Friday, July 22, 2016

Worse news

Very aggressive form of carcinoma. Looks bad. Love to you all. 

FFB: Rash -- Pete Hautman

Summertime is rerun time, USA.  This comes from December 21, 2006.

A lot of the best writing around these days is in YA novels. If you don't believe me, read one. Try Nancy Werlin, for example, or Pete Hautman.

Bruce Taylor might not have a high opinion of Steve Stilwell's movie IQ, but surely he'd never argue with him about writers. It was Steve who told me several years ago about Hautman's first YA novel, Mr. Was, a wonderful book. And last year Hautman won the National Book Award for Godless.

Hautman's also the author of a number of fine, funny adult crime novels. I don't know how that career's been going, but I get the impression that the books haven't sold as well as they should have. Doesn't matter, I guess, in one way, since the YA career's going so well.

Rash is Hautman's latest. It's set a toward the end of this century, in the USSA (the United Safer States of America), where no one takes a risk, where anything that might endanger you or someone else has been outlawed, where you can go to prison for dropping an apricot on the ground if someone slips on it. Bo Marsten is from a family of criminals. Both his father and his brother are in the pen, and Bo seems highly likely to join them.

Sure enough, he does, and the book becomes something different from what you might have been expecting. It's sort of a cross between The Longest Yard and Holes, but it's really nothing like that. It also doesn't offer a lot of easy answers. Plus it has laughs. No wonder Hautman keeps on winning awards and piling up the readers. Check it out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Prisoner Who Built Miniature Carnivals Out of Toothpicks

The Folsom Prisoner Who Built Functional Miniature Carnivals Out of Toothpicks

A Bit of Bad News

I just got a call from my doctor.  He wants me to check into the hospital asap, as he thinks I might be having kidney failure.  This can't be good.  The blog will sort of be on hiatus, except for some things I've already scheduled.  Keep a good thought for me.

Song of the Day

Skip & Flip - Cherry Pie - YouTube:

Gary S . Paxton, R. I. P.

R.I.P. Gary S . Paxton of Skip and Flip 1939-2016: Gary S. Paxton, one half of Skip & Flip and, later, a successful producer and songwriter, has died at the age of 77. No details have been given on the cause of death.

Today's Vintage Ad

A brief history of TV shows' opening credit sequences

A brief history of TV shows' opening credit sequences


J. B. O'Sullivan, Don't Hang Me too High, Pocket Books, 1956

I Miss the Old Days

Rocket Slides and Monkey Bars: Chasing the Vanishing Playgrounds of Our Youth 

Here's Nicolas Cage As Your Favorite Pokémon

Behold, Here's Nicolas Cage As Your Favorite Pokémon

Croc Update

Thai crocodile farm's licence suspended after safety concerns raised

Overlooked Movies: The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. is, of course, a quite recent movie, but I think it qualifies as overlooked because not many people saw it.  Did you?

The movie is based on the TV series that is by now remembered mainly by folks of the geezer persuasion (that would be me).  I really liked the first season of the show, but I thought it went downhill a bit after that.  It was hard to beat the combo of the suave cool of Napoleon Solo (Robert Vaughan) and the hot young sex symbol (yes, really) Illya Kuryakin (David McCallum).  The movie can't really capture the vibe that the TV series had back in the old days.

Solo (Henry Cavill) and Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) didn't have a backstory on the TV series, so naturally we have to have yet another origin story movie.  Solo, it seems was a great thief, and to avoid prison after being caught he has to work for the CIA.  Kuryakin is a Russian agent and near superman with a bad temper. They're forced to work together by their bosses to avert (of course) the destruction of the world by nasty Nazi remnants in the Cold War world.  They're helped (and hindered) by Alicia Virkander, who wears the Carnaby Street look very well, indeed.  Mr. Waverley is played by Hugh Grant, who's very good.

There's a lot of action, a bit of wit, and some gorgeous color, but Cavill and Hammer aren't going to make anybody forget Vaughan and McCallum.  The plot is the same old, same old.  The movie was directed by Guy Ritchie, which is enough to turn some people off from the start.

Not me, though.  I found it entertaining and frequently amusing.  If the sequel they set up at the end ever gets made (highly doubtful), I'd watch.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. - Official Trailer 1 [HD] - YouTube: