Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Story at Beat to a Pulp

Click here for another good one.

Westlake Tributes

The first round of The Rap Sheet's series of tributes to Donald E. Weslake is up.  Click here.

Charles Ardai at Murder by the Book

This afternoon Judy and I drove over to Houston to hear Charles Ardai's talk at Murder by the Book. It turns out that Charles is a great storyteller when he's talking as well as when he's writing. He gave a brief but highly entertaining history of Hard Case Crime and went into some detail about the great artwork on the covers, all illustrated with the aid of Power Point. We learned about the Gabriel Hunt series and got a few hints about future Hard Case titles and covers, too. A great time was had by all.

In the photo Charles shows off two neckties that were given as doorprizes (I didn't win one). They're decorated with partials of the Gabriel Hunt covers.
At the left, blogger Scott D. Parker gives me the evil eye as he talks to Charles.

And Keep off his Lawn!

NYC eatery grants freedom to lobster centenarian - Yahoo! News: "NEW YORK – A 140-year-old lobster once destined for a dinner plate received the gift of life Friday from a Park Avenue seafood restaurant.

George, the 20-pound supercentenarian crustacean, was freed by City Crab and Seafood in New York City.

'We applaud the folks at City Crab and Seafood for their compassionate decision to allow this noble old-timer to live out his days in freedom and peace,' said Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals."

Thanks to Jeff Segal.

Croc Update (Cure-All Edition)

Weekend Post: News: "PORT Elizabeth entrepreneur John Sweet is no snake-oil salesman and he says his home-made, natural-remedy balm comprising mostly oil from the fat of another slithery reptile, the crocodile, is proof.

For John and his wife Julie, who moved to Schoenmakerskop from the UK in 1995, the popularity of their product - appropriately called Repcillin - which they started off testing on friends three years ago, is mind-blowing.

Fast becoming a world-wide hit sold in stores ranging from pharmacies to US beauty salons and Scandinavian corner shops, Dr Croc products are in hot demand, despite being derived from a rather unusual source."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Construction workers busted with 600 pounds of pot | AP Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "McALLEN, Texas — Three construction workers for the company building part of the border fence and an international trade bridge to Mexico remained in a South Texas jail Friday after they were caught with nearly 600 pounds of marijuana.

Alberto Montiel, Ruben Vela and Rolando Flores, all of eastern Hidalgo County, were arrested Wednesday at a Burger King not far from the Rio Grande, said Mission Police Sgt. Jody Tittle."

Exciting Paris Hilton Update!

OK! Magazine: First For Celebrity News :: Celebrity News :: Paris: I can still be a pop star: "Paris - who reached No.5 in the UK charts with her debut single Stars Are Blind - is determined to push ahead with her musical career, even though her album flopped.

'I’ve been working on my singing and I have another album coming out soon with songs I wrote like Jailhouse Baby, which is about my time behind bars,' she added."

Jon Hager, R. I. P.

News from The Associated Press: "NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Jon Hager, who performed in the musical comedy duo The Hager Twins on 'Hee-Haw,' has died. He was 67.

Sam Lovullo, who produced 'Hee-Haw' and was a friend of Hager's, said Hager was found dead in his apartment in Nashville Friday morning. He was found in bed and apparently died in his sleep.

Lovullo said Hager had been in poor health and was depressed since his identical twin brother, Jim Hager, died in May 2008."

The Good Thief -- Hannah Tinti

Ren is an orphan with only his name and a missing hand to provide clues to his identity. At age 12, living in a grim orphanage in mid-19th century New England, he seems unlikely to be adopted. But one day Benjamin Nab shows up to claim that Ren is his brother. Nab spins a wild tale of how Ren lost his hand and takes him away.

Nab, we quickly learn is a liar and a thief. He sees in Ren a "gold mine" for a guy like himself and his partner, Tom, and they quickly find many uses for the boy without only one hand.

