Saturday, March 31, 2007

Croc Update VISITORS to the banks of the Orwell were today warned about an unexpected danger from global warming - a family of Australian crocodiles has taken up residence in the river.

The creatures are a breed that is native in the rivers and coastal estuaries of Southern Australia, around the coast from Sydney to Perth.

The Australian Cayman (crocodylus aprifolus) is closely related to the better-known salt water crocodile which is found in the northern coastal areas of the country and was featured in the Crocodile Dundee films.

The King is Dead. So is the New King.

ABC News: Elvis No Longer King of Dead Celebrities: "Oct. 24, 2006 — As much as Elvis Presley made when he was alive, he's earned millions more since passing away.

In a moment of unbridled cynicisim, Presley's manager, Col. Tom Parker, allegedly said death was a 'good career move' for his client — at least according to Albert Goldman's infamous biography.

This much is true: Elvis has reigned atop Forbes' list of 'Top-Earning Dead Celebrities' every year since its inception in 2001, lording over John Lennon, James Dean, and all the others who are dead as dirt, yet filthy rich and getting richer.

But now, there's a new top star among dead tycoons. Forbes hails Kurt Cobain, who earned a whopping $50 million between October 2005 and 2006, as the New No. 1.

Presley wound up in second place, with $42 million, down $3 million from last year."

Is It April Fool's Day Already?

R u rdy 4 wrlds fastest txt msg? | Technology | Reuters: "What's billed as the first text messaging competition will take place in Los Angeles on Saturday, pitting scores of players in a race to determine who is the fastest.

The snag is that popular text shorthand will not be allowed.

'Texting has become such a trend and kids are using texting as a form of communication. It's become like, 'Who can text the fastest?' Everyone thinks they are a good texter,' said Amy Jones, spokeswoman for organizers LG Electronics.

Players will compete in groups to see who can text set phrases quickest and without errors, with the winner getting a $10,000 prize and advancement to the finals in New York City on April 21.

Jones said 150 people had signed up and more were expected on the day. She said the contest was the first organized text messaging competition for cash and other prizes."

Friday, March 30, 2007


There's been a lot of wild weather around here today, tornado watches and warnings all over. One of the hard-hit spots was the very place where we visited the doctor in Waco yesterday. The Texas Ranger Museum, also in Waco, is threatened by high water, but the spokesman says they'll be able to move stuff to a higher part of the museum if the river gets too high.

We're about 45 miles from Waco, and we missed most of the bad stuff by a few miles. At least so far. There's another round of storms headed this way. I've had all the excitement I need for a while.

To Have, or Have Not?

United Press International - NewsTrack - Hemingway, Dietrich letters aired: "BOSTON, March 29 (UPI) -- U.S. writer Ernest Hemingway and German siren Marlene Dietrich flirted but likely didn't hook up, family members said.

Peter Riva, the late actress' grandson said the two were only 'great pals' and Valerie Hemingway, the author's daughter-in-law, said 'there is absolutely no evidence of there being an actual affair,' ABC News reported Thursday.

Riva and Hemingway discussed 30 letters written from 1949-59 donated to the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston by Dietrich's daughter four years ago but won't be made public until next week.

'I think that it was a flirtation and they were both very large personalities,' she said.

'Whenever he was free, she wasn't. When she was free, he wasn't,' Riva said.

Hemingway wrote Dietrich in 1950 that 'I fall in love with you bad and you're always in love with some jerk' and Dietrich told him, 'I want to kiss you forever and a day ... I can't love you more than I do or deeper or longer.'"

Chloe on the Cover of Geek Monthly

Geek Talks Tech With 24’s Chloe at "24’s Mary Lynn Rajskub graces the cover of Geek Monthly Issue 3. Pick up the issue to read Mary’s thoughts on her character as well as future plans outside of 24. As part of our extensive interview with the actress we talked tech and it turns out that Mary is not exactly as technically savvy as Chloe. That excerpt and some web exclusive photos below."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Apparently not.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bad News for Geezers

Glitterati: Catherine Zeta Jones & Michael Douglas: A Combustible Union?: "Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas's six-year marriage may be going down the tubes - fast:

A 'friend' (and I use that term loosely) has been quoted as telling Woman's Day magazine:

'The cracks have been showing for quite some time now. They used to spend loads of time together. Not any more. Back when they first got together and had really hectic schedules, they always made time for one another. But now, with endless time on their hands, they can barely stand being together. Whenever they're in the same room it usually turns into a blazing row. It's a very combustible situation.'"

