Saturday, March 19, 2011

Well, Duh

Deputy: Strip Search Finds Crack Between Buttocks

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Old Wives' Tales :: Dave Zeltserman

Another Giveaway

Sweepstakes | Mulholland Books: "Celebrate the launch of Mulholland Books! Enter below for your chance to win one of 10 advance copies of THE BAYOU TRILOGY by Daniel Woodrell."

Click the link to get to the entry form.

Today's Vintage Ad

Click the Link . . .

. . . to see the latest in manly headgear.

Brownwood Rattlesnake Roundup Begins


L. Ron Hubbard, Slaves of Sleep, Lancer, 1967

No Comment Department

Valerie Plame Wilson to Write Series of Spy Novels - "Fed up with those popular images of the female secret agent, Ms. Wilson decided to draft her own. Eight years after her cover was blown by the political columnist Robert Novak, she has signed a book deal with Penguin Group USA to write a series of international suspense novels, with a fictional operative, Vanessa Pearson, at the center. Ms. Wilson will write them with Sarah Lovett, a best-selling author of mysteries, who also lives in Santa Fe."

5 Things: What hip-hop gave America

5 Things: What hip-hop gave America

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth: "When rescuers went to the bathroom, they found something unexpected. “A 69-year-old female, sitting on the toilet, with a toilet paper holder impaled in her neck,” explained Dallas Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Jason Evans."

Paging Roy Orbison

The Local: "When police raided a home in Lule in northern Sweden last November they discovered a small arsenal of weapons, including a shot-gun built into a guitar."

Possibly my most obscure headline ever.

This is Just . . . Wrong

Contactmusic News: "Val Kilmer is getting back in the saddle to play an ageing Wyatt Earp in director Mike Feifer's new movie THE FIRST RIDE OF Wyatt Earp."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Mail Online: "Johnathan Washburn, 23, allegedly hit a man around the head with a skateboard after he took a picture of his bizarre triple mohawk hairstyle - landing him in police custody, in front of the mugshot camera.

The alleged victim told police he had been taking photos of 'anything that was remotely interesting or unusual' in Austin, Texas."

Great haircut photo at the link.

Beach Blanket Bingo

Friday, March 18, 2011

Jett Harris, R. I. P.

BBC News: "Jet Harris, the original bass player with The Shadows, has died of cancer aged 71.

The guitarist, who played on number one hits including Apache, died at his partner's home in Winchester, his agent Peter Stockton said.

Sir Cliff Richard paid tribute to his former bandmate, saying: 'Jet was exactly what The Shadows and I needed - a backbone holding our sound together.'"

Cartoon of the Day

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

For reasons of space, Jon Breen's great article on Holmes pastiches didn't make it into the current issue of Mystery Scene. The good news is that it's available on-line. Click the link and take a look:

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Today's Vintage Ad

10 Most Technophobic Novels of All Time

10 Most Technophobic Novels of All Time

Lawsuit of the Day

NYC fashion maven claims work in NJ drove him to mental breakdown - "A top manager for ritzy design house Elie Tahari gripes in a $2 million claim against the company that he suffered a mental breakdown partly because his bosses banished him to outposts in the Garden State.

'It was the smog. It was depressing driving to Jersey,' said Thomas Horodecki, 36. 'The traffic was horrendous on Route 4, and they are pretty bad drivers. The stores are kind of cheesy for the most part."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Utah Leads the Way

Reuters: "Utah has become the first U.S. state to name an official firearm, placing an automatic pistol on a list of designated symbols, right along with the honeybee and the cutthroat trout.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert signed the bill into law this week, designating the Browning model M1911 automatic pistol as the official state firearm.

The gun, which turns 100 years-old this year, is manufactured in Ogden, Utah."


Bruno Fischer, The Lustful Ape, Gold Medal, 1958

Life Imitates "Art" (And Texas Leads the Way)

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth: "Some Texas cities are going to the hogs.

Neighbors in a Dallas suburb have certainly felt that way since seeing their well-manicured lawns uprooted and sprinkler systems destroyed by packs of hefty feral hogs — beasts that once caused problems mainly for Texas farmers and ranchers.

“I think people expect this to be a rural problem,” Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said Thursday in Irving, where the city has captured nearly 250 feral hogs since October when they first were discovered roaming around. “This shows that in rural and urban Texas … the lines that divide us are fewer and fewer.”"
Are Bugs the New Sushi?

