Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Gumshoe Site

The Rap Sheet: Still Standing: "Japanese crime-fiction critic and writer Jiro Kimura launched The Gumshoe Site 15 years ago today, before there were many other Web pages devoted to analyzing or championing crime, mystery, and thriller fiction."

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

'Jersey Shore' Returns and MTV Rides a Ratings Wave - "On the third-season premiere of “Jersey Shore” on Thursday night, it was Deena Cortese, the newest addition to the beach house, who spent the episode repeatedly declaring herself a “blast in a glass.” But on Friday it was MTV that had cause to celebrate: it said the premiere had been watched by 8.45 million viewers, making it MTV’s highest-rated series broadcast to date."

Paging Edgar Allan Poe

Brazil brothers charged with burying father alive - Yahoo! News: "Two brothers were charged with killing their father, a local Afro-Brazilian religious leader, by knocking him out with sleeping pills and then burying him alive, investigators told a Brazilian news website."

No Comment Department

A CIRCUS sideshow act banned elsewhere in the country has been given the green light by East Lindsey District Council.: "The show also includes a girl walking up a ladder of swords in her bare feet, flying trapeze artists, 20 fire eaters and a dwarf pulling a vacuum cleaner with his penis."

Okay, I lied again. Here's a comment: There's video at the link. Don't say I didn't warn you.


Shirley Jackson, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, Popular Library, 1963

Season of the Witch

Okay, so we went to see Season of the Witch yesterday. It was Judy's idea. She twisted my arm.

You remember those old epic movies that said stuff in the ads like "See Nicolas Cage and a Cast of Thosands!"? Well, the ad for this one might have said, "See Nicolas Cage and a Cast of Tens!" Because that's about how many people are in the movie, with is a little weird when you think about it since it begins with several epic battles of the Crusades, spanning more than a decade. But there are only a few real people in the battles. The rest are just CGI people, and in the rest of the movie the villages are mostly deserted or populated by dead bodies.

They're dead because of the plague, to which some hardy souls seem completely immune, and everyone believes the plague was brought on by a witch, who's been captured and caged and who must be delivered to an abbey for a "fair trial." And who better to deliver her than two knights who, after years of slaughter, rape, and rapine (I have no idea what that word means, but I've always seen it in that context but never had a chance to use it; I couldn't resist) decide that they've had enough. So they desert the crusades and now must escort the witch in her rolling cage.

Or is she a witch at all? You'll find out. You'll also find out that the plot is really one of the dumbest ever because . . . I'm not going to tell, just on the off chance that one of you might see this someday.

Here's what's good: Ron Perlman. He was made for roles like this. The scene on the rope bridge. I mean, how long has it been since you saw a good rope-bridge scene? Too long, right? The scenery, some of which is truly spectacular and not CGI, either. As for Nicolas Cage, his hair is a bird, and your point is invalid.

Every "major critic" (and most of the minor ones) hated this movie. I know because I checked Rotten Tomatoes, and its current rating is 0% among "major critics." I think it's 1% when the "minor critics" are included.

And you know what? I don't care. I had a swell time, and I got to see Nicolas Cage say, "A benevolent God would not ask such things of men!" That's about all I ask from a movie sometimes.

I Think the Provocation is Pretty Clear

Woman reportedly told police she stabbed husband ‘because he drives me nuts’ - Bangor Daily News: "A local woman allegedly told police Thursday that she stabbed her husband because “I can’t stand him and he drives me nuts.”

Cynthia Dorion, 57, of Bangor was charged with aggravated assault, assault with a dangerous weapon and domestic violence assault after she allegedly stabbed her husband in the back with a knife about 6:50 p.m. Thursday in the couple’s kitchen.

The attack appeared to be unprovoked, Greg Campbell, assistant district attorney for Penobscot County, said Friday."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

'Mummy' Has Neighborhood On Edge - Houston News Story - KPRC Houston: "CYPRESS, Texas -- Residents in Cypress are on alert after a man has been seen running around the area dressed as a mummy."