In the town of North Umbrage, with its towering mousetrap factory, Ren acquires a sort of surrogate family. Besides Nab and Tom there are a landlady who always shouts because of her deafness, a dwarf who lives on a rooftop, four mousetrap girls who work in the factory, and a humongous professional killer.

Things go bad when Nab, Ren, and Tom get into the resurrectionist business, and there are some gruesome and violent episodes. In about the last quarter of the book, Tinti begins to tie things together, and by the end all is resolved, though I wouldn't say happily.

Tinti owes debts to Dickens and Stevenson, but she has her own way with the grim and the grotesque. The Good Thief might not be for everybody, since Tinti goes overboard at times, but it's fine entertainment if you're in the right mood. Check it out.

At the Earth's Core(s)

Did Earth's Twin Cores Spark Plate Tectonics? : Discovery News: "Jan. 6, 2009 -- It's a classic image from every youngster's science textbook: a cutaway image of Earth's interior. The brown crust is paper-thin; the warm mantle orange, the seething liquid of the outer core yellow, and at the center the core, a ball of solid, red-hot iron.

Now a new theory aims to rewrite it all by proposing the seemingly impossible: Earth has not one but two inner cores."

Werewolves on Wheels

Friday, January 09, 2009

Tooth Fu Panda

Panda bites third tourist in 2 years at China zoo: "BEIJING (AP) - A panda at the Beijing zoo bit his third tourist in two years—and this time, his jaws had to forced open to free the man, who jumped in to retrieve his son's toy.

Gu Gu, a 240-pound (110-kilogram) panda, mauled the man's legs and refused to let go until zookeepers pried his jaws open with tools, said a zoo spokeswoman surnamed Gong. She would not give her full name, as is common among Chinese officials."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Crash Flagg, R. I. P.

I learned about this from Ivan's comment on another passing. Ivan's tribute is here.

Ray Dennis Steckler - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Ray Dennis Steckler (January 25, 1938 - January 7, 2009),[1] [2] widely known by the pseudonym Cash Flagg, was a American film director, born in Reading, Pennsylvania.

He served briefly during the late 1950s in the Army, then began working with cinematography in the Los Angeles area. He directed Wild Guitar and appeared under his onscreen name Cash Flagg. In 1963 he produced The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies!!?, which was later lampooned in 1997 on Mystery Science Theater 3000. His wife Carolyn Brandt appeared in the film.

He continued to produce a number of low-budget films which soon attained cult status, including Rat Pfink a Boo Boo (a spoof of Batman) and Lemon Grove Kids Meet the Monsters (an homage to The East Side Kids films). He also directed the video for Jefferson Airplane's 'White Rabbit.' In his 1969 film Body Fever, Steckler created a bit part for destitute fellow director Coleman Francis, who, by coincidence, also achieved belated fame via Mystery Science Theater 3000."

Exotic Dancer Didn't Report $80,000 in Tips?

Rick's Cabaret exotic dancer didn't report $80,000 in tips, charges say: "A former exotic dancer who allegedly made about $80,000 in tips during one year is now facing multiple felony charges for failing to report the money as income.
[. . . .]
Antes worked as an exotic dancer and waitress at Rick's Cabaret in Minneapolis between 2004 and 2006. A tipster called the Department of Revenue to report that Antes had made around $80,000 per year in tips that she didn't report."

Let's see . . . who do I know who lives in Minneapolis and is a big tipper?

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Go around the world without leaving Texas | Travel Texas | - Houston Chronicle: "The mysteries of Stonehenge, the literary legacy of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the ostentatiousness of the Eiffel Tower draw throngs of tourists from around the world.

Yet Texans willing to forgo travel and authenticity don’t even need to cross the state line to enjoy lesser-known replicas of these landmarks that — for whatever reason — are within driving distance.

In addition to Stonehenge II in Hunt, the Paris (Texas) Eiffel Tower and the Globe of the Great Southwest in Odessa, there is a faux Forbidden City in Katy and even a second Alamo outside Brackettville. None may anchor a vacation, but there’s enough around them to piece together a fun time."

