Thursday, May 31, 2007

On a roll

Managed to dash off another video vignette, HONKY TONK, inspired by the discovery that an actress in contact has a great country singing voice. So I wrote something for her. Has a complicated montage at end, so it'll be the most technically challenging piece yet.

Have a break soon from students and need it.

Into the stretch

Go in early for a full day of student conferences. Then it's one week to go and final exams. Most of my students are in pretty good shape.

I'm overwhelmed by how busy my summer is going to be -- and yet, I do my best work when I am doing several projects at once.

A curiosity: thus far, the response from senior actors has largely been from men. I thought I'd hear from women and have trouble getting men. It appears to be the opposite. Interesting.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Varmints, the opera

John sent me the piano/vocal score for most of the first act a few days ago but I haven't had a chance to listen until tonight. I absolutely love it! I thought he was almost done with the opera but apparently he's almost done with act one. At any rate, once again he's writing first rate music to my tastes, and I can't wait to hear it all. Go, John.

The old man playing a piano

A short break

A day dedicated to reading student scripts.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mail bag

A great email from a former student, who now is flying helicopters over oil rigs! Man, will she have stories to tell.

Format hassles

Blogger is going nuts on me, the format of my blog getting all screwed up, especially in Internet Explorer. Columns change position, text gets centered ... have no idea what's wrong, or how to fix, but I've reported it.

p.s. 30 minutes later. By God the earlier Carver post was causing the problem. I deleted it and now everything works. Amazing.

Meeting with actress

A delightful meeting with an actress very much interested in my project. She has the right look and so much professional experience, I can't imagine she won't work out. This is encouraging.

H emailed to say I have five packages waiting for me! I assume this includes the camera and the editing software I ordered. Alas, I'm coming home with so many student scripts, I really can't afford the time to play too much. But this weekend I can!

Small Screen Video

Check out our update. The three new projects are all conceived as vignettes, perhaps five minutes or so in length.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Sophocles has been my screenwriting software of choice since the day it was released. I was a very early fan and champion. But in all the years I've written with the program, I've never had the opportunity to work in its "production mode." With the video project at hand, I'm working with shooting script format, not spec script format, for the first time since I worked for an indie video company in the 80s. And Sophocles does a nifty job keeping the scene numbers locked, the revision colors straight, and all the other things you'd expect from a first rate program. My students can get it for half price, which is a steal.

Multnomah County Fair

Caught the last day of the fair this afternoon at Oaks Park on the river. Pure Americana and great fun. Hot dogs never tasted better. Afterwards we wandered around Sellwood and settled in for coffee. Now home and back to work. I did another rewrite of the short video script. Starting tomorrow, until Friday, all my attention goes to my students.
clipped from
Surrounded by the same stately trees for which it was named, The Oaks, in Portland, Oregon in 2005 will celebrate its 100th consecutive year of operation, making it one of the oldest continuously operating amusement parks in America. Built by the Oregon Water Power and Navigation Company, the park opened its gates on May 30, 1905 to Portlanders who arrived by foot and on horseback, in automobiles and by boat from the Willamette River. In keeping with the design of other "Trolley Parks" across the country, most of its visitors disembarked from trolley cars which ran along the Portland-to-Oregon City tracks forming the eastern boundary of the park.
 blog it


Here's a film filled with charm, though I'm not as enthusiastic about it as many critics were -- or my wife, for that matter. I'd give it a B but not an A. I think it's weakest at the end, straining too much for all the right happy beats when the real ending has already happened. For me, it works better as a satiric comedy than a feel good story.

A film to see

clipped from


Gritty Romanian film wins Palme d'Or in Cannes

By Mike Collett-White and James Mackenzie

CANNES, France (Reuters) - A hard-hitting Romanian movie
set toward the end of the Communist era won the
Cannes Film
's top honor on Sunday.

"4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days," directed by Cristian
Mungiu, was the critics' favorite to win the Palme d'Or in the
buildup to a glittering red-carpet ceremony that ended the
12-day movie marathon on the French Riviera.

