Saturday, April 05, 2008

Emsh Covers

Reading the bio of Ed and Carol Emshwiller encouraged me to put together a new slideshow over on the right, this one featuring some Emsh covers.

The Unknown

This is the third of the three I Love a Mystery movies based on Carleton E. Morse's radio series. It's not based on any of the radio shows, though it shares the gimmick of "The Thing that Cries in the Night."

In The Unknown, Reggie and Doc escort a young woman, Nina Martin (played by Jeff Donnell, whom I remember as "crazy old Alice from George Gobel's TV show) to a ruined southern mansion for the reading of a will. There's a complicated backstory to this, and it's set up in the opening scenes, which take a while to set things up. After that we're left in the mansion with the principals, the creepy family members, the faithful retainer, and a lawyer. There's a phantom baby crying in the night, lots of roaming through secret tunnels, a murder, a nice little twist. The atmosphere's well done, and the acting is okay. Not a great movie, but entertaining enough, and not too much over an hour long. Not as good as the radio show, though.

Ed Hoch Tribute in EQMM

If you don't subscribe, you might want to buy a copy on the newsstand this time for sure. A very nice collection of tributes, along with a new story.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Books banned from Texas prisons.

Why Can't They Just Keep Off His Lawn?

'Anti-young' device probed: "Police are investigating complaints after a man installed a device, more commonly used by shops to disperse young people, on his house.

Colin Martin said he bought the gadget for his home, in the Cadoxton area of Barry, south Wales, after years of anti-social behaviour and that he had not had a problem since.

But residents said the device, known as the Mosquito, was driving away innocent children. The Mosquito emits a high-pitched sound which causes discomfort to young ears, but is above the normal hearing range for most people after they hit their 20s."

Today's Top Croc Photo

Jayme Lynn Blaschke's Gibberish: "There's a new 'Africa Live!' section open at the San Antonio Zoo, and they've just recently added a young Nile crocodile. It was lurking in the water, not offering much to shoot, when it suddenly decided to climb out and start sunning itself. I started clicking away, zooming in tight for close-up, zooming out for full-body shots, the works. I wasn't sure if anything would be good, so I went with the shotgun approach."

Friday, April 04, 2008

My Name is Earl

Sometimes I forget to mention important stuff, like the fact that I watched the My Name is Earl two-parter with Paris Hilton. Maybe I forgot because it wasn't such a good episode. Ms. Hilton was in it only for a few seconds, though of course her reading of "That's hot" might well get her an Emmy nomination. My favorite line of the show, however, came when Earl lay in a coma in the hospital. The attending doctor, apparently a Hindu gives the gang the bad news about Earl's condition, and after listing any number of bad things, he says, "He has a fantastic mustache, and praise be to Ganesh it was unharmed. Other than that, all we can do is pray. I'll bet you wish you had more than one god now, eh?"

Gator Update (Traffic Hazard Edition)

Dead gator causes tanker to overturn - 04/04/2008 - "A tractor trailer toppled Friday morning as the driver veered to avoid what appeared to be debris on southbound Okeechobee Road.

The real culprit: the remains of a nine- to 10-foot alligator.

The driver, Steven Johnson, 43, of Riverview, suffered only minor cuts and bruises but the rollover led authorities to shut down both northbound and southbound lanes on Okeechobee to transfer 9,200 gallons of liquid propane to another tractor trailer."

Emperor Dad

I've mentioned Henry Melton's Emperor Dad here before, and now Henry's won the Darrel Award for the novel. You can read all about it here.

Chained Heat

Sex abuse, violence alleged at teen jails across U.S. - "JACKSON, Mississippi (CNN) -- Girls as young as 13 say they were shackled for weeks at a time in Mississippi.

A Texas teen was allegedly offered birthday cake in exchange for sex.

A guard drove his knee into the neck of a frail suicidal Ohio boy after the youth was wrestled to the ground and held down by other guards who stripped him and covered his face with a smock, a state report said.

