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The Ellison Bulletin Board

Comments Archive - 07/31/01 to 08/27/01

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Monday, August 27 2001 13:57:45

Harlan: I am not a coffee drinker. I like the taste, but it upsets my stomach and causes 5 hour long jittery sessions that drive me mad (I'm a tea man). However, I found your recipe in the Hornbook for Cafe' Ellison Diabolique and found it intriguing! I shall investigate this concoction and report back what I think.

Justin: at the risk of pissing off some fellow board members here (and at the equal risk of lumping all fraternities into the same cookie cutter view), I would advise NOT to join one. I truly, truly, truly think that you can come up with a better way to spend your time. Something that can combine something social with something for your career (Jospeh's advice seems to be on the right track, if that is what you are shooting for). To be honest, I probably would have said the same thing about joining ROTC, but as Harlan says, you seem to have found something there. But I think it would be a mistake to do BOTH of these things.

David: ahhhh, so THAT'S why the rat bastard stole my copy! It was one of those rare duplicated page copies worth gazillions! Heh heh...

Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Monday, August 27 2001 13:57:15

I hate to interrupt the preceding story, but after somewhat casually glancing at Harlan's ravings, he said out of print titles could be gotten (had? received? appropriated? fucking bought, you know what I'm asking so don't give me no shit 'bout my fuckin' grammar. Sir. Mr. Ellison, sir.).

Anyway, at the risk of stepping even more deeply into shit I can't get out of, does one have to be a member of HERC (of which I have the form and am sending it in once I convince my wife that it is a noble cause) to receive notification of books for sale from the source? I mean, I guess I could goto a used online bookstore or Amazon for the Essential Ellison, but if there is a way for me to order directly from the burning bush let me know. And I will be sending in the HERC form, anyway.

And just to show it's not all about me, I have an opinion on fraternities. Actually, my opinion is no opinion on fraternities though I am kinda partial to sororities, especially the ones whose members include cheerleaders.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, August 27 2001 13:44:6


A) Love the shark story. Nice and tight.

B) Tongue like an ice-pick is a nice metaphor.


No, man! You da'bomb!

Anyhoo, I have read your essays on your experience with the Ohio State fraternity (and I believe there is also a Voice From The Edge column where you talk about speaking at Ohio State and feeling shriven from those old memories). There were fraternities on my old college campus that had their own abuses, and I was pleased to see just how quickly both the college and their national organizations cracked down on stupid, abusive and childlike behavior.

Personally, I think what improvements have been made in fraternities and sororities can also be attributed to it being much less acceptable to discriminate against classes and ethnic groups. It's certainly still out there, but now you have organizations that are much more diverse than they would have been even 30 years ago.

Joseph (My, aren't I optimistic today?)

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 27 2001 13:32:10

(Culled from a deep, dark file. So shoot me.)

Title: A Fish Tale

I was out in the lake this summer. The water was cool and green and dark. Not many swim in this lake. There's been lately rumors of a shark.

I was floating on my back, kicking my feet slowly in circles when I felt the water swarming against me in the opposite direction to just a moment ago.

I brought my head up off the water and found myself nose to nose at fifty feet with a shark. He had a pursed expression on his lips and his eyes were squinted.

"Didn't anybody ever tell you to watch out for man-eating sharks?" he said. I gulped, getting a bit of water in my throat and coughing.

"Nice DAY, eh? That sun feels nice on my back. You here on vacation?" His voice was surprisingly soft and warm like a buttery hard candy.

All I could do was stare. I'd seen "Jaws." I'd watched wildlife documentaries. I'd seen what harm a shark could do.

"Actually, "Jaws" WAS just a movie. Any premise, no matter how wild, that makes for boffo box office...welllll.. need I say more? And you know a lot of the story lines in those animal shows, are PURE editing. I've heard they'll even flop images to get the proper story-line. You mustn't believe everything you hear and see, ya know." He seemed to be able to read my thoughts.

"Well, you know, you humans haven't cornered the market on communications. I can transmit messages by waving my tail."

"You're.. you're very astute..." I managed.

"For a shark? Is that what you were going to say? There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, then are dreamt of in your philosophy."

"You know Shakespeare?"

"Well, lots of people round here do a lot of reading to pass the time. I pick up an idea or two, here and there."


"What's so amazing? All ya do is listen. It's all out there. And nobody's cornered the market yet. So all you gotta do is keep the water out of your ears."

"True, " I said, feeling somewhat more relaxed now.

"By the same token," smiled the shark slyly. "Life is what you expect it to be."

And he ate me.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB, Canada Add to this. Feel free to modify... - Monday, August 27 2001 13:15:47

Title: What did you want?

This time he didn't care if she had a list or not. He just wanted her back. He drove downtown and parked on the seventh floor of the parking structure, crossing a yellow line and using two spaces. Slamming the car door, he listened to the sound echo in the dark, pot-holed lot. Damn her. He felt so sad and small, a stranger to this city. Across the street, the neon orange and blue sign "Larry's Pawn Shop, Buy Cheap, Sell Cheap" blinked mockingly at him. Entering the store, he nodded a mute hello to the bleach blonde punk kid at the front register. He breezed to the jewelry counter.

"This will fix everything," he muttered, nervously running an index index finger over the glass of the ring display. "This will make her happy." God, why isn't she ever happy? Always complaining about something, with a tongue like an ice pick. Lately, he'd stopped trying to argue
with her. He just eyed the television dimly and tuned her out, nodding the occasional, "uh-huh."

"What the hell am I doing?" he snapped.

"Sorry, sir? What did you say?" asked the punk kid.

"Oh, nothing, nothing. I'm just talking to myself," he replied, feeling a bit stupid.

His panic receeded as quickly as it had come.

"Desperate times means desperate measures," he sighed. Besides, his mom thought she was a dream girl.

"What the hell.. hey, kid.. show me this ring, will ya?"

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 27 2001 13:10:18


(Migawd, where does this self-abnegation end?!?!)

I went back and read Mitch's remarks. Yes, I was impressed by THEM as well as Joseph Finn's. Both postings seemed smart and helpful.

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 27 2001 13:7:14

CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS POST: It was Joseph Finn's comments on fraternities that I thought estimably notable. Not Mitch's. Which is not to say that Mitch wasn't ALSO a fount of ineffable wisdom, except I'll be damned if I can even remember what he wrote. Nonetheless, I miswrote myself. Finn d'bomb!

Redactively, HE

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 27 2001 13:2:51

Rob: If, in fact, I were having even the most minuscule salutary effect on your grammar and spelling, you would have known the correct way to present Mary Shelley's name properly. Ah me (sigh). My life is a hideous rigadoon. Where did I go wrong with these chillun, lawd? Where, oh (sigh) where?

(This Guilt Trip has been brought to you through the auspices of the International Zionist Yiddish Jewish Money Conspiracy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Chosen People who, cleverly, INVENTED guilt more than 5000 years ago, otherwise you bothersome but relentless goyim would have wiped us out.)

Justin: In one of my books of essays--I think it's the HORNBOOK but maybe one of the others--I wrote an essay on the fraternity to which I belonged for one dreadful semester at Ohio State. ZBT. There may be more than one essay, in fact. There's the one about Don Forrester nee Don Epstein, and there's one that ties into my short story "There's One on Every Campus," and there may even be a third one...to which Webderlanders, more prescient about these citations than I, can direct you.

Mitch's comments seem well-reasoned and laudably commanding of attention. But as for me, and my sojourn--brief, my son, o so brief--with the Greeks, I cup hands to mouth and shriek, RUN FER YA LIFE!!!!!!! But, as they say, mine is anecdotal info only, applies only to me, and is a horror story that would've given Lovecraft the whim-whams.

It's your life, kiddo, and you seem to have found the sunnyside of ROTC, so who the hell knows...you may be leading one of those Charmed Ones that we hear about, and every cesspool into which the rest of us fall will become the Fountain of Youth and Health Spa for Justin. I, as do my confreres here, wish you well. As always.

Yr. adoring father, Harlan

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 27 2001 12:59:37

Title: Push Me Away

I have these wings, ya see. They are made of the lightest, silkiest, most translucent material you've ever seen. I take them out sometimes, to air them; I flap them a bit. For as long as I can remember, they've helped me fly to levels of light and air and imaginings beyond measure. These wings have kept me sane. Though sometimes, I forget this.

Many people are afraid of these wings. They do not have any or have tattered their own beyond hope or purpose--they grow angry at my wings.

I've spent much of my life trying to understand these people. I've even helped a few, and watched them wash the dirt of despair from their wingtips. But I've also learned (and this was the hardest lesson of all) when to let go; let them push me away; to say goodbye and leave them on their shadowed shelves.

I have some flying to do.

* * * *

I love you, Harlan.

Now just a sec; I didn't say that to scare you.

You've simply reminded me of me. You've made me realize that there's nothing wrong with the way I've led my life; and that there is someone who shares my view. Through your writing and your attitudes; you've shown me I'm on the right track. It's just time to move to a higher gear.

I've never found that an easy thing to say to someone. I think my definition of love used to involve a certain 'loss of self'; perhaps a bit of 'making do' with someone or not being completely honest with that person for fear of them saying, "I don't LIKE you, for saying this or that."

I've come to realize that "liking ME" is more important. Damn the torpedoes.

I read somewhere--probably some obscure author or other--that "love is being utterly honest, even when it's ground glass painful." This brings me to the point of all this scribbling. Go grab a beer--I'll wait.

You wrote a post on this forum where you took a jocular jab at some writers with writer's block. You've never experienced this and you laughed behind your sleeve and I chuckled. You wrote that in fun; I know that.

I also know that "any writer who can be discouraged, should be." To put a more positive spin on it, they should be encouraged towards something at which they can excel. Writing is not an occupation for the faint-hearted.

At the same time, I don't think it's fair to laugh at blocked writers. The last thing they might need is anything or anyone that smells like a fire extinguisher. (I'm reminded of a university prof who laughed at the efforts of an earnest, young writer--I wish I could have been there to hug him; and slap the smile off that idiot prof's face.)

Understanding the usual ratio of those who post, to those who lurk, on a forum, (20-80, generally) one loud laugh at a blocked or timid writer (and I know we have a few of THOSE) will ripple tenfold to the scintilla of your awareness. The internet is a very strange place; it is filled with a disproportionate amount of introverted, shy, depressed, yet incredibly creative people. In part, I think it's the anonymity that draws them. So, my dear be careful.

I have another burning issue and I'm sure your gentle readers have their ears pressed against their monitors, in eager anticipation of your thoughts on this matter.

You were in the car with Susan, 'playing' at being a maniac. She said, you scared her--badly. I don't understand this.

I would have expected through your dealings with many wives, for you to have given Susan, prior to your wedding day, the current volume of "Harlan Ellison--Care, Feeding and Mystery Moves."

I was once in the back seat of a car my younger brother was driving, when he decided to take out his anger on a passing stupid driver. Unlike you, my brother, being a mechanic and a bit of a car dude, was truly incensed. There was a quality of "passengers be damned, let's play CHICKEN" in his eyes. We were on a superhighway and I spoke loudly to him, to stop. I felt trapped, and wanted to get the hell out of the car.

You, on the other hand, were playing at this 'mad mode.' I ask you, sir, why in all the years that you've known her, would Susan NOT know this? Why would you not have even 'cued' her as in "hang on to the seatcover, honey, I'm gonna 'play' with this guy. Don't worry. I'm JUST FUNNIN'."

As you were, Ellison. I like you best, that way.


P.S. (written just now)

I know you are tired. I feel helpless to help in ways that count, right now.

So I offer you my friendship. You are important to me. You are fighting a FIGHT for me. I won't forget this.

Your friend, Heather

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, August 27 2001 12:44:42

Short clips for the morning.

(I haven't forgotten Justin's request for comments on college education, and the Harry Lime/grass huts thread kept alive by Lynn, but will comment on those separately so that this does not become an interminable post).

Frank Church: If you haven't read _Sexual Personae_, then you don't know the real Camille Paglia. I'm not saying that book will make you love her, but it will show her at her best. Forget most of the essays of the past 10 years -- she's just riffing in them, trying on ideas for size.

Brian Siano says a friend talked about how wonderful a teacher she was before she became notorious. I don't doubt it. If success has spoiled anyone, it's her. I'm afraid fame went straight to her head, she got enamored of her own cult of personality, and, having noticed that she got the most attention and mike time whenever she said something outrageous, shocking people is just about all she's ever tried to do since.

I don't AGREE with everything she says in her first book (some of it is in fact bonkers, but so is plenty of other writing I admire), which took her 20 years to find a publisher (and I suspect her mentor Harold Bloom had to twist some arms to get that to happen), but it's fascinatingly, engagingly, entertainingly, and stylishly put.

While I think she's all wet on a lot of contemporary subjects, I'm amused that Frank appears to be nonplused that Paglia refers to pornography as an art form. The Boston Globe had a front-page story just last week on college courses that study pornography. On the other hand, while I detest Dworkin and MacKinnon (and give them a good drubbing in my upcoming book), I agree with Brian that Paglia's piece on them was appallingly bad form.

Bob Sassone:

It looks like a signature was repeated in my copy of the new _Essential_: some 20 or 30 of the first pages are doubled. I'm not complaining, since nothing appears to be MISSING, and this may even automatically raise the value of my copy, but you'd think after all Ellison's suffered at the hands of publishers, the good folks at Morpheus would have been extra careful to avoid this sort of thing....

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 27 2001 12:22:17

Brian and Bud:

Brian, the ugly artwork you describe was on the Signet (New American Library) edition of THE BEAST THAT SHOUTED LOVE AT THE HEART OF THE WORLD, not the Avon first edition pb. The original Avon pb edition, which was published rife with typos--and the ugly story of THAT one, involving as it does the guy who became the editor at The New Yorker, Robert Gottlieb--who gets his comeuppance in my story "The New York Review of Bird"--is too long to tell here. If you want the preferred first edition text, you have to locate the SF Book Club hardcover. Or just revel in the Edgeworks version, which is the variorum text.

Bud: I don't sign DOOMSMAN under any circumstances. But I do offer to buy the copy from anyone who presents it for personalization. I also don't sign Star Trek adaptations of my "City on the Edge of Forever." I usually sign SEX GANG with the name on the cover, "Paul Merchant." I have long since gotten over being embarrassed by that sad little paperback. After all, it's mostly just ineptly-written early stories from men's magazines. At the time, it was the sort of pseudonymous publication cobbled up for rent and food money, that I--wrongly or correctly--thought might sully my oh so precious rep...but that's a loooooong time ago, and now the book is mostly a dopey curiosity only of interest to weird guys like you.

There are probably many other "autograph line" exceptions, but I can't think of them right now. You pays your money, and you takes your chances.

But I'll tell you this: if some bookdealer, too busy tending his table in the hucksters' room to bring my books to me for signing himself, duplicitly dispatches his "mule" of a son, or wife, or gofer to appear before me with three copies, already in Brodart bookcovers, of LOVE AIN'T NOTHING BUT SEX MISSPELLED, and a shopping bag full of lesser titles and paperbacks, under the pretense that the indentured servant is actually someone who may have read a random paragraph of Ellisonia in his/her life, and the blank-eyed native bearer stands before me, as they ALWAYS do (because they have no more idea of who I am or what I've written than a centipede has of the merits of Dr. Scholl's Zino-Pads), waiting for me to take fifteen minutes or more to sign every item so the huckster can raise the prices, while honest readers twiddle their toes waiting for this egregious imposition to pass on . . . try not to be in the vicinity. Gobbets of sodden human flesh make unusually repellent projectiles. (On occasion I've taken the child by the ear, led him back to the bibliomerchant Fagin who sent him as stalking horse, and give that merchant shithead a tongue-lashing at 180 decibels that will keep all customers away from his booth for several hours. Add insult to injury, of course, with the knowledge that though this poltroon and his minion manifest no shame or chagrin at holding up a long line of people who are legitimately waiting for an inscription in a book they've just bought, the dealer will not have authorized the kid, or his wife, or his rain man to have bought the title for which the signing line was created. They just lurch into the line with their stacks and bags, and expect me to sit there and work in their behalf, without so much as suggesting that in return for all these autographs I might care to come to the booth and select something -I- might need. And I keep the books till the convention is over, before I return them, unsigned, to the creep. I'll sign pretty much anything for a genuine reader, no matter how long it takes--as those of you who've been in my two-hour-long lines will attest--even if I'm exhausted or sick--but greEdy dealers already rip off my readers and collectors with their venal prices (which is certainly one of the reasons we sell my out-of-print titles here), and I'll be damned if I'll help them.

Beyond these comments, Bud, this is a subject I'd as lief keep private.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 27 2001 11:39:11


I doubt very much that anything was posted here supporting your belief that the film SOLDIER, starring Kurt Russell, written by the estimable, Oscar-winning scenarist of UNFORGIVEN, David Webb Peoples, had anything whatever to do with me, or my Outer Limits script, "Soldier," or even the original novelette of that title.

You are doing some slovenly remembering.

TERMINATOR, directed by James Cameron, was a ripoff from that script, but I won an out-of-court settlement, and my name appears at the endcredits of every videocassette and DVD.

The Peoples script merely shared the word "soldier." The film had nothing to do with me or my story, which even a casual screening of them would attest.

This has been the 6582nd this year of internet misinformation resulting from sloppy attention and not taking advantage of the "vast information storage and retrieval potential of the web." Yeah, sure; and I've got a panda farm up my ass for lease or purchase. One discovers, sadly, that people who wouldn't walk down the street to get the correct data from the library, are just as lackadaisical about seaching out the answers to their idle curiosities before throwing them into the electro-wind. They are woefully ignorant of the information available, and settle for muddy recollection and instant verbal diffusion of the false data. Thus do rumors and bad bibliographies come into existence.

Respectfully, Harlan Ellison.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Monday, August 27 2001 9:0:33


Just my two cents about fraternities and sororities:

There's a huge world of difference between the social fraternities and those that exist as professional and service organizations. The social ones may seem fun, but they obviosuyl don't have a point besides companionship. The professional ones provide a convenient networking for your particular career, and the service organizations obviously provide communities with some sort of help.

As for the hazing: even the social fraternities national organizations will come down on a chapter with the hammer of God if they catch wind of hazing going on. The threat of lawsuits and losses of charter (and the legitimate recognition that hazing is a dumbass move) have made them nice and vigilant (or as much as they can be).

My advice? See if yout campus has a fraternity that actually does something (besides throwing a pig roast where the proceeds go to the local food bank), or if there is a fraternity thta fits your career goals.

Joseph (Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Professional Music Fraternity)

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 27 2001 5:26:10

Shaddup! (That's before ya can say it). I mean "diuresis for daily stress". Yeah, that's right, as in likening stress to increased discharges of urine; NOT like dieresis, which is, I think, the accent with two dotties you put over a vowel to separate it from another vowel. I did NOT check my typing before hitting the 'SEND' button 'cause it's late.

Editor's spelling proof officially submitted.

Y'see how manic Prof. Harlan has gotten us all?

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 27 2001 5:5:34

Dropping in for a quick one here at my favorite all-night dive; it’s kind of like a dieresis for daily stress. I only hope it has better effect on me than it does on those off-duty cops who get smashed and then run down families when active again (and to think I never even knew about this pastime of theirs until this last week).

Mark Zug:

At LAST, I managed to scare SOMEONE 'sides just myself. Since you raised the matter, not that I'm trying to make myself look bad here, but I’d only noticed recently that whenever I go through bad times with a girl there seems to be corresponding increased viewing time on my part watching movies about psychos...from Claude Raines as the Invisible Man to Alex in Clockwork Orange; from ol’ Jack in The Shining to Terry O’Quinn in the Stepfather (I seem to have a thing particularly for nut-cases who go around laughing maniacally for absolutely no goddamn reason). The only matter here that might concern me is the frequency these movies seem to run on my VCR. It MIGHT explain a few things; some desensitizing and conditioning escaping my notice. Perhaps it’s time to give my social life a face lift.

Now, to keep the thread consistent, my ex-girlfriend and I (we’re still on the "fer now we’re pals" arrangement) went to MY second viewing of ‘The Others’ (so that I could actually see it from the start this time). On the whole its evocative power does just fine; two worlds are beautifully created, etching the boundaries of isolation and lost identity. We both left the theater thinking about those melancholy themes.

On another front this weekend, I rented what was originally a tv-movie in the 70’s. Some of you here may remember 'Frankenstein: The True Story' (I met the director once, which was fun...despite misgivings about the gentleman Ray Bradbury justifiably had about his earlier filmed treatment of 'The Illustrated Man'). I originally saw it when I was around eight. For tv - or even a theatrical release - it was a DAMN graphic experience; some of the goriest scenes ever for the time. It was written (or co-written) by novelist Christopher Isherwood. In spite of his credit, it does jump between literacy and implausible scenes of camp violence (some of which ARE fun, anyway): it owes as much to the old Hammer movies as it does to Shelly’s novel. But on the whole it’s a fascinating version. TV movies were well-made at that time. ( David McCallum and Tom Baker from Dr. Who were among the cast).

So how do I rate on the scare scale now? OK, I mean Harlan aside.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Monday, August 27 2001 2:29:37

Nice to get praise for taking Harlan's note in stride.

Well, what else was I gonna do? Complain? Argue back? Nahh. I've been reading Harlan for years, and I figure, if I'm trading notes in his presence, sooner or later I'll trip a wire and body parts shall fly in a noisy spectacle. As long as it's not _personal_, or really malicious, I can't take offense. But I'll try even harder to keep the grammar clean and the spelling solid, and "off of" shall not pass through my fingertips again. (He _is_ right, after all.)

Re: Bud Webster's question about certain Ellison books. Bud, you referred to an Avon paperback of _Beast..._ Is that the one with the black background, and the quasi-Giger-like skull machine artwork? (BTW, I have that Winokur book, too.)

And one last item. Worldcon's in Philly this weekend. Perhaps some of us could grab a meal together and trade Harlan stories? I could start scouting for a decent venue near the convention center, if people have specific dietary requests.

Mitch <mitch_3737@yahoo.com>
Hazlet, NJ - Sunday, August 26 2001 23:28:7

Justin - I can't speak for all fraternities, only for my own experience. I went to Stevens (a small engineering college), and pledged Alpha Sigma Phi my freshman year. It wasn't because of an overwhelming need to belong, or because I fit their "profile". The house I pledged was a bunch of friendly, laid-back guys with a variety of interests.
It became a home away from home. The chapter house was cheaper than the dorms. We helped each other with classes, volunteered, threw parties, and went rafting in the summer. No one was forced to drink, or do anything dangerous. I had friends outside the fraternity, so it wasn't insular.
I know there are still reports of hazing tragedies, and alot of people point disdainfully at movies like "Animal House" (though "School Daze" paints a more frightening picture), but that's not what it was like for me. It's a decision I've never regretted.


Jeff Homes
- Sunday, August 26 2001 23:3:56

Justin: I have a simple solution to your pool problems: sodium. Lots and lots of sodium. "Violent" was the word my chemistry teacher used in describing the reaction between that substance and water, and, coincidentally, "violent" is the only adjective (other than "nuclear") that can describe a truly productive encounter with some of those party brats. I say this not to try to sound "cool" or rebellious, but because a lot of those twits are, as you probably know, too drunk to understand anything less than horrible, horrible chemical burns.

Which is why, sir, I recommend you shun fraternities and make as many chemistry major friends as possible. Besides, fraternities seem overrated anyhow: they seem to have a lot in common with the average labor union, only instead of having a skill or trade in common, members enjoy cramming a strip of toilet paper up another member's ass, setting the end alight, and laughing like drunken hyenas while the unfortunate victim runs around screaming.

Finally, Justin, before you lose all interest in this post and scroll to the next--I hate to drag the putrid hunk of worm-eaten carrion that is this topic back into the light, but while the University does have a journalism program, word is (or was) that it was being slowly phased out. Am I hearing things?


Justin again
- Sunday, August 26 2001 22:20:18

p.s. Don't think I failed to notice that Harlan didn't reward my smartass "off of" post with the same orifice-ripping that he distributed to Brian. Heavens, I feel as though I escaped a firing squad.

p.p.s. Hi Michael, you glorious, lurking bastard.


Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, August 26 2001 22:12:22

So I walk outside this morning, and what do I see strewn around at the bottom of my stairway? A multitude of cigarette butts! At least two dozen! I'm assuming they were thrown there during last night's festivities. My apartment is located near the entrance to the pool/courtyard area, where most of the partying goes on, and revelers are frequently to be found milling around outside my place before moving on and jumping into the pool, drunker than a bunch of underage skunks.

How it somehow fails to occur to a human being that maybe that kind of behavior is perhaps a smidgeypoo unwise--that it falls somewhere between walking into a closed screen door and crossing Harlan Ellison--is far beyond the realm of my meager comprehension skills. Anyway, the underage little drunks had never used my staircase as an ashtray until last night, and they had just better hope I don’t catch them at it again.

See, this isn’t just my staircase, this is also Courtney’s (she in charge of Cute Blonde Neighbor duties). As the MAN up here, it is my duty to see to it that this sort of behavior is rewarded with a good throttling. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've just about had it up to here. I was not under the impression that courtesy was horribly difficult to cultivate.

Moving on:

"So, uh, what do you folks think of fraternities," he asks casually, just out of curiosity.


Bud Webster
- Sunday, August 26 2001 19:34:1

Harlan, as a bookseller and collector of Ellsionia (I recently picked up an obscure little books called _A Curmudgeon's Garden of Love, compiled by Jon Winokur, with a piece by you in it), I'm frequently confronted by people who have mistaken impressions about your willingness or unwillingness to sign certain editions of your books.

As a way of forestalling wrong-headed speculation, and by way of arming myself with information straight from the horse's mouth in order to authoritatively correct this wrong-headedness, may I ask you what, exactly, your SOP is when asked to sign a) either of the Belmont _Doomsman_ issues, b) the original Avon _Beast..._, c) the Paul Merchant book, and/or c) any other book with which you've had an issue?

(I recall vividly when Grant Thiessen wrote me asking if I knew of the book Leslie Swigart DIDN'T list in the 1st edition of her biblio; I indicated to him that you'd made it clear that you didn't particularly want that information bruited about publicly. He found out from someone else and "outed" you, and as much as I appreciated and benefitted from his work in indexing and bibliography, it was a good while before I could respect him again. I knew because I'd seen a copy at a friend's home, but I've never seen another one and don't own one.)

Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Sunday, August 26 2001 18:57:51

I recently had the misfortune to watch 'Soldier', the Kurt Russell film thats is probably the most expensive straight to video film ever to be released in the UK.

Anyway, I remember reading the credits to look for Harlan's name and to see what his credit actually is. No luck there.

I know that some financial transaction took place concerning HE's original story (it was reported on this webpage) but what, if anything, did it have to do with the final film?

Any revelations?



Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, August 26 2001 16:5:40

For those of you who Haven't Made the Connection:

The Mark Zug whose posting precedes this one, is the very same Mark Zug who did the exquisite, the breathtaking, the Brandywine-influenced paintings that enriched my book, I,ROBOT: The Illustrated Screenplay. (If you don't have a copy, well, we sell 'em; and if for no other reason, Mark's artwork is worth the price at thrice the price.)

Mark Zug is a youngish man of such enormous artistic ability, that I was truly and literally without speech, speechless, when the first of his paintings for I,ROBOT came in.

Welcome to the playpen, Mark. You'll like these people a lot. As you so cogently noted, even when I bare my fangs--as with Brian Siano--they properly pay me as litle attention as I deserve, and they take from my epiplectic (not epileptic, plz. note) fulminations only that which is of value. The noise-to-signal ratio is automatically interdicted--unlike the m.o. at other websites, I'm given to understand--and everyone moves on, whistling a jaunty tune.

As for crowing that I've joined the webhead walking dead, just because I appear here from nonce to nonce, well, that will only spook me. Don't even float that caracle, kiddo, lest I vanish with the morning dew. It's traumatic enough for me that I'm here at all; and meaning no offense, because y'all know ah loves ya, but I'm here atall atall because I got tired of hearing myself, at the deposition in the AOL/RemarQ lawsuit, sounding like a shambling pithecanthropoid because I didn't know what an ISP is, or how to "defragment" a hard-drive. I reluctantly dipped a tentative baby-toe into the tepid Tiber of the internet, to familiarize myself. But when I want to write, a story or a letter, I return for 99.9877555321% of the time to my beloved Olympias. This place, with all due respect, holds me and compells me to return, not because I find the medium of any sucor or enchantment, but because I've come to very much like the goons who hang out on this ectothermically electronic streetcorner. You don't see me anywhere else, do you?

So while I twitch at your cackle, Zug, I am pleased as punch to have yourself here. Good friends are always welcome. Welcome: Extraordinary artists need no visas.

Yr. pal, Harlan.

Mark Zug <mxug@AOL.com>
Marietta, Pennsylvania USA - Sunday, August 26 2001 15:38:29

A newbie posts, then departs, overwhelmed and desirous of return

Well, well. Harlan Ellison with a computer. Harlan Ellison ONLINE...

Excuse please, allow me to introduce myself: I'm Mark and one week ago I discovered this little miracle of a bulletin board, when I surfed over to see what HE might be up to lately. And BY JEEZUZ he's playing gin-rummy with Satan, all grins and cigar ashes and green eyeshade. Welcome to Cyberspace, Harlan.

So unfortunate, my having to leave straightaway (for Gencon U.K. in London), as I was anticipating throwing in my hat in as grand a manner as my modest prose and even modester well-readedness (eeahhgh!) can muster. But it took me so long to scroll decently up-to-date that I can only toss me hat up at a coupla high points:

Heather, you made such a graceful entrance here, where your run-in with Rob the garbage man unfolded in my mind with comic visuality. I've saved your story of Shaun Tay and the Loser of the Post: freakin' charming. And little did I know that, upon getting to know Rob, those can-manhandling deltoids would reveal a darker secret: that he is some sorta kung-fu freako vigilante with a thing about everyday bullies -- uh... in trouble already? Just making light, Rob; more loquacious and well-read than I you definitely are, and besides I'm kinda afraid of you.

I find the humanity and limpid-quarry patience of the participants here amazing. Brian Siano, I would be a trembling, spirit-whipped dog after receiving such a rebuke from the Man Himself; but you kept on contributing cheerfully, keel in the water, while expressing fitting disappointment. Amazing. Though Harlan IS right...

Which brings me to Harlan. My friend. You have found a medium so perfect it's dangerous. You get to smooge in nearly-real time with hungry-minded individuals around the globe by whacking an instrument passing similar to your typewriter. Beware. Please continue writing. This place has devoured lesser souls (says the hobbit to the mighty warrior's shins), and for all the incredibly sweet reasons I before mentioned. That said, please don't go away!

And I've gone on far longer than I wanted. Kudos to all of you at the round table; and ring-finger kisses to the Man and the Garden-Variety Goddess, as I stoop, leaving, backwards.

Mark Zug

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, August 26 2001 15:25:21


If you need help with anything mundane such as envelope stuffing, filing, copying, data entry, gofer shit like that, please keep in mind I'm local and more than willing to help with hands and eyes and a set of wheels. I can only imagine how much stress and bullshit this whole thing has put your family through, and tho' I can't offer much, I can offer a helping hand.

I spent last night walking pretty much, waiting for a friend to get off work from the Laurelgrove Theatre. I chuckle to notice that in a half block radius there are four java joints (Starbuck's, Peet's, Seattle's Best, and Coffee Bean). I ate dinner at Art's (and gazed upon the WALL OF MEAT, listening to my heart slow at the very sight). I poked my nose in the Bookstar/Barnes & Noble. I ended up sitting down in that little plaza, watching the crowd, listening to occassional squeal of tires and the thunder of Harleys and Indians. I imagined that they were taking the back way over the hill. Getting bored with watching parents shepherding children up the escalator to the CPK, I eventually moved back up the patio in front of the theatre and found myself enjoying a nice little conversation with the two gentlemen who own and run the theatre (both member's of the Director's Guild, I gathered). They were talking about the runs through the end of the year (when their lease is up and the status of the theatre moves into flux). The conversation turned to running a comedy show or something related to the holiday spirit, but not another wretched Miracle of 34th Street or It's a Wonderful Life.

A very dark and twisted one thought occurred to me. I wondered if Nackles (even with the stairs and storeys bit) could be adapted for the stage or if Harlan might even consider the possibility. Now, in the morning's light the idea doesn't seem to hold as much potential as it did the night before (what hair-brained schemes ever do), but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask. And even though the theatre is not-for-profit, it might be good exposure for KICK and possibly even net some income.

My thoughts are with you and yours,

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Sunday, August 26 2001 15:7:20

This may not be directly applicable to Harlan's efforts, but readers may want to check out the website of the National Writers' Union for more information regarding electronic rights, copyright, and the efforts of writers to protect their work and their livelihoods.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Sunday, August 26 2001 13:46:13

In the meantime, Philip, it's worth clicking on that "Help Harlan Stop Internet Piracy!" link that appears at the top of this message page. From there, you'll find Harlan's statement on the matter, information about the case from his attorney, and links to a forum section where these matters are discussed.

Granted, I have lots of questions doubts, fatalistic expectations, and maybe even some suggestions that seem neat and workable to _me _in my ignorance. This message page is a social venue, and it doesn't feel appropriate to bring them up here. So, if anyone can share some URLs where the issues are discussed in more comprehensive detail I'd be grateful.

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, August 26 2001 6:3:5

Mr. Shropshire:

I feel no need or desire to insult or berate you. You can say whatever you like. I frequently find myself athwart the mainstream of opinion. To be perfectly candid, I have been in this fight for more than eighteen months now, it has cleaned me out to the tune of more than $133,000 so far, and forced me to publicly beg for assistance--because others whose oxen are being gored are either too timid or too locked into their procedures or already making a small buck off piracy to afford any financial assistance (though they all pat me on the back and assure me they're "closely watching" my efforts because I'm "on the side of the angels" in attempting to bring basic common copyright protection to the out-of-control internet)--and your comments indicate only that with all the information available on this case, here and elsewhere, you are, pardon my use of the word, woefully and apparently obstinately ignorant of what's going on. I know you mean me well, but you are akin to the guy who arrives at the town meeting half an hour late, after everybody has exhaustively discussed that great green many-tentacled monster that swallowed the bus full of grade school kids, and you pop in, raise your hand, and demand to know what's going to be done about the giant mound of redolent regurgitated kiddie parts out on Main Street.

Frankly, sir, I'm just too damned tired, and things are too damned tough right now, for me to take the time to educate you. We are up against at least three 800-lb. gorillas, one of which is the ruthless beltway legal firm of Latham & Watkins, who represent clients whose cards cannot take the hand, but who simply raise the ante again and again, trying to "buy the pot," instead of perceiving that policing the net benefits THEM, also.

And again, to be honest about it, if you'd offered a buck to the cause, and wanted to know more, I'd feel more inclined to spend a week trying to bring you up to speed. But as my friend Tony Isabella put it, in one of the great quotations of all time:

"Hell hath no fury like that of the uninvolved."

If I have been less than courteous, I am genuinely apologetic. Just tired, sir. Just fucking tired.

Respectfully, Harlan Ellison.

Philip Shropshire <pshropshire@yahoo.com>
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania United States - Sunday, August 26 2001 5:2:18

First, let me say that I'm a huge fan of Harlan's and I probably own everything that he's ever written, including a lot of his crappy stuff that he wrote in the late 50s and the early 60s. I treasure it all. My fave Harlan books are the Dangerous Visions anthologies (Please, I beg of you, complete that third one..) The two glass teat books and Deathbird Stories. I also deeply miss his appearances on the sci fi channel where he was the best thing about that news show of theirs, which they cancelled and replaced briefly with the body from DS9 and then that was promptly cancelled...I don't get it. I get the sneaky suspicion that Harlan's rant about Disney caused the great dissappearance but that's only because I'm paranoid...

Anyway, I thought I would start with my pro-Harlan credentials before questioning the whole kick internet piracy thing. I don't get it. I don't see how you win at that. I like the idea of you suing AOL and I hope you get a big settlement but I don't see you ever stopping your information from circulating throughtout the internet. Look at the futile war against Napster. Sure, Napster is gone but there are a dozen more in its place. And you can't regulate the Usenet. That's an impossibility. And quite frankly, if it is possible, you shouldn't pursue an answer like that because the Powers That Be, fueling that awful MPAA bill would use it in a hot second. I guess I'm trying to figure out what your thinking is here. If the RIAA can't win on the issue you're fighting, and they have armies of lawyers, how will you win? Your charismatic manner?

You might ask well what will I, the great man Harlan Ellison, do with my time and my dwindling forture? I'm glad that you asked that. Well, the net is waiting for a genius to figure out how micropayments could work. It would take a charismatic genius, someone known for intellectual feats of derring-do...At this point it really wouldn't be that hard. Paypal is clearly the right model to go after. It would take someone with charisma and deep pockets or who knew people with deep pockets (Robin Williams and scores of others you could probably name drop, some marketing savvy by possibly the greatest self-marketer the genre has ever known and the willingness and patience to build a business. It could also make you incredibly wealthy and a lot of writers and artists completely self-sufficient...just a thought.

Anyway, when you figure out that this case isn't a winner, then I would hope that you would try to give micropayments a shot.

Philip Shropshire

PS: Please feel free to berate and insult me. In a way, it would be a kind of high point for me...

scot lockman <scotlockman@yahoo.com>
our nation's capital, You Ess Hey - Saturday, August 25 2001 23:38:59

BRIAN - As far as rib recipes go, I have only one piece of advice, and it's probably not workable in the least. Head down to Alabama -- Tuscaloosa, to be exact -- and search out Dreamland Barbecue and try to hire on in some capacity that will put you behind the counter, close to whatever magic goes on in their darkened back rooms. Absorb what is there and then light out for the hills. Change your name. And spend the rest of your days in possession of a secret that, if my taste buds don't deceive me, is not even in possession of Dreamland's lesser franchisees.

Um. Sorry for this fairly stupid interruption, but I'm smack in the middle of a hankering for my home state's finest culinary export.

Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Saturday, August 25 2001 23:9:35

I wanted to tell the folks on this board how grateful I am for directing me to James Morrow. I wanted to say a few words on the first chapter of CITY OF TRUTH and compare/contrast the same feelings I encountered with my first Ellison book, PAIN GOD. The feelings of awe and happiness and jealousy.

However, after reading the posts of Lynn and Jim, I would like to revisit concerning my feelings of Jesse Helms. Skip this post and read no further if not interested.

Jess Helms is a man of hate. He hates those that are not white and not male. Oh, he might say a few words to appease whatever constituent he happens to be talking to at any given moment, but the man's actions and the majority of his words are nothing but hate. This is what he is and he does not hide his hate. He parades it and shows it as one would wear medals of valor. He hates.

I make no apologies for wishing this man's demise or hoping he deserves whatever punishment he may get in whatever afterlife there may be. He is keenly aware of what he is doing and what he is doing is feeding on people's base instincts and using his position of authority of power of seniority to further his own agenda of hate. You are different from me and you cannot be as good as me. That is his message. A message that gets airtime because he is a senator. A message that receives more weight than need be because he is a person in charge. A message that allows him to bully those that are weaker than he.

I did not want to revisit this. I have empathy to those that linger before succombing and in that lingering exact an emotional and financial toll that can be unbearable. I have no empathy for a man that bullies and forces his beliefs from his position of power to those that are least able to counter those beliefs, especially when that same bully incites the mob to spread his beliefs. I did not want to revisit this as Lynn and Jim's posts made me realize that somewhere somehow someone loves Jesse Helms. Someone will grieve when he dies. And I'm not talking about the rednecks that buy his hate and will weep into their Confederate flags when he departs. I'm talking about his grandchildren who go fishing with this monster. I'm talking about his kids who gather around his birthday cake and shower him with laughter and joy.

I still cannot alter my opinion about this man. No moment of lucidity will grant him reprieve for his actions and words, just as the drunk will still bear responsibility for the head-on collision that kills three. I do not alter my hateful wish for that hateful man, but I wonder what toll that takes on my life, my so-called soul, that the same hate that I decry allows me to fester it within myself.

Well, shit. Not exactly the happy-go-lucky post I wanted to write, but there it is. I promise I won't do this again.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Saturday, August 25 2001 18:3:26

One of my deficiencies-- okay, apart from the obvious ones-- is that I've never had a really wide range of food tastes. Never liked Chinese, Mexican, Thai, or whatever people are going for.(So when I'm with friends who want to go to a particular restaraunt, I usually stick to an appetizer or two.)

But about two weeks ago, I picked up a nice rotisserie toaster oven. BIG improvement in the local diet, now that I'm playing with roast seasonings and chicken marinades.

Now if I could only find a decent recipe for _ribs_...

- Saturday, August 25 2001 17:42:46


Thanks for the sympathy and the suggestion. I'm afraid my attempts at various asian dishes have mostly numbered among my failures (the exception being my lightly marinated seared Ahi tuna). Albeit most were edible, and a couple close to good, none would entice locals to demand more!

Tandoori cravings? Ah, I sympathize right back. Indian was one of the cuisines I missed in AK, and is one of the culinary blessings here. There's Indian food galore - and very good on the whole. Even Scotland has it's redeeming gastronomic qualities. (I didn't mean to imply there isn't good food here, there's just not a lot of variety.)

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Saturday, August 25 2001 17:40:35

Hey, anyone got an ark I can borrow? It's raining like Tim Robbins just crawled out of a sewer pipe here.

Frederick Teska <Fraggerole@MSN.com>
Ventura, Ca. USA - Saturday, August 25 2001 15:26:51

Glad to see that Harlan has at least a web page for communications with his many fans. I'm a mid-aged biker who also happens to enjoy good stories, and had the pleasure of meeting Harlan at various times, mostly in SHerman Oaks at now defunct bookstores and comic emporiums. Harlan, I wish you nothing but the best, and hope that your fan base continues to grow-- I don't know if this is the right place to view upcoming stuff by you, but I'll keep tuning in to see what happens. Also, I know it's a dim possibility, but I'd still wish that there may be some future collaboration between yourself and Stephen King before the rest of my mane falls out. PPS-- as I said on chatroom which is defunct, thanks for the signing on Mind Fields. Kudos and continuations, U are the best.

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
- Saturday, August 25 2001 15:23:29

Peg, I sympathize with you. I really do. I used to live in Wisconsin. Right now, I'm living in Dallas, which bears any number of restaurants, but none that would make you want to hop on a plane and visit the city. (Well, with the exception of the Red Hot & Blue chain: the best Memphis pork barbecue this side of Memphis, and I should know, since my wife is from Memphis. The slogan is "The best barbecue from a building that hasn't been condemned", and that's no exaggeration.) That's why I make a point of experimenting: if you can't get someone to bring cuisine to you, it's up to you to take the initiative.

For example, Dallas has only one Indian restaurant of any repute, and I tend to have cravings for tandoori chicken at the worst times. Actually, I wanted to know what tandoori turkey tasted like, so I took the iniative and came up with a distinctly unique take on the recipe. It's at http://www.hpoo.com/columns/hells/news38.html for anyone who may be interested: I'm posting it up here because Harlan expressed interest in it at AggieCon back in 2000, so why not share with everyone?

(Along that line, because everyone who has tried this tandoori turkey has been impressed, I'm half-tempted to throw a big party as an excuse to smoke up about seven or eight of these monsters. I have plenty of pecan wood, and since the squirrels in the back yard have denuded my poor trees of nuts, I spent an hour this morning picking up pecan hulls. 20 pounds of 'em, and nothing beats pecan hulls for smoking. This is going to be a good party: anyone interested in coming?)

With that in mind, while it's always great to have someone else doing the cooking for you, you might want to introduce everyone in your area to the joys of Japanese cuisine and wait for the fallout. Once your neighbors get a taste for it, they won't be happy until they get a restaurant, and then someone will realize that they have a market for a successful sushi restaurant in town. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to write up that business proposal for "Uncle Zonker's Tandoori Turkey Takeout"...

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, August 25 2001 13:59:42

Lynn: Amen. I know you aren't trawling for sympathy, but I want to say how sorry I am for your loss. My mother was diagnosed with Stage III-C Ovarian Cancer five years ago, and spent a hellish eleven months careening from surgery to chemo to remission to rediagnosis to surgery and chemo again, finally succumbing to a massive infection abetted by the drug's destruction of her white blood cells. I was her primary caregiver, and I learned more in that year about the human capacity for bravery and love than I had ever suspected existed. It's a strange club we belong to, and I often wonder how my membership has changed me. I HOPE it's made a little more empathetic, even for the likes of a Jesse Helms.


Frank Church
- Saturday, August 25 2001 13:15:23

Deify truth, not men
Man is vanquished dust
Dust blinds, truth edifys

I go beyond mere Haiku
To see inside confusion
More dust, endless family of worms

Harlan has eyes that see
Not blind, forming opinions
Cancer of thought makes lesser mortals squeedle.

I just made that word up: squeedle. Teehee.

Haiku is no fun now. Smile.

Frank Church
- Saturday, August 25 2001 12:59:23

I don't understand why someone who writes in a "dry" style makes them somehow worthless, but to each his own. Chomsky is important to me because he receives information that cannot be found any where else. The info on MAI was worth the price of admission itself. In a dangerous age where Bush forces our noses into the shit, we need information more now than ever.

The left is actually doing quite well. Behind the scenes the gears are being greased, and activists of all stripes are doing their damn best to overthrow uber-Bush America. Seattle proved that. Genoa is just going to make the future either real bloody or more interesting.

I have read quite a lot of Paglia, and find her offensive to the quick. This is a harpie who thinks "date rape" is like being beaten up in a bar fight. She always goes on about her love of the rantings of Rush Limbaugh. Rush even went so far as to interview her in the odious Limbaugh Letter; where Paglia fawned like a school girl over him for the entire interview. Paglia defends kiddie-porn, but blames the sixties for the AIDS crisis. She thinks porn is a high art form, and that men who read a lot of books, become wimps. She defends commercial television, and thinks Madonna should be thought of as high art. She talks about how wonderful sex is, but claims to be "asexual" herself. I will say she is a great writer, but her views are nothing if not obnoxiously aberrant. But she is fun to read. But I will take Noams "drone" any day.

May I suggest the spoken word recordings of, Jello Biafra; who is the former lead singer of the punk band, Dead Kennedys. Jello has become quite the stand up, political ranter. He is no Lenny Bruce, but he is quite entertaining, as well as enlightening. And you have to love someone who was nominated by the Green Party, for President.

Harlan, no hard feelings. Dissagreement is just part of this Democracy thang. Peace.

Bud Webster
- Saturday, August 25 2001 5:28:47

Haiku Deity:

Mad, am I? Not me!
"Almost" is not all the way.
I grin inside, now.

The Haiku Deity
- Saturday, August 25 2001 5:15:57

Insomnia strikes
After a sixteen hour day
Madness may ensue

The Webderland board
Brimming with "off of" and more
Damn, much to read now

On Chomsky I say
That the man has helpful points
But he writes so dry

The Left needs a soul
'Cause they're splintered without sense
So they look at Noam

But Noam with his stance
Manufactures dull consent
No hero, oh dear

Where's an MLK?
An accessible BK?
Or even Yippies?

We can't be alone
And that's just how it feels
Yet we must protest

But we can't place faith
In a thinker without heart
Speaking technical

Someone's laughing now
At the deification
Of Noam's drone-like voice

"PI" can't help things
Politics reduced to blurbs
Cut to commercial

Bud Webster: you're mad
Almost cheating with the form
Now, an oblique grin

Heather: What a smack!
The seer can't anticipate
Surprises in yellow

Harlan: Thanks kindly
I listened but I regret
That I'm prone to verse

So I fear I'll slip
Into redundant meaning
Within syllables

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
posting way too fucking late to make any sense at all., - Saturday, August 25 2001 4:54:18


The reason one should hesitate to wish something horrible upon even the most deserving of souls is that those wishes just might come true. If all it takes is a butterfly farting in Beijing to create a hurricane in the Gulf, what if one random thought could put an atom in motion...

Someone once explained the effect to me this way: Your boss is having a shitty day and he takes it out on you, so you go home and yell at your wife, who then yells at the kids, who then take it out on the dog. And somehow, all of this venom ends up in the Middle East.

That, and having had someone I love dearly die in a cancer ward in the last year, his brain turned to a pulp as much by the ravenous beast as by the medicines they tried to kill it with, I would never wish that fate on anyone anywhere. It would be inhumane. All you need is one good bullet. And if you think that the deeds of a man somehow make your vengeance acceptable, somehow absolve you of any torturous act you might perpetrate on him, then you have allowed his hate and vitriol to color your world and the poison has not been erradicated, only passed along like a bad cold. Simple enough to get over, too easy to contaminate everyone around you.

Just my late night ravings. Tune in next week to watch me dangle a participle whilst suspended over the Grand Canyon.

- Saturday, August 25 2001 4:49:53

You wimps ain't got nuttin' to complain about. If you want to bereave the lack of good deli food, move to Scotland. Even in Alaska we had the semi-successful attempt of Atlasta Deli (which was fine enough for my So Cal upbringing, having never pilgrimaged to a true deli). Here?? Pah.

I really enjoy the cultural experience of living in Scotland and in general the UK, but up here in the hinterlands, cultural food deprivation is one of the prices I've paid for it. [There was discussion about Japanese food in Atlanta. We don't have a *SINGLE* Japanese restaurant in Aberdeen. Not one, which is a crime considering the quality fresh seafood we get here.]

Maybe that's why I've so enjoyed the food topics on the board - savouring each electronic tidbit vicariously through your posts.

Bud Webster
- Saturday, August 25 2001 3:17:8

Harlan asked:

++Bud Webster, wherever did you get the weird idea I went to high school in Evanston?++

Dr. Shedd told me.

Actually, had I been thinking about it, I would have remembered that you were in Cleveland at the time, since that's where (and when?) you took over DIMENSIONS. My bad.

This might have been 'way after your time, but do you remember a collector in Cleveland named Wysocki?

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Saturday, August 25 2001 3:3:11

To Jim Davis; I was lucky to start reading Woolrich when one of the paperback houses reissued about twelve of his books in the early 1980's. The covers were _gorgeous_; mysterious watercolors of the nighttime city with a Whistlerish haze, and Woolrich's name in red neon across the top. They might've been cheap paperback reprints, but the art director knew what he was doing when he did those covers.

As for the question of Helms and our fantasies... well, I don't see much of a problem with venting such fantasies on the one hand, and faulting Rob on that theater incident on the other. The reason is pretty simple. When we're talking about Helms, we're talking about things we _wish_ would happen, but I don't think any of us would actually _do_ such horrible things to the guy. We're basically describing how much Helms revulses us, and maybe indulging in the sort of violent fantasy we all have from time to time... but never actually perform.

With Rob's story, we're talking about something that did happen, and could happen to any of us, and maybe even _did_ happen to some of us. Very few of us discussed it as a _fantasy_; if we did, we'd be trading increasingly baroque tales of "whut I wooda done t'the guy." You could agree with Rob's take on the situation, or disagree, but neither position would have anything to do with the Things We'd Like to Have Happen to Jesse.

On a _much_ nicer note: Has anyone here been exposed to the lovely voice of Eva Cassidy? She'd been performing in Washington D.C. coffeehouses until her death from cancer a few years back. She'd recorded a pair of albums that went nowhere at the time. Then one day last year, a DJ at the BBC plays one of her songs, and suddenly she's become this cult figure in Britain. Her albums are available again, and try to get her versions of "Songbird" or "Over the Rainbow."

And while you're at it, try to find some Kirsty Macoll, too.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Saturday, August 25 2001 2:29:5


Damn 'ya, now I have an urging for a salami sandwich while I watch "Trainspotting."

Oh, and for anyone who has ever seen a Kevin Smith movie, "Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back" rocks. Except for Chris Rock. His lines are spectacularly unfunny.


Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, August 25 2001 1:57:30

Alex K.:

The great deli of my childhood in Cleveland was originally on Cedar Road. It was called Benkowitz's. Later, when the Heights Theater closed down, or got yuppiefied, or whatever, Benkowitz's moved out to Beachwood, and renamed itself Benky's. It was a great and aromatic wonderland--just like Brent's--and I worshipped regularly at that kosher altar of cholesterol and artery-cloggage. That was when I was in high school, in Cleveland. (Bud Webster, wherever did you get the weird idea I went to high school in Evanston? I never even HEARD of Evanston till I got mustered out of the Army in '59 and went to Evanston to work for Hamling on ROGUE MAGAZINE. I attended Cleveland Heights High for one semester after my father died in 1949 and we moved from Painesville to the Sovereign Hotel on 105th Street; and thereafter, when I got booted out of Heights High, I graduated from East High. It was either in Painesville, or in Cleveland, about 1950, that I discovered Nelson Bond in BLUE BOOK. At least ten years before I ever set foot in Evanston, Illinois.)

I lament for you, Alex. There were giant salamis in the land in those days.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, August 25 2001 1:23:50

Mein gott, look at all the posts that have accumulated during my absence. No matter--I will gird my loins (has anyone on this board actually DONE this?) and soldier on.

Harlan: Believe me, I am listening. I know the grammatical howlers in my posts must make you bleed from all orifices; I promise to do better.

Lynn/All: The orgiastic death/torture fantasies written about Helms give me pause, too. I agree that he is a pernicious, bigoted fuckface who has blighted the American political landscape with his racism, homophobia, and errant stupidity. He is one of those unique individuals who can claim that they have made the world a more dangerous place for their having lived in it. To put it judiciously, I will not miss him.

Just the same, I've known too many people who have perished from the Crab, and I just don't have it in me to wish such a death on even Jesse Helms. I can only hope that future generations will look back on his career, and find it as abhorrent as the acts of Gilles de Rais and Pol Pot. (IF the human race is still around and has advanced even one iota, of course. I have my doubts.)

Amy: I feel your pain, darlin'. I can only conclude, from the dearth of real delis around here, that there are no Jews in Tampa Bay. Again, who'd a thunk it?

I've already defended John Simon, so I can't really get my dander up for Camille Paglia (a friend to the downtrodden and misunderstood, that's me). I WILL note that she has the rare ability to perceive the classical undercurrents in modern popular culture, and for that, she deserves at least ONE huzzah.


I will now demand that everyone who has not done so already, MUST hunt down and buy the Cornell Woolrich reprints published by ibooks. THE BRIDE WORE BLACK, PHANTOM LADY, and REAR WINDOW are classics that deserve the widest readership possible; get 'em while they're still available.

I've just learned, from reading the obituary list in the Fourteenth YEAR'S BEST FANTASY AND HORROR, that the artist Eyvind Earle died last year. I'm a little shocked--one of his paintings hangs in my living room.

Harlan (one more time): Ok, you had to know I would ask: What exactly was the nature of the dust-up between you and Brian Jones?

I'll leave you with these beautiful words from Raymond Chandler: "The things by which we live are the distant flashes of insect wings in a clouded sunlight."

Finally glare-free,

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, August 24 2001 23:19:6

Re: "off of." No offense taken, and the rant was taken with affection, but I was sorta hoping you'd _giggle_ at how remote I had to get to find one possible exception. Aye, weel...

Re: Chomsky. One of my heroes, an utterly brilliant man whose fealty to reason, logic, and humanism and whose record of work for all the Good Causes is hard to match, let alone beat. I'll admit that he's not the most exciting writer in the world, and I think that's deliberate; Chomsky's said that he doesn't trust speakers who try to win over audiences, so he probably focuses on substance at the expense of style. His early essays (try to find _American Power and the New Mandarins_) have flashes of style that are pretty much absent from more recent works like _Rogue States_.

Anyway, I figure, if I'm going to demand spectacular writing with my politics, why demand it from Chomsky when Christopher Hitchens and Gore Vidal roam the land?

I'm of two minds on Paglia. On the plus side, I knew someone who was a student of hers, before she became famous, and he reported that she was probably the best teacher he'd ever had. She has shown some growth, now that she's fulfilled some of her ambitions, and she can be fun to read as long as you keep in mind that, most of the time, she's wallowing in her ability to riff on culture.

On the minus... well, she's fun on the classics, but once she opens her mouth on something more recent-- like feminism, economics, date rape, or anything more recent than the Crusades-- watch out. She doesn't make arguments, she throws insults, and the latter without the former ain't much better than Rush Limbaugh. Even when presented with such a deserving target as Catherine MacKinnon, she couldn't bring herself to address MacKinnon's arguments, and squanders ink on calling her names. She doesn't seem to even _try_ to rectify certain areas of genuine ignorance, and she's exceptionally prone to making embarassing or ridiculous claims. (Some people recall her praise of the Spur Posse, but for me, her calling the eminently sane and incisive Katha Pollitt a "Stalinist Bitch" and denouncing Chomsky as being a representative of the old-line establishment rank Right Up There as prime Paglia gaffes.)

John Thompson
Las Vegas - Friday, August 24 2001 23:1:3

The standard line these days for would-be writers seems to be don't worry about the first draft; fix it later. The problem is--few people do the proper repairwork. Besides, in writing or speech, is it ever good to encourage sloppy thinking, even the first time around?--John (trying his best to heed the sage advice of foremen Strunk and White.)

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker yipes, Oh hiho - Friday, August 24 2001 22:56:35

Hmm, shoulda run the whole board before posting. Harlan, my apologies for stepping on your promise to post subscription info. If I'm out of bounds, feel free to rip me a new orifice.

Re: Delis. We used to have delis in Cleveland. Not incredible New York or L.A. class delis, but, hell, at least delis. No more. Now all we've got are a few dismal leftovers from more ethnic days, barely qualifying for the title. Maybe you think Canter's sucks, but I'd give a year's worth of latkes for something that good around here.


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker Hts, Ohio USA - Friday, August 24 2001 22:45:49

Sorry, folks, I wasn't hitting on all pistons earlier. I gave the wrong "The Week" URL. Should have been more careful, but I had a weird day. Anyway, the _American_ version of "The Week" is to be found at http://www.theweek.ws/thisweek/

But if you're going to subscribe, think about checking out some of the online magazine subscription venues, rather than doing it direct from the publisher. If you use the webpage for The Week, you'll pay around 75 smackers for a year's worth. If you go to, say, magazinecity.net, you'll pay just under $50 for the same year's worth of issues.

Amy <akojenkins@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 21:28:25

Damn it, Harlan, NOW you've made me hungry for deli food and there is none to be had here in the vast wasteland of North Central Texas. Ask for a knish and they say "God bless you, honey." You want HOT pastrami? On rye? You'll get turkey bologna on soft white bread and they'll ask if you want ketchup with that.

One thing I miss about NY ever so much is the delicatessens...kosher OR Italian. But I guess I gotta live the rest of my life like a schnook.

Not sure what time Ben & I will make it into Atlanta, but we'll drop you a note fer shur. Your ruggies will be waiting.


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 24 2001 21:18:47

Lynn: Neither one. Brent's. Out in the valley. A bit of a drive--somewhere near Tampa and Saticoy, I think--but the best in the state. Better even than Nate'n'Al's in Beverly Hills, which (until I found Brent's) was the #1. Far outstrips Canter's, which mostly sucks; and isn't even in the same universe with shitholes like Jerry's and Solley's, which stopped making delcos and decent rugala because "the demand wasn't great enough." If you prefer, Art's Deli in Studio City is still fine, and Mort's out in Pacific Palisades is to die for, but...

The BEST DELI in Los Angeles is, hands down, Brent's. Their noodle kugel is not only humunguous enough to feed the entire Duke University football team and marching band, but it comes in its own crock, and the taste is olympian. You need crampons and an ice-axe to surmount their lean pastrami on corn rye. Susan goes cockeyed for the skirt steakand eggs (yes, I said Argentinian skirt steak, hola!) And every other dish on their Titanic-sized menu is merely only unfrigginbelievable.

I live to serve yr. needs. Culinarily kosher, I remain, Harlan.

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 24 2001 21:6:42

Frank Church:

Noam Chomsky puts my ass to sleep.

As for Jacques Barzun, since we're in the Venue of Great Minds of Our Time--though the new book was catnip to Susan--one of the ugliest brief periods in my life was when I was locked up in NYC's penal hell, The Tombs, and a friend--who had a devilish streak in her--picked four or five books out of my apartment, to keep me entertained while I was in stir. One of them, gawd save my rotting soul, was the Anchor Books trade paperback of Jacques Barzun's TEACHER IN AMERICA. There were moments, after I'd read the other four books, and had nothing to keep me from hysteria but Prof. Barzun, that I contemplated letting the thugs in my holding block beat me into unconsciousness, as a pleasant respite from the metallic drone of one of the most brilliant minds of our time.

Does that answer your Chomsky query?

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 24 2001 20:56:43

Debbie, Amy, Joseph and any other Webderlanders who'll be at Dragon*Con: Susan and I get in Thursday evening, around Eightish. If you haven't already gotten in the wind at that hour, you might leave a note for us at the desk of the Hyatt Regency, and if you have no strong objections to intruders...and we can do it...

(Brian Siano. I don't expect you to love me for the previous post.)


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 24 2001 20:50:20

Mr. Siano:

I will now rip you a new asshole.

Yes, how damnably clever of you, you delicious li'l jackanapes! You found a totally unlikely, moronic possibility in which "off of" works. The phrase "He did a flip off the high board" would certainly have been too easy to have considered, because we would see that "off of" STILL doesn't work, but no, you have to postulate someone turning off a tv set, flipping it the bird, or (I'm sure we all have experience of this in our daily lives) Ms. Komeniche performing her Olympic gold medal-winning routines using a 36" Sony Trinitron instead of a balance bar.

When I sadly suggested it would be swell if a few someones were listening, it was to the Brian Sianos of the world to whom I was speaking. By manipulating language idiotically, for the asinine and sophomoric pleasure of "picking the nit" with me, the same jerkazoid behavior I inveighed against when I pointed out that there's always at least one smartass who has to show how much cleverer he is than the Prof., Mr. Siano has reduced himself to yak vomit in my eyes. At least for the nonce. How, you may ask, did I know in advance that a smartass would interdict the flow of transference of information with dopey shenanigans? Because I've been doing this shit for FIFTY FUCKIN' YEARS!

And sure as mangos in the Maytime, big goddam outta the blue surprise...NOT...there's a Siano, grinning like a jackass, offering himself up as The Horrible Boob Example. I have got to ask you, kiddo, WHY the hell would you do precisely what you were warned against doing, Brian? What did you achieve. Yes, you found a weird, useless, non-viable and utterly mad exception to a perfectly good rule from which people might benefit. And exactly how does your donning the cap and bells, jamming the big red clown-ball nose on your online persona, puking on your shoes,
wearing the lampshade on your head, coming downstairs into the middle of Mommy&Daddy's party in your Dr. Dentons and peeing for the crowd...in any way benefit this crowd, or yourself?

I urge you to take as your life role-models Louis Pasteur or Ogden Nash or Katherine Anne Porter; not Pauly Shore, Adam Sandler, David Spade or Chris Farley.

Not amused, Harlan.

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 24 2001 20:24:0

Amy: You are absolutely right, I AM A GOOB. If I ever actually knew it was salt, not rice, it fell outta my head. And if I just never knew it at all, it only enhances by goobishness. I always feel like such a jerk when I don't know something everybody else knows.

For those of you interested in THE WEEK, when the next issue comes in, a few days from now, I'll transpose the contact and/or subscription information here for you. It's that worthwhile that I'm pleasured to do the line-work for those of you considering.

yr. pal, Harlan

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 20:12:58

Bob: Congrats on the new editorial position. I've been reading their sister 'zine for over a year now. They're good folk and some of the best content I've seen online.


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Friday, August 24 2001 20:1:54

Rick: from the Little Picky Pain In The Ass Dept: I noticed on the main Visitor Forums page, it says "Weberland Visitor Forums," with the "d" left out! Heh heh...unless you're planning on doing a forum for Steven Weber from "Wings" and "The Weber Show..."

Harlan, re your writing 101: I'm glad you wrote that part about writer's block. I was going to say something similar, but I'm glad you beat me to it! And I second your recommendation of "The Week."

David: As you know my copy was grabbed, so I'm not sure what you mean about "The Essential Ellison." Can't seem to remember anything that was odd, though admittedly I only glanced at it for a few minutes. What is it?

Re: ATMs and PINs: I've even seen bank literature and ads with the phrases "ATM machine" and "PIN number." Weird how things like that can infiltrate American language and become the daily norm. Though I don't see anything wrong with using them in dialogue, as long as it's consistent with the character saying it.

Oh, and if you'll permit me a little shameless plug: I'm one of the new editors over at Strange Horizons, a speculative fiction and science fiction magazine. Take a look when you get a chance: http://www.strangehorizons.com

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 19:49:40

What's so bad about grass huts? Um, no running water? No PC (or any peripherals) No cable modem? No A/C?! (Or heat, for that matter.) No fridge, no microwave, no stove, no oven, no television (specifically no Discovery, no Sci-Fi Channel, no History Channel, no EMERIL).

And when was the last time you saw a grass hut with a library's worth of bookshelves.

David. Remember that Harry Lime/Graham Greene/Orson Welles quote I referenced awhile back? It's lingering somewhere over my left shoulder.

Harlan. You can settle a bet for me. Solley's or Jerry's? And yes I know they're owned by the same folk. Any opinions?

(who personally prefers Café 50's across the street from Solley's. Mmmmm. Cheese fries.)

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 19:47:20

Hey everybody. I just got off of school.


Heh heh. Kidding. God damn I'm hilarious. Anyway, I just wanted to say hi. I'm still watching. I'll post something of substance again when I can find the time, and a subject that's good for the incisors.

David, how about those observations regarding the educational issues I raised a few posts ago? I'm all ears.

By the way, my first impressions were off. The Army program here is looking pretty damn good. Hoo-ah! *grunt*


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, August 24 2001 19:21:37

It's easy to quote Paglia out of context and to loathe her flair for drama and overstatement, Frank, but have you actually READ her books?

I'm not here to defend her -- for the several years I was on the Paglia discussion list (which appears to have gone moribund), I played the role of Honorable Opposition, in fact -- but she can be quite entertaining and challenging, if you look past the noise.

Consider the inflammatory passage you just quoted, for example. What if it might just be true? And what's so terrible about living in grass huts?

Frank Church
- Friday, August 24 2001 19:0:21

"If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts".

Camille Paglia.

This is why I loath Ms. Paglia..

Frank Church
- Friday, August 24 2001 18:49:59

Someone was mentioning, Manufacturing Consent, the Noam Chomsky film. There is a pungent part in it, where Jeff Greenfield; pundit for Nightline and others talks about why Chomsky is never on the chat shows. He basically makes the absurd remark that either Chomsky is not quite "consise" enough, or that Chomsky is not good on tv, if you can believe that! By the way Chomsky is on Television quite a lot in other countries. Our media is just becoming ever more closer to Soviet style propaganda.

Harlan, I notice you have never mentioned Mr. Chomsky. What is your take on the noted linguist/political marvel?

Adam Webb <adamiwebb@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 18:19:57

Harlan, I believe THE WEEK is based on the Saturday Guardian's THE EDITOR, which was a news staple in London.

I had steered clear because I heard it was "brought to you by the people that publish Maxim" but I'll give it a look.


Adam Webb <adamiwebb@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 18:16:37


Thanks for the tips. As Lynn said, we are listening.

I've got a copy of Fowler's Modern English Usage but I don't have Strunk & White. I'll get it.


L. <GeezLouise>
- Friday, August 24 2001 18:9:26

I hate perl. Have I mentioned I hate perl?

That wabbit cwap warnt too bad NEITHER.



Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
If directions to your house include the phrase,, "Turn off the paved road..." - Friday, August 24 2001 18:8:36


"That wabbit cwap warnt too bad either." I do believe that the correct dialect would be "warnt too bad >N
Oh and Bud, thank you. You made me snort milk all over my keyboard. Classic.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, August 24 2001 17:45:26


Ooooohhh. A kiss from a lovely young lady. My heart goes pitter-patter. Don't tell my wife, okay? :)

"My bad" is a slang way of admitting fault without apologizing. Pretty crappy phrase.


I won't be in Atlanta until 1:00 on Friday. Perhaps we should wing it and leave messages on the noteboard?


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 24 2001 17:37:40


Sorry.. owe YOU a kiss. Can you live with that?


You now have a spare one, okay?

And Bud:

That wabbit cwap warnt too bad either. In fact it war NEAT! (Gee, can you tell what era I'm from? -- "neat")

Please, people, I don't know this phrase. What is "MY BAD"?

Out da door. Home to latsa books.


Debbie Yerkes <yerkesd@gwm.sc.edu>
Columbia, SC - Friday, August 24 2001 17:24:36

Amy and Joseph (and anyone else who may be attending Dragoncon next weekend),
I suggest that we meet Thursday night for dinner, if y'all have arrived by then. If not, then Friday at lunch. Or maybe we could all sit together at the banquest, if y'all are going to it.
The schedule has been posted on the Dragoncon site, and after looking at it, I'm not sure when I'm going to sleep, much less eat. Great schedule, many panels with Mr. Ellison, and ALICE COOPER WILL BE THERE!!! HE WILL BE THERE ON PANELS!!!
I am very excited that I will be hearing Mr. Ellison on panels, but I am jumping up and down and screaming (in my mind, of course, as I'm typing this at work)to be able to see Alice Cooper. I have been listening to him since high school, and that was a long, long time ago. Actually, I've been reading Mr. Ellison's works since high school, too. Coincidence?
I am so psyched about Dragoncon I can hardly wait!
Anyway, I've read this 3 times and I think it's grammatically correct, so here goes.
(Scurrying back into lurkdom)


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, August 24 2001 17:19:30

By the way the Salon piece is satire, but I do wonder how much of it is actually true.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, August 24 2001 17:15:12

As far as I'm concerned the news media is the worst mangler of the english language. Dan Rather's use of "new-cue-lar" instead of the correct "new-cle-ar". When JFK Jr.'s plane went down I actually heard several talking heads use the phrase (cringe) "such deep depths" (shudder). Making matters worse is good ole Dubya making up new words and mangling old ones. There is actually a linguistics professor in Texas who thinks "Bushonics" is an acceptable dialect.

The article appears in Salon at http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2001/03/19/bushonics/index.html

Some days I wonder how I ever got edjamucated.


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker Heights, OH United States - Friday, August 24 2001 17:5:34

Er, I meant http://www.theweekmagazine.com Not "this." Argh.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shake-up Biz, OH United States - Friday, August 24 2001 17:4:23

My boss, his boss, and her boss were all fired yesterday, so I'm just passing through (no, I haven't been fired...yet), but I thought I'd post this tip: To check out THIS WEEK, go to http://www.thisweekmagazine.com

But note that if you choose to subscribe, you can get better deals than the magazine itself offers by searching around the web a bit.


The Finder
- Friday, August 24 2001 16:52:4

Lynn - "Othello" with Patrick Stewart was staged at the Shakespeare Theater - I missed my shot at tickets by about 24 hours. There was much consternation over THAT little debacle...

And my mother told me every day that the accordion was the MOST hated musical instrument at Stately Finder Manor. Of course, we didn't have a piper. But the Feeneys did... brrrrrrrrrr.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, August 24 2001 16:51:0

Time to play the game "Nitpick with Harlan!" (For entertainment purposes only.)

I think I have an example-- one example only, probably the exception that enforces the rule-- regarding the use of the words "off of." It can be used, but only to differentiate the use of the word "off." Remember, "off" can mean "not on" as well as the power-switch meaning of "not active."

So, if "Jack flipped off the television," did he throw a switch, make a rude gesture, or perform some gymnastics in his living room? For the latter meaning, "off of" seems to be an appropriate choice of words.

I remember an interview with Samuel Delany where he talked about how SF introduces some ambiguities of grammar. Take the sentence "Steve turned on his left side." In most fiction, that means that he rolled around on his bed. But in SF and fantasy, that could also mean that he reached down and flipped a switch.

Or, let's say we're describing travelling down a freeway where the traffic is administrated by a system of computers, electric signs, and perhaps robot "sheepdogs." If we write "Frank turned off the freeway," there'd be some ambiguity. Did Frank direct his car onto an off-ramp, or did he shut down the freeway's administration system? Seems that using the phrase "Frank turned off of the freeway" would be a little clearer.

But as I said, this is a really exceptional case, and one could probably avoid the whole issue by writing "Frank turned onto an off-ramp" and avoiding "off of" entirely.

- Friday, August 24 2001 16:39:19

Harlan: Oh, my lord and wise one, forgive this humble country girl for expressing her surprise at your interest in sumo wrestling. Not being as worldly as, well, most of the world, I thought I might've missed some other use for the word "sumo." It's sort of a weird interest, but one I share.

And they throw SALT, not RICE, ya goob!

Lynn: Darlin', I checked out that little tea tray of an automobile BEFORE I chose my wonderful (not to mention economical--it's nice to have a sporty car that doesn't spend all its time getting fixed by the necessary pet mechanic you MGers employ) and adorable Miata. It's possible that you just haven't taken a good look at Miatas, since all you usually get to see is their cute li'l rear end and a cloud of dust as they blow by you in the fast lane. While you're overheating, my dear, I am ACCELERATING. Hard to dust me in the curves when you can't get your car to run properly. I suppose being slightly larger has its advantages...at least you can store all those parts that fall off when you try to whip through the curves. (p.s. - this is fun!)

Adam: Geez, you've got patience. I would've broken that asshole's kneecap and spent the night in jail. I can take all kinds of crap--if it's directed at ME. My family or friends? I'll kill ya or die trying. Don't know why I flip out when it isn't me, but I do.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 24 2001 16:24:13

I'm listening. I know Lynn is too.

Question: What is Follett nor Fowler? I'm not sure if this is grammar book names or authors.

Thanks. I'll get it Monday.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 24 2001 16:16:3

So. I check out this Bread and Circuses job. Neat place, neat job, neat woman who interviewed me.

But weirdness (though I understand the reason): the job's been filled; they're already training two new people.

Never mind, Sundance. At least I got 'seen' and 'talked' to and am more than a resume to these folks. Onward and upward.

Have a great weekend, kiddies. Do some shoeshowing, skiing and moutain climbing with your thoughts and deeds, okay?


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Friday, August 24 2001 15:47:38


If I spot THE WEEK, I'll give ya a holler.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 24 2001 15:9:43

But we IZ Professor Harlan!

With dunce caps in ready position and an apple on the desk we IZ listenin'. Our ears is open like th'Grand Canyon herself.

General Grocery Item:

I watch Bill Maher almost every night. Sometimes it's a very frustrating experience. Last night, as on occasions, Maher asked a question that seemed clear, yet NO one on the panel could follow. He asked about the presumption of one religion - one myth - regarding itself as the correct one over another (the ever-present historic self-delusion that has marked every written century), referring to the Christian missionaries stupidly marching into Afghanistan in hopes of proselytizing the Taliban (lotsa hysterical laughter comin' from THIS corner of the room). "Don't you realize how wicked the Taliban are?" the panel would keep responding, spending the whole evening missing the point. "You retards, why don't you get it?" I was practically crying out. It seemed so OBVIOUS to me what Maher what was saying that I wanted to go to that studio and kick their asses for being so dense. With the right follow-through the topic could've taken so many interesting directions. It IS frustrating when he's making a good point - superseding the mundane - and he rams into a solid wall of dumbness...just in time for the next commercial.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
hail eris..., - Friday, August 24 2001 14:53:24

Realizing my previous statement has nothing to do with "extra words," I append...

Emergency Situation & Boarding Process

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 14:50:16

Harlan~ You are absolutely correct, and YES WE ARE LISTENING. No one feels more ridiculous than I who insisted one of my contributors go out and *buy* a copy of Strunk & White last Tuesday. Your examples remind me of Carlin's diatribe against "extra words." Yes, I'll confess it. Napalm & Silly Putty is on my bedside table right next to the EE Rev & Exp.

"Please get *on* the plane."
"Fuck you, I'm getting *IN* the plane. There's less WIND in here."


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, August 24 2001 14:24:44

God, I really hope I'm not starting a whine thread:

Could everyone on the planet stop using the phrase "PIN number?" Please? If everyone would elimate that phrase from their vocabulary, I'll try to reform my own bad grammatical habits (of which there are probably 15 in this post alone).

As for THE WEEK, I'll check around and see if I can find it out here in the hinterlands. Ray, let me know if you see it, would ya? I'll do the same.


Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 12:53:50

Re: Prof. Ellison's Grammar Lesson

I humbly and respectfully bow to the wisdom of the Man as He is correct. I may or may not have committed these grave grammatical errors in my posts, but I have committed these sins in the past. I offer my apologies and genuflect and kiss your rings as I will sin no more. Maybe.

I would say, though, that dialogue is up for grabs. If they say it like that, write it like that. (Of course, my own pet peeve is "ATM machine". People do say that and I do correct them if done in my presence, but it should never be written even as dialogue. Hmmm. I guess I'm invalidating my previous point. Oh, well. Whattaya gonna do?)

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, August 24 2001 12:21:8

I kept waiting for somebody else to say something, but maybe I'm the only one.

Now, understand that I'm not complaining, and I don't want to get anybody in trouble -- it's mostly just amused curiousity -- but does anybody else have a copy of the new Essential Ellison that has something ... funny ... about it? Up at the front? (Or anywhere else, I suppose)....

Bud Webster
- Friday, August 24 2001 12:16:16

Harlan said:

++Gee, I wish someone were listening.++

Folk, take it from me. This is the guy who called me on his own nickel to tell me (amongst other things) "Webster, of COURSE the flying saucer 'dropped down' behind the Bowl-A-Rama, it can't drop UP," after he read my first pro story. He's serious.

And right, even if I do stumble all too frequently.

Peter (again)
- Friday, August 24 2001 11:55:12

Cut superfluous redundancies... Got it, check.

Actually, I have one question. What if a redundancy makes rhythmic sense? What if it adds that missing beat that keeps the sentence flowing?


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Friday, August 24 2001 11:50:27


Thanks for the tip of THE WEEK.

Peter <writerpo@pacbell.net>
Union City, CA - Friday, August 24 2001 11:36:26

Re: Valeries

This is just to inform everyone that not all Valeries are evil and selfish succubi who will drink your spirit before leaving you hollow and in pain on the floor.

I have a Valerie of my own, and quite frankly, while I might have made the decision anyway, I credit her with my escape from the self and societally imposed path to mediocrity that I had so far embraced with all the enthusiasm of the chronically apathetic. Ya see. She was one of the few engineering students around who genuinely and without reservation loved, and I mean LOVED engineering. It was seeing her in action that made me realize that I'd got the wrong end of that particular stick and if I kept at it, I was likely to lose my sanity.

It helps that me and her have remained close, and have gotten closer over the last couple of years. Yeah, she's had a hard life, but instead of turning the furies against herself and others, she's used them to better herself, to drive herself in a direction she wants to go, on her terms. She's finishing a masters and then going for a PhD in engineering.

I don't know where I would be right now if I had never met Valerie. I don't know what direction my life would be heading. I don't know if I could have seen the opportunities I have since chosen to pursue if I had never met her. So I thank goodness for every day that my Valerie is in my life. She was a catalyst to change for me, and for that I am eternally grateful. To top it off, she is a good person with a good heart.

So, yeah, my experience is personal to me. I just wanted to refute the idea that all us writer/fan types have a Valerie in the negative sense implied earlier.


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 24 2001 11:33:52

To all of you fed up with Newsweek, Time, etc.:

The answer is called THE WEEK. It is a newsmagazine that, in 30-something pages gives you virtually everything of note in that week just past. I recommend it in the strongest possible terms.

It is a mini-marvel of succinct journalism.

Inexpensive, timely, and it has become, in less than a year, my staple news-source, along with the CBS news station on LA radio.

THE WEEK. Go find a copy. Try it. You'll thank me.

Or I'll punch you.

Yr. pugnacious pal, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 24 2001 11:22:33

Lynn & Adam: It is ungrammatical to say "off of," as both of you did in your latest posts. It's a double negative, and what is commonly referred to in writing workshops as "schoolgirl grammar." So many of you talk about being writers, and lament "writers' block" (which I shan't go into now, though most of your musings do make me hide my mouth behind my hand so you won't perceive that I'm giggling), yet you apparently have not rubbed Strunk & White into your pores, and neither Follett nor Fowler seem to be your bosom companions, or even on your must-read lists with the shoals of contemporary fictioneers.

"Off" is sufficient. "Off of" is wrong. Oh, and Adam, when you speak of "skimming off the top," it's the equivalent of saying, I live in a big house home." Skimming MEANS across the surface.
The top, that is. Even if it's at the bottom of a filthy pond, and you're skimming the crud off (not off of) the bottom, you're STILL skimming off the top...of the bottom surface. Many of you use unthinking redundancies that are a dead giveaway to editors who KNOW good writing, that the person submitting the manuscript is an amateur, a parvenu, a tyro. I'll give you a few examples, and a way to avoid them:

"He looked up at the sky." No shit. You cannot look "down" at the sky. (Now, let's get something out of the way from the git-go. Yes, I suppose if you were seeing the sky's reflection in a pool, a mirror, your highly-polished parochial school Mary Janes, you might conceivably be smartass--but no less rdundant--in rationalizing the postulation that one of these rarest-of-the-rare exceptions will justify your gaffe. That is what assholes who don't really want to learn, but need desperately to justify their errors, do. They think the exceptions, no matter how convoluted and improbable, get them off the hook, and prove what a dolt the teacher is. Yeah, sure, if you stretch the rationale till it creaks, you can probably find some convoluted "what-if" bullshit reason for your redundancy. But those smartass exceptions only muddy the water for your understanding of this common flaw in most people's speech and writing. So don't be a smartass.)

He knelt down. No shit. You can't "kneel up."

The snow fell to the ground. No shit. Unless you're living on the planet Zxymllll in the anti-matter galaxy of GHtyrl, that's what happens when gravity rules. Snow falls. To the ground. Or the tabletop. Or the ragtop. Whatever the object of the sentence is. It falls to it.

He shook his head no. No shit. Try shaking your head yes.

He used his mental telepathy. No shit. Since telepathy MEANS mind-to-mind, I challenge you to use your "physical telepathy."

He waved his hand goodbye. No shit. Try waving your adenoids goodbye. He waved goodbye. Period. End of sentence.

The examples go on and on and on. Just go back and reread any contemporary paperback, or one of your own postings, and ask that "reverse" of each redundancy: "he turned around," for instance. If he turned "around," he spun 360. If he "turned," which is precise and correct, he need only rotate sufficient for your purpose as a storyteller. Ask the reverse. He sat down. No shit. How can he sit "up," unless he's on the ground or in bed or lounging on the sofa. When someone standing sits, he or she only sits. Down is the only way s/he can go. He cannot--ask the reverse--sit up on a chair. (Unless he's in an Amish or Mennonite household where they raise the chairs onto wall-pegs after the meals; and our protagonist has developed the amazing Olympic competition ability to fling himself upward and backward, plonking onto the wall-ensconsed seat. I am smartass, hear me bleat.)

This has been Harlan Ellison's Writing Lesson #8,000,001.

Gee, I wish someone were listening.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, August 24 2001 11:7:16


You're not crazy. Time, Newsweek and US News & World Report are, in my oh-so-humble opinion, at a real nadir of reporting and editing. They've become sensationalistic to a bad extreme, crowing out serious reporting. Personally, I think they should stop trying to compete with daily newspapers and tv news, and return to their considerate reporting and elucidating of the past. Retro and over-idealistic of me? Perhaps. They won't because their advertising would plummet, but I can dream.


Oh, and for those taking recommendations for anime, I heartily advise you to avoid "X." Now THAT'S incomprehensible. Pretty, though.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 24 2001 10:52:23

Dave and Deity:

Kiss and Kiss!


Writing love letters online. Kiss. Hug.


See, I told ja. Open yer damn mouths, people. Tell us who you are and suddenly Lynn NEEDS you. Thank you Lynnster! (Lorin, where are those URLS, womanski!)

Neat. Off to check a bakery job. I'm talking REAL bakery. Fell across it this a.m. while in search of food. (Now I know what this term, "starving artist" is about. *yeeeks*)

I have McDonald's to thank for this. Ain't THAT ironic? Mickey D's was SUPPOSED to direct deposit my cheque. They didn't. I went down there to chew off some heads. They had the cheque. Deposited it. Passed by a yuppie, high-traffic bakery called "Bread and Circuses" to grab some bread or summat. (They have musicians on weekends too!)

They are advertising for counter help. The guy said, "come back this a.m." I'm outa here.

Gotta a job already? True. And it STARTS in two weeks. Thought I'd try eating in the meantime -- a reasonable idea -- and paying rent. Also getting trained evenings for a burger joint job. Small business, the burger and bakery joints. NOT a franchise. These people seem more 'real.' I could be wrong, but what the hey! (Just a story folks. Such is life. I'm in the acid-rain and enjoying it. Sure beats outpost secretary in a business management seminar abyss.)

Hello, my name is Heather. What's YOURS?

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Friday, August 24 2001 10:37:19

Just asking... has Newsweek magazine become a nearly worthless rag of trivialities, PR spin and pop culture, lacking any REAL news value, or is it just me?

Regarding the growing proliferation of assholes. To quote local artist, raconteur, tough guy, Tony Fitzpatrick, "Ya can’t kill ‘em all."

Bud Webster
- Friday, August 24 2001 10:20:54

(I attempted to reply to this last night, hit the wrong key, and my responses disappeared into the aether; I gave up and went to bed. This never seems to happen to notes I don't care about.)


Billy Hale. I have not read the essay you mentioned, and so was unaware that you had a connection with Hale. Nevertheless, it was insensitive of me to post as I did, knowing full well that you've been in and out of Hollywood for the past 40+ years and almost certainly had had some contact with the man. I am ashamed, and I offer my apologies, not for the news itself, but for my ill-mannered and ham-handed tone. Me mudder brought me up better than that.

Nelson Bond. "Gee, Bud, I'm up to my ass in alligators right now, I can probably only give you a couple of lines," he says. So here I'm expecting a short, generic note in the mail, and BOOM!

Handsomely done, Harlan, and I certainly appreciate it. I've seldom seen an olive branch offered with more aplomb and sincerity, and I think Nelson will be pleased as well. If he is, in fact, willing to sign your copy of Mergenthwirker - and I can't imagine he wouldn't be - I'll send you his address.

Folk, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Nelson Slade Bond, and I suspect most of you are, he began writing for the pulps in the '30s and stopped in the '50s. In that time, he wrote in excess of 500 stories, including one a month in Blue Book - the biggest market of its day - for a decade; wrote every conceivable kind of story with the possible exception of the confessional; broke into the slicks before anyone else in the field; and managed to garner as fans such divergent personalities as Ray Bradbury, Bennett Cerf, Roger Zelazny, James Branch Cabell (on whose death Nelson became his literary executor) and some kid in Evanston named Ellison.

Relatively few of his stories have ever been collected, in spite of his having published five books of short stories and having been anthologized countless times. Peter Ruber of Arkham House approached Nelson about reprinting a story in their 60-year retrospective, and ended up offering to publish a brand new collection; it will be out later this year.

Wildside has reprinted one of his collections, _Lancelot Biggs: Spaceman_, and is getting ready to do the first book publication of one of Nelson's few novels.

He has one extremely annoying habit: he's thin ehough that he can cross his legs *twice* - once at the knees and then again at the ankles. Disgusting. When we stand next to each other, we look like the number 10.

All that to say, seek out his work, especially a copy of _The 31st of February_ (if you can find a copy - it's pretty rare), or just spring for the Biggs book from Wildside; I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Harlan, several years ago you paid me a very high compliment; I'd like to return it now. Youse is a mensch.

Mike Toole <chiefdork@animejump.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 9:7:8

Time for the fanboy to babble about them Japanese cartoons!

It's true that EVANGELION was a landmark series-- it pushed the envelope in terms of what could actually be SHOWN on television in Japan, and it tried (only half-successfully, IMO) to posit a story that jerry-rigged obscure religious tidbits onto an otherwise mundane super robot plot. My problems with it stem from the fact that there wasn't a single character in the cast that I identified with or even liked. I also thought the religious elements, while interesting, weren't well-used-- the whole show still felt like a high-gloss remake of MAZINGER Z (TRANZOR Z to us yanks), and I also wasn't impressed by the usual pandering to the audience in the form of the cutesy, unnecessary mascot animal and the improbably well-endowed 14-year-old female protagonists.

My absolute favorite anime is GIANT ROBO, a 7-part OVA (direct-to-video) series that took almost 8 years to create. If you can rememeber Johny Socko and His Flying Robot, you've got the central idea-- boy + giant robot-- but the GIANT ROBO animation puts it on a scale that would make THE TEN COMMANDMENTS seem like CLERKS in comparison. As if that weren't enough, the cast of characters is assembled from the ENTIRE BODY OF WORK of a single, very prolific comic artist (Mitsuteru Yokoyama)-- in his career, the guy drew sci-fi yarns, magical girl adventures, and several adaptations of famous Chinese fables-- and EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER is represented here.

It's a great adventure story with eye-popping visual design (picture Hieronymous Bosch and Frank Lloyd Wright and Alexander Rodchenko getting in a 3-way collision), terrific animation, and a thunderous orchestral score. It's what Roger Ebert would describe as an "out-of-body experience"-- a story so engaging and exciting that you'll forget everything else and get completely wrapped up in it.

Have I gushed enough? Well, it's gotta be seen to be believed. (Fair warning, though-- the dubbed version is very silly, and has some grevious translation mistakes.)

If you want something recent and "hot", I'd recommend COWBOY BEBOP-- ignore the silly title, the show itself is a fusion of Hard Boiled, Fist of Fury, and Starsky & Hutch-- all set in a very seedy version of outer space, with a surging jazz soundtrack. It'll be on Cartoon Network (edited, though there's no telling how much) in September, and it's already out there on DVD, uncut. (And unlike GIANT ROBO, the dub on this one is fantastic-- better than the Japanese version, if you ask me.)

I could go on about the subject of children's cartoons made in Japan (okay, EVA and BEBOP aren't *really* for kids), but you'd save time just by visiting my website:


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 24 2001 5:59:44


When you’d taken SOME martial arts as a teen, when you’d learned a bit more from a friend who was an instructor in two styles for five years, when you’ve worked out most of your life to keep in shape...and when you were once attacked and belted while face down in bed almost asleep...you tend to be stalwart in an aggressive defense. Yet even I have my limits! (g)

I can only draw from your description what these brainless spit bucket Java men looked like; but the presence of anyone well over 6’2" and who makes the gym their second home would probably hold me at careful discretion even as I try to drive my point. I would never have backed away, though. I’d have done as you did. Especially when it’s a relative or someone close to you being harassed. THEN all bets are off. There’s no comparison between that kind of harassment and the idiot I had to deal with; whatever form of organisms you were confronting evolution hadn’t even started on THEM yet; MY adversary, at least, was a lower hominoid. Throwing yourself in front of an oncoming vehicle is our job once someone close or a loved one is jeopardized. In any other instance it is only your ego you’re fighting for. I toast to your resolve, man.

The reason it makes sense to take your stand against thugged-out fucks (gauging the circumstances; I mean KNOW when your only option is to take off. But if you DO run, make it look like it’s because you’re late for an interview with Connie Chung to save face; fortunately, I haven’t had to fall back on that one yet) is because at least some may learn from it once they understand the threats don’t get them what they were after. It worked for me a few times. But that was more possible with the guy I dealt with than YOUR goons.

Finally, I’m really, really sorry that had to be a Tom Petty concert. He’s great and his stuff is great and it’s a damn shame to have such an event ruined.

This sort of thing depresses me: it reinforces the concealed pockets of misanthropy in the chasms of my soul. I iz SADLY confessin' to you I believe the better people who walk the earth are outnumbered by those much closer to our ancient ancestors. I AM convinced of it. Science and art take a back seat to the slime and fungus.

We’re running shadows on a landscape, man.


Incidentally, I jotted down James Morrow’s name as a reminder. I’ll look for him. And thanks for that tip-off, that was damn nice of you. He sounds...pertinent.

Maybe Bob and I will have some feelings to volley once we both read some of Morrow's titles. And I'LL sure as hell have some once I'm reading 'Sleepless'.

