Sunday, December 31, 2006

Little Miss Sunshine

This is a funny movie about a dysfunctional family that makes mine seem almost normal. It's essentially a road-trip movie that reminded me a lot of National Lampoon's Vacation in certain ways that it's probably best not to discuss; otherwise, I'd spoil some of the fun.

The trip ends not at Wally World but at the Little Miss Sunshine competition, an event as horrifying as anything I've seen in a movie in a long time. How Olive, the young girl in the family, ever got into such a competition in the first place is never explained. Oh, we know she won second prize in a previous competition, and that's not explained, either. I'd kind of like to know, given the way her Little Miss Sunshine bit goes.

A lot's not explained about the family, for that matter. It's more like they were assembled out of central casting and put together for the picture. Not that I cared. Every one of them is great. I especially liked Alan Arkin who talks a lot, and Paul Dano, who talks very little; but Toni Collette as the mother who tries to hold the crazy bunch together is fine, as is Greg Kinnear, the loser father who wants so much to be a winner. Steve Carell as the uncle is super. The real star of the picture, however, is Abigail Breslin, who deserves an Oscar nomination. She's just great.

Some of the scenes go on too long, especially the climactic one, but what the heck. I got a lot of laughs. Check it out.

The Year in Review

Everybody seems to like doing "year in review" posts. So I thought I'd give it a try. Here's a top ten list of random stuff:

1. Book that didn't do anything for me but everybody else loved: The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril by Paul Malmont.

2. Movie I most wanted to see but didn't: The Departed.

3. Topic I avoided entirely this year (well, except for once): Lindsay Lohan's nipples.

4. Favorite new TV series slogan: "Save the cheerleader, save the world."

5. Favorite publishers: Stark House and Hard Case Crime.

6. Best paperback writer news: Stark House will be publishing a brand-new Gil Brewer novel.

7. Year's major disaster here in the office: bookshelf collapse. (Any year when this is the worst that happens is a good year.)

8. Person I did the most posts about: Either Paris Hilton or Anna Nicole Smith. I'm too lazy to count, but it's bound to be one or the other. Or maybe it was a tie.

9. Best acquisition: Nightmare Alibi.

10. My favorite innovation: video blogging. An example can be seen here.

News from The Thrilling Detective

The Thrilling Detective Blog
Right now, the new cover's up, and most of the new stories. Already, I think that, possibly, this is the best and strongest bunch of stories we've ever done. Major kudos to Gerald for that.

We've also got excerpts from two new releases for you to sample. Michael Siverling's THE SORCEROR'S CIRCLE is a good old-fashioned P.I. romp with a few decidedly modern touches, a little bit Rex Stout and a little bit rock'n'roll. And Fred Zackel's COCAINE AND BLUE EYES is simply a classic; a stone-cold slice of seventies private eye fiction that has been criminally out of print for far too long. A tip of the fedora for the boys at Point Blank for bringing this baby in from the cold.

The year-end Thrillies are also up, and the results should be start to be posted in the next few days. As always this is really just a quickie opinion poll on the best and worst of P.I. fiction over the last year, but it's always fun. The wide variety of suggestions we receive from our readers are always intriguing and enlightening. So vote early and vote often.

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Et Tu, Dave? | 12/31/2006 | The year in review: From Pelosi to Pitt, perverts to Paris, Dave Barry offers a last laugh

Also there were many pesky problems left over from 2005 that refused to go away in 2006, including Iraq, immigration, high gas prices, terrorism, global warming, avian flu, Iran, North Korea and Paris Hilton. Future generations are going to look back at this era and ask us how we could have allowed Paris Hilton to happen, and we are not going to have a good answer.

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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.

The tropic of Sir Galahad » PopMatters | Blogs | Marginal Utility

Now, apparently one of the guys from Fountains of Wayne has decided to try to rehabilitate America the way Rick Rubin tried to do for Neil Diamond last year, the way Joe Henry has for Solomon Burke. The Fountains of Wayne guy recruited members of My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller and James Iha from Smashing Pumpkins to help America make a new album.

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Will the Persecution Never End?

A Hilton family history.

At home with the Hiltons | The Sunday Mail

LIKE any mother, Kathleen Richards wanted the best for her daughter, Kathy. Where she differed from other mothers was in the way she intended to get it.

She wanted her child to know all about sex and to learn how to perform, literally, so she asked a young man to give her teenage daughter "sex lessons" in his van.

Kathy learned well, and hit the jackpot at the age of 20 when she married Rick Hilton, a scion of the hotel dynasty. Fifteen months after the wedding, in February 1981, Kathy gave birth to Paris Whitney Hilton.

There is a public perception that Paris Hilton is the black sheep of the family. Through the international hotel empire, the Hilton name has become synonymous with class and sophistication. Paris, on the other hand, is the epitome of our shallow, celebrity-obsessed culture; an exhibitionist It Girl, best known for starring in a home-made pornographic video but essentially famous only for being famous.

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Happy Birthday, Bo Diddley!

Ellas Bates was born in 1928 and became Bo Diddley not so long afterward. What a career he's had. The 1950s wouldn't have been the same without "Bo Diddley" and "I'm a Man," and he's still going strong fifty years later.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

This time, it's bananas. Yes, there's a plan to place a "Geostationary Banana Over Texas." The project is “an art intervention,” whatever that is. The banana's not actually in place yet, and it won't be until August 2008, assuming the project is actually carried out. The banana should be visible both day and night, all over the state. I'm all a-quiver with anticipation, and I feel sorry for those of you who live in less advanced states and won't have a banana in the sky.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Park Service Can't Give Official Age Of Grand Canyon For Fear Of Offending Creationists... | The Huffington Post

Due to pressure from Bush Administration officials, the National Park Service is not permitted to give an official age for the Grand Canyon. Additionally, a book claiming the Grand Canyon was created by Noah's flood is for sale at the National Park's bookstore.

The sale of Grand Canyon: A Different View was scheduled for review over three years ago, but no such review has been scheduled or even requested. The creationist book was the only item approved for sale in 2003 (22 other items were rejected).

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The 2006 Darwin Awards

Here they are.

Friday, December 29, 2006

My Favorite Headline of the Day . . .

. . . is right here.

Who Do They Talk to for Surveys like This?

