Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Glass Bottom Swiftboat

Sen. Kerry was obviously harkening back to Viet Nam days when there was a draft, in which he served when he made the joke about doing well in college or winding up in Iraq. I think they could wind up there for signing up to pay for college without ever getting to go in the first place. I think many have in the thousands, some dead. In Bush's day you could pull strings and get in the National Guard and never leave the country. Wait, that was Kerry's day too. What a difference. The pundits have gotten this all wrong. I just got it right.

Update: Finally! Slate's Mickey Kaus takes on Ann Coulter on CNN's Paula Zahn Show and mirrored my statement here. Better late than never, but I was first.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Quill Awards Etc.

Al Gore beat Doris Kearns Goodwin so I suppose the topic was simply more urgent despite what skeptics say, but I was drawn to Caroline Kennedy's award related to Profiles in Courage her father's "book." Supposedly he wrote in bed after back surgery in 1955, but this has always been in question. No one doubts his intent and image but as with the numerous women in tow poolside this book, no matter how good and well-intended is not his original work. It was only submitted in his name.

I often fought at the supper table my war hero father with over the Kennedy's. He hated them and this surprised me. It still does. He always claimed "he didn't want a dynasty," something he held fast to all the way up to the Bushes. We agreed on that, but the Kennedy's were always a sore point. You see Jack was the first president we'd seen who till had hair. I had his picture over my bed and we debated his election as kids in Maine. For the record I was for it. The old man wasn't. I'd been in the same White House he occupied when he held the office. MY parents took me there and I remember being on the steps inside the Capitol and Lyndon Johnson swept past us.

"Isn't that the vice-president?" I asked dad.

"Yes," he said.

We went on with our authentic tour. We never saw Kennedy on that visit in 1962, but I wanted to. He didn't. I suspect his affection for Ike, which was war inspired, and with good reason had a lot to do with this. As a war grunt, he didn't suffer fortunate sons it seemed but Kennedy had been injured in battle in the Pacific on PT-109 so I was still puzzled. He seemed to love rich people in general as if he had a chance in hell of joining them much like today's Republican voting working class hopefuls. I didn't get it.

After JFK's untimely death, which he was visibly saddened by on its face, he still held fast to a severe Kennedy prejudice. On a later visit to Arlington National Cemetery which he qualified for internment as a veteran, he called Jack's Memorial and eternal flame, "The Bunsen Burner," as the three of us stood before it. I could barely contain my personal revulsion at his callousness on the matter.

Like Kennedy, he died a Democrat, and finally recognized the work they'd done for those less fortunate than themselves and that was the difference among rich people. It is indeed. I wish there was a handwritten draft of Profiles in Jack's hand but there isn't. Reality is a bitch that way.

Friday, October 27, 2006

On Wikipedia

Yeah I'm familar with this frustration but I've seen the process work itself out with due dilligence from editors everywhere. Getting rid of bias takes a determined team and adding new information is a good thing. I think this experiment will work eventually. I've put my two cents in. So for the professors out there add your expertise when you see an indiscretion. That's what I do. We need experts and the dickheads will be disposed of accordingly. Trust me on that one.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Unsung Critic

If there has ever been a business in need of this sort of altruistic helping hand it's screenwriting. Never mind POD novels; salable screenplays are a real commodity, but getting through to the players is the problem. Enter "The Player" apparently one with a heart, which in Hollywood is rare. He calls it a "condition." I'll say. This toast is for you Hoss. Recommend the good ones to a decent agent. Once in the door they're on their own.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Flags of Our Dads

Are ours as well of course. Unfortunately only one screenwriter gets the top work in Hollywood and that's a foreigner by the name of Haggis, which is also a Scottish sheep-based delicacy in some circles. How do these cartoon purveyors not only get Eastwood films but win Oscars with them? Beats me. Once you get work, you get more. This film is really the James Bradley story: I'm related to a famous photo. So be it. The cause is noble, and the "boys done good," but this presentation strikes me as overly hyperbolic on every level. Still, I haven't seen it so...

I can only shudder to think of what they would do with mine of the Hurtgen Forest, but hopefully I'll have the chance. As a precaution against Haggisization, I'll write the script myself. I don't want any self-help circles going on in the ruins of Grosshau, Germany in my film.

"If only we could seek to understand the gay medic's motivation?" Col. Lanham said to Hemingway over whiskies in the trailer in the snow. How about staying alive like anyone else?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Good Advice for Screenwriters

Forget about it. Write them as novels as this piece from Hollywoodlitsales suggests. That's the direction I took three years ago albeit to no avail so far.

INCREASE-YOUR-CHANCES-OF-A-SALE-DEPARTMENT

Once again, we're hearing from new writers who want to write scripts
that stand very little chance in the marketplace. They say things like,
"COLD MOUNTAIN got made and I have a Civil War love story, so I have a chance
too! Or, "TITANIC cost a zillion dollars to make and so will my script.
It's practically a done deal for me!"

Sorry to rain on your parade, but the sad reality is that many movies
get made because they were a hit from another medium such as a book or a
play or they were produced because of the credentials of the people behind
them. COLD MOUNTAIN was a best selling novel and TITANIC had mega
moviemaker James Cameron behind it.

