Saturday, May 22, 2010

Martin Gardner, R. I. P.

Martin Gardner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Martin Gardner (October 21, 1914 - May 22, 2010)[1] was an American mathematics and science writer specializing in recreational mathematics, but with interests encompassing micromagic, stage magic, pseudoscience, literature (especially the writings of Lewis Carroll), philosophy, scientific skepticism, and religion. He wrote the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American from 1956 to 1981, and published over 70 books.[2]"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Corpus Christi, TX | | Marijuana Seizure Turns Into Yardwork: "What was initally thought to be one of the largest marijuana plant seizures in the police department's history turned into what amounted to a city park cleanup Thursday night.

Shortly after 8:00pm, a teen riding his bike through Waldron Park in Flour Bluff discovered what he thought were marijuana plants growing there.

Police later hauled away 300-400 medium-sized plants that they also believed was marijuana.

If fact, officers only stopped collecting the plants because it got too dark, and planned to return in the morning to look around for more.

However, after spending more than an hour removing and tagging the hundreds of plants, then hauling it all down the police department downtown, testing revealed that none of it was marijuana at all."

Kieran Shea Interview

Gutter Books News and Events

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Man pulls rank trick in Army - "A Texas man with no military experience tricked the Army into letting him enter a reserve unit as a noncommissioned officer earlier this year, a deception that placed an untrained soldier in a leadership position in a time of war.

Jesse Bernard Johnston III, 26, joined the Army Reserve in February as a sergeant and was assigned to the Corps Support Airplane Company at the Fort Worth Naval Air Station. But he wasn’t qualified to hold that rank, according to military records obtained by The Associated Press that show Johnston’s only military experience was attending a Marine officer candidate course for college students in 2004."

I Feel Like Such a Worthless Slug

13-year-old American climbs Everest, calls his mom - Yahoo! News: "The youngest climber to reach the peak of Mount Everest hugged his tearful companions and told them he loved them. Then 13-year-old Jordan Romero took the satellite phone and called his mom.

'He says, 'Mom, I'm calling you from the top of the world,'' a giddy Leigh Anne Drake told The Associated Press from California, where she had been watching her son's progress minute by minute on a GPS tracker online.

'There were lots of tears and 'I love you! I love you!'' Drake said. 'I just told him to get his butt back home.'
With Saturday's success on the world's highest mountain, at 29,035 feet (8,850 meters) above sea level, Jordan is just one climb from his quest to reach the highest peaks on all seven continents.

The teenager with a mop of long curly hair — who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa when he was 9 years old — says he was inspired by a painting in his school hallway of the seven continents' highest summits.

'Every step I take is finally toward the biggest goal of my life, to stand on top of the world,' Jordan said earlier on his blog."

Hang Cool Teddy Bear -- Meat Loaf

Okay, time for another confession, this one about on a par with my admission that I love ABBA. I'm also quite fond of Meat Loaf. Note the capital letters. While do enjoy a good meat loaf for dinner, I'm talking about the singer here. When Bat out of Hell came out all those years ago, I bought it on 8-track (how's that for an embarrassing admission?). Later I bought it on cassette, and still later I bought it on CD. I've bought the other Bat CDs, too, and the other day I listened to Hang Cool Teddy Bear, which is pretty much in the same vein.

The "concept" here is that each song is the daydream of a wounded soldier, each one representing a possible vision of his future life. The visions unfold in operatic power pop, with wailing guitars, hammering drums, and soaring above all that, Mr. Loaf's incredible vocals. How can he hit those notes at his age? I don't know, but he does.

Lots of guest stars here, including Justin Hawkins, Jack Black, and Hugh Laurie (yes, that Hugh Laurie) on piano. And Patti Russo, which brings back some memories.

