Saturday, August 22, 2009

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Hit Women: A Bo Fexler Short Story :: Clair Dickson

For George Kelley

Helena Bonham Carter to play Enid Blyton in new BBC biopic - Telegraph: "Helena Bonham Carter is to play Enid Blyton in a new BBC drama that will tell the life story of one of Britain's best loved children's authors."

Elmer Kelton, R. I. P.

Elmer Kelton dies at 83 : Local : "Award-winning novelist Elmer Kelton of San Angelo died Saturday. He was 83. More details will follow."

I hardly know what to say. Elmer was one of the greats, not just as a writer but as a person. I first met him when I lived in Brownwood, nearly 30 years ago. What a tremendous loss to the writing community and the world.

UPDATE: Elmer Kelton dies at 83 : Local : "SAN ANGELO — Elmer Stephen Kelton, 83, died Saturday. He was born April 29, 1926, at Horse Camp in Andrews County to Mr. and Mrs. R.W. “Buck” Kelton, and grew up on the McElroy Ranch in Upton and Crane counties. He completed his education at the University of Texas after serving in Europe during World War II.

Kelton married Anna Lipp of Ebensee, Austria in 1947 and began a career in agriculture journalism at the San Angelo Standard-Times in 1949. He became editor of the Sheep & Goat Raiser magazine in 1963 and associate editor of Livestock Weekly in 1968, retiring in 1990. Kelton maintained a parallel career as a freelance writer, beginning with short stories in the post-war pulp magazine trade, progressing to novels, non-fiction books and countless magazine articles. In all, he wrote more than 40 books, including “The Time it Never Rained,” “The Wolf and the Buffalo,” “The Day the Cowboys Quit,” and “The Good Old Boys,” which became a Turner Network movie directed by and starring Tommy Lee Jones. Kelton was named the number-one Western writer of all time by the Western Writers of America. The WWA voted him seven Spur awards for best Western novel of the year and the career Saddleman Award, and he received four Western Heritage Wrangler awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame."

Sheriff Dan Rhodes Marches On

Today I signed the contract to write the 18th Sheriff Dan Rhodes novel. For a while there, I didn't think the sheriff was going to make it to #18, but now it's a go. All I have to do is write the book, but then that's the easy part, right?

The way things are going, I'm not at all sure there'll be a #19 in the series. Sales aren't increasing (some of you must not be buying), but at least they're holding their own. That might not be good enough for another sale, but if it's not, I won't be too sad. When I wrote the first book all those years ago, I never thought I'd still be writing about the sheriff. Heck, I never thought I'd sell a second book. As it turned out, I've sold dozens, under my own name and many others, so I've had a much better run than I ever dreamed of.

I even have a couple of other things going on, so there might be some other books if things work out. And assuming I'm not too lazy to write them. There's always that possibility. I'm getting lazier every day. Old age, I guess. It's a good thing the sheriff doesn't age. If he did, he'd be too lazy to solve all those crimes in Blacklin County.

I Even Do This In Walmart

Scientists reveal the real reason why we walk in circles when lost - Times Online: "It has long been a staple of adventure stories: the hero, lost in the wilderness, painstakingly tries to find his way back to civilisation only to stumble across his own tracks and discover that he has been walking in circles.

Now the popular belief that people in unfamiliar surroundings tend to walk round in circles has been confirmed by scientists."

Gator Update (Chicago Edition Update)

Young alligator caught in Chicago River -- "Authorities say a young alligator captured in the unlikely waters of the Chicago River is now safe in the hands of animal experts.

The 3-foot alligator was spotted Thursday in the North Branch of the river, near Damen and Fullerton avenues. Attempts to capture it then failed, but the Chicago Animal Care and Control Department and a reptile expert from the Chicago Herpetological Society caught it early Friday morning."

