Sinclair Lewis sayeth.
Did Nobel Prize-winning author Sinclair Lewis say that when fascism comes to America it will be "wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross"?
Clever saying, but ummmm, no:
Mystical Music - radio program pitch.
I'd like to produce a Sunday radio program (suitable for syndication) dedicated to an eclectic mix of sacred music from a wide variety of cultures and mystical traditions... and I think it would be perfect for NPR. The first seven shows might feature the following works:
Paul Horn - Inside http://s.9timezones.com/2007/05/#2085746800372571221
David Hykes - Hearing Solar Winds http://s.9timezones.com/2007/05/#2633457410530487668
Paul Giger - Chartres http://s.9timezones.com/2007/05/#3411480143126776439
Kudsi Erguner - The sacred flute of the Whirling Dervishes http://s.9timezones.com/2007/05/#5740063515785929747
Vox - Diadema (Hildegard Von Bingen) http://s.9timezones.com/2007/05/#4637967339425104659
Arvo Pärt - Te Deum http://s.9timezones.com/2007/05/#4871938256347569815
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan - Shahen-Shah http://s.9timezones.com/2007/05/#1332275679671829649
Wallachia: Reign of Dracula.
The game demo for "Wallachia: Reign of Dracula" (which I had a small part in writing) will be available on April 26th. Exciting!
Other pix: http://facebook.com/vladti/posts/1547768715313285
Original announcement: http://twitter.com/Migami_Games/status/918544660104208384
Free eBook ("Vlad the Impaler: Son of Dracul"): http://9TimeZones.com/vladti.htm
John Steinbeck once said that socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires. (A Short History of Progress, by Ronald Wright, 2004, p.124)
Steinbeck actually said:
Except for the field organizers of strikes, who were pretty tough monkeys and devoted, most of the so-called Communists I met were middle-class, middle-aged people playing a game of dreams. I remember a woman in easy circumstances saying to another even more affluent: "After the revolution even we will have more, won't we, dear?" Then there was another lover of proletarians who used to raise hell with Sunday picnickers on her property. [¶] I guess the trouble was that we didn't have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew—at least they claimed to be Communists—couldn't have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides they were too busy fighting among themselves. (America and Americans, by John Steinbeck, 1966, p.27)
Know your ending before you start writing.
Brautigan: .44 Magnum
Hemingway: 12-gauge Boss shotgun
Kosiński: head in plastic bag
Plath: head in oven
Thompson: Smith & Wesson 645
Woolf: walked into river w/stones in pockets
Boye: sleeping medication overdose
Chamfort: shot off nose/jaw, stabbed w/paper cutter
Ćopić: jumped off bridge
Crane: jumped off steamship
Levi: jumped into stairwell
Potocki: shot w/silver bullet blessed by priest
Sexton: locked in garage w/car running
Seneca: slit wrists
(Despite mutilating himself so horribly in September, Chamfort didn't die until the following April)
(Potocki was performing a public service - thought he was becoming a werewolf)
Jonker: walked into sea
Mayakovsky: played Russian roulette 3 times, won twice
Tacitus records the elegant suicide of Petronius:
"Yet he did not fling away life with precipitate haste, but having made an incision in his veins and then, according to his humor, bound them up, he again opened them, while he conversed with his friends, not in a serious strain or on topics that might win for him the glory of courage. And he listened to them as they repeated, not thoughts on the immortality of the soul or on the theories of philosophers, but light poetry and playful verses. To some of his slaves he gave liberal presents, a flogging to others. He dined, indulged himself in sleep, that death, though forced on him, might have a natural appearance. Even in his will he did not, as did many in their last moments, flatter Nero or Tigellinus or any other of the men in power. On the contrary, he described fully the prince's shameful excesses, with the names of his male and female companions and their novelties in debauchery, and sent the account under seal to Nero. Then he broke his signet-ring, that it might not be subsequently available for imperiling others."
UPDATE: I just realized I'm not famous enough to commit suicide. Dammit. ;-)
UPDATE 2: Resumé (by Dorothy Parker)
Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren’t lawful;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.
How to see who Likes and Follows your Facebook Page.
1. Click Settings,
2: Click People and Other Pages,
3. Click dropdown: People Who Like This Page,
4. Click dropdown: People Who Follow This Page,
5. Click dropdown: Pages That Like This Page.
No jury duty for moi.
