It's not often I get excited by a writer after spending a few years reading stacks of review books and almost a year now reading short story submissions, as many as five to ten a day. For someone's writing to stand out in the crowd, something very special, and very wicked, has to be taking place.
Dark, funny and with a natural voice that eases readers into the work before completely messing with their heads, Tinker is part of the new breed of writers who couldn't write formula fiction if bound, gagged and made to listen to Yanni for weeks on end.
Tinker, who apparently is not much of a sleeper, has ongoing work with 3A.M. Magazine that showcases a twisted wit and a social awareness rare in someone so seemingly jaded.
Featured in the anthology Dreams Never End, put out by Tindal StreetPress and edited by Nicholas Royle, Tinker has earned more than passing praise from the Independent:
And from the Timesonline:
"These are ten stories by three youngish authors. Andrew Newsham shows promise, although his American-set pieces are tonally a little awkward. Mick Scully, who is building up a grimy universe around the Little Moscow, a hangout for Birmingham toughs, impresses, as does H. P. Tinker, especially with the hilarious deadpan surrealism of his The Shattered Window."
If every time you pick up a book or read a short story, it seems as though you've read it before, start Tinkering. Or I'll hunt you down and waggle my finger at you menacingly.
Play that funky music, white boy.
After carry out test after test after test on people on pain, psychologists at Glasgow Caledonian University found that the poor bastards favorite music, ranging from punk, rock, classical and folk to Firestarter by The Prodigy
, reduced anxiety levels and increased tolerance of discomfort. How?
It seems music has the ability to increase feelings of control and helps fight the pain barrier.
Reports Dr Raymond MacDonald, "We studied patients recovering from minor surgery in hospitals and we found that listening to your favorite music reduced anxiety levels. We then carried out a series of laboratory studies and asked people to keep their hand in very cold water for as long as they could. We played music in the background and found that you keep your hand in longer when you listen to it. It reduces pain and increases your feelings of control."
During the cold water experiment, which rather resembles the hilarious but cruel tricked played on passed out drunks, participants were given a choice of listening to music, doing mental arithmetic or watching Billy Connolly.
In each case, the person listening to music was able to tolerate the cold water the longest, sometimes up to five times as long. Researchers believe that this is because music, as well as providing a distraction, can engage you emotionally unlike other stimulants. No report was made on those that watched Connolly.
"The study showed that music appeared to be the most effective strategy in combining distraction and feeling of control. The music brought by the participants was varied and included punk, dance, rock, classical and folk. The most surprising choice was The Prodigy's Firestarter, not music you would immediately think of as relaxing, but the person who chose it put up with the pain five times as long while listening to it."
You're the firestarter, twisted firestarter
I'm a firestarter, twisted firestarter
I'm the bitch you hated, filth infatuated - yeah
I'm the pain you tasted, well intoxicated
"Do You Believe in Jesus, in a Yorkshire Theme Park?"
Andrea Weber, Christian, Creationist, business woman and visionary, has launched a £144 million mission that she says will bring Bible stories to life by turning them into thrilling rides.
Mrs Webster, married with two children aged 7 and 12, believes in the “entire trustworthiness and supreme authority” of the Bible “in all matters of faith and conduct”, including the creation of the world in seven days.
“I want the park to encompass the magic of the Bible and present it in a way that will be exciting and relevant.” America already has a Christian theme park, The Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Florida, where tourists eat
on the Via Dolorosa as Jesus, played by an actor, is kicked and spat upon by Roman soldiers before being “nailed” to a cross that is raised by a hydraulic motor.
And, they can visit:
where loads of air conditioning provides a break from the relentless Florida sun.
Back in England, visitors to "Ark Alive" could slide down the Tower of Babel! climb aboard Noah’'s Ark!, Part the Red Seas by being strapped into seats, visitors are chased by the Egyptian army to the Red Sea, where the waters part! and play David and Goliath by traveling through a tunnel depicting battles between the Philistines and the Israelites, visitors can slay mighty warriors with a laser! and be a part of Jonah and the Whale in a boat ride where visitors are swallowed by a whale, then vomited from its mouth down a water slide into a lake!
