Saturday, December 04, 2010

Liberace Update

Michael Douglas to portray Liberace - Films, Arts & Entertainment - The Independent: "On the heels of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and a battle with cancer, Michael Douglas has signed on to portray the flamboyant pianist Liberace in a biopic to be directed by Steven Soderbergh (The Informant!, Che).

Matt Damon is set to play Liberace's lover Scott Thorson. The screenplay is based on Thorson's book Behind the Candelabra (My Life With Liberace)."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Another Contest that Might Be of Interest

Do Some Damage: The DSD Christmas Noir Flash Challenge: "Here's the deal (free books! free books!) We're issuing a flash fiction challenge. We want 600-1000 words of the best Christmas noir, transgressive, caper or hardboiled fiction you can throw at us. The only stipulation is that it has to be a Christmas story. But hell, you wanna know how loose a stipulation that is? Uncle DSD's favourite Christmas film is DIE HARD. So you can see that just about anything goes, as long as it's Christmas."

John D'Agostino, R. I. P.

John D'Agostino, drawer of Archie and GI Joe, dies - San Jose Mercury News: "John D'Agostino Sr., whose work in comic books ranged from Archie and Jughead to the Incredible Hulk and G.I. Joe, among others, has died. He was 81."

Hat tip to Angela Crider, who reminded me that I missed this one.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: By the Dim and Flaring Lamps :: Ian Ayris

New Issue of Gumshoe Review Now On-Line

Gumshoe Mystery Review - December 2010

A Note from Barbara Gregorich, for you Baseball Fans

I've just published Research Notes for Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball, Vol. I: Maud Nelson, Margaret Nabel. This is an 8x10 book (notebook sized) of 114 pages, consisting of original newspaper articles written between 1875 and 1935. Most of the articles are quoted in their entirety, some are summarized. These are a portion of the research notes from which I wrote Women at Play back in 1992.

This book will be of interest to baseball researchers, to women in baseball who want to know their history, perhaps to baseball fans who aren't interested in research but would enjoy reading old-timey articles, maybe to novelists looking for the flavor of the times, and, I hope, to high school English teachers who assign research papers to students.

Since publishing this book last month, I’ve already heard from baseball researchers who said that information in my book led them to some aspect of their own research they didn’t know about or hadn’t considered.

The book is available only through Amazon, $12 for the softbound format, $5 for the Kindle format.

Here's the link:;

Gator Update (Travelling Edition)

KCMO Police Find Alligator In Car - Kansas City News Story - KCTV Kansas City: "A traffic stop by Kansas City, Mo., police took an odd twist after officers found an alligator in the back of the vehicle.

Police said they pulled a vehicle over in the McDonald's parking lot at Meyer Boulevard and Troost Avenue. When the officer approached the car, he saw the alligator in the back."

Life Imitates "Art"

Man arrested in Polk Co. carrying 83 jars of moonshine | Tampa Bay, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota | "Polk deputies say they have arrested a Tennessee man who was transporting 83 jars of moonshine to a Sebring bar.

Daniel McGuire, 40, was spotted by a Lake Wales police officer with several containters of moonshine in the trunk of his car on December 1. After asking the Polk Co. Sheriff's Office for assistance, deputies made a traffic stop on McGuire's car the next day.

They found 83 quart-size jars of moonshine that McGuire claims he was delivering to a restaurant manager in Sebring."


Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison, Avon, 1951.

10 Interesting SciFi Reads for the Holidays

10 Interesting SciFi reads for the holidays

Hat tip to Snidely Whiplash.

Ancient Mega-Lake Update

Ancient Mega-Lake Found in Egyptian Desert : Discovery News: "The hyper-arid deserts of western Egypt were once home to a lush mega-lake fed by the Nile River's earliest annual floods.

Fossil fish and space shuttle radar images have defined the bed and drainage channels of the long lost lake, which at times was larger than Lake Michigan, stretching as far as 250 miles west of the Nile in southwestern Egypt.

The discovery pushes back the origin of the 'Gift of the Nile' floods to more than a quarter million years ago and paints a drastically different picture of Egypt's environment than is seen today. It also explains the longstanding puzzle of the fossilized fish found in the desert -- fish that are of the same kinds that live in today's Nile River."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Gator Update (Robot Edition) "LEGO Robot Alligator Scares Rats in the Name of Science"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

With three out of ten!

America's 10 Least Brainy Cities: Portfolio Study

Mysterious Galaxy PB Bestseller List. . .

. . . includes DAMN NEAR DEAD 2: LIVE NOIR OR DIE TRYING. So do you have your copy yet?

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Conway Twitty's sexual orientation sparks fight: "Two neighbors got into a fight Thursday night over the sexual orientation of a country singer.

