Author, Author

Mark Twain was (and still is today, in my mind) one of the best authors America has ever had to offer. His agile mind never missed a trick of human nature, nor an opportunity to make fun of himself and those around him. My all time favorite book, Letters from Earth, is a must read, if you haven’t already.

Below, (editorial comment mine & in bold) what he has to say about authors:

WC 

I have been an author for 20 years and an ass for 55. (I’m working on getting there myself)
Mark Twain, a Biography

Experience is an author’s most valuable asset; experience is the thing that puts the muscle and the breath and the warm blood into the book he writes. (No argument there)
Is Shakespeare Dead

Authorship is not a trade, it is an inspiration; authorship does not keep an office, its habitation is all out under the sky, and everywhere the winds are blowing and the sun is shining and the creatures of God are free. (Can I get a witness?)
– A petition to the Queen of England, 1887 (plea for exemption from English tax on royalties)

An author values a compliment even when it comes from a source of doubtful competency. (Yes, we are comment whores, aren’t we?)
Mark Twain’s Autobiography

I never saw an author who was aware that there is any dimensional difference between a fact and a surmise. (Can you say, poetic license?)
– quoted in My Father Mark Twain, by Clara Clemens

There are three infallible ways of pleasing an author, and the three form a rising scale of compliment: 1, To tell him you have read one of his books; 2, To tell him you have read all of his books; 3, To ask him to let you read the manuscripts of his forthcoming book. No. 1 admits you to his respect; no. 2 admits you to his admiration; No. 3 carries you clear into his heart. (The secrets to a writer’s heart)
Pudd’nhead Wilson

I’m a Thinker, You’re a Thinker…

Red of Dr. Pepper is Good for the Soul has been named as a “Thinking Blogger.” Congrats my dear, and well deserved. Nobody  cuts through the chaff like you.

She has named five more bloggers as thinkers, and generously included me in her group. How flattered am I? Plenty!

The rules of the meme are simple:

1. If you get tagged, write a post, with links, to 5 blogs that make you think.

2. Link to this post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme.

3. Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote. (I’m not sure I did this part right. Me and technology – oy! But I did get the picture right. 🙂 )

Red already tagged Michael of Smoke & Mirrors and Evyl of From Evyl With Love, (dang, she beat me to the punch) two of the most thinkingest blogs out there. And please do believe all she has to say about them – they are magical.

And now onto my five…they are all wonderful and worth the read:

Never Goodbye by Popsgirl is a heartfelt journal of her experience with her father’s descent into dementia. It is always warm, often funny and poignant. You could never walk away without feeling changed somehow by reading her stories of her charismatic father.

Summer’s Child by Mckenzie is one young woman’s journey of bearing her soul and sharing true insight with her readers. She embraces her pain and her joy equally, wearing her scars as proudly as her triumphs.

Brit and Grit by Brit & Grit (natch) It’s funny, it’s whacky, it’s always something new. There is a refreshing sting of satire that runs rampant through this blog. Something for everyone.

Spasmically Perfect  by Spaz (to her friends) is like that first warm and fragrant breeze on a summer evening. Her writing is gentle, often profound and always refreshing.

Nanny’s Nook by Anonomum is one woman’s rage against the machine. She is biting, funny as hell and shoots straight from the hip. There is no one like her, a true original.

Hope you liked the picture as much as I did – I simply couldn’t resist…it’s dangerous for me to take myself too seriously. 😉  Now, what are you waiting for, go – read.

WC

 Addendum: You know, much as I liked the idea of this meme, I found it limiting at the same time. For me, all the blogs on my blogroll offer something and certainly they offer food for thought. It felt a little wrong to exclude all but five. Know what I mean? I love everyone on my blogroll, even if I don’t get around to visiting all the time – it takes a lot to maintain a blog and do it well. And there isn’t anyone on my blogroll who doesn’t do that. So screw it, I’m nominating all of you.

Of course this will probably mean that they’ll take my thinking award away from me – but oh well – my mantle is full of awards anyway. LOL. 😆

What Do Movies Meme?

