Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spitball Magazine announces winner of 2012 Casey Award

If you enjoy reading about baseball, you might be interested to hear that the editors at Spitball Magazine, the “Literary Baseball Magazine,” recently announced that “Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick” by Paul Dickson won this year’s Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.

Dickson is scheduled to receive the 2012 Casey Award, which is a specially made royal blue and gold engraved Louisville Slugger baseball bat, during the 30th Annual Casey Awards Banquet on March 3 in Cincinnati.

Dickson’s book was among 10 finalists for this year’s Casey Award. The other finalists included:

- “Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, Espionage and Assassination during the 1934 Tour of Japan” by Robert K. Fitts

- “Connie Mack: The Turbulent and Triumphant Years, 1915-1931” by Norman L. Macht

- “Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry and Baseball's Greatest Gift” by Harvey Araton

- “Gil Hodges: The Brooklyn Bums, The Miracle Mets and the Extraordinary Life of a Baseball Legend” by Tom Clavin and Danny Peary

- “Golden Boys: Baseball Portraits, 1946-1960” by Andy Jurinko and Christopher Jennison

- “The Last Natural: Bryce Harper's Big Gamble in Sin City and the Greatest Amateur Season Ever” by Rob Miech

- “The Might Have Been: A Novel” by Joseph M. Schuster

- “Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss” by Marty Appel

- “Willie Mays Aikens: Safe at Home” by Gregory Jordan

The Casey Award has been given annually by Spitball Magazine since 1983 and a number of outstanding baseball books have received the award over the years. Past winners include:

1983 - “The Celebrant” by Eric Rolfe Greenberg
1984 - “Bums: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers” by Peter Golenbock
1985 - “Good Enough to Dream” by Roger Kahn
1986 - “The Bill James Historical Abstract” by Bill James
1987 - “Diamonds Are Forever” by Peter H. Gordon
1988 - “Blackball Stars” by John Holway
1989 - “The Pitch That Killed” by Mike Sowell
1990 - “Baseball: The People’s Game” by Harold Seymour
1991 - “To Everything a Season: Shibe Park and Urban Philadelphia, 1909-1976" by Bruce Kuklick
1992 - “The Negro Baseball Leagues” by Phil Dixon
1993 - “Diamonds” by Michael Gershman
1994 - “Lords of the Realm” by John Helyar
1995 - “Walter Johnson” by Henry W. Thomas
1996 - “Slide, Kelly, Slide” by Marty Appel
1997 - “Play for a Kingdom” by Thomas Dyja
1998 - “Judge and Jury” by David Pietrusza
1999 - “Slouching Toward Fargo” by Neal Karlen
2000 - “Cy Young” by Reed Browning
2001 - “The Final Season” by Tom Stanton
2002 - “Shut Out” by Howard Bryant
2003 - “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis
2004 - “Ted Williams” by Leigh Montville
2005 - “Luckiest Man” by Jonathan Eig
2006 - “Game of Inches” by Peter Morris
2007 - “The Soul of Baseball” by Joe Posnanski
2008 - "We are the Ship" by Kadir Nelson
2009 - "Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend" by Larry Tyre
2010 - "The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron" by Howard Bryant
2011 - “56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports” by Kostya Kennedy

In the end, if you’re looking for a good baseball book to read, you probably won’t go wrong with any of those mentioned above.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Jan. 31, 2013

16 YEARS AGO
JAN. 30, 1997

“Michael Pate, senior running back for the Sparta Academy Warriors, was recently named to the Alabama Independent School Association All State Team. He was named as the first team running back for the association. Pate was congratulated on his most recent honor by Sparta Head Coach Keith York.”

“Sparta Academy Warriors defeated Hooper Academy 78-67 in a game played here Jan. 24. Jason Robinson had 21 points to lead the scoring. Seth McIntyre had 19 points. Chad Morris had 15 points; Josh Pate, 12 points; and Chris Kervin, 10 points; to complete the double figure scoring. Michael Pate added one point for Sparta.”

“Sparta Academy Lady Warriors defeated Hooper Academy 77-37 here Jan. 24. Andrea Ward paved the way with 16 points. Nikki Jones had 15 points, and Aundria Griffin had 15 points to complete the double figure scoring. Cass Ralls had eight points. Ashley Hammonds and Jennifer Coker had six points each. Sally Hartley had four points; Kristin Smith and Heather Booth had three points each, and Jill Pate had one point for Sparta.”

“Melvin Johnson killed this nice eight-point buck last Saturday morning. Johnson said he sat down on his bucket in the woods and waited for the big buck to get close enough to kill him. His friend, J.J. helped him load the buck.”

31 YEARS AGO
JAN. 28, 1982

“The fans got ‘their money’s worth’ and the Lyeffion High School Yellow Jackets proved with a strong fourth quarter effort that what Yogi Berra said: ‘It ain’t over until it’s over’ is true. The Jackets downed Repton High’s Bulldogs 69-66 last Thursday night to run their record to 14-1 for the season.
“Michael Grace was the top rebounder for Lyeffion with 12 and also scored 10 points. Bobby Blount had 10 rebounds and five points. Troy Stallworth paced the Jacket attack with 32 points. Donald Lee had 15; Andrew Maxwell, six; and Ray Salter, one.”

“The Sparta Academy Warriors won the varsity and girls games, but were edged in the junior varsity tilt in games played Friday night at South Butler Academy.
“The Warrior varsity team won 68-63 as Chris Blatz scored 20 points. Joe McInvale had 13; Vince Watts, 10; Russ Raines and Russ Brown, six each; Joey Johnson, four; Connery Salter, three; and Scotty Grace, Britt McNeill and Wes Brown, two each, according to Sports Information Director Byron Warren Jr.
“Dewan Salter hit for 19 points and Al Ethridge for 10, but to no avail as the Raider ‘B’ team won 42-40. Thad Ellis had five points; Scott Salter, four; and Christ Vonderau, two.
“Sparta’s girls used a well-balanced attack to down the Raider girls, 28-15. Tina Bybee had eight points, Jan Coker and Cheri Johnson, six each; Sara Cope, four; and Jerolyn Dean and Tammy Booker, two each.”

“LIVE! SAT., JAN. 30: SUPER WELTERWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT – Wilfred Benitez vs. Roberto Duran: It’s a make-or-break bout for Roberto Duran as he battles defending champ Wilfred Benitez for the WBC Super Welterweight crown. Get exclusive live coverage of this knockout fight, plus a whole month of great movies, super specials and more major boxing events. 24 hours a day. Subscribe today. HBO. Pinebelt Cablevision, Evergreen, Ala.”

46 YEARS AGO
JAN. 26, 1967

“Coach Cliff Little awarded letters to 24 members of the 1965 Evergreen High Aggie football team at the Evergreen Quarterback Club’s annual football banquet Friday night.
“Coach Bobby Freeman of the Auburn University coaching staff and Wayne Frazier, center for the Kansas City Chiefs and former Auburn and Aggie star, were the featured speakers.
“Harold Hamiter, hustling guard and co-captain, was awarded the highly coveted D.T. Stuart Sportsmanship Trophy.
“Homer Faulkner, star quarterback who signed with Ole Miss, received the Evergreen Jaycees’ Outstanding Player award.
“Bubba Mininger, hard-hitting little guard, received the Quarterbacks’ Outstanding Lineman Trophy.
“Rusty Price received the Outstanding Defensive Lineman trophy presented by radio station WBLO.
“Coach Little presented monograms to the following seniors: Moreno White Jr., Glenn Bolton, Bubba Mininger, Harold Hamiter, Jack White, Homer Faulkner, Rusty Price, Larry Windham and Stanley Mitchell.
“Junior letter winners are Ed Smith, Tim Stinson, Lavon Tolbert, Wayne Caylor and George Stinson. Sophomores who earned letters are Forrest Simpson, Roger Waller, Elliot Quarles, Don Montgomery and Ralph Deason. Freshmen earning the award were Eddie Ralls, Hollis Tranum, Jimmy Hamiter, Jimmy Bell and Ronald Halford.”

61 YEARS AGO
JAN. 31, 1952

“Aggies Lose Two More; McGill Here Friday: In play Friday night and Tuesday night the Evergreen Aggies dropped two decisions. Undefeated T.R. Miller of Brewton finished fast to clip the Aggies 62-48 Friday night. Billy Long paced Miller with 20 points. Shirley Frazier bagged 18 to lead Evergreen.
“Tuesday night the Evergreens journeyed to Georgiana to lose another 41 to 49. William Stewart turned in his best game of the season but his 15-point effort and Frazier’s 16 were not enough. The ‘B’ team was edged both nights.
“Friday night the Aggies play their strongest foes of the season here on the home, Memorial Gym, court when they meet the McGill Yellow Jackets of Mobile. McGill got off to a rocky start but in the past few weeks has rounded into the form that makes the Jacket five one of the most feared in the state each year.
“Coach Wendell Hart’s team has been handicapped by injuries and sickness all season. Most of the team was back for practice sessions Wednesday and Thursday and the boys are in the best shape of the season. They will go all out Friday night in trying to make a good showing against the slick playmakers from Mobile. Game time is seven o’clock.
“Tuesday night the Evergreens will play Castleberry in Castleberry.”

