Books: THE SPLINTERED MAN -- M. E. Chaber

After last week's needle cover, I couldn't stop thinking about this one, so I thought I'd give it a go.

M. E. Chaber is in reality Kendall Foster Crossen, who wrote SF and crime novels under several names, not to mention hundreds of TV scripts. As Chaber, he wrote about Milo March, and insurance investigator who sometimes got called back to active duty by the army, as is the case in The Splintered Man. The year is 1955, and March's assignment is to go into East Berlin to search for Hermann Gruss. Gruss is the head of the counterespionage police in West Germany, and he's supposedly defected to the Reds.

There was no wall in those days, and March doesn't have much of a problem getting into East Berlin. The trick is to get back out alive. It's not easy, and it's complicated by the fact that he's caught and given LSD. I don't know this for sure, but I'd be willing to bet that Chaber was one of the first writers to use that drug as a plot device. The cover's a bit misleading, however, as the dose is administered in a glass of water, not with a needle.

The plot is okay, and in fact it sounds a lot like this one, but with a different location. Chaber has a smooth style, and his Milo March novels are what I'd call medium-boiled. They had a revival in the '70s when Popular Library reprinted them with McGinnis covers that had March looking very much like James Coburn.

Hills of Utah

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Boy, I'm Glad I Never Watched this Show

Lisa de Moraes - Creators of 'Lost' say they won't tie up all those loose ends - "Many of the questions posed during the run of 'Lost' that have been keeping you up at night are never going to be answered on the show but will instead be tossed on the compost heap like an old turnip, because, the writers say, they have run out of time.

And if you're expecting they will nonetheless come through with some kind of post-finale TV special, online chat, tweet -- anything! -- to answer their rabid fans' lingering head-scratchers, you need to think again. They have no intention of discussing the show after the finale airs on May 23, . . ."

Popular Science Goes All-Out On-Line

Search the PopSci Archives | Popular Science: "We've partnered with Google to offer our entire 137-year archive for free browsing. Each issue appears just as it did at its original time of publication, complete with period advertisements. It's an amazing resource that beautifully encapsulates our ongoing fascination with the future, and science and technology's incredible potential to improve our lives. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do."

Stop Licking Your Arm!

Your Skin Produces Marijuana-Like Substance | LiveScience: "Marijuana-like substances made by the skin are necessary for a healthy complexion, a new study concludes.
[. . . .]
Essentially, yes. The skin has joined the growing club of organs that is known to produce 'endocannabinoids' — the body's own reefer. The biggest producer of endogenous pot is the brain."

Hat tip to Seepy (The Fighting Artichoke) Benton.

I'm Excited, Too!

Roger Corman Justifies Sharktopus' Awesome Existence With "Logic" - Sharktopus - io9: "Sharktopus versus Dinoshark: Who would win? You asked, we answered. We interviewed B-movie legend Roger Corman about his upcoming features Dinoshark and Sharktopus. Find out how big, how long, and how many mouths these beasts have."

Hat tip to Rick Klaw.

Should I Trust These People to Fix My Car?

A Hands-On Job

The Faces Behind the Famous Hands | The Big Money: "Here’s a quick look at some of the faces behind the hands you know so well."

WEIRDEST School Mascots

WEIRDEST School Mascots (PHOTOS)

Hat tip to Seepy (The Fighting Artichoke) Benton.

UH! Bad boys watcha gon, watcha gon, watcha gonna do?

'Sex mad' cop Jessica Parfrey loses unfair dismissal claim | "A POLICE officer who was sacked after begging colleagues for sex has lost her unfair dismissal claim.

Within days of being posted Jessica Parfrey propositioned her supervisor to have an affair because 'everyone knows you're supposed to fall in love with your buddy'."

Massachusetts Leads the Way

Mass. newlywed couple spend 1st night in jail - "A newlywed Massachusetts couple spent their wedding night in separate jail cells after police said the bride tried to run over an old flame of the groom.

Police say 22-year-old Hyannis resident Marissa Ann Putignano-Keene tried Monday to run over the other woman and the woman's son in a parking lot. The intended victim later told police that she had previously been in an intimate relationship with the groom."

