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The Ellison Bulletin Board

Comments Archive - 11/04/01 to 12/08/01

Kerry Bullock <kerryb@ozemail.com.au>
Broken Hill, NSW Australia - Saturday, December 8 2001 23:21:41

Justin, I have also managed to get a copy of one of Kersh’s books - NIGHT IN THE CITY – although all I had to do was pay for it to ship from the USA for me. Looking forward to reading it.

I also envy you that you have a Library where you can get books like Kersh’s (even if it does take contortionist skills to get them). My library didn’t even have 1 book by Harlan. Didn’t I say, because after extracting a promise from the librarian that she would put it on the shelves, I donated a copy of THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON - A 50 YEAR RETROSPECTIVE.

Spreading HE’s words

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, December 8 2001 21:42:3

Chuck: Just heard "Let's Roll". Wow. I wonder how the families will take it.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, December 8 2001 20:5:6

Thanks for the info, Rob, I'll definitely check out ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN again (seen it, but not in many years).

I've been in this library all day, and I got determined about an hour ago not to leave without procuring something for myself, something to satisfy the inner Justin and make him coo. No more of this dull data cramming business, but something F-U-N to read. I suddenly recalled that Harlan's favorite author was some cat I'd never heard of, who's work I'd looked for at bookstores in the past but could never find, and if any place in Arizona would have any of his books it would be this library. Now what was his name? Jerry something. No! Gerald! Kersh!

So I've just spent a half hour wrestling with this "compact shelving" system down in the basement where they were hiding Kersh's books, and it's something right out of BLADE RUNNER for Heaven's sake. I finally figured out how to work the bloody thing, only to discover that the cluster of shelves Kersh's stuff was located in were the only cluster of shelves in the whole vast subterrainian network of compact shelves that DID NOT WORK. But I was able to kinda wedge myself into this little gap and kinda push back with my feet and out with my chest and kinda managed to sorta make a gap large enough for me to squeeze (and I mean SQUEEZE) into. Fortunately, Kersh's stuff wasn't too far in, and I was able to grab three volumes. I couldn't squeeze far enough in to get the others. The volumes I was able to nab were: THEY DIE WITH THEIR BOOTS CLEAN (which is possibly the best title I've heard all year), THE THOUSAND DEATHS OF MR. SMALL, and THE SONG OF THE FLEA, another title I'm quite fond of. I look forward to devouring them over Christmas.


- Saturday, December 8 2001 17:57:45

To The Bag of Meat,

You could've told me that before, man; you should see the bill surgeons slapped on me for the lob I got. I was told girls would like me more if I'd had one.


John Mitchell was Attorney General in Nixon's first term (of course, I'm assuming you already knew that; I'm not trying to sound condescending); he became campaign manager of the Committee to Re-Elect the President, which became known as CREEP. 2 years before Watergate Nixon authorized the formation of the White House 'Plumbers' in response to the Pentagon Papers having been published; the Plumbers would burglarize, wire tap and look for "dirt" on any potential "enemies" of the White House, including journalists, Democrats and people like Daniel Ellsberg. Anyway, it was Mitchell who would approve the Watergate break-in using the Plumbers. He seemed to be an incredible upstart who firmly believed in bypassing the law in Nixon's interests, and if I recall correctly he controlled the 'hush' money Nixon approved.

Assuming you haven't seen 'All the President's Men' with Redford check it out; it's a great film.

BTW, how'd you make out with your pad? Are you living in a safe area now?

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Lakewood, CO - Saturday, December 8 2001 17:10:56

Another note to all: Has anyone heard Neil Young's single, LET'S ROLL? It's about the people on flight 93 in Pennsylvania. He bypassed his record label, recorded it, burned it onto discs and sent it to various radio stations. I heard it here on KBCO. It has something of a retro sound to it. I kinda liked it.


Oh, yes. Go, Endeavour!

- Saturday, December 8 2001 17:4:31

Alright, so I didn't do it. Wussed out. Terned yeller. Came to my senses. What can I say? There are just certain primal urges that grip a man cooped up in a library studying for five hours without a break. Seriously, enough fooling around, I'm going back to studying now.

Applause to Jayne Hitchcock.


Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, December 8 2001 17:2:20

Yeah, Ashcroft makes my tail get all bushy. I'm all for lining up terrorists against a wall and splattering their guts out with Heckler and Koch MP5's, but "Patriot" Acts? Unlimited access of the feds to internet, e-mail, computer hard-drives and personal records of people against whom there is no evidence, and allows their arrest without due process protections? I may end up commiting to military service, but even so I don't trust the gubmint nearly enough to let that kind of thing go with nary a raised eyebrow.

Harlan, I must confess that I don't know enough about John Mitchell to really understand the comparison, but I know he was one of Nixon's guys, and helped set up the Watergate burglary. No history lesson necessary, I can be trusted to read up on it all at some point. Oddly enough, we never learned about Watergate in school ( or HUAC, and the Vietnam War was glossed over, etc.). Hmmm, could that be because it might plant some seed of doubt in a young mind about the unquestionable trustworthiness of the United States government? Nah, couldn't be. Couldn't be.

Returning dutifully to my studies,


p.s. Saaaay...that blonde in the body-hugging turtleneck at the U of A Library Information Desk sure is awful cute. I'm gonna go over there and I'm gonna say, "Hey sweet thang, howzabout you and me go into the bathroom and hump like a couple of rabbits?" You watch, I'm gonna do it.

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Lakewood, CO - Saturday, December 8 2001 17:0:12

First of all, congratulations to Jayne Hitchcock. I loves to see the nay-sayers proven wrong again! And, thanks for putting up the fight. It is most appreceated.

To all here, I would recommend checking out the SCIFI.COM site, first for the series EDWARD THE LESS, a lampoon of the Rings trilogy, done by the folks from MST3K. Whether you like Tolkien or not, I think you'll find it very funny. I'd also recommend the SCI FICTION section for Gregory Benford's short story BRINK. The characters in this short fiction reminded me a little of this group, and I wanted to let you know about it.


Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, December 8 2001 16:4:59


FIRST: Congrats of a color and flow matched only by the Blue Nile to Jayne Hitchcock. Huzzah, my dear!!! One more bold example of the Power of the Determined Ethical Individual. All this "you can't make a difference" or "it's none of my business" or "there's no way to fight city hall, so pay the two bucks and shine it on" is refuted by the regularity of Wins by Determined
Ethical Individuals.

Ms. Hitchcock and I come from the same mold. When all around us are assuring us that we're farting into the wind, that it will all come a cropper, we draw on that well of experience and righteous indignation that has bubbled at the core of every whistle-blower and gadfly and social reformer and pain-in-the-ass monkeywrench nuisance snce the first Cro-Magnon wondered why he wasn't getting better mileage from such inexpensive dino coprolith fuel. We serve the commonweal.

Again, huzzah to you, Jaynie girl!!!!!

SECOND: The Edgeworks books WILL continue. Patience, Mr. Meat, I'm dancing as fast as I can.

THIRD: Today, via long distance between Ellison Wonderland and the London studios of BBC radio, I performed the voice of the evil computer AM in a soon-to-be-broadcast adaptation of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream" starring David Soul. Adaptation by Mike Walker, produced by Ned Chaillet, full cast and sound effects and special music. You're on your own tracking down when it'll be aired, and/or how to get a cassette/CD of the programme.

FOURTH: Last week I spent six hours in the recording booth of Audio Literature, performing about half of John Shirley's forthcoming horror novel, DEMONS. John himself will be reading the rest. Release, sometime early next year, I'm advised.

FIFTH: My List of 6 great "lost" modern fantasy novels appears in the current issue of THE WEEK. Most of you know how to get the publication. I'm pleased as punch, and hope you like the snippet. It ain't that long a piece, but I is proud of it.

SIXTH: Todd, I commend your pleasure at the "lack of terrorist atacks" since 9/11 (and no, I don't think the anthrax assaults are international in nature, but are as homegrown as Tim McVie and Waagner; demented opportunists as corruptly-empowered by fanatic religiosity as the al Quieda zealots), but I urge you, I PLEAD with you, to keep your antenna alert to Ashcroft and his doings. This is another John Mitchell, if his past endeavors are any touchstone. I argue not with you, neither Leftie nor Rightie, all I beg of you is: keep your fine tuned mind on what he DOES, not so much what he SAYS. I think disenchantment will ensue.

Imminent happy Channukah to you all. Also Kwanzaa, St. Swithin's Day, Whitsuntide, Ramadan, and Christmas . . . as long as you fuckers remember that I ABHOR getting greeting cards. Send them and be assured I will not love you for the erroneous assumed "kindness." And there isn't even a jot or tittle of the "bah humbug" about it. I just think you should send the card-money to the needy; and not clog up my mailbox.

Otherwise, cheerily, yr. pal, Harlan

Phillip Cairns
LONELYACHE, - Saturday, December 8 2001 15:51:13

Someone here was talking about "Lonelyache" a few days ago, something about the story not resonating for them. I haven't read the story for years, but I remember two things about it. First, that, yes, for some reason it fell short. After reading it I knew I probably wasn't going to read it again for some time. But what I remember the most is the first line which resonates like only the scraping-the-bone truth can:

"The form of the habit she had become still drove him to one side of the bed."

This is a sentence written by someone who knows loneliness. It's not fiction. And the word "lonelyache" hammers the nail in even deeper.

"To what things are readers---most readers, many readers---attuned? Why, to those things closest to the personal experience of each. And what are those things? Love, and pain, and greed, and laughter, and hope, and above all, loneliness." (Theodore Sturgeon)

That's it. See you next year.

The Irrepressable Bag of Meat
A State of Slight Agitation - Saturday, December 8 2001 13:26:49


'Tis better to have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy...

Cheers, from the Meat

- Saturday, December 8 2001 12:41:21


I is sober? I? Frank: I...wuz...JOKIN'. I'm pretty sure Heather understands I'm the most intoxicated Joe in this here cyber-shantytown of ours and that I was ribbin' her in the lightest of spirits. I don't think we ALWAYS have to stamp our posts with a ;) just to make sure YOU understand it's a cheerful poke. So, don't be so slow, man: take a look at the non-sequitor quality of one or two of Heather's recent posts and you'll see why it might remind you of a tipsy affectionate soul.