Joe Capes and Ronald Richards were hanging out in Richards' trailer when they began arguing about the sexual orientation of country music singer Conway Twitty."

If Dr. Seuss Had Done Star Wars, . . .

. . . it might have looked a lot like this.

30 Freakiest Ads of 2010

AdFreak's 30 Freakiest Ads of 2010

Children of the Corn (2009 Remake)

Friday, December 03, 2010

Elaine Kaufman, R. I. P.

I'm sure Stone Barrington will attend the funeral.

Elaine Kaufman, Owner of Famed New York Writer's Den, Elaine's, Dies - "For nearly a half-century she presided over one of Manhattan's greatest watering holes.

Elaine Kaufman, who died Friday at age 81, was owner of Elaine's, the legendary hangout for writers, artists, prize-fighters and everybody who wanted to be anybody—or catch a glimpse of those who were.

Her list of regulars over the years included Woody Allen, Norman Mailer, George Plimpton and dozens more who need little introduction. Ms. Kaufman befriended her customers and even fed them for free when they were down and out."

I Enjoyed This

Unsolved Hollywood Murders

Unsolved Hollywood Murders

Here's the Plot for Your Next Inside-the-Walls Thriller

Jackson Conquet killed girlfriend Leslie Paredes and buried body in prison cell | Mail Online: "A prisoner murdered his girlfriend and buried her body in his cell where it lay undetected for THREE months.

Dutchman Jackson Conquet confessed to strangling Leslie Paredes, 22, when she visited him at his Peruvian jail.

He killed her after she said she wanted to end their relationship and hid the body under a concrete bench he built over her grave."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Teen Hit Man Novel

The Associated Press: Mexican army detains 14-year-old suspected killer: "The Mexican army has detained a 14-year-old suspected of acting as a killer for a drug cartel, an army official said Friday. The boy said he had been working for the cartel since he was 11.

The much-rumored alleged young assassin nicknamed 'El Ponchis' was captured late Thursday at the airport near Cuernavaca with his 16-year-old sister as they tried to catch a flight to Tijuana and flee the country, said the official, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

The sister told reporters that they planned to cross the border to San Diego, California, where their mother lives.

The two were brought to the office of the Mexican Attorney General's Office in Cuernavaca early Friday, where the boy told reporters that he had participated in at least four decapitations. The source said his sister was accused of getting rid of the bodies by dumping them on streets and freeways."

The Name Game

Sophia and Aiden lead BabyCenter's Top 100 Baby Names of 2010

Ron Santo, R. I. P.

Ron Santo, Longtime Cubs Stalwart, Dies at 70 - "Ron Santo, a star third baseman of the Chicago Cubs and their longtime broadcaster who became a revered figure for his exploits on the field and his battle against juvenile diabetes, died Thursday in a hospital in Arizona. He was 70.
[. . . .]
Playing for the Chicago Cubs from 1960 to 1973, then for a final season with the Chicago White Sox, Santo hit 342 career home runs, won five Gold Glove awards for fielding and was named an All-Star nine times."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Will See Dramatic Gains in US House Seats: "Fast-growing Texas is poised to be the biggest winner of all when it comes to picking up influence in Congress in the next few years, and Republicans are salivating at the prospect of fattening the largest GOP delegation in Washington.

Texas will gain at least three and possibly four seats in Congress, as population trends continue to push people out of the rust and snow belts and into the sunbelt, demographers say."

Those Dancing Fools Are Back!

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


Agatha Christie, Poirot Loses a Client, Avon, 1951.

12 Days of Bookmas -- Day 3 #12daysbooks

The contest at BookEnds continues. Mystery fans should get this one pretty quickly, depending on the clues. Yesterday's contest ended almost before it began. My clue is at the end of the entry. Go to the link if you know the answer and leave the answer in the comments.

My very first boss in publishing taught me so much. She gave me my first book to line edit (and I still use her explanation when teaching others how to line edit), she encouraged my first romance buy as an editor, and she guided me through the creation of a number of different book series when I was an editor at Berkley. Yep, the creation of a series. The one thing I loved the most about my boss was her creativity. As an editor, she not only sought out great authors to publish, but developed a number of fiction series on her own. She would come up with an idea, create a bible for the series, and she, and the rest of the editorial staff, would find authors to write to her vision.

I’ve always been an idea person, so it was so exciting to me to learn that not only would I be editing books, but I could actually help create ideas. Did you know that one of the ideas I developed as an editor more than 12 years ago is still being published today? Hmm, maybe that’s a topic for another Day of Bookmas.

Today’s question, however, is about my boss. She’s still working in publishing, but in a very different capacity. Today she’s a successful author who is coming up with fabulous ideas, but writing them herself. Who is this editor-turned-author and what 10-book YA series did she write that was later made into a television program (which she also worked on)?

