Saturday, April 10, 2010

Top 10 Train Thrillers

Murder on the Literary Express - Top 10 Train Thrillers

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Cheerleaders peed in sodas - Weird News - "Cheerleaders at Saginaw High School in Forth Worth, Texas, have a strange way of spreading school spirit.

A handful of girls have been disciplined for giving their teammates sodas that contained urine, reports the Forth Worth Star Telegram.

According to a parent of one of the students who drank the tainted beverages, one girl peed into a cup, then mixed in it with the sodas. The other girls then got the idea to distribute the drinks to teammates at the basketball game."


iPranged a submarine | The Sun |News: "A US nuclear sub rammed another ship causing nearly �60MILLION damage - while its navigator was listening to his iPod."

Croc Update (with Turtles and Snakes)

Thick-shelled turtle species lived with world's biggest snake, reveals fossil found in Columbian coal mine: "Cerrejonemys wayuunaiki takes its genus name from Cerrejon, and emys -- Greek for turtle. Its species name is the language spoken by the Wayuu people who live on the Guajira Peninsula in northeastern Colombia near the mine.

About as thick as a standard dictionary, this turtle's shell may have warded off attacks by the Titanoboa, thought to have been the world's biggest snake, and by other, crocodile-like creatures living in its neighborhood 60 million years ago."

And Keep off Their Lawns!

Japanese robo-suit promises superpowers for greying farmers: "While Robocop and Iron Man can dodge bullets and crush villains, a new powered suit from Japan promises its elderly users more modest powers, such as pulling up radishes without getting a backache."

The Top Seven Hottest Female Movie Geeks

The Top Seven Hottest Female Movie Geeks | SPIKE

The Crimson Ghost

Friday, April 09, 2010

I Thought Only Mark Finn Did Stuff Like This

Two fires hours apart destroy beach house - Thursday, Apr. 8, 2010: "Firefighters wrap up at the scene of a fire at 15 M. St. in Hampton this morning, where a home was gutted by two fires this morning. Right, Wayne McGowen, who was sleeping in the basement of the house when it caught fire, watches firefighters at the scene along with neighbor Kali Burns, who was dressed as a gorilla."

Set the DVR!

TV show on local gator wranglers premieres tonight | - Local: "A new television show hasn’t stopped Gary Saurage from doing what he does best.

Tuesday, the gator-wrangler was in the middle of getting an alligator out of a hole in Anahuac when The Enterprise called to talk to him about the show “Gator 911,” which premiers tonight at 8 p.m. on CMT."

Billy Joe Shaver Update --Not Guilty!

Shaver is not guilty of aggravated assault in bar shooting | Austin Legal: "A McLennan County jury has found country music songwriter Billy Joe Shaver not guilty of aggravated assault in the March 31, 2007, shooting of a man at a bar.

Shaver let out a big long exhale after state District Judge Matt Johnson read the jury’s verdict."

Justice prevails.
Hat tip to Richard Moore.

Meinhardt Raabe, R. I. P.

'Wizard of Oz' Munchkin coroner Meinhardt Raabe dead at 94: "Meinhardt Raabe who played the Munchkin coroner in the 1939 MGM film classic 'The Wizard of Oz' has died, according to Jean Nelson, founder of the Wizard of Oz Festival in Chesterton.
Nelson said Raabe died Friday morning at the Florida retirement home where he had lived in recent years. He was 94."

The Trial of Billy Joe Shaver

Stars come out for Billy Joe Shaver trial

Hat tip to Richard Moore.

Another List I'm Not On

AbeBooks: Top 25 bestselling signed books to date in 2010

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Fort Worth Light Bulb Still Shines After 101 Years - "There is a place in Fort Worth where volunteers help preserve the city's history. But there is one enlightening piece on display that has worked continuously for more than a century; far outshining its modern counterparts."

Okay, I should have said "almost" leads the way, as Art Scott will be the first to tell me. (See last paragraph of the article.)

