Saturday, September 27, 2008

Gator Update (The Internet: Is there Anything It Can't Do?)

Internet studies help 3 land alligator - "ORANGEBURG, S.C., Sept. 25 (UPI) -- Three men who caught a nearly 13-foot-long alligator in South Carolina's Lake Marion say research on the Internet helped them achieve hunting success."

One of the last of the real movie stars.
Arts and Culture
: "Sept. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Paul Newman, the singularly handsome actor with the ice-blue eyes who starred in such films as ``The Color of Money'' and ``Hud'' while pursuing his interests as a racecar driver, businessman and philanthropist, died yesterday at 83 at his home in Westport, Connecticut, his spokeswoman said."

By the Way

My main computer at home gave me the blue screen of death after the hurricane.  I'd backed everything up on two different external drives, so I won't lose anything, I hope.  The local computer guru called me Thursday afternoon and told me to bring in the tower, which I did.  That evening, he called and said that the hard drive's boot sector was gone.  Who knows why?  Not me.  Anyway, he's going to get me a new hard drive and try to save the data from the old one to it.  That would be nice.  I'd hate to have to install all my programs again.  We'll see how it works out.

This is News?

At Home, Women Rule | LiveScience: "Men might strut their stuff on Wall Street and on Capitol Hill, but across America women wield the power on the home front.

A survey by the Pew Research Center, announced today, finds that among 43 percent of couples the woman makes more of the decisions in the domestic realm than men do."

Where I Am Today

No, not at Kroger.  I'm on my way to the annual homecoming at Mexia High School.  I hope to see a few folks I haven't seen in many, many years and to get a few photos of them. I'm looking forward to it, being, I suppose, one of the few people who actually enjoyed high school.  Not every minute of it, mind you, but a heck of a lot of it.  No responsibility, no money worries thanks to my afterschool and weekend job, lots of time to read science fiction magazines, footloose and carefree.  Those were the days.


Man Sues Doctors After Penis Amputated - Health News Story - WLKY Louisville: "LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Shelby County man and his wife said two doctors amputated the man's penis without his consent, and have filed a lawsuit."

Batman and Robin

Friday, September 26, 2008

Comcast Feels My Pain

I received two nice phone calls from Comcast today, and while I still don't know when my Internet and TV service will be restored, I do know that someone knows I'm suffering.  I hope that maybe by next week, things will be (more or less) back to normal at Casa de Crider.   So credit where it's due and thanks, Comcast. 

Yes, It's Me, and I'm in Kroger Again

Comcast obviously doesn't feel my pain.  As far as I know they're not even working in Alvin, but then maybe I just haven't seen them.  When I called, they wouldn't even estimate when we might have cable service again.  

Unlike the power companies that have hundreds of people doing repairs and taking care of business, Comcast must be coasting along with their usual staff.  If that's the case, I might not have cable until winter.  At least I can get a little big done here at my favorite store.  Hooray for Kroger!

Will the Persecution Never End?

News from The Associated Press: "NEW YORK (AP) -- A well-known British artist is exhibiting collage portraits of President Bush and Paris Hilton he made out of porn magazine images."

Important Constitutional Rights Update

Charge dropped against man accused of passing gas - "CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Map, News) - A battery charge has been dropped against a West Virginia man who had been accused of passing gas and fanning it toward a South Charleston patrolman."

No Country for Old Men

In 30 seconds.  With bunnies.

I Like Johnny Depp, but . . .

. . . Tonto?

Forgotten Books: THE [OLD] MAN IN THE CORNER -- Baroness Orczy

I wonder how many of you have read this one. The American title, at least of the International Polygonics edition that I have, leaves out the word old, but the stories are the same, and they're classic stuff. Baroness Orczy is best known, probably for The Scarlet Pimpernel, but the stories collected here are what make her important in the mystery field.

The Old Man in the Corner sits in the A. B. C. tea room, tying and untying complex knots in a piece of string. While he does so, he talks about unsolved crimes to a young reporter. He's the very model of the armchair detective as he lays out the facts and produces the solutions, all based on things he has read an observed. He has no interest in bringing anyone to justice. He cares only about the crime and the solution, and his credo is that "There is no such thing as a mystery in connection with any crime provided intelligence is brought to bear upon its investigation." Murder, robberies, and forgeries that the police can't figure out are all clear to the Old Man.

Poe and Doyle came before Baroness Orczy, but nobody who's interested in the history of the mystery genre should overlook this collection. It's dated, sure. It might even seem quaint, but in going over the stories again, I found myself enjoying them just as much as ever. Give them a try and see what you think.

Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Male Officer Arrested In Miniskirt, Wig - Orlando News Story - WKMG Orlando: "PANAMA CITY, Fla. -- A male probation officer in northwest Florida wearing a blond wig, black miniskirt, fishnet stockings and no shoes has been charged with driving under the influence and drug possession."