Last-minute reprieve from jury duty! Maybe this letter had something to do with it:
December 1, 2017
Superior Court in Maricopa County
175 W. Madison St.
Phoenix, AZ 85003
RE: Disqualification of Alan C. Baird, Juror ID _________
I am requesting a permanent disqualification from jury duty. Since my reasons do not fit into the excuses outlined under the law, I will present them here:
1) PREJUDICE: Several years ago, I saw a home robbery in progress, alerted the police and testified as a witness... but the case was dismissed on a technicality. I also sued a telephone company in small claims court for changing my number without notice... but that case was also dismissed on a technicality. Result: I will never vote for any Defendant, civil or criminal, because I now believe they are all guilty as f*cking sin.
2) PREJUDICE, PART DEUX: I have worked for several law firms, so I know their methods intimately. I automatically assume all lawyers are backstabbers, liars and cheats. And slimeballs. Especially slimeballs.
3) SLEEP: I work on the graveyard shift and my normal sleep time is 7am to 3pm. My body takes several weeks to adjust to a new sleeping schedule, so I will be semi-conscious during normal jury hours. If I am deprived of sleep for very long, I start hallucinating. And if I fall asleep in the jury box... well, the snoring and drooling will not be very pretty.
4) FINANCIAL HARDSHIP: My employer pays for only two days of jury duty. After that, I won't be able to buy food. I will starve. And I hate it when that happens.
I certify that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, the statements provided herein are true and correct.
Alan C. Baird
ALSO: One final note on jury duty.
Was your writers' conference like this?
"An accountant by day, novelist by night, Miss Burrows (Bette Davis) has grown tired of rejection notices from publishers. Her latest submission is about an author who shoots an editor after his book is rejected. When Miss Burrows' novel is ridiculed publicly by a famous editor for being unbelievable, Miss Burrows buys a gun to prove him wrong." Broadcast on CBS-TV - March 10, 1957.
1.2 billion Facebook profile photos in one massive image.
Facebook lets you know about Russian propaganda.
As mentioned before, here's the page where you can check to see if you were taken in by the Russian propaganda:
Open at last page in LibreOffice Writer.
Pro Tip - open at last page in LibreOffice Writer:
In an open LibreOffice Writer document, click Tools, Options, LibreOffice, User Data, [type] First/last name/initials, [check] Use data for document properties, OK.
Then click File, Properties, General, [check] Apply user data, OK.
Then click File, Close, Save.
The next time you open your document, you'll be able to continue from exactly where you left off!
Open at last page in Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Pro Tip - open at last page in Adobe Acrobat Reader:
Click Edit, Preferences, Documents, and check the box "Restore last view settings when reopening documents."
The next time you open your PDF, you'll be able to continue reading from exactly where you left off!
Script for Sale: Wide World of Shooting.
Click poster for details.
This mass-shooting script is way too soon, and much too dark, but I think it captures some of the absurd humor in this situation. If we can have a reality-show president, why not turn our recurring national nightmare into a sports reality show? Dark satire. WARNING: NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH.
Mass shootings have been trivialized by many parties, from the NRA, which blocks all attempts to reduce the carnage, to lawmakers in the NRA's pocket, who refuse to pass sensible laws, to worshipers of the Second Amendment, which was enacted during an era when weapons designers could not even dream of a mentally-unbalanced gun owner wielding the destructive capability of a small army. In case you haven't noticed, flintlock muzzleloaders are not remotely equivalent to AR-15s with bump stocks and dual drum mags. The difference between firing four rounds per minute and 700 is pretty d*mn significant.
So by satirizing the trivialization, this script tiptoes into very dangerous territory. It can be seen as having a callous disregard for human suffering, while also being perceived as an emotional attack on some very powerful and moneyed interests. You need to be well aware of these forces, if you decide to move this material into production.
Did you get taken in by the Russian propaganda?
Facebook will let you know...
Wide World Of Shooting.
WARNING: NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH. This mass-shooting script is way too soon, and much too dark, but I think it captures some of the absurd humor in this situation. If we can have a reality-show president, why not turn our recurring national nightmare into a sports reality show?
JIM: Good evening, and welcome to the Wide World Of Shooting. Tonight, we're coming to you from Bumwash, Texas, a small town of about 150 souls near Lubbock, in the northern panhandle. Frank?
FRANK: That's right, Jim. Tonight, we're going to see if Texas can recapture the Guinness World Record title as the "site of the largest mass shooting in U.S. history." The Guinness verification team is in place, the AR-15s are locked and loaded... but first, let's get some background on tonight's shooter. Howard?
HOWARD: I'm here with Billie Bob Buford, an ex-employee of Wilson Widgets, which used to be the largest employer in this gawdforsaken town.
