Saturday, March 05, 2011

Johnny Preston, R. I. P.

Johnny Preston, 71, Singer of ‘Running Bear,’ Dies - "Johnny Preston, who had a No. 1 hit with the song “Running Bear” in 1960, died here on Friday. He was 71.

His death was confirmed by his son, Scott, who said Mr. Preston had bypass surgery late last year and suffered from lingering health problems.

Born Johnny Preston Courville in 1939, Mr. Preston spent most of his life in Port Arthur, Tex. He first performed in a group called the Shades at Lamar University, in Beaumont, in 1957 and was brought to the attention of Mercury Records by the disc jockey and singer J. P. Richardson, better known as the Big Bopper.

Mr. Richardson wrote “Running Bear,” which told the story of an ill-fated romance between Running Bear, an “Indian brave,” and Little White Dove, an “Indian maid.” It became a million-seller for Mr. Preston the year after Mr. Richardson died in the plane crash that also killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Mr. Preston’s follow-up single, “Cradle of Love,” reached No. 7 on the Billboard chart."

Some Great Photos

Shackleton’s Antarctica in colour, 1915: "These are Frank Hurley’s famous early colour photographs of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated ‘Endurance’ voyage, as part of the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917. Hurley was the official photographer on the expedition.

Early in 1915, their ship ‘Endurance’ became inexorably trapped in the Antarctic ice. Hurley managed to salvage the photographic plates by diving into mushy ice-water inside the sinking ship in October 1915."

Link via Neatorama.

Roller Derby Update

Austin Texas Roller Derby | Texas Rollergirls | News, training tips, events, and other information from the Texas Rollergirls: "Austin born and bred, Texas Rollergirls was formed in 2003 as the only sports league of its kind. Eight years later, the sport of flat track roller derby has grown exponentially and is now played by more than 450 leagues worldwide. In its current incarnation, roller derby is a genuine athletic competition complete with standardized rules, divisions, annual tournaments and an international governing body: the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) — Texas Rollergirls is one of the founding members. With four home teams bursting with talent and the all-star Texecutioner squad consistently in the national rankings, Texas Rollergirls – the “godmothers of flat track derby” – are an admired and highly visible presence in the roller derby world. Their year-round bouts are regularly covered by local, national, and international media."

Today's Vintage Ad

No One Will Hear You -- Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens

This is the second in the Collins/Clemens series about J. C. Harrow and his Killer TV team, the stars of a TV reality show called Crime Scene. You might think it would be hard to top a first season that featured Harrow calling out the killer of his family on national TV. You'd be wrong.

As he and some of the team members are thinking about calling it quits after the season ends, they find themselves involved in tracking down not one but two serial killers, known as Billy (or Billie) Shears and Don Juan. One attacks men; the other targets women. It's obvious almost from the start that their plan is to become stars on Crime Scene, and Don Juan e-mails videos of his kills, demanding that they be put on the air. If they're not, he says, he'll kill more. And more.

There are plenty of grisly details and some CSI stuff. There's romance. There's humor. The result is a highly entertaining package that's guaranteed to keep you turning pages past your bedtime. Check it out.

Bonus: The book is dedicated to our cop and blogger buddy, Paul Bishop.


Clive Cussler, The Mediterranean Caper, Pyramid, 1973.

No Comment Department

What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex: book of blank pages become surprise bestseller - Telegraph: "“Professor” Sheridan Simove has produced a 200 page book entitled “What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex”.

The work has sold out online on Amazon following heavy promotion in student unions across Britain."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Here's the Plot for Your Next Prison Break-in Thriller

Thieves break-in to New Zealand prison: "A New Zealand prison suffered a reversal of the norm when it became the victim of a break-in.

Police said Saturday that thieves had broken into the prison at New Plymouth, on the west coast of the North Island, just before midnight and stolen a large plasma television.

'If any members of the public saw anyone carrying a big TV at that time of night, or heard or saw anything in the area of the prison, let police know,' Sergeant Thomas McIntyre said."

No Comment Department

ABC casts a sexy Edgar Allan Poe -- PHOTO | Inside TV | "ABC promised the casting of Edgar Allan Poe in its fall drama pilot would be a physically nontraditional choice for the role, and it sure is."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Austin cop healing from coffee burns | "An Austin police officer is healing from burns to his face after a woman threw a cup of coffee at him.

Police said Laura Lee Moore, 45, was harassing customers outside a Starbucks in North Austin.

An officer tried to walk her away from the coffee shop, when she allegedly threw hot coffee in his face."

Where I Am Today "Killeen Salutes the Arts • March 5, 2011

The City of Killeen is now accepting applications for the 2011 Artists celebration, an event of the Take 190 West Art Festival. Take 190 West is Killeen’s week long salute to the arts. This year’s events include:
• The invitation-only Take 190 West Preview Party
• A host of Texas and national authors and illustrators conducting book signings and story times;
• A juried art show featuring artists from across the state displaying and selling their works.
• A sculpture contest featuring the works of national sculptors; and
• The KISD student Art Show."

