Sunday, August 31, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Dylan Harmonica

Bob Dylan is releasing his own line of Harmonica in a limited edtion set. The deluxe set (see
picture below) will go for 700 bucks; a smaller, but equally nice, one piece gift set will set you back 100 bucks. Dylan fans can get full details on both sets here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In Stock Now

I have a few extra copies of "Quiet, Please" up for sale once again on my website; I dropped the price 5 bucks, so it's 20 dollars now (that includes shipping for the book). All copies come signed and can be personalized. Get while it last on my website! I use Google Checkout, but if you hate the idea of signing up for something new, I can send you a bill through PayPal too.

Kentucky Fry This

Spoof movies aren’t what they used to be. I had a chuckle or two during some of the Scream movies, but not as much as I did during Airplane or even Naked Gun.

For quite sometime, I just thought I had grown out of them—that spoof movies were the same as they have ever been, but you have to be in seventh grade to the enjoy the humor of them.

I recently watched the Zucker Brother’s first movie Kentucky Fried Movie, and was reassured that indeed my taste have not changed, rather spoof movies have just gone from bad to worse.

What makes this spoof movie so great and so many others like it so horrible? The same thing that made The Simpsons season 1-11 great, and seasons 11 and onward just okay…it all comes down to originality. FYI, The Simpsons used to be great, but now I think they just copy themselves and redo episodes and themes they explored long ago—maybe if they spent some time investing in real writing talent (also the creator of the show is a jerk; I saw him at a book festival a few years back, and asked for his autograph; he let out a sigh and said, “If I sign for you, I’ll have to sign for everyone”…I pointed out that there was no one near us and I was the only one who recognized him, but he ignored me and walked away.)

Spoof movies are making fun of something that’s been done—how do you make that original? It’s definitely not plot; these movies have plots so horrible it’s funny. What they do so great is they don’t make fun of the obvious.

Kentucky Fried Movie is basically a spoof on pop culture; more specifically, seventies pop culture. It really has absolutely no plot—it’s just a bunch of vignettes that are only sometimes connected. At the core of the movie is a movie within a movie that is quite possibly the worse kung-fu movie ever made.

So when you’re tired of watching spoofs about gladiator movies and end of the world movies, return to the classics and give this one a shot. And when you’re done, re-watch Airplane and reminisce about the good old days.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tim, In Review

Meet Tim. Typical computer programmer by day, humor writer by night.

Tim is a fellow Wittenburg Door writer, and has even did something I have not--wrote one of their cover stories (he did the one with the Napoleon Dynamite cover).

Tim is also doing his best to start up a blog that highlights some of his humor writing. You can read it here:

He's still trying to figure out what the blog is about, but he's doing a good job so far. His Genesis 1 for Atheist entry is excellent. Check him out and add him to your blog roll while you're at it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Diaries Interview

Thanks to an anonymous tipster who passed along a link to a video interview with the author of The Library Diaries.

It’s 30 minutes long. For those who don’t want to sit through it, here’s some highlights:

Wrote the book of fiction as a public service announcement to tell the world that there are pedophiles in the library.

She also wanted to raise questions about whether or not a sex offender should be allowed to have children.

She believes that libraries should not let sex offenders in if the library is open to children.

She does not believe an adult sex offender can be cured.

She spent over ten minutes talking about the pedophiles and porn seekers of her library. The only time she mentioned someone who came into the library that was not a pedophile was mentally challenged.

Libraries were better when computers were not there

People shouldn't donate money to shelters that help the homeless. They are there for a reason. They should help themselves

Something is causing her community to have a low IQ. She has lived in other places, and says her community is the dumbest

Encourages someone to write a book about her

It's a good idea not to have kids if both parents have diabetes. That way we want have flawed people in society

Danger! Old Lady Crossing!