BILLIE BOB: It was the *only* employer in this gawdforsaken town, Howard. And when it closed down, two years ago, my life fell apart. No job, no income, no kids, no wife.
HOWARD: Your wife left you?
BILLIE BOB: She took the kids and ran off with my former supervisor. He was offered a job at the head office of Wilson Widgets down in Houston, so she hitched her wagon to a faster horse. I didn't find out 'til after they'd left that he had been bangin' her for nearly ten years. In fact, some of the kids I thought were mine are probably *his*!
HOWARD: Well, that's certainly motive enough for what you're about to attempt. Do you think you can bring the record back to Texas?
BILLIE BOB: "Remember The Alamo!" That bastard in Vegas is goin' dowwwwwn!!
HOWARD: There you have it, folks. A disgruntled former employee in a jealous rage, trying to knock off the horns planted on his head by a sneaky, underhanded ex-boss. And he's going for a new American record!
CROWD (in bleachers, behind Howard): U! S! A! - U! S! A! - U! S! A!
FRANK: Howard, it looks like the shooting has already begun! (Bullet hits glass, and a circular crack appears.) I'm glad we're up here in the booth, behind this bulletproof glass, Jim.
JIM: I think that was just a ricochet, off the cigarette case of Billie Bob's ex-supervisor.
FRANK: That weasel is back in town?
JIM: Yep, we offered him an all-expense-paid weekend with hookers and crack, so he flew up from Houston on Friday night. He's the first one down, and he's bleeding profusely. The Guinness verification team is examining him now...
FRANK: Oh, no! The Guinness team members are shaking their heads. Billie Bob's first victim is not dead! He's *not* dead, folks! Billie Bob is off to a rough start, here in Bumwash, Texas.
JIM: But it looks as though he's beginning to settle down, Frank. Billie Bob just walked back and squeezed off a couple of rounds into his ex-supervisor's head, at point-blank range. And the Guinness folks... yes, they're giving the thumbs-up, Frank! Billie Bob's mass shooting is starting to pick up steam. And now he's aiming at the windows of the local church, firing off 400 rounds a minute... but wait!
FRANK: Yes, somebody called the cops, Jim, and you can see their lights flashing, off in the distance. But before this goes any further, we should probably explain the bar chart overlay that appears on the viewer's screen. The first rectangular bar shows the population of Bumwash, Texas, and the percentage of its residents that Billie Bob has wasted. A big chunk of the town was at church tonight, so we're starting to see significant results there. The second rectangular bar shows the American record set in Las Vegas earlier this year, and you can see that Billie Bob is very close to regaining the title for the Lone Star State...
JIM: Let me interrupt you, Frank. We have a shocking development in this active shooter scenario. It seems the church choir brought *their* AR-15s to the service tonight, and they're shooting back at Billie Bob...
FRANK: ...and Billie Bob is down, folks! Despite his body armor and flak jacket, Billie Bob has sustained several wounds from the church choir. Those sopranos are surprisingly good shooters...
JIM: ...and why not, Frank? They've got a name and a reputation to live up to. Billie Bob is on the ground, and he's dragging himself, hand over hand, to a nearby car. What's he looking for?
FRANK (using binoculars): I can't quite see... oh, wait. The car door is opening, and a hand reaches out, and Billie Bob...
FRANK/JIM (in unison): ...tags the hand!
JIM: ,,,just as he takes his final breath! What a surprise, Frank! We've got a whole new ball game. I certainly didn't see that coming. Billie Bob had a tag-team accomplice... and it's a woman! And what a shooter she is. She's wiped out the entire church choir, and... can we call it, Frank?
FRANK: Yes! The Guinness team has officially certified that the American record is back in Texas! This is now the largest mass shooting in U.S. history!
CROWD (in bleachers outside booth, some wounded, some dead): U! S! A! - U! S! A! - U! S! A!
JIM: And I notice that Billie Bob's female accomplice is wearing a hijab head scarf, so that means this is also an act of...
FRANK/JIM (in unison): ...terrorism!
FRANK: What a night! What a memorable night! And with that, we'll throw it back to you, in the studio.
As we cut away, we see the broadcast booth, with a gaudy flashing neon sign: "THOUGHTS & PRAYERS!"
How do I force Facebook's News Feed to show "most recent stories" instead of "top stories"?
Simply create a bookmark on this URL:
How do I access Facebook's computer desktop interface from the mobile interface?
Just open your browser and enter this URL:
Don't forget to add the 'www' in front of 'facebook'...
How do I get the date I joined Facebook to show up on my Timeline?