Children will be able to experience the expulsion from the Garden of Eden!, escape from a lion’s den! and, in the Sea of Galilee, walk on water (possible due to concealed stepping stones).
Mrs. Webster says, this is “where Disney meets the Bible.”
"Ark Alive", which is scheduled to open in 2008, will be funded by a million Christians donating £144 each. Destitute believers are asked to pray for the park’s success.
“If a million Christians each donate £144 we will reach our target,” she said. “That, in itself, will be a great testament to the power of faith.”
I bet I've got your attention now!
An unnamed man, let's call him Stupid, was arrested Sunday after his Ford pickup was pulled over on a highway just outside Barrie, Ontario. The cops on the scene loaded Stupid into a cruiser and took him to a police station for testing.
En route, Sgt. James Buchanan reported Stupid vomited, urinated and defecated in the rear of the squad car.
Upon Stupid's momentous and much lauded arrival at the station, the desperately drunk man grabbed a handful of his own waste "and placed it in his mouth, attempting to trick the breathalyser machine."
It didn't work.
The machine registered two readings of intoxication more than twice the legal limit. Stupid was headed for lock up after paramedics checked him out and cleaned him up.
McDonald then headed back to his cruiser which took two hours to clean using industrial cleansers.
"So what?" you say, as did I. Get this. Everything is complete with a vibrator or a vagina (depending on user's sex, a-hem) and these gadgets are connected to personal computers through the computer boards.
If one follows instructions one's long distance lover (almost had a bad song in my head - Oh, Damn! It's there) can control one's gadget and talk to recipient via the microphone.
The screen menu offers a variety of choices: vigorous movements or tender vibrations of a dildo, a strong or a delicate grip of a vagina.
In other sex related mews, I mean, news, an as yet unnamed porn actress was giving out autographs, and a little more I hasten to add, at an adult video (don't they have DVD's yet, for Odin's sake?) in Peabody, Massachusetts when the cops made a surprise appearance. It seems signing autographs in the nude is against the law.
Reading past all the Jacko crap, well past news of gas going up and supply going down, Johnnie Cochran's death, Jerry Falwell's failing health, news of the Pope getting a feeding tube, earthquake devastation and more and more and more people being blown up everywhere in the world, I found this not quite harmless but darned interesting story about Deerfield Beach in Florida.
All of those dark blobs you see in the water are sharks. The Coast Guard says there are over a hundred of them, just hanging out, consuming, as they migrate north. Helpfully, the Coast Guard set up flags to keep swimmers out of the water. One person still dove in, but kept close to shore. I'm quite sure I am somehow related to the fool.
Dingus Day falls on the Monday after Easter. With early roots in Poland, it was a way to provide merriment after the seriousness of Lent ended.
Traditionally, farm boys in Poland wanted to attract notice from the girls, or maids, they fancied. The custom was to throw water and hit the girls on their legs with twigs or pussywillows. Charming. Eventually, cologne was used instead of water by the more gallant lads. The ladies would reciprocate, and rightly so, by throwing dishes and assorted crockery on Tuesday, the day set aside for revenge of the Dingus antics.
With origins in the word"Dingnus," which means "worthy, proper, or suitable" evolving to"ransom during a war to protect against pillage," as well as a German usage of "Dingen," which means "to come to an agreement, evaluate or buy back," the day became an ancient spring rite of cleansing, purification, and fertility. The same is true of the complimentary practice of switching with pussy willow branches, from which Dyngus Day derives its cognomen "Smigus" -from "smiganie" -switching.
The ritual was formed around the legend of the Polish Princess Wanda, who was said to have drowned herself in the Wisla River rather than marry a German nobleman she did not love. For this reason, girls are doused with water to immortalize the memory of Princess Wanda.
Now, don't you feel edified?
Yesterday, band-mates Neil Finn and Nick Seymour told fans: "Over the years Paul has swung the extremes of happiness and sadness, but none of us ever thought this would happen. He loved life too much."
