Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Ghost Who Walks

USA Network aired The Phantom (1996) before I left for the city yesterday, and I recalled my enjoyment on first seeing it on HBO in '97.

Billy Zane as Kit Walker was cheesy, Kristy Swanson as the girl who got away (Where have I heard that before?) was cheeky, and Treat Williams as the villain was over-the-top, but what can I say? It was meant as an escapist period piece, and that's how I took it.

Jen Affleck

Word today of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner's secret wedding, and yes, she is pregnant with his child, and I can't bring myself to care much. Not since Tom Cruise jumped the sofa.

"Are you ready to begin?"

Liam Neeson as Ducard training a young Bruce Wayne

Three friends and I went to see Batman Begins last night at the Loews IMAX Theater in Lincoln Square. Before the movie, we had pizza at Francesco's, where according to a photo on the wall, Dakota Fanning had her first slice of New York pizza.

Anyway, this was a great summer movie featuring Liam Neeson as a much more sinister and vibrant mentor than Qui-Gon Jinn. If only Ducard had been around to show Anakin how to conquer his fear.

Christian Bale brought his trademark complexity to Bruce Wayne and the rest of the cast was right on the money. Except for Katie Holmes.

I went in wondering what I would think of her performance had her visibility not exploded. Answer: I would have found her melodramatic as I always have.

Tickets were a steep $15, but I was only mildly annoyed that the projector shorted out just as Batman brought Gotham kingpin Carmine Falcone to justice.

Bring on The Joker.

AP: Actress Jennifer Tilly Wins Poker Event

Actress Jennifer Tilly is no poker pretender. Tilly won the Ladies no-limit Texas Hold 'Em event at the World Series of Poker, marking the first time a celebrity has won a bracelet at the famous tournament.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Before Cordless Phones the title of my poem just accepted for Nerve Cowboy #20, due Fall 2005.

It's the tale of a well-intentioned soul torn between the calls of nature and a friend in need.

In the words of The Rascals:

I'm just a soul whose intentions are good,
Oh lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.

Incessant Internal Song of the Day

"You Can Do Magic" by America:

You know darn well
When you cast your spell you will get your way
When you hypnotize with your eyes
A heart of stone can turn to clay
Doo, doo, doo ...

"We're walking, we're walking..."

I took the trains and hoofed it to Black Orchid Bookshop in NYC yesterday for Laura Lippman's signing of To The Power of Three. As a mild-mannered suburban teacher, and now as a freelancer working at home, I rarely visit the city on my own. When I do, I plan my route meticulously but leave myself plenty of time to get lost, just in case.

The trip in was smooth, and I arrived at the shop an hour in advance. I don't mind waiting, soaking up atmosphere, becoming part of the background. I met store owners Bonnie and Joe and joined in conversation with Adam, who was reading Robert Parker's Cold Service, and Seth Cavanaugh as they discussed good dark, violent reads. I met East of A author Russell Atwood, who was helping out at the register.

The first familiar face to arrive was the multi-talented Sarah Weinman, then Dave White and Pat Lambe. Pat, Dave, and I lined up to have our books signed, and I met Laura, who—from the friendly, fresh voice of her blog—I felt I already knew. She asked how I wanted my books inscribed, and I said, "However you like." The best inscriptions, IMO, are surprises. She signed, "To Gerald, another bright new voice," and "To Gerald, who's right. I am the same in person."

Aw, shucks (blushing).

As more people arrived, we hung out on the steps to Black Orchid, and I got to chat with Charlie and Anne Marie Stella while Dave White talked with Sarah Weinman and C.J. Carpenter.

After the signing, eleven of us headed off in search of a place for drinks. Our first stop, O'Flannigan's, was closed. I mean paper-in-the-windows closed. Wow. Our second stop couldn't seat a party of eleven. Finally, C.J. used her sway with a bartender to get us into Tony's. I had a Coke ("I'm walking") and some chat before my Spider Sense told me it was time to start home.

With directions from Sarah and C.J., I arrived at Penn at 9:30 and took the 9:42 train home as planned. Adventurous yet punctual. I love it when a plan comes together.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Still a Fan

Despite the criticism I level at Parker, I'm still enough of a fan to pick up The Spenser Movie Collection, out on DVD today.