Poll: Bush, Britney Get Thumbs-Down - Entertainment
Rosie O'Donnell is tied with Satan on a list of the biggest villains of 2006. The AP and AOL asked more than 1,000 adults to name the worst villains of the year. Rosie was tied for seventh place with the devil, Oprah, Tom Cruise, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Colin Farrell. They each received one percent of the vote. President George W. Bush topped the list of biggest villains with 25 percent -- three times the percentage for Osama bin Laden.

In other categories, Oprah was tied with Jesus on a list of the biggest heroes of the year.

Oprah and Jesus received 3 percent of the votes, while Mel Gibson, Angelina Jolie and George Clooney each garnered a percent. Bush topped the list of biggest heroes with 13 percent.

Hellish Holidays Contest!

You've been envious of my videos from Bouchercon and other conventions, right? You've often said to yourself, "Dang. If I had me one of those Pure Digital camcorders, I could make videos like that and put them on YouTube and be famous." Well, now's your chance to get one of those cameras, for free. Check this out:

Hellish Holidays New Years Contest

Tell us about your most hellish New Year’s Eve, whether from the distant past or right about now. Was it a crippling snowstorm, a big fight, a disappointing party or--worst of all--kissing the wrong person at midnight?

You can submit video, a photo with a caption, or a text-only story (250 words maximum). Get creative! We want all the gory details!

The winner receives the fabulous Pure Digital point-and-shoot video camcorder. This will make submitting your hellish videos even easier, with a pop-out USB connector that plugs right into your computer!

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Dead Horse -- Walter Satterthwait

Raoul Whitfield is known to many of us as one of the Black Mask boys, author of classics like Green Ice and Death in a Bowl. He was at one time the most highly paid mystery writer in the U.S.

In 1935, however, his writing career was not going well, and his wife died under mysterious circumstances. How mysterious? Well, that's what Dead Horse is all about. Was her death suicide, as it was declared to be, or was it something more sinister? That's the question that Walter Satterthwait tackles in this novel, with his usual panache.

Fine writing, tricky plotting, great characters, meticulous research: those are the things you expect in a Satterthwait novel, and Walter delivers in spades. You don't want to miss this one. Check it out.

3 of the Many Reasons 2006 Sucked, According to the Toronto Star

I confess that I blogged this just because I knew Todd Mason would get a kick out of the first one. - artsentertainment - Hey 2006, you sucked!
# Crash wins Best Picture at the Academy Awards, giving hope to thousands of film school students who've also written banal diatribes on race relations in the format of Magnolia.

# Zoom, a Tim Allen movie rated 0% on and the second-worst movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database, behind only Van Wilder 2: The Rise of Taj, gives us one more reason to stay away from the multiplex.

# S.O.A.P. suds: Snakes on a Plane disappoints at the box office. Those motherf--ing computer geeks with their motherf--king homemade trailers and mash-ups and brilliant ideas don't go to motherf--king movie theatres.

Your Tax Dollars at Work (on a Pretty Cool Project)

Air Force pursuing antimatter weapons / Program was touted publicly, then came official gag order

The U.S. Air Force is quietly spending millions of dollars investigating ways to use a radical power source -- antimatter, the eerie "mirror" of ordinary matter -- in future weapons.

The most powerful potential energy source presently thought to be available to humanity, antimatter is a term normally heard in science-fiction films and TV shows, whose heroes fly "antimatter-powered spaceships" and do battle with "antimatter guns."

But antimatter itself isn't fiction; it actually exists and has been intensively studied by physicists since the 1930s. In a sense, matter and antimatter are the yin and yang of reality: Every type of subatomic particle has its antimatter counterpart. But when matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate each other in an immense burst of energy

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Augustus Mandrell vs. Modesty Blaise

Read all about it here.

The Sun Never Sets on the Texas Empire

My niece, who's living in Australia and New Zealand for a year, took this photo in a Melbourne shop the other day.

Crime and Suspense

The January issue of Crime and Suspense is on-line a little early. Check it out.

Yet Another Way to Kill Time

cityrag: 50 Greatest Cartoons

Found a cool list of The 50 Greatest Cartoons as voted on by the animation industry in 1994. As a holiday present to our readers we've put together a link to an online video for each one below! (we found a video for all but 6.) Many wonderful, funny, trippy and cartoons spanning the decades (and some that were banned.)

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Will the Persecution Never End?

Britney is animal, says Hilton :
Once considered as the inseperable partying buddies, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, are now separating after squeezing out the last bit of publicity from their brief friendship.

The hotel heiress now refers to her former party-pal as 'The Animal', reports

According to US Weekly, things became sour after "Britney called Paris and said she had decided not to be seen in public with her 'for now'." She however added "that it's not personal".

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There's a New Blog on the Block . . .

From Steve Lewis, proprietor of Mystery*File:

. . . and here's the first post: I'm still
tinkering with the format -- there are a lot of things I imagine I can do,
but I have no idea what many of them might even be! Later this morning
I'll try adding some images to this post. If they're not there yet, either
you're too early, or I'm still trying...

This is definitely one to add to your bookmarks.

No Wonder that Mac Guy's So Happy

Report: Apple executives faked stock-option documents | CNET

Apple Computer's stock took a hit early Wednesday after a report that company executives had made up details on stock-option administration documents to guarantee profits for certain executives.

Shares of Apple stock were down $3.55, or 4.36 percent, to $77.96 in early morning trading on the Nasdaq stock market following the report on Apple is one of many companies--including CNET Networks, publisher of CNET in government investigations into the practice of stock-option backdating, in which companies would assign favorable grant dates to stock options in order to ensure hefty profits for executives.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Place Your Bets

SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel

A British bookmaker is taking bets on whether boy wizard Harry Potter will die in the upcoming book Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, as well as who the murderer might be, according to The New York Times. Speculation that the lead character in J.K. Rowling's popular book series might die has been rampant since the title of the seventh and final book was announced.

In London yesterday, Rupert Adams, a spokesman for the bookmaker, William Hill, said that "J. K. mentioned that Harry might be killed off." Adams added that the evil wizard Voldemort is the odds-on favorite to be the killer, with odds at 4 to 5. Other popular candidates include Harry's best friend Ron Weasley, his nemesis Draco Malfoy and Harry himself, all at 6 to 1 odds. The bookmaker is also accepting bets on whether Ron will marry fellow student Hermione Granger; whether the two will have a child named Harry; and whether Ron will kill Draco in a duel.

