Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Serenity :: Brad Parks

Susannah York, R. I. P.

'They Shoot Horses, Don't They?' Actress Susannah York Dies - The Hollywood Reporter: "British actress Susannah York, who earned a best supporting actress for her role as a dance marathon contestant in the 1969 Sydney Pollack film They Shoot Horses, Don't They?, passed away Friday from advanced bone marrow cancer. She was 72.

The stage, film and television actress was also a Cannes best actress winner for Images, as well as an Emmy and Golden Globe nominee. Her best known film roles included A Man for All Seasons, The Maids, Tom Jones, and X, Y and Zee, opposite Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Caine. She played Superman's mother Lara in 1978's Superman and Superman II as well."

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

This pretty much says it all:

'Today Show' Snubs 2011 Caldecott, Newbery Winners: "Looks like Snooki may have better writing chops than this year's Newbery and Caldecott winners—or at least someone at the Today Show believes so.

NBC's morning program ran an eight-minute segment with the Jersey Shore star Tuesday morning but opted not to air its traditional morning-after interview with the winners of the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, which on Monday went to Clare Vanderpool and Erin Stead, respectively."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Keep off His Lawn!

Geriatric NY gangster, 93, gets 8 years in prison - Yahoo! News: "Convicted mob boss John 'Sonny' Franzese is so old, he knew Frank Sinatra in his heyday. He's so old, his recent extortion trial became nap time — even when his turncoat son took the witness stand against him.

But a federal judge decided Friday that Franzese is not so old that he can avoid prison.

Franzese, 93, was sentenced to eight years in prison for extorting Manhattan strip clubs and a pizzeria on New York's Long Island."


Mike Avallone, The Little Black Book, Midwood, 1961

Elvis '56

Rare footage of The King: “I want him and I need him and I love him”: "In 1956, Elvis Presley played a homecoming gig in Tupelo, Miss. for the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. He was The King of rock n’roll; in this footage of the show, dug up by Dangerous Minds, which is one of the few to be the actual audio of the concert with the actual video, even Elvis is hard to hear over the screams of the teenage girls."

Video at the link.

Vote Early and Often

Especially for me. See David Cranmer's Blog at the link for details.

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Preditors & Editors

50 Greatest Guitar Riffs in Rock 'n' Roll

50 Greatest Guitar Riffs in Rock 'n' Roll

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.
Pearls Before Swine

Today's Western Movie Poster

Comic Strip of the Day


Willard Scott Update

When a groundhog's not enough, call Willard Scott: "The folks at Wildlife Prairie State Park are tired of their Groundhog Day celebration taking a back seat to the more famous event in Punxsutawney, Pa., and they've planned what they think could be a game-changer.

Famous NBC weatherman and commercial spokesman Willard Scott will join this year's Feb. 2 festivities at the central Illinois park. The park's groundhog, Gertie, will be there, too."

Gator Update (Underwater Edition)

Close-up underwater snaps of an American alligator in the Everglades, Florida

Great photos at the link.
Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

'Jersey Shore' ratings: Yup, they did it again | Inside TV | "Again. Again. Again. Jersey Shore has, again, set an all-time MTV series record.

Ready? The show delivered 8.6 million viewers and a 4.4 in the adults 18-49 demo last night.

Now those numbers are off the map. (And bigger than Grey’s Anatomy last night too)."

I'm Tempted

Mustache Bandages

Terminator 2

Friday, January 14, 2011

Joe Lansdale Update

Joe Lansdale announced on Facebook that he's moving to Mulholland books. Those folks are building quite a line-up.

Marilyn Monroe Update

Marilyn Monroe product deal flirts with $50 million figure - "The Marilyn Monroe business is getting a makeover.

Nearly 50 years after the death of the sexy cinema icon, her name and likeness will soon grace a wide range of fresh merchandise, including apparel, handbags, fragrances and home goods."

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

A Foxy Critter

Fox shoots man | Reuters: "A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter's gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle, media said Thursday."

Hat tip to Angela Crider.

