The return of the Thin Mints It's Girl Scout cookie time again. Everybody with good sense will spend in the three figures stocking the freezer with a full year's supply. Thin Mints are far and away the favorite cookie (although the debate rages over whether they're best served frozen or room-temp-and-dunked), with the gooey toasted-coconut caramel Samoas with fudge stripes (which are, frankly, a lot like trademarked Yum Yums) a close second. Purists go for Scott Teas -- the shield-shaped shortbread -- or for peanut butter. For '94, the Scouts unveil a new flavor: Strawberries 'n' Cream. Which is probably every bit as wholesome and healthful as the others. A recent book of junk-food recipes, in the pages devoted to simulating Girl Scout cookies, suggested melting candle wax right into the icing. No matter, the truly great thing about Girl Scout cookies is that we eat them for a good cause -- therefore, these seemingly sinful cookies are actually so beneficial to our spiritual well-being that the ingestion of fat and sugar and refined carbohydrates has no consequences. Moreover, being food for the soul, Girl Scout cookies have no calories. The cookie sale takes off with a preview taste-fest featuring experimental dessert recipes based on the seven cookies of Girl Scouts. Professional chefs assisted by Brownies and Juniors will do the honors. 3 p.m., Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana. (E.S.)
Shoulders We'll be a week into the new year by the time this show rolls around, but if that means the party's over, I'll betcha nobody told Shoulders. To tell the truth, I'm just a little bit sick of recommending Austin's shanty-rock phenom every time vocalist Michael Slattery and company come through town, but until someone shows me a better live band, I'm gonna keep plugging away. Trashman Shoes is the most recent album, and it's a pretty decent little document all its own, even if it doesn't keep pace with the band's churning stage presentation. 9:30 p.m., Fabulous Satellite Lounge, 3616 Washington Ave., 869-COOL. $5. (B.T.)
Repressed memory syndrome They're misdirected but they mean well -- that's the take on certain therapists from others in shrinkdom (and accused parents) who see false memory syndrome as a serious problem. Eleanor Goldstein, author of Confabulations and True Stories of False Memories, will speak at the regional meeting of the False Memory Society. Best-case scenario: False memory syndrome is what happens when over-eager therapists meet up with too-eager-to-please patients who, in an effort to be proper subjects of analysis, come up with horrific memories of abuse, frequently involving satanic rites. Worst case: Certified social workers with a pathological need to be on Oprah seek out pathologically needy patients and coerce them into producing childhood memoirs which would rival any Clive Barker novel. Of course, the worst aspect of all this controversy is that it's just the sort of thing to make real victims withdraw further and suffer more self-doubt. 12:30- 5:30 p.m., Emerson Unitarian Church, 1900 Bering, 464-8970. Free. (E.S.) Alejandro Escovedo
This is another one of those perennial picks that you're going to keep seeing in this paper until Escovedo's latest, Thirteen Years, pops up at the top of the national charts, or snow sticks to the ground in Montrose, whichever comes first. Thirteen Years made my year-end best-of list without the slightest hesitation on my part, and if you've yet to catch on to the songwriting talent in our Austin back yard, you've been either hibernating or reading the wrong paper. 9 p.m., McGonigel's Mucky Duck, 2425 Norfolk, 528-5999. $8. (B.T.)
Quark to sign autographs No, not some swirling subatomic particle scrawling -- Armin Shimerman, who plays Quark on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, will be live and in person at the latest Star Trek convention. There will be a costume contest, a dealers' room and an official Paramount Star Trek-stuff auction. (The promoters advertise "tons of licensed Star Trek merchandise.") Some pricey stuff, too. Original, signed cast photos can go for $1,000. Other auction goods go for as low as $25, and the vendors in the dealer's room will haggle on many items from tribbles to phasers. If you're a collector in the Saul Rubinek style, you can make an Enterprising deal. (Trivia contest prep: Did you know that Brent Spiner, who plays Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, grew up in Houston?) 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Sheraton Astrodome Hotel, 8400 Kirby Drive, (818) 748-3221. $35 preferred reserved seating; general admission $15; $7 under twelve; under six free. (E.S.)
