Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Adam West!

Biography | AW: "Adam West is a true American icon. From his humble beginning on a wheat ranch in Walla Walla, Washington, Adam skyrocketed to fame in Hollywood, pursuing an extraordinary career in entertainment that has spanned half a century. His role as Batman in the classic television series and feature of the same name continues to be seen throughout the world more than 40 years after its debut. While Batman, and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, remains his signature role, Adam has a multitude of motion picture, theater, and TV credits to his name."

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: A Wild and Crazy Night :: John Kenyon

The Great Escape

Monopoly's Hidden Maps Help World War II POWs Escape - ABC News: "During World War II, as the number of British airmen held hostage behind enemy lines escalated, the country's secret service enlisted an unlikely partner in the ongoing war effort: The board game Monopoly.

It was the perfect accomplice.

Included in the items the German army allowed humanitarian groups to distribute in care packages to imprisoned soldiers, the game was too innocent to raise suspicion. But it was the ideal size for a top-secret escape kit that could help spring British POWs from German war camps."

I Passed. Barely.

TierneyLab - Beautiful Universe Astronomy Quiz - Interactive -

The Holy Bullet -- Luis Miguel Rocha (trans. Robin McAllister)

In 1981, there was an assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II by a Muslim terrorist. This attempt came right after the very short reign of John Paul I, and some people believed that the papacy itself was under attack. Luis Miguel Rocha takes off from this premise and introduces a cast of characters who want to find out the truth. If you've read Rocha's previous book (I haven't), you'll already be familiar with Sarah Montiero, a journalist, her Father, who's a military officer, and Father Santini.

Plots and counterplots? You better believe it. Twists? Yep. Machinations within the church and its hierarchy? Check.

But this isn't Dan Brown. The pace is a lot more leisurely. The chapters are short, but there are plenty of paragraphs that cover almost an entire page. Lots of description, which is done well but which readers looking for a really fast pace might find distracting. I didn't, but I did think the book was a bit too long. I say that about most books, though, so you can probably disregard it. If you're looking for something a little different, but familiar at the same time, give this one a try.

And then there who is editor of international affairs at a prestigious magazine in London. Her father, Raul, is a Portugese military officer, and was involved earlier with Sarah when they looked into the death of John Paul I. Another returning character is Father Rafael Santini; caught up in religious politics and secretive about the things he knows. There are representatives from the CIA, the Masons, the Opus Dei, the police forces of several countries, and the Catholic church.

that the truth behind the 1981 attempt on the life of John Paul II was never revealed—is undercut by a muddled story line and such winks to the reader as naming a British agent Simon Templar (the hero of a popular 1960s TV series starring Roger Moore) and one character telling another that the previous book (i.e., The Last Pope) is available for sale in the bookstores. Long-winded descriptive passages, like the opening set at an expensive restaurant in an unnamed city, dampen the tension in a novel alleging dark doings at the heart of the Vatican. Still, those with a limitless appetite for stories about evildoing involving the Catholic Church may be satisfied. (Aug.)
are as fond of evocative descriptive writing as you are of clandestine plots involving the Roman Catholic Church –- and really, who isn’t fascinated by a bit of Vatican-spiced intrigue? –- you’ll find much to admire in this follow-up to Mr. Rocha’s The Last Pope, an account of the conspiracy lying beneath the 1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II.

The Holy Bullet digs deeper into the hidden plots and treacheries of the shadowy figures in the upper echelons of the Catholic hierarchy. Incorporating everything from a female British journalist to a Muslim who has visions of Christ’s mother Mary to a priest who, conveniently, doubles as an assassin, it seems, at times, as if Mr. Rocha has created a story that threatens to collapse under its own weight. However, the cool, intricately constructed prose prevents the byzantine plot from being too annoying. The Da Vinci Code this is not; but it’s an intriguing tale in its own right.

In May of 1981, the world was shocked when a Muslim terrorist attempted to assassinate the beloved Pope, John Paul II. Although greviously wounded, he survived and lived to fulfill God's mission for him. Even more shocking to many, Pope John Paul met with his attempted assassin, Mehmet Ali Ağca after the attempt, and fully forgave him. Luis Miguel Rocha's new novel, The Holy Bullet, is written around this shocking event.

John Paul II came to the office after the short tenure of John Paul I. His short time in office led to rumours that his death was not natural. The attempted assassination of John Paul II so quickly after his ascension to Pope reinforced the belief that there were powers plotting against the papacy. Now, warring factions form alliances and opposing forces to try to either discover or hide the truth of this event, depending on which side they are aligned with.

