Saturday, July 10, 2010

And Stay off His Lawn!

At Age 110, Is This Man the World's Oldest Academic? - Tweed - The Chronicle of Higher Education: "At the age of 110, Zheng Ji has been called the world's oldest living academic.

The Chinese biochemist was recently misdiagnosed with cancer and fell ill following his treatment at a Nanjing hospital. That's where he was when a delegation from Ohio State University stopped by for a visit on Friday, says Katherine Wolford, assistant to the president and director of operations at Ohio State."

Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: King :: Dave Zeltserman

No Comment Department

My Way News - Body found on airplane tires in Saudi Arabia: "Lebanon's state news agency says the remains of a body have been found on the rear tires of an airplane that flew from Beirut to the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
[. . . .]
The report said Saturday that investigations were underway and a number of passengers reported seeing a man with a backpack running toward the plane before it took off."

Purse-Toting Bandit

FBI: Stylish, designer-purse-toting woman robs Wachovia Bank in Houston | | Local News: "The FBI Bank Robbery Task Force is hoping the public can help them identify a stylish, designer-purse-toting bandit who held up a Wachovia Bank in Houston Thursday."

Mark Twain Update

Exclusive: Newly Published Mark Twain Essay, 'Concerning the Interview' | The Rundown News Blog | PBS NewsHour | PBS: "Thanks to the Mark Twain Foundation and its trustees, the PBS NewsHour brings you for the first known time in print an essay by the American literary giant on a topic dear to our hearts -- the journalistic interview. In the course of Twain's career, he was frequently interviewed by reporters. The 10-page handwritten essay has been sitting for more than 40 years in the archives of the Mark Twain Project at the University of California, Berkeley. It was written in either 1889 or 1890, a time that coincided with the rise of 'yellow journalism.'"

See it at the link.
Hat tip to George Kelley.

Marketing 101

On the Train, an Author Makes His Own Success - "With little or no marketing muscle behind him, Mr. Kearse said he had sold some 14,000 copies of his self-published books in the last three years, at $10 each, mostly through hand-to-hand sales. He has also sold about 4,000 copies of a 750-page, 10,000-entry dictionary of urban slang terms, “Street Talk,” through Barricade Books of Fort Lee, N.J., the publisher said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Here's the Plot for Your Next World Cup Thriller

AFP: Saga of sex, blood and football grips Brazil: "It takes quite a saga to push the World Cup off the front pages in Brazil, but such is the gruesome story of a goalkeeper accused of ordering the murder of his ex-lover whose body parts were then fed to the dogs.

At the center of the dark drama is Bruno Souza, a star goalkeeper and captain of defending club champion Flamengo, who surrendered to police Wednesday to face questioning in connection with the disappearance and suspected death of Eliza Samudio."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Western Fictioneers Update

Western Fictioneers: "WF (Western Fictioneers) Peacemaker 2010 Award submissions

Submissions for the WF Peacemaker Awards are being accepted for works published in the year 2010."

This Never Happened Back When I Was in School

Teachers fired after in-school nudity - "A New York high school fired two female teachers who were found one recent evening allegedly drunk and at least partially naked in a classroom, officials said.

New York High School Superintendent Linda Waite's report of the Nov. 20 incident said James Madison High School French teacher Cindy Mauro, 34, and Spanish teacher Alini Brito, 30, were found in a classroom at 8:50 p.m. by maintenance workers, the New York Daily News reported Friday."

Top Ten Brands that May Disappear in 2011

10-brands-that-may-disappear-in-2011: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance: "24/7 Wall St. has created a new list of brands that may disappear, which includes Readers Digest, Kia Motors, Dollar Thrifty (NYSE: DTG - News), Zale (NYSE: ZLC - News), Blockbuster (BLOKA.PK - News), T-Mobile, BP Plc (NYSE: BP - News), RadioShack (NYSE: RSH - News), Merrill Lynch and Moody's (NYSE: MCO - News)."

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Walking Tall TV Series

Friday, July 09, 2010

Chubby Checker Update

iWon News - Come on, baby! Checker marks 50 years of the Twist: "Fifty years to the day after the release of the hip-swiveling tune 'The Twist,' the man who made it famous celebrated the occasion in his hometown.

Chubby Checker performed Friday at a free noontime concert at Philadelphia City Hall. About 1,000 people joined in on the gyrations, some even invited onstage by the South Philadelphia-bred singer.

