Romance novels need a canon
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
A contemporary romantic comedy set to Elvis Costello and lots of luxurious and sinful sugary treats. Read the whole essay.
HOUSTON (AP) — Former Houston Texans punter Brett Hartmann has sued the county agency that operates Reliant Stadium, blaming “unsafe turf” for a possibly career-ending knee injury.
The 6-foot-2 Hartmann signed with the Texans as an undrafted free agent in July 2011. He played in the first 12 games last season before tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament and fracturing a bone in Houston’s 17-10 win over Atlanta on Dec. 4.
Hartmann’s attorneys filed the lawsuit Thursday in Harris County District Court, naming venue-management company SMG and the Harris County Convention and Sports Corporation as defendants. It doesn’t name the Texans, but includes past comments critical of the stadium’s surface by nose tackle Shaun Cody, New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and former Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy.
“Brett has no ill will toward the Texans,” said Gene Egdorf, one of Hartmann’s attorneys. “If anything, Brett wishes he was with his teammates and hopes this action will help keep his teammates safe for the rest of this season and into the future.”
The Texans (8-1) play Jacksonville (1-8) at Reliant Stadium on Sunday. Houston coach Gary Kubiak defended the condition of the field.
“I think our field is great. I think our guys do a great job,” Kubiak said. “That’s all I got to say.”
The lawsuit says several doctors have told Hartmann that his knee remains “unstable” and that he needs “additional surgery, possibly quite extensive.” He says he hasn’t been contacted by other NFL teams since the Texans cut him in August 2012 and fears his playing career is already over.
“I’m kind of at a loss for words, not knowing what’s going to happen,” Hartmann said.
The stadium recently installed removable AstroTurf to be used for non-NFL events. For Texans games, workers piece together more than 1,200, 8-by-8-foot palettes of real grass with forklifts. Hartmann caught his left foot in a seam between palettes and was placed on injured reserve. The lawsuit says Hartmann suffered a “significant and career-threatening injury.”
Following surgery, Hartmann was suspended for the first four games of the 2012 season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Egdorf says Hartmann tested positive for Adderall, which he took to help with a sleep disorder.
The Texans signed veteran Donnie Jones and cut Hartmann in the preseason. Hartmann’s suspension was reduced to three games, but then he was suspended for eight games in September for testing positive for a prescription weight-loss drug that he says he never took.
Hartmann didn’t appeal the additional suspension because he was afraid the process would drag on and also threaten his chances of playing in 2013. He said he lost 30 pounds in the weeks following his initial knee surgery.
“There’d be no reason for me to take a weight-loss drug, because I’d already lost so much weight from surgery,” Hartmann said. “I was kind of baffled. If we would’ve fought it, and it got delayed, it would’ve carried over to next season.”
Hartmann has undergone two knee surgeries and plans to have a third one as early as mid-December. He not only tore his ACL, but also suffered a “fracture at the proximal fibula,” the lawsuit said. Hartmann says his medical costs have been covered under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, but is seeking unspecified damages in the lawsuit.
“I just want other players that are going to be playing on the field and that are currently playing on the field to be safe,” Hartmann said. “I want to make sure their careers aren’t taken from there.”
In the final week of the 2009 regular season, Patriots receiver Wes Welker tore his left ACL and MCL when his knee buckled on the Reliant turf. Belichick said afterward that the turf was “terrible” and “inconsistent” and his comments were included in Hartmann’s lawsuit. Egdorf says he did not contact Welker about joining the complaint.
The lawsuit also included a comment attributed to Dungy saying that the Colts were “definitely concerned about the injury factor” when playing at Reliant Stadium. It also includes a comment attribute to Cody saying that players “complaining about the field being torn up” after the Atlanta game.
Egdorf emphasized that the turf was damaged for the Atlanta game because the stadium hosted a high-school game the previous day.
“You have a specific issue about that day,” Egdorf said. “But the primary point is that the design they have, with these squares, you’ve got four seams on every square. Think of how many squares that is on the field. It’s just not safe for a professional athlete to be stepping on those — these big, strong, fast guys who are getting hit, and we see this all the time.”
"Bet Me" by Jennifer Crusie
"Welcome to Temptation" by Jennifer Crusie
Another of Crusie's romantic comedies, this one in the shadow of an ostentatiously phallic water tower. Read the whole essay.
"A Gentleman Undone" by Cecilia Grant
A Regency romance with beautifully broken people and some seriously steamy sex. Read the whole essay.
"Black Silk" by Judith Ivory
A beautifully written, exquisitely slow-building Regency; the plot is centered on a box with some very curious images, as Edward Gorey might say. Read the whole essay.
"For My Lady's Heart" by Laura Kinsale
A medieval romance, the period piece functions much like a dystopia, with the courageous lady and noble knight struggling to find happiness despite the authoritarian society. Read the whole essay.
"Sweet Disorder" by Rose Lerner
A Regency that uses the limitations on women of the time to good effect; the main character is poor and needs to sell her vote ... or rather her husband's vote. But to sell it, she needs to get a husband first ... Read the whole essay.
"Frenemy of the People" by Nora Olsen
Clarissa is sitting at an awards banquet when she suddenly realizes she likes pictures of Kimye for both Kim and Kanye and she is totally bi. So she texts to all her friends, "I am totally bi!" Drama and romance ensue ... but not quite with who she expects. I got an advanced copy of this YA lesbian romance, and I’d urge folks to reserve a copy; it’s a delight. Read the whole essay.
"The Slightest Provocation" by Pam Rosenthal
A separated couple works to reconcile against a background of political intrigue; sort of "His Gal Friday" as a spy novel set in the Regency. Read the whole essay.
"Again" by Kathleen Gilles Seidel
Set among workers on a period soap opera, it manages to be contemporary and historical both at the same time. Read the whole essay.