Saturday, June 26, 2010

Don't Worry, Be Happy

Computer program that detects depression in bloggers' texts

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: The Mercy of Jean Lafitte :: Evan Lewis

Literacy Site

If you have time today, scroll down until you come to the little box on the right, just under the "Search this Blog" feature, and click on the link to the Literacy Site. Or better yet, just click right here. You can help give some books to people who need them.

New Issue of Crimefactory Now On-Line


12 Classic and Manly Cop and Detective Shows

12 Classic and Manly Cop and Detective Shows | The Art of Manliness

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Cop Killer's Police Escort Spurs Outrage: "Many in the Dallas Police Department are outraged that a dozen on-duty officers were called to escort the funeral procession of a cop killer – the son of Dallas Police Chief David Brown.

David Brown, Jr. was buried Friday in Pleasant Grove, five days after he shot and killed two people including a Lancaster police officer . Brown Jr. was killed by Lancaster police returning fire.

Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm explained as his funeral procession headed down Highway 75 it apparently ran into congestion from an accident. Motorists were weaving in and out of the procession so someone on the DPD command staff ordered a police escort."

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

America's Best Hot Dogs

The Writer Who Couldn't Read

I remember the Benny Cooperman books fondly.
Link via Neatorama.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Blue-Eyed Devil -- Robert B. Parker

Blue-Eyed Devil is the fourth, and I suppose the last, Robert B. Parker western about Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch. The two gunmen have returned to the town of Appaloosa, where their fictional careers began. They were the law there then, but now the town has grown. There's a police chief with a 12-man force. Amos Callico, the chief, has a nice little protection racket going, and he's politically ambitious. Virgil and Hitch don't like him.

All the plot elements are familiar. The powerful rancher with a wayward son. Renegade Apaches. A hired gunman. Parker mixes them all together with Callico in a meandering story that could have used some editing. There's a bit too much repetition even though the book is more the length of a novella than a novel. But who cares? Not me. I enjoy reading pages of Parker's patented dialogue, even if I've heard it all before. I'm really going to miss his three or four new books a year.

I love the cover of this one, by the way. Hitch and Cole riding off into the sunset. Very appropriate.

The Hellcats

Friday, June 25, 2010

Stay Off His Lawn. Really.

Neighbor calls alleged actions of thong-wearing man 'harassment' - Off the Beat with Will Greenlee: "A man told a deputy his thong wearing, 57-year-old neighbor repeatedly bent over, and that he saw a portion of the gray-haired man's genitalia.

The alleged incident happened Wednesday at an address in the 18400 block of Southeast Federal Highway just north of the Palm Beach County line. The 56-year-old victim and several family members, including five children, were gathering at a home, according to a recently released Martin County Sheriff's Office report.

'While (the victim) was outside with the children he could see the suspect . . . on his back deck,' the report states. 'According to (the victim) when the suspect turned to face away from him and the children he was wearing a thong type bathing suit and bent over fully several times.'"

No Comment Department

The Associated Press: Police: Vuvuzela noise drives an American nuts: "German police say an American got so fed up with the constant mosquito-like droning from his neighbors' vuvuzela plastic horns that he threatened to kill them with an ax.

Police in the Bavarian city of Weiden said Friday the 45-year-old man confronted his neighbors during Thursday's Netherlands-Cameroon World Cup game wielding the ax."

Sounds Like a Lansdale Story to Me

Random. � Criggo

Forgotten Music

Kent Kotal saw my post on instrumental hits and sent me a link to his great website. I've done a little exploring, and this is the kind of place an old guy like me could spend weeks enjoying. Here's a link to the homepage, and here's the one relevant to my post.

Take a look. It's a fine place to visit, and if you're into the really old stuff, you'll love it. Trust me.

Today's Western Movie Poster


This weekend I'll be at ApolloCon. I'm on four panels, including one on Friday evening. I hope to see some of you there.

