Friday, September 29, 2006

Finally, Star Wars finds a way into my pants.

What you find when you follow links like bread crumbs through the forest:

The Top 176 Star Wars Lines Improved
By Replacing A Word With "Pants"

1. I find your lack of pants disturbing.
2. You are unwise to lower your pants.
3. Chewie and me got into a lot of pants more heavily guarded than this.
4. I cannot teach him. The boy has no pants.
5. The Force is strong in my pants.
6. Your pants, you will not need them.
7. Governer Tarkin. I should have expected to find you holding Vader's pants.
8. You came in those pants? You're braver than I thought.
9. I think you just can't bear to let a gorgeous guy like me out of your pants.
10. I sense the conflict within you. Let go of your pants!

To read the rest go here.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.

It's one thing to attend the world's largest conference of mystery writers and fans in the glittering city of Madison, Wisconsin.

Yes, and it's great fun to drink with people who make shit up for a living.

And not many conferences can compete with a crowd who can recite a dozen different ways to kill a man before breakfast.


But do they get to wear Achiever T-shirts and bowl with the guy who played Jesus' team mate? Huh? I don't think so.

And do they get to hear The Sadies, billed as Canada's best live band? Nope. Not a chance.

And do they get to meet one of the inspirations for Walter? Shut the fuck up, Donny. They do not.

So, while you're tossing 'em back with the gilded authors of criminal mischief, think of what you're missing in Louisville. That's right. The Fifth Annual Lebowskifest, the only conference built around a man, a movie, and man's love for knocking down pins.

Now, I'm going to go make a White Russian, put on my bowling shirt and listen to The First Edition (with vocals by Kenny Rogers).

Later, I might even watch the movie.

Eat your hearts out, Bouchercon-goers.

The Dude abides.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Like an STD, it's my pleasure to pass this along.

Dusty Rhoades (the fuckin' nominee) posted this over at his place and the full weight of its nefarious nature did not settle in until last night when I watched Battleship Potemkin and the first few wonderfully awful minutes of Plan Nine From Outer Space.


This is just evil.

For your consideration.

He's coming to America. Borat, the most famous Kazak in the world (seriously, can you name the president of Kazakhstan? Don't worry, neither can George Bush) is coming to the big screen in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.

Borat is not really from Kazakhstan, otherwise he'd be in a Kazak version of Guantanamo. Borat is the creation of Sacha Baron Cohen, British funny guy who is probably better known for interviewing unwitting windbags as Ali G, who asks, "Is it because I is black?"

I love Borat. He happily passes around naked pictures of his wife. He gets goat ropers in Arizona to sing "Throw the Jew Down the Well." He campaigns with a Republican candidate for Congress, promising voters the man will crush his enemies like Stalin. He gets drunk with a group of clueless oenophiles at a wine tasting. He dances.

And he pisses off the president of Kazakhstan so much that the guy came to Washington to ask George Bush to have Borat killed. Or something. Bush responded by asking, "Who the fuck are you again?"

If you're a stranger of Borat, watch for him. The movie had 'em in the aisles at the Toronto Film Festival, and we all know that Canadians rarely laugh at anything.

Except George Bush.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Good News.

We received this email this morning:

In an act of shameless self-promotion I want to announce that The Best American Mystery Stories 2006 has hit the shelves (some of them anyway). The volume includes stories by Elmore Leonard, James Lee Burke, Walter Mosley, Ed McBain, and some guy named Mike MacLean.

On the back cover, where it says,
"And Others"--that's me.

A big "thank you" goes out to the Thug Lit crew who first published my story "McHenry's Gift"

If you have a few extra bucks, pick a copy up. Or

Mike MacLean

I'm always happy to pass along good news. Congratulations Mike.

(I wanted to post a picture of the happy author, so I Googled him. Apparently there are a lot of Mike MacLeans out there, including one Mike MacLean who is seriously into gay and erotic art. If this is you Mike, I really didn't need to know this.)

Monday, September 25, 2006

How to feel like a muppet.

File this under The Glamorous Life of a Writer. I played at the Carrboro Music Festival yesterday and after our set I wandered up to the Cat's Cradle to check out Joe Bell and the Stinging Blades. Their drummer, the amazing Ed Mezynski, openly chided me for the lack of new Planetary content.

I know. I've been busy.

But I feel an obligation to entertain you, the reader, especially during the upcoming Stolen Election Season.

So let's talk about your prostate. Or, to be more accurate, the prostate exam, a harsh reminder of your body's frailty.

Women, understandably, have zero sympathy for us, and I'm OK with that. I am.

However, if you want to know how many men have endured this digital indignity, go into a crowded room and snap on a latex glove. The men who jump like startled deer are the ones who have bent over the examing table and let a stranger approach them from behind.

