Oh My Dog!
Couple pays $155,000 to clone dog (NCN, w/video)
Hm. I wonder if they'll clone my pet cricket?
There's a screenplay hanging off your ear.
Business card (U.S.) standard dimensions: 89.0 x 51.0 x 0.3 mm
Credit card standard dimensions: 85.6 x 54.0 x 0.76 mm
"#1" size paper clip standard dimensions: 33.34 x 7.94 x 0.8 mm
"Jumbo" size paper clip standard dimensions: 47.63 x 9.53 x 1.2 mm
Quarter (U.S. 25¢ coin) standard dimensions: 24.26 [diameter] x 1.75 mm
Kingmax 8GB Super Stick standard dimensions: 31.5 x 12.4 x 2.2 mm
This USB 2.0 flash drive is washer and dryer safe. Carry it in your wallet or on a key chain, or even wear it as an earring. It weighs 3g. A quarter weighs 5.67g.
So far, it's the smallest tool I've found for writing screenplays.
[Here are some other tiny memory stick designs, including wristbands and a necklace.]
Update: After downloading OpenOffice.org Portable and Screenwright(R), then installing them on this wristband, I can now carry around my word processing software, script formatting template and screenplays in a convenient, ready-to-wear package. Yes, that's my hand down there...
PS: Using your iPod to write screenplays.
I'm celebrating the 30,000th download of my free award-winning screenplay formatter by giving away 30 copies to the next 30 lucky visitors: http://extensions.services.openoffice.org/project/scr2
OpenOffice.org 3.0.1... was released today.
FYI, my free award-winning screenplay formatter works on any OpenOffice.org 3.x or 2.x version. It writes scripts on your iPod, too: http://is.gd/hqhE
Catherine G. Bacon (23 Jan 1927 - 23 Jan 2009). My Aunt Kay's obituary was published in the Morning Sentinel [Maine] today:
Catherine G. Bacon
Catherine Gilbert Bacon, 82, passed away peacefully Jan. 23, after a brief illness.
She was born on Jan. 23, 1927, daughter of Ronald W. and Thena (Sullivan) Gilbert.
Kay grew up in Oakland and graduated from Williams High School and went on to work at BFD Timber unit for six years until she married Otis Bacon and started her lifelong job of raising a loving family.
She truly enjoyed being the wife of a legislator, serving as a second home for the members of the 99th legislature. She was an active member of the Sidney Parent Teacher's Club at the James H. Bean School and was a founding member of the Sidney Fire Department's Ladies Auxiliary.
Kay enjoyed working with her husband toward the betterment of the University of Maine and closely followed all sporting events. She was also involved in many other community services and events too numerous to list.
Kay will be remembered for her wonderful, sweet demeanor and will be greatly missed by many cherished family members and friends. She thoroughly enjoyed entertaining and looked forward to any opportunity to serve a good home cooked meal. She was famous for her baked beans and homemade bread and colossal chop suey.
Hunting and fishing were an important part of her family life and she was especially proud of shooting a moose at the age of 78.
Following the activities of her family was important to her and she beamed as she would boast about each and every grandchild.
Kay was very proud of her garden and loved to drive herself to Greenville to visit family and friends. Boating and skiing were an important part of her very complete life. The family boat, the Pair-A-Dice, encompassed many fond memories on Moosehead Lake. As the mayor's wife at "Friendly Squaw Mountain," the skiers were part of her family. She was especially excited when she and one special friend, Harriet, conquered the Seboomook, the mountain's toughest trail.
She is survived by five children -- daughter, Brenda, of Sidney, son, Bryan, and wife Gwen of Sidney, son, Barry, and Arlene of Belgrade, daughter, Bonnie Bouchard, of Greenville and daughter, Bette DiAngelo, and husband Joe of Greenville.
She has nine cherished grandchildren, Nick and fiancée Megan, Adam, Danny and Theresa, Dylan and Olivia, Tony, Matt and Connor and one-great grandson, AJ; three sisters, Beverly, Natalie and Sherry; one brother, Terry; many nieces, nephews and grand nieces and nephews and a brother-in-law, Earl, and wife Pauline.
