Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I never make resolutions, mainly because I know it's no used. If I made one, I'd just break it then next day.

I'm not much of a party animal, either. I suspect I'll be asleep tonight long before the new year comes sneaking into Alvin on little cat feet. Don't think I'm such a slug, though. I'll probably be up before 6:30 tomorrow morning and out for the morning jog of three or four miles within the hour.

If this is a time for memories of auld lang syne, I can remember the days when I could easily run three miles at an eight-minute pace. Now, it takes me longer. A lot longer. Age slows a fella down against his will Some of you knew that already. The rest of you will find out, eventually.

The year 2009 has been a hectic one for us here in Alvin. Judy's lymphoma, the death of Judy's mom, Angela's wedding, Hurricane Ike. My hope is that 2009 will be a lot calmer for us and for the whole world.

And for all the readers of this blog, no matter where you are, I wish the very best of everything in 2009, health and happiness all around. Thanks for reading the blog and for buying my books. Here's to you.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Dallas woman rents billboard in desperate job hunt | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Dallas News: "Here's a sign of the times: A Dallas woman has taken her job search to a billboard over North Central Expressway.

Juli Sarpy paid $1,200 for a three-day ad promoting a 'savvy chic stylopolitan fashion guru.'"

2008's Banned Words List

Mich. University Puts Out Banned Words List - Detroit Local News Story - WDIV Detroit: "While the economy is weak, the state of the nation's cliche-busting brigade is strong. And the aggrieved have submitted their nominations to Lake Superior State University, which released its annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

The school in Michigan's Upper Peninsula released its 34th version Tuesday containing 15 entries selected from about 5,000 nominations."

12 Great Science Fiction Movies From The 1960s - The List Universe

12 Great Science Fiction Movies From The 1960s - The List Universe

The Best "Year in Review" You'll See Today

CROOKED #1 is here...

Eastern Standard Crime: CROOKED #1 is here...: "CLICK HERE for Issue #1 of the new crime fiction web zine CROOKED featuring short stories from Sandra Seamans, Albert Tucher, Kaye George, Michael S. Chong, Eric Beetner, Cormac Brown and Sandra Ruttan. Also included is an interview with Charles Ardai."

Paris Hilton Saves the World (or at least Australia)

Party girl Paris defends Australian shopping spree: "American socialite Paris Hilton has declared herself a saviour who shops for the greater good in tight economic times.

In Sydney to host an exclusive New Year's dance party, the 27-year-old heir to the Hilton hotel fortune this week drew criticism for spending 5,560 Australian dollars (3,844 US dollars) in a 40-minute shopping spree.

Local charities accused her of callous excess but Hilton Wednesday defended the splurge.

'I'm in Australia, I think it's important to help out, you know, the economy out here, everywhere in the world,' she told reporters, ahead of her New Year engagement."

The Phantom

Lesbian Vampire Killers

First mentioned here about a year and a half ago. Now there's a trailer, spotted by the ever-alert Jeff Meyerson.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Officials: No health risk from sewage that leaked into Lewisville Lake creek | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News: "State environmental inspectors expect no risks to human health from raw sewage that leaked into a creek feeding Lewisville Lake.

Officials suspect that 9 million gallons of sewage possibly spilled into Stewart Creek in Frisco over the past two weeks. But inspectors say initial testing of the lake water revealed normal conditions."

This Year's Additions to the National Film Registry

'Terminator' joins Film Registry - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety: "“The Asphalt Jungle,” “Sergeant York,” “In Cold Blood,” “Deliverance” and “The Terminator” are among the 25 film titles selected this year by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its National Film Registry.

The Registry is Library of Congress’ film preservation initiative, designed to ensure that pics that are “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant will be preserved for all time. As always, this year’s selections range from classics to obscure gems such as “Disneyland Dream,” a Connecticut family’s 1956 home movie of their trip to Disneyland after winning a contest sponsored by Scotch Brand Cellophane Tape."

The list also includes The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.

Get a Copy of Mystery Scene -- For Free!

Hey everyone,

We're offering free sample issues of Mystery Scene at our website. Would you please help spread the word?

All anybody has to do is go to and request one, no obligation.

This offer is good until I can walk through our office again.

Kate [Stine]

From Richard Helms

I just wanted to drop a note to let everyone know that the (long-delayed) new issue of The Back Alley Webzine will go active on December 31!

This is our All-Canadian issue, featuring authors from the land of Labatts and back bacon. Featured authors include Derringer Award Winner Nick Andreychuk, Art Montague, Claude Lalumiere, Jason S. Ridler, Steve Olley, and Matthew Fries. We'll also have a reprint of a 1914 article from the New York Times reviewing and discussing Frank Norris's first novel, VANDOVER AND THE BRUTE, and Part Four of our serialization of Norris's massive 1901 naturalistic proto-noir work, McTEAGUE.

The Back Alley Webzine ( ) is your one-stop shop for hardboiled and noir works by both established and emerging voices in the field. Check out our new All-Canadian issue beginning tomorrow, December 31, and have a terrific New Year!

Freddie Hubbard, R. I. P.

Jazz great Freddie Hubbard dead at 70 - Yahoo! News: "LOS ANGELES – Freddie Hubbard, the Grammy-winning jazz musician whose style influenced a generation of trumpet players and who collaborated with such greats as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, died Monday, a month after suffering a heart attack. He was 70."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

In east Fort Worth, taking aim at a new wave of panhandling | News | "FORT WORTH — Pushed off street corners, out of parking lots and away from stores, some panhandlers have started going door to door."

National, er, Texas Treasure

Treasure ship near Refugio? Californian fighting to dig for it | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "If Nathan Smith's plan to search for a buried treasure near the Texas Gulf Coast using Google Earth and a metal detector sounds like a Hollywood movie, it should.

After all, Smith, a California musician, was inspired by the hit National Treasure movies starring Nicolas Cage. And like any good swashbuckling flick, there's a dramatic tale — this one involving cannibalized 19th-century sailors who supposedly left the pot of gold and silver behind in Refugio County in South Texas."

Worst Economic Predictions and Pronouncements of 2008

The Worst Predictions About 2008 - Yahoo! News: "Here are some of the worst predictions that were made about 2008. Savor them -- a crop like this doesn't come along every year."

