Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Blog Love Omega Glee

Friday, I plan to start serializing my new novel, Blog Love Omega Glee, on this blog. It's about two bloggers who fall in love while the world falls apart. If you liked my first novel, then you'll probably like this new one. And, if you've never read anything by me before (not counting this blog post), then the new novel is a good place to start.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mac's Backs Reading Thanks!

Thanks to everyone who came out to the reading at Mac's Friday night, and thanks to Mickey, Sean, and Suzanne for putting it together! It was a lot of fun! Sean Carswell's book tour continues through August, so if you live in a city he's coming through, then please check him and Train Wreck Girl out!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Tomorrow's Reading

Cool Cleveland and The Free Times have both noted my reading tomorrow at Mac's Backs at 7 p.m. with Sean Carswell and Mickey Hess. I'll be reading an excerpt from my new novel Blog Twilight. It's free so please come on out if you're in the area.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yip!: Bad Money by Kevin Phillips

The new book by Kevin Phillips, Bad Money is an interesting read if you're trying to figure out why the U.S. economy has been so affected by subprime mortgage loans. It effectively boils down to greed, but Phillips will guide you through the details. His other books are interesting too, particularly American Theocracy and American Dynasty.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Rocker Rocks!

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to see a sneak preview of the new film The Rocker starring Rainn Wilson. The film's set in Cleveland (though mostly filmed in Toronto as most of the street scenes make evident--Cleveland doesn't have streetcar tracks in the streets anymore alas) and Wilson plays Fish, a heavy metal drummer who gets kicked out of his band in the 1980s. The hair metal band goes on to success while Fish stews bitterly in low-level cubicle jobs for twenty years. Just when he seems to have hit bottom and almost becomes homeless, he starts drumming for his nephew's emo band and sees a second chance at rock glory. While the film has the standard rock and roll story plot of the band getting big or nearly getting big (I think only my novel The Pornographic Flabbergasted Emus and maybe the Australian film Garage Days don't), it is pretty hilarious. The film definitely shows that Wilson, like his fellow The Office actor Steve Carell, can carry a movie almost by himself. He also strips naked--providing probably the movie's funniest scene ("The Naked Drummer")--proves himself adept at slapstick, and makes Fish a character the audience roots for. If you liked Emus and you're looking for more rock and roll laughs, check out The Rocker!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ernest Hemingway Urban Legend

Over the past couple of years online, I've been seeing a six word short story ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") being claimed to have been written by Ernest Hemingway. The story is usually cited as an excellent example of flash fiction. You can see an example of this in an article about very short stories published by Wired. The story is often accompanied with a longer story explaining that the six word masterpiece was created by Hemingway to win a bar bet that he couldn't write a complete short story in just six words. Both stories are great, but they both smell of urban legend. I couldn't find the story in my copy of The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, and having read a lot of Hemingway, I couldn't recall ever hearing about this story before. I checked with two experts, one on Hemingway, and one on misattributed quotations (Robert Trogdon and Ralph Keyes respectively), and neither knew of any source for the Hemingway story beyond the only legitimate source I could find. That source is Arthur C. Clarke, who in an 1980s essay on Reader's Digest called "The Power Of Compression" relates the anecdote of how Hemingway created the story (you can find it on page 354 of his essay collection Greetings, Carbon-Based Bipeds!: Collected Essays, 1934-1998). Clarke doesn't cite a source himself, and unfortunately he died earlier this year so we can't ask him where he heard the story. It's possible he heard it from Hemingway himself (though I haven't been able to determine if they ever met), or through writer circles, but since Clarke is rarely cited as a source for the story, much less where he got it from, I think the legend of Hemingway's composition of the story is probably a case of people seeing something on the Internet and then perpetuating it whether it's true or not. But, if anyone has more information on the source of this Hemingway legend, please pass it along. I suppose we should be thankful no one claimed the short story was written by William Faulkner, though that would be more amusing, since I don't know that dear old Faulkner could compose even a grocery list as brief as six words, much less an entire story.