Top 100 Films of the '90s

ICS Top 90s List

It's a Very Long List

Famous Literary Drunks & Addicts - Photo Gallery - LIFE

Forgotten Books: DEATH OF A CITIZEN -- Donald Hamilton

How can it be that Donald Hamilton's Matt Helm books are out of print? Maybe it's just a matter of money, with his estate asking too much for reprint rights. I can't think of another reason because this is one of the best spy series ever. In fact, I'd put it right at the top.

Death of a Citizen is the first book in the series. Matt Helm is a photographer and writer, living peacefully in Santa Fe, long past the days in WWII when he was a member of a super-secret government agency dedicated to things like assassination. Mac, the head of the agency, told Helm after the war that what they did "never happened."

But we all know that the past is never dead and that secrets are never buried deeply enough. And that super-secret agencies never shut down. An operative named Tina comes back into Helm's life and with her the violence that Helm thought he'd turned his back on. There's a body in a bathtub, and Helm's daughter is kidnapped. Here's a tip: You should never kidnap the daughter of someone once code-named Eric. Helm begins to revert to his old ways, and before long the citizen Helm is dead and the operative Eric is back.

This is hardboiled fiction at its best. The way Helm handles the kidnappers, and especially his final disposition of them, is still shocking even today, though its impact was much greater when the book was published 50 years ago. If you've never read Hamilton's work, particularly this series, Death of a Citizen is the place to start. I can almost guarantee you won't stop until you've read more.

Blood Surf (Krocodylus)

Thursday, April 08, 2010

No Comment Department

Woman's boyfriend nearly died when she suffocated him with her enormous boobs during sex | News Of The World: "BUSTY Claire Smedley's boyfriend nearly DIED when she suffocated him with her enormous boobs during sex."

Here's the Plot for your Next Glitzy Hollywood Thriller

iWon News - Mexico: Hollywood producer suspect in wife's death: "'Survivor' and 'Pimp My Ride' producer Bruce Beresford-Redman is a suspect in his wife's death days after reporting her missing in the resort city of Cancun, a Mexican official said Thursday.

The body of Monica Beresford-Redman was found Thursday in a sewer at the swanky Moon Palace resort where the family was on vacation, according to the official at the office of the attorney general for Quintana Roo state, where Cancun is located."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Needle: A Magazine of Noir

First Issue available � Needle: A Magazine of Noir

Here's the lulu link.

I'm Betting Rick Klaw Owns all this Stuff

Or if he doesn't, have it Mark Finn does.

King Kong Gallery: Mego Museum

In Praise of the Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen: Small-Town Texas Institution - Food - The Atlantic

Paris Hilton Update

Ananova - Ferrets now more popular down south: "Ferret ownership is now more common in the south-east than the north - partly thanks to celebrity owners such as Paris Hilton."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

David Adickes: Offbeat Artist Sells Property to Eclectic Church - KIAH: "An offbeat Houston attraction is up for sale with an interested buyer. A deal is in the works for Ecclesia Church to buy the studio of artist, David Adickes. Adickes is best known for sculpting the heads of past and current presidents along with a 36-foot tall rendering of the Beatles."

The 55 Master Tricks and Tools of Jason Bourne

Lone Iguana - The 55 Master Tricks and Tools of Jason Bourne [How to Be Bourne] (Updated): "Jason Bourne. The ultimate man. The trained assassin who has an arsenal of strength, tricks and gadgets to complete his missions. This article aims to dissect the Jason Bourne film trilogy, so that you, the reader, can soak up as much information on Jason Bourne as possible."

Link via Neatorama.


Tree-climbing fish and a savage 'Fishzilla' pose real threat to Australia's wildlife | "A SAVAGE predator known as 'Fishzilla' and a perch capable of climbing trees could soon reach the far north of Queensland."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Penitentiary 3

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Peter Gunn vs. Michael Shayne

Patrick Murtha's Diary: Peter Gunn vs. Michael Shayne

Plots with Guns #8 Now On-Line

PLOTS WITH GUNS #8 - Back to Work

Colorado Leads the Way

Dustin Winesberry, registered sex offender, takes world's sexiest mug shot - Denver News - The Latest Word: "Words commonly used to describe mug shots include 'menacing,' 'pathetic,' 'disturbing' and 'hilarious' -- but usually not 'sexy.'