The President's Analyst

Friday, August 21, 2009

Shamus Nominees


The Private Eye Writers of America (PWA) is proud to announce the nominees for the 28th annual Shamus Awards, given annually to recognize outstanding achievement in private eye fiction. The 2009 awards cover works first published in the U.S. in 2008. The awards will be presented at the PWA banquet, to be held Friday evening Oct. 16, 2009, in Indianapolis, Indiana, during the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention.

2009 Shamus Awards Nominees

Best Hardcover
Salvation Boulevard by Larry Beinhart (Nation Books), featuring Carl Vanderveer
Empty Ever After by Reed Farrel Coleman (Bleak House Books), featuring Moe Prager
The Blue Door by David Fulmer (Harcourt), featuring Eddie Cero
The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes (Wm. Morrow), featuring Ed Loy
The Ancient Rain by Domenic Stansberry (St. Martins Minotaur) featuring Dante Mancuso

Best First PI Novel
Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer (Doubleday), featuring Riley Spartz
Swann’s Last Song by Charles Salzberg (Five Star), featuring Henry Swann
The Eye of Jade by Diane Wei Liang (Simon & Schuster), featuring Mei Wang
In the Heat by Ian Vasquez (St. Martins Minotaur), featuring Miles Young
Veil of Lies by Jeri Westerson (St Martins Minotaur), featuring Crispin Guest

Best Paperback Original
Snow Blind by Lori Armstrong (Medallion) featuring Julie Collins
Shot Girl by Karen Olson (Obsidian) featuring Annie Seymour
The Stolen by Jason Pinter (MIRA) featuring Henry Parker
The Black Hand by Will Thomas (Touchstone/Simon &Schuster) featuring Cyrus Barker and Thomas Llewelyn.
The Evil That Men Do by Dave White (Crown/Three Rivers Press) featuring Jackson Donne

Best Short Story
“Family Values” by Mitch Alderman (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, June 2008), featuring Bubba Simms
“Last Island South” by John C. Boland. (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Sep/Oct 2008), featuring Meggie Trevor
“The Blonde Tigress” by Max Allan Collins (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, June 2008), featuring Nate Heller
“Discovery” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Nov 2008), featuring Pita Cárdenas
“Panic on Portage Path” by Dick Stodghill (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Jan/Feb 2008), featuring Jack Eddy and Bram Geary.


PWA was founded in 1981 by Robert J. Randisi to recognize the private eye genre and its writers. Previous Shamus winners include Lawrence Block, Ken Bruen, Harlan Coben, Max Allan Collins, Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, O’Neil deNoux, Brendan DuBois, Loren D. Estleman, Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, Sue Grafton, James W. Hall, Steve Hamilton, Jeremiah Healy, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, John Lutz, Bill Pronzini, S.J. Rozan, Sandra Scoppettone and Don Winslow. P.I. Guy logo by Terry Beatty.


Movie Times Next to Disappear from Print Editions?: "KANSAS CITY, Mo. Filmgoers who have long turned to the local newspaper to find theaters and show times for movies may have to start looking elsewhere as theater chains rethink the value of paper and ink in a digital age.

The top two U.S. chains, Regal Entertainment Group and AMC Entertainment Inc., have begun in recent months to reduce or eliminate the small-type listings showing the start times for movies at individual theaters. Theaters typically must pay newspapers to print that information."

Flannery O'Connor Update

Flannery O'Connor: A 'contrary' woman's legacy - "Flannery O'Connor did not expect to become the subject of a biography. She thought the narrow borders of her life -- lived 'between the house and the chicken yard' -- wouldn't give a writer much to work with.

It would therefore come as a surprise (and probably secretly please her) to learn she is the focus of at least three."

I'm Sure They'll Re-Imagine This

WB, Singer to lift 'Excalibur' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety: "Warner Bros. has closed a deal to remake the 1981 John Boorman-directed 'Excalibur,' with Bryan Singer producing and developing the picture as a potential directing vehicle."

Croc Update (School Trip to the Zoo Edition)

Link via Neatorama.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Rice study: There's a rivalry between your nostrils | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "But what would happen if each nostril inhaled a different smell and sent varying signals to the brain? That's what Rice University psychologist Denise Chen wondered, so she set up a series of experiments to find out. The results were published Thursday in the journal Current Biology.

