Never In A Million Years

Laura had been born in upstate New York. She died August 26, 2004 on Long Island – 11 years ago now. Only 52 at the time, she’d died in her sleep of a previously undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm.

For those of us who grew up fans, she was like a local gal who’d “made it.” I saw her perform live once, and won’t ever forget it:

A sneak peek into "Distances." Click to enlarge.
A sneak peek into “Distances.” Click to enlarge.

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“You kids….and get off my lawn too!”

In a world full of young adult fiction readers who are also “social media” users, who could seriously argue the likes of Twitter are destroying novel reading among the young? For the two streams of entertainment aren’t mutually exclusive: reading a novel is one thing, while networking and socializing is another. Most people can walk and chew gum at the same time.

However, this retired English literature professor lumps them together:

Screen capture of the Daily Mail.
Screen capture of the Daily Mail.

His summation of novels in single tweets is amusing. However, his tweets are obviously not replacements for reading the full novels themselves. That said, I’ve also never seen the issue positioned before in that thrown back on itself manner.

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Fun With New Zealand’s Flag

You may know already that I like flags – especially when one happens to be a “double flag” photo I’d snapped in France longer ago than I now wish to remember, and which a couple of years ago I realized I could use as a novel’s cover:

Original photo, used for
Original photo, used for “Passports.” [Photo by me, France, 1991.]
And the flags over the rebuilt Fort William Henry, in upstate New York, are pretty majestic blowing in the breeze:

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Friday ’80s Musical Interlude

As we know, fictional characters say (or think) what is obvious to them, but what is also not necessarily clear to us. Often we’re “eavesdropping” on them as well. So at any given moment we may know more than they do, or know less. It all depends:

Excerpt from
Excerpt from “Frontiers,” on the iPad app for Kindle. Click to expand.

Incorporating subtle references to the 1990s and the years just prior (which are part of their own “recent” life memories), is just a bit of fun. Music, television and film favorites are part of that. We know life can’t always be treated so seriously, of course.

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Saturday Sinatra

A quiet Saturday morning. Tired mentally from the writing of the last few days, I was also at a loss this morning for a decent blog post topic. Then, suddenly, this hit me: I had been listening to this song at one point (it’s on my iPhone with others of his) while working yesterday and again while emptying the dishwasher a little while ago.

Whether it’s a decent post or not is entirely your call as always, of course. ;-) I’d had a look on YouTube and found this video for it, and it is more inventive than most: it cleverly edited in artistic, black and white, photographs. These are some examples:

Screen capture of YouTube.
Screen capture of YouTube.

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“Are you a typical American?”

Last weekend, I searched British TV in vain for a Humphrey Bogart film. I was simply in the mood, and was depressed when I couldn’t find one. Naturally, I informed (as one does nowadays) everyone on the planet who happened to be reading Twitter.

And a Twitter friend came to the rescue. He pointed out this is on YouTube. Here’s 1953’s Beat The Devil in its entirety:

It is in the public domain, so you may watch it guilt free. Bogart’s production company held the copyright, but allowed it to lapse. It’s his only film that’s outside copyright.

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Social Media Overload

The way information flies at us is now unprecedented. Masses comes our way, and we “gulp” down lots. But it’s hard to know how much we honestly can process.

Moreover, social media conveys a happy impression that we all live, more or less, in the same “space” – if not precisely the same geographic place. We’re seemingly required as well to have opinions on just about everything happening, and everywhere. And we have to have them immediately.

Free Stock Photo: A beautiful Chinese girl sitting tired at a desk.
Free Stock Photo: A beautiful Chinese girl sitting tired at a desk.

You find yourself worn out now and then? I do. This weekend was one of those times.

Saturday morning, one of my Twitter lists had displayed this. All at the same time. Seriously:

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As Bryan Adams Sang: “We all need somebody”

We’re informed – men, especially – “society” is truly terrified of “this” woman:

Screen capture of Elite Daily.
Screen capture of Elite Daily.

And why? Because, we’re also informed, we never see her. Other women dominate the silver screen:

….You know exactly what sort of leading lady I’m talking about: the damaged damsel in distress who’s tragically tethered to the tree of danger, and is patiently awaiting a sweepingly powerful (masculine) energy to find her in the thick of the forest, cut the ropes with his bare hands, rescue her and wrap up her tiny body in his big, burly arms.

OR it’s the doe-eyed, heartbreakingly self-destructive waif who hates herself with a fervent relentlessness and we watch, teary-eyed, as she spirals into the harrowing vortex of addiction and self-abuse — until the earth shattering moment an authoritative male figure magically appears in her life, by absolute happenstance, and an instant falls in love with her and peels her off the ground, saving her from the cell of herself….

As one who creates and writes many women characters, that assertion made me sit up and take notice. It’s certainly not unreasonable on some levels. But it’s also a massive over-generalization.

Think about it: Are nearly ALL women characters really portrayed only one of those two ways on screen?

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CNN Urges One Thing, But Your State Department Urges The Opposite

Over the years, I’ve been to some “problematic” places. You may have been, too. We know most people one meets in the world are fine.

Enter CNN’s Anthony Bourdain. An American, he has just been to “back to Beirut.” He says he loves the city:

Screen capture of the CNN web site.
Screen capture of the CNN web site.

And it’s wonderful he loves it. Certainly he’s not alone. At one point, he even declares:

It’s a place I’ve described as the Rumsfeldian dream of what, best-case scenario, the neocon masterminds who thought up Iraq, imagined for the post-Saddam Middle East: a place Americans could wander safely [Note: emphasis mine]….

But is it really that? Images whizzing by of dinner dishes, attractive people smoking (and of course looking “cool” while doing so), clubbers, and assorted glamour gloss (even bomb damaged buildings are made to seem “trendy”) is to be expected: CNN wants us to watch and hold our attention. But especially relevant for some prospective destinations is obtaining hard information beyond its “thrills,” “hipness” and “happenin’ness.”

Because YOU are NOT being paid to go there.

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“Foolish, Mr. Bond”

He is in Austria with his son, to see the Austrian Grand Prix.

She is with her daughter – recently turned 18 – on a long weekend in Split, Croatia.

Jet setters.

What we all do for friends, eh?:

Same cat. Using the top of the wine cooler, he likes sitting next to you at the kitchen island.
Using the top of the wine cooler, this one likes sitting next to you at the kitchen island.

Someone had to watch their cats, so we’re staying in their house.

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