76 YEARS AGO
JAN. 28, 1937

“E.L. Gaylor of Saugas, Mass., claims the world’s record for holding his breath. In a recent laboratory experiment at Wesleyan University, he held it for 14 minutes and two seconds.”

“Once a week, Hubert Fitch, Walter Logan, Henry Valentine and R.P. Turberville of Fort Worth, Texas, meet to continue the domino game they started nearly 20 years ago.”

“Bitsy Tops Stars: MIAMI, Fla. – Bryan M. ‘Bitsy’ Grant, mighty miniature Atlanta Atom of tennis, is spilling champion net stars all over the South in winter play here, twice defeating Donald Budge, ranking No. 1 U.S. star.”

Daily Weather Observations for Thurs., Jan. 31, 2013

Temp: 36.7 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 1.2 inches

Humidity: 78 percent (Humid).

Conditions: Clear skies; moon visible; birds audible and visible; security lights still on in the distance; standing water in yard from recent rain; dogs audible.

Wind: 0.1 mph out of the West.

Barometric Pressure: 29.71 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 1.6 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 3.9 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 3.9 inches

NOTES: Today is the 31st day of 2013 and the 42nd day of Winter. There are 334 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This week's movie picks are 'Bullet to the Head' and 'Paranormal Activity 4'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.

I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue or pick up at the local Redbox.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

- Bullet to the Head (Action, Suspense, R): Directed by Walter Hill and starring Sylvester Stallone, Sung Kang, Sarah Shahi, Jason Momoa and Christian Slater.

- The Gatekeepers (Documentary, PG-13): Directed by Dror Moreh

- Koch (Documentary): Directed by Neil Barsky.

- Sound City (Music, Documentary): Directed by David Grohl.

- Stand Up Guys (Comedy, Drama, R): Directed by Fisher Stevens and starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Katheryn Winnick and Julianna Margulies.

- Warm Bodies (Horror, Romance, PG-13): Directed by Jonathan Levine and starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich and Dave Franco.

New DVD releases for the week of Jan. 29 include:

- The Awakening (Horror, Suspense, R): Directed by Nick Murphy and starring Rebecca Hall, Dominic West, Imelda Staunton, Lucy Cohu and John Shrapnel.

- Citadel (Horror, R): Directed by Ciaran Foy and starring James Cosmo, Aneurin Barnard, Wunmi Mosaku and Amy Shiels.

- The Cold Light of Day (Action, Suspense, PG-13): Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri and starring Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver, Veronica Echegui and Jim Piddock.

- Heaven’s Door (Family, Drama, PG): Directed by Craig Clyde and starring Charisma Carpenter, Dean Cain, Joanna Cassidy, Tommy Lister and Edward Herrman.

- Hello I Must Be Going (Comedy, Romance, R): Directed by Todd Louiso and starring Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, John Rubinstein, Julie White and Christopher Abbott.

- Hotel Transylvania (Comedy, Family, PG): Directed by Genndy Tartakovsky and starring the voices of Adam Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James and Fran Drescher.

- The Liability (Action, Crime, R): Directed by Craig Viveiros and starring Tim Roth, Talulah Riley, Jack O’Connell, Peter Mullan and Kierston Wareing.

- Paranormal Activity 4 (Horror, R): Directed by Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman and starring Kathryn Newton, Katie Featherston, Matt Shively, Brady Allen and Alisah Boe.

- Police Patrol (Childrens, G): Directed by Rasmus A. Siversten and starring the voices of Belinda Keller, Steve Rassin, Marc Matney and Shannon Settlemyre.

- Seven Psychopaths (Action, Comedy, R): Directed by Martin McDonagh and starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson and Abbie Cornish.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Bullet to the Head,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “Paranormal Activity 4.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Wed., Jan. 30, 2013

Temp: 71.1 degrees F.

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.4 inches

Humidity: 82 percent (Humid).

Conditions: Mostly Cloudy; birds audible; security lights still on in the distance; standing water in yard from recent rain.

Wind: 16.5 mph out of the South-Southeast.

Barometric Pressure: 29.26 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.4 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.7 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.7 inches

NOTES: Today is the 30th day of 2013 and the 41st day of Winter. There are 335 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013 Newberry and Caldecott medal winners announced on Monday

Yesterday in Seattle, the American Library Association announced the winners of this year’s Newbery Medal and Caldecott Medal, the top honors for books for children and young adults.

The most prestigious of the two awards, the John Newbery Medal, which is given each year to the book that makes the “most outstanding contribution to children’s literature,” was awarded to “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate.

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is given each year to the “most distinguished American picture book for children." This year’s Caldecott Medal went to “This Is Not My Hat” by Jon Klassen.

Esteemed worldwide for the high quality of books that they recognize, the ALA awards are meant to serve as a guide for parents, educators, librarians and others in selecting the best materials for youth. The award winners are selected by judging committees of librarians and other children’s and young adult experts.

Many of you will be familiar with past Newbery and Caldecott Medal winners. Past winners of the Newbery Medal include the following books:

2013 – The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
2012 – Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos
2011 – Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

2010 - When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
2009 - The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, illus. by Dave McKean
2008 - Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz
2007 - The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron and illustrated by Matt Phelan
2006 - Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
2005 - Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
2004 - The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering.
2003 - Crispin: The Cross of Lead by Avi
2002 - A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park
2001 - A Year Down Yonder by by Richard Peck

2000 - Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
1999 - Holes by Louis Sachar
1998 - Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
1997 - The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
1996 - The Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
1995 - Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
1994 - The Giver by Lois Lowry
1993 - Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
1992 - Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
1991 - Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

1990 - Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
1989 - Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman
1988 - Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman
1987 - The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
1986 - Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
1985 - The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
1984 - Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
1983 - Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt
1982 - A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard
1981 - Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

1980 - A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal, 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos
1979 - The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
1978 - Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
1977 - Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
1976 - The Grey King by Susan Cooper
1975 - M. C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton
1974 - The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (Bradbury)
1973 - Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
1972 - Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
1971 - Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars

1970 - Sounder by William H. Armstrong
1969 - The High King by Lloyd Alexander
1968 - From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
1967 - Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt
1966 - I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino
1965 - Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska
1964 - It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville
1963 - A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
1962 - The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
1961 - Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

1960 - Onion John by Joseph Krumgold
1959 - The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
1958 - Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith
1957 - Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen
1956 - Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
1955 - The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
1954 - ...And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold
1953 - Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark
1952 - Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes
1951 - Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

1950 - The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli
1949 - King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
1948 - The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène du Bois
1947 - Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
1946 - Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
1945 - Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
1944 - Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
1943 - Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray
1942 - The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds
1941 - Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry

1940 - Daniel Boone by James Daugherty
1939 - Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright
1938 - The White Stag by Kate Seredy
1937 - Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer
1936 - Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
1935 - Dobry by Monica Shannon
1934 - Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs
1933 - Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis
1932 - Waterless Mountain by Laura Adams Armer
1931 - The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth

1930 - Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field
1929 - The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
1928 - Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji
1927 - Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James
1926 - Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman
1925 - Tales from Silver Lands by Charles Finger
1924 - The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawes
1923 - The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting
1922 - The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon

Past Caldecott Medal winners include the following books:

2013 – This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
2012 – A Ball For Daisy by Chris Raschka
2011 – A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Erin E. Stead

2010 - The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney
2009 - The House in the Night, illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson
2008 - The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
2007 - Flotsam by David Wiesner
2006 - The Hello, Goodbye Window, illustrated by Chris Raschka and written by Norton Juster
2005 - Kitten's First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
2004 - The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
2003 - My Friend Rabbit by Eric Rohmann
2002 - The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
2001 - So You Want to Be President? illustrated by David Small with text by Judith St. George

2000 - Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
1999 - Snowflake Bentley, illustrated by Mary Azarian with text by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
1998 - Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky
1997 - Golem by David Wisniewski
1996 - Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
1995 - Smoky Night, illustrated by David Diaz with text by Eve Bunting
1994 - Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say with text edited by Walter Lorraine
1993 - Mirette on the High Wire by Emily Arnold McCully
1992 - Tuesday by David Wiesner
1991 - Black and White by David Macaulay

1990 - Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young
1989 - Song and Dance Man, illustrated by Stephen Gammell with text by Karen Ackerman
1988 - Owl Moon, illustrated by John Schoenherr with text by Jane Yolen
1987 - Hey, Al, illustrated by Richard Egielski with text by Arthur Yorinks
1986 - The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
1985 - Saint George and the Dragon, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman with text retold by Margaret Hodges
1984 - The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot by Alice & Martin Provensen
1983 - Shadow, translated and illustrated by Marcia Brown with original text in French by Blaise Cendrars
1982 - Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
1981 - Fables by Arnold Lobel