'The Twist,' released as a single on July 9, 1960, burst into the rock 'n' roll stratosphere after Checker performed it for Dick Clark on his Philadelphia-based 'American Bandstand.'"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

UFO Update

Chinese airport closed after UFO spotted over city | Mail Online: "A Chinese airport was closed after this mysterious object was spotted in the sky.

Arcing over Zhejiang's provincial capital Hangzhou, the UFO appeared to glow with an eerie white light and left a bright trail in its wake.

Xiaoshan Airport was closed after the UFO was detected at around 9 pm and dozens of flights had to be diverted."

Get Your Gear!

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Treasure Hunting Update

Epoch Times - Roman Coins Found in Britain: Largest Haul Since 1978: "A pot containing nearly 55,000 ancient Roman coins has been found in Britain's Somerset county, the Portable Antique Scheme announced on Thursday.

The haul of coins, named 'Frome Hoard' after the city where they were found, was discovered by David Crisp, 63, who does metal detecting as a hobby.

Crisp was scanning the field when the detector sensed an object. After digging, Crisp found 21 coins in the earth.

He then called Somerset County Council's Portable Antiquities Scheme to the site after which a two-foot high pot containing 54,912 ancient Roman coins was found, weighing 320 pounds."

Bid Early & Often

THE ROY ROGERS AND DALE EVANS MUSEUM COLLECTION | Fine Art Auction | Search Results | Christie's

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Lefties reign supreme at Houston guitar store | Business | - Houston Chronicle: "What's viewed as a bother for most music instrument stores is Southpaw Guitars' reason for being. It has almost 1,000 lefthanded guitars in-house — acoustic and electric."

Video Interview with Sophie Littlefield

Sophie Littlefield – video interview | Spinetingler

Today's Western Movie Poster

Fiction in the Kitchen

AbeBooks: Fiction in the Kitchen - 30 Culinary Novels

Legendary Secret Societies

Legendary Secret Societies (PHOTOS): "Many universities are home to dark, mysterious secret societies that date to the early 19th century. Little is known about these exclusive clubs except the names of rumored powerful members like John Kerry and Robert F. Kennedy. Your college could be governed by a clandestine organization ... and you might not even know it."

Happy Birthday, Dean Koontz!

The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: "It's the birthday of blockbuster best-selling author Dean Koontz, (books by this author) born in Everett, Pennsylvania (1945). He grew up in an impoverished, drunken, and violent home, and after he went away to college he converted to Catholicism, he said, because it helped him make sense of the chaos of his childhood and to appreciate mysteries in life.

He sold the first short story he ever wrote and then got 75 rejections before selling his next story. Now, he's one of the most highly paid authors in the world — the sixth highest, to be exact, tied in that place with John Grisham at 25 million dollars of earnings per year. (The top five, in order: J. K. Rowling, James Patterson, Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel). Koontz's books have sold 400 million copies. Eleven hardcovers and more than a dozen paperbacks have been No. 1 New York Times best-sellers."

Forgotten Books: SHAKEDOWN -- Richard Ellington

Richard Ellington wrote only a handful of private-eye novels before disappearing from the publishing scene. One of them was Just Killing Time, reprinted in paperback as Shakedown.

A woman shows up at the office of Steve Drake with a fishy story about needing someone to watch her back when she meets with her lover in Central Park late at night. Drake takes the job, and the woman is murdered. Drake decides to look into things a bit, and he's hired for another job as consultant on at one-hour p. i. TV show that's broadcast live. And then he's hired by the wife of the producer to help her because someone's trying to shake down her and her lover. Sure enough, the shaker-downer is murdered, and Drake finds the body. And sure enough, there's a connection with the first murder.

This book originally appeared in 1953, when lots of private-eye fiction was being published. Some of it wasn't so good, but Ellington's a real pro. The writing's smooth, the plotting's clever, and Drake makes an interesting medium-boiled protagonist. There's plenty of '50s attitude here, and that might be hard for some people to get past, as it probably is in other books I've mentioned. The motive for the murders is about as early '50s as you can get, in fact. None of this bothers me at all. Ellington's worth reading, and I'm glad I picked up this book.

Walking Tall 3: Lone Justice

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Fairy Tale Beer

Grimm Brothers Brewhouse - Package Design: "'Grimm Brothers Brewhouse is new craft brewer located in Loveland, Colorado focusing on authentic German style beers. Each of their brews is named after one of the Grimm Brother's famous folk tales, so each label features a scene from each story, but with a twist. For example, Little Red Cap (or Riding Hood) has an axe hidden behind her back, making her more dangerous than the wolf.'"

