Saturday, July 17, 2010

James Gammon, R. I. P.

James Gammon dies at 70: character actor - "James Gammon, a character actor whose gravelly voice and craggy face made indelible memories in Sam Shepard plays, a spate of western TV shows and films, plus a comic turn in the baseball movie 'Major League,' has died. He was 70.

Gammon died Friday surrounded by his family at his daughter's home in Costa Mesa, where he and his wife, Nancy, had been living. He had cancer of the adrenal glands and the liver.

Gammon may be best known for his role as Lou Brown, manager of the hapless Cleveland Indians in the 1989 comedy 'Major League' and its 1994 sequel. He stood out with key roles in many films including 'Urban Cowboy,' 'The Milagro Beanfield War,' 'Leaving Normal,' 'Ironweed,' 'Silverado' and 'Cold Mountain.'"

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Tool of the Trade :: Jack Getze

Bottoms Up!

The Associated Press: Divers find 200-year old champagne in Baltic wreck: "Now that's some vintage bubbly.

Divers have discovered what is thought to be the world's oldest drinkable champagne in a shipwreck in the Baltic Sea, one of the finders said Saturday. They tasted the one bottle they've brought up so far before they even got back to shore.
[. . . .]
'It tasted fantastic. It was a very sweet champagne, with a tobacco taste and oak,' Ekstrom said."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton caught with cannabis in handbag - Yahoo! News: "American socialite Paris Hilton was briefly held by police on the French island of Corsica after being caught with cannabis in her handbag, according to police sources."

The 10 Smartest Action Movies

The 10 Smartest Action Movies - Movies Feature at IGN

Want to Get Lucky?

Keep Your Fingers Crossed: How Superstition Improves Performance - US News and World Report: "Don't scoff at those lucky rabbit feet. New research shows that having some kind of lucky token can actually improve your performance – by increasing your self-confidence."

That's the Spirit!

Spirit Airlines CEO Defends Luggage Fees; Tells Congress Bags Are 'Not Essential' For Vacations - ABC News: "The head of the nation's most fee-happy airline told Congress today that bringing luggage on vacation was 'not essential' to travel and his airline was actually helping the poor fly by charging up to $45 to place a carry-on bag in the overhead bin."

Today's Western Movie Poster

69 Tricks and Tools of James Bond: Part 1

Lone Iguana - 69 Tricks and Tools of James Bond: Part 1 [How to Be Bond]

Top 10 YouTube Success Stories

YouTube Stars - Celebrities Who Got Their Start on YouTube at "YouTube has emerged as a way for hopeful entertainers to reach—and impress––the masses with their talent. Hard to believe? Check out 10 people whose YouTube videos took them from no-names to famous faces."

Books About Beaches

AbeBooks: Real Beach Reads - Books About Beaches

Agent for H. A. R. M.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Criminal Genius of the Day

Teen Charged In High School Burglary - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston: "A teenager has been accused of burglarizing a high school, police told KPRC Local 2 Thursday.
[. . . .]
Two projectors and several calculators were stolen, detectives said.

Investigators said they got a tip that the calculators were put up for sale on the Internet."

Drop the Rock

Calif may dump 'state rock' that contains asbestos - Yahoo! News: "In 1965, California lawmakers named serpentine the state rock because it symbolized the Gold Rush years and contained a mineral being put to myriad industrial uses.

Nearly half a century later, attitudes toward that mineral — asbestos — have changed, and one state lawmaker wants serpentine stripped of its status."

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Today's Western Movie Poster

No Comment Department

Bill Clinton: The Opera | CHARTattack: "Family, community and coming of age, oh my! Everyone's favorite saxophone-playing, non-sexual relations-having U.S. president is the subject of a new opera titled Billy Blythe.

The opera is named after Bill Clinton's birth name, William Jefferson Blythe, and is drawn from Clinton's recent autobiography, My Life. It will apparently detail a day in Clinton's childhood, to illustrate how his struggles as a youngster shaped the sort of president he would one day become."


Body Found Under El Monte Home May Be Missing Man: "Los Angeles County authorities say a mummified body found under an empty El Monte home may that of a man who went missing five years ago.
[. . . .]
Kades says a pillow was found with the remains and it appears the man may have been resting in the crawlspace when he died of natural causes."


