Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Story at Beat to a Pulp


Check it out.

CROOKED #2 is Now On-Line

Crime Zine Report: CROOKED #2 is here...

Great line-up of writers. Check it out.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Bill proposes hunting feral�hogs from air | Latest News | "BEXAR COUNTY – There are an estimated 1.5 million feral hogs in the state, with many now living in South Texas. In the past, landowners could hire helicopter companies to kill hogs on their property, but new bill before the state could expand the hunt to the air.

Currently, landowners can hire companies to come in and kill feral hogs on their own property, but the landowners must be there at the time of the hunt.

Now, State Rep. Sid Miller (R-Stephenville) has authored a bill (House Bill 836) which would allow landowners to lease hunting rights to companies who could then fly hunters in to shoot the hogs from the air, allowing ranchers and farmers to make some money off of the hog problem."

As some of you know, feral hogs have been a part of the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series for over 20 years now. Maybe I'll have a helicopter hunt in the next one. Assuming there is a next one.

I Always Knew She was Brilliant


See photo at link.

Five A-Listers Who Died in Obscurity

Five A-Listers Who Died in Obscurity - Neatorama: "It’s unimaginable to think that today’s Hollywood A-List could someday die in obscurity. Just imagine, 50 years from now they’ll be running one of those “In Memoriam” clip shows at the Oscars and your grandkid will turn to you and say, “Who was Angelina Jolie? She was kinda pretty.”

That’s basically what happened to these ex-Hollywood starlets. Once A-Listers at the height of their fame, these celebs died in semi-obscurity - sometimes, especially in the case of our first actress, their anonymity was their own doing."

I'm reminded of Robert Frost's "Provide, Provide":
No memory of having starred
Atones for later disregard,
Or keeps the end from being hard.

New Blog on the Block

Short Barrel Fiction: "Our goal is to bring good quality western flash fiction to all the cowboys and cowgirls out there who work every day to keep the west alive. You know who you are. Reenactors, mercantiles, ranchers, and the multitudes who are westerners at heart."

Check it out.


The Associated Press: Dino-right! Fix is in for misnamed Texas dinosaur: "SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Pleurocoelus has served ably as the official dinosaur of Texas. Sure, it was a plant-noshing herbivore in a fiercely barbecue-proud state, but the sauropod dwarfed most other dinos and lumbered with a 20-ton swagger.

Then he was exposed as an East Coaster.

The discovery in 2007 led a Fort Worth lawmaker to file a resolution in the Legislature this month that seeks to send pleurocoelus packing and transfer the state dinosaur title to a very similar but more uniquely Texas species, newly dubbed Paluxysaurus jonesi."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

And I Thought I was Bad

The Lab at Belmar | The Astounding Problem of Andrew Novick: "The Astounding Problem of Andrew Novick features the overwhelming and unusual collections of an eccentric individual who does not consider himself an artist. In total, Andrew Novick estimates he has over a hundred collections: Barbie dolls of every variety, Chihuahua figurines, clown paintings, anything related to teeth or braces. The truth is he has far more things than will or can ever be organized into a “collection.” Inside his home and in his rented storage space he has stacks, piles and boxes of answering machine cassette tapes full of incoming phone messages, more answering machine cassette tapes with recordings of recording almost every conversation he has ever had with a telemarketer, jars ripe with formaldehyde-free dead animals, uncommon foods and more."

I highly recommend you click the link and read the whole article. There are also pictures.

Will The Persecution Never End?

Cemetery Win � FAIL Blog: Pictures and Videos of Owned, Pwnd and Fail Moments

Hell up in Harlem

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday Night Lights

Tonight's episode is supposedly going to have an appearance by the Cornell Hurd Band, the group my son does the sound for. You won't see him, but he's there. You'll probably see and hear the band. 8:00 Central Time.