Could Chris Grabenstein be behind This?

KARE11TV: One ride on the carnival midway could earn Minnesota's seal of approval.

State Rep. Patti Fritz, DFL-Faribault, has introduced a bill designating the Tilt-A-Whirl the official amusement ride in Minnesota.

Fritz said she's taking up the cause of 52 kindergarten students from her district who say it deserves special attention because it was invented in their town.

"I represent children too," Fritz said, adding, "Minnesotans like to have fun, and it's a fun thing to do."

Judy's Mom Update

Judy's mother got a good report from the doctor today. In fact, he said she was amazing. Not too many 94-year-olds are in such good shape. She's going to have some tests run, and she'll have a CT scan. We'll take her back for another visit in about a month, but at the worst she might need some oral medication. So all is well.

Gator Update

Nothing says spring like gator season.

KBTV4: t will soon be alligator hunting season in Texas, but not for everyone. The state is initiating a spring season in certain counties.

At one time, alligators were nearly extinct. Now there are so many that the state is beginning the new season, although not in the areas where you`ll find the most alligators. The traditional areas where gators are found (coastal and eastern counties) are not part of the new spring season, which runs April 1 through June 30.

"We want to protect these core counties where we have good, viable populations," says Amos Cooper with the Parks and Wildlife Department.

Cooper says the new season coincides with breeding time.

"Right now is when alligators get most active, and that`s when we get most of our calls," says Cooper. "This is going to give those people an opportunity to take care of these animals, and it`s also going to help us" by reducing nuisance alligator calls.

Da Vinci Code Update

Dan Brown cleared of being a Code copier | "HISTORIANS Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh have lost the latest round of an epic legal battle in which they claim that author Dan Brown lifted their ideas for his blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code.

Three of Britain's senior judges, Lords Justices Mummery, Rix and Lloyd today dismissed their appeal against an earlier High Court ruling rejecting their claims.

The decision leaves them facing estimated legal costs of �2 million ($4.8 million).

In their action against Da Vinci Code publishers, Random House, Baigent and Leigh claim that Brown copied significant parts of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail which they wrote in 1982.

In the appeal, their lawyers argued that the High Court judge, Mr Justice Smith, who controversially wrote a secret code of his own into his 71-page judgment, had misunderstood the law and the basis of their claims."

Love Play in North Dakota :: KARE 11 TV - Woman charged after biting her boyfriend: "
A North Dakota woman has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault and criminal trespass after biting her boyfriend while he slept.

Police say the Dickey County resident broke into her boyfriend's house while he slept on March 22. Then, say police, Amanda Rall climbed into bed and bit the man in his private area."

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Harry Potter Update

Covers for the children's edition, UK edition, US edition, and so on. Right here.

No Comment Department

Thanks to Scott Cupp for the link.

3/28/2007 - "Man" Charged In Statutory Rape Turns Out To Be A Woman - Breaking News - "A 42-year-old 'man' charged with the statutory rape of a 15-year-old Hamilton County girl has turned out to be a woman.

Prosecutor Boyd Patterson said after Alexander David Cross was in the Hamilton County Jail for about 10 days in January, it was noticed while she was taking a shower that she was actually a female.

He said Ms. Cross was immediately moved to 'female isolation.'

Ms. Cross entered a guilty plea to felony statutory rape Wednesday morning before Criminal Court Judge Rebecca Stern.

She approved a plea agreement in which Ms. Cross gets a suspended two-year sentence. She will be on probation for six years."

April Issue of Crime and Suspense Now On-Line

From Tony Burton:

The March issue is still available, under "Last Month's Issue."

We have an unusual mix of stories this month, and I bet you'll find more than one to tickle your fancy.

The URL is...

When you click on the link, scroll down the page to see short descriptions of the stories. Click on the title of the story described, you should get a pdf file of the story.

On the Road Again

In a little while Judy and I will be leaving for a visit with her mother. This is a medical visit. Years ago, Judy's mom was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). So far it hasn't been a problem, but now her white cell count is elevated. That's not good, but so far there's no evidence of other symptoms associated with the disease. Maybe that's good. At any rate, we'll find out tomorrow, we hope, when we visit the doctor. Until then, we're keeping our fingers crossed.

