Thursday, March 06, 2008

All the News That Is...Seriously Whacked!

No, this is not a blog about Gerard Butler. I’m just sort of obsessed with the man. But now that I’ve got your attention...

I’m trying to finish up my latest CJ book. It’s weird. Some books just pour out of me and I can’t type fast enough. Others are like Chinese water torture. Drip. Drip. Drip. Delete. Drip. Drip. Drip. Delete. This book has been like that. Sigh.

And even though I’m nearing my deadline, I still find my attention wandering. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a political junkie (recovering variety), but with the tight Democratic race for the presidential nomination, I find it especially hard to tune out the drama. It’s better than an episode of Desperate Housewives. The other night as primary returns trickled in I sat at my computer listening to live-stream coverage while I wrote--which means I’ll have to be extra careful when I do my final editing next week. I’m thinking my editor would likely fall out of his chair if Tressa Jayne offered an opinion on, say, the differences between Clinton’s and Obama’s universal health care plans or speculated on who is really for NAFTA and who isn’t?

In addition to being a recovering political junkie, I’m also a news junkie. I can spend hours reading articles on the internet--which isn’t helpful when I’m trying to finish one stubborn book. So, I’ve had to strike a bargain with myself. Bullet Hole bangs out so many pages, she gets so many minutes for an internet break. A reasonable compromise, right? It would be if the darned headlines weren’t quite so intriguing. Take these headlines for instance:

~ Blind Man Regains Sight After Doctors Implant Son’s Tooth in His Eye
~ Twin Porn Actors Suspected in Dozens of Burglaries in Three States
~ Spanking May Lead to Sexual Problems Later in Life~ Professor Faces 180 Lashes for Having Coffee With Student~ Man Asks Friend to Shoot Him So He Can Skip Work
Tell me you could resist clicking on these headlines to read the articles.

I didn’t think so.

Then there was the headline, ‘When Pigs Fly? Letter Urges Deceased Potbelly to Vote’, the story of Princess Winston, a Winter Haven, Florida, potbelly pig who’s passed on but who received a letter from a D.C. voter registration organization urging Princess to register to vote. Two days later, Princess also received a phone call reminding her to register. I’ve heard about dead people voting, but a dead pig? Tell me that wasn’t worth reading.

Next came the compelling headline, ‘Cops: Florida Man Blames Gas Costs for Beating Ill Wife.’ Apparently a fellow was so upset at the high cost of gas used driving his wife to and from dialysis treatments, he beat her up. Beyond bizarre.

From there my attention was garnered by the headline, ‘South African Woman, 68, Scared to Death. Seriously, who’s going to see that bit of news and not check it out? Turns out, the poor woman was visiting a post office in South Africa when a security guard’s gun accidentally went off. The noise scared her so much she collapsed and quit breathing. Tragic--yet totally fascinating.

Next up? My personal favorites of the week. Headline number one: Big Breasts Win Verdict for Model.’ Did you hear about this? Some pin-up model in Japan successfully won an appeal of her conviction for destruction of property when she proved her pair of ‘forty-fours’ were too big for her to squeeze through the hole her accuser testified she used to gain entry to his room. 'If they don't fit, you can't convict.' Imagine. Not guilty by reason of cup size! Gotta be a first. Like, who could pass this story up?
And then we come to this attention-snaring headline: ‘Royal Opera House Yanks Ad After Actor Who Posed Nude Claims Genitals Were Airbrushed to Look Smaller’. (I personally prefer the headline, ‘Warning! Airbrushed Objects May Appear Smaller Than They Actually Are’) Anyway, seems some actor in the UK posed nude for London’s Royal Opera House some years ago. The photo was brought out of the archives recently, dusted off, and, apparently, airbrushed and used to promote a Verdi concert. The actor/model claims the ad doesn’t, um, do him justice, indicating a certain part of his anatomy was airbrushed so much, “it looked like he barely had one at all.” After the actor filed a complaint, the ad was pulled. On my best day, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Still I justify my news addiction by telling myself you never know where you’ll find a story idea. That’s what happened with Calamity Jayne. My mom gave me a newspaper clipping about a son-in-law who borrowed his in-laws’ car, took it to the mall and shopped, came out, drove it back to the in-laws, and then discovered he’d taken the wrong car. That little news item was the basis for my first Calamity Caper. You just never know when you might land a biggie when you go trolling for news.

So, any of you have funny headlines or news stories to share? Even though I’m in deadline hell, I’m always in the market for a ‘stranger than fiction’ quicky!


~Bullet Hole~


Christie Craig said...

Oh, my gawd, Kathy.

Those were so funny. I don't blame you for spending time reading them. But I will say, I can't wait to see your next plot. You know we will all be looking for one of these stories to pop up in your next book.

Thanks for the laugh.


Kathy Bacus said...

I have to admit, I save all the more 'exotic' news items in a file, Christy. I never know when one will fit perfectly in a story--and I might have to prove such a thing can--and did--actually happen!

I also get a kick out of the 'dumb criminal' stories.

~Bullet Hole~

Gemma Halliday said...

We must be procrastinating on the same deadline. I totally saw the tooth implant story and clicked on it the other day. How could I resist?


Kathy Bacus said...

When I saw that headline, Gemma, I totally thought, how the heck does something like that work?

Glad someone else is in the deadline trenches with me!

~Bullet Hole~

Anonymous said...

A delay in working on the next CJ!
Please get your local computer guru to put a timer on you internet connection.

Shel said...

The last Calamity Jayne? Say it isn't so! How many more are there after "West"?

Kathy Bacus said...

As a matter of fact, I often set a timer so I know when it's time to get back to work, bookmobiler. It's the getting back to work part that's the problem sometimes...

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

'Latest' Calamity Jayne book--but not necessarily the 'last', shel!

So far, however, there's only one more after HEADS WEST and that's the one I'm finishing up right now. ANCHORS AWEIGH will be out in November, '08.

~Bullet Hole~

terrio said...

Those stories are hysterical. No way could you resist any of them.

But the stories were just icing after that picture. *sigh* Trust me, you had my FULL attention.

Tori Lennox said...

Gosh, those stories make our small town paper headline of "Restroom Bids Opened By City" sound boring. *g*

Kathy Bacus said...

Isn't Gerry just the most gorgeous thing you ever did see, Terrio?

Talk about inspiration...

Be still my heart.

Glad you enjoyed the 'newsmakers', too!

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

LOL! I love that headline, Tori. One of my favorite things on Leno is when he shows newspaper headlines like that. They're hysterical!

~Bullet Hole~

Estella said...

Some of the stories on the net are so ridiculous they have to be true.

Kathy Bacus said...

I totally agree, Estella, even though we may wish some of these stories were made up...

~Bullet Hole~

Shel said...

"'Latest' Calamity Jayne book" not last.

Thank God! I was frightened for a moment. Teach me to try to peruse the blog while I'm at work!

Leslie Langtry said...

I'm sorry...did you write something? All I saw was naked and wet Gerard Butler...


Anonymous said...

Great post, Kathy!

I love those newspaper headlines, too. So, are you going to tell us about the tooth implant in eye story?