Saturday, February 18, 2006

Blogger Run Amuk

Several posts I've made recently have disappeared. Blogger has been eating them, it seems, and they can never be recovered. No great loss, however. I'm going to try to republish the blog, and blogger might eat everything. We'll see.

I Wonder if Lawrence Block Knows this Guy

Vietnam latest news - Thanh Nien Daily: "As songbirds awaken the early risers at dawn on the farm, one resident is already up; in fact, he never slept – not once in the past 33 years.

You’d think going without sleep for that long may have its drawbacks, but not for the man in central Quang Nam province who has never been ill after decades of insomnia."

Several Very Interesting Articles about "Dean Hudson" - Earl Kemp: e*I* Vol. 5 No. 1: "The Whitewash Jungle*

By Earl Kemp

Part One

Surely it can’t be true, that persistent rumor I keep hearing that Mother Lombino’s two-faced son is cleaning up his past. Evan Hunter/Ed McBain is denying a major portion of his illustrious writing career…those freewheeling, easy-money years when he was almost much better known as Dean Hudson."

Essential reading if you're a guy who loves old paperbacks, pen names, and that sort of thing.

Friday, February 17, 2006

An Article, Followed by a Short Movie | HPD may add cameras to ranks (with audio): "HPD may add video cameras to its ranks
Officer shortage leads city to look at surveillance of streets, malls — even some homes

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Facing a shortage of police officers, Police Chief Harold Hurtt called Wednesday for a new type of patrol: surveillance cameras on downtown streets, apartment complexes and shopping malls — and in extreme situations, private homes.

'If you're not doing anything wrong, why should you worry about it?' Hurtt told reporters."

Scene: A Houston Courtroom

Prosecuting Attorney: Judge, this man mooned a surveillance camera. I suggest you throw the book at him.

Judge (looking around): I can't seem to find a book. Baliff!

Baliff: I'm sorry, Judge. I removed the bible. The Jews wouldn't swear on anything except the Old Testament, the Catholics wanted the Apocrypha to be included, the Muslims demanded a Koran, the -- well, anyway, I said the hell with it and tossed the book.

Judge (suspciously): Do you mean the Christian hell?

Baliff (hastily): Oh, no, sir! I just meant some vague cartoon hell, you know, like the one in The Far Side.

Judge (nostalgically): Damn, I miss Gary Larsen.

Baliff: Did you just use a shortened form of a profanity? Sir.

Judge: It was just a vulgar colloquilisim. What were we talking about, anyway?

Prosecuting Attorney: You were going to throw the book at the defendant.

Judge: I don't have a book. (Looks around, picks up gavel.) I do have this neat wooden hammer. I could throw that.

Defendant cowers.

Prosecuting Attorney: That would be swell, Thor. I mean, Sir.

Defense Attorney (piping up): But my client didn't intend to moom the camera! He was in his bathroom.

Judge (confused): The moon was in his bathroom?

Defense Attorney: No, sir. My client was. He was weighing himself and removed his shorts so they wouldn't give a false reading.

Prosecuting Attorney: That's a lie! Throw the hammer at him, Judge.

Judge: How about I just give him five life sentences?

Prosecuting Attorney: Fine. If they're stacked.

Defense Attorney: No deal. They have to run consecutively.

Prosecuting Attorney: Deal.

Judge: Fine. Done and done. Next case!

Baliff drags defendant away. Defendant kicks and screams as we fade out and fade in on the office of The Police Chief, who is sitting at his desk reading a newspaper. We see the headline: "Mooner in the Can for Life!"

The Mayor appears behind the Chief and puts a hand on his shoulder.

Mayor: Another foul miscreant off the streets. Good work, chief. How does it feel to be the instrument of justice?

Chief: God, it feels good.

Mayor: By "God," did you mean the Christian diety, the Muslim diety, or some pagan diety?

Chief: I was just referring to some vague cartoon god, you know, like the one in The Far Side.

Mayor: Damn, I miss Gary Larsen.

Fade out.

Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez, R. I. P.

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear : "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be." -- Peter DeVries: "Character actor Pedro Gonzalez-Gonzalez has passed away at the age of 80, and the best way I can describe the man is that he was the William Huang of his time. He was able to parlay a 1953 appearance on Groucho Marx’s You Bet Your Life (where he was introduced as Ramiro G. Gonzalez) into a movie and television career, most notably in several John Wayne movies, The High and the Mighty (1954) and Rio Bravo (1959)."