Hat tip to Doc Quatermass.

No Comment Department

The Smoking Gun: "Sentenced and jailed Tuesday on a narcotics conviction, a California man smuggled a Kyocera cell phone, an MP3 player, ear bud headphones, marijuana, tobacco, and $140 in cash into a county lockup by hiding the contraband in his rectum, investigators allege."

Western Writer Charles Whipple's Earthquake Account

The Outlaw Trail: Earthquake, etc.

Stan Laurel Update

STV News: "A life-size statue of comedian Stan Laurel, stolen from a Scots hotel seven years ago, has been returned - along with a diary of his adventures.

The six-foot-tall statue was stolen from Oban's Rowantree Hotel in 2004 and despite its owners putting up a £1000 reward for its return, the mascot was never seen again.

Staff at the hotel were stunned on Wednesday when the statue appeared at the back door, with a spoof diary round his neck.

The spoof claims he only 'popped out for a loaf', and reveals his adventures, including pictures of him with the Queen, Nelson Mandela, the Spanish World Cup winning team, Barack Obama and even Colonel Gaddafi."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Mammoth Update

The Raw Story: "Excited archeologists in California are rubbing their hands: after three years' back-breaking work they are finally, painstakingly revealing the face of Zed, the ice age mammoth.

Zed is the prize find in a fossil treasure trove unexpectedly unearthed at a Los Angeles building site in 2006, when workmen digging for a new parking lot stumbled on the prehistoric beast's skull."

18 Most Horrifying Movie Dystopias

18 Most Horrifying Movie Dystopias

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Subway Brawl Over Spaghetti: "A brawl broke out on a New York City subway car after one passenger apparently got upset over another passenger eating a big container of spaghetti on the crowded car."

50 Quintessential British Novels

50 Quintessential British Novels

When Oregano is Outlawed . . . .

Virginia Middle School Students Suspended for Oregano Possession: "Seventh-grader Adam Grass and three other students at Hickory Middle School in Chesapeake, Va., were suspended last week after being caught with what teachers initially thought was a bag of marijuana but turned out to be a stash of oregano, The Virginian-Pilot reports.

Unfortunately for the disciplined boys, now facing expulsion, there isn't much of a difference between Italian herbs and Mary Jane, at least in the state's eyes. According to school board member Christie Craig, Virginia has a zero-tolerance policy against 'imitation controlled substances.'"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Forgotten Books: Death and the Maiden -- James K. MacDougall

If you'd asked me back at the end of the 1970s, I'd have told you that I expected James K. MacDougall to be around for a long time. Which shows how much I know. After publishing two books about p.i. David Stuart, MacDougall pretty much disappeared. There's not even anything about him on the Thrilling Detective website. That's surprising because both this book and Weasel Hunt (the first book in the two-book series) are quite good.

I'm sure about a couple of things. One is that MacDougall had studied Ross MacDonald and Lew Archer. If you don't like the Archer series, you're not likely to enjoy this book, which seems to me to be quite reminiscent of Macdonald's work. It has the same seriousness of purpose, the same kind of tangled family problems. And speaking of seriousness, the other thing I'm sure of is that MacDougall took his work seriously. He probes deeply and gets into his characters like few others in the p.i. game.

The story's a common one. A young girl is kidnapped. Her family is distraught. A p.i. (David Stuart) is brought into the case by an old friend. The kidnapping is resolved, but there's a lot more going on, and Stuart is in the fine tradition of investigators who take things personally, who can't quit if loose ends are dangling. Before it's over, as often happens, he wishes that he had quit, but he hangs on until the bitter end. And bitter it is.

MacDougall's well worth re-discovery, and if you'd like to give him a try, both his novels are easily (and cheaply) available.

How the West Was Won

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Ferlin Husky, R. I. P.

Country entertainer Ferlin Husky dies at age 85: "Ferlin Husky, a pioneering country music entertainer in the 1950s and early '60s known for hits like 'Wings of a Dove' and 'Gone,' died Thursday. He was 85.

The 2010 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee died at his home, said Country Music Hall of Fame spokeswoman Tina Wright. He had a history of heart problems and related ailments.

