7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #121: Featuring Chris Barton
and Tony Persiani

h1 June 28th, 2009 by Eisha and Jules

“One brother wanted to save lives. The other brother wanted to dazzle crowds.
With Day-Glo, they did both.”
— From Chris Barton’s
The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors
(Click image to enlarge.)

Jules: Happy Sunday to all, and welcome to 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #121, featuring illustrator Tony Persiani and author Chris Barton, who has—in the past—joined us for some kickin’ here on a few Sundays (Chris, that is). It’s a pleasure today to have both Tony and Chris here to say a few words and show us some art from their new title, The Day-Glo Brothers: The True Story of Bob and Joe Switzer’s Bright Ideas and Brand-New Colors, to be released by Charlesbridge in July. The Day-Glo Brothers, which is both the author’s and illustrator’s picture book debut, tells the story of Joe and Bob Switzer, who were born at the turn of the last century, who were opposites in many ways, and who—“by accident”—invented totally new fluorescent colors: Fire Orange and other glowing reds, yellows, greens, and more, which they came to call “Day-Glo” colors.

“…{I}t was the Switzer brothers…who would soon bring those eye-popping yellows, oranges, and greens into the world. It would just take a few bright ideas.”

This is a great read, thanks to Chris’ engaging writing and fascinating research (which he explains in an Author’s Note and which involves assistance from the families of Joe and Bob, both now deceased), as well as the illustrations from Persiani, rendered in black-and-white and the Day-Glo colors (naturally). The book, in fact, gets brighter, spread-by-spread, as one nears the end. It’s well-designed, this one is. Those economically-placed Day-Glo shades put the very “pop” in eye-popping; they never overwhelm, which could easily happen, methinks, in the hands of a less-assured illustrator. I love the book’s very topic, Chris’ curiosity having been piqued when he read Bob Switzer’s obituary back in 1997.

I’d love to say a whole bunch more about this book, but I invited both author and illustrator to talk about it themselves, and I’ve also got some spreads from it. We’ll let Chris, Tony, and the art do the talkin’. Tony’s even sent some art and sketches from other editorial projects. I thank them both for stopping by. (Note: You can click on most of the images below to enlarge.)

* * * * * * *

Chris: I like to think that writing The Day-Glo Brothers—delving into this esoteric topic that I’d never given any thought to, getting more and more fascinated with the subject throughout the process, and then seeing the appeal the story has had for my editor, reviewers, and the kids down the street—makes up for a 20-year-old episode that still gnaws at me.

I had just graduated from high school, and I already knew I wanted to write for a living. So, you would think that when an area newspaper offered me a story assignment, I would have been all over it. But the story was about a local blueberry farm, and I didn’t know anything about blueberry farming, and I didn’t think I could possibly find anything interesting in blueberry farming. So I turned down the assignment, and several years later I began kicking myself about blowing that chance to learn a subject from the ground up. I’m still kicking myself.

“…Bob had to spend several months at home
healing in the darkened basement.”

Maybe some potential readers of The Day-Glo Brothers will have the same reaction to daylight fluorescence that I had to blueberry farming—“I don’t know anything about this, so why would I care to start learning about it?”—but they’ll get drawn in by Tony’s illustrations and the colors we used. And they’ll figure out the same thing I did, only without years of regret: We’ve all got some natural curiosity about the world around us, and we can’t possibly know whether a subject is going to fascinate us or where that fascination might lead us, if we don’t remain open to learning the first thing about it.

My next picture book, Shark Vs. Train (Little, Brown, 2010), is pure fiction, pure silliness — and it involved a lot of hard work from me and illustrator Tom Lichtenheld (Duck! Rabbit!). But writing nonfiction is even more labor-intensive, because not only do you have to get the words and images right, you have to get the facts right and learn what the facts are—or might be—in the first place.

“…Joe was right about how fluorescence could boost his magic act. In his ‘Balinese dancer’ illusion, a woman wore a fluorescent-painted paper costume. While she cavorted on a stage lit only by an ultraviolet lamp, Joe—unseen by the audience—yanked off her headdress. The dancer went one way,
and her ‘head’ went the other!”

Yet I can’t wait to do more, because all that research has become my idea of fun. My third book, a nonfiction project for older readers that Dial will publish in 2011, has sent me chasing down information about television script-writing, British geography, 19th-century rail travel, and Canadian naval operations during the Korean War, among other things. None of that had any particular appeal to me when I started the project, but as with Day-Glo, I love having had—and taken—the opportunity to soak it all up.

“When the billboard came into view that afternoon, what the brothers saw astonished them. From more than a mile away, it looked like the billboard was on fire!”

Tony: …Being an illustrator is a dream come true, and working on Day-Glo was such a great opportunity and labor of love…I’ve done a lot of editorial and publishing work as an illustrator, but this was my first ‘children’s’ book. It presented different challenges than the usual magazine spot illustration. Maintaining the Switzer brothers’ likenesses throughout the story, as they mature from little boys to middle-aged men, was critical. Chris Barton made my job easier, because of his descriptive text and historically-accurate details. I was thrilled to be able to contribute to such an important, yet unknown, story.

“From life jackets to dump trucks, golf balls to goalposts, hula hoops to hunting vests, Joe and Bob’s creations kept glowing and glowing.”

I’ve been a working illustrator for twenty years. (Wow! I’m getting old.) Some of my clients are TV Guide, The Travel Channel, WGBH Boston, Consumer Reports, Ariel Books, etc. A couple of years ago, I decided to go in-house, and currently I work at Hasbro (the big toy company). I now design toys/products for brands like Transformers, GI Joe, and Littlest Pet Shop, to name a few. Needless to say, my illustration skills come in handy.