In the computer desktop interface, click the "Edit Profile" button on your Cover Photo, scroll down to the "Joined Facebook" section, click the checkbox, and click the Save button. The date will show up inside the Intro section, to the left of your Timeline.
In the cell phone interface, go to your Timeline (Cover Photo + Profile Picture at top) by clicking the 3 horizontal lines in the lower right, click your name, click Edit Profile, scroll down to Details, click Edit Details, scroll down to the JOINED FACEBOOK area at the bottom, click the checkbox (or uncheck and check), and click SAVE.
Doesn't seem to work in the iPad interface - watch for updates.
Facebook monthly users: 2004=1m, 2005=6m, 2006=12m, 2007=58m, 2008=145m, 2009=360m, 2010=608m, 2011=845m, 2012=1056m, 2013=1.23b, 2014=1.44b, 2015=1.59b, 2016=1.86b, 2017=2.16b. World population: 7.6b. FB/WP: 28.4%. 2017/12 active users: YouTube 1.5b, WhatsApp 1.3b, WeChat 980m, QQ 843m, Instagram 800m, Tumbler 794m, Twitter 330m, Skype 300m, LinkedIn 260m, Snapchat 255m, Reddit 250m, Pinterest 200m.
Donald Trump = Vlad the Impaler?
Was Vlad the Impaler the Donald Trump of his era? Some observers have noticed the uncanny similarities between these two men. In the following excerpts from the eBook linked below, you may compare and contrast the two leaders in three areas: Healthcare/Homelessness, Foreign Emissaries, and Women's Issues. [Warning: violent.]
>>Healthcare/Homelessness. We all know that Trump is firmly committed to strengthening the safety net that protects the most vulnerable members of our society. And Vlad had that same level of commitment.
EXT. TÎRGOVISTE DINING HALL - NIGHT
Vlad stops outside the hall and confers with DRAGOMIR, the Captain of his guards:
VLAD: You have gathered together all the cripples, the poor, the sick, the vagrants and beggars of this land?
DRAGOMIR: Yes, Voivode. They're quite a smelly crowd, but they seem to be having a good time. It's lasted all day, and half the night.
Vlad nods, and walks inside the hall. Hundreds of wretched PEOPLE are enjoying a sumptuous feast. They stuff themselves with huge plates of food, and drink jugs of wine until they can drink no more. Things are getting pretty ROWDY, but everyone quiets down at the sight of Vlad.
VLAD: No one should go hungry in my land! What else do you need? Do you all want to be without cares... would you like to be poor no more?
VLAD: Then it shall be done!
He walks out and addresses his Captain:
VLAD: Dragomir, all my subjects should work, and contribute to the common welfare. Let's make sure these parasites will present no further burden to others.
Dragomir nods, and signals to his MEN. They NAIL planks over the doors and windows, and set fire to the hall.
VLAD (continuing): Remember: no survivors.
Dragomir salutes, as Vlad walks away. The people inside the burning building begin to SCREAM.
>>Foreign Emissaries. In Trump's international interactions, he represents America in a mature and dignified manner. Vlad's dignity was also unparalleled.
INT. TÎRGOVISTE COURT - EVENING
GURAY and FARUK, two Turkish ambassadors, are the guests of honor at Vlad's court. The celebration banquet has attracted a huge CROWD of the Boyar noble class. VLAD beckons ONE OF HIS COURTIERS, and the two men step out into a hallway.
VLAD: Why are the Turks still wearing those stupid turbans? Weren't they told they're required to remove their head coverings in the presence of the Voivode?
COURTIER: Yes, sir. But they *did* bow in front of you. They say they're not allowed to remove the turbans. This is their custom.
VLAD: Is that so?
COURTIER: They say they never remove them, even for the Sultan.
VLAD: Is that so?
COURTIER: Yes, they wear those turbans *all* the time.
VLAD: Is that so?! Hm.
Vlad WHISPERS to the courtier, who immediately runs down the hallway. Vlad returns inside to the banquet, smiles and lifts his wine glass to Faruk and Guray. The Boyars also lift their glasses.
VLAD: To the Sultan's ambassadors!
BOYARS: To the Sultan's ambassadors!
VLAD: I understand it is your custom to wear those turbans all the time.
Guray looks quizzically at Faruk, then shrugs.
GURAY: That's true, Voivode.
VLAD: Well then, I want to help make sure they'll never fall off by accident.
Vlad's GUARDS move in behind the ambassadors and hold them still, while the turbans are NAILED to their heads.
>>Women's Issues. Donald Trump obviously holds women in the highest esteem. Vlad also treated women with the utmost respect.
