Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fight the Power!

Today, I started a new novel, a satire of sorts, because sometimes satire is the best weapon writers have.  It’s called AmeriMania and it’s about a middle school kid named Jake who is empathetic and kind, which is a really big problem in a country run by “Socios.”  Here’s the first paragraph:

“Jake sat inside the principal’s office, studying a portrait of his country’s current president, a shiny black building in the shape of a thick bullet, known by everyone as the Homeland Corporation.  President Homeland Corporation was the only president Jake knew.  He was too young to remember the last one, President Yummy Food Industries....”

What’s so startling (and heartbreaking) about this project is that it will write itself.  Time to channel Dr. Strangelove and all the forces of literature to fight against one of the most selfish, fear-based, hypocritical, sick and twisted, depressing and demoralizing periods in America’s history.  Not that any of this will matter, but at least I’ll get some of the angst out of my system.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Luke Skywalker v. The Death Star

So I've been thinking a lot about this documentary and this book.

I've also been thinking about what this country stands for versus the illusion of what this country stands for.  I'd like to think we still stand for something.  I'd like to think these two words still have meaning:

Mark my words, when we are all dead and gone, many years from now, Edward Snowden will be hailed as a hero and a patriot and as fine and loyal and upstanding an American as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Thomas Paine, Frederick Douglas, and every other exceptional spokesperson for Freedom, Justice, and the principles this nation is supposed to uphold.  What a brave, courageous, unbelievable thing he did.  It sickens me that we have sociopaths and evil monsters in incredible positions of power who are not held accountable for systematically dismantling these two words from the breast of every citizen in this nation.  If we are truly an exceptional nation, than we need to start acting like one and figure out exactly what it is we truly believe.  I don't want my life collected and used against me by any government agency.  Ever.  For any reason.  And I'm tired of being so profoundly disappointed in government officials who refuse to stand up for basic decency and the right thing to do.  Prior to spending time learning about this entire NSA fiasco, I was as far from anti-government anything as a citizen could possible be.  Now?  I don't know what to think anymore.  Ever since 9/11, it seems our "best and brightest" are going out of their way to play into all the fears and evil tendencies that topple great nations.  I will never support the Death Star or Darth Vader ever in my life, but I have to say, having spent a good chunk of time absorbing and fully understanding Edward Snowden's intentions, reasons, and methods in exposing the most unbelievable, evil, insidious and shocking government over-reach in our nation's history, I have come to the conclusion that Edward Snowden is Luke Skywalker, the lone champion who has dared to stand up for what is right and just and honorable.  And the forces against him are supporters of tyranny, totalitarianism, abuse of power, oppression, villainy, and everything Darth Vader and the Death Star stand for.

I have always been a huge supporter of President Obama.  I have always been a huge supporter of Hillary Clinton.  But I have to say, I am in TOTAL disagreement with both of them on their characterization of Edward Snowden.  He did every citizen in America a HUGE favor, and when our leaders aren't articulating that, they sound profoundly out of touch with reality.   Maybe they have to say that, but I'm tired of listening to politicians saying what they have to say versus saying what is right.  I'm tired of this country acting like such a hypocritical thug.  I'm tired of sociopaths getting their way with no accountability whatsoever.  I'm tired of all the greed, selfishness and petty authoritarian secrecy, lying, crazy hopeless wars and all-out insanity that has been going on for the past 13 years, all because of terrorists with box cutters.  When will this low-point in our nation's history begin to trend back upward?

Leaders of the United States of America, please for the love of God, quit acting like you're working for this

and start acting like you're working for this:

Friday, November 21, 2014

Monster in the Box

I've always been fascinated with monsters who create such a genial, non-threatening image for themselves.

Fictional monsters are one thing.  Real-life monsters are another.

No one has mastered the illusion better than Bill Cosby.  We all loved him.  He was a master comedian and all-around great guy, funny, goofy, in tune with how kids thought, and a self-proclaimed expert at being a father.  How painful the truth has become this week.  At some point, the accusations become so numerous and overwhelming that the odds of every woman making up such stories are statistically impossible.  It's sort of like Holocaust survivors making up their stories to bring down a nefarious Nazi.  I tend to believe the Holocaust survivors and I'm finding myself completely believing these women.  Added with their testimony is the evidence that Bill Cosby was in real life a not-very-nice man and a narcissist.  He actually fits a profile from this book:

Actually, this whole messy, ugly, truly sad affair brings up another messy, ugly truth that I’ve been in denial about for the past 20 years.

It’s so hard to acknowledge that some of our greatest artists may in fact be sexual predators worthy of our contempt and revulsion.  The issue isn’t how quickly we judge, but how easily we turn a blind eye.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Bill Maher's Jerrymandering

Bill Maher's Real Time is a marvel to me.  It's funny, on point, insightful, funny, relevant, necessary, and oh so damn funny, especially when Jerry Seinfeld is his special guest.  These two together are as good as it gets.  I look forward to seeing Bill Maher on a segment of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee very soon!

"People should be more sophisticated?  How are you gonna get that done?"

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Master is Back on Top

Of all my impressionable moments as a writer, none are as endearing (and enduring) as watching a great Woody Allen film in a movie theater.   

Woody Allen's latest film is also one of his best

According to my questionable records, I've seen 19 Woody Allen films in movie theaters, dating back to 1982 with a double feature a few weeks after my high school graduation at the Picture Show in the Fairhaven district of Bellingham, WA.

Annie Hall & Manhattan, 6/29/82, w/ Neal, Kevin & Brenda
I remember leaving the Picture Show in awe.  It was the first time I'd really appreciated the storytelling gifts of Woody Allen.  I wanted to know how he did it, how he told his stories so well.  I guess I've been pursuing his magic touch ever since.

The same sense of awe happened again in 1983 with Zelig, 1985 with The Purple Rose of Cairo, 1986 with Hannah and her Sisters, 1987 with Radio Days, 1992 with Husbands and Wives, 1995 with Bullets Over Broadway, 1997 with Deconstructing Harry, 2005 with Match Point, 2011 with Midnight in Paris and now this past weekend with Blue Jasmine.

For over 30 years, I've had the pleasure of going to a Woody Allen film in a movie theater and experience a compelling, engaging story about adults, for adults.  In a way, his films have influenced me more than any other collection of stories.   He's our Chekhov. 

Blue Jasmine, 8/16/13, w/ Alice

I hope the magic never ends!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Finding a literary agent to represent your book is a little like finding gold on an island.  You gotta dig, dig, dig, dig, dig, then dig some more, then hop on over to another island and continue digging.  And hopping.  And digging.  Until one day, you find gold. 

I found gold!

Friday, June 7, 2013

My First 99-Day Novel

I leave for Alaska tomorrow with Alice and the only thing I need to worry about is not worrying about anything at all.

That will be tough, actually, because in the past three months I've lost touch with lazy Michael and become addicted to workaholic Michael.  Hmmm...Yeah, that's not good, either, I guess.  But I have to say, workaholic Michael sure knows how to work.

Don't Eat the Zombie Cookies, a novel I started after leaving mom's place in Arizona back in late-February/early-March, is on paper and ready for a major revision after I return from a week aboard the Star Princess.  This will be my first cruise ever and the timing couldn't be better.

Right now, aside from this picture...

...which is still my current favorite picture of all time, this picture... my second favorite!

Now if I can just turn off my mind and relax for a week instead of plotting out the next book I plan to write.  I've got the sickness bad!