Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daily Kos: Venice Beach "Everyone is Disapearing"

Daily Kos: Venice Beach "Everyone is Disapearing":

"Gentrification is well underfoot in the beach community of Venice, CA and for months now the LAPD has been carrying out a vicious campaign against the homeless and people living in their vehicles."

Another bohemian treasure bites the dust.

Daily Kos: GOP blocks renewal of jobless benefits extension

Daily Kos: GOP blocks renewal of jobless benefits extension:

"Hickory Dickory Dock, the Republicans run out the clock. Thus did 800,000 jobless Americans lose their extended unemployment compensation benefits Tuesday. That means their final check comes next week. Without action by Congress, another 1.2 million could lose their benefits by the end of December."

Anderson Cooper Shellacks Texas Birther With Torrent Of Facts (VIDEO) | TPMMuckraker

Anderson Cooper Shellacks Texas Birther With Torrent Of Facts (VIDEO) | TPMMuckraker

Kindle: first impressions

Outstanding! Best, light weight and easy to hold, amazingly clear and easy reading, more than most books! Areas to improve, navigation short cuts. Trouble spot, took me a while to get connected via wireless at the university and I've yet to connect here at home.

In summary, this is really great. I can always use the netbook as intermediary in wireless issues -- the main thing I like is the EASE OF READING with it, it definitely beats books on this count. Quite impressively so.

Protest artist to mark Liu's forbidden Nobel with London parade - News, Art - The Independent

Protest artist to mark Liu's forbidden Nobel with London parade - News, Art - The Independent

But on the other hand, baby

After so much positive feedback on the film, a reminder that we live in a zero-sum universe.
Didn't really work for me. Narrative interest comes & goes, performances range from passable to bad. Amazing that you pulled it off at all. Incredible amount of work.
I think the comment on performances is totally absurd.

Bosnian rape victims call Angelina Jolie 'ignorant' – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs

Bosnian rape victims call Angelina Jolie 'ignorant' – This Just In - CNN.com Blogs:

"Local Bosnian media, however, said the movie would include the rape of a Bosnian woman by a Serb and a romance between the two, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times in October.

On Monday, a victims group from the war sent a letter to the UNHCR saying Jolie has an “ignorant attitude towards victims” for not meeting with them and explaining what the film is about, according to the AFP report. Women Victims of War says it has documented 25,000 rapes from the conflict."

The Corruption of Sports by Christopher Lasch | The New York Review of Books

The Corruption of Sports by Christopher Lasch | The New York Review of Books

From the 70s!

Jimmy Baldwin: Stirring the Waters by Darryl Pinckney | The New York Review of Books

Jimmy Baldwin: Stirring the Waters by Darryl Pinckney | The New York Review of Books:

"Life never bribed him to look at anything but the soul, Henry James said of Emerson, and one could say the same of James Baldwin, with a similar suggestion that the price for his purity was blindness about some other things in life. Baldwin possessed to an extraordinary degree what James called Emerson’s “special capacity for moral experience.”"

2011 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations – Deadline.com

2011 Independent Spirit Awards Nominations – Deadline.com

Tempers Flare At Kentucky Unemployment Office As Benefits Expire For Thousands

Tempers Flare At Kentucky Unemployment Office As Benefits Expire For Thousands:

"With the threat of benefits expiring for 100,000 Kentuckians, WLKY reported, 'tempers are flaring.'

It's the type of scene that contributed to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development's decision to add armed guards to each of its 36 field offices where workers can file unemployment claims (previously only some of the offices had armed security)."

Opinion: Joe Scarborough tells GOP to man up and confront Sarah Palin - Joe Scarborough - POLITICO.com

Opinion: Joe Scarborough tells GOP to man up and confront Sarah Palin - Joe Scarborough - POLITICO.com:

"And now a point of personal privilege. I work hard every day to assume the best of Americans who engage in public service. But I am offended by Palin’s attempt to build herself up by tearing down great men like Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Palin is not a stupid woman. But like the current president, she still does not know what she does not know. And she does know how to make millions of dollars, even if she embarrasses herself while doing it.

That reality hardly makes Palin unique, but this is one Republican who would prefer that the former half-term governor promote her reality shows and hawk her books without demeaning the reputations of Presidents Reagan and Bush. These great men dedicated their lives to public service and are too good to be fodder for her gaudy circus sideshow.

If Republicans want to embrace Palin as a cultural icon whose anti-intellectualism fulfills a base political need, then have at it. I suppose it’s cheaper than therapy.

But if the party of Ronald Reagan, Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio wants to return to the White House anytime soon, it’s time that Republican leaders started standing up and speaking the truth to Palin."

The Age of Music Piracy Is Officially Over | Magazine

The Age of Music Piracy Is Officially Over | Magazine:

"Well played, protesters: In January 2009, Apple announced that it would remove the copyright protection wrapper from every song in its store. Today, Amazon and Walmart both sell music encoded as MP3s, which don’t even have hooks for copyright-protection locks. The battle is over, comrades."

Last week of class

The last, relatively easy week. Show a documentary in class today. Wing it Thursday and collect final projects. Then a ton of reading, grading, until next Tuesday, picking up finals, more reading and turning in grades. Should be done by the end of next week. Then a break before winter term, which starts relatively early this year.

Go in early today. I'll take the netbook so I can continue to read Doctorow if my office is empty, as it often is.

Defense, friends say Ore. bomb plot suspect set up

News from The Associated Press:

"PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A defense attorney and friends suspect that a teenager accused of plotting mass killings in Portland was set up - groomed and talked into a plot to detonate what he thought were six 55-gallon drums of explosives in a van.

But prosecutors led by Attorney General Eric Holder say Mohamed Osman Mohamud plunged into a what turned out to be government sting, dismissing talk of backing out and also exhulting in the mayhem he expected as Portlanders gathered by the thousands last week for a Christmas tree-lighting celebration."

Either of these paragraphs can be close to the truth. However, we live in such a knee-jerking ideological-driven culture that most of the noise comes from those who already "know the truth" and have made up their minds. The Left knee-jerks its case as much as the Right. There is very little rational political discourse left in the country.

Monday, November 29, 2010

April 11, 1954 was most boring day in history - The Times of India

April 11, 1954 was most boring day in history - The Times of India

Hmm. I don't remember.

Portland bomb plot: 'Potential for entrapment,' Mohamed Mohamud's lawyer says | OregonLive.com

Portland bomb plot: 'Potential for entrapment,' Mohamed Mohamud's lawyer says | OregonLive.com

This might get very interesting.

Let's not get too excited

FINALLY a nibble on the modern version of Dickens I wrote a while back. What I like about the response is the focus on "great concept," which of course it is. So they come into the script "wanting" to like it. But it may be too expensive for the budget range they are looking at. Maybe not. I don't have a handle on the high tech cost of it. But at last someone in LaLaLand shares my sense of its good concept. And so we'll see what happens.

There is never a mandate

When our political system is working at its best, considerable respect is given to minority opinion, not only in theory but in practice. Minority rights are understood to be at the foundation of a free society. In this context, then, it never makes sense to say what politicians are always saying, We have a mandate.

There is never a mandate. There is always a sizable group that disagrees with you and these folks must be honored. This is true even when minority opinions are ignorant and, well, weird. If these ignorant minorities grow, it's the fault of our educational system. And that's what bothers me most today, a growing body of citizenry embrace and flaunt and even are proud of ignorance.

Sarah Palin, the darling of this group at the moment, is demonstrably ignorant in many areas in which she insists on offering commentary. She is demonstrably stupid. And what is appalling, it not only doesn't seem to matter but is embraced by many as one of her greatest strengths.

To my parents' generation, giving their children an education was worth considerable sacrifice. And now we come to this: that education is considered elitist.

What planet is this?

Radiation Rings Hint Universe Was Recycled Over and Over | Wired Science | Wired.com

Radiation Rings Hint Universe Was Recycled Over and Over | Wired Science | Wired.com:

"Most cosmologists trace the birth of the universe to the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago. But a new analysis of the relic radiation generated by that explosive event suggests the universe got its start eons earlier and has cycled through myriad episodes of birth and death, with the Big Bang merely the most recent in a series of starting guns."

Daily Kos: Will we face "our Sputnik moment"?

Daily Kos: Will we face "our Sputnik moment"?:

"Chu outlined ways in which the United States either has already ceded or is ceding leadership when it comes to clean energy -- in technology, manufacturing, and deployment.

Secretary Chu seeks to lay out a call to arms, as it may be, for Americans (and, more importantly, the political elite) to recognize that we either decide to invest for the long term in clean energy innovation or we risk abandoning future prosperity to others."

