Saturday, August 19, 2006

OK, Why Not Admit It? I Love ABBA.

My Kids Should Be So Lucky

Holy windfall, Batman!

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

Montreal — Tom Crippen knew he faced a daunting task after the death of his father, an inveterate pack rat who never threw anything out. It wasn't just the stockpiles of old opera programs, paper clips, Christmas cards, baseball caps, paperbacks or souvenir coffee mugs.

Mainly, it was the awesome collection of 11,000 comics that had colonized the family garage and basement.

“The shelves were just piled high with comics,” said Mr. Crippen, a freelance editor living in Montreal. “I knew they were worth money, but I thought, $50,000, maybe $100,000.”

Mr. Crippen was wrong. After painstakingly dusting off and cataloguing the comics — a process that took four months — he called in the experts to the family home outside New York.

And — Holy windfall, Batman! — the superheroes delivered.

The cache of vintage comics, many of them rare and in immaculate condition, were evaluated at $2.5-million (U.S.).

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

I Think Sheriff Rhodes Could Take Lessons

There's a nice photo at the link.

The Herald Democrat: "Sheriff matches shirts, pistol grips

Odessa American

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — Ector County Sheriff Mark Donaldson has more fur in his office than your average herd of wildebeests.

Sitting in a thick wooden king-chair covered with bronze stars and hairy cowhide, Donaldson reigns at the Ector County Detention Center. He folds his hands, leans forward and peers out over his set mustache.

“I like to think that I’m hard-nosed with criminals,” Donaldson said. “The main thing I try to do is serve the public. To try to do things right and try to be as efficient as we can.”

Donaldson keeps his pistol right-hand ready. The long-time West Texas lawman isn’t afraid to take on bad guys and put them behind bars — and he’s not afraid to color coordinate either.

He makes it a daily habit to match his gun grips with his shirt — can you say purple and canary yellow?

“People always say, ’How many guns do you have?’ Donaldson said.

But the secret is in the grips.

Each day Donaldson covers one of his two 1970s-model Colt 1911 pistols with one of his 19 sets of gun grips. (At the time of the interview, he was waiting for an additional grip with an American flag and eagle design to arrive.) He screws one of the decorative grips onto a pistol handle before placing it in his black gun holster.

Donaldson chooses from a collection of grips made of wood or synthetic materials in colors like canary yellow, marbled blue, green, black, red, orange and brown.

“I’m not one of the white shirt people,” he said. “I like bright colors.”

Even John Wayne wore yellow gun grips, Donaldson reasoned. But the Duke fan draws the line on some shades.

“They make pink (gun grips), but I’m not going there,” he said. “I have pink shirts, but I just wear black with those.”

If a John Wayne doll, commemorative rifle, replica belt, framed drawing and even Wayne toilet paper in Donaldson’s office aren’t enough, Robert Hollmann, an Odessa author and attorney, can vouch for Donaldson’s dedication to the Duke.

“He dresses like John Wayne,” Hollmann said. “He even tries to walk like him I think.”"

You're Not Getting Older. . .

. . . You're getting better. West Columbia, for the curious, is just down the road from Alvin. - Army accepting older recruits: "FORT JACKSON, S.C. — Margie Black had wanted to enter the military as a teenager, but having her first child at 19 put off her ambitions.

So when she learned the Army raised its enlistment age, Black, now a 41-year-old grandmother from West Columbia, Texas, didn't hesitate to join. The decision took 'about 30 seconds,' she said.

On Friday, Pvt. Black worked on her marksmanship skills here, while her 21-year-old daughter was at Army basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.

'I'm taking it one day at a time,' Black said. 'If I do that, I can handle it.'

Older soldiers like her are showing up more often at Army training bases across the country since Congress gave the service approval earlier this year to raise its enlistee age limit, which had been 35, to just under 42 years."

Yes, We Have More Bananas

Many of you have no doubt been looking foreward with bated breath to my the annual posting of a photo of my banana crop. Well, here it is.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

It's come to my attention that cat photos on Friday are a grand old tradition of the blogosphere. So here are Geri (foreground) and Sam taking it easy in the grass.

Yep, That's the Band I'd Have Picked. Wait a Minute. They Were a Band?

Spice Girls top bands reunion poll - Yahoo! News UK: "The Spice Girls have been voted the band most people would like to see get back together.