Cheryl Holdridge dies at 64; popular Mouseketeer - Los Angeles Times

Cheryl Holdridge dies at 64; popular Mouseketeer - Los Angeles Times: "After 'The Mickey Mouse Club,' the actress played Julie Foster on 'Leave it to Beaver' and appeared on 'The Rifleman,' 'Bachelor Father,' 'My Three Sons,' 'Bewitched' and 'The Dick Van Dyke Show.'

Cheryl Holdridge, the beautiful blond actress who first gained fame as a Mouseketeer on TV's 'The Mickey Mouse Club' in the 1950s, has died. She was 64.

Holdridge died Tuesday at her home in Santa Monica after a two-year battle with lung cancer, said Doreen Tracey, another former Mouseketeer."

This Can't be Good

We're outliving our eyeballs, says study | Mail Online: "While we may now be enjoying longer lives, we are outliving our eyeballs, say Australian researchers.

The outcome is that people who have added many more years to their lives than their ancestors enjoyed will suffer from deteriorating night vision and even blindness."

Forgotten Books: THE BRASS CUPCAKE -- John D. MacDonald

Is John D. MacDonald out of print? I can't imagine that. A guy who sold millions of books, who wrote two or three a year for a long time, who never had to go out on tour because people discovered his books for themselves and eagerly waited for each new one? Out of print? Say it ain't so.

Even it it ain't so, however, I'd bet that the only books in print are from the Travis McGee series, which means that dozens of titles are on the way to being forgotten. And that's too bad.

Sure MacDonald was, as people like to say, "of his time." Sure he occasionally gets a little preachy. Who cares? The guy could flat-out tell a story. After all, he sold millions of books in the '50s without reviews and without hype. Most of the books were sold to blue-collar guys who probably didn't even think of themselves as readers.

The Brass Cupcake is still one of my favorites among MacDonald's many standalones. Look at that blurb above the title: "A hard-boiled ex-cop. A hard-boiled dame. A hard-boiled murder." Tell me you don't want to read this book.

The cupcake of the title, in case you're wondering, is the ex-cop's badge. That's all I have to say. Find it and read it if you want to know more. I'll always be a MacDonald fan.

The Beast Must Die

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Review

DaRK PaRTY ReVIEW has published a review (natch) of the very first Sheriff Dan Rhodes book. That's the one with the feral pigs. Oh, wait. All of them have feral pigs.

Yet Pushing Daisies was Canceled

ABC orders celebrity-themed 'Superstars' revival for summer - Reality TV World - News, information, episode summaries, message boards, chat and games for unscripted television programs: "ABC has announced it has ordered a celebrity-themed revival of Superstars, an all-around sports competition that featured famous athletes competing in different sporting events to determine the best athlete in the world.

ABC's revival of the series will pair eight celebrities with a professional athlete before the teams compete against each other in various sporting events including swimming, biking, running, kayaking and other head-to-head athletic challenges."

This Would Never Happen if Sheriff Rhodes were in Charge

Ala. sheriff locked up over measly jail meals - Yahoo! News: "BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A northern Alabama sheriff was in federal custody Thursday after a judge ruled he purposely fed inmates skimpy meals so he could make money from an unusual system that lets sheriffs turn a profit on their jail kitchens.

Morgan County Sheriff Greg Bartlett testified at a Wednesday court hearing that he made $212,000 over three years by cheaply feeding prisoners — every cent of it legal under a Depression-era state law and reported on his tax forms as income."

Demon -- Tosca Lee

Longtime readers of the blog will realize that Demon isn't the kind of book I usually review here. There's a story about that, of course. During the Thanksgiving holiday, the family ate at the House of Blues in Houston and visited a new downtown mall nearby. There's a huge Books-a-Million in the mall, and somehow I wound up there. When I saw Tosca Lee, the author of Demon, at a signing table. I drifted over. I've sat at plenty of those tables, and I always try to support any author I see at one when I'm in a store. So that's how I came to buy a copy of the book.

