Saturday, March 28, 2009

New Story Posted at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: No Hands :: Albert Tucher

2nd Annual Spinetingler Award Nominees

2nd Annual Spinetingler Award Nominees: "Winners in each category will be determined by public vote. Voting will be open until April 25, 2009. Please follow this link to cast your vote in any or all of the categories, to see the covers nominated and to follow the links to the short stories."

I'm Looking for a College . . .

. . . that will pay me not to coach its basketball team. I'll charge less not to coach than Billy Gillespie will be getting from the University of Kentucky if the rumors about $6 million are true. I'm willing not to coach for a cool million, and even that's negotiable. Come on, athletic directors, give me a call.

The Yggyssey

Daniel Pinkwater's latest novel is on-line, and you can read it for free. If you're really lazy, you can listen to Pinkwater read the first chapter. And if you don't know who Daniel Pinkwater is, you really should find out.

The book is a sequel to this one that I reviewed a while back.

Link via Boing Boing.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

La Marque woman’s charge dropped in F-word case | Galveston after Ike | - Houston Chronicle: "LA MARQUE — Authorities have dropped a disorderly conduct charge filed against a woman who was handcuffed while being cited for using the F-word in a casual conversation at a Wal-Mart, the La Marque interim city manager said today."

Happy Birthday, Vespasian!

Hail, Caesar: Rome marks birth of emperor who built the Colosseum -
Europe, World - The Independent
: "His name is immortalised in modern Italian as the word for a public urinal, but tomorrow that humiliation will be forgotten as Rome sets about throwing a massive party for the Emperor Vespasian's 2,000th birthday. Naturally enough, the celebratory bash – which takes the form of a 10-month exhibition – is focused on the building for which he is most famous, the Colosseum."

Two Lane Blacktop

Friday, March 27, 2009

Oddest Book Title of the Year

Fromage Frais wins odd title prize | "The 2009-2014 World Outlook for 60-miligram Containers of Fromage Frais, published by Icon Group International, has been crowned the winner of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year. The Bookseller received just over 5,000 votes on its online poll, with the study into the future of the diary product packaging securing a 32% share of the total vote since the shortlist was announced on 20th February. The winning title was spotted by the Eden Project's publishing manager Mike Petty."

Click the link for other titles.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Soldier Charged in Nearly $1M Theft - TIME: "(SAN ANTONIO) — A soldier who kept inventory at an Army warehouse has been charged with using his position to order and stockpile military musical instruments and equipment that he sold for nearly $1 million.

Jerome Matthew Goldick, a chief warrant officer 3, was indicted last week on seven charges of theft of government property. He allegedly ordered more than 4,000 surplus guitars, amplifiers and other equipment from military facilities around the world between 2005 and last year, according to affidavits unsealed this week.

Goldick, 41, then allegedly sold the stockpile, sometimes using eBay, Craigslist and other online outlets. He allegedly used the proceeds on real estate, cars and motorcycles."

The Phantom Killer

Phantom killer was a myth: Police track DNA of a cotton bud maker for two years - "Police in Germany hunted a sinister phantom killer for two years after finding the same DNA at 39 different crime scenes - only to discover that the source was a woman who made the cotton buds used to collect the sample!"

Facebook: The Geezers Take Over

Facebook is Your Father's (and Mother's) Social Network | Epicenter from "Facebook (and other social networks) has been skewing older for a while, but the trend has been 'massive' in the past six months, according to In the past two months alone the number of new members over 35 has doubled. Marketers take note: the median age is now over 25, and the largest single group 35 to 44.

Women over 55 remain the fastest growing group, and growth among the teen and college-age set has been relatively paltry. In absolute numbers there are now even slightly more members between the ages of 45 and 65 than there are 13-to 17-year-olds."

What to Do with Your Surplus Books

Don’t like reading? Read on… | Offbeat Earth: "Just because you don’t enjoy reading a good book, doesn’t mean there aren’t many other uses for all of those books piled up in the attic."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Patrol watches Texas-Mexico border - from pub in Australia |
World news |
The Guardian
: "Anyone with an internet connection can now help to patrol the 1,254-mile frontier through a network of webcams set up to allow the public to monitor suspicious activity. Once logged in, the volunteers spend hours studying the landscape and are encouraged to email authorities when they see anyone on foot, in vehicles or aboard boats heading towards US territory from Mexico.

