Saturday, April 02, 2011

Lead Books Update

Derren Brown Blog: "Peter Thonemann at Oxford has staked his career on the conclusion that the lead codices being discussed recently are forgeries executed within the last 50 years."

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Oedipus Shrugged :: Copper Smith

Antikythera Mechanism Update

Ancient Greek Computer Had Surprising Sun Tracker | Wired Science | "The world’s oldest astronomical calculator is famous for having intricate gear systems centuries ahead of their time. But new work shows the Antikythera mechanism used pure geometry, as well as flashy gears to track celestial bodies’ motion through the heavens."

Return of the Typers

The Digital Generation Rediscovers the Magic of Manual Typewriters - "Manual typewriters aren’t going gently into the good night of the digital era. The machines have been attracting fresh converts, many too young to be nostalgic for spooled ribbons, ink-smudged fingers and corrective fluid. And unlike the typists of yore, these folks aren’t clacking away in solitude.

They’re fetishizing old Underwoods, Smith Coronas and Remingtons, recognizing them as well designed, functional and beautiful machines, swapping them and showing them off to friends. At a series of events called “type-ins,” they’ve been gathering in bars and bookstores to flaunt a sort of post-digital style and gravitas, tapping out letters to send via snail mail and competing to see who can bang away the fastest."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Today's Vintage Ad


Florence Stonebreaker, Scarlet Lil, Original Novels, 1952

Meanwhile, Back at the Snake Farm . . . .

Miami News - Riptide 2.0: "The Miami-Dade Police Department's Special Response Team responded to the Tom Crutchfield Reptile Farm at 35000 SW 212th Avenue shortly before noon yesterday after an argument between Crutchfield and Stephenson escalated to gun fire."

Today's Western Movie Poster

In Praise of the Typewriter

In Praise of the Typewriter - Photo Gallery - LIFE

Well, 911 Is for Emergencies, Isn't It?

Man calls 911 when strippers don't show - "Police in Wisconsin said a man who visited a gentlemen's club called 911 to report a pair of strippers had failed to show up at his motel room as promised."

Adam Sandler + Vanilla Ice = Instant Classic

Contactmusic: "Country Strong star Leighton Meester and Vanilla Ice are in talks to play supporting roles in Adam Sandler's new comedy I Hate You, Dad.

Meester is slated to play Sandler's daughter-in-law-to-be in the film, which also stars comedian Andy Samberg, and Ice Ice Baby star Vanilla Ice is tipped to play a gay wedding planner."


When Gerald So asked if I'd like to do a blog post about my favorite poem in The Lineup #4, I said I'd be happy to. I should have thought twice about that because that was before I'd read any of the poems. So here's the problem: How do you pick a favorite when all the poems are so good? I'll bet you hear that line from just about everybody on this blog tour. Some people might even cheat and pick more than one poem, but not me. I'm going to stick with the program because that's just the way I roll, dudes. So let me say a few words about "Houston Oil Man Missing" by Germaine Welch.

First of all, there there's the obvious Texas connection, but what makes the poem is the narration, and the narrator. Who is the narrator, anyway? It's someone who knows the missing oil man intimately, but that's all we learn. After the oil man's remains turn up and his killers are tried, the narrator meets the man's ex-wife while buying produce. "Carrots, I believe." ("I remember the hole in her red sweater.") The death means nothing to the public. "No reporter covers the trial." Who cares after you're gone? Only someone who can "remember the mysteries you read." "Houston Oil Man Missing" is a miniature crime story that you'll remember for a long time. Just like all the other poems in The Lineup #4. Get a copy and read 'em all.

And if you're wondering why so many mystery writers also write poetry, you might be interested in this blog post by Janet Hutchings of EQMM. Just a little bonus for you.

Zombies of Mora Tau

Friday, April 01, 2011

Gator Update (Hissing and Hungry Edition) "A 3-foot-long alligator, apparently left alone for days, wasn't in a good mood when found by an apartment manager, police in West St. Paul, Minn., say.

'The alligator was hissing,' city police Chief Bud Shaver said. 'It was probably cold, and it was probably hungry.'"

Hat tip to Steve Stilwell.

They Can Probably Do More with One Than I Could

The Sun |News: "A GORILLA prods the new toy which scientists hope will transform the way primates are kept alert and happy in zoos - an iPad.

Animal behaviour experts handed out the gadgets to five apes in an experiment.

The super-smart gorillas quickly learned to turn the screens on and off and seem fascinated by the colours and pictures."

Great photo at the link.