Our Freedoms are Disappearing One by One

Man charged with battery for farting near cop - Criminal weirdness- "SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A man has been charged with battery on a police officer for allegedly passing gas and fanning it toward a patrolman."


I'm a guy who likes being in a rut.  I like my little routines.  I'm uncomfortable with change.  

Things have changed a lot lately, so of course I don't like it.  Here I am, sitting in Kroger again, when I should be at my computer at home.  But I don't have Internet there, and in fact I don't even have my main computer.  The computer guy hasn't returned my call.  Neither has the roofer.  I'm not enjoying this at all.  

Still, I'm a lot better off than people in Galveston who are going through what's left of their homes while they wear gas masks and rubber gloves.  Water was up to the roofs of many houses, which are already infected by mold.  Everything that was in them is ruined.  And those are the lucky ones.  Many houses are just gone.  When I think about that, I realize how lucky I am.

Dennis Lehane Was Always too Good for Us

Lehane's change of heart | Dennis Lehane | Book News | Books | Entertainment Weekly: "Dennis Lehane is done writing Dennis Lehane's change of heart | Dennis Lehane | Book News | Books | Entertainment Weeklywhodunits.

''I'd say it's highly unlikely that I'll ever write another one,'' says the best-selling author of five Patrick Kenzie detective mysteries, including Gone Baby Gone, which was made into a movie last year by Ben Affleck. ''I was never comfortable with them anyway. I'd be writing these friggin' whodunits,'' he laughs, getting excited, ''and I could care less. I wanna tell everybody on page 2, he killed so-and-so, he done it! If you look at my books in that regard — and I'll be 100 percent honest about my flaws — you can see how I was whipping out the kitchen sink just to obscure s---, like the identity of the serial killer or whatever, and that's why the books got so labyrinthian in the last 100 pages.''"

Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hooray for Kroger! (Again)

Since the cable's still out at the house, and since Comcast won't even venture a guess as to when it'll be back on, I'm back here at Kroger (my favorite store), taking advantage of the wi-fi again.  The smell of the cinnamon rolls in the bakery is really getting to me.  I need a cinnamon roll.

When I plugged in my main computer at home and turned it on, it crashed.  Or refused to boot, which I guess is the same thing.  Something about a missing DLL or a bad driver, or missing memory, depending on which error message you choose to believe.  I'll have someone look at it because I really would like to keep using Windows XP and that same drive.  I backed everything up before the storm, so nothing's lost, thank goodness.

We have a little color TV set with rabbit ears, so we can get four channels.   Not that there's anything on I want to see.  I've lost interest in Heroes.  Some of the new shows look interesting, so maybe I'll give one of them a try.

Wasn't this an Episode of CHiPS? > News > North County -- CHP investigating whether ticket was 'fixed' for sex: "OCEANSIDE – The California Highway Patrol is investigating whether a recently retired officer “fixed” a woman's speeding ticket in exchange for sex.

Two search warrant affidavits filed in Vista court allege that CHP Officer Abram Carabajal met Shirin Zarrindej of Encino at an Oceanside hotel shortly after her ticket was dismissed in court."

Want to See Something Really Scary?

Naked clown calendar -- now that's scary - "Clowns — make that 21 naked clowns— are coming to haunt your dreams.

Graduates of San Francisco's Clown Conservatory Class of 2008 have stripped down to their birthday suits to make a 2009 Naked Clown Calendar, a joyful and humourous work of art the clowns hope to sell in honor of a beloved mentor paralysed from the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) and others stricken with the disease.

These aren't the usual photos of clowns at kids' parties or falling out of cars. No, they're photos of clowns tumbling though the air, performing songs in the park or flying out of cannons — with pies and top hats hiding the naughty bits."

Another Reason You Don't Want to Drive in Houston

Commuters fume: Officials plan November return for all traffic signals | News | - Houston Chronicle: "Getting all the city's traffic lights functioning at pre-Hurricane Ike levels could take until November, Marcotte said."

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

'American Psycho' heads to stage - Entertainment News, Legit News, Media - Variety: "An '80s-tinged tuner adaptation of 'American Psycho' has begun the development process and is aiming for Broadway.

Legit version of the 1991 Bret Easton Ellis novel, about a 1980s Wall Street banker who is also a serial killer, will come from the Johnson-Roessler Co., management-production company the Collective and XYZ Films. The three shingles have partnered to acquire the rights to develop and produce the stage incarnation."

House of Frankenstein

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Caiman Update | Knoxville, TN | Update: Caiman caught, taken to warmer climes: "Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency have captured a caiman in the Little Pigeon River and taken it to a warmer location to recover.

The caimain is now recovering at Rainforest Adventures Discovery Zoo from its chilly experience."

