Thursday, July 31, 2008


Does this mean I have to retire yet another Red Sox t-shirt? Make some room Damon, Manny's coming to keep you company.

Taibbi Quote

"Phoenix, July 13th, Sunday morning. Thank God John McCain has declared that he wants to wallpaper the continent with new nuke plants, because now the chances are better that this wretched slab of hot, birdshit-covered asphalt they call a state will be blown to hell in an accident someday. I hate this place. Once the sun comes up on an Arizaona weekend, nothing moves except the occasional elderly-piloted Buick floating boatlike in the direction of some hideous megachurch."

- Matt Taibbi, "Without a Prayer" Rolling Stone, August 7, 2008

Non-Oprah Book Club: What Makes Sammy Run?

Published in the early 1940's, Budd Schulberg's What Makes Sammy Run? is probably still the best novel about Hollywood, even surpassing his contemporary (and one time collaborator) F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon. It tells the story of a ruthlessly ambitious boy, Sammy Glick, who backstabs his way to the top of the Hollywood studio system. Glick is such an interesting character, one who fascinates the reader without earning any sympathy.

Some, including Samuel Goldwyn, criticized the book as being anti-semetic, calling Schulberg a self-hating jew for writing it. In truth, the character of Glick would be just as wicked if his last name was McCoy. Besides, Glick being a jew has little to do with the actual story. However, the book was enough of a catalyst for MGM to fire Schulberg.

What is more interesting in terms of the novel's plot in relation to Schulberg's own life was the topic of socialism and unions within Hollywood during the 1930's. The struggle between union coordinators and the studios has a major part in the book, with a more favorable view of union organizers. But Schulberg would later testify voluntarily in front of the HUAC and named names, including many of the infamous Hollywood Ten. (This would not be Schulberg's last brush with history - in 1968 he would be one of the men who wrestled Sirhan Sirhan to the floor after the gunman shot Robert Kennedy.) Schulberg would later collaborate with another famous HUAC witness, Elia Kazan, in writing On the Waterfront. The film has long been categorized as Kazan and Schulberg's answer to the criticism they received for testifying since the movie is about an informer ratting out his friends.

But besides Schulberg's history of contridictory politics, Sammy is still a great book; one of my favorites. Well worth a read.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I've always admired people who can quote passages of poetry, or parts of their favorite books or memorize whole section of dialog from plays. I can't do it. I also have an inability to figuring out what people are saying when they spell out a word. "Did you get the B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y P-R-E-S-E-N..." Hold it right there because you lost me at B-I-R.

So, I'm going to try to do something about it (the quote thing, not the spelling. I'm never going to be able to do the spelling thing.) From now on, every time I find a quote that I like, I'm going to post it here. Here's the first:

Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar): He's security conscious, he's smart. Smooth in a cheesy Sam kind of way

Sam (Bruce Campbell): Smooth is smooth, baby.

- Burn Notice

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I'm So Proud

For the second time I've won the daily Craption contest on, but only by one vote. That means that if the entry below me gets a couple of votes, that guy will be ahead. Anyway, click here to read and bask in my glory.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Non-Oprah Book Club: Getting Away With It

Steven Soderbergh is a pretty funny guy. He doesn't take himself too seriously, which is always a great quality in a narrator - and it's what saves his (sort-of) memoir, Getting Away With It, or The Further Adventures of the Luckiest Bastard You Ever Saw, from being an incredible depressing tale of Hollywood misery. For those who are unfamiliar with Soderbergh, he's a film director who made Out of Sight, Ocean's Eleven and Traffic, for which he won the Best Director Oscar. His first film, Sex, Lies and Videotape, was a giant milestone in independent cinema. It won the Audience Award at a little thing called the US Film Festival, which would later change its name to the Sundance Film Festival; as well as winning the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. But his career hit a low while he was making his fourth film, The Underneath. Feeling like a loser after making three films in a row that failed to live up to his talent and promise, he decided to make a movie for himself called Schizopolis. He wrote, directed, produced, photographed, scored... well, did just about everything on the movie. If you've never seen it - and you're open to (and really enjoy) fucked up movies - stop whatever you're doing and go rent it, buy it, whatever. To give you an idea of how off the wall the movie is, Entertainment Weekly gave the movie an A, but also gave it an F.

Getting Away With It chronicles Soderbergh's time between The Underneath until he found his stride again with his adaptation of Elmore Leonard's Out of Sight. Along with writing about his troubles, Soderbergh spends half of the book talking with one of his filmmaking heroes, Richard Lester. Lester is promoted on the cover of the book as "the man who knew more than he was asked." It's a sort of smart ass take on Truffaut's series of interviews with Hitchcock.

This is a great book for anyone interested in filmmaking.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Simple Satisfaction

To continue my publishing news updates - yes I have more coming - I present a flash I wrote for D.Z. Allen's Muzzle Flash titled A Simple Satisfaction. It appeared in May. Read it, let me know what you think and then head to the mall for a little shopping.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

What I've Been Up To For the Past Few Months

Besides writing, of course. This is a continuation of something I started a few months ago, which was leaving a list of things I have read, watched or went to see. So, this is basically for me, but feel free to check it out if you want.