My Clue: The truth is out there.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Record 57 gallons of PCP seized in Houston | Houston & Texas News | - Houston Chronicle: "The largest seizure of the narcotic PCP in the history of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration resulted in the arrest of nine Houston residents Wednesday for allegedly conspiring to distribute enough of the powerful psychedelic to get at least 28 million people high, according to expert estimates."

eBook Bargain of the Day!

The Jack MacLane Collection – 5 Novels $7.50

Crossroad Press Contest

Some of you (you know who you are) have already reviewed my Crossroad Press digital books, so you have entries in the contest if you want them. Details at the link.

Crossroad Press Welcome to the Digital Revolution: "AUDIOBOOK CONTEST
The prize: A 2GB Sansa Clip MP3 player, brand new, and loaded with Crossroad Press & Springbrook Digital audiobooks – over $300.00 in Value…"

Escondido Leads the Way

Alleged Owner of Massive Homemade Bomb Arsenal Is a Mystery Man - "Is he a terrorist or just a sick man?

That is the question police and federal authorities are still asking after the arrest last week of George Djura Jakubec, whose rented house in Escondido, Calif., contained what local authorities called “the largest quantity of homemade explosives found in one location in the history of the United States.”"

Forgotten Books: DOUBLE BANG -- Heywood Gould

Maybe everybody remembers Heywood Gould's novels, but I don't ever hear anybody talking about them. I don't know why, since this one's both very good and exactly the kind of thing that people seem to be looking for these days. By that I mean that it's hard and fast and filled with people so screwed up that nobody has much of a chance of coming out of things in good shape, not even the good guys. Except that there aren't any good guys, really. They're almost as bad as the bad guys.

There's a big cast: Corrupt cops, a hit man, a mafia drug dealer who loves his own product, a psychiatrist who falls for her sociopath patient, and many others. Gould takes the time to give many of them a backstory, but in doing so he doesn't slow down the action. I've never seen the movie made from the book (directed by Gould), but maybe the flashbacks would be a problem there. Here, they're not.

As for the plot, it's another one of those that I can't really describe. There's nothing in it that you'll find unfamiliar, but Gould's way of telling his story is funny, trenchant, goofy all at once. Check it out. As for me, I'm going to read another of his books soon.

Children of the Corn 3

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Life as We Don't Know It

NASA Finds New Life: "At their conference today, NASA scientist Felisa Wolfe Simon will announce that they have found a bacteria whose DNA is completely alien to what we know today. Instead of using phosphorus, the bacteria uses arsenic. All life on Earth is made of six components: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur. Every being, from the smallest amoeba to the largest whale, share the same life stream. Our DNA blocks are all the same.

But not this one. This one is completely different."

A New Version

Link via Neatorama.

It's About Time

'Benji' to be resurrected - Entertainment News, Film News, Media - Variety: "Walden Media wants to put scruffy but lovable canine Benji back on the bigscreen.

The Fox-based shingle, behind such family fare as the 'Chronicles of Narnia' franchise, has paired with Brandon Camp, son of 'Benji' creator Joe Camp Jr., to write, direct and produce a pic that will reboot the character for a new crop of young moviegoers."

You Know You Want to See It

Trailer for Megashark vs. Crocosaurus Stars Steve Urkel, Giant Monster Croc | Movieline


Malcolm Douglas (Douglas Sanderson), Murder Comes Calling, Gold Medal, 1958.

Bad Book Titles

Worst Baby Names of All Time

Harry Pitts? The worst baby names of all time - Parenting -

Chuck Norris Leads the Way

Chuck Norris to become honorary Texas Ranger – This Just In - Blogs: "He played one on TV, and now actor Chuck Norris is going to become an honorary Texas Ranger on Thursday."

Today's Western Movie Poster

They'll Sleep Soundly in Denver Tonight

Toy robot detours traffic near Coors Field - The Denver Post: "A robot met its end near Coors Field tonight when the Denver Police Department Bomb Squad detonated the 'suspicious object,' bringing to an end the hours-long standoff between police and the approximately eight-inch tall figurine."

The Second Day of Bookmas

The contest at BookEnds continues. Mystery fans should get this one pretty quickly, depending on the clues. Yesterday's contest ended almost before it began. Almost any clue I give will be too easy, but it'll be at the end of this post. Go to the link if you know the answer and leave the answer in the comments.

You probably won’t be all that surprised to learn that my very first job was at a store called BookLand. I’d spent several years volunteering at my school library and was already a complete bookworm — some things never change. We sold books and magazines there, along with lots and lots and lots of lottery tickets. Some days were busier than others, and I often found myself with some extra time between customers to read.

