Saturday, June 24, 2006

Bring Me the Head of Philip K. Dick

According to The New York Times, Philip K. Dick's head is missing. You probably have to register to read the article, and it's certainly worth reading, but here's the gist of it:

Last year an admiring doctoral student and evident computer whiz, David Hanson, built a life-size facsimile of Mr. Dick, using the latest artificial intelligence technology, robotics and a skinlike substance he calls "frubber."

. . . . . . .

. . . Warner Independent Pictures, which on July 7 is releasing the film, an experimental, animated thriller directed by Richard Linklater, had intended to send the robot on a promotional tour to promote the film.

That is, until its head went missing.

. . . Mr. Hanson, the robot maker . . . left the head on an America West flight from Dallas to Las Vegas in December.
. . . . . . . .

"They woke me up, I got my laptop from under my seat, and being dazed, I just forgot that I had the robot in there," said Mr. Hanson, referring to the head in a black, American Tourister roller bag, left in the overhead compartment.

After landing in San Francisco, he notified the airline, whose officials apparently found the head in Las Vegas, packed it in a box and sent it on the next flight to San Francisco. Mysteriously, it never arrived.

The Competitive Eating Circuit

Until this morning, I'd never heard of "the competitive eating circuit." Now I've read about it twice, first on Andy Jaysnovitch's blog, and now in the article below. Coincidence? Or is someone trying to tell me something?

ABC News: Man Gobbles Down 22 Hot Dogs in 12 Minutes: "CRANBURY, N.J. Jun 23, 2006 (AP)— With sweat pouring down his face, a 42-year-old courier from Moonachie methodically gobbled 22 hot dogs in 12 minutes Friday to win a regional hot-eating competition and a slot at Nathan's Famous Fourth of July eating contest in Coney Island, N.Y.

Pat Philbin, known in the competitive eating circuit as 'Pat from Moonachie,' beat 12 veterans and newcomers to competitive eating to be crowned the New Jersey Turnpike Regional Hot-Dog Eating Champion at a highway rest area."

Who Knew?

onegoodmove: Sunday Bloody Sunday: "George Bush performing U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday in the just released video version."

Friday, June 23, 2006



A special New Orleans-themed issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, featuring the Big Easy’s native writers and artists, is slated for shipment to newsstands in early September, following the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s devastating landfall.

Headlining the issue, which bears a November publication date, is fiction celebrating New Orleans’ rich ethnic and cultural diversity. Short stories by crime-fiction pros John Edward Ames, O’Neil De Noux, Tony Dunbar, Tony Fennelly, Barbara Hambly, Greg Herren, Edward D. Hoch, Dick Lochte, William Dylan Powell, Sarah Shankman, and Julie Smith span more than a century and a half of the Crescent City’s history, from pre-Civil War days to the post-Katrina present.

This is New Orleans depicted by New Orleanians: Ten of the issue’s authors, including poetry contributor James Sallis, hail from the beleaguered city. Several lost homes or property in the storm.

The work of other notable New Orleans writers is discussed in a book review column by Jon L. Breen, focusing exclusively on the region’s mystery writing.
Capturing the vibrancy of New Orleans for cover and interior illustrations are artists Jenny Kahn, David Sullivan, and Herbert Kearney, all of whom also call the city home.

EQMM’s publisher, Dell Magazines, has donated all advertising for this special hurricane-recovery issue to organizations with rebuilding or relief efforts ongoing in the areas affected by Katrina. Participating organizations are Bridge House, the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans, Covenant House, Habitat for Humanity, Reader to Reader, Inc., Save the Children, and the Volunteers of America. For those wishing to make donations over the Internet, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s web site,, provides links to all of the participating charities.

For retail sales information, please contact Bill McCollough at (phone: 212-686-7188 ext. 2343).
To order single copies of the November 2006 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine please visit our web site at, or call toll free (1-800-220-7443).

No, that's not the cover of the New Orleans issue. It's just a cover I like.

NASCAR Romance Update | 06/21/2006 | Harlequin hits the racetrack: "NASCAR ROMANCES A HIT WITH FANS

Let's just say ``In the Groove'' is a racy novel.

Sarah is a former kindergarten teacher forced to take a job driving the bus of jet-setting and, predictably, super-sexy NASCAR driver Lance. She's unimpressed with his fame but, according to the back cover, ``whenever he comes near her she turns hot as race fuel.''

And, of course, the spark plugs fly."

There's much more at the link. Check it out.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Aggies Strike Again

NBC 6 News - Local Headlines: "Texas A&M University is in another skirmish over the use of the famous 12th Man trademark. Yahoo is using references to the 12th man on its world cup soccer fan page.

University spokesman Lane Stephenson says A&M sent a letter to Yahoo asking it stop using it, and hopes the company acts accordingly.