Now, stop pissin' me off by not gittin' it - n' forcin' me to literalize everything.

- Saturday, December 8 2001 9:24:53

Jayne: Cheers! A few less con artists out there. I hope that gives you a sense of peace and accomplishment.

Heather: I think you and I have been drinking the same firewater lately. I don't know what's going on with email, but that last reply was HUGE and took a bit to compose, so I'm a little chewed up about Hotmail. Either that, or Canadian email is still translated by little Terry-dactyls in stone computers pecking the binary onto papyrus.

What a week:

Low Lights this week: Learning the company is "downsizing" its "human assets" and facing the fact that better workers than I may be out of work for the holidays. Next week will be even better when it is decided who gets to drop the axe.

A few more bodies left The Site in Manhattan.
A lot of bodies were collected in southern Afghanistan.

Listened to Limp Bizkit destroy Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here" on the America: A Tribute to Heroes" DVD.

My son shared another "first" with his STEPfather...

John Ashcroft is an asshole.

Saying that may soon be illegal or subject me to a background check that would give Hoover an erection.


I still have a job, unlike thousands out there in the industry.

I can write about it.

Chatting with Heather about writing.

Another side writing gig that pays.

My son's letter to Santa that asked him to buy a "beter cha[i]r for Daddys computer."

That the rent's paid, Christmas is coming and I'm not sick.

And Frank's Right: Not everything needs to be a drama. Even Don Quixote took a look at some 'dragons' and said, "Ahh fuck it...let heem sleep today."

How was your week?

Jayne Hitchcock <whoa@haltabuse.org>
Dover, NH USA - Saturday, December 8 2001 6:56:11

Heather: As you can tell by my last post, I've been pretty busy, LOL. But I got a chance to catch up with the board and thank you for the comments about my Okinawa pages!

Jayne Hitchcock <whoa@haltabuse.org>
Dover, NH USA - Saturday, December 8 2001 6:46:12

There IS justice after all and if I can do it, so can Harlan!

"Woodside Literary Agency" was sentenced on Thursday.

The federal sentencing hearing began on Friday, November 30th, continued the following Monday and concluded Thursday, December 6th.

James Leonard aka John Lawrence (and other personas online) received the maximum allowed, 8 months in prison and 3 years probation

Ursula Sprachman received 3 years probation, due to her age and poor health.

They were also ordered to finish paying restituion of almost $2,000 to those writers they hadn't paid from the NY Attorney General's case (several of the writers received restitution this past summer).

My lawyer made a handshake deal in front of the magistrate to settle my suit against them, but I can't divulge particulars at this time.

Suffice to say, I am glad that it appears to be finally over.

December 21st would have been five years since the first e-mailbombs arrived in my e-mailbox.

This wasn't just a win for me, it's a win for all writers and all online victims.

If you're not familiar with what happened to me, please visit http://www.jahitchcock.com/cyberstalked

Now I have to go get a BIG bottle of White Star champagne to celebrate.

(please feel free to post this message elsewhere)

Frank Church
- Saturday, December 8 2001 6:38:32

Rob, I would conjecture that if Heather drinks than Sir. you may be way too far on the sober side. Have fun with life man? Not everything is a drama of biblical proportions.

- Friday, December 7 2001 21:6:23


I don't want you to take this the wrong way...you really ARE very charming and all that. But I mean...do you DRINK a lot?

- Friday, December 7 2001 20:40:8

In case you are thinking otherwise, this evening:

Harlan, you are one damn fine individual.


- Friday, December 7 2001 19:59:33

Rob: Glad the woman's okay.

I think there's a 'halfway up the street' rule somewhere. I can't make comparisons to what you just experienced but I swear the rowdies seem to pass and park in front of my place a bit too much for coincidence. Could it be something to do with, "I'm almost home; I'm halfway there; let's take a break and act like idiots." Go figure.

Only mentioning it in brief (as I don't want to really explain it and I think your piece was cool--let's give it the limelight.) But I was within striking distance of, let me see.. seven? emergency or firefighting vehicles last night. Is there a full moon? Yeesh.

And no, I'm not just talking about them passing by..or me not being 'involved' in a weird sorta way. But I could write an article on emergency procedure from what I was privy to last night.

Cosmic evening or what? Weird, weird, weirdness..

But hey!..great for a vacation item, right?

- Friday, December 7 2001 19:48:43

Anytime, Jim, anytime.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Friday, December 7 2001 19:29:16


First, congratulations on your impending wedding. Let us know how it all goes down. Vegas, huh? At least the weather will be nice. It's definitely a dazzling city.

"The most glaring plot hole is the missing 5th replicant."

Didn't you think maybe Deckert was the 6th replicant? There's plenty of evidence for that. Also, on the other hand, in the original script the 6th replicant dies on the return shuttle trip when his time runs out. These possibilities negate the problematic "6th replicant" question for me.

"The missing replicant was actually scripted for and cast, but due to budget problems was cut."

Really? I read contrary information, but it doesn't matter much to me.

"Why is Rachael the only replicant that gets VK'd?"

Leon was VKed.

"If they know the identities of all the escapees, why bother VK'ing Leon?"

Just to make sure they don't retire a human?

"What's up with all the questions about animals?"

Measuring compassion. Again, I never had a problem with this.

"All plot problems (I think my use of the word "hole" is me overstating) could have been eased by a closer adherence to the original material."

The original material is a completely different story and I don't think adhering more closely to Dick's text would solve the plot issues you raise (which don't bother me at all and never have). The two are only loosely connected and are both interesting in their own rights.

"And no, we're not gonna be married by one of the many Elvi (yes Elvi, plural of Elvis) wandering around Vegas, so don't even..."

Methinks the gentleman doth protest too much.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, December 7 2001 18:57:39

Ch. 23; Amen, sister, amen.

As far as my comments regarding Asscroft (again, misspell intentional), I'm not saying that we should bury our heads in the sand and wait it out. All I'm saying is, if we're not carefull we may end up re-living the McCarthy era. Some of the darkest days we've known (with regards to civil liberties and free speech). Tread carefully, I for one, would not care to see the HUAC rise again.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program, already in progress.


Channel Twenty ThreePresents: <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
A soundbyte from a founding father., - Friday, December 7 2001 16:43:23

"They that can give up essential Liberty to obtain a little temporary Safety deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

~Benjamin Franklin

We now return you to reality, already in progress.

- Friday, December 7 2001 16:27:18


The disconcerting thing is my neighborhood is among the safest, for LA. Most of the time NOTHING happens here. I often see girls, for instance, jogging by themselves pretty late at night in this area. It's just that occasionally fate decides to shit right in front of my building; and when it's a big one it's a BIG one.

Bag of Meat, Redux
Moving Into a State of Listlessness next month, - Friday, December 7 2001 16:21:14

A brief comment.

David: Much thanks. I really liked the concept and the format Edgeworks represented. The format saved undue wear and tear on my oft read paperbacks. Besides, the hardcovers were harder for others to steal.

Jim, Re: your comment regarding how Canada looks. You might wish to read our anti-terrorism act, bill C-36. In it, the government empowers the police to arrest and detain any person suspected of consorting with or engaging in terrorism, with little to no nod to the concept of probable cause. Suspects can be held for indeterminate periods without access to either a lawyer or due process or face summary extradition to the US without having the right to defend yourself against your accusers and any charges the accusers might infer.

Moreover, the bill gives police in Canada the right to declare security areas where they can suspend the protection of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (our constitution) for citizens who wish to demonstrate opposition to some form of policy. This is a weapon the police can use to undermine the rights of those who wish the freedom to assemble and protest, no matter if the protest is relevant to the issue of terrorism or not.

How nice, considering we didn't fly planes into buildings...

Of course there is a sunset clause, but this is entirely open to our government to renew. The problem is majority governments under our parlimentary system have political carte blanche for five years. We Canadians have one day of freedom to vote and we trade it in for what we hope will be five years of benevolent dictatorship.

Well, now, perhaps not quite so benevolent...

To be fair, there's still the Supreme Court here, and they're not as politically charged as yours is. I find myself wishing those jurists good health and sanity: Something tells me we will need their help before long.

Best from the Meat

Jim Davis
- Friday, December 7 2001 15:40:15

Rob: Your story reminds me of a certain neighborood in DC where I lived--in one year, there were a dozen muggings, several murders, and the odd drug-turf shoot-out or two. It was like a bad joke, really: "In the past year in Washington, DC, there were 400 murders, 6000 muggings, and 200 rapes...and they all happened on the street where THIS man lived."

Oh, before I forget: I got my copy of the CD, ON THE ROAD WITH ELLISON: VOLUME ONE, in the mail this week, courtesy of the good folks at Deep Shag Records. How wonderful this item is in print again! Harlan, I had no idea you could sing so well! And the reading of the Norman Mayer piece almost had me in tears--as of 6:30 pm on Friday, December 7, 2001, it is my favorite non-fiction work of yours, hands down.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Friday, December 7 2001 15:12:58

Todd: Well, what you say is only partially true--the anthrax mailings, though almost certainly domestic in origin, sure look like terrorist acts to me.

As for terrorism of a more global bent: Yes, I think it's wonderful that a 9/11 follow-up hasn't occurred...so far. Can you honestly say that a mass slaughter of American innocents will NEVER happen again? There is no lack of crazies willing to exhange their lives for ours, and though I'm sure some have been arrested in the days since the WTC attack, the more frightening possibility is that others are lying low, waiting for the hysteria to pass. Short of expelling every non-citizen from the US's shores, how can ANY legal agency completely guarantee our safety?

Look, I know in times of extreme conflict, SOME freedoms have to be sacrificed. Hey, the halcyon days of airline flight are over, and that's fine with me. The problem is when the government sacrifices the very democratic freedoms it claims it wants to preserve, all for some vague notion of personal security. Yes, I want the government to reasonably protect me from terrorist attacks; but I also recognize that there are some risks to living in an open society, and they can't be completly eliminated without fundamentally changing the very nature of American life for the worse.

