Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: They Come from Above :: Cormac Brown

The Decade in 7 Minutes

Click here.

I Love the Smell of Old Books in the Morning

BBC NEWS | Science & Environment | Sniff test to preserve old books: "The key to preserving the old, degrading paper of treasured, ageing books is contained in the smell of their pages, say scientists.

Researchers report in the journal Analytical Chemistry that a new 'sniff test' can measure degradation of old books and historical documents.

The test picks up and identifies the chemicals that the pages release as they degrade.

This could help libraries and museums preserve a range of precious books."

At Least He Didn't Have a Croc

Customs agents foil suspected reptile smuggler at LAX | L.A. NOW | Los Angeles Times: "In an apparently cold-blooded attempt at smuggling, a Lomita man was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport this week with more than a dozen wriggling lizards strapped to his chest.

Michael Plank, 40, was detained by U.S. Customs agents after they discovered 15 live lizards stuffed into his money belt, officials with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said Friday.

Plank was returning from Australia on Tuesday when agents found two geckos, 11 skinks and two monitor lizards in his possession."

Croc Update (Texas Leads the Way Edition)

Cranky croc finds new home in Texas - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "It has taken several planes, a crane and good dose of valium, but a giant Northern Territory crocodile named Errol has made it all the way to Texas Zoo.

At 4.7 metres, 50-year-old Errol is so long that he could not fit into a crate that would meet airline requirements.

He did not take kindly to being moved out of the pen at the Darwin Crocodile Farm where he has spent the past 28 years.

But with the help of some sedatives, Errol was put in a specially built box with his tail wrapped round to make sure he fit within airline cargo limits.
[. . . .]
Dr Britton says Errol should draw lots of visitors because he will be the largest saltwater crocodile in North America."

It's Hard Inside for a Ripper

Yorkshire Ripper nearly blinded after Broadmoor killer stabbed his face five times
| Mail Online
: "Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe was repeatedly stabbed in the face by another killer in a frenzied attack inside Broadmoor, a court heard yesterday.

Patrick Sureda screamed 'I'll teach you, you b******, for killing all those women' before grabbing 63-year-old around the neck.

The paranoid schizophrenic repeatedly lunged at Sutcliffe's only good eye using a blunt 7-inch table knife as horrified nurses at the top security hospital tried to pull him off."

Another List I'm Not On (Which is Okay)

Moviefone's UnSexiest Men Alive - Inside Movies: "Yesterday Johnny Depp was officially named People's Sexiest Man Alive 2009, which got us thinking -- who are the UNsexiest male celebs in Hollywood?

The following fellas are the least in danger of causing a female stampede -- no matter how much Axe body spray they put on."

The Ape Man

Friday, November 20, 2009

Under the Dome Update

Spielberg, King team on 'Dome' - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety: "It's a potent combination: Steven Stephen.

Steven Spielberg and Stephen King are joining forces to develop a limited series based on King's just-released supernatural thriller 'Under the Dome.' DreamWorks TV has optioned the book and is looking to set it up as an event series, likely for cable."

No Comment Department

Frank & Ernest

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Guard charged with paying ex-inmate for sex | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A federal prison guard has been accused of paying a former inmate and resident of a halfway house $440 after two sexual trysts.

Robert Louis Zeigler, 39, is charged with improper sexual activity with a person in custody, a state jail felony that carries a maximum penalty of two years behind bars if he is convicted.

The Texas City man is accused of cultivating a relationship with an inmate while she was in custody at the Federal Detention Center in downtown Houston."

And You Should See His Lawnmower

101-Year-Old Man Buys a 426-Horsepower Camaro - Wheels Blog - "Eight months older than General Motors, Virgil Coffman clearly is not whom Chevrolet had in mind when it decided to bring back the Camaro.

But a bright yellow, 426-horsepower Camaro SS is exactly what Mr. Coffman, who turns 102 in January, wanted when he went to a Chevy dealership near his home in Decatur, Ill., in September. He ordered a “Transformers” special edition model, which is adorned with black stripes to resemble the character Bumblebee from the blockbuster movie."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Bad Sex Award Shortlist

Bad sex award shortlist pits Philip Roth against stiff competition | Books |

And Keep Off His Lawn!