You never can be too safe around the elderly! Witness this old lady, who can, almost magically, release a cars airbag with a simple swing of her purse!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Revisiting John Grisham

John Grisham isn't exactly who you brag about as an English Literature student when people ask you what writer inspired you to major in English. I wouldn't say he is my reason, but he is a pretty big contributing factor.

When I entered high school, we were forced to read a lot of things I didn't enjoy at the time (although I have appreciation for them now); they were people like Dickens, Shakespeare and Thoreau. I don't know if I was just too young for them or if I simply didn't like the idea of being forced to read something.

It was during this period that I was turned off from reading for a few years. My senior year of high school, a political science teacher gave the class a list of books, and told us to pick one and write a review of it; they were names like Clancy and Turrow. Names I had never heard of. One of my mom's friends saw the list, and said she had just finished a book called "The Rainmaker" by one of the names, John Grisham.

It was the first time in sometime that I enjoyed a book, and I managed to finish it in less than a week. For the next couple years, I would continue to read whatever Grisham book was released that year. After, however, I officially became a English Lit major my junior year of college, I stopped reading him entirely. It was partly because I had a lot of other books to read, and partly because I started to think I was beyond Grisham--I had the "Grisham's for sixth graders" attitude.

A few weeks ago, I was at Costco with my wife, and saw a Grisham paperback, "Playing for Pizza" for less than four bucks. I had plenty of other things to read, but the book was cheap, and I knew would be an easy read; I figured why not?

Grisham still is not the best writer in the business, but there's a reason he gets paid millions for his book--he knows how to keep the readers interest. The book was about football of all things (a sport I have absolutely no interest in), but I stayed interested the entire book. The characters were pretty flat; the plot was sort of like a Lifetime movie; but there was a story with a heart, and that story was a fun read.

Lately, I've learned that's it's nice to take a break from reading serious things every now and then and pull out a book that is cheesy, fluffy, and not really about anything. When I'm ready for that break, I know I still have Grisham.

Louisiana Book Festival

Details about the Louisiana Book Festival have been finalized, and the times are below. Hope one or two of you in cyber land stop by to hear me!

All the events will be Saturday, October 4th

10 AM – 10:45 AM (House Committee Room 5)
Book Talk: There’s No Sleeping on the Bathroom Floor and Other Tales from the Library Frontlines

11 AM - 11:45AM : Book Signing

2 PM – 2:45 PM (House Committee Room 1)
Discussion: Blogging Is Writing, Too…Or Is It?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, August 22, 2008

Better Bring Back Your Late Books!

Do you think your library is too hard on fines? Read this article about this library having a 20 year-old woman arrested for not bringing back two paperback books!

The Literary Journey

Last weeks post got a lot of page hits and a few comments; I'm amazed that when people read how shady this publisher is, they still think it's a good idea to publish with them. That's just how desperate people can be to see their books in print. There are plenty of writers out there willing to help nurture those desperate writers, so places like Publish America will cease to exist.

I think there are a lot of people out there that think they can sit down and write a book, and then it's going to be a bestseller. They make the entire process seem so effortless. I wish that it was (and for maybe a few it is), but for most people the journey is much longer and much harder and what it all comes down to is hard work.

Roland (from the book) told me awhile back that he read if you practice anything for three hours a day for ten years, then you should be successful. You can read his blog about it here. He's a little off. This is what led up to the publication of my first book:

*Age 11, write my first short story. It's about a person whose hand gets cut off and comes alive and haunts people.

*Age 12 or 13, begin to write first novel. It's about terrorism; more precisely it's about a group of people who are going to take over an airplane and take everyone hostage.

*Age 16, have two rods inserted in my back and get pissed off at the world

*Age 16, write a serious of essays in a book length work about why everyone is going to hell. I was very angry at the world.

*Age 16-17, write my first complete novel. If memory serves me correct, it's about 500 pages, and follows the life of a high school basketball star; he was kind of who I wanted to be, but couldn't on account of having rods in my back and being pretty immobile. Rejected by 50+ agents. Never Published.