Remember the Alamo ... Gift Shop

Houston Chronicle: "The Alamo's gift shop sells plenty of T-shirts, mugs and other commemorative tchotchkes bearing its iconic facade and marking the 175th anniversary of its historic siege. Dig a little deeper and you'll find more kitsch than you can throw a rubber Bowie knife at.

Not just novelty coonskin caps either. Alamo-shaped lollipops, Old Betsy rifle pens and pistol-shaped shot glasses are just some of the curios that pay tongue-in-cheek homage to the Shrine of Texas Liberty."

The Big Gundown

Friday, March 04, 2011

Cy Watts, Hero

Mail Online: "But it seems Paris Hilton has finally found her knight in shining armour, revealing that boyfriend Cy Waits 'saved my life'.

The 30-year-old reality star and business woman sat down with Ellen DeGeneres yesterday to talk about Waits and how he rescued her from a knife-wielding intruder."

Hat tip to John Duke.

The Decline of Western Civilization --- ah, the Hell with It. We're Done.

Sirius XM to Launch Tiger Blood Radio - TheStreet: "Sirius XM(SIRI_) announced plans to launch Tiger Blood Radio, a 24-hour channel dedicated to the ongoing controversy surrounding Charlie Sheen.

Tiger Blood Radio will launch on Sirius channel 108 and XM channel 139 on Saturday, March 5, at 6 a.m. EST. The station will be on the air for 24 hours, and conclude on March 6 at 6 a.m. EST."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Meth-Dealer Thriller

Accused Meth Dealer Faces Loss Of His Beloved 18,753 Comic Books | The Smoking Gun: "A large-scale methamphetamine dealer who allegedly laundered drug profits by purchasing valuable comic books is in danger of forfeiting his 18,753-volume collection to Uncle Sam, according to a new court filing."

Gator Update (Hide-and-Seek Edition)

Now where did I put that?

Blair River, R. I. P.

Blair River, 575-pound spokesman for Heart Attack Grill in Arizona dead at 29: "The nearly 600-pound man who gained fame as spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill –a Phoenix-area restaurant that prides itself in serving excessively unhealthy food – is dead at the age of 29."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Mug Shots of the Day

Couple arrested for running meth lab out of day care center: "Snack time could have been terrifying at a North Carolina day care center that was discovered to also house a secret meth lab."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Vintage Ad

Today's Comic Strip


Greg Goossen, R. I. P.

Greg Goossen, Baseball Player Who Broke Mold, Dies at 65 - "Yogi Berra called him overweight. Casey Stengel uttered a famous line about him. And Jim Bouton, the pitcher-turned-author, said he was the only teammate on the short-lived Seattle Pilots who interested him, because he could laugh at himself.

Greg Goossen broke the mold. He was once a young prospect who never lived up to expectations but who made his way around the major leagues — from the Dodgers to the Mets and teams beyond — and wound up figuring in some memorable moments in baseball history. Each might have made him only a footnote. Together they made him into something more."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Al Fray, And Kill Once More, Graphic, 1955

Joe Lansdale Update

A new YA novel coming this September.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

New Legislation says “No!” to TSA in Texas – Texas Tenth Amendment Center: "Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) introduced a package of bills into the Texas House of Representatives on Tuesday that would challenge the TSA’s authority in a number of ways. The first bill, HB 1938, prohibits full body scanning equipment in any Texas airport and provides for criminal and civil penalties on any airport operator who installs the equipment. The second bill, HB 1937, criminalizes touching without consent and searches without probable cause."

50 Fascinating Facts for Women’s History Month

50 Fascinating Facts for Women’s History Month

Today's Western Poster

50 Quintessentially American Novels

50 Quintessentially American Novels

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston Chronicle: "A veteran Houston police officer participating with a cooking team at the Houston rodeo's Bar-B-Que cook-off has been relieved of duty for reportedly tossing a tear gas canister at booth opponents during the popular event, apparently sickening several patrons."

UFO Update

UFO or Hoax? Dispute Over Alleged Sighting in Brazil [VIDEO]: "Is this actual footage of a UFO hovering above the Brazilian state of Sao Paolo? Or is it the work of hoaxers?

These are the questions Brazilians are asking after the news network G1 aired amateur video purportedly showing a bizarre object floating in the sky over the town of Agudos -- then disappearing in a burst of light."

The Thief of Bagdad

Thursday, March 03, 2011

John Pickering, R. I. P.

Picks member John Pickering, a Holly backup singer, dies in Houston | Lubbock Online | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: "John Winton Pickering, 77, died of complications following a stroke on Feb. 28 in Houston, according to his wife, Vicky Pickering.

Her husband worked as a petroleum geologist for 53 years, she said.