And when citizens of good heart and sound mind who question the Patriot Act and Bush's executive order are openly INSULTED by someone who wasn't even ELECTED to public office...are basically called seditious abettors of the killers of 9/11...are made to feel that they are weirdos or fools for loving their country, and wanting to keep it safe from threats both foreign AND domestic...well, I get a little skeeved off, to put it mildly.

(And what the hell was going on with our stalwart Senators yesterday? Instead of asking Ashcroft the tough questions about the military tribunals, they kept harping on the gun ownership angle. Folks, WHO GIVES A SHIT!!! The fucking acts of 9/11 occurred without ONE GUN being used. God, THESE are the defenders of democracy? Heather, maybe I'll take you up on your offer, after all--Canada's looking pretty good, right now.)

Dwayne: I don't know who you're talking about, since I haven't pissed and moaned THAT much about the government's lack of prevention of 9/11. Yes, it was a security failure of massive proportions, but I don't know how ANYONE could have foreseen the use of passenger jets as weapons of mass destruction. And there have been other terrorist attacks that I know of that were successfully snuffed in the cradle--the ones timed to go off after the Millenium celebration, for example.

(And just to COMPLETELY confound you so-called "right-wingers": I'm no patchouli-wearin' peacenik--I support military action, albeit with the usual misgivings inherent to my left-leaning, skeptical mind.)


Frank Church
- Friday, December 7 2001 15:10:47

It is obvious that Ashcroft could legally be impeached for what he is doing, but it will never happen. I knew his demon claws would be reeking havoc with the Constitution when I first heard about his being nominated.

The Taliban is seeming more weak than first thought, but Sharon is just inflaming Islamic nuts in other places. Our blind support of Israel has to be checked.

The best place to find political thought is at Zmag.org, a subsidy of Z Magazine, the nations finest radical publication. Radical, dare I say it, of a righteous streak.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Friday, December 7 2001 14:42:21

Politics and religion: brings out all the lurkers. Hi Gang!


- Friday, December 7 2001 14:33:58

It’s kismet!

Late Monday I was ready to wrap things up and call it a night. Everyone else had crashed by now; the whole neighborhood was dormant. Suddenly I feel the building shake and hear the shatter of glass and metal on the street. A few seconds pause and a scream breaks out and I could hear neighbors rushing from their buildings. "What the flyin’ fuck is goin’ on?" I had to get out there.

RIGHT in front of my building there’s a Jeep Cherokee sitting there upside down. It looked like a crane had lifted it, flipped it and set it down gently on its roof. A girl was in there alone dangling upside down screaming her legs were trapped and she could smell leaking gas. Neighbors were trying to calm her down and just about everyone grabbed cell phones; in a few minutes cops and the fire department were all over. Using a chain saw they pulled her out and she rose to her feet looking fine, just thoroughly shaken.

HOW the hell did she manage it? She'd nearly flown into our building (I felt fortunate I was on the second floor). NO other vehicle was involved; the street was devoid of traffic. It was incredible. You have to be on some pretty narly chemicals to pull this off without help (either that or an al-Qaeda flunk-out). She may have even dosed at the wheel for a second. Who knows? I’m at midpoint of a steep hill; she had soared over the top, coming down banking off the curb, taking a small tree with her, and just BARELY missing the wall in front of our building. Debris covered the whole block, a great deal of it coming into our court yard. My bare foot almost came down on a shard of glass when I’d first come out. Anyway, it was a helluva feat and she walked away from it. Reminded me a little of my motorcycle days when one time I foolishly let myself get nailed by an oncoming car and saw my Nighthawk do triple somersaults; like her I walked away from it.

My building has some sort of arcane electromagnetic field that draws some bizarre moments always in the dead of night where nothing generally happens. About 5 years ago, again very late, a shoot-out between two punks and half the city police broke out, which had started in a chase miles away (as I would learn the next day). WHERE did it have to end - with 2 young people dead? RIGHT in front of MY place. I’d never heard mass gunfire before; it literally sounded like 4th of July. Now the clincher - what, I hate to tell you, really made this grotesquely amusing - is that I was right in the middle of watching an old Bonanza episode - around the moment a shoot-out with the Cartwrights opened up. It’s the damn truth. And when I realized what was happening outside, I’d actually gotten to the floor on the chance a bullet might come through...with my face upward still watching the tv! Hey! If I can’t see the show outside I might as well continue watching the one on the tube! Right?

Kismet, baby!

helzapoppn <helzapoppn@aol.com>
Livonia, MI USA - Friday, December 7 2001 14:25:31

The real problem of the Executive Order is its vagueness and inconsistency, and the contrary arguments being made by its defenders. I would be OK with arguments that tribunals will only be used on foreign nationals accused of war crimes -- if it wasn't completely contradicted by the ACTUAL WORDS of the executive order.

I would be OK with arguments that these tribunals will look a lot like courts martial under the UCMJ (I like the UCMJ, it's one of the things that makes our military the best in the world) -- it they weren't completely contrary to the ACTUAL WORDS of the executive order. A court-martial allows for discovery of the evidence, full representation for the defendant, and judicial review up to and including the Supreme Court. The Bushcroft tribunals would limit discovery and flat out deny the right of appeal.

The NY Times columnists have done yeoman work pointing these things out, particularly Anthony Lewis from the left and William Safire from the right (who seems genuinely shocked to be lumped in with those who would aid terrorists and give pause to our friends).

Defenders of the new rules like to stress that we can trust this President and Attorney General to not abuse them, which flies in the face of our Founding Fathers belief, as explicitly stated by John Adams -- "we are a government of laws, not of men."

OK, back to my lurking. It's been fun posting here for the very first time and all.

Herb Helzer

P.S. Oh, I've also been interested in how the comics have responded to the 9/11 tragedy. My take is that, of the big two, Marvel finds itself in a serious box since they long ago decided to set most of their titles in New York City. A nice one-shot of Spidey working at Ground Zero doesn't change their continuity problems. In DC's world, NYC is the third most important city, way behind Metropolis and Gotham, which gives their writers the great luxury of time and distance to either acknowledge or ignore what happened. Pretty smart, in hindsight.

Jay Smith
- Friday, December 7 2001 13:41:51

We nailed Clayton Waagner the other day...the guy who sent out the fake Anthrax letter to abortion clinics. I hope he's treated as a terrorist. I also hope the coworker who spotted him in the Cincinatti Kinko's gets the $50,000 reward.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, December 7 2001 13:40:27

Todd~ Here I am, stuck in the middle of the proverbial aisle again. I can see your point and I can see Andrew & Jim's point as well. Any civil liberties that are lost will not be regained at the end of the war. People that are not American citizens and haven't been duly diligent about keeping their immigration status up-to-date are *not* the same as citizens in my book, but that doesn't mean we can keep them indefinitely without allowing them access to a lawyer or even telling them why they've been detained. (Yes, immigration violations count. It's the law, not just a vague suggestion.)

But what Mr. Ashcroft hints at is that even the slightest bit of dissent (which is what the First Amendment of the Constitution is all about) is treasonous. And that sounds more dangerous than anything I've previously heard him say. Shall we go back to the days when anti-war or civil rights protesters were investigated by the FBI solely for disagreeing with the government? I was laboring under the impression that we'd *learned* from that era of history. How about we worry about the real criminals, Mr. Ashcroft, and not the monsters under your bed (or on your funding committee)? Quit with the racial profiling and watch for suspicious behavior REGARDLESS of it's ethnic origins. Quit making noises about federalizing airport security and putting in bomb sniffing machines*, and pay your security people enough money to do the job right THE FIRST TIME. Quit humping for the cameras and DO YOUR FUCKING JOB.


*Did you know that chemical bomb sniffers only sniff for nitrogen based explosives? Do you know how many things out there that are potentially violent explosives that don't have nitrogen compounds in them? Feel safer now? Good.

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Friday, December 7 2001 13:39:29

Here's another reason why we've had no terrorist attacks since 9/11...

THE RATS ARE BACK IN THEIR HOLES. They know we're looking, pulling financial records. They will not meet us in battle. They will wait, and plan, and repair their battered bank accounts and disrupted networks, pray a lot, slowly simmer in the cooling climate that always follows a period of vigilance, find the weakest link 12-24-36 months from now and strike again. False alarms are going out. THREATS are being made. They try again and they know they're dead. Keep threatening, and we keep on edge.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, December 7 2001 13:29:53

Well, Todd, what's YOUR theory on the anthrax distribution, if it did not constitute a terrorist attack?

And Dwayne, why DIDN'T the government prevent the 9/11 attacks? If it was caught so flat-footed then, why do you think it's going to do such a great job with our civil liberties in the future?

Neither of you was one of those folks who until recently asserted the government was too much on our backs, and what this country needed most was less government regulation, I trust?

As for Bag of Meat, supposedly the Edgeworks project has been taken over by Ellison himself and his agent, Richard Curtis, who promise to reissue all the works under the imprint of "Edgeworks Abbey." But no sign of anything as yet....

Just a Walking Bag of Meat
In a State of Compleat Ennui - Friday, December 7 2001 12:48:55


Just a new one here, a little curious to see what's going on. I've read a little of what others are saying and it sounds like I might stop by once in a while.