So congrats, Dustin Winesberry. The seductive, come-hither mug shot taken of you yesterday at Boulder County Jail looks like the cover of a '70s-era album -- say, Dustin Winesberry Gets Next to You -- by an R&B lover man. If only you weren't a registered sex offender."

Mug shot at the link.

Life Imitates "Art"

Missing L. Merion chicken meets a violent end | Philadelphia Daily News | 04/06/2010: "When the cop responded to a call for a 'large, orange chicken running at large' in a residential lawn, he got his fireman friend to skewer Connie the chicken with a bow and arrow, police said."

And what's scary is that the book won't even be out until August. It's Murder in the Air, and you'll have forgotten this post by the time it appears.

Deep Shadow -- Randy Wayne White

Doc Ford and his pals are looking for gold from Batista's Cuba in a deep lake in Florida. Ford's experienced at this underwater stuff, but we readers know that treasure's always guarded by a dragon. Or maybe a sea monster. Could it be the Creature from the Black Lagoon? Something, anyway, has been killing cattle in the area for many years. You'll have to read the book and see what it is.

And as if the creature andunderwater landslides weren't bad enough, who should turn up but a couple of psycho killers to take over the operation.

All the action in this book takes place in the course of one day, so as you can guess, it's really one damn thing after another, both below the water and on the shore. Even at that, I have to throw in my usual complaint about the length of books these days. Nearly 350 pages is just too much. Well, not for the people who'll put this on the bestseller list, but for me.

The writing's sharp and everything's well-observed, so no complaints on that score, but another problem for me is the switch from Ford's first-person narration to the third person for large chunks of the book. Why not just write the whole thing in third person? The shifting around doesn't work for me here. I don't know why. In some books it doesn't bother me, but it seemed awkward this time.

The good stuff outweighs the things that bothered me, though, so check it out.

Ohio Leads the Way

Ohio Woman Kills Cousin over 'Inappropriate' Easter Outfit: "An Ohio woman shot her teenage second cousin dead when she arrived for Easter dinner wearing an 'inappropriate' and revealing outfit, The Columbus Dispatch reported Tuesday.

Evelyn Burgess, 42, became mad when her husband allegedly took notice of the T-shirt and denim shorts that Danielle Pickens, 19, was wearing to the meal, according to family members at the incident."

10 Acclaimed Authors Who Only Wrote One Book

10 Acclaimed Authors Who Only Wrote One Book | Online Degree "Acclaimed Authors Who Only Wrote One Book"

Link via Neatorama.

Sexy Vampire Update

University to hold sexy vampire conference | "The conference, called Open Graves, Open Minds: Vampires And The Undead In Modern Culture, is believed to be the first such event in the UK.

It aims to put British vampire fiction 'back on the map' after recent American dominance in the genre. And with many young people gripped by the recent Twilight vampire books and films and the True Blood television series, the University of Hertfordshire hopes the event will encourage students of all ages to study literature."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Worst Movie Ever Made?

BBC News - Is Birdemic worst film ever made?: "Some critics have called Birdemic: Shock and Terror the worst film ever made but it is rapidly becoming a hot ticket in America.

It is the story of an invasion of lethal eagles, being celebrated for its awfulness."

Video at the link.

Sign Up Today!

Battle of San Jacinto Symposium | Friends of the San Jacinto Battleground: "ANNOUNCING the 10th Annual Battle of San Jacinto Symposium - Saturday April 17, 2010 - Hilton Hotel and Conference Center, University of Houston Central Campus


Link via Will's Texas Parlor.

Bring on the Cheeseburgers

Fruits and Veggies Prevent Cancer? Not So Much, It Turns Out - Shots - Health News Blog : NPR: "Remember the government's advice to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day to lower your risk of cancer?

Well, times change.

