Saturday, January 06, 2007

Paging Duane Swierczynski

Duane does live in Philly, right?

Philadelphia Daily News | 01/06/2007 | Calling the play from the sidelines

IN TRUE Philly form, two local fans are taking their love for the Eagles way beyond a little green and white face paint.

According to an ad on, a "very attractive younger couple, both in grad school" are willing to let a complete stranger watch them have sex in exchange for two tickets to tomorrow's playoff showdown between the Birds and the New York Giants.

The couple, who say they couldn't afford the steep ticket prices, are even willing to let the ticket-holding voyeur call the plays for their bedroom romp.

"We've talked about it and figured we'd see if anyone had two tickets that would want to offer them up for watching us do what you choose in real life," said the ad, which was posted on the Web site Thursday.

There are some restrictions - "(no pain/potty/or anal, gf's [girlfriend's] rules)" - but for the most part, any other erotic ideas are fair game.

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5 Best Superpowers

Click here. If you don't like these five, you can vote for your own favorite.

A Contest

In memory of Al Blanchard, co-chair of the first three New England Crime Bake Conferences, NEMWA President and member of Sisters in Crime, the New England Crime Bake Committee is sponsoring the third annual short crime fiction contest. The prize is $100 plus publication in Level Best Books' fifth anthology of short crime fiction. The story must be a crime story by a New England author OR with a New England setting, previously unpublished (in print or electronically), no more than 5,000 words in length, and may include the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, caper, and horror, with no torture/killing of children or animals. This is a blind contest with NO entry fee. The winner will be a guest of the Crime Bake Committee at the New England Crime Bake, held in November, where the award will be presented in person.

The deadline for submissions is April 30, 2007. For specific submission
guidelines, click here.

I for One Welcome our New Zombie Army

Army dead to sign up for another hitch -

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Army said Friday it would apologize to the families of about 275 officers killed or wounded in action who were mistakenly sent letters urging them to return to active duty.

The letters were sent a few days after Christmas to more than 5,100 Army officers who had recently left the service. Included were letters to about 75 officers killed in action and about 200 wounded in action.

"Army personnel officials are contacting those officers' families now to personally apologize for erroneously sending the letters," the Army said in a brief news release issued Friday night.

The Army did not say how or when the mistake was discovered. It said the database normally used for such correspondence with former officers had been "thoroughly reviewed" to remove the names of wounded or dead soldiers.

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No Comment Department Arts - 50 Cent launches line of G-Unit novellas
Rapper 50 Cent has ventured into the world of publishing with a line of books starring characters based on members of his former group, G-Unit.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, signed copies of the books on Thursday in a New York bookstore.

The hip-hop star said he wants to take the novellas, published in a collaboration of MTV and Pocket Books, "to the top of the literary world."

"The stories in the G-Unit [are] about our life on the streets and no one knows it better than us," he said.

"Not to mention, when it comes to delivering authentic, gritty urban stories of the high and low life, our audience expects the best."

50 Cent is credited with writing the books, along with writers Nikki Turner and K. Elliot.

Last year his memoir, From Pieces to Weight, was also published by MTV/Pocket Books.

Three books in the series, Death before Dishonor, Baby Brother and The Ski Mask Way, were launched on Thursday.

The stories cover many of the same themes as 50 Cent's music, including sex, guns, cash and the short lives of street players, the publishers said.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Finn -- Jon Clinch

This book is getting a huge push from the publisher, and the author's doing a lot of publicity, with video on YouTube and so on. I'd say it's likely to be a big hit. It's the story of Pap Finn, father of the famous Huckleberry Finn, and the author's idea is that the items found by Huck and Jim in the "House of Death" chapter in Huck's own book provide clues to the life and death of Pap.

Finn's story is a dark one. Pap is a bigoted, violent drunk who is attracted to black women. He's also a murderer. He knows what he is, and he doesn't seem interested in reforming.

Some scenes in the novel are rewrites of scenes in Mark Twain's book about Huck, with of course a different spin. I think Clinch does a good job with these.

The book jumps around in time, which can be confusing if you're not ready for it. I didn't have any trouble figuring out what was happening when, but the author doesn't give you any clues like Faulkner's italics in The Sound and the Fury. The writing style is more literary than not. How you feel about it might depend on how you feel about literary writing in general. I enjoyed reading it, and the book's sense of time and the river is powerful. So is its portrait of Finn and his family: his father, a judge; his brother Will, a lawyer, and though her appearances are few and brief, his mother. Finn is a driven man, and even he doesn't know what drives him. He's an outcast from society who knows he could never live like most other men, even if he doesn't know why. He doesn't think about it. Thinking isn't his strong point.

