Saturday, August 02, 2008

From Dash Corageous

Welcome to The serial issue of Blazing! Adventures Magazine-

The final installment of "The Stieger Sanction", by CJ FERGUSON
with an'll just have to read to believe!!!!!!

The Curse of The Guadalajara Rose, Part 4 of the the 5 part western
serial by Sarah Black
come and continue the ride with the four horsemen into darkness!!!!!!

The Spotlight issue featuring TEEL JAMES GLENN OF "THE EXCEPTIONALS"
fame is still fresh off the presses, ready to thrill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-GET READY FOR ADVENTURE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dash Courageous

Blazing! Adventures Magazine

Will the Persecution Never End?

My Way News - Lindsay Lohan fires back at police 'gay' remark: "[. . .] Chief William Bratton said the paparazzi have become less of a problem thanks to Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lohan leading more moderate lifestyles.

'If you notice, since Britney started wearing clothes and behaving; Paris is out of town not bothering anybody anymore, thank God, and evidently, Lindsay Lohan has gone gay, we don't seem to have much of an issue,' he told KNBC-TV."

A Plug from Will's Texas Parlor

Thanks, Will.

WILL'S TEXAS PARLOR a blog companion to "Will's Texana Monthly": Bill Crider Burns Toast at Austin SciFi: "Well, actually, Bill's the TOASTMASTER at the August 15-17 ArmadilloCom for 2008, in the weird world of Austin, naturally. If anybody objects to his burnt toast, Bill has been deputized by Sheriff Dan Rhodes."

Gator Update

Mother Goose & Grimm Comics Page: "by MIKE PETERS

It's Texas, but Nobody's Leading the Way

Statehouse Journal - Firebombing Leads to Finger-Pointing, Except at a Suspect - "AUSTIN, Tex. — It has been nearly eight weeks since someone tossed a Molotov cocktail over the wall of the Governor’s Mansion here, and the Texas Rangers seem no closer to finding the culprit than they did on the day of the fire, which gutted the historic landmark.

Lt. Alvin Alexis, in hat, the Texas Ranger in charge of the investigation, released security video pictures Tuesday and asked for the public’s help.

Indeed, the whole episode is beginning to be an embarrassment to the state police and, more specifically, to the Texas Rangers, who see themselves as something akin to Scotland Yard, except on horseback."

Nightmare Alibi -- Harry Whittington

There's a great story about this book, somewhere or other, and we're never going to know it. Here's the start of the plot. In 1963, Harry Whittington published a novel called Cora was a Nympho. Great title, right? But the book had very little to do with Cora's being a nympho. A couple of years ago, I bought a copy of Nightmare Alibi (and paid a bazillion bucks for it; don't tell Judy). It was published nearly 10 years after Cora was a Nympho, but if ever a book lived up to that title, it's Nightmare Alibi. Cora is the woman the main character falls for, and she's insatiable. Her unquenchable desire is, in fact, the cause of all the book's complications and the protagonist's ultimate downfall.

The protagonist is a cop, and a good one. He just can't find the Right Woman, the one that will make him complete. Until, that is, he finds Cora, who believe me is in all other respects the Wrong Woman, as you'd expect in a noir novel. And this is noir, no doubt about it. The cop walks right down that road to Hell.

The ending would have been even more powerful, I think, if the book weren't also hardcore pornography. Because the book is that, too. Is it ever. You name it, it's here. Early and often. Looking at the photo of Whittington in this post, you'd never guess he had such a dirty mind.

The 10 Best Bond Theme Songs

The ten best Bond theme songs - Times Online: "There have been gems, duds and forgettable fluff. But as Jack White and Alicia Keys join the exclusive James Bond theme song club, we celebrate the songs that soared."

Gator Update (New Jersey Edition)

4-Foot Alligator Found In N.J. Basement - Videos - WNBC: "4-Foot Alligator Found In N.J. Basement
Alligator In Basement
A New Jersey woman got quite a shock when she found an unlikely -- and unwanted -- visitor at her basement doorstep."

Gator video at the link. Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Nude on the Moon

Well, drat.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Antikythera Mechanism Update

Hat tip to Karin Montin. Ancient 'computer' had Olympic purpose: "LONDON — A mechanical brass calculator used by the ancient Greeks to predict solar and lunar eclipses was probably also used to set the dates for the first Olympic games, researchers said on Wednesday.