I've long been a fan of the Finn brothers and Paul Hester. Theirs is some of the only music that holds over from the 80's that I still and truly love.This is a very sad day. I will be playing 'Six Months in a Leaky Boat' all day.
Buffalo Bill Cody sported a mullet as he shot his way into the history books of America. We do love men that shoot, don't we?
Although a seemingly imposing figure, Cody was in reality a small manHe was rechristened "Buffalo Bill" at the age of 22. He earned his nickname for his skill while supplying Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat.
that carried a big gun.
Actor or not, Buffalo Bill was a showman.
In my efforts to stave off the cabin fever I dye my hair odd colors, re-arrange rooms in the middle of the night, paint things, clean things, throw lots of things away, put new templates on my blog, throw out a book I've been writing for a year and I read a lot of non-fiction about people lives that really suck in order to give myself some perspective.
But, lo, to my amazement and joy, what happens this week after the spring that happened in name only? It's warm. And there's sun.
Creeping outside, not quite believing it, I see tulip leaves breaking through the crusty snow.
As I bend to look down and give a pep talk to the wondrous fronds I feel the sun on my back as birds chase each other in the beginnings of their mating cycle and songs of running water from snow melt off fill my ears.
Spring is here!
It's 51 degrees (10 degrees C) and the snow is slowly being beaten back by an unrelenting sun.
The ground is no longer frozen solid. It is now pure muck!
I await buds on the trees and crocus flowers. I'll be able to open windows and doors, airing the house of it's winter fart covered by odd sprayed chemicals smell. The urge to shave my head is dissipating.
In a few months, I'll hear lawn mowers and that freak next door with the leaf blowers chasing stray blades from his driveway - at 10 at night. I'm surprised he doesn't take a level to the lawn.
All this drama every year over a few pomegranate seeds. Think about it!
1. If you needed an extreme way to relieve some stress, would you rather run over circus clowns in an SUV or throw billiard balls at mimes? (Or perhaps some other way ...?)
GP: Don't hate...Appreciate. I think people should make love to mimes. So they could see their gestures when they began to achieve nirvana. As for clowns,I would never hurt a human being who was crying inside. Unless it was crawling out from under my bed with a steak knife between its teeth.
5. You're a highly acclaimed, well-respected, award-winning author. Do you get lots of free stuff?
GP: On tour, I get taken out to dinner often, which is nice, because I like good food and wine, not to mention high-shelf bourbon. Many people have given me home-burned CDs at signings, and I have been turned on to some incredible music in that way, especially rare soul sides. When I was a stockboy at a local appliance and stereo store, and I'd take air conditioners and televisions out and load them into customer's cars, I'd receive tips in the form of weed. That was 1973. Today I'd much rather have the music.
8. Who are you reading right now? Give us some Pelecanos picks.
GP: I discovered the Hard Case Crime line, and have been devouring it. The Cocaine Chronicles, edited by Gary Phillips, has some pretty good stories. I liked Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides, quite a bit. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem was very good. Cottonwood, by Scott Phillips. In his own quiet way Scott is becoming one of the country's most interesting writers. The Known World by Ed Jones is a modern classic. With the Old Breed, by E.B. Sledge, is the best war memoirs I have ever read.
9. Can you give us a glimpse of future projects? Anything we should know?
GP: The Wire just got picked up for a fourth season, and I will be involved as a writer. I recently wrote two hours of a projected 13-hour miniseries, the Pacific-theater version of Band of Brothers, to be produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg for HBO. My father fought as a Marine on Leyte, so I was glad to be able to honor him. I hope to write a book this year. I'm looking for inspiration as we speak.
I actually did not read a book tonight. This from a woman whost doctor has reported that the oil has been leeched from her hands by reading too much did not hold a book in her hands this evening.
What did I do on this momentous occasion?
I sorted beads.
I spread paper on the floor for the cat (and he is in feline rapture) then placed a bowl of tuna, a favorite spangle ball and catnip on afore mentioned paper. The cat is in Sphinx pose. When I wake at sunrise, he will still be in this position.