From my point of view, Clinch made one bold misstep in the book. I can't tell you what it is without spoiling things, so I won't. All I can say is that I don't think it jibes with Twain's book at all. Clinch explains his reasoning in an afterword, but I wasn't convinced.

If the publisher's plan works, this book's going to be a bestseller and a topic of conversation. Check it out.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Port Arthur teen wants deal for bullet's removal | - Houston Chronicle

A teenager who has a bullet lodged in his forehead might allow doctors to remove the slug, his lawyer said Thursday, possibly ending a legal fight with prosecutors who think the bullet will prove the teen was involved in a shooting.

But the lawyer, Rife Kimler, said 17-year-old Joshua Bush would agree to the removal only if prosecutors agree not to pursue attempted capital murder charges. Prosecutors couldn't immediately be reached for comment Thursday.

Prosecutors have twice obtained search warrants for the bullet, but Bush and his attorney have been fighting the removal because they said it would violate Bush's civil rights.

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New Webzine -- Spacesuits and Sixguns

This new zine has a cool cover and an interesting line-up. Check it out.

From the editor: "You're going to find great stories here by Michael Wiecek, Lon Prater, and Samantha Henderson and Mikal Trimm. You're also going to discover some amazing artists - Matthew Laznicka, who gave us this month's cover; Lee Kuruganti, creator of the interior illustrations; and profiles of artists David C. Simon and Nicole Chartrand, whose incredible web comics and animation deserve as wide an audience as possible.

"Here's hoping you enjoy your shot of kick-ass contemporary pulp fiction - Spacesuits and Sixguns style! May it be the first of many."

Top 20 Nude Scenes of 2006

I, of course, would never have discovered this on my own, but I provide the link as a public service, thanks to Art Scott and Steve Stilwell. It is not, of course safe for work.

Uncle Scoopy's Top 20 Nude Scenes, Year 2006

In December of each year, the Fun House runs a members' poll to select the best nude performances among that year's releases.

This year's competition was open to films and TV shows which were released in 2006, or nude scenes not eligible before 2006. On this page Scoop and the members present the poll results, our equivalent of the Oscars, as the top nude scenes of 2006.

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Will the Persecution Never End?

The Sun Online - Bizarre online: Paris is sharing her bed again

HEIRESS PARIS HILTON is sharing her bed with a new companion - but it's not a fella!

The animal-loving blonde - currently dating shipping heir STAVROS NICHAROS - took a vow of celibacy last year and has revealed that she cuddles up with her pet baby monkey instead.

She said: “I don't have sex unless I'm in a relationship. I'm old-fashioned when it comes to that. I really am!

“Yes, I've kissed a lot of guys. I like to kiss, but that's it. I don't go home with anyone. I sleep with my animals, like my baby monkey, BRIGITTE BARDOT.”

The Simple Life star is also mum to a Chihuahua called TINKERBELL, a kinkajou called BABY LUV, a number of other dogs, a cockatoo and a ferret.

Paris added that if she was ever to place an ad in a lonely hearts column she'd describe herself as shy with a big appetite.

She told Australian Cosmo: “I'm blonde and tanned and normal-sized! I'm sweet, shy, funny, have a big heart and I'm nice - and I like to eat."

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World's Best Uke Player

Cap'n Bob sends along this link to a clip of Jake Shimabukuro playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." On a ukulele. Check it out.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Will the Persecution Never End?

PARIS GOT FIRED BY HER OWN CLUB - What Would Tyler Durden Do

Paris Hilton has been fired from Club Paris, the Florida nightclubs named for her. There are two clubs, one in Orlando and one in Jacksonville, both owned by Fred Khalilian, who reportedly invested 3 million dollars. Paris has invested no money but was paid to be the face of the clubs and make four appearances a year at the Orlando location. Khalilian fired Hilton for not making the scheduled appearances.

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Gators vs. Pythons -- Who Wins?

Thanks to Todd Mason for the link. You can listen to the story there.

NPR : Pythons vs. Gators in Florida

Day to Day, January 3, 2007 · In South Florida, overwhelmed python owners have been releasing their pets to the wild, and now the python population threatens the region's alligators. Skip Snow, the lead wildlife biologist in Everglades National Park who is dealing with the python problem, talks with Madeleine Brand.

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New Flash Fiction Blog

Aldo Calcagno has started a blog for flash stories. A couple are up already. The stories and his writer's guidelines can be found at the link.

