Friday, April 30, 2004

End of an Era: Marsters Buzzed for Charity

Finally from IMdb, with "Buffy" and "Angel" soon to be TV history, American actor James Marsters, who played British cool-despite-himself vampire Spike, has shaved off the character's signature bleached blond hair:

Former Buffy The Vampire Slayer star James Marsters has shaved off his famous peroxide locks for charity. The actor, who played vampire Spike on Buffy and spin-off Angel, is sick of his slicked-back blonde look and has shaved it all off to raise cash for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in Los Angeles. Marsters raised $25,000 for the cause by auctioning off his locks, and has now adopted a shaven new look. He says, "I've been looking forward to like looking in the mirror and seeing the old James - the one I'm used to. I want him back."

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Derek Busts Out; Doc is In

Yankee captain Derek Jeter, mired in the longest slump of his charmed career (0-for-32), led off tonight's game with a first-pitch homerun off Barry Zito. I was lucky enough to channel-surf to the YES Network and catch the moment in its entirety: the crowd's standing ovation, Jeter's big swing, the flight of the ball into the stands, the homerun trot, high-fives, curtain call, and Joe Torre's fatherly smile. Way to step up.

In other news, one-time Knick point guard and TV analyst Glenn "Doc" Rivers--fired as coach of the Orlando Magic early this season--has been hired to coach the Boston Celtics. The Celtics are run by Rivers's fellow former player, analyst, and coach, Danny Ainge. Love 'em or hate 'em, the Celtics are a large cut of the fabric of the NBA, and Doc seems a good man to restore some of their mystique.

Four Years of DetecToday

I got busy yesterday and didn't get to mark the fourth year of my longest-running Yahoo! Group--DetecToday. The list has allowed me to meet almost everyone I know in the mystery fiction community, and my life is richer for them all. If you're interested in private eye or crime fiction and would like to find out who's writing it today, give us a try.


I finished THE LAST DETECTIVE yesterday, and am mixed about it. Mild spoilers ahead, so you may want to skip this entry if you plan to read the book. The good news: There was enough of the main protags, Elvis and Joe, to satisfy. The bad news: Elvis and Joe are swerving back toward Spenser and Hawk's superheroics. I would not have expected this given Crais's breakaway in L.A. REQUIEM, but TLD reminded me of Parker's A CATSKILL EAGLE, with Ben Chenier standing in for Susan Silverman and Richard Chenier subbing for Russell Costigan.

Lastly, Crais's multi-POV style turned the supposed-to-be climactic ending into a frenetically slo-mo John Woo showdown. (If you've seen FACE/OFF or MI2, you know what I mean.)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004


From IMdb:

Novelist Cussler Tries To Halt Shooting of 'Sahara'

Famed action/adventure novelist Clive Cussler has sued Philip Anschutz's Crusader Entertainment in an effort to halt the shooting of a movie version of his book Sahara, maintaining that his deal with Crusader gave him unqualified script approval and that the screenplays that have been submitted to him have been unacceptable. He told the Denver Post: "They've sent me seven scripts, and I've inserted each one in the trash can." Crusader has now countersued, accusing Cussler of delaying production of the film. In its complaint, the company said, "To option the rights to the entire [Dirk Pitt] series, Crusader paid Cussler an extremely handsome price -- even by Hollywood standards." Production of the film, which stars Matthew McConaughey as Pitt, Penélope Cruz and Steve Zahn, has already begun. In its counterclaim, Crusader accuses Cussler of attempting to "foment opposition to the film among his fans, and to organize a fan campaign to coerce Crusader into letting Cussler write the screenplay."

This may sound ironic coming from a writer, but once a piece (story, poem, etc.) is sold, the writer is no longer the authority on its success. While it's true that writers write for personal satisfaction and sometimes financial gain, we also write for audiences. The act of selling the movie rights to one's books is a commitment to a wider audience than writing the books alone.