Jim Davis: Why be surprised? After all, the age old "if yer not fer us, yer agin us" has been a staple of political duress used in times of crisis to engender blind obedience in a frightened electorate for years. Still, you've as much to fear from the "Silent Majority" who will bask in the omnipotent glow of CNN and shake their heads in agreement with the Attorney General. Seems to me though nobody's taking the Attorney General, the FBI, the CIA or State to task for what was an incredible oversight which allowed these men to walk onto planes and cause massive damage to both property and the psyche of your nation. Yes, the terrorists fired the gun, but it appears obvious that these departments should have taken steps to make sure the dammed thing wasn't loaded and then left lying around. A screwup of global proportions (nothing personal all, but I'm left thinking of what I'd be like if one of my relatives was in one of the buildings.), and nobody gets called up on the carpet for this? Sorry, but it seems a bit beyond being excused with a shrug and a "Well, that's one on us".
Okay, that was the JAWBOM moment of political opining. Please note: the opinions expressed in the above posting aren't necessarily those of anyone who would consider themselves sane. Now to another matter.
I've been an Ellison reader for some time (have recently purchased both the 50th Essential Ellison and Troublemakers) but am left with a slow sense of emptiness resulting from the absence of the Edgeworks series. The devastation resulting from the discontinuance of this series has taken upon my being has changed me irrevocably, I fear. I've experienced massive hair loss (all over), crying jags, and a deepening neurosis resulting from repeated listening to Pia Zadora albums. God help me, please! Does anyone know if its been canned, or will it live on?

Heavy Thought: Marriage is an institution into which many a good man or woman has been involuntarily committed.
Divorce = Shock therapy
Best, All Meat

Peg <trbotongue@aol.com>
- Friday, December 7 2001 12:6:12


My husband and I rented "The Man who Cried" a while back. It was enjoyable but got a bit drawn out and slow towards the end. Good work as usual by Depp, Blanchett, and Ricci and I enjoyed the concept. (Sorry if this isn't much to go on, I'm not nearly the cinematic critic that others are).


Dwayne Pipe
Beloit, WI - Friday, December 7 2001 11:58:34

There you go, making sense again. There are still people out there that just don’t get it. WE ARE AT WAR! Some of these fine folks are the very people who will be among the first to piss and moan, "Why didn’t the government prevent this!", the next time there’s a terrorist attack.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Friday, December 7 2001 10:17:42

No terrorist attacks in U.S. since 9/11, even though we are bombing Afghanistan and Uncle Omar promised the death of the United States, even though we've declared a war on terrorism and are now refusing to reign in Israel. No terrorist attacks in U.S. since 9/11.

Could it be because we've detained a few hundred suspicious 'friends o' the U.S.' and some of those detainees might actually be terrorists?

Could it be that others whose rights have not been so horribly taken are a bit nervous and don't want to show themselves? (After all, Uncle Omar and Aunt Bin Laden consistently shout for their people to die for their cause....while they hide in holes and run away like cowards) ((and I call them cowards, not because they are afraid to die, but because they tell everyone else to die for the cause EXCEPT THEM)).

Anyway, that's you right wing response for the day. No need to expect a boring string of attack and respond. I'll lay back in my peaceful moment once again.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, December 7 2001 10:3:56

Hey, has anyone seen a movie called "The Man Who Cried?" It supposedly came out over the summer, and yet I somehow missed it - very frustrating, as it has Cate Blanchett, an actress who's on my a-list.

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, December 7 2001 9:33:39


Why do I get the feeling that Asscroft (misspell intentional) was rooting for the HUAC.

Yours in grim despair,

Jim Davis
- Friday, December 7 2001 9:14:3

Yesterday, at the Senate Judiciary Committee:

"To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil."

Fuck you, John Ashcroft.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, December 7 2001 7:29:48

Here, read instead:


And lest an Arab news source make you cringe, read from the Guardian:

And from Salon, how it might be said that Sharon is the reason behind the current flaring of violence that began a little over a year ago, just by showing his face in the wrong place, seemingly begging for the reaction he got.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, December 7 2001 7:20:45

Faisal~ The truly amazing thing is how few people outside of the region know about The Butcher of Beirut. I've deleted several sentences here because I can't seem to contain my disgust to a political commentary.


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Friday, December 7 2001 5:13:3


You can do well to read Robert Fisk's excellent 'Pity the as well as try and get a copy of the three part (UK) C4 doco 'From Beirut to Bosnia'. Pity the Nation has a horrible chapter where Fisk describes seeing Israeli planes throwing out flares over the refugee camps to facilitate the Phalangist's militia's searching out to find victims that they could butcher. Sharon knew what was going to happen and he helped in the slaughter.

As you can tell from the tone of my post, I loathe the man. He deliberately stoked up violence by winding up the Palestinians and is profiting from it.


Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Friday, December 7 2001 4:4:17

"...we had the big LA Roast with Robin Williams and Bill Rotsler and Stan Lee and Ray Bradbury and Paul Krassner and David Gerrold and Joe Straczynski "

Oi. A roast with those boys should put the Friar's to shame.
I'd trade my pet monkey for tickets to that one...if I HAD a pet monkey.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, December 6 2001 22:45:33


One More Thing (as the grandfather might say on the completely rocking "Jackie Chan Adventures"):

My copy of Mefisto In Onyx was rescued on Bibliofind from some schmuck who had it signed " To Steve! Harlan Ellison 11 Dec 93." I will not be sellling it off like that person, 'cause I love reading it. The second to last line always sticks with me: "I have always been one of those miserable guys who couldn't get out of his own way."

God, I love that line. Sorry to kiss up for a second, but it's so RIGHT.


Joeph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, December 6 2001 22:31:29


Thanks for filling me in. I'll admit that I have seen neither Heroes of Hope nor the Repent Harlequin poster; I do have a copy of Mefisto with Frank Miller's cover, but that was significantly later, so I was curious. Lovely work, too - and a bitching intro by Miller.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Thursday, December 6 2001 21:51:1


As for Planet of the Apes, not only should you wait until it's out on video but you should wait until video becomes so outdated that you can't find a VCR anywhere. That way, you never run the risk of having to watch your VHS of Planet of the Apes.

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, December 6 2001 20:45:7

Some of the worst movies of the year: (I think I blotted most of the bad ones from my mind.) Lucas' Thud and Blunder epic PHANTOM MENACE. No, I won't see the DVD, even if it has the missing footage from the MAGNIFICENT AMERSONS. Movies I will wait until they're out on video: PEARL HARBOR (WARNING! WARNING! JERRY BRUCKHEIMER AND MICHAEL BAY MOVIE! WARNING! DANGER! DANGER WILL ROBINSON!) PLANET OF THE APES. I think I'll wait until it's cheaper to rent.

Some favorites from the past year: ENEMY AT THE GATES, SHRECK, HARRY POTTER, THE OTHERS, SLEEPY HOLLOW, MONSTERS INC., AND, (DRUM ROLL) THE BIG EMPTY. The last film I saw on video, which was brought out on a program by Hollywood Video call First Rites. I've seen a couple of these movies, and THE BIG EMPTY blew me away. I guess it was the first few minutes where the main character tells about why he quit his job at the fast food joint and become a private detective. Very wry, mean sense of humor with a longing for something not dark and dirty in this world.

Books I'm reading: FROM THE SHADOWS by Robert M. Gates, MILES TO GO by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON by You-Know-Who, THE CASE FOR MARS by Robert Zubrin, STARS AND STRIPES IN PERIL by Harry Harrison, DRAGONFLY by Bryan Burrough, THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS BY Caleb Carr, BERSERKERS: THE BEGINNING by Fred Saberhagen, FLU by Gina Kolata, which is about the spanish flu epidemic of 1918. 40 million dean in 3 months.

I've probably got a few more books laying around here I've yet to get to.


Edward Champino <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Thursday, December 6 2001 20:38:28

As far as I'm concerned, the only four films that mattered in 2001 were "The Man Who Wasn't There," "Mulholland Drive," "Ghost World" and "Amelie." The rest of the bunch is either pleasantly amusing or about as fun-filled as a stroll through Sawny Beane's cave in which there is some guarantee of returning to the outside world alive. I'm still dying (fortunately, not in the bicuspid sense) to see the two Linklater films out ("Waking Life" and "Tape").

Heather: If you liked "The Ninth Gate," read the Perez-Reverte novel it was butchered from, which does cartwheels around Polanski's flaccid forays of late.

Faisal: The problem with filmmakers in general is that they are required to blab at press junkets and pontificate an image. I whole-heartedly agree with your assessment.

Chris Greenaway
- Thursday, December 6 2001 20:36:32

Hello Harlan,

My name is Chris Greenaway and I am a friend of Heather Lovatt's. I am writing because I would like to say hello and that I enjoy your website. I am travelling to Japan next week and leaving the truck stop known as Winnipeg, Manitoba behind! ^_^

I will continue to read what everyone has to say on this website while I am there because this is a facinating site that spans all boarders!

Chris Greenaway

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, December 6 2001 19:55:51

JOSEPH FINN: My "cameo" in Frank Miller's "Dark Knight Returns"
"came about" because Frank and I have been friends
for a long, long time. Or have you never seen the finest piece of art Frank ever produced . . . the dust jacket for the limited hardcover edition of MEFISTO IN ONYX? Or the "Heroes for Hope" pages we did for Marvel? Or the lovely poster Frank did of "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman" for my legal defense benefit in the Fleisher case, when we had the big LA Roast with Robin Williams and Bill Rotsler and Stan Lee and Ray Bradbury and Paul Krassner and David Gerrold and Joe Straczynski
and Sergio Aragones and Robert Bloch and . . .

Frank and I are old friends.

Thus answered, I vanish yet again. Harlan.

- Thursday, December 6 2001 19:19:36

Oh, almost forgot...

No I don't think it's bad. Just flawed. But, stunning all the same.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, December 6 2001 19:14:46


Plot holes:

The most glaring plot hole is the missing 5th replicant. You'll remember that Bryant tells Deckard that 6 replicants hijacked a shuttle yadda, yadda, yadda. Then we're told that a couple of them broke into the Tyrell building and one got fried. This and the retirement of the four we see Deckard take of, account for only five. The missing replicant was actually scripted for and cast, but due to budget problems was cut. Unfortunately the dialogue was never repaired. There are other things too, like, why is Rachael the only replicant that gets VK'd? If they know the identities of all the escapees, why bother VK'ing Leon? What's up with all the questions about animals?

All plot problems (I think my use of the word "hole" is me overstating) could have been eased by a closer adherence to the original material. I don't think that the original material needed to be strictly followed, but, I think, too many compromises were made (IMHO). Most of the trouble, admittedly, is due to budgetary constraints and not poor planning.