With a family and full-time position, I’m pretty selective about what projects I take on nowadays. Regardless, I’m always interested in new projects and any feedback from fellow artists and fans!

Thanks again to Chris and Tony. For more information on The Day-Glo Brothers, check out the linkage at the bottom of Betsy Bird’s review of the title, particularly this link from Chris’ wife, who has my new favorite blog banner ever.

As a reminder, our weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you.

{THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS: THE TRUE STORY OF BOB AND JOE SWITZER’S BRIGHT IDEAS AND BRAND-NEW COLORS copyright © 2009 by Chris Barton. Illustrations © 2009 by Tony Persiani. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Charlesbridge, Watertown, MA.}

* * * eisha’s kicks * * *

This has been a very weird and kind of unkicky week for me. I attended three retirement parties, two of which were for co-workers in my division; and there was also that little matter of my personal data being compromised. But there were a few kicks too, so let’s focus on that:

1* Haven’t seen this Day-Glo book in person, but now I want to really bad. I love the whole concept, and the art is a perfect match. Plus: Chris Barton! Yay!

2* I got a sweet chatty email from the co-worker/friend who moved away. She sounds like she’s settling in pretty nicely – meeting new neighbors, exploring walking trails with her adorable dog. Her town sounds lovely, and I can’t wait to visit her.

3* I finally saw Inland Empire (pictured below). I’m not going to pretend I fully understand it, but that’s okay. Laura Dern gave an incredible performance, and… look, I just really love a good David Lynch-style mind-f*ck once in a while, you know?

Oh YES, there totally WERE choreographed dance sequences. Bless your messed up little heart, David Lynch.

4* My girls, the SufferJets, beat Ottowa’s Capital Carnage pretty soundly Saturday night. A couple of their girls got hurt, but not too badly – one even came back to skate for the last few rounds.

5* Thunderstorms. Even though I had to walk home through one Thursday night, I do love them.

6* We finally got around to putting the air conditioner back in. And it still works. And I’m so pleased that we haven’t really needed it yet.

7* A friend participated in the Ride for Roswell, a bike ride that raises money for a cancer research and care facility in Buffalo. I thought that was pretty awesome of him.

* * * Jules’ kicks * * *

1). This just in: My first kick is now the blog of Casey Kelly Barton, Chris Barton’s wife, thanks to that linkage from Fuse I mentioned above. Seriously: Best Blog Title and Banner EVER. And look at this post. She even has an entire sentence that is simply: “Dude, y’all.” See? She’s a kindred soul, I think.

2). Eleven-year anniversary of The First Date this week for me and the husband. We even got a date, sans children. We saw Star Trek, just as good as everyone says it is. I felt very mature when I saw Winona Ryder in it, playing the mother. Dude, she’s a beautiful woman, and I’m sure they aged her for the role. But I dunno. SHE’S ONE YEAR OLDER THAN I AM. It was not unlike a wake-up call: Oh yeah. Winona Ryder isn’t angst’ing around up there on the screen in black anymore. She’s playing a mom. I’m almost 40.

Which is fine. I don’t know what my point is really. Just an observation. Good story. The End.

the insanely talented Edie Falco3). My husband and I finally explored the world of streaming DVDs via Netflix, and right now you can see episode one of the new Showtime series, Nurse Jackie. I love me some Edie Falco, and the episode was great, even though only episode one is available right now. When Jackie turned to the talkative new intern and said, “I don’t do chatty. I like quiet. Quiet and mean. Those are my people,” I knew I’d fallen for the show.

4). Watching a very bizarre 1981 Terry Gilliam/Michael Palin fantasy flick, called Time Bandits, with Sean Connery as King Agamemnon and lots of dwarves flying out of closets and a character named simply “Evil” and the actor who played R2-D2 and ogres and Napoleon and God portrayed as a rather overparticular, persnickety Englishman and a Map of the Universe and ever-so much more wackiness.

5). You can assume this is a kick every week, but particularly this week: My girls. This week my oldest said, out of the blue, that if she ever has a daughter, she’ll name her Charlotte A. Cavatica. (This is long after reading Charlotte’s Web. I was happy she remembered the book.) Plus we had a tea party with cookies. It was supposed to be a faaaaancy one, but it turned out to be kinda psychadelic, what with that tie-dyed scarf that became our impromptu tablecloth.

Plus, long story, but my husband and I learned, during a rousing game of Ada the Knight Protects Princess Piper from the Tickle Monster, that our 3.5-year-old places issues of honor and bravery and integrity prominently in her mind. Plus—and lastly—it’s fun to watch the wheels in the five-year-old’s brain turn, as she considers issues of…well, pretty much urban sprawl, which we’ve been talking about lately (without necessarily calling it URBAN SPRAWL).

And, speaking of stinky stupid-dumb urban sprawl, my anti-kick is that a beautiful brown rabbit ran so zippy-quick under the wheel of my car this week. As I was driving. Oh yes, it did. Very sad. We won’t talk about that.

6). Not bragging. PROMISE. A publishing contact I have, who is a really nice guy, told me this week that he was in a meeting and 7-Imp came up and everyone chimed in to say how much they like the blog — that everyone seemed to have something different to say about why they like the site. Did I mention I’m not bragging? It’s just that it’s rare to get feedback, except from commenters, so that kind of thing blows. my. mind.

7). I love this video John posted this week. In his words, it’s “a brief film (directed by Azazel Jacobs) ‘about looking at art.’ A nice little fable for those who just don’t get the point of so-called non-representational art, it’s from the Web site of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.”