If you've never liked Meat Loaf, this CD isn't going to change your mind. If you were looking for another Bat out of Hell, this one doesn't quite measure up. But it's a lot of fun. One line in "California Isn't Big Enough" made me laugh out loud, and "I Saw Elvis in Vegas" actually achieves the big emotions it's striving for. If you like this kind of music, this is the kind of thing you'll like. If not, forget it.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Body Art Expo - KIAH: "The Largest Tattoo and Body Art Expo in the World is open for business Friday May 22nd until Sunday May 24th. The expo tours the Nation and features over 200 tattoo artists and other exhibitors. Looking to make an impression? There's a tattoo contest for that. The Body Art Expo touts itself as a skin show-off party."

Today's Western Movie Poster

50 Most Shocking TV Moments

50 Most Shocking TV Moments

Don't Worry, Be Unhappy

Want to keep the wife happy? Be miserable
| Mail Online
: "Stay miserable? Men who are less happy than their wives tended to have more enduring marriages, according to research."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Pirates terrorize boaters on Texas lake along Mexican border |
| San Antonio News, Weather, Sports, Traffic, Entertainment, Video and Photos
: "It sounds like something out of yesteryear: Pirates attacking boats and sailors, robbing them of their treasures. But it's not on the high seas, but in deep South Texas.

With machine guns in hand, Mexico's deadliest cartel is patrolling the waters of a Texas border lake."

Hold that Ghost

Friday, May 21, 2010

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: I Paid the Whore :: Michael Hemmingson

Croc Update (Chinese Wal-Mart Edition)

16 Items They Only Sell At Chinese Walmarts: Pics, Videos, Links, News

Haircut of the Day (or Possibly the Month)

Jersey City Society Hill pimp is sentenced to 18 years in prison | -

Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Remix

Today's Western Movie Poster

Top 10 Worst Movie Sequels

Top 10 Worst Movie Sequels - Top 10 Lists | Listverse

Thumbs Up

8th-grader finds Jesus on thumb while doing science project? |
Phoenix News | Arizona News |
| Phoenix News
: "Austin Coleman says he found Jesus on his thumbprint. He says he put the thumbprint on a piece paper for a school science project then stepped back and noticed the resemblance. He admits, “I got a little freaked out.”"

Forgotten Books: FIND MY KILLER -- Manly Wade Wellman

George Kelley's off on a Manly Wade Wellman binge, and that inspired me to pull Find My Killer off the shelves for a look. I'm a big admirer of Wellman's stories about John the Balladeer, as well as some of his other work. Not too long ago I reviewed his Sherlock Holmes pastiche (a collaboration with his son) here. I don't know why I didn't read Find My Killer long ago, but I'm glad I finally got around to it.
Let's start with the front cover. I  like it, but it has absolutely nothing with the book.  Must have been lying around the office.  Looks a bit like western cover that's been altered.  So forget the cover.

I don't usually show the back covers of books I review, but I thought the info on this one was so interesting that I couldn't resist.  It gives some nice background on Wellman.

The book's a combination of the hardboiled private-eye novel with a John Dickson Carr locked-room mystery.  It works better than you might think, thanks to the smooth first-person narration of Jackson Yates, a former cop who's just out of the army.  He goes to work for J. D. Thatcher, a lawyer, one of whose clients wrote codicil to his will shortly before his death implying that he knew he'd be murdered.  He leaves $5000 to the person who finds his killer.  You might wonder why he didn't name the person he suspected.  Well, what would be the fun in that?

There are plenty of clues, both real and false, and also some hardboiled action (Jackson undergoes a savage beating).  Lots of stuff about guns, most of which bears on the plot.  There's romance, too.  J. D. Thatcher is a woman, and Jackson's attracted to her from the start.  I didn't know what to expect when I started reading, but I enjoyed this one.  Worth looking for if you're in a used-book store.

The 30-Foot Bride of Candy Rock

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Chupacabra Update

Montauk Monster: Beast found in Ontario | Mail Online: "Locals in a small Canadian town have been stumped by the appearance of a bizarre creature, which was dragged from a lake.

The animal, which has a long hairy body with bald skin on its head, feet and face, has prompted wild internet speculation that it is a more evolved version of the famous 'Montauk monster'."

Photos at the link.

