When watching Major League, I can’t help but think of a time when Charlie Sheen and Wesley Snipes weren’t punch lines.
I’m not suggesting that this film represented the finest work of their careers. But they sure come off as likable guys, you know? It doesn’t seem like they will just slip into obscurity or insanity. I think they both show a kind of charisma that suggests they are unlikely to burn out.
Snipes was Blade for goodness’ sake! He and Sandra Bullock are the reason that Demolition Man isn’t a complete disaster. Snipes kind of wills his audience to enjoy that movie.
By the time Sheen makes this movie, he’s been in Wall Street and Platoon! For both of these guys, this dopey baseball film should be little more than a speed bump. Sheen ran over it twice because he appeared in Major League II. His career then migrated to Television, where he did very well until – well – we all know what happened.
Snipes, for his part, decided to skip paying taxes for a while. So he spent a little while in jail.
He’s in Expendables 3 so things are looking up for him. Good news there. The Expendables franchise is not at all about featuring action stars past their prime in mediocre films. Should work out great.
Sheen’s got another show on television so I’m pretty sure that he’ll be able to spend another few years swimming in a pool of cocaine on his days off.
Mark loves to argue. He will argue with just about anyone about just about anything. He’ll argue for things he’s against and he’ll argue against things he’s for. Quite frequently, he and I don’t agree.
What makes him the best of people is the fact he can argue with your opinion and disagree with your opinion in the strongest possible terms without ever arguing against you. I’ve had lots of arguments with Mark and we are still friends because we understand that the disagreements are never personal. We are both passionate.
Mark can seem very hard. You have to know him for a long time to really recognize that the hard exterior hides a caring person. Then you begin to understand how much he loves his wife. How much he loves his kids. How much he loves Beethoven.
He is one of the hardest workers you will ever meet. He starts businesses about as frequently as the rest of us celebrate birthdays. He is relentless. He never stops. He never slows down. I would imagine that he won’t even sleep when he’s dead.
It is so easy to argue with Mark and to disagree with him that I fail to make sure he knows how much I admire him. I admire his passion and his focus. I admire the way he is unwilling to be involved in anything that is even one tiny bit worse than perfect. I admire the way he spent hours, days, weeks and months with a daughter who had cancer.
You could say any father would have done the same but the truth is no, not any father would do that. Just the exceptional ones.
His sense of humor is bawdy and loud and his laugh is infectious. When you sit down with him around the fire, you can’t be in a bad mood for long.
As remarkable as the things he has accomplished in his life are the ideas he’s had that never were. He is filled with ideas and never stops coming up with more. He can’t do it all and I think he takes that as a sort of personal insult.
Mark is a hard man sometimes. But that is only the surface. I’m glad that I’ve known him long enough to know the man underneath. It was absolutely worth the challenge.
Mark is a busy guy but he blogs occasionally at Pick Mark’s Brain, where you can find links to his many businesses. I encourage you to use them all. He deserves your patronage.
I’m proud to be Deb’s friend because her friendship is something that is earned. She doesn’t just hand it out to everyone.
If Deb calls you her friend, you need to have done something pretty special.
I met Deb when we were both part of the band for a dancing troupe at the Renaissance Festival. She played drums with us a few times every day and ran a shop filled with a whole lot of beautiful feather art that never sold and a little bit of horrible stuff that sold all the time. It takes a special kind of artist to be aware that your best work is the work that nobody is ever going to buy.
She would tell long stories about her customers and her life. They were great stories. They were funny stories. They were the kind of stories nobody but Deb could have ever told.
If you get a chance to talk to Deb, ask her about the Ethiopian yak’s tooth necklace.
Deb treated entertainers like equals. She welcomed us into her shop and encouraged us to entrain the audience in front of her door. She made us feel like we were all part of the same show. She was the kind of crafter entertainers gravitated towards.
As many people do, she grew tired of the festival and migrated away. When I walk by the corner of the grounds that used to house her shop, I will always feel a sense of loss.
