I rather liked this one, I suppose, because I could relate to certain portions concerning bureaucracy in higher education and the lead character's view of children's literature, her field of expertise. This is the second Pulitzer winner I managed to finish this month (with Breathing Lessons). Next up: Beloved.
Where have you gone, Sorrell Booke, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Dukefest 2003! Celebrating a quarter century of short shorts, squealing tires, and Tom Wopat's chest hair. I'm only four hours away from this thing, how could I not go? This would well make up for missing SARStock.
Christen him Norbert. When he grows up he won't be able to complain, because you can always shoot back with, "Hey, it's a perfectly good Catholic name! Deal with it!"
Of course, if you're not Catholic this response is invalid. If you are, there are thousands other names your offspring will cite as better examples (Acacius, Sixtus, Boniface, Vinnie -- ever hear of a kid named Sixtus being kicked off the playground?). Maybe "Norbert" isn't such a good idea in this day and age, eh?
Funny I found this article, since Malc and I have often threatened to name our firstborn son Norbert, just to see the reaction on our parents' faces. This hearkens back to when Malc was born, and Grandma Lorene phoned Grandma Jean (picture Hyacinth Bucket from Keep Up Appearances, squared) to announce the arrival of a baby girl, named Velma Lou. Lorene used her poker voice. Jean wouldn't speak to anybody for days after that. Anyway, Mom was up in arms when my brother and his wife named their son Jack (not John). "There's no Saint Jack," she complained. Well, she can't argue with Norbert.
Warning: the blog post below is not appropriate for anybody to read. I'm serious. Go visit Weird Al instead. He's a nice man who loves his mother.
Always good blogging over at The SICLE Cell. Today it's about a poem linked from Emily's blog extolling the virtues of "death as mother." Heh. Interesting poem if you can get past the animated graphic of the "goddess vulva puppets" for sale. I can't believe I just typed that.
What are you supposed to do with a goddess vulva puppet? (I did it again!) If you could only peek into my brain right now to hear all the comments in formation currently elbowing their way to conciousness. Are you actually supposed to make them talk? Put on a show? Reenact that Seinfeld episode? (My name is Mulva, I live on the second floor...) Were these puppets one found in the red light district of the Neighborhood of Make Believe?
Tell you what, when I finally master the bass I'm going to form a band called Goddess Vulva Puppets. I figure I could get a contract with whichever label Disney owns by virtue of the name alone. See you at Lilith Fair.
Oh, by the way, I was being sarcastic. - Homer Simpson
Partly because it's family, and partly because I farked up my team in the St. Blog's Parish Fantasy Baseball program this season, I signed up for Fantasy Football. I know nothing about football, other than the fact that Hank Williams, Jr. sings the theme song. The league is comprised entirely of male relatives and their friends, so I'll be the only female "owner" this season. Malc likens me to most female owners of major sports teams - his opinion isn't high. This means I have only a few weeks to learn everything about the sport.
The Loop has more Rush! That's the Fly by Night cover for the uninitiated. Fly by Night features the song "Rivendell", inspired by Tolkien, which is the closest thing to a Rush/Catholic connection that any of us will probably ever make. Remember, you saw it here first. Or maybe you didn't, I can't keep up with all of you.
Bully for Chicago, which would suit my sister fine, but she's into No Doubt and a bunch of other bands I don't know. "Oh, they play that annoying Diane Sawyer song, don't they?" I can hear her saying now.
A fellow RUSHian sent me the link. I find it amusing because this is one billboard you will never see in my neck of the woods. We have one major classic rock station in the area, and every single time I turn it on I hear either Fleetwood Mac or Elton John, and I listen to this station often. On occasion we'll get the Eagles (mainly Hotel California or The Long Run stuff) or (at a distant fourth) the Doobies ("China Grove," apparently the only song the band ever did, according to The Fox), but I'm serious about the Mac/Sir Reg overload. We aren't even treated to the occasional track from Stevie's Bella Donna to cleanse the palate. Rush? Once I heard "Limelight" driving home, but I realized I had a CD in my stereo.
I'm convinced the entire station's music collection is comprised of just Rumors and Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, and that the smattering of other artists played are actually piped in via a sister station in Richmond.
One other note about The Loop, the sender mentioned a similar billboard around town touting "Now More Ozzy!" I ask you, with the TV show and OzzFest and all the merchandise bloating the shelves of Spencer's Gifts, how much more Ozzy do we really need?
Daryl Cagle has a blog now. The Cagle site at Slate/MSN is a great place to visit; you'll get lost there, maybe find something to raise your eyebrows. What amuses me today is the collection of Katharine Hepburn obit cartoons I somehow missed when she actually passed. Yes, I thought she was a wonderful actress. I adored her as Eleanor in The Lion in Winter. I find it interesting that so many cartoonists portray her as storming through the Pearly Gates since she was an atheist. Maybe she isn't anymore, we'll soon find out for ourselves.