James Reasoner and I have discussed the fact that we can remember where we bought certain books, even though we bought them years and years ago. I remember buying The Hundred-Dollar Girl off a rack in Austin, Texas, very clearly. I could even describe the place, though it's long gone. This was the first William Campbell Gault book I bought, I believe, though it's the seventh book to feature Joe Puma. I'm not counting The Cana Diversion, and neither should you. I am counting Shakedown, half of an early Ace Double by "Roney Scott," but the Puma in that book isn't really the same guy who appears in the others. Five of the books were published by Fawcett Crest as paperback originals, and this one was published in hardcover by Dutton before being reprinted by Signet. The other night, for some reason, I decided I wanted to read it again after more than 40 years, so I got it down off the shelf. As you can see, it's still in pretty good shape.

The story has Puma investigating the murder of a boxer's manager. Gault was one of the best when it came to writing about sports, and this is a good story. The manager is murdered, and then there's another murder. Obviously they're connected, but just how is hard to figure. Puma sleeps with a couple of women, gets knocked around a lot (which is hard to figure, considering how big he is), eats well, and deals with goons, mobsters, cops, and women in his inimitable fashion. Puma has a quick temper, and it gets him in lots of trouble that a smoother operator might have avoided. But the temper (and the integrity) is part of what makes Puma such an interesting character. A lot of people perfer him to Gault's other p.i., Brock "The Rock" Callahan.

Gault won an Edgar, got good reviews, and had a lot of devoted readers (including me). But he never made much money from his mystery writing. So he left the mystery field and took to writing YA novels, many of which were highly successful, went through numerous printings, and which made him a lot more money than his mysteries ever did. I think I deserve a little credit for luring him back to mysteries because I did an interview with him for Billy Lee's Paperback Quarterly around 1979 or so. Then he was invited to the Bouchercon in Milwaukee and found out that he had a lot of fans who remembered him. He revived the Callahan series, and while the books weren't quite what they used to be, several of them came close to recapturing the old feel. If you haven't read any of Gault's books, it's time to check them out.

This is a reprint of a post I did about 5 years ago. I was looking at the book the other night and thought it would make a great FB post, and then I remembered I'd already written about it. So here it is again. Some of you may have missed it the first time.

Roy Rogers Update

The Associated Press: Roy Rogers' dog Bullet fetches $35K at NYC auction: "On Thursday, more than 1,000 items hit the auction block, including the Rogers family dining set, which sold at $11,875, triple the presale estimate; Trigger's flower-bedecked straw hat, which fetched $2,750, compared with the $500 to $1,000 estimate; and the hand-drawn music and lyrics to 'Happy Trails,' which sold for $27,500, compared with the estimate of $500.

All sale prices include the buyer's premium of 25 percent for most items, or 20 percent for prices in excess of $50,000.
The total sale realized $2.98 million, according to Christie's. No items went unsold."

Plague of the Zombies

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Linda Ronstadt!

Linda Ronstadt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Linda Ronstadt (b. July 15, 1946) is an American popular music singer. Her many vocal styles in a variety of genres have resonated with the general public over the course of her four-decade career. As a result, she has earned multiple Grammy Awards, two Academy of Country Music awards, an Emmy Award, an ALMA Award, numerous United States and internationally certified gold, platinum and multiplatinum albums, in addition to Tony Award and Golden Globe nominations."

Hank Cochran, R. I. P.

Hank Cochran, Songwriting Legend, Dead at 74 - The Boot: "Hank Cochran, the legendary songwriter who penned such classic tunes as 'I Fall to Pieces' for Patsy Cline, 'Make the World Go Away' by Eddy Arnold, and George Strait's 'Ocean Front Property' and 'The Chair,' died at his Hendersonville, Tenn., home north of Nashville Thursday morning (July 15). He was 74.
[. . . .]
Born Garland Perry Cochran, in Isola, Miss., Hank formed a duo with early rock 'n' roll star Eddie Cochran, called the Cochran Brothers (although the two were not related). He also worked in the oilfields and picked olives in California, before moving to Nashville in 1960 and teaming with another songwriting icon, Harlan Howard, to write one of the biggest hits of Patsy Cline's career, 'I Fall to Pieces.' Patsy also recorded Hank's songs 'She's Got You' and 'Why Can't He Be You.' Hank also encouraged his publishing company, Pamper Music, to sign a young songwriter named Willie Nelson."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Excuse of the Day

Border agents: NY man says ankle monitor for Lohan - Yahoo! News: "Border agents say a New York man tried to explain away the ankle monitor he was wearing while returning from Canada by claiming it was a show of support for actress Lindsay Lohan.