INT. TÎRGOVISTE PALACE - DAY
Many PEOPLE move in and out of this large hall, where Vlad sits on his throne. One MAN kneels in front of him.
VLAD: Okay, you'll be sitting on a stake later this afternoon. Next!
The man is dragged away, pleading and CRYING. Dragomir hauls a WOMAN in front of Vlad, and forces her to kneel.
VLAD (continuing): Dragomir, I'm getting bored. This one had better be good.
DRAGOMIR: Voivode, she was unfaithful to her husband.
VLAD: Infidelity, eh? We haven't seen a case like this all week. (pause) Let's see, let's see. How can we discipline her?
WOMAN: But sir, I am innocent!
VLAD: Innocent? Innocent?!
Vlad and Dragomir share a hearty LAUGH.
VLAD: A wife is just a whore who's waiting for the right opportunity.
VLAD: No more buts. You've wrapped your legs around too many butts already. Dragomir, did I ever tell you about peeling the skin off the bottom of that thief's foot?
DRAGOMIR: How could I forget?!
VLAD: Yes, it was a classic, wasn't it? But I've always had nagging doubts about that punishment.
DRAGOMIR: Doubts, sir?
VLAD: Lately I've been wondering if we should've taken it further.
EXT. STREET NEAR THE PALACE - 1 HOUR LATER
A CROWD has gathered, and they're all staring up at the unfaithful woman, who is, of course, SCREAMING. Vlad and Dragomir stand in the crowd's front row.
VLAD (continuing): She wanted to spend time with men other than her husband, and she wanted to get naked in front of them. So who am I to deny her wishes?
The Woman is tied to a tall post. Her skin has been removed, and it's nailed to the post above her, flapping in the wind.
FREE EBOOK - Vlad the Impaler: Son of Dracul
Patti Smith on how she copes with death.
"I have lost many people now in my life, and I know, because I've been through it so many times - friends, loved ones, my brother, my husband, my parents, that I know with each time that we're all going to have this moment - it's part of the human package, it's part of the privilege of being human, is that we have our moment when we have to say goodbye. It's nothing personal, we just all have to pass through it and I've just learned that all of these people that we lose, and this is what I mean by experience, they're all within us. They become part of our DNA. They become part of our blood."
Nobel performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=941PHEJHCwU
Draft obit... is here!
75 Years of Chelmsford High School yearbooks in searchable PDF format!
"The life of the dead is placed in the memory of the living."
--Marcus Tullius Cicero (03 Jan, 106 BC - 07 Dec, 43 BC; Age 63)
Class of 1969, Chelmsford High School, Mass., In Memoriam
Class of 1969, Westfield High School, Mass., In Memoriam
Class of 1968, Westfield High School, Mass., In Memoriam
Class of 1970, Westfield High School, Mass., In Memoriam
Class of 1971, Westfield High School, Mass., In Memoriam
Find A Grave profile
A man walks into a bar...
...and sees a sign: "Free Beer For Life If You Can Pass Our Test!"
He asks the bartender, "What's this 'test'?"
The bartender says, "First, you chug a gallon of pepper tequila. Next, you go out back and pull the sore tooth out of our alligator's jaw. Finally, there's a girl upstairs who's never slept with a man, and you gotta make things right with her."
The man exclaims, "That's a piece of cake! Alright, let's do this." The bartender hands him a gallon of pepper tequila, and the man struggles to chug it. He manages to finish, and he slams the bottle on the counter, but he's teary-eyed and nearly fainting. The bartender warily points him in the direction of the alligator.
After several minutes of screaming and growling and ungodly ruckus, the man stumbles back in. His shirt is torn, and he's bleeding profusely. He can barely stand up, but he aims a glassy stare at the bartender and says, "OK, where's the girl with the sore tooth?"
Let's finish the tax season with an old joke.
Grandpa receives a notice that he's going to be audited, and he's summoned into the IRS office. The auditor is not surprised when Grandpa shows up with his attorney.
The auditor says, "Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, Which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable."
"I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it," replies Grandpa. "How about a demonstration?"
The auditor thinks for a moment and says, "Okay. Go ahead."
Grandpa says, "I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye."
The auditor thinks a moment and says, "It's a bet."
Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops.
Grandpa says, "Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye."
Now the auditor can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet. Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye.
The stunned auditor now realizes that he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.
"Want to go double or nothing?" Grandpa asks. "I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between."
The auditor has lost twice and he's cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again.
Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he ends up urinating all over the auditor's desk.
The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win. But Grandpa's own attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.
"Are you okay?" the auditor asks.
"Not really," says the attorney. "This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been called in for an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and piss all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it!"