Monday, January 30, 2006

NaJuReMoNoMo Wrap-Up

As I wrap up the First Annual (there is a phrase of pure triumphant hope) National Just Read More Novels Month, I am pleasantly pleased by the enthusiasm it was met with as well as the goodwill it fostered. I appreciate all the people that included links or posted the sidebar logo.

I particularly want to thank the following sites for their support:


The Conical Glass
Mooselet Musings
Uncertain Principles
Gibsons on the Road
Lab Cat
DC Blogs
Beige Alert
trusty getto
Kontan Jou
Tiny Money Land

And forgive me if I have forgotten you. Leave me a comment and I will add you to the list.

If you read at least one novel during January, you are a winner. I am even relaxing the “memoirs don’t count" rule slightly. If your read A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and you want to admit to it, it counts as a novel. Oprah’s new selection, Night by Elie Weisel still doesn’t count. It's mostly true, unfortunately. My son read it last year as a school assignment and is a little less than pleased that he now belongs to Oprah’s Book Club.

You can even be a winner retroactively if you read a novel in January without me even telling you to. All the winners are qualified to post the offical “NaJuReMoNo Winner!” logo anywhere on your website you want. Just cut and paste the following HTML where you want it to go. Heck, tattoo it to your arm if you’re that proud.

style="cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" width="100"
src="" border="0"
alt="NaJuReMoNoMo" /></a>

Even if you didn’t read an entire novel in January, don’t let that discourage you. Like the Self-Esteem Olympics, there are no losers here. Go ahead and make February you’re personal Read More Novels Month. Or make it every month.

In the meantime, I will prepare an even bigger blog-blitz for next year. Be proud of your charter membership and keep reading.

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

Bob Loblaw Law Blog Brouhaha

Kitchen Confidential died after 4 episodes, so my grass-roots blog endorsement of it did no good whatsoever. It’s much more acclaimed lead-in, Arrested Development, is also on its last breath. The final four episodes are scheduled to be burned off on Friday February 10th in a single 2-hour inferno opposite the opening of the Winter Olympics, ensuring it will go out with a whimper not a bang.

The show was produced by Ron Howard (the celebrity I most closely resemble) who also served as the Voice of God narrator. Some of the show’s great inside jokes included a lot of winking references to Happy Days. A recurring character was the Fonz himself, Henry Winkler, playing a hopelessly incompetent lawyer named Barry Zuckerkorn. When Winkler sold his soul to go onto a real network show, the incredibly unfunny Out Of Practice, AD had an inspired bit of casting.

They replaced Fonzie with Chachi. Scott Baio, also from Happy Days, and later Joanie Love Chachi became the Bluth family’s new lawyer. While he will never top his thespianic triumphs in Charles in Charge, Baio’s lawyer character Bob Loblaw was a brilliant running gag. If you say his name fast, as the show’s cast frequently did, it comes out sounding like “Blah, blah, blah” which is of course what most lawyers sound like.

The ultimate play on this was when they revealed that Bob kept a blog appropriately called the Bob Loblaw Law Blog. Say that three times fast. Amazingly, or maybe not, there is a real Bob Loblaw Law Blog. Normally spoof blogs, like the Real Harriet Myers Blog, get their laffs from outrageous parody, but this Robert Loblaw is playing it straight. The cases he covers seem real enough and the commentary is suitably dry but not gibberish.

I am not the first to find this blog. The Chicago Tribune, The Volokh Conspiracy and others have mentioned its existence, which dates to the introduction of the character. I don’t know whether the blog is a plant from the television producers or the work of a wickedly demented Arrested Development fan. Either way, since I know some of my readers work in the legal field, I would like some opinions of how good, or real, a lawyer this phony “Bob Loblaw” is.

And be sure to tape the finale of Arrested Development for when you need a laugh after the spectacle of the Winter Games opening grows tedious.
Which should get you over to Fox in time for the first commercial break of the AD farewell marathon.

