Wednesday, September 10, 2008
A few months ago, I received a phone call from a man whom I'd e-mailed my resume and had called numerous times about writing for his newspaper. He wanted to interview me and possibly offer me a job. Well, I'd read a few issues, talked it over with my wife and decided to pass. Tough decision, since I was in need of work.
Now, it looks like a brilliant choice on my part. One man I know at work knows this would've-been boss and tells me the boss has a habit of bouncing checks and not paying his employees.
...Fresh off accusations that he insulted Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin by talking about pigs and lipstick, Barack Obama went on the over-the-hill David Letterman's show to clarify his comments. Nobama said that he was talking about John McCain's policies being a pig and that, even with lipstick, they would still be like President Bush's.
That's understandable, I suppose. It must be nice to have an audience like that to be able to clarify one's comments. I wonder if Letterman ever allowed Dan Quayle time to go on his show and explain his side of the "potato" incident.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
...Mr. Drudge reports that the Democrats have dispatched lots of people to Alaska to try to dig up dirt on Sarah Palin. What is this? Panic mode, perhaps. Americans must be thinking that an underexperienced vice president is far better than an underexperienced president...
...No, the racists in America are not the whites like me who won't vote for Barack Obama (my reasons for not voting for Nobama has nothing to do with his skin color). The racists are those who are voting for Obama because he's black...
...So, Oprah has decided that she won't have Sarah Palin on her show until after the election. I would love to see Palin tell the Wannabe Kingmaker that she's not doing her show. Ever. Sorry, but over the years I've grown to detest Oprah...
...Ahhh, writing again for a living. Bliss...
...The other night, my wife and I watched a movie called Waitress. Brilliant, absolutely wonderful film. Could've done without the affair. Otherwise, a hilarious movie that reminded me of one of my indie favorites, Searching for Wooden Watermelons. Sadly, the director Adrienne Shelly has since died. In the meantime, we're stuck with useless, overrated directors like Kevin Smith is still around?
Don't like my take on Kevin Smith? Feel free to go to another blog...
...I'm a skeptic when it comes to polls, so I'm wondering if I should be too excited about the polls that show that John McCain is starting to take a decent lead over Barack Obama...
...In the past year or so that I've been relying more on freelance writing income, I have developed a limited client base of those for which I write for free. Limited. Among them are a Christian client and a blog about my favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys. In the meantime, I operate on this principle: I have bills to pay and a living to earn. If you want a writer but don't want to/can't pay them, please look elsewhere and brace yourself for substandard work...
I am glad to see that Britney Spears is getting her life back together.
As for that loser who hosted the VMA, please face reality and realize that you're as funny as a migraine. I won't post your name here, because you don't deserve it. But I will say this: as a comedian you're beyond pathetic. You make Pauly Shore seem like Bill Cosby. If you don't like America, you're more than happy to stay in England. Preferably in a landfill.
That is all.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
The comments I've heard have been pretty good so far. The soundbytes sounded articulate and impressive. Foxnews (for what it's worth) reported that when her teleprompter quit working, Palin never skipped a beat and kept going. Here's the speech in its entirety.
Here's one segment of her speech I really liked (the ... represent breaks between applause):
"Well, I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment. And…I've learned quickly these last few days that, if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone..(AUDIENCE BOOS)..But — now, here's a little newsflash. Here's a little newsflash for those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this great country...Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reason and not just to mingle with the right people. Politics isn't just a game of clashing parties and competing interests. The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it...No one expects us all to agree on everything, but we are expected to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear convictions, and a servant's heart. And I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States."
BTW, if you or someone you know is familiar with a videoblogger on CNN who kissed his hands like he'd just eaten a tasty meal and spoke of how Palin will get killed in the debate by Joseph Biden, please have him e-mail me. I'd like to be able to chat with him after the debate. I get this feeling that the gent is in for a big surprise.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
And, please, can we have one issue that doesn't feature pages devoted to Brangelina, Suri Cruise? Please?
Remember? When Lieberman ran again for his senate seat, the Democratic party cut him off and endorsed his opponent. Their way of saying, "You're too conservative and you support the War on Terror. Get lost."
Lieberman ran as an indie candidate and won that race. Isn't he entitled to support whom he chooses?
Excerpts: Remarks by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin Vice Presidential Nominee to Address the 2008 Republican National Convention
Wed Sep 03 2008 19:12:27 ET
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - This evening Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee, will address the 2008 Republican National Convention. Excerpts from the governor’s remarks:
On her experience as a public servant: "I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids’ public education better. When I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too. Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities."
On why she is going to Washington, D.C.: "I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country."
On energy policies that the McCain-Palin administration will implement: "Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems - as if we all didn’t know that already. But the fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all. Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we’re going to lay more pipelines...build more nuclear plants...create jobs with clean coal...and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources. We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers."
On John McCain: "Here’s how I look at the choice Americans face in this election. In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Yet, they tell Mancow that they plan to vote for Barack Obama?
"Because he's black."
Forgive me for asking, but how is this not racist?
Anybody care to try to explain this nonsense to me?
I'd really like to see how this mentality is really any better than the KKK guys who plan to vote for McCain because McCain's white and Obama's black (even though Obama has a "typical white person" grandmother).
As I listened, I thought two things. First, ....and your point is what, Nobama? Second, Why are you bragging about how much money you spend?
I suppose it could be argued that Obama's merely talking about his responsibility of overseeing a large sum of money, but it just came across to me as elitist. To be honest, I think both could have more experience. But when push comes to shove, I'd much rather have an underexperienced vice president than an underexperienced president. After all, didn't Obama's now-running mate Joe Biden say that the Oval Office is not the place for on-the-job training?