Given Hollywood's rap for "butchering" books into movies, a writer may think creative control/approval is the answer. This can lead the author to try and fine-tune the presentation for the "right" reaction. Ultimately, though, and especially with a movie, audiences have the most say in how material is received. What an author finds moving or dull may be just the opposite to a viewer. If pleasing oneself is so much more valuable than pleasing an audience--if an author feels he is always the best judge of his work--why market one's books to the public? On the other hand, wanting to transmit your work to others requires some willingness to let it go.

I, for one, welcome movies made from books. As the book is the author's creative expression, the movie is the collaborative expression of everyone involved. Each deserves to be presented and heard. Whether audiences think a movie portrays its source accurately, the source receives greater attention. Isn't that precisely the author's goal in selling the rights?

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

If You Felt Bad for Ron Howard...

It's classic TV week on "Pyramid" (a Donny Osmond-hosted update of the "$10,000 Pyramid") and Marion Ross is facing off against her TV daughter Erin Moran. As you might expect, Mrs. C. has improbably dark red hair for someone her age, but 43-year-old Moran's hair is a strung-out scare, and her eyes bulge involuntarily.


Rocky Mountain High

I've been debating posting about the WB's "Everwood" for some time. It's one of those shows that, for better or worse, seems to parallel my life. Treat Williams stars as Andy Brown, a New York surgeon who, after his wife's death, decides to move with his adolescent son and daughter to Everwood, Colorado. My father was a surgeon and outdoorsman who relished more time to get to know his sons when he retired. I relate not only to the son, but also to the father as each tries to grow closer.

This season, in a story arc that just wrapped, Andy fell for a rival doctor's sister (Marcia Cross) who, after causing the obligatory dramatic stir, left for Namibia. Meanwhile, Andy's son Ephram and the rival's daughter Amy completed walks-on-the-wild-side and just might get on track to a relationship of their own. While these outcomes are more optimistic than my own, they are not so far from what might have been that I can't relate.

One of the show's themes particularly works for me, that of regeneration by escape into the wilderness, for times (as Wordsworth described) "the world is too much with us." There's not much wilderness where I live, but I've learned to get away from the computer, the TV, whatever each day to recharge the batteries.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Show, Don't Tell

I finished WALKING THE PERFECT SQUARE a week ahead of schedule, and am now reading the paperback of Robert Crais's THE LAST DETECTIVE. As I may have blogged before I'm not a fan of Crais's multi-POV style. It worked for his breakout book, L.A. REQUIEM, but in the long term it has lessened the suspense of his books.

I'm reading the book to catch up with Elvis Cole, Joe Pike, and friends after Crais took a two-book break from them (DEMOLITION ANGEL, HOSTAGE). While TLD has hooked me, there are three reasons I'm not more into it: 1) I've never warmed to Elvis's love interest Lucy Chenier and her 10-year-old son Ben. The plot involves Ben being kidnapped because someone wants revenge on Elvis. 2) My feelings aside, it's harder to feel Elvis's concern for Lucy and Ben because Crais went away from them a while. 3) At the end of L.A. REQUIEM, Lucy and Elvis seemed pretty much on the outs, and in TLD Elvis is taking care of Ben when he's abducted? The scenario might have been believable if we'd seen Lucy and Elvis patch things up. As it stands, there's a gap like the inexplicable one between THE PHANTOM MENACE and ATTACK OF THE CLONES--where it's dumped on us that Anakin has spent ten offstage years pining for Amidala. Where's the show?

So I find I'm reading as I would read a Clancy book, skipping the kidnapping angst, and reading the action.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

That's My "Smallville", Part II

Last night's was a top-notch episode of "Smallville." Titled "Truth", it focuses on girl reporter Chloe Sullivan who, during at attempt to blackmail Lionel Luthor, inhales a Kryptonite-laced gas that compels anyone she questions (except Clark) to tell the truth.

For a while the power is a reporter's dream: Chloe uses her cell phone to record Lionel's admission that he blacklisted her father out of work; Pete declares his love for her; Lana reveals plans for art school in Paris; Lex reveals he just wants his dad to love him. Of course, the gas turns out to be highly toxic, its antidote untested.

