Saturday, February 13, 2010

Put the Burrito on the Ground and Back Away Slowly - School mistakes huge burrito for a weapon: "A call about a possible weapon at a middle school prompted police to put armed officers on rooftops, close nearby streets and lock down the school. All over a giant burrito.

Someone called authorities Thursday after seeing a boy carrying something long and wrapped into Marshall Junior High.

The drama ended two hours later when the suspicious item was identified as a 30-inch burrito filled with steak, guacamole, lettuce, salsa and jalapenos and wrapped inside tin foil and a white T-shirt."

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: The Master Bedroom :: Anonymous-9

Horace Greasley, R. I. P.

This is a great story. Click the link and read it all.

Horace Greasley - Telegraph: "Horace Greasley, who died on February 4 aged 91, claimed a record unique among Second World War PoWs – that of escaping from his camp more than 200 times only to creep back into captivity each time.
[. . . .]
The reason for the frequency with which Greasley put his life in danger, he admitted with engaging good humour and frankness, was simple: he had embarked on a romance with a local German girl. Rosa Rauchbach was, if anything, running even greater risks than Greasley."

Whatever Works

Okay, I'm a Woody Allen fan. Somehow, his sense of humor really connects with me and has ever since I heard is first comedy album in 1964. As far as I'm concerned, nobody can make existential despair funnier than Allen.

And it's very funny in Whatever Works, which for me is the funniest movie Allen's made in many years. I laughed out loud many times. Larry David stars, but he's pretty much playing the character that Woody Allen has played many times before. Sure, he's much less pleasant than Allen, more caustic and insulting, but the philosophy he spouts (sometimes directly to the camera) is familiar.

Evan Rachel Wood is adorable as Allen's typical fantasy figure, the pretty, very young woman who falls for the older man. She also turns out to be much smarter than David thinks she is. The whole cast is fun, but I liked Patricia Clarkson especially. There's also one of Allen's tie-it-all-up happy endings. I like those, too.

San Jacinto Battlefield Named an Endangered Historic Site

San Jacinto Battlefield Named an Endangered Historic Site: "For the first time, the non profit group Preservation Texas has placed the San Jacinto Battlegrounds on their Most Endangered Historic Places list. The group says that the LaPorte battle field needs a comprehensive plan to keep it from falling prey to the 21st century."

If That Ain't Lovin' You, Baby . . . .

Love stinks! Albert Lea farmer creates manure valentine - "Nothing says 'I love you' like a half-mile wide heart made out of manure.

A southern Minnesota man created the Valentine's Day gift for his wife of 37 years in their farm field about 12 miles southwest of Albert Lea."

Odorless photo at the link.
Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way blog: Houston pizza lauded by Rachel Ray: "Houston's Russo's New York Coal-Fired Pizzeria is ranked one of the best pizzas in the United States in the March issue of 'Every Day with Rachel Ray' magazine."

'50s SF Movie Posters

Some real classics. Check 'em out.

Hat tip to Rick Klaw.

Kissing Cousins

Friday, February 12, 2010

Paris Hilton Update: She's Still Available!

Showbiz - News - Paris Hilton mum 'questions engagement' - Digital Spy: "Paris Hilton's mother has cast doubt over reports that her daughter is engaged.

Rumors that boyfriend Doug Reinhardt had popped the question to the heiress emerged earlier this week."

Detroit Leads the Way

Detroit schools offer class in how to to work at Walmart | Raw Story: "Walmart has been widely condemned for offering its employees only low-paying, dead end jobs. Even President Obama criticized Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign for having served on Walmart's board and stated that the firm ought to pay 'a living wage.'

In inner-city Detroit, however, where the unemployment rate is estimated at an astonishing 50%, the prospect of a Walmart job may appear far more attractive.

Four inner-city Detroit high schools have decided that employment with Walmart is an opportunity worth training their students to pursue. The schools have teamed up with the giant merchandiser to offer a for-credit class in job-readiness training that also includes entry-level after-school jobs."

James M. Cain Update

Kate Winslet - Winslet To Make Tv Return - Contactmusic News: "KATE WINSLET is returning to her television roots - she's set to appear in a small screen version of JAMES M. CAIN's novel MILDRED PIERCE.
[. . . .]
The Sopranos' Ilene Landress will produce the series for U.S. network HBO, while Todd Haynes and Jon Raymond are helming the script."

Arizona Leads the Way

Wi-Fi Turns Arizona Bus Ride Into a Rolling Study Hall - "VAIL, Ariz. — Students endure hundreds of hours on yellow buses each year getting to and from school in this desert exurb of Tucson, and stir-crazy teenagers break the monotony by teasing, texting, flirting, shouting, climbing (over seats) and sometimes punching (seats or seatmates).

But on this chilly morning, as bus No. 92 rolls down a mountain highway just before dawn, high school students are quiet, typing on laptops.

Morning routines have been like this since the fall, when school officials mounted a mobile Internet router to bus No. 92’s sheet-metal frame, enabling students to surf the Web."

Keep off His Lawn!

BBC News - Russia farmer convicted of planting landmines in field: "A Russian farmer has been convicted of planting landmines around his field to ward off trespassers.

Alexander Skopintsev, from the eastern region of Primorye near China's border, laid the three devices on his land after building them in his garage."

Hat tip to Rich Prosch.


EXCLUSIVE: Roland Emmerich Plans ‘Foundation’ As 3-D Motion-Capture Epic � MTV Movies Blog: "Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' trilogy is a pillar of the science-fiction community, and director Roland Emmerich is planning to model his three-picture adaptation of the tome after the biggest movie in the history of cinema.

MTV News has exclusively learned from Emmerich himself that 'Foundation' will be a 3-D epic using technology similar to the CG motion-capture techniques used in 'Avatar.'"

Bald Faced Liar

Paul David Brazill and Beth Groundwater gave me this award.
The rules for the award are simple:
1. Thank the person who gave this to you.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you.
4. Tell up to six outrageous lies about yourself, and at least one outrageous truth - or - switch it around and tell six outrageous truths and one outrageous lie.
5. Nominate seven "Creative Writers" who might have fun coming up with outrageous lies.
6. Post links to the seven blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know you nominated them.
Seven Lies or Truths about Me:
1. I once ran five miles barefoot.
2. I worked as a dishwasher for four years in college.
3. I have 20/20 vision but wear glasses because I like the way they look.
4. I hit a game-winning homer in the bottom of the ninth in a Little League game.
5. I have sold every book I've ever written.
6. I learned to drive when I was 10 years old.
7. I will nominate seven bloggers for this award.

Walter Fredrick Morrison, R. I. P.

Frisbee inventor dies at 90 | | The Star Press: "Walter Fredrick Morrison, the man credited with inventing the Frisbee, has died. He was 90.

Utah House Rep. Kay McIff, an attorney who represented Morrison in a royalties case, says Morrison died at his home in Monroe, Utah, on Tuesday. McIff is from Richfield, Morrison's original hometown.

'That simple little toy has permeated every continent in every country, as many homes have Frisbees as any other device ever invented,' McIff said. 'How would you get through your youth without learning to throw a Frisbee?'"

A Man and his Buzzard | Bangor, ME | Bird strike caught on tape: "Paul Appleton was flying a helicopter, snapping photos during the Super Bowl, when a turkey vulture suddenly flew into his aircraft.

Appleton says the bird hitched a 20 mile ride on this lap.

The safest thing to do was to keep the bird in the aircraft until he landed."

Video at the link.
Hat tip to Jeremy Lynch.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Suspected bank robber leaves incriminating evidence on note - 2/10/10 - Houston News - "William Cole Hall, 48, was arrested by several law enforcement agencies as he was getting a coffee at Starbucks on Post Oak at Westheimer over the noon hour today. Hall is accused of robbing a Wachovia Bank on San Felipe last Friday around 5pm.
[. . . .]
A note was left behind during the robbery. Dunlap said when the note was examined it was determined the paper had been torn from a Texas Department of Criminal Justice instruction sheet and the sheet included Hall's TDCJ inmate number."

Croc Update (Whiter Shade of Pale Edition)

Crocodile a whiter shade of pale | "A RARE albino crocodile has been photographed in the Northern Territory after its white head 'popped up' near a boat while a shocked fishing party looked on."

Great photo at the link.
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Forgotten Books: A Bullet for Cinderella -- John D. MacDonald

When I first read this book more than forty years ago, I'd never have guessed that instead of pulling the old book off the shelf for a re-read, I'd be reading it on a something called a Kindle. But since it was a free download, I figured I'd give it a try.