See a cat jump through a hoop, along with other cats worth more than some four-door cars while everything feline is on display at the 44th Annual Charity Cat Show. Hundreds of cats, worth hundreds of dollars each, will be on display. For all of you cat-lovers out there, cat accessories of all sorts, for the alley-type at home, will be for sale. And yes, cats actually will jump through hoops. Animal trainer Scott Hart will be on hand with Woody and other Friskies cat team members. (At the show last year Hart brought Liberty, the Somali who plays DataÕs pet Spot on Star Trek: The Next Generation.) Not only are these celebrity cats crated up and carted from cat show to cat show, but they also have appeared in feature films from Beaches to Darkman. Scott Hart will be putting the Friskies cat team through its paces at 1 and 3 p.m. both days. In addition, Hart will show cat owners basic behaviors they can teach their cats at home, such as walking on a leash. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., George R. Brown Convention Center, 1001 Convention Center Blvd., 251-8665. $5 adults; $3 seniors; $2 kids under 12. (E.S.)
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The Howler Monkey Project You've seen rainforest creatures on ice-cream boxes, now hear about their complicated lives and the politics of conservation efforts in Belize. Danny Brooks of the Houston zoo will discuss efforts to restore the monkey and other mammal populations in Belize. Howlers had some problems in the last century when fashion mavens decided their naturally fringed black-and-white pelts were the thing for the well-dressed woman to wear. In our times, they and other rainforest creatures are in trouble because their habitat is in trouble. Brooks will emphasize cooperation with farmers and the rest of the bipeds. Sponsored by the Texas Rainforest Action Group. 7:30 p.m., St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 1805 West Alabama, TRAG hotline 684-6197. Free. (E.S.)
The Center for the Healing of Racism A new nine-week Dialogue Racism series begins with ÒDefining Racism & Prejudice." Perhaps later meetings will discuss why February, the shortest month, is Black History Month. The genuine goal, however, is to establish a real and reasonable base for dialogue. This series is free and open to all. 7:30 p.m., Riverside Methodist Church, 4920 Cullen, 526-RACE. (E.S.)
Headwaters Ancient Redwood Forest Slide Show Northern California nature photographer Doug Thron is touring the country with images of ancient forests, clear flowing water, and slash burns and clear cuts. Pacific Lumber Company is of the opinion that Thron took these pictures while trespassing on private property. They have a point, but so far haven't taken legal action to stop the show, which is impressively orchestrated with two projectors and a dissolve unit. Not incidentally, Pacific Lumber is owned by Charles Hurwitz's Houston-based Maxxam Corporation. Yet another example of the interesting, unexpected ways in which every little aspect of life on this planet is inexorably linked. 7:30 p.m., Headwaters Slide Show, Central Presbyterian Church, 3788 Richmond. Free. (E.S.)
Is Elvis Alive? Don't look for the King at 7-11 or Burger King. Trust in Mojo -- "Elvis needs boats" -- so the Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show is the place for the devout, or anyone who wants to see half a million square feet of inland, outboard and ocean crafts. With Gracelandian excess the expo fills the entire Astrohall/Arena/ExpoCenter Complex with the best in the marine industry. The boat show has everything from lil' ol' aluminum John-boats such as are sold at Wal-Mart to genuine yachts. Also luxury RVs. In truth, very nearly every single item being demonstrated or displayed at the boat show is a luxury item, but hey, Congress repealed the boat excise tax, so why not enjoy a little luxury on your own boat in the Gulf? (Financing and insurance are reasonably available at the show.) 1 p.m.-10 p.m. thru Fri., Jan. 14.; noon-10 p.m. Sat., Jan. 15; noon-6 p.m. Sun., Jan. 16. 38th Annual Houston International Boat, Sport & Travel Show, Astrohall, Astrodomain, 8700 Kirby Drive. $5; $2 under 12. (