Sunday, February 29, 2004

Saturday, February 28, 2004

More "NCIS" Trivia

After watching A FEW GOOD MEN last month, I blogged about the movie's depiction of NIS, which was redesignated NCIS the year the movie premiered. In this week's episode of "NCIS"--"Enigma"--Special Agent Gibbs's former CO becomes a fugitive from justice. One of the places he chooses to go to ground is Gibbs's workshop. While reasoning with the CO, Gibbs is shown in a white t-shirt with "NIS" in blue. Kudos to the show's crew for accuracy.

Incidentally the CO, Col. Will Ryan, was played by Terry O'Quinn, who also played CAG Thomas Boone on "JAG."

Friday, February 27, 2004

NCIS Story in Hardboiled

As you may know, I'm a fan of Don Bellisario's "NCIS," and so was pleased find in Issue #31 of Hardboiled the story "Inside." A great mix of military, psychological thriller and crime fiction, "Inside" was written by J. Almon Polk, an NCIS special agent stationed aboard the USS Kitty Hawk.

For those unfamiliar, Hardboiled is a contemporary pulp mag edited by Gary Lovisi.

The Man They Call Jayne

Today is Adam Baldwin's 42nd birthday. Baldwin (no relation to the Massapequa Baldwins) is a veteran of film and television, but I remember him best as Jayne Cobb on "Firefly."

In lieu of "Happy Birthday," I give you "The Man They Call Jayne" (Lyrics from Firefly - An Unofficial Fan Forum).

Jayne. The man they call Jayne...

He robbed from the rich
and he gave to the poor.
Stood up to the man
and gave him what for.
Our love for him now
ain't hard to explain.
The hero of Canton
the man they call Jayne.

Our Jayne saw the mudders' backs breakin'.
He saw the mudders'lament.
And he saw the Magistrate takin'
every dollar and leavin' five cents.
So he said "You can't do that to my people."
He said "You can't crush them under your heel."
So Jayne strapped on his hat
and in 5 seconds flat
stole everythin' Boss Higgins had to steal.

He robbed from the rich
and he gave to the poor.
Stood up to the man
and gave him what for.
Our love for him now
ain't hard to explain.
The hero of Canton
the man they call Jayne.

Now here is what separates heroes
from common folk like you and I.
The man they call Jayne
he turned 'round his plane
and let that money hit sky.

He dropped it onto our houses
he dropped it into our yards.
The man they called Jayne
he stole away our pain
and headed out for the stars!

Here we go!

He robbed from the rich
and he gave to the poor.
Stood up to the man
and gave him what for.
Our love for him now
ain't hard to explain.
The hero of Canton
the man they call Jayne.

"Bartman Ball" Blown Up

Chicago Cubs fans toasted Harry Caray as the infamous "Bartman Ball" was blown to smithereens. I don't know much about curses as a Yankee fan, but having minored in Psychology, one word comes to mind: displacement.

The Cubs were ahead of the Marlins after Steve Bartman caught the ball. If the players and fans had kept their minds on the game--not on that one play--they might have won and vanquished the curse.

Similarly, if Pedro Martinez had put the Red Sox ahead of himself, or if Grady Little had vetoed Pedro and gone to his excellent bullpen, the Curse of the Bambino might have been silenced. Instead of acting, making things happen, the parties in both cases let the outcome happen to them.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

World's Fastest Stopwatch

AFP reports scientists have invented "the world's fastest stopwatch" to measure subatomic processes. Paraphrasing Prufrock, "I have measured out my life in attoseconds."

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


The AP reports that beginning in 2006, the College Board will require a timed essay in addition to the verbal and math sections of the SAT. As a teacher of college freshmen, I like the idea. We all (students, teachers, professionals) are a little afraid of writing at first. We all want to express ourselves as accurately as possible. It's a matter of overcoming inertia. As with working out, the longer you haven't done it, the longer it takes to get up to speed.