Daily Kos: Death of American dream, 60 million no sick leave, 132 million no dental, 59 million without medical

Daily Kos: Death of American dream, 60 million no sick leave, 132 million no dental, 59 million without medical

Digital Creatures Evolve Firefly Flashing | Wired Science | Wired.com

Digital Creatures Evolve Firefly Flashing | Wired Science | Wired.com:

"One hundred and fifty-one years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, digital creatures have evolved to communicate like fireflies in a computer program that blurs the boundaries of life."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Leslie Nielsen Quotes: Funniest Jokes From Comedian's Characters In 'Airplane' And 'Naked Gun'

Leslie Nielsen Quotes: Funniest Jokes From Comedian's Characters In 'Airplane' And 'Naked Gun'

The Rich Get Rich and the Poor Get Poorer | CommonDreams.org

The Rich Get Rich and the Poor Get Poorer | CommonDreams.org:

"'There's nothing surer; the rich get rich and the poor get poorer,' was a slogan of the roaring 20s. The famous phrase was adapted from 'Ain't We Got Fun,' a popular song recorded in 1921. So what's new in America in the first decade of the 2000s?

Nothing! America's top 72 wage earners averaged 84 million dollars each in income last year, according to Social Security Administration data. The richest 1 percent of us earned 24 % of the nation's total income, the highest since 1928, just before the Great Depression."

Quote For The Day IV - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Quote For The Day IV - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

"Every now and again, you stumble across a passage in literature that seems so fresh and contemporary, you sit up straight - or feel a cold chill go down your spine. A Dish reader was browsing through George Bernard Shaw's play, 'Geneva' (Collected GBS, vol. V, pp. 687-88) and came across this exchange about a new figure on the political stage:

'What an amazing young woman! You really think she will get in?'

'Of course she will. She has courage, sincerity, good looks, and big publicity...Everything our voters love.'

'But she hasn't a political idea in her head..[S]he is a complete ignoramus. She will give herself away everytime she opens her mouth.'

'Not at all. She will say pluckily and sincerely just what she feels and thinks. You heard her say that there are lots of people in Camberwell who feel and think as she does. Well, the House of Commons is exactly like Camberwell in that respect.'"

The Stars: December - Science, News - The Independent

The Stars: December - Science, News - The Independent

Crop failures and drought within our children's lifetimes - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

Crop failures and drought within our children's lifetimes - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

Are you listening comfortably? - Features, Books - The Independent

Are you listening comfortably? - Features, Books - The Independent:

"The short story, the vehicle that revolutionised magazines at the start of the 20th century, could emerge as the format that radicalises the way that the written word is consumed in the increasingly digital environment we live in 100 years later. In doing so, it could help to save publishing."

Somali residents plan City Hall rally in response to Portland bomb plot | OregonLive.com

Somali residents plan City Hall rally in response to Portland bomb plot | OregonLive.com:

"Portland-area Somali Americans plan to gather at 5 p.m. today outside City Hall for what organizers are calling a 'peace and unity' rally in response to allegations that Mohamed Mohamud, a U.S. citizen of Somali descent, plotted to detonate a bomb at Friday night's Christmas tree lighting in Pioneer Courthouse Square.

In a prepared statement, organizers said, 'The Somali American community strongly condemns any type of violence. We left Somalia because of violence.'"

Huskies extends streak to 84 with win over LSU - College Women's Basketball - Rivals.com

Huskies extends streak to 84 with win over LSU - College Women's Basketball - Rivals.com:

"The Huskies need just four more wins to tie the Division I record set by UCLA’s men in the early 1970s. They are on course to get their 88th straight win on Dec. 19 against Ohio State in New York, and their 89th two days later in Hartford against Florida State."

Arsonist Sets Fire To Oregon Mosque Frequented By Mohamed Osman Mohamud

Arsonist Sets Fire To Oregon Mosque Frequented By Mohamed Osman Mohamud

No surprise here, unfortunately. Super patriots wear blinders and love to hate.

US embassy cables: The job of the media is not to protect the powerful from embarrassment | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian

US embassy cables: The job of the media is not to protect the powerful from embarrassment | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian

A fish stew kind of day

Which is what today's cooking project is, for an early dinner after I pick up H at 4 ... she is ushering a matinee to see a free play that doesn't interest me.

More reading in THE BOOK OF DANIEL, by the gods this is a great book, surely the best thing ever written about the sixties in fiction. Because the concept is brilliant, the children of 30s commies and the burden of growing up radical. Brilliant concept. Doctorow is first rate, Nobel great. This book is better than RAGTIME, which is a huge book itself.

I feel good today. The uncertainty and stress I was feeling earlier about a new direction in my rhythm have faded with the decision to return to the classics, rather like returning to basics, and catching up on all the reading, so much reading, that I never had time to do when I was obsessively engaged in my own work. Now my work is back burner, and I get to learn from and enjoy the work of others, especially of writers long dead, many I've never heard of. I am positively certain hat Project Gutenberg holds countless surprises and delights.

Maybe I need a new hat that says SCRAPPLE KING. I'm thinking about it!

The two hats I wear most often lately are 1. Banjo rules! and 2. insignia of the Army Security Agency. Now and again Portland State or UCLA. Or Venice Beach on a particularly terrible day, to counter the cold with dumb magic. I seem to have a hat collection without really meaning to. I have Librettist. I have the Library of Congress number of my books in Special Collections at the University of Oregon (there's ego for you). I have Three Moons Media, which used to publish my books. But mostly it's been Banjo rules! and ASA.

Oregon football: New stakes for Civil War, but same-old strategy | No. 1 Ducks will take on Civil War week with same attitude as they have all year

Oregon football: New stakes for Civil War, but same-old strategy | No. 1 Ducks will take on Civil War week with same attitude as they have all year

On paper, the Ducks should win 50-0. After all, Stanford just beat the Beavers 38-0. But these Civil War games are all emotion, and this one is in Corvallis. I wouldn't bet on this one and frankly an upset would not surprise me. But I predict the Ducks in a surprisingly close game.

The Scrapple King

I bet I eat more scrapple than anyone in the Pacific NW. I have it for breakfast 4 or 5 times a week, either with oatmeal or more traditionally, as today, fried with grits and eggs. I make my own, which means I'm seldom without scrapple in the house. Who eats more scrapple than I? If I live even longer than today, miracle upon miracle, I will credit frequent scrapple on my death bed.

Eager to get my Kindle! Great gadgets change the rhythm of a day: the netbook, the hand-pump coffee maker, an electric razor. I expect the same from the big K.

Portland's Somali community unites to condemn alleged Pioneer Courthouse Square bomb plot | OregonLive.com

Portland's Somali community unites to condemn alleged Pioneer Courthouse Square bomb plot | OregonLive.com

Pioneer Courthouse Square bomb plot: a timeline | OregonLive.com

Pioneer Courthouse Square bomb plot: a timeline | OregonLive.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Kindle

In preparation for the arrival of my Kindle, which can hold over 3000 books (yeah, right), I've been using a nifty free program I found to convert pdf books to Kindle format. Works like a charm. So I'm putting a lot of my work into the Kindle for PC area, which I'll then copy to the Kindle proper.

With the netbook, Kindle, and Flip, I can travel light with incredible power to lose myself in imaginative activities, including reading, shooting and editing video, writing, blogging. Amazing, really, for an old fart like me, remembering all the years I spent banging on a heavy Remington manual typewriter.

Vladimir Nabokov's unpublished love letters are released - News, Books - The Independent

Vladimir Nabokov's unpublished love letters are released - News, Books - The Independent:

"Though he and his wife, Vera, were rarely apart, the author wrote to her for more than 50 years"

Caught up, I think

Unless someone slipped through the cracks, I think I'm caught up on student work. I'll double check tomorrow.

Started reading one of my very favorite novels after a long absence from it: E. L. Doctorow's THE BOOK OF DANIEL. The first chapter reminds me what an incredible achievement in gripping fiction this is, with its shifting point of view and chronology, things the novel does better than any other narrative form. What a joy to come back to this book!

Sarah Palin’s ‘America By Heart’ Distorts Feminist History - The Daily Beast

Sarah Palin’s ‘America By Heart’ Distorts Feminist History - The Daily Beast:

"As so often with Palin, it’s hard to tell whether ignorance or dishonesty is at work. Perhaps neither she nor her ghostwriter had time to read up on women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, presented here as a pious Christian conservative. But couldn’t one of them at least have perused her Wikipedia entry?"

Hanging out

Hanging out at home today. Still a few more student scripts to look at.

Been downloading free books from Gutenberg, preparing for my Kindle's arrival in a few days. I'm really looking forward to it. I think I'm going to love it since I like reading here, Kindle for PC, so much. The real Kindle should be even better. Man, I have so much reading to catch up on. I've been so busy doing my own work I really haven't had time to read as much as I like. This is going to change.

Tues in class I show a documentary, Dreams on Spec, so the final week is an easy one. I collect projects on Thurs and final exams a week from Tues. Hope to have my grades in by the 10th.

The 11th is the Army-Navy game, which I'll tape because we're seeing Don Carlo, Live at the Met, that morning and it's five hours long.

I think 2011 will feel like a very different year for me, more genuine retirement and less obsessive creation. We'll see!

FBI thwarts terrorist bombing attempt at Portland holiday tree lighting, authorities say | OregonLive.com

FBI thwarts terrorist bombing attempt at Portland holiday tree lighting, authorities say | OregonLive.com:

"The FBI thwarted an attempted terrorist bombing in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square before the city's annual tree-lighting Friday night, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Oregon.

A Corvallis man, thinking he was going to ignite a bomb, drove a van to the corner of the square at Southwest Yamhill Street and Sixth Avenue and attempted to detonate it.

However, the supposed explosive was a dummy that FBI operatives supplied to him, according to an affidavit in support of a criminal complaint signed Friday night by U.S. Magistrate Judge John V. Acosta."

Can't get closer to home than this. A reminder that we live in a time where no one anywhere is "safe." Nice to see the FBI doing its job! I assume they were. However, to turn cynical, maybe they posed as radicals and talked the vulnerable kid into doing it, so they'd look good catching him. Hard to trust anything at surface value any more. Sad.

Perhaps the greatest challenge of our times is to remain a free and open society despite the times. Fear is a great motive for repression.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Boise State Broncos vs. Nevada Wolf Pack - Recap - November 26, 2010 - ESPN

Boise State Broncos vs. Nevada Wolf Pack - Recap - November 26, 2010 - ESPN:

"RENO, Nev. -- Anthony Martinez kicked a 34-yard field goal in overtime Friday night, capping a Nevada comeback that gave the Wolf Pack a 34-31 win over previously unbeaten No. 3 Boise State.

The kick came after Boise State's kicker missed a 26-yard field goal with 2 seconds left in regulation and another from 29 yards in overtime. It snapped Boise State's 24-game winning streak and ended any hopes that the Broncos would play in the BCS title game."

Nevada upsets Boise State in OT

Boise State blew a 17 pt lead. Their kicker missed TWO under 30 yd straight on FGs, one to win in regulation, the other in first possession in OT, opening the door for Nevada.

Well, Nevada deserved it actually, much heart, and the game was in Reno, the biggest sporting event there since a heavyweight championship fight in 1910 or something, so it's a great night to be in Reno, which is a great little city.

But the Boise kicker needs to be on suicide watch tonight. His record didn't suggest this at all. Talk about losing it in the clutch ... I mean, these kicks were short and straight on.

The Boise dream died tonight in a dramatic if unfortunate way. Yes, make that a double suicide watch.

So much for a great start

Alabama doesn't want this victory badly enough. A 24-0 lead, then 3 mistakes in the red zone cost them a possible 3 scores, and now Auburn is back into it 24-21. Amazing turnaround. Alabama began by being its own worst enemy but now Auburn is outplaying them as we enter the fourth quarter.

LATER. Auburn wins 28-27. Not good for Boise State.

Alabama had 3 chances to win the game. They dropped a pass for a TD, had to kick a field goal. And twice they lost fumbles in the red zone. They beat themselves, and to Auburn's credit they knew what to do with the mistakes.

A great start!

Alabama has jumped to a 21 to 0 first quarter lead. Man, it would be great if they cream Auburn, will really help Boise State's possibilities later in the day.

The Real Threat to America - NYTimes.com

The Real Threat to America - NYTimes.com:

"I don’t doubt the patriotism of the Americans involved in keeping the country safe, nor do I discount the threat, but I am sure of this: The unfettered growth of the Department of Homeland Security and the T.S.A. represent a greater long-term threat to the prosperity, character and wellbeing of the United States than a few madmen in the valleys of Waziristan or the voids of Yemen.

America is a nation of openness, boldness and risk-taking. Close this nation, cow it, constrict it and you unravel its magic."

Civilization marches on

A lesbian landmark goes `all-welcome' - Florida Keys - MiamiHerald.com

Friday = students + football

With a dab of eggnog in my morning coffee to keep in the holiday spirit. I want Alabama to beat Auburn, Boise State to win big over Nevada ... that should set up Oregon v. Boise State.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

GOP moderates concerned about party's anti-science extremism

Daily Kos: State of the Nation: "GOP moderates concerned about party's anti-science extremism"

Santa tells the Christmas story

B. Joe Medley as Santa. From Christmas at the Juniper Tavern.

Facing my own illiteracy

I've always considered myself a pretty literate fellow -- until I started exploring the library at Project Gutenberg. Man, I'm not nearly as literate as I thought I was. Overwhelming what I haven't read.

Jacob Heilbrunn: Thanksgiving 2010: Bless Sarah Palin

Jacob Heilbrunn: Thanksgiving 2010: Bless Sarah Palin:

"My greatest thanks go to Sen. John McCain for having chosen Sarah Palin as his running mate back in 2008. She truly is a gift that keeps giving. Her latest stunt--confusing North and South Korea--is further testimony to her unique contribution to American politics. Without her, it would all be so much more boring."

An overwhelming, humbling literature

I spent some time browsing through the Gutenberg Project Library this morning. What a humbling experience! There are hundreds of writers, thousands of books, I've never heard of and many books I've never heard of that were written by authors I know, including famous ones. Damn, there a lot of books! And now the Gutenberg library has free Kindle editions. Yes, I am getting a Kindle, my Xmas present to myself, and my 2011 resolution is to read in the Gutenberg library, not contemporary books, but exploratory reading in this wonderful resource, revisiting the classics and reading some I never got around to, reading titles that sound intriguing and prolific authors I never heard of, this the focus of reading, not the library down the street, not contemporary books, but this old treasures ... and we'll see what treasures I can discover for myself. I find this a very exciting new focus on my reading.

And I'm excited about the challenge of the new video project. I am the sole actor in it. A challenge to create my character. The story deals with two fascinations I have from history: Roswell and the JFK assassination. But what interests me most is how little it seems to matter what the truth is. It's history. In fact, ancient history in the terms of our culture. Who cares what happened? Well, my protagonist does, and he wrestles with the meaning of this. And I have a premise that I think will make this work dramatically while raising the issue of the consequences of history.

It doesn't sound like I'm retired yet ha ha. Well, this is not the kind of ambitious project that the feature was. This is a little personal project to keep me busy. So in a way, yes, I am retired. Sort of.

New video project

I have a new video project in mind, a short, not very ambitious but something that deals with something that's been bugging me a while, and something I can do alone. Brooding and taking notes stage, a bit of research to see what's available to use. Working title, THE VOLUNTARY PRISONERS.

Happy thanksgiving

Up early but probably not up for good. Need to read some student scripts later this morning before the meal activities kick into gear. Feels like a mellow holiday. Mellow is good.

I'm getting myself a Kindle and going ebooks all the way. Going to start exploring the mind-boggling Gutenberg project library. Catch up on the classics.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Audio: Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Arizona, the BCS, the holidays and his closet full of footballs | OregonLive.com

Audio: Oregon coach Chip Kelly on Arizona, the BCS, the holidays and his closet full of footballs | OregonLive.com

Why e-readers like the Amazon Kindle will soon cost less than $100. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

Why e-readers like the Amazon Kindle will soon cost less than $100. - By Farhad Manjoo - Slate Magazine

Boise State president responds to Ohio State slam - Yahoo! News

Boise State president responds to Ohio State slam - Yahoo! News:

"COLUMBUS, Ohio – Boise State's president said his counterpart at Ohio State's claim that Big Ten and Southeastern Conference teams play a 'murderer's row' schedule 'is the greatest exaggeration I think we've heard this year in college football.'"

As the year winds down, it becomes more fashionable to slam Boise State. And yet they've passed every test given to them in recent years, beating the Big Boys consistently. They deserve a shot at the national grand prize.

The Truth about Sarah Palin and Wildlife in Alaska

The Truth about Sarah Palin and Wildlife in Alaska

Of course, facts don't matter to folks who embrace un-learning and who believe that education and intelligence are elitist. This is a faith-based religious movement at root, the Palin phenomenon, which suggests a presidential debate, should she agree to one as candidate, might be political farce of the most entertaining, mind-boggling variety. Run, Sarah, run!