The book's subtitle is "A Memoir," and that's what it is. Lucian, a demon, tells his story to a man named Clay, who's an editor at a Boston publishing house. In the process of hearing the tale, Clay realizes that Lucian' s story is in some way Clay's story, too.

Lucian's story doesn't come all at once. It's intertwined with the story Clay's own life, which isn't going so well. His wife has left him, his work is suffering, and he hasn't been able to write that novel he's always wanted to get published. It's an interesting story, but it doesn't seem at first to compare to Lucian's which is the story of the fall, of Eden, of creation, of the coming of Jesus, his death and his resurrection. Sure, that's a story you may have heard before, but not from the point of view of a demon. It's a unique perspective.

Lee's lucid style pulled me into the book from the very beginning, and then I got interested in Clay's problems as well as the theology. It's all handled very well, and it's surprisingly suspenseful. Demon isn't some uplifting spiritual tract. It's a good story, well told. Check it out.

New Issue of Thrilling Detective Now On-Line

The Thrilling Detective Web Site

Some fine stories, as always. Check it out.

Happy Birthday, Elvis!

Elvis Presley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Elvis Aaron Presley[1][3] (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977; middle name sometimes written Aron)a was an American singer, actor and musician. A cultural icon, he is commonly known simply as 'Elvis', and is also sometimes referred to as 'The King of Rock 'n' Roll' or 'The King'."

The Polaroid Camera is Back

News from The Associated Press: "That's right: Polaroid was set to announce Thursday at the International Consumer Electronics Show that it is introducing a digital camera that produces prints right on the spot. You can even call them 'instant' prints, but they take nearly a minute to appear, so they're only as 'instant' as the old film prints."

Hard Stop -- Chris Knopf

A while back I reported on Chris Knopf's Head Wounds. You should read that review, if you haven't already, because it'll give you the background on Sam Aquillo, the narrator of Hard Stop, and I won't have to repeat it here.

In this book, Sam gets a visit from his past in a dandy opening action scene. He finds out that he can't quite escape old life, and with big bucks in the offing, he takes on a job for his ex-employer. What he turns up is high-level chicanery and, of course, murder. Not necessarily in that order.

Sam's a tough guy, which is a good thing, since he takes a bit of punishment. He can dish it out, too, and when he gets on a case, he doesn't let up. His friends from the previous book, including his dog, Eddie, are all here, and a couple of enemies, too. Sam's not as depressed as he's been because things are going pretty well for him. He's still hitting the booze pretty heavily, but it's under control. Before the story's all over, Sam finds out the real reason he lost is former job. He doesn't get the big bucks, but he does get a measure of satisfaction.

Good writing, some humor, a complex mystery. If you haven't met Sam Aquillo yet, this would be a good book to begin with. Or go back and read the others first and catch up. You'll have a good time.

Will The Persecution Never End?

Tom Cruise, Reese Witherspoon On Razzie Ballots | NBC Philadelphia: "It’s awards season and the ballots are out – for the Razzie Awards, the annual ceremony awarding the worst films and performances of the year. The nominee long lists for the 29th Annual Razzie Awards were released on Wednesday, and include such stars as Tom Cruise (“Valkyrie”), Mark Wahlberg and Keanu Reeves in the Worst Actor category and movies such as “Speed Racer,” “High School Musical 3” and Paris Hilton’s “The Hottie & The Nottie” for Worst Picture. Paris is up for Worst Actress, as are Reese Witherspoon, Jessica Alba and Diane Keaton."

An American Werewolf in Paris

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Steel Crocodile (The Real One, not the Book by D. G. Compton)

VIDEO: Bob snaps upan opportunity to build giant crocodile - Midhurst and Petworth Today: "This is the latest jaw-dropping creation from Barnham blacksmith and sculptor Bob Fuller.
Bob has been working on the 30ft steel crocodile for the last six months and the project is now nearing the completion.

This beast of a work of art weighs around two tonnes and will soon be appearing at Avisford Park Golf Club where several of Bob's previous sculptures reside."

