The awful true story of Diana Jean Heaney, and the "hitchhike slaying"

Burbank librarian Sarah McKinley Oakes (proprietor of the excellent Remains of LA blog, which reviews all of LA's surviving grand old restaurants and dives) uses her excellent librarian skills to take a deep dive into the tragic tale of Diana Jean Heaney, whose first mention in print was in a 1947 article on the notorious "Black Dahlia" murder, but only to mention that Heaney was definitely not a victim of the same murderer. Read the rest

Houston! I'm at Comicpalooza all weekend!

I'm one of the guests of honor at this weekend's Comicpalooza festival in Houston, Texas: in addition to my keynote and signing, you can catch me at panels on copyright, robots and AI, cyberpunk, copyright (again!). Read the rest

Halifax! I'm speaking at Atlseccon on April 24 (then Toronto, Ottawa, Berlin and Houston!)

I'm coming to Halifax to give the closing keynote on day one of Atlseccon on April 24th: it's only my second-ever visit to the city and the first time I've given a talk there, so I really hope you can make it! Read the rest

Texas lawmakers want Death Penalty for women who get abortions

They're pro-life, you see.

Beto O'Rourke was in the Cult of the Dead Cow and his t-files are still online

Investigative tech journalist Joseph Menn's (previously) next book is a history of the Cult of the Dead Cow (previously) the legendary hacker/prankster group that is considered to be "America's oldest hacking group." Read the rest

Where to catch me this weekend at SXSW

I'm heading back to Austin for the SXSW Interactive festival and you can catch me three times this weekend: first on the Untold AI panel with Malka Older, Rashida Richardson and Christopher Noessel (5-6PM, Fairmont Manchester AB); then at the EFF Austin Party with Cindy Cohn and Bruce Sterling (7PM, 1309 Bonham Terrace); and on Sunday, I'm giving a keynote for Berlin's Re:Publica conference, which has its own track at SXSW; I'm speaking about Europe's new Copyright Directive and its dread Article 13 at 1PM at Buffalo Billiards, 201 East 6th Street. Read the rest

Trump Border Wall: Texans vow to fight eminent domain, historic chapel threatened

Donald Trump's border wall vs. the historic La Lomita church in Texas, which dates back to 1852.

Texas indicts '3D gun guy' Cody Wilson for child sexual assault, 'Defense Distributed' founder faces 20 years in prison

Wow, never saw that one coming. The print your own guns proponent is a creep.

In Texas, '3D gun' guy Cody Wilson has been indicted on multiple counts of sexual assault against a minor. Read the rest

Artist lovingly paints Texas fast food joints in Kinkade-esque scenery

San Antonio artist Michael Esparza's oil paintings put Texas-based fast food restaurants in the center of bucolic landscapes. It's hard not to compare his work to Thomas Kinkade's but that's the point. (The main difference, imo, is that Esparza's pieces are actually palatable.)

Texas Monthly:

The idea for the series, which Esparza describes as “a little bit Bob Ross and a little bit Thomas Kinkade,” came to him 2012, just after he came back to Texas from a year of studying art in Italy. In Italy, nothing was built taller than a church, so it was a shock when Esparza returned to San Antonio, the size of roadside signs were particularly jarring. “I was just seeing how iconic they are, but also from the Italian perspective, how ridiculous they are. From that point of view, it’s like, ‘What are you doing, Texas? What’s going on with these big signs that you have on the side of the road?'” he says. “But the first thing I did when I got back from Italy was I went to Whataburger, and then right after that, I went to Bill Miller’s. I just needed a burger, and I needed a po’ boy. I was already full after Whataburger, but I didn’t care.” Esparza says he wants the paintings to evoke the sense of homecoming you feel when you see those signs after spending time in a place where they don’t exist—be it Italy or elsewhere. “They become your own little beacons for where you live,” he explains.

Read the rest

Syndicated columnist censored for writing about the risks of hedge funds and billionaires buying papers

Jim Hightower is a longstanding, respected columnist distributed by Creators Syndicate -- but Creators refused to distribute his latest column, "Free the Free Press from Wall Street Plunderers," which warns about Wall Street vultures like Digital First Media and GateHouse Media buying up newspapers, including the Austin Statesman. Read the rest

My life on the road: watching life roll by from the corner of my eye

Two days of waiting in Casper, Wyoming, $1,200 and two new tires later, we were back on the road. Casper is a small city. It is one of Wyoming's most populated cities. It is a city flanked by mountains and, while we were being held captive by a blown out tire on a holiday weekend, a miserably cold, humid city.