The ingredients are by now familiar. Heck, they were familiar more than forty years ago. Small town. War vet. Ill-gotten gains hidden away. Tough cop. Buried secrets. Beautiful women. It's not so much the ingredients as what you do with them, however, and John D. MacDonald was a master producing a tasty dish.

Tal Howard's the war vet, back home after having survived a North Korean prison camp. One of his fellow prisoners, who knows he's going to die, has told Tal about embezzling $60,000 from his brother's business, but he doesn't reveal where it's hidden. He does, however, give Tal a clue.

Tal finds himself at loose ends after the war. His life doesn't have much purpose, and he realizes he doesn't love the girl he's supposed to marry. So he takes off. He goes to the small Florida town where the money's hidden to see if he can find it and maybe find some meaning for his life at the same time.

Already in town is Fitzmartin, another ex-POW, and he knows about the money, too. He's been looking for it for a while, and he's one of MacDonald's cold, hard, implacable villains. A fine creation. What he lacks, aside from any human feeling, is the clue that Tal has.

Tal, of course, meets a beautiful woman. Not just a woman. The Woman. But he doesn't tell her the truth about why he's in town. That doesn't work out so well. Then Tal meets another woman, the one who has the answer he's looking for. Things happen.

Great characters, smooth writing, a fine action chase and climax. It doesn't turn out as you might expect. MacDonald doesn't spare anybody. There's a sort-of happy ending, though it's by no means certain that things will work out, not after all that's happened.

All through the book there are great little touches of description and character that MacDonald just sort of tosses off as if it were the easiest thing in the world. Believe me, it's not.

The cover makes the book appear to be a backwoods novel, and while it's a great cover, it's highly misleading. Don't let it keep you from reading the book, which might not be MacDonald's best but which is likely to keep you pinned to your chair for a few hours just the same.

Flaming Star

Thursday, February 11, 2010

No Comment Department

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: No Comment Department (Crider style)

Comic Strip of the Day

Splitting Headache

Man stabbed through the eye by girlfriend's stiletto - Telegraph: "The blow was so severe that the heel touched Gavin Taylor's brain.

It is thought the incident occurred while Mr Taylor, 28 was in a taxi with his girlfriend in the early hours of Sunday morning after a night out in Huddersfield, West Yorks.

The shoe is believed to have pierced his eye, passed through his eye socket and touched his brain."

No Comment Department

The Buzz Log - Novel Idea: Cell-Phone Books - Yahoo! Buzz: "The new type of storytelling is called 'keitai' — cell-phone novels. Aimed squarely at those who can't be parted from their mobiles, teens —mostly young women readers and writers — have turned the cell-phone story into the must-read phone book.
[. . . .]
The Jane Austen of the text-u-scripts is a 15-year-old who goes by the handle Bunny. Her three-volume book 'Wolf Boy x Natural Girl' got its start on cell screens but ended up in print. She has sold a whopping 110,000 books so far and raked in over $600,000 in sales. Not bad for a first-time author who hasn't even taken her high-school entrance exams. The Harlequin-style romance that reads more like notes passed in class has embarrassed the author enough that she continues to go by her alias."

Bobby Hoy, R. I. P.

Bobby Hoy dies at 82; stuntman and actor - "Bobby Hoy, a renowned stuntman who also acted, most memorably as a ranch hand on the television series 'The High Chaparral,' has died. He was 82.

Hoy, who co-founded the Stuntmen's Assn. of Motion Pictures, died Monday at Northridge Hospital Medical Center from cancer, said his wife, Kiva. He lived in Sherman Oaks."

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

Kirkus Rises from the Dead

Kirkus Gets A New Owner — From The NBA - Media Decoder Blog - "Looks like Kirkus Reviews will live another day to praise — and skewer — authors, but with some rather unorthodox owners for a publication with a long literary pedigree.

Herb Simon, the owner of the Indiana Pacers, the NBA team, and chairman emeritus of Simon Property Group, a shopping mall developer, has bought the venerable journal of prepublication book reviews from the Nielsen Company, which announced in December it was closing the magazine."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Agents find marijuana in framed portrait of Jesus | AP Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "EL PASO, Texas — The U.S. Border Patrol says agents found a stash of marijuana coming across the border in El Paso in an unusual spot: tucked behind a framed portrait of Jesus."

Top 10 'Ask an Expert' Websites

The 10 best 'Ask an expert' websites - Times Online

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Jesus Saves Jewelry Store Owner; Armed Robber "Arrested by the Holy Spirit" - Crimesider - CBS News: "Jesus Saves! At least invoking his name saved a Texas jewelry store owner from an armed bandit who tried to rob the shop but got an earful instead.