The reader is faced with a dizzying array of characters. There is There are plots, counterplots, betrayals and surprising facts that are revealed. Over all looms the question of whether Sarah and Rafael can discover what lies behind the plot against the papacy, and whether they can use that knowledge to save the Pope.

Fans of Miguel Luis Rocha's first novel, The Last Pope, or those who enjoyed The DaVinci Code, will enjoy The Holy Bullet. The author insists that not only is the book based on true facts, but that some of these facts were given to him only years after the attempt on John Paul's life by a man who claimed to have been involved in the death of the first John Paul. The plotlines are tight and intersect compellingly, and the reader is pulled along, afraid to read what comes next but afraid also not to. The characters are interesting, and their motivations twine and twist until none of them is predictable. This book is recommended for suspense readers.

This Never Happened to Me When I Went Fishing

Teens hand in $100,000 catch - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "Police say two boys have found nearly $100,000 in cash while fishing on the New South Wales north coast."

Didn't I Read This in a Ken Bruen Novel?

Daily Express | UK News :: Policeman caught dealing cocaine for beer in toilets: "A POLICEMAN was exposed by his own colleagues as a cocaine dealer with a 520 Euros per month drug habit.

Christopher McGinn, who has since quit his job, gave his friends lines of the Class-A drug in exchange for pints of beer in pub toilets.

He even used an iTunes card to snort his own drugs."

The Boogens

Friday, September 18, 2009

There's Nothing Like a Trip to the Fair

Insane killer escapes on field trip to county fair - Bay News 9: "Authorities have put out a statewide alert for a mentally ill killer who escaped during a hospital field trip to a county fair, leading to fears that he'll become more unstable and potentially dangerous the longer he is on the loose with no medication."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Where's the Beef?

The Associated Press: NC doctor removes plastic fragment lodged in lung: "Doctors say a North Carolina man who was plagued with coughing fits should be OK now that they have removed a 1-inch piece of plastic from his lung, where it had rested since he apparently inhaled it nearly two years ago while sucking down a soft drink at a Wendy's restaurant.

Doctors at Duke University Medical Center say the plastic fragment of an eating utensil — with the Wendy's logo still legible on the side — was likely to blame for the coughing, fatigue and pneumonia spells that plagued John Manley for almost two years."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Tomorrow is the Day

The Official site for International Talk Like A Pirate Day - September 19

Happy Birthday, Elvira!

World's sluttiest 'Mistress of the Dark' still pretty hot for age 58: "Is that a wooden stake in our pockets, or are we just really, REALLY happy to see how great actress Cassandra Peterson -- aka Elvira, Mistress of the Dark -- looks on her 58th birthday?"

Okay, so I'm a day late. I apologize. Photos at link.

It's Like We're Living in Russia!

NY Tax Lawyer’s $100K in Deductions for Prostitutes Disallowed | ABA Journal - Law News Now: "A New York tax lawyer has lost a bid to deduct more than $100,000 in payments for prostitutes and pornography.

The federal Tax Court denied the deductions, claimed by lawyer William Halby as medical expenses for sex therapy. TaxProf Blog reported on yesterday's ruling, first noted by Tax Update Blog.

The U.S. Tax Court opinion (PDF) involved more than $100,000 in deductions for 2004 and 2005. Halby noted his visits to prostitutes in a tax journal, but they were not part of a physician-ordered therapy and they are illegal in New York, the Tax Court said."

Hat tip to Ted Hertel.

Josh Olson's Comments about Reading Your Script Prompt The Little Professor to Give a Historical Perspective

The Little Professor: "At the first perusal of your letter I felt only shame, and regret that I had ever ventured to trouble you with my crude rhapsody": "The rather amusing brouhaha over (not to mention agreement with) Josh Olson's outburst got me to thinking: has hitting up established authors for free critiques ever worked very well? The answer would appear to be a resounding 'no.'"

Gator Update (Hot Blonde Edition)

Arianne Prevost, Gator-Slaying Blonde - "So far, Florida's annual public gator hunt has had an unexpected big winner. No, not the alligator, although that would be something. Instead, it was Arianne Prevost of Satellite Beach, who bagged an 11-foot, 450-lb. swamp beast with a crossbow during her first ever outing, and also happens to photograph well.
[. . . .]
People like to make fun of Florida, but a state where hot blondes will go hunting with you in a swamp can't be all bad."

Photo of blonde and gator at the link.

Croc Update (Luggage Edition)

South African caught at airport with crocodiles in luggage - Telegraph: "A South African man has been caught trying to smuggle 70 live animals including crocodiles through airport customs in his luggage.