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Monday, January 23, 2006

Really Desperate Housewife

Update (1/29/07): Brandy Britton committed suicide over the weekend according to a report by the Baltimore Sun.

Last week a hooker got arrested in Ellicott City. It made all the local news channels. It was covered by the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. It has made national wire services reports. Why is it news? Because the woman is 41 years old, has a PhD, and was “working” out of her very suburban colonial house on a quiet residential cul de sac. Her name is Brandy Britton and Brandy does appear to be her real name since it is on all her NIH grant applications. Her hooker name was Alexis Angel. Not much of an improvement. I would have stayed with Brandy.

Howard County is a sleepy suburban community just outside of Baltimore but within commuting distance of DC. The per capita personal income is $45,000 a year, exceeding the national average by 50%. It pretty much defines the middle American suburban ideal. The primary selling point is the excellent school system (full disclosure: my wife works for it) which drives up the property values of the area.

Madam Professor, as one blog has already dubbed her, lives in a particularly desirable location because kids in her neighborhood go to the highest performing high school in the highest performing county in the state. The neighborhood is well established with wide sidewalks and huge shade trees. On the weekends, I frequently ride my bicycle right past her neighborhood completely oblivious to the pleasures that would await me if I just turned in and spun my tires for awhile.

Except she’s just a little out of my price range. Her published rate is $300 per hour or $1500 overnight. The undercover cop that busted her was told to leave $400 on the dresser. He must have pre-negotiated some additional services. That’s a lot of money. Ironically, the same day, the Post ran an article next to this story stating that the going rate in the predominately Hispanic neighborhoods of adjoining Montgomery County is $30 for a 15 minute window.

So what makes her worth three Benjamins a throw? According to her very not–safe-for-work web page, she’s blond, 5’8, 135 pounds, and a natural 38D. She underplays the 41 years old part. And did I mention she has a PhD? She sure does. She got one in Sociology from the University of California at San Francisco and was working at a local college until she was involved in some sort of work dispute there.

Which leads into the “why turn tricks?” question. Easy. To pay the mortgage. She’s divorced, unemployed, and lives in a house she bought in 1996 for $256,000. The house is currently appraised at 400 grand, and knowing that neighborhood, the tax appraisal is well on the low side. It is getting very tough to find any single family homes in Howard County for less than a half-mil, especially one in her prime location.

I can’t wait for this media frenzy to really get going. White middle-aged upscale call girl is a ready-made topic for any of the daytime talk shows. I smell magazine articles, Dateline stories, maybe even a Lifetime™ movie-of-the-week. Remember you heard about her first here. And I will keep you updated. Trust me on that. Ellicott City doesn’t have much crime, but what it does have sure is fun to watch.

Update (5/21/06): The Washington Post ran a long article on Brandy and I post some new information here.

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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Random Thoughts I

Or things too short or shallow to deserve a blog entry of their own.


Am I the only one disturbed by the fact that Ted Kennedy’s book writing dog is named Splash?
Obviously not.
My dog's name Chessie is short for Chesapeake. Shouldn’t Ted’s dog be named Chappy?


If Chevy is such a proud sponsor of the Olympics, shouldn’t the Winter Games be in Malibu instead of Torino?


Speaking of Golden Globes….

The winner in the Most Unsupported Actress Category is Droopy Carrymore.

(photo courtesy of The Superficial)

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Zombie Knee

Back in September, I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which sounds like a very sexy sports injury but I wasn’t cutting across a backfield at the time. I was walking down my stairs backwards and slipped. I sat on the landing and cursed a little and then limped the rest of the day. At that point my ACL was probably just a little torn. The next morning I twisted my upper torso and heard a much louder TWANG and I was then in excruciating pain. I won’t tell what I was doing, but it happened in the restroom of a Starbucks. Pretty humiliating.

