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Another Grim Chapter in Long Island Family’s Saga

The Point
On Wednesday night, Frederick John Handler, 57, was found dead by a neighbor in front of his home on his family compound, the Point, on the Gold Coast of Long Island. Handler's death is the latest in a string of tragedies to befall his family, who have feuded for years over the estate, a 21-acre spread that includes a vineyard, lily pond, tennis and squash courts, a horse paddock, a greenhouse, and formal gardens that is believed to have inspired Jay Gatsby's home in The Great Gatsby. “It was rather idyllic, but a fool’s paradise as it turned out,” Handler's mother, Marjorie Brickman Kern, told the New York Times last year. Kern, whose father, Herman Brickman, built the compound in 1951 and her son Russell were involved in a bitter legal battle with John Handler: They alleged he had tricked his mother into selling him her 22-percent share of the estate and put the family $1.7 million into debt. The dispute dragged on for over a decade. “My father’s intent was that we all live in great harmony in a beautiful setting,” Kern told the Times ten years ago. But then “avarice and greed took over.” Also, apparently, really bad luck.


And on the Third Day, the Lopez Twins Rose From the Womb

Jennifer Lopez

Finally. America's exhaustive wait is over. Jennifer Lopez, shortly after midnight, expelled her heaven-sent twins from her womb, bestowing their glory unto the world. According to the Associated Press, a 5-pound, 7-ounce girl popped out first, followed a few minutes later by a 6-pound brother. We know that you have a lot of questions: are they healthy? What are their names? Will People really pay $4-6 million for their first mug shots? Is her vagina totally broken now? Unfortunately, we won't know these answers for a few weeks, until People runs an airbrushed picture of Jennifer's glowing face inches away from the tots, with a coverline somehow involving the word "joy." All we know for sure are these two things: One, that those two babies, by virtue of being fraternal boy-and-girl twins, are going to be the awesomest Hollywood hellraisers ever. And two, J.Lo is going to drop that baby weight faster than you can say "Natalia Vodianova is on back on the catwalk." Even though she was totally a hot pregnant lady, her size was beginning to terrify us a little. Lopez Gives Birth To Twins in NY [AP]


North Shore Medical Center Prepares for the Rapture Birth of J.Lo's Twins

Pregnant Jennifer Lopez
While you have been hiding out in your home and office this week, rousting yourself only to scurry through the terrible weather to get from one place to the other as quickly as possible, other people in the New York–metropolitan area have been doing something important. They've been on their toes, ready for action, preparing for the absolute worst. Yes, the staff of the North Shore Medical Center on Long Island have been preparing for the most dramatic of events that could ever take place within the starched walls of their esteemed hospital: They're getting ready for Jennifer Lopez to go into labor. Not only will the birthing of these glorious (seemingly enormous), long-prophesied twins change the course of human history, but it also comes with a great risk. The threat of kidnapping! So hospital employees have been practicing "pink drills," according to TMZ.com, in order to be able to lock down the medical center at a moment's notice in case there is a threat to the magical mystery twins. Of course, this is a little bit silly on their part. What they should be doing is practicing drills for what to do when Balthasar, Gaspar, and Melchior show up. J.Lo Hospital on Alert to Thwart Babynapping [TMZ.com]


Kozy Shack Founder Dies, Grub Street Mourns

Vinnie Gruppuso, the founder of Kozy Shack pudding, died today. It is a dark day on Grub Street, since Kozy Shack was not just our favorite pudding (a confection so potent it practically qualified as a controlled substance), but also a modern rarity: a New York–area manufacturing story without an unhappy ending. The Kozy Shack factory in Hicksville is no Wonka–like wonderland, but the sight of an entire eighteen-wheeler loaded with whole milk, the secret to the pudding’s mouth-filling fullness, gave us that kind of feeling. And Gruppuso’s story is a kind of ultimate foodie fantasy. He was a blue-collar guy, a bread deliveryman who happened to fall in love with the pudding made by a deli in Ridgefield. We’ve all had such crushes. But Gruppuso bought the recipe when the deli closed and essentially married it, investing everything in Kozy Shack and eventually building a pudding empire. Tonight we will have a toast for Vinnie Gruppuso with our favorite cordial: Kozy Shack chocolate pudding, straight from the tub, with a chaser of melancholy. Vincent Gruppuso, 67, Seller of Pudding Snacks, Dies [NYT]


Remembering Seinfeld's Glory Days, on the Kibbutz

Jerry Seinfeld is off promoting his Bee Movie in Israel, and while speaking with reporters in Tel Aviv, he cracked a joke about how he was much better received this time around than when he came to the country to work on a kibbutz when he was 17. "I would be in the fields, and nobody wanted my autograph and nobody wanted to take their picture with me," he said, according to the Associated Press. "They just let me hack away at those banana leaves, and no, I didn't meet the prime minister even once." Oh, Jerry, you're such a G-rated kidder. Of course they wouldn't — hey, wait a minute. Seinfeld worked on a kibbutz? This was news to us. So we ventured out into the wilds of the Internet, only to discover that he's been talking about his days on the farm for years now. Still, we thought the cheap joke was worth a trip down memory lane, so we dug up the relevant section of Jerry Oppenheimer's unauthorized biography of the comedian, Seinfeld: The Making of An American Icon.


BBQ Brethren Speaks!

BBQ Bretheren
Now here we thought that the Barbecue Brethren were a bunch of byzantine schemers, taking potshots at their enemies and vice versa, while the world looked on in indifference. But it turns out that we were wrong! Eric Devlin, an articulate fellow who happens to belong to that group, set us straight in a missive as notable for its refined tone and polished eloquence as for the fact that it is totally insane. Further proof of the Brethren’s non-omnipotence can be found in the fact that none of their members won last weekend’s Ribfest; the laurels went to Boston’s I Que.


New York's Barbecue Illuminati — Revealed!

BBQ Bretheren
Anyone who happened to read a recent White Trash BBQ post about the upcoming Hudson Valley Ribfest contest was bound to be confused. We love the contest, and have even won one of its categories in the past, but the part that got us was the dark allusion to a conspiracy of harassment: “I’m also worried a bit about the actions of a certain tribe in the barbeque world. Some of them will be at New Paltz. They’ve screwed with me and my friends before, and I don’t put it past them to do it again,” White Trash BBQ wrote.