Sunday, August 31, 2008

90210 Redux

Beverly Hills 90210 is back starting Tuesday, September 2! The new version is described as "an edgy, contemporary spin-off of the iconic drama Beverly Hills, 90210."

I will admit that I watched and enjoyed the first season or two, and was amused by the premise: teenage girl [and twin brother and parents] from Minnesota moves and must fit in at new school / neighborhood - echoes of my own [unfinished] novel about Jackie Kirk, who moved from Edina to Boston in her junior year of high school but fell for someone more wholesome than Luke/Dylan.

I always resented the fact that the only "smart" character on 90210 was bespectacled Andrea Zuckerman, so obsessed with the school newspaper that she never got the air time of the other women on the show. Funny that she ended up at Yale like my sister Andrea!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hydrox are almost here!

Hydrox cookies should be back in stores by the end of the month, according to Kellogg's! For those who don't recall, they are really much better than Oreos! I just hope that the reformulated Hydrox without transfat don't taste different. There is now an entry in Wikipedia describing the outpouring of emotion from fans that resulted in Hydrox coming back, although apparently Kellogg's will pull the plug again if sales aren't satisfying. Sort of like Harper Collins and the Betsy-Tacy books!
Last winter, trying to console myself with Oreos when I thought that was my only option, I entered a sweepstakes in which my family would take on Peyton, Eli and Archie Manning in an Oreo cream filling contest. I had forgotten all about it until I saw a commercial during the Olympics in which Peyton and Eli were eating Oreos, and wondered what happened to my entry. My sisters say the Mannings are so competitive we never would have won. I had to investigate and now I see that an Ohio grandmother won the chance to compete against sibling pro quarterbacks Eli and Peyton in the Oreo-licking contest.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Take a literary tour of Boston!

This map was a great idea but they should have asked me / readers for nominations! I can think of several books that should be on this list (not even including all the books affiliated with Concord). They did include Make Way for Ducklings and Joy Street but are missing Johnny Tremain and Maida and Mr. Bear Goes to Boston, and I would somehow have gotten in Lois Lowry's Anastasia, although I think she lives in Cambridge, and a mystery by Jane Langton. If I can include Cambridge, I would add Paper Chains and Death of a Harvard Freshman, first in a two book series I was crazy about.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Succession

People are already speculating about what will happen to Senator Kennedy's seat, which is gruesome. In addition, it is hard to believe his wife would get that much support - she is a lawyer with a background in handgun safety but no political experience.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Woman Arrested for Not Returning Books to Library

GRAFTON, Wis. -- A woman has been arrested for failing to return two books to the Grafton Library.

Heidi Dalibor was arrested after she failed to return the books, "Angels and Demons" and "White Oleander", last year.

“I said, what could they possibly do? They can’t arrest me for this… I was wrong,” Dalibor said.

Dalibor did not respond to four notices from the library, two phone calls and two letters. The library forwarded the case to police, who issued a citation for Dalibor's failure to return the materials or pay the fine. The citation included a court date, which Dalibor admits she ignored.
With arrest warrant in hand, police showed up at Dalibor’s door and led her away in handcuffs.
While the police have been criticized for going so far, the police chief said they simply followed the law.

“None of this would have been necessary if she followed the agreement and returned the books,” said Grafton Police Chief Charles Wenten.

Dalibor paid her $170 fine and was released.

“I completely take responsibility for not paying my fine on time and not going to my court date,” Dalibor said.

Still, she isn’t planning on returning the books.

“I still have the books and I don’t plan to return them because they’re paid for now,” Dalibor said.

Football season approaches

Nowhere to go but up for Duke football, and Harvard and Yale are picked to dominate the Ivy League. Of course, Coach Murphy hates being considered a favorite so will downplay it all he can.

Annoyingly, I have to go to Dallas the week Harvard opens the season but I hope to be back by 9/19 when we play Holy Cross.

A Harvard player I don't remember named Andrew Hatch, a Mormon, who left Harvard to go on his mission, subsequently transferred to LSU and after sitting out a year is now vying to be the starting quarterback for the Tigers. I hope he can do it! The previous quarter back was kicked off the team for bad behavior but I doubt that will happen to Hatch. LSU's first game is on ESPN before a national audience - quite a change for this young man.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fan mail

I liked this Washington Post article by writer Chris Bohjalian in which he obsesses (somewhat tongue in cheek) about the random things his readers say about his books online. I must admit that like one of his critics, I had dismissed him for his Oprah popularity, but I picked up The Law of Similars while I was in Italy two years ago and couldn't stop reading, so I should forgive him for his success (easier to do now that I see signs of his sense of humor). His new book, The_Double_Bind, sounded interesting but too violent, although I suspect I will read it eventually.

I am suddenly reminded of the fact that Jonathan Yardley did not reply to my lovely letter (several months ago) in which I responded to his 11/07 article, "Laura Ingalls Wilder's Well-Insulated 'Little House.'" He had asked for help identifying a childhood favorite, which turned out to be Gramercy Park, Memories of a New York Girlhood by Gladys Brook. I found the book, read it, and photocopied the first chapter for him. You'd think he could have sent an appreciative email. Clearly, he is not of the race that knows Joseph. Somehow I think Chris Bohjalian would have written back . . .

