Fictional Short Story About Anorexia

The Heart Fails Without Warning is a beautifully written story about a family’s struggle with anorexia.  It starts like this:

September: when she began to lose weight at first, her sister had said, I don’t mind; the less of her the better, she said. It was only when Morna grew hair – fine down on her face, in the hollow curve of her back – that Lola began to complain. I draw the line at hair, she said. This is a girls’ bedroom, not a dog kennel.

Visit the link above to read the entire story at guardian.co.uk.  The Heart Fails Without Warning was written by award-winning author and novelist, Hilary Mantel.   Go here to see a list of Hilary Mantel’s books at amazon.com.

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What Would Jesus Boycott?

An article was recently posted on beliefnet.com titled Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas and the December Culture Wars which I found interesting.  Here is an excerpt:

“…why did the American Family Association boycott the Gap, and threaten Best Buy with the same? Did these retailers disparage Christmas? Not at all, and if they had, I would totally support the boycott against them. They simply had not mentioned Christmas in their advertising. That failure was enough to provoke an aggressive campaign, with the one against Gap just terminated when Gap started running ads which celebrate Christmas.”

Click the link above to read the full article. 

Mike Daniels at Paliban Daily also wrote about the AFA/Gap issue in his article GAP Caves to Fundamentalist “Christmas” Demands, in which he provides copies of correspondence from the American Family Association.  In it, the AFA is not satisfied with a Gap commercial that does mention Christmas because, in part, it’s mentioned along with other holidays, including Winter Solstice. 

My Christmas wish is that people take the holiday season as an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful diversity of the human race and the religious freedom afforded to us by the constitution (that includes all religions) and not as an excuse to be a tool.  AFA tools,  take note.

10 Most Awesome Celebs of 2009

Barbara Walters recently came out with her list of Most Fascinating People of 2009.  So I decided I would make my own (and in my humble opinion, even better) list.  Here are my favorite celebrities of ’09…

1. Adam Lambert

Okay, so the whole American Music Awards thing was kind of, well… gay, but not in the good way.  When I heard there was a man-on-man kiss, I was nothing but happy there was finally going to be some media representation of this segment of the population.  But the kiss seemed rushed and awkward and like they were trying way too hard.  It just wasn’t the sexy kiss I was expecting.  (I’m a straight woman, but I still wanted a sexier kiss.)  As for the other controversial “dance move,” well I won’t go there (and really wish Adam hadn’t either).   

But in the end, I don’t really care.  He’s a rock star, and rock stars do weird things.  They take chances and push boundaries.  Sometimes it works out for them, sometimes not.  Adam, like all entertainers, puts himself out there in the public eye for people to praise or tear down, never knowing which it’s going to be.  You have to admire him for that alone.  (Well, you don’t have to, but you should.)  From everything I’ve seen and heard, Adam Lambert seems like a genuine, straight-forward, and kind-hearted person. 

And let’s not forget, that boy can sing.  I will buy every CD he ever puts out.   I love his voice, I dig his personality, and I think he’s awesome (which would explain why he’s on my Most Awesome list).

2. Bethenny Frankel

The Real Housewives of New York has the most memorable and funny lines of any show out there, including non-reality shows with teams of professional writers.  And the reason is this:  Bethenny Frankel.  Her off-the-cuff, no-nonsense commentary is hilarious.  She’s the reason I watched this show beyond Season 1. 

Not only is she funny, she’s intelligent and beautiful and she can cook!  More reasons for her awesomeness:  she owns her own business, she invented a margarita (get the recipe), and she wrote a best-seller (Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting). 

Bethenny is currently expecting her first child.  Congratulations, Bethenny–you deserve all the happiness in the world!

3. Bobby Moynihan

One of the funniest people on SNL right now is Bobby Moynihan whose best-known SNL skits are probably the ones where he plays the son of the Italian talk-show host.  He gets surprisingly little air time on the show–I’m not sure what Lorne is thinking.  What I’m thinking is that this guy probably has a majorly awesome career ahead of him which will surpass Saturday Night Live, ala Steve Martin or Mike Myers–he’s that funny.  (My predictions are pretty accurate–see #5.)  I hope to see more of him in movies or other tv shows soon.

4. Brent Spiner

Why is Brent Spiner, aka Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation, on a list for 2009?  Because I discovered something awesome about him this year–his wickedly sarcastic sense of humor.

And I have Twitter to thank.  Without it, I never would have known that Spiner is funny…in a bitter and biting way, but that’s the kind of humor I like best, so it works for me.  Some of my favorite twitter comments from him: 

  • When someone who had been unsuccessfully trying to get him to talk to them on twitter made a comment that they weren’t stupid enough for him to reply to, he chose that comment to answer.  His response:  “Yes you are.” 
  • When someone accused him of only tweeting about his glory days in the 90s, he replied “Not true. I also tweet about the 80s.”
  • When someone asked “What are the prerequisites for you to consider someone an idiot?” he answered “Questions like this.”

If you enjoy being verbally abused, or if you just want a good laugh, you, too, can follow Brent Spiner on Twitter.

5. Chris Pine

Back in 2005, I predicted Chris Pine would be a big star.  I also said Alec Baldwin should focus on comedy, long before he starred in 30 Rock.  I should really have my own network or movie studio (haha).  But enough about me, let’s talk about Chris.  He’s cute, he’s charismatic, and he makes a great Captain Kirk.  It turns out I’m not the only one who thinks he’s awesome.  GQ named him their 2009 Breakout Star of the Year.

I’m going to go waaay out on a limb here and predict that Chris Pine will be in many more Star Trek sequels.  😉

6. Craig Ferguson

I hate talk shows.  They’re just not my thing.  Yet I watch The Late Late Show religiously.  Why?  Because of the awesomeness that is Craig Ferguson.  Besides, where else can you find talking crocodiles, gay Aqua Man, and a weird little lip-syncing guy with suprisingly large biceps in a leather bondage outfit all in one place? 