Holly Golightly is one of my all-time favorite book characters. Just read of the death of Carol Matthau, widow of Walter, who claimed to have inspired Capote to create her. I've often wondered who did, and now wonder if this is true. Whatever the answer, they all belong to the ages. Rest in peace.
"Abortion is advocated only by persons who have themselves been born." - Ronald Reagan
This comes from a book sent to me for review, called Values of the Wise: Profound and Witty Words of Wisdom from the Greatest Minds, by Jason Merchey. Basically, it is a collection of quotes grouped according to various subjects. I've never reviewed this sort of thing before, and I don't know how to begin writing up the book. I will say, though, that Values is probably the first book I've seen that quotes Mother Teresa, Emo Phillips, Neil Peart of Rush (lot of his stuff in here, though the author misquoted the "Freewill" lyrics), Dennis Miller, GK Chesterton, and Hitler. When are you ever going to see billing like that again?
By the way, here's the Emo quote that caused me to blow a soy vanilla latte through my nose: "At my lemonade stand I used to give the first glass away free and charge five dollars for the second glass. The refill contained the antidote."
You want to know why you can't find Saints at the local B&N?
There isn't any room in the store, not with all the tarot decks and stuffed animals and what a former fellow bookstore worker once called "foo-foo crap" cramping the shelves, as this article reiterates. He would know, he used to work for the White's chain in Jacksonville. Great bookstore, but they seemed to specialize in foo-foo: ceramics and scrolled picture frames and potpourri. The place in San Marco used to smell like a sugar powdered doughnut. Maybe it still does, I haven't been there in years.
B&N, to some extent, is no different. They sell board games now. Maybe when Parker Brothers comes out with Saints Preserve Us: The Board Game you'll have a better chance of finding that in the store.
Virginia will end the fiscal year with a surplus, despite drowning in debt. In a way I suppose this is good news, considering what they will have to pay in civil suits if things like this continue to happen. A judge this week granted her a $2,500 bond. A judge should have locked her away. This latest accident should never have happened, and who knows where this woman is now, what damage she'll do next. Lord help the state of Virginia if she hits me or Malc on the interstate. My backyard will stretch to the Carolina border.
Yes, I'm ranting. I've lost two relatives to drunk drivers. My cousin Joanie wasn't twenty-one, my Aunt Doris not yet fifty. It wasn't their time. It's not pleasant.
Can you help? Karina Fabian, who edited the marvelous Leaps of Faith anthology of Christian sci-fi for FrancisIsidore, is writing a book on Lenten family traditions and needs input. If you think you can help, please sign the comments box and I'll have her get in touch with you.
Pulitzer-winner Shields wrote the very entertaining The Stone Diaries, which you will see is marked off on my reading list. Shields didn't get serious about writing until she hit her forties, which goes to show it's never too late. Dying at 68, however, also tells us that it's later than we think. She will be missed.
Well, I didn't win the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest this year. Didn't even come close. In a way, I should be grateful; perhaps this means my writing isn't bad. Of course, this also means that I can't be bad on purpose. Here was my entry, in the pun category:
"Charlotte was moved to ask, upon hearing that her friend, the professional basketball player, wished to move to Cheyenne, 'Why, Yao-Ming?'"
You will recall in a fit of apathy, after being told the book was "extremely well-written" by many publishers who rejected it, I posted my mystery novel Murder Most Trivial as a free eBook download. It's still online, the link is down and to your right, though the temptation to offer a print version has always remained with me.
It appears I may soon have the opportunity to offer readers that option. CafePress.com has finally entered the beta test stage of their book publishing venture, using the POD system to allow members to print books. They plan to offer five different sizes, including mass market paperback (4.18" x 6.88") and the traditional trade paperback (5" x 8"). I would love to be able to offer MMT as a mass market, but considering how much the base price of the book would cost I don't think that's doable right now. I spent almost nine bucks on the mass market Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich - my book would be about the same length and cost much more. Trade seems to be the way to go without charging something unreasonable until I can convert the world to eReading.
At any rate, the print version of MMT will be revised a bit, with spelling corrections, etc. A sequel still bubbles in the backburner of my mind - it will take place four years later, when Jason is about to graduate from college and decide upon a seminary. I have the outline ready to go.
The only thing I need to do, though, is find a good PDF converter program. Cheap, preferably freeware, which will allow me to create a 5 x 8 template (CafePress requires it). I have PDF955, but only on Windows 2000 could I create a new template (I use 97 at home). I do have Acrobat on the Mac, but switching platforms is always a pain in the a$$.
I've been mentioned in the Houston Chronicle, but not for my books. Tim Bete sends this article about the Flight Humor contest held by the University of Dayton to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers' flight. The author of the article apparently saw fit to include parts of my entry, stuff I don't even remember writing (I didn't win the contest, I got bumped). I can assure you I was at least laughing my a$$ off as I wrote it.