She was predeceased by her loving husband of 57 years, Otis Bacon, and a nephew Randy.
Friends may share time and stories with her family Sunday from 7-9 p.m. and Monday from 2-4 p.m. at Wheeler's Funeral Home in Oakland. The mass to celebrate her life will be held Tuesday, Jan. 27 at 11 a.m. at St. Theresa's Catholic Church in Oakland. There will be a memorial service to be announced in Greenville and a spring burial, followed by a gathering at her request at the family garage in Sidney.
In lieu of flowers, those who wish may make donations to a scholarship program to provide financial assistance to local athletes attending Greenville athletic camps c/o Bette DiAngelo, P.O. Box 357, Greenville Jct., ME 04442.
Kay Bacon, R.I.P.
I just got the sad news that my mom's big sister died today in Maine. She had been sick, so it wasn't completely unexpected, but still...
As mentioned earlier, I used to be an NBC Page. So perhaps you can imagine how excited I get, when Pagely things show up on the Internet machine:
1) Here's an article (and slideshow) from the October 13, 2008 edition of the New York Times.
2) Below is commercial-free version of this segment from the December 11, 2008 broadcast of NBC's Today show:
"Dec 11: An inside look at NBC's Page Program. The Page Program at NBC gives recent graduates a chance to work inside Peacock for a limited time. TODAY's Jenna Wolfe gets a firsthand look at the exclusive program."
Then, of course, there's the NBC Pages Past & Present group at Yahoo, and 30 Rock's feature on Kenneth The Web Page.
I'm ✍ a Unicode play.
♂ ☎ ♀ Ѽ ♥ ♪ ☮ ♢ ☑ ✇ ♛ ♙ ☹ ☠ ✈
It's turning into a tragedy. [ref]
Book covers and micro-multimedia publications.
A) Book covers:
1) 9TimeZones.com - an eMail screenplay collaboration between Hungary and L.A. (includes first draft script 'The Fall In Budapest') by Alan C. Baird & Anikó J. Bartos (published 9/1999, ISBN 0738806137)
2) Glory: A Nation's Spirit Defeats the Attack on America (anthology published 11/2001, ISBN 1590250125) contains a story by Alan C. Baird: "The Day The Planes Stopped Flying"
3) Literary Potpourri: Vol 1, #4 (anthology published 1/2003, ISBN 0972279334) contains a story by Alan C. Baird: "The Dogs of Peace"
4) Beneath the Shadow of Perpetual Defeat: A Graphic Design Manifesto by Faruk Ulay (book published 12/2005, ISBN 9759205939) is a collection of short essays originally written in Turkish; the literary translation was rendered by Alan C. Baird
5) Budapest Tales: New Europe Writers (anthology published 11/2008, ISBN 8392316851) contains a story by Alan C. Baird: "Vengeance on the Danube"
6) My Dad Is My Hero: Tributes to the Men Who Gave Us Life, Love, and Driving Lessons (anthology will be published 5/2009, ISBN 1598697943) contains a story by Alan C. Baird: "The Last Lesson"
7) The Avian Quartet (Amazon Short published 5/2007) is comprised of four interrelated stories by Alan C. Baird
B) These three micro stories were sold to www.the-phone-book.com in England (David Williams is the voice on the MP3 files):
1) "Another Man's Wife" [read] [listen] (published 6/2002)
2) "Forsaken" [read] [listen] (a best of story: top 50 out of 935, published 9/2002)
3) "Rewrites" [read] [listen] (published 9/2002)
C) Faruk Ulay, at Locus Novus, designed the interactive visuals and sound effects for these six micro stories (published 11/2002, note the moving red comma in #2):
D) Jonathan Carr, at magazine minima, designed the visuals+sfx for "the tenth of september" (a micro story published 9/2002 in issue 0.3).
Pain-free for 2 weeks! Hot damn. This hasn't happened for nearly a year. I could really get used to it.
Nuremberg09: fry the Bush SS for their war crimes and other felonies.