Now, you may be wondering why I'm writing about this intrusion into one's private parts, and if you are you're probably a newcomer to The Planet.

But unlike other topics I've examined, I'm writing about this one because I'm a working writer and I've been assigned this subject for a magazine article, and my deadline is today.

My main task for the day will be refraining from big hands jokes.

Because I'm a serious writer.

(Note: Some people may be confused as this post changed a bit from earlier in the day. Blogger done ate my baby and I had to recreate this from memory. Don't thank me. I am your humble servant.)

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Can it be?

According to Talking Points Memo, Osama may be no more. He's passed on. He has expired and gone to meet his maker. He's a stiff. Bereft of life. Pushing up the daisies. His metabolic processes are now history. He's off the twig, kicked the bucket, shuffled off his mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisible. He has ceased to be.

One can only hope.

A note from your editor:
In the last post, Dusty (the fuckin' nominee), asked where we find pictures for The Planet. Well, here's a good example of the type of stuff that comes up in Google images if you bore down far enough. We did a search for "Osama Dead" to see what we'd find and we got this
cookie recipe.

Proving that the blogosphere really is a fucked up place.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Never give in.

The best advice about writing I ever got was this:

"The successful writer is the writer too stupid to quit."

More to do. More to do.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Do Ye Know What Day This Be?

Avast, ye scurvy dogs, if ye would save yer liver from bein' chum for the sharks, I say ye'll be speakin' in the tongue of buccaneers this day.

For this day the wind blows fair for any worthy salt what wraps his tongue 'round the Ars and Ayes of the privateer, as this be International Talk Like A Pirate Day, as set out in the ancient tomes of the olde philosophers.

But if ye can't tell yer bowsprit from yer backside, I say ye can learn to talk like Long John hisself by studyin' here, with these hearty lads.

And ye beautious wenches need not feel this be a day for salts only. By the Powers, wenches may turn their deadlights on the closest lubber and let out with a lusty "ARRR," and watch as the scurvy sons of biscuit eaters scamper aft.

Aye, the comments deck be open to any hand with the lights and liver to join in. And if ye do not, then it'll be scupper that and ye can go dance with Jack Ketch ye bilge-sucking poxy. But if ye lend yer voice to this shanty, then be ye ever a seadog of the highest rank and we'll be raisin' a pint of grog to you, me laddie Jim, for ye be a worthy Planeteer.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Worst. Profile. Ever.

Chris Harrington, fellow traveler and finder of obscurities like this, sent his one line assessment along with a link.

"Perhaps the most annoying author bio I’ve ever read."

I know first hand how hard it is to write these puffy things without sounding like an idiot so, out of empathy and charity, I've changed the name. Here, without any other editing, is this writer's self-penned profile:

Jane Doe is a student of the human condition, wielding the written craft to enrapture the mind much like an artist wields a brush. Her pages are a canvas reflecting an imaginary life in real time. A talent heralded by many and matched only by creativity that rises to the task. [Title] is the first in a series of books encapsulating life through humor, fear, wit, anger, vengeance, intellect and perhaps reality. Climb aboard and follow Jane as she provides new and innovative circumstances of life for us.

Wow. Wielding the written craft to enrapture the mind. Damn, that's impressive. But not half as impressive as this sample bit of dialogue from this opus of humor, wit, anger, vengeance, intellect and, perhaps, reality:

"You can never bridge the gap between my intelligence and your ignorance, Ted! No matter how smart your conceit lets you think you are. I will always be three steps ahead of you!"

Eat your hearts out, Planeteers. Eat your hearts out.

And in keeping with today's literary posting, loyal reader Ted Baker sends us these links from the always funny Onion.

Ghostwriter Taking A Few Creative Liberties With Paul Reiser's Life
Author Too Much Of A Pussy To Kill Off Characters


Saturday, September 16, 2006

This is what happens...

...when you spend the war snorting coke off some Alabama cheerleader's thigh after your rich, connected daddy's helped you dodge the draft.

“It’s impossible for someone to have grown up in the 50’s and 60’s to envision a conflict with people that just kill mercilessly, using techniques that are kind of foreign to our — to modern warfare,” Bush said. “But it’s real.”

Really? Impossible to imagine? And he says he's been reading a lot of history. Huh. Guess he missed those chapters on Vietnam.

What does he remember about those days?

“I got into politics initially because I wanted to help change a culture,” Bush told a herd of bleating conservative columnists last week. He said he wanted to change the old 60’s “if it feels good, do it” culture and “help usher in an era of personal responsibility.”

Personal responsibility. And the buck stops where? Oh, yeah, with Clinton. That guy couldn't do anything right.