1980 - Ox-Cart Man, illustrated by Barbara Cooney with text by Donald Hall
1979 - The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble
1978 - Noah's Ark by Peter Spier
1977 - Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon with text by Margaret Musgrove
1976 - Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon with text retold by Verna Aardema
1975 - Arrow to the Sun by Gerald McDermott
1974 - Duffy and the Devil, illustrated by Margot Zemach and retold by Harve Zemach
1973 - The Funny Little Woman, illustrated by Blair Lent with text retold by Arlene Mosel
1972 - One Fine Day, retold and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian
1971 - A Story A Story, retold and illustrated by Gail E. Haley

1970 - Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
1969 - The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, illustrated by Uri Shulevitz with text by retold by Arthur Ransome
1968 - Drummer Hoff, illustrated by Ed Emberley with text adapted by Barbara Emberley
1967 - Sam, Bangs & Moonshine by Evaline Ness
1966 - Always Room for One More, illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian with text by Sorche Nic Leodhas
1965 - May I Bring a Friend? illustrated by Beni Montresor with text by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers
1964 - Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
1963 - The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
1962 - Once a Mouse, retold and illustrated by Marcia Brown
1961 - Baboushka and the Three Kings, illustrated by Nicolas Sidjakov wiith text by Ruth Robbins

1960 - Nine Days to Christmas, illustrated by Marie Hall Ets with text by Marie Hall Ets and Aurora Labastida
1959 - Chanticleer and the Fox, illustrated by Barbara Cooney with text adapted from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales by Barbara Cooney
1958 - Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey
1957 - A Tree Is Nice, illustrated by Marc Simont with text by Janice Udry
1956 - Frog Went A-Courtin', illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky with text retold by John Langstaff
1955 - Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper, illustrated by Marcia Brown with text translated from Charles Perrault by Marcia Brown
1954 - Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans
1953 - The Biggest Bear by Lynd Ward
1952 - Finders Keepers, illustrated by Nicholas Mordvinoff with text by William Lipkind
1951 - The Egg Tree by Katherine Milhous

1950 - Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi
1949 - The Big Snow by Berta & Elmer Hader
1948 - White Snow, Bright Snow, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin with text by Alvin Tresselt
1947 - The Little Island, illustrated by Leonard Weisgard with text by Golden MacDonald
1946 - The Rooster Crows by Maud & Miska Petersham
1945 - Prayer for a Child, illustrated by Elizabeth Orton Jones with text by Rachel Field
1944 - Many Moons, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin with text by James Thurber
1943 - The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
1942 - Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
1941 - They Were Strong and Good by Robert Lawson

1940 - Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
1939 - Mei Li by Thomas Handforth
1938 - Animals of the Bible, A Picture Book, illustrated by Dorothy P. Lathrop with text selected by Helen Dean Fish
The ALA also handed out a number of other awards yesterday. For more information about those awards as well as the finalists for the Newbery and Caldecott medals, visit the ALA’s Web site at www.ala.org.

Daily Weather Observations for Tues., Jan. 29, 2013

Temp: 64.0 degrees F.

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 85 percent (Humid).

Conditions: Overcast; foggy, visibility about half a mile; birds audible; security light still on in the yard; small patches of spider webs visible in the grass.

Wind: 0.2 mph out of the Southeast.

Barometric Pressure: 29.64 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

NOTES: Today is the 29th day of 2013 and the 40th day of Winter. There are 336 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Jan. 28, 2013

16 YEARS AGO
JAN. 30, 1997

“Conecuh County District Attorney Tommy Chapman’s request last Thurs., Jan. 23, 1997 to Gov. Fob James for assistance in the investigation into the brutal slaying of Richard Cary, Scott Williams and Brian Crane has been answered.
“Gov. James signed a proclamation authorizing Mr. Chapman’s requested $10,000 reward for any person giving information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the slaying.
“The slayings which took place on Nov. 20, 1996 at Cary’s Store in the Brooklyn community has been under intense investigation by local and state authorities.”

“A ribbon cutting was held Monday morning for the new Tri-County Medical Center Castleberry Clinic. On hand for the ribbon cutting were Vaughan Evergreen Medical Center Administrator Jim Peace, former Castleberry Councilman Bill Moncrease, former Mayor Bill Seales, Chamber President Alesia Stuart, Tri-County Director Marilyn Sawyer, Councilman Alton Henderson, Tax Assessor Terry Sullivan, Tri-County board member Myrtle Crosby, Castleberry Mayor Blaine Albrecht and Tri-County board member Daniel Evans.”

“Evergreen’s own Eddie Salter gave the ‘Call to Dinner’ last Thursday night at the annual Evergreen-Conecuh County Chamber of Commerce’s membership banquet. A large crowd was on hand for the event held in the Hillcrest cafetorium.”

31 YEARS AGO
JAN. 28, 1982

“Weatherman Earl Windham had no ‘external comments’ to accompany his weekly report. He did report moderate temperatures for this time of year and rainfall of .07 of an inch on Jan. 19 and .38 on Jan. 23.”

“Congressman Bill Dickinson of Alabama today requested President Reagan to expedite the request of Alabama Gov. Fob James that 46 Alabama counties be declared disaster areas because of severe ice storms which have recently crippled much of the state. Counties within the congressman’s district which are affected are Montgomery, Covington and Conecuh.”

“Conecuh County Judge of Probate Frank T. Salter seems happy that he is now able to issue these ‘new’ tags for automobiles and trucks. You’ll notice that the ‘new’ tags return to the old style by which the initial number(s) indicate the county, 21 meaning Conecuh, replacing those used for the past five years which had three letters and three numbers.”

“Conecuh County’s Junior Miss, Rebekah Williamson, joined 47 other Alabama Junior Miss contestants Fri., Jan. 22, in a tour of Alabama Army and Air National Guard facilities.
“The tour took place as a part of the state pageant activities in Montgomery. The tour was conducted by Alabama Guard members at the Army Aviation Support Facility and the Dannelly Air National Guard Base in Montgomery.
“Rebekah is the daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. Jack Williamson of Evergreen.”

46 YEARS AGO
JAN. 26, 1967

“Heardiss Reeves, age 47, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., died of accidental drowning on Jan. 16.
“A native of Evergreen, Mr. Reeves was a veteran of World War II and had made his home in Florida for a number of years.”

“MARION INSTITUTE BRIGADE BEAUTY SUPPORTS MARCH OF DIMES – Connie Gunter of Evergreen, Marion Institute Brigade Beauty of January, is doing her bit to help fight birth defect during March of Dimes month. The B.B. at Marion Institute is a feature of the cadet newspaper and she is chosen each month from among the girls at Judson College, located across town from the M.I. campus. Connie’s appeal is simple – all she says is PLEASE.”

“Chaulaurie Farm, Evergreen, recently purchased an Aberdeen-Angus bull from Roy Barrow, Evergreen.”

“State Director Hugh J. Caldwell Jr. said today that 340 registrants would be called to the Montgomery Induction Station in February to fill Alabama’s quota of 226 men. None will be called from Conecuh County.”

From “Front Page, Upper Left Corner” by Bob Bozeman – “The weatherman sure is all confused… the weather the past few days has been plumb summerish. I’m afraid if this goes on too long we’ll have plants and trees budding and take a loss when sure-to-come freezes hit.
“Meanwhile, I’m sure we’re all enjoying this mid-winter ‘Spring.’”

61 YEARS AGO
JAN. 31, 1952

“The Humble Oil Co. well on the property of Allen Moye near Pollard in neighboring Escambia County was in production this week as a 300 barrel a day producer. The well came in as a gusher on Jan. 19. It was the first gusher ever brought in in Alabama.”

“The U.S. Post Office at Brooklyn was burglarized last Thursday night with the robbers netting about $24 in cash. The post office is in the store operated by Miss Alice Amos, Postmaster. Sometime during the night, the robbers entered the store and carried off a small safe containing post office funds.”

“Cpl. Cornelius E. Gross Jr. of 409 Cemetery Ave., Evergreen, recently arrived in Japan from Korea with the 1st Cavalry Division. Cpl. Gross is serving as a trombone player in the 1st Cavalry Division’s band.
“Gross served in Korea since April 27, 1951 and for his service there was awarded the Korean Service Ribbon with one campaign star.”

“George C. Stamps, well known local businessman, sustained a bad fracture of his right leg Thursday afternoon, Jan. 24, when he stepped in an old abandoned flower pit. He was given treatment locally by Dr. R.L. Yeargan, but because of the seriousness of the fracture was sent to a bone specialist in Atlanta. He returned from Atlanta Tuesday and is reported to be doing nicely at his home on Bruner Avenue.”