It's the Thought that Counts

Man accused of planting bombs in sex toys | Weird | News | Toronto Sun: "A Minnesota man was arrested after allegedly rigging up vibrators with explosive materials to give to his ex-girlfriends as Christmas gifts."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

The Snow Wouldn't Keep off Their Lawns

Elderly Swedes bloodied in snow shovel brawl - The Local: "Two elderly men beat each other bloody with snow shovels during a fight in a residential neighbourhood in Jonkoping in southern central Sweden.

The two neighbours, one man in his seventies and the other in his eighties, disagreed on how to properly deal with removing the snow from the area around their homes."

9 TV Shows That Were on Far Longer Than You Realized

9 TV Shows That Were on Far Longer Than You Realized

Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas | Elvis Presley | Viva Las Vegas - Trailer | Movie Trailer

Friday, January 07, 2011

Why People Love Stieg Larsson’s Novels

Why people love Stieg Larsson’s novels : The New Yorker

Nothing here convinces me that I should read them.

Moon Update

Moon has liquid core just like Earth reveal sensors left on lunar surface by astronauts 40 YEARS ago | Mail Online: "It's an unlikely marriage between state-of-the-art and 40-year-old technology that has yielded extraordinary results.

Signals from seismic sensors left on the lunar surface by Apollo astronauts in 1971 have revealed that the Moon has a liquid core similar to Earth's."

12 Bookstore Cats

mental_floss Blog � 12 Bookstore Cats

New York Leads the Way

MTA bigs on hot seat for signal system fraud - "Decades of mismanagement led to a workplace culture where, incredibly, more than 90 percent of 1,600 subway-signal repairmen routinely filed fake inspection reports, the MTA's subway and bus chief admitted yesterday."

No Comment Department

Police have six-hour standoff with unconscious man



Butter Sculpture Update

Pennsylvania Farm Show butter sculpture features football theme | "Jim Victor of Conshohocken turned nearly 1,000 pounds of butter into a high-energy sculpture depicting a National Football League player (you decide what team) ready to catch a football from a boy, three children on a jungle gym and a farmer distributing milk to them."

Photo at the link.
Hat tip to Art Scott.

A Couple of Noir Film Reviews of Interest

Cry Vengeance (1954)


Fredric Brown, The Case of the Dancing Sandwiches, Dell 10-Cent Book, No Date

No Comment Department

Fattest man Paul Mason sues the NHS for allegedly ‘letting him grow'

Okay, I lied. Here's a comment: There's a photo at the link that you really, really don't want to see.

The World Is Passing Me By

things-babies-born-in-2011-will-never-know: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance: "Do you think kids born in 2011 will recognize any of the following?"

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas Exes | Texas Ex Sets World Record For Most Marathons Run In A Year: "UT Law grad Larry Macon has broken the world record — his own — for most marathons run in a year. The 66-year-old San Antonio attorney completed 106 marathons in 2010, one more than he ran in 2008."

Gator Update (Once Again, Texas Leads the Way Edition)

Gator Done! Hot Tamales Made with Alligator: "For anyone traveling through the Cleveland, Texas area who wants to try something out of the ordinary, 787 Grocery/BBQ, home of the gator burger.
[. . . .]
787 Grocery/BBQ is a rustic convenience store almost a one-hour drive away from Houston, not far from Big Thicket National Preserve. The Hebert family say the store sells approximately 100 pounds of alligator each week, which is incorporated into alligator tamales, nachos, burgers and more."

Comic Strip of the Day


Saturday Is Elvis' Birthday

Elvis Makeover: How to Become an Amateur Impersonator

Forgotten Books: Dreadful Sanctuary -- Eric Frank Russell

This is another of those books that kind of jumped into my hands as I was browsing a used-book store. When I was a kid, Eric Frank Russell was a big favorite of mine. I liked his short stories, and I really liked a couple of his novels, Wasp and The Space Willies. In fact, Wasp was one of my all-time favorites. But somehow I'd missed Dreadful Sanctuary, and I thought it would be fun to read it. After all, it's a sort of blend of a crime novel and science fiction set in the distant future (the 1970s). How could I go wrong?

All too easily, as it turned out.

But first the good stuff: secret societies, private-eyes, lots of shooting, bodies littering the floor. A tough hero. A little romance. When I was a kid, I ate that stuff up. Well, I still do, to tell the truth.