With his resonant voice and good looks, Husky was one of the most versatile entertainers to emerge from country music. He was a singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor, and even a comedian whose impersonations ranged from Bing Crosby to Johnny Cash."

I saw him on stage twice. A great entertainer.

You Don't Want to Know Where It Was Found

The Times-Tribune: "A search of Ms. Mackaliunas by a doctor at Community Medical Center turned up 54 bags of heroin, 31 empty bags used to package heroin, 8.5 prescription pills and $51.22."

Michael Gough, R. I. P.

'Alfred' from 'Batman' -- Michael Gough Dead at 94 | "-- the actor who played Alfred the butler in four major 'Batman' movies -- has died at the age of 94."

Makes Sense to Me

Sheriff: Drunk leads deputies on 100 mph chase, claims he was fleeing from alien invasion | Crime | Salisbury News: "Using a high pitched voice, television host Dr. Phil warned 21 year old Rowan County resident Richard Blanscet that an alien invasion had begun near his home off Scout Road and Sailboat Drive.

Anxious to save the life of his girlfriend, Blanscet left his home in a 1997 Jaguar XK8 and went to 'rescue' her.

That's the story Blanscet told investigators after he crashed the Jaguar several times while fleeing from deputies at speeds greater than 100 miles an hour."

Photo of the Day

Fancy joining me for dinner? | Adelaide Now

Today's Vintage Ad

10 Weapons that Changed the World

10 Weapons that Changed the World


Russell Gray (Bruno Fischer), Lion Books,, 1950. When I started this feature, my idea was that the front covers of paperbacks were easy to find (Bookscans is a great place) but that back covers were another story. However, I've been flooded with requests (okay, maybe trickled with requests) to show both front and back covers. I'm going to try it for a while and see how it goes.

America's Fastest-Growing Restaurants

America's Fastest-Growing Restaurants

Gator Update (Cheeky Heron Edition)

Heron chased by irate alligator mother after it swipes young from her nest

Great photos at the link.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

iWon News: "A hapless bank robber who abided by a Dallas teller's request to provide two forms of identification before she could give him money is going to prison."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Six American Road Movies Made by Non-Americans

Six American Road Movies Made by Non-Americans

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Woman ‘bites off her boyfriend's testicles’

Today's Western Movie Poster

If At First You Don't Succeed . . . .

David Slade Will Direct A Daredevil Reboot For Fox - "The latest superhero to be at the center of a reboot not even a decade after the first film will be Daredevil, and David Slade will be the director making it happen."

10 Ways to be a Total Cliche on St. Patrick’s Day

10 Ways to be a Total Cliche on St. Patrick’s Day

20 Essential Irish Authors

20 Essential Irish Authors

33 Terms Every True Grammar Geek Should Know

33 Terms Every True Grammar Geek Should Know

The Quiet Man

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When Chickens are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Chickens

Live Chicken Prank Leads To Criminal Charges For 3 N.J. High School Students

I Don't Judge Her

Crime spree.

Vroom! Vroom!

Amish Man Accused of Drag Racing in Buggy

No Comment Department

Mattel's Waxing and Shaving Monster High Doll Sparks Outrage - "If you thought Barbie, with her disproportionately big breasts and tiny waist, sent a bad message to young girls, wait until you meet of Mattel’s new Monster High doll.

Clawdeen Wolf comes complete with a thigh-skimming skirt, sky high boots and heavy makeup, and spends her days “waxing, plucking and shaving.”"

No Comment Department

Hornell Evening Tribune: "A Lima woman was charged Monday after allegedly using marijuana to pay the teenager babysitting her two children."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Vintage Ad

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

Cops: Elderly Guilford woman threatens to castrate politician over Planned Parenthood funding

50 Best Movies for Women’s History Month

50 Best Movies for Women’s History Month

That's Winer

Lee Goldberg knows this guy and has posted a photo on his blog.

Naked Pianist Paul Winer Proud of His Organ: "If you happen to wander into the shop and meet Winer, don't be shocked -- and don't be shy. You see, save for a little, strategically placed pouch just below his midsection, Winer tends to his business in the altogether -- as buck naked as the day he was born 67 years ago."


Norman Edwards (Terry Carr & Ted White), Invasion from 2500, Monarch, 1964

One by One Our Precious Freedoms Are Being Taken Away

Naked Student Fun Run Ends as Tufts President Cites 'Carnage' and Health Risks: "The president of Tufts University in Massachusetts has put an end to the student tradition of running around nude to mark the end of the fall semester."

