Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Birthday, Whisperin' Bill Anderson!

Bill Anderson (singer) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "James William (Bill) Anderson III (born November 1, 1937 in Columbia, South Carolina) is an American country music singer, songwriter, and television personality. In his career, he has released more than forty studio albums, and has reached Number One on the country charts seven times: 'Mama Sang a Song' (1962), 'Still' (1963), 'I Get the Fever' (1966), 'For Loving You' (with Jan Howard, 1967), 'My Life (Throw It Away If I Want To)' (1969), 'World of Make Believe' (1974), and 'Sometimes' (with Mary Lou Turner, 1974). Besides these, twenty-nine more of his singles have reached Top Ten.

One of the most successful songwriters in country music history, Bill Anderson was also a hugely popular singer in his own right, earning the nickname 'Whispering Bill' for his soft vocal style and occasional spoken narrations.[1] Artists who have recorded his material include Ray Price, Connie Smith, Kenny Chesney, and George Strait."

John Williams Tribute

Link via Scott Parker and SF Signal.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Halloween, High School Football Traditions Collide | NBC Dallas-Fort Worth: "Students dressed as Dracula, Batman and even Snow White were turned away at security checkpoints at high school football games Friday night.

Some North Texas school districts banned Halloween costumes at the football games."


Eureka! How Archimedes and his 2,000-year-old invention will help provide green energy | Mail Online: "A device invented more than 2,000 years ago by Archimedes has found a 21st century use - generating 'green' electricity.

A crumbling 99-year-old hydroelectric plant in the Yorkshire Dales will come out of retirement thanks to the Ancient Greek's genius.

Key to the English Heritage project is the adaptation of Archimedean screws to operate turbines."

Robinson Crusoe Update

BBC NEWS | UK | Scotland | Dig finds camp of 'real Crusoe': "Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of the campsite of a marooned sailor who is said to have inspired the fictional castaway Robinson Crusoe.

The findings, carried in the journal Post-Medieval Archaeology, follow digs on a Pacific island west of Chile."


Friday, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel, R. I. P.

Chicago icon Studs Terkel dies :: CHICAGO SUN-TIMES :: Metro & Tri-State: "Studs Terkel turned the voice of average Americans into a font of history.

The Pulitzer-Prize winning author, television pioneer, theatrical actor, long-time radio host, unrepentant leftie and friend of the little man, died peacefully at his home on the North Side of Chicago this afternoon.

He was 96."

Thanks to Todd Mason for the tip.

Uh-Oh "Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski, who also wrote Clint Eastwood's upcoming Changeling, is writing a long-in-the-works update of the SF classic Forbidden Planet for Warner Brothers, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Joel Silver is producing via Silver Pictures."

Top 10 Segments From 'The Simpsons' Treehouse Of Horror

Top 10 Segments From 'The Simpsons' Treehouse Of Horror - Starpulse Entertainment News Blog: "On November 2, FOX will air the newest installment of 'The Simpsons'' annual 'Treehouse of Horror' episode. With this beloved show in its 20th season, and 19 Halloween specials under its belt, we wanted to take a moment to remember some of the best Treehouse tales. It's scary how funny these segments are!"

Why Does Georgia Hate Texans?

Texan jailed after 2 ate from 1 plate | "The old two-for-one buffet trick backfired.

Dan Linscomb, 40, of Texas City, Texas, ate the buffet at the Iron Skillet restaurant in northwest Atlanta on Oct. 21. He admitted, an Atlanta police report said, that his girlfriend “ate a couple bites from his plate.”

When he was charged for two $7 buffet meals, Linscomb refused to pay for one of them. He said that “there were no signs in the restaurant that said someone could not have some food off your plate,” the report said."

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Haunted Libraries

Ghosts in the Library! (The Haunted Library Series is Back) | Britannica Blog: "Last year about this time (just in time for Halloween), George Eberhart of the American Library Association posted on this blog a list of libraries that are said to be haunted. Now the library ghosts are back, by popular demand."

Link via Neatorama.

Who Wrote the Original Frankenstein?

Who wrote the original Frankenstein? Lynda Pratt TLS: "The novel’s textual instability is explored in the impressive introduction to Charles Robinson’s new edition. His honourable aim is not to give us another text of the novel we know – or think we know – but to strip away nearly two centuries of revision and appropriation in order to return to what he describes as the “original” Frankenstein."

Very interesting review/article on the composition of the novel and Percy Shelley's contributions. Link via The Little Professor.