To music fans, and especially fans of the late Buddy Holly, Pickering will be remembered as a member of vocal group The Picks.

The Picks are heard singing backup for Buddy Holly & The Crickets on nine of the songs featured on 2011 retrospective “Buddy Holly, Not Fade Away.”"

David Price, R. I. P.

The Education of a Pulp Writer: The Passing of David Price: "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of David Price on March 1, 2011 and have decided to re-run his 'last story' (Angel of Mercy, first published in January 2010) as a tribute to him.

On March 3, 2011, his short story was selected as a finalist for a 2011 Derringer Award."

We're From the Government, and We're Here to Help You

ATF Let Hundreds of U.S. Weapons Fall into Hands of Suspected Mexican Gunrunners - The Center for Public Integrity: "Hoping to score a major prosecution of Mexican drug lords, federal prosecutors and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives permitted hundreds of guns to be purchased and retained by suspected straw buyers with the expectation they might cross the border and even be used in crimes while the case was being built, according to documents and interviews."

Edward Wellen and Barbara Whitehead, R. I. P.

Deaths Noted: EDWARD WELLEN and BARBARA WHITEHEAD.: "Reported first by Jiro Kimura on his Gumshoe website, mystery and SF writer Edward Wellen died on January 15, 2011. Noted primarily for his short fiction, Mr. Wellen wrote two crime novels included in the Revised Crime Fiction IV, by Allen J. Hubin, and one collection of criminous short stories.
[. . . .]
The death of author Barbara Whitehead was reported first by UK mystery writer Martin Edwards on his blog, Do You Write Under Your Own Name?."

Derringer Award Update

Short Story Finalists:

"Seventy-two Hours or Less" by Michael J. Solender, *A Twist of Noir,* April 23, 2010

"Broken Down on the Bonneville Flats" by Jack Bates, *Beat to a Pulp,* October 17, 2010

"Angel of Mercy" by David Price, *Beat to a Pulp,* Jan. 31, 2010

"Pewter Badge" by Michael J. Solender, *Yellow Mama," August, 2010.

"My Asshole Brother" by Eric Beetner, *A Twist of Noir,* May 7, 2010

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Mother smashes up cake shop in Cardiff when it ran out of her favourite cupcake

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Houston Chronicle: "Here's a compassionate twist on libraries' never-ending quest to collect overdue book fines.

At Sterling Municipal Library in Baytown, anyone with unpaid late fees can write them off with donations to local food pantries.

Through March, each nonperishable food item counts as $1 toward overdue library fines."

I've been a guest speaker for the Friends of the Sterling Municipal Library. Fine folks, and a fine library.

Amelia Earhart Update "The fate of famed aviator Amelia Earhart remains a mystery after DNA tests on one of three bone fragments discovered on a Pacific island proved inconclusive."

The Old Fold-Out Couch Trick

Cops: Man Trapped Woman In Fold-Out Couch | The Smoking Gun: "The victim, who had been “lying on a fold out couch,” told cops that Foreman said, “What is this?” He then allegedly “pushed victim onto the fold out couch and folded victim inside of the couch.”"

Walter Zacharius, R. I. P.

The Canadian Press: Walter Zacharius, who brought the world the romance novel and mass market fiction, dies at 87: "A longtime publisher who helped bring mass market and romance fiction into the mainstream and released the erotic classic 'Candy' has died. Walter Zacharius was 87.

Zacharius was founder and CEO of Kensington Books. He retired from there in 2005."

Zacharius's roots ran deep in the paperback world. He was a publisher in the beginning of the pbo days, back in the '50s with some of the digests.

Mystery Scene Update from Kate Stine

Hi everyone,

We've just finished up Winter Issue #118, which should be hitting newsstands and mailboxes early next week.

In the new issue, author Robert Crais discusses his latest Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novel, The Sentry, and Jill Paton Walsh talks about the challenges of continuing Dorothy L. Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries. Also, Lawrence Block recalls his friend Evan Hunter (aka Ed McBain), Kevin Burton Smith nominates Kalinda Sharma from The Good Wife as the "Best 'Tec on TV," and you won't want to miss the latest and final installment of our Book Collecting series.

We also sit down for a chat with Steve Hockensmith, author of the Holmes on the Range adventures about two cowpoke brothers turned detectives. A special online exclusive review of The World's Greatest Sleuth, which we're sharing with you first, appears in this newsletter (below).

And for your first look exclusive on March's Writers on Reading essay authorSimon Tolkien weighs in on John le Carré's classic, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.

Last but not least, Publisher Brian Skupin and I will both be attending Left Coast Crime March 24-27 in Santa Fe, New Mexico later this month. If you're also in town, please stop and say hello!

Kate Stine


Los Angeles Times: "Charo says she has a beef with her neighbors. The Spanish-American guitarist and entertainer says she had to give up her pet bull after a neighbor in Beverly Hills, Calif., complained about the smell of its feces."