The film tells the grim story of young student friends
Otilia and Gabita, who are ruthlessly exploited when one seeks
an illegal abortion.

 blog it


My camera should arrive this week, and I'm eager to start playing with it. I need to learn which kind of shots work best. Then I can start building a library of stock footage I might need, the establishment and transitional shots that go into any "moving pictures" story.

Of the entire process, I may most enjoy editing. I actually did some film editing as a young man, in the summer of 1966, just before entering grad school. We were housekeeping my folks' house in Medford while they visited relatives in New Jersey. My summer project was organizing and editing my dad's large library of 8mm home movies. From it I extracted a short film focusing on the considerable antics of my brother, which I called "Here Comes Artie Rainbow" (if I remember correctly). I loved choosing and extracting the strips of film and reassembling them. Digital editing will be even more involved -- and more fun, I'm sure. I think I'll be using Adobe Premiere Elements for this. The reviews suggest this software most will suit my purposes.

I've also ordered a CD of legal forms I'll need, primarily with the actors. Even though this is a non-commercial venture, I like to be upfront and professional. If by chance something came of our work -- winning a contest or something -- I'd use the same co-op ("shares") model that worked so well when I produced hyperdrama in the 80s.

There're a zillion things to consider when you do something like this.

And ... ! Last night I finished the draft of the script. It's rough. But it's close, and that's the main thing. It also reveals, almost immediately, the parts that will be easy to shoot and the scenes that won't be so easy to shoot. I'm already making some changes that will make finding locations easier. Writers can forget about practical matters like this and put the story anywhere. But when you actually have to go there and shoot it, you put on a different mind set and look for easier ways to communicate the scene, that is, putting the action in more accessible locations.

In the heat of all this, of course, I've pushed aside my other projects. Now it's time to return to them. I feel more secure about the video with a script draft. I have three actors to whom to give screen tests, and I'm looking forward to meeting one Tuesday, a woman with a very impressive list of credits.

I have student scripts to read this morning. This afternoon, we want to check out a fair in town. Later maybe I can do some work on the music drama and/or novel and/or other screenplay. Busy, busy. I love it.

And there are only two weeks left of school, and finals week!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A good idea gone wrong

Well, we've had write-a-novel-in-a-month celebrations -- why not with plays and screenplays? This is what Script Frenzy aims to do.

Unfortunately, they blew it with their rules. They define a complete script as at least 20,000 words. I checked the word count of my last three feature length screenplays: 14,008, 14,500 and 13,924. They want almost 50% more verbosity in a very economical writing genre! This serves to encourage same, which is a very unprofessional attitude to take. They should measure scripts by page counts, not word counts. Otherwise, shame on them.

Small Screen Video

Check us out.

Testing Flip Video

Found some clips using the small minicamcorder I'll be using. I think it's important to write and tell the story appropriate to the tools you are using (I hate plays that would make better movies, for example! Indeed, my first test of a play: is this A PLAY?, that is, it can not be improved as a movie. Last night Vinegar Tom is a perfect example, a play that would not work as well as a film). Knowing we are only shooting video for small screens, we don't need a lot of video quality -- and what we aim to do, is make up for it with strong writing, directing, editing and acting quality.

New domain

I just bought a new domain: (it won't be active for a few days). The summer projects get more ambitious: what I hope to do is create a permanent, informal organization of senior actors and write specifically for them, the same way I did when I was a resident playwright. That is, the particular skills and look of the ensemble informs the writing from the start. You create characters not only in response to story but in response to your available actors.

I'll start the first script today. I should be able to start screen tests as soon as I return from L.A., in about 3 weeks. I'd like to start shooting the first one by mid-July. What a rush.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The argument for extinction

We won't be here, but ... it can happen, writes a scientist in Scientific American.
clipped from
Strangling heat and gases emanating from the earth and sea, not asteroids, most likely caused several ancient mass extinctions. Could the same killer-greenhouse conditions build once again?