Let's look at ALL THE KING'S MEN, a period drama that made about a
nickel at the box office. It was based on a best-selling book that was
initially translated into a film in the 1940s. It won the Best Actor Oscar (tm)
for its star, Broderick Crawford.(tm) If you, Mr. or Ms. Unknown Writer
wrote a similar story as a spec script, fuhgetaboutit. No way you're going to
sell it unless Spielberg was your uncle and he owed you a favor.

So what's an unproduced, unsold spec writer to do? Study the
marketplace and see what the newbies are selling. Most likely you'll find
contemporary comedies, thrillers and action scripts that are high concept, which
means a story that can be explained in a few sentences. Then do some
brainstorming and come up with something that is contemporary and
commercial. The more you understand the marketplace, the better you'll
understand what "commercial" is.

If you want to write a screenplay that's not commercial such as a
period drama, consider writing it first as a novel or perhaps a short story.
Then you'll need to get the novel or story published. Tough no doubt but
easier than first trying to sell an uncommercial spec script without any track
record.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Free "Net"

In The Wealth of Nations, Smith argued that only the unfettered dealings of merchants and customers could ensure economic prosperity. But he also warned against the formation of monopolies—mighty behemoths that face little or no competition. Our history brims with his legacy. Consider the explosion of industry and the reign of the robber barons during the first Gilded Age in the last decades of the 19th century.
Writes Bill Moyers.

He's right. Keep the net free. Printed material is still for sale in the free market and access to that gravy train is already heavily regulated by the editors, agents and publishing comglomerates.

Monday, October 16, 2006

One Degree

Is a big deal in the realm of global mean temperature. Care to try for one more? Jim Hansen says no. I for one don't want to try it either. Let's head this bastard off at the pass while we still can.

Another One Bites the Dust

I don't believe in divine intervention but things are really going bad for the Republicans. This Idaho zealot Helen Chenoweth Hage has met a permanant demise.
the circumstances of her death — “not wearing a seatbelt while holding a five-month-old in (her) lap” — seem fitting," The NewWest wrote. "Her own death came as a result of the libertarianism she tried to leave with us."
Sometimes accidents impersonate meaning. In reality it's another one gone.

Friday, October 13, 2006

GOP R.I.P.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

“embarrassing, terrible early work”

Around 1994 Ms. Novik began writing fan fiction, stories based on the characters of other writers. She called it “embarrassing, terrible early work” that could not be published — thankfully, she said — because it would be tantamount to copyright infringement on other authors’ characters.
This is the only true statement that can be made from this sort of thing. Sooner or later you write your own and see what can happen. I don't do dragons but this is the path for those who do. Knocking out one in two months is another matter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Blame Clinton and Carter?

Oh contraire, says Josh Marshall. I concur. The wingnut timeline seems to be off. It's the Bush brashness and refusal to communicate that inspires these unbalanced totalitarians. They're still very primitive but the inspiration for becoming nuclear will only increase.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Judges v. Bush

Memoirs That Sell

Sure, everyone knows about the James Frey caper, but take a look at this, pardon the expression, lowballing of the genre. And the follow up "family" edition just sold.
ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME. KEVIN., a humorous account of his deeply-disturbing spiritual crisis, which sends him back to his childhood home in North Carolina in search of his Ultimate Purpose, only to be met with serious doses of reality in the form of his congenitally reclusive brother, manic depressive mother, and grandmother suffering from advanced Alzheimer's (his grandfather and dad were there, too, but they never left the basement where they continually repaired a single lawn mower), to Lindsay Sagnette at Bloomsbury, by Erin Hosier at The Gernert Company.
With that kind of background it's easy to see why Keck is successful. Naturally he and Tommy Lee share the same agent.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The So-Called Tribal Lands

Martin Smith reports tonight on Frontline about the Taliban/ bin Laden connection this netherworld border area in Pakistan. This place has to be cleaned out. It's the root cause. The nutball islamic cavity in the planet. THis is what should have been done instead of Iraq. And perhaps it would have if we'd elected someone other than the Ford administration. Sizeable troops staitioned in the area should move in a take the place down. Musharef take your book money and duck pal. Your backyard is the problem.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

"Something Hairy is Going On"

Stephen King on writing. Dead on as usual.

Dr. Kissinger I Presume

Henry Kissinger is advising Bush and Cheney on Iraq. Yeah, making up for Viet Nam, and still clueless after all these years.

"General Abiziad and Murtha are just that...far apart." Bob Woodward on 60 Minutes.

"Mr. Woodward reports," writes Janet Maslin in her NYT book review, "that when he told Mr. Rumsfeld that the number of insurgent attacks was going up, the defense secretary replied that they’re now “categorizing more things as attacks.”

This is akin to the right wing assertion on Global warming that more storms are classified as category 3-5 now than were before. It's a cookbook propaganda technique they use for everything.

Bush: "I'll stay in Iraq even if Laura and Barney are the only support I have."

As Barney the Scottish terrier goes, so goes the nation apparently. Houston we have a problem.
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