So far, more than 100,000 web users have signed up online to become virtual border patrol deputies, according to Don Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriffs' Coalition, which represents 20 counties where illegal crossings and drugs and weapons smuggling are rife."


Am I the only one who thinks it strange that this ad . . .

. . . appeared on the back of this magazine?

Rio Bravo Turns 50

'Rio Bravo,' Still Popular and Hip at 50 - "It wasn't nominated for any Academy Awards. It was scarcely taken seriously by the critics on its release, and it's never made into the American Film Institute's top 100. But Howard Hawks's 'Rio Bravo,' which had its premiere half a century ago this month, may be the most popular cult film ever made.

The phrase 'cult favorite' conjures up images of wobbly hand-held camera shots and little-known actors. But 'Rio Bravo' was shot in glorious Technicolor and starred perhaps the most popular star in movie history. Most cult films are too hip to be popular, and most big hits are too popular to be hip. But 'Rio Bravo' is that rarest of films -- both popular and hip."

Forgotten Books: AN EYE FOR AN EYE -- John B. West

John B. West, a West African doctor, must have wanted to be Mickey Spillane when he grew up.  As it is, he got to write a number of books about a New York P. I. called Rocky Steele.  As you can see from the title and blurb page of this book, West was a sincere imitator, and if that's not enough to convince you, here's the first paragraph: 

Tonight I got to thinking about people -- the people who hire me and my gun and my ways, the people I'm hired to find or trap, or beat up, or even kill -- and the people who live in safe, comfortable seclusion, never knowing how the other half dies. Maybe, I thought, all these people should get together, and me -- I'm just the guy to introduce them to each other, because I work with all three types every day. So it occurred to me to let the secluded half know what makes the other half tick -- and stop ticking.  Like the time I got that phone call . . . . 

Okay, I know it doesn't make much sense, but it's obviously a conscious attempt to ape the Spillane style.  West knows most of the words, but he hasn't got the tune.  West had a tin ear, and everything in the book shows it.  The dialogue is especially ripe.  I'll never forget the first time I stumbled on one of West's books, thinking it might be something to take the place of Spillane, who wasn't writing at the time.  Even as a callow youth, I knew that I what I was reading wasn't up to the master's level.  That it was, in fact, ludicrous.  

So John B. West is probably justifiably forgotten.  The thing is, though, that if you're in the right mood, reading one of his books can be kind of fun.  They're so bad that they have a fascination of their own.  If you were fifteen or so and wrote Mickey Spillane fan fiction, this is the kind of book you'd write.  Take a look at one sometime when you need a grin.

Hot Rod Girl

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Scribe Award Nominees

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is pleased to announce this year's nominees for the 2009 Scribe Awards, which honor excellence in licensed tie-in writing—novels based on TV shows, movies, and games. The nominees for this year's awards are:

Best General Fiction Original

BURN NOTICE: THE FIX by Tod Goldberg

Best General Fiction Adapted

THE WACKNESS by Dale C. Phillips
X-FILES: I WANT TO BELIEVE by Max Allan Collins

Best Speculative Fiction Original

STARGATE SG-1: HYDRA by Holly Scott & Jamie Duncan

Best Speculative Fiction Adapted


Best Young Adult Original

DR. WHO: THE EYELESS by Lance Parkin

Best Young Adult Adapted

IRON MAN: THE JUNIOR NOVEL by Stephen D. Sullivan
THE DARK KNIGHT: THE JUNIOR NOVEL by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohen

The high est honor the IAMTW can bestow is the Grandmaster Award, which recognizes a writer for his or her extensive and exceptional work in the tie-in field. This year's honoree is KEITH R.A. DeCANDIDO. He has written over thirty novels, most of them original tie-ins or novelizations. His work includes many Star Trek novels, as well as original books in the CSI: NY and Supernatural tie-in series, to name just a few.