Besides, I'm trying to understand how running a presidential campaign qualifies you more for the presidency than Palin's experience as mayor, governor and commissioner qualifies her to serve as vice president.
Monday, September 1, 2008
McCain’s gamble on Palin just might pay off
By Richard Zowie
Just a few weeks ago, I thought for certain that Republican John McCain would pick Mitt Romney as his running mate as he pursues the White House. After all, Romney was a good fit. He was born in Michigan and served as governor of Massachusetts. Both have been democratic strongholds in the past few elections. Romney is also considered to be a good businessman credited for his handling of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Yes, some conservatives were leery of Romney because he’s a Mormon. I ended up asking a family member, a former Mormon, what they thought. Their response: as long as he’s right on the moral issues, they would support him.
So, while perusing the news on the web, I started to get suspicious when they reported that Alaska governor Sarah Palin had boarded a flight for Ohio (where Senator McCain was to announce his running mate).
“Who’s Sarah Palin?” I asked myself as I googled her when her running mate status was confirmed. Republican. Very fiscally conservative. Pro-life. Pro-family. Pro-drilling in Alaska. In her nearly-two years as Alaska’s governor, she became extremely popular for her cutting of wasteful government spending, including getting rid of the former governor’s state-purchased jet that she felt was unnecessary........
I was worried that Van Halen, like Jackson Browne, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and Rage Against the Machine, was another one of those mindless liberal bands. Turns out, Van Halen is not endorsing either candidate and simply prefers their music not to be used for political purposes.
I know from her book Losin' It that Eddie Van Halen's ex-wife Valerie Bertinelli learns to the left. Her name also appears as a Nobama contributor, unfortunately. However, former frontman Hagar is heavily rumored to be a Republican due to his contributions to GOP candidates--including President George W. Bush in 2004. Then there's one-time frontman Gary Cherone who's outspokenly pro-life and even wrote two public letters to Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder criticizing his abortion stance.
I was once on Zogby’s site and he has this section where he is asked how a sampling of hundreds to a few thousands can accurately portray what millions and millions of voters say. His response:
“It’s pure probability and statistics. The same theory is involved as when you take a blood test and the clinician draws only a small sample rather than draining all the blood out of your body.”
Considering how different opinions can vary in even the same state, it makes me wonder if this is really an accurate analogy. Makes me think if there was a mathematical formula in probability that was this effective, all the polls would be accurate. Or do the varying polls show that polling isn’t an exact science?
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Going into John McCain’s announcement, I was expecting him to select Michigan native and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as his running mate. Then I heard speculation about the female governor of Alaska. Had to look up her name. Sarah Palin.
Then came the news that McCain had chosen Palin as his running mate.
What’s there to like? She’s smart, articulate, tough, a “hockey mom” whose youngest child has Down’s Syndrome but is loved and adored. They say she also, during her tenure as Alaskan governor, cut wasteful spending and cleaned up corruption. Sounds like she has lots of moxie and street smarts, the kind of woman who’s not easily intimidated. To win the Republican nomination for governor, she had to beat out the GOP incumbent in the primary. She’s also an outdoors woman who fishes, hunts and is a member of the NRA. She’s also very pro-life and supports drilling for oil in Alaska.
Some conservative friends of mine are calling this a slam-dunk pick, one that will awaken the conservative base that sat out 1996, 2000 and 2004 and perhaps even women out there. My gut tells me that in November McCain will defeat Barack Obama 60-40.
What’s there not to like? She has served less than two years and, before that, she served as mayor of a town of about 6,000 people. I understand her bachelor’s degree is in communications. Not exactly a detailed political résumé.
Yes, she’s running for vice president and not president. But keep in mind that with McCain’s age (72) and health, it’s possible she could end up having to take over. I like to think that she’ll fare well in her debate against Joe Biden, but we’ll have to see. Biden has served for many years as a U.S. senator.
I did find it amusing how Obama at first derided her for her perceived lack of experience. He has since backed off it. I guess he figured he didn’t have much more, and he’s running for the big prize.
It’s hard to say how this selection will go, but my gut tells me that historians will look up on this as an absolutely brilliant move by McCain. We’ll see. All I know is this: I had been telling myself that I’d consider third party if a pro-abortion running mate had been chosen by McCain. Now, I know for certain in November I will vote for McCain.
Either way, this will be a historical election: we'll either have our first female vice president or our first black president. I hope it's the former.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Well, right now I'd say Madonna is performing a hail mary of sorts in her concerts.
In her "Sticky and Sweet" tour (something I probably would've thought was cool 25 years ago when I thought Madonna was hot), she flashed images comparing John McCain to Adolf Hitler.
Specifically, a video during her concert showed images of destruction, so-called man-made global warming, Hitler and McCain. Then, on the happy side the images showed John Lennon, Al Gore, Mahatma Gandhi and Barack Obama.
It reminded me of that classic line from Animal Farm: Four legs (Obama) good, two legs (McCain) bad!
McCain blasted the ad, but he really should've ignored it. After all, Madonna is doing what she's always done--use controversy to draw attention to herself. I suspect she's in hail mary mode when you consider all the pretty female pop stars out there (Avril Lavigne, Celine Dion, Kelly Clarkson, et al).
I find it amusing that Madonna would have such a strong opinion...hasn't she spent much of the past few years (until the last several months) living abroad in England?
Cage and his girlfriend break up, and he moves out of the giant mansion. His friend's sports car gets towed. So much for all the money they made. They now set out on a new adventure: to prove that Cage's character's ancestor didn't conspire to assassinate Abraham Lincoln.