This Is Gonna Be Great

New images from Mega Python vs. Gatoroid

I Should Have Found This When I Was There

CBC News - Books - Unpublished Hammett story found in archives: "An unpublished story by crime writer Dashiell Hammett is to be released in Feb. 28 in The Strand magazine.

So I Shot Him is one of 15 undated short stories by Hammett found in the archives at the University of Texas at Austin. The 19-page crime thriller uses the spare style Hammett is known for."

Season of the Witch Not Included

The 10 greatest Nicolas Cage moments

John Dye, R. I. P.

John Dye Dies: What Killed "Touched by an Angel" Star? - Health Blog - CBS News: "John Dye, best known for his role as the angel of death on the hit TV series 'Touched by an Angel,' was found dead on Monday at his San Francisco home, a medical examiner's spokesman said Thursday. He was 47.

The cause of death hasn't been determined, according to medical examiner investigator Charles Cecil, but relatives said Dye suffered apparent heart failure."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston permit rule stops couple's effort to feed homeless | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "Bobby and Amanda Herring spent more than a year providing food to homeless people in downtown Houston every day. They fed them, left behind no trash and doled out warm meals peacefully without a single crime being committed, Bobby Herring said.

That ended two weeks ago when the city shut down their 'Feed a Friend' effort for lack of a permit. And city officials say the couple most likely will not be able to obtain one."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

With 150-Foot Kites, Texas Man Raises Big Bucks for Charity: "Want to do something to help people? Go fly a kite.

That's the advice of Texas retiree Barry Ogletree, who has been raising money for charity by raising massive kites in the air.

With the help of his wife and sometimes his sons, Ogletree travels the country, covering his own expenses to fly gigantic kites at charity events, allowing do-gooders to raise cash through food and kite sales."

Cool kite photos at the link.


Woman shot in buttocks while dining out at Raffa's Waterfront Grill in northeast Harris County | "A woman out to dinner got shot in the rear end in an accidental shooting Thursday night.

Police say a person with a concealed handgun license dropped their weapon in the Raffa's Waterfront Grill restaurant Thursday night in northeast Harris County. The weapon went off and shot a woman in her 70s sitting nearby in her buttocks."


Louis L'Amour, Silver Canyon, Bantam, 1957

Hardboiled Academics

Including your favorite blogger. Check it out.

Hardboiled Academics | Mulholland Books

Seems Fair to Me

BBC News - Judge rules inmate 'bitten on penis by rodent' may sue: "A New York man who says a rat bit his penis during a jail stay may sue county officials, a judge has ruled."

Da Vinci Update

Woman recreates da Vinci's 'Last Supper' with lint: "northern Michigan woman has put her own spin on Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' by making a replica out of laundry lint.

Laura Bell of Roscommon collected lint from her dryer and fashioned it into a 14-foot-long, 4-foot tall reproduction of the Italian Renaissance painter's masterpiece.

Bell says she needed about 800 hours to do enough laundry to get the lint, and 200 hours to recreate the mural."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

I'm Pretty Sure There's Not One in Me

BBC News - Is there a genius in all of us?

Today's Western Movie Poster

No Comment Department

Two held at gunpoint until officer arrives | Salisbury, NC - Salisbury Post: "Rattz and Sisk later reportedly told officers that they had stolen the beer because a friend had committed suicide, and they wanted to drink because of the stress caused by the incident."

Blackbeard's Sword?

Pictures: Blackbeard's Ship Yields Ornamental Sword: "Could this partly gilded hilt have held Blackbeard's sword? There's no way to know for sure, though it was found amid the North Carolina wreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge, the flagship of the infamous 18th-century pirate."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Oops! Paris Hilton reveals full moon in sheer leggings disaster

Photo at the link.
Hat tip to the observant Deb.

The South Leads the Way blog: Bank robbers like Fridays and southern banks according to FBI: "The FBI has released a report on bank robberies.

According to the agency's statistics, there were 1,310 robberies, 13 burglaries, two larcenies and six extortions of financial institutions reported between July 1, 2010 and Sept. 30, 2010.

* Loot was taken in 90 percent of the incidents, totaling more than $9.3 million.