Deb has a gruff and cynical exterior and I won’t say she isn’t gruff and cynical because I think she’d be insulted if I did. She is gruff and cynical. But she is also kind and funny and fiercely loyal to anyone who has earned it.
She loves her family and is constantly showing pride in them. She embraces the title “Jew Bitch” like it was her given name.
I’m not a big fan of drum circles any more. If Deb was in the circle, though, I’d join in because I wouldn’t want to let her down.
Deb doesn’t have a web page but she is passionately opposed to wolf hunting in Minnesota so I’m linking to Howling for Wolves.
That was probably a risk we took by recording before the series concluded. I’ve been impressed with the way Tyson injects skepticism into every episode. He talks about how science finds answers rather than assuming that conventional wisdom is correct.
Like the classic “Cosmos,” which I also re-watched for this episode, the host is in love with science. I’m sure that some would say science is their religion but that isn’t it. They love the laws of the natural world and they love how each new discovery leads to something new. Tyson is a natural successor to Sagan.
So yeah, this episode is kind of a love fest for “Cosmos.” But what can I say? “Cosmos” deserves it!
I you love the show (or hate it), listen in!
My family is traveling to Yellowstone National Park in about a month and my mom has been getting a little bit concerned about bears. Apparently, there are a lot of bears at Yellowstone and she’s worried we may run into one. She’s been reading up on bear spray and assures us we’ll be able to get some as soon as we get to the park.
Actually, I guess you can buy the stuff at 7-11 in that part of the country.
I don’t know why she’s so concerned, to be honest. When it comes to National Parks and bears, I have the worst luck.
About ten years ago, Pat and I took a trip to Washington DC. We spent most of our time in the city but for a day trip, we went to Shenandoah National Park. It was a foggy day and unfortunately, most of the views of the valley were obscured.
As we were driving, Pat suddenly shouted “BEAR” and pointed across the road to where a bear was clearly hanging out waiting to be noticed. I fumbled with my camera and took one picture:
As you can see, it is a blurry picture of what might be a bear walking back into the forest. Looks like the butt of a black bear from what I can tell. I’m sure it was a bear but this picture could be used as proof of Bigfoot about as easily as it could be used as proof of a bear.
That would not be my final failed encounter with a bear in a National Park.
Kelly is one of my oldest friends. As he once said, we were nerds together in grade school.
He went on to say that we got better but the years have proven that his latter statement was quite wrong. We are both still nerds. We’ve just begun to make something of a living at it. Him much more than me.
Even when we were young, what impressed me most about Kelly was his fearlessness. This led him to take a lot of insane risks when we were in our twenties but it also led him to become a talented and successful writer. He is one of those people who decides he wants to do something and then simply does it.
His writing career is earned. Every day I see him talking about how many words he wrote that day and what stories are in his pipeline. He has truly embraced being a writer as a career and has found success there. I’m happy to see that kind of success in people I admire.
Kelly is one of those people who will say yes to just about anything within reason. On the rare occasions when I’ve asked him to help me with something, he doesn’t just say yes – he jumps in and makes the moment memorable.
And that is another thing about Kelly. He is memorable. He leaves his mark on everything and everyone who comes in contact with him.
He’s got a cheerful disposition that I can hardly ever recall wavering. He always has a smile on his face as if he is just enormously pleased with who and where he is in life. I don’t speak of ego but rather of someone who is supremely comfortable being himself.
I don’t see Kelly too much these days but I genuinely enjoy any time we get with each other. A few minutes here or a Twitter exchange there are always enough to remind me why I’m happy that he’s somehow remained a part of my life for so long.
Kelly blogs about writing at kellymccullough.com.
I’ve been involved in a new project that is slowly becoming an actual thing so I think it’s time to start being a bit more public about what we’re doing.