Adam Webb <adamiwebb@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 24 2001 2:30:36


A little less than a month ago, I experienced something quite similar to your theater incident. It's 1am here and I need to get to sleep so I'm going to skim the details off the top and just leave you with the meat of the story. I took my step-father to Tom Petty's concert as a belated father's day gift. During the show a group of 20-something pricks start harassing my step-father. One of them starts rubbing my step-father's gut like he's the buddha and asking, "How did you get a stomach so big?" I'm not paying careful attention at first so I'm quiet. When the prick comes back & does it again, I tell him simply, "Hey, fuck off!" This incenses him and his friend lays his hand on my chest and tells me to mind my own fucking business. Now, these guys are big, fit guys. They pumping iron when they're not crushing aluminum cans against their heads. So, I calm down and just take the guys hand off of me. He over-reacts and spills a few drops of his beer. (I still don't know whether he was uncoordinated because he was sauced or if he purposely spilled a little of the beer so that he could have a beef with me.) To use your verb, the prick starts barking at me. I owe him seven bucks for another beer and he'll beat the shit out of me, etc. etc. I refuse and send my dad to get security. Now, I'm freaked out - don't want to get my ass kicked in - but I'm responding foolishly. For example: "No," I tell the guy, "*You* are the ones who started with the wrong guys." They got in a good shove before the security guards showed up and we only saw them once more -- when they promised not to forget us -- but I left the concert ambivalent. On one hand, I had stood up to these guys and they didn't get the fight that they were hoping for. They were textbook bullies and my simple resistance kept them from doing what's in their nature. However, they succeeded in ruining my & my step-father's experience. Had I not said a word, they eventually would have left my step-father alone and while he would have been annoyed, he would have at least had the opportunity to enjoy the rest of the concert. Instead, he & I spent the last hour of Petty's performance, looking over our shoulders for the pricks to return. I clutched a five-dollar bill in my pocket, having decided that if they came again I was going to give the guy five bucks for a beer -- and effectively buy myself out of the situation. I'm glad it didn't come to that but I don't think it would have been the worst thing in the world anyways (especially because I'm convinced that they wanted the fight more than the money). I don't have answers for you here -- just sympathy.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Must be Thursday. Never could... ahfuckit., - Thursday, August 23 2001 23:40:33


Amy: Odds are you wouldn't know a gear shift from a hand grenade, my dear. Wouldn't know a double clutch from double dutch. I'd like to see your little piece of Japanese windup toy try to take my bicentennial-B in the curves, where a real car sticks to the road and a toy car goes flyin' out the lines. You know what Miata stands for don't you? Maybe I'll Aspire To Autohood. (okay - so it's seat of the pants - so sue me) So why don't you take your little commuter hotwheels back home and let the big girls show you how it's done. 'Cause the parts fallin' off of this car are of Genuine British Manufacture. R-A-G-G-T-O-P-P Rrrragtop.

Harlan: re: making kissy face about Jesse Helms. Oh yeah, I forgot. This is the place where people like Rob get their asses chewed for trying to be polite (re: the whole soda pop debaucle), but we can wish someone a most horrible death without fear of recrimination. I'll remember that in future next time I want to vent my spleen. Gosh golly gee willickers, I love this forum. ::that'd be me rolling my eyes but smiling::

Oh and thanks to you and your silver dollar moon, I've been having dreams about Carl Sandburg and his quill pen scribing out his collected works on the pale expanse between the nape of my neck and my hip bones, only to tear off said work and begin again. Who knew that my onion self had so many layers?

Heather: Congrats on the job! re: Performers. Does hit-and-run, banzai, love-em-and-leave-em-rollin'-in-the-aisles street comedy a lá the small renfaire circuit count? If so, yes, you can count me in. Oh yeah, and that whole conductor thing, all tho' that gig is so last century, if you know what I mean. (I discovered a nasty little secret. If you're female, and you didn't go to Julliard, and you don't like little kids, turns out your fucked as far as baton wielding antics this side of Guadalajara.) Oh yeah and a baroque choir in Baltimore that didn't understand why this pagan girl didn't really want to perform in the multi-hour performance of Handel's Messiah. "Oh I see your star. That means you're Jewish, right?" (counting 1-2-3-4-5, nope sorry. One point short.)

ANIME: I've only seen a few and the one that has been referred to me again and again as a classic (and after seeing it, I wholeheartedly agree) is, without a doubt, "Ghost in the Shell". I've seen it twice now, and I'm still not sure I quite understand it. I'm told when I do, I'll graduate to "Akira".

Rob: YOU'RE A CARTOONIST?! Oh geez, bro. We gotta talk. I *so* need an artist for digitalcarrion. I've got one lead in a second year visual communications major (what can't you major in these days?) but I from nothing about him save for his exceptionally twisted art.

Finder: re: your theatrical experience. Did you happen to see that Patrick Stewart portrayed Othello at the National Theatre (please, someone correct me if I'm wrong on the venue) with an entirely black cast? And with a Vietnam era reinterpretation of the script to boot? And did you also know that the accordion is the second most hated instrument in the world, right after the bagpipes? ::wicked grin::

RE: the passing of Sir Fred Hoyle, NPR's All Things Considered did an interview with his friend and colleague, Sir Martin Reese, of Cambridge University (August 22, 2001 - search at www.npr.org) that not only spoke of his coining the term "Big Bang Theory" as a derogatory comment, but also of his theory that all of the atoms that compose our flesh and blood had to have originated in the hearts of stars. Well worth a listen.

Bud - Miracle Mile is the only film from my adult life that succeeded in giving me recurring nightmares. Nothing like milky white eyes melting into their ocular cavities to make one twitch and froth at the mouth.

Anybody here ever heard of the Drabble? A complete story, one hundred words, no more, no less. Here's a link: http://www.cix.co.uk/~robm/drabble.htm

Catching up on posts
Tends to leave a body tired
So, I just "submit"


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Thursday, August 23 2001 23:28:6

Harlan: Thanks for pointing me in the direction of the Kornbluth newsletter. I'll try to get in touch with Mark Rich. And he wrote a book entitled "Valerie?" What is it with SF writers/fans and the name Valerie? Harlan, didn't you write something in one of your books about a Valerie? And didn't Justin have some sort of thing with a Valerie? And now I found out Kornbluth has a book by the same name? Weird. It's not THAT common a name.

And I agree about James Morrow: he's not a writer you go to for a light snack. You better be ready to jump in and sink your teeth into a full-course meal.

Oh, and this wasn't at the movies and it didn't involve spilled soda, but today I was walking by my bank as another gentleman was exiting. We walked up to each other and had one of those "we're right in each other's way" moments where we danced for a split second. I said, "oh, excuse me" in a very nice, light, fluffy, friendly voice (and added a smile), because it was no big deal and only lasted a second. What did he say to me? He mumbled and said, "pain in the ass."

Ah, humanity.

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, August 23 2001 23:16:36

This is mostly for Bud Webster.

Two cleanups, first. Yes, as in sumo wrestling; what the hell did you think I meant, sumo flower-arrangement? Sumo haute cuisine? Sumo, the lost archipelago? Of COURSE sumo wrestling. Big fat guys with not a bowel movement among 'em in fifty years, stompin' and tossin' rice and squattin' like they'd love to HAVE a bowel movement, and then grabbin' each other by the butt-crack thong, thass whut I'M talkin' 'bout!

Second cleanup. Bud, when I came to Hollywood in 1962, it was Bill Hale and his then-wife, actress Leilia Goldoni, whose friendship within a month of my near-friendless arrival got me to move into Beverly Glen, into the treehouse on the hill above their apartment, where I spent the first four, immensely happy and productive years of my life as an Angeleno. I haven't heard from, or of, either of them in years. It saddens me that the first jingle is the concussive advisement that Bill was doing badly. I sorrow for an old friend. (It was also, for those who read my story "The Pale Silver Dollar of the Moon Pays its Way and Makes Change," Bill Hale who invited me to the party at George Stevens's mansion, where I met and chatted with Carl Sandburg.) I sorrow for an old friend.

Those cleaned up, here's what you asked for, Bud.

Pull it down and read it to him at the soiree.

Dear Mr. Bond:

(I'd call you Nelson, but at our ages, kiddo, impertinence flies in the face of the adjurations of my Mother always to respect anyone who has been canny enough to outlast the original color of his hair. And so, on this spiffy occasion, Mr. Bond. Sir.)

There have been few writers in my well-read life whose work I've been more in love with than yours. I came upon you when you were in fullest flower. I was in high school, 1950 I think, and I was a reader of Blue Book magazine. And it was there that I came across "And Lo! The Bird," which I suspect I've reread more than a hundred times; suspect I've read it aloud to high school and writing classes possibly half a hundred; and don't suspect, but KNOW, I've recommended it to readers MORE than a hundred times.

I could do no other than kiss the hem of the garment of He Who Wrote That Story. It so knocked me for a loop that I went and found a copy of the first edition of MR. MERGENTHWIRKER'S LOBBLIES, which hadn't been out of print very long at that time, and I saved my lunch money, literally pinched lunch money pennies, having put the book on layaway at Publix Book Mart in Cleveland, till I had paid enough in tiny weekly increments to own that wonderful collection of whimsies.

To this day, I own that copy. Gee, I'd love it if you signed it for me. My people call that "chutzpah."

Because, if you recall, we had a contretemps, you and I. No fault of yours. My bad. Yet I take pleasure and pride and honor in knowing that though I stumbled before the finish line on the project, it was I who got Nelson Bond writing again. Hot diggity! (And when the anthology finally does get published, I'll be asking you to allow me to pay you yet again, so I can include it, even if it will be a reprint, not an original, as intended. But that's in the future.) Right now...

I'm dismayed, of course, that your last communique with me was less than loving, but what the hell, we're both old farts now, and we are entitled to curmudge anything, anyone, within reach. It's one of the few perks of finally taking those penultimate draughts of entropy and gravity, the universe's answer to Jim Jones's grape Kool-Aid.

I was asked to drop you a note on this lively occasion, and I expressed some trepidation. I don't think I should jump into Bond's face right now, I said, he's probably still vesuvius-pissed at me about "Pipeline..." But I was assured, let me say that again, kiddo, I was A-SHURD that deep down way inside there somewhere, you actually respected me. Well, if that's the case, hot damn!

But if it isn't, well, I can still tell the world that I knew the man who wrote "And Lo! The Bird." Which, in case I haven't been absolutely blunt about it, is one helluva piece of fiction.

With enormous affection, and even more admiration and respect,
congrats on this auspicious occasion,

Yr. pal, Harlan Ellison.

S. Hancock <estoc@lycos.com>
- Thursday, August 23 2001 23:6:54

This message board has really taken off lately. Just when I chose to stop lurking, too.

I hope no one minds me mouthing about anime.

I agree with most of the choices here for good anime: Neon Genesis Evangelion, most definitely. I watched it in a marathon 13 hour session. It goes where you least expected it to. Some people were disappointed by the ending, but I thought it was truly brilliant. Most animators would end a "giant robot show" (which it wasn't) with a battlefield slaughter. Trivia: The title could also be translated from Japanese as "New Century Gospel".

I found "Ghost in the Shell" to be murky and "Akira" only pretty. The Manga was much better.

It's a pity that anime in this country is mostly considered fanboy-porn drivel, but I suppose that was brought on by the most vocal viewers. I remember reading a stat (about 1997?) that said 10% of the anime made in Japan was porn (what's called Hentai or Ecchi), whereas 40% of the anime that makes it to the U.S. is of the porn variety. The percentage of hetai imports has been steadily decreasing since then, partly because anime is becoming a bit more mainstream, and the vendors being aware of the reputation that anime has gained here. Most are trying to change that by releasing less or either no hentai.

I was put off when I first saw anime. It was so unlike any of the American cartoons that I had seen. I'm not a semiologist, but the symbols and delivery was so unlike what I had seen before. The culture-difference thing, obviously.

Most Americans I've spoken too about anime usually bring up the misogony that Japan seems to be known for here, which is unfortunately reflected in the Hentai/Ecchi department. However, Japan has made some amazing strides in improving this in their culture and nation, certainly faster changes (in the positive) than most Western nations have made. Still a way to go, of course, but I guess you could say that about any country (yes, I'm just generalizing here).

BUT, other series I'd recommend mostly fall in the comedy/drama category: Urusei Yatsura (especially the second movie), Nadesico and Patlabor being some of my favorites.

It's an unfortunate fact that many of the deep or profound anime doesn't come here, which would add to the perception of anime being, again, fan-boy drivel. This seems to be turning back, fortunately.

*ahem* Thanks for reading.

Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 22:32:41

Just so the Haiku Deity doesn't post alone:

Be vewy, vewy
Quiet. I'm hunting wabbits

I tawt I taw a
Puddy-tat. I did! I did
Tee a puddy-tat!

I'm gonna get that
Bird! Sufferin' succotash!
Faw down and go BOOM!

Meep! Meep! Meep-meep-meep
Meep, meep-meep-meep meep meep, meep.
Meep-meep, meep! Meep meep.

Say yore prayers, varmint
Ya goldurned long-eared galoot
Oooh, Ah HATES rabbits.

Fo'tunately, Ah
Keep mah feathers numbuhed for
Such an occasion.

That boy, I say, that
Boy is just about as sharp
As a bowling ball.

- Thursday, August 23 2001 20:37:15

Joseph: Glad to hear about the clean bill of health...but if you think having a lady doctor ask some personal questions is a little invasive, be glad ya don't need to get a pap smear from a male doctor. "He touched me in ways no one has before" takes on a new and horribly literal meaning.

Harlan: Sumo, as in WRESTLING, devotee?

Chuck: Yup, he has clinical depression, but his puny little meds (10mg paxil, that's a cat's dose) no longer do squat for him and he refuses to change the situation. Doesn't get any benefit from therapy, though he seems to love dumping everything on me. He likes to spread the joy. He's also completely incapable of doing any serious introspection (or learning any goddamned lessons...one of those guys who keeps sticking his hand into the fire), but that's another story. Unfortunately, I too have clinical depression, though mine is kept more or less well in hand with MY meds. My only regret is that I didn't start taking drugs sooner. I loves 'em.

Bud: I like ya more with every message you post.

Heather: I'm one of those "private performers," which isn't nearly as dirty as it sounds. I played acoustic guitar, fingerstyle, quite well. Outpaced my teacher and several local blues musicians. But as for performing? Forget it. Someone (sorry, forgot who) posted that forcing yourself to perform publicly would grow easier over time, but that's never been the case for me. I freeze, fumble, and fuck up. That's why I never play guitar for anyone but myself (well, okay, a RARE few have heard me play) and I don't read my stories to an audience. INTROVERT has been indeliably stamped on my noggin. The weird thing is, I used to be involved in sales. Had to talk to people all the time, make them trust and like me, essentially convince them to BUY me (again, not dirty), and I had no trouble whatsoever. And I hated doing it. I wish I could combine that skill with two things I really love, but it just isn't happening.

Congratulations on your new job!

Oh, and I do have one story posted online--it's here, actually, in "Contributions." It's called "Life After Eden," and it's kinda old now. Like six or seven years old. I was sorta angry then. I used to have a website with my stories all posted, but I took it down a few years ago.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, August 23 2001 20:25:21

Title: Inconceivable

"The child is yours, " said Contona Won, "He bares the markings of the Walo child."

I stared, my lips lapsing open, my jaw felt numb.

"It can't be. It's impossible. I've NEVER conceived a child. In fact, they told me I was incapable of doing so."

The small child stared up at me, his small ears pulsing blue and yellow like blood in a vein. He moved his soft golden tail through the sandy soil behind him and looked off at the other children, playing on the gocauna tree and shouting haikus to one another.

"I..I..don't know what to say..."

Won sighed. "He has been waiting for your return these past six years, since you were abducted by the Terrans."


"He has the spine spots of your House," Won interjected "and his tail stripes match your own. As you were the last of the House of Walo, what other conclusion could I draw?"

Zeller stared, stunned by this news. A child? A new scion for her House, to carry on the traditions? The possibilities swirled through her mind as she tried to come to grips with the sheer impossibility of the child's existence.

"What is it's...his...name?"

The Haiku Deity
- Thursday, August 23 2001 20:18:11

Haiku Deity
Saw Lynn's challenge and saw to
Add to the story

"Why, they shout outside!"
Kid's flaxen posterior
Responding flippant

As five-seven-five
Formed rhythm 'till five by five
So five times the end

With tail flush fast
Contona Won's eyes lit up
Before the sundown

"My oh my!" cried Con
"The scion responds," and so
Walo, not J-Lo

Multihued earlobes
Coruscating with the poem
Of boys and girls

And then the five stopped
While Walo, Type B, ceased wag
And sad, the kids ran

Three planets away
A star ceased casting shadow
Clock striking five beats

Outside, a breeze caught
Doors barred, night taught the tots now
Was it his tale?

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 19:49:38

Okay, all you blocked-heads, I DARE YOU! In fact, I DOUBLE DARE YOU to add to the story started below. Betcha can't. Betchur SCARED. Betcha all little mommas and papas boys and girls.

Only rule (not a rule, really) Submit your addition or alter what's gone before. Go for it.

Title: Inconceivable

"The child is yours, " said Contona Won, "He bares the markings of the Walo child."

I stared, my lips lapsing open, my jaw felt numb.

"It can't be. It's impossible. I've NEVER conceived a child. In fact, they told me I was incapable of doing so."

The small child stared up at me, his small ears pulsing blue and yellow like blood in a vein. He moved his soft golden tail through the sandy soil behind him and looked off at the other children, playing on the gocauna tree and shouting haikus to one another.

"I..I..don't know what to say..."


How apt a last line. Now MOVE it, y'all.



David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, August 23 2001 19:48:46


There's a BUNCH of my writing on my Web site -- www.david-loftus.com -- and access to some more recent stuff on other people's Web sites on the Links page of my site. Especially check out the stuff I wrote this year for www.documentaryfilms.net, which let me stretch out a bit. (And of course, there's my commentaries on three of Ellison's books right here on Rick's site.)

Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 18:53:33

Just to chime in on another subject, I don't read film (or book) critics until after I've seen (or read) the movie (book)(was that confusing enough?). Not even you, Harlan. I base my decisions on what to see by word of mouth or what I see in trailers, just like God intended. Yeah, I've paid to see some crap, but I've also seen things like Six String Samurai, Miracle Mile, and Quiet Sun.

Now, I thoroughly enjoy reading reviewers/critics AFTER the fact. Especially you, Harlan. It's fun to see where I agree and disagree with them (I *liked* Buckaroo Banzai, nyah-nyah), and I will freely admit that quite often there's a lot of insight in the reviews that I don't get by myself.

So, by and large, I don't have any favorites. Except Harlan, of course, because even when we disagree about a movie, his reviews are so cogent and so filled with wit that I don't care if he's wrong.

Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 18:42:59


"...Phagan" may have been a gem to watch, but shooting it sucked, and I was only on the set for *one day.*

First, I was left sitting in my trailer waiting for the script for three hours. Then, when I finally got the script, I still hadn't been to make-up. That was another two hours. When I finally did get into make-up/hair, they were going to tuck my ponytail up under my hat; I said no, I'm a pro, just whack it off. They did (no complaints, I *am* a pro, and it was necessary for the role). So I come out of the trailer looking like a Serbian pimp, get to the set - this is a good six hours late, now, most of the crew is well into golden time - when the 1st AD walks up to me shame-facedly and says, "Bud, I'm sorry, but Billy (Hale, the director) decided to keep you off-camera."

Now don't misunderstand me. I'm not that enamored of seeing my face, enlarged pores and all, on-screen. It's like seeing my name in print - been there, done that, not impressed anymore.

But couldn't that mealy-mouthed sonofabitch have made that decision *before* I was transformed into a Georgia cracker? As it was, I did my lines as inserts, and the pay was the same, but the project had soured on me long before.

They shot in Richmond for several weeks, and Hale just got further and further behind. Finally, after he'd tied up a local mansion for 48 hours with the stars and extras milling around *without shooting an inch of film*, George Stevens took the film away from him and finished it himself. I don't think Hale has worked since.

But like I said, Jack Lemmon was way cool.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 23 2001 18:33:43


Rosenbaum? Lord, I can never see what his droning creeds do to appeal to people. I think the final straw was when he made the statement about Baz Lurhmann in his capsule review of Moulin Rogue: "definite improvement over his disgusting first feature, Strictly Ballroom."

Now I can see not liking "Strictly Ballroom." It's not to everybody's tastes. But disgusting?

Ah, I went back to Rosenbaum's actual review of "Strictly Ballroom." There, he calls it "one of the more horrific and unpleasant movies in quite some time." What's up with that?

Now, I certainly applaud a critic who is willing to have an odd opinion. But to refer to a movie like "Ballroom" as disgusting and horrific and not back it up? Seems like a little bit of from-on-high syndrome (which seems to affect Michael Wilmington as well, but certainly not as much).


Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 18:30:48

By the way, Heather, my first pro sale didn't happen until I was 43; it's never too late.

Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 18:28:52


The first of the Bubba Pritchert stories, "Bubba Pritchert and the Space Aliens", is at http://www.wwco.com/scifi/event_horizon/vol1iss3/bubba.shtml for free. The second, "The Three Labors of Bubba", is at Mind's Eye (http://tale.com/titles-free.phtml?title_id=29); you can read the first half for free, but the rest costs something ridiculous like 50 cents.

Those are the only things I have on-line right now, since I've never been terribly happy about on-line reading for pleasure. Aside from places like this, I know *I* certainly don't read for pleasure on-line, and there's even less money in it on-line than off-.

Let me know what you think if you take a look at them.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 17:4:37

Oh.. and I forgot to say:

I picked up a collection of Irwin's Shaw's short stories from the library. (There was a real good forward in that book. "Five Decades", I think the book is called.) I'm gonna go "wah" if you tell me I shouldn't be reading Shaw.

...well, if you DO, explain why. I realize SOMETIMES it's even because you KNEW the person, (ie. Harlan) and you had a run-in with them and your view of their writing changed. But that's no reason for ME not to like a book. Hope you get my point here--it's on the tippytop of my head.

I read the first short story about a football player ("80 yards" or something like that) and was immediately enthralled. Shaw paints such amazing characters and a sense of place in such a brief time.

I've always had a bug up my ass about guys who were on the football team in high school and go on and on about the "glory days." It makes me say, "What about now--the days you are living through? If your high school football days were your BEST days, I feel sorry for you.

But this piece.. and the way Shaw played it--I swear, it changed my view, forever, on the importance of having a "time" like that in your life. I'm sure it had a lot to do with the significance it played in the rest of the story.. but still.

It made me cry.

Actually, I keep hearing about these books I SHOULDN'T read--s'plain it a bit more to me. Point out some elements here and I DON'T mean in a critiquey sorta way. I read a quote from Bradbury who said you should read the good, the bad, the crap, the eagles.. all of it, to get a sense of what writing is all about.

I know Stephen King commented on how some of these popular writers get a successful book and continuing writing the SAME one, over and over.

But how do _I_ know you ain't jus' telling me what books you like, due to a personal preference? I started digging in again a little with mystery but it struck me how I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY was getting tired of the genre. And THAT'S just a personal preference--not a reason to read or not read a book.

Comments? (though you've been damn right on with your suggestions, I must admit. Thank you, all. But I don't want to simply move from ONE limited view -- my old one, let's say; to a NEW limited view. Hope that makes sense.


Frank Church
- Thursday, August 23 2001 16:57:26

I was shocked to find out that Harlan wasn't informed about John Simon writing for the National Review. Simon seems way to elitist for my tastes. It's as if he looks to hate every film he comes across. Can't the guy just enjoy a fucking film? Actually, the best movie critic is, Jonathan Rosenbaum, of the Chicago Reader. He is quite literary in his writing style, but has a bit more of an open mind about films.

Actually some of the best debates are in news-groups. But I will admit, the right wing wacho's come out of the honeycomb. But isn't it fun to pop their overheated baloon?

Vidal is my hero, no doubt about it. He says the things that noone would dare, but at the same time unlike Chomsky, Vidal isn't completely censored from the mainstream media. But I was shocked at an interview Vidal did with, Larry Kramer, of ACTUP, the radical gay group. Kramer suggested that George Bush should be given the Aids virus, and Vidal was in agreement.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 16:37:4


Per your comments:

Cool *smile*

I think -- I'm 44 -- as writing is just another foray into yet another form of creativity for me, I don't have all the usual heebeegeebees that some of my younger writer friends have. It's like, one day, I just woke up and said, "I need to try something else here." And I came upon this idea of writing.

And as I've DONE all the anal/tightass/worrywart stuff with others things I'd been into -- and being older, too, I think -- I simply decided NOT to sweat it; whatever happens with this gig, happens. So I comPLETELY understand what you mean about giving birth to a wonder of your own that holds you in immense awe; yet your neighbors turn their heads away when you proffer it to them -- and I'm glad you had Mary to help you through it *grin* -- and you're ready to bite a bullet; but I'm glad you've continued.

You sound like writing is your blood--no, that's not a typo.


P.S. Do you (or anyone since I last asked) have any work I might access; by internet or offline? I would like to read you guys.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, August 23 2001 16:7:25

It actually didn't surprise me to see Simon at the National Review. No, it's not because I expected him to be a reactionary; it's because a lot of conservatives like to affect a love for the "eternal verities," like clarity, truth, raptures over the classics, and disdain for "fashions" like civil rights and feminism. It's sort of like the way the _American Spectator_'s crew tried to present themselves as latter-day Menckens.

And for years, Simon did seem to have a bug up his ass about gays in theatre and film. He seems to have worked his way through that phase: I read a review he wrote of a new biography of John Gielgud, and Simon discussed the actor's romantic life with respect and without any evident flinching.

What I like about Simon derives from something that Simon once said (and that Harlan's quoted here and there)-- that the job of a critic is not to evaluate stuff as good or bad, but to engage the reader and make him or her _think_. I usually disagree with Simon's reviews if only because we obvious want different things from film, but he occasionally raises a point or gloms onto some theme about the culture that I hadn't quite distilled on my own. (That's why I actually enjoy finding conservative writers who have some _substance_ behind them, and who strive for honesty in their work-- Robert Conquest, for example-- and have no patience with peddlers of attitude or corrupt argument, like Dinesh D'Souza or Rush Limbaugh or Charles Murray.)

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 23 2001 15:57:26


"Murder" is actually a fine piece of work to watch. Too bad it's out of print at the moment. And hey, anything that gives Charles Dutton work is just fine by me (though, knowing more about the Mary Phagan murder these days, the memory of the umbrella crushing scene gives me a smile).

So what did you have to do with this little gem?


Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 15:34:20


++"The Ballad of Mary Phagan?" Only production I'm familiar with was the 80's TV movie "The Murder of Mary Phagan," with Jack Lemmon and Peter Gallagher (and Kevin Spacey, for that matter). There's also a musical called "Parade," though I'm sure that's not what you're talking about.++

"Ballad..." was the shooting title, it was changed for broadcast. I've never watched the goddam thing, myself, it was just too much of a pain in the ass to shoot. Jack Lemmon, though, was a hoot; he gave me a fill out of his tobacco pouch.


Forgive me, I meant to congratulate you on nailing the job and didn't. Belated congrats, and I hope you're getting paid enough.

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 23 2001 14:46:53


"Lain" is an oddity. I've never seen anime quite like it. Surreal, disturbing, and disjointed, but compelling nonetheless. I found myself sucked into the character of Lain and couldn't figure out why. I also found the opening music (BOA's "Duvet") to be hauntingly appropriate. The hard part was watching it, subtitles and all, while I was extremely tired.

By the way, if you liked "Ghost in the Shell" you might also like (if you haven't seen it already) "Akira". The story notwithstanding, the backgrounds, character designs and the music (especially in the opening scenes) are excellent.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Chris L, - Thursday, August 23 2001 14:39:15

"Writer's block? Perhaps "Writer's Lack of Discipline", but I haven't had a spot yet that really hung me up when I had a full head of steam and an idea of where I wanted to go"

Finder, I've always thought of Writer's Block (every bit as worthy of capitalization as God or Joel Schumacher) as precisely the condition when one doesn't have an idea and where to go with it.

I've had writer's block for the last 5 years. Now let me be clear on one point. Some folks here are writers or aspire to make a vocation of it. I never did. It was just a hobby for me. But I used to write freely. Ideas were never a problem and I had fun doing it and I wrote all the time.

Then I went through a 4 year stretch where everyone related to me died one by one all in different ways and the idea well just dried up and never has filled again. At first, I figured it was a normal reaction to enduring the deaths of so many loved ones in such a short period of time. I figured it would just go back to the way it always was in time. But months stretched into years and I am still in the paralyzing grip of blank page syndrome.

Its feels strange like waking up one day and realizing you don't need to breathe anymore. You're still alive and you get through your daily events just fine but something you took for granted and did every day just is gone.

Maybe it'll still come back one day but I no longer expect it.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 23 2001 14:31:30


Congrats on the new job, and you were correct that the movie is called "The Ghost in the Shell."

"Lain" is an odd movie. Saw it last week and I'm not sure what I think yet - I'll probably have to watch it again.


"The Ballad of Mary Phagan?" Only production I'm familiar with was the 80's TV movie "The Murder of Mary Phagan," with Jack Lemmon and Peter Gallagher (and Kevin Spacey, for that matter). There's also a musical called "Parade," though I'm sure that's not what you're talking about.


the Finder
- Thursday, August 23 2001 14:14:46

Performers? Aside from roles in the short films made among my merry little band of creative wingnuts and co-conspirators, I was once the only Caucasian member of an African-American theater company. It was a fascinating experience. There's a certain reality check to coming on stage about fifteen minutes into a show, and as you hit your mark, you hear a voice from somewhere in the front rows, beyond the footlights - a melodious child's tone, filled to bursting with innocence and awe, that filters up to your ears as if the entire auditorium has been rendered mute for this single observation to be zeroed in on and heard and etched into memory: "Mommy - that's a WHITE man."

I also play the accordion, but am sorely out of practice. I could probably still butcher "My Bonnie", though.

Sir Fred Hoyle? Damn. I'm actually more familiar with him as an astronomer and scientist - coined the phrase "the big bang", though he never supported the theory - but I do recall "A For Andromeda" from back in high school.

Bud - Welcome; I've lurked a lot out on a.f.h-e, and it's great to see you in the mix here.

Harlan - Thirty-four cents later, we discover what a friendly neighborhood Finder is for. The shark swims the Marianas trench in search of shiny nickels. Talk to your postman on Tuesday.

Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq. - Nuthin' but love, GM - 's'all good. Your advice to Rob gave me flashbacks: Had a homeboy back at SUNY who dissuaded a mooch from takin' his eats by adding a little Vitamin P to a box of granola. Moochie was illin when he got the 411 on the all natural additives - not my scene, and I definitely steered clear of homeboy's Cracker Jacks, but you've never seen a face go slack fastuh than that day.

Writer's block? Perhaps "Writer's Lack of Discipline", but I haven't had a spot yet that really hung me up when I had a full head of steam and an idea of where I wanted to go

Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 14:6:45


Yeah, I've done the choral thing too, with both the local symphony chorus and others, and I played in garage bands from 1965 to the late '70s; there's a lot of magic there. Never recorded, at least not seriously, but that wasn't the point. The point was to get girls.

Chorally, we did everything from Penderecki to Tallis, with the Missa Solemnis thrown in for roughage. Garage-ishly, I was split-running a Silvertone bass through a Fender Showman with two cabinets and a Silvertone Twin-Twelve with another pair of cabs; I had a Cry-Baby pedal and a Maestro Fuzz in-line, and I added a German knock-off of an EchoPlex and whatever reverb and tremolo effects the amps already had. It took me an hour to set up and break down, but I could blow ANY other bass player out of the room. And did, at the frequent Battles of the Bands held at the local Skatelands and VFW halls.

I find no dichotomy between those two musical experiences, by the way. Each was ecstatic in its own way.

I built a Theremin once, too, but the less said about that the better.


++You're telling me, you got writer's block, because: 1)you don't think your work is "good" enough. 2)you're winning accolades and even awards and you're worried you are a fake and that you won't win more awards.++

Well, no, not quite. I mentioned the awards simply as an indicator of what the Analog readers thought about the stories. Winning awards is NOT terribly important to me. It's nice, and I doubt I'd refuse one if offered, but that's not why I do this. When Mary says "Wow!" about a phrase or idea, that's plenty of award.

And, no, I'm not a fake - but I didn't know that a year ago. Setting aside all false modesty, I couldn't have written "Christus Destitutus" or "Frog Level (is Not Congruent to) Frog Level" if I were.

See, a block isn't a logical, rational problem; no depression ever is. This is about, as I said earlier, baggage. I could detail my childhood and what my parents were like and how many times I got beat up at school for being a smartass, but none of that is particularly germaine. Well, it's absolutely germaine, really, but it certainly isn't rare.

But it's all baggage I should have dealt with loooooong ago, and didn't, and a couple of years ago this specific piece of luggage rose up and bit me on the ass. With some help, and a lot of honesty, and Mary's untiring support, I came out of it.

This is not to say that it won't recur at some point down the line, because the habits of 40+ years aren't so easily broken. But I've did it once, and I can dood it again if necessary. I know that now.

As for the fear of being found out as a fake...well, I'll just say that there are writers whom I respect enormously who like my stuff, and they have absolutely no vested interest in saying so if they didn't. I can't ignore that.

Enough of that; although I'm damned proud that I'm accepted as a peer by writers whose work Ive read for decades, there's still enough Baptist CoA in me to feel guilty about saying so.

When I finished "Christus Destitutus" (out next year in CROSSROADS: SOUTHERN STORIES OF THE FANTASTIC), I decided it was the best thing I'd ever written, and possibly the best thing I ever WOULD write. It was the former.

I couldn't *give* it away. Nobody wanted to buy it. Granted, it's controversial - the first line is "Jesus lay dying in a $5 flop." - but I ran up against something I didn't want to believe still existed, especially not in our field: taboos. I was told by at least one editor, and several other writers, that I didn't stand a chance of selling it to a magazine, that my only shot at publication was to some anthology. Well, that did eventually happen.

But in the meantime, the piece I was proudest of, the one that took the most out of me when I wrote it, the one that made me cry when I wrote it and again when I read it to a roomful of people at a local con, sat gathering dust like the worst of trunk stories. That took a lot of the heart right out of me, and those goddam voices in the back of my head started niggling. And got louder.

No, Heather, it didn't have anything to do with being afraid I'd never win a Hugo. Nobody wanted my best and handsomest child, and they've all been in the business a lot longer than I have, and they must know more than I do, so it must NOT be my best and handsomest and if it isn't, then where the hell does that leave me? Adrift, if I may steal unashamedly, off the Islets of Langerhans, and slowly drowning.

But I got out of it, with some help and encouragement from people I couldn't ignore, and if it does happen again, it won't be as bad and I won't sink as far.

A last word on awards, at least for this note: the cheaply printed certificate I was handed by Buzz Potter, the editor and publisher of the Hobo Times when I won the NHA poetry contest means more to me than *any* Nebula or Hugo, no matter how fancy or expensive they are.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 23 2001 13:14:58


Thanks very much for the Vidal/Chomsky leads. I actually know a number of people myself who are crypto-lotsa things. When you designated the material I put through an online search and located the whole damn thing, including the Buckley account and when he dropped the lawsuit. I'll read it later. Who says the internet is useless and negligible?


An awful lotta things wuz trapped in the body of Janis Joplin!

I remember Steve Gerber really well from my comics days. I'm gradually pushing toward graphic novels myself - writing and drawing them (the graphics will be done on the pc, if I can ever get used to the damned "etcher-sketch" stiples; I still work free-hand).

I appreciate what you're saying. But apart from the advantages and disadvantages between drawing a sequence and filming one, written narrative in a comic is generally more accepted anyway. The language of the camera is different. And expectations differ in EVERY medium.

In the case with that movie, even if they felt some exposition was needed - and some brief lines would have been fine - it was superfluous; they went way past what was needed. Like a mantra my lips began repeating, "oh, c'mon, lady", "oh, c'mon, lady."

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 13:11:42

I am SURE you will hear this phrase from me often, but, what the fuck...



Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 12:25:25

I tried an anime club here on campus last year. I love comic book art and illustration so I thought I'd give it a try. I started to get bored with the cutsy and "whacky" (as the club president put it) stuff and left, but I did see two things I thought rather cool (correct me on the title here, any of you anime freaks)..it was a rather moody, cool, Bladerunner-like full-length film called "Ghost in the Shell" (I think) It asked some interesting questions; and a series called "Serial Experiments: Lain" What a storyline!


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 23 2001 12:11:34

Harlan: Yep, as Brian Siano pointed out, our old buddy John Simon has been residing in the Dark Tower of the National Review for a couple of decades, now. Whenever I'm at the local newsstand, I always conceal the latest Buckley's Folly inside a copy of The Nation or Mother Jones, so I can read Simon's film column while keeping my bleeding-heart bonafides intact. (I never actually BUY the thing--what are you, freakin' NUTS or something?!?!?) Yes, Simon's reviews frequently degenerate to the level of the cheap-shot; yes, you often get the distinct feeling that, on the whole, he'd rather be reviewing the new Stoppard play than sitting still for the latest Spielberg; and, yes, he has a decided blind spot for the simple pleasures of anything that deigns to entertain without getting hoity-toity about it. But, he is a vital corrective to the dearth of tough critical thinking in today's often-flaccid movie reviews--Simon ALWAYS demands nothing less than the highest standards from today's filmmakers, and expects that the audience should, too. And, as you pointed out, Harlan, the man's prose is a textbook example of flawless grammar and peerless syntax. Long may he rave. And keep your eye out for actresses bearing plates of spaghetti, John.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 12:3:40

Hi Paul, I like your stuff.. I'm Heather

Paul, you're missing a great idea here. Revamp that web site; start a new religion --- call it "We be whiter than white" and you could make a killing selling subscriptions and "hot Clorox enemas" for purge parties.

Trust me. I've got a good feeling about this.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, August 23 2001 11:58:28

Heather asked: "You're telling me, you got writer's block, because: 1)you don't think your work is "good" enough. 2) you're winning accolades and even awards and you're worried you are a fake and that you won't win more awards."

The nearest thing I can think of to compare it to is a common ailment among women: an obsession with one's physical appearance, especially relative thinness, and being convinced that one is not "good enough" in that department even when other people are constantly falling all over themselves to be near you and compliment you.

Most writers have it especially hard, if they're not blockbuster sellers, because they work alone, and they rarely hear from anyone who's read them (IS there anybody out there, really?), so it's very easy to fall into various head trips. Hence, an obsession with awards, which are somewhat tangible and (semi-demi-hemi-)objective assessments of one's "worth," may develop.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 11:51:8

To all and sundry who spoke of the nutbrains at the alt. listserv.

You trying to tell me that there's a guy on that listserv who HATES Harlan Ellison? I thought places like that were for FANS of the particular subject. Oh god, testosterooone!

I remember the first listserv I subscribed to. What was it called.. hmmm..Nosh? Some kind of writer's group. Members were jumping ship slap dash and moving to the other listserv I was directed to. It was almost a splinter group of all the people from this first group who had grown tired of the bloody individual who ran the listserv -- in this case, I really think he had some mental problems.

But here he was, in a group of writers, and he slammed people mercilessly. Insanity, I tell ya. I didn't stay long.

Also, to note, as with a wink to the "Robs" in our group: I've met guys in person who have HUGE LOUD ROARS when they speak on a list; in person, they can't even look you in the eye and can barely put two sentences together. (NO, I don't mean Rob's like that -- I've never met him -- but you get my point here.)

Listservs and forums have a LEEETLE bit of roleplaying going on in 'em, if you hadn't noticed. I bet this creep on that alt. listserv is a queeker in real life; and he gets his kicks kicking the crap outa whoever or whatever's on this forum.

Gawd, just don't bring them in here, okay? *laugh*


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, August 23 2001 11:48:1

Re: John Simon. I'm surprised to hear he's been reviewing for the National Review, but (on the one hand) film reviewing is not necessarily a political activity -- or it doesn't have to be -- and (on the other) after having read hundreds of Simon's pieces (mostly 15 to 20 years old, and mostly between book covers), I can't say I've ever gotten the clear impression he was NOT a political conservative.

I'd go on reading him anyway, simply because he uses so many big woids and can increase your vocabulary, if nothing else. Does anyone know whether he still does a language/English usage column anywhere? I liked his stuff along that line better than Buchanan/Safire/Newman et al.

Who's everybody's favorite film critic, by the way -- including you, Harlan? Mine's always been Stanley Kauffmann of the New Republic.

Trivia notes: Simon, a Harvard grad, was born in the former Yugoslavia.

Heather asked: "By the by, do we have any OTHER entertainers here? I mean, theatre, stand up, that sorta thing?"

I would venture a guess that the percentage of performers in this enclave, since it is made up of a big number of readers and writers (especially readers and writers of speculative fiction), is probably a bit lower than the percentage of wordsmiths. Along with Bud, I'm an exception.

I've sung in a crack community chamber choir (which took me to international choral festivals in Missoula and Estonia, as well as the stage of Carnegie Hall), and with a symphonic choir (which has recorded on CD with the Oregon Symphony); danced in morris dance teams in Boston and Portland (for which I also play fiddle); read literature (Bradbury, Donne, Carroll, Fitzgerald, Marquez, Cortazar, MFK Fisher) aloud to live audiences at Powell's Books and local Borders outlets; recorded books for blind and elderly housebound listeners as a volunteer for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind and "Golden Hours," a radio broadcast service here in Portland; acted in college and amateur community theater (a little Shakespeare, Camus, and T.S. Eliot, as well as several Gilbert & Sullivans, "Annie," Ayckbourn's "The Norman Conquests")....

But that's all just for fun. I'm primarily a writer. I guess.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 11:34:0

Hm...Interesting interview. And to THINK the only reason I went DOWN to that area yesterday was to look for food. It's a cashiering position. If they're interested, they'll let me know in a day or so.

Anyway, back to Bud:

I understand perfectly what led you to writer's block. It helps me a lot. Thanks, Bud. *smile* Hope you catch my drift here -- I'm attempting to be as straight with people on this forum as I possibly can. (Tis a nice feeling to be able to DO that and not "make nice" all the damn time for the tinheads out there in the "real" world.)

A question: (and I put this to others, including Harlan, as I've noticed he dotes on one of these aspects as well, sometimes...)

You're telling me, you got writer's block, because: 1)you don't think your work is "good" enough. 2)you're winning accolades and even awards and you're worried you are a fake and that you won't win more awards.


Per point two: Since WHEN was this all about winning awards? (Please believe me, I'm interested and intent as to your welfare and not being a jerk--I worry about how I'm coming across but I'm also trying to find answers here and sometimes, while trying to get to my point, I miss and you feel hurt. NOT the intent. *smile*)

I DON'T understand where all this award crap = "I must be a good writer; the sci-fi crowd gave me an award." I KNOW where it started: They were trying to raise the level of quality and maybe even visibility of science fiction writers.

But when the purpose of "getting an award" drives you to NOT write, Houston, I've got a problem.

Now, as to your feeling your work isn't good enough; I simply ask you this: Did you do the best you could do at the time? (note the last three words) Are you planning to get better?

Well, then, why the worry? HUH? I ask ya.. HUH? *smile*

Did you pop out of the womb and your mom said: "What? You can't drive a car? What? You can't discuss the ethical structure of the universe? What? Are you DUMB OR SUMMAT?

*pant pant* Calm.. Heather .. calm

If you are doing your best work TODAY.. that's all that matters. And if you want to improve, STRIVE to improve, reduce flaws, smooth edges, learn more...

That's enough for me.

Who am I?

I'm the one who reads you. K?

Heather (oh.. and sorry if this idea has already been conveyed to Bud. I'm at the bottom of the posts.)

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, August 23 2001 11:30:25

Re Peg's question on killfiling. That's a command or setting that people use to filter out messages by some criteria-- for example, if the "Author" field contained a particular name, or if the "Subject" contained certain words. If a message meets the criteria, my message browser just doesn't show it to me.

Alex Krislov's comment about his story reminds me of an odd occurrence from some fiction I tried to write once. The idea was that some minor Sixties band, who'd had maybe one hit single, had regrouped as part of an oldies tour, and as they toured creepy things'd start happening that gradually revealed something horrible from their collective past. (I hadn't read George Martin's _The Armageddon Rag_ yet.) Only wrote the opening scene, where the venue they were rehearsing had this kid who ran the displays on the video monitors, and the kid had made tapes of those gloopy oil-on-water things they used to project on scrims at the Fillmore West. (Sort of a new technology meets old-style thing.)

A few years later, I go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and they're having a very nice exhibition on "The Psychedelic Years." I walk into a side room, where they have a stage set up with the Grateful Dead's circa-1967 equipment... and video monitors showing those gloopy oil-on-water images from the old Fillmore. It wasn't as strange as the feeling I had seeing the wreckage of Otis Redding's plane on display, but it was a bit... odd.

(BTW, at Hall'o'Fame, check out the displays of rock magazines. Somewhere in the display, there's an issue of _Crawdaddy_ with Harlan's name prominently on the cover.)

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker Heights, OH United States - Thursday, August 23 2001 11:12:46

This just in from CNN--Fred Hoyle has died. Another great departs for, well, other parts.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker Heights, OH United States - Thursday, August 23 2001 11:3:43


Yeah, the endless exposition at the end of "The Others" is a bit of a drag, but sometimes it's difficult to convey subtle things through visuals alone. I once wrote a horror comic called "Is It Live?" about live wannabe rockers having their souls sucked out to revive the bodies of dead, but famous, rockers. My editor was Steve Gerber, and the two of us spent days trying to come up with a visual that would convey the notion that a girl's soul was trapped in the revived body of Janis Joplin. Finally, we gave up and I used straight exposition. I've always felt the story was a failure because of that. It's _hard_ to do some things visually.

--Invisibly yours,

The hairy guy in Cleveland

Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 10:59:9


Thanks for the welcome, I'm glad I tried this place. Great food and the wait-staff is terrific.

++By the by, do we have any OTHER entertainers here? I mean, theatre, stand up, that sorta thing?++

I've done several movies, two of which show up with uncomfortable frequency on cable: Dream West and The Ballad of Mary Phagan. The first was indeed a dream, the second a nightmare.

A couple of (then) local animators, Steve Segal (now at Pixar) and Phil Trumbo (who also played bass for the Orthotonics) did a short film called Futuropolis back about 20 years ago. I not only had an on-screen role, but did a half-dozen character voices as well.

Harlan's opinion of my tendency to be "much too serious about almost everything" notwithstanding, I did try standup a couple of times - and floated offstage in my own flop-sweat. I'm better at improv.

Let's see. I've done quite a bit of stage work locally, and a LOT of readings; one of the high points of my life was winning the National Hobo Association poetry contest last year and getting to read my stfnal hobo poem, "The Ballad of Kansas McGriff" to a crowd of several hundred hobos. I even wore my propeller-fez. Afterward, an old 'bo named Jungle Jack, who was a sf fan back in the '30s, grabbed me by the hand and said, "Boy, that's the best damn pome I ever HEARD!" Now, THAT'S praise. SCREW the Nebula voters.

As for being long-winded, well, yeah, I tend to be. I just hope I don't bore anybody while I'm doing it.

Harlan, I got a question for you: back in the mid-'70s or so, the people at Unearth released a cassette of you being roasted that was badly edited and incomplete. Any possibility of it ever being re-done and issued by the HERC?

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 23 2001 9:56:36


A short reply. I'll be back in a bit. Maybe found a job, IN THE DAMN BUILDING. *snort*

Welcome, Bud.

Now as to talky.. bullshit to that. If you feel like talking, talk. If you feel like talking for a long, long, long, long, long while, DO so.

You SOUND like you have something to say. It's more about THAT then how long one's posts are. Dig?

Thanks for the writer's block info. I'll comment a tad on that shortly.

Heather -- no pixy dust here. The closest I ever got to a Disney would be standing beside Harlan while he does his Mickey Mouse impression. By the by, do we have any OTHER entertainers here? I mean, theatre, stand up, that sorta thing?

St. Pete, FL - Thursday, August 23 2001 9:50:57

Jesse Helms: I was involved with Jim Hunt's senatorial campaign (then Governor of N.C.)to oust Jesse from office back in '84 (or was it '86-tempus fugit)when Jim was the Democratic opponent. Helms' campaign was full of dirty tricks and racism. Despite that, Hunt made a very close showing and we gave Helms a good scare. If I recall it was a 51/49 percentage for Helms. (All at the height of Reagan's power and when the word "Democrat" was unspoken for fear of retribution by the conservative yahoos.) N.C. at that time had racists elements. Cafe owners were still refusing to serve african-americans. One of the african-american basketball players at my college was threatened he would be shot if he played a particular game. There are some good folks there, but the stinkers really made the place smell.

Bud Webster
- Thursday, August 23 2001 9:22:47

Goodness! Welcomed not only by the thundering herd, but by Himself as well. I AM honored.


++Hi, Bud. Welcome to the 'hood. You will enjoy yourself like crazy here. These are terrific, whip-smart conversationalists. It's a cheery little salon where men and women of good hearts and sane minds fret and gibber and pontificate ever so grandly. It's like the best late-night bullfrog and pizza dorm-klatsch you've ever attended. I've grown very fond of each and every one of the litle fuckers. And having you duck in and out is a lovely bonus.++

Sort of like when I talk to myself, right? Of course, right. But, yeah, I'd noticed that the level of discourse was an order of magnitude or two higher than elsewhere, so kudos to Rick for having us and to you for the willingness to participate.

++Folks, I vouch for Webster. He's big, and ungainly, and tends to be much too serious about almost everything; but I'm sure you'll break his spirit in no time atall atall. When he starts spewing milk outta his snout, you'll know he's joined this cockeyed caravanserie for true.++

Like hell. I was primo class clown from junior high right straight through college, boychik. I made *teachers* spew milk. And I'll get you yet.

"Ungainly?" Why, I'll have you know that I move with the grace of a LION. A well-fed lion, perhaps, and one that could stand to shed the odd pound or two (most of my poundage is, in fact, a bit odd), but graceful nonetheless. If you ignore the curb finders on my shoes.

O...s and P....r are bozos, immediately recognizable by their orange hair and big shoes. P....r is harmless, if annoying as hell, but O...s strikes me as the kind of yutz that waits for unsuspecting writers outside panels with a cup of warm...but you get the idea.

Alt.fan.harlan-ellison was started by someone who meant to do you honor, I have no doubt, and by and large that's what it's stayed; you may recall a situation with an abusive personality in the newsgroup several years ago which you successfully defused by having Rick post a message from you revealing that said trouble-maker was, in fact, a friend of yours who *thought* he was doing you a favor. Same place, same situation, different assholes.

What it has become now may very well not be permanent, but the atmosphere here is so congenial, so comfortable (already!) that I doubt I'll go back for more than a quick look.

And, however knee-jerk I may be about syntax and such, I have no desire to turn myself in to a grammar-cop here. Why, I won't even correct you when you use the word "irregardless."

++Again, Bud...welcome to the place where everybody knows your name.++

Thank you, Harlan. It's nice to be home. Cheers.


++Bud's been an friend to this site and this editor for damn near as long as Webderland has been active. Please make him welcome.++

Huh, that's right, I have. Last month I ran across the first message you sent me years ago when the site was in the planning stages; I was on a local free-net then. You done GOOD, boy!

++Any issues with that?++

None whatsoever. Screw 'em, let them find their own dates.

- Thursday, August 23 2001 7:6:53

Dumb question - can you explain exactly what you mean by "killfiled" wrt message boards? (I'm familiar with the practice of filtering email by sender, etc., but am not sure how this is applied on a message board - esp. if you can change names when you post)

Harlan - Never did I think the day would come when you would explain why you'd actually been *away* from an internet website for 3 or 4 days! There must be a run on ice skates in hell.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, August 23 2001 4:6:13

The famous Vidal-Buckley "debate" was just part of the show at the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. I haven't seen it, because ABC never runs it, and various sources say the tape doesn't exist (yeah, right).

But if you find an anthology of articles from Esquire titled _Smiling through the Apocalypse_, you'll find paired articles about the event written by Vidal and Buckley. (You will also find Gay Talese's profile of Frank Sinatra, in which The Voice decides to pick a fight with a screenwriter named Harlan Ellison.) There's another account on Fred Kaplan's biography of Vidal, and if you can locate John Judis's biography of Buckley you'll probably find another account.

If I recall, Vidal claimed that he'd wanted to call Buckley a "crypto-Fascist," but for some reason he blocked on the word. So he called Buckley a crypto-Nazi instead. Buckley, in turn called Vidal a "goddamn queer" and threatened to sock him on the nose. The subsequent articles went into even greater detail, preented in vastly more erudite fashion-- Buckley denouncing Vidal's attention on sex, and Vidal discussing the quasi-Klanlike funtime activities of Buckley's family-- and sparked a lawsuit or two.

If you're a fan of watching Buckley threaten violence against his betters, check out the wonderful documentary _Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media_. There's a clip from a 1960's episode of _Firing Line_, where Chomsky is patiently discussing the immorality of the Vietnam War. Buckley says he admires Chomsky's calm-- especially since "I'd like to punch you in the face."

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 23 2001 3:36:38

It’s always a fun trip listening to the mellifluous, erudite James Mason-like tones of Gore Vidal. On the tube he once had a confrontation with the ostensibly loquacious William F. Buckley that became almost legendary. Regretfully, I never saw it. I was told he reduced Buckley to a babbling idiot, revealing him for what he really was ("...well, you’re a fag and I’m going to punch you right in the nose!") and still is. Man, I REALLY wish I’d seen that.

OK. Here comes the take-it-or-leave-it 2 cent bullshit question, Harlan. What has YOUR take on Vidal always been as a writer, a critic, a historian?

Listening to the two of you on a panel or on the radio together would’ve been BLOODY royal!


Re:'The Others'. I absolutely agree with you; if it's anything that filtered through the distractions for me that night it's the ending and its endless exposition. I like the film, but Kidman sits there musing ceaselessly, explaining EVERYTHING to us dense folk in the audience to make sure we get it. The whole damn thing is literalized as the movie's premise gets pounded into our heads. I hate that and I'm suprised I tolerated it as much as I did. It almost ruins the whole ending. It's the sort of thing I get down on Spielberg for all the time. 'The Sixth Sense' revealed its twist ending through visual data, without a word of dialogue; the way that sort of thing SHOULD be done.

So much for my own consistancy; I guess some of its timeless "haunting" elements made up for it sufficiently (as opposed to older pop-outings like 'Poltergeist').

Peter <writerpo@pacbell.net>
Union City, CA - Thursday, August 23 2001 2:29:48

Hmmmm... Anime. For the most part, I have to agree with our old pal Paul Riddell about most anime being nothing but porn for people who only get excited at the sight of animated breasts. However, there are a couple of series that I have quite enjoyed.

Neon Genesis is a funky little series which somewhat successfully (and somewhat unsuccessfully) integrates giant fighting robots with dialectic investigations into self, identity, and existence. Worth checking out, with some of the most disturbing scenes in animation I have ever seen. The english dubbing is nothing short of excellent. I've actually collected this series on DVD, I rate it so highly.

Another is Cowboy Bebop, which, from what I've seen, is an entertaining show with one of the best opening songs I've heard in a long, long time. Only seen half a dozen episodes, but I liked what I saw.

---Peter (who turns into a grammatical gremlin after midnight)

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 23 2001 2:27:28

Anime (good Anime, anyhow) isn't really an art form for those who expect tight plots and good character developement (there are exceptions however). Also forgot to mention "Roughnecks: The Starship Troopers Chronicles". While I could not stand the live- action-farce of a movie, the computer animated series is none to shabby.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 23 2001 2:20:27


RE: "Big-O"

Kinda between sixes and sevens on this one. The animation, character design and overall feel of the show is pretty good (if it looks somewhat familiar, it should. "Big-O" is done by the same studio as "Batman: The Animated Series"), you're right about the plot of show not making sense and is quite predictable.

Anime worth watching? "Ghost in the Shell", "Battle Angel" and an odd 13 episode series, "Serial Experiments: Lain", are in my estimation, flawed, but enjoyable to watch. "Lain" especially. While disjointed and not just a little odd, "Lain" was, for me, very compelling partly because I was disturbed by it. Just be sure that you're wide awake before sitting down to watch (especially if you get a hold of the subtitled version).

My two pesos.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 23 2001 2:9:42

Rick, Rick, oh my dear Rick - -

Of course "The Big O" doesn't make complete sense. It doesn't make sense to the characters as well. They have amnesia - they're stumblin' round trying to figure things out along with the audience. Personally, I enjoyed the mystery.

Of course, whadda I know? My guilty pleasure is Ramna 1/2.

As for Jesse Helms, I find myself annoyed that various media outlets keep referring to him as being opposed by gay and lesbian rights groups, as well as feminist groups. That's the kind of divisive bullshit that kept that hairy-assed loser of a tobacco-cock sucker in office. I want to call every damn paper (and Don Wycliff over at the the Tribune should be ashamed) and explain to them the concept of human rights campaigns. Helms wwas able to play one group against another for so long hat he actually had a bunch of people fooled into believing he was a statesman. One of the saddest days in American history was when Helms addressed the United Nations. Right now, there's a lot of foreign countries breathing a sigh of relief at never having to deal with him again. My he end up a hundred times worse than Mo Udall, a man who was a thousand times better than him.


Rick again
- Thursday, August 23 2001 0:52:59

Just caught Joseph's anime recommendation after my post, and thank god. I can warn you in time.


Yes - FASCINATING background. Absolutely STUNNING atmosphere. And some of the episode plot outlines are pretty interesting. But it's a train wreck when you get past that, and eventually you have to. It's like someone had a really great idea for a show (cityide amnesia plus giant robots!) and then didn't bother to think for even fifteen seconds about how that would actually work out. Nothing in that show makes a lick of sense - a stickler for verisimilitude like Harlan would be vomiting blood by the first commercial break. Not to mention that outside of the first couple of episodes the dialogue and voiceovers sound like they were crafted by Dashell Hammet's aphasic kid brother.

It's only good - in my opinion - if you compare it to crap like TENCHI (outside of the fight scenes) or SAILOR MOON.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, August 23 2001 0:42:54

I'm sorry. I missed an instance of O---s's name. AND I attributed the suggestion to Bill Warren instead of Rick Wyatt. I apologize for the mistakes.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, August 23 2001 0:38:38

Bud: the last piece I published was "Blue Smoke, Mirrors, and Designer Science: How the Public Relations Industry Compromises Democracy" for _Skeptic_ magazine about two years ago. I like writing for Skeptic, alongside of people like James Randi and Michael Shermer, but I've tended to focus on topics that are a little abaft of the usual debunking stuff. (Personally, I really miss having the regular column I had at _The Humanist_. It kept the writing engines warm, and once in a while a piece of mine'd get reprinted in a textbook somewhere. Too bad we all resigned in protest.)

Harlan: I'm surprised that you didn't know Simon was writing for the _National Review_. He's been doing their film column for almost twenty years, as far as I know. He does theatre reviews for _New York_ magazine as well, and it's kind of obvious that he loves theater and despises movies; he's far more likely to praise a stage play than a film. Still, when Simon does like a film, he tends to like really good ones, like _Badlands_ and _Melvin and Howard_.

I haven't commented on Jesse Helms' restirement because everyone else is doing such a great job trashing the guy. Frankly, it makes me angry that we had to put up with this troglodyte for nearly thirty years, and the only way we could get rid of him was when he retired on his _own_ initiative. He beat us. I regard this as a defeat, not a victory.

Also, if I posted my fantasy of jamming a shotgun up Helms's ass, and blowing his head along a parabola across the Senate floor, it might be taken by overzealous law enforcement types as a legitimate threat. (Just a fantasy, guys.)

And as wonderful as Harlan's words were, I'd like to paraphrase Bill Hicks's comments on Helms, and why such cranks have really dark secrets they gotta hide with the right-wing bullshit, from his album _Rant in E Minor_:

"He's gonna kill himself. You know that. He's gonna sit down un a bathtub under a pecan tree, and after he cuts his wrists he's gonna write in blood, 'I been a bad little boy.' That's when they're gonna go into his attic, and find the dried skins of missing children drying up there. And his wife's gonna say she always wondered about Jesse's collection of little shoes."

Hicks follows that up with the single greatest comment about Rush Limbaugh that I have ever heard.

Okay, Harlan, a short informative digression about the newsgroup. First of all, a Usenet newsgroup functions just like this chain of messages on this web site. People read the new messages, and reply to previous ones. There's lots of other things to know abou them, but the only ones you need to worry about here are
a) most newsgroups are not moderated, and anyone can participate,
b) Messages have titles, and usually replies have the same title, so messages are "threaded."
c) people can "cross-post," i.e., post the same message to several newsgroups simultaneously, preferably if the subjects are related (for example, cross-posting comments about the movie _AI_ to the newsgroups alt.movies.kubrick and alt.movies.spielberg). This has led to some abuse, where ads for pornography or chain letters are cross-posted to hundreds of newsgroups (a practice referred to as "spamming").

Okay. Newsgroup culture varies a lot, too. Some newsgroups are every bit the salon that this place has been; like-minded people exercising the linguistic muscles in a relaxed and convivial environment. Others are continual battlegrounds-- Christian political newsgroups, for example, and sci.skeptic is basically people yelling at each other while occasionally discussing fringe beliefs.

As for alt.fan.harlan-ellison, well, it has had flashes of intelligent conversation from time to time. Usually, they tend to be about events and people in the SF-fantasy community, or something that's going on in your life. But the newsgroup's sort of dominated by two creeps, who court others into arguing with them. (While I was writing this, Bill Warren weighed in with the suggestion that their names be altered so they won't show up on searches. VERY good idea.)

Od--s is basically an obnoxious fanboy. If someone posts some news about you, no matter what, he'll reply to it with some insulting comment about Yourself. And sadly, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of people who'll _reply_ to him. Sure, the replies are frequently witty and savage, but after prolonged exposure I've decided that the wit is wasted and the only result is a chain of exchanges with a creep who derives pleasure from having people send him nasty notes. There's no substance to Odevs at all, and unless he extends his dislike of you to something more substantive-- say, posting libels, or harassment of yourself-- he's best ignored.

P----r's an odd case. I have no idea why he's appearing on the newsgroup because his interest in your and your work seems to be Nil. Engage him in argument, and he begins trumpeting about how he's some kind of "major writer." No, he hasn't published anything. He posts to Usenet-- and by tracking the number of threads he's started, and the number of follow-ups he's inspired (mainly people wondering what kind of dunderhead he is), he thus claims that the size of his audience and the "effect" of his words makes him a major writer in this new medium of the Internet. Sadly, people respond to him, and that just feeds this odd little ego-construct he's got going.

Still, I'm amazed at them, if only because I can't understand why they get so much pleasure from having intelligent people despise them. Sure, there's a thrill when people are calling for your head, like Camus described at the end of _The Stranger_, but I'd prefer to have _idiots_ hate my guts for saying something that's sane and intelligent. These guys seem to enjoy being the assholes who walk up to a conversation in progress, horning in on it, and forcing it onto some ugly obsession of theirs.

Imagine if a a newsgroup were a 19th century salon, where Wilde and Shaw would chat about the Haymarket martyrs, or with D'oyly Carte about their royalties. These guys would be large, menacing types with glazed eyes who'd wander up and start yabbering about child molesters and beer farts. And since we don't have bouncers to escort them from the premises, we have to go find some place that _does_ so we can chat about life and art and literature and cookies and pizza and our children and maybe even Chandra Levy without having to worry about louts barging in.

Rick Wyatt
- Thursday, August 23 2001 0:34:42

Bud's been an friend to this site and this editor for damn near as long as Webderland has been active. Please make him welcome.

As for the two folks you've been discussing: I'd prefer they not be even named here, and if you guys don't mind I'd like to alter the names slightly so they don't show up in searches. Zelazny's JACK OF SHADOWS comes to mind for some reason. Any issues with that? Mr. P*1mer was apparently ugly enough to me that the messages made the highlights list of several FAQs on him (which is the only place I've seen them since I killfilled him after his first attack). I have no desire to see this place turned into a waterhole for such animals.

Finally, let me echo the recommendation of THE OTHERS given here. It's a fine film, the rare horror story that doesn't rely on shock or faux suspense to generate its thrills. A little too much exposition and explanation in the final ten minutes for my taste, especially considering how much the boogiemen are kept behind the curtains the rest of the film (so to speak) - but otherwise a great ride.

Joseph Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 23 2001 0:32:29


Noted your comments about not liking much anime (a perfectly valid choice of taste, of course - I find much of it silly and overwrought myself). Might I recommend a series called "The Big O," however? It's abotu a city that lost all it's memories 40 years before the time of the show, and the aftermath. After all, if any of us lost all our previous memories, how well would we be able to re-construct our jobs? Our relationships? "Big O" has some of the usual anime cliches (big robots, fr'instance), but the atmosphere and some great English dubbing of snappy dialogue make up for it.



Anyone here ride a scooter? I'm thinking of one for city riding, and wanted to see if anybody had some thoughts. I'm talking motorized, like the low-end Hondas.

Chuck Messer <chuck_Messer@hotmail.com>
Denver, Colorado USA - Thursday, August 23 2001 0:24:7

Amy et al, re: Thanatopsis

That sounds like clinical depression to me. If so, that's something that will have to be treated with medication or diet, depending on the sufferer's preference. Of course, how the sufferer suffers their suffering depends on the individual. Me, I treat my depression the way God intended. With a pill.

I recently saw THE OTHERS and was impressed with Nicole Kidman's performance. I kinda liked the movie, too. (Move over, Roger Ebert.)

Re: Homicidal Drivers

If you think it's bad out Texican Way, you sould try the graduates from the Hannibal Lecter school of driving we got up here in Denver. We use the cupholders for the fava beans and chianti.


I looked in at the KICK forum and saw the contribution counter, which was at ZERO! I hope that's because people are contributing the old fasioned way (You know, check, stamp, envelope, etc.).
I'd like to contribute some of my miserable pittance, so I guess it'll be in the time honored fashion (see above).

Not that I don't use the U.S. Escargot Service, mind you. I have two computers (don't ask), but I still have two typewriters, just in case. One is an IBM Selectric One. Can't git no parts, the ribbon's dry, but she'll make one helluva boat anchor. The other is my old Smith Corona portable manual. Made of gen-yu-wine plastic. You have to hit the keys with a hammer, but if you spit on the ribbon, it'll type. A screw flew out once, but it kept on going. Let's see a windows clone do that!

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 23:24:22

Catching up with the Voluminous Cloud of Witty Banter:

So I can vanish again. Beginning Friday night, three or four of the worst days of my (and Susan's) life. AOL's attorneys came to Ellison Wonderland on a "discovery" mission, complete with microfiche copying machine. Don't ask. The tension began Friday night and my neck muscles corded so tightly that I've been living on Doan's Pills and Icy Heat Patches for five days. These are very bad people we're fighting. I dread to think how unpleasant I'm going to have to become to win the day over opponents this amoral, duplicitous, unmannerly and arrogantly deep-pocketed. So I was out of touch for days, and, well, let me catch up zippyfast.

Bob Sassone: you want thoughts about Cyril M. Kornbluth? Send off for The Kornbluth newsletter, KORNBLUME: KORNBLUTHIANA
(edited by Mark Rich, PO Box 971, Stevens Point, Wisconsin USA, 54481-0971) or at least drop him a postcard to see if he's still producing it, and/or if he has copies available of past issues
--I even have some contributions therein, encompassing ALL my thoughts on Cyril. He was a remarkable, an idiosyncratic writer; and a frequently-difficult but never less than brilliant man. Oddly, I think Cyril's best book was a mainstream paperback original he wrote for Lion Library, titled VALERIE.

Rich: re Jesse Helms and your ugly remarks about him...right awn, brother! Lynn, m'little honeylamb, that nostril-blow of semi-human fungus shouldn't merely die of prostate cancer, he should fuckin' LINGER; in unbelievable anguish that no cocktail of emetics and poultices can dim. His has been a life lived in stupidity and bigotry and racism and anti-intellectualism and homophobia and holy-roller evil surpassed only by the excresence of Strom Thurmond's vile run of breath-sucking monstrousness. The two of them are beyond the mere torments of Tartarus. They have made life an untenable nightmare for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of innocent people. His passing from this life, and at least the public stage in America, is reason to shout from the housetops. On the day he croaks, I shall go out and raise my flag to full-staff. You need not--at least not for MY benefit--add (grin) to a second posting. It seems to me incumbent upon those who exist in their times with passion, to despise the vile and inhumane with as much elan as they praise, well, shit, something as valuable but transitory as books and movies. This was a squirrel-jowled, lard-assed, puke-for-brains monster who played on peoples' ignorance and basest hatreds. Prostate cancer is a badge of honor too noble for the likes of Jesse Helms.

Lynn: I agree that Nicole Kidman, while rather marvelous to look upon, has several furlongs to trot before she gets booked as much of an actress. Nonetheless, two of her performances, one back in Australia and the other here, were more than promising, they were outstanding. DEAD CALM, taken from a spectacular thriller by the noir suspense novelist, the late Charles Williams (not to be confused with the Charles Williams who wrote the arcane and semi-occult supernatural novels), was a thoroughly convincing thespic job, and was my intro to her work.
Subsequently, eschewing even the vaguest echo of an Aussie accent, her insanely self-obsessed wannabe tv-weather-girl-cum-seductress-cum-assassin was blissfully amoral to the max in TO DIE FOR. If you've missed these two winners, I can't guarantee it'll get that grape-seed outta your teeth...but it might.

Rob & Bob (Sassone, that is): Jim Morrow, JAMES MORROW to you, is not only a good friend of mine--we get together mostly at the I-Cons, since he's East Coast and I'm West--but he is in the top pecentile of writers whose work is transcendent, in my opinion. He is a big thinker, with daring ideas, an almost suicidally adventurous braveness of spirit in what he's not afraid to write, and a style that is sublime. I've known him, read him, and admired him for years. I recommend Jim's work unreservedly, but be cautioned: he is an E Ticket ride. You will be well served at his table d'hote, but the food is spiiiiiiiicy!

Dennis: Thanks for the Phantom/milk poster offer, but I've got so much, and so many, of everything here, it's becoming tschatchka heaven. So, appreciated but, thanks but no thanks.

Bud Webster: Hi, Bud. Welcome to the 'hood. You will enjoy yourself like crazy here. These are terrific, whip-smart conversationalists. It's a cheery little salon where men and women of good hearts and sane minds fret and gibber and pontificate ever so grandly. It's like the best late-night bullfrog and pizza dorm-klatsch you've ever attended. I've grown very fond of each and every one of the litle fuckers. And having you duck in and out is a lovely bonus.

Folks, I vouch for Webster. He's big, and ungainly, and tends to be much too serious about almost everything; but I'm sure you'll break his spirit in no time atall atall. When he starts spewing milk outta his snout, you'll know he's joined this cockeyed caravanserie for true.

Bud. One more thing. Since the ONLY web thing I do is right here (yes, yes, I know Alex Krislov, yes I'll be doing your Auditorium gig, be patient), I know virtually nothing about this alt.fan.harlan-ellison venue. Others have mentioned this Odevs fellow (I'm not sure I've ever heard of Palm-r...is he, in fact, a published writer...should I know his work?) but I have no idea who he is. I presume "Odevs" is a handle (unless he changed it from something really awfuller in real life, like, uh howabout say, "Fahrtbreath") but has anyone ever hacker-chased this guy to find out who he REALLY is? If he hates me as much as you guys indicate, I'd love to know what his non-superhero identity is, just so I don't get snookered by him (or her?) in public.

Tell me more about this yenta abbatoir. I'm faskinated, as Popeye would say.

But be aware, Bud, while people are free as dirt and air to jump on me here for any of my frequent--and embarrassing--gaffes they have a tendency to be sweet about it, and nobody stays mad at anybody for very long are you listening Chris L. and Rob?

Again, Bud...welcome to the place where everybody knows your name.

Andrew: I owned two Austin-Healys simultaneously. One rigged for track, the other with a louvred bonnet for road. Both were gunmetal blue. I raced the one at Watkins Glen. I adored them. Eventually sold one of them my pal (now President of SF Writers of America) Norman Spinrad. I miss them. But so do I also miss my '67 Camaro. But at least I pick up the Packard from my mechanic tomorrow, o frabjous day, calloo callay!

Jim: tell me it ain't true. Say it ain't so, Joe. My grammatical idol, John Simon, is working for that fishwrap conservative-claptrap National Review???????? O Gawd, NOOOOOOOO!

Haiku Deity: very nice stuff. I am a haiku, Edogawa Rampo, Hiroshige, Kanemitsu, Sumo devotee. Don't much care for most anime, with a few exceptions, but I am only nuts about haiku. Thank you.

Yr. pal, Harlan.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Wednesday, August 22 2001 21:38:41

Yay me! My physical gave me a clean bill of health. I will say, though, that it was a little disconcerting to have a female doctor asking some rather...erm...personal questions.

Bud Webster
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 20:15:53


>>And it's frustrating that the last few things I _did_ get published seemed to vanish right after being read solely by a handful of cranks. Very dispiriting.<<

What did you publish and where?

One of the saddest developments in the field over the past few decades was the slow demise of the reprint anthology market. There was a time, not so long ago, when you could hope to sell a story two or three times, or more; there were any number of anthologies each year that reprinted stories. Then Roger Elwood saturated the market for ten years and pretty much killed the anthology market; the only reprint books left are the various BEST ____ OF THE YEAR titles and a handful of instant remainders.

Where is Groff Conklin now that we need him...

The Haiku Deity
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 20:11:29

Harlan has the chops
He may just be the Salt here
Only a few know

Writer's block ain't good
Nor common with my three shoes
Wear the cap correct

Answer no malaise
Sneezing politely today
You'll find your muse soon

Why be lazy, Pete?
You'll be another 'sumer
An ornery man

Serious thoughts form
Be a haiku genius soon
And yet another

Key lime pie for lunch
Is better than McPorkChops
Time to amp up taste

Hot air through this form
Get down, Johnny, fight da Man
Gots to go, peace, pal

San Diego, - Wednesday, August 22 2001 19:59:3

Rich, please share your good/bad opinion of Simmons' HARDCASE upon completion; I, too, disliked DARWIN'S BLADE and decided against buying HARDCASE in hardcover for that reason. I'd be interested in knowing whether other Simmons readers think it's a return to form or more o' the same.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 18:59:35

Harlan: I know you're not Grand Masta. Honestly, I do.

Besides, isn't it obvious that to everyone that he's really John Simon, from the National Review?


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 18:33:12

Re being "blocked" and laziness. I guess I'm a combination of both, especially because the Web offers so much in the way of distraction. But lately, I can't think of a topic where I might have anything original to add. (And it's frustrating that the last few things I _did_ get published seemed to vanish right after being read solely by a handful of cranks. Very dispiriting.)

Susan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 18:17:2

Another announcement from...

Today's the day the auction starts on ebay!!!

Artist George Perez, and Spencer Beck from theartistschoice, have donated an original piece of art for the KICK fund. Check out the harlanellison.com homepage for more details. Hugs and Kisses to George and Spencer.


Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 18:4:30

Oh, and by the way...

Much as you may LIKE the idea that I'm H. Salt, Esq., I am here to tell you, as I told someone a week or two ago...


You may go anywhere else with your Sam Spadelike deducing, but don't come knockin' at my door no more

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 18:1:23

Migawd, don't you people EVER shut up?!?!

Finn & Loftus (songs, dances & snappy patter): I may be misremembering, but I think you've misattributed me. I COULD be bollixed on this, but I think the "thantopsis" reference to one of my ex-wives was to the 4th, not the 3rd.

Peter <writerpo@pacbell.net>
Union City, CA - Wednesday, August 22 2001 16:43:25

I'm not blocked. I'm just lazy.

It's so easy to do something other than write, that many times I'll find myself reading the posts on this page, writing one myself, loading up a computer game, checking news sites, chatting with friends, staring at my screensaver, and other things.

Don't get me wrong. I love writing. I love the act of creation, of piecing together letters and words and sentences and paragraphs into meaningful and musical patterns that tell a good story. I love the rhyme and the rhythm of the english language when it grooves to the beat thumping in my head. Or better yet, thumping in my chest.

I'm not blocked. I'm just lazy. But then again, I'm also working again and back in school, so now I can use writing as an escape, rather than escape from writing. It's not a lack of love, it's not a psychological aversion, it's just pure slippage of discipline


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 22 2001 15:22:39


Yup. Time IS the essential mechanism for any adjustment.

And re: Kubrick. Of course, regarding the degree of passion Kubrick generates he certainly does it for me, as much as ANYONE can - here in the subjective world.

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Complete Denial The Confederacy of Dunces - Wednesday, August 22 2001 14:19:9

Whoo. A few days away, and look at all of the mail. And none of it's for me. (Sorry. Joke that'll take too long to explain.)

Concerning the driving stories, for once, I'm actually at a loss for words.. Then again, I live in Dallas, where obnoxious dolts with more money for SUVs than IQ points regularly drive as if they are the only people on the planet, and everyone else is nothing but shadows. (I was nearly taken out this morning while heading to work by a Baylor brat in a SUV that felt compelled to swerve across two lanes to miss being pelted by a malfunctioning lawn sprinkler that was spraying into his lane, and then flipped off the three drivers who commented on his lack of attention. For all of the hype about how these things are designed to climb Olympus Mons: who knew that they're made out of spun sugar?) If anything, thanks to the dotcom crunch, the traffic in Dallas is even worse: the streets are full of horribly overvalued vehicles with Oregon and Washington license plates driven by MBAs who finished blowing the last of the venture capital on greedheadpigfucker.com on snorting coke out of the butt-crack of a 14-year-old stripper, and they're now moving back to Dallas to live with Mommy and Daddy while they try to find the next get-rich-quick scheme. I figure I'm really going to have to make up those "Please: Spay Or Neuter Your SMU Brat...Before It Breeds" bumper stickers, just so most of these scum die from cerebral hemmorhaging (caused by being expected to read)and get off the bloody road. For me, sophomoric challenges intended to get through neutronium-enhanced skulls isn't an idle pleasure: it's the price I pay for having to drive up Dallas North Tollway.

And since Alejandro wanted me to stop by because of the convention commentary, let me just say that I realized that I could start a magazine with the money I spent on attending conventions last year. I was attending said conventions to promote "SCI FI" magazine and my column therein, and I see all of my efforts in promoting it really went far: even the Web site is dead. In three years of pushing that magazine and predecessor "Sci-Fi Universe", I've picked up several bits of wisdom. Trying to get conventioneers to buy subscriptions after they get home is impossible because these people are so cheap that they use both sides of the toilet paper, and they'll instead travel from con to con to get copies for free. I now react even more strongly to the phrase "sci-fi" than anyone else here: I had to threaten my wife with divorce before she'd stop using it in general conversation. I am now so badly burned out on writing for anything approximating a movie magazine that I'd gleefully watch a "Seinfeld" marathon before I'd take a commission, and after editing SciFiNow.com, I now realize that most of the people writing for genre film magazines are publicists for the big studios, or they're writing for "Cinescape" because a real magazine wouldn't take them. Most of all, I haven't been to a convention in nearly a year, and I don't mis them. I realized today that last weekend was the big Armadillocon show in Austin, and considering that Armadillocon has turned into a private party for the con staff because nobody in their right mind wants to travel to Austin at the end of summer, I thought "Joy: I saved $300 on hotel rooms and con badges that could go into more constructive and enjoyable endeavors, such as hot Clorox enemas." One of these days, I'll be able to contemplate going to a convention without feeling the urge to kill by the end of it: until then, I'm just going to stay home and write. It's better this way.

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Wednesday, August 22 2001 13:53:14


Your mention of your '78 MG brings back fond memories of my childhood. When I was very young (4 to 6 years old) my father tried restoring (he never finished) a '53 Triumph TR-3A. On those rare occasions when it actually ran we would cruise around the neighborhood getting bugs in our teeth (whoopee!). Later, my mother ended up with a '67 Autin-Healey Sprite. I still remember mom's friends grumbling about the need for "asbestos underwear" when riding with her. Sadly, both cars have long since vanished but, I've never stopped being a fan of those classic British roadsters. My current dream car? Don't laugh... would be a Bugeye Sprite (any year) or another '53 TR-3.

I believe (bringing this post on topic... sort of) that Mr. Ellison used to race Austins. But then again I could have mis-heard.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 13:17:20

Bud, with all due respect, you're not wasting bandwidth with this discussion at all. Alex noted that it seems an inordinate amount of us on this site are blocked (ignoring the obvious explanation which would be that we're spending too much time reading this board and not enough time writing). Please, unless you have better things to be doing with your time, don't feel like you have to be brief. Lord knows none of the rest of us are.

Enjoying your contributions greatly,

Bud Webster
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 12:53:19


Hope you can turn up a copy of the book. If you can't, your library should have a copy.

Touching on AFH-E again, I wish I could kill-file the yobbos, but I'm using Free Agent and it won't do that. And frankly, all due respect to Kubrick, he doesn't seem to generate the same level of passion, pro and con, that Harlan does; knees in AFH-E jerk *much* higher than elsewhere.

Bud Webster
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 12:49:4


If you'd have asked me a year ago, I couldn't have given the answer I gave Heather, I was sunk too deep in the block and the correlative depression to be able to verbalize it. It wasn't until I got through it that I was able to put my feelings into words.

Which is typical of me. When I first got into fandom some 25 years ago, I did a fanzine that *reeked* until I began to use it as a means of actually expressing my feelings, at which time it became something that other fans seemed to look forward to. It was that string of 'zines, from 1973-1976, that prompted both Harlan and Jerry Pournelle (as divergent a pair as you're likely to find) to encourage me to, in effect, "Stop writing this fanzine crap and do something REAL." Some twenty years later I did.

Be that as it may, it was the honesty I learned to express in the pages of ANIARA that makes it possible for me to write about my block now, but a year ago I wouldn't have been able to. In any event, I've taken up enough bandwidth talking about it here; if you have any other questions, I'll be happy to expand in e-mail.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 12:43:16

I'll he heading into town to buy new glasses, and I'll hunt down _ASrt and Fear_ today. Thanks for the word.

As for the alt.fan newsgroup, and people like Odevs and Bill Palm-r... well, about two weeks ago, I killfiled them. It's the only thing for it, really. Sure, it's fun to exercise the insult muscles and slice the guy a little. But you could work up witty remarks that even Gore Vidal might admire, and it would have _no effect_. The other guy's incapable of being abashed, and the wit just evaporates into the Internet aether.

Palm-r's an odd case, in that his obsession with his status as a "writer" due to his inspiring insults seems to be a kind of mental illness. And some of these trolls have given Bill Warren some grief in real life, so it's not always just a Usenet thing. But really, people like Odevs are not even worth arguing with. Remove them from your lives.

Since we're chatting about Kubrick, I'd like to mention an odd contrast between the Ellison newsgroup and alt.fan.kubrick. That newsgroup has had a fairly high level of discussion from time to time, but it's also survived both Kubrick's death and the presence of a number of arrogant slobs. (One called himself "Lord Bullingdon," after a particularly noxious creep in "Barry Lyndon.")

It's possible that, because more people have seen Kubrick's films than read Ellison's work, a kind of dilution effect is at work. More people participate, so we get more posts written by perfectly decent people, and so the idiots can be avoided without having to avoid all discussions. The Ellison newsgroup doesn't attract a lot of chat about Harlan's work, so it winds up being a forum for two jerks.

Bud Webster
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 12:40:35


Thanks for your welcome, and your congrats.

As to AFH-E, yeah, I've been there a number of years, and although it's never been what you'd call high-traffic - this group is far more loquacious - the signal-to-noise ratio was always fairly low. But Odevs and Bill Palm-r have succeeded in creating an environment so hostile and unpleasant that it may very well be a lost cause. See, most trolls get bored and move on after a while, but these two...! Odevs' animosity towards Harlan is so white-hot, for whatever reason (I think it was David Loftus who described him to me in e-mail as the poster boy for Exogenesis), that he's literally driven to continue baiting and trolling; and Palm-r is so convinced of his own legendary status and his prowess as a writer (he is capable of putting one word in front of another, but his subject matter is still limited to Bill Palm-r) that he *never* tires of writing about himself and how other writers fall short by comparison.

Who needs it? Life's short enough as it is, and neither of those guys have the intellect to pound sand up their asses with a hammer and a funnel - although I'd love to see them try. Hell, I'd hold their coats.

Hence, I'm here, after being invited by David and one or two others. I hope I'm not TOO long-winded for you guys.

Phillip Cairns <phillipcairns@yahoo.com>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 12:36:28

I'm trying to track down a contents listing for the new ESSENTIAL ELLISON, specifically to see what's been added to it (the book isn't available at any bookstore in my area, so I can't just open it up and look for myself). Does anyone here know where I might find a contents listing for it on the Net?

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 22 2001 12:35:11

Heather and Bud,

I think it was last year when I asked a number of writers online about writers' block - exactly what it was, and so on - to understand it (particularly when we talk about 6 months or more). I was trying to get the subjective account Bud just gave us and no one would. Maybe it was a touch of Disney dust to your phrasing that mine lacked that drew such a ready response. I dunno. But I appreciate it and thank Bud with a hearty handshake for sharing that.

Re: Helms. I think even the denizens of Hell will consider themselves too virtuous and lofty to have him there. Just ain't no place base and vile enough for the brain-dead gargoyle.

Alejandro Riera
Chicago, Il - Wednesday, August 22 2001 12:14:24

Paul Riddell just posted this link in his forum. It's about a survey on Internet piracy of literary works. Paul has been doing some research of his own and has discovered that the most often pirated (?) works are those by science fiction and fantasy writers:


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 12:14:15

Bud. First things first. Welcome! And may I extend my congratulations for your publications in Analog, as well as for your reader's awards.

re: Alt.Fan.HE, do you really believe it is a lost cause? Because you've probably been posting there longer than I've even known it existed, and I'll trust your estimation. And if so, I'll take that question I posted yesterday and bring it here. I'm trying to cut back on the "loquacious" aspect of my personality. Listen and learn and all that rot.

Rick~ Your have a website for your *dog*? Pardon me while I rotflmao. For a bruiser, he sure is a cutey. Bull mastiff? Or should I just go read the FAQ. (Yes, not only does Rick have a website for his dog, his dog has a FAQ.)

Swarmist petards,

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, August 22 2001 11:59:14

Heather asked about "writer's block." I've never experienced it -- partly because my specialty has been the short essay, and there's always something else to write about; a whole book is a much more intimidating proposition -- and I seem to recall HE saying somewhere that it's never hit him.

The Ralph Keyes book I recommended several weeks ago, which Lynn is now reading, _The Courage To Write_, talks about this, obviously. It's hard for me to recall what it says, specifically (versus stuff I read elsewhere or already knew), but off the top of my head:

Writer's block tends to be an expression of fear. Writers may fear many things -- failure, success, ability to make a story work, ability to pay the bills, whether one is making the best narrative choices or putting one's money on the best protagonist, point of view, and so on.

It can also be a sign that the writer hasn't fully identified what she wants to do in the book.

I'm starting to encounter fear, because I'm considering my first piece of extended fiction after a lifetime of doing nonfiction, but I'm not blocked ... just yet.

Bud Webster
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 11:45:26


>>Why would you have writer's block? If you are doing something that you truly enjoy -- and I'm assuming that, here -- why would you ever get 'blocked'? I can understand one story not working for you so you move to another--but to be 'blocked'; and for timeframes like two years or something?<<

I wish it was that easy. I can't speak for anybody else, of course, but in my case it was simply a matter of cold sweats every time I contemplated writing.

See, I've published two stories in Analog, both of which won best story of the year in the readers' poll. The next story of note I published, a 52-verse narrative poem called "The Ballad of Kansas McGriff", made the preliminary Nebula ballot, missed the short list by a dozen votes, then went on to win first prize in the National Hobo Association's poetry contest last year (it's a long story, one better told off-line).

But every writer brings baggage to the work. Some baggage is lighter than others, some, heavier. Some of it makes the work not only possible, but necessary, and some can keep it from happening at all.

In my case, part of my baggage was the sure knowledge that I was FOOLLING people into thinking I was a writer, and a pretty good one. This despite two readers' polls, a phone call from Our Host after my first story won, not only correcting my mistakes but to tell me it was a pretty good yarn, and the enthusiasm of any number of friends and convention acquaintances. And the fan mail, of which I get some.

So, I was absolutely certain that one day there would come a tap on my shoulder, and the words, "I'm sorry, sir, but you'll have to come with us." The Writing Police, come to strip me of my pretense and reveal me to the world as a fake.

The result was abject terror every time I even thought about writing, and a complete inability to open an unfinished file without getting the shakes and sweats. I am NOT exaggerating.

There were other factors, too, off course; the conviction that everything I'd written was really crap (hand in hand with the primary problem), and work problems, and the fact that I was producing a friend's first CD during that period, which did, I'll admit, soak up a lot of creative energy. Still and all, it was the fear of being exposed as a "fake" writer that was the primary block.

The aforementioned book, _Art and Fear_, was an enormous help, as was the enthusiasm of several notable writers (whose names I will NOT drop) for my writing. A couple of months ago, I not only broke the block, but finished in less than a week the first draft of the best story I've ever written.

All that, Heather, to say why a block happened (at least in my case), and how it was broken. I will freely admit that there are still niggling little voices in the back of my head warning me to watch over my shoulder, but they're nowhere near as loud as they once were. And, I could become blocked again, for either the old or new reasons. But I know now for a fact that I *can* come out the other side, and produce damned good work.

Sorry to be so long-winded, folk, and I hope I didn't bore any of you.

Bud Webster
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 11:22:41

Thanks for the welcome, Alex, and yes, this does seem to be a more relaxed (and relaxing) Ellisonian millieu, if I may be pompous. I'm looking forward to visiting here often.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Wednesday, August 22 2001 11:18:36

I ask this as I am a writer-in-progress. Some of you guys were talking about writer's block (I'm a few posts back here) but I'm trying to understand this whole "writer's world" as I go. I'm sure y'all could teach me a lot about all this stuff.

Why would you have writer's block? If you are doing something that you truly enjoy -- and I'm assuming that, here -- why would you ever get 'blocked'? I can understand one story not working for you so you move to another--but to be 'blocked'; and for timeframes like two years or something?

Me no lo comprendo.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, August 22 2001 11:11:29

Well, you've all now intrigued me enough that I'm going to take a look at "Stir of Echoes" (though why I haven't yet is a bit of a mystery - Bacon has done some very nice character work in the past few years, and I loved Illeana Douglas in the late lamented "Action").

AS for Ang Lee and the Hulk, there's a nice little moment in his BMW film where the child savior gives his rescuer a Hulk band-aid. Damn fine short film, too. I do recommend hopping over to iFilm.com and looking at that and Guy Ritchie's BMW movie (which has a hilarious Madonna performance).


Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 10:30:43

Jesse Helms: If I believed in Hell, may he rot in it. That is with all seriousness and no sarcasm implied, meant, etc. He is a spiteful, bigoted man, and though he has done great works for those tobacco philanthropists, the majority of intelligent people that live in NC are glad to see him gone. Another dinosaur becomes extinct.

UNBREAKABLE: Liked it. Thought the train wreck scene (Close up on Willis' face as the accident happens) and the hospital scenes were some of the best ever put on celluloid. Also, as Willis' son adds weight on the bar. Great stuff.

STIR OF ECHOES: Kevin Bacon did great work and though the ending was a little too pat, seeing him digging those holes and drinking that OJ was good stuff.

Currently reading HARDCASE by Dan Simmons and hoping that it is much better than DARWIN'S BLADE. I hated that book and no amount of great works Simmons has done in the past will make me change my mind. Pisses me off that someone with that talent writes that crap. Alright, gotta stop now.

Anyway, Jesse's got a girl and I want to make her mine.

random responses..., - Wednesday, August 22 2001 7:52:32

Jim - thank you for the panther comment, perfect!

Amy, Lynn - I'd suggest a webderland ragtop rally but it's unlikely my car will come across the pond due to mods to make it street legal for US. (Sad, too, it's the ICON limited edition with leather and CD and Nardi wheel/shifter, etc. I try not to think about these things...). Racing?? Not my style, I'm not a sufficiently aggressive driver. I just go in for the zippy zoomy topless effects. Who needs mutual moan or retail therapy when you've got ragtop therapy?

David - Check out Morrow's "Only Begotten Daughter" - similar in it's scope to satirize aspects of the Catholic/Christian belief system and an enjoyable enough read.

Unbreakable - loved it, thought it was better than Sixth Sense, albeit occasionally over the top. More driven, less schmaltzy, great ending.

Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Wednesday, August 22 2001 6:48:10

Lynn: The ending of "Unbreakable" upset me the first time I saw it because it didn't feel like an ending. It felt like the movie just stopped. The people in the theatre were looking up at the projection booth and saying things like, "Where's the last twenty minutes of the movie?" I enjoyed the rest of the movie so much though that I decided to give it another chance a week later. When I saw it that time I realized that the movie didn't just stop and that what I had seen was actually a very clever ending and appropriate with the rest of the film. Sorry for talking around the subject so much but I don't want to give the ending away for those who haven't seen the movie.


Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, August 22 2001 4:46:8

Ivan DeJesus, is EVERYONE here blocked? Yeesh. Sort of good to know I'm not the only one, even as I slowly come out of it.