Salt River -- James Sallis

Salt River is a philosophical novel posing as a crime novel, or maybe it's the reverse. Let's just call it a novel, third in a series about John Turner, former convict, former counselor, current sheriff of a small, dying town somewhere near Memphis. There are crimes in the book, and there's violence, but there's no real resolution to things.

Maybe that's one of the points. We keep losing things in life, people keep dying, and we want it to stop, just as Turner does. But it doesn't stop, and when you come right down to it, there's not a lot we can do about it other than endure, if we can even do that.

Sounds bleak, right? And it is. When it comes to putting his characters through hell, Sallis yields to nobody, not even Ken Bruen, and like Bruen, Sallis presents it all in beautifully poetic prose in a very short novel, sounding an elegiac note throughout. You have to wonder why a lot more people aren't on the Sallis bandwagon. He's one of the best writers around.

Paging Dick Tracy

LG will introduce a wrist phone at CES next year : Dealerscope: "As the smart phone category continues to grow, one manufacturer is taking the handset in a surprising new direction- off the hand altogether.

According to an IDC News Service report this week, LG will debut the first-ever wrist phone at CES next month. The LG-GD910, which will debut in Europe and eventually elsewhere, is based on a prototype introduced at last January's CES. It includes a 1.4-inch touchscreen display, as well as buttons down the side."

P. G. Wodehouse Update

What ho, Jeeves, they’ve found our ancestors - Times Online: "The story features an aristocrat and a butler — yet the faithful old servant exerts a subtle mastery over his boss.

The familiar-sounding duo are not Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, but characters created earlier in a similar style by the same writer, PG Wodehouse.

The story, Providence and the Butler, can be read in full in today’s Sunday Times Magazine for the first time since 1910.

It has been lost since it was published in a literary magazine produced by the Washington Herald when Wodehouse was 29 and working for thePlum” Wodehouse’s work, it shows some of the thinking behind not just the Jeeves and Wooster stories but also the Blandings Castle books, begun in 1915 and also set in an ancient stately home."

Gator Update (Mystery Edition)

Mystery alligator puzzles Australians | "Finding a crocodile on the Australian south coast is strange. Finding an American alligator there is even stranger.

So police assumed they had a crocodile, a native of Australia's tropical north, when vacationers caught a reptile in a volleyball net late Monday that had been wandering around their campsite in Pambula, New South Wales.

State police on Tuesday corrected an initial press statement to explain that the 5-foot (1.5-meter) reptile was, in fact, an alligator."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Shadow

Monday, December 29, 2008


A love story (with robots), a dandy science fiction yarn, lots of laughs, plenty of heart, and great animation. All in the same movie. I had a great time watching it.

It's hundreds of years in the future. WALL *E is essentially a trash compactor, the last of his kind. He mashes metal into cubes and stacks the cubes, day after day. But there's more. He's developed, or has always had, consciousness. He saves certain things (a lighter, a Rubik's cube, and so on). He has a companion (a cockroach). One day a spaceship delivers EVE, a robot looking for signs of plant life. WALL *E falls for her, and he has the only living plant on Earth. After that, things get complicated, with chase scenes, rogue robots, a HAL counterpart (voiced by Sigourney Weaver), and more.

I should mention that there's very little dialog, but even if there were less, you'd have no trouble at all following things. Steve Stilwell told me I should see this on the big screen. I'm sorry I didn't, but I'm glad I finally saw it.

The Stars of TOP GUN Then & Now

'Top Gun': Where are they now?

New to the Blog List

George Kelley's new blog has been added to the blog list on the right. His first post is a review of the concluding novel in E. C. Tubb's Dumarest of Terra series.

New Issue of Mysterical E Now On-Line

Click here for the ToC.

Long, Long Ago . . .

. . . 1960, in fact, in a galaxy far, far away, I had a date on December 29 with a girl named Judy Stutts. Who knew it would last this long?

Paris Hilton Update

Paris Hilton Oops - Paris Hilton Quotes and Facts - Esquire: "Twenty pearls of wisdom from the heiress on her goals ('be a blond icon'), her living ('be famous'), her daughters ('don’t... give the middle finger'), her legacy ('I don't know'), and the real Paris ('one of the most down-to-earth people I know')."

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

Behind the Mask

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ann Savage, R. I. P.

iWon News - '40s femme fatale star Ann Savage dies at 87: "LOS ANGELES (AP) - Ann Savage, who earned a cult following as a femme fatale in such 1940s pulp-fiction movies as 'Detour,' has died at 87.

The actress died in her sleep at a nursing home on Christmas Day from complications following a series of strokes, said her manager, Kent Adamson.

Her Hollywood career had largely been over since the mid-1950s, but she had a resurgence over the past year with a starring role in Canadian cult filmmaker Guy Maddin's 'My Winnipeg.'

Starting with her 1943 debut in the crime story 'One Dangerous Night,' Savage made more than 30 films through the 1950s, including Westerns ('Saddles and Sagebrush,''Satan's Cradle'), musicals ('Dancing in Manhattan,''Ever Since Venus') and wartime tales ('Passport to Suez,''Two-Man Submarine')."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

eBay Item of the Day

Pocket-sized vampire slaying kit.

Or this one if you're into the cheaper, full-sized version.

Now on MySpace . . .

Mexican outlaws' fans honor them on MySpace, Facebook | World | - Houston Chronicle: "There was a time that Mexican outlaws knew they'd reached a special level of notoriety when countrymen penned ballads bragging of their exploits.

Now, they get MySpace pages.

A new breed of crime fan is turning to the Web to humanize drug capos and glorify their deeds.

MySpace is home to the most extravagant tributes, but lower-profile pages have also been created on the rival Facebook. In most cases, profiles are written as though the drug boss himself is the profile creator."


Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Story at Beat to a Pulp

Glenn Gray's "Disimpaction."


Jib-Jab's Year in Review (NSFW)

Gator Update

Great photo at link.

White alligator spotted west of Vero Beach : Treasure Coast : TCPalm: "INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — It looks like a rare albino alligator.

In early December, residents of Vista Plantation began seeing an unusually large white-colored alligator in the community’s lakes west of the Indian River Mall, said subdivision manager Charles Smith."

Edd Cartier, R. I. P.

I remember his many distinctive interior illos. He was a favorite of mine.

