Saturday, December 22, 2007

Croc Update (Crossing Over Edition)

Psychic John Edward seeks message from Steve Irwin | The Courier-Mail: "TERRI Irwin says she is 'open' to receiving a message from the spirit of her late husband, Croc Hunter Steve, when an American psychic medium visits Australia Zoo next month.

Mrs Irwin, 43, told The Sunday Mail yesterday she sensed Steve was still with her and had 'great faith' that his spirit was still around.

International medium John Edward, who rose to international stardom with his television show Crossing Over, will appear in the Sunshine Coast zoo's Crocoseum on January 5 as part of a summer entertainment program."

Political Post -- Please Skip

This is, I suppose, highly political, but maybe you can enjoy it no matter what your politics are. Who knew George W. Bush could rock out like this?

Astonishing Adventures! Magazine Now On-Line

Issue #2 is now available for download. Sure to be a pulpy delight if the first issue was anything to go by.

If At First You Don't Succeed. . . .

MTV Movies Blog � CONFIRMED: Peter Berg Will Direct ‘Dune,’ Talking With Tom Cruise About ‘Edwin A. Salt’: "Ladies and gentlemen, the next huge sci-fi franchise has a director. During an interview with “The Kingdom” director Peter Berg, he confirmed the rumor that “Dune” is coming and that he’s the one that will helm it. Calling the plans for him to direct “a done deal,” Berg told me that “if it weren’t for the writer’s strike, we’d be in it right now.”"

How Much of an SF Geek are You?

Take the Sci fi sounds quiz I received 72 credits on
The Sci Fi Sounds Quiz

How much of a Sci-Fi geek are you?
Guess the Sci-Fi Movie Sounds hereCanon powershot

Graham Powell Appreciation Day

Gerald So reminds me that it's that time of year: time to thank Graham Powell for Crimespot, where updated links to all your favorite blogs can be found. Graham's also running a charity drive, and you can contribute if you'd like to help.

Not a Juicer #1

Friday, December 21, 2007

Harry Potter Update

Rowling has considered another 'Potter': "'Harry and Hermione are at the Ministry of Magic, and Harry ends up leading the Auror department. Ron helps his brother George at the joke shop and does very well. Ginny becomes a professional Quidditch player and then sportswriter for the Daily Prophet.'"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas slaps 'pole tax' on strip clubs - International Herald Tribune: "DALLAS: Texas, where strip clubs have given rise to Anna Nicole Smith and many other less-generously endowed performers, is about to make it more expensive to watch a little bump and grind.

In what some have dubbed the 'pole tax,' the Lone Star State will require its 150 or so strip clubs to collect a $5-per-customer levy, with most of the proceeds going to help rape victims. The tax goes into effect on New Year's Day."

Archaeological Update

Record-breaking haul from Gaul discovered at farm in Brittany - Independent Online Edition > Europe: "The largest treasure trove of pre-Roman, Gaulish money ever to be found has been discovered in central Brittany.

The 545 coins – each worth thousands of euros to collectors but priceless to historians and archaeologists – could overturn much of the received wisdom about the complexity, and wealth, of pre-Roman Celtic society in France. Why was such enormous wealth, a king's ransom at the time, buried in the grounds of a large Gaulish farm 40 miles south of Saint-Brieuc in the first century BC? Why was the hoard never recovered?"

10 Most Bizarre Scientific Papers

Some are more bizarre than others. I think my favorite is "Safe and Painless Manipulation of Penile Zipper Entrapment." You can see all of them here.

Hat tip the the Mike McGruff blog.

From Dave Zeltserman

Hardluck Stories: After a five year run Hardluck Stories will be shutting down, but we're going to go out with a bang with one final issue. The theme is 30s Pulp Noir, editors are Ed Gorman and Dave Zeltserman, and illustrations will be by the incomparable Jean-Pierre Jacquet. Maximum story length is 4000 words, deadline: May 1st, 2008.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Our Tax Dollars at Work

IRS paid one contractor $188,000 to provide 11 months worth of clerical work: "The Internal Revenue Service paid a contractor $188,000 to provide one person to do clerical work over 11 months.

The contract was included as one example of financial waste in a government report Thursday on the tax agency's involvement in a new program ordered by President Bush in 2004 to develop more secure ID cards for federal workers.