John D. MacDonald Biography

Schaffner Press: Upcoming Releases Archives: "BLOODSHOT RAINBOW: The Life and Work of John D. MacDonald
James Walling
Fall '09
Trade Paperback

John D. MacDonald, the hugely prolific bestselling writer of crime novels whose iconic hero Travis McGee became the template for dozens of contemporary mystery writers has until this book largely escaped biographical scrutiny and literary appraisal. With research
ranging from literary archives and correspondence and information gleaned from as yet unpublished military records, author James Walling will retrace Macdonald's footsteps from his years in Burma with the OSS in WWII to his single titles bestsellers, (one of which, THE EXECUTIONERS, was the basis for the movie CAPE FEAR), to the immortal Travis McGee series and the twenty-one books in which the legendary protagonist starred, as well as the final uncompleted ' Black Book' which supposedly featured McGee's demise. In examining not only the mysteries and crime novels, longer works of fiction such as CONDOMINIUM, and even MacDonald's forays into sci-fi (THE GIRL, THE GOLD WATCH AND EVERYTHING) this book will firmly establish MacDonald in the firmament of quintessentially American literary figures, sadly underappreciated due to the commercial genres in which he chose to ply his trade."

Hat tip to The Bunburyist.

The Beginning of the End . . .

. . . for the apostrophe.

The city where apostrophes ARENT welcome | Mail Online: "Its a little difficult to place sometimes, but if itd never been invented our sentences wouldnt be so easy to read and wed all get confused because we wouldnt know who owned anything.

But the apostrophe is obviously just too challenging for some.

Birmingham City Council has dropped possessive apostrophes from its road and street signs altogether - so St Paul's Square becomes St Pauls, for example."

The 10 Most Embarrassing Award Winners in Automotive History

Dishonorable Mention: The 10 Most Embarrassing Award Winners in Automotive History- Yahoo! Autos Article Page: "Here and now, in vivid HTML, Car and Driver formally apologizes for naming the Renault Alliance to the 1983 10Best Cars list. For the last 26 years, it’s been gnawing at our collective gut like a shame-induced ulcer. The car was trash. We should have known that back then, and it’s taken us too long to confess our grievous mistake. Let this frank admission be the start of our penance."

Hat tip to Mike McGruff.

America's Worst Supermarket Foods

America's Worst Supermarket Foods - Page 1 - MSN Health & Fitness - Nutrition

Suddenly, I'm hungry.
Hat tip to Todd Mason.

Rambo Update

SYLVESTER STALLONE - STALLONE TO BRING RAMBO BACK: "SYLVESTER STALLONE is bringing back RAMBO for another big screen outing according to The action man was suitably impressed with the success of his 2008 film, Rambo, and now he's scouting for locations for a fifth movie.
He says, 'We're doing another Rambo, but the conflict is whether to do it in America or a foreign country.”"

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance—Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! Quirk Books $12.95 : Chronicle Books: "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies -- Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen's beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Complete with 20 illustrations in the style of C. E. Brock (the original illustrator of Pride and Prejudice), this insanely funny expanded edition will introduce Jane Austen's classic novel to new legions of fans."

Hat tip to the Little Professor.

Forgotten Books: HOODTOWN -- Christa Faust

I guess it's not too likely that a book only five years old and still in print is forgotten, but mostly you hear about Faust's more recent Hard Case novel, Money Shot. Those who liked that one should certainly take a look at Hoodtown. Hey, with Mickey Rourke riding that wave with The Wrestler, maybe this book will get more attention.

What we have here is a story set in an alternate America, or maybe a future America, where cities, and even small towns, have neighborhoods made up of people who wear wrestling hoods pretty much from birth until death. And after. These hoodtowns are ghettos of poverty and crime, whereas the Skin communities are pretty much like they are now. The people in Hoodtown revere luchadores, particularly El Santo, whose name is invoked in blessings and curses.

The narrator of Hoodtown is a disgraced luchadora named X. She's 43 and a little overweight, but she's proud of her figure and doesn't think she looks too bad. Her existence isn't an entirely happy one, since she's banned from the ring, and it gets worse when someone starts killing Hoodtown prostitutes and removing their masks, a crime that the Hoodtown residents regard as being as bad as the murders. Maybe worse. The Skin cops who work in Angel City don't really care about the crimes. If another Hood dies, it's nothing to them, so X is drawn into the investigation. What she finds is likely to get her killed, along with plenty of others.

So you have murder, masked wrestlers, some spicy sex, a fast-paced narrative, and a well-constructed world that's a lot like our own but different. Or not. You can read whatever metaphorical meaning you want to into the prejudices against Hoodtown and its people. I'm not going there.

If you liked Money Shot and you're waiting eagerly for another Christa Faust novel, wait no longer. Get this one. I'll bet you won't be disappointed.

This post #8001. What a lot of time I've wasted!