Experts believe the suspect had been smuggling the animals into South Africa to sell as part of the lucrative global trade in endangered species.

The 28-year-old was arrested after apparently stashing several of the valuable reptiles in his bags, along with dozens of snakes, a turtle, spiders, scorpions and frogs."

I'm Glad I'm Not on the Clean-up Crew

Circus maximus! 'Ben Hur Live' brings horses, eagles, chariots to stage - �Celebs - MSN CA: "It has a cast of hundreds, dozens of horses, gladiators, a sea battle and a live chariot race.

A stage version of 'Ben Hur' is opening Thursday at London's 02 arena before going on tour across Europe. German producer Franz Abraham has worked for 15 years to create 'Ben Hur Live', which features music by Stewart Copeland, former drummer with rock band The Police.

Copeland said the show was 'more of a circus of Ben Hur' than a play. In addition to thoroughbred horses, the cast features donkeys, eagles and chickens."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Forgotten Books: ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST -- Ken Kesey

Okay, maybe everybody remembers this one, but I'm guilty of forgetting it. Some recent memes have gone around asking for favorite books, and I don't think I included this one in any of them. That was remiss of me. It's certainly one of my favorite novels, funny, touching, well-paced, just right. It's the perfect book for the '60s, too, with it's attitudes toward authority and individuality. Maybe the movie eclipsed it for some people, but certainly not for me. The Chief, Nurse Ratched, and Randall Patrick McMurphy live for me in the pages of the book, not on the screen, even as good as the performers were.

When I was a graduate assistant at The University of Texas, the freshman English instructors had a saying: "When all else fails, teach The Cuckoo's Nest." It always connected with the students; it could save a whole semester. After I started teaching full-time, I taught it for years in an American fiction class. I don't know if the students loved it, but I did, and I went over it so many times that I practically had it memorized. If you've seen the film but never read the book, you really should give the novel a try. I think you'll be glad you did.

The House on Skull Mountain

Thursday, September 17, 2009

No Wonder I Feel So Safe When I Fly

Updated: Hair clippers, cologne lead to brief evacuation of Tallahassee Regional Airport lobby | | Tallahassee Democrat: "The front lobby and ticket area at the Tallahassee Regional Airport were briefly evacuated this morning after airport officials found what they thought might be a grenade in luggage.

However, emergency responders quickly determined that what appeared to be a grenade was actually hair clippers and a bottle of cologne, said Jim Durwin, assistant superintendent of airport operations."

My 10,000th Post

So naturally I wanted something special. I thought this would be just about right. Link via Pop Culture Junk Mail.

Hurricane Ike Update (Alvin Community College Library Edition)

Hurricane Ike recovery: one local college accomplishes a daunting task: "One year ago today, tornadoes spawned from Hurricane Ike formed a path of destruction that simply left the faculty and staff at one local college in a state of shock.

The devastation that remained at Alvin Community College amounted to $15 million worth of damage resulting from flooded buildings, molding books, useless computers, and mangled roofs. Then (within hours) this college community came together to find a way to rebuild. Standing amid the debris that first day after the storm, the college administrators held an impromptu meeting, considering the task ahead and how they could turn tragedy into opportunity. 'At the time, we were so sad and it was hard to imagine,' said ACC Dean of Financial and Administrative Services Dr. Darryl Stevens.

The most significant damage was discovered in the library. As ACC Librarian Tom Bates was returning home to assess his own personal situation, he received a call from Dean of Academic Programs Drew Nelson: 'You'd better get back to work, Tom,' he said. 'Your library just got destroyed.'"

Hat tip to Gerard Saylor.
I went to the library a couple of weeks ago. It looks great, and I'm glad they've managed to achieve so much.

The Gift of Murder Update

Criminal Brief: The Mystery Short Story Web Log Project: "For the last three years, Wolfmont has published anthologies of short crime fiction with the theme of crimes centered around the winter holiday season and have donated over $6,600 to the Toys for Tots Foundation. This year, a fourth book is soon to be published. Tony announced, “This fourth book will be our largest thus far to help Toys for Tots, with 278 pages of great stories.”"

A Review

Steven Torres reviews a story about one of Monk's ancestors over on Nasty, Brutish, and Short. I'd thought of reviewing it, myself, but since I agree completely with Steven's comments, I'll just post the link here so you can check out what he has to say.

Nasty. Brutish. Short.: The Case of the Piss-Poor Gold by Lee Goldberg

Croc Update (Two Heads Edition)

Weird animals from around the world - Telegraph: "A snake with a single clawed foot has been found in China. Here's a look at some other weird animals from around the world."