The first steps are always the same, put pen or pencil to paper. When our perception of the first steps changes, they are made more difficult than they have to be. Because the first steps seem difficult, time pressure is a common complaint. Unfortunately, with the exception of some cultures that don't believe in time, the world exists in time. The best we can do is to learn time management. The advent of word processing is another obstacle. Many students have lost the skill to brainstorm on paper and the will to research manually. Students haven't had to worry about their own handwriting as a part of presentation. For all these reasons, it's time to get to work.

First topic: "The reason I hate writing essays is..."

Monday, February 23, 2004

"I'm Not a Pilot, but I Write About One."

My latest purchase at includes the FAA AIRPLANE FLYING HANDBOOK, another research investment in my most successful series character, C.J. Stone. By reading about how to fly, I hope to add another level of authenticity to the stories. Ironically I abandoned C.J. for eight years, looking to create meatier characters. And while I have several mainstream pieces I'm proud of, no characters kept coming back like C.J. and friends. I figure if they're gonna stick around, I might as well write 'em as best I can.

Having read my fill of technical specs and protocols in Tom Clancy novels, I like my research to spice up stories, not be their main ingredient. And speaking of ingredients, a lot of writers start with character; I start with plot. What's going on here? What has happened in my life that I can use for fiction? Would the events be more dramatic if someone othan than I went through them? (When the answer is no, I use myself. Hey, why not?)

I see the action first, then focus in on who's doing what to whom.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Writer's Retreat

I took yesterday off from blogging because I'm shifting gears from fiction--the aforementioned C.J. Stone story--to poetry. This used to take a lot longer--I'm talking months longer--than it does, but I'd still like to juggle both at once. Quite simply, I can't afford not to. Again I'm motivated by fear. As the saying goes, a little fear is a good thing.

Also, I'm catching up with this month's DetecToday featured novel, FLASHPOINT by Linda Barnes.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Spidey Goes MTV

I've been watching the first (only?) season of MTV's Spider-Man cartoon on DVD, and loving it. The concept of a CGI Spider-Man took a little getting used to, as did Neil Patrick Harris as the voice of Peter Parker, but I'm on board. All thirteen episodes on the two-disc set have optional commentary by various people involved, from Ultimate Spider-Man writer Brian Bendis, to excutive producer/writer Morgan Gendel, to original Spidey writer Stan Lee.

It's interesting to hear how cartoons have the same approval and budgetary concerns as live-action show like "Firefly." Gendel also comments on a writing process that usually involved "a lot of snacks," "waiting around for it to be lunchtime," "and then about the third day..."

Ah, my people.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

"Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus."

With this line of 80s trivia, I mark Justine Bateman's 38th birthday. Bateman, who played fashion-conscious Mallory Keaton, has gone on to become a fashion consultant. While somewhat out of the spotlight since "Family Ties," she starred in NBC's short-lived "Men Behaving Badly," guest-starred as Zara, Kal-El's Kryptonian betrothed on "Lois and Clark," and most recently appeared in the Showtime miniseries, "Out of Order."

The "Eww" Files: The Human Piggy Bank

From the AP, French doctors remove necklaces, needles, and 350 coins ($650 worth) from a 62-year-old man's stomach.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"Angel" Cancelled

The AP reports the WB's decision to cancel Joss Whedon's "Angel." The decision was made earlier than usual to allow Whedon the chance to prepare a fitting series finale.

Much as I've enjoyed "Angel," I've been prepared for the end since last year. There are the usual rescue efforts that may or may not succeed. Nothing changes the fact that series eventually end. The most we can do is enjoy what gets made. I look forward to seeing the cast in other roles.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

If You Thought the Hornet was Something...

Next item up for bids, a Titan 1 Missile Complex... (Finder's credit to Matt Tedesco)

"Sometimes I Dream, That He is Me..."

Gatorade/Wheaties/Hanes/McDonald's favorite Michael Jordan has a birthday today. As a fan of the Lakers and Knicks, I didn't like Jordan for much of his first run with the Bulls. The image of him shrugging off a string of three-pointers in the '92 Finals against Portland still gets to me. However, just as I came to admire Larry Bird, I found myself in Jordan's corner during the Bulls' second threepeat (trademark of Pat Riley).