That's not what I remember about the 60's. I remember a bunch of poor kids who didn't share George's view that it was OK to send someone else off to fight your war in your place. You can see their names on that wall, the same place where you can find the names of boys who filled the slots of Dick Cheney and Tom DeLay.

Maybe Bush should stop worrying so much about changing the culture and more about governing the nation with capability and competence. Then he could start taking the credit instead of always dodging the blame.

But dodging his responsibilities seems to be a pattern, doesn't it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

“...hookers, stooges, grifters and goons.”

Something for everyone's Christmas list. This is America's Least Wanted: A Century of American Mugshots.

According to the Times, a skell named Mark Michaelson started, almost by chance, collecting these mugshots.

“I wasn’t interested in famous criminals or people who’d committed big crimes or very violent crimes,” Mr. Michaelson said. “I wanted the small-time people, petty crooks who just fell through the cracks. Instead of being most wanted, these were the least wanted.”

As with all good books, this one has some great characters.

Like Elery Augustus Stroup, who in the spring of 1959 came home and “found one Morris Westman in bed with his wife.” Mr. Stroup got a knife and cut them both.

Or the guy up there, busted for being a Communist. He was also a miner. And if you know anything about mining in the 30's and how miners were treated by the mining companies, it's a surprise this guy wasn't arrested for eating the rich.

There are black men busted for vagrancy, including one with this neatly-typed ode to wrongful arrest, “a close mouthed Negro who is probably committing burglaries.” Nice.

Out of them all, it sounds like Michaelson has a favorite and it would be mine, too. It's a shot of a 50-year-old sleepy-faced man arrested for “loitering around beer parlors and not working.”

Michaelson said, "I've been guilty of that."

Yeah. Haven't we all.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Blame Sarah...

...for this meme.

She apparently caught it from Rickards and God knows where he picked it up.

Change a single letter of a book title. Like this:

A GOOD DAY IN HELP - Jack Keller flashes back beyond the Gulf War and into a Beatles movie.

KILLER SHELL - A homicidal whelk terrorizes San Diego.

SACRED VOWS - New Haven is overrun with happy monogamous housewives.

FILLER RAIN - Barry Eisler puts out a book merely to satisfy his contract.

THE CONFUSSION - Stumped by an extra letter, Olen Steinhauer has to call on Spell Check for assistance.

And because no one else will do it,
BENEATH A PANAMANIAN MOOD -John Harper wakes up cranky.

Oh, this doesn't look good.

Thanks to Tom Tomorrow for picking this up. I think.

Here on page A17 of today's Washington Post, is this story:

Paper on Nuclear Aims Called Dishonest

U.N. inspectors investigating Iran's nuclear program angrily complained to the Bush administration and to a Republican congressman yesterday about a recent House committee report on Iran's capabilities, calling parts of the document "outrageous and dishonest" and offering evidence to refute its central claims.

And Tom points out this story from September 18, 2002:

Experts Question if Tubes Were Meant for Weapons Program

A key piece of evidence in the Bush administration’s case against Iraq is being challenged in a report by independent experts who question whether thousands of high-strength aluminum tubes recently sought by Iraq were intended for a secret nuclear weapons program.

Tom finds a way to make us laugh about this bit of deja vu.

I can't.

(By the way, that's a picture of Tehran up there. I'm sure we'll all see a lot more shots from this particular POV.)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

True Story

I was in a bar.

Shocking, I know, but true. It was the Blue Bayou in Hillsboro, my home place. Last year the owner, Gary Lee, asked what I had to do to get the New York Times to review Beneath A Panamanian Moon.

I said, "I don't know, Gary, but I probably have to blow somebody."

Gary thought a minute and said, "Can it be anybody?"

Which brings me to Ann Coulter and how she gets on the Times bestseller list.

See, Ann is the protege of Richard Mellon Scaife, a billionaire who made his money the old-fashioned way - he inherited it. Scaife is so far to the right, and so rich, he can create his own little Goebbels-like meat puppets and Ann is one of his most successful creations, if you don't count the Adams apple.

When Ann first started writing her hardback polemics, Regnery press published them and Scaife bought 'em by the truckload in numbers so huge they instantly catapulted Ann to the top of the NYT list. Of course, there was a tiny dagger, smaller than Ann's heart, next to the title indicating bulk sales.

But who really looks at those little daggers? Nobody.

This allowed Sean Hannity and other media whores to book Ann for their shows because she was a best-selling author (and to be fair, she was entertaining in a psycho killer clown kind of way) and that would generate real book sales until Ann was truly a best-selling author giving her access to more TV to sell more books. Brilliant.

So, if we were to deconstruct this strategy, one could say that the smartest thing to ever come out of Ann's mouth was Richard Mellon Scaife's dick. One could say that.