The Third Annual Scribes will be awarded at a special ceremony at Comic-Con in San Diego July 23-29. (Specific date and time to be announced)

The IAMTW also awards two Special Gaming Scribes, honoring excellence in game-related tie-ins. Those awards are given at GenCon in Indianapolis August 13-16 2009 ( Specific date and time of the ceremony to be assnounced) The nominees are:

Special Gaming Script - Best Original

EBERRON: THE DOOM OF KINGS by Don Bassingthwaite

Special Gaming Scribe - Best Adapted

THE WORLD OF WARCRAFT: BEYOND THE DARK PORTAL by Aaron Rosenberg & Christie Golden
METAL GEAR SOLID by Raymond Benson

For more information about the IAMTW (I AM a Tie-in Writer), please visit our site at

England Dan Seals, R. I. P.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Dan Seals, who was England Dan in the pop duo England Dan and John Ford Coley and later had a successful country career, has died of complications from cancer. He was 61.

Just another Day at Wal-Mart in Arkansas

Purse snatching victim fights back, husband shoots at mugger - CW Arkansas: "People who shop at the Wal-Mart on Cantrell road in Little Rock speak out over an attempted robbery there on Monday night. A Little Rock couple decided to give the robbers a run for their money. At 11:30 Monday night, 63 year-old John Antonetz and 57-year-old Lydia Antonetz found themselves held at gunpoint at the Wal-Mart on Cantrell.

'Mr. Antonetz and his wife were finishing up their shopping and loading their car when they were approached by a black male in a disguise,' said Officer Cassandra Davis�with the Little Rock Police Department.

Police say 24-year-old Jonathan Terry approached the couple wearing a wig and a cap saying this is a robbery. Officers say Sherry Battles and Tequila Rice manned the getaway vehicle.

Before the three got away, Mr. Antonetz pulled his gun and shot at his attackers several times, hitting Terry in the buttocks. That's when the three suspects took off."

Hat tip to John Duke.

Treasure Hunter Update

Texas fights treasure hunter over potential shipwreck loot | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "The state of Texas wants to dig the buried treasure from under a California musician who thinks he found a muck-covered, gold-laden 19th century vessel on Google Earth.

The Texas Historical Commission this week filed notice that it will ask the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let it into a lawsuit over who has legal claim to what might be a shipwreck buried 160 miles southwest of Houston, near the Mission River in Refugio County."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Officer delays family rushing to see dying mom | Latest News |
: "DALLAS - Rushing to see his dying mother-in-law at a Plano hospital, a NFL player found himself delayed by a Dallas officer after he was stopped in the hospital's ER parking lot."
[. . . .]
'I can screw you over,' Officer Powell said. 'I would rather not do that. You obviously will dictate everything that happens; and right now, your attitude sucks.'

Twice, the hospital sent nurses to try and get the officer to let Moats go.

'We're blue coding her for the third time,' the nurse said."

Who Ever Loved that Loved Not at First Sight?

8.2 seconds needed to fall in love - Telegraph: "The longer a man's gaze rests on a woman when they meet for the first time, the more interested he is.

If it last just four seconds, he may not be all that impressed. But if it breaks the 8.2 second barrier, he could already be in love they say.

However the same is not true for women. They let their eyes linger on men for the same length of time whether they find them attractive or not."

Gator Update (Get a Rope Edition)

WIS News 10 - Columbia, South Carolina | Officials: Someone wounded gators with arrow: "BLUFFTON, SC (AP) - South Carolina wildlife officials are looking for whoever shot and wounded two alligators with arrows.

The Natural Resources Department and a business called Critter Management found one of the gators at Belfair Plantation in Bluffton on Monday."

American Bandstand, Again

The DVD I mentioned yesterday also contains a documentary about Bandstand and some of the dancers.  It was made about 10 years ago, or more.  Some of the dancers who give their memories are Bob, Justine, Arlene, and Carol.  There are several others, too.  Most of them were still on the show in the '60s, when Janet Rudolph made her appearance.  Unlike Janet, most of the people who are interviewed no longer look exactly as they did in the late '50s and early '60s.  They still have the moves, though.