Hard Case Crime Update from Charles Ardai


Back in 2008, we published one of our most popular books (and our first by a female author), Christa Faust's MONEY SHOT. The book was called "an instant pulp classic" by Rolling Stone magazine, was a finalist for the Edgar Award, and is currently in development as a movie. Ever since it came out, people have been asking us if there was a chance they'd someday get to read more about Angel Dare, the former adult film star turned vigilante killer.

I'm happy to report that the answer is yes. There'll be a bit of a wait -- 9 months, give or take, and why shouldn't gestation take about that long? -- but when next February comes to a close you'll see a book called CHOKE HOLD arriving in bookstores. You can already get an early peek at the book's gorgeous cover at our Web site: We haven't posted a sample chapter yet (Christa's still putting the finishing touches on the final draft), but the cover's worth a look all by itself...

Want a great read sooner than 9 months from now? I urge you to visit your favorite local bookseller (or online retailer) and pick up a copy of our latest title, NOBODY'S ANGEL by Jack Clark. It's an extraordinary novel -- written by a Chicago cab driver, about a Chicago cab driver -- and I don't think I've ever read a more passionate, heartbreaking, moving depiction of the Windy City in my life. This is a dark book, a sad book, a noir book through and through...and you'll be kicking yourself if you don't give it a read. The Chicago Sun-Times will shortly be running a profile about the book and the author; Booklist magazine has already given it a starred review, writing "The cynical, melancholy cabbie point of view is perfect for this kind of neon-lit, noir-tinged, saxophone-scored prose poem, and Clark hits all the right notes." Originally, when Jack wrote the book, instead of publishing it the conventional way, he printed up 500 copies himself and sold them to his passengers by hand; the only way you could get a copy of the book was if you were lucky enough to catch a ride in the author's cab. We are incredibly proud to be able to give the book the professional publication it has deserved all along, and I very much hope you'll try it.

And remember, if none of the booksellers you visit have copies left, you can always order one directly by calling 1-800-481-9191.

One other bit of news, and it's a big one: Our best-selling title of all time, Stephen King's THE COLORADO KID, is about to become a TV series! The show is called "Haven," and it debuts on July 9 on SyFy (the network formerly known as The Sci-Fi Channel). In New York, it airs at 10PM; not sure what time it's on in other parts of the country, but check your listings. It'll also be shown outside the U.S., so wherever you are, there's a good chance you'll be able to watch it. The series expands on the story of the book, introducing a new main character (an FBI agent with a mysterious past), but you'll see as the series unfolds that the central mysteries of the book are very much at the heart of the TV show as well. There's a brief video up on SyFy's Web site if you want to get a taste of the show: you can find it by going to and clicking on the video link on the right side of the screen that's labeled "Haven - Everyone's Hiding Something." I'm fortunate to be working on the show as a writer and producer and am very excited about how it's coming out. There are some terrific stories hidden in the town of Haven, Maine, and week by week we'll do our best to bring them to you.

We've got more big developments in the works that I'm itching to tell you about...but those are still in the works, so we'll save them for a future update. In the meantime, please do grab a copy of NOBODY'S ANGEL -- and when July 9 rolls around, please tune in to SyFy and join me in watching Hard Case Crime's television debut!

Many thanks,
Charles Ardai
Editor, Hard Case Crime

You Married Folks Will Be Shocked at this Discovery

What Married Women Want More Than Sex - The Early Show - CBS News: "Two thousand American wives between the ages of 18 and 49 were surveyed about their sex lives by iVillage. The most alarming finding was that 77 percent reported being 'somewhat to extremely happy' with their sex life, but 63 percent of them would rather sleep, watch a movie or read than have sex."


Exclusive: Drew Barrymore to Direct an "Oz" Sequel | Disney Brings Back Cinderella | Pajiba - Scathing Reviews for Bitchy People: "Also, we’ve learned exclusively that Surrender Dorothy, yet another Wizard of Oz sequel, has been resurrected. The project was first announced in 2002. It was based on a Zach Helm script (Stranger Than Fiction) and had Drew Barrymore attached to star. She is now attached to direct, as a follow-up to her directorial debut, Whip It."