And yes 12/16 I'm getting (finally!) hitched. And no, we're not gonna be married by one of the many Elvi (yes Elvi, plural of Elvis) wandering around Vegas, so don't even...
oh, never mind.


P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Thursday, December 6 2001 18:53:35

Andrew: Are you getting married on 12/16?

I believe you that you like BLADE RUNNER. Is this one of those "I like it even though I know it's not good" deals? What do you see as "the plot holes you could drive a semi through"?

I agree that the soundtrack is bitchin. For some reason it reminds me of parts of "Shine on You Crazy Diamond."


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, December 6 2001 18:37:29


Here's a fairly balanced short bio of Ariel Sharon, courtesy of us-israel.org. Not the most balanced of sources, but a decent bio. Note the paragraph about his tenure as Minister of Defense, which makes him un-fit to serve as Prime Minister, in my eyes:

Ariel Sharon was born at Kfar Malal in 1928. He joined the Haganah at the age of 14 in 1942. During the 1948 War of Independence, he commanded an infantry company in the Alexandroni Brigade. In 1953, he founded and led the "101" special commando unit which carried out retaliatory operations. Sharon was appointed commander of a Paratroop Corps in 1956 and fought in the Sinai Campaign. In 1957 he attended the Camberley Staff College in Great Britain.

During 1958-62, Sharon served as Infantry Brigade Commander and then Infantry School Commander, and attended Law School at Tel Aviv University. He was appointed Head of the Northern Command Staff in 1964 and Head of the Army Training Department in 1966. He participated in the 1967 Six Day War as commander of an armored division. In 1969 he was appointed Head of the Southern Command Staff. Sharon resigned from the army in June 1972, but was recalled to active military service in the 1973 Yom Kippur War to command an armored division that crossed the Suez Canal.

Ariel Sharon was elected to the Knesset in December 1973, but resigned a year later, serving as Security Adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (1975). He was elected to the Knesset in 1977 on the Shlomzion ticket. Following the elections, he joined the Herut party and was appointed Minister of Agriculture.

Sharon served as Minister of Defense from 1981-83, which position he held during the War in Lebanon. He resigned after a government commission found him indirectly responsible for the September 1982 massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Lebanese Christians.

Sharon remained in the government as a minister without portfolio and then served as Minister of Industry and Trade from 1984-90 and as Minister of Housing and Construction from 1990-92. In the 13th Knesset, he served on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Sharon served as Minister of National Infrastructure from July 1996-July 1999, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from October 1998-July 1999.

Re-elected to the 15th Knesset in May 1999, he served as chairman of the Likud following the resignation of Benjamin Netanyahu.

In a special election for Prime Minister in February 2001, Sharon defeated incumbent Ehud Barak to become the 11th person to hold that position.

Sharon is widowed and has two sons.

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, December 6 2001 18:30:56


If you've got the 1994 Vangelis soundtrack (not the New American Symphony abomination) then I'd add "Damask Rose" and "Rachael's Theme" (both composed for the movie, but replaced for some strange reason) to the kitty. Interesting little note BTW, "One More Kiss, Dear" was the second choice for that scene. The original workprint had the Inkspots, "If I Didn't Care" in it's place.

BTW wedding's to be in Vegas 12/16/01. You'll have to forgive us, but Catalina wasn't working out. Sigh...

- Thursday, December 6 2001 18:23:13

Was reading a newspaper today. The Globe and Mail. (Don't do that very much. Lots of interesting stories in there, though. Good SOURCE of story ideas, actually--is THAT where you them?--oh.)

Got interested in this guy Prime Minister Sharon.

If you please.. anyone..tell me more about this guy. Good, bad, opinions, whatever. He sounds interesting. (Yes, I know, I know..never mind. My mind works in odd ways.) Thanks.

- Thursday, December 6 2001 17:32:45


Not belittling anyone's comments on the pros and cons of screenwriting school to 'reconnect' (hopefully with some females); I think that's a darn good idea and I'll give you an example as to why. (No, the person in this story is NOT being compared to you. My POINT is, it can happen to anyone, as long as they are willing to take a damn chance!)

I have a friend of a friend who decided, at age 30ish, to return to university to finish his degree. Personally, the guy's a nut case--I'm talking for real here--but it adds to the happy ending, so I'm tossing in this point for you.

He spent more time on campus, ogling the females than going to class. Most of them were ten years younger than him, of course, but he's a nut and he did it anyway. Used to accost females with chocolate cheesecake and in so many words would say, "You liked my cheesecake did you? Now, will you have sex with me?" (Like I said, Chris, I'm not making head to head comparisons here, what I'm saying is.. something came out of him, 'attempting'.. the way YOU sound like you want to.)

This guy got involved with a distant relative (very distant; no harm in two-headed children; I only mention it as it was the reason he met her--at a wedding or something.) while he was in town, doing the school thing.

They shacked up for a while--she was nuts about him--but I can't say he felt the same way (but no matter; he used to regale us with the sexual exploits. [sigh]). They went out west to visit a friend of hers and he met the "GIRL OF HIS DREAMS." I won't go into the details on THAT one--the guy REALLY was a nut. (But she really was gorgeous, for any of you who are keeping track here. Gorgeous and very bright and very athletic. She liked extreme hiking and snowboard. He had a hell of a time getting back into shape to follow her around.)

He had some very strange ideas about women, in general. This is a family show here. I won't get into it.

But the point is, it worked out. He sold his parent's house in the small town he'd been living in since he was a kid; moved to where she lives--she's a medical student--very bright; a 'crazy french chick' as one of my coworkers used to call girls from Quebec--and as far as I know, if he hasn't died, he's living with this woman.

So follow your dreams, Chris. You just never know what may happen.

And unless you are INTERESTED in English lit, don't bother with any other courses than what you are interested in. You want to be in an environment where you feel comfortable. That's why you're choosing screenwriting. And hey, some of your coworkers may turn out to be good connections, once you leave school.

Babes in the classroom; I wouldn't worry about that. Just check to be sure there are a good quantity of them on campus, that's all.

Luck to you.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, December 6 2001 16:51:1

Andrew~ Put Bladerunner Blues on repeat. Tear off the knob. What a great piece to write noir to.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, December 6 2001 16:17:17

Señior Berman,

Like I said, I like the movie. One of my favorites. Just to show you that I've got nuttin' but love fer ya...

If you haven't read (or even heard of) it, here's a little reading tip. Check out "Future Noir : The Making of Blade Runner" by Paul M. Sammon. Interviews, background info and some juicy behind-the-scenes tidbits.

BTW, isn't the Vangelis-composed soundtrack just bitchen?

- Thursday, December 6 2001 16:14:22

Okay, I'll be brief. (heh, you say)

Had a choice of left or right tonight. Left, to the Graham Post office for stamps (and other things) or right, to the Eaton Mall. (They have a post office too but maybe a place for snow boots. I needed snow boots--my VERY old Rockport right sole had come unstitched almost to my instep. Was collecting snow in it as I walked. What fun.)

Long line at Eaton Post Office but I managed to deal with it. Sent friend stuffies. Spent six dollars on postage. Dat's cool.)

Walked to Urban Trail shoe store. Saw nifty ski boot style boots. $250--give me a fucking break. (But wow, they were cool.)

Saw trail type boot--very light; very easy on the foot for walking inside or out. Only pair. Men's 8 1/2. Ninety bucks--still an ouch but I really want to walk in the snow so I NEED boots.

Tried them on. Damn, they FIT. Damn, they snuggled my ankle. Yum. Bought them. Coolness. (I hate shopping for shoes. Love when this happens. Always leave store quickly when this happens. Yum.)

At the checkout, salesman (Yum.) told me I could enter a draw for a Nissan Sentra. (I think that's what it is--I don't DO cars.) Car is parked in mall. (How do they get them in here? Always wondered that.) Said, what the hey, if I win will give car to KICK--I don't need a car. Shit, I live downtown. Harlan, you can have it if I win. (laugh)

Walked outside in new snow boots. Heaven with a flat heel. Having orgasms in my ankles as I stood on a corner waiting for the light to change on Graham.

Walked to other post office--Shopper's Drug mart, actually. Went in store. Saw nifty brand of Irish chocolates. (Never seen them before--I love trying new stuff.) What the hey. Bought them and a tiny box of Mrs. Field's Decadent Chocolates. (Haven't tried those either.)

Was gonna mention the body on the street and the firetruck but never mind. Let's wrap this puppy up.

Walked (in snuggly shoes. Did I mention they were snuggly? Hi, Jim.) to university. Came to library. Saw library woman (one of two.) Sat down at computer. Said, what the hey. Walked back to library lady with box of Irish handmade chocolates. She was sorting books. I said here.. Merry Christmas. She seemed please.

Ain't the universe cool?

[P.S. Am trying Mrs. Field's chocolates as we speak. No, you can't have any.]

Heather, sucking on nuts and fingering boots

Cramula Afrengicerdaecon
Blobtown, - Thursday, December 6 2001 16:12:27

What's with the Last Brian Aldiss story in Dangerous visions?? Is he kidding or does he really think he is the greatest science fiction writer ever? Did you like that story Harlan?

Very interesteding to hear about the Jack the Ripper stuff.

Here's some "reviews" I wrote on another board.
It started 2 or three weeks ago. Watched a Sherlock Holmes Vid with subject matter of Jack the Ripper. In the vid, Jack was none other than the Masons, killing for the queen, to save face. See the heir to the throne bagged this low life woman who was a prostituteslut type. She fell in love with him and thought he was going to save her from wretched street life of spred'm 24/10. he actually married her and impregged her. Too bad he quickly tired of her and ditched her. She birthed the child and hid it but couldn't keep the secret. She told some prositutes of the child and everyone she told got a touch of Jack. The mother ended up in the asylum(great asylum scene) and the masons never found her child.

My first roommate and best friend, Tronse, who last year killed himself alone in a Oregan hotel room, thought he was the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper. He would pace our living room with a giant knife, then come asking for a hug. I'd say no way, I'm not hugging you. He asked why and wouldn't understand how I didn't care for the knife pacing. That guy was always funny and interesting. Never knew when he was kidding.

