Saturday, January 12, 2008

Will the Persecution Never End?

• Hollywood Elsewhere •: "The ickiest and most ignoble promotion riding the coattails of Sundance '98? How about The Hottie and the Nottie (Regent, 2.8), a seemingly vulgar relationship farce (to go by the trailer) starring Paris Hilton, Joel Moore and Christine Lakin? Moore has always been hot for Hilton, makes a pitch, gets the come-hither (total fantasy), has to deal with Hilton's witch-ugly best friend (Lakin covered with grotesque 'ugly' makeup), etc. Obviously a pathetic Troma-type deal."

Update: Hollywood Elsewhere:
"I've said over and over for years that movies like this are a major symbolic reason why Islamic fundamentalists despise Western culture and materialist values, and not without justification.

I have an idea that addresses this. In the same way that primitive South Sea cultures have been known to
sacrifice a young girl to the Gods by throwing her into a volcano, we give Paris Hilton to Al Qeada. We deliver her, sedated, bound and blindfolded, to a location of their choosing and let them do whatever they want to her. It would be our way of saying, 'As far as Paris Hilton is concerned, we get where you're coming from. In fact, we sort of agree with you.'"

As for me, I watched the trailer. Paris is a cinch for an Oscar nom.

New Slideshow

Ed Gorman waxes eloquent today on Planet Stories and Leigh Brackett. Hence the new slideshow over on the right.

Happy Birthday, Ray Price!

Ray Price (musician) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Ray Price (born January 12, 1926 in Perryville, Texas) is an American country and western singer/songwriter/guitarist. Some of his more famous songs include 'Release Me', 'Crazy Arms', 'Heartaches By the Number', 'City Lights', 'My Shoes Keep Walking Back To You', 'For The Good Times', 'I Won't Mention It Again', 'The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me', and 'Danny Boy.' He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996."

Ricky Van Shelton, no slouch as a singer himself, also has a birthday today. He's 56.

Buddy Holly Update

Buddy Holly's widow steamed over Peggy Sue's book | - Houston Chronicle: "LUBBOCK — Buddy Holly's widow is trying to keep the woman whose name was made famous by the hit song Peggy Sue from selling a book about her friendship with the late rock 'n' roll star.

Maria Elena Holly said Friday that Peggy Sue Gerron's Whatever Happened to Peggy Sue? is unauthorized and will harm Holly's name, her reputation and that of her company, Holly Properties.

'It's very interesting that this woman makes up all these stories,' Maria Elena Holly said from her home in Dallas. 'He never, never considered Peggy Sue a friend.'"

We're from the Government, and We're Here to Help You

New ID rules may complicate air travel - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - Millions of air travelers may find going through airport security much more complicated this spring, as the Bush administration heads toward a showdown with state governments over post-Sept. 11 rules for new driver's licenses. By May, the dispute could leave millions of people unable to use their licenses to board planes, but privacy advocates called that a hollow threat by federal officials."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

If you click through, you can see a photo of the teacher. I particularly like the last sentence of the article. Danbury, by the way, is only a few miles from Alvin.

Teacher Accused Of Giving Teens Beer - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston: "DANBURY, Texas -- An alleged teen drunken driving incident led deputies to a teacher's home, KPRC Local 2 reported Friday.

Brazoria County sheriff's deputies said two teenagers, who were stopped on suspicion of drunken driving, told them they drank alcohol at teacher Robin Ater's home in Danbury."

Vampira, R. I. P.

LAist: Vampira Goes to the Great Beyond: "Hollywood has lost another legend. Maila Nurmi, who became synonymous with her character, Vampira, passed away in her sleep yesterday at the age of 86."

Unforgettable in Plan Nine from Outer Space.

Sexiest Bond Girl Ever?

I suggest that everyone vote for the nuclear scientist. I did.

Olga Kurylenko cast in Bond 22 | Bond babes | Choose your favourite | The Sun |HomePage|Features: "Ukrainian beauty Olga Kurylenko was this week unveiled as Daniel Craig's latest sexy co-star for the upcoming Bond movie.

But is she your favourite ever? Does she send you to 007 heaven?

Or do you prefer classics like Ursula Andress, who will always be remembered for that scene."

Friday, January 11, 2008

Croc Update (Arctic Edition)

During Ancient Warm Period, Glaciers Might Have Persisted | LiveScience: "Oddly, glaciers might have existed in the Antarctic during a very warm super-greenhouse era more than 90 million years ago, contrary to researchers’ expectations.

Crocodiles roamed the Arctic and sea surface temperatures in the western tropical Atlantic Ocean reached 98 degrees Fahrenheit (37 Celsius), compared to today's 84 F (29 C) during the extremely warm Turonian stage of the late Cretaceous period."

Big Brother Lives in California Now

California wants to control home thermostats - International Herald Tribune: "SAN FRANCISCO: The conceit in the 1960s show 'The Outer Limits' was that outside forces had taken control of your television set.

Next year in California, state regulators are likely to have the emergency power to control individual thermostats, sending temperatures up or down through a radio-controlled device that will be required in new or substantially modified houses and buildings to manage electricity shortages."

When Bikers Meet Humans: A Review

When Bikers Meet Humans: "Though newly published, J. J. Solari's collection of eighteen stories, When Bikers Meet Humans, has already been marked for public immolation by a variety of civic-minded groups. JJ writes in the Rabelaisian tradition by way of Charles Bukowski, and if you don't find something to offend you in the first few pages, you're probably reading with your eyes closed."

The review is not exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to find on a site devoted to The Mickey Mouse Club, but it's complete and accurate. I've just finished reading the second story in the book, "Dogging It," and if I thought the first story was a test, it was merely part one. "Dogging It" is the tale of a masked (and caped) biker who's killing dogs. The descriptions are graphic. The terrible thing is that I laughed, especially at the end of a comment by a cop about the difference between killing humans and killing dogs and why, while nobody cares about the humans, everybody cares about the dogs. You might be surprised at how the entire comment changes your ideas about the story. I was.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

This time, in ditch surfing.

Hat tip to Dave Barry, not to mention Jeff Meyerson.

Change One Letter in a Movie Title. . .

. . . and create a poster for it. That was the challenge, and here are the results. There are dozens, some of the very clever and funny.

Gator Update (Economic Boon Edition)

Maybe that should be boom. I'm not sure the gators will like the weather in Michigan, though.

Alligator sanctuary approved in Athens Township | Battle Creek Enquirer - - Battle Creek, Mich.: "ATHENS — Athens Township will have some scaly new residents and a potential economic boon following tonight's approval of an alligator sanctuary site plan.

The Athens Township Planning Commission at its regular meeting unanimously approved the site plan for the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary & Zoological Park."

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Harris County is next door to those of us who live in Brazoria County. Houston is the county seat.

Attorney General to investigate Harris DA e-mail case | - Houston Chronicle: "Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal will face a state investigation into whether campaign-related e-mails on his government computer warrant removal from office, officials said today.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office informed county officials today that it would try to determine whether Rosenthal's actions were ``official misconduct.'' The process could lead to Rosenthal's removal, and even criminal charges.

Rosenthal's computer also contained some racist jokes and sexually explicit videos, which has fueled outrage from public officials and calls for his resignation in recent days."

Gator Update (Gator People Edition)

Broward-Palm Beach - News - The Gator People!: "In the 1959 movie Alligator People, set in an unnamed Southern wetland that will look familiar to South Floridians, Mrs. Webster, a newlywed, loses her husband. But he's not gone. Mad scientists have turned handsome Paul Webster into a mutant alligator that slithers through swamps, wreaking B-movie havoc. It's the stuff of cheap melodrama — with one caveat:

Alligator people really do inhabit our swamps. They speak gator language, swap gator tales, and collect gator memorabilia. They cook gator chili and barbecue gator ribs. And they keep gators, enormous scaled pets with names such as Rusty, Godzilla, and Rambo, with whom they've developed a deep-swamp symbiosis."