* Of the loot taken, 20 percent, or nearly $1.4 million, was recovered and returned to financial institutions.

* Bank crimes most frequently occurred on Friday. Regardless of the day, the time frame when bank crimes occurred most frequently was between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

* Acts of violence were committed in 4 percent of the incidents, resulting in 21 injuries, four deaths, and nine people being taken hostage."

Forgotten books: The Delta Factor -- Mickey Spillane

When I read that Max Allan Collins had completed the sequel to The Delta Factor in a posthumous collaboration with Mickey Spillane, I knew I was going to read the first novel in what will now become a two-book series featuring Morgan the Raider, originally published in 1967. Espionage novels were big then, and so we have Morgan (he has no other name), a big-time professional thief, who's caught by the feds only because he was hit by a car. The feds think he's stolen $40 million, and they're going to put him away for a long time. Unless he goes to work for them.

Nothing new there, and nothing new in the fact that on his first assignment, they're sending along a beautiful female agent to help out. Naturally she'll be posing as his wife. What are the odds they'll fall for each other? That's just a rhetorical question.

So off they go to an unnamed Latin American country where there's big-time gambling and an impregnable prison from which Morgan has to retrieve a prisoner. Complications? You bet. Morgan didn't really steal that $40 million, and he wants the guy who did. And people are trying to kill him. And there's a beautiful woman who needs his help to escape the country. And . . . a lot of other things. Too many. The book's overcrowded with subplots, which is one of its problems. The other problem is one of coincidence: Just about everybody connected with that $40 million shows up in the hotel where Morgan's staying.

It's all told in the Spillane manner, though, and that makes up for a lot. Plus there's a hurricane bearing down on the island. I mentioned the subplots, right? Anyway, Spillane does a really good job with his descriptions of the way things go before a big storm hits. When I read this book in 1968, that didn't really register with me. Now that I've been through a couple of those storms, it did. Spillane had obviously been through some storms himself, and it shows in the writing.

I wouldn't recommend that anybody begin reading Spillane with this book, but it's fun for those who are already familiar with his work. I'm really looking forward to that sequel. Forty-four years is, to use one of Spillane's titles, a long wait.

The Terminator

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Here's the Plot for Your Next Hollywood Thriller

Peter Fonda finds dead body slumped in car in Los Angeles, calls police

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

There's Good News Tonight!

iWon News - Paris Hilton to star in Oxygen reality TV show: "Paris Hilton's life will be on display in a new Oxygen TV reality TV series.

The cable channel said Thursday that 'The World According to Paris' will debut this spring.

An Oxygen executive described the series as 'for real,' detailing the 'highs' of the socialite turning 30 and her relationships.

Programming executive Amy Introcaso-Davis says it will also focus on the 'lows' of her forced community service."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

From Bestseller List to Blacklist: Dashiell Hammett’s Hard-Boiled Life

From Bestseller List to Blacklist: Dashiell Hammett’s Hard-Boiled Life on AbeBooks

No Comment Department

Police: Woman Steals Fur By Hiding It In Underwear CBS Minnesota – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic, and the Best of Minnesota: "A female shoplifting suspect hid a stolen mink coat in her underwear while she was in jail for three days."

Order Yours Now

Lineup 4 banner ad

I Welcome this News

‘Rockford Files’ Closed For Now At NBC – "NBC's reboot of The Rockford Files is not going forward, at least not for the current development season. The decision was made after writer David Shore couldn't write a new script because he unexpectedly had to devote his entire attention to his Fox series House."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Gohmert drafts bill to allow guns on House floor - On Congress - "Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert says his office is drafting a measure to allow members of Congress to carry guns in the District of Columbia, including in the Capitol and on the House floor."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Austin Police: Drunken Cowboys Arrested on Horse and Donkey: "Police in Austin, Texas, arrested two men on charges of drunken driving after they allegedly blocked traffic on East Sixth Street while riding a horse and a mule."

True or False?

Much advice about the effects of drinking proves to be false

Will the Persecution Never End?

