Saturday, August 09, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Wichita County man gets life sentence for 10th DWI | Top stories | - Houston Chronicle: "WICHITA FALLS, Texas — A man with nine previous drunken driving convictions was sentenced to life in prison.

Kenneth Chris Oneal, 58, received the maximum sentence Thursday after jurors convicted him of driving while intoxicated-repetition, his 10th drunken-driving related offense.

The offense was a felony because he had at least two such convictions in the past, prosecutors said. He faced from 25 years to life in prison."


Nigerian official accused of hiring witch doctor - "LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- Police on Friday arrested the head of a federal agency charged with developing Nigeria's impoverished southern oil region after allegations that the man spent millions of dollars on a witch doctor in hopes vanquishing a rival."

Curse of the Vampires

The Associated Press: Rabies from bats suspected in Venezuela deaths: "CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — At least 38 Warao Indians have died in remote villages in Venezuela, and medical experts suspect an outbreak of rabies spread by bites from vampire bats."

The Oldest Austrian?

Scary photo at link.

BBC NEWS | Europe | Vienna celebrates Venus centenary: "Austrians are celebrating 100 years since the discovery of a tiny but curvy statuette that dates back 25,000 years.

The 11cm-tall (four-inch) stone figure - the Venus of Willendorf - will be in a special show at Vienna's Natural History Museum with similar statuettes.

Austria's post office is also to unveil a stamp in her honour on Friday, the Associated Press reports."


Friday, August 08, 2008

Over Hill, Over Dale, They Followed the Dusty Trail

iWon News - Cops follow Cheetos trail to nail burglar suspects: "ST. PAUL (AP) - St. Paul police followed a trail of Cheetos in order to nab three teenagers suspected of burglarizing a vending machine. Officers were called to the Arlington Recreation Center on July 29, where they found a vending machine's glass had been broken with a chair.

Most of the candy and chips were missing, according to a criminal complaint in Ramsey County District Court.

The officers followed the orange, dusty trail from the rec center, around the side of the building and to a nearby home. Inside, they found numerous vending-sized bags of Cheetos and other snacks."

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Happy Birthday, Connie Stevens!

Vince Keenan is Probably Behind This

Freebie :: Hollywood Elsewhere: "HE reader Nick Zayas informs that Hulu just put up Joseph Sargent's The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3. The whole thing, in other words, is now free and streamable in reasonably decent quality. With 'limited commercial interruption,' of course."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

America's Hard-Drinking Cities - "Austin, Texas, is famous for its parties. People flock from around the world to attend events like the annual South by Southwest film and music festival. And when they get there, chances are they make like the locals and throw back a few cold ones--because Austin may be the hardest-drinking city in America."


Man Almost Loses Penis Humping Steel Bench | Weird Asia News: "Last night in Hong Kong, the police received a disturbing call from a man in trouble.

Xing, a 41 year-old man, was calling from LanTian park in the middle of the night. The lonely and disturbed man had apparently thought it would be fun to have sex with one of the steel sit-up benches around the park."

Gator Update (Caged Heat Edition)

Alligator, in cage, found on side of road -- "An alligator has been found in a cage along a road in Lower Bank.

Fred Schubert found the 4-foot reptile in the rural Burlington County community on his way to work Thursday."

Forgotten Books: STONE ANGEL -- Marvin H. Albert

I'm a longtime fan of the work of Marvin H. Albert under all his many names. He wrote westerns (many of them filmed), crime novels, p.i. series, and movie novelizations. Any one of his books would be an interesting topic for discussion. For an earlier post on Albert's work, click here.

Today, I thought it would be fun to talk about the Stone Angel series, which I think consists of ten books, all of them first-person private-eye novels set in France, all of them recommended. The narrator of these cases is Pete Sawyer, whose French mother, a hero of the Resistance in WWII, sent her son to live with his American grandparents after the death of Sawyer's father. Sawyer grew up in Chicago but spent his summers in France, where he now lives. Albert also lived in France, and the local color in this series is really well done. Not quite as good as being there, but the next best thing.