 

Using AFI’s list of 100 Top Movies, bold the ones you’ve seen, ital ones you’d like to see and add up to three that you think should be on the list.

1. CITIZEN KANE (1941) Brilliant mostly for its cinematic features, the story itself is over-rated in my opinion.
2. CASABLANCA (1942) A real classic – love it still.
3. THE GODFATHER (1972) To me, the epitome of gangster movies which meant for me I no longer had to see any more ganster movies which generally are boring as hell.


4. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939) a movie I was satisfied to see once.
5. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962) a movie that was almost as hard to watch as Reds.
6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939) still afraid of those flying monkeys.
7. THE GRADUATE (1967)
8. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954) The speech with Brando and Malden in the cab is the best part.
9. SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993) Truly touched me.
10. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952) Who doesn’t love this one?
11. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946) always gets to me.
12. SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)
13. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957) I never really ‘got’ this movie. What was the big deal?
14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) Nothing funnier than Curtis and Lemon in drag.
15. STAR WARS (1977) Once was more than enough to see any of these movies.
16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950) If  you haven’t seen this, you must the dialogue alone is worth watching it.
17. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951)
18. PSYCHO (1960)


19. CHINATOWN (1974) The sequel The Two Jakes is decent too.
20. ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST (1975)
21. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940)
yawn!
22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968) yawn!
23. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)
24. RAGING BULL (1980)
25. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)
26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)
27. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)
28. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) Classic
30. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948)
31. ANNIE HALL (1977)
32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974)
33. HIGH NOON (1952)
34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962) I dare you to watch this movie and not feel changed by it.
35. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934)
36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969) Very sad and tragic I thought.
37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
38. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944) True Film Noir.


39. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)
40. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959) I was fascinated by the shine in Eva Marie Saint’s hair in this one. How did they do it?
41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961) Urban Romeo and Juliet which has never been improved upon.
42. REAR WINDOW (1954)
43. KING KONG (1933)
44. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915)
45. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)  Blanche Dubois is one of the most unique characters ever written in my opinion.
46. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971) Ugh, hated this
47. TAXI DRIVER (1976)
48. JAWS (1975) One of the best scary movies ever.
49. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
50. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)
51. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940)
52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)
53. AMADEUS (1984)
54. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)
55. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)
56. M*A*S*H (1970)
57. THE THIRD MAN (1949)
58. FANTASIA (1940)
59. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)
60. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981)
61. VERTIGO (1958)
62. TOOTSIE (1982)
63. STAGECOACH (1939)
64. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) The mashed potato scene is my favorite.
65. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991) Chianti and fava beans, yummy.
66. NETWORK (1976)
67. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962) This version was superior to the recent remake.
68. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951)
69. SHANE (1953)
70. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971)
71. FORREST GUMP (1994)
72. BEN-HUR (1959)
73. WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939)
74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925)
75. DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) I only remember how I longed for this movie to be over.
76. CITY LIGHTS (1931)
77. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973)
78. ROCKY (1976) Despite all the terrible sequels the original was one of the best movies every made.
79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969)
81. MODERN TIMES (1936)
82. GIANT (1956)
83.
PLATOON (1986)
84. FARGO (1996)
85. DUCK SOUP (1933)
86. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935)
87.
FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
88. EASY RIDER (1969)
89. PATTON (1970)
90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927)
91. MY FAIR LADY (1964)
92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)
93. THE APARTMENT (1960)
94. GOODFELLAS (1990)
95. PULP FICTION (1994) totally over-rated and stupid.
96. THE SEARCHERS (1956)
97. BRINGING UP BABY (1938)
98. UNFORGIVEN (1992) Not bad, but did it really deserve all those oscars?
99. GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1967)
100. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942) It was a hoot to see Cagny dancing and singing after all those ganster movies.

I have seen 78 out of 100 – wow, even I’m surprised. The three I would add to the list are:

101. THE CAINE MUTINY
102. BODY HEAT 
103. WHITE CHRISTMAS

The three I’d remove from the list are:

1. Lawrence of Arabia
2. The Godfather Part II
3. Grapes of Wrath

What are your picks?
WC

I Love Me Some Thin Mints! Don’t You?