Naked Florida Homeowner, 91, Holds Intruder at Gunpoint - Associated Content - "Justice may be blind, but it also might be missing a pair of pants. According to the Associated Press, World War II Veteran Robert E. Thompson held a drunken intruder at gunpoint outside his house in Lake Worth, Florida early on September 19. Alerted by his dog, Thompson retrieved his gun, but he neglected to slip on a pair of trousers. When police arrived, they found the naked homeowner holding the 26-year-old burglar at bay."

Forgotten Books: THE GIRL ON THE BEST SELLER LIST -- Vin Packer

I've made no secret of my fondness for Grace Metalious's
Peyton Place, and I've also mentioned Vin Packer's The Girl on the Best Seller List. Packer might be best-known for her lesbian-themed fiction for Gold Medal, but she wrote a number of quality crime novels for the line. Sometimes the novels might be based on actual cases (The Evil Friendship). In this case, it's the author imagining what might happen if someone in a small town wrote a sexy fictionalized tell-all account of life there.

There's a lot to like about The Girl on the Best Seller List, starting with the cover. I've put the back cover with the famous photo of Grace Metalious so you can make the comparison. Jeans? Check. Shirt with big squares? Check. Typewriter? Sure. Overflowing ashtray? Check. And look at the shoes. Now admittedly the woman on the cover of Packer's book is a bit more glamorous, but, hey, it's a paperback original.

People whose secrets were exposed in a best-selling book might not be too happy with the whole thing, right? Why, some of them might even want to kill the author. Everybody has a motive.

Packer was an expert at multiple POV, and she shows it here. Lots of characters, all individualized and distinct, and each chapter begins with an excerpt from Population 12,360 (the best seller) that gives you further insight into the characters. I've read a number of Vin Packer's books, and this one remains a favorite. If you can't find it, try another.

As an aside, Packer is also the author of The Damnation of Adam Blessing, which you might not think would be a good name for a rock band, but it was. I may be one of the few who remember that.

And as another aside, Kurt Vonnegut has a story (not a very good one) based on the same sort of idea in his new collection, Look at the Birdie.

Here's the Plot for Your Next Noir/Horror Mash-Up

BBC News - 'Fat for cosmetics' murder suspects arrested in Peru: "Four people have been arrested in Peru on suspicion of killing dozens of people in order to sell their fat and tissue for cosmetic uses in Europe.

The gang allegedly targeted people on remote roads, luring them with fake job offers before killing them and extracting their fat."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

The Voodoo Man

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas' gay marriage ban may have banned all marriages - Politics AP - "Texans: Are you really married?

Maybe not.

Barbara Ann Radnofsky, a Houston lawyer and Democratic candidate for attorney general, says that a 22-word clause in a 2005 constitutional amendment designed to ban gay marriages erroneously endangers the legal status of all marriages in the state."

Hat tips to Nancy Golladay and Seepy Benton.

So Long, Mystery News

Mystery News, the most complete, up-to-date, and entertaining guide to the latest mystery books, writers, and events: "Welcome to the web site for Mystery News, the most complete, up-to-date, and entertaining guide to the latest mystery books, writers, and events. Mystery News was published bimonthly by Black Raven Press, a partnership of Lynn Kaczmarek & Chris Aldrich - until November 2009, when we ceased publication. We'll keep this web site up at least until the end of 2009 - check back later to see what we are up to!"

Today's mail brought me the final issue of Mystery News. I've enjoyed this publication, its reviews, columns, and commentaries, almost from its inception.
Once, long years ago, I was even the cover boy. It's hard to believe that I won't be seeing it anymore. Thanks to all who have been involved over the years. You've steered me to many good books I'd have missed otherwise and showcased writers I might not have considered reading until I saw their interviews. It's been a great run, and I'm sorry it's come to an end.

Croc/Archaeology Update

The Associated Press: 3 new ancient crocodile species fossils found: "A 20-foot-long crocodile with three sets of fangs — like wild boar tusks — roamed parts of northern Africa millions of years ago, researchers reported Thursday.

While this fearsome creature hunted meat, not far away another newly found type of croc with a wide, flat snout like a pancake was fishing for food.

And a smaller, 3-foot-long relative with buckteeth was chomping plants and grubs in the same region.