More than two dozen girls at an Indiana lock-up describe 'networking' -- their term for sneaking into each other's cells to have sex, with no interference from guards."


Thanks to George Kelley for the link.
Dirty, sexy money: The writer Rupert Smith on his lucrative porn-lit sideline - Features, Books - The Independent: "With his legit literary career heading for the doldrums, a despondent Rupert Smith took on a 'nom de porn', James Lear, and entered the parallel universe of erotica. Now he sells more copies than Alan Hollinghurst..."

Gator Update (Gang Member Edition)

N.J. Police Nab 91 Gang Suspects, One Gator - News Story - WNBC | New York: "TRENTON, N.J. -- State Police and Plainfield police have arrested 91 alleged members of local gangs in a series of raids, authorities said.

The arrests happened in waves, with 46 people being nabbed between Jan. 23 and March 20, and 24 more arrested Wednesday and Thursday.

Police said they confiscated weapons, a stun gun and a bulletproof vest as well as large quantities of heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, Oxycontin and marijuana.

'Their reign of terror ended this morning when they woke up,' a state police spokesman said Thursday.

New Jersey State Police also told's Brian Thompson that a live alligator was discovered in one of the raided homes. The alligator was taken to an animal shelter.

The alligator measured 3 feet. It is not clear if the alligator may have been kept for security, as a pet, or for some other reason."

The Destroyer!

Tor Books has a good interview with Destroyer authors Warren Murphy and Jim Mullaney up at The Destroyer Club.

The Black Keys

I'm not fond of a lot of contemporary music, but for some reason I like The Black Keys.

Alas, no Asp

Discovery News : Discovery Channel: "April 1, 2008 -- Popular lore holds that in Cleopatra's last moments, the distraught queen -- who had just lost her kingdom and learned of her lover's demise -- smuggled a poisonous snake into her locked chamber and died, along with two ladies-in-waiting, of a self-inflicted snake bite.

Such a scenario is next to impossible, according to Egyptologist Joyce Tyldesley, who shatters the 'snakebite suicide' myth in her new book, Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt, just published in Europe and slated for an upcoming U.S. release."

Top Gator Photo of the Day

Click here.

Emshwiller: Infinity X Two: The Life and Art of Ed and Carol Emshwiller -- Luis Ortiz

When I was a kid, my favorite SF artists were Emsh, Freas, and Finlay. I have a terrible eye, but I could recognize their work easily, and I liked all of it. Looking at the paintings in this book brought back a flood of memories, and I was surprised at how many of them I recognized instantly. I knew which magazines the cover paintings had appeared on without having to look at the comments about them, and I even remembered where a lot of the interiors appeared. I guess that some things make a huge impression on you when you're young.

While this book is worth its price just for the artwork alone, it's also a biography of Ed and Carol Emshwiller, and it goes into Ed's films as well as his magazine work. So there are lots of snippets from the films as well. Carol's contributions to the films are mentioned, but it's her stories that most people will remember. I can still remember reading "Pelt" many years ago in F&SF.

This is a book. Of particular interest to me were the paintings for covers that I'd never seen, the ones on the men's sweat mags and the mystery mags. You need a copy if you're a fan of either Emshwiller or of both of them. Great stuff.

Fossil Feces Update

Evidence Supports Earlier Date for People in North America - New York Times: "Exploring Paisley Caves in the Cascade Range of Oregon, archaeologists have found a scattering of human coprolites, or fossil feces. The specimens preserved 14,000-year-old human protein and DNA, which the discoverers said was the strongest evidence yet of the earliest people living in North America."

Remembering Bette Davis

Remembering Bette Davis on centennial of her birth - International Herald Tribune: "Bette Davis, born 100 years ago this week, made her first appearance on film in 1931 and her last in 1989, and like every star of her generation she was always ready for her close-up."

