Saturday, April 24, 2010

Paintings by Kenny Mencher

Artist Kenny Mencher did the cover for Bad Juju (reviewed here). Check out some of his other noirish work at this link.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Contact Shots Are Bad Like That :: Derek Kelly

Country Music -- Willie Nelson

Seems like T-Bone Burnett's working with everybody these days. I just reviewed the Jakob Dylan CD, and now I've been listening a lot to Willie Nelson's new one, with Burnett as the producer. Same spare arrangements, lots of the same musicians. And some great songs, most of which are familiar to country music fans.

My absolute favorite on the CD is "Dark as a Dungeon," a coal-mining song by Merle Travis that I first heard on an album by Tennessee Ernie Ford well over 50 years ago. I thought at the time it was one of the most powerful things I'd ever heard, and I still do. Willie's version is especially poignant in light of the recent mining disaster in West Virginia. My father used to like "Pistol Packin' Mama" a lot, and of course that made me like it, too. Willie does a great version. "Satisfied Mind" is a classic, recorded many times by others, but Willie makes it his own. If you like an even more spiritually tinged song, there's "Satan Your Kingdom Must Come Down." There's not a new song on the CD, but Willie can make the old things new. Give it a listen.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Back Alley Update from Richard Helms

Just wanted to drop everyone a note to let you know that the new issue of The Back Alley Webzine will go active around the first of the week. This is our first issue since The Back Alley made history by becoming the very first all-electronic mystery zine to make the MWA Approved Periodicals list.

It's a corker, folks. We have stories by Stephen D. Rogers, Angela Zeman, Nikki Dolson, and a very impressive newcomer (to mysteries, at least) named Thomas Larsen. There is even a new Eamon Gold short story by some kid named Helms. We top it all off with part six of our seven-part serialization of Frank Norris's classic naturalistic proto-noir novel, McTeague.

The party starts Monday at The Back Alley Webzine, ! Hope to see you there!

Richard Helms
SIX MILE CREEK, available NOW, Five Star Mysteries

Houston Leads the Way

Houston officers wrote more than 109,000 speeding tickets in March, setting a record high of tickets issued in any one month since mid-'99 - 4/23/10 - Houston News - "When traffic is flowing in Houston, we really move. Some days it seems like Houstonians have a love affair with their gas pedals.

It's on officers like Mark Elliott to slow us down.

'Everybody always wants to be out front,' Elliott said.

And from what we can tell, HPD's been abnormally busy lately.
Last month, HPD handed out more than 109,000 traffic tickets. That's 3,500 a day or 147 tickets every hour for a month."

New and Improved

25 years since Coca-Cola's big blunder �| "Twenty-five years ago Friday, Coca-Cola executives stepped up to a podium at the company's headquarters and told the world that the old Coke formula was being shelved in favor of something called 'New Coke.' As the ads said, you were gonna love it."

The World in His Arms

Friday, April 23, 2010


EXCLUSIVE: Doug Reinhardt Spent $2 Million On Paris Hilton Over 18 months! | "Paris Hilton and Doug Reinhardt’s romance may be finished but the fallout from their breakup continues. As the he-said-she-said back and forth continues, has learned new details about their relationship, including how Doug spent $2 million on Paris in 18 months!"

Top Ten Best Movie Scores of the Past 30 Years

YesButNoButYes: Top Ten Best Movie Scores of the Past 30 Years

I'm sure nobody will have any argument with these choices.

New Post at the Running Blog

Click here for another thrilling installment.

Victor Gischler -- The Deputy

The title character of The Deputy is Toby Sawyer, a guy who left Coyote Crossing, Oklahoma, and made the mistake of coming back. He pretty much had to, however, as his life was going nowhere. He's not the smartest person in town, even though it's a small town, and he's not even really a deputy, just a part-timer. He's a good old boy, though, and he has a good heart. He loves his kid, and he wants to do the right thing. Too bad he's a screw-up and can't even manage to watch a dead body without its disappearing.

And when the body disappears, Toby's long night begins. The book takes place during that one night, with more action, deaths, explosions, car chases, sex, and beatings in that short timespan than some lawmen (Sheriff Dan Rhodes, take note) experience in their entire lengthy careers.

Toby can't quite figure out what the hell is going on, and the question is, will he survive all the attempts on his life and blunder through, or will someone kill him before morning? I'm certainly not going to tell you. It all makes for entertaining reading, and the pace never slows. The book is short, just the right length, sort of a Gold Medal book for the 21st century. Grab a copy and see for yourself.