I Think They've Been Secretly Testing this on Me

Military Investigates Amnesia Beams | Danger Room from "A team of scientists from the United States and China announced last week that, for the first time, they had found a means of selectively and safely erasing memories in mice, using the signaling molecule αCaMKII. It's a big step forward, and one that will be of considerable interest to the military, which has devoted efforts to memory manipulation as a means of treating post-traumatic stress disorder. But some military research has moved in another direction entirely."

NPR Streams Bob Dylan's New Album

You can hear Tell Tale Signs for free. Click here.

Forgotten Books: PREACHER -- Ted Thackrey, Jr.

This is a book that has a lot going for it. You get a sermon, a mystery, poker games and lore, a hero who's a former priest, a corrupt small town in the American southwest, a noirish sensibility, and some darn good writing. So why's the book forgotten? Don't ask me. It's not even available from any of the usual sources on the Internet, though you can pick up copies of Thackrey's nonfiction titles like Gambling Secrets of Nick the Greek and the sequel to Preacher, King of Diamonds (though it's not cheap). If you happen to run across Preacher, it would be well worth your time to pick it up. After you read it, maybe you could sell it on eBay. I'm keeping my copy, though.

There's some very interesting stuff about Thackrey here.

Update: I should have looked more carefully. It's easily available, and it's cheap.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

100 Illustrated Horror Film Posters: Part 1

100 Illustrated Horror Film Posters: Part 1 // WellMedicated

Great stuff. Link via Neatorama.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

MyFox Dallas | GM: Don't Judge Restaurant because of 'Phlegmburgers': "A teary-eyed restaurant manager pleaded with the public on Wednesday to trust her establishment following the arrest of her cook for deliberately contaminating food with bodily fluids.

Andy's Landing general manager Tifanny Tappe said she had fired Jamie Perez after he was charged with soiling burgers with phlegm and saliva, and then wiping the buns on his buttocks before serving the food to Burnet police Chief Paul Nelson."

Bubba Nosferatu

Maybe it's a go, after all.

Archaeology Update

Archaeologists report finding oldest Hebrew text | Science | Reuters: "JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Archaeologists in Israel said on Thursday they had unearthed the oldest Hebrew text ever found, while excavating a fortress city overlooking a valley where the Bible says David slew Goliath."

Top 10 Bond Girls

Top 10 Bond girls - Times Online: "New Bond girl Olga Kurylenko certainly looks the part, but will she measure up to the beautiful, mysterious, dangerous women the British secret agent has encountered over the years? Here are our ten favourites."

But are they your favorites?

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

I'm not surprised in the least.

Poll finds 23% of Texans think Obama is Muslim | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "But the statewide survey of 550 registered voters has one very surprising finding: 23 percent of Texans are convinced that Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama is a Muslim."

Stan Lee Reads "The Raven"

Need I say more?  Click here.

Link via News from Me.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Mind reading part of his mystique: "For one, he's a police officer — a missing persons detective, serving and protecting the Alamo City for 12 years. Soon he'll start investigating crime scenes.

He has other interests, sure. And yes, they include deep space, Armageddon and mentalism. He performs the latter — a form of mind reading, a more rarified sort of magic — when he's not helping solve mysteries in the streets."

Who Ya Gonna Calll?

Haunted houses: Who ya gonna call? Try Suzanne& - Telegraph: "We all love a home with a family spirit. Balavil House, on the other hand, has two spirits - according to legend, they are of young housemaids who died there. The property in the Scottish Highlands featured as the home of Lord Kilwillie, the character played by Julian Fellowes in the BBC's Monarch of the Glen. But the spirits are not a fictional creation, according to the family who have lived in Balavil since 1993."

Talk about an October Surprise!

This is it!

66.6 Second Horror Movie Festival has quite a few horror movies condensed to 66.6 seconds, with narration so you won't miss any of the plot. Check 'em out.

Link via Pop Culture Junk Mail.

Vote Early and Often

AMC - Blogs - SciFi Scanner - John Scalzi - The Science Fiction B-Movie Hall of Fame: Cast Your Vote!: "America is getting ready to vote in a presidential election next Tuesday, but forget that -- I've got something far more important to life on earth as we know it today: A poll for your choices for the Science Fiction B-Movie Hall of Fame!"

