The Snoozeletter @ s.9TimeZones.com

 
That's what I do. Field of DreamsField of Dreams, written/directed by Phil Alden Robinson, from the short story and novel by W.P. Kinsella:

TERENCE "TERRY" MANN (James Earl Jones): Listen to me, Ray. Listen to me. There is something out there... and if I have the courage to go through with this, what a story it'll make. "Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa."

RAY KINSELLA (Kevin Costner): Are you going to write about it?

TERRY: You bet I'll write about it.

RAY: You're going to write about it.

TERRY: That's what I do.
 
Killing worms. The NaturalThe Natural, screenplay by Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry, from the novel by Bernard Malamud:

BARTHOLOMEW "BUMP" BAILEY (Michael Madsen - after failing to catch a fly ball): I lost it in the sun.

POP FISHER (Wilford Brimley - looks up at the cloudy sky): Blinding.

***

POP (yells to his pitcher, who's fading fast): Come on, Fowler! Throw strikes!

RED BLOW (Richard Farnsworth): Fowler's killing worms, Pop.

***

ROY HOBBS (Robert Redford): I coulda been better. I coulda broke every record in the book.

IRIS GAINES (Glenn Close): And then?

ROY: And then? And then, when I walked down the street, people would've looked and they would've said, "There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was in this game."

DVD disc
 
Married to the sea. RushmoreRushmore, written by Wes Anderson & Owen Wilson:

HERMAN BLUME (Bill Murray): What's the secret, Max?

MAX FISCHER (Jason Schwartzman): The secret?

HERMAN: Yeah. You look like you've got it all figured out.

MAX: I don't know. I think you just gotta find something you love to do, then do it for the rest of your life. For me, it's going to Rushmore.

***

MAX: You think I'm spending too much of my time starting up clubs and putting on plays?

BERT FISCHER (Seymour Cassel, MAX's father): I don't know. It's possible.

MAX: I should probably be trying harder to score chicks. That's the only thing anybody really cares about. (sighs deeply) But it's not my forté, unfortunately.

BERT: It'll happen, Max. It's just, you're like one of those clipper ship captains. You're married to the sea.

MAX: Yes, that's true. But I've been out to sea for a long time.
 
Writers = dime/dozen. Barton FinkBarton Fink, written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen:

BEN GEISLER (Tony Shalhoub): Look, you confused? You need guidance? Talk to another writer.

BARTON FINK (John Turturro): Who?

BEN: Jesus, throw a rock in here, you'll hit one. And do me a favor, Fink: throw it hard.

***

CHARLIE MEADOWS (John Goodman): I could tell you stories to curl your hair, but it looks like you've already heard 'em.

***

W.P. MAYHEW (John Mahoney): Me, I just enjoy making things up. Yessah, escape. It's when I can't write, I can't escape myself, I want to rip my head off and run screaming down the street with my balls in a fruit-picker's pail.

***

JACK LIPNIK (Michael Lerner): You arrogant sonofabitch! You think you're the only writer who can give me that Barton Fink feeling?! I've got twenty writers under contract I can ask for a Fink-type-thing from.
 
Showbiz. Swimming with SharksSwimming with Sharks, written and directed by George Huang:

BUDDY ACKERMAN (Kevin Spacey): What I am concerned with, is detail. I asked you go get me a packet of Sweet-N-Low. You bring me back Equal. That isn't what I asked for. That isn't what I wanted. That isn't what I needed and that shit isn't going to work around here.

GUY (Frank Whaley): I, I just thought...

BUDDY: You thought. Do me a fucking favor. Shut up, listen, and learn. Look, I know that this is your first day and you don't really know how things work around here, so I will tell you. You have no brain. No judgment calls are necessary. What you think means nothing. What you feel means nothing. You are here for me. You are here to protect my interests and to serve my needs. So, while it may look like a little thing to you, when I ask for a packet of Sweet-N-Low, that's what I want. And it's your responsibility to see that I get what I want.

***

GUY: That's a bagel stain.

DAWN LOCKARD (Michelle Forbes): Bagel stain?

GUY: I put too much cream cheese on Buddy's bagel and he threw it at me. But I learned a very valuable lesson... never put too much cream cheese on Buddy's bagel.

***

BUDDY: Avoid women directors. They ovulate. Do you have any idea what that does to a three-month shoot?

***

BUDDY: You wanna talk big directors? Think Attenborough, think Spielberg, think Lean.

GUY: Lean's dead.

BUDDY: No he's not, don't you ever say that. He's just unavailable.
 