Peter D. Ward

Now still another transformation in our thinking about life's punctuated past is brewing. New geochemical evidence is coming from the bands of stratified rock that delineate mass extinction events in the geologic record, including the exciting discovery of chemical residues, called organic biomarkers, produced by tiny life-forms that typically do not leave fossils. Together these data make it clear that cataclysmic impact as a cause of mass extinction was the exception, not the rule. In most cases, the earth itself appears to have become life's worst enemy in a previously unimagined way. And current human activities may be putting the biosphere at risk once again.
 blog it

Vinegar Tom

PSU did a good job with this early Caryl Churchill play set during the witch hunts of the 17th C. but quite a different play from Arthur Miller's take on the same material. Here we have a more "Brechtian" strategy, the story told in vignettes and interspersed with music played directly to the audience. Brecht wanted the theatrical audience to think more than feel -- to be challenged by the dramatic material to rethink their lives and take political action to change injustices. So here. Written in 1976 (just three years before her Cloud Nine would take the theater world by storm), the play may be called "feminist" from its time but, interestingly enough, what resonated with me was how we're still chasing and condemning witches if in a more "civilized" manner. The Duke lacrosse team came to mind and all the hysteria that surrounded the assumption of their guilt of group rape. This irrationality is not very different from the prejudices and false reasoning of the witch hunters. Apparently we need our witches.

Tonight's performance had an added attraction, a graduate student of mine this term in the cast, who did an excellent job (and who is a good screenwriter).

Tuesday I am having coffee with a transplanted NY actress interested in my summer project. Has experience from soap operas, roles at Lincoln Center, solid NYC credentials. She has the right look from her photo. I look forward to talking to her. (Besides, out of curiosity, I suppose, she read The Brazen Wing and loved it. Flattery will get you everywhere.)

Energy begets energy

The summer suddenly is packed full of projects, and I love it. The busier I get, the more I get done. When one project stalls, I just hop over to the adjacent one. Two in genres I know about and two with learning curves. I think this is all going to add up to a special summer.


I sent out an email to everyone on my list over 65, actor or not, and got a great reply from PP, a writer who was asst. editor of NW Review when I started publishing there and later became book editor of the paper. He got canned during the housecleaning by the new publisher, as did almost all of my favorite writers there. Which is why I stopped reading the paper. At any rate, physically he's perfect for the blue collar couch potato. I have no idea if he can act or not. For this, acting natural is the key.

So I have two interested in screen tests, both male. I thought I'd have a harder time finding men than women.

I fiddled more with the storyboard this morning, of course. These story tools are perpetually in flux. Not sure when I'll start writing the script. I want at least to write the audition pieces soon.

Senior actors wanted

Creating a network of senior actors, both experienced and not, for a series of summer short video projects. Results put on YouTube. If any are good enough, they might be included in Oregon Literary Review. "Senior" means 65 and older (or look it).

If you want to schedule a screen test, email me at with SCREEN TEST in the subject line.

Storyboard Pro

Once again I am amazed and impressed by the FREE software available on the net. I just used Storyboard Pro to storyboard my first summer video, a 12 minute comedy about two seniors who meet via a dating service for seniors. My working title is SUNSET HEARTS. At any rate, the software is intuitive, versatile and practical -- and in the end you print out what amounts to a shooting outline for your film. So you can do a lot of the grunt work before you even pick up the camera. This is going to be a hoot. Now I need the right two actors ... a woman with class and a blue collar kind of guy. No difficult locations, or at least it seems not. The 26 scenes I storyboarded clock in at about 12 minutes, just right.

What I can do over the summer is this:
  • storyboard and write several scripts
  • shoot them all while I have a free schedule
  • do editing and post-production later
  • in other words, get the raw footage during the summer and worry about the finished product later

It would be great if I could do more than one over the summer. I'm not sure how long it would take to shoot these. Even if it took a month to shoot, which I doubt, I should be able to do three. I think around ten minutes is the right length for a project like this.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Cyber Film School

Seven years ago I wrote a regular screenwriting column for a Canadian website called the Cyber Film School. They, in fact, were an online film school. Later they came out with a CD-ROM of their material and sent me a copy. I opened it but never went through it -- until tonight. I remembered I had it, managed to find it, and cranked it up tonight for about an hour. What an extraordinary course! I am going to learn a hell of a lot going through this, most of which will help me make better videos I'm sure. This is a first rate product. They were bought out a few years ago, I recall, and the name changed to something or other. But I'm glad I have their course on disk. It's multi-media, naturally, and really packed with info, including (peeking ahead) editing exercises. Man, I'm glad I remembered I had this.

