Saturday, October 18, 2014

JOE

JOE is one of those sleeper movies that you see, expecting one thing but getting another in drastic form. It is about an ex-con who has these violent episodes which he seemingly cannot control. Joe played by Nicholas Cage, one of the best actors around I think.

Joe runs a crew of workers who kills trees so the forest can be replanted with healthy seedlings. It sounds like something illegal but not. This is a character driven movie. Everybody in it is somewhat damaged, maybe not the all black crew of workers. There's a mentality of survival which is dark in every way. It is alcohol, smoking, lowlife mentality. Abuse, sex, the base existence to life. 

Joe meets a kid, fifteen, Gary. He begins some redemption. The stark surroundings, the lowlife characters, the bare existence of people who survive makes quite the movie. I don't know why a movie like "Joe" doesn't get more notice. This is a people, an environment that exists in this country. They are the have nots, the survivors, uneducated and unsophisticated but remarkable in a weird way. Joe, especially. 

I originally saw this on a plane but could not quite grasp it. I
immediately watched it again. It is worth your time. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Best Statement On Politics I've Seen Lately

Here's something (of a stretch, perhaps) to make you feel better about a potential change in control of the senate:  
1. No matter who controls the senate, gridlock will continue for the remainder of Obama's term. 
2. If the Republicans take control now they will be forced to propose legislation, rather than just oppose any and everything.
3. Because the GOP is so at war with itself it will be difficult for them to find enough common ground amongst themselves to propose anything without a major and publicly reported fight. Obama retains a veto to block anything asinine.  
4. Losing the camouflage of "opposition", enough sane and sensible middle-of-the-road American people see the GOP for what it truly represents, and vote accordingly in 2016.    RL

Saturday, October 04, 2014

GET REAL

The President is following the path of George W.,  listening to the generals and others who don't know s..t, so to speak. Even though he is the president, the commander in chief, he looks at all those uniforms, those ribbons and tends
To get bamboozled. Generals want to go to war. They are Custis LeMay: let's bomb Hanoi and all the problems will be solved. Stupid. We need to cut this bullshit out. We have so many problems. You have those like John McCain who is beyond hawk to stupid. We can't solve the Mideast. Our efforts are beyond idiocy. Millions and millions of bucks to train an Army who ends up fleeing in the face pf ISIS, in running suits, no less. Now, we are back again. It is like some f..king resurrection or nightmare. Help? And Putin and his oligarchy buddies are not going to stand by and allow western armies to be on the border. Any first year political science student knows this. This is the Cold War REVISITED. What the f..k. 



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

AMAZON

I cannot believe that Amazon did not invite me to their "Campfire" for writers. What the hell! F..K, double F..K. I could have used some of those lavish gifts. Damn, a retreat, relaxed. Come on Jeff. Look at it like this, you invited all these big names for the last four years to your "Campfire" and now, you need a little "love" and they jump up and bite you in the arsh.   

I have been a big supporter. I am beaucoup applauding Amazon for leveling the playing field. Always before, big time, established publishers have pretty much had everything to themselves, mostly ignoring us unheralded authors. In the present dispute, I sense a lot of whining going on. 

I am not the type "not" to take sides. I choose Amazon. For us no-names, Amazon has given us a chance and for myself, if I am anything, I am loyal. 

I've read lots about the dispute and I doubt the dire claims of the "end" of publishing. If I am looking a book, I can find it somewhere.  Maybe I don't have to have it tomorrow. Manipulating ordering, pricing. What the hell, retail stores have their own systems. They put books they are pushing in strategic spots. Probably kickbacks in some form. 

As a writer and small publisher, few of the reading public understand how insane this process of getting published is.  About a hundred percent of the time, us would be published authors  cannot even get Hatchett to respond. No use blaming them. In California, we have more writers than readers. Regardless, before Amazon, we were s..t out of luck. To a large degree, Amazon and the Internet have changed that. I know for a fact that you can get a   few readers, people say to me, "where are your books?" AMAZON. No small thing. 

Here is s good example of the insanity of this business: I have been querying 
agents for months (Queried 40 plus and can't even get anybody to read my novel--they don't know if I have a masterpiece or not because they haven't read it).  But, in a real sense, pressure is off, owing much to Amazon, I have options: publish myself, get it on Amazon. Do an E-book. 

The plight of the author doesn't escape me but it has to be more than money. Sniveling aside, authors or at least those I know, to include myself, realize. this is a tough business and an insane one with no real rules. Big named authors who have made millions may feel slighted but I have a hard time feeling sorry for them. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

GETTING FIRED

This morning as I was perusing the NY Times, I read this extensive article on homeless vets who make up a quarter of the total homeless population. I am always flummoxed  at this. How do some make it and others crash and burn. Regardless, Vietnam remains in vets' psyche. 

I have a related war story. My old boss in Vietnam is reported to be one of the homeless. He and I never got along. It culminated in him telling
me to do a certain thing. I refused because I thought it would put soldiers in jeopardy. I had been with these guys for almost a year and thought I knew best. 

