Friday, September 20, 2013

Link-O Lame-O

The headline says it all, but here ya go:

*** Girl loses allowance ... $26K per month ... and she's 47 years old. 

*** Seven fall gardening jobs that will make your life easier.

*** I often argue with people who complain about “kids now-a-days.” I am very comfortable with the next generation. It’s the idiot adults I don’t like. So I advocate for all of the good young people I run across on a daily basis, who are like this one.

*** I'm diggin' this.

*** Just go away. And they are!

*** Words to live by:
"It's not a good idea to put your wife into a novel; not your latest wife anyway." - Norman Mailer

Friday, September 13, 2013

Friday Link-O-Ramaaaaa

*** MAN UP: There are lots of ways to increase young men's engagement in education: Why aren't they being implemented? Christina Hoff Sommers has written a book about it, The War Against Boys, and has this article in The Atlantic: How to Make School Better for Boys.
As the United States moves toward a knowledge-based economy, school achievement has become the cornerstone of lifelong success. Women are adapting; men are not. Yet the education establishment and federal government are, with some notable exceptions, looking the other way.
Women in the United States now earn 62 percent of associate’s degrees, 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees, 60 percent of master’s degrees, and 52 percent of doctorates. College admissions officers were at first baffled, then concerned, and finally panicked over the dearth of male applicants. If male enrollment falls to 40 percent or below, female students begin to flee. Officials at schools at or near the tipping point (American University, Boston University, Brandeis University, New York University, the University of Georgia, and the University of North Carolina, to name only a few) are helplessly watching as their campuses become like retirement villages, with a surfeit of women competing for a handful of surviving men.  Henry Broaddus, dean of admissions at William and Mary, explains the new anxiety: “[W]omen who enroll … expect to see men on campus. It’s not the College of Mary and Mary; it’s the College of William and Mary.”
The article even gives a shout-out to South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, where my wife hangs out. Now I see why …

Young men may be a vanishing breed on the college campus, but there are some colleges that have no trouble attracting them—schools whose names include the letters T-E-C-H. Georgia Tech is 68 percent male; Rochester Institute of Technology, 68 percent; South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, 74 percent. This affinity pattern points to one highly promising strategy for reconnecting boys with school: vocational education, now called Career and Technical Education (CTE).
*** Are you ready for some football? From the NYT:
Here now is a book by Nate Jackson called “Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival From the Bottom of the Pile,” and it’s everything you want football memoirs to be but never are: hilarious, dirty, warm, human, honest, weird. 
Mr. Jackson played six seasons (twice as long as the average National Football League career), from 2002 to 2008, with the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos, mostly at tight end. He managed to escape with some brain cells intact. He’s that unicornlike rarity among former football players: He can write.
About pain and the media, he notes how players are schooled to talk to reporters. “Do say: We’re taking this thing one game at a time and we’ll see what happens. Don’t say: Man, I really would like to go home and eat a heroin sandwich.”
*** Todd Epp is a longtime friend of mine and was a columnist for my Tea & Harrisburg Champion newspaper (RIP). He has a new blog and offered his personal take on the Syria situation:
What is happening to Syrians at the hands of Bashir Assad is personal to me and not just some story on the TV or in the newspaper. 
Earlier this year, I literally touched Syrian Kurd men, women and children while helping a Kurdish friend of mine distribute aid at a makeshift refugee camp near Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq.
*** Whether or not you follow politics, I find Rand Paul to be an interesting politico. Once dismissed by the GOP establishment as a gadfly, Paul is starting to look a lot like the leader of his party — and his enemies are panicking. “There’s a big transition in the Republican Party,” the Kentucky senator says in a BuzzFeed interview.

*** The 2013 Man Booker Prize shortlist is the best in living memory says Gaby Wood, a former judge of the award. Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe.

Books nominated:
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Harvest by Jim Crace
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
The Testament Of Mary by Colm Toibin
*** W Is for Wasted: Sue Grafton is closing in on the end of the alphabet.

*** And it seems J.K. Rowling isn’t done riding that Harry Potter broom$tick. As NPR's Mark Memmott reported Thursday, J.K. Rowling is writing a screenplay for Warner Bros. set in the magical universe of Harry Potter. The screenplay, called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, will be based on Harry Potter's textbook of the same name.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Whatcha working on, you ask?

I've been pretty much finished with a shnovel titled "Pet Teachers." What's a shnovel, you ask? It's a shorter novel, about 30-35,000 words. I think "novella" sounds too pretentious for anything I write. Definitely, more of a shnovel guy. There might be a couple tweeks to it yet, but I've pretty much stuck a fork in it.

I think you'll enjoy the teachers, three SDSU grads who had their issues during college and upon becoming high school teachers in South Dakota were blackmailed by the Dean into doing some dirty work for her. That summer work proved to be a lot more profitable than siding houses and mowing golf courses, like many of their peers did, and they ended up being pretty good at it. Unfortunately, the jobs are also highly illegal.