I was not especially a fan of Urich as Spenser, but I enjoy seeing literature adapted to film, good or bad. Most interesting to me are the choices and changes made from the source material.

Also out on DVD today, Stone Cold is the best movie to-date adapted from Parker's work, staying true to the Parker feel while breaking from the text where necessary for the sake of a better movie.

Jesse Stone on the page is nowhere near Selleck's age, but I can think of no actor better suited to portray Stone's terse demeanor. Mimi Rogers likewise makes the role of Rita Fiore her own.

Monday, June 27, 2005

"Who's the Master?"

Taimak Guarriello, star of Berry Gordy's 1985 cult classic The Last Dragon, turns 41 today. Visit his website and see what he's been up to.

"Chinese Goju is my secret; I bear no arms. May God help me if I ever have to use my art."

Proof that Nobody Copyedits Robert B. Parker These Days

From Bill Crider's Blog:

From Appaloosa, p. 266: "The room was quiet and noisy."

p. 238: "Bragg took a tan leather case out of his inside coat pocket. He offered a cigar to Bragg and me."

UPDATE (10:00 PM ET): Responding on Lee Goldberg's blog, Keith Snyder points out:
In one of my books, somebody's introduced, and then a sentence or two later, he's introduced with a different name. This error was introduced by the printer after all the painstaking copy editing had been completed.

"He's so big nobody copy edits him" is an easy shot to take, but we really have no way of knowing who goofed.

Point taken, Keith.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Frequent readers of this blog know I will watch almost anything Angelina Jolie does. The touted chemistry between Jolie and Brad Pitt was there, but not a juggernaut. In fact, I easily forgot the tabloid buzz around them while watching Mr. and Mrs. Smith. There was enough spark for the movie to work, but I can believe the actors went their separate ways when the day was done.

Likewise, there was a lot of shoot-em-up action and close-quarters combat but enough story in between to drive things. I had heard the script was bad, but I didn't think so. With bullets flying and bombs exploding, the protags had no time to resort to cheesy one-liners. I found their dialogue consistent with a couple rediscovering each other.

The crucial aspect I had to believe was that the protags actually cared for each other despite professional ethics, and I believed this, too. In short, a nice distracting summer flick that stayed on track.

Dead End Books Thank-You

Stopped into Dead End Books last night for their end-of-lease thank-you party. Caught up with Reed Coleman and Jason Starr, and spoke for the first time with Jim Fusilli and Chris Aldrich.

Fusilli came in with news of the Mets' record-tying three sac flys in one inning versus the scuffling Yankees. Chris mentioned she was a member of my discussion lists, DetecToday and CrimeSeen, and she, Jason, and I got to chatting about the state of Robert Parker and Sue Grafton's famous series.

Also chatted with frequent Dead End customer DJ, aspiring science fiction/fantasy author who, as a high school sophomore, already has a keen sense of story and character. Good luck to him, and to the fine folks of Dead End.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Spurred to Victory

San Antonio regained focus and played better defense than Detroit, winning their third NBA championship in seven years. More than a testament to talent, this is a testament to sound coaching. Congrats to Pop and the Spurs.

I didn't watch much, but kept tabs on the game. I'm not sure what it will take to really get me watching NBA games again.

'Cause I'm the unknown stuntman...

From IMDb:
Stunt Community Angered by Oscar Decision

Hollywood's stunt community has been left fuming after Academy Awards bosses decided not to introduce an Oscar category to recognize their work. Following a protest outside the Academy Awards headquarters in Los Angeles earlier this week, Oscar organizers were forced to consider a category honoring stunt work but made their unpopular decision to keep the annual ceremony's running time down. Academy president Frank Pierson explains, "At a time when the Academy is trying to find ways to reduce the numbers of statuettes given out, the board is simply not prepared to institute any new annual awards categories." But stuntman Jack Gill, 50, who has worked on big-budget films such as Pearl Harbor and The Day After Tomorrow, fumes, "Stunt co-ordinators are an integral part of the filmmaking business yet we are totally overlooked by the Academy. It seems like every picture that is promoted has an action piece to lure audiences in there and the stunt people are central to those scenes. Even the Academy shows action scenes at the Oscars, yet they keep us out of it, despite the fact that we play a major role before, during and after production."