In May, A&M reached an agreement with the Seattle Seahawks allowing that team to use 12th Man for a one-time payment of 100- thousand dollars and 75-hundred dollars a year."

I Used to Try this Line. It Never Worked.

New York Daily News - Home - Go ahead, live a little!: "Go ahead, live a little!

Or a lot. A study of N.Y. women
finds it's virtue - not vice - you'll regret.


LUST FOR LIFE: Ladies who've lived it up, like Ivana Trump...and Cher, should have no regrets.

Have that extra cookie. Sleep with him on the first date. Call in sick, even if it's for a sample sale.

You won't regret any of it, says a new study; rather it's salads, celibacy and soldiering through the flu that will bring you down.

The report - by Ivy League professors - claims that when you hit 80 and look back on life, it's your virtues, not your vices, that you'll resent.

Good girls are full of regret; bad girls have nothing but great memories."

The Folks at the Concise Oxford Dictionary Have too Much "Time" on their Hands

Oxford dictionary: 'Time' is top noun: "For those who think the world is obsessed with 'time,' an Oxford dictionary added support to the theory Thursday in announcing that the word is the most often used noun in the English language."

Today, Pottstown. Tomorrow, the World!

Philadelphia Inquirer | 06/22/2006 | Prowling alligator nabbed in Pottstown: "Prowling alligator nabbed in Pottstown. The four-feet reptile, spotted by a mail carrier, was probably a pet.
By Bonnie L. Cook
Inquirer Staff Writer

Bobby Kish often hears the click of animal feet on macadam when he delivers morning newspapers in the Pottstown area. Typically, he'll turn just in time to see the back end of a fox or a deer.

But at 5 a.m. Monday, the sound was distinctively different. Kish, who had gotten out of his truck to retrieve a misthrown paper, was walking between two parked cars when he saw a 4-foot alligator."

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Richard S. Prather

Thanks to Steve Lewis at Mystery*File for this link to a great Richard S. Prather site. Check it out right now.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Red -- Jack Ketchum

James Reasoner reviewed this book the other day, and he liked it quite a bit. I remembered that I'd had the book around for years but never read it. I took it off the shelf and discovered that it's a British paperback from 1995. Red is more a novella than a novel, and in his later comment on it, James says that there's an additional story in the Leisure Books edition. That makes his copy a bigger bargain than mine, which is filled out by a couple of chapters from another Jack Ketchum novel. But no matter which copy of the book you get, you're getting a bargain because this is one of those "they don't write 'em like that" any more books, as hard, fast, and tough as the old Gold Medals that I like so much.

As James says, the story's a simple one. Geezer's dog is killed by three young guys who do it because they think they can get away with it. They prove to be incorrect. Ketchum's spare style is note-perfect for the story that, for me, falters only once. (But not at the plot development James balked at. I thought that one was perfectly logical.) I've been a fan of Ketchum's work since I read Off Season, many and many a year ago. If you haven't read that one, I recommend it. But for now, get a copy of Red for some solid entertainment. My only regret is that I didn't read it a lot sooner.

eBay Item of the Day

Ever wanted to be a superhero in a best-selling graphic novel? Now's your chance.

Monday, June 19, 2006

William Smith

Walter Satterthwait led me to this site thanks to a discussion of the movie version of Darker than Amber. Some good stuff here if you remember Laredo or for that matter any of the movies Smith was in. Especially interesting is the discussion of the fight scene in the movie, which is condensed on the Rod Taylor site.

Robert B. Parker

I just listened to Beth Foxwell's interview with Robert B. Parker on WEBR in Fairfax, VA. It was a great interview, and I learned quite a bit about Parker that I hadn't known before. Maybe everyone else did, but it was new to me. For example, though Parker's the right age (73), I hadn't thought of him as having read the pulps when he was growing up. He did, though. I like him even better now. If the interview's ever published, I'd like to get a copy of it. You can listen to it here.

Father's Day

I thought I might get this, but it didn't happen.

Heard Any Good Stories Lately?

Escape Pod: "Escape Pod is a weekly podcast bringing you fun short science fiction and fantasy. You can listen at your computer, on any MP3 player, or subscribe to receive each episode. We pay our authors, but we’re always free to listen."

Another site worth checking out. Free, but you can contribute by PayPal if you'd like to. Thanks to Boing-Boing for the link.

Return of The Mystery Circus

The Mystery Circus: By clowns, for clowns.: "This is the third, and for now, final, incarnation of the Mystery Circus. Really, I lose track of these things."

Revamped yet again, the Mystery Circus returns, this time in blog format. Check it out.

But is the World Ready?

Britney Spears wants to set up her own magazine - about herself.

The 'Toxic' singer - who announced her plans during an interview on US TV show 'Today' - thinks it will help set the record straight about her marriage to Kevin Federline.

She said: "You know what? I need to create my own magazine. I need to come up with my own thing and say the real deal."