The three new species, along with new examples of two previously known ancient crocodiles, were detailed Thursday by researchers Paul Sereno of the University of Chicago and Hans Larsson of McGill University in Montreal. They spoke at a news conference organized by the National Geographic Society, which sponsored the research."

Gator of the Day

What Is It? Game 116 – Neatorama: "Today’s collaboration with the What is it? Blog brings us this …. alligator?! Actually, this object has a specific function. Do you know what it is?"

Check out this Blog Post

POE'S DEADLY DAUGHTERS: The Gift of Murder Makes A Great Present: "The Gift of Murder is a book, and not just any book. It’s this year’s holiday crime anthology from Tony Burton of Wolfmont Press, all profits to benefit a worthy charity, Toys for Tots. This is the fourth annual such anthology, and it’s proven popular with both mystery writers hungry for good markets for their stories and readers happy to plunk down $15 for the combination of a good cause and a satisfying read."


Navy finds lax behavior aboard sub in collision - "The crew aboard a U.S. submarine made dozens of errors before the vessel collided with an American warship in the Persian Gulf, an accident that exposed lax leaders who tolerated sleeping, slouching and a radio room rigged with music speakers, a Navy review found.
[. . . .]
The submarine had five known "sleepers," or sailors who would routinely nod off on watch, but no disciplinary action was taken, the report states. Two of the five sailors were working during the collision, but investigators found no evidence they were asleep.

During the hour before the collision, investigators say, sonar operators in charge of monitoring nearby ships were chatting informally; the supervisor left his station; the navigator was taking an exam while listening to his iPod; and the officer in command did not check the periscope."

The Story With No Name Continues

Broken Trails: WILD BUNCH WEDNESDAY - Story With No Name

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Civil War cannon pulled from Texas City Ship Channel - 11/18/09 - Houston News - "It hasn't seen the light of day in nearly 150 years -- a Civil War cannon, lying deep in the waters of the Texas City channel.
[. . . .]
The artifacts were first discovered back in 2005 and have to be removed as part of the effort to deepen the Texas City Channel. The Army Corps of Engineers has commercial divers in the water to remove a sunken Civil War ship, the USS Westfield, and its contents, including a cannon."

Something's Fishy

Scientists Say Jupiter's Moon Europa Might Be Teeming With Fish - Space - io9: "New evidence has come to light that the vast, ice-encrusted oceans of Europa may be harboring Earth-like life that lives on the oxygen-rich waters. Time to plan your extraterrestrial fishing trip? Maybe.

Apparently, the oceans of Europa are fed with more than 100 times more oxygen than previous models suggested."

I'm Staying Home

Walmart Black Friday 2009 ads show early deals - Nov. 17, 2009: "Wal-Mart's much-awaited Black Friday deals will focus on a gamut of gadgets such as high-definition TVs, laptops and Blu-ray players, as well as holiday gift favorites such as toys and DVDs, according to a copy of the retailer's circular obtained by

While not confirming the entire circular, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman confirmed some of the deals, which will be available between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. local time on Nov. 27, that appear in the leaked circular."

The Times, They Are a-Changin'

Harlequin Horizons offers self-publishing option for romance authors: "Yesterday, Harlequin announced yet another publishing venture – a self-publishing arm of their company called Harlequin Horizons. Just two weeks ago Harlequin announced their launch of a digital-only press called Carina Press.

Each of these new venues comes on the heels of some tough times for book publishers in this current economy. Many of the larger publishers have skinnied down their author lists, re-thought their lines and imprints, and cut some of their editorial staff. In the meantime, Harlequin has enjoyed a steady increase in sales.

This latest announcement embeds Harlequin into three of today’s publishing business models – print publishing, digital publishing, and self-publishing."

Rocky and Bullwinkle turn 50

Rocky and Bullwinkle turn 50 – Arts - The Press Democrat - Santa Rosa, CA - Archive: "When Jay Ward launched the “Rocky & Bullwinkle” cartoon TV show in 1959, he didn’t have a huge budget for fancy animation.

So he compensated for that with a daring new innovation — great writing. (How’s that for a concept?)

Thursday, Nov. 19, marks the 50th anniversary of the squirrel and the moose, one of the oddest (and funniest) couples in show biz."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

The Mummy


Expect Eggo Shortages Through Mid-2010 | Kellogg's: "Forget “Lego my Eggo!” Kellogg’s new marketing slogan for the popular frozen waffle could be, “Excuse me, have you seen my Eggo?”