Thursday, June 23, 2005

'Godfather of beach volleyball' dead at 69

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Charlie Saikley, the "godfather of beach volleyball" who popularized the sport by launching its leading tournament, the Manhattan Beach Open, has died at age 69 of cancer, friends said on Thursday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Only in New York

NEW YORK (AP) - An attempt to erect the world's largest Popsicle in a city square ended with a scene straight out of a disaster film — but much stickier.

AFI's Top 100 Movie Quotes

Though rankings can be debated ad nauseum, here is the full list.

I thought I'd put my own spin on this with ten most influential (on me) movie quotes (no order):

"I'm laughing at the superior intellect." - Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

"Jedi Master? Yoda. You seek Yoda." - Yoda (Frank Oz), The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

"This is a blues riff in B. Watch me for the changes and try to keep up." - Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Back to the Future (1985)

"It's not the years, honey. It's the mileage." - Dr. Henry "Indiana" Jones (Harrison Ford), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

"Are you ready for me...Ralph?" - Lana (Rebecca DeMornay), Risky Business (1983)

"I don't mind if you don't like my manners. I don't like 'em myself. They're pretty bad. I grieve over them long winter evenings. And I don't mind you ritzing me or drinking your lunch out of a bottle, but don't waste your time trying to cross-examine me." - Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart), The Big Sleep (1946)

"You ever hear of a ritual killing?" - Buck Russell (John Candy), Uncle Buck (1989)

"I wasn't always a police officer." - Axel Foley (Eddie Murphy), Beverly Hills Cop II (1987)

"Gentlemen, this is the real thing. This is what you've been trained for. You are America's best. Make us proud." - Stinger (James Tolkan), Top Gun (1986)

"Come out to the Coast. We'll get together, have a few laughs." - John McClane (Bruce Willis), Die Hard (1988)

"Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray), Ghostbusters (1984)

Our Man Bashir

From IMDb:
Cattrall Finds Love with Co-Star

Former Sex And The City star Kim Cattrall has found love with her London theatre co-star Alexander Siddig. Cattrall, who dated 27-year-old Canadian chef Alan Wyse until earlier this year, starred opposite the Sudan-born actor, 39, in West End hit Whose Life Is It Anyway? until April. Cattrall, 48, starred as Claire Harrison, a woman paralyzed from the neck down, who enjoys a flirtatious relationship with the handsome Doctor Scott, played by the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine actor. At British magazine Glamour's Women Of The Year Awards in London on June 9, where Cattrall picked up Theatre Actress Of The Year, the couple went public for the first time on the red carpet. A theatre source says, "Their chemistry is amazing."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

"Not" Again

The June issue of Mysterical-E is out just in time for summer, featuring a reprint of my P.I. story "Forgive Me Not" with a custom illustration by Teresa Tunaley. Give it a read and let me know what you think.

Where I'll Be

On Friday, June 24, 7:30PM I'm attending a thank-you party at Dead End Books. Increasing rent and taxes have forced the shop to close, but the website remains open for business and owners Paul and Eileen Lutz are scouting new locations. I fully expect to hear from them down the line.

On Tuesday, June 28, 6:30PM I make my first trip to Black Orchid Bookshop, where Laura Lippman will sign her new standalone TO THE POWER OF THREE. Also meeting up with Dave White, Pat Lambe, and Anthony Rainone.

Monday, June 20, 2005

DOUBLE PLAY by Robert B. Parker

Robert B. Parker is the author who hooked me on reading for pleasure. I discovered his Spenser books in the summer of 1993, having completed my freshman year in college, including my first psychology course. I most admired how Parker's writing was simultaneously deep and entertaining. I would come to expect (and not get) the same lucid prose from every author I read.

I also call Parker on his flaws. He has rehashed plots and themes so often in his career I doubt he knows he's doing it anymore. Every book of his has some blurb hailing it as startlingly fresh, a crowning achievement. Don't believe the hype.

That said, about once every three books, Parker can be seen actually trying. His attempts aren't smooth, as his writing routine itself is to produce ten pages a day, five days a week, and he hasn't written a book more than 300 pages in years, but fans take nuance where they can get it.