The Treasury Department's inspector general for tax administration said the IRS also needlessly spent almost $2 million on a computer security system that the tax agency doesn't plan using at this time."

Hellboy 2

I liked Hellboy quite a bit, and I'm sure I'll like this one, too. That is, I'll like it if I can make it out. Maybe I need glasses that light things up.

Will the Persecution Never End?

Thanks to John Duke for the update on the continuing abuse of our so-called "justice" system. - Report: Gibson Got Celebrity Treatment, Not Paris: "A New Report Shows That Mel Gibson Got Preferential Treatment In His Arrest, Paris Hilton Did Not
LOS ANGELES (CBS) ― During the 2006 drunken driving arrest of actor Mel Gibson, three Los Angeles Sheriff's Department employees violated policy, according to the sixth annual Office of Independent Review of the department.

The same review found that there were no policy violations in the jailing of socialite Paris Hilton earlier this year.

The OIR is an independent oversight group entrusted with ensuring that internal investigations by the sheriff's department are 'thorough, fair and effective in addressing allegations of misconduct and other critical events,' according to an OIR statement."

Monster House

I watched this last night, and I kept thinking, "Didn't I read the book?" But I guess not. Just one of those creative coincidences, maybe.

The house of the title is a living entity that eats kids, cops, and dogs. Naturally nobody believes it, though DJ, the kid who lives across the street tries to tell them. Mr. Nebbercracker, who lives in the house, seems almost as evil as the house itself. And Halloween is coming.

You can probably take things from here, if your imagination is wild enough. I liked the animation, most of the jokes, and the house itself. The story could have used some work, I thought. Maybe if it had been more like that book I read. . . .

Number 5000

This is my 5000th post. You'd think I'd get a life. But noooooooooo.

Croc Update Update

Crocodile vet's arm back where it belongs | The Australian: "EIGHT months ago, Taiwanese veterinarian Chang Po-yu's severed forearm was in the jaws of a sick crocodile he had been trying to treat .

Yesterday, Mr Chang continued his rehabilitation towards regaining the use of his hand.

The zoo worker had his forearm reattached by surgeons after his colleagues recovered the severed limb from the mouth of the 200kg Nile crocodile.

The crocodile, named Chu Chu, severed Mr Chang's forearm at the Shaoshan Zoo in the southern city of Kaohsiung when the veterinarian tried to retrieve a tranquilliser dart from the reptile's hide."

Croc Update

I've seen albino crocs and gators before, but never a black one. There's a not very good photo at the link.

Endangered black crocodile confiscated from circus: "An extremely rare black crocodile has been seized by regional police officers from a circus in Barcelona and taken to an animal welfare centre.

The animal was found last Monday at the Gran Circo Universal, which has set up on the esplanade of the Barcelona Forum complex.

The paperwork for twelve Mississippi and six Cayman alligators also owned by the circus was found to be in order."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Want to Win a Fabulous Prize?

The Mom's Merry Madness Contest: "Ugly Christmas sweaters have become a holiday tradition. Whether you‘re throwing a themed party or just making an ironic statement, we at Hellish Holidays and True Mom Confessions want to see what you‘ve got! Submit a video or photo and you just might win a fabulous prize. Best video wins a PureDigital video camera and best photo wins a Stila makeup collection."

New Blog on the Block

Looks like one some of you might want to check out. I'm sure I'll be looking in.

Vintage Hardboiled Reads: "Welcome! This blog will be showcasing vintage paperback novels from the hardboiled, noir and western era. Many published by Gold Medal, Signet, Avon, Ace , Dell etc... Hope visitors get some satisfaction from viewing and any comments are welcome. Enjoy!"

CrimeSpot's Christmas Charity Drive - Spotted: "Some of you may have noticed a new widget at the top of the 'Recent Posts' column on the front page. Since this is the holiday season and all, I thought I would try to get a charity drive running, with donations going to the United Way.

My target is $1,000 dollars. Since the site statistics say I get about 500 unique visitors a month, that's only two dollars a person. (If you can't see the widget, the donation page is here.)