Even though it's been a decade since they burst onto the music scene with the undeniably catchy Wannabe and their Girl Power slogan, the five-some took 17% of the vote in the Yahoo poll.

They beat legendary music acts such as The Jam and the Stone Roses to take the top spot.

Rock legends Led Zeppelin took second place and The Police came in third.

'The Spice Girls' music, like it or loathe it, has that amazing ability to transport the listener straight back to their heyday,' said Gareth Bellamy, Editor of Yahoo! Music UK.

And voters might just get their wish.

The girls - Victoria Beckham, Emma Bunton, Geri Halliwell, Melanie Chisholm and Melanie Brown - are rumoured to be planning a comeback."

New Stuff at Mystery*File

MYSTERY*FILE ON-LINE: "Aug 18. LESLIE CHARTERIS. One of the best websites devoted to a single mystery author, bar none. If there’s anything you’d like to know about Simon Templar, aka The Saint, you will find it here, whether it be be film, TV or books and magazines, no to mention a peek into the life of the author himself – whose real name was ... ?

Aug 17. THE RAP SHEET. For the finest in up-to-date news and detailed commentary on mystery fiction and its practitioners on a nearly daily basis, you cannot do better than this website, which recently celebrated its 200th posting. J. Kingston Pierce is the editor, ably assisted by collaborators Stephen Miller, Anthony Rainone and Linda L. Richards. (I thought I’d recommended this blog long ago, but not so. My error.)

Aug 17. MURDER CLINIC. The checklist of the detective tales adapted for broadcast on Mutual’s early 1940s radio series has been revised and added to once again. Also included are links to mp3 versions of the six episodes known to exist, plus links to e-texts of stories in the public domain and available on the web."

Happy Birthday, Lolita!

It was on this day in 1955 that Lolita was published. It was finally published in the U.S. in 1958. The scan on the left is of the copy of the first paperback edition. I bought it in 1959, and it's been part of my library ever since. I probably bought it because I'd heard it was scandalous, but I quickly discovered that it was a wonderfully written novel. Probably somewhere around page 1. I've read it only once since 1959, so it might be time for me to delve into it again.

Snakes on Claire Danes

Thanks to Walter (Snakes) Satterthwait for the link.

I Sense Another Cover-Up

United Press International - NewsTrack - Hawaii UFO looked like a wayward missile: "Hawaii UFO looked like a wayward missile

HILO, Hawaii, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- No one Thursday was claiming ownership of a tubular flying object that buzzed a Hawaii airport this week and looked a lot like a missile.

Officials at the Pohakuloa Training Area told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that there were no military exercises involving missiles taking place when the object was spotted Tuesday over the Hilo Airport on the Big Island.

Witnesses told the newspaper the silver object was silver and emitted a vapor trail; however it had no apparent fins or markings on it.

One man told the newspaper, 'The noise was super loud.'

The object didn't seem to threaten any air traffic around the airport, the report said.

Hawaii officials said the FBI and Transportation Security Administration were looking into the matter."

Paul Giamatti in Bubba Nosferatu?

Paul Giamatti's favorite role is played under the radar: "Also in the can are The Nanny Diaries, in which Giamatti and Laura Linney play a self-absorbed couple, and Shoot 'Em Up, 'a very violent action movie' with Clive Owen.

This fall he'll play Santa Claus opposite Vince Vaughn in the comedic Joe Claus. He also hopes to make Bubba Nosferatu, a prequel to horror-comedy Bubba Hotep.

Bruce Campbell again would play Elvis Presley, with Giamatti as his manager, Colonel Tom Parker. In Louisiana to make a movie, they're assailed by a coven of she-vampires."

The question is, how much will Joe Lansdale be involved with the script? I loved Bubba Hotep, but it was straight from Joe's story. So far I haven't seen any stories about Bubba Nosferatu. Can they pull it off without Joe? Or will he do the script? Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Happy Birthday, Maureen O'Hara!

One of the greats. No question about it. She's 86 today.

The A - Z of Rock & Roll Sex Scandals on

The A - Z of Rock & Roll Sex Scandals on "What beloved band enjoyed molesting their male roadies? What other pop stars prefer the company of children? Find out all this and more in our comprehensive guide to the seamiest moments in music history."

Everything you ever wanted to know. Check it out.

Against all Gods

I couldn't resist acquiring one of the Harry Whittington novels I didn't already own. This is the Star Books pb edition, and the cover teaches us how to make a novel about the building of the Suez Canal look a lot like a plantation novel.