76 YEARS AGO
JAN. 28, 1937

“SMALL FORTUNE IN GOLD COINS UNEARTHED IN CLARKE COUNTY: Rockville, Ala., Jan. 22 – Digging under old smokehouse sites is a favorite outdoor sport in Clarke County this week, following the Jim Allen family’s discovery of $2,700 in pre-War-Between-the-States gold coins a foot beneath what was once the floor of a smokehouse in their backyard.
“The Allen treasure was found on Jan. 13, and other would-be gold-diggers might like to wait until Feb. 13 – just for luck – but they are afraid someone else may get ahead of them.
“Test Reveals No Gold: Two years ago he asked W.E. Woodson to bring a divining rod and test for gold. Woodson complied with the request and reported ‘There’s no gold here.’
“Last week Jim Allen’s 31-year-old son, Marshall, found a silver half-dollar near the spot. He called his younger brother, Claude, who began digging with a rake in the wet earth. Within 20 minutes, they encountered a small porcelain urn, the top of which appeared to have been broken off recently.
“Inside were the glittering gold coins, there edges and contours as distinct as when they were minted, in 1861 or earlier, according to the dates thereon.
“While mostly in 20-dollar pieces, there were several five and 10 dollar gold coins and a small amount of silver halves, quarter, dimes and half-dimes. The total face value of the find, the place at approximately $2,700. Of this, $2,500 in gold and $5.65 in silver is being held in the Jackson, Ala. Bank & Trust Co.
“Division On Coins Decided: Son Claude, as finder, claims half. Father Jim is entitled to the other half, according to Claude, because he owns the land. Brother Marshall, who started the fruitful digging, stands by gloomily and says: ‘It looks I’m left out.’
“Four other brothers, a married sister and an aged mother are pleased but have little to say.
“On Banker George Warren’s advice Father Jim, 62, and Brother Claude have placed the major part of the money in a safety deposit box. They have mutually agreed that both must be present when it is opened.
“On Probate Judge Coma Garrett’s advice, they called on Harwell G. Davis, former Clarke Countian and now federal collector of internal revenue, for counsel as to what the federal government would allow on the gold coins.
“Some of the coins may have considerable premium value and, if allowed to dispose of them individually, the Allens may find their fortune greatly increased.
“Value of Gold Determined: If the government will accept the gold on a weight basis, it will be worth 40 percent more than face value due to subsequent decrease in gold dollar content on the part of the United States Treasury.
“Mr. Davis has taken the matter up with Washington treasury officials.
“First court registry of what is now the 80-acre Allen place, eight miles south of Jackson, was made in 1850 by Robert C. Payne. The Payne family lived there during the War Between the States, when, in the opinion of most Clarke Countians, the money was buried lest it fall into the hands of ‘Yankee’ raiding parties.
“Jim Allen paid $1,000 for the house and farm 26 years ago.”

LIFE LIST UPDATE No. 148 – Drink a fresh lemonade at Toomer’s Drugs in Auburn

I scratched another item off my “life list” on Saturday when I drank a fresh lemonade at Toomer’s Drugs in Auburn, Ala.

This is something that I’ve wanted to do ever since the Alabama Tourism Department listed the drug store’s fresh lemonade on their “100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Before You Die” list. This fresh squeezed lemonade is so good that in 2001 Esquire magazine ranked it No. 1 on its list of “162 Reasons It’s Good To Be An American.”

My son and I dropped by Toomer’s Drugs for a quick visit on Saturday, and I can say without a doubt that the fresh lemonade I enjoyed was the best that I’ve ever had. It was strong and tart, but left you with a sweet aftertaste that made you feel like you could drink a gallon of the stuff. In fact, they sell it by the gallon, at $14.95 a jug. My 16-ounce lemonade wasn’t nearly that expensive though, coming in at a modest $2.52. It was worth every penny.

Located at 100 North College Street, many of you have probably heard of Toomer’s Drugs because it’s often mentioned in relation to Auburn football, especially during radio and television broadcasts. The drug store is located on Toomer’s Corner, at the intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue. It’s also across the intersection from the famous Toomer’s Oaks, which are two massive old-growth oaks that are “rolled” with toilet paper after big Auburn football wins.

Toomer’s Drugs opened in 1896 and was founded by Sheldon “Shel” Toomer, a halfback on Auburn’s first football team. Toomer went on to work as a pharmacist and represented Lee County in the Alabama State House of Representatives. The business is currently owned by Betty Haisten of Trussville, who renovated the building in 1999.

In addition to its lemonade, the drug store also includes a full diner with menu items like sandwiches, melts, hot dogs, bowls of chili, baked potatoes and soups. Naturally, they also sell prescription drugs and just about any kind of Auburn University souvenir you could ever want. To check out their Web site, visit www.toomersdrugs.com.

If you get the urge to visit Toomer’s Drugs yourself, it’s open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. When we paid the drugstore a visit on Saturday, it wasn’t very crowded and there was almost no wait. Other than a few college kids milling about, we were the only customers in arguably the most famous landmark in Auburn, outside of Jordan-Hare Stadium.

In the end, I enjoyed scratching another item off my life list, especially one that tasted so good. How many of you have ever had a fresh lemonade from Toomer’s Drugs in Auburn? What did you think about it? Did you like it or not? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Mon., Jan. 28, 2013

Temp: 55.4 degrees F.

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 82 percent (Humid).

Conditions: Overcast; dogs and birds audible; security light still on in the yard.

Wind: 0.1 mph out of the East-Southeast.

Barometric Pressure: 29.80 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

NOTES: Today is the 28th day of 2013 and the 39th day of Winter. There are 337 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Lee Child's 'One Shot' Jack Reacher novel returns to best-seller list

Today is Sunday, so that means that it’s time for my weekly breakdown of this week’s Publishers Weekly Best-Seller List. According to the list, there are no new books at the top of the four major best-sellers lists this week, that is, all four of the top books on each list remained unchanged this week.

"A Memory of Light" by Robert Jordan remained the No. 1 book on the hardcover fiction best-sellers list for the second straight week.

"Shred: The Revolutionary Diet: 6 Weeks 4 Inches 2 Sizes" by Ian K. Smith remained the top book on the hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list for the third straight week.

"Odd Interlude" by Dean Koontz remained the top book on the mass market paperback best-sellers list for the second week in a row.

"Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander remained the No. 1 book on the trade paperbacks best-sellers list for the eighth week in a row.

There were three books on this week’s hardcover fiction best-sellers list that weren’t on that list last week. They (and their places on the list) included "The Fifth Assasin" by Brad Meltzer (2), "The Third Bullet" by Stephen Hunter (6) and "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini (14).

There were three books on this week’s hardcover nonfiction best-sellers list that weren’t on the list last week. They included "My Beloved World" by Sonia Sotomayor (3), "Eat More of What You Love" by Marlene Koch (4) and "Going Clear" by Lawrence Wright (13).

There was only one book on this week’s mass market paperbacks best-sellers list that wasn’t on the list last week - "One Shot" by Lee Child, which was No. 14 on the list.

There was only one book on this week’s trade paperbacks best-sellers list that wasn’t on the list last week - "Private Number 1 Suspect" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, which was No. 4 on that list.

As a reminder, I’m posting these lists each Sunday because they, as a whole, represent a great, contemporary recommended reading list. These lists are initially released each week on Thursday, and if you’re interested in reading them then, visit Publishers Weekly’s Web site at www.publishersweekly.com. Below you’ll find all four of this week’s best-seller lists.

HARDCOVER FICTION
1. "A Memory of Light" by Robert Jordan
2. "The Fifth Assasin" by Brad Meltzer
3. "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
4. "Tenth of December: Stories" by George Saunders
5. "The Husband List" by Janet Evanovich
6. "The Third Bullet" by Stephen Hunter
7. "The Racketeer" by John Grisham
8. "Collateral Damage" by Stuart Woods
9. "Kinsey and Me: Stories" by Sue Grafton
10. "Cross Roads" by Wm. Paul Young
11. "The Twelve Tribes of Hattie" by Ayana Mathis
12. "The Forgotten" by David Baldacci
13. "Threat Vector" by Tom Clancy
14. "Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker" by Jennifer Chiaverini
15. "The Blood Gospel" by James Rollins

HARDCOVER NONFICTION
1. "Shred: The Revolutionary Diet: 6 Weeks 4 Inches 2 Sizes" by Ian K. Smith
2. "Killing Kennedy" by Bill O'Reilly
3. "My Beloved World" by Sonia Sotomayor
4. "Eat More of What You Love" by Marlene Koch
5. "I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak" by Joel Osteen
6. "No Easy Day" by Mark Owen
7. "The Plan" by Lyn-Genet Recitas
8. "The End of Diabetes" by Joel Fuhrman
9. "Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust" by Ina Garten
10. "The Virgin Diet" by J.J. Virgin
11. "Fat Chance" by Robert Lustig
12. "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meachum
13. "Going Clear" by Lawrence Wright
14. "The World Until Yesterday" by Jared Diamond
15. "Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook" by Weight Watchers