Hollyweird. The PlayerThe Player, screenplay by Michael Tolkin, adapting his own novel:

JUNE GUDMUNDSDOTTIR (Greta Scacchi): I like words and letters, but I'm not crazy about complete sentences.

***

LARRY LEVY (Peter Gallagher): I'll be there, right after my AA meeting.

GRIFFIN MILL (Tim Robbins): Oh Larry, I didn't realize you had a drinking problem.

LARRY: Well, I don't really, but that's where all the deals are being made these days.

***

GRIFFIN: Can we talk about something other than Hollywood for a change? We're educated people.
 
Hungarian dialogue in Hollywood films.

Blade Runner, screenplay by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick:

GAFF (Edward James Olmos, supposedly speaking Japanese... but actually delivering his foreign-language lines in broken Hungarian): Wrong guy, my a**. You're known as The Boogeyman in every mean joint in town.

***

The Usual Suspects, by Christopher McQuarrie:

ARKOSH KOVASH (Morgan Hunter, in Hungarian): Why are you just standing there, you idiot? I'm not speaking English am I? Wouldn't it make sense to find someone who could talk to me so you could find the person that set me on fire, perhaps? He is the Devil. You've never seen anyone like Keyser Soze in all your miserable life, you idiot. Keyser Soze. Do you at least understand that? Keyser Soze. The Devil himself. Or are you American policemen so stupid that you haven't even heard of him? Keyser Soze, you ridiculous man. KEYSER SOZE.

***

Chicago, screenplay by Bill Condon, from the musical play by Bob Fosse, John Kander & Fred Ebb, based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins:

KATALIN HELINSZKI, "THE HUNYAK" (Ekaterina Chtchelkanova, spoken during the "Cell Block Tango" number): Mit keresek, en itt? Azt mondjak, hogy a hir az {hogy akivel} lakom lefogta a ferjemet en meg lecsaptam a fejet. De nem igaz, en artatlan vagyok. Nem tudom miert mondja Uncle Sam hogy en voltam. Probaltam a rendorsegen megmagyarazni, de nem ertettek meg... [Rough translation: What am I doing here? They have charged that my famous lover held down my husband, and I cut off his head. But it is not true, I am innocent. I do not know why Uncle Sam says that I did it. I tried to explain in the police station, but nobody understood me...]

Blade RunnerThe Usual SuspectsChicago
 
Strange bedfellows. the girl in the caféthe girl in the café: written by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, Love Actually), this offbeat political-romance concerns Lawrence (Bill Nighy, Love Actually), a 57-year-old Londoner with a successful governmental career and nonexistent social life. One day he stops in a café and meets the mysterious, considerably younger Gina (Kelly Macdonald, Trainspotting). To their mutual amazement, they hit it off and agree to meet again (and yet again). Then he invites her to accompany him to the G8 Summit in Reykjavík, where she upends his carefully ordered world in ways both wonderful and terrible...

INTERIOR - FORMAL DINING HALL AT THE G8 SUMMIT

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER (Corin Redgrave): Five years ago, the world made a series of the most magnificent promises, and we have determined to use this conference seriously, to indent the most extreme curses of poverty in the world today. We shall not let them out of our sights... even if we may not yet have the power to fulfill them all. (Dinner guests applaud.)

GINA (Kelly Macdonald): That's not true. That's not true. (Guests gasp.)

PRIME MINISTER: I'm sorry madam, but heckling isn't really a tradition at these gatherings. (Guests chuckle.)

GINA: What are the traditions, then? Well-crafted compromise and just sort of ignoring the poor?

PRIME MINISTER: Perhaps we can talk about this later?

GINA (quietly intense): I doubt it. I imagine I'll be thrown out later, so it's probably got to be now. I don't know how much the rest of you ladies know about what's going on, but my friend here tells me that while we are eating, 100 million children are nearly starving. There's just millions of kids who'd kill for the amount of food that fat old me left on the side of my plate. Children who are then so weak, they'll die if a mosquito bites them. And so they do die... one every three seconds. (Snaps fingers.) There they go. (Snaps again.) And another one. Anyone who has kids knows that every mother and father in Africa must love their children as much as they do. And to watch your kids die... to watch them die... and then to die yourself in trying to protect them... that's not right. And tomorrow, eight of the men sitting round this table actually have the ability to sort this out by making a few great decisions. And if they don't... someday, someone else will. And they'll look back on us lot and say: "People were actually dying in their millions unnecessarily... in front of you, on your TV screens. What were you thinking? You knew what to do to stop it happening and you didn't do those things. Shame on you." So that's what you have to do tomorrow. Be great instead of being ashamed. It can't be impossible. It must be possible. (Guard arrives, to remove GINA from the hall.)
 