Customs and Border Protection officers say they found the bracelet around Eugene Todie's ankle July 9 after he tried to re-enter the United States using someone else's passport. They say he's on probation and not supposed to leave the country.

They say Todie told them a probation officer friend gave him the bracelet to wear for Lohan, who's had to wear an alcohol ankle monitor. Record checks showed the Buffalo man is on probation for criminal contempt."

William Faulkner Update

William Faulkner Goes Online, 50 Years Later: Audio Recordings : NPR: "In the late 1950s, English students at the University of Virginia got the opportunity that most American literature scholars would kill for — to speak with William Faulkner.

Faulkner spent two years as the writer-in-residence at UVA, where he gave lectures and readings and took questions from students. The lectures were recorded on reel-to-reel tapes, which have now been digitized and published online."

Archaeology Update

Historic 18th century wooden ship unearthed at new World Trade Centre site | Mail Online: "The remains of a ship dating back to the 18th century have been uncovered by workers close to the theold World Trade Centre site in lower Manhattan.

Archaeologists said the 32ft-long vessel was probably used along with other debris to fill in land to extend New York City into the Hudson River."

Bad Boys, Bad Boys Whatcha Gonna Do?

Cop uses Taser on another in Mass. off-duty spat - Yahoo! News: "Two police officers are facing charges after an off-duty fracas outside a Massachusetts home ended with one officer using a Taser on the other."

Gator Update

Okay, not really, but gators are for sure mentioned in this new post at Western Fictioneers. Check it out.

22 Fictional Characters Whose Names You Don’t Know

mental_floss Blog � 22 Fictional Characters Whose Names You Don’t Know

Vonetta McGee, R. I. P.

Obituary: Vonetta McGee dies at 65; film actress during 1970s blaxploitation era - "Vonetta McGee, an actress whose big-screen heyday during the blaxploitation era of the 1970s included leading roles in 'Blacula' and 'Shaft in Africa,' has died. She was 65.
[. . . .]
McGee was described as 'one of the busiest and most beautiful black actresses' by Times movie reviewer Kevin Thomas in 1972, the year she appeared opposite Fred Williamson in the black action movie 'Hammer,' and had starring roles in the crime-drama 'Melinda' and the horror film 'Blacula.'"

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Officer hospitalized after own patrol vehicle rolls over his leg | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "A Houston police officer is expected to remain in the hospital overnight after he apparently rolled his patrol car over his own leg, authorities said today."

Roy Rogers Update

The Associated Press: Roy Rogers' stuffed horse sold to Neb. TV station: "A Nebraska cable TV network ponied up $266,500 for Roy Rogers' stuffed and mounted horse, Trigger, at an auction in New York City on Wednesday.

The movie cowboy's faithful companion was bought by the cable company RFD-TV in Omaha, Neb., at a Christie's auction of items from the now-closed Roy Rogers and Dale Evans Museum in Branson, Mo.

Trigger's sale price outpaced the estimated $100,000 to $200,000 it was expected to fetch, with many other items also selling far above estimate."

Stolen -- Jordan Gray

Blackpool is one of those little English seaside towns. You know the kind. They're filled with eccentric characters who are hiding generations of secrets. Michael and Molly Graham are Americans who have recently come to live there. Michael designs video games. Molly's in PR, and her current project is a documentary that's to be shot in Blackpool. The film is to be about a train robbery that occurred seventy years ago. Missing after the robbery were a number of famous paintings and a fortune gold. A number of people died. Nothing was ever recovered.

Naturally, there's someone or several someones in Blackpool who don't want the documentary to be made. They'd prefer that the past remain unexplored. Right away, there's a murder. The police would naturally prefer that the Grahams stay out of things, but there's plenty of room for their amateur sleuthing, and they prove to be very good at it in spite of some blunders along the way.