Top 10 Father and Son Writing Teams

Top 10 Father and Son Writing Teams presented by AbeBooks: "Sons who have followed in their literary fathers' footsteps and become authors are surprisingly common. Perhaps it’s the genes? Perhaps it was inspiring to see father disappear off and hammer away at the typewriter for hour after hour. AbeBooks has selected the top 10 father and son author double-teams and there are plenty of big-hitters."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Australia Leads the Way

Road rage man ordered to pay compo to policeman whose testicles he squeezed in road rage incident at Brisbane Riverfire | Courier Mail: "Road rage man ordered to pay compo to policeman whose testicles he squeezed in road rage incident at Brisbane Riverfire"

Forgotten Books: THE SPOTTED PANTHER -- James Francis Dwyer

James Francis Dwyer's life story is almost as interesting and full of action as his fiction. Click the link and read about him. It's worth your time. Then you can come back and read about today's Forgotten Book.

Last week I jokingly
said something like, "Before there was Gabriel Hunt, there was Mark Stone." But this week I'm talking about the thing itself, the pure serene. When it comes to treasure-hunting tales, you can hardly beat Dwyer's The Spotted Panther. First of all, it was written in 1913, when the world was a much larger place and still full of wonder, when most people reading the serial in Munsey's had no idea what might lie "deep in the heart of the Borneo jungles." (And maybe we still don't.)

It begins with a brawl in an opium den and the revelation of the Chalice of Everlasting fire: [T]hat chalice had lived upon the spice-scented breezes for centuries. Lived, mind you! In the fo'c'stle of every blistered tramp that hooted of nipa-palm villages in search of cargo, the Chalice of Everlasting Fire was the subject of discussion. Men talked of it on the stinking Wusung, whispered of it at the pearl fisheries at Thursday Island, and dreamed of it as they looked upon the snows above Darjeeling. It had a dozen names. Dyak, Kling, Chinese, Jap, Tamil, Hindu, Shan, Khond, and Rajput kknew it by a name of his own. It was the Vessel of Flame, the Holy Cup,the Burning Pitcher, the Goblet of Life, and a dozen other names, but English and American sailors spoke of it as the Chalice of Everylasting Fire.

If that doesn't get your blood stirring, then this isn't the book for you. But that's just for starters. You see the three adventurers at the heart of the book already have the Chalice in their possession. What they're really after is the Parong of Buddha, and to get that, they're going to have to travel into the interior, see wonders, and fight to the death. The Moon of Blood. The Place of Evil Winds. The Passage of the Glow-worms. And a lot more.

Those of us who love pulp adventure are luck that Black Dog Books is making pulp classics like this available. Be warned that the racial attitudes are far from enlightened, as you might expect in a book nearly 100 years old. See the quotation for a small example. In spite of that, highly recommended.

Trick Baby

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Archie Comics Update

Comic book shocker! Archie's Riverdale high school gets openly gay student, Kevin Keller: "Gee whiz, Archie!

Riverdale High School, the stomping grounds of comic books' favorite teen and his friends, is opening its doors to an openly gay student - a first in the 69-year history of the character.

'We're trying to reflect society and we're just trying to show Riverdale is a diverse place,' says Dan Parent, the artist-writer behind the series."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

She Should Have Stayed off Her Lawn

And as for the young killer's comment in the last paragraph below, I think she should be told now that she's sentenced to die when she's 70.

Woman Charged In Hempstead Van-Lawn Death: 'She Was Old' -�: "The18-year-old woman charged with vehicular manslaughter in the death of Hempstead woman told her side of the story Wednesday, and some of her comments are shocking.

Police say Kayla Gerdes was high on painkillers when she drove a van onto the front lawn and into a house in Hempstead, killing homeowner Rebecca Twine-Wright, 69, who was mowing her lawn.

Before her arraignment at Nassau County District Court on Wednesday, a very emotional Gerdes told reporters 'I didn't mean to do it. The car went out of control -- I was pressing the was a was a mistake.'

However, it's what she told police that is hard to believe.

At 2:10 a.m. Wednesday, about 16 hours after the Tuesday morning accident, in a statement to police, Gerdes was quoted as saying: 'The thing that made me feel not so bad was she was old. 'I mean, 70 years is a long time to live.'"