Rather than end his career with a storybook shot over Utah's Bryon Russell, Jordan chose to unretire a second time for two novelty seasons with the Washington Wizards. After those, I hope he stays retired. Then again, he's only 41.

The day's other celebrants include Denise Richards (33), Jerry O'Connell (30), Jason Ritter (24), and Paris Hilton (23).

F/A-18 Hornet on eBay

It's not as outrageous as selling a family or a human heart. Nonetheless--Mike Landa's offer of an F/A-18 Hornet formerly property of the Navy's flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels--raised an eyebrow.

Monday, February 16, 2004

"Give it up, Megatron!"

Today is Frank Welker's 59th birthday. Welker has more voice work credits than you can possibly imagine, but is probably most recognized as Freddy Jones of the Scooby Gang and Megatron, leader of the Decepticons. He's also provided bleats, brays, and barks for several animals including a unicorn for the "Dungeons & Dragons" cartoon (also featuring the voices of Willie Aames and Donny Most) and aged Bruce Wayne's guard dog, Ace, in "Batman Beyond."

Today is also LeVar Burton's 47th birthday--"Report, Mr. LaForge."--and John McEnroe's 45th.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Only in L.A.

The NBA's 53rd All-Star Game is in progress at L.A.'s Staples Center, and I'm not watching. I've had a hard time gearing up for the festivities, not to mention the game itself. The NBA has been tweaking, adding to the classic three-point and slam dunk contests a dribbling/passing skills test, a Rookie vs. Sophomores game...

And yet the best stars don't participate in any of it. They view the season as more important, and it probably is, but it's also important to acknowledge fans' admiration and represent one's team.

It doesn't help my interest that most of the All-Stars are around my age or younger. No mystique around them. Instead, we have the media swarming to interview Kobe Bryant. It's not the same.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

"It's Another Valentine's Day, and I Ain't Got Nobody..."

Thanks to Sam Cooke for the inspiration. Come to think of it, the blog title is really 'nuff said, but here are some songs I would sing to woo someone I was interested in. And again, I refer you to the blog title. Feel free to suggest new songs:

"The Power of Love" (Huey Lewis and the News)

"The Glory of Love" (Peter Cetera)

"For Your Eyes Only" (Sheena Easton)

"Dulcinea" (The Man of La Mancha Soundtrack)

"If Ever I Would Leave You" (Camelot Soundtrack)

"I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore" (R.E.O. Speedwagon)

"Music of the Night" (Phantom of the Opera Soundtrack)

"By Heart" (Jim Brickman and Holly Leven)

"What I Like About You" (The Romantics)

"Wild Thing" (The Troggs)

"Good Lovin'" (The Rascals)

"Gimme Some Lovin'" (Spencer Davis Group)

"Two Dozen Roses" (Shenandoah)

"You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" (The Righteous Brothers)

"Livin' on a Prayer" (Bon Jovi)

"Right Here Waiting" (Richard Marx)

"The Longest Time" (Billy Joel)

Friday, February 13, 2004

Bruce Wayne Goes Bond

As blogged previously, British actor Christian Bale will play Bruce Wayne/Batman in an upcoming Christopher Nolan-directed movie. IMdb further reports that the movie will have more British touches:

Batman Turning British?

Batman is becoming British after director Christopher Nolan has been given the go-ahead to reinvent the American character in new movie BATMAN: INTIMIDATION. The MEMENTO film-maker wants to freshen up the superhero, who has so far featured in four modern day features, and has decided to give Batman and his American playboy alter-ego Bruce Wayne a more 'James Bond' feel. Brit Christian Bale is playing the lead role with English veteran actor Sir Michael Caine and Irishman Cillian Murphy are also signed up, and now Nolan has added Bond veterans, costume designer Lindy Hemming and special- effects guru Chris Corbould to the crew. Warner Bros's production head Jeff Robinov says, "Chris is reintroducing Batman and it feels smart cool and fresh. That's no disrespect to the other movies, but it's really Chris' vision of Batman and that's what we're supporting."