The most tempting secret is Clark himself. Chloe is on her way to get the truth from the Kents when a disgruntled classmate rams her car into a guard rail. Clark arrives just in time to heft both cars out of danger and administer the antidote to a shocked Chloe.

The episode ends with Chloe accessing her cell phone records only to hear a message from Lionel: "Don't bother looking for our little conversation, Miss Sullivan. That's gone." Evil.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

He's the Unknown Stuntman...

Lee Goldberg, a writer/producer on such shows as "Spenser: For Hire", "Diagnosis: Murder", A&E's "Nero Wolfe", and USA's "Monk", recently started a blog. Great to get his perspective.

A Little Buildup

I subscribe to several e-mail lists of interest to writers, mostly on Yahoo! Groups. On a couple of these, announcements of publication, corresponding congrats, and other acts of self-promotion are the order of the day. At best, self-promotion feels slick to me. At worst, it's desperate: "Read my wife, please." Still, if a writer's work can't sound good to himself, how can he invite others to read it?

My normal m.o. is to announce a story when it is published and not before, but seeing as my next story--the third C.J. Stone--is due out in two weeks or so, I thought you'd like a chance to get caught up. (I'm taking a page from Miramax, who released KILL BILL Vol. 1 on DVD a week before Vol. 2 premiered in theaters.)

If you haven't stumbled upon it before, you can now visit a webpage of background on Stone and cohorts, complete with links to his two previous appearances. Thanks, and let me know what you think.

Donnie Baseball

Today is a birthday for Don Mattingly, the best Yankee player never to win a World Series (43). One of the good guys in sports, Indiana native Mattingly brought a mix of Larry Bird's work ethic and Michael Jordan's spectacle, great field instincts and power hitting. His career unfortunately shortened by back injuries, he retired in 1995, one year before the Yankees started their latest string of championships with Tino Martinez (no Donnie, but worlds better than Jason Giambi) at first base.

Monday, April 19, 2004

"He's Making a List..."

I know I'm eight months early for Christmas, but I thought I'd give you a look at what I'm reading from time to time. Today's order is from eCampus:

HELLBOY: Seed of Destruction by Mike Mignola - Loved the movie; will I love the book?

EVERYBODY'S SOMEBODY'S FOOL by Ed Gorman - Gorman's fifth book with 1950s-60s P.I. Sam McCain of Black River Falls, Iowa.

SUCKER BET by James Swain - the third book from expert card-handler Swain featuring casino security specialist Tony Valentine.

SHUTTER ISLAND by Dennis Lehane - the standalone that started the latest discussion on DetecToday.

HEX by Maggie Estep - a mystery novel by the performance poet and hip commentator.

THIEVES' DOZEN by Donald E. Westlake - the collected comic capers of John Dortmunder.

This Trilogy Needs to Go Far, Far Away.

Today is a birthday for the teenaged Anakin Skywalker, Hayden Christensen (23).

Is it just me, or is something missing from the second Star Wars trilogy? Dave White says an everyman ala Han Solo is missing. I also think these movies are less magical--due in no small part to the quantification of The Force into microscopic creatures called mitichlorians. The biggest downer is knowing in advance the story will end darkly: Anakin (an unsympathetic, arrogant Jedi prodigy) will become Darth Vader, scourge of the galaxy. Yay?

Is George Lucas full of himself enough to believe audiences will keep watching simply to fill in backstory (fatalistic backstory at that)?

Sunday, April 18, 2004


I saw HELLBOY today, and am seeking all the source material I can lay my hands on. As a member of DetecToday recently pointed out, humor can get you through the darkest stuff. I'm hoping the Hellboy comic is a good mix.

Somethin' to Talk About

Let's give 'em somethin' to talk about,
a little mystery to figure out.