In 1943, Robert Block published a story called, "yours Truly, Jack the Ripper" I never read the story. Later he wrote a story called "A Toy for Juliet" This is a brilliant story about a killer of the future, Julliet getting a boytoy plaything gift from the past, Jack the Ripper. Julliet has been a taught sadism from birth by her sicko grandfather who is also her lover, much like a farmer teaches his kids to butcher, "these are the tools you use to slaughter a cow, these are the shells you use to blow away a pheasant" Julliet has the Iron Maiden of Neurenburg and more torture instruments!

Harlan Ellison got so into Jack of the future that He wrote a continuation of Bloch's story called "The Prowler in the city at the edge of the world" What happens after Jack kills Julliet.
These stories are pretty violent and descriptive of gore. In the same way as Peter Sotos. I love this stuff becuase as I once told him waxing, "it lets the gouls of my soul deep come out, see the light of day and fly away like doves into the sky." REading's like therapy.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Thursday, December 6 2001 16:3:10


Hmmm, well, lessee, "[BLADE RUNNER} suffers from a poor script that rips out the heart of the original material (and has plot holes you could drive a Semi through)."

If that's not a dis, I'd hate to hear you actually dis something (said in good humor). I didn't think the script was poor at all. In fact, at times I found it very moving. "All these moments are lost in time like tears in rain." "I want more life, FUCKER." Yes, the seduction scene between Deckert and Rachel was flinchingly corny, but other than that, no problems.

Of course it's flawed. It's not the best movie I ever saw, only my favorite.

What makes an adaptation successful? That it's faithful to the original or that it's enjoyable in it's own right? IMO, especially if it has a different title, it should be judged on it's own merits. It's an adaptation, a reinterpretation.

no tattoos, no piercings

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, December 6 2001 13:11:47


Cynical answer, because Peter's always been that way.

Idealistic answer, because he's a classic character that exists in our hearts as a shining example of a real young man, with the foibles and triumphs of us all. Also, Peter has been different ages through the years. He started out as a teenager, but these days is in his mid-20's. Also, plenty of people have tried different ages for him. There's the current Ultimate line, for instance, which has him as a 15-year-old again; the Spider-Girl comic, on the other hand, is the story of his daughter and we see a good amount of Peter in his late 40's.


Frank Church
- Thursday, December 6 2001 12:38:45

Question: Why doesn't Peter Parker ever grow old? lol.

Frank Church
- Thursday, December 6 2001 12:36:14

Why is everyone so goofy about seeing the WTC? In a way it is a fitting tribute, to see the building before all the madness-before the Patriot Act and our loss of innocence and civil rights. We can only heal when we remember how it once was. The future is in our hands.

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Thursday, December 6 2001 12:21:13

I believe that Origin #1 was or still is "reprinted" on the Marvel website as a webcomic. In any case, this week's comics from Marvel showed that they'll be reprinting it on CD cards, given as a bonus for whoever orders the Amazing Spider-man one. The Spidey one'll be a "moving" comic, with SFX, narration voiced-over, and extras. Dunno if the Origin one will be.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, December 6 2001 8:8:47

Todd & Charlie,

I believe that Origin will be re-printed by itself as a hardcover - whether it will have ASM #36, I have heard not a tickle. I'll check the new Previews catalog when I get home tonight and see if there is any mention.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, December 6 2001 7:42:3

Sorry, sorry, sorry, guys! Last night my computer wouldn't confirm that the post went through, but kept giving me an error message. Now I know how Joseph felt.

I'll try to remember, the next time this happens, to open another window and check this page there -- to see whether the post has indeed gotten through.

(At this moment I'm listening to Ashcroft's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee re: the terrorism investigation and civil liberties on my Walkman ... what an asshole.)

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, December 6 2001 7:29:55

Joke Time:

A traveling salesman visits a small town in the Midwest and sees a circus banner reading, "Don't Miss the Amazing Goldstein!" Curious, he buys a ticket and sits through the usual circus acts: animals, clowns,contortionists,etc.

Suddenly, trumpets blare and all eyes turn to the center ring.
There, in the middle of the ring, is a table with three walnuts on it. In comes a little old Jewish man, five feet five inches tall, and barely able to walk to the table. He unzips his pants, whips out an impressive prodigious member, grabs it in his hand, and proceeds to smash all three walnuts with three mighty swings!

The crowd erupts in thunderous applause as the elderly Goldstein
Is carried off on the shoulders of the clowns.

Ten years later, the same salesman visits the same little town
And sees the same circus being advertised with the same banner reading, "Don't Miss the Amazing Goldstein!"

The salesman can't believe the old guy is still alive, much less still doing his act! So, he buys a ticket and sits through
the Various acts, waiting for the big finale.

Finally, the center ring is illuminated. This time, instead of
walnuts, three coconuts are on the table. As before, old Goldstein takes forever to make it to the table. He unzips his fly and proceeds to smash the coconuts with three swings of his amazing schlong. The crowd goes wild!

The salesman requests a meeting with him after the show. In
Goldstein's dressing room, the salesman tells him he's never seen
anything like Goldstein's act. But, he wants to know why Goldstein, at his age, is now smashing large coconuts instead of the much smaller walnuts.

"Vell," says Goldstein, wearily, "My eyes aren't vhat they used to be!"


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, December 6 2001 7:0:2

Charlie, the Spider-Man WTC story is going to be reprinted soon in an anthology that will also reprint ORIGIN #1 (the first Wolverine Origin issue that sold out) and one or two other hard to find stories. I think I heard that it would be similar to an 80-page Giant comic book.

Look for it soon.


St. Pete, FL - Thursday, December 6 2001 6:57:54

So, someone here casually mentions, hey--go pick up Spiderman #36 by JMS, it's terrific, in so many words. I figure ok, I'll call my local comic store and have them hold one. Let me tell you, those suckers sold out before they hit the shelves (apparently nationwide) and they're now selling on ebay for $10 a copy. I'm told no reprint is scheduled. So, for those still waiting, DON'T. Act now. However, it looks like some comic stores never even shelved the comics and are seeing how much they can gouge out of people on ebay. The spirit that existed immediately after 9/11 has quickly evaporated.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 23:33:26

Chris L.:

I saw "Sidewalks of New York" over the weekend. The WTC can still be seen in the movie, several times. It can be seen in the background during the Edward Burns character's talk to the camera scenes.

Oh, the movie as a whole? Warmed-over Woody Allen / romance-of-and-in-New-York story. Lovely cast, decent acting, okay script ... but the whole turns out to be less than the sum of its parts. If you can catch it on a cheap matinee or budget second run, that's the way to see it. Stanley Tucci is wonderful as a slimy womanizing dentist, cliches and all.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 23:31:6

Chris L.:

I saw "Sidewalks of New York" over the weekend. The WTC can still be seen in the movie, several times. It can be seen in the background during the Edward Burns character's talk to the camera scenes.

Oh, the movie as a whole? Warmed-over Woody Allen romance-of-and-in-New-York story. Lovely cast, decent acting, okay script ... but the whole turns out to be less than the sum of the parts. If you can catch on a cheap matinee or budget second run, that's the way to see it. Stanley Tucci is wonderful as a slimy womanizing dentist, cliches and all.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 23:28:28

Chris L.:

I saw "Sidewalks of New York" over the weekend. The WTC can still be seen in the movie, several times. It can be seen in the background during the Edward Burns character's talk to the camera scenes.

Oh, the movie as a whole? Warmed-over Woody Allen romance-of-and-in-New-York story. Lovely cast, decent acting, okay script ... but the whole turns out to be less than the sum of the parts. If you can catch on a cheap matinee or budget second run, that's the way to see it. Stanley Tucci is wonderful as a slimy womanizing dentist, cliches and all.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 22:58:0


Thanks for the advice but I think I'm in a place in life most people haven't been and wouldn't understand.

I don't give a flying fuck about learning the screenwriting business. I need to be around people. It's total isolation here. We're talking Castaway here - seriously, I really identify with the movie. Almost everyone I knew died in the last 8 years all one right after the other. The few living ones have dispersed to the four corners of the country. I am a tabula rasa and looking for a fresh start. School is nothing more than an excuse to find a social circle of some kind. I've already done film school and I liked it and I want to try again. This time on the other side of the country, just start life over. The old one's done with.

However, if you do know anything about Loyola Marymount or Chapman as well as where they are (Westchester section of LA or Orange, CA) I would appreciate any feedback. I've got a few contacts in L.A. but not many and I need more info than I can get at the websites.

Jim Davis
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 22:22:47

(Reads Lynn's post)

Now THAT'S how you should do it, if do it you must. Three glyphs you created yourself, and a Clive Barker drawing. Cool! Definitely not cookie-cutter designs you just slapped on yourself.

Oh, and every time I see that DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF YOUR BRAIN book, I think to myself, "OH GOD! STOP IT! IT HURTS, IT HURTS!" (Yeah, I know, the brain can't actually feel pain, but work with me here...)

Matt Wilkins <mew@mr.net>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 22:18:42

Chris L. -- Looking for love in all the wrong places? I can imagine worse places, but taking a screenwriting class at Loyola Marymount doesn't rank very high.

Additionally, you'll find that screenwriting classes at most colleges are filled with mostly guys. A lot of them are guys who feel like they are big shots in the industry because they do background work - when in reality they are more like paid props.

Do yourself a favor and learn the format and style of screenwriting by example (there are many screenplay databases online) and spend your hard earned money on a copy of Final Draft.

And looking for that special someone? Take a literature course at UCLA - you'll learn something useful and you'll find a much higher class of people than in a screenwriting class.


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 22:11:44

Ok, hands up: How many people here are "South Park" fans? I thought tonight's episode on stem cell research was BRILLIANT. The best line, as always, belonged to Cartman: "Look, I'm just like these (aborted) fetuses: I wasn't born yesterday." Hey, I like the sick stuff, what can I say?

