Saturday, October 18, 2008

Wasn't this a Lifetime Movie?

Mom who stole daughter's identity to attend Wis. high school, be a cheerleader pleads insanity -- "GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) _ A 33-year-old woman accused of stealing her daughter's identity to attend high school and join the cheerleading squad has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity."


We drove down to Galveston today. A month after Ike, a lot of the island is cleaned up pretty well, but the Strand, the area usually covered up with tourists on a day like this, is a mess. It'll take a while to get it back to normal. I thought a lot of the houses down on the west end would be gone, but a lot of them are still there, and some are in pretty good shape. I suspect most, if not all, of them were flooded, even though they're up on stilts twelve to fourteen feet in the air. The farther west you go, the more damage you see. The photo to the left was taken in the parking lot at Willie G's. There's a little flickr set here if you want to see more.

Reserve Yours Now

Disappearing act: The invisibility cloak that will be ready in five years | Mail Online: "An invisibility cloak just like the one Harry Potter used to creep out of Hogwarts could become a reality within five years.

But instead of using magic, researchers from Purdue University, Indiana are using 'nanotechnology' and 'metamaterials' along with Einstein’s theory of general relativity."

Crippen & Landru

Check out the updated website.

Thanks to The Bunburyist for the link.


The Little Professor has a comment or two.

Top 10 Best Disney Songs

Top 10 Best Disney Songs - The List Universe: "Everyone has a favorite Disney movie. Disney was there for most of us growing up and it filled our imagination, and probably gave us unrealistic expectations of life and love. It also gave us some of the most adored and memorable songs in history! This is a list of the Ten Best Disney Songs. The list includes only one song from each movie."

Lily Tomlin Leads the Way

iWon News - Lily Tomlin wants Dallas elephant relocated: "DALLAS (AP) - Comedian and animal rights advocate Lily Tomlin says Jenny the elephant has worked 22 years for the Dallas Zoo and it's time for the aging pachyderm to retire.

Tomlin, who has seen video footage of Jenny appearing in distress, visited the Dallas Zoo for the first time Friday to view the elephant in her habitat.

'It's heartbreaking,' Tomlin said. 'If you know anything about elephants ... you would just ache for her. We'd like her to go the sanctuary now.'"

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Shamus Winners

Bob Randisi has posted the official list of Shamus winners (and nominees) on the PWA blog.  Click here.

Kill and Kill Again

Gator Update (Philly Edition)

Philly police find 4-foot alligator in river | Courier Times Now: "PHILADELPHIA (AP)�— People fish a lot of strange things out of rivers. Police in Philadelphia have pulled a 4-foot alligator out of the Schuylkill River. The reptile was spotted by boaters earlier in the week. On Thursday evening, the Police Marine Unit found the ‘gator swimming near the Strawberry Mansion neighborhood."

Thanks to Jeff Segal for the link.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Archaeology Update: City of the Dead

Rome workers uncover city of dead - "ROME, Italy (AP) -- Workers renovating a rugby stadium have uncovered a vast complex of tombs beneath Rome that mimic the houses, blocks and streets of a real city, according to officials, who have unveiled a series of new finds.

Culture Ministry officials said Thursday that medieval pottery shards in the city of the dead, or necropolis, show the area may have been inhabited by the living during the Dark Ages after being used for centuries for burials during the Roman period.

It is not yet clear who was buried in the ancient cemetery, but archaeologists at the still partially excavated site believe at least some of the dead were freed slaves of Greek origin."


MTV Movies Blog � Brad Pitt Going On A Sci-Fi ‘Odyssey’ for Warner Bros.: "Brad Pitt must have really liked going Greek for “Troy” because he’s now interested in tackling Homer’s other great epic, “The Odyssey.” According to Variety, he’s teaming with director George Miller and Warner Bros. to bring the epic poem to outer space, with Pitt playing the title role of Odysseus in a re-imagining of the classic fable."


Future planes, cars may be made of `buckypaper': "(AP) -- It's called 'buckypaper' and looks a lot like ordinary carbon paper, but don't be fooled by the cute name or flimsy appearance. It could revolutionize the way everything from airplanes to TVs are made.

Buckypaper is 10 times lighter but potentially 500 times stronger than steel when sheets of it are stacked and pressed together to form a composite. Unlike conventional composite materials, though, it conducts electricity like copper or silicon and disperses heat like steel or brass.

