Classic Mysteries · by Les Blatt · November 24, 2015
The Mystery Writers of America has announced the names of the recipients of three of the organization’s top Edgar Awards for 2016. Walter Mosley will be named a Grand Master, for his lifetime achievements as a mystery writer. Editor Margaret Kinsman and the national organization Sisters in Crime will each be receiving the Raven Award, which “recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.” And Janet Rudolph, the director of Mystery Readers International and editor of the Mystery Readers Journal, will receive The Ellery Queen Award, which honors “outstanding writing teams and outstanding people in the mystery-publishing industry.”
(Darn! They overlooked me again. But I’ll get them…..)
My cat killed a hummingbird a few days ago. She brought it in, as cats will do, proud, thrilled with the hunt, mad with animality.
Shame and Guilt, Kissing Cousins
Shame—and its first cousin, guilt—are useful tools for writers (and such intrigues for psychoanalysts): instances where a character was shamed, or felt deep guilt are often motivational markers for later character behaviors. We get a fine sense of the power of shame in our early stories: when Adam and Eve eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, the sudden sense of their own nakedness sweeps over them in waves of shame.
Amid all of the loud political arguments about taxes, inequality, and the size of government, it is important to keep in mind this overarching fact: having our government push wealth from the rich to the poor is a very good idea.Capitalism brings a lot of benefits—feel free to listen to any starry-eyed tech guru drone on about entrepreneurship and innovation to acquaint yourself with them—but capitalism as it currently functions in America also comes with a political system thoroughly corrupted by money and great concentrations of wealth in the hands of a tinier and tinier elite, while the majority of people struggle to lay claim to the fruits of economic growth.The mainstream left and right wings of America’s political system have differing views about how to address this inequality. The right tends to claim that cutting taxes will stimulate economic growth which will, in turn, mean more money for everyone. Thirty years of deregulation and thorough testing of this hypothesis has created our current inequality crisis, so it is not too partisan to say that this view is bullshit. Still, this view is accepted by much of the country. The alternate view, that of the mainstream left, is that the government should take more from high earners and create a social safety net for the poor. Many Democrats are shy about embracing this philosophy with fervor. But the fact is, it works.
Date: April 27, 1966
Place: ABC News bureau on the 6th floor of the Caravelle Hotel in Saigon.
“How do you do, sir? I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Yasutsune Hirashiki—just arrived from Japan.”
Well, my initial greeting went very well. I shouldn’t have been surprised–after all I’d been practicing it for days.
The man with the mustache gave me a smile and a handshake. His name was Jack O’Grady, the bureau chief for ABC News Saigon. He wasn’t all that tall, just a bit taller than an average Japanese.
“Welcome to Vietnam! New York told me you were coming. They said you were a damn good cameraman.”
He went on to tell me that he’d screened the demo reel of film clips that I’d sent to New York weeks ago and that he was struck by the creativeness of my photography.
That sounded good.
“I’m ready to work, sir. When shall I start?” I said.
“Well, this week is very quiet, so why don’t you check with us next week?” He replied.
What? I hadn’t expected that. Did he just say that I didn’t have a job this week but I might have a job next week. But only if it was busy?
I was sure he was mistaken. I had a letter from Jack Bush, the executive in New York who hired camera crews around the world for ABC. He had very clearly said that I should quit my job at a Japanese local TV station and fly to Vietnam where a job was waiting for me.
This is what I’d wanted for years. I quit the news cameraman job where I’d spent the past ten years, packed up everything I owned, and came to Saigon to join ABC News–one of the mighty American News Networks.
Clearly, this O’Grady fellow hadn’t gotten the message.
I hadn’t practiced this speech but I believe my English was very clear. “Mr. O’ Grady, I was hired by New York as Saigon bureau cameraman. According to New York’s instructions, I quit my job at a Japanese TV station, and come here to work.” I said.
Mr. O’Grady patiently listened to my terrible English and said, “Show me the letter.”
I gave it to him. He read it, smiled, and said, “Look at this line.”
He then ran his finger along the line of incomprehensible English words as he carefully read them to me. “It says that you will have a chance if you go to Saigon but there the word ‘hired’ isn’t in here. We will give you a chance. Come back and check next week. If it’s busy and we need a cameraman, we’ll send you on an assignment and you’ll have a chance to show us your work.”
I was in shock. He was right! Being Japanese, I had translated the letter with a dictionary and only paid attention to what I thought was the important parts of the letter.
Quit. Go to Saigon. Have a chance.
Tony Hirashiki and Steve Bell in Cambodia. (Or is it properly Steve Bell and Tony Hirashiki?”
“The Charming Dictator”
Yes, this is based on a recent personal experience. Want the details? Keep reading!
How to litter your manuscript with typos
- Create a character with a short name that could easily be found in many longer words — i.e., “Kat”
- Write 40,000 words of a story
- Realize that you prefer an alternate spelling — i.e., “Cat”
- Do a “Search All” and “Replace All” to change the spelling — i.e., “Kat” > “Cat”
- Write another 10,000 words
- Realize you prefer the first spelling
- Do a “Search All” and “Replace All” to change the spelling back — i.e., “Cat” > “Kat”
- Casually reread the story and realize you’ve created 218 typos — i.e., “sKatter”, “reloKated”, unsKathed”, “mediKations”
UCLA professor Jean-Luc Margot has proposed a new, mathematical definition that would apply to bodies both inside and outside our solar system. By his calculations, detailed in a paper that has been accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal, our moon could qualify as a planet, as New Scientist reports.
The planet definition debate has been particularly controversial since 2006, when the International Astronomical Union came up with a set of criteria that stripped Pluto of its planet status.
Sorry, it’s too late.
Photo post by @amdobritt.
Source: Writing Quotes — Elmore Leonard
By now, Colleen has hopefully shaken off the long road trip, had time to stretch her legs, and started to put things in order. It’s an exciting time, starting a new adventure.
Source: Busted – A Short Story
The silence and the sea.
A Poem by Coyote Poetry
We need to listen to the sea, the wind and rebirth each day hopeful and ready.
The silence and the sea
Blessed is the man that knew regret and he learn from it.
Lucky is the man who loses the emotion of rage.
Learn to live in the splendor of celebrating each new day.
Old man baking in the hot sun by the Seaside beach.
Watching the glistening sea dance upon the morning shore.
Drinking coffee and waiting for a reason to write.
He watches a young man walking alone.
His head lowered, eyes detached to another place and time.
Roaming the beach looking for answered that can’ t be found.
Source: –The silence and the sea
This is truly frightening…
When the second group came past, a reporter finally called out, “What happened at the front?” and another asked, “Tell us what happened on Hill 875.”
The soldiers just kept walking past without the slightest reaction and didn’t say a word. We were surprised when a few turned around and walked back to where we were standing. They faced the cameras and the massed microphones and began to tell us what had happened.
It was an eruption of anger, frustration, and sorrow at the hell they had gone through for the past days. In the beginning, the soldiers spoke one by one but soon they began to talk over each other, shouting and even weeping as the terrible memories poured out. I had covered these units before and I knew that they were some of the toughest troops the Americans had. It was a scene of raw emotion.
The military press officials tried to stop the men from speaking by pulling them away from the press but the soldiers ignored them and continued to tell us their stories of hell. We all stayed behind the rope but the soldiers came closer and their stories became more intimate. Everything they said was a testimony to the shocking, brutal, bitter and cruel nature of the fighting on that hill. They were so angry that curse words and slang came pouring out; i knew we couldn’t broadcast that sort of language back in those days but they were speaking from the heart and they were probably the only words that could begin to express their feeling. It was the reality of war being told in a truer way than I had seen in all the time I’d been in Vietnam.
(Tony with Don North – Not at Hill 875)
IN ICELAND THEY have this delicacy called hákarl that recently initiated diners describe as “the worst tasting food on Earth,” “the world’s foulest food,” and “the worst thing I have ever had in my mouth.” To say it smells like a urinal would be generous. Not that anyone should be surprised, considering hákarl is rotten shark meat fermented in the dirt or open air for months on end.
With WONDERLAND, Ace Atkins flawlessly captures Parker’s narrative voice and has written the best Spenser novel in his years. It reads like Parker in his prime, and even without Hawk appearing in the book. There isn’t a single false note in the plotting, character, pacing or prose. It’s an astonishing feat, it’s like he’s channeling Parker from the great beyond. It’s actually better, and truer to Parker and his characters, than the last few Spenser novels that Parker himself wrote. It’s a shame Atkins can’t take on Jesse Stone and Virgil Cole, too.
And so, Stanley Yelnats seems set to serve an easy sentence, which is only fair because he is as innocent as you or me. But Stanley is not going where he thinks he is. Camp Green Lake is like no other camp anywhere. It is a bizarre, almost otherworldly place that has no lake and nothing that is green. Nor is it a camp, at least not the kind of camp kids look forward to in the summertime. It is a place that once held “the largest lake in Texas,” but today it is only a scorching desert wasteland, dotted with countless holes dug by the boys who live at the camp.
The trouble started when Stanley was accused of stealing a pair of shoes donated by basketball great Clyde “Sweetfeet” Livingston to a celebrity auction. In court, the judge doesn’t believe Stanley’s claim that the shoes fell from the sky onto his head. And yet, that’s exactly what happened. Oddly, though, Stanley doesn’t blame the judge for falsely convicting him. Instead, he blames the whole misadventure on his “no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather.” Thanks to this benighted distant relative, the Yelnats family had been cursed for generations. For Stanley, his current troubles are just a natural part of being a Yelnats.Source: Passion for Novels: Holes – Louis Sachar
“I’d act like I were trying to ride it, and then I would strangle it from behind.”
LOOK ALIVE EVERYONE, because we’ve got a lunchtime poll. Do you like: A) Vin Diesel B) Elemental Magic C) Flaming Swords or D) Ygritte from Game of Thrones? If your answer is “All of the Above” then have we got a movie for you.If you’ve watched a trailer for The Last Witch Hunter the movie is exactly what you think it is. The story follows a man named Kaulder—played by Diesel—who has been, yes, hunting witches ever since he was cursed with immortality by their queen. That was about 800 years ago, and if you couldn’t tell from the title, he is now an army of one.Kaulder, known among witches as The Weapon, has spent centuries seeking out those who would use magic on humans—the ultimate sin. Now in the present day and the presumed-dead Witch Queen who is trying to come back and kill everyone. Kaulder has to stop her, and with help from Elijah “Frodo” Wood and Rose “You know nothing Jon Snow” Leslie, he stands a fighting chance.