Well, had this post just about wrapped up when the whole computer crashed on me. Viva la internet! Let’s see if I can recover what I lost.
First off, the best thing in the world. Best. The world. Ever.
He is, for the record, on Twitter now. I’m a bit reluctant to tell you this since I like being one of his few followers. Ah well. It was there that I discovered this video as well. Oh, Huffington Post. You knew not what you wrought.
Bet Angelina Jolie looks positively easy in comparison now, eh? Geez, he’s good.
Meanwhile, also at BEA, we had other authors singing. Michael Buckley brings us Lionel Ritchie while Gareth Hinds, Phil Bildner, and Tom Angleberger juggle behind him at the BEA silent auction. Not so silent now!!
Thanks to Alvina Ling for the link.
Switching gear away from singing (but focusing just as much on white men standing in front of crowds doing things) this was taken in Australia. It’s at a bus depot where a lot of preachers have a tendency to stand on milk crates. Or, in this case, read from the true word of caterpillars.s
Five Hail Marys and four ripe red strawberries. Thanks to Marci for the link.
Well good one, America. I hope you’re happy now. You just made LeVar Burton cry.
By the way – the folks getting upset about this? Do we truly have nothing else to be upset about? Let the blooming Rainbow have its day.
Now, of course, that every Kickstarter gets this kind of support. Case in point, Literary Lots. The idea? “Literary Lots will transform 2 vacant lots near inner-city libraries into four-week literary spaces for children in Cleveland. Working together with local artists around themes from specific children’s books, we will re-create places, concepts, and images from these books…” Nicely done. The video is a bit off on its year (it says 2013 by accident) but the idea is still a nice one.
Thanks to Pink Me for the link.
In other news, ALA recently released a controversial movie it produced (?!) back in 1977 called The Speaker. They’ll be showing it at the upcoming ALA Conference in Vegas as well. Why the controversy? Well, as their press release put it:
The film depicts a high school Current Events club that decides to invite a white supremacist professor from a local college to address the student body and the controversy that ensues. It was intended for schools, libraries and other organizations to encourage them to discuss the true meaning of the freedom of expression, particularly regarding “tolerance for ideas we detest.” Many ALA members objected to the film’s subject matter and the process by which the film was produced. After contentious debate at the 1977 Annual Conference, multiple ALA bodies voted down proposals to remove the organization’s name from the film.
So in case you’ve 42 minutes to spare . . .
And finally, for our off-topic video, the bloody thing that crashed my computer in the first place. And you know what? Worth it. Check out what happens when you sing an 800-year-old Icelandic hymn in a German train station.
5 Stars Silly Frilly Grandma Tillie Laurie A, Jacobs Anne Jewett Flashlight Press 32 Pages Ages: 5 and up Inside Jacket: Sophie and Chloe are lucky that their Grandma Tillie knows how to be royally silly. To their delight, whenever Grandma Tillie babysits she seems to disappear, only to be replaced by a parade of [...]
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Clowns are fun. We laugh and are amused by their antics. However, we are frightened by clowns that are evil or possessed. Here are ten things that you should not say to a possessed clown:
1. You have great makeup. I especially like your red teeth. They’re so colorful.
2. Would you like to have dinner at our house? Why are you looking at me like I’m a piece of meat?
3. Will you quit growling. It’s not nice to scream bloody murder. Come on, lighten up.
4. Did you say I’m smart? I see. You said that you’d like a piece of my heart.
5. Why are you juggling chainsaws?
6. Please don’t spray seltzer water at me. I see. It’s not seltzer water. It’s blood.
7. What do you look like when you wipe off your makeup? I see. You look like a Zombie.
8. Why do you wear such big shoes? I see. It’s to hide your hairy, curled up feet.
9. Can I be in your act? I see. You’ll perform magic and saw me in half.
10. Are you married? I see. Your wife has flaming red hair, a bright red nose, and a ghoulish white face.
As soon as humans had something to trade, advertising must have been invented. Maybe the first flint knappers didn't need to take a full page advert in the Avebury Argos, but they must have somehow let people know what they were making, whether it was demonstrating their skill directly, or hoping that work of mouth would communicate where to go to trade for the best skinning flint available to man. As soon as print was invented the possibilities increased dramatically, and in more recent centuries the need to advertise has spawned a plethora of agencies, all falling over each other to create ever more effective ways of selling us almost anything. I think it was Lord Lever who said something to the effect that fifty percent of his advertising was wasted, but he didn't know which fifty percent.
I was thinking about this recently while updating my Facebook page, and wondering what to Tweet next. As writers we are all used to self promotion, whether we like it or not. We phone the local paper with news or send them copy, do school visits, turn up for book signings and attend festivals.
But this is no longer enough. Now we must also diligently Tweet, update our websites, keep our Facebook pages interesting, link to Linked in, and do whatever it takes to keep ourselves 'out there' on Bebo. And of course Google + is coming, and who knows what the next thing will be.
Maybe we don't all do all of these things, while some of us may do others, but whatever we do, and however we link it all together it steals writing time, and increasingly, I fear that although we're all waving like mad, we are in danger of drowning in advertising.
I make a special case for blogs which, although sometimes considered advertising, at least have the advantage of being much more than simple slogans. There are some brilliant blogs out there, written by people who can be erudite, informative, provocative, all the things I love. But then I would say that, wouldn't I, as I'm writing this in a blog? Of course, doing these things can be enjoyable, and enjoyment is its own justification for all of this online activity. In that case it matters little if it eats into other activities.
I look admiringly at book trailers. There they are, in links or to be found directly on You Tube. They're wonderful, aren't they? Seriously, they really are. The best are tiny jewels of creativity. I want one. I do. But isn't part of their allure the fact that they are new and exciting? Will they still have the same impact once we all have book trailers? I suspect not. Once we all have them there will be something else we really ought to be doing to keep up. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm beginning to wonder if all this activity is worth it. Sometimes I feel a bit like a lemming; not suicidal, but pressured into behaviour that isn't normal, or wise.
Last June I blogged about a great radio site for listening to interviews with professional magicians, called The Magic Broadcast. (You can read the post here.) The Magic Broadcast is hosted by Steve Johnson, a local (Sacramento area) magician, who owns the fabulous magic shop in Carmichael, Grand Illusions. This shop has everything that would interest a budding magician: Books, tricks, costumes, juggling lessons, puppets. . . . For those of you in the general area, you can read reviews of the shop and get driving directions here.
But I'm personally excited, because on Monday this week, Steve interviewed ME on his magic broadcast station. Normally his interviews are with professional magicians, like Lee Asher. Why me? Because I wrote a book that featured a fictious local magician, and Steve was interested in how tips on fiction writing could translate into the story patter all good magicians use in order to fool audiences with their tricks.
It was an enjoyable interview for me. I always love talking about writing, but I've never had to think about how writing might pertain to a magician's performance. The more I thought about it, the more parallels I could see. You can listen to the interview here. Just scroll on down to November 28th interview, and click the play button.
There was an added enjoyment for me when Steve told me that the magician in my book was believable. I'm used to people telling me the kids in the story are believable, but I was especially pleased to hear that about the magician as well.
Which brings me to the book itself. The story takes place over Christmas vacation, so this is a good time for eight-to-twelve-year-olds who like magic to get this for a Christmas present.