Is it Abbott and Costello?

Or is it Yoda and Jar-Jar? I report, you decide.

Happy Birthday, Davy Crockett!

Since I mentioned Fess Parker yesterday, I thought it would be appropriate to give a little shout-out to the real Davy on the anniversary of his birth on this day in 1786.

American West - DAVY CROCKETT: "Davy Crockett, the celebrated hero, warrior and backwoods statesman, was born August 17, 1786 in a small cabin on the banks of the romantic Nolichucky River, near the mouth of Limestone Creek, which today lies about three and a half miles off 11-E Highway near Limestone, Tennessee. David 'Davy' Crockett was the fifth of nine children and the fifth son born to John and Rebecca Hawkins Crockett. The Crocketts were a self-sufficient, independent family. Davy Crockett stands for the Spirit of the American Frontier. As a young man he was a crafty Indian fighter and hunter. When he was forty-nine years old, he died a hero's death at the Alamo, helping Texas win independence from Mexico. For many years he was nationally known as a political representative of the frontier."

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Chupacabra? Residents are wondering if an animal found dead over the weekend may be the mysterious creature that has mauled dogs, frightened residents and been the subject of local legend for half a generation.

The animal was found near power lines along Route 4 on Saturday, apparently struck by a car while chasing a cat. The carcass was photographed and inspected by several people who live in the area, but nobody is sure exactly what it is.

Michelle O'Donnell of Turner spotted the animal near her yard about a week before it was killed. She called it a "hybrid mutant of something."

"It was evil, evil looking. And it had a horrible stench I will never forget," she told the Sun Journal of Lewiston. "We locked eyes for a few seconds and then it took off. I've lived in Maine my whole life and I've never seen anything like it."

For the past 15 years, residents across Androscoggin County have reported seeing and hearing a mysterious animal with chilling monstrous cries and eyes that glow in the night. The animal has been blamed for attacking and killing a Doberman pinscher and a Rottweiler the past couple of years.

Update: An expert who examined the remains of a mystery creature believes it was a wild dog. But that hasn't stopped runaway speculation about the beast and whether it was responsible for mauling dogs and frightening residents.

Loren Coleman, a Portland author and cryptozoologist, said he didn't know for sure what the animal was based on his examination of its remains Wednesday.

"I think this dead animal is a chow or chow-mix, a relatively small dog, that was feral, which is unusual for that area," he told the Sun Journal newspaper. He noted, however, that his was only an educated guess based on the findings so far.

The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists/The Pirates! in an Adventure with Ahab -- Gideon Defoe

This is a double book, a trade paperback in the style of the old Ace Doubles. Read one side and flip the book over for a second novel. The difference is that the Ace editions had cooler covers and were probably longer. Yes, I know that the Ace books were very short. So are these two novels, about 100 pages in fact.

They're also pretty funny if you're in the mood for the ridiculous. I can't really describe them, so let's just say they're the kind of books in with the pirates can sail to Las Vegas in search of the white whale, who's been spotted gambling there. Benny Hill collides with Monty Python, maybe. Anyway, if you like that sort of thing, this is very much the sort of thing you'll like.

I found both books very funny, but I enjoyed In an Adventure with Scientists more, probably because I read it first. A hundred pages is about the right length. You wouldn't want to O.D., and it would be easy to do. The next time you want to try something completely different, this is it.

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

Thanks to the mysterious JTD for the link. Ever wondered what it might actually
feel like to be Paris Hilton dancing on her own leather ottoman or gazing lovingly at herself in her own mirror? Well, neither have we, but if you're curious about where the lodging heiress sleeps, lounges, and keeps her clothes, a new auction of Paris' furniture might be of interest.

StarStyle has begun auctioning off a set of furniture on its website that it says was actually used by Paris in her Hollywood home. Amongst the items up for bid over the next eleven days are various side tables, an oriental rug, wicker lounge chairs, McGuire Tambour copper lamps, and the highly functional "elephant stand," all starting at a relatively budget $300 or less.

Happy Birthday, Robert Culp!

Hoby Gilman, Texas Ranger; Kelly Robinson; Bill Maxwell. Or just Robert Culp, 76 years old today.

Happy Birthday, Fess Parker!

82 today. Sure he played other roles, but he'll always be Davy Crockett to me.