BONUS: This trumps every one of my kicks. I saved the very best for last. A college friend—who is just about one of the most kind-hearted, ray-of-sunshiney persons I know, who was diagnosed at a freaky-early age with breast cancer, and who is now having to do chemo again for masses found on her liver—had a clear bone scan this week! I’m with Tanita in that many people I know keep getting bad news, so I’m happy for that bit of good news in the life of someone who really needs it.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

34 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #121: Featuring Chris Barton
and Tony Persiani”

  1. 1) Well, let’s see — getting featured with Tony Persiani here at 7-Imp, maybe? Yes. Yes, indeed. Thank you so much for having us here, Eisha and Jules.

    2) The big, shady tree at neighborhood pool. Temperatures here in Central Texas have been blowing several digits north of 100 degrees this week, and the shade and the water felt especially fine yesterday.

    3) Getting fêted with chocolate cake this week at my office, where most folks had been completely unaware of my other career (though many had wondered just what I’ve been working on during my lunch hours for all these years).

    4) On Monday: Securing a babysitter and then having a night out with Casey that included getting a cheap dining room table (from here) and a meal outdoors before it got too blasted hot.

    5) Seeing my old friend Rachel and new friend Rick get married — outdoors, and again, thankfully, before the heat wave arrived.

    6) Benjy Ferree (the singer), Doris Duke (the singer, not the tobacco heiress), Dengue Fever (the band, not the disease), Sam Bisbee, Aceyalone, The Fireman, Rodriguez, and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.

    7) Not working another Friday until July 24.

    Thank you again for having us! I just may have to keep this on next week’s kicks, too…

  2. Chris and Tony, I love the concept behind The Day-Glo Brothers. 🙂

    Tony, zomg, you design some Transformers toys?! That is so cool.

    Eisha and Jules, thanks for this great post. 😀

    Eisha, I am so sorry to hear about your personal information being compromised and I hope everything is much safer and better now. *hug* Did it have anything to do with that most recent Facebook hacking?

    Jules, OF COURSE they all had different and nice things to say about 7-Imp!!!!!!!


    1. Watching the second Transformers movie with my mother and brother. Very entertaining! I can’t wait to watch it again. Next time with lots of popcorn drizzled with butter. Yum.

    2. Optimus Prime. OPTIMUS. PRIME.

    3. It’s still raining here and I love it.

    4. That MoMA video. It got me all teary-eyed. I especially like the part where Frank is reading by a window and it is raining outside. Heaven. 🙂

    5. The music video for Keri Hilson, Kanye West, and Ne-Yo’s “Knock You Down.” It’s a fun video. And I like the idea behind the song. “Sometimes love just knocks you down…” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7L2esZCrPw

  3. Yaaay, Chris Barton!!!
    (And REDNECK MOTHER, oh, my gosh. Dude, y’all. I have a big bottle of vodka myself, formerly only used for making vanilla extract [by means of shoving in scraped vanilla pods]. And now… I see streak-free, vinegar-smell-free mirrors in my future. How cool is she?)

    I love the idea of researching the heck out of something just because you can, and the serendipity of actually enjoying your discoveries. Here’s to more great Chris Barton books, woot!

  4. Big hugs, Eisha. It’s been a roller-coaster week here, too, and not the fun, “Whee, I’m flying!” kind of ride.

    Doing the weekly kicks is a discipline for me. It makes me recognize gratitude when I’m feeling anything but.

    1. I started Tanita Davis’ Mare’s War last night and only put it down when I absolutely had to get some sleep. It’s quite good!

    2. Hanging out with my daughter and doing fun things we don’t normally while Bede is off at his gaming convention has been good for both of us. We’ve watched movies, which we don’t normally do. We also went out to brunch!

    3. Good friends.

    4. Supportive family.

    I am going to have to stop for now. As much as I love my daughter, I could really use a break! “Questions are resting” doesn’t cut it.

  5. Welcome, Tony! Welcome back, Chris! Best wishes with The Day-Glo Brothers.

    Chris, thanks for sharing The Ozzie Brothers at your website – I love reading others’ early writing! Enjoy the Fridays off, and the cake.

    Tony, points for carousels, daisies, and purple items all in the same picture. These are a few of my favorite things. Have fun with the sketches, designs, and toys!

    eisha: Today will be the start of a good week for you – better than last week for sure. Enjoy the A/C. Stay safe when it’s storming. Huzzah for the fundraising!

    Jules: Happy anniversary-of-date to you. Sounds like a fun (not-so-mad) tea party. I am very sad about the bunny. I am VERY happy for your friend. YEA, CLEAR SCAN!

    Tarie: I’m not a fan of rap music, really, but I recently saw a book called Thank You and You’re Welcome which came out under the banner of “Kanye West Presents.” It had the additional by-line “with J. Sakiya Sandifer.” It’s a little square book with a bold (bold colour, sometimes caps, and bold advice) sentence or two on each page.

    My kicks for the week:
    1) Correspondence
    2) Conversations with people on the same wavelength
    3) Closing night
    4) To sleep, perchance to dream.
    5) Audition
    6) Rehearsal yesterday, another today
    7) Planning to see a show tonight, another tomorrow – one a classic (SHAKESPEARE!), the other a new spin on a classic

  6. It’s great to see you celebrating Chris Barton’s book this week, Jules and Eisha. The illustrations, and the whole premise, are priceless. Chris, congratulations on finally seeing the book to publication! Eisha, I love thunderstorms, too. One of the things that I miss about living in Texas is that we don’t get the same dramatic thunderstorms here in CA. Jules, Mheir and I celebrated the anniversary of our first date this week, too. I love that you celebrate that milestone. I like Nurse Jackie, too. Let’s see, kicks…

    1. I got a bunch of reading and reviewing done this week. I’m on a middle grade reading kick right now, and enjoying it a lot (a bit lighter than a lot of the YA I usually read). But earlier in the week I read Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s third book about D.J. Schwenk, and it’s so, so wonderful. Plus (before it got too hot this weekend), I did a bunch of the reading outside. So that’s all good for 3-4 kicks all by itself.
    2. I mentioned last week finding what I thought was the perfect birthday present for our godson (this water table playset thing). So his mom called us, to say that he and his brother had played with the exact same toy previously at a friend’s house, and they loved it, and the parents thought of buying it for them, but hadn’t gotten around to it. So, across 3000 miles, we really did send the perfect gift. I just love the feeling of connectedness with this family that’s important to us – even though we’re far away, we still know what will work.
    3. I’ve been getting some great discussion the past couple of weeks on posts at Booklights, especially one about social reading (which was inspired by a post from Sarah at the Reading Zone). What’s extra-nice about the discussion is that, while you know I love talking with my friends from the kidlitosphere every week, I’m hearing from some new people, too: parents, teachers, and librarians. And that’s adding new dimensions to the conversation.