'All those things are what a lot of people in nanotechnology have been working toward as sort of Holy Grails,' said Wade Adams, a scientist at Rice University."

Levi Stubbs, R. I. P.

The Four Tops' Levi Stubbs dies at 72 - "Levi Stubbs, whose distinctive, rough-hewn voice and pleading vocal style elevated the Four Tops' soul classics to masterpieces, died today at his Detroit home. He was 72.

The Michigan native had been in ill health since being diagnosed with cancer in 1995. A stroke and other health problems led him to stop touring in 2000."

50 Scariest Horror Movies

Top 50 scariest horror movies of all time - Halloween movies - "Top 50 scariest movies of all time"

I debated about even putting this one on the blog, but I figured I might as well.

The First Quarry -- Max Allan Collins

It's hard for me to believe this, but I've been reading Max Allan Collins' books about Quarry, a professional hit man, for more than 30 years, starting with The Broker back in the late '70s. Collins is so prolific now that it's hard for me to keep up with all his novels. It seems as if he publishes one a month, except for those months when he publishes two. But I'd never miss a Quarry book.

Even after all those years, I still didn't know exactly how Quarry got started in his unusual profession. Now, thanks to Hard Case Crime, I do. Back from the war in Viet Nam, Quarry kills his wife's lover and soon finds himself hooked up with the Broker and working his first commission. He's hired to kill a college professor who's having an affair with one of his students (at the moment; he's had plenty of affairs before). Things don't go smoothly, but Quarry is a fine improviser, impressing both the reader and his client with his ability to handle unexpected complications, which include the professor's wife, a kidnapping, a private-eye, and maybe a couple I'm forgetting.

Collins can write short, nasty, and tough. Hard Case publishes short, nasty, and tough. A marriage made in heaven. I believe The First Quarry is the fourth time they've teamed up. I hope it's not the last.

Catch 22 Update

Playbill News: Lavelle Will Star in Aquila's Catch 22 Off-Broadway: "John Lavelle will star in the world premiere stage adaptation of Joseph Heller's American classic Catch 22 for the Aquila Theatre Company.

Aquila artistic director Peter Meineck penned the stage adaptation of the novel. Performances will begin Nov. 14 at the Lucille Lortel Theatre Off-Broadway and will continue through Dec. 20. Opening night is Nov. 23.

Lavelle, who has appeared in The Graduate and Burleigh Grimes, will star as B-25 bombardier Yossarian, who is 'based on a small island off the coast of Italy in 1944,' according to press notes. 'He starts to question the futile and ridiculous administration of his air base and seeks a way to preserve his life when the whole world around him seems to be going mad. Like a modern-day Achilles, Yossarian protests with powerful and often hilarious results. Catch 22 tackles huge things with rich metaphors, boldly drawn characters and near-impossible situations. It is a work of great theatricality with superb language and a sense of dark surrealism. Heller dares to examine the very philosophy of war and what it does to the humans that fight them.'"

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the tip.

Forgotten Books: TOUGH GUY WRITERS OF THE THIRTIES -- David Madden, Ed.

A little nonfiction this time. Tough Guy Writers of the Thirties is a book that changed the course of my life. Before I read it back in 1968, I wasn't sure anyone besides me took hardboiled writing, especially the kind found in paperbacks, worthy of serious consideration. The essays in this book proved that others took it even more seriously than I did, and I was persuaded before I finished reading them that I could convince a committee of English professors to let me write my doctoral dissertation on private-eye fiction.

My favorite essay in the collection will always be R. V. Cassill's "Fear, Purgation, and Sophoclean Light," a meditation on Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me. Wonderful stuff. But so are all the others. I don't have time to name them all, if you like tough-guy fiction and the hardboiled school, you have to read this book. Cain, Hammett, Chandler are discussed, of course, but so are plenty of others. McCoy, Gresham, the Black Mask boys, Hemingway, many more. Great stuff, and highly recommended. Plenty of copies available on abebooks. Buy one. Treat yourself.

The She-Creature

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Police wind up delivering baby on MoPac | All Ablog Austin: "Sometimes the stork wears a badge and and rides a police motorcycle.

Three Austin police officers expecting to help move a stalled car on South Mopac Boulevard (Loop 1) ended up helping a couple deliver a baby girl this morning.