'Green Hornet's' Britt Reid was based on Paris Hilton: Seth Rogen

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


John Spain (Cleve F. Adams), Dig Me a Grave, Bantam, 1951

Here's the Plot for Your Next Art Forgery Novel

“Jesuit priest” donates fraudulent works | The Art Newspaper: "Museums and universities across the US are being targeted by a suspected art forger who has tried to donate works, complete with auction house records, that the museums now believe to be fakes. In September, a man posing as a Jesuit priest, visited the Hilliard University Art Museum in Lafayette, Louisiana, and tried to donate a work that the museum says was a skillful forgery.

Research into his previous donations at other museums has uncovered a history of what appear to be fraudulent gifts going back 20 years."

Hat tip to Jim Cameron.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Croc Update (Once Again Texas Leads the Way Edition)

Researchers Discover ‘Great-Grandmother’ of Crocodiles: "“This is a brand new animal and possibly the great-grandmother of all crocodiles,” he said. “It was still walking. These early crocodiles look like your typical terrestrial animals. An intact skull is very rare to find. One of the exciting things is we were able to see inside its brain case with the CT scan. We can see the brain evolved very slowly.”"

We Pause a Moment for a Brief Commercial Interruption

Read the post, then order your Joe Lansdale T-Shirt.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Schools Giving Tickets, Not Detention Slips, Report Says CBS Dallas / Fort Worth – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of DFW: "Court has become a deterrent instead of detention for some North Texas students.

The social and economic group Texas Appleseed collected five years worth of data from 22 districts across the state and found young students, including a six year old in Dallas, who received class C misdemeanor tickets for things like disrupting class, leaving school early and school yard brawls that didn’t include weapons."

5 Weirdest Laws In America

That's Illegal? 5 Weirdest Laws In America

Resident Evil

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don't Try This With Your Own Cactus

Link via Neatorama.

I Just Use the Regular Kind, Myself.

Antique Grenades Used as Bookends Detonated in Florida: "The DeLand resident called authorities early Jan. 11 and told them he had a bad feeling about a pineapple-style grenade given to him by a neighbor, who had used it as a bookend."

Joe Gores, R. I. P.

Janet Rudolph reports that Joe Gores has passed away. I've read his books for nearly 40 years, most recently Spade & Archer, the quite good prequel to The Maltese Falcon. My sympathies to his family and friends.

Cartoon of the Day


"The Affair of the Wooden Boy" -- Ian Doyle

The setting of "The Affair of the Wooden Boy" is Victorian London, but not the one you've read about in history books. In this long story by Ian Doyle (aka Mel Odom), we get a place where magic works, where the gargoyles on the buildings can whisper their secrets to those they choose, and where some really strange things can happen.

For some of those strange things a private enquiry agent might be of use, and James Stark is the only one in town who deals with cases involving the dark side. This one begins when a walking, talking wooden boy shows up at his door to ask for help. After that, there's intrigue and magic and several nice surprises and twists in a story heavy with atmosphere and plenty of entertainment. I hope we'll be seeing more of Mina and James Stark.

This one's available only on Kindle. You can find it out at Amazon for a buck ninety-nine.

Margaret Whiting, R. I. P.

Margaret Whiting, Clear-Voiced Singer, Is Dead at 86 - "Margaret Whiting, a songwriter’s daughter who as a bright-eyed teenage singer captivated wartime America and then went on to a long, acclaimed career recording hit songs and performing in nightclubs and on television, died on Monday in Englewood, N.J. She was 86."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Crock Update (They're Baaaaaack Edition)

News & Star | News | Cumbria university scientists find 'extinct' crocodile in Africa: "A team of scientists from the University of Cumbria rediscovered an endangered African crocodile – which was thought to be extinct – while working on a project in The Gambia."


Vereen Bell, Swamp Water, Bantam, 1957

He Can't Say He Wasn't Warned

Wife Shoots Husband In Genitals - Kansas City News Story - KCTV Kansas City: "When police officers arrived at 1130 E. 76th Terrace, a witness told police she heard the couple arguing in the kitchen, with the wife telling her husband, 'If you don't give me my card, I will shoot you.' A short time later, the witness said she heard a gunshot and called the police."

