Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Shocking video! Did TV crew capture whorehouse ghost on film by accident?

The murder of Alice Benoit in 1957 remains one of the most monstrous crimes in Beaumont, Texas. The young prostitute was a favorite among the sailors, dock workers and wildcatters who visited the Hotel Rouler, the city's most colorful bordello. But one night in 1957, Alice Benoit (at left in only known photo) was literally slaughtered by a jealous sailor when she spurned his marriage proposal. Her macabre slaying ignited a firestorm of public intolerance for Beaumont's famed red light district, which was soon shut down by police.

Last summer, a local TV crew (the station manager asked that it not be identified) embarked on a story about the 50th anniversary of the murder that changed the face of Beaumont forever. As the crew prepared to videotape a reporter at the long-abandoned hulk of the Hotel Rouler, the videographer was startled to see a misty figure in an empty window. Later, he noticed that an open mike also picked up an eerie sound: A disembodied human voice whispering what sounds like a name.

If you want a real-life scare for Halloween, take a look at the video and judge for yourself if this ghost really exists.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Quote of the Day: Freak dancing in Argyle

The Quote of the Day comes out of Argyle, Texas, where the school superintendent has outlawed freak dancing and strapless dresses at school dances, causing the predictable collision of generations. Supt. Jason Ceyanes, 34, the first-year superintendent in Argyle ISD,says he's only trying to maintain an environment that's "conducive to learning" and reflects the standards of the community:

"If we're at a point in American society where kids are going to dry hump, then it's time for school districts to get out of the business of having dances."

Every generation reaches an eventual point in its wisdom when it must step forward onto an elevated stage and ... aw, to hell with it. Wouldn't it be fun to dance as if nobody was watching?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Meet the Press ... Not: FEMA plants fake reporters

On Tuesday, FEMA gave an impromptu press conference in Washington D.C. about the California wildfires. Reporters were given only 15 minutes notice and an 800-number where they could listen in. Fox and MSNBC aired parts of the briefing.

Vice Adm. Harvey E. Johnson, FEMA's deputy administrator, appeared on-camera with opening remarks, then took questions from reporters, who lobbed softball questions that elicited lengthy, smooth responses -- without all the yammering follow-ups. When's the last time you saw a high-level press briefing like that?

Well, it turns out that the "reporters" weren't reporters at all, but FEMA employees playing reporters.

Of all the sneaky, scheming, dishonest ... and FEMA-like ... tomfoolery! It seems like all they learned in Hurricane Katrina was to keep the media from reporting the facts! They've avoided the stumbles of Katrina and Rita, but they've also had two quiet hurricane seasons to prepare.

And one of FEMA's preparations was to form its own press corps. All the good things they've learned to do go out the window when they prove to be deceivers.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Out of the Box: Bopper's casket hits the road

The Bopper's son, Jay Richardson (left) and forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass
exhumed J.P. Richardson's casket last March in Beaumont

In what will certainly be one of the most macabre musical mementoes in Texas history, the new Texas Musicians Museum will display the "used" casket of J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, the Beaumont pop star killed in the same 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens. Take the kids!

The Bopper was exhumed from his next-to-final resting place in Beaumont's Forest Lawn Cemetery last March and moved to a new grave in a brand-spankin'-new casket. The old one was stored secretly by his son, Jay Richardson of Katy, while he considered donating it to an appropriate museum, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

On Saturday, Nov. 10, a vintage 1949 hearse will deliver the Bopper's original box to the Hillsboro, Texas, museum. Rock 'n' roll authority Bill Griggs of Lubbock -- who observed the Bopper's exhumation and autopsy in March -- will talk about the famous 1959 plane crash, what the autopsy revealed, and the Bopper’s musical legacy.

The casket will be displayed through November in Hillsboro, about 60 miles south of Dallas/Fort Worth.

Coming in December 2007: Willie Nelson's booger collection.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Geography of Men and Women


Between 18 and 22, a woman is like Africa, half discovered, half wild, naturally beautiful with fertile soil.

Between 23 and 30, a woman is like America, well developed and open to trade, especially for someone with cash.

Between 31 and 35, a woman is like India, very hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.

Between 36 and 40, a woman is like France, gently aging; but still warm and a desirable place to visit.