Deceit -- James Siegel

I was less than impressed by Jame Siegel's Derailed, but I thought I'd give him another try, mainly because I was looking for a quick, disposable read. So I picked up Deceit.

One thing that bothered me about the previous book was a huge coincidence. What bothers me about this one is that the whole thing is so preposterous that I can't suspend enough belief to enjoy it.

A California town is wiped out in a flood in 1954. 50 years later, a disgraced reporter starts digging into the story. Massive cover-up. They're out to get him. Paranoia runs rampant. Plot complications abound. Square that. Or cube it. You'd have to be nuts to think a such a complex cover-up would work, or even to consider it. So naturally the book has been sold to the movies and will probably sell a zillion copies, while my simple-minded little novels will be lucky to sell two copies. So who am I to talk?

Here's something that really bothered me, though. From page 141: "She averted my eyes . . . ." It that even physically possible? Maybe it is, and I just don't know the meaning of averted. This is from page 147: "A 3-year-old girl who'd rode out the flood. . . ." That's not dialogue. That's in the narration. Gimme a break. Or not. Remember at movie sale. I'm just bitter.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The video on the site won't play on my computer. Maybe your luck will be better, or maybe you can find it on YouTube.

Update: Thanks to Brent McKee for this link to the video.

Zoo lets guests play tug of war with lions, tigers | News for Austin, Texas | | Top Stories: "While visiting the Houston Zoo recently, Ayala, a Houston attorney, recorded a short clip of video which is now posted on YouTube.

It shows caretakers at the Houston Zoo taking a 20-pound chunk of raw meat tied onto a rope and tossing it into a lion’s pen.

Guests then got to tug on the rope."

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Why Nobody Likes to Fly Anymore

Reason #4: Security is run by bozos.

Airlines: TSA Detains 5-Year-Old As National Security Risk: "A 5-year-old boy was detained as 'security risk' because he had the same name of someone on the TSA 'No-Fly' list. The TSA had to conduct a full search of their persons and belongings. When his mother went to pick him up and hug him and comfort him during the proceedings, she was told not to touch him because he was a national security risk."

Croc Update (Video Edition)

Crocodilian Pets in Hiroshima : Japan Probe: "A video report from Fuji TV news about a Mr. Murabayashi of Hiroshima Prefecture who keeps a spectacled caiman as a pet:"

Great video. It's in Japanese, but there's a translation provided underneath the video. Hat tip to Boing Boing.

When Bikers Meet Humans -- J. J. Solari

Okay, it's here. What's here? The new collection of stories J. J. Solari, author of the legendary "No Class Chick." He's also a frequent commenter on this blog. My opinion isn't influenced by that or even by the fact that in the "about the author" section he names Paris Hilton as one of the seven "most iconic Americans deserving of their reputations."

If you've read "No Class Chick" and liked it, then you're already sold on this collection, and you know what kind of stories it contains. If you don't know, well, the cover illustration might give you an idea. And that little note at the bottom about "socially unredeeming tales."

You think you've read edgy stuff before? These stories are over the edge. The very first story is "Black Biker," which is only a few pages long but which contains something to offend just about everybody I can think of.
It's so unPC that you might not be able to believe it. It's a test to see if you can read the others, I suspect. The other story I've read so far is "The Burial of Mokes," which is almost as sick and warped as "No Class Chick." I mean that in a good way, but you'd have to be as warped an nuts as I am to understand.

So if you want something completely different, something really out there, you can order a copy by e-mailing The price is $13.13, plus postage. You might even get a signed copy, though the author objects to defacing books.

Paris Hilton to Get Award

At Harvard.

Prison Break Update

N.J. prisoner recaptured after escape that left taunting note - "NEW YORK (CNN) -- One of two men who escaped from a county jail in New Jersey last month was back in custody, authorities said.