Close Encounters

Scary Gary

Sandman Slim -- Richard Kadrey

Here's a bit of the back-cover blurb from William Gibson: [I]t's like watching Sergio Leone and Clive Barker codirect from a script by Jim Thompson and S. Clay Wilson: an L. A.-noir-spaghetti-western grudge-war apocalypse . . . ." Maybe nothing could live up to that, but Richard Kadrey gives it a good try.

James Butler Hickok Stark (aka Sandman Slim) is a magician. A real one. Some his pals get rid of him by sending him to hell, not as a dead man but while he's still alive. Then they kill his sweetheart.

He's trapped in hell for 11 years, fighting monsters as a gladiator and serving as a hit man for demons. The book opens with his return to Los Angeles, and he's bent on revenge. To get it he has to fight demons, angels, magicians, and the kissim, beings that aren't demons or angels but worse than either.

L. A., it seems, is a hotbed of magic, and Kadrey's good at presenting it as a nightmare. So Slim's is not an easy job. Heads roll. Not to mention other things. There's violence enough for anybody, but Stark's one of those badasses who, we just know, is really decent at the core, no matter who or what he kills and how many nice people he damages in pursuit of vengeance.

The book's too long, and it's obviously the set-up for a sequel, but I had a good time reading it. If you give it a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed. For sure you won't read anything else like it this year.

And Keep Off Her Lawn!

92-Year-Old Tops Beatles on British Charts - CBS Evening News - CBS News: "'We'll Meet Again' seems like one of those songs forever frozen in a time and a place: Britain in World War II. It was sung by Vera Lynn, who came to be called the 'Forces Sweetheart.'

Now 92-years-old, Lynn has a good reason to raise a glass.

The re-released recording of her songs on the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the war has shot to No. 1 on the U.K. charts with a bullet. It's even eclipsed the re-release of the Beatles discography."

As Who Wouldn't?

Ananova - Naked blonde turns tables on builders: "Burly builders fled when a naked blonde rushed at them on a construction site in the Austrian capital Vienna shouting: 'Who wants me?'"

Photo at link possibly NSFW.

Frank Coghlan Jr., R. I. P.

Frank Coghlan Jr. dies at 93; actor played Billy Batson in landmark Captain Marvel serial -- "Frank Coghlan Jr., a silent-movie child actor who later played young Billy Batson, who transformed into Captain Marvel by uttering the magical word 'Shazam!' in the landmark 1941 serial 'Adventures of Captain Marvel,' has died. He was 93."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

The Dunwich Horror

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Spreading the Word

The Education of a Pulp Writer: CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: WAR STORIES, SEA YARNS & COZY MYSTERIES: "Spread the word, please! There will be only a few openings, but the first print anthology for BEAT to a PULP is in the works. To round out our usual, diverse array of pulp genres, we are actively seeking war stories, sea yarns and cozy mysteries. 4,000 words or less. The BEAT to a PULP print collection will be released in 2010."

Mary Travers, R. I. P.

The Associated Press: Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary dead at 72: "Mary Travers, one-third of the hugely popular 1960s folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, has died.

The band's publicist, Heather Lylis, says Travers died at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut on Wednesday. She was 72 and had battled leukemia for several years.

Travers joined forces with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey in the early 1960s.

The trio mingled their music with liberal politics, both onstage and off. Their version of 'If I Had a Hammer' became an anthem for racial equality. Other hits included 'Lemon Tree,' 'Leaving on a Jet Plane' and 'Puff (The Magic Dragon.)'
They were early champions of Bob Dylan and performed his 'Blowin' in the Wind' at the August 1963 March on Washington."

Four Pound Burger A Financial Success

How could it not be?
Hat tip to Art Scott.

Four Pound Burger A Financial Success - Sports Biz with Darren Rovell - "Mickey Graham, the team's director of marketing and media relations, said that 476 people attempted the meat feat, meaning that 62.6 percent of people who tried to do it actually finished it."

Bobby Graham, R. I. P.

Drummer Bobby Graham | Graham Died | Dead Death | Stomach Cancer | The Animals | Tom Jones - Oneindia Entertainment: "UK’s great drummerBobbyGraham has died of stomach cancer at the age of 69. The percussionist had played on more than 15,000 records, which saw him working with stars like The Animals, Dusty Springfield and Tom Jones. However,oneof his best efforts was the hit track ‘You Really Got Me’, which he recorded while sitting in for The Kinks’ drummer Mick Avory."

Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.