'In the name of Jesus, I command you to get out of my store. You are bound by the Holy Spirit and you are leaving,' Marian Johnson Chadwick, owner of Extravagant Necessities in Frisco, Texas, forcefully told a man who was pointing a gun at her and a long-time customer, Kathy Vereen, and demanding money."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Gator Update: The Original Sewergator Story

New York Times Sewergator: February 10, 1935

The Alamo

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Carnival of Books

A Carnival of Books – Mardi Gras, Carnaval & small-town carnivals: "Who’d have thought a festival could generate so many diverse books? The Latin parties of Rio de Janeiro, Venice and Louisiana’s various Mardi Gras events are world famous but this Roman Catholic-based pre-Lent festival also occurs in the Caribbean, Germany’s Rhineland, Denmark, Portugal and various cities in South America with countless regional variations (including, oddly enough, the Protestant-based Shrove Tuesday celebration in Britain) along the way."

No Madball.

Wisconsin Leads the Way

Man attacks dance instructor, says he 'defiles married women' - Chicago Breaking News: "A man is accused of repeatedly shocking a male dance instructor with a stun gun, claiming the instructor was a 'sinner' who 'defiles married women.'"

Hat tip to Bill Breedlove.

Charlie Wilson, R. I. P.

Charlie Wilson, Former Congressman, Dies at 76 - "Charlie Wilson, the former congressman from Texas whose funding of Afghanistan's resistance to the Soviet Union was chronicled in the movie ''Charlie Wilson's War,'' died Wednesday. He was 76.

Wilson died at Memorial Medical Center-Lufkin after he started having difficulty breathing while attending a meeting in the eastern Texas town where he lived, said hospital spokeswoman Yana Ogletree. Wilson was pronounced dead on arrival, and the preliminary cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest, she said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Tangled up in Blue

AFP: Dylan canvases unveiled in London art show: "A collection of Bob Dylan paintings billed as the US musician's first works on canvas went on show Thursday, promoted with typically inscrutable comments by the legendary star.

'Bob Dylan on Canvas' at the Halcyon Gallery in London's upmarket Mayfair district includes pieces with price tags ranging from 95,000-450,000 pounds.

'I just draw what's interesting to me, and then I paint it. Rows of houses, orchard acres, lines of tree trunks, could be anything,' the musician said in notes for the collection."

Archaeology Update

Stunningly Preserved 165-Million-Year-Old Spider Fossil Found | Wired Science | "Scientists have unearthed an almost perfectly preserved spider fossil in China dating back to the middle Jurassic era, 165 million years ago. The fossilized spiders, Eoplectreurys gertschi, are older than the only two other specimens known by around 120 million years."

Photo at the link.

Alligators in the Sewers Day!

I can't believe I missed it.

Metro - Blame the Times for alligator myth: "Who’s responsible for the enduring urban legend that alligators live in the bowels of New York’s bacteria-laden sewer system? Apparently, you can blame The New York Times.

The Grey Lady printed an article 75 years ago today that tells the tale of an 8-foot, 125-pound gator discovered in an East 123rd Street sewer by teens, who rescued the animal and then promptly killed it.

The article suggests the animal fell from a boat in the nearby Harlem River, perhaps “a steamer from the mysterious Everglades.” It then swam toward shore and into the sewer.

“I will not, on record, say there are alligators in the sewer system today,” Manhattan Borough historian Michael Miscione said at a ceremony marking yesterday “Alligators in the Sewer Day.” “I will say there is strong evidence of at least one alligator found in a sewer.” The legend gained traction after a 1959 book, “The World Beneath the City,” mentioned alligators “serenely paddling around."

21 Greatest-Ever Space Photos

21 Greatest-Ever Space Photos - Photo Gallery, 21 Pictures - LIFE

Croc Update (Camel Edition)

Feral camels to be fed to crocodiles - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "Wild camels from central Australia could be killed and fed to crocodiles under a new commercial agreement.

Australia's million-strong camel population is expected to double within the decade."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Brother accused of nearly severing brother's ear during bean fight - 2/09/10 - Houston News - "A fight over a pot of beans ends with a man nearly severing his brother's ear, authorities say.