The repo way. From Repo ManRepo Man, written and directed by Alex Cox:

[OTTO MADDOX (Emilio Estevez) eats from a can with the generic label: "Food."]

MRS. MADDOX (Sharon Gregg): Put it on a plate, son. You'll enjoy it more.

OTTO: Couldn't enjoy it any more, Mom. Mm-mm-mm.

***

BUD (Harry Dean Stanton): Credit is a sacred trust, it's what our free society is founded on. Do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia? I said, do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia?

OTTO: They don't pay bills in Russia. It's all free.

BUD: All free? Free, my ass. What are you, a fuckin' commie? Huh?

OTTO: No, I ain't no commie.

BUD: Well, you better not be. I don't want no commies in my car. No Christians either.

***

MILLER (Tracey Walter): A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example, show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp, out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconciousness.

OTTO: You eat a lot of acid, Miller, back in the hippie days?

***

BUD: It helps if you dress like a detective. Detective dress kinda square. If you look like a detective, people are gonna think you're packing something.

OTTO: Are you?

BUD: Am I what?

OTTO: Packing something?

BUD: Only an asshole gets killed for a car.

***

MILLER: The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.

***

OTTO: Bud, listen to me, you're sitting in a car worth $20,0000. Look, if we turn it in, we'll split the money 60/40, you and me.

BUD (laughs): Who gets the 60, kid?

OTTO: Well, I was figuring, since I found the car first, that...

[BUD pulls out a gun.]

OTTO: ...that you get it.

***

J. FRANK PARNELL (Fox Harris): Ever been to Utah? Ra-di-a-tion. Yes, indeed. You hear the most outrageous lies about it. Half-baked goggle-box do-gooders telling everybody it's bad for you. Pernicious nonsense. Everybody could stand a hundred chest X-rays a year. They ought to have them, too. When they canceled the project, it almost did me in. One day, my mind was full to bursting. The next day - nothing. Swept away. But I showed them. I had a lobotomy in the end.

OTTO: Lobotomy? Isn't that for loonies?

PARNELL: Not at all. Friend of mine had one. Designer of the neutron bomb. You ever hear of the neutron bomb? Destroys people - leaves buildings standing. Fits in a suitcase. It's so small, no one knows it's there until - BLAMMO. Eyes melt, skin explodes, everybody dead. So immoral, working on the thing can drive you mad. That's what happened to this friend of mine. So he had a lobotomy. Now he's well again.

***

LEILA, UNITED FRUITCAKE OUTLET (Olivia Barash): Charming friends you've got there, Otto.

OTTO: Thanks, I made 'em myself.
 
Peter Pan himself. Finding NeverlandFinding Neverland by David Magee, from the play by Allan Knee:

J.M. BARRIE (Johnny Depp): You needn't steal my journal to get to know me, Mary.

MARY ANSELL BARRIE (Radha Mitchell): No, I suppose I could just go see the plays. I was hopelessly naive when I married you. I imagined that brilliant people disappeared to some secret place where good ideas floated around like leaves in autumn, and I hoped, at least once, you would take me there with you.

J.M.: There is no such place.

MARY: Yes there is. Neverland.

***

J.M.: Here you go.

PETER LLEWELYN DAVIES (Freddie Highmore - accepting a journal from J.M.): What's this?

J.M.: All great writers begin with a good leather binding and a respectable title. Open it.

PETER (reads): "The Boy Castaways: Being a record of the terrible adventures of the brothers Davies, faithfully set forth by Peter Llewelyn Davies."

J.M.: Kipling would swallow his own ear for a title like that!

PETER: I still have no idea what to write.

J.M.: Write about anything. Write about your family, write about the talking whale!

PETER: What whale?

J.M.: The one that's trapped in your imagination and desperate to get out.
 
Impressing women. Sports NightSports Night, Episode 7 ("Dear Louise"), written by Aaron Sorkin and David Walpert. This is Jeremy's final voiceover about his sportswriter/newscaster friend, whose group has just returned from a bar:

JEREMY GOODWIN (Joshua Malina): Dan finally got over his writer's block. He met Stacey Kerr at The Smoking Dog. Stacey plays on the women's professional beach volleyball tour. Turns out Stacey is a big fan of Dan's, and was particularly taken by his writing.

STACEY KERR (Jolie Jackunas - to DAN): How are you able to write that way? I mean, what goes on in your head? How did you get that style?

JEREMY (voiceover continues): And in that moment, Dan was reminded once again why he wanted to write in the first place. It's for the same reason anybody does anything... to impress women.
 