Oklahoma Leads the Way

75 Percent of Oklahoma Students Can't Name the First President - - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |: "Only one in four public high school students can name the first President of the United States, according to a survey released today."

Henry Gibson, R. I. P.

Henry Gibson, original 'Laugh-In' cast member, dies at 73 -- "Henry Gibson, the veteran character actor who came to fame in the late 1960s as the flower-holding poet on TV's landmark satirical comedy show 'Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In,' has died. He was 73.

Gibson died late Monday night after a short battle with cancer at his home in Malibu, said his son, Jon.

Gibson, who more recently played a recurring role as cantankerous Judge Clark Brown on 'Boston Legal,' was part of the original ensemble cast of 'Laugh In,' which ran on NBC from 1968 to 1973."

Keep a'goin', Henry!

Definitely Not Safe for Work

But pretty funny.

Harlan Ellison's Dramatic Reading of the Seussified "I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script" - New York News - Runnin' Scared: "Several of our commenters have struck on the Dr. Seuss-like cadence of Josh Olson's popular manifesto, 'I Will Not Read Your Fucking Script.'

One of the first to point it out was Steve Jarrett, a writer and teacher in Winston-Salem who sent Olson the following parody. Olson asked his friend, legendary writer Harlan Ellison, to give it life."


Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol falls into the hands of pirates | Books | "Pirated copies of Dan Brown's new Robert Langdon thriller The Lost Symbol have started appearing across the internet only a day after the book was published.

The book's UK publisher Transworld said it was aware of the transgressions and was taking action to have the illegal downloads removed. 'It is available on a number of pirate sites,' said associate publicity director Alison Barrow, who added that the publisher was asking websites to take down digital copies of the book. 'We are not being complacent about this,' she said. 'It's only the US version so far.'

The Lost Symbol was available for download via peer-to-peer sites including The Pirate Bay and on Wednesday morning. 'Thank you so much! You just made my day. :)' said one Scribd user, while another requested that the book file be sent to their email."

One Lovely Blog Award

I've been honored by Mary Ann Melton, who's passed the One Lovely Blog Award on to me. Mary Ann's a photographer of note, and you can see some of her wonderful photos right here. You can also find her blog if you click here. Mary Ann's married to Henry Melton, Golden Duck Award-winning writer of SF for young people. I admire both of them tremendously, not least because they did what so many people talk about but so few ever do: they decided to travel when they were young, and they've been doing it ever since. They blogged and tweeted about their latest long journey to the WorldCon and back, with many side trips.

It is now my pleasure to pass on this award. These are the rules for those individuals I choose. They are simple:

1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person.

2) Pass the award on.

3) Notify the award winners.

I read so many blogs every day that to mention them all would take forever. I'm passing this on to a few of them, though I could list dozens more.
James Reasoner, George Kelley, Rick Robinson, and Patti Abbott, here ya go.

Employee of the Month

Caught on camera: The sickening moment a supermarket worker licked a raw chicken... before putting it on display | Mail Online: "He is seen:

* Urinating in a toilet bin
* Slashing furniture and colleague's coats in the staffroom
* Setting off a fire extinguisher
* Filming firefighters responding to a false alarm
* Playing cricket and football with stock
* Poking his fingers in, stamping on and licking an uncooked chicken
* Smashing boxes of eggs in the stockroom"

Gator Update (Cheerleader Edition)

Cheerleader Hunts, Kills 10 Foot Long Gator | "A Midlands teenager spent Saturday night on a boat hunting of all things, alligators--and she came back with a big one.

Cammie Colin, 16, helped catch a gator that was 10 feet, five inches long and weighed 353 pounds.
[. . . .]
Colin then used a crossbow to shoot the gator. She and four others then taped the alligators mouth shut and took it back to land.

The junior varsity cheerleader at White Knoll High School has been on deer hunts with her father, but this was her first time alligator hunting."

Photos at the link.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Former police chief jailed on charges from Tarrant and Dallas counties | Dallas | Star-Telegram: "A former police chief was behind bars in Dallas County on Tuesday night, charged with seven felonies in Tarrant and Dallas counties that range from promoting prostitution to engaging in organized crime.

Michael Meissner, a 39-year-old described by some as a 'gypsy' officer for holding more than a dozen law enforcement jobs in the past 18 years, remained in jail on a $1.5 million bond, Dallas County Jail records show."