6 Things You Can’t Do In A Car Anymore

6 Things You Can’t Do In A Car Anymore

Today's Western Movie Poster

Disney Princesses

Cartoons vs. real life.

Keeping Our Country Safe

Woman's candy egg seized at border - Yahoo! News: "A cross-border kerfuffle over a popular chocolate treat nearly cost a Winnipeg woman a $300 fine and saddled her with a bureaucratic headache."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Gator Update (Texas Led the Way Edition)

Another orange gator spotted, this time in Texas | "Retiree Jack Bodenheimer, 79, snapped a photo of an orange gator last year, this one at the mouth of a rusted-out culvert, explaining where the bright hue came from."

Yes, He Is

Han Solo's in Firefly?!

Link via Neatorama.

David Nelson, R. I. P.

Actor David Nelson of famous TV family dies at 74 - Yahoo! News: "David Nelson, who starred on his parents' popular television show 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,' died Tuesday, a family spokesman said. He was 74.

Nelson died at his home in the Century City area of Los Angeles after battling complications of colon cancer, said family spokesman and longtime Hollywood publicist Dale Olson.

Nelson was the last remaining member of the Nelsons TV family, which included actor/bandleader Ozzie, his singer wife, Harriet Hilliard and his teen idol brother Rick. The show originated on radio in 1952 as 'Here Come the Nelsons,' then ran for 320 episodes on TV from 1952 to 1966 as 'The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet' with some of the story lines taken from the stars' own lives. David Nelson also directed and produced numerous episodes of the show throughout its run."

Hat tip to Art Scott.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Jersey Leads the Way

First time since 2005: Michigan no longer ranks No. 1 in people moving out of state | "For the first time in five years, Michigan statistically isn't the top state for people to leave anymore.

That's according to a report from the Mackinac Center, a free market think tank in Midland, citing the annual United Van Lines ranking of state outbound migration.

This year's not-really-an-honor goes to the Garden State: New Jersey."

Libraries of the Rich and Famous

Libraries of the Rich and Famous

Link via Neatorama.

I Love the Inclusion of This One

Tony Hiss' 6 favorite travel reads - The Week: "The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester (out of print). A nonstop 1956 science-fiction classic so crowded with invention and insight it seems sparkling and brand-new. Among its marvels: an extended meditation on travel—in Bester’s dystopia, everyone can “jaunte” (teleport without machinery), and only very rich show-offs still drive or bike through the countryside."

No Comment Department

Fish compete with college students on math test | MNN - Mother Nature Network: "Mosquitofish perform just as well as college students on a basic numbers test."

No Comment Department

Fish compete with college students on math test | MNN - Mother Nature Network: "Mosquitofish perform just as well as college students on a basic numbers test."


Burge asks for light sentence based on service - Chicago Breaking News: "Jon Burge, a former Chicago police commander convicted of lying about the torture of suspects, contends he deserves a lighter prison sentence because of his military service."

Another Headline of the Day

Italian man shot in head sneezes out bullet and lives

Archaeology Update

At 6,000 years old, wine press is oldest yet found - Yahoo! News: "Archeologists have unearthed the oldest wine-making facility ever found, using biochemical techniques to identify a dry red vintage made about 6,000 years ago in what is now southern Armenia.

The excavation paints a picture of a complex society where mourners tasted a special vintage made at a caveside cemetery, the researchers reported on Tuesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science."


Geoffrey Homes (Daniel Mainwaring), The Mexican Knife, Bantam, 1948

No Comment Department


Exercise doesn't help serious couch potatoes - Health - Heart health - "Spending more than four hours a day sitting in front of a television or computer more than doubles your risk of dying from or being hospitalized for heart disease, according to a new study."

No Comment Department

The Italian Job voted the greatest British film of all time by Sky poll

Today's Western Movie Poster

Phoning It In

Director shoots first major movie solely with iPhone: "A movie claimed to be the first ever cinema-standard film to be shot solely on the iPhone has been premiered by celebrated South Korean director Park Chan-Wook."