*Age 17, compete my second novel. This one is about a prophet who heals people and preaches around the world. He is assassinated at the end. Rejected by 100+ agents. Never published.

*Age 18, enter college as a journalist major, but drop out of the program after I write my first article and am told it's so bad that I will not receive a grade.

*Age 18, complete my third novel. It's about a movie star whose wife is kidnapped and he goes on a journey with his brother to find her. Never bothered to submit it.

*Age 18-19, write about 400 to 500 pages of two or three different novels that I never finish. By this point I had probably wrote close to (or perhaps over) 2,000 pages of writing.

*Age 19-22, write mostly short stories to develop my voice. About 30 to 50 in all. Submit many of them. Only two ("Golden Poppies" and "Mother's Day") are published in journals

*Age 22, attend Kenyon Review Writer's workshop

*Age 22, start library school, but continue to take graduate level creative writing classes. Start writing a new novel and a novella. Finish both. I believe the novel is the best piece of fiction (at that point in my life) I had ever written, and start to lose hope in publishing when I can't find anyone who will publish it.

*Age 23-25, begin writing children's books and graduate library school. Write about three middle grade books, and a dozen or so picture books. I also begin writing "Dispatches from a Public Librarian" for McSweeney's. Begin to seriously consider self-publishing. Ultimately decide against.

*Age 25-27, work for the next several years revisiting old stories. Decide to skip a MFA in writing to study the craft of writing independently. I work on developing voice, structure, character, and dialog. Write several screenplays for movies, in part to learn about dialog and pacing. Begin work on a new novel, this one combines elements of mythology, fantasy, and literary fiction. Complete it but is rejected by the few agents I send it to.

*Age 27, begin to work on what will become "Quiet, Please." I don't think it was rejected by even one agent.

*Age 28, signed a contract with Caroll & Graf, which was bought by Da Capo.

*Age 29, after 3000+ pages of rejected fiction, non-fiction, and even poetry--after receiving hundreds (if not thousands) of rejection slips from publishers, agents and journals--having spent hundreds of dollars on stamps--I am a published author. I had been writing for almost 20 years with nothing but reject slips to show for it. Was it worth the struggle, the desperation, the loneliness, the years of hiding in my room slouched over a keyboard typing? Of course.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

He Doesn’t Talk Pretty No More?

Like many people, the first thing I discovered by David Sedaris was SantaLand Diaries; I enjoyed his dry, bitter humor and continued to enjoy it in Barrel Fever, Naked, and, especially in, Me Talk Pretty One Day. Then came Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim—a forgivable work that was pretty hit and miss, but mostly miss.

If it was any other writer, I probably would said Dress Your Family was a great piece of work, but this was Sedaris, and I had higher expectations for him. Still I forgave it, and passed it off as good but not great; I even shelled out cash to go and listen to him speak when he was touring for it.

Now over two months after starting, and desperately trying to finish, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, I have to ask what happened? Have I just matured as a reader? Has my taste in reading simply changed? Or are Sedaris' books merely getting more lame and gimmicky? Whatever the reason, this book just was not that good.

It was largely about nothing, which is common in Sedaris books--but nothing to forced extremes. It was as if Sedaris closed his eyes and said “I had a cyst on my rear” and then with that wrote whatever came to his mind, and half the time they didn’t even sort of relate.

Another problem I had with the book was he seemed to be focusing too much on the fact that he’s gay. In his early books, it was basically a known fact, but he spent time writing about himself and not his relationships. The problem with spending so much time talking about his gay lifestyle is it just isn’t interesting or funny; he even claims (several times) that his relationship isn’t exciting—so why does he spend so much time talking about it? There were a few descriptions about Hugh that almost made me laugh, but the few good parts about the books were when he was writing about how he saw other people's lives, and not his own.

He's a great observe of other, but not so much himself. Sedaris' best humor has always been observing people and how he himself interacts with them. That’s where he should stay, because that’s when I always find myself laughing. When he’s dealing with issues and struggles he has it simply just doesn’t work.