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Tilt A Whirl -- Chris Grabenstein

Tilt A Whirl was Chris Grabenstein's first novel, but he's published several since. The ones in this series are named for carnival attractions, which might be good. Or it might not if he runs out of names. Anyway, this is a fine debut mystery.

John Ceepak is a former MP who's recently returned from Iraq. An old Army buddy is Chief of Police in Sea Haven, NJ, a small resort town, and he's given Ceepak a job. Partnered with Ceepak is the narrator of the novel, Danny Boyle. In their first case they're faced with the murder of a man who's shot on the tilt-a-whirl right beside his young daughter. There's some solid procedural material that seems to point to a suspect, but not everything's as it seems. Ceepak and Boyle have to separate the truth from the lies, the false clues from the reality.

Ceepak is an experienced lawman, and he lives by a Code. Boyle is in his early 20s, a little naive, and has no code. It's sort of as if Spenser had an apprentice, but it's not really like that at all.

The book is a mixture light-hearted humor and wisecracks with some very dark material. It takes a lot of skill to bring something like that off, and Grabenstein's up to the job. Check it out, along with Grabenstein's other books in this series. You won't be disappointed.

The USPS Works in Mysterious Ways

Yesterday I got a Christmas card addressed to someone who lives on 1606 Smith Level Road. Since my address is 1606 South Hill Street, you might thing the mistake was a logical one, except that I'm in Texas, and the card should have gone to North Carolina.

The card, by the way, was mailed from 1607 Smith Level Road, right next door to the place it should have been delivered.

People's Top 5 Celeb Feuds 2006

Year-End Countdown 2006 :

If Paris and Nicole could make peace, isn't there hope for Lohan and Hilton? A guy -- Paris's on-again beau Stavros Niarchos, with whom Lohan reportedly had a fling -- was reportedly at the root of the ladies' beef. But Lindsay and Paris run hot and cold: On Nov. 27, a day after the two had yet another row, they hit L.A. hot spot Guy's with Britney Spears, and they've been spotted together since.

The claws came out when the Dancing with the Stars star and the hotel heiress exchanged words -- and, reportedly, blows -- on Oct. 4 at L.A.'s Hyde Lounge. The catalyst for it all? Hilton had been spotted smooching with Moakler's ex, rocker Travis Barker, at various hot spots. Don't mess with my man!

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Not a Jot or a Tittle TVNewser

Nowadays, when news anchors make a mistake, they know it'll be preserved electronically forever. During the 9am hour of Fox News Live, when David Asman added "tit" to the word title, he was immediately aware of this fact:

"She lost her tittle thanks to a few -- her title, her title. Jesus, oh God. Oh, the internet, what they're going to do with this one! Oh God! Wellll... the former Miss Nevada could take Donald Trump to court..."

Asman was laughing so much, he barely finished the tease. At least he pronounced "tiara" correctly...

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Alien Payback

Todd Mason sends this link but doesn't vouch for the veracity of the blogger.

Alien Payback
Greetings to everyone on the internet. My name is Otis Elwood and I'm a 31 year old guy from Argus, Florida. I'm a plumber for a living and I live here with Mama and my dog Tyco. Pretty simple life. If you're looking from the outside.

When I was 16 I was abducted by aliens on a nearby farm, called Nixon's Farm, that me and my buddies used to hang around at.

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A Crider Christmas

Allen in a Santa hat.

Me, Judy's mom, Angela

Felix takes it easy.

It's Probably Just Me

What is it with Deal or No Deal? My wife and her mother watched a two-hour version of this show last night. I think that if someone tied me in a chair and made me watch two hours of it, I'd be stark raving mad before it ended. Most likely I'd be stark raving mad within the first fifteen minutes.

What's remotely interesting about a show where some people who seem to be about one step away from a 12-step program jump around and yell about suitcases? There's no skill involved. There's no intelligence involved. It's just picking suitcases. So one of the cases has a lot of money in it. So what? Who cares if any of those people win any money or don't win any money. This has got to be the worst show ever and a sure sign of the apocalypse.

Or maybe it's just me.

Frank McAuliffe Update

Peter Rozovsky has a comment on the second Augustus Mandrell book (Rather a Viscious Gentleman), here.

Monday, December 25, 2006

I'll Bet He Can't Even Pronounce Mexia

Tod Goldberg is no doubt a fine fellow. After all, he's Lee's brother. How bad can he be? He often writes blog entries attacking the people who write letters to Parade, and I laugh at the entries as I'm supposed to. But this time he's gone too far. Yes, folks, he's attacked someone from Mexia, Texas, my hometown. I don't know D. Hall, but since he (or she) is my homeboy (or homegirl), I feel I have to speak out in support of him. (Or her.) While it's fine for Tod to be critical of others, he should lay off people from Mexia. We native Mexiaites are very sensitive about that kind of thing.

I See It, but I Don't Believe It

Fastest Hands in the world :: Amazing

Well this girl certainly has fastest hands in the world. She managed to flip-flop all those cups in 7.63 seconds. That is absolutely amazing. Fastest hands in the world for sure!

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She Felt Finely, Instead - Laura Bush: I Never Felt Bad

(CBS News) WASHINGTON First lady Laura Bush suffered no ill effects from the cancerous growth on her leg and that is why it was never revealed to the public, she told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer in an exclusive interview.

"I never felt badly," Mrs. Bush said in an excerpt of the interview (video) shown on CBS News' The Early Show.

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Once Again Texas Leads the Way

$1-a-pack cigarette tax hike a few days away | - Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN — Texas smokers will pay significantly more for cigarettes starting Jan. 1 when the excise tax increases by $1 a pack in a move that health experts hope will discourage folks, especially teens, from lighting up.

The state tax increase — from 41 cents to $1.41 per pack — also will help pay for school property tax cuts.

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James Brown, R. I. P.

Sad news of Christmas day.

ABC News: Legendary Singer James Brown Dies at 73

ATLANTA Dec 25, 2006 (AP)— James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul," whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73.

Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music.

Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his side, he said.

Copsidas said the cause of death was uncertain. "We really don't know at this point what he died of," he said.

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I Hope Santa Was Kind to All of You

Thanks to Todd Mason for these covers.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Dillos on the March

Jeff Meyerson, who sent this link, lives in Brooklyn, where the 'dillos haven't shown up. Yet.