She Might Be a Jerry Lee Lewis Fan

Victoria Eltonya Bynes arrested after allegedly setting boyfriend's genitals on fire |

The Wild West?

Fact Checker | Not Even Past

Pre-Order Yours Now

HappyLand Royal Wedding Set : HappyLand : Early Learning Centre UK Toy Shop: "Pre-Order now - released in March 2011.

Children will have hours of fun playing wedding scenes and celebrations with this adorable Happyland Royal Wedding Set. Prince William and Kate sit in a gold trimmed horse-drawn carriage while The Queen, Prince Phillip and their favourite Corgi are protected by a Royal Cavalry soldier in full uniform and a foot soldier wearing a smart red jacket and bearskin helmet.

Prince Groom
Princess Bride
Mounted Royal guard
Royal driver
Horse drawn carriage


Monday, January 10, 2011


Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby 'could be filmed in 3D' | Film | "The Great Gatsby has been adapted for the big screen in the silent, monochrome and colour eras, as well as on the small screen, and even in a version for Korean audiences. Now F Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel of the gilded jazz age could be set for a turn in stereoscopic vision after director Baz Lurhmann said he was considering filming his new adaptation in 3D."

Peter Yates, R. I. P.

Bullitt director Peter Yates dies aged 82 | Film | "Peter Yates, the four-time Oscar-nominated British director of Bullitt, Breaking Away and The Dresser, has died in London after a long illness. He was 82.

A graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art whose first film as a director was the lightweight Cliff Richard and the Shadows vehicle Summer Holiday, Yates made his name with the action-packed 1967 crime thriller Robbery, a dramatisation of the great train robbery. Hollywood beckoned, and Yates's first US effort, Bullitt, featured the first car chase in the modern style, with star Steve McQueen himself taking the wheel for a large part of a bravura extended sequence in which his Ford Mustang slaloms and chicanes through the streets of San Francisco."

Lansdale on Cain

James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice | Mulholland Books

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

This Dreamworks "re-imagining" of Sinbad is a mash-up of the Arabian Nights, Greek mythology, and the movies of Ray Harryhausen. Not that there's anything wrong with that. And in spite of the fact that there's not a single unpredictable moment in the entire movie, I still got a kick out of it.

The mixture of animation and CGI creatures worked pretty well, I thought, and there were some wonderful visuals. The voice work is fine, and I was especially happy with that by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michelle Pfeiffer. Anyway, when you have a handsome prince, a priceless treasure, and a black-hearted thief, what more do you need? An adorable bulldog? Okay. A beautiful, resourceful, kick-ass princess? Sure, why not.

When I was a kid, I loved movies with an Arabian Nights setting, and this one brought back some fond memories. Worth a look if you like that kind of thing.


James Atlee Phillips, Pagoda, Bantam, 1952

Ruth Cavin, R. I. P.

I just got the news that Ruth Cavin has passed away. Ruth was the mystery editor at Walker Books when she read the partial manuscript of the first Sheriff Rhodes book. When she wrote and said she wanted to buy the book, she said, "You are working on a sequel, aren't you?" So it's no exaggeration to say that Ruth is pretty much responsible for my career. While she was at Walker, she bought the first Carl Burns book, and when she moved to St. Martin's, Sheriff Rhodes and Carl made the move, too. She was a lovely woman, one of the nicest people I've met in publishing, and she continued to work until very recently, well into her nineties. It's no exaggeration to say that she was a publishing legend, but her accomplishments go way beyond that. My sympathies go out to her family and friends and to all the writers she nurtured and cared about. Judy and I will miss her tremendously.

There's a very fine tribute here.

No Comment Department

Sega Brings Gaming to the Bathroom With Urine-Controlled Video Game: "Sega has just broken the seal on a new style of gaming that brings the action to the bathroom. The gaming company is planning to install above public urinals Toylets that allow restroom users to play four mini-games controlled by their own urine."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Another Fine Place to Film that Post-Apocalypse Movie

Chernobyl 25 Years Later

Obviously I'm No Longer Young

Young people prefer praise to sex, money - "Sex, booze or money just can't compare with the jolt young people get from a boost to their self-esteem, says a new study of college students that found the desire for praise trumped other desires or needs.