Federal and local authorities on Tuesday captured Jose Espinosa, 20, who broke out of the Union County Jail on December 15 with fellow inmate Otis Blunt, 32, Union County prosecutor Theodore J. Romankow said.


The two left behind dummies in their beds, along with a note thanking prison guard Rudolph Zurick "for the tools needed" and saying, "You're a real pal! Happy holidays."

Zurick committed suicide this week at his home in Sayreville, New Jersey. His attorney, Michael Mitzner, said Zurick had not been charged in the jailbreak and was cooperating with investigators.

"It's possible that his name being associated with the escape was more than he could take despite his lack of involvement," Mitzner said."

Croc Update (Drug Fiend Edition)

Australian teen blames dope for theft of 2 crocodiles and monkey: "DARWIN, Australia - An Australian teenager blamed the influence of marijuana for his decision to steal two crocodiles and a monkey, news media reported Wednesday.

Benjamin Glen Watts, 19, pleaded guilty in court Tuesday to twice breaking into a wildlife park on the outskirts of the tropical city Darwin last July, Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio reported on its website. Watts said he planned to sell the stolen baby crocodiles and the marmoset but had been unable to find buyers, ABC reported."

Ancient Shores -- Jack McDevitt

George Kelley suggested that Jack McDevitt writes the kind of science fiction I like to read: clearly written, with a good story and interesting characters. George was right, which proves, once again, that I'm an old guy, harking back to the SF of my distant youth, the kind written by Asimov, Clarke, and Heinlein. I guess there's just no getting around it, and keep off my lawn!

To tell the truth, there's not much emphasis on the science in the story. An alien artifact is discovered. it leads to another artifact, which contains gateways to other worlds. Instead of exploring those worlds Jack McDevitt chooses instead to explore ours. If such an artifact were found, what would be the effects on the economy? On religion? On politics? How would we deal with it?

This is a big-canvas novel: lots of characters popping in and out, lots of scenarios presented, lots of plot threads developed. That's not to say that McDevitt forgets the human scale of things. A couple of characters carry through the novel, and I was interested in their fates. I kind of enjoyed the idea that there were people who could actually be more powerful than the government, in a way, and I got a little kick out of their brief appearance in the novel.

The ending leaves from for a sequel, several sequels for that matter, but I don't know if there's been one. I'm sure I'd read it if I ran across it.

Gator Update (Tina Turner Edition) - Tina's talk of the town: "PASADENA - Tina is a lot like most gals.

She likes a good back scratch every now and then; she packs on a few pounds each winter; and if she gets agitated, it's best to stay out of her way.

But this woman is cold-blooded - for real.

The nearly 7-foot-long American alligator, who takes her name from powerful vocalist Tina Turner, is digging her recently upgraded digs at the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, officials there say."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Once Again, A Texas Dog Leads the Way

AFP: Dog shoots, kills Texas hunter: "CHICAGO (AFP) — An overexcited dog accidentally shot and killed its owner on a goose hunting trip in Texas, authorities said Tuesday."

Hotwire Comics #2

This looks good.

Link via Boing Boing. More details here.

Croc Update (Pet Edition)

Nice croc photo at link.

How Australia's pet crocs become pest crocs | "Sydney, Australia - She watches TV on the couch with him, rolls over on her back to get her tummy tickled, making squeaking-barking sounds to indicate her delight, and is uncharacteristically (for her species) pliant while being fed. Her meals consist of goldfish, defrosted rats, mice, and day-old chickens.

Now four years old and four feet long, Stampy, a female crocodile, was once someone's abandoned pet. She was found one night wandering the streets of suburban Darwin in northern Australia.

Stampy was picked up and nursed back to health from a dehydrated state by Chris Pebedy, who captures deadly snakes and other reptiles from urban areas for a living. Mr. Pebedy keeps nine crocodiles and one alligator on his property"

Happy Birthday, Yvette Mimieux

Yvette Mimieux is 66 today. I'll always remember her for Where the Boys Are (Key line: "They weren't even Yalies"), a great movie of my late youth. You tough guys will perhaps think of the graphic rape scene in Jackson County Jail, but for me, Where the Boys Are is the picture to remember.

