Archive for March, 2011
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(DISCLAIMER: I know the immediately conclusion that will be drawn by those of you who stalk my blog and are non-fans of me, but no – I am not a deranged killer because I give The Catcher in the Rye five stars nor am I of the mindset that “no one understands me” which is the tone of Salinger’s great American novel. The voices in my head understand me just fine.)
I first read this book when I was in middle school. At the time, I was living in small town Georgia and it was the modern world of the eighties. This is important to know since the “why” I read this book is just as important in order to understand my love for it. You see, people tend to forget (or just gloss over the fact) that censorship still exists. Overzealous parents try to protect their precious little princes and princesses from the harsh realities of life and history by deeming works of art and literature “offensive” run rampant even today.
These are the same nitwits that recently had the word “nigger” removed from Huckleberry Finn.
That’s right. I typed the word. I have black friends (many of whom hate the phrase “African-American”) and I even dated a lovely black woman once. And a Latin one. And an Irish one. But I digress…
Lenny Bruce once said “it’s the suppression of the word that gives it the power.” Forgetting or hiding “the bad” in (our) history or life doesn’t make it go away; it merely takes away the lessons that can be learned from it. So no, I’m not even slightly racist because I used a that word earlier. I just hate hiding language that exists to remind us that the world isn’t rainbows and roses 24/7.
BACK TO SMALL TOWN GEORGIA IN THE EIGHTIES: My parent, like most, were far from perfect. God bless them, though, for their occasional nugget of genius that kept them separated from the masses of society. My mother received a list of the books that were being banned from our public schools via the local PTA(?) one day and instantly became infuriated. Mom grew up in the New Jersey/New York area, so she was still having trouble adapting to the slightly different mindset offered in the south. The idea of banning books just was something she thought didn’t exist any more.
(See my earlier Huckleberry Finn reference where I just learned the same sobering lesson.)
So my mother did what she felt made the most sense when presented with something as ludicrous as a “banned book” list. She started buying them for her son.
This was the first one on the list.
I have read The Catcher in the Rye at least once a decade. Each time, I find myself enthralled for a different reason.
- In my youth, it was the thrill of reading something that (according to the local education system) was “bad.”
- When I was in my twenties, in college and living on my own, it was relating to the world of indecision that Holden Caulfield deals with.
- More recently (I read it again last year) it is my current fascination with the past from years before I was born.
Reading that the 1950s wasn’t as sanitized as the image portrayed on the television of the era is a sobering reminder of how much things are still the same regardless of cell phones, computers and the Internet. The core issues that humans have to endure are the same now as they were then; and the ignorance that seeks to pretend otherwise is still among us.
Just ask Holden Caulfield or Huck Finn.
Well, InvaderCON over. I’m sitting in the Marriott still processing it all. The short version: it was amazing. The slightly longer version: it was really amazing.
I’ve been doing this zany convention thing for a long time now, but this was the first event I’ve help run that I saw to many families attend and enjoy together. It was an impacting and unique experience for so many people.
I promise to type more later, but I’ve got to finish getting the “technical stuff” done to wrap up the convention. For now, though, here’s a great photo of some of the guests and amazing team from the convention at The Vortex in Atlanta, Georgia last night:
When we bought the house, I wanted a condo. Shannon really wanted a house. I said okay… as long as I didn’t have to mow the lawn. This is a photo I took a few years back on the day I bought her a new mower to make sure she kept her end of the deal.
I occasionally update new photos (and old ones that I scan) on my Flickr account. Each Friday I post one on my blog from my collection that I think is snazztastic.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This may be my favorite Serge A. Storms book.
I am in love with Florida: the beach, the history and the lifestyle. I’ve call this place home for over twenty years and the longer I stay, the more interesting I find this place to be. Among all the great attributes of the Sunshine State, one of my favorite things about Florida is it’s colorful past.
Which leads me back to Serge.
Cadillac Beach is a tale told by jumping back and forth between present day the sixties (with various stops in the nineties and the early 1900s.) Tim Dorsey is so obviously in love with Florida, too, that he paints the place as a character in every one of Serge’s murdering adventures. In this one, he (Serge) is trying to solve a decades old mystery regarding his his grandfather’s suicide which is somehow tied to a famous jewel heist from yesteryear.
Like the other Tim Dorsey books I’ve reviewed, I recommend this one as a great audio book… especially if you find yourself regularly on the road in Florida.
A couple of months ago, Shannon and I went riding out bikes out near the beach. I somehow managed this shot without wiping out.
I occasionally update new photos (and old ones that I scan) on my Flickr account. Each Friday I post one on my blog from my collection that I think is kind of non-suckworthy.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
To recap my prologue in the review I wrote for Bones to Ashes: I am a fan of the series Bones who has decided to try and read the Temperance Brennan novels and see if I enjoy them as much as the show.
It’s just not working out as well as I’d hoped.
This book isn’t as bad as the other one I had read (the aforementioned Bones to Ashes). These stories all have the same MacGuffin: a mysterious dead body – more specifically: the bones. The mystery of the deceased is always the good part of the story telling. Kathy Reichs educates the reader about her field of expertise through Tempe’s story, and, let’s face it, it’s some fascinating stuff. Where she loses me in her novels is the surrounding interpersonal relationships with girlfriends, boyfriends, ex-husbands and the like.
That – and local stereotyped hayseed law enforcement.
As I stated earlier, though, this IS the better of the two Reichs books I have read so far. The local small town issues that come into play make far more interesting reading than the long lost young friend from childhood in the last novel.
I’ll try at least one more book before giving up and going back to the TV show. Stay tuned.
Man – this reminds me of old school JACON.
MomoCon is the largest free anime convention in the United States. Last year, the event had over 8000 attendees on the campus of Georgia Tech and this year it looks about the same. Wasabi Anime is on hand to “bring anime to the people” and (of course) to promote InvaderCON which is happening down the street in two weeks.
We came with a box of 5000 flyers for our crazy little Invader ZIM convention and we’ve handed out all of them before the end of Saturday. Thus confirming the numbers for attendance to be pretty damn accurate.
As far as entertainment, we did DARE! The Transformers Panel Ultimate to a standing room only crowd. For an hour and a half I talked about giant robots that turn into cars and stuff with Ryan subbing in for Joey Snackpants. The crowd loved it and we got to meet a bunch of awesome new fans… and one pissed off Beast Wars fan. (Sorry dude, that series still sucks.)
That’s right. We’re WINNING!
Then we went back to MomoCon for Mystery Anime Theater 3000 to roast the Sailor Moon R movie. Then TRAGEDY STRUCK! The college decided to close the building at midnight because they (I assume) had finally had enough of the hyper anime kids running around. This caused an issue with our panel since 1.) the movie was scheduled at 11:30 PM and 2.) it runs over over sixty minutes.
Solution? Run the movie a 3x speed and do commentary. John (also subbing for Mr. Snackpants) brought down the house with a cleverly placed Scott Pilgrim gag in the film and I scored with an obscure How I Met Your Mother gag.
Now it’s Sunday and I have been sitting at the Wasabi Anime table writing this for the past hour… and during that time, I’ve been reminded that the fans really do make it worth it. A guy recognized me from the Transformers panel and walked up to tell me how much he loved it – and then showed me his Autobot and Decepticon tattoos on his legs.
An hour before that, a woman from the Sailor Moon showing last night dropped off a picture she drew for me because “I reminded her how much she loved Sailor Moon.”
Make no mistake - THE FANS ARE AWESOME.