Sunday, October 21, 2012


"My Bloggy Valentine" has a new home at WordPress, and a spot on my own brand spankin' new website. 

You'll find all the old posts (including my 1-minute plays) on MY NEW BLOG HERE

And here's the home page of my website,  Try tickling the squid on the front page!

Thanks for visiting, and see you soon at my swanky new wp address.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fab "You Can't Do That On Television" interview link

Great interview with Geoffrey Darby, co-creator of "You Can't Do That On Television" - and inventor of Nickelodeon's once-famous green slime.  (Interview from SplitSider by Matthew Klickstein.)

Money quote, to my mind:

"I think that when you deal with any property like this – for children and for adults – the great ones are those that came from somebody who really had a passion for and would fight for that story and those characters and not have them sort of bent by market research.

When we look at what are the great things we all remember, it’s all because they’re passion projects. I think that floats right to the top every time.  I think Nickelodeon has not lost that. I hope."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Thought on Productivity and Originality

For those of us who blog, or produce, or create, or write, or compose: we often say "I have to post more blog posts, or write more, or put more work out there" or whatever. 

But Salon found a most interesting recipe to boost success.  In summary (emphasis mine):

"We've tried to work longer on stories for greater impact, and publish fewer quick-takes that we know you can consume elsewhere. We're actually publishing, on average, roughly one-third fewer posts on Salon than we were a year ago (from 848 to 572 in December; 943 to 602 in January).  So: 33 percent fewer posts; 40 percent greater traffic.

It sounds  simple, maybe obvious, but: We've gone back to our primary mission and have been focusing on originality. And it's working."

Make of this what you will!

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's 2012: Pop the Champagne, and Hop on the Train

It's 2012.  And 2011 is O.VER.  (Can you tell I'm relieved?)

Don't get me wrong: a lot of great things happened last year - a lot of REALLY great things.

And also: some terrible things.  Really terrible things. 

What's funny is, I haven't written much about either the really good or the really really bad.  I realize this blog is a venue to share my thoughts from time to time... but I still like to keep things private, as well. 

Maybe too private, I'm starting to think. 

But you're out there, and you send emails to say that you're reading what I write, and you're waiting for new posts - so, so, so...

So I'm thinking that maybe in 2012, I need to write about new things.  And I want to write more frequently, and write more freely

Because I've decided this is the year of: BREAKTHROUGH. I declared this to my 1-Year Plan Club (have I told you about the 1-Year Plan Club?) and they were in strong support. 

That's why I'm making a lot of positive changes this year: from health and fitness, to scheduling, to efficiency... (oh boy, that all sounds... kinda boring. But it's going to be exciting, I promise!)

Most of all, I'm amping up the frequency of writing this blog (and indeed, the frequency of writing altogether).  In pursuit of Breakthrough. 

  Yeah, that sounds good.  I like it. 

Stay tuned: there will be a new look to my site and my blog VERY soon, and a lot of new things to report.   

So I hope you'll keep riding along with me for the upcoming year - and I hope you'll write back, either privately or in the comments sections.  Let's see what happens when we do this together.

So Happy 2012!  We're half a month in already.  So pop the champagne, and hop on the train.  It's going to be an enlightening journey.

I'm glad you're along with me.

Q: What is YOUR theme for the year?  I'd like to hear it, if you're willing to share.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Terrific Terry Gilliam article

Check out this awesome article about Terry Gilliam in today's LATimes.  

I confess that I haven't seen a Gilliam movie in years, and I remember that his work contained at least as many moments of revulsion as there were visions of transcendent grace. 

But in the end, it's the grace that remains with me.  (Uma Thurman on the Half-Shell in "Baron Munchausen," to name one - and above all, my favorite movie moment of all time: the extraordinary waltz in Grand Central in "Fisher King."  

And this article gave me a greater appreciation for what this director's gone through to make his films.  It made me want to revisit his body of work now that I'm older and wiser (?).  Anyway, enjoy!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Shaving "The Moustache of Wisdom"

As someone interested in language – and its use, misuse, and abuse – I’ve long been a fan of Matt Taibbi’s epic takedowns of NYTimes columnist / pompous ass, Thomas Friedman. 