We always listened to You Bet Your Life at our house, and I vividly remember the show on which Gonzalez-Gonzalez appeared. I'd never heard my parents laugh so hard. And of course I remember Gonzalez-Gonzalez as the hotel keeper in one of my favorite westerns, Rio Bravo. I hadn't heard anything of him in years, but I'm sad to learn he's gone.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mystery*File Update

MYSTERY*FILE ON-LINE: "Feb 16. DAY KEENE BIBLIOGRAPHY. Thanks to Monte Herridge, Bill Pronzini and Richard Hall, many new stories have been added to Keene’s pulp fiction bibliography, including six under his real name, Gunard Hjertstedt, and nearly 20 others as by Keene from Short Stories magazine. Victor Berch has done some research, and here also is his theory of how Day Keene came to choose the name."

Some great new stuff here. Check it out.

The Kinkster

The Austin Chronicle: News: Here Comes the Guv: [Kinky] Friedman is determined to get his name on the ballot and to win the race for governor. He and his supporters are fed up with the "business as usual," he says, which has done nothing but tarnish the Lone Star State, destroy Texas' sense of pride, and increase voter apathy and distrust of government. As evidence, he ticks off a list of shameful rankings: first among the states in dropouts and in executions, last in education and in the percentage of people with health insurance – and that's only the beginning of the list. In short, Friedman says, "the soul of Texas is riding on this [election]." Kinky Friedman, or, as he'd have it, The Guv, is determined to save it from the abyss.

The link goes to a long article from which I've extracted a one-paragraph sample. I'm still trying to make up my mind about the governor's race. I can't think of a single good thing to say about Rick Perry, our current Guv (except that he has good hair), so even as weird as it seems, the Kinkster's candidacy has a certain appeal to me. I hope he'll at least manage to get on the ballot. If he does, there's no question that he'll make the race the most interesting one in Texas in a long time.

Flaming London -- Joe R. Lansdale

When you want full-bore balls-to-the-wall weirdness, Joe Lansdale is the go-to guy. Flaming London is the sequel to Zeppelins West (and also to Joe's novella "The Steam Man of the Prairie"). If you haven't read Zeppelins West, you should probably do that before you read any further here because I'm going to tell you that Ned the Seal was about the only survior of the earlier book, although a couple of others put in a brief appearance. In this one Ned teams up with Mark Twain and Jules Verne as they try to save an alternate Victorian earth from the Martian invasion described by H. G. Wells in The War of the Worlds.

Flaming London is a very short novel, but there's a lot going on. It has Martians with tentacles and two assholes, a giant ape, the Steam Man, trips by balloon (and several other gadgets), pirates, the Flying Dutchman, and, well, a lot of other stuff. If you're looking for tight plotting, look somewhere else. What you've got here is action, scatalogical (and other) humor that provides plenty of laughs, and some commentary on the human condition courtesy of a literate seal. You also have one of the most blatant set-ups for a sequel since the heyday of Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Mark Twain may the one of the major characters, but it's Ned the Seal who gets all the best lines. Tim Truman's artwork is a fine complement to the text. You know you need this book, so what are you waiting for? Go get it.

Damn Near Dead

Duane Swierczynski has announced the line-up for the Damn Near Dead anthology. You can have a look right here: Secret Dead Blog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

New Issue of Hardluck Stories

Hardluck Stories - Best Hardboiled and Noir fiction

This is a great issue. Fiction by Ed Gorman, Ken Bruen, JA Konrath, Robert W. Walker, Pat Lambe, Adrian McKinty, Harry Shannon, and Dave Zeltserman. Check it out.

Mystery*File Update

The Short Fiction of EARLE BASINSKY: "
One of the two crime novels of Earle Baskinsky, an author encouraged to go into writing by his wartime buddy Mickey Spillane, is included in the checklist of Dutton’s line of hardcover Guilt Edged mysteries. The other was a paperback original from Signet. Checking into his career a little more diligently, it was quickly discovered that Basinsky also wrote three short stories. Who better to tell us about them than Mystery*File’s own expert on the crime digest magazines?"

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

BREITBART.COM - Nelson Releases Homage to Gay Cowboys: "Nelson Releases Homage to Gay Cowboys
Feb 14 8:37 PM US/Eastern


Country music outlaw Willie Nelson sang 'Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys' and 'My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys' more than 25 years ago. He released a very different sort of cowboy anthem this Valentine's Day.

'Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly (Fond of Each Other)' may be the first gay cowboy song by a major recording artist. But it was written long before this year's Oscar-nominated 'Brokeback Mountain' made gay cowboys a hot topic.

Available exclusively through iTunes, the song features choppy Tex-Mex style guitar runs and Nelson's deadpan delivery of lines like, 'What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?' and 'Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip out.'"

Someone at Publishers Weekly Likes Me

I'm not saying "loves me," mind you, but here's the review for A Mammoth Murder, due in April. Start saving your money to buy several copies.