Edd Cartier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Edd Cartier (born Edward Daniel Cartier[1], 1914 in North Bergen, New Jersey - December 25, 2008) was an American pulp magazine illustrator. He studied at the Pratt Institute, his illustrations began to appear following his graduation in 1936 in Street and Smith publications, including The Shadow, to which he contributed many interior illustrations, and the John W. Campbell, Jr.-edited magazines Astounding Science Fiction, Doc Savage Magazine, and Unknown.[1] His work later appeared in other magazines, including Planet Stories, Fantastic Adventures, and other pulps.[1]"

So It's Come to This

Disco fever is back - Times Online: "After years of being relegated to the office party and hen nights, disco has shimmied her way back up to the top of the cool kids’ party playlist. Blanketed in glitzy memories of Studio 54, disco provides the perfect antidote to the all-pervading grimness of the life ahead. “When times are good, you could argue that people get turned on by darker, edgier music, such as drum’n’bass or electro,” says Jim Stanton, who started the iconic Horse Meat Disco in Vauxhall, south London. “As soon as life gets harder, people look for something more uplifting, which is where disco comes in — it’s an escape. The first big-haired disco moments happened in America during the 1970s, when there was a depression caused by an oil crisis.”"

You Know You'll Have to Own This

Dames, Dolls, and Gun Molls TPB :: Profile :: Dark Horse Comics: "In the course of his long and illustrious career, renowned illustrator/painter Robert A. Maguire created gorgeous cover images for more than a thousand books and worked for virtually every mainstream publisher in the U.S. Best known for his incomparably sexy 'femme fatale' images for pulp paperbacks in the 1950s and 1960s, Maguire built a long and legendary career showcasing character portraits that were iconic and beautiful, painting subjects that felt simultaneously real and sensually compelling. Now, art historian and living pinup legend Jim Silke casts his curatorial eye toward Maguire's long and fascinating career in his first art collection/artist biography, Dames, Dolls, and Gun Molls. With a keen eye for criticism and his trademark style and wit, Silke explores the legacy of an artist whose work is known by millions the world over."

The Neddiad -- Daniel Pinkwater

I'm a big fan of the works of Daniel Pinkwater. His books are supposedly for kids, but that doesn't matter to me. I read 'em anyway, and I'm rarely disappointed. Among my favorites: The Snarkout Boys and the Avacado of Death, The Hoboken Chicken Emergency, Lizard Music, Slaves of Spiegel, and Alan Mendelson, Boy from Mars. These aren't like anyone else's books for kids, or for anybody.

But I was going to write about
The Neddiad. Ned Wentworthstein is the narrator, and the setting is the late 1940s. Ned's father has made a fortune in the shoelace business, and one day he decides more or less on a whim to move the family from Chicago to Los Angeles, mainly so he and Ned can eat in the Brown Derby.

So the adventure begins. It involves travel on the Super Chief, a visit to the Grand Canyon, meeting movie star Aaron Finn and his son, travelling with the ghost of a bellboy, going to military school, a circus, and more. Along the way, Ned is given a sacred turtle by an Indian shaman named Melvin, who's everywhere. There's an evil minion with the wonderful name of Sandor Eucalyptus and a girl named Iggy. There's even a cameo appearance by the Fat Men from Space. And more, much more. I may not be nine years old anymore, but I laughed a lot. Maybe it's not for everybody, it it sure works for me.

The Brain that Wouldn't Die

Hillary Waugh, R. I. P.

Hillary Waugh, a Pioneer of the Police Procedural, Dies at 88 - Obituary (Obit) - "Hillary Waugh, who helped pioneer the police procedural novel in dozens of mysteries, notably “Last Seen Wearing” (1952), died on Dec. 8 in Torrington, Conn. He was 88 and had lived in Guilford, Conn., until illness put him in a nursing home.

His death was confirmed by his son, Lawrence.

Mr. Waugh started out writing private-detective mysteries before he tried his hand at writing a novel that focused on the details of an unfolding police investigation. “I was tired of reading about these superdetectives and a police force composed of a bunch of bumbling idiots,” he told an interviewer in 1990. “I wanted to get away from the neat little corpses with the perfect bullet through the head and instead write a story as it really happened.”"

Friday, December 26, 2008

Direct from the Pages of an Ed McBain Novel

I can't remember which 87th Precinct novel a similar situation was used. It was years ago.

Phila. man shot because family talked during movie | Philadelphia Inquirer | 12/26/2008: "A South Philadelphia man enraged because a father and son were talking during a Christmas showing of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took care of the situation when he pulled a .380-caliber gun and shot the father, police said.

James Joseph Cialella Jr., 29, of the 1900 block of Hollywood Street is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault, and weapons violations."

The Best Crime Capers of 2008

The Seven Best Capers of 2008 | Threat Level from "It was a bad year for the economy, the Republican party and gay rights. But 2008 was a banner year for technology-aided crime. Competition was tough, but after an exhaustive search, Threat Level has produced this authoritative list of the best capers of the year."

Didn't Murray Leinster Write this Story?

Little Blue Pills Among the Ways CIA Wins Friends in Afghanistan - "The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached into his bag for a small gift.

Four blue pills. Viagra.

'Take one of these. You'll love it,' the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.

The enticement worked. The officer, who described the encounter, returned four days later to an enthusiastic reception. The grinning chief offered up a bonanza of information about Taliban movements and supply routes -- followed by a request for more pills."

Big Box Office

2008: The Year Science Fiction Became Science Culture: "This year, the top twenty movies in the US grossed 3.7 billion dollars. Science fiction movies accounted for 2.5 billion of that. In 2008, scifi rocketed out of the basement to become scicult."

Croc Update (They're Everywhere!)

Ananova - Crocodile found in Peckham: "A crocodile has been found living in Peckham.

The two-foot long reptile was found in a bath in a flat.

Pest controller Steve North discovered the animal while making a routine call about the council's pest control services."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Featured Article - Psychologist identifies area of brain key to choosing words: "New research by a Rice University psychologist clearly identifies the parts of the brain involved in the process of choosing appropriate words during speech.

The study, published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could help researchers better understand the speech problems that stroke patients experience."