Hat tip to Angela Crider.

Today's Vintage Ad


Richard Deming, Body for Sale, Pocket Books, 1962

I'm Repeating This Post . . .

. . . in a blatant effort to get a lot of you to click over to the site and show the folks at EQMM how powerful the blog is. So what are you waiting for? (By the way, the podcast is available for download on iTunes.)

As you should know by now Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazinehas a series of podcasts of writers reading their stories that appeared in the mag. At the last Bouchercon, Janet Hutchings, the editor, asked me if I'd read a story that I wrote for her long years ago. It would have to be done in my hotel room, without any preparation. (Notice how I'm sneaking in my excuses early.) Naturally I agreed. Now the podcast is live, and while there are a couple of tiny glitches, I did pretty well. I guess. I hate hearing myself, so I can barely listen. Maybe you don't feel the same, but even if you do, there are some real surprises here. They're integral to the introduction, but the secrets aren't revealed until the end of the podcast. If you're at all interested, you can click here and discover the answers for yourself. You might get one of them, but I'll bet one is going to be a surprise for sure.

Makes Sense to Me "ON-duty police officers who posed for a photograph with a woman who flashed her breasts in an inner Brisbane party district did nothing wrong and should not have been punished, their union says."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Which Came First?

The chicken or the egg?

The fourth picture shows the artist at work.
Link via Neatorama.

AbeBooks’ Top 10 Most Expensive Sales in February 2011

AbeBooks’ Top 10 Most Expensive Sales in February 2011

Looking Forward to Spring Break?

Head on a stick found in Chihuahua City - El Paso Times: "A severed head on a stick was found in Chihuahua City on Monday night."

They'd Have Nabbed Him if He'd Been Carrying Hand Lotion "A passenger managed to waltz past JFK's ramped-up security gantlet with three boxcutters in his carry-on luggage -- easily boarding an international flight while carrying the weapon of choice of the 9/11 hijackers, sources told The Post yesterday."

Tropical Island Infinite Photo

Tropical Island Infinite Photo


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Paging Robert A. Heinlein

The gigantic underground moon cave - The Week: "India's space agency announced it had discovered an enormous volcanic cave under the surface of the moon, in the midst of analyzing 3D images taken last year by the lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1. Thanks in large part to its stable climate, the cave could provide suitable housing for humans who want to further explore the moon."

I Feel All Safer Now

Docs Reveal TSA Plan To Body-Scan Pedestrians, Train Passengers - Andy Greenberg - The Firewall - Forbes: "Giving Transportation Security Administration agents a peek under your clothes may soon be a practice that goes well beyond airport checkpoints. Newly uncovered documents show that as early as 2006, the Department of Homeland Security has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets."

Lawn Mowing Time

I'm sitting here listening to a sound I've never heard before. John Duke once told me that it's one of the most pleasant sounds of the summer. It's the sound of someone else mowing my lawn.

I started mowing the lawn when I was big enough to push a mower (not a power mower). I've been mowing ever since. I've never had a riding mower or a self-propelled mower, though I do have a power mower now.

I always thought of mowing as a necessary evil, but lately I've been thinking more about it. As a rich and powerful writer and an important force in the blogosphere, wouldn't it be better for me to save myself an hour or so every week and devote the time to other pursuits? Of course it would.

So I got in touch with Mr. Alfredo Chica, who does the lawn across the street and asked him if he could do my lawn when he comes to do the other. Of course he could.

Now I'm sitting here listening to that sound. I'm sure it will soon be as pleasant as promised, though right now I'm feeling a little guilty. I have a feeling I'll get over it.

No Comment Department

This 26-Year-Old Is Making Millions Cutting Out Traditional Publishers With Amazon Kindle: "Welcome to disruption. 26-year old Amanda Hocking is the best-selling 'indie' writer on the Kindle store, meaning she doesn't have a publishing deal, Novelr says.

And she shouldn't. She gets to keep 70% of her book sales -- and she sells around 100,000 copies per month. By comparison, it's usually thought that it takes a few tens of thousands of copies sold in the first week to be a New York Times bestselling writer."

Seepy Benton: The Most Interesting Man in the World!

The Most Interesting Man in the World!

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Alleged iguana meat seized at Texas-Mexico border - "Agriculture specialists with U.S. Customs and Border Protection on Sunday discovered nearly 58 pounds of alleged lizard meat that had been mixed with masa (corn dough), the agency said Tuesday."
Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Texas Doesn’t Lead the Way

Texas Doesn’t Lead the Way (Thank God) Lawrence Person's Futuramen

Set the DVR!