Thursday, April 03, 2008


HarperCollins Unit to Pay Little or No Author Advances - "In a radical departure from traditional book-publishing practices, News Corp.'s HarperCollins Publishers is launching a new business that won't accept returns from retailers. In addition, the new entity intends to pay little or nothing in the way of advances to its authors.

Instead, the unit, which hasn't yet been named, will share its profits with writers and focus much of its sales efforts on the Internet. In recent years, Inc., the nation's largest online book retailer by sales, has gained market share from bricks-and-mortar stores. News Corp. owns Dow Jones & Co., which publishes The Wall Street Journal.

The move by HarperCollins comes at a time when the book publishing and book retailing industries are battling to generate new sales and attract more readers."

Magnum, P. I.?

I, for one, hope not.

The Policeman is your Friend

S.C. cops under fire - "COLUMBIA, S.C. - A state trooper is seen kicking a suspect in the head repeatedly after a high-speed interstate chase in the latest in a string of alarming Highway Patrol videos to be released.

In other videos, a trooper punches a suspect several times in the face after a pursuit, and another officer appears to hit a suspect with his shotgun barrel in a traffic stop.

The Department of Public Safety released the 2006 videos Monday after media requests. They are the latest to surface showing South Carolina troopers acting aggressively toward suspects."

Hang 'em High

Brazil mass alligator slaughter discovered: official | Environment | Reuters: "BRASILIA (Reuters) - Brazilian authorities discovered the slaughter of around 740 alligators in a nature reserve in the Amazon forest, a state official said on Tuesday.

Inspectors of the Amazon state's environmental protection agency IPAAM confiscated roughly eight tons of skinned and salted alligator corpses in the Piagacu-Purus reserve, some 190 miles west of the state capital Manaus.

'We were surprised and shocked,' Aldenira Queiroz, an agency director, told Reuters by telephone from Manaus. 'This indicates a large-scale commercial operation.'

The meat was to be sold for human consumption in neighboring Para state, she said. It will now probably be incinerated.

The alligator skins, the most valuable part of the animal, were dumped in rivers, an IPAAM spokesman said.

Some environmentalists have said that the reserve is a favorite hunting ground for local politicians and wealthy businessmen."

Bomb Canada!

CANOE -- JAM! Television: Paris Hilton faces Cdn. border rules: "MONTREAL - Paris Hilton will have to give at least one autograph before she sets a dainty foot in Canada this weekend - on a request to enter the country submitted to the Canada Border Services Agency.

That's because the ex-con's record isn't limited to her self-titled debut album, 'Paris,' which came out in 2006.

A misdemeanour traffic violation led to a criminal conviction for the 27-year-old celebrity that resulted in her spending 22 days behind bars last year."

The Ballad of Lost C'Mell, New Edition

Cow-human cross embryo lives three days | "HUMAN-cow embryos have been created in a world first at Newcastle University in England, hailed by the scientific community, but labelled 'monstrous' by opponents.

A team has grown hybrid embryos after injecting human DNA into eggs taken from cows' ovaries, which had most of their genetic material removed."

Croc Update (A Poke in the Eye Edition)

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

'No time for fear' says croc-attack rescuer | "A MAN jumped on the back of a crocodile and poked its eyes to free his wife from the reptile's jaws during an attack at a Northern Territory river.

Norm Moreen, 39, has been praised for his heroism for leaping on to the 2.5 metre saltwater crocodile after it yesterday seized his wife, Wendy Petherick, from a river bank at Litchfield National Park, southwest of Darwin."

Insect Update

Photo and video at link.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Secret 'dino bugs' revealed: "It is like a magic trick - at first there is nothing and then it appears: a tiny insect unseen by any eye for 100 million years.

We are with Paul Tafforeau who is scrolling through images on his computer.

His pictures have been produced by a colossal X-ray machine that can illuminate the insides of small lumps of clouded amber (fossil tree resin).

As he plays with the settings, what starts out as grey nothingness suddenly becomes the unmistakable outline of a 'wee beastie'."