With this Bonnie Raitt lyric, I begin another post on the act of writing following posts by Sarah Weinman, Jim Winter, Ray Banks. Essentially, I agree with Ray that it's difficult to talk about. Writing is everything that goes on before the opening curtain. Performers are often asked what goes on behind the scenes, and they say things like, "I need a ton of rehearsal," "I'm such a klutz," "If you want to see the real me, catch me first thing in the morning."

Fans like to ask, but no one really wants to know a performer is just like you or me. Some part wants to maintain the illusion of what we see onstage: the best or most dramatic we can be. Talking about it lessens the magical experience that writers deserve to give and readers deserve to have.

In the best writing classes, we don't talk about writing very much; we write and then, having read our writing, talk about story. You can only discuss something so far before giving an example ("But here, I'll show you what I mean.")

When I was learning to drive, to calm my nerves I asked, "Is there anything I can do outside a car that would help?"

The answer, as you might expect, was "No."

Talking about writing is not writing. The only way to learn to write, to learn what will work for you, is to write. As Elvis suggested:

A little less conversation,
a little more action, please.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

Kill Bill Vol. 2

Took the train to the city today (second straight sunny day after nearly a week of rain) to see KILL BILL Volume 2. This portion filled in a lot of backstory, replaying some previous scenes from different POVs. The movie was a nice mix of swordplay, kung fu, and tough talk, though I did think some parts were too talky (Tarantino's trademark). And as a fan of Michael Madsen, I thought he deserved a better comeuppance.

One thing sorely lacking: The tune Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) whistled in Volume 1.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

A Blog of His Own

L.A. mystery fan, fellow educator, and Yahoo! Group compadre Aldo Calcagno has started a blog of his own. Godspeed, Mystery Dawg.

"You Like It?"

As you may know, I've taken off from teaching this semester to write. However, being a friend to the writing lab staff, when asked to help grade Hofstra's Writing Proficiency Exam yesterday and today, I went.

There was a tutoring session going on when I arrived today, a female student whose paper had something to do with hardboiled fiction. The student was looking for a word to describe the portrayal of women in HB, a synonym for "mean." The tutor consulted me, and I came up with "unsavory," which seemed to fit the tutee's thinking. When the tutor explained that I was a fan and writer of the stuff, the tutee asked me:

"You like it?"

"I'm not sure this is the best time to tell you."

"Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler...They seem so misogynistic."

"Well, they are dated." Ever the diplomat.

I hemmed and hawed the rest of the way, trying to salvage my good name from her lima bean and brussel sprout-distaste for Dash and Ray, while feeling exactly like Chekov on the run from 20th century Navy security in Star Trek IV:

"Scotty, now would be a good time."

On the Rebound

I received a poem rejection yesterday--a simple "Sorry, Gerald"--and upon looking over the poems, decided against revising. My internal monologue went something like, "I've gotten so much better since sending these. I don't think I can polish these ideas (yet)."

A poem must capture an emotionally charged moment in fewer lines or sustain that charge over a greater number of lines. A story builds and connects many moments in a more conventional structure. It's easy to get back into a story by rereading. The fervor with which I thought a poem was brilliant on December 29, 2003 at 6:07 a.m. may not come back. I'd rather be present for new feelings than miss them trying to reconstruct old ones.

Here's a quote I like from renaissance man David Lawrence, interviewed in the latest issue of Barbaric Yawp:

"You have to write with your balls. You have to make a decision and go with it. Rewriting can improve that but it can also dilute it."

Since I decided to send out at least one batch of poems a month, some batches have been better than others. I still value submitting as it calibrates my internal clock: "Time to make the poems." The response time for poems is from two to six months, lots of time to work on other stuff. I hope to work up to submitting three batches of poems a month.

If you prefer, poems are like single shots, covering fire to keep your opponent at bay; stories are larger-scale, more coordinated attacks. Both are necessary in the long haul.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

"Shall We Play a Game?"