Chupacabra Update

Vanished: 'Chupacabra' walks away from Fiesta booth |
"On display was a mummified chupacabra. Stevens charges $1.00 for the public to get a closeup look at what he claims is the only known chupacabra in the U.S.

But no more.

Owner Brian Stevens says the special specimen has been stolen."

OK Corral Update

Ariz. Court Discovers Original OK Corral Papers - ABC News: "A missing handwritten transcript from a coroner's inquest done after the legendary gunfight at the OK Corral has resurfaced in a dusty box more than 125 years after the most famous shootout in Wild West history.

The document had been missing for decades — last seen when it was photocopied in the 1960s.

It was found when court clerks stumbled on the box while reorganizing files in an old jail storage room in Bisbee, about 20 miles south of Tombstone, the Arizona frontier town where the gunbattle took place."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Students Tried to Sell 'Jello Shots' at School: "LA PORTE, Texas - Several students have been suspended from a La Porte middle school following accusations that they tried to sell gelatin shots that may have contained alcohol."

Spoof Book Covers

Dedicated to Ditzy Wallflowers

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

Elderly Des Moines woman puts .22-caliber stop to break-in | | The Des Moines Register: "'I told him Jesus and I would go outside with him and make the daylight come,' Turner said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Michigan Leads the Way

The best Iraq war story you'll read today.

After surgeries in Mich., Iraqi teen to head home

Today's Western Movie Poster

Beautiful Books

The Most Beautiful Books You've Ever Seen - Books - io9: "Philip Smith is one of the world's most famous book binders, who has transformed book binding into an incredible form of art. And one of his favorite subjects is Lord of the Rings, whose covers he's reimagined several times.

Here you can see a selection of his covers, including many versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy - one of which looks weirdly similar to the Necronomicon in Evil Dead."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

No success yet with birth control for feral hogs | Business news | - Houston Chronicle: "There's a saying that when a feral hog has six piglets, only eight are expected to survive.

That's no joke in Texas, however, where the 400-pound beasts do an estimated $50 million in damage to crops and property each year. Texas has half the nation's feral hogs, but they're now found in about 38 other states, up from fewer than 20 states 15 years ago.

One Texas researcher had hoped to slow their rapid reproduction with a birth control pill, but that hasn't worked out well."

And don't miss The Wild Hog Murders, coming from St. Martin's in 2011. Except they'll probably change the title.


Bugs returns! Cartoon Net rebooting 'Looney Tunes' -- The Live Feed | THR: "Cartoon Network is launching a new version of the classic Warner Bros. series 'Looney Tunes.'
[. . . .]
'The Looney Toons Show' will star Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, along with Yosemite Sam, Tweety, Sylvester -- the whole gang. Weirdly, the network is having each episode as a half-hour story along with 'cartoons within a cartoon.' The concept takes Bugs and Daffy out of the woods (awww) and puts them into the suburbs (arrrh!) with 'colorful neighbors.'"

The Top 10 Western Movies You've Never Heard Of

The Top 10 Western Movies | True West Magazine - Preserving the American West

50 Best Books for Boys and Young Men

50 Best Books for Boys and Young Men | The Art of Manliness

Cool Breeze

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's San Jacinto Day

Repeating history: San Jacinto Day comes alive | Chronicle | - Houston Chronicle: "Bugle calls and thundering cannons will fill the air Saturday at the old San Jacinto battlefield — the site where Sam Houston's army won Texas' freedom from Mexico — but this time the smoke and hubbub of war will all be in fun.

Hundreds of military re-enactors will relive the clash between Texas rebels and Santa Anna's troops as the highlight of the annual festival commemorating the Texans' April 21, 1836, victory.

The actor-soldiers also will dramatize the “runaway scrape” — the flight of Texans from the advancing Mexican army — and the march of Sam Houston's troops from Gonzales to San Jacinto."

I For One Welcome Our New Feathered Overlords

BBC News - Clever New Caledonian crows can use three tools: "New Caledonian crows have given scientists yet another display of their tool-using prowess.

Scientists from New Zealand's University of Auckland have found that the birds are able to use three tools in succession to reach some food.

The crows, which use tools in the wild, have also shown other problem-solving behaviour, but this find suggests they are more innovative than was thought."

The Most Overrated Shows on Television

The Most Overrated Shows on Television -

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien at Toob World.