'Little Armored Thing' Invades Midwest - AOL News

Armadillos Nudge Their Way Toward Northern U.S. Climes

MURPHYSBORO, Ill. (Dec. 24) - For years, Lloyd Nelson laughed off as myth reports that armadillos - those armored, football-sized critters with the big claws and bigger nose - had waddled their way into southern Illinois, the same place folks say they've seen cougars.

Folks weren't fibbing about the mountain lions. Nelson knows now they weren't joshing about armadillos, either.

Since his run-in with an armadillo that was turning a woman's flower bed into a crater near here three years ago, the Jackson County animal-control chief says he's logged in this county alone 13 sightings of the stubby-legged kin to sloths and anteaters. Most were dead as doornails along roads - the leathery animals with poor vision are no match against highway traffic.

"We've had armadillos killed on the road just about every year" since 2003, says Nelson, reflecting what wildlife specialists say is ample evidence that the creatures with the pencil-thin tail are nudging their way northward from their southern U.S. climes.

"We've got them in Nebraska; that's as far north as we have any records," said Lynn Robbins, a biology professor at Missouri State University. "They're adapting, filling in so many places."

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'Tis the Season to be Criminal

ABC News: Christmas Brings Strange Seasonal Crimes

NEW YORK Dec 24, 2006 (AP)— There's nobody nice on this Christmas list: snowman stabbers, Grinch snatchers, wreath-robbing weasels. 'Tis the season for strange crimes by even stranger people, with police blotters expanding faster than a 6-year-old's wish list of gifts.

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Christmas Stars -- David G. Hartwell, Ed.

Thanks to George Kelley I have a copy of this collection of stories (copyright 1992, which was before the Osama-loving-commie-pinko lefties started conspiring to eliminate titles like this one). Looking through the ToC, I noticed that one of the stories was by Henry Melton. It's "The Christmas Count," and naturally I turned to it first. Here's the "what if": What if you lived on an orbital world sometime in the future? What would Christmas be like there? Would it be different from the way it is now, or would it be very much the same? Melton's answer is for you to find out. All I'll say is that the story's both furturistic and traditionally satisfying. Check it out.

Dead Geezer Rules Ringtone Charts

Perry Como the top choice for ringtones - Yahoo! News

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Perry Como has grabbed the top two spots on Billboard's ringtones chart with "Jingle Bells" and "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," 61 years after the crooner first enjoyed a Billboard chart-topper.

Como collected his first No. 1 single on a Billboard chart when "Till the End of Time" moved into pole position in September 1945. The song ruled the chart for 10 weeks.

His version of "Jingle Bells" first appeared on his 1946 album, "Merry Christmas Music," which was his first No. 1 LP.

Como, who made his singles chart debut in October 1943 with the No. 20 hit "Goodbye, Sue," died in 2001, long before there was a ringtones chart.

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Ten Best Albums of 2006?

The surprising thing is that I've actually listened to (and enjoyed) three of these. That hasn't been the case for years.

CLASSICS ROCK: THE BEST ALBUMS OF 2006 By DAN AQUILANTE - New York Post Online Edition: Seven

RECORDS are dead and the iPod is king, but old-fashioned, full-length albums are still going strong. Americans bought more than 456 million CDs this year, even as digital music services such as iTunes racked up 480 million single-track sales.

But digital competition has upped the ante for quality music. Savvy artists - from newcomers like England's Arctic Monkeys to vets like Pearl Jam - understood they couldn't afford to pad their albums with filler when the public can download the best and leave the rest.

Fittingly, the year's most notable releases came from established artists - some as fresh as Christina Aguilera, others as wizened as Bob Dylan - who reminded us why they count with sterling, rather than platinum, albums.

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Wrap Rage -- Feel the Burn

American News | 12/23/2006 | Holiday packaging could inspire 'wrap rage'

MINNEAPOLIS - The wrapping paper is in piles. The ribbons are in shreds. Now it's time to get out the heavy artillery: scissors, box cutters, screwdrivers, ice picks, sheet-metal shears, and perhaps a hacksaw or two for good measure.

Freeing the toys, electronics and other gifts of the holiday season from their bulletproof packaging can require the strength of Superman and patience of Job.

"You have to run around the house, find scissors, cut it open, then you hurt your fingers trying to pull it apart, then there's these twisty things you have to untwist, plus the batteries," said Cynthia Salone, 8, of Minneapolis, recalling a recent packaging battle. "It can take 10 minutes to open."

The Brits have given this phenomenon a name and a definition: wrap rage. Extreme anger caused by product packaging that is difficult to open or manipulate.

"It's very, very, very frustrating," said Ann Hunsaid, 76, a retired teacher from Minot, N.D. "Especially for someone like me who is used to simple packaging. I do not follow this new kind of thing."

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A Very Happy Holiday Season to Everyone in the Galaxy

Saturday, December 23, 2006

King of the Rocketmen?

No, but mighty close!

It was New to Me, Too

Art Scott sends the review in the photo, along with the following note: "Browsing through old volumes of Records in Review, I ran across the attached review from High Fidelity, 1961. A.F. is the distinguished critic/musicologist Alfred Frankenstein. Aniara may be old news to '60s scifi veterans, but it was new to me. The librettist certainly had the opera basics down pat: ludicrous plot, ridiculous characters, everybody dies in the end."

If you click on the image, it should be readable.

Infinity and Science Fiction Adventures

In a comment on the post below, Ed Gorman mentions a famous Emsh cover for Infinity. That sent me to my shelves and then to the scanner. I got a little carried away, and now I've created a slide show that will give you a look at the complete run of the Larry Shaw-edited issues of both Infinity and Science Fiction Adventures. If you want to see them, click here. Seeing them, you might well wonder how anybody could resist buying them. I know I couldn't. Compared to these covers, aren't most of today's digest covers, well, boring? Not that there are many digests around to compare these to, more's the pity.

Science Fiction for the Holidays

Not exactly a seasonal cover here, but the first issue of Infinity has a story that really bowled me over when I was a kid. It's "The Star" by Arthur C. Clarke, and it went on to become a classic in the field. If you've read much SF at all, I'm sure you've read it.

POD Update

Next little thing 2007 - An ATM for books - December 1, 2006

Buying a book could become as easy as buying a pack of gum. After several years in development, the Espresso - a $50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library - is nearly consumer-ready and will debut in ten to 25 libraries and bookstores in 2007. The New York Public Library is scheduled to receive its machine in February.

