Saturday, July 31, 2021

July Words of Wisdom

When laws do not apply to those who make them, people are not being governed, they are being ruled. --Judge Michael McHaney

The last person to trust with power is someone who is dying to have it. The best person to wield power is someone who is reluctant to do so, but who will do it for a while as a civic duty. That is why term limits should make it impossible to have a whole career in politics. --Thomas Sowell

Once men turned their thinking over to machines in the hope that this would set them free. But that only permitted other men with machines to enslave them. --Frank Herbert (Dune)

One of the most courageous decisions you'll ever make is to finally let go of what is hurting your heart and soul. --Brigitte Nicole

May we think of freedom not as the right to do as we please, but the opportunity to do what is right. --Peter Marshall

I can say - not as a patriotic bromide, but with full knowledge of the necessary metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, political and esthetic roots - that the United States of America is the greatest, the noblest and, in its original founding principles, the only moral country in the history of the world. 
--Ayn Rand

Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed. --Friedrich Nietzsche

Comfort food is the food that makes us feel good - satisfied, calm, cared for and carefree. --Ellie Krieger

Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear and how to be free from it. --Veronica Roth (Divergent)

We live in an age where tradition is one of the highest forms of rebellion. 
--G.K. Chesterton

Trying to hurt me by bringing up my past is like trying to rob my old house. I don't live there anymore. That ain't my stuff. --Unknown

Each morning we are born again...what we do today is what matters most. 

Whoever retains the faculty of seeing beauty doesn't age. --Franz Kafka

The tranquility that comes when you stop caring what they say. Or think, or do. Only what you do. --Marcus Aurelius

Life isn't always about doing the things we like to do. It's about doing things we have to do. --David Goggins

Education is not merely neglected in many of our schools today but is replaced to a great extent by ideological indoctrination. --Thomas Sowell

Freedom of speech includes the freedom not to agree, not to listen and not to support one's own antagonists. --Ayn Rand

Crime is common. Logic is rare. --Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: I have to go to work - as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I'm going to do what I was born for - the things I was brought into the world to do. Or is this what I was created for? To huddle, under the blankets and stay warm? --Marcus Aurelius

Be as socialist as you want with your own money, leave mine out of it. --Alice Smith

There is no security, no safety, in the appeasement of evil. --President Ronald Reagan

Protesters in Cuba and Hong Kong seem to love the American flag more than some of our Olympic athletes. --Rep. Jim Jordan

When society makes criminals into heroes and turns its heroes into villains, it is doomed. --Brigitte Gabriel

The socialist idea is nothing but a grandiose rationalization of petty resentments. --Ludwig von Mises

What is the new definition of conspiracy theorist? Someone who doesn't swallow everything the government and mainstream media says without question. --Alice Smith

The hills of West Virginia are breathtakingly beautiful. The people I met there were unfailingly kind, and forgiving of my liberal tendencies. Though the culture, landscape, attitudes, voting tendencies, and religious beliefs were about as far from my own as Saudi Arabia's, I felt at home. I was enchanted - both by the people I met and by McDowell County's mist-covered small towns. --Anthony Bourdain

Truth is treason in an empire of lies. --George Orwell

It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom. --Aristotle

The time is always right to do the right thing. --Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Awards action

Got some great news yesterday - Crossing Borders, which includes my short story "Like Deja vu All Over Again" is a finalist for the Silver Falchion Award for Best Short Story Collection/Anthology. This award is presented by the annual convention Killer Nashville

Come on August 21!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

I feel a trip to Colorado coming on

Back in April, it was reported that Casa Bonita, the Colorado theme restaurant made world famous by South Park, was in danger of closing. The article also mentioned that South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone had expressed interest in buying and saving the restaurant, but there was nothing concrete.

