Saturday, January 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, Slim Whitman!

The Singin' Starduster is 83 today. I've confessed to my fondness for Slim's work before, but I'll mention again that I've seen him perform three times. I'll bet nobody reading this can make that claim.

Setting the Hamburger Record Straight

A while back I posted a link to an article saying that Texas Rep. Betty Brown had proposed a resolution declaring Athens, Texas, as the birthplace of the hamburger. However, New Haven, CT, has a prior claim, as this the article said. That claim is stated in detail in this e-mail from Mr. Thomas Piergostini:

The earliest patent for the hinged broiler came from William Perkins & assigned to the New Haven Wire Goods Co. 256 Water St. New Haven, CT he received patent # 408,136 on July 30, 1889. His application was filed October 22, 1888. Louis' Lunch wagon was located on Meadow St. directly across from the factory on Water St. from 1895 until 1907. Makes sense the factory loaded with highly paid hungry workers needed to eat somewhere, right?
My Great Uncle Luigi Pieragostini worked for the reorganized New Haven wire Goods Co. later called American Steel & Wire Co. in New Haven. Luigi improved on the original invention of W. C. Perkins to broil in the time stamped cast iron vertical gas powered 1898 Bridge, Beach & Co. Stove from St. Louis, MO. Luigi's broiler received patent # 2,148,879 on February 28, 1939. From what I could find, Luigi (patent in son's name Tazio) invented the first hinged broiler designed specifically for use in vertical ovens to allow for the meat to be cooked at the same time. Not only did this cook the meat faster but it cooked it more evenly & juicy. It also used up much less counter space. This is exactly the same broiler & gas oven combination that is still broiling the hamburger sandwiches at Louis' Lunch today after a 112 years!
Necessity is the Mother of invention, right?
So, here is your proof that as early as 1888, in New Haven, CT, there existed a broiler device to handle a lot of hamburger's at a time. This information from the U.S. Patent office will certainly help to protect Louis' Lunch invented, albeit accidentally, the hamburger sandwich back in 1900. ALL of the necessary elements to substantiate your claim exist in the U.S. Patent Office. Your Great Grandfather had the lunch wagon, food & hungry factory workers. The apparatus to broil the hamburger was invented right across the street in New Haven & patent protected from as early as 1888 by Perkins & through the 1960's by Pieragostini!!

New Issue of The Outpost Now On-Line

From Detectives without Borders comes the news that a new issue of The Outpost, an e-zine of Australian Crime Stories, is now on-line. Check it out here.

The Mamas and Papas

Here's a clip of the Mamas and Papas. Mama Cass gets a laugh from Denny Doherty at the beginning as they get ready to lip-synch the song, but they're actually singing along live.

I'm Not so Sure about the Red Wine

But maybe the white would be okay.

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link.

Say It Ain't So, Clint!

POP CULTURE PUNDIT - The Latest Gossip and News About Your Favoritge Celebs: "Did you see Clint at the Golden Globe Awards? Looks like he's had some serious signs of plastic surgery - why the hell would he do that? Getting rid of his trademark squinty eyes and rough face is the stupidest thing you could do."

If You Watch Only One Movie Trailer Today. . .

. . . watch this one. It might take a while to load, but, believe me, it's worth the wait.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Edgar Allan Poe Update

The Herald - Life. Captured Every Day. - Serving York, Chester, and Lancaster Counties.: "BALTIMORE (AP) - For the 58th straight year, a mysterious visitor left birthday cognac and roses at Edgar Allan Poe's grave Friday, and he was watched by more onlookers than ever, a faithful viewer said.

Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum, said 55 people braved a chilly morning to glimpse the annual ritual of the mysterious visitor known as the Poe toaster.

'If I were the Poe toaster, and I saw and heard that crowd, I wouldn't show up,' Jerome said before the ceremony.

As in years past, the visitor placed a half-empty bottle of cognac and three red roses at the grave on Poe's birthday, Jerome said.

Once it realized who he was, the crowd rushed to one of the cemetery's entrances to get a glimpse, and the toaster slipped out another way, Jerome said."

Denny Doherty R. I. P.

To me, the Mamas and Papas were an essential part of the middle 1960s. And now there's only one of them left.