Now the bad stuff. The first problem was the writing style. Style is something that didn't bother me much when I was young. Now, I notice things that I probably took for granted then. Like the fact that people in this novel don't often "say" anything. A few examples from page 51: "he yelped," "he contradicted," "she admired." From page 108: "she diagnosed," "he invited," "he evaded," "she sighed," "she protested," "the pilot checked." And so on. Stuff like that takes me out of the story these days.

And the story, frankly, was just too hard to swallow. 50 years ago, probably not. Now, I couldn't get it down. I didn't like the ending, either. The story was originally published in John W. Campbell's Astounding in the late '40s, and I understand that Russell changed the ending for book publication. I've never read the serial, so I don't know if the original ending was any more satisfying.

I'll bet I'd still like Wasp, so if you want to read something by Russell, read that one, not this one. I had to struggle to finish it.

Annie Get Your Gun

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Michael Caine does Michael Caine

Link via Neatorama"

Peru Update

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

10 Best True Crime Shows of All Time

10 Best True Crime Shows of All Time

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Busted Flush Press Update from Ben LeRoy

Hello all-

McKenna Jordan and I would like to announce the following:

"In early September of 2010, Tyrus Books, Incorporated entered into an agreement to acquire Busted Flush Press,LLC. Unfortunately, before the deal could be finalized, David Thompson, the owner of Busted Flush Press, died unexpectedly. The continued process of settling Mr. Thompson’s estate necessitated substantial reconsideration and subsequent termination of the proposed deal. McKenna Jordan, Mr. Thompson’s widow, will assume full legal and financial control of Busted Flush Press. Tyrus Books will no longer be involved with the operation of Busted Flush Press.

Questions for Ben LeRoy & Tyrus Books can be directed to

Questions for McKenna Jordan & Busted Flush Press can be directed to"

Gator Update (Orange You Glad You Saw This? Edition)

Orange alligator turns heads in Venice neighborhood - WWSB ABC 7 Florida: "“When I was coming back from work this morning I passed by, and I thought I saw what I thought I saw, but I had to back up and come and look again.” Sylvia Mythen says she barely believed her eyes. “It was indeed an orange alligator.”"

Photo at the link.

Today's Comic Strip

Mickey Spillane Update

On the back of the article I posted yesterday was the ad for The Delta Factor. Here it is.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Airport Steaming Over Strip Club Neighbor CBS Dallas / Fort Worth – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of DFW: "A new Rick’s Cabaret is about to open near the South entrance to DFW International Airport."

Suspicious Bagel Would Be a Good Name for a Rock Band

Florida Professor Arrested for Having a "Suspicious" Bagel on a Plane

If Only I Had a Spare $200,000 Lying Around . . .

Space trips for $200,000 lure South Floridians - Sun Sentinel: "A $200,000 trip into space is drawing interest from some adventurous South Florida residents.

Three South Florida travel agencies now sell trips on Virgin Galactic, the commercial spaceship company backed by Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group known for airlines and media ventures.

They've booked $20,000 deposits from three takers so far, including the owner of one of the agencies, David Mendal of Forest Travel of Aventura."


R. Austin Freeman, The Stoneware Monkey, Avon, no date

The Latest Issue of Crimespree

A fine tribute to David Thompson, along with the usual great stuff.

He'd Better Keep off Her Lawn

Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, 90, Gets Restraining Order Against Suitor: "The 90-year-old Dowager Duchess of Devonshire -- the last of the fabulous Mitford girls who scandalized aristocratic society in the 1930s and '40s -- has obtained a restraining order against an admirer, according to reports in the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Books & Bars

Books & Bars: L.A.’s Thirst for Literature (and Style) | - notable designs and functional living spaces: "So perhaps it comes as a surprise that there is currently a trendy movement occurring in Los Angeles that has seen the marriage of books and bars. That’s right – drinking establishments that have lined their walls, and shelves, with everything from hardbound classics and modern novellas to law encyclopedias and philosophical tomes. Actually, alcohol and the written word have a close correlation and long history; among the famous writers who were heavy drinkers include Hunter S. Thompson, Tennessee Williams, Charles Bukowski, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway."

Photos at the link, which comes via Neatorama.

Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for December 2010

AbeBooks: Discover the Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for December 2010

Musical Update

Renaissance score engraved on church - Technology & science - Science - - "'It was believed that these symbols represented the names of caves of a volcanic rock called piperno from which the stones were made,' art historian Vincenzo De Pasquale told Naples daily 'Il Mattino.'

'Instead they are Aramaic letters [an alphabet adapted from Phoenician]. We have seven letters, and each of them corresponds to a musical note,' De Pasquale said.

Read from right to left and bottom to top, the coded engraved notes form a 45-minute concert for stringed instruments. (Follow this link to hear the music on YouTube.)"

Kiss Me Kate

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Dick King-Smith, R. I. P.

Babe creator Dick King-Smith dies aged 88 | Books | "Children's author Dick King-Smith, whose much-loved tale The Sheep-Pig was adapted into the hit film Babe, has died at the age of 88, at home in his sleep."

50 Greatest Works of Immigration Literature

Coming to America: 50 Greatest Works of Immigration Literature

Bill Erwin, R. I. P.

Television - News - 'Seinfeld' actor Bill Erwin dies, aged 96 - Digital Spy: "Actor Bill Erwin has died at the age of 96.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Erwin passed away at his home in California last Wednesday.

Erwin picked up an Emmy nomination in 1993 for his role as 'grumpy old man' Sid Fields in the hit comedy Seinfeld."


Mickey Spillane, The Delta Factor, NAL, 1968

Jill Haworth, R. I. P.

Jill Haworth, the Original Sally in ‘Cabaret,’ Dies at 65 - "Jill Haworth, a British-born film ingenue in the 1960s who made her only Broadway appearance as the original Sally Bowles in “Cabaret,” died Monday at her home in Manhattan. She was 65.

The police confirmed her death, attributing it to natural causes.

A petite, strikingly pretty blonde (she wore a dark wig on Broadway), Ms. Haworth was just 14 when she was signed to appear, along with Paul Newman, Eva Marie Saint and Sal Mineo, as a displaced Jew in “Exodus” (1960), Otto Preminger’s grandiose adaptation of the Leon Uris novel about the birth of the state of Israel."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

10 Worst Killings Committed in the Name of Love

10 Worst Killings Committed in the Name of Love

With a Description Like That, They'll Get Him Any Minute

WELL, DUH! � Criggo

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Letter to parents from the Superintendent of the Bay City Independent School District.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

We're #1! Houston Tops in Industry Jobs: "Truth be told, Houston IS manufacturing. In the latest rankings from Manufacturers’ News, Inc., the Bayou City is number one for industrial jobs in the United States.

In fact, Houston has 64-percent more such jobs than the number two city, New York."

Keep Your Dog Off His Lawn!

Complaint about dog feces precedes deadly shootout: "A complaint about dog feces was the only thing that preceded an Enon Beach resident firing a shotgun into a neighbor’s trailer, residents say.

That led to a series of shootings that left the resident and a Clark County sheriff’s deputy dead and a German Twp. police officer wounded.

Enon Beach manager Don Northrup said resident Michael Ferryman complained Friday that a neighbor’s dog had defecated in his yard. Northrup said the call was non-threatening."

And Keep Off His Lawn!

'Fed up' 82-year-old nabs accused thieves: "An 82-year-old retired high school math teacher and business owner with diabetes and leukemia shot out a tire on a pickup truck loaded with stuff allegedly stolen from his house near here and held two men at gunpoint until police arrived."

I Can See How This Would Be Useful

The Hands-Free Sandwich Holder

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston Website Solicits Anonymous Tips About Gangs: "Accessing relevant, up-to-date intelligence about gang members and their criminal activities is a common problem for partnering jurisdictions that want this information. One place that lacked unified and sharable data was Houston, which has at least 10,000 documented gang members in the city limits and the suburbs.

In a project to improve information sharing between public safety agencies, a task force of state, local and federal partners devised — a public-facing site to educate Houston area residents and a back-end portal for law enforcement to share information. Launched in September 2010, the website is a one-stop destination for gang-related information."

Bad Blonde

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Gerry Rafferty, R. I. P.

iWon News - 'Baker Street' singer Gerry Rafferty dead at 63: "Gerry Rafferty, the Scottish singer-songwriter behind hit songs 'Baker Street' and 'Stuck in the Middle With You,' has died. He was 63.