The "evidence" is a fragment of a single piece of paper, listing Gates with other conspirators. Truly underwhelming evidence, but nevertheless evidence. In the course of getting to the truth, they prove the ancestor's innocence, get filthy rich again, Cage's character and girlfriend reconcile, the assistant gets a girlfriend, and even Cage's parents (played by Jon Voigt and Helen Mirren) reconcile after a bitter 30 years of being happily divorced. Once again, the man is the thoughtless pig that ruins the relationship.
See this movie only if you're a big fan of Mirren (which I am) or if you like the cool riddles they have to solve.
Want a summary of what's being said in Denver at the convention? Here's an idea:
(Bush is trying to send a message to Muslim extremists: don't screw with America) Bush lied, people died...let's (make it even harder for businesses to thrive) end tax cuts to the wealthy...We need (to regurgitate the same, tired old message) change in this country...We need to (become an international yes-man to Europe and the rest of the world, never mind that we often get called up on when some conflict arises) undue all the foreign policy disasters that Bush has done...Get the troops out of Iraq...Let's (naively suck up to Iran) try to have dialogue with Iran...
The items in parentheses, of course, represent what they really mean.
Will I watch the Republican National Convention? Don't know. I will be paying close attention to whom John McCain chooses as his running mate. If he picks a pro-abortion running mate, it will bother me enough to where I will consider third party. The idea, of course, is that the GOP is continually ignoring its conservative base to where it's starting to show no noticeable difference from the Democrats. Sad.
My boss at work, a Reagan Republican, is going third party.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Now, I wonder if Obama made a pick that will destroy his chances in November.
Remember, this is the same Biden who has spoken glowingly of John McCain and who in a debate questioned Obama's leadership, saying that the presidency is not the place for on-the-job training.
Hillary Clinton may end up really loving this pick, since it possibly will open things up for her to run again in 2012.
Some speculation is that Obama is counting on blacks in the south to help him win southern states, but I wonder if that's truly enough. Some rappers talk about how Obama's not black enough, and I think there are too many conservatives in the south who won't vote for Obama and too many racists who simply can't stomach a black president.
Friday, August 22, 2008
...Have been informed that http://www.americasteam.info/, where I blog exclusively about the Dallas Cowboys, will be up by Monday or so. Looking forward to blogging about the Cowboys again!
Thursday, August 21, 2008
His movie was reportedly awful, so much that film editors who worked on it declared it unwatchable. His jewelry business tanked and Rigatuso/Harris was arrested and spent time in prison for fraud. Apparently, the "money back guarantee" was anything but a guarantee. There was one rumor that he was arrested for his crimes right as he was about to flee the country.
Now, he has a website where you can order an hour-long copy of The Making of Blood Circus. You can also submit demos to him to showcase your talent. If he likes what he sees, he'll work with you--for a fee. Who does this guy think he is? Simon Cowell? Star Search?
Some computer techs say the site is unprotected, meaning you're taking a risk if you put up your financial information.
I wonder if Harris is one of those guys who is deliberately doing what he can to get sent away again. Fishy...
Then, today while at Oxford High School, I met a lady who's from Beijing and is now teaching Chinese. Again, short conversations and she said she understood me just fine. I even understood some of the things she said. Hao ji le!
Funny how once the pressure to study is removed, the language becomes much easier to learn. I've often thought that eight months of my life spent studying Mandarin at the Army's Defense Language Institute is too much time to waste. So, with that I'm working to brush up on both my Chinese and Russian skills. Spanish too, perhaps.
Teacher, whom I'd rather not identify, has even encouraged me to stop by sometime and chat with her. How cool is that?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Me, a restaurant reviewer? Sure, I love to eat and enjoy food that's well-prepared and spicy, but I've never really thought of myself as someone to sit at a restaurant, sample some of the fare and write about it. But I was willing and it was easy: try their signature dishes and write what you liked about it.
"Which restaurant?" I asked the assistant publisher.
"Any of them," he replied.
My first choice was the local Thai restaurant since I've always wanted to try out Thai food. Unfortunately, the manager and I had a miscommunication and it didn't work out for this month. So, I tried the local Chinese restaurants. One of them fell through: the owner wasn't in to authorize it, and he didn't speak English. My Mandarin Chinese consists of a few phrases and a number of words and very rusty overall, so that was a no-go.
So, I tried out the other one in town.
The owners couldn't have been nicer, and I even conversed a few times--howbeit briefly--with them in Mandarin (they're from China's Canton Province and speak Cantonese primarily). Food was very wonderful. I dislike mushrooms and detest peas, but you know the food is good when the mushrooms and snowpeas (peas harvested when they're in the baby stage) taste great.
I was telling Dan, who works with me, that I'll have to go there a few times for lunch as a way of saying thank you for the free food they served for the review. Heck, not only did I get to take the Hunan Beef, Thai Chicken and General Tso's Chicken home, they also cooked up a quart of cashew chicken for my family to enjoy.
Wow. Hao ji le!
Few of the things I said to them in Chinese:
Li Xiao Long shi zai Jiu Jin Shan sheng de (Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco).
Suiran wo hen xi huan ya, ke shi wo bu xi huan chi ya! (Although I like ducks, I don't like to eat ducks).
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
A smart choice? Not so sure. Granted, Obama is in way over his head and is woefully short on experience, but wouldn’t it be better to pick a popular Democrat from the South? Except for Maryland, I don’t think the Democrats have won a southern state since the 1996 elections. Remember: in 2000 Al Gore became the first presidential candidate since George McGovern in 1972 to lose his home state (Tennessee); in 2004, John Kerry lost North Carolina despite having Tarheel State Senator John Edwards as his running mate.