Meet 10-Year-Old Alligator Girl - ABC News: "Ten-year-old Samantha Young's earliest memories are of her remarkable interactions at the Colorado Gators Reptile Park in Mosca, Colo., where she and her father, Jay Young, help to take care of some 350 alligators. Samantha has learned from her dad how to 'wrestle' gators safely to get them out of the water for medical attention, though she leaves the larger ones for her father to handle. Watch the full story on '20/20' on Friday at 10 p.m. ET."

Great photo at the link.

Today's Vintage Ad

Marilyn Monroe Update

Marilyn Monroe: the unseen files - Telegraph: "The material – about 10,000 documents – had been thought lost for more than 40 years since the death of Monroe on the night of 4 August 1962. Now, here it was, a treasure trove, languishing in a Californian suburb."

A Podcast (with Surprises)

As you should know by now Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine has a series of podcasts of writers reading their stories that appeared in the mag. At the last Bouchercon, Janet Hutchings, the editor, asked me if I'd read a story that I wrote for her long years ago. It would have to be done in my hotel room, without any preparation. (Notice how I'm sneaking in my excuses early.) Naturally I agreed. Now the podcast is live, and while there are a couple of tiny glitches, I did pretty well. I guess. I hate hearing myself, so I can barely listen. Maybe you don't feel the same, but even if you do, there are some real surprises here. They're integral to the introduction, but the secrets aren't revealed until the end of the podcast. If you're at all interested, you can click here and discover the answers for yourself. You might get one of them, but I'll bet one is going to be a surprise for sure.


John Farris, The Corpse Next Door, Graphic, 1956

Preview of Coming Attractions

Hold on tight for a literary thrill-ride into the wickedly clever, frightening, and exhilarating world of Top Suspense, a sizzling collaboration of twelve master storytellers, including three DEAD MAN writers, at the peak of their powers in thirteen unforgettable tales. This pulse-pounding anthology – packed full of cold-blooded killers, erotic tension, shady private eyes, craven drug dealers, vicious betrayals, crafty thieves, and shocking twists – is only a taste of the thrills you will find in the breathtakingly original ebooks by these authors at So sit back, bite down on a piece of strong leather, and prepare to get hit by some gale-force suspense and writing so sharp that it will draw blood.

Here's the Plot for Your Next Domestic Thriller

Wife Holds Onto Minivan Hood From Manteca To Pleasanton: "“She jumped on the hood, and that’s when her adventure started,” said Manteca police spokesman Rex Osborn."

So It's Come To This

San Jose Mercury News: "Lynch said it appears the teacher's table-rattling act startled a female student who left the class and called police from a cell phone."

Does Johnny Hart Get a Cut?

Here's a Better Looking, Less Awkward Segway: "Segways are nerdy and awkward, there's no way around it. This solowheel, a 'self balancing electric unicycle' is just as nerdy as a Segway but slightly less awkward. The Solowheel only weighs 20 pounds and comes in a relatively small package and is definitely no where near as unwieldy as a Segway."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas immigration bill has big exception - "Amid a number of bills filed in Texas that address the issue of illegal immigration, one, proposed by Republican state Rep. Debbie Riddle, stands out.

As proposed, House Bill 2012 would create tough state punishments for those who 'intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly' hire an unauthorized immigrant. Violators could face up to two years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.

But it is an exception included in the bill that is drawing attention. Those who hire unauthorized immigrants would be in violation of the law -- unless they are hiring a maid, a lawn caretaker or another houseworker."

Today's Western Movie Poster

If This Isn't Manly, I Don't Know What Is

Feeling Emasculated? Maybe It's Time to Play With 'The Most Interesting Man in the World': "Stay manly, my friends: Emasculated males can live vicariously through their favorite TV commercial dudes with a new line of action figures: from left, the Allstate 'Mayhem' guy, Dos Equis' 'Most Interesting Man in the World' and the 'Old Spice Guy.'"

Gator Update (Vanity Fair Edition)

Rob has an alligator around his neck. Your argument is invalid.

Congratulations to the Derringer Award Nominees!

Flash Story (1001 words)
"Blues in the Night," by Carol Kilgore, *Dark Valentine*, May 2010
"Homeless," by Patricia Morin, *MYSTERY MONTAGE*, 2010
"Stick a Needle in My Eye," by Julia Madeleine, *Powder Burn Flash*
No. 302, May 5, 2010
"The Book Signing," by Kathy Kencharik, *THIN ICE: CRIME STORIES BY
"The Unknown Substance," by Jane Hammons, *A Twist of Noir*, Dec.
27, 2010

Short Story (1001 - 4000 words)

Long Story (4001 - 8000 words)
"A Tour of the Tower," by Christine Poulson, *Ellery Queen's
Mystery Magazine*, March/April 2010
"Care of the Circumcised Penis," by Sean Doolittle, *THUGLIT
"Interpretation of Murder," by B. K. Stevens, *Alfred Hitchcock
Mystery Magazine*, December 2010
"Silicon Kings," by Richard Helms, *The Back Alley Webzine*, April 2010
" The Little Nogai Boy," by R. T. Lawton, *Alfred Hitchcock Mystery
Magazine*, September 2010