According to the Brazoria County Sheriff's Department, Larry Williams, 62, was making a pot of beans for breakfast Saturday morning when his brother, Kenneth Williams, began arguing with him over his cooking methods. Kenneth reportedly said he wasn't going to eat the beans, angering Larry.

The Williams brothers then reportedly began fighting over the food and other family matters when Larry grabbed the knife he was cooking with, stabbed his brother in the head and ended up nearly severing Kenneth's ear."

I Wonder How She'd Deal with Snakes

He Messed With the Wrong Flight Attendant |
NBC San Diego
: "A San Francisco man, accused of forcing a flight to divert because he was high on medical marijuana, picked the wrong flight attendant to freak out on.

Lorin Gorman of Chula Vista is a fourth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Those skills may have averted a serious situation in the air."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Oarfish Update

BBC - Earth News - Giant bizarre deep sea fish filmed in Gulf of Mexico: "Extraordinary footage of a rarely seen giant deep sea fish has been captured by scientists.

Using a remotely operated vehicle, they caught a rare glimpse of the huge oarfish, perhaps the first sighting of the fish in its natural setting.

The oarfish, which can reach 17m long, has previously only been seen on a few occasions dying at the sea surface, or dead washed ashore."

Video at the link, but you have to sit through a Mercedes commercial.

The Alamo

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Stephanie Plum Update

Katherine Heigl to play Stephanie Plum in 'One for the Money,' Janet Evanovich best-seller: "What do you get when you mix Katherine Heigl, lingerie and bounty hunting? A chick flick that guys are sure to enjoy.

The Grey's Anatomy star has signed on for the lead role in 'One for the Money,' based on the first book in the immensely popular Stephanie Plum series of novels by Janet Evanovich, reports."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Update on The Big Bang -- Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins

I put this link in an update to my review, but I wanted to be sure everyone saw it, so I'm putting it here, too. Essential stuff, at least for me, about how the Collins/Spillane collaborations were done.

Gator Update (Spicy Grittiness Edition)

Alligator Hot Dogs Have Bite: "If you’re hunting for a hot dog in Chicago, one restaurant slangs wieners with some serious bite. Hot Doug’s, The Sausage Superstore And Encased Meat Emporium, specializes in exotic hot dogs made of various game.

Owner Doug Sohn says hot sellers include the buffalo dog and alligator dog, which has a “spicy grittiness” to it."

2010 Hammett Prize Nominees

Busted Flush Press: 2010 Hammett Prize nominations!: "Megan Abbott, Bury Me Deep (Simon & Schuster)
Ace Atkins, Devil's Garden (Putnam)
Jedediah Berry, The Manual of Detection (Penguin)
Walter Mosley, The Long Fall (Riverhead)
George Pelecanos, The Way Home (Little, Brown)"

On-Line Exhibit about the History of the Texas Prison System

Fear, Force, and Leather: The Texas State Prison's First Hundred Years - Texas State Library

Link via Will's Texas Parlor.

Best Action Scene Ever Filmed? (From 1985. No CGI.)

New Blogger on the Block

Gar Anthony Haywood has started a blog. If you've read his books, you know how good his writing is. Now you can partake of his Wisdom Mistaken for Lunacy. Drop by and take a look.

I'll Take It!

Millionaire gives away fortune which made him miserable - Telegraph: "Austrian millionaire Karl Rabeder is giving away every penny of his £3 million fortune after realising his riches were making him unhappy."

They Needed a Study?

Study shows why it is so scary to lose money
| Reuters
: "People are afraid to lose money and an unusual study released on Monday explains why"


Monday, February 08, 2010

I Blame Myself for This

Is blogging a slog? Some young people think so - Yahoo! News: "Could it be that blogs have become online fodder for the — gasp! — more mature reader?

A new study has found that young people are losing interest in long-form blogging, as their communication habits have become increasingly brief, and mobile. Tech experts say it doesn't mean blogging is going away. Rather, it's gone the way of the telephone and e-mail — still useful, just not sexy."

The Big Bang -- Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins

I'm reviewing the ARC of The Big Bang. You can buy it in May. According to Collins, in a review of The Twisted Thing that you really should read if you haven't already, The Big Bang was begun in the middle 1960s and shelved. Instead of completing it, Spillane took out a manuscript that he'd written in the late '40s and sent it in. That manuscript was published as The Twisted Thing, and the incomplete Big Bang remained pretty much forgotten until Spillane let Collins read it in 1982. At that time, Collins probably never dreamed that more nearly 30 years later, he'd complete it and publish it as Spillane's collaborator.