So How Would You Look . . .

. . . with a celebrity's hair? I'd look younger.

Fight Club -- the Musical

Yes, that's right. The musical.

A Review

Benjie Potter, a frequent commenter here, has a nice review of Houston Homicide.

Lone Star Sleuths

Although it's not mentioned in the article, there's an excerpt from my book Winning Can Be Murder included in the anthology.

A guided tour of Texas-based mysteries: "SAN MARCOS — A new landscape for the Lone Star State, one dotted with make-believe murders and other fictional felonies, is rising from the ether — although rooted in Texas soil — as more crime writers craft novels set here.

A new anthology of Texas-based mysteries takes readers on a guided tour of the fictional crime scenes across the state."

MY Hometown . . .

. . . is Mexia, Texas. A nice place, but I'm not so sure about the name of the kids' basketball league.

Mexia Daily News - Mexia Little Dribblers Opening Ceremonies: "Mexia Little Dribblers will kickoff their 2008 youth basketball season for their ages 4-14 boys and girls with Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday January 9, 2008 at the Mexia Old Jr. Gym at 6pm. All 38 teams players will be introduced with their parents at the Ceremony. There will be Music, Prizes and Basketball shooting contest and much more fun."

Serial Killer Update

Serial Killer Fears Reignited In Daytona Over 'Eerily Similar' Slaying - Orlando News Story - WKMG Orlando: "DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A 30-year-old woman found dead in some Daytona Beach woods may be the latest victim of a serial killer already blamed for the deaths of several women in the same area.

Daytona Beach police Chief Mike Chitwood said the slaying of Stacey Gage, 30, of Holly Hill last week is 'eerily similar' to the slayings of three known prostitutes in December of 2006.

'There are a whole bunch of things that I'm not going to get into but from an investigator's perspective, when you sit back and look at the circumstances, you look at the location and look at other things that may be in her background, it gives us pause to say, 'You know, we may be heading down this road again,'' Daytona Beach police Chief Mike Chitwood said."

Judy Update

Judy had her eighth and final chemotherapy treatment yesterday. Since the doctor has already said she's in remission, we hope we'll now be traveling to MD Anderson much less often. We'll have to go for various tests, of course, but the worst is over. Okay, not quite. There's still the sickness that comes after chemo to get past one more time, but we've dealt with that enough now that it doesn't scare us. Thanks to everyone who's been so supportive while we went through this. Now we can concentrate on our next big adventure.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

M.D. Anderson scientist finds life's essence | - Houston Chronicle: "For the first time, scientists have captured detailed images of life's essence.

The dazzling pictures reveal a key step in the process of cell division, which all organisms must undergo to survive. The moment occurs deep within a cell, as two proteins work in concert to unzip a strand of DNA to create two new cells.

But until now, scientists seeking to directly observe this essential process only could view fuzzy images taken by an electron microscope.

A scientist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has changed that by perfecting a technique employed by biophysicist Rosalind Franklin more than half a century ago to gather the first images of DNA."

Interview with "Pushy First-Time Novelist"

Well, that's how he described himself to me, anyway. Check it out.

Dark Scribe Magazine - Drawing First Blood: "Few emerging writers can stake claim to blurbs from the likes of David Morrell and Jack Ketchum - especially for their debut novel. But newcomer David Jack Bell can proudly do just that, with praise coming in from all directions for The Condemned. DSM wanted to meet the buzz-generating Dr. Bell and get the scoop on what promises to be a meteoric rise to stardom in the horror genre."

Fender Tucker Recommends. . .

. . . this article, written by a guy who also wrote what Fender considers "the quintessential Keeler pastiche." This article, by the way, is not about Keeler.