Photos at the link.
Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

And Stay off. . . Oh, Never Mind

Viagra-popping seniors lead the pack for STDs | Reuters

And Keep Off Her Lawn!

Georgia claims it has world's oldest person, 130 - Yahoo! News: "Authorities in the former Soviet republic of Georgia claim a woman from a remote mountain village turned 130 on Thursday, making her the oldest person on Earth.

Antisa Khvichava from western Georgia was born on July 8, 1880, said Georgiy Meurnishvili, spokesman for the civil registry at the Justice Ministry.

The woman, who lives with her 40-year-old grandson in an idyllic vine-covered country house in the mountains, retired from her job as a tea and corn picker in 1965, when she was 85, records say."

They Didn't Let Me Teach this at ACC

Guest blogger: I teach 'The Simpsons' to college students -- and here's my syllabus - Pop Candy: Unwrapping pop culture's hip and hidden treasures

Hat tip to Arthur Blotner.

Well, It's Better than SyFy

National Public Radio is changing its name to NPR: "No need for formalities here: National Public Radio now says it wants to be known simply as NPR.

So the Washington-based organization has quietly changed its name to its familiar initials. Much like the corporate names KFC or AT&T, the initials now stand for the initials."

And Keep Off His Lawn!

Gangster John Franzese, 93, Convicted of Racketeering Conspiracy

No, Not You. But Everboyd Else.

6 Things From History Everyone Pictures Incorrectly |

Today's Western Movie Poster

Only Six?

Wives spend six days a year nagging their husbands, study shows | Mail Online

This Should Solve all Their Problems

Iran bans the mullet | World news | The Guardian: "Imagine a country where a man with a ponytail could have it cut off by the cops, as could one with a mullet, or one whose hair was slathered in gel, fancifully spiked, or simply too long. Repeat offenders would face stiff fines, while their barber-accomplices would have their shops closed.

It may sound like paradise, especially if your own crazy-haired days are behind you. It's actually the Islamic Republic of Iran, whose cultural ministry has just unveiled (although that's perhaps not the most appropriate word in this context) a list of approved hairstyles in an attempt to free the country of 'decadent' western cuts."

Betty White Calendar

"TV News: Betty White, Calendar Girl" by TV Tracker: "Workman Press just announced that Betty is getting her own 2011 calendar, which will feature our ageless gal pal in a variety of cheeky poses. (The March page shows a satin-clad Betty being attended to by attractive shirtless men.) It goes on sale in September. The calendar retails for $12.99, and all proceeds will benefit the Morris Animal Foundation."

Walking Tall 2: The Payback

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

My Son, the Guitar Player

Catch 'Music Under the Star' every Friday in July - "All month long, you can enjoy live music at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. It's called 'Music under the Star,” and it’s a family-friendly event every Friday this month.

The line-up features bands like 'Brave combo, Charanga Cakewalk with John Pointer and Omar and the Howlers, but kicking off the series and playing this Friday -- the Cornell Hurd Band.

The band has a new cd - titled A Bad Year for Love. And -- the guys were recently inducted into the Cowtown Society of Western Music Hall of Fame."

In the video, Allen's the picker on the left. The video is pretty small, but the sound is good.

E-Book for Charity

Paul Levine Official Website: "“To Speak for the Dead” An E-Book with All Proceeds to Charity
“TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD” introduced the world to Jake Lassiter, the linebacker-turned-lawyer with a hard bark and a tender heart. If you’ve never met him, now is your chance. If you’ve read all the Lassiter books, now is the time to revisit an old friend.

On the 20th anniversary of hardcover publication, I’ve made the courtroom thriller available as an e-book for the astonishing price of $2.99. Yep, less than your double mocha latte, and far fewer calories."

Details at the link.

Ten Classic Movies Drawn as Little Golden Books

Ten Classic Movies Drawn as Little Golden Books | "Josh Cooley is a story artist at Pixar who creates images for children’s films by day. By night, he brings his artistic talent to less G-rated fare, illustrating grown-up classics in the style of Little Golden Books. The results, while not pieces you’d hang in your kid’s nursery, are pretty priceless."

Link via The Bunburyist.

Peru Update

Peruvians hide dope in their vuvuzelas - oddstuff | "Peruvian drug dealers have found a novel use for the vuvuzela, the long, thin plastic horns whose buzzing blare has been the theme sound of the soccer World Cup - hiding their marijuana."