I never know how these games start, but here's another one I got from Sarah Weinman. Go to page 23 of the book you're reading now and copy the fifth sentence into your blog:

"And last, you haven't heard the entire offer." --from WALKING THE PERFECT SQUARE by Reed Farrell Coleman (2003)

This reminds me of a poem game I played in grad school. We passed a sheet of paper around the room, and each person would write a line and fold the paper over so the next person's line would be fresh, not influenced by the last. My line was, "It is forbidden for you to interfere in human history." From what movie?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

On Motivation

As usual, an item on Sarah's blog has filled my head with more commentary than seemed appropriate for a HaloScan page. This time it's a interview with Robert B. "The Example" Parker. My grad advisor John Weir likes to teach the works of Hemingway because (paraphrasing) they are as much examples of how to write as how not to write. I use Parker for the same reason.

Like his writing, Parker in person is very curt. He says, "I am neither better nor worse for [wealth]. It allows me to give it to the people I love (above named wife and sons). Which I do. I let others manage the money, though I am not unaware of what they're doing. Money is a means to an end. It neither interests me nor bores me, any more than say gasoline does...I won't retire. I'll keep writing until I can't, or no one will read me. I do not have, nor do I anticipate a 'Spenser RIP.' My motivation hasn't changed."

This answer sounds good. Friendly critics have praised Parker's regular output as "consistent" or "dependable." You may want to say, "Good on Parker for not selling out." Tiger Woods had a similar answer when questioned about his don't-call-it-a-slump. Effectively, he plays the same way whether ahead or behind.

I say motivation should rise to the occasion. Say what they will, the Yankees and Red Sox do not play other teams with the same intensity they play each other. Maybe Tiger is still in his don't-call-it-a-slump precisely because his motivation hasn't changed.

The next story should challenge (tease, sneer at) a writer, so the writer says, "I'll show you." I'm currently prepping in the Bat Cave of my mind to face a story called "Stragglers".

Monday, April 12, 2004

Licence to Chill

As first reported by Sarah Weinman, a prequel series featuring a teenaged James Bond has been commissioned to be written by British comedian Charlie Higson. Dale Stoyer sent me this BBC link with further info.

Going on Too Long

Yesterday I posted about being continually surprised by series characters. A series has gone on too long when you are no longer surprised. A series has gone on way too long when the characters become so indistinct that anyone can stand in for them in the theater of our minds. Witness James Bond, initially a WWII veteran who, in '90s books by John Gardner is still a Commander in the Royal Navy, practicing safe sex. (I've posted previously on the search for a new Bond to star in a more spectacular movie. Add Heath Ledger's name to the list of stand-ins.)

Witness Spenser, a veteran of Korea who, on "Spenser: For Hire", was said to have served in Vietnam. I'm not the purest form of purist, but I do wonder: if Hollywood, and sometimes authors, are tweaking the characters however they like, how much is really left of the characters we grew to love? An author may be in good writing form, but are the characters still sharp? Before the answer becomes "no," it's time to end the series.

I Just Like Her

Shannen Doherty turns 33 today. She has that "difficult" rep, and she's had her share of headlines, but it seems to me she's grown into someone who knows what she wants and goes after it. I like that. Sometimes difficult people open up to friends for whatever reason, and I can't help thinking deep down she's all right.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Sports Wrap

Perennial runner-up Phil Mickelson won his first major today, the vaunted Masters. With pace-setter Tiger Woods nowhere in sight, "Lefty" beat Ernie Els by one stroke.

Despite the fact that some of my favorite people play golf, I'm not much into the sport. Elsewhere today, Yankees no. 1 starter Mike Mussina won the 200th game of his career, breaking an early slump. In a possible playoff preview, the Sacramento Kings beat the L.A. Lakers 102-82.

And them Detroit Tigers moved to 5-1 with a victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Letter From the Editor

The sixth anniversary issue of Thrilling Detective continues to come together. This past week, stories by amigos Ray Banks and Dave White went up. Dave's been asking me--Ray's probably using telepathy--to mention their stories here. Before today, I might've said, "Congrats to Dave and Ray on two great stories. Well done." Two sentences. My internal censor's been asking, Where's the beef?