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Harry Crews

The Doc and I mentioned Harry Crews in a comment or two, and then the #1 Crimedog posts this video link. Coincidence? I report, you decide.

Something New Has Been Added

If you ever happen to look at the list of links on the right, down there below the slideshow, you'll notice that they've been changed. Now, the links appear with the most recently updated link on top. The topic of the latest post is displayed, too. Very cool stuff.

And Somewhere Someone Opened the Sixth Seal

Mariah Carey Surpasses Elvis in No. 1s: "LOS ANGELES (AP) - With her 18th chart-topper 'Touch My Body,' Mariah Carey has passed Elvis Presley for the most No. 1 singles on the Billboard singles chart, and is now second only to the Beatles."

Happy Birthday, Emmylou Harris!

This was 20 years ago. She looks even better now and still sings like a fallen angel.

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Buy the T-shirt here.

Even in Finland . . .

. . . the politicians are horn dogs.

The Associated Press: Finland's Foreign Minister Ousted: "HELSINKI, Finland (AP) — Finland's foreign minister was ousted Tuesday by his conservative party over a text message scandal involving an erotic dancer.

The scandal, which had been making headline news for weeks, had eroded trust in and respect for Ilkka Kanerva, said Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen, chairman of the National Coalition Party, which holds the Foreign Ministry post in the coalition government."

The National Geographic?

Not really. It's a Harvard Lampoon parody of that venerable publication, and it has -- ta-da! -- Paris Hilton on the cover. You know you need a copy, at your local newsstand now!

Here's what the good sports at National Geographic have to say, and here are some more photos.

Gator Update (Nuisance Edition)

Rusty Burke tells me that the earlier link to this on-going story is broken. But he sends along this update. Video at link (as long as it's working).

Nuisance gators end up on the menu - 04/02/2008 - "Used to be, you blocked a busy road and you got a ticket. Now they turn you into a handbag or back scratcher.

The nine-foot alligator that was cornered and captured Tuesday morning after a traffic-stopping appearance at U.S. 441 and Bailey Road was sold to a processing facility for $280."

Derringer Nominees from the Short Mystery Fiction Society

We are pleased to announce this year's Derringer Award nominees.

The nominees for Best Story 0 to 1000 words are:

--Keri Clark, "Saved" (Mysterical-E, Fall 2007)

--BV Lawson, "Dreaming of a Spite Christmas" (Mouth Full of Bullets,
Winter 2007)

--Jillian Berg, "A Woman Scorned" (Mouth Full of Bullets, Autumn 2007)

--Keri Clark, "Your New Fan" (Mouth Full of Bullets, Winter 2007)

--Patricia Abbott, "My Hero" (D Z Allen's Muzzle Flash, 2007)

The nominees for Best Story 1001 to 4000 words are:

--Beverle Graves Myers, "Brimstone P.I." (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery
Magazine, May 2007)

--Hugh Lessig, "We All Come From Splattertown" (Thuglit, Issue 17,
July 2007)

--Rick Noetzel, "Joyride" (Shred of Evidence, Dec., 2007)

--Jack Hardway, "Handful of Stars" (Mouth Full of Bullets, Issue 5,
Autumn 2007)

--John Weagly, "In the Shadows of Wrigley Field" (The Back Alley,
Vol. I, Nov 2007)

--Camille LaGuire, "The Promise" (Future's Mysterious Anthology
Magazine, March-April 2007)

The nominees for Best Story 4001 to 8000 words are:

--Twist Phalen, "A Trader's Lot" (Wall Street Noir, Akashic Books,
June, 2007)

--John Schroeder, "Devil's Lake" (Futures Anthology Magazine, Jan/Feb

--Herschel Cozine, "A Private Hanging" (Mysterical-E, Summer, 2007)

--Kate Flora, "Mr. McGregor's Garden" (Still Waters, Level Best
Books, 2007)

