Saturday, July 11, 2009

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Nothing You Can Do :: Jason Hunt

Tremors Again

Searchers shovel Northwest dirt seeking giant worm - Yahoo! News: "The giant Palouse earthworm has taken on mythic qualities in this vast agricultural region that stretches from eastern Washington into the Idaho panhandle — its very name evoking the fictional sandworms from 'Dune' or those vicious creatures from the movie 'Tremors.'

The worm is said to secrete a lily-like smell when handled, spit at predators, and live in burrows 15 feet deep. There have been only a handful of sightings."

An Interview with the Blogger

Rafe McGregor has an interview with me posted on his blog. If you want to read it, click here.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Late John Wayne sci-fi role sees release on DVD | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "Any fan of old westerns would probably say that the 1976 movie, The Shootist, was John Wayne’s last film.

They’d be mistaken, according to Dave Burleson.

Burleson, who played minor parts in more than 70 westerns and was friends with Wayne, is releasing an independently produced film that contains Duke’s final unseen performance.

The film, a science-fiction western entitled Thunder Riders of the Golden West, was produced by Burleson in 1984, and includes footage that Wayne filmed before his death in 1979.

“It’s not the last movie he acted in, but it’s the last performance to be released,” said Burleson, who now resides in Barksdale, about two hours Southwest of Kerrville."

New Orleans Leads the Way

Armed with foam-core bats, the Big Easy Rollergirls will chase hard-core runners through French Quarter - "The Running of the Bulls in New Orleans, happening Saturday. Modeled after the festival of San Fermin in Spain, which started Tuesday, the local event involves hundreds of people in white and red gathering at 8 a.m. to run through the streets of the French Quarter. But instead of running from bulls, they will be running from something equally fearsome: the Big Easy Rollergirls. Armed with foam-core bats and wearing horns on their helmets."

Official website here.
Rollergirls are here.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, What'cha Gonna Do?

DASH-CAM VIDEO: Trooper, Officer Ticketed For Alleged Speeding | "The Ohio State Highway Patrol released video Friday after an off-duty trooper and off-duty officer were ticketed for allegedly driving nearly 150 mph on an interstate highway."

Scroll down in the article to read the dash-cam transcript to find out what the Bad Boys gonna do It'll make your day.

Crime of the Day

Man suspected of stealing duck calls arrested - The York Daily Record: "Police arrested a man suspected of stealing duck calls from a vehicle. Authorities said a 40-year-old man was booked Wednesday with burglary of a motor vehicle, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

iWon News - Police: Couple charged with having sex in drug car: "The car was a-rockin', and the law went a-knockin'.

Bexar (BAYR) County sheriff's deputies drawn by the actions of an amorous couple in a parked car allegedly found more than l'amour.

Deputy Ino Badillo (bah-DEE'-yoh) tells the San Antonio Express-News they also found enough equipment and chemicals in the car Thursday night to start a methamphetamine lab."

Note the helpful pronunciation tips.
Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Blade 2

Friday, July 10, 2009

News from Busted Flush Press

Busted Flush Press: "Busted Flush just signed up Scottish crime writer Donna Moore (Go to Helena Handbasket) for the American publication of her second novel, Old Dogs. This is an incredibly funny caper thriller... reads like a Guy Ritchie adaptation of The Thomas Crown Affair."

Remo Returns

Remo Williams rides again--The Hollywood Reporter: Risky Business: "'The Dark Knight” producer Charles Roven and “Transporter” producer Steve Chasman are teaming up to produce “The Destroyer,” a franchise vehicle that brings back ’80s action hero Remo Williams. The pair have set up the project at Columbia.

Charley and Vlas Parlapanides, who are penning the action epic “War of Gods” for Relativity, are on board to write the screenplay.

Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir wrote the initial batch of “Destroyer” adventure tomes, which centered on Williams, a New Jersey cop convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. Williams is sentenced to the electric chair, but his death is faked so he can be reborn as the vigilante character the Destroyer, joining a top-secret assassin squad set up by the government to operate outside the bounds of the law."

Harry Whittingon's Missing 38

Great material. Just great. Click the link.

Lynn Munroe Books

Forgotten Books: A TWIST OF SAND -- Geoffrey Jenkins

This is ThrillerFest weekend, right? Then what better time to celebrate one of the great thriller writers of 50 years ago, Geoffrey Jenkins. Jenkins' books came along at just the right time for me. I'd discovered Alistair MacLean a few years earlier and was looking for more in the same vein. Jenkins filled the bill. As you can see from the blurb on the cover, he impressed Ian Fleming, and the reviewers were equally impressed.