The book has a great cover, but the laughs pretty much stops there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Inquiry & McSweeney's

For those of you who missed it, McSweeney's has a new "Dispatches from a Public Librarian" up.

Also, Inquiry with Mark Lynch has a radio interview I did for them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Roast of Bob Saget

Perhaps it's all those commercials for the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget, or perhaps it's just because my story about Bob Saget is so weird that it's just permanently etched in my mind. Whatever the case, Bob Saget is on my mind.

Growing up in Anaheim, I was always in Hollywood’s backyard; some people imagine that living here must mean I see celebrities everyday, or at least once a year. I've seen my fair share of big stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but my run-ins with celebrities are usually with the stars no one cares about. I saw the guy who plays Screech at a Game Spot and he was an arrogant little prick, I saw Danny DeVito at a mall and he yelled at my mom not to stare, I shook Steve Urkels hand, and I had to watch as that little George Michael punk from Arrested Development flirted with my wife (then girlfriend). But none were as woefully weird and wrong as my encounter with Bob Saget--the king of TV has-beens.

I was 13 at the time, and my brother was the treasurer of a finance club in college; part of his duties were to raise money for the club, and one easy way to do this was to attend TV show tapings. They'd pay the club to bring people in. One such show was "America's Funniest Home Videos." Even at 13 I found the show a bit annoying, and wasn't exactly excited about going; nor was I excited about dressing up in a nice shirt and tie. But this was my brother, and that's just what you do.

While most of the people from the club sat in the back bleachers, the person in charge of seating thought my parents and I looked like a model American family, perfect for the first four rows. So they sat us in row number four, and told us to just have fun.

I did my best to act excited, but it was hard. The warm-up act was just slightly funnier then the actual home videos we'd have to sit through. After thirty minutes or so, we were ready for the main attraction: Mr. Bob Saget. I was on the end of the aisle, so when he ran out he would have to pass by me.

The bright lights turned on, the music started playing, and I knew the star creep of the show had begun his run to the stage. As he began to run past me, he stopped, turned, and looked right at me. He starred at me right in the eyes for several seconds. Several seconds turned into a very creepy moment, and they finally had to yell cut. He didn't notice tapes had stopped rolling, because he was still molesting me with his eyes. Finally he turned away, and ran off.

"What did you do?" My mom asked panicked, "Did you try and trip him?"

I swore I hadn't, although I now wished I had. During the next take he didn't stop. He went right to the stage and pretended nothing had just happened.

I've seen the "Hey, do I know you?" stare, the "Hey, is that a booger on your collar?" stare, and the "What's your problem?" stare. Bob Saget's stare was none of those. It was the, "Hey, little white boy, let's go to the back and I'll show you my personal collection of funny videos" stare. It was creepy, and I have not since forgot it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Hitler in Concert?

I never thought I'd laugh at a Hitler speech!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, August 15, 2008

Another Library Memoir?

When I read about a librarian losing her job because she wrote a library story that hit a little too close to home, I was intrigued. I don't think the library had any grounds for dismissal (especially since the author clearly says the book is fiction), unless the librarian in question had made other offenses while working, wrote the book while at work, or signed a contract saying she would not write about her workplace, but it will make an interesting case, nonetheless. It's funny that no one in the book seems to be complaining about how they've been portrayed or that their rights were violated; perhaps they're afraid to step-up and admit who they are in the book?

What I will say about the book, without actually reading it (and having no intention of reading it), is it's more than likely garbage. How can I make this claim without even browsing through it? Easy: it's published by Publish America--in my opinion, they are one of the most shameful book producers (note I do not use the word publisher, because they don't really publish the book--they print them, and use POD technology to produce the book when (if?) someone actually buys it). They are just one notch higher than vanity presses, and, though they claim books will be available, I've heard of few (any?) actually being in stock anywhere but online. I've also read that they also are notorious for telling their writers they should use their own money to buy copies (FYI, a real publisher gives you copies...I got around 30 hardcovers of mine, and another dozen or so proof copies, and I never paid them a dime, nor did they expect me to).