Stolen Away is the first book in a series, so there are things being set up to pay off in later installments. The book works just fine on its own, though, with clever plotting, sympathetic main characters, and great pacing. If you like your mysteries a little on the cozy side, this is one you'll want to check out soon.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Husband claims self defense in Houston slaying over electric bill | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "Police are investigating the death of a woman who was fatally stabbed by her estranged husband last month during an argument about an overdue electric bill at the couple's home in southwest Houston."

Top 6 Boring New England Destinations Made Awesome by H.P. Lovecraft

Topless Robot - 6 Boring New England Destinations Made Awesome by H.P. Lovecraft

Link via SF Signal.

Suspicions Confirmed

Are Designer Sunglasses Worth the Price? - "Do you prefer the 'quality' of Ray-Ban to Oakley? Do you think Bulgari is better than Dolce & Gabbana, or Salvatore Ferragamo is better than Prada? Wake up. They're all made by one company, Italian manufacturer Luxottica–one of the biggest consumer companies that consumers have never heard of. Luxottica also makes sunglasses branded Burberry, Chanel, Polo Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, Stella McCartney, Tiffany, Versace, Vogue, Persol, Miu Miu, Tory Burch and Donna Karan."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Mugshot of the Day

Horny Man In Assault Bust - July 14, 2010

Six Movies Set Largely in Dreams

Six Movies Set Largely in Dreams | The Six Pack | Screen | Philadelphia Weekly

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Gator Update (Top 5 Edition)

Five Things You Should Never, Ever Do After an Alligator Bites Your Hand Off - Broward Palm Beach News - The Juice

The five things are near the end of the article, and all quotes are real.

Force 10 from Navarone

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Two Best Things about Guys

My Publisher is Also St. Martin's . . .

. . . but I'm not getting $50 mil for my next four books.

Mystery Books News: Janet Evanovich May Be Leaving Long-Time Publisher St. Martin's Press: "It isn't often that an author changing publishers makes news. But when the author is Janet Evanovich and the publisher is the St. Martin's Press imprint of Macmillan and the reported amount involved is $50 million for her next four books, that's news."

Criminal Genius of the Day

Man posts bail with counterfeit bills | Philadelphia Inquirer | 07/14/2010: "Most people post bail to stay out of jail.

Not to risk a lot more time there.

According to Cinnaminson Police, a Camden man included counterfeit $20 bills while paying his $400 bail on July 7.

Lousy counterfeit $20s.

Run off on a color copier, apparently."

No Comment Department

Federal Eye - TSA using pizza boxes to recruit new workers: "Federal agencies often head to college campuses, job fairs or buy newspaper classified ads to announce new job openings. But the Transportation Security Administration is reaching out with pepperoni and cheese.

'A Career Where X-Ray Vision and Federal Benefits Come Standard,' reads a TSA ad appearing on pizza boxes across the Washington region.

'Washington Reagan National Airport and Washington-Dulles International Airport are now hiring Transportation Security Officers,' the ad said. 'See yourself in a vital role for Homeland Security. Be part of a dynamic security team protecting airports and skies as you proudly secure your future.'"

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

Woman, 69, Fends Off Would-Be Robber With His Gun - Orlando News Story - WESH Orlando: "Police said Costello pointed the gun at the suspect as he ran back to the black Chevy that dropped him off. She tried to drive away but ran into the suspect’s getaway car where she was able to take down the license plate number before the car fled the scene, according to police."

And Stay off His Lawn!

Police: Robber had cane, oxygen tank - "New York police said a geriatric robber with a cane and an oxygen tank fired three shots at a clothing store before fleeing empty handed.

Police sources told the New York Post the man, believed to be in his 70s, announced a stickup at 9 p.m. Friday at high-end clothing store Sarar and fired off a round at a fleeing customer."

Quarry's Ex -- Max Allan Collins

While I enjoy all of Max Allan Collin's books, it's the Quarry books I like best. Of all the good things Hard Case Crime has done, reviving this series ranks right up there near the top. Quarry's Ex is the latest (and let's hope it's not the last). In this one, professional hit man Quarry's in Boot Hell, Nevada, and he's going to prevent the killing of a movie director by taking out the hit man assigned to kill him. And to earn an additional fee, Quarry's going to find out who wants the director killed, and why.

An interesting complication is Quarry's ex-wife, Joni, who inadvertently started him out on his current career. She's now an actress and married to the director. So is she the one who wants him killed? Or is it the mob boss who appears to be crazy about the leading lady? Or is it someone else entirely?