That’s because flooding in its Atlanta facility and repairs to its Tennessee plant will result in Eggo shortages that could last through mid-2010, according to ."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Revenue Reality of a Bestseller

Straight Goods - Revenue reality of a bestseller - A novel on the New York Times bestseller list does not bring financial security.

Link via Boing Boing.

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Mickey Mouse Birthday: Star Celebrates 81 Years (PHOTOS): "Mickey Mouse is celebrating his 81st birthday!

The Disney icon had his debut in the cartoon short 'Steamboat Willy' on November 18, 1928, according to Disney.

Since he premiered at the Colony Theater in New York 81 years ago, Mickey Mouse has traveled the world; hobnobbed with celebrities and children; been reincarnated into figurines, avatars, stuffed animals, and t-shirts; and enjoyed numerous makeovers.

The cartoon character's 'look' has grown with technology, and the celebrity mouse has morphed from a hand-drawn, black-and-white figurine, to a sleeker, colorful, computerized cartoon."

Texas Just Can't Win. Or Is It Lose?

Texas' obesity rate rises, but rank among states improves | Moms | - Houston Chronicle: "Texans' obesity rates continued to climb last year, but the Lone Star State actually improved its national ranking because people in other states are getting fatter faster.

In the annual “America's Health Rankings” report released Tuesday, Texas' rate of severely overweight residents continued its unabated 20-year upward trend, inching up to 28.9 percent from 28.6 percent last year. Obesity in Texas has more than doubled since 1990, when the Texas rate stood at 12.3 percent.

The good news — at least in relative terms — is that other states are packing on the pounds at an even-faster clip. Texas dropped from being the 12th-fattest state in the union last year to 14th this year — with Missouri and Michigan getting fatter."

They Should Be Working on Their Lawns

CBC News - Health - Florida snowbirds take risks with HIV: study: "Sexually active Canadian snowbirds may be taking unnecessary risks with sexually transmitted infections, according to preliminary research from the University of Waterloo.

People aged 50 and over account for a growing percentage of HIV cases in Florida, yet few older Canadians who winter in the state take precautions against STIs, said gerontology researcher Katie Mairs."

Arkansas Leads the Way

Arkansas police officer uses Taser on 10-year-old girl: "Called to a home to help control an 'unruly child,' an an Ozark, Arkansas police officer was given permission by the girl's mother to use a Taser to subdue the child."

Hat tip to John ("Arkie") Duke. (No relation to the ones in Hazzard, or so he claims.)

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Youth Walked Through Unplugged Detector | "A Texas official says an investigation shows a metal detector that was unplugged allowed a 16-year-old to allegedly smuggle a loaded handgun past officers earlier this month.

Harris County Juvenile Probation Department Executive Director Harvey Hetzel says the youth apparently walked through the unplugged metal detector at a juvenile detention center on Nov. 9.

Hetzel says the metal detector wasn't working properly and it should have been reported instead. He says it 'may well have been off for weeks.'"

Croc Update (Bikini Edition)

Bikini fools dance atop NT croc trap | Herald Sun: "A PHOTO has emerged of people risking life and limb by larking atop a crocodile trap in the Northern Territory.

These bikini-clad ladies were spotted singing in the rain, using champagne bottles as microphones, while standing on a croc trap in a crocodile-infested river in Maningrida."

Yes, there's a photo at the link.

Hard Case Crime Update from Charles Ardai


Burlesque performer and impresario Jonny Porkpie has written a book for Hard Case Crime called THE CORPSE WORE PASTIES, which will be arriving in bookstores on November 24. To celebrate the occasion, Mr. Porkpie and his burlesque troupe, Pinchbottom, will be mounting a brand new live stage show based on the book at the Bleecker Street Theatre in New York City (45 Bleecker Street).

The show is called "Lurid Pulp," and it tells the story of how Jonny Porkpie winds up murdered after his friends in the burlesque world discover how he's portrayed them in his new book. Fans of the book will get to see all the burlesque numbers in it performed live by a lineup of luminaries, including our two cover models, GiGi LaFemme and Nasty Canasta.