While some critics were quick to label DOUBLE PLAY's Joseph Burke a renamed Spenser, he is not. Burke is a much harder, unfeeling man with almost no reason to live. He finds some reason in the person of Lauren Roach, herself a very damaged woman. In bodyguarding Jackie Robinson during his first season in the majors, Burke comes to reclaim his personal dignity. A worthwhile read.

The Future of NCIS

My post on the second season finale of NCIS sparked the longest-running discussion on this blog so far. A article dated June 10 expands on the reasons for Sasha Alexander's departure and outlines Don Bellisario's plans for the show.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Gotta Love the Drama

CBS reran two episodes of NCIS last night, but I couldn't turn away from Justice League Unlimited. In the new episode "Hunter's Moon," Hawkgirl, Vixen (voice of Gina Torres), and Vigilante (voice of Nathan Fillion) respond to a distress call that turns out to be a trap set by Thanagarians still upset that Hawkgirl betrayed them in Justice League's "series finale".

Friday, June 17, 2005

De-troit Basket-ball

The NBA Finals are tied 2-2 after impressive wins by the defending champs. I'm still not watching the games as they happen. ESPN/ABC's conglomerated approach to coverage confuses me. Should be an exciting finish to read in the papers.

This Broots Was Made for Walkin'

Born today: Thomas Haden Church (44), rumored to be playing Eddie Brock/Venom in Spider-man 3, and Jon Gries (48), who played meek techie Broots, Miss Parker's favorite whipping boy on The Pretender.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Everybody Wang Chung Tonight

Wang Chung competes against Sophie B. Hawkins, Cameo, Howard Jones, and Irene Cara on tonight's Hit Me Baby One More Time. Will I actually watch?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Quertermous-White Project II

After positive response to their first project, on May 2, 2005, Dave White and Bryon Quertermous distributed the premise for a second online writing project:

Write a story up to 3,000 words involving an object that is either sold at or taken to a police auction.

"Every Man for Himself", written for this challenge, can now be purchased as part of my ebook, Call Me Cupid: Six Screwball Stories of Love (February 2012). Reader comments on the story remain here to pique your interest.

Others Tackle the Topic

Alina Adams, "Hitting the Fan"

Ray Banks, "Outbid"

Gwenda Bond, "Unflappable"

Aldo Calcagno, "What Happens in Vegas..."

Bill Crider, "Raining Willie: A Story with no Moral"

Paul Guyot, "Bobcat"

Jennifer Jordan, "The Secret Police Auction Executive Balls"

Rochelle Krich, "Why Peggy Didn't Get Married"
Christin Kuretich, "The End"

Pat Lambe, "Initiation"

Stuart MacBride, "Lot 346"

David J. Montgomery, "The Suitcase"

Bob Mueller, The Sad Girl

Scott Neumyer, "Now You Can See"

Graham Powell, "The Leap"

Megan Powell, "Soft Soap"

Bryon Quertermous, "Schmuck with an Underwood"

John Rickards, "The Horror in the Sands"

Duane Swierczynski, "Seeing God"

Bob Tinsley, "Familiars"

Steven Torres, "Viktor Petrenko, Have You No Mercy?"

Sarah Weinman, "A Jumpin' Night in the Garden of Eden"

Dave White, "Deliver Us From Evil

Dave Zeltserman, "The Canary"

R.I.P. Lane Smith

Veteran character actor Lane Smith passed away on June 13 at the age of 69. This hits especially hard having just reacquainted myself with his work as Perry White on Lois & Clark. The Superman Homepage reports Smith suffered from ALS in his later years.

Lane Smith as Perry White

From IMDb:
'Lois & Clark' Star Dies

Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman star Lane Smith has lost his battle with neuromuscular disease ALS and died in California, according to internet reports. The actor, 69, played Perry White in the hit TV series. In a posting on Superman fansite Kryptonsite.Com, a family statement reads, "Thanks for your concern and good wishes and prayers. We are sorry to tell you that my uncle Lane Smith died yesterday, a blessed relief from his ALS. Thank you so much for your support." Smith's other credits include roles in Red Dawn, Air America and The Mighty Ducks.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Lois and Clark DVD Review

I received my Season One DVD set today, and on the whole it brings back great memories. I'd always been something of a Superman fan, but this show made him relatable specifically to me. Teri Hatcher was already one of my favorite actresses, and I was more drawn to her Lois than Margot Kidder's. Deborah Joy LeVine created a Clark Kent who could contend with Lois, and relative newcomer Dean Cain brought natural charm to the role. That Cain was a quarter Asian also helped me relate. In fact, everyone in the cast brought the characters to vivid life for me.

