Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pop Quiz: Cornel West vs. Daniel Hannan

Which of the following is the better argument regarding Occupy Wall Street?

A) Cornel West, with the argument for:

 

B) Daniel Hanna, with the argument against:

 

Hint: Does the more flamboyant, more entertaining speaker ever really have the stronger argument?

(H/T: Kurt at GayPatriot)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Compare and Contrast, Part II

First Lady Michelle Obama:


America's Supernanny Deborah Tillman:


All kidding aside, the first time my wife and I saw an episode of America's Supernanny: Family Lockdown, we honestly thought we were watching Michelle Obama. The hair, the pearls, the dress, the build, even the mannerisms, it was like the producers wanted viewers to make that connection. And oh, how we did, to the point of rewriting Supernanny Tillman's dialog as we watched:

"It takes time to change a child's behavior, just like it takes time for Barack to fix the economy he inherited..."

Next time it's on, I'm going to make up dialog for the children as if they're House Republicans.

"We Are Never Ever Gonna Cook Together"

Because the wait for the last batch of Breaking Bad episodes is really, really getting to me...

Major spoiler alerts for anyone who hasn't seen all the aired episodes yet.

 

Compare and Contrast

First Lady Michelle Obama:


Former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:


Just because.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Darth Schwarzenegger!

NSFW, but I laughed until I cried...

 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

None of This Would Have Happened But for James Lileks

None of this would have happened but for James Lileks. Seriously.

I signed with my first literary agent at 19. Not only had he been an editor before becoming an agent, he had been the one editor I really wanted to crack but never did. So when he offered to represent me, it felt like God telling Moses things would all work out in the end. First one manuscript and then another went out, always getting good reaction if not a contract, and I was hanging out in the SFWA suite at conventions and being introduced to writers I had grown up idolizing as one of the new up-and-comers.

And of course, it never happened.

I kept writing, though. And I kept trying. I signed with and changed agents, more than once, as time went on, and I even took a 10-year detour in Hollywood as a screenwriter, snagging an option or two, developing a bunch of scripts with various producers that in the end went nowhere, and being introduced again as one of the new up-and-comers.

And of course, it never happened.

I kept writing, though, and I kept trying. I had been knocked back to square one more than once as a writer, and form-letter rejections from publishers and agents don’t have quite the same sting after you’ve had 10 movie or TV pitches shot down in 10 minutes (or less) by someone sitting right in front of you. Besides, I was married and in my forties at this point, and had gained a hard-won perspective on things that I couldn’t have imagined back when I was in my twenties writing novels or in my thirties writing screenplays.

And of course, the Internet was rising, the traditional publishers were dying, and e-readers were appearing. Things were changing, but I had come of age not just before the Internet but before Amazon.com as well, back when indie or self-publishing meant dropping a large chunk of your savings to a vanity press for a closet full of books that no store would ever stock. Even worse, your career would be over, we were told, because you had cheated, broken the rules, skipped out on paying your dues, and clearly just weren’t good enough for a real publisher to take you on.

I had had agents, though, one after another. And Hollywood had optioned more than one screenplay. And I had heard from editors, more times than I cared to remember, that it was a great book, just not right for them, and I should have no trouble placing it elsewhere. And the agents, one after another, had agreed as well.

And of course, it never happened.

Then James Lileks published Graveyard Special for the Kindle. And he did it on his own.

That was the tipping point for me. Lileks had already published books traditionally, after all, and seeing him go the Kindle/self-publishing route with a new novel meant the stigma was at least fading, if not gone. I’d known this in my head, of course. It just hadn’t made its way down into my gut, where it really needed to be.

And if James Lileks could do this, what in the hell was I waiting for?

Besides, I was 47 now. Banging my head against still more walls to get yet another agent, and then going through yet another round of submissions to still more traditional publishers, well, that seems a lot more glamorous when you’re young and have no real idea what an unknown fiction writer is up against. Especially these days.

So here it is:


It’s available at Amazon.com for Kindle and as a trade paperback. Hopefully, this is the first of many more to come as well.

And none of this would have happened but for James Lileks. Seriously.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Shadow of California Past

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Married Conversation About Page Layout and Design

“Does this look off to you?”

“It looks fine to me.”

“You don’t see that?

“See what?”

“This. Right here.”

“I’m not seeing it.”

“But it’s right in front of you!”

“Still not seeing it.”

“How can you not see this?”

“Oh. Wait. You mean this?”

“Yes!”

“Really?”

“Yes!”

“This thing you had to point out three times before I even saw it?”

“Yes!”

“Shouldn’t that be telling you something?”

Monday, January 14, 2013

If You Were a Hobbit in a Past Life, Gary Busey Wants to Know

Friday, January 11, 2013

"Though His Ways Are Hard and Steep"

Spotted on the wall of a tea shop...


...and no, I didn't ask...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"Mr. George Survives It All"

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

President Obama's Belated New Year's Resolutions for 2013


1) Play awesome New Year’s prank on everyone, like nominating Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.

2) Finally send Hillary that “Get Well” card.

3) Continue fighting to change the partisan tone in Washington.

4) Grind the Fat Cat, War on Women, Anti-Science, Throw Grandma from the Cliff Republican opposition into finely processed corn meal for white bread, which will then be given to Mitt Romney as part of a concilatory horseradish sandwich.

5) Play more golf.

6) Keep reminding America that tax rates, not how much money the government actually collects in taxes, are what really matters when it comes to debt and deficits.

7) Reset the reset of the reset with Russia.

8) Get new phone number for White House; make sure Bibi Netanyahu doesn’t have it.

9) Give more speeches.

10) Call Elizabeth Wurtzel, and make sure shes okay.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Crazy Uncles in the Washington Attic

So, as of today, at the start of 2013, it seems the only two people in Washington, DC, still capable of actually negotiating a compromise of any kind, on anything, are Drunk Uncle (Joe Biden) and Stick-Up-His-Butt Uncle (Mitch McConnell).

Is this a great country or what?

2012 in Review (JibJab Style)

My New Year's Resolution for 2013

My New Year's Resolution for 2013? Not to be sick for a third New Year's in a row.

On the plus side, all the enforced downtime is letting me watch Firefly again...