Finders Keepers

Pet waste removal worker finds $58 in dog poop EarthLink - Top News: "This is why your mother says to wash your hands after handling money: A St. Louis worker found $58 — packed in dog poop. Steve Wilson works for DoodyCalls Pet Waste Removal. On a recent call, he noticed money sticking out from doggie doo. Wilson wasn't sure what to do, but eventually pulled out the bills, sanitized them, placed them in a plastic zip-locked bag and returned them to the customer. It turned out to be $58."

Hat tip to St. Louis Sandy.

Hobbit Update

Peter Jackson in talks to direct 'Hobbit' movies: "It looks like Peter Jackson might direct the two 'Hobbit' movies after all.

Jackson is in negotiations to helm the films, which were left without a captain after Guillermo del Toro parted ways on May 30. Obstacles to a deal remain, including agreeing on a schedule that will allow Jackson to fast-track the films for release in 2012 and 2013, but insiders are cautiously optimistic that a pact can be worked out."

Forgotten Books: MARACAIBO -- Stirling Silliphant

Stirling Silliphant is probably better known for his TV and movie work than for his novels, of which Maracaibo was the first (1954). He created the Naked City TV series and wrote many episodes of Route 66. He was an admirer of John D. MacDonald and wrote the script for the TV movie Travis McGee, based on The Empty Copper Sea. (How successful the movie is, well, that's another question.) His movie scripts include Charly, Marlowe, and The Poseidon Adventure.

And of course you all remember the movie mentioned on the cover of today's Forgotten Book, starring Rock Hudson and June Allyson. Oh, wait. You say you don't remember it? That could be because the movie actually starred Cornell Wilde and Jean Wallace. There's probably a good story there, but I have no idea what it is.

Maracaibo is a very 1950s novel. The reviewers called it "An exciting and fast-paced novel," "off-beat adventure," and "a thrilling story." One said that into this novel Silliphant "has squeezed enough excitement for a thousand pages." I doubt that any current reader would agree. Mostly, the book's a love story about two women, one of them a Pulitzer prize-winning poet, the other, a former prostitute, in love with the same guy, a manly adventurer named Vic, whose job is putting out oil-field fires.

The book's very timely in a way, though, thanks to Vic's job. He's hired to put out a fire in Lake Maracaibo, where the burning well is tapped into the "world's largest oil deposit." And a hurricane is on the way. If the fire's not stopped, it could easily be carried ashore by a hurricane and destroy Maracaibo itself.

While most of the novel is taken up with the love story, and written in that very '50s way, the climax is almost worth the wait. Several attempts to extinguish the fire fail. Vic's going to have to dive and blow it up. The hurricane arrives.

Not a great book, but interesting for a few parallels to current times. I don't really recommend it, but I do recommend some other Forgotten Books by Silliphant, the John Locke adventures Steel Tiger, Bronze Bell, and Silver Star. Those are well worth looking for.

Something Weird

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Croc Update (Monster Edition)

Monster crocodile gobbles up a shark in Kakadu National Park | The Daily Telegraph: "THIS monster crocodile has just proven who's the king of the swamp.

The 5m saltwater crocodile made mince meat of a bull shark at Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.

A bunch of tourists looked on in shock when they saw the croc chomping on the shark at the upper flood plains of the south Alligator River on Saturday morning."

Photo at the link.

Its Potential Greatness Cannot Be Measured by Normal Means

I Think It’s The 80s Now: Tiffany and Debbie Gibson Reunite for TV Movie - ArtsBeat Blog - "The Syfy channel has cast the onetime pop rivals Tiffany (the mono-monikered singer of “I Think We’re Alone Now”) and Ms. Gibson (who may call herself Deborah now, but can never completely escape her “Electric Youth” days) to star in a coming made-for-television film, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The film, called “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid,” will star Ms. Gibson as an advocate for animal rights who accidentally helps create super-sized snakes, and Tiffany as a park ranger trying to save endangered alligators in the Everglades."

Hat tip to Fred Blosser.


YouTube Vuvuzela - Huh??? | Geekosystem: "If you groggily signed onto YouTube this morning, you may have noticed a football soccer ball-shaped button on many of your videos’ bottom panel. You may then have pressed that button, and discovered a buzzing vuvuzela that drowns out the audio of whatever you’re watching."