    And that’s more than enough for one week, really! Hope you’re all staying cool. And, LW, I hope that the audition went well.

  7. Happy Kicksday, everybody!

    I don’t know if this is any sort of reliable predictor of Chris and Tony’s success with the book, but I would have lovedlovedLOVED The Day-Glo Brothers when I was a kid.

    Chris’s enthusiasm not just for the subject itself, but for learning about it, is palpable and infectious. Man, now THAT is the way a great non-fiction author works. His whole concluding comment under the floating-head-trick illustration, starting with “Yet I can’t wait to do more” and ending with “the opportunity to soak it all up” — that made me nod and grin throughout. Chris, I saw that you have a mailing list about upcoming books; you bet I signed up (and I normally HATE getting that sort of email).

    (And thanks too for that link to the Weird Al “Craigslist” video — hilarious, and I’ve already email-bombed my own mailing list about it.)

    As for Tony’s illustrations, whoa, dude: felt like I’d fallen into a Time Tunnel sort of thing and popped out the other end in front of a 9-inch TV screen… watching something like the original Gerald McBoing Boing cartoons. Based on the evidence here, I thought he did a fabulous job of aging the brothers!

    (And that final black-and-white spread, something for the Travel Channel apparently — it sort of tells a mini-story itself… of a vacation in France gone terribly terribly wrong. Heh.)

    Eisha, I didn’t even know about Inland Empire until this week. Somebody told me Lynch was on Twitter, so I started following him (what a weird image…) and then landed on his davidlynch.com Web site. (Insert “squee” at any point.) The Missus tells me I’m the only person she knows who actually liked the last Twin Peaks episode from the first time I saw it, and I loved Mulholland Falls too. Can’t wait to see the newest!

    Jules: TIME BANDITS! Yeah! Haven’t seen that one in years, and love it. (Another from around the same time, sorta like it and sorta different I think: The Never-Ending Story. Do you know that one?)

    Couldn’t help noticing in your tea-party photo that the scarf was Day-Glo purple. Nice, subtle cross-promotion going on there.


    1. Early last week, the I.T. department at work suddenly re-opened the blog-blockage doorways they’d nailed shut the week before (and keeping me away from 7-Imp et al, except via smartphone). OTOH, yes, it’s true, they DID slam the doors again on Thursday. But I prefer to remember that golden and probably completely accidental ray of the sunlight of freedom poking through the stormclouds Mon.-Weds. 🙂

    2. I’d sort of stalled on the work-in-progress. On Friday, unbidden, a great idea for kick-starting te project popped into my head. Yesterday I wrote close to 6K words in a 7-hr marathon. Boo-ya (er, is this something to be said in a case like this?).

    3. While working on a blog post, I inadvertently discovered the early-’90s ska/punk/reggae band Sublime. Not 100% a kick, because I found I simply could not stand their lyrics — awfully well-written, but the messages just sounded so off-key to me, y’know? But WHOA, the music flat-out rocks.

    4. Believe it or not — I scarcely do — I needed to see if there was a word in Welsh for “polecat.” There is, and it is a prize in itself: ffwlbart.

    5. Only the string of 100+-degree days we’d had for a while here could make me feel relieved and happy when the temperature dropped this week into the mid-90s. But I was relieved and happy.

    6. Double-takes, those weird sort of pre-verbal not-quite-whiplash expressions of surprise.

    7. I’ve been on THEIR mailing list, both snail- and e-varieties, for many years. But the whole despair.com enterprise just cracks me up; and I never cease to be amazed at the consistency of their product and their “tone.” (Sorta like The Onion in that respect.) If you’re not familiar with them, you need to start with what I think was their original product line, the “Demotivators” posters: beautiful inspirational-looking photos with captions which, on closer inspection, reveal hilariously un-inspiring messages.

    Have a great week, all!

  8. This book looks cool – one of those topics that is completely random but seems like the perfect book idea once you’ve seen it.

    Eisha, I have storms on my list too! And even getting caught in them isn’t so bad here as it’s the only time there’s warmish rain. Sorry to hear about your data (I missed that entry).

    Jules, that’s great news about your friend! And your blog deserves heaps of praise, it’s not only interesting but very pretty with all of the illustrators who visit!

    Hope you have a smoother week this week, Farida.

    Little Willow, hope you enjoy the shows!

    1. Yesterday we got up early and queued for “day seats” (discounted seats only released on the day) for Wicked, and got great seats for a third of the price. I really enjoyed the show! Good story, fun songs and excellent costumes. Seriously, I was considering leaping onto the stage to steal some of the green & gold boots off the women in the ensemble.
    2. I got my residency application and the piles of accompanying evidence (and my passport! Sniff.) off to the home office this week. Fingers crossed it’s all done in a reasonable amount of time. (No we’re still plannning to go back to Australia at some time, but not within the month which is when my current visa runs out!)
    3. We went to a pub quiz with friends during the week, which revealed the many areas I am clueless about but was great fun nonetheless.
    4. Another social evening revealed we have a nice tapas place in the town next door
    5. The weather was so nice we had our pilates class out doors this week and it was lovely getting to look at the sky and listen to the birds while stretching.
    6. The lovely weather has been complemented by some storms – this makes me feel like it is summer after all
    7. I managed to speak to my mum and both sisters for decent amounts of time this morning – an unusual but happy occurance!