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. Unless John McCain picks a pro-abortion running mate, I’m 100% certain I’ll vote for McCain. Then, I’d have to do some serious thinking.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
From this, one can come to two conclusions: either I'm so far behind as a writer that I can't recognize good writing or that this winning entry really, really sucks and that I can have some success if I work hard and keep submitting.
There was a previous contest where I submitted what I thought was a good story, saw what won and wondered why such a mediocre piece of writing would win. Maybe I'm whining, or maybe the magazine's judges just have really bizarre standards.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Well, twice I applied for work there, went to fill out the applications, submit my resume and sit through a 20-minute presentation that could've easily been done in about five minutes. They never really told us what it was that we'd be doing, instead talking about this growing company and how successful it is and how we'd be working long hours.
On the surface, that sounded great. Working 12-hour days five days a week, this comes to $78,000 a year (before taxes, but still not too shabby).
When I went in for the private interview, they asked a few questions. Both times, the men said, "I really like your resume and your answers. You're on my short list. We'll be in touch."
Nothing came of it. But this company is constantly advertising needing new registration agents.
Is it possible that the job's far from what's advertised and that it's another one of those worthless commission only jobs where you have to drive your own vehicle and use your own gas when you go out and try to get people signed up?
Unemployment is very humbling and can suck away your dignity, but be very cautious of what you see in the job ads.
I suspect he and Detroit "mayor" Kwame Kilpatrick will be kept as far from Denver as possible.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Have met some very interesting people, so far. I'm curious to see how many of the people I have tried in vain to contact via telephone will complain, come Wednesday, that they weren't included in the articles. Well, I might be able to do many things in life, but making people return phone calls isn't one of them.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
One of my work colleagues has been there, done that. Lots of great stories to tell. Used to work at the Detroit News. Tells me that only about 10% of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's corruption has gone public.
According to this colleague, being related to Kilpatrick has its advantages. One of Kwame's relatives, according to this reporter, makes around $70,000 a year working only an hour per week. Basically, sitting in on meetings. That's about $1,346.15 per hour. If a person were working a 40-hour week at that hourly rate, they'd be earning $2.8 million per year.
Once again, I find myself hardly waiting to get to work and keeping my eyes peeled for a story that might be huge. We'll see what happens.
Monday, August 4, 2008
It's sooooooooo nice to be in a newsroom and smell the faint, pleasant odors of the ink from the print shop.
Today, I filed a tragic story. Mother was sleeping with her infant and accidentally rolled over onto the baby in the middle of the night. Police are ruling it an accident. A very tragic accident that, no doubt, will haunt the lady for a long time.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
There's some nervousness about it...it's a little of a drive, and I'm on for a 45-day trial basis. Lord willing, with a little hard work and a little confidence I can make this work.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I'd rather not divulge too much details, but I do like the Twilight Zone-style suspense and twists. Often, I ask myself, "What if?" and start writing.
Royal blue and yellow is one of my all-time favorite color schemes, along with royal blue and light blue and then kelly green and gold. But for this blog, I'm looking for schemes that provide great contrast--making it easier to read--while allowing some aesthetic appeal also.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Fifteen minutes later, I got up and left. The movie was incredibly boring and had enough profanity and vulgarity to fill several films.
A month or so later, I sat down and watched about half an hour of Mallrats. Same result: boring, disgusting film.
I haven't seen Clerks II or Dogma, since I feel you don't have to repeatedly whiff a pile of garbage to know it smells bad. So, it goes without saying that I won't be seeing his new film, either.
Smith, according to the AP, recently--at a comic book convention--featured a clip of his new film Zack and Miri Make a Porno. (The movie stars Seth Rogen of Knocked Up, which tells me this movie will be utterly unwatchable). Smith also mentions having a hearing to get the film an R rating: currently, the Motion Picture Association of America has rated it NC-17 despite Smith's numerous edits.
No worries, Kevin: just make it R-rated and then feature your cut on the DVD.
I love to laugh, don't get me wrong, but why does the world insist on trying to get humor from smut instead of getting humor from irony, off-the-wall scenarios and great timing?
The website, again, is 100% satire.
Nevertheless, I have received four angry e-mails from that blog from angry readers. One threatened me with physical harm.
The fictitious, tongue-in-cheek article merely pokes fun at the musician's entrepreneurial ways. Nothing more. I actually have a lot of respect for him, but apparently these readers didn't bother to read the "This is satire" disclaimer at the top of the page.
Friday, July 25, 2008
Job interview today went very well. It's for a reporter position for a northern Oakland County (Michigan) newspaper. Editor liked my resume and writing samples. Said he'd call in about a week. We'll see what happens.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
1) Website tells you that for a fee of x dollars per month, they'll give you access to thousands of freelance jobs. One site that I subscribed to for a month gave me access to maybe 20 jobs in a month. Talk about a tax write-off. There are legit sites out there, but this one wasn't one of them.
2) Other sites will give you work, but to get the work, you must pay a service fee per month. I pass on these and if ask, I'd say, "No, you don't understand: I don't pay you to work. You pay me."
Some say that Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty has the inside track. Mitt Romney, of course, is still a strong possibility.
Around 15 inches of rain with winds around 85 mph. Hopefully that'll be the worse of Hurricane Dolly.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Doesn't really matter to me, since I won't be voting for B.O.
I will say this: IF Obama does get elected, expect him to blame all his mistakes or problems on the Bush Administration.
Sometimes, I'll see ads for movies being made near my area. Had a chance to go to a casting call for a horror film about an ominous town, but due to the gasoline money and the subject matter, I decided not to go. Other sites offer an opportunity for anyone to work as an extra. Sounds great, right?
