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Monday, March 30, 2009

ShamWow? No, SlamWow! Vince goes to jail

But apparently not until he got his groove-thing on. Seems he had an altercation with a prostitute that escalated into an indulgence in physical violence. Cops were called, big mess. But at least the cleanup was easy.

I'm always a little sad when a role-model like this takes a fall. Sheesh, who ever would have thought that a guy like Vince would have anger management problems? After all, he wasn't even able to get through a taped commercial without snapping at the crew. "You getting this, camera guy?"

Friday, March 27, 2009


I used to hate TV. I would watch old movies, and sometimes the news, but episodic TV left me cold. For nearly 30 years, I could count the number of series I enjoyed on my fingers. Even then, I might watch a few episodes of something different, like "Miami Vice" (which for all of its problems introduced a number of concepts, like fast cutting and had great music and a very distinctive look)and then just stop watching, my interest dissapated by poor writing or hackneyed plots.
So what in the world changed? I now watch a couple of hours a night, and at least half is episodic. Favorites include Eleventh Hour, The Closer, Numbers, Bones, Terminator, Batman brave and Bold, Burn Notice, and I flicker in out out of love with Reaper, Psych, Monk, and the sadly canceled Life on Mars. Weird, because at the same time as I have less time than ever in my life, I am pausing everything to watch a couple of hours of the tube each night.
Two things, I think. For one, even though there is a lot of copy catting and far too many CSI types of shows on, the overall quality is much much higher. Complex, mutilayerd plots from show like Heroes and Lost have shown that viewers don't always have to be spoon fed. Production values are infinitly higher than they were in my childhood, and some of the best film directors have no problem helming TV projects. Actors move much more comfortably between big screen and small. TV is just better done now, in general.
The other thing is technology. LCD makes everything look better, but the big thing is tivo. Being able to watch whatever I like when I have time makes the TV my servant, rather than the other way around. I can also deal with one of my pet peeves, the two part episode, by tivoing both and watching them together.
Finding that 3AM History Channel documentary on the Hittites and watching it right after dinner is pretty cool, too.

New Stooges? Say it ain't so!

Sean Penn as Larry? Jim Carrey as Curly? Benicio Del Toro as Moe?


The best gag in one of the funniest movies ever, It's a Mad, Mad World, was the airplane in distress, piloted by a passenger after the pilot (Jim Bakus) dies of a heart attack. The tower is notified, the emergency truck rolls out, and just as the plane is landing, they pan past the emergency crew. It is the stooges, ready for action, still, iconic, poised for mayhem.

Their body of work had created so much audince anticipation that nothing more was needed. You knew, that whatever chaos had occured before, it was nothing like would happen after the plane was on the ground.

How can anyone, ever reproduce this?

The Farrelly Brothers are out of their minds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Norwescon 32 Itinerary For: Michael Ehart


Opening Ceremonies 7:00 pm Evergreen 1 & 2
What are the "Things That Time Forgot"? Come find out, and meet our Guests of Honor.

Art Show Reception 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm Grand Ballroom 1
Please join our artists for a sneak peek at the Norwescon 32 Art Show.

Reading: Michael Ehart 8:30 PM Cascade 3
The Tears of Ishtar – Fantasy – Rated PG
Michael Ehart

Small Press Party 9:00 pm to Midnight Presidential Suite
Cap off the evening with the Small Press


Rejectomancy Noon Cascade 6
Our panelists will help you divine the meaning of different rejection letters and ways to deal with rejection.
Jennifer Brozek, L.J. Bothell, Lisa Mantchev, Jeff Carlson, Michael Ehart

Adventure Stories 1:00 PM Cascade 7
Swashbucklers, pirates, oh my? What makes an adventure story different from other science fiction and fantasy stories? And do most adventure stories get the action right?
Michael Ehart, MH ("Maggie") Bonham

Fantasy as Social Commentary 3:00 PM Cascade 4
Fantasy and Sci Fi have long provided "safe" ways for authors to discuss the real world they lived and struggled in. Examine fantasy realms and lift the thin veil to look at social critique on racism, sexism, religion, politics and more.
Michael Ehart, Cat Rambo, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Spencer Ellsworth

The Use and Misuse of Violence in SF and Fantasy 10:00 PM Cascade 4
Lawrence Block once noted that sex and violence in fiction are the best ways to get people's attention. But on the flip side, there's a point at which such things become gratuitous. When is violence absolutely necessary in a story? When does it become gratuitous, or simply in the story for its own sake? And how much is too much?
Carol Berg, Jena Pittman, Josh Palmatier, Michael Ehart

Norwescon 32 Pro Party 9:00 pm to Midnight Presidential Suite
Cap off the evening with your fellow panelists.