Rather that do the emergency room route, I decided to go straight to an orthopedist. I had one on file from when I broke my ankle last January. I called to get an appointment and since it was Monday and all the surgeons cut on Tuesdays, they couldn’t see me until Wednesday. I also had to get an X-ray or they wouldn’t let me in the door. So I had to call my primary care physician to get a radiology referral. Referrals at my doctor normally take three to five days and there is no way to talk to live person through their voicemail hell. After leaving three messages at the referral office, I decided to just drive down there and camp-out.

Once I had my referral in hand, I had to go to the X-ray clinic and wait there. By three o’clock I had an x-ray that proved to everybody what I already knew, that I hadn’t broken anything. The orthopedist explained that it is just the procedure that needs to be done before he can write a prescription for what I really needed, an MRI.

The MRI was really cool. Big white tunnel. Really loud magnet. Having to stay real still. Finally I was getting my insurance money’s worth. The MRI showed my ACL completely torn and dangling uselessly. It seems the ACL doesn’t do much except keep your knee from bending backwards like an ostrich and there is no urgency into replacing it unless you need to be in shape for the pre-season. So for the past three months I have been walking on eggshells avoiding anything that could cause my clumsy self to slip and completely rip apart my knee.

The doctor went through all the options for ACL replacement, saving his favorite for last, donor tendon tissue. Which is the polite way of saying the tendons of someone no longer using theirs. Mostly because they’re dead and their tendons are frozen in the UMMS meat locker waiting for a recipient or for the cafeteria to run out of beef stock. The other “selling” point of the donor tissue is that eventually new tissue will grow around it, making it as real as me. Somehow that doesn’t comfort me.

The one stipulation I made was that I had to be able to walk my dog the next morning since my working wife doesn’t do 5 am. In his used-car-salesman smile, the doc said, no problem you will be as fully mobile as a person in a leg brace can be. Which turns out to be not much. I’ve got the Frankenstein lurch down pretty well, but it’s going to be months before I am running care-free though the fields.

The doc also neglected to tell me about the IceMan. For seventy-two hours, I have to be attached to this six-pack sized cooler full of ice water. It has a little pump that circulates cold water around my knee so I don’t get any swelling. Look at the cool pictures. Retail price $198 and it’s all mine as a parting gift from the hospital.

So now I am recovering at home with a knee tendon donated by the kindness of strangers, hooked up to this humming cooling contraption, and feeling very Borg-like all because I am clumsy and have brittle tendons.

It’s a bitch getting old. I recommend against it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Blurkers Welcome

Unbeknownst to me, last week was National De-Lurking Week. I guess everybody is allowed to make up there own special silly pseudo-blog event. I sure am guilty, so I can't throw any stones at that house. Besides, they have much nicer looking buttons than me, so they must be doing something right.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love comments. I’ve been accused of blatent comment whoring before, but I don’t have anything against lurkers, blurkers, or even lost HornyGooglers®. Everyone is welcome at my blog, except for spammers, trolls, and flamers (the internet kind, not the Sean Hayes type; this is an all lifestyles accepted blog).

Bloggers are at the bottom of the status ranking of people with compulsions to put one word after another. For every Kurt Vonnegut, Jared Diamond, or even Steven King, there are a thousand people out there talking about their divorce, their vasectomy, or their bikini wax. And just because they aren’t being listed on Oprah’s Book Club, doesn’t mean they aren’t writing great stuff.

To abuse a metaphor to within an inch of its life, blogging is like the theater. I love going to New York and seeing big names in lavish productions. I also like going to regional productions that have actors just as talented that for one reason or another won’t every see the lights on Broadway. I even like seeing student productions and community theater where the actors might flub some lines, but their heart is in the show. They aren’t up on stage for the fame and glamour, and definitely not the money. They do it because they love the smell of the greasepaint.

But how would actors feel if after weeks of rehearsal, no one showed up. They need an audience, even if they are doing it for free. And not everyone that goes to a show harbors a secret desire to sing and act. Some plays have an audience participation element. I was disappointed I didn't get selected to be a guest speller when we went to The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. My wife, on the other hand, would have been mortified to have been dragged on stage just for buying a ticket.

