Saturday, March 31, 2007

A road for Rosie

In World War II, women working for the war effort were epitomized by Rosie the Riveter, a woman helping to build bombers in Michigan.

Now, thanks to efforts by the Kentucky Colonels and the Somerset Junior Women's Club, Rosie will be honored in her home state. Kentucky Highway 1247 at Science Hill, Kentucky, will be renamed the Rose Leigh Monroe Highway. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported on the change this morning.

Monroe, a widow and mother, moved to Michigan from Pulaski County during the war and took a job as a riveter in a plant that made B-29 and B-24 bombers. She was chosen for a Defense Department movie because of her name, and because of her resemblance to the painting of woman in a bandanna and overalls used on posters promoting women as defense plant workers.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Something I'll never experience

One of the most spectacular tourist attractions in the world opened today, and it's one that I will never experience.

The Grand Canyon Skywalk has a glass floor that protrudes 70 feet past the rim of the canyon and 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. Those three facts are precisely why I will never be on it. I have a hard enough time with the Pinnacle Overlook at Cumberland Gap, and that's on solid ground with a concrete floor. I can't imagine standing on a four-inch slab of glass and staring straight down the maw of the Grand Canyon.

Hopefully others won't be as squeamish about the view as I am. The Skywalk could provide a much-needed boost to the Hualapai American Indian tribe. The tribe now suffers from crushing poverty and a 50 percent unemployment rate. It's leaders allowed a Las Vegas businessman to build the $30-million Skywalk in hopes that it will attract tourists -- and money -- to their home 90 miles west of Grand Canyon National Park. Construction of the attraction at the canyon, which the Hualapai consider sacred, was not without controversy. Let's hope the return is worth the compromise.

Monday, March 26, 2007

A busy time

There are a lot of things going on right now. PRECIOUS BLOOD will be officially released April 3, but I've already been distributing copies to people who helped me and to media. The response has been good so far, and I'd like to thank those of you who have pre-ordered the books.

I'm also involved in another project that I can't talk much about yet, but keep checking this blog. There will be a pretty major announcement soon that should be of special interest to true crime fans.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

And you thought flying couldn't get any worse

When Paul Trinder woke up during the flight from Delhi to London, he thought the lady who had sat down beside him in the first-class cabin looked awfully ill, so he asked the British Airways flight attendant what was wrong.

The answer wasn't quite what he had expected. The lady that attendants had just plonked down in the seat beside Trinder wasn't sick at all. She was dead.

According to The Associated Press, the woman had died in the economy-class cabin during the flight, and attendants had moved her body and her grieving family into the first class cabin to give them some privacy. No one warned Trinder in advance; they just carried the body to the front and sat it down in the seat beside the sleeping passenger.

The AP quoted a statement from the airline that said about 10 passengers a year die in flight and, "The deceased must not be placed in the galley or blocking aisles or exits, and there should be clear space around the deceased. The wishes of family or friends traveling with the deceased will always be considered, and account taken of the reactions of other passengers."

Apparently the airline didn't include Trinder in that accounting.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The pork was delicious

I had a nice dinner last night with folks from Appalshop Inc. in Whitesburg, Kentucky, and a group of faculty from NYU's Tisch School. The NYU group was in Whitesburg for its annual exchange with Roadside Theater, Appalshop's internationally acclaimed theater troupe.

It was a interesting evening, from the revelation by a film teacher that network television is now ordering short features as well as traditional half-hour and hour shows to the another New Yorker confiding that poke salat is one of her favorite foods. I spoke for about 10 minutes about small-town journalism and being an author, and in general had a great time. One surreal part of the evening was standing at the door of the Courthouse Cafe, where I have blended into the background for 20 years, and autographing books.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Blog interview on Emerge

Jennifer Prado interviewed me in February for her blog " Emerge - New Authors," and the interview went up Monday -- by coincidence, the same day that Precious Blood became available for sale. You can read Jennifer's interview with me here.

It's here!

Precious Blood is out early! Walmart, Barnes and Noble, and Booksamillion all list it as in stock and ready to ship. I had no idea it was already available.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Making the world safe for skiers

You're a clerk on the midnight shift at 7-Eleven when this guy walks up wearing a ski mask, lays a candy bar on the counter and reaches for his hip pocket. Do you:

A) Scream, wet your pants and hand him the cash drawer
B) Grab the .38 from under the counter and drop the sucker, or
C) Take his money, hand him his change and wish him a good night?

Kevin Lambert of Winstead, Conn., hopes you don't take the Dirty Harry approach. Lambert was once arrested and sentenced to perform community service for posing for a picture in a convenience store while wearing a ski mask. Now he's started a web site dedicated to "Striving to keep America Warm By Combating Ski Mask Discrimination."

Lambert and a group of his friends now regularly go around town in ski masks to remove the stigma associated with the full-face toboggans that he says has been created by terrorists and robbers. Let's hope he lives to fulfill his dream.