I usually gravitated toward romantic suspense and gothics, but while stocking the shelves and getting to know the store’s inventory, I became intrigued with a mystery series that I’d also watched on the small screen. It wasn’t my usual fare, but I was hooked.

Can you name the series and the author?

My clue: Endless reruns.

No Comment Department

In bra, panties and wheelchair, woman goes through Oklahoma City airport screening this morning | "A woman who passed through security at Oklahoma City's Will Rogers World Airport in a wheelchair and her underwear missed her flight Tuesday, and she said TSA denied her boarding. A TSA spokeswoman wouldn't say if the woman was denied by TSA employees."

Pic and video at the link, if you dare.
Hat tip to David Cranmer.

Discount Noir?

Text message leads to Wal-Mart theft arrests - Little Rock, AR: "Wal-Mart is known for offering good deals to customers. But North Little Rock police say one woman walked out with $76,500 dollars in cash over the weekend."

Hat tip to John Duke.

Children of the Corn 2

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Hard Case Crime Update from Charles Ardai

Hi --

Thought you might be interested in this tidbit of news that broke this morning: Lawrence Block, one of the most decorated and popular authors in the crime fiction firmament (four-time Edgar winner, four-time Shamus winner, MWA Grand Master, New York Times best seller), is writing a brand new book for Hard Case Crime, and it's going to be our debut title when we re-launch the series in September 2011.

Titled GETTING OFF: A Novel of Sex and Violence, the book tells the story of a beautiful and self-confident young woman who sets herself a mission and carries it out with ruthless single-mindedness -- to track down and murder every man she's ever slept with. (And it's not a small number, especially since she finds herself sleeping with a few more along the way.) The character is one of Block's most memorable, the first new series character he's introduced since J.P Keller in HIT MAN a dozen years ago. Like Keller, she first appeared in a short story Block found himself writing, and after she'd stuck around for a second tale and then a third, he realized he had a novel-length story to tell about her. Thus was GETTING OFF born.

These days, it's hard to describe any book as shocking -- it's 2010, sex doesn't shock us anymore, nor even, really, does violence -- but I promise, this book is shocking. In the best possible way. There are moments in the story when I predict even the most jaded reader will find his or her jaw dropping.

And in recognition of the fact that the book is, shall we say, somewhat...spicy...the author has decided it's appropriate to revive a pseudonym he hasn't used in nearly 40 years, under which he wrote seven highly erotic novels in the 1960s and 70s. Accordingly, GETTING OFF will be published as by "Lawrence Block, writing as 'Jill Emerson'." As a long-time fan not only of Larry's work but of Jill's, I have to say it's exciting to see her return after too many after decades of Salinger-like silence...

Couple of other bits: GETTING OFF will not only be our re-launch debut title but also our first ever hardcover original. We plan to bring it out in paperback as well, of course -- but it felt like an occasion like this deserved a hardcover to commemorate it. The cover is being painted by Greg Manchess, winner of multiple gold medals from the Society of Illustrators and creator of such iconic cover images for Hard Case Crime as FADE TO BLONDE and THE VENGEFUL VIRGIN. The book will be the first published under our new collaboration with UK-based Titan Publishing and will be distributed in the U.S. and Canada (as all of Titan's books are) by Random House.

This is easily one of the most thrilling announcements I've had the privilege to make since creating Hard Case Crime. I grew up reading and loving Larry's books, and the idea of getting to collaborate with him to bring a new one into the world is...beyond words. We're honored that he chose us as the home for this book and look forward to giving GETTING OFF the kick-off it so richly deserves.

If you have questions, you know where to find me.

Charles Ardai
Editor, Hard Case Crime

A Contest

Top Suspense Group: Top Suspense Round Robin Short Story Contest: "The original Top Suspense Group members: Max Allan Collins, Vicki Hendricks, Ed Gorman, Bill Crider, Harry Shannon and myself wrote a short crime story round robin style, and starting Dec 6th I'll start posting the story here.

The rules: no planning, no coordination, no safety nets. Each day one of us wrote up to 250 words of a short story and passed it onto the next writer, with each writer eventually working on two segments. The only leeway was the last writer got to go past the 250 word limit to try to finish up the story, and the only editing done was for consistency errors.

So starting December 6th I'll be posting a story segment each day with the author's name removed. After 12 days the story will be finished (one way or the other). At that point we'll be offering free books to the first 5 people who can match each segment to the author who wrote it!