Women + Country -- Jakob Dylan

One of my favorite recent CDs is Harper Simon, by Paul Simon's son. I've been listening to it quite a bit. And lately I've been listening to Women + Country by Jakob Dylan, the son of another '60s great, Bob Dylan. I'm not sure how to classify this one. Americana? I guess that's close enough.

T-Bone Burnett produced the CD, and the backing vocals are by Neco Case and Kelly Hogan, so you have spare, clear sound and some nice harmonies to go along with Dylan's own voice and lyrics. Case and Hogan are way down in the mix, though. I wouldn't have minded hearing them a bit louder. All the songs sound great, and the session players do excellent work. My favorite songs are "Holy Rollers for Love" and "Truth for a Truth," but they're all good. I like melody and harmony, which explains why Dylan and Simon appeal to me. If you have similar likes, give this one a try.

Super-Science Fiction, June 1959 (Part 2)

I love this ad on the back cover of the issue. I remember the royal jelly craze, and it even begot at least one monster movie. But back to the stories.

Robert Silverberg's "The Day the Monsters Broke Loose" isn't anything great, but it's the best story in the magazine. It's about just what the title says it is.

"Beasts of Nightmare Horror" by Richard F. Watson is also about just exactly what it says it is, and it's sort of a Forbidden Planet/alien-invasion/frontier/WWII story. It's the issue's "novelette."

"Mating Instinct" by Lloyd Biggle, Jr., isn't part of the monster motif. It's story about an alien invasion that fails. Attitudes have changed a lot since the '50s.

Here's a bit from "The Enormous Diamond" by Bill Wesley: "The bitter odor of Venerian hashinrut, the twang of loose-stringed Capellan guitars, the appreciative grunts of the huge Sirians as they feasted their tiny swollen eyes on the smooth-skinned Venerian belly dancers -- all this he had seen before." And all this you've read before in the SF digests if not the crime digests (in different words, of course). I'll be George Lucas could say the same. I love it.

The 12 most "Inspiring" Examples of Environmentalism in SF

The 12 most "inspiring" examples of environmentalism in sci-fi | SCI FI Wire

The Origin of DUNE

Frank Herbert's 'Dune' holds timely - and timeless - appeal - "The novel was sparked when, in the late 1950s, Herbert flew to Florence, Ore., in a small chartered plane to write about a U.S. Department of Agriculture effort to stabilize sand dunes with European beach grasses. The author was struck by the way dunes could move, over time, like living things -- swallowing rivers, clogging lakes, burying forests. 'These waves can be every bit as devastating as a tidal wave . . . they've even caused deaths,' he wrote his agent, beginning an article, 'They Stopped the Moving Sands,' that was never published.

Despite his agent's indifference, Herbert dug in: He was fascinated by the project and superimposed the history of another sandy place -- including Arabs and Islam's Mohammed -- into an adventure novel originally called 'Spice Planet.'

When he hit his stride, Herbert was writing 70 pages a week."

Today's Western Movie Poster

The 50 best Author vs. Author Put-Downs of All Time

The 50 best author vs. author put-downs of all time: "Yes, hell hath no fury like one author gleefully savaging another author's work."

Texting Update

AFP: US teens favour text over phone call, study finds: "Text messaging has eclipsed the telephone call to become the most frequent form of communication among US teenagers, and girls send more than twice as many messages as boys, according to a new study.

The study by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project and the University of Michigan released Tuesday found that the average adolescent sends or receives 50 or more messages a day, or 1,500 texts per month.

Thirty-one percent send and receive more than 100 messages per day or more than 3,000 messages a month and 15 percent send more than 200 texts a day.

Girls tend to be much more avid texters than boys, typically sending and receiving 80 messages per day compared to 30 for boys, according to the survey of 800 teens aged 12 to 17 years old and their parents."

Captain America

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Unsanctioned pruning | Dallas Morning News
| Latest News

After she was patted down and handcuffed, Sandra McFeeley was hauled from her Oak Cliff home to jail.

"I met some neat people," she said of her nine hours at Lew Sterrett Justice Center. "I'd never been in a perp walk before. It was cool."

What's not so cool, the 67-year-old attorney said, was being accused of felony criminal mischief – for thinning thickets in a city park near her home.

"She was going out to this greenbelt area and trimming it as she saw fit," said Joe Ries, a city park maintenance manager. "We asked her to stop," he said, because she didn't have a work agreement with the city.