I did all of my laundry. Even the lingering riff raff, bottom of the basket laundry.
I watched four hours of the west wing.
I listened to Talk Talk over and over.
I folded the laundry.
I watched a show on octopi.
Did you know that octopi, when faced with danger, are capable of emulating algae or seaweed and stealthily walking away from a predator as if nothing were happening?
"Yep. Nothing goin' on here! Just a piece of seaweed. Ooohhh, look! I'm a cocoanut! Don't want to eat me!"
The entire time, I was caffeinated, restless and refraining from making life changes based on boredom.
Sick of the gray. Sick of the dirty snow. Just a small leaf bursting beyond the crusty snow would make my spirit soar.
* Unless I got over this shyness involved in expressing my opinion hampered by a tendency to write and hit the Publish Post button before the second and third thoughts kick in.
**and just so youse know, I now have a crap James Bond theme song in mine head. Damn you Carly Simon!
Or the chili, in this case. A woman, Anna Ayala, 39, of Las Vegas, at a Wendy's restaurant in San Jose, California, found a human finger in a bowl of chili on Wednesday.
"This individual apparently did take a spoonful, did have a finger in their mouth and then, you know, spit it out and recognized it," said Ben Gale, director of the department of environmental health for Santa Clara County. "Then they had some kind of emotional reaction and vomited."
Ben certainly has a way with words. Here are more of the same from another guy.
"Initially she did put this object in her mouth and did bite down on it and wasn't sure exactly what it was," Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Martin Fenstersheib said at a news conference. "She's doing OK. Initially she was a bit grossed out it was described to me, and vomited a number of times."
Fenstersheib said the finger had been cooked at a high enough temperature to kill any viruses.
Medical Examiner Dr. Joseph O'Hara says, "The segment of skin has very irregular torn edges, it looks like its lacerated. It's not incised - incised meaning it would have been with a sharp edge, like a knife or something. That was not the case it was torn, it had multiple puncture defects."
"Suddenly something crunchy was in my mouth,'' she said, ``and I spit it out.''
Officials said the fingertip was approximately 1 3-8-inches long and a half-inch piece of fingernail was also found. They believe it belongs to a woman because of the long, manicured nail.I saw this on CNN this morning. The reporter could hardly keep a straight face. I also got to see a photo of the finger but despite scouring the internet, I haven't found it for you yet. I'll let you know if it pops up.
He recently reported to Maxim magazine: "I shaved my balls - they were going grey, so I shaved them. It's like steel wool down there!"
DuBose informed Clark he had "a couple" drinks at the Cafe Gardens and Daquiri Deck in Sarasota. When instructed to recite the alphabet, DuBose allegedly said, "I'm from Alabama, and they have a different alphabet."
No word on how an officer on foot patrol managed to pull over a freaking truck.
Watched the Bands Re-united featuring Scandal. Now bad, bad song stuck in head.
Mind going numb....
UPDATE: The nightmare has worsened.
Scandal morphed into Billy Squier
singing 'In the Dark'
Down in the hole some emotions are hard to hide
It's your decision it's a chance that you take
It's on your head it's a habit that's hard to break
Do you need a friend would you tell no lies
Would you take me in are you lonely in the dark...
You never listen to the voices inside
They fill your ears as you run to a place to hide
You're never sure if the illusion is real
You pinch yourself but the mem'ries are all you feel
Can you break away from your alibis
Can you make a play will you meet me in the dark...
Don'tcha need me...hey, hey
Don'tcha need me...oh yea
Don'tcha leave me...hey, hey
Don'tcha need me...oh yea
then into Rick Springfield
singing 'Jessie's Girl.'
I play along with the charade,
there doesn't seem to be a reason to change
You know, I feel so dirty when they start talking cute
I wanna tell her that I love her,
but the point is probably moot
'Cos she's watching him with those eyes
And she's lovin' him with that body, I just know it
And he's holding her in his arms late, late at night
Someone, please, help me.
Rebekah walked to the bedroom window and looked outrside.