MASS MARKET PAPERBACKS
1. "Odd Interlude" by Dean Koontz
2. "Return to Sender" by Fern Michaels
3. "The Columbus Affair: A Novel" by Steve Berry
4. "Montana" by Debbie Macomber
5. "Big Sky River" by Linda Lael Miller
6. "Catch Me: A Detective D.D. Warren Novel" by Lisa Gardner
7. "10th Anniversary" by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro
8. "Full House" by Janet Evanovich
9. "Left for Dead: A Novel" by J.A. Jance
10. "Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Choke Point" by Peter Telep
11. "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks
12. "After Tex" by Sherryl Woods
13. "Kill Alex Cross" by James Patterson
14. "One Shot" by Lee Child
15. "Sea Glass Winter: A Shelter Bay Novel" by JoAnn Ross

TRADE PAPERBACKS
1. "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander
2. "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James
3. "Fifty Shades Darker" by E.L. James
4. "Private Number 1 Suspect" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
5. "Fifty Shades Freed" by E.L. James
6. "Home Front" by Kristin Hannah
7. "Private London" by James Patterson
8. "The Paris Wife" by Paula McLain
9. "Death Comes to Pemberley" by P.D. James
10. "Life of Pi" by Yann Martel
11. "Reflected in You: A Crossfire Novel" by Sylvia Day
12. "Safe Haven" by Nicholas Sparks
13. "Bared to You: A Crossfire Novel" by Sylvia Day
14. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky
15. "The Hobbit, Or There and Back Again" by J.R.R. Tolkien

In the end, let me know if you’ve had a chance to read any of these books. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Sun., Jan. 27, 2013

Temp: 47.1 degrees F.

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 82 percent (Humid).

Conditions: Clear skies; birds audible; security lights still on in the distance; small patches of spider webs visible in the grass.

Wind: 1.3 mph out of the East.

Barometric Pressure: 29.82 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

NOTES: Today is the 27th day of 2013 and the 38th day of Winter. There are 338 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Who do YOU think will win this year's slate of Bram Stoker Awards?

On Wednesday, the Horror Writers Association released the preliminary ballot for this year’s Bram Stoker Awards, which is the horror genre’s top annual literary awards.

The preliminary ballot is essentially Round One in the award selection process. Over the next few weeks, the HWA’s membership will cast their ballots and then the slate of final nominees for this year’s awards will be announced.

Without further ado, here’s the initial ballot in three major categories:

Superior Achievement in a Novel:

1. “The Trouble with Harry” by Hal Bodner
2. “14” by Peter Clines
3. “Bottled Abyss” by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
4. “NightWhere” by John Everson
5. “Cemetery Club” by J.G. Faherty
6. “Coronation” by Lee F. Jordan
7. “The Drowning Girl” by Caitlin R. Kiernan
8. “The Haunted” by Bentley Little
9. “Inheritance” by Joe McKinney

Superior Achievement in a First Novel:

1. “Charlotte Markham and the House of Darklings” by Michael Boccacino
2. “Wide Open” by Deborah Coates
3. “The Legend of the Pumpkin Thief” by Charles Day
4. “A Requiem for Dead Flies” by Peter Dudar
5. “Bad Glass” by Richard Gropp
6. “Resurrection X: Zombie Evolution” by Dane Hatchell
7. “Dead Harvest” by Chris Holm
8. “The Sinner” by K. Trap Jones
9. “Life Rage” by L.L. Soares
10. “City Under the Moon” by Hugh Sterbakov

Superior Achievement in Nonfiction:

1. “Carrie: Studies in the Horror Film” by Joe Aisenberg
2. “Conversations with Kreskin” by The Amazing Kreskin and Michael McCarty
3. “Writing Darkness” by Michael Collings
4. “The Annotated Sandman, Vol. 1” by Les Klinger
5. “Write of the Living Dead” by Araminta Star Matthews, Rachel Lee and Stan Swanson
6. “Trick or Treat: A History of Halloween” by Lisa Morton
7. “The Undead and Theology” by Kim Paffenroth and John W. Morehead
8. Adapting Poe: Re-Imaginings in Popular Culture” by Dennis R. Perry and Carl H. Sederholm
9. “Dark Directions: Romero, Craven, Carpenter and the Modern Horror Film” by Kendall R. Phillips

Superior Achievement in Graphic Novel:

1. “The Sixth Gun, Vol. 3: Bound” by Cullen Bunn
2. “Rachel Rising, Vol. 1: The Shadow of Death” by Terry Moore
3. “The Tale of Brin and Bent and Minno Marylebone” by Ravi Thornton
4. “Behind These Eyes” by Peter J. Wacks and Guy Anthony De Marco
5. “Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times” by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton

Stoker Awards will also be given in seven other categories, including Young Adult Novel, Long Fiction, Short Fiction, Screenplay, Anthology, Fiction Collection and Poetry. For more information about the works that were on the ballot in those categories, visit the HWA’s website at www.horror.org. The final ballot of nominees will be announced on Feb. 23.

On April 3, 2012, I posted a complete list of all the novels that have won a Stoker Award for Superior Achievment in a Novel. To see that list, follow this link: http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2012/04/which-of-these-bram-stoker-award.html.

Some of you may also be interested in checking out the HWA’s Recommended Reading List. I posted it on April 29, 2010, and you can view it here: http://leepeacock2010.blogspot.com/2010/04/hwas-recommended-reading-list.html.

In the end, which of the works list above do you think will take home the top honors in this year’s round of Bram Stoker Awards? Which have you had the chance to read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Sat., Jan. 26, 2013

Temp: Reading not taken today.

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: Reading not taken today.

Conditions: Reading not taken today.

Wind: Reading not taken today.

Barometric Pressure: Reading not taken today.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

NOTES: Today is the 26th day of 2013 and the 37th day of Winter. There are 339 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Friday, January 25, 2013

How many of these science fiction, adventure classics have YOU read?

I ran across two very cool “best of” book lists yesterday on AbeBooks.com – “50 Essential Science Fiction Books” and “Classic Adventure Stories.” Both of these great lists were compiled by Richard Davies.

For those of you unfamiliar with AbeBooks, it’s an online marketplace where you can buy new, used, rare, out-of-print books and cheap textbooks. Founded in 1996, they offer more than 140 million titles from booksellers from around the world.

Without further ado, here’s the “50 Essential Science Fiction Books” list. You’ll find the “Classic Adventure Stories” list a little further down the page Enjoy.

50 Essential Science Fiction Books

1. Acme Novelty Library No. 19 by Chris Ware (2008)
2. Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank (1959)
3. Behold the Man by Michael Moorcock (1969)
4. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932)*
5. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller (1960)

6. The Chrysalids by John Wyndham (1955)
7. Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks (1987)
8. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson (1999)
9. The Death of Grass or No Blade of Grass by John Christopher (1956)
10. The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester (1953)

11. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick (1968)*
12. The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard (1962)
13. Dune by Frank Herbert (1965)*
14. Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (1949)
15. Embassytown by China Mieville (2011)

16. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (1985)*
17. Falling Free by Lois McMaster Bujold (1988)
18. The Female Man by Joanna Russ (1975)
19. Foundation by Isaac Asimov (1951)
20. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979)

21. Hothouse by Brian Aldiss (1962)
22. Hyperion by Dan Simmons (1989)
23. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951)
24. A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne (1864)
25. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin (1969)

26. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (2007)
27. Logan’s Run by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson (1967)*
28. The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett (1955)
29. Make Room! Make Room! By Harry Harrison (1966)
30. Man Plus by Frederick Pohl (1976)

31. Mission of Gravity by Hal Clement (1954)
32. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (1949)*
33. Nor Crystal Tears by Alan Dean Foster (1982)
34. Odd John by Olaf Stapledon (1935)
35. Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (2005)

36. Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (1993)
37. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke (1972)*
38. Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo (1996)
39. Ring Around the Sun by Clifford D. Simak (1953)
40. Ringworld by Larry Niven (1970)

41. Roadside Picnic/Tale of the Troika by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky (1972)
42. The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut (1959)
43. Solaris by Stanislaw Lem (1961)
44. The Stand by Stephen King (1978)*
45. Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein (1959)

46. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (2005)
47. Venus Plus X by Theodore Sturgeon (1960)
48. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells (1898)
49. When Worlds Collide by Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie (1933)
50. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (1962)

Classic Adventure Stories

1. Beau Geste by P.C. Wren (1924)
2. The Call of the Wild by Jack London (1903)
3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (1844)
4. Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff (1954)
5. The Four Feathers by A.E.W. Mason (1902)

6. The Gun by C.S. Forester (1933)
7. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier (1946)
8. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson (1886)
9. Kim by Rudyard Kipling (1901)
10. King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard (1885)

11. Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore (1869)
12. Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat (1956)
13. The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle (1912)
14. Moonfleet by J. Meade Falkner (1954)
15. The Prisoner of Zenda (1894)

16. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)
17. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan (1915)
18. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883)
19. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne (1870)*
20. The Wool-Pack by Cynthia Harnett (1951)

I pulled these lists off of the AbeBooks Web site and arranged them in alphabetical order by title. If you’d like to read Davies’ remarks about both lists, see the lists in their original order and read more about each book on these lists, visit www.abebooks.com/books/features/50-essential-science-fiction-books.shtml and www.abebooks.com/books/adventure-crusoe-kidnapped-forester-kipling/timeless-tales.shtml.