The Antikythera Mechanism was retrieved from a shipwreck off the Greek island of Antikythera in 1901, an example of the technological prowess of the ancient Greeks.

Researchers reporting in the journal Nature said they had now discovered that the device, made at the end of the 2nd century BC, used an intricate set of bronze gearwheels, dials and inscriptions to set the games' date."

7 Things Contemporary Film-Makers Could Learn from Road House

7 Things contemporary film-makers could learn from Road House | Dirty Writer:

After all, it's an American classic.

The Top 20 Albums of All Time (For Real) - The Y! Music Playlist Blog

The Top 20 Albums of All Time (For Real) - The Y! Music Playlist Blog: "I completely understand the frustration of 'best of lists', and I can assure you that I read hundreds of comments here on the Yahoo Music blogs whenever we post one. Many times our 'best album' lists generate thousands of comments. And although many of the remarks are ridiculous, many are valid in a subjective sort of way.

For this playlist I wanted to find the true top 20 albums once and for all, but to do this I needed to clear my mind of all opinion and approach it as a science. My own personal taste did not influence this list in any way. In fact, I would have made many different choices, but the time I put into collecting the data and crunching the numbers leaves no doubt in my mind that this is the most accurate top 20 album list in existence."

Hat tip to Mike McGruff.

Gator Update

Mother Goose & Grimm Comics Page: by MIKE PETERS

Hat tip to Beth Foxwell, who also reminds us that today is Carter Brown's birthday.

Headline of the Day

Master Bait & Tackle and Tiki Bar Cafe hit by burglars | | The News-Press: "Cindy Thurber, the owner of the Tiki Bar Cafe, is determined to strike back at the criminals who burglarized her Bonita Beach Road restaurant over the weekend.

Tiki Bar Cafe and Master Bait & Tackle were both hit by burglars early Saturday and Sunday mornings."

Mutant Ninja Turtle Narcs

MyFox Washington DC | Turtle Leads Police to Marijuana Field; Teen Charged: "WASHINGTON –While you might normally spot D.C. area residents running, biking, or hiking through Rock Creek Park, it's rare to find someone using the park to grow marijuana."

Great turtle photo at link.

Forgotten Books: THE HEREAFTER GANG -- Neal Barrett, Jr.

Nobody who's read The Hereafter Gang has forgotten it. I think I can guarantee that. John Clute called it "one of the great American novels." Who am I to argue? It's a magical tale of life, death, and life after death. It's about the present and the past and adulthood and childhood. It's a road trip and a homecoming. It's hilarious and it's heartbreaking. It has a lot of sex in it, too. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy.

An aside: Neal Barrett, Jr., has been a publishing writer for 50 years now. Have you read his Aldair series from DAW Books? LOTR with pigs. Really. Wonderful stuff. Stress Pattern, also from DAW, another classic. Through Darkest America. What can I tell you? A classic post-apocalyptic tale, scary and funny. And then there are the crime novels, starting with Pink Vodka Blues. You've never read anything quite like them.

Any one of these books will make your day. Check 'em out.

Carnival of Souls

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Art Scott suggests that I forgot to blog this last year, and I'm too lazy to check. You should click the link for the photo. - Alabama Boy Kills 1,051-Pound Monster Pig, Bigger Than 'Hogzilla' - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News: "An 11-year-old Alabama boy used a pistol to kill a wild hog that just may be the biggest pig ever found.

Jamison Stone's father says the hog his son killed weighed a 1,051 pounds and measured 9-feet-4 from the tip of its snout to the base of its tail. Think hams as big as car tires."

Not Much Cussin' Here

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Online Dating Service

If You Thought Pantyhose for Men were a Bad Idea. . .

. . . click here.

100 Worst Movies of All Time?

I haven't checked them all, but you can.  Click here.

The Bad Ideas Just Keep on Coming

Howard Stern Plots “Rock ‘N’ Roll High School” Remake : Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily: "Shock jock and self-proclaimed “King of All Media” Howard Stern is turning his sights back on films with a planned remake of the classic teen flick Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. Often on his radio show, Stern discussed his love of the original 1979 film, which was about a group of punk-rock-loving students who — with an assist from the Ramones — rebel against the school’s oppressive administration. Stern is set to produce, with Alex Winter (Bill from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, now a director of music videos and TV) on tap to write the screenplay. Winter is also reportedly working on a script for MTV Films about Napster founder Shawn Fanning. As for Stern, he’s also producing another ’70s remake in Porky’s, with production possibly beginning in the fall."