The Man Who Died Laughing -- Tarquin Hall

Tarquin Hall's series about Vish Puri, Most Private Investigator, was recommended by Jeff Meyerson in a comment a while back. Since Jeff and I often agree on books, I decided to give one of Hall's a try. I'm glad I did.

The setting is Delhi, India, where it's even hotter and more humid than Alvin, Texas, and Hall does a great job of getting that across. In fact, he does so well with the setting that it's almost like being there. He captures the language, too, and that's another part of the book's charm.

Vish Puri is a middle-aged p.i. who likes eating lots of food, preferably spicy, and keeping cool. He also likes challenging cases, and he has one this time, and "impossible crime" of the classic sort. A man appears to have been killed in a very public place, surrounded by witnesses, by a fire-breathing manifestation of the goddess Kali, who plunges a sword into him. Kali then disappears, as does the sword. The suspects include a "godman," who reminded me of nothing so much as a good old televangelist. Puri learns a good bit about magic as he studies the case. Meanwhile, his wife and mother are involved in a case of their own ("The Kase of The Kitty Party Robbery" would be my title for it), his daughter is about to have twins, and his brother-in-law is involved in yet another get-rich-quick scheme.

Puri's assistants include Facecream, Tubelight, and Handbrake. Puri's fond of nicknames. The most intriguing of these is Facecream, but all the characters are well done. The book is funny, the mystery is complex, and the pace is quick. Check it out.

No Comment Department

To Stop Cheats, Colleges Learn Their Trickery -

Today's Western Movie Poster

PA Leads the Way Update - News From AP: "A 91-year-old woman found living with the corpses of her husband and twin sister will be allowed to keep them if she installs a mausoleum or crypt, a prosecutor said Tuesday."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Harvey Fuqua, R. I. P.

Doo-Wop Star, Motown Executive Harvey Fuqua Dies - ABC News: "Harvey Fuqua, a former doo-wop star with the Moonglows who went on to launch Marvin Gaye's career as well as his comeback, died in Detroit on Tuesday, the Motown Alumni Association said. He was 80.

He succumbed to what an association official called 'coronary problems' after a brief illness.

The versatile artist, entrepreneur and executive also shepherded the careers of such acts as Etta James, the Spinners, and Junior Walker & the All Stars."

Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Satanism wrongly used at trial, death row inmate argues: "Irving Davis, convicted of raping and killing a 15-year-old El Paso girl, has asked a Texas appeals court to throw out his death sentence, arguing that jurors should not have been told about his new religion — Satanism.

The revelation, defense lawyers argue, violated Davis' free exercise of religion and improperly prejudiced jurors against the 27-year-old inmate."

And Keep Off His Lawn!

Oldest US postal worker retires in Calif. at 95 - Yahoo! News: "It wasn't snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night that stopped Chester Arthur Reed from his appointed round. The mail handler just felt it was time to call it quits at age 95.

The fork lift operator retired Wednesday as the nation's oldest postal worker, ending a career without taking a single sick day. It's a feat he attributes to a healthy diet of watermelon, alkaline water and an onion sandwich with mayo every day.

'If everyone in the nation ate watermelons, they'd get rid of all the doctors,' Reed said."

Walking Tall

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Scent of a Man

Bruce Willis Fragrance to Hit Stores Today | Geekosystem: "“I personally feel that the new Bruce Willis fragrance is the manliest scent in the world,” said Tilo Ploger, chief operating officer of LR Health & Beauty Systems. The Willis scent reportedly contains notes of grapefruit, pepper, and vetiver."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Foosball Fanatics Fare Well in Houston: "The U.S. soccer team had a good showing in the 2010 World Cup, but another Houston team is actually the two-time defending champions in another World Cup.

One group is playing a game that many people likely played in their younger years, but these people are taking it to a whole new level.

Welcome to table soccer, known commonly in the U.S. as foosball."

Well, That Settles It

Prince: the internet's completely over - Telegraph: "Prince, the 52-year-old music icon has pronounced the internet dead, refusing to use any digital platforms to distribute his music."

Today's Western Movie Poster

PA Leads the Way - News From AP: "The 91-year-old widow lived by herself in a tumbledown house on a desolate country road. But she wasn't alone, not really, not as long as she could visit her husband and twin sister.