The company behind the Espresso is called On Demand Books, founded by legendary book editor Jason Epstein, 78, and Dane Neller, 56, but the technology was developed six years ago by Jeff Marsh, who is a technology advisor for New York City-based ODB (

The machine can print, align, mill, glue and bind two books simultaneously in less than seven minutes, including full-color laminated covers. It prints in any language and will even accommodate right-to-left texts by putting the spine on the right. The upper page limit is 550 pages, though by tweaking the page thickness and type size, you could get a copy of War and Peace (albeit tough to read) if you wanted.

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100 Impressions in about 4 Minutes

So why didn't Letterman have this guy on his show during Impressionist Week? (Link via Neatorama.)

Strangest Photos of 2006

They had me at the first one.

Another Hard Man Interview

Al Guthrie interviews Ed Leach, Harry's loving father, over at the Hard Man blog.

Beautiful Babes in The Big Sleep

Jaime Weinman's interesting take on The Big Sleep, with clips:

Something Old, Nothing New: The Babes of The Big Sleep

I asserted in a previous post that Howard Hawks's movie version of The Big Sleep "comes off as Hawks's excuse to feature as many beautiful women as possible." With the help of easily-embeddable video (the godsend for the lazy entertainment blogger), I don't have to limit this to a simple assertion. Here are some examples of why the real subjects of The Big Sleep is a) beautiful women and b) the surprising tendency of said beautiful women to be attracted to Humphrey Bogart.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

Janes in Jail [Not Starring Sybil Danning]

Mugshots at this link.
SEVIER COUNTY (WATE) -- A former inmate at the Sevier County Jail says she was brutally assaulted by five other inmates.

Sheriff's officials say Megan Hudson, Vandy Morin, Krystal Kawalski, Michelle May Gunter and Kandi Lee Arwood assaulted a woman inside the cell they were sharing.

The victim says she was sleeping on a mat on the floor of the overcrowded jail when the five women sexually assaulted her.

"I'm freaking out. I don't know what's going on. I'm trying to fight, scream, I couldn't because I'm gagged, trying to get loose," the alleged victim says. She was serving a 40 day sentence for shoplifting. That's a misdemeanor crime. "I was there to pay my debt to society. For someone to take it upon theirself to hurt me, physically hurt me, scar me for the rest of my life...I'll never get over this or forget it."

The five women have now been separated. All are charged with rape. But sheriff's officials say they do not believe the assault was sexual in nature. They say the women thought the victim was hiding drugs on her body. They wanted the drugs.

Croc Update

This is a long article, but it's well worth reading. There's also a small picture of some kids playing with a croc.

ABC News: Tourists Cozy Up to Crocodiles in Africa
PAGA, Ghana, Dec. 20, 2006 — There is something strange going on in the small village of Paga in northern Ghana in West Africa. It appears to defy the laws of nature, and certainly the laws of fear.

Most of the outside world is unaware of the special but bizarre relationship that exists here between humans and crocodiles, animals that anyone with an ounce of common sense would run from.

But the people of Paga swim joyfully and wash clothes in the same village pond that 110 crocs use as their home — and their dining room.

No one seems to know how long the crocodiles have lived in the pond, or how they got to this land-locked area. But Yahaya Ahasan, the head crocodile keeper, told ABC News that no one from the village has ever been harmed by the crocs. That's extraordinary, considering that crocodiles are notoriously nasty if you get in their way, or if you resemble food.

But Ahasan said the crocs don't feel threatened by humans here. "We believe that they are the souls of relatives of this town," he said. "They are sacred animals, so we don't hate them, we don't kill them, we don't harm them."


Let me join in the praise around the blogoverse for Graham Powell's Crimespot, which should be included in everyone's bookmarks. If you haven't checked it out before, now's the time.

Rock On

Philadelphia Daily News | 12/22/2006 | Jam session sparked Black Sabbath reunion with ex-singer Ronnie James Dio

CLEVELAND - What began as fondly jamming to the post-Ozzy Osbourne Black Sabbath tracks "Heaven and Hell" and "The Mob Rules" during Sabbath's Ozzfest 2005 soundchecks eventually led to a reunion with ex-singer Ronnie James Dio, according to bassist Geezer Butler.

/>"We just thought it was a bit of a shame that we can't play those songs again," he tells "And then earlier this year [Sabbath guitarist] Tony Iommi went to see Dio. They wrote a couple of songs together and it just went from there."

Not only will an upcoming Dio-era Sabbath anthology feature three new songs ("Shadow of the Wind," "Devil Cries" and "Ear in the Wall"), but, as previously reported, a world tour is planned for 2007 as Heaven And Hell.

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Will the Persecution Never End?

E Canada Now - Breaking News » Paris Hilton Taking Acting Classes

Earlier this week, Paris was branded a dumb blonde by Joan Rivers.

The sharp-tongued comedienne wrote a letter to her university alumni appealing for donations to her old sorority and bitchily used Paris and fellow blonde Jessica Simpson as examples of stupid young women.

According to reports, Joan wrote to Barnard alumni: “We must support women who have a sense of confidence and self-worth.

“Where have all the smart girls gone? That is a hard question to answer in an age where Jessica Simpson and Paris Hilton pass as intellectuals.”

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The Must-See Movie for 2007!

Jeff Meyerson strikes again!

E Canada Now - Breaking News » Paris Hilton Taking Acting Classes

Los Angeles (eCanadaNow) - Paris Hilton has been attending acting classes to prepare for her latest film.

The hotel heiress - who starred in horror movie ‘House of Wax’ and has had a string of cameos including parts in ‘Zoolander’ – wants to prove her critics wrong with her latest movie ‘The Hottie and the Nottie’.

A source told the New York Post newspaper: “Paris has been going to acting classes in Beverly Hills. She arrived looking very serious with a script clamped under her arm.”

The new film, directed by Tom Putnam, is about a woman who refuses to marry her long-term boyfriend until he finds a suitor for her ugly friend.

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10 Best Movie Beat-Downs

10 best movie beat-downs - MOVIE OPINIONS -

The earliest boxing films featured managers, promoters and mobsters manipulating fighters who were struggling to make ends meet. When those fighters did manage to find success, they often did so at the expense of their souls. Later films focused more on the underdog and his or her achievement against incredible odds. Regardless of the narrative purpose, boxing matches are often exceptionally brutal, exaggerating every aspect of the fight game except for maybe defense.