Thursday, February 12, 2004

A Letter Without a Sweater

Dave White blogs that his brother Tom, captain of the Ramapo College volleyball team, recorded his 1,000th dig last night. Gotta respect defensive prowess. I managed the boys' varsity team at St. Mary's H.S., Manhasset my first two years. At the end of sophomore year, I received a varsity letter. I would have received the sweater to go with it in junior year, but I chose to leave the team when Coach Cosmo Miranda left the school.

The sport I loved until high school was basketball. Miranda saw me practicing in the gym one day and took it upon himself to teach me a foolproof shooting technique. I've missed some baskets since then, of course, but whether the ball goes in is secondary to proper form. Maintaining form, a player can trust that the shots will eventually fall. It was after one of our shooting drills that Miranda asked for my help with the volleyball team. I was honored to do it.

For two years, I kept score, timed practice, managed equipment, and cheered the team on. I got to learn and love the game. Miranda was a disciplinarian who locked the doors and curtained the windows during practice, but I knew firsthand, if you listened to him, you improved. I knew his barking orders was performance for the same purpose as mine today, delivering a message. The bulk of his P.E. students never got to know this.

When Miranda left, volleyball became the cool sport. Better athletes joined up who hadn't liked Miranda's style. The new coach was much looser on the reins, letting anyone into the gym while the team practiced. So I decided to leave. When Batman goes, Robin goes.

The letter sat in my closet the rest of high school and two years of college, until I gave it to a friend who was both a member of Font and captain of the Hofstra women's volleyball team (the Flying Dutchwomen).

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Not-Quite Cursing

To follow up, if you're trying to cut down on cursing, try these expressions that have served me well:

(Oh) "Cheese dip."

(Oh) "Crap."

(Oh) "Dip."


"Dumbbutt." (Opposite of "Smartass"?)

"Keep the change, you filthy Borg-head."

(Oh) "My goodness."

"Oh, snap."

"Son of a motherless."

"Shut the front door."

"What a drag." (In a Russian accent)

"What a waste of DNA."

Everybody's Doing It

The aforementioned Ray Banks and Jim Winter have put in their two cents on the use of profanity in fiction, and I figured, "What the heck, I'll chime in."

I like profanity--what Spock once called "colorful metaphors"--if used creatively. Anyone can curse just to curse or to give in to peer pressure. I consider myself lucky to be part of a very close family. My favorite thing to do after school was go home. My parents didn't know English-language curses, so they couldn't pass them on to us. In fact, the first time I cursed at my parents--age six, not in any context, just to see what effect the words would have--I washed my own mouth out with soap.

One of my criteria is that profanity has to sound cool. There's a knack to delivering it for full effect: George Carlin has it; Bruce Willis has it; I don't have it on an everday basis, but I have summoned it up in performance.

Mostly I use it with my college students to belie a mild-mannered, academic exterior. And it works; it shocks them; it delivers my message. It wouldn't do any of these if I cursed every day.

So you'll find few curses in my writing; always, I hope, well placed. I often see it as a fun challenge to deliver the intensity and emotion of a curse, using any words but that curse.

And then, as demonstrated in RISKY BUSINESS, there are times you just gotta say, "What the fuck."

My favorite TV bleep job, from TOP GUN:

Iceman: You are still dangerous. You can be my wingman anytime.
Maverick: What? You could be mine.

"What" in this instance is copied-and-pasted from a line not by Tom Cruise, but by Tim Robbins as Maverick's replacement RIO, Merlin:

Maverick: I'm gonna bring him in closer, Merlin.
Merlin: You're gonna do what?

Birthdays and Birthday Suits

Today is Sheryl Crow's 42nd birthday, which means one of my favorite, most respected musicians was born within days of Axl Rose. If you check out my friend John's bio on, he lists Sheryl Crow under "Favorite Bands Besides GnR." John liked the cover of "Sweet Child O' Mine" Crow did a few years ago, which I haven't heard yet.

Today is also Jennifer Aniston's 35th birthday. Am I the only one who tired of the Ross-Rachel, Rachel-Ross, Ross-Rachel romance by the third season of "Friends"? Because of this, I can't say whether the show has stayed fresh over ten years, but from the outside looking in, I don't think so.

