Saturday, September 06, 2008

Angela and Tom Neary 9/6/08

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Bigfoot Update

Scientists Interested In Large Footprint Discovery - Nashville News Story - WSMV Nashville: "Harold Jackson is an amateur archaeologist who enjoys collecting arrowheads and other Native American artifacts. But the most extraordinary find of his life came on his property near the Caney Fork River.
For months he stepped on a rock near his house that caught his eye. Finally, he brought the unusual rock home and cleaned it up. After all of the mud was removed, a remarkable discovery was revealed.

'I don't know anything about archaeology or anything, but if you look at it, it's a footprint. No animal footprint looks like that. Now, if it's a Native American, an Indian, then he was a big Indian,' said Jackson. '(The print) is about 11 inches wide and about 15 inches long.'

Jackson said the fossilized print clearly shows the heel and all five toes."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

And the winner is. . . .

Chicken Fried Bacon? State Fair of Texas reveals winning fried foods |
News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News
| Cooking tips | Food | Dallas Morning News
: "Nothing says State Fair like fried cooking, and nothing says Texas like chicken fried steak. Glen Kusak’s chicken fried bacon combined both, winning him the best taste award Monday at the fourth annual Big Tex Choice Awards."

Mouthful of Bullets Closing Down

From BJ Bourg:

My parish took a beating from Hurricane Gustav and there is a lot to do before we get back to normal. I was already behind with MFOB because of my two jobs, and this will just put things out of reach for me, so I'm forced to close MFOB indefinitely. If things settle down at some point in the far away future, I may go back to publishing it, but, as for now, I have no choice but to shut it down. 

You Gotta Wonder Who Voted

Eighties Voted The Coolest Decade, A Survey Has Found | UK News | Sky News: "It may have been dominated with perms, yuppies and shoulder pads but the 1980s has been voted coolest decade of the past 50 years, according to a survey."

The Rehearsal

The wedding rehearsal was yesterday afternoon, and it went all right.   The wedding will be outside, so it was hot.  I hope nobody passes out.  I'll be encased in a tux, myself.

Judy says she's going to cry a lot and will need to wear waterproof mascara.  I might need to carry a tissue, for that matter.   I don't know what the rules are about fathers of the bride and cameras, but I'll be taking pictures unless Judy nudges me.

Meanwhile Ike is whirling away out in the Gulf, and it's anybody's guess what that will mean for next week.  It's the little uncertainties that make life so much fun.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

MyFox Dallas | Armed Man in Wheelchair Steals Condoms, Energy Drinks: "A man in a wheelchair robbed a Dallas 7-Eleven on Tuesday night, police said.

The incident happened at Park Lane and Fair Oaks Avenue, where the man armed himself with a knife and a baseball bat to rob the store, police said."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Great photo of grape at link.

Arlington Woman Finds Virgin Mary On Grape - Food News Story - KXAS | Dallas: "ARLINGTON, Texas -- An Arlington woman said she has discovered a grape that bears a figure resembling the Virgin Mary.

Becky Ginn, 24, says she is a Baptist.

'I thought this stuff just happened to Catholics?' she said. 'Mom and I had a laugh about it at first, seeing as how we're Baptists and all and we generally don't expect to see holy people popping up in our foodstuffs.'"

Musical Taste and Personality Type

Click the link and scroll down to see where you fit in.

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Music tastes link to personality: "Musical tastes and personality type are closely related, according to a study of more than 36,000 people from around the world.

The research, which was carried out by Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University, is said to be the largest such study ever undertaken.

It suggested classical music fans were shy, while heavy metal aficionados were gentle and at ease with themselves."

Rings (A Classic Reprint)

In this somewhat blurry photo are two cereal premiums from my lost youth. On the right is my Lone Ranger Silver Saddle ring. It has a gold saddle, so maybe I have the name wrong, but the ring itself is silver. On the left is one that, I'm ashamed to admit, I can't recall the name of. Part of the name is "signal ring," I'm almost sure. The curved part you can see at the bottom of the ring held a small battery, and you could use the ring (that's the original bulb) to send Morse code, or at least that was the theory. You might be able to make out the scales of justice on the left hand side of the ring. Maybe that's a clue. I think the ring might be connected to Captain Midnight, but I'm not at all sure. Any help?