Now, CrimeSpot is and always will be free, and there's no obligation to donate anything. If you prefer just to read the posts, I promise not to try guilting you into donating. You heartless monster.

I've already kicked in a starter donation (and left an inspirational comment). I'll also contribute $5 for each of the first ten people who mention this on their website and provide a link to the donation page. The address is:

Thank you for your support."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texan deals peyote legally | People | Reuters: "RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas (Reuters) - Mauro Morales has chickens in his yard, deer antlers hanging from the fence and a shed full of peyote behind his house.

A slight, balding man in his 60s, Morales is one of just three 'peyoteros' in the country licensed by the government to sell the small green cactus that contains the hallucinogen mescaline."

Bigfoot Update

Hunters of Sasquatch undaunted by failure -- "Over the past year, the part-time resident of San Juan Capistrano, Calif., (Hersom's primary home is in Henderson, Nev.) has pumped tens of thousands of dollars into the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization, an Orange County-based group of Sasquatch-hunters.

Hersom pays the salary of Matt Moneymaker, the BFRO's director. He has outfitted the group with 10 thermal imaging cameras, as well as video recorders and night-vision devices. Total cost: more than $100,000.

In the process, Hersom hopes to change the popular conception of Bigfoot believers from wooly-eyed weirdos to heroic hominoid hunters."

A Tuna Christmas

Last Sunday afternoon, Judy and I drove down to Galveston to see A Tuna Christmas for the second time. We hadn't seen it in eight or ten years, and we could can always use a good laugh. Believe me, we got plenty of laughs.

Tuna, Texas, is one of our favorite towns, and even though it doesn't exist, it's so much like the towns where we grew up that we feel right at home. In fact, the characters in the play might well be related to us. We had a great time.
Joe Sears and Jaston Williams play all 24 characters, and they're hilarious as every one of them. The plot, such as it is, involves the annual Christmas decorating contest, traditionally won by Vera Carp, whose hold on the trophy is now threatened by entries by Didi Snavely and a couple of fast-food workers named Inida Goodwin and Helen Bed. Things are complicated by the predations of the Christmas Phantom, who's been on the loose for years. And then there are the Smut Snatchers, who want to censor the local production of A Christmas Carol.

If you didn't grow up in a small town in Texas, maybe all this wouldn't seem quite so funny. All I can say is that I laughed for two hours, and I'm still smiling three days later. You can check out some video clips here.

Spiderman 3. . .

. . . in 30 seconds. And, of course, with bunnies.

New Issue of Mysterical-E is Up and Ready

Stories, reviews, columns, interviews, all kinds of good stuff right here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Book Signing this Evening

Clyde Wilson will be at Murder by the Book at 6:30 this evening. If you're in the neighborhood, do drop in.

Gator Update (Medical Edition)

Renovo, Shire Developing Anti-Scar Drug: "The resilience of alligator embryos could hold the clue to reducing scars in people after surgery.

A British company, Renovo Group PLC, is developing an experimental injectable drug designed to prevent or reduce scarring. The drug, Juvista, originated in experiments conducted by Renovo's founder a quarter century ago in animal embryos. Renovo and its partner, Shire PLC, believe Juvista has blockbuster potential if patient trials are successful and it receives regulatory approval."

Chris Farley Died Ten Years Ago Today

Hard to believe it's been that long. I still think of John Belushi's death as recent.

THAT WAS AWESOME!: "December 16, 2007 -- Chris Farley came into this world on Feb. 15, 1964, weighing 12 pounds, 11 ounces. By age 33, he was gone, 296 pounds and dead of a drug overdose on Dec. 18, 1997."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

iPod dance party lends something new to Capitol: actual fun: Finally. Somebody found a good use for the Texas Capitol: Turn it into a disco joint.

On Sunday afternoon, right at 2:10, about 50 people in their 20s and 30s gathered in the Capitol Rotunda and danced with their iPods on their heads. The dancers could hear the music, but you couldn't. About the only noise coming out of them was this one chick who sounded kinda like she was having sex with her clothes on.

Bopping about, they looked like they were having a lot more fun than what goes on when the Legislature is trying to do stuff like throw out House Speaker Tom Craddick.

"You can tell we're in Austin," a bystander observed.


Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House

When you're sitting (or, in Judy's case, lying in bed) in a chemo room for ten or so hours, and you have nothing to watch except a little hospital TV set, it's nice that the hospital gets Turner Classic Movies.

Yesterday, Judy and I watched Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, a movie I've heard of for most of my life but which I'd never actually seen. Cary Grant is Mr. Blandings, who decided to build a house in Connecticut and escape his crowded apartment in NYC. Everything that can possibly go wrong, does. Hilarity ensues. If you've ever built a house (as I have), you'll get a lot of rueful laughs.

And what a cast. You can't beat Grant and Loy at this kind of low-key comedy. Loy is elegant and witty. Grant is elegant and sometimes frantic. Melvyn Douglas is fine, too, and it was fun to see Lex Barker in a minor speaking role before he went on to become Tarzan.

Judy and I smiled all the way through this one. It was just what we needed in the middle of a very long day.

Monday, December 17, 2007

To Speak for the Dead -- Paul Levine

To Speak for the Dead was Paul Levine's first novel and the first in the Jake Lassiter series. I don't know how many there have been since this one was published back in 1990, but I can say several with confidence. I enjoyed Levine's novels about the legal team of Solomon and Lord (see here and here), so I figured I'd like the Lassiter books, too.

And I do. I'd guessed from the title of one of the Solomon and Lord books (The Deep Blue Alibi) that Levine might be an admirer of John D. MacDonald. I mean doesn't that sound like the title of a Travis McGee novel to you? Well, almost. Anyway, Lassiter is a little like McGee might have been if he'd had a law degree. "I know you, Jake," Charlie Riggs says. "I know your code. It isn't written anywhere except all over your face. You're one of the last decent men. You're a guy who looks for broken wings to mend." Sounds a bit like the aforementioned McGee to me, and
Charlie Riggs reminds me a lot of Meyer. Too bad the girl who falls for Lassiter doesn't know about what happens to . . . but I shall say no more on that topic.

The deal is that a
man has died after surgery, and his doctor is accused of malpractice. The doctor is Lassiter's client, and Lassiter discovers that the good surgeon has been involved in hanky-panky with the doctor's wife. Heavy-duty hanky-panky, at that. And when Lassiter wins the civil case, the wife accuses the doctor of murder. After that, things get even more complicated.

Levine has an easy-going style, he creates colorful characters, he does the Florida scene very well, and he's funny. I'm sure I'll be reading more books in this series.

From Michael Smith at the Ace Image Library


It's the end of the semester (and academic year) - yeah - and I can get to fun stuff. In other words, writing HTML code and scanning ACE cover images. In addition, I want to thank all of the ACE IMAGE LIBRARY users who have sent new (or improved) images, artist and publication data, as well as questions and comments. There are a few questions that have been asked of me this year I have yet to respond to, but that's another part of the update process (for me).

The ACE IMAGE LIBRARY has had a substantial update in the POTPOURRI section. I have been using ADOBE GoLive coding software and have found a few problems that only I would have stumbled over. To make this section work much more elegantly, I have installed a new lead page for the POTPOURRI section that now provides you with links to separate pages for each of the Letter-Number series (both ACE Double and Singles). In addition, this year I have come across a series of collections of some of these odd and different volumes and have been putting them on the pages (but still not done, more to come).

I have also updated the WESTERN Doubles and Singles pages with more images and information. Please note I am still missing a couple of the ACE Doubles in this group and would appreciate any assistance from the AIL users.

The genres of MYSTERY and SCIENCE FICTION (both ACE Doubles and Singles) have had additional images installed, especially in the five-digit numerical series. Please note that a lot of the ACE publication lately (last 10 years or so) has been in Fantasy and I am still placing them with the Science Fiction pages (in part because some of them are cross-listed).

I have been compiling more artist information as well as new images of the original paintings, drawings, illustrations, or preliminary drawings. I have been aided by many people who have allowed me to place these these on the ACE IMAGE LIBRARY site and I thank them again for their permission.

So, have fun. Remember, all errors are mine and any corrections are always appreciated.

Best regards for an enjoyable and interesting New Year.



Meanwhile, in Sumatra, er, Indonesia. . .