'We looked at all the things college students love and they love self-esteem more,' says lead author Brad Bushman, a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University in Columbus.

Researchers found that engaging in sex, drinking alcohol, getting a paycheck, eating a favorite food or seeing a best friend couldn't top the high that students got from a boost to their self-esteem."

Georgia Leads the Way

Georgia Man Fined for Growing Vegetables – Eat Drink Better: "An Atlanta-area man is facing fines of up to $5000 for growing too many vegetables on his land."

"Unscreened Dog Carcass" Would Be a Good Name for a Rock Band

Unscreened cargo carrying dead dog on flight causes security scare at Newark Liberty airport | "A dead dog in a cardboard box placed aboard a flight from Newark to Los Angeles set off a scare 30,000 feet below when local airport security officers discovered the animal hadn’t been screened, officials disclosed today."


Laser canons to defend ships from pirates - Telegraph: "British engineers are developing a new type of defence system that uses lasers to incapacitate pirates by dazzling them as they approach a ship.

The non-lethal weapon, which has been developed by defence company BAE Systems, is effective against moving targets more than a mile away."

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

Dogs get their day in new reality show - "Meet the real bitches of New York -- and their mommies.

A new reality show will document the fur-flying, over-the-top rivalry between five New York women whose lives revolve around their yappy pampered pooches.

The 'Doggie Moms' -- the six-part series premieres Feb. 16 -- cart their canines all over the city, entering them in pageants, auditioning them for modeling gigs, and dressing them up in tutus and designer duds for birthday parties and charity events."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

The Santa Claw

Don't blame me if you spend all day playing this game. Not that there's much chance. There were 500 people in line when I tried.

It's About Time

Jetlev-Flyer: Futuristic water-powered jet pack wows audiences at London Boat Show | Mail Online: "It looks like a scene from a James Bond movie... that or Buzz Lightyear has actually come to life.

But engineers in Canada have designed a water-powered jet pack that can hover up to 30 metres in the air and reach speeds of 22mph.

And now fans of 007, or indeed Pixar's Toy Story, can get their hands on the high-tech flying machine for just £110,000."

Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Stark House Update from Greg Shepard

Hello Everyone,

We’re just a week or so away from shipping Peter Rabe’s wonderful pair of previously unpublished novels, The Silent Wall and The Return of Marvin Palaver. About The Silent Wall, Keir Graff of Booklist said that “It’s a claustrophobic noir, at times almost unbearably tense, and would certainly have a following if it had already been published.”

Cullen Gallagher’s blog, Pulp Serenade, has been revisiting some already classic Rabe books, and regarding The Return of Marvin Palaver, he says: “Funny and inventive, The Return of Marvin Palaver shows us a new side to Rabe. His hardboiled novels were always a shade witty, but here he fleshes out the humor and runs with it. A really enjoyable, quick read.”

And with the bonus of the rare Rabe short story, “Hard Case Redhead,” this volume offers not only the trademark Rabe style but different shades of this wonderful talent. It won’t disappoint. To paraphrase Frank Sinatra, “If you don’t like these books, you don’t like ice cream.”

A question: What kind of books were written by some of the paperback era’s most popular and prolific writers, that featured elements of crime, an (un)healthy dose of violence, and an even bigger dose of larger-than-life fantasy women? Here’s a hint: sometimes you wrap a Hemingway cover around them when you ride the train or take them to the doctor’s office.

Yes, they’re books that have come to be known as “sleaze” novels. While that may or may not be a good label, there is some truly entertaining fiction hiding under that umbrella that deserves to be read. The genre seems to be undergoing a bit of a resurgence lately, with books by Lawrence Block, Donald E. Westlake and others coming back into print.

We offer you a pair of books by Don Elliott, the not-so-secret pseudonym of the one and only Robert Silverberg, author of such books as Dying Inside, Nightwings, Lord Valentine’s Castle, and many, many more. Silverberg may be known primarily for his science fiction work, but he has written everything from history books to crime fiction to yes, sleaze.