And I already heard from an interested senior actor!

In my copious free time

I decided what I'm going to do with this video camera. One of the things. I'm coming out of retirement as a playwright to write some short plays for seniors, which I'll direct, tape and edit and stick on YouTube -- and if any are worth a damn, maybe in the review. Only going to use actors over 65. I'm going to tape screen tests -- in fact, I want to do that in June. I want to write for particular faces and voices on screen. Little five and ten minute vignettes. I'm getting a good editing program so I can do it right.

So I posted a notice on craigslist to test the waters for senior actors. I also wrote the honchos at two local senior theater organizations.

Looks like a busy summer indeed! But I'm always best when very, very, very, very busy. I find it easier to live in my work than to live in my life, to paraphrase a line in My Dinner With Andre.

Now they tell us

clipped from

WASHINGTON - Intelligence analysts predicted, in secret papers circulated within the government before the
invasion, that al-Qaida would see U.S. military action as an opportunity to increase its operations and that
would try to shape a post-Saddam Iraq.

The top analysts in government also said that establishing a stable democracy in Iraq would be a "long, difficult and probably turbulent process."

 blog it

Final Exit

I have 78 measures. If my calculations are correct, a one-act, say 30 minute, music drama would require about 600 measures at the tempo I'm using. So I have a good start.

I took some pages from it to piano class, and the teacher played it. Sounded good. My fellow students are amazed, of course, but I reminded them that you must do this in strict accordance to two important principles:
  • A little learning is a dangerous thing.
  • I don't know what I'm doing but I know what I like.
And, if some ways, it's actually easier to write music than to play it.

Wearing red

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Hence the tradition of wearing red on Memorial Day.

There's also a realpolitik version, a cynical version. of this sentiment but I haven't been able to track it down.

My mother's brother, whom she said I take after and my brother was named after, was killed at Pearl Harbor, so in my family Memorial Day was an important holiday.

In Kerouac's Scroll, I write a scene based on the unsettling experience of my first trip to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl:

Gathered on the dock was a long line of Japanese tourists waiting to board the small boat to the memorial, which was built around the partially exposed hulk of the sunken battleship. Mary and I took our place at the end of the line.

I leaned close to Mary.

“I didn’t realize so many Japanese would be here.”

“Some Chinese, too, I think. Koreans.”

“And so many cameras.”

“It’s a major tourist attraction.”

“This feels weird. They sunk the ship, a lot of ships, and here they are. Are they gloating?”

“Do we gloat when we go to Hiroshima? I think not. You’re here for a reason, Robert. Focus on that.”

I tried to but it was difficult. Staring at the name of Hooker’s father on a large bronze plaque, I realized that flashbulbs were going off all around me. The cramped quarters of the ship’s deck resounded with chatting in a language I didn’t understand, and I wondered what these visitors, these Japanese tourists, were talking about. Were they gloating?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

What a day

Glad it's over. Glad a long weekend starts for me tomorrow. A good day, as my day for piano lessons usually is. Good weather so I'll get out in the yard tomorrow afternoon. Then maybe get some work done, writing and editing, through the weekend.

Been brooding a lot about the Cold War novel, making connections about bringing the new parts of my new structure into what I had before. It's making sense to me.

Should get my video camera next week! I can take it to L.A. with me.

Almost a comeback

...but no cigar.
clipped from

Seven of Tampa Bay's nine starters drove in at least one run, and after four
innings, the Devil Rays led 12-4.

 blog it

One man band

clipped from

MEQUON, Wis. - Motorists pulled in to Harvey Pollack's gas station Thursday, honked and gave him a thumbs-up — because he wasn't selling any fuel.