People are no Damn Good

Basics - A Highly Evolved Propensity for Deceit - "When considering the behavior of putative scam operators like Bernard “Ponzi scheme” Madoff or Rod “Potty Mouth” Blagojevich, feel free to express a sense of outrage, indignation, disgust, despair, amusement, schadenfreude. But surprise? Don’t make me laugh."

Green Mansions

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas at the Criders' House

There's a pause in the action as Allen, Angela, and Tom rest between gift openings. It was great to have them here, and although they left only a short time ago, we miss them already. We had a great day, ate too much, laughed a lot, watched A Christmas Story over and over, and had a generally good time. It's quiet now, too quiet. Soon ma in her kerchief and I in my cap will settle down for a long winter's nap. Or maybe just a short one. Tomorrow I have a lot to do. I've already done a little (very little) writing today, with more to do tomorrow. Just how much will get done is an open question. I hope everyone had a great day, and that there'll be smooth sailing as we drift into the new year.

Eartha Kitt, R. I. P.

Eartha Kitt, sultry singer and dancer, dies at 81: "NEW YORK (AP) - A family friend says Eartha Kitt, a sultry singer, dancer and actress who rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become an international symbol of elegance and sensuality, has died. She was 81.

Andrew Freedman says Kitt died Thursday of colon cancer and was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York.

Kitt, a self-proclaimed 'sex kitten' famous for her catlike purr, was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and getting a third nomination. She also was nominated for two Tony Awards and a Grammy."

Harold Pinter, R. I. P.

Harold Pinter, Nobel-Winning Playwright, Dies at 78 - Obituary (Obit) - "Harold Pinter, the British playwright whose gifts for finding the ominous in the everyday and the noise within silence made him the most influential and imitated dramatist of his generation, died on Wednesday. He was 78 and lived in London."

A Couple of Misers

No Comment Department

Are Michael Cera and Beyonce Heading for Gilligan's Island?: "Sherwood Schwartz, creator of The Brady Bunch, and his son Lloyd Schwartz are finally moving ahead on a big screen version of Gilligan's Island, a 1969 sitcom which the legendary producer also created. And if the two Schwartzs have it their way, Michael Cera will be slipping into that famous red shirt and white hat as Gilligan. They are also currently trying to nab Beyonce as sexy movie star Ginger."

It's Christmas!

So Judy and I are waiting around the house, where the stockings are hung by the chimney with care (as you can see in the photo somewhere below), hoping that our kids will arrive soon. Santa has been here, and we want to open the presents. It's 62° outside, and foggy. Not ideal Christmas weather, but we'll take it. A Christmas Story is running in its continuous loop on TV. Life is good, and I hope that whoever is reading this, wherever you are, that you're full of happiness and good cheer. Maybe for one day we can have peace on Earth and good will for everyone. Nah, too much to ask, but, as one of my favorite literary characters says, "Isn't it pretty to think so."

Christmas Greetings

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas to All

Thanks for reading the blog and buying my books. Judy and I wish a wonderful holiday, for all of you, no matter what you might be celebrating.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Better watch out: Pancho Claus is coming to town | Life | - Houston Chronicle: "Santa has a cousin named Pancho.

He loves kids. He passes out gifts.

And he’s a barrio folk hero with as many faces as there are guys across Texas willing to pull on a red suit and get into the act.

In Houston, Richard Reyes’ version of Pancho Claus wears a red zoot suit, fronts a swing band, and keeps an entourage of “elves” and lowrider cars. His Pancho, designed to appeal to at-risk kids, grew out of his Chicano version of ’Twas the Night Before Christmas, which he wrote and turned into a play in 1981: “When what to my wondering eye should appear, but eight lowrider cars all jacked down in the rear!”

In San Antonio, Rudy Martinez dons a red sombrero, a Christmas poncho and a jet-black beard to play Pancho Claus. When children ask, he explains that Pancho drives a team of burros led by a special burro named Chuy. If pressed, Martinez might tell them the legend of Pancho Claus: Two children were standing in a field in Mexico. A fairy godmother appeared and granted them one wish for Christmas. The children said they wished to make all the children in the world happy. Impressed, the fairy godmother created Pancho Claus, Santa’s cousin from the South Pole."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

CRIME Blog | The Dallas Morning News: "When two robbers hit the Romance Store at 780 N. Beach St. in Fort Worth Sunday afternoon, they took cash and may have taken care of their Christmas shopping as well.

'They took four or five penis pumps,' said manager Sunny Sharma. 'And a life-size blow-up doll.'"

Astronomy Update -- Top 5 Amazing Astronomy Discoveries in 2008

Some Christmas Stars for You from the Hubble

Hubble Captures Images of Rare Mammoth Stars | Wired Science from "The Hubble Space Telescope has revealed two of the most massive stars in our galaxy as never before. Located 7,500 light years away from Earth in the Carina Nebula, these stars are rare ultra-hot, super-bright stars that emit primarily ultraviolet radiation, that gives them a blue hue.

WR25, the brightest of the stars near the center of the image, is actually a large star 50 times the size of our sun with another star half that size orbiting around it. To the upper left of WR25, the third brightest star in this image is really a triple star cluster. Two are so close together that telescopes with less resolution can't resolve them. The third star may take hundreds of thousands of years to orbit around them."

10 Great Serious Sci-Fi Movies From The 1950s - The List Universe

10 Great Serious Sci-Fi Movies From The 1950s - The List Universe: "1950s sci-fi is noted for its remarkable lack of, shall we say, sophistication. For the most part, the genre was derided as mere B-grade theater-filler schlock. But during that decade, there were serious efforts. The science in most of the films on this list is probably not plausible (or is no longer considered plausible), but these films attempted to present serious dramas, or at least thoughtful stories, amid a genre flooded with the absurd."

My Favorite Christmas Movie

You can read about it over at DaRK PaRTY ReVIEW.

A Plot for Your Next Novel

Mexican beauty queen arrested in gun-filled truck - Yahoo! News: "GUADALAJARA, Mexico – A reigning Mexican beauty queen from the drug-plagued state of Sinaloa was arrested with suspected gang members in a truck filled guns and ammunition, police say.

Miss Sinaloa 2008 Laura Zuniga stared at the ground, with her flowing dark hair concealing her face, as she stood squeezed between seven alleged gunmen lined up before journalists. Soldiers wearing ski masks guarded the 23-year-old model and the suspects."