A Twist of Sand is the first-person account of the adventures of Captain Geoffrey Peace, who really goes through a lot. There's a lovely female scientist (should be played by Denise Richards in the movie, considering how great she was as a nuclear physicist in The World is Not Enough) whom someone is trying to kill, there's the Skeleton Coast ("the most dangerous shoreline in the world"), there's a killing journey across 30 miles of desert, there's mountain climbing, and there are wild animals: strand wolves, black lions, hyenas, and maybe a few more.

The local color's great, the action is fast, and the hero's competent and steadfast. Prime stuff for people (like me) who like old-fashioned wide-screen high adventure. As far as I know, none of Jenkins' books is in print in the U.S., but you should be able to find the paperback editions easily enough. Any of them would be worth a look.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ernest Hemingway, KGB

Hemingway revealed as failed KGB spy | Books | "Up till now, this has been a notably cheerful year for admirers of Ernest Hemingway – a surprisingly diverse set of people who range from Michael Palin to Elmore Leonard. Almost every month has brought good news: a planned Hemingway biopic; a new, improved version of his memoir, A Moveable Feast; the opening of a digital archive of papers found in his Cuban home; progress on a movie of Islands in the Stream.

Last week, however, saw the publication of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (Yale University Press), which reveals the Nobel prize-winning novelist was for a while on the KGB's list of its agents in America. Co-written by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vassiliev, the book is based on notes that Vassiliev, a former KGB officer, made when he was given access in the 90s to Stalin-era intelligence archives in Moscow."

Will the Persecution Never End?

iWon News - Trial begins in Paris Hilton film contract dispute: "Paris Hilton has arrived for the Miami trial of a federal lawsuit accusing her of failing to adequately promote her 2006 movie 'Pledge This!'

Hilton entered the courthouse Thursday afternoon wearing a black and white dress.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of some film investors claims the 28-year-old didn't honor her contract to promote the DVD release. The lawsuit seeks more than $8 million from Hilton and her entertainment firm."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Croc Update (Armadillo World Headquarters Edition)

Armadillo-like crocodile roamed Brazil: researchers - Yahoo! News: "Fossils found in Brazil are from a crocodile resembling a large armadillo that was a predator in the area around modern-day Sao Paulo state 90 million years ago, researchers said on Tuesday.

The 6.6-foot-long (two-meter-long), 265-lb (120-kg) crocodile, named the 'Armadillosuchus,' appears to have been unique to that area, the researchers at Rio de Janeiro's Federal University said."

They've Turned Me Wallabies Loose, Bruce

Wayward Wallaby Still Missing - Indiana News Story - WRTV Indianapolis: "A wallaby missing for more than two weeks might have been spotted in a Muncie neighborhood.

Julie Halteman said she saw a strange creature, like a small kangaroo, hop past the window of her son's bedroom Monday morning."

One More Sign of the Apocalypse

Summer movie season cooling off - Los Angeles Times: "It may be an honest admission that Hollywood finally has run out of ideas, but this week's announcement that DreamWorks is developing a movie based on the View-Master couldn't come at a more fitting moment: Brand names people have heard of -- even those associated with a simple toy -- now mean more to a film's success than $20-million stars."

Greatest Sandwich in America?

Bourdain Declares Three Little Pigs Sandwich ‘Greatest Sandwich in America’ [video] - Eat Me Daily: "In the latest episode of No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain went to Chicago and visited the Silver Palm restaurant. He had the Three Little Pigs Sandwich: smoked ham, a breaded pork cutlet, two strips of bacon, and two fried eggs, blanketed in a thick coat of gruyere, all on a brioche bun."

From Dusk Till Dawn

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Turtles in New York? Who Knew?

Turtles on runway delay flights in New York - News- "A runway at John F. Kennedy International Airport was shut down briefly Wednesday morning after at least 78 turtles emerged from a nearby bay and crawled onto the tarmac."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

UPDATE 2-US SEC charges Provident Royalties in $485 mln fraud | Deals | Regulatory News | Reuters: "(Reuters) - Provident Royalties LLC and three founders were charged with securities fraud for allegedly bilking thousands of oil and natural gas investors in a $485 million Ponzi scheme, the Securities and Exchange Commission said on Tuesday.

In a civil case, the SEC alleges that from about September 2006 until January 2009, Texas-based Provident Royalties raised nearly half a billion dollars from at least 7,700 U.S. investors by promising annual returns of over 18 percent and misrepresenting how the funds would be used."