Groucho, Harpo, and Chico Unavailable for Comment

Police: Highly Intoxicated Judge Found Wrapped Only In Bed Sheet - The Susquehanna Valley News Story - WGAL The Susquehanna Valley: "Douglas Gummo, a magisterial district judge in Huntingdon County, is charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness."

New Jersey Leads the Way

The Canadian Press: "A New Jersey school district suspended a first-grade teacher after parents complained that she had posted derogatory comments about her students on her Facebook page.

The Record newspaper reports that the teacher wrote about feeling like 'a warden' and referred to her 6-year-old and 7-year-old students as future criminals."

Mel McDaniel, R. I. P.

News from The Associated Press: "Mel McDaniel, a husky-voiced country music singer-songwriter with hits like 'Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On' and 'Louisiana Saturday Night' has died. He was 68."

Top Hoaxes for April Fools' Day

April Fools' Day Jokes, Pranks and Hoaxes From Around the World

The Thrilling Detective 13th Anniversary Issue Now On-Line

The Thrilling Detective

Mike Ripley's Latest "Getting Away With Murder"


Today's Vintage Ad


Murray Leinster (Will F. Jenkins), Texas Gun Slinger, Star Books, 1950.

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

Snooki Gets $32K to Speak on Rutgers Campus

Saving the Card Catalog Cabinets

Library Card Catalog Cabinets Used for eReader Storage - eBookNewser: "Rather than throw the old cabinets away, one middle school librarian has figured out a new use for them. She’s using them to store her library’s eReader collection. It turns out that the drawers were just the right size for most of the common eReaders. All the case needed was a few holes drilled in the back, and then running some power cables."

A Beginner’s Guide to Steampunk Literature

AbeBooks: A Beginner’s Guide to Steampunk Literature

Today's Western Movie Poster

Closing Credits from all 6 Police Squad Episodes

Police Squad Credits

Link via Neatorama.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Funniest Cities - Galleries

Why April Fool's Day? Nobody Knows.

April Fools' Day Mystery: How Did It Originate?: "The origins of April Fools' Day are shrouded in mystery, experts say."

Forgotten Books: The Eleventh Hour -- Graeme Base

This is a picture book with a solve-it-yourself mystery that proceeds in rhyme. The solution to the mystery is available in a sealed section in the back of the book, but of course you wouldn't want to cheat and look at it. After all, this is a kid's book, so you should be able to figure it out. Right?

As you can probably tell from the cover, Base presents some wonderful illustrations to accompany the verse, and you don't have to look too carefully to see the picture in the center left that attracted me to the book in the first place. The gator judge gets some nice face time inside, too.

The story? Horace the Elephant throws himself a birthday party, but someone steals the feast he's prepared. The clues appear in the illustrations, which were inspired by Base's travels through Africa, Asia, and Europe. Cathedrals, palaces, stone carvings, and so on all have hidden messages in the form of anagrams, heiroglyphics, and even Morse code. It takes a smart kid (or codger) to figure everything out. Trust me. But even if you can't figure things out, the pictures are great and worth having the book for all by themselves.

The Apartment

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stink Bug Epidemic Would Be a Good Name for a Rock Band

Stink bug epidemic spreads as 33 U.S. states now report the smelly pests

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace Blogs: "NBC and Betty White are together again. The network that hosted 'Golden Girls' for seven seasons has given White's new hidden-camera reality show the green light.

The 89-year-old actress will host and executive produce the 12-episode series, which is being called 'Betty White's Off Their Rockers,' but that's a working title. The show is based on an award-winning European program called “Benidorm Bastards' that was originally produced in Belgium.

According to a statement, “Betty White's Off Their Rockers” will follow “a band of seven senior citizens who make it their mission to play pranks on unsuspecting younger people.'"

Archaeology Update "The excavation of a labyrinth of tunnels beneath the Egyptian desert has revealed the remains of millions of animals, mostly dogs and jackals. Many appear to have been only hours or days old when they were killed and mummified.

The Dog Catacombs, as they are known, date to 747-730 B.C., and are dedicated to the Anubis, the Egyptians' jackal-headed god of the dead. They were first documented in the 19th century; however, they were never fully excavated. A team, led by Paul Nicholson, an archaeologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, is now examining the tunnels and their contents, they announced this week."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way - Houston Chronicle: "Fort Worth-area police are investigating whether two prep baseball players sacrificed chickens in a bid to improve their games."

The Dead Man #2: Ring of Knives

Now available!

Peacemaker Awards Nominees

Western Fictioneers (WF) is pleased to announce the nominations for the first annual Peacemaker Awards.