As you know, I'm sure, Collins has completed two other Spillane manuscripts, The Goliath Bone and Dead Street. His name doesn't appear at all on the cover of the latter, and is shown in small letters on the cover of the former. This time, his name is prominently displayed. Maybe that tells us something about the extent of his involvement in each of the books. Maybe not. It doesn't matter, anyway, because there couldn't be anyone better suited to working with Spillane's manuscripts. It's next to impossible (for me, anyway) to tell where Spillane leaves off and Collins begins.

The Big Bang begins with a coincidence. Mike Hammer happens to witness what appears to be a mugging and steps in. People wind up dead. That doesn't surprise you, does it? Anyway, it's a great, violent scene in the Spillane manner. Afterward, Hammer gets interested in the circumstances of the attack and starts to poke around. People start trying to kill him. Naturally this makes him even more interested in finding out what's going on. It has to do with drugs, a very big shipment of them, and the mob and other things. The plot is complex, and Hammer's unraveling of it is satisfactory in the way you'd expect. There's some sex. People die violently.

If you're a fan of the earlier Mike Hammer books (and millions were), you'll like this one. If you're not, this one likely won't convert you. I was a fan. Still am. I'm glad that Collins saved this manuscript and finished it in a way that would make Spillane happy. Check it out.

Update: A don't miss post from Max Allan Collins on the collaborations with Spillane.

"The Killer Inside Me" Film Review

"The Killer Inside Me": Life is hot in noirtown. - Indie Eye - Blogs -

Hat tip to Rick Klaw.

That'll Teach Her

Soldier father accused of 'waterboarding' daughter, 4, because she can't recite alphabet
| Mail Online
: "A soldier waterboarded his four-year-old daughter because she was unable to recite her alphabet.

Joshua Tabor admitted to police he had used the CIA torture technique because he was so angry."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Banned from Texas prisons: John Grisham, 'Precious', Guns & Ammo magazine… and a naked baby Jesus – Telegraph Blogs: "When a book arrives at a Texas prison mailroom, an employee first checks the database to see if the book is already prohibited. If not, said Shelby, ‘he’ll flip it over and read the back’. If that provides insufficient information to make a decision, ‘they scan through it looking for key words’ or pictures that would disqualify the publication.

‘You can pretty much tell by reading the first few pages,’ she said. ‘We rely on them to use their judgment.’
So, what has been banned as a result of this strategy?
Precious, a story of the struggle of the black working class in the USA, which has been adapted into a film currently being excellently reviewed over here, is not allowed.

Nor are books by Harold Robbins, Pat Conroy, Hunter S Thompson, Dave Barry and James Patterson; and John Grisham has had four titles banned in the last five years."

Dave Barry is a noted subversive, but a nice guy like Hunter Thompson? I don't get it.

Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Nurse to Stand Trial for Reporting Doctor - "“It was surreal,” said Mrs. Mitchell, 52, the wife of an oil field mechanic and mother of a teenage son. “I said how can this be? You can’t go to prison for doing the right thing.”"

The Super Bowl is a Holiday?

Biggest Beer-Buying Holidays - CNBC

Soon We'll Have No Rights at All

Ferrari owner's dream garage grinds neighbors' gears - "His pristine Ferrari 512 BBi 'Boxer' sits in the middle of Holger Schubert's living room in Brentwood, right next to stylish furniture, a built-in bookcase and a flat-screen TV that slides on tracks past walls of glass that frame an ocean view.

But Los Angeles officials are about to slam shut forever the garage door that leads to the city's most extravagant parking space.

City planners have withdrawn permission for Schubert to use a bridge to connect his Ferrari's third-floor resting spot with North Tigertail Road."

I recommend the photos at the link.

And Keep Off His Lawn!

Man, 94, fights off home invader in Thebarton | Adelaide Now: "AN elderly western suburbs man fought off an intruder in his home early this morning.

Cliff Longmore said he woke up just after 4am to find a man in his bedroom in Thebarton, rifling through his drawers.

'I jumped out of bed and I tackled him, Mr Longmore said, I was wrestling him around.''"

Create Your Own Dialog for Batman & Robin Panel

Batman & Robin Comic Generator

Link via Neatorama.

Clifton Adams

� THE GOLD MEDAL CORNER, by Bill Crider: CLIFTON ADAMS.: "There are plenty of undiscovered treasures waiting out there in those old Gold Medal Books, some of them by authors you may never have heard of. Clifton Adams is a case in point."