Cats are a Boy's Best Friends

Real-life Mowgli kept alive by cats - Telegraph: "The boy, whose ordeal mirrors that of the character Mowgli from Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book, was discovered by police in Misiones, in Argentina, surrounded by eight wild cats.

Doctors believe the animals snuggled up with him during freezing nights which would otherwise have killed him.

The boy was seen eating scraps foraged by the animals while they licked him, it has been claimed."

A Christmas Story in 30 Seconds, with Bunnies

Click here.

The Monolith Monsters

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Paris Hilton Update

Okay, here's my latest million-dollar idea: Paris Hilton, P. I. First the TV series, then the tie-in novels, action figures, etc. Are you listening, Paris?

Paris Suspects Burglar Was No Stranger to Her Home, Asks for Jewelry's Safe Return - E! Online: "Having viewed her home surveillance tapes, Paris Hilton doesn't think a stranger is responsible for burglarizing her Sherman Oaks, Calif., abode.

'I think whoever did this, definitely has been there before,' the ripped-off heiress told E! News Monday while perusing the racks at the L.A. boutique Intuition. 'We have some suspects that I'm thinking of.'"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Lawsuit from cheerleader's mother: Carrollton-Farmers Branch schools didn't punish bullies enough | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Carrollton/Farmers Branch News: "Misbehaving cheerleaders are causing drama for a suburban school district.

The mother of a former Creekview High School cheerleader has filed a federal lawsuit against Carrollton-Farmers Branch schools, arguing the district did not sufficiently discipline cheerleaders who she says bullied her daughter."

Alamo Update

Santa Anna cannonball missing: "If you see someone trying to unload a cannonball, San Antonio police want you to contact them.

A thief stole the cannonball Sunday night while it was on display at the Fairmont Hotel in the 400 block of South Alamo.

The cannonball once belonged to Gen. Santa Anna, the man who defeated Texian forces in 1836 at the Battle of the Alamo. The softball-size cannonball has been certified authentic by the Institute of Texan Cultures."

Archaeology Update

News from The Associated Press: "SAQQARA, Egypt (AP) -- A pair of 4,300-year-old pharaonic tombs discovered at Saqqara indicate that the sprawling necropolis south of Cairo is even larger than previously thought, Egypt's top archaeologist said Monday. The rock-cut tombs were built for high officials - one responsible for the quarries used to build the nearby pyramids and another for a woman in charge of procuring entertainers for the pharaohs.

'We announce today a major, important discovery at Saqqara, the discovery of two new tombs dating back to 4,300 years ago,' said Zahi Hawass, as he showed reporters around the site Monday. 'The discovery of the two tombs are the beginning of a big, large cemetery.'

The discovery indicates that there is even more to the vast necropolis of Saqqara, located 12 miles south of the capital, Cairo, he added."

A Christmas Story I've Always Liked

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

40 Years Ago

Apollo 8 astronauts remember historic voyage - "(CNN) -- Forty years ago this week, three men in a tiny spacecraft slipped their earthly bonds and traveled where no one else had before, circling the moon 10 times and bringing back an iconic image of a blue-and-white Earth in the distance, solitary but bound as one against the black vastness beyond.
Host Nick Clooney (left) and astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders answer questions in October.

The voyage of Apollo 8 from December 21-27, 1968, marked humans' first venture to another heavenly body.

'We were flying to the moon for the first time,' said Jim Lovell, one of the three astronauts aboard the historic flight. 'Seeing the far side of the moon for the first time. Coming around and seeing the Earth as it really is -- a small fragile planet with a rather normal star, our sun.'"

The 20 Most Ridiculous Batman Covers

The 20 Most Ridiculous Batman Comics Ever Released |

Some of these are pretty funny. So are the annotations.

Rubber Duckie, Where are You?

Nasa hunts for rubber ducks used to track melting of Arctic icecap | Environment | The Guardian: "Sailors, fishermen and cruise passengers should be on the alert. If anybody spots a yellow rubber duck bobbing on the ocean waves, Nasa would like to know.

The US space agency has yet to find any trace of 90 bathtub toys that were dropped through holes in Greenland's ice three months ago in an effort to track the way the Arctic icecap is melting. Scientists threw the ducks into tubular holes known as 'moulins' in the Jakobshavn glacier on Greenland's west coast, hoping they would find their way into channels beneath the hard-packed surface, to track the flow of melt water into the ocean."

Music: It's Not Just for Dancing

If music be the food of love ... then it also lowers cholesterol - Times Online: "Take a tune and come back to see me in the morning. Doctors have found that prescribing music can improve heart health and lower cholesterol levels.

Their research found that if a patient listens to 30 minutes a day of their favourite music, it does more than relaxing them mentally – it also benefits them physically by expanding and clearing blood vessels.

Doctors have tried the method on some patients in America and it has been welcomed by British experts. It is believed to work by triggering the release into the bloodstream of nitric oxide, which helps to prevent the build-up of blood clots and harmful cholesterol.

The findings are part of a growing body of research into the effects of music on the human body. Scientists have found that songs by Red Hot Chili Peppers and Madonna can improve endurance, while 18th-century symphonies can improve mental focus."

William Blake Update

Recreated: the exhibition that broke William Blake - News, Art - The Independent: "When William Blake began orchestrating his first solo exhibition in London in March 1809, showcasing what he thought were his most important works of art, he hoped the world would instantly hail him as a British Raphael or Michelangelo.

But it was a career turning point of a very different kind. Blake's art show, at his brother's shop in Soho, was a critical flop which precipitated a crisis of confidence. Only one critic turned up to give it a stinking review and even his friends were baffled by the 16 works on show. The opening night was such a blow to Blake's ego that he retreated from public life and became deeply embittered by the state of the art world.

Now, his most ambitious attempt to create a public reputation as a painter will be re-enacted by Tate Britain."

Killing Castro -- Lawrence Block

It's 1961, not long after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and not long before the missile crisis. Five oddly assorted men are hired by a man named Hiraldo and paid $20,ooo each. Their mission: kill Fidel Castro.

Two of the men go into Cuba together. Turner is wanted for murder in the U.S. and is looking for a way out. Hines is just a kid, but Castro had his brother executed. Hines wants revenge. Their plan: kill Castro with a bomb while he's making a speech.