In one experiment, 12 subjects took 20 sniffs from a specially designed bottle that carried a rose scent to one nostril and a marker pen to the other. For each participant, at times, the rose smell dominated, and other times the marker did.

Why? “The brain is conflicted,” Chen said."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

North Houston man dies watching movies in garage | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A North Houston man with a habit of watching movies in his car appears to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning and sickened six other people in his home this morning, authorities said.

Damian Scott, 26, told his wife, Latrice, around 4:30 a.m. that he was headed out to the garage to watch movies on his car DVD player, said James Bonaby, a homicide investigator with the Houston Police Department. Scott's wife noticed the couple's 7-month-old baby seemed sick this morning and went out to the garage to tell her husband, whom she found dead and slumped over the steering wheel with the car engine still running, Bonaby said."

The Mysterious Muck Monster

Strange sea creature dubbed 'Muck Monster' |West Palm Beach News, South Florida Breaking News, Forecast, Video from WPTV: "There's something lurking just under the surface of the Lake Worth Lagoon.

Greg Reynolds of recalls, 'Channel marker ten is the first time we saw the unknown creature.' 'I hollered out...and said what is that? We followed it, started taking video.'

This mysterious creature was caught on tape by the LagoonKeepers."

Video at the link.

Here's the Plot of Your Next Novel

Extortionist Claims "Dr. Phil" Episode Sparked Sex-Slave Scam Plan -- "A extortion plot that targeted a Greenwich millionaire's secret online world in which women were his sex slaves was hatched after an Ohio couple watched an episode of 'Dr. Phil,' the Greenwich Time reported."

James Bond Was Never Like This

Police evict MI5 whistleblower Shayler from farmhouse | Mail Online: "Former MI5 whistleblower David Shayler was evicted today from the National Trust farmhouse where he had been squatting.
[. . . .]
Speaking after the eviction, cross-dressing Shayler said: 'I wonder if the council tax payers think it's a good idea to have police surrounding us, when we're a bunch of harmless hippies? 'This must have cost them a fortune.'

Last month, he unveiled his alter-ego 'Delores Kane' to reporters, posing at the farmhouse with false breasts, mini-skirt and ginger wig.

The troubled Shayler also revealed how he now often dresses in women's clothing and claimed it was 'part of the prophecy' because 'Jesus was a transvestite', adding: 'It was important to have feminine attributes and the people I live with don't mind at all.'"

Photo at the link.

Gator Update (Chicago Edition)

Was That an Alligator in the Chicago River? | NBC Chicago: "There’s ‘gator in these parts.

Not something you expect to hear in Chicago, but numerous reports flooded news and police stations this morning talking about an alligator in the north branch of the Chicago River, police said.

Observers saw the reptile, believed to be between two and four feet long, chillin’ on the rocks at Fullerton and Damen, Police News Affairs Officer Kevin Kilmer said."

A Little Test

Has your classical knowledge stood the test of time? - Telegraph: "As thousands of students receive their A-level results, how much do you remember from your school days? Take our Classical Education Quiz, and see if you can tell your Tantalus from your Tacitus."

Another List that Alvin, Texas, Isn't On

America's 10 Best Places to Grow Up - Yahoo! News: "If you could create the ideal community to raise a child in, what ingredients would you include? First off, you'd probably want a low crime rate. A strong school system would also be key. From there, you'd need lots of other children, expansive green spaces to play in, and plenty of nearby family events. Toss in an abundance of artistic and recreational activities, and all of a sudden you've got one heck of a place to grow up. At U.S. News, we wanted to find out if any communities like that already existed--and if so, where they were located. So we dug into our database of 2,000 different places all across the country and pinpointed the locales that met these criteria. We then examined these communities more closely to determine which places offered the best combination of safe neighborhoods, fun activities, and top-notch educators. Our selections appear below, in our list of America's 10 Best Places to Grow Up:"