Now to the DVD itself: the pilot commentary by Cain, LeVine, and director Robert Butler is great, as are the featurettes. Strangely though, there is no invidual scene selection for each episode. You can step through manually, but what is that, really? The DVD case is the worst I've encountered. The slots are designed so you can't take out Disc Two without removing Disc One, and you can't return Disc One unless Disc Two is in place. The same goes for Discs Four and Six. Awkward. Lastly, I guess I shouldn't have expected much from the bonus disc, but there's no scene selection or title screen on it, either.

Overall megafan's rating: 3 out of 5 Private Eyes Fear Limits On Information Access

By Jonathan Krim, Washington Post Staff Writer

Tue Jun 14, 1:00 AM ET

Private investigators are working to blunt legislation that cracks down on the active marketplace for Social Security numbers, telling Congress that restricting access to the numbers will hurt their business and hamper their investigations.

NBA Bits

I haven't posted on the NBA in a while. With the Knicks out of the playoffs and the Nets only nominally in, I haven't had real rooting interest for a long time. The Detroit Pistons, last year's lunchpail champions, are back in the finals, but Larry Brown's wanderlust has kicked up again, and it looks like they'll lose and he'll become Cleveland's GM. All credit to the Spurs, who are playing like a team, something all basketball fans appreciate.

When the L.A. Lakers have re-hired Phil Jackson today, I heard echoes of Palpatine: "We shall forge the first Galactic Empire..." Whatever. Without Shaq, there's no one to check Kobe's attention-hogging instincts.

There may be a lockout in the NBA's future, and I don't care. If the players really want to play and the owners really want to own, labor disputes would be settled more quickly and quietly.

What If?

With the hubbub around Tom Cruise of late, I mentioned to a friend that a teenaged Cruise considered entering a Catholic seminary.

"There's a different world," my friend said, and we began to think of other actors who might have filled Cruise's roles:

Matt Dillon as Joel Goodson

Chris O'Donnell as Daniel Caffey

Ethan Hawke as Ethan Hunt

Ben Stiller as Lestat

Val Kilmer as Pete "Maverick" Mitchell

Denis Leary as Charlie Babbitt

Bruce Willis as Brian Flanagan

Add your own suggestions in the comments section.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The Greatest Secret Agent in the World

We first got cable TV in 1986, and one of my lasting favorite shows was Danger Mouse—chock full of adventure, humor, and vivid characters. The first two seasons were released on DVD May 31.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Weakest Link

I caught the "Classic TV Stars" edition of The Weakest Link on Game Show Network tonight. It featured Erik Estrada, Jill Whelan, Mackenzie Phillips, Erin Moran, Cindy Williams, Joan Van Ark, Fred Berry, and Nell Carter. The last two stars mentioned died in recent years of complications from diabetes. It was surreal to see them on the show and recall they weren't around anymore.

How's My Weekend?

Spent yesterday looking at some property in Jersey City. Spent most of today tweaking my story "Lost and Found" for a self-imposed submission deadline (tomorrow). I chose to focus on this story over "Stranded" finally because it is more clearly fiction while "Stranded" may cross into memoir. Just as some ideas are best suited to poems, other ideas suffer from fictionalization.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Dana Elcar Dies at 77

MacGyver's Pete Thornton, Dana Elcar, has died at 77 of complications from pneumonia. More detail from the AP.

Slouching Toward Revision

I stumbled into revising "Stranded" this afternoon. I didn't mean to, really, but no other activity seemed as appealing. On the bright side, it's ready for its next market.


If you enjoy TV crime shows, movies, and fiction, I invite you to join my Yahoo! Group CrimeSeen:


I started CrimeSeen on December 29, 2001 to explore the image of crime as adapted for fiction, television, film and other media. I found most TV/film lists at the time centered on one or two shows or movies, treating the relationships between media without much scope or depth.

Boundaries of Discussion

Our primary focus is on professional investigators and criminals and their techniques as portrayed in the entertainment media. The tone of the material is flexible--from "Monk" to "The Shield"--but crime or mystery must be central to the character's work. Amateurs who unexpectedly stumble upon crimes or mysteries don't make the cut. Among other topics, we'll discuss so-called "cinematic" writers, what works or doesn't work onscreen, and ways film/performance may improve upon print.