Late-breaking news. I should've looked on eBay before posting. Here's the signal ring, which might not have been a premium after all. And here's the Lone Ranger Saddle Ring (no silver; I guess I was thinking of the great horse by that name). I don't have the filmstrip with mine.

Wherever You Go, There You Are

Splash Page � ‘Buckaroo Banzai’ Creator Talks Upcoming Comics In Our Exclusive Interview: "He was a surgeon, a rock star, a comic book hero, and he came from the ’80s. But enough about Rick Springfield. Buckaroo Banzai, the charismatic character from 1984’s cult favorite “The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension”
(starring future Robocop, Peter Weller), achieved the above — plus he practiced physics, raced cars, roughed-up aliens…all while donning Perry Ellis and Armani threads! Before you get all nerd-stalgic about the sequel that never was (read about “Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League” here), Moonstone Books has come in for the save, releasing brand-new comic-book stories about our favorite hipster adventurer."

Forgotten Books: ARIZONA KISS -- Ray Ring

"I didn't set out to kill anyone. All I wanted was a good story, which is all a journalist ever wants, but I should have seen it was going bad."

So begins Arizona Kiss, a powerful noir story about an investigative reporter named Macky, who gets involved with the wrong woman. It's all downhill from there, as you might guess. The woman, Alice Malone, gives Macky the scoop on a prominent judge who's involved in dog-fighting. She says she wants Macky to do a story and expose the judge, but things aren't always what they seem in books like this one. Lots of violence involving both animals and humans, so weak stomachs take warning. If you can take it, this is one of those books that will stick with you for a long time.


Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Ross Sisters

Cap'n Bob insisted that I post this.

Coming from Stark House

 In October, two more fine novels from Holding, plus a short story and Greg Shepard's introduction.  Check it out.

The Lies of Locke Lamora -- Scott Lynch

Every time I go to ArmadilloCon or AggieCon, I come home with a big fat fantasy novel or two. This time, one was The Lies of Locke Lamora, which is the first in a proposed series of seven. Since this one is over 700 pages long, I'm sure I'll never read all of them.

Locke Lemora is the leader of a group of conpersons who call themselves the Gentleman Bastards. They live in Camorr, a city a lot like Venice in the late middle ages, though a lot different, too. We don't know where Camorr is, but there's clearly a backstory, as it seems to rest on the remnants of a much older and far more advanced civilization.

Who the Gentleman Bastards are and how they became the GBs is a tale intertwined with another long adventure in the current volume. Lamora and the other Bastards are engaged in conning a duke out of a good portion of his fortune, but things intefere. Things like the Gray King, who's killing off members of the criminal profession and who's clearly got bad things in mind for Lamora. Just how bad, we discover as we move along.

There's plenty of action, a thick thread of violence running throughout, mystery, and a few surprises, some of them unpleasant. I have the second book in the series, but I'm not sure when (or if) I'll get to it. We'll see.

Austin Bound

Judy and I will be leaving for Austin in about half an hour. Our little girl (age 39) is getting married. Took her a while to find someone satisfactory, but I'm sure she's made a good choice. The odd thing about this, as all you older parents know, is that I remember all the details of her birth all those years ago: the call from Judy that it was time for me to get her to the hospital (I was working spring registration in UT's Gregory Gym), the waiting room (I read File on a Missing Redhead, a Gold Medal by Lou Cameron), seeing Angela for the first time (she was blonde, and I thought she must be the wrong kid), taking her home to 711 W. 32nd wrapped in a little yellow blanket. Seems like only yesterday. Now she's middle-aged and getting married. Time flies when you're having fun.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

NEWS RADIO 590 KLBJ - Breaking News Headlines and Video from 590 KLBJ: "An Austin cabbie is charged with robbing one of his customer, for not tipping him. Sharon Hernandez Daro says Tuesday afternoon her 10 minute ride to the UT campus felt like hours because the driver - Whyte Awala - she claims was very rude to her."

That's Better than I Could Do

Elephants show flair for arithmetic - Times Online: "The elephant's memory is legendary, but in a large, grey surprise to science the mighty Asian elephant turns out to have a distinct flair for maths as well

Under carefully controlled experimental conditions — essentially comprising a large cage and two buckets of assorted fruit — one elephant at Ueno Zoo in Tokyo managed to get its sums right 87 per cent of the time. A slightly less gifted pachyderm across the country in Kyoto scored a still respectable 69 per cent."

Girls Town

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Caiman Update (Body Disposal Edition)

Rio drug gang fed rivals to caimans - Yahoo! News UK: "RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Rio de Janeiro police found two caimans in a raid on one of the city's slums on Wednesday, saying the crocodile-like reptiles were used by drug traffickers to intimidate their enemies and dispose of bodies."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Tutoring incentives offered to students at Eastside high school: "Former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd thinks he has found a way to make learning more enticing for some Austin students: pay them cold, hard cash."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Gather 'round, kitties, for a tale from Uncle John: "So why does the Austin Humane Society pet adoption center at 124 W. Anderson Lane have a program where children read to the cats?"

The X-Files, Economics Edition: A Guest Post - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog

The X-Files, Economics Edition: A Guest Post - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog: "We’re still in the early data-collecting stages of our project; but in doing so we’ve come across an intriguing pattern. The figure below plots total U.F.O. sightings in the U.S. for each state (per 10,000 residents) between 1997 and 2007 against total Bigfoot sightings in each state (per 10,000 residents) for the same period."

Easily explained by my story in the volume to the right. Check it out.

Love Is Blind in the Outback

Wanted: 'beauty-disadvantaged' sheilas for desperate Outback men - Times Online: "The mayor of an Australian Outback town has infuriated local women by calling for “beauty-disadvantaged” females to move to his community to relieve the dire shortage of mates for resident men.

John Molony, from Mount Isa in northern Queensland, said the lack of young, single females meant that local men - predominantly miners and cowboys - were not as fussy as they might be when it came to love. Men heavily outnumber single women in the mining town, which has a population of almost 25,000 and hosts Australia’s biggest rodeo."

I'll Be Using Babel Fish on These

Dead Sea Scrolls to be displayed on Internet: "Scientists using American space technology have started a huge project to digitally photograph the Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest known version of the Hebrew Bible, and post it on the Internet for all to see, Israeli authorities said Wednesday.

High-tech cameras using infrared photography are being used to uncover sections of the 2,000-year-old scrolls that have faded over the centuries and become indecipherable, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said.

The project is expected to take about five years and the goal is to make the scrolls accessible to scientists and the general public, Antiquities Authority official Pnina Shor said."

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Have you seen those Dos Equis ads? Is it just me, or does that guy seem like a complete dork? Or maybe that's the point.

The Navy vs. the Night Monsters

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

New Issue of Thug Lit is On-line

You can get there from here.

Jerry Reed, R. I. P.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

iWon News - Singer-actor Jerry Reed dies at the age of 71: "NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Jerry Reed, a singer who became a good ol' boy actor in car chase movies like 'Smokey and the Bandit,' has died of complications from emphysema at 71.

His longtime booking agent, Carrie Moore-Reed, no relation to the star, said Reed died early Monday.

'He's one of the greatest entertainers in the world. That's the way I feel about him,' Moore-Reed said.

Reed was a gifted guitarist who later became a songwriter, singer and actor."

Bad boys,bad boys whatcha gonna do whatcha gonna do?

Undercover Officer Resigns After Posting Online Sex Ads - Seminole County News Story - WFTV Orlando: "OVIEDO, Fla. -- An Oviedo police officer who posted naked pictures of himself online has resigned.

The photos were next to graphic ads for sex.

Investigators told Channel 9 that they did not know anything about the sex ads online until they received a tip. The pictures of undercover agent Scott Woodlee were posted on Craigslist. He posted several dozen naked pictures on the site advertising sex with men and women."

Free Stories

Dave Zelserman is offering a free anthology (pdf format) of seven of his stories from places like EQMM, AHMM, and others. Click here to go to his blog and get the link for the download.

So Long, Neighbor.

'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' won't be shown on many PBS channels starting Monday -- "Seven years have passed since new episodes of 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' were taped and five since the show's iconic, sweater-clad host died.

But news that, starting Monday, 'Mister Rogers' will disappear from the schedules of many PBS stations—including WTTW-Ch. 11 in Chicago, as well as stations in Los Angeles and apparently New York—has legions of parents and other fans lamenting what they see as a timeless show's end.