Nonfiction.
84 Charing Cross Road84 Charing Cross Road,
screenplay by Hugh Whitemore,
from a play by James Roose-Evans,
from the book by Helene Hanff:


HELENE HANFF (Anne Bancroft): I never can get interested in things that didn't happen to people who never lived.
 
At the shrink... with Shakespeare in LoveShakespeare in Love, by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard:

WILL SHAKESPEARE (Joseph Fiennes): Words, words, words. Once I had the gift. I could make love out of words as a potter makes cups out of clay. Love that overthrows empires. Love that binds two hearts together, come hellfire and brimstone. For sixpence a line, I could cause a riot in a nunnery. But now...

DR. MOTH (Antony Sher): And yet you tell me you lie with women... (refers to his notes) Black Sue, Fat Phoebe, Rosaline, Burbage's seamstress; Aphrodite, who does it behind...

WILL: Yes, now and again. What of it? I have lost my gift.

DR. MOTH: I am here to help you. Tell me, in your own words.

WILL: It's as if my quill is broken. As if the organ of my imagination has dried up. As if the proud tower of my genius has collapsed.

DR. MOTH: Interesting.

WILL: Nothing comes.

DR. MOTH: Most interesting.

WILL: It is like trying to pick a lock with a wet herring.

DR. MOTH: Tell me, are you lately humbled in the act of love? (Will turns toward him. How did he know that?) How long has it been?

WILL: A goodly length in times past, but lately...
 
Heaving. Two snippets from Alex & EmmaAlex & Emma, written by Jeremy Leven:

ALEX SHELDON (Luke Wilson - dictating his novel to EMMA): There was, however, something besides the affluence and beauty of Saint Charles which filled Adam's brain until he could barely breathe. It was Polina's perfume and the application thereof upon her ample bosom.

EMMA DINSMORE (Kate Hudson - stops transcribing): Oh, please!

ALEX: What?

EMMA: "Ample bosom"?

ALEX: What's wrong with that? It's literary.

EMMA: Oh. Well, in that case, you forgot the heaving.

ALEX: The what?

EMMA: In every book I've ever read, whenever there's an ample bosom, there's always heaving.

ALEX: Do we have to talk about this right now?

EMMA: You're the one who introduced the bosoms. I'm simply asking if you'd like them to heave.

***

ALEX (dictating the inner conflict of his novel's main character): For the first time in his life, he understood the true meaning of the expressions, "horns of a dilemma" and "between a rock and a hard place." Although the concept of "paying through the nose" had always tormented him. How does the money get in the nose in the first place? Once in, is it pulled out by hand or is a sneeze involved? And who would accept such a transaction? Burning questions all, but he had bigger fish to fry.
 
Recursivity... in AdaptationAdaptation, by Charlie Kaufman (and his fictional twin, Donald), adapting Susan Orlean's book:

IN HOLLYWOOD RESTAURANT - CHARLIE KAUFMAN (Nicolas Cage - sweating profusely, pitching a screenplay adaptation idea to film exec VALERIE THOMAS): Okay, but I'm saying, it's like, I don't want to cram in sex, or guns, or car chases, y'know, or characters learning profound life lessons. Or growing, or coming to like each other, or overcoming obstacles to succeed in the end. Y'know, it's, the book isn't like that and life isn't like that, y'know. It just isn't. And... I feel very strongly about this.

LATER, IN CAR - CHARLIE (voiceover of his own thoughts, depressed about his writer's block): I have no understanding of anything outside my own panic and self-loathing and pathetic little existence. It's like the only thing I'm actually qualified to write about is my self and my own self ... (His face lights up.)

LATER, IN BEDROOM - CHARLIE (jubilant, speaking into tape recorder, pacing furiously): We open on Charlie Kaufman, fat, old, bald, repulsive, sitting in a Hollywood restaurant across from Valerie Thomas, a lovely, statuesque film executive. Kaufman, trying to get a writing assignment, wanting to impress her, sweats profusely.

LATER, ON BED - CHARLIE (still speaking into tape recorder): Fat, bald Kaufman paces furiously in his bedroom. He speaks into his hand-held tape recorder and he says (picking up yellow pad, and reading the words on it): "Charlie Kaufman, fat, bald, repulsive, old, sits in a Hollywood restaurant with Valerie Thomas."

LATER, AT TYPEWRITER - CHARLIE (transcribing a tape recording dictated by his own voice): "Kaufman, repugnant, ridiculous, jerks off to the book cover photo of Susan Or..." (his twin brother walks in, so CHARLIE quickly shuts off the tape player and speaks): What do you want?
 