Forgotten Movies: The Good Humor Man

As you can see from this post, I'm a fan of this movie. It's slapstick all the way, but, hey, it's a crime movie, and when I was a kid I thought it was hilarious. I still like it, and the best part of the movie's not included in the trailer. "Niatpac Levram!" I can say no more.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Bambi And The Gun - August 20, 2009: "An impromptu photo shoot of a scantily clad waitress holding a police assault rifle has led to the firing of one Texas sheriff's deputy and the disciplining of four other lawmen. Earlier this month, a group of Midland County Sheriff's Office deputies were eating at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Round Rock when they asked a waitress to pose with an AR-15 rifle on the trunk of their police cruiser."

Yes, the photo is at the link.

Another List I'm Not On

Mysteries You Might Have Missed Along the Way : NPR: "Getting ready for one last trip to the beach? Have a long plane ride coming up? Or are you just ready to become engrossed in a good book? Try these mysteries you may have missed:"

Bouchercon 2011 Guests Announced

Spirits of St. Louis: Bouchercon, Sep. 15-18, 2011

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Waco woman accused of hitting boy in wheelchair during scuffle over ball at Dallas hospital | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Breaking News for Dallas-Fort Worth | Dallas Morning News: "A 23-year-old woman was arrested Tuesday evening after getting into a scuffle over a soccer ball with a 13-year-old boy in a wheelchair at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.

Mikka Shardai Cline of Waco faces a charge of injury to a child. She was being held Wednesday in the Dallas County Jail in lieu of $1,500 bail. She could not be reached for comment.

Dallas police said that during the scuffle, Cline struck the boy's presurgical medical halo, which was screwed into his skull."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


13 (More) Worst Products for Men Ever Created | The Art of Manliness

Check out the Dila-Therm!
Link via Neatorama.

Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury!

My youth wouldn't have been the same without the work of Ray Bradbury. Maybe my life wouldn't have been the same. When I read "The Fireman" in Galaxy, I thought it was the best thing ever. It's still right up there. And then The Martian Chronicles and The October Country. My, my. I love 'em still.

Todd Mason notes in a comment that I'm two days early with this post. Oh, well.

10 Curious Everyday Inventions

I'm not sure you can call garden gnomes an invention, but I'm glad they're included.

Another 10 Curious Everyday Inventions - Listverse: "These are things we tend to take for granted and we certainly wouldn’t know the name of the inventor if asked."

Quote of the Day

Birmingham, Alabama school board candidate Antwon Womack admits lying about background but vows not to quit - "Antwon Womack, candidate for District 6 on the Birmingham Board of Education, said at a news conference Tuesday that he will not drop out of the race after The Birmingham News reported that he lied about much of his resume while campaigning.

'My campaign is not based on a foundation of lies,' Womack said Tuesday. 'My values are not lies. It's just the information I provided to the people is false.'"

eBay Item of the Day

Crypt Above Marilyn Monroe For Sale - eBay (item 320412140795 end time Aug-24-09 12:00:00 PDT)

We're Number . . . , uh, Never Mind

Nation Digest: Life Expectancy Hits New High - "The United States continues to lag behind about 30 countries in estimated life span. Japan has the longest life expectancy: 83 for people born in 2007, according to the World Health Organization."

He's Not Worried about his Lawn

Can 20-year-old Ekaterina keep up with 61-year-old Rolling Stone legend Ronnie Wood? | Mail Online: "Ronnie Wood's young lover seems a little worse for wear after stepping out with her legendary rocker beau Ronnie Wood.

The twenty-year-old Russian collapsed into the back of a taxi following a meal at upmarket London fish restaurant J Sheekey.

Despite the four-decade age gap, it seems it's Ekaterina who's struggling to keep up with ageing Ron."

Geat photos a the link.