Black Caesar

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Destroyer

Speaking Volumes, is producing audio books of early Destroyer adventures. So far they have produced one, Chinese Puzzle, and it's well done. There's an audio sample on the Destroyer tribute page, and at

Check it out.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The Weather Center � Blog Archive � Austin Area Drought Worst in U.S.: "Wow–this is really something. Because dry conditions have improved in the southeastern U.S., our Central Texas drought is now the worst ongoing drought in the United States.

The U.S. Drought Monitor weekly update came out today, and notice in the graphic below, Central Texas is considered to be in a D4 drought–which is the maximum intensity for drought conditions. It is also known as an Exeptional Drought–even worse than Extreme designation."

Via Rick Klaw on Twitter.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

68-year-old man found beaten inside Plano home | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News: "Detectives are investigating the death of a 68-year-old man who was found beaten inside his Plano home this morning, Plano police said.
1100 block, Avenue I

Sherlock Holmes was found by a friend about 12:45 a.m. inside his home in the 1100 block of Avenue I, said Plano police spokesman Rick McDonald."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Road signs warn of zombies | "AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin drivers making their morning commute were in for a surprise when two road signs on a busy stretch of road were taken over by hackers. The signs near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards usually warn drivers about upcoming construction, but Monday morning they warned of 'zombies ahead.'"

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

The Two Stooges

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | New Zealand inmates foil own escape: "CCTV has captured the moment when two handcuffed prisoners' attempt to escape custody came to a crashing end as they ran into a lamppost.

The pair ran away while awaiting their court hearing in Hastings and managed to cross a street towards a car park before they were recaptured."

Video at link.  Hat tip to Angela.

This Is Your Brain on Fiction

Your brain on fiction: we simulate action we read in narrative - Boing Boing: "A forthcoming journal article in Psychological Science reports on the research of scientists from the Dynamic Cognition Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis into what brain activity takes place while we read narrative stories. The study concludes that our brains simulate the action in the story, echoing it as we read."


Universal bringing back 'The Thing' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety: "Universal will add a new chapter to 'The Thing,' lining up another take on the paranoid horror classic most recently brought to the screen by John Carpenter in 1982.

Studio has set 'Battlestar Galactica' exec producer Ron Moore to write the script and commercials director Matthijs Van Heijningen to direct the re-imagining."

The Day the Music Died

Music - Rock fans head to Iowa to recall day music died: "CLEAR LAKE, Iowa — It's been 50 years since a single-engine plane crashed into a snow-covered Iowa field, instantly killing three men whose names would become enshrined in the history of rock 'n' roll.

The passing decades haven't diminished fascination with that night on Feb. 2, 1959, when 22-year-old Buddy Holly, 28-year-old J.P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson and 17-year-old Ritchie Valens performed in Clear Lake and then boarded the plane for a planned 300-mile flight that lasted only minutes."

London after Dark

More of London from above, at night - The Big Picture -

Amazing photos, for sure.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Horror, the Horror

Star Wars Goes Horror with Deathtroopers | /Film: "LucasFilm and Del Rey Books will be publishing a Star Wars horror novel on October 27th 2009 titled DeathTroopers."


MTV Movies Blog � Jerry Bruckheimer Wants YOU To Cast ‘The Lone Ranger’: "Jerry Bruckheimer spoke with MTV News at the junket for his new film, “Confessions of a Shopaholic”. Talking about future projects, he let slip that, while the script is done and Johnny Depp has signed on as Tonto there’s still a little matter of finding the lead.

That’s where you come in! Jerry Bruckheimer wants input from the fans and we’re ready to hear whatever opinion you’ve got. Watch the video below and then post your dream-casting. You could help decide who gets to wear the mask!"

Judy Update

If you've been following the blog for a couple of years, you know that in June 2007 Judy was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. After some grueling chemo, she went into remission about a year ago.

Today we discussed the results of her latest tests with her doctor. The lymphoma is back. We'd hoped for a minimum of five years remission. Since we suspected last October that things were looking bleak, we weren't surprised by today's news, just disappointed.

The upshot is that Judy will be going back into treatment within the month. We're looking at a couple of clinical trials, and we'll know more about the treatment in a week or two. Until then, we're going to try to carry on as usual.

The good news is that treatment isn't "urgent," just necessary. And Judy has no symptoms other than swollen lymph nodes. We're not looking forward to the next few months, but maybe this time the treatment won't be so tough. We hope not.