What the World Has Been Waiting For

Jackson 5 Reuniting, Says Jermaine Jackson - ArtsBeat Blog - "The Jackson 5 will be getting back together not in a court of law, at an intervention or on the set of Jerry Springer, but in a series of concerts, Jermaine Jackson said, according to Agence France-Presse. At an event for Australia’s Multi Channel Network in Sydney, Mr. Jackson, the third-oldest sibling, said that the legendary R&B family would reunite next year for a world tour that would include his superstar brother, Michael, as well as younger sister Janet."

Monster from Green Hell

Crocs Update: Crocs in Space!

Read all about it.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Silverberg on Leinster

One of the big-name SF writers in my formative years was Murray Leinster. Hardly anybody reads him today, which is a shame. Robert Silverberg has a nice commentary on him and one of his works in the latest issue of Asimov's.

You can read my earlier blog comments on Leinster here and here.

MST3K Update

Mystery Science Theater Celebrates 20 Movie-Mocking Years With New DVD Set | The Underwire from "Mystery Science Theater 3000 is 20 years old, and Shout Factory is celebrating the birth of television's favorite cow-town puppet show with a four-DVD set.

The new collection, released Tuesday, includes four fan-favorite episodes, plus essential extras that track the show's rise from local Minnesota TV show to international cult classic."

Caiman Update (West Texas Edition)

CBS 7 - Your Eye on West Texas: "Big spring animal control officers have a big problem in their hands after a local man told them he couldn’t find his 4-foot caiman."

Science Fiction Advice for Voters

Political Science (fiction): 6 Science Fiction Classics To Help You Choose The Next President: "We asked six political pundits, including Andrew Sullivan and DailyKos' Markos Moulitsas, to pick one piece of science fiction that you must read or watch before stepping into the voting booth next month."

Click the link to see the choices.

Year of the Yahoo

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Paging Stewart Granger and Deborah Kerr

Lab Notes : Found? King Solomon's Mines: "King Solomon, who assumed the throne of the kingdom of Israel after the death of his father King David, was renowned for his great wealth no less than for his great wisdom. But as always with the Bible, scholars have a field day arguing over the account’s historical accuracy. On one count, at least—the story of King Solomon’s mines—archaeologists think they have evidence that the story was more than a legend."

Headline of the Day > Entertainment > Paul McCartney deported over flaming condoms

Galveston Update

Martha Wells has the skinny. Looks like FEMA's doing a hellvua job. Again.

I Am Spartacus

Sam Raimi Leads 'Spartacus' Revolt on Starz - A 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' vet will serve as showrunner - Zap2it: "Continuing its aggressive push into scripted programming, Starz has enlisted Sam Raimi to bring 'Spartacus' to the small screen."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Dallas Breaks World Record With Big Beach Ball |
NBC Dallas-Fort Worth
: "Everything's bigger in Texas and that goes for a beach ball that was dropped on Elm Street and bounced around downtown Dallas on Sunday.

It was all part of Carnival Cruise Lines' attempt to break a record for the world's largest beach ball.

According to Guiness the ball needed to be at least 10 meters in diameter and had to be made of real beach ball material."

London, 1605

It's dirty and lawless. The food's terrible - London circa 1605 - Times Online: "They are the kind of observations that have occurred to thousands of visitors to London as they dash off a few words to the folks back home: London is a city of soaring costs, endless rain, poor food and weekend rowdiness.

Yet Luisa de Carvajal's description of life in the capital has come to light more than 400 years after she jotted down her thoughts for friends and relatives in Spain and Flanders."

Tarzan and the Lost Safari

Monday, October 27, 2008

Elaine Flinn, R. I. P.


Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

News 8 Austin | 24 Hour Local News | LOCAL NEWS | Thrill the World dance-off keeps Austin weird: "Austin can add another reason its motto is a perfect fit.

As part of the international Thrill the World movement, more than 800 people kept Austin weird at the Long Center Saturday.

Some dressed as the dead, and everyone danced along to Michael Jackson's hit song, hoping to be a part of a new Guinness World Record.

The movement was an attempt to set a record for the most people performing the dance across the world.

According to the Thrill the World, Austin Web site, Austin now owns the world record as the single largest synchronized Thriller dance group."

Cheeta Update

Nice photo of the retiree at the link.

Cheeta: Tarzan's pal today | 1 | Photo Showcase | Movies | 2008 Photo Showcase | Entertainment Weekly: "His retirement has been a fairly quiet one. There have been no appearances on Hollywood Squares. No celebrity golf tournaments. No commercials for fiber laxatives. No runs for political office. For the past four decades, Cheeta, the once-venerated chimpanzee sidekick from MGM's classic Tarzan movies of the 1930s and '40s, has enjoyed a sedate, mostly anonymous existence far from the public eye."