Hard Case Crime Returns

Hard Case Crime Returns with New Lawrence Block Novel and New Publisher: "The Hard Case Crime series of mystery novels, which was published by Dorchester between 2004 and earlier this year when the series went on hiatus, will resume publication in September 2011 with a new novel by acclaimed mystery writer Lawrence Block, whose new book Getting Off: A Novel of Sex and Violence will be the first hardcover original to be published by Hard Case. The series will also begin a relationship with a new foreign house, the UK-based Titan Publishing, which is distributed by Random House in the US.
[. . . .]
Getting Off will be credited to “Lawrence Block writing as Jill Emerson,” a pseudonym Block last used decades ago. The story follows a female serial killer bent on murdering all the men she has slept with in her life. In its previous incarnation, Hard Case Crime published five novels by Block, all of which were reprints of previously published titles. This is his first new book for the series.

More at the link.

Kasey Lansdale Update




Kasey Lansdale


Kasey Lansdale presents Songwriter 101 Workshop with Grammy Nominee recording artist and songwriter Roxie Dean.

Center, TX – Singer, songwriter Kasey Lansdale will host a three hour workshop designed to give performers and songwriters a unique learning experience opportunity to work with one of Nashville’s most respected singer/songwriters, Grammy Nominee, Roxie Dean.

Dean’s songwriting career includes a 2001 Nashville Songwriters Association International "Top 10 Songs That You Wish You’d Written" award for "Why They Call It Falling,” and a Grammy nomination for co-writing "When I think about Angels.”

Dean’s songwriting credits also include cuts by Reba McEntire, Tracy Lawrence, Chely Wright, Tammy Cochran, Jolie Edwards, and Tamara Walker to name a few.

Songwriters at all levels will benefit from the critiques and experience of working with Dean.

Topics would include but are not limited to:

· Song Critique

· Copyrights and Publishing

· Fine-tuning your Songwriting Craft

· Preparing your Songs for a Demo Recording

· Understanding what publishing companies are looking for

· The art of the “Co-Write”

· Song Structure, and when you can “break the rules”

Learn the tips and tricks of the professionals in the fast paced careers of singing and songwriting by attending the Stage Performance/Songwriter 101 workshop

DATE : February 5th, 2011 at the Fannie Brown Booth Memorial Library, 619 Tenaha Street , Center TX (936) 598-5522. Advance reservations are recommended and workshop fees are $125 per person. For more information and to make reservations, please contact Kasey Lansdale at 936.552.4930 or

All workshop attendants will receive a FREE pass into the acoustic performance of Roxie Dean and Kasey Lansdale for the evening of the Workshop.

All others interested in the performance only, please contact

To Infinity . . . and Beyond!

Wildside Double #6: Alien StarSwarm, by Robert Sheckley / Human's Burden, by Damien Broderick and Rory Barnes (trade pb)

This new double recycles a couple of covers from 1950s Infinity magazines. I have both of them.
Hat tip to Missions Unknown.

There Will Always Be an England

Chicken Sweaters: British Knitters Craft Jumpers for Rescued Birds: "In most places, a featherless chicken soon gets eaten. In England, it gets a sweater.

For the past several months, a small group of knitters in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, have been knitting sweaters for featherless hens rescued from British poultry farms."

Texas Is Cracking Down

Overdue Library Books Land Woman In Jail

I Like the Tom Petty Verse Best

Tim Hawkins: Old Rock Stars

Another List I'm Not On

Sarah Palin, Justin Bieber, 'Jersey Shore' cast on this year's Most Fascinating People list


Samuel R. Krasney, A Mania for Blondes, Ace, 1961.

Croc Update (School Menu Edition)

New Line Learning Academy school serves up croc steak on school menu |

Today's Western Movie Poster

A Contest

Yesterday I provide this link to an explanation of a contest the BookEnds agency is running. Here's the first day's entry. I'll give you a clue at the end, and you can go to the BookEnds site for links to other clues if you want to play along.

Nothing says love like a romance novel, and there’s no doubt I am often shocked that I spent the first 20+ years of my life devoid of the pleasure of romance (novels, that is). Thankfully, while desperately searching for a job after college, I discovered book publishing. It was perfect. It was my dream job even though I’d never dreamed it. In my very first job interview with a romance editor, I was handed a book and told to read it and fax (yes, fax) in a reader’s report by the end of the week. For those of you who have never interviewed in book publishing, a reader’s report is the requirement of every editorial assistant job interview. It helps give the editor insight into whether or not you’ll be qualified to read the types of submissions this editor buys.

One of the books I was asked to write my report on was a romance (weirdly enough, I have no recollection of what the other book was). It was also the very first romance I ever read, and the book that made me fall in love with romance.

What was the book and who is the author?

A Clue: MacKinlay Kantor

Gator Update (Charges Pending Edition)

St. Petersburg Times | | Know it now.: "Charges are pending in an accident involving a Collier County man who died after another driver swerved to avoid an alligator on the road."