I'll have limited or no Internet access for a while, but keep checking in. I'll try to do a few posts if I can get on-line at all.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas signs new self-defense by gun law | Politics | Reuters: "Criminals in Texas beware: if you threaten someone in their car or office, the citizens of this state where guns are ubiquitous have the right to shoot you dead.

Governor Rick Perry's office said on Tuesday that he had signed a new law that expands Texans' existing right to use deadly force to defend themselves 'without retreat' in their homes, cars and workplaces.

'The right to defend oneself from an imminent act of harm should not only be clearly defined in Texas law, but is intuitive to human nature,' Perry said on his Web site.

The new law, which takes affect on September 1, extends an exception to a statute that required a person to retreat in the face of a criminal attack. The exception was in the case of an intruder unlawfully entering a person's home.

The law extends a person's right to stand their ground beyond the home to vehicles and workplaces, allowing the reasonable use of deadly force, the governor's office said."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton has bought a dwarf, not that I'm going to blog about it.

Gator Update

ScienceDaily: Biologist And Physicist Team Up To Study Alligator's 'Death Roll'

Other than on television, few of us have ever seen the spectacular spin (and ghastly consequences) of the crocodilian “death roll.” But, in a basement laboratory in the University’s Schmucker’s Science building, a biologist and physicist have been video taping young alligators spinning with the ferocity of their older, larger cousins in the wild.

In a paper entitled, "Death roll of the alligator: mechanics of twist feeding in water," to be published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, West Chester University biologist Frank Fish and physicist Anthony Nicastro and colleagues Sandra Bostic and John Beneski chronicled the particular spinning movement of juvenile alligators in water after biting into a pliable target. (Credit: Image courtesy of West Chester University Of Pennsylvania)
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In doing so, the researchers created a mathematical model that provides the first explanation as to how these long thin reptiles are able to spin with such force in the water.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Giant Toad Update

Thanks to Scott Cupp for the tip. There's a photo at the link (of the toad, not Scott).

Hunters trap giant cane toad | Herald Sun: "A CANE toad the size of a small dog has been nabbed in the middle of a 'breeding frenzy' in Darwin.
The 861-gram male is the biggest caught anywhere in the Northern Territory, according to environmental group Frogwatch.

Measuring 20.5cm in length, the colossal male was one of 39 toads caught in a breeding frenzy, said FrogWatch co-ordinator Graeme Sawyer.

'The biggest toads are usually females but this one was a rampant male,' he said.

'He is huge. I would hate to meet his big sister.'"

You Can Be Thankful. . .

. . . that I'm not linking to this.

Protect Your Goats!

Personally, I'm not worried, but this man might be. - Charges Dropped In Goat Spray-Painting Case: "Criminal charges have been dropped against a Mahopac man whom police charged last fall with animal cruelty and burglary for breaking into a barn and spray-painting three goats.

Drew Gagnon, 37, was arrested in November after police said he broke into the barn on Croton Falls Road early Thanksgiving morning and used orange spray paint on the genitals of the three goats owned by the Fiero family."

Ten Topless Performance by Oscar Winning Actresses

YesButNoButYes: Ten Topless Performance by Oscar Winning Actresses: "just how many winners of the Best Actress Oscar over the last decade or so have flashed their assets onscreen?

Turns out, pretty much all of them (with one exception)....

(Do I need to tell you that this one is not safe for work, and contains many nekkid pictures and video clips? You've been warned)."

Inca Update

Dung-eating mites throw light on Inca civilisation-News-World-US & Americas-TimesOnline: "Mites that eat llama dung are providing scientists with critical new clues to the rise and fall of the Inca empire and the civilisations that preceded it.

The soil invertebrates are allowing researchers to trace the growth and decline of the peoples of the Andes several centuries before the Spanish conquest in 1532 brought written records to the region for the first time.

The evidence gleaned from fossilised mites, preserved in sediments at a lake about 50km (30 miles) from the Inca capital of Cuzco, has shown how the great empire increased in size and complexity in the early 15th century."

Spiderman 1 & 2 in 30 Seconds (with Bunnies)

You can see it here.

Monday, March 26, 2007

There's a Lot of this Going Around

Thanks to Karin Montin for the link.

Top News- Housewife Convicted of Frying Husband - AOL News: "A Brazilian housewife was convicted and sentenced to 19 years in prison Friday for killing her husband, chopping his body into small pieces and frying it. Rosanita Nery dos Santos, 52, drugged her husband in his sleep, then stabbed him to death two years ago in Salvador, about 900 miles northeast of Sao Paulo, said police spokesman Idmar Bonfim.