End of an Era

Last typist refuses to switch to laptop, gets boot from Writers Room in Greenwich Village: "The ribbon has run out on the last typewriter at a Manhattan writers' den.

Skye Ferrante has spent six years at the Writers Room in Greenwich Village, blissfully banging away on his grandmother's 1929 Royal typewriter.

The 37-year-old writer represented a bygone era, the last typewriter-user in a special room devoted to typists.

'In the event that there are no desks available, laptop users must make room for typists,' read a sign posted in the 'Typing Room' for years.

When Ferrante returned to the Writers Room in April after an eight-month break, the sign was gone and his noisy typewriter was no longer welcome."

Link via Boing Boing.

Stray Dog -- A Guest Review by Kerry Newcomb

If you harbor a fondness for noir films or those good ol' 1950's police procedurals shot on the mean streets of... (Naked City, Asphalt Jungle, Kansas City Confidential, etc) then may I suggest you find a copy of Akira Kurosawa's Stray Dog.

It is a fascinating film, a little long in the middle although I have to say it continued to interest me. What we have is a simple story, a rookie detective has his pistol lifted from his pocket. The rest of the film is his pursuit of that gun. It is a Colt automatic loaded with seven rounds. Yep, you count them off one by one as the gun is used in one crime after another. Recovering the weapon becomes a point of honor for the young detective and he suffers greatly each time it is used to harm an innocent.

Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura play the young novice detective and the experienced veteran. Shimura has the quiet, passive, thoughtful strength of a Japanese Inspector Foyle (I add this for you Michael Kitchen fans. You'll know what I mean.) The film is shot on the streets of Tokyo, indeed one nine-minute section is shot without dialogue and involves Mifune wandering undercover, down the streets and slums of the city looking for a gangster arms merchant.

What a fascinating experience, this post war Japan, rising from the ashes of WW II. The camera enters bars and you expect those singsong, Sayonara melodies found in American films. Kurosawa gives us New Orleans blues or bassa nova rhythyms or back alley jazz, all these amazing foreign influences that in the four years of occupation after the war the Japanese culture has adopted as its own. Mifune is an ex soldier and there is a distinct parallel between him and his criminal nemesis. Both men suffered indignities and a sense of displacement after returning home from the war. Mifune's character could have easily slid into the criminal life and he recognizes this about himself. Shimura, the wise old cop, was a law man during the war, whose job was to keep civil order in an impossible time of major conflict. A heat wave grips the city. The celluloid practically drips moisture through the television screen. And when storms erupt into savage downpours their timing rivals the hurricane in a film like Key Largo. Shimura is a dogged, plodding copper who has no use for hunches. he scrutinizes the evidence of each crime scene and fits the tidbits together like the pieces of a map leading to the gunman. Kurosawa supplies us with plenty of colorful types to deal with. And the final chase and desperate confrontation that courses through slum streets, train yards and a heavily wooded tract thick with trees and overgrown and steamy as some savage Eden is just excellent. And left me exhausted. Kurosawa's brilliance is in setting up this final chase with a preemptive scene in which...well...I won't spoil it but it is one of those great, "Holy Crap!" moments.

Anyway, I've seen films shot in Paris and Berlin after the war, The Third Man comes to mind, but cannot recall one shot in Japan. It was fascinating. There is a scene in a burlesque house with a bunch of chorus girls (now I have your interest?) where what happens after their onstage routine is something I have never seen portrayed in a film before.

So Stray Dog isn't gonna be everyone's cup o java but if you're interested, it's worth searching out at the library or Netflix.

If you haven't read Kerry Newcomb's novels, you're missing a treat. Here's a good one to begin with.

Cap'n Bob Speaks Again

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: A Rambling Interview with Robert S. Napier, Part 2

Here's the Plot for Your Next Big Caper Novel

Paintings Worth Millions Stolen from Paris Museum - "A lone thief stole five paintings possibly worth hundreds of millions of euros, including major works by Picasso and Matisse, in a brazen overnight heist Thursday from a Paris modern-art museum, police and prosecutors said.

