Wednesday, June 12, 2002
So, I've been out of town. What do you expect? I think the Blog Experiment (catchy title, eh?) and the Message Board Try-out are both pretty much failures and shall soon bite the dust.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

From PWDaily:
Mama It's Coming Home: Publishing's Ready for Osbournalia. But Is Everyone Else?

An Amazon search for the word Osbourne returns 46 entries. That number
may seem high, but it is paltry compared to what publishing will soon
turn out for the MTV phenomenon.

More than any pop-cult obsession in recent memory, the Osbournes has
inspired book publishing to ride their crazy train. Today the
locomotive continued on (off?) the rails as St. Martin's announced
that in July it would bring out Ozzy Knows Best, an unauthorized
biography of the mumbling one.

The book joins many other forthcoming additions to the canon. For
farsighted fans, Signature Networks has its Ozzy 2003 calendar all
ready to go. For the teenage reader/viewer, Bantam will soon make
available The Osbournes Unf***Ingauthorized, which contains "an 'Ask
the Experts' section, where a real speech therapist to the stars sheds
some light on Ozzy's language." This past winter saw a reissue of
Black Sabbath, a fan-favorite history of the band. And of course don't
forget the multi-million dollar two-book tie-in from MTV corporate
cousin S&S, the second of which won't come out until next year.

Publishers have been optimistic, and that's putting it gently. SMP has
announced a 100,000-copy first printing for its title; Bantam has more
than doubled that at 250,000. (The house had planned on doing an
instant book for the end of July but then decided that wasn't instant
enough and moved the release date up to July 9.)

As hopeful as the invested are, everyone else in publishing seems
ready to, um, bite their head off. "The appeal of the show is that
it's evanescent. You're watching the day-by-day antics of this family.
How is publishing going to capture that?" says William Clark, an agent
who has sold a number of books on pop-cultural subjects.

Even devoted fans have their doubts; we asked one whether they'd be
interested in diary entries from the daughter who isn't featured in
the show (a big selling point for one of the S&S titles) and they
replied, "Most definitely - in a People magazine article."

That said, it's not hard to understand the Osbourne appeal. The
possibility of hitting the youth market (spend-happy and hard to
reach), of special sales in record stores, and of a star very popular
even before his latest fifteen minutes makes it an easy sell for
editors. "This is a person who has reinvented himself more than any
rocker," says St. Martin's publicity manager Joe Rinaldi. Even people
who say 'Oh my God, Ozzy Osbourne?' realize there's a really weird
charm about the guy."

Macabre metalheads might not seem like a smart commercial gamble for
publishing. But the industry has a surprisingly pleasant relationship
with many things thrash. Some might recall Harper's Marilyn Manson
memoir, which featured such play-in-Peoria tidbits as an account of
the star tormenting a deaf groupie. That book spent two months on the
bestseller list in 1998. Sure, publishing's Osbourne fascination may
be a case of the tail wagging the dog, but as fans of the show will
tell you, that dog subplot had a happy ending.--Steven Zeitchik

Sunday, June 02, 2002
For $7 million I'd expect more than one pale little nun. Maybe a kickline of of 'rm and a few faeries to boot!

Supermodel to meet supernatural in haunted home
Wed May 29, 1:14 PM ET

LONDON (Reuters) - The English country mansion where supermodel Claudia Schiffer and her new husband Matthew Vaughn will begin their married life is haunted, according to Britain's Ghost Club.

The club says on its Web site it has written to the newlyweds to warn them to look out for any spooky extras among the famous guests in their wedding photographs when they return from honeymoon.

A young nun named Penelope, a member of the Rockwood family which owned Coldham Hall for several generations, is believed to haunt the property each summer, the club says. During her lifetime she would have visited the mansion in eastern England at that time of year on holiday from her convent.

Schiffer and Vaughn are on honeymoon in a secret location after their extremely private wedding reception at the 16-century property they bought for $7 million, and could not be reached for comment.

The Ghost Club, which claims to be "Britain's oldest psychical research organization," says it is urging the couple to preserve Coldham Hall's supernatural heritage and considers them "very lucky" to own such a property.