If I can get my editor out of the bar, I hope to release it as an e-book on, oh, let's shoot for Thanksgiving. 

As for my two newer novels, which I hope to publish in all formats (someday), including paperback, I've been bouncing back and forth and making mighty slow progress. Until last night!

The one finally came together. About 15,000 words in, I wasn't sure where it was going, except joining several others in the trash, when voila! Inspiration hit. I outlined it out the rest of the way. And I'm fired up about it. I hope to be cranking on that one for the next few weeks.

It has all the stuff that makes books good: a rebel priest, motorcycle gang, Satanists, missing children, meth, and a three-legged dog. Oh, and of course a hot blonde with "more curves than the Norbeck Scenic Highway and about as well traveled upon." Sounds like a winning recipe.

So there, just in case you thought I spent all summer just playing in my garden, jogging with Stanley, watching baseball and stalking Jennifer Love-Hewitt, you'd be wrong.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday's Link-Ohhhhh-Rama

The kid is on the injured reserve list for football for a couple weeks so my Friday night's just opened up, so really there's no excuse for such a lame Link-O-Rama. I think I might ask Congress if I should even bother doing another one.

*** So Jesse James wasn’t a nice guy? Shocked! Shocked, I tell ya. Long romanticized for his daring exploits, the real Jesse James was a cold-hearted killer, an historian argues in his new book, “Shot All to Hell.” (And this wasn't just a lame excuse to post a picture of Sandra Bullock, who was married to a guy named Jesse James. It is an excellent excuse!)
The public image of Jesse James was forever changed when his gang rode up to the Northfield bank shortly before 2 p.m. on Sept. 7, 1876. 
“I grew up in Jesse James country in Missouri, just 12 miles from where he robbed his first bank,” he said. “I had grown up with the myth, and in the myth, Jesse could do no wrong. I wanted to examine the real Jesse James, the Jesse James that was a killer, a coldblooded killer at times."
*** Well this sucks. An Indian woman, who wrote a popular memoir about her escape from the Taliban, has been shot dead in Afghanistan by suspected militants, police say.

 *** Boom! #1 already. Rush Limbaugh announced Thursday that he is coming out with a childrens' book this October, to be titled Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans.
It's written for young people, and it's written honestly, and it does not have an agenda.  It's just the truthful history of the Pilgrims, who they were, where they came from, why they came here, what happened when they got here. The true story of Thanksgiving.  There's no politics in this. Ages 10 to 13, something like that, is the age group it's written for, but it's for everybody.
*** Hey, your garden isn’t toast yet. The end of summer doesn't mean the end of gardening season. Plenty of second-season vegetables can thrive in the cooler temperatures of autumn. Popular Mechanics says so! So it must be.

 *** At the risk of sounding mean, this week's nominee for Please Just Go Away is Lamar Odom. Now, actually, I have a soft spot for people with addiction problems (stay tuned for a future post on my girl Lindsay Lohan) so I don't mean go away from NBA or the country or life, I mean just go away from the Kardashian family. Run, run, run! Seriously, I'd be doing drugs too if I were married into that clan. Good luck, Lamar.

*** And when these guys are rich and famous, you can say you saw them here first.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Che, Hemingway not as cool as many think

I’ve never understood some people’s fascination and apparent glorification of Che Guevara, given their posters, t-shirts, etc. I chalk that up to their lack of knowledge/education and agree they should probably due a little more historical reading on Cuba, rather than just watching Godfather 2. If nothing else, Wiki it people!

 Fortunately, Huberto Fontova has a new book that looks to set people straight.
 “Hemingway hailed Castro’s revolution as ‘very pure and beautiful,’” Fontova said. “He was also a guest of honor at many of Che Guevara’s firing squad massacres. Hemingway loved to watch Che’s firing squads murder hundreds of Cubans. Hemingway would watch the massacres from a picnic chair while sipping Daiquiris.”  
Despite pushback, Fontova insists that Castro belongs on the same level as Hitler and Stalin in history’s catalogue of demonic dictators.
 The Reason blog has a nice take on ol' Che the murderer as well. They take Urban Outfitters to task for their pursuit of blood money.
From 1959 to 1960, the new government carried out summary executions of at least 1,118 people by firing squad. Guevara himself presided over the notorious La Cabaña prison, where hundreds of the executions took place. For comparison's sake, the Batista regime was responsible for 747 noncombatant deaths between 1952 and 1959. The Cuban revolution under the direction of Guevara also saw the rise of forced labor camps which gave way a few years later to full-scale concentration camps. These were filled with dissidents, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Afro-Cuban priests, and anyone else who had committed "crimes" against the new moral revolution.