Many Indians say, 'no thanks' to Thanksgiving -Native American Indian Tribes - Over 2,000 articles on native american indians, their culture & traditions.

Many Indians say, 'no thanks' to Thanksgiving -Native American Indian Tribes - Over 2,000 articles on native american indians, their culture & traditions.:

"The iconic Thanksgiving image of colonists and Indians sharing a feast has become the symbol of caring and cooperation among peoples, but for many Native Americans it is a reminder of betrayal, bloodshed and continuing discrimination.

'It's a day of mourning,' said William Redwing Tayac, chief of one of Maryland's indigenous tribes, the Piscataway Indian Nation. 'Indians are victims of the American holocaust. That's the truth. I'm not going to paint a rosy picture.'"

Thanksgiving: A Native American View | | AlterNet

Thanksgiving: A Native American View | | AlterNet:

"By 1623, Mather the elder, a Pilgrim leader, was giving thanks to his God for destroying the heathen savages to make way 'for a better growth,' meaning his people. In stories told by the Dakota people, an evil person always keeps his or her heart in a secret place separate from the body. The hero must find that secret place and destroy the heart in order to stop the evil. I see, in the 'First Thanksgiving' story, a hidden Pilgrim heart. The story of that heart is the real tale that needs to be told. What did it hold? Bigotry, hatred, greed, self-righteousness? We have seen the evil that it caused in the 350 years since. Genocide, environmental devastation, poverty, world wars, racism. Where is the hero who will destroy that heart of evil?"

Mistakes, Lies & Misconceptions - Issues of Native Circle

Mistakes, Lies & Misconceptions - Issues of Native Circle:

"It is good to celebrate Thanksgiving, to be thankful
for your blessings. It is not good to distort history, to falsely portray the origin of this holiday and lie about the truth of its actual inception.

Here are some accurate historical facts about the true origin of this American holiday that may interest you..."

TEACHING ABOUT THANKSGIVING - Native American Culture

TEACHING ABOUT THANKSGIVING - Native American Culture

A festive evening

It must be the coffee and eggnog, and the arrival of the houseguest, and the smells coming from the kitchen as H does some pre-holidy preparations, and even the coldness outside, which heightens the warmth inside ... but there's more festivity in the room than I remember from last year. I'll take it.

Is America on the path to 'permanent war'? - CNN.com

Is America on the path to 'permanent war'? - CNN.com

This may end up worse than Vietnam for the country.

Robert Reich: Sarah Palin's Presidential Strategy, and the Economy She Depends On

Robert Reich: Sarah Palin's Presidential Strategy, and the Economy She Depends On:

"The Republican establishment doesn't get it. Celebrity is part of The Palin Strategy -- as is avoiding the insider game. She doesn't want to do what Huckabee, Pawlenty, Gingrich, or Romney have to do. She has an outside game.

Palin's game plan is directly related to America' white working class, and the economy it faces -- and the economy it's likely to continue to experience for years."

Bob Cesca: The Perfect Storm That Could Elect Sarah Palin

Bob Cesca: The Perfect Storm That Could Elect Sarah Palin:

"If Palin is going to win, her grotesquely obvious negatives will have to be spun as 'presidential.' That's a long road to travel, but it's entirely possible. Just look at the ever-lengthening roster of zombie opposite-day lies floating around.

Death panels are still a thing, even though lingering Republican experiments in healthcare are killing people (sorry, 'both sides are insane' hipsters, but this is absolutely true and Alan Grayson was right). Or how basic high school level economics and math indicating that an extension of the Bush tax rates won't stimulate economic growth is attacked as 'liberal math.' Or how the public option was unpopular even though it was wildly popular. Or how President Obama's has a terrible record on jobs even though more jobs have been created during his term than were created during all eight years of the Bush administration. Or how President Obama is ballooning the deficit even though he's responsible for the single largest one-year reduction in the deficit -- ever ($122 billion!)."

The Big Lie - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Big Lie - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

What Palin says Obama said about "American exceptionalism" v. what he actually said. Palin repeated her lie again today.

History plays

I have two unproduced history plays, each written decades ago, that I want to scan and add to my archive. A project for over the holidays, perhaps.

A BROWN MAN'S BURDEN, written with historian Mark Falco, is about the Philippines war at the turn of the century, focusing on Aguinaldo, the "freedom fighter" we betrayed, first helping him defeat Spain, then changing our minds about Philippine independence. McKinley's dream and fiasco, our defining moment as an imperialist power. (Image: Aguinaldo shrine)

MERCY TO THE PATRIOT, the story of James Otis, "the first patriot" according to John Adams, who went crazy during the revolution because it became too radical for him. In the end, he burned his life's work. His sister was Mercy Otis Warren, our first playwright.

A much shorter version of the remarkable James Otis story was presented to our local Unitarian Church some years back, in a staged reading.

Neither of these history plays is easy to produce but each deserves to be added to my archive. I own up to them.

Here is my take on writing the history play.

Where did the morning go?

I actually have student scripts to read today. So where did the morning go? I've been so mellow and in such a puttering rhythm, I have no idea. About all I've accomplished is packing some boxed DVDs to mail. Ah, me. Well, the day isn't over yet, still time to read some student scripts.

Aerial Art Sends Climate Message | Wired Science | Wired.com

Aerial Art Sends Climate Message | Wired Science | Wired.com:

"With a series of large-scale artworks visible from above, activists at 350.org hope to harness the power of aerial imagery to raise environmental consciousness beyond the local, drawing attention to climate policy in ways that statistics do not."

Quote For The Day III - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Quote For The Day III - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

"PALIN: But obviously, we’ve got to stand with our North Korean allies. We’re bound to by treaty –

CO-HOST: South Korean.

PALIN: Eh, Yeah. And we’re also bound by prudence to stand with our South Korean allies, yes."

Chris Kelly: Sarah Palin's Favorite Communist Movie

Chris Kelly: Sarah Palin's Favorite Communist Movie

Ha ha ha! You couldn't make this stuff up. She MUST run for President, how else can the farce reach new heights? (Besides, it may be the only way Obama can get reelected.)

Freeware

It's amazing what great software you can find at freeware sites. I just downloaded a PIM, Personal Info Mgr, that is portable, which is to say I can run it from a flash drive, which is more convenient than the program I have, locked onto a home computer. Small, easy, nifty, with a surprising number of features. Here is the link ...

Exstora Pro, the freeware version.

Africa Unchained: Kibera Film School

Africa Unchained: Kibera Film School

That Amazon Studios Screenplay Contest: Heavenly Or Hellish? Scribes Weigh In… – Deadline.com

That Amazon Studios Screenplay Contest: Heavenly Or Hellish? Scribes Weigh In… – Deadline.com

Lots of criticism of this idea. Consensus thus far from Hollywood, Hellish. Most object to, which I also question, the ability of anyone to rewrite anything. Art is not democratic. (See previous post on this.)

Indian village bans cell phones for unwed women - Yahoo! News

Indian village bans cell phones for unwed women - Yahoo! News

We live on a planet on which the cultures of many different centuries co-exist simultaneously. This isn't as horrific as genital mutilation but it comes from the same consciousness.

Giving thanks

Although my new existential mantra is "I ache, therefore I am," this does not refute the grand blessings in my life, not the least of which is just being here. As I've related here so many times, I have no idea why I outlived all my closest male friends, nothing that could have been predicted in medical records or observations of life styles, but here I am, long after the others have passed. Alive and functional enough to have completed a feature length digital film in my seventies, no mean feat. And still brooding about things like Art Song Music Videos and Chamber Operas. My word!

There was a time as a young man when Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday because it was a gathering of friends. About half a dozen couples in LA spent the holiday together each year, a tradition that continued after some of us moved away to go to grad school. Indeed I was in the loop until we moved to the east coast and my marriage broke up. But all that was decades ago. Thanksgiving has not been the same since.

Today I really enjoy, as opposed to accept, very few holidays. Indeed the best for me now is really an old family holiday from my childhood, the Army-Navy football game. I make black-eyed peas and enjoy myself rooting for Navy. An ex-army navy brat.. Childhood wins.

Which reminds me that I broke my mother's heart in two ways, though she forgave me for both: first my leaving Cal Tech, a shock since I had good grades. I didn't realize how active she was in the various Cal Tech mothers organizations, activity that stopped after I left. I left for complicated personal reasons, and it's never been a decision I regretted.

And then I up and joined the Army, the son of a Navy officer. Mom never understood, though Dad did from the beginning.