I do have fond memories of the day a girl from Hofstra's humor magazine, Nonsense, sharing an office with Font, was mistakenly sent Rolling Stone's poster of a naked Aniston cleverly concealed by a bedsheet. Not wanting said poster, the girl gave it to me.

Lastly, today is Burt Reynolds's 68th birthday. Some readers say a young Reynolds would have made the ideal movie Spenser. Alas, we'll never know. Spenser creator Robert B. Parker did write a few episodes of Reynolds's ABC Mystery Movie series "B.L. Stryker."

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

"It's Away!"

This classic Star Wars quote is my way of saying I've submitted the third C.J. Stone story and, in doing so, filled my self-imposed once-a-month submission quota.

Thanks again to Dave White, Jim Winter, Ray Banks, and everyone out there who's supported my work. I'm glad this story finally flooded my imagination, and I hope you'll delight in it when it comes to a printer near you (right in the room as you read this, I'm guessing).

Monday, February 09, 2004

To Submit or Not to Submit

Spent today going through the Stone story, dustbusting places where it looked like work had gone on. I've had a market in mind for the story all along The only question left is when to submit. I feel almost the same drive to submit it as I did to write it.

When to submit? No one likes the "Oh-no-it-wasn't-ready-what-was-I-thinking" feeling. Yet, paraphrasing an earlier post, I don't feel a story has achieved its goal until it's published. I can show stories to friends or editors. Editors might reject it, but ultimately a story is closer to publication with an editor than with a friend. When an editor is a friend, the chances are about even.

Thanks to Jim Winter for the final push. Here I go.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

Story Scare Tactics

I completed the first draft of my third C.J. Stone story today, and am having trouble remembering the day I began. The story is 16 pages, and I wrote a page some days, two pages others. By this weekend, the story demanded to be finished, not because I knew how things would end, but because I needed to be typing away to figure out how they would end.

There was something inquisitive, insistent, about the process. In a way, writing was like hitting a heavy bag, making it jump. Early in the story, I stopped when I couldn't see what happened next, but something wouldn't let me put the story aside long enough to do other, just as worthy tasks. That driving force might have been the knowledge that if I let the story slide too long, I'd lose it. I'd lose my initial good idea for the story. I'd lose the willingness to follow that foolhardy voice that wakes writers up in the wee hours saying, "How 'bout it?" I'd lose touch with the characters as I have with high school friends and forget the way their caps sit on their heads, the way they laugh. I'd lose that knack for finishing their sentences.

As I reached the end, I realized I could no longer take measured, comfortable steps. The more I heard "That's enough for today," the more I rebelled, caught up in the stakes of the story.

Thinking how much there was to lose, right down to the story's pulse, scared me into sticking with it.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Ray Banks's 10 Stories That Oughta Be Nominated

In response to Awards Buzz Season (Oscars, Grammys, and Bears, oh my!), Ray Banks has listed ten stories he believes should be nominated somewhere, in no particular order:

1 - "Little Holes" by Mike MacLean in Thrilling Detective
2 - "Might Just Take Your Life" by Jim Winter in Hardluck Stories.
3 - "Get Miles Away" by Dave White in Thrilling Detective.
4 - "Dealing With Flaws" by Allan Guthrie in Bullet Magazine.
5 - "Dog Breath" by Gary Carson in Hardluck Stories
6 - "Worth" by Sean Doolittle in Plots With Guns.
7 - "The Babysitter's Code" by Laura Lippman in Plots With Guns.
8 - "Seguidilla" by Sarah Weinman in Plots With Guns.
9 - "Munchies" by Jack Bludis in HARDBROILED (reprint in Thrilling Detective).
10 - "For Old Times' Sake" by Gerald So in Handheld Crime.

As Thrilling Detective's Fiction Editor, I've chosen or worked on three of these. You may recognize several names from my blogging circle. So Ray may be a bit biased. I'm proud to make his list of favorites, and to have good company.