When will this happen? At 7:30PM on two nights only: November 21 and November 28, the Saturday nights on either side of the book's publication. Tickets are $20 apiece, $25 if you want a copy of the book as well. (And remember, you can get it signed by the author the night of the show. By the cover models, too!)

Obviously, none of this means a whole lot to you if you're in Alaska or Nebraska or South Dakota or South Carolina or any of several dozen other fine places that aren't New York City. But if you do plan to be in NYC on either the 21st or the 28th, this could be a terrific way to either kick off or cap off a Thanksgiving celebration.

For more information, visit -- or, if you'd like to be entered into a drawing to win a pair of free tickets to the November 28 show, send an e-mail containing your name and mailing address to before 5PM on Saturday, November 21. Only one entry per person, please...and to state the obvious, entrants must be 18 or older. (Burlesque is no less risque today than it was back in our granddaddies' day.)

And if you'd like a taste of the book the show's based on, you'll find it at our Web site,, along with sample chapters of the book we have in stores now -- Max Allan Collins' very well reviewed QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE -- and our second December title, THE VALLEY OF FEAR by none other than Arthur Conan Doyle.

I'd love to see some of you at the show -- but even if that's not possible, I hope you'll still make Hard Case Crime part of your holiday plans.

Charles Ardai
Editor, Hard Case Crime

And Keep Off His Lawn!

Clint Eastwood says America is becoming more 'juvenile': "Eastwood joins Barack Obama, Tom Brady, the three stars of 'The Hangover' and 'Star Trek' actor Chris Pine on five special covers for the December issue (, which hits newsstands Tuesday.
[. . . .]
We're 'becoming more juvenile as a nation,' he said. 'The guys who won World War II and that whole generation have disappeared, and now we have a bunch of teenage twits.'"

Alvin Leads the Way

Poll results: H-Town's 11 Best barbecue joints | | Home: "Behold: The 11 Best barbecue joints in Houston, according to 11 News viewers:

11. No-Name Bar-B-Q

10. Central Texas Style BBQ

9. Carl’s BBQ

8. Rudy’s Country Store Bar-B-Q

7. The Swinging Door

6. Red River BBQ and Grill

5. Central Texas Bar-B-Q

4. Goode Company Barbecue

3. Burns Bar-B-Q

2. Thelma’s BBQ

And there was a tie for first place between Joe’s BBQ on Highway 6 in Alvin and Big 6 Bar B Que on Highway 6 near Beechnut."

Link via Mike McGruff.

Hawk the Slayer

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

The Healthiest And Unhealthiest States -

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Mexican woman found hiding in suitcase | AP Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "Customs inspectors in Laredo caught a 31-year-old Mexican woman trying to enter the U.S. hidden inside a suitcase."

David Morrell Podcast Interview

017 Reading and Writing podcast – David Morrell interview: "The 17th episode of the Reading and Writing podcast features an interview with David Morrell, New York Times bestselling thriller and suspense novelist and the original creator of the Rambo character. Morrell’s latest novel The Shimmer is available in bookstores now."

Rumor of the Day

From Max Allan Collins:

Quarry Racking ‘Em Up � Friends/Family/Fans of Max Allan Collins: "Barb and I are signing at Mystery Cat Books this Saturday . . . . We’ll have both QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE and ANTIQUES FLEE MARKET available, and many rare out-of-print M.A.C. items will be on hand, as well. It’s possible Ed Gorman may drop by, which provides a sighting opportunity second only to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster."

What's the Penalty for Not Keeping Off My Lawn?

Fines for too-tall grass could rise to $1,000 a day in Jupiter: "An overgrown lawn could cost a homeowner $1,000 a day.

A plan to quadruple the penalty from the current maximum of $250 per day for a first violation is scheduled for consideration at Tuesday night's town council meeting."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Street-legal car has hemi-jet engine | Video |

World's fastest street-legal car?

Croc Update (Damn Hippos Edition)

Caught on camera: hippos kill crocodile in rare clash - Times Online: "Bathing hippos usually have a tolerant attitude towards their fellow creatures — until something snaps. And then, as this crocodile discovered the hard way, they are the most dangerous wild animals in Africa

Vaclav Silha, a Czech wildlife photographer, had set up his camera on the banks of the Grumeti in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, to take pictures of a group of 50 placid hippos when an explosive fight erupted — a thrashing scrum that ended seconds later in the crocodile’s violent death."