Bob Dylan on XM

I had to take a cat to the vet this morning, so I missed Dylan's show. However, here's the "divorce" playlist from another week I failed to post

D-I-V-O-R-C-E - Tammy Wynette
The Grand Tour - George Jones
Alimony - The Clowns
She Got The Goldmine, I Got The Shaft - Jerry Reed
Alimony Blues - T-Bone Walker
Married By The Bible, Divorced By The Law - Hank Snow
Divorce Me C.O.D. - Merle Travis
Mexican Divorce - The Drifters
Mr. And Mrs. Used To Be - Loretta Lynn
You Can't Divorce My Heart - Lefty Frizzell
Love Doesn't Live Here Anymore - June Christy with Pete Rugolo
Alimony - Tommy Tucker
Will Your Lawyer Talk to God - Kitty Wells
(Pay Me)Alimony - Maddox Brothers and Sister Rose
Alimony Blues - Eddie"Mr. Cleanhead" Vinson and his Orchestra
Divorce Decree - Doris Duke

Available Only in Japan

Only in Japan -- Hello Hilton - "Only in Japan -- Hello Hilton
Posted Aug 7th 2006 3:28PM by TMZ Staff

Just when you thought Paris Hilton mania couldn't get any bigger, Sanrio, the folks behind Hello Kitty, have taken it to another level. They have created a signature Hello Kitty figure with a Paris Hilton look. Sorry folks, it's only available in Japan."

Lights Out (for) Lidge

Last year Brad Lidge was the best closer in the league. This year he's one of the worst. Last year they called him "Lights-Out Lidge." This year they're calling him "Blown-Save Brad." I feel sorry for the guy. How do you go from the penthouse to the outhouse like that? I know not what cause others will choose, but I think it was the monster homer that Pujols hit off him in the play-offs last fall. Lidge says it didn't affect him, and maybe he even believes it. I think it did. Even if it didn't, it affected the other hitters in the league, who saw that Lidge wasn't invincible. Not only that, he was vulnerable. He's never been the same since. And for that matter, neither have the Astros.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I, for One, Can Hardly Wait

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Morgan Creek has begun the detective work on a kooky cold case. The production company has hired Jeff Sank and brothers Jason and Justin Heimberg to write a third installment of the hit franchise "Ace Ventura."

The two previous "Ventura" comedies -- 1994's "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and the following year's "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" -- grossed more than $180 million domestically and helped establish Jim Carrey as one of the highest-paid comedy actors in Hollywood.

The latest pet project is expected to center on the eccentric detective's son, who steps into his father's shoes to take over the family business.

No Wonder Trace Adkins Writes Country Songs

Accident-Prone Trace Adkins Lost a Finger, Broke Both Arms, & Was Shot by Ex-Wife - Starpulse News Blog: "Country music tough guy Trace Adkins had to have his finger reattached when he sliced it off with a knife back in the days when he was working on an off-shore oil rig. The singer was trying to open a bucket when the accident happened. He says, 'They semi-successfully re-attached it.'

The accident-prone singer also broke both his arms, a leg and a handful of ribs and cut his nose off in a car crash. But the worst pain he ever felt came after his ex-wife shot him in a heated argument in 1994."

GoodisCon Update

What do Humphrey Bogart, Jane Mansfield and Anne Bancroft have in common? DAVID GOODIS

I am a big David Goodis fan. I know that you are also a David Goodis fan.

I am writing to you hoping that you would like to share in a tribute be planned in memory of David Goodis to be held on January 5th, 6th and 7th of 2007 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

January will mark the 40th anniversary of his death. I feel that he has long gone unrecognized and unappreciated for his great contribution to the movie industry and noir/hard-boiled/existential writing. His artistic style lives on in any number of modern film makers (Quentin Tarantino and Steven Soderbergh) and writers (Duane Swierczynski, Ken Bruen, Andrew Vachss, Jason Starr, Jim Nisbet and George Pelecanos).

It is my hope that the conference will attract fans of Goodis (writers, movie makers, movie aficionados, academicians and readers), will inspire people to learn more about one of the most fascinating Philadelphians and will renew a long overdue interest in David Goodis.

The conference (“GoodisCon”) will be conducted over a three day period in Goodis’ hometown.

The conference will be divided into three parts: the man, the myth and the legacy. The man portion will examine David Goodis’ life in Philadelphia and in Hollywood. It is our intention to interview and/or have friends, family and biographers discuss their thoughts and memories of David Goodis. The myth portion of the conference will examine the many stories that abound about him. There will be discussions led by various academicians specializing in David Goodis and his works. The legacy portion of the conference will be dedicated to the ongoing influence of David Goodis today in the form of books, movies and theatre.