Gordon Smuder, who produced Transylvania Television, came to me last year and asked if I was interested in being head writer on a new project called “Vermin.” I was in the midst of looking to increase my work as a writer so of course I said yes.
Vermin is about a bunch of lab rats. One rat, Ralph, is a bit smarter than the rest so what happens? He has gotten promoted to management.
That’s the basic idea. A bunch of rats in a lab. And one of them is in charge.
Where me and the other writers have gone from that starting point is getting very exciting and very silly. We explore the various experiments the rats are part of, the challenge of being the rat in charge, and there are ninjas. Rat ninjas. Also a whole lot of bagels.
Being a head writer is a different experience for me. I’m not writing the whole thing. I’m just the guy who drives the conversation and sometimes says “hey – maybe we should change this part.”
I don’t know if I’m doing it right. I have to trust the other writers to do their jobs and still be willing to step in to make decisions that keep the whole thing moving the right direction. At least I think that’s what I’m supposed to be doing. I’m kind of making the whole thing up as I go.
Dawn is one of the most gifted actresses I know. When I ask her to work on a project with me and she says yes, it makes me feel like I’m doing something right.
I first became aware of Dawn when she took part in a short film I helped write for CONvergence a few years back. I was working on a totally different part of the film so we never actually met. When we finally met at the convention, she was the nicest and most gracious of people I could have imagined.
I’ve never seen Dawn treat anyone poorly in all the time I’ve known her. She is genuinely friendly and interested in whatever others have to say. She’s also game to try just about anything provided she has the time. Which she often doesn’t because why wouldn’t you want her to be part of anything you were trying to do?
As an actress, she typically nails exactly what I need the first time she reads something but whenever I ask her to make a change, she understands what I want and makes the right choices every time.
What surprised me was to learn how good she is as improvisational comedy. She’s so good at everything else, I guess it shouldn’t have come as a shock.
There is a love for performing in Dawn that is contagious. When I came up with an idea to have a script with a Connie puppet, she was practically vibrating with excitement. Well, once she was excited about it, there was no way I could back out, could I?
She’s also generous. She was over at my house for a rehearsal yesterday and was eating a granola bar. The first thing she asked as everyone came in was if they wanted some. That willingness to share is, I think, one of the things that makes her such a good actress. She’s not concerned with the size of the part but rather giving the most of her talents to the part she has.
I’m grateful to have met Dawn. She’s one of those people that brightens the life of everyone around her.
Among the many things Dawn does, she has a podcast about wine called Screw It!
I met Michael the back in the early days of CONvergence. He was part of a group that brought in Gary Russell as one of our first guests of honor. Mike has always been passionate about Dr. Who, fandom, and conventions.
When I stepped down as a CONvergence director, Mike was elected to take my place and I couldn’t have been happier because I knew the convention would be in good hands.
He’s stepping away from the board of CONvergence this year but in the last several years, his interests in conventions have grown to the point he is currently helping with a Worldcon bid.
Mike can be a bit quiet until you get to know him but he certainly has his opinions and is willing to share them.
In the years that he has run the convention, I’ve seen him work tirelessly to make things better when he perceives a problem. He has taken the initiative time and again to fix problems that wouldn’t have been fixed had he not made the choice to act. He seems willing to commit whatever extra time it takes to make sure something gets done right.
At the convention, he has also served as a calming influence when tempers begin to flare.
I wouldn’t say he is the biggest Dr. Who fan I know but he is a big Dr. Who fan. For the last several years, he has been the “candyman” who brought new episodes over to our house. I know that on such evenings, my kids were a lot happier to see him than anyone else. In that way, he’s passed his love of the show on to a new generation.
I really enjoy talking to Mike when there is something that excites him. For someone who is so typically laid back, his personality completely changes and he lights up like a big kid. That reaction betrays the passion that is always just below the surface.
I know that Mike will continue to be involved with CONvergence as long as the convention is around. That’s a good thing because the con needs people like him.
You can find his blog at michaell.org.