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Who’s your favorite book or film character?

Ferris Bueller

You can’t help but love him…

Ferris Bueller. Now there’s a name that inspired a generation. How could you not love that troublemaking, parent-hornswoggling truant, who left his poor high school principal apoplectic with rage? I mean, c’mon, he had the most upbeat outlook on life since Deepak Chopra. One impish smile and he had you wrapped around his little finger, admit it.

Beetlejuice

Beetlejuice: as cute as Bueller?

Bueller is just one of many such quirky or endearing fictional characters from books and movies that have made us fall in love with them. Others that have stayed with me include:

  • Michael Keaton as the title character in Beetlejuice
  • John Cameron Mitchell as the title character in Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • Kevin Spacey as Verbal Kint in The Usual Suspects
  • Kathleen Turner as Matty Walker in Body Heat
  • Pietro Brnwa in Beat the Reaper (by Josh Bazell)
  • Amir and Hassan in The Kite Runner (by Khaled Hosseini) and
  • Attila Ambrus (who’s not fictional at all, but larger than life nonetheless) in The Ballad of the Whiskey Robber (by Julian Rubenstein)
Beat the Reaper

An awesome book by Josh Bazell

There are so many more I could name, time and space permitting, but I’ll stop there.

Who are some of your favorite characters?

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UCK! Some members of the alphabet get a bad rap

Warning: This post may -ontain letters that are harmf-l to yo-r sense of self, h-mor, and/or propriety.

Rog-e -hara-ters -an't be fo-nd in this graphi-

Three letters -annot be tolerated. Yo- -now which ones.

Apparently some letters of the alphabet have gone rog-e. It happened some time in the last two de-ades. It’s probably Bill -linton’s fa-lt. They seem to blame everything else on him.

A-t-ally, tho-gh, I thin- the ca-se lies somewhere within the F – -, the Federal -omm-ni-ations -ommision; yo- -now, that nanny agen-y that poli-es the p-bli- spee-h of Ameri-ans. They don’t mind if yo- lie thro-gh y-or teeth, they just want to be s-re that yo- don’t -se the letters—here -omes the offensive part—”u,” “c,” and “k.”

There, I’ve said it. I’ve actually written it. I’m a real outlaw now.

You may as well wave a gun as the letters u, c, and k.

You may as well wave a gun as the letters u, c, and k.

For some inexplicable reason, the world thinks that writing “f@#%ing awesome” is somehow different from writing “fucking awesome.” Yet don’t you pronounce them the same way in your head? The reader certainly comes away with the same meaning in either case. If the word is used literally, either spelling will paint the same visual image.

I can only deduce then, that it is not the sentiment or emotion that’s forbidden, but the letters themselves. Because it seems perfectly acceptable to tell you to go eff yourself, as long as I don’t spell it with “uck.”

Yep, I can be as mean and nasty to you as I want; only the spelling will be changed to protect… well, I’m not sure what it’s protecting. Certainly not your feelings.

This is why Nick Prince—he’s the dude that’s going to lead you on the absurdity of working for the U.S. Census Bureau in Senseless Confidential—always has to be introduced with disclaimers—because he doesn’t leave any of the letters out when he tells you how he feels about the women and warrants he’s juggling just to make it through the day.

Good people make good books

Doris and her Dogs make for good books to read

Doris and her dogs would make for good books to read

Who doesn’t like to make fun of their neighbors? Come on, admit it—if you were a journalist you’d be dishing on Doris and her dogs, tattling on Terri and her too-tight tops, and lambasting Lynn’s lascivious lifestyle. You’d be your very own TMZ.

After all, you love gossip; I know you do. Stop pretending you don’t.

Now imagine you’re going to write a novel. (No denying that either—everybody wants to.) This is your chance to throw everyone you know into the mix and march them around like the puppetmaster you long to be. They will do your bidding. They’ll get into jams that you’ve designed just for them. And, best of all, they’ll say everything you ever wished you could make them say in real life.

Wink, nudge

This image from Monty Python’s Flying Circus is property of the BBC, nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Say no more.

Of course, in a novel, any similarity to persons living or deceased is purely coincidental, right? (Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge. Know what I mean?)

But hey, like the teacher always told the girl whose pigtails got pulled, you only tease these people because you like them, right? That’s my story anyway, and I’m stickin’ to it. And so far, they seem to believe me.

In the good books to read, she'll do what you want.

Go ahead: make her do it

Just ask Laura, one of the characters in “Senseless Confidential,” who happens to be reading the book at this very moment up at her restaurant on the mountain—with her blue Ford pickup right outside.

(And by the way, she loves it. She told me so just yesterday.)

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