Monday, January 30, 2012
Monday, January 23, 2012
Goodness gracious, it's hard to type with all this hardware on my wrists. One bracelet is so annoying that its dangling snowflakes and snowdrops catch in my hair and snag my clothes. So I'm wondering, should I take that one off first? Or should I save it until last for added motivation?
Monday, January 16, 2012
What are your best babysitting adventures?
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Gangsters, cops, and kids travel through time, fighting for possession of the magical medallions that, as well as time travel, make the bearer jump high, throw fire, control wind and water and heal wounds. I really like how Stephens put the young protagonists in situations that are genuinely frightening where they face the possibility of real bodily harm from heartless gangsters, but also engage in funny banter amongst themselves, such as the "Middle Name Curse." It’s a great mix of suspense and humor.
Uh, oh. Here comes a gangster. Whaddaya mean, “How do I know?” Because he’s wearing a trench coat and a slouch hat and carrying a tommy gun. It’s pointed my way! Ack! He’s under the streetlight… what’s this? It’s Berin “Reeds” Stephens. Of all people, the one who created this adventure in the first place.
Berin: Sh. Keep your voice down.
Shirley: Oh, yeah, these New York streets are dangerous in 1927. Shall we walk? Let’s keep to the sidewalk under the streetlights and avoid the dark. Hey, Reeds, we all want to know how you thought of putting American gangsters and Egyptian gold coins together in a story.
Berin: Well, for lack of a better explanation, I had a dream about gangsters with magic coins. I added the Egyptian stuff later to make it a little more exotic.
Shirley: (Screams) Ahhh! Is that a rat?
Berin: You dirty rat! Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat
Shirley: Uh, don’t you think a machine gun is a bit of overkill?
Shirley: Yikes! Headlights up ahead, on a black car, moving slowly!
Berin: Quick, turn the corner! Walk casually. There. We lost them.
Shirley: Good move. You've done this before. Hey, is there some of you as a kid in the main character, Billy? I mean, your names start with the same letter and have the same number of vowels. What gives?
Berin: No relation. And he's nothing like me. He's adventurous, I just drive a car and hide behind a saxophone while playing in clubs. But I did choose his last name of Fairbanks because I was born and raised in Alaska.
Shirley: Have you ever wanted to time travel? Where did you go? (Ahem), I mean, where would you go?
Berin: Let me take this opportunity to make a public service announcement: time travel is dangerous. Don't do it unless you are a certified time travel professional. There are too many consequences from it, like paradoxes created, people who end up not being born, and whole civilizations being wiped out. Not to mention the whole disruption of the space-time continuum that destroys all creation; that's usually considered kind of bad. But if I could travel through time with no consequences? Medieval England, but I'd only want to visit, not live there.
Shirley: I had to laugh when you made 12-year-old Danny taller than her 12-year-old cousin, Billy, because that is how it was when I was 12. Their banter was a funny spot in a frequently tense storyline. Did you have a sister or cousin to banter with while you were growing up?
Berin: No, I was an only child and so was my brother (we were six years apart in age so we didn't have a lot in common). But I do have five kids, who are great source material. And as far as the size difference, I teach music lessons to a lot of junior high aged kids and I visit schools a lot. It just strikes me as funny that junior high girls are often taller than the boys. I just wanted to have some fun with that.
Shirley: Hey, what’s that on the ground up ahead? It’s glinting like…gold.
Berin: I’ll get it.
Shirley: (Walking faster) No, it’s okay, I can get it. You’ve got that heavy gun and everything.
Berin: (Breaking into a run) No, I insist.
Shirley: Finders keepers!
Berin: Losers weepers! Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat
Shirley: (Screams) Ahhh! What’s that? You shot ink all over everything.
Berin: Writing is my secret weapon. You go ahead and keep the medallion, I’ve got plenty more in the pages on my laptop.
Shirley: Ladies and gentlemen, would you ever have guessed? A gangster with heart, and a great story. So where are you off to now, Reeds?
Berin: There are still many adventures happening out there: in outer space, in dystopian worlds, and with super heroes. As of right now, I don't have plans for a sequel for Time Gangsters. We'll see how well it does. But if there is a sequel, it just might take place during World War II, but no promises. But I gotta go. The boss asked me to fill up the Duesenberg before I drive him to the horse races.
Shirley: Bye Reeds! There you have it. Find "Time Gangsters" right here, at this link, go ahead, click on it! (I promise no gangsters will pop up out of your computer screen.) Now click! TIME GANGSTERS!
The Big Boss says to show you this exciting poster if I want to keep all my fingers. And I do. CLICK!
Fingers sore yet? Here's the website where it all came down. CLICK
If you're still conscious, try this blogspot. It could be fuuuun! CLICK
And the one who brought it all to light - the Big Boss publisher! CLICK
Monday, January 9, 2012
When I first saw the article about cows eating snow, I wanted to shout, "Stop! Don't! Hypothermia!" But it turns out that with four stomachs covered by hide and fur, cows CAN eat snow, and like it! In fact, in a year more snowy than this central Utah's balmy January 50 degrees, cows can get ALL their water needs from snow! But they have to learn how. It's a peer pressure thing.
"Ahem, excuse me, where's the water trough?"
"We don't use a water trough. We eat snow."
(Mooey sort of gasp) "No!"
"Come on, take a mouthful."
"No! It's cold! It's fluffy! It gets up my nose!"
"Come on, just one won't hurt. Look, I'll do it myself." (Bite, crunch, swallow.) "See?"
"Ahhh! Your tongue is blue!"
But, eventually, thirst or curiosity wins the new cow over and she gets addicted to eating snow.
(I wonder if cows eat yellow snow?)
Did you eat snow as a kid, catching snowflakes on your tongue? Or did you peel it off the road?
COME BACK TOMORROW for one of my inimitable book reviews (that means no one can imitate them! I'm the only one who can put you inside the story like I do by browbeating the poor, unsuspecting author!) So come back and read about Berin Stephens' new "Time Gangsters" adventure, you dirty rat!
Monday, January 2, 2012
Excuse me, but calling something "premium" does not fix the problem when it has no business being there in the first place. (Did these people imbibe in too much liquid holiday cheer or what? They must have all killed their taste buds. That's the only rational explanation!) Chilis go in salsa, not chocolate.
Yet I suppose it's no weirder than the peanut butter baloney sandwiches my oldest son insisted on eating when he was three years old.
What strange tastes do you have? (Which ones will you admit?)
When I passed this road sign, I was so full of ideas about the origin of the broken side that I had to turn around and go back to take a pi...
After a big snowfall, the snow plow came along our street while I was at work, clearing the road but pushing up a ridge of snow across my d...
These are the awesome people I once worked with. We chose the biggest book we could find so we could crown around it for a picture to encou...
Back then! This picture was taken around 1968 in Haddon Heights, New Jersey. (Weren't we stylin', though?) This fine pho...