More details can be found on their Web site at www.ghostclub.org.uk.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Interesting survey on reading habits in UK from THE GUARDIAN...but I shudder to imagine how abysmal US habits are...

Here's a front runner for worst vampire cover art of the year
What's with these fangs?

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Okay, you may go blind, but hair will NOT gtow on your hands!
Friday, 17 May, 2002, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Reading 'does damage sight'

Close reading has been linked to myopia

Reading in the dark or holding a book to close to your face could indeed damage your eyes, as your parents used to warn.

Writing in the British Medical Journal, a US eye expert says science is increasingly confirming those childhood admonishments.

This is because it is believed the way we use our eyes when young can affect the way the eyes develop.

Douglas Frederick, associate clinical professor of opthalmolmology at University of California San Francisco wrote that short-sightedness, or myopia, is on the rise.

People whose professions entail much reading during either training or performance of the occupation have higher degrees of myopia

Professor Douglas Frederick, University of California San Francisco He said in aboriginal peoples the rates of myopia were rising from virtually nothing to similar levels to those found in Western populations, as they are exposed to Western education systems.

Professor Frederick looked at a wide body of research already carried out into short-sightedness for his paper.

Professional link

He said the patterns of short-sightedness were not just linked to childhood habits.

"People whose professions entail much reading during either training or performance of the occupation have higher degrees of myopia, and the myopia may progress not just in people's teenage years, but throughout their 20s and 30s."

He said there was not a direct link between high intelligence and short-sightedness as had been presumed.

The link is more likely to be that people have studied hard and therefore achieved academic success - and possibly myopia.

Short-sightedness can run in families, so Professor Frederick suggests habits such as reading with a book to close to the face could go unchecked, worsening the condition.

In people who are short-sighted, the eyeball is too long or the lens too curved to focus an image on a retina.

It usually first becomes apparent in older children and teenagers.

Friday, May 17, 2002
Oh yeah and THIS one...

KPRC Click2Houston.com  
Wednesday May 15 06:05 PM EDT

Jury Goes To The Movies In Rapper's Trial
A Harris County jury was ordered to watch four movies Wednesday in the case of the rap musician known as South Park Mexican, who's charged with a total of 12 counts of sexual assault of a child.

Coy, 31, is on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a 9-year-old girl, his daughter's friend who visited Coy's house last September to spend the night.

The jury watched "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "Scary Movie," Scary Movie 2," and "Scream."

Coy's attorney said that he's trying to prove that the movies show sexually explicit scenes-- scenes that he said are similar to the allegations the girl is making against Coy.

"Her allegation is that Carlos performed a type of oral sex on her," Coy's attorney Chip Lewis said. "Those very scenes are depicted in the movies that we're talking about.

"In some of them in various stages or forms (are) fondling, and then the oral sex, Lewis said. "All of the allegations that she's made."

Lewis said the girl has confused the fictional movie scenes with reality.

"This is what the girl said she's seen. The jury, obviously, to understand, if they haven't seen those movies, they've got to see those movies so I don't see any risk of backlash by the jury actually seeing the evidence that's relevant to the allegation," Lewis said.

Testimony is expected to continue after the movies.

Prosecutors asked the judge to allow testimony from several other alleged victims who claimed Coy assaulted them. A decision is expected Thursday.

"It's certainly not right and the judge is seeing their desperation of trying to try other cases in this case as exactly what it is -- it's a desperate effort to save a case they see failing before their eyes," Lewis said.

If convicted of the charges, Coy could be sent to prison and risks a rap career that his fans said was on the verge of exploding.

A King News Story you may have missed: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/entertainment/arts/newsid_1793000/1793986.stm
Of interest -- not the "retiring" stuff -- but his estimate of the take for his e-book experiment and the length of those on the Internet's attention span.