The original books, Gang Girl and Sex Bum, have long been sought after by collectors and those avid few who have been working through the years to uncover and identify who wrote which of these “sleaze classics.” They’re being reprinted here together for the first time.

As entertaining as these books are, the introduction to the book by Silverberg himself is a brilliant evocation of the times and the circumstances that gave rise to this genre. The intro itself will make you want to read these books and perhaps look for more by other favorite writers of the time. If you felt perhaps a bit uncomfortable picking up a sleaze title, Silverberg puts the books into a context that is both fascinating as a historical snapshot and gives the reader a non-apologetic enthusiasm to dip a toe in these once “forbidden” waters:

“…And because we all worked under pen names, we were free to let our inhibitions drop away and push our characters to their limits, without worrying about what anyone else — friends, relatives, book reviewers — might say or think about our work. We had ourselves a ball, and got paid nicely while we were doing it.

And also we never forgot that we were doing the fundamental thing that writers are supposed to do: providing pleasure and entertainment for readers who genuinely loved our work.”

-Robert Silverberg, from his introduction to the Stark House volume of Gang Girl/Sex Bum, “Those Good Old Soft-core Days”

Exciting stuff--undiscovered Rabe and re-discovered Silverberg (er, make that Don Elliott). We hope you give both a try.

And as always, you can receive these books and every new Stark House Press book fresh from the printer with our own Crime Club. See our website ( for details (including info on a limited time discount special for new subscribers), or shoot an e-mail to And to subscribe or unsubscribe to this newsletter, use the same address.


Greg Shepard, publisher

Stark House Press

Ehhhhh, What's Up Doc?

Eating carrots 'makes you more attractive': study - Yahoo! News: "Eating strongly coloured vegetables and fruit such as carrots and plums makes people more attractive, according to a new British study.

Researchers at St Andrews and Bristol universities studied the relationship between skin colour and attractiveness, and found people with a yellow skin hue were perceived as particularly healthy and attractive, the Grocer magazine reported.

They also established for the first time that yellow pigments, or carotenoids, from certain fruit and vegetables played a key role in producing yellowness in skin."

Latest Getting Away With Murder Now On-line

Shots Ezine: Getting Away With Murder, The Mike Ripley Column - Get The Latest Trade News and Gossip from the Crime, Mystery and Thriller genres

25 Best Acting Performances by Musicians in the Movies

25 Best Acting Performances by Musicians in the Movies


Richard Laymon, The Cellar, Warner Books, 1980

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Dallas man sues after what he thought was 'clean' alias lands him in jail for months | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News: "Mario Miramontes figured during the traffic stop that he could conceal his arrest warrant by giving the police officer the name of his cousin – a 25-year-old husband and father who he believed had no scrapes with the law. After all, he had used the name before when in a legal bind.

But Miramontes' plan backfired badly when it turned out the cousin also had a warrant – on charges that he had fondled an underage relative."

Today's Western Movie Poster

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

'NYPD Blue' court ruling opens the door to more nudity - "The result of the latest ruling is that 'because networks know that they won't be fined for [showing bare buns on screen], they know that it is another tool in the arsenal to engage viewers,' says Lawrence Meyers, editor of 'Inside the TV Writer's Room' and 'Picket Fences' story editor."

Ghost City of 1001 Churches

Kuriositas: Ani – Ghost City of 1001 Churches: "Ani – some call it the City of 1001 Churches, others the City of Forty Gates. Yet no one has called it home for more than three centuries.

Abandoned by its once prosperous and powerful inhabitants, it is situated on the Turkish side of a militarised zone between the border of Turkey and Armenia."

Great photos at the link. This would be a wonderful set for a post-apocalyptic movie.
Link via Neatorama.

I Like the Specificity of This

Woman staples man in domestic dispute | "Upon arrival, Officers found a man victim with staples in his forehead.

The investigation revealed that the victims girlfirend, Jodi Gilbert, struck him in the forehead with a Stanley Hammer Tacker (carpenter stapler) several times during a dispute."

Summer Stock