Heather/Jay/Joseph: I'm not sure I entirely "get" the whole tattoo thing. (Of course, to a Jew, tattoos have a negative rep, so maybe I'm just biased.) I think you guys will agree that most people don't seem to put a lot of thought into getting them. I mean, if someone wants a tattoo to be distinctive, well, we're ALL unique, aren't we?--you certainly don't need to get ink injected into your skin to make you different from everybody else.

And if you're going to get one, it should be a symbol or design that has a lot of personal meaning to you. Picking out, say, a Chinese character that you can't even READ because it looks "cool"--what's with that? Or a Celtic symbol, when you're of Italian descent? I dunno, it just seems to be another trendy affectation of "individualism" run amuck. (And I don't mean to insult you, Joseph. I'm sure you thought long and hard about your tattoo before you got it. Unless, of course, you didn't...)

Now, if I HAD to get a tattoo, it would be a full-body one. Of myself. Only, five inches taller.

Oh, and the strangest one I've ever seen? Joseph, you and Bermanator will like this: A full-color portrait of Tori Amos, completely covering a woman's back. Hell, she could have put it on the front, and passed herself off as the Cornflake Girl. Total lack of imagination, I tells ya.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 22:4:29

Joseph~ Is it a Dead Man's Hand? (Aces & Eights and the Suicide Jack?)

Tattoos are very personal expressions of art. Sure, some people take them more lightly than others, adding to their personal art exhibition without much thought. I have a friend who has one full sleeve, one half sleeve and both calves done on both sides. Oh and the Tibetan prayer on the back of his neck. (Yes, I must spin him in his chair on occasion, just for the fun of it. It's not a prayer wheel, it's a prayer Craig! Everyone should have one.)

I got my first tattoos in a motorhome at a solstice festival, summer of 1990. Three glyphs that I crafted for three characters in a novel that never got written. The other is on my left shoulder. It's a pen sketch by Clive Barker. Even more, it's an exercise I drew when working from the book _Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain_ (the exercise being to copy a drawing upside down), so it's been processed through my right brain. It represents a lot of things to me. Strength, beauty, holiness. All my mother could say was, "YOU GOT A TATTOO OF A NAKED MAN." ::sigh:: So one man's trash is another man's art. And yes it hurt but no worse than any trip you ever had to the dentist. And pain for something you want is a lot different than pain for something you don't. And tho' I'm not a pain freak, I won't deny the experience was pleasurable.

My next will be Morrocan knotwork over the back of my hips. I'm trying to figure out where the raven will be worked into it.

To each their own.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 21:51:58

Man, the whole self-mutilation thing freaks me out. Tattoos, piercings, etc. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it - to each his or her own and more power to you. But... yuck!

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 21:50:32


I think I can learn something about screenwriting at school, just not how to be a writer. You don't learn that, you work at it. And some people (most who try?) won't get there even if they work hard.

As for my primary motivation, I simply want to reconnect with the world. I've lived here in the Fortress of Solitude for the last five years and counting. Since everyone around here was inconsiderate enough to die, they aren't very good company. So I think the idea of moving to a place where hopefully there will at least be a few interesting people with whom I share some common interests would be a constructive way of reentering society.

I also expect to significantly improve my chances of getting laid by going back to school. :)

Aw, shucks, who am I kidding? I'm a romantic. I'm looking for love, not sex. But it's been hard to find love on the walk from my bedroom to the bathroom. Or at the comic book store or the chess club or at the bowling alley. Geez, I can't believe all my hobbies are almost exclusively 'guy things.' Oh well, at least I'm a good bowler now.

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 21:17:22


Yes, this is true. But depending on where you are, that may be all you get; backwater flesh artists with a needle and a 'tude....

I once had a girlfriend who had extensive work done. One anaconda that started at her shoulder and neck and, over a period of three years, wound around her body to her leg. It was very pretty when seen in toto, but she spent $200 every 90 days on it. She said it was like being branded each time she did it. But then...she was into that sort of thing.

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 21:8:13

Re: Troublemakers

I downloaded the Adobe PDF Viewer version today as my big retail chains and Amazon.com could not ship me a hard copy with any definite deadline. As usual, my giddy pleasure came from the introduction to the book and stories.

Then I realized how important the main introduction is to me. I have a 13 year old nephew who is about six inches and 50 pounds too large for his maturity. I'm getting him a copy of this book for Christmas because he REALLY needs to read the introduction of this book if nothing else. I will review it later when I've had the chance to read through it all, but I wanted to put down my first two important impressions.

Mr. Ellison, please don't think this is sucking up, but THANKS for that introduction. He's one of those kids that could go either way in life. He reads a great deal, but that seems to be more comics and "young adult" fiction. What you say to identify yourself initially as a member of the "enemy" and how you manage to guide the reader to realize that we're the same people, just in different stages of life, is so well played. It helps to identify yourself with the kind of kid who could head over to the "downhill side" as you call it. The stories you chose will (I hope) help. They are not the solution, I know, but they are entertaining and straight enough to make an impact.

I'll let you know how it works, if you're interested.

Oh...I'd never heard the "mouse/horse/fox" parable. That was great.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, December 5 2001 20:42:18

I swear to God, I got a "connection failure" on my first post.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, December 5 2001 20:40:22


Pardon the seemingly flip response, but:




Okay, now that I have that out of my system...

Tattoos hurt more or less depending on what part of your body you receive them on. If the body part is fairly fleshy, like a shoulder, it's not so bad. The though ones are right over bone, such as a shoulder blade, where the vibrations can become very uncomfortable. Also, it depends on the type of tattoo. one that has large fields of one color can be very uncomfortable due to the long timespan. A Valium might not be a bad idea, but they don't like you to use anything that will have an effect on the blood.

Now, as for Jay's comment, that only relates to (a) trendy nitwits who get tattoos to be cool and (a) back of bar tattoo places that no one should go near. A reputable place with real artists will be clean as hell and use sterilized needles only once, torn out of a sealed bag and then disposed of in a medical waste container. At least, that's the basic procedure in states with reasonable laws.

Oh, and Jay? I talked myself into it.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, December 5 2001 20:39:13


Pardon the seemingly flip response, but:




Okay, now that I have that out of my system...

Tattoos hurt more or less depending on what part of your body you receive them on. If the body part is fairly fleshy, like a shoulder, it's not so bad. The though ones are right over bone, such as a shoulder blade, where the vibrations can become very uncomfortable. Also, it depends on the type of tattoo. one that has large fields of one color can be very uncomfortable due to the long timespan. A Valium might not be a bad idea, but they don't like you to use anything that will have an effect on the blood.

Now, as for Jay's comment, that only relates to (a) trendy nitwits who get tattoos to be cool and (a) back of bar tattoo places that no one should go near. A reputable place with real artists will be clean as hell and use sterilized needles only once, torn out of a sealed bag and then disposed of in a medical waste container. At least, that's the basic procedure in states with reasonable laws.

Oh, and Jay? I talked myself into it.


Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 20:30:59

Heather: Yes it hurts. But it doesn't do anything for you except give you a backup topic of conversation. "Oh I had that done years ago...and it HURT...my friend Chloe talked me into it...we went down to the place near the mall where this skinny junior high kid was working and I was like 'omigod i'm not letting this kid poke me with a needle' and my friend Trish was all like 'but this kid did Jody's unicorn' so I went for it and...well, it SEEMED like a good idea at the time."

- Wednesday, December 5 2001 19:44:38

Joseph: Don't know what it might be..... but one question..does getting a tattoo hurt? Or does one get things to kill the pain?

Tattoos. One thing I've never considered. Just now laughed to recall a 'chick' from "Memos from Purgatory" (I THINK it was or else I'm just making this up--which is highly possible.) who had boyfriends names 'marked off' in some way and other ones added.


(And I STILL laugh to think I spent nearly 30 years or so feeling weird about having red hair--it's a very deep auburn now (tinged with grey); it was more bright red as a kid -- and NOW everybody and their CAT does red hair!)

Fashion, eh? Bet you look cool. I've seen a LOT of cool hairstyles at school. They must have to get up at three ayem to do their hair though, woof!

- Wednesday, December 5 2001 19:34:31

What's the current view on the director Roman Polanski? I'm so outta touch with current movies but I do remember some damn cool movies he did ages ago. This question comes out of reading the "Over the Edge" piece on Val Lewton, ("3 Faces of Fear", I believe) and other directors and the whole idea behind creating terror on film.

I liked that Johnny Depp movie he did. (Sigh. Cannot remember the name of the movie. Depp is so good in movies like that--it was a dark fiction kind of movie. I'm pretty sure it was Polanski.) Are there any other directors these days that are considered to be following in Lewton's footsteps? (Shoot me if this is an old subject. I am an old person asking new questions--for me.)

Chris, why are you considering school for screenwriting if you don't feel you'll learn 'screenwriting' at school?

Harlan, why didn't you ever just start a production company and produce your own films? Who the hell is gonna do "I, Robot" (okay, maybe someone is--I'm BEHIND on all this stuff, remember?) the way you'd want it done? Why didn't you just do this yourself? I bet you could have found backers.

Or was it just a "I wasn't thinking about such things at the time; had too many sticks in the fire, as it was."

I'm just asking, okay? Don't lay a cow on me, right, boyo?


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, December 5 2001 19:32:0


Strangely, the body modifications I have I pondered for a long time. My hair color? Thought about it, and then took the plunge. Now, I love trying different shades of red. Nothing too drastic, just different auburns and dark reds.

My most drastic modification, my shoulder tattoo, I considered for about two years until I decided exactly WHERE I was going to get it and WHAT I was going to get. Now I'm happy as a clam with what I chose.

Anyone want to guess what I got? Hint: it's on my right shoulder.


- Wednesday, December 5 2001 19:16:16

Hello fellow earthlings..

I'm staring at the screen through my hair--or what's left of it.

Rather odd. I just decided to cut it all off this afternoon. Was making weird pancakes (All food I make is 'weird.' It's merely a qualifier, not a negative one. It tastes good, I just do weird things to it) and grooving along; and I looked at myself in the front hall mirror and a kinda sorta very long bang I had cut a day or so ago (it looked rather cool) and went to the washroom (careful to watch the pancakes--with slices of sauteed apple), took scissors in hand and cut it all off. (Was casually tossing it into a bag as I did it--it weighed about 3 pounds easy. Yeesh!)