--Rosemary Harris, "Growing Up is For Losers" (Still Waters, Level
Best Books, 2007)

--Richard Helms, "The Gospel According to Gordon Black" (The
Thrilling Detective, Fall 2007)

The nominees for Best Story 8001 to 17,500 words are:

--Beverle Graves Myers, "The Bookworm's Demise"(Alfred Hitchcock
Mystery Magazine, Dec. 2007)

--Eric Shane, "Paper Walls / Glass Houses" (The Back Alley Vol.1,
June 2007)

--John Burdett, "The Enlightenment of Magnus McKay" (Wall Street
Noir, June 2007)

--Mike Wiecek, "Wasting Assets" (Alfred Hitchcock Sept., 2007)
Clifford Royal Johns, "Forget Me Not" (Mysterical-E, Fall 2007)

Congratulations to the nominees -- way to go!

Joyce Holland, 2008 Derringer Awards Coordinator
Molly MacRae, SMFS Vice President
Stephen Johnston, SMFS President

PS. (In cases of a tie for fifth place, both stories were included in
the selction of finalists.)

Peru Update

Photo at link.

Ancient gold necklace discovered in Peru - Yahoo! News: "WASHINGTON - The earliest known gold jewelry made in the Americas has been discovered in southern Peru. The gold necklace, made nearly 4,000 years ago, was found in a burial site near Lake Titicaca, researchers report in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."

Sleeping Dogs -- Ed Gorman

Seems as if James Reasoner and I read a lot of the same books, and we often share the same opinions of them. I certainly share his admiration for Ed Gorman's latest novel. In fact, I might even like it more than James does. My feeling is that if this book had been published by someone like, say John Grisham, it would have been given a big push, some great promotion, and a big first printing. Reviewers from the big publications would have gushed over it. It's better written than a Grisham book, though, and, sad to say, it won't sell nearly as well as one of those. That's what they get for using Ed's picture on the cover. (Just kidding, Ed!)

The book is a mystery novel, but that's only secondary. What it really is, is a look at a political campaign from the inside. Nobody comes off very well, not the liberal senator that Dev Conrad, the narrator, works for, and certainly not his opponent. Everybody wants to win, and if that means playing dirty, so be it.

Nearly every page of this book has some sharp observation or some penetrating insight into the political system. Sometimes both. If this is the first of a new series, I'm all for it. By all means, check it out.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Scribe Award Nominees

Click the link for all the nominees.

A Writer's Life: Scribe Award Nominees Announced: "The Second Annual Scribe Awards, presented by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, acknowledges and celebrates excellence in licensed tie-in writing -- novels based on TV shows, movies, and games. The IAMTW is proud to announce this years nominees for the Scribe Award."

Gator Update ("Very Large" Edition)

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link. Photos and video available with a click.

'Very large' gator collared on U.S. 441 - 04/01/2008 - "Why did the alligator cross the road? Cops don't know, but authorities collared the nine footer Tuesday morning after a half-hour standoff that slowed traffic to a crawl on U.S. 441.

The gator was spotted about 7:15 a.m. at U.S. 441 and Bailey Road. The reptile was seen by construction workers, who called 911, bringing the Broward Sheriff's Office to the scene."

10 Years!

The Thrilling Detective Website is celebrating 10 years on the web. Contents of the latest issue can be found here. Looks like plenty of good reading. Kevin Burton Smith has more to say about the anniversary on his TD blog.

There's Good News Tonight!

Okay, so it's April 1, but this is no joke. I just heard from Joe Lansdale that Hap and Leonard are ready to make their triumphant return in Vanilla Ride, which has been picked up by Knopf. No pub date yet, but it's something to look forward to.

Spring Issue of Mysterical-E Now On-Line

Good line-up. You can read it here.