Probably some sort of jealousy. He replaced me with somebody else and sent me to the rear area to be sent home. What nobody could understand is why that should bother me as it got me out of combat; but to me, it was a big thing, really devastating. I was a young Captain and he was a Lieutenant Colonel. 

At war unusual things can happen. My commander was based at this place called Camp Eagle. It was at the headquarters with all the staff people and the generals--they had never been attacked. Most considered that it was safe and impenetrable. They had all the amenities. I was down South, getting ready to be unceremoniously thrown out of the country and out of the Army. Most figured I must have done something bad or whatever or else this would not be happening. I didn't understand it myself. 

Without warning, Camp Eagle came under a ferocious attack. Actually a siege, nobody could get to them. It went on for about three days. Finally, they were rescued. My boss was literally catatonic and had to be sent back to the States. I went back to my old unit. 

The interesting thing is that nobody other than me or my boss were even knowledgeable of what had gone on. Had the siege not happened, I would have gone home and been out of the Army. The rest of this is history, I guess. If there is a moral to the story, it is just, "keep your head down and see what happens." There is nothing worse sometimes than jealousy. And, in our culture, money also seems to be the winner but I am still naive enough to believe that "right" is the winner. I can tell you what it did for me throughout my career, it made me a champion of the underdog, the downtrodden or those who got on the wrong side of the beauracratic establishment. Most of my peers feel that my public "stands" probably kept me from being a general. I don't think so. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BOYHOOD

Filmed over 12 years, amazing. Three hours. Noway could a movie hold my ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) for three hours. It did. Fascinating movie. Why? I guess so much of it is "true to life." The story line, actually there was no real story line, like this is a script. The characters remained the same, just aged. Every subject was played out: alcoholism, divorce, abuse, abandonment, narcissism, surly teenagers. God, man and the Universe.

I would recommend to every parent. Good scenes that show our failures but in them, in most ways we are doing the best we can. I saw lots of cultural stuff. Only in America. With most every subject, there is something to talk about. The adults, the teachers who recognize and praise. I saw my old Ag teacher in one of them. He would chew is out for our sloven work but at the same time let us know we could do more. One of the ways I judge a movie: "am I thinking and talking about it days afterwards?" Yes. Is the movie instructive as well as entertaining. YES! Check it out.  


Friday, September 12, 2014

BUGGING OUT

The concept of "Bugging Out" was popularized during the Korean War. It had to do with a kind of "organized retreat." The North Koreans marched toward Seoul with such devastation that the Americans had to "bug out" to regroup to fight. It is tempting to apply the term to the Iraqi Army. If so, they would give new meaning to it. We poured millions of dollars into training the Iraqi Army and in the face of danger, they "bugged" out--not to a pre position to get ready to fight. They, in essence, ran. What are we to make of it. Probably that they lacked leadership. In listening to my favorite NPR (National Public Radio) person, Terry Gross, interviewing Tim Arango, bureau chief for Baghdad (NY Times), very insightful and may be the clues for the Iraqi Army "bugging out". In a word. "Corruption." From what he said, reminds me of watching "Pride and Prejudice". They have a scene where literally it is explained how an Englishman gets a commission into the military. He buys it. Same in Iraq. They buy it. This is a hell of a way to have an Army. I blame us in a sense. All the way along, why didn't some American in a leadership position stand up and say, this is a disaster. Let's blame it on the generals: Patraeus, Allen, Frank. Take your pick of a dozen or so. Civilians can be forgiven but not the American military. Actually there probably were some military types. At best, nobody paid them any attention. At worst, they chose to bury their heads in the sand. F..K. 

THE GFs LAUGH

The GFs convened at Miller's Deli in San Rafael. John and TC arrived first. We went over potential topics of the morning. John felt that we should discuss the President's latest edict on fighting ISIS. He felt that it was making war and definitely against the President's stated purpose of his presidency. 

John was somewhat giddy as he had just scored the purchase of a great clock which was very heavy as it was black onyx. John agreed that his interest in clocks sometimes overpowers his common sense. Upon hearing that he was an inspiration to our wonderful hispanic waitress; who, by the way, is to have her wisdom teeth extracted, he agreed to give up the clock for a hundred or so. 

Our resident, attorney, Sam, the Godfather, and the Battalion Surgeon arrived. We initially launched into a discussion of the value of a particular supplement that would assist in shoulder pain and arthritis. Sam agreed to try it and give feedback. Upon further reflection, he has ordered all of us a supply. 

The Doc said that he would like for us to examine the sudden and untimely death of Joan Rivers. Since her procedure was elective surgery, it is unclear who was in charge. The doc allowed that it appears there was confusion and then panic when the unexpected happened. The doc, as a young Marine Lieutenant in Nam, experienced first hand treating young Marines who had to be intibated. Sam enlightened the attentive group as to legal responsibility. For any who would like to review total communication, please check with the doc's blog if he had one. 

Just before the group hug commenced, someone intoned that it was wonderful to have a peer group where everybody was tuned in, hung on every word of an opinion and cherished this invaluable time together.