Hat tip to Jeremy Lynch.

Ride the Trans-Siberian Express

Google - Moscow-Vladivostok: virtual journey on Google Maps: "The great Trans Siberian Railway, the pride of Russia, goes across two continents, 12 regions and 87 cities. The joint project of Google and the Russian Railways lets you take a trip along the famous route and see Baikal, Khekhtsirsky range, Barguzin mountains, Yenisei river and many other picturesque places of Russia without leaving your house."

Link via Neatorama.

What the World Needs Now

Michael Cera should play Gilligan in ‘Gilligan’s Island: The Movie.’ But who should play the Skipper? � Entertainment: "'Gilligan's Island: The Movie' has gotten the green light at Warner Bros., according to Variety magazine.

And who does the classic TV show's venerable producer, Sherwood Schwartz, want to play Gilligan?

'Juno' and 'Superbad' star Michael Cera."

Man in the Saddle

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I've Lost Count of the Number of Articles like this that I've Posted

Alligator Found During Drug Raid - NBC29: "Staunton police found more than they expected during a drug raid Tuesday. They went looking for drugs; instead, they found a three foot alligator."

New York Leads the Way

Tapes indicate child directed planes at NY airport: "NEW YORK (AP) - An air traffic controller at New York's Kennedy Airport is in hot water after he allowed his young son to radio instructions to several pilots."

My One and Only

My One and Only is based (very loosely, I believe) on the episodes in the life of Mr. Tan, George Hamilton. It's a road picture, and it begins with George's purchase of a beautiful sky-blue 1953 Cadillac convertible. George's mother has finally had enough of his band-leader dad's philandering, so she leaves him, taking her two teenage sons along.

It's typical of her that she gives George a handful of cash and sends him to buy the car because she's a bit ditsy and doesn't really know how to cope. Her first thought is that she has to get married again because that's how a woman got along in the '50s. She needed a man to take care of her. The men she has in mind all turn out to be real losers, but she's not discouraged. She always believes that things will work out, that something will turn up. George isn't so sure.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Renée Zellweger is just plain wonderful as the mother, and everyone else is nearly her equal. Mark Rendall almost steals the movie from her as Robbie, George's gay brother. Castle fans will enjoy Molly Quinn's bit as a young girl George knows briefly, and David Koechner is great in his scenes, especially when he gives George the best fatherly advice any kid ever got. All the vignettes work well, and each one shows us a little more about the characters.

I may be alone in my opinion of this movie, since it seems to have sunk without a trace at the box office. If you give it a try, though, maybe you'll like it, too.

The 16 Best Dystopian Books Of All Time

The 16 Best Dystopian Books Of All Time

Link via Neatorama.

I, Sniper -- Stephen Hunter

The story begins when four people are killed by a sniper in three separate incidents. All four have in common the fact that they were seriously involved in protesting the Vietnam ward. The FBI quickly hunts down the sniper, who's conveniently killed himself. Or has he? Could the FBI be wrong?

Of course! And who better to point that out than Bob Lee Swagger, aka Bob the Nailer, one of the best snipers of all time. If you're familiar with his earlier exploits, you know that he's not just a shooter. He's practically a genius when it comes to figuring out sniper-related crimes.

He's practically a superman, too. Waterboard him six or seven times and expect him to tell you anything? You poor fool.

I enjoyed I, Sniper, and I found it a cut above Hunter's last book. But I thought that Hunter got a bit too cute with his Marty Robbins "Big Iron" and Texas Red stuff. It just didn't work for me, and the ending was, again, way too cute. For fans of Bob the Nailer, though, it's a must-read. For those who haven't made Bob's acquaintance yet, I suggest going back to Point of Impact and reading that one.

Which Ones Did You Buy?