Powder Burn Flash

Take your best shot! I'm looking for dark but well written noir that focuses on crime and mystery. Those stories with cordite get extra points! Check out the bullet points (get it?)..... I'm looking for original material. That means not published anywhere else. 1000 words or less. OK, 1001 might be OK too. You, the author, retain the copyrights to your material. What would I do with them anyway? Stories need to be fairly well edited. I don't plan on editing anyone's work.

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New Blog on the Block

No doubt you'll want to add this to your bookmarks.

Victor Gischler's Blogpocalypse

Let's break the ice on this blog mofo

This is your one-stop shopping for all things Gischler. Scroll down and to the right to see the covers of novels I wrote all by myself. If I were any 12 year old kid I could make the images link to Amazon, but I'm a techno-idiot.

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The Better-Than List

It's about this year's movies, and it's right here.

Lost Echoes -- Joe R. Lansdale

Joe Lansdale's back with a new novel, and it's about time. For many of you, that's all you needed to know, and you've stopped reading this and gone out to buy the book. But you can't get it yet, heh heh. Release date is Feb 13, and only powerful and influential bloggers such as myself have been able to get a look at it. Let's just say that I read it straight through in one sitting and that when you're lucky enough to join me in reading it, you won't be disappointed.

Oh, what the hell. Let's say more than that. Let's say that Harry Wilkes, because of a childhood illness, is left with the ability to "hear" the past, the violent past, that is. "It's like I hear and see ghosts in sounds," he says. This is a curse, of course, and Harry eventually becomes a drunk to avoid the visions.

After a while Harry meets another drunk, Tad, who's a former martial arts teacher. Together they try to get sober and find their centers. This works out pretty well, until the past shows up again, this time in the form of Kayla, a cop who knew Harry when they were kids. She wants him to use his ability to help her find out the truth about her father's death. Eventually Harry gives in, and what he "sees" doesn't improve things at all, certainly not for Harry, Tad, and Kayla.

Like the best of Lansdale's work, this book has all the moves: action, humor, political incorrectness, and fine storytelling. Check it out as soon as you can, and you'll see what I mean.

Beatles Reunion

ShowBizSpy - Music

Paul McCartney is planning to reunite with his late Beatles bandmate John Lennon and finish an unreleased track the pair sang together.

The Fab Four abandoned 'Now And Then' during their prime. McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr tried to resurrect the track when they put together their Beatles Anthology albums 10 years ago, but guitarist Harrison claimed it was not good enough.

Now McCartney wants to go back and finish the job.

A source tells British newspaper the Daily Express: "It has always niggled a bit with Paul that they didn't finish 'Now And Then.'"

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Top Ten F/X Scenes

Hint: Tom Hanks is in two of them.

Top 10 F/X Scenes in Movie History - Popular Mechanics

Top 10 F/X Scenes in Movie History
Today, many digital effects are so subtle that movie audiences often don't notice them — but it wasn't always so. We asked industry insiders to pinpoint the biggest breakthroughs in digital F/X history.

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Girls Gone Wild, Texas Style

Scandal: Cheerleaders Run Amok in Texas - Newsweek Society -

Boozing, bikinis and bullying: how the scandalous behavior of five high-school cheerleaders rocked a bedroom community near Dallas.

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Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Video at the link.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Amazon boss shows off spacecraft
The billionaire founder of has released the first images of the launch of a private spacecraft that could bring space travel to the masses.

A video of the cone-shaped Goddard vehicle shows it climbing to about 85m (285ft) before returning back to Earth.

The test launch took place in November 2006 in a remote part of Texas, but details have only now been released.

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New Thug Lit Now On-Line

Tough stuff. Stories by Dave Zeltserman, Tim Wolforth, and others. Check it out right here.

A Nice Review

James Reasoner and I have known each other for just about forever, but he's not biased in any way. (Would I lie to you?) Which is why I appreciate this so much. Thanks, James.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith Year in Review

A Year of Controversy: The Anna Nicole Saga
A Year of Controversy: The Anna Nicole Saga By Quincy Parker It began with a single mother supposedly fleeing to relative anonymity in The Bahamas to escape the clutches of the US paparazzi and has snowballed into a globally-watched controversy that has ensnared the attention of many.

Will the Persecution Never End?