Nominees for the 2010 Best Western Short Story Award are listed in alphabetical order:

Left Behind” by Carol Crigger from the anthology Roundup! Great Stories of the West (La Frontera Publishing

“This Old Star” by Wayne Dundee from the anthology Bad Cop…No Donut (Padwolf Publishing)

“Two-Bit Kill” by C. Courtney Joyner from the anthology Law of the Gun (Kensington) .

“Scourge of the Spoils” by Matthew P. Mayo from the anthology Steampunk’d (Daw Books, Inc)

"Catch a Killer by the Toe" by Pete Peterson published by Untreed Reads


Nominees for the 2010 Best Western Novel Award are listed in alphabetical order:

Avenging Angels by Lyle Brandt (Berkley)

Manhunt (Berkley) by Lyle Brandt (Berkley)

Settler’s Chase by D. H. Eraldi (Berkley)

Long Ride to Limbo by Kit Prate (Western Trail Blazers)

Wulf's Tracks by Dusty Richards (Berkley)

Congregation of Jackals by S. Craig Zahler (Dorchester)


There will be no Best First Western Novel Award awarded this year as there were not enough entries to complete the field of judging.

The Peacemaker Awards will be announced June 23, 2011 in Bismarck, North Dakota. A place and time will be announced at a later date.

Damn Near Dead 2 Update

DND2 is nominated for "best anthology" by Spinetingler Magazine. Voting begins tomorrow. Vote early and often.

25 Years of Pixar Animation in 5 Minutes

YouTube - 25 Years of Pixar Animation

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Lawyers Allege Texas Illegally Obtains Death Drugs

Today's Vintage Ad

The Perfect Memento

TIME NewsFeed: "Just when you thought that royal wedding memorabilia couldn't get wackier, behold, the Will and Kate refrigerator!"

Photo at the link.

The 10 Most Terrifying Bosses from TV and Film

The 10 Most Terrifying Bosses from TV and Film

George R.R. Martin's Favorite Science Fiction Films

The Daily Beast: "Game of Thrones, HBO’s adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s first book in his bestselling series, premieres April 17—and the network is showing the first 15 minutes of the first episode this Sunday. In anticipation, the writer curates his 10 favorite science-fiction films, from The Road Warrior to Blade Runner."


Orrie Hitt, Cabin Fever, Uni Books, 1954

USC Officials Shocked -- Shocked! -- That Sex Is Going on There

USC officials 'appalled' as fratboy caught having sex with girl on roof in front of hundreds

Try One Today!

Make mine a Singapore Sling: famous expat cocktails

10 Mysterious Underground Cities

10 Mysterious Underground Cities: "Humans like to build cities that reach for the sky, but sometimes they also build downward. Whether for protection, or just because they can, we've created many cities beneath the Earth's crust - or dug deep into the rocky faces of mountains. Here are ten of the most awesome."

16 Celebrities with Insane Health Regimens

16 Celebrities with Insane Health Regimens

Today's Western Movie Poster

50 Amazing Authors We Should Recognize on Children’s Book Day

50 Amazing Authors We Should Recognize on Children’s Book Day

Texas No Longer Leads the Way "A newly elected Houston judge who says he was merely trying to 'think outside the box' when he suggested that convicts in his court read a Christian book to avoid community service has decided to stop the practice after critics blasted the idea."

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

British Mechanic Has Over 240 Love Dolls -- and a Happy Marriage: "Some people might think a 60-year-old mechanic is too old to play with dolls, but try telling that to British mechanic Bob Gibbins.

Gibbins loves dolls, especially 'love dolls,' the life-size anatomically correct kind.

In fact, he has more than 240 love dolls, mannequins and even blow-up dolls stuffed in the small house he shares in Manley, Herefordshire, with his wife, Lizzie, 55."

Forgotten Music: Songbirds

I have a shameful weakness for pop music, but not today's pop music. Styles change, singing styles in this case, and I'm not fond of most of the women singers I hear today. Maybe it's the melisma. Or maybe it's something else. Anyway, what I like is the straightforward singing of great melodies. The way Jo Stafford did it, for example.

Or the way Doris Day did it:

Or Julie London:

There are a lot of others I could mention: Peggy Lee, Patti Page, Jaye P. Morgan, even Connie Francis. Check 'em out. Surely I can't be the only one left who loves this stuff.