Heya, Bud! Good to have you here--and hell; we've had more traffic than a.f.h-e of late, and much more of it enjoyable and full of actual, genuine, homemade THOUGHTS.

JOSEPH: A while ago, I made a haul at the library booksale and came away with a brace of the Nelson Doubleday "THE BEST OF ..."
books. Those incestuous little collections (Edmond Hamilton edited by Leigh Brackett, Leigh Brackett edited by Edmond Hamilton; C.M. Kornbluth edited by Fred Pohl ...) are a great addition to any bookshelf--and the Kornbluth one was mind-blowing--and sad as well. I think of him as a Saki, a Wilfred Owen; a huge talent taken far too young by the vicissitudes of war.

Lynn, Amy, Peg: Ain't got no vee-hickle. Neener on me.

Joseph: GREAT film. The framing device of the FANTASTIC FOUR issue as interpreted by the eldest son becomes all the more understandable when you realize that Ang Lee's signed on to do the HULK flick. Also, I was a child in those times--though not QUITE in the key-partying suburbs--so the ambiance of the film felt like a homebound trip through a darker youth.

Bud Webster <budwebster@mindspring.com>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 2:55:47


>>About that book "Art and Death"-- does it have any good advice about _stopping_ that particular kind of self-obsession? I'd really like to know, because I've been seriously blocked for about two years now myself.<<

_Art and Fear_. Yes, it does, although the primary purpose of the book is to let the blocked artist know that a) the situation is NOT uncommon, and b) you ain't alone in this, bubba. Just knowing *that*, just understanding that this was something that other artists had successfully come out the other side of (can you tell I'm a writer, huh?), helped me enormously. It gave me a handle by which I could grasp the problems and DEAL with them.

If you want, we can go further into this in e-mail; I'm not embarrassed about it, but I hesitate to take up the bandwidth here with stuff that might not interest the Majority.

Jim D:

Odevs is extremely well-named. I don't know what his problem is, and I frankly don't care. All I know is that if God decided to give alt.fan.harlan-ellison an enema, Odevs is where he'd stick the nozzle. And now Palm-r has shown up with his own delusions of adequacy, and the real users in the group are either feeding the trolls or abandoning ship. Odevs and Palm-r are like dogs, growling and sniffing each other's arses, and if I were still a drug-takin' man, it might be fun to watch, but a battle of wits between two people only half-armed is as much fun as home dentistry.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 22 2001 1:26:44

You know, I usually think of myself as an intelligent guy, but there are times when I'm so thick that if you moved my dinner plate a foot to the left, I'd starve. I was bitching earlier about how computer screens kill my eyes and leave me as snowblind as if I'd been climbing the Himalayas. Well, I realized that the only time in my life that this didn't occur was when I used the computers at my last job. And what was the difference, you may ask? Could it be, oh, I don't know, THE FACT THAT ALL THE COMPUTERS WERE EQUIPPED WITH ANTI-GLARE SCREENS???!!!??? Makes you go "Hmmmm..."

Rob: I don't think we can accuse Harlan of any deception--the poor guy probably has no idea that he's developed a split-personality. I can picture him sitting at his desk, typing furiously, when, suddenly, his body shudders, he swivels his baseball cap to a backwards postion, and he replaces the Morricone scores with some Public Enemy or Snoop Dogg. It's kind of sad, really.

Lynn: Usually, I would agree with your Nicole Kidman assessment, but I have to say I was really impressed with her performance in THE OTHERS. She seemed to connect with her role in a way she hadn't in previous films. I think she may finally be blooming as an actress (and as a beauty too, I might add).

Bud: Yeah, alt.fan.harlan-ellison is a real snake-pit (what the hell is the bug up that Odevs guy's crack?). Stick around here, the people seem to be decent folk.

Bob: C.M. Kornbluth is fantastic! "The Marching Morons" and "The Little Black Bag" are classic stories, and his novel THE SPACE MERCHANTS (co-written with Fred Pohl) is great, too. It's good to know that his work, at long last, is being reprinted.

Amy/Peg/Lynn: You're bringing back memories of my personal automotive Grail, my mother's cobalt-blue Mustang Mach II. My father, who was a virtuoso auto mechanic, souped that baby up until it moved like a panther dipped in vaseline. Man, what a car...


Mitch <mitch_3737@yahoo.com>
Hazlet (final subtitle), NJ - Wednesday, August 22 2001 0:53:57


I loved the understated spookiness of "Eyes Wide Shut" (the soundtrack helped). Sydney Pollack's exposition didn't spoil the film for me. The way I see it, he was intervening before "the club" took their attempts to dissuade Cruise to the next level. Was he telling the truth, or making it up to throw him off the scent? We don't really know. As for the "mellow ending", I thought it was a great setup for the whipcrack of the final line. "Eloquent, practical and obscene", indeed!


I saw "Sixth Sense" and "Stir of Echoes" on the same day. The similar elements were obvious, but each was enjoyable it its own way. "Stir" had the added bonus of Illeana Douglas, who makes any movie more watchable.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 21 2001 22:18:41

Anyone remember when Comedy Central aired throngs of gay guys wearing kinky outfits singing love sonnets out front of Jesse Helms' office?

Helmsey, EVERYONE'll be remembrin' ya with Oh, So Much Love

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 22:18:2

About that book "Art and Death"-- does it have any good advice about _stopping_ that particular kind of self-obsession? I'd really like to know, because I've been seriously blocked for about two years now myself.

Bud Webster <budwebster@mindspring.com>
Richmond , Virginia USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 22:14:33


>>I know a man who suffers (and makes everyone around him suffer) from thanatopsis. He only sees his failures, and downplays his successes.<<

Having just come out of a 2.5 year block, I think I understand all too well.

There's a book called _Art and Fear_ by Bayles and Orland that not only addresses what you refer to as "thanatopsis" (and an elegant reference it is), but deals with its root causes. One (near) quote that helped me enormously: We tend to see our successes as flukes, and our failures as omens.

I found myself reading the book (the authors are photographers, but the book applies just as well to any creative act) and stopping every other page or so to say, "Jesus, how did these guys get to KNOW me so well!?"

I don't know if it wold have any effect on your acquaintance, but what the hell. Drop it in his mailbox anonymously and see what happens.


Bud Webster <budwebster@mindspring.com>
Richmond , Virginia USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 22:6:5

Having crossed alt.fan.harlan-ellison permanently off my list as doomed, and having been pointed in this direction by another such disgruntled soul, I dropped by to find interesting and erudite messages from people who don't seem to have terribly large axes to grind; I think I'll enjoy it here.

And it's good to see that Harlan visits with some regularity: hi, Harlan.

- Tuesday, August 21 2001 22:2:17

Lynn: HA! If that antique of yours (nothing meant against older cars as a rule; I want a '58 Karmann Ghia, myself) is stock, I'll race ya title for title. I'm lighter, faster, and prettier to boot. (talking about the CAR there) Neener neener.

with ruffled feathers,

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 20:14:35


I think I'm gonna have to view it again. I was so busy soaking up the oddness of all the characters, that I failed to really pay attention to that particular tidbit. Over all I liked the film but, I wouldn't exactly classify it as a "feel good" kinda flick. :-)


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 20:6:9

Joseph~ Sorry. Haven't seen it. Didn't really have any interest.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 19:51:35

Deniss, Lynn and everyone else about Unbreakable,

While I have not yet seen Unbreakable, I was wondering what everyone else thought of the comic references in "The Ice Storm?" Seems to me they added to the whole odd family dynamic of the movie.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 19:34:58

Dennis~ On your first viewing of "Unbreakable", how did the ending upset you? I'm curious.


Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 19:32:28

Whoops. The comments in the previous message addressed to Amy should have been addressed to Lynn. Sorry.


Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 19:31:14

Heather: I am an eclectic cook. My wife is a diabetic so I spend a lot of time looking over cookbooks for low carbohydrate meals. If all else fails my wife takes extra insulin and I cook pasta. My current favorite recipe is a flank steak stuffed with spinach, grated parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and roasted red peppers.

Amy: Unbreakable was a movie I had to see twice to enjoy. The first time the ending upset me. Then on second viewing I realized that the end was perfect and really enjoyed it.

HE: I've been reading through some of the older messages on here and saw that you enjoyed the film adaptation of "The Phantom". I have a copy of the "Got Milk" poster that Billy Zane did as The Phantom and was wondering whether it would be something you would like for your collection. I will say it is not in great shape as it has been taped to a door by the person who owned it before me.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 19:21:13

Lest anyone take the previous post with any amount of seriousness, please add the tagline below and here's your grain of salt.

{This has been another impromptu offering from Tongue-In-Cheek Productions. We now return you to reality, already in progress.}


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 19:19:21

Glory hallelujah!


Jesse Helms announces his retirement at the end of his term in 2003 (if he lives that long). I hate to be a heartless bitch, but does anyone else see the poetic justice in his suffering from prostate cancer?

Remorseless in Burbank

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 21 2001 19:10:8


My two favorite precocious thanatoptic people of all time: Richard Dreyfuss' son in 'What About Bob?' and the prepubescent Woody Allen in 'Annie Hall'.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:52:20


Man, we musta seen different movies. I thought this one blew big time. I thought itt was one of the worst movies of 1999. I'm not going to pick it apart because basically I think that everything about was just awful, especially the acting. Bacon's worst role ever.


Yes, I saw it and I loved it. I liked it even more than Sixth Sense. Shyamalan is 2 for 2 with 2 grand slams. I eagerly await his next film, Signs.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:51:33


I gotta tell ya, I did buy 'The Sixth Sense' - both the ending AND the video! A sucker, what can I say?

Having said that I wasn't even up on 'Stir of Echoes' when it came out but I'm always interested in anything from Matheson. I WAS told, however, that the adaptation you spoke of sucked. I may prefer to look up the original story instead.

'Towing Jehovah' sounds funny as hell. I'd like to find that one too.

- Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:51:22

I think my ultimate "spilled soda" moment occurred during the fantabulous 24 hour Science Fiction Movie Marathon which takes place annually in Brookline, MA. Everyone brings in lots of munchies & drinks (the town shuts down at 10 pm, and you need foodstuffs to keep you awake overnight), and the floor is usually pretty disgusting by two in the morning. Or, in this case, much earlier.

I've got my nice little train case set down on the floor, and I'm arranging my blanket and pillows and all the other things I've brought to make this theater seat feel a little more like home, when I hear a sound a few rows back. A distinctive sound. It's that klunk-blupblupblup-fiiizzzzzz of a two-liter bottle of Coke being knocked over. Shortly thereafter, a tsunami of Coke washed over my sneakered feet and continued down to the front of the theater. I spent the next 24 hours in shoes that not only glued me to the floor, but probably could have allowed me to walk up the wall if I wanted. And NO one apologized!

so there,

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:38:30

Ladies, please. My '76 MGB will take either of you in the curves. I like a car that feels like a car, not a soapbox. {Fingers in ears, waggling my tongue at you.}

Movie theater, fourth or fifth row center, where the sound is balanced. Get sodas before hand, don't like climbing over strangers in the dark. But then again, I've had one of those 128oz cold drinks spilled on my head before. That'll screw up your whole evening.

Heather, I gotta disagree with you on this one. Nicole Kidman, for as beautiful as she is, couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag. Moulin Rouge had its moments and she wasn't one of them. For as many movies as I've seen her in, not *once* has she actually made me believe in her character. All I see is Nicole Kidman, trying to be someone else and failing miserably.

"Stir of Echoes" was *another* Matheson book?! I really got go get more of this guy. I absolutely adored that movie.

Anybody here seen "Unbreakable"?


- Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:37:9

Heather: I know a man who suffers (and makes everyone around him suffer) from thanatopsis. He only sees his failures, and downplays his successes. He has no physical relationship with his wife, nor do they share any interests. When I ask him what makes him happy, he has no answer. He always looks back at What He Used To Be, and sees no future but the grave. He plans to work until he dies, yet he gets no pleasure from his work. He frequently contemplates suicide, yet sees his fear of making this decision (which actually would require making a decision, rather than just letting life roll over him) as something noble and brave, as a way of spitting in Death's face. But he's just afraid. I'm not a big advocate of suicide, so please don't misinterpret--but if life is such a vacuum, so devoid of ANYTHING pleasurable, why the fuck would you go on? So...I don't really understand how a person could come to a state of thanatopsis...but these people do exist.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:31:52


Can't wwait for us all to get together at Dragon*Con. Haven't seen the schedule yet, so I'm open-minded as to when we should have dinner.

- Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:19:52

Peg! Lovely to see that you're a Miata chick, too! My Miata is the first non-econobox car I've owned, and even though I bought it used (and in red, which just AIN'T my color), I immediately fell in love with the little speedster. I can outrun any good ol' boy's pickup on a short stretch or a curvy road. And as for maneuverability? *happy sigh* Gotta love it. I will never be without a ragtop again.

catching up (geez, so many posts in three days),

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:7:22

Wow, this board has been busy since my last post! I tried to follow the Rob and The Case of the Spilled Movie Soda, but got lost after the 300th or so post about it. My quick take: Rob, it was good you apologized immediately, but you also said in the same breath that he should be careful about where he puts his drink, which I'm sure nullified the apology in Mr. Cro Magnon's eyes - and mine too. But you both probably learned something. He's an asshole for overreacting. - Side note: let me defend Rob about this whole "getting up during the previews" thing." What the hell are you people talking about? I paid my $8, I can get up anytime that I want to! As long as I'm not loud or obnoxious or just standing there waving my arms, I can get up before the previews, during the previews, and even during the movie! What if I need to go to the bathroom, or get more food/drink, or the movie sucks and I want to leave? Sorry: this just seems like Oprah Winfrey-style talk about "respect" and "self-empowerment" or something; politically correctness gone too far. I'm not going to be chained to my seat during the whole movie just to "please" or have some sort of "respect" for the other people. Getting up and moving quickly does no harm.

But let's get off of this labored thread, eh? (Duh...of course, I just added to the thread, didn't I? Good going Bob.)

On to other things:

Harlan: thoughts on C.M. Kornbluth? (I asked this earlier but with all the movie soda posts...) I picked up "His Share of Glory," the collection of his short fiction, and was knocked out by much of it. Any memories/thoughts/opinions? (By the way, I hit the mother lode at the Avenue Victor Hugo bookstore in Boston today Harlan: "Selected Stories" by Charles Beaumont, "The Worlds of Clifford Simak," and "The Best of Damon Knight." I'm a happy camper.

David L: funny you should mention "Towing Jehovah." That's the one where God dies and his body is a mile long and floating in the ocean? I was in the SF section of Borders the other day and the guy who works there recommended that book highly. When he told me the plot I was intrigued. Haven't read it yet though. He (the guy who worked for Borders, not God) that James Morrow is one of the top SF writers today, though I haven't read anything by him yet.

Justin: the Army/ROTC thing: please be careful before you make any life-altering decisions, please.

Back to movie talk: saw "Stir of Echoes" the other night. Great! Really spooky and well-acted with many creative touches. Based on a 50s book by Richard Matheson. I like this more than "The Sixth Sense" (the ending of which I still don't buy, sorry).

Amy <akojenkins@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 17:5:32

Joseph: This will be my third Dragon*Con (I need my Harlan fix) in six years or so. I haven't really been to any other conventions, so I have no frame of reference, but I think D*C is lots of fun, with many different tracks of programming and a HUGE dealer room. I'm hoping to pick up a few Futurama toys that I haven't been able to get locally, and I also need to finish up my Tenchi Muyo! collection. I'm sure we'll work out the restaurant thing, and I'm really looking forward to meeting everyone!

Harlan: Ragalach is rugalah and rugalah is ragalach. You will have a happy tummy.

Oh, and a silly little side note on Oreos (I was one of the Hydrox freaks)...you can make do with the tiny Oreos now that Hydrox have been bastardized into "Droxies." Droxies taste as good as they sound. Yecchh. The itty-bitty Oreos have a cookie that is FAR superior to that of their larger brethren. Don't ask me how that works.

Now, for macho bullshit: I'm jealous. Not jealous of the morons who take road-rage to the hand-held semi-automatic level, but jealous of guys like my huge, intimidating husband who can silence a theater of chatterers with one steely glare. I've tried it myself. It don't work. I've got enough fire in me to keep the sleazeballs from seeing me as an easy mark, but not enough to reaaaallly intimidate. You don't have to be a BIG guy to do it, but it sure seems like you have to be A guy. I suppose I should be happy that I'm not one of those people like my mother (who goes around with a big ol' target painted on her forehead), but dammit, I want more! Fear and respect me! Or I'll cry.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 21 2001 16:58:34


Re: your startling, brilliant Harlan/Grand Masta conspiracy theory. I LIKE it.

For the cursed deception let us feed him to our god.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 16:51:0

Holy cannoli, you guys have given me a lot to comment on! I'll try to keep everything brief.

Chris L. saw two hot 19-year-olds making out in DC; just my luck. My first trip to DC, a young street punk tried to sell me a hot Polaroid camera in the park, and then a newspaper poetically sat up in a neighboring park bench (in the wind), and sighed to the ground. (I did see the awesome Holocaust Museum on a subsequent trip, though.)

Chris also asked where we sit in theaters. For a time I did sit front and center -- maybe third row center in the huge thousand seaters. (Aside from not having my view blocked by others, I was also being considerate of them; I LOVE movies, and I LOVE to laugh, and I've noticed that my wholehearted guffaws -- especially when no one else in the theater is laughing; I can give you several concrete examples -- tend to annoy people sitting in front of me!). "Ran" cured me of that: all the sweep and color gave me a headache. Later, I HAD to sit in the front row for "Wild at Heart" because the theater was so full, and it was a doleful experience. Now I sit center, a third to a half of the way back, if on my own; halfway back and sometimes on the aisle for my wife's sake. She gets up sometimes in the middle of movies; I don't budge once the trailers start.

rich praised trailers. I tend to love 'em too, though I've also aired some of my complaints about 'em before. A budding filmmaker friend of mine complained that they tend to get you all revved up emotionally, which at times can spoil the unfolding of the feature that follows. She had a point. Parents in Portland have been getting peeved that trailers for violent and lascivious movies sometimes run prior to kid-oriented features when the audience is filled with little ones. They have a point, too....

Justin, the line that impressed you from Jim comes from Twain, who said he never let his schooling get in the way of his education. I have my own version: Try not to let your job get in the way of your WORK.

Joseph J. Finn confuses existential philosophy with angst, which is not the same thing at all. The "thanatopsis" that HE accused his third wife of laboring under, whatever it was, certainly did not emanate from any coherent, considered system of thought, but more likely a psycho-emotional condition. Of course, pretty much every system of thought has its blind spots and cut corners, and as a quasi-existentialist, I'd be happy to discuss those in Sartre and Camus, but please don't confuse an intellectual position with an emotional condition!

Heather: I feel your pain. I grew up without television, but got addicted to art and foreign films in Boston, so it was a bleak period when I lived in rural southwestern Oregon and nothing stranger than "sex, lies & videotape" or "Eight Men Out" made it to the local theaters. I started buying videos of my favorite films before I even had a VCR, for fear that they would not always be available. And yes, Nicole Kidman was indeed once a pale (a VERY pale) redhead. I first noted her as the teen goddess in an Australian boarding school -- and not really that much of a knockout in those days -- in the 1991 film "Flirting" (which post-dates "Dead Calm," I see). Pleasant but forgettable. You'd never know she was destined for the superstardom she was to achieve.

Debbie -- you went to "The Road Home" twice! How wonderful! Here's my precis:


I haven't written up "Under the Sand" yet, but I will within the week.

Justin, I could say a LOT to you about the education issues you've raised, and maybe I will in a separate post. Over and out.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Tuesday, August 21 2001 16:14:25

I type the same word twice all the time. I have NO idea what that is about. I also have a strange habit of typing "ing" instead of "ed" at the end of a word. (as in, "I walking to the store", instead of "I walked to the store.") Might just be some kind of typing finger habit.

I learned to proofread while proofing business cards, movie screen passes and other weird kinds of stuff (including french) at that print company. Proofing well is an acquired habit, I think. And no, I have no suggestion for reading more easily on screen. I don't have any problem with it. I'm not sure why. Maybe it comes from having had to interpret other people's scrawls so I've gotten used to reading from weird points and places. Dunno..

Loquacious.. I looked that up -- though I intuitively knew it was about chattter or summat. Gee..Me? nah..*laugh*

Do you know how REFRESHING it is to have people in a group who talk as much or even MORE than me? DO YOU? HUH? DO YOU?

Thank you.


I think if you put it the right way, Nicole Kidman would be interested in you. Just say:

"Hi, I'm rich."

That might get her attention.

Nicole Kidman was always a fave. I remembered her as a "tannable, it seemed, in "Dead Calm but I've seen her pale and a redhead. And fairly tall, all of which I am too. I loved her in "Moulin Rouge." I was sorry to hear about her and Tom Cruise splitting. I thought they were a good couple.

Tell you what; you can have Nicole, if I can have Tom. (Though Redford was my idol while growing up. I like his attitude, as well.)

Heather L (for..loquacious)

- Tuesday, August 21 2001 16:5:26

Rich- yeah, I'm just looking at getting a taste of the life, and I won't sign ANYTHING until I'm sure about whether or not the Army life is right for me (as it has been for every other man in my family, on both sides, hence my curiosity).

Heather- Good to talk to you! Thanks for sharing your observations with me, I appreciate it very much.

Lynn- You couldn't be more right about the "cold hard cash" thing. When that professor started talking his schmack, I took it as a personal assault. And why not? I realized I had just been flat-out ROBBED.

Jim- "Don't let college interfere with your education?" I like that one. Thanks.

Today was a bit more like it though. My other classes have engaged my interest, and I'm going to try and replace the science class with something else. I may not be giving it a fair shake, but I don't think I can stand to give more time to those idjits. My English class is interesting, but I am somewhat irritated that our reading assignments all seem to be pop-culture Oprah type stuff. I need more than that to work with. Thankfully, our biggest reading assignment is a book called THE BLUEST EYE, by Toni Morrison, which does sound pretty interesting. Any good?


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 15:56:32

Peg: True, true. Hell, even Harlan has made a few typos now and then. Still, computer screens give (to me, anyway) an unreal quality to the act of writing that is kind of disturbing. I wonder if one of those anti-glare screens would help?

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, Amazed! Canada - Tuesday, August 21 2001 15:50:20

Oh..*laugh*..Lynn, sorry I didn't get to this sooner.

Some GUY? (your SO) is teaching YOU how to deal with a pair of people?




Sorry, I never consider the size of the nitwit's bicep OR brain, when I'm reading someone the riot act. In the first (and last) place, I'm not GENERALLY surveying the meat and judging where a short punch might go. Sounds like a guy's game. I ain't a guy. And the more I come to underSTAND of this male demeanor, the less I envy the male convention.

Yah, yah, yah.. sos yer old man.

You GO, girl!


- Tuesday, August 21 2001 15:50:0

Hey - even my first post is a great example. Why should I bother to correct that - you know what I meant and that it was a mistake????

- Tuesday, August 21 2001 15:48:50


I think we all worry too much 'bout this stuff on Wedberland. Frankly, how many posts do you see where someone mentions a correction - mostly likely a typo - that you already recognized and made necessary mental adjustment?

Using a word/phrase twice, as your post mentions? Overkill.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 15:35:33


"What ho! The fellow is hopping mad! He hath been bitten by the tarantula!"

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Tuesday, August 21 2001 15:32:46

Skittering in and out...

David Loftus:

I saw that "artsy" movie list--don't think I didn't.

You are making it INCREDIBLY hard to do without a VCR and television, ya know that?

We have an artsy film theatre in an area of Winnipeg called the Exchange District--our very small, artsy, fartsy section of town. They have a lot of interesting films there. I went off television a while ago but found my interest in non-commercial films began to grow--I like it when you guys talk about those films. I'm sure I'll be dead before I can see all these films, but I can try.

Damn, I forget who commented, but, I've TRIED other things--that's my current conundrum. I THOUGHT I might try jobs like McD's for a while, so I could focus on my writing chops. Seems the food biz is causing me more problems than a REAL job could. Hmmm....I guess I could always take up prostitution; I hear the money's good.


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 15:32:10


The post below should have read: "...HAS obviously bisected..."

I'm not making excuses for any lapses in grammar or spelling on my part. I'm solely responsible for what I post, with no excuses. BUT, does anyone else find it hard to write on computer screens? It kills my eyes, and I think I actually have problems visually processing text that I've written, which makes simple proofing a real chore. Anyone have any suggestions to make looking at a screen a little easier?


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 15:9:27

Folks, I've figured it out: Grand Masta is...Harlan Ellison!

The strain of the AOL/RemarQ lawsuit had obviously bisected poor Harlan's mind. We're talkin' "Shatterday", here.

Justin: Modern academia is definitely inundated with the inane and the trivial; just grit your teeth, glean what little fragments of wisdom are there, and resolve never to let college interfere with your education.

(I'll never forget the Religious Studies professor who insisted that contractions--I'm, can't, don't, etc.--were improper english, and would actually be marked as mistakes if they appeared in students' papers. I had to lug into class a stack of novels, Fitzgerald's and Hemingway's among them, to demonstrate the silliness of her assertion. She conceded, but not happily.)

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 21 2001 14:45:14

Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq

We just ‘tribute ma whinin' hysterics n’ ma pique n’ fire ta empathic PMS. A handy cova' when ya needs a ‘scuse.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 14:6:59

Justin~ While I agree with your prof that in order to teach something, you really have to know it, the 'reading is bullshit' line does smack of modern academia. And the wonderful thing is, you'll never cease to be amazed by the crap they try to pawn off on you. Oh you'll think at some point that you're so jaded, there's nothing they could do or say that can surprise you, but you'll be wrong. Take heart that the academian mind is full of such interesting schemes.

And the idea that using your students to teach something will help them learn it better just sounds like pure laziness. What? You can't engage your own students well enough, you have to pawn the job off on the people that are paying to be there? If I were you, I'd reserve judgement on his techniques until I saw them in action, but I definitely share your skepticism.

Isn't it amazing how much value education takes on when you start laying out cold hard cash for it?

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 13:48:27

Grand Masta' H.

Porcupine has the pricks on the outside.


Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 13:34:31

Sup, sup,

yo, yo, all you muth' fucka's check this shit out aiiyyeeee? all I want to say is this....

Fab Five Finder; yo, i agree wit you on that "tommyknockers" thang. its nothin' but a piece of log waitin' to be flushed. And don't you worry 'bout Asimov and me. we're tight.

Rappin' Rob of Santa Monica; yo, what's wit your post sounded like a whiny bitch and all. you know, you like a McD's fry, crispy on the outside, but soft and fluffy on the inside. (and to all y'all's still wonderin' why they fry 'em in animal oils, any literate mofo would have read "Fast Food Nation" or the article on Ray Croc in May's edition of the New Yorker)

Rob, you a fool that can't show no respect and some rocky mountain fly boy's gonna make you sit on a shiv. And as far as that movie thang goes, all ya need is some balls man. offer to pay the man fo' his drink, grab his cup, take it to the bafroom, wet yo' weasel into it, aks the concession lady to carbonate it and give it back to him. Now maybe yo ass will be beat, but at least yo can say he drank yo shit.

Masta' C. Ellison; What's the difference between a Corevette and a lil' ole porcupine?

Lynn; it ain't the moon's that "gibbous". and quit tryin' to figure me out my sugar baby!


Warmest Regards,
Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 13:9:45


Your post illustrates my essential problem with exestentialism as a philosophy (even after having a brilliant teacher in my senior year of high school - how many people read "The Plague" as part of Catholic Studies?). What's the point, then?


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Tuesday, August 21 2001 13:1:39

"In his estimation, his ex-wife was burdened with thanatopsis -- a deep and abiding world-weariness, an inability to see anything
significant in life except that it ends."

Do you REALLY believe there are people in the world like this?

What do they LIVE for? I've never understood this.

Rooting around in backlogs...


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 21 2001 12:42:7


I liked 'Eyes Wide Shut' but I also cheated: I convinced myself I would like Kubrick's last film no matter what it was. Apart from that I found Cruise's character really amusing in this dream-world; he's this wealthy doctor throwing money around, trying to be defiant after the shit is wife dumped on him by going through the motions of seducing women behind her back. Every time it appears like he'll get laid something intervenes. He's a total amateur at this. Conversely, almost everyone - including gay guys - are drawn to him like a magnet, one even determined to marry him even though, as he points out, she doesn't even know him. He has no control over any situation in this movie. Most of the time he doesn't know what he's doing. The befuddled look on his face when his wife is first freaking out for no apparent reason (ah-hem, how many of us guys have been through that one?) really broke me up. And then there was the beautiful ritual scene in the mansion (with that great haunting music) - actually a naughty joke-reversal on the sacraments from Rasputin - which totally transfixed me. But it was the power of THAT scene that made the mellow ending a let-down (it was a meditation - we didn't need some Stallone action scenes - but we still felt deprived of a pay-off); that was the only thing that genuinley disappointed me.

Anyway, those are the elements of the film that worked for me.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 12:32:47


After weeping about that Piano question for a moment, I came up with the obvious answer to the guy:

"What the hell do you think they were doing down at the beach at the beginning of the movie - making sand castles? They were picking up SUPPLIES!"

How's that?


Darryl <You know>
Bay Area, CA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 12:9:39

Re: Brian Siano and what people complain about discussing movies--

I once talked with a guy (he's extremely intelligent, witty and kind) who said that he hated "The Piano" because he couldn't figure out what infrastructure was set up to bring food, clothing, etc. to the people living in the wilderness.

As part of my job is user support, I'm continuially amazed at what people find to complain about.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 11:28:50


Well, we're definitely on the opposite sides of a chasm in our opinion of trailers. When I watch a DVD (god bless 'em), the only thing I don't bother with is the trailers and tv spots. They just hold no interest for me (to take an extreme example, as DVDjournal.com put it, "How many different ways can you cut a 30-second spot, anyway?"). We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

No harm, no foul, compadre?


P.S. Though, of course, you are still completely wrong.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 11:22:27

Kubrick is my favorite director of all-time but even I can't say I liked Eyes Wide Shut. I didn't hate it, though. It's not a bad movie. It's just incoherent and easily the least of his films.

It also contains one of the worst scenes I can ever recall seeing, the scene near the end when Sydney Pollack simply tells Tom Cruise everything that had just happened, explaining it all away while playing a game of pool. Extended sequences of pure exposition are seldom good but that one's an all-time stinker.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 11:17:29


I just could not POSSIBLY disagree any more with your last assertion. Trailers are an art form. Trailers are fascinating. I love them. One of the little art house theaters in Boston used to run a half hour show of just trailers and people loved them. When I was in film school and we all went to the theater, we would frequently discuss what made a certain trailer good or bad. I still remember trailers I love (The Big Lebowski, Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition, etc.) They are often the first thing I check out on a DVD.

If you've dismissed them as "just commercials" then I respectfully submit that you are missing out on a very important and enjoyable aspect of film.


We're at the same stage. We disagree. I'm not interested in some legal argument. We won't get anywhere by discussing it further. As long as we don't go to any movies together, it shouldn't matter much to either of us anyway.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Tuesday, August 21 2001 10:47:34


Re: Eugene Walter

What an amazing, amazing personality. I shall look for this book. "Cat and monkey spirit"--good expression!

Was in the library last night. Grabbed a few good books. (by the by, read an intro to a Robert Crais hardback at McNally Robinson: Holy shit! What an opening!) Thought I'd noodle around for Ellison--though I've read what's at this library. Took a look for "Slippage." Hadn't seen it on the shelf for a while (I read it earlier this year) Checked its in/out status. It was SUPPOSED to be IN.

Bottom line? (Checked with librarian on this) I'd say it was stolen. *sigh*

I was CONSIDERING buying books of Ellison's, reading them, and donating them to the library. I think not; if they are going to invariably disappear. Looks like I'm obviously going to have ONE collection of books when I get to it as people seem to have sticky fingers when it comes to Ellison. (There are THREE, count 'em, THREE shelves of Silverberg's in the Science Fiction section. "Slippage" was the only one in that area. (Oh, there are others, in other sections. I suppose that's what may save them; but YEESH)

I'm sure you needed to hear that, H, ....Not. *grin*


The cookbook sounds great. I've written that down. I've always enjoyed finding cookbooks that offer more than just the recipes. I LIKE understanding the chemistry of cooking--allows me to play around even more. What kind of cooking are YOU into, Dennis?

I like sitting on the right hand side of the theatre, about halfway back from the screen. I'm tall (enough, let's say) and like to be able to move my legs around a bit so I like sitting on the aisle. I also like being able to go up the aisle WITHOUT having to pass patrons in their seats. On the occasion when I'm NOT on an aisle seat (doesn't happen much; I tend to go to shows that aren't too crowded) I am paranoid about where I have my food or my belongings. I make sure they are out of a passing person's way; and I generally, even, just stand up--none of this squirming around in my seat so a so-and-so can waddle by. To heck with that.

Taking a momentary hiatus from Mickey D's. I said I needed 40 hours a week NOW when I was interviewed. The lady said, "Oh NO PROBLEM, NO PROBLEM, we can get you that." I even said, if they didn't need full-time, I'd be willing to work evenings and weekends part-time while I continued looking for full-time work.

I've given them the 'benefit of the doubt' for two weeks. (Waited a week for that stupid "orientation." Long story. Same shit, different day.) I woke up this morning and said 'this is nuts.' I went in to see if the schedule had been upped in hours for me or not. (They'd originally given me three four hour shifts for this week; I'd gotten 35 hours last week which was satisfactory.) Of course it hadn't. (Another long story involving too damn many managers, making too damn many vague comments and them seeming to have hearing problems or summat--Hmm.. _I'm_ the old person; I thought _I_ was supposed to be the hard-of-hearing one. *grin*

Anyway, I talked to one of the better employees -- she's a manager, of sorts -- when I got there today, which was kinda nice, and she'll relay the message. (In fact, being the sort I think SHE is, she may smack a few heads for losing a good employee.)

But then again, I don't think they NEED good employees. All they NEED are warm bodies at McDonald's. *sigh* Too bad. I really enjoyed dealing with customers, especially during rush periods.


Hello, we've never spoken, I'm Heather. Hope school's a blast. Water is good for reducing drunkeness--drink lots BEFORE. *grin*

I worked in the printing industry for a few years. I was laid off and went for a desktop publishing certificate. I found that for all the money I was spending (like you) I got quickly frustrated with the curriculum. Having been IN the graphic industry a tad, I had a sense of what I might ALSO need to learn and kept bugging a few teachers in particular as to why these things weren't being taught. Bottom line? Some schools haven't a clue. They are ruled by persons who set the curriculum according to what deals they get from curriculum contractors (New word. I'm simply calling them that.) and what the others, in charge feel is the 'best way to go.' I don't mean ALL schools are like that but.. This was MY experience.

If nothing else, school teaches you that it's an industry/business, just like just about everything else on the planet. There are noble teachers with noble ideals (Sheryl was one) and there are teachers who are just kowtowing to their superiors for tenure or a meal ticket or pick one. But when you are young and full of spirit and hope and look to elders for wisdom, you don't know about stuff like this, which is too bad, in some cases. (Oh, I know YOU are smart. You seem to be catching on quick and don't LOSE that attitude--it will serve you well and save you a lot of time, in the long run.)

But I wander around this university I frequent here in Winnipeg and more and more it sinks in that school is simply another "corporation"--if you're lucky it may be your FIRST and LAST one. So grin and bear and take what you can, any WAY you can. Just my four cents -- which almost converts to your American two.


rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 10:40:38

One last thing and I'll be quiet and go back to work...

Nicole Kidman is available, huh? Let me run this by some of you who are more intelligent than my 68 IQ.

I could stalk Nicole Kidman. Send her love letters, see what she's doing for lunch, that kind of thing. Then, my wife finds out and freaks out and divorces my sorry ass. Then she could sue Nicole Kidman for alientation of affection. She could win a zillion dollars, I'd go into a state hospital, come back out cured and then hook back up with my wife and we'd live happily ever after. Huh? Huh? Think it'll work?

I think the only problem with this scenario is that Nicole Kidman would actually have to like me, thus the affection thing. But, how could someone not like me?

rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 10:33:15

I didn't like "Eyes Wide Shut", but would not say it was a waste of time. Technically, there probably isn't anyone better than Kubrick in setting up a shot and the three hours I spent in the theater watching a genius at work (no, I'm not talking about Tom Cruise) is one helluva lot better than the two minutes I spent talking to the slack-jawed yokel at the Home Depot the other day.

On the other hand, I thought "A.I." was a waste of time and was disappointed in the film because there was so much to work with--story, talent, actors, ideas--and nothing of consequence was made. It'd be like Michelangelo taking a lump of clay and making an ashtray out of it.

For what it's worth (and this does not mean I have any more opinions on the Rob Incident than already stated----that dead horse is sooo fuckin' dead), I enjoy previews. I enjoy watching these "commercials" as it gives me a sense of excitement of what I can look forward to. Sometimes. I mean, you've got trailers that make no sense at all and tell you nothing about the movie other than who stars in it; trailers that tell you the entire movie in those two or three minutes, including how it would end; and trailers that are put together well and, sometimes, even better than the movie itself. So, yeah, I'm the guy that gets there well ahead of time and tries to read who made the movie just before the credits disappear from the end of the trailer. I get pissed when there's only a couple of trailers before the movie. But, that's just me.

ROTC, huh? Oh, well. Even the Army of one needs another one, I guess. I would suggest you do as much training as possible--Airborne, Ranger, etc. as I think that's the only thing you're gonna like about the Army. I say that and I don't know you, but based on your posts you appear to be somewhat intelligent and intelligence is hard to come by in the military as it's a proven fact that the longer you stay in the lower your intelligence. Then again, maybe you're not going to be joining and you're just looking for a taste of the life.

As far as that so-called prof, I hope it doesn't procreate. Besides giving out statistics which I would think it would be hard put to back up with the studies, anyone who would say that is a moron and doesn't need to be teaching.

Or, maybe since reading doesn't do any good,it's not reading the stop signs. Or, better yet, lure it out to one of the rifle ranges and/or live fire areas since the forbidden signs and the do not enter signs would be ignored by it.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 7:43:6

Glad to hear someone else liked _Eyes Wide Shut_. I love Kubrick's work, but even this one escaped me the first time I saw it. Since Kubrick's the man who made _2001_ and _Barry Lyndon_ and _Dr. Strangelove_, I give him a benefit of the doubt that I don't extend to too many other artists-- I tell myself that it's likely that _I'm_ the one missing something.

For that matter, I loved _AI_. Kubrick's intention was to create a fairy tale for a future that might not be entirely human. And his points of reference for fairy tales weren't Disney movies or Spielberg's _E.T._, but the darker, terrifying work of the brothers Grimm. (And there's a nod to Felix Salten in those forest scenes.)

Instead, people tried to see it as a "failed" Spielberg movie. Or, they tried to fault the realism of its technological projections, which is sort of like nitpicking about the load-bearing capabilities of gingerbread walls. (Geez, any movie where villains use a Moon-shaped balloon to hunt down robots is clearly _not_ trying to be as hard-tech as _2001_ was.) People bitched about the length-- and I wonder if these same people would fault _Lawrence of Arabia_ on the same grounds.

And people actually thought that Kubrick would have ended the film in the suffocating depths of the sunken Coney Island, because Kubrick is "dark" and thus wouldn't have ever made a happy ending. (Which is why David Lynch would never make a movie like _The Straight Story_.) I loved the ending, personally; a nice mind-stretcher that recalls _2001_'s finale, a resolution both touching and Phyrric, and wallowing in enough sentimentality to balance out the ruthlessness of the rest of Kubrick's work.

On another front, here's ghe first paragraph of a book review in the Washington Post that will probably be of interest, seeing as we all like colorful literary figures:

By Eugene Walter as Told to Katherine Clark
Crown. 295 pp. $25

Meet Eugene Walter. Born in 1921 in Mobile, died there three-quarters of a century later. He was, he said, "just something that got loose from Alabama," a "student of human endeavors on this busy planet," member of "a union called international cats and monkeys." "Polysexual" by inclination, he believed that "the very best sex is to be in a phone booth, naked, with a lot of butterflies." He traveled with "only the bare essentials: my Remington typewriter, my stuffed monkey in a bell jar, and a box of gold paper stars to sprinkle on the stairways of my apartment building." He was the sole inhabitant of Planet Eugene: "And once I was on a bus with Dame Edith Sitwell. We were the only two people on a Sixth Avenue bus in a snowstorm. I had been downtown shopping for castanets. That's the story of my life: out shopping for castanets in a snowstorm."

Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 6:55:29

Heather: As to your question about cookbooks I'd like to recommend "Cookwise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking" by Shirley O. Corriher. It's more of a cooking textbook that a cookbook. She explains not only how to make a particular dish, but the chemistry behind that dish and how to alter it in various ways to produce different tastes and textures. I found out about this book by watching "Good Eats" on the Food Network. She makes occasional appearences on that program.


John Thompson
Las Vegas - Tuesday, August 21 2001 5:27:19

I think it's about time we gave Rob a rest. And Rob, stop defending yourself! You've stated your opinions cleanly and clearly. I'd hate to see us all fall into enemy camps because of something as mundane as carbonated sugar water. God, if this thread keeps up, I'll be dreaming of dancing soda cups.

Speaking of movies, I recently watched EYES WIDE SHUT. I had stupidly avoided this film because many of my friends and a number of critics said it was a waste of time. Far from the case: Kubrick's final film contains one of the creepiest movie moments I've ever seen: the satanic masquerade ball. It was as if Poe and de Sade collaborated on a more licentious version of "Masque of the Red Death."

Rob <robvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 21 2001 4:0:8

Mr. L.

I am quite considerate with people. Consciously so. Where I find I need to learn etiquette I learn it. I will nevertheless continue, if I desire, to get up ANY time during previews because, in part, that's what previews are for; to DO the final things you need to before the movie starts.

The tangent in your rigid quibbling that's annoying ME is that you presume to have the data you need to judge that entire evening fairly. You weren't there, I was. There were dozens of extraneous things going on there that you're unaware of (on this I'll add too, though I agree with many of the points people here made about my interaction with that guy - both...BOTH he and I were being stupid - most submitted at least one comment that I STILL disagree with...simply because none of you were there. I know what subtleties prevailed there which my recounting couldn't fully embody. You don't. Imagine if a child leaves a bike under your car and you don't know it's there. Who's responsible for the crushed bike when you run it over? You have no idea what that guy's behavior was like before I could get a word in for any whole apology. Sorry, but he WAS acting like a punk WAY out of control from the start. However, that doesn't mitigate my end of it and that doesn't mean I haven't learned something about tact).

Case in point, I emphasized I wasn't feeling well that night; for me that can be serious because I take a medication to prevent seizures. It has rather intoxicating and dehydrating side-effects sometimes (usually depending on how you'd eaten throughout that day); gives you a hybrid light-headedness of alcohol and caffeine. No one's judgement is always at its sharpest when they feel kinda shot (and if your rejoinder is, "if you weren't feeling well that night why did you even go?" Well, I'll keep that to myself; there were reasons). An iced tea was what I felt I needed, not a soda (that's right, I used the reference to color up the original passage). And that's what I went for. So, if I need to get up for a moment before the movie gets started and YOU'RE sitting behind me don't fret, you'll survive it.

Y'know, being rigidly anal is actually another way of being discourteous. Just because we don't follow the dictates of Chris L. or his strict notions of what previews are for doesn't mean we're being inconsiderate. We may be handling last-minute needs at the wisest time: BEFORE the movie starts. THAT'S being considerate.

If all this sounded blunt and defensive, well...it came from the gut.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 21 2001 3:37:18

Awful tired...but I gotta check in with my Webderland peeps!

First day of school.

0500hrs: dragged ass out of bed, breakfasted, then strode across the street to meet my ROTC instructors for PT at 0600. My first Army experience was none too impressive. When they say the Army is about “Hurry up and wait,” they ain’t foolin’. The instructors took forever to get organized, jackassing around for a good forty minutes before we finally got underway. I was not amused. They’d just better impress me during my Military Science course tomorrow.

1100hrs: After pootling around the apartment all morning (fixing a sandwich, looking for naked pictures of Heather Graham on the internet, the usual), I headed back over to campus for the only other class I take on Monday, THE UNIVERSE AND HUMANITY: ORIGINS AND DESTINY, a science course. I’ll explain, as briefly as possible, what went down.

First of all, the class is taught primarily by teaching assistants, and places a great deal of emphasis on group work. This, despite the fact that I studiously avoided choosing any courses that had been advertised as being taught by TA’s, or involving excessive amounts group work. I’m not here to learn from stuttering second-stringers, nor from my hungover classmates. I was misled, but that’s not the main reason why I’m upset. I'll tell you why I'm REALLY upset:

Story goes something like this- In his introduction to the course, the professor informed the class that something like 95% of what a person teaches to others is retained in his or her memory. The fact may be accurate, and I suppose that would be a reasonable enough piece of information for him to share with his students, were it not for the fact that he was only sharing this information with us in order to advertise this new “peers as teachers” program, which is little more than another excuse for undergraduate professors to further abdicate their teaching responsibilities to less-qualified individuals. The prof was trying to get students involved in this thing by basically telling us how second-rate our learning experience was going to be if we didn’t sign the paperwork and participate in this new, experimental, and time-consuming program. I'm perfectly willing to go the extra mile to obtain knowlege, but I am not willing to sit down and allow it to go unremarked when I am told, "You've just spent a grand on a course that's pretty damn inadequate as it is, so may I recommend that you SUPERSIZE this one?" No, you goddamn good and well may not, you jackoff.

The prof went on to further explain why the class is taught the way it is. He said that around 80% of what people learn during group work is retained (bah). He persisted, listing different teaching methods, and as time wore on the “information retention” percentage kept dropping significantly. And would you care to know what was on the bottom of his list of Effective Learning Methods?

Reading, dear comrades. READING.

He said that only 10% of what a person reads can be retained. He didn’t say that SOME people only retain 10%, he flat out said to the class that we will only retain 10% of anything we read. I will provide for you an exact quote, one that has rather stuck itself in my mind: “You only retain 10% of what you read…SO READING DOESN’T DO YOU ANY GOOD.”

This was a new one on me. Reading doesn't do me any good? Gorsh. Izzata fact, spunky? Say, why don’t you lean a little bit closer? I, uh, I have to tell you a secret…


Oh, the humanity. For a professor to stand before a room full of young students, an audience of damn near 100 undergraduates, and tell them that reading is no good…

Words fail me. They failed me in the classroom, and they continue to do so this evening. What bothers me most is this attitude that young people are suddenly only only capable of learning with visual aids and movies and "personal hands-on multimedia wireless broadband interaction" and user-friendly happy-face icons, which leads only to condescention and a dumbed-down curriculum. I've seen it before, but I somehow hoped that the same rules would not apply in a large university setting.

I did the only thing I could possibly have done in the situation: I valliantly fell asleep for the rest of the class period, then left the room in disgust and bewilderment. Allow me to quote, in full, the following passage I pulled directly from the class web site:

“WRITING EMPHASIS. The critical thinking embodied in your research project and other course work must be PRECISELY EXPRESSED IN WRITING to demonstrate your evolving scientific knowledge and intellectual growth in this course. All of your written work must be LOGICALLY ORGANIZED, GRAMMATICALLY CORRECT, succinct, and typed with a word processor whenever practical. Grades for all major writing assignments will include a substantial "pride of authorship" factor. WRITING THAT IS ILLEGIBLE OR BELOW COLLEGE LEVEL EXPECTATIONS FOR COMPOSITION WILL BE RETURNED WITH A GRADE OF 0.”

Uh huh? Really? So you want your students to write good papers for your goddamn new-age phsychobabble bullshit science-lite course, yet in the same breath you have the audacity to say that reading is a waste of time?

Gawd, people make me ever so weary.

I just haven’t got the words. “Crushed” and “disappointed” spring to mind, but they don’t seem to do. “Reading is bullshit” is just not what I expected to hear in my first class session here. Incredibly disheartening. Crestfallen, that's the right word.

All I can think to do is confer with my Creative Writing advisor and hope he is as appalled as I am, and will be able to help in some way. That, or I could just go back to the science class on Wednesday and crack that bastich professor right in the mouth, whatsay? Somebody double dog dare me.

Negativity negativity negativity. It’s my specialty. But I will say that I really like the campus, the tremendous buzz of activity that exists there, and the fact that the ladies tend not to wear very much of anything at all. I don't despise the place, I’m just hoping my other three classes turn out to be far better than this.

Oh...I ended up, oddly enough, spending most of the night watching ENEMY AT THE GATES on DVD at the ATP Fraternity House, where one of my new boxing buddies lives. It’s the house that gets burnt down in that 80's movie REVENGE OF THE NERDS, and the house is used every four years when PLAYBOY comes to town to do part of their PAC 10 photo shoot. Weird life.



Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 1:55:34


I still think that your argument is springing leaks - these are commercials, made to promote a product. They are not an artistic endeavour.

However, I agree (and have in all my posts) that to be rude to people is the paramount sin. To get up during a commercial? No problem. To be an ass about it? No way.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 1:13:32


You use the word "commercial" to load your argument. I will use the word "trailer" to load mine.

I am perfectly aware of the fact that some people don't give a rat's ass about trailers. However, there are many people that do. I have no idea if they constitue a majority or a minority but that hardly matters.

I would point out the fact that trailers are included on DVDs as "Special Features" as one data point in favor of the argument that trailers are considered to have some sort of value, whatever that value may be. Also, virtually every time I see a movie with other people, we wind up talking about one of the trailers during the usual post-mortem on the film. Finally, I'd note that when it becomes known that trailers for popular movies are being shown in front of certain films, people often crowd the theater to see the trailer. This happened for Star Wars: Phantom Menace - I forget which film was the first to have the Star Wars trailer in front of him. There is usually a frenzy of online activity whenever a new trailer for a film is available for download.

I am belaboring a point that even I am not interested in but since I have a worse case of insomnia than usual, I'm still enjoying it. Point is, I think there is ample evidence to suggest that trailers do matter to some people - and it's more than a few. For me, they often wind up being more fun than the movie itself.

Now, of course, I never said Rob was swinish for getting up during the trailers. I did say that his doing so did inconvenience other peple and, for that fact, he had to consider himself culpable for anything else that happened as a result of his choice to do so.

I am tempted to say something critical of Rob for badgering this point to death but I look back at my four posts tonight and realize I am more guilty of it than he is.

Just as you say you don't mean to be rude to other people, I am sure Rob had no such intentions when he went to get his soda. Nonetheless, while it may never have occurred to you before that people are watching the trailers, I am merely providing a public service by letting you know that some of them are watching.

I think the best rule of thumb to observe in the theater is that once the lights are dimmed, you should stay in your seat.

It doesn't make you Genghis Khan if you get up during the trailers but just keep in mind next time that it will bug some people, so try to avoid it if you can.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 21 2001 0:36:3


Sitting in the theater? About a third back, center seats. Not too close, but I can see everything (real fun the 1st time you see a 70MM film in the theatre, which was Hamlet for me).

Waling in and out for snacks during commercials (as long as I don't jabber loudly and hit people)? No problem. They're commercials. Advertisements. Once the movie starts, though, it's sit down and shut up time. I don't mean to be rude to fellow patrons (in fact, I've quietly gone out of the theater and had people tossed by management so my fellow patrons and I can enjoy the movie). Doesn't mean I have to sit slack-jawed during the commercials.


Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS USA - Tuesday, August 21 2001 0:7:59

Where to sit in the theater...

About 5th or 6th row back from the front on the center aisle.

That's now, of course. But mumble mumble years ago when my eyes and neck and back were considerably better than they are now, I lived front row center and loved it. After all, it was the only place in the theater where nobody was going to block the view.

--- TR

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 23:57:49

While I'm sure this movie preview thing hasn't died out yet, I'm curious about something else regarding viewers' movie habits.

Where do you prefer to sit in the theater?

I like to sit near the front and in the center. The front row is too close but 2nd or 3rd from the front is often just right. I like to have the screen fill my entire field of vision but for none of it to be out of my field. In theaters with stadium seating, you can't sit quite as close because you have to look up too much.

Some folks have a strong preference for sitting near the back of the theater, feeling they get to see more. I feel like the further back you sit, the less you're watching the big screen and the more you're just watching another TV show but to each his or her own.

If forced to choose between sitting up front or sitting in the center, the center is more important. Of course, you can always avoid that choice by not going to the movies on weekend nights, something I haven't done in years. Love those twilight shows!

Mitch <mitch_3737@yahoo.com>
Hazlet (just north of the tulgey wood), NJ - Monday, August 20 2001 23:56:59

Speaking of Woody Allen, "Sweet and Lowdown" is currently playing on HBO. Great little movie about an obnoxious, but talented, jazz guitarist. If you've been wondering whatever happened to Sean Penn, check it out.
As for cons, I've always enjoyed myself at them. Not just for the fannish reasons (game demos, meeting authors, buying stuff), but also because it's an ego boost. I can look at certain con-goers and think, "Y'know, as geeky and unattractive as I am, at least I'm not THAT guy". Cruel? Yes.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 23:30:20


As long as there are other people in the theater that are interested in what's on the screen, then you are, to some degree, inconveniencing them by leaving the theater once you have already sat down. It's not as bad as doing it during the feature but you're still going to be disturbing some people.

Sometimes it's nice to understand that there are, indeed, other people in the world. And just because you don't care about something doesn't mean they don't. A little common courtesy can go a long way - too bad it's not so common.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Monday, August 20 2001 23:19:52


Leaving aside your attempt at sarcasm, I've gotta agree with Rob. There's nothing wrong with going to the bathroom and getting some snacks during the pre-movie commercials.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 23:13:53


Ouch, what a zinger, you really got me.

I can't argue with you. As long as other people are doing something, it must mean it's good. You're just so right. And, of course, if you and a few other people aren't interested in previews, then clearly nobody else is interested either and you may as well just bring your boombox with you and start blasting 'N Synch because, hell, that's what YOU want to do and what YOU want to do is certainly the only thing that matters.

I think I'm gonna go out and buy some bootleg videos now. After all, I see other people doing it all the time. That must mean it's right.

I saw some guy on the news tonight shot a bunch of people. And I've heard other people do it too. I'm gonna get me a gun right after I finish with them bootlegs.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 22:55:59

Chris L.

I was just doing a post recap. Ealier, I had time to scroll only through some. Couldn't help but notice your incisive comment about previews, Chris. Some people here made some very valid points about my little love fest. A number of them were quite true. Yours wasn't one of 'em and it was distinctly important for ya t'know it. People were getting up all over the place during the previews, not to mention, as you pointed out, talking on the cell phones. Yet I am the one who should remain seated? Hey! Oddly, I'm one of the few who almost never go to the concession in movie theaters. Since I wasn't feeling well (how many times do I have to run that one again) a sudden urge to drink something hit me. And I wanted to rush it before the show actually did start. And, finally, I'll add that half these crappy previews were ever-ubiquitous ads (things we need to remember like the LA Times, etc.). I didn't seem get ANYTHING right in my last bunch of posts but this time I'm abso-(to plagiarize Harlan)-fuckin'-lutely on target, and YOU are WAY th'hell off. So, I didn't disrupt anything. You need to catch up to the movies, man. So live with THAT one Chris L. HAH!

God! That felt good. If I have ta go insane I'm takin' you with me.

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 20 2001 22:45:15

Lynn: You're absolutely right; I misspoke myself. It was Saticoy, not Tampa. Tampa runs north-south.

David: the package arrived today. Thank you. Nothing ever happened with the "book of introductions."


Debbie <yerkesd@gwm.sc.edu>
Columbia, SC - Monday, August 20 2001 22:33:43

The amount of traffic on this bulletin board is astounding!
Amy & Joseph: Ok, let's get together at Dragoncon and then decide what to do. I'll do some research on restaurants in Atlanta and see what I can find.
David: I second your thoughts on "Under the Sand" and "The Road Home". Earlier this evening I saw "The Road Home" for the second time in 4 days. It is exquisite, one of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen. Everyone should see this film. Also, cons can be fun! I've been to several, both large (Dragoncon) and small (Readercon) and I've always had a good time. Some have been better than others, but I've never had a bad experience at one.
Debbie (going back into lurkdom before I'm disconnected!)

- Monday, August 20 2001 21:41:36


Your story sounds believable. I believe you. I've seen guys get mad over fries. He shoulda moved his drink. That simple.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 20:15:47


(LOL). The EMPTY void has always been my great passion.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 20:6:54

"What were you drinking? I'll be back with another in a minute."

That's what I should've said: I have it on index cards taped to my computer at home, on the walls in my bathroom, on the windshield of my car, in the ladies - er - mens restroom at work, on the soles of my shoes. The line is there for me to memorize and wedge into my consciousness a la Clockwork Orange. If I have to brainwash etiquette into myself I'll do it. For a moment I saw the world through Susan's eyes that day on the freeway. Scared th'hell oughtta me.

Goddamit, I been reformed!

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 19:57:57

The only time I've ever been to Washington DC, I saw two gorgeous 19 year old girls making out with each other on a bench.

DC gets a thumbs up from me!

RE: The Score

I liked it. It was eminently forgettable but it was a decent way to spend an afternoon. And I laughed myself silly when Brando first sees DeNiro and says "You look like shit. What's your secret?"

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, August 20 2001 19:14:32

Jim Davis remarked of Rob's last post: "I detect a great...EMPTINESS in your post." Frank Church waxed rhapsodic about the work of one Allen Konigsberg.

I can put both of these together by recalling an exchange in "Love and Death":

--I feel this immense void at the center of my being!
--A void? What kind of a void?
--Well, an empty void.

Frank Church
- Monday, August 20 2001 18:55:52

First we go from food fetishing to soda tippling, and lack of anger management skills. Simply, ethics dictate that one should just pay for the poor guys soda and move on. But advising the crew cut asshole that his reaction was a bit overwrought is also a splended way to deal with the situation.

Saw, The Score on Sunday. Lame plot and very hammy acting from Marlon Brando. Brando could scare the devil into retirement with that pudgy, pasty face of his. DeNiro is having a bad set of values in choosing roles, as of late. First 15 Minutes, then The Score. Where is good old Scorcese when we need him?

Speaking of Schindlers List: Ralph Fiennes was robbed!!

Curse Of The Jade Scorpion coming soon folks!! Love dat Woodman. Woody Allen cannot do wrong in my book - at least as a movie maker. Crimes And Misdemeaners easily his best work. What a complex mind fuck that was. Good to know you don't have to believe in God to make a supreme spiritual statement.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 18:54:45

Lynn, I hear you. I lived smack dab in the middle of Washingtoon, DC for four years, and let's just say that the attitude du jour was almost unbearable at times. The city is practically an island onto itself, and it's no wonder that its politicians are frequently out of touch with the rest of the country.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 18:45:58

Jim, it must be the Anti-D.C. Those people are so incredibly conflicted as to which side of the Mason-Dixon line they ended up on, I can only describe it as the most *hostile* Southern hospitality I have ever encountered. And I lived just outside the Beltway for three years.

They made New Yorkers seem kind.


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 18:39:28

Rob: I detect a great...EMPTINESS in your post.

Lynn: Yes, people in Tampa are really that polite. The turn signal situation is pretty dire, however. I think the clicking noise throws them for a loop--makes 'em think the whole damned car's gonna blow up or something.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Lost Anchovies, CA, - Monday, August 20 2001 18:29:9

Lorin's Tampa, FL is obviously in the same blissful universe where Harlan's Tampa Avenue runs east-west and Nackles waits on the street corners to wisk away those sorry schmucks who don't use their mirrors or turn signals.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 18:28:41


Ohhh. Either you have a talent for literalizing too much or I have it for interpreting too literally. Whatever the case, whatever you CLAIM, I think that WAS you the other night. Yer ALWAYS there to drive me into pylons or send me over cliffs. As you can see...I'm still here. Just call me Captain Scarlet of the roadways.


Re: Fleming. Sounds like he was fun. Don't know if I'll ever really get to him. I have a mental list of writers that definitely take precedence.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Monday, August 20 2001 17:59:2

Re Loren's account of acts of kindness in Tampa, Florida:

Just think of it as one ordinary day, with Jujubees.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 20 2001 17:22:9

Got to Harlan's post to John Thompson on the huddled masses.

Just gotta say this:


Harlan A-Z Ellison rocks. lowercase. small caps. not a lotta fuss.

End of emotion. Furry hug.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB - Monday, August 20 2001 16:59:8

Peg said: (ages ago)

>I nominate myself as a minor exception of the not being well read variety

Not to worry. I'm staring at the majority of these authors and going "Huh? Who ARE these guys?"

I know I've been reading; just not novels. I think I've gone through a lot of psychology, business, how-to's and computer manuals in the last number of years. I'm sure you've been doing something to bend your brain; don't worry 'bout it. *grin*


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, August 20 2001 16:49:52


No offense, but I'm going to stand by "stupid" for both of you. You're pretty clear on how stupid he was; but you were stupid to add insult ("you should have held your drink") to injury (knocking it over in the first place). You could have pulled back and apologized -- and nothing else -- at any time, but you offered an apology, quickly nullified it by telling him he was to blame, and then escalated when he started being (stupidly) belligerent.

What would you have suffered? A blow to your pride, which is highly overrated and easily recaptured. He lost an actual drink.

> I do kinda wonder, though, if that was you who drove me into
> a freeway pylon the other day.

Couldn't have been me. My freeway aggression is more nuanced and fair-minded. To pass you and then slow down is not my style; to note someone coming up behind me fast, way ahead of the speed limit, and to slowly pass someone someone at about the limit, thereby making the speed demon cool his heels behind us and huff and puff, is more my style.

I also choose to outrace people for being negligent (not using turn signals, cutting off me or other folk) or stupid (not watching the signs and getting themselves caught on an exit ramp), then for simply driving fast. Mainly, I want to get away from the danger such people pose on the road. And I give up races quickly, because the ridiculousness tends to hit me pretty fast.

I've never been to a Con and you guys are making me glad I haven't.

Read an interesting fantasy novel last week: _Towing Jehovah_ by James Morrow. It was refreshingly different, and plenty amusing, although not all the plotting worked for me. Apparently he specializes in religious fantasy/satire. Anybody read his other stuff?

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 20 2001 16:49:14

Rob: (Re: Friday post)

I'm scuttling through some authors lately, to understand voice and writing style. Tried some "Mayor of Casterbridge," some Hemingway, "Black Charlie" (was it?), (thank you Harlan *sigh*) and I picked up some Bond as well.

I was about 12 or so when I was reading Bond books. I have different memories of what they meant to me then. It was interesting to wade through some of them, NOW, and see a completely different Bond. You'll find him different from the movies, no doubt. I thought Timothy Dalton, had he stayed, was Fleming's Bond. He was darker, more .. hmm...something.

I read a lot of Leslie Charteris too. I once had about 35 of "The Saint" novels -- yes, I once collected books too; most have found homes in libraries since then.

I like English writers--that's putting them in a lump, I know. But I look over my old appetities and see quite a few who were English. Has anyone comments on that to match .. or similar nationalities to offer?


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 16:39:45


If you are interested in more info on low-carb eating, e-mail me and i'll be happy to share what I've learned.

For a quick reading list, the best is still Dr. Atkins' book (The New Atkins Diet). If, however, you have become indundated with the AMA's "If you go on the Atkins diet, you will die within three days" propaganda and want to approach someone who has not yet acquired the status of social pariah, you can also try:

The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet by Dr. Rachel Heller


Protein Power by Drs. Michael and Mary Eades

Needless, you should consider all the information in those books with a skeptical eye since they are trying to sell you their book and their diet. The important thing to glean from the books is the information about your biochemistry and, most importantly, the crucial role insulin resistance plays in weight loss.

And, of course, if you aren't overweight now (and being 5 or 10 pounds overweight doesn't count) you probably are not insulin resistant and might not need a low carb diet as much someone who is.

Of course, anyone can benefit from cutting out refined sugar. It is useless. It is poison.

And, yeah, I still eat it from time to time.

- Monday, August 20 2001 16:17:13

Heather - HE's all Susan's anjd it's best that way.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, August 20 2001 16:13:26

Let's try that again:


The movie you're thinking of was "Legends of the Fall," from a pretty good collection of stories by Jim Harrison.


- Monday, August 20 2001 16:11:20


The movie you're thinking of was "Legends of the Fall," from a pretty good collection of stories by Jim Harrison.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 16:10:37

Joseph: How about "I Have No Creme Brulee, And I Must Cream"?

Sorry, couldn't resist,

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 20 2001 16:9:56


Per Harlan and gustatorial gooberings...*grin*

Don't worry. I believe in shairweeng. He's all yours and more, k?


- Monday, August 20 2001 16:8:57

Heather - "Legends of the Fall"

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, August 20 2001 16:4:57


Your coobooks query down below, for some reason, put me on a giggling fest, as I imagined the Harlan Ellison cookbook:

"It Was Not Counting Gold Coins: The Harlan Ellison Cuisinier Compendium"

C'mon - can't you just picture the cover now?


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 20 2001 16:4:37

David Loftus:

Per your "Baron in the Trees" quote.

Truth. Tis truth. It brought me in mind of Brad Pitt's character in that movie..hmm...name escapes me. (Three brothers. Father Hannibal Lector. I'm outa practice on movie stuff.)

Also.. it reminded me of what a photographer does. He "shoots" animals with his camera.


I've recently drunk from that brook. (Any photographers out there?)


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 16:3:22


Let's not brush by this "stupid" thing at the theater, here. I don't think I was being stupid.

Obtuse maybe. Lame perhaps. Dense mayhap. Egocentric, definitely. Imperceptive, why sure. But stupid? Nah.

Good to know how free of violence your life has been. We've all had the slashed chests. Thoroughly normal. I do kinda wonder, though, if that was you who drove me into a freeway pylon the other day.

- Monday, August 20 2001 15:59:31

Thanks Lorin!

Lorin O.
Tampa, bloody Tampa, - Monday, August 20 2001 15:56:48

And now for something completely different...

Three (Two True and One Fanciful) Signs of Every Day Civility in Mannerly Tampa, Florida:

1. At the post office today an older man and woman are making voluminous copies when they spot a young(er) man and his son, waiting to use the copier. Latter young(er) man has one copy to make. Older man sees young man and asks if he'd like to make a quick copy. Young man accepts with gratitude. Older man and his wife gather up all of their books and pages to give the younger man room. Older man chats with younger man's kid while the kid's dad makes his copy. Dad and kid get out of the way, offer their thanks AGAIN, and the older man and woman go back to their copies.

2. As I am trying to wrestle an enormous box out of my car and into the UPS office (yes, it was errands day around here), a man coming OUT of the building spots me, comes over, asks if he can help, and takes the big box back INTO the building for me. And, of course, I thank him.

3. At the movie theater (matinee), I accidentally knock over a woman's soda.

"Oh shit," I say. "I'm sorry! God, I'm clumsy."
"That's okay," she says. "I shouldn't have had it on the floor there."
"Oh, no, it's my fault," I say. "Let me buy you another."
"Gosh, there's no need to do that," she says. "Really, it's my fault."
"No, I insist."
"Well, only if you let me buy you a new pair of shoes. I'm afraid my Coke is going to ruin the suede."
"Oh, no! Don't even think about it. It's not real suede, anyway."
"You're kidding! They look real. So cute, too."
"Thanks. Can you believe they were only $12.00?"
"You're kidding! Where did you get them?"

Of course by that point, wanting to be considerate of others, we took our conversation to the lobby. I bought her a new soda, and she asked if I wanted to split a box of JuJuBees. We're having lunch together next Thursday.

Satirically Yours,

- Monday, August 20 2001 15:54:33

oops. TOO not TO. Just a typo.

- Monday, August 20 2001 15:53:10

Alex - remind me to never anger you. I love my car to much. (It's not a british roadster, Lynn, but close - a Miata, which suits my driving style and personality perfectly. Cute, shallow, not too fast, but fun. *grin*).

Jim - responding to something way back - I am not hung up on being well read. Just an admission that in this crowd, I'm on the lower side of the distribution. To quote an old supervisor, "wouldn't it suck if we were all the same?"

Love all you webderfolks, no matter what I say or you think!

Heather <heatherlovatt>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 20 2001 15:52:25

(I'm picking at these as I get to 'em. Sorry, if your eyeballs water. *grin*)

H A R L A N !:

Re: your food post

All of the above! *LAUGH*

(You dumped applesauce on yer head? Huh?)

It just occured to me that I'm glad I came across you, first, as a lover of movies and a good writer. I can enjoy BOTH and not get too fat.

As for food..omigawh...(Yes, I knew you were a food reporter although I've only seen your pieces in "Hornbook." Too bad they aren't collected somewhere.)

Glad to hear the bakery is back in business. I LOVE hearing about small businesses hanging in there. Truly, I do'd.

San Fernando Valley--I was IN the SFV for two weeks in '71 when my dad was working out there. Why didn't you WAVE?

Here's a better idea--as I have broached the sea of cookbooks before and know how to waddle through the piles upon piles of them from past excursions--name me a few cookbooks that you drool over. (That goes for the rest of you varmits.) THAT might be fun to go looking for. I'm a kind sorta empty vessel, these days, in need of filling. What's your favorite flavor, Harlan, if I may be so bold.

As for fisticuffs over food, it ain't gonna happen, man. YOU da man, Sam. You da man. *snort* I've read your exuberance over food. I KNEW you might have a few mots to plop.


Let me wipe this drool off my chin.


- Monday, August 20 2001 15:44:59


I absolutely read more than two sentences on this subject. (I presume, in this case, you meant two sentences of the posts - possibly your posts - relevant to the movie encounter.). I saw the debate back and forth, some admittance on one side of the issue, some on the other, by multiple parties.

I was merely casting my vote in what could one of the few items(along with the whole french fry junk food topic!) that lovely Webderland would have to an internet poll. I attempted to do so with some casual humor and utterly failed. (And likely am failing here as well - how well I know that I'm not a writer, or charming).

Bottom line, Rob, is that, as many folks on webderland do on a variety of topic with a modicum of civility, we agree to disagree for whatever reasons. I take your point, honest. Been there in situations similar but different. ;-) Just throwing in my less than 2 cents worth.

Heck, you think you and Alex and Harlan and Lynn and whoever else are the only folks who lose their temper in occasionally unjustified, or instead, wasted situations? I believe one post made a reference to this being somewhat typical for males. It ain't male, it's human. Use whatever excuse you like - male, PMS, work stress, kid stress - my personal favorite is the combined background of Sicilian and redneck in combination with whatever has had me wonked out (or more likely, self-focused) lately.

Nuff said here as well. Cheers...

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 15:33:26

Rob: Don't fret any more about what happened at the theatre. Just be glad that it didn't get violent, and resolve to apply the lessons you've learned to future situations. The final grade is what counts in life, not the time that you screwed up the second period pop quiz because you hadn't read that week's chapter, dig? (Though some instances of bad behavior count more than others--if you dragged some black man behind your pickup, well, let's just say that I might mark you off of my Christmas card list, you know what I mean?)

I, too, can hardly wait to see THE OTHERS again. Even if a second viewing reveals flaws in the film's structure, I think my initial enthusiastic response will remain. What can I say? The film WORKED for me, and has resonated in my mind like precious few movies of recent memory have. I'm a little mystified that Ebert has such a luke-warm reaction to it; he's always demonstrated a genuine affinity for F&SF film. And isn't it kind of amazing that a Chilean has such a feel for the English ghost story? THE OTHERS and OPEN YOUR EYES have marked Amenabar as a 'must-see' filmmaker for me.

Alex: Re the flamingoes incident: (SHUDDER) I see snowy egrets traipse across my lawn all the time, so that really hit home for me. The bastards should've had a mixture of anthrax and battery acid injected into their eyeballs (who's getting all Walter Mitty now?).

Heather: Mickey D's is a kid's racket. Find something a little more worthy of your talents. You deserve it.

Brian/Mike: So, you're telling me that slovenly hygeine and retarded social development are bad things? Who'd a thunk it?

Harlan: I loved reading "Along The Scenic Route--Redux", but, man, DON'T do anything to get yourself killed, ok? I'm speaking from a purely selfish perspective--I wanna buy the five-volume, deluxe lettered edition of THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS with the slipcase of cherrywood-and-leather someday, you dig?

Oh great, NOW I've done it. I HAD to mention TLDV, didn't I? (sigh) You just can't take me anywhere...

Realizing that if he ever saw Harlan using a smiley-face or any other emoticon, he would plotz,

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 20 2001 15:16:32


Talking about meat... (old post. I'm behind. shoot me.)

What's interesting is you've reminded me of something. My mother made the dinners at my place (oh, my dad cooked too, that's beside the point) and she tended to overcook the meat. I really don't think I was much interested in things like steak til I was in my twenties and started going whacko over cooking food myself.

So thank my mom. *laugh* I think that's PARTLY why I don't have a propensity for meat.

Sins of the mother; or summat like that, eh?


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, August 20 2001 14:52:39

Wow. Until Peg and Lynn finally showed up, I was inclined to observe that our normally loquacious females were conspicuous by their absence in the Rob-at-the-movies thread. (I was absent mainly because I don't check in here on weekends.)

I don't have anything to add to that thread. Pretty much everything's been said, and I'm not terribly qualified to comment because although I'm sometimes a bit of a demon on the road, my life has been remarkably free of violence -- at least of the male-on-male variety. There was the fellow who sliced open my chest wall with a knife, but I don't think ANYONE would say I had done anything to provoke that. Short answer: both Rob and the other guy acted stupid, and a spilled drink is simply not worth getting worked up over.

It was fun seeing Harlan change his mind several times in response to the various posts that came in on this issue. Makes the guy seem less magisterial -- more human -- than we are sometimes tempted to picture him.

So let's talk movies. I really liked "Memento." "Snatch" and "Shrek" and "The Dish" (refreshingly sweet, that one) were also worthwhile. But I can never understand when someone says "this is a bad year for movies," because there are SO MANY of them every year, so many different kinds, and I can't compare the forests for the trees.

Maybe you guys live in places where not many of the non-American, non-blockbusters manage to show up, in which case too bad for you, but I've also enjoyed "The Princess and the Warrior" (Tykwer and Potente; a couple of us mentioned this here a few weeks ago), "With a Friend Like Harry" (French Hitchcock-style suspense thriller), "Under the Sand" (also French, but a more contemplative, lyrical mystery; Charlotte Rampling riding high again), "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (a screamingly hilarious transvestite glam-rock cross between "The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show") and "The Road Home" (Yimou Zhang's lovely, lyrical, epic village love story, with the young actress who played the evil princess in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" -- this is better acting in a better movie).

As for glorious retreads, the 25th anniversary re-release of "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" is out -- saw that last night on the big screen for perhaps the 8th time -- and "Apocalypse Now Redux" is out. Haven't seen that yet, but you bet I will.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, Canada Canada - Monday, August 20 2001 14:45:48

Chris L:

Per your comments on Friday, I think. (sorry, if this is repeated further on; I was intrigued by his comments)

I've never had too much trouble with my weight -- oh, periods of a few extra pounds here and there -- but I glommed on your "potato" comment. Darn, I LIKE potatoes... and pasta. (But salads are like a 'drug' food. What can I tell you.)

So.. I'm curious -- and as I've said, in "seeker mode" these days. Could you offer a book or subject to do this this kind of eating?--I'm curious.

I go on and off sugar, as it's available. (I'm a Hershey baby. I still prefer it to Cadbury. Go figure.) One bag of potato chips every couple of months or so reminds me why they _aren't_ a favorite item. *grin* I LIKE ice cream but tend to be picky on the quality. (I like Ben and Gerry's. The Breyers up here is NOT what I remember from childhood. I'm contemplating making my own instead.)

I'm doing a lot of biking riding these days and a lot of walking. I'm getting a little skinnier than I've been for a while, having been computer-bound for a few years. I figure to lose some weight before I go back to weightlifting which I've tried and like (no, not to extremes, but I always liked "swimmer's shoulders, if you understand my drift.)

Blah..blah..blah..I digress.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Monday, August 20 2001 14:24:27

Amen to Mike's comments about conventions. A lot of con stuff doesn't bug me too much. I can deal with obscenely fat people dressed like Stevie Nicks. And the time I wandered into what looked like a party room, and got an eyeful of a couple of B&D/S&M people whipping someone lashed to a crucifix... well, I have a strong live-and-let-live ethos in such situations.

So I'll let loose here a little. What bugs me about cons? The _smell_, for one thing: the only time my allergies have ever reacted to _human_ dander has been among fanboys. And in a hotel with sealed windows, well...

Then there's the stunted sense of humor. Sure, we know about the clumsy puns and eternal recitings of _Hitchhiker's_ gags. But there's a style to fanboy humor that, well, I haven't really codified why, but there's a snobbish feel to it that really irritates me.

But the worst are those little events that demonstrate that fanboys are just extremely poorly socialized people. There was the time I walked out a door, and this woman throwing off Regal Attitude came walking in through the same door-- ceremonially holding the point of a real duelling sword around eye level, and intoning, "Make way." There was the time the con floor was shared by a wedding reception, between two Japanese families, and the bridemaids were clearly upset at the line of about twenty Harry Knowles lookalikes who were standing there, _staring_ at them, making remarks about the "tantalizing fee-males."

My own favorite was at the hotel front desk, where a young couple was checking in. Boyfriend went to get the luggage, and who should wander up to the girlfriend but three guys wearing Clockwork Orange gear. They launched into Cockney accents and Nadsat glossaries, and began asking her if she'd like a bit of the old in-out, in-out. After they wandered off, the girl had noticed my grimaces, so she asked _me_ to explain what that was all about. (I did, patiently and with sympathy and lots of apologies for "my people," but I hated to be the one to have to explain boorish behavior.)

So when I get home from a con, for some strange reason, I have this need to listen to some really aggressive stuff-- the Sex Pistols, Shane MacGowan and the Popes, some Bill Hicks monologues.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 14:13:40

They say that, much like finishing a book, the hardest thing about restoring a car is finishing the job. The best medicine is to start on your next project as soon as possible.

The car is in Tarzana.

Seems to be a plethora of Packards in the Valley. And as for me, no thanks. I'll stick to my little British roadsters, thankee very much.


Rob <robvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 14:4:21


Stop testing my ego. My teeth are just nifty
'cause I can handle myself, 'cause I'm a tough guy, see?
Having aroused the Cro-Magnon in me I'll say no more. (g)

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 14:0:29


BTW, for clarity's sake, if I carried more of the blame than I realized by ANY degree the other night I feel very bad about it. One point I'm trying to make is some of the responsibility was his too and he should've considered that, acting upon it and meeting me with reason. We could've reached an understanding. But I've already considered the etiquette I would need should a similar incident ever arise again.

Nuff said.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 13:54:56

Rob~ re: Suffering the groundlings, you came home with all your teeth. You're doing okay. I don't know what it is about theatres that brings out the 'best' in humanity. We went to see 'Planet of the Apes' opening night and had a confrontation with a couple of idiots that ended in one of those male handshakes that apparently translates to 'I'm shaking your hand and this is done with otherwise I'll have to cause you grievous bodily harm' and not 'I'm sorry my woman is an uppity bitch.' I still don't understand that, but okay - it's a male thing. I can live with it.

We got there a half hour early. We got a spot in the middle of the row. We got our drinks. We were 'settled.' Come the previews, a couple of latecomers with their DINNER come trundling through the row, obviously thinking that with the one seat on either side of us that we wouldn't mind scooting over so they could have the two consolidated seats. No problem. We scoot over. Problem #1: They didn't ask the people on the far side of us, and it turns out that single seat WAS occupied. No problem for the groundlings. They'll sit TOGETHER. IN ONE SEAT. Problem #2. Two people in one seat are obnoxious enough as it is, but I was even willing to put up with that (even after I was a bit incensed about being climbed over during the previews).

Title credits are rolling. Problem #3: Groundling female pulls out HER DINNER. Now I love sweet potato fries. I really do. But I don't drag them to the theater with me and inflict them on my fellow movie goers. And I don't sit there are munch on them in their paper wrapper during the film. I'm pissed now. This is rudeness beyond rudeness. Now, I confess, my SO had offered to switch seats with me, so I wouldn't have to deal with it, and if I had been in that nigh-Buddhist serene mindset, perhaps I would have just capitulated. I wait until the movie is starting before I ask her in, what in hindsight was a definitively bitchy tone of voice, "Are you almost through?" If she was gonna shut up and watch the movie, I would have been steamed, but I would have shut up about it. As it was she got all pissy at ME, after having climbed over me to get to their ONE seat, and I was two seconds from calling the manager when groundling male sees fit to start staring. That glare that just sends me right back to fourth grade and the animalistic posturing that takes place on the playground. I confess, I bit and I bit hard. I'm askin' this guy "Is there a problem?! Is there something ELSE I can do for you?" I was so livid I was shaking.

The SO stands up and in his loving command voice says, "That's enough," makes me switch places, and does that male handshake thing. I honestly think the only thing I remember about that movie was laughing (in my head) at the similarities between the senator's trophy wife ape and the groundling female beside us. It was a small bit of cosmic justice.

The resulting spat at home that night was not pretty and basically boiled down to, 'How much shit am I supposed to put up with before I can push back?' Not to mention a lecture on 'disparity of force', and a level of training as a contributing factor in that argument. Turns out if you're pretty confident you could fuck somebody up with your bare hands, you let a lot more slide before you even begin to get steamed at someone. Oh, and he thought it was 'cute' that they were sharing a seat. We agreed to disagree on that issue.

As to the road rage, let's just say that there are fingernail marks in the dashboard of my car where my passengers routinely cling on for dear life. Another place he's convinced I'm gonna get him killed for cussing out the wrong person. But in my car, I'm the one in charge. Period. I did give him "Along The Scenic Route" to read, and yes, he did laugh till tears ran down his cheeks. At my expense. God, I love him.

There is just one final point I'd like to clear up for the record, because I'm a picker of nits. I cut the quote from Orson Welles as Harry Lime whole cloth from an online source of quotes. The attribution was theirs, not mine. The sentiment was more what I was concerned with at the time. I've never even seen the movie. And I hereby remove myself further from any discussion of attributions, because you guys are the masters of such trivia and I will never be able to compete.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Monday, August 20 2001 13:38:29


Sounds to me like this ignoramus was gonna be confrontational regardless of your response. Whether you had apologized and offered recompense or had apologized and proceeded to call him on the carpet (as did happen), his response ( just guessing here) would have been the same. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Just my two cents.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 13:5:0


In all frankness you sound like you read about two sentences.
I thank you for the philosophy lesson and I conceded a few things I didn't before; nevertheless, given the conditions two people have their responsibility NOT one. The causal trigger mechanisms are set at both ends.

Most of the time I'm more considerate than a lot of people you come across; I'm not in the habit of acting like a jerk. If this were the other night - given some of the afterthoughts - I'd go out of my way more to atone. Nevertheless, as I did my part of the job (though, like I said I was feeling bad, so I might not have been as careful as I thought - that's ONE of those afterthoughts) HE is in control of the rest because he's the only one who holds the crucial sacred knowledge.

And I still say if we're going to make judgement calls on each other we should read each other's passages more carefully, even if they're long. You may well be leaving out some critical info.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, August 20 2001 11:26:48

Returning from the wild that was the weekend....


I was re-reading a copy of "Stalking the Nightmare" that I picked up at a used bookstore, and was amused to see a photo drop out from between the dustcover and the book. It is a picture of you signing books, supposedly in 1994 (that's the developing stamp on the back of the photo). You're wearing that wonderful Sandman t-shirt that has Morpheus holding the Globe of Solomon over Baghdad, from the Arabian Nights story. Amazing what you find in books in used bookstores.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 20 2001 10:16:37

*Mickey D's is not for me*

I was going to write a piece on McDonald's. I started it this weekend. It read like a first year writing student's journalized rant, filled with invective and accusation. I threw it away. I'm going to try something else.

This situation reminded me of an episode of Young Indian Jones--you might remember the series from a few years back. Nearing the end of the episode, Young Indy is faced with the decision of fighting some big newspaper tycoon--an issue as old and tired as most big corporate entities offer today--or taking off to have another adventure. He stood for a moment, his tanned, young face perplexed, trying to decide the right thing to do.

He went for the next adventure.


Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 10:6:30

Some of you may already know of this, but for those that don't...

Good place to get used/rare books online: www.abebooks.com

Mike Toole
- Monday, August 20 2001 9:26:2

re: conventions

Hard to say exactly how to spend time at a sci-fi convention; I've only been to one, and lordy, it was AWFUL. I speak of ArisiaCon 2001.

Now, I'm not a HUGE science fiction fan; truth be told, my appreciation of our Mr. Ellison's work (and my attraction to this forum) comes mostly from his essays and the general personal narrative of most everything he writes. Still, I've watched enough Star Trek and read enough of the "popular" books to get most of the jokes (Ha ha! 42! I GET IT!!!1), so I figured I'd plunge into an honest-to-goodness science fiction convention last January. So I went to ArisiaCon.

I was expecting a proper dealer's room, not vendors selling stuff out of their hotel rooms. (Which made it awfully easy to sell bootleg videos and CDs, let me tell ya! Not to mention the fake swords and corsets that everyone seemed to have.) I was expecting nerds, of course, but I wasn't expecting throngs and throngs of rather unwashed types wearing a bizarre, indiscriminate assortment of period costumes ranging from 8th-century to 19th-century. Seriously, I wasn't into the whole Herc-n'-Xena feel of the people I encountered. The fact that many of them had no problem blocking the hallways, and indeed seemed offended when I tried to shoehorn my way past them, did not help matters. The overly-loud discussion of sexual acts in the con suite (the con suite?!) did not help matters.

What was I left with? A handful of vaguely-interesting panels, which were unfortunately also subject to the eau de fanboy that pervaded the entire joint. My only real enjoyment came from surveying the lovely, art-deco architecture of the hotel the con was held in (brass n' glass mail chute! Wheeeeee!).

Finally, god help me, I fail to see what science fiction and polyamory have in common. Nevertheless, there was a panel on the subject on the day I was at the con. I did not attend.

Maybe my expectations were skewed by attending several anime (japanese cartoon) conventions, because at those events, people were cleaner, there was an actual dealer's hall, the male-female ratio was balanaced (actually, probably skewed female at the last couple I've attended), and the costumes were louder and more ridiculous but not as strangely homogenous. Then again, I dig them Japanese cartoons, so I was probably bound to enjoy myself anyway. Or maybe I just don't read enough science fiction books. (My attendance at ArisiaCon was clinched by the con's name-- I have a significant weakness for the works of Doc Smith. Pity I couldn't really find any there.) But the Arisia thing, no, it was bad. Definitely bad.

So, in conclusion, I'm sure you'll have a WONDERFUL TIME#@!@#!!

Gunther <gschmidl@gmx.at>
Linz, Austria - Monday, August 20 2001 8:11:50

Rick --

I think there was a total of 13 WORKING WITHOUT A NET episodes, but however many there were, I have them all archived away neatly - so if you're missing any, send me some e-mail and I'll get them to you.

Peg <trbotongue@aol.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 7:30:39

Wow... alla that in about 14 hours since I last logged on (at which time the top post was Harlan to Brian about his baby steps).

Harlan - your driving story reminds me of the plot of "Along the Scenic Route" although with a happier ending.

Rob - it's causality, dude. It wouldn'ta got knocked over if you hadn't been traipsing. And you're right, he shoulda made sure he had it in hand, so to speak; but twas your foot not his that done it in. (Personally, if I set the drink on the floor, it goes partly under the seat towards the side edge - it's a learned behavior).

Previews - used to be a favorite part for me. These days (in the UK) there's minimum 20 minutes of *!commercials!*, and maybe 5-10 minutes of previews. I kid you not - we were out this weekend and were close to leaving when the previews finally started. [In their favor, I think the UK movie theatres will tell you when the movie will actually start vs the theater start time if you remember to ask].

Summer movies, movie "years", they're all displaced on this side of the pond. Most movies are released anywhere from 1 to 6 months later here, some straight to rental, some to screen. There's no logic to it. (Oh, sure, there's some funky movie distribution and demographics logic to it but who can follow that?!)


Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 5:42:38

Well, me--I'll be looking for some rarer books, sure--but I had been thinking the books I'll REALLY be buying are the ones out of the authors' hands--I know that Connie Willis and Norman Spinrad and Lawrence Watt-Evans will be signing, so I figure to buy their new books from THEM.

I want to meet these people, mainly; see what the panels are like, talk to a few writers I've spoken a bit with online, thank some people for the entertainment they've given me--generally have a good (if expensive) time. And, as I've never conned befo', I'd like to glom the ceremonies a bit.

(My main aim for the con is to successfully resist clinging to Patrick Nielsen Hayden, begging him to publish my books ...)

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Monday, August 20 2001 4:48:5

To Alex, re Worldcon:

Depends on what you like to do at a con. I'd be a poor guide; I go to the occasional con mainly to check out the dealers' room for the odd book or two, and on the off-chance that I'll get into an interesting conversation or share a meal with some innarestin' people. (A voice from the back of the room shouts, "What about meeting girls?" which I meet with a cold stare and reply, "This is a _science_ _fiction_ convention_," which should explain everything.) Whenever I go to Philcon, the dealers' room seems smaller and smaller, and it seems as though everyone else knows everyone else. But maybe I'm getting boring and sullen in my old age.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 2:53:20


Yeah, thank you for stressing the comradeship because when emotions are the driving force behind an assumption defensiveness gets a hard-on. In the Real World, when someone corrects me, I often have to walk away and let the factors rearrange themselves in the cerebral matter. My ego gets in the way too much when we're mano a mano. Often I come back with an enlightened attitude. I agree with your point about the adjunct to my apology. I did, in fact, think he was stupid for not doing what everyone else had done when I was trying to get through. In essence, I had told him that right up front - COMPLETELY nullifying my apology. Just keep the humility factors intact and reimburse the poor bastard.

Your comments about 'The Others' was added to a growing number of praises I'd come across over the last week; in spite of Ebert's trashing it people are digging the archetypal elements of the movie. I do need to see it again because I was so pissed and distracted for the rest of the evening. The ending came through most, and I DID like it - though it's clear to me it's following in the ectoplasmic tracks left by 'The Sixth Sense'. It reverberated the condition of real lonliness and isolation; people entirely confined to a separate world. That's exactly the kind of anxiety a good ghost story is supposed to do. I've always been a sucker for ghost stories - the few good ones you can come across (in books OR film). So, sometimes I'm a little generous. For me, the biggest trick watching this type of movie is to recall the world you saw as a kid; look at the elements of the film through those eyes. The evocative power augments; what you once understood about fear returns.

I definitely want to see it again. It does recall elements of Henry James. Knowing the end won't interfere because I need to experience its structure. THEN I'll tell you whether it's a good film or not. Even if I declared it a technically so-so film I would probably still like it. I CAN tell you I disagree with Ebert's reasoning about it.

Re: Nightmare Alley. We'll see. I know the film Power did was very well done. Poor novels are often the ideal source for great movies. Not vice versa. But this may well be a damn good book. After all, 'Catcher in the Rye' got dumped on recently in favor of William Goldman.

See ya in the strait-jackets, dude.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 2:44:34

This has been a boring year for movies so far. A lot of people talked about how bad 2000 was but I thought it was about average. There were some movies I loved last year like Dancer in the Dark, Unbreakable and Traffic plus plenty of ones I liked such as You Can Count on Me, Requiem for a Dream, Cast Away (just for the second act which I loved to death) and O Brother Where Art Thou.

This year, I have yet to see even one movie I thought was anything special. Memento was interesting but I view it as an interesting near-miss rather than a really good film. AI was a disappointment though I didn't hate it as many people seem to. Planet of the Apes was a travesty and I wish Rob had been around to walk in front of me during that movie.

However, even though the calendar year is closing in on the 2/3 mark, the film year isn't half-over yet. I don't know if there are any great films in the pipeline but I'm sure there will be some pleasant surprises along the way. The only ones I'm aware of and looking forward to are Harry Potter, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Man who Wasn't There and From Hell.

I really hope Chris Columbus does a good job with the Harry Potter movie. It would be a crime to botch that one.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 2:35:56

Yes, I know it was during the previews. For me, the previews are part of the show, part of what I paid my money for and I am just as annoyed when people talk or move around during previews as during the feature. OK, maybe not quite as much but I still want to see the previews, even when they suck. If I don't make to the theater in time to see the previews, I'll wait for the next showing. It's all part of the price of admission for me.

Other people don't consider the previews to be part of the show and feel free to talk on their cell phones or balance their checkbooks until the "real show" starts.

And I still say that if you forgot to get your stuff before you say down, then you just gotta say "My bad" and stay in your seat.