Kasey Lansdale Update

I'm sure that Kasey Lansdale mentioned her new CD in the video interview a few days ago. Judy and I listened to it on the way home from Armadillocon, and we were once again impressed by how good Kasey is. The new CD's not available for purchase yet, but when it is, you'll want to be sure to get a copy. Six great tunes, and I liked all of 'em. Can't decide which is my favorite, but maybe it's "Just Another Guy." If I can remember, I'll let you know when you can get one, but for now, click the link on her name up there and listen to some other songs on her site. Great stuff.

Beat the Reaper -- Josh Bazell

The premise of this book sounds a tad hard to believe: Former hitman Pietro Brwna (aka The Bearclaw) is now Doctor Peter Brown. He has a backstory that's developed in the course of the novel, and it's a dilly. It's one of those that starts off 'way over the top, builds from there, and then takes a quantum leap higher. The current story is just as preposterous.

This book has pretty much everything. Sex? Check. Guns? Check. Sharks? Check. Sharks, guns, and sex together? Check. Humor? Check. Knives? Check. (And one special knife that, well, you'll just have to read the book.) Medical procedures? Check. Odd medical facts? Check. Footnotes? Check. And so on.

The pace is relentless, the writing is fun to read, the voice is engaging. I'll bet this one is already headed for a theater near you, but Hollywood will screw it up. Read the book. It'll be a lot more fun.

How the West Was Won

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I Can Quit Anytime I Want To

America's First Internet Addiction Center Opens Near Seattle: "Rehab has never been this geeky. America's first internet/gaming addiction center is here. It's located in Fall City, Wash., not far from Microsoft's headquarters, and is called reSTART, says TechFlash."

Plots with Guns #7 Now On-Line


Classic Paperback Reads

Here's a newish blog that's well worth your time. check it out.

Classic Paperback Reads

Jurassic Runway

Prehistoric 'Runway' Used by Flying Reptile - Yahoo! News: "A prehistoric runway for flying pterosaurs has been discovered for the first time.

Scientists uncovered the first known landing tracks of one of these extinct flying reptiles at a site dubbed 'Pterosaur Beach,' in the fine-grained limestone deposits of an ancient lagoon in southwestern France dating back some 140 million years ago to the Late Jurassic."

And Now the World Is a Safer Place

Elkhart bomb squad destroys suspicious lunch box: "A Michiana child may have to brown bag it to school this week, after a lunch box was destroyed by the Elkhart City Bomb Squad.
[. . . .]
It all started with a report of a suspicious package Monday night at the NIBCO Water and Ice Park. That's where police found the new 'Nightmare Before Christmas' lunch box on a sidewalk.

Bomb squad officers tore the metal box into pieces using a high-pressure spray of water.

Nothing was inside the lunch box."

Surprising Signs You'll Live To 100

Surprising Signs You'll Live To 100 - AOL Health

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.


My Bad! Woman's House Mistakenly Auctioned by Bank | NBC Miami: "You know times are tough when people are getting kicked out of their house when it’s not even for sale.

That’s what happened to Anna Ramirez after she found all of her stuff out on the front lawn of her Homestead home last week and a strange man demanding she get out of his newly purchased house.

The eviction came after Ramirez’s home was mistakenly auctioned off to the highest bidder by her bank, Washington Mutual. Usually, you get a warning before you get the boot. A foreclosure letter. Maybe a sign saying your house is up for sale. Not Ramirez, who found her belongings bashed and battered in the street."

Gator Update (New Jersey Lake Monster Edition)

City lake monster is an alligator indeed - The Trentonian News: Serving Trenton and surrounding communities. ( "Wildlife experts yesterday determined that the “mini-monster” seen Monday in the lake in the Island neighborhood’s Stacy Park is an alligator after all, not a caiman.

But they couldn’t lure it out of the muddy waters even with tasty snacks."

IMDB's Top Rated Films of tne New Millennium

IMDb | Acura presents "The Power of Film": "What hath this new century wrought? In our latest Power of Film feature, we chronicle the The Top Rated Films of the New Millennium, looking at the 15 films made since 2000 that our users have rated as the best of the new millennium. Despite the prevalence of a certain trilogy and a particular comic book hero, there are surprises to be had, from independent films to non-English language films to even two animated favorites, one from just this year."