Denny Doherty of the Mamas and Papas dead at 66 - Los Angeles Times: "MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- Denny Doherty, one-quarter of the 1960s folk-rock group the Mamas and the Papas, known for their soaring harmony on hits like 'California Dreamin'' and 'Monday, Monday,' died today at 66.

His sister Frances Arnold said the singer-songwriter died at his home in Mississauga, a city just west of Toronto, after a short illness.

The group burst on the national scene in 1966 with the top 10 smash 'California Dreamin'.' The Mamas and the Papas broke new ground by having women and men in one group at a time when most singing groups were unisex. John Phillips, the group's chief songwriter; his wife, Michelle; and another female vocalist, Cass Elliot, teamed with Doherty.

'Monday, Monday' hit No. 1 on the charts and won the band a Grammy for best contemporary group performance. Among the group's other songs were 'I Saw Her Again Last Night,' 'Go Where You Wanna Go,' 'Dancing Bear,' and versions of 'I Call Your Name' and 'Dedicated to the One I Love.'"

Happy Birthday, Edgar Allan Poe!

No doubt the Edgar Awards nominations are announced today for a reason, and the fact that it's the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe is it. I published a Poe pastiche years ago, and I had a fine time writing it. He was one of my favorites when I was a kid, and in college I read through a volume of the "complete stories." Some clinkers, for sure, but some of them are still fun to read.

And while you're celebrating, don't forget my fellow Texan Patricia Highsmith. Most people don't think of her as a Texan, but she was born in Ft. Worth. You can't get any more Texan than that.

Scuba Bike -- How Could You Not Want One?

Scuba-Dooing means you don't need to wear a mask or mouthpiece. The air tank and diving weights are on the Scuba-Doo motorised scuba bike.

You are seated on your Scuba-Doo, with your head and shoulders in a clear dome. Your air is constantly being replenished from a scuba tank, enabling you to breathe normally!

Manouverable? You bet! At a rate of 2.5 knots you're able to ride amongst the spectacular underwater world, or remain stationary while you feed the fish. What's more, on the Scuba-Doo scuba bike you can wear your spectacles or contact lenses with no problems!

Link via Neatorama.

Top 20 Game Show Hosts

The slide show is here.


And the Nominees Are...

Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce its Nominees for the 2007 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction, television and film published or produced in 2006. The Edgar Awards will be presented to the winners at our 61st Gala Banquet, April 26, 2007 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.


The Pale Blue Eye by Louis Bayard (HarperCollins)
The Janissary Tree by Jason Goodwin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Gentleman and Players by Joanne Harris (HarperCollins – William Morrow)
The Dead Hour by Denise Mina (Hachette Book Group - Little, Brown and Company)
The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard (Random House – Ballantine Books)
The Liberation Movements by Olen Steinhauer (St. Martin's Minotaur)


The Faithful Spy by Alex Berenson (Random House)
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (Crown - Shaye Areheart Books)
King of Lies by John Hart (St. Martin's Minotaur – Thomas Dunne Books)
Holmes on the Range by Steve Hockensmith (St. Martin's Minotaur)
A Field of Darkness by Cornelia Read (Warner Books – Mysterious Press)


The Goodbye Kiss by Massimo Carlotto (Europa Editions)
The Open Curtain by Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press)
Snakeskin Shamisen by Naomi Hirahara (Bantam Dell Publishing – Delta Books)
The Deep Blue Alibi by Paul Levine (Bantam Dell Publishing – Bantam Books)
City of Tiny Lights by Patrick Neate (Penguin Group – Riverhead Books)


Strange Piece of Paradise by Terri Jentz (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger (W.W. Norton and Co.)
Finding Amy: A True Story of Murder in Maine by Capt. Joseph K. Loughlin & Kate Clark Flora (University Press of New England)
Ripperology: A Study of the World's First Serial Killer by Robin Odell (The Kent State University Press)
The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe and the Invention of Murder by Daniel Stashower (Dutton)
Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson (HarperCollins – William Morrow)


Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them: Hard-Boiled Fiction and Film Noir by John T. Irwin (Johns Hopkins University Press)
The Science of Sherlock Holmes: From Baskerville Hall to the Valley of Fear by E.J. Wagner (John Wiley & Sons)