Afterglow. The Fabulous Baker BoysThe Fabulous Baker Boys, written and directed by Steven Kloves:

SUSIE DIAMOND (Michelle Pfeiffer): Listen, I didn't expect you to rush out and buy me a corsage this morning, you know. Your high school ring is safe.

***

JACK BAKER (Jeff Bridges): Listen to me, princess. We fucked twice. That's it. Once the sweat dries, you still don't know shit about me. Got it?

SUSIE: I know one thing. While Frank Baker was home putting his kids to sleep last night, little brother Jack was out dusting off his dreams for a few minutes. I was there. I saw it in your face. You're full of shit. You're a fake. Every time you walk into some shitty daiquiri hut, you're selling yourself on the cheap. Hey, I know all about that. I'd find myself at the end of the night with some creep and tell myself it didn't matter. And you kid yourself that you've got this empty place inside where you can put it all. But you do it long enough and all you are is empty.

JACK: I didn't know whores were so philosophical.

SUSIE: At least my brother's not my pimp. You know, I had you pegged for a loser the first time I saw you, but I was wrong. You're worse. You're a coward.
 
American Idol for books. The new First Chapters Writing Competition is "a first-time author's gateway to publication. One novelist will win a publishing contract with Touchstone/Simon & Schuster, a $5,000 cash prize and promotion by Borders!"

Ref: Britain's Lit Idol.
 
Comedy lesson. Writer Neil Simon tells it like it is, in The Sunshine BoysThe Sunshine Boys:

WILLY CLARK (Walter Matthau): Words with a "k" in 'em are funny. Alka-Seltzer is funny. Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny. All with a "k."

"L"s are not funny. "M"s are not funny.

Cupcake is funny. Tomatoes is not funny. Lettuce is not funny. Cucumber's funny...
 
Two dialogue sequences... from Wonder BoysWonder Boys, by screenwriter Steven Kloves (adapting Michael Chabon's novel):

GRADY TRIPP (Michael Douglas - voiceover): Whenever I wondered what Sara saw in me—and I wondered more than once—I always came back to the fact that she loved to read. She read everything, every spare moment. She was a junkie for the printed word. And lucky for me, I manufactured her drug of choice.

***

JAMES LEER (Tobey Maguire - drunk, to the world at large, while being carried): Whoa. The doors made so much noise. It was so embarrassing. They had to carry him out.

GRADY (to TERRY CRABTREE, Robert Downey Jr., who's helping to carry JAMES): Is he all right?

TERRY: He's fine. He's narrating.

JAMES (looking nauseous, speaking to nobody in particular): They were going to the men's room... but would they make it in time?
 
ΟΥΤΙΣ. Romeo and Juliet, 1990István Orosz was born in Kecskemét, Hungary in 1951. He was trained as a graphic designer at the University of Arts and Design in Budapest. After graduation in 1975, he became involved with theatre (as a stage designer and actor) and animated film. Later, when his interest turned to poster art, he began to design theatre, movie and exhibition posters. Under the influence of Eastern-European democratic changes, he created some political posters as well.

Orosz often uses "Outis" or "Utisz" (no-one) as an artist's pseudonym. (The Homeric hero Odysseus, who put out the Cyclops' eye, used this name.) István imagines that the poster is an Odyssean gesture: a deliberate attack upon the eye.
 
Urticaria Redux. My hives never really went away, but they were under control. For a while.

Our shitty health insurance company (Aetna)--foisted upon us by my cheap former employer through a COBRA event--kept threatening to pull our coverage just because we moved out of California. As a result, I was running dangerously low on the prescription drugs that were staving off anaphylactic shock and keeping me alive.

Even after a dozen visits to an acupuncture clinic, my body was still dependent on prednisone, a prescription steroid. If I stopped taking the prednisone, the hives would push me into anaphylactic shock, and I'd quickly die. But if I continued taking the prednisone for much longer, my immune system would be totally useless against any infections, and a simple cold might kill me.

Catch-22.

Then the shitty health insurance company (Aetna) finally agreed to continue covering us in Arizona (for a whopping increase in premium fees), so I went to another allergist. He said, "Modern medicine doesn't know much about these no-external-trigger allergies. They sometimes cure themselves in three to five years. If you're lucky."

Please Doc, don't sugarcoat it. Tell it to me straight.

He prescribed a hellbroth of strong antihistamines, in an attempt to wean me off the prednisone. But these expensive new antihistamines were not really covered by the shitty health insurance company (Aetna). So when I tried to get the prescriptions filled at our local pharmacy, they said they couldn't give me the pills right away, because they needed to fax the allergist for approval. After a couple of days, they told me they were still faxing and still waiting. No word from the allergist's office.