Stone Angel introduces Sawyer as he tackles a wandering daughter job that turns out to be a lot more complicated than expected. The girl is involved with a terrorist cell, and she's in more trouble than she realizes. Sawyer deals with cops, criminals, and the very rich as he follows her trail.

Albert was a real pro. His writing style is smooth as cream, and there's plenty of action mixed in with the travelogue and dialog. The same is true of any book in the series. Try one. You might like it.

When Women Had Tails

Bob Randisi Goes Hollywood

From Bob Randisi:

I've sold film right to my first Rat Pack book, EVERYBODY KILLS SOMEBODY SOMETIME, to
Sandy Hackett, the late Buddy Hackett's son. I will be writing the screenplay. Plans are to begin filming January 2010. Sandy Hackett will star as Sands Casino pit boss Eddie G., who in the story is asked by Frank Sinatra to help find out who is sending Dean Martin threatening notes, while they are filming Ocean's 11 in 1960 Las Vegas. All of the Rat Pack members appear in the book, as well as other historical characters like Sands boss Jack Entratter, George Raft and Angie Dickinson.

This book was followed last year by LUCK BE A LADY, DON'T DIE, and in December HEY THERE (YOU WITH THE GUN IN YOUR HAND) will be published. All the books come from St.Martin's Press,and I'm presently working on the fourth, YOU'RE NOBODY TIL SOMEBODY KILLS YOU.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Gator Update (Netted Edition) | Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater | Gator rescue in Trinity: "Trinity, Florida — Neighbors in Trinity are asking for some help with a gator that lives in a lake in a conservation area near their homes.

But they don't want the gator removed. They want officials to save it by removing a net around its head.

Neighbors think the net came from a group of kids who'd recently been spotted fishing in the conservation area near their homes, where 'no fishing or swimming' signs are posted.

Keith Johnson, who first spotted the gator, thinks it can't eat with the net around its head."

Clive Sinclair's Top Ten Westerns

You can't go wrong with a Top Ten Westerns list that includes The Great Gatsby.

Hat tip to Marshal Zeringue.


BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Elvis set for album chart return: "The King of Rock 'n' Roll is bringing out a new album later this year - despite being dead for over 30 years.

New technology will be used to produce Elvis Presley Christmas Duets, featuring country stars LeAnn Rimes and Carrie Underwood, among others.

The late singer's ex-wife Priscilla said: 'I am sure Elvis would be proud to have worked with them.'"

Hat tip to Paul Bishop.

World Fantasy Award Nominations

You can see them here.  

Hat tip to A. T. Campbell.


Britney Spears 'not playing killer lesbian' | Celebrity News | Now Magazine: "Britney Spears will not play a crazed lesbian stripper in a new horror movie.

The singer was said to be starring in a remake of 1965 cult film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! directed by Quentin Tarantino.

But her rep insists this isn’t the case."

Happy Birthday, Stan Freberg!

Once Again, New Jersey Leads the Way

School locked down after 'ninja' sighted in woods - "BARNEGAT, N.J.—It's the case of the nonexistent ninja. Public schools in Barnegat were locked down briefly after someone reported seeing a ninja running through the woods behind an elementary school.

Turns out the ninja was actually a camp counselor dressed in black karate garb and carrying a plastic sword.

Police tell the Asbury Park Press the man was late to a costume-themed day at a nearby middle school."

Philatelists are Easily Excited - Collectors Discover Flag Stamp Has 14 Stripes - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News: "So when an astute stamp collector recently discovered that one of the Old Glorys in the U.S. Postal Service's 'Flags 24/7' series appears to have 14 stripes, it was bound to send a wave of excitement through the philatelic community."

I'm Sure This Isn't the Case in the U. S. A.

University students 'cannot spell' - Telegraph: "Many undergraduates misspell basic words such as 'their', 'speech' or even 'Wednesday' in essays, it is claimed.