Super-Science Fiction, June 1959

I know I've written before about my fondness for the low-rent SF digests of the '50s, and Super-Science Fiction was certainly among that group. I picked up the "Second Monster Issue" the other day only to discover that nostalgia ain't what it used to be. Even I have to admit that nobody could read these stories today with a straight face.

"Creatures of Green Slime" by James Rosenquest is about the first manned expedition to Mars, in which an encounter with an alien life form results in takeover by green slime. It's an attempt to create horror in the reader with the use of italics, exclamation points, and strong men weeping. Doesn't work. What stopped me in my tracks, though was the fact that they check out the green slime by testing it on a bowl of goldfish. Yes, that's right. They took a bowl of goldfish on the first manned expedition to Mars. I wouldn't have thought to take it, but by golly someone did.

"Terror of the Undead Corpses" by Rusell Thompson is about the first manned expedition to Venus, in which contact with an alien life form results in corpses reanimated by green slime. No, wait, that's the other story. Well, yes, but it's this one, too. The difference is in the way the takeover works. Not that you'll care much.

Obviously the publishers were trying to capitalize on the monster craze in the movies of the time, but it didn't save the magazine. I'm sure Todd Mason could give you the entire crazed history of it, and he might even know if Rosenquest and Thompson were real people or just pen-names for Ellison and Silverberg, who apparently wrote most of the stories for this publication.

Great Freas cover, though, and fine Emsh interiors. More reports later.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

iWon News - Divorce dilemma: Texas says gays can't get divorce: "After the joy of a wedding and the adoption of a baby came arguments that couldn't be resolved, leading Angelique Naylor to file for divorce. That left her fighting both the woman she married in Massachusetts and the state of Texas, which says a union granted in a state where same-sex marriage is legal can't be dissolved with a divorce in a state where it's not.

A judge in Austin granted the divorce, but Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is appealing the decision. He also is appealing a divorce granted to a gay couple in Dallas, saying protecting the 'traditional definition of marriage' means doing the same for divorce."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Gator Update (Fargo Edition)

Alligator found abandoned in Fargo | Worthington Daily Globe | Worthington, Minnesota: "An abandoned alligator has found a temporary home among the Bison.

The roughly 2-foot-long reptile was discovered about 6:45 p.m. Thursday outside a Fargo apartment building in the 1800 block of 42nd Street South."

Librarians Have More Fun

Survey: Librarians get frisky in stacks - "A 1992 survey of 5,000 U.S. librarians, long withheld by a professional journal, found one in five respondents had engaged in sexual trysts among the stacks.

Will Manly, who said the New York-based Wilson Library Bulletin withheld the results of his survey in 1992, published results recently on his Web site indicating 51 percent of librarians in the early 90s were willing to pose nude for money and 61 percent of respondents admitting to renting an X-rated film, the New York Daily News reported Monday."

Hat tip to Jeremy Lynch.

12 Criminally Insane Real-World Medical Professionals

12 Criminally Insane Real-World Medical Professionals

South Park, Beware!

Security Brief: Radical Islamic Web site takes on 'South Park' – This Just In - Blogs: "The radical Islamic Web site is going after the creators of the TV cartoon series 'South Park' after an episode last week included an image of the Prophet Mohammed in disguise."

Image at the link. Look at your own risk.

Croc Update (Aerobics Edition)

Croc holds up aqua aerobics class |
Quirky News |

Orange UK
: "A water aerobics class at a holiday park in Australia had to be postponed - after a 5ft crocodile entered the pool."

A Big Day in Mystery History

| The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: "In 1841, on this day, the first detective story was published. In his story "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," published in Graham's Magazine, Edgar Allan Poe (books by this author) created mystery's first fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin. The story introduced many of the elements of mysteries that are still popular today: the genius detective, the not-so-smart sidekick, the plodding policeman, and the use of the red herring to lead readers off the track."

A Day at the Races

George Scithers, R. I. P.

Locus Online News: George Scithers, 1929 - 2010: "Writer, editor, and publisher George H. Scithers, 80, died April 19, 2010 after suffering a massive heart attack on April 17.

Scithers first became active in the SF field in 1959 as editor of two-time Hugo winning fanzine Amra. He was the founding editor of Asimov's when it launched in 1977, continuing there until 1982, and from 1982-86 edited Amazing Stories. In 1987 he revived Weird Tales with Darrell Schweitzer and John Betancourt, and in 2007 stopped editing the magazine actively, becoming editor emeritus. He founded specialty publisher Owlswick Press in 1973 and also edited numerous anthologies, most recently Cat Tales: Fantastic Feline Fiction (2008). He also wrote fiction, notably first genre story 'Faithful Messenger' in If (1969) and spoof cookbook To Serve Man (inspired by Damon Knight's eponymous story) under the name Karl W�rf in 1976."

Edmund Dulac’s Golden Illustrations on AbeBooks

Edmund Dulac’s Golden Illustrations on AbeBooks


BBC News - Surgeon cut off testicle 'by mistake' at Bury hospital: "A patient lost a testicle during an operation because the surgeon cut it off by mistake, a General Medical Council (GMC) hearing has been told."

Hat tip to Jeremy Lynch.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Gators Got Talent!

Mike and alligator mate Rosie a big hit on Australia’s Got Talent show - Local News - News | Express Advocate Wyong Edition: "THERE’S an old showbiz saying that you should never work with children or animals, but Australian Reptile Park ranger Mike Tate is never one to back away from a challenge, just ask his best mate Rosie.

The odd couple are tackling the world of television and are off to a stellar start, making the second round of Channel 7’s hit show Australia’s Got Talent.

While the idea of having an alligator wrapped around your neck compared to singing and dancing might not seem like a talent, Tate and Rosie quickly won over judges Dannii Minogue, Kyle Sandilands and Brian McFadden with their slightly left-of-field routine in which Rosie gave Tate a cuddle, smile and even a kiss for Sandilands."

The Toyman Rides Again -- Robert S. Napier

I've known Robert S. Napier (aka Cap'n Bob) for many years, but that has nothing to do with the fact that I found The Toyman Rides Again to be a highly entertaining novel.

The book is set in 1983, and Viet Nam vet Jack Lorentz is asked to join a group of 7th Cavalry reenactors. His job is to protect the man playing General Custer, whose life has been threatened. No one knows for sure if it's the Custer character who's been targeted or if it's the guy playing the part. Indian activists are involved, including the beautiful Abigail She Stands in Light, whom Jack finds quite attractive.

The battle of Little Big Horn gets reenacted, all right, but not in the expected way, and General Custer bites the dust. Jack, who didn't protect the General so well, feels obligated to find the killer, although it seems obvious that one of the activists did the deed. Too obvious, naturally, and Jack discovers that there are plenty of others who had reason to want Custer out of the way.

Napier does a masterful job of capturing the spirit of the reenactors and the atmosphere surrounding their encampment. He's studied Custer for years, and his knowledge of Custer and all the others involved in the original battle adds a lot to the story. If you're looking for humor, a good mystery, and lots of snappy patter, grab this book. Great stuff.

Now for a little disclaimer or two. I'm sure that a minor character named "Allen Krider" has nothing to do with anyone we know. Nor does a mention of Alvin, Texas. The big question is, should we forgive the Cap'n a minor baseball error? I say, why not?

Minnesota Leads the Way

Laptop Falls Off Medical Helicopter in St. Cloud | Grayson Peterka: "ST. CLOUD, Minn. - A laptop computer fell from an medical helicopter leaving St. Cloud Hospital on Saturday evening, nearly hitting a 10-year-old boy.

The flight crew apparently left the laptop on the helicopter's skid.

10-year -old Grayson Peterka said the low-flying helicopter made a turn, causing the laptop to hit the ground with the sound of a gunshot."

Hat tip to Steve Stilwell.

For Those of You Who Have an iPhone

Listen to the 100 best songs of each year since 1947, courtesy of Bing | TechBlog | - Houston Chronicle: "Earlier this month, a developer called nuTsie released an iPhone app called Top 100s by Year. It lets you listen to the 100 best songs from every year since 1947, for just $1.99. That's a pretty good deal in itself, because it gives you access to thousands of great tunes for a couple of bucks.

But now, Microsoft has stepped in and turned Top 100s into a promotional vehicle for its own Bing search app. It's sponsoring the Top 100s app, and making it available for free."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Top 10 Comedy Casting Stories

10 Classic Characters That Were Supposed To Be Played By Different Comedians | Entertainment

Top 10 Baseball Movies

What? No Rhubarb?

Best baseball movies | Yakkin' with the Sherpa | STLtoday

Personalized Teen Novels

Teen Book By You: Personalized Teen Novels: "A bright high school student has her life forever changed by a captivating stranger with a deadly secret. Our hero tries to hide his true nature, but his new love won't be denied. Will they find their way to happiness? Fans of Twilight and Vampire Diaries will love starring in their own immortal romance!"