Get a Rope Update

'LEMON' LAW KID BACK IN DRINK BIZ - New York Post: "The 10-year-old West Side girl who got a $50 ticket for selling lemonade in Riverside Park was back in business yesterday and had a special customer -- Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe.

Clementine Lee set up her stand in Columbus Circle, where Benepe bought three cups at 50 cents a pop.
[. . . .]
Meanwhile, the parks enforcement-patrol officer who gave the little girl the summons has been temporarily removed from enforcement and is being retrained in park rules and regulations."

Jeremiah Johnson

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mars Needs Women, but . . .

Canada needs sperm donors: "Thousands of Canadians who are infertile in Canada have to place all their hopes on just 33 men who are Canadian sperm donors. Other donors are imported from outside of the nation, a result of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Here's the Plot of Your Next Redneck Noir Novel

'Citizen Of The Year' Gets Prison Time - Omaha News Story - KETV Omaha: "An Omaha man honored earlier this year by the Douglas County Sheriff's Office as a 'Citizen of the Year' has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison in a federal drug case.

Twenty-seven-year-old Justin Snelling was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to conspiring to distribute methamphetamine.
[. . . .]
In February, Snelling was charged in a federal case, accused of selling drugs to white supremacists."

100 Books

Tagged by Steve over at Western Fiction Review with another one of those memes. This time, it's a list of 100 books, and I'm supposed to tell which ones I've read. I've put those titles in bold. There's no book #26. What the heck. Every list has a book 26, but not this one.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (first two only)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (there are bound to be a couple I missed)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Graham
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma-Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (but not the Chronicles)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (had to read this at school)
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (another school read)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante (most, but not all)
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (all and more than once)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Armadillo Fights Crime

Cops Use Old Brink's Truck to Shame Suspects - "This industrial city, hard hit by the recession, has found a new, low-budget way to fight crime: Park an unmanned, former Brink's truck bristling with video cameras in front of the dwellings of troublemakers.

Police here call it the Armadillo. They say it has restored quiet to some formerly rowdy streets. Neighbors' calls for help have dropped sharply. About half of the truck's targets have fled the neighborhood."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Sherwood Cryer, R. I. P.

Former owner of Gilley's dies at 81 | Pasadena/Baytown news | - Houston Chronicle: "Sherwood Cryer, whose honky-tonk Gilley's created a lasting image of the Houston area as a blue-collar, redneck boomtown after it was immortalized in the movie Urban Cowboy, has died. He was 81.
[. . . .]
“He was dumb like a fox,” said Sandy Brokaw, the public relations manager for Cryer and his partner Mickey Gilley, for whom the bar was named. “He didn't say much, but he was one of the smartest people I ever knew, a welder by day who put that club together at night. He was a marketing genius.”

Cryer's genius was most evident in the mechanical bull he invented, the bucking, spinning mechanical ride that brought lines of people into the Pasadena bar and made for Urban Cowboy's most memorable scenes — John Travolta, Debra Winger and Scott Glenn taking turns atop it. He and employees would scour area streets for padding for it."

Armadillocon Photos

Jayme Blaschke has posted some photos from Armadillocon, including this one. I swear it wasn't me who goosed Joe Lansdale.

This Year's List

Beloit College Mindset List: "If the entering college class of 2013 had been more alert back in 1991 when most of them were born, they would now be experiencing a severe case of d�j�vu. The headlines that year railed about government interventions, bailouts, bad loans, unemployment and greater regulation of the finance industry. The Tonight Show changed hosts for the first time in decades, and the nation asked “was Iraq worth a war?”"

New Story at Eastern Standard Crime

Eastern Standard Crime: [ESC Fiction #4] "Last Night" by Libby Cudmore

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Police: Man used his truck to ram cars in Grapevine | Top Stories | "A man suspected of driving drunk is accused of ramming three cars early Sunday on a service road and a parking lot, making a U-turn on the road and attacking one car with his pickup truck, police said today.