In the end, how many of the books mentioned above have you read? Which did you like or dislike? Which would you recommend and why? Which was your personal favorite? Which books do you think should have been on these lists but weren’t? Let us know in the comments section below.

* I marked the titles that I’ve read to date with an asterisk.

Daily Weather Observations for Fri., Jan. 25, 2013

Temp: 50.9 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 83 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Heavy fog, visibility less than half a mile; partly cloudy; birds audible; small patches of spider webs visible in the grass.

Wind: 0.0 mph (No wind).

Barometric Pressure: 29.79 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

NOTES: Today is the 25th day of 2013 and the 36th day of Winter. There are 340 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cleopatra's Needle was erected in Central Park 132 years ago this week

If you took a good look around this week and listened to your friends and neighbors, you’ve probably noticed a good bit of progress taking place in the Evergreen area.

Bubba’s BBQ opened up to large crowds Monday of last week. Owned and operated by former Evergreen mayor Pat Poole, this new restaurant is located on Highway 83, right across from the Pizza Hut. Not only is the food outstanding, but Pat’s decorated the building with a lot of cool memorabilia that’s worth checking out.

On the other side of I-65, Evergreen’s new Shrimp Basket restaurant opened for business on Saturday. Huge crowds also flocked to this new eating establishment, and from all accounts their food and service is excellent. One Evergreen resident told me that she ate there and didn’t even feel like she was eating in Evergreen.

Also this week, you might have noticed that the walls are going up on the new FedEx facility on U.S. Highway 84, just east of Middleton Airfield. Construction began there weeks ago, but this week the project entered a new phase with the construction of the actual walls. Once complete, this will be another feather in Evergreen’s hat.

Maybe the best thing of all is that if you listen closely to local officials like Bobby Skipper, these recent developments are just the beginning. Skipper, who leads the city’s economic development team, says that more is to come if the city stays on track with its current plans. If he’s correct, and I suspect he is, who can say what’s in store for the future of Evergreen. Only time will tell.

----- 0 -----

Much was made over the very large halo that was clearly visible around the moon on Monday night, and like a lot of people, I’ve always associated halos with rain. “Ring around the moon, rain comes soon” is one of those old weather sayings that many of you have probably heard some old-timer say before. There wasn’t any rain in the forecast for Tuesday, so the jury’s still out on whether or not this halo will bring any rain.

When you see a halo around the moon, what you’re actually seeing is moonlight passing through ice crystals in thin, high-altitude clouds. Usually, these clouds are about 20,000 feet above the ground, that is, almost four miles high.

The next full moon is set to occur on Saturday, and January’s full moon is commonly referred to as the “Wolf Moon.” According to my Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Indians gave it this name because wolves howled in hunger outside their villages when this winter full moon rose high in the sky. The January full moon is also commonly referred to as the “Old Moon,” and some Indians called it the “Snow Moon.”

----- 0 -----

From the weird news file this week, I read that during this week in 1881, the ancient Egyptian obelisk known as Cleopatra’s Needle was erected in New York City’s Central Park. Originally erected in the Egyptian city of Heliopolis around 1,450 BC, this monument is 68-feet-tall and weighs 224 tons. It’s made out of red granite. If you’re ever in New York, you might want to check it out.

Magic Eight Ball predicts Ravens win in upcoming Super Bowl

The stage is now set for this year’s Super Bowl, which will be played Sun., Feb. 3, in New Orleans, starting at 5:30 p.m.

The Baltimore Ravens beat the New England Patriots, 28-13, Sunday to clinch the AFC title. Earlier on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers beat the Atlanta Falcons, 28-24, to win the NFC title.

One of the most unique things about the upcoming Super Bowl, which promises to be a great game, is that the head coaches for the Ravens and the 49ers are brothers. John Harbaugh is the head coach of the Ravens, and his little brother, Jim Harbaugh, is the head coach of the 49ers. People are already calling this year’s Super Bowl the “Harbowl.”

I look for the little brother to win this battle as the 49ers edge out the Ravens in the upcoming Super Bowl. I was surprised that the Ravens got by the Patriots on Sunday, and I don’t think they’ve got enough gas to get past the 49ers on Feb. 3.

However, my Magic Eight Ball doesn’t agree.

When I asked it on Monday morning if the 49ers would beat the Ravens in the upcoming Super Bowl, its answers was “My sources say no.” In other words, the Magic Eight Ball is predicting a Ravens win.

As you might have expected, both teams include players with Alabama ties.

Ravens players with Alabama ties include former Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes, former Alabama nose tackle Terrence Cody, former Alabama linebacker Courtney Upshaw and former Alabama State linebacker Nigel Carr, who’s on the eight-man practice squad.

49ers players with Alabama ties include former Auburn cornerback Carlos Rogers.

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Also during the past week, the Alabama Sports Writers Association named Carver-Montgomery quarterback Jeremy Johnson as the 31st recipient of the ASWA’s Mr. Football Award.

Johnson was an outstanding player at Carver, and Auburn football fans in the reading audience will be pleased to hear that the 6-foot-6, 219-pound signal caller has verbally committed to Auburn.

As the winner of this year’s Mr. Football Award, Johnson joins an elite fraternity of the best players from the state’s prep football history.

Vigor’s Tommy Compton won the first ever Mr. Football Award in 1982 and other winners over the years have included Pierre Goode of Hazlewood, David Palmer of Jackson-Olin, Freddie Kitchens of Etowah, Carnell Williams of Etowah, Brandon Cox of Hewitt-Trussville, JaMarcus Russell of Williamson, Andre Smith of Huffman, Julio Jones of Foley, Clint Mosley of Leroy and T.J. Yeldon of Daphne.

Johnson put up some impressive numbers while at Carver. As a senior, he threw for 3,193 yards and 31 touchdowns. He also rushed for 705 yards and seven touchdowns. As a junior, he threw for 2,432 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Johnson has the distinction of being probably the only Mr. Football ever to compete against Hillcrest on the football field. Many of you will remember when Hillcrest played two quarters against Carver in a preseason jamboree last August in Georgiana. Johnson saw limited action against Hillcrest that night because his coaches didn’t want him to get hurt before the season started. Hillcrest came out on top, 20-6.

The Evergreen Courant's Sports Flashback for Jan. 24, 2013

SEVEN YEARS AGO
JAN. 26, 2006

“Hillcrest head football coach Arlton Hudson said Tuesday that he has been relieved of his coaching duties at the school.
“Hudson has served as head football coach and athletic director for the past six years.
“Over the past six seasons, Hudson’s teams have averaged winning seven games each year. This season, the Jags posted a 2-8 record.”

“Hillcrest’s varsity boys are just two games away from posting a perfect record in area play this season, after adding wins over Opp and Geneva to its record last week.
“Four Jaguars scored in double figures (against Opp) with Cleveland Knight getting 15 points on five three-pointers to lead the crew.”
Other standout Hillcrest players that season included Nick Ackron, Blake Bryant, Chris Hines, Justin Holder, Richard Johnson, Nick Lovelace, P.K. Riley, Derrell Simpson and Robert Thomas.

“Noah Pettis, age six, went hunting with his dad, Sammy Pettis, when he killed this three-point buck. Noah has now killed eight deer. When asked where he shot the deer, Noah said, ‘Right in the shoulder.’”

“While hunting with his dad and friends in the Perdue Hill area, Will Smith of Brewton harvested this big 185-pound 12-point Saturday afternoon about 4:20 p.m. Will is the son of Mitch and Mitzi Smith and the grandson of Joe and Diane Morrison of Lyeffion.”

22 YEARS AGO
JAN. 24, 1991

“Members of the Sparta Academy boys and girls basketball teams that were named to the all-tournament team at the Monroe Academy Christmas Tournament held Dec. 14 and 15 were Tim Salter, Kimberli Griffin and Mark Watts.”

“Sparta Warriors up record to 11-2: Mike Bledsoe’s Sparta Warriors ran their season record to 11 and 2 with a sound 78-32 defeat of Catherine Academy. Leading scorers were Wayne Cook with 18 points, Steven Gall with 16, Mark Watts with 15 and Tim Salter with 13 points. Others scoring included Scott Brown with five points; McPherson Cook, four points; Terry Conway, three points; Chip Gibson, two points; and Sandy Salo, with two points. Team member Richard Weaver is sidelined presently because of injury.
“Saturday night the Warriors led by Tim Salter with 29 points and Mark Watts with 16 points, defeated Mobile Christian, 65-60.
“Friday night Sparta defeated Jackson Academy, 88 to 66. Leading scorers were Tim Salter, 31 points; Wayne Cook, 18; Steven Gall, 17; Scott Brown, 12; and Mark Watts had 11 points.
“The Warriors play again Saturday night at Hooper Academy in Montgomery. The next home game will be Tuesday night when the Warriors entertain Greenville Academy. The Warriors beat the Tornadoes, 85-83, in a game played last week in Greenville.”