Between 41 and 50, a woman is like Great Britain, with a glorious and all conquering past.

Between 51 and 60, a woman is like Yugoslavia, lost some wars, won some great battles but haunted by past mistakes, still very strong and proud.

Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Russia, very wide and borders are now largely un-patrolled.

After 70, she becomes Tibet. Off the beaten path , with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages...still desirable but only those with an adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual knowledge and true love dare visit there.


Between 1 and 78, a man is like Iran, ruled by a dick.

Thanks to my loving daughter for this expert bit of romantic anthropology ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Take a Bite Out of the News...

Southeast Texas' newest ... and toothiest ... blog

You never know what you'll find in The Bayou, where some of the tastiest local and national news gets digested in rather entertaining ways ....

Link to it ... if you've got the guts.

Have they found 'D.B. Cooper'?

FBI sketch of DB Cooper and Kenneth Christiansen photo

Have private investigators cracked the case of the world's only unsolved skyjacking? Has the most infamous missing man since Judge Crater finally been unmasked? Was he a mild-mannered airline employee ... and former paratrooper?

According to a marvelously written article in the new New York Magazine, a strong new suspect has surfaced ... well, not "surfaced" exactly, since he's dead, but you get my drift.

Check it out.

Toddler Rape Tape: Chester's depressed

Chester Arthur Stiles' court-appointed lawyer told reporters a couple days ago that Chet is "a little down in the mouth." Luckily, he's also a little down in solitary confinement for his own safety.

You might recall that Chester the Accused Molester was the prey in a nationwide manhunt after Nevada deputies showed images from a videotape allegedly showing a man -- identified as Stiles -- raping a 2-year-old girl named Madison. (Early on, Madison was believed to be 3 years old in the tape, but it's since been determined she was even younger.)

"He's caught a lot of heat in the media, and guys in the jail watch television just like a lot of folks," public defender Jeff Banks said. "It's a very prejudicial charge, so of course I'm concerned about his safety."

Duh. Maybe our hope that convicts take perverse liberties with baby-rapers is a little overblown, but it's a comforting thought, isn't it?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Graf of the Week: Oh man, Omani

It's only Monday, but I think I've found the paragraph that will beat all comers in the next six days. It comes from the obituary of a famed British "escapologist" in today's London Telegraph:

"The Great Omani could not hold a glass because he was flat on his back with his hands set in concrete, so the barmaid poured neat rum down his throat. He nearly choked."

Ever wonder what an escape artist's epitaph might say? The Great Omani wrote his own:

They have put the Great Omani in a box
They're using nails instead of locks
But at the funeral, do not despair
There's still a chance Omani won't be there.

Always showing off. R.I.P., Great Omani. R.I.P.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Spot the Molester: A Halloween Game

Can you spot the child molester among these four people?

Admit it, no matter which one you choose, you'll be guessing. You can't tell a pedophile just by looking. We all carry certain wayward beliefs about what a molester should look like. And wouldn't it be comforting to be able to spot a molester ... or rapist, murderer, con-man, burglar or armed robber ... at a glance? We can't. The next person to walk past you might be a molester.

And here comes Halloween, when children knock on strangers' doors and accept candy, or maybe some playful conversation. Luckily, we can prepare children to be safer as they trick-or-treat, but we can never be sure that we aren't sending them onto the radar of people who would sexually exploit them on any other day of the year.

On top of all the personal safety measures you can teach your kids this Halloween, check to see where registered sex offenders live in your neighborhood. One good site is Family Watchdog's National Sex Offender Registry, where you can enter your address and get an updated map of offenders in your neighborhood. Many of them will be under orders to keep their porchlights off on Halloween; some must put out signs declaring a sex offender lives there. And gently guide your children away from those homes. Better safe than sorry?

So did you figure out who was the sex offender among the four folks pictures above? Click on "Read More" to get the answer....

All of them

Bomber's Paradise: LAX preferred by 3 of 4 terrorists

Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport (left) missed 75% of the fake bombs and bomb parts sent through security in a recent test by the Transportation Security Administration. In other words, if 10 terrorists showed up with 10 bombs, 7 planes are going down.

But, hey, Chicago's O'Hare International didn't do much better, missing 60%. Look on the bright side: Only 6 planes would be blown to smithereens.