"The Home Front" – Death Do Us Part by Charles Ardai (Hachette Book Group – Little, Brown and Company)
"Rain" – Manhattan Noir by Thomas H. Cook (Akashic Books)
"Cranked" – Damn Near Dead by Bill Crider (Busted Flush Press)
"White Trash Noir" – Murder at the Foul Line by Michael Malone (Hachette Book Group – Mysterious Press)
"Building" – Manhattan Noir by S.J. Rozan (Akashic Books)


Gilda Joyce: The Ladies of the Lake by Jennifer Allison (Penguin Young Readers – Sleuth/Dutton)
The Stolen Sapphire: A Samantha Mystery by Sarah Masters Buckey (American Girl Publishing)
Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers)
The Bloodwater Mysteries: Snatched by Pete Hautman & Mary Logue (Penguin Young Readers – Sleuth/Putnam)
The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery by Nancy Springer (Penguin Young Readers – Philomel/Sleuth)


The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks (Scholastic – The Chicken House)
The Christopher Killer by Alane Ferguson (Penguin YR – Sleuth/Viking)
Crunch Time by Mariah Fredericks (Simon & Schuster – Richard Jackson Books/Atheneum)
Buried by Robin Merrow MacCready (Penguin YR – Dutton Children's Books)
The Night My Sister Went Missing by Carol Plum-Ucci (Harcourt Children's Books)


Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure by Steven Dietz (Arizona Theatre Company)
Curtains by Rupert Holmes (Ahmanson Theatre)
Ghosts of Ocean House by Michael Kimball (The Players' Ring)


The Closer – "Blue Blood", Teleplay by James Duff & Mike Berchem (Turner Network Television)
Dexter – "Crocodile", Teleplay by Clyde Phillips (Showtime)
House – "Clueless", Teleplay by Thomas L. Moran (Fox/NBC Universal)
Life on Mars – Episode 1, Teleplay by Matthew Graham (BBC America)
Monk – "Mr. Monk Gets a New Shrink", Teleplay by Hy Conrad (USA Network/NBC Universal)


Conviction, Teleplay by Bill Gallagher (BBC America)
Cracker: A New Terror, Teleplay by Jimmy McGovern (BBC America)
Messiah: The Harrowing, Teleplay by Terry Cafolla (BBC America)
Secret Smile, Teleplay by Kate Brooke, based on the book by Nicci French (BBC America)
The Wire, Season 4, Teleplays by Ed Burns, Kia Corthron, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, George Pelecanos, Richard Price, David Simon & William F. Zorzi (Home Box Office)


Casino Royale, Screenplay by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade & Paul Haggis, based on novel by Ian Fleming (MGM)
Children of Men, Screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby, based on a novel by P.D. James (Universal Pictures
The Departed, Screenplay by William Monahan (Warner Bros. Pictures)
The Good Shepherd, Teleplay by Eric Roth (Universal Pictures)
Notes on a Scandal, Screenplay by Patrick Marber (Scott Rudin Productions)


William Dylan Powell
"Evening Gold" – EQMM November 2006 (Dell Magazines)


Stephen King


Books & Books (Mitchell Kaplan, owner)
Mystery Loves Company Bookstore (Kathy & Tom Harig, owners)

Bloodline by Fiona Mountain (St. Martin's Minotaur)

# # # #

The EDGAR (and logo) are Registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office by the Mystery Writers of America, Inc.

click here

This e-bulletin was prepared by Laurie R. King with the help of Margery Flax.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

This Is Not a Paris Hilton Item . . .

. . . because I'm not linking to this article sent to me by John Duke.

Art Buchwald's Farewell Column

Buchwald's Farewell Column, Written to Be Released at Death: "NEW YORK Art Buchwald wrote a final column that he asked not be distributed until after he died. The piece was penned on Feb. 8, 2006, after Buchwald decided to check into a hospice. He eventually left the hospice, of course, and resumed his syndicated column. Buchwald died last night at the age of 81. Here's the farewell column, courtesy of Tribune Media Services."

Art Buchwald's Video Obituary

Click here. May require broadband.