PARIS HILTON turned down the chance to have a sex doll made in her image - because the idea freaked her out. Hilton hated the thought of strangers making love to a doll that looked exactly like her, even though the venture would have made her a fortune. She says, "I turn down perverted things, some sex things. Like a Paris Hilton blow-up doll. "They were like, 'They'll sell for $50,000 each, it'll be the real-life you.' And I'm like, 'I really don't want a real-life me with anyone, anywhere. No!'"

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Ice Ice, Baby

John Duke is back on the beat:

Paris: Nice Piece of Ice -

Paris Hilton is known for flashing some serious bling (and other things), but it was a different kind of ice that got the heiress' attention in Las Vegas.

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New Blog on the Block

Russell Davis has started a new blog devoted to western literature. Looks promising. Check it out.

Westerns for Today
A blog for discussing anything and everything related to western literature, including novels, short stories, anthologies, poetry and magazines. Other topics may include the publishing industry, related writing organizations and profiles of figures working in the genre. Comments and discussion are encouraged.

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Dead Man Eating

A blog devoted to describing the last meals of prisoners about to be executed? Yes, there is one. You can find out what Saddam Hussein had to eat before he was hanged, for example.

Ice Age: The Meltdown

So you thought I couldn't sink any lower than to watch Talladega Nights? Oh, how little you know.

This is, of course, the sequel to Ice Age. It's just about as funny, and the animation is better. The plot is simple: Anthropomorphic animals of the Ice Age have to deal global warming: flee the valley or die. This "plot" is just another excuse for a dysfunctional family road movie, the Ice Age version of Little Miss Sunshine.

Dad is Manny the melancholy mammoth (mouthed by Ray Romano). There's a female mammoth (Queen Latifah) who thinks she's a 'possum. There are the hyperactive, trash-talking kids (Ellie's 'possum brothers). There's the sabertooth tiger who harbors a secret fear that he must overcome. There's Sid the comedy-relief sloth. And for padding that has nothing at all to do with the rest of the movie, there's the irrepressible Scrat.

The two best scenes are Sid's encounter with the horde of Sid-worshiping mini-sloths and the Busby Berkeley-inspired dance number with buzzards.

'Possum fans (Terrill Lee Lankford, take notice) should definitely check this one out.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Love, Death and the Toyman -- Robert S. Napier

First the admissions: Robert S. Napier, better known to some of us as "Cap'n Bob," is a frequent commenter on this blog. Though we've met on relatively few occasions, I've known him for many more years than either of us would like to think about. And I feel as if I dragged him kicking and screaming into getting this book published.

That being said, if it had been a lousy book, I wouldn't have mentioned it here at all. Luckily for all of us, it's a fine debut mystery.

Jack Lorentz, the novel's narrator, deals in collectible toys, something about which the Cap'n knows more than a little, and I got a real kick from the opening scene when Lorentz is giving the business to a fraudulent toy seller, which reminded me of some eBay experiences. Lorentz has other talents, however. He's a former investigative reporter, and he has a concealed carry permit, making him a perfect candidate to become an amateur sleuth, which is what happens when an old flame begs Jack to look into the little matter of some inconvenient bodies that have turned up on her family's vacation property.

Smooth writing, a fine mystery, and entertaining characters (some with names that will be familiar to hardcore mystery fans). A dandy debut all around. Check it out. (Meanwhile I'll be trying to force the Cap'n to get the sequel ready for publication.)

Cap'n Bob Has Applied for his Press Pass

Kate Beckinsale Loves Getting Naked In Interviews - Entertainment News, Reviews, Competitions - Entertainmentwise

Journalists have been getting an eyeful lately when they go to interview Pearl Harbour star Kate Beckinsale.

The actress has revealed her penchant for showing off intimate parts of her body while being grilled by pressmen.

And one particular Japanese reporter seemingly couldn’t take the show recently according to Femalefirst.

Says Beckinsale: “A friend made me wear this top for an interview. I had one tit entirely hanging out in front of this Japanese man.”

“I think I really scared him. He was fumbling around and couldn't get his tape recorder to work.”

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I'm [Not] Ready for my Close-Up, Mr. DeMille

Does this HDTV make me look fat? -

The holiday shopping season was expected to sharply boost the number of U.S. homes with high-definition televisions to nearly 33 million. In the eyes of a growing number of image-obsessed on-air personalities, that's 33 million clear reasons to be concerned.

Besides spectacular vistas and shockingly real playing fields, hi-def clarity puts any and all wrinkles, pimples and pores on display in well-lit bathroom-mirror detail.

Some TV types say big-screen HDTV could lead to the end of the extreme close-up as we know it. Others predict hi-def fears could soon be reflected in artists' contracts.