They are wondering, as Mr. Rogers himself might say: What do you do with the mad that you feel?"


Study Links Gene Variant in Men to Marital Discord - "Men are more likely to be devoted and loyal husbands when they lack a particular variant of a gene that influences brain activity, researchers announced yesterday -- the first time that science has shown a direct link between a man's genes and his aptitude for monogamy.

The finding is striking because it not only links the gene variant -- which is present in two of every five men -- with the risk of marital discord and divorce, but also appears to predict whether women involved with these men are likely to say their partners are emotionally close and available, or distant and disagreeable. The presence of the gene variant, or allele, also seems predictive of whether men get married or live with women without getting married."

Archaeological Update

In Afghanistan, French archaeologists uncover ancient city: "CHESHM-E-SHAFA, AFGHANISTAN — Centuries-old shards of pottery mingle with spent ammunition rounds on a wind-swept mountainside in northern Afghanistan where French archaeologists believe they have found a vast ancient city.

For years, villagers have dug in the baked earth on the heights of Cheshm-e-Shafa for pottery and coins to sell to antiques smugglers. Tracts of the site that locals call the City of Infidels look like a battleground, scarred by craters.

But now tribesmen dig angular trenches and preserve fragile walls, working as laborers on an excavation atop a promontory. To the north and east lies an undulating landscape of barren red-tinted rock that was once the ancient kingdom of Bactria; to the south a verdant valley that leads to the famed Buddhist ruins at Bamian."

High School Confidential

High School Confidential

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sigh . . . .

Moving Beyond 'Catcher' On School Reading Lists : NPR: "Weekend Edition Saturday, August 30, 2008 � The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger's beloved novel, once banned and full of frank four-letter words, will continue to be assigned to high school reading lists this year.

But Anne Trubek, a professor of English at Oberlin College, argues that it's time to update Salinger's coming-of-age tale.

'It was published in 1951 and it's not so contemporary anymore,' Trubek tells Scott Simon. 'I think that most American teenagers will find it rather tame and sort of laughable the things that were once considered so controversial.'"

The 50 Greatest Arts Aideos on YouTube

The 50 greatest arts videos on YouTube | Technology | The Observer: "YouTube is best known for its offbeat videos that become viral sensations. But among its millions of clips is a treasure trove of rare and fascinating arts footage, lovingly posted by fans. Ajesh Patalay selects 50 of the best - Joy Division's TV debut, readings by Jack Kerouac, a Marlene Dietrich screen test, Madonna's first performance... and much more."

Happy Birthday, ERB!

"It's the birthday of one of the most popular pulp fiction writers in American history, Edgar Rice Burroughs, (books by this author) born in Chicago (1875). He had read Darwin's book Descent of Man back in 1899, and he was fascinated by the idea that human beings were related to apes. He began to wonder what might happen if a child from an excessively noble, well-bred family were somehow left in the jungle to be raised by apes. The result was his story 'Tarzan of the Apes,' which filled an entire issue of All-Story magazine in October of 1912."

10 Geeky Movies to Raise Your Kids On | Geekdad from

10 Geeky Movies to Raise Your Kids On | Geekdad from "In our never-ending quest to provide you the tools and knowledge to raise your kids in your own geeky image, we present you with a list of 10 geeky movies to raise your kids with. This is a starter list, and by no means comprehensive. It also skews towards the younger set because we have to lay the proper geeky foundation."

Bibliochaise, the Librarian’s Chair

Bibliochaise, the Librarian’s Chair � Coolest Gadgets: "If you read a lot of books and your house is full of them, then the Bibliochaise is an extremely useful item, and a good asset for your living room. The Bibliochaise is a different kind of chair, designed for people who love to read and want to keep their favourite books close at hand."

Hat top to Doc Quatermass.

Gator Update (Guts Edition)

Got gator guts? Send 'em to scientist | | FLORIDA TODAY: "Attention alligator hunters: A Florida Tech scientist wants your gator guts -- on ice.

He's looking for more evidence to prove local alligators chow down almost exclusively on two South American catfish: the sailfin and hoplo.