  9. Eisha, blech. And ick. I hope this week is nothing but GOOD.

    Chris, thanks for writing the book, for visiting, for kickin’, and for the Weird Al video. I might just have to look up Dengue Fever.

    Tarie, I don’t know anything about this recent Facebook hacking you mentioned, but someone else told me once about a friend whose emails over there were hacked. ICK. Scary. I no longer send emails via Facebook, if they’re absolutely something I don’t want someone else to read. ….I like your kick #3. I like rain, too.

    Tanita, I know! I might just have to add her to our blogroll so that I remember to keep visiting her.

    Farida, this morning I got this from Piper: “If outer space is inside something, I wonder what it’s inside.”…I’ll say it again: I hope things look up, and here’s to a better week.

    Little Willow, I’ve been listening to “Chicago” all week. Do you think it’s blasphemy, by chance, if I’m listening to the movie-adaptation (2002 — Gere, Zellweger, Zeta-Jones, etc.) soundtrack? It’s the only one I’ve got. Anyway, this morning Piper is singing everything in this faaaaancy stage voice, and I wonder if that’s why. …Enjoy all the shows this week. Hope closing night goes well.

    Jen, that’s right! Our first-date anniversaries are in the same week. I remember this now, from last year. …Water tables are, indeed, kickin’. We’re going to a birthday party today for a two-year-old, and the parents are smart enough to plan for—in these triple digits—a water table, water slide, etc. The girls will be in heaven. I’m glad you chose The Perfect Gift.

    Thanks for the link on the power of social reading. Gonna go look. Sounds great.

    John, something told me that you, of all people, would have probably also seen Time Bandits before. I was right. Blaine was almost apologizing for having added it to the queueueueueueue (I never get that word right, so I just let my fingers keep going)—he was on a Terry Gilliam kick, I think—but it was fun. Interesting. And, no, I’ve certainly heard of The Never-Ending Story but haven’t actually seen it.

    And, John, I do remember seeing a comment early this week IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY (!) and figured that the blog-blockage folks had relented. Sorry to read it was just temporary.

    Nothing beats that demotivator “Beauty” poster. And congrats on your writing marathon.

    Emmaco, what exactly is a pub quiz? I mean, is it anything more than what the name implies? Sounds fun. And I wouldn’t mind seeing Wicked one day, too.

  10. Jen: Happy first date anniversary to you two, too! What a great gift. Continue rocking the Booklights, all of you. Thanks for the good thoughts. I hope they get back to me, and soon!

    JES: Wowza! Congratulations on the writing marathon. That is quite impressive. I think it’s a shame that ffwlbarts were not present in the film Phffft!

    emmaco: Thank you. Good luck with your application. Enjoy the talks with your family and the weather. Sounds like Wicked was quite enjoyable.

    jules: Closing was okay. Good show, decent house. I’ve yet to see Chicago on stage, though I’ve seen the 2002 film. I liked some parts better than others, both specifically in that film and in the musical overall. Tell Piper that fancy stage voices rule all, and good job with the outer space/inner space curiosities. (Not to be confused with the movie Innerspace.) You must read and see The NeverEnding Story. Read the original book first, then see the first film. The second film is all right. Steer clear of the third entirely.

  11. A pub quiz is nothing more than it seems – triva competition in a cute English pub. I hope you get to see Wicked one day, and if it happens to be in London can recomend the cheap day seats

    Little Willow, I thought of you when I went to the theatre yesterday! I admit that even going to the theatre was fun in itself (always something thrilling about the box office, and the foyer and the names like dress circle) but the show was good too!

  12. And thanks for reminding me of the excellent demotivator posters, JES. I suspect enjoying ones like achievement is why I so often fail to appreciate peppy management courses.

  13. Happy Summer, Everyone!

    Chris and Tony: What a fascinating topic for a book! I totally agree with Chris about opening your mind to subjects that might otherwise seem uninteresting – natural curiosity is a wonderful thing. And the colors woke me up before my tea had even kicked in this morning.

    Eisha: I hope this week is very kicky for you – I know something about unkicky weeks, especially lately, but this too shall pass.

    Jules: Woots to first date anniversaries and tea parties! And big woots to your college friend with the good health news – as you know, I have a friend who got similar news lately.

    I have been absent from the Sunday kicks for awhile due to some rather unpleasant health issues of my own (nothing terribly serious, just very painful), but am happy to report that things seem to be on the mend. As with most things, the good outweighs the bad, and the time I was forced to spend resting (almost a full month) made me realize a few very important things. So, these are my kicks AND reminders to myself of those lessons:

    1) Find something to be grateful for everyday, even when things seem lousy
    2) Slow down! We don’t need to do everything or have everything Right Now – be good to yourself (BIG lesson for me right now)
    3) Stop and listen – sometimes the nicest thing you can do is actually hear what someone else is saying
    4) Don’t always accept what “they” say about how to live your life – make up your own mind.
    5) Thank your friends and family for being there for you
    6) Find a way to stop feeling sorry for yourself
    7) Change your habits, if they don’t yield positive results

    Sorry if that sounded bromidic or self-evident, but when you hit a wall, the simple truths rise to the surface. I hope everyone has a great week!

  14. Jules: Was scratching my head, trying to think what everybody was congratulating you about, blog-wise. Re-read your kicks. OH. I love to hear stories about people learning, grapevineish, that other people (and/or blogs) think they’re the cat’s meow. Especially when I think so, too. Way cool!