What I like about these books is the fast-moving first-person narration and Quarry's hardboiled attitude. And his sense of humor. There's some funny stuff about movie sets here, and you have to wonder how much is based on the author's personal experience. Or maybe it's better not to wonder.

Take out the graphic sex and some cuss words, and this book could be a Gold Medal novel. It has that kind of feel and that kind of pacing, and it's a pleasure to read. Highly recommended.

Good News for P. I. Fans

Busted Flush Press: BFP to publish Daniel Judson's "Gin Palace" Trilogy!

Arizona Leads the Way

Mesa vandalism suspect greets officers in the nude, holding a beer: "A Mesa woman greeted police officers in the nude and holding a beer after allegedly vandalizing her boyfriend's car with a dog leash, court records state."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Pass that Lasagna Sandwich

U.S. theater seats expand as audiences get fatter - Entertainment - Movies - "Seats in U.S. theaters have gotten bigger during the last century to accommodate the expanding size of the members of the audience.
[. . . .]
Bigger seats have meant higher costs for theaters and their patrons because modern auditoriums can hold only half the number of people as a similar size auditorium built in early 1900, according to the report."

Marilyn Monroe Update

AFP: Marilyn Monroe's last house on sale for 3.6 million dollars: "The Spanish colonial-style Hollywood home where iconic sex siren Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 is going up for sale for 3.6 million dollars, the real estate agency said Tuesday.

The one-story property, built in 1929, which spreads lavishly over 23,000 square feet (2,000 square meters) of land, is 'the crown jewel' of the luxurious neighborhood of Brentwood, according to the agency's website.

Cinematic diva Monroe lived in the house for only six months before her sleeping pill overdose death, having bought the house for 90,000 dollars."

I Hope They Don't Disturb the Gators

'Walls of fat' removed from London's sewers - Home News, UK - The Independent: "Enough fat to fill nine double-decker buses is being removed from sewers under London's Leicester Square.

A team of 'flushers' equipped with full breathing apparatus has been drafted in with shovels to dig out an estimated 1,000 tonnes of putrid fat."

To the Devil . . . a Daughter

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Party Trick Update

Sergeant meant no offence by pierced penis 'party trick': "He referred to it as his ''party trick'' - exposing his genital piercing, or opening a beer bottle with a bottle opener attached to it.

And police officer Sergeant Andrew Lawrance is certain no one was offended when he performed the trick to a small group of fellow officers and their wives at a Christmas party at Tommy's Chinese Restaurant in Yamba, egging him on."

No Comment Department

3 Utah men missing in Arizona treasure hunt - Yahoo! News: "Authorities say three Utah men are missing after they set out to find the legendary Lost Dutchman Gold Mine in central Arizona, which has been entrenched in triple-digit heat for weeks.

The Maricopa County sheriff's office began a ground and aerial search Sunday after family members called to say they had not heard from the men since they left Utah five days earlier.

Family members say the men planned on hiking into the rugged Superstition Mountains and exploring the area.

Two of the men reportedly have medical conditions, and it was not known if they have enough medication or camping provisions."

Odd Thomas -- Dean Koontz

I haven't read anything by Dean Koontz in many years, but Scott Cupp figured I'd like this one, so he bought a copy and gave it to me. It's apparently the first book in a series about a guy whose name is, yes, Odd Tomas.

Odd has strange powers. Like a kid in a well-known movie, Odd sees dead people. That's not all he sees, however. He sees creatures he calls bodachs, which are always a sign of bad things to come. Neither the bodachs nor the dead talk to Odd, which is too bad, since one of the latter is Elvis. At any rate, while Odd knows bad things are going to happen, he doesn't know exactly where or when. Most of the book is taken up by his race against time to prevent something horrible. Since this is a Koontz book, it's probably not a spoiler to say that Odd doesn't entirely succeed.

The setting of the novel is the little town of Pico Mundo in the Mojave Desert. Only a few people know about Odd's abilities. These include his sweetheart, Stormy Lewellyn, and the local chief of police, whom Odd has helped out on more than one occasion. In this little town, Odd's made a life for himself as a fry cook. He might move on someday to the tire store. He's not sure. After the events in this book, it's doubtful.