You can read the full FAQ here.

Baby On Board

Happy birthday to Sophia Rose Tedesco, who turns one year old today. Daughter of my friends Matt and Kim Tedesco, Sophie was born while I was on a plane to Hawaii. The three of them are in town this week, and Wednesday night I finally got to see the baby with fellow Font alums Deshant Paul and John Ricotta.

Riding to see the Tedescos, I sat next to John's daughter, Emma Francine Ricotta, seven months and three weeks old today. Both girls are as cute as can be.

After Sophie's bedtime, Matt, John, Deshant, and I went to a diner where we caught up on each other's lives and refrained from talking about Revenge of the Sith for Matt, who will see the movie today. Hard to believe we've known each other for a decade.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

New 'Pink Panther' Cursed?

From IMDb:
Sony Pulls 'Panther'

Sony, which began showing a trailer for its upcoming The Pink Panther movie preceding the release of Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith, has yanked the film from its scheduled August 5 release date following disparaging reviews on a number of websites, Reuters reported. One review on remarked, "How could anything with Kevin Kline and Steve Martin be so unfunny?" The film, also starring Beyonce Knowles and Jean Reno and directed by Shawn Levy (Cheaper by the Dozen), is now scheduled to be released on Feb. 10.

"Jenny, Jenny, who can I turn to?"

Tonight on Hit Me Baby One More Time, tommy tutone competes against Vanilla Ice, The Motels, The Knack, and Haddaway for a $20K contribution to charity.


(3:52 PM):
Just learned Vanilla Ice will cover "Survivor" by Destiny's Child.

(9:59 PM): And the winner is...Vanilla Ice. Who votes on these things?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

IMDb: 'Star Wars' Flops in China

Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith has failed in China to create the kind of excitement that it has in the rest of the world. China Daily reported Tuesday that the film earned only $3.37 million in its first week of release in the world's largest nation. The newspaper commented that the failure of the film likely reflects cultural differences, noting that its "virtual world seems too celestial to be acceptable to many Chinese movie fans," many of whom, it said, have more adult tastes than Westerners. The newspaper observed that Titanic, by contrast, earned $38.5 million on the Chinese mainland market and attributed its success to "the universal theme of love."

Buzz Kill

Have you seen or heard ads for McDonald's new Fruit N' Walnut salad? The term "fruit buzz" does not sit well with me, nor does the fact I detect very little health value in the item. The apple slices and red grapes may be negated by the "yogurt" (not necessarily healthy) and "candied" walnuts. Ugh.

UPDATE (1:39 PM): A friend has reported in with nutrition facts on the Fruit 'N Walnut salad. It does look rather healthy, but "fruit buzz" still grates.

"It is forbidden...It is forbidden..."

"It is forbidden for you to interfere in human history."

With a day off yesterday, Dave White was watching Superman (1978) on AMC. He blogged:
Now my problem comes toward the climax of the film. In it, Lex Luthor gives Superman one of those Super-hero sadistic choices. He fires two missiles. One toward California where Lois Lane is and one toward Hackensack, NJ. After making a deal with a woman who saves his life, Superman saves Hackensack first.

Then the nukes go off in California and Lois dies. Superman gets pissed, flies around the world backwards and changes time and saves Lois.

My question is... what the hell happened to Hackensack? We're just conveniently supposed to forget Hackensack? The missile obviously went back in time and kept going...

I commented:

IMO, Superman was way too powerful in the movies, but I don't think he has enough mass to reverse the earth's rotation. Even if he did, physically reversing the earth would not reverse time.

If Luthor were really smart, he would use half the kryptonite to stall Superman in the pool, and the other half he would split between each missile, so Superman would get too weak to knock them out.

But then we wouldn't have a movie franchise.

"Where does he get those wonderful toys?"