The paintings disappeared early Thursday from the Paris Museum of Modern Art, across the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower, one of the French capital's most tourist-frequented neighborhoods."

And You Thought the DMV Was Bad in Your State

DMV Relocates Driver to Unfortunate Locale on License |
NBC Miami
: "The line that was supposed to display Lineberger's street address was replaced by the vulgar message and the state Department of Motor Vehicles has no clue how the mishap occurred.

Lineberger's husband, Charles, said after getting the run around on the phone with the state DMV, the couple went to the local DMV to get some answers. What they got was laughter and a quote for another fee if they wanted the license fixed.

'They thought it was hilarious like it was some kind of joke,' he said. 'Then they wanted us to pay for another license.'"

Photo of the license at the link.

It's Hard to Find Good Help These Days

NJ Mom Recognizes Census Worker as Sex Offender |
NBC Philadelphia
: "A man with a U.S. census badge knocked on Amy Schmalbach’s door on May 4. Thinking that answering the door to a government worker was a safe bet, she did. And then she wondered why he looked so familiar.

As soon as the man left her Pennsauken home, Schmalbach realized where she had seen him before: on the state’s sex-offender registry."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Get a Rope!

8th grader flips teacher off; banned from graduation |
| St. Louis news, Missouri news & breaking news | | News for St. Louis, Missouri
: "An eighth grade student in Albers, Illinois is in trouble for flipping his teacher the bird and running out of class.

After the boy flipped off his teacher, school officials locked down the school and officers from several police departments responded.

The superintendent says the 14-year-old's behavior caused, “widespread student unrest.'"

Gator Update (Shopping Mall Edition)

Shopping mall has reptilian visitor - "Florida shopping mall had an unexpected, and unwelcome, visitor Wednesday when a 10-foot alligator took up residence on a nearby sidewalk, authorities said.

Trappers were called to the Millenia Mall in Orlando, Fla., early in the morning to capture and remove the animal, WESH-TV, Orlando, reported."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way
"Rosemary Benitez thought it was a joke at first. She was told her store was going to�need a food permit in order to stay in business.

But Benitez doesn't own a restaurant. She owns the Shades of Love lingerie store on West Bitters road.

Shades of Love sells racy lingerie, high heel shoes, adult toys and items meant to enhance a couple's sex life. However, some of those items are edible. That's why the health department ruled the store needed a food permit."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Double Down Update

Chickens, Beware: KFC Extends Double Down - ABC News: "KFC says Americans are gobbling down so many Double Down sandwiches that the fast-food chain will offer the bunless, meaty sandwich longer than it had planned.

Originally the sandwich — bacon and cheese surrounded by chicken filets — was to have been available through Sunday.

But KFC said Wednesday that the sandwich will be available now for as long as customer demand remains high."

She Should Have Stayed On Her Lawn

Scooter-Riding Senior Takes Freeway To Casino - San Antonio News Story - KSAT San Antonio: "A woman on a motorized scooter took to the interstate Tuesday in hopes of reaching the casino, Albuquerque TV station KOAT reported.
[. . . .]
'I only had one person yell at me and it was a kid,' Martin said. 'I told him to shut up.'

After several calls from motorists, police tracked her down after she had pulled over to the side of the road because her oxygen tank was low."

Abbott & Costello in Hollywood

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

End of an Era

Smothers Brothers Retire From the Comedy Grind | "For decades now they've looked like a couple of squares, with their cardigan sweaters and those tidy haircuts, but it's their sneakily subversive brand of comedy that made the two jokesters from New York City household names. Now, The Smothers Brothers are puting away their touring shoes for good after more than 50-odd years on the road.
[. . . .]
Dick, 70, told the Las Vegas Sun he and his older brother have canceled all future gigs. 'I was wondering if it would be emotional,' he said, 'But that to me was just another day in the office.'"

Chupacabra Update: Runaway Bay Leads the Way

Chupacabra Adopted as City Mascot - News- "Fort Worth has the historic Stockyards. San Antonio has the Alamo. Runaway Bay has the chupacabra.

That's right. The chupacabra. The legendary goat-sucker.

