Archive for September, 2013

Truman Capote in Newsweek

Truman Capote in Newsweek

This cracked me up today … some of our greatest writers talking smack on some of our other greatest writers. This comes via Les Edgerton’s blog. My favorite is Truman Capote’s quote about Jack Kerouac: “That’s not writing. That’s typing.”

From the Banned Books Weeks website,

From the Banned Books Weeks website,

Yes, it’s that time of year again, when the puritanical and easily offended try to decide what we should and should not read: Banned Book Week. You can check out the HLN slide show here.

I don’t know who makes these decisions (or why). Take a look and form your opinion. I’ll help…

1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain). Yeah, I get it. It is rife with the “n-word,” it’s a not-so-pretty look at life in these United States at the time, but the nightly news is far more obscene than this book.

2. Lady Chatterly’s Lover (D.H. Lawrence). OK, the first time I ever heard of this was via Cinemax, which showed in frequent, ahem, rotation, Sylvia Kristel in the Lady Chatterly series. I remember thinking, “Boy, they didn’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on wardrobes for this.” Hoo boy. Too much sex for the times, but have you seen Cinemax lately? This seems tame now.

3. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley). I’ve never seen this one on the banned list. Haven’t read it, either, but now I will.

4.  Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger). Why are we still talking about this book being banned? We all had to read it in high school! Loved it, too, by the way.

5. Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov). Besides inspiring Sting to write a song for The Police that we still can’t get out of our heads (which may be reason to ban it), this lurid tale has plenty of taboos and sex and taboos and … you get the idea. But, it’s Russian, see, and reading it makes you look sophisticated. Or a pervert.

6. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck). This tale of Okie woe was so despicable and offensive that it won a Nobel Prize. So there.

7. A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess). OK, most folks aren’t going to get biting satire drenched in violence — gang rape, thuggery, sadism, etc.  Shocking? Yes. Pointless? No.

8. Slaughterhouse Five (Kurt Vonnegut). For the record, I find Vonnegut hard to read. But that don’t mean I think this in-your-face look at WWII should be banned. If anything, we should pay more attention to what our combat vets write.

9. Are You There, God? It’s me, Margaret (Judy Blume). Haven’t read it. But in this country if you have God in the title and then talk about menstruation, you’re asking for trouble.

10. American Psycho (Bret Easton Ellis). I started this one, but never got to finish. Saw the excellent movie, though. See #7 above.

Also for the record, I didn’t watch the Emmys. I only caught the snarky highlights and recaps on the web today. But since hardly anything at all that airs on FX got nominated (American Horror Story notwithstanding), I’m glad I didn’t waste my time. If Sons of Anarchy and Justified don’t get Emmy nominations, something ain’t right.

jack_lord_1However, the wonderful interwebs made up for that today. First up was a semi-lame list of  “Crime TV’s Coolest Catchphrases.” I say semi- because if you make such a list and don’t come right out of the chute with “Book ’em, Danno,” you’re just wrong. Also, I’m not sure how many current crime TV viewers even know of these phrases:

1. “Missed it by that much.” (Maxwell Smart, Get Smart) This is one better heard than read. It was all in how Max said it. Oh, and Agent 99? Yes, hot.

2.  “Zoinks!” (Shaggy, Scooby-Doo) Crime TV? Really?

3. “Wowsers.” (Inspector Gadget) See #2 above.

4.  “One more thing.” (Inspector Columbo, Columbo) Peter Falk at his disheveled best as the most annoying cop in the world. But good, though. Yeah, he was good.

5. “Hi-yo, Silver! Away!” (The Lone Ranger) First, I thought it was Hi-HO. And I’m not sure a Western truly qualifies as “crime TV.”

6. “Book ’em, Danno.” (Steve McGarrett, Hawaii Five-O) The original Five-O. You knew it was coming at the end of every single damn episode, and you still wanted to hear him say it. And watch Kono smack some haole upside the head.

truedetNext, HBO has a new series coming that looks like it’s going to be badass. True Detective stars Matthew McConnaughey and Woody Harrelson star as “two detectives, Rust Cohle and Martin Hart, lives become entangled during a 17-year hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana.” I may have to sign up for HBO for that one.

The Bacon Elvis Weave Sandwich. Ohhhh yeahhh.

The Bacon Elvis Weave Sandwich. Ohhhh yeahhh.

I was going to settle in and write something truly profound, maybe even, hell, inspiring. Then I saw this photo, courtesy of Blogger, posted by my Arkansas friend, Darren Reinhart (so blame him).

17 September 2013: A writer speaks

Posted: September 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

SONS-OF-ANARCHY-SAISON-1_portrait_w858This is an interesting 16 minutes. Kurt Sutter discusses last week’s premiere of “Sons of Anarchy,” from his, the writer’s, perspective. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it.


HalfMastFlagHow long must we sing this song?

This is getting to be a far too routine occurrence in America — a  gunman on the loose, bodies on the floor and in the street, tactical police teams that disturbingly resemble a Marine assault squad and frenzied, inaccurate, retracted and, finally, corrected reporting, all against a droning white noise of politics and speculation.

And today, it hit close to home. I don’t work in the Navy Yard, but I used to. And I still have colleagues and former clients, friends and acquaintances, who do (they’re all accounted for). And as I write this, the chaos is only just now dwindling with the last of the day’s light.

This is what truly matter matters about what happened in the Navy Yard — and in Newtown and Boston and Columbine and every other killing field in this country — today, somebody lost a loved one today for no better reason than that person went to work. Right now, gun control, gun laws, politics, psychology and demographics don’t mean a damn thing. Someone lost a loved one today because of a selfish act by a pathologically selfish person. Again.

The inevitable hand-wringing and finger-pointing will start soon after this “lone gunman” is bagged and tagged and sent to the morgue. Passionate pleas for stricter gun laws will erupt, pleas based on dubious reasoning and emotional outbursts. The opposing pleas will bounce back, based on equally dubious reasoning with an equal amount of emotion. And in the days ahead, while this argument rages yet again, someone will bury a loved one and ask, “Why?”

Why, indeed. Or perhaps more uncomfortably, how? How did we become a society of selfish, entitled, angry (oh yes, angry) individuals who, now with a banal regularity, see mass murder as an appropriate response to perceived (or even real) injustices perpetrated against them?

What has happened to America? To Americans?