Sunday, March 31, 2019

March Words of Wisdom

If life shuts a door, open it again. It's a door. That's how they work. --Unknown

If you have to hurt other people in order to feel powerful, you are an extremely weak individual. --Bobby J. Mattingly

There are 249 millionaires in Congress. See, crime does pay. --Jay Leno

The truly contrarian thing is to think for yourself. --Peter Thiel

If you ever get the chance to treat them the way they treated you, I hope you choose to walk away and do better. --Najwa Zebian

There is nothing to take a man's freedom away from him, save other men.
--Ayn Rand

The problem is people are being hated when they are real, and are being loved when they are fake. --Bob Marley

Before you heal someone, ask him if he's willing to give up the things that made him sick. --Hippocrates

Work hard in silence, let success make the noise. --Frank Ocean

Givers have to learn to set limits because takers rarely do. --Irma Kurtz

I always tell people the difference between a professional writer and a person doing it as a hobby is the professional writers writes every day while the hobbiest writes only when "inspired". --Koji Sakai

When you look in the rearview mirror, you take your eyes off the road ahead.

You're like the ocean. Pretty enough on the surface, but dive down into your depths, you'll find beauty most people never see. --Ellen Hopkins

Don't waste your time looking back on what you have lost. Move on, for life is not meant to be traveled backwards. --Unknown

The only people mad at you for speaking the truth are those living a lie.

The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time. --Mary Oliver

You must learn a new way of thinking before you can master a new way to be. --Marianne Williamson

Friday, March 29, 2019

It's funny cuz it's true!

Ah, don't even get me started on Jussie Smollett and the whole separate justice for the rich, famous and connected...seriously, don't. Let's just say I don't think it's over yet, not by a long shot, and leave it at that for now.

In the meantime, however, I still find this funny:

Jussie Smollett's lawyer = Human Get Out of Jail Free Card.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

I just had a thought - now that "The Twilight Zone" is back, can we submit TZ spec scripts?

Because I just saw this online and promptly came up with a number of Twilight Zone-ish story ideas:

Let's see:

  • Loss of individual rights to the government? (or as Rod Serling usually referred to it, "The State") Check.
  • State mandated murder of (rather than protection of) children, the most vulnerable of our society? Check.
  • Mandatory criminalization of some people but not of others, i.e., preferential treatment for certain classes? Check
  • The State telling the citizens what opinions and beliefs they can and cannot hold? Check.
  • Strip the citizens of the ability to protect themselves from The State? Check.
  • Exemption from the law for certain classes of people preferred by The State? Check.
  • Dismantling of the U.S. Constitution? Check. (By the way, gotta love the term "sunset provision" rather than "dismantling of your constitutional rights provision". Very catchy, very cleverly deceptive. I think that's my episode title right there.)

I see stuff like this and I find myself thinking how much I'd love to see what Serling and George Orwell would be writing if they were alive today. I have a feeling they would run afoul of Mr. Yang and his ilk.

The oppression of the individual and individuality by "The State" was a favorite theme of Serling's; the episodes Eye of the Beholder, The Obsolete Man, and Number 12 Looks Just Like You spring to mind. And if the kind of "policies" listed above were to ever actually be implemented, we would be in a real-life Twilight Zone and Orwell's thought crimes wouldn't be far behind. 

And I'm not kidding about writing a Twilight Zone spec. Not with this kind of material to work with. The guidelines for TV specs always include a rule that the show has to currently be in production, so it would seem like TZ is fair game.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Recent reading: "The Closers"

The Closers by Michael Connelly (audiobook read by Len Cariou)

This was Bosch book #11 (from 2005) and Connelly is now up to Bosch #21, so this one is a bit of a throwback. No matter - it's vintage Bosch and vintage Connelly, and one of my favorite Bosch books so far.

Detective Harry Bosch is returning to the LAPD (in the Open/Unsolved Unit, specifically) after three miserable years as a retiree. He and his old partner Kiz Rider have been reunited by the new Chief of Police, and are sent right out of the gate on a 17 year old unsolved murder investigation reactivated after DNA on the murder weapon has come back with a match to a career petty criminal.