One problem: you have to pay a nominal fee for their services.
A friend from college who has worked as an actor tells me that no reputable company connected in the entertainment industry will make you pay for the opportunity to gain access to possible jobs. The only payment a true agent would do is a commission after you've already secured work.
In the meantime, a few actors I've spoken to say the best way to get in is to get training, work in local productions and go from there. One actor said this to me: if fame is your goal, don't even start.
Capturing the idea
By Richard Zowie
Becky stopped, her blue eyes bulging, as if lost in a trance of excited concentration. She and Mike had been about to walk out the door of their home with their three daughters for a quick trip to the grocery store when she stopped on the carpet, right where it met the linoleum of the kitchen. Their girls were already out the door and were probably already getting into their seats in the car.
The glassy gaze remained on her face.
“Honey, what is it?” he asked, watching her reach with her left hand into her purse and produce a small purple notebook. After transferring the notebook to her right hand, her left hand then furiously fished for something else inside the purse.
“Becky, what is it?” he asked again, but she still ignored him, her eyes intensely concentrating on what they could see in the purse.
“Rebecca—” Mike began, knowing that when Becky was focused on a task like this, she completely ignored the world around her.
“I’m looking for my pen,” she finally said as her hand moved even more frantically, almost as if wrestling something inside the purse. “It’s in here, isn’t it?”
Becky’s disorganized ways, which he had long given up on trying to reform, didn’t surprise him as she always seemed to be losing something. But this time, things seemed urgent. It was as if the checking account was overdrawn and she was trying desperately to search the purse for any debit receipts she’d forgotten to have him ledger.
“I think so, why?”
Her hand moved faster still, as if about to tear a hole in the purse. Anger joined the excitement and scared look on her face. “I can’t find it, Michael! Where is it?” She only called him Michael (he detested his too-formal given name) when she was either angry or excited.
“I thought I saw you put it into your purse an hour ago.” He paused. “You had written some thoughts about that short story. Why?”
“So, the pen’s in my purse?”
“But I can’t find it!” her voice, a fevered shriek, was growing more frantic.
“But it should be in there, Rebecca.” She, like him, didn’t care for her given name but was far too consumed with finding the pen to notice him using it.
Ignoring his calmness and still unable to find her pen, Becky turned her purse upside down and shook it as hard as she could. Always one to hate clutter, Mike cringed as countless items cascaded onto the floor and plopped muffled onto the carpet: keys, compact, lipstick, a black day planner that she almost never used, change, cell phone and her wallet.
But no pen.
Exasperated and almost crying, Becky reached up to brush back a lock of curly black hair that had somehow come out of the ponytail on the back of her head. When she did, her left hand brushed up against her ear and hit something hard. Her brow twitched in confusion as she reached up to see what odd object was there.
Tucked behind her left ear was a blue Paper Mate Flexgrip Ultra.
Mike laughed as Becky snatched the pen, clicked it open, opened the notebook, sat quickly and started scribbling down words, so fast that only she would be able to read them. It took 30 seconds, but at the end, she felt relaxed. Her blue eyes sparkled as a wide smile crept across her face.
“Honey, are you ok?” Mike asked, his laughter subsiding as he started to help her gather the items to be put back into her purse.
“Better than ok,” Becky replied, oblivious to his laughter. They put the items back into her purse, including the pen and notebook. “I think I just came up with an idea for the next Great American Novel. You know that story about the woman who buys that old telephone?”
“I just thought of how to make it work.”
“Are you sure?” Mike asked.
Becky smiled again. “I’m as sure as I am that I love you.”
Mike shrugged, and Becky kept smiling. He wasn’t a writer and would never understand. Sometimes, these ideas come once in a lifetime. For a brief blip in time. Once they’re gone, they’re gone forever. And fleeting ideas don’t care if you couldn’t find a pen in time. Or that you had to empty your purse.
© 2007 richardzowie.blogspot.com. May not be reproduced without the author’s permission.
I like to carry a reporter-sized notebook with me and jot down fiction story ideas as they come to me. So far, I'm up to 20. And then there are the scores of other ideas I have on my computer. To me, it's exciting to create new worlds and new characters and see where the story goes. I may just post something I submitted to a Writer's Digest contest.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Think it seems odd for a 35 year-old man to be holding a rubber ducky? Let me explain: I love ducks. When I was 15, my Aunt Juanita (one of my Mom's four sisters) gave me a baby duck as a gift. I fell in love with it instantly and from there developed what's turned into a 20-year love for ducks. Since then, I have amassed a collection of duck pictures, figurines and even items of clothing (including a University of Oregon t-shirt and mousepad). I also have a couple of rubber duckies.
My wife got me this blue one in the photo recently, so I decided to take a photo of myself with it. Photo looked cheery and less psychotic than my previous one I had here, back when I was in the hippie stage of my hair touching my ears.
I showed the rubber ducky to the neighbor's ducks, but they seemed disinterested. (Yes, I know it's silly, but it's part of my way of keeping myself entertained in this dreadful Seinfeld Era where the pointless mundane often passes for humor).
I don't understand, for instance, how sports talk show host Jim Rome* can talk about the "exciting" sports of golf and auto racing but talk about how boring soccer is. Soccer and golf both take great skill, but a minute is about all I can take of watching golf.
*Don't get me wrong about Romey--I love his show and think he's funny and witty. But I happen to disagree with him about the golf/soccer issue.
I suspect it'll be Romney, with my second guess being Crist.
I'm hoping to spend about $45 to buy and maintain the site for a year. I was once with iPowerWeb, but their prices seem to have gone up.