No Comment Department

Letter shock for grieving parents - News - Manchester Evening News: "THE parents of a girl who died suddenly two months ago have been sent a letter from her school demanding she improves her attendance.

Signed by the deputy headmaster, the letter threatened to ban Megan Gillan from the end of year prom."

Hat tip to Brent McKee.

Castle of Blood

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

American Bandstand 1957

In a comment on a long-ago blog post, sweetfreddie mentioned that there was a DVD of a December 1957 American Bandstand show available.  I finally got around to buying a copy.  It's great.  Not the video quality.  That bites the moose.  But the instant blast of nostalgia can't be topped.  Watching the dancers, I saw people whose images I hadn't seen in 50 years, yet it was as if I'd seen them yesterday.  I recognized many of them by name (Arlene, Pat, Carol).  I'd rush home every afternoon after school to watch them and to hear the music.  It was a different world then, but I remember it well.

No Comment Department

Man gets 90 days in jail in vacuum sex act case: "A man who police said was arrested for performing a sex act with a car wash vacuum was sentenced to 90 days in jail on Wednesday and ordered to submit to drug testing. The 29-year-old man pleaded no contest to indecent exposure last month."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Hobby becomes an obsession | Life | - Houston Chronicle: "Book-lover Dick Rohfritch didn’t set out to buy 12,000 modern first editions once owned by an eccentric lawyer-collector found murdered in his rural Missouri home. It’s just that he doesn’t like to play golf. And thereby hangs the tale of how The Woodlands got Good Books in the Woods, a new secondhand bookstore full of remarkable finds.

The dead man, 70-year-old Rolland Comstock, was an avid bibliophile who traveled all over the country to acquire signed first editions by 20th-century British and American writers. In July 2007 he was found dead, shot multiple times, in the mansion he shared with his 50,000 books. No one has been charged in the case, which is still under investigation."

3 Stooges Update

MGM gets its 'Stooges' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety: "MGM and the Farrelly brothers are closing in on their cast for 'The Three Stooges.'

Studio has set Sean Penn to play Larry, and negotiations are underway with Jim Carrey to play Curly, with the actor already making plans to gain 40 pounds to approximate the physical dimensions of Jerome 'Curly' Howard.

The studio is zeroing in on Benicio Del Toro to play Moe."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

FBI: Cop recognized as he tried to rob bank (w/video) | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A 22-year veteran of the Conroe Police Department was arrested Tuesday, accused of robbing a Montgomery County bank where he also worked as a security guard.

Michael Edward Tindall allegedly stole more than $28,000 from the First Bank of Conroe last August, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He is charged with one count of bank robbery.

Investigators say co-workers from the bank and the Police Department recognized Tindall as the thief on surveillance videotapes that captured the robbery. Tindall was off-duty when the bank was robbed, police said."

Where's My Pan?

The New California Gold Rush |
NBC Los Angeles
: "Geologists estimate that during the gold rush of 1849 in California about 80-percent the gold was never found. Today with the price of gold soaring and the economy falling, the idea of panning, digging or diving for precious metal has become serious business.
[. . . .]
And for those willing to put in the effort -- it's paying off."

Okay, Now They've Gone Too Far

20 actors mismatched to their on-screen profession - Den of Geek: "Whatever idiot decided that Denise Richards should play a nuclear physicist, and for her to have to play it straight, is surely nowhere near the movie business anymore. She’s beyond wholly unconvincing, and it’s understandable that she’s been voted the worst Bond girl of all time."

The constant ridicule of the innocent Paris Hilton is bad enough, but this is too much.  Incredibly enough, Denise Richards was denied an Oscar®.  That was a result of pure jealousy, I'm sure.  But this latest attack is the kind of arrant nonsense up with which I will not put!

Croc/Gator Update: Oregon Edition

Oh, but they're such cuddly pets - "SALEM -- Ever wanted a pet crocodile? If the answer is yes, then you'd better hurry and get one.