On Tuesday night, the Runaway Bay City Council passed a resolution that would make the chupacabra the city's official mascot."

Photo here, in case you've forgotten.
Hat tip to Angela Crider.

It's About Time

147 years later, Wis. Civil War soldier gets medal - "Seven score and seven years ago, a wounded Wisconsin soldier stood his ground on the Gettysburg battlefield and made a valiant stand before he was felled by a Confederate bullet.

Now, thanks to the dogged efforts of modern-day supporters, 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing shall not have died in vain, nor shall his memory have perished from the earth.

Descendants and some Civil War history buffs have been pushing the U.S. Army to award the soldier the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military decoration. They'll soon get their wish."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Photos reveal inside look at East Austin tunnel home |
| KVUE News local | Austin, Tx | Breaking news
: "The City of Austin Tuesday released photos of the web of tunnels a man dug underneath his East Austin home.

Under the yellow home are three stories of tunnels. For at least two years, neighbors suspected owner Jose Del Rio was up to something strange, but had no idea just how busy he'd been."

Monkey See, . . .

Monkeys pay for sexy pics : Nature News: "To a monkey, some things are worth looking at more than others. A US study has shown that rhesus macaques will pay to look at images of powerful or sexually interesting fellows.

The discovery, made by neurobiologists at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, supports the theory that monkeys will make sacrifices to gain socially useful information, much as a human might spend money on a newspaper."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Houston Could Use These Druids

Druids hired to cut road accidents |
Quirky News |

Orange UK
: "Motoroway bosses in Austria secretly hired a full-time team of druids to drain 'negative energy' from accident blackspots.

The team is said to have reduced fatal accidents at one notorious crash site to zero after restoring its 'terrestrial radiation'."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Here's What I Need

Today's Western Movie Poster

There Were Two Leprechaun in tha Hood Movies? Really?

Cinematical Seven: Absurd 'From the Hood' Films - Cinematical

Here's the Plot for Your Next Geezer Noir Story

Investigators believe mystery woman targets wealthy, older men to clean out their bank accounts | "Her identity is a mystery, but investigators want viewers to take a good look. Investigators say she's a con artist who targets rich, elderly men. Robert, who wants to only use his first name, says she tried to clean out his 88-year-old father's retirement account."

I'd Better Stay Out of Trouble

Blind Justice? Attractive Get Breaks with Juries - CBS News: "According to a Cornell University study, unattractive defendants are 22 percent more likely to be convicted than good-looking ones. And the unattractive also get slapped with harsher sentences - an average of 22 months longer in prison."

Abbott & Costello in the Navy

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another of My Old Reviews Has Surfaced

� A 1001 MIDNIGHTS review: DON PENDLETON - The Executioner.

The Empire Strikes Back (1950)

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

San Antonio city manager wages war on sugar | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "City Manager Sheryl Sculley has declared war on sugar.

Well, at least when it comes packaged in cans and candy bars. Sugary sodas no longer have a home in the city's 250 beverage vending machines and unhealthy foods in the 75 snack machines in city facilities are next."

This Is Where I've Been Today

Archaeopteryx: "This premier exhibition will present some of the finest known fossils from the late Jurassic period showing life at the time of these first birds. Fossils from the world renowned quarries of Solenhofen, Germany, will be featured. Organized by the Houston Museum of Natural Science."

Top Five Hideouts with No Extradition

For Wall Street Villains: The Five Best Hideouts -- With No Extradition - DailyFinance: "Luckily, the financial scofflaw with a truckload of money has several options at his or her disposal. Granted, traditional havens like Canada might be a little hesitant to adopt someone who helped bring down the world economy -- and in light of recent events in Greece, even France might be reluctant to open its doors.

But never fear, dozens of countries don't have extradition treaties with the U.S. -- and are desperate for new visitors."

If Only the Paramedics Had Had a Ruler

Roaming bear traps NJ paramedics inside building - Yahoo! News: "Paramedics in New Jersey have been slowed responding to an emergency call by a bear that kept them trapped inside their building.