Rafferty's agent Paul Charles confirmed Tuesday that his client had passed away following a long illness, but said he had no additional information on how or where he had died.

Rafferty's classic record 'Baker Street' - renowned worldwide for its distinctive haunting saxophone solo - climbed to No. 3 in the U.K. and No. 2 in the U.S. music charts in 1978. It still achieves considerable airplay on radio stations."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Mickey Spillane Update

Yesterday Max Allan Collins announced that he'd finished the manuscript of his collaboration with Mickey Spillane on the second book about Morgan the Raider. The first book was published about 44 years ago. I was so happy to see the announcement that I pulled down my copy of the 1968 paperback from the shelf to read again. As I flipped it open, what to my wondering eyes should appear but an article that I'd clipped out of the Dallas Morning News when the movie version of The Delta Factor opened in Big D. I probably hadn't opened the book since 1968, and I'd forgotten that the article was there. I thought it would be fun to share it with you, so here it is.

Hey, It's Practically the Same Thing

Man caught with cocaine after telling airport inspectors he was carrying 'cooked rabbit' in luggage: "A Yankee Stadium security guard claimed he was carrying a 'cooked rabbit' in his luggage - but airport inspectors found three bricks of cocaine, officials said Monday."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Some Good News from Max Allan Collins

Morgan The Raider #2: 44 Years In The Making! Friends/Family/Fans of Max Allan Collins: "I have just completed THE CONSUMMATA, the Morgan the Raider novel of Mickey’s that I finished for Hard Case Crime. It just went out via e-mail to editor Charles Ardai a few hours ago. I’m very pleased with it, but it was a tricky one. Mickey had completed 108 double-spaced pages, but this time I had no plot or character notes. Even the evocative title itself (which had been announced by Signet Books many years ago) went unexplained. It required really getting inside the manuscript, and Mickey’s head, to figure out where he was headed…and I think I pulled it off."

It's Never too Late (or Early) for Another Christmas Crime Story

Especially one from saddle pal Evan Lewis.

Do Some Damage: Skyler Hobbs and the Yuletide Terror: "Skyler Hobbs and the Yuletide Terror" By Evan Lewis"

He Caught His Own Killer

BBC News - Philippines killing: 'Killer'caught in victim's photo: "'While he was taking the picture of his family on New Year's Day, the killer appeared and he inadvertently took the picture of the killer with the gun aimed at him,' local police chief Jude Santos told the AFP news agency."

Hat tip to Richard Prosch.

Now Available for Pre-Order The Wild Hog Murders: A Dan Rhodes Mystery (Sheriff Dan Rhodes Mysteries) (9780312641498): Bill Crider: Books

A List I'm On

Short Story Collections & Anthologies of 2010 - Barnes & Noble Book Clubs


Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely, Ballantine, 1976

Your Favorite Blogger Gets Hosed

Crime Always Pays: “Ya Wanna Do It Here Or Down The Station, Punk?”: Bill Crider: "Yep, it’s rubber-hose time, folks: a rapid-fire Q&A for those shifty-looking usual suspects ..."

The Birds

First there was this.

Then this.

Now this.

Not that I'm worried or anything.

Wasn't This a Woody Allen Movie?

Report: Thieves entered through tunnel in Buenos Aires bank heist - "Authorities in Argentina's capital are searching for at least three people who allegedly broke into a bank through an underground tunnel, state media reported.

Investigators believe the thieves entered the bank through a 30-meter (98-foot) tunnel -- replete with rugs, lighting and ventilation, the state-run Telam news agency said."

Just What I Need!

Emergency Inflatable Brain: "Keep this Emergency Brain with you at all times in case your real brain freezes up, goes blank or starts to malfunction."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

AP Newswire | Stars and Stripes: "DNA test results that came back barely a week after Cornelius Dupree Jr. was paroled in July excluded him as the person who attacked a Dallas woman in 1979, prosecutors said Monday. Dupree was just 20 when he was sentenced to 75 years in prison in 1980.

Now 51, he has spent more time wrongly imprisoned than any DNA exoneree in Texas, which has freed 41 wrongly convicted inmates through DNA since 2001 - more than any other state."