The Lights are On

The power came back on at our house in Alvin at 2:20 this afternoon.  Great news, but it's tempered by the fact that we don't have TV or Internet cable.  The friendly folks at Comcast will not even estimate when we might have cable again.  That means my Internet access will be limited to my trips to Kroger (Hooray for Kroger!).  We're glad to have a/c again, though, and we're glad to be able to sleep in our own bed for a change.  We're still at our daughter's place in Houston, but we'll move back to Alvin tomorrow.

Even Einstein Couldn't Do Math

Einstein's 23 Biggest Mistakes | Einstein | DISCOVER Magazine: "The man with the big ideas wasn't so good with the details. In Einstein's Mistakes: The Human Failings of Genius (W.W. Norton, $24.95, excerpted below), Hans Ohanian writes that Albert often let his intuition overrule flawed proofs and shaky math. Maybe you'll feel a little better about your own flubs."

NYC Has Always had Potholes

Ice Age geology revealed at Ground Zero - Science- "NEW YORK - Crews excavating the World Trade Center site this summer for the foundations of a new skyscraper have uncovered features carved into the bedrock by glaciers about 20,000 years ago, including a 40-foot-deep pothole."

7 Reasons Many of You Are so Screwed Up

Click here.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Pranksters In Banana, Gorilla Suits Face Charges - News Story - KXAS | Dallas: "FLOWER MOUND, Texas -- The sight of a gorilla being chased by a banana drew laughs at Flower Mound's homecoming game, but the school district doesn't find it funny.

Video of the prank by seniors Curtis Patton and Sean Kight at Friday night's prank has been posted to YouTube."

Lum 'n' Abner

In addition to the other OTR shows I've mentioned lately, Judy and I also heard two episodes of Lum 'n' Abner from 1942.  Talk about timely.  In the first, Lum, who'd bought a printing press and was considering publishing a new dictionary, one that corrected the omission of "ort" and "ain't" from the current ones.  But Lum moved beyond that idea.  He decided to become an author and wrote for an aptitude test from the Oxford Overnight Writers' School.  The ad said he could earn big money by writing stories for Boys' Workbench Weekly and similar publications, though he was going for the really big dough with a novel, instead.  The test arrived, and Lum was required to write a description and a dialog passage.  Pretty funny stuff.  Then he decided not to become an author, after all, because the cost of the school's "lessons" was $117.50.

In the next episode, Lum decides that the real money is in publishing.  He's going to use his press to publish books by others, and he puts a sign out in front of the Jot 'em Down Store, inviting writers to bring in their "manual scripts," which he will turn into books.  His first customer is Mousie, a poet who has a great ode to a hoot owl.  Ever been to a poetry workshop?  You'll howl (or hoot) at this episode.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Ghost of Frankenstein

Monday, September 22, 2008

From the Mystery*File

� MURDER AT 3 CENTS A DAY, by William F. Deeck: MYSTERY HOUSE, Part 2.: "It’s been a long time in getting it finished (the last update was sometime in January) but the Mystery House section of Bill Deeck’s Murder at 3 Cents a Day Lending Library website is ready for viewing. Thanks to the assistance of Bill Pronzini, whose collection has been of great use, almost all of the cover images for the books published by Mystery House between 1940 and 1948 are now online."

Japan Still Leads the Way

Solar-powered bra displays text, holds drinks ::: Pink Tentacle: "Lingerie maker Triumph International Japan has unveiled a new eco-friendly concept bra called the “Solar Power Bra” (太陽光発電ブラ - Taiyoko Hatsuden Bra), which aims to stimulate eco-awareness and promote clean energy."

A Question

Is it just me, or does it seem to anyone else like the world we knew is coming apart before our eyes?  Maybe it's just my reaction to Ike that's making me feel this way, but I think I hear four horsemen saddling up somewhere.

Crime and Peter Chambers

That appears to be the official name of the radio show I mentioned below.  Today on the way back to Houston, Judy and I listened to another episode on XM.  This one also had the second-person voiceover, so that must indeed be a regular feature.  Chambers is hired to find out who pulled a kidnapping, and someone's trying to kill him.  Anybody who doesn't have this one figured out within the first two minutes is brain-dead, but we enjoyed it anyway.  Some snappy patter, and it's nicely acted.  Dane Clark is pretty darned good as Chambers.

We also listened to an episode of Suspense, with William Conrad doing all the voices.  An out-of-work reporter plans to spend the night in a wax museum filled with figures of notorious murderers.  This is another highly predictable episode, but it was entertaining enough.

What's Happening Now

Now we're in Houston.  I feel like a nomad.  But I have Internet access, so what else really matters?  We'll drive to Alvin tomorrow to check on the cats, and I'll go to the dentist.  Whoooeee.  We sure do know how to have fun.

