Move Over Martha -- Fans of our "Simply MJ" column and its author, Moscow's Mary Jane Butters, listen up: Butters has just signed a $1.3 million book deal with Hyperion Press. It goes without saying that this is no small potatoes, especially for a woman who has until now made her living off a five-acre farm and a small but thriving packaged food business. When we first wrote about Butters a little over a year ago, we were all wondering if she might be the one to fill Martha Stewart's considerable niche - now it appears we're not the only ones to think so. Not only will Butters produce several volumes of her organic living-cooking-gardening advice, she'll also be working with Martha Stewart's former editor of 19 years.
If you've missed Mary Jane's column, rest assured that she'll be back, not as a columnist but as a regular contributor to our food and gardening sections, and occasionally to our environmental pages. Congratulations, Mary Jane!
Deep Magic -- There's been a lot of buzz about this on the Web for months, and it looks like the rumors are true. Plans for a Lord of the Rings-type treatment of C.S. Lewis' beloved Chronicles of Narnia are indeed underway, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is scheduled to begin shooting sometime next year in New Zealand. While none of the characters have yet been cast, director Andrew Adamson (Shrek) has been chosen to helm the project, which is being produced by Walden Media. Never heard of Walden Media? Don't worry -- Lewis's stepson, Douglas Gresham, is overseeing the entire project with the cooperation of the Lewis estate and says that this will be "the adaptation that my stepfather would have wanted."
An official Web site is already up with a few stills and lots of interactive goodies. As a lifelong rabid Narnia fan, your Buzz Bin editrix is happy to report that it looks like they're sticking to the spirit and look of Lewis's original vision. Check it out: www.narnia.com
Brain Candy -- We do a lot of Web surfing here in the Bin, and one day we were intrigued by a link that promised to explain the biological differences between men's and women's brains. Following it, we were directed to MSNBC.com, where there was an article on Spokane's own Michael Gurian, whose new book What Could He Be Thinking? hit bookstore shelves a few weeks ago. Gurian's premise is that there are indeed big differences in the way the male and female brain process information, and that understanding those differences is a key to better relations between the sexes.