Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jon & Lobo will return

When I was young, I was a huge fan of the James Bond movies. (I still am.) When each movie ended, I would sit in the theater as the credits scrolled and anxiously await the magic moment when the screen would light up with the words

James Bond will return in
As long-time readers of this blog will know, my contract for the Jon & Lobo series ended with Children No More. You may also remember that I am far from done with the series; CNM was book four, and my current rough outline requires about eighteen books to complete.

I'm happy to be able to announce that Publisher Toni and I have agreed to terms on a new three-book contract, the first of which will be another Jon & Lobo book. (The others may, too, or not--we haven't worried about that yet.) I owe it next May, and you should be able to buy it about the first of November, 2011--in time for the holiday gift-giving season!

I know that's a bit more than a year between the books, which is not perfect, but it's the best I could manage.

I'm psyched to write the next one and already know its basics. I hope you're happy at the prospect of getting more Jon & Lobo stories.

Oh, yeah: This is not the big announcement I mentioned yesterday. That will follow.

But not today.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Remember that big announcement I promised?

No, I can't make it yet, but very soon--this coming week, I hope.

I'm excited.

More soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I can't get this song out of my head

So, I figured, why should I be the only one?

I found this live version on YouTube. Check it out, then buy the CD, So Runs the World Away. The more I listen to it, the more I like it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What teachers really think

In an email exchange with my friend, Lynn, I learned that when she was a teacher, her county circulated a booklet with advice on how to deliver difficult messages to parents. The teachers found the piece more than a little humorous, and as you might expect, many came up with their own little code phrases. She told me a few of the bitchier ones, and I liked them so much that I asked for more. In each pair, the bit in italics is the nice rendition; the regular type is the translation.

Enjoy...and don't complain to me if you see any of them on a report card. I'm pretty sure I got at least a couple of these when I was in school.

Your child is developing his social skills quite rapidly.
He won't shut up in class.

Your child seems to enjoy displaying leadership skills.
He's a mean kid who likes to bully his classmates.

Your child is very tactile.
He's stabbing himself with scissors and stapling his fingers together.

Your child has strong investigative skills.
He eats the glue sticks just to see what they taste like.

Your child has a vivid imagination.
He lies through his teeth.

Your child loves Show and Tell.
Our whole class knows that you have a nipple ring and your husband smokes pot.

Your child has a creative spirit.
He likes to make spit bubbles and stack them like pyramids on his desk.

Your child is very verbal.
He swears like a sailor.

Your child is very inquisitive.
Does he ever stop asking questions? No, I don't know why boogers taste salty.

Your child is in a period of growing self-awareness.
His hands are constantly down the front of his pants playing. I hope he gets warts.

Your child is learning about boundaries.
I will tape his legs together if he doesn't stop kicking his desk.

Your child has discovered his vocal abilities.
He scares the crap out of me when he makes his Exorcist noises.

Your child has his own unique style.
Please remind him to zip up his pants--and what the hell is that smell?

Your child is very confident.
He's a little bastard who thinks he's better than everyone else in the class.

Your child will someday be a strong leader.
He's cocky and arrogant and has no friends--and, by the way, his shit does stink.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Robin Hood

I saw this movie Saturday night, but my reactions to it were complicated enough that I needed some time to sort them out and to figure out the reasons for them. To go further, I have to give some spoilers, so stop reading now if you want to avoid them.

First, the bottom line: Despite the movie's many flaws, I liked it well enough that I recommend it if you're in the mood for a big-budget action flick and don't mind turning off your critical faculties.

That said, what's wrong with the film is that it's not a Robin Hood tale. It's a prequel, the story of how the Robin Hood legend began. It starts in the war and ends with Robin in Sherwood Forest, leading his band of rebels--except Marian is his wife and part of his band, that band includes a bunch of orphans, and so on.

Are you beginning to see the problem?

When you take on an icon--this and the Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes film come immediately to mind--you're likely to win in only one of two ways: by sticking to the original story and simply creating an amazing version of it, or by reimagining the tale in some exciting new way. Both of these examples went the latter route, and Robin Hood couldn't quite pull it off. That failure doesn't make it a bad movie, though; it just makes it a very flawed one.

The movie also went too far in sacrificing facts and sensibility to advance its action sequences and its political agendas. When Marian and a band of orphans ride ponies into a giant battle on the beach, you know someone should have been told to do another draft of the script.

What the film most lacked, though, was the larger-than-life majesty of the true Robin Hood tale. Yes, as Kyle pointed out in a comment on an earlier post, Robin was a terrorist, but he was the hero of the story, and we all rooted for him. He was the good guy helping the poor. He soared above the labels and made us cheer for him. He became a legend. This movie never really captured that legendary spirit.

So with all these complaints, why did I enjoy it? Crowe, though too muted much of the time, was muted exactly the right amount some of the time, and when he hit those perfect notes, his performance as a damaged man torn between self interest and nobility was moving. Blanchett touches my heart like few other actresses, and for much of this movie she was captivating. Max Von Sydow delivered a flawless performance. The filth and grit of that earlier world was good too see. In short, the film had many virtues, I don't regret seeing it, and with many caveats, I recommend it.

It just wasn't a Robin Hood story.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Diet for Death

Earlier today, on the heels of my post about Bacon Camp, my friend, Pam, sent me this article about the dangers of eating processed meat. As you might expect, some of our favorites--bacon, hot dogs, sausages, and more--may be rather bad for us. The real culprits might be the high levels of salt and nitrates that they contain, but no one knows for sure. In fact, the study is not a causal one but rather a correlative effort; we really don't know.

This study reminded me, however, that there is something we absolutely know for certain: something is eventually going to kill you. We all die.

Years ago, I saw within one week two studies on the effects of certain substances on health. One focused on heart disease; the other's topic was cancer. Each showed concentration levels that seemed associated with its disease. As it turns out, the concentrations overlapped.

The conclusion seemed quite obvious to me: You should diet for the way you want to die. Think about it: everything you eat has some negative consequences, so you might as well pick the ones you want to get you.

I could go on, but I won't, because I fear some folks will think I'm making light of the obesity problem or the importance of a healthy diet or the need for plenty of exercise; I'm not. All those things are important.

So, too, though is some joy in your eating. That's why I don't eat red meat during the week, but damaging or not, sometimes I'm going to chow down on bacon, hot dogs, cheese, bacon cheese dogs, and other dangerous substances.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Bacon camp

Just the name is enough to give you goosebumps, isn't it?

Kyle tipped me to this event, which occurred recently in, of all places, San Francisco. You can read more about it on its home page or in this fine and heavily illustrated article in Asylum.

In the immortal words of LOLcats: WANT!

Wow, would that be fun to attend! Among other benefits, it would allow me to explore that timeless question: Can there be too much bacon? (I think not, but one never knows.) Plus, it would let me try the bacone, made famous not only in that article but also in the fine book, This Is Why You're Fat. How could anyone not love a cone made of bacon stuffed with scrambled eggs and country gravy, then topped with a biscuit? Or the Bacon Camp winner, the chicken-fried bacon sausage?

Of course, there is always the dark side to consider. If I attended Bacon Camp and then went shopping at the local Wally World, I fear I might end up being this guy.

Maybe it is possible to have too much bacon.


Blog Archive