San Francisco International was the champion of the three-airport study. Screeners there missed only 20% of the bombs. Only 2 planes would blow up! Happy day!

Gee, I feel real safe. We're spending a lot of money for this allegedly "increased" security. I can't imagine we can render our airport security failsafe, but I sure as hell would expect us to get better grades than F-minus.

A reader comment at AOL: "I think it's obvious that the security personnel at most airports are not qualified to pour pee out of a boot if the instructions were written on the bottom."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Toddler Rape Tape: One mom hoped Chester's life would end in a hail of bullets

The mother of one of Chester Arthur Stiles' alleged molestation/rape victims was disappointed that the accused pedophile was arrested peacefully Monday night, the Las Vegas Review Journal reports this morning. Instead, ex-girlfriend Tina Allen was hoping for a much more painful police shootout.

Allen also told the R-J that police should get a restraining order against her because she desperately wants to hurt Stiles. Asked what she might say to Stiles if she had a chance, she simply said, "I'd scratch his eyes out."

Police also report that shortly after the alleged survivalist Stiles -- whom they feared would never be taken alive -- surrendered during a routine traffic stop, he barfed in the parking lot where he was stopped.

Stiles was jailed and the car he was driving was left overnight in the parking lot of a Subway restaurant. Looky-loos peeked into the vehicle and wondered aloud about the cardboard box in the front seat and trash strewn on the floor. The word "sorry" was smeared on the dusty driver-side window.

They figure Stiles wrote it.

Word of the Day: Suckatorium

I have a pretty large vocabulary, but it's not size that matters. It's how you use it. Yet some days -- like today -- I realize my shortcomings.

Today, I learned how I could have a larger vocabulary. No, it wasn't a spam message, it was an article in the Sydney (Australia) Morning Herald and the word was:


Now that's a word you don't see every day. I won't be so bold as to define a word I just learned. Rather, here's how Elizabeth Farrelly defined it in her article:

"A suckatorium is ... the (usually gay) equivalent of that unforgettable scene in the film Kandahar, where the doctor must examine his female patients through an eye-sized hole-in-the-wall. In suckatoria the hole is usually larger, sometimes described as 'fist-sized,' but in both cases its purpose is to afford physical knowledge without personal intimacy."

That's right, a suckatorium is a place filled with "glory holes" (my pitiful common language) where a special kind of, um, sexual gratification is dispensed. What kind? Sound it out. I shall use the word today to make it mine ... but God knows how I'll work it into conversation.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Toddler Rape Tape: Chester sees judge Friday

Accused child-rapist Chester Arthur Stiles will stand before a Las Vegas judge on Friday. It won't be a momentous legal occasion -- the judge will merely set his arraignment date -- but it will be the first time the general public will lay eyes on a man accused of videotaping his rape of a little girl named Madison. Do you think cameras will be there?

Almost since Madison was first identified from the video, she was said to be 3 years old at the time of the rape. Sadly, her mom's attorney now says Madison was even younger at the time.

Can't you just hear the mothers of America sharpening their blades?

Toddler Rape Tape: Chester is busted!

STUPID: A child rapist videotapes his crime against a 3-year-old girl. STUPIDER: "Losing" that tape.

STUPIDEST: Prime suspect in child rape driving a car without license plates, carrying somebody else's driver's license, in the same town where his crime was committed ... and not shaving his trademark Thin-Man mustache.

Yep, Chester Arthur Stiles, accused in the videotaped rape of a 3-year-old named Madison, was busted during a routine traffic stop in Las Vegas last night. When the cop noticed that he bore no resemblance to the person on the driver's license, he 'fessed up. "Hey, I'm Chester Stiles," he said. "I'm the guy you're looking for. I'm sick of running."

Stiles now faces 21 possible felony charges and a wrathful community. In Vegas, you can bet they're taking odds on the outcome.

In the end, though, it turns out that Chet wasn't the knife-wielding survivalist he painted himself to be. Instead, he was a victim of his own stupidity -- again. Never take him alive? Ha.

If he proves to be Madison's rapist -- and his homemade videotape will be his most damning witness -- may prison life prove to be a life lesson for Chet about what it feels like to be powerless and exploited.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Inconvenient Untruth:
Does Al Gore deserve the Nobel Peace Prize?