Oh, and if Kathie Lee is reading this, I am very, very, very sorry.
Update: Tim just wrote to say that the article has been picked up by the New York Times wire service, so who knows where I'll end up next.
In other magazine news, the August Reader's Digest has an article about Bookcrossing.com. I had been interviewed for it, but none of my stuff ended up in the final draft. I suppose I'll have to wait until one of my books is condensed into one of those omnibuses they sell. You've seen them at the white elephant sales at church: volumes and volumes of abridged novels that the used bookstores won't take after your grandparents die. I hear you actually need an agent to negotiate those rights.
A fellow author points out this article about the multitudes of published authors who are not blessed with publisher-given marketing budgets. We are the people you see on the side road, sitting on the tailgate selling books. We write well. We don't sell well. Perhaps the fact that you are here is a good sign.
I have a doctor's appointment this week. Unfortunately, it is not something routine. I'm hoping for good news; prayers are appreciated.
My cousin's driver didn't qualify, in case you watched the truck race this weekend. Maybe next time.
The car's in the shop. That's never good.
Then everybody attacked Lance on the mountain. And it's raining (here, not there). What a weekend.
On the upside: I finally finished East of Eden for my book club, and Dangerous Words is still available for purchase, plus I successfully pitched an article for Mystery Scene Magazine. Now I have to write it.
Also, I've been named Virginia state coordinator for EPIC. Almost like being a chapter president. If you are a published author seeking a great networking organization, check it out.
1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it? Yes, her name was Jennifer, and she had the reddest hair. Sarah Ferguson red. I met her when I was five. She lived behind us and had an older brother and sister, both in their early teens.
2. Are you still in touch with this person? No, we lost touch in our early teens when she moved. I suspect she's married, so I wouldn't know where to begin looking, if she remembers me at all.
3. Do you have a current close friend? Malc.
4. How did you become friends with this person? Malc and I met in college, in Dr. Hallam's Shakespearean Stagecraft class. It was an upper level English course which I took as an elective. Malc was a Master's student in Education, but took the class since his concentration was English.
5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why? There are a few. I had a very good friend in high school who had remained close even though she once lived as far away as Germany. The last time I saw her was at our 10-year high school reunion, then she went home to California and I haven't heard from her since. It doesn't help that I've moved around so many times in the last few years, and that she doesn't have Internet access (not that I'm aware).
If you get Speedvision and are into NASCAR Trucks, pay close attention to Saturday night's race when Andy Hillenberg (#10) pits. My cousin Brian just got a job on the crew as rear tire changer. It's been his dream to work in auto racing.
Don't think this makes me a contact for 2004 Daytona tickets, though.
The Parable Award: a new award for literary Christian fiction. Unpublished manuscripts will only be accepted; deadline is December 1st. Guidelines are on the site. I don't know much about the organization, but I have heard that award-winning manuscripts tend to get noticed more by agents/publishers. Doesn't necessary mean you'll get published any sooner, but if don't shoot, you've missed.
An interesting thing I have noted about this contest: the organization considers itself evangelical, yet the woman coordinating the contest is named Hahn-Steichen - last names of two very renowned Catholic writers.
From the website: Write what you know--the first thing every writer hears when embarking on the most excruciating journey of their lives--is the lesson that drives one woman to murder. Revenge? Desperation? Inspiration? Who can really say when the bodies start piling up at a writing conference!
This title is now available at Echelon Press in PDF format for $1! Just a word to those who have read my other books: this is a complete departure from my other stuff. There are instances of rough language and mild adult situations (make what you will of that, but it's not pr0n, sorry to disappoint). If I haven't scared you away yet, do check it out. At the worst, you'll have only lost a buck, which you probably would have wasted on a lottery ticket (gambling, tsk) or a Kit-Kat (gluttony, tsk), or a McDonald's cheeseburger (so many things wrong with that).
Don't think, however, that this is the start of a new trend for me. The Saints sequel is presently three chapters from being completed (first draft, anyway), and Pithed, if I can place it somewhere, is much more light-hearted. I might pitch Pithed to Echelon as a Dollar Download, too, because it fits the word length.
Place root beer or cream soda into a microwave safe glass and heat in microwave for about 30 seconds. Remove, and set aside. Place butter in the microwave long enough to melt it. Add warm root beer or cream soda, melted butter, and honey to the blender and blend for 5 to 10 seconds.
Microsoft Reader is having a summer promotion: download their latest Reader for the PC or Pocket PC and you can download free eBooks! New titles throughout the summer. I hear Get Shorty and The Joy Luck Club are two such titles, though I've read both. Check it out.