Sweeper: Viruses by Lew Stowe

A Courtesan's Death by Tom Rynard
Shae by Frank Zafiro
Band of the Hand by Scott Robinson
Charted Waters by Tom Underhill
Daddy's Little Girl by Larry D. Sweazy
Downpour by Larry Tyler
Fiesta by Steve Torres
Jack Best and the Scorpion Blonde by Steve Olley
No Harm Done by Daniel B. Young
The Blue Goose by Kin Smith
The Best Laid Plans by Kris Ashton
Today You Die by Herschel Cozine
Utopia by Bryon Quertermous
Wink and a Smile by J. Alan Brown
And columns and stuff, like this one by Gerald So.

D.B. Cooper Update

Expert: Parachute not D.B. Cooper's - "AMBOY, Wash., April 1 (UPI) -- An old parachute found in rural Washington last week wasn't used by skyjacker D.B. Cooper back in 1971, an expert said Monday night.

Earl Cossey told The (Portland) Oregonian Monday night an FBI agent took the parachute to his home last Friday and asked him if he believed it could be the one Cooper used when he leaped from a Northwest Airlines flight the night of Nov. 24, 1971, with $200,000 in ransom money.

'Not even close, not even close,' said Cossey, who packed the four parachutes given to Cooper."

Time to Take Action

Thanks, again, to Jeff Meyerson.

On the road to saving two Kerouac sites: "Poring over books and maps in his mom's Ozone Park apartment, Jack Kerouac planned the most famous road trip in literary history - and embarked on it in 1947.

But neither the walk-up where Kerouac plotted his cross-country exploits, nor a South Richmond Hill home where he worked on the classic novel 'On the Road,' are protected with city landmark status."

I Was Nowhere Around

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

iWon News - Dwarf Crocodile Snatched From Aquarium: "OSLO, Norway (AP) - A dwarf crocodile has been snatched from the Bergen aquarium by apparently knowledgeable thieves who broke into its cage and walked out with the 27-inch reptile named Taggen, the aquarium director said Monday.

'We know that somebody broke into the cage,' Kees Oscar Ekeli, a marine biologist and head of the Bergen Aquarium, said by telephone. 'It was almost tame. This one comes over when you open the cage, so capturing it was no big feat.'

The missing four-year-old Taggen is a Paleosuchus Trigonatus, also known by the name Schneider's dwarf caiman. Ekeli said such smooth-fronted caimans are among one of the world's smallest species of crocodile, can grow to 21.5 feet, and are normally found in South America."

Carnival of the Criminal Minds

The Carnival of Criminal Minds has come to town courtesy of the lovely and talented Barbara Fister. Come one, come all.

There are no sideshows in this carnival, just main attractions, that is, links to other crime fiction blogs so you can check 'em out. (Some might argue that this isn't really a crime fiction blog, and who am I to argue? Still, I'm going to use the word other because I want to.) You can find the previous carnival here, and the next one will be here. But I digress.

Where should we begin? Well, I guess we could begin and end with Crimespot, the blog aggregator that will give you links to a lot more blogs than this one will. I won't end there, however, even though my natural laziness leads me to want to. Instead, I'll press on.

Next up is A Writer's Life, where Lee Goldberg reviews books, gives you the TV Main Title of the Day, and tells of his great love for fanfic.

Bookgasm doesn't devote itself exclusively to crime fiction, but there are a lot of reviews of it there. Not to mention other good stuff. It's a don't-miss daily visit.

Jon the Crimespree guy doesn't update the Central Crime Zone every day, but when he does, you don't want to miss out.

And speaking of Jordans, there's the velvet fist in the iron glove of Jennifer Jordan, Human under Construction. Not always mystery-related, but I, of all people, can't complain.

You all must already have Sarah Weinman's blog bookmarked. She gets more hits in ten minutes at Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind than I get in a week.

Wanna know what's happening in crime fiction in Ireland? Declan Burke says that Crime Always Pays.