The cold case is the murder of Chatsworth teenager Rebecca Verloren, found shot to death near her home in what initially appears to be a poorly staged suicide. Racial issues, elite schools, red herrings, LAPD politics, and Bosch's nemesis Irvin Irving all play roles in the investigation. I'm also not usually a fan of my protagonist in an undercover role - for some reason it's always something that makes me uncomfortable - but Bosch pulls off a gem of an undercover performance staged to supplement a planted newspaper story intended to flush out Rebecca's killers.

As usual with Connelly, even when the crime has been solved and the story seems over, it goes on for a few more beats. Especially satisfying - besides Bosch seeing justice finally done for a teen girl and the parents destroyed by the murder of their only child - was the scene where the Chief unceremoniously "retires" Irving without warning and in front of an audience.

The plan translated into six pairs of detectives working twelve hour shifts. The shifts changed at six a.m. and six p.m. Since it was their case, Bosch and Rider got first choice of shifts, and had elected to cover Mackey at six p.m. This meant working through the night, but it was Bosch's hunch that if Mackey made a move or a call, it would occur in the evening, and Bosch wanted to be there when it happened.

Friday, March 15, 2019

We've all been this squirrel

It's still funny as hell. Squirrel drunk on fermented crab apples insists he's just fine. No, really.

The laughter just kills me.

H/T to The Epoch Times on FB.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Remember this the next time your celebrity betters lecture you on how to live your life and be a better person

In case you've been living under a media-free rock the past few days, actresses Felicity Huffman (who, ironically, recently played a Special Agent on Get Shorty) and Lori Loughlin (along with husband/fashion maven Mossimo Gianulli) are among a boatload of people busted by the FBI for fraud this week in a college admissions scandal. Along with a bunch of other rich elites whose rugrats couldn't make the university cut without Mommy and Daddy's high-priced intervention, Huffman and Loughlin paid bribes to get their underachieving brats into such lofty institutions as USC, Yale, Stanford, UCLA, and Georgetown.

Just to make this even more fun, apparently Loughlin's daughters were more interested in their burgeoning careers as YouTube and Instagram "influencers" than academics. They didn't even care about attending college, yet Mommy and Daddy rammed through their admissions at the expense of other, more qualified applicants. And they didn't just make "donations" to grease the wheels, they went the extra mile of having their little darlings falsely classified as athletes (rowing crew to be specific) to facilitate their acceptance, despite the fact that neither girl actually participated in the sport.

The axes have already started to fall. Hallmark just dumped Loughlin from multiple projects which, unfortunately, is going to cost a lot of innocent people their jobs. One of the Gianulli girls, Olivia Jade, just lost a partnership with Sephora. My not-so-extensive experience with "social media influencers" is pretty much limited to their participation in the Fyre Festival and now Olivia Jade; in other words, they seem to be vacuous idiots willing to sell themselves to anyone who can meet their price and feed their ego. I can only hope that that every time one of these so-called influencers are exposed, a few of their followers realize how empty their celebrity is and move on from supporting that sort of thing. Also, am I the only one who looks at Olivia Jade's photos and think that there's no way she ever reached that status without having rich celebrity parents? There's really nothing exceptional about her appearance. I've seen genuinely prettier women in offices I worked in. So again, she benefits from her parentage.

Then there's the critically lauded Huffman, who allegedly paid for someone else to take her daughter's SAT test (greatly improving her score) and whose online presence preaches empowerment for women and mothers - at least the Hollywood version - along with lots of feel good pep talk tweets and positive thinking memes.

My guess is that she wouldn't break the law.

Huffman's corresponding project, What the Flicka, seems to have been scrubbed from the internet - its Twitter, YouTube page and website are all gone. Her personal Twitter is still up and public; I figure it's still there for one of two reasons - she just hasn't gotten around to locking or deleting it, or it's going to be used for image rehab, complete with self-serving mea culpas and apologies. I'm sure her PR people are busy bees right now, especially since the investigation could also pull down the successful career and public image of her husband, actor William H. Macy.

UPDATE: Sometime between my writing this and pulling screenshots of some of her tweets and posting this, Felicity Huffman's Twitter account was deleted. I discovered this when I was testing links in my post.

In addition there is already a lawsuit filed on behalf of a student who applied to many of the affected colleges, was not admitted, and is claiming that this fraud cost him a spot. Not sure how this will actually fare in court, but I'm pretty sure it's only the first of many. There must be a lot of exceptional students out there who are wondering if one of the Huffman or Loughlin girls took a spot that should have been theirs.