Send Me No Flowers

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Here's Some Good News

Maurice Sendak Inks Deal for New Picture Book - UnBeige: "Maurice Sendak turns 83 this June, but don’t expect him to go softly into the monster-filled night. He’s got a few wild rumpuses left in him. The Caldecott-winning author of classic children’s books such as Where the Wild Things Are has reached an agreement with HarperCollins to publish the first book illustrated and written by Sendak since Outside Over There in 1981, according to Publishers Lunch. The new picture book, which began its life as an animated segment for Sesame Street that aired in the early 1970s, is Bumble-Ardy. It tells the tale of Bumble, a mischievous pig who has reached the age of nine without ever having had a birthday party."

South Carolina Cracks Down

alk 550AM 99.9FM: "Looking for raccoon meat? You won't find it at a country convenience store in South Carolina after state health inspectors told employees to throw out their supply."

Check Out this Post, and You'll Find a List I'm On!

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear: “Don’t you know that she’s just my style/Every thing about her drives me wild…”

Thanks, Ivan!

Yeah, Right, and Get off My Damn Lawn!

Happiness peaks in our eighties - Telegraph: "We become happier when we grow older, according to scientists who claim our best years do not arrive until our late seventies and eighties."

Miss Marple Update

Hollywood Entertainment Breaking News - Nikki Finke on "Chorion, the company which owns the rights to Agatha Christie, has told the BBC that the deal for Disney to remake Miss Marple has not closed. The Brit rights company and its reps were unavailable to elaborate. There has been general scorn over here since Deadline revealed Disney’s idea of reinventing Miss Marple as a younger, sassier amateur sleuth, with Jennifer Garner attached to play Marple. Her Vandalia Films label will produce. Disney confirmed the deal had gone down. Agatha Christie’s biographer Laura Thompson said that the author would not have been happy with Disney’s desire to mess with tradition. MGM cast Margaret Rutherford as Marple after it bought the rights in the late 50s. But Christie even disliked Rutherford’s interpretation of Marple. She complained in one letter: “Why don’t they just invent a new character? Then they can have their cheap fun and leave me and my creations alone.”"

Archaeology Update

Mail Online: "For scholars of faith and history, it is a treasure trove too precious for price.

This ancient collection of 70 tiny books, their lead pages bound with wire, could unlock some of the secrets of the earliest days of Christianity.

Academics are divided as to their authenticity but say that if verified, they could prove as pivotal as the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947."

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Sandusky Register: "Police said a pregnant woman and her mother were arrested after the older woman choked a 71-year-old Walmart greeter while leaving the store.

Elyria police said Toni Duncan, 49, of Elyria was asked to show a receipt Saturday and responded by pushing a cart into the greeter, grabbing his throat and choking him. She was charged with assault."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

375-Pound Shark Leaps Into Texas Fisherman's Boat: "It's the catch of a lifetime, but it's not clear whether a Texas fisherman landed an 8-foot shark or it landed him.

Twenty-nine-year-old Jason Kresse of Freeport says he and two crew members were dumping fish guts in the Gulf of Mexico about 3:45 a.m. Monday when they heard splashes in the distance and then something hit the side of their 25-foot boat.

A shark in an apparent rush to feed had jumped into the back and was thrashing around. Kresse says the crew couldn't get close to the 375-pound fish to toss it back in the water."

Croc Update (New Species Edition)

Pictures: New Dinosaur, Crocodile Cousin Found in Brazil: "The nearly complete skull of a new species of ancient crocodile cousin has been found in Brazil, paleontologists say.

The animal is what's called a crocodyliform, part of a group known as the crocodilians that includes modern-day alligators, caimans, and more. (See alligator and crocodile pictures.)

Dubbed Pepesuchus deiseae, the new species lived between 99 million to 65 million years ago during the late Cretaceous period. Brazilian National Museum paleontologists recently found a skull and jawbone of the crocodile cousin at a fossil site in Sao Paulo state."

Photos at the link.

No Comment Department

It's not a joke: Clowns help IVF patients get pregnant : The Mommy Files: "An Israeli study released early this year found that IVF patients were significantly more likely to conceive if they were entertained by a clown after the embryos were transferred to the uterus."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Vanished -- Joseph Finder

Joseph Finder has established himself as a writer of standalone novels, but now he's got a series character, Nick Heller, and Vanished is the first novel about him. It's a good one.

Heller is a "private spy." That's Finder's term. Heller is also a kind of private-eye, working for a big D.C. firm. He has Special Forces training, and he's good at his job. He also has complex family history. His father's in a federal prison, where he's been for years, having been convicted of insider trading. His brother, Roger, has followed their father into the financial world, and now he's disappeared. Who you gonna call? Heller, of course.