Two others join a guerilla band. Garth is a lump of muscle with no brain. Fenton has cancer with six months to live and wants to accomplish something before he dies. Their plan is to ambush Castro on the highway.

Garrison is a loner. He has a rifle and a hotel room with a good view of a square where Castro is scheduled to speak.

The fates of the men play out in different ways, sometimes in ways you might not have expected. Interspersed with chapters about the men are italicized chapters giving the history of Castro and his revolution for those who weren't around at the time or who don't remember or who didn't pay attention in history class.

Not Block's best, but it's lean (Block doing a little Hemingway) and fast, and Block is always worth reading. What I wish is that there was a little history of the book included, a short essay on how and why it came to be written, for example. Also, I've heard that there are some minor changes in the text and in the ending. I'd like to know if that's true, and, if it is, what those changes are and why they were made. It would add a lot to the enjoyment of the book for me. But I'm happy to have it as it is. Check it out.

Spook Busters

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Buzzwords of 2008

The Buzzwords of 2008 - "Picking out political buzzwords from 2008 is like shooting moose in a pigpen. The fundamentals were so dizzyingly strong, it could be tough to keep them all straight. Before you knew it “The One” had become “That One” and the “team of mavericks” were going rogue on each other. You mixed up Client 9 and Candidate 5 at the holiday party and tried to change the subject.

The lifespan of Hillary Clinton’s campaign “meta-narrative” could be charted entirely in buzzwords and catch-phrases — “inevitability” to “Clinton fatigue” to “Obamamania” to “he can’t win” to “team of rivals.”"

Hat tip to Rick Robinson.

No Comment Department

Werewolf dramedy unleashed at Fox: "Talk about a hairy 'Sex and the City.'

The Fox network is developing 'Bitches,' a dramedy about a quartet of female friends in New York who are werewolves."

Archaeology Update

Israeli archaeologists find rare gold coins - "The Israel Antiquities Authority reported a thrilling find Sunday -- the discovery of 264 ancient gold coins in Jerusalem National Park.

The coins were minted during the early 7th century.

'This is one of the largest and most impressive coin hoards ever discovered in Jerusalem -- certainly the largest and most important of its period,' said Doron Ben-Ami and Yana Tchekhanovets, who are directing the excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority."

Croc Update (Three for the Price of One Edition)

African dwarf crocodile is actually three distinct species | Entertainment and Showbiz!: "By looking at the genes of the African dwarf crocodile, scientists have found that the group comprises of three distinct species rather than one.

The analysis was done by a team from the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History.

This not only ends a long debate about the taxonomy of this group, previously thought to consist of two closely related subspecies, but also defines a new, distinct species from genetic samples."

The Internet: All the Information You'll Ever Need

Plasticopedia: Plastic Surgery Encyclopedia - Make Me Heal

Hat tip to Walter Satterthwait.

Happy Birthday, Barbara Billingsley!

She's 93 today.

The Evil Santas of Science Fiction

Triviagasm: The Evil Santas of Science Fiction: "When most of us think of Santa, we envision Coca-Cola's jolly old elf. But some Santas are more naughty than nice. We list some of the most evil scifi Clauses to stalk the Christmas skies."

Hat tip to Don Webb.

If You Think It's Bad Where You Live, . . .

12 Decapitated Bodies Found in Southern Mexico: "MEXICO CITY, Dec. 21 -- The decapitated bodies of 12 men were discovered early Sunday scattered in and around a state capital in southern Mexico. Nine of the headless corpses were strewn along a busy street, where the Guerrero state governor later appeared for a religious procession. Authorities said some of the victims were Mexican army soldiers.

The gruesome display comes as drug traffickers and their death squads fight law enforcement authorities as well as each other for control of prized routes into the United States, the world's most lucrative drug market.

Near some of the decapitated remains, authorities found a sign that read: 'For every one of mine that you kill, I will kill 10.' Dumping heads and bodies in public view is becoming a common tactic as the cartels wage a campaign of narco-terrorism."

CrimeSpot Appreciation Day

Graham Powell's CrimeSpot is an essential bookmark for your computer. Thanks, Graham!

Space Tourism Update - Space Tourism Aircraft Makes Maiden Test Flight - Science News | Science & Technology | Technology News: "A carrier aircraft designed to be the first stage of a commercial spaceline system made its maiden test flight today at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.

Designed by Scaled Composites, the huge and unique WhiteKnightTwo mothership rolled down the runway and muscled itself into the air using four Pratt and Whitney PW308A turbofan engines. The WhiteKnightTwo flew for about an hour, departing the runway at roughly 8:17 a.m. Pacific Standard Time, safely touching down at the Mojave Air and Space Port at approximately 9:17 a.m. PST."

Conspiracy Alert

General George S. Patton was assassinated to silence his criticism of allied war leaders claims new book - Telegraph: "George S. Patton, America's greatest combat general of the Second World War, was assassinated after the conflict with the connivance of US leaders, according to a new book."

The Spider Woman

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Truth in Cartooning

Cartoons from the Issue of December 22nd and 29th, 2008: Issue Cartoons: The New Yorker

Frog Update

Devoted readers of the blog will recall the tree frog that took up residence in a hanging basket on our front porch back in June, and no doubt many of you wonder if the frog is still around. Yes, it is, and here's a phot from last night to prove it. I don't how well the froggie will weather tonight's cold temperatures, but for now it seems to be doing just fine.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston octuplets celebrate 10th birthday | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "Half of the cake was iced in pink, half in blue. Half of it was chocolate; half was vanilla.

The candles on top proclaimed the birthday girls — Echerem, Ebuka, Gorom, Chidi, and Chima — and their brothers — Ikem and Jioke — to be 10 years old.

Saturday, the seven surviving Chukwu octuplets, along with 6-year-old sister Favor and some of the volunteers who helped care for them, blew out those candles to celebrate the milestone day."

Happy Birthday, Crossword Puzzle!

The Writer's Almanac: "On this day in 1913, the world's first crossword puzzle appeared in a special Christmas issue of the New York World."

New Story at Beat to a Pulp


"Hard Bite" by Anonymous-9

Julius Fast, R. I. P.

