1. Esmeralda Santiago's When I Was Puerto Rican is without question the best autobiography I've ever read. Her writing is vibrant, fluid, and concise. Her evocation of life in PR as Americanization slowly seeps in is deadeye brilliant, and her transition to life in the margins in Brooklyn is heart-rending. She never uses a hammer to make her points, choosing the subtle, the offhand, the seemingly innocuous instead. Edwidge Danticat should take notes. Ernesto Quinones should be embarrased.
2. What ever happened to Junot Diaz?
3. Up next, Matt Ruff's Set This House in Order: A Romance of Souls.
4. Salomé thinks I should write something about my mother's two-week visit that ended on Saturday but there's really nothing interesting to say as it was all pleasantly uneventful. (Except for that whole out late with the car thing last Tuesday!) She came, she saw, she left happy. Salomé and I got some us-time for a couple of nice dinners and a movie, while she got to spend quality time with her grandkids. All good.
5. Van Helsing was a lot fun. It's what Stephen Sommers does best: fun, loud action movies with a high wink-wink factor. Richard Roxburgh steals the movie with his over-the-top, inspired-by-Christopher Walken take on Dracula. I also love that Kevin J. O'Connor (Igor) remains Sommers' go-to comic relief guy.
6. I give in. Kate Beckinsale is hot!
7. Even better than Van Helsing, though, was the preview for Vin Diesel's Pitch Black sequel, The Chronicles of Riddick. Zoinks!
8. The Fifth Element is one of the most underrated movies ever. They need to release a legit DVD package for it.
9. Comic books. Dungeons & Dragons. XBox. Mid-life crisis? Or rebirth?
10. U.S. Army Says It Finds Shell with Sarin Agent in Iraq. Convenient timing, no? How long before Osama Bin Laden is