Vanished is written in short chapters and short scenes, which might lead you to think it's not as complicated as it is. That's a good thing because there are plenty of twists and turns and complications. Luckily for us, Finder makes these easy to follow.

What happens in Vanished might not be realistic, but who wants a thriller to be realistic? It's fun to read, and that's what matters. A fine start to a new series, and I'm looking forward to reading the second book.

Today's Vintage Ad

Old Space Movies For Guys

Old Space Movies For Guys | SciFi movies | Screen Junkies: "Old Space Movies For Guys
Featuring some of the most cutting special effects of their time, this list of old space movies for guys includes groundbreaking films stretching all the way back to the beginning of cinema with the 1902 masterpiece “A Trip to the Moon,” and extending into modern cinema with the terrifying 1979 thriller, “Alien.” Characterized by sexy starlets, bizarre creatures and some of the toughest leading men in film including Walter Pidgeon and Steve McQueen, these immortal epics are must see films for any guy hoping to experience the classics."

You Don't Want to Read Any Further

WTRF-TV - "Police said a Bellaire man had to be removed from his home on Washington Street Sunday.

Police said the man's skin had become attached to the fabric of the chair after he sat in it for two years."

I Never Thought of Books as Gadgets

Gadgets You Should Get Rid Of (or Not)


Ken Crossen, Murder Out of Mind, Five Star, 1945

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth: "It’s the hockey fight that has a lot of people talking. They’re calling it “too violent – even for the pros.”

But there were no professional teams involved. These were high school kids playing at the Varsity State Championship Hockey game held at the Dr Pepper Star Center in Farmers Branch Sunday."

Philly Leads the Way

NBC Philadelphia: "The Delaware County District Attorney’s Office is investigating a rivalry between Darby and Colwyn Police after a YouTube video surfaced showing a heated dispute between the two.

The fight began March 18 after a Colwyn Borough police officer was flagged down about a domestic dispute. The Colwyn officer arrested a man who allegedly punched a woman. The arrest evidently occurred about a block into Darby Borough."

Video at the link.

Top Suspense in the UK � Top Suspense: 13 Classic Stories by 12 Masters of the Genre

Well, Duh

Beautiful People Generally Happier, UT Researchers Find: "They say money can't buy happiness — but can good looks do the job?

For men and women both, for Canadians and Germans and Americans and Brits alike, yes they can, UT researchers Daniel Hamermesh and Jason Abrevaya have found. Attractive people are generally happier than their plain- or ugly-looking counterparts.

The results come largely because personal beauty improves the economic factors — income, marriage prospects, etc. — that affect happiness, the researchers say."

eBay Item of the Day

Robert A. Heinlein's high school yearbook.

Today's Western Movie Poster

No Comment Department

Cthulhu Cell Phone Holder

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

KOCO Oklahoma City: "Oklahoma City police said an assault on a convenience store clerk came after the clerk informed the woman that a pack of Newport cigarettes was $6.25."

They're Baaaaaaack "Swamp People is returning with its second season this week, and History is getting ready for it by setting up some surprises around New York City for residents. The show is returning with 'Gator Gauntlet' Thursday at 9PM on channel 40 in Queens.

So how is History preparing fans for the series' return? By setting up 'very realistic looking model alligators crawling out of [New York City's] manholes in various locations.'"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Police Say Dallas Doctor Jeffrey Reed Thompson Tried to Run Over Smoker: "Medical professionals have explored many ways to get people to stop smoking, but running over them with a car has never been an industry-sanctioned approach.

But according to police, that apparently didn't stop a prominent Dallas doctor from trying.

Police say Dr. Jeffrey Reed Thompson, a Dallas physician who has received recognition for being one of the city's 'best doctors' from D magazine, tried to run over a man who was smoking by his car."

Lover Come Back

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


360-Degree Panorama Takes You Inside Prague’s Off-Limits Baroque Library

Arkansas Cracks Down -- So to Speak

KATV Channel 7 - The Spirit of Arkansas:: "Arkansas schools would be required to crack down on saggy pants and revealing clothing under a bill headed to the governor's desk.

The Arkansas Senate voted Monday night to require schools districts to ban students from showing cleavage or wearing saggy pants that reveal their underwear or buttocks.

Hat tip to John Duke.

Is that you, Bernie?

ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "Hooligans supporting Colombian top-flight club Cucuta Deportivo smuggled a dead gang member in a coffin into a match."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

Los Angeles Times: "Adam Sandler's latest comedy 'Just Go With It' passed the $100-million mark at the domestic box office this weekend, making it the 12th film featuring the comedian to pass that financial milestone."