Odd, who's twenty, tells his story in first person, and some might find it a bit . . . odd that he sprinkles the narrative with references to Gene Kelly and other pop culture stuff that a twenty-year-old in this day and age would seem unlikely to k now about. Didn't bother me, though I did notice it.

The style of the novel is a lot different from the earlier Koontz books I've read, very engaging, I thought. I can see why the series developed a lot of fans, and thanks to Scott, I might even go on and read some of the other books to see what becomes of Odd and his friends in little Pico Mundo. I hope Elvis shows up again.

Mississippi Leads the Way

Fattest States 2010: CalorieLab's Annual Obesity Map: "For 2010 Mississippi has claimed the title of fattest state for the fifth consecutive year, while Colorado continues its streak as the leanest. Maine rose the most places in the rankings over last year, while Oregon dropped the most, according to a new analysis by CalorieLab, Inc."

Another Culinary Delight

Does anyone fancy a lasagne sandwich? Tesco launches a 'world first' | Mail Online: "It is the type of snack that perhaps only a student could love.

But the lasagne sandwich, probably most suitable as a treat made from leftovers after a heavy night out, has gone on sale at Tesco.

The supermarket claims the cold sandwich is a world first and has painted it as a healthy option."

James P. Hogan, R. I. P.

SF Site News � Obituary: James P. Hogan: "Author James P. Hogan (b. 1941) was found dead on July 12 according to his literary agent. Hogan, who won three Seiun Awards and 2 Prometheus Awards, wrote the “Giants” series, beginning with his debut novel, Inherit the Stars, as well as The Proteus Operation and Thrice Upon a Time."

Link via SF Signal.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

100 Best Places to Live in America, 2010 edition - Yahoo! Real Estate

But we're represented in the Top 10.
Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

Croc Update (Alcohol Was Involved Edition)

Drunk Broome man's crocodile ride ends in surgery | Herald Sun: "A DRUNK man climbed into a crocodile enclosure at a wildlife park after being kicked out of his local pub and is lucky to be alive to tell the tale.

The ABC reports Broome Police Sergeant Roger Haynes as saying the 36-year-old was bitten on the leg before escaping.

'For some reason he's made a decision to climb the fence into the crocodile park, where an almost five-metre male crocodile was living,' he told the ABC.

'He appears to have wanted to touch that crocodile and sit on its back, and the crocodile has taken offence to that and bitten him on the right leg."

Why Isn't "Old Retired Schoolteacher" on the List?

The 8 lowest-paying jobs in America - Business - Careers -

The Devil Rides Out

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another "Re-Branding"

Village People 'dismayed' at YMCA name change - Story - World - 3 News: "The Young Men's Christian Association, made famous in the Village People song 'YMCA', is changing its name.

From now on, it will be known simply as 'The Y' – much to the dismay of the '70s disco group.

'We are deeply dismayed by today's announcement from the YMCA that they feel a name change and a rebranding are in order after 166 years,' the group said in a statement released this morning."

Tuli Kupferberg, R. I. P.

Tuli Kupferberg, Poet and Singer, Dies at 86 - ArtsBeat Blog - "Tuli Kupferberg, the poet, singer and professional bohemian who went from being a noted Beat to becoming, in his words, “the world’s oldest rock star” when he helped found the Fugs, the bawdy and politically pugnacious folk-rock group, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 86 and had been a longtime resident of Greenwich Village."
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Candwich Update

SEC sues Utah man in sandwich in a can fraud | Reuters: "The Securities and Exchange Commission has sued a Utah man for fraudulently misusing $139 million of investor funds on such things as a film about the Cub Scouts' Pinewood Derby car race and development of a 'sandwich in a can.'"

Winchester '73

Edward Copeland on Film: “He said if a man had one friend, he was rich…I'm rich…”: "Sixty years ago on this date, Winchester ’73 was released to theaters. Its surprising success breathed new life into what many thought was a tired genre (beaten to death by singing cowboys and B-picture oaters) and ensured a slew of successful Western movies to come throughout the 1950s."

Excellent commentary by Ivan Shreve, Jr.

Archaeology Update

Oldest written document ever found in Jerusalem: "A tiny clay fragment - dating from the 14th century B.C.E. - that was found in excavations outside Jerusalem's Old City walls contains the oldest written document ever found in Jerusalem, say researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem."