But, again, I know others disagree with that. Hey, everyone is entitled to be wrong. :)

Alex Jay Berman <again>
- Monday, August 20 2001 2:12:15

New subject, if I may:

In about a week and a half, Worldcon will be held here in my hometown of Philadelphia.
I'll be going to my first con ever.

Just had a look at the program.
Three and a half days--SEVENTY-THREE PAGES of activities!
And the conflicts: Brenda Clough and ALawrence Watt-Evans giving a talk on comics at the same time Lois McMaster Bujold is giving a talk on writing? Connie Willis versus Norman Spinrad? Aaargh!

Anyone up to giving a crash course on How to Survive a Con?
(given that I--too poor at present for hotelling--will be taking our poor excuse for mass transit every early morning from and every late night to NE Philly ...)

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 20 2001 1:49:13

So far I find Mike's post most applicable; still I find myself too lost in a subjective haze. Those I've related this to in person agree with my pov, those online don't. The timing, where my mind was when it happened (I never did mention I was NOT feeling well that whole evening), the emotional static...they all obfuscate the problem. Whoever said the emotional mindset was the cradle of wisdom, anyway? If, indeed, I'd felt I was in the wrong I'd have pushed my apologies more. If, in hindsight, I begin to feel I was in the wrong, then I feel like an asshole.

All I can tell you guys is that I apologized to him before anything else and tried to point out we need to pull back in our seats when people are trying to get through (again, for those who keep missing the point, this was NOT during the movie. This was during the previews; I'm a film student, which means I never get up in the middle of a movie. I'm practically religious about that). He jumped in my face aggressively before I could feel contrite or anything else. All I could think was, "I can't believe this guy didn't hold on to his drink". If our roles had been reversed and I'd refused to allow room for him to come through after knowing he was there, and down went my cup, I wouldn't expect HIM to reimburse me. If, on the other hand, he'd rocketed through without consideration I would. If he had given me the space to move through and the cup went down I would've INSISTED on reimbursing him.

The ONLY thing I can tell ya from this lesson is I'll strengthen my discretion, if for no other reason, to see what's happening under my butt. If he isn't giving me room, I'll politely advise, "be careful with your cup". Apart from that I've always reciprocated someone's approach to me. If he tries to reason with me I go as far as I can with him. Some incidents are clearer than others. Here, I honestly cannot measure with confidence who was more in the wrong; but you did succeed in pushing me to a point in the battlefield, wherein, if 'Lenny' and I were there in the theater now, I'd offer a reimbursement as a middle course; after all, in feeling fucked up, maybe I'd pushed through with more force than I thought.

I dunno, maybe as a blanket policy, rather than following up my apology with "practical" advice, I'll just automatically offer the reimbursement. This with the added discretion. Always try to simplify the equation. That is my "scientific" assessment. (Sorry, I'm cogitatin' whilst typing).

This kind of weak self-assurance is residual from a crappy upbringing, and without siblings. And I'm trying to compensate. If discretion is the better part of valor, pride is the subrogation for insecurity.(g)

I will, however, offer this to a couple of you: are any of us without personality quirks that contradict our ethics? Working on them is what counts...and not MANY of us do that.

And, uh, thank you for keeping us all on the rails, Harlan. In SPITE of the inconsistancies. I feel like a lab rat at the moment, but, damn it, that's my job!

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Monday, August 20 2001 1:36:12

Here's the one thing about all this that I don't understand:

Why get a drink at the movies?

Maybe it's just me.

Now, on the other bits: I, too, have often given the psuedo-crazed scream of machismic rage. After a bit of observation and practice, you get to know JUST how far things can be pushed. I don't do that anymore, though. My current ladylove, while no shrinking violet, startles easily at loud noises.
So to go off, hair-trigger-like, would be pretty damned unkind to her.

What I DO do, however, are things that satisfy just as much, but allow me no exposure to reciprocation, being as they are delayed-action gambits:
1) A car almost hits me in the parking lot of a supermarket. I juke and weave and get out of its way. Avoiding his OWN culpability, the guy curses me out.
Mark its parking position.
Make an extra purchase at the checkout.
And when Schmuckboy revs up to leave (on a very hot day), he finds that some vindictive soul has smeared the vent intake of the a/c system of his car with Limburger.

2) (Years ago) I find out that a certain university president--who (at the time) just raised tuition, goaded professors into a strike by cutting wages, refurbished his office suite to the tune of six figures, et cetera--is giving a speech at the student lounge where I planned to swoon with my honey, thus closing off the loungue (unless you're a rich alumnus).
A janitor points out said prez' car.
My honey cautions me, "Aaaaalex ... don't do it. Whatever IT is."
I beg off, saying that I had a class the same time as hers, so there's no IT to speak of.
Walk her to her class.
Walk to mine ... but detour by a food truck, buying a few pounds of salted sunflower seeds.
I use the aforementioned car as a feeder platform for the many many many city pigeons around campus.
Go to my class.
Smile, knowing the salt-and-shit damage to come ...

... and a few more like these.

But these days, I don't even do that sort of thing; I just Walter Mitty up horrible scenarios: At the zoo yesterday with friends, someone brings up the news item of a few years back of a break-in at some U.S. zoo. The guy got in and systematically broke all the legs of all the zoo's flamingos.
And the aghast/angry chorus begins: "A guy like that should be put in jail." "Should be put UNDER the jail." "Should have HIS legs broken." "Should be shot."
It fell to me to be the voice of reason. "No, no; you're all overreacting. Jail? Execution? Aren't we a more humane society than that? No," I continued on in a slightly-smiling, dreamy voice, "That person needs TREATMENT. I'd recommend that he be admitted to a good psychiatric institute ... where they could simply put ground glass and iodine salts into a pastry syringe, shoot it under each kneecap, and then send him on his way, rehabilitated."

(I didn't tell them that that was the relatively CLEAN and PAINLESS version of the punishments I'd flashed on ...)

These are fun, productive, creative, and generally better for one's health, I find.

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS USA - Monday, August 20 2001 1:12:1

A movie question:

Original Sin opened on the 3d (though it didn't play here in Darkest Oz); this one is based on Cornell Woolrich's Waltz into Darkness. Anyone happen to see this? Worth seeing or just another butchery?


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 1:4:26


And what is wrong with soap at the end of a penis, may I ask?

Er, did I really just hit "send"?


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 20 2001 0:57:20

Concerning all the thoughtful and sensible posts about "The Showdown At The O.K. Rialto":

Yeah. What you guys said. (Didn't Isak Dinesan say that the only proper response to good writing is silence?) I'll put my last two pfennigs in on the matter, and of it I will speak no more.

Rob, to put it as succinctly as *I* can, you blew it. By appending your apology with "You should have watched your drink", you almost guaranteed that there was going to be a scrap of some kind. Whether or not the guy was an oaf for not securing his drink, YOU were the one in motion. You chose to move down the aisle in the dark, so you needed to accept full responsibility when things went awry, with NO qualifiers. That's the burden of being an intelligent adult, unfortunately. I'd change it if I could, believe me.

Lest you think I'm enjoying this Rob-roast, let me add that I've been there and done that MANY times in my life. I hold no illusions that I'm some moral exemplar uplifting the unwashed masses. ANYTHING I've written is purely in the spirit of comradeship and constructive criticism, and I hope you take it that way without getting defensive, Rob. It's just that I expect better of you, that's all.

By the way, I think there is NOTHING wrong with stepping out to avoid the ear-splitting barrage of previews that are often inimical to the mood of the main presentation. I've got no problem with others doing it with a modicum of grace and consideration. Of course, I think patrons should be stapled to their seats for the main attraction itself, but that's just me.

You know, I'm wondering, Rob: Did my little rave of THE OTHERS convince you to see it? The only reason I ask is that I'm afraid of what will happen when you go to look for NIGHTMARE ALLEY--I have a vision of SWAT teams taking positions outside some dingy used bookstore, as bloodied and dazed customers stagger out to collapse in heaps on the sidewalk. Er, did I mention that NIGHTMARE ALLEY is really a crappy book? (I'M JUST JOKING, MAN! LIGHTEN UP, NOW!)

Chris L: Have you ever read Joyce's DUBLINERS? This collection of short stories is written in very clear, direct language, and could almost be called "The Joyce Book For People Who Don't Like Joyce". I love it, and I think you should give it a shot.

Harlan: Orson. (sigh) I'll write on this another time; it's late, and I need to walk my dogs. Let's just say that it's very, very hard to have heroes these days.


Mike Toole
- Monday, August 20 2001 0:46:10

Rich: Well, I wouldn't consider Memento (opened in March) or Shrek (opened in May) to be proper summer movies-- but I shall take Sexy Beast into consideration. Sounds interesting.

Still, if you've got five bucks and it's matinee time, Fast and the Furious is worth it. HONEST! But the thing is, I often enjoy loud, big-budget films if they're executed well and entertain without problems. It's just that this summer, offhand I remember seeing AI, Final Fantasy, Planet of the Apes... everything is just rotten, or at best, mediocre. Of course, I can always go down to the multiplex and see Scary Movie 2, or Dr. Doolittle 2, or this week's top-grossing films, American Pie 2 and Rush Hour 2.

Seriously, prior to Loud Car Movie, the last movie I remember seeing in a theatre and really ENJOYING is Snatch. And that was in frigging January!

Er, actually, wait-- The Dish was good, too. But really, not a whole lot else.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Monday, August 20 2001 0:14:53

Every so often, I get the urge to buy a car. And thanks to Harlan's story, my latest urge just DIED.

When I drove, I was just the opposite. If someone's being a prick on the road, I'd usually give him his head and let him scoot ahead of me. I'd keep a safe distance so, if he went spinning across the lanes, I'd have enough time to avoid him. I figure, "He wants to drive like Rommel over the desert, fine, and if he takes out a busload of kids, fine. Just keep _me_ away from it. My life's more valuable than his, anyway."

- Monday, August 20 2001 0:12:46

Maybe it's my Napoleon complex or maybe it's my innate reluctance to go along with the majority, but I must stand with Rob on this one. Don't get me wrong, the minute Rob turned away from the guy from the Air Farce the "conversation" was over. Anything past that point was Rob's doing no matter how righteous he may have felt regarding injustice, tax rebates, or Mrs. Bush showing off her gams with those just-above-the-knee skirts.

HOWEVER....I find the logic of those that disagree with Rob's reaction somewhat confusing. There are those that chastise him from getting up in the middle of the previews; apparently under the assumption that the new movie with the N'Sync soundtrack is really entertaining and those that deign to move during the previews are somehow diminishing the MOVIE that brought them to the theater (pronounced "thee-ATE-er" here in the south; trust me, it's hurts almost as much as soap on the end of the penis) in the first place. Listen to me, now: the trailer will be repeated on television, radio, and through the chip in most everyone's brain. Until the movie actually starts (and I mean the second it starts; I actually am one of the few people who read the credits and sometimes I'll dream that I see my name up there. But, then my wife reminds me I'm not talented so there goes that dream. Anyway...) I see no reason why people can't make a pre-emptive piss or get another box of Sno-Caps. Who among us hasn't sat through "A.I" needing to relieve the bladder, but fearing to do so in the hopes that the movie would find a coherent plot and story so that we wouldn't feel we've wasted our hard-earned $7.50? It's a fact of life: people will move around during the movie. Live with it. Unless it gets to the Bugs Bunny point (you remember the cartoon: Bugs is always moving through the row with Elmer right behind him. "Excuse me. Pardon me. Excuse me.")

Then, there are those that say Rob did a bad thing by knocking over Hitler's drink and he should've bought the guy another one. Fuck 'im. If he was that concerned about his drink, he would've held onto it the minute he saw someone coming through the aisle. Maybe, Rob should've done a Jackie Chan and tip-toed across the edge of the seat backs, but he may have a hammie injury and he could only walk like us mere mortals.

And lastly, (and if anyone's still with me, I'm surprised) I find the 20/20 reasoning a bit hypocritical. "Don't do it, Rob, but let me tell you about the time I..." goes only so far. Are we to learn from our mistakes? You betcha. Any fight you walk away from is a learning experience. We are animals and we are not always civilized. I'm not advocating punching someone's lights out when toes are accidentally stepped on, but a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation doesn't always work.

And, having said all that...Rob, harken back to those martial arts days of yore and remember that a fight--whether with fists or words--is not always the answer. Besides, you should've never turned your back on Sgt. Rock.

And by the way, "The Fast and the Furious" is not the answer to those summer blockbuster blues. Go see "Memento". Go see "Sexy Beast". Go see "Shrek".

And in closing: "I believe if a man is down, kick him. If he survives it, he has an opportunity to rise above it."----Brother Dave Gardner

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS USA - Monday, August 20 2001 0:11:42


Consider this carefully:

Doesn't matter whether it was the show, the previews, the closing credits or the dead boring time before they've even lowered the lights. You were okay through "Oh shit I'm sorry." The moment you followed "I'm sorry" with the comment about how he should watch his drink when people are trying to get through, you stopped being polite and became one with the guy who cuts in front of you in traffic and then thinks you're out of line if you give him the horn.


Jeff Homes
- Monday, August 20 2001 0:9:9

On one hand, Rob WAS the one who decided to get up, but you have to be pretty spaced to fail to notice when someone's trying to get down the isle in a movie theater. Maybe Rob should've been more careful, but it's not his fault the guy wasn't paying attention; it may've been the meathead's right to hold or not hold his drink, but when he failed to at least put his hand on the damn thing when someone was trying to get by, he was courting disaster (if only because theater cupholders are good for keeping drinks from taking a dive due to gravity and not much else). It's sorta like going through an intersection while someone's running a red light: the other bastard broke the law and you didn't, but the fact you saw him and chose not to brake anyway means you're equally at fault (technically if not legally) for wrecking your car.


Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 20 2001 0:1:40

On the OTHER hand--which is balled into a fist through most of my waking hours--I only LOVE Alex's bus story. Raht awn, Big K.
Fortunately, Susan has seen me in enough of these contretemps during our almost-sixteen years together (come 7 September), that she only rarely puts me in Coventry as Alex's mizzus did. About a week ago, we were on our way to Len Wein and Chris Valada's barbeque, and there was a guy who was in something expensive&sporty, who just HAD to get in front of me. So I let him. Good enough. No prob. But then, not willing to leave well-enough alone--he was the one gave a shit about being in front of a 1989 Geo, not I--he purposely slowed down in my lane, running alongside the car in the left lane, for no greater purpose than to make sure I stayed behind him, did not pass him in the left (slower-moving) lane (which maneuver had not crossed my mind; I was in no special hurry, just bootin' along), and had ben taught a lesson by His Machoness. So I loped along behind, annoyed at his pettiness, until he got tired of moving that slowly, and he decked it, pulling way ahead. At which point, just like Alex, just like Rob, my dementia took over, and I said aloud (scaring Susan), "Okay, you wanna play fuckaround, you gobbet of hyena spittle? Then let us GET it ON!" And that little Geo, hardly meant to zazz the esses at Watkins Glen or the Nurburgring, went wholly bugfuck and caught up to the piss-ant in the expensive fireball-red convertible, and I swung it as far right as I could, making poor Susan's eyeballs bug considerably because, of course, if I'd made contact it would have been her side that would've been stove in, and the guy almost ran up on the burm. Then HE comes after me, and I pull up at the stoplight and I reach across and roll down Susan's window, and in my best demented fruit-bat voice, neck tendons throbbing, spittle flecking the windows, I scream at the sonofabitch, "YOU WANNA PLAY FUCKAROUND, YOU DEGENERATE ASSHOLE MOTHERFUCKER LABIA-LICKING COCKSUCKING PUTA PENDEJO SONOFABITCH KING TURD-BUCKET!!??!! LOOK AT WHAT KINDA SHIT CAR I GOT, AN' LOOK AT WHAT YOU'RE DRIVING? WHICH ONE OF US GOT MORE TO LOSE WHEN I RUN YOUR BAG'A'SHIT ASS OFF THE ROAD INTO A LIGHTPOLE?

Now, i9n all sanity, how much of that he actually understood, even heard, screaming as he was...I have no idea.

Suffice to say, as I pulled out at the light, he sat to my right an instant, went left, turned and scooted West down Tampa as I lazily drifted straight ahead.

Susan was, of course, furious with me.

I didn't even argue with her when she softly but angrily pointed out that I was acting in an unwholesome, actively certifiable, sophomoric manner. She was, of course, absolutely correct.

The operative word, however, was "acting."

I was not, for an instant actually that crazed, that suicidal, that out of control that my exquisite sense of spatial relationships was impaired. I was, for my own pleasure, and the rush of adrenaline, playing chicken with that mook.

I would no more risk Susan's little toe than I would let, say, internet pirates upload my work without tracking them to the most distant, dusty corner of the world.

I am not a macho type, I do not feel my 67-year-old manhood threatened, I behave badly, and I do it--have done it all my life--with the tightrope firmly gripped in my toes. Yes, I work without a net, but I swear to you that I would never risk a hair on my honey's head. I was startled, however, that she was frightened. This time. She's never been frightened before, even
when I kicked in the side of that taxi in New York City.

I was running a scenario. I was in complete charge. Yes, yes, I can hear half a dozen of you saying, "My gawd, he sounds like an action junkie! In control, my ass! He scared that dear woman out of her wits! He THINKS he's in control, what hubris, what arrogance, what a moron! And on and on and on..."

Who knows, you might be right; I might be wrong; perhaps I couldn't be MORE wrong. But I understand EXACTLY where Rob and Alex are coming from; and though I am nuts about the rest of you who are properly chiding Rob (you've been an idiot, Rob)(see how easily I vacillate from one side to the other?) it is something bred in the bones and gristle, chums, to scream MOVE THE FUCKIN'BUS or to act like a muscleheaded imbecile in a minor dust-up like the spilt soda fracas, when the sane and sensible suggestion, "What're you drinking? I'll be back with one in
a minute," is definitely the rational, civilized way to go.

What amazes me, in truth, is that I ever lived past the age of 14.

Yrs. conflictedly, Horny B. Dilemma.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 19 2001 23:57:27

Chris (and all),

PLEASE read my post a little more carefully. This all happened before the show started. That's why I got up at this point. To get a drink BEFORE the show was to start. It was during the stupid previews.

This is the risk we run when we do long posts; except for Harlan's we're probably skimming each other's and missing salient points.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Sunday, August 19 2001 23:20:50


I appreciate your point of view. And you are right that the guy was a bonehead for leaving his drink in the aisle.

But the way I would see it if I were sitting in that aisle is that you were the one who started off by getting out of your seat after the show already started. So right off the bat, you're already the one who is "causing trouble" and, IMHO, it is therefore imperative upon you to be considerate of everyone who you are inconveniencing simply because you didn't get your refreshments when you should have.

The guy was definitely a jarhead for pursuing you like that but I still think the blame falls on your shoulders. You didn't have to get up out of that seat and start muscling your way down the aisle. Because you were doing that, the spilled drink is your fault, IMHO. I would have felt guilty enough for getting in everyone's way in the first place that I would have apologized and offered to replace the drink even if I thought the guy was dumb for leaving it where he did. You were the one crossing his space. He was just sitting there trying to watch the show he'd paid his money for.

But I suppose we all have different concepts of what constitute sproper decorum. Many people who wouldn't talk during a movie still think it's appropriate to chat away during the previews. I think that's very rude. Other people don't think it's rude at all.

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, August 19 2001 23:18:31

Have I told you all that I'm absolutely nuts about you? Well, without too much sticky bonding, consider it said.

Listen to them, Rob. They are right on the money. There are some valuable, plangent insights in those postings.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes.

This has been one of the more stimulating threads in some time. Thank you all for participating. Do go on. I'm listening and watching.

Lamont Cranston aka Kent Allard.

Mike Toole
- Sunday, August 19 2001 22:55:31

Re: the whole 'spilled drink in theatre' nonsense:

I don't get it. When I go into the movie theatre, I put the drink in the handy-dandy little drink holder on the arm of the seat I'm in. When there is no such handy-dandy drink holder, I keep the cup in my lap, saddled between my two legs.

Why, you ask? Because it's dark in the theatre, and someone might try to scoot by me and knock it over if I put it on the floor!

Or, to cite something that's happened to me repeatedly (and why I always hold the drink or keep it in my lap, no matter how chilled it is), I MIGHT KNOCK IT OVER MYSELF.

All that said, the guy wasn't being particularly unreasonable until he actually shoulder-checked our Rob. There's no excuse for that sort of thing.

However, if someone berated me for spilling their drink, my first response would have been "What are you drinking? Right then, sit tight-- I'll have another for you in a moment."

But that's just me. And I always, ALWAYS get my refreshments BEFORE I enter the theatre. In fact, I hate it when I arrive any sooner than about 20 minutes before the movie starts, because I want my 120 oz. soda, and I want my seat, and I want to be comfortably ensconced in time to enjoy each and every one of the trailers, plus the movie. That's what my $8.50 pays for, and I won't be robbed of a second of it!

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, movies. Isn't it a rotten summer for movies? I mean, the only movie I've seen so far that I've really LIKED is "The Fast and the Furious", and that's mostly because it failed to be utterly moronic and was only kind of silly, but still entertaining.

But I'm seeing "Brother" tomorrow. I expect that'll make things right again.

John Thompson
Las Vegas - Sunday, August 19 2001 22:44:1

Rob, I'm afraid I have to chime in and say this sounds like a bunch of bullshit macho posturing. I'd rather err on the side of politeness than come home with a bruised fist. If you would have simply apologized, things would have most likely blown over and you could have enjoyed your movie in peace. I'm all for standing up for yourself but I truly believe, deep down in my soul, that by taking things so personally we wind up hurting ourselves much more than the other person. You sound like an intelligent, literate person; surely you can find better ways to handle conflict than this.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 19 2001 22:38:0

To those who believe I was in the wrong, I put forth my defense. I'll explain SUCCINCTLY why I disagree.

One, let me reverse the roles in a theater: the lights are down, A guy is slowly, DISCREETLY moving his way from the center seats to get by me. I may not see him for a moment, but I hear him say "excuse me". Right away I grab my drink and pull all the way in so he can get by. In the crowded dark theater I'M the only one who knows the drink is there. There's no WAY he can know it's there. He can SUSPECT something is there, but that's WHY he's moving slowwwly and saying "excuse me". I have never seen it happen any other way. I'M responsible for my drink because I know it's there. So, like everyone else, I have to move so the gent can get by.

Well, that's EXACTLY how I was doing it. I was trying to give each person time to move their legs over. What the hell else can I do? What the hell else does ANYONE do? I mean I went to movie theaters for years - this is the way it was always done. Never was there a problem.

Two, when I heard him grumbling about the spilled drink I really DID apologize. Then I simply added (and I was NOT being smart-assed or blunt, I was being matter-of-fact) that when people are trying to get through you simply have to guard your drink, as I always have and as friends I'm with always have.

Three, his answer to the point I was trying to make was stalking me all the way out and attempting to shove me. Apart from strength, which I have quite a bit of, I was ready to fall back on whatever martial arts I took as a teenager if need be (especially blocking systems). As far as I'm concerned, HE was going way over the top. I was trying to reason with him, until his redundancies got ME into the shouting too. And you know what? Had he been civil about it maybe I would've even reimbursed him. But someone handling it like THAT? No.

And, uh, "Xanadu", I do have principles but I didn't ever say I was necessarily pacifist. See if any of my posts state that. I try to reason first, I try to question MYSELF first, but when I have to I defend myself. Now, I probably did let a little too much primitive pride guide me after a point in last night's fun fest, but for the most part I think HE took the wrong end of the see-saw.

And for comments like I'll be getting into scrapes like this a lot. Well, I've been around for a LITTLE while - I'm in my thirties now - and I rarely get into conflicts. I'm polite and in discrepencies I usually try to consider first if I'M wrong. That's why I exercise a lot of self-control on the road, for example. But I believe, when you're in a pitch black movie theater and someone is trying to get through while you're sitting there you simply need to move along with your food items. Seems like common sense to me.

Well, I think "succinct" has a new definition now.

And Oscar Wilde's aphorisms were ALWAYS on the mark.

Mike Toole <chiefdork@animejump.com>
Cambridge, MA USA - Sunday, August 19 2001 22:2:52

Just a longtime lurker piping in--

Since the subject is suspense/mystery writers, I have to chime in with a favorite of mine, but one who's sadly unknown in the United States-- Maurice Leblanc. His most famous character, Arsene Lupin, is practically a folk hero in France and fairly well-known in Europe, but there hasn't been any Leblanc mysteries in print in English since 1973. It's a terrible shame, partly because the translations of Leblanc's material that ARE available (I have a collection of old editions, mostly pre-1920-- yes, this guy's OLD school) are very poor indeed-- yes, I know the character's name in the French version is "Grognard", but please don't call him "Growler", okay?

If you scan eBay and/or your favorite local used bookstore, you JUST MIGHT stumble across a collection of Leblanc's stories-- and then, kids, you will discover JUST HOW ENTERTAINING a quick 15-page mystery can be. I promise.

ALSO: Wow, look! It's Harlan Ellison!

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shakerhouse, Uhiyo Youesssay - Sunday, August 19 2001 21:25:10

Ah, hell, most men have encounters of that sort eventually. It's built into our genes. If it were a woman, half the men I know would be sniggering and making comments about PMS. Well, we men do it, too, but we talk about losing our tempers, standing up for justice, whatever. Sometimes we're standing up for a righteous position, sometimes we're just in the wrong mood at the wrong time. Is there really any man here who has never had an encounter like that? Who has never felt the bloodlust sneaking up his spine over some piddly shit?

I could name half a dozen, but I'll settle for one. My wife and I were out for our third or fourth anniversary. We'd taken in a very expensive dinner at a local hotel, and were departing for Cleveland's miniscule theatre district, there to use our tickets in a timely manner.

As I departed the hotel, I found my car was blocked. A chartered tour bus had double-parked and blocked my car's access to the street. I walked back into the hotel, and called out, "Excuse me, can someone please move the bus? It's blocking parked cars."

Nobody replied. I went to the front desk and asked the desk clerk to page the bus driver. He said he couldn't do that. So I turned around and yelled, loudly (think of a large foghorn with an electric amp attached), "Hey, who double-parked the goddamn bus?"

This time, I got an answer. A big, bulky guy who looked maybe ten years my senior said, "That's my bus. I'll be moving it after I get my boys into their rooms." And then he pushed his luck. "And I don't appreciate hearing profanity."

I saw red, but I controled myself. "Sir, I don't have time to wait for you to get your boys into rooms. You are parked in a passing lane, and you're blocking my car. Please move it now."

"I'll move it when I'm good and ready," he said, turning away.

I lost it. "You'll move it now, or you'll hear a lot more than profanity. You'll hear fucking sirens. MOVE YOUR BUS!"

Well, now we were both behaving like idiots. He squared his shoulders and replied, "Young man, I will not put up with that! One more word from you, and I'll knock your teeth in!"

I turned to the desk clerk and yelled, "YOU! You are a witness to assault! Call the police right now! And YOU," I shouted at the bus driver, "come and get it, asshole!"

I swear, I'd have gone toe-to-toe with this clown over a pair of tickets to a show I didn't really want to see. He'd have probably wiped the floor with me, too. I didn't care. I was ready to piss blood.

But I didn't have to. The bus driver quailed. "Wait a minute, what do you mean assault, I haven't touched you!"

"The threat is assault, asshole!" I screamed, "move your bus!"

He moved his bus. My wife was so angry, she refused to go to the theatre. I was boiling mad for the rest of the night, so that was no loss. She forgave me after a couple weeks.

So, Rob: you over-reacted, and, hey, I've been there too.


Xanadu <X_a_n_a_d_u@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, August 19 2001 21:15:48


That's all I can say.

Rob's churlish behaviour and Harlan's support of it.


Point one - Rob, you were wrong - at every level and in every way. Morally (though you would dismiss that), ethically, legally and in just general human decency. The guy in motion is always at fault. Period. Whether you could see the drink or not - the guy sitting, minding his own business, gets the benefit of the doubt. (I ask anyone to give me a precedent for the opposite)

Now, in as quiet and non-threatening a fashion as this can be stated - who wants to bet that Rob's reaction to the initial complaint was not as nearly as apologetic in tone or wording as he suggested here? (This is simply an observation of tatics employed in discussions on this board - Rob, you have never, in my observation, ever entered a discussion at anything less than full burn - usually full of spit and vinegar.) That's point two.

Three - you argued in the theater - now you've disrupted the entire group of people. (Though the other guy gets an equal whack for that one.)

Four - This is where it gets dicey - even if you had been correct, completely and utterly correct in your position and behaviour - when you turned and walked back into the guy's face after you had left him - YOU were now the aggressor. If he had taken you out at that point - he would have had the legal high ground.

But you weren't right to begin with.

I don't need pocket psychoanalysis to see that you're an angry man, Rob. You're agressive, intellectually, emotionally and physically. You're an interesting paradox - you claim pacifist ideals, and you consistently fail to live up to them. A good guy would have apologized and offered to replace the drink. YOU got into a fight, then came here looking for approval. And, despite anything any of the rest of us might say regarding this, you got it from the man himself...


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Sunday, August 19 2001 20:44:35

Or you could always just buy the darn soda and snacks BEFORE the show starts and before sitting down so you don't have to interrupt everyone who is trying to watch the show - and, yes, the previews are part of the show. You may not have interest in them but that doesn't mean other people don't. To me, that's that's the rudest part. Spilling the drink is an honest accident but, geez, once the show starts, just stay in your darn seat unless you gotta piss so bad your back teeth are floating.

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS USA - Sunday, August 19 2001 20:8:36


You may never have had an experience like this before, but from the sound of your account you can probably count on having more of them. You owed the guy another drink and an absolute minimum of mouth no matter what you thought of his failure to keep his drink out of your way -- he didn't knock his own drink over.

You'll be at the movies again, and you'll get up during the previews again (leaving the room being the most rational response to most of the previews these days), and there's always somebody who'll think it's more incumbent on you to watch your step than it is on him to keep his stuff out of your way. And the next guy may in fact have the knife in his pocket.

So move slowly and VERY courteously in the dark. You'll have fewer ruined evenings and maybe a longer life.

--- TR

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Sunday, August 19 2001 20:1:5

I gotta fault Rob here, just a little, but one question nags at me.

I can imagine stepping down a movie aisle, bumping people's knees, reciting the usual excuse-me's... but I can't imagine knocking someone's entire drink over, in such a confined and awkward space, without my _noticing_. I'd hear the ice slosh around, the splat of the soda on the floor, and probably feel the drink's owner shift quickly to avoid getting a huge spill on his-her trousers.

But in Rob's account, the only knowledge he had that he'd knocked a drink over was the guy's say-so. Rob, are you sure the guy wasn't just yanking your chain to begin with?

But, on the chance that a drink _was_ spilled... well, I probably wouldn't have told the guy right-off that his way of holding the drink was wrong, and thus blaming him. I don't like it when people get past me during previews, and if the person going by did knock over my drink, I'd want that person to accept some responsibility. If I'd been in your situation, I probably would have apologized profusely, and offered to replace the drink.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, August 19 2001 19:38:35

Rob: I don't wanna sound like I'm dumping on you--you seem to be a generally smart and decent fella, and I wasn't there to personally witness the incident in the theatre. You had every right to take a stroll during the previews, and it was ultimately the aryan's responsibility to maintain his drink in the upright position at all times (unless you were careening like my Grandpa Hank after a bender). Nonetheless...

Is is possible that if you had said, "Hey man, I'm sorry. It's hard to see in here. I'll buy you a new soda while I'm out, ok?", that the whole mess could have been avoided? I realize that the guy might have gone ballistic anyway, but MAYBE he would have just shrugged the whole thing off. In HIS eyes, you may have displayed an immense clumsiness and/or lack of consideration on your part.

But, again, I wasn't there, so I can't say I have all the facts.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?

Matt Wilkins <mew@mr.net>
HB, CA - Sunday, August 19 2001 19:7:42

The superior attitude that is shown by some people here disturbs me.

Rob, I wonder what would have happened if you had been sitting in the theater and this "primate" of a man stumbled past you and spilled your drink. Would you have been upset? Would you have been more upset when he reprimanded you for putting it in his way (as you did to him)? Would you have argued it with him? I'll bet you would.

In fact, the situation would have ended up very similar. Why? Because you and the "goon" are very similar. You both have superior attitudes and are looking to show off.

You saw a stocky man with blonde hair and blue eyes sporting a crew cut who got angry when someone accidently spilled his drink. From his point of view, you were not paying attention. You then reprimanded HIM for it.

Because of how he looked and sounded, he is now a "mindless, imbecilic, course, vegetated, brainless primate" in your eyes.

I'll bet to him you looked like an arrogant, self-righteous, uppity prick who wasn't paying attention and couldn't admit to being wrong.

But then...It's all a matter of perspective.

Thank goodness for that magnificent 20/20 hindsight. Because later, we look back and say things like "it's the drink holder's responsibility for the placement of the drink."

Bullshit. It was an accident and both of you - yes BOTH of you -acted like primates. Blaming it on the "Aryan youth" may help you sleep at night, but it won't stop the same thing from happening again.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Sunday, August 19 2001 18:45:32


I think I might be missing part of the story.

After the theater is seated and the lights are out, you get up and you knock over someone's drink and you get mad because you think it's his fault?

I'm definitely not following you because it seems like you owe the guy a drink here. He's not the one who got up in the middle of previews, after all.

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, August 19 2001 18:16:51

Rob, baby:

Y'did just fine.

Granted, in this era of Glocks and Crips, even a sidewise diss of minimal extrusion can net you a lifetime's remainder in casket or wheelchair; but I have been there where you were, not
even that long ago (ask Joe Straczynski to relate the four of us, Susan and Kathryn, Joe and I, and our adventure at the Universal Multiplex screening of SCHINDLER'S LIST), and as long as the jerkazoid didn't whip out a grav-shank and gut you, y'done just fine. Let your knees shake, run it through the mnemosyne circuit for a week or so, build up the story properly, claim the Gunfight at OK Corral rights, and go back to see the movie another day. The only thing better than this (admittedly juvenile, pithecanthropoid behavior all around) would be the actual creaming of the bully in front of your sweetie and a hundred interested bystanders, who would throw popcorn in lieu of confetti when the cops came to drag him (or her) away.

Yes, all the rest of you, I KNOW I'm condoning a violent (or potentially violent) solution to a minor social interfacing, but what the hell did you expect from me . . . reasoned response? Shit it all, folks, I been street brawling since I was in grade school. I am, as I keep telling you and telling you and telling you:

A really bad role model.

(Y'done swell, Rob.)

As Oscar Wilde once put it, "Pity the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth."

Mildly, Casper P. Milquetoast von Ellison, Registered Pacifist.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 19 2001 17:59:7

It was like something out of Harlan’s accounts.

Last night I make an effort to see ‘The Others’ - to absorb the atmosphere and meditate on it. While the lame previews went on I decided, "What th’hell...I gonna grab me sum soder pop!" I lift my innocent, humble ass from the center aisle seat and proceed to trip and stumble in the dark as we always do trying to brush by people in the row, repeating strings of "excuse me" with the customary veneer of courtesy. It’s a tight squeeze but I finally complete the first phase of my journey. I am ready to march proudly up the aisle.

But before I can proceed I hear this guy grunt, "you just spilled my entire drink." My response is contrite but frank: "oh, shit, I’m sorry. You have to watch your drink when people are trying to get through." The next few seconds fill the theater with, "Hey! Hey! You don’t smart mouth me! You knocked over my drink!" I moved on repeating, "I didn’t SEE it. You’re the only one who knows where it is in the dark! What do ya want from me? I didn’t SEE it!"

He stalks me all the way out to the lobby. Once we’re through the exit doors he rams me shoulder to shoulder, repeating his snorts. He’s about four inches taller than I am with a blond Aryan crew cut and the bearing of a howitzer, but I flex my shoulder and drive him back into the adjacent wall, anyway. I’ll be damned if I’m going to back away from this goon. Upon that, he’s in my face with his redundant barks and his index finger, determined to talk me down. Over and over, I try futilely to reason with him because the situation is so obvious: "When you’re in the dark you’re the only one who knows where the drink is; it’s YOUR responsibility!" His wholesale stupidity and bovine denseness AND the unfairness of this are pissing me off far more than the effrontery itself. I am looking at a lab sample from inbred rabble; I mean this is stupidity in a petri dish. But finally all I can think is, "do I really want this WHOLE evening ruined?" It’s clear this guy just isn’t going to listen and I'll be here all night. I huffed in exasperation and walked on to the concession. He continues uttering bullshit. I stop dead in my tracks and spin around. The whole damn lobby is empty because it’s the late 10pm show...it's just him and me. With almost 50 feet between us it suddenly feels like the arena scene in ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’. I can’t ‘splain, but I suddenly see blood. The primitive instinct we inherited from our early ancestors override my reasoning; all civility subdued now, I want to conquer and kill - to wipe this organism from the earth, this thing that never deserved the chemical reactions of life to begin with (we have TOO many of those). I walk back to him with a quick pace, probably looking as aggressive as I ever did, ready to do anything I have to whatever the cost. Any move he makes I will reciprocate. I get in his face the way he did with me: "You’re a moron and I’m gonna tell you this one more time..." Predictably, he continues talking when I’m talking. I pause shaking my head, and he says, "I’m 42 and I’m in the air force." I gaze at him with an incensed and astonished expression. Shaking my head I throw my hands up and move on. He finally vanishes into the theater, like a primate retreating to his grotto. Much later on the way home it occurs to me, "we have low IQs like THIS in the air force? No wonder Bush was elected."

For the most part it ruined my evening. I never HAD an experience like this. I don’t like injustice. It gets to me in a bad way. I could only take in portions of the movie. I’ll have to see it again to form a fair opinion about it. And some of you already know how fixated I can get. It was tough fanning the emotions out of my system while sitting there for the next two hours (some people worry about flatulence; I worry about stabs of emotion). There was one possible redemption: just after the movie had started I think I saw him going by again to exit the theater; about 10 seconds later the girl I think he was with followed; never saw’em come back. If it WAS them and there is ANY justice in the world, she gave him some shit for being a moron. He may have objected and said, "ok, I’m leaving"; and that was her pitter patter following him out.

Sigh. I’m tellin’ ya folks: they hide behind corners, they hide under the seats, they hide under the rocks; there’s always a mindless, imbecilic, course, vegetated, brainless primate waiting there just for YOU. Be on the alert.

That wraps it for couch therapy for a Sunday afternoon. Anyone with some terse saying embodying a general truth, the voice box is open!

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
I don't own a city, I don't own a state or province, either And I sure don't own a whole country - Sunday, August 19 2001 16:48:34

Thanks for the reply, Harlan. From what I can gather, based solely on reading a few biographies of the man (namely, Brady's and Leaming's), Welles was prone to much of what you're reporting from the table of Roddy McDowall. (Who, based on whatever sources I've read that mention him, was about as decent a person one could ever hope to meet).

Main example I can think of was the legend that "Rosebud" was Hearst's pet name for Marion Davies' pudenda. Hard to verify that story, for obvious reasons, and Welles didn't help matters by telling the story as fact after a few years.

And there is a _lot_ of shoddy research in show-business histories; from what I can tell, a lot of writers like to rely on stories they "know" to be true. (Even the good ones are prone to mistakes. One of the best show-business biographies I've ever read was Philip Norman's _Shout!_, about the Beatles. Wonderfully written, with a keen eye towards character, but apparently full of factual errors.) So one account might say that Welles wrote that Harry Lime speech, and another might say that he'd cribbed it from an old play, and a third might report that it was in the original script, but rumors of Welles's authorship circulated and Welles started telling it as truth in later years... Hell, we're both probably wrong, but we'd never really _know_.

(BTW, sorry to hear you won't be at Worldcon this year. First time the Worldcon's in my hometown, which is nice, even though the only SF I've been reading these days has been Bruce Sterling and Neil Stephenson. But have a good time down South.)

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, August 19 2001 14:9:41

Brian Siano:

Fret not that your first baby-steps here in Webderland seem to contradict something I wrote. When people come up to me at lectures or signings and "try to have it both ways" by saying, "I don't agree with most of what you have to say, but I like your style," or somesuch, I almost always respond, "Hell, fellah, >I< don't even agree with most of what I have to say."

I won't assert my Graham Greene-over-Orson Welles belief, not here, not now, and not because it's probably 65-35 that you're correct and I'm wrong, but because my sources for "the accuracy of the truth of it" are older, more primal to the source, and unavailable to me for satisfactory verification. I know that the Accepted Wisdom these days is that Welles interjected the speech, but I am convinced (let me reiterate IT IS ONLY I WHO IS CONVINCED, at least among those opining here) that it was an aphorism whose origin predates the film, the book, the screenplay by decades, and that it was Greene who imparted it first to Welles, who later took credit--as he did for a great many things that were, um, ahem, otherwise attributable.

One night, some short while ago before he died, our friend Roddy McDowall invited Susan and me to one of his fabulous dinners, tenanted by the usual fifteen-or-so variegated invitees who, in each of his or her specialty, was nonpareil and unique.
On this occasion, I sat next to the magnificent actress Jeanette
Nolan (she was the long-time wife of Wagonmaster John McIntire, a star in her own right with hundreds of film & tv credits, and mother of Tim McIntire, who not only played Alan Freed in the movie AMERICAN HOT WAX, but was the voice of Blood in A BOY AND HIS DOG). For those who may not remember, Ms. Nolan and Roddy co-starred with Orson Welles in his 1948 b&w film of MACBETH, which Welles also directed.

When the conversation was not among the participants of the dinner gestalt en toto, I was close enough and leaned in closer enough to overhear the extended--and I mean e x t e n d e d -- interchange between Roddy and Ms. Nolan on the subject of Orson the Great. Both of them had known him, and worked with him on stage, in little theater, in film, and on radio, as well as personally, for decades. Understand: I rather revere Welles for CITIZEN KANE and, the more, for THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS, not to mention his Harry Lime portrayal (and yes, the first thing I said to Susan on the morning I heard the radio news of the druggist who had been denaturing the chemotherapy prescriptions was, "ohmigawd, Harry Lime DIDN'T die in the sewers under Vienna), but there was no mistaking the tone and content and lasting memory of Welles in the minds of the gentle, soft-spoken Jeanette Nolan, and the courteous, ultra-civilized (however occasionally waspish) Roddy McDowall. They despised him.

I don't think I'm entering the wrong word. Dislike? No, much stronger. Loathed? No, too over-the-top. Porridge not too hot, porridge not too cool, but porridge just-right: despised.

And in the course of that long duologue, the congeries of assumed credits, purloined attributes, stolen ideas, "borrowed" innovations, misappropriated accolades and phony claims they enumerated so battered my adoration of Welles, that I have not stopped reeling from it yet, and that was at least four, five years ago. Susan was there, and she heard the parts of it that were loud enough to traverse the width of the large dinner table. I heard it all.

Your sources all tell you it was Welles who created that brilliant aphorism spoken by Harry Lime at the base of the ferris wheel. They may be correct. You may be right. I could well be wrong. Perhaps I AM wrong. Yes, I'll subscribe to it: I am probably absolutely misinformed and wrong. Don't worry that you disagree with me, Brian. My troops have stood down.

Nonetheless, I cling to my view of the correct attribution. Even though I acknowledge that Lynn and Brian probably have the better position in a court of law, or a court of popular opinion.

Respectfully, Harlan Ellison.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Sunday morning..., - Sunday, August 19 2001 13:43:1

Kevin~ What're friends for, eh? Big hugs of the supportive kind, having lost too many people dear to me in the last two years. I think the consensus was, toadburgers - no, toad fries - ok if you must.

Kind thoughts,

Kevin McElroy
- Sunday, August 19 2001 8:3:21

Susan; Yes, I still want my copy of Sleepless Nights. Funds are en route.

It's been a long three weeks, I've been on a roller coaster funeral tour. Two friends this month, one was a writer. A nice fellow by the name of Lou Huston. Those of you who are TV fans might remember him. He wrote many of the better episodes of your favorite "rube" shows (Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction)and was the creator of the character "Arnold Ziffel"(y'know, the pig on Green Acres). Above all he was a swell guy who took "funny" seriously and didn't stop working up until the last.

Reading the last few weeks of posting has not only boosted my spirits, but also made me very hungry. Almost hungry enough to eat a McDonald's toadburger.

Thanks gang,for cheering me up. You guys are great.



- Sunday, August 19 2001 4:34:24

Rob, Chris - thanks for the comments. There wasn't anything to do with blood type, I believe the theory had to do with your build / physique. In any case, I wasn't trying to push a point, sorry if it came across as such.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
Philly, PA I dunno, what country ya got? - Sunday, August 19 2001 3:54:16

Geez, the first substantive comment I can add, and it's one in which I have to argue with Harlan. (I have a real talent for endearing entrances.)

Lynn attributed that classic line from _The Third Man_-- the wonderfully nasty comparative estimate of the contributions of the evil Borgias and the peace-loving Swiss-- to Orson Welles. Harlan corrected Lynn, saying that credit for that speech should go the screenwriter, Graham Greene.

I'm afraid Lynn really was a little more right on this point. Frank Brady, in his biography _Citizen Welles_, quotes Carol Reed as saying that that particular line was Welles's addition. However, Brady adds, Welles also claimed that he'd cribbed the line from "an old Hungarian play."

(And when I heard the recent news about that physician who was giving his patients diluted chemotherapy solutions, _BANG_, suddenly I was hearing zither music, and wondering if that doc had made the same ten-thousand-dollars-a-dot deal that Harry Lime described. Yeesh.)

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Saturday, August 18 2001 23:2:49


Well...each to his own. You’re entitled to your opinion, it’s what you get out of it that counts, my taste is no better than the next guy’s; I am humble, civil, courteous and self-effacing in my views. I got THAT out of the way, my ass is covered.

Having said that...as good a writer as William Goldman could be, you are out of your @#$%!!!!*+-^!?/"*###!!:**!;+`>*&!! mind for even attempting a comparison between him and Salinger. I couldn’t stop re-reading ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and I STILL haven’t had enough of it. AAAARRRRRGGH!

I need to borrow Harlan's cold compress.

Redditch, UK - Saturday, August 18 2001 22:45:47

H.L. Mencken - "The average man doesn't want to be free. He wants to be safe."

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS USA - Saturday, August 18 2001 22:32:21

The writer I always felt beat out Salinger at the troubled adolescent game was William Goldman. I can still go back to Goldman's THE TEMPLE OF GOLD with pleasure, but doubt I'll ever pick up CATCHER again.

Damn shame WG seems to have given up novel writing completely.

-- TR

John Thompson
Las Vegas, - Saturday, August 18 2001 22:24:48

Harlan, thanks for the reply. Your post encapsulates many of my own feelings. I've noticed most people have the hardest time accepting responsibility for their feelings. The notion that their inner rage and discontent lies within and not outside themselves is a pretty radical notion for many folks.

Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Saturday, August 18 2001 22:15:22

Books and movies (or, Films, depending on the elitists):

JIMMY CORRIGAN is indeed the SMARTEST KID ON EARTH. It's been awhile since I've read comic books and/or graphic novels (not through any snobbery, but because I couldn't afford to keep up with all the different universes and storylines that necessitated buying titles I wouldn't normally buy) and picked up CORRIGAN based on a friend's recommendation. I pass on that recommendation.

Just finished watching THE TRAIN on DVD. Burt Lancaster's just poured into that engineer's outfit. And he was 51. (Confession: I first heard about THE TRAIN when I checked out HARLAN ELLISON'S WATCHING from the library a few years ago.) Rented it, watched it, and think it's great. And now I own it and will be listening to what Frankenheimer has to say concerning the movie.
Paul Scofield's--the protagonist--last words to Lancaster--the antagonist--"Right this minute, right now, you couldn't tell me why you did what you did.") nail it and says more about art and people than any bestseller list or blockbuster. Right this minute, right now, you couldn't tell me why you read THE CLIENT. (And apologies to Mr. Ellison if I've "remembered" something he may have already said concerning THE TRAIN in WATCHING as I don't have the book).

"You'll like me, I tend to grow on people."
"So do warts."
----Curly to an unidentified woman.

L. <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
In the shadow of the Observatory., - Saturday, August 18 2001 21:37:58

Re: Mediocrity.

"Survival is the slowest form of suicide." ~Unknown

Is it enough to know your life is featureless and mundane, to be aware that there are colors outside of beige and flavors outside of vanilla? Is it enough to be able to turn off the television and seek out a conversation? Is it enough to recognize that the keyboard is making you bleed?


Perhaps not.

And I quote, "...you are one *tough* grader."


S. Hancock <estoc@lycos.com>
- Saturday, August 18 2001 19:53:19

Well, I seem to be all alone with my opinion of Moby Dick.

I read JJ's "The Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man" and enjoyed it a great deal. I thought for awhile that it should replace "Catcher in the Rye" as the adolescent-troubles book normally read by teens. I liked CitR, despite Holden being a bit too whiny. I guess more youngins identify with him instead of Stephen Daedelus.

I don't plan on reading Finnegans Wake until I'm at least in my 50s. I'm sure it'd go way over my head if I read it now (as opposed to, hopefully, going only slightly over my head when I read it in the future). "It took me seventeen years to write it, it should take you seventeen years to read it."

Since we're talking of books: I'm a huge fan of Dostoevsky. If I was to compile a list of favorite novels, The Brothers Karamazov would probably be #1, with Crime and Punishment close behind. I enjoy Tolstoy's work, especially Anna Karenina (while I merely liked War and Peace). The Russian novelists seem more interested on characterization than other nationalities, although I've yet to read Golgo, Checkov and other Russians to really be sure about that.

I was talking to someone about translations awhile ago. There is no such thing as a perfect translation, so I wonder how accurately the translations I've read of Russian novelists (and German philosophers, for that matter) really are. If I chose a different translation of Anna Karenina, how closely would it resemble the the first one I read? I remember reading two translations of Faust: one was very dry, the other humorous. You could say the second one was the better translation, but what if Faust really was dry and lacked humor, and I ended up preferring an inaccurate translation over an acurate one? I suppose I should just learn the languages one day, and read them in their original tongue. Would anyone have any suggestions for good translations of the aforementioned writers?

I sometimes wonder how well Faulkner's work translates into other languages. Reading Faulkner is a humbling experience (incidentally, "Light in August" would get my vote as best American novel). I always have a dictionary ready when I read him.

Yeah, all this talk is definitely in the "frippery" category. But talking about books is almost as much fun as reading them.

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Saturday, August 18 2001 18:19:31


"Motherless Brooklyn" is a great read. If I'm not mistaken, it won the National Book Award. If you don't know already, he has actually written a lot of science ficiton. Check out "Gun, With Occasional Music," and "As She Climbed Across The Table."


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Saturday, August 18 2001 18:17:12


I'm not sure if his name has been mentioned on here or not, but: C.M. Kornbluth. I just picked up his collection "His Share of Glory." Wow, many of these stories just knocked me for a loop! Another guy dead much too soon (35), like Beaumont. I was wondering of your impression of him. I have read a couple of accounts, one by Pohl in the intro to this book, and one by Asimov in his autobiography. Both seemed to say he was a complex, difficult man, though Pohl seems to have gotten along with him much better than Asimov did. I was wondering about your take (and I apologize in advance if this board is not the place for such quick summaries on a person's life - I realize it's probably a stupid question, but his stories have begun to fascinate me so I wanted a little background).



Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Saturday, August 18 2001 16:20:8

I used to understand the word "succinctness"; now I just don't know.

Re: Joyce. I liked him because he was challenging the anal, dictatorial rigid-mindedness of his own Catholic roots. On the other hand, I had a similar experience as just candidly imparted with Conrad. I went through hell trying to get through just the first chapter of 'Heart of Darkness' (and a GREAT story) because he would hang his prose on long frivolous, trifling descriptives of things like the suns rays glistening on the water, the golden hues of the sky and every color of the spectrum he could imagine describing. And that was before the boat would so much as move away form the dock. The book dropped. I may give him another try sometime, but I found that first trial tedious. I wanted him to move the hell on.


I not only need to read Nightmare Alley, but would like to see the film Tyrone Power did in the 40's. He was highly praised in his role as the geek and it was probably his most important movie.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker Heights Again Hurrah, O-heigh-ho Ooozah - Saturday, August 18 2001 16:0:29

Well, gosh, "Moby Dick." Melville's book is the one that taught me there's little point in debating whether a book should be a classic. I liked it from the first reading (in college), and like it still. But those who get it--get it. Those who don't, won't. That's life. For those who do get it, let me recommend the Arion Press edition, with lovely illustrations by Barry Moser. It was republished with loving care by California University Press, and I still see it in second-hand shops.

(Moser came through this area on a signing tour about ten years ago. I took advantage of his visit to beg autographs for copies of his "Frankenstein," "Alice in Wonderland" and "Moby Dick." Those who haven't sampled his work should do so. It's a treat.)

By coincidence, I got back from my endless vacation to be greated by the usual enormous pile of new books, and one that spilled out and caught my eye was Will Eisner's new adaptation of, a cookie to the first person to guess, yes, "Moby Dick." I don't recommend this as a substitute for the original, Lord knows, but if you've a child who hasn't yet been spoiled by endless cartoon references and the like, it's not a bad introduction. Eisner's art is quite good (as always), and he evokes some of the mystical feel of the story. The book will be out from NBM in October.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Saturday, August 18 2001 15:41:26


My thanks and full acknowledgement on Spillane. At least I understand the deal now with better certainty when no reply comes to a query. I don't wanna henpeck you about names when I don't need to.


You're right, everyone's metabolic needs are different. For me a high protein diet was advised, staying low on the carbs. I have sensitive blood-sugar levels and I also take a medication to prevent seizures (in low dosage, fortunately) so my regimen is set to accomodate that along with physical work-outs and playing ball. I used to think I was hypoglycemic because I often felt lethargic and very prone to serious headaches (since I was a kid). But, unless hypoglycemia can exist in different degrees, there seems to be less evidence of it. I don't need to eat throughout the day. But I do get VERY tired if I eat a lot at any given time.

So, I eat low-cal meals throughout the day. Full low-cal diets - rather than, say, starving yourself throughout the day - is the intake strategy advised for longer lifespans, keeping weight down and reducing deseases. My usual daily intake is soy beans, potatoes and spinach. Carrots and celery I often throw in weekly as well. Since I hate cooking I keep it pretty simple. Milk: my system seems to crave it. I go one day without out it and I feel like I'm waning. But I drink small amounts at any one time. I eat 2-3 apples a day invariably and a couple of bananas every 2 days. I used to drink tons of fruit juice (and I don't mean the sugar waters) but recently learned from nutrionists that the vitamin intake is not nearly as effective as eating. I've eliminated buying fruit juices almost entirely in lieu of EATING fruit. I used to take vitamin supplements but have learned that research shows little, if any, effectiveness from them as opposed to using the foods for adequate vitamin intake. I do try to make certain I get vitamin B-complex for synergistic enzyme response, and vitamin B2 and pantothenic acid. I drink more water throughout the day and I even squeeze lemons into it.

I don't eat meat much and I cut down on sucrose CONSIDERABLY. But, like anyone, I go on occasional junk food sprees and indulge. However, I do keep that under control. Generally I go more for Chinese or Tai places than Burger King joints (the latter more often makes me nauseous since my regimen became healthier); only once in a while I go for a burger (talk of mad cow disease, even though it hasn't entered the U.S., helped me reduce burgers even more; which I'm GLAD of). But if I eat too much of that stuff, WHEREVER it is, I feel really, really bad. My yens, more often, lean more toward things like pretzels or ice cream or sometimes Kosher dogs or the occasional good restaurant on weekends (some people lean toward spicy flavors, btw; I lean more toward the sweet). But I like to minimize it all, so a trick I play on myself when I do have the yen is eating too much of it at one time so that I just can't STAND it anymore (like watching too much tv or talking on the phone for too long). It's usually a looooooong time before I touch the shit again.

Coffee I probably drink too much of. I don't show a lot of discipline on that front.

I'll really be glad when the genome technology expands so that we can pinpoint our genetic maps and understand our individual conditions and needs better.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Saturday, August 18 2001 15:14:30

There's no easier position to take on a Harlan Ellison bulletin board than to say "I agree with Harlan." But, hell, I agree with Harlan about Moby Dick. It was great. It was a fun book. It was a fascinating book. It's one of the better novels I have ever read.

Someone mentioned Mark Twain's comment about classics. The exact definition Twain gave is "Classic. A book which everyone praises but doesn't read."

That's true for a lot of books. It might mark me a dreadful churl but I don't like James Joyce. Not one bit. That doesn't mean I'm going to say anything as obnoxious as "James Joyce sucks" because there's a good reason he is well respected by critics. But _Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man_ is one of the most painful and dull books I've ever been forced to read. And I could only get part way into Ulysess before giving up.

Similarly, I'd be lying if I claimed to love Middlemarch (of course, anyone who claims to love Middlemarch is lying) or Don Juan.

However, I loved Moby Dick. And I don't just love Gulliver's Travels - I worship it. But then again Jonathan Swift was just some kind of mutant freak genius on the order of a Francis Bacon or a Mark Twain.

As to Harlan's point on literature and the choices people make in their reading, I will only offer this quote:

"Life being very short, and the quiet hours of it few, we ought to waste none of them in reading useless books." - John Ruskin, _Sesame and Lilies_

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, August 18 2001 15:8:34

Harlan wrote: "I see all, read all, know all."

I KNEW IT. Harlan owns Borges' Aleph! That rat bastard!

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS USA - Saturday, August 18 2001 14:38:32

JUDGMENT IN STONE is a terrific read, and if I had to pick a single book to recommend to someone wanting to start with Rendell, that'd be the one. Never could get into her Wexford stories, but the non-series stuff was always wonderfully grim.

Anyone looking for NIGHTMARE ALLEY could do a lot worse than to lay down big $$$ for the Library of America volume -- if memory serves, it also included McCoy's THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON'T THEY? and Woolrich's I MARRIED A DEAD MAN, Cain's POSTMAN (I think), and others. I may be mixing up the contents of the two volumes here, but that's a nice pair of books.

-- TR

Jim Davis <sythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, August 18 2001 14:27:49

Tony, my man! I didn't see your post before I sent mine into the void, but I'm glad you were moved to write about Rendall's wonderful book...

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, August 18 2001 14:22:57


Yes, NIGHTMARE ALLEY is a helluva book--fast-paced, murderously insightful, and as bleak as anything by Beckett. I envy your first reading of it, Rob. It's contained in one of the two Library of America volumes on Noir literature, but is otherwise out-of-print. You should be able to find a used paperback, howevever.

The film of EDDIE COYLE had its moments, but it pales in comparison to the other noir/crime movies of the '70s. As for the book, well, let's just note that Elmore Leonard, when pressed for a list of HIS favorite mystery novels, supplied only one title. Guess what it was?

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Ruth Rendall's A JUDGEMENT IN STONE has one of the absolute KILLER first sentences in the history of the novel: "Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could not read or write." AND one of the greatest closing ones: "Dust, Ashes, Waste, Want, Ruin, Despair, Madness, Death, Cunning, Folly, Words, Wigs, Rags, Sheepskin, Plunder, Precedent, Jargon, Gammon, and Spinach." The stuff in between is pretty damned fine, too.

I'm not the greatest expert on mystery/noir/suspense/detective fiction, but that's alright; I LIKE the idea that there are still literary countries left for me to explore. I think the worst thing is to get hung up on questions of "Am I well-read or not?" (You listening, Peg?) There is always SOMEONE who is better-read than you, so fretting or getting competitive about it is just futile. Read for enjoyment's sake, and a genuine love of knowledge, and you will NEVER go wrong. Read to impress preening literateurs at the next cocktail soiree, and therein madness lies.

As for listing titles, as long as it's done to turn people on to great literature, I'm all for it. (I gotta tell ya, the fact that SOMEONE out there will read NIGHTMARE ALLEY for the first time as a result of seeing the testimonials here makes me giddy.) It's when lists are used as axes to be driven through the foreheads of others that I get a little turned off. Lest someone get paranoid, NO, I'm not talking about anyone in particular on this board, ok? This is more cautionary in tone than anything else, so don't get all bent out of shape, people.

I mean, you KNOW you guys are the wind beneath my wings, right?

Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, August 18 2001 14:20:50

Yes, Jay, Neil and I are planning to complete "Shoot Day for Night" at the MadCon.


Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, August 18 2001 14:15:25

John Thompson:

Here is my succinct--and I believe to the bottom of my soul, dead-on--explanation of why people read styleless writers such as Mary Higgins Clark, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and the plethora trailing behind them like scraps of old soiled linen on a kite's tail.

We live in a time the basic component of which, it seems to me, is DON'T MAKE WAVES. DON'T BE NOTICED. DO YOUR JOB, AND KEEP YOUR HEAD DOWN. This philsophy, pandemic in our society for all but the most suicidially individual of us, promotes mediocrity. Promotes nothing else BUT mediocrity.

Blands out what we see in the popular arts, turns the ideal home-living situation into the decorative equivalent of a motel room, permits Muzak in elevators and hip-hop on the radio, forces style on everyone at the level of The Gap and Old Navy (you gotta get THIS look!), produces actors and actresses (check out the cover of last week's TV Guide) who look so alike they couldn't be differentiated in a police lineup, serves only to drive from the market all but those products and brands whose Goliath corporations control the shelves--Hydrox is gone, Oreo rules--and makes eccentricity shameful, suspect, troublesome and even alarming to the groundling masses who opt for uniformity because, in their misguided acceptance of the theft of their privacy and singularity, they think (like the Jews of Germany prior to Krystelnacht and the Third Reich) that when the pogroms start, they will be so invisible in likeness to the faceless they wish to emulate, that they won't hear the whistle of the axe. They're right. They WON'T hear it coming.

Sad to say--Elite Ellison dares the opprobrium--most people are average. Not stupid, or ignorant, mostly uneducated or blissfully, probably arrogantly, uninformed; or frightened at having to support the Atlas weight of their own existence. The responsibility for their actions, for their decisions, for their very lives, frightens them. How else explain this irrational universal umbrage of entitlement, with no one ever being "at fault"? They are not, in the words of "Invictus," the captains of their ships, the masters of their fates. They are no better or worse than you or I, but they dare little. They venture little. They do not savor the acid rain of adventure. Safe and sane is their motto. (Except they eat food that will kill them, they drive their cars too fast, they rage and flame at minor affronts, and they KNOW they're not getting a fair shake. Why? Because the culture tells them to eat eat eat, to drive drive drive, to be angry angry angry, to whine whine whine at how badly they're being taken advantage of...by others of their own kind, by poor devils just like themselves, who are being gulled and lied to.)

They furnish their homes like motel rooms. They watch movies that are awful. They read slovenly or uninventive writers (if they read at all). Because they are TOLD that's what a "normal" person does. Why do they not take offense at laugh tracks that "tell" them every dull or insipid line of sitcom dialogue is funny? Why do they not question why baggy gangsta clothing or raggedy-bottom miniskirts are shoved down their throats when such clothing is either ugly and inappropriate, or just simply contrary to "form follows function" purposes? Why wear baseball caps backwards, when the bill was put there specifically to keep the sun OFF the face? Why pay attention to the adolescent doings of Nicole and Tom, Puff Daddy and Jay-Lo, Alyssa and Shannen, when important things are being done, being written, being produced? Because, he said succinctly, the evil handmaiden of mediocrity is Commerce. Almost all advertising now is false advertising. They are told by Oprah or the icon women on The View that THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY is insightful, compelling, and "must" be read, so they read one of the worst, most lachrymose, most insipid books of the century, and the wonderful writings of Harvey Swados, Chandler Brossard, Frederic Prokosch and Bernard Wolfe slip further into obscurity and oblivion. "The business of America" said Coolidge, aped by Reagan, "is business." What a swell testament. We don't laud art, we censor it with the Helmses and Giulianis; we don't give the world great philosophical wisdom; we push the Star Wars defense, Coca-Cola, World Federation Wrestling, and Baywatch tits'n'abs'n'asses.

Why do people read mediocre writers and not perceive, not worry, that their ability to distinguish between bad and good is atrophying? Because they have been bludgeoned and coerced and duped and pussywhipped by a society that believes the business of America is business, and so anything that moves the units off the shelves is Honorable, Excusable and, essentially A Good Thing. And whatever tends to get people thinking on their own, questioning, rejecting, costing the headless serpent conglomerates a few cents on the bottom line...is EVIL, must be quashed, by any means possible smoothed out and leavened.

Thoreau said, and I live by this: "He serves the State best who opposes the State most."

This way, of course, lies arrest, conviction, and incarceration.

But what choice is there for a free, thinking entity in our time:

Judith Krantz novels or Donald Westlake and MOBY DICK?

But, possibly, I couldn't be more wrong.

Not as succinctly as I'd intended, yr. loquacious pal, Harlan.

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS USA - Saturday, August 18 2001 13:47:14

Re: Rendell's JUDGMENT IN STONE. Always thought that book had one of the best narrative hooks I ever saw:

"Eunice Parchman killed the Coverdale family because she could neither read nor write. But there was more to it than that."

Don't have the book in front of me, so it may be off by a word or two, but I kinda doubt it. Grabber of an opening.


Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, August 18 2001 13:23:43


I was sorta ignoring the Spillane query.

I may be old, but I ain't absentminded. I see all, read all, know all. If I don't reply, it's out of choice.

About the Mick. I have never much cared for his stuff. Read I, THE JURY when it first came out, and the two or three follow-up Mike Hammer books. Thought they were kind of silly. But he was as enormously popular, controversial, and influential as any writer in the '50s (with the possible exception of Grace Metalious); and one of my best friends, Max Allan Collins (who is, I think, a better novelist than Mickey), damn near worships him. The best thing about Spillane, for me, is that he inspired the magnificent parody by Fritz Leiber. I think he was a sharp, individual voice, worth reading (at least the first three) as a popular culture phenom, and certainly entertaining. That he ain't my cuppa, is MY problem, and shouldn't be yours; which is why I ignored the question when you first asked it. What the hell does it MATTER what I think of Spillane, or Melville, or Clark?

If you read the Bond books, I'd urge you to start with the earliest ones, particularly FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE--which I still think is the best of them all.

yr. pal, Harlan.

Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, August 18 2001 13:13:51

I am at the other end of the MOBY DICK assertions. Look, I know how tough, how apparently tedious, this novel can be. I can understand that, if not identify. For some reason, and I bless that unknown reason, the first time I read Melville, in junior high school, I instantly loved the book. It wasn't part of the curriculum, I wasn't assigned the book, I just picked it up, in a Pocket Book edition, and was hooked like a sperm whale at "Call me Ishmael." I, well, I just instantly loved the book. And, more odd than that, was my enthrallment with the chapters that had no plot significance at all--on the mast, on the anchor, on the sails--chapters about whaling, and the sea. Hell, folks, the word "flense" that I use all the time came from the chapter on flensing the deck of scraps from a slaughtered whale, washing them down into the scuppers, flensing--cleaning--the deck. In my vast compendium of thousands of books read in a lifetime, there are only a few I return to again and again. MOBY DICK is one of them. I know it's supposed to be cocktail-party-chatt "intellectual" and very chi-chi to assert one reads, understands, and loves books such as MOBY DICK (and you'll never hear me saying anything like this about Hawthorne or most of James Gould Cozzens--except the short novels--or much of Henry James or the odious George Eliot), but I tell you in all absolute honesty, I snow you not, I am NUTS about the White Whale. It is so full, just jampacked FULL of good writing and smart insights and memorable moments and great life-filled characters...well, it bowled me over at age 13, 14, or whatever age I was...and it continues to do so now at age 67. That others go blind trying to enjoy this justly-acclaimed "classic" is not beyond my ken, but there are damned good reasons why this book is one of the very few universally considered eligible as The Great American Novel. If I might venture a suggestion (though I am in no means trying to subscribe to Margaret Thatcher's statement, "I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end")-- maybe the way to read MOBY DICK is for you to elide the chapters that are digressive. DON'T read about the anchor, DON'T get hung up on the mizzenmast chapter, DON'T linger on the section about Queeqeg's harpoon. Just read it for plot and action, like one of those Jerry Bruckheimer movies in which things keep exploding so frequently that you're swept along. Trust me: the plot is not like those in scripts written for Bruckheimer movies...it makes sense, hangs together, is logical and compelling. Read MOBY DICK the way you'd read a James Bond thriller, and it'll spring to life for you. Yes, it IS a startling allegory, filled with levels and levels of different ways of reading the same story...but you need pay no attention to that.

Read MOBY DICK for pleasure. Hell, that's what I do.

Hardly an intellectual, yr. pal, Plain Ole Harlan.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Saturday, August 18 2001 11:34:58


Certainly, it is more than reasonable to assume that different people have different dietary needs - something the AMA all but refuses to acknowledge. If the diet you were referring to was the one based on blood type, however, that one was a pure crock of shit.

Refined sugar is the killer drug I was talking about - however I was also talking about going cold turkey from all sugar, including fructose, lactose, etc. People who are extremely insulin resistant need to avoid most sugar altogether - remember, just because it's natural doesn't make it good. Last I checked, arsenic was all natural. However, for most people, just cutting out the refined sugar is all they need. And if that's the only thing anyone does - go ahead and keep eating the breads and pastas and starches - it'll still be the healthiest thing you ever did.

Remember, we never ate thise refined sugar crap before the 19th century and never ate in quantity until the later 20th century.

ON READING: When I was a kid, I used to read about 3 books a week while also reading plenty of comic books. I was capable of some pretty awesome feats of concentration being able to read nonstop for 6 or 7 hour stretches. Reading 60 to 70 pages an hour, I could finish an entire book in one sitting. Of course, in those days, I was reading lots of Dragonlance books and all of Piers Anthony's stuff, some of which is some fairly light reading.

I can't focus like that anymore at the ripe old age of 29. I need a break every hour or so and I only read about 2 books a week now and don't read nearly as many comic books as I used to. I'm also reading more challenging material. Piers Anthony and Dragonlanze got me through adolescence. Harlan Ellison and Carl Sagan and Ray Bradbury and Stephen King have accompanied me through adulthood.

- Saturday, August 18 2001 11:16:16

Chris, Rob - I recall a nutrition trend a few years back to the effect that there were 3 or so general body/metabolism types. It went on that one type would work best with high protein, one high carbs, etc. On the surface it seemed to make sense - e.g., why one diet would work for some and not others, etc.

Just curious if either of you are familiar and had comments, since you both seem to have read up a lot on the nutritional side and have strong opinions.

Will have to consider kicking sugar - I assume, Chris, you mean added or refined sugar, and not sugar which naturally occurs in foods. I'll have to plan it in, though - too hectic a schedule to rely on doing it off the cuff.

I actually "kick" caffeine on a semiregular basis - often on vacation - and don't find it much of a problem. That seems odd to me as I drink a ton of caffeine at work during the week, although I'll regularly skip on weekends just cause I don't get around to making coffee/tea in the morning.

Just some weekend musings...

Lorin O.
Still Tampa...., - Saturday, August 18 2001 11:2:35

I'm a great admirer of Lethem's work, though MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN is not my favorite (though it won the National Book award, so clearly other people felt otherwise). He did a fabulous job with Lionel's character and, I'm gathering, with his disorder, but the book kind of fell apart for me at the end.

I recently read a great collection of short stories written by Lethem and another author (whose name sadly escapes me at the moment) called "Kafka Americana." Some great reimaginings of both Kafka's stories and his life, including one in which Kafka emigrates to the U.S. and goes to work in Hollywood for Frank Capra where he writes the precursor to "It's a Wonderful Life." Great stuff.

Lethem likes to slip around in the genres a bit (more power to him), but if you're looking for another mystery, you might check out his first book: GUN, WITH OCCASIONAL MUSIC. Kind of a hybrid SF/Noir Mystery and well worth the read.

On reading in general...Well, I suspect I'm like a lot of people on this list. I read VORACIOUSLY, but I never feel as though I'm reading ENOUGH. Part of that is that I read people's as-yet-unpublished manuscripts for a living, which impinges in both a practical and psychological way on my ability to read other, published works. But I try.

One thing that's been interesting (to me) is that I began a reading journal at the beginning of the year. I basically devote a page to every book I read, just to keep track of their storylines and my overall opinion of each book. I've found that doing so helps me retain a bit more of what I've read, though I still find I don't remember as much of the book(s) as I'd like! I'm trying to break the habit of being a "skimmer" and REALLY dig into the books I read for better overall retention.

Re: sugar/wheat - well, I may actually try both, starting Monday. So, if you guys hear plaintive howls coming from the southeast, you'll know from whence they issue. :-)

Ciao, amigo(a)s --

Jay Gillespie <marsilies@yahoo.com>
Madison, WI USA - Saturday, August 18 2001 9:37:58

Hello to everyone on this board.

I just finished a fine mystery novel,"Motherless Brooklyn" by Jonathan Lethem, in which the protagonist's difficulties in finding the killer are further hampered by him having Tourettes Syndrome. It's really my first foray into mystery fiction, so I can't compare it to the greats that have been listed.

Re: Mary Grisham Clancy: I work in Receiving at a major retail chain, and it's amazing the number of these books that are sold. The sheer un-imaginativeness of some of the titles, one author has the word "Prey" in every title, seems a dead giveaway to the disposability of the novels themselves. I'm relieved to know that Sue Grafton can only write 26 books, at which point she'll have run out of letters ("Z is for Zorry I Wrote so Many Bad Books"). We also sell a bit of Stephen King books, which I handle more carefully than the others. ON WRITING sold quite well, although I doubt many people used it to become better writers. To be fair, Target also sells a much smaller list of decent titles; I was overjoyed when the paperback of "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" came to our store. Of course, if I ever saw a HE book there I'd keel over.

I think the reason that people keep buying Clark, Clancy, etc. is name recognition. They're not just authors, they're brands. A case in point is Tom Clancy, who is not even dead yet has his name plastered all over books he hasn't written. Just recently I saw a book someone else wrote based on an 'idea' by M.H. Clark, with her name taking top billing, prompting speculation by me whether she had died. People buy them because it's safer to keep reading the same author than to risk venturing out into unknown lands, even though those lands are far more richer and exciting than the dust bowl of fiction most people seem content to squat on.

Also, I just don't think most people demand much from the novels they read, or the movies they watch, or the TV they absorb, or the music they listen too. If it's pleasantly bland, that's good enough to distract them from their lives.

Regarding the Clash: I've always heard that they we good, but sadly my knowledge of them doesn't go past "Rock the Casbah". It's sad how short the cultural memory of people, even myself, can be. It reminds me of a scene in the film PCU where a senior mentions the Clash to the blank stare of a housemate and says something to the effect of "You know, there was music before 1992." What would be a good album to experience more of the Clash? I'm a fan of music that everyone else doesn't know/ doesn't like; my two favorite bands are They Might Be Giants and XTC.

Harlan: I'll be attending Mad Con 2001 in October, which looks to be shaping up as a reunion of sorts of Mad Media 5, which I also attended. Will you be spending any time with Neil Gaiman while there, and perchance be finishing the collaboration you two started at MM5?

John Thompson
Las Vegas - Saturday, August 18 2001 4:37:37

Regarding Mary Higgins Clark, Grisham, Clancy and the like: The main problem I have with these scribblers is their utter lack of style. It amazes me that more readers aren't bored to tears by their tone-deaf use of language. Even more than the predictable plots, it's this utter stylelessness that makes me want to hurl their books across the room. Reading usually involves some effort; I just wonder why people waste their time with the literary equivalent of soap operas.

- Saturday, August 18 2001 3:35:40

I (ashamedly but truthfully) nominate myself as a minor exception of the not being well read variety.

- Saturday, August 18 2001 3:34:48

I nominate myself as a minor exception of the not being well read variety.

St. Pete, FL - Saturday, August 18 2001 1:32:24

Lorin: Re:Wheat & Sugar. Hmmm, a tough one. Try both simultaneously; not as tough as it may seem. Go to Nature's Harvest (hoping that's the correct name as I've been going to Rollin' Oats in St. Pete for a while) on MacDill and the cross street is the one next to Borders on Dale Mabry (name slips memory). They should carry wheat free bread and many other sugar free products.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Saturday, August 18 2001 1:17:50


No contest, cut out the sugar. Wheat's not so bad and you'd only need to cut back on grains if you have problems with insulin resistance (e-mail me if you want more info 'cause I don't want to bore everyone else). Once I spent a good two weeks cold turkey on sugar, it was amazing, simply amazing, how different I felt. My mind was sharper, my energy level shot through the roof - it's an experiment I recommend everyone to try at least once. It's the sort of thing you eat darn near every day so you never realize how much it can drag you down. Refined sugar is, no bones about it, a killer drug.

Lorin O.
Tampa, - Saturday, August 18 2001 0:13:3

CORTORT: Not that you asked moi, but for my money Butler's "Xenogenesis" series is her best work. I BELIEVE the book titles are DAWN, ADULTHOOD RITES, and IMAGO. I may have those wrong, but I think I'm at least close. (Too lazy to open another window to Amazon.com and check.)

Butler spoke at last year's Suncoast Writers Conference (in nearby St. Pete) and was great. She had this fabulous Maya Angelou-meets Kermit the frog-meets James Earl Jones voice that was worth the price of admission alone. She also showed a lot of forbearance with the people standing in line for autographs, including me. I figure if I can't get HE's in person, I can at least work my way through all the people he's taught or influenced.

So, that is that.

Re: the Clash (I know, I know, I'm always thirty posts behind...) - I saw them open for The Who at Shea Stadium in 1983, I guess it was. This was right around the time that "Rock the Casbah" hit. The poor guys were BOOED off the stage. Then I saw them a few years later at Hofstra University and they burned down the house, but FIRST they made Hofstra security take out all the seating in the gym so that we could dance closer to the stage.

Last Clash tidbit: back in the days of their popularity, I had one friend who thought the words were "rock the jazzbar" and ANOTHER who thought they were "rock the Cat's Paw," which I guess was supposed to be the name of a club or something. To this day, I can't hear that song without mentally making one of the above substitutions.

AND not to flog the pulpy dead carcass of this here horse, BUT if one were to cut out EITHER sugar or wheat (with a view toward eventually doing both, but having to take baby-steps), which would you folks (who have opinions on such matters) recommend eliminating first?

Happy Saturday to all and to all a good night...

Lorin O.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, PA - Friday, August 17 2001 23:58:19

Whew, with Harlan and Alex's lists, I think I'm set on my recent plunge into mystery novels, the only genre of "genre fiction" I've mostly neglected (outside of romance novels) so far in my reading career.

I've already read the great Westlake and the redoubtable Mr. John McDonald and I'm currently working on a book by some guy named Hammett. Apparently The Maltese Falcon was a book too! :)

I am somewhat relieved to find out I wasn't just missing something in my reading of Mary Higgins Clark. I don't like slamming anyone's work but, man, "We'll Meet Again" was one lousy book.

Is anyone else constantly frustrated at their inability to process information as fast as they would like to? I can't read fast enough to come anywhere close to reading everything I want to. Sometimes it makes me wanna cry.

Harlan mentioned the great Kate Wilhelm in his post and just so I don't make the mistake of assuming everyone knows about it, I'd like to point out that thew current issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction is devoted to Kate Wilhelm. Just bought it, gotta finish Maltese Falcon first and then I'm gonna devour that sucker.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 17 2001 22:37:21

To Hancock:

Re: Moby Dick. I read it a long time ago - barely in my teens. But for myself, never in school. Melville is a tough read anyway because of the dense style of his time. Having said that, although I could REALLY use a refresher read, I recall finding the work quite evocative and I think it's a masterpiece. So did Ray Bradbury.

Harlan, I didn't see your post till I shot mine through. Your Gresham plug really caught me; I'm going to grab NIGHTMARE ALLEY.

My check, btw, for YOUR tome is in the mail - with my UNFORGED signature.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 17 2001 22:20:11


Just arrived back to our little hamlet here only to find it's still governed by the gourmands touting their goût; but since the topic of mystery writers opened on the lower east end I thought I might stroll on through THAT neighborhood and make like a Bowery boy.

You may have missed an earlier post of mine or maybe you just opted to pass because of time but I wondered about your thoughts on Mickey Spillane. I think I recall a good word about him in one of your Dangerous Visions intros. Beyond Doyle I can't remember the last mystery writer I've ever bothered reading (NOT that there aren't good ones). But noir always entices me in any form and I'd meant to give Spillane a try now and then (and not judge him from the trashy movies made from his titles).

Looking at another name, I always thought I'd try out Fleming's Bond to see how much it differed from the movies (to give the series a fresh cycle, it might be interesting for the producers to actually go to the books and film them faithfully instead of repeating the tired formula so much; there's a lot of room there since Connery's movies lifted only Fleming's titles. It would probably also mean somewhat reinventing the character). Of course, I don't know how good a writer Ian Fleming really was.

S. Hancock <estoc@lycos.com>
- Friday, August 17 2001 21:38:36

Moby Dick. Oh dear.

The last three chapters and epilouge were brilliant, but getting there was a hassle. I've not read a more tedious book than MD. I think it's one of those books that are better suited for finding "symbolism" in it for your AP English classes than actually reading it for pleasure.

My memory is probably wrong, but to quote Mark Twain: "There are books you want to read, and books you have to read." Or something like that.

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 17 2001 21:23:37

Jim Davis:

William Lindsay Gresham was one of the greatest American writers of the 20th Century, and NIGHTMARE ALLEY is beyond classic. It is a novel so steeped in emotion, written with such burning passion, and so remorseless in its destiny, that I challenge ANYONE to read it and not be swept into its vortex.

THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE was one of those astonishing debut novels that marks its author as a "must-read" for decades thereafter. Made a not-too-terrific Mitchum movie of it, but the novel stands unbesmirched in the pantheon of smart, street wise fiction as descended from James M. Cain, Erskine Caldwell, Irving Schulman, Cornell Woolrich, Peter Rabe, David Goodis. How much a loss, that Higgins passed away not that long ago, untimely.

Yr. pal, Harlan.

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 17 2001 21:13:19

Alex Jay: Just because I was trying to be emblematic, judicious and brief, does not mean I was downstepping more than a few of the writers on your addendum--though there are a number on said list I've read once or twice and no longer have any interest in reading--and a number I DID include--Kaminsky and McBain to name only two that you must have overlooked in my post--or ones who are personal, long-time friends--Block, Goulart, Ellroy, Dutch Leonard, Lansdale, Al Collins--who are just so familiar to me that I zazzed them under my radar . . . the point is, Sunny Jim, that I wasn't about to name every mystery/suspense writer I adore--from G.K. Chesterton to Doyle to Ellery Queen to my sadly-gone pal Jim Thompson to Dean Koontz to Edogawa Rampo--or to be anything like exhaustive; but only to provide a wide enough swath for Chris L. to find immediate succor and refuge away from writers I, in my hubris, think are beneath her notice. Geezus, must ALL of you overcompensate by the need to actualize YOUR erudition with feigned dumbstruckedness at the gaps in others' literary acumen? Why don't we just accept that with minor exceptions, everyone who hangs out here is well-read. We may not all be as widely encompassing as Loftus, who doesn't actually work for a living and has time to sit out in the sun on park benches in Lake Oswego, eating white peaches and declaiming Schopenhauer to the groundling passersby, but there are no dummies among you. Even if you didn't know the Frank McAuliffe books.

Amy: if by "ragalach" you mean what my mother (and Brown's Victory Bakery) called "rugalah," I'm your boy. Cinnamon-walnut, fer shur. But the raspberry sounds swell, too. Not to mention the apricot, which I only love. Or the...

Ready to masticate, momma, I remain, yr. pal, Harlan

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, PA - Friday, August 17 2001 21:8:38

Are you talking good or great restaurant?

If you're looking for an expensive gourmet experience at a 4 star restaurant, the best meal I've ever had is at a place in Atlanta called Canoe.

In the interest of disclosure, my very dearest friend is a sou-chef there but I kid you not - this is great food!

If you want recommendations for more mid-scale choices, I can ask my buddy what else he likes in the area - he knows just about every restaurant in town.

Bill Dennis <wjdennis@rmi.net>
Salt Bribe City, UT USA - Friday, August 17 2001 20:36:55

CORTORT: Butler's "Parable of the Talents" won the Nebula in 1998 and is a good read. I've also always been partial to her "Wild Seed" -- Billy D.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 17 2001 20:14:55

Yeah, massive lists can get numbing sometimes, so I'll keep this short and sweet. Three of my favorite crime/suspense novels are: A JUDGEMENT IN STONE by Ruth Rendall, NIGHTMARE ALLEY by William Lindsay Gresham, and THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE by George V. Higgins. Anybody read these?

cortort <ooo00ooo00oo@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 17 2001 20:3:42

HEy read Parable of the Sower thanks to the rec in Again Dangerous Visions. Its funny how they always pick LA to have the most messed up apocolyptic test societies. What should I read next by her??
Hey Ellisons, you ever give tours of your house for tourists??
I read about how it looked a long time ago and have wanted to visit ever since. I'm going to LA soon.
Here is my website you can check out to see I am not a maniac or whatever.
Don't go to it on Saturdays you won't get anywhere.
And on Thurdays it might crash your browser.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Friday, August 17 2001 19:57:48


I'm staying at the Hyatt for Dragon*Con (my first, by the way). I'll check with my Atlanta connections as to what is a good restaurant in the area.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, August 17 2001 19:30:55

Geez, Alex, how do you expect us to choose something to read, and not have our eyes glaze over, when you throw a hefty list at us with no differentiation?

You guys read a lot of genre stuff, which I don't. I've heard of most of the people you cite, but I regularly read only Ellison and Bradbury on the one hand, and Ellroy and Elizabeth George on another. Haven't seen anyone mention Elizabeth George, an American who writes elegant, complicated British plots. Not that I insist on elegance, by any means -- I adore Ellroy, after all.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
somewhere near Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ - Friday, August 17 2001 18:50:22

Busy day, brief comments- I get to see my tax dollars at work every day. Every hour. Every ten frickin' minutes, whenever an aircraft takes off from Davis-Monthan AFB, and the sound of freedom roars overhead. As the aircraft ascend, be they C130s or F16s or F15s or A10s (most common), they go right over my apartment. And when I say "right over my apartment," I don't mean, "Goshy jeepers, those puppies SOUND like they're right over my head!" I actually mean, "If one of those babies gets hit with a rocket or decides to pirouette out of the friendly skies right about now, I shall have a revolutionary new fuselage backpack at my disposal for the rest of eternity." So I know how it is.


- Friday, August 17 2001 18:47:4

Once again, regarding Dragon*Con--YES, I want to meet you people, and I've got a tape for Joseph, and dinner would be great, BUT...I don't know many restaurants in Atlanta. The one I wanted to visit is gone. So unless anyone attending has any specific suggestions, I figure we can just hook up at the con and work out the details from there. I am NOT staying in an official hotel (I prefer to avoid the oh-so-long lines for the elevators); I'll be in the Wyndham on Spring Street. We're driving in, so there's a back seat available for anyone who might need a ride to wherever we decide to go.


I've always wanted to make palacsinta for you (I only make it for people who are *S*P*E*C*I*A*L* to me 'cause it takes forever to get through even a couple cups of batter), but since I won't have a kitchen in Atlanta...how'd you like some ragalach? I'm a fourth generation baker with a WHOLE lot of practice. Apricot, raspberry, cinnamon-walnut...your choice. Interested?

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, August 17 2001 18:40:16


You're correct that Carol Higgins Clark is not bad.

She's excruciatingly bad.

Just my opinion,

Alewx Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Friday, August 17 2001 18:19:33

HARLAN: Yes--but can you COOK?

My feelings on food:
It's a good thing.
To eat, to smell, to cook, to sell. I am simultaneously gourmet and gourmand ("'Gourmand' is French for 'big fat pig.'"--translation by my girlfriend)--I can thrill to a well-made version of Madame Chiang's Chicken Roulades as well as a steamed beef roll from a dimsum stand; to dinner at Le Bec-Fin as well as a stop-in at Burger King.
The finest hand-ground coffee draws me in with its scintillating smell--but so does oil-slicked diner swill.

And nothing is more fun than cooking something intricate like Vermouth-Sauced Egg Batter-Crusted Medallions of Bacon-Wrapped Veal, or something simple like Rum-and-Coke Chicken--or even Knockwurst and Baked Beans!

It's all good.

(And I am SO glad to hear that someone else here loves the mystery and mouth-watering appeal of scrapple ... Sure, Barney probably likes it, but he's from Scrappleville in Amishland anyway ...)

HARLAN AGAIN: What; no Robert B. Parker, Kinky Friedman, Gillian Roberts, Joe R. Lansdale, Jill Churchill, Jonathan Gash, Sandra Scoppetone, Claude Evers, Laurence Shames, Max Allan Collins, Faye Kellerman, Tony Hillerman, Lewis Shiner, Bill Pronzini, Dorothy Sayers, Ron Goulart, Peter J. Heck, Thomas Perry, Walter Mosley, Robert Campblell, Andrew Vachss, Elmore Leonard, Charles Willeford, Fred Willard, Jim Thompson, Stuart Kaminsky, Joe Gores--and the McMacs, of which you named only one: McBain, Sharyn McCrumb, Gregory Mcdonald, Ross MacDonald, and (all rise) JOHN D. MACDONALD.
Also, you left out one YOU'VE praised to the heavens--James Ellroy.
And lastly, my FAVORITE mystery/thriller writer; the only person I can think of who does it better than Westlake (although they're good friends and would never try to lord it over the other): LAWRENCE BLOCK.

And as I'm not looking at my bookshelves right now, I'm sure to be missing some.

(Note: Mary Higgins Clark's daughter, Carol Higgins Clark, has just started writing mysteries, and is rumored to be not bad.)

Hey--thinking of books, I have to wonder: Howe fast do you all read? Me, I'm about a book a aday, but that's alongside things like work, chores, writing, exercise, internet ...

Rick Wyatt
- Friday, August 17 2001 18:16:42

FYI - I've Harlan's first eight commentaries from WORKING WITHOUT A NET in .asf format - 79.7MB total. I couldn't get them to display on my browser so I had to download them locally. Should the requisite permissions be given, I'd be happy to make them available. If I get permission and someone wants to convert them to realaudio format (although we don't have a RealServer we could still serve them up as .rm files), I'll make that available as well.

I've also got some audiovideo clips of Harlan from his darkcarnival.com interview - I've been serving them locally for that website for several years. I just got permission to make them available via my website. I'll take care of that this weekend. I've been doing this little thing called "working enough to not go to jail for tax evasion" lately, but I do have time to do you that small favor.

As for SCI-FI BUZZ - I have permission to archive the text of the commentaries here - the archive is at http://harlanellison.com/buzz/ and includes the buzzes that were displayed on the Sci-Fi Channel's website as well as 7 visitor-submitted commentaries. If anyone else wants to have a go at transcribing some more, I'll be happy to put them up. I also have permission to display a video/audio and audio only file of Harlan reading his short story "Susan" on Sci-Fi buzz, if anyone cares to create a digital video and audio file of this again I'd love to put it up.

Ball's in your court, faithful Webderland visitors! Let the digitizing and transcribing begin!

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Friday, August 17 2001 17:59:28

Harlan: Thank you. I will include a short note when I mail the check for "Sleepless..."

Oh, and FANTASTIC to see you pushing Westlake. God I love his books. Ditto Robert Crais. May I add two more to the list? Ross Macdonald and Lawrence Block. Great stuff.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, August 17 2001 17:56:32


My mother, interestingly, turned me on to Lynda S. Robinson. Wonderful stuff. She also turned me on to Lindsey Davis and her wonderful series of novels starring Marcus Didius Falco, investigator for Emperor Vespasian. I make an annual gift to her of the latest Davis novel, since they come out a year earlier in Britain (god bless overseas Internet ordering). While the whole "investigator in the past" genre has become a bit of a cliche, I'll stick by those two and Ellis Peters' Brotehr Cadfael novels.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 17 2001 17:50:15

John Grisham is okay in my book. I've been reading him since _A Time To Kill_, and I think the last thing I read was _The Brethren_. The latter is not in the same category as _The Firm_, admittedly, but at least I have something to talk about to my folks when I go home to visit. _The Street Lawyer_ and _The Client_ are probably my two favorite stories, while _The Firm_ is perhaps the best of his that I've read. Legal thrillers, another guilty pleasure.

Loftus~ Reading the Keyes book. It's great. It isn't helping one little bit, but it is a good book. Thanks again for the suggestion.


Susan Ellison
- Friday, August 17 2001 17:47:18

Dear Darryl L.: I've reserved you a copy of SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.

All best--Susan

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 17 2001 17:40:55

Chris L.:

You didn't hear it from me, and I'll deny to the grave that I ever said it, but . . .