"Brisk and funny dialogue propels Crider's diverting 13th mystery to feature Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes (after 2003's Red, White, and Blue Murder). When a dead body turns up in a Blacklin County forest better known for its bigfoot sightings, Rhodes hopes the murderer won't be as hard to catch as the legendary monster itself. One morning, town character Bud Turley alerts the sheriff that he's found bigfoot's tooth in a patch of woods notable mainly for its feral pigs-and for a local boy having disappeared there years back. When the fossil tooth proves to be that of a mammoth, Rhodes isn't surprised, but when the corpse turns out to be Turley's best friend-and when another murder takes place nearby, not long after-things really get complicated. Turley, meanwhile, has already summoned amateur bigfoot investigators nationwide to come to Blacklin County to investigate. Fans and newcomers alike will enjoy this playful romp with a Texas drawl.

Sometimes the Jokes Just Write Themselves #2

Janie's Got a Gun. Or did he say "Cheney's Got a Gun"? Hear for yourself.

Side by Side #2

Donald Hamilton and Charles Williams (see Side by Side #1) are a couple of my favorite writers, and I'm gald Hard Case Crime is reprinting them.

Some Guys Still Like Westerns

WLTX News 19 Welcome to Whiskey Creek, South Carolina: "(Elgin) - A Midlands man has actually built something right out of the Old West, in his backyard.

Ken White's frontier spirit has inspired a piece of living history. Three years ago, the Nebraska native got an idea from watching the old CBS show, 'Gunsmoke.'

'I was sitting one night watching 'Gunsmoke,' and thought it might be pretty neat if I could build something like that. So that's what started it all.'

Using wood from old barns on his family's land back home, he started constructing a miniature town that looks to be right out of the Old West. There are two hotels, a church, a saloon, a jail, a doctor's office, a funeral parlor, a dry goods store, a post office, a blacksmith's shop, an outhouse and a wash house."

Monday, February 13, 2006

I Know a Couple of Guys Who Have Probably Already Started to Fill Out Their Job Applications

Officers allowed to get sexual services at parlor | - Houston Chronicle: "They enter the massage parlors as undercover detectives. They leave as satisfied customers.

In Spotsylvania County, Va., as part of a campaign by the sheriff's office to root out prostitution in the massage parlor business, detectives have been receiving sexual services from 'masseuses.' During several visits to an establishment called Moon Spa last month, detectives allowed women to perform sexual acts on them on four occasions and once left a $350 tip, according to court papers.

Spotsylvania Sheriff Howard Smith said the practice is not new and that only unmarried detectives are assigned to such cases. Most prostitutes are careful not to say anything incriminating, so sexual contact is necessary, he said."

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Michael Gilbert, R. I. P.

Independent Online Edition > Obituaries: "In 1947, the publishers Hodder & Stoughton - at the time not renowned for puffing their first-time authors (as Eric Ambler had very quickly discovered a decade earlier) - issued a detective novel called Close Quarters to something like a fanfare. On the dust-jacket and to the trade they announced 'a new and coming name in Crime Fiction. Watch his career. With Close Quarters you are in on the beginning.'

This, for a publisher, was an unusually perceptive judgement. Michael Gilbert, their tiro author, garnered not only critical but reader praise from the start, and became, in a writing career that lasted nearly 60 years (his last book, The Curious Conspiracy, a volume of short stories, was published in his 90th year), one of a handful of British crime writers who were acclaimed and respected on both sides of the Atlantic."

You Just Know Harry Whittington's Going to Write a Great Ace Double about This!

BREITBART.COM - Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter: "Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and wounded a companion during a weekend quail hunting trip in Texas, spraying the fellow hunter in the face and chest with shotgun pellets.

Harry Whittington, a millionaire attorney from Austin, was 'alert and doing fine' in a Corpus Christi hospital Sunday after he was shot by Cheney on a ranch in south Texas, said Katharine Armstrong, the property's owner."

It's News Like This . . .

. . . that gives me hope for the world.

Paris Hilton in Indian director's 'Mother Teresa'? - Entertainment News - | February 12, 2006 11:15:06 AM IST

"Well known Malayalam director T. Rajeevnath, scouting for a suitable actress to play the title role in his film on Nobel Peace laureate Mother Teresa, has sent feelers to American actress Paris Hilton.

'My agents in California have contacted Paris Hilton,' Rajeevnath told IANS.

The director said he was impressed when he read a report sometime ago in which the hotel heiress said she had refused to pose nude in Playboy magazine and decided then to shortlist her."

Maybe We Can Impeach Him - U.S. & World News - Prosecutors: Jury's Morales Letters Faked: "SAN FRANCISCO — Lawyers for a death row inmate, including former Whitewater independent counsel Kenneth Starr, sent fake letters from jurors asking California's governor to spare the man's life, prosecutors said Friday."