Friday, June 25, 2010

Catchall Simile

When did AS HELL get to be the simile for all time?

According to Bossip Alicia Keys was in Central Park this morning, looking as pregnant as hell???

Gorgeous as hell? Hungry as hell? Hot as hell....that one I'll take. But cold as hell???

This comes from published writers. I won't name names. Can somebody give me some better similes than hell?

I thought Alicia looked radiant with her baby-bump.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Daddy Read to Me

I didn't have Dr. Seuss, or any other kid's books, but my Daddy read to me. By today's standards, you might call him a house-husband. He was a priest, and he was home with me during the day while Mother taught school. Daddy did the laundry, and cooked dinner during the week.

I come from a reading family, so I would sit myself in Daddy's lap while he read the newspaper, and he would read to me. He read me the headlines, and the "funny paper." Mostly he read "Henry" to me, since Henry didn't have words, and together we would figure out what Henry was doing that would merit his being in the Funnies.

When my sister Toni went off the first grade, I discovered "Dick and Jane" and read all the old primary readers my brothers had discarded in the attic. I read to Daddy and he read to me.

When my siblings got married, he was the officiating priest for almost all of their weddings. When I got married in 1968, I asked Daddy to give me away. That was the only time I remember seeing him "dressed up" and not wearing clerics. Daddy retired that year, and passed away in September, 1968.

Sunday is Father's Day. It would also be Daddy's birthday. He used to say he was born in 1900. He didn't have a birth certificate, because in some parts of the South in those days, they didn't have birth certificates for black people. When Daddy applied for Medicare in 1965, they had to search the Census records to prove he was old enough for Medicare. Daddy was listed as a child in the 1900 census. So we concluded that Daddy was probably born around 1898. He would be 112 on Sunday.

My Daddy read to me.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Heir to the Summer Blockbuster

Will Smith owned the slot for the summer blockbuster since "Independence Day" the summer of 1996. As long as he was the favorite goofy hero, he had the summer locked up. After he slid into the dark side with "I am Legend" and "Seven Pounds" he relinquished the summer.

Now that spot belongs to his son Jaden, in "Karate Kid." My sons were big fans of the 1984 release of "Karate Kid." But this latest release speaks to a new generation of urban youth who have a greater degree of martial arts exposure than the kids of 30 years ago. The international element keeps it from being just another black movie. If you can buy the premise of a single black Mom being transferred from Detroit to Beijing to work for an auto manufacturer, you can believe the frumping-down of Taraji P. Henson as the Mom (even a hottie has to work).

Jaden is a natural, and young enough not to appear weak when hiding from the bullies. I loved the interplay with Jackie Chan.

The movie is rated PG. The fight scenes are not bloody, but there was enough punching to make me hide my eyes a few times. The audience when we saw it at noon today was mostly white parents and kids around Jaden's age. The local Karate School used the opportunity for a promotion, with flyers and passes for a month of free lessons. The ticket sellers were even dressed in robes.

I'm awaiting the reports from my green-belted grandgems when they see it. I give it four stars. (I didn't fall asleep at all.)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

From Cape Town with Love

Nothing but a potty break could pull me away in the last 100 pages.

From Cape Town with Love, the third Tennyson Hardwick novel is the most suspenseful yet. I was all set to complain about the S&M episode (bondage is a real turn-off for me) but all of that fell by the wayside when it came down to the story, just as the previous two novels in the series got the sex out of the way fairly early in the book. In spite of "Ten's" flaws, lack of control, and attempts to bargain with God, he is the hero we want him to be. I was on the edge of my seat wanting to know how Ten would solve the kidnapping.

I have previously likened Tennyson Hardwick to Walter Mosley's Ezekiel Rawlins, brought into the twenty-first century. Just as Mosley uses the racial conflict in LA in the 1950's and 60's as a backdrop for murder mystery, Underwood, Due, and Barnes use Hollywood of the Obama years, the election and recession as a backdrop. Mosley gave us "colorful" titles for his Easy Rawlins series. The Tennyson Hardwick series has titles that play on classic movies from Bogart, Poitier, and Bond.

There are points when the 2010 pop culture becomes a little distracting, but who knows, fifty years may prove that Paris Hilton, Jerry Seinfeld, and Jack Bauer are as timeless as Loretta Young and Clark Gable after all.

I know Tananarive Due's writing for her tender characterizations that make for people that I care about. Even minor characters and immortals who leave a trail of murder over centuries are the ones I look forward to reading more about. I know Steven Barnes only through my subscription to his daily inspirational emails for aspiring writers. They are full of references to eastern meditation, and to martial arts discipline and training. The martial arts sequences in Cape Town were spell-binding.

Now I'm hopeful that the next Tennyson Hardwick installment will come soon, but not before the next installment of Ms. Due's Ethiopian immortals. The cameo appearance in Cape Town of an Ethiopian named Dawit was a nice tidbit for fans like me.

I give the book 4 1/2 stars.