Important Announcement!

Packers try to buy off Favre for $20 million -- "Though NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is waiting at least one more day to reinstate Brett Favre, neither that extra time nor a $20 million offer from the team to stay retired will resolve the Green Bay Packers' impasse with their record-setting quarterback or prevent him from reporting to training camp."

That's not the important announcement. Here's the important announcement: I hereby offer not to play for the Packers for $5 million. Yes, only 1/4 of what they're offering Favre not to play. What a bargain!

Not only that, I'm offering not to play for the New York Yankees for the same $5 million.

But wait! There's more. For another measly $5 million, I won't play for the Boston Celtics.

Get in touch, General Managers. I'm sitting by the phone.

Danny Fingeroth's Top Ten Graphic Novels

Click here for Fingeroth's list.

Hat tip to LitLists.

Support a Worthy Cause

Pantyhose for Men: "e-MANcipate! is a project to accelerate the acceptance of male pantyhose as a regular clothing item."

Frito-Lay to Increase Production of Cheetos Tenfold

Cheech & Chong light up for new comedy tour | Reuters: "LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Two of the most famous pot smokers of the 1970s, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, unveiled plans on Wednesday for their first comedy tour in more than 25 years following their acrimonious split.

'Cheech & Chong: Light Up America ...' will hit 22 cities in the United States starting with Philadelphia on September 12 and ending in Denver, Colorado, on December 20. In between they will play Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C. and other places."

Baby Moll -- John Farris

My original post on John Farris's work as Steve Brackeen is here.

The End of Editing?

Blake Morrison: Black day for the blue pencil | Books | The Observer: "Once they were key figures in literary publishing, respected by writers who acknowledged their contribution to shaping books. But, argues Blake Morrison, editors are now an endangered species."

I Can Quit Any Time I Want To

Medill Reports: Internet addiction may be one click away: "WASHINGTON – The Internet is where we spend more and more of our time. But for a growing number of people, it’s an out-of-control habit instead of a necessary part of life.

Internet addiction -- an online-related compulsive behavior that interferes with normal living and causes severe stress on family, friends, loved ones and work -- is a psychological and behavioral problem that is spreading around the world, experts say.

Kimberly Young, clinical director of the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery and author of the book “Caught in the Net,” said that about 5 percent to 10 percent of Americans --15 to 30 million people -- may suffer from Internet addiction. And the problem may be even greater elsewhere."

Avenging Angel

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

50 Hottest Women Sword Fighters

Click here.

Hat tip to Yes but No but Yes.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Doctors may have found a way to destroy HIV | Top Stories | | News for Tucson, Arizona: "HOUSTON -- There is real hope that what’s happening in a Houston lab might lead to a cure for HIV.

“We have found an innovative way to kill the virus by finding this small region of HIV that is unchangeable,” Dr. Sudhir Paul of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston said.

Dr. Paul and Dr. Miguel Escobar aren’t talking about just suppressing HIV – they’re talking about destroying it permanently by arming the immune system with a new weapon lab tests have shown to be effective."

Two New Tunes

Ivan Shreve, over at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, reminded me of Kookie's vocal abilities, so I've added a couple of classic tunes to the jukebox over on the right. You can find one of them on Ivan's blog, too.

Happy Birthday, Edd "Kookie" Byrnes

75 today. Doesn't seem possible.

Edd Byrnes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Born Edward Byrne Breitenberger in New York City on 30 July 1933, Edd shared an impoverished and unhappy childhood with brother Vincent and sister Jo-Ann. When Edd was 13, his father died. Edd then dropped his last name in favor of 'Byrnes' based on the name of his maternal grandfather, a New York City fireman."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Pete Sessions is a Texas congressman.

Marketplace: PACs put the fun in fundraising: "Working together, Notzen and Pete Sessions run one of the more successful PACs on Capitol Hill and last spring, Notzen's company planned an event for Pete Session's PAC in Vegas: a fundraiser at Ivan Kane's Forty Deuce.

Sessions: That's right, we do a Las Vegas fundraiser every year and not only raise money, but see Las Vegas. It's a beautiful town.

Henn: Forty Deuce is a strip club.

