Thursday, February 07, 2019

Scrivener Hacks for Macs

MyYouTube playlist for Mac users. Very basic novice stuff, for I, too, am a Scrivener neophyte. Hope it helps in ways grand and petite.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Pasadena Half-Marathon and 5k 2019

5k runners awaiting the gun. To the lower right are TNTvets Virginia Garner, David Hall, and the top of Esther's head. 

On good authority, Conquer Endurance Group held a half-marathon along with a 5k this crisp Sunday morning. My place was in the 5k, shivering with everyone else. As many know from my 13 + years of blogging, the Rose Bowl is my home turf, scene of much training, and now hosting an actual 3.1 mile event, finishing on the 50-yard line of the venerable stadium.

Early morning at the venerable stadium.

Back in October, I challenged myself to run this race as a motivation to lose weight. In that, I failed.  Backtracking briefly, last June, at this very same Rose Bowl, I injured my leg climbing over a construction fence. That threw off my training, led to weight gain, and the reduction of exercise to walking along thinking of better days.

Enough self-pity. I woke up and thought of reasons not to participate, but went anyway. Stuck in traffic for 25 minutes, I didn't panic, recalling worse jams at the Surf City Half-Marathon. There, I was stuck in my car for over an hour, needed a bathroom desperately, and missed the starting gun. Rushing across the start line, I failed to adequately warm up and wound up injured.

Sunrise over the arroyo. 

Today, I walked like I trained, only pushed it a little, and didn't really run until the finish line was in sight so as not to be picked off by a short round woman who was really tearing it up.

Ending inside the Rose Bowl was quit cool. There were ample bananas and bagels, Gator-Ade and bottled water. Very sweet bling and a decent technical shirt contributed to the morning's success.

In my age group, there were only twelve men. I finished at #6. Not bad at all, given my erratic training.

I should sign up for a spring 5k, just to keep in the game. Be a little more consistent with my preparation. But no injuries today made it an event worth getting out of bed for on a Sunday morning, other than an earthquake.

Me and my big fat medal.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

I Reject You


Each year I vow to tidy up all the paper surrounding me. Each time, I make some progress then stop because tomorrow remains the superior day to sort paperwork. Anyway, I found a bag filled with story rejections from 1985 to 1988. Those years encompass my undergraduate days and shortly thereafter. Incredible. A pecking order of refusal existed back then.

1. Form rejection.
2. Form rejection signed by the editor.
3. Form rejection signed by the editor with a personal note.

Titles included Grue Magazine, The Horror show, and FACET, A Creative Writing Magazine. My submission sampler displayed progress from 1 rejections to 3, but never a sale. The amount of paperwork involved was daunting with multiple envelopes and postcards. (I should do a video on all that.) One time, a single rejection lead to two. 

Today, sites such as Duotrope list publishers, markets, and all manner of writerly statistics. Below are my short story submissions from 2009 to 2016. So many markets have gone the way of Grue Magazine, but more open all the time. A few keystrokes launches a tale, instead of envelopes within envelopes. But stories shall be told, and writers write, and editors reject—and sometimes accept. So it goes.

Should you cringe at rejection's bitter sting, speaker and author Molly Fletcher notes the upside.

Monday, December 31, 2018

A Fine Blessed New Year

Coming soon to a calendar near you!
Drink for you and bed for me,
Forgoing delights of the spree,
For when I've drunk and 
Shunned my bed,
The new year starts,
With a painful head.

A droll poem, yes, but fresh chances await us all. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Rage Gangs Flourish When Authorities Hide

Broken and Betrayed: The true story of the Rotherham abuse scandal by the woman who fought to expose itBroken and Betrayed: The true story of the Rotherham abuse scandal by the woman who fought to expose it by Jayne Senior
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Grooming often works in the following manner: a young man, a lure, befriends an 11 to 16 year old girl. Winning her trust, he then introduces her to an "older friend," usually a guy in his mid-20s. This older friend plies the young girl with gifts, car rides, compliments, attention, drugs, alcohol. He becomes her "older boyfriend." Eventually, he introduces her to sex. Next, the boyfriend manipulates the young girl into having sex with one of his friends. Eventually, the girl finds herself gang-raped, passed around, trafficked, kidnapped, beaten, degraded. She is threatened with physical violence should she refuse to play along. Her family may also be threatened.