Also, this is the one talk show where the conversations with the guests aren’t scripted.  Craig keeps it real, and his silly humor and quick wit make this one of the best shows on television.  His latest thing is the “awkward pause” which he uses to take the audience into commercials, as opposed to a round of applause.  I don’t know of anyone other than Ferguson who could turn an awkward pause into something funny and entertaining.  It’s always a great day for America when Craig is on the air.

And if that’s not enough, he’s got a sexy Scottish accent and a bestselling autobiography called American on Purpose: The Improbable Adventures of an Unlikely Patriot.  I bought it and loved it.  I suggest you listen to it on audio, like I did, to get the full effect.

7. Jeremy Davies

You might know him as the scientist guy on the popular television series, Lost, or from the cult-classic movie, CQ, or from his supporting role in Saving Private Ryan.  Or, you might not know him at all.  But you will.

Not only is Jeremy Davies an awesome actor, he brings a little of his own zen-like calm yet quirky demeanor into every role he plays.  He has a presence on screen, and whenever he’s in a scene, my attention is naturally drawn to him.  Any project he takes on is going to be 10 times better just from him being in it.  If I was a casting director, he would be my “go-to” guy, and I expect to see him in more high-profile roles in the future.

8. Maria Lark

So what if Patricia Arquette won an Emmy for her role in Medium?  Anytime Maria Lark (who plays Arquette’s daughter) is in a scene, she steals the show.  You just can’t compete with a cute face like that.  And her acting skills are remarkable.  Maria, who is adopted, was actually born in Siberia.  Though young, she has already co-starred in a hit show and co-hosted The View with Barbara Walters!   How awesome is that?!

I always look forward to episodes of Medium where Maria has a larger role.  I simply adore this amazing, pretty, and talented girl.

9. Travis Wall

Travis was great as a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, even dancing in the Emmy-winning piece, The Bench.  It turns out his awesome skills extend to choreography, as well.  The numbers he comes up with are not only consistently good, they are usually the stand-out pieces of the show. 

I’m thrilled that shows like So You Think You Can Dance give me a window into the work of gifted and talented dancers and choreographers like Travis.  People are speculating that he’ll get an emmy nomination for his work this year, and I have to agree that he’s certainly deserving of one.

Travis also has his playful side.  On a previous season of SYTYCD, he donned  a sexy red dress and blonde wig and did a silly yet technically challenging and hilariously entertaining dance.  I think the producers pulled the video from youtube, claiming copyright issues (boo! have you never heard of free advertising, dimwits?), but you can see a still photo here.

10. Zachary Quinto

Yes, he played Spock in the Star Trek movie, and yes, he was awesome in it, but that’s not why he’s on the list.  He’s here because of something far more sinister…Sylar.  Zachary Quinto plays Sylar, a sociopath with superpowers, in the tv show, Heroes.  And he’s really good at it.  So much so that whenever I see him in something else, even if it’s just an interview, I get a little chill.  The dude freaks me out.

He has a great role to play in Sylar and skilled writers to thank for some excellent lines, but I don’t think anybody else could deliver those lines quite like Zachary Quinto.  Sylar is a bad, bad man, but he has so much fun being evil that I kind of look forward to him wreaking havoc with the other characters’ lives.  Sylar will stand out as one of the most memorable villains of all time, even after Heroes is no longer on the air, and we have Zachary Quinto to thank for that. 

* * *

So there’s my list of the most awesome celebs of 2009.  Agree?  Disagree?  Have someone you’d like to add?  Leave a comment and tell me your thoughts.

Weird Christmas Facts

The Weird Things site has an article listing various weird facts about Christmas, including:

Kris Kringel, a man in his 40s, lives in North Pole, Alaska, and delivers pizzas for a living.

Read more at the link above, or visit the Weird Things homepage for more weird and random information, including Penguin Gets Wet in Water So Needs a Wetsuit.

FYI, this site contains photos and material which may be offensive to some.  The 2 articles I’ve listed are fine, but just be aware before you go clicking around the rest of the site.

Christmas Short Story – Walmart I Love You

I read several online Christmas stories before settling on this one — the best of the bunch.  It was posted by Kathleen A. Ryan over at the Women of Mystery blog.  It’s called Walmart I Love You.  Here’s an excerpt:

The smell of fresh-cut Christmas trees outside Walmart made me wish for a real one instead of the fake one we have at home. The Walmart greeter looked just like Santa Claus. I worried that Santa wouldn’t leave any presents if our tree wasn’t up in time.

We walked straight to the beef jerky aisle where Dad grabbed some Cheez Whiz, Slim Jims, and a box of Ritz Crackers.

“Pick out some crap in a can,” he barked.

Click the link above to read the entire story.

The Metro and Wild Violets, Poems and Stuff

Check out Wild Violet, an online literary journal which features poetry, fiction, interviews, art, and more.  While you’re there, read Lyn Lifshin’s poem, On the Metro, which starts like this:

a woman with dark curly
hair is on p. 101 of Fear of
Flying. I’m flung back
to when my hair was
thick and curly as hers is,
all that seemed ahead
and all that was and I
couldn’t tell…

Click the link above to finish reading this poem.

Fiction/Poetry Contest, $2K Prize!

The Crazyhorse Literary Journal is offering a $2,000 (!!) prize for a short story or poem.  The catch — you have to pay for a 1 year/2 issue subscription ($16).  It sounds like a pretty good deal if you are reading and submitting to literary journals anyway.  You can also enter multiple times, and each additional fee gets you an additional year’s subscription.  Sweet.

Deadline is January 15, 2010.