Sessions: You know, I've never seen that. It is what I would call a burlesque show where there's a woman who comes out and has a dress on... Uh, she never get's naked. There's no nudity, there's no nudity in there.

This is how the club's owner, Ivan Kane, describes his brand of burlesque.

Ivan Kane: The key component would be to have girls who were dancers taking their clothes off, not just girls taking their clothes off.

Sessions spent more than $5,000 at Kane's club that night in March, according to federal disclosures. Those reports show Sessions spent another $2,100 on his hotel."

Top 10 Unfinished Movies

Top 10 Great Movies That Were Never Finished - The List Universe: "The film industry has a long reputation for unfinished screenplays or projects abandoned because of expensive production costs and a hundred other reasons. These are the top 10 films that actually started filming but were never finished or released for one reason or another."

You'll Believe a Man Can Fly

If this works out, that is.

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? - Times Online: "Jeb Corliss doesn’t look insane. In his flying kit he has the chiselled looks and sculpted hair-style of an extra from Top Gun, aviator shades and all. However, when he explains what he is planning to do, disbelief mounts to the point where the only question that seems to make any sense is: “Have you been certified yet?”

“I get asked that a lot,” Corliss says. “But this isn’t crazy. It’s all about pushing the boundaries, looking again at what people believe is possible. I want to prove we are capable of doing anything and that we have no limits.”

This month Corliss was training in Switzerland in preparation for a stunt in which he will fall 2,500ft from a helicopter without a parachute and, if all goes to plan, live to tell the tale. He will be wearing a wingsuit, which he believes will allow him to glide to the ground at a shallow enough angle to be able to land safely."

Archaeological Update

Horse Racecourse In Ancient Olympia Discovered After 1600 Years: "ScienceDaily (July 21, 2008) — The site of the ancient hippodrome course in Olympia, where the emperor Nero competed for Olympian laurels, has been discovered. The hippodrome was discovered in Olympia by a research team that included Professor Norbert M�ller (a sports historian from Mainz), Dr Christian Wacker (a sports archaeologist from Cologne) and PD Dr Reinhard Senff (chief excavator of the German Archaeological Institute - DAI).

'This discovery is an archaeological sensation,' commented Norbert Müller of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The research project extended over several weeks before being completed in the middle of May 2008."

Croc Update (Brilliant Deductions Edition)

ABC Local - Croc head found in Darwin drug raid: "Officers went to a house in Anula last night with a search warrant looking for drugs and weapons, and allegedly found drugs and a range of stolen goods including a stuffed crocodile head.

Police say they found more than 300 ecstasy tablets.

Stolen jewellery, a flick knife and fireworks were also among the haul.

[ . . . . ]

'The surprise was a head of a crocodile, which is actually done by a taxidermist, so it's a legal thing to own if you have the permit for it,' Commander Lyndon said.

'We believe that this crocodile head was actually stolen from somewhere.'"


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bank Robbery in Texas

mental_floss Blog � TRUE CRIMES: Don’t Mess with Texas (Banks): "Most bank robberies follow a similar pattern: robber enters bank, approaches teller while brandishing a weapon, demands money, and (he hopes) makes his escape. So when a robbery call came in Saturday morning, September 21, 1991, for the Texas Commerce Bank in San Antonio, Texas, law enforcement officials had to double-check the address. It was a motor bank, that is, a bank that provided drive-thru service only by tellers locked inside a small building behind layers of bullet-proof glass. How could such a fortress get robbed?"

Thanks to Paul Bishop for the link.

The Da Vinci Update

Dan Brown is probably working on the book right now.

Columbus debunker sets sights on Leonardo da Vinci | Science | Reuters: "LONDON (Reuters) - Leonardo da Vinci's drawings of machines are uncannily similar to Chinese originals and were undoubtedly derived from them, a British amateur historian says in a newly-published book."


Asimov sci-fi epic "Foundation" coming to screens - Yahoo! News: "NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The ousted founders of downsized studio New Line Cinema are producing an adaptation of the Isaac Asimov sci-fi epic 'Foundation.'"

Another Brush with Greatness

A Brush with Greatness

Thank Goodness this Isn't a Problem for Me

Wasting time online? You might be mentally ill : Christopher Null : Yahoo! Tech: "It's always there. Waiting and calling to you. Fark. Reddit. Facebook. Dolphin Olympics. It may take only a couple minutes out of your day, but you know you're wasting time on this stuff whether you should be working on that spreadsheet or washing the dishes.