37 YEARS AGO
JAN. 22, 1976

“Aggies romp Blue Devils 78-54, play SWAC meet: Evergreen downed archrival Conecuh County High of Castleberry Friday night by the score of 78-74. Evergreen is riding an eight-game winning streak.
“The Aggies leading scorer was Ronald Fantroy with 22 points. Leading the Aggies in rebounds was Edward Rankin with 12, playing in his best game of the season.
“Coach Charles Branum states that the Evergreen ‘B’ team is the best in a number of years. The B team has won eight straight games and is seeded first in the county tournament which will be held in Castleberry next week.”

“Sparta wins, loses, plays: The Sparta Academy Warriors won one and lost two during the week to run their season record to 10-5. Sparta will host Fort Dale Academy here Saturday night with four games on tap: Girls at 5 p.m., Juniors at 6, ‘B’ Team at 7 and Varsity at eight o’clock.
“Sparta finished third in the Crenshaw Academy Tournament, losing to Morgan Academy, 75-64, on Friday night and downing Autauga, 76-59, in the consolation game Saturday night. Ronnie Pugh was named to the all-tournament team.
“Against Morgan scoring was led by Pugh with 33 points and Jerry Peacock and Bobby Johnson had 10 each. Walker Scott, six, and Joe Andrews, five. Johnson with 23 and Pugh with 20 led the win over Autauga and Andrews had 12, Peacock and Scott, six each; Hugh Bradford, four; Woody Register, three; and Gray Stevens, two.”

67 YEARS AGO
JAN. 17, 1929

“It Had To Happen In Clarke County: Clarke County, down in Southwest Alabama, is a county with plenty of deer and turkey – and lots of stories about them. Buzz Walker of The Mobile Register with this one, which appeared in the form of a letter in his column from Mrs. Tommie Allen of Jackson:
“Thursday morning when I got up and looked out the door there was a big buck standing by our gate. He had come up with our cows.
“I turned and told my husband, and he got his gun and stood in the bedroom door, in his sleeping clothes and shot the deer.
“That was really something – and the last day of the season, at that. The buck had only three points, but he was certainly a fine, fat buck and big, too.”

“Dove and Trapping Seasons Near End: Dove hunters and trappers must cease their activities on Jan. 31, that being the last day of the respective seasons, it was announced by C. Graham Hixon, chief of the Department of Conservation’s Game, Fish and Seafoods Division. Also closing on this date are the seasons on sora, rails and gallinules, little hunted migratory waterfowl.
“The only hunting seasons remaining open after Jan. 31 will be those on bobwhite quail, rabbit, raccoon and opossum. They all close Feb. 20.”

“Sportsmen Oppose Gun Registration: In addition to voicing unanimous opposition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to establish a duck sanctuary in the Mobile Bay delta, the Mobile County Sportsmen’s Association has voted unanimous disapproval of U.S. Senate Bill 1678, which would require registration of all firearms of larger than .25 caliber.
“Members expressed the opinion that, while the bill was obviously intended as a means of curbing crime, the only registrants would be sportsmen.”

Daily Weather Observations for Thurs., Jan. 24, 2013

Temp: 48.0 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 82 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Mostly clear with a few trace clouds; jet contrails visible; birds audible; security lights still on in the distance.

Wind: 0.1 mph out of the South-Southwest.

Barometric Pressure: 29.81 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

NOTES: Today is the 24th day of 2013 and the 35th day of Winter. There are 341 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This week's movie picks are 'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters' and 'End of Watch'

It’s Wednesday, so today I give you my weekly list of movies that will open in theatres this week as well as a list of movies that will be released this week on DVD.


I hope this will serve as a useful guide as to what’s going on this week if you happen to be near a movie theatre or if you’re looking for something to drop into your NetFlix queue or pick up at the local Redbox.

Movies that are scheduled to hit theatres this week include:

- Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters (Action, Comedy): Directed by Tommy Wirkola and starring Jeremy Renner, Gemma Arterton, Famke Janssen, Thomas Mann and Zoe Bell.

- Happy People: A Year in the Taiga (Documentary, Not Rated): Directed by Werner Herzog and Dmitry Vasyukov.

- John Dies at the End (Horror, Comedy, R): Directed by Don Coscarelli and starring Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown and Glynn Turman.

- Knife Fight (Comedy, Drama): Directed by Bill Guttentag and starring Rob Lowe, Carrie-Anne Moss, Richard Schiff, Jamie Chung and Eric McCormack.

- Movie 43 (Comedy, R): Starring Halle Berry, Kate Bosworth, Justin Long, Chris Pratt and Seann William Scott.

- Noobz (Comedy, Adventure, R): Directed by Blake Freeman and starring Blake Freeman, Jason Mewes, Matt Shively, Casper Van Dien and Moises Arias.

- Parker (Action, Crime, R): Directed by Taylor Hackford and starring Jason Statham, Jennifer Lopez, Nick Nolte, Michael Chiklis and Clifton Collins Jr.

New DVD releases for the week of Jan. 22 include:

- Abel’s Field (Drama, Family, PG): Directed by Gordie Haakstad and starring Kevin Sorbo, Samuel Davis, Richard Dillard, Devin Bonnee and Luci Christian.

- Barrio Tales (Horror, R): Directed by Jarret Tarnol and starring Alexander Aguila, Carson Aune and Adam Beesely.

- Death Race 3: Inferno (Action, R): Directed by Roel Reine and starring Luke Gross, Danny Trejo, Ving Rhames, Fred Keohler and Robin Shou.

- Derby Dogs (Family, Comedy, PG): Starring Tandi Wright, Vince Martin and Dai Henwood.

- End of Watch (Crime, Drama, R): Directed by David Ayer and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Pena, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrera and Frank Grillo.

- Fat Kid Rules the World (Comedy, R): Directed by Matthew Lillard and starring Jacob Wysocki, Matt O’Leary, Billy Campbell, Dylan Arnold and Megan Day.

- The Imposter (Suspense, Mystery, R): Directed by Bart Layton and starring Adam O’Brian, Anna Ruben and Alan Teichman.

- The Paperboy (Suspense, Drama, R): Directed by Lee Daniels and starring Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, John Cusack, Matthew McConaughey and Scott Glenn.

- Pina (Documentary, PG): Directed by Wim Wenders and starring Regina Advento, Malou Airaudo, Ruth Amarante, Pina Bausch and Rainer Behr.

- Searching for Sugar Man (Documentary, Music, PG-13): Directed by Malik Bendjelloul.

If I could only watch one movie at the theatre this week, it would be “Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters,” and if I had to pick just one DVD to rent this week, it would be “End of Watch.”

In the end, let me know if you get a chance to watch any of the new movies in theatres this week or if you’ve already seen any of the movies that have just been released on DVD. What did you think about them? Which would you recommend? Let us know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Wed., Jan. 23, 2013

Temp: 37.9 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 79 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Partly cloudy; birds audible; security lights still on in the distance; standing water in the yard.

Wind: 0.0 mph (No wind).

Barometric Pressure: 29.89 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

NOTES: Today is the 23rd day of 2013 and the 34th day of Winter. There are 342 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

WWII's 'Little Eva' incident involved Frisco City resident, mailman


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in the “Little Eva” incident, which involved Frisco City resident, Grady Gaston. Gaston died in 1998, but before that he was our hometown mailman, and I grew up hearing tales about his dramatic World War II survival experience.


During WWII, Gaston was a staff sergeant aboard the “Little Eva,” a Consolidated B-24 Liberator that crashed on the coast of Queensland, Australia on Dec. 2, 1942. The plane was returning from a bombing run in Papua New Guinea when it encountered a storm that knocked out the plane’s radio. The crew lost their bearings in the storm and eventually ran out of fuel while trying to return to their base.

Gaston, who served as the plane’s ball turret gunner, was among a number of the plane’s crew who parachuted to safety, but his ordeal was far from over. He and three second lieutenants traveled west on foot until they reached the coast. They followed the shoreline until they found an abandoned shack on Christmas Eve. One officer later drowned, and the two other lieutenants died later in February.

All along, Gaston would survive on his own for two more months until he was eventually found on April 23, 1943 by natives looking for stray cattle. He would go on to be featured in Ripley’s Believe It or Not! for his five-month-long ordeal in the Australian wilderness. As a boy, I remember hearing tales from the old-timers in the barbershop about how Gaston ate raw snakes and frogs to stay alive.

You can find a lot of information about this incident online, but there’s one thing that I haven’t been able to put my hands on for quite some time. Around the time that I was in the fourth grade, the magazine for our local rural electrical association did a large feature story on Gaston. I believe that would have been around 1984 or 1985. I kept a copy of that magazine for several years, but eventually lost my copy of it. If anyone out there has a copy of this magazine, I’d love to photocopy the Gaston article. If memory serves me correctly, the article included a copy of the old Ripley’s Believe It or Not! cartoon that featured Gaston.

