Friday, December 19, 2014

North Korea Demands 50 Shades of Grey Be Pulled

In between dictating Hollywood release dates, Kim Jong-un relaxes with giant fake cheese.
Universal is scrabbling to deal with a threat from Kim Jong-un to unleash terror unless 50 Shades of Grey is yanked from release. Scheduled for a February 13, 2015 premier, the steamy sex pic is said to have irritated the communist dictator who was quoted as saying, "This film is not realistic. Women are not tied up and beaten unless they are political prisoners. Then they killed with a flame thrower." Studio spokesperson Andy Stringcheesespine stated that no decision has yet been reached on whether  to comply with Pyongyang's demand, but added, "The right decision will be reached because Hollywood and courage are synonymous."
Image: Mirror

Friday, December 12, 2014

That Voiceover Improv Thing with Julianne Buescher

Image: katyanovablog

More mirth from Paul Rugg and friends as Julianne Buescher joined the gang on Wednesday for fun and robust comedy. Also present, long time Animaniacs supporter Ron O'Dell and spouse, yelling out suggestions in a manner befitting a long-time supporter.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Power of Five Pages

Image: Better Movement

New writing strategy as I press forward with 50 Shades of Zane Grey. I've broken my chapters up into threes and write in bursts of five pages. Not every chapter comes out to fifteen pages, but close enough. I find that five pages in a separate document limits my bad habit of drifting back to "fix" yesterday's stuff instead of pressing on. When I falter, it's only five pages.

Another plus is I can build mini-arcs into each five page packet, giving me tiny-cliffhangers within each chapter. Five is a very manageable number and I'm not frozen by the thought of how much further I have to go.

There's all kinds of ways of doing things and right now this is mine. I'm encouraged by how fast and how much I'm getting done. So far it beats word count as a daily metric.

Here is your Old West Word of the Day: GAY CAT—I know—defined as one who cases banks and towns for future jobs. (I'm sensing criminal activity here.) How language does change.

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Painted Bird Review

The Painted BirdThe Painted Bird by Jerzy KosiƄski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cruelty and brutality follow a Jewish child hiding out with Polish peasants during the Second World War. Overworked, beaten, the boy often runs away only to find his next home is basically identical to the one he just escaped. Author Jerzy Kosinski, who survived German savagery in Eastern Europe, made his tale fictional because it "forces the reader to contribute: he does not simply compare [as in autobiography]; he actually enters a fictional role, expanding it in terms of his own experience, his own creative and imaginative powers."

That said, the story was indeed relentless in its violent depictions, highlighted by a ruthless German attack on a village and the stomach-turning barbarities inflicted on a helpless populace. But after a time, you're almost numbed to the horrors  because they're always there. In the aftermath of the war, we see Warsaw become Lord of the Flies at night as parentless children, used to living on their wits, run in gangs, taking what they will.

A raw look at a slice of the Second World War unknown to most Western readers. And while well-written, with a note of hope at the end, it batters you with humanities' dark side.

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Friday, December 05, 2014

Famous People Born on My Birthday Repost

From December 5, 2011, I repost my birthday thoughts on fame and fortune. What have I learned in three years? A kind word opens many doors and that no man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a homunculus.

Thank you very much to all who have, so far, wished me Happy Birthday. In thinking of this day, I am reminded of several famous Americans who share my date of birth. I will list three and examine their accomplishments as compared to mine.

1. Martin Van Buren - b. Dec. 5, 1782

2. George Armstrong Custer - b. Dec. 5, 1839

3. Walt Disney - b. Dec. 5, 1901

4. John P. McCann - b. Dec. 5, 1952

1. Martin Van Buren succeeded greatly in becoming the 8th President of the United States but was hardly remembered even in his own day. He had a large bull frog stuffed and used as an ink well in the White House. However President Taft later sat on it by accident and they had to throw the thing out. That's about it.

2. George Armstrong Custer succeeded greatly as a soldier in the Civil War but had a mixed record fighting Indians. (1-1-2, I think.) He is best remembered for his spectacular fail at the Battle of the Little Big Horn. At first, everything was going well; then it all fell apart under an Indian tsunami. In later years, Custer had a park named after him as well as a monument and a movie where his part was played by Errol Flynn. That's a whole lot more than Van Buren ever got.

3. Walt Disney succeeded greatly in animation, a pioneer in the field, creator of iconic characters—but not the word 'iconic' which has been seized upon by junior execs.—established Disney studios and Disneyland and is fondly remembered to this day. Nonetheless his body is frozen in a vault beneath Disney's Burbank lot and should Walt be reanimated and start making decisions again it could effect his legacy.

4. John P. McCann was greatly successful as a Hollywood atmosphere player. McCann was the ship-board stand-in for a Canadian actor portraying Errol Flynn in My Wicked, Wicked Ways. In addition, he is visible catching Dennis Quaid's jacket at around 1:19 in a clip from Great Balls of Fire.
More successful in animation, McCann created the non-iconic character of The Huntsman. For the next fifteen years, he piggy-backed onto as many successful shows as his friends would allow. While the record is still being written, outsiders agree that McCann will be remembered by Bank of America and several other creditors who might reasonably feel aggrieved should he pass from the scene within the next several months.

Images:, Parcbench, fold3

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Jesus' Son Review

Jesus' SonJesus' Son by Denis Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Down and out in the Midwest, this collection of short stories invites you into the lives of addicts and petty criminals as they self-destruct, screw up the lives of those closest to them, and, in some cases, find hope. Denis Johnson's prose is a good mix of rich metaphors and sparse description as he walks us through the taverns, abandoned homes, and aging cars of his suffering protagonists.

The paperback edition is 160 pages and reads quickly as you encounter stories about losers who can't rid themselves of a physically powerful mute, a shooting that seems accidental and leads to the burden of an unwanted death, an addict Peeping Tom who really hopes to view a place for himself in the world. Overall, a good look at alienation, loneliness, and the expectancy of better days.

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7D Pick Up

Image: Disney 7D
Thus saith producer Tom Ruegger over at Cartoonatics. Disney has sprung for 39 more half hours, which translates into 78 shorts which translates into steady employment for many. Themes to be explored in the new season involve Dwarf rights, common sense magic control, and the strangling of democracy at the hands of imperialism by Queen Delightful and her little crown-wearing dog.