Police received the call about a stalled vehicle just north of Windsor Road around 6:10 a.m. As motorcycle officers Stephen Hines, Deats Burbank and James Morgan tried to assist a stalled motorist, a male driver in a van pulled up and frantically waved the officers over, police said."

Talking Dinosaur Alert

Dinosaurs: Crested Dinosaurs Had Brains Designed for Talking: "For decades scientists have been mystified by the strangely-shaped skulls of the duck-billed, crested dinosaurs known as lambeosaurus. Their nasal passages are extremely long and twisty, looping up over the tops of their skulls. Originally it was believed that these were just super-noses providing a keen sense of smell. But today a group of Canadian and U.S. researchers present their latest findings about the lembeosaurus at the Society for Vertebrate Paleontology in Ohio — it turns out the nasal passages may have been used for fairly complicated communication between dinosaurs."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

MyFox Houston | Deer Goes on Rampage in Montgomery County Office Building: "Oh 'deer' - now animals are criminals, too. Montgomery County authorities say it was a deer that broke into an office building and caused chaos on Wednesday morning.

When Sgt. Dwayne Finley responded to a report of a possible explosion, he found a broken window and the office area in disarray, with items off the walls and desk, officials said."

Quark -- The Entire Series

Rick Klaw has a review here. Check it out.

Edie Adams, R. I. P.

I hope she's with a big spender.

Tony Award Winner Edie Adams Dies at 81: Theater News on "Tony Award winner Edie Adams died in Los Angeles on October 15 from pneumonia, according to The New York Times. She was 81.

Adams appeared only twice on Broadway, originating the role of Eileen Sherwood in the musical Wonderful Town, for which she won a Theatre World Award, and playing Daisy Mae in the musical Li'l Abner, for which she won the Tony."

Archaeology Update

Tomb of the real 'Gladiator' discovered in Italy - Times Online: "Italian archeologists have discovered the tomb of the ancient Roman hero said to have inspired the character played by Russell Crowe in the film 'Gladiator'.

Daniela Rossi, a Rome archeologist, said the discovery of the monumental marble tomb of Marcus Nonius Macrinus, including a large inscription bearing his name, was 'an exceptional find'. She said it was 'the most important ancient Roman monument to come to light for twenty or thirty years'."

Barrington J. Bayley, R. I. P.

Rick Klaw has the bad news here. I remember Bayley's work from some of the later Ace Doubles and DAW. I'm saddened to hear of his passing.

Demolition is Done

Bryon Quertermous has pulled the plug on Demolition.  The stories will remain available, but there won't be any more issues.  Too bad, as the zine published some good work.  It'll be missed.

Notes on Democracy -- H. L. Mencken

Having just returned from Baltimore, home of H. L. Mencken, I thought I'd take a look at a new edition of H. L. Mencken's Notes on Democracy. Mencken was a pugnacious guy, and he wasn't politically correct. He liked to sting, and he never minded speaking his mind (or writing it). Here's one example: "Under the pressure of fanaticism, and with the mob complacently applauding the show, democratic law tends more and more to be grounded upon the maxim that every citizen is, by nature, a traitor, a libertine, and a scoundrel. In order to dissuade him from his evil-doing the police power is extended until it surpasses anything ever heard of in the oriental monarchies of antiquity."

That's what Mencken wrote back in 1926. The more things change, the more they stay the same, I guess. The book is divided into four sections, and Mencken had his fun with all of society's sacred cows, from religion to law enforcement to government to stupidity in general. Though he was writing more than 80 years ago, what he says is as generally up-to-date as your latest blog post.
I believe I wrote not long ago that I wished Mencken were around to write about the current political campaign. He'd have had a great time.

This new edition has a lengthy introduction and extensive notes. Check it out.

At the Airport

Okay, here's what happened when a friend of mine took a trip recently. Things were going swimmingly until he got to the security line. Just as he was about to reach into his pocket and remove his change, he realized that he was carrying more than change. He was carrying his pocket knife. Now my friend really likes that knife, but he knew his clear duty was to tell the screener that he had it in his pocket. If he did that, however, the screener would take the knife, and my friend would never see it again.

What to do, what to do? If he tried to sneak the knife through security and got caught, he'd lose the knife and probably be put through a cavity search and all kinds of indignities. The knife isn't giant-sized, but it's sharp, and it can do a lot more damage to someone than, say, a box cutter. My friend considered this. He didn't want to be sent to Gitmo and waterboarded.