Easter Island, Here I Come

Raw Story � Scientists claim ‘fountain of youth’ is on Easter Island: "A compound found in the soil of Easter Island stunningly boosts the lifespan of mice, enabling some to live more than 100 years old in human terms, researchers reported on Wednesday.

The remarkable molecule, a bacterial byproduct discovered in a sample taken from the remote Pacific archipelago in the 1970s, is called rapamycin, after the island’s Polynesian name of Rapa Nui."

What a Way to Go

Worker falls into chocolate vat, dies | Philadelphia Inquirer | 07/08/2009: "A temp worker at a Camden chocolate processing plant died this morning after he fell into an eight-foot vat used to mix and melt chocolate."

Oscar Mayer, R. I. P.

Oscar Mayer dies at 95 | Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Oscar G. Mayer, retired chairman of the Wisconsin-based meat processing company that bears his name, has died at the age of 95."

Michael Jackson News You Can Use

Michael Jackson -- #7 |

I Think I've Seen this Movie

British scientists grow sperm in laboratory | "Women who say they don't need a man may well be right – after human sperm was created in the lab."

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

Gator Update (Extension Cord Edition)

8-foot alligator captured in South Florida pool - Florida AP - "Residents in a Fort Lauderdale suburb lassoed an eight-foot alligator to a tree using an extension cord after the reptile had sneaked into their swimming pool.

Broward Sheriff's Office spokesman Mike Jachles said the residents in Oakland Park only called 911 after they had captured the large alligator late Tuesday night. About 30 people were gathered around the reptile by the time deputies arrived, but no one would admit to tying up the alligator."

Superman, We Have a Problem

SCOUTING NY - � The Last Phone Booth In New York City: "There are only four phone booths left in Manhattan - and they’re all on West End Avenue."

Hot Stuff

Tabasco - Her Majesty’s hot favourite - Times Online: "Tabasco is sold in 160 countries, cheering up bland breakfasts and lacklustre lunches, bringing zest to oysters and putting the bloody into mary. It is found in restaurants such as Hix Oyster & Chop House, Richard Corrigan’s Bentley’s and the Bibendum Oyster Bar (of course), and even in that stalwart of spice, Star of India.

Now it transpires that this most bravura of exports is a favourite of the British Royal Family, so much so that it has been granted a royal warrant by the Queen — making it the only independent US firm in the food category. Heinz, owners of Worcester and HP Sauce, also has the coveted imprimateur."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Galveston baffled by 30 burnt palm trees - Latest News - "Galveston officials are investigating the torching of 30 palm trees in the last two months.

'What we've got on our hands, a serial tree arsonist, I've never seen before,' said Galveston Fire Marshal Gilbert Robinson. 'I've talked to colleagues of mine, and that's the first they've heard of setting palm trees on fire.'"

Village of the Damned

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

King Dork -- Frank Portman

King Dork is hilarious, but it's kind of hard to describe. The narrator, Tom Henderson, the King Dork of the title, professes to hate The Catcher in the Rye, but his tale has a lot in common with Holden Caulfield's, at least in its narration. Both Holden and Tom tend to digress quite a bit, and the digressions and the narrative voices are what make the books so entertaining.

Tom is a high-school loner, just trying to survive among the psychotic "normal" students. He's still trying to adjust to the death of his cop father six years earlier, too, and when he discovers a stash of old books that belonged to his dad (including Catcher), he starts to investigate his death. There's a secret code, lots of research, and all kinds of connections to the present. Along the way, there's also lots of casual sex, drinking, and drug use. High school sure wasn't like this when I was a kid. Or maybe it was and I just missed out.

I did wonder about a few things. Though the book's supposedly set a few years ago, you'd think it was set much earlier. Nobody has a cell phone. When Tom's in the hospital, he has to go out into the hallway and use a pay phone to make a call, irritating all the other patients who are waiting to use it. Tom and Sam do their research in a library, using the microfilm machine. Retro in the extreme. Music plays a big part in the book (Frank Portman's a musician, the leader of The Mr. T Experience), but there's hardly a mention of anything after the '80s. Instead we get allusions to Trout Mask Replica, the Kinks, and plenty of others from that era.

But who cares? It's fun reading all the way, there's a mystery to solve, and there's even some closing advice for teenage boys (get in a band). Check it out.

A Thesaurus as Big as a Brontosaurus

After a 44-year labour of love, world’s biggest thesaurus is born - Times Online: "Dr Johnson famously took nine years to write his dictionary, but the biggest thesaurus in the world will be published this autumn after a labour of love spanning five decades.