Big Bopper Update

Abilene Reporter-News: "KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The son of 'The Big Bopper' has hired a forensic anthropologist to try to answer questions about how his father died in the 1959 plane crash that also took the lives of famous early rock `n' rollers Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens.

Jay Richardson, who performs tribute shows as 'The Big Bopper Jr.,' hopes an examination of his father's remains will settle rumors a gun might have been fired on board the plane, and tell whether the Big Bopper might have survived the crash impact and died trying to go for help.

'I'm not looking for any great bombshell, but then again you never know,' Richardson said in a recent phone interview from his home outside Houston.

J.P 'The Big Bopper' Richardson is buried in Beaumont, Texas. After his remains are studied they will be reburied and a life-sized statue put up aside the grave.

Jay Richardson never knew his father, who soared to rock fame with his late `50s hit, 'Chantilly Lace.' His mother was pregnant with him when his father died.

The rock 'n' roll stars died on Feb. 3, 1959, when their four-passenger plane crashed after taking off from the Mason City, Iowa, airport - a tragedy memorialized as 'the day the music died' in Don McLean's song 'American Pie.'"

Art Buchwald, R. I. P.

He did it his way.

BREITBART.COM - Columnist Art Buchwald Dies at Age 81
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Columnist Art Buchwald, who chronicled the life and times of Washington with a wry wit for over four decades and endeared himself to many with his never-give-up battle with failing kidneys, is dead at 81.

Buchwald's son, Joel, who was with his father, disclosed the satirist's death, saying he had passed away quietly at his home late Wednesday with his family.

Buchwald had refused dialysis treatments for his failing kidneys last year and was expected to die within weeks of moving to a hospice on Feb. 7. But he lived to return home and even write a book about his experiences.

"The last year he had the opportunity for a victory lap and I think he was really grateful for it," Joel Buchwald said. "He had an opportunity to write his book about his experience and he went out the way he wanted to go, on his own terms."

Neither Buchwald nor his doctors could explain how he survived in such grave condition, and he didn't seem to mind.

The unexpected lease on life gave Buchwald time for an extended and extraordinarily public goodbye, as he held court daily in a hospice salon with a procession of family, friends and acquaintances.

"I'm going out the way very few people do," he told The Associated Press in April.

Buchwald said in numerous interviews after his decision became public that he was not afraid to die, that he was not depressed about his fate and that he was, in fact, having the time of his life.

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The Definitive Top 20 TV Shows From The 80s (With Videos)

Link via Neatorama.

VIDEOS: The Definitive Top 20 TV Shows From The 80s (With Videos). � Cool Videos at Brohans Video Blog: "The 80s were a great time for sitcoms and television in general. Don't believe me? Ask Matt. Don't believe him? Ask me (Henry).

So . . . what am I looking at here?

This is the unarguable list of top 20 80s TV shows.

Hey guys, how can you claim that this list is absolute?

We grew up in the 80s (and consequently, continued growing up throughout the 90s and through the present). We watched TV all the friggin time. The TV was like an uncle to us. The greatest uncle in the world.

Why only 20? Why not 80?

Because there were exactly 20 good shows in the 80s. We're certain of it.

Without further ado%u2026here are:
'The Greatest Definitive Sure-Fire Top Greatest TV Shows From The 80s.'"

UFO Update

WorldNetDaily: Air Force colonel reports lights 'not of this world': "In the wake of reports of unidentified objects flying over Chicago's O'Hare Airport, a retired Air Force pilot has his own mystery with a rash of bright, colorful lights he photographed hovering in skies over western Arkansas last week.

'I believe these lights were not of this world, and I feel a duty and responsibility to come forward,' Col. Brian Fields told WND. 'I have no idea what they were.'

Fields, 61, was cooking chicken at his Van Buren, Ark., home Jan. 9 when just before 7 p.m., he observed two intensely bright lights as he looked to the southeast close to the horizon.

'At first I thought they were landing lights from an aircraft,' he said. 'As I continued to observe them they began to slowly disappear, then suddenly one reappeared, followed by two, then three. On at least one occasion four or five appeared. Each time they would slowly fade and eventually disappear. This occurred several times and when they would reappear they might do so in differing numbers and in different positions, sometimes in a triangular shape, sometimes stacked on top of each other, sometimes line abreast, etc. When the objects appeared they might stay illuminated 10 or more minutes.'"