I give Al Gore credit for bringing a looming environmental catastrophe to the public's attention. For a nation populated by lazy, fat, celebrity-obsessed wasters of time, energy and air, it took a familiar face to raise the issue to cocktail conversation. Despite his political petulance and past imprecisions ("I invented the Internet" CORRECTION: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet"), I applaud Gore's leadership on this globally crucial issue.

But the Nobel Peace Prize? Pffft.

While he deserves applause for bringing global warming somewhere nearer the forefront of our American conversation (global warming still doesn't get as much discussion as Britney Spears), Gore's a documented hypocrite. He talks the talk, but doesn't quite walk the walk. A carnivorous, global-jetting, mansion-heating guy isn't exactly practicing what he preaches.

And now his documentary film, "An Inconvenient Truth" is officially flawed. A British judge has said that while the film is generally true, it contains 9 significant "untruths" that make it unsuitable for showing to schoolchildren unless "balancing" information is also taught.

Gore's Tennessee mansion consumes more than 20 times more natural gas and electricity than an average home, according to recent analyses. And while he globe-trots in a private jet to promote himself, he is one of America's leading consumers of greenhouse-gas-producing jet fuel. And the chubby ex-VP obviously keeps meat close by, even though the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported in 2006 that the livestock industry emits more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined.

I have believed Gore's form of environmentalism served mainly to keep him in the public eye while he plotted a new political future. When he was in the White House, he had plenty of time and opportunity to accomplish his stated goals, so why didn't he? One might recall that he had billions of gallons of water released from a dam so he could have a canoeing photo op ... but what significant impact did he have on the American or world environment when he was a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Is this really the kind of leadership we call "great" today? Say it, but don't do it?

But the bigger question is: What the hell does all this have to do with world peace? Is it possible that the Nobel Committee has caved in to America's celebrity obsession?

UPDATE @ 4:35 p.m.: Several international sources are now answering my question about what Gore's activities have to do with world peace (because a lot of people are apparently asking), and they actually connect the dots nicely. To summarize, if we cannot curb greenhouse gases, the global climate shifts will cause some areas to dry up, coastal areas to be flooded and agricultural lands to change. If/when that happens, people will begin to fight over the areas that are most productive for whatever future needs we have, including food. Thus, to avert the worst effects of global warming is to ultimately avert wars.

That's an awfully simplistic rendering of some heavier thinking, but it makes the point: An environmental crusade can have peace implications.

But I still wonder of Al Gore was the right choice ... or merely the most Hollywood of choices.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dig One for The Gipper: George Gipp exhumed

They've gone and dug up the Gipper.

The family of George Gipp (left), the Notre Dame football player who died from pneumonia and a strep infection during his senior year in 1920 and inspired Knute Rockne's locker room exhortation to "win one for the Gipper," sought a DNA sample from from the 87-year-dead corpse.

Why? Was George adopted? Is someone claiming to be his love child? Did the fantastically popular Gipper pull an Elvis and fake his own death to escape the limelight? Or is Notre Dame hoping to clone the Gipper to bolster its awful backfield this season? Nobody's telling. But ESPN filmed the exhumation in Laurium, Mich., and a noted sports author was on hand. So we're likely to find out in the good old-fashioned American way: Marketing!

Some cousins believed the exhumation desecrated Gipp's grave and memory, but Gipp was dug up because at least one family member -- reportedly his sister's granddaughter -- asked for it.

I love a mystery, even a fabricated one. After attending the exhumation and autopsy of J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson last March, I'm even more fascinated by what modern forensics can tell us about long-ago deaths of famous people. But I'm not sure we should go digging them up willy-nilly merely to satisfy idle -- and ultimately unimportant -- curiosities.

Perhaps the exhumed Gipper will answer some important questions. I desperately hope he wasn't disturbed just to sell some books.

The Darkest Night: Coming in paperback

One of the unique thrills of being an author is seeing the cover of your next book for the first time. I got that thrill this weekend. "The Darkest Night" is the St. Martin's paperback version of "FALL: The Rape and Murder of Innocence in a Small Town," my true-crime/memoir published earlier this year.

It will be released in March 2008, although pre-orders are being taken now at all online booksellers (hint, hint.)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gay Superheroes: This will end badly

Ever wonder what happened to the gay superheroes of our youth? Well, OK, there weren't any out of the closet until recently, but pretty much, they all suffered desperately gruesome, un-superheroic fates. Pretty much, it doesn't pay to be a gay superhero.