After a few more days, I finally called the allergist's office to see what the fuck was going on. They blamed the shitty health insurance company (Aetna). I had suspected as much, so that sounded about right. But when I contacted the shitty health insurance company (Aetna), I found out the allergist's office had dropped the ball, by not contacting the shitty health insurance company (Aetna) for "precertification."

At that point, the hives started coming back. With a vengeance. In desperation, I returned to the acupuncture clinic last night. They stuck me full of needles and fixed me up with some more of The Great Windkeeper. Today, no hives.

So fuck the AMA. They couldn't find their asses with a topographic map. And fuck the shitty health insurance company (Aetna), which adamantly refuses to cover acupuncture. But especially fuck the US government, for not being able to figure out a way to deliver effective health care to its citizens.

I can't wait to see Michael Moore's next movie, Sicko. He says it's "a comedy about 45 million people with no health care in the richest country on earth."
 
UGC: sweatshops in disguise? User-generated content (UGC) is a catch phrase for the creative works (writing, photos, videos, etc.) that non-media professionals (ordinary people like you and me) are publishing in prominent places, using the facilities and infrastructure built for them by large media organizations.

So when an entrepreneur comes up with a new concept (like Facebook, MySpace, Flickr or YouTube) that attracts large numbers of participants in an online activity, he can "monetize" that activity by showing ads to the people in that huge crowd of participants. Thus, the folks who create the value end up paying for the value they've already created.

In other words, we have become the bait for the ads we see.

This recursive cycle is fantastically efficient and has helped to amass large fortunes faster than any other business scheme in history.

Do you ever feel like a hamster, running around inside a giant wheel?

Related memes: crowdsourcing, click-slavery.
 
Hot quotes. "An actor is a schmuck. A screenwriter is a schmuck with an Underwood."   Jack Warner, 1947

Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt) arrived at Harvard—drunk, as usual—to talk about his craft. "Hands up, all those who want to be writers!" he yelled. Every hand went up. "Then why the hell aren't you at home writing?" he asked, and staggered off the platform.

The StingThis one's from the late Julia Phillips (Oscar-winning producer of The Sting, author of You'll Never Eat Lunch in This Town Again), concerning a bit of advice which she received from her mom: "Some day your prince will come. Don't swallow."

Nora Joyce berated hubby James (Ulysses): "Why don't you write books people can read?"

Robert Evans (producer of Chinatown, author of The Kid Stays in the Picture) said, "A movie is like a parachute; if it doesn't open, you're fucked."

Sid Caesar, while holding up a pair of repaired pants, asked the immortal questions: "Euripides? Eumenides?"

Author John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath) was once told by his editor, "John, this isn't a word." The novelist looked over his shoulder at the manuscript in question, and replied, "It is now."
 
Writer's writer. Back in the 1970s, Born with the Dead (a sci-fi novella by Robert Silverberg), won the prestigious Nebula and Locus awards. It's not hard to see why:

Born with the DeadThe commissary was less austere than Klein had expected: actually quite an inviting restaurant, elaborately constructed on five or six levels divided by lustrous dark hangings into small, secluded dining areas. It had the warm, rich look of a tropical resort. But the food, which came automat-style out of revolving dispensers, was prefabricated and cheerless - another jarring contradiction. Only a joke, friend, only a joke. In any case, he was less hungry than he had imagined at the hotel. He sat with Mortimer and Nerita, picking at his meal, while their conversation flowed past him at several times the speed of thought. They spoke in fragments and ellipses, in periphrastics and aposiopeses, in a style abundant in chiasmus, metonymy, meiosis, oxymoron and zeugma; their dazzling rhetorical techniques left him baffled and uncomfortable, which beyond much doubt was their intention. Now and again they would dart from a thicket of indirection to skewer him with a quick corroborative stab: Isn't that so, they would say, and he would smile and nod, nod and smile, saying, Yes, yes, absolutely. Did they know he was a fake, and were they merely playing with him, or had they, somehow, impossibly, accepted him as one of them? So subtle was their style that he could not tell.
 
We're SO proud... 2007 Weblog Awards - Best Blog of the Day award winner for Monday January 8, 2007: Snoozeletter
 
Big Time. This Peter Gabriel tune was originally issued on So, but it sounds even better in the Big Timeextended version, remixed by Tom Lord-Alge...

