The flying blood-sucking barometer has continued to climb down here in lovely Austin, Texas. Why? Because we have encountered yet another heat wave. (So many waves that we now have our own ocean!) Triple digits all week long, and no relief in sight. Oh well, the heat keeps the riff raff off the golf course. Incidentally, since I’m “bugging” you about the weather, I’d like to congratulate the winner of last week’s Mosquito Trivia Contest. Mrs. Nancy Pagano was the first person to correctly guess that Texas has (at least) 84 species of mosquitoes. Not only that, but she was nice enough to point out the top 3 predators! (Aides, Anopheles, and Culex mosquitoes.)
In case you’re interested (and who wouldn’t be?) there are roughly 176 species of mosquitoes in the United States and about 2,700 worldwide. (What a pleasant thought!) The pesky critters have been around for 400 million years, so I don’t think we’ll see them diminish their numbers in the near future. Just for the record, dark-colored clothing attracts more insects than light clothing, and the bugs absolutely love seersucker suits. I once owned a seersucker suit. (It was on sale at Sears, and I was the sucker who bought it!)
Last Wednesday I had the pleasure of speaking to the Lakeway Men’s Breakfast Club (which insists on meeting in the morning) and it was standing room only. We had a great turnout, and I actually sold a lot of books. My presentation was centered upon the publishing industry and how I became America’s most famous and modest mystery author. I really enjoy this particular group (and the Ladie’s Club, too) because it is composed of many wonderful people, highly educated and extremely gracious. Once again, I would like to thank my new book tour manager, Loyd Smith, for arranging this event. (One of these days I should offer him a small salary. Nah, never mind.)
While we’re on the subject of publishing, did you know that 200,000 books are published each year in the U.S. alone? The Bible is the best-selling book of all time (about 5 billion copies so far) but THE SECOND MOURNING and TURBULENT TIMES are not far behind. (According to Loyd Smith) I’d like to thank the Chinese for inventing paper (circa 206 B.C.) as that has made my job a little easier. (I used to use parchment!)
Speaking of “thanks,” I’d like to acknowledge the Princess of Portugal (and her slim & trim husband, Baron Lee) for hosting a gala dinner last night. The Princess really impressed our ravenous group by serving fresh gulf coast shrimp, organic green beans, locally grown potatoes, hatch chile rolls, and the piece of resistance….. Round Rock scallops in brown sauce. (I’m not sure how they caught scallops in Round Rock, but they were delicious.) So was our dessert, which consisted of HOME MADE peach pie and vanilla ice cream! (OMG, I must go on a diet!) What a marvelous, calorie-laden evening!
Well, this week we lost Aretha Franklin, who was known as the “Queen of Soul” in America. She passed away on August 16th, which was a little odd, since that was also the date (41 years before) that we lost Elvis Presley, who was known as the “King of Rock ‘n Roll.” Losing a queen and king on the same day (August 16th) is a fascinating coincidence, and proves that God does work in mysterious ways. (And loves great music!)
By the way, the good folks at Graceland Inc., are about to auction off a trailer once owned (and briefly occupied) by Elvis Presley. You can bid online, but you’ll need a VERY large bank balance. (A lock of the King’s hair recently sold for $35,000!) Other celebrities have not fetched a similar price, despite their best efforts. (Yul Brenner went bankrupt!) Just kidding. I wonder what a strand of my hair would fetch? At least a nickel.
Alas, I must take my leave, as I need to pack for an upcoming trip. I will drop you a line when I reach my destination, assuming we have not been detained or incarcerated. (again) Have a wonderful week, drink plenty of water, and try to avoid outdoor activity when there is a full moon. (A full moon increases mosquito activity by 500 percent!)
Love to all,