The owner of Towne Market Mobil in this suburb north of Milwaukee shut down his pumps for 24 hours, hoping to start a movement aimed at persuading oil companies to lower their prices.

"Somebody out there is making money at these prices, but not me," said Pollack, 57. "So I just thought: What can I do to help the consumer?"

 blog it


Ever since I bought H one of these miniature computer plugin video camcorders for Xmas I've been wanting one for myself. Caught a sale and just ordered one, and now I'm brooding about various summer video projects I might do. One is recording readings by up and coming writers. I might also write some monologues, or connecting monologues, for actors. Or interview some old hardcore drinkers in a bar. Lots of possibilities!

Hoodlum(s) on the loose

I'm reading "American Holocaust," a detailed and depressing account of the European/New World policy of genocide against native peoples. It almost makes me think we've actually progressed since those days of butchery. But not really. "Advanced" countries just use higher tech, impersonal weapons now.

At any rate, locally we have an arsonist on the prowl.
clipped from

More arsons, but no answers

Seven torched autos in two days have anti-terror agents on the
case, but a motive remains murky

Firebug or eco-saboteur?

The answer remained elusive Wednesday as anxiety mounted in
the wake of three more truck fires in Southeast Portland and
across the city line in Milwaukie, bringing the total number
of intentionally burned vehicles to seven in two days.

Wednesday's attacks targeted trucks and sport utility
vehicles in the hours before sunrise: a Ford Ranger, Saturn
Vue and a Honda Element. On Tuesday, three of the four were
Honda CR-Vs; the other was a Ranger. Each vehicle was parked
in a driveway or on the street in a residential
neighborhood. None had locking gas tanks. One fire caused
minor damage to a house, but no one was injured.

 blog it

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Sneak preview

One of the artist's featured in the summer review is the transplanted Chinese painter Ming Wei. Some examples of his work.

A full leisurely yet busy day, mostly working on the review but also getting some lawn work done and the inevitable writerly chores and errands. A full day in class tomorrow working scenes, which is always energetic and fun. Then a relatively free holiday weekend before I get really busy at school next week.

Scribbled on a napkin at breakfast


The old man sitting alone at the counter
laughs so hard that he starts coughing
and drools into his biscuits and gravy.

Wiping his mouth with a sleeve,
he bundles himself into proper propriety.

Then he mutters something so softly
only his best friend, dead two years,
can hear it

across the memory of
3258 shared breakfasts.

--Charles Deemer

Our tragic times?

An interesting link from Nurse Fusion. Not sure I agree with the thesis, however, except within the narrow genre of "literary fiction," which has become such a small ignored arena as to be virtually unread. Many films haven't lost a cosmic sense of humor. Nor have plays.
ahha! Someone speaks out against dull, overly-dramatic literature: Prospect Magazine
The Greeks understood that comedy (the gods' view of life) is superior to tragedy (the merely human). But since the middle ages, western culture has overvalued the tragic and undervalued the comic. This is why fiction today is so full of anxiety and suffering. It's time writers got back to the serious business of making us laugh ... by Julian Gough
 blog it

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Remembering a mentor

Perhaps because the summer review includes an "in memoriam" section on Montana poets, I've been thinking about the playwright I studied under at the University of Oregon, who also was from Missoula, Montana, Dean Regenos. Dean was a recent MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, and I was a returning vet, so he wasn't all that older than I. He was a theater man, not a literature man, which may be why the English Department didn't give him tenure. He ended up working at the public library in his home town, unable to find another teaching job. But he was a hell of a teacher and exactly what a lit guy like myself needed. He was a nuts & bolts theater guy, perfect for a virgin playwright.

He also weighed over 300 lbs. One term our class was on the 4th floor of an historic building on campus that had no elevator. Man, it was a question of whether he was going to recover in time to hold a class. He finally started coming half an hour early so he'd catch his breath before the bell rang.

Dean directed the first play I ever had produced, a one-act, and I learned so much from him. My second mentor, Leland Starnes (former head of the Yale Drama School), would come in a few years, and between the two of them I got my education in playwriting.