So put up your gloves and cover your face. Here are the most brutal, gory and tragic fights the sweet science has to offer in the theatrical ring.

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Will the Persecution Never End? (Anna NIcole Smith Edition)

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

iWon News - Paternity Test Ordered for Smith's Baby
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Anna Nicole Smith was ordered Thursday to bring her infant daughter to California for paternity tests sought by a former boyfriend who claims he is the father of the child, the man's publicist said in a statement. "Los Angeles Superior Court has ruled today that Anna Nicole Smith and 3-month-old baby daughter Dannielynn are ordered to submit to paternity testing," read the statement from Luck Media & Marketing Inc. Smith's ex-boyfriend, Larry Birkhead, welcomed the ruling. "Christmas has come early, and I thank God that I will soon have the opportunity to prove that I am the father ... and eventually hold her in my arms," Birkhead said in the statement. Smith's attorney, Ron Rale, would not deny or confirm the ruling.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rash -- Pete Hautman

A lot of the best writing around these days is in YA novels. If you don't believe me, read one. Try Nancy Werlin, for example, or Pete Hautman.

Bruce Taylor might not have a high opinion of Steve Stilwell's movie IQ, but surely he'd never argue with him about writers. It was Steve who told me several years ago about Hautman's first YA novel, Mr. Was, a wonderful book. And last year Hautman won the National Book Award for Godless.

Hautman's also the author of a number of fine, funny adult crime novels. I don't know how that career's been going, but I get the impression that the books haven't sold as well as they should have. Doesn't matter, I guess, in one way, since the YA career's going so well.

Rash is Hautman's latest. It's set a toward the end of this century, in the USSA (the United Safer States of America), where no one takes a risk, where anything that might endanger you or someone else has been outlawed, where you can go to prison for dropping an apricot on the ground if someone slips on it. Bo Marsten is from a family of criminals. Both his father and his brother are in the pen, and Bo seems highly likely to join them.

Sure enough, he does, and the book becomes something different from what you might have been expecting. It's sort of a cross between The Longest Yard and Holes, but it's really nothing like that. It also doesn't offer a lot of easy answers. Plus it has laughs. No wonder Hautman keeps on winning awards and piling up the readers. Check it out.

Watch 101 Christmas Classics for Free

The Christmas Spot - Watch 101 Classic Christmas Videos Online - Fanpop

Ah Christmas. The tree, the stockings, the mistletoe and - of course - the holiday television programming.

Some of my fondest Christmas memories were spent in front a of television watching such classics as the animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer or one of the myriad versions of Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol'.

So without further ado, I am presenting you with my big, big list of holiday specials. I've tried to categorize the list into subsections to make it a little more bearable and consumable. The list is in no particular order, though the first section, 'essentials', are (in my humble opinion) the cream of the crop. I should also note that I've only included programs for which I was able to find online videos so you'll notice some glaring omissions (like 'A Christmas Story' and 'Miracle on 34th Street).

In any event, here's wishing you a great Christmas. Now sit back and dig into some of the best Christmas content on the web...

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I've Changed My Mind about the Sky Yacht . . .

. . . this is what I want for Christmas.

Ripper Update

Man charged in killings of Ipswich prostitutes

British police charged a 48-year-old man with murder Thursday in the killings of five prostitutes in eastern England.

Police identified the man as Steve Wright, who was arrested Tuesday in Ipswich, a town northeast of London where all of the victims worked.

Investigators released another 37-year-old man, who was arrested Monday, police said.

The victims — Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol, Anneli Alderton, Paula Clennell and Annette Nicholls — had been working as prostitutes. Their naked bodies were found in rural areas around Ipswich over a period of about 10 days beginning Dec. 2.

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Monica Lewinsky Update

KTLA The CW | Where Los Angeles Lives | Monica Lewinsky Graduates with Master's Degree

Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky has graduated from the London School of Economics with a Masters of Science degree in Social Psychology.

Lewinsky was 21 when she became involved in a sexual relationship with then President Bill Clinton that eventually led to his impeachment.

According to her publicist, Lewinsky, now 32, spent the past year studying and "staying away from the London social scene."

She completed a thesis entitled "In Search of the Impartial Juror: An exploration of the third person effect and pre-trial publicity."

Lewinsky is reportedly interviewing for jobs in Britain.

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Harry Leach Interview at the Hard Man Blog

Harry who? The character from a classic American novel by a great American writer, that's who. Check it out.

I Love the Old Holiday Traditions

Thanks, as often, to Jeff Meyerson.

iWon News - Pooping Peasant Popular in Spain
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) - The Virgin Mary. The three kings. A few wayward sheep. These are the figures one expects to find in a traditional Christmas nativity scene. Not a smartly dressed peasant squatting behind a rock with his rear-end exposed.

Yet statuettes of "El Caganer," or the great defecator in the Catalan language, can be found in nativity scenes, and increasingly on the mantelpieces of collectors, throughout Spain's northeastern Catalonia region, where for centuries symbols of defecation have played an important role in Christmas festivities.

During the holiday season, pastry shops around Catalonia sell sweets shaped like feces, and on Christmas Eve Catalan children beat a hollow log, called the tio, packed with holiday gifts, singing a song that urges it to defecate presents out the other end.

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Update on the Philip Marlowe Update

Guardian Unlimited: Arts blog - film: A renaissance for Chandler's knight of the mean streets

Exec producing will be Daniel H Blatt, Bailey and Chorion crime properties honcho Phil Clymer, who has in the past been instrumental in keeping the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple Christie brands up with the times. According to Clymer, an ongoing dialogue has been taking place with Elliott Gould, who starred in Robert Altman's 1973 version of The Long Goodbye, with a view to the actor possibly reprising the part as an older and possibly none-the-wiser Marlowe walking the backlit streets of modern California. Gould still refers to his character in Altman's film as "my guy".

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A Link for Art Scott

Physics Reveals the Key to a Great Golf Swing

What happens when a golf-loving researcher injures a shoulder and can't play for three months? Rod White, a metrologist (measurement scientist), used the spare time off the course to undertake an analysis that revealed the foundation of an effective golf swing. As it turns out, it's all in the wrists.