    Work days, I hope to use my new phone to do some reading/commenting. But that little bitty TicTac keyboard: grrrrr. Will probably actually force brevity on me.

    LW: Your kick #2 is surely one thing I appreciate most about coming here!

    And I’d never even heard of that Phffft! movie. But what a great cast — now I have to look it up. Will watch it with our ffwlbart, er, Yorkie.

    Jen: Had never heard of “social reading” before; now I’m wishing I’d heard of it when I was a kid!

    About the Demotivators: When I walk up the hall to my office at work, I pass through one department in particular which lines their walls with motivational posters about teamwork and such. It’s always entertaining to imagine swapping them out, late at night, for their Despair.com counterparts.

  15. Little Willow, I think you could say I was obsessed with outer space as a child. I was constantly reading books about it, and I’d sit and just THINK about things like planets and moons and wonder if the universe had an end and what could possibly be there. At a freaky young age, I had a subscription to Astronomy magazine, which I’m sure I didn’t understand, but whose pics I perused anyway.

    I wanted to be an astronomer when I grew up. Then I met algebra. Here are my thoughts on math, which I just posted on my Facebook profile page:

    Instead of having “answers” on a math test, they should just call them “impressions,” and if you got a different “impression,” so what, can’t we all be brothers? — Jack Handy, Deep Thoughts

    Will read NeverEnding Story. Thanks. Did I tell you the girls and I finished The Fairy Rebel, thanks to your rec?

    Emmaco, seeing Wicked in London would be even better.

    Jill, those kicks are great and get to the very heart of and reason for kicking, yo. #7 is hard, but is something I need to do in many respects. I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    John, I’m SO sorry that those posters hang in your work place. So so sorry. Ouch. The notion of you swapping them out with Demotivators, though, is a sweet, sweet notion, indeed.

  16. Hugs to you, Eisha!! Yet again, you are at the top of my kicks!! I am sorry that it was a difficult week, but this one will rock! Summer is here and the sun will shine on you 😉 Goofy but true.

    I really miss my friends in Ithaca, but I KNOW they will visit me soon, right?! Charlie Brown and I will be ready when the call comes. He he he. I feel like Batman putting out the bat sign.

    Today I found the BEST food co-op for us. When you come, we’ll go! I’m also investigating the area, so we’ll have plenty to keep us busy.

    The sunshine is a serious KICK for me! I feel warm to my bones and I LOVE IT!!

    I LOVED reading about Johanna Wright and the ‘Secret Circus’. How cute and adorable is that?! It is now my wallpaper, cause I smile each time I see it.

    This blog is a serious kick too! I read it every day and I love it!! You and Jules are AMAZING, Phenomenal Women, as Maya Angelou would say.

    Have a GREAT week!! Hugs!! –E

  17. I have a copy of Day-Glo Brothers on order and have been tapping my fingers waiting for it, so this preview was most welcome.

    eisha, My late husband had a consulting oncologist from Roswell and also had surgery there once–so YEAH WOO to your friend. They do work there that benefits people all over the place.

    Jules, I love those blue cups with the spots. And tea parties. And good news.

    Little Willow, Sleeping–a change of pace for you! A welcome and earned one, I think.

    My kicks:
    1. Earlier this week, my doctor told me I had either strep, the swine flu, or mono. He put me on an antibiotic right away, and it did turn out to be strep, so that was a good ending to that story. I don’t get sick very often, not like this, and I am surprised at how tired I still am. But ever-so-glad to be on the mend even so.
    2. And also my friends have been so kind to me while I’ve been ill, driving me about and getting me milkshakes and checking up on me and whatnot.
    3. I probably got strep from one of the wildly successful programs we ran at the library earlier this week, which brought in about 300 kids over a two day period. It was pretty amazing, and it all ran really smoothly.
    4. I got fresh peas at the farmer’s market yesterday. Mmmmm.
    5. I watched the documentary Anvil!: The Story of Anvil earlier this week, which I highly recommend to the 7-Imp crowd. It’s a look at a real-life Spinal-Tap-esque heavy metal band that is by turns funny, thought-provoking, and poignant. All a movie should be.
    6. I was well enough last night to go to a wedding I’d really been looking forward to, and it was such a nice time.
    7. My BFF just finished a really hard school year (she teaches), and I am very glad it’s over. She seems to be slowly de-stressing and already enjoying her time off to its fullest.

  18. Just cruising by for a quick hello. Had some rellies drop in this morning for a surprise visit. Ack! I. am. not. a. morning. person. 🙁

    Yay for tea parties and good news, and boo to infuriating meanies who have nothing better to do than mess with people’s personal info.

    Hope you feel better soon, Adrienne.

    And the Day Glo Brothers book will go perfectly with my glow in the dark pajamas.

    Hope this week is better than last week!

  19. jules, you know those 7-Imp compliments are all yours. And I love that tea set. And yay for the good news! Also, I forgot to mention it, but B. and I had our 15th first date anniversary on the 11th. We. Are. Old. And (last one, promise) I love Time Bandits, and The NeverEnding Story, and cannot believe you’ve been so deprived for so long. Except, I did see Time Bandits for the first time when I was wa-a-a-a-ay too young, and while I loved it, the ending freaked me out. Hello! Chunk of Evil! Not good!

    Chris, bless you for sharing that video. I keep getting surprised that Weird Al is still around, and still so funny. And CONGRATS on such a fabulous-looking and well-received book.

    Tarie, no, it happened at work. And really? Transformers 2 is that good? All righty, then, I’m in.

    tanita – I didn’t know you could do the vanilla thing with vodka, either. Now I’ve got two more reasons to buy it.