Here's a list from a Harper's list of homosexual comic-book characters and what happened to them. It was compiled by Perry Moore, the author of Hero, a young-adult novel about a gay teenage superhero, published by Hyperion.

AMAZON: crippled, made a supervillain terrorist, electrocuted
APOLLO: gang-raped
BATWOMAN: revealed as a closeted lesbian, kidnapped, tortured; stabbed herself through the stomach with a sword
BLARNEY COCK: disemboweled, whereupon a gerbil crawled out of his anus

BLOKE: killed on first mission
NED CAMPBELL: slashed into bits after his wife finds him having sex with a male lover
CAPTAIN POWER: disfigured by an explosion, driven to insanity, murder
CHAIN: dead
KAROLINA DEAN, HULKING, & WICCAN: tortured while straight teammates were not
DESTROYER: in the closet
FRENCHIE DUCHAMP: alcoholic, double-amputee; beaten nearly to death with his prosthetic leg
ELECTRO: realized he was a homosexual after a lengthy stint in prison
EL EXTRANO, “THE STRANGE ONE”: attacked by an AIDS vampire
FAUNA: dead
FREEDOM RING: finger sliced off; impaled on twenty-eight spikes, including one through the groin and anus
GREEN ARROW II/CONNOR HAWKE: made retroactively heterosexual
HOODED JUSTICE: murdered by teammate
ICE: murdered, last seen in hell
JARVIS: shot through the head, dead
JERICHO: impaled on his father’s sword
JETMAN: blackmailed by a villain who threatens to out him
KARMA: raped as a child, kidnapped, disfigured; later reappears but is too fat to move on her own
WALTER KASKO: killed in a botched gang-slaying
MADAME FATAL: dead; his funeral, attended by drag queens, is mocked
MIDNIGHTER: heart ripped out
MONSIEUR MALLAH & THE BRAIN: sadistic gorilla and disembodied brain in a jar; searching for a body for the Brain so they can consummate their love
MOONDRAGON: kidnapped, ear ripped off by a villain who makes her girlfriend deliver it to Moondragon’s father as a ransom note
NORTHSTAR: killed in three different realities, resurrected as a zombie assassin
OBSIDIAN: depowered, corrupted by his sexual strife, manipulated by dark forces, thwarted in an attempt to destroy the world, made a security guard for a team of heterosexual superheroes but not allowed to sit with them at the table
PHAT: dead
PIED PIPER: parents murdered by teammate
RAWHIDE KID: revealed he was only pretending to be gay
ROBIN: exposed as a villain; explained that his turn to the dark side was due to his unrequited love for Batman
SHATTERSTAR: rewritten as a heterosexual
SHOUT OUT: thumbs ripped off
SILHOUETTE: murdered, along with her lover, after being outed
ULTIMATE NORTHSTAR: shot at point-blank range, left to die
WING: admitted crush to his mentor, who broke his arm and beat him; given a check for $750,000 and forced to leave his superhero group in dishonor

Wet Back Problem: Car dealer lays a lemon

When a car dealer placed a newspaper ad that asked, "Tired of the Wet Backs?" he thought it would really catch potential customers' eyes for his Lincolns' neato-keeno air-conditioned seat backs.

It caught eyes, all right. And he got a deal he couldn't refuse: He was fired.

What's next? "Hunting for a Rag Head? See our convertibles"?

'Great Escape' Jump stuntman dead at 77

Bud Ekins, the iconic stuntman whose first-ever job was to jump Steve McQueen's motorcycle over a rail fence in "The Great Escape," has died at age 77 in Los Angeles.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Geek Love: Computer or girlfriend?

Isn't it romantic? It’s the relationship to which you devote the most time every day ... and it has gotten deeper over the last few years. For many of us, it can end up in bed in the first night. When things go wrong, you get very upset but, face it, you're willing to spend hours patching it up. And no matter how carefully you have chosen this mate, you can still get a virus.

Wait. What? No, dummy, not your girlfriend. It's your computer!

64 percent of Americans say they spend more time with their computer than with their significant other, according to a new study. And 84 percent said they were more dependent on their computer than they were three years ago.