No matter they were already dead. Jean Stevens simply had their embalmed corpses dug up and stored them at her house - in the case of her late husband, for more than a decade - tending to the remains as best she could until police were finally tipped off last month."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

Ena Mallett: Karate expert lollipop lady grandmother gets 7th dan black belt | Mail Online: "Motorists beware! A karate expert lollipop lady is ready to deal with inconsiderate drivers after getting an historic martial arts award at the age of 77.

Grandmother Ena Mallett is the first woman ever to get a 7th dan black belt in Spirit Combat International ju-jitsu."

Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for June 2010

Discover the Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for June 2010: "It’s another diverse list of rare books (and magazines). There is a political commentary from the US, a romantic interpretation of Paradise Lost illustrated by John Martin, a genre-defining Gothic novel, Dali doing Dante, some astronomical writing, Tom Jones, some classic Marc Chagall and a set of epic fantasy novels from the 1980s. Many artists have illustrated John Milton’s works, including William Blake, Gustave Dore, Edward Burney and Dali. Martin’s 1833 interpretation of Paradise Lost is particularly memorable for its vision of Heaven and Hell thanks to 48 wonderful mezzotint engravings. Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho was published in 1794 and shaped the Gothic romance genre - fans of Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse should thank their lucky stars that Ann came along.

Fantasy fans will be very familiar with David Eddings’ five-book series, The Belgariad. It recounts the story of the recovery of the Orb of Aldur and the coming-of-age adventures of an orphan called Garion. The title of each novel mixes chess and fantasy - Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry and Enchanters’ End Game."

Walking Tall

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sci-fi illustrations by Shigeru Komatsuzaki

Sci-fi illustrations by Shigeru Komatsuzaki ::: Pink Tentacle: "Here is a collection of sci-fi illustrations by the prolific Shigeru Komatsuzaki (1915-2001), whose fantastic work appeared on plastic model kit boxes and in magazines and picture books in the 1960s to 1970s. Click the “ ” under each image for a larger view."

Link via Neatorama.

Loser Friendly -- Jake Cassidy

The e-book revolution is breaking out all over. Writers are trying all sorts of different things. Some of the, like me, are making their backlist available. Others are branching out in new ways, and one of these others is Jack Cassidy. That's not his real name, but he's an established writer with dozens if not a hundred or so books to his credit in just about every genre there is. What he's done is to establish his own e-book press and publish novella-length fiction of his own. He's doing his own covers, too, and you must admit they're eye-catching. Nothing if not a guy with an eye for marketing, Cassidy's also selling t-shirts.

One of the first releases from New Pulp Press (there are several) is Loser Friendly. Cassidy is a "recovery agent," sort of like Travis McGee, and in fact the Cassidy novellas are pretty much an homage to McGee and some of the other Gold Medal characters. And to Gold Medal books, themselves. In this case, Cassidy's asked by an old flame to recover a movie script. Cassidy knows better than to get involved with her again, but he does, and, sure enough, it was a mistake. Gunplay, sex, and lots of action ensue.

It all plays out very well. Cassidy's an engaging narrator, and he has a sense of humor. The action never flags, and there are a couple of nice twists in the plot before it's wrapped up. The books are a buck ninety-nine. Check 'em out.

Life Imitates "Art"

Tennessee man's plans for pool turn up ancient fossil that could be rare archaeological find - WHNT: "When Jim Leyden picked the site for his pool, he had no idea he hoped to go swimming where massive mammals once walked.

Digging for a new swimming pool at his Brighton home last week uncovered the jawbone of an extinct beast, possibly a mastodon or trilophodon. Those species are prehistoric predecessors of today's elephants."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Four Labels from the Bruce Campbell's Soup Company

Four labels from the Bruce Campbell's Soup Company | SCI FI Wire

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Monsters vs. Aliens

I really regret not having seen this movie in a theater showing it in 3-D. I could tell by watching the flat-screen version that the 3-D would have made it even better. Not that it's not a lot of fun even flattened. I got a huge kick out of it, maybe because I saw nearly every old monster movie referred to in it back in the days when those were the only kind of SF you could see in a theater.

The story's all right there in the title, and there's not much more to say except that the voice work is uniformly excellent, the laughs are plentiful, and the monsters are lovable. You'll know just about everything that's going to happen after the first five on ten minutes of the movie, but if you're like me, you won't care. Just watch it and have a good time.

Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Check it Out!

Busted Flush Press: DAMN NEAR DEAD 2's table of contents!