Gone in Six Seconds — The Shocking Truth of Barrel Life � Daily Bulletin

Gone in Six Seconds — The Shocking Truth of Barrel Life: "Here’s a little known fact that may startle most readers, even experienced gunsmiths: your barrel wears out in a matter of seconds. The useful life of a typical match barrel, in terms of actual bullet-in-barrel time, is only a few seconds. How can that be, you ask?"

Find out at the link, which comes via Neatorama.

Children of the Corn

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

No Comment Department

Amazon's amateur book-reviewing becomes vicious free-for-all with readers the victims | Mail Online: "This has led PR firms to provide favourable reviews of new books, at a price.

Nathan Barker, of Reputation 24/7, offers a service starting at £5,000.

He said: ‘First we set up accounts. For a romance novel we’d pick seven female profiles and three males.

‘We’d say we like this book but add a tiny bit of criticism and compare it to another book.’

Mr Barker claims this is common practice among publishers."

A Little Contest I'm Participating In

BookEnds, LLC — A Literary Agency represents me these days, and if you click the link, you'll see an explanation of the contest. I'll be posting a clue here, but you can to to the link above and find links to other clues. The answers are really tricky. Trust me.

King Kong Update

Monster Island News: Long Lost Print Of KING KONG Discovered In London Cinema: "During recent renovations to the Grosvenor Cinema, a worker named Ross McMillan was working on knocking down a partition wall in the projection room when he noticed something odd looking in the rubble. To his amazement he discovered that it was a copy of 'King Kong.' Not just any copy, mind you, a copy that has been missing from the vaults of RKO for more than seventy years. An original print, that many very well contain scenes cut out of the film, including the long-lost Lizard and Spider canyon sequences."

Hat tip to geek maven Rick Klaw.

And Stay off Their Lawns!

Slate's 80 Over 80: The most influential octogenarians in America (2010).

You Never Know When There'll Be an Emergency

Texas Refuses to Share Lethal Injection Drug | NBC Dallas-Fort Worth: "States that have run out of the drug used for lethal injections won't get any help from Texas.
[. . . .]
The only approved U.S. manufacturer of the drug says new supplies won't be available until next year. That's bad news for Arizona, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee and Kentucky, the states that have run out of the 'killin' juice.'

Texas has 39 available doses that expire in March and only has three executions scheduled before then. Still, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice told USA Today that Texas isn't sharing."

No Comment Department

Headteacher forced to apologise for school report littered with spelling mistakes | Mail Online: "A headteacher has been forced to make a grovelling apology after a bungling teacher sent a school report to a pupil littered with at least FOURTEEN grammatical errors.

The short report sent by the schoolgirl's form tutor was strewn with misspellings, incorrect apostrophe use and bad sentence construction."

A Review of Interest (to Me, Anyway)

A Time For Hanging by Bill Crider

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

In road fatalities involving animals.

The Bronx Leads the Way

Eximius College Preparatory Academy in Bronx sends student his grades, after he transferred out: "Bronx teen Quinn Montgomery was shocked when he got his report card this month.

That's because it came from a public school he no longer attends - the same school that failed to issue him grades while he was there.

Eximius College Preparatory Academy in Morrisania has even posted grades for Quinn in online progress reports even though he hasn't been there since transferring out last summer.

'The school has no idea what it's doing,' said Quinn, 15, now an eighth-grader at Intermediate School 117 in Mount Hope.

Transcripts provided by the family to the Daily News show Quinn enrolled in four Eximius classes he never took, taught by teachers he never had."

Music, Music, Music

If you want to hear some good radio on the Internet, go to any morning to listen. Lots of '50s and early '60s stuff, with very few commercial interruptions.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texans Fan Jailed After Attack On Police Horse - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston: "A rowdy fan was jailed on charges of attacking a police horse and endangering fans outside Sunday's Houston Texans game at Reliant Stadium, KPRC Local 2 reported Monday."


Evan Hunter, The Blackboard Jungle, Cardinal, 1955.

Part 9 of Patti Abbott's Round Robin Story Challenge

You can find it at the link.

Hijacked Hive � The Hive Encaustic

Cemetery Road -- Gar Anthony Haywood

The book opens with an intriguing prologue: three young men in Los Angeles are burning $140,000. We aren't told why. Flash forward 26 years. One of the men is found in an automobile trunk. He's been shot to death. The other two show up at his funeral. One of them, O'Neal Holden, has become a successful politician. The other, Handy White, is a fix-it man in Minnesota, having fled California in fear of his life. After his friend's funeral, he goes right back home, where he plans to stay.

But he doesn't. The manner of his old friend's death nags him, and Handy returns to California to see what he can find out, even though he knows what it might mean for him if he digs into the past. As he learns more about his old friend's life, the reader gradually learns more about the $140K, where it came from, and why it was burned. Handy learns about himself and about the consequences of his youthful actions. Faulkner said that the past isn't dead. It isn't even past. Ross Macdonald used that idea to great effect, and I was reminded a bit of his work by what Haywood does here. At the end, Handy says his account with the past is closed and that he has the future to fear now. Well, maybe. But it's clear from the ending that the past still isn't dead.