I don't have a Pocket PC, but I've been thinking about getting one. I love my Handspring Visor, but I'm thinking with the Pocket PC I'll have MS Word and will be able to write on the fly. I can't use a notebook in the car anymore with these roads.
To give Marvel credit, I don't think it will be as cheesy as that "Ex-Presidents" cartoon on SNL. I won't start complaining, though, unless Marvel comes out with the Holy Rollers League, featuring Mother Teresa and her magic lasso made of rosary beads. Well, as long as Jack Chick isn't drawing it.
Due to new outside obligations Mystery Radio Network's creator, Amanda Dickerson, no longer has the time to run the station. Plans for now are to continue the broadcast until the completion of the mystery series "The Circular Staircase" in little over a month. ANYONE interested in taking over Mystery Radio Network can expect lots of help from Amanda. All current programs and arrangements would be transferred to the new station manager. Amanda can continue to create
programs and provide other assistance. A mystery lover with time on his/her hands or a group that can divide the chores would be perfect fit. The broadcasting and website costs are low.
If you're interested, e-mail Amanda at email@example.com to discuss details.
Otherwise, it was a good holiday weekend. Spent much of it at the farm, where I managed to read five books in between match sets and aces, and Greg Biffle's (I know, who?) victory in Daytona. I've been to that race before, before it switched to night. My skin is still peeling.
New cranks on the mountain bike, too. Hope they don't fail me on our vacation, wherever it is we're going. We had agreed on Bryson City again this year, but Malc is now leaning toward Charlottesville. Whatever we choose, it won't be for a while since I need to get in more mileage; lost quite a bit of training after last year's accident.
Next time you're at your local B&N or Borders, please check the magazine section for Mystery Scene. Lisa Scottoline is on the cover this month, and inside they are supposed to have my author's essay on writing Saints. I haven't been able to find the issue here.
Attention! Attention! Father Mulcahy, report to OR
A member of the Catholic Writers Association is seeking Korean War veterans to research a story she is writing. She is looking in particular for somebody who served as chaplain, and looking for women who can offer a 'state-side' perspective of the war (e.g., a wife with a soldier overseas). Let me know if you can help; I'll put her in touch with you.
For the record, there really was no beekeeper in the Village People
Note: Joke is only funny if you've seen the SNL skit about Napster and Congress with Conan O'Brian.
Victor, too, is having problems with his comment boxes. People comment, but the count remains at zero, which is why I switched. However, I did not dump YACCS completely. Had it been working correctly I would have noticed this comment earlier:
Firstly, thanks for mentioning my website,
www.RandyJonesWorld.com. Secondly, it's not so lonely at all here in NYC's Village. Good luck to you. God Bless and again, thanks. RJ
This refers to a long ago post I made about Randy "The Cowboy" Jones's website. I can still see him dancing in that "Milkshake" video from Can't Stop the Music (here's a very funny recap of that film, glitter credits and all). He was a much better dancer than Bruce Jenner.
Speaking of the Village People, did you know Phylicia "I'm not Bill Cosby's wife, but I play her on TV" Rashad was once married to the Police Officier? Saw it on E! True Hollywood Story. Good Lord, I just now admitted I watch that show. Why. Can't. I. Stop. Typing?
Turns out the A/C isn't on the fritz, but that hasn't stopped Malc from looking at new cars (his favorite hobby). That his parents are visiting for the holiday helps matters less, because he and his dad will spend the weekend roaming from lot to lot. Once they were gone for three days straight and returned home with full beards and tattered pants, just like that guy who opens Monty Python's Flying Circus.
Honestly, I'll be glad for normalcy. We hope to be settled completely after the holiday. Until now, we can only watch PBS because it comes in best on the antenna. Last night was a rather interesting documentary on present-day "gladiators." I thought at first we were watching some kind of show on the Society for Creative Anachronism, but these people were mainly British military who were taking the fighting very seriously. It's interesting to know that we are not really that far removed from ancient times - the gladiator fights of old were no different from the WWE of today. Can you smell what Maximus is cooking?
Yahoo News: Hollywood bid farewell to Katharine Hepburn Monday by placing a showy wreath of flowers on its most famous boulevard -- but spelled her name wrong on the bouquet. Let's hope the US Postal Service gets it right, because you know there's going to be a stamp in the next few years.
People have been spelling my name wrong for years. For some reason people want to transpose the R and Y in my name, spelling it Kathyrn, when it should be Kathryn. Sometimes people want to insert an E in there as well. Once in my high school journalism class we produced an issue of the Rebel Review where my name was spelled correctly, and the teacher proceeded to chew out the copy editor about my name being misspelled. The poor fella was almost in tears before I got there to make things right. I won't even go into the various misspellings of my maiden name (Beyerle), much less the mispronunciations.
So, it is KATHRYN, after Kathryn Grayson, the actress. Get it right or I'll sic Nihil on you.