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Arthur C. Clarke, Profiles of the Future, 1962.

I came across this quote while doing document review at work yesterday (in the documents! I was NOT procrastinating elsewhere, really) and have decided my new ambition is to get it into a brief somehow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

YA Fantasy

Tuesday night in a truly bizarre game at Fenway, which the Red Sox eventually won 19-17, Dustin Pedroia drove in five runs and scored five runs. The way our announcers have repeated this information, you would think he was the seventh son of a seventh son . . .

Perhaps I am thinking about such traditions because I am reading Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith, which I am enjoying so much that I was disappointed this morning to run into a friend at the bus stop (preventing me from reading all the way to work). The heroine is brave but awkward, and while the plot is fairly easy to predict, it is well done. I bought it originally for one of my nieces but realize there is probably too much internal thinking and not enough action for her. However, it would have been perfect for my undergraduate essay on Female Warriors. Funny, how that topic has become so much more mainstream since I was in college - at least in terms of popular literature. Thanks to a friend at work I have been reading much more fantasy than in recent years, including The Darkangel by Meredith Pierce and A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce (another brave but obtuse heroine).

Two of my college classmates just lost their 16 year old son in a car accident. I have been trying to write a condolence letter for several days but it seems so pointless - as if anything could comfort people going through such agony.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Desert Island Books - or someplace even worse

You have probably been asked what books you would want with you on a desert island (I know people whose first response is to ask whether the Lord of the Rings can count as one book instead of three, and really, who can blame them? I would be grabbing box sets if that were the rule) or which you would snatch if the house were on fire. What, you've never been asked these questions? You clearly move in the wrong circles, my friend.

The infamous Clark Rockefeller, who in a week has gone from distraught father kidnapping his child during a supervised visit to suspected murderer/man with multiple names and no passport was yesterday tentatively identified as a German who came to the US as an exchange student and never returned home (not a crime, in and of itself). He is in jail in Boston with (alleged) amnesia, and requested two books: one on the rules of baseball and one on Paris during World War I. Maybe he heard that the Manny trade for Jason Bay was the only other news this past week, and wants to be as informed as possible on the national pastime.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Pauline Baynes


Pauline Baynes, who died recently, had been one of my favorite illustrators since I first picked up the boxed set of Narnia books my mother had brought back from England and (she thought) hidden securely for Christmas. It was the summer between first and second grade so my reading skills were not well developed, nor was my sneakiness (both improved over time). I had not previously seen the delightful casing that boxed sets come in but unerringly pulled The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe out of the box and started reading. It was appealing but just too difficult. I put it back after a chapter or so, but kept thinking about it, and foolishly asked my mother later that day or the next, "What is turkish delight?" How could I have realized what a giveaway question it was? Of course, she realized instantly that I had been poking about and was not pleased with me. Narnia was firmly hidden away until she thought I was old enough, and then she had me begin with The Magician's Nephew. Several years later we were in Toronto, and one bookstore we visited had a beautiful Pauline Baynes map of Narnia hanging in the children's section. We were delighted to find they were for sale, and promptly bought one. I remember when we were on the plane flying back to Boston my mother and I suddenly looked at each other, and we realized we'd left the poster/map in the trunk of the rental car! Eventually we bought another and it hung on the stairs near our favorite books for years. I was not the only one who admired Baynes or cherished this map.

Friday, August 1, 2008

It is a truth universally acknowledged tra la la

Normally the idea of a Jane Austen musical would cause me to roll my eyes but my friend Eileen, Patroness and founder of the Georgette Heyer list, just forwarded me a link to a conversation with Lori Bajorek, who is the producer of a Broadway-bound Pride and Prejudice musical, and I have to say it sounds quite interesting. Eileen is particularly fond of Robert Beaumaris, hero of Heyer's Arabella, to the point that I once sent her a package of books addressed to "Eileen Beaumaris." I guess her husband didn't think it was as funny as I did, but he must have softened when he allowed her to name one of their daughters Darcy!

Too many passwords?

Gina Trapani, Wiley author of Upgrade Your Life, was asked (among other things):

Q. Do we need a system for managing all of life’s various passwords, and if so, what do you recommend?
A. Here’s the quandary: you should use different, unique passwords for everything you log into, but remembering those passwords can be impossible. Like any information you want to easily recall without having to memorize it, having a secure parking place for passwords is key. I use a program called KeePass, which is free and compatible with both Mac and PCs. It’s a secure database where you can store all your passwords — WiFi networks, Windows and PC passwords, bank PIN numbers — and even arrange them into folders. There’s one master password that you have to remember that unlocks it all. To get started, you could just input those passwords you know you’re not going to use too often but might need three months from now. Firefox (and most other browsers) can save Web page passwords and I use that a lot to save time. But Firefox can’t save, say, your WiFi password or your bank’s PIN. KeePass is like a backup to Firefox.