As you might have imagined, the “Little Eva” incident has been the subject of a few books. In November 2004, the University of Queensland Press published a 209-page book called “Savage Wilderness: The Epic Outback Search for the Crew of the Little Eva” by Barry Ralph. In October 2006, Pelican Publishing Co. published a 240-page book called “The Crash of the Little Eva,” also written by Barry Ralph. In all likelihood, the incident is probably described in a number of other books.

In the end, does anyone out there know where I can get a copy of the REA magazine article about Gaston? Have any of you read Barry Ralph’s books about the “Little Eva” incident? What did you think about them? Does anyone have a copy that I could borrow? Let me know in the comments section below.

Daily Weather Observations for Tues., Jan. 22, 2013

Temp: 33.1 degrees F

Rainfall (past 24 hours): 0.0 inches

Humidity: 77 percent (Humid)

Conditions: Mostly clear with a few trace clouds; birds audible and visible; security lights still on in the distance; standing water in the yard.

Wind: 1.1 mph out of the North-Northwest.

Barometric Pressure: 29.84 inHg.

Week to Date Rainfall: 0.0 inches

Month to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

Year to Date Rainfall: 2.3 inches

NOTES: Today is the 22nd day of 2013 and the 33rd day of Winter. There are 343 days left in the year.

Readings taken at 0700 hrs Central Standard Time (1300 GMT) daily, just west of the Monroe-Conecuh County line, near Excel, Alabama, USA, in the vicinity of Lat 31.42834°N Lon 87.30131°W. Elevation: 400 feet above sea level. CoCoRaHS Station No. AL-MN-4, Station Name: Excel 2.5 ESE

Monday, January 21, 2013

LIFE LIST UPDATE – No. 440: Read MLK’s “I Have a Dream” speech

I scratched another item off my life list last Thursday when I took the time to actually read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

Most Americans have probably heard at least a sound bite or two from this famous speech, but I think the vast majority of people out there have never heard or read the complete thing. I was among that number until last Thursday.

It’s hard not to admire Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He showed a lot of backbone and personal courage during his battle for fairness and civil rights. He was also a gifted public speaker, and I admire anyone who can eloquently communicate with a crowd. He was so gifted that his “I Have a Dream” speech is generally considered a masterpiece of public speaking.

This speech should be required reading for anyone interested in American History. I think you’d be hard pressed to completely understand the events of the 1960s and the Civil Rights Movement without being somewhat familiar with King’s speech. If for no other reason, you should read King’s speech for its value as a historical document.

In all, King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was a little over 1,600 words long, and it took him 17 minutes to deliver. He gave this speech almost 50 years ago, on Aug. 28, 1963, before a crowd of over 200,000 civil rights marchers in Washington, D.C. King gave the speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and there’s a plaque there today on the exact spot where he stood.

How many of you have read this famous speech in its entirety? What did you think about it? How many of you were alive when the speech was given? Did any of you happen to hear it live during its original broadcast? What was your reaction then? Let us know in the comments section below.

For those of you who haven’t read this speech and would like to do so, I’m posting it below. No matter what your race, creed or religion, this speech contains a little bit of something for everyone, and we’d all benefit from the dose of goodness it contains. Without further ado, here’s the speech:

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I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we've come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men -- yes, black men as well as white men -- would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked "insufficient funds."

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we've come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "for whites only." We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends -- so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with new meaning "My country 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father's died, land of the Pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!"

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi -- from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring -- when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children -- black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics -- will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

The Evergreen Courant's News Flashback for Jan. 21, 2013

SEVEN YEARS AGO
JAN. 26, 2006

“Veteran Circuit Judge Sam Welch of Monroeville announced Tues., Jan. 24, 2006, that he will run for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals as a Republican.
“Judge Welch has been the circuit judge serving Conecuh and Monroe counties (the 35th Judicial Circuit) since 1989.”

“A clean-up for the Belleville area destroyed by a tornado two weeks ago has been planned for this Saturday, according to Belleville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Sid Lambert.
“The firehouse was totally destroyed when an estimated F1 strength tornado tore through the community Jan. 13, leaving a path of debris and structural damage a half-mile wide and a mile long along U.S. 84.”

“Conecuh County Attorney Richard Nix told the Conecuh County Commission Monday that records from the Merit Board support a change in classification for Payroll Clerk Ann Sullivan. Nix researched the issue, which has been in the headlines of the Mobile Register for two weeks, and found the Jan. 23, 2003 minutes of the Merit Board recommended that her pay be changed to a grade equal currently of $10.66 per hour. She was raised to a scale of $10.71 in October.”

“Heather Walton, Director of Conecuh County E911/EMA received the Advanced Level Emergency Manager certification at the 2006 Association of Alabama Emergency Managers Mid-Year Conference in Birmingham on Jan. 18.”

22 YEARS AGO
JAN. 24, 1991

“New officers for the Conecuh County Cattlemen Association were installed at their annual banquet held Jan. 19 at Sparta Academy. New officers are Joe Morrison, President; Thad House, Vice President; and David Jackson, Secretary-Treasurer.”

“The body of a Paul man who has been missing for almost five months was found Sunday morning at approximately 11:20 a.m. by some local hunters.
“Larry Thomas, 37, had been missing since Aug. 28, 1990 when he was last seen on the Brooklyn Road. His body was found approximately 372 feet off County Road 42 (Brooklyn Road) next to a pine tree. Foul play has been ruled out by the forensics lab in Mobile.”

“United States Senator Richard Shelby will be the featured speaker at the Evergreen-Conecuh County Chamber of Commerce’s annual promotion membership banquet on Friday night, Jan. 25, at seven o’clock at the Quality Inn.”

“Weatherman Harry Ellis reports .46 of an inch of rain on Jan. 15, .32 on Jan. 18 and .35 on Jan. 19.”

“Southern Pine Electric Cooperative is presently in the process of upgrading the three-phase line on the Owassa-Brownville Road. This construction is part of the cooperative’s two-year work plan and should be completed by late March or early April, depending upon the weather.”

37 YEARS AGO
JAN. 22, 1976

“Earl Windham reports .46 of an inch of rain on Jan. 13.”

“The Evergreen City Council had a rather uneventful second meeting of the year Tuesday night, according to City Clerk Miller T. Sellers.
“Approval was given to the painting of the fireplugs in the downtown area ‘Red, White and Blue’ in the ‘Spirit of 1776.’
“The Council also voted to appropriate $500 to the city’s Bicentennial Committee. The committee has planned a number of activities during the year to mark the nation’s 200th birthday.”

“Miss Voncile Ingram was named ‘Miss Rubicon’ at the annual pageant Monday night at Evergreen High School and will be featured in the school’s annual this year.”

“The ‘top ten’ in Evergreen High School’s Miss Rubicon Pageant held at the school Monday night were Sharon Riley, Karen Palmer, Brenda Mitchell, Mollie Bradley, Voncile Ingram, Kathy Killought, Selinda Williams, Amy Gates, Cathy Hancock and Lisa Armstrong.”

“Melanie Stewart won first place in the eighth grade in the Alabama Private School Association’s District III Spelling Bee held at Escambia Academy on Jan. 13 and will compete in the state finals. Donna Kendrick was runner-up in the sixth-grade.”

“Pam Brown was crowned Miss Lyeffion High School at the annual pageant held at the school Thursday night. Rosa Boggs was second runner-up and Diane Pate was first runner-up.”

67 YEARS AGO
JAN. 24, 1946

“The political pot in Conecuh has begun to boil since the meeting of the County Democratic Executive Committee held at the court house last Saturday.
“A number of candidates promptly qualified and made their formal announcements will be found elsewhere in this issue. Those who have announced to date are J.G. Moore for sheriff, A.E. Johnson Sr. for member of board of directors from District One, Walter C. Simmons, for member of board of directors, from District Two and A.K. Williams for member of the board of directors from District Two.”

“Well Known Mystery Show Coming to Pix: Above is a scene from Lippincott’s ghost show and magical follies coming to Pix Theatre for a late show performance starting at 10:30 p.m. Wed., Feb. 6.
“Lippincott, a veteran magician, has just closed a long tour of mid-western theatres including a week at the Tower Theatre, Kansas City; the Riverside Theatre, Milwaukee; and engagements in Topeka, Wichita, Omaha and many others. The magician and his company of young lady assistants opened their 1946 season with a new program with a four-week engagement at the French Casino Theatre Club, famous New Orleans night spot.
“As in the past the magician carries a menagerie of small animals and birds used in his mysteries and illusions as a special treat for the children. In his spook or ghost show act he promises sensational, weird effects offered by the world’s leading spirit mediums. Featured in his company of girl assistants is his daughter, Francine, Xylophone artist, who was in school when Lippincott last appeared in the Martin Theatres.
“He promises beautiful costumes, special lighting effects and carries more than a ton of stage equipment.”