A huge nine-year study of diet and cancer, involving nearly a half-million Europeans in 10 countries, finds only a very weak association between intake of fruits and vegetables and cancer incidence. The study is in the current issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston man convicted in $1M adult diaper scam | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "The former co-owner of a Houston a durable medical equipment company has been convicted of bilking Medicaid of nearly $1 million in a scheme involving adult diapers, federal authorities said.

Fred Jessie Cole Jr., 44, pleaded guilty to 14 counts of health care fraud connected to a scam to file fraudulent claims for incontinence supplies, such as diapers and briefs, federal authorities said late Monday."

Penitentiary 2

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Evan Lewis is at it Again

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: Texas Monthly Pulls a Boner

Wal-Mart Update

Brawl erupts over Easter candy | Salisbury, NC - Salisbury Post: "Police aren't sure whether Walmart's prices were so good or if there was shortage of chocolate rabbits.

Whatever the reason, seven women ended up in a brawl in the Easter basket aisle Saturday evening.

Candy eggs, rabbits and Peeps flew through the air in an unlikely Easter exchange.

Property damage, primarily to candy and Easter decorations, totalled nearly $800."

Here's the Plot of Your Next Off-Beat Crime Novel

Orkney monkey keeper jailed for life over love triangle murder | "A monkey keeper who murdered his love rival on a remote island after being consumed by jealousy has been jailed for life."

No Comment Department

Man Almost Jailed Over A Penny - News Story - WFTV Orlando: "An Osceola County man thought he’d paid off a parking ticket, so he was surprised to find out Monday that the Orange County Clerk’s office had issued a warrant for his arrest.

Luis Gomez owed exactly one cent on a speeding ticket he received one year ago. Gomez tried to call the court to resolve the problem, and then tried to pay online, but had no luck.

“They won’t take a payment of a penny online,” said Gomez."


What's Wrong With Forensic Science - Sharon Begley - "According to the Innocence Project, of the 252 DNA exonerations since 1989, half the convictions were based at least partly on 'unvalidated or improper forensic science.'"

Weekend at Bernie's Update

Women arrested in UK for taking corpse onto plane: "Police have arrested two women at an British airport after they reportedly tried to smuggle a corpse onto a flight.

Police said Tuesday the women were detained at Liverpool's John Lennon airport 'on suspicion of failing to give notification of death' of a 91-year-old man.

The BBC and other British media reported that the women placed the man, a relative of theirs, into a wheelchair and covered his face with sunglasses in a bid to get him aboard a flight to Berlin."

Hat tips to Jeff Meyerson and Art Scott, who says they were probably trying to dodge the checked baggage fee.

The Top 10 Actors Who Play Great Jerks

The Top 10 Actors Who Play Great Jerks | SPIKE

Happy Birthday, Merle Haggard!

Merle Haggard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Merle Ronald Haggard (born April 6, 1937) is an American country music singer, guitarist, instrumentalist, and songwriter. Along with Buck Owens, Haggard and his band The Strangers helped create the Bakersfield Sound, which is characterized by the unique twang of Fender Telecaster guitars, vocal harmonies, and a rough edge not heard on the more polished Nashville Sound recordings of the same era.

By the 1970s, Haggard was aligned with the growing outlaw country movement, and has continued to release successful albums through the 1990s and into the 2000s. In 1997, Merle Haggard was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame for his song 'Okie from Muskogee'."

Rondo Hatton Awards

Rondo Hatton Awards: "District 9, the gritty Oscar-nominated science fiction film, Rue Morgue magazine, a bloody yet reverent compendium of horrors old and new, and Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff, a revised history of the rivalry between two of Hollywood's greatest hissables, all shared top honors in the 8th Annual Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Awards announced Monday night."

The Bricklayer -- Noah Boyd

Something called the Rubaco Pentad is blackmailing the F. B. I. When the Bureau tries to pay off, bad things happen to the money carriers. So what else is there to do but call in Steve Vail, once an agent but now a bricklayer, having been fired because he doesn't suffer fools gladly. Deputy Director Kate Bannon is the one who gets him to accept the job, and things move fast after that, with all booby traps and twists galore.