Croc Update (Justice is Served Edition)

Taipei Times - archives: "A giant crocodile believed to have eaten an Australian holidaymaker will spend the rest of its life on a farm, breeding more crocodiles.

Human remains, thought to be those of Arthur Booker, have been discovered in the stomach of a 4.5m crocodile captured in north Queensland. Booker, 62, disappeared last month while holidaying with his wife in the area.

Because of the reptile’s size it is a protected animal that cannot be killed.

It can also not be released and under Queensland state law it cannot be displayed in a zoo, so a breeding program was the only alternative."

Tony Hillerman, R. I. P.

Sad news to begin the week. I read Hillerman's first book when it came out in paperback in 1970 or so, and I've been reading him ever since. One of my favorites was a nonseries book, The Fly on the Wall.

The Associated Press: Acclaimed author Tony Hillerman dies at 83: "PHOENIX (AP) — Tony Hillerman, author of the acclaimed Navajo Tribal Police mystery novels and creator of two of the unlikeliest of literary heroes — Navajo police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee — died Sunday of pulmonary failure. He was 83.

Hillerman's daughter, Anne Hillerman, said her father's health had been declining in the last couple years and that he was at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque when he died at about 3 p.m.

Hillerman lived through two heart attacks and surgeries for prostate and bladder cancer. He kept tapping at his keyboard even as his eyes began to dim, as his hearing faded, as rheumatoid arthritis turned his hands into claws.

'I'm getting old,' he declared in 2002, 'but I still like to write.'"

The Great James Bond Quiz

James Bond: how much do you know about Bond? - Telegraph: "From the girl in gold to the painting stolen by Dr No - how much do you know about the Bond films? Find out in the Great Bond Quiz..."

Tarzan and His Mate

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Shakespeare Update

Shakespeare ‘thief’: I want my �15m first folio back | Mail Online: "A man arrested and bailed by police over the theft of a 400-year-old Shakespeare
book worth �15million is mounting a legal challenge to have it returned to him.

The first folio edition of the Bard’s works was stolen ten years ago from Durham University library.

Experts feared it had vanished for ever until the arrest of eccentric, Ferrari-driving playboy Ray Scott, who lives with his mother in a small house in Washington, Tyne and Wear."

Which One Would You Choose?

You can vote at the link.

In photos: Ficitonal presidents. Would you vote for any of these movie presidents? -- South Florida "It's election time and that got us thinking about some great fictional presidents that may do a better job in the Oval Office."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Even in Wisconsin. Those of you who follow Sheriff Rhodes know that he's been dealing with those pesky feral hogs since the very first book in the series, way back in 1986.

Feral pig trial resumes: Texas man accused of releasing hogs in Crawford County : La Crosse Tribune: "PRAIRIE DU CHIEN � A trial resumes today in Crawford County for a Texas man accused of releasing 31 feral pigs in 2002 on land near the Kickapoo River, establishing an infestation that continues to destroy crop lands.

In the first case of its kind in Wisconsin, Robert Scott Johnson, 55, who ran the Hard Rock Elk Farm near Gays Mills, Wis., is charged with illegally importing and stocking wild animals without a permit.
The case is based largely on the testimony of witnesses from Texas, a cast of characters with names like Bubba, Sparky and Spider."

5 Indispensable Halloween TV Specials

You can guess #1. But what about the others?

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Supervisor faked Houston breathalyzer records | Houston | Texas News | Texas Cable News | | News for Texas: "HOUSTON -- Hundreds of alcohol breath tests at eight Houston-area police departments may have been compromised because the breath test devices weren’t properly inspected, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday.

An independent contractor or technical supervisor was supposed to check each instrument’s calibrations, but a DPS audit found that electronic records had been altered to make it look like breath analyzers were inspected when they weren’t."

Gator Update (West Texas Edition)

Nature Center home to oprhaned alligator : Local : "An alligator in San Angelo? Cody's story seems too good to be true, but it is.

A rancher in Grape Creek was out checking his property and stumbled across a baby American alligator, which he named Cody. The rancher, who asked that his name not be used, donated the 6-month-old, 18-inch reptile to the San Angelo Nature Center, his new home away from home."

Tarzan Finds a Son