Friday, July 18, 2008
It makes me wonder if Ledger is today's version of River Phoenix: a so-so actor whose death by drug overdose will immortalize him.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
As I reflect on the passing of this fellow Christian and wonder why God would take home such a godly man at such a relatively young age of 53, I am reminded of what actor Christopher Lee said regarding the death of his close friend Peter Cushing: some people are just too good for this world.
To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. That's where Tony is right now.
Reminds me how, a few years ago, I told another client about how my wife's Aunt C and her husband Uncle K fix up old cars and show them at car shows. One car in particular was the same type of car used by the infamous criminals Bonnie and Clyde. Editor loved it, but, since they're family through marriage, I passed on writing it.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The state-sponsored Rossiya television is running the poll. So far, it's Nicolas II (the last czar) leads with 267,000 of the 2.4 million votes cast. Joseph Stalin is second with 263,000 while Vladimir Lenin is third with 187,000. Also receiving votes are Vladimir Putin and the late musician Vladimir Vysotsky. Multiple votes are being counted.
For those who voted for Stalin, please keep aware of this little fact:
Stalin WASN'T Russian!
Stalin's real name was Iosef Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. He was born in Gori, Georgia in 1878; granted, Georgia was at the time a Russian colony and eventually became a republic within the Soviet Union, but at the time the USSR did not exist. Besides, Stalin was said to speak Russian with a very strong Georgian accent. It could be argued that, being born in a Russian-controlled territory that Stalin could be considered Russian, but ethnically he was not Russian.
Also interviewed a lady yesterday in the fitness equipment industry for an article I'm doing for a recreation magazine. Again, lots of good stuff.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Sorry, Seinfeld fans, but I've seen several episodes and didn't laugh once. I love to laugh, mind you, but I just didn't find anything funny. Good for you if you did, but to me, Jerry Seinfeld has killed American comedy. These days, the stupid and mundane now pass for humor. In short, Seinfeld was exactly what it was depicted as--a show about nothing.
If you want to see something funny, check out comedian Frank Caliendo.
Of course it'll take seven years, thanks to all the bureaucracy government levies on people wanting to drill for oil and gas. And besides, Senator Obama, if your party hadn't spent the past decade or so fighting tooth and nail against more drilling in America, we would've long sense started receiving that oil. We might also be paying $1.25 per gallon for gasoline instead of $4.15.
Sheesh, what on earth doe people see in this buffoon? In his four years as Illinois senator, he has essentially done two things: promote his book Audacity of Hope and run for president. I find his talk of "change" to be old, tired, recycled arguments. One wonders if he plucked it from some book, published in the eighties, from a 5-for-$1 bin at a flea market.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Of course, Piers Morgan is the same way on Cowell's show America's Got Talent. This last season (I don't watch this show anymore and have only seen American Idol in previews and short clips), one insulted performer went as far as to call Morgan a "Simon Cowell wannabe".
For this reason, I've never liked Morgan and especially don't like Cowell. As celebrity judges, that is: Cowell is said to be a much friendlier man in his private life. I simply believe that it's unacceptable to humiliate people on television for the sake of ratings--especially when they've been led to believe they have something worth showing.
I am reminded how, several years ago, author Stephen King held a writing contest through his semi-autobiographical work On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. He presents a scenario and encourages aspiring writers to send him their stories. King published the top stories and had this to say about the entries. Keep special attention to the italicized, bold-print remarks below in the text:
On Writing contest winners from StephenKing.com:
Dear Constant Reader:
I think a lot of people harbor the secret dream of being a fiction writer. Why not? You don't need any special tools, brushes, or even classes. All you've got to do is power up your laptop and you are ready to go. So when I suggested that fans of my work and/or readers of my writing book submit a writing exercise to my website I wasn't surprised to get over 1,000 responses. Not many of them were good, but that didn't surprise me either. What did surprise me--a little--was how many could have been good if the people who wrote them had tried just a little harder, or had brushed up their skills a little bit before trying their hands at what I think of as the Dick and Jane story. I should add that quite a few were, frankly, abysmal. I am not posting any samples of these. I have always believed that it's very bad form (not to mention unsporting), to shoot cripples. [Emphasis mine] But here are 3 "good" stories and one which is close to brilliant. Read and enjoy. Better yet, get in touch with these people and tell them what you think about their work or what you didn't. Like the human beings who create it, writing does not exist in a vacuum.
While at the office supplies aisle to get her some manila envelopes, I saw a package of Papermate Flexigrip Elite pens. Two black pens for $2. Very cheap. I could use some more, since I have only a blue, red, black and purple one with no backups. When it comes to acquiring another Papermate (again, my favorite), I go by these guidelines:
1. If you don't have the expendable income, absolutely not.
2. If you do, proceed to the next round
1. Are these a new style of Papermate pens OR a type of Papermate pen that I don't have?
2. Is this a type of Papermate that I already have but don't have any "backups"?
If the answer to either is yes, then I proceed to the next and final round.
1. Do I really, really, really need it?
If yes, I buy. If no, I don't.
I decided I didn't really need it, so I passed.
If you're a writer looking for work, beware as you pitch your services. Some are legit while others are not. I've also learned, while writing a press release for one gentleman, that you have to be upfront and be absolutely clear about the services to be paid. Basically, I ended up spending about five total hours of my time writing a $100 press release for free. You live and you learn.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Worst habit is: Speaking/Doing before thinking.
Pet Peeve: People who major on the minors
Turn Ons: Feeding ducks, spending quality time with my wife.
Turn Offs: Any episode of Seinfeld. People who insist on the nonsensical way of doing things. Reality show hosts (a la Simon Cowell) who find sport in shooting cripples...if they sing that badly, how on earth did they ever make it onto the show to begin with?