Time-wasting, or rather 'chronic procrastination,' is hardly a laughing matter, according to Professor Joseph Ferrari of Chicago's DePaul University. According to an insightful story in UK's Observer, it's a profound 'social and economic' problem and, thanks to technology, it's far worse than you could ever imagine.

Procrastination isn't just idle laziness. There are real social consequences to wasting time. Per the story, 'it encourages depression, lowers self-esteem, causes insomnia, and indirectly affects health by discouraging visits to the dentist or doctor. Sufferers are also more likely to have accidents at home involving unmended appliances.' Makes sense if you think about it."

Chasing Darkness -- Robert Crais

Elvis Cole is back, and he's almost his old wise-cracking self, in spite of the novel's title. Not that there's not considerable darkness here, but there's some light shining through the cracks.

A man is found dead, an apparent suicide, with a book of photos on the floor beside him. The photos pretty seem to prove that the guy's a serial killer. The problem? In the case of one of the dead women, Cole provided the evidence that allowed the guy to escape prosecution.

You've read enough crime fiction to know why there are qualifiers in the sentences above. Things aren't what they appear to be, and Cole is determined to find the answers, even more so when it appears (there's that qualifier again) that the cops are engaged in a massive cover-up.

If you've read Crais before, you know what to expect. The writing's sharp, the observations are on target, the dialog is snappy. I thought the ending was a bit extended, and I'm never happy with the "well, we'll just never know all the answers" kind of conclusion, especially when one of the answers is a pretty big deal. But the book gets high marks anyway.

The Wild, Wild Planet

Monday, July 28, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Best Cities To Buy A Home - Yahoo! Real Estate: "Houston, we don't have a housing problem.

The city's $152,500 median home sale price is up 6.6% from 2005. It boasts a low vacancy rate and an oil-rich economy. Throw in a bubbling entrepreneurial tech scene, and you've got four factors that put Houston on the top of our list of best places to buy a home."

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Giant Banana over Texas Update - News, Weather, Sports - Austin, TX | Plan to float giant banana over Texas fizzles: "SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A plan to float a giant helium-filled banana blimp over Texas has gone bust -- due to a lack of money.

Montreal-based artiest Cesar Saez (says) says the banana plan is suspended.

He says the whole attempt was to develop the idea of artworks in space.

The plan to float a huge, inflated banana over Texas was announced in late 2006. It called for a launch near Hermosillo, Mexico, this fall."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Yeti Update

Mystery hairs 'may have come from a Yeti' - Telegraph: "The hunt for the elusive creature - said to be 10ft tall, part man, part ape and otherwise known as the Abominable Snowman - has frustrated scientists for decades.

Now tests at Oxford Brookes University on hairs said to be from a Yeti in India have failed to link the strands with any known species.

Ape expert Ian Redmond, who is leading the research, said: 'The hairs are the most positive evidence yet that a Yeti might possibly exist.

'It may be that the region this animal is inhabiting is remote enough for it to remain undiscovered so far.'"

Harry Whittington

The Yiddish Policeman's Union -- Michael Chabon

Let's see if I have this right. In Michael Chabon's novel, the U. S. dropped a bomb on Berlin in '46, and there is no state of Israel. Instead, the U. S. established a temporary resettlement zone for Jews in and around Sitka, Alaska.

Now it's Now, and it's time for the Jews to be moved out. There'll be no permanent home for them in Alaska. This will mean big shake-ups in everything, including the police force. Meanwhile, there's been an execution-style murder in a seedy Sitka hotel. It just happens to be the hotel were Meyer Landsman lives, and it just happens that his ex-wife is has just been named police chief. She kills the case.

Well, even in alternate universes, you can't kill a case when a bulldog cop is on it. Landsman carries on and winds up in a morass of plot that gets so complex that even Chandler might admire it. Everything's connected (string is a metaphor).

While I have some quibbles with the plot and with the novel's pacing, I enjoyed it. Chabon's having a fine time for himself here in his imagined world, and there are plenty of laughs. Also plenty of hat tips toward other mystery novels. Worth a look if you want something different from the same old thing. I kept thinking, for some reason, of The Adventures of Augie March. Chabon's playing in Bellow's league, I believe. See what you think.