Big Time   suc cess

I'm on my way, I'm making it
I've got to make it show, yeah
so much larger than life
I'm going to watch it growing

the place where I come from is a small town
they think so small
they use small words
--but not me
I'm smarter than that
I worked it out
I've been stretching my mouth
to let those big words come right out

I've had enough, I'm getting out
to the city, the big big city
I'll be a big noise with all the big boys
there's so much stuff I will own
and I will pray to a big god
as I kneel in the big church

big time
I'm on my way--I'm making it
big time  big time
I've got to make it show yeah
big time  big time
so much larger than life
big time
I'm going to watch it growing
big time

my parties have all the big names
and I greet them with the widest smile
tell them how my life is one big adventure
and always they're amazed
when I show them round the house, to my bed
I had it made like a mountain range
with a snow-white pillow for my big fat head
and my heaven will be a big heaven
and I will walk through the front door

big time
I'm on my way--I'm making it
big time  big time
I've got to make it show--yeah
big time  big time
so much larger than life
I'm going to watch it growing
big time  big time
my car is getting bigger
big time
my house is getting bigger
big time
my eyes are getting bigger
big time
and my mouth
big time
my belly is getting bigger
big time
and my bank account
big time
look at my circumstance
big time
and the bulge in my big big big big big big big
 
That's Billion with a B, baby.

"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."   journalist A.J. Liebling (1904-1963)

These days, anyone can have a free "printing press" (blog), with instant access to at least 1,091,730,861 potential readers.
 
The Blogosphere Hot List. I think we're all trying to get on this list: Nick Denton, Jason Calacanis/Brian Alvey, Mark Cuban, Peter Rojas, Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, Arianna Huffington, Michelle Malkin, Matt Drudge, Mark Frauenfelder, Amanda Congdon, Andrew Sullivan, Robert Scoble, Lockhart Steele, Elizabeth Spiers, Ana Marie Cox, etc., etc.
 
Instant notoriety. I just started blogging for this outfit yesterday, and they got a writeup in The New York Times today.

I'm sure it's all because of meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. ;-)

Click to visit Phoenix Blog » Alan C. Baird
 
Breathe mantra. These singsongy lyrics, chanted by Anna Nalick on Wreck of the DayWreck of the Day, won't get out of my head...

Breathe (2 AM)

2 AM and she calls me 'cause I'm still awake,
"Can you help me unravel my latest mistake?
I don't love him. Winter just wasn't my season."
Yeah, we walk through the doors, so accusing their eyes,
Like they have any right at all to criticize.
Hypocrites. You're all here for the very same reason.

'Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, girl,
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.

May he turn 21 on the base at Fort Bliss.
"Just a day" he said down to the flask in his fist,
"Ain't been sober, since maybe October of last year."
Here in town you can tell he's been down for a while,
But, my God, it's so beautiful when the boy smiles,
Wanna hold him. Maybe I'll just sing about it.

Cause you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button, boys,
So cradle your head in your hands
And breathe... just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.

There's a light at each end of this tunnel,
You shout 'cause you're just as far in as you'll ever be out,
And these mistakes you've made, you'll just make them again,
If you only try turning around.

2 AM and I'm still awake, writing a song.
If I get it all down on paper, it's no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to.
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud.
And I know that you'll use them, however you want to.

But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table.
No one can find the rewind button now,
Sing it if you understand
And breathe, just breathe,
Whoa breathe, just breathe.
Oh breathe, just breathe,
Oh breathe, just breathe.
 
You say it's your birthday...

Birthday (Lennon/McCartney):

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too - yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you [...]

  The Beatles (The White Album) 1968

Born on January 5:

1779 Stephen Decatur, naval officer: "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong."

1876 Konrad Adenauer, German statesman: "We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon."

1921 Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Swiss playwright/novelist: "He who confronts the paradoxical exposes himself to reality."

1928 Walter Mondale, American vice president: "At least when Ronald Reagan rode off in the movies into the fiery sunset, he didn't take us with him."

1931 Robert Duvall, actor: "Being a star is an agent's dream, not an actor's."

1931 Alvin Ailey, choreographer: "Born to be alive."

1932 Chuck Noll, football coach: "Before you can win a game, you have to not lose it."

1932 Umberto Eco, Italian novelist: "The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else."

1940 Michael O'Donoghue, writer/actor: "Nothing important has ever come out of San Francisco, Rice-a-Roni aside."

1942 Charlie Rose, TV interviewer: "Where might that be?"

1946 Diane Keaton, actress: "Working with Jack [Nicholson] is sort of like standing in front of the Grand Canyon."

1969 Marilyn Manson, shock rocker: "You should have to pass an IQ test before you breed. You have to take a driving test to operate vehicles and an SAT test to get into college, so why don't you have to take some sort of test before you give birth to children?"

