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?

Augustus Mandrell

Peter Rozovsky has a nice post about Of All the Bloody Cheek, the first of Frank McAuliffe's Augustus Mandrell novels. Peter also links to this excellent review/commentary on all three books of the series. As I've said before, the Mandrell books are wonderful stuff, and everybody should read them. I don't know if PointBlank is carrying through on its intent to publish all three of them, but I hope so. PointBlank was also supposed to bring into print the heretofore unpublished fourth book in the series. That's something I'd really like to see.

Will the Persecution Never End?

Online vote says Spears worst dog owner - Yahoo! News: "NEW YORK - When it comes to celebrity dog-parenting skills, Oprah Winfrey is tops and
Britney Spears is the world's worst, according to an online vote by readers of two dog magazines.
Paris Hilton, 2005's 'worst' winner, placed second for "treating her dogs like accessories,' the magazines said."

Memories of Katherine Anne Porter

I'm still moving things from the college from which I retired four years ago and taking them to storage. Today I ran across some things I thought might be interesting to one or two of you.

First is a photo of the grave marker in the Indian Creek Cemetery, a few miles out of Brownwood, Texas.

When she spoke in Brownwood, Texas, in 1976, Miss Porter told several of us that she had bought a wooden casket in Mexico and that she wanted to be buried in it. She said she kept it in a closet of her apartment. Later that year, Charlotte Laughlin, an English teacher at Howard Payne University, visited Miss Porter and took the photo at the bottom.

After her death in 1980, Miss Porter was cremated. I have no idea whether the casket was used. For some reason her mortal remains weren't returned to the Indian Creek Cemetery where she wished to be buried until 1981. Here's the April 5, 1981, bulletin from St. Mary's Catholic Church in Brownwood, and you can see the mention of Miss Porter in the middle photo. Click on it a couple of times for a good enlargement.

Is NOTHING Sacred?

Pictures at the link.

ARCHIE & RIVERDALE GET A NEW LOOK - NEWSARAMA: "With more than 60 years of a certain…shall we say, style behind them, Archie, Betty, Veronica, and the whole Riverdale gang will be getting a new look in 2007, courtesy of artist Steven Butler.

Rather than moving to a manga style, which has worked on Sabrina by Tania del Rio, this change will move the art towards a more contemporary comic book style, more realistic, and less cartoony. The move, an Archie Comics representative told Newsarama, is a continuing experiment and exploration with the characters, showcasing not only their timlessness, but their adaptability as well."

Ripper Update

IPSWICH, England (AP) - Police hunting a suspected serial killer following the murders of five prostitutes in eastern England arrested a 37-year-old man on Monday and cordoned off a group of houses.

The man was arrested at his home in Trimley St. Martin, near the port of Felixstowe, Detective Chief Superintendent Stewart Gull said in a brief statement to reporters. He declined to say where the suspect was being held.

"He has been arrested on the suspicion of murdering all five women," Gull said.

News reports identified the suspect as Tom Stephens, who was quoted in the Sunday Mirror newspaper as saying he knew all five women, and that he had been interviewed four times under caution - meaning that he was regarded as a potential suspect - by police investigating the slayings.

Paris Hilton Wedding Plans Update

Jeff Meyerson, no fan of Miss Hilton, he) was kind enough to send this link.

Zee News - Paris Hilton confirms wedding rumours: "Paris Hilton confirms wedding rumours
Washington, Dec 18: Rumours that Paris Hilton is getting set to say ‘I Do’ are true after all, and the confirmation has come straight from the heiress’ mouth.

The Hilton hotel heiress revealed to British paper the Daily Star that she was indeed planning to wed her Greek shipping heir beau Stavros Niarchos.

'It`s true. I am going to get married,” Contactmusic quoted her, as telling the Daily Star.

And, it seems that all those reports about Hilton being at loggerheads with new BFF Britney Spears don’t hold much truth after all, for Paris wants the ‘Toxic’ singer to be her matron of honour.

'I want a fairytale wedding and Britney`s going to be my matron of honour. She can advise me,' Hilton added. "

Sunday, December 17, 2006

50 Lost Movie Classics

50 Lost Movie Classics | Features | Guardian Unlimited Film: "50 Lost Movie Classics

From scenes of striking Mexican zinc workers to Burt Lancaster wandering through the city in his trunks, film history is rich with neglected masterpieces that have moved, inspired and disturbed us but somehow missed the commercial boat. We asked a panel of critics and film-makers to sing the praises of 50 forgotten gems, introduced below by Philip French."

I've actually seen quite a few of these.

Points to Ponder

Is the recording industry more like publishing than I'd realized? Of course I'm not sure what McGuinn means by "a modest advance."

Paris Hilton Abstention Update

Paris Hilton’s 7- month break: "Paris Hilton hasn’t had sex for seven months. Earlier this year, Paris has vowed to stay celibate for at least twelve months and insists she has stuck to her self imposed sex ban.

The socialite said “I have been celibate for about six or seven months, I think. I would rather just make out and kiss someone instead of sex.”"

Knudsen Custom Cowboy Hats

This folks know how to make hats! I like the various John Wayne models, but the Quigley (left) ain't bad. Unfortunately, the Stumpy is probably more my speed. Thanks to Bob Levinson for the link.

Knudsen Custom Cowboy Hats: "Unlike many 'custom cowboy hat' companies each custom hat is hand formed. Thisallows us to put curves into our hats that are impossible to duplicate with presses and forms. We utilize both old and new custom made hat tools and genuine know-how to create custom hats that are distinct, and high in quality without a huge price tag."