Bodice rip-offs
If things seemed a little, well, hotter around the Dallas-Fort Worth area earlier this month, there may have been a good reason.

The 13th Annual Romantic Times Booklovers Convention, Book Fair and Romance Festival was being held at the Tarrant County Convention Center. Texas, it seems, has the distinction of harboring more romance writers than any other state. And women who read romance novels have sex with their partners 74 percent more than women who don't, according to a Psychology Today study conference organizers are touting.

Conventioneers were treated to such pleasures as a Mr. Romance Cover Pageant, with hunks parading in romance-novel cover costume (puffy shirt unbuttoned to navel), evening attire, and jeans.

With romance novels comprising almost 50 percent of all U.S. paperback sales, this booming industry has predictably attracted pseudo-psychologists eager to explain the phenomenon. One such specialist is Dallasite Chris Pierson, who describes herself as a "professional lawyer and amateur sociobiologist."

Addressing the weekend convention, Pierson offered words of pseudo-insight. She attributed the appeal of bodice rippers to "biological needs and gender-based emotional preferences."

"...Still wired deep into the female brain," she said, "is the search for a strong provider who will commit his physical and financial resources for the benefit of her children. That's why the plot always involves the raw male power of the hero being converted into the subconscious reproductive agenda of the female."

Pierson even offers marital pseudo-advice: "It's not P.C. to say, but a smart wife gives her man sex every 48 hours."

And he gives her a picture of Fabio.

Clothes make the 'Boys
After last season, we should have seen it coming.
Dallas Cowboy Michael Irvin and ex-Cowboy Alfredo Roberts have teamed up to produce a clothing line that promotes peace.

The peace-sign motif bandanas and T-shirts are all very nice. But after the 'Boys' performance in the playoffs, we'd suggest adding a line of dresses.

The Snitch State
When two Texas companies, including Southern Benefits Consultants of Dallas, forked over a total of $270,000 last month to settle software copyright claims with the Business Software Alliance, our Texas heritage gained a new wrinkle.

Robert Kruger, who runs BSA's enforcement program against software pirates aggressively enough to make a Texas Ranger proud, relies on a tip hotline for leads. And, he says, the line is red hot in the Lone Star State.

Notes Kruger: "We receive more calls to our hotline from Texas than from almost any other state in the nation."

It could be our fine state's tradition of whistle-blowing. Or it could be the frequency of software violations in Texas.

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