Happy Thanksgiving! (Now Let’s Wreck Our Family?)

Based on my novels’ overall background subject matter, on here as you know invariably some nods are given to the realities of politics. But that’s all. This site is NOT about partisan politics, we’re readers and writers here.

So this post is not some shocking change of pace. It’s not about “politics.” However, a few brief paragraphs of background are unfortunately required for this post if you’ll just bear with me for a moment as you read and scroll down.

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“Paris” Will Always Capture U.S. Headlines

There has been criticism in some media and social media quarters over the avalanche of U.S. media reporting on the November 13 Paris massacres. Pointed to especially has been the comparatively far lesser coverage of the November 12 Beirut suicide blasts, in which over 40 were killed. The disparity between the two has prompted accusations that Americans simply don’t care nearly as much about mayhem in Beirut as they do about mayhem in Paris:

Screen capture of the New York Times.
Screen capture of the New York Times.

I’m not going to try to defend a difference in newspaper column inches and cable TV air time between the two horrors. Rather I will attempt briefly to address what is probably the basis for it. A personal experience came to my mind.

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A Soul Of Steel

Late on Thursday, I had driven my father and sister back to his Pennsylvania house (a 2 and 1/2 hour trip). Yesterday I came back here to the Catskills. I have been so stressed out in the last month over the death of my uncle and especially my mother, I wanted to be alone here in my own house for a few days…. and listen to music, watch the occasional deer, and stare at the scenery:

We've awoken to unexpected snow in the Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]
We’ve awoken to unexpected snow in the Catskills. [Photo by me, 2015.]

But that didn’t mean I’d cut myself off completely. Last night, I was chatting with a cousin on the phone. We were discussing my mother and my uncle, and their deaths, and remembering family, such as our grandparents.

Suddenly my wife messaged me – from ENGLAND – asking had I seen what was happening in Paris?

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Catskills “Frontiers”

As I’ve noted before, I will always remember, in the immediate aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene ripping through the Catskills in August 2011 – and us, with a generator, so we could actually watch some news and have internet – hearing CNN’s Anderson Cooper actually say, “Prattsville, New York,” several times to a worldwide audience. It was surreal. We always see disasters played out in media “elsewhere,” but it never happens to “us,” right?:

That nearby town had been virtually destroyed when waters from the massively overflowing Schoharie Creek tore through it. Four years on, the scars are still there, yet it has rebuilt wonderfully – there are new stores and refurbished homes. (We venture in there primarily to shop at the well-stocked “Great American” supermarket.) It looks almost like another place now.

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And You’re Sure The Minitel Could’ve Gone Global

R. J. Nello:

It’s interesting, and pleasing, when an “old” post suddenly re-attracts attention briefly – usually thanks to visitors coming in via searches such as Google.

You may not really know why they have exactly. However, that renewed attention may lead you to wonder if it could use a “repost.” Those work best, really, if the original was not “timely” and based on some particularly current issue, and especially if newer followers may have missed it the first time.

So why not? I posted this lighthearted piece back on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Now, as for today, October 2, 2015, have a good Friday…. wherever you are in the world. :-)

Originally posted on R. J. Nello:

Intriguing web page that was shared with me yesterday:

17 signs your soul belongs in France

As with most such lists, some observations – even if trite – should ring a bell:

4. You can spot Americans in France from a mile away. They’re wearing a t-shirt, and probably speaking English loudly, as if the reason they’re not being understood isn’t the language barrier but that they’ve yet to make themselves sufficiently audible. Also, they’re likely smiling. Who does that?

It’s Saturday, so whether you are American, or not, let’s, uh, risk a smile.

* * *

Reading that paragraph, Woody Allen films immediately jump to mind; but noting Americans’ distinctive national attire while traveling abroad is not all that new. That said, another giveaway, on men over “age 55,” is they are wearing white sneakers, blue jeans, and a baseball cap (sometimes with the name of a…

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We The “Peeple”

If you despise Facebook and don’t use it because you consider it too intrusive and even at times a bit, uh, creepy, well, brace yourself…. because as the Washington Post tells us:

Screen capture of the Washington Post.
Screen capture of the Washington Post.

I have no idea how many of you read me and never make yourself known. And that’s fine. That’s entirely your right, of course.

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Talking With The Cast

The other night Sir Bruce Forsyth was a guest on the BBC’s One Show. He has been best known most recently as host of the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. The U.S. version is Dancing With The Stars.

Within moments, it became clear why he was on the program. He has a book out about his life and career:

Screen capture of the BBC web site.
Screen capture of the BBC web site.

His life has been “lived” largely before an audience. He was a performer who grew into a celebrity. In comparison, I suspect most authors instinctively feel uncomfortable with celebrity.

Most being the most important word there. There are always exceptions. Some clearly do revel in being the center of attention:

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An NFL Team In London?

My novelist uncle in Rhode Island was messaging me again yesterday. It wasn’t about writing or books, which I actually find useful. This time is was about the NFL’s New York Jets playing at London’s Wembley Stadium this weekend.

Are they? I had no idea. Regardless, he should be writing his next book (I’m still cleaning up mine)…. not messing around on Facebook. Eh, but nevermind, it got me thinking:

Screen capture of Messenger.
Screen capture of Messenger.

I remember Sky Sports, in the late 1990s/ early 2000s, showing the NFL from the U.S. on Sunday evenings to what must have been about “a few dozen” U.K. viewers – half of them probably Americans. (Five hours ahead here, watching the entire “4 o’clock game” E.T. was too late for anyone with a job.) The two anchors – one American, one British – hosted while sitting on what looked like reclaimed furniture. The set would not have been out of place on a U.S. TV cable local access show.

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Our Censorious Era (“How dare you write that”)

Following on from that post the other day on For Such a Time, I’ve read here and there about accusations of “racism,” “privilege,” and “Western cultural arrogance” in “romance” and “young adult” literature. That’s not an easy subject to address in a blog post. However, authoring as I do for adults (and not for children), I just wanted briefly to note my view. (Separately, I’ve already addressed the issue of an author spewing hatred while “hiding” behind his/her characters.)

Naturally, not every novel by every writer is going to be fantastic. Still it is chilling to read anything that even vaguely argues authors should be wary about exploring characters who aren’t much like themselves. That could lead, in itself, to writers becoming fearful of trying to create what could be some truly worthwhile literature.

Free Stock Photo: Group of business workers.
Free Stock Photo: Group of business workers.

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Some Risk Death Seeking What Others “Joke” About

When I first read a few days ago about what she had “joked” about, I knew immediately she would have to walk back the comments. And she did:

Screen capture of the Guardian.
Screen capture of the Guardian.

That Guardian piece also notes:

She joked that British people tend to look down on Americans….

I find it really irritating that she “joked” about that on U.S. national TV’s Jimmy Kimmel, because millions of Americans will take what she says as “lightheartedly” accurate. True, no one ever knows what people say about you behind your back. However, I can say that I have not experienced a sense of being “looked down on” by British people.

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