President-Elect Barack Obama has been making alarming noises recently, talking about "looking forward," rather than "looking back." These were the same noises that Gerald Ford made, just before he pardoned Nixon. Obama's team has created a Citizen's Briefing Book, which looks like a high-tech polling service. They sent me an eMail yesterday, asking for my opinion, so I gave it to them:
Dick Cheney (12/15/08, on waterboarding): "I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared, as the agency in effect came in and wanted to know what they could and couldn't do. And they talked to me, as well as others, to explain what they wanted to do. And I supported it."
George Bush (1/11/09, on waterboarding): "I'm in the Oval Office and I am told that we have captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the professionals believe he has information necessary to secure the country. So I ask what tools are available for us to find information from him, and they gave me a list of tools."
Richard Nixon (4/11/78): "When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal."
Mr. President-Elect, the little guys took the torture rap for the Big Boys at Abu Ghraib. And now the little guys (and their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren) are covering the bad gambling debts made by the Big Boys on Wall Street. If you don't go after the Big Boys pretty darn quick, the little guys will start thinking about going after you.
Pete Townshend (1971, "Won't Get Fooled Again" from the "Who's next" album): "Meet the new boss: same as the old boss."
Bush Gang deserves Nuremberg trials, but will probably escape scot-free.
[I've been counting the Internet votes on this issue.] We didn't let the Nazis off the hook for their war crimes, but it looks like we'll give the Bush Administration a free pass for theirs. Political expediency is the excuse: Obama can't haul us out of The Great Depression (Part Deux) if he's caught up in finger-pointing.
"When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal." -Richard Nixon
Tina Fey uses TV to win Internet scuffle.
Tina Fey (star and creator of 30 Rock) was named best actress in a TV comedy and her series was picked as best comedy of the year, at last night's Golden Globes. Here's her acceptance speech for the best actress award:
"I want to say thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press. I'll always love the Hollywood Foreign Press and have all the Hollywood Foreign Press action figures. Thank you, Will Arnett, for that joke. But I want you to really know how lucky I am to have the year I've had this year and, if you ever start to feel too good about yourself, they have this thing called the Internet. You can find a lot of people there who don't like you. I'd like to address some of them now: BabsonLacrosse, you can suck it. DianeFan, you can suck it. Cougar Letter, you can really suck it, 'cause you've been after me all year. And to my husband, Jeff, I love you. Thank you very much!"
[Fey's backstage explanation] [Internet forum she referenced]
Best Golden Globe acceptance speech.
[The Golden Globes are on tonight.] British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen won a 2007 Golden Globe for his performance in "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan." During his acceptance speech, he referred to his naked wrestling scene with co-star Ken Davitian:
This movie was a life-changing experience. I saw some amazing, beautiful invigorating parts of America. But I saw some dark parts of America, an ugly side of America, a side of America that rarely sees the light of day. I refer, of course, to the anus and testicles of my co-star, Ken Davitian. Ken, when I was in that scene, and I stared down and saw your two wrinkled Golden Globes on my chin, I thought to myself, "I'd better win a bloody award for this." [addresses audience, which is laughing] And then, when my 300-pound co-star decided to sit on my face and squeeze the oxygen from my lungs, I was faced with a choice. Death, or to breathe in the air that had been trapped in a small pocket between his buttocks for thirty years. [audience laughs, Cohen addresses Davitian again] Kenneth, if it was not for that rancid bubble, I would not be here today. Thank you [...]
Desert Dispatch 002: Hungarian Lesson A.
[A 12-second instructional video copied from my Facebook collection. As mentioned before, I think the best part of exploring a new language is learning the taboo words, the words that carry an unnatural amount of power... the dirty words.]
DD002: (WARNING - profanity). If you like learning expletives in foreign languages, this belongs in your collection. Spelling: faszkalap.
Bush+Cheney in handcuffs after inauguration?
On MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show last night, Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University, suggested that Obama should hold Bush and Cheney accountable for their war crimes (around 4:36 of the video below). Hm. Sounds like a great way to instantly restore American credibility around the world...
Facebook at critical mass: results of in-depth contextual cybercommunications case study.
[Previous online analysis: Is Open Salon a community of butt-sniffers?]