Horrifying photos at link.
Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Top 12 Unfunny Comics

12 Comics Who Aren't Funny:Photos | Newsweek Entertainment |

Simple Pleasures

Do any of you writers get a kick out of putting a little in-joke in one of your books, a joke so obscure that only about four other people in the world would get it, and you know none of those four will ever read your book? Works for me. I've been smirking for two days.


VOTE: A 'Butch Cassidy' Remake With John Travolta and Tom Cruise? | "John Travolta is excited about possibly starring in a remake of the classic 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' with buddy Tom Cruise."

Link via Crimespree Cinema.

The Worst TV Ideas Of The Decade

The Worst TV Ideas Of The Decade -

Quatermass and the Pit

Monday, November 16, 2009

Do the Right Thing . . .

. . . and read this post.

The Best TV Series of the ’00s

The best TV series of the ’00s | Best Of The Decade | The A.V. Club

Hat tip to Walter Satterthwait.

No Comment Department

Pointy conical bras on the up | "Pointy conical bras made famous in the 1950s by stars such as Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell are making a comeback.

Ladies across the country are ditching their padded bras to embrace their assets after John Lewis revealed that sales of point bras are up by 33 per cent compared to the same time last year."

Pass Me the Floss

Brushing your teeth could reduce your risk of dementia | Mail Online: "Keeping your teeth clean could help your mind to stay sharp into old age, research suggests.

Those with poor oral hygiene and swollen, bleeding gums are more likely to suffer memory problems linked to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, a study found.

And the worse the condition of their gums, the higher their risks of memory blanks."

10 Worst Predictions of the Decade

Alan Sugar: iPod Will Die - Worst Predictions - Newsweek 2010

Why Didn't I Think of This?

Selling Lesson Plans Online, Teachers Raise Cash and Questions -

Between Craigslist and eBay, the Internet is well established as a marketplace where one person’s trash is transformed into another’s treasure. Now, thousands of teachers are cashing in on a commodity they used to give away, selling lesson plans online for exercises as simple as M&M sorting and as sophisticated as Shakespeare.

While some of this extra money is going to buy books and classroom supplies in a time of tight budgets, the new teacher-entrepreneurs are also spending it on dinners out, mortgage payments, credit card bills, vacation travel and even home renovation, leading some school officials to raise questions over who owns material developed for public school classrooms.

I'm Not Worried at --Hey, Is That a -- Whoa, Sihiny!

Attention loss feared as high-tech rewires brain: "[S]ome mental health experts fear that a growing technology addiction, perhaps accelerated by the popularity of smart phones and social networks, will lead to a breakdown of interpersonal relationships and an increase in attention deficit disorder.

'If our attention span constricts to the point where we can only take information in 140-character sentences, then that doesn't bode too well for our future,' said Dr. Elias Aboujaoude, director of Stanford University's Impulse Control Disorders Clinic at Stanford University."

Edward Woodward, R. I. P.

Actor Edward Woodward dies at 79 - "The agent for English actor Edward Woodward says that he has died after suffering from illnesses including pneumonia.

Woodward, known for roles including the American TV series 'The Equalizer' and the film 'The Wicker Man,' was 79."

Any Which Way You Can

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Frontier Tales Magazine

Frontier Tales Magazine - Home: "Look here to find stories of yesteryear, when men and women fought and struggled against nature, their fellowman, and sometimes themselves for love, money, and -- sometimes -- survival. The frontier required strength and determination, whether it was on the western prairies while moving a herd of cattle or in the Appalachians trying to find a way west. We'll have the kind of tales you love that show you the way it used to be when America was young!

New Authors --
We know it's getting harder and harder to find someone who will publish your Western or Historical stories. Well, if you're looking for an opportunity to get your work shown, you've come to the right place. You give us a story, the right to publish your work online, maintain it in our archives, and include it in a print reproduction, such as in an anthology. We'll put it out there for the world to enjoy."

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Conjugal :: Fred Snyder

The Professional -- Robert B. Parker

Yes, I'm still reading Parker. Yes, I still like the books. I'm pretty sure it's the voice more than anything, certainly not the plots, not in The Professional, in which Spenser is asked to put a stop to an extortionist who's got the goods on four women married to wealthy husbands. Spenser finds the culprit, talks to him, and finds he kind of likes the guy. He also finds there's no way to stop him.