You elderly folks might like this, too!
Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

The Blue Dahlia

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Dede Allen, R. I. P.

Pioneering Film Editor Dede Allen Dies at 86 - ABC News: "Dede Allen, the film editor whose pioneering work on movies like 'The Hustler' and 'Bonnie and Clyde' brought a new approach to shaping the look and sound of American movies, has died. She was 86.

Allen died Saturday at her home in Los Angeles days after suffering a stroke, her son Tom Fleischman told The Los Angeles Times.

With 'Bonnie and Clyde' in 1967, Allen became the first film editor to receive sole credit on a movie. She was nominated for Academy Awards for that movie, 1975's 'Dog Day Afternoon,' 'Reds' in 1981 and 'Wonder Boys' in 2000."

CrimeWAV Episode 55 is Live

Episode 55: The Line Up presents Poems on Crime!! | "It gives me great pleasure to partner once again with Gerald So and the gang from The Lineup. This dynamite collection of poets, editors and readers has joined us once before back on episode 36 (see here) and now return for Issue 3 of their annual publication.

You can listen to this year's selection of poems right here. (
Right-click to download.)"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Film - Brad Bourland, Grocer With a 10,000-Top-Movie List - "Mr. Bourland, of course, is none of these. He’s a produce clerk in an Austin, Tex., grocery. But Mr. Bourland, 58, has spent nearly a decade on a monumental task that he hopes will make his a name to remember in the world of movies.

He has ranked the greatest films of the 20th century. Sure, the American Film Institute and endless others have generated Top 10 or 100 Greatest lists. But Mr. Bourland goes them — well, one better isn’t even close. He has ranked the 20th century’s 9,200 greatest movies, watching more than 7,000 of them in the process. (He plans to reach 10,000 from readers suggesting titles he has overlooked. The list is at"

I downloaded the list, but I haven't scanned all of it yet. I can say only that no list that has Mandingo on it can be all bad.

Hat tip to George Kelley.

No Comment Department

Such Tweet Sorrow: "Two families in the same town have loathed one another for years. But a boy from one and a girl from the other fall in love - deep, sweet and destructive. You know the tale of Romeo and Juliet but now you can see it happening live and in real time - in modern Britain and on Twitter. Six characters live the story over the five weeks of Such Tweet Sorrow and you can experience it with them."

This Is the House I Need

Built for the bookish / Cow Hollow home designed to afford privacy, house rare art: "What you'll love about it: Built to house the original owner's extensive collection of rare books, art and antiques, the core of the home is the three-story exhibition space in its entrance. It features clean lines of steel beams and stainless-steel cables underneath a full-length skylight that illuminates the collection with natural light.

Size: The home has five bedroom suites, two half-baths and spans 7,615 square feet."

Photo at the link.
Hat tip to Art Scott

Today's Western Movie Poster


Actor Nicolas Cage 'to be buried in a pyramid' | "HOLLYWOOD star Nicolas Cage is still spending big, despite his recent money woes.

The actor has purchased a lavish, pyramid-shaped tomb to serve as his final resting place, entertainment website TMZ reports.

Cage had the nine-foot crypt erected in a New Orleans cemetery. The grave resembles the pyramid symbol that appeared on the poster for Cage’s 2004 adventure film National Treasure."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Pioneers Energy Storage in Giant Battery

Presidio, Texas, has one link to U.S. electrical power, stretching some 60 miles (100 kilometers) from Marfa in the high desert to the banks of the Rio Grande.

Built in 1948, the transmission line was around when Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean walked Marfa’s streets while filming the epic movieGiant.

[. . . .]

Chronic power outages and electrical fluctuations have been the norm.

[. . . .]

The hoped-for remedy is a battery, a Texas-size battery, which could eventually end up playing an important role in wider use of green power generation such as solar and wind. The U.S. $25 million system, which is now charging and is set to be dedicated April 8, will be the largest use of this energy storage technology in the United States.

What Happened to '60s Sex Kittens?

What happened to '60s sex kittens? -

Well, That Should Solve the Snake Problem

Florida's python hunting season ending with no snakes killed or captured | Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota | 10 Connects: "Florida's first python hunting season ends Saturday with no reptiles being reported captured and killed."

El Cid