Paging Dr. Lecter

Authorities find a body, a human ear in a pot in Tyler | - Houston Chronicle: "TYLER, Texas — Deputies responding to a 911 call in this East Texas town found a gruesome scene: a human ear boiling in a pot on a stovetop and a hunk of flesh impaled on a fork sitting atop a plate on the kitchen table.

Authorities believe that the 25-year-old man arrested in the death of his 21-year-old girlfriend cooked parts of her body and may have tried to eat them — actions he described to them in the emergency call that led them to the grisly discovery."


Dion and the Belmonts. One of my top 5 doo-wop groups. "I Wonder Why" is one of my top 5 doo-wop songs. Dion is still around.

Th Diary of Anne Frank --the Musical

Anne Frank's diary to be made into a musical | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited: "It might not seem the most obvious material for a song-and-dance number, but the Diary of Anne Frank will take centre stage next month when a Spanish musical based on the most famous book about the Holocaust opens in Madrid."

Sunday, January 06, 2008


Alan Moore is the writer on this, and his work is widely respected. Still, I'm not at all sure I want to see this. I guess I'm a Disney-version kind of a guy, after all.

Naked anger as Peter Pan's Wendy gets porno rewrite - News: "PETER Pan is known to generations of children as the boy who never grew up.

But his sweetheart Wendy is depicted in a series of adult situations in a hugely controversial new adaptation of JM Barrie's classic tale.

In the extremely graphic graphic-novel Lost Girls, Pan's demure companion is shown in a serious of erotic trysts.

The illustrated adult book, which depicts Tinkerbell being raped and Wendy being spied on by paedophile peeping toms, has provoked children's campaigners and devotees of the original Barrie fable to demand it be taken off the shelves."

A Review

I've posted a review of Toni Kellner's EQMM story "Skull and Cross Examinations" over at Nasty, Brutish, and Short.

An Essay by Robert Silverberg

Robert Silverberg has a wonderful essay in the January issue of Aismov's. It certainly stirred some emotions in me. I identified with just about everything in it, and it recalled a wonderful time for me. Check it out.

Reflections: "It’s an episode more than half a century old that I think will stir some emotion in the bosom of anyone who, like myself of long ago, found it exciting to collect the science fiction magazines of ancient days."

You Want Hillbilly Noir?

Then just read this article.

| Showbiz | News of the World: "A panic call from Britney Spears' husband sparked her stand-off with cops - because he feared she would SHOOT DEAD their two sons.

As Brit left hospital, a pal said: 'K-Fed was terrified. He realised she had a gun where she was holding them.'

We can reveal that Kevin Federline feared his ex would use the Beretta pistol he bought her as a birthday gift to MURDER their two young sons."

This Can't be a Good Sign

UK living standards outstrip US - Times Online: "LIVING standards in Britain are set to rise above those in America for the first time since the 19th century, according to a report by the respected Oxford Economics consultancy.

The calculations suggest that, measured by gross domestic product per capita, Britain can now hold its head up high in the economic stakes after more than a century of playing second fiddle to the Americans."

Texas Crime Update

Angletown is about 20 miles from Alvin. It's the county seat of Brazoria County.

Angleton man dies in police custody after eating bag of crack | - Houston Chronicle: "ANGLETON, Texas — An Angleton man who was being booked into the Brazoria County Jail on drug possession charges died after eating what authorities say was a bag of crack.

William Yendis Franklin, 28, was taken to the county jail on Thursday after a Texas state trooper arrested him on a charge of possession of a controlled substance. As Franklin undressed for a body search during the booking process, he reached into his underwear and pulled out a small bag, officials said.

Franklin, whose handcuffs had been removed so he could undress, had been cooperative, said Brazoria County Sheriff's Lt. Russ Baker. Two officers were in the room at the time.

Franklin chewed on the bag, then pulled the empty bag from his mouth, Baker said. Franklin was taken by ambulance to Angleton-Danbury Hospital, where he died in the emergency room."