Yes, There's an Academic Journal for Everything (Part 2)

Celebrity Studies: "Celebrity Studies is a journal that focuses on the critical exploration of celebrity, stardom and fame. It seeks to make sense of celebrity by drawing upon a range of (inter)disciplinary approaches, media forms, historical periods and national contexts. Celebrity Studies aims to address key issues in the production, circulation and consumption of fame, and its manifestations in both contemporary and historical contexts, while functioning as a key site for academic debate about the enterprise of celebrity studies itself. Alongside the primary articles, the journal will include a ‘blog' section devoted to shorter observations, debates or issues in celebrity culture, in conjunction with book reviews and conference reports."

Another tip of the Crider chapeau to Beth Foxwell.

Yes, There's an Academic Journal for Everything

Journal of Graphic Novels & Comics: "The Journal of Graphic Novel and Comics is a peer reviewed journal covering all aspects of the graphic novel, comic strip and comic book, with the emphasis on comics in their cultural, institutional and creative contexts. Its scope is interdisciplinary and international, covering not only English language comics but also worldwide comic culture. The journal reflects interdisciplinary research in comics and aims to establish a dialogue between academics, historians, theoreticians and practitioners of comics. It therefore examines comics production and consumption within the contexts of culture: art, cinema, television and new media technologies.

The journal will include all forms of 'sequential imagery' including precursors of the comic but in the main emphasis will be on twentieth and twenty-first century examples, reflecting the increasing interest in the modern forms of the comic, its production and cultural consumption."

Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.

Astonishing Adventures #7

MANITOWOC, September 15, 2009 - Astonishing Adventures Magazine, the
prominent ePulp magazine, today announced the release of their seventh
adventure-filled issue.

Seven issues into its amazing run, AAM and the Darke Media Group
continue to provide the highest quality free fiction eZine on the Net
while exploring ways to redefine the traditional publishing mode. Darke
Media is launching a new web serial with a second serial, starring the
mascot of AAM Scarlett, scheduled for early 2010.

*Astonishing Adventures Magazine Issue 7 – Free online/$10 print issue*
Have some crazy fun with the wonderful stories from writers like Mike
Hughes, Christine Pope, Katherine Tomlinson, Sidney Harrison, Roger
Alford, Brian Trent, Sarah Vaughn, Kat Parrish, Michael Patrick
Sullivan, G. Wells Taylor, and Cormac Brown.

Soak in the amazingly beautiful images by artists like Joanne Renaud,
Larry Nadolsky, G. Wells Taylor, Sarah Vaughn, and Susan Schader.

These are tales that will thrill and chill you well after you finish
reading them.

*Purchasers of the print copy will receive a free audio version of “The
Dark” adventure by John Donald Carlucci and read by vocal jihadist
Robert Page.*

For more information on Astonishing Adventures please visit the
dedicated website at

*Release date to the public September 15, 2009*

One of the Dangers of Sex in a Dumpster

Couple robbed while inside dumpster | News Updates | Wichita Eagle: "A man and woman decided to give the phrase 'dumpster diving' a new twist over the weekend, crawling inside one on North Waco so they could be alone.

But while they were engaged in what Wichita police described as 'an intimate moment,' they were robbed by a man armed with a pocket knife."


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scott Cupp Has a New Column at SF Signal

SF Signal: Geek With (Lots of) Books: Super Special Secret Origin: "Several years ago Rick Klaw wrote that he had decided to take a break from his popular column Geeks With Books which ran on SF Site. I ran into him that very week and expressed an interest in doing a couple of columns so that Geeks everywhere might have someone to rant and rave with. For whatever reason, I never ended up doing those columns at the time, but the idea kept lingering in the back of my mind. Recently I ran into John DeNardo of SF Signal and approached him with the idea. He liked it and this column was born. I liked Rick's old title for the column and added my spin to it so that you get Geek With (Lots Of) Books."

Great "Before & After" Photos from Hurricane Ike

One year after Hurricane Ike - The Big Picture - "One year after Hurricane Ike tore across the gulf coast of Texas, residents paused on Sunday to observe the anniversary of the costliest natural disaster in Texas history. Destroying or damaging many thousands of houses, including 3/4 of all homes in Galveston, Ike's 110 mph winds caused more than $29 billion in damage, and took the lives of at least 72 in the United States. In Galveston one year later, 75% of businesses have reopened, much of the debris has been cleared, and 95% of the population has returned, but much work still remains to be done as residents continue to rebuild and recover."

You can click the photos at the link and watch them change from before to after, a very cool effect.

Didn't We All at Least Consider Doing This?

Ala. boy fakes kidnapping to hide bad grades - Yahoo! News: "An 11-year-old boy gets high marks in storytelling after staging a hoax to cover up his bad grades. Police said the boy faked his kidnapping Friday to avoid bringing home a bad report card, saying that a man with a pistol snatched him after he left Ed White Middle School. The boy said the man forced him into a 'beat-up car' and threatened to kill him.