I Don't Think He Really Means the "and Congress" Part

Gonzales raps 'activist' judges - U.S. Security - "WASHINGTON - Attorney General Alberto Gonzales says federal judges are unqualified to make rulings affecting national security policy, ramping up his criticism of how they handle terrorism cases.

In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday, Gonzales says judges generally should defer to the will of the president and Congress when deciding national security cases. He also raps jurists who 'apply an activist philosophy that stretches the law to suit policy preferences.'"

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Pookie Hudson, R. I. P.

One of the greats. Thanks to Todd Mason for the tip.

AP Wire | 01/17/2007 | Doo wop singer Pookie Hudson dies at 72: "WASHINGTON - Pookie Hudson, lead singer and songwriter for the doo wop group The Spaniels, who lent his romantic tenor to hits like 'Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight' and influenced generations of later artists, has died. He was 72.

Hudson died Tuesday of complications from cancer of the thymus at his home in Capitol Heights, Md., his publicist, Bill Carpenter, said Wednesday.

Hudson continued performing into last fall when he learned that his cancer had returned after a remission. His last recordings were done in October for an 'Uncloudy Christmas' CD that will be released this fall, Carpenter said.

Hudson's longtime manager, Wellington 'Bay' Robinson, said the singer should be remembered for his great writing ability.

Robinson said Hudson wrote 'Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight' ('...well, it's time to go') for a young woman he was dating at the time. 'He was staying awful late at the young lady's house and her parents said ... he had to go. As he was walking home, that's what inspired him to write that song.'"

Your Tax Dollars at Work . . .

. . . but not theirs:

Federal Workers Owe Billions in Unpaid Taxes
WASHINGTON - As the 2006 tax season approaches, the federal government is still trying to recover nearly $3 billion from its own employees who failed to file income tax returns for 2005. More than 450,000 active and retired federal employees did not voluntarily comply with federal income tax requirements for the 2005 tax year, according to documents obtained by WTOP through the Freedom of Information Act.

The total balance owed is $2,799,950,165.

The documents show that every federal agency has employees who failed to comply with federal tax laws.

Seventy-one employees in the Executive Office of the President, which includes the White House, owe $664,527 in taxes for 2005. About 20 of those employees have entered into an IRS payment plan, bringing the EOP balance down to $455,881owed by 50 employees.

The White House did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Because I No Longer Blog about Paris Hilton . . .

. . . I can't link to this article.

But thanks to John Duke for letting me know about it, anyway.

Happy Birthday, Muhammad Ali!

Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. That's what I remember.

Ali: His body ravaged by Parkinson's disease, 'The Greatest' turns 65 with voice muted, but mind still clear: "The images are unsettling at best, upsetting at worst. The world, after all, remembers what he once was.

Muhammad Ali trembles and has to be wheeled to a ringside spot to watch his daughter fight in New York. A frail Ali needs to be supported by basketball player Dwyane Wade at the Orange Bowl in Miami.

The voice that once bellowed that he was 'The Greatest' is but a whisper now and he communicates mostly with facial expressions.

His body is ravaged by Parkinson's disease and the effects of recent spinal surgery. He tires easily. His mind, though, remains sharp and clear, and his passion for people hasn't faded with age.

Ali turns 65 today. The heavyweight champion who shocked the world is a senior citizen now, eligible to collect social security."

A Serious Post

Usually this blog is all about light-hearted stuff, but today I read this other blog. It's about the short life and the death in Iraq of a kid named Charlie. It's long, and it's sad. It'll tear you up. But it's well worth reading.

Anna Nicole Smith Update

Inquest Into Death of Anna Nicole's Son - "The Coroner in the Bahamas will conduct a formal inquest into the death of Anna Nicole Smith's son. TMZ has learned one of the witnesses will testify that Howard K. Stern gave Anna's son one of the drugs that killed him.

The inquest will be held on March 26. We're told more than 20 witnesses will be called, including Smith and Stern. A source in the coroner's office says one of the witnesses will testify that Stern allegedly gave Daniel methadone. And we're told that the witness will testify that Stern flushed the remaining methadone down the toilet after Daniel died.