No one was injured in the attack, police said.

Police arrested the driver after his truck became disabled and he got out of it, punched himself in the face and sat down."

Get a Rope

10-Year-Old Girl Fined $50 For Lemonade Stand At NY Park - "It's a summertime tradition for kids everywhere – setting up a lemonade stand and hoping to make a few bucks off of thirsty passersby.

That is, unless you do it on city park property – as did one little girl who was ticketed for trying to serve up summer refreshment.

To 10-year-old Clementine Lee, setting up a lemonade stand at Riverside Park on a hot Saturday afternoon seemed like a fun way to make money.

Instead, she and her dad got slapped with a $50 fine."

Lou Antonelli at Armadillocon

Croc Update (Photo Op Edition)

Woman describes crocodile moment as 'like being in Jaws' - Telegraph: "Mrs Sherring was on boat trip with her family when her tour guide lured the giant animal closer with a stick.

The 40 year-old was snapping away with her camera as the crocodile approached, but then, jaws gaping, it leapt out of the water and lunged at her."

Photo at the link.


The Latest Hat Craze - "After decades in dormancy, brimmed hats are back on the streets.

Fedoras were worn by men good and bad, on hard-boiled detectives as well as on well-dressed mobsters. 1920s-era ganster Al Capone was well known for his sartorial meticulous, including his love of fedoras.

The so-called stingy-brim hat, with a brim 1-1/2 inches wide, is considered more modern than those carrying standard 2-1/2-inch widths, and straw versions have been big sellers this summer. 'Our stingy brims are extremely strong right now,' says Don Rongione, chief executive of Bollman Hat, whose brands include Bailey and Kangol."

Hat history slideshow at the link.

McCabe & Mrs. Miller

Monday, August 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Maureen O'Hara!

One of the all-time greats!

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

World Horror Con Plunged Deep Into the Heart of Texas � Missions Unknown: "The WORLD HORROR SOCIETY has named Austin, Texas, as the location for the 2011 WORLD HORROR CONVENTION. The international gathering of horror’s brightest talents and their fans will take place from April 28 through May 1, 2011."

Maybe So, but a Lot of them Contain Better Sentences than This One

Twitter is 40% ‘Pointless Babble’: Report - General * Europe * News * Story - "Less than one in ten tweets have any real 'pass-along value' and more than 40 percent of tweets are “pointless babble,” a study by the research firm showed."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

iWon News - 'Dancing With the Stars' cast includes Tom DeLay: "Former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay will join 15 celebrities from the worlds of entertainment and sports in kicking up their heels on the new season of 'Dancing With the Stars."

The Hammer!
Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Armadillocon Dealers' Room

Shadow Season -- Tom Piccirilli

I believe this one's coming out in a couple of months. You'll want to get your copy before it gets too cold because the descriptions of the weather will give you a chill, and if the weather doesn't do it, the story will.

An ex-cop named Finn, now blind, is teaching in an isolated girl's prep school. It's holiday time, and the school is further isolated by a huge snowstorm. When Finn finds a badly beaten girl in a cemetery, things start to go downhill fast. Somebody thinks Finn owes money, and it's coming out of his hide, and the hides of everybody left at the school.

Finn can't imagine owing money to anyone, so he thinks maybe the events have something to do with his past, a past we learn about in flashbacks as the book rockets along. This is an "anyone can die at any time" thriller, and if you think you've figured out what's going on before it's all over, well, you're better at figuring than I am. "All over" is maybe the wrong expression in light of the ambiguous ending, but we'll just have to see what comes next.

Piccirilli's been establishing quite a nice reputation for himself, and this book will only add to that. Check it out.

Guys! Be Sure to Mention this to Your Dates!

Beer could stop bones going brittle - Health & Fitness, Independent Woman - "Drinking beer regularly could stop bones from going brittle, according to scientists in Spain.

A study found that the bones of women who drink beer regularly are stronger, making them less likely to suffer from osteoporosis."