A nearby contractor getting something from his truck says he came face to face with a 200-pound bear but threw a carpenter's folding ruler at it and scared it away."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Weaponized Beer

Men allegedly use case of beer as weapon in heist - Yahoo! News: "Bud Light may not be advertising these two as 'Real Men of Genius.' Two men are accused of using an 18-pack case of Bud Light as a weapon while stealing beer at a Loaf 'N Jug convenience store."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Geez, I Must Be Downright Giddy all the Time

Happiness Comes With Age, Study Reveals - Yahoo! News: "Life looks a little rosier after 50, a new study finds. Older people in their mid- to late-50s are generally happier, and experience less stress and worry than young adults in their 20s, the researchers say."

Dracula Trivia

| The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: "It was on this day in 1897, shortly before the novel itself was published, that the Irish writer Bram Stoker held a dramatic reading of Dracula in an effort to protect the copyright."

Marryin' Bill

20 Villainous Animals in Fiction

20 Villainous Animals in Fiction on AbeBooks: "In celebration of the darker side of literary animals, we’ve put together the best of the worst offenders. We insisted on talking animals with actual bad intentions, rather than a creature simply acting as nature intended, so you won't find Cujo or Jaws here. Whether simply nasty and cantankerous or downright evil and cruel, these are not your garden-variety fluffy bunnies."

Abbott & Costello Meet the Mummy

Monday, May 17, 2010

Paris Hilton Trains MMA with Gabe Ruediger

Hat tip to Christa Faust.

And Speaking of Being Everywhere, . .

. . . now I'm being tested.

I'm Still Everywhere!

This time I'm on Page 69.

David Cranmer Interviews Matthew Mayo

Gutter Books News and Events

Double Action Detective, Issue No. 6, Spring 1957

What we have here are the front and back covers of Double Action Detective from 1957. You'd think I'd get used to it, but even after all these years, I'm amazed at how prolific Robert Silverberg was in the late '50s. He must have been writing two or three short stories a day plus a novel on the weekends. On a typewriter. I find it incredible. And he wasn't writing just one kind of story. Science fiction, crime, erotica, westerns, you name it and he was writing it.

And I love the back cover ad. What man wouldn't want his own portable bar, one that "adds class to every gathering, and points up the cleverness of its proud owner." And for only $4.98. Plus 63 cents postage, of course. Those were the days!

In Case You Were Wondering, . . .

Yes, skeptics, Olive Garden does have a Tuscan culinary institute -

Want to Read Jack MacLane in Digital Format?

This one's available now. Others to follow, I hope.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Horny Gator Spotted in Austin

Kangaroos Need Love, Too

Love-Struck Kangaroo Hunts Aussie Women - Yahoo! News UK: "A frisky kangaroo has caused mayhem after stalking women in an area known as the Honeymoon Ranges in northern Australia. Skip related content

Female residents in the isolated town of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory have complained that the animal has been lurking and making its intentions vey clear."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Abbott & Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hunt Beyond the Frozen Fire -- Gabriel Hunt, as Told to Christa Faust

I believe I said that reading Hunt at World's End was like "reading" a Republic serial, so to use a similar analogy, I'll say that reading this latest entry in the series was like "reading" a good '50s B-movie, one of those about finding a civilization under the ice at the South Pole. It's not exactly an ancient civilization, though, and I'm not going to say any more about it. After you read the book, you can come back here and click this link if you think the idea's too far-fetched.

Naturally there's action aplenty from start to finish, as is the norm in a Gabriel Hunt adventure, some of the action is in one of the coldest climates in the world. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, as my undying affection for Alistair MacLean's Night without End attests.

At any rate, Gabriel Hunt and his crew this time are faced with saving the world and having mandatory sex. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm not revealing anything more about that part of the book, either, but if you've seen enough '50s movies, you might be way ahead of me.

The scene on the cover is from the opening of the book, a sort of prologue to the main action. Crazed knife-throwers are always fun.

In short, another fine romp from Gabriel Hunt, this time aided and abetted by Christa Faust. Check it out.