If bloggers didn’t want readers, they would keep diaries instead. If people had to leave a comment to read a blog, a lot wouldn't go to the trouble. Some just want to be amused for a minute or two while surfing the web. For those people, for my audience, I’m glad to be their dancing monkey.

Every commenter started as a blurker, and every blogger started by making comments on someone elses site and saying, “Hey, I’ve got ideas too.” Browbeating lurkers into leaving comments is self-serving and counter-productive. Writing the best blog you can is the best way draw people into the fold.

If you like what I say, go ahead and leave a comment, or bookmark me to see if I am this witty and charming next week, or add me to your blorgroll, or best of all, write your own post telling others about what you thought of mine (but make sure to linkback). If you don’t like something I said, same rules apply.

And welcome blurkers. I run the easiest blog around to comment on. I take anonymous users and don’t make anyone jump through silly word verification hoops. Even my 65-year-old computer illiterate father eventually de-lurked. But take your time and wait until I’ve said something that makes you go “Hell yeah!” or scream “Bullshit!” or just reminds you of something that happened to you. Then comment when you are good and ready. It’s a slippery slope, but once you get the hang of it, I know some of you will eventually become bloggers too.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Celebrity Babby-Daddy Wannabe

Angelina Jolie is pregnant and it bodes well for the species that the two most attractive people on the planet are both fertile. Obviously AJ wanted see how bad childbirth hurts and Brad just happened to be hanging around to help out with his part. I wish them both lots of happiness and hope their kids grow up with happy, normal, well adjusted lives. That’ll happen.

Other than that, I don’t think the news affects me personally very much. What’s done is done. Sure I posted a long fawning blog entry declaring her the hottest woman ever, but I admire her more as a Platonic Ideal than a real person. If she doesn’t want to share genetic material with me, I can live with that. I have a long history of famous celebrities neglecting to consider me for fatherhood when they begin the family planning process.

AJ was not my first obsession with a celebrity. Women that are talented and smart are very sexy. I wanted to go to Yale just because Jodi Foster went there. I thought how cool it would be to just meet her casually as a fellow student. Then all of a sudden, trying to impress Jodi Foster became very uncool. Considering how respectful I was of her privacy, I was disappointed when Jodi decided to become a single mom and I was not even on the long list of potential dads.

I tried to redirect my affections to Brooke Shields and Princeton, but neither had quite the same cachet. I suspect they let her in just to stay in the running for the Ivy League school with the most Former Child Actors From R-Rated Movies as alumnae. And that lowered my opinion of both of them. And Brooke's career has never been quite as stellar as Jodi's. I think I made the right choice there.

Much later I developed an infatuation with Melissa Etheridge and her music. She was the opening act for the Eagles on their Hell Freezes Over Tour and my seats were right in the middle of a huge group that must have been charter members of the MEIN. That was when I realized I was not a good fit for Melissa Etheridge for a long term relationship, but it hurt when she chose David Crosby over me as the sperm donor for her first wife.

Now that she is with her second wife, Tammy, I want to make sure she keeps her options open. I don’t hold grudges. And for the record I would never wish any form of cancer on anyone ever, but if not for the Big C we never would of known how hot Melissa Etheridge is totally bald.

Overall, I try to keep my expectations realistic and understand that most gorgeous, intelligent, talented celebrities with loudly ticking baby-clocks don’t travel in the same circles as I do.

But I just can’t help thinking that now that Natalie Portman is out of Harvard, she might want to settle down and start a family. With or without me.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pick A Weird Habit Meme

Trusty Getto tagged me with a meme about weird habits. I have to list five of mine and then tag five more people. This meme is spreading like wildfire. I think mostly because it is pretty easy and people like to tell embarrassing things about themselves on their blogs. In fact if the similar posts I’ve seen are representative, OCD is a common symptom of bloggers.