Not that I ever take instruction on how to be a better person from celebrities and/or other movers and shakers, but their online presence frequently not only builds themselves up, but also seeks to tear down those who don't share their political and spiritual beliefs, or support the causes they support. I have nothing personal against either Huffman or Loughlin, nor am I generally the vindictive sort, but I also do not have a problem seeing hypocrites (bonus points for being rich and famous hypocrites) being pulled down from their lofty perches and being called out for actions they would crucify others for while committing the same offenses themselves, because in their world, some animals are more equal than others.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and if these rich, famous criminals get the same sentences the rest of us nobodies would get if we'd committed these crimes.

: Actor Dean Norris (DEA Agent Hank Schrader in Breaking Bad) went off on "rich fuckwads who cheated for their already privileged kids". Norris got into Harvard without benefit of any wealth, privilege or fraud. I hope this becomes the trend and not the exception, as Hollywood tends to protect its politically correct own. Again, it will be interesting to see.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

LOL hipsters

Yes hipsters, we will judge you by your man buns and knit caps and flannel shirts and idealized vision of socialism and demands for free stuff that isn't free and impotent outrage! And we'll laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh! Hey, it's a free country, if you want to be ridiculous by all means, have at it. Case in point: Man angry his photo was used to prove all hipsters look alike - then learns it wasn't him.

From the article (caption is mine):

The inclusion of a version of a Getty Images photo of a bearded, flannel-wearing man, tinted with a blue and orange hue, prompted one reader to write to the magazine: "Your lack of basic journalistic ethics in both the manner in which you 'reported' this uncredited nonsense, and the slanderous, unnecessary use of my picture without permission demands a response, and I am, of course, pursuing legal action."

But it wasn't actually him.

"I am, of course, pursuing legal action." OF COURSE YOU ARE!

I'm guessing the presumptuously offended party was seeing dollar signs and fame. No such luck! Because after he bitched, the adults got involved. Again, from the article:

So in the end our creative director...wrote to Getty Images and said, "Look, we have an angry reader who doesn't like the way we used this photo. Could you check that you know that he signed a model release and the license is all in order?

They have a team that deals with legal complaints and they went into their archive and checked the details and they came back to us and they said, "Actually, the model in this photo does not have the same name as the person who wrote to you."

But hey, thanks for confirming the point the article was making in the first place. Dumbass. By the way, nonconforming in the same way = conforming. Deal with it.

"If you want to be one of the non-conformists, all you have 
to do is dress just like us and listen to the same music we do..."

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Blast from the past

This recording is an hour from the KMPC Los Angeles morning drive broadcast on November 26, 1979, complete with news, weather and traffic. It was a different Los Angeles then. It was a different world then. If I had a time machine...

More info about this broadcast can be found here at Past Daily.

H/T to Vintage Los Angeles on FB for this.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Submitted for your approval - February edition

February roll call!

1) Submitted a short story to a crime anthology. It's one I've had kicking around for a while and I'd really like to get it published so I can retire it. It's earned it. Did a rewrite on it before submission, so I feel like it's a lot more polished than when I've submitted it in the past. Way more polished, as in I can't believe I actually sent it out like that! I also just found out that they've extended the deadline to March 15, almost a month later than the original deadline. Trying not to read anything into that, but it also means that it's going to be a while before they notify about acceptance or rejection. I'd really like to get into this one for a number of reasons, which I'll elaborate later when I hear from them, whenever that is.

2) Sent Chick Stuff with Whitney and Alannah to another short script contest. Those girls are really getting around.

Rejections! You want 'em, I got 'em!!!
  • The Atlanta Film Fest rejected Chick Stuff ever so politely.
  • As did the anthology Best Laid Plans, to which I'd submitted a short story last month called Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas. They received 72 submissions but could only accept 22. I like to think I slotted at #23. I have a very active imagination.
  • And neither of the stories I sent to the Writers' Digest Short Short Story last month made the cut.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Oh thank you, Heavenly Father!!!

Funny thing, just the other day I was wishing that The Book of Mormon would return to L.A. and it looks like my prayers were answered - the show is part of the Ahmanson's 2019-2020 season.

Sure, I have to wait a whole year (until February 18 - March 29, 2020) and I have to work it around Left Coast Crime in San Diego, but that still gives me plenty of time to get my Spooky Mormon Hell Dream on. Thank you Center Theatre Group! And of course Heavenly Father. He does hear our prayers!