Discover the Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for February 2010

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Errant emu attacks El Paso deputies (11:15 a.m.) - Las Cruces Sun-News: "EL PASO — An emu on the loose in El Paso snarled rush hour traffic near Interstate 10 on Tuesday morning and attacked deputies trying to restrain it, according to a release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies responded at 6:45 a.m. to a report of an ostrich in the roadway in the area of I-10 and Horizon, only to find that the wayward bird was actually an emu."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Entertaining Series in The Guardian

Rules for writers |
Books |

Life Imitates "Art"

Kansas woman: I put pesticide in salsa at Mexican restaurant | Health & Medicine | - Houston Chronicle: "A 19-year-old Kansas woman has admitted putting poison in salsa that sickened patrons at a Mexican restaurant where she worked in Johnson County."

If You Can Identify this Couple. . .

. . . you're old.

No Comment Department

Tim Burton And Timur Bekmambetov To Make Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? - Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - io9: "Rumor has it that 9 producers Burton and Bekmambetov are joining together again to film the new Abraham-Lincoln-vs.-vampires novel, making it the second genre-fied classic to become a film."


Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Archaeology Update

Nail from the time of Christ's crucifixion found in a dig - "A nail from the time of Christ's crucifixion which was hidden by the same knights who featured in The Da Vinci Code has been found in a dig.

The four-inch Roman relic, stored in an ornate box, was uncovered by archaeologists working at a fort thought to have been a former Knights Templar stronghold."

Will the Persecution Never End?

The Associated Press: Confirmed: Hilton too hot for Brazil: "It's confirmed: Paris Hilton is too hot for Brazil.

A sultry beer ad featuring the socialite has been pulled after consumer complaints and a watchdog agency's investigation."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Read Across America Day celebrates the birthday of Dr. Seuss / The Christian Science Monitor - "It's Read Across America Day today, and all across the United States students – and their teachers – are wearing red-and-white-striped hats. Some are even eating green eggs and ham in class. Most important, they're reading. It's all a way of saying both 'happy birthday' and 'thank you' to Theodor Seuss Geisel, the children's writer better known as Dr. Seuss."

My favorite is McElligot's Pool.

George Kelley's Ten Books and The Best

This article, by frequent commenter and fellow blogger George Kelley, is from Paperback Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 2 (Fall 1978).

Prehistoric Snake Update

Prehistoric snake gobbled-up dinosaur babies: "A fossilized snake has been discovered inside a titanosaur nest in India, leading researchers to conclude that the snake fed on newly-hatched dinosaur babies, rather than their eggs like modern snakes.

Paleontologist and snake expert Jason Head says that the snake, known as Sanajeh indicus, lacked the wipe-jaws needed to swallow eggs, but just-hatched baby titanosaurs would have been perfect prey for the 3.5 meter (nearly 12 feet) long serpent. Titanosaurs belong to the sauropods, long-necked herbivorous dinosaurs which includes the world's largest animals to ever walk the land."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

iWon News - Goat leads Texas police on 30-minute chase: "ODESSA, Texas (AP) - All over town ran a lone goat as Odessa police and animal control officers tried to catch the roaming animal. The report to police came in Saturday as a sheep on the loose. Officers then determined it was a goat loping through a Taco Bell parking lot, a park and the dorm area at the University of Texas-Permian Basin.

It took four police officers, two animal control officers and one off-duty police officer on motorcycle to corral the goat after about 30 minutes."

Or maybe the goat leads the way.
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Barry Hannah, R. I. P.

Barry Hannah, Southern Author, Dies - ArtsBeat Blog - "Barry Hannah, the quintessentially Southern author of “Geronimo Rex” and “High Lonesome,” has died, The Associated Press reported. He was 67 and died on Monday at his home in Oxford, Miss. The Lafayette County coroner told The A.P. that Mr. Hannah died Monday afternoon of “natural causes,” but declined to elaborate until he had provided details to the author’s wife, Susan. The coroner said the death was not under investigation.

Mr. Hannah’s first novel, “Geronimo Rex,” the unsparing coming-of-age story of the high schooler Harry Munroe, was nominated for a National Book Award and won the William Faulkner prize after its publication in 1972. His 1996 short story collection, “High Lonesome,” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and his work is to be among the subjects of the coming Oxford Conference on the Book, which begins on Thursday."