Novelette (8001 - 17,500 words)
"Deserters," by Chris Muessig, *Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine*,
March 2010
"Rearview Mirror," by Art Taylor, *Ellery Queen's Mystery
Magazine*, March 2010
"The Gods for Vengeance Cry," by Richard Helms, *Ellery Queen's
Mystery Magazine*, November 2010
"The Man With One Eye," by Stephen Ross, *Ellery Queen's Mystery
Magazine*, December 2010
"The Scent of Lilacs," by Doug Allyn, *Ellery Queen's Mystery
Magazine*, September/October 2010

Making It Up as You Go Along

6 Classic Series You Didn't Know Were Made Up on the Fly | "None of the film or TV series we're about to mention are bad -- we're not saying that. Some of them are great, even. But each of them was presented as having a master plan from the start, an overarching story or mystery that caused viewers to wait intently for the resolution, to see what the creators had in mind.

But time and time again, it turns out that the creators had nothing in mind at all, figuring they could throw out the mystery now and figure out the rest when it got closer to deadline."

Texas Independence Day

Texas Independence Day, documents signed in 1836 - Houston Chronicle: "A handwritten document proclaiming Texas was freeing itself from rule by Mexico is 175 years old.

Wednesday is Texas Independence Day. It was March 2, 1836, when historians believe the original and five copies of the declaration were made and signed.

Only the original remains. The pages are on a now rare public display into April at the Texas Archives and Library in Austin.

Texas became a U.S. state in 1845."

The First Rule of Fight Club . . . .

The News Tribune: "Nine sixth-grade boys were expelled from Stewart Middle School Monday after officials at the Tacoma School learned about their suspected participation in a so-called “fight club.”

Tacoma Public Schools spokesman Dan Voelpel said it came to light when a relative of one participant spoke to television station KCPQ."

There Is Fun To Be Done!

There Is Fun To Be Done! Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss: "Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to the world as the beloved Dr. Seuss, was born in 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

He published 44 children's books, which were often characterized by imaginative characters, rhyme, and frequent use of trisyllabic meter. He also authored over a dozen books as Theo LeSieg and one as Rosetta Stone

Geisel's birthday, March 2, has been adopted as the annual date for National Read Across America Day, an initiative on reading created by the National Education Association."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Gator Update (They're Everywhere Edition)

Pa. man finds 3-foot-long alligator - U.S. news - Weird news - "On Monday, around 6:45 p.m., Bethlehem Police responded to a report from the 1400 block of Schoenersville Road from a man who claimed to have caught an alligator.

When they arrived that they found the man holding the 3-foot-long, American alligator."

He Should Have Stuck to Keeping Kids off His Lawn "A 73-year-old man was arrested Monday after a patron of the city’s main library told police that the man stuck his head under the stall just as she was about to use the toilet."

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Father, son charged with attacking man over last beer - Orlando Sentinel: "A father and son in Central Florida are accused of injuring a man in Lake County because he drank their last beer, authorities said Monday.

Lake County deputy sheriffs were called to a stabbing at an Astor home at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when they found 46-year-old Jeffrey Wilkerson with a 10-inch laceration that stretched from his abdomen to his back. Wilkerson had a towel over his stomach covered in blood when authorities arrived."

Best SFF Novels of the Decade?

Best SFF Novels of the Decade Readers Poll RESULTS

I've read only three of them.

What Killed the Femme Fatale?

What killed the queen of film noir?: "What killed the femme fatale? There are several likely suspects — Hollywood, the moviegoing public, the changing times — but as Philip Marlowe knew, solving any murder comes down to the question of motive. The emotional core of that motive, I think, was a growing queasiness with misogyny, noxious whiffs of which have trailed the femme fatale since her creation by the male writers of hard-boiled fiction, in particular the trinity of Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and James M. Cain."

Hat tip to George Kelley.

Today's Vintage Ad

Amnesia Update

Now I Know: The Bourne Identity

This is also the type of amnesia suffered by the narrator of Dan J. Marlowe's Never Live Twice.


Dan Cushman, The Half-Caste, Dell, 1960

Front cover added by request.

Saddle Up

Quentin Tarantino’s Next Project is a Spaghetti Western - Los Angeles Movie | "Quentin Tarantino has had enough time off since his last work as a director for Inglourious Basterds to look at potential projects. Now The Playlist is reporting that Tarantino’s next project would be a spaghetti western with Franco Nero, Keith Carradine, Treat Williams and a whole bunch of unnamed actors."

The Legacy of Victor Gollancz: Publishing Pioneer

AbeBooks: The Legacy of Victor Gollancz: Publishing Pioneer

Today's Western Movie Poster

Time Travel Update

Stephen Hawking's Time Machine : Discovery News: "In an article in the Daily Mail this week, British cosmologist Stephen Hawking outlined not one, but three, theoretically realistic ideas for traveling through time, one of which he says is even practical."