Dean died in the 80s, I believe. I kept in contact with him for a while. He always sounded so depressed after he returned home, probably feeling like his tail was between his legs. He was a fine teacher. He also was a decent playwright. I especially remember a verse play about his father called "Shadow of a Great Rock."
(I just did a search for this title: over 7000 entries. How nice if one were his script, but I very much doubt it. He died before desktop computers became common.)

Dean Regenos was good people. I miss him.

Money talks

clipped from

Art college gets a $15 million gift

Hallie E. Ford's gift to the Pacific Northwest College of
Art will bring world-class artists to Portland for residencies

Hallie E. Ford, a 102-year-old philanthropist, is giving the
Pacific Northwest College of Art $15 million, the largest
single donation to an Oregon cultural group.

The gift signals an important turnaround at the
once-struggling art school and marks its growing role as a
hub for the city's creative economy.

The college will use most of the money to create an
ambitious program that will bring world-class artists,
performers and designers to live and teach in Portland.
Under the program, the college's 3,000 full-time and
continuing education art students will be able to study
painting, design, computer graphics and the like, with the

 blog it

Monday, May 21, 2007

Great opera site!

John Nugent told me about this wonderful site for opera lovers. Featured are 30-minute videos (Real) about a variety of operas, the current San Diego season plus an archive of earlier shows. Really good material. Thanks, John.
clipped from

San Diego OperaTalk! with Nick Reveles was created to introduce viewers to each opera, composer and musical style of the works presented by the San Diego Opera. Join Nick Reveles, San Diego Opera's Director of Education and Outreach, for this half-hour journey though the story, music and history of each opera being presented during San Diego Opera's 2007 season.

 blog it

Books we never forget

We all have a list of books that made great impressions on us on first reading, books we never forget, books that may even change our lives. Mine includes (in rough chronological order):
  • Number, the Language of Science by Tobias Dantzig
  • Why I Am Not A Christian and Marriage and Morals by Bertrand Russell
  • Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee
  • Love's Body by Norman O. Brown
  • Genesis Angels by Aram Saroyan
  • Mrs. Bridge by Evan Connell (I believe when this was first published he went by Evan S. Connell, Jr.)
  • The Quiet American by Graham Greene
  • "The Moon In Its Path," a short story by Gilbert Sorrentino

The Robins' "I Love Paris"

I heard "I Love Paris" on the car radio, and every time I hear it I think of a 50s TV show called "Peter Potter's Jukebox Jury," which I watched religiously as a teenager. They played new records, and a jury rated their chances at making the charts. One night the show featured an early rock arrangement of "I Love Paris" by The Robins, a group I liked. I loved this song! Only a minority of the panel liked it, however. I'm not sure if the song went on to do well or not. The Robins eventually split up and part of them became the nucleus for The Coasters, who went on to be superstars.
clipped from

The Coasters' forerunners were The Robins, a Los Angeles based rhythm and blues group, which included Bobby Nunn and Carl Gardner in 1955. The original Coasters' members were Carl Gardner, Billy Guy, Bobby Nunn, Leon Hughes, and guitarist Adolph Jacobs. Jacobs left the group in 1959.

The songwriting team Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller had started Spark Records, and in 1955 produced "Smokey Joe's Cafe" for The Robins. The record was popular enough that Atlantic Records offered Leiber and Stoller an independent production contract to produce The Robins for the Atlantic label. Only two of The Robins-- Gardner and Nunn -- were willing to make the move to Atlantic.
The Coasters' association with Leiber and Stoller was an immediate success.
The Coasters crossed over to the national charts in a big way with the double-sided "Young Blood"/"Searchin'". Searchin was the group's first U.S. Top 10 hit, and topped the R&B charts for 13 weeks
 blog it

In the shadows

clipped from

Beatings, Isolation and Fear: The Life of a Slave in the U.S.

Evelyn Chumbow was once a slave, but not in some distant country. She worked right here in the United States.