Haywood's writing and plotting are tight, and Handy's voice carries the story well. This is good stuff. Check it out.

Len Moffatt, R. I. P.

I met Len and June Moffatt in the latter part of the 1960s. Not in person, mind you, but via the U. S. Mail, through the pages of their fine fanzine The JDM Bibliophile, which was devoted to the work of John D. MacDonald. Both Len and June were big names in mystery and science fiction fandom, and they were a big part of the reason we now have the annual Bouchercon. It was years before I met the two of them in person (at a Bouchercon, naturally) and discovered that they were just as nice and just as knowledgeable about crime fiction as they'd seemed in the pages of their magazine.

I was a contributor to JDMB, mainly book reviews and letters. Len and June encouraged me in my first tentative steps into mystery fandom, and it's no exaggeration to say that if not for them, my life would have been entirely different, and much poorer. When I heard today that Len had died, I was in shock for a while. I knew that he was ill, but I never even considered that he might not recover. He was still a lively presence in the pages of DAPA-Em, and I suppose I thought he'd be around forever. There's a big hole smack dab in the middle of mystery fandom now, and my heart goes out to June, who has an even bigger hole in her life.

I don't know how many lives Len touched. The number must be huge. I'm glad he touched mine.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Art Garfunkel's Library

Art Garfunkel is a listmaker. Here's his library, which includes lists of all the books he's read since 1968, along with the date he read it, date of publication, and number of pages.

And you guessed it: It's another list I'm not on.
Link via Neatorama.

This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun . . . .

U.S. Army's 'Revolutionary' Rifle Now in Use in Afghanistan - "Billed as a 'game-changer,' the XM25 Counter Defilade Target Engagement System has a range of roughly 2,300 feet -- nearly the length of eight football fields and well past the range of most modern rifles. And some U.S. Army units in Afghanistan began using the revolutionary rifle this month."

Photos at the link.

12 Ugliest Book Covers

Okay, they're bad, but are they really the ugliest? Click here.

Pet Sematary

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Wasn't Even Nominated

No Bad Sex in Fiction Award for Franzen | Jacket Copy | Los Angeles Times: "The annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award was announced in London Monday, and American author Jonathan Franzen, who was in the running for passages in his novel 'Freedom,' did not make the cut. It just goes to show that the visibility afforded to Franzen's big literary bestseller may not be enough to guarantee recognition at awards time. (Franzen didn't get the National Book Award either.)

The award went to London-born writer Rowan Somerville for his novel 'The Shape of Her.'"

Today's Comic Strip


Irvin Kershner, R. I. P.

Irvin Kershner - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Irvin Kershner (April 29, 1923 – November 29, 2010[1]) was an American film director and occasional actor, best known for directing Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Never Say Never Again and RoboCop 2.[2]"


William Tenn (Philip Klass), The Human Angle, Ballantine, 1956.

Introducing Lee Goldberg

Top Suspense Group: Introducing our newest member: Lee Goldberg

Picasso Update

Staggering Picasso trove turns up in France - Yahoo! News: "PARIS – A retired French electrician and his wife have come forward with 271 undocumented, never-before-seen works by Pablo Picasso estimated to be worth at least euro60 million ($79.35 million), an administrator of the artist's estate said Monday.

The couple for years squirreled away the staggering trove — which is believed to be authentic, but whose origin is unclear — in their garage on the French Riviera, said Picasso Administration lawyer Jean-Jacques Neuer.

The cache, dating from the artist's most creative period from 1900 to 1932, includes lithographs, portraits, watercolors, and sketches — plus nine Cubist collages said to be worth euro40 million alone, according to French daily Liberation, which first reported Monday on the discovery."

I'll Bet Dave Barry Is Ordering These by the Gross

Squirrel Underpants - Info: "Are you sick and tired of squirrels running naked in the trees around your house? Have you had to hide your children’s eyes when a tiny furry streaker crosses the sidewalk in front of you? We’ve got the answer, Squirrel Underpants! Each pair of tiny briefs has a 3' waist and is made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex. The underpants squirrels prefer! Also good for hamsters, frogs and gerbils.

Beware of Squirrel Underpants imitators!"

Today's Western Movie Poster

Has Anyone Told Willie?

Cannabis 'raises the risk of cancer and other killer diseases' | Mail Online: "Cannabis damages the immune system, leaving the body open to diseases from pneumonia to cancer, research suggests.