A Great Baseball Card Story

Surprise Find: A 139-Year-Old Baseball Card -- "FRESNO, Calif. - Bernice Gallego sat down one day this summer, as she does pretty much every day, and began listing items on eBay.

She dug into a box and pulled out a baseball card. She stopped for a moment and admired the picture. 'Red Stocking B.B. Club of Cincinnati,' the card said, under a sepia tone photo of 10 men with their socks pulled up to their knees. The card itself was dirty and wrinkled in a few places.

It was definitely old, Gallego thought. As a collector and seller, it's her job to spot old items that might have value today, to find the gems among the junk."

Habitat for Travis

Travis Erwin is a Texas writer. Like James Reasoner last year, Travis has lost his home to fire. If you'd like to help out, click the link.

Habitat for Travis: "On the morning of January 4th Travis Erwin's house burned down. Erica Orloff and friends have launched an effort to help him build a new one.

Travis takes life incrementally (one word, one rung, one day at a time), so that's the way we're going to do it: one brick at a time.

The price of each brick in Travis's new house is $25, and you can buy as many as you like. If you buy enough to complete an entire room, we're pretty sure Travis will let you sleep in it."

No More Fairy Tales!

Traditional fairytales 'not PC enough' for parents - Telegraph: "A third of parents refused to read Little Red Riding Hood because she walks through woods alone and finds her grandmother eaten by a wolf.

One in 10 said Snow White should be re-named because 'the dwarf reference is not PC'.

Rapunzel was considered 'too dark' and Cinderella has been dumped amid fears she is treated like a slave and forced to do all the housework."

Morris Dancing Update

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Arts & Culture | Morris dancing 'extinction' fear: "Morris dancing could be 'extinct' within 20 years because young people are too embarrassed to take part, a UK Morris association has warned.

The number of people taking part in the English folk dance is falling while the average age of the dancers is going up."

I Knew This all Along

Paris Hilton: 'I've Only Slept With A Couple Of People' - Starpulse Entertainment News Blog: "Paris Hilton has only slept with 'a couple of people' - because she respects herself too much.

The Simple Life star has had high profile relationships with former Backstreet Boys star Nick Carter and Good Charlotte guitarist Benji Madden, but is currently single after splitting from the rocker in November. And Hilton insists she just kisses the majority of her suitors, and plays 'hard to get' to ensure men are serious about dating her."

An American Werewolf in London

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

In Case You Care

Save Pushing Daisies! The official website of the campaign to save the ABC show, "Pushing Daisies"

And Yet PUSHING DAISIES was Canceled

The Media Equation - A Star Turn for a Sheriff on Reality TV - "With his reputation for being tough on crime and his way with a good quote, Joseph M. Arpaio, the sheriff and jailer of Maricopa County in Arizona would seem to be a reality show waiting to happen.

The wait is over. In the last two weeks, the Fox Reality Channel has broadcast “Smile ...You’re Under Arrest,” a prank-fueled effort to bring nonviolent offenders with outstanding warrants in or near Phoenix to justice.

Television producers, with Mr. Arpaio’s enthusiastic assent, sent out notices to scofflaws suggesting that they had won a contest and need only show up to claim a $300 prize. Once there, they are hoodwinked into participating in fake fashion shows or movie shoots before uniformed deputies come out from behind the curtain and slap bracelets on them."

Hat tip to Vince Keenan.

And Yet PUSHING DAISIES was Canceled

A&E reality show has cops chasing ghosts--The Live Feed: "Who you gonna call? How about 911?

A&E is seeking to one-up Sci Fi's 'Ghost Hunters' with a new series that blends paranormal investigation with law enforcement.

The network has greenlit a new unscripted series called 'Paranormal Cops,' about a group of Chicago police officers who moonlight as ghost chasers in their spare time.

Given the team's law enforcement credentials, the format seeks to add a new layer of credibility to an increasingly popular reality TV genre which has featured ghost hunting teams founded by professional plumbers, college students and academics."