I don’t know about you but every year right about this time I start to get a little excited. Not because Spring is right around the corner or because a cute guy has moved in to the house across the street but because the cookies of all cookies are about to go on sale.

Yep – I am a girl scout cookie junkie. I just can’t help myself. If there is even one thin mint within a 20 mile radius I can smell it, hunt it down and take it for my own. Since I don’t even smoke any more I figure I am entitled to just this one little obsession.

Also too there is just something sweet and nostailgic about them. They have been around since I can remember and I can remember pretty far back. Always somewhere around spring break you would start to see little cardboard table and folding chair sales stands cropping up – in front of super markets, laundramats, banks and even street corners in some suburban neighborhoods. Naturally when I was a kid I knew many of the salesgirls 😉 now, not so much.

However, I do have one little friend who is probably one of my favorite cookie sellers:  

Let’s call her Cookie-Girl – she does a bang up job, according to her mom and troop mama. But I mean who has to be told, check out that stand, nice display, clean, neat with lots of variety but no clutter. Poifect.

What many of you may not know is that there is a whole lot more to selling girl scout cookies than meets the eye. In the words of my favorite Girl Scout Mama:

Cookie sales gets so much negative crap that people don’t see the good it does. On the money side, it funds the whole Girl Scout program and it helps troops earn money for their activities. (camping, horseback riding, community service projects [one troop paid their way to Build A Bear to stuff and dress bears then donated them to the Fire Department to give to kids that needed them])

On the “Where Girls Grow Strong” side of it (a Girl Scout saying) cookie sales gives girls a chance to learn so much in a safe environment. Sales, money handling, responsibility, people skills, persistence, goal setting, etc. When it’s all over, they have such a sense of achievement! You can see the change in them. They’ve grown!

Also, especially in recent years, there are many troops who are selling cookies in order to send them to the troops. The way it works is this: you buy a box of cookies and instead of taking them home and eating them and making your thighs and butt even bigger, you tell the troop to go ahead and send them to the troops overseas. In addition to this, the kids take a lot of the money they make and send additional cookies to the troops. For example there is a relatively well known program called Operation Cookie Drop, which is a program started by Girls Scouts who managed to send bagillions of cookies to our young men and women in Iraq and gave them a  taste of home.

If you see a local troop selling in your area, ask them what their ’cause’ or program is that they are selling for – I’m sure you’ll discover that they are not in it for a beach chair or so they can all go to Chuck E. Cheeese for a weekend. They are going to do something special with the money for someone who needs it, senior citizen homes, the troops overseas, underprivilidged children and so forth.

So the next time you see that little cardboard table and chairs set up, don’t hide your face and mumble something about being on a diet. Chat with the girls and find out what they intend to do with their proceeds. And don’t be so darn stingy, give them a five-spot and tell them to give a box of cookies to their favorite shut in, kid stuck in a hospital, or a kid in a uniform overseas and far far away from home.

If you want to know when the cookies are going on sale in your area you can go here – type in your zip code and councils in your area should come up, with their schedules of sales.

Heck there is even a myspace girlscout page here.

So for pete’s sake, get some Thin Mints, Tagalongs, Samoas, Trefoils or even som DoSiDos and know that you are likely contributing to something worthy and worthwhile. Heck if you are really worried about your diet they even sell some fudgy sugar free numbers AND all the cookies have Zero trans fats. So let’s not sweat the small stuff, otay.

For pictures, descriptions and nutritional information about the cookies go here

Also, if you just want to help and contribute to a troop who is sending cookies to the troops, I personally know of such a troop and I’d be happy to hook you up with them. If so, feel free to email me.

Okay, let’s get our fat asses down there and be loading up on the damn finest cookies ever made in America. Sound good? 😉

WC

Valentine’s Day

May you have the most unique of Valentine’s Days, ever. And if not that, may you at least get some kickass chocolates!