In My Front Yard

There are no mountains within hailing distance of Alvin, but the Texas Mountain Laurel by my front porch is in full bloom, anyway.

Candles for Men

With scents you can appreciate.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Books Signed by Musicians

Books Signed by Musicians on AbeBooks: "Music is the soundtrack to our memories and one of life’s great pleasures. And the people who write, sing and play live a rollercoaster existence in the glare of the public eye. These stars suffer heartbreak and heartache, personal tragedies, drug and alcohol addiction, in-fighting and real fighting, financial woes despite earning a fortune, and the odd loneliness of life on the road. These books are fascinating reads and signed too."

Bayou City Noir

Bayou City Noir: The Photographs of Marvin Zindler: "It's a perfect story, with roots deep in the Houston Public Library archives: a famous Houstonian, a piece of microfilm, crime photographs from over a half-century ago, and an intrepid researcher digging up the dirt.

That famous Houstonian is none other than Marvin Zindler, and while the real story might not be as sordid as it sounds, it certainly sheds some light on a seldom-known past of the beloved journalist. 'Bayou City Noir,' the upcoming installation at Houston's Museum of Printing History, features a collection of Zindler's crime photography from the early 1950s, when he worked as a freelancer for the Houston Press."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Top Ten Tax Procrastinating Cities

Pick the greatest science fiction movie ever made. Polls Now Open!

io9's March Movie Madness: Pick the greatest science fiction movie ever made. Polls Now Open!

Vote early and often.
Hat tip to Art Scott.

The Bridge on the River Kwai

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rampaging Australian Toads Would Be a GREAT Name for a Rock Band

Knee-high fence to halt rampaging Australian toads: "Australia's popular Kimberley wilderness region has resorted to a long knee-high fence to keep out the poisonous cane toad, which is rapidly overrunning the tourist attraction."

Today's "I Feel Much Safer Now" Headline

TSA Admits Bungling of Airport Body-Scanner Radiation Tests

Nice Doggy

Most expensive dog on the planet : Tails Of The City: "How much is that doggy in the window? In the case of the Red Tibetan Mastiff, if you have to ask, you probably can't afford one."

Photo at the link.
Hat tip to Art Scott.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . . "An Arizona man has been sentenced to three years of probation for stabbing a man who refused to let him suck his blood."

You Know You Want to See It

1989 film based on poetry of Charlie Sheen, narrated by Charlie Sheen: "Anyone who’s heard Charlie Sheen’s rants about F-18s and Warlock Torpedoes (so basically everyone) knows that the man has a way with words. Most people don’t know, however, that Charlie Sheen also writes poetry, and that in 1989, a film was based on that poetry and narrated by Sheen himself. Troma just sent over a teaser for A Tale of Two Sisters (Goddesses?), which had to be like finding a signed Mickey Mantle card in the trash for them."

Appalling video at the link.

50 Historical Figures Who Changed Their Names

50 Historical Figures Who Changed Their Names

Today's Vintage Ad

Hat tip to Art Scott.

The Cloud Roads -- Martha Wells

The other day I mentioned having met Stina Leicht a few years ago at some convention or other. I thought it might have been Aggiecon, but Stina says it was probably Armadillocon. However, I'm just about certain that I met Martha Wells at an Aggiecon because she's an Aggie. She was probably in junior high when I started going to Aggiecon, though, so it must have been in the '80s when I met her.

At any rate, she's gone on from A&M to write a number of novels. I've read at least five or six of them and enjoyed them all, so naturally I picked up her latest, The Cloud Roads, which is what they're calling these days "secondary-world fantasy." You can read Martha's post on it here, and if you comment on the post, you have a chance to win a copy of the book. And you can also check out Martha's post today at John Scalzi's Whatever, as she discusses her Big Idea.

If I had the time and patience and skill, I'd write a long comparison between Leicht's book and Wells' book. Leicht sets hers in a very real world, whereas Wells chooses an imaginary one, but they're both about young men, outsiders, who are trying to understand their heritage and where they fit into things. Both suffer physically, and both have mentors of one kind or another. Both are unwittingly involved in wars not of their own making. It's a testament to the skill of Leicht and Wells that two books that are so alike in some ways are such totally different reading experiences.

