Smart Talk, Dec. 31 

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With a dagger

 

Mike Huckabee's new collection of Christmas memories, “A Simple Christmas,” was on the New York Times hardcover nonfiction bestseller list for the fifth week last week, at No. 14, in a virtual tie for 13th. It was marked in the Times with a dagger, a typographical mark indicating that book stores on which the Times bases its ratings had reported bulk purchases of the book. Books by right-wing authors often carry the bulk-buy designation. Glenn Beck's latest on the list, for example, was also daggered. The Times has shied away from making any value judgment about this denotation, but liberals have complained that bulk buys are signs of manipulation of the lists or ways to move money into the pockets of right-wing authors in nefarious ways. Huckabee has, for example, distributed books in bulk as part of campaign fund-raisers. An objective measure of book sales is at Amazon, the on-line bookseller, where Huckabee's latest stood at a respectable No. 77 when it was at 14 on the Times list. Just don't pay the $19.95 retail. It's available through Amazon for about $11.

 

Bronzing Brooks

 

Little Rock native Brooks Robinson, the Hall of Fame Baltimore Orioles third baseman, is to be memorialized in a permanent tribute on a plaza outside the Orioles' Camden Yards stadium. Baltimore's Public Arts Commission has approved plans for a 9-foot-high, $500,000 bronze statue to be installed by opening day 2011. The statue will be privately funded by Robinson fans, including Henry Rosenberg, former chairman of Crown Central Petroleum, for which Robinson once worked as a spokesman. It will be the second statue to honor Robinson, joining one in York, Pa., where he played before joining the Orioles.

Rosenberg was quoted in the Baltimore Sun: “It's something that has to be done. Brooks Robinson is ‘Mr. Baseball,' ‘Mr. Baltimore,' ‘Mr. Orioles,' just like Johnny Unitas represents the Colts. We've been working on this for three to five years, and we've finally come up with a location. It's absolutely the right thing to do.”

 

AWWWW: Kendi is the name given the Little Rock Zoo's baby female chimp. The name has African roots and is said to mean “loved one.” Vicki Pennington of Junction City suggested the name in a contest and it was the overwhelming choice of voters.

 

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