Today's Western Movie Poster

The Top Dinosaur Discoveries of 2010

The Top Dinosaur Discoveries of 2010

Link via Neatorama.

No Comment Department

New edition of 'Huckleberry Finn' to lose the 'n' word | Shelf Life | "What is a word worth? According to Publishers Weekly, NewSouth Books’ upcoming edition of Mark Twain’s seminal novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn will remove all instances of the “n” word—I’ll give you a hint, it’s not nonesuch—present in the text and replace it with slave. The new book will also remove usage of the word Injun. The effort is spearheaded by Twain expert Alan Gribben, who says his PC-ified version is not an attempt to neuter the classic but rather to update it. “Race matters in these books,” Gribben told PW. “It’s a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.”"

Yet Another List I'm Not On

Most Anticipated Books of 2011 - The Daily Beast: "From Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir to David Foster Wallace’s posthumous novel, here are the 20 books that you won’t want to miss in 2011."

Views of a Bridge, 1982 & 2010

Black Angel

Monday, January 03, 2011

Oh, Yeah?

The Associated Press: Former US official's body found in Del. landfill: "'He was just not the sort of person who would wind up in a landfill,' said Bayard Marin, an attorney who was representing Wheeler in a dispute over a couple's plans to build a new home in the historic district of Old New Castle where Wheeler lived."

Hat tip to Walter Satterthwait.

Wild West e-Monday

It's not too late to mosey on over to The Tainted Archive and look in on the big doings, including a new (and very good) Cash Laramie short story by Edward A. Grainger. Check it out.

Mr. Monk on the Road -- Lee Goldberg

Judy and I are always happy when a new Monk book comes into the house. The only question is who's going to read it first. I usually win, as I did this time.

The new book is exactly what the title says it is, a road novel. When Adrian Monk decides that he wants to get his brother, Ambrose, out of the house (no easy task, as Ambrose has nearly as many hang-ups as Adrian and never leaves the house), Adrian's assistant, Natalie, reluctantly goes along with the scheme. Soon Natalie and the Monk brothers are on the road in a big motor home with Natalie at the wheel. Pure comedy gold, sure, but there are also some touching moments, such as Adrian's step outside the motor home. And we find out that Natalie has a phobia of her own, one that she's reluctant to reveal.

Along the way, this oddball crew sees a lot of sights (the Grand Canyon and Bubblegum Wall, among others; imagine Monk's horror at the latter). They meet a lot of interesting characters, too, and as the journey continues, you might even forget for a moment that you're reading a mystery novel. Sure, there are murders. Wherever Monk goes, there are murders. But Natalie drags him away from them before he can get involved. It's not easy, but she does it.

And there are adventures, one of which leads them to meet a Sheriff's deputy named Ford. We're not told what his first name is, but I have a feeling he might be related to a Texas lawman with the same last name.

The jokes are funny. The human relationships are serious and treated with dignity and respect, and the mystery aspect is . . . solidly there. I can say no more. Okay, that's a lie. I can say that this is another fine entry in a spin-off series that's taken on a life of its own. In fact, this book is the first one that picks up after the end of the TV series. I'm looking forward to keeping up with the adventures of Monk and Natalie for a long time to come. While the TV show is in endless reruns, those two characters will be living out their lives in ways that are bound to be well worth reading about.

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

Artist Creates Sexy Lingerie Pictures for the Blind: "For the past year, Toronto artist Lisa J. Murphy has carried out a quirky creative vision: to create racy, arguably pornographic, art for the visually impaired."


Richard Jessup, Day of the Gun, Gold Medal, 1962. (An earlier printing credited this novel to Jessup's pen name, Richard Telfair.)

No Comment Department

ESPN Broadcaster Ron Franklin Pulled From Air After Calling Colleague 'Sweetcakes,’ ‘A–Hole’: "“Why don’t you leave this to the boys, sweetcakes,” Franklin told her.

“Don’t call me sweetcakes, I don’t like being talked to like that,” Edwards responded.

Franklin then said, “OK then, a**hole.”"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

"Filming of 'True Grit'" Austin Texas Photo Gallery | Austin360: "Directer Joel Coen frames a shot at The Austin Club on 9th Street downtown for a scene in a remake of the western 'True Grit' on Friday May 28, 2010[. . . .] The Austin Club was used to create a 1903 Memphis street scene."

