Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Holidailies -- Day 2

Guilty Pleasures. I watch every version of A Christmas Carol I can find. Part of it is the enduring power of the Dickens story. Part of it is my curiosity to see how many different spins Hollywood can put on it. One of my favorites is Ebbie: Miracle at Christmas. Susan Lucci, aka Erika Kane from All My Children, is Elizabeth "Ebbie" Scrooge, a ruthless retailer out to crush the competition at Christmas. It's not very good and yet ... I love it.

This just in: UH-OH. I'm in Holidailies trouble and it's only Day 2. My posts appeared on the site too close together in time. First the phone company, then the post office, now the Holidailies people. I'm trying hard to stay Christmas-y, but my efforts are being thwarted by bureaucracy.

10 on Tuesday -- The last 10 books I read

In order of my personal preference. Star-rating supplied by me. Synopsis by Barnes and Noble. Maybe you'll find something for the book lover on your holiday list.

1) Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and the Marriage of the Century **** (Biography) The definitive story of Hollywood's most famous couple. He was a tough-guy Welshman softened by the affections of a breathtakingly beautiful woman; she was a modern-day Cleopatra madly in love with her own Mark Antony. For nearly a quarter of a century, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were Hollywood royalty, and their fiery romance—often called "the marriage of the century"—was the most notorious, publicized, and celebrated love affair of its day.

2) Let's Take the Long Way Home **** (Memoir) “It’s an old, old story: I had a friend and we shared everything, and then she died and so we shared that, too.” So begins this gorgeous memoir by Pulitzer Prize winner Gail Caldwell, a testament to the power of friendship, a story of how an extraordinary bond between two women can illuminate the loneliest, funniest, hardest moments in life, including the final and ultimate challenge.

3) Fragile. **** (Fiction) Everybody knows everybody in The Hollows, a quaint, charming town outside of New York City. It’s a place where neighbors keep an eye on one another’s kids, where people say hello in the grocery store, and where high school cliques and antics are never quite forgotten. As a child, Maggie found living under the microscope of small-town life stifling. But as a wife and mother, she has happily returned to The Hollows’s insular embrace. As a psychologist, her knowledge of family histories provides powerful insights into her patients’ lives. So when the girlfriend of her teenage son, Rick, disappears, Maggie’s intuitive gift proves useful to the case—and also dangerous.

4) The Kennedys at War. ****. (Non-fiction) A dramatic, fascinating and revisionist narrative detailing how America's first family was changed utterly during World War II. First-rate history grounded in scholarship and brought to life by a critically acclaimed author.

5) When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead
**** (Memoir) Follow Jerry Weintraub from his first great success at age twenty-six with Elvis Presley, whom he took on the road with the help of Colonel Tom Parker; to the immortal days with Sinatra and Rat Pack glory; to his crowning hits as a movie producer, starting with Robert Altman and Nashville, continuing with Oh, God!, The Karate Kid movies, and Diner, among others, and summiting with Steven Soderbergh and Ocean's Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen.

6) Painted Ladies *** (Mystery) Called upon by The Hammond Museum and renowned art scholar Dr. Ashton Prince, Spenser accepts his latest case: to provide protection during a ransom exchange-money for a stolen painting. The case becomes personal when Spenser fails to protect his client and the valuable painting remains stolen. Convinced that Ashton Prince played a bigger role than just ransom delivery boy, Spenser enters into a daring game of cat-and-mouse with the thieves. But this is a game he might not come out of alive...

7) John. *** (Biography) The woman who was John Lennon's wife in the years when the Beatles rose from obscurity to the heights of Beatlemania tells for the first time the full, unexpurgated story of her life with John. Includes a foreword by Julian Lennon, son of Cynthia and John.

8) Stay *** (Fiction) Something Borrowed meets Must Love Dogs in this big- hearted debut about friendship, love, and a German Shepherd named Joe.

9) Star Island ** (Mystery) Whenever it seems as if he might be running out of oxen to gore, Carl Hiaasen comes up with fresh victims for his killing wit. Trying to follow the plot, which involves a supporting cast of crooked politicians and predatory developers, is a little like walking a puppy. But the outlandish events soar on the exuberance of Hiaasen's manic style, a canny blend of lunatic farce and savage satire.

10) Scarpetta Factor ** (Mystery) In the extraordinary new novel by Patricia Cornwell -- the world's #1 bestselling crime writer-forensic expert Kay Scarpetta is surrounded by familiar faces, yet traveling down the unfamiliar road of fame. A CNN producer wants her to launch a TV show called The Scarpetta Factor. But the glare of the spotlight could make Kay a target for the very killers she would put behind bars...

The Queen's Meme

1. Amazon.com or the Mall Yes. I love the shopping/gifting part best of all and do it wherever/whenever I can.

2. Bows or ribbons No. The cats chew on either and both and then gift me with holiday-colored furballs.

3. Expensive or sale tags Sale tags.

4. Long list or short Shorter this year. Especially by one. My uncle/Godfather lost his battle with Parkinson's just over a week ago.

5. Wrapped packages or gift bags Wrapped, unless the shape is impossible.

6. Eggnog or vodka Yes, please.

7. Have you finished your shopping? Almost. Need one more gift for my mom.

8. A Christmas Carol or The Bible Story Christmas Carol. I'm a Scrooge-a-holic.

9. Are you Scrooge or Santa's Helper? Santa's Helper

10. Did you ever catch Santa Claus in the act? I'll never tell

11. Tell me about your Christmas tree...gotta pic? It's still in the box in my den closet.

12. Christmas carols or Rock Station Carols

13. Do you believe in Elves? How else could Santa accomplish all that he does?

14. I am looking for Santa. Describe him for me. He's 5'9", 200 lbs. White hair and beard. Fondness for red.

15. Do you leave cookies out or bourbon? Both, but they disappear almost immediately!

16. White lights or multi-colored Multi

17. Wreaths on the doors, windows, outside? Outside, front door

18. Who are the 3 wisest wise men in your life? My best friend. I can't think of another wise man that I know personally, so can I imbue him with the wisdom of three?
19. Is Christmas religious or commercial for you? Since I work in advertising, I must recuse myself

20. Ever kiss under the mistletoe? Not often enough

21. Stars or angels on top of the tree Angel

22. Who deserves to get a lump of coal for Christmas and why? Glenn Beck (aka Hate Mongering Douche)

23. Who is #7 in the 12 Days of Christmas song? Swans a-swimming

24. Snail mail cards or e-cards Snail-mail. "And they have been written, stamped and mailed already," she said, bowing deeply.

25. What do you want for Christmas? Lots of hugs and acknowledgments. Does that sound selfish? Well, I'm feeling vulnerable these days.

To play yourself -- and stay out of the dungeon -- click here.

Holidailies -- Day 1

I found this over at Kwizgiver's. I am working very hard at getting into the Christmas spirit, and believe this challenge will help. Since I'm traveling more this holiday season than I usually do, I can't be absolutely sure I'll be able to post every day, but I will try! After all, writing is how I process stuff. ("Stuff." Yup, I'm a writer.)

2010-12-06 - It's the first day of Holidailies ... introduce yourself and your website.

That little box at the top of the top gives you the basics. And I do enjoy Christmas. Lots. Yet last year's Christmas was not great, and I wonder if perhaps I enter the season with the wrong mindset. Do I expect too much? Do I forget what I know about my family and suddenly decide that we're going to behave like a Norman Rockwell portrait? Do I concentrate too much on what it should be and not on what it is?

So this year I'm focusing on the moment. The now. And hoping to enjoy what I have to give and what it has to offer.