Don't waste your time with Mary Higgins Clark. There are too many excellent mystery&suspense writers you haven't gotten to yet. Loren Estleman, Julie Smith, Robert Crais, Diane K. Shah(as herself or aka Sarah Shankman), Michael Ledwidge, Emma Lathen, Stuart M. Kaminsky, Karen Kijewski, Ed McBain, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, Lynda S. Robinson's brilliant mysteries featuring Lord Meren, the "private eyes and ears" of the young Pharoah Tutankhamun), David Morrell, Joe L. Hensley, Harold Adams (everything up till the last three), Gar Anthony Haywood, Martin Cruz Smith (particularly the original paperbacks he wrote in "The Inquisitor" series, back before he hit big with NIGHTWINGS and GORKY PARK, written under the pseudonym "Simon Quinn," which--if you can chase them down in a used bookstore or on the internet--are knockouts), Frank McCauliffe's three or four brilliant novels (particularly the mind-blowing OF ALL THE BLOODY CHEEK and A RATHER VICIOUS GENTLEMAN...staggeringly original and memorable), Michael Collins (in reality Dennis Lynds), Thomas Perry's THE BUTCHER BOY, Gary Phillips's THE JOOK, Les Roberts, the two Daniel Stashower novels featuring Houdini as detective, Lindsey Davis, John Lescroart, Kate Wilhelm, James Lee Burke . . . I founder . . . my shelves groan under the weight of these and dozens more who ply the mystery trade with panache and elan and grace, who do not club the genre and the form and the tropes and the language like a venal Hokkaido fisherman bludgeoning baby seals.

I did not tell you this, never spoke such a mean thing, but why waste your time on the bogus V.C. Andrewses and Harold Robbinses and Elliot Roosevelts of fiction (who were obstinately awful when they were actually alive and writing the crap themselves, denatured and transhackneyed by the "ghosts" who write them now under a sharecropping franchise, for a tawdy dollar), not to mention the wholly ghostwritten Shatner-style celebrity throwaways valuable only in that they keep food on the table for writers who ought to be out tilling their own fields, but who cannot, for any number of unfair commercial reasons. Mary Higgins Clark, and John Grisham, and Tom Clancy, and many another horn-tooted link of sausage in a publisher's meatmarket, is simply not good enough--in a world where Westlake rules--to fritter away your time with.

Try Lynda S.Robinson--start with MURDER IN THE PLACE OF ANUBIS if you can--and I think you will thank me for touting you off the, at best, mediocre. So many books, so much wealth, such short lives. The shadow moves around the dial, and no one escapes gravity or entropy: why waste a pecious drop of nectar on the sere and pallid?

Yr, pal, Harlan.

Darryl <darryl_lawrence@hotmail.com>
Bay Area, CA - Friday, August 17 2001 17:32:21


Are there any more copies of Sleepless left? I came into a bit o' dough (why do we use o' when it's not part of an Irish name? It takes up the same amount of space as of???) and would like to purchase one. I have the signed and numbered one, but don't want to get it soiled, and loaned my other one to an ex-friend. Thanks.

Re: talking about food. One of my Jewish friends made me an honorary Jew, because I talk about other great meals I have eaten, while eating a great meal. I am passionate about food, and enjoy little more than chopping, grinding, basting, roasting, grilling, etc. I recently chopped off the tip of a finger making jambalaya, went to the hospital for repair, and came back to finish the dish. Did you know that if you chop off less than the first joint of a finger, it simply grows back?

To answer the inevitable question, yes, we did find the finger-piece, and no, it didn't make it into the jambalaya.

- Friday, August 17 2001 16:58:8

Harlan - you know just what to say to a girl to make her weak in the knees! ;-) Okay, so it was addressed to Heather, but just bein' in earshot made me woosy.

P.S. - I recall the quote, thanks for the source.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, August 17 2001 16:58:2

Susan and Harlan: The package is in the mail. Don't worry about squaring accounts; when I said my wallet was empty, that was only literally and limitedly true, and the context was that our car is in the shop so my mobility today (specifically, to get to an ATM) was severely circumscribed. But I managed.

Chris L wrote: "I also just finished reading Moby Dick. You know, it ain't half bad." Yeah, Chris, but what about the other half?

Chris also talked about "best of" lists and the mention of something called a "writer" on the "Best Years of Our Lives" DVD. That was clearly some kind of error, and the film-vid companies will make sure it never happens again. Seriously, "best of" lists are cool IF they spark some detailed discussion of their contents. And they help push one's curiousity/interest closer to the critical mass needed to get up and investigate: I don't usually check out a film or book after hearing just one mention of it, but if it keeps popping up from disparate sources, I'm more likely to make a move.

Lynn asked: "And all I wanna know is, is there *anywhere* HE *hasn't* been published?!" Sure! The Norton Anthology of Modern Romance Novels, and the Oxford Book of Sword and Sorcery Fantasy. (Wait a minute, there hasn't BEEN ... oh, never mind.)

After HE's recitation of disparate gustatory experiences ("Alimentary, my dear Watson"), my own outstanding dining memories -- pigeon pie in Fez, Morocco; gazelle meat in Bissau; purple sweet potato ice cream in Okinawa, a mystery meat in Estonia which I concluded was "chicken-fried grease" -- seem distinctly quotidian.

And ... after the fuss I made about not getting involved in the vegetarian/hunting thread, I have to share this passage I read over my lunch hour in Calvino's delightful _The Baron in the Trees_: "That wish to enter into an elusive element which had urged my brother into the trees, was still now working inside him unsatisfied, making him long for a more intimate link, a relationship which would bind him to each leaf and twig and feather and flutter. It was the love which the hunter has for living things, and which he can only express by aiming his gun at them...."

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Chris L, - Friday, August 17 2001 15:36:19

Are there any Mary Higgins Clark fans here? I just read my first Clark book and I thought it was really, really bad but I do not wish to dismiss someone whose writing I might enjoy immensely merely because I chose one of her lesser works. I would appreciate any specific title suggestions so I can get a good idea whether I like her or not.

I also just finished reading Moby Dick. You know, it ain't half bad.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Friday, August 17 2001 15:32:29


"Best of" lists are just opinions but are not entirely without their uses.

Harlan mentioned the "Best of" screenplays list that came out a few weeks ago. I had seen everything on the list of "Best" or "Most Underrated" except for one film, _The Best Years of Our Lives_. That was as good an excuse as any to go out and rent the darn thing.

And you know what? They used to make some pretty good movies back in the old days? It's a fine film and certainly did the Academy much prouder as a Best Picture pick than Gladiator did last year.

Perhaps the most interesting thing on the DVD though was the trailer. After the usual bombast ("Greatest Love Story Of All-Time") and the mention of the stars of the film, what do the makers of the trailer feature as the next main selling point of the film? The reason you might want to rush to the theater and spend your hard-earned nickle which would have bought you a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs and a beach house down the Jersey shore back in the good old days?

Yeah, that's right, they mention the writer! And they even show an image of this real-live creature known as a writer sitting at a desk writing a thing called a screenplay. Furthermore, they admit it is this thing called a screenplay from which the director shot his film.

I could be wrong but I think it's been quite a while since I've seen the writer used as a main selling point for a film. Who cares who writes it as long as Ben Affleck or Heath Ledger is in it, right? (no slam meant to those two actors - just picking names out of a hat)

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
All the vampires walkin' through Valley move west down..., - Friday, August 17 2001 15:0:38

So I have this little website up, doing a fair turn of traffic, and I have some contributors that I lovingly call "my own," as if I didn't have to beg, borrow, steal or otherwise cajole them into writing stuff for me. So I'm at Jerry's Famous Deli just east of Coldwater, feeding one of "my own" and just generally catching up with her. Lilith is a my yiddish firecracker (whodathunkit, eh?). She is a paragon of beauty and poise, she has a wit to slice through diamonds with, and she's not afraid to say, "You know, I never knew that." A quality I've come to admire in people.

We've been working on this future noir thing for my site, kind of Johnny Mnemonic meets Dashiell Hammett, so she comes sauntering into Jerry's with this massive paperback tucked under her arm. We sit, we eat pickles, we ogle the waiters, we talk. Eventually we get around to the subject at hand. I tell her about my foray to Pink's. She taps the paperback, "The Mammoth Book of Pulp Fiction" if I recall correctly, and says, "Oh yeah, he's in here."

And all I wanna know is, is there *anywhere* HE *hasn't* been published?!

Just curious.

PS. If you're interested in reading Lilith Valentine's first installment of "Have Gams Will Travel," you can check it out at my site, http://www.digitalcarrion.com. And yes, this has been a blatant plug. If you're not embroiled in a vicious legal battle with a massive corporation, feel free to stop by. Otherwise, stay away!

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 17 2001 14:35:33

Susan: Thanks. I'll mail out the two checks tomorrow.

Joseph/Alejandro: I hears ya on the airstrip shows. It could be worse, however. You could have, oh, I don't know, SPENT THE FIRST FREAKIN' THREE YEARS OF YOUR LIFE LIVING RIGHT NEXT TO THE LANDING STRIPS OF DOVER AIR FORCE BASE.

Ahem, sorry, I didn't mean to yell. (face twitches uncontrollably)


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 17 2001 14:23:52

Ladies and Gendarmes, I bring you The Most Important Post I Will Write To The Webderland Message Board...EVER:

If you have not done so already, you mustmustmustmustmustmustmust see THE OTHERS. Run, do not walk, saunter, stroll, ambulate, take a constitutional, or otherwise perform any act that does not plant your ass with all due haste in the seat of your local cinemplex. I wanna see skid marks on the roads, people. I want you to put the car stunts in BULLITT, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, and TO LIVE AND DIE IN L.A. to utter shame. GO, I tells ya, GO.

Simply put, this film is a MARVEL. The writer/director, Alejandro Amenabar, has revived the Jamesian ghost story (Henry and M.R.) with style, intensity, and utter panache. The cinematography of Javier Aguirresarobe is stunning, with a painterly mastery of the use of natural and diffuse light (I don't recall a better depiction of English fog in film). The performance of Nicole Kidman, as the obsessively devoted mother, is pitch-perfect; with her porcelin beauty and icy poise, she evokes nothing less than Grace Kelley and the other classic film heroines of Hollywood's golden age.

In the nearly barren landscape of the modern horror film, THE OTHERS is an exquisite orchid. Don't let it wither and die, becoming mulch for the triffids of the summer blockbusters. Give to it, and it'll give to you. I promise.

Stepping down from the pulpit,

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 17 2001 14:20:40

Now to answer some of your queries:

Heather: the bakery that closed was Brown's Victory Bakery here in Los Angeles; actually, in the San Fernando Valley, right below us, a block east of Coldwater Canyon on Victory. It was the best bakery in Los Angeles, and one of the best in the country, for more than 40 years. I shopped there for at least 38 of those years. They closed because the ethnic character of the neighborhood changed so radically. I grieved, actually sat shiva for Brown's. But the good news is that Sheldon and his wife have reopened, a smaller venue, further west in the Valley. Just recently. And while it is less convenient to my sojourning, nonetheless, it is back, and I am happy. (If any of you are Angelenos, or semi- sorta- Angelenos, particularly ValleyFolk, simply ask and I'll post you the name, address and phone number of the new shop. But only if you think you'll be in the area.)

Heather, further: Do not mistake my ennui and faux-hysteria with the food postings here for a lack of interest in gustatory endeavors, my child. Apart from having been a restaurant critic and food essayist for going on forty years, you need only ask the garden-variety goddess, Susan, how many of the waking hours are spent in my discussing what or where we're going to eat that day. Gardens of Taxco? Taj Mahal? Blue Pyramid? Picanha? Carousel? Middle Eastern? Brazilian churrascaria? Eclectic Cucina? Deli? Italian, Tex-Mex, Hunan, Schechuan, Mandarin, sloppy joes?

You want to talk food? What food? Are we talking the saku sui mai they prepare specially for me at the best Thai restaurant on the West Coast, the Sumpun? Are we talking about the Amish country, Pennsylvania-style scrapple I have overnight-shipped from the Lehigh Valley? Are we talking comparison of the veal parmigiana as made to my specifics at Dan Tana's or Mario's
(and which boite uses a more precise measure of heavy cream in the side-dish of marinara)? Is it the quaahogs in Boston or the shrimp po' boys at Guy's in N'walins or the escargots in burgundy at Maxim's in Paris or the carmelized walnut potato pancakes at Uriah's in Stockholm or the bbq I used to get at Red Bryan's Pit outside College Station, Texas? Or do you want me to talk about having eaten at great restaurants no longer extant, like Ciro's, Rincon Argentino, The Nickodell, Canlis, Almentasser, The Ponchartrain Wine Cellars, The Forum of the Twelve Caesars, Youseff's, The Witchburners, Three Dolphin Inn, King of the Sea, Matto Grosso, El Palenque, or the thousands of others that have come and gone? Or how about great MOMENTS in dining, such as the night the head chef at The Chateaubriand in NYC came storming out of the kitchen with a large carving knife, to threaten me and Maurice Chevalier, w2ith whom I was dining in company with three supermodels, because I had gone out to a nearby deli to buy a family size bottle of Heinz ketchup, because the maitre d' wouldn't serve me any; or the night at the Top of the Sixes when my date, Eartha Kitt, flattened a waiter for spilling possibly two drops of soup on her; or the argument I had with William Friedkin in a charming restaurant in Versailles, as his then-wife, Jeanne Moreau, who was christening this new cafe, looked on in horror; or the night at Chasen's when I wound up having to take an inebriated Rita Hayworth back to her cabana at the Beverly Hills Hotel, and put her to sleep before she hurt herself, and went back to Chasen's for my zabaglione; or the night at the Brazilian embassy here in Los Angeles (actually they'd borrowed the mansion belonging to the Spanish Embassy) during which banquet I dumped a sterling silver tureen of applesauce over my head; or how about . . .

Well, you get the idea.

I am all about food. Twenty pounds too heavily all about food.
What the hell do you think brought on the need for a quadruple bypass, Heather? I could talk about food, and eating, and cooking, and recipes, and restaurants, and memorable events while eating in restaurants till everyone on this board, including you, went shrieking out into the hurricane.

Do not, I urge you, loquacious lady, challenge me to a culinary conversation. I will bury you in spaetzle! I will slather you in huancaina sauce! I will terrify you with paens of praise for blood sausage, black sausage and black pudding! I will obscure you with obscurantist delicacies from a hundred nations. I was a fuckin' GOURMET REPORTER for decades, woman! Who the phuque you think you frontin' here, some puss-A? Step off, bitch!

Now, in a calmer tone, for Peg: pursuant to YOUR puissant philosophical ruminations re: fodstuffs, here is a quote of which I am quite fond:

From the Asian-American novelist Lin Yutang: "What is patriotism but the food we ate as a child?"

Bob Sassone: just tell me how you want it personalized when you send the check in, bearing in mind I am not teribly creative when signing books.

Matt: yeah, we ought to get those Galaxy.Com "Working Without a Net" commentaries out there. Well, patience. The same for all the Sci-Fi Buzz commentaries. We'll do it...someday rather sooner than later...but not right now. Right now I'm up to my ass in getting this AOL/RemarQ lawsuit moved along, gawd help me.

Cheerily, yr. pal, Harlan.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 17 2001 14:18:9


I talks 'bout Dickens. I talks 'bout Poe. I talks 'bout th'history of publishing contracts n'copyright infringement. What'd I git in return? Lists of great, poisoning junk food favorites n' how beautiful the experience of shooting other life-forms is. MY threads went like dissolving suture.

Just a thought for your consideration.

Michael Hurley
- Friday, August 17 2001 14:14:19

My favorite HE titles have always been "Quiet Lies the Locust Tells" and "The Resurgence of Miss Ankle-Strap Wedgie."

one...last...note... on FOOD

It really boils down to calories in/calories out as long as you keep it balanced. Yes, too many carbs will play havoc with your blood sugar and cause a whole host of problems, but too much protein leads to over-intake of iron (heart problems), gout, gall and kidney stones, and, somewhat amusingly, decreased mental agility (50% of the energy used by the brain must come from carbohydrates).

Also, I don't want to bring up more tastelessness issues on this board, but please remember the Special Olympics metaphor for internet arguments.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 17 2001 14:1:50


Only YOU could have turned my eyes to imagery that never crystallized until now...that really WAS a crucifix they hoisted Kong up on!

A Nazarene allegory. An erotic beauty and beast allegory. A man encroaching on nature allegory. Its breadth was all right there before me and I'd never discerned it. I has SEEN the light...

I am truly a follower of Kong.

Alejandro Riera
Chicago, IL - Friday, August 17 2001 13:56:41

Hell, yeah, Brother Joseph. I nod my hear fiercely in sheer agreement and beseech you and all fellow Webderlanders to take pity on my poor Lincoln Park-er soul. The Chicago Air and Water Show is this weekend on Lake Michigan and I will have to put up with this booming mayhem all of Saturday and Sunday. Windows will rattle, china will break and my eardrums will snap.

Indeed, Them suburbanites knew what they were getting into when they moved close to O'Hare (news update: Daley and Governor Ryan are currently presenting plans for a possible expansion of O'Hare airport which is making them suburbanites scream bloody murder). Whereas I have to put up with this masturbatory celebration of our Armed Forces. Exciting as it may be for those who watch, the traffic jams and noise in my neighborhood are a pain in the tuckus. Which is why I am so lookking forward to moving to Andersonville when and if I finally meet my new landlord.

Rick Wyatt <rick@rickwyatt.com>
- Friday, August 17 2001 13:42:58

Okay, guys, I know you're enjoying yourself here, and I won't squelch that -- but I do want to mention that I think the following types of conversation on the Net are a complete waste of time:
(1) Debates everyone has already made up their mind on, like vegetarianism and abortion.
(2) "Best of" choices and lists regarding matters of pure opinion.

Both of these subjects are primarily useful for showing one's reason, erudition, and good taste. Both of these subjects are secondarily useful for practically nothing.

I don't mind when this type of conversation concerns something even marginally on-topic, like favorite books or HE stories. But conversations arguing meat bad!/meat good! or who makes the best gawddamm burger in North America, while interesting in small doses, should not be allowed to run on until they need an iron lung.

Besides which, everyone knows it's the english stilton cheeseburger at the Goose Island microbrewery in Chicago.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 17 2001 13:29:5


There IS an environmental link between our need to ingest meat in the distant past and our lesser need for it now. Once we NEEDED the fat; now, in most regions of the world, we don't. But we changed a necessity into an indulgence which spun out of control; now, it's more like an addiction. We get it from birth because it's literally pushed in our faces from birth. As with anything else like that it's difficult to imagine minimizing it from our lives. But its need is illusory - cultural - not REAL. Meat, depending on which type, is healthy taken very moderately (particularly for the aminos) but we don't need much. Eating a LOT of meat, according to doctors, not ME, leads to cardiovascular disease, various cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other illnesses. Meat, junk food, alcohol. Careful moderation is what's in order.

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, August 17 2001 13:23:8

Joseph J.,

You have my sympathy. I used to live a couple of miles away from Mira Mar N.A.S.. Day to day wasn't so bad, you learn to tune it out but...

Night time bounce practice (where they practice touch and go landings, with full after-freaking-burner) and carrier qualification practice, made life hell.

A couple of years later I moved to downtown San Diego (just a stones throw from the ZOO) and managed to live in the flight path of Lindbergh Field. Guess I'm a glutton for punishment. Now that I live in the 'burbs I've completely lost the ability to tune out the noises I got so used to hearing daily.

I guess what I'm trying to say is...

I feel your pain :)


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, August 17 2001 13:19:19


The bottom line of this declaration, first. So we know what I'm talking about, directly at the outset:

If you people are going to pay heedful attention to my comments, and persist in treating them with the discernible degree of seriousness heretofore manifested, I will simply have to stop talking to you.

Now. That established, permit me to congratulate those among your number who eschewed my adjuration to stop talking (please gawd) about food. You properly and rationally perceived my bleat of anguish as akin to Porky Pig throwing himself on the ground, pounding his widdle fists on the earth, and shrieking WHY ME?! It was clearly, to all but the hidebound and meek, a geshry (as we say in Yiddish) of "enough already," but not to be taken as anything even remotely like a stricture. Have YOU never seen your peanut-buttered bread spiraling toward the kitchen linoleum, turning heaviside-layer down, to plop with mucilage tenacity at (or on) your foot, and have YOU never let out a lacerated geshry like a Yiddish seagull, rending the very heavens with YAAAAARGGHHHHH, WHY ME, LAWD, WHY ME?!?!

Well, fellow tiddlywinkers, that's what my gardyloo was meant to be. (And, once again, demonstrates the tragic limitation of the Internet Posting, which is even less communicative than a mere typewritten message on a piece of paper, as the latter affords the added flexibility of height, breadth, width, tone, format and handwritten Crayola addenda that convey inflection, so one need not put (grin) or :)into the thought-stream.)

I repeat: I'm enamoured of those of you who smiled and went right on about your tiresome business. Yes, isn't he an amusing lad; now lie down and put a cold compress on your head, Harlan. As Loftus has pointed out, this board is a lot like television, in that the rational response to a tv show proffering content you find uninteresting or "pornographic" or "blasphemous," is to plunk your magic twanger and go elsewhere; not to see Satan in every dusty corner of popular culture, and to form Christian Pinheads Against Anyone Else Having Free Will and Adult Choice (CPAs AEHFWAC) (pronounced Aff-whack).

If you find a thread wearisome, fast scroll to something that DOES inveigle your imagination. Try not to rag on your playmates because of their tedious obsessions with, say, the diamond destinies of artificial nuclear families called cubs or indians or mariners or white and/or red hosiery. Eschew chewing on your dear pals for their adamant and adamantine posturing anent the slaughter of other life-forms. A little Christian charity here, mon freres. Let them speak freely to one another, let them abide in the false security that we are not out here, lurking, bypassing their smallest, endlessly self-absorbed seriocomic thoughts, while ridiculing them in private postings off somewhere someplace where they cannot find us. (Whoops!)

This is a free forum. Free, I say! Let it ring out proudly! FREE! And let no soul gainsay them ought. (Whatever the fuck THAT means.) And above all else, as the titular Spectre of this site, if you pay no attention to ANY aspect of our town meeting here, our sodality here, let it be me. Remember: King Kong Died For Your Sins.

More puissant than that, I cannot grok.

Humbly, ever so humbly, I remain, in purity of thought and deed, yr. pal and spiritual advisor, Anaxagoras H. Ellison

Matthew Davis
Redditch, UK - Friday, August 17 2001 13:17:27

"Working Without A Net" - I remember about a year or so ago the online version of Galaxy had videos of Harlan giving commentaries under this title. I remember one was a very affecting reminescence of a friend of his or had recently died. I went back and all I could find on the Galaxy site was a transcript of the first installment where Harlan discourses on PJFarmer and the Science Fiction Grandmaster award. Does anyone have copies of the others? Is there any possibility that transcripts of them might appear elsewhere?

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 17 2001 12:46:11

Susan~ My bad. Extend my apologies. Thanks again.

Joseph J. Finn
Loudsville, - Friday, August 17 2001 12:45:27

Okay, I'm going to vent for a second here...


Okay, better now...

Chicago Air & Water Show is this weekend. They're practicing today, and it's like living by a bombing range. Now, the residents around O'Hare can't complain (for the most part), because they moved into a suburb around an international airport. They knew what to expect. But why is my business day being disrupted by flyboys?

Now Nevada - that's where I'd like to see an air show. I want to see someone really open up on the throttle of one of those F-117A's.


- Friday, August 17 2001 12:14:59

Heather - hobby shows are everywhere here. Cooking shows are better in the States, though. Sounds like we could have fun in the kitchen - we have similar styles. "Hmmm, what do I have hanging around...?" My husband will attest to my occasional failures. And also my successes!

David - I'm glad someone else found the generation gap discussion missable.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, August 17 2001 12:11:52


Thanks for clearing up the whole radio show/tv show thing. T'was bugging me.


Amy and I hadn't decided on anything for Atlanta, though I believe she suggested Japanese. Any ideas?


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Friday, August 17 2001 12:9:40

Susan: Thank you! I'll send out a check. Side note: a signed copy - should I just throw a note in with the check to ask for that? And if you need anything extra, let me know...


Debbie <yerkesd@gwm.sc.edu>
Columbia, SC - Friday, August 17 2001 12:8:9

(Delurking for a moment)
Amy and Joseph, I will also be at Dragoncon and would like to come to any Webderland get-together. Have you decided on a time or date yet? Looking forward to it!

Debbie (going back into lurkdom)

Susan Ellison
- Friday, August 17 2001 11:57:46

Bob Sassone: Will reserve a copy of SLEEPLESS NIGHTS FOR YOU. $35.00 (including postage). Check payable to: THE KILIMANJARO CORPORATION, Box 55548, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413. Many thanks.

Lynn: The story is "Where I SHALL Dwell in the Next World" not "SHALL I".

Lynn #2: HE has THE SHADOWS. Thank you.

David Loftus: We will happily reimburse you the postage. No problem. HE has finished "Goodbye To All That". It will be published soon. Will let you all know when the time draws near.

Joseph: Yes, it was a very popular radio show, and HE loved it.

Peter Janes: You can write to the HERC address. I'm the only one who opens the mail.

I think that's about it. Toodles. SE

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Friday, August 17 2001 11:54:52


There isn't a doubt in the world junk food is bad for you.

All the pre-packaged processed food snad sugar-loaded snacks are making us fat and giving us hear disease.

The mistake many of our nutritionists - who deserve as much credibility as astrologer and phrenologists - make is in clinging to their troglodyte notions about fat and calories and ignoring the overwhelming importance of carbohydrate intake in health and weight issues.

These bastard nutritionists have killed generations of obese people - obesity being a symptom of the disease we have - by condemning them to a life of counting calories and avoiding fat, all the while gleefully allowing them to pound down carbohydrates at will, the very thing which most exacerbates their disease.

The evidence for this is overwhelming. Atkins gets a bad rap because his diet is so extreme but, fact is, he was right. Absolutely right. He just came up with his ideas about 15 years before the experimental evidence was there to support him.

As long as people think in terms of calories and fat, they will continue to get fatter and fatter and sicker and sicker.

In the very quote you gave, they say obesity has become a greater problem in the last decade. It has. Yet meat and fat consumption has DECREASED in the last decade as many more Americans listen to their so-called doctors and fret about their health and eat their sugar-bomb yogurts and starch-laden baked potatoes and low-fat ice cream and just get fatter and fatter.

I've lived this. I know. Once I understood the role of sugar and starch and carbohydrates in the human body and cut them out of my diet while eating more protein and leafy vegetables, I lost 100 pounds in the space of 8 months. All while eating plenty on a daily basis. My cholesterol and triglycerides plummetted from dangerously high levels to dead center of the normal ranges.

More doctors are catching on to the reality dictated by the overwhelming evidence that has mounted in the last 15 years but the AMA's official stance is still to stick its head in the sand and cling to badly outdated, thoroughly discredited tactics and thereby betraying millions of Americans who could so easily be helped if they just had the right information - information that is readily available and unimpeachable.

In a few more decades, even the stubborn old-school nutritionists will have no choice but to deal with facts and not superstition. But until then, a lot of people will continue to be obese and die because they've been inundated with this low-cal, low-fat superstition.

And while I am sure you will find it irresistible to get in the last word, I've said my peace on the subject on this board.

- Friday, August 17 2001 11:50:23


I'd like to qualify you comment about food habits being established as kids. It doesn't just depend on family eating patterns, although that can influece it. Point of fact - fat, sugar, salt, are to a certain extent natural "addictions" for lack of a better word.

My mom's a dietician. Until the age of 5, we didn't eat cookies, candy, or ice cream. We thought crackers were cookies, apples were candy. Then my grandmother came for a visit, and introduced us to all these lovelies. And there was no turning back, no matter how hard Mom tried. (Boy was she pissed!).

Even so, I still ate very healthy at home - low fat, low salt, always had salad and veggies at dinner, etc. But from the day I left home it went downhill. To a large extent that's personal discipline and choices. As Lynn suggests, if you are raised vegetarian for a long enough period your body may not be able to handle meat, dairy, etc., and therefore avoids the natural cravings. However, in general the human body craves fat, salt, sugar, etc.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 11:41:25

David Loftus:

Hon, sweetness, LIFE is boring and people and conversations are the glue that hold it together. Kiss.

Boring subject? HEY! IDEA! Change it! Start a NEW one. *grin*

Heather, the monkey on your back and you know who YOU are.

Susan Ellison
- Friday, August 17 2001 11:39:21

Jim Davis:

Re-up for HERC is $16 for 2 years; $10 for one year. Check payable to: THE HARLAN ELLISON RECORDING COLLECTION (PO Box 55548 / Sherman Oaks, California 91413). SLEEPLESS NIGHTS, $35 including postage, check payable to THE KILIMANJARO CORPORATION.

Thank you. Susan. (A garden-variety goddess.)

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 11:29:38

To lowbrow Peg:

Ditto on the creation of food. What other hobby/passion/avocation is there where you can eat your mistakes?

And _I_ enjoy making mistakes when I cook. (I'm a slap/dash cook: 'throw it in the pot, it might taste good') I have to restrain myself when I bake though; it's more of an exact science and I've made the "rock-like" cookies to prove that.

I haven't watched televison for a while. Are all these hobby-type shows still painting the airwaves? (ie. cooking, building houses, fixing toilet tanks)


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, August 17 2001 11:28:7

Harlan and Susan: I was intending to get the packet in the mail today, despite having many other errands and tasks, and currently possessing NO cash in my billfold. Will post another note at day's end to let you know if I succeeded.

Heavy D: Don't forget _Working Without A Net_, which, though not the most scintillating title in itself, certainly mesmerizes with its expected content. You mentioned an unfinished HE story entitled "Goodbye To All That." Be advised the title has a history; it is most famously the name of a memoir by Robert Graves (best known for _I, Claudius_ and _Claudius the God_) about his experiences and disillusionment in World War I -- which I have not read -- as well as a radical feminist essay by Robin Morgan circa 1969 -- which I have.

I have not participated in the hunting/vegetarianism thread OR the are-the-kids-today-worse-than-those-in-the-past-and-if-so-why? thread because I find them boring.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 11:19:41

Never mind Rob's baited breath; he has a minty fresh one too, dig? Just like the man h'sself, no?

Rob, I worked briefly in a Tim Horton's donut shop. I've never eaten much at that place -- I used to buy the 20 piece Timbits (like a donut hole) for $2. I went off full-sized donuts years ago. Although, you can BET I was sampling a few while I was there. (Most food is free for staff.) There are some flavors of donut I have NEVER tried.

Question: Do they still have Amy Joy donut shops in the States? Sigh. They had some interesting varieties there.

Tim Hortons also had a large range of bagels and muffins--the muffins were surprising good. Places like Horny Tim's ARE trying.

I was AMAZED at the coffee consumption. (Don't drink coffee. Don't like that flavour--poor me.) People would stop by two and three times a day for huge cups of coffee. Yikes. Y'all are RIGHT about the caffeine monkey. He's out there and HE'S MEAN.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 11:4:57

Peter Janes/Lynne:

"The name is Bond. JAMES Bond." Correctomundo.

I have a CD with assorted Bond soundtrack cuts. This one has a lot of the vocalists. Shirley Bassey used to blow me away. Sheena Easton was a firey, (is that a word? Hmm..) powerful voice in the dark. (I loved that Bond piece of hers, "For Your Eyes Only".) And I think because I adored the book and then saw the movie, Louis Armstrong's "We have all the time in the World" (from "On her Majesty's Service Service") brings a tear to my eye whenever I hear it.

Didn't read too many Bonds after Ian Fleming's. I think I tried one and felt a tad uncomfortable with them trying to make him santitized or politically correct by changing his smoking and other "hardcore Bondian" traits.

Man, I wanted to be Bond. I loved those novels. ("lying together like two spoons." I think that was the phrase.)

A digression (We are legion *grin*) Anyone remember "The Stunt Man" with Peter O'Toole and Steven Railsback? Harlan, is that a real representation of a film crew, actors, directors, etc.? I was into theatre as a teen. It seemed pretty reasonable, due to my own experiences.

H, meandering...

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 10:37:38

Oh, yes. I forgot.

Someone mentioned landfills of plastic shoes.

We should come up with a clone -- animal or otherwise -- that eats plastic shoes. Imagine that being a condition of a teenager buying twenty pairs of shoes (I have one pair of sneakers. I never understood the fascination with hordes of shoes.) that, "you BUY it but when it's old, you gotta EAT it." Interesting incentive, don't you think?

You're right, Lynn, meat is a habit from birth. So is eating potato chips -- it sometimes simply depends on your family's eating patterns. So hey, we have families teaching kids to be prejudice -- I remember some talk show where the four and five year-olds hated Jews and blacks. OY! -- how about teaching some of them to eat plastic shoes or McDonald burger wrappers?

Actually, I remember as a kid being given a candy with a rice paper wrapper you could eat. I thought that was kinda cool.

Oh, and if any of you have any plans to create "garbage" food for me, I prefer strawberry flavoured. Thanks.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 10:22:43

Michael Hurley:

Just bouncing off your comments, put me in mind of this:

Just because you can't see the food's eyes, or imagine its screams while you kill it, shouldn't be a parameter for not eating it. Hang on, I agree with your and all the other's point on the meat issue; it's just that, we go on and on and on about animals -- poor, dumb things, blah, blah, blah; but seriously, SERIOUSLY, is sowing wheat any different?

Off topic. Crazy, maybe. Maybe it also puts a different perspective on all this animal concern. It's become one of those politically correct concerns. (Oh, I KNOW it happens, I do not like the idea of killing animals for food, but I live in the real world; it DOES happens.)

Is planting a rose, pansy, nasturtium or chive, only to rip its tiny head off and throw it in the salad, any different from milking a cow with a cleaver? I'm sounding funny here. I'm not trying to. Heavy-duty arguments can sometimes be so much a matter of semantics. I've had those kinds, they are frustrating.

Heather, breaking "outside of the box" a bit here

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Drowsy capitulation., - Friday, August 17 2001 10:8:33

Rob~ Nice research. Um, I don't think tho' that I ever asserted that junk food wasn't bad for us. I said I *liked* it, but I never said it wasn't bad for us. If I did infer that, I apologize. So we're on the same team on that one.

Off to find the shower and make my way across the Valley to work. But it's Friday! And there was much rejoicing!

Yours in commuter woes,

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 9:54:28

Actually, let's try this. (Yes, I know it's food-related. Since WHEN did I ever listen to flying, muddy curs? *smile*)

Top ten restaurants. Name yours and give some indication as to why. It's not like I was drooling over cow talk or fry facts but might over fancy restaurants.

Harlan, you mentioned that bakery that closed. Where did the customers go--to a franchise bake shop?

Corporations and monopolies disturb me, no matter WHAT the industry. I'm getting a 'taste' of the McDonald's corporation and it's not a very positive one.

Also, in your city (town, wherever)..is the franchise overTAKING the fancy restaurant? We have a good quantity of fancy restaurants in Winnipeg but drive down any main street; it's the FRANCHISES you see all over the place.

Is the idea of the "food industry" becoming one big damn franchise, a good idea? I remember talking to one bloke in a non-franchised two store operation -- he couldn't WAIT to turn his business into a franchise.

The main thing that worries me is food selection becoming limited (ie. nothing but McBurgers) AND the fact that generally franchises are manned by minimum wage part-time students and owners with no real food experience, just an extra 125 grand to blow on a business.

Thoughts? Digressions? Mayonnaise?


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.c>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 9:34:55


No more food conversations?


Let's discuss the ethical structure of the universe.

YOU start. And your first issue IS...?


- Friday, August 17 2001 5:44:11


That quote should read...

"Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony"

bad memory, bad memory. Must be all that wine and junk food.

- Friday, August 17 2001 5:42:59

*aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrggghh*! Stab me and pour salt in the wound. AFTER I've already learned that I won't be able to go to SoCal at the end of Sept, I find out Harlan will be speaking within a whopping 20 minute drive from where I woulda been (and not far from my alma mater Cal Poly).

My husband is going (it's for his dad's wedding) so maybe I'll send him along with a picture of me and Harlan can pretend to meet me. (FYI - I'm not going because I've used near all of my vacation time already. I was trying to swing the trip in combo with some training, but we've since been informed that due to cost control measures - no more training until next year. Husband self-employed, no such issues with time off!)

"Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of humor"

Rob - Uh, don't take this the wrong way, but you need to calm down on the junk food front. Personally, I was in no way trying to advocate that junk food was good for us, or wasn't one of the nutrionary causes of poor health in the US. Nor, if I recall, did anyone actually suggest eating MORE junk food or having it replace the latest foodie trend. That we sing the glories of a well made fry doesn't mean that it's all our diet consists of.

In general - apologies if the subject of food bores some of you. Not me. For some people, creating an exquisite dish or meal - yea, even the lowly french fry - is as artistic or cultural as writing or painting or music and involves their muse, energy, practice, and pain just as do other artistic forms. It just that we can eat their art! I love food, love to eat it, love to talk about it. It's one of my favorite things. [So is wine, which I drink for the taste and not the buzz. I have tried some non-acolohic wine, it was crap. When they make an unleaded wine that tastes as good as the leaded, I'll switch.]

So I'm lowbrow, sue me.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, August 17 2001 4:8:49


By the by, your clue for Mr. Cronkite's quote was that it was from an old-time radio show. Were you mistaken, or was there an earlier verion of that show that was broadcast on the radio? I only know the CBS television show, myself.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 17 2001 3:22:32

Lynn (and for those of you who think junk food is IN),

I’m moving on from the hunting issue; THAT is a matter I don’t NEED to research.

BUT, following my other recent comments, for some reason you believe I need to do and submit research to support a premise which is clear and corroborated...the knock-out revelation that junk food is extremely bad for us. Whatever frivolous minutia you’re trying to challenge me on, the nation’s poor health attributed to over-eating, and particularly to junk food, by now is well-known. It is considered an EPIDEMIC. You don’t need to force the comparisons with other nations to understand that’s as bad as it needs to be. Junk food OCCASIONALLY is fine; but I cut down on it substantially myself some time ago (as WELL as meat, incidentally) to maintain a good regimen. I need to keep in shape. So, I did my own research in the distant past. However, here's a couple of sources to bolster my point (to anyone else who wants to kid him/her self, do your own research):

Experts in the University of Michigan Health System
"are calling the trend toward a more obese society an epidemic. They're urging people to exercise more, eat smaller portions, be cautious with low carbohydrate diets and to be aware of their body mass index, the best measurement for obesity.'We have a national epidemic in obesity,' says Diane Howlin, M.D., F.A.C.P, assistant professor of internal medicine in the U-M Health System. 'In fact, within the last decade, the obesity rate has risen roughly 50 percent in the United States'."

"...it is the Coca Cola, Pepsi, large pizza with extra cheese, Supersize for 39 cents, Lays potato chips, McDonalds, KFC, Burger King, etc that grips the nation in fat. Did you know that 95% of elementary school kids in the United States FAILED the minimum presidential fitness standards??? We are in serious trouble here people. America is the fattest country in the world. Countries like UK and Argentina may consume more beef per capita, but at least they play sports like soccer to burn it off, unlike lazy Americans".

Try to fire off anything to the contrary and you’re just fooling yourselves.

BTW, Lynn, don't let this horn-clashing make you shy away from me; I'd still like to meet some of you at some point when we see Harlan again.

Peter Janes <webderland@peterjanes.homeip.net>
London, ON Canada - Friday, August 17 2001 1:8:41

SUSAN: Sleepless Nights arrived in pristine condition today, thanks. Would like to e-mail you directly for a related, time-sensitive, but preferably off-board, request; via a third party would be OK. (Yes, the e-mail address above is valid; it's my trivial way to avoid spammers that scan websites for addresses.)

HEATHER/LYNN: Of course that's Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang... I'm ashamed for not getting it sooner. (Can anyone think of a worse title for a movie and/or theme song, "Attack of the Clones" notwithstanding?)

Peter J.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Paradise, Los Angeles, - Friday, August 17 2001 0:1:6

Harlan~ I just picked up two boxed cassette tape collections from the Museum Company. The Shadow: The Lost Shows (compiled by Anthony Tollin "the foremost authority on the Shadow") & Chronicles. The Lost Shows are described as "ten shows never before commercially available", and "containing the premiere broadcast". Interested?

Heavy D: Great topic.

The words "Paladin of the Lost Hour" hold images for me that only flourish with the story's actual telling.

"Where Shall I Dwell In The Next World" asks the question we all wonder about sooner or later.

"Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes" sounds like it should be a Van Morrison song.

"Mefisto in Onyx" sounds like it needs a dessert designed for it.

"The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore" made me think of all the people who surround greatness. The velvet under the diamond.

Rob~ Okay, man. You're startin' to sound a teensy bit like our dear absent Sheryl (whom I wish would stop lurking and rejoin us). And your statement as to how you'd react to someone holding a gun on an animal? Just remember WHICH ONE OF YOU has the GUN, 'kay? I like you just the way you are, sans a multitude of double ought buck sized perforations. {said with a broad and playful grin on my face}

Yours in kevlar,

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Thursday, August 16 2001 23:15:47


How about bow hunting, as difficult of an activity as I've ever engaged in? Leaving aside taking an obsidian shard and strapping it to a long stick, that's a real challange. Of course, if you're against hunting in all forms, that's one thing. However, the one time I've been hunting, my dorm in Minnesota LIVED off the venison I brought in that winter. Was it necessary? Perhaps not, but we at well, and we were thankful for it.

I'd probably never do it again (I don't think I'd have the patience to sit in a tree for 5 hours again), but damn it, I'm kind of proud that I provided food. Wasn't the greatest shot of all time, but I properly dropped the buck right there, in season, and minimized his suffering.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 16 2001 22:30:57


I suspect a lot of us give each other's posts a cursory scan because I stressed the lack of necessity of hunting in this here the modern era. We don't need to invade the habitats anymore. If I lived in the 19th Century the matter would be different.

If cows and chickens have to be raised for slaughter we shouldn't let them die in vane. They get processed so that the wilderness can be left in peace. And whether you take me seriously or not isn't very important; either YOU defend the animal or you defend the bozos shooting him. But if you have a gun and you're aiming it at an animal and I'M there, you'll find out how serious I am.

Heavy D <thehood>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 22:5:27

NEW TOPIC: Favorite Harlan Ellison title (s):
"Prodigal Father"
"Goodbye to All That"
"Shoot Day For Night"
"kcaB2Back" (Note:turn the letters of the first word around)
"I Weep For the Clone of John Barrymore"
"Cabin Fever"
"Blood's a Rover"
"Bring On the Dancing Frogs"
"Down Deep"
"The Last Survivor of the Bataan Death March"

I Picked these titles NOT because they are more or less interesting than ones like "Jeffty is Five" "Midnight in the Sunken Cathedral" or "Croatoan," but because they are works-in-progress or stories that are just around the corner from publication and both the title and curiosity about what the story behind it might be make them that much more beguiling.

Next? (then again, maybe this isn't that scintillating a topic either -- I knew there was a reason I like to fade into the woodwork at parties).

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Thursday, August 16 2001 21:12:30


I know that everyone seems to want a copy of "Sleepless...," but is it possible that I could get a copy as well?? I've wanted a copy for years. You may have read below that my copy of "Essential Ellison" was stolen and I'm out that cash, so obviously I'm looking for the $30 version and not the $800 copy! :)

I can pick up "EE" at a later date, but "Sleepless..." is something I must have now!


Michael Hurley
- Thursday, August 16 2001 20:34:32

edit: Bambi is a poor example. Deer-hunting is generally not much influenced by consumer demand for venison. Substitute Bessie the cow, hehe.

Michael Hurley
- Thursday, August 16 2001 20:31:52

Uh...whoa. Let the easily-incensed Subject of the Board read no further!


Someone mentioned "no-fat, no-calorie" oil. I....it occurs to me as I am typing this that the person was obviously joking and that I am a bit slow today...sheesh.

Rob: If you are not a vegetarian then I find it hard to take you seriously (if so, ignore this). Simply put, anybody who eats meat is responsible for the death of animals. Don't think there is any way to get around that. Just because you didn't plug Bambi with your rifle doesn't mean it's not partially your fault that she died. There are some who would argue that it is even a bit slimier to do what we all do today--that is, pay someone to kill the animals so we don't get our hands dirty. Not me; I think this way is better for all involved as long as the consumer is aware that his demand for meat (and shoes, etc.) is what causes these animals to be bred and killed.
I eat meat, and while I don't disapprove of hunting, I would ultimately like for some guaranteed pain-free method of slaughter to be developed. Incidentally, though, if you want to go by some kind of Net Suffering scale, it's better to thin out the herd of deer through hunting seasons than to forbid hunting and let them starve. I also buy free-range meat from smaller farms whenever it is available, because some farm conditions are truly awful (I've also promised myself that I will eat foie gras once and only once, to see what it tastes like, and then abandon it--it's impossible to produce foie gras without rampant abuse of the duck or goose).
My only problem with hunting is one unrelated to animals--that it puts guns in peoples' hands. If they passed anti-gun legislation, I would have no problem in just saying 'screw the hunters.' That, really, is a different issue, though.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 20:27:9


Should I even PRETEND that I can afford the deluxe lettered copy?

In other words, hold one $30 edition for me, please.

(I've also realized that I've let my HERC membership lapse. How much to reup again?)

I'd mention how much I love sauteed mushrooms, but I have a vision of Harlan, ala Ben Kingsley in SEXY BEAST, flying down to Florida to tear my adenoids out with his teeth So maybe I'd better not.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 16 2001 20:20:44

Now ya'll see the virtue of heeding m'sageful advice? You wouldn't have gotten your lives threatened (along with my own) if you'd listened to my earlier post. If you're going to be a boring lot don't drag ME into the pool of death with you.

Susan Ellison
- Thursday, August 16 2001 20:2:13

P.S. The evening is called: "The Flight of the Curmudgeon: A Difficult Evening with Harlan Ellison".

You should arrive about 6:30pm.


Susan Ellison
- Thursday, August 16 2001 19:49:46

Yet another wonderful bulletin brought to you by...

Harlan will be lecturing at Claremont McKenna College (at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum), 385 E. Eighth Street, Claremont, California 91711-5911 on Monday, September 24th. The lecture starts at 6:45pm and is FREE and open to the public. Claremont is approximately 35 miles east of Los Angeles. Directions can be found on the web at: www.claremontmckenna.edu/mmca.


(links lovingly added by yers truly - Ed.)

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, August 16 2001 19:43:15

Loftus: send back the packet. Susan is driving me crazy asking about it. Or contact her. Either way, I'm out of it.

To all the rest of you: I think any topic you choose to topic about is just swell, just nifty, just peachykeen copacetic.
Nonetheless, I am moved to remark


PMSly yours, Harlan (these cramps are deSTROYing me) Ellison.

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, August 16 2001 19:22:55

Joseph Finn: You are correct. You've NAMED THE SOURCE and completed the sentence. I owe you ten cents. It's on its way, Federal Express earlydelivery overnight. Stay up. Wait for it.


Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, August 16 2001 19:18:15

Jim Davis:

Absolutely, we have a copy of SLEEPLESS NIGHTS IN THE PROCRUSTEAN BED for you.

You have your choice. We have a copy at $30 plus $5 shipping, signed, mint condition. OR . . .

We have a lettered hardcover at $800.

Shipping free.

Which one do you want, Big Spender?


grammar grinch
- Thursday, August 16 2001 19:7:54

to - In a direction toward
too - In addition; also

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 16 2001 19:4:44


It was that smile on your face that pissed ME off. Hey! I knows plenty 'bout it - don't be misguidin' yerself on THAT point too.


It happened when I was in high school - the years my late night habits would kick in. Caffeine became my one still unbreakable vice. Hell, only this morning I was free basing Vanilla Latte.

Wm. Forrester
- Thursday, August 16 2001 18:32:40

Youse guys take me way to seriously ... I can't believe you're still posting on that topic and state here-n-now that no offense was intended to anyone's national origin, religious beliefs (or lack thereof) or dietary habits. At the time, it seemed so effin' weird... Mr. HimsElf, I knew when I posted that the good people were upset because of the use of the beef oil. It's McD's/McT's -, so what would you expect???? Honesty in advertising when the corporation says 'Oh no, we would never do that!' ?? Some years back, I had a consulting contract at the McD's corporate HQ in Oakbrook IL. People actually used to be flattered when they were asked to come on down to the test kitchens. They usually came back looking the most unusual shades of green.

I'll stack my dominoes more carefully next time; maybe just leave'm in the box. Youse guys take me way to seriously ...

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 18:30:43

Andrew: You're a junky, buddy! God damn the pusher man!

I'm pretty sensitive to caffeine, and my drinking a cup of coffee would be the equivalent of anyone else snorting a line of crank off of a hunting knife.

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 18:21:8


My big vice isn't sugar, it's caffeine. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that it isn't one of the four food groups...

No caffeine equals headaches, irritability and one generally grumpy sadsack known as...


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 18:12:49

Chris L: You're dead right on the sugar issue. Eaten only occasionally, it's ok. As consumned in the massive quantities of the average American, it's a national health hazard that exists mainly to prop up the corrupt sugar cane industry, who have done a BANG-UP job of killing the Everglades.

My liquid intake used to consist of nothing but sweetened iced tea (I haven't touched soft drinks since I was a teen, as they are too damned acidic for my stomach). A few years ago, I decided to substitute my Lipton Iced Tea bottles with glasses of water. I ACTUALLY WENT THROUGH SUGAR WITHDRAWL--we're talking headaches, anxiety, the whole nine yards. Kind of scary to think what I had been putting my body through for so many years. I still drink sweetened ice tea, but nowhere near the massive quantities of before, and I feel better for it. Sugar is the REAL drug problem of today, and most people don't even know it.

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 18:8:53


I was gettin' a bit nervous. I had a feeling this was gonna turn into one of those really nasty discussions. I can only hope that cooler heads prevail before anybody decides to open fire. ;-)


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Thursday, August 16 2001 17:47:37


It's good to see you exercising your right as an America to have a strong opinion on a subject you know nothing about. I love this country! :)


RE: Falling Down

It is either one of the worst films or one of the funniest films ever made. Come to think of it, it's probably both. The Frederic Forrest cameo is sublime in its stupidity/hilarity. It's a film you can appreciate in an Ed Wood kind of way.

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 17:40:50

Awwww, cripes...

Dorothy - "But what would you do with a brain if you had one?"

Scarecrow - "Proof my post before I hit the submit button. Gotta be sure I typed in 'propaganda' correctly."


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Today, Sandusky, Ohio Ooknighted Stets American - Thursday, August 16 2001 17:39:38

Holy moly, a boy wanders off to Greenfield Village and Sandusky for a few days, and the board goes wild. Makes a guy feel like a lead rod in a nuclear reactor, you know? Still, the kids deserve an education, even if I do have to restrain myself from yelling "stinking anti-semite!" every time Henry Ford's name is mentioned in tones better reserved for the Almighty.

So anyway.

I had no idea THE TOMMYKNOCKERS was so universally despised until I read the recent messages on the board. Not my favorite, for sure, but heck, better than INSOMNIA, which, no kidding, put me to sleep. As I told Stephen King personally, the only book of his I never finished was THE DARK HALF, and that was for personal reasons (basically, if you're a twin, and your twin son just died, you don't try to read a book about a father of twins whose own twin brother died at birth). Come on, yes, THE TOMMYKNOCKERS was a knockoff of 5 Million Years to Earth, but it wasn't _that_ bad. We just expect a lot better of King, and he rarely disappoints us.

Think I'll stay out of the Should We Eat Beef battle until I rid my karma of my old summer job of holding calves while they were turned into steers. Beat delivering pizza as a teenager. Fact is, I can't recommend eating hamberger because there's no place left in Cleveland that still has great hamburgers. Maybe I should move to Texas.

Harlan, I loved your Rolling Stones story. What _did_ you do with the stereo in the end? I have to confess, I'd have been tempted to put it on a special shelf with the label "Honest To God Rolling Stone Excess." But I'm a sentimental guy.

Regarding the comments on Phil Dick: he's one of those writers who teaches us that we can love an artist's work without much loving the artist. What I've read of his life convinces me I would not have liked him in person. Yet I have every book he ever published, plus plenty he never knew would see print. Sometimes our heros don't have just feet of clay, but are stuck in it up to their necks. That doesn't mean they never wrote heroicly, if such a term can be used.

Gotta go watch the kids beat the hell out of some video games. Will this vacation never end? Later, folks.


Darryl <darryl_lawrence@hotmail.com>
Bay Area, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 17:31:29

Seconding (thirding, fourthing??) the comments on In-N-Out fries. The secret is to _ask_ for them crispy. They'll cook a special batch for you, and leave them in the (no fat, no calorie) oil longer. Wow. Back to lurking now.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 17:28:20

Andrew~ "All that I ask is that anyone respect my beliefs as I would theirs." Well-spoken. I didn't really want to get the fur flying, so to speak, around here. It's a very interesting discussion tho'.

Yours in omnivorousness,

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 17:17:12

This meat/no meat issue is kinda hairy. There has been so much propoganda spread by both sides that it's hard to tell who's really right. But I do question the tactics utilized by the PETA/Vegan zealots. Plastic shoes suck rocks, they fall apart and they don't allow your feet to breathe. What happens to all those plastic shoes (belts, pants, etc.) when they hit the landfill? Is there any recyling available? What do you do with all of the cattle (that are completely incapable of surviving without human care) that people aren't supposed to slaughter? Many hardcore vegetarians tend be very vocal (and physical) when facing a crowd of hungry omnivores.

How many of you have been hassled by a crowd of young, angry protestors, when going out to eat? I have and it wasn't a great deal of fun.

All that I ask is that anyone respect my beliefs as I would theirs.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 17:11:23

Heather~ Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang? Bond?

Charlie~ Respectfully.

Ten thousand years of civilization can't undo two million years of evolution. The fact that you have a brain that can comprehend the impact of eating meat is a direct result of your ancestors (the ones that wore furs and hunted) being smart enough to feed themselves WITHOUT having double-coupons and produce departments and delicatessens. I was speaking more to the evolutionary forces that shaped the human animal, not the current situation.

The naked monkey that is man cannot become strictly vegetarian unless they were strictly vegetarian before the age of four. The body ceases to produce the necessary enzymes to extract sufficient amounts of protein from vegetable sources to support a body that was designed to run and jump and be active (chasing down its food).

As for not eating meat being the one thing that saves this planet from all the ills we as a species have inflicted on it, wow -- can I have some of what you're smoking? ::grin::

Warmest regards,

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 16 2001 16:56:24


If you really believe what you just said y'ain't gonna have a long life. No skin off MY turkey.

St. Pete, FL - Thursday, August 16 2001 16:54:5

Lynn, To nick a phrase, You couldn't be more wrong (-: Probably the last time anyone around these parts scavenged for food was at their local grocery store. It's not just a matter of liking or disliking meat, the issues are deeper: saving the environment, eliminating hunger, and the animals.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 16 2001 16:51:21

Meat. Hunting. A fish story.

I've never been one for fishing or fly-fishing and all the attendant sport. I met a woman who was quite into it. I couldn't see the point.

I saw the movie, "A River Runs through it." The artistry and sense of communing with nature that movie gave me, changed my mind ... forever. I'm shutting up now.

Now, meat. Hunting. GUNS.

As always, people are going to do these things whether we jaw about it or not. People kill with guns. Unless you detonate them somehow, guns are pretty harmless without a trigger finger. (I could go on, but I'm not.) Chopsticks are pretty damn scary too. (See recent Jet Lee movie for illustration) For me, personally, keep the guns, I don't want them. Went through a phase, what with Bondian things and cop shows that target shooting might be an interesting idea.

I nixed it. You can have my share.

Hunting, sorry, there's a 'state of grace' in that sorta thing too. I am sure of this. The same as wit' da fish. But hunting for sport, yeah, it's a touchy-feeling issue, that one.

Go buy a McDonald's burger. Have your meat. Get fries and an Artic orange triple-thick shake on the side. Can't get that in the forest. (Harlan, ain't you GLAD?)

In you are lost in the woods and need food, that's another story.

Oh.. and I'm not entering the book debacle. Stephen King rocks, PARTICULARLY his attitude. How many books have YOU written this year, huh? Put away the dissecting needles.

I loved "Insomia." I gave me people-views I haven't contemplated, not being an old codger yet. Maybe you can dissect the storyline; I'm not at that level yet. I just know this dude keeping surprising me. That's what it's about, right?


I ask again, all you trivia-nits:

He can soothe you like vanilla. Who dat?

Heather, off to kill a potato

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, PA - Thursday, August 16 2001 16:26:22

Meat is good. Fat is good. Sugar is bad.

Americans' meat consumption isn't much different than the diets of other industrial countries.

Our sugar consumption, however, is off the scale (pun intended.)

As far as my scale, it showed being about 100 pounds lighter after I stopped eating all sugar and starch and started eating more protein.

I cut out all the pasta and potatoes and rice and sugary snacks and replaced with meat and fish and eggs and got real healthy real fast.

Don't waste your time bitching about burgers. It's Coke and Pepsi who are destroying American's health.

I'm off that sugar water for good.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 16 2001 16:6:23

Okay, I musta been fuckin' nuts...

Last night, I'm sitting in my apartment, reading. It's late. Suddenly, VERY close outside, I hear a window crash, then crash, then the sound of some guy yelling and then off he goes, his voice receding.

I sat up. Whatthefuck?

I didn't even think. (THAT'S the fucking nuts part.) I was up and sneakering barefoot into my tennis shoes, grabbing my keys, out the door down the hall and round the side of my building to see what was going on.

A heavyset, older woman was standing in the laneway at the next apartment building down, staring at a BEAUTIFULLY shattered basement apartment window. I went up to her and asked her if everything was all right.

She explained how the occupant of this apartment -- a young woman -- had just had her window kicked in by some asshole. Of course, turns out the asshole is an ex or old boyfriend. Didn't get all the details on that one. She was kinda talkin' loud, calling things after the guy, now long gone.

The "boyfriend" and the young woman had been arguing. The older woman said he's been punching her around a bit and she'd called or got to this woman's daughter -- they're nearby neighbors -- and they managed to at least get the goof to leave. The woman said he was drunk, possibly hopped on something, she wasn't sure.

We stood and commiserated a bit. I was worried about leaving her alone. I'm running purely on instinct. Wasn't thinking about it too much.

As it happened, I walked back to the street, and a cop car rolled by. I stared at it for a minute, thinking this was the cop she'd called, so I started slowly waving my arms over my head at them as they seemed to be passing by us. The cops stopped, the guy on the passenger side rolled down his window. I babbled something at him which he would have registered as incoherent, as he WASN'T the cop the woman had called. They were on another call. (Weird, eh?) He said he'd make sure someone was coming. I thanked him and he drove off.

I went back to where the older woman was. The young woman had come out by now. I put my hand gently on her back, asking her if she was okay. She was crying a little but relatively composed. I realized this wasn't a 'new' situation for her and this guy. The older woman's daughter came out as well. She was choking up a bit with emotion. I couldn't blame her. Christ, what an asshole.

Anyway, the cops arrived quickly. I left the older woman, wishing her well and went back inside.

I was kinda trembling. Know the feeling? Whuu..

Later, as I sat there, reading a while longer, I listened for voices. A little paranoid, I guess.

Then it hit me. The last thing I'd SAID to this older woman was that I'd just come down when I heard the crash -- with my fists flyin', as I put it.

Am I nuts?

It's weird, I've never hit anybody in my life. I once had a teeshirt fight in the dining room of our place in Baltimore with my younger brother. No idea what it was about. My dad pulled back the table or something -- I remember Tom and me in that room, in our teeshirts wapping at one another. We were BOTH cryin' -- weirdness.

Once, I complained to a guy who'd come into the store I was working in. He'd been talking loud and acting like an asshole. I went to his house to yell at him, as he'd woken me up from a sound sleep and I KNOW he'd scared the woman at the counter. He was one of the young kids that came in the store -- a small variety store we were helping someone out with -- and he was ACTUALLY a friend. But also a young teen. I think he was hopped up on something. Nevertheless, I cruised down to this place, balled out him or someone I met at the front door.

As I walked up the street some young female came out after me. I remember turning to face her as he walked up to me. I THINK all she did was shove me. I DON'T think she slapped me or anything. But given the circumstances -- you hadda be there, I guess -- I literally saw red. I'd never believed that expression until that happened. But I just stood there, fuming, til she'd finished her yap and had strode off.

Since I started all this typing, and writing and stuff, I WORRY about screwing up my hands -- in any way, shape or form. I could never imagine HITTING anyone -- I'd probably hurt my hand.

But I just up and did this. Oh god.

This ever happen to any of you? Harlan, be quiet. We KNOW you've had this happen -- oh, the odd time. *smile*


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 15:52:50

Rob~ Let's just say we can agree to disagree on this subject, and no hard feelings? That work for you?


Rob <robvrvangessel>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 16 2001 15:25:16


Well, 1790 is pretty early but evidently it didn't do a lot for writers for some time. In fact, it would be interesting to pin-point which writer was the first to pull off the first successful lawsuit for copyright infringement (as Dickens failed to do) or hold publishers to a fair contract (as Poe failed to do).


You knew THIS was coming (again): "gimme a break."

You've been sadly brainwashed on this matter. My banner: "Death to all hunters!"

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 15:13:55


Last post should have read

"I've known" not "I known"



Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 15:11:29

Obviously this is a slow work day for me. I should be towing the company line and making sure this BIG corporation of ours continues to trample and pound our competitors into oblivion making them all BLUE and gasping for air. Anyway...

Hunting--"four legs good, two legs bad"

"Others"/movies--I haven't been the same since "Falling Down"'s misanthropic tirade was propagated as social commentary; and whatever you do, stay away from Criterion's "The Rock"'s audio commentary (actually, stay away from the movie) as I made the mistake of listening to Michael Bay talk about demographics and how he was the only one brave enough to handle the camera during a scene. My ears are still bleeding. (and Criterion is putting this shit on DVD? When's "The Thin Man" coming?)

Red Sox--Dan Duquette is the Dark One. He is evil and not to be trusted. (by the way, Joseph, hope you read the Sports Guy. Great stuff)

- Thursday, August 16 2001 15:7:50

I'm with you Lynn, nothing like a great slab o' red meat. Sadly, I'm too, I dunno, something, to hunt. Just can't do it. Can't stand guns either, makes me physically ill to be near one.

So, I plan to be around friends like you when civilization collapses!

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 15:6:21


While not a hunter myself, I known folks who are. I must admit that while trophy hunters disgust me, I have a lot of respect for those that hunt in a responsible way and eat what they kill (especially bowhunters. How many deer wear bullet proof vests?).


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 14:57:6

Joseph~ You're a regular font of trivia today aren't you? Isn't the Internet jes wonderful for that stuff?

Rob~ Re: Hunting, do some real research and we'll talk. Until then, have fun gobbling all that propaganda. And when the revolution comes, we'll just let you handle the grocery store scavenging while we check the snares.

Re: The eating of charred flesh: In-N-Out rocks. Hands down, across the board. Burgers, fries, shakes, service, atmosphere. Fatburger may have gotten the burger bit right, but they leave a lot to be desired in the other categories. I used to work in a burger joint on the beach up in Santa Barbara County (Jalama Beach, World Famous Burgers). And I can definitely say, nothing beats those burgers, especially when you can eat them fresh off the grill while watching dolphins at play.

Re: The eating of charred flesh, part the second. There's a reason why the great apes in their vegetarian fashion never evolved to the sentient level that humans claim. Humans are scavengers. Not just predators, scavengers. While you can program in the skills to hunt, pretty much hard wire it into a creature (take any of the big cats for example), it takes a lot more savvy to feed yourself if you don't know where your next meal is coming from. And being a vegetarian species doesn't take anywhere near as much inventiveness and intelligence to chase down and eat a blade of grass.

And besides, is there anything quite as satisfying as tearing into a warm piece of flesh with bloody red center? Incisors rending through the meat of a placid beast that went down with a .38 slug in its brain, because it hadn't evolved to be smart enough to evade the chutes? Gods, I love being a meat eater.

"Sure, it's a hollowpoint, but it's not a HYDROSHOCK hollowpoint." _Tremors_

{This has been yet another impromptu Tongue-In-Cheek Production. Here's your grain of salt.}

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 16 2001 14:8:43

And for my long-suffering Red Sox compatriots, here's news that they fired their manager today:


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 16 2001 14:3:14


In the USA, copyright was first noted in the US Constitution, where it was reserved as purely a federal matter ("The Congress shall have power . . . to promote the progress of science and useful arts . . . by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive rights to their respective writings and discoveries.").

Congress enacted a Copyright Act of 1790, which has been substantially revised, the last major revision being in 1976. A good timeline of copyright law in the USA can be found at the American Research Libraries web site, specifically:


Copyright law began in the UK in 1710, with the Statute of Anne.


Dan Thorne <http://home.talkcity.com/BookmarkBlvd/lamp_shadey/>
Royal Oak, MI US - Thursday, August 16 2001 13:51:3

I caught The Others last night. I was greatly surprised and enthused at how well it turned out. While I agree that the surprise ending wasn't so surprising to some of us, I think Alejandro Amenabar did a superb job on keeping those of us who suspected off-balance throughout the bulk of the film. Let's face it, it's a difficult balancing act. No matter how great the storyteller, some in the audience are still going to solve the mystery before the final page (unless they dust off the old deus ex machina device, which the new Planet of the Apes comes the closest to doing in a long time). I found the atmosphere, dialogue and acting in The Others to be first rate. I also admired its deft weaving of musical tones, and frequent lack thereof. One scene near the end, which I'm sure you'll recall, sent the audience I was with through the roof. That was all I needed as proof of Amenabar's genius. I shudder to think what the film would've been like in the hands of a hack like Joel Schumacker, to whom the concept of subtlety is as anathema as the concept of evolution is to a biblical literalist.

Harlan-- Just got back from San Antonio, otherwise I would've responded sooner. Edgeworks I and II arrived in pristine condition as you promised. Thanks again for your generosity.


- Thursday, August 16 2001 13:49:23

Rob -
Hey, any topic is fair game here on the webderboard. If *you* don't want to discuss it, well there's no need to bash on the rest of us! *thhhhppppt* Sometimes the basics of life are as binding and visceral to a community as the lofty and philosophical.

BTW - I've been told that Scotland has the highest rate per capita of heart disease and I tend to believe them. If you think the US diet is bad, you ought to see what they eat here. Deep fried candy bars. Deep fried fish. Every flavor of crisp (that's chip to you) imaginable - every try beef and mustard crisps?? Haggis. 2 or 3 kinds of potatoes - at least one is fried - at every meal. The "british breakfast" consists of eggs, bacon, sausage, puddings (which aren't what you think), tomatoes, and mushrooms. I could go on but you get the point.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 13:49:21


I've noticed a run on copies of SLEEPLESS NIGHTS IN THE PROCRUSTEAN BED here lately; could I snag a copy, too? (Assuming it's available.) Gotta spend that tax refund, HARHARHARHARHARHARHAR!!!

From the Associated Press: When a child in London asked him what the White House was like, George W. Bush replied, "It is white."

Jim (Don't blame me, I voted for Nader...er, wait a minute...)

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 16 2001 13:32:8

Aaaaaaaall right! Will ya’ll get off the boring junk food palaver! You’ve all brought the Ellison forum down to a new low (Harlan not to be excluded, all Hindus and story imagery aside). I mean we’re dunking ourselves in this greasy mass of valve clogging lipids and glycerides, totally discarding the precepts of a healthy regimen and surrendering ourselves to the biggest corporate exploiter-rapists in the country. No wonder the U.S. is number one in obesity and bad health. I’ll say this: when you eat well most of the time, you really feel poisoned when you hit those junk food joints. You notice the feeling more. So, knock it off and get to the gym.

Now Michelle took a topic fork a lot more interesting: the history of the copyright protection. Michelle, since you brought up Dickens and his struggle against plagiarism, I wonder when that armament finally became available for writers. I suspect not until after the 20th century kicked in. It might’ve solidified in the late 19th century. Otherwise, most of the 19th century was rampant with unregulated businesses abusing their position with no conscience at all. I remember Poe’s situation: he was an unrefuted genius whose desperation for income made him carrion for the vulture-publishers, who’d give him a few pennies for his work and profit in megabucks because contracts and copyrights weren’t yet mandatory.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 16 2001 13:27:19


I don't know about a radio show, but the early CBS show "You Are There" would end with Walter Cronkite intoning: "What kind of day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times . . . and you were there."

Does this mean I get a plug nickel?


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, August 16 2001 13:22:42

Since burgers are currently on the menu, let me reveal that HE apparently believes that burgers the way they are meant to be made may be found right up in my neighborhood, at a McMenamin's Pub -- I think the one in Clackamas.

The McMenamin brothers have a small empire of nearly 40 -- count 'em, 40 -- microbrewery pubs in the greater Portland area. Most of them have roughly the same brews and burgers, although the ones in the more hoity-toity or working class neighborhoods have menus slanted in the appropriate direction.

Several have a movie theater attached, two ARE old movie theaters where you can watch a film and have pizza or burgers and beer while you view a second-run feature, several are grand old hotels refurbished, one is an old dance ballroom/concert hall, one is a former elementary school now converted into a large B&B, and one is a complex of B&B manor building, pub, theater, various outbuildings for meetings and parties, and a golf course -- all of which used to constitute the county poor farm. (My wife and I were married there.)

I understand perhaps a dozen more McMenamin's pubs have been established about the western half of the state as well. Check 'em out if you're ever in the area.

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, August 16 2001 13:18:26

Dear Peg:

Yes, of course; I stand corrected. In-N-Out Burger (which happens to be right down the hill from me here at Ellison Wonderland) does, indeed, make fries at least as good as the dreaded McToadburgers. Probably better. But now that I think about it, another joint right exactly below us on Ventura Blvd., FATBURGER, makes 'em even better.

And they say this board trivializes the trivial! Pheh! We deal in the subjects that most alter and illuminate our times, and...

10 cents cash money to anyone who can complete that famous phrase. Clue: golden age radio.

Yr. pal, Harlan.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, PA - Thursday, August 16 2001 12:13:0

And just to show there is someone on every side of every position, I think In 'N Out Burgers has great burgers but absolutely the worst fries I have ever tasted in my life.

Of course, I am basing this on the only In 'N Out Burger I've ever ever eaten at - just off the strip in Vegas.

Peter <writerpo@pacbell.net>
Union City, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 11:0:5

Peg: I absolutely detest In and Out's burgers, but you are dead on about the fries. But it's not just in SoCal any more. It's spread itself out to NorCal and even my rinky-dink, one hoss, sixty-five thousand people town is getting one. Hell the armpit of California known as Tracy has had one for several years now. And I think they're still spreading. So if you ever return stateside, I don't think you'll have to look far for an In and Out Burger.


Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 10:51:34

I really shouldn't have stumbled on this site and posted for the first time yesterday as my obsessive-compulsiveness won't allow me to just let it go, man. Just let it go.

Anyway, I saw "The Others" last weekend and was wondering if anyone else thought the surprise ending wasn't so surprising (nice, creepy movie though) as I seem to have read this type of story before from Blatty called "Elsewhere". The premise was the same, I recall.

Also, I have had encounters with those fiends who steal things from the confines of your car. In Newport News, I bought some of those Donut Holes from Dunkin Donuts (Munchkins, were they called?) and then went into a nearby 7-11. I came back and noticed donut crumbs all over the car seat and most of the donut holes gone. Didn't even have the decency to take the whole box; just left a mess and a few donut holes.

Just thought I'd share. If there was one thing I learned from Sesame Street, it's that sharing is important.

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, August 16 2001 10:15:25


While I will agree that In-n-Out has great burgers, I must point out that you forgot one very important menu item - The shakes, you forgot the shakes. ;-)
Three flavors (chocolate, vanilla and strawberry) yummy...


- Thursday, August 16 2001 7:52:1

P.S. Of course, I *could* be wrong...
tee hee

Peg <trbotongue@aol.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 5:36:33


While I would never go out of the way to question your judgement, I must disagree with you on the subject of McD's fries. While they are quite tasty (at least in the US, they're just so-so in the UK) and the *only* thing I'll eat at McD's besides the hashbrowns, they are not the best fries in the world.

That distinction, in my opinion, based on 6 years of college-induced poverty forcing my dining habits to the low cost end, belongs to In-n-Out burger - sadly for most of you, only located in So Cal. Fresh potatoes, made on order (not sitting under heat lamps!), rolled in cloth towel with salt - which absorbs the grease and puts just the right amount of salt - and delivered to you piping hot. I've yet to taste a more consistently perfect classic fast food french fry. Their burgers are no slouch either, although they don't reach the pinnacle unless you get them animal style with grilled onion.

In the non-classic category, it would be tough to beat LA's own Tommyburger's chilicheese fries, esp. if you get the yellow wax peppers on the side. And the chilicheeseburger is an icon of LA food culture.

I go outta my way whenever I hit the LA area to visit both of establishments to satiate that fast food fix in a way no other has come close. Now, I'll admit I've never been to Pink's and so reserve the right to change my mind if that opportunity ever avails - expecting that if a place makes dogs so good that they beat out Chicago, they can't be be slouchy on the sides.

mouthwateringly yours,

Michelle <Darkiss566@aol.com>
- Thursday, August 16 2001 5:16:32

Hello everyone. I'm just passing through in my search for the address of the Harlan Ellison Kick Internet Piracy fund. I love his writing (not an ass kiss, just a fact) but I was unaware of this web site. I just finished reading the latest Locus and as a writer who has had her work stolen and put on the web twice this year, I saw my chance to help put a stop to this. I'm not a wealthy writer by any means (a good month is when I can make a car payment with the money I've earned from short story sales)so I can't contribute much but I do know that Mr. Ellison is fighting a battle that's been going on a long time in one form or another. Charles Dickens was the most plagiarized writer of the 1800s and he fought back without much success. I wish Harlan better luck. Please, please, do not read pirated work or support the web sites that post it. Sorry for ranting. Wonderful site, by the way.

Alex Jay Berman again
- Thursday, August 16 2001 3:52:43

Oh--and nice article, Alejandro!

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly--who's coming to WorldCon?, - Thursday, August 16 2001 3:50:45

Yup. Tommyknockers. It sucked on several levels--all of them bad. This was the book that almost turned me off King, until I grudgingly read THE GREEN MILE and realized that even a chef has to take a shit sometimes; that that doesn't mean everything the chef produces is shit.

HARLAN: I have a non-beef tallow recipe for a clone version of Mickey D's fries--and everything out of the clone recipe books I've gotten by this guy has been dead solid perfect.

If you have the inclination and two weeks to spare (I kid you not), ask and I shall post it.

St. Pete, FL - Thursday, August 16 2001 1:25:2

I'm with Rob on the hunting issue. Don't believe in killing animals for our sustenance (or any other reason-belts, shoes, clothes). As far as the fast food restaurants are concerned, I don't support 'em. They're destroying nature and habitats for the grazing of their future hamburgers. Further, they're fattening up the beasts with grain which could otherwise be used to feed a starving populace. If everyone went vegetarian, starvation would be wiped out. (PETA has all the stats.) Our closest relative, the ape, is a vegetarian. That's one mighty, strong animal to beat.

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Thursday, August 16 2001 1:3:23

Justin: yeah, it still blows my mind that someone actually went into my car and took my "Essential Ellison!" It's really amazing to me. Was he following me from the bookstore, pissed that I grabbed the last copy before he had a chance to buy it?

I've been ticked off all day. Hey, crooks, if you're reading this, could you, like, send it back to me or something? Funds are extremely tight and I can't replace it right now. Thanks!

As for Stephen King, I've always been more of a fan of his short fiction. "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" and "Night Shift" are teffific collections. And his non-fiction books "Danse Macabre" and "On Writing" are first rate too.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 23:12:28

Thanks for the DIVINE INVASIONS recommendations, Jim and Rich. I appreciate it.

So Harlan is friends with John Varley! Personally, I happen to think that's awful cool. Varley is amazing, a major influence of mine. I read Varley all out of sequence, though. Started with TITAN, WIZARD, and DEMON (which comprise the GAEAN TRILOGY), then I went on to PERSISTANCE OF VISION, followed by STEEL BEACH. For some reason I'm saving OPHIUCHI HOTLINE, MILLENIUM, and GOLDEN GLOBE to read later, presumably on particularly rainy days when I can give them my undivided attention. I can't recommend Varley enough to my fellow Webderlanders. If you listen to Harlan and want to read Varley in sequence, his first book is THE OPHIUCHI HOTLINE. If you only read one Varley book in your whole lifetime, though- I'd steer you toward STEEL BEACH.

Bob, in New Mexico I once had someone bash the back window out of my Corolla. The perpetrator proceeded to crawl inside the car and steal all the change out of the little change dish in the front seat. That accomplished, this individual presumably opened the front door to get out, whereupon he scuttled off into the night, never to be heard from again. Y'know, it just makes you want to perfect the physical constitution, invest in a cowl, and sit on the tops of streetlights with a pair of binoculars, spotting for evildoers in need of a good hiding.

Still sore,


John Thompson <john_20650@msn.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 23:11:36

All this talk about Stephen King and his much-maligned TOMMYKNOCKERS makes me wonder if anyone else here has had the pleasure of reading another master of dark tales, the estimable Ramsey Campbell. I recently started one of his short story collections, a volume entitled DARK COMPANIONS. At his best, he's a very subtle writer, using suggestion instead of gore to terrify...which appeals to me because I've always been more frightened by the shadow than the shape that casts it.

Michael Hurley
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 22:56:20

I liked most of INSOMNIA, too, except for the pointless references to the Dark Tower series that required reading *those* books to make sense of. Don't understand why that was needed, but overall I liked the book. Guess I am full of unpopular opinions...

P.S. Harlan can do no wrong? You *did* read "Glowworm", right?

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Wednesday, August 15 2001 20:55:20

Insomnia! That's a King novel worse than Tommyknockers! A real knock-down, drag-out pile o'crap.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, PA - Wednesday, August 15 2001 20:9:19

In regards to King, I am a huge fan of his but I also have to agree that The Tommyknockers is a big snooze. It starts off well but then dies a painful deathbefore page 100 - sadly it lingers for another, what, million pages after that. I mean, it's a sotry about a couple people digging a hole! A real big one, sure, but still.

King has written two real duds that I have read, The Tommyknockers and Roadwork, the reading of which left me in a semi-catatonic state for the next year. Fortunately, that was the year I spent at film school so no big loss.

But the man has also written great books like The Stand, Salem's Lot, The Green Mile, Carrie, Misery, Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis (other than the Blind Willie story) so I figure he can be forgiven the occasional lapse. After all, nobody other than Harlan Ellison can be perfect. :)

Harlan has already stated - and I would never doubt him - that there is only one living being who liked The Tommyknockers. This makes me wonder if I am the only person who likes Insomnia? I thought it was wonderful with one of his finest protagonists but King makes a disparaging/self-effacing remark about Insomnia in his recent book On Writing.

Peter <writerpo@pacbell.net>
Union City, CA - Wednesday, August 15 2001 20:5:56

Yeah, I'm still out here. Been doing the lurking thing still.

Everyone who knows me on this board knows that I am an unabashed admirer of King and his work. Tommyknockers sucked the big, fat, red one. I very rarely stop reading anything. Even if a book is bad, I'll usually force myself through it, just to say that I did. I quite literally threw Tommyknockers across the room. I was 14 at the time. It was a painful experience. The book bounced back and hit me in the head.


Michael Hurley
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 19:0:15


Okay, yes...except...I sort of liked the sub-plot with the two brothers (the older one is an aspiring magician). I was a bit freaked when the younger one got zapped to the airless surface of some planet, though I can't remember if he died there or not.

Wizard and Glass...Wizard and GLASS??? Would rather read TOMMYKNOCKERS once-and-a-half, nay, even twice before picking that up again. And I think the Dark Tower series is unusual and excellent, that volume excluded. I am a great fan of King, but his last few have been letdowns for me, with the one exception of HEARTS IN ATLANTIS. PET SEMATARY and MISERY have always been my favorites.

Justin: Since I am still braving the college life myself, let me say that the only thing worse than the scene imagined in your subjunct-o-vision is when the two lovebirds hook up, get a steady thing going over the course of the year, and create a nice circle of mutual friends from the floor...and *then* break it off, leaving their happy gaggle of freshmen (cough...well, they call them "first-years" here...gachh) quite in the lurch when it comes to loyalties, and making every outing an exercise in tact.

Heavy D <yomama>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 18:40:21

GRAND MASTA' H: Yo, I don't know 'bout your neck o' da woods, but here in the Midwest McD aint got the goods/ 'cause they fries is soggy, n' the meat's for shit/but if you want a good tater, Sonics down wit' it.

By the way...you folks out there glommin' the latest on cloning? That humans may be easier to replicate than sheep? (Makes me want to write a story...maybe something with a title like "I Weep For the Clone of John Barrymore" -- waitaminute...someone else already nabbed that one...maybe I could do a related story -- something to do with DREW Barrymore since most kids today wont know who John [or Lionel] is).

Humans. Easier to clone than sheep, for christsake.
The mind boggles.
Think of the possibilities.
Two HarlanHarlan EllisonEllisons.
Or (yeech) two DubyaDubyas (then again, the template's gotta be a whole person before you can make a duplicate).

Wordword Upup.
HeavyHeavy DD.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 17:30:18

(Checks message board)

(Reads Harlan's funny-as-hell vivisection of THE TOMMYKNOCKERS)

(Bows to computer screen)

Regarding Phil Dick...I had second thoughts about my post concerning DIVINE INVASIONS; I proclaim that I'm "loath to indulge in popsicle-stand psychoanalysis", and then I do it. I don't want to come off as any kind of authority on the life and personality of Philip K. Dick--I didn't know the man. The portrait presented in Sutin's book is a troubling one, however. Is it truly an unbiased and accurate account of PKD's life? Who knows? But, Justin, if you REALLY want to understand where the man was coming from, read his novels, which, as Harlan suggested, will long outlast any critical or biographical exegesis of his life and work.

Off to an appetizer of crow,

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 17:29:19

Bill Forrester:

I think the answer to the conundrum of what Hindus were doing in a McToadburgers in the first place, may be inherent in the form of the reaction itself. They were protesting that the FRENCH FRIES were made with beef oil. I depise McT's burger offerings, but only a recherche fool would deny that they make the best goddam fries on the planet. The Hindus weren't there for the burgers, quad erat demonstradum, they were there for the fuckin' FRIES!!! No wonder they were pissed.

As Dennis Miller says, I could be wrong, but...

Sure SEEMS logical to me.

Yr. pal, Fatburger H. Ellison.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, August 15 2001 17:23:43


Hmmm. Didn't know the background of Tommyknockers. While I certainly don't place Tommyknockers anywhere near the top 95% of Mr. King's work (listing the works of his I think are better would pretty much mean slapping down all of the "Also by Stephen King" list at the beginning of Wizard and Glass), I still have a weird affection for Tommyknockers.

I dunno - maybe I like the communal feel of the story, as everyone is dragged into it, sort of a weird version of "It." Maybe it just's that a shitty version of King is better than a heapin' spoonful of one more "hey, my detective is a transexual vampire in ancient Iberia!" (Ask me sometime about my opinion of the detective novel and watch me climb up on a table and denounce the modern mystery novel as being so series and twist oriented that it leaves people like Donald Westlake out in the cold, as far as the reading public is concerned! Now where was I? Oh, yes.)

Could I find a worse novel by King? No. Could I find a worse short story? Well, there's the one about the evil laundry press in "Night Shift" (a collection that otherwise has my undivided admiration, especially for "Strawberry Spring"). Perhaps my taste is flawed in this case (hell, I never did develop a taste for Tolstoy, though I appreciate his skill).

Basically, I regard Tommyknockers as from that late 80's slump of Mr. King and leave it at that.

By the way, if I had to choose my favorite King, it would be either Wizard and Glass (especially Eddie's unique method of defeating Blaine and that long, sad tale of Roland and his childhood companions) or Bags of Bones, a novel that impresses me more and more with it's layers.

Your somewhat disagreeing bud,

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 17:15:9


You make a strong case for staying only friendly but not involved with the blonde next door. A PARANOID case, of course; but given the fragile state of your expectations, it is clear (Herr Doktor) that you ain't healed yet from the previous debacle. I think your trepidation is well placed. Give yourself some time. I back off my snotty inquiry of some days ago. Keep your fly zipped, be a good neighbor, and if anything develops, let it begin with her. You be smart, son.

John Varley (Herb, as we, his friends, call him) is a superlative writer. I urge you to get all his books. Start from earliest. Don't read the latest at the outset. He grows as a writer.

Let me absent myself from the Phil Dick conversation. I have too much to say.

But, in my view, there hasn't been a reasonable, non-blindly-adulatory biography of this inordinately strange, often troubling, always troubled man. Either as writer or as individual. THAT book may never be written, just as there has never been a truly insightful biography of the REAL Bertrolt Brecht. It will take even more time and distance for the glow of the altars to dim enough for pragmatic evaluation. Right now, at this time, there are too many carrion birds getting fetid meals off the dead carcass of Phil Dick.

Yr. pal, Harlan.

- Wednesday, August 15 2001 17:13:3

Unca Harlan, I just wanted to point out that there are worse things than writing (or reading) "The Tommyknockers." One would to be the guy who gave the greenlight to the television miniseries. The second would to be one of the poor suckers who WATCHED it.

Hope he didn't write it...now, if TABATHA wrote it, I'd consider it a step up. Ew. There's a reason the quotes on her book jackets are from her husband.

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 17:1:27

Joseph Finn, sir:

The answer to your question is:

Yes, you are the only person in the known universe who likes THE TOMMYKNOCKERS.

Stephen King is a friend of mine; I am strictly nuts about his work; and even I think it stinks on ice. Not to mention that, apart from being a short story so pumped fulla air that it staggers under its own load, the considerably-more-than-whispered suggestions over the years that it was an idea, uh, um, er, "liberated" from an earlier motion picture of considerable repute, has reduced its standing in the pantheon even further.

The period during which this book was written was not a good time for Stephen, and there have been alien breezes throughout the publishing industry for years that, well, this book needed to fulfill a contract may not, in fact, have actually felt the touch of Stephen's hand.

All of this may well be woolgathering. I have nothing but affectiuon and admiration for Stephen, who has produced a staggering body of estimable, imperial work. But as with all of us, there are good times, harsh times, and inexplicable duds that read as if they came out of our ass, not our soul. He is mortal, just like the rest of us, and one cannot get a hit every time at bat. How irrational and unfair it is, to think a guy who bats .310 is a wunderkind, but be disenchanted with a writer who only bats .850...if you follow me.

But, sir, to answer your question: you ARE the weakest reader link where this tome is concerned. No one else in the known universe likes it. Just you. You're the only one. Even Bosnian genocidal killers go to the scaffold with the words, "TOMMYKNOCKERS sucked," on their lips. Mummies disinterred from the secret labyrinths beneath the cliffs of the Valley of the Kings bear amulets that when translated from the Coptic or glyph, read: TOMMYKNOCKERS, ee-yew! The message being delivered by the Face on Mars is...well, I'm sure you catch my drift.

I would KILL to have written THE GREEN MILE or MISERY or CARRIE or "The Plant" or a dozen other King greats, but I would have to kill MYSELF if I had written THE TOMMYKNOCKERS. I view Stephen as a hero for not changing his name, undergoing plastic surgery in the seedy office of a defrocked physician specializing in bullet wounds, and moving to the Tuva Republic where he would spend his last years as a yak herdsman. He stuck it out, hung in there, and went on to write more swell stuff. THAT, in my book, is a stand-up mensch.

So, the answer is, yeah, Finn, you're the only simulacrum of intelligent life on this planet who likes that book.

Hoping this has brightened the corner where you are, I remain,

Yrs. in Christ, Lazarus J. Ellison.

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Wednesday, August 15 2001 16:55:10

Go ahead. Ask me how my day is going. Go ahead, fucking ask me! I dare you!

I bought "The Essential Ellison - 50th Ann. Ed." at Borders. On the way home, I decided to get some gas at a self-serve not far from the bookstore. I couldn't have been in the convenience store paying for the gas more than 5 minutes. When I get out...

The book was gone. Just...gone. Someone actually stole the book (along with a handful of CDs that were on the floor in the backseat). I mean...what the hell? This is NOT a happy day for me. On top of it all, The Red Sox lost to Seattle last night (God are they going downhill...)


So, you can guess I have this mixture of anger and depression. I could joke and say that at least this asshole "had great taste" in stealing Harlan's book. But I'm just pissed about the whole thing. Pissed and irritated and unhappy. I'd rather he stole the car and left my book/CDs on the side of the road for me. I hope this jerk is happy reading the book while listening to my Marshall Crenshaw CDs. If he hasn't tossed them out or something.

Sorry for the bitch session...man what a lousy day...


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 16:54:32

And not just a little bit embarassed.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 16:39:42


Yes, we are on the same page. Okay - now I'm really confused.


Joseph J. Finn
Chciago, - Wednesday, August 15 2001 16:35:17


You are a very naughty boy. *grin*


Please don't judge my silence as being non-interested in your discussion of gender. Personally, I'm fascinated - I just have nothing constructive to add. I consider myself male, and whatever other people want to consider themselves is their own steenkin' business. I might have rather strict views on the biology side of the matter, though. I once got into a rather heated discussion with a person who insisted that there were at least six human genders. Let's just say that I disagreed with her.


Alejandro Riera
Chicago, Il - Wednesday, August 15 2001 16:34:7

Delurking for a moment to share some news with you. Remember that story on Latin music I was working on that I bragged about a couple of days ago? You can now at:


The actual print version of the story will grace the cover section of the Chicago tribune's Friday section day after tomorrow (August 17).

Opinions, pennies, thoughts?

Back to lurking mode. I am being kept rather busy these days.

Andrew Rogers <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Wednesday, August 15 2001 16:33:9

Hey Gang,

After weeks of lurking in here, I can no longer resist the temptation to come out of hiding. Between hearing the tales of woe from the baseball fans (I gotcha all beat. Try being a fan of those masters of mediocrity, the San Diego Padres. Yeah, I know but at least I've been able to see a lot of Tony Gwynn) and the recent discussion regarding The Clash (If you fans haven't yet, pickup a copy of their box-set "The Clash on Broadway", two disc's of the best and the worst they ever recorded). It's been very difficult to fend off the urge to post.

There, I feel much better now.


Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 16:28:9


Trust me on this: Grand Mastah' H. Salt, Esq. is not, repeat NOT, the "gibbous moon tattoo" source to which you alluded. I, Harlan, have no better idea as to H. Salt's peppery identity than you. But I can ASSURE you, knowing the "gibbous" guy personally, that it ain't he.

Are we same-page on this one, kiddo?

Yr. pal, Harlan.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 15:44:58

Joseph: Hmmm...should we really be comparing Harlan's, ahem, EQUIPMENT to a flintlock? I mean, we're talking about an 18th century single-pellet firearm that takes a significant amount of time to reload. (pause) Wait a minute...(Don't kill me, Harlan.)

Justin: I agree with the suggestion of DIVINE INVASIONS: A LIFE OF PHILIP K. DICK, by Lawrence Sutin. It's a well-researched book, and it documents the heart-breaking life of a man who was a genius artist and a subpar human being. I'm generally loath to engage in popsicle-stand psychoanalysis, but it seems that PKD was absolutely haunted by the infant death of his twin sister, and spent his entire life in futile pursuit of various "Dark Haired Girls" as a result. Try as he might, he could never assuage his sense of loss, but that grief DID fuel the creation of many great books, WE CAN BUILD YOU among them.

John Q: Yeah, that GLASS TEAT chapter was probably the Stones article I was thinking of. Thanks.

Heather/Lynn: Right on. Everything you guys said regarding gender differences is pretty much on target. For the record, I do believe that there ARE fundamental differences between the sexes that go beyond genital configuration. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that the RANGE of individual abilities and aptitudes within each gender far EXCEEDS the basic differences between men and women; it all goes back to the dictum that you can never predict with accuracy how ANYONE is going to turn out, regardless of the subdivision of humanity that they were born into. And we're not even discussing racial differences, which, beyond melanin content and a propensity for certain maladies, are virtually non-existent compared to the gender gap. Christ, don't EVEN get me started on that little boondogggle of the mind...

Harlan: Ahhh...fergit it, I see you haven't even posted yet today. I've got a question for you and the missis, but it can wait.


- Wednesday, August 15 2001 15:38:14


P.S. Been meaning to ask for a while, is there anything you miss from the fair isles which you can't find in LA? (I imagine not, knowing LaLa land, but what the hey...) I would more than willing to provide for your indulgences....