Blogged by Association

Today is Axl Rose's 42nd birthday, which itself means nothing to me as someone who avoided 80s metal. But Axl did date my favorite model-slash-actress, Stephanie Seymour, in the early 90s. I would have liked to date her. She has since outgrown Axl--good for her--and married Interview magazine mogul Peter Brant. They have two sons and live in Connecticut.

I did avoid metal in the 80s, but in the 90s I attended a few Guns n' Roses tribute gigs. My friend John Ricotta, a co-worker on Hofstra's literary magazine Font, has the role of Slash in the L.I. band Appetite for Destruction.

It's also Mike Farrell's 65th birthday. Farrell, of "M*A*S*H" fame, has provided the voice of Jonathan Kent on WB Animation's "Superman" and "Justice League" cartoons.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

If You Missed Last Night's "Angel"

Last night, the WB Network aired the 100th episode of "Angel," the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"-spinoff focusing on a vampire cursed with a soul, and thus eternal remorse for past acts. As with any long-running show, there have been good and bad arcs. Last season ended on a bad one, IMO, with Angel's confidant and burgeoning love interest Cordelia (Charisma Carpenter) being possessed by a huge evil. (If you guessed this was a fancy pregnancy cover-up, you win.) After Angel dispels said evil, Cordy is left in a coma.

The fifth season began with Carpenter not in the opening credits, and Angel and company in charge of the demonic law firm Wolfram & Hart. As you might guess, switching sides hasn't sat well with our hero, and in the 100th episode Cordelia wakes up and sets him right, closing several storylines in the process.

All very good, except at the end of the episode, after Cordy and Angel have had a heart-to-heart, the phone rings. It's the hospital calling, and Cordy never actually woke up. In fact, the call is to report her death. Angel turns and she's gone. Huh? Chalk up the latest entry to TV's Phantom Zone.

In real life, Carpenter married Damian Hardy in 2002 (on my birthday incidentally) and gave birth to a son, Donovan Charles Hardy. Thanks for many hours of entertainment and best of luck.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

"Homonyms Do You Want?"

Conrad Bain, best known for playing millionaire Phillip Drummond, turns 81 today. This brings on thoughts of Todd Bridges's substance abuse, Gary Coleman's lawsuit against his parents, and Dana Plato's O'D. Rather than dwell on any of that, I bring you a crucial part of the "Diff'rent Strokes" theme misheard by me at six years old, affecting my whole concept of the show:

A man is born,
He's a man of means.
Then along come two,
They got nothin' but the genes...

Yes, I thought it was the story of Arnold and Willis finding Mr. Drummond, their biological father.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Don't Talk with Your Mouth Full."

Texas Tech Chancellor David Smith has backed off his ultimatum to basketball coach Bob Knight: take a five-game suspension or be fired.

Allegedly, it all started when Smith ran into Knight at a local eatery, and made small talk that grew into a shouting match. It's been my experience that the bigger an academic's vocabulary, the better chance of getting tongue-tied or blurting out thoughts.

The moral? Never get in the way of anyone's lunch.

Don't Know Why

A third note from IMdb on Jazz singer Norah Jones:

Success Shocked Norah Jones

Jazz singer Norah Jones is amazed at how successful she has become, but wishes her debut album wasn't so "full of mistakes". The 24-year-old has sold over eight million copies of Come Away With Me and it won eight Grammys, but Norah finds it difficult listening to the disc without spotting all the little errors she made. She says, "I wasn't ready for it. That sort of success makes me uncomfortable. It's my first record, it's full of mistakes, things I don't like and think could be better. But at the same time, it's cool. I am glad people liked it. I am proud of it, but I am still working on my music."

Any writer knows the feeling. Jones's debut Come Away with Me is one of the few albums I can enjoy all the way through. Another is Sheryl Crow's C'mon C'mon.

"Spears, Britney Spears."

Also from IMdb, Britney Spears's Bond girl aspirations:

Spears the Bond Girl?