Like all these memes I tend to overthink them. A habit is something more than a routine. I walk my dog every morning, but that’s so his whimpering doesn’t annoy my wife so much that the dog and I have to look for a new home. Weird I think means something unusual enough to scare people. Drinking grapefruit juice for breakfast is a habit, but no one is going to think it’s weird. Well let’s give it a try.
  1. I don’t sneeze like a person. I sneeze like a cat. I will build up and then sneeze 5 or 6 times in a row real quickly. Until coworkers get used to it, they always think I’m having some sort of attack. That’s more of a medical condition than a habit.
  2. I “Mooooo” every time I pass cows outstanding in their field. It’s actually a family tradition. My dad does and you do turn into your parents. I like scaring my kid with that fact.
  3. I have to pee as the very last thing I do before I go to bed. Even if I went just fifteen minutes earlier. I just can’t sleep without a totally completely empty bladder. That’s both the most OCD and the biggest TMI thing I know about me. You happy?
  4. I don’t like closed or locked doors. I nearly beat up my college roommate once for locking me out as a gag and giving me a panic attack. I think this stems from the time in kindergarten when the school bus dropped me off and the neighbor that was supposed to babysit never showed up and I just sat outside my locked house for over an hour crying. This is more of a phobia than a habit, but when else am I going to get to air out a childhood trauma like this. P.S. My dog hates closed doors too.
  5. I’m a chronic nose-picker. That’s not even weird. You know you do it too. Everybody does . Even the President does it.
Fremont Bridge TrollThat's me looking for buried treasure in the Fremont Street Bridge troll when I was in Seattle. For more detail click here.

So out of five things, I’m not sure any of them are both weird and a habit. I must not be very good at this. Now comes the tagging part. You know I hate this. Especially since, like the last guy on the block to sell Amway, everybody else already knows about it. I tag Kontan, Courtney, Mooselet, Plain Jane, and one volunteer. Remember that memes are like voodoo dolls. They can only work if you believe in them. So don't worry about any hexes if you blow it off. But tell us weird stuff about yourself anyways.

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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ted Forth, My Hero

I’ve been a reader of the comic strip Sally Forth for a long time. I vividly remember the firestorm of controversy when the current artist Craig Macintosh tried to introduce a softer drawing style to the rather stick figure-ish doodlings of creator Greg Howard. People don’t adjust well to change.

Sally Forth is about the work and family related travails of a career woman and her husband and young daughter. The strip tries to be funny without being mean-spirited or condescending, which can occasionally make it seem smug (what is up with that trademarked Sally smirk?) or trite.

One of the running gags amongst the comics-noscenti is that Ted Forth is either a repressed closeted homosexual, a neutered hermaphrodite, or simply a ball-less hen-pecked dweeb. The recent post on the Comics Curmudgeon plays into all those perceptions and then some. Even the current writer of Sally Forth, Francesco Marciuliano, who is acutely self-aware of the Mephistophelian pact he has made to see his name in over 900 newspapers every day, jumps in with his own shots.

Ces, as he is known to is webfriends, including me, has more than once mocked the no-win situation of poor Ted being a supporting character in a strip with an assertive female titular (God, I love that word) heroine. Ces, who I have publicly declared to be best second string replacement cartoonist ever, has kept up the tone of the original writer and improved the strip as well. Few comics, actually, no other comics, have ever gotten better when the pen has been passed. Ces’s own humor, on display at his Drink At Work website, is much edgier and sharper. As the heir (not literally, his last name isn’t Browne) of the Sally Forth legacy, he has to work with the hand he was dealt. He addressed that dichotomy in the past about having to match styles while being his own voice.

Here’s where I risk ridicule and condemnation of my fellow comic snarks: I like Ted Forth, and not in a watching-gladiator-movies-together way. The comics page, like the CBS primetime line-up, is full of clueless loser dads. They include Roger Fox, Ralph Drabble, and the archetype, Dagwood Bumstead. It’s much harder to portray a parent as responsible and understanding while still getting laffs out of the situation. As a 40-something dad in a two-income family with an only child I relate to Ted Forth in a lot of ways:

Ted had much more hair in high school.
I had long hair in the late 70s and early 80s, but changing styles, the need to look professional, and the pressures of a receding hairline force all of us to make adjustments.