I "Smoked" a Lot of These

A Fond Farewell to Candy Cigarettes: "Today is the first day of an America without candy cigarettes. Banned by a smoking prevention law prohibiting candy and 'fruit-flavored' cigarettes, the badass big brother of the Pez dispenser is officially contraband."

I can remember exactly how they tasted.

Association Copies

AbeBooks: Association Copies: "When an author places their signature in a book then it is described as signed. When there is a message attached to that signature then it is described as inscribed. However, if the person receiving the inscription happens to be famous or important in some way then that book is described as an association copy."

Today's Western Movie Poster

And You Thought Her 15 Minutes Had Run Out

Runaway Bride Jennifer Wilbanks Finds Love - National Ledger: "The woman that made headlines as the 'runaway bride' says she has found true love, a report from NBC's Today Show reveals. Jennifer Wilbanks, who fled altar in 2005 and falsely claimed that she had been kidnapped is using some social networking to tout her new guy.

Wilbanks is now on Facebook and says she is in love, but was the center of a media frenzy in 2005 when, in order to avoid her wedding with John Mason, she fled, telling no one she was running away."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Forgotten Book

Forgotten Book: A VAMPIRE NAMED FRED by Bill Crider | Missions Unknown

He Never Saw It Coming

Pagan psychic viking died after heart attack led to car setting fire to grass bank: "A PAGAN psychic died when his car caught fire on a minor country road in what was described as 'an unusual combination of events'."

Forgotten Music -- Instrumental Hits

When I was a youth, and for many years before that, the Top Ten was often visited by instrumental numbers. The other day I heard one of them on the radio, and I wondered if there'd been one recently. I don't listen to much current popular music, so I'm out of the loop. I had to check the Internet. There hasn't been an instrumental hit since 1999, and that one was by Kenny G. Yikes. Then I found this list. It doesn't include the '50s and the '40s, when there were dozens, but you can see that before the '90s there were a lot of instrumental songs in the Top 20. Now there are none, and there haven't been for a long time. I don't know why. I don't even have any guesses. Anyway, here are a few I like. And a bit of trivia: The first #1 hit in the U. S. by a British group was "Telstar," an instrumental. (UPDATE: That's the third song here. The first is Duane Eddy's "Rebel Rouser." Second is "Reveille Rock" by Johnny and the Hurricanes.)

Angel, Angel, Down We Go

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Get Ready

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Building The Perfect Beast: "Here's the lineup of contributors and titles for our BEAT to a PULP: Round One anthology coming out in a couple of months. These twenty-seven stories run the gamut of crime fiction, noir, sci-fi, hard boiled, western, literary, ghost and fantasy, plus we have a foreword by Bill Crider and a history of pulp by Cullen Gallagher."

What the World Has Been Waiting For

DreamWorks plans Good Luck Trolls movie: "The Good Luck Trolls, with their frizzy, pastel-colored hair, are coming to the big screen via DreamWorks Animation."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Courthouse News Service: "HOUSTON (CN) - A homeowner says he was arrested for 'illegal photography' when a police sergeant followed him into his own home, and he objected and took the cop's photo with his cell phone. 'We did not know what he was talking about, and I don't think he does either,' the homeowner says in his federal complaint.

In his civil rights complaint, Francisco Olvera says Sealy Police Sgt. Justin Alderete's charge of 'illegal photography' baffled him and several witnesses."

Gator Update (Alcohol Involved Edition)

Tallahassee man jumps out of Wakulla Springs tour boat 'to swim with gators' | | Tallahassee Democrat: "Eric Ross told Deputy Nick Boutwell that he intentionally jumped off the tour boat because he observed an alligator in the water and wanted to fulfill a lifelong fear/fantasy of swimming with a gator. He compared the thrill to “sky diving” as he was being questioned by the deputy."

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Syfy letting viewers create new movie: "Syfy is giving online fans a chance to write and design every aspect of an upcoming Saturday night creature feature.

The network is launching a production site, B Movie Mogul, where fans can vote and pitch ideas for the film, from title, creatures, wardrobe, dialogue and character deaths to promotional taglines.