From IMDb:
Bale Calls for Batman Sex Scenes

Batman Begins star Christian Bale is urging producers to release two versions of the next Batman movie, so that the Caped Crusader's sexuality can be explored. The actor, who has already signed up to star in a second Batman movie, believes it's time for the powers that be to show the comic book superhero's R-rated side, while also releasing a film for younger fans. Bale says, "I do think there is a lot of room for, like, an R-rated Batman. It's a little bit tricky to broach the sex aspect of the story when you want kids to come see this as well. I mean, we still like for a 12-year-old to come see it and enjoy it. I think it would be very interesting, myself, to do maybe one version, which can be both PG-13 and R - two different cuts of it. The (Batman) graphic novel certainly dove into his private life because it's fascinating. He's got to do something sexual at some point. I think it could be an interesting storyline to take somewhere."

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

AP: Anne Bancroft Dies at 73

NEW YORK - Anne Bancroft, who won the 1962 best actress Oscar as the teacher of a young Helen Keller in "The Miracle Worker" but achieved greater fame as the seductive Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate," has died. She was 73.

Today's the Day

Lois and Clark Season One is out on DVD and I ordered it with an Internet coupon for $38.97. My enthusiasm for the show waned as it went on. To be honest, I saw the first signs of trouble when it was revealed Season Two would go for more spectacular stunts. I preferred to think of Superman as Clark's secret identity, i.e. most of the time he would be trying to get by as Clark and occasionally he would need to make an appearance as Superman.

This much said, I'm excited to look back on the promise of the first season with fresh eyes (if that makes sense). A limited number of sets—I hope mine is one of them—include a bonus disc of "Crusade", the fourth season premiere of Smallville, wherein Clark Kent meets Lois Lane. Trippy.

Tom Welling and Erica Durance as the just-introduced Clark Kent and Lois Lane (photo by David Gray)

Monday, June 06, 2005

IMDb: First Reviews: 'Batman Begins'

The first reviews are emerging for the next blockbuster flick, Batman Begins, and they're likely to bring much cheer to Warner Bros. officials, who are releasing it on June 15. David Edwards in the London Daily Mirror describes it as "a violent and truly scary film and definitely not one for the kids. For grown-ups, though, it could well be the ultimate superhero movie." Mike Goodrich in the British trade publication Screen Daily describes the movie as "a bold new vision of the DC Comics staple and further proof that [director Christopher] Nolan possesses abundant confidence and vision as a mainstream film-maker." And Kirk Honeycutt in the Hollywood Reporter comments that for "Nolan to turn Batman Begins into such a smart, gritty, brooding, visceral experience is astonishing. Truly, Batman does begin again."

"Stranded" Once More

Received a rejection from Rainbow Curve with brief but specific handwritten comments on my mainstream story, "Stranded". Next stop, MudRock Stories and Tales.

"These prices are insane!"

Yesterday, I picked up the first season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on DVD for $13.99 along with the third David Rosenfelt Andy Carpenter book, BURY THE LEAD, and Reed Arvin's Shamus-nominated THE LAST GOODBYE for less than $5 each.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Putting on "Stunts"

Got word this afternoon that my story "Stunts" was accepted, slated to run in the July issue of Flash Fantastic.

Recent Reads

I finished SHADOW OF THE DAHLIA by Jack Bludis yesterday. It's a workmanlike mystery set around the Black Dahlia murder. Bludis's Rick Page is a practical P.I. who sometimes sticks his nose where other P.I.s won't. That's why he always has a job.

Once upon a time reading Ross Macdonald, I found Lew Archer didn't have enough personality. I'd heard Macdonald intended him as a lens through which to look at the world. I liked Macdonald's writing fine. I just wished his P.I. would stand out more. Since that time, I've seen many mystery protagonists with overly complicated backgrounds (e.g. Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar, former college basketball standout turned law student who did some work for the FBI, then opened a sports agency) many of which have made me yearn for simpler times.

Jack Bludis delivers that atmosphere and a solid story minus the hype.

I'm currently 30 pages into OPEN AND SHUT by David Rosenfelt. I'd been avoiding this series, having heard it was a lot like Coben's Bolitar series. (I actually find the Bolitar books compulsively readable. I just didn't want to read more of the same from a different author if I could help it.) Rosenfelt's lawyer protag, Andy Carpenter, has Bolitar's love of hometown and family, but Carpenter's humor is less offbeat, which, so far, has been a plus.

Penn Jillette Names Daughter "Moxie CrimeFighter"

AP: Jillette, 50, and his wife Emily, 39, welcomed Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette on Friday, according to publicist Glenn Schwartz. It was the first child for the couple, who married last year.