Work on the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary began in 1965. The mammoth enterprise has survived fire and funding problems and has had to be constantly updated to incorporate new words.

With 800,000 meanings for 600,000 words organised into more than 230,000 categories and subcategories, the thesaurus is twice the size of Roget’s version."

My Phone Doesn't Even Have a Camera

Want to know the bus schedule in Taipei? Or how to make authentic Gujarati vegetarian meals?
100 Awesome iPhone Apps for Culture Snobs | Online College Tips - Online Colleges

Erik Estrada is The Man

Erik Estrada talks child porn with Len & Bob - Sports Pros(e): "After botching the lyrics to 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' in front of 40,042 people at Monday night's Cubs game, the Bella Vista, Ark. pitchman celebrated his 60th birthday by telling broadcasters Len Kasper and Bob Brenly during the seventh-inning interview, 'I've seen my fair share of child pornography and I want to do something about it.'

Estrada went on to praise a certain part of porn star Ron Jeremy's anatomy."

A Virtual Convention?

Mystery Fanfare: A Virtual Convention: PP WebCon: "The Poisoned Pen at the forefront of so many things in the mystery world will be hosting a The World's First Virtual Convention on October 24. Yes, virtual.

Poisoned Pen Press and The Poisoned Pen mystery bookstore of Scottsdale AZ will host the first major virtual mystery convention online, PP Web Con. 'Top mystery and crime writers from all over the world will meet and mix with readers and others online in a virtual convention center on October 24th, 2009.' PP Web Con's blog is blank now, but it promises to list all the latest news about the convention's planned events and attendees."

Dracula Has Risen From the Grave

Monday, July 06, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way By conventional wisdom, El Paso, Texas should be one of the scariest cities in America. In 2007, the city's poverty rate was a shade over 27 percent, more than twice the national average. Median household income was $35,600, well below the national average of $48,000. El Paso is three-quarters Hispanic, and more than a quarter of its residents are foreign-born. Given that it's nearly impossiblefor low-skilled immigrants to work in the United States legitimately, it's safe to say that a significant percentage of El Paso's foreign-born population is living here illegally.

El Paso also has some of the laxer gun control policies of any non-Texan big city in the country, mostly due to gun-friendly state law. And famously, El Paso sits just over the Rio Grande from one of the most violent cities in the western hemisphere, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, home to a staggering 2,500 homicides in the last 18 months alone. A city of illegal immigrants with easy access to guns, just across the river from a metropolis ripped apart by brutal drug war violence. Should be a bloodbath, right?

Here's the surprise: There were just 18 murders in El Paso last year, in a city of 736,000 people. To compare, Baltimore, with 637,000 residents, had 234 killings. In fact, since the beginning of 2008, there were nearly as many El Pasoans murdered while visiting Juarez (20) than there were murdered in their home town (23).

El Paso is among the safest big cities in America.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Man Survives Being Stung More Than 250 Times by Bees | AMOG - Alpha Males of the Group: "Harold Braun, aged 74, has miraculously survived being stung more than 250 times in an attack by bees while he mowed the lawn in his Waco, Texas backyard. The poor man was hospitalized after he ran over an area covered by a rubber mat and the movement agitated a hive of nearby bees. Paramedics pulled more than 150 stingers from his body and the hospital staff removed another 100 or so."

Looks Just Like Him To Me

Family Sees Image Of Michael Jackson In Tree Stump - "A Stockton family says the image of Michael Jackson appeared on his tree stump the day the King of Pop died.

Like the 'Virgin Grilled Mary' or 'Cheesus,' the family thinks they've got an unusual spiritual image staring right at them from their own front yard. Felix Garcia has lived in the house for 22 years, and has never noticed the apparent image in his birch tree stump."

The City but not the Stars

US manned space flight in doubt 40 years after moon walk: "US ambitions to send astronauts back to the moon as a prelude to missions to Mars have been put in doubt by budgetary constraints 40 years after man's triumphant landing on Earth's nearest neighbor."

Sort of makes me long for the '50s again, when I was reading Amazing and Fantastic and Imaginative Tales and there was never any doubt that we'd be going to the stars Real Soon Now. Reality bites.

Capricorn 3

Russian spacecraft landed on moon hours before Americans - Telegraph: "n July 1969, the telescopes at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, in Cheshire, were tracking the Americans' Eagle Lander carrying astronauts towards the moon's surface.