Giant Rat Discovered in Indonesia Jungle: "JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - Researchers in a remote jungle in Indonesia have discovered a giant rat and a tiny possum that are apparently new to science, underscoring the stunning biodiversity of the Southeast Asian nation, scientists said Monday."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Geeks are the New Chic

Why are geeks the new chic? - TODAY: Relationships - "“Same time, next month, geologist and NASA researcher Michael Rampino will be here to speak about mass extinctions and the history of life,” he intones.

“Oooh, cool!” squeal four women — all in cat-eye glasses and vintage dresses — seated in front of me. In fact, the only bad news seems to be that the “Geek Chic” T-shirts are going fast."

Live Free or Die Hard

Okay, so it's a cartoon. You have to admit that it's an entertaining cartoon. Pretty much nonstop action, more explosions than you can count, lots of narrow escapes, bullets flying, and John McClane takes almost as much punishment as he got in all the previous Die Hard movies combined. In the course of hunting down the villain, McClane is the cause of billions of dollars in damages to the country's infrastructure, maybe as much as the villain would have been if he'd been left alone.

The plot? Well, it's pretty simple. A rogue computer nerd is going to shut down the country. All the services: water, traffic control, electricity, finances, everything. And, of course, he's going to make a ton of money.

Bruce Willis is one of the best in action movies, and he has this role down pat. Justin Long is good as the computer nerd, and Timothy Olyphant is okay as the villain. He's supposed to be a sort of villainous computer nerd, so you wouldn't expect, say, Hans Gruber. Check it out.

It's Philip K. Dick's Birthday

In the middle '50s I read a P. K. Dick short story that's really nothing at all like the ones he's most famous for. But that one stuck with me for 50 years or so before I found the magazine it was in and was able to read it again.

The Writer's Almanac from American Public Media: "It's the birthday of Philip K. Dick, born in Chicago (1928), who began to suffer from visions and hallucinations in the 1950s. He once thought he saw a face in the sky, which he described as 'a vast visage of evil with empty slots for eyes, metal and cruel, and worst of all, it was God.' He wasn't sure if his visions were authentic or if they were symptoms of mental illness, and he was fascinated that he could no longer tell what was real and what wasn't. He started writing a series of increasingly strange novels about the nature of reality that have since become science fiction classics, including The Man in the High Castle (1962), Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968), and A Scanner Darkly (1977).

Philip K. Dick said, 'Insanity is sometimes an appropriate response to reality.'"

Why Not Pictures of Rita Hayworth?

Two Union County Jail inmates pull off elaborate escape - Breaking News From New Jersey - "In their cells, the men constructed dummies and left them in their beds covered with blankets, Romankow said. They covered holes they had dug in the walls with magazine photos of bikini clad women, he said."

Nice Photo of Mickey Spillane

Tom Sutpen has it.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's Top Ten Favorite Facts About the Universe

Nine more facts at the link.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's Top Ten Favorite Facts About the Universe - "5. There are more molecules of water in a cup of water than cups of water in all the world's oceans. This means that some molecules in every cup of water you drink passed through the kidneys of Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Abe Lincoln or any other historical person of your choosing. Same goes for air: There are more molecules of air in a single breath of air than there are breaths of air in Earth's entire atmosphere. Therefore, some molecules of air you inhale passed through the lungs of Billy the Kid, Joan of Arc, Beethoven, Socrates or any other historical person of your choosing."

Croc Paperback Cover of the Day

This is, unfortunately, Not Safe for Work. And yes, Cap'n Bob, there are crocs in the picture. Somewhere.

Beyond the Groovy Age of Horror: TELENOVELA VIETATA - Supplemento N. 8 - Il Cacciatore Di Coccodrilli (The Crocodile Hunter): "TELENOVELA VIETATA - Supplemento N. 8 - Il Cacciatore Di Coccodrilli (The Crocodile Hunter)"

Gator Update (Duck Hunting Edition)

TOMPKINS: Warmups signal gators' return | - Houston Chronicle: "There's a reason many coastal Texas waterfowlers leave their Labs and other retrievers at home during the September teal-only hunting season. Alligators are active in sweltering September. To a gator, a Labrador swimming across a pond to retrieve a duck is just another potential meal.

There is not a single documented case of a Texas alligator fatally attacking a human. Dogs are a different story."