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The A. V. Club's Top Films of 2006

The Year In Film 2006 | The A.V. Club

When The A.V. Club film writers sat down to discuss what 2006 had to offer, we quickly discovered a remarkable amount of overlap between our lists. We could immodestly claim that great minds think alike, but the more likely explanation is that the most important and accomplished films of the year were just too bold to deny. In light of that fact, we've tallied our individual lists into a super-list that reflects our consensus over the films that meant the most to us this year. But that doesn't mean we've committed entirely to group-think: Individual Top 10 lists and commentary follow the master list.

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Top 20 Overrated Movies

Premiere: It happens to everyone who loves movies: You're in a conversation at a bar, or at a wedding, or online, and someone begins rhapsodizing about one of their favorite movies and you can't help but say, "Uh, that movie sucks. It's totally overrated." How two perfectly well-balanced individuals can have such drastically different views of the same film is one of the great wonders of being a film fanatic. It happens to us at Premiere all the time, enough so that sometimes we find ourselves questioning who we work with (boy, did it get ugly here when Love, Actually came out, and some of us are still snickering over our boss's love for Bowfinger, not to mention his affection for The Last Samurai). Well, we decided to let our staff go at each other regarding some of the more beloved movies of all time, and, sure enough, sobbing can still be heard coming from the bathroom stalls. Relationships have been strained. Egos bruised. Consider this a film lovers' quarrel, an admittedly rabid one.

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid. Be afraid, conservatives. If you survived the victory speeches of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and allowed yourself to think, "Things can't get any worse," get over it. They can.

Two years from now, terrorists under the banner of the "Progressive

Restoration" will take over Manhattan in a larger attempt to overthrow the government. Thirteen years later, President Chelsea Clinton and Vice President Michael Moore will haul out the good White House china for Osama bin Laden's state visit. By fiddling with your radio, you may be able to catch an underground broadcast by Sean Hannity. If you own a radio, that is; folks living in states that are under Sharia law won't even be that lucky.

These aren't my fantasies or nightmares. All of these vignettes are ripped from science fiction thrillers that have hit shelves in just the last 18 months. Sharia comes to the United States in Robert Ferrigno's potboiler, "Prayers for the Assassin." In Joel C. Rosenberg's "Last Jihad" trilogy, a steel-spined U.S. president nukes Baghdad, then combats a Russo-Iranian axis, all in fulfillment of Scripture (or so we're told in the nail-biting third book, "The Ezekiel Option"). Hannity and his stone-jawed sidekick, G. Gordon Liddy, battle the Clinton restoration in Mike Mackey and Donny Lin's comic book, "Liberality for All." The Second American Civil War is breaking out in Orson Scott Card's "Empire" (book out now, video game on the way).

A Crimespot Christmas Carol

Check it out here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Best of Xero

Xero was an SF fanzine published by Dick and Pat Lupoff that ran for 10 issues from 1960-63. I wish I'd been astute enough to subscribe to fanzines in those days. I'd have made the acquaintance of some wonderful folks like those who wrote for Xero, including Roger Ebert (known as Rog in those days), Ed Gorman, Harlan Ellison, Avram Davidson, James Blish, Lin Carter, Roy Thomas, Donald E. Westlake, and many others. But I didn't get into fandom until much, much later, so I missed out on considerable fun.

The Best of Xero is so good that it makes me wish the Lupoffs had just reprinted the entire run. There's a very funny Sax Rohmer parody by Lin Carter (and his book reviews are fun, too), a great article on comic books by Thomas, a review of Psycho (the movie, not the book) by Ellison, a parody of "My Last Duchess" by Ebert, and other wonderful stuff, far too much to mention.

Some of it I'd read before, including Westlake's notorious farewell to science fiction writing, but I hadn't read the responses to it, nor had I read Westlake's follow-up. All of it's just as interesting now as it must have been 45 years ago.

Roger Ebert's new introduction is great, but I've spoken often about my fondness for introductions.

All I can say is that if you have any interest in fandom and its history you should own this book. Unless, of course, you're lucky enough to own a complete run of Xero.

Another Virgin Birth for Christmas

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for this reptilian link: CHESTER, England - In an evolutionary twist, Flora the Komodo dragon has managed to become pregnant all on her own without any male help. She is carrying seven baby Komodo dragons.

"We were blown away when we realized what she'd done," said Kevin Buley, a reptile expert at Flora's home at the Chester Zoo in this town in northern England. "But we certainly won't be naming any of the hatchlings Jesus."

Other reptile species reproduce asexually in a process known as parthenogenesis. But Flora's virginal conception, and that of another Komodo dragon earlier this year at the London Zoo, are the first time it has been documented in a Komodo dragon.

I'm Betting that Dan Brown's Already Writing the Novel

Slate: In 1983, as the residents of Calcata, a small town 30 miles north of Rome, prepared for their annual procession honoring a holy relic, a shocking announcement from the parish priest put a damper on festivities. "This year, the holy relic will not be exposed to the devotion of the faithful. It has vanished. Sacrilegious thieves have taken it from my home." Not since the Middle Ages, when lopped-off body parts of divine do-gooders were bought, sold, and traded, has relic theft been big news. But the mysterious disappearance of Calcata's beloved curio is different.

This wasn't just the residuum of any holy human—nor was it just any body part. It was the foreskin of Jesus Christ, the snipped-off tip of the savior's penis, the only piece of his body he supposedly left on earth.

Time for me to Revisit the Bard Reading Shakespeare excites the brain in a way that keeps it “fit”, researchers say.

A team from the University of Liverpool is investigating whether wrestling with the innovative use of language could help to prevent dementia. Monitoring participants with brain-imaging equipment, they found that certain lines from Shakespeare and other great writers such as Chaucer and Wordsworth caused the brain to spark with electrical activity because of the unusual words or sentence structure.