Daniel was found dead in the hospital room in which Anna Nicole had given birth. He had a combination of seven drugs in his system, including multiple anti-depressants and methadone."

Lindsay Lohan's . . . Well, You Know

Some blogs might make idle posts about Lindsay Lohan's nipples, but this blog delivers. (Possibly Now Safe for Work.)

I'm All for Conservation . . .

. . . but I find the photo vaguely disturbing.

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Protection for 'weirdest' species: "A conservation programme for some of the world's most bizarre and unusual creatures has been launched by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Species like the bumblebee bat and the pygmy hippopotamus will be protected under the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (Edge) project.

The scheme targets animals with unique evolutionary histories that are facing a real risk of extinction.

The ZSL says many of these species are ignored by existing conservation plans."

Apocalypse Now!

There's acutal ice in Houston.

Man the barricades! (Or, if you prefer, Person the barricades!)

Go to the mattresses!

Man the crash cam!

Put reporters on the overpasses!

In parkas! (The reporters, not the overpasses. What the hell. Put the overpasses in parkas, too!)

By the way, there's no ice in Alvin. We're still cruising along at a toasty 34 degrees.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Film News

ShortNews - the News-Community
X-rated porn star Jenna Jameson has said that she is selling the film rights to her book "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale" and that she wants Scarlett Johansson to have the leading role.

On nudity, Johansson has previously said that "I'm not opposed to doing nudity - it would just have to be the right project." And nude she would be. Jameson has starred in more than 100 porn films.

Jameson said of Johannsson: "We're looking hopefully at Scarlett Johansson. She's my choice. I think she's beautiful." She hopes filming will begin next year.

No doubt others hope so as well. Not that I'm naming names.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

KRLD - AP News Article: "AUSTIN (AP) Texas lawmakers are talking tough about cracking down on sexual predators who prey on children. Some propose the death penalty for repeat offenders, potentially creating hundreds more death row inmates in a state that already executes more than any other.

Other ideas include mandatory long sentences for first-time offenders or eliminating probation.

But opposition is flaring from unexpected sources: prosecutors and victim advocates.

They fear some of the proposals would make it harder to get convictions and, perhaps, put children in even more danger by giving molesters incentive to kill the only potential witness to their crimes.

And there's the question of whether the death penalty in sex offenses is even constitutional."

Da Vinci Code Lawsuit Update

2 Authors Appeal in 'Da Vinci Code' Case | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited: "LONDON (AP) - Two authors who failed to convince Britain's High Court that Dan Brown stole their ideas for his blockbuster novel ``The Da Vinci Code'' took their case to the Court of Appeal on Tuesday.

Lawyers for Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, who face a bill of more than $2 million if the earlier verdict stands, said the lower court ruling ``was based on a misunderstanding of the law and of the claim.''"

The Weather Report

1. It is several degrees above freezing in Houston.

2. There is no sleet, snow, or freezing rain in Houston.

These weather conditions exist much to the chagrin of the smiling news teams who last night were in full panic mode. Entire local newscasts were devoted to the impending apocalypse. Had Castro died last night, or had the Iraqi insurgency surrendered and converted to the Southern Baptist faith, there just wouldn't have been time to report it. The weather was the news.

Most of the smiling news teams are bearing up well. Mainly because now they've decided that by God the apocalypse will come tonight.

I have my doubts.

Borat in 30 Seconds

With bunnies.

Monday, January 15, 2007

My 3000th Post

Okay, you want to know why I like blogging? I'll tell you why I like blogging. Because just as I was finishing the previous post, a comment was appended to this post I made in November 2005. Scroll down to the third comment. Who would ever have thought?

My 2,999th Post

I just noticed that I was about to make my 2,999th post. I didn't realize I was so prolific. And just think: Only a very small portion (2,973) of the previous posts mentioned Paris Hilton!

I never really thought I'd get this far with the blog, which is probably a big waste of time that should be devoted to writing actual books. It's more fun than writing books, though, since there's no pressure (except from Steve Stilwell, about the Paris Hilton posts). Besides, there's no thinking involved, or very little.

Now if I were getting rich from the books, maybe I'd feel differently, but I no longer feel there's much chance I'll ever become a breakout bestseller (not that there was ever much chance to begin with), so the urge to write a novel is a lot more easily suppressed than it used to be.