19?? Alan C. Baird, blogger: "Did Marilyn's parents pass that test?"
 
Thick As A Brick [1972].

Thick As A BrickWritten by a one-legged flautist (Ian Anderson) and a fictional child prodigy (Gerald Bostock);
Arranged and performed by Jethro Tull ~ video

Lyrics excerpts:

Really don't mind if you sit this one out.
My words but a whisper - your deafness a SHOUT.
I may make you feel but I can't make you think.
Your sperm's in the gutter - your love's in the sink.

[...] The cattle quietly grazing at the grass down by the river
where the swelling mountain water moves onward to the sea:
the builder of the castles renews the age-old purpose
and contemplates the milking girl whose offer is his need.
The young men of the household have all gone into service
and are not to be expected for a year.
The innocent young master - thoughts moving ever faster
has formed the plan to change the man he seems.
And the poet sheaths his pen while the soldier lifts his sword.

[...] I've come down from the upper class to mend your rotten ways.
My father was a man-of-power whom everyone obeyed.
So come on all you criminals! I've got to put you straight
just like I did with my old man twenty years too late.
Your bread and water's going cold. Your hair is short and neat.
I'll judge you all and make damn sure that no-one judges me.

[...] So you ride yourselves over the fields
and you make all your animal deals
and your wise men don't know how it feels
to be thick...
as a brick.
 
Rewriting quotes.

"Books aren't written - they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it."   Michael Crichton

"Musical comedies aren't written, they are rewritten."   Stephen Sondheim

"You change it to make it work better. You could rewrite forever."   Van Morrison

"I'm not a very good writer, but I'm an excellent rewriter."   James A. Michener

"I am an obsessive rewriter, doing one draft and then another and another, usually five. In a way, I have nothing to say, but a great deal to add."   Gore Vidal

"If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it."   Elmore Leonard

"All morning I worked on the proof of one of my poems, and I took out a comma; in the afternoon I put it back."   Oscar Wilde

"The first draft of anything is shit."   Ernest Hemingway
 
Three Open Letters to the Telephone Joneses With Whom I Cannot Keep Up. McSweeney´s t-shirtSubmitted on 20 November 2004 and 2 January 2005 to the McSweeney's series: Open Letters to People or Entities Who Are Unlikely to Respond.

Date: 21 Feb 2005 06:42
To: Alan
From: McSweeney's
It's tempting, but I'm afraid that I'm going to pass in the end. --[Editor]

Date: 22 Feb 2005 08:44
To: Alan
From: McSweeney's
This is very good and we'd like to use it on the site. --[Ass't. Editor]


Then I held my breath for twenty-two days...


(1) Dear Tommy Lee Jones,

Congrats on the 1993 Oscar, and on that television voice-over gig for SBC. Sweet.

Jeez, Tommy, I miss SBC. They used to give me trouble-free phone service. Then, a few months ago, I began preparing for my big move out of the city by purchasing a T-Mobile cell phone.

Huge mistake.

(2) Dear Catherine Zeta-Jones,

Kudos on the 2002 Oscar, and on your spokesmodel flacking job for T-Mobile. My new T-Mobile phone can do amazing things: play games, take pictures, wake me up with selections from Götterdämmerung.

Its sole weakness lies in the area of providing decent telephone service.

My neighbors talk on their non-T-Mobile cell phones all the time: while eating, while gardening, while sitting on the crapper.

The one place my T-Mobile phone can make a connection is at the far end of my driveway ... but only on the left side.

So I wrote to your co-workers at T-Mobile, Cathy. They said this area has "a few holes."

Funny, I get five bars at each of the half-dozen local shopping malls ... which all sell T-Mobile phones, by the way.

Then they offered 50 free bonus minutes to amend the situation.

But if the phone won't work here, extra minutes aren't much help, are they?

(3) Dear James Earl Jones,

You may be wondering why you haven't yet won an Oscar. I suspect this is God's punishment for being Verizon's front man. Shame on you, Jimmy.

Verizon is the phone company that has a stranglehold monopoly on landlines in this neighborhood. The first open installation date on their schedule was 10 days after I contacted them. It seemed like a long time, but what could I do? Switch to the Dixie-Cup-and-a-String Phone Company?

So I waited all day, on the appointed date. No installer. When I called them from the T-Mobile phone, out on the left-hand side of my driveway, they said it would take at least another week. After I pissed and moaned, they offered a $25 credit for the inconvenience.

I tried to tell 'em I'd rather have a competent telephone company, but the damn T-Mobile phone cut me off.

Have your people call my people,
Alan C. Baird