Note that Ray's story "God Put a Smile" and Dave's story "God's Dice" feature the word "God", and indeed involve Catholic themes. I did not choose these stories to make a statement, nor did I know in advance they would go live so close to Easter. It is true today being Easter Sunday spurred this entry.

As an editor, I often think about how audiences will receive text (or the broader "material"). My job is to determine what words will deliver the author's message and inflection most accurately. I have to know she meant it to sound not like that, but like this. In the case of these latest Thrilling stories, I saw that Dave and Ray wanted to go all out, a genuine treatment of the issues, not merely lip service to hot headlines.

As an editor, do I really have much control over a story? I like to answer no; it's up to the author what direction a story takes. Indeed, sometimes that direction is away from Thrilling. For better or worse, the best stories fully engage me. At this stage, their meaning for the public--sometimes including the author--matters not as much as their meaning for the characters.

This may sound extreme at first, but without meaning for its characters, a story can have no meaning for people. Characters are really more basic versions of people. I chose both stories because their events drew more out of the characters Donne and Innes. This strikes me as the reason anyone would write or read a series, to be continually surprised by characters' reactions.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Nothing to See Here

You may have noticed less blogging in the past few days. I've been taking it easy, reading WALKING THE PERFECT SQUARE by Reed Farrel Coleman, doing not much of anything else. I do have the urge to write poems, which would be a bonus before the end of the month.

Looking back, I'm amazed how much time let pass without a poem, story, or something else written. I do regret my "do-nothing" younger days, but I'm not in a panicked catch-up mode. As with any exercise, overdoing it is ultimately unheathy. I've worked up to the best writing shape of my life, and I have to keep a steady pace to stay that way. If I go too long without writing, I start to feel sluggish. And after feeling in top form, feeling sluggish is no fun.

Friday, April 09, 2004

Paulina Porizkova in HER ALIBI (1989)

Today is a birthday for original supermodel Paulina Porizkova (39). Paulina has gone on to appear in several movies, and even direct one called ROOMMATES (2001). One of her first credits was the comedy HER ALIBI, in which she starred as a Roumanian circus performer with whom mystery author Tom Selleck is smitten. The movie remains a rainy-day favorite as it premiered around the time I first knew I wanted to write.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Plane Found

The Lockheed Lightning flown by the author of The Little Prince on a WWII spy mission has been found. Saint-Exupery's life was one of those that first fired my imagination about fiction and aviation, which years later would culminate in my character C.J. Stone.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

The First-Place Detroit Tigers

On opening night, the Detroit Tigers beat the Toronto Blue Jays and ace Roy Halliday 7-0. I'll take as many wins as they can muster. You gotta believe.

Batman Re-Animated reports on a new Batman cartoon, chronicling a twentysomething Wayne's first nights as the Bat.

Which Sci-Fi Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?


A venerated sage with vast power and knowledge, you gently guide forces around you while serving as a champion of the light.

Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not - for my ally is the Force. And a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us, and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter!

Quite accurate, this is. In college, I received a lot of Yoda paraphernalia including a Yoda figurine, a Yoda standee, a Yoda mousepad, a Yoda PEZ dispenser, and a model of the planet Dagobah.

Monday, April 05, 2004

DS9 on Spike TV

Spike TV launches repeats of "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine" today with a week-long marathon. I had my doubts about this first series without Gene Roddenberry until I saw Avery Brooks's name in the credits. The cast also included Colm Meaney as everyone's favorite enlisted man, Miles O'Brien and the multi-talented René Auberjonois as 24th century investigator Odo.

Terry Farrell played the joined being Jadzia Dax, confidant to Brooks's commander, and Nana Visitor played fiery Bajoran first officer Major Kira Nerys.

DS9 was "my show" through college and grad school, and I gladly welcome it back.

UConn vs. Tennessee

In a rematch of last year's NCAA Women's final, UConn will face Tennessee tomorrow night. Geno Auriemma and Pat Summitt are by far the most driven coaches in the women's game, and their battles are instant classics. There is some controversy this year in that Tennessee won it's Final 8 game over Baylor (Texas) with the help of a controversial foul call.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

You Want to Interview Me?