Britney Spears has reportedly set her sights on copying her pop pal Madonna by appearing in the next James Bond film. The singer has said she will spend the next couple of years concentrating on her acting career, following the muted response to her comeback album
In The Zone - and Spears has instigated a meeting with 007 producer Barbara Broccoli to discuss the possibility of appearing alongside Pierce Brosnan in the next spy offering. A source says, "Britney's desperate to carve out a name for herself as an actress and loves the idea of being a Bond girl. She's in great shape and thinks she'd be brilliant. Britney has seen what it's done profile wise for Halle Berry and she wants a slice of the action." Berry appeared with Madonna in the last Bond film, 2002's DIE ANOTHER DAY.

With all of Britney's coming-of-age hijinks, part of me holds out hope she's a decent gal. She'd be okay as a Bond girl. Make her an assassin like KILL BILL's Go-Go Yubari. She wouldn't even have to change her name:

"Bond, James Bond. And who might you be?"

"Britney Spears."

"Ah, I get the point."

"You might."

Monday, February 02, 2004

Movie Trailer Pioneer Dies

If you love movie previews, join me in a moment of silence.

From IMdb:

Movie-Trailer Mogul Kuehn Dead at 66

Andrew J. Kuehn, who was credited with coming up with the line "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water" for the Jaws 2 trailer and who developed trailers for the original Jaws, the Indiana Jones films, E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, Schindler's List, The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Aliens, and Top Gun, died Thursday at the age of 66, the Los Angeles Times reported today (Monday). In an interview with the newspaper, Bob Harper, vice chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, remarked, "[Kuehn] came into the world of previews when they were done very conventionally, and he reinvented them. He pioneered the idea of previews as a stand-alone piece of entertainment."

"There are Pretenders Among Us."

Lots of actors born on the Day of the Hog, including 70s supernova Farrah Fawcett, Ol' Yellow Eyes Brent Spiner, Total Gym hawker Christie Brinkley, and TV's "Pretender" Michael T. Weiss.

"The Pretender" was one of my favorites. Identified as a genius, young Jarod was kidnapped from his parents and raised at the Centre, a sinister think tank. Somewhat based in fact, Jarod had the ability to assume any identity or line of work simply by reading up on it. The series followed Jarod as he broke out of the Centre on a quest to rediscover his own identity, pursued chiefly by his childhood friend Miss Parker (Andrea Parker in her most-recognized role to date).

After its network run, the show was syndicated, then spun off into two very good TNT movies.

The Groundhog and I

I've just woken from my traditional mid-Super Bowl slumber. I like football, but in recent years the hype and commercialism surrounding the Super Bowl has annoyed me. I like a good TV spot, too. Some of my favorites include the Jordan vs. Bird "Nothing But Net" campaign and the Taster's Choice mini-soap opera introducing most of America to Anthony Stewart Head. But the idea of getting excited for breaks in the game, of tacking a glitzy performance onto halftime? I don't get it.

Many experts said it would be a close game, with the Patriots beating the Panthers by three. That came true. After a scoreless first quarter, each team halting the other, I didn't expect to wake up to a 32-29 final. Congrats to Coaches John Fox and Bill Bellichick, who've stepped out of Parcells's shadow.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

The Perfect Name

This morning my brother had a question, "What does parfait literally mean?" I searched the Net and discovered it means "perfect" in French, and is also a male first name.

Sure, my son would be teased, but he'd have the ultimate comeback: "My name means 'Perfect.' How 'bout you?"

If it were his middle name, he'd identify with Alex P. Keaton. First to comment with Alex's full middle name wins.

Wins what? Ah.

Birthday Blitz

Chatted with friends Dave White and Jim Winter last night about how we as writers measure success. We don't get raises or promotions for the time we put in, and in selfish moments, I wish for those clear-cut signs. On the other hand, the ability to see coincidence, metaphor, and irony is a gift I'd never trade. I may sound like someone reflecting on his birthday, except today isn't my birthday, and this post has nothing to do with the Super Bowl.

Today is, according to IMdb, a birthday for Tracy Lines and Corina Curves--actual people; only the latter is an "adult film" star.

Today would have been a birthday for former St. John's basketball star Malik Sealy and kung fu legacy heir Brandon Lee, both stand-up men who passed before their time.

I promise to use this power only for good.