But he really likes that knife, so he decided to go for it. He dumped his change in the little bowl, put his jacket, shoes, and laptop in the plastic tray and headed for the metal detector.

And waltzed right through. Nary a peep. He and his knife were together as they boarded the plane and as they got off at their destination. When he got to the hotel, he put the knife in his shaving kit, which would be in the big bag that was checked through on the return trip. He didn't want to take any chances.

Don't you feel safer now that a billion-dollar government agency is protecting you? My friend's not so sure he does.

Captain Marvel

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Or Write a Book?

Mother, son in Corning arrested in bizarre case : zFeatured : Redding Record Searchlight: "CORNING — The daughter and grandson of an 84-year-old Tehama County woman who apparently died in December have been arrested on suspicion of cashing her retirement and Social Security checks after they allegedly cremated her body on a makeshift barbecue behind their Edith Avenue home.

'You could make a movie out of this,' Capt. Paul Hosler of the Tehama County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday."

The Comeback

Drive-in theaters still popular after 75 years - "The drive-in theater, that uniquely American institution which turned 75 this summer, is experiencing an unexpected renaissance. After decades of closures, about 100 drive-ins have opened or reopened since the mid-'90s."

Top Movie Songs of the '80s

You know what?  I agree with #1.  See them here.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Baylor Pays for SAT Gains :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education's Source for News, Views and Jobs: "Baylor University is being called “the poster child for SAT misuse” after the student newspaper revealed an unusual practice: paying admitted freshmen to retake the SAT and offering large financial rewards for those whose scores go up by certain levels."

Neal Hefti, R. I. P.

News from The Associated Press: "LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Neal Hefti, a Big Band trumpeter, arranger and composer of themes for the movie 'The Odd Couple' and the 'Batman' television series, has died. He was 85."


NBC developing 'Argonauts' remake --The Live Feed: "NBC has picked up a script that retells the Greek mythology tale “Jason and the Argonauts.”

NBC won a bidding war for the story by Josh and Jonas Pate (“Moonlight,” “Surface”). The project is considered development, sources say, but there’s a penalty should NBC pass.

“Argonauts” is best known as the 1963 film that featured the stop-motion animation work of Ray Harryhausen. If produced, NBC is considering shooting the entire project on green screen, likely hoping for something that’s more “300”-cool, or at least environmentally convincing, rather than “Attack of the Clones”-cheesy."

The World's Most Courteous Cities

And the least.

Captain America Update

Captain America Found in Marvel Movies: "The weekend after 'Iron Man' opened, people everywhere were buzzing about the secret scene after the end credits with Samuel L. Jackson in a cameo as Marvel Comics' Nick Fury. It was so successful, actually, that a subsequent scene Robert Downey Jr. filmed to go at the tail end of 'The Incredible Hulk' was moved up to the last scene in the film and featured in TV commercials.

But what escaped most viewers' notice were hints in both movies signaling the forthcoming appearance of another Marvel icon: Captain America. With 'Iron Man' out on DVD now, and 'The Incredible Hulk' hitting shelves next Tuesday, sharp-eyed fans can catch tiny glimpses of Cap if they know where to look."

Thanks to Doc Quatermaas for the link.

Stonehenge Update

Stonehenge 'was a cremation cemetry, not healing centre' - Telegraph: "Stonehenge was used as a cremation cemetry throughout its history, according to new evidence that divides archaeologists over whether England's most famous ancient monument was about celebrating life or death."

Captain America

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

No Wonder I'm So Brainy!

Internet Searching May Boost Brain - Yahoo! News: "For middle-aged and older adults, searching the Internet could be a boost to the brain, a new study suggests.

In recent years, several studies have showed a link between pursuing activities that keep the mind engaged, such as crossword puzzles and memory games, and a lowered risk of cognitive decline later in life."

Once Again, Texaas Leads the Way

Police use of Tasers restricted: "In the wake of a research group's recommendations on how police should use force here, [San Antonio] Police Chief William McManus has enacted two major changes to the Police Department's policy on the use of Tasers.

Officers now are prohibited from using the weapons against anyone “known to be under the influence of drugs,” and no more than one officer at a time should use a Taser against a person, according to the new policy.

The policy does not limit the number of times an officer can shock someone, although it requires that police stop using the weapon when someone is in custody."


