Let’s Not Forget The Balcony Scene

We seem beset lately with academics being funded to study high-profile, fantasist entertainment. We’ve recently been informed that “Disney Princesses” are dangerous to young girls. Now, for older ones, it’s being widely reported that so are the likes of Love, Actually:

Screen capture of the Telegraph.
Screen capture of the Telegraph.

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U.S. Expat Murdered In Italy

[UPDATED: January 18: see below.]
[UPDATED: January 13: see below.]

Struggling to outline the next novel and how I am going to attack the tale and its scope, I spent most of this morning and early afternoon reading and tapping tapping tapping preliminary notes – all while trying to take myself back to the 1790s.

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“Hey, that’s my movie!”

Perhaps you care more about this sort of thing when you actually create something that’s yours. The idea of your work being stolen is, frankly, a nightmare. And that is why there is something called “copyright.”

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

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“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”: This Novelist’s Reaction

Okay, Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Read no more of this post if you have not seen the film, plan to, and care about this subject.

You can, of course, read on if you don’t care. ;-)

**********SPOILER ALERT**********
I REPEAT: LAST WARNING: Do NOT read on if you care about spoilers!

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Where Everyone Is The Same, Thinks The Same, And Owns A Camel

I remember U2 lead singer Bono some years ago being questioned on why so many people seemed to dislike him. We know his image in media is that of someone who’s generally excessively sanctimonious and pompous. He responded by saying of himself that he understood why: if he saw “Bono” as reported on the news, he said, “Bono” would really annoy him, too.

So much anger and ignorance we see currently is plainly rooted in stereotypes that stem from often sensationalist news reporting. Note this ugly letter to the editor that appeared recently in Kingston, New York’s Daily Freeman newspaper. (Kingston is about an hour from where we have our house here in the Catskills.) This bigoted mess was actually composed in 2015:

Screen capture. Letter to the Editor, Daily Freeman, December 15, 2015.
Screen capture. Letter to the Editor, Daily Freeman, December 15, 2015.

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Trump-ed Up Hysteria

In recent days, we have all encountered it on television and the internet. We are lectured by bombastic voices that all people holding the Islamic faith overseas should not be allowed to set foot in the U.S. (temporarily, of course, we are also dutifully informed by some) because it’s a religion that includes terrorists. At a single stroke, a billion people have all been decreed terrorists by faith association.

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

Yes, a tiny number of Muslims born in the U.S., and recent immigrants, have turned to a terrorism they claim they undertake in the name of Islam. Some of those have even moved abroad to join terror groups. I’m unaware of anyone in the U.S. government asserting that troubling issue should be ignored.

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E-Books Are Here To Stay

Have you read any good books lately (besides any of mine)? ;-) If so, on which “platform?” E-book or paperback?

Screen capture of Twitter.
Screen capture of Twitter.

Thus tweets the editor of the New York Times Book Review. Some replying have questioned it, pointing out for instance that it is just one year, and also that many e-books are “overpriced” by large publishers while many paperbacks are “priced to sell.” Yet it does once more address that tantalizing question: E-books or paperbacks?

I hate talking money. However, occasionally we do all alas have to nod to it in life. Many readers might not know: Kindle and other e-readers have been a real boost for us lesser-knowns and those looking to break into authoring, who often indie publish to get a start.

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Black Friday “Fizzle”

We were visiting relatives in Connecticut for Thanksgiving Day and I drove us back here to Pennsylvania yesterday. It was at my mother’s cousin’s. She and her family were so good – insisting on cooking for us and trying to support my father on the holiday after my mother’s recent death.

While I was out a little while ago, I heard an Associated Press report on the car radio that “Black Friday” has apparently begun “to fizzle out.” Most malls had plenty of parking, and “mob scenes” of past years were non-existent.

Free Stock Photo: A beautiful girl enjoying sales signs.
Free Stock Photo: A beautiful girl enjoying sales signs.

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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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