I suppose I disappointed her in a third way, too, by not having a stable marriage with children so she could enjoy grandmothering. Maybe she never did forgive me on this count.

Warts and all, my life has been blessed. I bitch, of course, but I stop as soon as I hear myself, for I have nothing to complain about in a larger understanding of the world. I'm one of the lucky ones.

Greenhouse Gas Concentration In Atmosphere Hits Record Levels: U.N. World Meteorological Organization Report

Greenhouse Gas Concentration In Atmosphere Hits Record Levels: U.N. World Meteorological Organization Report

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don Tapscott: New York Times Cover Story on "Growing Up Digital" Misses the Mark

Don Tapscott: New York Times Cover Story on "Growing Up Digital" Misses the Mark:

"To begin, there is no actual evidence to support the view that this generation is distracted, performing poorly or otherwise less capable than previous generations. In fact the evidence suggests that on the whole, this is the smartest generation ever. IQ is up year over year for many years, university entrance exam scores are at an all time high and it has never been tougher to get into the best universities. Furthermore, volunteering amongst high school and university students is at an all time high and in the US the percentage of kids that are clean in high school -- i.e. they don't do drugs or alcohol -- is up year over year for 15 years. This is a generation about which we can be enormously hopeful."

Airbrushing Childhood - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Airbrushing Childhood - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

Another moment in the end of civilization, air-brushing elementary school photos! How could Orwell have been so right?

Daily Kos: Amazing Keith Olbermann Video Shows Wendell Potter Apologizes To Michael Moore in a Tell All UPDATE

Daily Kos: Amazing Keith Olbermann Video Shows Wendell Potter Apologizes To Michael Moore in a Tell All UPDATE:

"POTTER: Well, I'm sorry for the part that I played in attacking the movie. I did see the movie actually twice before it was screened across the country. Once in Sacramento when you had the initial screening an then the official premier in your hometown in Bel-Air.

I knew when I saw the movie the first time that you had really gotten a lot of it right. And I was really not very happy at all to have to be a part of the effort to discredit the movie. But I was still working for the industry then. So my apologies.

MOORE: Well, first of all, Wendell, thank you for saying that. And certainly, the apology is accepted. In fact, I think of you as a real hero. You've done something very brave and courageous, giving up a very good job and knowing that you would not earn that income again and probably be vilified by this industry."

Opera for the holidays


Thanks, Eric!

Health care


So over half want to keep or expand it rather than repeal it. Makes me smile.

Adventures in bad weather

Navigated our ice, came in early because the weather was relatively decent, packed like sardines on the bus, and arrived to a campus dry as a bone, no sign of ice at all.

Now I have a couple hours to kill before class. Pass out take-home final, collect last drafts of project before final submission next week.

Reading their work tomorrow and Friday therefore. Thursday we're having H's grandson and his bio father over, just the four of us. Well, we also are babysitting two dogs belonging to her daughter, who is in, ahem, Hawaii.

The boxed editions of the DVD arrived! Pretty, pretty. Will get them off to various places at the end of the week when the weather is supposed to improve.

Big football games -- esp Boise State and Nevada, a rare ranked opponent for BSU. They need to win BIG. They need to get into the final somewhere. I hope Alabama beats Auburn, BSU does well, then there's a chance it could be Oregon-Boise, the ideal game for my own interests. I think Boise would really give them a game. But it's a longshot to happen.

Corporate Profits Hit New Record, U.S. Workers Still Struggling

Corporate Profits Hit New Record, U.S. Workers Still Struggling

What's wrong with this picture?

Book release

Now Write! Screenwriting will be coming out in January, I'm told. Yours truly is a contributor. So, I see, is my local colleague Bill Johnson. Along with the usual gurus -- Seger, Field, Hauge, Trottier, Walter -- and a host of others, including screenwriters of successful films. I am curious to see the book and see if I have use for it in class. I've been thinking of doing more screenwriting exercises early on.

I can't even remember what my contribution was, it was so long ago. Maybe I can find it on my hard drive.





Found it. "Stop shooting yourself in the foot" is the title of my contribution. One of my pet peeves, screenwriters who are their own worst enemy because they don't understand the difference between a literary document and a blueprint for a movie, which is a BUSINESS document.

Sarah Palin Reportedly Lobbying To Get Christine O'Donnell On 'Dancing With The Stars'

The new politics: Sarah Palin Reportedly Lobbying To Get Christine O'Donnell On 'Dancing With The Stars'

You know, a few hundred years ago "just plain folks" surprised you by how self-educated they could be, farmers reciting Shakespeare and the like. Now the badge of honor is how little you know in any "formal learning" sense, education being elitist after all, and instead how much you buy into American myths that are based on a culture that hasn't existed for a very, very long time. You win votes not with good ideas but by dancing well. Or even not so well, as long as your supporters flock to the polls.

Personally, I think a lot of this heat is generated by white people who see that they are becoming a minority in America and don't like it. A black president was the last straw for them. Racism is alive and well.

Huskies move into Maui semifinals with 106-63 win - College Basketball - Rivals.com

Huskies move into Maui semifinals with 106-63 win - College Basketball - Rivals.com:

"LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP)—Whipping the ball around the court, dropping in 3-pointers from seemingly anywhere and everywhere, the Washington Huskies put on an awe-inspiring offensive show against Virginia."

Hey, a NW team to root for!

Breakfast of champions

Have yet to find evidence that anyone else has discovered the tasty marriage of scrapple and oatmeal. Just finished an expression of it:

  • Put a slice of scrapple in a bowl. Nuke for one minute.
  • Top with cooked oatmeal.
  • Top with a fried egg.
  • Add milk and enjoy.

This breakfast is a real sleeper, one of the best taste combinations I've found, a very special breakfast treat.

Winter wonderland

More ice than snow outside, which is worse for walking as far as I'm concerned. The university opens late but my class not cancelled tonight. Be a tricky commute for the old guy.

Daily Kos: GOP judges plead with Senators to stop obstructing nominees

Daily Kos: GOP judges plead with Senators to stop obstructing nominees

Daily Kos: Wyden blocks Internet copyright threat

Daily Kos: Wyden blocks Internet copyright threat:

"'Deploying this statute to combat online copyright infringement seems almost like using a bunker-busting cluster bomb, when what you need is a precision-guided missile,' Wyden said during a hearing on digital trade issues. 'If you don't think this thing through carefully, the collateral damage would be American innovation, American jobs, and a secure Internet.'"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Political change



No matter if you prefer red or blue, if you have patience your color will appear! An animation tracking political preferences over time. Fascinating.

Michelle Singletary - Woman who told Obama her financial fears has lost her job

Michelle Singletary - Woman who told Obama her financial fears has lost her job:

"'My husband and I joked for years that we thought we were well beyond the hot-dogs-and-beans era of our lives,' she said during the CNBC town hall broadcast. 'But quite frankly, it's starting to knock on our door and ring true that that might be where we're headed again. And quite frankly, Mr. President, I need you to answer this honestly: Is this my new reality?'"

Internet social sites 'encourage wrong spelling' - Education News, Education - The Independent

Internet social sites 'encourage wrong spelling' - Education News, Education - The Independent:

"Internet chatrooms and social networking sites are encouraging children to spell words incorrectly, new research suggests.

A paper released by the English Spelling Society concludes that the internet has revolutionised the English language, and made misspelling the norm.

As people type at speed online, there is now a 'general attitude' that there is no need to correct mistakes or conform to regular spelling rules, it says."

All this has such an Orwellian aura to it. Make them dumber, make them buy more, Homo consumerus!

But maybe it's actually not this bad. Maybe. Maybe.

The Library of Our Lives

Some 40 years ago, when I was a grad student working on my MFA in Playwriting at the Univ of Oregon, a theater dept grad student approached me about a project he had in mind that would involve half a dozen university departments, plus the superior television facilities at the nearby community college, and be a credited course out of the university's recent "experimental college": a soap opera satire, done start to finish by students, which would run on the university's cable channel. Would I be interested in heading/teaching the writing department of the project? Indeed I would!

So began an incredible year working with the talented, eccentric Peter Jamison (later of Hollywood, before moving to live in Venice, Italy, and then ...?). Yes, we actually pulled this off, although I ended up writing about 80% of the script myself because the students couldn't perform under the pressure of deadlines. Indeed, this was all much harder than we thought, and often I would be pounding out a scene at the studio while the prior scene was being taped! Actors didn't have time to memorize their lines, really, but they got the gist and improvised.