Batman: the Dark Knight

I wondered if Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker could live up to the hype. It did. I also wondered if the movie could live up to the hype. Not quite.

That's not to say it's not fun and that things don't blow up. They blow up all over the place. The performances are fine, and Ledger's the definitive Joker, very disturbed and disturbing. I also think Michael Caine's the definitive Alfred, sort of the opposite of the Joker. Christian Bale is fine, too, but you put someone else in the bat suit, and he might do as well.

I've read that the movie is full of references to current events and to terrorism, especially in the Joker's motiveless malignity, and I can see that. (But maybe not this.) What really matters is the story, though, and that's where things get a little messy. There's almost too much plot for a 2-1/2 hour movie, and a few too many things were left unresolved. And there were a lot of things that bothered me. Okay, it's a comic book, so I guess logic pretty much goes out the window, but it seemed to me that too many things just didn't make sense. Probably that's because I'm old and dense and not part of the movie's target audience. I was able to ignore most of those things and just go along for the ride. It's quite a ride, and I'm glad I didn't miss it.

Happy Birthday to the Blog!

It's the blog's 6th birthday, and it's my birthday, too. Long, long ago in a summer much like this one, I was about to leave Austin and grad school for Howard Payne University. Here's the resume I sent out. Those were the days!

Chain Gang Women

Sunday, July 27, 2008

D.B. Cooper Update

Was D.B. Cooper a resident of Ogden? | - Portland, Oregon | Local & Regional: "OGDEN, Utah (AP) - An attorney who is writing a book about the D.B. Cooper investigation claims the legendary hijacker who vanished from the back of a passenger jet with $200,000 in ransom in 1971 survived and returned to his life as a college instructor in Ogden.

Federal investigators are aware of the claim and are treating it like more than 1,000 other leads they have checked out over the last 36 1/2 years. They're skeptical that the late William 'Wolfgang' Gossett pulled off the heist many others have claimed to but were found to be hoaxes.

'There is not one link to the D.B. Cooper case other than the statements (Gossett) made to someone,' said FBI Special Agent Larry Carr, who is overseeing the Cooper investigation."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Austin man offers $1 billion for breast cancer cure | - Houston Chronicle: "DALLAS — Mike Dewey has a plan to eliminate breast cancer: He's offering $1 billion to the person who discovers the cure.

Never mind the fact the 48-year-old Austin consultant has nothing close to that much money. Dewey, whose daughters are at increased risk for the disease because his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, says he'll come up with the cash."

A Salute to the Drive-In

Drive-in theaters still a main attraction after 75 years -- South Florida "Here's a shout-out to the drive-in, an American icon forever linked to sexy moves, salty popcorn and starry nights.

The outdoor theater turns 75 this year, a geriatric wonder amid today's techno toys offering entertainment at your fingertips.

Somehow, the drive-in survives. Diminished by time but still standing."

The Bank Job

The Bank Job (based on real events) is almost the opposite of The Dark Knight. It's a low-key caper movie with very little in the way of explosive devices, a cast that, while not unknown is certainly not well-known (with the possible exception of Jason Statham). But it gets the job done, and it's just as entertaining as the Batman movie (at least to me).

MI5 (or 6; like a cop in the movie, I can never keep them straight) wants some incriminating photos of Princess Margaret that are in a bank safe-deposit box. They can't get an order to get to the box, so they arrange to have a gang of small-time crooks rob the bank. One member of the group is to get the photos. Things, as you might expect, don't work out exactly as planned. I'll say more except that this one's worth your time.

Head Wounds -- Chris Knopf

Sam Acquillo is a former corporate trouble-shooter and ex-boxer who's taken one too many shots to the head. Now he works as a carpenter in the Hamptons, drinks too much vodka, and hides from his past. I don't know what you think of when you hear the phrase the Hamptons, but we small-town Texans tend to think of a playground for the very rich. Not surprisingly, there's another side of the coin, and that's the Hamptons that we get here.

Acquillo has a public confrontation with a bully named Robbie Milhouser, who's promptly murdered. With Acquillo's stapler. Naturally Acquillo's the prime suspect, and he has to clear himself. Lucky for him he's been involved in amateur sleuthing before (in two previous novels that slipped under my radar), so he knows the gig.

Acquillo's a moody, troubled guy, and the book leans toward the literary, but it has plenty of snappy patter and smart dialogue. Check it out.

Rock 'N' Roll High School