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One Last Sweet Sunday

December 29, 2013 at 10:41 pm
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So the final Sunday of the NFL season has come and gone.

Considering that both of my teams were eliminated from the playoff hunt weeks (or months) ago, the ending was about as sweet as could possibly be expected.  The Jets and the Giants both won their closers.

Meaningless games, you say?  Well, yes and no.

The Jets game was not meaningless to the Dolphins, who could have gotten into the playoffs with a win.  The Dolphins are Gang Green's oldest rivals — yes, the Patriots have been the bully boys of the AFC East for the past decade and a half, but the Fins were kicking sand in the Jets' faces for many decades before that, and thumped us solidly a few weeks ago when we still had a shot at the postseason, so it was satisfying to take them down with us.

Even better, the Jets announced that they are bringing Red Ryan back.  And damn well they should.  He's the best coach they have had since Parcells, and this season is a testament to his ability.  Before the season began, all the "power rankings" had the Jets listed as the worst team in the entire league.  They finished 8-8, with a rookie QB who was throwing almost as many INTs as… well, as  the other NY QB… and I doubt anyone but Rex could have pulled that off.

The Giants won too.  Over the Washington Redskins.  Or the Hapless Redskins, as some call them.

God, was that a dismal game.  Eli hurt his ankle and went out.  Probably good he has has a whole off season to recover.  The Giants D played well, the offense not so much, but that's been the story of the season.  Justin Tuck ended the season on a high note.  Terrific game.  Also, a young wideout named Jerrel Jernigan — who has done little more than warm the bench during his first two seasons with the club — continued his amazing end-of-season heroics, pretty much winning the game single-handed.  Since coming in for an injured Victor Cruz, Jernigan has played like… well, like Victor Cruz.  He's a keeper.  And next season, if Reuben Randal continues to improve and Hakeem Nicks comes back and recaptures his old form (not sure he will, on either count), the G-Men will have an elite and very dangerous receiving corps.  Now all they need is an offensive line to keep Eli from getting killed and give him time to throw… that has to be the big off-season priority, along with… oh, a running back, and a linebacker, and some young defensive backs.  The G-Men need more speed if they are going to keep up with Chip Kelly's fast-break Iggles in the years to come.

Speaking of the Iggles… congrats to them and their fans for their victory tonight.  Helluva game.  I thought you guys were going to blow it at the end there, until Kyle Orton channeled his inner Tony Romo and threw the game-losing INT.  Normally, of course, I hate the Eagles… but not half as much as I hate the Cowboys, so tonight I was with them all the way (next week, I'll be rooting for the Saints to take them down).  Actually, I feel sorry for Orton, who stepped in and played an incredible game.  Not many backup QBs are equal to the challenge.  You have to applaud the effort.  Jason Whitten played very well too.  I was yelling the same thing I yell every time the Giants play the Boys — "why doesn't anyone ever cover Whitten!"  In the end, though, Dallas choked once again, and we all got to enjoy watching Jerry Jones get That Look on his face once more.

(There were some other great games and thrilling finishes today as well.   But I am glad I am not a Bears fan.  Ouch, that must have hurt).

And now the playoffs.

The teams I love are out of it, so I have no strong feelings on who I want to win the Super Bowl… so long as it is not the New England Patriots.  That's the last thing we have to look forward to this season: the defeat and elimination of Evil Little Bill.

Meanwhile… hey, when's the draft?

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December 25, 2013 at 11:12 am
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To all my fans, friends, and readers… here's hoping Santa was good to you, and that the day will bring you all the joys of the season.

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Win, Win

December 22, 2013 at 7:33 pm
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Life is… well, tolerable.  On this Sunday, at least.

The Jets and the Giants both won today, but somehow, considering the dismal seasons they've had and the fact that both have long since been eliminated from the post-season, it is hard to summon up a "life is magical and full of joy."