Several people have done random experiments with the company. One group of sci-fi writers decided to write the worst book ever and submit it to the publisher to see if it was accepted: it was!

From what I understand, the company also doesn't really use editors; they, for the most part, publish the book as is, and hope the writer will buy the book. I've also heard (although I can't say with certainty) they ask writers to hand over email contacts so they can email everyone the writer knows and tell them to also buy the book.

So why do writers publish with them? Every writer gets to a point where they are desperate and will do anything to see their book published (I've been writing for over 15 me, I know). If the only place that accepts your book, however, is Publish America, then there's probably a reason--it's not ready. That's not to say you're not good enough to write, or that the topic is not interesting; you just haven't written something that's ready for publication. It's a sign that you should keep writing, and do whatever it takes to write something worthy of a real publisher--don't settle.

Do you think anyone will read your book if you publish it through Publish America? Maybe. But consider this--the library book is getting a lot of free attention, and it's not even listed on WorldCat. That's a pretty good indication that this book is not very popular. So now this lady, for now, has lost her job, the book will go largely unread, and, while Publish America's contract seems purposely vague, she will likely not even stand to make 500 bucks off the deal. Was it worth it? Sure people will use her name to promote free speech, but she'll be forgotten in a few months time.

The last time I check, no writing guild will accept a book published by Publish America as an actual publication credit. When I became a member of the Authors Guild a few years back, my only major publication credit was my dispatches on McSweeney's. When a blog counts as a bigger writing credit then a book publisher, that should tell you something about the book publisher.

I have nothing against people writing memoirs about libraries; there are plenty more stories to tell, and I hope more people tell them, and succeed. But do it with a real publisher. I'm sure most of you know that I'm not a fan of the other library memoir that came out last November (for the record I think he tried too hard to sound cranky, and did not try hard enough to show the true value of public libraries in the community), but at least he did it through a real publisher, and I respect him for that. So if any of you out there in cyber land want to tell your story, I hope you do so, and I hope you do it well...send me a draft and I'd be happy to help you along and help you write something that can find a real publisher.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Free Music Download

The Cold War Kids have new CD coming out in September (Loyalty to Loyalty), and have released a single off the record for free; follow that link, and you'll have the song for free.

You won't be's by far the catchy song I've heard all year; it's not there best song (my personal favorite is "Saint John" and "Quiet, Please" (no I did not name my book after it)), but it is the most radio accessible, pop-like, and, like I said, catchy!

I give my guarantee (which really amounts to nothing) that this song is going to be big once radio stations start pushing it.

Last year Rolling Stone called them one of the best new acts around; download the song and see why. Feel free to comment your thoughts below when you hear it...

The Dark Knight

While people in the thousands lined up to see the new Batman, I stayed away. I enjoyed the first one, and wanted to see the next installment, but I was no hurry, and would have even waited to see it on DVD.

When I heard, however, that six scenes were shot using IMAX cameras for the IMAX presentation, and later learned that the Anaheim Garden Walk had just opened a new movie theater with an IMAX screen, I suddenly became more interested.

For those of you who don’t know it, most blockbuster movies, when shown on the IMAX screen are simply blown up to fit the screen; there’s nothing special about the presentation except the fact that it’s's not true IMAX. It’s a big step for a director to use actual IMAX cameras for the movie.

The Dark Knight was (big surprise) a great movie; Jokers performance was, of course, chilling; and nothing about the movie fail short—except the IMAX screen. I had never seen an IMAX movie, and now that I have I don’t know what all the fuss is about. It sounded and looked great, but so did the first one when I saw it on a 60 inch TV with surround sound—in fact, I actually think it looked better.