Grooming was the fate of 1,400 girls in Rotherham, UK, between 1997 and 2013. Author Jayne Senior worked for a local program designed to identify girls at-risk for sexual exploitation. She witnessed the mass grooming of mostly working-class white girls by British Pakistani Muslim men. Police and social worker indifference and denial contributed to a rape crisis that has been called "industrial scale."

The story of Senior's fight to protect the girls, alert a willfully obtuse police and social worker bureaucracy, bring perpetrators to justice, all while suffering loss in her own family, is a story both hopeful and galling. Senior's battle shows the difference one committed person can make. However, the grooming toll of white English victims (along with Sikh and Hindu girls) continues at the hands of mostly Pakistani perpetrators. Since Rotherham, similar rape gangs have been discovered in Newcastle, Oxford, Telford, Rochdale, Darby. A situation most appalling.

A fast, somber read.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas 2018!

Animaniacs Episode 49

 I remember when we previewed the above episode for Steven Spielberg. He liked it, and joked we'd have to animate a Jewish holiday. I suggested Simchat Torah, but didn't get a laugh. That might sum up my relation with the great director. People often ask if I knew Steven Spielberg. My answer is generally, 'Yes, the way you know a car-parker at a favorite restaurant.'

None the less, a Merry Christmas to all. Presents are nice, but loved ones are your greatest gift. Be a gift to them.

Important Sales Note

This is the one.
 For the next several days, you might consider an ebook of Fifty Shades of Zane Grey for less than a dollar. (That's market-speak for .99.) Lampooning one of the most popular novels in history, my book thrills you with gunfights, romance, one-armed doctors and all PG rated.

What Do Important Notable People Say About This Book?

Andrea Romano enjoyed Fifty Shades of Zane Grey, but I haven't got an official quote from her just yet. Nevertheless, this book is guaranteed funnier than my Simchat Torah quip of 25 years ago. Not a high bar, yes, you have me there, but don't you owe yourself a chuckle for under a dollar? Act now! I would, but I wrote the book and thus am prevented from acting now.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

eStocking Stuffers That Will CHANGE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE PERHAPS!!

Your JP Mac stocking stuffers may be found at Amazon. (Most people want the Merry Christmas mug.)

Fun Fast Holiday Reads!

Pardon the click-baity head. I've been spending too much time online. But not all ethings are wasteful and vain. Note the above ebooks. One tells the tale of a man's battle with cancer and a confusing medical system, while the other chronicles a man's struggle to decide justice in an annoying criminal case.  Both are written in a humorous vein, making sport of the darker elements of our existence. 

Pleasing eBooks!

These non-fiction stories are low-cost, high quality and just right for a last minute present. Purchase them together. (A $4.00 value.) There is no discount for doing so, but don't be bullied by the loss leader of others. Do it because you have purchasing power! Whatever you decide, happy holidays to you, and to you, a Merry Christmas as well. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Paul Rugg and I are Hired at Warner Bros. v.2

And I Have the Memories to Prove It

Today, December 16, marked 27 years since Paul Rugg and I were offered jobs at Warner Brothers TV Animation. We were over at Paul's house watching Zontar: Thing From Venus, drinking coffee, eating chocolate donuts, and smoking. We'd just turned in scripts for some new show called Animaniacs. (Mine was "Draculee, Draculaa.") Paul's wife was off earning money as a social worker, while my future wife was still employed at the magazine I'd quit two months earlier. Rugg and I were performing improv and sketch comedy at the Acme Comedy Theatre. (Along with cast member Adam Carolla.) Money was very tight. The payment for one script would really help out my Christmas. 