Which would make my original story truer than ever. You might have to blow somebody to get in the Times, but it can't be just anybody.

Ask Ann, she knows.

Who said this?

"Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what's called secret evidence. People are stopped, and we got to do something about that."

That was candidate George W. Bush, criticizing one of Clinton's anti-terrorism policies. Apparently, as president, George did something about that profiling just in time for September 11th.

Thanks, President Bush. You're the swellest president ever.

*and God bless Pat Oliphant, the best bare-knuckled political cartoonist in the business.

Monday, September 11, 2006

OK, that last post was a little angry.

So it's time for a karmic corrective and what better way is there than by showing a cute kitty?

There. I feel better already.

Remembering a failure of intelligence.

Country music guy Darryl Worley asks in his famous post 9/11 song, "Have You Forgotten?"

Well, Sparky, I haven't forgotten. I haven't forgotten how George Bush failed this country five years ago. I haven't forgotten how his administration dismissed dozens of warnings about an Al Qaeda terrorist attack inside the US, including a Presidential Daily Briefing of August sixth.

I haven't forgotten that Condi Rice, then head of National Freakin' Security dismissed Richard Clarke's appeal to have a cabinet-level briefing on Osama bin Laden and the threat he posed to the US. I haven't forgotten that these people took terrorism off its list of priorities before the attack. I haven't forgotten that Cheney was put in charge of counter-terrorism and couldn't find the time to meet more than once before September, but he did have plenty of time to meet secretly with the heads of oil companies to craft an energy policy.

I haven't forgotten.

I haven't forgotten what our war president did on that day after being told the nation was under attack and how he hid in Louisiana and Nebraska for ten hours, an act of cowardice so craven that Rove had to concoct a lie to protect Bush's reputation.

If you want a full account of Bush's day, go here.

Yes, I remember. I wish more Americans did.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Several good things came out of this move. We have a smaller mortgage. I have a great new office. And I bought new tools.

As regular readers know, there was a time in my life when I was so broke I couldn't pay attention. That made me incredibly tight when it comes to spending money on myself. I get a $12 haircut that I think is highway robbery. I buy clothes on sale. Off season. And I drink cheap vodka. Lots of it.

But that's another story.

So I'd deprived myself of some great innovations in toolery like the cordless electric screwdriver.

No longer. I now wield a little Black and Decker scewdriver that works like a champ. I've been putting up shelves, putting together closet organizers, and hanging blinds like a madman. I've screwed more than (fill in cheap celebrity slut joke here) and have the sore back to prove it.

I also bought a level and, get this, a stud finder. For decades I've tapped on walls, trying to locate the stud. Tap, tap, tap, tunk. Ah, there it is. And NO, IT ISN'T. Goddamn. Now, I run this little plastic thing along the wall and beeeeep, there it is. Hang the canvas and go.

So, let us now praise cordless tools. Why did I deprive myself of these wonders of modern life for so long?

I think I need a chainsaw.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A New Star in the Firmament

Well, not so new to the Planeteers, but Jeff Shelby is being discovered by more and more readers, and critics. Today, the fine folks over at First Offenders (The link is over there. Do I have to do everything?) tell us Jeff, already a bestseller in LA, has been nominated for 2006 Colorado book of the year. This raises the following questions:

1. How many Colorado books are there?
2. How does a book set in San Diego, written by a guy who lives in Texas, get nominated for an award in Colorado?
3. Will Jeff have to move back to Colorado if he wins?

I'm rather late in congratulating Jeff on his second book, Wicked Break. I finished it just before the move and it's damn good. I liked Jeff's first book, but this one shows just how much Jeff has grown as a writer. If you haven't picked it up, you should.

In the past year I've had the great pleasure to meet so many fine people who write crime fiction and Jeff is one of the best.

Now, back to work.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

It's nice to see old friends again.

Do yourself a favor. Go visit this guy.

We first met when I was a young copywriter at a damn good ad shop in Virginia. He was brilliant then, and he's brilliant now, in a totally skewed way I know you will appreciate.

He gives drawing tips (as seen here), weather observations, sketches of Starbucks junkies, and warnings of the Great Root Vegetable Terror that surprisingly, our president hasn't mentioned as a reason for tapping your phone.

Really, I'm busy here anyway. So go have a nice visit and tell him I said hello.

I warned him you were coming.

Zoe Returns

Yes, she's back. She just wanted to explore the new neighborhood.

As for the new house, it's coming together. We have cable and Internet access once again, I have an office, and life is returning to normal, or what passes for normal at the Terrenoire house.

We still have more books than room, but that's a lifelong affliction. I'll have more boxes to send off to Iraq, and I'll post that address later, as promised.

Right now, I have to go to work so I can get some rest.