First year students are the worst offenders, despite already spending at least 13 years in the education system.

Standards have deteriorated to such an extent that one leading academic has been forced to ignore common errors altogether."

Come One, Come All

A Man Called Dagger

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Paris Hilton Update

My Way News - Behind the scenes of Hilton's mock ad: "LOS ANGELES (AP) - Paris Hilton didn't need cue cards for her presidential campaign ad.

The 24-year-old heiress memorized her entire monologue, which included Hilton outlining her energy plan, in an online video spoof posted on Funny or Die, the comedy Web site's content director said."

Take the Bus and Leave the Driving to Us

Greyhound scraps ads after Canada bus beheading - Yahoo! News: "TORONTO - Greyhound has scrapped an ad campaign that extolled the relaxing upside of bus travel after one of its passengers was accused of beheading and cannibalizing another traveler.

The ad's tag line was 'There's a reason you've never heard of 'bus rage.''

Greyhound spokeswoman Abby Wambaugh said Wednesday a billboard and some tunnel posters near a bus terminal in Toronto are still up and would be removed later in the day."

Hat tip to Walter Satterthwait.

Shakespeare Update

Experts find theatre where Shakespeare plays first staged: "The remains of a London theatre where William Shakespeare's early plays including 'Romeo And Juliet' were first performed have been discovered by archaeologists, a museum said Wednesday.

Shakespeare appeared at The Theatre in Shoreditch, east London, as an actor with a troupe called The Lord Chamberlain's Men, which also performed his efforts as a playwright there.

'Richard III', 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'The Merchant Of Venice' are among the other plays which are likely to have premiered at the theatre, according to the Museum of London, whose team made the discovery."


Britney Spears to play lesbian killer in Quentin Tarantino film - Telegraph: "The singer was apparently chosen by the Pulp Fiction director to play dancer Varla in a remake of the 1965 cult film Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

The movie sees three thrill-seeking strippers encountering a young couple in the desert.

Spears' character murders the boyfriend with her bare hands before taking the girlfriend hostage. The troubled singer will also have sex scenes with another girl before the drama ends in a blood-bath."

Lou Teicher, R. I. P.

Lou Teicher, of Ferrante and Teicher, Popular Piano Duo of ’60s, Dies at 83 - Obituary (Obit) - "Lou Teicher, half of the piano duo Ferrante & Teicher, whose florid and sentimental versions of movie themes and love songs made them gods of easy listening and earned them wide popularity beginning in the 1960s, died on Sunday in Highlands, N.C. He was 83 and lived in Sarasota, Fla."

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Erik Darling, R. I. P.

Folk music legend dies at 74 - "Erik Darling, a folk musician who performed with The Tarriers, The Weavers and The Rooftop Singers, died Saturday of Burkitt's lymphoma in a hospice center near Chapel Hill, N.C. He was 74."

I've put tunes from a couple of Darling's groups on the jukebox to the right.

So It's Come to This

Turning water into wine - Good Living - Entertainment - "ONE has an 'elegant velvet' character when served at room temperature while another has a 'large mouth feel' and is best served as a pre-dinner drink with hors d'oeuvres.

But these beverages don't come from a posh restaurant's wine list - they come from a water menu.

Sydney's Four Seasons Hotel launched its first water menu at its Kable's restaurant last week (see table above), with 20 varieties from countries such as France, Italy and Fiji."

Wild for Kicks (aka Beat Girl)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

America, We Have a Candidate!

Okay, so it's Paris Hilton. This is still a great video.

Geo. W. Proctor, R. I. P.

The Shorthorn - BREAKING NEWS: Communication instructor dies Sunday: "Communication instructor George Proctor died Sunday after becoming ill last week, said communications studies chair Charla Markham Shaw. The cause of death has not been determined.

Kim Jones, journalism instructor and friend of Proctor and his wife, said he was hospitalized last week. Doctors ran tests but couldn't determine the cause of his sudden illness."