David Thompson & McKenna Jordan Get Married

Thanks to armadillow54 for these photos.

Paging General Buck Turgidson

Russian Navy ships head to Venezuela - "MOSCOW (AP) — A Russian navy squadron set off for Venezuela Monday, an official said, in a deployment of Russian military power to the Western Hemisphere unprecedented since the Cold War."

The Emmys: Must-See TV

The Watcher - All TV, all the time | Chicago Tribune | Blog: "Truly, it was one of the worst moments of television I’ve ever witnessed, and keep in mind that I just watched the first episode of NBC’s new version of “Knight Rider.”"

Japan Leads the Way Again

Japanese Girl Sensation: Virtual Boyfriends (Webkare): "In Japan, girls are crazy over virtual boyfriends. Webkare (Web Boyfriend in Japanese), a mix between a social network and dating simulation site, is Nippon’s newest web sensation. Geared exclusively towards girls, the site attracted over 10,000 members just 5 days after its release on September 10, racking up 3.5 million page views in the same time frame.

The site is a huge hit over here. Girls sign up and become members of a social network but also users of a dating simulation in cartoon style. They have to try to hook up with one of four male Anime characters (who are the “stars” of the site) through “conversations” and must collaborate with other Webkare members in order to move on in the game. Eventually they conquer the heart of the chosen cartoon boy."

Japan Leads the Way

Japan hopes to turn sci-fi into reality with elevator to the stars - Times Online: "From cyborg housemaids and waterpowered cars to dog translators and rocket boots, Japanese boffins have racked up plenty of near-misses in the quest to turn science fiction into reality.

Now the finest scientific minds of Japan are devoting themselves to cracking the greatest sci-fi vision of all: the space elevator. Man has so far conquered space by painfully and inefficiently blasting himself out of the atmosphere but the 21st century should bring a more leisurely ride to the final frontier."

The Plan for Today

We don't have one. This being in exile is a strange business. We haven't spent the night in the same place in four days now, and I'm getting confused about dates and even the day of the week. (Some would ask, "What's new about that?") I think maybe we'll drive down to Houston and see if we can stay at our daughter's townhouse. I have a dental appointment in Alvin tomorrow, and I'd like to be able to keep it. I just hope the dentist doesn't have to use the old foot-powered drill.

Dracula vs. Frankenstein

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stealing Home

My Way News - Ike evacuees sneak back onto ravaged Galveston: "GALVESTON, Texas (AP) - Rats, raw sewage and a no-excuses curfew await exiled residents who try to return to storm-wrecked Galveston Island when it reopens next week, officials warned Saturday, a week after Hurricane Ike came thundering ashore.

Ugly as the city's last week and immediate future may be, the grim predictions didn't seem to scare some of the 45,000 evacuated islanders from trying to get home, even though most of the island won't open back up until Wednesday."

Paging Paul Simon

The Associated Press: Is the rich-hued Kodachrome era fading to black?: "ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — It is an elaborately crafted photographic film, extolled for its sharpness, vivid colors and archival durability. Yet die-hard fan Alex Webb is convinced the digital age soon will take his Kodachrome away.

'Part of me feels like, boy, if only I'd been born 20 years earlier,' says the 56-year-old photographer, whose work has appeared in National Geographic magazine. 'I wish they would keep making it forever. I still have a lot of pictures to take in my life.'"

Henry Kane's Peter Chambers on the Radio

Returning from Dallas today, we listened to an episode of Peter Chambers, based on the novels by Henry Kane, who wrote the radio show as well. Dane Clark played Chambers, and he was okay in the role, but the show didn't offer anything different from a lot of other p.i. shows on radio. Well, there was one thing. I don't know if it's typical of the series as a whole, but in the show we heard, the voiceover narration is done in second person. I found it a little annoying at first, but I got used to it. Listening to the show didn't make me want to seek out others in the series, but if one comes on XM again while I'm listening, I won't turn it off.

A Brief but Heartfelt Comment to Texas-New Mexico Power Company

We've just talked to our neighbors, and the power is still not back on in our area. So I'd just like to say to Texas-New Mexico: Eat my shorts.

Today, the Army, Tomorrow, . . ?

The Army's Totally Serious Mind-Control Project - TIME: "Soldiers barking orders at each other is so 20th Century. That's why the U.S. Army has just awarded a $4 million contract to begin developing 'thought helmets' that would harness silent brain waves for secure communication among troops. Ultimately, the Army hopes the project will 'lead to direct mental control of military systems by thought alone.'"

Croc Update (Contraceptive Edition)

It's A Fact - The Sunday Mail: "In 2000BC, the Egyptians had the first known contraceptive - which was crocodile dung."

My Shade Tree, Thanks to Ike

Scream and Scream Again