Over at the Crime Fiction Dossier, David Montgomery will tell you about the Book of the Week, among other things. (Yes, it's true that none of my books have never been Book of the Week, but I'm a big-hearted guy.)

You gotta keep up with the Crime Dogs, and Anthony Neil Smith is Crimedog One.

Short stories? I love 'em. So do the folks at Criminal Brief.

Lonnie Cruse writes books about '57 Chevrolets, so you know I'm going to check her blog and go Cruse'n with Lonnie now and then.

How young is Dave White? Dave White is so young that I have shirts older than Dave White. His Writing Block often features video from an obscure TV series that only he watches.

Peter Rozovsky keeps as close watch on crime fiction outside the U.S., and you'll want to keep up with Detectives Beyond Borders, too.

Speaking of which, Martin Edwards, over in Merrie England, has a thoughtful and entertaining blog with one of my favorite titles: Do You Write under Your Own Name?

No matter whether he's writing about books or movies or anything else, Ed Gorman is always worth reading. A definite must.

There are too many Femmes Fatales for me to list, so just check the blog.

Allan Guthrie is a Hard Man, and those are good to find.

Hey, There's a Dead Guy in the Living Room is another group blog. And wotta group! You'll have to take a look if you didn't click the link above. They hosted the carnival before me.

I'm sure none of The Lady Killers has ever really killed anyone. Right? Right?

Some very funny women write The Lipstick Chronicles, but sometimes they get serious.

The Murderati are something like the literati except they write about murder. And a whole lot of other stuff.

The best source of crime-related writing research on the 'net? Maybe Steve Lewis's Mystery*File. See if you agree.

Reviews of short stories? What a great idea. They can be found at Nasty, Brutish, and Short.

Patti Abbott writes crime stories. Hey, she lives in Detroit. What would you expect? Motown tunes?

Poe's Deadly Daughters is another group blog, always fun to read.

Mark Coggins sits behind Riordan's Desk. Interesting posts and interesting pictures.

James Reasoner is the author of Dust Devils, one of the best books of 2007, as well as a few hundred (I'm not making that up) other books. He's a nice guy with a few Rough Edges.

Sandra Ruttan is shy about expressing her opinions, but occasionally she'll let something slip at Sandrababbler.

I've known Sandra Scoppottone for a while. I'm even tuckerized in one of her books. So naturally I read her Writing Thoughts.

Sean Doolittle
is another of the Crime Dogs.

I can't spell

Top 100 April Fool's Hoaxes

No jokes from me today, but here are some good ones from the past.

And how did the jokes on April Fool's Day get started, anyway? Apparently, nobody knows.

Monday, March 31, 2008

What Might Have Been

Hat tip to Chris Roberson.

A Review

Frequent commenter Benjie Potter writes about Of All Sad Words.

Robert E. Howard Days Update

The Brownwood Bulletin - Brownwood, TX > Archives > News > Author to be featured at this year’s Robert E. Howard Days: "CROSS PLAINS: An author who gained international fame when his Conan character was immortalized by Hollywood will again be the focus of a weekend of study and events in Cross Plains during June.

The humorous writings of Howard will be examined at a celebration dinner on Friday, June 13, in Cross Plains, and the speaker will be Mark Finn of Vernon, author of “Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard.”"


Check out this interview with Murdaland editor Michael Langnas. Great stuff.

Happy Birthday, John D. Loudermilk!

If you don't know who John D. Loudermilk is, then you must by younger than I am. Even at that, you might have heard one of his songs. He wrote a lot of good ones.

John D. Loudermilk - bio, pictures, lyrics, songs - extensive webpages about the man and his music: "John D. Loudermilk was born on March 31, 1934 in Durham, North Carolina. One of the most productive Nashville songwriters in the 1960s, he acquired a prominent place in the rock, teen, pop and country music of that decade."

Gator Update (He Has God on his Side Edition) - Ian Shanley - Holy visions: "Owner Michael Wilk from Wisconsin was astonished and almost sober when he noticed white markings pop out against a backdrop of black scales on the side of his four-feet long pet alligator's side, spelling the word God."