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 15 2001 15:28:39


Well, you knew this was coming: "Oh, Lynn, give me break."

What you just said applies to any cultish mind-set handed down from one generation to another among primates; like with a religion, it creates a state of myopia that can't see any other way. No, I don't respect the "hunting culture".

- Wednesday, August 15 2001 15:15:27

It's here It's here It's here It's here It's here It's here It's here It's here It's here It's here !!!!!

Thanks Susan.... (And Harlan, of course).

Sorry about the postage - turned out more than either of us thought. Will amend that situation.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Wednesday, August 15 2001 14:53:21

Forgot to ask. Read this in a famous ballplayers quote book. I'm paraphasing: If the team is the Red Sox, is ONE player a Red Sock? Grin.

H with wings on my heels, off to kill toads.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, August 15 2001 14:29:44


Actually, my wife loved eating McDonalds fries (hey, it takes all types). She's a vegetarian, so was mroe than slightly peeved when the whole beef tallow story came out.

Of course, I did mention to here that almost anything she could imagine has a connection to animal products, but that didn't really help matters....


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 14:28:10

David~ The thought occurs to me that it's my sonnet, and pronunciation be damned.

Heather~ I'm 31. I've been warped since my first reading of Deathbird Stories at age 14 (1984, somewhere in there). And I am an only child although when I was 16, my folks adopted my sister (also 16 at the time) who is closer than blood. And I don't think the future generations of women feel quite as obligated to play into that game as past generations did.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Wednesday, August 15 2001 14:27:8

Why be at McDonald's?

Cos, right now, I need the money, and I'm encountering fancy restaurant jobs here in Wienerpeg where the owners aren't taking me seriously because I'm a girl or old or pick one. Laugh. I recently applied for a McBagel job (different from McDonald's, same concept) as a morning baker. They offered to train you. I thought, "cool" as I'm interested in learning more about fine cuisine OR baking. I was a foodie in the eighties just when all that stuff was starting. I read cookbooks voraciously then. Harlan's talk of restaurant dining makes me drool. Martha Stewart (though a bitch) moves me to tears. So do Graham Kerr and Paul Prudhomme, in case you think me girl-biased. Grin.

The neanderthal owner took one look at me and droned on how I'd need to carry all these heavy bags of ingredients around. Suurre.. all day long, I bet. He said he was interviewing and he'd contact me.

He didn't. That was less than a month ago. They are now advertising for the same job again. What does THAT tell you?


I've been inside McD's. I have a piece planned for that -- there are some OTHER issues about that place besides its boigers.

And I've seen the bodies; you're right. They tried to hide them quickly from me one morning, but I saw them.

Frog bodies. BIG ones. Grin.

Suck on that one.. eh? Laugh.

Off to Mickey D training. Yesterday I showed up to get 'trained' and they were short-staffed and I ended up cleaning tables all day. I waited a week for this stupid job. Sat through a four-hour orientation on Monday night where a swing manager read the manual out loud. Me no impressed. Grin.

Have fun kids. Leave the pink ones for me. I like the pink ones.

Heather, smelling like a French Fry. Feeling like one too. All soft and swishy on the inside, crispy on the outside. Yum.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, August 15 2001 14:11:30


Huh? "NEEmoSEEnay"? The hell you (or rather, some unknown pedant) say!

While I too was laboring under a misapprehension all these years (I freely admit I thought of the goddess of memory as "NEE-moe-zyne"), my desk dictionary does not countenance the suggested alternative, either.

It's "nih-MOSS (or MOZZ)-un-ee."

Which puts me in mind of a lovely -- or rather, delicately creepy but ultimately though slightly affirming -- short story by Robert Sheckley called "The Mnemone." Kind of related in spirit to Bradbury's _Fahrenheit 451_. I found it in a collection called _Can You Feel Anything When I Do This?_, which also has a fabulous, and fabulously funny, story called "Cordle To Onion To Carrot."

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Wednesday, August 15 2001 14:7:10


Well put! Laugh! I applaud you and your accomplishments. It does my heart good and I'm being sincere here. We need MORE stories like that. Smile.

MY prejudices? Nupe. I said that was an IDEA. Though I use tampons (more info than you needed to know, huh? Grin) I don't go in for much else in that woman's map. Never did. That's my point and my frustration.

It's real. It still exists. You know it and played INTO its tune well.

It's still out there. THAT'S my point. Despite all the talk; despite all the high-minded talk; it's still out there. And I guess cos I've been thinking about stuff like this, it's occured to me -- like a bullet through the heart/mind. Our related conversation about women being "dismissed" (to be brief) is indicative of that.

How unfortunate. Dat's all I'm saying.

I'm 44. How old did you say you were? And what generation did you grow up in? (By the by, did you say you were the only girl or the only child? Sometimes, as the only girl, I felt like an only child -- though I have one brother two years older and one a year younger. Both prospering yuppies. I'm the insane one. Smile.)

Thanks for your input, Lynn. I appreciate that. Smile.


Bill Forrester <a sanity break>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 14:7:7

We pause for a brief, unrelated quasi-Dennis-Miller-like moment:

In India, there were reports of Hindus vandalizing McDonald's restaurants when they discovered that the french fries were cooked in beef-flavored oil. What would any vegetarian or vegan or veg-head be doing in a McDonald's? Isn't that sort of like the bible-thumping televangelist who preaches abstinence and celibacy getting caught yelling "Where's the beef?" at the bachelor party in the brothel next to the Chippendale's? (smiling) "Hey - I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about! Really!"

(And of course HimsElf would wonder why anyone would venture into a McD's - period). We now return to your regular postings.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 13:54:43

Rob~ Don't want to argue the value of hunting with someone (I'm guessing) who probably has never done it and has no exposure to the culture, but you might be surprised to discover that the hunting culture is a lot more in touch with conservation and husbandry of natural resources than the media would have you believe. Which would you rather have, mass starvation of the deer herd in the Northeast, or selective culling to prevent such a horror?


The Finder <the-finder@mindspring.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 13:52:39

Outgrow cartoons?

Leave behind the entertainment form that taught me the comic timing of the double-take and the pregnant pause? That introduced me to some of the most famous pieces of classical music I know? That provided me with some of the truest belly laughs of my young life?

There's nothing to replace that moment of raw anticipation as Wile E. flips the switch on his fine Acme product... that look on Tom's face when he knows the stick of dynamite thrown at Jerry is about to transform cat into smudge instead... that annoyance over how the greatest assemblage of heroes ever seen is always one step ahead in thwarting the Legion of Doom, and yet somehow always one step behind in apprehending them... that instant between what Homer says and his brain's tardy arrival to the party...

Outgrow cartoons? To quote Ambrose Bierce, "Can such things be?

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 13:46:53

Heather~ I think you put forth your own prejudices towards how women are treated today with that very scenario. I admit, both of my very educated, very liberated folks (we're talking Rice graduates, both of them, my mother with two degrees in History and English, my father a Mechanical Engineer) who raised one daughter and tried to give her the best education they knew how. College was never an option for me. And music was what I'd been doing since fifth grade. So, the logical path there was that the whole computer thing (I started taking programming in eighth grade on the fringes of a GAT program) was a passing fascination.

If anything, the lesson that I learned were from watching my folks struggle through their own lives and try to follow in their footsteps. Both of the married straight out of college, my mom was a stay-at-home mom, and they stayed married even through a near foreclosure on their home and my father's many months of unemployment (aerospace gypsy). My folks will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next year. That is utterly astounding to me. And at twenty nine, the same age that my mother gave birth to me, *I* had already been divorced - not once, but twice.

Now, in reinventing myself to fit the mold that *my* world has presented (and subsequently stop trying to fit into their view of what my life *should* be), I have followed my talents and made a pretty good life for me. I have a career in a technical field that welcomes women (compsci), I have learned to tell the difference between people that respect me for who I am and not what I can offer them, and I can state pretty clearly that that map you spoke of is just as confusing and misguiding to men as it is to women.

As we explore the concept of balance between women and men, this will become evident, that the stereotypes of the stoic breadwinner, the heartless womanizer, the distant father are all just as damaging to men as the stereotypes of house wife, soccer mom, and bimbo are to women.

We each make our own way, in our own fashion.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 15 2001 13:40:39


To make three separate points:

How many among our contemptible species have written Moby Dick? A majority would be content in tearing up the book, recycling its pages, and using them to print currency at the mints.

Researchers only recenly found that, contrary to earlier assumptions of working in greater balance with nature, early man was as rapacious with his resources as his distant descendants. The mammoth alone was pushed into extinction in no time.

Between our infamous disrespect for the earth and our arrogance, not to mention what we've been known to do to each other, power is not a commodity we can handle responsibly; whoever possesses the greater end of it will almost inevitably abuse it (anyone catch Frontline last night on the Blackout crisis?). In terms of the greater numbers - not the Einsteins, DaVincis and Melvilles -
we are the most wearing, DEVOURING force on the planet. Only two outcomes await us: we'll either evolve past these traits or we'll get wiped out.


I don't regard myself as an animal "nut", as I'm around scientists - people with VERY high IQs, very focused and very good with the math - who are devoted to saving species we are so readily wiping out. I just object to the lack of necessity of hunting in this modern day; there was a time when it was the only way we could live. Now it's just a misconception of what's macho. Which is kind of odd when you think about it: "I'm cool because I can outsmart a deer or a bird and shoot it". Sounds kinda out of whack to me. No, most of those guys just need their asses kicked and I'll be happy to oblige.

I'm more fascinated by behavior patterns of the different species because it's fragmentery data, clues, about the existing model for evolution - why things took the pattern they did over millions of years. In turn, it tells us something about why we evolved the way we did, physically AND socially.

And, yeah, that Far Side is great. BTW, Larsen, I recall, was a bio major too, and, in turn, an animal supporter. So, again, being protective of the species doesn't mean you're a nut. You might actually be a person more rational than most. I think you're a lot loonier when you think outsmarting a dumb animal is being cool.

Heather <heatherlovatt>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Wednesday, August 15 2001 13:20:57

Two cents, noted, Lynn. That's one tact. I see the point. Here's another:

Men and women don't think alike? (perhaps a semantic argument, but) I disagree. Even my yuppie older brother taught me that, with his first serious romance. I may not have understood it then. But it's part of my gestalt and how I deal with guys now. Suggesting fundamental differences is a dangerous game. It's like saying blacks think differently, or old people, or even little kids. It leads to an easy, unthinking state of prejudice. I hate that. Even with my few private exchanges with people on this forum, I know that's not true. Even Harlan's writing, his topics, and his self-admissions have shown me that. I wish I'd met Harlan twenty years ago. It would have improved my state of mind, meeting someone like that who shared a similar attitude towards life. Am I gushing? "Fuck you, I say politely." (to quote a friend) Smile.

Men and women DO think alike, for the most part. They have the same feelings, wants and needs. But they often SPEAK in a different dialect -- like french and english. The thoughts are the same -- it simply SOUNDS different.

Why is that? Let's start with one idea. Visualize this:

A boy and girl, both eleven, are standing at the starting line of a race called life. They're both rarin' ta go.

The boy is handed a map. It is filled with four-color pictures and highly detailed, numbered instructions. It offers advice on pecking orders, shmoozing females, secret handshakes, and assorted fart noises.

The girl is also handed a map. Written in pen, near the top it says, "Optional, but highly effective: Follow boy."

There's also advice on how to insert a tampon, apply mascara, change the coffee filter, and smile -- even if you don't want to. Included are coupons for grocery shopping and clothing discounts.

At the center of the map, written carefully, in pencil, are the words: "Details to be filled in later."

That's one idea. Give me yours. That is, (to whomever this applies) if you're not afraid to HAVE one. Smile.

Heather, all a-titter

L. <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Lost somewhere between caffeinated and artificially animated., - Wednesday, August 15 2001 13:7:54

It was pointed out to me that "mnemosyne" is pr. NEEmoSEEnay, not NEEmoSEEN which is how I've always heard/envisioned it. And that just screws that whole quad up. Same with "allegresse", ALahGRESSah as opposed to ALahGRESS. Back to the drawing board.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Wednesday, August 15 2001 12:44:14

Lynn said:

>"Thought I'd share this. Don't know why, just had to write one today."

I sat here and spoke it out once. It's a little dense but that's okay. My first read, aloud, lulled me like a tot.

That's what words are for. Smile.

I'll go back and read it again, shortly.

Attagirl. Kiss.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, August 15 2001 12:39:28


Bringing a copy of Samurai Jack for me would be superlative, and most appreciated!

Oh, and out-grow cartoons? Heresy! I've recently started to appreciate the sardonic humor of Pokemon (watch it, and tell me that's not a parody of kiddie-palp cartoons).


If you're in the mood for some real gross-outt, sick, twisted and hilarious humor, pick up the new comic "Rifle Brigade: Operation Bollocks" by Garth Ennis. Funny as hell. Sox and Cubs fans alike can agree on this.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, August 15 2001 12:22:43

Justin: You're thinking too much. Your thought processes put me in mind of a person who decides not to buy a lottery ticket for fear of how his winnings might skew his worldview and alienate his friends.

It's the negative version of counting your chickens before they're hatched.

Now, your odds of something wonderful happening are undoubtedly much better than those of a person who buys a lottery ticket, but maybe nothing much at all will happen, good or bad. The odds of that are high, too. So don't be scaring the shit out of yourself before you've even taken a step.

Give it a shot, go for broke and go with the flow, and trust that you and she are grown up enough to handle whatever happens.

- Wednesday, August 15 2001 11:58:22

Rob--how do you like the running of the bulls? Personally, I'm always happy when one of those schmucky turistas gets an assful of horn.

And I LOVED "The Far Side" cartoon that had the bears doing puppet shows with the hunters' skulls.

Yes, I am one of those animal nuts (but not the peta veggie kind).

- Wednesday, August 15 2001 11:55:2

(writing "I will stop skipping Webderland for days at a time" one million times)

Geez, what a busy group. Catching up has made me late for work. I hope you're happy.

Joseph--if you still need "Samurai Jack," I'd be happy to bring a tape along to Dragon*Con. I've only watched the first third so far, but it seems well worth the time. I'm a big fan of Genndy Tartakovsky (sp?)--loved "Dexter's Laboratory" and EARLY "Powerpuff Girls." PPG has turned into a pile of crap and Dexter is long gone, but Samurai Jack should ease the pain.

"Are you EVER going to outgrow cartoons?" ask friends, family...well, NO. That's why I don't have kids. I will NEVER grow up. So there.

Rich <jamescamus@aol.com>
Raleigh, NC US - Wednesday, August 15 2001 11:15:17

A good Dick (no pun intended) biography is Divine Invasions. Even mentions a "spat" that Ellison and he had, though don't remember specifics as it's been awhile since I've read the book and am not at home to confirm.

Also, it's none of my business, but ask the lady next door out. You won't know it won't work out unless you start. So, fuck it. And if it doesn't work out you guys are adults and can handle it. Besides, time, like Bactine, heals all wounds.

Though I also find the raping and pillaging of our environment disturbing, I don't know that we're contemptible. I mean, we've done a few good things: Moby Dick, Falling Water, toilet paper, and the ability to sometimes know better. Granted, sometimes the bad things ("reality" tv shows, Six Days of the Condor, cell phones, and diesel engines) outweigh the good things we've accomplished, but we're not all bad. Anyways, I'm sometimes contemptible, but my wife isn't so I have to defend our species at least from that point of view.

Drive safe.

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Wednesday, August 15 2001 10:50:4


There be plenty of room...hop aboard the Cub bandwagon.

John Q. <johnq@adelphia.net>
Lockport, NY usa - Wednesday, August 15 2001 7:45:58

Re: Harlan & the Stones.

Haven't seen this mentioned yet - the Stones are mentioned in the # 35 1 August 69 entry in THE GLASS TEAT. Harlan is on an airplane quizzing a young lady on why she enjoys Tom Jones so much which prompts his recollection of joining the the Stones tour "...several years ago...".

Might this be what you were remembering, Jim?

John Q.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 15 2001 4:4:38


I was largely praising The Andromeda Strain for precisely that reason; I never read the book but I understood the film's objective. Though I think I know what you mean by "factual account" - I mean we never had an alien bacterium come down on a satellite and wipe out a whole town - the movie strives for imagery making the scientists seem diminutive and fragile within the underground lab complex, like smaller organisms within a greater body (one of the aspects I was saying this movie shares with FV). Crichton had a medical degree and he may well have developed the same imagery in his novel.


You spent HOURS training? Man, I better zap up my old karate blocking systems in case I have to scrap with you in the streets (I lurk about out there in the stillness of the night, you know).

I have mixed reactions about Peterson. I doubt he'll ever hit the note he made with 'das Boot'; y'never know, but that far exceeds anything else he's ever taken a shot at. It really is a great flick.

Phillip K. Dick is yet another story spinster I have to plunder. An extremely inventive mind; "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" has always been one of my favorite titles, literally. Much like Harlan he was very good at concocting cool provocative titles. Now it's time to get to the ideas.

I don't look upon hunting favorably, btw. Well, WOMEN, perhaps, but not animals. Don't dig it at all. Leave the poor dumb, innocent creatures alone. Our contemptible species has raped the earth enough.

Justin, assailing the board yet again
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 2:41:55

Oh, Rob, this comic book film adaption news might interest you: Ain't It Cool News has been posting bits recently that suggest Wolfgang Petersen (DAS BOOT, which rules, by the way) is planning on helming a WORLD'S FINEST picture. Ten bucks says it dies in preproduction.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
Tucson, AZ - Wednesday, August 15 2001 2:33:43

Great suppurating internal injuries, Batman! Make it stop, someone please fergawdsakes please make it stop! I am no longer aware, healthy, intelligent, observant, brown-eyed, five foot eleven. I am only sore. That’s all. SORE. GODAWFUL SORE! I just spent several hours over in East Tucson starting my boxing training. I very much look forward to spending the next half hour composing another lengthy Webderland screed, where the only muscles I work are the typin’ ones.

Harlan, I’ll now endeavor to answer your question about why I shouldn’t go over there and rock my neighbor’s very blonde world. Let’s say I go knock on her door this evening, and politely invite her over for scones and tea. She graciously agrees, and elegantly sashays over to spend some time with her new neighbor. We have our tea, and I lure her in with my whip-smart intellect and prodigious conversational skills, as I concurrently release suggestive quantities of irresistible Alpha Male pheromones into the air. She breathes them in, enraptured already by my witty bon mots and deliberately sensuous speech patterns, and finds herself becoming strangely aroused and fascinated by this beautiful, well-mannered, intelligent creature with the to-die-for physique sitting before her (we’re talking about me, by the way, in case anybody got lost). And as fast as you can say “denudate,” she lets her eyes go all fluttery and flirty. Then, before you know it, I’m spinning some kind of half-assed lie story about being friends with the Rolling Stones, and she’s stripping down and flopping onto the bed, and we’re making unspeakable nasty all night long.

I wake up the next morning, ears bleeding from the repeated bombardment of her high-pitched squeals and screams of impassioned ecstasy. And she’s still there. Lying right next to me! I mean, now what am I supposed to do? The mystery is gone, the conquest has been made! So there she is, and she’ll probably expect breakfast, and maybe even a good morning cuddle or something. But now that she’s ceased to amuse me, she has to go. But when I shove her out the door and send her on her way, she’s only going to take two steps and go into her own apartment. Then what? I’ll tell you what! Dead rats on my doorstep! Crank phone calls! Late night banging on the walls and other sundry FATAL ATTRACTION-style crazed womanness! And none of it is escapable because she’s RIGHT FRIGGIN THERE NEXT DOOR!

Alright, I’m kidding, of course. I don’t find that kind of misogynistic behavior amusing, but because I have been victimized by something similar in the past, I have to have a sense of humor about it. Which brings me to my point. Switch that scenario around, where I’m the one getting screwed over in some heinous way (which I am naturally suspicious of, as it has been my only experience), or things just don’t work out. We’d be stuck awkwardly next to each other for a long time. It seems to me that wounds would take a lot longer to heal when you have to contend with that sort of thing. I suspect that there’s probably a larger problem here, relating more or less directly to my automatic supposition that having a girlfriend is an inherently painful affair doomed to eventual failure, but that’s a whole different can ‘o crawdads. Point is- I automatically assumed that I would be dissuaded from going into Pepe Le Pew mode and prancing after this neighbor of mine because of the complications that would arise due to our proximity to one another, if things happened to go south in the relationship.

But heavens, you’re a lot more ‘sperienced than I, and if you don’t think it’ll be a problem, I may have to make a sequacious backtrack on this one. I suppose I might consider making something happen with Fox E. Neighborlady, but only if the opportunity naturally presents itself. That’s my usual M.O. anyway. Sit around and wait for them to fall in my lap, so it won’t be too hard to do. I’ll keep ya posted.

On the subject of King- I’ve been a fan of the man’s work since I was nine years old and read the uncut version of THE STAND (where were my parents?), which had just been released, as I recall. More recently, I was absolutely thrilled by WIZARD AND GLASS. It’s easy to crack on him because he’s so popular, and I’ve known people who enjoy his work but won’t actually admit to it. I don’t get it, but there it is. Screw ‘em though. The man will be remembered as one of the greats.

One last thing. This question I address to all Webderlanders. Harlan mentioned Philip K. Dick recently (in an albeit somewhat less than, ahem, academic manner), and it occurred to me to pose this question- Is there a good biography, or even an insightful, detailed article, about Dick and his life? I’ve read a number of his books, most recently WE CAN BUILD YOU, which I thought was a piece of genius. I get the distinct impression that the man must have been some kind of fascinating fellow. I just don’t know much about him, and I’m interested. (yes, I seem to recall reading on an Edgeworks dust jacket that Harlan went hunting with Dick once, or something along those lines) If anyone can help me out, I’d be grateful. Come to think of it, does anybody know anything about John Varley? His books include TITAN and STEEL BEACH. Another favorite skiffy writer, about whom I know zippy.

Peace y’all.


Mitch <mitch_3737@yahoo.com>
Hazlet (now open late on Sat), NJ - Wednesday, August 15 2001 2:24:18

As I recall, "Andromeda Strain" was written in a sterile, detached tone. This was intentional, since it was supposed to be a factual account. So the style of the movie was true to the source material.
The highlight of this year's GenCon was seeing the finest comedy minds in comics and gaming play 'Baron Munchausen', a game of competitive boasting. Among them were Phil and Kaja Foglio, whose new series, "Girl Genius", is worth looking for. Steampunk, mystery, smart people, humor, and Jaegermonsters. Good stuff.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 15 2001 1:33:42

I’m trying to wake from a royal slumber ‘cause I gots some work to do, so I’m gonna respond to a post to ‘rouse myself. Sorry about all the bleary-eyed babble:

For reasons that elude me I always confuse Tommyknockers with The Langoliers. I liked the latter, basically an overlong Twilight Zone. The former just didn’t grab me.

Now I have one. It’s been called puerile, absurd, juvenile. A friend ran 'Fantastic Voyage' on the vcr (well, I lied - that was ME) the other night, and contrary to all the charges, frankly, it’s underrated. It has no characters or character development. But it’s a special effects movie (making extensive, very cool use of the evocative sound effects originally created for Lost in Space! They would be used again two years later, but with more restraint, in the original Planet of the Apes) and as such I’ve seen many far worse written. I was able to handle the flat characterizations. For me, it had the feel of coming into the middle of this mission and I’m watching a lot of professionals at work. When we watch firemen doing their thing we don’t get involved in their personal hang-ups; we’re fascinated by their execution of procedure in handling the emergency. Likewise, in FV, you experience the mission from a distance rather than getting absorbed by the complexities of the people involved. And the dialogue, while not David Mamet, is half-way decent. The movie is done with sterile sleekness and polish similar to the later film Andromeda Strain. In fact, those two movies share a LOT in approach: quiet and subdued, with a deliberate air of routine. Richard Fleischer, who’d literally gotten his feet wet in the great ‘20,000 Leages Under the Sea’ a decade earlier had pretty much the same behind-the-camera policy as Robert Wise: don’t do shit to mark the movie with a personal style; stay as distant from the audience as the movie itself. Both these films celebrate technology, both these films exploit the theme of an organism within an organism, one ultimately trying to subdue the other. A theme, incidentally, I’ve always liked. In 1966 I think FV may have been the very first of the "sterile high-tech" sf movies. We all know I’ve taken a lot of fastballs to the head, but I think it’s a fun movie and as purty t’look at as the Proteus herself.


Two quick bullshit questions to blow our precious time (we’ll place these in the file labeled 'Pulp Pulpit'):

One, what did you think of Mickey Spillane as a writer? I’ve never read those hard-boiled noir novels of the 50’s and, on occasion, consider grabbing some of them.

Two, if you were one of those covetous studio heads - y’know, the kind you spent a lifetime punching out with our blessings - bound to adapt a comic or pulp character (maybe one endeared in your childhood) as a movie, what would you dig seeing filmed most that hasn’t been done yet?

There, I think that’s done it. Yeah, now that I’ve wasted my time AND yours I think I’m finally awake.

L. <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 15 2001 1:20:18

Thought I'd share this. Don't know why, just had to write one today.

in sand, i stand alone and watch the waves
the susurration of that ceaseless song
reminds me that the word can never save
the moment for which mnemosyne doth long

from keel to crow, from grizzled bow to stern
a light that would prometheus give pause
ex machina, ex corpus, how we yearn
to dance upon your fingertips and jaws

yet pass we back to back behind our masks
electrons tame our winsome allegresse
so luna's watery cloak in waning asks
the shoreline of its lover's sweet caress

eternal and unspoken goes the dance
so say your sooth and share a knowing glance


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
109 in the Valley, - Wednesday, August 15 2001 1:19:26

Joseph~ Um, yeah, basically.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Tuesday, August 14 2001 23:51:7

Am I the only one who likes "Tommyknockers?"

The Finder <the-finder@mindspring.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 23:29:57

Bob - I've always figured that a Red Sox/Cubs series would go the full seven games, with the final game unspooling like W.P. Kinsella's "The Iowa Baseball Confederacy" - 2,614 innings played in the pouring rain.

Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq - sup dawg, yo, check this - King is dope, I'm down wit that, I ain't doggin him or nothin cuz that Dark Tower set is da bomb, but yo, shoot the boot Grand Masta, cuz I got one word - "tommyknockers" - that shit was WEAK, it starts out alright but damn, it gets to the hood and all the wack things goin down with the townies and I wuz doin any old thing to stall it out. Stevie's usually Manhattan, but The Tommyknockers is Shaolin, you know what I'm sayin? Aiiyyyeee? Yo, and don't be doin a Rambo on Uncle Isaac. Not tryin' to put you in check, but Doctor A had more talent in his pinkie than you got in your whole mellon, and he's smarter than all of us rolled into one supersized gangsta - he earned his props straight up, and dissin him is lower than the CHUDs. Chill, GM. Be kool and bring the love. Peace out.

St. Louis, - Tuesday, August 14 2001 21:13:23

Rick - I also want the Cubs in if the Cards can't be. I am amazed that a team with as much individual talent as the Cardinals can blow so many games.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 14 2001 20:14:30

Jim Davis

I absolutely loved London Calling; it's been a while - I'll haveta start playing it again.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Tuesday, August 14 2001 20:9:58


I about bust a gut at your Scarlet Pimpernel imagery. But wouldn't the flintlocks be blazing even before the Mother Superior (played by Linda Hunt) shows up?


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Tuesday, August 14 2001 20:4:6

Thanks Lynn. Yeah, that's the same as the intro to "Jeffty is Five" in "Shatterday."

Ray, Rick, Finder, Joseph: wow, wouldn't it be something to see a Red Sox/Cubs World Series? I think that would be a sign of the apocalypse, but that would be incredible.

Finder: you mentioned about journalism sapping your energy for your writing. Exactly. That can happen. It's like I was telling Justin, don't confuse a career in "journalism" with "writing." They are two very different animals. Before I started to write full-time, I actually got more writing done and my writing improved when I had a non-writing job to pay the bills. When I switched to a publishing/journalism job, it seemed to destroy my energy, and I used up all my creative/writing juices in the job and didn't have any left over for my writing during nights and weekends. And the last thing I wanted to look at when I got home from the office was another computer screen!

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 19:51:30

Chris: Your suggestion to check out Strummer's new work is duly noted. I recently saw a performance by Joe's new outfit on some cable show, and was impressed. The gift remains.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 19:46:44

Harlan: Any knowledge I have of the works of Mr. Strummer and Mr. Jones is entirely due to my college roommate, Dave Rubenstein, who blasted them almost continously during my freshman year. I think they wrote the best damned lyrics in rock, and I search almost in vain for new bands that have their mix of humor, personal and political insight, and balls-to-the-wall agression. THE CLASH (UK or American version) and LONDON CALLING are masterpieces, pure and simple (or impure and complicated).

Um...TWO NUNS?!?!? I made out with a female rabinnical student, once. Does that compare? (Don't answer that.)

(I have a mental picture of you as some kind of Scarlet Pimpernal character, jumping from a convent window, flintlocks blazing in your hands, as some wizened Mother Superior screams, "Stop him! He has defiled the delicate blooms of Christendom! Stop him noooowwwwwww!" PLEASE tell me it went down like that. So to speak.)

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 14 2001 19:40:56

HEY! Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq! Shat up wit dat RACKET, ya mutha fucka!

Somebuddy! ANY buddy! SHRINK dis guy's ass n'send him off on the Proteus...FEED d'fucka to th'antibodies! Isaac will be thankful fer it!

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 19:30:20

Grand Masta:




YOUR MOTHER!(wait, that's not quite right...)

(As this whitest-of-white man painfully struggles to transcend untold generations of unfunkiness, Strauss' ALSO SPRACH ZARATHUSTRA swells in the background.)


(CO of bone flying through air. CUT to medium shot of space shuttle.)

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 14 2001 19:29:48

I’m out here living in Dodger County where all I have to boast of is a fourth straight setback with 1 1/2 games behind Arizona and then Philadelphia’s Brandon Duckworth adding insult to injury the other day with one run and three hits.

However, switching over, I do like the Yanks, long ago the mightiest team afloat, who fell into comatose decades, now returning to the top of the diamond.

In any case, I’ll be glad when hoop season bounces back - basketball is much more my game. Lakers, Houston and the Jazz...THOSE are ballistic teams to talk about.

- Tuesday, August 14 2001 19:9:36

Harlan Ellison and Jim Davis:

Since you guys are fans of The Clash, you should check out
Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros' albums "Rock Art and the X-Ray Style" and "Global A Go-Go".

Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 18:35:3

Get the freak on!!

Rick Wyatt <rick@rickwyatt.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 18:12:12

I hate to break up the gansta scat, but I just came across an interesting picture while going through some stuff for an insurance claim. As the Cubs have been a recurring subject on here, I thought I'd post it to show where my sympathies lie:

If the Cardinals can't do it, I hope the Cubs can. Its weird to love two rivals, I know, but I just got infected during my time in Chicago. Living 7 blocks from Wrigley will do that to ya. Plus, most years hating the Cubs is a little like hating that little kid with a limp that always gets picked last for kickball.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 17:29:20

Yo, Grand Masta, My Piscine Pentameterite.
Was that your beach I was standing on, under a 'gibbous moon'?
Was that your tattoo I was dancing to?
Made my mother blush an' you should be ashamed of yo'self.

Now get on back home, lessen your lady be standin' on the back porch, all Hail and Forlorn and Where-For-Art'n-Thou, missin' your sorry ass.


Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 17:22:53

Sup, sup,

Yo, yo, YO all you mutha fucka's check this shit out, aiiyyyeee? All I want to say is this....

That all y'all talkin' 'bout some Green Lantern fool who fly around with a green ring on the radio makin' me vomit my chicken fried steak.

And all this talk bout Mr. Asimov don't make no sense see. Asimov should of shrunk himself into an atom, take his submarine through my Phillip K. Dick and the Mo' Fo' wouldn't have a Fantastic Voyage, the brutha would have the Never Ending Story!

And NOBODY better be knockin' on the nastiest of the nasty's Stephen King! Any bitch that bitches bout the King will eat the brutha's boot!

But y'all know the KING of kings is our Masta' of the C to the Harlan of the E! He write stories that everyone can relate to. Word up to the H.E. dog writen' bout ghosts who see unicorns and shit. That's what I'm talkin' bout!

And let me send my love to my two favorite hush puppies; Lynn and Susan. The sista's of crime.

This ain't no Barney the purple dinosaur sista Susie!

Word out,

Warmest Regards,
Grand Masta' H. Salt, esq.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Triple digits in the burbs., - Tuesday, August 14 2001 17:21:1

Bob~ Check out the essay in Slippage entitled "Where Shall I Dwell In The Next World" which speaks specifically to the inspiration for "Jeffty is Five" and other of Harlan's stories.

Slippage: Previously Uncollected, Precariously Poised Stories
Book and Story Review by K.C. Locke
Overall Review by Dorman T. Shindler

Cookie~ Writing chose me. I've been doing it since I was old enough to scribble in the margins of my school papers. I've been trying to get away from it in various ways for a long damned time. Only now that I embrace it am I discovering just how much I have needed it, wanted it, craved it for so very long.

David L.~ Got the Ralph Keyes book you recommended it. Funny, it makes my heart pound just to sit down and read it. So, little bites. Good to know that E.B.White felt the same way. Will let you know if it helps.


The Finder <the-finder@mindspring.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 16:59:5

Bob - I would offer words of encouragement, but as a life-long Yankees fan, my tongue would burst into flame, the ghost of Casey Stengel would peck my eyes out, and a Babe Ruth bobbin-head doll would explode Alien-style from my chest cavity if I did. These, I am told, are the Rules.

Still, while I may not care for the Red Sox, I do have to respect the fact that without Pedro and Nomar, they've remained competitive. They could have chosen to fold without two big contributors, but they've risen to the occasion. Their situation is not impossible. Historically and statistically improbable, but not impossible.

And I believe Seattle is destructible, but woe be unto the team that faces them in the short series.

On writing - I chose writing first. I used it as a tool of catharsis in high school and still have ten-thousand pages of lover's lament and teen angst crap in notebooks that cause the shelf to sag. It was some time later when writing chose me, and I find now I can't go a day without scribbling something to someone, somewhere, whether for them or for me. I love it from all angles - process, structure, language, image, symbol, subtext. And however meager my ability to do it, I wouldn't trade the ability to string words together to tell stories for anything else.

As a profession? I don't know. I've gone the journalism route, and while I enjoyed it, I found it sapped my desire to write for myself. I think it's more the thrill of getting a piece of fiction published than the desire to make my way in the world as a writer that attracts me to the sale attempt - to be able to hold in my hands a book or magazine and shout "Look here at what I did!". I'm much more stoked by making films (for which writing comes in very handy anyway)- now that's something I would do for a living, especially if it could be done successfully and repeatedly outside the shiftless, bloated, unimaginative Hollywood system.

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 16:56:24

Bob Sassone: Yes.


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 14 2001 16:33:56

Alex Jay,

What I like most about the Phillies is Larry Bowa. I wish the Cubs would’ve made him their manager 6 years ago, then we wouldn’t have had to endure the reign of Jim (Rigormortis) Riggelman. By the way, I was sitting in the centerfield bleachers at Wrigley Field on a lovely autumn day in late September 1983 and watched as the Phillies beat the Cubs and clinched the division title. It was quite a nice little celebration they had on OUR field.

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 14 2001 16:8:24


You got nothin’ to chirp about. Hey, at least the Red Sox have been IN theWorld Series a few times in the last 56 years. The Cubs…jeez, I get agita just thinking about it.

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Tuesday, August 14 2001 15:45:20


Sure, anything can happen. Aliens can land on the White House lawn, George W could go on "Jeopardy" and set a new scoring record, Harlan could get a co-hosting gig on "Entertainment Tonight," and the Red Sox could win the World Series!

I suspect that Martinez, even when he does come back, won't be the same. Something tells me that this injury is not just a little temporary thing. And that's what ticked me off most about all this "This is the year!" and "Pedro will lead the Sox to the Series" talk this year: this is sports, and injurires can derail things very, very fast. Especially on a team like the Red Sox. Let's face it: an injury to Pedro or Nomar, and the Red Sox are half a team. And we've had injuries this year to BOTH of them (plus many other top players). Nomar is back, yeah, but...hell, even in a best-case scenario, we still have Seattle to deal with at some point.

On an unrelated note, I was just rereading the intro to "Jeffty is Five," where Harlan talks about Walter Koenig's son Josh (sometimes credited as Andrew), and I realize, wait a second, that's Boner from "Growing Pains!" I think I realized this before but supressed in my databank somewhere. Harlan, you say that Josh was the inspiration for Jeffty?

"Jeffty is Five" is one of my favorite stories.

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, August 14 2001 15:37:1

You wanna talk about baseball fears?
The Phils are in first place after a great homestand, Rolen is producing in a big way, our three rookie starting pitchers, Coggin, Figueroa, and Duckworth, are acting like they're named Maddux, Martinez, and Johnson ...

And it scares me greatly. Damocles' other shoe hangs over my team like a big ... uh, shoe. It's gonna drop. Whether a fifteen-game slump as in '64, a playoff death as in '76, 77, or '78, or a low-and-inside pitch by Mitch Williams to Joe Carter as in *sob* '93 ...

But still I have that hope; that 1980 fly-ball-popping-out-of-Boone's-mitt-into-Pete-Rose's, Tug-McGraw-on-the-mound, Michael-Jack-Schmidt-to-Larry-Bowa-to-Charlie-Hustle-double-play hope that blessed Nineteen-Eighty has infused into me.

On writing: Gotta do it.
Even when I'm horribly blocked like right now. The talent I have, no matter how meager, along with the stories I see all around me, demands it.

Don't much care for the Clash. The Pogues or Nick Cave? That's another story.

And hey--though I know that Harlan will be at that evil unnamed con which schedules itself to conflict with every WorldCon inside the Continental 48, I have to ask: Will anyone be attending the Millennium Philcon WorldCon at the end of the month? Perhaps there can be an ancillary Webderlanders get-together ...

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 14 2001 15:7:2


Hey, anything can happen. Martinez is almost back, isn't he?

If there's one thing I've learned, it's that baseball lends itself to weird comebacks and collapses. Hell, look at the Cubs in their wild-card race. The margins between teams are razor-thing! One or two games either way for any of four teams could determine it. And that's with about 45 games to go.

Unless you're a Tampa Bay fan (is there such a thing?), there's always room for hope. Unreasonably raving hope, perhaps, but still hope.


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Tuesday, August 14 2001 14:46:44

OK, OK, OK...enough of this Cubs/White Sox crap. Don't you guys realize that I'm going through my own disappointment/injury/historical pain issues with my team, The Boston Red Sox?! :)


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 14 2001 14:38:16


Soft spot? Hell, the Cubs could disband tomorrow and burn down Wrigley Field on their way out, and I'd dance on the ashes while eating a Kosher's Best. I just want the loveable loser nonsese that goes on in the bleachers and at sop joints like the Cubby Bear to end. For once and all.

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 14 2001 13:51:22


Ahhh... I love a Sox fan with a soft spot in his heart for the beloved Cub. I did indeed read that Dennis Byrne piece in the Trib yesterday. As for the Sox winning their division...may I kindly just say, let it go.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 14 2001 13:28:25


Smirk? Me? Hell, I'm hoping the Cubs do make it. Look at yesterday's Trib (or check it out online) for Dennis Byrne's commentary to see a perfect encapsulation of my attitude: he hopes the Cubs win it all, sweeping all the way, to finally put a stake through the heart of the "loveable losers" sickness that is infecting the rest of the teams in Chicago.

Oh, and make sure to look at the Tribune today for a wonderfully byzantine argument on how the Sox could still take the division. Considering that since the break, Cleveland is 16-16 and the Twins have taken a nosedive, we could still win this thing with a .650 record over the remaining games. Thankfully, our upcoming schedule is against weak teams (except for Oakland). I AM NOT GIVING UP. YOU'LL HAVE TO PRY MY BANNISTER JERSEY OFF MY COLD DEAD BACK!


P.S. Good to see Bill Mueller (Miller) back with the Cubs from that nasty break. Good player - hope he contributes well.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Tuesday, August 14 2001 12:56:5

Harlan and Susan:

You both have my heartfelt thanks. And, listen, you just hold out while I finish my degree (in design and animation) right up the street from you at Cal State and I’ll be back to contribute considerably more to the fund. If not for the STUPID medical hassles I had in the early 90’s I’d have completed it some time ago. And LAST year...ah, Jeezus - maybe sometime I’ll tell you about...the Year of the Damned.

(BTW, you should see how indifferent the IRS policies are about medical histories, even when they’d contributed to a period of unemployment; the cretins do NOT factor in cost of living burdens. My gripe isn’t owing, it’s how MUCH I owe from the periods years ago when seizures led to my loss of jobs. We don’t need tax cuts, we need tax reform. The tax system and the over-privatized health care system in this country are narrow-minded and corrosive; I’m steadily turning into a "progressive" Libertarian, although I think many among that group less progressive are just spoiled and greedy and had too many fast balls to the head ).

The $25 is a figure I believe I saw for ‘Sleepless’ SOMEWHERE on the site - I’ve forgotten where - for "unsigned" copies; that’s the only reason I inquired about it.

Once again you have my genuine gratitude.

In closing, incidentally, I’m a Clash fan too.

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 14 2001 12:15:22


Gotta wipe-off the dust, blow-out the carburetor, put air in the tires, and take my old "Mockingbird" out for a read.
Oh, by the way, you can wipe that silly Sox smirk off your mug now. Thanks.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 14 2001 11:43:46


It must be the vestige of my long-discarded Roman Catholicism that made me squirm a bit at your last little revelation. TWO? Well, hell, at least now you share something with Gene Simmons....

Regards and chuckles,

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 14 2001 11:36:41


Regarding the next-door-foxy-lady-type-person...go for the gusto kiddo. Fate has just dropped one in your lap.

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 11:28:1

Jim: I didn't think anyone else here even REMEMBERED The Clash. Bless you, my boy! I only LOVED The Clash! And the lines you quoted, myself having actually, in fact, had sex with not one, but two, nuns, has always been one of my favorite memorable bad bad BAAAAAAD (meaning superlative) bits of genuine rock poetry-cum-philosophy. Migawd, they were great!

Speed on! Yr. pal, Sparky

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 11:19:36


I saw your post re: financial quicksand. Twenty-five bucks is sufficient. Susan points out that this extension of a kind gesture might piss off everyone else, who paid the full freight. I adjured her to discard any such thought: all of us, including Susan&Harlan at the moment (which is why I even had to hawk these books), hit times of thin thread, when the sugar is light, and the people on this board know and like and sympathize with each other, so it seems impossible to me that anyone would find this anything other than an obvious extension of WelcomeWagonness to a neighbor.

And, Rob, I know how you feel about revealing flat pockets to those you hang with...how the hell do you think I feel, having to start the KICK Internet Piracy fund? Going begging. Asking aid for the rough'n'ready brawler Ellison. But isn't that what friends are for? When the shitrain sluices?

So straighten up and don't think a thing about it. (By the way, the signature was free, under any circumstances.) No such thing as an "unsigned copy" insofar as Webderlanders or HERC members are concerned. I live to serve. Thank ya, Massah, thank ya. Whup me yet again. I'se be gwan back tuh d'beanfield now.

Smile, kiddo. We'll all come out of this Little Big Horn just peachykeen.

Yr. pals, Harlan and Susan.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 14 2001 11:13:20

To my fellow Chicagoans,

So how many of us are reading or re-reading "To Kill A Mockingbird?"

For those outside of the area, the mayor's office came up with an idea of a ongoing book-series for Chicago, where everyone would read the same book and then there would be city-sponsored discussion groups. Nifty idea, I think. The first book is "Mockingbird."


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 14 2001 10:22:20

David Loftus:

Thanks for your comments and insights on jury duty.

Xanadu <X_a_n_a_d_u@yahoo.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 7:45:50


Yes, still interested - check should be arriving shortly.

Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Tuesday, August 14 2001 6:55:38

My exposure to the phrase, "Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy!" was in the novel "Armageddon Rag" by George R.R. Martin. There was a character in that book that was obsessed with Froggy the Gremlin.
It's been at least ten years since I read the book but I seem to remember it being a really good read. The basic plot was about a 60's rock band who's lead singer was shot on stage during a concert. Many years later somebody is trying to reunite the band by any means, fair and foul. The main character is a disillusioned journalist for a magazine very similar to "Rolling Stone" who is doing an article about the band and gets involved in the plot to get them back together.


John Thompson <john_20650@msn.com>
- Tuesday, August 14 2001 6:19:0

Jim, I'm glad someone else has the good taste to appreciate Ashley Judd (although, if you listen more closely, she's sending those messages to me, thanking me for this post). She's intelligent, stunning, and brings an integrity to even underwritten roles. It's a shame she hasn't starred in a movie worthy of her talents yet. "Ruby In Paradise" had its moments but was hampered by a story that wandered all over the place.

By the way, has anyone checked out the new Dan Simmons book, Hardcase? You'll be amazed that this is the same man that wrote Hyperion. Hardcase has been described as an homage to Donald Westlake novels like Slayground...and I wouldn't disagree with that.

- Tuesday, August 14 2001 1:30:4

ON WRITING (jeezus! I almost mis-typed the word. As an upfront: it's late, Beck's Dark was on sale, and I am not in the mood for lectures about that fact or my indulgence in said brew. Any further typos or idiocy---well---make your own judgements and keep 'em to yerselves. Unless, of course, you wish to extoll my brilliance. Yes, I too have been known to fool some of the people some of the time....)

I love to write. Maybe it's because it's a static form of talking that can be tweaked and developed (sort of like composising is improvisation that can be tweaked and developed).

I do NOT wish to write for a living, and we all know that's groovy. It's like folks who love music, but don't want to be pros. I can dig that (David). And actually, some of the best "fun" I've had with music is in non-pro situations.

Still, I love to write and spend far too much of my time thrashing out my ideas @ Webderland or Jazz Corner or in email, or in snail mail or in my journal. People tell me they enjoy my letters etc.

So my old man (oh, pardon me, my husband---my primary patron) and I were tossing around the idea of whether I could write for a living. In my Beck's-induced bravado I'm goin', "Yeah! But I don't want to be a serious writer, and I don't ever want to write about music." My man goes,"Yeah, man! You need a syndicated column,man! I see you as like a Red Green or a Dave Barry" (sorry, we really do talk like Cheech and Chong to each other sometimes. It's a bad college habit). In childhood, I had the fantasy of being a female John Gould ("Bert 'n' I,") or Tim Sample so that sort of homely humor dwells in my soul.

I love to read. I love to write. I've been told that I'm a good writer, but I have no desire to write except for fun. Still, I do love to write, and maybe I could make some pocket change with it or something). I don't like to re-write, but I can if necessary. I can work on a deadline (I can write about nothing like NOBODY!).

Maybe, if I lose my voice or something or can't get my piano chops up to fightin' condition...

Question: Did writing choose you or did you choose writing??

I feel that music chose me.

I feel like writing's trying to horn in on music's territory these days, but I chalk that up to hanging out with you intelligent and literate folks. And I'm faithful to my music because I love it and because I have my entire life invested in and imbued with it. My spouse knows that he plays second fiddle to a dream and a drive. He's cool with it and loves my love, too.

For now, I just write for fun and not for profit. But I respect and love those who have chosen that particular anvil (to borrow from Vonnegut...).

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 23:27:0


Harlan: Enjoyed your reminiscensces of da Stones. Your deft little character sketches jibe with the descriptions I've read in other bios--Charlie and Bill as the regular working stiffs, Mick as the intellectual Economics-school grad, Brian as the mingy little creep, and Keith as...well...KEITH. ("Wraith" fits him to a tee.) I haven't found a Stones essay by you thus far, but I DID find this inside blurb from the Ace paperback of SPIDER KISS:

"From TIME magazine,
28 February 1969:

'Harlan Ellison, a California freelance writer, recalls a
harrowing night in San Diego three years ago when he was
touring with the Rolling Stones. Spotting a young
groupie crawling along the ledge outside his second-
floor hotel room, he opened a sliding glass door to let
her in, but she slipped, fell into the ocean-breaking
her wrist-and had to be fished out by the Coast Guard.
Ellison had barely recovered from that night when
another girl walked through his door and asked him if he
was a friend of the Stones. When he said yes, she
stripped and flopped onto his bed.'"

I'm a little confused, Harlan--I thought you said that something UNUSUAL happened to you in San Diego. For a Stones tour, you got off lucky, methinks.

Joseph: I found a copy of GIVE US A KING! at the local Borders, and I play to read, yes, read it this week (a little inside reference there to Fox's style). The Gilmore book sounds interesting, too.

David: Thanks for the offer of the Booth interview. My mail situation is a little funky right now, but I WILL take you up on it later, ok?

Heather: You want some jazz albums to cut your baby teeth on? I'll have to go with my fave, Charles Mingus. All of the following are available on CD and are highly recommended: THE BLACK SAINT AND THE SINNER LADY, OH YEAH, BLUES AND ROOTS, MINGUS AH UM, and MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS MINGUS (yes, that is the actual title). If the Ming can't turn you on to jazz, well, maybe NO ONE can. Try THE BLACK SAINT first. Trust me on this.

Justin: Your neighbors honeyed limbs are crying out to hold you! This I know! Go for it, my son! (Of course, I also think that Ashley Judd is my secret fiancee, and is clandestinely sending me coded messages of lust and desire through her movies, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt, ok?)

Frank: Christgau's RECORD GUIDE: ROCK ALBUMS OF THE 70'S is the perfect bathroom book. That is NOT a put-down, believe me.

On a rock'n'roll note, I part with these words of wisdom from The Clash:

"'N' Every gimmick-hungry yob digging gold from rock'n'roll,
Grabs the mike to tell us he'll die before he's sold.
But I believe in this, and it's been tested by research,
He who f*cks nuns will later join the church."
(Strummer/Jones) copyright 1980 Nineden Ltd. (PRS)

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Monday, August 13 2001 23:23:29

Lynn and Harlan,

You have to admit, though, that a Green Lantern radio drama would have been pretty keen. Can't you just imagine Gielgud intoning "In brightest day, in blackest night,
no evil shall escape my sight..."?

Just a thought.

Say, has anyone ever heard Garrison Keillor's Wobegon story about doing a high school talent show where he did an over-the-top impersonation of Geilgud's Shakespeare readings? Hilarious.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 13 2001 22:50:9


Yeah, I'm still in. I've had to time my payment for 'Sleepless' according to budget allowances. Last year (aka, Hell Year) I went down in financial quicksand; now I walk the earth in debt. It's also the toll you pay when you're busy trying to finish your degree on a full-time school schedule (CSUN). However, I want to mail in $25.00 for an unsigned copy. I'll think about signed books later. (I hated exposing that on the board, I feel like I just waved my Speedo underwear around before the laundry was done).

I'll be firing off my payment on the 16th. Thank you for holding my copy and let me know if there is any problem.

Embarrassed but eager,

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 22:12:47

Harlan~ Uh. I was checking to see if you were paying attention. Yeah, that's it. Green Hornet, of course that's what I meant.


Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 13 2001 21:41:56

Justin: I'm sure I missed a lub-dub of systole/diastole here, but WHY do you have to not seek rapprochement with the nifty neighbor lady? Is she your long-lost sister? Are you afraid your garbage cans will have mutant childeren? Can someone help me here?

Confused in Cornwall, yr. pal, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 13 2001 21:31:22

Lynn: You misspoke yourself. You didn't ever hear a "Green Lantern" radio show, onaccounta there never was been such a thing. You heard either "The Green Hornet," which was around for a very long time; or you miraculously heard one of the few episodes of the short-lived "Green Lama" series.

Respectfully, Harlan.

Susan Ellison
- Monday, August 13 2001 21:18:27

Dear One and All:

Some book news updates.

Firstly, I still have 3 SLEEPLESS NIGHTS that have been spoken for but not paid for. Rob (robvrvangessel), Xanadu and Kevin (McElroy): do you still want your copies? If you don't, just let me know--no problem. If you do still want them, give me a heads up.

Secondly, WE HAVE A NEW BOOK IN STOCK! The elegant coffee table, large format edition of "REPENT, HARLEQUIN!" SAID THE TICKTOCKMAN (published by Underwood Books in 1997). Full color illustrations by Rick Berry. Designed by Arnie Fenner. Two editions are available: Hardcover with DJ @$20.00 plus postage ($5.00), and Limited Edition (signed/numbered/slipcase/with bookplate. Signed by Harlan and Rick Berry. Hardcover has DJ. $60.00 plus postage. Both editions have foreword and afterword. CA residents please add 8% sales tax. Although we only have a few, you don't need to reserve a copy online. HERC members have already been mailed a flyer. Checks should be payable to: THE KILIMANJARO CORPORATION and mailed to: Post Office Box 55548, Sherman Oaks, CA 91413.

The updated, 50-year ESSENTIAL ELLISON: We have arranged for current HERC members to get a special 20% discount. (A special order form has already been mailed to current HERC members.) In order to get this discount, you do need to be a current HERC member!!! If you decide to join HERC, I'll mail you the form. The special HERC membership prices are: Trade Paperback $19.95 (normally $24.95), Hardcover $27.95 (normally $34.95, and Limited Edition $120.00 (normally $150.00). Plus shipping etc. This book offer is thru the publisher directly, so please don't send your orders to us.

This special book bulletin is brought to you by...

Susan Ellison.

Peter Janes
London, ON Canada - Monday, August 13 2001 20:42:50

Joseph: Yup, it says right in the first paragraph of the introduction to the memoir that Asimov's autobiography was published in two volumes, and even names them. Somehow I misremembered that into one volume with the second being the memoir. Still haven't found anything about Elwood in "I. Asimov", but looking around the 'net I did find reference to several Bible- or angel-themed anthologies. Plus I found reference to a book that he edited that I'd forgotten about, "Six Science Fiction Plays", which happens to include HE's screenplay to "City on the Edge of Forever".

Re magic twangers. Being the child of the seventies that I am--which means I was the target audience for the first wave of arcade videogames--I always assumed that "dropped your magic twanger, Froggy" was an original lyric in Buckner & Garcia's "Pac-Man Fever". (I have a sneaking suspicion that owning the vinyl *and* the CD of that album should be classified a guilty pleasure, but I don't feel that guilty.)

And then there's Charlie Fleischer's standup routine from the Montreal Just for Laughs festival. Referring to the demonic mascot of the festival, he asked, "What is this? This is what happened when Jack Nicholson made love to Kermit the Frog at Satan's house. [as Nicholson] 'Dropped your magic twanger, Froggy.'" Twisted. :)

Celebrating the impending opening of the city's only repertory/art-house/second-run multiplex less than three blocks away,
Peter J.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
Tucson, AZ - Monday, August 13 2001 19:48:33

I return.

Whatta week. Forgive my lassitude, should it shine through.

After a great deal of hassle, one of the lackeys over at the local cable company apparently saw fit to wander over this afternoon to install my internet service, in the cavernous subterranean study that Spurious, my trusty sidekick, installed last Tuesday with his own bare hands. So- the day’s business concluded, I grabbed a torch and crawled through the grandfather clock, descended the hidden staircase, and emerged in the study. I proceeded to unfurl my laptop and read most of the Webderland posts I missed last week. Now, splayed out on the couch, I endeavor to hammer out something vaguely resembling a new post of my own.

First order of business- Bob and Harlan, thank you for your kind and encouraging posts of August 5th and 6th, respectively. Bob- to answer your question about what I’m going to be studying here at the U of A, I can say only this: Duhr, mydunno. Right now I’m primarily getting prerequisites out of the way. At the moment I'm listed as a “Creative Writing” major, but I don’t suppose I’m solipsistic enough to stick with that the whole way through. There’s a real world out there that I don’t think will give its blessing to that particular degree. Contrary to remarks made in a post subsequent to yours, there is actually a massive Journalism department here at the U of A. An ROTC lieutenant I spoke with a few weeks ago got her Journalism degree here, and has half-convinced me to go over to the journalism department with her one of these days and find out what it’s all about. But at the moment, the thought of being a media person makes me turn green and gag reflexively. I don’t know what I want to do or study, I just know that I never want to stagnate.

(Oh sure, I’d love to go out in the world and “be a writer,” but I suspect that those kinds of balls usually take more time to develop than I’ve devoted to them thus far, that’s for damn certain.)

Harlan- of course, you are dead on balls accurate (to quote a flick, my second favorite pastime aside from straining towards the memory of Valerie’s luxurious loins in the wee small hours) in your assessment of the Valerie/dawgbreath situation. People have tried to tell me that before, but I don’t listen to anything unless a famous person says it. Muhaha. Just kidding. Actually, a few people really did try to talk sense to me along similar lines before, but I would always just blow a big leaky snot into my hankie and blither pathetically about how it was his fault for treating her badly in the first place and he shouldn’t be doing it and it wasn’t right and moo hoo hoo, *honk*, etc. etc. But you’re right, and that’s all over with now. I sit and wait, hands clasped patiently, for those dream queens you were telling me about. May they arrive swiftly and in snappily dressed droves, to shower me with affection and all manner of lascivious nastiness. Amen.

When I first arrived here last week, a pristine signed copy of SLEEPLESS NIGHTS ON THE PROCRUSTEAN BED was sitting all by its lonesome in the mailbox, just waiting for me. My good buddy and constant companion those first two days. I wuvved it! Thank you, Susan and Harlan.

REVEALED AT LAST! WHAT KILLED THE DINOSAURS! AND YOU DON'T LOOK SO TERRIFIC YOURSELF gave me a very clear, precise understanding of some of the key reasons why the world is turning into a cesspool of imbeciles (to crib an expression I picked up from you somewhere along the line). I thank you for the ammunition. It has been catalogued and added to the arsenal.

So…this first week has been somewhat hectic, but everything has gone very well thus far. The one and only major conniption I’ve had since I’ve been here (and this is quite remarkable, when you realize that I had previously been digging myself an early grave with an average of five or six major conniptions a week, give or take a conniption) was when I met my neighbor, just last night. Now listen, I don’t mean to be demeaning to women in the descriptive sentences that are soon to follow. I have nothing but respect for women, unless they’re no good lousy two-timing sluts, in which case who needs ‘em? But otherwise, highest respect. But I don’t know this neighbor of mine very well at all. I met her for two seconds. All I know, ALL I KNOW IN MY SIMPLE PEON MALE JOCK BRAIN is this- woman be FINE! F-I-N-E. A “fox,” one might say, were one to be tasteless. What I’m saying, basically, is that this girl is the bee's knees. Trim, athletic, very blonde, blue-eyed, thighs that could crush a walnut. We only spoke for a moment, exchanging names and a handshake. I was very polite and laid-back, but inside I was quivering like a jostled serous membrane, quaking gelatinously as a siren went off inside my head that gave me some idea of what it must have been like on the streets of London during the Blitz. In short-

AAAAAOOOOOOOOOGGGGGGGAAAAAAAAAAAA! (to the accompaniment of much rapid foot stomping, and an entirely inappropriate level of gape-mouthed salivating onto my own shoes)

~sigh~ But alas. I know what you’re going to say, and you’re right, the damn rational lot of you! She’s my neighbor, and I have to leave this one alone. Oh, but it is a cruel world, isn’t it?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go wind down my day with some cartoons. I don’t actually have a television here yet (and after reading WHAT KILLED THE DINOSAURS, I’m not entirely certain I want to invest in a new one), but that doesn’t mean that I can’t shut down all nogginly functions for a while. I hear tell that the Cartoon Network offers cartoons on its website, SPACE GHOST and whatnot, via RealPlayer. Did anyone happen to catch the War Cartoons bit they did on the Cartoon Network a few weeks back? I caught the Tex Avery bit with the wolf as Hitler, using the story of the wolf and the three pigs as a metaphor for the war, complete with Mechanized Huffer und Puffers. Genius. We didn’t have anything like that when I was growing up, mind you. Back in my day, all we had were the TINY TOONS, jackassing around on the tee vee. Ten miles uphill in the snow, no less. It was hogwash.



Frank Church
- Monday, August 13 2001 19:31:5

Now we are discussing rock writers?? Actually, I would say that Robert Cristgau is the best rock writer; especially when it comes to the quality of the written form. Cristgau also seems to be a better judge of music quality then some of his peers. Coarse he does defend "The Backstreet Boys" so whos to say (smile).

Chuck Eddy is the funniest of the rock writers of note, except he has really bad taste. Har har.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, August 13 2001 18:8:49

Ray Carlson asked about jury duty. Been there, done that: served on a jury, was a plaintiff in a jury trial, and have done news reporting on jury trials in murder, kidnapping, and theft cases.

I served on a jury in Middlesex County, Boston, in that gray building you see regularly in exterior location shots on "The Practice" and "Ally McBeal." (It looked pretty run-down when I passed it by in June -- may be abandoned now.) It was a civil case -- woman suing a supermarket chain for an injury suffered on the premises of one of their stores. Two guys who did not expect to be seated on a jury -- an assistant DA from the next county and a court recorder from the juvenile court in the very same building -- were on my jury.

I found the process fascinating. We hassled over relative liability (between the victim plaintiff and the defendant), negotiated the award ... and came up with the exact amount the defendant corporation had offered in pre-trial settlement! The plaintiff broke down in tears of relief because she had "won," but from my point of view, she lost by not taking the settlement offer, in which case she could have avoided the lengthy trial process (it was four days) and having to pay her attorneys such a large chunk of it.

As long as you actually get seated on a jury instead of twiddling your thumbs in the jury candidates room, and I suppose if you don't get one of those endless and quotidian drug possession/break-in to support drug habit cases, it should be enlightening for you.

By the way, lovely as it is to be mentioned by HE, I don't want anybody to take the phrase "David Loftus country" too literally with reference to Lake Oswego, Oregon. For those who don't know, Lake Oswego is the wealthiest, toniest community in the state, and the only blacks who live within city limits are multimillionaire basketball players for the Trailblazers. I only work here: I toil in the beanfields for the good folks of Lake Oswego, which is six miles south of downtown Portland. I LIVE in the more funky neighborhood of inner Northwest Portland.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 17:48:58

Bob!!! Thirty lashes with a wet noodle! Your assignment, go to epinions.com and read a review or two. Sure, they pay dirt but they apparently have an Abuse Board for just such copyright problems as you mentions. The worst feedback I could find on them was that there was no moderation as to the responses a reviewer could get, and someone got their feelings hurt. Oh wah.

Again, thanks for being man enough to admit your mistake! ::still chuckling::


Bob Sassone
- Monday, August 13 2001 17:31:12

Yikes. I have made a HUGE mistake.

The site I was thinking of is Themestream, NOT epinions. I have no idea was epinions is like. Everything I said refers to Themestream and their business practices. Sorry for any confusion.

If you need me, I'll be crumpled up in my favorite easy chair, red-faced, hiding my head in shame, reading, embarrassed that I ranted in such an incorrect manner. Hopefully I'm still welcome here. :)


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 16:47:43

Bob~ Thanks again for the warning, tho'. I will pass the info and the opinion along, just as a head's up. I appreciate your candor.


- Monday, August 13 2001 16:16:51


Enjoyed your post re: physical gender differences in the brain. I recall an article on the subject in either US News & World Report or Popular Science which provided a report on physical evidence on those differences (although this was a couple years back, and I don't recall the specifics).

IIRC, some folks/groups took real offense. Got all out of sorts with the nature vs nuture, boys good at science/girls bad at science, gender stereotypes, and the like. Personally, I don't see where acknowledging this documented, observable physical phenomena should presume some isn't able to become proficient in a field - probably, as you pointed out, it effects what method would work best instead. However, one could postulate for eons on whether current methods in public education inherently disadvantage gender A for subject B.

Lastly, if you have the chance to see Pat Heim or read some of her material on gender differences please do. [Sadly, she mostly works corporate stuff, so I'm guessing her media isn't cheap.] For one, she's straightfoward and hilarious - that's HEE LAIR E US - while actually making *sense* when she describes certain conflicts due to gender based behaviours common in western culture. She also acknowledges that there's a bell curve to these things which gives people the freedom to accept rather than dismissing it full out which they don't fill the mold.

(Personally, I try to use the terms "general" or "mostly" on these topics, because there are always folks who fall outside the statistical norm; in this instance, whether or not the brain response explains any typical gender behaviors or apitudes I'm not well-informed enough to say).

I saw her speak at a company "diversity" event titled as - in true reverse discrimination yet PC fashion - the "Women's Summit". Minimally I found her material entertaining and eye-opening. In between bouts of red-faced, tear-inducing laughter, I recognized some traits as personal, others turned on the light bulb wrt other women I'd encountered.

E.g., I realize I am atypical for women in science/engineering because I am outspoken, extroverted, and aggressive. I realized other women weren't aggressive. But this material helped me to understand *why* they weren't, *why* they had trouble with male-dominated business. DING, on came the light.

Wow, gone on too long....

Bob Sassone
- Monday, August 13 2001 15:55:35


I can't really remember the names/URLs right now, but I think that there are many sites where you can go to get product/consumer/entertainment/whatever reviews in a "community" setting that can help readers. You mentioned "Where else can I read a review of a product that I can pretty much tell isn't sponsored by the manufacturer or have some other propreitary interest in seeing something succeed or fail?" Well, this is the web, so how do you know that the people reviewing don't have some bias or interest in the product? They could work for the company, or have friends who work for the company, etc. Who really knows on the web? At best they could be just horribly inaccurate reviews.

As for 10 cents or so a click: there are other publications a writer can get that much without contributing to such a lousy site. Epinions is rather infamous in the publishing world, and many people are warning against posting stuff there.

But, in general, my response was for David and other professional writers. Besides, if epinions is going to a.) pay contributors so poorly, and b.) screw people over by posting copyrighted material, then I'm never going to go to their site or even recoommend it. Ever.

P.S. Just reading the epinions user agreement: you keep the copyright to your articles and can do whatever you want with them, but epinions has the right to do whatever they want with them online as well (as so do their affiliated companies).


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 15:32:42

Bob~ On second and more in depth thought, epinions doesn't really come of to me as a 'professional' venue. It's one of those collective and instantaneous feedback sites that just happens to pay people for writing reviews. And yes, they do pay. My friend is banking about $50 every month. That someone is abusing this system doesn't really surprise me, but that shouldn't discount the benefits it does have. Where else can I read a review of a product that I can pretty much tell isn't sponsored by the manufacturer or have some other propreitary interest in seeing something succeed or fail. I never considered epinions to be on the same caliber as hard published reviews, but it does have it's place. Especially if the people who *are* writing their own reviews are talking to each other and fostering an environment of idea exchange. I think if you're looking for something more than this than perhaps, yes, epinions is not for you. But if you're looking for somewhere to vent (point by point, scene by scene, in depth and at length) on just how bad Planet of the Apes sucked, then if you put it up here, they'll give you chump change every time someone rates one of your reviews.

Again, my two cents worth,

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 15:25:0

Bob~ I had no idea. I will definitely alert my friend (who is a very talented author in her own right). But it's hard to argue with cold cash, y'know? Thanks for the heads up.


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Monday, August 13 2001 15:19:4

Lynn: hope you don't mind me disagreeing with you about epinions.com. David, DON'T go there!

Epinions is a site that rapes writers, pure and simple, giving them a dime or less if someone "clicks" on their articles. Not only have I heard a lot of very bad things about the site from fellow writers, it's not looked upon as a professional venue or publication. BUT HERE'S THE MOST IMPORTANT PART: epinions writers (and I use the word loosely) have actually STOLEN articles from real writers and posted it on epinions as their own! And gotten PAID for it! They had no editorial or screening process. Several friends of mine sent nasty letters to the staff, and the articles were eventually taken down. Who knows how many other works are up there, screwing over the original writers. Truly one of the downsides of the web.

(Side note: I might be mistaken, but I think they stopped paying for articles a few months ago, changing their business model and their site. You might want to check on that.)

Actually, don't check on that. It's a horrible idea. It's a lousy site not worth the hassle.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, August 13 2001 14:52:10


Your doggerel brought a smile to my face. May aspersions on the character of our northern suburbs of Detroit never pass my lips again!

Naw, seriously: a nice piece of work, and greatly appreciated. Given that your name rhymes with "leather," my efforts in return have so far been a little naughty. I'll see what I come up with.


Indeed, "Shot in the Heart" occupies a treasured place on my shelves. Gilmore is a fine writer who really captures the odd psychological battlefield that was his childhood.

And what the hey, I'm heading over to Amazon now to place a stamp of approval on your review of "Night Beat." I would add that in terms of Gilmore including his pieces on Michael Jackson, I was struck at how much of a tightrope Gilmore chose to walk in debating on whether to include that work. It showed a highly developed ethic that he was willing to share, always a plus in these days of slap-it-on-the-page reviewing.


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Monday, August 13 2001 14:51:48

Tips or Suggestions? It finally happened. I got tagged for jury duty next Monday here in the lovely County of Cook.
Any of you good folks of Webderland been there done that?

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Heart of Greyness, Burbank, CA, - Monday, August 13 2001 14:44:49

Harlan~ Okay now that you've sourced the "magic twanger" reference, I am all the more confused as to how I recognized it. I know my mom had sat me down in front of one of those humongous stereo systems (hidden inside a walnut console that might be mistaken for a sideboard these days, tuner dial the size of your fist, the turntable set up to play five, count them, five LP's without ever having to change a platter) and turned me onto our public library's collection of radio classics, including but not limited to, The Green Lantern, Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes, I think the Shadow, and a *lot* of other stuff. I wish I could remember all of it. But where I heard of the mythical Froggy, I have no clue. Must call her today and find out.

Loftus~ Check out epinions.com. They pay by the hit for your reviews. I have a friend raking in quite a bit of pocket change from them.

RE: Woman speak. One of the few things I have observed, and perhaps I'll go so far as to say I've learned in this brief life is that men and women think differently. All stereotypes aside, they think and process information and emotions in two completely different ways. I was so astounded by the simplicity of this observation and the continuing need for our egalitarian-obsessed culture to deny this very fact, finding a scientific explanation for this became one of my sideline hobbies. Some people watch baseball and memorize statistics, I gobble up everything I can find at the layman's level on brain research. Turns out, science agrees with my observation. The physical reality of information storage and chemical emotional response is different between the two genders.

"Le'me 'splain. No, is too much. Le'me sum up." Without getting into the gory details, men store information in one place in the brain. Women pigeon hole information. Which is why it is much more likely that a male suffering from traumatic head injury will lose an ENTIRE skill. Such as language, or motor skills, or his baseball stats, gods forbid. Women suffering from a similar injury will lose pieces of SEVERAL skills, such as part of a language, not the ability to do fine motor control but the ability to tie their shoes, and only portions of the 1948-1958 National League earned-run-averages. The wet ware is functioning differently in there.

Did you know there is a scientific explanation for that stereotype about men getting lost? Men actually learn how to find a place by the length of time it takes to traverse the distances. Go south for five minutes, go west two minutes, go south for two innings and you're there. Women on the other hand, navigate by landmarks. Get off the freeway by Solley's, turn left at the 76 station, go down past Guitar Center and the cleaners with the big neon sign, it's right in there somewhere, on your left hand side. Yeah, not quite to Lulu's.

So, knowing this, it makes it a lot easier to understand why men and women misunderstand each other, especially when it comes to language and emotion, and the expression thereof. It's not a tits thing, it's a communications thing. And knowing this is half the battle. I used to find myself getting upset with some male writer's portrayal of women. Heinlein especially. What, you can't be brilliant and not have red-hair-emerald-eyes-and-cleavage? Then I realized, this is a man's mind telling this story. And the perception he shares is from the other side of that line. Now in no way does my observation discount the fact that there are and always will be assholes that look at a person (or in here, listen to a person) and make snap judgements based on a few key pieces of information. These people would rather assume than think, and they come in both genders. I am a woman who works on her own car. I get grease under my acrylic nails. I know the difference between carbeuration and fuel-injection. And I can't tell you how many auto-supply guys just can't comprehend this fact. After receiving a fairly detailed technical question from my lips, they blink twice, turn, and respond to whichever male companion is accompanying me. As if I didn't exist, couldn't exist, as if I challenge their very understanding of the universe by having breached the sanctity of the Temple of the Combustion Engine. Alright, fine. I am not going to change your perception of the world by getting bitchy about it. I find the same philosophy tends to go a long way in the rest of my life as well.

We are two different halves of the same animal serving two different sets of evolutionary mores. Ten thousand years of civilization aren't going to wash away two million years of hard wired programming. And understanding the differences, seeing both faces of the coin at the same time, instead of dictating equality and political correctness, might just bring us a tad closer to a semblance of peaceful coexistence.

Just my two cents worth, take it for what it's worth,

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 13 2001 13:56:46

Tammy .. and others...

I realized, when staring at a slew of jazz albums, I'm overwhelmed. I once attempted jazz in a Sam the Record man in Toronto. There was a bloody ROOM full of albums. I didn't know where to start.

Reading a few books on jazz. One is by a musician. Should prove helpful. (He commented on roommates howling about his playing of jazz. "This one you're playing is 'number 3' right? Don't you guys just have 5 or 6 songs? And you just keep playin' them? one roommate taunted.)

Last year -- while I was living dangerously in Brandon, MB -- I worked on a music web suite for the locals. I went to my first ever punk rock concert. I knew the drummer. It was cool. I GET that music. At least I got his.

Having spent time in the lounge at the local bar where this web site music club held court each Monday night, I spent a number of months, writing copy .. small amounts.. but more importantly, snapping digital pics of musicians -- jazz, blues and folk (they had the punk rock concert elsewhere. They didn't WANT the punkers, the idiots.)

Here's one pic. This guy is Cham of the Cham Paine Trio:

Here's another. This guy's Jim. He does musical theatre:

This one's a blue's picker. He was a cool dude with a cool set of guitars. His name's Poor Boy Rogers:

Here are some punkers:

Mike Branconnier has a matinee idol quality. It's a bit unnerving:

This punker just came from a wedding, that's why the tux:

Here's one of Ken. He got me into this punk concert. He wasn't moving in this one. On stage, drumming, this doesn't happen much. Grin:


Here's one of the 'brooder', Justin. One Trick Pony is Ken's band, and Justin's the lead vocalist:

That is why I realize my interest in jazz dovetails with recent experiences. If you can offer specific artists -- specific albums, never mind, I'm in the library borrowing CDs -- that would reduce my overwhelmedness.



Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 13 2001 13:19:44

My internet access is a little limited this month. As I've stated. Don't interpret lapses as more than that.

Thank you, all for the URLS. I keep cutting and pasting and viewing them. I will comment where I can, if that helps you, Loftus. Smile.

I went to the library (this one's open) on Saturday and got a Charles Mingus Band double CD. I like it. Reminds me of a lot of different kinds of music I've heard in the past, particularly soundtracks. I was heavy into soundtracks once. Right now, I own about half a dozen CDs and that's it. Everything else has been jettisoned or given away. (I know you packrats are going "huh"? Funny..my DAD was a pack rat. Smile.)

Oh.. here's a trivial question. I'm sure you'll whip it off:

"He can soothe you like vanilla."

Who is this person?


Tammy TwoTone <Tammytwotone01@yahoo.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 13:17:9

Lynn: Sorry, my bad.

Heather: You go girl!


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 13 2001 13:1:51

Yeah, hi David.

My chronically relentless pathological ego compels me to point out that I specified all that data on Caidin several posts back. The question I was pursuing is whether his writing was stiff and moronic (I mean Joe Haldeman is a technical person too, but damn interesting; I had a good time with 'The Forever War' several years ago) or fluid and inventive. He certainly sold his stuff, but quite a lot of garbage sells.

BTW, I haven't seen 'Marooned' since I was around 12 (used to be on tv all the time) but I always thought it was underrated. John Sturges ('Great Escape', 'Magnificent Seven') had done it, you know?

Heather Lovatt <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 13 2001 12:56:39

Merchandise from: I am NOT a female; I am a human, being

Ellison Pledge of Allegiance

I pledge allegiance sur la plage of the
united state of Ellison.
And to the general public, for which he stands
One creation, had a dog, indivisible,
With liberty and mustard for all.
Pay attention!

Note to purchaser: The "Ellison Pledge of Allegiance" comes shrink-wrapped in a small cardboard box. Postage is extra. The pledge is a reprint of a hand-written notation by the author himself. Printed on high grade vellum stock and museum glass-framed in your choice of woodgrains. Author will personally sign the back on request, with the additional purchase of "The Essential Ellison" (See Susan for details.) Back-handed remarks for free for the asking.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 13 2001 12:50:30

Joseph J.
your name's okay
you need not put the "J." away
I only asked
as I did pass
what's so official about an initial?


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Monday, August 13 2001 12:48:40


(I wrote this introduction AFTER I wrote this piece. Call it a bit of process, on my part.)

Here's a think piece I wrote on Sunday. I woke early, started on it and finished it by early afternoon. I thought it was pretty damn good at about 3:00 p.m.

What's interesting is, by last night, I'd decided NOT to post it as some essays on writers I'd read by then; and some thinking I did, made me change my mind. Abruptly. Phrases filled my head like "So what? Who cares?" when I reread it.

But it was.. and IS important; if only to me. I've figured out at least THAT much. My questions are rhetorical. I'm not asking for an answer. I'll find it myself, thanks. Sunday showed me that much.

Confused yet? That makes two of us.

Title: I am NOT a female; I am a human, being

To start with, let me apologize if what I am about to say pisses you off -- and I'm sure it will. You may not 'get' what I'm saying; you may not 'get' me. But THAT'S OKAY, I've been dealing with this issue, in its more subtle or blatant form, for year. (And it pisses ME off, so I guess, in a way, we'll be even.)

Think you can handle that, partner? (note spelling)

Probably not. Grin.

Who am I? Or maybe, WHAT am I? Let's run down the common categories:

BITCH (no, that's a different word)
Or how about...
How about human? Better still...
How about human, BEING?

A little hard to swallow? A little 'tough' to take? Take small bites. Chew slowly. And fer chrissake, keep yer mouth closed.

I came to an online forum for Harlan Ellison. He's this writer type guy I've been reading -- short stories, novels, essays, rants, 'think' pieces. I like his stuff; I like his attitude. He THINKS about things. Important things. He's got emotions too. And he's not ashamed to use them. "Fuck you," he implies. "This is me and this is what I'm doing right now. I might change my mind. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe right now, before your very eyes." Hmm. Sounds like somebody I know. Sounds a leetle bit like me. Grin. Just a little. I'm still workin out a few bugs. And speaking of bugs, where was I? Online forums, yes. To continue...

This forum's posts are archived so you can read the conversations from the forum's inception, about five or six years ago. I read most of them. I found the conversations and subject matter quite interesting. And there was an added attraction. Unlike a lot of listservs, newsgroups and forums, people talked nice to one another. Flamethrowers had been checked at the pod bay doors. Oh, I'm not suggesting there weren't any arguments. There were a LOT of arguments; passionate exchanges on everything from movie trivia to the ethical structure of the universe. Even Harlan got in there with diatribes flying.

But people checked themselves. They separated the subject matter from the speaker. At least that's the way _I_ read it. At least, that's the way I read most things. I've got this strange habit of not looking down to check and see if my boobs are still there when I'm reading something.

I find the same when I go to movies. I've watched all kinds my whole life long. I never realized I was watching 'boy stuff' when I went with my family to see James Bond at the drive-in. I never thought of "Steel Magnolias" with Sally Fields and Julia Roberts as a 'chick flick'. They made me want to grow up and become a spy; they made me cry and know women can be strong AND funny. I wanted to be Roger Moore or Carol Bouquet in "The Spy who loved me". I thought they were BOTH strong individuals. (And both, EQUALLY, easy on the eyes)

So I floated along, underwater, reading these posts. I don't generally lurk on a forum, but this one seemed different. People wrote posts -- looong posts. They had something to say and I could have sat in the cyber-room and listened for a long while -- and learned things. I'm interested in learning new things, these days. It was fun.

When I drew to the end of the previous posts, I decided to surface. One poster, a woman with a passionate voice and seemed opposing group view, caught my mind. I emailed her. She sounded interesting. I agreed with her viewpoint though perhaps the group was losing her due to her strident tones. I'll come back to that point. It may have some influence on the subject at hand.

So I posted on the board. I proclaimed my allegiance to Ellison and was duly patted on the head, shoved on the rump, and initiated on the ways of garbage detail, like most professorial camp counsellors might do. Harlan's peachy-keen.

Then the boys came out to play. I ran after them, thinking nothing of my tone -- they often play games there -- and joined right in. One guy called me the new 'chick' on the block. One guy didn't reply to my email when I called him a 'putz.' His choice. Maybe I was outta line. Maybe he's got issues. It's a free country. I know the "goofy" speak and the "adult" speak. I've played my part well in most user interfaces.

Then something started to click. I jibed about the group having talked a lot of 'guy' talk -- which is a misnomer as _I_ talk this talk all the time. One woman spoke of being referred to as "female" by her significant other and how she got by on this forum, she did okay and I agreed with her. Then some guy got into an argument and I offered some advice by email and got no reply. He got the same advice from a guy, perhaps more succinctly, and seemed to take it cheerfully. My eyes began to narrow. Finally, some woman, a new inhabitant, commented on how nice they were at this place, even to women.

Wait a minute. When did the conversation turn sexual?

Oh. The minute I opened my mouth, I guess.

I read a book called "Kid Culture" by Kathleen McDonnell. I'd picked it up due to a conversation the online group had been having about the younger generation. The book is about kids and their changing cultural attitudes toward life and adults. She wrote a piece about girl culture. It intrigued me. She mentioned how girls are still searching hard to find a female voice, a female culture that gives an honest, authentic view of girls without resorting to stereotypes. (ie., 'being female' means NOT being male)

Women can go to guy or girl movies -- no male is going to discourage them. (But more tellingly, as I noted from my own experiences, no male is really ENcouraging them. I got a lot of head-patting as a young adult. It took me a while to realize this. It still makes me a little angry sometimes.) Women can write stories with male and female characters. But given the option, even women tend to make their strong, physically active, central characters a male voice. And the female voice is more subtle, often more quiet, of less importance.

Let me get this straight: I can say the same thing as a man in a crowd of guys and it's less important? All this women's lib stuff is crap, a passing fashion? I figured that, to some extent. My life experiences mirror this reality. As a kid, I also found the strident bra burners to be a bit much. I never joined any "women's" groups. I was never interested in slogans like "I am woman, hear me roar." I can still walk the halls of the local university and see vestiges of this 'woman as victim, woman as special interest group, woman FIGHTING...' pap. It's a bit off putting. I could understand men's disregard for what women were saying, sometimes just due to her strident tone.

There was a woman in a pop group called 'Parachute Club' -- I won't forget her attitude though her name escapes me. What she might say is this: "I'm an artist, not a woman. Being female has nothing to do with the music I'm trying to play. If you like it, fine; if you don't like it, that's fine too. But it has nothing to do with me being a woman; I'm a person first so don't diminish me because of my anatomy."

I noticed even Stephen King's women tend to be 'nice' -- in general; I haven't read all his books. This is okay; I like the way he writes. But for creating women role models, he's not much help. I found Harlan Ellison's females more self-actualized, more 'sexual' to put a cap on it -- perhaps more "real" is my point. It inspires me a bit more, is what I'm saying, but I'm sure if I tried hard, I could take it farther, having a little more of a '24/7' view of a female character.

What I'm getting to is simply this: Don't diminish me because my name happens to sound female. I've walked the planet a while and tried as hard as you -- maybe harder, given this decidedly 'male' culture we live in -- to figure a few things out. I've met a few bastards, male and female, and no one seems to have cornered the market on stupidity OR intelligence. I try to take people at their word. I try to pay attention. I still get whacked on occasion. That's okay, I don't mind bumping into things. That's how you learn. It might have been an interesting experiment to have gone on that forum under a male alias.

You can open your mouth now. I'm finished.

I brake for guys

Peg <Going postal>
Sleepless nights in my own little bed waiting to hear from.... - Monday, August 13 2001 12:41:56

Susan - have you received my check yet? Did I botch it once again? Been over a week so I hope it would have arrived at HERC by now.

As for all the other topics... better silent than a fool!

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, August 13 2001 11:59:23

A pleasant surprise to see Joseph J. Finn favorably mention Mikal Gilmore's _Night Beat: A Shadow History of Rock and Roll_. (Mikal is better known for _Shot in the Heart_, his memoir of his family and his killer brother Gary Gilmore.)

I gave _Night Beat_ a warm review in Amazon a year and a half ago:


and am sorry to see that no more reviews have been added since. (If any of you want to give my review a "helpful" vote, I wouldn't whine; once upon a time I was in Amazon's "Top 100" reviewers, but since I persist in writing about obscure and even out-of-print books -- and videos and CDs -- that not many other people are interested in, my ranking has plummeted to ... oh ... 189th now.)

Jim Davis mentioned Stanley Booth's atmospheric book on the Rolling Stones -- another happy surprise. I reviewed the Booth along with Philip Norman's more pedestrian bio of the Stones for a short-lived, long-dead magazine in Boston in early 1983, shortly before I attempted half-successfully to interview Harlan Ellison for the same mag (results on my Web site). I got to interview Booth for my review piece, Jim. If you're interested in a copy of the review, give me a mailing address.

Finally, Rob asked about Martin Caidin, about which HE had nothing to say. In the 60s and 70s, Caidin was one of the more technically-minded science fiction novelists. You may be aware, Rob, that one of his novels, _Cyborg_, provided the inspiration for the hit TV series "The Six Million Dollar Man." A bit earlier, say about 1965, he wrote a novel about a Mercury astronaut stranded in orbit, called _Marooned_. By the time a movie was in the works, the Apollo program was well underway, so the story was revised to involve three astronauts stranded in orbit in an Apollo-style command module (and I think Caidin did the novelization of this revised version).

The movie is a delightfully cheesy, big budget grade B feature. I was 11 when it came out, so I adored it. The all-star cast included Gregory Peck, Gene Hackman, David Janssen, James Franciscus, Richard Crenna, and in brief cameos as anxious wives, Lee Grant and Mariette Hartley. The special effects would strike us today as pretty rudimentary, but they won an Oscar at the time (1969). You can read my summary-appreciation at


I have little memory of Caidin's books -- I must have read four or five at least (dimly recall a sequel to _Cyborg_) -- so I suspect they are unspectacular, workmanlike, plot-driven efforts.

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 13 2001 11:53:15

I would listen every Saturday morning to "Smilin' Ed McConnell and his Buster Brown Gang" (I'm Buster Brown; I live in a shoe. That's my dog Tige; he lives in there, too!) And the antics of the invisible jackanapes, Froggy, delighted me. I was never certain if it was "pluck" your magic twanger, Froggy, or "plunk" or "plonk," but it matters not a whit whichever. I have been saying the line since circa 1940. That some of you tads even RECOGNIZED it just slices a smile from one side of my head to t'other. I say it again, youse a swell bunch.

Jim: I was on tour with The Stones when "Satisfaction" was released, so I guess that would be the '72 tour. TIME, it was, or possibly NEWSWEEK, ran a piece about the tour while I was with the boys, and mentioned me by name because of a scary and bewitchingly bizarre incident that happened in San Diego. I became close friends with Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman, and in later years Bill stayed here at Ellison Wonderland on those occasions when the groupieboppers' jungle telegraph revealed which hotel the group was inhabiting. Bill hated the hordes of screamers, and this was a good hideout. In fact, he left behind a very expensive stereo, the last time we were together, and I kept it in storage in a closet here for ten years till finally I called him in London and asked him if he wanted me to ship it over, and he said to toss it or sell it. I always liked Charlie and Bill a lot. They were reg'lar fellahs.

I also liked Mick, because he was a good conversationalist, had read me, and liked to discuss other matters than the transitory drivel most uneducated rockers substitute for thought. Also, he was absolutely non "new age" and free of that muzzy-headed neo-philosophical bullshit that the uneducated substitute for science or ratiocination. I liked him, and we spent time together, but he was a very private man, and we never became bonded buddies. Even less so for Keith Richards, who kept to himself and was a wraith as far as I was concerned.

It was a very different relationship with that little cawksugger Brian Jones, with whom I had a serious and vicious dust-up, from which imbroglio guess who emerged the clear winner?

Not this time. Perhaps some other time I'll tell that one. Suffice to say, I was not in the least upset when Jones died young and stupid. His passing swept a lot of potential meanness out of the universe.

I know I've written about Me'n'The Stones somewhere, but I'll be dawgonned if I can remember where. Probably some essay, or an intro to something or other.

I go. Or, as Desdemona said, Iago!

Yr. pal, Harlan.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, August 13 2001 11:47:28


Don't worry about it too much. Being cableless isn't that much of a burden (except for missing BBC America and the Strongman Competition). Hell, I'm halfway through The Sopranos, Season 1, on DVD, and the rest of ya are at the end of season 4. Playing catch-up and enjoying the hell out of it.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Can I just have coffee-flavored coffee please?, - Monday, August 13 2001 10:3:22

Finder~ Don't feel bad. I'm a year younger than you and I recognized the "magic twanger" comment.

Joseph~ Re: Samurai Jack. That really sucks. Maybe they'll get it out on video. I'd offer to tape it for you but my machine has recently gone from a tape recording device to a tape eating device. I'll see what I can do, tho'.


Redditch, UK - Monday, August 13 2001 6:25:50

Oh dear…A passing reference just before I go to bed and all is faintly confused. All of the following is because someone passed onto me (in the capacity of Tom Disch bibliographer/website chappie) that Harlan had once said a few less than kind words about Tom Disch and after the generous praise I’ve seen elsewhere from each about the other I thought there had to be more to it than that. Seeing that it all predated “A, DV” explained a lot. Good lord, Disch wrote a charming afterword to “All the Lies That Are My Life” so there’s no bad feeling on either side. It’s all distant, distant if somewhat interesting history:

”A Time for Daring” was a speech given sometime in 1966 about coteries in sf and how editors and fans were too hidebound to appreciate new, whizzy, slambang stories being offered to them and Disch was just mentioned in passing. Some of the background to the events at Milford, can be found in HE’s memoir about “IHNMAIMS” – After a very poor showing at a Milford convention in the mid/late 50s apparently (not least our man nearly drowned, while C.M. Kornbluth was less than gentlemanly), in 1965 HE again appeared at the Millford convention with “Repent, Harlequin”, thinking it would knock people’s, socks, pants and other remaining undergarments off. Only to find out that Tom Disch, pretty much out of nowhere, was now the current fair-haired boy – Judith Merril had given him an over-the-top-and-along-the-roofs-and-up-the-chimneys in praise review for “The Genocides” while Damon Knight was the author who’d originally commissioned the novel, both of them being leading figures at Milford. The story got blank responses from about half the attendees – particularly the Knight-Merril axis. Then it went on to win Hugo and Nebula. HE’s frustration with this comes out his speech where a few people get harder knocks than maybe they deserve which is compensated by HE’s forthright admiration for and advocation of Vonnegut, Farmer and Dick. It’s a fascinating piece if you’re interested in the build-up to “Dangerous Visions”. And that’s about it.

And you’re right Mr. Ellison: Writer’s never get to bury their mistakes. I’m just reading Faulkner’s early poetry. Faulkner’s turning to the novel was definitely poetry’s gain.

gunther <gschmidl@gmx.at>
Linz, Austria - Monday, August 13 2001 2:57:52

Alex Jay - it's actually "mea minima culpa", since it's female, just like in "mea maxima culpa". Not that it matters.

That said, anyone have an idea if, when and/or whether e-reads.com is going to be releasing more Ellison eBooks, or at least release the two they only have in Rocket eBook format (I Have No Mouth... and Gentleman Junkie) in other formats, too? Much as I like HE's writing, I'm not going to buy a Rocket Reader as opposed to buying them as plain old books from HERC.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 13 2001 2:6:58

BTW, my twanger always guides me through the storm; never fails. I shall find the book.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 13 2001 1:59:16

Anecdote? Anecdote? I NEVER said 'ANECDOTE'. It was that 'Prisoner' blasphemer Finn who said it. Yeah, that's it - HE said it, not ME. I am just a non-pathological irreproachable lamb incapable of words like 'anecdote', amblin' on in to get 'Memos From Purgatory'.

(Between 'Memos' and 'Sleepless' I'm runnin' up an Ellison tab here).

The Finder
- Monday, August 13 2001 0:56:12



The Finder <the-finder@mindspring.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 0:54:48


I thought I was old last week when my kid sister - whose arrival on earth I recall with startling clarity - announced she was having her first child in March.

And then you implored Froggy to plunk his magic twanger, and I said to myself "Hey, that's Smilin' Ed McConnell and the Buster Brown Gang!"

And then I realized I was born in 1968 and shouldn't have any earthly idea who Smilin' Ed OR Froggy are, and it's only through the grace of hideous footware that I know the name Buster Brown.