And Yet Pushing Daisies Has Been Canceled “Homeland Security USA,” an ABC reality series about the men and women who police our borders, has the look and sound of a documentary without the pesky burden of responsibility — it’s homage, not reportage. And that’s not a surprise, given that the executive producer, Arnold Shapiro, the creator of “Rescue 911” and “Big Brother,” is also the mastermind behind “Blow Out,” a reality series about Beverly Hills hairdressing.

Viewers long ago became inured to the blurring of news and entertainment. Shows like “Cops,” on Fox, which follows real-life deputies and police officers as they raid crack dens, break up domestic disputes and chase speeding cars, have proven appeal. Yet there is something more than usually troubling about a network series that purports to cover the full canvas of homeland security and that is made with the assistance — and censorship (they call it “prescreening”) — of the Department of Homeland Security. The result is an exclusive, inside look at a recruitment video.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Keep off her Lawn!

Seventy-year-old woman holds home intruder at gunpoint, talks about ordeal: "It's not uncommon to hear stories of people defending their homes and themselves from intruders-- but when it's a 70-year-old woman, that story is a bit more uncommon.

It's exactly what happened in St. Joseph County on Sunday night, after an intruder broke into an elderly woman's home on Portage Road.

The woman held the man at gunpoint until police arrived. That man is 28-year-old Cyrus Brown. Brown is being held in jail on a number of charges, including burglary and intimidation."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The new year brings a new format to Houston radio. Beginning Monday, January 5, 2009, “Classic Cool” will reunite Houston listeners with the Rat Pack, Harry Connick Jr., Diana Krall, Michael Buble, and Norah Jones. Hosts Ronnie Renfrow and Tom Richards will join listeners for the drive home beginning at 4pm, Monday through Friday.

Longtime Houston radio personality Ronnie Renfrow and his Classic Cool team have created a format that is unique not only to Houston, but to the national radio scene as well.

“This is by far the biggest programming void in radio. The artists of Classic Cool are selling millions of CD’s annually, but listeners have had nowhere to go on the dial – until now,” Renfrow said.

“This is definitely not a nostalgia format,” Renfrow stressed. “Classic Cool is far removed from that approach in that we will feature new music from contemporary artists who are all over the Billboard charts.”

Classic Cool will present a blend of singers, classic jazz, Latin, and blues. Stars of the show include Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Connick Jr., Gloria Estefan, Tony Bennett, Diana Krall, and B.B. King, to name just a few.

The format’s web site – - is the first of its kind, exploring music both new and vintage. Visitors to the site can register to win rare and valuable prizes, including musical collectibles. Listeners will also be able to participate in online exchanges with the hosts, who are experts on the artists and the music. Additionally, the web site will be a resource for information on live music performances in Houston.

Hat tip to Mike McGruff.


Sigourney says 'Ghostbusters' sequel is on | Pop Machine - Entertainment with all the fizz: "BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.—Sigourney Weaver is usually so busy being peppered with questions about another 'Alien' sequel (her answer: it might happen) that she rarely has to address the other lucrative franchise with which she has been associated.

So, Sigourney, any word on that proposed 'Ghostbusters' sequel?

'I hear it's a real thing,' she said while promoting her new, animated 'The Tale of Despereaux.' 'I hear that Bill's [Murray] going to do it.'"


This was a terrific little movie. Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer are a couple of Americans in China on a mission trip for their church. Because Harrelson's a train buff, they take the Transsiberian Express from Bejing to Moscow. Along the way they meet another couple, a young American woman and her older Spanish companion. There's something a little odd about them, and it turns out the Mortimer isn't exactly what she'd seemed to be. Complications ensue. Boy, do they ever. I had no idea where this movie was going, and it filled me with a sense of dread and anxiety in a way that no movie's done for years. The cast is great right down the line, and that certainly includes Ben Kingsley as a Russian cop. The less said about the plot, the better. You should let the movie spring its own surprises. The suspense builds slowly at first, but soon enough the plot takes off like a runaway train. Check it out.