The FBI Needs Your Help

Layer 8: "The FBI is seeking the public's help in breaking the encrypted code found in two notes discovered on the body of a murdered man in 1999.

The FBI says that officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick on June 30, 1999 in a field and the clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim's pants pockets."

Al Guthrie Has a New Blog

It's about e-books, and it's called Criminal-E. Check it out.

Uh-Oh "Jennifer Garner has been cast as the title character in Walt Disney Pictures’ upcoming big-screen adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple mystery novel series.

The studio intends to make drastic alterations to the story, according to Instead of the elderly British grandma who solved mysteries as a hobby while residing in the village of St. Mary Mead from previous film, radio, stage, and television adaptations, Mark Frost intends to script a version where Jane Marple will be a more youthful character in her 30s or 40s."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Mickey Spillane Update

Spillane's widow says officials in state 'have forgotten my husband': "It’s been nearly five years since Georgetown County Council passed a resolution promising to name U.S. Highway 17 Business in Murrells Inlet after its most famous resident — author and actor Mickey Spillane.

So far, it’s a promise that has not been kept."

Say It Ain't So, José!

Jose Canseco Accused of Having Twin Bro Ozzie Fill In at Celebrity Boxing Match: "If and when Jose Canseco gets fired from the latest season of 'Celebrity Apprentice,' Donald Trump better double-check to make sure he's not actually canning Canseco's twin brother, Ozzie.

A boxing promoter in Hollywood, Fla., is alleging that he hired the controversial baseball player to participate in a celebrity boxing match for $10,000 -- and Canseco sent Ozzie to pretend he was Jose and fight in his place."

Win a Free Book!

Tense Moments: Win a FREE signed copy of THE BADGER'S REVENGE: "The Badger's Revenge releases next Tuesday, 4/05/11, and I'll be giving away 2 signed copies of the book that day.

Rules at the link. Check it out.

Today's Vintage Ad


Day Keene, Farewell to Passion, Original Novels, 1952.

It's on the Loose, and It's on Twitter!

Bronx Zoo's Cobra (BronxZoosCobra) on Twitter

THE LINEUP #4 Is Now Available

Poetic Justice Press: GET THE LINEUP: "The Lineup #4 (2011) | What's the buzz?

Edited by Gerald So with Reed Farrel Coleman, Sarah Cortez, and R. Narvaez

Poems by Ken Bruen, Michael Casey, Reed Farrel Coleman, David Corbett, Mary Agnes Dalrymple, Mary Christine Delea, Jeanne Dickey, H. Palmer Hall, Paul Hostovsky, David Jordan, Laura LeHew, Thomas Michael McDade, Peter Meinke, Keith Rawson, Chad Rohrbacher, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Nancy Scott, Kieran Shea, J.D. Smith, J.J. Steinfeld, John Stickney, Caitlin Elizabeth Thomson, Randall Watson, Charles Harper Webb, Steve Weddle, Germaine Welch

Print $7.00 from, or purchase signed copies from Murder By the Book (Houston, TX), Once Upon a Crime (Minneapolis, MN), The Mysterious Bookshop (New York, NY), M is for Mystery (San Mateo, CA)."

The 30 Strangest Business Books Sold on Amazon

The 30 Strangest Business Books Sold on Amazon

Today's Western Movie Poster


CNBC: "We’ve been told repeatedly that Charlie Sheen’s “My Violent Torpedo of Truth” tour sold out in a record 18 minutes on Ticketmaster

Oh, really?"

This, Like, Comes as a Shock to Me

Discover Magazine: "Participants consisted of 105 students between the ages of 18 to 43 years and 71 professionals between the ages of 22 to 76 years (120 women, 56 men). Adult professionals and students were least likely to want to hire, perceived the applicant as less professional, and were less likely to recommend the interviewee for hiring if the interviewee overused the word “like” compared to “uh” or control."

Joe Lansdale at Mulholland Books

The Drowned Man | Mulholland Books

Archaeology Update

2 Million-Year-Old Mastodon Skull and Tusks Unearthed in Chile: "Now that's some mammoth discovery. The skull and tusks of a 2-million-year-old elephant relative -- a mastodon -- have been unearthed in Chile.

Construction workers building a hydroelectric power plant near the Chilean capital of Santiago dug up 4-foot-long, 6-inch-wide tusks as well as the first complete mastodon skull found in the South American country, the Daily Mail reports.