The Oregon Senate passed legislation Tuesday that would make it illegal for people to keep certain exotic animals, including crocodiles, alligators, nonhuman primates and nondomestic dogs or cats."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston lawmaker asks: 'What's Medicaid?': "Give state Rep. Gary Elkins some credit for being honest.

At a hearing Thursday of the House Committee on Human Services, Elkins and other members of the panel considered more than two dozen bills related to Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Three hours into the hearing, Elkins asked: 'What's Medicaid?'

The Houston Republican continued: 'I know I hear it — I really don't know what it is. I know that's a big shock to everybody here in the audience, OK.'

He could have kept quiet. He could have asked an aide. He could have Googled it. Instead, he asked the question into the microphone in the middle of a public hearing.
[. . . .]
A quarter of the state budget is Medicaid."

Carnage at the Chron

THE BRAZOSPORT NEWS: Self-immolation at the Houston paper: "The layoffs at the Houston Chronicle cut much deeper into the editorial side of the newspaper than the announced company-wide 12 percent reduction that was announced by publisher Jack Sweeney."

This bites the moose.  The Chron is the paper I subscribe to.  Judy reads it cover to cover nearly every day because she doesn't do computers.  

Five Easy Pieces

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spidey Saves the Day

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Thai 'Spider-Man' to the rescue: "An unusual disguise has helped a Bangkok fireman rescue an eight-year-old boy who had climbed on to a third-floor window ledge, Thai police say.

The firefighter dressed up as the comic book superhero Spider-Man in order to coax the boy, who is autistic, from his dangerous perch."

Hat tip to Karin Montin.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Reptilian Overlords

2 Komodo dragons maul fruit-picker to death - MSNBC Articles: "Two Komodo dragons mauled a fruit-picker to death in eastern Indonesia, police and witnesses said Tuesday, the latest in a string of attacks on humans by the world's largest lizard species.

Police Sgt. Kosmas Jalang said 31-year-old Muhamad Anwar was attacked on Komodo, one of four islands where the giant reptile is found in the wild, minutes after he fell out of a sugar-apple tree on Monday."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Crime in California

Woman Allegedly Steals Brand New Breasts |
NBC Los Angeles
: "An Orange County, Calif. woman is accused of stealing a pair of new breasts and then going on the lam."


PULP BOY - FEATURE FILM - The Story of Emerson LaSalle

You gotta see it to believe it!

But What about "Finders, Keepers"?

News 8:: KFMB Stations, San Diego, California-DEA: Return Money Thrown During Freeway Chase, Or Else: "The DEA isn't going to let this one go. Thousands of dollars in drug money went flying out the window as a couple of suspects tried to ditch it during a chase. Now authorities want the cash back from the San Diegans who picked it up."

You Are What You Drink

Your Signature Cocktail - Proof Blog - "What we choose to drink can reveal more about us than, say, our astrological sign or whether we prefer Elvis or the Beatles."

Stoker Award Nominees

This year’s finalists for the Bram Stoker Awards are:

Superior Achievement in a Novel

COFFIN COUNTY by Gary Braunbeck (Leisure Books)
THE REACH by Nate Kenyon (Leisure Books)
DUMA KEY by Stephen King (Scribner)
JOHNNY GRUESOME by Gregory Lamberson (Bad Moon Books/Medallion Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel

MIDNIGHT ON MOURN STREET by Christopher Conlon (Earthling Publications)
THE GENTLING BOX by Lisa Mannetti (Dark Hart Press)
MONSTER BEHIND THE WHEEL by Michael McCarty and Mark McLaughlin (Delirium Books)
THE SUICIDE COLLECTORS by David Oppegaard (St. Martin’s Press)
FROZEN BLOOD by Joel A. Sutherland (Lachesis Publishing)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction

THE SHALLOW END OF THE POOL by Adam-Troy Castro (Creeping Hemlock Press)
MIRANDA by John R. Little (Bad Moon Books)
REDEMPTION ROADSHOW by Weston Ochse (Burning Effigy Press)
THE CONFESSIONS OF ST. ZACH by Gene O’Neill (Bad Moon Books)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction

PETRIFIED by Scott Edelman (Desolate Souls)
THE LOST by Sarah Langan (Cemetery Dance Publications)
THE DUDE WHO COLLECTED LOVECRAFT by Nick Mamatas, and Tim Pratt (Chizine)
EVIDENCE OF LOVE IN A CASE OF ABANDONMENT by M. Rickert (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
TURTLE by Lee Thomas (Doorways)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology

LIKE A CHINESE TATTOO edited by Bill Breedlove (Dark Arts Books)
HORROR LIBRARY, VOL. 3 edited by R. J. Cavender (Cutting Block Press)
BENEATH THE SURFACE edited by Tim Deal (Shroud Publishing)
UNSPEAKABLE HORROR edited by Vince A. Liaguno and Chad Helder (Dark Scribe Press)

Superior Achievement in a Collection

THE NUMBER 121 TO PENNSYLVANIA by Kealan Patrick Burke (Cemetery Dance Publications)
MAMA’S BOY and Other Dark Tales by Fran Friel (Apex Publications)
JUST AFTER SUNSET by Stephen King (Scribner)
GLEEFULLY MACABRE TALES by Jeff Strand (Delirium Books)

Superior Achievement in Nonfiction

CHEAP SCARES by Gregory Lamberson (McFarland)
ZOMBIE CSU by Jonathan Maberry (Citadel Press)
A HALLOWE’EN ANTHOLOGY by Lisa Morton (McFarland)
THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR by Amy Wallace, Del Howison, and Scott Bradley (HarperCollins)

Superior Achievement in a Poetry Collection

THE NIGHTMARE COLLECTION by Bruce Boston (Dark Regions Press)
THE PHANTOM WORLD by Gary William Crawford (Sam’s Dot Publishing)
VIRGIN OF THE APOCALYPSE by Corrine De Winter (Sam’s Dot Publishing)
ATTACK OF THE TWO-HEADED POETRY MONSTER by Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty (Skullvines Press)

The Vampire Lovers

Monday, March 23, 2009

Paging Stephanie Plum

Beware of ladies with pink handcuffs - Offbeat OC - "“Bend down,” Lisa tells me as we cruise past a pickup truck at a deserted Garden Grove park about 10 p.m.

Her twin sister Teresa crouches in the trunk of our rented Ford Fusion and I’m in the back seat with a notebook. Tonight I’m riding with bounty hunters — you know, like Duane “Dog” Chapman. They carry no guns. But they’re willing to pepper-spray or taze unwilling fugitives, tackle men three times their size and, some nights, slap them in girly PINK handcuffs."


On to Z! Quirky regional dictionary nears finish: "MADISON, Wis. – If you don't know a stone toter from Adam's off ox, or aren't sure what a grinder shop sells, the Dictionary of American Regional English is for you.

The collection of regional words and phrases is beloved by linguists and authors and used as a reference in professions as diverse as acting and police work. And now, after five decades of wide-ranging research that sometimes got word-gatherers run out of suspicious small towns, the job is almost finished.

The dictionary team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is nearing completion of the final volume, covering 'S' to 'Z.' A new federal grant will help the volume get published next year, joining the first four volumes already in print."

Hat tip to Angela Crider.

Gator Update (Connecticut Edition) - Conn. Woman Finds Alligator Roaming down the Street: "SOUTH WINDSOR, Conn.(AP) -- A small alligator has been captured in South Windsor after it was found roaming on a local street.

Police say a woman walking near the sewer treatment plant Sunday afternoon spotted the 3 1/2 foot reptile on Vibert Road.

Police contacted the Department of Environmental Protection's Conservation police and DEP experts arrived at the scene to capture the alligator."

Hat tip to Jennifer Jordan.

The Twouble with Twitters

Hat tip to Neatorama.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas School Board Set to Vote on Challenge to Evolution - "The Texas Board of Education will vote this week on a new science curriculum designed to challenge the guiding principle of evolution, a step that could influence what is taught in biology classes across the nation.