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So You Like those Re-Cut Movie Trailers?

Rolling Stone has the best of 2006, and they're all here.

Where Are They Now?

YesButNoButYes has the scoop on Poster Girls of the '70s.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Yes, the new year begins in typical fashion. While you were watching Volver (or maybe Pan's Labyrinth) without subtitles and taking notes in Spanish, I was watching Talladega Nights. And, yes, I laughed. Quite a bit, in fact. When it comes to movies, I have no taste and no shame.

I'm not a big Will Farrell fan, and in fact I thought his cameo really brought down The Wedding Crashers. I've never seen Elf. I did like his George Bush impression, though, and I liked parts of Anchorman: the Legend of Ron Burgundy. And I liked Talladega Nights, too, in spite of the fact that none of the movie takes place at night. Maybe somebody just liked the title.

I figure about half this movie must have been improvised, but that's fine. Farrell, John C. Riley, and Sacha Baron Cohen are good at that sort of thing. There are no real characters, just caricatures, with Cohen's flamboyantly gay NASCAR driver leading the way. The story is the typical bio-pic arc, with the rise, the fall, and the return to glory, but it's just there to hang some outrageous gags on. I didn't care. I still thought it was funny. Sometime when you're in a goofy mood, check it out.

January Magazine's Best Books of 2006

Feature | Best Books of 2006

Once again, the editors of January Magazine are pleased to bring you our favorite books of the year we're just about to move out of. We've left things quite late again this time. We keep noticing that Best of compilations are getting earlier and earlier each year. After a while, this ceases to make sense. For once thing, if you publish your best of first, it's not possible to have read all the books that you feel should be in contention. So January's Best of list isn't the earliest. At all. In fact, coming as it does very nearly on the final day of the year, it should be the latest. The last word. I like that.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Bond, James Bond

Agité mais pas secoué, la France découvre James Bond - World - Times Online Dozens of distinguished academics are to meet in Paris on a mission to plug a yawning gap in French culture — the study of James Bond.

They will debate such topics as Bond’s influence on the British identity, on capitalism, geopolitics, gastronomy and sexuality. The intellectuals are to attend the three-day conference — organised by the French National Library, the universities of Nanterre and Versailles, and the European Centre for Audiovisual Writing — this month.

The organisers say that they hope to demonstrate that the spy is a legitimate subject for research and that Ian Fleming, his creator, is a notable literary figure. “Despite a few studies, largely Anglo-Saxon, James Bond literature does not seem to have received the scientific attention that it merits,” according to the Centre for Cultural History of Contemporary Societies at Versailles University.

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Will the Persecution Never End (1st Paris Hilton Post of 2007!)

PARIS STIFFS 'EM - New York Post Online Edition: Seven
January 1, 2007 -- When you live in the world of Paris Hilton, maybe there really are free lunches. The hotel heiress pulled a brazen dine-and-dash yesterday after nibbling on a hamburger in Australia, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Hilton also had a mineral water and frappe at Sloanes Café before she took off without paying $8. "She's got bucket loads of money and she didn't pay for her drinks," disgusted waitress Jo Pfahl said. While she couldn't be bothered to pay for lunch, Paris that same afternoon spent $2,200 at nearby Arianne Lingerie for stockings, jewelry, a camisole and bra. Paris has assets of about $30 million, while the Hilton-family empire has been valued at $1 billion, according to some estimates.

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Texas Monthly Gets It. I Think.

Texas Monthly January 2007: Book Reviews
MURDER AMONG THE OWLS, the fourteenth offering in BILL CRIDER’s Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mystery series, has no literary conceits; it is nothing more—nor less—than a pleasant police procedural set in the sleepy burg of Clearview. This time out, Rhodes is faced with the apparent slip-and-fall death of seventyish neighbor Helen Harris. Not fooled by the upended stool and burned-out lightbulb, he “somehow [doesn’t] believe” it was an accident at all. The laconic lawman brings his dry wit and down-home sensibilities to bear on his investigation, pondering how Mrs. Harris’s cat, Sam, escaped the deceased woman’s house, interrogating the starchy members of her reading group (Older Women’s Literary Society, the “OWLS” of the title), and thwarting her unruly nephew Leo’s chain saw attack on her grieving beau, Alton Brant. One could fault Crider for the happy sheen he applies to the mystery genre, but that would be to miss the point entirely.

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DJ Blast on the Oldies Superhighway

Those of you who remember Lloyd Thaxton (and maybe read his blog) might be interested in the two-part interview with him on DJ Blast's page on the oldies Superhighway. The interview won't be up forever, so check it out soon.