Some nice photos at the link.

Pete Postlethwaite, R. I. P.

Pete Postlethwaite, Actor, Dies at 64 - "Oscar-nominated British actor Pete Postlethwaite, described by director Steven Spielberg as 'the best actor in the world,' has died at age 64 after a long battle with cancer.

Longtime friend and journalist Andrew Richardson said Monday that Postlethwaite died in a hospital Sunday.

A gritty and powerful actor, Postlethwaite was nominated for an Oscar for his role in the 1993 film 'In The Name Of The Father.'"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Croc Update (True Love Edition)

YouTube - Woman Leaves Husband for Crocodile

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Beehive Update

Beehive: Creator honored for hairstyle - "So when the editors of Modern Beauty Salon magazine asked Heldt, operator of Margaret Vinci Coiffures on Michigan Avenue from 1950 to the 1970s, to come up with a new hairstyle to usher in the '60s, she came up with something designed to last.

'Nothing much had happened since the French twist, the pageboy and the flip,' Heldt said. 'They told me, 'We want you to come up with something really different.' '"

Today's Western Movie Poster

Detroit Update

Detroit in ruins | Art and design | The Observer: "Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre's extraordinary photographs documenting the dramatic decline of a major American city"

I'm not sure which picture is the saddest, but the one of the library stands out.

Arkansas Leads the Way

CrabbyGolightly: Thousands Of Birds, Fish, Mysteriously Die In Arkansas: "SOMETHING'S ROTTEN IN ARKANSAS -- but apparently it's nothing to get alarmed about.

As many as 5,000 blackbirds and 100,000 fish have been found dead or dying within 125 miles of each other in Arkansas, but state officials say the two massive kill-offs are unrelated."

Tell Me About It

Gone in the blink of an eye - "Research shows that the older we get, the faster the years seem to go by. And it's not just fear of our own mortality that troubles us.

Scientists aren't sure how or why it happens, but people do change the way they perceive time as they age.

'They just have this sense, this feeling that time is going faster than they are,' Duke University psychology professor Warren Meck told National Public Radio in an interview of 'All Things Considered' last year. The experience seems to be universal, he said. The perception has been documented over the years, across cultures and around the world."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

'Repeat' Burglary Suspect Back In Jail - San Antonio & Texas News Story - KSAT San Antonio: "Elias also told investigators he had to keep committing the burglaries so he could afford to pay his attorney a $150 weekly fee to keep him out of jail."

Wild West e-Monday

That would be today. Check out all the posts at the Tainted Archive.

Anne Francis, R. I. P.

LATIMES: Anne Francis, who costarred in the 1950s science-fiction classic "Forbidden Planet" and later played the title role in "Honey West," the mid-1960s TV series about a sexy female private detective with a pet ocelot, died Sunday. She was 80.

Francis, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2007 and underwent surgery and chemotherapy, died of complications of pancreatic cancer at a retirement home in Santa Barbara, said Jane Uemura, her daughter. Friends and family members were with her, said a family spokeswoman, Melissa Fitch.

A shapely blond with a signature beauty mark next to her lower lip, Francis was a former child model and radio actress when she first came to notice on the big screen in the early 1950s.

She had leading or supporting roles in more than 30 movies, including "Bad Day at Black Rock," "Battle Cry," "Blackboard Jungle," "The Hired Gun," "Don't Go Near the Water," "Brainstorm," "Funny Girl" and "Hook, Line and Sinker."'

She also achieved cult status as one of the stars of "Forbidden Planet," the 1956 MGM movie costarring Walter Pidgeon and Leslie Nielsen and featuring a helpful robot named Robby.

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

The Sniper

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Top Suspense Group: Book of the day: A Time for Hanging by Bill Crider

Top Suspense Group: Book of the day: A Time for Hanging by Bill Crider

I'm Sure Dave Barry Would Agree

Yes. Yes, they will.

Banished Words

Words "viral" and "epic" consigned to college trash - Yahoo! News: "This story might be epic, and could even go viral, but not if Lake Superior State University has anything to do with it. Just sayin.'
The small college in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, released on Friday its annual list of 'banished words' -- terms so overused, misused and hackneyed they deserve to be sent to a permanent linguistic trash can in the year ahead."