Still, I guess I should do a little actual work, so I'll bring Post #3000 to a close. There'll be more. You can count on that.

Bite This, New Haven

News 8 Austin | 24 Hour Local News | LOCAL NEWS | Texas lawmaker challenges hamburger history: "A bill being introduced in the Texas Legislature is having a ripple effect in New Haven, Connecticut.

The bill is touching off a new round of the burger battles involving the owners of a tiny building housing Louis' Lunch on Crown Street in New Haven. The 112-year-old restaurant claims to have invented the hamburger.

But in Texas, Rep. Betty Brown proposed a resolution declaring Athens, Texas, as the birthplace of the hamburger. The Athens Republican said that a long ago resident of the town, Fletcher Davis, had a luncheonette in the late 1880s and sold the first burgers there.

A magazine article also suggests that Davis not only created the hamburger but sold it from a booth at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904.

Ken Lassen, who is 89 and the third-generation owner of Louis' Lunch, stands by his claim. He also cites an official designation by the Library of Congress that his place gave birth to the burger.

That designation came under a resolution initiated by New Haven Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro."
Cause Jayme knows from mead.

Worcester Telegram & Gazette News
SHELBURNE, Vt.— If mead, that ancient alcoholic beverage made from honey, conjures up images of lords and ladies and medieval banquets where you toss your turkey leg bones on the floor, Jake Feldman wants to change that. It’s time for the drink known as the nectar of the gods to snap out of the Renaissance and come into the 21st century, he said.

Meadmaster Feldman, who works for Honey Gardens Apiaries, is just days away from embarking on a mission to raise the profile and change the image of mead. Honey Gardens is releasing Feldman’s first batch of Melissa Sparkling Mead to a small group of natural foods stores and one downtown Burlington restaurant.

“I have to not only sell it; I have to educate people about what it is and why it’s a good thing to drink,” Feldman said.

Getting the word out about mead and dispelling myths is key, said David Myers, owner of Redstone Meadery, whose job title is chairman of the mead at the Boulder, Colo., meadery. Redstone is the largest craft meadery in the country, he said.

Old Testament Days in Michigan

Adultery could mean life, court finds: "In a ruling sure to make philandering spouses squirm, Michigan's second-highest court says that anyone involved in an extramarital fling can be prosecuted for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony punishable by up to life in prison.

'We cannot help but question whether the Legislature actually intended the result we reach here today,' Judge William Murphy wrote in November for a unanimous Court of Appeals panel, 'but we are curtailed by the language of the statute from reaching any other conclusion.'

'Technically,' he added, 'any time a person engages in sexual penetration in an adulterous relationship, he or she is guilty of CSC I,' the most serious sexual assault charge in Michigan's criminal code."

New Issue of Clues

The winter 2007 issue of _Clues: A Journal of Detection_ has been
published, which focuses on author Sara Paretsky, in honor of the 25th
anniversary of the debut of V. I. Warshawski. The table of contents
appears below; further details at

To order the issue or a subscription, contact Heldref Publications'
Customer Service Dept, tel: 1/800-365-9753 or 202/296-6267, email:

Update from the comments section:
Thanks for posting the TOC, Bill. Paretsky will be giving a free lecture at the Library of Congress on Feb 27th in conjunction with the CLUES issue. Further details at:

Elizabeth Foxwell
Managing Editor, _Clues: A Journal of Detection_

Clues: A Journal of Detection
Vol 25, No. 2 Winter 2007
Theme Issue: Sara Paretsky

Introduction - Margaret Kinsman

Ruined Landscapes, Flooding Tunnels, Dark Paths: Sara Paretsky’s
Gothic Vision
Susan Allen Ford

Mythical Musical Connections: The Mother-Daughter Bond in the Work of
Sara Paretsky
Natalie Hevener Kaufman and Carrollee Kaufman Hevener

V. I. Talks Back: Sara Paretsky’s Unlikable Characters as Foes and Foils
Rachel Schaffer

Homeless Women and Social Justice in Sara Paretsky’s _Tunnel Vision_
Donna M. Bickford

Defining the Enemy: Housewives and Detectives
K Edgington

New Maps of Chicago: Sara Paretsky’s _Blood Shot_
Tim Dayton

"I Have a Dream"

The March on Washington, August 28, 1963.