It was a city we were happy to leave.

The man who taught me how to fight once told me that the only thing worse than getting punched is waiting to get punched. This holds true for many things in life. As my wife wheeled us back onto the Interstate, headed south, there was a tension in the air between us. We did not speak. We did little else but listen. Would the rest of our tires prove sound? Was there any indication that they might blow like one of our outer duelies had? When the next blow-out happens would it be one of our steer-tires? How fucked or dead would we be? The answer to this last question: pretty fucked and, depending on the speed we'd be traveling at when the blow-out hit, pretty dead.

Both of us were wondering these things. Neither of us talked about it until after we had stopped for the night.

Long distance trips can be full of new foods and interesting people that make for fond memories. More often, you're left to contend with hours of a ribbon of road cut through the plains mountains and dead towns that lost their vibrance years before you were born. Read the rest

Newly divorced woman blows up her wedding dress

Simply setting fire to her wedding dress wouldn't do for Kimberly Santleben-Stiteler. The newly divorced woman from outside San Antonio, Texas (shocker!) attached 20 pounds of Tannerite to the dress and created an explosive target. In front of family and friends, she shot the dress from 200 yards away, creating a fireball and explosion that was heard for miles.

Santleben-Stiteler plans on selling her wedding ring. Sorry, demolition fans.

Via Star-Telegram Read the rest

Texas high schoolers compete in varsity barbecue

Leave it to Texas to have high school varsity teams dedicated to barbecuing.

Here's a story about how some students at a high school in northern Texas are learning to compete with meat. WFAA reports:

Horticulture teacher Tommy Copeland helped start his team at [Ennis High School] after discovering an annual state tournament in Burnet where over 100 schools compete...

At Ennis High, the barbecue team is like a Texas hybrid of metal shop and home economics. The students fabricate and weld their own cooker together then use it to compete.

Copeland and other vocational teachers assist the students in learning how to be pitmasters. Teachers or instructors aren’t allowed to help students during cook-offs, and they’re judged on best beef brisket, pork ribs, ½ chicken, best beans, dessert, best pit, most school spirit, and best t-shirt.

...he only requirements to be on the barbecue team? Maintain a passing average and be a senior.

However—that doesn’t stop Copeland from mentoring aspiring juniors who have interest in the team like Marshall Sladecek.

Before Ennis’ home football game against Corsicana, he and some other juniors got some ‘ribs practice’ outside the stadium. “We all barbecue, why not take it to the competition level?” Sladecek said. “Every guy needs to know how to do it.”

...“When these boys leave here, they are kings of their grills,” Copeland said.

Read the rest

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog mocks Cruz right to his face

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog went to Texas to get close to the Democratic and Republican Senate race candidates. He first visited Beto O'Rourke's rally where he landed a short interview. Then he went to Ted Cruz's where he, amazingly, got some face time. Oh, the burn... Read the rest

Texas high-school students can't graduate without watching a video on not triggering snowflake cops

The "Civilian Interaction Training Program" is a project of the Texas Commission On Law Enforcement, aimed at teaching children how not to terrify heavily armed, easily-spooked Texas law enforcement officers, who, when triggered, are at risk of murdering children during traffic stops. Reviewing these training materials is mandatory for anyone hoping to receive a diploma from a Texas high school. The bill's author, Texas state senator Royce West, says the curriculum's purpose is to end "distrust for law enforcement." Read the rest

UPDATED: The US Patent and Trademark Office is ready to hand over an exclusive trademark for "Dragon Slayer" for fantasy novels

Update: The USPTO has withdrawn this from publication for "further review."

Michael-Scott Earle, a self-publisher of "pulp harem fantasies" is seeking a trademark on the use of "Dragon Slayer" in connection with fantasy novels. Read the rest

EFF to Texas AG: Epson is screwing Texans

You remember when HP tricked its users into downgrading their printers by sending them a fake "security update" that actually made the printers refuse third-party and refilled ink cartridges? Read the rest

More posts