I may look innocent but: [Richard chooses to plead the fifth amendment on this question]
If I could be anyone other than myself I’d be: King Solomon. Must've been fun writing Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.
If I was good enough to play professional sports I’d play: Baseball (with football running a close second).
Get us a list of your favorite beers: I hate beer and think it smells and tastes disgusting.
How about your favorite magazines: The Writer, Writer's Digest, Christianity Today, Reader's Digest.
Thought of the moment: Tired, but too much to do.
Would you rather live in a country run by super models or football players? Whichever one decides to govern through pragmatic conservatism.
Would you rather be considered annoying or dull? To be honest, neither. Besides, life's too short to sweat what others think of you.
If you were in prison for five years how would you pass the time? Reading and writing.
What mail-order catalog would you most likely be a model for? Hmmmm....dunno.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
My efforts to get back into newspaper journalism continue. Some trepidation. Received an e-mail from a very popular columnist. He's a funny guy who tells me he's concerned about the future of newspapers and, believe it or not, his own job.
Perhaps online internet news sources are the future. Or perhaps the now. Or perhaps soon they'll be the past as we advance towards something even bigger.
Monday, July 7, 2008
I'm not rich, but I know exactly how much I have. And my wife and I are starting to implement Crown Financial's worksheet for keeping track of our expenses. We'll soon be working on a budget and praying for God's strength, wisdom and guidance as we learn to become good stewards with the money He has given us.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Albom, whose column is syndicated by Tribune Media Services, was complaining in his column about how catastrophic America will be now that the Second Amendment has been affirmed. He erroneously stated—you know, there are far too many erroneous statements in his column, and it would take all afternoon to detail them all.
I do wish Mitch could spend a week or two living in a bad neighborhood where, all too often, the only people with guns are the criminals and the police with agonizingly-slow response times. He might then understand why so many Americans feel the urgent need to possess firearms. BTW, Mitch, the Second Amendment was not solely intended to arm the military, but rather to make sure citizens could privately arm themselves when needed. The amendment doesn’t mean that every American will have a gun (the ruling won’t affect laws prohibiting convicted felons from being able to legally have firearms). Also, if you’d done your research, you’d find the amendment wasn’t even created until after the Revolutionary War.
If we ever leave Michigan, Albom’s columns will definitely be one thing I won’t miss.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
That’s what I wish I could do in November 2008.
When I look at Senator John McCain, I see a man who perhaps, at best, could be described as a minimal conservative. His views on campaign finance bother me, and I don’t like his views on abortion. However, I am encouraged by his views on foreign policy and feel that he is right when it comes to taxes: besides cutting taxes, we also need to corral wasteful spending.
As far as Senator Barack Obama, he’s a good public speaker who’s great at telling people what they want to hear. That’s about all I find appealing about him. For a man who claims to be a Christian (and only the senator and God know for sure), he certainly supports some very godless agendas. Abortion, ad nauseum. And then there’s affirmative action, and more taxes. There’s also this idea that Obama has to tear off his suit, revealing his superhero costume and go out and repair eight years of Bush Foreign Policy Debacle. Please. Sometimes doing what’s right means doing what’s not popular. I thank God that Obama was not president in the eighties when President Ronald Reagan had the Soviet Union to deal with. I am getting the creeping feeling that Obama has no clue just how complicated this job is. When I hear him speak, he’s always dreadfully short on details. Well, anybody can talk about change. Besides, isn’t that the same tired thing we heard from Walter Mondale in 1984, Michael Dukakis in 1988, Bill Clinton in 1992 and John Kerry in 2004?
As of now, July 2, 2008, if the election were today, I would plug my nose and vote for McCain.
When it comes to writing, I’ve found these four P’s work well. They’ve appeared in a blog posting of mine before, but they’re worth repeating:
Be persistent when it comes to looking for work
When you have work, these other three P’s are very beneficial:
Be to the point
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Seems that Sheriff Arpaio was upset at O’Neal’s use of profanity and racial slurs during a “free style” rap in which he makes fun of former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. Shaq insisted that he was merely having fun and that since it was freestyling, it was nothing serious.
The sheriff disagreed, saying that his deputies would be fired for engaging in such racial conduct.
Yes, Arpaio’s the same sheriff who makes his inmates wear pink underwear, work in chain gangs and have access to only the Disney and Weather Channels on cable.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Charles "Buddy Holly" Holley, 22, frontman for Buddy Holly and the Crickets
Richard "Ritchie Valens" Valenzuela, 17, solo artist known for his songs "Come On, Let's Go", "La Bamba" and "Oh, Donna"
J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, 28, disc jockey, songwriter and singer known perhaps best for his hit "Chantilly Lace."
Originally scheduled to be on that plane was a young man who'd go on to become one of the leaders of country music's infamous Outlaw Movement: Waylon Jennings. However, Richardson was feeling under the weather and wanted to get to their next gig early to visit a doctor, so Jennings gave up his seat on the plane.
Monday, June 9, 2008
1) Be persistent. You will likely get rejected for most of what you apply for.
2) If someone wants to work with you, make absolutely certain there is no ambiguity in the payment. I did this once and ended up doing a $100 press release for free. That stunk.
3) Did I mention persistent?
4) For paying sites, look at how much they charge and the services offered and ask yourself if it is a worthwhile investment. If it's not, then you could keep the receipt and write it off at tax time.
5) Don't shy away from free sites like www.freelancewritinggigs.com. One absolutely wonderful, lucrative freelance relationship came from that site.