The Cloud Roads is the story of Moon, a shape-shifting Raksura, a race with the ability to change into the form depicted on the cover. He thinks he's the only one of his kind, and he lives among "groundlings," moving from tribe to tribe as one or another casts him out when his difference is discovered. Then he meets another Raksura named Stone, and his life changes completely.

If you've ever dreamed of flying, you'll really like the flying scenes in this book, and the world that Wells creates is a fully imagined and fascinating one. When it comes to world-building, Wells is at the top of her game. The book is thoughtful, but it's also action-packed, and the climactic battle is as bloody and thrilling as you could ask for. There's a bit of romance, there's humor, and the characters are just alien enough to be fully human.

I had a great time reading The Cloud Roads, and I'm glad to hear that the sequel is already completed and sold. You can be sure I'll be buying a copy.

I Think I Read this in Amazing Stories in 1966

Olympics Choreographer Says His Crayon Paintings Reveal Faces From 'Another Dimension': "It's the goal of every artist to have people view their paintings, but what happens when the paintings start watching you?

It sounds bizarre, but crayon artist Doug Jack says for the past few months, mysterious faces have been showing up in his paintings and staring at him."

Stan Ross, R. I. P.

Los Angeles Times: "Stan Ross, who co-founded Hollywood’s Gold Star Recording Studio, where producer Phil Spector perfected the innovative “Wall of Sound” technique, has died. He was 82.
[. . . .]
More than 100 Top 40 hits were recorded at Gold Star, including such Spector-produced records as “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers and “Be My Baby' by the Ronettes.

Other hits recorded at the modest building at Santa Monica Boulevard and Vine Street included Ritchie Valens' “La Bamba,” Eddie Cochran's “Summertime Blues” and Iron Butterfly’s “Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida.” The Beach Boys also recorded most of their records there."


Louis Phillips, Alligator Wrestling and You, Avon/Camelot, 1992

Want a Free e-Book?

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 at the peak of their powers in thirteen unforgettable tales...including DEAD MAN authors Bill Crider, Joel Goldman, Harry Shannon, and Lee Godlberg.

This unforgettable anthology – packed full of cold-blooded killers, erotic tension, shady private eyes, craven drug dealers, vicious betrayals, crafty thieves, and shocking twists – is coming out on APRIL 1 and is only a taste of the thrills you will find in the breathtakingly original ebooks by these authors at

But you can get a FREE ADVANCE READING your e-format of choice.

Here’s all you have to do:

1. Send me an email to me (the link is over there on the right) with the subject FREE TOP SUSPENSE BOOK and give me your name and the address of your website or blog (don’t have one? That’s okay. Read on).

2. Agree to post a review, positive or negative, on your blog, website, Goodreads page, Facebook page, or the Amazon listing for TOP SUSPENSE in the next 60 days. (You don't have to buy the book on Amazon to review it there, you only need to have an account).

3. Email me a copy of the review or a link to the post.

Each writer has only 25 copies to give away, so let me know as soon as you can if you'd like to have one. And tell me if you want it in Kindle or .pdf format.

10 Youngest Murderers in History

10 Youngest Murderers in History

Today's Western Movie Poster

I Know How They Feel "A million dollars ain't what it used to be.

More than four out of ten American millionaires say they do not feel rich. Indeed many would need to have at least $7.5 million in order to feel they were truly rich, according to a Fidelity Investments survey."

10 Most Dramatic NCAA Tournament Games

10 Most Dramatic NCAA Tournament Games

Owsley Stanley, R. I. P.

Owsley Stanley, Artisan of Acid, Is Dead at 76 - "Owsley Stanley, the prodigiously gifted applied chemist to the stars, who made LSD in quantity for the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Ken Kesey and other avatars of the psychedelic ’60s, died on Sunday in a car accident in Australia. He was 76 and lived in the bush near Cairns, in the Australian state of Queensland."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

'Harry Baals' Update

'Harry Baals' Controversy Ends, Indiana Won't Name Government Building After Former Mayor

Beautiful Boxing Books

AbeBooks: Beautiful Boxing Books: "Boxing, one of the oldest sports in existence, has been revisited many times by authors trying to make sense of the mayhem in the ring. Labeled the Sweet Science and loved by Ernest Hemingway, who actually wanted to spar with world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, boxing has seen books about the rules, books about how to do it, books about the ethics and dangers, and much literature about the combatants themselves."