Eventually someone is murdered. Spenser, no longer on salary, investigates. There's no prize for guessing whodunnit. It's all too obvious, and [SPOILER ALERT] if you've ever read Of Mice and Men, you might think that Parker comes dangerously close to over-homaging this time. [END OF SPOILER ALERT]

There is, as usual, more of Susan than is good for the book, and way too much of Spenser's singing her praises. Credit where it's due, though. There's not much of Pearl the Wonder Dog. Also Spenser doesn't say "We'd be fools not to" until around page 50. Admirable restraint. However, on page 172 Susan says, "We'd be foolish not to." Overkill.

There's one thing about this book that's different, though. Or maybe not. Anyway, it's the first Parker book I remember that's not dedicated to Joan. That's a big break with tradition, for what it's worth. Or maybe there are others not dedicated to her that I haven't noticed. Oh, well.

Keep Off My Lawn!

-- Lawn Enforcement #4 by Shawn DePasquale & Holland KingJake :: IndyPlanet :: A Whole New World of Comics: "This 52 page one shot features the introduction to the Lawn Enforcement world, Old Ed's LE Agency and it's newest member Guy Warwick."

Hat tip to Paul Bishop.


ABC closing in on 'Charlie's Angels' - Entertainment News, TV News, Media - Variety: "ABC is close to giving a pilot order to a modern version of the classic 1970s TV actioner 'Charlie’s Angels.'

Josh Friedman, who recently adapted the 'Terminator' franchise for his Fox series 'Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,' is onboard to write and exec produce the new 'Angels.'

Also involved are original 'Charlie’s Angels' producer Leonard Goldberg, who launched the series with Aaron Spelling in 1976, as well as Drew Barrymore, who starred in and produced the 2000 film version and its sequel. Sony Pictures TV is the studio."

There's that word modern again. Hey, the '70s are modern enough for me. And stay off my lawn!

Look at the Birdie -- Kurt Vonnegut

This is a collection of previously unpublished short stories by Kurt Vonnegut. For me, the major flaw in the book is that the graceful introduction by Sidney Offit gives us no idea why the stories were never published. Internal evidence suggest that they were written more than 50 years ago. Did Vonnegut regard them as apprentice work, just practice? Did intend to publish them but decide they weren't worth the effort? Did he submit them only to have them widely rejected? Inquiring minds want to know.

That aside, the collection has some entertaining work. Certainly the stories aren't up to most of those collected in Welcome to the Monkey House. To me, the seem a little like stories written by someone who wasn't quite sure what he wanted them to be. "Ed Luby's Key Club," for example, has a plot right out of the pulps (man arrested for a murder he didn't commit, corrupt town full of witness against him, crooked cops, etc.), but while it has the words, it doesn't have the tune, and the way things work out is less than pulpy. And moralizing. Not that Vonnegut wasn't a moralizer, but it doesn't work in this kind of story, for me.

On the other hand, the title story is a good pulp story, and that's all I'm going to say about it. You should read it and see what you think.

The first story in the book, "Confido," is an SF story. Confido is a device about the size of a modern hearing aid. You put it in your ear and talk to it. It talks back, telling you things you think you want to hear. But do you? This one works pretty well, I thought.

And then there's "The Nice Little People," sort of an SF noir story that might have found a home in Amazing or Fantastic in the '50s if Vonnegut had tried it there. Lightweight, but not bad.

And so it goes. If you're a Vonnegut fan, you're going to read this. If you're not, it's not the place to begin.

100 Best Innovations of the Year

Best Of What's New 2009 | Popular Science: "Please enjoy the full list here on our special Best of What's New site, arranged by category, each with its own Grand Award Winner and packed with additional videos and photos."

Today's Trailer Shows Why

Nicolas Sarkozy - Sarkozy Honours Eastwood With Top French Honour - Contactmusic News: "French President NICOLAS SARKOZY paid tribute to CLINT EASTWOOD on Friday (13Nov09) when he presented the movie icon with the nation's highest cultural honour.

Eastwood was made a commander in the prestigious Legion of Honor in Paris two years after Sarkozy's predecessor Jacques Chirac honoured the Dirty Harry star as a knight of the Legion of Honor."

Every Which Way but Loose