I need a lead helmet if you're going to start telepathically broadcasting this kind of minutiae...I already have enough trouble remembering where I park the car from day to day...

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, August 13 2001 0:53:21


Actually, I'm referring to Asimov's original autobiography, which was a two volume deal (and much more detailed than "I, Asimov.") It was published as "In Memory Yet Green" (1979) and "In Joy Still Felt" (1980). I'm almost certain that "Joy" has the story that I am remembering, but obviously I cannot confirm or deny at this time.

Oh, and my favorite Lionel Hutz episode was broadcast Friday night: the one where Marge becomes a Realtor (yes, it's capitalized - it's a trademark). "That house is on fire!" "Motivated seller."

Can you tell I work in real estate?


"Just plunk your magic twanger" made me laugh out loud for about five minutes. Hot damn, that's a fun phrase.


Actually, I don't think that you would pass on baseless gossip. I have a higher opinion of 'ya, based on what I've seen on the boards.

Hmmm... So far it seems to be hearsay, still. It's a nasty situation, for sure, that bears watching. I'm more inclined to believe it with the byline of Morrissey than if it was that baseball-hating Skip Bayless. Thanks for alerting me to this, and I'll be keeping an eye out.

You're quite welcome for reminding you of "A Man For All Seasons." Now go rent it and enjoy Leo Kern & Paul Scofield's acting. Damn, I wish I could write like that.


Sadly, I don't have cable. I watched a Samurai Jack preview that came with last month's Wizard magazine, but was unable to watch the premiere. Sadly, because the preview was fantastic.


Am I the only one who found "The Prisoner" a tad overwrought? Not a bad show, but perhaps it's a personal taste that I never really connected with it.


If you love good music writing, go pick up Mikal Gilmore's "Night Beat: A Shadow History of Rock & Roll." It's not just an anthology of his pop & rock writing - it's also a revisiting of some horribly complex people.

Oh, and the "Give Us A King!" should be readily available in any Barnes & Noble or Borders: the ISBN is 0-8052-4160-4. Has some brilliant paintings, etchings and drawings by an artist named Schwebel. In particular, look for the death of Avshalom, starting on 242. First his death, hanging from a tree by his long locks. Then the heart-rending mourning of David a few pages later. Damn fine art.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 13 2001 0:31:18


Thanks for the heads-up on the Everett Fox edition of the books of Samuel. I had no idea, and will immediately scour the local bookstores for a copy. (I may even--horrors!--hit a religious bookstore or two, if the need arises.)


Can I say how freakin' amazing it is to read regular postings from you on a message board? Given your past, very public, statements on the 'Net (the "Death of the Word", I think you called it), it is nothing short of largesse for you to write full-length responses to the queries of your fans. Again, thank you.

Now if you thought, "I wonder if he's buttering me up for a question of his own?", well...

I'm a Rolling Stones fan. Scratch that. I'm a Rolling Stones FANATIC. I own innumerable Stones items, including rare vinyl, videos (C*CKSUCKER BLUES, anyone?), and many, many bios of the band. I may be misremembering this, but didn't you climb on board for the Stones' '69 or '72 American tour? And did you publish anything about your experiences? The reason I ask is that I'm rereading THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF THE ROLLING STONES, Stanley Booth's magisterially great memoir of his time with the Stones in '69 (including a frightening account of the Altamont fiasco), and I'd like to read your take on Mick and Keef's little band, if it exists. I vaguely remember reading some antecdote in one of your books, but I COULD BE WRONG (popular saying here lately).

They seem to have inspired and fascinated so many great writers, including Terry Southern and Truman Capote, and spurred even mediocre writers to exceed their modest abilities, if only for the length of one book. I highly recommend the aforementioned volume by Booth, even if you're not a Stones fan. It may be one of the best books ever written on American Music, period.

Later, later,

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Monday, August 13 2001 0:25:47


Well, climbing through the briar patch of my boom box laughter (I've screwed a lot of things in front of a horrified Santa but never Eleanor!) and fascination it was very engrossing 'bibble babble'. Sorry it wasted your time but MANY thanks. Really interesting.

Sounds like Mr. Siodmak's skills were a tad uneven; but as I've said, as with you, The Wolf Man was always one of my favorite flicks (the presence of Raines brought a LOT to the film) and I had great fun with your 'Islets of Langerhans' years ago.

The Duncan I referred to was, indeed, the 1950's gent; I'd known him from 'The Time Machine' and 'The Human Factor' episode he did for Outer Limits (both of which I have on tape). 'Occams Razor' was the story I read about in a summary and seemed to have some very cool, inventive elements. Like Siodmak he'd also gotten some dollars for 'B' quickies in the 50's like 'The Neanderthal Man'; not very dignified but when you need the income you need the income. I still may check out some of those stories of his (if they're in any current print), given your 'thumbs up'.

Caiden's 'Cyborg' I was mildly curious about reading because I had something in mind for researching tv adaptations based on novels (Six Million Dollar Man in this case; I looked at the pilot only a few weeks ago and really dug Darren McGavin and Martin Balsam - the very best thing about it; it would've been worthless without them); 'Marooned' was from something he did too.

Re: 'The Prisoner'. It is my favorite Brit SF series, NEARLY my favorite among ALL sf shows (one, maybe two rivals). I recall Dr. Who is yours.

Sometime maybe you can tell us how you survived runnin' around with a gang in NY in your early days for 'Web of the City'.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Greygoose & cranberry, no lime., - Monday, August 13 2001 0:20:36

Couple of things:

Colleen, thank you most graciously for your research help regarding Black Friday. As soon as I get my computer reassembled I will most definitely be bugging the NY Public Library.

Tammy, I think you meant "Heather" when you referred to someone with a quandary about jazz. With a degree in Music, jazz is one of those blissful retreats for me, when I can indulge. Although the past few years (ironically since Stevie Ray's passing), the Blues have held more pull for me. And my music collection is severely neglected right now as it stands. I barely have enough room for my library.

All: Anybody here catch "Samurai Jack" on Cartoon Network? What a delightful gem of animation. A bit esoteric, so I understand why it didn't get a theatrical release, but DAMN. It took me awhile to slow down and get the pace of it, but I honestly enjoyed the hell out of it. Not your usual televised animated fare.


Bill Forrester
- Sunday, August 12 2001 23:59:35


Going on to something we can most definitely agree on, "A Man for All Seasons" is an immense joy. After seeing the film, it didn't come up again in my life until a literature class. After kicking around some ideas, and getting hold of a short film title "A Matter of Conscience," which contained scenes from the film and historical commentary, I ended up doing a paper on "Becket" and "Man for All Seasons." The year after I graduated from high school, I received an invitation to come back to direct the play of my choice. We'd already done "The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail" senior year, so Robert Bolt's work immediately came to mind. What an experience; the young lady who portrayed the Common Man was outstanding. Thanks for bringing back that memory.

Bill Forrester
- Sunday, August 12 2001 23:41:10

Joseph Finn-

Joe, I'm sorry that you feel I'm the sort of person who would make that statement without any corroboration. Here's the link to a column written by Rick Morrissey of the Tribune.

Jason Valdivia <jnvaldivia@ucdavis.edu>
Davis, CA - Sunday, August 12 2001 23:39:2

Waste of time?!

The line "It was as if I'd buttfucked Eleanor Roosevelt while Santa Claus looked on in horror, at an orphans' picnic" alone has made me a happy man for the remainder of my day.

Thank you Harlan.

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, August 12 2001 23:38:45

Geezus peezus. I have GOT to stop answering these posts willy-nilly and in sequence, because by the time I get done saying I'd never reviewed a "Prisoner" book, here comes Redditch Matt to quote chapter and verse. Which genuinely unhinges me, because I NEVER READ one of those "Prisoner" novelizations. Are you sure what you're citing wasn't about some other Disch item, or a general moronic observation not tied to a "Prisoner" book; because I do remember that I ragged on, and dismissed the ability of, Tom Disch after our first encounter--as noted by Matt, at a Milford Conference--but I sooon thereafter realized the fault was mine, not Tom's. I was an idiot and didn't pick up on his "voice" till I came back from Milford, thinking he was a doofus, and over the next few years was blown away by THE PUPPIES OF TERRA (aka MANKIND ON THE LEASH), ECHO ROUND HIS BONES, the spectacular CAMP CONCENTRATION and 334, not to mention the killer stories in ONE HUNDRED AND TWO H-BOMBS. At which point I supplicated myself before his talent, and begged him to appear in AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS. And I've been a devotee ever since. Disch is a remarkable, is what he is.

As there will never be another edition of that vile volume from which the citation comes--I never wanted it published in the first place, but the guy went ahead and did it anyway, and we've been animus-partners ever since--I am chagrined that someone reads me closely enough to dredge it up, but appalled at the naivete of such a dredger that he thinks what obtained in nineteen sixty-something was carved in Lucite. Remember what I said about how lucky doctors are...they get to BURY their mistakes...?

(And though I'm risking duplicating an advisory from one of you to Rob, in the postings I haven't scrolled yet...

(Rob, the true story of my time with the gang in Red Hook is not an "anecdote" you need seek out. It is a book, title of which is MEMOS FROM PURGATORY. A HANDSOME, MINT CONDITION, SIGNED PAPERBACK EDITION CAN BE OBTAINED FROM THE HARLAN ELLISON RECORDING COLLECTION!!!! Just plunk your magic twanger, Froggy, and go to the book sales page on this very website. Gollywogs, Sparky, be the first in your neighborhood to have this swell codex!)

Yr. pal, Harlan.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 12 2001 23:37:28


Yeah, I remember almost everything Siodmak had done; I think he did the film from his own novel (I saw it on the tube when I was around 10). But I seem to recall the film being not so great. 3 versions of 'Donovan's Brain' were made, all being rather silly "B" flicks. That's why, in the case with 'Donovan', a high-profile remake could be warrented - not that it would be any more successful judging by today's studio mentality. Siodmak's novel has been surprisingly inspiring; variations of the premise appeared everywhere in both movies and tv for years.

The real question is whether Siodmak's NOVELS were well-written or stilted or pulpish. (Remember, he also did - or at least submitted the ideas for - movies like 'Riders to the Stars', where rockets grab meteors with nets, and 'The Magnetic Monster', with poor withering, alcoholic Lon Chaney. Neither of which I've seen. But, to be fair, he did do a great job on 'Wolf Man', particularly in passages between Claude Raines - one of my favorite actors of all - and Chaney).

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, August 12 2001 23:12:23


I don't think I ever did a book review of one (or any) of the adaptations of "The Prisoner" series. Yes, Tom Disch did one, but I am a great admirer of quite a lot of Tom's work. I think he is an enormously talented writer. So that would definitely not be what you're thinking of. I knew most of the guys who did the OTHER "Prisoner" stuff, but I'm pretty deaddamn sure I never reviewed any of their efforts. Heaven knows which of the plethora of bad writers I've savaged in my years as an off-and-on book critic is the one you're trying to pin. Sorry I cannot help you more than that.

As for Caiden, Siodmak and David Duncan, I'll take them in reverse order. I don't know which "David Duncan" you're refering to, since there are two of them. The new one, who is currently working, and uses the pseudonym Dave Duncan (in actuality, the Scottish-Canadian David John Duncan) has always looked interesting to me, and I've bought quite a few of his books; but the only one I've actually read was his 1987 novel, A ROSE-RED CITY, probably because I knew Burgon's "Petra" and have forever been fascinated by that miracle of antiquity--which was, of course, the lost shrine Indiana Jones found as the repository of the Holy Grail in the third Indy movie. I really have no opinion on the "current" Dave Duncan, if that's who you mean.

On the other hand, if you're asking me about the David Duncan who wrote in the 1950s, the David Duncan who published novels with Ballantine and wrote the screenplay for George Pal's version of THE TIME MACHINE, I met him once back in the early '60s, when he'd done an "Outer Limits" teleplay, and I was working the show. He was quite old at the time--about my age now--and we chatted for a few minutes in a hallway at the studio, and I told him how much I'd enjoyed DARK DOMINION and OCCAM'S RAZOR and BEYOND EDEN. I liked his work very much. Extremely smart, extremely well-written; but he never made much of a name for himself, and I haven't seen anything by him in thirty or more years, so he may even have passed.

That takes care of David (or Dave) Duncan.

As for Siodmak, well, I got into trouble decades ago when I reviewed a book of his titled THE THIRD EAR in 1971. I reviewed it for the Writers Guild magazine, and I pointed out that many other authors have grown old without losing the touch--and I cited Howard Fast and Fritz Leiber and S.J. Perelman and Zoe Oldenbourg and Jack Williamson--but that THE THIRD EAR was a tired old dog that should've been put to sleep before being turned out to hunt. Well, let me tell you...! It was as if I'd buttfucked Eleanor Roosevelt while Santa Claus looked on in horror, at an orphans' picnic. Mr. Siodmak, whom I'd never met, but whose earlier work I admired greatly, was apparently mightily affronted, and his friends came after me. To the extent that one of them took it as a fatwah to drive me out of the writing business permanently. (One of the grislier stories in my bag. I eventually had to hire a private investigator to track him down, and when I did, I was astonished at his identity. But that's a story not to be told. At least not for a long while.) Now, I meant no disrespect toward Mr. Siodmak, who recently, sadly, died. Because anyone capable of conjuring up the magnificent script for THE WOLF MAN, one of my all-time favorites, which in large measure contributed to the main thrust and plot of "Adrift Just Off the Islets of Langerhans..." is a writer who I would have been humbled and honored to meet, to know, to praise. But THE THIRD EAR, nonetheless, was a honker, and I was talking about the goddam BOOK, not the MAN.

So. I enjoyed Siodmak's DONOVAN'S BRAIN and HAUSER'S MEMORY, and a raft of good movies he wrote; but beyond those items, I don't think he was a particularly noteworthy performer of our craft. Good ideas, mediocre skills as a writer.

This is why I try not to review my writer-friends (although, ironically, I've just handed in a long review of Ray Bradbury's new one, FROM THE DUST RETURNED, to the book review section of the Los Angeles Times...I'll know tomorrow if they will use it). Which is tough, because I know almost everybody, and with only a few exceptions, I like them, they like me. And if I review the putzes I despise, well, my agenda is no secret, and the review becomes suspect. So I review a lot less than in previous years. It's just too hard a row to hoe. Because I cannot lie, I cannot dissemble, and I cannot blow smoke. Writing is too important to condone duplicity. When someone asks me to read their book, they know upfront that even if they are my best friend, I will review it as honestly as I'm able, let the chips fall where they may. I can be wrong, or stupid, or inept in my criticism, but it WILL be untainted. Don't ask unless you're truly ready for that.

I do a lot less reviewing than in years past.

And last, the prolific Martin Caiden, who runs something of a factory, with others writing books for him bearing his byline.

Never read a word under the man's name, by him or via any ghostwriter. Have no opinion whatever.

What a huge waste of time answering THAT query.

Nothing but bibble babble.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Sunday, August 12 2001 23:1:18


Now this is TRULY weird: just this week I bought BOTH "Yours, Isaac Asimov" and "I, Asimov!" Both fantastic reads. I finished "Yours..." in one sitting. It not only has a lot of information about Asimov and what he was like, it also, in a way, will teach you how to live and write. It has quickly become one of my favorite books.


Forgive me if this is mentioned already: Siodmak wrote the classic "Donovan's Brain," which was made into a film in the 50s (I like the film, then again I'm a sucker for SF/horror B movies from the 50s). Haven't read the novel, though Stephen King (in one of my favorite books, the fantastic "Danse Macabre," a book I think he should update) is a big fan of it. And I too thought "WHY?" when they announced the remake (or whatever Tim Burton is calling it). I saw it this weekend...and again I ask "WHY?"


I was sorry to hear of Boudreau's passing, even if he did come up with that nasty "Boudreau shift" to confound Ted Williams of my beloved Red Sox!

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Sunday, August 12 2001 22:43:40

Mea minimus culpa.


Moron me. Bad monkey. Shouldn't post so late.
(I COULD be "more wrong", though--I could say that TERMINATOR was a ripoff of Danielle Steel and Robert James Waller ...)

I still stand by my assessment that the proposed "Clockstoppers" is a rip off THE GIRL, THE GOLD WATCH, AND EVERYTHING. Not that ideas are copyrightable, but the precis is a LITTLE too close to the book for Hollywood's usual level of comfort.

Peter Janes
London, ON Canada - Sunday, August 12 2001 22:17:57


"I. Asimov: A Memoir" is the second volume you're looking for. I just looked at the relevant chapters in my paperback copy (which are conveniently titled "Gnome Press", chapter 53, and "Martin Harry Greenberg", chapter 131) and found nothing about Bad Marty's becoming a religious editor/publisher. Skimming through other parts I find no reference to Elwood, though I do recall the information related by HE being in there somewhere.

Fascinating book, BTW, along with a volume of collected letters called "Yours, Isaac Asimov".

(To quote Lionel Hutz, "How about that! I looked something up! These law books behind me don't just make the office look good, they're filled with useful legal tidbits just like that!")

Peter J.

Tammy TwoTone <Tammytwotone01@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, August 12 2001 21:34:51

Hi, Lynn.

Regarding your quandry about Jazz: I was fortunate enough to serv of the board of directors of The ZONE Art Center, which among other things allowed me free admission to our monthly Jazz series in our performance space, produced by the African-American Music Society in our town.

Before that time I had been a casual listener.

It don't know if this is true for everyone, but experiencing live Jazz, in a club setting is something that a recording cannot convey. I was fortunate enough to bartend part-time, and slip away the rest. It increased my appreciation and 'understanding' -I think- greatly.

Maybe you'll dig it more if its live.


Rob <robvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 12 2001 21:16:39

Thank you fer that Matt. Evidently my reference to Disch was correct. I'm going to look at those sites when I have time to jump back in. I know a lot of Siodmak's film work (tons of it in the campy 'B' genre of the 50's) and I regard him as an inventive ideas man. I've always been a fan of The Wolf Man. But he also did novels and that's the tangent I'm curious about.

Matthew Davis
Redditch, UK - Sunday, August 12 2001 20:11:2

Th exact quote about Disch is: “Tom Disch, who couldn't write his way out of a pay toilet if he had to..." from "A Time for Daring", 1966 in "The Book of Ellison", after a somewhat fraught encounter at Milford.. Of course, Ellison did go on to say nicer things about the man in “A,DV” and “Medea”. And if you’re interested in Disch’s own assessment of his novelisation try http://www.michaelscycles.freeserve.co.uk/pris.htm. (end of self-plug - and what a pretty image that calls to mind).

I know Ellison has some good things to say about Siodmak as the screenwriter of “The Wolf Man” but does anyone know what the Ellison-Siodmak foofaraw is hinted at about half-way down this page: http://www.ansible.demon.co.uk/cc/cc73.html ?

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 12 2001 16:15:39

You GOT that Jay? HUH?

I think we oughtta bronze "You couldn't be more wrong" for perpetuity...bearing in mind we'd have to fight over whose wall to hang it on. We may have to take turns.

Harlan, I has a question. Yer welcome to field it or pass on it. You're known for your candor on all fronts. One time I read your assessment of a writer who'd done a novelization of The Prisoner series (was that Thomas Disch? That doesn't sound right). In essence he was talentless.

Well, over time I'd seen some interesting efforts by writers relatively obscure. Three, specifically, I'd been rather curious about (time, however, dictates who we decide to prioritize on our reading lists; I haven't had a chance to find the stories by these people. I just read ABOUT them). David Duncan, Martin Caidin, Curt Siodmak. Did you feel any of these people had some weight in talent?

In many areas I often get curious about the obscure.

Interestingly, our recent online dialogue stirred the inspiration in me to snatch up your early Web of the City. Metaphorically, it echoes the appurtenant angst (Incidentally, I've wondered about the story of how you went around with a gang as a young writer to get material. How'd you do it without getting your head caved in as soon as the thugs had met you? You probably related it, but as you can see I never found the anecdote).

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, August 12 2001 14:45:14

Alex Jay:

You won't get an answer from Gale Anne Hurd, because you've got your facts all wrong. As a wise man once NEVER said: "You couldn't be more wrong."

The "Brillo" lawsuit had nothing to do with Hurd, or Cameron, or Hemdale. It was against ABC-TV and Paramount and a slimebag named Terry Keegan, years before Cameron ever came on the scene.
The ripoff was the ABC/Paramount tv series "Future Cop."

And "Terminator" was not stolen from "Demon with a Glass Hand," it was a ripoff of my OTHER Outer Limits script, "Soldier."

And, in truth, Hurd was probably the least culpable of all involved. She was enthralled with Cameron, and if she knew he'd copped my work, well, she thought (briefly, and at that time) he walked on water.

So, I suspect you'll only get a confused stare, if anything at all, because you've bollixed all the different incidents, and neither she nor the people running the website (who probably have no memory beyond a year ago, anyway) will be totally confused by your query.

Sorry, kiddo.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 12 2001 5:57:3

If Burton’s ‘Apes’ HAD been a "reinterpretation", to ME, it should have looked and 'felt' entirely different from the original; but it didn’t. And I knew from the first time I read about the project that it wouldn’t be (my reaction from the first day it was announced they'd remake 'Apes' was, "what for?"). So I knew it was to cash in on a famous title. They’re using the word "reinterpretation" euphemistically. (Normally, I would say stay closer to the novel instead of the original film, but I understand Boulle's book is rather mediocre - the reason Serling and company had taken liberties with it to begin with. A more original angle to remaking Apes, ironically, might have been in turning back to Serling's original treatment wherein the world of the apes is a modern setting; now THAT would be a reinterpretation. Hell, in the legendary shadow of Rod Serling, Burton had nothing but hacks to assemble an embezzled script).

Giger was the REAL star of ‘Alien’; I like his stuff too.

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Sunday, August 12 2001 5:48:53

Just thought some of you might be interested in a post I wrote on the misc.writing newsgroup, in response to a solicitation post:

The solicitor sez:
"Hi Folks!

Here's your chance to submit ONE question for our cover interview with ...

(elided material)

I sez: "Yeah--I'd like to ask her ..."

Contiuing what the solicitor said: "Hurd's latest film is the upcoming sci-fi adventure "Clockstoppers" (a young man comes face to face with the greatest challenge of his life. Until now, Zak Gibbs' greatest challenge has been to find a way to buy a car. But when he discovers an odd wristwatch amidst his father's various invention and slips it on -- something very strange happens. The world around him seems to come to a stop, everything and everybody frozen in time. Zak quickly learns how to manipulate the device and he and his quick-witted and beautiful new friend, Francesca, start to have some real fun. But Zak and Francesca soon find out they are not alone in "Hypertime." Someone else is there and he wants the watch. When Zak's father is kidnapped, Zak must risk everything to save him -- and the world."

Again, I sez: "... to ask her if she's crediting John D. MacDonald's novel THE GIRL, THE GOLD WATCH, AND EVERYTHING as the story's interpretation, or whether they'll have to pay off JDM's estate, as they had to pay off Harlan Ellison and Ben Bova for their novella "Brillo" (and Ellison's "Demon With a Glass Hand") 's inspiration of THE TERMINATOR?"

Anyone think I'll get an answer?

cavalaxis <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, August 12 2001 2:51:53

Remakes of classics should offer new interpretations, or reinterpretations of the same story. Like a band doing a cover of a classic. Either they should make it their own or do it up proper with respect for the original. P.o.t.A. did neither. It wasn't a particularly inspirational retelling nor did it pay much beyond token lip service to the original.

Re: Alien, the two original sources that you spoke of, Rob, were unknown to me at the time I saw the flick. I think that it may have give voice and vision to Giger's two-dimensional organic traumas with perhaps a frame story from somewhere else, but the collective 'reinterpretation' made it an entirely new story altogether.

Having long been a fan of Giger's work, although not a devoted collector, I can appreciate a film maker's desire to give that third dimension to his art. "Species" being another (pitiful in my estimation) example. However, in my not-so-humble opinion, I think the Wachowski Brother's The Matrix (or at least the images of humans as living batteries for the machines) came a lot closer to the universe that I imagine Giger has a personal window on. To view his art is to have a glimpse of backstage, behind the scenes of Lovecraft's tales.

Posting too late again, I fear. If it makes no sense, blame it on hour.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca USA - Sunday, August 12 2001 1:49:37

...AND I do realize 'It' was from A.E. Van Vogt's 'Voyage of the Space Beagle', though my suspicion is that 'It' was the basis for 'Alien' and the Van Vogt story was the basis for 'It'.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 12 2001 1:38:28

I was too much of a purist devoted to the original Franklyn Schaffner 'Apes' classic to bother seeing it; I knew what its weaknesses would be right from its inception. It's just another easy quick buck. Burton's been missing the plate with his last few flicks. For me, anyway, this 'remaking' trip has become an annoying syndrome (particularly once it befouls classics; if they have to do remakes they should at least chase down movies that were bad but with great potential. 'Alien' is an example of that, its source being 'It, The Terror from Beyond Space').

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, August 12 2001 1:33:0

Re: Planet of the Apes. Tim Burton should be ashamed of himself. Costumes do not make a movie.

Pouting because I can't go to Atlanta.


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Saturday, August 11 2001 22:17:33

Not to get off on a completely different point (OK, maybe a little), but has anyone seen the new Planet of the Apes? Stupid ending. Doh! Wanted to see what everyone else thought.

Jeff Homes <thequicksilv...aw, forget it>
- Saturday, August 11 2001 20:45:19

Bonanza? Sequel? Uh, oh--I think somebody gave in to peer pressure. ("PAX network: the P stands for pot!")


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Saturday, August 11 2001 20:25:23

Hey, full kudos to Barry Bonds. He is now the fastest player to reach home runs, and he is the oldest player (at 37 yearsm 18 days) to hit 50 homers in a season. Damn, gotta love that sports medicine.

And, of course, he did that in a win over the evil Cubs. May they burn in hell. Though, of coursem in a higher and less painful hell than the Indians. Hey, Harlan! I'll be the one at Dragon*Con in the White Sox cap.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Saturday, August 11 2001 19:37:34


Why the fuck does the PAX network feel the need to have a Bonanza sequel series this fall? Bunch of money-grubbing pseudo-Christian anti-quality nutbars. God, that pisses me off. STOP MAKING SEQUELS AND REMAKES.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Saturday, August 11 2001 18:51:17

Okay, so I just finished watching "A Man For All Seasons," and I have a few comments:

1) To quote the Winona Ryder character in "South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut": Like, wow, man. I had forgotten how incredible of a movie this is. I was inspired to watch it again by a New York Times article on from a series of watching movies with the director who has been influenced by that movie. Kevin Smith, who is obviously more text-oriented than your average director, chose "A Man For All Seasons." The script is so beautiful and so tearing it makes you weep.

2) It's fascinating to see actors I admire as they were back in 1966. Particularly Paul Scofied (who should have been nominated for his Judge Danforth in "The Crucible") and John Hurt as Richard Rich. Not to mention a creepy turn by Leo McKren, who I only knew from Rumple of the Bailey, as Cromwell. Hell, and Vanessa Redgrave, who has maybe two lines as Anne Boleyn - is it wrong that I had the thought "Man, she was hot!"

3) Zimmerman is a director who knew how to get out of the way of the text. I think he learned that painful lesson in the disastrous adaptation of Oklahoma! to the screen. "Man For All Seasons" is not a flashy movie - it's a lot of wide and two-person cuts, with a huge amount of dialogue that is given it's proper place on screen, without distracting visual touches or extraneous reaction shots (hell, we know these characters well enough to know what their reaction will be). I love that he has that amount of trust in the script. Note that Zimmerman also directed the best adaption of an action novel, in "The Day of the Jackal."

Any thoughts?


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Saturday, August 11 2001 14:44:48


Lord, that White House sure takes a lot o' wear and tear.

Hey..I'm still interested in the courses you take and other such questions. My internet access is on LOW ration this month so I'm gonna be in and out.

Sigh. I'm even contemplating a job at Toadburgers. Sigh. Ah well, how best to understand the breed than to squat down there with em. Smile.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Saturday, August 11 2001 14:39:53


Yes. I know. I noticed the extra letter "e" AFTER I posted.

Sorry. Smile.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Saturday, August 11 2001 14:36:56


You know, I might be confusing Bad Marty and Roger Elwood, but my rembarance is that Bad Marty did drop out of sight, but that word had come back to Mr. Asimov years later that he was in the dregs of religious publishing. Unfortunately, I have not a copy of Mr. Asimov's original autobiography in front of me, so I just can't say for certain. Anyone have that? Second volume, I believe.

Good Marty, by the way, I maintain has brought more people my age into appreciation of writing than any school. His anthologies are almost always superb, and they cover a great range of age groups. I'd lay down money that many a child has been wandering among the fiction shelves in a library and, rather than grabbing a big novel, grab a collection of short stories edited by Good Marty.

Okay, I'm going to have to ask for some proof (news stories, etc.) on these supposed racial slurs of Ron Kittle (field manager of the Schaumburg Flyers, y'all). Maybe he has (in which case he should be fired - that would be intolerable behavior towards players). Maybe he hasn't. I think it behooves all of us for you to cough up some actual citations, lest we be unwittingly besmirching the man.


Bill Forrester
Second Star on the Right and Straight On 'til Morning, - Saturday, August 11 2001 14:15:35

Greetings. Just stopped in to catch up a little, say hello to all, hope everything is going okee-dokee and if not that you weather the storm 'cause it will pass soon.

The good MD finally granted permission for me to get behind the wheel again after January's "episode." So nice to have freedom and mobility again. Especially since we went thru that in '96-97 when I was going blind (since corrected by the intra-ocular implants, Harlan Ellison version, accept no substitutes).

Harlan - I was reading the coverage in the Chicago Tribune on the passing of Lou Boudreau. While fortunate enough to hear him cover a game (and provide great lessons along the way), I envy you having seen the "Good Kid" in the field. Please put aside your regrets on having not sent him the story. Its publication will keep him on our minds and in our hearts.

You also might find this of interest, Harlan, on a related baseball topic. In the Northwest suburbs of Chicago (Bob Greene's "Land Beyond O'Hare"), back in '99, the city of Schaumburg landed a franchise of the independent Northern League. Since the middle of last year, the manager brought in as the owner's "marketing tool" began to display extremely abusive behavior towards the players, racial slurs, etc. Became even worse this year. So, in a manner which follows the example you've set, I began posting on the Northern League web site. They tried to censor, claim the message strings were too long, etc. I went so far as to seek out the managing owner of the investment group for the team. This went on for over a month (my wife especially enjoyed "Finding adult leadership here is like finding Amish at a rap concert. Word to thy mother." I also included your quote on "the two most abundant elements in the universe" and found some of our supports were also fans of HimsElf).

The week after the meeting, I hopped on to the Northern League site and found this message:

The league's media director said they had been planning to do this for some time, due to "opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the League, etc. etc." When I asked him if the postings on the Schaumburg situation were related, he replied that it was "the snowball" that got the avalanche moving.

To Harlan Ellison, "a fine gentleman and a fine ballplayer" as Lou would say, and to all of you, hope you have a great weekend.

Tim Richmond <I'm not tellin' today>
- Saturday, August 11 2001 13:2:10

(Sorry to use the board for this, but it's one less time HE has to pick up the phone whilst trying to work.)
Harlan; Sent the negative along of the alternate photo taken by Andrea Morris. Hoping it arrived. Talk to you later. Tim

Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, August 11 2001 12:15:42

Two responses to Joseph Finn,
but the rest of you can listen in:

An earlier posting of yours noted a snippet of comment by Isaac Asimov in one of his books of autobiography. It dealt with Isaac's having been ripped off by an editor-sometime-cum-publisher who had thereafter gone into religious publishing. You opined your rememberance as Isaac having refered to this editor by name, and the name was Martin Greenberg (and you, as Isaac would've, differentiated between the specific Martin Greenberg who was being dealt the opprobrium as a separate and different person from Isaac's, and my, longtime friend, the reputable and charming Martin HARRY Greenberg)(unfortunate titular burden for--as we call him--the "Good Marty" to bear in a genre with sometimes a long, sometimes a frighteningly short, memory). You were sedulous in making the distinction, but--wary of suggesting "you couldn't be more wrong" after my recent contretemps--I'm a recovering hubrist fresh out of the Jerry Lewis Clinic--it's possible your recollection may not be accurate as to who it was Isaac was damning.

Pause. You may be absolutely correct in memory, that it WAS the "Bad Martin Greenberg"--who was the publisher of Gnome Press back in the '40s and '50s--and that is precisely who Isaac was dumping on, because the "Bad Greenberg" was a thief and a poltroon, and he screwed many a good writer and artist, but when his perfidious dealings caught up with him, Greenberg sorta up-and-vanished. Now it may be, indeed, that he went into religious publishing--the last retreat for a publishing person with such tainted ethics and sociopathic amorality--but I never heard of such a development. End pause.

On the OTHER hand, there was an immensely prolific editor afoot in the field just prior to, and simultaneous with the early advent of, "The Good Marty Greenberg." His name was Roger Elwood, and though he was a very religiously-oriented fellow at all times, he sorta kept it low-key while he packaged hundreds of sf/fantasy anthologies for a decade or more. And when that market ran out for him, he went full-bore into religious publishing. I make no comment about his business ethics, because I dealt with Roger on only two occasions, if I recall accurately (and no more than two, by choice), and he was aboveboard with me in all respects. But others had different views of Roger Elwood and his publishing ways. And I wonder if it might have been Elwood, rather than the "Bad Martin Greenberg" to whom Isaac was refering?

Just a head-scratcher, that's all.

I adored Lou Boudreau. I saw him play. He was the shortstop-manager of the great 1948 Cleveland Indians. I was terribly upset at learning of his death yesterday; the more because he figures prominently in my latest story, "Gooodbye to All That," which I wrote up in David Loftus country, Lake Oswego, Oregon, a month or so ago, at the Arts Festival. Lou Boudreau and Satchel Paige and Larry Doby and Ken Keltner and Joe Gordon and Bob Feller all appear in that story, in a wonderful and wonderfully unexpected way. I was planning to send Mr. Boudreau (whom I never met) a copy of the story, as soon as it's published in the forthcoming HARLAN ELLISON'S DREAM CORRIDOR.

Now that little lifetime-old thankyou is relegated to a day late and a dollar short. There is entirely too much death of people I give a shit about happening; while those three or four I despise enough to want planted...just keep suckin' in the oxygen.

Clearly, that stern heart-to-heart I had with Gawd has not changed Her m.o. I may have to go to the mattresses with Her.

Stay outta the line of fire, Mr. Finn. Yr. pal, Harlan

Victoria Bolles <vbolles@onebox.com>
Boston, MA - Saturday, August 11 2001 11:51:38

David, it’s a pleasure to join an online community in which women are so much welcomed and well treated! What a contrast to a.f.h-e.

As it happens I just finished re-reading “The Habit of Being” for probably the seventh time, but this time I was old enough (as in really creaking OLD) to let her speak to me in her own voice, rather than just squeezing her words through my rather narrow mind. O’Connor would take months, sometimes years to finish a single short work, struggling to be sure that she was true to the vision that brought the story to her. Reading the letters relevant to a particular work, e.g. “A Good Man is Hard to Find” provides a privileged view into her endless wrestling with the angel. I can’t help but think of what she might have been had she not been pretty much confined by illness to her home for the whole of her working life, and what else she might have done had she not died at age 39. I mourn her.

As for Parker, David, if you would avail yourself of “The Portable Dorothy Parker,” or a similar collection, please treat yourself to “Glory in the Daytime,” my favorite Parker story. I’d love to hear what you think.

And yes, I’ve read the piece about Parker’s favorable review of “Gentleman Junkie”, and Harlan’s visit to her at the Volney a few years before her death. What a memory to cherish.

I’m glad you’re enjoying Wildmon’s book, Daivd. ‘-). Care to give us a book report when you’ve grokked his vast wisdom? (If you toss your cookies on your keyboard, don’t blame me, please!)

Best wishes, Victoria

Frank Church
- Saturday, August 11 2001 11:33:8

Actually Teddy Roosevelt did some horrible things in office.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Saturday, August 11 2001 2:9:39


There is a relatively new volume out by Everett Fox, entitled "Give Us A King!: Samuel, Saul and David," which is a new translation fo Samuel I and II (yes, the Judges have been skipped). Glorious. Especially important in restoring the proper names of the ancients: not Samuel, but Shemu'el (literally: one from God).

I have so little to crow about, that I'm going to say it: 5 RUNS IN THE 9TH INNING! GO SOX! SCREW THE MARINERS!


Honolulu, HI - Saturday, August 11 2001 1:33:32

Lynn, regarding your 1929 stock market crash research-may I suggest two shows from PBS's American Experience series-"New York, a documentary film, Episode 5, 1919-1931, Cosmopolis" & "Crash of 1929"-both films interviewed people(or their offspring) who were involved with the stock market and banking systems. Also, go to the New York Public Library website, www.nypl.org, & click on NYPL Express Information Services- the librarians can probably find you some oral history collections of
Black Tuesday(assuming you can't find a living person who was there that fateful day). Hope this helps. Cheers, Colleen

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, August 11 2001 0:53:27

This is going to be brief, by necessity...

Joseph: I LOVE the Everett Fox translation of the Pentateuch--the most important English rendering of Hebrew scripture since the King James Bible, as far as I'm concerned. As a lapsed (some of my Orthodox brethren would say "bad") Jew, Fox's translation reconnected me to my heritage in a way that I wouldn't have thought possible. I can hardly wait for his full version of the Tanakh, though that'll take many years, I imagine.

Cookie: I'm a so-so guitarist, though I have a pretty fair knowledge of theory and chord formation. My superego insists that I just don't practice enough, while my id knows that I probably lack the inner fire to be anything more than an amateur musician. I can't complain; it brings me up when I'm feeling blue, and it seems to impress the ladies. ;-)

Lynn: I know whereof you speak--I was on a certain cranial-fluid carbonator for many, many years, and I've only recently decided to try a med-free existence, if only on a trial basis. Exercise and a decent diet seem to help me, too. If I absolutely need to go back on them, I will. But, all things considered, I'd prefer not to (to be all Melville about it).

Heather: Nice childhood reminiscence. I thought they looked like "candies", too.

A joke for y'all:

Why did the supermodel stare at the orange juice carton?

Because it said "CONCENTRATE".

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Friday, August 10 2001 22:34:38

Rob & Heather,

For an interesting pre-White House look at Teddy Roosevelt, pick up Caleb Carr's "The Alienist." Great novel, and has some really fun stuff with Roosevelt as Commissioner of Police in New York City, Also, has a great scene at the Roosevelt household, which is just as chaotic as you might imagine.

Lou Boudreau passed away today. Maybe not a giant of baseball, but someone to remember with affection.


Phoenix, USA - Friday, August 10 2001 21:26:5

I came across the following: 36 of Harlan's stories are available at the commercial site, WWW.Fictionwise.Com. The prices range from $0.39 for "Gnomebody" to $7.31 for a bundle of stories. They also list the word length and the reading time(a bit presumtive, I'd say).
To read these eBooks you need to run their software for Palm Devices, WIN CE Devices, or Computers.Pocket PCs and Rocket eBook Readers already have the needed software.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 10 2001 18:28:15


The funniest thing I dun remember about Teddy Roosevelt’s administration – and I got this from the History Channel – is that his young kids tore up the White House, razing the place with pranks from smashing up things to dropping water bombs on the guards from the rooftops (the image of the guards trying to chase their sadistic li’l asses, skidding and sliding through hallway corners, colliding into furniture, and so on, is really vivid).

Oh, man, does that bring back memories of m’own 10-year-old Bart Simpson pranks.

Frank Church
- Friday, August 10 2001 18:20:51

Also, let us not forget the passing of noted Israeli activist, Israel Shahak. What's going on over there is scaring the hell out of me. Our one sided support of terror clients is gonna bring us into a possible nuclear strike in the future. And Bush's stupid Star Wars gimick is just gonna bring us closer to the lip of disaster. Bristles.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 10 2001 16:25:57

Heather~ First things first, just as one would never call Joseph J. "JJ", I would respectfully point out that there is no "E" at the end of my name. I know, sad but true.

And in response to your referencing Teddy Roosevelt's manic-depressive nature, as I understand it, the reason Thomas Jefferson asked William Clark to accompany my ancestor, Meriwether Lewis, up the Missouri was as a companion, and to keep him from "brooding." So I guess the genetic link holds true.


Maggie <maggieotm@netscape.net>
- Friday, August 10 2001 15:24:24

Thanks Lynn! I posted it. Will let you know what they say!


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 10 2001 15:20:53

Lynne, I THINK yer talkin' to me, I HOPE yer talkin' to me.

This friend and I had a few conversations on the fuzziness that drugs can bring. I hear ya on that point. I realize, unfortunately, medication is still not an exact science and some side-effects could be deemed more annoying that the original ailment. Trust me though, on THIS one, the guy needed some help. He knew it too. But it's a scary road to hoe, I could understand how he felt.

There's no one right answer in this situation. Some can do it without drugs. Some can do it with therapy. It depends on the individual. Yet as to his comments on losing that 'creative' edge, (Did you know Teddy Roosevelt was manic depressive and walking the halls at night?) I'm reminded of another situation.

I once sat on the bus while a group of athletes, obviously runners; track type guys, got on the bus. They were passing cigarettes. When they left I commented to the person with me, "Seems dumb to smoke when you are a runner."

His comment was, "It's all relative. I bet they run faster than most people to start with so cutting their "edge" a bit is a rather relative thing. Don't you think?"

"Hmm.." I said.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 10 2001 14:57:16

Let's start with Jim Davis' comments, here:

>It can all sound like goddamned noise, even to ME, and I've been listening to jazz for twenty years.

Okay, this calms me down a little. SOME jazz really DOES sound like noise to me. I realize there are a myriad of styles and I'll bet you devotees will be quick to point out the artists or groups that set your teeth on edge. Same as styles of rock music.

It's funny, jazz ties me to thoughts of my dad and I just felt a digression coming on. (Skim on up to the next post if you've got better things to do, kiddies. Smile) Here it is:

In the basement of our house, my dad stored his electric do-dads. He was a radio technician at Bendix in Baltimore and moved to Litton in Toronto at one point where he tested cruise missile guidance systems. (We'll leave THAT for another story, Li'l Adam. Laugh)

He had these trays, say ten by ten rows of plastic trays, that set in a plastic box, each filled with multicolored objects. I remember looking at all these "little candies" (that's what they looked like to me; teensy, weensy toosie roll-like items with stripes that signified somethingortheother) while he'd explain what each one was. I thought, "I can't remember all this stuff. There are too many of them. It's too confusing. I was the kind of kid who needed to know EVERYTHING, ALL-AT-ONCE. I learned you can't do it that way but that's besides the point.

My dad, like most passionate people, liked to foist his interests on his kids. He was into music yaa-wide and jazz and the sounds of Errol Garner filled the house frequently -- mixed with the Beatles. (Yeah, he was into the sixties music too; didn't seem to like the fifties.) I remember big bands and Benny Goodman as well.

I think he maybe did a bit too much foisting of jazz on me. I picked up some longterm musical interests from him but I think, partly because I enjoyed singing from an early age, I was more into vocalists. And though I know a lot of the music from that era, the bands didn't click with me so much as did the vocalists.

I hear some jazz bands these days and they SOUND like they're "practicing." And it sometimes AIN'T working. So maybe those are the ones I don't get.

But "conversation".. yeah.. that helps me. That helps a lot. Thanks, Jim.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 10 2001 14:27:52

wow. my doppelganger is male. whoddathunkit? at least one of us is getting to travel.

It's a wild ride but you won't get me on those mind-numbing scrips again. Nuh-uh, nowaynohow. There was an excellent performance on an episode of Law & Order about a psychotic would had chosen to go off his meds and ended up killing someone. Speaking in his own defense at the end of the program, he waxed eloquent about living life through the thick woolen pharmaceutical cocoon and how it became intolerable (the performance was made all the more powerful for the actor portraying the man *again* coming off the anti-psychotics and slipping back between the layers of reality). Now, I'm not anywhere *near* that bad. My perception is just a little fucked, and I kinda like it that way. If I get enough exercise, enough sleep and I eat the way I should, I can pass for a normal tax paying citizen. Otherwise, just color me as travelling a little bit faster than the rest of the sheep. And feeling it a little more. I think the word you're looking for is "eccentric."


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Friday, August 10 2001 13:59:18

Afternoon, peoples:

Programmers? We got programmers? I mighta known. Smile. Neat. I'm a newbie to net worlds but I worked as tech support for a small software development company. I love big words -- dumb way to put that; I think I've just longed for intelligent conversations -- and these programmers talked shop and I loved listening to it. I recently played the whole, "should I? shouldn't I?" game about pursuing either computer science, web development or writing.

Writing won. Grin.

Cookie, I can see why you might have felt a tad more alarm at my mention of manic depressives than need be as I dovetailed it with a King novel comment. Eek. Sorry.

I spent two years in the "romantic" presence of a manic depressive. Been there, done that, got the smurf teeshirt; I have no plans to belabor an old story. It was an extraordinary experience I learned a lot from and I'm glad I did it. I seriously would not be here talking to you if it hadn't happened. Smile.

Now.. to your comment: Yes, I know there are many varieties of manic depression. And having encountered it vis a vis a loved one made me pay attention all the more. (He's living out of the country now. I wish him well. Smile.) What was interesting is the 'label', let us say, wasn't really proffered til much later in the relationship. It's kind of like what small children have to go through with an intolerable parent. You experience the manifestations without really understanding what happens and for a while, it colors your perceptions about yourself and the world.

But when it became clear that this was the problem -- the connection between us had long started drawing to a close anyway -- I did extensive reading on the subject. If only for my OWN sanity. Smile.

What was interesting about later encountering King's book is I'd by then come to understand the illness and reading the book, besides the fact that he WROTE it to scare, merely capped an experience I had been through.

Patty Duke has chronicled her dealings with the illness. It's not really curable but it's certainly manageable. My only sadness was that my influence on this individual had wanned to the extend that he really wasn't listening to my pleas to seek medical help.

Addendum, and why I mentioned programmers. Grin. He was a brilliant mind, a somewhat self-stifling writer (hint, hint to any one who needs it)...

... and a programmer.

Smile. End of soliloquy.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, August 10 2001 12:57:8


Indeed, I cast aspersions on the state of religious publishing, which is rather pititful (let's single out, oh, Tyndale and Shambala for unprofessional junk). However, there are exceptions. Fr'instance, there's the Shocken division of Randhom House, which publishes some superlative texts for the Jewish community. Random House also does a nice job on books about religion for other faiths (Shocken was originally an independent that was bought by Random House).

Religious publishing as a whole, though? Feh.


P.S. I do, however, recommend "The Five Books of Moses," a translation of the Pentatauch that attempts to be as close to the most-original texts as can be. It's hauntingly beautiful, and has some great explanatory texts (which is a great help when you're confronted with ancient Hebrew puns like Adam and Eve).

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 10 2001 12:53:33

Peter. "Real programmerth don't comment their code. It wath hard to write, it thould be hard to read." There, ya elitist geek. ::wink:: I've programmed in everything from UNIX (pick a shell - any shell) to VBA to HTML to Oracle's PL/SQL (my current job). I'm largely self-taught because my mother, as brilliant as she is, thought that it was more important for me to go practice my flute than it was for me to be playing around on the computer. So I have a degree in Music and program databases and data monger for a living. My dad, the veteran rocket scientist, couldn't be prouder.

Maggie~ Sure, go ahead. I'd be honored.

Yours in perpetual debug,

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Friday, August 10 2001 12:33:24

Alex K:

I just knew revealing my past would open an FBI file on me.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, August 10 2001 11:56:58

Wow, you guys are so much fun!

Cookie talked about "fearing writing" -- putting her talents for musicianship by the wayside and settling for criticism. Well, honey, I'm sure there are plenty of people on this board who envy your ability to make music. My Dad was a musician; he started to teach me piano at age 5, violin at 10.

In my life I've played piano, fiddle, recorder, clarinet, french horn, percussion, and mandolin -- all badly -- and sung on the stage of Carnegie Hall (member of a community choir; paid for the privilege), but I don't consider myself a musician. I've never performed for money, I'm not able to light up a room with my instrumental ability or rouse a crowd into a singalong the way my Dad could. And I think music is just about the purest creative endeavor a human being could pursue (which is not to say I think musicians are necessarily pure or likable people!).

Speaking of envy, I suspect just about everybody who's good at something wishes she or he were good at something else. John Fowles aspired to be a philosopher and a poet; Updike always wanted to be a cartoonist. Who knows what Ellison REALLY would have liked to do?

Joseph Finn cast aspersions on religious publishers. Fie on you, sir! They have provided me with some of the most hilarious reading I've ever enjoyed. Right now I'm reading the Rev. Donald Wildmon's _The Case Against Pornography_ (published by Victor Books, a subsidiary of Scripture Press Publications), and somewhere at home I have a book that decries in detail the dastardly effect John Lennon had on contemporary civilization.

HE left a "haze of scintillant mist," but not nearly enough. After weeks -- even years -- of gloating over the awful weather visited on other parts of the country (such as the Northeast heat wave just recently), we're pushing 100 degrees in Portland this week. Had a southern-California-style brush fire two days ago in which sheets of flame swept up a hillside and came within a hair's breadth of consuming ridgetop homes within city limits.

Peg expressed awe over the knowledge base of other folks here and wondered whether we were all speed readers. I'm not; I'm a PERSISTENT reader. I read while walking from place to place, I read over breaks and lunch; I read while flossing my teeth! And we are conveniently located near plenty of inexpensive movie theaters in a city that LOVES film. Tuesday my wife and I saw "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" (a scream!), Wednesday it was "The Last Picture Show" (totally awesome), and last night "Moulin Rouge" for two bucks each (a bloated, sumptuous, but interesting failure in which the actors struggled courageously against the editing, sets, and screenplay, and ultimately lost). This was a heavy week, though; usually we see one or two a week.

Finally, Victoria Bolles mentioned O'Connor and Parker. I read the former in college -- really enjoyed her letters, _The Habit of Being_ -- but have only encountered Parker second-hand, in passing (such as in the autobio of Harpo Marx). I think I read a bio of Parker, too. You are aware that she gave Ellison's fledgling career a massive boost in 1961? Details in the introduction to _Gentleman Junkie_....

And let me say, it's a pleasure to have so many women join the discussion here!

Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Friday, August 10 2001 11:34:30

"A Boy and His Dog: The Movie": Actually, Harlan didn't write the script to this. This was adapted and directed by Western character actor L.Q. Jones. So, while based off a Harlan Ellison story, it is not entirely fair to single this out as "a Harlan Ellison film," particularly when Jones did a remarkable job of transposing the power of the story on screen on such a small budget.

Joseph J. Finn <White Sox Hell>
Chicago, - Friday, August 10 2001 11:25:25


For vocal mimicry, I had the singular experience last year of hearing Neil Gaiman do his Harlan impression. Dead on and funny as hell.


Victoria Bolles <vbolles@onebox.com>
Boston, MA - Friday, August 10 2001 11:3:45

Harlan, as always I admire your compassion and restraint. Intelligence used as a graceful counterbalance to a long arm and a short fuse is a pleasure to behold.

Alex, I’d like to second David Loftus’ remarks about Harlan’s unusual stage skills, and add a pointer to his near-freaky gift for vocal mimicry. When he says, for example, that his Mickey Mouse voice is dead-on, he’s, well, dead-on. It’s so good it’s scary. He brings that same gift to realizing his characters while reading their stories; he’s making those people live for you, just as they lived in his head while he was delivering the story into the world. You hear him speaking with the characters’ own uniquely inflected voices. It’s good acting, in other words. If he was the first writer you heard reading his own works, your expectations about such things were set very high indeed.

So. Has anyone here read Dorothy Parker and/or Flannery O’Connor? They are two whom I continue to reread, decade after decade, and would appreciate some thoughtful discussion about them. Opening shot: could Parker’s story “Big Blonde,” though still taught in many a college English class as a first-rate example of the short story, even find a publisher today? The subject is timeless but I believe the expression is not. Any takers?

Best wishes, Victoria

Maggie <maggieotm@netscape.net>
- Friday, August 10 2001 10:4:58

Hey Lynn!

LOVED your code! I work as an Access/Notes (oh stop making that sound, it's not as bad as it seems - ok it is, but still!) developer and belong to an Access listserv. Would it be ok if I posted your code to the list? They'd really get a kick out of it! LOL


- Friday, August 10 2001 2:15:10

Cookie - I'm not a write either. Anymore I feel a bit out of place on Webderland because I'm probably less than semiliterate compared to the folks here. I can't keep up with the encyclopedic knowledge of authors and composers in this crowd, nor do I understand where everyone finds all those hours to do nothing but read or listen to music. (Albeit the music can happen in the background). Must all be speed readers....

Erin Talmadge Benson <palsyjohn@hotmail.com>
rohnert park, ca USA - Friday, August 10 2001 2:6:42

I recently saw the Harlan Ellison film "A Boy And His Dog." I was wondering why the community that lived 'down under' developed to be based on Topeka, Kansas? I think it's because the midwest is known to be idealized as wholesome and pure, family values, comfortable food, and everyone knows everyone else because it's such a small town-- and 'down under' was a small thriving city. Another thing I wondered is why don't they have animals down under, besides a small dog? Perhaps most species were killed off in a war or attack. Anyway, I liked the movie after I understood it in it's entirety, but I didn't like how all the guys watch 'on top' was old pornos and hunted women to mate with them. But when we're stripped (pardon the pun) of all the civilized tendencies and niceties, we're out for three things: food, procreation, and shelter- and that's what Vic, Blood, 'down under' folks and 'on top' people were really out to get. And if they meet a friend along the way, all the better.

Peter Janes
London, ON Canada - Friday, August 10 2001 2:5:20


Perl (open-source) and Visual Basic (MS proprietary) don't get along? The hell you say....

But the sentiment is appreciated. Now let's see that in LISP.... :)

Peter J.

- Friday, August 10 2001 1:8:56

Damn perl script collapsed all the formatting. ::grumble, bitch, moan::

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, August 10 2001 1:8:7

Function Greetings(strName as String) as String
Dim strGreeting as String

strGreeting = "Real programmers don't comment their code."
strGreeting = strGreeting & vbCrLf & "It was hard to write, it should be hard to read."
strGreeting = strGreeting & vbCrLf & "Right, " & strName & "?"
strGreeting = strGreeting & " ::wink::"

Do While blnManUSux = True
Debug.Print strGreeting
Exit Loop

End Function


And for you non-geeks in the audience, Debug Print Buffer Reads

Real programmers don't comment their code.
It was hard to write, it should be hard to read.
Right, Peter? ::wink::


Peter Janes
London, ON Canada - Friday, August 10 2001 0:47:34

A few queries to the well-versed visitors to (denizens of?) Webderland....

I don't pretend to be a writer of English, though I occasionally get delusions after reading authors who make it look easy (hmm, that's not *too* blatant a posterior pucker, is it?). Instead, I write code. (Even when I do write prose, it tends to be surrounded by strict XHTML tags--no WYSIWYG editors for this boy, "vi" is my Olympia typewriter.) Without getting into a "Java is better than C++ is better than APL" discussion, I'm curious if there are any other programmers on the board; if so, whether you also write in "natural" languages; and if so, whether the process is at all similar.
Also, since the topic of jazz crops up here regularly and there's been recent discussion of authors reading their work, I'd like to mention Ken Nordine. I discovered The Voice narrating a demo reel for NewTek's Video Toaster, then heard "Flibberty Jib" on CBC Radio shortly after and discovered what "word jazz" was all about. _Colors_ is one of my favourite CDs. In a comparing-apples-to-kumquats sort of way, he reminds me of HE; every "song" (for lack of a better term) is a short story, often with a dark undercurrent but occasionally just plain fun. Has anyone listened to _A Transparent Mask_, his most recent release?

Peter J.(watch me practice writing both code and "prose" at http://peterjanes.homeip.net/ :)

Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Friday, August 10 2001 0:29:29

Rob: Whether to castigate the perceived Visigoth because he momentarily glanced at a communique and mistakenly read something else into it or to offer apologia for a simple prefatory statement of hubris (although the former was in all likelihood guided by such), one thing remains certain: both scrotums still find themselves blue-balled in the wind tunnel for the most trivial of varied reasons. Such is the way of life in the gratuitous arena of subterfuge.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Friday, August 10 2001 0:3:53


I'm worse than a non-writer. As a would-be director (no, I retract, thinking of the advice of Robert Rodriguez, I AM A DIRECTOR) who is collaborating with my writing best friend, I am now an editor, long-time scum of the writing world.

However, I am reminded of a passage from Isaac Asimov's biography, where he speaks of a scumbag publisher and editor named Martin Greenberg (specifically NOT the superlative anthologist Martin H. Greenberg), who after cheating Asimov out of royalties, descnded to the depths of the publishing world: religious publishing.


I'll freely admit that I only heard of Jorge Amado this week from his superlative obituary in the Chicago Tribune (and, much as I have certain problems with the Trib, they have a fine obituary desk (and they're light years beyond the right-wing fanaticism of the Sun-Times)). However, he's moved right onto my to-read list.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 9 2001 22:40:20

Serendipity has it that I am currently in the middle of rereading _Mefisto in Onyx_, so this whole line of conversation re: vestpocket psychoanalysis is interesting. We call it a 'parlor trick' at our house. One of our favorite pastimes is to crowd watch, theorizing and extrapolating on those theories until the complete stranger whose life we are dissecting from afar does or says something that either confirms or invalidates our rambling thoughts.

LEVENDIS: The Ninth of August, the year 2001, somewhere mid-grid, in the shadow of a non-descript warehouse inside which the most lucrative film industry in Southern California is practicing its version of safer sex. A smirk becomes a smile becomes a giggle becomes a guffaw, as he tries to conjure the inverse of a 'flacid scrotum.' The resulting hiccups keep him in stitches for the rest of the afternoon, causing several of the actors and actresses to have spontaneous and mind-shattering orgasms miraculously off camera, but they do not keep him from his original agenda.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shvitzer Hots, Ohio Oona States Chaplainia - Thursday, August 9 2001 22:12:56

Harlan, I'm embarassed to admit that I was reading an obit of Jorge Amado earlier today, and didn't recognize the subject until the listing of titles. "Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands" is all I've read of his. It's a fascinating book, one that promised further riches to anyone who read more of his work. But somehow I've never found the time.

Heather, little of my work is available freely on the web. Most is behind one firewall or another. However, if you've never seen a comic-book script before, you might find my script for a horror short of interest. It appeared in RIP comics in 1990, with pretty good art by George Freeman (not as good as the art Joe Staton provided for a few of my stories, but none of those are on the web in any form, so...)

It is available on the web, at http://forums.compuserve.com/scripts/flisapi.dll/GERMS.AK?ViewFile&SRV=Literary&FID=1294&FVF=1/.AK

First time through, you may be asked to set up an ID and password; it's free, don't worry.

As to jazz, Ken Burns' recent extravaganza is a marvelous video introduction to it. What really sets it apart is that it's a fully collaborative art form, in which the skilled player can maintain his individuality even while joining his portion to a larger whole. This has led many an amateur to proclaim mere noodlings as art and jazz, but it's more restrictive than that. It takes a special kind of talent to create in company with other artists while still having a voice of one's own.

Rob, you've an interesting history. I hope to learn more of it someday.

And to all: godnight, and goodblessyou.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 9 2001 21:57:33

"I have developed a complex, semi-intuitive m.o. for "reading" people, that I suspect is very close to the technique of "reading minds" or 'divining' that carny fortunetellers and rapacious televangelists employ"

I can feel the pressure and probing besetting my pathological pate even now.

The evidence is clear,the charade severed: Harlan Ellison IS...Adam Hart.

Dominus, succor us in this time of need!

I’ll return soon to rap with Heather (I dig ladies who play sports)...if we’re all still here!

...now, Ed, what wuz you saying about flaccid scrotums?

- Thursday, August 9 2001 20:40:52

Just for the record, I am one of the few people around here who doesn't consider herself a writer. In fact, becoming a writer is one of my major fears! I fear that I won't achieve success as a musician and (because I can string together sentences and paragraphs) will be reduced to ending up as a music critic rather than a practicing musician.

My writing has been published in local venues, but not for a while (because I haven't submitted anything for publication). I love internet BBS's (like Webderland, glorious Webderland!)because I get to type my thoughts to folks who (gasp!) might actually read 'em and give a flyin' you-know-what. Or not.

I love writers primarily because I love to read. And I can (to an extent) cop their thing. But I'm not a writer (Jim),I'm just a musician who likes to read and communicate to other sentient beings however I can.

Harlan, man, you are so sensitive. It's so cool that you hang here and talk with us. Thanks, man. That's groovy and human.

It's so hard on the 'Net because, unlike the stand or any other "real" personal interaction, we can't hear the "tone" in which ideas are presented. Tone is all.

I'm just diggin' bein' here after all these years. I found this site when I first found the Internet. I don't worship HE or read him every single day, but I do love having a forum in which to meet folks who are perspicacious and intelligent. Many humble thanks to all who participate here. I feel like odd man out because I don't come from the literary world. I read constantly, but often, I'm not reading fiction. Still, I feel a sense of belonging here. Maybe that's because our patron author had a role in my life of encouraging me to be and do whatever it is I am and do well---even if that thing isn't writing prose for a living.

Jim Davis
- Thursday, August 9 2001 20:35:34

The post below should have included:

(speaks in Homer Simpson voice)

but I used those pointy parentheses above the comma and the period, and this text box doesn't recognize it, apparently.

I'm sleep-deprived, so sue me. (Don't get any ideas, Harlan.)

Jim Davis
- Thursday, August 9 2001 20:30:59

"Mmmmmm...the smell of the scintillant mist of Harlan Ellison...mmmmmmm..."

Why the hell did I write that? I confound myself sometimes...

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, August 9 2001 20:15:19

To Those Who Spoke Up in Defense of Rob:

I'd forgotten--perhaps conveniently--that I'd opened my posting with "you couldn't be more wrong." Reminding me of the charged exegegis does not enhance or diminish my bowing&scraping. Wrong is wrong; and I was wrong. I couldn't have been more wrong. But the coda to my apologia was a very different matter, as Rob understood. He understood that I recognized a reaction-formation in him that is the twin of mine. If you check out the introduction I wrote to APPROACHING OBLIVION, decades ago, you'll discover it is solidly on point, and as revelatory as Rob's autobiographical comments. Yes, Rob, I have developed a complex, semi-intuitive m.o. for "reading" people, that I suspect is very close to the technique of "reading minds" or "divining" that carny fortunetellers and rapacious televangelists employ. The next time you're in an audience where I'm speaking, have me relate the story about the dinner at Lawry's (The Prime Rib), as an example of this process of deductive logic. So, again, Rob, yes, I AM full of interesting stuff. Unfortunately, though it's a weak explanation and not a strong excuse, I OVERspeak myself on occasion. "You couldn't be more wrong" is a powerfully embarrassing instance of same.

I shan't grovel further. The contretemps is of value, I hope, for the rest of you, as an insight or two into specific human behavior. It seems most of you are writers, fancy yourselves writers, want to be writers, or need to understand all the subterranean machinations of writing. What you have just passed through is very gristful for the millful.

There are 8 million tricks in the Naked Writer. This has been one of them.

(By the way, while you're lamenting the passing of great writers, in the same week that Poul Anderson and Eudora Welty vanished, the superlative Jorge Amado also died. If you have never read Amado, no matter how well-versed you may be, you are semiliterate. But then, perhaps I couldn't be more wrong...)

I go. Notice the haze of scintillant mist in my wake.


Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Thursday, August 9 2001 20:8:29

Rob: Why I should respond to something that has, at this moment, become altogether trifling is a mystery. But let it be known that I fired the Baretta too quickly, compadre. I meant to cast an arc in your direction with laudable intentions, but something got skewered in the mix and I now realize that it came out wrong. Your correction was, by anyone's assessment, entirely in jest and, more importantly, employed with enthusiasm.

Don't let any highwaymen fleece you within the shadows.

David Loftus: Gaddis is one of the most underappreciated American writers of the 20th century. Anyone plumbing repeatedly through the depths of "The Recognitions" or "J.R." will see that the reasons behind the intervals are absolutely clear. If it takes ten years for you to mock Dale Carnegie's nonsense with pitch-perfect precision or twenty years for you to roast the media alive, then by all means do it on your own time and your own speed.

- Thursday, August 9 2001 19:43:58

Hi, Jim! I'm primarily a vocalist, but I also play piano, sometimes flute---and I compose and arrange. I am also a jazz educator and consultant. Thanks for asking!

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 9 2001 19:38:35


No offense on my part. I didn't think it was plagiarism, and that two people independantly came up with the same "Jazz is conversation" thesis only attests to its accuracy.

What instrument do you play?

- Thursday, August 9 2001 19:30:13

Apologies, Jim. I didn't read your post before posting. I think you essentially said exactly what I said! Sorry!

- Thursday, August 9 2001 19:28:3

Oh, yeah---and explaining jazz. That's a tough one. I could give you the ol' Louis Armstrong thing about "...if you have to ask, you'll never know," but will try to address your query.

First of all, it's difficult because the word "jazz" has become almost meaningless due to the diversity of styles and musicians it encompasses. I would, though, say that what jazz is "about" is about spontaneous creation of music. All members of a jazz group improvise whether or not they are the soloist. It's like a conversation and everyone has a role in that conversation---including the audience. There is an interaction between jazz players on the stand. Players react to the information coming to their ears from each other. My mentor likes to say that playing jazz is one of the most democratic forms of music, because each musician has a responsibility and opportunity to "lead" the music: that is, the piano player might alter the harmony slightly, and the soloist reacts to and answers that idea (call and response). Or the drummer lays down a fill that energizes the ensemble and propels them towards a particular energy all together. Or the singer changes the phrasing which imbues a song with a personal meaning in addition to its universal meaning. Jazz is about individuals expressing themselves together.

Or not. :)

I dunno. I just do it.

- Thursday, August 9 2001 19:12:40

Um, Heather, this is somewhat off the topic, but knowing one manic depressive doesn't show you the range of the disease. Most manic-depressives are more dangerous to themselves than to others, many are brilliant, and it saddens me to think that your only understanding of the disease comes from knowing one person who suffered, and from a character in a King story. I guess it just gets to me because I was recently diagnosed and am now coming to terms with said diagnosis. True, bipolar people can be difficult to be around and if left unchecked, it can develop into true psychosis. Manic-depressive folk (bipolar people)tend to kill themselves before the disease reaches such extreme stages. I know many bipolar folk and not one of us has chained a writer up to our bed and hacked his foot off.

Just my $.02 on a very minor point. Thanks for listening.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 9 2001 19:7:26


Explain jazz? Hmmm...I have to admit, my initial response was to answer with some variation of "If you gotta ask, you'll never know", but I didn't want to come off as a condescending snob. I'll try to be a little more measured in my reply, though I'm still not sure that ANY posting, whether written by me or Nat Hentoff, could ever encapsulate such a mercurial art form.

Jazz, quite frankly, scares the bejeezus out of many otherwise intelligent and musically literate people. The multiplicity of melodic lines, the abstract harmonies, the percolating rhythms, all of these elements can seem to be the absolute ANTITHESIS of musical form. Where's the beat? Where's the melody? Why does the sax player sound as if he's sexually assaulted by pachyderms? (Ok, that description only really applies to Albert Ayler.) It can all sound like goddamned noise, even to ME, and I've been listening to jazz for twenty years.

The best single word describing what jazz does, when it's done well, is CONVERSATION. The exchange of musical ideas that occurs in a jazz recording is the analogue to any spoken conversation you can think of. They share the same elements: The introduction of an idea (melodic or verbal) for the consideration of the group; the transmutation of that idea by repitition or commentary; the overlapping of voices, sometimes argumentative and dissonant, sometimes harmonious and sweet; and, finally, the brilliant solo voice that seems to come out of nowhere to transport the room to a pitch of emotion unimagined at the outset.

Conversation. Voices talking. Sometimes voices screaming when polite words aren't enough. At the risk of sounding like an exerpt from KEN BURNS'JAZZ, that is what the music means to me.

I love many musical forms from rock to classical to country, but only jazz conveys the richness of human interaction, with its lacing of frustration and epiphany. Miles and Monk and Mingus and Duke and Bird and Ornette are as profound in their musings on the human condition as any philosopher you can name, from Plato to Schopenhauer, and all of them used a form that was once derided as nothing more than the vulgar wailing pouring from a whorehouse. As Marcus Aurelius once said, "Who'd a thunk it?"

Did I answer your question at all, Heather? I'm not very comfortable writing on computers (you're not alone, Harlan), so forgive me if I'm not as clear as I'd like to be. I hope I've given you SOMETHING to make jazz a teeny bit more comprehensible, and worthy of another listen.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, August 9 2001 18:4:47

Alex K. asked how come HE reads so much better than every other writer Alex has heard.

If I may hazard a theory, it partly has to do with sheer talent. But Ellison also has had a lot more practice than most other writers. He's acted on Broadway, done stand-up comedy, sung in cabarets ... and in sum, done a lot more oral projection before live audiences than your average scrivener.

Most writers are like most average people in that they're not terribly eager to get up and talk in front of a live crowd (the number one fear of most people, easily beating out death), and they simply haven't had practice in either reading words off a page aloud, performing different voices and accents, or projecting to fill a space.

Heather asked for URLs. My main one is easy: www.david-loftus.com

But I've also put some interesting stuff of late on



(That's a Russian site. Click on the cup of tea to get to the menu; my most recent piece is about to slip off the first page of same, so you may have to click on the brown link in the lower left corner to get to it, and an earlier essay. They're both in English, though!)

As for Frank Church and others' complaints about Thomas Harris's output, jesus, folks, lay off! People write what they can, when they can, however they can. Nobody owes you a story, remember, and if you ain't actually supporting them the way Harriet Weaver paid Joyce to be a writer (and he took roughly ten years between each of his final three books!), then you can't bellyache about their output.

Gaddis took between 10 and 20 years between each of his incredible novels, and Pynchon -- a writer Ellison clearly respects -- has maintained a similar pace. Not that Harris is in their league, or thinks he is, but writers are entitled to produce to their own drummer (to mix a metaphor).

I saw "The Last Picture Show" last night on the big screen. What an amazing film! Bogdanovich was only 32 when he co-wrote and directed this debut effort ... and it's been pretty much downhill ever since.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 9 2001 17:45:50


I didn't see your post before jumping in to rapid-key my own. As one who genuinely digs great lines I have to both compliment you on what will become a classic and, frankly, admit to you, I'm just gonna HAVE to rip it off - er, the LINE I mean!

For the record, it WAS the "you couldn't be more wrong!" delivery that would sway my own tone; in-your-face assertion very often induces an in-your-face reaction. A quid pro quo which I think is normal between people. Presumption and being wrong (and it's NOT like I was never guilty of this too, sometimes; I'm the first to admit it) are the two worst bedfellows of all; devastating to your credibility. I had an interesting conversation along these lines with a friend the other night (he was determined to believe that E.R. Burroughs had created Doc Savage and was flustered when I kept insisting he was wrong; I told him, simply, to check his facts before staking his life on an argument). On a general human scale I think this is an interesting subject to talk about.

It wasn't important for me to be "right" (though as I'd just admitted, emotional hassles in the past WERE an issue for me); by ALL means, correct me when I make an error. I'm a person who likes to learn. But I WAS enthralled by Robinson's book and I wanted to quickly convey my experience reading it in a very specific structure; I opened my passage about Adam Hart with careful thought behind it. Hence, the force in my reaction when the passage was dispelled. STILL, I wasn't trying to be THAT egotistical about it; I wasn't trying to sound that way. I meant to be light-hearted yet adamant.

Shit, I don't know how it all comes across from the other end. I types from the gut. But Harlan and you great people (along with some cuties like Heather, Lynn and Amy) provide great turf for helping me find myself.

In closing, if I sound insecure it's because I'm an artist.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 9 2001 17:38:0

I'm still interested in reading your stuff, Rob.

Lump all women and their motives together, you'll lose half the conversing population. Your choice. Grin.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 9 2001 17:30:41

Joseph J. Finn:

Forrester threw me a post and I caught it. A story in the online Trib made comments about Kittle on the fiddle a bit, with his ballplayers -- player abuse. I was curious. I realize I'm in the real world and this kinda stuff happens. I think we had a ball player here in Wienerpeg called on the carpet for goofy, stupid things as well. The mayor of Toronto was NOT invited to a Caribana festival due to a racially tainted offhand remark. It reminds me of the "elileptic seizure" episode here on Ellisonpost. I realize this stuff happens.

People in power, be it real or fan-inferred, need to be responsible. I realize some are not. Not a biggie, Finno.

What's the reason why people put a middle initial? Just curious. (as always)


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 9 2001 17:15:3

Alejandro..(or udders)

Please describe Chicago. Tell me about the surrounding areas as well. (ie. ? Northbrook)



Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, August 9 2001 17:13:58

RE: Female Umps: http://www.pioneerleague.com/ria.htm

Question: Anyone here ever know someone who lived through the Crash of 1929? And I mean someone who was in NY on Black Friday? I'm trying to do research for a story and all I can find online is crap about the financial crash itself. I'm more looking for an on-the-streets account, somebody who witnessed the ensuing chaos, someone who was there to clean up the mess. Any info would help. Thanks in advance.


Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Thursday, August 9 2001 16:58:9


I want to respond to your last comments because they were interesting.

I think Peg makes a sound point but I am, frankly, in solid agreement with your vest pocket psychoanalysis (the trip about "being diminished" , I imagine, is what conveyed an edginess; apart from that I was merely trying to be thorough with the facts). While I implore you never to take my verbal heaves and disgorges seriously your point is well taken. I think we all have certain hangnails from our childhood that show themselves at times, usually without our realizing it (certainly in my case). Some people are better at hiding them than others. But the responsible people try to work on them (admittedly, a slow laborious process that does demand objectiveness).

My dad died before I was a year old. My mother would take on his patriarchal job herself, never to remarry. Burdened by many personal barriers from her OWN past she went down in flames as a parent. Skipping the grimy details of some pretty humiliating years for both of us, the two severest events for me were when she tossed my five-year-old ass in an orphanage for a year (a crucial age because it is when the child’s bond with the parent begins to shape his/her self-image; I should add that the orphanage was called the Christian Home for Children: they were contemptible assholes; that is correct, you ARE reading the rantings of an atheist) and, subsequently, became an alcoholic (almost from the day she took me back we were fighting). The day she would FINALLY go to AA is when I’d left home for college. Those two factors stuck wedges in my emotional development.

I’m not as bad a pain-in-the-ass as that might infer, because I did spend a lot of time untangling the internal wiring. Problems like distrusting people and, indeed, being defensive were among them. I had to be my own parent for a long time once I’d left home. I remain so, and as such I watch for the cues. That is why I’m glad you brought it up. No, I didn’t take it as impertinent at all. You’re probably a very interesting person to talk to about things like this; a writer like you has things going on inside.

Hey! Along with writing a great novel Robinson can now be credited for saving another fucked-up soul, using YOU as the lightening rod like the very LORD himself (I mean, if it hadn’t been for his book we wouldn’t have had this thread).

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Thursday, August 9 2001 16:57:20


Trade ya Felix Heredia for David Wells, staight-up, value for value. Oh, what the hell, I'll throw in a bag of balls too.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, August 9 2001 16:56:35


Per Ron Kittle, he's a well-regarded player and manager (though he's still young as a manager, he hasn't done too badly). He used to play for the Chicago White Sox, so it's nice to have him working here in the Chicago area.

Politics in the minor leagues? Pretty much the same as in any organization: some good, some bad. I'd say it depends on the particular league.

There are no women playing in the leagues, major or minor, in the United States. There are separate women leagues, but they're not very widespread. Unfortunately, I know of no pro softball leagues - too bad, 'cause Chicago would dominate (unless they played some kind of wussified glove-wearing version).

There is one woman umpire in the minor leagues of baseball, but damn if I remember which league she is in.

So, why the sudden interest in good'ol Ron Kittle?


P.S. Funny storry about Kittle, courtesy of Jay Johnstone. Apparently, the two were scheduled (circa 1979) to be on the Svengoolie show, a typical late-night wisecracking horror show on the old WFLD, back when it was a UHF station. Svengoolie would rise of of his coffin, squirt Johnstone and Kittle with a squirt gun, and the show would begin. Johnstone had a better idea, and he and Kittle nailed Svengoolie in the coffin just before the live broadcast began. Show starts, and the two of them are sitting there as a muffled pounding is coming from behind them. Johnstone: "Hi. I'm Jay Johnstone, and this is my teammate Ron Kittle, and that sound you hear is your host Svengoolie."

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 9 2001 16:51:1

Stephen King rocks. The novel, "Misery" scared the crap outta me. I knew a manic depressive. King hit the mark with that one.

King, to paraphrase, said god gave guys the gift of writing, why the hell wouldn't they USE it? I'm not sure if it was in reference to Harris, but he couldn't understand going YEARS between writing books.

I think he mentioned that John Creasey (sp.) wrote 500 novels. Quantity (and quality) is a rather relative term.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 9 2001 16:39:21

Please tell me more about this Schaumburg Flyers manager, Ron Kittle. Is he a saint, a good ole boy or the beast that walked on four legs? Is minor league baseball as political as the major league? Do players negotiate for contracts? Are there any minor female ball leagues -- baseball, NOT softball? Can women still not get on these teams or is the climate changing?

I played softball in Baltimore as a kid. When I played third base, people would comment on my painfully slow windup and delivery of the ball, but I still remember watching my first baseman sometimes take off her glove and shake her hand when she caught my throw to first.

Neat kid stuff, huh?

Thank you.


Frank Church
- Thursday, August 9 2001 16:9:48

Oh damn, I forgot all about Roald Dahl. I still read "James And The Giant Peach"; But that book always makes me hungry. To bad no peach in the universe tastes as good as the one in that book.

Frank Church
- Thursday, August 9 2001 15:56:38

Dang it, I'm being misquoted. I never said that Steven King couldn't write, I was saying he should slow down a bit and scetch out his plots better. One of my favorite reads was "The Stand", and the reason why was because that book, while flawed, had a rather interesting plot line, and the charactors were all quite wonderful. I was sad to end that book, because of the fun I was having with the community of the charactors. Also, even though it had a goofy plot, "IT" was a very fun read-long, but fun, and I cared about the charactors. Rose Madder is my favorite SK book because of the great job SK did with the subject of wife abuse. Is the villian in that book scary or what? No wonder I fear police officers (smile).

I also love Thomas Harris, just thought "Hannibal" was a crappy read, and that awful ending??? Glad the film patched that pathetic shit up. But why does it take Harris 10 years to write one damn book?? Not like he was helping out in a soup kitchen, or working for some activist group on his off time. Also, what is it with Harris not doing interviews? That shy shit leaves me cold.

Glad someone mentioned Noam Chomsky. I will be shocked if he ever wins the Nobel Prize he should of won years ago.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Thursday, August 9 2001 15:25:0

Hi all..

Nothing to add. I heard the word "self-contained" used somewhere below. I think that's where my head is at these days. Thanks for the reading material. I'm enjoying this list.

Now..one thing.. and I'm NOT playing head games here, got it?

I see comments about a lot of you being writers of one kind or another. I AM INTERESTED.

Anyone want to post URLs of their web words or direct me to offline stuff I MAY be able to find, I'm interested in reading it. Reading a personality in a forum, then reading their written prose is very neat. I like writing. That's partly why I'm interested. And I like reading y'all on this forum.

Do it here or send it private. It matters not to me.

Oh..one more thing. My dad was into jazz. I grew up with it. I like singing and I'm good at it. (Not sure if this is part of the problem here..) I find jazz confusing. Explain it to me. (I'm NOT being smart. Sometimes a few explanations of an intangible subject have helped me understand it.)

Thank you.


Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Thursday, August 9 2001 15:19:5

In additional defense of Rob: If you're going to make an assertion, the grounding you stand on should be sure-as-hell-without-a-doubt-no-questions-this-is-the-truth-pardner-or-else-someone-will-wake-up-with-a-horse's-head-in-their-bed-if-for-the-love-of-god-it-ain't accurate, particularly if it is prefaced by the statement "You couldn't be more wrong." Call me crazy, but that sounds just as "pathological" as anyone else's need to point out inaccuracies.

Not that this matters anyway. In the end, it all involves flaccid scrotums being exposed to the wind.

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Thursday, August 9 2001 15:3:48


Wait'll next year.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shtarker Hypes, Ohio Ooo ess ayy - Thursday, August 9 2001 14:57:11

Too much on my mind, but to begin with a question to Harlan, with a unforgivably long preface. To wit:

In 1968, I was a mere tad, hanging out at the Berkley Bay Worldcon. Remember that debacle? People spread out all over the city because the hotels were too small, parties spread likewise. But for me, it had high points. Got to meet John Campbell, the only time I ever saw him in person. Heard Norman Spinrad telling the story of how absurdly difficult it was to break the barriers of the Sfictional editorial world and get "Bug Jack Barron" published.

And I heard you reading aloud for the first time, Harlan.

Your story choice was "Shattered Like a Glass Goblin." I'd never read it. I'm not sure it was even in print yet. I was bowled over. Afterwards, I wasn't sure if it was the story, or your rendition of it. It didn't just come to life; it was larger than life. I could never again read that story without hearing you in my head. I'd never heard a writer read his work like that.

The problem is that in the decades since I've never heard any other writer read his or her work like that either.

I've heard Tom Berger and Lemony Snickett. I've heard Stephen King and Stephen Covey. I've heard dozens, but I've never heard any other writer who read his own work so compellingly that I could never again read the story without hearing the writer's voice. So: what is it you're doing? It is something you're thinking long and hard about? Something more spontaneous, akin to jazz, different each time? Or is it just that you're reading it the way it sang in your head when it poured onto the typewritten page?

Okay, onto other things. Favorite writers, hmm-- Dickens, Hardy, Twain, Philip Dick, Harlan, William Gaddis, Faulkner, Thomas Pynchon, Stanley Elkin. Guilty pleasures include Kinky Friedman, David Gerrold, Terry Pratchett, Harvey Jacobs, Laurell Hamilton, Janet Evanovich, Roger Zelazny...aw hell, that list could go on forever.

And then there are all the writers I don't list as favorites, but whom I never miss. I don't include Stephen King as a favorite--but I've read every one of his books. And tomorrow, both lists could be different. That's the trouble with lists like these, exchanged among omnivorous readers. People who love to read also love to read far too many writers to list comfortably.

Lynn mentioned visiting Dangerous Visions and spending too much money. Hell, I do that, too. But I get upwards of 100 books a week, free, in the mail, and I _still_ daren't spend too much time in bookstores, for fear of going on a spending spree. It's an addiction, let's face it. Sure beats cocaine.

--Alex, with too many books

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, that toddling town., - Thursday, August 9 2001 14:52:54


Those oil-platform fumes getting to ya today?

I kid, I kid!


P.S. I find myself wishing that the freaking Sox could have played all year like they played last night.

- Thursday, August 9 2001 14:19:47

In Rob's defense, it was you, Harlan, who asked the we be particular about the source of our quotes.


Of course, it could be that the complete ego trip of correcting the notoriously knowledgable Harlan Ellison has overwhelmed his self control....

(I just know I'm gonna regret this post later)

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, August 9 2001 13:52:3


You are correct. I am incorrect. Your post was precise. My response was precise but inadequate. You were on solid ground. I did not remember the acccreditation. I don't need to check to verify, to believe you're not making it up. You are correct. I was inadequately remembering.

You win. I lose.

Vest-pocket psychoanalysis: your need not to be wrong sems to me more than a bit pathological. There is a childhood resonance in this truly inconsequential encounter. I urge you to consider it at a sane and quiet distance. I mean no impertinence. I was wrong. You were correct. No one will upbraid you.

Calmly, and most respectfully, Harlan Ellison.

- Thursday, August 9 2001 5:21:47

Count me in as a pretty major fan of Stephen King (it was DANSE MACABRE that hipped me to HE, too). I can't keep up with everything he writes, but I'll tell you what: that's one poor Maine boy who made good. Hey, maybe its not all high literature, but King is a hell of a storyteller. I enjoy his stories and his success makes him kind of an icon to this poor ex-Maine gal.

I really dug the one about the girl lost in the woods listening to the Red Sox on her radio while she survived the horrors of the woods (The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon? Is that the title?). Anyway, that one terrified me because my mother used to let us kids run around in the woods and one day, I got lost. I didn't stay lost for long, but I was lost long enough to be scared and crying when I finally stumbled into the clearing behind our trailer...

Tom Morgan <tjmorgan58@aol.com>
Silverado, east of Orange, Ca USA - Thursday, August 9 2001 2:30:17

Hello to all,
This is my second post, and so far the power hasn't gone out in the canyon. Sorry for so long to reply.
Cookie: Thanks for the reply, certainly agree that lab tests are necessary for the field mentioned.
Jeff: I agreee that there are too many tests in school, which confuses the issue and may therefore defeat the purpose due to students getting frustrated at the repitition.
Justin: Thanks for the link. Have not gone to it yet but appreciate it.
Grand Masta H. Salt, Esq.: I agree its a jungle out there but must admit I'm not sure what you're trying to say.
I was wondering if there is any information about when the Edgeworks series will continue. Please understand that the tone of my inquiry is intended as a respectful request and not as a biligerent demand or a whiny complaint. You don't owe me EW5, just as you didn't owe me EW1 or any other piece of your output. Just wondering when I might expect to see it, if you have any idea. Thanks,


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Wednesday, August 8 2001 22:30:35

Well, hopefully there is room for a long-time Red Sox fan? (I'll put my years of disappointment up against anyone's - even a Cubs fan!).

Favorite writers. OK, here's my list (besides the person this site is about, of course): Ross MacDonald, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Damon Knight, Neil Gaiman, Lawrence Block, John Cheever, T. C. Boyle, Donald Westlake, and the cartoons of Gary Larson (The Far Side), Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes), and Charles Schulz. Many others, including some women I'm sure, but can't think of them right now. So many I know I'm leaving some out.

I agree about "Red Dragon." Good book. It was made into a nifty 1986 flick, "Manhunter," though they are going to remake it with Hopkins (Brian Cox played Lecter first, and I liked him better!).

Rewriting: I would say 99.9% of what you read, whether it's a novel or a short story or a review or the back of a cereal box, is rewritten. (I think Hemingway said that the first drafts of anything are shit). Harlan just happens to be a rare breed, and that's cool. As he says, it's what works for him, and might not be for everyone. (But still...read his words and you'll learn a lot).

KIng is often shit upon (I went through that stage too, in my more immature years), because he is so prolific and they seem to make a movie out of his books before the damn book is even in stores, but he really is a fine writer. Sure, lots of quantity, but the quality is there too (anyone with that much output is bound to have some lesser works). He might need an editor once in a while, but he's in love with writing, and for that we can be thankful. His "On Writing" is one of the Top 5 how to write books that you'll find at the bookstore.

As for titles, I always have it before I even begin a piece. Not because I try hard to think of a title, one just seems to pop up as I start to write. I don't outline, so maybe me thinking of a title first is my brain's way of giving me juuuuuuust a little base to work from.

And "The Power!" Wow, a flash from the past. Starred George Hamilton, back before he was known mostly for his tan.


John Thompson
USA - Wednesday, August 8 2001 22:0:20

Frank, if you seriously think Thomas Harris is a clod, I would suggest reading RED DRAGON. It's one of the most frightening books I've ever read: subtle, concise and gripping. Harris CAN write. So what if it takes him years to complete a novel? It's his method, no more or less valid that anyone else's. If we follow your logic that anyone who writes more than one draft can't really write, then we might as well toss out the collected works of Hemingway, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Joyce Carol Oates, John Irving and countless others.

Phillip Cairns
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 21:42:6

Oh jeez, I was just gonna stop by and write a little postscript to the big guy, but then I read Amy’s post. Amy said, “Your post made me sad, because you wrote of The Way Things Were with such nostalgia, such longing.” Well, um, I don’t know about that. I didn’t realize that’s what I’d gone and done. I wasn’t making anything up, but I didn’t intend to bang home the message that a higher education kills creativity. I like what Bob Marley said, “I got no education. I got inspiration! If I was educated I’d be a damn fool.” That’s a good one because there’s some truth to it. I still have *some* inspiration, but I am painfully aware of what a higher education can do to a creative personality (it ain’t good), but before I returned to university, I wasn’t writing anything that was in line to change the course of human history. It’s not a completely tragic loss we’re talking about here. It was just me, another anonymous guy off by himself frantically banging away at a keyboard to see what would come out---because I didn’t have anything better to do. After a few years I ran out of money and decided, “Shit, I can’t do this forever. This ain’t paying the bills.” Six years later I’m a professor-in-training and I like what I do, I’m good at it, and if all goes well, in a few more years I’ll be able to pay the bills and live in my house, drive my own car---all that jazz. I won’t be rich, but I’ve never done anything for the money. I enjoy what I study and I love teaching it; teaching is something I’ve discovered comes naturally to me. Professors, by the way, even associate professors, get approximately four months of the year off (at least in Canada). If I can land that gig, I think I’ll be happy. That’s four months to write what I like and the way I like it and not worry about where the money’s coming from next spring. There’s more I could say, but who the hell’s really that interested in me? Not me. My creative writing muscles are flabby, but my brain is getting the work-out of it’s life, and it’s great. It brings me down when I think too much about how much I’m not writing, but what flame I have in me hasn’t completely gone out. Whichever way the wind blows, I think I’ll be alright. But, Amy, thanks for your concern.

Okay, now let me catch my breath...

P.S. to Harlan about your response to my question about rewriting: I just noticed that in warning, you wrote, “What I know you will not love me for telling you about rewriting is this: I don’t.” What are you talking about, man? Of course I love you. You didn’t burst any bubbles here. (But let us never speak of this again.)


I just realized I’m spending way too much time on-line.

This is Phillip Cairns, sole survivor of the Nostromo, signing off. [Click.]

- Wednesday, August 8 2001 20:51:55

Okay, three posts in a row...but this one's for Phillip.

I completely understand what you mean by atrophied writing muscles. When I don't write for a long time (a few years at one point), it is absolutely painful to start again. Ideas won't come. Everything seems trite and forced. Seems like middle school? Hell, I was downright prolific in middle school--kid stuff, but GOOD, award-winning kid stuff. Writing is NOT like riding a bike. It's easy to ride a bike again. But slowly, surely, if you are persistent and tell the little time-burglars to fuck off for an hour or so every day (or every other day, even), it DOES come back.

I didn't go too far with my higher education--I became disenchanted with the concept of formalized education realllly quickly--so I guess I don't really understand how it eats ALL your time. Your post made me sad, because you wrote of The Way Things Were with such nostalgia, such longing. Isn't there any way for you to find the time, even a small block of time, to do something you loved?

Apologies if this was discussed before...but Phillip piqued my curiosity and I didn't find an answer.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, August 8 2001 20:43:55


Woo hoo! Fellow former Waldenslaves are we!

Of course, I moved up to Barnes & Noble. Ah, the joys of only stocking one copy at a time of Chomsky, Limbaugh and Gingrich, whicle making sure we had plenty of faceouts of Ivins, Wills and Caroline Kennedy (who's book, with Ellen Aldermanr, on the Bill of Rights in court cases (In Our Defense : The Bill of Rights in Action ) is impoprtant and fascinating).


- Wednesday, August 8 2001 20:33:2

Oh, and I like Stephen King too, when it seems like he's putting full effort into his work. He once said something about how he could get a grocery list published...or maybe that was Sinatra talking about singing anything.... ANYWAY, when you have a massive audience with deep pockets slavering for more of your work to read, it must be awfully tempting to give them something that's written, even if it isn't quite READY.

That's how a few of his books seem to me. Not saying that's how it is at all, though. How would I know?

- Wednesday, August 8 2001 20:27:16

I used to be a WaldenSlave(tm). Danielle Steele, Stephen King, Tom Clancy, Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High (god help us all) might as well have been all we stocked.

I maintained the children's, SF/Fantasy and literature sections. I took lots of petty pleasure at turning the bestsellers on their spines and giving Roald Dahl, Samuel Beckett and Harlan face-outs. Takin' down the establishment from the INSIDE, baby! Woo!

As for the sections in the bookstore that look like crap (as mentioned a few days ago), that just means their caretaker doesn't love them. Rotten kids.

heh heh heh....

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 19:42:38

David~ I never said she couldn't write. She obviously can. She's published, she's making a living at it, which is more than I can say.

It's the *subject* matter that I have issues with. It's mind candy. Frivolous written soap operas. I mean, I understand that Harlequin books have a huge market share and people make good money -- writing trash. And the same trash over and over.