Take that,! EHarmony, my ass!

When confronted with a dead computer, the researchers found, 19 percent wanted to hurl it out the nearest window, 9 percent felt stranded and alone, 11 percent used language normally reserved for special occasions, 7 percent did so loudly, 3 percent did so tearfully and 3 percent "vented their wrath on inanimate objects." (Admit it, you've felt the same way when you fight with your significant other!)

On the other hand, like my ex-wife, a healthy 32 percent said that they basically shrugged.

The survey's respondents also said they spend an average 12 hours a month trying to fix those problems. If we spent that much time on our marital woes, the divorce rate would go waaaay down!

What's that? There some some intimate things computers can't do for a mate? Ha. Just Google "XXX" and see if your partner can do THAT!

Sex in Class: Cellphones illegal ... hump happens

Last weekend, Under The News reported that two 13-year-old eighth graders at Houston's Crockett Middle School engaged in "a sex act" in class after the teacher stepped out. Few details on the whole affair have been released, so I went to the school's website to see what news, if any, might be brewing.

Nothing. Maybe if they ignore it, it'll just go away.

BUT ... in light of the salacious extracurriculars, I was amused by a short article basically asking, "Is Your Child Ready for Middle School?" It said, in part:

"Good work management and organizational skills are essential for balancing the load and minimizing the stress. For some students, organizational skills come naturally, but for most, they must be learned. While there is little classroom time to assess and train students in work management skills, here are some ideas for how you can help your students be prepared."
Hmmm. I guess there's slightly more classroom time than this writer expected .... and those "essential skills" come in handy when the teacher steps out of the classroom.

But if 13-year-old kids can snatch a quickie when the teacher isn't looking, I'd say middle school isn't ready for THEM!

Bad Timing: The fog of war


WARNING: Gratuitous flatulation humor ... but it's a gas!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Still Dead: Greatest T-shirt Salesman Ever

40 years ago today, this man went to Bolivia and all he got was a hole in his head. Today, we know him as the greatest T-shirt salesman who ever lived.

Who was he?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Sex in Science Class: Middle-schoolers hook up ... in class

Two eighth graders in Houston's Crockett Middle School were caught in a sex act ... in the classroom ... during class!

Several students witnessed the undescribed sex act, which reportedly happened when the teacher stepped out of the classroom. If you close your eyes and visualize every 13-year-old boy's fantasy, you can probably imagine what happened. Vividly. What hath Bill Clinton wrought?

Remember the good ol' days, when high schoolers talked more about sex than actually doing it? When you made out in the back seat on Lover's Lane? When you were embarrassed to take off your clothes in a junior-high locker room?

Well, forget them. Those days are apparently long gone.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Grumpy Old Gays: Keep the straights out

It's funny how reasonable discrimination seems when you're protecting your own interests. And it's even funnier when the discriminators were the discriminated not so long ago.

At a condo development for gay seniors in Santa Fe, N.M., the grumpy old gay residents are angry because straight people are buying condos. There goes the neighborhood.

"If straight people are in the majority, it's different. It's not what we came here for," one resident told the Los Angeles Times. "It's not where we want to live out the rest of our lives."

According to the Times, the gay seniors are "quick to say that they don't want an all-gay enclave, just a majority one where gays can show affection without fearing rebuke, and find respite from a world in which the vast references to romance and daily life are in a heterosexual context."

In other words, they want to live among "their own" and not be bothered by the messiness of diversity. Once, gays cried out for tolerance and acceptance ... they marched on Washington, protested at Stonewall, crusaded for inclusion in sports, entertainment and media, even "outed" each other as a way to show their often-hidden roles in society. Now they grumble about uppity straights who only want to spend their retirement years in the rather luxurious accommodations they enjoy.

Once, they crusaded for housing laws that prevented discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Now they want to banish them ... at least as much as they apply to straight people. Straight people shouldn't have the same rights as gays?

Once, gays argued that what they did in the privacy of their own bedrooms wasn't anyone's business, least of all the government's. Now they're saying it means everything ... and what others do in their private bedrooms might simply be abhorrent to them.

I gotta wonder: How many homophobes will be moving to a renowned gay-senior retirement complex? Probably not many. The grumblers are only grumbling because they fear people who aren't like them.

Gee, sounds like the same old Broadway show-tune, second verse.