Fashion or fetish? Sexy sheer pantyhose for men | Entertainment: "IF women are worried that their previously exclusive fashion domain is being invaded by men in manscara and man-bras, there’s another cause for concern.

'Mantyhose' are pantyhose for men, the latest in a string of men's fashion trends straight from the bizarre files. And everyone from truck drivers to cowboys are wearing them.

Self-confessed male hosiery-wearer Harisnya is so passionate about the issue he set up e-MANcipate, a website aiming to 'accelerate the acceptance of male pantyhose as a regular clothing item'.

Harisnya says the UK-based website is 'as serious as fashion can be'."

Holllywood Update: The Forever War

Ridley Scott to adapt Haldeman's Forever War - Boing Boing: "Fox 2000 has acquired rights to Joe Haldeman’s 1974 novel 'The Forever War,' and Ridley Scott is planning to make it into his first science fiction film since he delivered back-to-back classics with 'Blade Runner' and 'Alien.'

Scott intended to follow those films with 'The Forever War,' but rights complications delayed his plans for more than two decades."

Does Size Matter

Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine changed sizes this month. As you can see in the scan, the latest issue of EQMM is a little bit wider and a little bit taller. You can't see that it's a little bit thinner, but it is. I hope the new size will save the magazines some money, but what they could really use is subscribers. Lots of them. If you like short stories, give them a try.

Will the Persecution Never End?

The Top 10 Most Overrated Hot Girls - SPIKE: "One of the great things about the world we live in is that it’s filled with beautiful women. Of course there are some women who are hotter than others...and then there are those girls who are hot, but totally overrated."

Happy Birthday, E. E. Cummings!

E. E. Cummings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Edward Estlin Cummings (October 14, 1894 – September 3, 1962), popularly known as E. E. Cummings, was an American poet, painter, essayist, author, and playwright. His body of work encompasses more than 900 poems, several plays and essays, numerous drawings, sketches, and paintings, as well as two novels. He is remembered as a preeminent voice of 20th century poetry, as well as one of the most popular."

Somewhere, I hope, he's still singing of Olaf, glad and big, more brave than me, more blonde than you.

Remember that Lost Bag I Mentioned?

Well, it's lost no longer. I got a call this morning at 6:45 (!) to let me know it would be delivered to my doorstep today.

Big Bad Mama

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gator Update (Helping Hand Edition)

Gator victim gets new high-tech hand - People: Tales of survival - "“Getting a helping hand” took on a whole new meaning for Kasey Edwards Monday when he received a new, high-tech hand to replace the one he lost to a hungry alligator in June.

The high-tech prosthesis, covered with lifelike “skin” and able to rotate at the wrist, replaces one that was covered with a golf glove and had to be rotated manually."

I Hope my Books Get Here

TSA calls Newark screener a one-person crime wave - "As a screener at Newark Liberty International Airport, Pythias Brown was supposed to keep deadly objects off airplanes. But for the past year, authorities allege, Brown has been swiping electronic equipment from luggage of the passengers he was supposed to protect.

A laptop here, a cell phone there. Within months, he had snatched more than 100 items, authorities say."

Better Late than Never: The Anthony Awards


Best Novel: WHAT THE DEAD KNOW- Laura Lippman Morrow

Best First: IN THE WOODS- Tana French Viking Adult

Best Paperback Original: A THOUSAND BONES P.J. Parrish Pocket

Best Short Story: HARDLY KNEW HER Laura Lippman- from Dead Man’s Hand edited by Otto Penzler for Harcourt

Best Critical Work: ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: A LIFE IN LETTERS by Jon Lellenberg, Daniel Stashower & Charles Foley Penguin

Special Services: Ruth and Jon Jordan

Best Web Site: Stop You’re Killing Me: Stan Ulrich and Lucinda Surber

We're Back

We had a smooth trip back. No encounters with security, no delays, and we even landed early.


Remember when I said this morning that there'd be no problem with checking that bag of books because we were flying Southwest? Okay, that was true. There was no problem checking the books. However, there was a problem with the books arriving in Houston. They didn't. They were in the Bouchercon bag. A very distinctive bag, right? But it's gone, flying around the country as it seeks a home. Maybe it'll make it to Alvin. Who knows? Southwest doesn't, that's for sure.