Invention of the Day

Now, a 'bum bra' for your sagging buttocks: "'The Biniki buttocks support idea came to me at a moment of personal need. One look in the mirror after some rapid weight loss showed me the unhappy truth, my bottom was sagging,' the Daily Telegraph quoted her, as saying."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas family takes home 'Funniest Video' prize

Title Screens from Every Best Picture from Wings to The Hurt Locker

Overlooked Films: Prince Valiant

First of all, what a cast: Robert Wagner, Janet Leigh, Debra Paget, James Mason, Sterling Hayden, Victor McLaglen, Brian Aherne, and Donald Crisp. Throw in Technicolor. Add a story about a young man yearning to become a knight and sit at the Round Table. What more could you want?

Okay, how about some pageantry and chivalry and gallantry and romance and sword fights in which you can actually follow the action? How about a big-screen being used the way a big screen should be used? How about a wonderful musical score?

Not to mention the Black Knight!

What kid wouldn't love this movie? I don't know. Maybe some today wouldn't, but I loved it when I was a kid, and the kid in me still loves it.

Prince Valiant

Monday, February 28, 2011

Get a Rope!

Middle school student suspended for opening door | The Tidewater News: "A Southampton Middle School student was suspended Thursday for opening an exterior door for a visitor.

“Students are not allowed to open the doors, and if anyone does, they will be suspended,” said Dr. Wayne K. Smith, executive director of administration and personnel."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way News: "A Corpus Christi, TX school district has responded to a student's request to create a Gay-Straight Alliance -- by shutting down all extracurricular clubs on campus."

Jane Russell, R. I. P.

Jane Russell, Voluptuous Star of Westerns, Dies at 89 - "Jane Russell, the voluptuous actress at the center of one of the most highly publicized censorship episodes in movie history, the long-delayed release of the 1940s western “The Outlaw,” died on Monday at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. She was 89.

The cause was a respiratory-related illness, her daughter-in-law, Etta Waterfield, said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

He Was Probably Nervous. Can You Blame HIm?

Cops: Bank Robber Caught After Taking Multiple Bathroom Breaks: "Police in Florida say they were able to apprehend a bank robbery suspect when he took two bathroom breaks immediately after allegedly sticking up a Bank of America in Ocala on Feb. 25.

While responding to a call about a bank robbery, a detective spotted a man who matched the suspect's description stepping out of a portable toilet directly across the street from the scene of the crime, the Ocala Star-Banner reports."

Suze Rotolo, R. I. P.

Bob Dylan's Muse and 'Freewheelin' ' Cover Star Suze Rotolo Dead at 67 - Amplifier: "Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan's longtime girlfriend during his fledgling days as a Greenwich Village folk singer and the woman who appears alongside him on the famous cover of 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan,' passed away this weekend at her home in Manhattan following a long illness, Rolling Stone reports. Rotolo was 67. In addition to forever being captured on the Don Hunstein-photographed 'Freewheelin' ' cover, Rotolo's three-year relationship with Dylan, from 1961 to 1964, also inspired him to write three of his early love songs, 'Don't Think Twice, It's Alright,' 'Tomorrow is a Long Time,' and 'Boots of Spanish Leather.' (Dylan's breakup with Rotolo also influenced one of his most vitriolic tunes, 'Ballad in Plain D,' a song Dylan later regretted recording.)"

Lawrence Block Tells all about Jill Emerson

Facing the Inner Lesbian with Lawrence Block

Getting Away With Murder #52 Now On-Line

Getting Away With Murder #52 March 2011

1000 No. 1s

1000 No. 1s: "A chronological listing of the first 1,000 songs to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since the chart's inception in August 1958."

You can listen to all of them, too, if you have time.

'Wolf Child' Update

'Wolf child' named world's hairiest girl delighted because it makes her popular at school

Hairy photo at the link.

Joe Lansdale at Mulholland Books

Doggone Justice | Mulholland Books

Good News from Charlie Stella

Temporary Knucksline: Stark House and Stella are back! Rough Riders (the North Dakota novel) ... July 2012: "This week Greg Shepard and I signed for another original Stark House Press publication ... Rough Riders will be a 12-year gap sequel to my very first two novels (Eddie’s World & Jimmy Bench-Press) featuring my boxer turned Police Detective, the quick-fisted, Alex Pavlik. There are a few other characters from those novels making appearances in Rough Riders, including Alex’s former partner, Dexter Greene, but this go, Alex has been retired from the NYPD (forced out after Jimmy Bench-Press) and is now a private investigator."

Today's Vintage Ad

Top 10 Handguns

Top 10 Handguns

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Shots ring out at Rodeo cookoff and carnival Saturday night | "That incident, a fight between two groups of teenage boys, resulted in two people being shot. One is wounded in the buttocks. The other was injured in the foot. Both are minors."