Blog March

Those of you who might be interested in following Stephen D. Rogers' march through the blogs after reading his post here yesterday can click here for an itinerary. This blog was the first in a long list.

15 Coolest Photos You Won't Believe Are Not Photoshopped

15 Coolest Photos You Won't Believe Are Not Photoshopped -

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The Cost of Cursing in Public - KIAH: "Two local people got a four-letter lesson in the cost of cursing when Humble Police cited them for using profanity in public.

Police cited 19-year-old Angelica Walker and 38-year-old Jessica Varela for an outburst of vulgar language that apparently offended others around them at the Deerbrook Mall on February 20th."

The Gangster Museum Update

A Gritty Look Into American History With The Gangster Museum and Luc Sante’s Postcard Collection � MUSEYON GUIDES

Link via The Bunburyist.

10 Interesting Places to Visit with Google Earth

10 Interesting Places to Visit with Google Earth - Listverse

An IPL Checklist

An IPL Checklist, by Victor A. Berch

Victor Berch's checklist, along with cover scans by Steve Lewis, is something a lot of mystery fans will enjoy. It's two full pages, so don't forget to click the link at the bottom of the first page to go on to the second.

The Black Lash

Monday, March 01, 2010

Catching up with Weird Business Contributors

The SF Site: Nexus Graphica by Rick Klaw: "This month marks the fifteenth anniversary of Weird Business."

T-Bone Wolk, R. I. P.

The Associated Press: T-Bone Wolk, bass player for Hall & Oates, dies: "Tom 'T-Bone' Wolk, who performed with scores of musicians but was best known as the longtime bass player for the band led by pop-rock stars Daryl Hall and John Oates, has died. He was 58.

Wolk died Sunday in New York, hours after completing a recording session with Hall, who was working on a solo album, the duo's manager, Jonathan Wolfson, said Monday. Wolfson said the cause of death was believed to be a heart attack.

Wolk had been scheduled to appear Monday night on 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon' with Hall and Oates.

A busy session musician, he appeared on literally scores of recordings with such varied artists as Bette Midler, Billy Joel and Avril Lavigne. He played bass on several of Elvis Costello's recordings, accordion on Robert Palmer's 'Heavy Nova' and guitar on Carly Simon's 'Coming Around Again.'"

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

World's Oldest Hot Dog Update

140-year-old hot dog isn't really 140-years-old | "Citizens of New York were shocked when a 140-year-old hot dog was found on Coney Island recently, but it has turned out to be all a hoax, reports say."

I'm shocked -- shocked! -- as well.

Detroit Leads the Way

Train hits fire truck; Detroit firefighter ripped for parking on tracks | | The Detroit News: "Detroit -- A top fire department official minced no words in criticizing a firefighter who parked a truck on a set of train tracks while responding to an accident.

'I'm very upset,' said executive fire commissioner James Mack. 'I'm going to make it known that this is not acceptable and we'll do some training.'

The truck was struck by a commuter train late this morning in southwest Detroit."

Boy, he sure let 'em have it, all right. Harsh words, indeed!

No Comment Department

Seth Grahame-Smith's New Book 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' - TIME

February Issue of I Love a Mystery is Now On-Line

Click here.

From Kate Stine at Mystery Scene Magazine

It's cold out there!

At least it's cold here at the Mystery Scene office in New York where a foot of snow fell over the last few days. But we're looking forward to visiting Florida this winter with Sunshine State writer and adventurer, Randy Wayne White. The latest in White's Doc Ford series, Deep Shadow, arrives in March and Oline Cogdill sat down with the author to discuss Doc, fishing, archaeology, and whole lot more in the latest Mystery Scene.

Jon L. Breen reviews P.D. James' Talking About Detective Fiction and discusses other mystery writers who ventured into mystery criticism. And don't miss how another critic/novelist, G.K. Chesterton, sent forth his sleuth, Father Brown, to "save the soul of detective fiction."