One writer later credited us with the first soap opera satire, before Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. We were written up in a magazine story, which you can find here in my literary scrapbook, scrolling down to the Library of Our Lives section. Man, I wish the tapes of these shows still existed! It was an incredible feat that Jamison pulled off.

A few memories:

Jamison drove an old VW with no windshield wipers -- in Oregon! I remember many a rainy night riding with him as he held his left hand out the open window to wipe the windshield with a sponge or rag.

There were some ex-cons from a  halfway house taking university courses -- and Jamison cast many of them as narcs in our story of university life! In the grand finale, a pregnant student gives birth to ... cats! I remember this clearly. I have no idea what dramatic journey, if any, got us there.

Our schmaltzy opening included the narration, "In the library of our lives are the books of a world's wisdom. To read them, we come to college."

Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Dumbing down American readers

Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Dumbing down American readers:

(From 2003)
"THE DECISION to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for 'distinguished contribution' to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis. The publishing industry has stooped terribly low to bestow on King a lifetime award that has previously gone to the novelists Saul Bellow and Philip Roth and to playwright Arthur Miller. By awarding it to King they recognize nothing but the commercial value of his books, which sell in the millions but do little more for humanity than keep the publishing world afloat. If this is going to be the criterion in the future, then perhaps next year the committee should give its award for distinguished contribution to Danielle Steel, and surely the Nobel Prize for literature should go to J.K. Rowling."

Discovery And BBC To Tell ‘History Of The World’ With Eight-Episode Series – Deadline.com

Discovery And BBC To Tell ‘History Of The World’ With Eight-Episode Series – Deadline.com

Global Voices in English » Thailand: Two Thousand Dead Fetuses in Buddhist Temple

Global Voices in English » Thailand: Two Thousand Dead Fetuses in Buddhist Temple

What challenges do Caribbean writers face? - The Signifyin' Woman (Charmaine Valere)

What challenges do Caribbean writers face? - The Signifyin' Woman (Charmaine Valere)

Conservatives4Palin.com: 10 Qualifications Sarah Palin Has Over Five Recent Presidents (Part One)

Conservatives4Palin.com: 10 Qualifications Sarah Palin Has Over Five Recent Presidents (Part One)

This is hilarious! This is at the level of "I can see Russia from my house." Being in the PTA qualifies her to be president! The thing is, these folks are absolutely serious. Un-f*ing-believable. (It even lists two and a half years as governor! Forget quitting.)

Tim Berners-Lee: Facebook could fragment web | Technology | guardian.co.uk

Tim Berners-Lee: Facebook could fragment web | Technology | guardian.co.uk:

"'The web evolved into a powerful, ubiquitous tool because it was built on egalitarian principles,' he said. 'The web as we know it, however, is being threatened in different ways. Some of its most successful inhabitants have begun to chip away at its principles.'"

This is a very old story. It happened in radio, in TV. "Open" media become fragmented and closed by powerful corporate participation and restrictions. There's no reason to be optimistic and think the pattern will be broken online. As long as the real power belongs to corporations, this is what happens.

Chris!

What a delightful accident! Weather folks are telling me to expect snow this afternoon, so I decided to run a necessary errand this morning before it started. The jazz station was playing my favorite vocalist, Chris Connor. And kept playing her. And they were still playing her when I returned, a very long set of greatness indeed! From 1953:

Wall Street, investment bankers, and social good : The New Yorker

Wall Street, investment bankers, and social good : The New Yorker:

"Much of what investment bankers do is socially worthless."

1963

I wrote this several days after the assassination during the week of national trauma, to the tune of Guthrie's "Dust Storm Disaster."

The Ballad of JFK

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Moore scores 30, leads UConn to 81st straight win - College Women's Basketball - Rivals.com

Moore scores 30, leads UConn to 81st straight win - College Women's Basketball - Rivals.com:

"Washington University won 81 in a row from 1998-2001. UConn should break the mark against Howard on Friday, then set off toward the next milestone: UCLA’s 88-game winning streak during the 1970s, the longest by a men’s program."

Wintry

Snow before Thanksgiving is unheard of here but we got some today, though it didn't stick, and more is forecast tomorrow. If Tuesday classes get cancelled, not impossible with a little snow on the ground, we never know what to do in snow, that means no classes at all this week. Might be an interesting end of term.

Bandwidth price remains highest in Asia » LIRNEasia - a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

Bandwidth price remains highest in Asia » LIRNEasia - a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific:

"The bandwidth prices in Asia remain more than 300% expensive than the western hemisphere,"

FDR, Reagan, and Obama - NYTimes.com

FDR, Reagan, and Obama - NYTimes.com:

"More and more, it’s becoming clear that progressives who had their hearts set on Obama were engaged in a huge act of self-delusion. Once you got past the soaring rhetoric you noticed, if you actually paid attention to what he said, that he largely accepted the conservative storyline, a view of the world, including a mythological history, that bears little resemblance to the facts."

In my view, Obama is the most disappointing politician since Humphrey. I don't know how it can happen but I want to see Clinton, not Obama, be the Democratic candidate in 2012. (in today's world I need to add "short of bloodshed"!). 

Downsizing

I maintian five websites, not counting this blog -- and I'm not renewing three of them.  I renewed them last summer and probably shouldn't have. They are sites maintained by my business self, which has been mostly shut down anyway and now it's time to complete the job. Total retirement in this sphere of my life. All this will happen in the spring. Spring cleaning, let's say.

Zar Zavala, Harvard Player, Finishes Yale Game A Rhodes Scholar

Zar Zavala, Harvard Player, Finishes Yale Game A Rhodes Scholar:

"CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Harvard receiver Zar Zavala left the field to celebrate with his family after the Crimson beat Yale on Saturday and found a text message on his cell phone.

It said: 'Congratulations. You're a Rhodes Scholar.'"

Yes, there still are student-athletes in the game. You just don't find many of them in the big farm team schools.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

13 Days

Love this movie. Historic, tense, classic military v. civilian conflict, a rare decent outcome, temporarily at least. A gripping film, no matter how many times I see it.

Harvard v. Yale

This is a football rivalry second only to Army v. Navy, and both share the advantage of not being minor league schools for professional football careers. You see better football -- not better athletes but better football, better competition, better fair play. And far far far less arrogance.

I didn't know which team to root for. I have a soft spot for Harvard because in high school I worked for the Harvard Observatory monitoring variable stars, one of the few teens in the country to do so. Yet I fell in love with Yale when I went to a hypertext conference there in the early 90s. Eventually I decided childhood wins and rooted for Harvard, who is leading in the 4th quarter.

Disappointment

I do feel minor disappointment in one area of "having written": I was hoping to hear from two cast members in particular about their reactions. I assume a positive response would have been more forthcoming than something less. Sometimes hearing nothing is not a good thing.

B. Joe Medley as Santa

Yes, I will be posting the YouTube clip of the late B. Joe Medley as Santa, telling the Christmas story, from my play Christmas at the Juniper Tavern. But after Thanksgiving! Stay tuned.

No. 3 Boise State rolls past Fresno State 51-0 - Yahoo! News

No. 3 Boise State rolls past Fresno State 51-0 - Yahoo! News:

"'They got all the pieces, I mean they really do. I think the truth of the matter is people are scared to play them,' Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. 'They don't want to play them. It's like last year when they put Boise against TCU. They don't want to play against those types of teams. I'll say it. I have no problem saying it. I'll take Boise State against anybody in the country.'"

Boise State beat Oregon last year. How I'd love a rematch. I don't care who wins, actually, my affections for Oregon compromised by Nike's de facto ownership of the team. I've come to love the Oregon coach, however.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mark Twain’s Autobiography Is Flying Off the Shelves - NYTimes.com

Mark Twain’s Autobiography Is Flying Off the Shelves - NYTimes.com:

"When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.

Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins."

Voting

Smoked haddock and yellow split pea soup - Recipes, Food & Drink - The Independent

Smoked haddock and yellow split pea soup - Recipes, Food & Drink - The Independent

Global Voices in English » China: First case of Twitter inquisition

Global Voices in English » China: First case of Twitter inquisition:

"On 15 November, a woman in China was sentenced to one year of ‘re-education through labour’ for sending a single tweet."

Quotation of the day

About our film:
"It’s kind of like Borges and Nabokov got together with Linklater to make a Rob Reiner mockumentary." --Steve Patterson

Sarah Stalin on the First Lady

video

Top 19 Countries With The Fastest Internet Connection Speeds Ranked By Akamai (PHOTOS)

Top 19 Countries With The Fastest Internet Connection Speeds Ranked By Akamai (PHOTOS)

U.S. is #12, which I found shocking.

Is art democratic?