The student said he escaped by jumping out of the car but wasn't able to grab his bookbag, which contained the report card."

Here's the Plot of Your Next Techno Thriller

Runaway Drone Shot Out of Sky - Runaway drone - Gizmodo: "An MQ-9 Reaper drone's fail-safe programming failed and it rushed through Afghanistan's airspace on Sunday. The US Air Force simply responded by sending a manned plane to shoot it down. Turns out this isn't all that uncommon."

Cool Podcast News

Criminal Brief: The Mystery Short Story Web Log Project: "If Christie isn’t your thing, I’ve got news of something new at the Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine websites. Both magazines have begun posting podcasts of short stories. The AHMM site is offering Will Ludwigsen’s “In Search Of”, read by actor and playwright Daniel John Kelley. It’s a fun, unique story, and one of the few to succeed at being told from second-person. Over at the EQMM website you can listen to editor Janet Hutchings introducing a full cast recording of “The Myna Birds”, adapted from a 1956 story by Ellery Queen.

Each month AHMM and EQMM will be posting news stories. Stay tuned."

Crystal Lee Sutton, R. I. P.

Crystal Lee Sutton, the Real-Life ‘Norma Rae,’ Is Dead at 68 - Obituary (Obit) - "Crystal Lee Sutton, the union organizer whose real-life stand on her worktable at a textile factory in North Carolina in 1973 was the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning movie “Norma Rae,” died Friday in Burlington, N.C. She was 68."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea

Monday, September 14, 2009

Paul Burke, R. I. P.

Emmy-nominated 'Naked City' actor Paul Burke dies: "Paul Burke, who was twice nominated for an Emmy for his role as Det. Adam Flint in the gritty crime hit 'Naked City,' died Sunday. He was 83.

Burke, who had leukemia and non-Hodgkins lymphoma, died with wife Lyn at his side at his home in Palm Springs, family spokeswoman Daniela Ryan said.

Burke was featured in dozens of TV series in his four-decade career, including prominent parts on '12 O'Clock High' and 'Dynasty.'"

Hat tip to John Hall.

Patrick Swayze, R. I. P.

Patrick Swayze Dies of Pancreatic Cancer at 57 - Celebrity Gossip | Entertainment News | Arts And Entertainment - "Patrick Swayze died after a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Swayze's publicist Annett Wolf says the 57-year-old 'Dirty Dancing' actor died Monday with family at his side. He came forward about his illness last spring, but continued working as he underwent treatments."

The Top 10 White Trash Heroes of Cinema

The Top 10 White Trash Heroes of Cinema | SPIKE: "Redneck and 'white trash' culture tends to get a bad rap by the snootier elements of our culture. Maybe you think that hicks and hillbillies don’t know nothin’ ‘bout nothin’, but you couldn't be further from the truth. Sometimes we need to look to the trailer parks for succor, refuge, and justice."

The Gift of Murder Update

Kris Neri blogs about The Gift of Murder today at Femmes Fatales. Check it out.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Rising menace in Texas. | Philadelphia Inquirer | 09/13/2009: "Something crazy is spreading across Texas, and it may be so destructive that one day it will make Texans actually miss the hated fire ant.

Crazy ants, so named because they move in all directions rather than in a straight line, first surfaced in Houston seven years ago and had previously been confirmed in 14 southeast Texas counties as far north as Huntsville.

Now the ants have been seen beyond the Houston area, with sightings in San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

By which I mean that the state doesn't lead the way. It's four cities on the list are near the bottom, and two are on the bottom.

Full List: America's Most Stressful Cities - "Sinking property values, high unemployment and prices, and poor environments add to the pressure felt by residents in these metros."

Nasty, Brutish, and Long -- Ira Rosofsky

The subtitle is Adventures in Old Age and Eldercare. The author, Ira Rosofsky, is "a psychologist who travels around to nursing homes and talks to sad, confused, and, occasionally, happy old people." There's no privacy in a nursing home, and not much dignity, either. No one wants to be in one, but lots of people are. As Rosofsky says, ten years from now, it'll be the depression babies. Twenty years from now, the Boomers. "Will the Beatles songbook replace the Glenn Miller sing-along? Will I nod off in my wheelchair in the face of an endless YouTube loop?"

Depressed yet? There's more. Plenty of loss and suffering. Death and dementia. Loneliness. All those things we hate to think about.

Luckily Rosofsky has a sense of humor and great humanity. The book's not nearly as depressing as it could have been. And we all need to know this stuff. How should you choose a nursing home? What about those even more final decisions, the ones that come at the very end.