The Jets thumped the Browns pretty solidly.  Our rookie QB Geno Smith looked… okay.  He ran for the winning TD, which was good.  And he didn't throw any interceptions, which was better.  I am so sick of INTs.  Maybe if Gang Green upsets the Dolphins next week to finish 8-8, that will save Rex Ryan's job.  But I doubt it.  I think Rex has been set up to be fired since before the season began.  The new GM doesn't want him.  He wants "his own guy," all the talking heads keep saying.  Pfui.  I don't know who "his own guy" is, but I doubt very much he'd be better than Ryan, who has been the best coach the Jets have had since Bill Parcells.  Firing him would be insane.  Which likely means the Jets will do it.

The Giants won in overtime.  They looked awful, and suffered several more injuries.  I think they have just about to run out of offensive linemen and running backs.  They tried to give away the game several times.  But the Detroit Lions kept giving it back.  Someone had to win eventually, and it turned out to be the Giants, which eliminated the Lions from the playoffs and assured that the G-Men will have a somewhat worse draft choice.

Win, win.

Yay, yay.

Guess I need to wait a little longer for that Subway Superbowl.

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Winter Is Coming…

December 19, 2013 at 5:48 pm
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And I have saved the best part for last.

Admission to all GAME OF THRONES screenings will be ABSOLUTELY FREE.

No tickets, no passes, no payment required.  First come, first served.  Come to the Cocteau and come on in… so long as we have seats.  But we only have 125 of those, so best come early if you want to be sure of a place.

We'll have door prizes as well.  Not to mention the best popcorn in town.

See you at the cinema, for GAME OF THRONES as you've never seen it before.

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This Week at the Cocteau

December 19, 2013 at 12:27 pm
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Jack Kerouac and Jean Shepherd are coming to the Jean Cocteau Cinema this week… sort of.

In honor of the reason, we're showing my second favorite Christmas movie of all time (I love it, but I have to confess, I love the Alastair Sim CHRISTMAS CAROL even more), A CHRISTMAS STORY.

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Jean Shepherd was the great chronicler of what childhood was like for kids of 40s and 50s, and A CHRISTMAS STORY hits all the right notes.  A great film.  Watch out, Ralphie, you'll shoot your eye out!

As for what the grown-ups were doing in the 1950s, we also have BIG SUR, based on Jack Kerouac's writings.

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I haven't seen this one yet, but it looks great.

See you at the movies.

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Lion Cubs Need Names

December 18, 2013 at 9:39 am
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The Maryland Zoo has a couple of newborn lion cubs in house, and the zoo is having the public vote on their names.

Cute cubs, and I like getting the public involved in naming them… but really, are those the best choices they could come up with?  Bart and Maggie?  Luke and Leia?  Not the least bit lion-ish, I says.

Let's start a write-in campaign for "Jaime and Cersei."

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I Hate Football

December 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm
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Finally home from all my travels, no major events to fill up my weekend, a Sunday free for football… and both my teams go down in flames.

The Jets at least put up a fight against the Panthers.  Their D is for real.  And there was one cool moment, when Rex used huge DT Sheldon Richardson to pound in a TD.  But I still don't believe in Geno Smith.  How did he get back in when I wasn't looking?  Last I heard, he'd been benched and they were going to give Matt Simms a try.

The Giants game… I have called in the Men in Black to have that wiped from my memory.  5 INTs??  Oh, Eli, where are thou…

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We’re #18!

December 14, 2013 at 8:06 pm
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Which is a lot more exciting than it sounds.

 DANGEROUS WOMEN has come roaring out of the gate.  The hardcover will debut at #18 on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list for December 22.

That's just a hair too low to make the printed list, which only lists through #15, but it's still a sensational showing for an anthology, especially one as massive and expensive as DW.  It’s also on the USA Today list (which aggregates all types of books, hard and softcover, fiction and nonfiction, into a single list) at #70.   And it’s #25 on Ingram’s internal “Hardcover Fiction” list.

 I love doing anthologies, but it is very rare than one of them sells really, really well.  There have been some, of course… DANGEROUS VISIONS way back when, DARK FORCES during the horror boom, LEGENDS and LEGENDS II more recently…  It's a short list, though, and Gardner and I are more than thrilled that DANGEROUS WOMEN is now on it.