Gator Update (Great Title Edition)

"Hey Mister - Your Alligator's Loose!" - "It's been nearly 20 years since Gary Clarke was director of the Topeka Zoo. But at the Topeka Library's Marvin Auditorium on Sunday, he held a capacity crowd spellbound with stories of how the Topeka Zoo became 'world famous'. All the stories and many others are in Clarke's new book, 'Hey Mister-Your Alligator's Loose!' This gathering was for the release of the book, to get copies signed by the author and to hear some of the stories first-hand."

A Texas Legend

Alvin Leads the Way

The Alvin Sun Advertiser Online > News > Two men injured in Alvin shooting: "Alvin Police Officers were called by the Texas City Police Department that same day. The Texas City officers reported that a suspect was currently at the Mainland Medical Center. The suspect reported that he had suffered a gunshot wound to the abdomen during an altercation in Alvin.

He had pulled out his gun from his waist band to shoot one of the other two suspects. As he pulled the gun, he shot himself in the abdomen. He then shot one of the other suspects in the leg."

The Magnetic Monster

Sunday, August 16, 2009

What's That You Say?

Texas public schools required to teach Bible this year - KLTV 7 News Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |: "The school year is almost here, and if literature of the Bible is not already offered in your child's school, it will be this fall.
[. . . .]
'By the end of the year, what they begin to realize is that it is pervasive. You can't get away from it. The kids came back and were like 'It's everywhere,'' said John Keeling, the social studies chair at Whitehouse High School. Whitehouse already offers a Bible elective. 'The purpose of a course like this isn't even really to get kids to believe it per say. It is just to appreciate the profound impact that it has had on our history and on our government,' said Keeling."

Videos: Geek invents rubber band machine gun

Videos: Geek invents rubber band machine gun: "This is silly and cool at the same time: A geek developed a machine gun that doesn’t fire off bullets but rubber bands. The fully functional gun is able to shoot a total of 200 rubber bands in rapid succession."

Video at the link, which comes via Neatorama.

Sammy Petrillo

I saw on Mark Evanier's blog that Sammy Petrillo has passed away. I'm a fan of Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorillia, and I even own the DVD. A classic bad movie that everybody should see.

Croc Update

Crocodile crazy: The man who enjoys giving his dangerous 'companion' a cuddle | Mail Online: "Known as the 'Crocodile Man', Costa Rican animal lover 'Chito' swims, plays and even feeds 'Pocho' the giant crocodile in what is one of the world's most unlikely friendships.

Wading chest-deep through the green water in a 100 sq/m lake in Siquirres, this bizarre and dangerous spectacle draws tourists from around the world."

Great photo at the link.

Joe Lansdale Update

Victor Gischler Update

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane -- Katherine Howe

Katherine Howe is the descendant of two women accused of witchcraft in Salem Village back in 1692, so maybe it was only natural that Howe's first novel would deal with witchcraft.

Connie Goodwin is a grad student preparing to write her dissertation. When her mother calls from Santa Fe and asks her to go to a nearby town and get her grandmother's house ready for sale, Connie is reluctant but obedient. The house is old, hasn't been occupied for years, and is full of mysteries, not so much for the reader as for Connie, whose mother accuses her of not being able to see what's right in front of her face. The reader's going to spot a lot of things long before Connie does.

In the house, Connie finds a clue to a long lost "physick book" of an accused witch, Deliverance Dane. No such book is known to have existed, and if Connie can find it, her career will be made. But what about all those herbs in her grandmother's house? And the strange symbol that mysteriously burns itself into her door? And what about Connie herself, who seems to be developing strange powers?

The book is in part a detective story, as Connie searches for the lost physick book. It's also a romance and a fantasy, as well as a historical novel, as Howe switches the narrative from 1692 to 1991 and back again. It's a smooth blend, and the book's getting a huge push from the publisher. I suspect it will be a hit, though I found it a bit too long and Connie way too naive.

Donavan's Reef