The proposed curriculum change would prompt teachers to raise doubts that all life on Earth is descended from common ancestry. Texas is such a huge textbook market that many publishers write to the state's standards, then market those books nationwide.

'This is the most specific assault I've seen against evolution and modern science,' said Steven Newton, a project director at the National Center for Science Education, which promotes teaching of evolution."


Just a reminder: The audio version of my Edgar-nominated short story, "Cranked," is still available for listening or downloading at 


Find out your brainsex - Times Online: "Body sex does not necessarily match brain sex so Dr Moir has devised a test to determine the gender of the brain."

You can take the test at the link.

Mars Attacks!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Hat tip to Hollywood Elsewhere.

Paging the Magnificent Seven

Rural Mexican villages dig moats to repel gangsters' raids | Front page | - Houston Chronicle: "CUAUHTEMOC, Mexico — Little town, big hell.

That proverb about turmoil in small communities has never seemed truer than in this gangster-besieged village and a neighboring one in the bean fields and desert scrub a long day’s drive south of the Rio Grande.

That proverb about turmoil in small communities has never seemed truer than in this gangster-besieged village and a neighboring one in the bean fields and desert scrub a long day’s drive south of the Rio Grande.

Since right before Christmas, armed raiders repeatedly have swept into both villages to carry away local men. Government help arrived too late, or not at all.

Terrified villagers — at the urging of army officers who couldn’t be there around the clock — have clawed moats across every access road but one into their communities, hoping to repel the raids."

Manhattan Madam Update

The Manhattan Madam: Sex, Drugs, Scandal and Greed Inside America's Most Successful Prostitution Ring: "Kristin Davis, a.k.a. The Manhattan Madam, owned New York's most successful prostitution ring, with over $5 million in annual sales and a roster of 10,000 rich, powerful, and famous clients. Their stories are revealed in The Manhattan Madam, her juicy tell-all, available only online.

Find out the dirty secrets of Kristin's celebrity, politician, and Wall Street clients. You'll be shocked and amazed by who used her services, and what they requested!

You'll learn about:

An internationally best-selling author who closed Kristin's business for a night so he could have all the girls to himself...

An Oscar-winning actor who liked to do kinky things with champagne...

Wall Street titans who spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on hookers-on corporate credit cards!"

Restore the Alamo!

The movie, that is.

Yellow Layer Failure, Vinegar Syndrome and Miscellaneous Musings by Robert A. Harris: "The time has come for a complete restoration and overhaul – a massive undertaking.

MGM and a number of vendors have been very supportive in the effort to save this epic film, and are making generous contributions. Still, in order to expedite a full and proper restoration we are seeking financial support from outside sources, both corporate and private, for the remaining 1.4 million dollars.

The work involved will take about 10 to 12 months. The final result will be two versions of the film – The original Roadshow and the General Release, both with Overture, Intermission, Entr'acte and Exit Music."

Link via Hollywood Elsewhere.

13 Failed Attempts To Start Film Franchises

Inventory: 13 Failed Attempts To Start Film Franchises | Music | A.V. Club

Two Alec Baldwin movies they didn't mention come immediately to mind.

Someone Else Must Want to Try for a Movie Franchise

BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Beatty sued over rights to Tracy: "Actor and director Warren Beatty is being sued over the rights to comic strip character Dick Tracy.

Tribune Media Services said Beatty 'wrongly claims' to have exclusive film and TV rights to the police detective."

New Story Posted at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: In an English Country Garden :: Ray Foster

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Judy and I went to Galveston to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels at the 1894 Grand Opera House. The Strand area has a few more shops and restaurants open than the last time we were there, and it was good to see people walking around. We drove down the seawall, too, and the traffic was awful. There were still a lot of spring breakers on the Island, and that was also good news.

After dinner at the Original Mexican Cafe, we wen to the play. Lots of fun. The actors were attractive and all had strong voices, the jokes were funny, the dancing was snappy, and the sets were great. I've seen both movie versions, so I was familiar with the story, but I still enjoyed the working out of the capers. All in all, a fine way to spend a long spring evening.