Lawrence Block Bouchercon Video Tribute

Starring, of course, me.

'80s Teen Queens

Then and now.

Okay, We Have Three Cats, . . .

. . . and Judy gets non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.  Hardly seems fair.

Cats and dogs cut their owners' cancer risk by a third, researchers say
| Mail Online
: "Owning a pet can reduce the chances of developing a form of cancer by nearly a third, researchers claim.
Animal lovers were much less likely to develop non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system that affects around 9,000 Britons a year."


Wife accused of pouring boiling water on husband's groin - Top Stories - "A Bradenton woman told authorities Wednesday that her suspicion that her husband had an affair led her to pour boiling water on his groin, scalding the man.

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Hard Case Crime Update from Charles Ardai


We just put a new book up on our Web site ( PASSPORT TO PERIL by Robert B. Parker. This is not the same Robert B. Parker as the current author who writes the best-selling Spenser detective novels -- this Robert B. Parker died in 1955 after a short but accomplished career as a journalist during World War II and (it later turned out) as an agent on behalf of the OSS, the predecessor to the CIA. PASSPORT TO PERIL is a terrific thriller set in the shadowy streets of war-torn Budapest, as an American traveling on a stolen passport hunts for the secret of his brother's death. The cover is by Greg Manchess and the opening chapter (which takes place on the Orient Express!) will keep you riveted. You can find both now at our site.

Meanwhile, our printer just delivered advance copies of our first two 2009 titles: KILLING CASTRO by Hard Case Crime favorite Lawrence Block and THE DEAD MAN'S BROTHER by the late science-fiction great Roger Zelazny. (You can find the cover art and a sample chapter for each of these on our Web site, too.) And you have a chance to get your hands on one of these advance copies, since we're giving away 10 of each to lucky readers drawn at random. To enter the drawing, just send an e-mail to including your name, which of the two books you'd be more interested in receiving, and the address to which you'd like the book mailed if you're selected. All entries must be received by 5PM New York Time on October 25 (only one entry per person, please); we'll draw the names of the 20 winners that night and notify them within a day. Best of luck to all who enter.

Looking ahead, we have an exciting bit of news to share about another upcoming book: We recently learned of the existence of an unpublished novel by the great pulp writer Lester Dent (creator of classic pulp hero Doc Savage). It's called HONEY IN HIS MOUTH, it's a crime novel Dent originally wrote with the publisher Gold Medal in mind, it's one heck of a page-turner...and we'll be publishing it in 2009.

What's that? You want more? Well, no guarantees yet, but...I just got back from the annual "Bouchercon" mystery convention (where SONGS OF INNOCENCE won the Shamus Award, incidentally -- if you haven't read it yet, now you really have to!), and while we were standing on line for drinks atop the catacomb where Edgar Allan Poe is buried, Max Allan Collins and I fell to talking, and...let's just say we may not have seen the last of the hitman known as Quarry.

Which isn't the worst reason I can imagine to pick up our latest title, THE FIRST QUARRY, now available in a bookstore near you. And of course there are other reasons, too -- starting with the fact that you'll enjoy the heck out of it.

Finally, a reminder: We're just 6 weeks away from our big "50th anniversary" book, FIFTY-TO-ONE! Any fan of our books is going to want to get their hands on that one -- so if you haven't already asked your local bookseller to order or hold a copy for you, now's the time...

A Closer Look at the Poe Monument

Sledge Hammer

Heading Home

We're about to pack things up and head for Alvin.  I have a huge back full of free books, but since we're flying Southwest, I can just check it through.  If all goes well, we'll be safely home by around 3:00 CST.  We had fun, but I'll be glad to get back.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's Halftime

Not at Bouchercon but at some football game that's showing on the TV set in our room.  I don't watch a lot of football anymore, so this is the first halftime report I've seen (and heard) in a while.  Good grief.  I remember a couple of guys showing the big plays and reporting on what was happening.  Now we have three, four, or five guys (I couldn't tell) shouting, singing, and generally going nuts.  So this is what we've come to.  No wonder I don't watch much football anymore.

Edgar Allan Poe & Me

Posted by Picasa

Robert Martin Centennial

Robert Martin Centennial:  With the growing popularity of online, self-published and print-on-demand books, nearly anyone can become an author. Such was not the case in years past when publishing houses selected and produced books that would appeal to a wide segment of the general public.