Give me speculative fiction any day.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, August 8 2001 19:21:59

This looks like about as good a time as any to relay a quotation I heard from the Man himself here in Lake Oswego on June 23 of this year:

"I once dated Danielle, she's a nice woman, she's a lovely woman, and she's doing the best she can. If she could write better, she would."

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 8 2001 18:43:41

Hell, Alex:

I’d be outright honored n’ jubilant to walk on in life with the brand, “demented gunslinger”. That is ME, baby!

Yyyup! I deals in lead, friend.

I thanks ya fer that from the bottom of m’ powder keg!

Matt Wilkins <mew@mr.net>
Hermosa Beach, CA - Wednesday, August 8 2001 18:32:23

Everyone's a critic...

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 18:29:37

Frank~ You're what my mother would called 'subtle as a mustard plaster.' Stephen King has had some good books and some real groaners. He's human.

His characters seem closer to real life than most I've read, and his vignettes of small town New England life are pure prose. _Salem's Lot_ is shot through with that gold, little mouthfuls of literary manna in a strange little vampire tale. And the Gunslinger series, while I don't understand all of it, has frankly been one of the best reads I've enjoyed in the last few decades. Like old blue jeans with a long lost love letter in the pocket. Comfortable and magical. In a good story, the plot doesn't always have to be subtle.

And as to the prolific nature of his publishing, I wish him all the luck in the world and congratulate him on his success. May I suffer the same curse someday.


Frank Church
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 17:53:4

Great comment about "drafts", Ellison. Either you can write or you can't. Funny to watch clods like, Thomas Harris (Silence Of The Lambs) suffer through re-writes for ten years, just to write a mildly interesting book like, "Hannibal". Coarse Harris is a writer looking at his bank statement more than his pride.

Steven King has the flaw that being "prolific" is in itself the Holy Grail. His plots seem way to rushed at times, and the supernatural sillyness of some of his books, kind of clutters the overall theme of what he is trying to do. Also, way too many charactors that seem to bump into each other like drunk penguins looking for an ice flow to perch on. But I will say that King is real good with charactors. His dialogue can be quite funny, and he has a good touch with the inner workings of childhood fears. King just needs to be a bit more subtle with the plots.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Wednesday, August 8 2001 17:7:43

DAMN IT, ROB, I'M TRYIN' TA LURK HERE. What are you DOING to me?

You wrote:

>>Harlan, thank you for sharing your subjective input about the writing process. I’m convinced it is a mystery, with all its barriers, we have to solve each in our own way. The challenge for me has been recapturing, to my satisfaction, using the relatively cumbersome action of typing or handwriting, the microsecond of that neuron firing - wherein an entire story line unfolded with key characters reacting to major events. Concepts, powerful emotions and images blast through your brain as though it were a Tesla coil and all you have in their wake is your feeble fingers in an effort to seize the essence of those free discharges. You’re left with only the hope of recapturing as closely as possible that moment when the idea was so lucid. The discipline comes in offsetting the disappointment; it’s definitely a reductive process. (Side note re: titles. I draw imagery n’ ideas from them too. I know exactly what you’re talking about).

Discussions and contexts aside, Rob. That's just purty. PURTY writin', pardner.

Pretend you didn't see this.


Phillip Cairns
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 15:54:2

Writing and rewriting: My last two cents worth. When I was writing, I never began with a title. I am thee shits with titles. Sometimes a title would come to me right after I wrote something, but if it didn’t come then it would never come. I’d rather hand that job over to someone else. Reading in front of a crowd: The first time I did it I seriously thought I was going to have a heart attack, but apparently my apprehension made the reading come across as more dramatic; so I was lucky. It got easier with time. “You need only practice. Do it once, then twice, and the third time it’s easier, and the fourth time a matter of course, and after that it’s done without even consideration. Fear washes away and everything is possible.” (From “The Other Eye of Polyphemus,” Harlan Ellison, SHATTERDAY and THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON; copyright © 1977 by Harlan Ellison.) When I was writing everyday (gotta do it everyday), some times I would completely rewrite something, sometimes I wouldn’t, but I ALWAYS had to rework it to some degree. Not possessing the greatest imagination, I used to write directly from life, nonfiction, but by the time I was done telling the story and polishing it up, it was as much a work of fiction as anything else. I used to love it. Those final touches could be as magical as the initial moment of creation. Yep. Those were good days. The end.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shakes House, Ohio - Wednesday, August 8 2001 14:54:43

Son of a demented gunslinger, Rob's right. That bit IS from an old Cary Grant film. I haven't seen "Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer" in decades--it's a poor vehicle in which none of the stars shines very brightly. But you can hear the bit from the film at


TX - Wednesday, August 8 2001 13:48:11

More on rewrites (cripes, does EVERYONE here write?): Has anyone else out there ever reread one of their stories and suddenly found themselves more interested in a different character's point of view than the one initially selected as the narrator/focus? Or is that just me?

Other than that, I don't rewrite as much as I elaborate. When I first get things down, they tend to be a little bare-bones. Back when I actually used to attend those writer-workshop-masturbatory-everyone's great things, MOST people needed to kill the flowery language. I needed to put some in.

The two biggest problems I have with my writing are: titles (which I almost NEVER have first, "Life After Eden" here on Webderland being an exception), and PARALYZING stage fright. Can't read. Sucks. I'm a chicken.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 13:14:2

Phillip~ Re, rewrites. I do rewrite. I'm neurotic about twiddling. Unlike some people, I have a hard time letting go of a piece of work. I guess that comes from my composing background, that a work is a living piece of art and context (or performance/performers/audience/venue) defines the piece at the time it is performed/read. I've written some stuff I thought was crap, put it in a drawer, come back to it months later and reread it, thinking to myself, 'Okay - is this mine? Did I write something this good? Why did I stop?!' But as to major rewrites (which I envision as scrapping whole paragraphs, reordering others, deleting characters or changing plotlines) I've never done it. I couldn't tell you why, and *believe me* it doesn't come from any preconceived notion that I'm "better" than anyone else. It's just the way I work. Hence, the sense of relief. Writing from thin air, editing as I go, doing very minor rework. The very few places I have shared my work (I haven't shared any original stuff yet, mostly just fanfic), I've been honored with an award or two. Fanfic readers are not kind to drivel, so I think I'm on the right track. Now, all I have to do is -- write!

Yours in language,

Todd Mason
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 13:10:4

The man himself, along with the folks at Wormhole Books (see www.wormholebooks.com and click on the Writer News tab) inform us that Ed Bryant is going in for heart surgery on 10 August. Bryant's a fine writer and by all accounts a good man, and may he hang around quite a while.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 8 2001 12:46:11

Weeeeeeellll, Harlan, me good friend, here's where I kin git ya:

Before that schtick in the prologue, the copyright page in Robinson's novel clearly states:

"The quotation 'You remind me of a man...' is a routine which first appeared in the motion picture 'The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer', produced in 1947 by RKO Radio Pictures. Producer Dore Schary, screenplay by Sidney Sheldon. Used by permission.'

Hence, my joke in the opening of my ebullient review. Since I don't like being diminished when I have a good reason for saying something I'll show it to you. Here: take a look. See? It's right here. It's on the page facing Robinson's dedication: "For the mememory of my mother who liked a good thriller". You don't think I'd manufacture such meanderings do ya? Now if you have a better grasp than I do about that copyright and what it's referring to, I'm here to get my head right. But since the passage on that one page is the ONLY routine in the book I have to assume that's what the copyright is referring to. I'd say that's a reasonably cogent argument and I hope, at least, yer astonishment is assuaged.

I should add that I'd never even heard of 'The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer' until I saw it in 'The Power'.

To make one closing point, I may be misinterpreting this, will assume that I AM (but I like to cover my ass), but your early a.m. posted response looks like it's trying to correct me on some point to the effect that Hart was a telepathic/telekinetic protagonist; well, that is precisely what I pointed out.

I'm glad at least you concurred with my rave. I thought it was a down n' dirty shame that the novel had been out of print for so long.

Are we in sync now? (Jeezus, where's my Pepto).

Yours Forever,
Rob, aka, Perry Mason

St. Pete, FL - Wednesday, August 8 2001 12:20:22

Frank Robinson's, The Power, was re-released about a year or so ago in a nice trade paperback edition. It's in my reading stack. Right now, I'm enjoying the 50th Essential HE, and am a 12th of the way through it and enjoying it very much.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, PA - Wednesday, August 8 2001 12:20:12


I know you're getting a few questions like this so I promise I won't badmouth you to anyone if you don't have time to answer. :)

I have a friend - yes, it really is for a friend, not for me - who just got laid off from his job. Of course, he couldn't be any more delighted to hear the good news. He gets a year of severance pay and a full year to devote both to writing and to getting published.

He has no problem writing, having just finished his fourth novel. However, he has yet to get published. He had one bad experience with an agent who dangled the promise of a contract provided he send his manuscript to a book doctor. He did this, for the mere price of $3000, and then was left in the lurch by the agent.

He has left this experience behind and continues to plug away, sending his work to agents but has yet to get any offers.

He has a unique opportunity in the next year to work full-time on getting his work noticed by agents. Do you have any advice for how he could best spend his next year (besides writing - he writes regularly so, setting aside the question of the quality of his work, he has that part nailed down) and maximize his chance of getting published?

His work is in the horror genre - no gore, mostly cerebral/romantic ghost-themed stories.

Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Wednesday, August 8 2001 12:5:42

Dear Harlan, I wrote this for you.

Shauna Wilbery Tay had walked for hours in the humid, early August heat. Dressed in loose-legged shorts, teeshirt and tennis shoes, she paused in the shade of a neighborhood elm to wipe her cheeks. Her right shoulder was starting to ache and she pulled at the strap of her knapsack, filled with books and some provisions. Time to head back. Or find a Seven-Eleven. She'd drained the last of her water bottle a while ago.

"Welcome to wonderful Winnipeg. Jeeze, I hate this heat," she said.

"Ohhhh SHIT! You guddamn, muvvafucking maCHINE!"

Shauna Tay started at the sound of the deep, loud voice. Curious, she pulled on the brim of her royal blue Boca cap and moved past a tall hedge, looking for the source of the expletive blast.

A man, dressed in sundown orange teeshirt and white chinos was sitting at a small wooden table, a laptop opened before him. Something about him seemed familiar but Shauna Tay shrugged the thought off. She was new to this neighborhood. She'd met very few people so far. He seemed quite distressed, his blue eyes blazing. She walked up beside the table and stopped, briefly surveying the house behind him. She'd never seen such a structure.

"What is that, a temple or something?" she asked.

"Wha - huh - whoareyou? What are you doing here?!" He was torn between looking her up and down and staring angrily at the laptop screen. "What's with these goddamn things? This stupid forum just ate my post."

Shauna Tay pulled her knapsack off her shoulders, put the bag down on the grass, and said, "What were you doing?"

"I just finished writing this post -- one of my better ones, if I do say so myself." He relaxed a bit and managed a faint grin. "And I pressed 'submit' and got a 'no server error.' I just spent twenty minutes on that and it's gone."

"Gone, you say. Didn't you save it?" Shauna stared quietly at him as his mouth began to twist.

"Ah, no...save it, ah...no, no I didn't." He started getting angry again.

"Hmmm..." said Shauna, "You spent twenty minutes on a piece of writing -- one of your better ones, if you do say so yourself -- and you didn't...save it." She drew out the last few words.

"No! I'm a writer. I use a typewriter. Typewriters have paper and ribbons and ink. You don't have to SAVE TEXT."

He started to get up. Shauna put a hand on his shoulder and looked at him, her eyes calm. He sat back down again and stared bleakly at the screen, his hands half-clenched.

"Okay, so I didn't save it. I'm not sure how to do it and ... well, that's not true.. I kinda sorta do. But I forget to. I've been writing for a long time. You don't have to save documents on a typewriter."

"Look, would you type on your typewriter if the ribbon was too faded to read what you'd typed?"

"Well, no."

"Well... it's the same thing. You're riding bareback here. The computer could crash, the power could fail, and the minute you press 'Send' you're playing craps. That's simply the way of this machine. You can use a toaster, can't you? You know how to make toast without setting the house on fire. The computer's nothing more than a fancy toaster. For making word toast, okay? Except you gotta take some precautions. You'd wear a condom, wouldn't you? Why take chances with your word progeny?"

She laughed.


"Yeah, yeah. My wife tells me the same thing."

"Well you should LISTEN to her. You wanna end up sprawled on the grass, clutching your heart, cos you blew a gasket over losing a post? What would your net friends think?"

"They'd be pissed off as hell," he grinned this time. A real one.


"Okay, okay... show me how and I'll start each post in an application I can save it in. Then if the computer crashes or the post fails to go through, I can cut and paste it again. Right?" The old guy had dimples.

Shauna laughed. "Right. My name's Shauna Tay."

"Well," his eyes twinkled as he rose and took her hand. "En-Shauna-Tay, my dear."

- Wednesday, August 8 2001 12:1:31

(wafers - wafers - they're thin little chocolate wafers)
Just a quick question. As a transient kid, following the Mom around for whatever jobs she could get, we managed to stay in Cleveland, Akron, Sandusky, Erie, Ft. Wayne, Troy, Phillipsburg (my fave), among others... and also Painesville. Now I subside in Cleveland. Harlan - I've read about your trials in that podunk little town, and I know where Harmon is (but not the exact house) - have you ever returned? Did you ever get a chance to confront the local bullies? Would you consider a signing there? They could set up a tent on that front lawn, which would be kind of cool.We "locals" could promise you a nice game at the Jake, or something.

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 10:37:28

Adam Hart was the name of the telepathic/telekinetic villain/protagonist of the novel and the film. A book well worth finding and re- or first-time reading. A novel of menace.


Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 10:34:19

Rob, you couldn't be more wrong.

The old "round" of "I know a man, what man, the man with the power..." is not, I say again, in thunder, is NOT from "The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer" (which is the most bizarre memory substitution for the ACTUAL SOURCE imaginable); it is from Frank M. Robinson's brilliant 1956 novel, THE POWER. Subsequently made as a motion picture by George Pal.

With astonishment, yr. pal, Harlan.

Phillip Cairns
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 9:23:49

[Written in a hurry. Excuse the typos, if any.]

Lynn: About author’s gender---I didn’t think a sleight was intended on you part; I didn’t take it that way. You said: “As to reading writer's writing about writing, I don't do it. I have one book that I read that I liked... a lot. That was SK's On Writing. I've liked his stuff (okay - not all of it) for a long time. He's a great storyteller. I read the book more to read something of his. It was the first book of his I'd read since I trashed (litter-aly) The Tommyknockers.” Two things about this: (1) THE TOMMYKNOCKERS is one of two books I have read (or attempted to read) that was so awful that I tore the book into pieces and threw its remains in the garbage to insure that no one would ever be put through the same experience, at least with my copy of it. (The other book was Richard Bach’s ONE, *not* Richard Bachman; and I’m embarrassed to even admit that I read the book.) (2) About reading about writing---one good can book do the job as well as a handful of them. IF YOU WANT TO WRITE, by Brenda Ueland is a have decent learning-how-write book, and so is IF YOU CAN TALK, YOU CAN WRITE---but I say this from having read bits and pieces of other people’s copies. There’s too many of those kind of books out there.

Mr. Ellison: Thank you for your honest response to my query. You said, “...read aloud what you've written...to others. DO NOT ASK THEM FOR THEIR OPINIONS. Their opinions don't matter. Read aloud and listen to yourself as you read. Then correct the mistakes.” These seem like wise words to me. Not that I’m doing much writing these days (with the exception of my academic shit), but when I *was* pounding it out for half the hours of my waking day, reading out loud to myself and to others was my main method of polishing what I wrote (or completely scrapping the whole thing if it stunk), finding where the rhythm needed fixin’, and watching the reactions of those who I was reading to (if the laughed or reacted in all the right places, or in places I didn’t think they’d react, etc.). I’m also with you when you say, “Their opinions don’t matter.” I think reactions matter more than anything else. Ray Bradbury said in an interview once (approx. quote, although I did have it written down once): “The greatest lesson I ever learned is that I am always right and that anyone who disagrees with me is always wrong.” I used to tell people this and they’d think I was an arrogant S.O.B.---but it’s better to be an arrogant S.O.B. than to believe the opinions of half the wet bags out there saying things about your writing when they really don’t know any better. It may be arrogance at times, but it’s better than beating up on yourself; and if it’s what you have to believe to get on with the work, then do it. I suppose it’s an attitude that boils down to “Fuck ’em.” Because *when* you’re doing it right, you’ll know you’re doing it right---and no one’s opinion can change that. I’ve always felt this way. I watch the way people react, but I’ve never given much heed to most opinions (usually because they don’t tell me anything I wasn’t already acutely aware of). I appreciate that you took the time to respond. Honesty is always an education. Thanks.

Lynn: About Harlan’s comments, you said, “Again, inexplicably relieved” that you don’t have to worry about rewrites. Don’t jump up too high just yet. For many writers, rewrites are the way to go---and it can take time to figure out what works best for you, find your own path, you own voice, and sometimes that voice comes through in the rewrites. I know guys like HE who bang it all out in the first draft and they do it well, but there are other people who believe in the sanctity of the first draft and you tell---because it’s shit. No everyone can pull it off. Remember, Harlan’s a pro.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Wednesday, August 8 2001 4:27:9

You remind me of a man.
What Man?
The man with the power.
What power?
The power of hoo-doo.
Who do?
You do!
Do what?
Remind me of a man.
What man?
The man with the power…

A routine from an old movie called 'The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer', courtesy of...Adam Hart.

In the busy traffic of your memories does anyone here remember the name, Adam Hart?

Or did he get to all of YOU too?

He was a man with an ambition that rivals even mine: he wanted the world. "Every time a politician makes a big mistake, every time a scientist says something he shouldn’t, every time a big wheel makes a decision that leaves the world in slightly worse shape that night than it was in the morning...how do we know the choice they made was their OWN idea?" Endowed with nifty little skills which would dictate his agenda he was a genetic mutation that had jumped a thousand generations; bound by one law, nature’s test of survival for any new species, he applies his nifty little skills to invoke chaos that might paralyze humanity "so his own race can grow and thrive. Like the wasp’s egg planted under the skin of a butterfly larva, where the egg hatches and the baby wasp consumes the living host."

Among those nifty little skills, which he employs like any predatory mammal uses its teeth, but with the human vice of cruel self-amusement still innately intact, he can bend your will telekinetically to obey his; assault your physiology and nervous system; make you hallucinate; plant commands deep in your brain that you unconsciously follow years later; erase memories; take away your identity; and appear different to everyone who looks at him.

This was Adam Hart. He had...The Power.

‘The Power’ by Frank M. Robinson was called by some (authors being among them)"one of the greatest sf novels of the twentieth century". I read years ago that it had been MASSIVELY popular, particularly on college campuses, throughout the late 50’s and 60’s. Since the day I had seen George Pal’s filmed version on the tube I’d wanted to find the book. My efforts were futile - it’d been out of print for a couple of decades. Well, two days ago I was scanning book shelves at Borders and, suddenly, like Hart’s telekinetic onslaught the title seized me. My jaw dropped. By only the rays of chance I'd found it. It took ‘em eons but the book is in print again to be rediscovered.

And Jeeeeeezus! Does it DERSERVE to be rediscovered. Sunday morning alone flew me through 120 pages; I couldn’t stop reading. Only my appetite in the early afternoon brought me to a halt.

When a group of scientists discover the existance of this genetic superman they disappear one-by-one. The story mainly follows Professor Tanner as he runs in arrant determination, resorting to anything necessary to survive, transgressing from the security of a distinguished university research career to an animal existence in the streets. Hart has erased Tanner from the memories of all who'd known him, along with his work history, his school history, his financial records; all now in ZILCH City! And anyone Tanner runs into could be an extension of Hart, one pawn of many ready to kill him.

In succinct noirish prose, Robinson’s passages are subjective and apocalyptic, often creating stark transitions of an entire scene with but one word, leaving the reader with a lingering feeling of ominous dread; exactly what Tanner and his colleagues experience. It fully exploits the theme of Neitzsche’s man and superman and how human conceit may determine our genetic destiny. The novel is definitely about the scariest critter of ‘em all: Us.

Dunno how many of you here recall the story but I kin NOT recommend it enough...HELLUVA a lot of fun.

Remember it? Anybody?

Lorin O.
Tampa, - Wednesday, August 8 2001 1:42:26

REWRITES: Well, in my experience they can be a valuable part of the process, particularly when working on longer pieces where one is more likely to lose the thread from time to time or to have portions that don't quite sync with the rest of the work in terms of voice or characterization.

Even though my first drafts are pretty clean, I've found I have to pay careful attention to any little voice inside me that tells me a story isn't as "done" as I think it is. Sometimes this results in the kind of "tweaking" HE and Lynn have written about, and sometimes it results in a major overhaul. Yes, I have to be careful not to overdo or to flatten out the text, but I've found that 99% of the revisions I've made, even major ones like rewriting an entire section from scratch, helped improve the piece.

As an editor I can also say with absolute certainty that most of my first-time clients need DESPERATELY to rewrite, to read and actually PAY ATTENTION to their work, and to make sure that their stories follow some kind of logical progression and reach a satisfying conclusion.

So, like HE said, "Don't try this at home." Unless you're capable of doing so. And then...well...do! :)

John Thompson
USA - Wednesday, August 8 2001 1:16:21

Very interesting post, Harlan. I'm sure Phillip isn't the only one that appreciated it. For me, the most valuable piece of advice you offered is to carve your own path. I took a few writing classes in college and saw many people get stymied when they tried to follow patterns that someone else set for them. What I've always enjoyed about your work is the sense of play. Language is obviously your rollercoaster; thanks for letting us ride with you.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, August 8 2001 0:44:36

Glory{expurgated}hallelujah. Okay - I'm two for two. Minor rewrites, and I'm good to go. Major rewrites seem too much like retooling to me. While editing for awkwardness, misplaced pronouns, verb tense, et cetera, leave in drawer (or on disk) for sufficient length of time (two weeks?) and re-read, fix accordingly. Rewrites have always puzzled me.

Again, inexplicably relieved,

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 23:35:55

Dear Mr. Cairns:

I was afraid you'd ask me that. And my trepidation is even greater at giving you the answer.

I open with this truth: Every writer works in a different way. The way that best gets the job done FOR HIM. (Or HER should be assumed hereafter; I weary of doing s/he or him/her. So just assume I'm not being chauvinistic.)

Let me reiterate. Every writer finds his own voice, his own technique, his own form and way of plowing the field. No one way is universal. No one way is better than any other. The only yardstick of evaluation is this: did the job get done; and was the job done well?

Let me say it a third time--what I tell you three times is true, a la "Alice"--what works for me is ONLY what works for me. You are not in any smallest way to take what I'm about to say as a directive, a clue, a path, a pattern, a suggestion, or any other spur to finding your own true voice. You are adjured in the strongest possible terms. I can only hope you hear my warning.

What I know you will not love me for telling you about rewriting is this:

I don't.

Of the more than 1700 stories and essays and etcetera etcetera I've written and seen in print, I have substantially rewritten, maybe, less than fifty. Oh, yes, I read everything aloud to my wife or my assistant, or one of my friends who isn't intimidated by my "rep" and will tell me when I've fallen on my face, so I can catch the infelicities of meter or pace or grammar or syntax, but apart from those simple one-word fixes, what you read of everything in, say, THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON, all 25million pages of it, whatever, what you are reading, essentially, is first draft.

That's what "Incognita, Inc." is. First draft. Fiddled with in small ways (such as correcting the New South Wales reference, which was an error), a comma here, a semi-colon there. But basically unaltered from the way it came steaming hot out of the Olympia. "On the Downhill Side." First draft. "Deeper than the Darkness." First draft. "The Function of Dream Sleep." First draft. Everything else almost. First draft. Few typos.
90-120 words a minute, two fingers. First draft first draft first draft. Since my first story, to the one I'm writing now. First draft. No rewrite.

That's what "Pretty Maggie Moneyeyes " is. It's what "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" is. And Repent, Harlequin, and Grail, and All the Lies...and, well, almost all of them. Because of a scathing evaluation by Bob Silverberg who read the manuscript, I rewrote "The Deathbird" from scratch, from its original version, "Snake in the Crypt," but I've never changed a word of "Jeffty is Five."

I do not rewrite.

I sit down, I begin to type, and I give myself over in trust to my ability.


I was afraid you'd ask me for the rewriting mantra. And if not you, someone else on this board. So now I've told you, and I am of no help to you at all, save to urge you to learn to read aloud at a professional level, and to read aloud what you've written...to others. DO NOT ASK THEM FOR THEIR OPINIONS. Their opinions don't matter. Read aloud and listen to yourself as you read. Then correct the mistakes.

That is the best I can offer. I'm sorry.

Respectfully, Harlan Ellison.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, August 7 2001 21:46:8

Cubs, Twins and Indians fans all around me. Good lord - now all I need is Joe Carter....oh, wait.



Tammy TwoTone <Tammytwotone01@yahoo.com>
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 21:3:39

PEG: Tongue very much in cheek.

I've not "lurked" here very long, and I'm not aware of past offenses by others, so I apologize if it was taken as anything but fun. It was simply an antic sensibility that comes out at the darndest times.

I could've chirped-in on the debate concerning our education system, children, and the supposed rise of a slobering horde of socio-pathic uberkind...especially since I have one, and work in the aforementioned system. But, no...the troll comment let the prankster out. Go figure.

As someone who has been excluded, I often have a thin skin where that subject is concerned, and have a tendancy to add my two cents whenever it tends to cross my path. Hopefully, it's served with a whoppie cushion.....but, hey, I'm working with what I got here.

I found this board almost by accident. It seemed populated with sane, rational, intelligent people in the midst of much discussion. And, if that wasn't enough, Harlan Ellison is wont to stop in from time to time.

To quote the great comedian John Rizzo: "Fuck me Walking!"

I have been a reader of Mr. Ellison, and an appreciator of sane, rational, intelligent people since I was but a wee lass. Which, I guess, is my way of saying that I would not besmerch this domain with any intentions other than poistive ones.

Thanks for setting me straight.

My nipples are hard.


Heather <heatherlovatt@yahoo.ca>
Winnipeg, MB Canada - Tuesday, August 7 2001 21:2:3

Dearest Harlan

Excessive swearing makes the writing lose its impact.


bitch of Ellison

Frank Church
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 20:44:3

I would comment on the Indians mascot thing further, but I guess it would get off the subject of what this room is about.

Coarse if helps that I'm a staunch Minnesota Twins fan (teehee).

Talk about writers make my head stir. People are mentioning woman writers but aren't mentioning one of the female shooting stars in the galaxy of all that is Literature: one Anais Nin. Her wonderful, powerful diary is a sight to behold. She is no Henry Miller to be sure, but who is?

Just to add to the discussion, here is my list of favorite writers: Henry Miller (my Bard), Harlan E, J Steinbeck, Bertrand Russell, William S, Nobokov, Whitman....So many to name so little time..

Finder <the-finder@mindspring.com>
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 20:17:8

Tim - Bravo, and all luck as you steam through the homestretch! I wish DragonCon was in the cards for me, but alas, the Findermobile (180k miles and going strong, knock on wood) is pointed towards New York for Labor Day (I'm missing Nils Lofgren's acoustic trio here in VA that weekend, too, but that's a thread for a completely different board). I look forward to your info, nevertheless - already have a spot cleared on my shelf. (What better tool for a Finder than an exhaustive reference work?)

Though I have to ask that paradoxical question: if Harlan writes the foreward, have you included that appearance in the book? Or will you automatically be down a citation?

With a great extended waking glee,
Sleeps Like Horse

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 20:8:39

Phillip~ No slight was meant against your author's gender. None at all. I've just been noticing a phenomenon, as I have for a while in the music world (rock, not so much jazz). As a gender, I think we've got a lot of catching up to do. And writers like Danielle Steele don't help much.

As to reading writer's writing about writing, I don't do it. I have one book that I read that I liked... a lot. That was SK's On Writing. I've liked his stuff (okay - not all of it) for a long time. He's a great storyteller. I read the book more to read something of his. It was the first book of his I'd read since I trashed (litter-aly) The Tommyknockers. And even it is half autobiography. I also knew of his history as a teacher. That comes through very strong in the book, much more so than the "on being a writer" stuff. I did order two more books on writing this week. The one that Loftus recommended (The Courage To Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes) and another that I saw by Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing, which I will read because, simply put, I love Ray Bradbury.

The rest I agree. Read. Write. The rest will come. ('Cept for that whole getting published shebang. Haven't gotten that far yet.) Right now it's still a torrid love affair with the words.


Phillip Cairns
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 18:17:40

Back again to fill is some of the blanks. But before I say anything, I’m just pleased that Rick, or anyone, apparently knew who I was referring to when I said Raymond Carver. It’s depressing enough that I get it with HE (“Harlan who?”); it’s even more depressing when I get the same reaction when I mention Raymond Carver. So I think it’s great that someone knows who I’m talking about; although, confession time, I’m probably just as ignorant as anyone else---mention ten currently well-known authors and I’ll be lucky to recognize one of them. But! The people I do know, I know well---that should count for something, shouldn’t it? Anyhow, I’m also pleased that David recognized the single female writer in my off-the-cuff list of authors (it was Anne Sexton).

Lynn: Yes, I do or have read female writers, but not much. Anne Sexton as already mentioned, Jane Urquhart who probably isn’t too well known in the States, the nonfiction of Joyce Carol Oates, and, sadly, that’s about it. And that was all back when I had much more time to read and write and indulge myself than I do now. I’m lucky if I manage to read two or three novels a year now. No shit. ’Tis often the price of the aforementioned “higher education.” And I don’t want to talk about the quality of my writing; it’s a gasping fish flopping around on a hot dry sandy beach (a perfect description of the epitome of academic writing though).

About reading other writers talking about writing---the point of it all is to keep yourself in good company, the company of writers you can admire, not like the typical gathering in writing “clubs” where everyone pats each other on the back for writing god awful poetry and no one has the courage to be honest about how bad it all really is. If you can’t hang with around real in-the-flesh people who know what they’re talking about, then pick up a book like THE WRITER’S CHAPBOOK (still in print) and listen to what the pros are saying; when you begin to recognize some of what you’re doing in what they’re doing, that kind of encouragement is better than anything you’ll get from hanging out with a bunch of weak-egoed amateurs spouting out bad poetry. Or so my experience seems to tell me. The point, again, is to keep yourself in good company. It helps.

Joseph J. Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Tuesday, August 7 2001 17:56:35


Oh, I am so there for that signing! I've been waiting for your bibliography with bated breath. Now my wife can see the size of Harlan's work (ahem), and not dog me for my small Harlan collection (see, honey, I only have the five shelves!).


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, August 7 2001 17:48:26

Lynn asked for the woman's name. Ain't I a tease?

I assume by Sexton, Phillip was referring to the late Anne Sexton, the great American poet of sex and death. Sorry I can't quote you lots of couplets, but I remember the refrain of "The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator":

"Alone at night, I marry the bed."

Tim Richmond <Not at This Time>
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 17:32:5

Hey Guys;
A few of you I've met; Rick, Phil, Finder aka "Sleeps Like Horse," and some guy named Barney (Thanks for everything Barn). Others I've probably shared the same auditorium with. Just a quick note to let the hard core Ellison fans know that I have nearly completed "Fingerprints On the Sky: The Illustrated, Authorized Harlan Ellison Bibliography and Reader's Guide," to be published by Overlook Connection Press early in the year. We intended to be ready for the DragonCon, but due to last minute additions, i.e. illustrations, new material etc., that won't happen. Fortunately, we have an answer.
Harlan has been a part of this project from the onset and has contributed immeasurably. Not only has HE offered to write the foreword, but with the aid of Arnie Fenner, has designed an amazing dust jacket and bookplate. The bookplate was created especially for the DragonCon, Aug. 31 - Sept. 2 in Atlanta where Harlan and I will sign them. Details as to limited editions, hardcovers etc., when and how to attend the signing, reserving copies and obtaining a bookplate are pending. I'll come back with that piece as it all comes together in the next week or two. I guarantee after viewing this volume you will never approach Harlan again and say "I've read everything you've ever written." See you there! TR

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 17:26:51

David~ Please, enlighten me. Which one of his list was female?

Still just curious,

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, August 7 2001 16:39:19

Lynn ALMOST caught you, Phil. You included ONE female writer in your list. That was a close one!

(Next time, toss in MFK Fisher and Isabel Allende. Go ahead, read some of them, too. Be sure to check out the pictures, as well; they were/are not only terrific writers, but both babes -- and incorrigible flirts -- to boot!)

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Burnt-bank, CA, - Tuesday, August 7 2001 16:18:48

Phillip, just out of curiousity (and not recognizing two or three of the names you listed so I could be wrong), do you ever read any female authors?


Phillip Cairns
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 15:9:16

Rick: You said, "I'd say you'd learn more by, say, reading what Raymond Carver wrote than reading what he wrote about writing."

Of course. I've read every word the man ever wrote many times over.

Let me revise my list: Writing, listening to established writers talk about writing, AND good old fashioned reading---Carver, Ellison (including his brother, Ralph), Steinbeck, Salinger, Tolstoy, Sexton, Bukowski, Twain, Hemmingway, Chekhov, Whitman, Kazantzakis, Proust, Joyce, Kafka, Jack Finney, Colin Wilson, William Wharton, Saul Bellow, Somerset Maugham, and some Arnold Toynbee just for good measure.

Anything worth reading is worth reading twice---or 20 times when it comes a masterpiece such as Salinger's "For Esme--with Love and Squalor."

Rick Wyatt <rick@rickwyatt.com>
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 14:36:7

Ducking debate, as is my duty here, I come merely to inform you I've archived the board to spare your suffering browsers. Some of you regulars will note I left more posts here than usual. This was done to give the "show posts since last one for" function something to work with and to provide a stronger sense of continuity since we're getting a lot of traffic these days.

A few comments: the seizure comment was fine - I think to say it ridiculed or trivialized epilepsy is stretching it. I'd say you'd learn more by, say, reading what Raymond Carver wrote than reading what he wrote about writing. And SIX FEET UNDER kicks ass. And not just because it's good to see Peter Krause in a series again since the unjust demise of SPORTS NIGHT.

Harlan: Thanks, as always, for your continued support and friendship - if you ever want to work on setting up something to avoid losing posts, give me a ring. Tell Susan I fixed the error on the HERC order form. Toodles.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
The International $piritual Headquarters for $cientology, - Tuesday, August 7 2001 13:59:14

Harlan (and everyone),

Very disturbing news regarding the Barnes&Noble situation. They originally stocked Vol.1 (that's where I bought it), so why the about-face? Is literate fantasy and science fiction that isn't tied to a tv or movie franchise so completely beyond the ken of corporate muckety mucks? I've seen humongous endcap displays for Neil Gaiman's latest in the B&N aisles, so why the assumption that the market for F&SF audio isn't lucrative? Hasn't Harry Potter taught them a goddamned thing? It's attitudes like these that make it so frustrating to be a reader of intelligent "genre" fiction in this country. The continual lack of respect for F&SF, unless it's deemed to have made the mystical metamorphasis into "mainstream" literature, is maddening. If an Updike or a Delillo dips his toe into the river of fantastic literature, it's always condescendingly viewed as some alchemical transformation of the base metals of a retarded genre; the work of authors, however, who consistently ground their writing in the F&SF tradition is regarded as the nattering of social and emotional cripples. The attitudes are changing for the better, true, but to still have to justify the worth of fantastic fiction in 2001 is just...AARRRGGGHHHHHH!!!!

I'm going to try to find that Alessandroni CD; coincidentally enough, I have a cyber-djinn hunting down the remastered and expanded reissue of ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST. I think the key is just to treasure the work, whether it's actually written by Morricone, Alessandroni/Nicolai, or a microcephalic second cousin named Paulo who is chained to the water heater in the basement. The authorship controversy doesn't diminish the joy of the music, though it may diminish my respect for the man. What release did you write the liner notes to, Harlan? And what is your favorite Morricone score?

Truly, madly, deeply,

Phillip Cairns
Subject: Rewriting, - Tuesday, August 7 2001 13:31:57

Dear Mr. Ellison,

I was wondering, if you have the time for this sort of thing, if you could further describe how the writing process (or the creative process) works for you. I say describe, not explain, because, as you mentioned before, explanations are pointless; it can’t be done or it shouldn’t be done. The best anyone can do is say, “This is how I go about it.”

Before my life became consumed by my pursuit for a “higher education,” I spent most of the hours of my days writing and reading about writing. Most of what I wrote was shit, but in 1994, the year before I returned to the world of academia, I clocked over a million words. With that much quantity, statistically you can’t help but hit the bull’s eye every now and then, which I did; proving, to me at least, that the best way to learn how to write is to write. Those were good days. I miss them.

I never bothered with how-to-write books. I listened to the advice of established writers who I admired. I read things like THE WRITER’S CHAPBOOK (from the Paris Review), essays such as Theodore Sturgeon’s “Future Writers in a Future World” (to name one that stands out in my memory), Steinbeck’s JOURNAL OF A NOVEL, CONVERSATIONS WITH RAYMOND CARVER, and, of course, as much of your non-fiction as I could get my hands on. In reading well established writers talk about writing, you (i.e., young writers) come to recognize that you’re doing something right when one of these writers talks about something you’ve already learned (but didn’t know you had learned) through you own writing experience. Sort of like, “Holy shit, Steinbeck does this too.” Beats the hell out of any how-to-write book I’ve ever come across.

Nowadays I’m writing like a goddam junior high school kid. My muscles have atrophied. It’s pathetic. I think I read a quote from you once: “It’s not so difficult to become a writer. The trick is in staying a writer.”

I mention all this because I know there are other people on this board who like to hear about this sort of thing because it’s the same kind of road they’re on and they want to learn all they can, whether from someone’s failure or success. So for the sake of education, I’ve described some of my experiences with writing, as meagre as they are. But for the same reason, I’d kindly like to ask you, Mr. Ellison, more about the writing process as you experience it---if this sort of thing isn’t too much of an imposition on your writing time.

One thing I’ve never heard you talk much about is rewriting, and I was wondering how rewriting works for you, specifically in your short stories. When you pound out a first draft, how close is it to the final draft?

For someone like the late Raymond Carver, “writing is rewriting,” which more often than not means extensive rewriting. I’ve read in plenty of literary interviews comments like, “My readers are the lucky ones because they’ve never had to read my first draft.” But then there are more instinctual writers who, I get the impression, may spend a lot of time polishing up their first draft, but don’t really get into extensive rewrites. And this is what some writers learning the basics love to hear because the prospect of rewriting can be a drag, the feeling that it’s just too much work---why bother if I get nail it in the first draft? That sort of thing. Then there’s the feeling of the first draft being such a magical creation that you don’t want to touch it and it’s hard to find the kind of objectivity necessary to do a half-decent rewrite. I’ve heard many writers talk about how the most important part of the writing process is how you approach the first draft once it’s written (in other words, the rewriting)---but for many writers new to the job, they don’t want to think about rewriting because it’s too much work. What do you think of this?

How important do you think rewriting is? And how does it work for you?

This may seem like a ridiculous question for someone like yourself who has been playing in the pros for more than 50 years, but it may not be so obvious for someone who just got in the game. It’s the obvious things that are most often overlooked anyway. That’s why I think it might be an important issue to address. (For instance, unless you straighten them out, someone could write “laying” for years not realizing it’s supposed to be “lying.”)

But I do understand that you might have better things to do than respond to this sort of inquiry. It was just something I was thinking about, something I thought others on this board might find enlightening too. If you have the time...

Best wishes, etc.,
Phillip Cairns

Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Tuesday, August 7 2001 12:29:43

Harlan: wow, 23? You have me beat...by 21! I've been interested in one of the "wafer" models myself. Are you happy with it?

All of the bookstores that I've been to that have an audio section seem to regard the section as an annoyance. Shelves are mislabeled, audiobooks are categorized incorrrectly, everything's a mess. Much of this is the fault of customers as much as it's the fault of the managers (one of my pet peeves: customers who refuse to put books/magazines/other products back on the same shelf that they found them - lazy idiots!).


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, August 7 2001 12:25:51

Found the Dahlberg quote:

"He who claims he will get his bread first, and afterwards his truth, is a slave of the state." -- Reasons of the Heart, 1965, p. 81

Here are some other gems from the writer who once called himself "the most hated man in America":

"I have no confidence in a man whose faults you cannot see."

"Hard of heart is he who has nothing to show for his life but his virtues."

"Goodness, like epilepsy, is a momentary spasm."

"It is a common fault to revile the whole human race because one has not studied his own nature."

"All wisdom is sensual since it comes from the body."

"It is hideous and coarse to assume that we can do something for others -- and it is vile not to endeavor to do it."

[and my OTHER favorite:]

"Knowledge that is not action is bestial perversity ... I have no clear or good purpose save in exercising my will, for nothing I do appears right to me, but I must do it. Unless I go to my table and work each day the stars disappear, the heavens go out, and the world vanishes."

[then he quotes a passage from the Bhagavad-Gita:

If I did not always work unwearying,
Men would follow my ways,
The world would perish if I did not work--
I should bring back chaosm, and all beings would suffer.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 12:16:50

Y'know, I figured it was something ludicrously simply like that. Thanks for the update.


Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 11:51:38

Lynn: the answer to the question of the whereabouts, and whenabouts, of the CD-ROM version of THE VOICE FROM THE EDGE, Vol. 2: MIDNIGHT IN THE SUNKEN CATHEDRAL is painfully simple.

It hasn't yet been produced because not enough orders for it have been received to warrant the production. You may not know this, but Barnes&Noble passed on the item completely. Also Ben Bova's new one, an Ursula Le Guin, and on and on. It turns out that the woman who buys audio for B&N doesn't "feel comfortable" with sf and fantasy, apparently doesn't "understand" it, and picks only those tapes that accompany a big bestseller sf/fantasy book. So in one fell swoop, I have become a non-person at Barnes & Noble, one of the three largest outlets for audio in America. No one seems to know what to do about this, short of ratting her out to the CEO of B&N. (Which would only backfire, and I advise against it.)

I wish I could tell you happier, but thass wassup.

Wearily, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 11:37:21

Mr. Church:

Not only do I disagree that the inveigling face of Big Chief Wahoo (which used to be a comic strip until Steve Roper appeared as a subsidiary character and took over the titular duties, only to be usurped years later by yet another strapping white boy), a face that I once climbed a light stanchion in downtown Cleveland in 1948 to "liberate" a gigantic masonite replica of, is NOT racist or ethnicist or insulting or demeaning (any more than the name Braves is derogatory, fer chrissakes, that's what they CALLED their warriors, so how the hell can the use of a word meant to ennoble one set of warriors be demeaning when used to designate ANOTHER group of warriors?????) or any other damned bullshit PC complaint by idiots--of WHATEVER color--who ought to go get a life. Or continue to sell out their people with more and larger and uglier gambling joints, even though they now choose to masquerade their odiousness under the names "casinos" or "resorts." A lot like the undertakers renaming themselves "funerary directors" and "afterlife caretakers."

Wahoo is charming. He casts no shadow over the nobility of the true Native American history, reality, or mythos. Any more than the Qantas koala denigrates Australia.

I admire the Tribe for not knuckling under to this time-wasting, ludicrous, misdirected and boneheaded crap. Alla them bitchin'n'moanin' carpers, along with all the pecksniff Religious Right tightasses who want Mark Twain and John Steinbeck and the Harry Potter stuff banned from libraries, alla them weeds of wonder ought to be bundled together with wire, lifted aloft, and fired into the sun. Dragging George "the Shrub" Bush behind them, like a kite tail.

Have I answered your question?

Fiercely, yr. pal, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, August 7 2001 11:19:44

Mr. Sassone: Dan Puls--"Mr. Typewriter"--and I have had numerous dealings. As you say, he is a valuable and reliable source. I have 23 Olympias, all manuals, office machines and portables, including three of the war correspondent "wafer" models...one of which, a pink one, was intended for, uh, ahem, "lady" war correspondents, I presume.

Joseph: Geezo wheezo. I must've lost my powers of Everything. I watched the damned game while ALSO watching a tape of the Cubs game, and the next day, after a night of hard work, I got all tangled with my own memories. Yes, of course, it was the Mariners the Indians beat in 11, 15-14 on Lofton's hit. I ought to lie down more often.

Chagrined, yr. pal, Harlan

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, August 7 2001 10:44:8

I heard Clinton is looking for a great writer to write his memoirs. Whaddaya think? (He asked, ducking for cover.)

- Tuesday, August 7 2001 8:52:15

(From the chocolate Necco-waifer capital of the world)
I can't believe it. I turned the damned game off. I mean, Burba's arm practically fell off out there on the mound, and it was 12-2 in the freaking 3rd inning, and I turned the stoopid game OFF. And the next morning, it's a history-maker. Ah, well. It's still hot here in Cleveland today.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 6 2001 22:34:11

Charlie~ You're absolutely right. Can you tell I've been stuck in geekland far too long?


- Monday, August 6 2001 22:11:25

Lynn- The item is available on tape;however, I don't believe it's due out on CD-ROM. However, the other format, currently unavailable, which I saw listed, was just an audio CD w/o the ROM.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
For Today, Cleveland, Ohio - Monday, August 6 2001 21:54:4

So my wife, the sports fan of the family, has been to four games this season. And every one, every single one, the Tribe walked away, scalped. And the last one was just a few nights ago, mind you. And then, the very next game--THEN the Tribe makes history, the first game in 76 years in which a team recovers from a 12-run deficit. And adding to the irony, the team that lost that way 76 years ago was the Tribe! And this game she misses by choosing to go early on a weekend rather than late, taking in Friday's game instead of Sunday's.

Ooooo, you should have heard her wail.

Speaking of wailing, STRINGSVILLE came today, and it's marvelous. The rendition of "Round Midnight" is everything Uncle Harlan promised. Makes you wonder how much gold lurks, unmined, on forgotten LPs.

Near Cleveland, Alex the Homeboy

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 6 2001 19:47:47

The Voice From the Edge: Midnight in the Sunken Cathedral:

Anybody know what the hold up on the publication of this item is?

Just curious,

PS. Stopped by Dangerous Visions this week and spent way too much money, thanks. Filled in some holes in my shelves where all my Gibson had gone missing (I loan out way too many books that never come back) and managed to find a hardback cover of Donald Kingsbury's Courtship Rite. It was a bit worse for the wear, but hey - for four bucks - you can't go wrong. Finally, now I don't have to go all the way down to Santa Monica to browse sci-fi. And my bedside table may need to be structurally reinforced with this last purchase.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
Fumesville, CA, - Monday, August 6 2001 19:42:22

David~ I most certainly will, thank you for the suggestion. I find the best remedy is just to sit my ass down in front of the computer and write. "Finding Forrester" hit home that way, when he used the beginning paragraphs of one story to beget another.

Blair Witch didn't scare the bejeezus out of me in the theatre, and I knew that it wasn't a documentary when I saw it. It did however lodge in my brain and it wasn't until my beloved pryed my white-knuckled viselike grip off his hand in the middle of the night that I acknowledged, yeah, maybe it scared me. A little.

We were living in an apartment where the backside of the humble abode hung off into empty space over an alley. That alley was three or four blocks long, home to many an abandoned partially charred couch or refrigerator, the indelible hallmarks of urban life in the Valley. Three blocks of concrete and stucco creates a nice long chamber that amplifies and reverberates even the tiniest sounds. Headlights played on the ceiling as cars went by and in the middle of the night, the sound of a child's voice, laughing and playing, and then shouting, echoing up that corridor of sounds...

*That* scared the bejeezus outta me.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, August 6 2001 18:27:22


You might want to check out a book by Ralph Keyes called _The Courage To Write: How Writers Transcend Fear_, which I read over the weekend. It talks about the fears and insecurities that beset writers, the rituals and tricks some have found to bypass and overcome those terrors.

There are lots of anecdotes and quotations from famous scriveners on the subject. It's a little unbelievable (yet heartening) to see how neurotic some of the biggest names in prose could be about their work.

Here's what I wrote about Blair Witch on AllWatchers.com: " 'Blair Witch' is a combination of one of the most interesting and yet boring films I have ever seen: interesting from a plotting and acting perspective ('oh, that was nicely done ... how are they going to handle this?') and boring as a piece of entertainment because pretty much nothing happens except in the minds of the characters, who are not interesting to begin with. Perhaps if one did not know the truth behind the premise in advance the film would be more gripping, but I felt one step disengaged from it and never got caught up in the story."

Harlan, since you took a liking to the Dahlberg quote, I'll go home and check my reading notes to get the exact wording and citation. My two other favorite Dahlberg lines are:

"What is more boring than a young man who desperately wants to have feelings?"


"Doubt was my Rock of St. Peter."

Frank Church
- Monday, August 6 2001 18:7:19

Harlan: So I take it you don't subscribe to the theory that The Indians baseball mascot is racist? Am I being a wee to PC? Just a thought.

Frank Church
- Monday, August 6 2001 18:3:25

The Punisher has crept in through the transom.

Well, about a 50/50 split on the Blair Witch. I thank you for your input.

I wholeheartedly agree with Ellison on the cursing point: Words are important only in how they are applied, not in some victorian embalming of applied reason. Every word has it's place and time. But I will say, Ellison is kind of the Dennis Miller of F words-- as applied to Fiction. Smile.

- Monday, August 6 2001 17:32:33

Harlan: Thanks for the correction. It was a comment on your metabolism that I recalled from "The City on the Edge of Forever" book. If the psychotraumatic (okay, that's either made up or used improperly) experiences of your youth hadn't pre-empted you ever desiring to drink, your metabolism probably would have flat out prevented you from imbibing, given that *very bad things* happen when you would taste even the eensy weensiest bit of alcohol.

As for the extra post... well, double the Harlan, double the fun!

Justin: take heed and let her pass. Most of us probably could tell stories of woe about the one we chased down but shouldn't have. My husband would agree - some women in their unfortunate state of being seem to choose lowlifes; or as he puts it, "Geez, why do so many women seem to like jerks?!". (I'm certain Sheryl would pitch in one way or another on this, too).

Without detail, I have been there on the choosing end. I was in lowlife hell when I met my husband. I had sunk lower with each relationship, rung by rung, crossed the lines, betrayed beliefs, betrayed trust, and in general hated myself by that time. I couldn't believe the men I'd let into my life and the circumstances around them. No drugs, no abuse, but, what *WAS* I thinking?!

I was fortunate, blessed, redeemed, lucky, call it whatever you choose. God in His grace brought me my husband, smacked me up along side my caboose (then atop my neck), and knocked some sense in somehow, just so I would let an inkling of rational thought through to my pea-sized brain and recognize a good thing when it caught me whackwise. (I just love using that word now - it should get copyrighted!) And I've been thankful ever since in more ways than I could have imagined back then in my twisted emotional not-quite youth.

So trust Justin that there are better options out there.

And those of you harping on Valerie - she may be wasting her time and heart now, but someday she could come to her senses and move on as well. We're all young and stupid at times. Some people just never grow out of it.

Good night,

Joseph J. Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL USA - Monday, August 6 2001 16:53:17

Harlan & Ray,

Damn. Now that was a game. Just wished I could have watched it (I don't have cable).

You did make my eyes snap back in a doubletake, Harlan, 'cause the Tribe was playing the Mariners last night, not the Cubbies. Of course, as a White Sox fan, I'll be damned if I wish good things on a Cleveland Indians team, but I'll allow a small crack of appreciation at their achievement last night. Bravo.

Now I'm going to finish work and go home and read my Orestes Minoso biography, to tide me over until next year. So there.


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
Gloucester, MA - Monday, August 6 2001 16:33:58

Harlan: Heh heh...I know what you mean. I actually just wrote a short piece about something similar: the joy of paper! A snippet:

"This stuff is amazing! It's ultra-thin, lightweight, and extremely portable! You can even fold it several times so it fits in your pocket or wallet or purse or notebook. And then, you can unfold it, and it retains it's original shape (and what you have written on it remains unscathed)! It never crashes or breaks down, so you never "lose" the stuff you've written, and it's COMPLETELY immune to viruses and hacking and power outages! Someone should patent this stuff. I tell ya, I see a big future in it."

And, of course, you can say many of the same things about my Olympia and my Royal, which I use every day. I can't imagine what I'd do without them. By the way, I found a great place to buy typewriters on the web, for those so inclined. Dan Puls at Mr. Typewriter has a great selection:


No, I don't get a commission, just thought I'd pass the info along! :)


Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 6 2001 16:7:57

Don't ask. Did I mention I much prefer my typewriter, that has no mind but mine?

- Monday, August 6 2001 16:3:44

Jim Davis: If I knew something more about the truly unsettling Morricone/Allesandroni situation, believe me, I'd pass it on. But though my source is impeccable, on a matter like this I don't think anyone is unimpeachable. One previous snippet of actual fact, from some years ago, gives me pause, however: Bruno Nicolai, who was often cited as Morricone's "conductor" on a great many scores, for a great many years, left his service and camaraderie under a cloud of vituperation and recrimination. As a subsequent fact, some of the scores which had previously been attributed to Moricone alone, or Moricone in yoke with Nicolai, were reissued as Nicolai's alone. There was a settlement of some sort. Lira changed hands. They went their separate ways. Listen to the CD I recommended. You tell me what you hear. I can only, with heavy heart, surmise. Not my place, or any fan's place, to speak as if we had the inner word.

Alex Jay, Alex K., and any others: I took no umbrage or upset at Rob's post about my screedscreamscreech being "epileptic" in nature. Perfectly appropriate choice of words. I'd've picked "demented" myself, but that's only because my way with words is not as ebullient as y'all. Those who pointed out that we have to be sedulous in not getting too touchy, have my vote. The yardstick, for me, is that I trust you folks, and I think this board promotes goodheartedness and reason. Such trust mitigates any unfounded supposition that evil intent was afoot. We ought to be safe among ourselves from the road rages that manifest themselves everywhere else. So, bottom line, don't worry about ME taking offense. If such is ever the case, is there one insensate enough among you who believes I will not roar instantest?

The Cubbies-Indians bash last night was WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!

I confess to being torn. I'd only LOVE to see the Cubs get into the Series; but you know where I stand on the Tribe, whose cap I am wearing as I type these last words. LOVED that game. Rooted for both sides. What would've really thrilled me, would've been the Indians rushing the Cubs dugout to hug them for an exciting, uplifting, magnificent evening of heroic miraculous ballplaying on BOTH sides.

Oh, by the way: David Loftus...I did not know, and am knocked out by, that great Dahlberg quotation, which now goes up on my board where I work. What a killer!

If I've forgotten anything, well, so be it. I have work to do.
Respectfully, yr. pal, Harlan

- Monday, August 6 2001 16:3:24

Jim Davis: If I knew something more about the truly unsettling Morricone/Allesandroni situation, believe me, I'd pass it on. But though my source is impeccable, on a matter like this I don't think anyone is unimpeachable. One previous snippet of actual fact, from some years ago, gives me pause, however: Bruno Nicolai, who was often cited as Morricone's "conductor" on a great many scores, for a great many years, left his service and camaraderie under a cloud of vituperation and recrimination. As a subsequent fact, some of the scores which had previously been attributed to Moricone alone, or Moricone in yoke with Nicolai, were reissued as Nicolai's alone. There was a settlement of some sort. Lira changed hands. They went their separate ways. Listen to the CD I recommended. You tell me what you hear. I can only, with heavy heart, surmise. Not my place, or any fan's place, to speak as if we had the inner word.

Alex Jay, Alex K., and any others: I took no umbrage or upset at Rob's post about my screedscreamscreech being "epileptic" in nature. Perfectly appropriate choice of words. I'd've picked "demented" myself, but that's only because my way with words is not as ebullient as y'all. Those who pointed out that we have to be sedulous in not getting too touchy, have my vote. The yardstick, for me, is that I trust you folks, and I think this board promotes goodheartedness and reason. Such trust mitigates any unfounded supposition that evil intent was afoot. We ought to be safe among ourselves from the road rages that manifest themselves everywhere else. So, bottom line, don't worry about ME taking offense. If such is ever the case, is there one insensate enough among you who believes I will not roar instantest?

The Cubbies-Indians bash last night was WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!!!!

I confess to being torn. I'd only LOVE to see the Cubs get into the Series; but you know where I stand on the Tribe, whose cap I am wearing as I type these last words. LOVED that game. Rooted for both sides. What would've really thrilled me, would've been the Indians rushing the Cubs dugout to hug them for an exciting, uplifting, magnificent evening of heroic miraculous ballplaying on BOTH sides.

Oh, by the way: David Loftus...I did not know, and am knocked out by, that great Dahlberg quotation, which now goes up on my board where I work. What a killer!

If I've forgotten anything, well, so be it. I have work to do.
Respectfully, yr. pal, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, August 6 2001 15:39:30

Responses, to all and sundry (on Mondry) to catch up:

Heather/Lynn/Joseph Finn/Peg: Darryl and Charlie were correct in their suppositions about why I don't--have NEVER--imbibed alcoholic beverages. "Gopher in the Gilly" was the essay that they were citing, though references to my aversion to the taste of alcohol in any medium is rampant through 50 years of my essays and introductions. Having been, at a tender age, as a runaway, incarcerated for more than a week with a genuine carny geek--technically, so far gone into oblivion drinking that he was what cops and skids call a "wet brain"--whacked me with a world-class gestalt of olfactory, aural and visual traumae that flung wide the great gates of epiphany. I actually SAW closeup, what comes of overindulgence; and not coincidentally extrapolated that insight to ALL overindulgences, which is probably why I've never done dope, save on those one or two (literally one or two) occasions when I've needed to know how something felt so I could write about it.

There was one other traumatic experience that skewed me away from booze, and you'll find it as a transmogrified scene in my story "In the Fourth Year of the War." Bear this in mind: if you ever hear, on the morning news, that Ellison was busted for driving under the influence, or for possession of an illegal substance, get to my attorneys as fast as possible, because I'll have been set up.

Had I not lost that lovely one hour posting, I'd have told you the story of how my metabolism, fast&hot, responded on the sole occasion when a birthday partyload of friends here at the house, many decades ago, partypooper'd me into sipping about one-sixteenth of a flute of champagne, and the Lovecraftian horrors that ensued. Perhaps some other time.

Heather: You asked about using "curse words." (I have a hard time attaching the words "dirty" or "curse" or "filthy" or any of the other designations of opprobrium to dangerous, proscribed, embargoed, taboo, or outlawed verbiage.) I know only one obscene word, and it is "nixon." I try not to use it. But apart from that one--as I went into great detail in the now-legendary LOST POSTING--I think any and every word, without exception, has its times and uses. The problem with swearing, kiddo, is that like many another word--such as "epileptic," ahem, I'll get to THAT in a moment--the expletive is a power word. It has impact. It casts its own shadow wide. It is cudgel, not sound of cymbal, timbal & lyre. It thumps. It may even go off in your hand like a grenade. It is not, as used by the military and illiterate mooks in the hood and valley girls in school toilets and wannabe white gangstas in the burbs, a comma. "I fuckin' hate doin' this fuckin' alegebra, y'know whut the fuck I'm sayin'?" Is not interchangeable with "I like hate doin' this like algebra, like y'know what I'm like sayin'?"

There is passion and even poetry in the judicious, carefully calculated, ingeniously and artfully and cunningly placed use of "colorful" language, and to hell with those who cannot hear such words without going in spasms of righteous indignation. I don't give a quivering kumquat what the bible-suckers think about my language. I get PAID to use words; all the words.

But. If you drop a curseword in every few lines, as you did in a few of your postings, you hobble yourself, you leach the power out of such words when you need them, and you very likely give the impression to those who are more expansive with their vocabularies, that you are thematically and intellectually tongue-tied.

You asked for an opinion. As a writer who is constantly being upbraided for using "foul" language, I figgered my take on this might be trustworthy. Been there, done that. Get what I'm sayin', bitch?

Justin: I'm very pleased you didn't play the funeral march from WhupAss on the guy at the club. Your restraint, this time, shows you've matured since the previous fistfight you described. All of us here feel (I perceive) protective of you. We think you've got value, and you listen well, so if we're able to steer you past the Scylla and Charybdis of adolescent troubles, well, then we've served well as a surrogate family. But even more, I'm pleased that you may well have picked up a salutary bit of adult wisdom from the situation. Which is this:

The fault lies not in your stars, my son; nor even in those of the dawgbreath who took back Valerie. The fault lies with Valerie.

This is a woman of whatever age, and she is making her choices known. If, as you tell us--and we only have your slanted view to guide us in this matter--she was with a reprehensible guy, and you spirited her from the abbatoir in the dead of night, and she had the largesse of your wit and intelligence and buffedness for a time, and then WENT BACK TO THE ASSHOLE, then though your puppylove li'l heart bleeds and you strain toward the memory of her luxurious loins in the wee small hours as you pull your pud, the point of the exercise is this, Sunny Jim:

She needs and wants him. His abuse, if such be the case. His manner, if such be the case. His certain kind of attention, if such be the case. And if she has both your mien and his to compare, and she has opted for Him (who you tell us is a gorgon), then bite the bullet and let the light of ratiocination flood the cathedral of your sensibility, Justin. Though she may be the closest you've gotten to "the love of your life," remember that it is a very young life at the moment; and fresh breezes will bring the scents and sounds of new seasons on a daily basis. Shine her on, Hopalong. Go to college. Get kewl and smart and self-contained. DreamQueens will seek you out. Trust me on this. I started out a pencil-necked geek, and wound up sharing space with some of the most exquisite and intelligent and resourceful and witty women of my time. Not to mention finally reaching the pinnacle. I was you, Justin; and I got Susan. Further, deponent sayeth not.

Let me send this along, just in case. I'll resume in a moment.

Yr. cautious crony, Harlan

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, August 6 2001 12:4:54

A small but hefty box from Morpheus International is sitting on my office desk this morning. It must have come in Saturday, and it must be my signed, boxed, limited edition of the new _Essential_. It's a joy just to glance over and see it there, unopened, like a secret I have from the entire rest of the world -- an unexploded bomb in my little office.

Lorin O. posed the following provocative q's:

> 1. Do you work within or outside "the system?"

I think the answer would have to be yes. I am employed, after all, by a municipal government body, in the wealthiest community in the state.

But I wouldn't rush to absolve myself if I were free-lancing, or involved in any other activity. I think we're ALL a part of "the system," in one way or another, just as I think (after having traveled in West Africa, eastern Europe, Japan, and elsewhere) that to live in the United States is somehow inherently immoral -- even though none of us chose our station on the planet. I think it's inescapable.

Sobering thought from world-class curmudgeon Edward Dahlberg: "He who says he will get his bread first and truth after is a slave of the state."

About free-lancing? Maybe I'm revealing little more than my own fear and prejudice, but it seems to me that free-lancing, at least initially, would be like going to singles bars every night. You're constantly having to sell yourself as well as tailor your talent and interests to what YOU think EDITORS think will interest the market out there.

From my perspective, not having to depend on my writing to feed myself, I can choose pretty much what I want to write about without feeling pressured to get it out or to choose content I think will sell quickly.

I'm not saying any particular choice is better than the others, just that there are compromises and disadvantages to pretty much every course toward the goal of where you ultimately want to be.

> 2. If you work within "the system," have you found ways to
> subvert it? What are they?

This is a much more complex and interesting question. I don't think personally I'm "subverting" the particular corner of the system for which I'm responsible -- after all, sooner or later I would get canned for doing that with any success -- but I think in a richer sense I "subvert the system" by making sure I take care of myself and my needs, that I am often happy, and letting other people know it.

I suspect it is well nigh impossible to gauge for certain whether one's attempts to topple the system ultimately result in the betterment of humankind in your neck of the woods (or do not result in making things worse for others across the globe). The only thing you can really do is make things happier for yourself and the people you care about (and NOT through buying lots of goodies!). Because -- I'm convinced -- the system feeds on and sustains itself on the unhappiness and dissatisfaction of millions, so the only real way to defeat it (in our brief stretch of life, with our limited powers) is to make fewer people dependent upon it.

And that can happen not only from taking care of one's own, but by lightening the day of mere acquaintances by passing out compliments to strangers and making them laugh, which I try to do.

Of course I send money to Amnesty International and various conservation organizations, and regularly try to educate myself on political and environmental issues (such as going on a volunteer butterfly count a month ago), even though in my heart I think there is ultimately no hope for the human race. But it's worth a try.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, August 6 2001 11:39:55

That's not a baseball score, that's a friggin' football score.


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Monday, August 6 2001 10:29:45


Holy crap! Howabout that Tribe/Mariner game last night? Man, what a stunning slugfest. The Tribe down 14 to 2 in the 7th, then down 14 to 9 with two outs in the bottom of the 9th. Then, exploding and winning the game in 11 innings 15 to 14. OH MY!

I heard said the Indians tied a major league record and became the first team in 76 years to overcome a 12 run deficit to win.

Joseph: The only other teams to do it were the 1911 White Sox and the 1925 Philadelphia Athletics.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, August 5 2001 22:34:54


I'm 100% agreed with you on Verbal's scenes. They're pure brilliance of scriptwriting and acting. So many details, long before the revelation.


I always just assumed that there was something supernatural in "Blair Witch," and they really were getting turned around. That, and Mike did kick the map into the river (that must have been a real fun revelation, as Jesse and heather didn't know that plot point beforehand).


- Sunday, August 5 2001 21:51:32

Hey, John...I heard the word "fuck" used at LEAST that many times back when I picked up my friend's kid sister from elementary school. Sad but true. When other words fail, insert profanity. See what you get without a script?

- Sunday, August 5 2001 21:48:40

Joseph--"The Usual Suspects" is definitely fun to rewatch. If you keep an eye on Verbal throughout the interrogation, you pick up all sorts of interesting looks and expressions.

John Thompson <john_20650@msn.com>
Las Vegas, NV USA - Sunday, August 5 2001 21:35:42

I, too, had problems with "The Blair Witch Project." The idea and situation were just nifty, but why were the characters (borrowing a phrase from Harlan) so bone-stick-stone stupid? I'm no censor and have been known to swear up a storm myself given the right circumstances, but it sure did get wearying hearing the work "fuck" repeated ad nauseum. The two dudes in the film acted as if every last braincell was singed from too much pot, and our heroine, the documentary filmmaker, was not far behind, especially for picking two such dopes to accompany her on this ill-fated journey.

On to another topic--Justin, I'm glad you didn't attack your ex's new love. I know this is easier said than done but the best revenge is living well. Find a lady more deserving of your time and attention and Valerie will become a distant memory. Hitting Mr. Cocaine freak won't bring her back and all you'll get is a bruised fist. But I'm sure you know this already.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Sunday, August 5 2001 18:9:1

Hey All,

You know how you watch a movie for the second or third time and you notice a little touch that you missed before?

Well, I've been watching "X-Men," and I've come to the realization that Famke Jannsen, as Jean Grey, does a hilarious job at rolling her eyes (metaphorically, for the most part), every time Scott Summers and Logan start pulling macho bullshit around each other. Watch the movie, and any scene where the three of them are together (the gift shop scene with the metal detectors, the "which of us is responsible for losing Rogue" scene) and she is so wonderfully, and without dialogue, showing how exasperated she is with Scott and Logan.

Just thought I'd share.

God, don't you love a nifty moment in a movie, though? My personal favorite is about halfway through "The Usual Suspects," where


Verbal Kint lights a cigarette lighter with his left hand.



- Sunday, August 5 2001 17:56:6

*duh* Three questions. Told you it was late!

- Sunday, August 5 2001 17:54:20


Not sure if you meant to be tongue-in-cheek following discussion around the seizure joke. Just in case you weren't...
(Apologies if I'm being dense, I tend to take things too seriously, and it's late and time for bed to boot).

I have no problem whatsover being exclusionary to "trolls" on the bulletin board. By troll, I mean someone whose only purpose in provocative posting is to bait people into a pointless argument, waste time, and disrupt the board in general.

By troll, I expressely do *not* mean those who have a different opinion, or who wish to explore all sides of a subject, or even those who wish to make us question our views. Amazingly (in my cynical view) most folks will rise to the civility of this board if they are truly seeking input or discussion or even polite disagreement.

In general the crowd here will give everyone the benefit of the doubt at the start. Usually, the intent becomes clear after a couple of entries. This board self-polices itself. We've learned (the hard way, on occasion) to not respond to such baiting after a while. There are plenty of examples in the archives, and if you've lurked for a long time you'll have witnessed 'em.

BTW - here's a question meant to be provocative, but not baiting. What is wrong with being exclusionary, if applied with particular care? To a certain extent, isn't that what the legal system does to criminal behavior? What else is criminal behaviour beside certain acts or motives that society has deemed unacceptable and decided to exclude?

Maybe the answer is obvious and I don't see it, or maybe it's just semantics...

(Yeah, yeah, it's four questions...)

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, August 5 2001 17:6:49


You know, I should really reread posts before I respond to them. I shouldn't have asked you any questions about the true authorship of Morricone's compositions. This is a very serious matter, and you don't owe me any more information than what you've already provided. S'right? S'right...

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, August 5 2001 16:29:24

To borrow a phrase from Unca' Harlan, this post will seem disjointed and will jump around like water on a hot griddle, but be patient, it'll all come together in the end. This is only my second posting (my first was a short missive bewailing the passing of Poul Anderson), so I have a LOT of ground to cover.


I've been staring at this screen for ten minutes, wondering how I can possibly encapsulate, in one lousy little bulletin board posting, the impact of your writing on my life. I think I'd have better luck cleaning the Augean Stables with a toothbrush and a feather duster, but I'll try, no matter how lowly and spavined the results may be.

The first thing I need to say is: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you for writing works that, with their fierceness and compassion, lit klieg lights in the midst of some very dark and lonely periods in my life. Thank you for the sheer joy of your prose, with its farrago of the erudite and the colloquial, and the rapturous and the hard-boiled. Thank you for being a Quixote in a world where debasement of the mind and soul is rapidly becoming the coin of the realm. For all this, and much, much more than I can possibly list here, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Ok, the blatant ass-kissing is done...for now.

A poster noted the directorial similarity of Carol Reed to Martin Scorcese. I agree, but I think mention must be made of a movie that qualifies for the title of "Most Scorcese-like Film That Was NOT Directed by Scorcese": SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. I would be very surprised if this noir gem wasn't a cinematic exemplar for the young Marty. Anyone agree?

Regarding Harlan's relationship to jazz, I've always thought of him as a kindred spirit to Charles Mingus. They share so much in common: larger-than-life personas, frequently volcanic temperments, voracious appetites, unexpected lodes of tenderness, immense personal and professional drives, and a mutual reverance for tradition coupled with fearless experimentation. DEATHBIRD STORIES and THE BLACK SAINT AND THE SINNER LADY are perfectly complimentary works, achieving so many of the same emotions and ideas through vastly different means.

I have always loved the film scores of Ennio Morricone, though I can hardly claim as encyclopedic a knowledge of his oeuvre as Harlan can. The soundtrack to ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST is a simply astonishing work, with music that cuts and bleeds. It's also one of the rare works that succesfully encorporates electric guitars with orchestral sounds. "Ave Maria Guarani", from the score to THE MISSION, is a work of such profound beauty that it frequently moves me to tears. So, I'm a little disturbed, to say the least, that Morricone may have failed to acknowledge Alessandroni's contributions to his Western scores. Is it possible, Harlan, that it wasn't something nefarious on Morricone's part? He's shared co-writing credits with other composers in the past, so why not with Alessandroni?

That's all for now. Take care, and remember the words of that great philosopher, James Brown:

"Money won't change you,
But time
Will take you on."

Tammy TwoTone <Tammytwotone01@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, August 5 2001 15:39:28

"Trolls need not apply."?!

Lets hope that was said in the heat of the moment, a thoughtless aside that escaped from the lips before it could be reined-in. Because, I would hate to think that any kind of exclusionary philosophy permeated this otherwise rational and civil discourse.

Speaking for those of us to who "trolling" was the next logical progression from lurking, in our cyber evolution and spiritual growth, I would hate to think there was some bias on this board.

Coming into the game late, or ill-equipped, or just hanging around to be a thorn in your side, should not automatically target any of us 'trolls' for dismissal, ignorant pigeon-holing, or out and out hatred.

I can not imagine the day when "..need not apply" would be something associated with the name Ellison, in any way or form. Excepting, of course, those really mean and ignorant fuckers....you know the ones I mean.

Trolls are an important member of our eco-system. In some third-world countries they are revered as shaman, or high-priestess, ones who pour sand in The Great Machine, causing it to sputter, grind, and miss a beat.

Finally, as a card-carrying member of the troll world, I've built-up a certain thick-skin to this type of attitude. But, some of us aren't so lucky. Lenny, in the corner, for instance, has enough trouble with his third foot, horrendous bad breath, and a huge fucking wart on his upper-lip to have to deal with this. It would break his heart.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.


Jeffrey William Campbell <jeffreywilliamcampbell@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, August 5 2001 15:16:52

Hello fellow Harlanites and Joseph Finn in particular,

A few weeks later the monk is approached by a nameless man who says he is the dead bellringer's brother and will take over the job. He ascends the tower at high noon to sound the bell but immediately trips and falls from the lofty height dying instantly. Monks gather around him to try and help when one of the monks looks at the other and says, "Who was that?" The other monk says, "I don't know, but he's a dead ringer for his brother."

Just thought you might like, or hate, that.

Peace, Jeffrey

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 5 2001 15:16:38

Alex Jay:

I really don't mean to be blunt, and I understand why you'd be sensitive about a joke like that (how 'bout just "online seizure"?). Having said that, however much in bad taste a joke might seem or agitating an idea might be it is skewed when it is taken only the way one person decides to take it: obviously, my wordplay wasn't intended to ridicule or make light of a medical disorder. THAT'S the "fine" line between forcing someone to "use the words you deem proper" and justifiably objecting to a direct insult or accusation. The reason I responded to your post, as opposed to gripes of the species Church hurled at me, which I'll stress here I pay no heed to, is becaue I understand why you'd be sensitive about it:

The reason I took liberty with the epileptic reference specifically is because I happen to be epileptic myself. Had the problem since the late eighties. Tegratol has had it firmly under control since '95. But don't consider yourself some exception to very trying, seemingly dire times imposed by the condition (if Harlan had the material I can supply he would have another thousand stories to add to his already voluminous compendia...which SHOULD be a cue for me; but some of the events were so dark, it's taken me till now to want to recall them). You have to keep an equitable perspective: I couldn't HELP but understand Harlan's, uh, online "problem". I was seeeeeriously thinking about mailing him some Tegratol along with my check still due for 'Sleepless Nights'. Dude, c'mon...LOOK at Harlan's last post. It's an online paroxysm in gigabytes. The SERVER was the closest thing to an available paramedic! A "uniquely" U-Neek case, eh?

Meanwhile, take care of yourself and watch your eating.

Jeff Homes <thequicksilverhare@earthlink.net>
- Sunday, August 5 2001 13:55:30

Bob: Odds are he's not in the University's journalism program, because there's no journalism program at the University. The U of A boasts the best science colleges in the state and, to my knowledge, not much else to speak of; their astronomy program in particular is second to none.

No, we don't have to worry about Justin forsaking the good stuff for news stories on the Coke machines at the student center. Instead, let us hope that he's not consumed and digested by quantum physics courses that can and do turn on their instructors, escape their handlers, and go on a horrible rampage until they can be captured and tranquilized. Word is they have an appetite for Liberal Arts majors, too. Watch your back, Justin!


Bob Sassone <bsassone@earthlink.net>
- Sunday, August 5 2001 12:43:5

Lorin: Whew! I thought I was going to be the only one here to have bad thoughts about "The Blair Witch Project." While I too thought the ending was creepy and effective, I thought the movie as a whole was pretty bad, and for the exact reasons everyone else was praising it. Critics seemed to use kid gloves on the flick, because the "camera was hand-held" and it "looked real" and it was "low-budget." Well, sorry, but the lead actress was completely unbelievable, the entire middle section was tedious, and there was not one scary moment during the whole movie (except, as I say, for that ending). I won't go on too much here. I have a rant at my site about it.

And who can forget Keith Gordon in "Christine," the underrated horror movie from 1983? I think this is one of the better King adaptations, along with "Stand By Me," "Misery," and a couple of others (though many of the adaptations are pretty horrid). I haven't seen "Christine" in quite some time. I was a high school student at the time, and the scenes and the music touched a nerve for some reason, so I'm not sure if the movie holds up or not. I bet it does. A neat little film.

Harlan: ugh. I've had that happen too. That's why I'm a nut about hitting "SAVE" as much as possible. The Notepad idea is a good one, or writing in some other program and hitting save a lot, then cutting and pasting.

Justin: did I read somewhere here that you were around 18 or 20? I can tell from your posts that you have a good writing career ahead of you. And I'll ditto what Harlan said: you have better writing chops than I did at that age. Keep it up. What are you taking in AZ, journalism or something? Just keep the writing up, and make sure you don't let a career in "journalism" or "media" interfere with the actual WRITING. That's what's important.


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Chamois Purr Heights, OH United States - Sunday, August 5 2001 11:55:18

Alex Jay, a note from a humble namesake: I think you're overreacting just a bit. I'm not entirely insensitive to your feelings. My mother was epileptic, and being so in a different era, suffered greatly for it. She was thrown out of Ohio State University fully ten years before Harlan made that a badge of honor. She had a seizure in class and they booted her ass. Tells you something about the forties, doesn't it?

That's the sort of thing that's worth getting het up over, if'n you ask me (and, no, you didn't, but I've got a mouth the size of Lake Erie). Not a gentle rub like Rob's. Maybe Rob would have been better off to use "apoplexy," so we could all scratch our heads and run to the friendly pages of the O.E.D.

For what it's worth.


Phillip Cairns
- Sunday, August 5 2001 9:20:44

Director Keith Gordon's A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, by the way, is based on the novel by William Wharton (real name Albert du Aime). I prefer the novel, but A MIDNIGHT CLEAR is the most faithful adaptation of William Wharton novel to date and well worth watching.

Wharton's first novel, BIRDY, was made into a film by Alan Parker, and it's excellent (the film and the novel). His novel, DAD, was made into a film by the guy who created "Family Ties," and although Jack Lemmon is in it, it bites big-time.

These are Wharton's three best novels; next in line would be PRIDE and SCUMBLER. If you enjoyed the film version of A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, you'd probably enjoy the novel and other Wharton novels as well (especialy BIRDY). End of plug for William Wharton.

But remember, them there movies don't come out of nowhere; someone had to pour his guts out onto the page first.

- Sunday, August 5 2001 7:8:6

Alex- I just read your post. You make a few good points, but I don’t know that such cautionary words were really necessary. It’s dadgum near impossible to say ANYTHING, particularly in a place as diverse as America, without offending the hell out of somegoddamnbody, and doing so perfectly innocently. The important thing, I think, ought to be INTENT. Rob wasn’t intentionally offending anybody. I personally advocate a thickening of skin in these situations.


Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
"between places" - Sunday, August 5 2001 6:47:54

On losing a whole friggin post- Ouch. Lynn and I are on the same page on this one. Her posting strategy is tops.

On directors- I think one of the most overlooked film directors working today is a fellow named Keith Gordon. He’s made three beautiful films that I cannot recommend strongly enough- A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, MOTHER NIGHT, and WAKING THE DEAD.

On writing- In an attempt to preserve my current effort—in the hope that it will not end up as yet another horrible miscarriage, the likes of which I am justly known for—I am trying to get a better handle on the story by utilizing character interviewing techniques. Basically, this involves sitting down and orchestrating detailed interviews with your characters. The idea is to get them to talk to you about what their lives are like, what their surroundings and backgrounds are, etc. It’s a strategy I read about many years ago in some low-rent writing book. I never used it before now, because I always thought that I was above using “tricks” like that. However, I’ve slowly begun to realize that the fact that I haven’t finished a story since the late nineties proves me wrong, so I thought I’d give it a shot. Because, hey, what the hell, right? I can’t say that I enjoy fiddling around with outlines very much, but I admit that I am truly amazed at how helpful this little exercise has thus far proven itself to be.

On a more personal note- Let me preface this somewhat vicious little section of my post by saying that I am truly not a violent or vicious person. But I am nonetheless chock full of testosterone, and fully capable of a dunderheadedness that frequently staggers me. Besides that, I have my rational limits as to what I will and will not tolerate from an antagonist.

So I’m at this goofy techno night club tonight, and who do I see out on the dance floor, gyrating like a buffoon, but my arch-nemesis- the cocaine freak who made off with Valerie (the woman who thus far holds the title, ‘Love of My Life’). Truth to tell, I took her from him, and then he took her back, but the ignominious bastich didn’t deserve her the first time! Anyway, I’ve been dreaming of smashing his bastard head in since back in December, and there he was this evening. He was in my sights for only two or three minutes, and I wasted all that time trying to figure out whether or not it would be worth the trouble to assault someone on the night before I’m set to go off to college. The last time I got into a fight I fractured the guy’s jaw (oh, don’t worry, he was a drug-dealing swine and he deserved it) and damn near wound up in the clink. I ended up getting stuck for a few hundred in medical bills as well. Anyway, I’m not very impulsive, and I had to think about this one. I just stood around contemplating the if’s for too long, and soon lost sight of him. I missed my shot.

It was probably for the best, but I’m regretting the hell out of it now. Oh, I know I could have put myself in a bad position that I may not have been able to get myself out of, but how sweet would it have been? To have felt the wet smack of my fist against his face, followed by the shattering of his hideously elongated head on the unforgiving dance floor paneling, suffering a fate not entirely unlike that of Simon Phoenix at the end of DEMOLITION MAN. Drat drat drat. Regrets- they’re just no good. If anyone here has a similar story, I’d just love to hear it.

I will be absent from the board for a week or more, depending on how long it takes me to get an internet connection set up in Tucson. Take care now, kind Webderlanders.


Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Sunday, August 5 2001 6:24:10

ROB: In pretty poor taste, man.

And I say this NOT because I am epileptic--though I am, and just this past Valentine's Day had my first seizure in nine years (only my second in fourteen, matter of fact), I've heard--and told--some of the funniest and bawdiest epilepsy jokes you'll ever hear
(and many of them aren't "jokes" at all, but are actualy seizure experiences that just come out funny as all hell ... with the proper passage of time and space ...)
but because there are those for whom "epilepsy" can mean something entirely different. I joke about epilepsy a LOT--but not around one friend, whose beloved brother twisted a sheet inside his mouth while convulsing, swallowed part of it down, choked and died.
I don't do seizure jokes around him, dig?

As soon as I read your post, in fact, my mind flashed NOT with indignation, nor to any experience of my own--but rather to the introduction to ANGRY CANDY, which opens with Harlan's recounting of the funeral of his friend Emily Austin, who died when she suffered a cardiac arrest during a sudden seizure.

And maybe it won't bring up bad memories in a heart stuffed fill with memories good, bad, and indifferent; maybe I'm not the kind to take offense; but as Harlan wrote in one of the SLEEPLESS NIGHTS essays, "I don't know you, and you don't know me." It MIGHT unnecessarily upset or unnerve Harlan; I might be of the same frame of mind as my friend with the brother passed.

I'm FAR from a proponent of censorship, but a bit of common sense and knowing an audience never hurts. You don't go up and start an impromptu series of AIDS jokes in front of people you've never met. Nor do you assume outright that such would break your audience's little minds. You sound them out; you work a little harder; you preface with some self-deprecating wit. You do SOMETHING.

This, so that you do no harm.
Just a thought, borne by winds of insomnia.

Lorin O.
- Sunday, August 5 2001 5:1:40

Frank: Thanks for your advice. I really had very little hope of having my work picked up by ESQUIRE, but I like to include a few longshots when my stories make their rounds. At this point, after about ten years of plying my trade, I'm happy to say that my work gets published FAIRLY regularly, usually in those periodicals that would be considered "B" level: respectable, but small, literary and genre mags. But I find I'm inching up in the ranks, which is encouraging.

I've also done the journalism thing, working for several years writing travel and "Quality-of-Life" guides for a local publisher.

Which brings this topic back to my favorite uber-mensch and yours. About a year ago--I think it was about a year ago--I had the pleasure of hearing HE speak at SomethingCon in Orlando. Unfortunately, he had to dash for a flight, so I was unable to join the ranks of those here who've had the privilege of exchanging a face-to-face words with the man, but his talk that day was SO well-timed and so pertinent to my life, I really couldn't have been more satisfied with the experience.

I'd been giving a lot of thought to taking down my shingle as a freelance editor and writer and pursuing a steady paycheck in the field. What do you know but one of HE's comments in his pithy "guide-to-life" talk was that one should avoid being part of the system at all costs. And, if one HAS to work within the system, one should find a way to subvert the system in order to satisfy one's needs. And it came to me, in that proverbial-lightbulb-buzzing-to-life-kinda-way, that there was NO WAY I should trade my freedom and professional/artistic integrity in for a few thousand dollars more a year. Especially when I was starting to reach a certain level of success at all my various endeavors.

So, here's my question for those in the peanut gallery here. Actually, two questions:

1. Do you work within or outside "the system?"

2. If you work within "the system," have you found ways to subvert it? What are they?

Guess that's really three questions, but I'm curious about this!

Re: THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT...welllllll....I'll confess to seeing it under probably the WORST circumstances--on television and after months of the hype--but I found it pretty awful. I can definitely imagine feeling differently about it if I was under the impression that I was seeing, as someone termed it, "a snuff film." But, since that wasn't the case, I found myself preoccupied with the film's weaknesses: its formlessness, the endless whining of its characters, its lack of logic (e.g., Heather holding onto the camera as she goes to pummel one of the guys (can't remember the other names). The last few minutes WERE really effective, I thought, but that's about the best I can say for it.

Guess that's why they make cars in different colors, eh? ;-)

Lorin O.

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Sunday, August 5 2001 3:21:4

Ladies and gents! Mesdames and Messieurs! Guys and dolls! Chicks and studs! Hens and roosters...

BEHOLD! The first Online epileptic SEIZURE in ALLLLLL historeeeee!

Displayed, as only he could do it...by Mr. HARLAN ELLISON!

Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Sunday, August 5 2001 0:8:16

Joseph: I am a Hawks fanatic. So relentless is my zeal that the giddy words "Hawks rocks" fulminate from my mouth on a regular basis. Even a so-so Hawks movie ("Rio Lobo," "Come and Get It" co-directed by William Wyler) still had a remarkable collection of men and women within the film. A fascinating storyteller (with his writers, mind you--the man was fortunate to surround himself with the likes of Ben Hecht, Leigh Brackett and anyone else whom I have tragically forgotten), this is the man who, to paraphrase John Ford, got the big son of a bitch John Wayne to act in "Red River." If you haven't seen "Monkey Business" (my own personal favorite), "Rio Bravo," "To Have or Have Not," "Only Angels Have Wings," the original "Scarface" (not the De Palma/Stone bastardization), "Red River" or "The Big Sleep" (Bogart version), you are missing out on some damned skippy, wondrous depictions of human behavior in the form of an entertainment--conflict that will knock your socks off.

Castle: Punisher reference appreciated on this end.

Carol Reed: Where do we begin? His handling of child actors? The tension within "The Fallen Idol" (also penned by Greene)? The cold brutality of war in "The Way Ahead" (scribed by Peter Ustinov)? Unfortunately, I'm irrationally embittered towards the late Reed because "Oliver!" knocked "2001" out of the running for Best Picture in 1968. Not that the Oscars matter or anything, but that such a bloated musical, with a Fagin that hardly compares to the chicanery unfurled by Dickens, could surpass the allegorical vision of Kubrick still astonishes me.

And speaking of cinema, if you're tired of the endless bile that has passed itself off as the Genuine Article (initial caps provided by Hollywood) this year, I highly recommend the new movie "Ghost World." Based off of Daniel Clowes' comic, Clowes also co-wrote the script with documentarian turned narrative director Terry Zwigoff. Unexpected emotions, the flaws of Enid making the transition well onto the big screen, a masterful performance by Steve Buscemi and an awareness of the past that reminded me of Harlan's very own "Jefty Is Five." There is a scene in a sports bar that will astound you with its sociological injustice. Not merely a collection of potshots at suburbia, I dare anyone to walk away without being mesmerized by the array of subcultures somehow magically compacted into a mere 102 minutes.

Harlan: Not sure if you're using a Mac or a PC (although I suspect it's the former). But if you want to put an end to the Bermuda Triangle that has stretched its territory into the hallowed regions of Webderland, I'd recommend using Notepad for the PC or SimpleText for the Mac. You can cut and paste your thoughts between your browser and the program in the event that the sea lion cackles wildly again. I know it's not as effective as your trusty typewriter. But this ain't so bad of a safeguard in the event that the gone goes gone again. And in case I neglected to mention it, congrats on "Demon."

Peter <writerpo@pacbell.net>
union city, ca - Saturday, August 4 2001 23:9:45

to quickly answer the punisher question. His name is Frank Castle. Sorry, I must be brief. My computer has gone quite buggy. Not in the program kind of way, but in the traditional, there are bugs on my computer. Ants, to be precise. On my keyboard. So pounding the keys tends to make them go squish-squish. I'm not about to spray my keyboard with pesticide, so I set down one of those ant bait things and hope to heaven the little suckers are gone in the morning.

typing two fingered.


- Saturday, August 4 2001 22:51:21

Damn but I am an alliterative addict...

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, August 4 2001 22:49:5

Entropy is a fickle bitch and she lives in my hard drive. Yes, I do certainly know the feeling. That is why, in my infinite and hard-learned wisdom, I no longer compose in the little window of Rick's beloved perl script. No, no, no. I open up Notepad (Start Menu>Accessories>Notepad, or somewhere in there, not knowing what system you use) and type it in there. Saving accordingly, every few minutes as I chew through a post. Notepad is the handiest of bare bones text reader/writer programs, and is the e-quivalent (bad pun - so shoot me) of an Underwood No5. Dash it out, save it to disk, cut-and-paste into blasted little window. Never again to tempt the fates who love to masticate my missives, only allowing me to keep the bland ones, saving all the juicy bits for their own frenzied feasts.

Yours in sympathy,

Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, August 4 2001 22:28:32

It's GAWN. gONE FOREVERlost&gahn.


Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, August 4 2001 22:26:19


Breathe deeply. Tighten those bolts in your neck. Thumb the eyeballs back into the melon. Speak s l o w l y and enunciate clearly. And do wipe the foam off your chin.

Oh, you'd have liked that bit of exemplary prose. Truly you would've. But . . .

Sheriff Buck
- Saturday, August 4 2001 21:25:40

Joe: Unless I'm mistaken--I have no Punisher comic and couldn't find the factoid online (sad world)--Punisher's name is Frank Chapel. Still, Mr. Church could be alluding.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, August 4 2001 21:20:36


Hell, Quincy Jones film scores? Easy: "The Color Purple," possibly the most unfairly ignored section of that movie at the Academy Awards (and considering in how high of a regard I hold Whoopie Goldberg's performance in that movie, that's saying a lot). I also love that the LP, which my parents own, is a lovely dark lavender.


P.S. "The Color Purple" is a movie that screams for a commentary track. What's with Spielberg and the crappy bare-bones DVDs? Besides Jaws, he has plenty of movies that deserve discussion, such as "Schindler's List" and "Duel."

Rob <robvrvangessel@aol.com>
sm, ca usa - Saturday, August 4 2001 20:36:11

Re: Carol Reed. An outstanding visualist whose stuff I need to see more of. Last time I saw 'The Third Man' I hadn’t even yet reached my teens; I need to revisit it very soon. (Reed was the opening narrator in that movie, btw). The film I’d seen most recently by Reed was 'Odd Man Out' with James Mason.

Didn’t know Reed was Scorcese’s main influence but I’m not surprised. However, just to keep the spotlight on reality, Scorcese, as much as I tout him, is hardly my idol (I don’t think anyone ever really was). In fact, his imagery, and its Catholic roots, don’t connect with me much. It’s just that, whether I agree with his subtexts or not, whether I LIKED him or not, if we are to define two camps for these directors - the "artist" and the "craftsman" - this guy is unquestionably an artist (i.e., he doesn’t compromise his very personal vision). But even his best work - which is absolutely incredible - doesn’t talk to me in a personal way like a minute handful of other directors do. Just wanted to clarify my own pov about that.

If we were to talk about a director I was infatuated by in the eighties and nineties - whose work I did relate to very much - it’s Oliver Stone (who, interestingly, was Scorcese’s protégé in, I believe, his NYU days). He’s in a slump at the moment but Salvador, Talk Radio, Born on the Fourth of July, and JFK wowed me out of my seat when I saw them in their opening releases. At a time when I had to listen to naïve celebrations of the obtuse Reagan era this guy was like Jeezus, or, bigger yet, John Lennon. After being sledgehammered by in-your-face right wing text so mu