The same markers trying to convince people that Blu-ray is better then a DVD are the same ones pushing this IMAX stuff. Yes, Blu-ray is better then DVD, but if you buy an up-converter DVD player and use HD-def cabling, most people will be unable to tell the difference; if you put then side-by-side, people will say ones better then the other, but when they stand alone who cares? That’s also my view of the IMAX experience.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Watchmen: The Anti-Superhero

I’m not a comic book fanatic; growing up I’d read the occasional comic, but, by and large, they were single issues, and certainly not called “Graphic Novels.”

When Entertainment Weekly ran a story on the comic book, soon to be movie, Watchmen and called it not only one of the greatest comics, but the greatest books ever written, I was intrigued.
It certainly was not the graphic novel I was expected; filled with twist, comics within comics, and detailed back story on each character, this is not the comic I remembered as a child.

I think it’s a stretch to call it one of the greatest novels ever wrote, because, while it does have a great plot, I found the dialog to be lacking. Sure it was better then other comics, and that in itself is commendable, but I thought it could have been better. I also found the comic within the comic a bit unnecessary.

The plot was completely unpredictable and against all traditions. I admire the comic for that. If I was into writing comics, then this would definitely be the one that changed things for me. It’s just a bit away from the perfection that I expected. I still recommend the read.

It was darkly written (the perfect angle Hollywood is looking for after the success of The Dark Night), and I can’t wait to see the adaptation next year.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Infomercials Are Great!

I wonder how many ladders they sold when this aired! I like how quickly they cut away!

Monday, August 11, 2008

It's a Miracle? NO! It's Creepy

MSN ran a story last week about a woman who cloned her beloved dog; she claimed it was a miracle. It's not! It's weird.

The woman claims the dog saved her life, and she couldn't live without it. Touching. It really is. But you can't bring back the dead...unless you're Jesus (and, FYI, they had pictures of the dog and it's no Jesus). Did anyone see the "This American Life" episode on Showtime about the cloned animal? The thing acted inbred, and would attack the owner. It wasn't the same at all! And even if it was it would be weird, and completely wrong.

When you mess with the laws nature, you set yourself up for disaster. I've seen "A.I.," so don't try and tell me I'm wrong about this!

The best (i.e. most disturbing) part of the story is she sold her home to cover the 50,000 dollars to replace it. What happens when this new batch of dogs die? I hope she's saving up. Personally, I think she should have used that 50,000 dollars and got the best psychiatrist she could get.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Jewel of Medina

Those of you not following the events of Sherry Jones, perhaps it's time to jump on the bandwagon? Her first book, a novel about one of Muhammad's wives has been dropped by Random House because they fear retaliation from terrorist. Haven't we lost if we fear our enemies? How is it someone can publish a book deemed by Christians as blasphemous, but they cannot publish a book like this?

"Without free speech no search for truth is possible... no discovery of truth is useful... Better a thousandfold abuse of free speech than denial of free speech. The abuse dies in a day, but the denial slays the life of the people, and entombs the hope of the race." -Charles Bradlaugh

Weekend Funnies

Friday, August 8, 2008

Paris for Prez?

When Paris Hilton has a better campaign ad then both Obama and McCain, the world really is doomed. Sure it's satire, but both canidates could really learn from her!

And the thing that really baffled me (aside from the fact that it was funny, and I never thought she could make me laugh) was her campaign promise for solving the energy problem actually makes sense! FYI, below is her campaign promise and watch the actual video:

"Barack wants to focus on new technologies to cut foreign-oil dependency, and McCain wants offshore drilling. Well, why don’t we do a hybrid of both candidates’ ideas? We can do limited offshore drilling with strict environmental oversight, while creating tax incentives to get Detroit making hybrid and electric cars. That way, the offshore drilling carries us until the new technologies kick in, which will then create new jobs and energy independence. Energy crisis solved."