Tiffin was home to Robert Lee Martin, a prolific writer of detective novels. Published by Dodd, Mead, some of the 22 books became national best sellers. Martin died in 1976, but his murder mysteries have retained their popularity among readers of that genre. Tiffin-Seneca Public Library is to honor the 100th birthday of Robert Lee Martin Oct. 16 with an open house, display and program.

An avid fan, Jim Felton of Tiffin, has done extensive research on Martin and has written a profile of the author for the Spring 2008 edition of the Columbian Alumni newsletter. Born in Chula, Va., Martin grew up in Tiffin with brothers Joseph and Marion and a sister, Shirley. Felton writes their father operated a grocery store on the north end of Tiffin. At Columbian High School, Robert played football, wrote for the Tiffinian and did cartoons and cover art for the student newspaper.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

CRIME Blog | The Dallas Morning News: "It was a bizarre scene Saturday outside the State Fair of Texas on its biggest day of the year.

Dozens, maybe even hundreds, of visitors to the fair, many from out of town who had come to see the big Texas-OU showdown, had their vehicles towed after parking in what they thought were legitimate parking areas.

They told reporter Stella Chavez and I that they each paid $10 to park in various lots outside the fairgrounds. And then they had to pay $200 to a local towing company, Lone Star Auto Services, to get their cars back."

Let the Celebration Begin!

The wonderful world of the toilet: "Toilets are the unsung heroes of sanitation in our homes, and have their month of recognition in October for National Toilet Tank Repair Month.

The month is dedicated to increase awareness of the amount of wasted water that results from a leaky toilet or other plumbing problems. A running toilet can waste nearly 200 gallons of water a day, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and causes homeowners' water bills to skyrocket."

Elvis is a Grandfather Again

Lisa Marie Presley gives birth to twin girls - "The 40-year-old singer gave birth Tuesday to twin girls by Caesarean section, according to a publicist.

The 'babies and mom are happy and healthy and resting at home,' according to a statement released Saturday."

Sherlock Holmes Update

Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes — FIRST PICTURES | Guy Ritchie, Robert Downey Jr : Just Jared: "Here are the very first pictures of Robert Downey Jr. filming Sherlock Holmes on Friday, currently filming in Central London.

When asked what he could bring to a character portrayed countless times on film and television, RDJ has joked: “Clearly I’m going to do it better than it’s ever been done. The more I read about it the more overwhelmed I was by the weight of it and the amount of people who will be watching to see if it’s gotten right.”"

Happy Birthday, Lester Dent!

"It's the birthday of Lester Dent, the American adventure and mystery novelist, born in La Plata, Missouri, in 1904. The Dents moved to a remote part of Wyoming when Lester was two years old. While he was a telegraph operator for the Associated Press, one of his co-workers published a story in a pulp magazine. Dent read it and thought that he could probably write a story that was at least as good, maybe even better. And since he had the graveyard shift, he started writing at work. His first story was accepted by a pulp magazine, so he and his family moved to New York, where he became a full-time writer of pulp fiction."

Gator Update (Ike Edition)

How did Gator Country manage to ride out Ike? |
News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News
| Texas and Neighbors | Travel | Dallas Morning News
: "BEAUMONT, Texas – Hurricane Ike drove thousands away from the Gulf Coast last month, but the co-owner of Gator Country Adventure Park & Restaurant, west of Beaumont, was thinking of another threat.

'During these bad times, we don't get to hightail and run,' Gary Saurage says. He and his staff stayed behind, dealing with wind and rain, to keep the park's reptilian residents corralled.

Gator Country is home to Big Al, the largest alligator in captivity in Texas. He's 13 feet long and weighs 1,000 pounds. How did Big Al and his longtime partner, Allie, fare during the storm?"

Atlanta Leads the Way

One in three recent Atlanta Police Academy graduates have criminal records | "Keovongsa Siharath was arrested in Henry County on charges he punched his stepfather.

Jeffrey Churchill was charged with assault in an altercation with a woman in a mall parking lot.

All three are now officers with the Atlanta Police Department.

More than one-third of recent Atlanta Police Academy graduates have been arrested or cited for a crime, according to a review of their job applications. The arrests ranged from minor offenses such as shoplifting to violent charges including assault. More than one-third of the officers had been rejected by other law enforcement agencies, and more than half of the recruits admitted using marijuana."