RIP Vince Flynn

This morning I was flipping through Wikipedia and learned that one of my favorite authors, Vince Flynn, lost his battle with prostate cancer earlier today. My prayers and thoughts are with his wife Lysa and his three children.

Hw wrote fourteen bestselling novels, most of which I’ve read, and was working on Number Fifteen when he died. He told his fans that he was at Stage III in January 2011. It’s ironic that this past weekend Major League Baseball raised money for prostate cancer research, as they do every Father’s Day.

Thank you, Vince, and Godspeed.

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Two for Tuesday: Bob Newhart

Bob Newhart is from Chicago (like I am) and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration from Loyola University (like I did, but his degree is in accounting and he graduated many years before I did). He says that when he found himself working at the Illinois Department of Unemployment, making $55 a week for giving construction workers $45 a week in unemployment compensation, he knew he was in the wrong business. He then worked as an advertising copywriter for a film and television producer, and he and a friend of his would entertain one another with “long phone calls about absurd scenarios,” as Wikipedia says. They would then tape them and send them out to radio stations, where they were a big hit. His friend got out of the business, and Bob continued on his own. He got a recording contract from Warner Brothers records in 1959 based on the recommendation of Dan Sorkin, one of the radio people, and recorded The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart in 1960. The record did so well that it knocked Elvis and the cast album for The Sound of Music out of the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. And he’s still at it, and still wildly successful.

Here are two of my favorite sketches: “Introducing Tobacco to Civilization,” in which he’s Sir Walter Raleigh’s boss at the East India Company questioning “Nutty Walt’s” shipment of tons of leaves; and “Stop It,” which was a skit on the MAD TV late-night comedy show, featuring Mo Collins as a new patient to Bob’s psychiatrist.

Bob Newhart: Your Two for Tuesday, June 18, 2013. (Happy 71st birthday, Paul McCartney!)

#ROW80: Almost forgot!

Holiday weekends always manage to throw me off for a couple of weeks. For some reason I thought it was Thursday. I just realized that it was Wednesday and that I hadn’t done my summary for the past week. Oh well, better late than never.

I’ve been writing all the time lately, at least an hour a day. It might seem like a lot, but since I only have one usable hand that I can type with, I think I only get half as much accomplished. I have had this one theme going through my head for a couple of years now, and just recently came to the conclusion that it would make a good story. Problem is that it’s too big an idea to be a short story, but not big enough to be a full-length novel, so it’s looking like a collection of short stories. But, for purposes of this exercise, it’s gotten me writing and interested enough in the project to keep me writing.

As a result, nearly everything else has fallen by the wayside. I’m way backed up on the blogs that I read; I think I’m overwhelmed by the sheer number, and know that I need to cut back on them. There are about thirty that I read more or less religiously, and about a hundred fifty that I haev no idea why I’m following them. Feedly is wonderful: it lets the blog posts accumulate until I get around to reading them. Twitter is telling me on a regular basis that people are following me, and they’re not seeing much other than the messages that I have another blog post. I’m about halfway through a dozen or so books, which I’ll get back to once Mary gives me back my Kindle.

But for right now, the writing is keeping me going. My Round 3 goals are all going to be writing ones.

I hope to get around to some of your blogs and offer encouragement. Thanks for being an encouragement to me.

Two for Tuesday: Jake Shimbakuro

Jake Shimbakuro was born in Hawai’i, and received his first ukulele from his mother, an accomplished player herself, when he was four. According to his mom, he’d play the uke for hours on end, which is probably why he’s such a virtuoso now. He’s recorded ten albums that are available in the United States and several more that are available only in Japan, and there are numerous videos of him on YouTube.

Here are a couple of tunes from him. The first is Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” recorded at TED in 2010 (at or around the seven-minute mark, there is a lengthy commercial for Rolex watches. Just thought you should know). The second is a recording of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” recorded in Central Park at the Strawberry Fields memorial. It was uploaded in 2006, so it ws probably recorded then.

Jake’s website is here. Check it out and the many other videos on YouTube. Enjoy!

#ROW80: First summer check-in

I’m a bad boy. I’ve been putting things off until the last minute. Yesterday’s Two for Tuesday was almost Two for Wednesday. But, it’s been for a good cause, at least I think it has been: I’ve been busy writing. I landed on this one idea that I’ve been playing with in my head for a couple of years now, and decided that yes, it would make a pretty good story. I won’t jinx it by talking about it, other than to say that yes, I got one.

On to the update:

  • Writing: I completed the May Story A Day challenge, but then, the requirements were not all that stringent. Nevertheless, I have yet more fragments of stories, and when I’m off my latest project, I’ll get back to them. The good news is that I’m writing every day.
  • Reading and Tweeting: Nope. I also didn’t get around to other ROW80ers’ blogs to offer courage, sympathy, etc. Mea maxima culpa. On that score, I promise to do better this week.

So there you have it. Have a good week.