PHOTO ABOVE: Kate Barbee, left, and Patty Gomez, both of Santa Fe, take a spin around the dance floor. (Katharine Kimball for the Los Angeles Times)

Rat-head Stew: Don't worry, it's sterilized

A Utah mom was startled to find a rodent's head in a can of green beans she bought at a Wal-mart store. But she was even more startled when the canning company offered her $100 if she promised not to sue them.

Yesterday, a company spokesman casually dismissed the woman's disgust over the extra bit of protein they included, free of charge, in her green beans.

"There's no way that [rodent's head] could have hurt her," Allen Canning spokesman James Phillips said. "This rodent was rendered commercially sterile. We cook each can individually at a temperature up to 265 degrees."

Oh, phew. Thank goodness! I thought eating a rat's head would be icky.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Trick or Tract: The Christian Hallo-weenies

Some of the scariest spooks who'll haunt us on Halloween will be the slasher Christians who see the holiday as the Devil's barn dance. Party-poopers.

Lori D'Augostine, an associate producer at Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, posted an essay at CBN's website on the evil behind Halloween. To her, trick-or-treaters are little souls surrounded by the Occult, but instead of turning off the porchlight, she advises Christians to reach out to them.

"Did you ever wonder why Halloween seems to primarily feed off of a market of 3-13 year olds?" Lori writes. "This is a Satanic ploy for our children. I don't think that Christian children should completely abstain from the festivities of costumes and candy, because they can be a light through their alternative behavior. [I personally plan on dressing my children up in Biblical and God-honoring characters that will draw people to ask questions.]"

Satanic ploy? I thought it was just good, old-fashioned American marketing. I must be a true heathen.

And I'm not sure some Bible characters would be an improvement over SpongeBob Squarepants. ("Oh, such a pretty little girl. Who are you?" "Thank you, ma'am. I'm a Bible character named Jezebel!") Hey, maybe a bunch of kids could go as the Seven Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Instead of candy, Lori suggests handing out homemade Bible tracts or Scripture Candy and EvangeCandy, "the only candy with color-coded Gospels on every wrapper!" All the cavities of pagan candy without the guilt.

Yeah, that's the way to save a soul ... and get your house TP'd. maybe you should give the little devils some Hershey's white chocolate. That'll teach 'em.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Deadly Sherry Enema: Did she try the Heineken Maneuver?

This just in: Charges have been dropped against a Lake Jackson, Texas, wife who administered a fatal enema to her husband.

Fatal? Yep. The enema fluid contained so much sherry -- yes, the liquor -- that his blood alcohol level rose to .47 percent and he died of alcohol poisoning -- six times higher than the limit for drunk driving ... well, OK, he wasn't exactly driving, but you get my drift.

Tammy Warner's husband, Michael, died at their home in 2004. She was charged with negligent homicide for, um, getting him loaded, but a judge has now decided there's not enough evidence to warrant a trial.

Her defense: Her husband had been addicted to enemas since he was a kid and he often used booze in his colonics as a way to get drunk.

So next time your weirdest buddy asks you if you want a beer ... wait, with friends like that, who needs enemas?

Quote of the Day: Batteries not included

Alabama bans the sale of sex toys. A lawsuit seeking to declare that ban unconstitutional reached the U.S. Supreme Court this week ... and the justice refused to hear it. That means Alabama's ban stands and sex-toy sellers are getting the shaft (ahem): They face criminal charges if the cops decide to strike a blow for decency. And since Alabama cops have thwarted all murders, rapes and robberies, I imagine a massive raid on Montgomery sex shops will happen in, oh, the next few hours.

But at least one vendor isn't going down so easily. She was quoted as saying:

"My motto has been they are going to have to pry this vibrator from my cold, dead hand."

To read the whole sordid tale, click here.

Toddler Rape Tape: Mother of the Year?

UPDATE on "Where's Chester?"

While cops still hunt for Chester Arthur Stiles (left), the mother of his alleged rape victim -- a little 7-year-old girl named Madison -- is hardly cutting a sympathetic figure.

It turns out the videotaped rape of her 3-year-old daughter was committed while Madison was left with a babysitter -- possibly the unmolested older girl seen on the video or an adult friend who clearly were not as responsible as a typical mother might like. Mom is believed to have been working her two jobs 6 days a week and living in a friend's apartment when the video was made, but her own lawyer admitted Tuesday that the abuse had likely been going on even before the tape was made. But Mom has no inkling?