Harlan Ellison Is Having a Sale

Harlan Ellison launches The Great Ellison Book Purge | Books | Newswire | The A.V. Club: "An author whose work fairly rejects any notion of “casual fandom,” Harlan Ellison has amassed such an impressive body of work that even he can’t find the storage space. Hearing that he plans to put a huge chunk of that impressive collection—from his personal archives—up for sale is definitely cause for freaking the fuck out. Early next week, Ellison and his wife Susan will launch the third edition of The Great Ellison Book Purge, a three-day sale of beyond-rare items from the Ellisons’ own library. You can check out a brochure of what’s on offer—complete with charmingly retro photocopied illustrations of the book jackets."

Good News!

The Associated Press: Dr Pepper orders sugar for 125th anniversary: "Dr Pepper is prescribing some sugar this summer in honor of its 125th anniversary, the latest in a series of moves by soda makers to temporarily swap out high fructose corn syrup.

The spicy soda made by Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. is rolling out Dr Pepper 'Made With Real Sugar' this weekend through early September.

Cans and bottles will feature old logos in the company's deep red, and colorful designs with lions and bright swirls of color harkening back to the 60s. Popular phrases such as 'I'm a Pepper' also appear.

There are six different can designs. The company wanted to bring back the sugar version to help highlight its past, which dates to the creation of Dr Pepper by pharmacist Charles Alderton in Waco, Texas, in 1885."

Hat tip to Gerard Saylor.

More about Western Fictioneers

Western Fictioneers

61 Hours -- Lee Child

61 Hours is a cold-weather book. I like those, especially in the summer. The setting is the small town of Bolton, South Dakota, in deepest winter. Lots of snow, temperatures well below freezing, the kind of thing that Alistair MacLean did so well.

Jack Reacher, as he so often does during his wanderings, finds himself in the middle of something really bad, something that only Reacher is equipped to cope with. (Reacher, as you know if you've read the series, is equipped to cope with just about anything short of the apocalypse or something close to it. Or [HUGE SPOILER] maybe he can't.)

Bolton is home to a prison. On the outskirts of town, on an abandoned Air Force base that no one remembers the purpose of (not even the folks in Washington), a meth-peddling biker gang has set up shop. Their leader's in jail, waiting for his trial, and the only witness against him is under heavy guard. And people start dying, killed by an assassin that the cops believe has slipped into town. They're wrong about that. Reacher figures out who the assassin is about 31 hours too late. (Though I knew it when he should have known it. Maybe I've read too many books.)

There's more going on, too. A drug lord from down south of the border is about to complete a huge deal that involves the abandoned base, and he's flying in. And, well, it's complicated. There's a lot going on.

And then there's the ending. It's bothered a lot of people. Didn't bother me, but I can say no more. You'll have to read the book to find out.

Dopey? Will the Persecution Never End?

How tweet it is! Paris Hilton in high spirits after wrongful arrest for pot possession at World Cup: "Dopey heiress Paris Hilton was back living the high life Friday after her brief arrest for pot possession at a World Cup match.

The blond bimbo rattled off a series of tweets, letting her fans know she was cleared of the marijuana charges and having a sweet time in South Africa.

'Hey guys, there's a lot of crazy rumors going around,' Hilton wrote on her Twitter account hours after she was released from jail on Friday. 'Just want you all to know the truth. Everything is completely fine. I was not charged or arrested, cause I didn't do anything.'"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

100 Great Things About America

100 Great Things About America - FORTUNE Features - Fortune on

The American Novel, R. I. P.

Literary storm rages as critic Lee Siegel pronounces the American novel dead | Books | The Observer: "Book pundits in the United States are being urged to line up on one side or other this summer: Is the American novel finally dead or not? The row began when the controversial critic Lee Siegel wrote a piece for the New York Observer declaring that the American public no longer talk about novels and that this creative form, once so full of fire, has lost its spark for ever.

'For about a million reasons,' Siegel claimed, 'fiction has now become a museum-piece genre most of whose practitioners are more like cripplingly self-conscious curators or theoreticians than writers. For better or for worse, the greatest storytellers of our time are the non-fiction writers.'"

Today's Western Movie Poster

Jack's Back Again

KEEPERS OF THE BEAST – the Final Jack MacLane Novel

5 Neat Facts About The Declaration of Independence

5 Neat Facts About The Declaration of Independence

It's the Glorious 4th!

Yankee Doodle Dandy