Tradeoffs between Freedom, Security and Privacy 9:00 AM Cascade 9
Is she free? Is he secure? Should we know? It seems that to get more of one thing, you have to give up something else. Since different people want different levels of freedom, security and privacy, how can we reach a societal consensus on the tradeoffs? What happens when smart dust watches everything we do, scanning technologies monitor what we think and microbots will take action? Where is all this going? Where should it go? What can we do? Is Big Brother coming at last, just a bit behind schedule?
David Nassett, Michael Ehart, Mary Rosenblum

Autograph Session 1 11:00 AM Evergreen 1 & 2
Grab your books! Our Guests of Honor and many of our pros will be available for autographs.
R.A. Salvatore, Geno Salvatore, Todd Lockwood, Richard Baker, John P. Alexander, MH (“Maggie”) Bonham, L.J. Bothell, Ted Butler, Jeff Carlson, Greg Cox, Darrin Drader, Michael Ehart, Elton Elliott, Spencer Ellsworth, Roberta Gregory, Jeff Grubb, Warren Hammond, Paul Melko, G.David Nordley, Sean Reynolds, Kat Richardson, Ken Scholes, Jeff Sturgeon, Tiffany Trent

The Evolving Superhero 4:00 PM Evergreen 2
The Superhero Genre has changed, due to a shrinking readership and the increasing age of the average reader. In other words, the superhero is now aimed at a niche market rather than mass and the average reader is now 28 (or so) instead of 12 and this has all radically altered the material.
Michaela Eaves, Andrew Dolbeck, Michael Ehart

Wizards of the Coast Party 9:00 pm to Midnight Presidential Suite
A chance to party with Spotlight Publisher Wizards of the Coast.


Closing Ceremonies 5:00 pm Evergreen 3 & 4
The time and place where we wrap it all up. Come say goodbye to our Guests of Honor, and bid farewell to Norwescon for one more year.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Coming This Summer!

"They were late, but it didn’t matter. The caravan was in disarray, with camels yet unloaded and a factor standing toe-to toe with the caravan master, both shouting with red faces and gesticulating arms. Humri was a great ox of a man, his shaven head puckered and scarred. His face was marked by a deep furrow that ran from his forehead to his jaw, emphasized by the missing teeth on that side...

The factor was almost as tall, but slender and quick. His thick hair was oiled and braided in the Hurrian fashion, and he mostly shouted in that language, too. It appeared that both men had run out of curses in their native tongues, and had moved on to others.

The factor was just as angry as Humri, and seemed to be fluent in more than a dozen tongues, but Humri had an amazing gift. His familial denigrations were poetic and pungent. His anatomical suggestions were inspired. But his rapid-fire, multi-lingual descriptions of the generational curses to be visited on the factor, his never-to-be-begotten offspring, his cousins, nephews, uncles and their descendants was dazzling. Deeply profane, it was the stuff of which great epic poems were wrought, and after a while even the factor noticed, and stopped in mid-curse, first in puzzlement and then in amazement as Humri carefully and lovingly cursed the factor for seven generations in each direction.

At last, each jackal-descended third cousin cataloged, fated and dismissed, Humri paused for a breath.

“Forty-five, then,” conceded the factor, his voice hoarse, his posture resigned.

Humri closed his mouth, drilled the factor with his one good eye, and apparently discerning no duplicity, nodded. “Forty-five, and done,” he said, his booming voice not a hair quieter.

Both men spat on their palms, and clasped hands. The factor turned to a small man behind him, who was standing ready with a wet tablet and a stylus, and muttered a few instructions. The factor made his mark, and the tablet was slipped into a small leather bag. The scribe trotted off with it, most likely to the master trader the factor worked for.

Humri bellowed out orders, and in a few heartbeats the chaos was banished, and from it arose the order and bustle of a caravan." (c) 2009 Michael Ehart

Coming this summer!