'When we were in the excavation process, we were aware that the bone continued,' said Rafael Labarca of Chile's PDI Institute. 'Practically the whole skull complete and in perfect condition, with its four molars and together with both tusks of almost 4 feet in length.'"

Farley Granger, R. I. P. "The actor Farley Granger, most famous for his roles in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train and Rope, has died of natural causes at the age of 85 in New York.

In the 1951 thriller Strangers on a Train, Granger starred alongside Robert Walker as a nice guy tennis player who becomes embroiled in a reciprocal murder scheme. In Rope, released three years earlier, he starred as one of two students of a dubious professor, played by James Stewart, who are persuaded to carry out an elaborate homicide."

Forgotten Films: My Little Chickadee

Mae West and W. C. Fields are fading from the American consciousness, I think. For most people under 50, or maybe under 60, these two stars are, I suspect either unknown or forgotten. If I'm right, that's too bad.

Both the actors were past their prime when My Little Chickadee was made, but to me it's still a very funny movie. West plays Flower Belle, a woman who's run out of town and can't return until she's respectable, i. e., married. She meets Cuthbert J. Twillie (Fields) on the train, and he proves more than willing to marry her to help her attain her goal. For West it's to be a marriage in name only, so a lot of the movie's humor comes from Fields' attempts to consummate the relationship. No one but Fields would woo a woman by admiring her hand and saying, "What symmetrical digits."

West slinks and flirts, Fields flounders, and the double entendres come thick and fast. There's even a Masked Bandit! I saw this movie more than 50 years ago, and I laughed for weeks about it. I still get a goofy grin when I think about certain scenes and lines of dialogue. You can watch the trailer in the post above, and if you think that's funny, then you'd like the movie. If not, time to rent The Hangover again.

My Little Chickadee

Monday, March 28, 2011

HRF Keating, R. I. P.

HRF Keating - Telegraph: "HRF Keating, who died on March 27 aged 84, was one of Britain’s leading detective story writers and the inspired creator of Inspector Ghote.

He also wrote many non-Ghote crime stories, several general novels — including two with Victorian backgrounds (The Strong Man and The Underside) — and other works under the pen-name of Evelyn Harvey. But it is his little Indian detective, with his gentle, ironic persona and manners far removed from Western 20th-century culture, for which Keating will be remembered."

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

Whatever Happened to Jerry Picco? -- Joe Florez

Jerry Picco is, or maybe was, the world's greatest midget porn star. His wife, Gloria Hole, hires Jack Storm, an unlicensed P.I. to look for him. Storm is a porn kind of a guy. He's also a former Berkeley professor, having departed under circumstances that any ex-academic will admire.

Being admirer of Picco's work, not to mention Gloria's (and of Gloria herself), Jack takes the case even though Gloria admits she can't afford to pay him. His only clue? A photo of Jerry and six other little people. Yes, that's right seven of them.

As you can probably tell, this isn't exactly a serious mystery, but it's not a parody, either. If you're in the mood for a little porn along with detection and humor, this one just might be for you. It's available on Kindle.

Today's Vintage Ad

Top 10 Beasts, Creatures & Monsters in Syfy Sci-Fi Movies

Top 10 Beasts, Creatures & Monsters in Syfy Sci-Fi Movies


Day Keene, Love Me -- and Die!, Phantom Books, 1951.

Carl Bunch, R. I. P. "The musician who kept the beat and suffered the worst from the brutal cold during of one of rock ‘n roll’s most infamous tours is dead.

Carl Bunch, 71, of Lancaster, California died on Saturday of unknown causes.

In recent years he had battled diabetes and was nearly blind, but with the caring assistance of his wife Dorothy, he graciously honored requests to talk about his experiences and the Winter Dance Party Tour of 1959.

He missed only a few dates on the tour due to frost bite. One of them was the now legendary show at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa that was followed by a small plane crash that claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, J.P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson, Ritchie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson in the early morning hours of February 3rd, 1959."

Bikini Brawler Update

Northwest Florida Daily News: "The woman whose tirade at a Panama City Beach Burger King became a YouTube sensation is now facing a felony charge."

New Jersey Leads the Way

CBS New York: "Times are changing. Technology is everywhere at the Pascack Valley Regional High School District in northern New Jersey. Forget about the chalk and blackboard.

In this district, teachers don’t say “Open your textbook.” They say, “Open your laptop.”

“Basically, in every class, we’re using laptops to take notes on Microsoft Word. It’s more organized,” says Andrea, a sophomore."