One of Them Is Cursive Writing

10 things your great grandchildren won’t remember [I Heart Top 10s] — I Heart Chaos

Will The Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton: I won't date Prince Harry | The Sun |Showbiz|Bizarre|USA: "YOU know things must be bad in your love life when even PARIS HILTON won’t go out with you.

But the hotel heiress has ruled out ever dating PRINCE HARRY – as she respects his ex-girlfriend CHELSY DAVY too much."

Worst Super Bowl Ads Ever

Lippert's Critique: Super Bowl's Biggest Fumbles: "In trying to reach 100 million people, it seems axiomatic, or at least common sensical, to avoid certain themes. Like, for example, suicide. So, why do marketers revisit them? Unconscious death wish? There are no hard-and-fast rules about the worth of shock value, but in no particular order, here are my picks for four of the worst Super Bowl ads ever."

Watch Your Step

Police track down violent robber from a footprint that he left in his victim's forehead | Mail Online: "It is a shocking image - a footprint embedded into the bruised forehead of the victim of a brutal and violent robbery.

But for police officers the footprint has become a vital piece of evidence that could help apprehend the offender."

Gator Update (Horns of a Dilemma Edition)

Gator stuck in Cape Coral pipe | WINK News - Southwest Florida | Local & Florida: "Trappers say if and when the alligator takes the bait it will get euthanized or it could be sent to an alligator farm."

America's Oldest Teenager

American Idol | "At 65, Archie Andrews has somehow remained relevant, even hip, in an increasingly crass culture. But he still can't choose between Betty and Veronica. How did this World War II–era goofball manage to stay current? The little girls understand.

One of the most durable characters to emerge from American pop culture—right up there with Mickey Mouse, Superman, and Muhammad Ali—is Archibald Andrews, the eternal 16-year-old from Riverdale, U.S.A. He is in his 65th year, but he still can't decide between Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge."

I'll Just Have the Double Whopper with Cheese, Thanks

Eating dirt can be good for you - just ask babies - International Herald Tribune: "And, indeed, accumulating evidence strongly suggests that eating dirt is good for you.

In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with 'dirt' spur the development of a healthy immune system. Several continuing studies suggest that worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma."

Vote for Kasey Lansdale!

Okay, folks, we're not doing out part. Kasey's slipping in the rankings. Don't forget you can vote every day. Time to vote again!

Pork Chop Hill

Peru Update

Peruvians walked their prayers into the earth - life - 26 January 2009 - New Scientist: "THE ancient, intricate geometric patterns stamped on the surface of a desert in Peru have long been thought of as messages to the gods, or as markers that tracked celestial objects. Now new details about these geoglyphs suggest they may have been made for 'prayer walking'.

The Nasca lines are a collection of lines, giant trapezoids, and figures of humans, plants and animals in a desert 400 kilometres south of Lima, Peru. They were created between 400 BC and AD 650 by the removal of reddish oxidised stones from the desert pavement to reveal the lighter sand beneath."

Photo is of Judy in Nasca a few years ago.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cops Talk Funny

Cops Talk Funny: Operations & Tactics at "And it's hurting their credibility in court."

If you've listened to officers talk or read police reports, I'll bet you know what this article has to say before you read it.

Link via Boing Boing.

John Updike, R. I. P.

John Updike dies, aged 76 - "NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. author John Updike, a leading writer of his generation who chronicled the emotional drama of American small town life with searing wit, died on Tuesday, his publisher said.

'It is with great sadness that I report that John Updike died this morning at the age of 76, after a battle with lung cancer.' said Nicholas Latimer of Alfred A. Knopf, a unit of Random House.

'He was one of our greatest writers, and he will be sorely missed.'"

My favorites among his many books would include The Centaur and Rabbit, Run.

No Comment Department

Hilary Duff set for 'Bonnie and Clyde' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety: "Hilary Duff and Kevin Zegers will star in indie feature 'The Story of Bonnie and Clyde,' produced by Cypress Moon Studios.

Tonya S. Holly will direct the film from her own script, which is a new adaptation of the story of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow rather than a remake of the 1967 classic film starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty."

Snuggie Update

Advertising: The Slow Death of Good Commercials: "Have you noticed lately on your television that there are a stunning number of crappy infomercial-quality ads running during prime time? That is because the fancy advertisers are broke. We live in Snuggie's world now."