Gators gobble up these two suckers as their staple diet with unknown consequences, he suspects.

'Freeze the stomach, and give us a call. All we really need to know is how big the gator was and where it was caught,' said Jon Shenker, a fishery biologist at Florida Tech.

Shenker and/or his students will come and pick up the gator guts, if hunters keep them on ice."

Hell Comes to Frogtown

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Money-Making Opportunity of the Month

Mst3k: Join Mystery Science Theater 3000 And Get Paid: "Now's your chance to become part of the movie-watching people (or robots) over at Mystery Science Theater 3000. The MST3K bunch have launched an iRiffs channel on their site, allowing you to submit your own commentary over terrible movies for the gang to judge. If they think your commentary track is funny enough, you could make the big bucks."

Gator Update (Colorado Edition) | Colorado's Online News Leader | Not your typical animal rescue: 'Gator' found along road: "GLENWOOD SPRINGS - At Colorado Animal Rescue in Glenwood Springs, director Leslie Rockey says they have a number of furry four-legged friends who have been rescued.

'Over 40 dogs, about 65 cats, 8 bunnies,' said Rockey.

The newest resident, however, is a first. His name is Montgomery, and he's a 38-inch alligator who was found wandering along a highway near the Western Slope town of Parachute."

Mexia, Texas, 1953

My hometown has always been on the cutting edge, as you can see from this column in the local paper back on March 13, 1953. Already fielding a soccer team, and if you look long enough, you can find the name of one of the players. Yes, that's right, me. Hard to believe. This was one of my few athletic endeavors, but nobody can say I wasn't ahead of my time. And just in case you were wondering what was showing at the local theaters on that day, well, I've thrown some movie listings in for good measure.

New Blog on the Block

Check out


Socks away! Roald Dahl’s wartime sex raids - Times Online: "He is known to the world as the author of bestselling children’s books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. Yet before he became a successful writer, Roald Dahl had a very different reputation – as the sexiest British spy in America.

A ribald portrait of Dahl’s second world war years as an undercover agent attached to the British embassy in Washington emerges from the pages of a new biography that credits the writer with a very special talent for the Anglo-American special relationship.

“Girls just fell at Roald’s feet,” declares Antoinette Marsh Haskell, the daughter of Dahl’s closest American friend. “I think he slept with everybody on the east and west coasts that [was worth] more than $50,000 a year.”"

Gator Update (Long Island Edition)

Alligator captured at LI creek -- "A Long Island man out fishing made an unusual catch on Saturday _ an alligator that had latched onto his fishing lure.

The reptile had been seen before at the creek in recent weeks and Ron Settino, 63, of Franklin Square, said he had been looking to capture it. He got his chance, reeling the creature in while another fisherman grabbed the 33-inch-long animal."

Killer Kowalski, R. I. P.

Thanks to Cap'n Bob Napier for the link.

Ring Posts: Remembering Killer Kowalski - Ring Posts is a Baltimore Sun blog about wrestling - "When I first started watching pro wrestling as a first-grader in the early 1970s, there were various types of bad guys (we didn’t call them heels back then). There were black-hat wearing cowboys, flamboyant pretty boys, post-World War II German and Japanese wrestlers and an assortment of rugged-looking guys with snarling faces.

But there was only one Killer Kowalski.

Walter Kowalski, who died yesterday at 81 from the effects of a massive heart attack, portrayed one of wrestling’s all-time great villains during a career that spanned 30 years."

Hurricanes and Weddings

Hurricane Gustav is churning around in the Gulf of Mexico, and I worry about what's going to happen to Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf coast. If New Orleans goes under again, can it possibly come back a second time? Robert Skinner, mystery writer friend, finally got out of his FEMA trailer and back into his house last December. And now this. How much can people take?

Here in Alvin, big things are happening. Judy and I will be going to Austin on Thursday. Not because of the hurricane, however. Our daughter, Angela, is getting married there on Saturday. I'm not too sure about being the father of the bride. Speaking in front of large crowds doesn't bother me at all, but the idea of walking down the aisle with my daughter on my arm scares me a lot. I'm too old and emotional for that kind of thing. One of the groomsmen is in New Orleans. Will he be at the wedding? I have my doubts. This should be an interesting experience for all concerned.

Blast-Off Girls