Here's something else I picked up while doing one of my all-time favorite freelance jobs of sports gathering at the San Antonio Express-News. The guy next to me was phonr interviewing a coach or player for an upcoming story. As he spoke, I learned three important things to do while interviewing somebody:
1) Be professional. Keep it business--especially if the person you're interviewing is a complete stranger.
2) Be polite.
3) Be to the point. Don't rabbit trail, and don't get into discussions that have nothing to do with the interview--unless it's a brief discussion that could possibly uncover a future story idea.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Interview tomorrow for what would be a full-time writing job.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Now, it's CSI star Gary Dourdan's turn.
Remember? He was arrested last month outside Palm Springs when police reportedly found heroin, cocaine and ecstasy in his car. All three are felonies.
Dourdan pled guilty to two of the three counts. Not only will he not go to prison (he could've served more than three years), but after completing 30 hours of a diversion program, his case will be dismissed completely.
Makes me sick. When John Q. Public gets arrested on drug charges, most likely he will have to figure out how to avoid becoming a girlfriend of one of the prison's most feared inmates. All Dourdan has to wonder now is whether or not he'll be returning to CSI for its ninth season (his character was shot in the season finale).
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Sunday, May 25, 2008
I think Ms. Lange is a great actress and, yes, 20 years ago, I had a huge crush on her. I'll leave it at that.
I wish everyone a very happy Memorial Day.
There's more thoughts I have on the day, but this thought deserves its own blog post.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Below is an excerpt. If you don't get the Bee-Pic and would like to read the rest, or if you're interested in syndicating my column Richard's Ramblings, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org:
Among the scenes:
1) A TV reporter (played by Eastwood’s real-life wife, former reporter Dina Eastwood decides to interview Harry to get into his sensitive side.
Reporter: Inspector Callahan, your adoring female fans that haven’t died yet from natural causes have a question for you: Boxers or briefs?
Reporter: Depends on the situation? Such as briefs for cold days but boxers for—
Harry: No, Depends as in Depends Undergarments!
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Jason told me recently that he will likely vote third party for these reasons: he doesn't see much of a difference between McCain and Hillary Clinton/Barack Obama and he'd rather vote for a candidate that better reflects his own views.
At present, I am still leaning towards McCain. However, it would be that lesser-of-two-evils thing. I keep thinking that in the future I could certainly go third party. Perhaps I'll do it if I see a truly viable candidate, or I might do it to show my disgust at the GOP continuing to ignore their conservative base.
Interesting note: Michael Reagan, the son of Ronald Reagan, bills himself on his radio show as "The very independent Michael Reagan." Mike (one of the very best talk show hosts in terms of content) said he left the GOP because it's no longer the party of his father.
As for my wife, the lovely Jennifer, I've told her that if she's voting for the candidate she feels is the best one, she has nothing to be ashamed about--as long as it's not Barack or Hillary (or, as Jay Leno calls them, The Pleaser and The Freezer).
Monday, May 19, 2008
Part of the dinner included onion rings. Though I like onions, I've never really been a big onion ring fan. These, however, were very delicious. Must be something in the water.
Didn't get a lot of sleep that evening before work, but it was worth it.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
I made him laugh the other day, when describing to Jennifer my trip to the cafeteria as a scene from The Shining. Can't wait for him to get home since I miss both of them. House seems very empty right now.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Conventional thinking would say Idaho outside linebacker David Vobora, taken by the St. Louis Rams in the very last pick of the 2008 NFL draft.
I beg to differ. To me, the real Mr. Irrelevant are the college athletes who didn't get drafted. Some notable undraftees:
Sete Aulai, Center, BYU. Aulai weighs 300 pounds, but at just under 6’1” he’s very short. By today’s physical standards, too short.
Michael Butterworth, Offensive Tackle, Slippery Rock. At 6’7” and 334 pounds, Butterworth was one of the biggest people in the draft. I’m sure his 40 time of 5.719 was unimpressive; makes me wonder if a calendar was used to time him instead of a stopwatch. On the flip side, Butterworth was a multi-sport athlete in high school (including track and field) and in college earned academic awards.
Brady Leaf, Quarterback, Oregon. He stands just under 6’5” and runs a 4.889 40. But he’s also the younger brother of one of the biggest busts in NFL history. Yep—you guessed it—Ryan “Cryin’” Leaf.
Brad Roach, Quarterback, 6’6”, 249, Catawba. Slightly shorter than the draft’s tallest quarterback (Joe Flacco, whom the Baltimore Ravens drafted in the first round as a not-so-subtle lack of confidence gesture in Kyle Boller), Roach’s 40 time of 5.2 versus Flacco’s 4.86 screams lack of mobility. Having a surname like Roach would ensure that opposing fans will likely wear Orkin uniforms and scream “RAID!” whenever he walks onto the field. Roach’s biggest liability might be that question: where in the world is Catawba?
Weston Dressler, Wide Receiver, North Dakota. At just under 5’7”, Dressler was the shortest receiver in the class. His 4.5 40 doesn’t sound impressive when you consider he weighs only 160. He makes diminutive 5’10” cornerbacks seem very tall, which is probably why nobody drafted him.
Evan Moore, Wide Receiver, Stanford. Yes, his 6’6”, 233 pound frame makes him the biggest receiver in the draft, and his 4.74 time, considering his size, isn’t bad. However, he had injuries at college—including a dislocated hip that caused him to miss most of a season.
These and other undrafted players will now have to hope for a training camp invite to make an NFL squad. No worries: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo was undrafted.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
GO TERRENCE FROM SIERRA MADRE!
Even if he doesn't win again, Terrence could easily win another contest: An M. Emmet Walsh Sound-a-Like Contest.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Long attended Lapeer East High School (about 25 miles east of Flint).