Happy Birthday, Angela Antoinette Crider!

She's always been an angel.

Guest Blogging

Today I'm guest blogger at David Thompson's Busted Flush Press blog.  What that means is that I did an actual blog post instead of taking the easy way of linking to something else as I usually do.  So you should click here to visit David's blog and see what I had to say.

The Disassembled Man -- Nate Flexer

New Pulp Press is a new venture by Jon Bassoff (aka Nate Flexer). The books from New Pulp Press "focus on off-center crime fiction and neo-pulp. Veering away from the assumption that a protagonist must be a sympathetic character, our books are centered around con-men, losers, and sociopaths."

Frankie Avicious, the narrator of The Disassembled Man, is a far cry from a sympathetic character. He slaughters cattle for a living, and before long he moves on to slaughtering people, maybe at the urging of the enigmatic salesman named Jack Marteau, maybe not. The murders are graphic and bizarre, but then that's the point. By the end, Frankie's narrative turns almost surreal, and the punishment that waits for Frankie is as frightening and disturbing as the rest of the book.

This is strong stuff, definitely not the kind of thing that you're going to find from a mainstream publisher. Besides the mayhem, there's also a good bit of gruesome humor to sort of lighten the proceedings. If you have a taste for the offbeat, out-of-the-mainstream fiction, this might be just what you're looking for. If you're planning to stick to the safe and familiar, it's not. You can read the first two chapters on Al Guthrie's Noir Originals. That might be enough to let you know what you're in for. Check it out.

Death Race

I enjoyed this tender tale of a man (Jason Statham) framed for the murder of his wife so he can be sent to prison and drive in the Death Race of the title. All Statham wants to do is behave himself, get out of prison, and get back to his small daughter.

Statham matches wits with the prison warden (Joan Allen) and bonds with other prisoners (Ian McShane, Tyrese Gibson) as he faces the clever jibes of his fellow inmates, many of whom appear to have degrees from Ivy League schools.

The extensive character development is broken up occasionally with scenes from the race, with one or two explosions, but it's best not to be distracted by these lest you lose the thread of the complex plot that winds throughout. I paid close attention and wasn't lost, but it was close. I won't reveal any of the twists and surprises so you can be amazed on your own.

All I have to say in conclusion is that I'm shocked that this movie was shut out in the Oscar™ race. There really is no justice.

Vote for Kasey Lansdale!

Okay, folks, we'd voted Kasey up to #4 in the competition, and now she's slipped a bit. Don't forget you can vote every day. Time to vote again!

Hell is for Heroes

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Death of Cursive Writing?

Schools have less time for penmanship | | The Indianapolis Star: "Learning to write in script is a time-honored tradition. But in today's time-starved classrooms, some around the country are questioning whether, given everything else vying for space in the curriculum and the increasing use of technology, teaching these children cursive is even necessary."

January Bloodstained Bookshelf Now On-Line

Bloodstained Bookshelf: "The Bloodstained Bookshelf is a (more-or-less) monthly list of recent and forthcoming mysteries published in the US. If you are an author, publisher, or agent and have information about a forthcoming book, please let me know for inclusion in this list."

On the Street Where You Live

YesButNoButYes: Where the streets have bad names: "Oh, there are plenty.

But these particular streets, roads, avenues and boulevards happen to have some of the worst names in the world."

Why So Serious?

Belgian creche stabbings: suspect quoted Heath Ledger - Telegraph: "Kim De Gelder, aged 20, was arrested last Friday shortly after stabbing two babies and one of their carers to death in a gruesome attack that has stunned Belgium. He was dressed and apparently wearing make-up that gave him the appearance of the Batman character the Joker.

Investigators are examining whether the attack was timed to mark the first anniversary of the death of Heath Ledger, the actor who played the Joker in the film Batman, The Dark Knight."

Sing Me a Sad Song

What's the saddest song you ever heard? | Houston Music | - Houston Chronicle: "George Jones thought the saddest song was too sad. So he carried He Stopped Loving Her Today around with him for nearly a year, insisting to his producer that it needed a different ending.

The song opens with the line “He said, ‘I’ll love you ‘til I die,’” and makes good on that promise when its protagonist, distraught over a breakup, finally expires. Jones thought the “she” who prompted this lifelong infatuation needed to return. Despite decades of flying like a bottle rocket on a diet of booze and drugs, the singer had a whisper of sentimentality that told him the song was too bleak to connect with anybody.