If you have elderly parents, you should read this book. If you've getting along yourself, you should read this book. It won't cheer you up, but it'll be good for you.

7 Things Romantic Comedies Taught Us About Women

7 Things Romantic Comedies Taught Us About Women - "Study closely the ways of women so that you too may be able to achieve love the way only Ralph Fiennes can in the span of 93 minutes."

10 Things Romantic Comedies Have Taught Us about Men

Romantic Comedies Have A Lot to Teach Us About Men | The Frisky: "[T]he 10 oh-so-realistic things that romcoms have taught us about men."

Gator Update (TSA Edition)

Baby alligator among items seized by TSA - "Transportation Security Administration says it has seized 123,189 items from passengers at three New York-area airports, including a baby alligator."

The Time Machine

Jim Carroll, R. I. P.

Jim Carroll, Poet and Punk Rocker Who Wrote ‘The Basketball Diaries’, Dies at 60 - Obituary (Obit) - "Jim Carroll, the poet and punk rocker in the outlaw tradition of Rimbaud and Burroughs who chronicled his wild youth in “The Basketball Diaries,” died on Friday at his home in Manhattan. He was 60."

True Crime

SLING WORDS: Jennifer Schuett: Hero: "Take a close look at this police artist sketch. That's what this blog post is all about. For the first time in my life, I'm using something I clipped from the newspaper without gaining permission. I'm doing this because I didn't see the photo posted on The Houston Chronicle website where I checked after reading the article in the September 11, 2009, edition."

I urge you to click the link and read the entire post and maybe even link it on your own blog if you have one.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

When They Say "No Fishing," . . .

. . . they mean it.
Hat tip to Jeremy Lynch.

Hippo kills poaching soldier in DR Congo park - Yahoo! News: "A hippopotamus killed a member of Democratic Republic of Congo government forces at Virunga National Park while he was fishing illegally, a local environmental NGO said Saturday."

How I Met Your Mother as Noir

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

New Story on BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Cedar Mountain :: George Miller, Jr.

Folk Tales

Fairy tales have ancient origin - Telegraph: "They have been told as bedtime stories by generations of parents, but fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood may be even older than was previously thought."

An interesting article and excerpts don't do it justice. If you like this kind of thing, read all of it. I think "fairy tales" is the wrong name, by the way.

Bad Karma -- Dave Zeltserman

Bill Shannon, a Boston cop in Bad Thoughts, gets put through the wringer. After those terrible events, he left Boston and moves to Boulder, Colorado, where he sets up shop as a private-eye while trying to develop some of his latent powers (such as having out-of-body experiences). He and his ex-wife live happily together, and things are going well until Shannon takes on a case that begins with the brutal double murder of a couple of college students. During the course of his investigation, Shannon takes on another case [SPOILER ALERT -- the two cases turn out to be connected -- END OF SPOILER ALERT] that involves a strange religious cult and Russian mobsters. Really bad Russian mobsters. Shannon has shaken off many of the effects of his experiences in Bad Thoughts, but he's still a damaged character, which makes him interesting company. And if you like the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, you'll find some fun in Shannon's banter with a couple of other characters. Finally, there's a nice nod to Fast Lane, Zeltserman's earlier novel set in Colorado.

The violence in this book is more subdued than that in Bad Thoughts, but it's certainly there. The story is also a pretty straightforward p.i. tale, though not without some horror and New Age elements, which once again proves Zeltserman's versatility (he's doing noir novels and Nero Wolfe pastiches in EQMM, among other things). If you haven't read Zeltserman's work, it's time to start. He's making quite a name for himself these days.

Still More Amazing Stories

Here's the inside back cover of the November 1954 Amazing Stories, more of the great SF Book Club advertising. I don't know if you can read the summaries, but again I love the marketing. The old "sense of wonder." Can't beat it.

As for some other stories in the issue, "Sell it to Satan" by Milton Lesser (Stephen Marlowe) is an amusing little fantasy that mixes a few mythologies, good for a smile. An okay story. So is "Two's a Crowd" by John Toland, a variation on the "duplicating machine" story. Ah, the attitudes of the '50s.

John Jakes contributes "The Revenge of Edwin Mudd," about a guy who invents a way to talk back to people on TV. Literally. I don't think it would work out the way it does in the story, certainly not today, but it's fun to think about.

And if you've ever wondered what would happen if all the dogs on earth died, you can read Frank Herbert's The Gone Dogs. Some of them get cloned elsewhere, with predictable results.

Atlantis the Lost Continent