Steve Lewis has reprinted my Gold Medal Corner column on Clifton Adams over at Mystery*File. Check it out.

The Reptile

Sunday, February 07, 2010

William Tenn/Phil Klass, R. I. P.

William Tenn/Phil Klass (science fiction... | Gather: "William Tenn/Phil Klass died on Sunday, February 7, 2010 at age 89. He leaves his wife, Fruma and his daughter, Adina."

For more on Klass, click here.

Return of the Cavemen

US 'cavemen' seek raw truth: "Vlad Averbukh says he'll need a napkin at lunch. 'It could be bloody.' What he doesn't require is a fork.

A follower of America's 'paleo diet,' or simply 'the caveman lifestyle,' New Yorker Averbukh does things the old-fashioned way.

'A lot of folks might find this unpalatable. But to me it tastes good,' he says, lifting an uncooked cut of beef the size of a book.

Chomping on the raw meat in a small park by the Hudson River, Averbukh, a 29-year-old website manager, explains how paleo dieters are trying to turn mankind's clock back to the Paleolithic Era."

Photo at the link. I recommend reading the whole article.

Hey, Youse Guys!

Why the classic New York accent is fading away - "Will old Noo Yawk become a museum piece, the subway token of language?"

11 Best Super Bowl Ads Ever

Cindy Crawford | 11 Best Super Bowl Ads Ever | Photo 1 of 12 | "11 Best Super Bowl Ads Ever
Forget the game; the real competition this Sunday night is to come up with spots we'll all still be talking about years later -- just like these Hall of Famers!"

But I Thought It Was All About Safety!

2/5/2010 - Cleveland Taking Down Red Light Cameras - Breaking News - "Cleveland city officials said red light cameras in the city seem to be effective, but the company furnishing the cameras has asked that the cameras come down.

Accordingly, they will be removed at the end of March.

The firm that supplied the cameras said both it and the city have been losing money on the operation."

Tereska Torres Speaks Out

Tereska Torres: The reluctant queen of lesbian literature -
Features, Books - The Independent
: "'I look on the internet and I learn that I am the literary queen of the lesbians, the person who wrote the first lesbian, erotic pulp novel. I hate it. I hate it,' Ms Torres said. 'If you look at Women's Barracks, there are five main characters. Only one and a half of them can be considered a lesbian.'

Sixty years after she wrote Women's Barracks, Ms Torres has almost completed a rewrite. The new version, to be published in France later this year, will, she says, be 'a more serious, more complete, better rounded book'. It will have a 'new character'– the British capital itself and how it responded 'with exemplary courage' to the Blitz."

Hat tip to Sarah Weinman.

Here's the Plot of Your Next Karaoke Serial Killer Novel

Sinatra Song Often Strikes Deadly Chord - "The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling “My Way” in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the “My Way Killings.”"

Today's Quiz

You don't know tech: The InfoWorld news quiz

I Advise You Not to Spend Much Time with Me

You really can be bored to death, scientists discover | Mail Online: "Boredom could be shaving years off your life, scientists have found.

Researchers say that people who complain of boredom are more likely to die young, and that those who experienced 'high levels' of tedium are more than two-and-a-half times as likely to die from heart disease or stroke than those satisfied with their lot."

Found in Books

AbeBooks: Found in Books: "Be careful what you use as a bookmark. Thousands of dollars, a Christmas card signed by Frank Baum, a Mickey Mantle rookie baseball card, a marriage certificate from 1879, a baby’s tooth, a diamond ring and a handwritten poem by Irish writer Katharine Tynan Hickson are just some of the stranger objects discovered inside books by booksellers."

No Comment Department

Nagin: Count Houston Katrina evacuees as New Orleans residents in Census | | Houston News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather
| Local News
: "A controversy is brewing in Houston as the April 1 deadline approaches for the 2010 Census.

At the center of it all are the tens of thousands of New Orleans residents who relocated to the Bayou City after Hurricane Katrina.

Accurate population counts are critical for the Census, and they mean big money for cities.

But New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin wants Katrina evacuees counted as residents of his city, rather than where they live now."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Theft From Dead Leads To Arrest - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston: "HOUSTON -- A crime scene worker has been arrested and charged with stealing cash from a dead person's bedroom, KPRC Local 2 Investigates reported Friday."

The Vigilante