    Farida, I’m sorry your week has been rocky too. Although the movies and brunch do sound nice. And friends and family are always good to have around, but especially when things are kind of sucky.

    Jen, Happy Anniversary! And way to be the best godmother ever. We’re actually getting more than our fair share of storms here lately – I’d send you some if I could.

    Little Willow, I am so glad to hear you do actually sleep. And don’t you just love that “same wavelength” feeling? Enjoy those shows!

    JES, I’m so pleased we share this David Lynch bond. But… he’s on Twitter? I can’t imagine the sort of things he must say… Also, I’m so impressed with your word-making marathon I can’t stand it. YOU ROCK. And where has despair.com been all my life? I DARE YOU to replace just one of your workplace posters. C’mon! Double-dog dare you!

    emmaco, fingers-crossed for your application. And I’m jealous you saw Wicked – I want to someday too. Gotta see those boots.

    Jill, those are 7 very excellent reminders. Thanks, and I’m glad things are looking up for you.

    Eileen, HELLO!!! Food co-ops and sunshine and Charlie Brown and seeing you again all sound fabulous – I must get down to see you ASAP. Thanks for kicking with us!

    adrienne, ew, strep sucks, but you’re right, it’s the best out of those options. So glad you’re feeling better, and that you have peeps to bring you milkshakes.

    jama, really? You have glow-in-the-dark PJs? Don’t they keep you awake?

  20. Time Bandits is trippy dippy indeed. But I remember almost liking it.

    My seven kicks:

    1. I got to read an ARC of Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev, and it rocks.
    2. Brush Up Your Shakespeare Month is nearly finished. Just a few more days. Phew!
    3. I’ve rarely had as much fun doing something as I have with my Shakespeare project. It’s been slightly trippy at times, but reading and watching so many plays and poems has been a complete joy.
    4. M and I saw The Proposal. I heart Ryan Reynolds. And Betty White is hilarious.
    5. M and I went to see The Fray and Jack’s Mannequin in concert – both were fabulous!
    6. I got a surprise book present from a friend. I love surprises and books and presents, so as you imagine, that was a big kick for me!
    7. M is making excellent progress with her guitar chords – she’s singing “Drops of Jupiter” right now. 🙂

  21. Hi, Eileen. Glad you enjoyed reading about Johanna. That’s her first book even. I can’t wait to see what she does next.

    Adrienne, I’m sorry you got so sick, but—like Eisha—I’m pleased to hear you didn’t get the other options. Mono never seems to go away, or so I hear, and swine flu…well, just ick. Glad you’re on the mend and that you were looked after. I think this calls for some snail mail. Hey, wait. Maybe the art we sent you will arrive soon, and I hope it cheers you up. It’s kind of a collage, and I made sure to throw in some Polly Dunbar for you.

    Also: You sold me on Anvil. I’ll see if I can add it to the queueueueueue. John, if you’re still reading, what was the name again of that Australian western you recommended? I lost it — but had wanted to add it.

    Jama, I’m not a morning person either. Like, it’s really bad. I just grumble and mutter and shuffle about for about an hour. But I hope your visit was fun.

    eisha, happy belated first-date anniversary. And, yeah, Chunk of Evil=weird.

    Kelly, I’m so behind on your Shakespeare posts, but I never want to read all those well-composed things when I’m in a hurry. So, I’m saving them up. And look at you, you movie- and concert-going social butterfly. Kickin’!

  22. Thank you, Chris and Tony, for THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS; it will be my PERFECT gift for a great nephew whose birthday is very soon. I have been collecting reviews for him and other activities I have seen surrounding the books debut, have the paint ready as well. So, my 7 kicks this week start with this
    1. Perfect gift chosen for young Jamie.
    2. Read A LUCKY CHILD and continue to think about what all Thomas B endured and how he has dedicated his professional life to human rights through law.
    3. I started MARE’S WAR today, love it, Tanita! And a Mother stopped in front of me as I sat in a hotel lobby today to ask what I thought about the book, her two daughters read it last week and loved it also!
    4. A wonderful evening in NYC last night with a friend, good food, good conversation.
    5. RIF kicks off our new MACY’S campaign on this week which is why I am in NYC until Thursday afternoon.
    6. RIF completes a terrific US Airways Read with Kids campaign Tuesday…goal of 5 million minutes read with children, looks like we will make really close to ten million minutes logged!
    7. I concluded five glorious days with my grandchild William (age two and a half months) in Arkansas…what changes I saw of course since his one-month birthday when I had last seen him.

  23. Kelly, congrats on the near-completion of the Shakespeare project. And I hadn’t heard of Eyes Like Stars, but I just looked it up and it sounds awesome indeed. Thanks for the rec!

    Rasco, you busy busy lady you. Thanks for fighting the good literacy fight! And what a cool idea to give paints along with the Day-Glo book. Perfect!

  24. Love how kicky this group is even when tough things are going on! You all inspire me again! Joy for all the good things & blessings to those who need help getting over the bad! My kicks:

    1) Getting to see a presentation by the group my niece went to S. Africa with & hearing of some of the amazing “coincidences” that magnified the good they went over there to do beyond what they could have thot.

    2) Normal weather. For at this time of year for us that means !00+ temps–but it’s normal. We’ve had a couple of years of weird weather and last year at this time were living in smoke for weeks –in fact the entire summer break from my work at school.

    3) Being reminded of the wonderful days when my son was almost an adult, but the last kid home and enjoying Sublime and laughing at the Despair, Inc. demotivators together. He now works at a place that could be the awful place to work, but instead has cool bosses and is more likely to have the demotivator posters! Always been glad that I work at an elementary school and mostly with kids so none of the posters usually apply to me!! How cool is that?