Overlooked Films -- Rally Round the Flag, Boys!

Since my post last week mentioned Jack Carson, I thought I'd mention him again. Here's another reprint, this one from 2007. There's no trailer available on YouTube.

Memory's a funny thing. When I get together with people who were my friends in high school and we talk about old times, I often find that they don't remember some things I'm sure must have happened. Sometimes when we both remember the same events, they don't recall them at all the way I do. But here's what I remember about this movie. In the spring of 1959, John Marion Black and I were going to the Baty Studio to have our pictures made for a page in the school yearbook. John drove us in his old Chevy coupe. I wore a white sport coat, and Mrs. Baty said that just wouldn't do. John let me wear his jacket for the picture. It was black, and while we both had on the same jacket on that page, nobody ever knew. I suspect that John has no memory of this.

After the pictures were taken, we went to see Rally Round the Flag, Boys. I'd read the book, and I'd promised him that the movie would be funny. I don't know if he found it funny or not. I don't know if I did. I do, however, remember quite clearly two scenes from the movie. Or so I thought. More on that later. When I saw that the movie was being released on DVD, I thought I'd re-read the book (my comments are here) and watch the movie again for the first time in nearly 50 years. As it turned out, the book's a lot better. The movie ditches almost all of Shulman's satire, and almost the entire plot, to concentrate on the episode of Harry Bannerman's infidelity. Since the movie came out in the '50s, however, there's no infidelity. It's all appearances. Too bad, since Joan Collins must have been pretty hard to resist. The cast tries hard. Collins isn't bad at all in a comedy role, but Newman tries too hard, and Woodward has little to do, really. Jack Carson is fine in a couple of scenes, and so is Gale Gordon, but there's not enough of them. The movie really comes alive when Tuesday Weld is on-screen, though, and a couple of her scenes are lifted almost verbatim from the book. They're the only part of the book that's recognizable. Tuesday's great. Dwayne Hickman's fun as a Marlon Brando wannabe (that's Marlon from The Wild One). Tom Gilson's good as Opie, but he apparently died only a few years later, victim of a homicide.

It's Gilson who sings "You Are My Boojim" to Tuesday Weld. All these years, I'd thought it was Dwayne Hickman. See what I mean about memory? As a relic of an almost forgotten era, the movie holds up. Look at the way people dress for the town meeting, the women in their dresses, the men in their suits. I've been to city council meetings in recent years, and the men wear Hawaiian shirts, thongs, and shorts. The women, too. The Technicolor is great, and all in all, this was a fine exercise in nostalgia for me. But if you have a choice between reading the book and seeing the movie, read the book.

Nobody's Fool

Monday, March 14, 2011

New Mexico Leads the Way

Mayor, police chief and official in U.S. border town busted for running guns to Mexico drug cartels: "A New Mexico mayor, the police chief and a town official were busted in a scheme to supply Mexican drug cartels with guns, federal agents said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

No Comment Department

Porn Detection Stick | By Paraben | inStash: "Now here’s something that can truly be used either for good… or for evil. Paraben’s Porn Detection Stick plugs into your USB port and scans your hard drive for pornographic images. It can scan through a 500GB hard drive with 70,000 images in about 90 minutes, and analyze every single image based on flesh tone colors, body part shapes, backgrounds, and “more”."

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Hungry Denny's Patron Allegedly Fired Gun Over Slow Service: "Unsatisfied with timeliness of his order, disgruntled Denny's customer Frederick Louis Sims decided to air his grievances by allegedly firing three pistol shots outside the popular chain restaurant, police said."

Joe Morello, R. I. P.

News from The Associated Press: "Legendary jazz drummer Joe Morello, whose virtuosity and command of odd time signatures made him an integral part of the Dave Brubeck Quartet on such classic recordings as 'Take Five' and 'Blue Rondo a la Turk,' has died at age 82."

No Comment Department "A snake died of silicone poisoning after biting the breast of a model.

Israeli model Orit Fox was on Spanish TV's Telecino handling the snake when it latched onto her left breast.