Gator Update (Give the Guy a Hand Edition)

10-foot gator bites off man's hand in Fla. canal: "Florida wildlife officials say a 10-foot alligator bit off a man's hand while he was swimming in a canal with friends.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Gabriella Ferraro says 18-year-old Timothy Delano of Naples is recovering at a hospital. Officials managed to catch the gator and retrieve the hand from its stomach, and doctors may be able to reattach the hand."

I Wish He Were Here to Celebrate It

Going on the Belief Walleyes Eat Late by Thom Ward | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: "It's the birthday of mystery novelist Donald Westlake, (books by this author) born in Brooklyn, New York, (1933), the author of more than 100 books.

He worked as slush-pile reader for New York-based magazines, and at night he wrote his own short stories — things that did not often advance past the slush pile. In fact, he received 204 rejection slips before his first short story was ever accepted. But soon after that, the first novel he wrote was accepted by Random House. It was called The Mercenaries (1960), it was huge best-seller, and it was nominated for the prestigious Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

He wrote fast, sometimes publishing four books a year. Publishers had reservations about releasing multiple titles in one year by a single author. And for this reason — especially early in his career, when he was furiously prolific — he used pen names. Mystery novelist Donald Westlake was also mystery novelist Richard Stark, and he was Curt Clark, and Timothy J. Culver, and Tucker Coe. And he was Samuel Holt and also Edwin West."

Ice Cold -- Tess Gerritsen

In this latest thriller from Tess Gerritsen, Boston pathologist Maura Isles and police detective Jane Rizzoli are taken far away from their usual habitat. Isles is in Wyoming at a medical conference. She's unsure about her relationship with priest Daniel Brophy, and she accepts an invitation from a guy she met in med school, an invitation that winds up with them and three others stranded in a wilderness cabin in the depths of winter.

The cabin is part of an isolated village known as Kingdom Come, established by a charismatic religious cult leader whose male followers have numerous child brides. But there's no one in Kingdom come now. All have disappeared. Cell phones don't work there. One of the people along with Isles is seriously injured and dying. They need help. And someone's watching them.

Back home in Boston Jane Rizzoli gets a call to let her know that Isles is missing. Rizzoli and her FBI agent husband go to Wyoming. A fruitless search ensues, and they leave. Then they get a call saying that Isles's body has been found.

This books combines the wilderness survival thriller with a mystery, grim and gory forensics, and an anyone-can-die-at-any-time plot. Good stuff. The final paragraphs hint that we might be seeing a spin-off with a couple of the characters, or maybe they'll just appear with Rizzoli and Isles. That would be fun.

There's a new TV series featuring Rizzoli and Isles starting on TNT tonight. Check it out.

Dracula Update

Dracula was not bloodthirsty, just a victim of bad propaganda, new exhibition claims - Telegraph

Today's Western Movie Poster

Luchador Wine

Photo via Morning Breath.
Link via Lauren McCarty.

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

Elderly woman breaks inconsiderate student's nose on bus: "A 66-year-old Japanese woman was arrested for hitting a student repeatedly after refused to give up his seat for her on a bus.

The teenager suffered a broken nose as a result of the attack, which occurred in Nagasaki, Japan, reported the

Tamiko Masuta, 66, the manager of an apartment complex, was arrested after assaulting the teenager with her umbrella."

Feline Perversions

Cat burglar takes shine to underwear | "A spate of thefts from gardens and washing lines in a southern English town had been puzzling police.

Socks, gloves, ladies underwear - almost anything left unattended was fair game for the thief, especially the knickers, and the rate of offending was getting worse.

But now the culprit has been unmasked as a kleptomaniac cat with a generous nature."

The Seven-Year Itch

Top 10 Technologies that Should be Extinct

Ten technologies that should be extinct (but aren't) - Technology & science - Tech and gadgets - PC World -

At Home With Joan Parker

At Home With Joan Parker - Robert Parker’s Widow Rearranges Home and Preserves Memories - "AND now, the Ballad of the Sad Chair and How It Was Tamed and Returned to Happy Domestic Life. The teller is Joan Parker, the widow of Robert B. Parker, the best-selling mystery writer who died in January."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Product We've All Been Waiting For

Candwich: The Sandwich in a Can.

Hat tip to Ivan Shreve, Jr.