Preliminary Assessment, Executive Summary: Facebook is a completely unintuitive social networking site. For example, I once discovered how to view my Profile from an outsider's point of view, but was never able to locate that menu again. One of my Friends calls Facebook a "blue-widget hell." She can't figure out how to keep the Facebook software from emailing her whenever one of her Friends breathes, blinks or farts. She also claims that her sister has become a Facebook Tramp, posting hundreds of photos of herself and accepting Friend requests from all over the world. Her sister calls the online community "Stalkerbook."
Facebook caters to the yin-yang dynamic of exhibitionism and voyeurism, with an interesting mixture of quasi-private and public communications. It's full of drive-by comments: "Sorry to hear that," and "So true," and "Me, too." There are lots of lurkers, and Wall-To-Wall interactions that spread like viruses. If you want to follow the trail of breadcrumbs, you must add all of the participants to your Friends list.
But after members become your Facebook Friends, there's no pressure to actually communicate with them. You just keep them in your box o' Friends, hoarding them for a rainy day. Facebook has finally reached critical mass: enough of your real-world friends have joined the party, so you can find other friends through *their* Friend lists. But nobody really wants direct interaction. You spray graffiti on your Friends' Walls. You post Links, Videos, Events. And everyone eavesdrops on everyone else.
Full Text Of Case Study: Uh-oh. My AADD just kicked in. There's something shiny and new on the Internet machine. Gotta go.
Sen. Stuart Smalley not good enough?
End to Minn. Senate race pushed even further out (AP).
Al Franken did not participate yesterday, when new U.S. senators took the oath of office in Washington. His opponent, Republican Norm Coleman, filed a lawsuit challenging Franken's apparent recount victory. Since Minnesota state law prevents officials from issuing an election certificate until legal matters are resolved, this circus could drag on for several months.
When these kinds of situations develop in third-world countries, don't we usually send election monitors?
Facebook Faceoff: my blind date w/Gary Dontzig.
Last Sunday, my old NBC page buddy Norm added both Gary Dontzig and me to his Facebook Friends list. How do we know this? Because Facebook announced it on Norm's Wall page for all to see:
Norm is now friends with Gary Dontzig and Alan C. Baird. 11:40am
Later that day (6:51pm), Gary added a Comment to the announcement:
First of all just because I signed onto this damn thing as a result of a request that was sent to me by a Mr. N. Gunzenhauser's doesn't mean that I'm automatically a "friend" of "Norm" - I barely know the guy...second, who the hell is Alan C. Baird and why is he linked with me? Am I being set up on a blind date? Is that what this is all about? The Norm G. Facebook blind dating service?
That caught my attention. I wondered, "Who the hell is this guy, and why is he calling me out on Facebook?" So Google showed me Gary Dontzig's page on IMDb. Ah, he's a former colleague of Norm's, a sitcom writer who won three Emmys while working on "Murphy Brown" back in the early Nineties. Perhaps he was trying to be funny. So I decided to answer his little Comment with a little script. I hope you enjoy it. It's a work of fiction. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.
MY BLIND DATE WITH GARY DONTZIG
short script ©2009 by Alan C. Baird
INT. BAIRD'S HOUSE - EVENING
BAIRD, dressed in a low-cut frock and f*ck-me pumps, walks across the living room as the doorbell RINGS. His cleavage reveals an attractive smattering of chest hair. He opens the door, and there's... DONTZIG.
DONTZIG (mumbling): Mmmph.
BAIRD (falsetto): Oh, hi Gary! You're much more handsome than your Facebook photo! (glancing downward) And you have such a large... johnson! Why don't you zip it up before you catch cold?
DONTZIG (mumbling): Mmmph. Mmmph.
BAIRD (falsetto): You want me to do *what*?! Well, I never. I'm *not* that kind of girl!
Baird SLAMS the door.
FADE TO BLACK.
UPDATE - the interaction became a Wall-To-Wall...
First, Gary accepted my Friend invitation (which said that I was just playing, and encouraged him to slap me down), and then wrote on my Facebook Wall: Darling Alan: I loved your fast and sharp retort to my embarrassingly sarcastic (I've been studying under R. Woody for a number of years) comment...that said I am very, very flattered by your offer (being egocentric I turn everything into a positive for me, me, me) but I'm afraid I may be just a little too old for you...oh my God, is this being read by the general public? Uh, my name is actually Giselle, not Gary, that was a mistake when you accepted me as your blind date...friend...