Then Kathy Page, Tom Ruegger's assistant, called to offer us staff jobs and the trajectory of our lives veered sharply into an unexplored cosmos.

We were amazed, stunned, numb. Walking outside, we smoked more and talked it over. Should we take the jobs or would they pollute our comedy pureness by turning it commercial? We would accept the work immediately. 

Now it all seems opaque. If it weren't for the Web and talking to Paul Rugg yesterday, I'd swear the whole experience never happened. But I'm glad it did. (Paul, too.)  So thanks to Tom and Sherri Stoner. (And her husband, M.D. Sweeney, our Acme director, who recommended us.)

Note: After thirteen years of blogging, I'm running out of life events to chronicle.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Famous People Born on My Birthday v.5

What is different today from last year? I'm much fatter, that's for sure. Also, I published the prostate book and deem it worthy of reading for just about anyone with a firm grasp on the English language, but especially men facing prostate cancer.

I may spend the rest of the day "Liking" bday greetings on Facebook. But it's better to be Happy Birthdayed on Facebook than not.

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

Thursday, November 22, 2018

T-Day Wishes and Football Again

Happy Thanksgiving!

"I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." — G.K. Chesterton

Lo! An article written for a website five years ago. Publication was cancelled, a kill-fee paid, and the light of day for said article shone on my very own blog.
My Midwestern family had two Thanksgiving traditions. One involved placing a pot of boiled cranberries outside to chill. The second tradition revolved around watching football . . . or at least having the game on in the background while cards were played, the Almighty invoked, drumsticks munched, and arguments rekindled. As the 2013 holiday season arrives, let’s quickly examine how a day of feasting and gratitude hooked up with a robust game of inches.
Professional football on Thanksgiving started in the 1890s. From then into the first half of the 20th Century, teams such as the Canton Bulldogs and Massillon Tigers clashed with their leather helmets, no facemasks and few rules.  And while various teams in various cities continued Thanksgiving play, it wasn’t until 1934 that T-Day football as currently recognized formed thanks to G.A. Richards.
Mr. Richards had recently purchased an NFL team, the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans. He moved them to Detroit and rechristened his team the Lions. But the baseball Tigers were the Motor City darlings. Wanting to start a buzz, Richards scheduled a Thanksgiving Day contest with the undefeated Chicago Bears. As it turned out, the Lions had an excellent 10 – 1 squad primed to meet the 11 – 0 Monsters of the Midway. Tickets sold out two weeks prior to the clash. The Lions lost 19 – 16 but a tradition was born. Except for six years from 1939 – 1944, the Lions have played on every Thanksgiving.
But it would take another 22 years for Detroit’s T-Day tussle to go national. In 1956, the first Thanksgiving Day game was televised as the Lions dropped a close one at the wire to the Green Bay Packers, 24 – 20. What we now assume normal was born: televised pro football on Turkey Day.
Our last contemporary puzzle piece took another decade to drop into place. In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys commenced their run as the second T-Day game. For the last 47 years, with only two exceptions, the Cowboys and Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day. Starting in 2006, the NFL added a night contest featuring two at-large teams. Now tryptophan-filled football junkies can have their fill in several ways.
But let’s close with the American tradition of do-it-yourself. On Thanksgiving, in backyards and parks all across the country, ad hoc Turkey Bowl games will be underway. Touch or tackle, these contests pit family and friends against one another for bragging rights or just a way to let off holiday steam. And while such games are legion, let me single out one such Turkey Bowl from my old hometown. Now in its 14th year, the Indo-Jew Bowl takes place every Thanksgiving at a different park in Skokie, Illinois. Old high school classmates of Jewish descent line up for nine-man tackle against their sub-continent rivals. Last year saw the Jews roll to a 41 to 27 victory. But the Indos are hot for payback come November 28.
So whether you put your cranberries outside to cool or not; play, watch, or listen to football, have a most Happy Thanksgiving.

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John P. McCann Sizzle Page

'Twas suggested I post a few episodes of my work in a pleasant spot. I've chosen here. Sadly, not everything I've written has y...