The snake died."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal and Art Scott.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

MEGA 94.9 FM: "1200 WOAI news reports State Rep Jerry Zerwas (R-Simonton) has introduced a bill calling on the state of Texas to open negotiations with representatives of the 'United Mexican States' to 'sell or lease' the New Orleans Greys flag which was seized by victorious Mexican troops at the Battle of the Alamo."

Indy Leads the Way

Moped driver's offers to officer land him in jail: After Rudell handed Yarbrough the ticket, he said, "How about we call it even and I give you five dollars and you just get rid of this ticket and let me go?" according to the report.

Arizona Leads the Way

Horror flick producer arrested after cops find skeletal remains of his mother: "A horror flick producer was busted in Arizona after cops found what they suspected were the decomposed remains of his mother.

In a grisly story seemingly pulled from the classic film 'Psycho,' Tombstone Marshal Billy Cloud said investigators found the skeleton of 68-year-old Jill Fattig at her home after her son, Timothy Fattig, began acting suspiciously during a routine welfare check last week."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Daylight Saving Wastes Energy, Study Says -

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way "To win the Miss Snake Charmer beauty pageant requires beauty, grace, talent and a strong stomach. It's probably the only pageant in the country that requires the winner to decapitate and skin a snake.

'Tomorrow I get to skin snakes and chop their heads off, and I am super-excited about it,' said Laney Wallace, Miss Snake Charmer 2011."

A tip of the old Stetson to Jeff Meyerson.

'Oliver Twist' Update

'Oliver Twist' workhouse saved from demolition: "The British government announced Monday it has given protected status to a former workhouse thought to have inspired Charles Dickens''Oliver Twist,' a move that should save the building from demolition.

Heritage minister John Penrose said the austere Georgian edifice was 'an eloquent reminder of one of the grimmer aspects of London's 18th-century social history.'"

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Seepy Benton's Pi Day Page

It's right here.

Today's Vintage Ad

Archaeology Update

What did the Romans ever do for us (if they didn't build our roads)? - This Britain, UK - The Independent: "Archaeologists have found Britain's oldest properly engineered road, and the discovery could change the way we look at a key aspect of British history. Now, many of the country's key A roads – long thought to be Roman in origin – could now turn out to be substantially more British than scholars had thought.

The discoveries, in Shropshire, suggest that ancient Britons were building finely engineered, well-cambered and skilfully metalled roads before the Emperor Claudius's conquering legions ever set foot in Britain in the middle of the 1st century BC."


Bucklin Moon, editor, Champs and Bums, Lion Books, 1954

Stark House Update

Opening Lines from Day Keene:

There was no boy and girl business about it. Both of them knew what they were doing. It was a thoroughly adult and sordid affair involving proven lewd and licentious conduct, resulting, so the State alleged, in murder.
-- from Dead Dolls Don’t Talk

It was hot. It was dark. The cell block smelled of men sleeping with dreams. Men without women for years. Of fear and despair and frustration. Night after night, alone. Three walls, a high window, iron bars. A hard, narrow cot—and you. With disinfectant replacing affection. A small squirrel in a big cage. Staring hot-eyed into the dark. Wanting a drink. Wanting a woman. Trying not to blow your top. Hysteria building up inside you.
--from Hunt the Killer

Although his actual physical death didn’t take place until two days later, Mike Scaffidi began to die the moment he picked up a fare in front of Grand Central Station at exactly 9:25 on the morning of November 3, 1958.
from Too Hot to Hold

Hello, Everyone—

We’re a good start into March and the Robert Silverberg/Don Elliott books will be going to the printer in a couple of weeks. This is the first time these hard to come by titles are appearing in a modern edition, let alone side by side between the same covers. And as we mentioned in the last newsletter, the updated Silverberg introduction is a wonderful and entertaining picture of the paperback writing world during that particular era. These are incredibly entertaining books that show you not only another side of a legendary writer, but another side of the paperback original era.

Next up is a trio of Day Keene books: Dead Dolls Don‘t Talk, Hunt the Killer, and Too Hot to Hold. Dead Dolls and Too Hot are two of the more than half dozen books Keene published in 1959 (one with Fawcett Crest, and the other a Gold Medal), while Hunt the Killer was a Phantom book originally published in 1952. Keene, whose real name was Gunnar Hjerstedt (1904-1969), was the author of more than fifty books and numerous short stories. He also wrote for radio and television, and his mainstream novel Chautauqua, written with Dwight Babcock, became the Elvis Presley movie The Trouble with Girls.