The good news - that appears to have changed. Not sure how the current owners feel about it, but Parker and Stone are reportedly all in

No joke, I will totally go there if they're able to pull this off.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Words of Wisdom: Writing and Creativity Edition

The mystery story is two stories in one: the story of what happened and the story of what appeared to happen. --Mary Roberts Rinehart

Ideas are cheap. It's the execution that is all-important.--George R.R. Martin

The script, I always believe, is the foundation of everything. --Ewan McGregor

Rule one, you have to write. If you do't write, nothing will happen. --Neil Gaiman

You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page. --Jodi Picolt

I write because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention. --George Orwell

Reading is that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude. 
--Marcel Proust

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss it you will land among the stars. --Les Brown

The solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. --Albert Einstein

The most potent muse of all is our own inner child. --Stephen Nachmanovich

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. --Pablo Picasso

I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues. --Duke Ellington

Breaking rules isn't interesting. It's making up new ones that keeps things exciting. --Christopher Nolan

The first draft of a book - even a long one - should not take longer than three months, the length of a season. If you spend too long on a piece, it begins to take on an odd foreign feel. --Stephen King

Be regular and orderly in your life, so you may be violent and original in your work. --Gustave Flaubert

That's my advice with dealing with writer's block. Follow the fun. If you aren't having fun, you are doing it wrong. --Jordan Peele

Writing books is all I ever wanted to do. Yet, for many years, I wore my writing dream like a costume - acting the part but never really committing to the work. 
--Andrea Jarrell

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

New blood

The bad news: I was under the impression that the new season of Dexter was coming in September. Turns out we're going to have to wait a bit longer - the premiere date was just announced as November 7

The good news? A new Dexter trailer.

Love. It.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Recent reading: "Close-Up on Sunset Boulevard"

Close-Up on Sunset Boulevard: Billy Wilder, Norma Desmond, and the Dark Hollywood Dream by Sam Staggs

This exhaustingly comprehensive analysis of all things under the sun related to the classic film Sunset Boulevard was actually a bit of a slog to get all the way through, and that's coming from a long-time fan of the film. It's great when it's focused on the movie and the principle figures involved with bringing it to the screen, but a lot of it is Stagg opining instead of reporting and addressing every possible issue peripherally related to the film. This book runs 379 pages and at times felt like twice that. I did enjoy the amount of ink devoted to post-Boulevard Gloria Swanson, and Nancy Olson's interview and fascinating life were a high point in the book. 

I found it hard to care about the backstage drama of the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage musical version (Patti LuPone thought she was going to star as Norma Desmond on Broadway and never forgave Webber for giving the role to Glenn Close; some genius thought casting uber-diva Faye Dunaway as Close's replacement in the L.A. production was a good idea and of course things crashed and burned), and Stagg frequently inserting his own often lofty opinions rather than simply stating facts became tiresome. 

For some reason Stagg felt the need to wrap up the book with a largely withering critique of Wilder's work post-Sunset Boulevard, which had marked the end of his writing partnership with Charles Brackett. Reading this chapter, you would have thought that Wilder's career practically tanked after this film despite the fact that some of his post-Boulevard/Brackett films included the classic films Stalag 17, The Seven Year Itch, Some Like It Hot, Witness for the Prosecution, The Apartment, Sabrina, and Ace in the Hole.

This book is a great source of information about Sunset Boulevard, but you might want to skim through some of it and maybe even skip some of it.

From the book:
The Apartment has its legions of defenders, including those who picked the AFI's 100 funniest movies: it's number twenty on their list. The main reason I don't like it is hyper Jack Lemmon, whose tempo and twitches make me want to reach for a Valium. (I have similar adverse reactions to Betty Hutton, Robin Williams, Diane Keaton, and Jerry Lewis).

To me, The Apartment is as dated and threadbare as Camelot. I also find it jarring, for Wilder once again, as in Stalag 17, conflates incompatible elements - in this case, farce and ethics. It's a bit like casting solemn Gregory Peck in The Bed Before Yesterday.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Okay, I've never liked PayPal but it's been a necessary evil. Until now.

The credit card that I use for most of my purchases expired last month. That means that not only did I get a new card that's one of those weird-looking contact-free cards (apparently plastic cards with raised numbers are a thing of the past) but I also had to notify various accounts I do business with of the new expiration date. Which is no biggie. Something I can totally handle.

Then yesterday I got this email from PayPal:

"If this card was your preferred way to pay online..." PayPal has NEVER been my preferred way to pay online, bitches! I only used it when it was the only option. And I've never, ever had a vendor "automatically" update my credit card information. Never. This was a first, and not a welcome one.

The account did list a purchase I made in early July so maybe they got the expiration date from that vendor somehow, but they did it without consulting me and I certainly wouldn't give someone else permission to share my credit card info. If they had bothered to ask, that is.