The writing is fine, and the pacing is dandy, but I had a few problems with the book. I have advantage, however. I've read a lot of thrillers, whereas the characters in the novel have to play by different rules. At any rate, I was always several steps of Vail, and in one case I was about 300 pages ahead of him. Vail is one of those super-competent guys who sometimes show up in thrillers. Nothing wrong with that, and maybe more about his past will be revealed in future books.

Problems aside, this was an entertaining debut novel. I'll probably read another one in the series when it comes along.

You Never Know When this Will Come in Handy

How to Jump From a Speeding Car | The Art of Manliness

Top 5 Movies that Hollywood Should Re-release in 3D

Top 5 movies that Hollywood should re-release in 3D right now (with video)

More funny than serious.

Anyone Can See that it's a Chupacabra

'Oriental yeti' discovered in China - Telegraph: "This bizarre creature dubbed the oriental yeti has baffled scientists after emerging from ancient woodlands in remote central China.

The hairless beast was trapped by hunters in Sichuan province after locals reported spotting what they thought was a bear.

Hunter Lu Chin explained: 'It looks a bit like a bear but it doesn't have any fur and it has a tail like a kangaroo.'"


Monday, April 05, 2010

Top Ten Choose Your Own Adventure Books

The 10 Strangest and Most AWESOME Choose Your Own Adventure books � Cavalcade of Awesome

Peter Gowland, R. I. P.

Peter Gowland, Pinup Photographer and Author, Dies at 93 - Obituary (Obit) - "Peter Gowland, who used camera, sunshine and imagination to portray ravishing women at a time when the pinup girl was a nearly ubiquitous fixture of American life, died on March 17 in Los Angeles. He was 93."

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

Happy Birthday, Roger Corman!

Roger Corman - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Roger William Corman (born April 5, 1926), sometimes nicknamed 'King of the B-movies' for his output of B-movies (though he himself rejects this as inaccurate), is an Academy Award-winning American producer and director of low-budget movies, some of which have an established critical reputation: his cycle of films derived from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe for example[1]. Corman is also an occasional actor, taking minor roles in such films as The Silence of the Lambs, The Godfather Part II, Apollo 13 and Philadelphia."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Final Approach -- Rachel Brady

In Rachel Brady's first novel, skydiver Emily Locke is talked into helping a private-eye named Richard Cole, the man, Emily believes, messed up a previous investigation in which she was involved. Emily's not in the best of shape because of the certain events in her own life, but she agrees to help because she can't stand the thought of parents losing a child because she refused.

Emily, who lives in Ohio, has to travel to Texas to work with Cole. She's the perfect undercover operator for him because she's a skydiver, and Cole's work so far as led him to a skydiving school. Emily joins the school and meets everyone who works there. One of or more of them must be involved in the child's disappearance, but it's going to be tough for Emily to find out who it is, especially since she's not a trained investigator.

She almost immediately gets caught messing with the school's computer system, but before she does, she discovers income that's unaccounted for. Convinced that there's something truly sinister going on, she continues her probe. It gets complicated, dangerous, and violent for all concerned.

Quirky characters, a little romance, and snappy dialog. Plus skydiving, something I wouldn't do (though apparently Brady does) but like to read about. Good fun, and since the book's set in this area, I enjoyed all the local color.

Paging CSI

S.F. crime lab's new woes - army of feral cats: "San Francisco's police crime lab, already plagued by a drug-skimming scandal, is quietly dealing with another pesky problem - cats.

A multiplying army of feral felines has moved into a lab hangar at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard where the Police Department stores evidence from old crimes. The cats have been sleeping, eating rodents and going to the bathroom around evidence items and police files, some of them boxed up, some out in the open."

Hat tip to Angela Crider.

Have a Birthday Coming Up?

NASA's $9.4 billion mission to nowhere: "Anyone need a $500 million, 355-foot steel tower for launching rockets into space?

There's one available at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. Brand new, never been used.