Detroit Leads the Way

University aims to save 'good words' - "DETROIT, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A Detroit university has created a Web site aimed at keeping 'good' but rarely used words in the public lexicon, officials said.

Wayne State University's 'Word Warriors' Web site, which can be seen at, states its goal as to 'bring good words back from oblivion,' The Detroit News reported Monday.

The Web site lists 'mercurial,' a synonym of fickle; 'sycophant,' another word for a suck-up; and 'charlatan,' a term for an imposter, among its initial group of words that need saving."

The Hag Goes Straight

Merle Haggard Ready to Kick the Habit - The Boot: "Merle Haggard, who criticized pot-smokers in his 1969 hit 'Okie From Muskogee,' is now coming clean with his own battle with marijuana. What began as a doctor-suggested alternative to Valium turned into an addiction that the 71-year-old country legend has tried to quit in the past. But now, after his recent bout with lung cancer that included surgery to remove part of his lung, the Hag is ready to kick the habit for good."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

A Forgotten Book

Steve Lewis has posted my 1001 Midnights review of One for my Dame over on Mystery*File. The novel is by Jack Webb (not the Dragnet Jack Webb), a writer who deserves to be better remembered.

Teen Wolf Too

Monday, January 05, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Former Newspaper Rivals Cooperate As Jobs Are Cut: "(January 05, 2009)—Just over a decade ago, rival newspapers on either side of Arlington fought fiercely for every reader in the fast-growing Metroplex.

The Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram spent millions of dollars to expand their staffs and cover the smallest meetings and sporting events.

Twelve years later, it might come as a surprise that the two North Texas rivals started sharing photos and concert reviews in November."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Man will throw Lexus in with home sale - "HOUSTON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- A man desperate to sell a luxury home in Houston in the current down U.S. real estate market is offering to throw in a Lexus to make a sale, a broker says.

Broker Pam Harris said upon hearing that Barry Reynolds had offered to add a new car to any finalized sale of his 5,500-square-foot home, she was immediately intrigued, KHOU-TV, Houston, said Monday.

She said by offering the new car to potential buyers, Reynolds was making his real estate offering more attractive to the limited number of home buyers during the ongoing economic crisis."

Forbidden Planet Update

Forbidden Planet trilogy with James Cameron: Freud, Shakespeare, and Robby the Robot - SFFMedia: "Following reports that Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Stracynski is developing a remake of the 1956 science fiction classic Forbidden Planet, comes news that he is aiming for a trilogy and that James Cameron has met Stracynski to discuss directing the first movie."

Joe Lansdale Reads

Dirt Devils

Drastic Price Reductions

Git 'em while you can.

Retire to Mars

Where do I sign up?

Forget the bungalow, retire to Mars - Times Online: "When someone looks you in the eye and tells you he’s planning a supersonic electric plane and a retirement community on Mars, it can be hard to take him seriously.

It gets a little easier when you realise he is worth more than $325m, owns the world’s most successful electric sports car company, has put a rocket into orbit and was hired by Nasa last month to help it keep the International Space Station supplied."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston bookstore tied to True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse | Life | - Houston Chronicle: "[Today, Charlaine] Harris will be in Houston to discuss Sookie, vampires and what it’s like to hear the words she wrote spoken on TV. Her talk at the Houston Public Library downtown was brought together in part by Murder by the Book on Bissonnet.

Indeed, the store and its employees have long been tied to Sookie and her creator.

Harris’ first Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Until Dark, sputtered into existence in 2001 with some help by Dean James, then the general manager of Murder By the Book."

Pariah -- Dave Zeltserman

Small Crimes got a lot of attention for Dave Zeltserman in 2008. This year, Pariah should get even more. If you like hardboiled noir, this book's for you.

Kyle Nevin, just released from prison, is looking for a couple of things: revenge and a big score. He's out to get back at Red Mahoney, who set him up to take the fall, and his former girl friend. The big score is a kidnapping planned by guy who was in prison with Nevin. To do the job, Nevin needs the help of his brother, Danny, who's now living the straight life and thinking it's not too bad.