The ubërprolific Stephen D. Rogers surveyed several P.I. fiction "experts" (me 'umble self included) at the beginning of this year for an article proposed to Writer's Digest. Stephen tells me the article has been accepted, but no pub date has been set. Stay tuned.

UConn Do It

UConn and Georgia Tech will meet in Monday's NCAA Men's Championship Game after last night's nail-biter victories over Duke and OK State respectively. What is it about Duke that inspires such animosity from "the rest of us"? Maybe it's that Coach K looks like an evil genius, or that Duke's single syllable seems arrogant, like Bo Jackson or Mo Rivera.

Saturday, April 03, 2004

Daylight-Saving Time

Two a.m. tomorrow morning will instantaneously become three a.m. as most of the U.S. springs ahead to Daylight-Saving Time. Closing in on 29 1/2, I find myself preferring DST to Standard Time, where in my youth the opposite was true. Maybe it's because I sleep earlier that I don't mind losing an hour. I also don't mind that it appears brighter later. As an avid walker, I'll take all the daylight I can get.

My friend Christine Boylan wrote a one-act play called Every Third Thought in which a lonely man tries to stay up every year for the switch to Standard Time, believing that night magical enough to let him rewind his life.

I've come to embrace the passage of time--it's passing anyway, like it or not--and what I've learned in that time. I wouldn't want to return to a state of less awareness. As much as we would like to freeze the good times, part of what makes them so good is their temporarity. (Not sure that's a real word, but it's got "rarity" in it, and that's my point. We wouldn't cherish good times in the first place if they were common and dragged on.) Finite time also means we don't have to dwell on the bad times. Indeed, there is no time to dwell on them.

Friday, April 02, 2004

April 2nd is Gerald-Hog Day

It's a tradition dating back to the first time I was seriously burned by an April Fool's prank. Though I laugh often and long and have a sense of humor about myself, I'm normally serious dealing with others. When I'm kidding, I'll make it clear to you. So you can see why I despise that senseless day of homage to practical jokes, April Fool's Day. (But what better day for Ashton Kutcher to announce he was kidding about ending "Punk'd" and that it would be back for another season?)

I do all I can to avoid potential pranksters for one day and resurface the next. If, like me, you wonder about the origins of this silly holiday, click here. (No, really.)

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Just What I've Always Wanted

Today marks six years online for The Thrilling Detective Web Site, and I feel as if Editor Kevin Burton Smith and walking knowledge base Dale Stoyer have thrown me a publication party. Kevin dedicated the anniversary issue to me, and Dale sent in a bio for Chris Harvey of "Forgive Me Not."

For me, it's the equivalent of getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Thank you once again to my fans and supporters. You help turn eye-twinkles into reality.

Songwriters Hall of Fame

Reuters reports on this year's inductees into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, including Al Green, Don McLean, and Hall and Oates.

In tribute, a medley:

You're a rich girl,
and you've gone too far
'cause you know it don't matter anyway.
You can rely on the old man's money
whether times are good or bad,
happy or sad, so
bye-bye Miss American Pie.
Drove my Chevy to the levy,
but the levy was dry,
and good ol' boys were drinkin' whiskey and rye,
singin', "She's a maneater."

From Lana Lang to Ma Kent

Today is Annette O'Toole's 50th birthday. Currently playing Martha Kent on "Smallville," O'Toole is a self-professed Superman fan who starred as Lana Lang opposite Christopher Reeve's Clark Kent in Superman III: The One Hackman Wouldn't Touch. Having always shown wholesomeness wth a pinch of mischief, as does Duke boy John Schneider, O'Toole now shows a nurturing quality perfect for the role of Martha.

O'Toole is married to "Laverne & Shirley" pal Michael McKean, who guested on "Lois and Clark" as a leering Luthor lackey, and recently had a great turn on "Smallville" as the younger Perry White.