"Ian was mowing the lawn completely starkers. I dread to think how long he'd been there but he'd nearly finished. I was going to wake him but I have always been told it can be dangerous to disturb someone who is sleepwalking. In the end I just unplugged the mower, went back to bed and let him get on with it."
Ian, 34, later got back into bed. He didn't believe Rebekah when she told him what he'd been up to.
"It wasn't until I told him to look at the soles of his feet that he finally believed me - they were filthy."
1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
4. Every sentence must do one of two things -- reveal character or advance the action.
5. Start as close to the end as possible.
6. Be a sadist. Now matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them -- in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.
-- Vonnegut, Kurt Vonnegut, Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1999), 9-10.
I, my dear droogs, am more than qualified to be a powder monkey!
Here's me, dashed handsome in my monkey gear! Note the sexy ascot and sun bleached hair.
"Can you keep calm in a crisis? Women and children are needed to help win the maritime war against Napoleon Bonaparte. Nerves of steel and a good level of concentration are required by those who will supply the brave gun crews aboard our naval ships with gunpowder in the heat of battle.
You need a good pair of legs to shoot down to the copper-lined magazine where you will fill your powder keg, before charging back up the stairs and through the ship, stepping over dead bodies and slipping in blood, to bring your keg to the gunner. But if you're a woman, don't expect to get a naval service medal when all the fighting is over –you'll be refused!"
Sure, sure. Good enough to slip in blood and bring my keg to the gunner. But do I get more than a grunt of appreciation and a slap on the my roped up skivvies? Nnnnnnoooooooo........
It is, however, a rather strange way to keep a beloved pet around after their expiration date.
Please freeze your pet immediately upon passing to insure there will be no hair slippage.
Jeanettes Taxidermy is there for you in your time of grief.
Important safety tip:
On August 15, Hill, who is apparently too stupid to realize his luggage would be searched as he went through the North Platte Regional Airport, was found to posses methamphetamine and cocaine.
Hill had sought refuge in the witness protection program after agreeing to testify against his former mob bosses from New York. Whether he left voluntarily or was kicked out is disputed. His level of intelligence is not.
In a recent interview with The Associated Press, Hill said he had been addicted to the mobster lifestyle.
"But you overcome it I think. I mean, you succeed," he said.
Yes. Suceed in making the same mistake, over and over and over.
made his goodbye.
Der Deutsche Cafe Brucke,
All of this was wrapped around the events of Thursday night. All in anticipation of a small man with a spark in his eyes that could light the east coast during a black out.
Ken Bruen has established an almost cult-like following based on his writing, his charm and a wicked sense of humor. Not many could quiet the raucous St. Patrick's crowd that had gathered at
but this man succeeded by merely entering the place. Among those gathered we're Jason Starr and Reed Coleman. They joined MR. Buren and these three men that on the surface seem so different, stood together like the Three Wiseass Men and read from each others books.The Magdalen Martyrs, Bruen's latest in the Jack Taylor series. Coleman's gravelly voice lent a tough edge to this dark prose.
Coleman read from
Starr read from Coleman's latest installment in the refreshing and excellent P.I. series featuring Moe Prager, The James Deans.
Bruen picked up Starr's wonderfully twisted Twisted City and found himself apologizing a few minutes in for 'fuck' laden passage he had chosen to read.
After much applause and a few
Kinsale Ale's (love at first glug) the jovial crowd mobbed our hapless heroes as Ruth and I slipped out to begin preparations for the evenings festivities.
That night slipped easily into early morning with a lot of laughter and my usual ball busting.
It wasn't a drunken, back-slapping testosterone riddled chaos festival. Nor was it a night of tea sipping as interest rates and the chaos theory were discussed at length.
When Ken left I had my usual sense of brushing up against a gentle, strong and uncommonly generous spirit featuring the keenest of wits. I'm sure no one feels there is ever enough time spent with the man.
Luck and crime fiction bring together people that feel like family. It is a blessing.
But my heart will always have a most special place reserved for the bald man who takes a ball busting better than anyone I know.
More than one writer in a room guarantees bizarre conversation until the whee! hours.
Whost is not a word but don't try to mention that at 2 in the morning.