The resulting 'script' will be shot as a two-hour Syfy original movie to be released next year."

Hat tip to Todd Mason.


West Valley cops chase down, use Taser on nude woman | The Salt Lake Tribune: "Two car chases, a totaled police cruiser and an extended foot pursuit of a naked woman through sagebrush finally ended with a Taser being used to subdue her."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Peru Update

Kissing politician wins underwear from fans | Reuters: "Charles Zevallos, a politician in Peru's Amazon basin, often wins kisses from female supporters, but things have moved to a whole new level as women at his rallies have started throwing their underwear at him."

No Comment Department

AIR NIGHTMARE: Fainting, Fracas as Newark-Bound Flight Diverted | NBC New York: "Hundreds of Newark-bound passengers sat for four hours on a tarmac in a stifling cabin after bad weather and union regulations grounded their flight from London in Connecticut. To make matters worse, passengers said, the plane's generators shut down for the second time, leaving them with no air conditioning and sweltering temperatures that reached 100 degrees."

Today's Western Movie Poster

I'm Not on the Waiting List. Darn It.

It's 2010 — Finally My Jet Pack is Here! - BusinessWeek: "Martin Aircraft will release the first commercially-available jet pack in 2011 with a price of around $90,000. The waiting list is growing"

Peru Update

BBC News - Can painting a mountain restore a glacier?: "Slowly but surely an extinct glacier in a remote corner of the Peruvian Andes is being returned to its former colour, not by falling snow or regenerated ice sheets, but by whitewash.

It is the first experimental step in an innovative plan to recuperate Peru's disappearing Andean glaciers.

But there is debate between those who dismiss the idea as just plain daft and those who think it could be a simple but brilliant solution, or at least one which should be put to the test."

Lawsuit of the Day

Cheerleading expert: it's not a competitive sport | Sports | - Houston Chronicle: "An expert in cheerleading has testified that cheerleading should not be a competitive sport, saying that making it so would threaten 'classical sideline cheerleading.'

Jeff Webb, president of several cheerleading organizations, testified Tuesday in federal court in Bridgeport in a lawsuit against Quinnipiac University. Five volleyball players sued after the school decided in a budgetary move to eliminate women's volleyball in favor of a competitive cheer squad."

Blast-Off Girls

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Good Career Move?

Michael Jackson has made $1 billion since death -

Some Internet Radio Stations You Old Guys Might Like blog: Can Houston man make money with Internet radio? He's trying: "Radio Swing Worldwide “Your Parade of Hits from the 30s and 40s!”
Streaming the hits of the Big Band and Swing era.

Radio Bop “Your Never-Ending Nonstop Sock Hop!'
50s/early 60s stream

Boss Radio
All-60s Radio Bop 60s

Roots of Rock “The Music Elvis Grew Up With!” - ROOTSofROCK.US
Playing pre-Rock ‘n Roll era charted pop, country and RandB hits"

The French Will Eat Anything

French cannibal prisoner 'fried cellmate's lungs' - Yahoo! News: "A prisoner who killed his cellmate and devoured his lung with fried onions put France's troubled prison system under critical new scrutiny Tuesday."

Top 10 Saddest Kids' Movies

Full List - Top 10 Saddest Kids' Movies - TIME

Today's Western Movie Poster

Only the Strong Survive

Friendly's Burger Has Grilled Cheese Sandwiches For Buns - The Consumerist: "Yes, the latest assault on America's waistline comes in the form of Friendly's recently launched Grilled Cheese BurgerMelt. Move over, Double Down, there's a new 'something with far more calories than bread as a bun' sandwich in town."

Anna Nicole Smith Update

iWon News - Anna Nicole Smith judge urges new police probe: "The flamboyant judge brought to fame in the fight over Anna Nicole Smith's remains says he believes someone is guilty of manslaughter in the starlet's death and second-guesses his own decision over where she is buried in a book to be released Tuesday.