She then hacked Jose Raimundo Soares dos Santos' body into more than 100 pieces, which she boiled and fried before hiding in plastic bags beneath a staircase in her house, Bonfim said. He said police discovered the body parts after receiving an anonymous phone call."

Croc Update

E Canada Now - Breaking News » Gaza woman caught smuggling crocodiles taped to her body

A Palestinian woman was caught trying to smuggle three crocodiles from Egypt into the Gaza Strip via Rafah Border Crossing, it was revealed Sunday.

Maria Telleria, spokeswoman for EU BAM, which monitors the border as part of an agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, said that the smuggler tried to cross Thursday into Gaza with the three crocodiles taped to her upper body.

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LOTR Update

Tolkien Jr completes Lord of Rings - Independent Online Edition > News: "The first new Tolkien novel for 30 years is to be published next month. In a move eagerly anticipated by millions of fans across the world, The Children of Hurin will be released worldwide on 17 April, 89 years after the author started the work and four years after the final cinematic installment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, one of biggest box office successes in history.

The book, whose contents are being jealously guarded by publisher HarperCollins - is described as 'an epic story of adventure, tragedy, fellowship and heroism.'

It is likely to be a publishing sensation, particularly as it is illustrated by veteran Middle Earth artist Alan Lee, who won an Oscar for art direction on Peter Jackson's third film The Return of The King. Lee provided 25 pencil sketches and eight paintings for the first edition of the book, one of which is reproduced here for the first time in a national newspaper.

Tolkien experts are already tipping The Children of Hurin - which features significant battle scenes and at least one major twist - for big budget Hollywood treatment."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Bullet for my Lady -- Bernard Mara (Brian Moore)

Brian Moore is best known as a literary writer, author of such novels as The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne, The Luck of Ginger Coffey, and Black Robe. But under a couple of other names (Bernard Mara and Michael Bryan) he wrote books that were published as paperback originals. One of those books is A Bullet for my Lady.

As you all know, when your partner is killed, you have to do something about it. Harold Spoke dies mysteriously in Barcelona, so Josh Camp goes there to do something about it. The police are calling Spoke's death an accident. Camp doesn't believe it, and of course neither does the anybody who's read more than one Gold Medal novel.

Besides the narrator and the suspicious death we have two beautiful women, a dangerous bullfighter, a menacing dwarf, assorted badasses, and the Cardinal. The Cardinal's been dead for a long, long time. No one knows where he's buried, except possibly one of the beautiful women, but everyone wants to find his grave because it's rumored to be filled with treasure beyond their wildest dreams. Any similarity to
The Maltese Falcon in all this is, I'm sure, purely coincidental.

The local color is very fine, the writing is smooth and assured, and the story is as wild as you might expect. Fine reading for an afternoon or evening. Check it out.

Get On Those Tighty Whities Cap'n Bob

Harlequin books seeks "real men" for covers - Yahoo! News: "Real men don't pose for the cover of a Harlequin romance. And that's something the publisher wants to change.

Representatives of Harlequin Enterprises, the world's biggest publisher of romance novel series, inspected the assets of about 200 men who lined up at a Toronto casting house on Saturday to prove they could flutter readers' hearts better than professional models.

'We're looking for some guys that are not your usual models, but have that iconic look that women go for -- sexy, sensitive, beautiful and fit,' said Harlequin spokeswoman Marleah Stout, who attended the open casting.

'We want real men ... exactly what you think in your mind when you're fantasizing or imagining that ideal man.'"

Monday on "It's a Mystery"

Clare Langley-Hawthorne, whose debut Edwardian mystery _Consequences of
Sin_ features a determined suffragist, a journey into South American
jungles, and murder, will be the guest on "It's a Mystery" on Monday,
March 26th at 11 AM ET (Webcast at

Also scheduled are comedians Bob and Ray's take on Sherlock Holmes;
musical salutes to birthday boys David Janssen and Paul Michael Glaser;
and, also in honor of Janssen, an episode of "Richard Diamond, Private
Detective," written by Blake Edwards and starring Dick Powell, Ed Begley,
William Conrad, and future "I Spy" producer Sheldon Leonard.

Beth Foxwell
Producer and host, "It's a Mystery"