Frank Buckles, R. I. P.

America’s last World War I veteran dies | The Raw Story: "The last US veteran of World War I, who lied about his age to join the army in 1917, has died, ending America's living connection with the Great War. He was 110.

The indomitable Frank Buckles, who also survived three years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, 'died peacefully' of natural causes early Sunday at his home in Charles Town, West Virginia, a family spokesman said.

Buckles celebrated his 110th birthday on February 1, but his family said his health had been failing since late last year."


Mickey Spillane, The Day the Sea Rolled Back, Signet, 1981

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas group launches scholarship for white men ONLY... because they 'need an equal shot'



10 TV Series With the Biggest Cult Followings

10 TV Series With the Biggest Cult Followings

10 Biggest Fast Food Lawsuits

10 Biggest Fast Food Lawsuits

Today's Western Movie Poster

Criminal Genius of the Day

Washington D.C. - "Before leaving the scene of the crime, he put on the winter coat and posed with the cash for a photo he took of himself. He then posted his “loot” photo on Fisher’s son’s Facebook page, . . ."

Recipe of the Day

Red Curry Crocodile with Black Rice


Viewpoints, Outlook | - Houston Chronicle: "Some things are too important to be left to those motivated by profit.

Some services, only government should provide. Crime - and the punishment thereof - ought to be at the top of the list."

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

Is it macho to moisturize?

Peeping Tom

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Duke Snider, R. I. P.

Another of my childhood heroes gone.

Duke Snider, Brooklyn Dodger Great, Dies at 84 - "Duke Snider, the Hall of Fame center fielder renowned for his home run drives and superb defensive play in the Brooklyn Dodgers’ glory years, died Sunday in Escondido, Calif. He was 84.

His death was announced by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In the 1950s, the golden age of New York baseball, the World Series almost always meant red, white and blue bunting at Ebbets Field, Yankee Stadium or the Polo Grounds. October afternoons provided a national showcase for baseball’s premier center fielders — Snider of the Dodgers, Mickey Mantle of the Yankees and Willie Mays of the Giants."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Facebook friends take on new meaning as hookers are said to be flocking to social networking site

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Every Shallow Cut -- Tom Piccirilli

Every Shallow Cut is new novella by Tom Piccirilli, and it's a harrowing tale of a man who's lost pretty much everything: his house, his wife, his writing career (such as it was), his self-respect. About all he has left is Churchill, his bulldog. And then things start to go downhill.

In a way, this is something of a road novel, as the narrator's traveling across country to his brother's home, where he thinks he might find . . . something. But when he gets there, there's nothing. There's nothing anywhere for him and maybe not for anyone else, either. The novella is a cry of rage, anguish, and hopelessness, guaranteed to bring you down. It's blunt, compelling, and moving in a way that's hard to explain. You'll just have to experience it for yourself. You can read it quickly, but you'll remember it for a long time to come.

Men -- Leading the Way

Meet Mr Average: Men spend 11 years in front of the TV and 10,500 hours in the pub

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

Today's Vintage Ad


Nick Carter (Bill Crider & Jack Davis), The Coyote Connection, Jove, 1981.

Notice the plot description. Jack and I were ahead of the curve.

Nostalgia Corner

Back in the olden days (1957, in this case) newspapers used to run serialized versions of crime and western novels. Here's a sample.

Finland Leads the Way

Check out Helsinki’s underground shadow city | Grist: "From the country that brought you the world's spookiest children's series, please meet the underground city. Helsinki, Finland's capital, has decided to defeat sprawl by building down instead of out. Incised into the city's bedrock are a swimming pool, a shopping area, a church, a hockey rink, and a data center, not to mention 'parking caverns' and a bunch of the city's necessary municipal doodads. An underground shadow city!"

No Comment Department

National - NZ Herald News: "A Canterbury schoolgirl has faced death threats and public loathing after publicly boasting of looting icecreams after the quake.

Amy Knowles, 16, later used her Facebook page to taunt survivors who had been left without electricity and running water."

Vulgar language at the link.

Today's Western Movie Poster

And Stay off His Lawn! - Report 82 year old man arrested for assaulting police officer: "A Rome man was arrested Saturday afternoon, Feb. 26, after police said he was drunk and swearing at a woman, reports stated."

No Comment Department

'The King's Speech' to get a PG-13 re-release | Inside Movies | "The MPAA announced today that The King’s Speech will be re-released by the Weinstein Company with a PG-13 rating. The film had famously received an R rating for a scene in which Geoffrey Rush’s character encourages Colin Firth’s King George VI to curse like a commoner in order to help him get over his stutter."

Okay, wait, I do have a comment. Or a question. Suppose the film wins the Oscar for "best picture." The version that people will now pay to see won't be the picture that won, now will it?

Black Narcissus