Four Weddings and a Funeral - CHARLES (Hugh Grant): Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck.
Man dies after he's run over by golf cart, our Darwin Awards nominee of the day: [...] O'Connor allegedly drove the cart up a steep hill. Because of the incline, Seley fell from the golf cart and was then run over [...] NB: The alcohol-related incident occurred early Monday morning in Palm Desert (home of the annual Golf Cart Parade), a place which proudly claims to be the only U.S. town where golf carts are street-legal.
Shot from cannon. Hunter S. Thompson's grand finale went off as planned: His ashes were blasted into the night sky in an explosion friends and fans agreed he would have loved. [...] The writer's ashes were fired from atop a 15-story tower modeled after Thompson's logo: a clenched fist, holding a peyote button, rising from the hilt of a dagger. [...] Thompson shot himself in his kitchen Feb. 20, apparently despondent over his declining health.
An iTunes for the literary set? On Friday, Amazon.com announced the launch of a new service, Amazon Shorts, which allows users to buy and download a variety of short stories, essays and nonfiction works for 49¢. Current participating authors include Ann Beattie, Robin Cook, Pico Iyer, Tama Janowitz, Howie Mandel, Robert Silverberg, Danielle Steele and Gloria Vanderbilt.
workshop.lather.com - the first of several precursors to the Zoetrope Virtual Studio - had been open for several months when I finally stumbled across it, on August 19, 1998. So today is my seventh anniversary as a Zoetrouper. I've found many wonderful friends, some worthy adversaries, and quite a few talented collaborators - including one special writer who's sitting right across the table from me. Anikó lived ten thousand kilometers away when she and I first became Zoetrope members; our book was published a year later, and we're now married. Francis Ford Coppola's little patch of cyberspace has been the source of most of the good things in my life, and continues to be a cornucopia of information, support and entertainment. I can't imagine what the world would be like without it.
The first official visitors to our new home: Jenő (Jenc) and Anita. Yesterday, we went hiking near Skull Rock in nearby Joshua Tree National Park.
Discovery Channel is taping a series of television programs about "the people and innovations shaping the 21st century," scheduled for broadcast in late 2005. So this Australian production company will send a crew out here next month to interview us for the episode on Dating. Stay tuned for details.
Speaking of meteor showers... This year's Perseids peak early tomorrow morning. No matter where you live, the best time to look will be during the hours before local dawn, when the constellation Perseus is high in the sky. [2-4am on the 13th will be good, too.]
Shuttle landing or meteor shower? Make a wish. The engine burn that drops Discovery from orbit will take place at 3:40 a.m. EDT tomorrow morning, if weather at the landing site permits. The astronauts are scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center in Florida around 4:47 a.m. Any barbecuing will occur somewhat later, hopefully. It looks like NASA's whizbang rocket scientists, which have now allowed foam debris to damage their second spacecraft in a row, want to limit the number of amateur re-entry videos by sneaking Discovery in through the back door, under cover of darkness...
UPDATE (24-hour delay): possible landing tracks for Tuesday's 4:00 a.m. EDT deorbit engine burn. And here's a transcript (w/translation) of this morning's wave-off exchange between Ground Control and Discovery:
CapCom: "We just can't get comfortable with the stability of the situation for this opportunity." [Translation: "Weather is a go. But NASA bureaucrats have been wetting themselves, during their transition to Cover-Your-A** paralysis."]
Shuttle (looooong pause): "We copy that." [Translation: "Oh, crap. They're never gonna get us back on the ground, are they?"]
Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest: An international literary parody contest, the competition honors the memory (if not the reputation) of Victorian novelist Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873). The goal of the contest is childishly simple: entrants are challenged to submit bad opening sentences to imaginary novels.
2005 Winner - Dan McKay, Fargo, ND: As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual.
Hm. Is this what they call "auto-erotic"?