"We chose her middle name because when she's pulled over for speeding she can say, `But officer, we're on the same side,' Jillette explained. `My middle name is CrimeFighter.'"

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Angelina Jolie

Jon Voight's daughter turns 30 today.

Sometime Yesterday...

New York's venerable oldies station WCBS FM 101.1 became the DJ-less "variety hits" station Jack 101.1. Apparently Jack's format has had successful ratings in other markets.

I grew up listening to oldies and while I'll admit I haven't listened to WCBS lately, it was nice to know it was out there. Now it will be Web-only, and since my audio applications are never cutting-edge, I don't tune in stations on the computer.

UPDATE (7:10 PM): Some background from the AP

Friday, June 03, 2005

Thieves Jargon Returns

Editor Matt DiGangi announces the return of Thieves Jargon. The interrupted May 20 issue, featuring a story by Plots with Guns editor Neil Smith, will remain up this week with new stuff coming next week.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Hit Me Baby One More Time

From Zap2it TV Best Bets by Courtney Potter

Another reality show to get us through summer, "Hit Me Baby One More Time" is a tasty combo of VH1's "Bands Reunited" and FOX's "American Idol," and is based on a popular British show by the same name. "HMBOMT," hosted by original U.K. presenter Vernon Kay, finds a bevy of "veteran" performers (in our case, folks like Flock of Seagulls, Arrested Development, Loverboy and Tiffany) competing for audience votes. The artists will perform one of their own hits as well as a cover of a popular contemporary song, with the winner to be determined by an audience vote. No word on what the winner receives -- but the nationwide exposure on NBC can't hurt their careers.

NBA's Original Big Man, George Mikan, Dies at 80

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- George Mikan, professional basketball's first dominant big man who led the Minneapolis Lakers to five NBA championships, has died, family members said Thursday. He was 80.

Six-foot-10 with thick glasses, Mikan was so effective as a center at DePaul that he forced the NCAA to adopt the goaltending rule.

Rambo IV: A New Hope

Smatterings from an E! Online article:

After a 17-year layoff, Sylvester Stallone is ready to reprise his role as everyone's favorite muscle-bound Green Beret for a fourth installment in the popular 1980s film franchise...

"I've signed the deal and I have the old headband, machine gun and bow and arrow ready to go. I am looking forward to showing movie fans the real action hero again," Stallone said in a statement...

The sequel opens with our brooding Vietnam vet finally settling down with a wife and child, while still working for the military...

Though he's "assimilated into the tapestry of America," workplace stress forces Rambo to leave the big city and move his family to the boonies. Their lives are upended however by white supremacists unhappy about a part-Navajo man moving into the area. When the racists take Rambo's 10-year-old daughter hostage, dad is forced back into action to rescue her.

Jewel Staite

Jewel Staite, ship's mechanic Kaylee Frye on Firefly, turns 23 today.

Some IMDB trivia: "Gained 20 lbs for the part of Kaylee in the TV series "Firefly" (2002/I). When the show was later adapted into a motion picture (Serenity (2005)), the show had been over for a little while and she had lost the weight. She was told that they weren't going to give anyone else the part anyway, so she didn't have to re-gain the weight."

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

False Start

I didn't sleep last night, wanting to make my first submission of the month on the first day of the month. I'd been researching MudRock Stories & Tales, a fiction-only mag out of Dayton, Ohio. I figured it would be a good market for my not-quite-crime fiction piece, "Lost and Found," and I figured I could make a few small changes and have it in the mail today.

Wrong. Going over the story, the action seemed too breezy. I alluded to conflict, but I didn't really feel it. I'd have to see if I could better dramatize some of the scenes that were glossed over in previous drafts. In other words, I have a lot of work ahead and haven't put my finger on where to start. Back to square minus-one.

And so I utter that most famous consolation: "There's always tomorrow."

Lean on me,
when you're not strong,
and I'll be your friend...

Out-of-Context Fun

My copy of Robert B. Parker's DOUBLE PLAY, a fictional mystery featuring Jackie Robinson, arrived today. The Associated Press blurbs, "Robert B. Parker has written his finest novel."

Yes, one might remark, a long, long, time ago.