The new Amazon Studios, which so aggressively supports young screenwriters and filmmakers in many ways, includes an option that troubles me, no doubt because I am "old school" on an issue that's been emerging in the culture, slowly for some time now. What does it mean to be "an author"? Recent studies have shown that students writing papers "borrow" from material they find on the net without hesitation. Indeed, I've done this myself, taking clips from YouTube for my films, most often with the original source unknown. Students don't understand, or respond to, the traditional notion of "intellectual property" and so don't believe they are doing anything wrong when they cut and paste material on the net into their own papers. At least according to this study I read.

At Amazon Studios, anyone can download anyone else's screenplay and revise it and upload it again. This is a remarkable option! Granted, this in fact mirrors a certain reality in Hollywood. At the same time, the blasts to kingdom come any traditional notion of "authorship" and this is what I'm not prepared to embrace.

In the documentary Dreams On Spec screenwriter Ed Solomon makes the case that most successful films, both financially and critically, are created by "a single vision." Not 3 or 4 writers but one. This appears to be true with a number of my favorite films that come to mind: Harold Pinter's French Lt's Woman, John Guare's Atlantic City. A single author.

Yet there does, in fact, appear to be a trend embracing a kind of "democratic art" in which many authors freely contribute. Note this is not exactly collaboration. If I download a script from Amazon Studios and heavily rewrite it, I am not doing so in collaboration with the author. I am doing so because I think I am "better" than the author and can improve his story. Which happens all the time in Hollywood except that a "single vision," a producer, oversees the activity and chooses (and pays) the participants.

A student who pointed out this option at Amazon also has qualms about it. He is a young filmmaker and doesn't like the idea of throwing his  work out there to be revised by just anyone. I don't blame him.

Herein is the plot for a thriller, of course. The original author's revenge and all that. Trouble is, a stranger may revise it so it becomes unrecognizable.

p.s. I grew up in the tradition of the artist as seer, as unique visionary, as special, as singular. I don't buy that any more and haven't for a long time. But I do believe in single authorship, the notion of author, which is the root of authority. I believe there can be, and often are, too many cooks in the kitchen.

Fiscal Strength: millionaires who want to be taxed

Fiscal Strength:

"We are writing to urge you to stand firm against those who would put politics ahead of their country.
For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled.
We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more."

Love it.

Comcast vs WGA: Latest Guild Battleground – Deadline.com

Comcast vs WGA: Latest Guild Battleground – Deadline.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Bob Hicks on our film

Hicks has many interesting things to say about The Farewell Wake and its context. Check out Small World, Big Bang.
OK! Mr. Scatter thinks we just might be seeing the beginning of a trend in low-budget, do-it-yourself, power-to-the-people, new-media-driven movies. And it tickles him no end that a crusty renegade in his 70s is one of the first guys out of the gate to show the kids how it’s done.

Lah de dah

Quiet office hours. One student came by for a brief visit and update.

UCLA-Washington football game tonight, and I should get home early enough to catch the end of it. Will have it on TiVo at any rate.

Not much happening with the film. Not that I expected anything. But it's nice to be surprised. Nice to find out somebody somewhere really digs it.

Yes, "having written" is so much less exciting than "writing." I have no idea why Dorothy Parker felt otherwise.

I recall a scene in the film Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, a great title, in which as an old lady she gets some award or other. She's a bit drunk, as she often was in her life, and staggers on stage to say, "It's about time." Love it!

May the gods bless the ego of the artist, say I. It's often the only thing that keeps her going.

Patti Smith Wins National Book Award for Memoir - NYTimes.com

Patti Smith Wins National Book Award for Memoir - NYTimes.com:

"In the fiction category, Jaimy Gordon won for “Lord of Misrule,” a surprise pick for a book published by McPherson & Company, a small literary publisher in Kingston, N.Y. The novel, about the ruthless world of horse racing in West Virginia, was praised by the judges as a “vivid, memorable and linguistically rich novel.”

“I’m totally unprepared, and I’m totally surprised,” a stunned-looking Ms. Gordon said in a brief speech."

Felix is King of AL pitchers, taking Cy Young | Mariners.com: News

Felix is King of AL pitchers, taking Cy Young | Mariners.com: News:

"'I don't have any words to explain how it feels,' Hernandez said in a conference call with reporters from his home in Venezuela. 'When I first heard, my mind was like, 'Really, really?' I had to ask again, 'Did I win the Cy Young?' And then I started crying and jumping around the house. It was a great, great, great, great, amazing thing.'"

Gregory Dal Piaz: Top 10 Wines for Your Thanksgiving Table

Gregory Dal Piaz: Top 10 Wines for Your Thanksgiving Table

Endless Simmer: Five Ways to Drink Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Endless Simmer: Five Ways to Drink Your Thanksgiving Dinner

Felix Hernandez Wins AL Cy Young Award With 13-12 Record

Felix Hernandez Wins AL Cy Young Award With 13-12 Record:

"NEW YORK — For once, Felix Hernandez got all the support he needed for a big win.

The Seattle ace earned the AL Cy Young Award on Thursday despite a modest 13-12 record. His major league-leading 2.27 ERA and superior stats put him far ahead of Tampa Bay's David Price and the Yankees' CC Sabathia and their impressive win-loss numbers."

Good news! NW sports fans don't get much ha ha.

The Haitian Blogger: Acts of God and Retribution in Haiti

The Haitian Blogger: Acts of God and Retribution in Haiti

How to many Haitians we become the bad guys.

Art Scatter » Blog Archive » Home on the range: separated at birth?

Art Scatter » Blog Archive » Home on the range: separated at birth?:

"If a county goes “Red” by a landslide 60 to 40 percent, it still means that four out of ten voters went “Blue,” and you might be surprised at some of the things those other six think, too.)"

Winding down

I only have 4 classes left, what with a short week coming up. Amazing. I have 2 movies yet to show, so there's half of them. Today I plan to give a pep talk to my several students who are still "lost" with regard to screenwriting.

Republican Push To Defund NPR Fails (VIDEO)

Republican Push To Defund NPR Fails (VIDEO)

Scientists Claim Breakthrough In Antimatter Hunt

Scientists Claim Breakthrough In Antimatter Hunt

First Sound Press: How a 10,000 Pound Gadget Changed the World Forever

First Sound Press: How a 10,000 Pound Gadget Changed the World Forever

Joseph A. Palermo: D-Day in the Class War

Joseph A. Palermo: D-Day in the Class War:

"And how are working taxpayers repaid for the assistance they've given to their fellow citizens of the investing class? They get 'commissions' and 'foundations' and elite 'study groups' that are orchestrating the next giant rip-off of America's middle class.

Few in the press seem to want to educate the public about how we got into this fiscal crisis in the first place or why projected budget surpluses at the beginning of the Bush years were so needlessly squandered. And remember, those surpluses were turned into deficits through 'bipartisan' agreements, such as the Bush tax cuts, the wars, and the bailouts. There's also precious little mention of the grotesque inequality in American society these days, which is worse than even during the Gilded Age. The establishment press seems determined to avoid the obvious conclusion: The rich, the super-rich, and the super-duper rich (as well as the conglomerates) must pay more in taxes to get the United States through the crisis. Ending the two debilitating wars and rolling back what Eisenhower called the 'military-industrial complex' should be next. And the billions of dollars wasted in corporate welfare each year must be diverted to human needs."

Outgoing Rep. Inglis Blasts GOP Skepticism on Global Warming - NYTimes.com

Outgoing Rep. Inglis Blasts GOP Skepticism on Global Warming - NYTimes.com:

"'To my free enterprise colleagues, whether you think it's all a bunch of hooey, what we talk about in this committee -- the Chinese don't, and they plan on eating our lunch in the next century, working on these problems,' Inglis said. 'We may press the pause button for a few years, but China is pressing the fast-forward button.'"

Yes, it looks like China is going to eat our anti-science corpses for lunch -- unless we get our act together and deal with the world as it is, not as political myopia would prefer it is.

Senator Rockefeller Wants FCC To 'End' Fox News, MSNBC

Senator Rockefeller Wants FCC To 'End' Fox News, MSNBC:

"When it comes to developing content, our entertainment machine is too often in a race to the bottom. In fact, it is in a race to the bottom. Getting close. Even worse, our news media has all but surrendered to the forces of entertainment. And much of our news media is entertainment as opposed to news. Instead of a watchdog that is a check on the excesses of government and business, we have the endless barking of a 24-hour news cycle. We have journalism that is always ravenous for the next rumor, but insufficiently hungry for the facts that can nourish something called our democracy. As citizens, we are paying one heck of a price in the dumbing down of America."