Amazing Stuff

Boardwalk Empire VFX Breakdowns of Season 1 on Vimeo

Dead in the Water?

I've had a couple of e-mails asking me, in effect, "Whatever happened to Damn Near Dead 2? Damned if I know. The book got off to an auspicious start. David Thompson was enthusiastic about it and wanted it to be a big success, but in the middle of the book's being put together, David sold Busted Flush Press to Tyrus books. The ensuing business complications must have been enormous, but we continued to work on the book with high hopes and expectations. Then David died. That complicated the business end of things even more, but with the help of Ben LeRoy and Sara Henry, the book was completed.

It was supposed to debut at Noircon in Philiadelphia, but somehow all the copies that were to be shipped there wound up at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York. A disappearing act, if you will, and after that the book was hardly seen again. As far as I know, no review copies were sent out. Or if there were, no reviewers cared about it enough to comment on it. It made the bestseller lists at a couple of independent bookstores, but hardly any copies seem to have turned up elsewhere. There are no reader reviews on Amazon, but at least copies are available there.

That's too bad. I don't mind so much for myself, but I feel bad for the authors, all of whom did fine stories for the book. I'd feel bad for David, but he's not around. I believe the book was sent to the Edgar short story committee, so maybe we'll get lucky there. Considering the book's history so far, though, I'm not counting on it.

And that's what happened to Damned Near Dead 2. Thanks for asking.

Update: I didn't mean to stir up any ill will with this post. I was merely letting people know what I knew, which wasn't much. I've since learned that the enormous complications mentioned above were even bigger than I knew about. Without the help of Ben LeRoy, as I also mentioned, the book would never have been published at all. I'm happy that it's out there, and I do believe that eventually those complications will be resolved.

Update: A nice review showed up after I wrote this. You can read it here.

Panda Cow

Rare 'panda cow' born in northern Colorado - Inside Bay Area: "A rare miniature cow with markings similar to a panda bear was born on a farm in northern Colorado.

The so-called 'panda cow' born in Larimer County is thought to be one of only about 24 in the world."

Photo at the link.
Hat tip to Art Scott.


Frank Boyd (Frank Kane), The Flesh Peddlers, Monarch, 1962

It's What You've been Waiting for, Folks!

Vintage Cookbooks: Bill Crider's Beanie-Weenie Recipe

Get Your Entry Ready

Great American Think-Off asks for 2011: Does poetry matter? | "A Minnesota nonprofit has released its annual philosophy question that will lead to one entrant being named 'America's Greatest Thinker for 2011.'

This year's debate question is 'Does poetry matter?'
[. . . .]
Anyone can enter free by submitting an essay of 750 words or fewer. Four finalists will each receive $500. They'll also debate the question in New York Mills on June 11 before a live audience that decides the winner.
[. . . .]
More information is available at"

Today's Western Movie Poster

The False Hope Syndrome

Experts Reveal Keys to Keeping Your Resolutions | Tips to Help Keep New Year’s Resolutions, Weight Loss & Quit Smoking | My Health News Daily: "As many as 90 percent of attempts at change fail, yet New Year's resolvers are undeterred. In a 2002 report in the journal American Psychologist, University of Toronto researcher Janet Polivy and a colleague came up with a name for this 'cycle of failure and renewed effort': the False Hope syndrome."

The Second Annual Jelly Donut Awards

The Second Annual Jelly Donut Awards: "As you may remember from last year’s announcement, the Jelly Donut Awards are named in honor of one of the most enduring stories of international mistranslation. Though it has since been established that John F. Kennedy’s claim of “Ich bin ein Berliner” — “I am a jelly donut,” as the story goes — isn’t actually incorrect, the anecdote is too widespread (and too charming!) to ignore."

It's Hard for the Gator to Guard the Drugs if it's Dead

Police: Dead alligator, lizards, snakes found in Garner home of man charged with dealing drugs - WGHP: "Police say they found several dead animals, including an alligator, two snakes and two lizards, at the home of a Garner man charged with selling drugs.

Court records obtained by The News & Observer of Raleigh accuse 31-year-old Kelvin Leroy Dunston of killing the animals by not feeding them."

The Naked Spur