She ultimately did return in a spoken coda added to the song, which was released in 1980. “I still didn’t think it would ever be a hit because it was so sad,” Jones said. “I was wrong because it ended up being my signature song.”"

Google Hits the G-Spot

I, for one, welcome our new Orwellian overlords.

Google plans to make PCs history | Technology | The Observer: "Google is to launch a service that would enable users to access their personal computer from any internet connection, according to industry reports. But campaigners warn that it would give the online behemoth unprecedented control over individuals' personal data.

The Google Drive, or 'GDrive', could kill off the desktop computer, which relies on a powerful hard drive. Instead a user's personal files and operating system could be stored on Google's own servers and accessed via the internet.

The long-rumoured GDrive is expected to be launched this year, according to the technology news website TG Daily, which described it as 'the most anticipated Google product so far'. It is seen as a paradigm shift away from Microsoft's Windows operating system, which runs inside most of the world's computers, in favour of 'cloud computing', where the processing and storage is done thousands of miles away in remote data centres."

The Dead Man's Brother -- Roger Zelazny

I'm a big fan of Roger Zelzany's work, or at least a lot of it, so I was prepared to love The Dead Man's Brother, a unpublished novel unearthed by Hard Case Crime. According to the "Afterword" by Zelzany's son, the book was written around the time of Today We Choose Faces and the connected novellas that make up My Name is Legion, both of which I enjoyed, so I was hoping for the best. I didn't quite get it.

Ovid Wiley was once a criminal, an art smuggler, but now he's reformed and has his own gallery. Things are going all right until his old partner in crime turns up in the gallery, dead, with a knife sticking in his back. In short order, Wiley's arrested, then recruited by the CIA. He finds himself first in Italy, where there are millions missing from the Vatican's accounts, and then in Brazil, where more millions have gone missing.

It's all very fast and slick, but the whole thing seemed more like a first draft to me than a finished novel. A lot of things that seemed to me to call for further development were forgotten or dropped. The explanations at the end were tedious and not entirely convincing. The supposedly clever narrator does some pretty stupid things. The magic I'd found in some of Zelazny's writing was, for the most part, missing. I'm glad Hard Case published it, and I'm glad I read it, but I was hoping for more. Maybe my expectations were just too high. Or maybe I'm completely wrong. Hey, it could happen. Anyway, I'd give it a C+.

Update: For a more positive take, click here.

Vote for Kasey!

Okay, folks, we'd voted Kasey up to #4 in the competition, and now she's slipped a bit. Don't forget you can vote every day. Time to vote again!

Ride the High Country

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What, Me Worry?

2012: THE END IS NIGH! - New York Post: "The end of the world is nearly upon us, but there's a silver lining: At least you know when your 401(k) will finally hit bottom. Mark Dec. 21, 2012 on your calendar. That's the exact day that lots of normally sane people believe some disaster will befall our planet - and not the kind of annoying everyday disaster like your cable going out or Ethan Hawke writing another novel. We're talking Biblical proportions - the end of life on Earth as we know it."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Vote for Kasey!

Okay, folks, we'd voted Kasey up to #4 in the competition, and now she's down to #11. Don't forget you can vote every day. Time to vote again!

ABBA Update

Photo at link.

Dancing Queens reunited: The girls from ABBA share the stage | Mail Online: "They've barely been on stage together since Abba split in 1982.

Considering all the rumours about their rivalry, perhaps fans weren't that surprised.

But this week Abba's Agnetha Faltskog, 58, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, 63, were all smiles as they accepted a lifetime achievement award in Sweden."

Mathematics Update

Science News / A Prayer For Archimedes: "For seventy years, a prayer book moldered in the closet of a family in France, passed down from one generation to the next. Its mildewed parchment pages were stiff and contorted, tarnished by burn marks and waxy smudges. Behind the text of the prayers, faint Greek letters marched in lines up the page, with an occasional diagram disappearing into the spine.

The owners wondered if the strange book might have some value, so they took it to Christie's Auction House of London. And in 1998, Christie's auctioned it off—for two million dollars.

For this was not just a prayer book. The faint Greek inscriptions and accompanying diagrams were, in fact, the only surviving copies of several works by the great Greek mathematician Archimedes."

The Wild Bunch