Separated at Birth?

I'm not doing any more Paris Hilton posts, but if I were, I'd link to this.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Case of the Missing Case

Starring Mickey Spillane.

A Fine Howdy-Do This Is

Stonewall had some great songs. "Smoke along the Track," "A Wound Time Can't Erase," "Old Showboat," and of course "Waterloo," among many others. Pure country and pure good.

Tittle-Tattle: Country Star Stonewall Jackson Claims Age Discrimination - The Post Chronicle: "Country music legend Stonewall Jackson is suing US television program Grand Ole Opry Live over claims of age discrimination, saying he was kept off the air because of his advancing years.

The Waterloo star filed a $10 million (�5.16 million) lawsuit in Nashville, Tennessee, on Thursday (11Jan07) against boss Pete Fisher and the show's owner, Gaylord Entertainment.

He claims he was described as 'too old and too country' and told by the TV executive, 'I don't want any grey hairs on that stage or in the audience, and before I'm done there won't be any.'

Steve Buchanan, the company's vice president of media and entertainment, denies the charges, saying, 'The allegations of age discrimination are without merit, as evidenced by our lineups in each and every show.'

However, fellow country musician, Jimmy 'Spider' Wilson, 71, a guitarist in the Opry band for 53 years, resigned from the show last November (06) because of 'humiliating' treatment. (c) WENN"

Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter

A friend told me about this movie. The question is, should I rent it or forget it?

From IMDb: The second coming is upon us, and Jesus has returned to earth. But before he can get down to the serious business of judging the living and the dead, he has to contend with an army of vampires that can walk in the daylight. Combining kung-fu action with biblical prophecy and a liberal dose of humour, the film teams the Savior with Mexican wrestling hero El Santos against mythological horrors and science gone mad, and also manages to address contemporary sexual politics. And did we mention that it's a musical? This sure ain't Sunday School.

No Comment Department

The Graying of Naughty - New York Times: "The mature-woman genre represents one of the fastest growing areas of video pornography, say leading distributors and retailers, and next month it will be inaugurated as a category at the AVN Awards, the Oscars of the skin trade."

Hat tip to John Duke. Photo and full article at the link.

Little Manhattan

I started not to mention this movie, knowing that the rest of you had spent the weekend goin' all gangsta, probably seeing Alpha Dog or watching a DVD of Crank. But then I saw this. And this. I figured that if a streetwise punk like James Reasoner wasn't afraid to admit what he'd been watching (even if he claimed to have slept through parts of one and most of the other), then I might as well 'fess up.

The best one-word description of Little Manhattan is sweet. It's the story of first love, this time between a ten-year-old boy and an eleven-year-old girl. It was done by the folks behind The Wonder Years, so you know what to expect: Nice kids, voice-over narration, great soundtrack.

What you might not expect is that the movie is a love letter to Manhattan. It almost makes you wish you lived there. I suspect that the title is a bow to both Woody Allen and to the city.

The plot is slight, but the sights are fine. So are the two leads. Even the adults aren't bad, and it's hard to imagine anyone who won't identify with at least some of the situations in this movie. All I objected to was the projectile vomiting in one of the opening scenes. It's at odds with the tone of the rest of the film.

I have no idea why this movie wasn't a bigger hit at the box office. Maybe people want gangstas. And explosions. None of that here, for sure. You have your martial arts, though. Check it out when you're in the mood for something sweet.

Cavity Search

Hunt for Da Vinci painting will resume - Yahoo! News: "ROME - A real-life Da Vinci mystery, complete with tantalizing clues and sharp art sleuths, may soon be solved, as researchers resume the search for a lost Leonardo masterpiece believed to be hidden within a wall in a Florence palace.

Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli and officials in the Tuscan city announced this week they had given approval for renewed exploration in the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of power for various Florence rulers, including the Medici family in the 16th century. There, some researchers believe, a cavity in a wall may have preserved Leonardo's unfinished painted mural of the 'Battle of Anghiari' for more than four centuries.

'We took this decision to verify conclusively if the cavity exists and if there are traces of the fresco,' Rutelli said during a visit in Florence."