Happy Valentine’s! WC

My Kind of Teddy

“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do!. That is character.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

(Known both for his larger-than-life personality and his many achievements, Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest US president at age 42. He was born in 1858 in New York. He led the Rough Riders, a motley volunteer cavalry, to victory in the battle of San Juan Hill. As the “Trust Buster” president, he instigated some 40 lawsuits to break up monopolies. An ardent conservationist, he put 230 million acres under federal protection. The Panama Canal was begun under Roosevelt. He died in 1919.)

That Teddy was my kind of guy. Course today in this politically correct world, they’d probably destroy him. Thank God, he was around when it was okay for men to men and for leaders to lead. God bless his soul.

WC

Renaissance Man

(I originally wrote this post last summer while guest blogging for the subject of the post. In honor of his birthday, I repost it here. Happy birthday, Michael – you’re one in a million. Annie)

He’s a writer. He plays a mean piano – by ear no less – hard on the head but easy on the hands from what I hear. He’s a dad. He’s a husband. And to me, a friend. What you would call a real friend.

It’s funny, though we’ve never met face to face and honestly I’m not sure what it would be like if we did, we have fostered a friendship over the last 4-5 years that is rare. We go beyond friendship, almost all the way to family.

He’s shared with me about the tragic illnesses of both of his parents. I’ve told him about my brother who died of AIDS. I know all about his beautiful daughters and how special each of them are to him. About how his wife is one in a million. About his cute little cats. And his big silver truck. He knows about my love-hate relationship with cigarettes. My sloppy, anal room-mate. My hilarious dog.

We met at an online writer’s group, of all places. It was one of those places that wanna-be writers flock to and need-to-write-to-live writers approach with caution. What the heck, it was free and you also got to meet other writers. What’s not to love?

We swapped crits (critiques) on each other’s assignments. Culminating into a ‘story’ at the end of the course. His was the “Goodbye House” mine was “Faith.” From the beginning I admired the work and the man. Always taking the time to really say something, really give you his honest opinion. You could tell this guy had a lot of heart.

Well, our stint at the online group didn’t last long. We both realized in our own ways that truly we were engaging in Writer’s Socialism. Struggling to help the writers who couldn’t and barely having time for the writers who could. We both like to think we were among the latter.

But our friendship didn’t end there. After there were emails. More story swapping. Talking about anything and everything. Yakking on the phone about this and that. Really, somehow this guy became the brother I lost so many years ago. Somebody who I could talk to about anything and everything. Somebody who really cared about what I had to say.

I was amazed by his life and how he took everything in stride. Juggling parents that needed constant supervision, a family, a marriage, a job, doing music gigs on the side and somehow still finding the time to write. For cripes sake he wrote on the train into work.

Not long ago, we got into this wild marathon email where we starting discussing deeply writing – the ins and outs – where to publish – how to publish, the whole ball of wax. And it got positively addictive. It got to the point where we were each jonesing for the next response. We even had discussions about posting it on his blog. But realized that only a lunatic or a psychic would be able to follow it. It’s done us both good. And I hope it continues to do us both good. Keep us inspired and motivated.

Recently, he went on vacation and asked me to babysit his blog. Frankly, I was a little scared. I’d read his blog and hell I’ve read his writing. A little intimidating to say the least. I was sure his ‘readers’ wouldn’t like my style. That it would be a shock to the system to go from warm, gentle Renassaince Man to whacky, who the hell knows what’s firing those synapses Writer Chick. But…I like a challenge and try to force myself to do things that scare me.

So, I’ve struggled along this last week. Trying hard to entertain the troops in his absence. I hope I have done him justice. Cuz he’s a helluva guy and a true Renassaince Man is a modern world gone (almost ) mad.

Writer Chick

The E-Factor -Why the Left Hate GW

(I wrote this piece shortly before the 2004 election – and it seemed fitting to post it today. In the re-reading, I find I have not fundamentally changed my mind about this piece or the man. WC) 

Since the 2000 Election I have puzzled on why the Left so abhors George W. Bush and everything for which he stands. Whatever the action, cause, purpose, bill, law, candidate, issue or position, if George W. Bush likes it, they hate it. Historically, the Left and the Right have always been at odds and are often on opposite ends of issues – but this is not the normal, run of the mill, animus on display. This appears to be real, genuine hatred, and I’ve been asking myself, why? What makes George W. Bush the devil incarnate to those on the other side of the aisle? What makes thousands rally to the site of the Republican Convention to not just protest, but to display unadulterated vitriol toward our President?