If, like me, you aren't in Cannes for the film fest, darlings, then perhaps you'd like to hear some dish on the horror-flick scene from there? Not much on the horror side at Cannes this year, although David Lynch is a judge...David Cronenberg's "Spider," with Ralph Fiennes playing a deranged Londoner just out of a mental institution. (AP)...the controversial "Irreversible" from Argentine-born director Gaspar Noe that mixes extreme violence and explicit sex -- including a nine-minute rape scene. According to its Italian star Monica Bellucci ("Malena"), the film is set to leave viewers and judges shocked and perhaps disgusted, "It's an explosive blend of violence and ecstasy, of monstrosity and poetry...'Irreversible' has been made to sow discord, to divide audiences. It's halfway between 'A Clockwork Orange' and Pier Paolo Pasolini's 'Salo'. It will divide the festival." (Reuters)... Michael Moore's latest critical documentary, "Bowling for Columbine" tackles the increase of violence and fear in gun-crazy America. Both Charlie Heston and Marilyn Manson turn up in the film (AP)...According to Variety Britain's FilmFour will bankroll "Shaun of the Dead," described as a "romantic-comedy-action-zombie" movie by the team behind Brit Channel 4 sitcom "Spaced." "Shaun" is co-written by Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg. Wright will direct the picture, with Pegg taking the lead role a 29-year-old wannabe DJ who is jolted out of his professional and romantic inertia by a zombie invasion of London...Hong Kong film group Media Asia unveiled its lineup in Cannes May 16 with arthouse, action and horror fare, including supernatural thriller "Visible Secret II," a new actioner for Jackie Chan...(from the Cannes Web site)

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

So, here's a nice plot device for a mystery story:
Bible leads investigators to suspect
Karl Turner
Plain Dealer Reporter

Investigators think they found the answer to a 15-year-old murder mystery in the pages of a Bible.

The prime suspect in Denise Minor's death - a man whom Cleveland Heights police knew only as James Daniels - left Ohio after her slaying in 1986.

Over the years, Daniels' whereabouts remained as mysterious as the clue that ultimately led to him: A cryptic number handwritten on the first page of a Bible that police found in his Cleveland Heights bedroom, a few feet from his dead girlfriend's body.

Investigators had wondered for years what the number was until an FBI agent - the eighth one assigned to the case - followed a hunch that put her hot on the suspect's trail.

When Special Agent Laura Henry began working on the case in 2000, she thought the numbers in the Bible looked like a prison inmate's identification number.

She traced it to Florida's prison system and to a 58-year-old man named James Cook who had been a frequent visitor since the 1960s.

The number matched one that Cook was assigned when he was an inmate at Hendry Correctional Institute before he came to Cleveland in 1986. And fingerprints and other evidence led Henry to determine that Cook and Daniels were one and the same.

Miami agents were closing in on Cook when he was arrested for a parole violation in Miami a few weeks ago.

Agents found him in the Miami-Dade County Jail and told Ohio officials where to locate him.

Cuyahoga County prosecutors have started proceedings in Florida to have Cook returned to face murder charges.

The wait for justice has been long and tortuous for Minor's mother, Dorothy, 70, of Cleveland. "Not a day goes by that I don't think of my daughter," she said. "When she was killed, a little of me died with her."

Detectives had little to go on at the time of Minor's death. Their suspect, Cook, came to Cleveland some time before to work as a bodyguard for a big-time drug dealer, a spokeswoman for Prosecutor William Mason said.

Denise Minor, who was 26 at the time of her death, became enamored of his lifestyle, rolling with high rollers. She had been sheltered by her parents and attended private schools, her mother said. And she, like the police later, didn't know Daniels' name was allegedly fake.

Their stormy relationship ended in November 1986, when Minor died of a gunshot wound to the head. Cook's roommate found her body two days later in Cook's bedroom. Cook's belongings, including papers, the Bible and a fake New York state identification card, were found in the room. But Cook was gone.

A grand jury indicted "James Daniels" for Denise Minor's slaying in January 1987, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Cook had returned to Florida, where authorities arrested him in 1988. He served nine years in prison for aggravated robbery. He was arrested again in Florida in 2000, this time for grand theft. He was placed on probation, which he recently violated.

Dorothy Minor said she wants to see Cook stand trial for her daughter's death. She said she will attend his trial no matter how painful it may be.

"He has a face I'll never forget," she said. "I still get goose pimples thinking about how she died. She didn't deserve to go like that."

© 2002 The Plain Dealer.