In experiments, THC, the chemical behind the ‘high’ of cannabis fuelled the production of a flood of cells thought to weaken the body’s inbuilt defences."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

NRA opens new front in gun rights battle: "In two recently filed court cases that could expand gun rights if they are successful, two Lubbock men are challenging federal and state laws that limit 18-to-20-year-olds from buying handguns and carrying them as concealed weapons."

The Garbage Pail Kids Movie

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen, R. I. P.

Leslie Nielsen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Leslie William Nielsen, OC (February 11, 1926 - November 28, 2010[1]) was a Canadian actor and comedian. Although his acting career crosses a variety of genres in both television and films, Nielsen achieved his greatest successes in the comedy films Airplane! and The Naked Gun. His portrayal of serious characters seemingly oblivious to (and complicit in) their absurd surroundings gives him a reputation as a comedian.[2]

Nielsen's lead roles in the films Forbidden Planet and The Poseidon Adventure came long before he considered a turn to comedy. His deadpan delivery as a doctor in 1980's Airplane! marked a turning point in Nielsen's career, one that would make him, in the words of film critic Roger Ebert, 'the Olivier of spoofs.'[3] Nielsen appeared in over 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters.[4]"

John Steakley, R. I. P.

John Steakley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "John William Steakley, Jr. (born July 26, 1951, in Cleburne, Texas, died November 27, 2010, in McKinney, Texas)[1] was an American author, best known for his science fiction writing. He has written two major novels, Armor (1984)[2] and Vampire$ (1990), the latter of which became the basis for John Carpenter's Vampires movie.[3] He has also written four short stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres.[4]"

Hat tip to SF Signal.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Don't Drink and Drive :: Nik Morton

Introducing Dave Zeltserman

Top Suspense Group: "Introducing Dave Zeltserman"


Gerald Kersh, Nightshades and Damnations, Gold Medal, 1968.

And Stay off His Lawn!

iWon News - Elderly man accused of whacking deputy with cane: "Authorities say an irate 84-year-old man hit a deputy in the stomach with his cane when the officer warned him to leave a clinic where he had been cursing at an office manager."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I Guess Someone Had to Do It

The Dragon with the Girl Tattoo: Adam Roberts: Books: "Lizbreath Salamander is young and beautiful. Her scales have an iridescent sheen, her wings arch proudly, her breath has a tang of sulfur. And on her back a tattoo of a mythical creature: a girl. But when Lizbreath is drawn into a dark conspiracy she will have to rely on more than her beauty and her vicious claws the size of sabres . . . A dragon has disappeared, one of a secretive clan. As Lizbreath delves deeper into their history she realises that these dragons will do anything to defend their secrets. Welcome to the world of The Dragon With The Girl Tattoo. A world of gloomy Nordic dragons leading lives uncannily like our own (despite their size, despite the need for extensive fireproofing of home furnishings), a world of money hoarded, a world of darkness and corruption. A world where people are the fantasy."

Link via SF Signal.

Today's Western Movie Poster

No Comment Department

German Zoo Forces Gay Vultures to Mate With Females: "German zookeepers are forcing two male vultures who prefer nesting together to mate with females, sparking outrage from gay rights activists who accuse the zoo of discriminating against birds of a different feather."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Under the Warrior Star -- Joe R. Lansdale

Joe Lansdale's long story is half of the Planet Stories "Double Feature" volume pictured to the left. It's a sword-and-planet adventure in the vein of Burroughs, Kline, and Howard, or at least those are the three names Lansdale invokes in his brief epigraph. I was also reminded of Philip José Farmer. What the story does as much as anything if prove that if Lansdale had been born in another era, he could have made a living writing for the pulps. This pastiche could have been published in Planet Stories magazine back in the late '40s without changing a line.

Brax Booker, an Olympic swordsman, who's trained in various arts with the mysterious Mr. Rimbauld, finds himself transported to another universe, to a world where he has to use all his skills and mental powers (which are now greatly enhanced) to help the people there fight off their great enemies. There's a princess, of course, and monsters. There's swordplay and derring-do aplenty, and it all moves at a great pulp pace. If you're looking for character development and introspection, look elsewhere. This is sheer storytelling for the fun of it.

There are a couple of little glitches along the way, but if you're looking for pure entertainment, this more than fills the bill. Bring on the sequel!


Old Horror Movie Room In Burning Hotel Gives Cops, Firefighters Fright - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh: "Firefighters were called to a fire at the old George Washington Hotel this week and got a shock when they found a room splattered with blood and empty liquor bottles.

Washington Police Chief J.R. Blyth thought Sunday's discovery was the most grisly murder scene in his 35 years in law enforcement. He committed several investigators to the 'crime scene' -- until they realized it had been set up that way for a horror movie.

Book Cover of the Day

You can read all about it here.

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Surf Ninjas