Chumbow, now 21, was brought to suburban Maryland in 1996 from her native Cameroon by Theresa Mubang. Mubang promised Chumbow's family that if 11-year-old Evenly came to America, she would have the prospect of a bright future and a first-rate education, as she had been a top student in her native country.

Instead, after she arrived, Mubang enslaved the child in her home, forcing her to work long hours and depriving her of the education she was promised, and never paid her a dime.

 blog it


clipped from

Graduation ceremony held in tornado-ravaged town

GREENSBURG, Kansas (AP) -- Amid the ruins of their tornado-devastated town, residents celebrated a high school commencement Saturday that mixed tearful memories with pride and promises to rebuild.

Beneath two large tents set up at the town's golf course, 25 graduates from Greensburg High School claimed their diplomas before a crowd of about 1,500 family members, friends and neighbors. Across town, their school -- like 95 percent of the community -- lay in rubble from a May 4 tornado that killed 10.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Moran urged seniors to commit themselves to using the tornado's aftermath to motivate themselves.

"Everything you seniors need to know we have learned in Greensburg in the last two weeks," Moran said. They include things like the importance of family, helping others, showing compassion and that "life does matter."

 blog it

Idaho update

The guy shoots his wife, who works at the courthouse, then shoots up the courthouse. My guess? He thought his wife was having an affair with a fellow employee. But we'll never know.
clipped from

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) -- The wife of a gunman who killed two people and himself at a courthouse and a church was found dead inside her home, police said Monday.

Crystal Hamilton, 30, a courthouse maintenance worker, died of a single gunshot to the head, Latah County Sheriff Wayne Rausch said.

Authorities believe she was killed before her husband, Jason Hamilton, went on his spree late Saturday and early Sunday, Rausch said.

Police said Hamilton sprayed dozens of bullets into a courthouse, killing a police officer and wounding a sheriff's deputy and a civilian, then went to a nearby church where he apparently killed a church sexton and himself. (Watch how the gunman allegedly ambushed his victims Video)

 blog it

A vision

clipped from
logo: one laptop per child
“It's an education project, not a laptop project.”

— Nicholas Negroponte

Our goal: To provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment and express themselves.
read more;

 blog it

The bottom line?

Stories like this are appalling.
clipped from

Dumped On Skid Row

(CBS) The first rule in medicine is: do no harm. But doing harm is precisely what some Los Angeles hospitals are being accused of when it comes to patients who happen to be homeless.
As CNN's Anderson Cooper reports, the claim is that hospitals don’t like dealing with homeless patients, who are often uninsured and sometimes unpleasant to treat. So they literally dump them on the streets of Skid Row, even if the patients come from other places in Los Angeles, and are in no condition to fend for themselves.
While there have been allegations of hospital dumping for years, people only started paying attention to them because of a videotape recorded by a camera outside a homeless shelter.
The tape shows a 63-year-old homeless woman named Carol Ann Reyes wandering in the street.
Reyes had just been discharged from Kaiser Permanente Bellflower hospital where, after taking a fall, she had been treated for three days.
 blog it

Sixty Minutes story

A man with a dream faces the predatory competition of the marketplace, and his dream is threatened. Or is it?
clipped from

What If Every Child Had A Laptop?

(CBS) Nicholas Negroponte, a professor at MIT, had a dream. In it every child on the planet had his own computer. In that way, he figured, children from the most impoverished places – from deserts and jungles and slums could become educated and part of the modern world. Poor kids would have new possibilities.
As correspondent Lesley Stahl reports, it was a big dream.
Negroponte thought he had a chance of actually seeing it happen if he could help invent a really inexpensive laptop.
So, two years ago he founded a non-profit organization called “One Laptop Per Child.” He recruited a cadre of geeks and viola! The hundred dollar laptop, designed specifically for poor children, was born.
But let’s go back to the beginning when Negroponte first got his idea in Cambodia.
The idea came to him in a remote village called Reaksmy – a 4-hour drive on a dirt Road from the nearest town. It’s as far from MIT as you can get. They don’t even have running water.
 blog it