Ted likes classic rock.
I never even owned a Lynyrd Skynyrd album until last year, but I know all their hits from years of keeping the car radio on the classic rock stations.

Ted shares his music with his kid.
I’m a little too old to be a Cure fan, but about half my kid’s iPod is from him raiding the heavier stuff from my iTunes archive.

Ted reads for self-improvement.
Unlike Ted, I actually made it all the way through Guns, Germs, and Steel. But I feel his pain about trying to stay awake through it.

Ted likes to eat.
Ted loves meatloaf. I’m more of a lasagna guy, but that’s too Garfieldish to get away with in the comic strips.

Ted likes ice cream.
I visited the Ben and Jerry’s factory on my honeymoon. ‘Nuff said.

Ted also has too watch what he eats.
I was the proverbial kick-sand-in-the-face skinny dork, but a pasta eating trip through Italy and sympathy weight from my wife’s pregnancy cured that. Damn her steak cravings.

Ted is involved with his kid’s activities.
I never coached Little League, but I was Assistant Den Leader for four years, which is the lowest rank you can have in Cub Scouts and still get to wear the spiffy uniform.

Ted dreads having to pay for his kid’s college.
That’s why mine is an only child too.

Ted loves his kid.
One of the most upsetting days in my life was finding out my kid was attacked by bullies. That had happened to me as a kid and I had hoped my kid could avoid it.

The point I’m making is that Ted is a regular with all the regular guy baggage. He works hard, loves his wife and tries to be the best dad he can be. If that makes him look gay or fruity, he can live with that. It’s called being a responsible adult and we need more of those.

Update: For a vastly inferior sequel, see Sally's Hero: Ted Forth, Part Deaux.

Update (10/15/06): I've also found some of Hilary's Xanga page.

Update (10/8/07):
For the Behind The Music look at how Ted Forth got his own Wikipedia page, click here.

Instructions, Warnings, and Disclaimers: Click on images for full strip. Images used under fair use for ridicule and satire. Kings Features lawyers ought to find something better to do rather than hassle bloggers with less 100 unique visitors a day. Like getting a full month of strips back into the archive. Are you guys really making any money off of the subscriptions? Your mileage may vary. Shown with optional equipment.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Practice, Practice, Practice

We had the chance to go up to New York City for a little touristing during the holidays. New York is such is a Christmas town. While walking from our hotel to Rockefeller Center, we crossed Seventh Avenue at 57th Street and I made my obligatory “practice, practice, practice” joke in front of Carnegie Hall to my saxophone-playing son.

One of his class assignments for band is to go to two “real” concerts and write reports. I posted about the Maynard Ferguson show awhile back, so we still had one more to go. We checked the box office at Carnegie Hall figuring that might be a cool place to fill that obligation. As luck would have it, there was a performance by the New York Strings Orchestra the next night. We got three aisle seats in the upper balcony. After two stops for oxygen and some altitude adjustment we discovered that what they called “obstructed view” were really pretty good seats in the first three rows of the balcony.

The New York Strings Orchestra is an ad hoc ensemble formed every year in December of talented young music students from all over the country. They rehearse over the winter holidays and do two full performances at Carnegie Hall to cap off the seminars. It sounds like a really cool gig. The house was packed, so they were drawing more than family and friends to the show. Up in the bleachers where we were, the demographics skewed pretty young and the applause was genuinely enthusiastic.

Even better, the featured soloist was Hillary Hahn whom I had heard of from her many appearances in the DC/Baltimore area. Her violin playing was stunning and so was she. Her publicity photos do not do her figure justice, at least that’s my impression from the rather down-blouse friendly view I had in the nosebleed seats.