What I'm Listening To

While Vince Keenan confesses that he's a Rat Pack kinda guy when it comes to holiday sounds, I have to confess that I lean toward the Kingston Trio. My favorite holiday album is The Last Month of the Year, and you can tell from the title that it's not just a collection of Christmas music. Sure, it leans heavily in that direction, but it also contains killer versions of "The White Snows of Winter," "Good Night, My Baby, Good Night," and the title song. My favorite is "Mary Mild." Beautiful song, beautiful harmony, touching story. I'm listening to it right now, as I have for the past 45 years or so at this time, and it's as great as ever.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Street Raised -- Pearce Hansen

Street Raised is the real deal: the raw, bad-ass, in-your- face story of a lot of people that you might enjoy reading about but that you really don't want to meet. Chief among them is Speedy, who's just been released from Pelican Bay State Prison and who has no intention of being a nice guy now that he's out of the joint. He's looking to get back into the Life as fast as he can return to Oakland. When he gets there, he hooks up with his brother, Little Willy, and his old running buddy, Fat Bob, to get a little revenge on some guys who killed a couple of their homeboys. Along the way, Speedy finds love and gets tangled up with a serial killer. Not to mention a kitten (check the cover photo on the left). The violence level is high and the pace is fast. You're not likely to run across anything like this for a while, at least not until Hansen publishes another novel. Fasten your seatbelt and check it out.

Top 10 Out-of-Print Books of 2006 releases Top 10 Out-of-Print Books of 2006: ", a website that facilitates searches for and purchases of used, rare and out-of-print books, has announced the Top 10 most sought-after out-of-print books on the website in 2006. Madonna tops the list with her 1992 book, Sex, as she has every year since BookFinder began releasing its annual list in 2003. "

This Just In. . . .

. . . from Jeff Meyerson:

iWon News - Actress Enters Drug Rehab Program: "LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (AP) - Tawny Kitaen, who starred in the 1984 Tom Hanks comedy, 'Bachelor Party,' has entered a drug rehabilitation program after pleading guilty to possessing 15 grams of cocaine.

The 45-year-old actress will be allowed to change her plea to not guilty after completing the program, under terms of a plea agreement, officials said. The plea change will remove the conviction from her record."

No Comment Department

Rapper finds inspiration in Chaucer - Yahoo! News: "WELLESLEY, Mass. - The lights dim, the music pumps — a steady beat that can be felt in the bones — and Baba Brinkman struts and bounces around the stage, belting out his rhymes about hard living, violence, sex and the secrets to true love.

He gets his inspiration not from growing up in the 'hood, but from the musings of a 14th-century English poet.

'Ready to kill with their jagged-edged daggers drawn/The three aggravated braggarts staggered up the lawn/And without dragging on while the story is told/Beneath the tree they found a bag filled with glorious gold,' Brinkman raps in a seamless cadence, updating Geoffrey Chaucer to hip hop.

Brinkman, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, who has a master's degree in medieval and Renaissance English literature from the University of Victoria, has adapted some of Chaucer's earthy, satirical and pious 'The Canterbury Tales' into rap."

Now Here's a Fresh Idea!

Advertising Age - Ford Denies Connection to Web-Concert Porno Promo: "SAN FRANCISCO ( -- An entertainment company promoting a Ford Motor Co.-backed concert has come up with a new way to tie its advertising into celebrity content: putting banner ads next to internet photos of the private parts of Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and others.
The banners, which play off the title of Pink's single 'U and UR Hand,' will have headlines such as 'Don't you and your hands have better places to be,' and 'See the real Pink.'"

Hat tip to Todd Mason. Photo of P.H. at the link. Sorry, pervs, no exposed genitalia.

Ripper Update

Ace Reporter Jeff Meyerson takes a break from the Paris Hilton beat to provide us with this info:

British police grill second suspect over prostitute murders: "IPSWICH, England - British police arrested Tuesday a second man suspected of murdering all five prostitutes whose naked corpses were dumped in the countryside around Ipswich, eastern England.

Detectives were quizzing the pair in the high-profile investigation into a spate of murders that has gripped Britain and left the normally quiet town of Ipswich on edge in the run-up to Christmas.

The 48-year-old man nabbed Tuesday was arrested in the town centre before dawn, a day after a 37-year-old man was detained in a village outside Ipswich, said Suffolk Police Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull, who is leading the manhunt."

Best-Selling Books of 2006

Forbes provides a pretty depressing list. (And not just because my books aren't on it.)

Whatever Happened to Jello Wrestling?

STLtoday - News - St. Louis City / County: "MADISON COUNTY — Four scantily clad women who wrestled in a swimming pool filled with mashed potatoes have whipped up a legal mess for a bar owner here, police said Monday.

Rhonda Cato has been cited with a misdemeanor charge of obscenity and with a liquor license violation for Thursday's performance at the Palace Tavern, 5150 Illinois Route 140.

The wrestling match turned raunchy when the women pulled up each others' shirts, said Lt. Brad Wells of the Madison County sheriff's office."

Ed Gorman's Pro Files

Ed Gorman's started his "Pro-Files" feature again on his blog, and today's subject is that wonderful writer Bill Crider. Check it out.

Amazing Coincidence Update

I just got an e-mail from Walter Satterthwait, who tells me that the PointBlank edition of Of all the Bloody Cheek has been published and that the actual book is out there. You can see the cover here (scroll down). Order your copy now!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Frank McAuliffe

As I mentioned in the post below, PointBlank is planning to publish the Augustus Mandrell books. Their website promises only one, the unpublished one. I'd love to have it on the market, and I hope they follow through.

FRANK McAULIFFE (1926-1986) is the author of five previously published books. Of All The Bloody Cheek, Rather A Vicious Gentleman, For Murder I Charge More (the first three in the Augustus Mandrell series), Hot Town, and The Bag Man. Prompted by rumors of an unpublished fourth Mandrell novel, acclaimed mystery writers, Walter Satterthwait and Bill Crider contacted the author’s wife, Rita. (Incidently, her birth date, February 13th, is the one Augustus Mandrell perpetually refers to as “...that birth date, historically, of beautiful women...”) Through an uncanny chain of fortuitous events the manuscript was found, and will be published by PointBlank.

Frank McAuliffe was born the eldest of eight children to Irish immigrants, Con and Margaret McAuliffe in New York City, New York. He married Rita Gibbons and they had seven children together (Meg, Liz, Mark, Mary, Kate, Barbara, and Luke). After moving to Ventura, California, McAuliffe worked as a technical writer for the Navy, but spent most of his spare time writing fiction. In 1972 Frank McAuliffe was awarded the Edgar Allan Poe Award for his novel, For Murder I Charge More. Upon accepting the award for The Best Paperback Mystery of the Year, McAuliffe responded, "Ladies and Gentlemen, you have impeccably good taste."

forthcoming books:

They Shoot Presidents, Don't They?