The mobile launcher has been built for a rocket called the Ares 1. The problem is, there is not yet any such thing as an Ares 1 rocket - and if the Obama administration has its way, there never will be."

Will They Stop at Nothing?

Aliens are attacking our sheep, UFO experts claim | The Sun |News: "ALIENS are attacking our SHEEP, UFO experts chillingly claimed yesterday.

Fuming farmers have been waking up to find animals dead after seemingly being 'experimented on'.

UFO hunters who set up a special team to investigate are linking the mutilations - including the removal of sheep brains and eyes - to sightings of mysterious reddish orange lights in the sky."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
Convincing photo at the link.

The Black Godfather

Sunday, April 04, 2010

2010 Hugo Award Nominees

The Hugo Awards

Nicolas Cage Explains It All

Nic Cage Explains His Philosophy Of Acting - The sorcerer's apprentice - io9

Dortmunder Goes to France?

UPDATE 1-Termite gangs tunnel into third French bank
| Reuters
: "Would-be robbers armed with a pneumatic drill dug a tunnel from a Paris subway station into the basement of a bank in the early hours of Sunday but failed to seize any cash or valuables, police said.

The attempted robbery of BNP Paribas is the third time this year so-called 'termite gangs' have tried to rob a bank by digging a tunnel into the building.

It is not known whether the three incidents are related.

The gang dug into the bank's basement, possibly via the sewage system. They failed to enter the safety deposit room and nothing was taken, a BNP spokeswoman said."

Tom Selleck Talks Rockford

'Rockford Files': Tom Selleck says Dermot Mulroney 'has an uphill battle' - From Inside the Box - Zap2it: "Tom Selleck thinks an update of 'The Rockford Files' without James Garner may as well be called 'The Henderson Files.'

Before he became a television icon in his own right on 'Magnum, P.I.,' Emmy winner Selleck played too-slick rival Lance White to Garner's Rockford in two episodes of the classic 1970s private-eye series. NBC is remaking 'Rockford' with Dermot Mulroney in the title role, and while Selleck wishes him well, he feels a Garner-less 'Rockford' just might not be 'Rockford.'

'They ought to cast Jim Garner,' Selleck tells Zap2it. 'I'm a little prejudiced because he was really a formative influence on me, even a mentor in so many ways, even though he probably wouldn't admit to it if he was aware of it."

Link via Gravetapping.

King of the Wild . . . Something or Other

Charles Woodson, Inspired by Davy Crockett, Skinned Guinea Pig to Use as a Hat - True Crime Report: "​Charles Woodson, a 41-year-old Davy Crockett fan from Front Royal, Virginia, wanted to have a cool hat, just like his hero. But he apparently didn't want to go hunting to get the genuine article. So he went to the pet store and bought a guinea pig instead..."

A tip of the Crider coonskin to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Western Movie Poster

New York Leads the Way

BBC News - US girl sues for $1m over arrest for desk scribble: "A 12-year-old US schoolgirl is suing the New York City authorities for $1m in damages after she was arrested for writing on her desk.

Alexa Gonzalez was led out of her school in handcuffs by police after she was caught scribbling a message to her friends with an erasable, green marker."

Happy Birthday, Muddy Waters!

The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: "It's the birthday of blues great 'Muddy Waters' (McKinley Morganfield), born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi (1915), who taught himself to play harmonica and guitar. He played in various bands in bars on the south side of Chicago, and in 1950, he made the first recording for Chess Records, a tune called 'Rolling Stone.' He later became famous for songs like 'Hoochie-Koochie Man' and 'Got My Mojo Working.'"

Happy Easter!

To all those who celebrate.

No Comment Department

KFC Announces “Double Down” Sandwiches, Emergency Rooms Prepare For Heart Attacks: "How does KFC make sandwiches even better? They get rid of the pesky bread typically offered with sandwiches and instead they replace that bread with two pieces of chicken. That ladies and gentlemen is the “Double Down” the companies newest sandwich arriving April 12th."

Photo of sandwich at the link.

The Yearling