I'll Be Watching

TV: The Glades, the Case of the Charming Cop | Hollywood Today: "“They put this alligator on my table,” says The Glades star Carolos Gomez who plays the role of Carlos Sanchez. “I’m the medical examiner on the show and I kind of freak out. I’m not going to autopsy an alligator.”"

Zombie Update

"Zombies" crash on I-84 near Lloyd exit | | KGW News | Portland, Oregon: "A car full of people dressed as zombies crashed on Interstate 84 near downtown Portland on Friday, causing initial confusion by people who witnessed the crash."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Back in the Saddle Again

A Time For Hanging – Another Bill Crider Western

This Is Why We Can all Feel Safer

NY woman questioned again and again over ID mix-up �| "Nelson, a 44-year-old white woman, keeps getting snared at the Canadian border because she apparently shares some key identifying information with a black man, possibly from Georgia, who is in trouble with the law. While such cases of mistaken identity at border points and airports are not unique, Nelson's case is unusual in that only some of her crossings set off an alarm and because federal officials have not fixed the problem after almost two years."

It Was 50 Years Ago Today

Do the Right Thing: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird: "Fifty years after its publication, Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of racial injustice in a small Southern town ranks as one of the most beloved books in American literature.

(This article first appeared in MS Issue #101, Fall 2007.)"

Thriller Awards

Thriller Awards - ThrillerFest: "ITW Thriller Award nominees and winners"

King Arthur Update

Historians locate King Arthur's Round Table - Telegraph: "Historians claim to have finally located the site of King Arthur’s Round Table – and believe it could have seated 1,000 people."

Indian Country Noir -- Sarah Cortez & Liz Martinez, Editors

This is the second anthology edited by Cortez and Martinez that I've read recently. The other was the excellent Hit List, and I'm happy to report that this new entry in the ever-expanding Akashic Noir series measures up to the earlier one.

The stories are set all over (even in Puerto Rico), and while not all the writers are Native Americans, all do a fine job of sticking with the theme. Editor Martinez presents a harrowing story about Ira Hayes. Reed Ferrel Coleman does a great job with a Hollywood Indian who gets one last role, though not the one he expected. Lawrence Block writes about riding your luck in a casino. R. Narvaez, who had a dandy story in Hit List, has another one here, and Gerard Houarner's "Dead Snake Medicine Woman" will shake you up. That's just scratching the surface. Every story in the book opens up a new perspective on Indian country, and I recommend it highly.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Scientists puzzled by sticky substance washing onto beach | | Local News: "Scientists remained puzzled Friday about freshwater plants coated with a sticky substance the color and consistency of peanut butter that washed up on the Gulf of Mexico shore in Galveston and on the Bolivar Peninsula beginning Thursday evening."

Bon Appetit

Carl’s Jr. testing foot-long cheeseburger, Sonic’s new footlong - Fast Food Maven : The Orange County Register: "Chain reps confirm that the home of the “Six Dollar Burger” is testing a foot-long cheeseburger in some restaurants. The funny-looking meat sandwich has been spotted at this Orange County restaurant: 1943 E. 17th Street in Santa Ana. (Note: This is the same restaurant that tested the Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger before it rolled out in stores across the country.)"

Today's Western Movie Poster

Chupacabra Update

Chupacabra-like animals turn up in Hood County | | News: "A small North Texas community is getting stirred up about some mysterious animals roaming around.

Two creatures have been killed in three days, near farms, only a few miles apart. Some are calling them chupacabras; even animal control officers are unsure what they are."

What's in a Name?

AP news - "The son of murdered Irish mobster Mickey Spillane tumbled out the window of his sixth-floor apartment in a fatal fall Saturday, police and his uncle said.

Robert 'Bobby' Spillane, an actor who had roles on television's 'Rescue Me' and 'Law & Order,' fell from his Midtown Manhattan apartment in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood near Times Square where his father, not to be confused with the pulp fiction writer of the same name, had run rackets back in the 1960s and 1970s."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Inmate escapes in trash bin, found dead in landfill - U.S. news - Crime & courts - "A federal inmate who escaped from a downtown El Paso jail by hiding in a trash bin was found crushed to death Friday in a nearby landfill.

The body of Carlos Roberto Medina-Bailon, 30, was found when the garbage truck route was traced back to the dump in Sunland Park, N.M., KTSM-TV said.

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Liane, Jungle Goddess