Later, I wrote on Gary's Facebook Wall: My real name is Polyphemus. And the way I look at it, a blind date's a blind date.
I also posted a Status Update on my own Wall: Alan learned that if a Comments/Notes exchange widens to a Wall-To-Wall, one must upgrade comedy refs from transvestism/indecent exposure to classic Greek mythology.
I was pleased with that joke about the Cyclops whose eye was put out by Odysseus. Perhaps a little *too* pleased...
Good enough: Sen. Stuart Smalley (D-MN).
Franken Declared Winner in Minnesota Senate Race (ABC News). First Jesse Ventura ("Win if you can, lose if you must, but always cheat!"), and now Al Franken? Minnesotans, we thought you were *smarter* than Californians...
Where are they now?
Today's my birthday. A time to look forward. And back. So...
Many moons ago, I was a page at the NBC-TV network in NY with a bunch of really talented people, and I just decided to look up a few of them:
Tom Hoesten is the Senior Operations Manager for HBO Latin America.
Bob Beuth is a character actor who appeared in ER, Charmed, Friends, CSI, etc.
Edd Hall was Jay Leno's Tonight Show announcer for 12 years.
Norm Gunzenhauser is a sitcom writer who won a Primetime Emmy.
Mark Lyons is a news producer who won 5 Primetime Emmys.
Geez. What the h*ll have I been doing?!
Win an Oscar®, die young.
Screenwriters who win academy awards die sooner than nominees, according to an article in the British Medical Journal. I figure this is good news: if you take the idea to its logical conclusion for non-nominees, I'll probably live to a ripe old age.
Objective: To determine whether the link between high success and longevity extends to academy award winning screenwriters.
Design: Retrospective cohort analysis.
Participants: All screenwriters ever nominated for an academy award.
Main outcome measures: Life expectancy and all cause mortality.
Results: A total of 850 writers were nominated; the median duration of follow up from birth was 68 years; and 428 writers died. On average, winners were more successful than nominees, as indicated by a 14% longer career (27.7 v 24.2, P=0.004), 34% more total films (23.2 v 17.3, P<0.001), 58% more four star films (4.8 v 3.1, P<0.001), and 62% more nominations (2.1 v 1.3, P<0.001). However, life expectancy was 3.6 years shorter for winners than for nominees (74.1 v 77.7 years, P=0.004), equivalent to a 37% relative increase in death rates (95% confidence interval 10 to 70). After adjustment for year of birth, sex, and other factors, a 35% relative increase in death rates was found (7% to 70%). Additional wins were associated with a 22% relative increase in death rates (3% to 44%). Additional nominations and additional other films in a career otherwise caused no significant increase in death rates.
Conclusion: The link between occupational achievement and longevity is reversed in screenwriters who win academy awards. Doubt is cast on simple biological theories for the survival gradients found for other members of society.
End-Of-Year Profit/Loss Statement.
You spent all your energy, up 'til now, keeping a close eye on life's Liabilities column. Each of the failed projects that sucked up scads of your time/money is burned into your memory. You can't forgive any of the people who screwed you royally. You want to get even. You long for revenge. You need Justice, dammit.
Then, all at once, the view flip-flops:
Remember those scumbag employers who fired you for getting injured on the job? Now you can see that they actually did you a favor: you don't have to work for scumbags anymore.
Remember when you chose not to let your brother's skull hit the brick fireplace? Instead, you cushioned his head with your shoulder, which later resulted in rotator-cuff surgery and many excruciating physical rehab sessions? But because of your sacrifice, he's now able to enjoy a full life, with no brain damage.
Remember that lying, cheating slut of an ex-wife? The one who walked out on you and shacked up with another guy? Suddenly, you realize that he was kind enough to take her off your hands and now HE's saddled with a lying, cheating slut.
Gratitude. That's the ticket.
Is your life's balance sheet really awash in red ink, or have you been operating in the black for a long time, without even knowing it?