Larry Seidlin, the former Fort Lauderdale judge, is harshly critical of Smith's lawyer-turned-companion Howard K. Stern, and of the police investigations into the deaths of the Playboy Playmate and her son. But as provocatively titled as 'The Killing of Anna Nicole Smith' is, Seidlin offers no evidence either death was anything more than the accidental drug overdoses they were deemed."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Lack of license could cost fishing tournament winner $900,000 : : Greensboro & the Triad's most trusted source for local news and analysis: "One crew member's lack of a fishing license may cost a boat more than $900,000 in prize money in the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in North Carolina.

Andy Thomossan, the fisherman who caught a record-setting 883-pound blue marlin June 14, said tournament officials stripped the Hatteras-based boat Citation of the title and the $912,825 from the total $1.66 million purse, The Daily News of Jacksonville reported today.

'No record. No money. No fish. No nothing,' Thomossan said, adding that the rul
es violation was that one crew member didn't have the required fishing license."

Hat tip to Randy Johnson.

Teenage Mother

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jane Russell!

Everything You Need to Know about the Internet

Everything you need to know about the internet | Technology | The Observer: "In spite of all the answers the internet has given us, its full potential to transform our lives remains the great unknown. Here are the nine key steps to understanding the most powerful tool of our age – and where it's taking us"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Lancaster officer, Dallas police chief's son killed in shootout | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Latest News: "A police officer and two other men, including Dallas Police Chief David Brown's adult son, were fatally shot Sunday night at an apartment complex."

No Comment Department

Jude Law tops hot film fathers poll - Story - Entertainment - 3 News: "Jude Law has been voted the hottest dad in Hollywood - seeing off competition from Will Smith and even Darth Vader.

The British actor, who has four children and a step-son in real life, came atop a survey by LoveFilm to find the 'hottest film father' for his role as dad-of-two Graham Simpkins in The Holiday.

Will Smith came in second for his role as a dad in heart-warming drama The Pursuit of Happyness, in which he starred alongside his real-life son Jaden Smith.

Bizarrely, Star Wars villain Darth Vader came in at number three as Luke Skywalker's estranged dad, while childless George Clooney earned a place in the poll for his part in One Fine Day at number four."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Texas Doesn't Even Rate a Mention

Laws You Didn't Know You Were Breaking

I'm Guessing Gator

cryptozoo-oscity: The Gowrow - alligator or dragon?: "The Gowrow - alligator or dragon?

Was there a dragon living in Arkansas?

The Gowrow, is said to be a 20-ft long lizard-type monster with tusks, living along rocky ledges and in caves in the Ozarks The Ozark Native American Mythology, described it as a huge, dragon-like monster with tusks. In the 1880s, the gowrow was blamed for the terrorizing rural areas. Fred Allsopp, who edited the Arkansas Gazette was said to have published many stories about it.

In 1897, William Miller supposedly killed a gowrow, but no body was reported to have been found. One story said that when he killed the Gowrow the carcass was lost in shipment to the Smithsonian Institute."

You can see some images here.

Monster from a Prehistoric Planet

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Croc Update (Good Luck Edition)

Pakistani pilgrims seek good luck from crocodiles - "To the average person, holding a child over the jaws of a hungry crocodile does not seem like a smart idea.

But a small community in southern Pakistan believes it can bring good luck."

Video at the link.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Croc Update (Big Brains Edition)

National Geographic: The real-life caveman diet included crocodiles, and eating the reptiles' fatty flesh may have helped early humans evolve bigger brains, a new study suggests.

Hat tip to Janet Rudolph.

Archaeology Update

Alberta scientists discover largest bed of dinosaur bones - The Globe and Mail: "Scientists in Alberta have discovered the largest dinosaur bonebed ever documented – along with evidence of massive carnage – near Hilda, 50 km north of Medicine Hat."

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day 2010 Is Centennial: How Did It Start?: "As Father's Day hits its centennial on June 20, 2010, sons and daughters around the world are expected to open their wallets wider—slightly—in celebration. Because of the slowly recovering global economy, people are expected to spend about 4 percent more than in 2009 on cards, ties, tools, clothes, and other Father's Day gifts.

But the first Father's Day, a hundred years ago, was decidedly humbler, and refreshingly noncommercial."

Varan the Unbelievable