But these are cable channels, out of reach of FCC. But "the dumbing down of America" is right on the mark.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Amazon seeks aspiring film-makers' work - News, Films - The Independent

Amazon seeks aspiring film-makers' work - News, Films - The Independent

This looks promising. Best, no entry fees, at least at the moment. Young filmmakers, go for it!

10 Best Cities For Art Lovers (PHOTOS)

10 Best Cities For Art Lovers (PHOTOS)

Wis. man accused of shooting TV over Palin dance - Yahoo! News

Wis. man accused of shooting TV over Palin dance - Yahoo! News:

"MADISON, Wis. – A rural Wisconsin man apparently enraged by Bristol Palin's 'Dancing with the Stars' routine blasted his television with a shotgun, leading to an all-night standoff with a SWAT team, investigators said."

If he just hadn't threatened his wife ...

Sarah Stalin answers a blogger

Help Scientists Hunt for Exploding Stars | Wired Science | Wired.com

Help Scientists Hunt for Exploding Stars | Wired Science | Wired.com

First Sound Press: How Do You Make a Feature-Length Movie in Your 70s?

First Sound Press: How Do You Make a Feature-Length Movie in Your 70s?

Mark Marchus sends some generous words our way.

Global Voices in English » Puerto Rico: Indie Rockers Inspired by Internet Culture

Global Voices in English » Puerto Rico: Indie Rockers Inspired by Internet Culture

Asian Gypsy - All Things Mongolian: Rumors of Starbucks & McDonalds opening in Mongolia

Asian Gypsy - All Things Mongolian: Rumors of Starbucks & McDonalds opening in Mongolia:

"The modern barometers of globalization and international recognition of a country as one worth its space on the map. Unfortunately. But amidst all the hoohahs, 'god-forbid's, and the apparent inevitability of a cultural apocalypse brought on by the grease and grind of the McBucks invasion, I find myself wondering at their significance. Doomsday prophets may disagree, but the invasion of the greasy burger and the bland overpriced java will not spell the end of nomadism."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Emir Kusturica's "Punk Opera" | Time of the Gypsies

Emir Kusturica's "Punk Opera" | Time of the Gypsies

Global Voices in English

Global Voices in English:

"Global Voices is an international community of bloggers who report on blogs and citizen media from around the world."

DVDs shipped

Just got a notice that the boxed DVDs I ordered have shipped, considerably earlier than I expected. Might get them by end of week or early next.

Office hours

To the office early, primarily for a change of scenery because I was feeling like I was in quite the rut at home. Still a bit of post partem energy lingering after the film, I suspect. The work is such an incredible high! The end of the work is such an incredible letdown! There is no solution. Or at least I haven't found one in over half a century of repeating the same goddamn dance. It's worse when I don't immediately jump to a new project, the serial monogamist. But I still tell myself I am taking a break until the first of the year -- though, in fact, maybe I am one of those folks incapable of taking a break. Maybe I'll have to make up some "place taking" project to fool myself into thinking I have something to do. Or maybe I can become obsessive about banjo and piano practice. Actually this would do me good!

Money and awards are great distractions in the "having written" phase but I don't expect either any more. You have to market something first ha ha and I have retired into the anonymity of my archive. No regrets. Awards are silly for the most part, if necessary at the beginning of a career, or at least useful then, but the only awards worth getting, really, are the ones you don't apply for. I've gotten a couple of those. They come as surprises. The others you apply for don't and if you don't get them, they become disappointments. Yes, the awards you don't apply for can be nice.

The best one I ever received was an award totally made up by a charming old woman who loved my plays. She wanted to give me money -- a true patron! -- but she wanted tax advantages in doing so. So she made up the Oregon Foundation Theatre Award and gave me a five grand check! And I became the one and only recipient of an award that was created so she could give me money with tax advantages. Love it. Even had a public presentation after a performance of one of my plays, a newspaper item, etc, but no investigative reporter caught the whiff and the next year no one remembered that it existed and no one was getting it THIS year. I guess she's really the one and only true patron I've ever had -- and what a rare thing, too, because patrons don't exist much any more.

Rabbi Adam Jacobs: Kabbalah and Jazz: The Mystical Foundation of Improvisational Music

Rabbi Adam Jacobs: Kabbalah and Jazz: The Mystical Foundation of Improvisational Music

Earth as Art: Stunning New Images From Space | Wired Science | Wired.com

Earth as Art: Stunning New Images From Space | Wired Science | Wired.com

Google CEO: Android update "could replace credit cards" - Nov. 15, 2010

Google CEO: Android update "could replace credit cards" - Nov. 15, 2010

I saw a film doc several years ago in which this was already the case in Japan, phones were used to charge items and even get pop from a dispenser. We used to be leaders in high tech. Lately we're followers.

Younger Generation Favoring Energy Drinks Over Coffee - TIME

Younger Generation Favoring Energy Drinks Over Coffee - TIME:

"When 24-year-old Alex Stein is looking for a morning pick-me-up, he doesn't reach for a cup of cappuccino as his parents Len and Berdie did daily while he was growing up in Westchester County, New York — he grabs an energy drink. Coffee just doesn't cut it with him."

SHOCKER: Oscar Publicist Ronni Chasen Shot And Killed – Deadline.com

SHOCKER: Oscar Publicist Ronni Chasen Shot And Killed – Deadline.com

Coincidence? Or are the awards heating up big time?

Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday | Wired Science | Wired.com

Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Wednesday | Wired Science | Wired.com:

"Wake up early and look up tomorrow: The annual Leonid meteor shower is expected to peak in the hours just before dawn Wednesday and Thursday."

My marketing lecture

I do this one day a term and this is the day: my Reality 101 marketing lecture, or how to get a producer with credits to read your script. It's a crap shoot and a numbers game but it can be done, and students have succeeded with the strategy I present. But the odds remain very, very long, and the serious student should seriously consider moving to LA OR making his/her own digital films as showcase pieces.

At any rate, today will be busy and generally full of good student questions.

Tina Fey's Sarah Palin Joke Cut From Mark Twain Prize Speech (VIDEO)

Tina Fey's Sarah Palin Joke Cut From Mark Twain Prize Speech (VIDEO): Here is what got cut:

"'And, you know, politics aside, the success of Sarah Palin and women like her is good for all women - except, of course --those who will end up, you know, like, paying for their own rape 'kit 'n' stuff, But for everybody else, it's a win-win. Unless you're a gay woman who wants to marry your partner of 20 years - whatever. But for most women, the success of conservative women is good for all of us. Unless you believe in evolution. You know - actually, I take it back. The whole thing's a disaster.'"

Boise State sets itself up for promising BCS push | Boise State Football | Idaho Statesman

Boise State sets itself up for promising BCS push | Boise State Football | Idaho Statesman:

"If Boise State can beat Fresno State at Bronco Stadium on Friday, the Nov. 26 game at Nevada becomes, potentially, the biggest game in school history.

If Alabama has already defeated Auburn in Tuscaloosa earlier that day, Boise State could kick off against Nevada with a BCS title-game berth at stake."

I'd love to see Oregon v Boise State.

First Sound Press: Conquest Abroad, Repression at Home: Sound Familiar?

First Sound Press: Conquest Abroad, Repression at Home: Sound Familiar?:

"The demigod being immortalized is the late Sioux leader Crazy Horse sitting on his horse pointing to something off in the distance. 'Retribution. . .justice. . .something to re-instill Indian pride.'"

The Origin of America’s Intellectual Vacuum | CommonDreams.org

The Origin of America’s Intellectual Vacuum | CommonDreams.org:

Movie Soundtracks Mimic Primordial Sounds of Animal Distress | Wired Science | Wired.com

Movie Soundtracks Mimic Primordial Sounds of Animal Distress | Wired Science | Wired.com

Jane White: Why Are Academics Among the Few Americans Who Can Afford to Retire?

Jane White: Why Are Academics Among the Few Americans Who Can Afford to Retire?

This is VERY misleading. Most universities depend on adjunct faculty, part-timers without tenure and most benefits, a class to which I belong, and believe me, this article does not pertain to us.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Baz Luhrmann Tells Deadline: Carey Mulligan Is My Daisy Buchanan – Deadline.com

Baz Luhrmann Tells Deadline: Carey Mulligan Is My Daisy Buchanan – Deadline.com:

"EXCLUSIVE: Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann has found his Daisy Buchanan. He has officially given the starring role in The Great Gatsby to Carey Mulligan, the Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and Never Let Me Go star who'll play the manipulative heroine when Luhrmann starts production on his adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic."

Maybe LaLaLand can get it better this time around.