Not that any of the Guys Who Read this Blog Need This

New Company Promises to Give You a Pretend Facebook Girlfriend: "The new service allows users to create the perfect girlfriend who will write on your Facebook wall and otherwise make her ghostly presence known through social media."

Now Available as an e-Book!

Order it here.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Ah-ha! "Mashed potatoes, meatloaf or macaroni and cheese -- comfort food -- may be bad on the waistline, but good for mental health, U.S. psychologists say."

Demolition Magazine Update

Demolition Magazine is back. Or soon will be. Now open for submissions.

A Trip Back in Time

Belfast, 1901.

Link via Neatorama.

5 Ways Phillip K Dick's Insanity Changed the World of Movies |

5 Ways Philip K Dick's Insanity Changed the World of Movies

That Touch of Mink

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Click the Link at Your Own Risk

The Sound of Awkward: Album Covers of Regret

Harry Coover, R. I. P.

Harry Coover, creator of Super Glue, dies at 94: "Harry Wesley Coover Jr., known as the inventor of Super Glue, has died. He was 94.

Coover was working for Tennessee Eastman Company, a division of Eastman Kodak, when an accident helped lead to the popular adhesive being discovered, according to his grandson, Adam Paul of South Carolina. An assistant was distressed that some brand new refractometer prisms were ruined when they were glued together by the substance.

In 1951, Coover and another researcher recognized the potential for the strong adhesive, and it was first sold in 1958, according to the Super Glue Corp.'s website."

2011 Spur Award Winners and Finalists

They're here. Congratulations to all but especially to our friend Daniel Boyd, whose novel Nada was a finalist in the Best First Novel category, and our occasional commenter Richard S. Wheeler, who won in the Best Short Novel category.

Today's Vintage Ad

Croc Update (Taking a Dip Edition) "A 2M-LONG crocodile has been found swimming in the pool of a Darwin city home."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

It's Like She Has a Twin!

NYdaily "Who knew Lil Wayne and Paris Hilton had so much in common?

In the April issue of Interview Magazine, the bad boy rapper and party-girl hotel heiress bonded over their love for music, Miami clubs, and freedom (both served time behind bars in recent years)."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Not a Paperback

A bit of an explanation might be in order here. As I've said before, I'm always interested tracing the origins of my interest in science fiction and fantasy. I've mentioned Destination Moon, and now it's John Carter time. The public library in Mexia, Texas, did not, as far as I know, have any books by Edgar Rice Burroughs on its shelves. The Tarzan books that I read were G&D editions handed down to me by my cousins (yes, I still have them). My cousins didn't read John Carter, however, and I discovered him in comic books.

I was 11 years old, I believe, when I saw this Dell comic on the stands. How could I possibly resist? I checked the other day, and I learned that the series lasted for only three issues. This one's an adaptation of The Warlord of Mars, and you can read it here. I wanted an actual copy, just for fun, but they're somewhat pricey. I managed to find one that's about to fall apart. It was on eBay, and it was cheap, so I nabbed it. And I'm glad I did. I don't remember the front cover, but when I saw the back cover, I was instantly transported back to 1952. Wow. Great stuff. And when I opened the book I instantly recognized Dejah Thoris' interesting hairstyle. Wonderful stuff. So pardon me while I go wallow in nostalgia for an hour or so.

Python Menace Would Be a Good Name for a Rock Band

Pythons are making a resurgence in the Everglades: "Neither record cold temperatures nor water shortages have stopped the Everglades python menace, say water managers bracing for the springtime peak of python mating season.

The South Florida Water Management District reported Saturday that it has removed six pythons in the past week from territories previously thought to be uninvaded, including areas deep in the Everglades and north of Alligator Alley."

Today's Western Movie Poster

I'm Guessing You All Agree

Best in Film - ABC News: "Forest Gump Voted Greatest Film Character of All Time"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

KSAT San Antonio: "Bandera County deputies have been accused of leaving a child in a car on the side of the road after they arrested the toddler's mother, and the mother's attorney said dash-cam video of the arrest proves it."

Haven't The Seen The Core?

Scientists plan to drill all the way down to the Earth's mantle: "In what can only be described as a mammoth undertaking, scientists, led by British co-chiefs, Dr Damon Teagle of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, England and Dr Benoit Ildefonse from Montpellier University in France, have announced jointly in an article in Nature that they intend to drill a hole through the Earth’s crust and into the mantle; a feat never before accomplished, much less seriously attempted."

Top 10 Civilizations That Mysteriously Disappeared

Top 10 Civilizations That Mysteriously Disappeared

Alexander's Ragtime Band