And if that wasn't intrusive enough, not only do they have my updated expiration date, but they also had a friggin' image of my card displayed on their site. How they got it, I have no idea. I was beyond disturbed by this. Is it that easy for an online vendor to get not only my credit card info without my participation, but they even have a damn picture of my card on their site? 

I've never really liked PayPal and only used them when a seller didn't give me any other option, but this was too much. Waaaaay too intrusive. If I want you to have my updated credit card info, I'll give it to you. It's not that hard. But you don't get to take it. 

So just before writing this post, I finally closed my PayPal account. If you're selling something you're going to have to give me an option other than PayPal. I'll go old school and mail you a check if necessary. People did it that way for years and managed to survive. But PayPal is no longer an option. And life will go on just fine without them.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Get well soon, Fluffy

Comedian Gabriel Iglesias had to cancel a show yesterday after testing positive for COVID. He'd been vaccinated but contracted the virus anyway. If you know anything about Fluffy, you know this is probably the worst birthday ever, and not necessarily because of the aches and chills:

"Not the way I wanted to spend my birthday but at least I'm alive and I have cake," he concluded the announcement, adding, "I can't taste it or smell it, but I have it."

Fortunately, it seems like he has a mild case and should be okay, although one worrisome thing is his obesity. I've read in multiple places that a large number of COVID fatalities involve excess weight.

Another thing I thought was odd is that the issue of contracting The Plague after being vaccinated against it was kind of ignored. Iglesias credited the vaccine with getting him through it quickly, so to speak. But there's been so many stories circulating about side effects from the vaccine that it seems odd to gloss over it...but unfortunately not surprising. Most media is really towing the line when it comes to ignoring this aspect of the COVID story. 

I know if I'd allowed myself to be punctured not just once, but twice with a needle containing what is (whether you like it or not) still really an experimental drug rushed to market, and then I caught the damn disease anyway, I'd be pissed. Even at my age I have a 99+% of recovering if I get it without benefit of being used as a human pin cushion. Why let someone inject me with the stuff.

Well, enough of that rant for now. Get well soon, Fluffy!

Pic snicked from the linked article.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

We've got bad TV news and good TV news

Let's get the not so good news out of the way. The Nicholas Cage Tiger King project isn't happening. Gotta say I'm really disappointed with this news. I was seriously looking forward to seeing Cage as Joe Exotic. That would have been epic levels of scenery chowing. Quite the bummer.

As a palate-cleanser to that news comes word that both Jennifer Carpenter and John Lithgow are reprising their roles as Debra Morgan and The Trinity Killer respectively in the Dexter revival. Due to the fates of both characters it's almost a certainty the will appear in flashbacks, but it will still be great to see them and see how Dexter remembers them. 

Dexter is back this fall.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Flashback Friday of a sorts

This would be hilarious, unless you're one of the astronauts. Since I'm not an astronaut I think it's hilarious. But if I was an astronaut, I'd be seriously pissed.

And now, for your heartwarming story of the day:

Enjoy your weekend!

Sunday, July 4, 2021

Happy Birthday America the Beautiful!!!

I know I've posted this before, but I just can't get enough of it. And I suddenly have a strange urge to own a Dodge Challenger. Seriously, if this was the actual commercial they'd aired I'd have no choice but to give them my business. Props to Carlos Kmet, who dubbed in the Team America song for fun.

You may be the most cynical, born and bred, citified lefty like me - instinctively skeptical of big concepts like "patriotism", relatively foreign to hunting culture, unused to wide open spaces. But spend any length of time traveling around Montana and you will understand what all that "purple mountain majesties" is all about. You'll soon be wrapping yourself in the flag and yelling, "America, fuck yeah!" with an absolute and non-ironic sincerity that will take you by surprise. --Anthony Bourdain

Friday, July 2, 2021

Wherever shall I spend this largesse?

This was actually posted to the White House Instagram account:

Seriously, with so many prices skyrocketing this year (especially gas and lumber) someone in the administration thought that posting that was a good idea. 

But enjoy your extra $0.16. Don't spend it all in one place, like for example, the gas station.

Images snicked from all over the internets. Let me know if any of them are yours so I can give credit where credit is due.

Updated 7/4/21: The Babylon Bee (of course) has some great ways to splurge on that extra $0.16!!!