Thanks to James Reasoner for the link. I met George at the same AggieCon James did. James' comments on George are here.

Rain Shower Update

So far, Edouard has provided us with under 1/2 inch of rainfall. The TV reporting would be funny if it weren't so pathetic. They canceled all their regular programs and geared up for 24/7 coverage of a storm, so by golly they're going to cover it, even though at this point they're reporting (over and over) that there's nothing to report. Okay, it is funny. And pathetic.

If You Could Get a Gig Writing Comic Books, . . .

. . . which character would you choose to write about? My answer, along with a bunch of others, can be found here.

The Destroyer #50 Killing Time -- Warren Murphy

I needed a good laugh the other day, so I picked up this one. Why this one? Well, I liked the idea that back in 1982, while some of you were still in Pampers, the Destroyer series had already reached book #50.

I couldn't remember whether I'd read it until I got started, and then I recalled the basic idea. There's a famous fitness guru who seems to have discovered the secret of eternal youth, and America's top military leaders are being murdered. Could there be a connection? You bet your bippy there could, and Remo and Chiun are on the case.

The book is credited to Warren Murphy alone, but as usual, it's very funny, and would now be considered very unPC. Which is part of the fun. It's also very much of its time, and some of the computer and phone references might seem amusing to you youngsters. Check it out sometime when you need a laugh.

Tropical Storm Update #2

This is the biggest fizzle yet from the frenzied weatherpersons in Houston. Hardly any rain, no wind at all. We've had thunderstorms that have been ten times worse. Maybe twenty. The latest TV coverage has reporters standing in parking lots and pointing at puddles.

Best & Worst Fake Accents in SF

Fake Americans Of Science Fiction: The Best And Worst Fake American Accents From Scifi's Army Of Brits: "Were you shocked to realize Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) was secretly British? When you were mining through Battlestar Galactica DVD bonus features, did you start yelling at the screen when Lee Adama spoke with a British accent? It turns out American science fiction is crammed with aliens — British and Australian people, that is — doing fake American accents. But some of them are better at it than others. We rank the Brits (and a few Aussies) playing Americans in scifi, from best to worst."

Tropical Storm Update

So far: nothing. Okay, a little sprinkle of rain, but nothing measurable. Once again, it's looking as if we have The Boy Who Cried Wolf. After 36 hours of media frenzy, there's nothing to show for it. Maybe things will get worse later, but I hope not. We really do need some rain, though.

Bad Boy

Monday, August 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, Frankie Ford!

A New Orleans great. Check out two great tunes on the jukebox to the right.


I just got off the phone with the nice people at Mastercard, who informed me that my credit card number was being used by someone else. The charges were small, or at least the ones they told me about were. The problem isn't the money. It's getting the card changed with people I do on-line business with. I hope it doesn't happen again.

I Report, You Decide

BBC NEWS | Magazine | Do they really think the earth is flat?: "In the 21st Century, the term 'flat-earther' is used to describe someone who is spectacularly - and seemingly wilfully - ignorant. But there is a group of people who claim they believe the planet really is flat. Are they really out there or is it all an elaborate prank?"

Why the Dallas Cowboys Won't Win Many Games this Year

This is why.

Let's Make Joe Lansdale a Best-Selling Author (Repeat)

Just a reminder. Today you can still pre-order the book, but tomorrow's the big day. Help Joe pay for that wedding.

Yeah, yeah, I know. He already is. But let's do it again. Buy your copy of
Leather Maiden from Amazon or B&N on August 5, and make him #1! Failing that, show up at Murder by the Book on August 25, where you can get a signed copy and hear Kasey Lansdale and her band. What a deal!

The Texican

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Alvin Is Directly in the Path

Tropical Storm Edouard forms in Gulf - New Orleans Hurricane Center - "Depression strengthens to a tropical storm, the fifth of the season,

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Louisiana coast from the mouth of the Mississippi river westward to intracoastal city. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.