Obituaries - Julius Fast, 89, Mystery Writer Who Also Wrote Books on Body Language and the Beatles, Is Dead - Obituary (Obit) - "Julius Fast, who won the first Edgar Award given by the Mystery Writers of America and went on to publish popular books on body language, the Beatles and human relationships, died on Tuesday in Kingston, N.Y. He was 89."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Kid from Broken Gun

The Kid from Broken Gun (1952) was the last Durango Kid movie and marked Charles Starrett's final appearance on the silver screen. I wish I could tell you it was a classic, but that would be a lie. Like most of the movies in the Durango Kid series, it relies a lot more on action than on any semblance of logic in the plot.

It's partially a courtroom drama, too. Jack Mahoney, playing a character named Jack Mahoney, is framed for murder. At his trial, the story unfolds in numerous flashbacks, and it makes very little sense if you stop to think about it. Not that the audience would have cared, since the film seems aimed at six-year-olds. You'd have to be about that age to enjoy the alleged comic relief provided by Smiley Burnette. Smiley gets the song in the picture, too. Earlier films in the series had legitimate singers doing the tunes, but by 1952 budgets must have shrunk considerably.

The film looks good, and the fights and stunts are fun. There's a lot of early parkour-type stuff, with, I guess Mahoney doubling for Starrett. The cast is good, too. Tristram Coffin is the baddie, and Mahoney is fine as the wrongly accused man. I was glad to catch this on TCM at the recommendation of John Hall.

Shadows over Chinatown

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas from the Criders and the Nearys

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

The Top 20 Lists of 2008

The Top 20 Lists of 2008 - Times Online

So it's come to this. A list of lists.

Longarm and the Valley of Skulls -- Tabor Evans

It's an open secret that Tabor Evans, in this instance, is James Reasoner. And if you ask me, James is having way too much fun writing these Longarm novels. My theory is that James wants to have written for every western series there is, or ever was. Since some of the series are defunct, he's sneaking them into the Longarm novels. This time it's the gang from Easy Company.

Longarm is sent to the titular (no pun intended) Valley of Skulls to help out with some trouble there. Easy Company is having some problems of its own with Indians in the area and with a wagon train of pilgrims headed for the valley. The two stories are told in alternating chapters until they mesh toward the end of the book. Before that happens, though, James has brought in another series western character, but I'll let you find out about that one for yourself. It gave me a grin or two, though. And the plot turns out to be tied to still another series that James had a hand in.

As usual in a book by James, you get full value. Hooded stage robbers, an Indian attack on a town, fistfights, gunplay, ambushes, and sex. And all that's just in the first 75 pages or so. You can't go wrong here. Check it out.

Beach Girls and the Monster

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Phantom Returns

The Associated Press: New 'Phantom' movie to be filmed in Australia: "An Australian production company on Monday announced it had secured the rights to 'The Phantom Legacy,' a follow-up to the 1996 film 'The Phantom,' which starred Billy Zane as the masked hero who fights evil from his jungle headquarters."

Thanks to Jeff Segal for the link. Updates say this is not a sequel to the Zane picture.

New Flash Fiction Site

Out of the Gutter is sponsoring a new flash site. It's called The Flash Fiction Offensive and stories published on this site are eligible for publication in OOTG. The editor, Rey Gonzalez, is accepting submissions.

I'm Innocent!

iWon News - Police: Man broke into Paris Hilton's home: "LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police say they are investigating a burglary at a home owned by socialite Paris Hilton.

Los Angeles Police Officer Julianne Sohn says the break-in occurred around 5 a.m. Friday at a home in the Sherman Oaks area of Los Angeles. Sohn says detectives report that a man wearing a hooded sweat shirt broke into the home and ransacked Hilton's bedroom."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Top 50 Movie Fight Scenes

TOP 50 MOVIE FIGHT SCENES Movie Feature at "'How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?' The wise words of one Tyler Durden, and a maxim we live by here at TheShiznit. The fifty scenes celebrated in this article represent the finest fights in cinema history, the almighty showdowns that shook the Earth to its very core. Featuring men, women, dinosaurs, robots and computer viruses, it's an unparalled feast of fist-on-fist action that packs a knockout punch. Enjoy!"

Hat tip to Walter Satterthwait.

3 Minutes of Your Life You'll Never Get Back

But now you can skip the movie.

Clip du jour: 'Twilight' the Puppet Saga | PopWatch Blog | "Attention Twilight lovers and haters alike: here's something you can all get on board with -- Twilight the Puppet Saga. It's the entire movie in three minutes, as performed by puppets."

Forgotten Books: SCI-FI -- William Marshall

Once again, I've picked one of my favorite titles from a series, this time William Marshall's Yellowthread Street police procedurals. Imagine the 87th Precinct taken over by the Groucho, Harpo, and Chico and moved to Hong Kong. That'll give you some idea what this series is like.

In Sci-Fi, the officers of the Yellowthread Street station are faced with a science fiction convention, something like a WorldCon, slightly exaggerated. Things, of course, go very, very wrong. And there are, as usual, other cases to be solved, all of them bizarre, like the guy who's incinerating people. Not that a problem like incinerated citizens is all that unusual in Marshall's novels. If you want bizarre cases, just pick up any book in the series. Marshall will knock your socks off.

The cast of characters in the books includes Inspectors Auden and Spencer, Harry Feiffer, and Christopher O'Yee, all of them fun to know. Their adventures are equally hilarious and suspenseful.

William Marshall is an Australian writer from whom I haven't seen anything lately. He did other series, but if you haven't read anything about the gang at Yellowthread Street, you've missed a real treat.

The Monster that Challenged the World

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, R. I. P.

Sci-fi icon Majel Barrett Roddenberry dies at 76 - Yahoo! News: "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Actress Majel Barrett Roddenberry, the widow of 'Star Trek' creator Gene Roddenberry and a member of the show's cast, has died. She was 76.

Barrett Roddenberry died of leukemia on Thursday at her home in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air, her family said in a statement.

Her relationship with Gene Roddenberry, who died in 1991 after the two had been married for 22 years, earned Barrett Roddenberry the nickname 'The First Lady of Star Trek.'"

Hat tip to Mary Ann Melton.