As a strange coincidence, I had stumbled over to Deni Bonet’s website to steal some coding for the music link I used in my last post, figuring she knew how to do it right. Deni is a very hip professional musician and a wickedly funny blogger. On her site she has a short film called HOW DO YOU GET TO CARNEGIE HALL? In it, she videocams a first person trip on the subway to Carnegie Hall. Near the end she shows her ticket stub and damn if it isn’t the same show I was at. And judging by the video shot from her seat, we weren’t too many rows apart. It is a very small world.

At least I wasn’t the only one smuggling A/V equipment into Carnegie Hall. The photos were taken with my new Christmas present, a 75-300 mm zoom lens for my Canon Digital Kiss/Rebel. No flash was used, so they are just a little fuzzy, but still pretty impressive for as far away as I was sitting. Since the camera and lens combo is about as big as an elephant seal’s nose, I must have drawn a few stares as I played with it discretely between movements. A lot of pictures were fuzzy beyond recognition, but a few are keepers. You can see more pictures from our New York trip in my newest Flickr set.

And to get to Carnegie Hall, practice, practice, practice.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bareback Mountain

This cartoon made me think that Willie knew what he was saying when he sang this:

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Monday, January 02, 2006

National Just Read More Novels Month

Around November all the great blogs I like to read get all quiet because everyone decides to join in on National Novel Writing Month or some such nonsense. NaNoWriMo, as it gets clumsily abbreviated, is when everyone with too much time on their hands decides to string together 50,000 words within 30 days and call it a novel. According to the official website, a few of these hard drive cloggers have actually gotten published.

I have to admit, the thought of writing a novel is pretty intriguing to anyone who has read a book and said, “I could write a better book than this poorly edited excuse.” I think even the NaNoWriMo “Winners” would have to admit that writing, like plumbing, hang-gliding, and neurosurgery, is harder than it looks. Every time I get the urge to write for potential publication, I lay down for a few minutes and it passes. I think I’ll leave writing to the professionals.

I have ransacked my Kurt Vonnegut archives to find the correct quote and I can’t so I’ll have to paraphrase something Vonnegut said when asked about the need for more writers. He replied that the world had plenty of great writers, what we really needed was a better supply of readers. (And if anyone can find the quote or find who really said it if I am just misremembering, they will earn my gratitude.)

In that spirit, I hereby, unilaterally and with no other authority that which I have granted myself, declare January to be National Just Read More Novels Month or NaJuReMoNoMo, pronounced Nah-JOO-REE-Moe-NO-Moe if you really think you are going to have a chance to say it out loud and not sound like a total dweeb.

If you’re like me, your book purchasing outpaces your book reading by a good margin. The purpose of NaJuReMoNoMo is to get around to reading all the books you buy and put on the nightstand or hide on a shelf and say you’ll get around to reading. January is a great month for this since it’s the middle of the winter, there are no upcoming major holidays to prepare for, and everyone is flush with Borders gift certificates.

Since it wouldn’t be fair to not have rules, here they are:
  1. Only Novels Count. I know that new Jared Diamond book is really interesting, but we can expand our knowledge base another month. This month is for novels.
  2. Memoirs Don’t Count. Be careful. What really is a novel is tricky. Memoirs of A Geisha is; Angela’s Ashes isn’t.
  3. It Can’t Be A Novel You Have Already Read. Re-reading doesn’t count. Try something new.
  4. You Must Start At The Beginning. Books you started but never finished can count as long as you start over and read the whole thing within the month.
  5. Have Fun. Nobody’s auditing the results. Don’t lie, cheat, or write bad checks. You only have yourself to answer to.
Since anything in the blogosphere deserves a silly logo, this is my lame attempt:


Cut and paste the following text into your blog or sidebar to show your participation:

style="cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" width="100"
src="" border="0"
alt="NaJuReMoNoMo" /></a>

I’ll check in at the end of the month and we’ll see how everybody did.

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