It's our readers who put it there, of course.  So give yourselves a pat on the back, all of you who bought the book.  And if you haven't yet… hey, get on it.  Maybe we can climb up to #17 next week.

And my thanks go out to Gardner Dozois, world's best co-editor (he does all the heavy lifting) and our incredible lineup of writers.  Without you guys, nobody would be buying the book, since there wouldn't be one.   Melinda Snodgrass, Diana Rowland, Caroline Spector, Diana Gabaldon, Steve Stirling, Carrie Vaughn, Megan Lindholm, Sharon Kay Penman, Megan Abbott, Brandon Sanderson, Nancy Kress, Lawrence Block, Jim Butcher, Joe Abercrombie, Joe R. Lansdale, Lev Grossman, Sam Sykes, Cecelia Holland,  Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Pat Cadigan… thanks.


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December 11, 2013 at 1:19 pm
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It's been a great week for GAME OF THRONES in Hollywood, with both the Screen Actor's Guild and the American Film Institute bestowing honors and recognition on the HBO series, and some of the folk who work so hard to make it great.

SAG announced the nominees for its annual awards this morning.  I'm thrilled to say that the cast of GAME OF THRONES are nominated as Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Television Drama, on a shortlist that also includes our familiar rivals BOARDWALK EMPIRE, BREAKING BAD, DOWNTON ABBEY, and HOMELAND.   The guild members also nominated our fearless stuntwomen and stuntmen for Outstanding Action Performance by Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series.  BOARDWALK EMPIRE, BREAKING BAD, and HOMELAND are up in that category as well, along with THE WALKING DEAD.  And  Peter Dinklage, our once and future Tyrion Lannister, was nominated as Best Actor in a Television Drama.  He will vie for the award against Steve Buscemi (BOARDWALK EMPIRE), Bryan Cranston (BREAKING BAD), Jeff Daniels (THE NEWSROOM), and Kevin Spacey (HOUSE OF CARDS).


For a full list of the nominees, go to:

The SAG nominations follow close on the heels of AFI's annual announcement, recognizing their ten favorite films and television shows of the previous year.  GAME OF THRONES made the list for the third year in a row.  The AFI recognition is especially nice since it has no winners and no losers; all ten of the chosen films and television shows share the recognition.




Tomorrow the Golden Globe nominations will be announced, and we'll see if the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association will make us three for three.  Keep your fingers crossed.

A DAY LATER:  Skunked in the Golden Globes.  🙁  As Vizzini would say, "Inconceivable!"

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Next Up at the Cocteau

December 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm
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We had a great time at the Cocteau last night with "Dangerous Talk About Dangerous Women."  A crowded stage, a lively discussion, and a lot of books got signed.  My thanks to Carrie Vaughn, Diana Gabaldon, Diana Rowland, Sam Sykes, Steve Stirling, Megan Lindholm, Gardner Dozois, and Melinda Snograss — for their contributions to the anthology, and their presence at the launch.  And thanks as well to Tom Doherty, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and our other friends at Tor who made it all happen.

We did tape the panel discussion, for all those who were not there, and hope to be able to upload it onto the internet sometime soon, after editing.  And signed copies of DANGEROUS WOMEN — and many other titles by the participating authors — are available at the theatre, if you want to swing by.  No, sorry, we are not yet able to offer the autographed books by mail order, but we hope to change that soon.  Watch this space for an announcement.

Santa Feans (and those passing through) still have a couple of days to catch our three "Dangerous Women" films — SCARLET STREET, ALIENS, and COFFY.  (We may hold over ALIENS, but the other two will close on Thursday).

The films roll on, however, and come Friday we have two cool new offerings set to debut.

In a feature slot, we will have a brand new SF/ horror flick that's been creating quite a buzz at flim festivals, LAST DAYS ON MARS.

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And for our late show — Friday and Saturday only, at 11 — we have CHRISTMAS WITH THE DEAD, based on a story by JOE R. LANSDALE and introduced by The Man His Own Self.  We're looking forward to welcoming Joe to Santa Fe.

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Zombies for Xmas.  What could be better?

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