More mystery from across the pond includes a profile of Agatha Award-winning writer G.M. Malliet, an Anglophile who sets her series in Cambridge. The newest installment of "Building Your Book Collection" from our American-in-Scotland contributor Nate Pederson explains how to judge a book's condition.

Also in Issue #113, a thoughtful and admiring remembrance of the brilliant Ross Thomas from Lawrence Block, as well as a look at the more romantic side of murder-finding true love at mystery fan conventions-from author Twist Phelan, and a preview of Rupert Holmes' new Broadway adaptation of Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution. Thanks for making Mystery Scene part of your winter escape, and look out for a new e-newsletter exclusive coming in March.

Kate Stine

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Prison in Sugar Land under lockdown after officials receive tip that inmate walked out - 2/28/10 - Houston News - "SUGAR LAND, TX (KTRK) -- A state prison in Sugar Land remains on lockdown as authorities investigate an incident involving a 19-year-old trustee. People with the prison received a tip that he left the facility last week without permission and returned a short time later.
[. . . .]
Officials say the convict, who is within 24 months of being eligible for parole, went to a nearby store within walking distance where he bought tobacco products. While they wouldn't tell us which store, the closet one we found was at the entrance to the new territory subdivision."

This Is What Can Happen if You Take Care of Your Lawn (and Garden)

Dinosaur fossil found in pensioner's garden rockery - Telegraph: "A grandfather told of his shock at discovering a 135-million-year-old dinosaur fossil in his garden rockery.

John Ruggles, 75, first found the priceless Plesiosaur fossil when he dismantled the garden feature nine years ago."

Shot to Death Blog March

Today the blog is playing host to a Blog March. Shot to Death is the book, and Stephen D. Rogers is the author. He'll be hanging around to respond to your comments, so make some. That way he won't think I don't have any readers.

Stephen D. Rogers is the author of Shot to Death (ISBN 978-0982589908) and more than six hundred stories and poems. He's the head writer at Crime Scene (where viewers solve interactive mysteries) and a popular writing instructor. For more information, you can visit his website,, where he tries to pull it all together.

Shot to Death Blog March

"You know I don't like working on custody cases." - "Custody Battle at Red Creek"

So begins one of the 31 stories contained in Shot to Death (ISBN 978-0982589908). Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.

This opening felt ripe. It wasn't just that the private investigator didn't like working on custody cases. It wasn't even that the client knew the PI didn't like working on custody cases but still asked. What really got me was the understanding that the PI was going to accept the case anyway.

What made the PI ignore his better judgment? (And is that ever a good thing?) What card did the client play?

While "custody" usually refers to questions of childcare after parents split, how else could the word be used? The custodian of records is someone who safeguards the official version of events. A custodian can also be the person who cleans up messes. Both of those seem to be good descriptions of what a PI does.

That's when the title popped into my head.

My first reaction to the title was that it sounded to me like a western, and since so many have linked PI fiction to westerns,this created an interesting vibe.

If the PI was the retired gunslinger, he was going to need an all-powerful rancher to test his mettle.

Since I really didn't want to write another story about a PI going up against big business or police bureaucracy, how about the PI has to fight a large and more successful PI agency? While this storyline may have been mined by others, it was fresh territory for me.

So there I was. All that was left was the writing.
For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to and submit your completed entry. Then visit the schedule at to see how you can march along.

And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.

The Hussein/Vader Connection

Did Saddam Hussein model himself on Darth Vader? - CultureLab - New Scientist

5 Banned Games

Dangerous Toys - 5 Banned Games - Popular Mechanics

I particularly like the Atomic Energy Lab.

Hop-Along Cassidy

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A PQ Interview

A long, long time ago, I can still remember. . . Paperback Quarterly, Billy Lee's pioneering zine about paperback collecting. Billy and his wife, Charlotte Laughlin, were the driving forces, but I hung around as "contributing editor." This was back in 1978, before the Internet, before anything like the network of collectors and fans that exists today. But we did what we could. One of the features of the magazine was interviews conducted through a form of written correspondence known as "letters." First a request for an interview would be composed on a "typewriter" and then it would be "mailed" to the person we wanted to interview. If the person consented to the interview, we'd go back to the typewriter and compose it. When it was completed, we'd mail it. The interviewee would then type the reply and return it by mail. All this took a while, but we did get a few interviews done. Because we didn't want to take up too much of the person's time, and because we didn't really know what we were doing, the interviews were short. Some of them might be of interest, however, so I thought I might put a few of them here on the blog, like this one with Norman Saunders from Volume 1, Number 2 (Fall 1978). If there's any interest, I'll try to do another one or two.