A tropical storm watch remains in effect west of intracoastal city to port oconnor Texas. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours."

I Report, You Decide

Overrated Gallery Sympatico MSN / Movies: "Here are 12 films that are generally held in high regard by movie pundits and/or viewers, but, in reality, are either highly overrated or just plain rotten. Some of these films even “earned” Oscar hardware – which, admittedly, is hardly the arbiter of great cinema. And even if you happen to enjoy some of these movies, it’s’re entitled to serious lapses of judgement once in a while."

Shamus Nominations -- Congratulations to All!

Best Hardcover

Head Games by Thomas B. Cavanagh (St. Martins Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books), featuring Mike Garrity.

Soul Patch by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books), featuring Moe Prager.

The Color of Blood by Declan Hughes (William Morrow), featuring Ed Loy.

A Welcome Grave by Michael Koryta (St. Martins Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books), featuring Lincoln Perry.

A Killer’s Kiss by William Lashner (William Morrow), featuring Victor Carl.

Best Paperback Original

Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas (Hard Case) featuring John Blake.

Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong (Bantam) featuring Nadia Stafford.

Stone Rain by Linwood Barclay (Bantam) featuring Zack Walker.

Deadly Beloved by Max Allan Collins (Hard Case) featuring Ms. Michael Tree.

Blood of Paradise by David Corbett (Mortalis/Ballantine) featuring Jude McManus.

Best First Novel

The Cleaner by Brett Battles (Delacorte), featuring Jonathan Quinn.

Keep It Real by Bill Bryan (Bleak House Books), featuring Ted Collins.

Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover (William Morrow), featuring Ray Dudgeon.

When One Man Dies by Dave White (Three Rivers Press), featuring Jackson Donne.

The Last Striptease by Michael Wiley (St. Martins/Thomas Dunne Books), featuring Joe Kozmarski.

Best Short Story

"Kill the Cat" by Loren D. Estleman, DETROIT NOIR (Akashic), featuring Amos Walker.

"Trust Me" by Loren D. Estleman, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2007, featuring Amos Walker.

"Open Mike" by James Nolan, NEW ORLEANS NOIR (Akashic), featuring Vincent Panarello.

“Hungry Enough" by Cornelia Read, A Hell of a Woman (Busted Flush Press), featuring Philip.

"Room for Improvement" by Marilyn Todd, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Dec. 2007, featuring Lois Hepburn.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas plagued by heat, drought, water parasite, wildfires | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "DALLAS — Relentlessly sweltering heat across Texas was blamed Saturday for three deaths in Dallas County, and forecasters warned that the worst is likely still ahead.

The Dallas County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed three heat-related deaths — two people last month in their 80s, and a 49-year-old man in June — as the Dallas area braced for an expected 107-degree scorcher Sunday that would rank as the hottest day of the year.

Saturday's high of 104 around Dallas was the ninth straight day of triple-digit heat, a stretch that began at the end of the fourth-hottest July on record in North Texas.

There's no relief in sight, either."

The Lansdale Wedding

For those of you who might be interested, I've got a flickr slideshow of the Kasey Lansdale/Adam Coats wedding here. Some blurry shots, some good ones.

Baseball Card Update

1909 baseball card of Hall-of-Famer Honus Wagner sells for $1.62 million -- "An Arkansas man bought a 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card for $1.62 million at a memorabilia auction in Chicago, a sports auction company said Saturday.

The new owner of the T206 Wagner card was a man from Little Rock, Ark., according to auctioneer Doug Allen, chief operating officer of Mastro Auctions of Burr Ridge."

You can see a few of my baseball cards here. Unfortunately a Honus Wagner card is not among them.

Kasey Lansdale's Wedding

Last evening, Judy and I had the high honor and privilege of attending the wedding of Kasey Lansdale and Adam Coats. Here's a slightly blurry shot of proud father Joe Lansdale, along with a picture of Kasey and Joe arriving for the ceremony.

To Hell and Back