If you’ve never read Taibbi’s columns on the man he derides as “The Moustache of Wisdom,” please do yourself a favor and read them now.  (Links below.)  They are scathing, hilarious, profane, on-the-money - and they effectively point out that this Emperor of the Op-Ed page is wearing no clothes at all.  Or said another way, Taibbi's writing acts as a lens that makes it nearly impossible to see Friedman’s columns any other way.

If I'm being careful with metaphor here, it's because of Taibbi’s main takeaway: in every single column, Friedman’s language breaks down until it lacks sense completely… and that this breakdown of language leads Friedman to decidedly wrong conclusions about the world, how it works, and how the US should behave in affairs both foreign and domestic.

For example, see Taibbi's first whack at TF.  Money quote: “This would be a small thing were it not for the overall pattern. Thomas Friedman does not get these things right even by accident. It's not that he occasionally screws up and fails to make his metaphors and images agree. It's that he always screws it up. He has an anti-ear, and it's absolutely infallible; he is a Joyce or a Flaubert in reverse, incapable of rendering even the smallest details without genius. The difference between Friedman and an ordinary bad writer is that an ordinary bad writer will, say, call some businessman a shark and have him say some tired, uninspired piece of dialogue: Friedman will have him spout it. And that's guaranteed, every single time. He never misses.”  (Matt Taibbi, NYPress)

I won’t even try to compete with Taibbi, but I will say that with every new Friedman column I make a parlor game of trying to spot the moment where the columnist’s language breaks down into gibberish.  (What can I say?  Some people do crosswords or Sudoku, I pick apart Tom Friedman columns.) 

I’m sorry to say this is not a very difficult parlor game.  Take, for example, Friedman's entry in today’s NYTimes.  It features a cornucopia of banal analysis (er… “banalysis?”), such as the not-at-all-surprising revelation that the bubbling revolution in Syria is made up of freedom-seeking youth vs. tradition-bound oldsters, or the not-at-all-shocking conclusion that the past holds great sway on the present.   

But besides that, we get this little gem: "This is the grand drama now being played out in the Arab world — the deeply sincere youth-led quest for liberty and the deeply rooted quests for sectarian, factional, class and tribal advantage.  [Snip.]  The same drama played out in Iraq, but there the process was managed, at a huge cost, by an American midwife — managed enough so that the communities were able to write a new, rudimentary social contract on how to live together and, thereby, give the future a chance to bury the past. But we still do not know how it will end in Iraq." (Friedman, NYTimes)

I ask you: what kind of drama is managed by a midwife who helps write a social contract that buries the past?   Is that person who intervenes in the drama a director?  A writer?  A doula?  An undertaker?  All of the above?  None?  Some? 

Does this matter?  Well, Friedman is an influential columnist and author, who is paid richly to opine on the pages of the most famous newspaper in the world twice a week.  So, yes: I believe his breakdown of language and thought is worth examining, as are the wrongheaded conclusions that he draws.  

I’ll let Taibbi sum it up, as he does in this NY Press articleThe takeaway, said better than I can:

"Friedman’s language choices over the years have been highly revealing: When a man who thinks you need to break a vase to get the water out of it starts arguing that you need to invade a country in order to change the minds of its people, you might want to start paying attention to how his approach to the vase problem worked out.  Thomas Friedman is not a president, a pope, a general on the field of battle or any other kind of man of action. He doesn’t actually do anything apart from talk about sh*t in a newspaper. So in my mind it’s highly relevant if his manner of speaking is f*cked.
”  (Taibbi, NYPress Bowdlerization mine: Ed.)

Here’s one more link to one more glorious Matt Taibbi smackdown of Tom Friedman.  

Good grief, how much do they pay Friedman to write this column?  As a writer or a thinker, the man is not worth his weight in mustache wax.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I know, I know...

I really should blog more! People have been asking for an update. Well, consider this a start.

It's not like I haven't been doing ANYTHING - in fact, things have been madly, wildly busy. And I've been thinking about switching blog platforms anyway, so I was wondering if I should put anything here at the moment, and that in part kep me away from the keyboard.

But consider this blogged! I'm back. More later, with specifics. Hope you're all well out there in the cyberworld.