Bananas are good.
The hair and the grins. Enticing, yes?I was never able to emulate the pig tails to my satisfaction.
Lori and Judy are both writers for Newsmaker magazine, but when trouble calls - they become Electra Woman and Dyna Girl! Electra Woman and Dyna Girl use the latest in technological gadgetry, such as the CrimeScope, (supplied by Frank, their assistant) and their wits to solve crimes and capture the various villains they encounter (including the Sorcerer, Glitter Rock, Ali Baba, Spider Lady, the Pharoah, and the Empress of Evil!)
"Electra Woman and Dyna Girl
Remember the theme song? I do!
Fighting all evil deeds
Each writes for a magazine
Hiding the life she leads.
--- Electra Woman and Dyna Girl ---
Summoned to Electra-base
By Electra-comps they wear
Lori and Judy dare to face
Any criminal anywhere.
--- Electra Woman and Dyna Girl!"
Click here to get the best prices on season 1!
"I finished Book Number 10 amidst all the excitement of my triumphant return to the lower midlist of industry convention speakers. That book is The White Trilogy, by Ken Bruen, three short novels about South London cops that lay out the perameters for contemporary noir writing. Bruen's main character, a brutal alcoholic lout named Brant, is a revelation, and I like how the villains always get what's coming to them, but never at the hands of the cops. The books actually improve as they go along. The third volume of the trilogy, "The McDead," was far and away my favorite.
Not like Ken Bruen is reading this, but I did find his incessant referencing of other noir stories and movies within his text. I almost threw the book across the room when Brant ran into Ed McBain during a trip to New York. It drives me crazy when writers over-reveal their sources. This particular narrative flaw is common in the crime genre--Carl Hiassen's characters are often loner weirdoes who like Garcia Marquez--but it's still annoying.
Nevertheless, Ken Bruen is not the kind of British Isles writer who normally gets attention in the U.S., but he's a damn sight less pointy-headed than most of the popular ones. Recommended."
In 1962, 100 pounds of dye were added to the River, enough to keep it green for a week. The city continues to dye the river each St. Patrick's Day. To minimize pollution, only 40 pounds of food coloring is now used to keep the River green for only a few hours.
In the mid-Nineteenth Century St. Patrick's Day became associated with politics. Irish immigrants found themselves under attack in America. In 1844 a mob in Philadelphia burned Irish homes and dynamited Catholic churches. Laws were passed in Massachussetts forbidding Irish Catholics from holding public office.
As a show of political strength, New York's separate St. Patrick's Day processions joined together as a single parade in 1848. St. Patrick's Day became a day to organize a political community. Denied voting rights in Ireland, and faced with attacks in America, Irish immigrants formed a powerful voting bloc in America's cities including New York, Boston and Chicago. Civil service became a source of employment for Irish-Americans who were denied work elsewhere.
St. Patrick's Festival wasn't established by the Government of Ireland until November 1995.
The first St Patrick's Festival was held over one day, and night, on March 17th 1996. With a little over four months in which to effect change, the main object was to demonstrate that changes were afoot and starting the process away from "just a parade". The live audience for the day was estimated to be 430,000.
In 1997, we dropped the word "Day" from our title and it became "St. Patrick's Festival", a three day event. The festival has since grown to become a four day festival and in 2001 is was enjoyed by 1.2million people.
Preparation for the first St Patrick's Festival used to take only 5 months, but with the growth of the Festival, it now takes 18 months to plan for Ireland's biggest annual celebration.
Saint Patrick is known for driving the snakes from Ireland. There are no snakes in Ireland, but there probably never have been - the island was separated from the rest of the continent at the end of the Ice Age. As in many old pagan religions, serpent symbols were common and often worshipped. Driving the snakes from Ireland was probably symbolic of putting an end to that pagan practice. While not the first to bring christianity to Ireland, it is Patrick who is said to have encountered the Druids at Tara and abolished their pagan rites. The story holds that he converted the warrior chiefs and princes, baptizing them and thousands of their subjects in the "Holy Wells" that still bear this name.