It wasn’t until the last night of the convention and after the President’s acceptance speech that it hit me. I watched the speech on ABC and Peter Jennings, George Stephanopolis and others were the commentators after the speech. While I can’t remember precisely what they said – the essence was ‘wow.’ They were visibly touched, moved and impressed by the President’s speech – particularly the last six paragraphs. One of their convention reporters said that it was not just the President’s words that had so moved those present but something more – a palpable connection. He said that the people in that room clearly felt an emotional connection to the President.

“Ah,” I said to myself. “Emotional connection – the E-factor.” That non-quantitative quality that cannot be learned, bottled, transplanted, manufactured or faked. George W. Bush for all his faults (his swagger, his bluntness, his ‘cowboy’ ways) connects with people emotionally. Even avowed political opposers have said he’s charming, funny, down to earth and a really nice guy. They like him. They really like him. Remember that hug between Tom Daschle and the President shortly after 9/11?

Ironically, Bill Clinton had that same quality. He connected on an emotional level with his audience and the American people – so much so that they voted him into office not once, but twice. Despite all of his mistakes, faux pas, scandals and outrageous behavior, Clinton supporters could not be swayed to turn away from him. He was, after all, America’s ‘First Black President.’ He did, after all, ‘feel our pain.’ And understood us, as no American president ever had. He worried about us as no American president ever had. And, he was going to take care of us as no American president ever had. His foibles, were just that. Not scandals, not outrages, not immoral acts – just boys being boys. Just private matters. They didn’t affect how he led the country. Every good thing that happened during his administration was very, very good. And every bad thing that happened was merely a lapse in judgment, a small mistake or indiscretion. Bill Clinton could lead us anywhere because of this incredible ability to feel for and connect with the ‘every-man.’

The Left was delighted because Bill’s special talent had led them into the White house. The babyboomers of the Viet Nam era were finally ‘in charge.’ They were going to show everyone how to do it better. Prove that their ideologies from those days gone by of protests and antiwar activities were the enlightened way. The right way. They were going to prove that their utopian visions from the sixties would be the ultimate reality of the nineties. Socialism would out.

Then along came George W. Bush. It wasn’t bad enough that Clinton couldn’t run again and they had only Al Gore to offer as his replacement. But now they had a loudmouthed, straight-shooting, swaggering cowboy galloping toward the White house. He would ruin everything they’d spent eight years building. He was going to make a mockery of all their hard work of moving the American mind-set to the politically-correct mode. Yes, he was scary indeed. Terrifying, in fact.

But worse than his Right Wing ideologies he had the one thing they knew they couldn’t fight. That same, special quality possessed by their idol, Bill Clinton. They saw it from the very beginning. People all over the country connected with George W. Bush. Their eyes glistened with heartfelt tears when he spoke of family values, a belief in God, patriotism and the American way. W possessed the secret weapon the Left believed to be their exclusive territory. Worse still, he used it all wrong. While Bill felt our pain, W felt our joy. Bill wanted to take care of us, but W wanted to help us help ourselves. Bill promised to be responsible for us but W expected us to be responsible for ourselves. Bill promised to spend our money wisely but W gave us our money back. Bill said we should think about it first but W said they were going to hear from us. Bill talked to our enemies but W blew them out of the water.

Two men with the same talent but very different messages. Two men with the same connection to the American people but with very different visions for them. Two men with the same incredible persuasion but on opposite sides of the aisle. Why does the Left really hate George W. Bush? Because he can and does do what Bill Clinton did but so much better and toward a better end.

Poster Girl

Sorry guys, I don’t usually post two videos in one week but I just had to post this one.

It’s from Aussie singer Beccy Cole who is singing “Poster Girl” in response to some of her fans who disagree with her supporting the Diggers, the Australian soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

Really makes me tear up.

WC