What he’s known for most of all, of course, is his crime fiction. At one time he lived in the St. Petersburg, Florida area among a select group of writers that included Harry Whittington and Gil Brewer. Imagine what it would have been like to hang out with that group talking crime and noir. Along with Charles Williams, in his book Hardboiled America, Geoffrey O'Brien says, "The work of these four [...] exemplifies the way in which hardboiled fiction serves as the folklore of the technological age."

About Keene himself, O'Brien says he is worthy of redescovery "for the sheer verve with which he lends credibility to even the most preposterous narrative conceits." His are characters riding the rollercoasters of hardboiled fiction. As an interesting aside, in Hunt the Killer, the protagonist from Keene’s Home is the Sailor plays a small role, memorable as he is spending his last days behind bars. It adds a kind of poignancy, this relationship between novels and characters, of a kind of after-effect of noir, a sort of what happens after the book is over snapshot.

One last note: We’re going back to press with our first (of two) A. S. “Sid” Fleischman thriller volumes, Look Behind You, Lady and The Venetian Blonde. If you haven’t read Fleischman yet, he was an award-winning children’s book author and successful Hollywood screenwriter. Known to crime fiction fans as the author of action-filled thrillers, with lush and evocatively described locales. Fleischman’s books are classic Gold Medal fare, and marvelous examples of the genre.

If you’re a Stark House Crime Book Club member and don’t have the Fleischman in your collection, drop us an e-mail and we’ll send it out to you on the normal club terms. And if you’re not a member, or would like to subscribe to this newsletter, drop us a line for that, too, and we’ll take care of you.


Rick Ollerman
Associate Editor,
Stark House Press

Even More about Pi

Now I Know: Easier Than Pi

Happy Pi Day

History topic: A history of Pi

Contest at The Night Bazaar

The Night Bazaar – Imaginary Worlds For The Win: "The Cloud Roads has everything I most love in fantasy: an imaginative world full of fascinatingly alien cultures, combined with excellent characterization, exciting adventure and even a dash of romance. Want a chance to win a signed copy? Just comment on any of our posts this week with the name of a secondary world fantasy novel."

8 Great TED Talks for Movie Buffs

8 Great TED Talks for Movie Buffs: "Their conference speeches are as much about learning why you make movies as they are about how to actually make them, which makes them ideal talks for movie buffs looking to deepen their own understanding of the field."

Stonehenge Update

Laser Scan May Reveal Stonehenge Secrets: "Modern technology may be the key to unlock hidden secrets about an ancient monument: Stonehenge.

Researchers are using lasers to scan the nearly three dozen stones, or megaliths, that make up the famous circular complex on the Salisbury Plain of southern England."

Today's Western Movie Poster

10 TV Shows That Were Defined By Their Cities

"10 TV Shows That Were Defined By Their Cities"

What People Earn

Real People, Real Salaries |

Nicolas Cage's Greatest Role Yet

Link via Miss Cellania.

I'm Beginning to Warm Up to Snooki

'Jersey Shore's' Snooki celebrates spring break in Vegas | "Snooki reportedly even partied with a giant blow-up crocodile, much like the stuffed one she has on the show."

Sugar Boxx

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Croc Update (Wrestling Edition) "Mr Brand telephoned his bosses to say he ‘needed a few days off’ after the beast sunk its teeth into his arm while on holiday in his native Zimbabwe.

But sympathy might have been in short supply after he admitted he had tried to ‘wrestle’ the 1.2m (4ft) croc after boozing with friends."

Photo of results at the link.

Today's Vintage Ad


James McKimmey, Jr., The Satyr, Monarch, 1960

So Get Off My Damn Lawn!

Study: Cheery, optimists die younger - "Personality can affect longevity -- those with the most optimism and cheerfulness die younger than their less positive counterparts, U.S. researchers found."

Today's Western Movie Poster

A Film You'll Need to See

Christmas with the Dead

Top 10 Dinosaurs That Aren’t What They Were

Top 10 Dinosaurs That Aren’t What They Were

The Scam Of Daylight Saving Time

This essay is from last year, but it's still relevant and I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment.

The Scam Of Daylight Saving Time

The China Syndrome