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"Love Jesus and love to ride hard"

That subject line is an actual quote from the Christian (?) group Set Free Soldiers. Roland (from the book) tells me the quote is quite funny if you think about it in the dirty way. Read the quote for yourself in the LA Times. This story is particularly interesting to me for two reasons:

1. It made me late for work (it happened about a mile from the branch library I work at) because the street was completely blocked off.

2. This is the church my grandparents famously started going to in the nineties after they had a renewed interest in faith. The church was in a different part of the city then (actually, today I don't think they actually have a church...I think they just own four houses, and they have studies out of them; many of their members live in the houses if I understand right, and it's kind of like their compound), and I remember them taking me a few times; the street would always be full of more motorcycles then I had ever seen in my entire; it was in a large warehouse, and it reminded me of the Steve Martin movie Leap of Faith--people jumping everywhere, a sweaty pastor, a gospel choir, and, of course, Bikers who looked like they probably had killed people in their younger days.

My grandparents left the church for a smaller, quieter, church when a scandal of a different kind broke out (I don't remember the details). FYI, the church has had many scandals, and the guy in charge of the entire movement was once in prison for molesting children...I remember my grandparents telling me about the prison part, but not the molesting kids part. Here's another fun, "alleged," fact...women had to go to the leader to ask permission to use birth control. This site and this site tell you a bit more about some of the past scandals.

This scandal is actually quite interesting...I recommend you read the whole story at the link above; it will have you saying "The Hell's Angels are still around?" Followed by "What kind of church is this? They have pictures of fist fights on their website?" It sounds like really the police had been looking for a reason to arrest them for years, and they finally got their chance because one or two members messed up big; once they got into house they found a bunch of weapons (I'm assuming unlicensed) and 11 arrest were made.

You can also check out the groups MySpace page and watch one of their videos, which has clips of, what appears to be, training people how to street fight! They actually show a guy throwing punches (I don't know if they're punches for Jesus or what the deal is?). The video also has a bunch of Anaheim cops...I'm not sure if they are pro cops or against cops, but I'm guessing against.

Hopefully it all works out in the end; whatever that means...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Is This What Tom Cruise's Career Has Come To?

To rebound his struggling career, Tom Cruise has apparently decided to pull an Eddie Murphy and put on the fat suit. Check out the link to the picture below! It's for the new Ben Stiller movie, Tropic Thunder. It's just a cameo, but it's apparently supposed to be quite the scene stealer.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Place for Library Haters

A few months back, my wife sent me this link to a message board where this person was asking a question along the lines of "is there a NetFlix, but for books?" Everyone was like, "Yeah nerd--it's called a library!"

Well apparently there are a lot of people out there who are like the person on the message board--they've never heard of a library, because I just heard about a new service that bills itself the Netflix for Books. It's called PaperSpine, and you can subscribe to it for the low, low price of 10 to 25 dollars a month! Full details about the plans are below.

The claim the average person who reads three books a month will save 400 dollars month by loaning the books instead of buying them. They even act like this idea of borrowing books is a revolutionary idea!

They're offering a great, unique, service; why not mention libraries? They could have something along the lines of, "Sure you could go to the library and borrow books, and get this exact same service for free, but then you'd have to interact with people--plus you can get the dirty books, and nobody will ever no!"

Wanna hear something even dumber? When I told my wife about this, she said, "Oh, that's nothing, check out BookSwim!" What's dumber then PaperSpine you ask? There's enought of a market for two places to offer the same thing!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Amazon Price Drop

Amazon has dropped the price of my book by two bucks if anyone wants to buy it. There's only 4 copies left on Amazon US (more on the way, of course), 1 copy left at Amazon Canada, and Amazon UK is completely out of stock.

Arthur John Gossip

You won't see a Wikipedia entry for Arthur John Gossip. I don't believe you can find any biographies on him. Why should you? He was just a poor, humble pastor and professor from Scotland. He never preached to a mega church, he never wrote a profound book, and he wasn't accomplished by any stretch of the imagination. But he wrote one of the greatest sermons ever written.

Most pastors will recognize his name, because his sermons, one in particular, are studied even over 50 years after his death.