UFO in Chicago?

I suggest that they read my story in the book on the left if they want to know the true story of UFOs.

Chicago Tribune: It sounds like a tired joke--but a group of airline employees insist they are in earnest, and they are upset that neither their bosses nor the government will take them seriously.

A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees who observed the phenomenon.

Was it an alien spaceship? A weather balloon lost in the airspace over the world's second-busiest airport? A top-secret military craft? Or simply a reflection from lights that played a trick on the eyes?

Officials at United professed no knowledge of the Nov. 7 event--which was reported to the airline by as many as a dozen of its own workers--when the Tribune started asking questions recently. But the Federal Aviation Administration said its air traffic control tower at O'Hare did receive a call from a United supervisor asking if controllers had spotted a mysterious elliptical-shaped craft sitting motionless over Concourse C of the United terminal.

Steve Fisher

Woody Haut has an interesting post on Fisher's writing career on his blog today. Check it out.

I Always Suspected This

FBI Considered "It's A Wonderful Life" Communist Propaganda | Wise Bread
In 1947, . . the FBI considered this anti-cosumerist message as subversive Communist propaganda (read original FBI memo).

According to Professor John Noakes of Franklin and Marshall College, the FBI thought Life smeared American values such as wealth and free enterprise while glorifying anti-American values such as the triumph of the common man.

Thanks to Al (Hard Man) Guthrie for the link.

A Little Rockford Files Trivia for the New Year


If the name Stuart Margolin, “Day After Day (It's Slippin' Away)” co-writer, rings a bell, it is likely from the years (1974-1979) he endeared himself to viewers of “The Rockford Files.”

For his portrayal of Angel Martin, Jim Rockford's (James Garner) exasperating crony, Margolin won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series — not once but twice, in 1979 and 1980.

He also wrote, directed, or acted in another 150 films, and either won or received a nomination for 11 top industry awards in various categories.

Composing music is another love of Stuart's, and over 100 of his songs have been recorded.

In 1980, as the last episodes of “The Rockford Files” aired, Margolin's first album came out (Warner Bros. K-3439), appropriately titled “And the Angel Sings.”

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The 100 Most Annoying Things of 2006

retroCRUSH: The World's Greatest Pop Culture Site

Another year and another list of things that bugged the crap out of us. We've been doing this for six years, and our crack team of annoying specialists have uncovered a virtual bushel and peck of mind bendingly awful items for your annoying pleasure.

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He's Ba-a-a-a-a-a-ck O.J.'s Book: Back by Next Christmas? -- Page 1

O.J. Simpson's ill-fated homicidal fantasy If I Did It may yet see the light of day. One of the major publishing fiascos of 2006, the volume was abruptly pulled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. right before it was due to land on store shelves in late November, the victim of widespread public outrage. But the title itself, like a bad penny, may resurface, perhaps before the end of 2007.

With the exception of some copies pilfered from warehouses, the entire 400,000 print run of If I Did It — in which Simpson "hypothesized" how he would have killed his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman — was slated to be destroyed. As with most celebrity tell-all tales, however, Simpson's rights to the material will eventually revert back to him. Though the exact contractual language has not been made public, a source close to Simpson tells TIME that O.J. gets certain rights returned 12 months after the original publication date — which means he should be in a position to resell his book before next Christmas.

Several European publishers are said to be clamoring to print the story in their respective territories. Murdoch's high-profile rejection has only made the book more attractive.

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Once Again, Texas Leads the Way - Cinematic Happenings Under Development
Somewhere out there – possibly reading this very article – are the members of a most exclusive fraternity. These people (I think there may be three of them) may not know each other. They may not know they belong to such a tiny club. But they played a pivotal role in movie history: these people helped the Tom Sizemore and Katherine Heigl-starring movie Zyzzyx Road reach an astonishing 30 dollars at the domestic box office. That’s not a typo. I didn’t mean 30 million dollars. Or 300,000 dollars. Zyzzyx Road, released on February 25th of 2006, was released in one theater, where it played for six days and earned 30 dollars total.

The "one theater" was the Highland Park Village Theater in Dallas, Texas.

It's 2007 . . .

. . . and I find that pretty hard to believe. As my brother once said to me, "What happened to the 'eighties?" You young whippersnappers might still be lucky enough to find that time passes slowly, but you'll find out soon enough that it travels at nearly the speed of light. At any rate, Happy New Year to all. Before you know it, it will be 2008.

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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