Horny Vegetarian Update

Beach dinosaur a horny vegetarian with frills - 26 Mar 2008 - NZ Herald: Science News from New Zealand and around the World: "Scientists have discovered a new species of plant-eating dinosaur in Mexico whose large neck frill and three giant horns helped it attract mates and fight predators on a jungly beach 72 million years ago.

Mexico's Coahuila desert - now rocky and cactus-filled - was once covered by ocean where dinosaurs of all kinds thrived along the coast and hid from a giant relative of the fierce predator tyrannosaurus rex.

Palaeontologists say they have found evidence of a new species here related to the triceratops, known to have the largest head of any animal ever to have walked the earth."

Top 10 Most Outrageous Moments from "The Transporter" Film Series

Top 10 Most Outrageous Moments from "The Transporter" Film Series | "In honor of yesterday's news that Jason Statham will soon be kicking some more collective bad-guy ass in a new Transporter film, here are the top 10 most outrageous, awesome, and insane moments from the cinematic masterpieces that comprise The Transporter series."

The Horror

Congress investigates the comics.

Yes, Another List I'm not On

The 101 most useful websites - Telegraph: "There are tens of millions of sites to visit. Not forgetting, here are the only ones you actually need. Compiled by David Baker."

Back Home Again in Scenic Alvin

We got back from the AggieCon yesterday around noon, so we had plenty of time to clean up after the cats and catch our breath. As always we had a great time at Texas A&M, and even though Joe Lansdale wasn't there this year, we caught up with Scott and Sandi Cupp, Wille and Chuck Siros, Tom and Barbara Knowles, Kim, Renee, and others. The culinary highlight of the weekend was a trip with Tom and Barbara to Hullabaloo's, where I had the Redneck Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, which is a regular Philly Cheesesteak, with a couple of slices of thick-sliced bacon added. Ummm, bacon.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

No Arse Cheeks?

You'll have to let Allan Guthrie explain.

Oh. My. God.

Madonna wants to remake Casablanca - and of all the places in all the world, she plans to set it in war-torn Iraq | the Daily Mail: "It is one of the greatest films of Hollywood's golden era, a triple Oscar-winning classic with electrifyingly charismatic stars and a script bursting with memorable lines.

But now Madonna has stunned the movie industry with plans to remake Casablanca – and this time set it in Iraq."

An Interview with Me

It appears on the Campaign for the American Reader blog, and the questions came from Steve Hockensmith. My questions for Steve will be published tomorrow. Check 'em out.


I read Neil Gaiman's book several years ago and liked it quite a bit. However, I think in this case, rare as it is for me to say this, I liked the movie even more. It's a little too long, but that's the only fault I can find with it. Movies like this, for whatever reason, seem to drag out their endings, and this one's no different. Aside from that, though, I loved it.

Fine performances all around. Michelle Pfeiffer is maybe more beautiful than ever. Robert DiNiro seems to be having a wonderful time, and Claire Danes is a lovely star, not that Sienna Miller is bad, herself. The lightning-catcher airship is everything you could ask, and while I'd never seen Charlie Cox before, or at least that I remember, he was dandy as the young hero.

I seem to remember that Stardust was a disappointment at the box office. I have no idea why that would be. I thought it was a fine piece of entertainment. I guess not everbody likes the same things I do. Imagine that.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Successful Medical Necessity Defense in Texas Marijuana Case: "This week Tim Stevens, a 53-year-old Amarillo man who smokes marijuana to relieve the cyclical vomiting syndrome associated with HIV infection, used a necessity defense to win an acquittal on a possession charge. His attorney, Jeff Blackburn, says this appears to be the first time the defense, which argues that breaking the law was necessary to prevent a harm worse than the one the law is aimed at preventing, has been successful in a Texas marijuana case."

Side by Side #8

Side by Side #7