Nebula Award Winners

SFWA announces 2010 Nebula Awards winners | The Nebula Awards: "The Nebula Awards are voted on, and presented by, active members of SFWA. The awards were announced at the Nebula Awards Banquet held at the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront the evening of May 15.

2009 Nebula Award Winners

The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books, Sept. 2009)

The Women of Nell Gwynne’s - Kage Baker (Subterranean Press, June 2009)

“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast,”
Eugie Foster (Interzone, Feb. 2009)

Short Story
“Spar,” Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, Oct. 2009)

Ray Bradbury Award
District 9, Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell (Tri-Star, Aug. 2009)

Andre Norton Award
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making,
Catherynne M. Valente (Catherynne M. Valente, June 2009)

Additional Honors
During the ceremonies, Joe Haldeman was honored as the next Damon Knight Grand Master, while Neal Barrett, Jr., was honored as Author Emeritus. Vonda N. McIntyre and Keith Stokes were honored with SFWA Service Awards while the SFWA Solstice Award, bestowed upon individuals who have made a significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, was presented to Tom Doherty, Terri Windling and the late Donald A. Wollheim."

A Checklist of Real Interest to Mystery Fans and Collectors

Harper Sealed Mysteries

The Lookout

The Lookout stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Chris, a young guy trying to put his life back together after a terrible automobile accident (his fault) in which two people are killed and a third is severely injured. Chris receives a serious head injury that leaves him very unlike the person he once was. Instead of a high-school hockey hero, he's a janitor at a bank. He attends a class that's supposed to help him learn to "sequence," to live an orderly life. His roommate is a blind man (Jeff Daniels, almost unrecognizable behind a bushy beard) who tries to help him, too.
What Chris wants most of all is the one thing he can't have: his old life back. Along comes Gary Spargo, who says he can help Chris get it. Spargo's everything Chris no longer is. He's got a way with women, he's in control, he's sure of himself. And he wants to rob the bank where Chris works.

This isn't really a caper movie, though it has the trappings of one. You know what happens in capers, right? Something always goes wrong.

I thought this had the makings of a nice little noir movie, but it's not noir, not by my definition, anyway, and I can't tell you why without spoiling the whole thing. So, as usual, I'm keeping mum.

What you think of this movie might come down to what you think of Chris. Obviously the filmmakers want you to sympathize with him. I can see why someone might not. Still, this was a worthwhile movie. Different from what you might expect and full of good performances. Check it out.

I'm Obsolete Already

My Way News - Eyes flashing, robot conducts wedding in Tokyo: "Almost everyone stood when the bride walked down the aisle in her white gown, but not the wedding conductor, because she was bolted to her chair.

The nuptials at this ceremony were led by 'I-Fairy,' a 4-foot (1.5-meter) tall seated robot with flashing eyes and plastic pigtails. Sunday's wedding was the first time a marriage had been led by a robot, according to manufacturer Kokoro Co.

'Please lift the bride's veil,' the robot said in a tinny voice,waving its arms in the air as the newlyweds kissed in front of about 50 guests."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Secret Mission Accomplished

A few months ago, Lauren Bettinger, my niece, asked me to officiate at her wedding. I've never officiated at anything, and I wasn't an ordained minister, but I figured that if she was crazy enough to ask me, I was crazy enough to do the job.

So I went on-line and became an ordained minister in the Universal Life Church. I made sure that the Great State of Texas accepted marriages performed by ministers of that church, and it does. So that was Step One. Then I read a bit about weddings. My friend Fred Williams suggested that I do one of the Marryin' Sam Special $5 weddings, which had many special features. I'm not sure what they were, but I believe wrestling a life wildcat was one of them. Or maybe performing the wedding while being drawn and quartered. I didn't think I was willing to go that far, so I went for a more traditional ceremony.

The wedding was last night, and it went off without a hitch. Everyone had a wonderful time, and my niece is now officially married to Jeff McCarty. I'm sure video will eventually surface on the Internet, but I doubt very much that I'll be posting a link. Just use your imagination.

As If We Didn't Know

Internet Use Makes Us Happier, Says Mental-Health Study - Yahoo! News

Buck Privates