Our Tax Dollars at Work

FBI agents asked for $45k apiece for Iraq OT - Conflict in Iraq- "WASHINGTON - Taxpayers were billed an average of $45,000 in overtime and extra pay for each FBI agent temporarily posted to Iraq over the course of four years, according to a new Justice Department report. In some cases, agents were paid to watch movies, exercise and attend parties."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Hat tip to Scott D. Parker

Houston judge's daughter sues driver she hit while drunk | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "Convicted last year of intoxication manslaughter for the death of her boyfriend, the 21-year-old daughter of a state district judge is suing the truck driver she ran into during a drunken driving crash.

Elizabeth Shelton, the daughter of juvenile judge Pat Shelton, is accusing truck driver Lance Bennett of negligence in the Oct. 23, 2007, wreck that killed her boyfriend Matthew McNiece.

Shelton had a blood alcohol concentration more than three times the legal limit, two tests showed. She was sentenced to eight years' probation and had to serve four months in jail.

Shelton, her family and the family of the boyfriend who was killed are suing for $20,000 for the destruction of the Lexus SUV she was driving and an undetermined amount for mental anguish, pain and suffering.
[. . . .]
[Bennett's attorney] noted that Shelton named 16 defendants, including insurance companies and banks.

Maybe not the Da Vinci Code

Three near-invisible drawings discovered on back of Da Vinci masterpiece - Times Online: "The French art world is in a frenzy of speculation today after the strange discovery of three almost invisible drawings on the back of a masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci in the Louvre museum.

The mysterious sketches, which were found when the painting, Virgin and Child With Saint Anne, was taken down for experts to determine whether it could be restored, may be by the Renaissance artist himself, according to the museum in Paris.

Although the discovery is reminiscent of Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, art experts said that the drawings would not have contained a hidden message from the painter."

Croc Update (Tasty Pets Edition)

Video at link. - Giant Crocodile Which Ate 3 Dogs Relocated, Again: "CORAL GABLES (CBS4) ―

A huge American crocodile, suspected of eating three dogs in a Coral Gables neighborhood, has been caught and relocated for the second time.

Last year, Gables-by-the-Sea residents had wildlife trappers remove the 11-foot croc out of a neighborhood canal after it ate three neighborhood pets.

Despite being relocated, the giant crocodile came back. So did trappers who relocated the animal a second time on Wednesday. Believe it or not, some neighbors actually enjoyed having the 11-foot long croc in their canal but understand that safety comes first."

Dino Update

Fossil-hunters battle Sahara storms to find dinosaur prize - Times Online: "A dinosaur-hunting expedition to the Sahara desert involving British scientists has found the fossilised remains of what are thought to be two new species.

The ancient remains discovered in Morocco belong to a giant flying pterosaur and plant-eating sauropod. Initial examinations suggest that both specimens are unknown to science.

They were unearthed during a month-long quest during which the research team braved floods and storms to reach the dig site and then preserve the fossils. The scientists even feared that they would never get the bones out of the desert because they were so heavy that their Land Rover became stuck in sand."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

McDonald's Robbery Suspect Gets Laughed At - Irresistible News Story - KSAT San Antonio: "SAN ANTONIO -- A man who attempted to rob a San Antonio McDonald's on Tuesday evening ran into a string of bad luck, police said.

The man approached a cashier at the McDonald's in the northwest part of the city and demanded money, only to be laughed at when the cashier didn't realize he was trying to rob the store, police said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Attack of the Crab Monsters

Happy Birthday, Scrabble!

I'm a couple of days late on this, but it's worth a mention.

The sublime joy of Scrabble - This Britain, UK - The Independent: "Happy birthday, Scrabble! No, make that Joyous Birthday, because although 'happy' is one of those deceptively high scoring words, what with H and Y being worth 4, and P 3, making 15 in all, 'joyous' has that initial J, worth 8, which lifts it to 16, one point higher."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Slingin' Sammy Baugh, R. I. P.

Sammy Baugh, who set numerous passing records with the Washington Redskins, dies at 94 -- "LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Sammy Baugh, who set numerous passing records with the Washington Redskins in an era when NFL teams were running most every down, died Wednesday night, his son said. Baugh, who was 94 and had numerous health issues, died at Fisher County Hospital in Rotan, David Baugh said. David Baugh said his father had battled Alzheimer's and dementia for several years. He had been ill recently with kidney problems, low blood pressure and double pneumonia.

'It wasn't the same Sam we all knew,' his son told The Associated Press. 'He just finally wore out.'

Sammy Baugh was the last surviving member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's inaugural class."

Link via Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.

That'll Teach the S. O. B.!

Madoff put under house arrest - in $7m apartment - Times Online: "Bernard Madoff, the Wall Street trader allegedly responsible for a $50 billion (�32.3 billion) fraud, will be electronically tagged and placed under house arrest at his Manhattan apartment after failing to find enough people to secure his bail.

Mr Madoff must wear an electronic tag and will not be allowed out of his apartment between 7pm and 9am as part of the bail conditions."

iWon News - Forklift allegedly used to steal ATM in Texas

iWon News - Forklift allegedly used to steal ATM in Texas: "BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) - Talk about picking up some extra cash in time for the holidays.

Beaumont police on Tuesday arrested a suspect in an ATM theft in which a forklift apparently was used to put the electronic money dispenser into a truck.

Police before dawn responded to an alarm at a Wells Fargo branch. They discovered an exterior ATM was gone and the forklift nearby, with its motor running."

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

A First Novel

SF writer and publisher Chris Roberson has put his very first novel on his blog. Certain to become a classic.

Happy Birthday, Erskine Caldwell!

The View From Graustark: It all peaks when Dude runs over Grandma: "Erskine Caldwell was born exactly 105 years ago in Coweta County, Ga. Twenty-nine years later he published a novel that for decades would be a cultural touchstone in this country."

I urge you to read the whole post at the link.

10 Most Important Moustaches

History's 10 Most Important Moustaches: "Since the dawn of time, the light of creation has shown down with favor on the most noble of man-growths: The Moustache. This is its story as told through its most important citizens."

Not a bad list.

Beginning of the End

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Croc Update (Spermicide Edition)

Safe Sex - TIME: "Of course, the history of protected sex, in the broadest sense, used to be a whole lot yuckier. Take the practice of women in ancient Egypt, who resorted to using crocodile dung as a spermicide. Modern research has shown that crocodile dung actually created optimum conditions for sperm because of its alkalinity, but the sheer grossness of the practice might have worked if only to completely ruin the mood."