While America had been seeing Madison's face on the news for a couple days as cops tried desperately to identify her, Mom was oblivious. Does she notice anything at all?

And when her lawyer was asked if Madison's mother was at least grateful for the news media circulating photos that helped break this case, he replied: "Not really ... there's some things maybe you don't want to know." She would have preferred not to know of the trauma against her daughter? She would have rather just let it pass?

Say what you will about women's intuition, but she apparently had no hint that her child had been raped by a stranger in their midst. Then her distraction from the world around her allows crucial days to pass before police can get Madison's identity, a pivotal development in identifying her rapist.

My heart aches for little Madison, and every day that her rapist roams free my anger grows. But I'm beginning to get a picture of her mother as a disconnected, distracted and desperate woman whose own dysfunctions -- whatever they might be -- put her baby girl in the hands of exploiters.

The rapist must take all the blame -- and I hope there's plenty to be meted out -- for his crime against Madison. But the scant peripheral evidence is suggesting to me that Madison's oblivious mother unwittingly put her at risk, a pathetically common scenario in many molestation cases where predators focus like a laser beam on children whose parents have left them vulnerable to abuse.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Everything Your Mom Ever Said ... in 175 Seconds!


Comedienne Anita Renfroe condensed everything a mom might say to her kids in a day into 2 minutes and 55 seconds ... to the tune of the frenetic William Tell Overture, no less!

Anything sound familiar?

Why the UN doesn't work

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The U.N. Security Council on Monday failed to agree on a formal condemnation of a surprise attack that killed 10 peacekeepers in Darfur with an envoy saying members disagree on whether to call it a terrorist act by rebels.

"The reason we couldn't come to an agreement,'' said South Africa's U.N. Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo, "was because most of us feel that this was a terrorist act'' and every report says it was done by rebels, but some council members argued that they wanted to wait for the results of an investigation to find out what happened.

Let me get this straight: A bunch of bloodthirsty killers bushwhack some lightly armed soldiers who are under orders never to shoot first, and who are trying to protect innocent civilians from further atrocities ... but the UN is uncomfortable calling it an act of terrorism? Who are they afraid of offending? Terrorists?

And we wonder why nobody listens to these wussies.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Breaking Pop Tart News: Britney loses custody

A judge has awarded custody of Britney Spears' two children to ex-husband Kevin Federline.

The order is effective Wednesday at noon.

I wonder what took so long?

Toddler Rape Tape: Where's Chester?

UPDATE on "What if Madison were black?"

Still no Chester, but the guy who allegedly found a videotape of 3-year-old "Madison" being raped has been busted for possessing and showing child porn.

Darrin Tuck, 26, surrendered to Nye County, Nev., cops over the weekend. Here's the only funny part: This guy who supposedly stumbled upon a pristine child-porn video in the desert was on probation for not paying his child support. Exploit them ... just don't support them, eh? (Tuck is the guy on the right)

Ah, but the real culprit here -- the freaky pedo with a pencil-thin mustache and a video jones -- is still at large. The fact that Chester Arthur Stiles hasn't surrendered to cops with a story of tragically mistaken identity isn't admissible in court as proof of his guilt, but it sure doesn't make the former animal trainer (whose earlier police mugshot is on the left) look innocent. Of course, when you look at his mug, it might be hard for him to look innocent.

Now, Stiles' ex-girlfriend has come forward to say she likely introduced him to Madison inadvertently. And the girlfriend's son says he recognized their old apartment in the disgusting video of Madison's rape. Once again, the question arises: Why do so many women expose their children -- and others -- to pedo-freaks in their zeal to have a relationship?

Stay tuned ....

May I Sign Your Book? See you in Houston, Oct. 20

Now that my new book FALL is officially in the running for an Edgar Award in true crime, it's gotten a new burst of interest. It's humbling to be among the candidates for the prestigious Edgar ... especially when one is competing against new books by Vincent Bugliosi, Ann Rule and Catherine Crier!

I'll be signing FALL 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Barnes & Noble at West Oaks, 2450 State Hwy 6 in Houston. If you're in Houston that weekend, please come see me!