    4) Finding out that son’s almost two-year old can now open doors with those “kids can’t open doors with these devices on” and knowing I don’t have to deal with that fact on a daily basis!

    5) Figuring out how to install the Firefox app I discovered that is called “Read it later” so I can go back to things I want to finish, but not actually have to bookmark them! Also finally figured out Hulu and how to watch shows on it! Whoo-hoo! (Never have had any kind of computer class, so things like this make me feel strong and smart!)

    6) Having a caring doctor for a chronic thing, having more than one experience with customer service people this week, so awesome when things work well and people are nice! Competence is a good thing!

    7) Having time with 5-yr-old grandson who we are sure will be an engineer of some type some day. He is going to invent an iced tea maker for me that will be instant and there will be boxes and boxes of tea so I never run out and he will will give it to me for free because I am Gramma! Also he told me that what was good about the Quaker library was that you could keep the books as long as you wanted!!! (Mom says that really, there is just not a due date) but I love that he loves books so much that it was such a kick for him! Also, got to introduce him to eating edamame (sp?) from the shell -such a fun thing!

    Happy memories from a week that had some lows–seeing the 7-Imp posting about the wee circus–not so crazy about circus things, but yes to remembering creating miniature worlds in my head when a kid–and really–cute mice, lovely cats, Paris and the Eiffel Tower in lights!? Perfect. Then, of course Emily D. posting with that fabulous illustration.
    Watching Hulu, a show recc. on another list called Kingdom, a Brit drama set in a lovely seaside village, beautiful photography, such a lift! Then I’d wanted to watch “Charlie’s Angels” episodes again, cause I remember when it was so shocking–three smart female leads!! It was a breakthrough and I never held it against the actresses that they were also beautiful. It was American TV after all! Watched the 1st episode finally via Hulu and it was groundbreaking for the times! Now off to watch Weird Al–thanks for that, love him and it’s been ages!

  25. Happy Sunday!

    Been a crazy week here. LOVE the day-glo brothers, and REALLY LOVE the idea of digging in and researching something just because you want to. When I was in L.A. and waiting tables (but trying to act), I totally loved immersing myself in researching characters for acting class or monologue showcases. There is nothing like the high of learning something new.
    My quick kicks:
    1. Wednesday was my birthday, and it was perfectly fun and low-key – biked to work, won a motion to dismiss a case, biked home.
    2. And the BF had surprises waitng for me at home at the end of the day!
    3. Finished reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery and it was such a wonderful and surprising multi-level story. It contains this question, “What is the purpose of intelligence if it is not to serve others?” And Jules, I thought of you whenever the main character got upset over misplaced or misused punctuation.
    4. Went to a cooking class Friday to learn to make Guatemalan tamales. A friend put it on as a fun and tasty fundraiser for a family applying for citizenship. The tamales were amazing!
    5. A 6 mile hike yesterday with a friend. Once we reached the peak there were unbelieveable views of summits in Oregon and Washington.
    6. A motorcycle ride with the BF this afternoon out to rural winding roads to see horses, goats, llamas, and even a little lamb with a red collar.
    7. I have this coming Friday off, so I am planning another hike with 2 friends for this Friday. The anticipation should keep me going through a busy week.

    Have a great week!

  26. RM, happy belated birthday! And I want to read The Elegance of the Hedgehog too! I have been thinking of that book for more than a week now….

  27. Thanks for the Kicks feature with Chris Barton and Tony Persiani. THE DAY-GLO BROTHERS looks like a great nonfiction book for kids!


    1. My husband and I were up in the Ogunquit area of Maine for a couple of days last week to attend the wedding of the son of two of our closest friends. We had a blast spending time celebrating with lots of old friends. You can see a few pictures from the wedding reception here:

    2. Mike and I got to celebrate Father’s Day a week late with Sara and her fiance. We went to a Chinese/Japanese restaurant and had a fabulous dinner: Beijing Duck, shrimp tempura maki, spicy tuna maki, crispy Pad Thai… YUM!!!


    It is still raining here! I don’t think we’ve had more than five days of sun this month.

  28. Australian Western = The Proposition. Grim, but unforgettable (well, except for the title — ha!)

  29. Carol, have fun in NYC! And congrats on the US Airways campaign and 10 million minutes logged. Excellent.

    Hi, Andrea! Yes, good customer service can be so rare anymore that I understand why it stands out and is a kick. Well now, that sounds cynical of me, but rude customer service is a serious pet peeve of mine. And seems to happen too often anymore.

    That iced-tea-maker from your grandson sounds perfect. Kudos to him. Save some iced tea for me.

    RM, happy belated birthday! Glad it was good, and what is in Guatemalan tamales? Mmm. They sound good. …Yes, being a Punctuation Geek is kind of a curse.

    I’ll have to look up The Elegance of the Hedgehog.

    Elaine, glad you all finally got that Father’s day dinner. Sounds like you had a good time. Hope you get some sun, and what great photos!

  30. Oh, and thanks, John, for the title. Will add it to the queueueueueueueueueueueueue.

  31. John, just added it to the queueueue AND Emily Watson is in it. Yay. I like her.

  32. Jules – in the book it is not a curse, but a reflection of the character’s great appreciation and love of language and art.
    I think you might like it!
    Oh, the guatemalan tamales were yummy! They contained masa, made with rice flour, masa flour, bouillion and salt, and you can add meat or simply veggies. The sauce was very labor intensive, with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds 2 different type of chiles, garlic,onion, bell peppers, tomatoes, tomatillows, and cinnamon. They are wrapped in banana leaves .

  33. […] Bonus Coverage at the “Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast” blog, including an interview with Barton and Persiani and a generous peek at sample pages from the book. Check it out! […]

  34. I found your website perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful posts. I have read most of them and got a lot from them.

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