Sir Bernard Lovell, the astronomer, was among the team listening to transmissions coming from the area of space and began tracking the unmanned Soviet spacecraft Luna 15, which was trying to collect samples of lunar soil and rock and then return to Earth before the US mission.

The recordings from Jodrell's Lovell radio telescope, which were hidden in archives until researchers found them, show the Russian craft orbited the Moon and crash-landed onto its surface at 15:50 on July 21 – just a few hours before the Americans lifted off."


Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tarzan Update

Tarzan swings into Paris | GlobalPost: "PARIS — Edgar Rice Burroughs never visited Africa but he created one of the continent’s most enduring myths: Tarzan.

In his story about the aristocratic orphan boy raised by apes in the jungle, Burroughs painted a picture of a jungle Africa, teeming with tigers that do not exist in the real Africa, and populating the continent with “savages [who] danced in frantic ecstasy”.

Now Tarzan is on show at one of Paris' most popular museums, which has dedicated its summer exhibition to the ape man."

Happy Birthday, Bikini Swimsuits!

This Day in History 1946: Bikini introduced: "On July 5, 1946, French designer Louis Reard unveils a daring two-piece swimsuit at the Piscine Molitor, a popular swimming pool in Paris. Parisian showgirl Micheline Bernardini modeled the new fashion, which Reard dubbed 'bikini,' inspired by a news-making U.S. atomic test that took place off the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean earlier that week."

Also on this day in history, Elvis Presley recorded "That's All Right, Mama," his first commercial release and one of the all-time greats.

Thats All Right - Elvis Presley

New Stories at Darkest before the Dawn

Darkest Before the Dawn


Roger Ebert recommends seeing Up in 2-D, but I went to the 3-D version, anyway. It's a wonderful movie, and I'm sure it plays just as well either way, though maybe the colors are better without the glasses.

I can understand why Up is being sold as a kids' movie. That's where the money is. But it's more for geezers than kids. The poster to the left gives you a pretty good idea of the importance of the characters, except that the house has a bigger part than the poster indicates.

Edward Asner is the voice of Carl Fredricksen, an old guy who's just lost his wife, Eileen. The sequence that begins the film tells of how the two met, and then there's a terrific silent bit that fills in all you need to know about the rest of their life together.

Like Rick Blaine, I'm a sentimentalist. I know that's a character flaw, but I blame my grandmother Brodnax, who often read "The Wreck of the Hesperus" and "The Babes in the Wood" to me when I was at an impressionable age. At any rate, it's possible that I shed a manly tear during Up's silent moments, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Carl had once promised Eileen that they'd travel to South America to a plateau straight out of the Lost World, just as their hero, Captain Muntz had done. Real life intervened, and they never got there. Now Carl's alone, and he's been declared a public menace. He's about to be carted off to The Home. But he doesn't go. He sets out on one last great adventure, thanks to zillions of balloons. A kid tags along accidentally, and when they land on the plateau, the adventures begin in earnest. I'll say no more about those, not wanting to spoil the fun. But I have to admit that the adventures aren't the main reason I liked the film. It was Carl's story that got to me. He might be an animation, but he was as real as any character I've seen in a movie in years.

And then there are the dogs. They're great, particularly the one that adopts Carl. The dog tells a great joke about a squirrel, one that Dave Barry would appreciate.

This movie, along with Gran Torino, proves that you can make good movies about geezers and the people will flock to them. The filmmakers might have to disguise the fact that their movies are about geezers, as Up does, but that's okay as long as the films get made. I loved Up, and while it might not be your cuppa, you should give it a try just to see.

This Is Why James Bond Never Married

MI6 chief blows his cover as wife's Facebook account reveals family holidays, showbiz friends and links to David Irving | Mail Online: "The new head of MI6 has been left exposed by a major personal security breach after his wife published intimate photographs and family details on the Facebook website.

Sir John Sawers is due to take over as chief of the Secret Intelligence Service in November, putting him in charge of all Britain's spying operations abroad.

But his wife's entries on the social networking site have exposed potentially compromising details about where they live and work, who their friends are and where they spend their holidays."

Gator Update (Minnesota Edition)

Alligator Spoils Eagan Barbeque | "And finally tonight: A Minnesota family's Fourth of July backyard barbecue drew an interesting guest this weekend... A 3-foot alligator.Linda Savage was walking in her yard in Eagan when spotted the gator in a pond.At first, her family didn't quite believe her.But then everyone got a closer look and saw for themselves.Police were called to take care of the alligator."

The Big Country