Down Under Update

5,200 Australians bare all for photo shoot - Yahoo! News: "About 5,200 naked people have embraced each other on the steps of Sydney's iconic Opera House for a photo shoot by Spencer Tunick.

Tunick, who is known for his nude group photos in public spaces, posed participants for more than an hour in a variety of positions Monday.

'It was difficult to get the straight participants to embrace the gay participants and vice versa,' Tunick said. 'So I was very happy that that last set up finally got done and everyone came together (in a) united, friendly kiss, a loving kiss in front of this great structure.'"

The 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time

One of them is John Quincy Adams, and one of the things that qualifies him is the reason I once wrote a story about him.

The 5 Most Badass Presidents of All-Time |

Archaeology Update

My Way News - Massive head of pharaoh unearthed in Egypt: "Egypt's Culture Ministry says a team of Egyptian and European archaeologists has unearthed a large head made of red granite of an ancient pharaoh who ruled Egypt some 3,400 years ago.

A ministry statement Sunday said the team discovered the head of Amenhotep III wearing the traditional white crown of the southern kingdom buried in the pharaoh's mortuary temple on the west bank of the Nile in the southern city of Luxor."

Bat Segundo Show Update

Here are links to the new podcasts. Check 'em out.

SHOW #318 -- Peniel Joseph (44:43)

Direct Link to Show:

Five Second Excerpt: "Is it possible to have someone who can leave a legacy beyond the elected moment?"

* * *

SHOW #319 -- Gail Godwin (27:06)

Direct Link to Show:

Five Second Excerpt: "I should point out that here we have a situation in which a biological budding occurs."

* * *

SHOW #320 -- Sue Grafton (42:29)

Direct Link to Show:

Five Second Excerpt: "Not to get into Hannah Arendt’s banality of evil, but that’s essentially what you set up here."

* * *

SHOW #321 -- Christian Berger (23:45)

Direct Link to Show:

Five Second Excerpt: "Dark is usually a problem on the analog way."

* * *

SHOW #322 -- Kevin Sampsell (1:01:23)

Direct Link to Show:

Five Second Excerpt: "But how do you get from worn out to divorce?"

* * *

SHOW #323 -- Justin Taylor (48:31)

Direct Link to Show:

Five Second Excerpt: "There’s only so old you can be crying at a barbershop."

* * *

Wyoming Wants to Lead the Way. . .

. . . but the code came from a Texan.

Texans can relate. Wyoming may adopt the 'cowboy code' as symbolic law | News Bizarre | - Houston Chronicle: "Some members of the Wyoming Legislature want to instill “cowboy ethics” in state law, lest lawmakers and citizens forget the state’s western roots.

The code would stress the importance of living with courage, keeping promises, finishing what you start and saying more by talking less.

Based on the “Code of the West” outlined in a 2004 book by James Owen, a Wall Street investor from Texas, Senate File 51 galloped through the Wyoming Senate last week and on Monday lassoed unanimous approval from the House Minerals Committee."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

You've heard of 'Shoeless Joe'? Meet 'Shoeless Johnny,' restaurant robber | News Bizarre | - Houston Chronicle: "A thief who tried to avoid identification by going shoeless during some Fort Worth-area holdups must serve 35 years in prison.

Detectives say 21-year-old Johnny Lee Britt thought he could elude police by not leaving shoe prints."

The Voice is Familiar

Meet the face behind the voice of your GPS: "She is both blonde and beautiful - and the world's most notorious back street driver.

While you may not have heard of the name Karen Jacobsen, you certainly would have heard her voice."

Photo at the link.

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