The sermon that has now received such acclaimed over the years was called, "When Life Tumbles In, What Then?" He delivered it to his church the day after his wife suddenly collapsed and died. It is probably one of the most enduring words I've ever read about someone trying to deal with loss. It was from a pastor who had just spent years in World War I holding friends as they died, and now his beloved wife has died too.

I've been organizing books and came across his name, and it brought back a lot of memories. I looked for the sermon online, but the original one is not available in e-text--it's a shame because it's probably in public domain by now, and probably would help a lot of people going through loss.
The book made me think about Greg Laurie, the evangelists whose son died a week and a half ago in a car accident. People always look to see how a pastor responds to tragedy. The sermon was how Gossip responded.

I'll post a snippet from it below; if you want to read the whole thing there's a out of print book called "Classic Sermons on the Attributes of God" by Warren W. Wiersbe. The sermon is included in this book, and it's available used for about $7.00.

From: When Life Tumbles In, What Then?
I do not understand this life of ours. But still less can I comprehend how people in trouble and loss and bereavement can fling away peevishly from the Christian faith. In God's name, fling to what? Have we not lost enough without losing that too?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Weekend Funnies

Friday, August 1, 2008

New Dylan Bootlegs

Fans of Bob Dylan, rejoyce! October 7th will see the release of Dylan's eigth bootleg series CD! Titled "Tell Tale Signs." The two disc set will include songs composed between 1989 and 2006. The CD, as has been the case with all the Bootleg Series CDs, will contain a 60 page booklet.

This isn't big news to anyone who doesn't love Dylan, but Dylan lovers can testify that these CDs are just as good (sometimes better) then studio albums by the bard.

Track Listing
Disc One
1. Mississippi 6:04 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
2. Most of the Time 3:46 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
3. Dignity 2:09 (Piano demo, Oh Mercy)
4. Someday Baby 5:56 (Alternate version, Modern Times)
5. Red River Shore 7:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
6. Tell Ol' Bill 5:31 (Alternate version, North Country soundtrack)
7. Born in Time 4:10 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
8. Can't Wait 5:45 (Alternate version, Time Out of Mind)
9. Everything is Broken 3:27 (Alternate version, Oh Mercy)
10. Dreamin' of You 6:23 (Unreleased, Time Out Of Mind)
11. Huck's Tune 4:09 (From Lucky You soundtrack)
12. Marchin' to the City 6:36 (Unreleased, Time Out of Mind)
13. High Water (For Charley Patton) 6:40 (Live, August 23, 2003,Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)

Disc Two
1. Mississippi 6:24 (Unreleased version #2, Time Out of Mind)
2. 32-20 Blues 4:22 (Unreleased, World Gone Wrong)
3. Series of Dreams 6:27 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
4. God Knows 3:12 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
5. Can't Escape from You 5:22 (Unreleased, December 2005)
6. Dignity 5:25 (Unreleased, Oh Mercy)
7. Ring Them Bells 4:59 (Live at The Supper Club, November 17, 1993,New York, NY
8. Cocaine Blues 5:30 (Live, August 24, 1997, Vienna, VA)
9. Ain't Talkin' 6:13 (Alternate version, Modern Times)
10. The Girl on the Greenbriar Shore 2:51 (Live, June 30, 1992,Dunkerque, France)
11. Lonesome Day Blues 7:37 (Live, February 1, 2002, Sunrise, FL)
12. Miss the Mississippi 3:20 (Unreleased, 1992)
13. The Lonesome River 3:04 (With Ralph Stanley, from the album Clinch Mountain Country)
14. 'Cross the Green Mountain 8:15 (From Gods and Generals Soundtrack)

Finally Something Useful to Do With Paperback Books?

What is it with people using books as furniture lately? See related blog here. Sure it looks cool, but I have mixed feelings about using books this way...I guess it depends on the book. Anyone have a book worthy of being part of a chair?