Our goal is to create a setting where people can come together, learn about a fascinating man and engage in lively conversation about this enigmatic man and his desire to portray the plight of the down trodden.

It would be an honor and a pleasure to have you attend this important event with us.

Please visit our website.

Thank you very much for your time and cooperation.


Louis M. Boxer, M.D.

Snowball Express -- Check it Out

About Snowball Express: "Those who protect us deserve our thanks, our support and our help. Those in the Armed Forces who have laid down their lives in service to our way of life deserve our gratitude and our commitment to helping the family members they left behind.

The Snowball Express will provide a holiday experience for every child who has lost a parent while serving in our military forces during the Afghanistan and Iraq conflict. We will be bringing the children and surviving parent or guardian from throughout the nation to Orange County on December 7th, 8th and 9th, 2006 for a holiday party and a trip to Disneyland. "

Maybe I Can Work Out a Tie-In

Mammoths may roam again after 27,000 years - Britain - Times Online: "BODIES of extinct Ice Age mammals, such as woolly mammoths, that have been frozen in permafrost for thousands of years may contain viable sperm that could be used to bring them back from the dead, scientists said yesterday.

Research has indicated that mammalian sperm can survive being frozen for much longer than was previously thought, suggesting that it could potentially be recovered from species that have died out. "

Snakes in a Quiz

I missed one.

Snakes in a quiz - MOVIE QUIZZES - "But are you ready for a journey into the twin realms of ophidiophobia (fear of snakes) and airplaneophobia (fear of... well, you can probably guess)? To prime you mentally for Snakes on a Plane, we've prepared a trivia quiz on snakes in popular culture. Don't be afraid -- it won't bite."

Happy Birthday, Bill Pinkney!

Bill Pinkney is the last surviving member of the original Drifters (founded in 1953), one of the great groups of my adolescence. Both Clyde McPhatter and Ben E. King sang lead with the group at different times, but it's Pinkney's bass voice that most people remember from the classic "White Christmas," the best rockin' Christmas song ever recorded. (McPhatter also sings lead on that one.)

Happy Birthday, Pat Priest!

Who could forget Marilyn Munster? Pat also starred opposite Elvis Presley in Easy Come, Easy Go. She played the "bad girl" part. Today she's 70 years old.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mystery*File Again

Mystery*File has some new stuff and highlights some old stuff. Check it out.

MYSTERY*FILE ON-LINE: "Aug 13. MacKINLAY KANTOR. You may or may not have known it, but MacKinlay Kantor, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for Andersonville in 1956, began his career writing for the pulp detective magazines. In this article reprinted from The Armchair Detective, Spring 1997, John Apostolou gives us an inside look into Kantor’s overall career as a mystery fiction writer. A newly revised bibliography follows, along with the usual assortment of cover images.

Aug 13. GIL BREWER. Gil Brewer’s estate has begun a website which, while it appears to be in its early stages – a link to “Gallery,” is currently non-operational, for example – may contain information found there and nowhere else.
Here on M*F you can find our own earlier tribute to Brewer, consisting of a profile in two parts. In part one, Bill Pronzini takes a long look at this noir author’s life, which ended tragically far too soon. Be prepared for a large dose of reality when you read this, if you haven’t already. Part two is a comprehensive checklist of Brewer’s novels by Lynn Munroe, complete with many cover images.
Also highly recommended is a Gil Brewer website maintained by George Tuttle. The bonus provided here is that the detailed bibliography put together by George also includes Brewer’s short fiction – as does the estate website, in a slightly different format."

Paris Hilton Gets Bitten

ABC News: Paris Hilton Bitten by Pet Kinkajou: "LOS ANGELES Aug 11, 2006 (AP)— Paris Hilton got no love this week from her pet kinkajou Baby Luv in fact, the racoon-like animal bit her. The heiress was not badly hurt but did visit a hospital emergency room to receive a tetanus shot, her publicist, Elliot Mintz, told The Associated Press on Friday.

Hilton was frolicking with her exotic pet early Tuesday morning 'the way some people play with their cats and dogs' when the animal became excited, Mintz said."

From Armadillocon: Bill Crider

From Armadillocon: Joe R. Lansdale