If I told you any more, I'd be taking a lot of the fun out of your reading the book, which is fast, furious, and funny. I haven't even mentioned what goes on in the last third of the story, which was, for me, the most amusing part of the book. I don't mean this is a farce. It's far from a comedy, but it's sharply satirical and mean as a junkyard dog with a burr on its butt.

Pariah is from Serpent's Tail, and it's available in Britain right now. You can order a copy, or you can wait for the U. S. publication this year. If you have any interest in tough-guy noir, you'll want to get hold of this one as soon as you can.

Teen Wolf

Joe Lansdale

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Pat Hingle, R. I. P.

Just saw this on Thrilling Days of Yesteryear.

Esquire's Clint Eastwood Interview

Clint Eastwood Biography - Clint Eastwood Quotes - Esquire: "In a rare interview as he stars in Gran Turino, the Hollywood legend opens up about the 'pussy generation,' America's blasé remembrance of 9/11, Barack Obama achieving the unimaginable, the beginning of his acting career (hint: good-lookin' chicks), and, yes, that grunt."

Blockbuster or Bust

Blockbuster or Bust - "Dark days are upon the book industry. Last month alone, Random House announced a massive restructuring; Simon & Schuster laid off 35 staffers; the adult division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt stopped acquiring manuscripts for the rest of the year; and HarperCollins sent comedian Sarah Silverman a contract worth $2.5 million to write her first book.

Yes, that's right -- amid the worst economic crisis to hit the United States in decades, publishing executives are still making what many see as outrageous gambles on new manuscripts."

But not on mine.

Latest Issue of I Love a Mystery Now On-Line

Click here for lots of reviews.

They'd Take a Bullet for the President

But would they take a shoe for him?

PARADE Magazine | They'd Give Their Lives For The President: "Special Agent Malcolm D. Wiley Sr., a former college-football player, has a winning smile and a handshake that could bend steel. He's been in the U.S. Secret Service for 17 years, part of that time directly guarding the President. How does it feel to go to work knowing that he may have to take a bullet? 'It comes with the job,' he says crisply. 'It's an honor to protect the President. End of discussion.'"

Galveston’s Grand Opera House Re-opens after Ike

Galveston’s Grand Opera House re-opens after Ike | LOCAL NEWS | | News for Houston, Texas

Video at the link.

It's James Bond's Birthday

The real one, that is.

James Bond (ornithologist) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "James Bond (January 4, 1900 – February 14, 1989) was a leading American ornithologist whose name was appropriated by writer Ian Fleming for his fictional spy, James Bond."

More Discouraging Publishing News

The SF Site: News: "Gordon van Gelder has announced that the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction will change to a bi-monthly publication schedule rather than its current eleven issues per year. According to van Gelder, the change is aimed at keeping production costs down. Although only six issues will be published each year, there will only be a cut of about 10% of the wordage due to an increased size for each issue."

Top 10 Treasure Finds of 2008

A Collector’s Dream Come True - 10 Amazing Uncovered Treasures From 2008 � The Avid Collector: "It’s amazing what you can find! These unbelievable discoveries of 2008 make it exciting to be a collector, and for many of these lucky finders, provide quite a nice cash reward as well. Maybe it is finally time to dig your old metal detector out of the closet (doesn’t everybody have one of those?) and think about building some extra income this year - with some kind of awesome discovery! Avast, matey, buried treasure!"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Tyler Paper - Tyler Morning Telegraph: "The distinctive smells of leather and cologne greet you as you enter the closet of D.M. Edwards.

Rows and rows of boots, in immaculate, perfect order, not a speck of dirt on them, line the shelves.

There are exotic boots made from the mountainous, craggy skin of an alligator, scaly boots made from snake skin, electric blue boots, deep green boots and a beautifully tooled pair of 'Tyler' boots, complete with the words 'Lone' and 'Star' emblazoned on them.

Even with 126 pairs, Edwards, a Tyler businessman and self-proclaimed collector, is still searching for more."