Haven't done that for a while. Went from longer than shoulder length--hadn't really looked lately; I've always had it tied back for work--to just under chin length--looks COOL--in about an hour.

Do you have moments in life where you just seem to 'groove' and do things--fairly drastic things that you weren't even pondering which is what makes it particularly strange--in this manner?

I hate hairdressers though I started back to them a few years ago for the standard "trim." Previous to that, I spent quite a few years cutting my hair.


Oh, and it was fine last night--I was out walking after midnight up to Osborne Village--started singing carols as I crossed the bridge (hmm..must be in a good mood or summat) and stared at the lizard eye almost full moon--but it's snowing like hell now. Coolness!

"Chesnuts roasting on an open fire"....I know you wanted to know what I was singing on the bridge. (Laugh) Then, when I went into the Shoppers Drug mart in Osborne Village, guess what the first song on the P.A. was? Weird, no? Ever feel like you're in some kind of cosmic slipstream or something? (No, don't believe in cosmic shit, but I gotta call it SOMETHING.)

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 17:50:14

"Bingo" Berman,

No dis on BLADE RUNNER was intended. Actually, it's one of my favorites too (the Directors Cut please). Unfortunately, it is flawed. The way I see it, BR suffers from some of the same problems many adaptations share (especially speculative fiction), it requires knowledge of the original source material to make any sense at all. Try to imagine seeing FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS with no previous exposure to the source and you'll see what I mean. However, I must admit that I hated TOTAL RECALL.

To each his (or her) own I suppose.


P.S. Just finished playing the BLADE RUNNER PC game. Interesting to say the least.-AR

Frank Church
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 17:26:32

Brian, defense of the marvelous, AI is no vice my friend. I too thought it a great film.

Ok, my own top picks:

The Man Who Wasn't There
Muholland Drive
Training Day (Lynn, this movie boring??)
Hannibal (Scared me, what can I say?)
Bandits (Fun, entertaining escape)
Sexy Beast

Movie that everyone should look for in the video stores if you like smart movies: Your Friends And Neighbors. The film by director Neil Lebute of In A Company Of Men fame. This is one biting ass satire on yuppies gone bad. One scary performance by actor, Jason Patric. One note: The infamous steam room scene. wow.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 17:25:53

Andrew: Total Recall is successful in my opinion because it's interesting and compelling, not because of box office. Could I have lived with out Ahnuld in that role? Yes. Otherwise, I liked it.

Wasn't going to respond tonight, but then my loyalty kicked in: Blade Runner is my favorite movie. Enough said.

Joseph: Did you realize that the first line of the Tori Amos song "Mother is a reference to T.S. Eliot? How did I discover this? I opened up Dangerous Visions, noticed the Sonya Dorman story "Go, Go, Go Said the Bird." Excited, I opened to the story and there was the Eliot quote. Cool.


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 15:22:7

There aren't too many tweaks being done to Spider-Man The Movie. They were once considering placing the scene from the trailer into the movie somehow, but decided to obviously not do that now. Other than that there are a few swinging scenes which showed the WTC in the distance that they are digitally adjusting. I don't have an issue with this since the movie is opening in a year that there was no WTC. My issue would be with movies that have already been completed and released and will now be adjusted in future videos or teevee showings! Hopefully, they have had enough time to rethink such drastic moves. Why pretend it was never there? I just watched the final chapters of that Ric Burns New York documentary, and was very happy to see that they left it intact (and that he is now doing a final final chapter on NY and the attack).

What will Spielberg do with the A.I. video release? When they arrive in drowned NY, there are valuable seconds of the WTC all war damaged. Leave it alone, Steven! You can pretend that they just built a replica and that is what we are viewing!

The Men In Black II finale had to be totally refilmed recently because it all took place in front of WTC. No loss there.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 15:2:8

I didn't know Gangs was postponed but I'm not surprised. Even Sidewalks of New York got pushed back a month or so. Apparently, there is a scene where a character delivers a monologue with the Twin Tower in the background.

I wonder if they have decided to make any changes to the Spider-Man film yet. I know they pulled the trailer that featured the WTC prominently but I'm not aware if the WTC was visible in any shots in the film itself (the trailer was footage not in the film.)

But I expect Gangs will be well worth the wait and maybe it will be a bright spot in a usually slow spring new release season.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 14:59:0

Justin, great story about the bees! The whole like about you and the .357 makes me think you and my friend Mike must be twins separated at birth. Good luck on your finals and when you get done there, we want the dolphins installment!


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 14:45:1

Sorry to say, Chris, but Gangs Of New York was postponed until a later date...probably spring 2002. Why? NY. Violence. Gasp. It was one of those kneejerk "oh my gawd we can't show this because it will make people uncomfortable about the WTC attack".

Huh? Did they realize that the time period of this Scorsese movie was more than 100 years BEFORE THE WTC WAS EVEN BUILT?

Talk about yer jerkin' knee, huh?


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 14:17:36


If you liked Mark Waid's writing on "JLA," make sure to pick up the recent trade paperback of "JLA: Tower of Babel." Great story arc, and I'm not going to tell you any little detail, because it's such a delicious read.

Speaking of comics, and reminded by the new Dark Knight series starting today from Frank Miller, I have a question, if I may take a few moments of your time. How did your cameo in "The Dark Knight Returns" come about? I'm just curious if Miller asked ahead of time, or if he just stuck you in? Thanks!


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Wednesday, December 5 2001 14:12:10


Sorry to hear about your misfortune though it is a great story. The image of you trying to shoot away killer bees reminds me of the finest of Irwin Allen's apocalyptic cinema.

But haven't you managed to get a extension for your exams because of this attack?


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 14:11:46


Regarding PK Dick adaptations:
While TOTAL RECALL may have been a box office success, I would hesitate to call it a successful adaptation. I've not seen SCREAMERS, so I can't say whether or not it was any good. BLADE RUNNER, a visually stunning movie, suffers from a poor script that rips out the heart of the original material (and has plot holes you could drive a Semi through).

I wonder, what other stories would make it onto the screen? "The Man in the High Castle", or god forbid "Oh, to be a Blobel". That said, I'm curious to see how MINORITY REPORT turns out.


P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 13:45:26

Justin: Sorry about your hideous bee encounter. It's a great story, though. I just read something about how you can actually outrun killer bees because they don't fly very fast or pursue very far. Oh well.

Lynn: Yes, indeed, Shawshank Redemption is based on "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" by Stephen King. That also was a fine movie of an even finer story. King used to have his fabulous moments. I wish they'd make quality movies out of his Bachman books "Rage" and "The Long Walk," but both are too controversial in our post-Columbine age.

I'm sure I'll think of other short stories that were made into good movies, but the point is, it's possible. Some of Tanith Lee's short fiction would make excellent fantasy movies IMO.

Chris: I mentioned movies I'd seen in the last year. Since I go to a second-riun theatre, I don't get to see the films until they go into thr $1.99 cinema, months later. Yeah, I'm cheap, but I enjoy myself more if I still have money for a drink afterwards.


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Wednesday, December 5 2001 13:44:31

Guy Ritchie.

I met Guy Ritchie a few years ago. It was just before 'Lock, Stock...' and the Madonna wedding. I had been invited to MOMI in London as a short script I'd written got a bit of attention from a scheme Working Titles/Jerwood were running.

Ever since that day, I have never had any interest to watch the film. Mr Ritchie is an obnoxious bore who just came out with a lot of macho crap. Boasted a lot about his gangster mates (all of whom were convicted thugs who liked nothing better than grassing their mates while pulverising anyone with a jack hammer) and I made a snide comment mentioning this as Mr Ritchie held these individuals in the highest esteem. I was then asked to attend to another matter.

As to the script, it got universally rejected by the cream of British film makers... and the Coen brothers.

I shall have my day...


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 13:42:30

Lynn: It was an adaptation of "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption," from the collection DIFFERENT SEASONS. That book also included the novellas "Apt Pupil" and "The Body," both of which were later filmed. (No one's taken a crack at the fourth story, "The Breathing Method," yet.)

Oh, and Nicole Kidman was TERRIFIC in TO DIE FOR, so nyah, nyah, nyah. (Of course, she played an utter zero in that film, so I'm sure Kidman-haters like you will say, "She was ACTING in that movie?")

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 13:37:4

You Can Count on Me was a Year 2000 release also. Of course, you did preface it by listing as a movie you _saw_ this year so I can't get you there. Very lawyerly of you! :)

And I agree. It's a very good film. I was left with the question, "Why?" as in "Why make this? It's not about anything. Nothing happens." But so what? It was good.

Seems we have a lot of different reactions to Moulin Rouge and I kind of agree with all of them. My review of the film was simple: "I think I like it but I might hate it."

I'm still not sure but I think I liked it. Even though Kidman was awful.

- Wednesday, December 5 2001 13:17:15

MEMENTO was based on a short story as well. Ed Bryant recommends watching that movie for a lesson in plot structure, by the way.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 13:10:33

I really enjoyed ENEMY AT THE GATES and PAPILLON, and APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX was great, as was the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA dvd, but I didn't see much this year that wowed me or moved me very much. I really want to see AMELIE very badly, but is it playing at a theater near me? Noooo, it has big scary subtitles, oh gasping horror. But enough of this movie talk. Hollywood is turning out even more deplorable shit than usual these days, and Paul Verhoeven hasn't even been helping lately (just kidding Paul, love ya babe). If we're going to be making silly ass retrospective 2001 lists let's do each other some good and list the best books we've read over the year. I vote for TROUBLEMAKERS, even though I haven't read it yet, cuz muh boy Harlan E wrote that muthafugga, and I also gotta give mad stoopid props to CLIMBING MOUNT IMPROBABLE by Richard Dawkins, THE AGE OF SPIRITUAL MACHINES by Ray Kurzweil, THE DUBLINERS by James Joyce, and THE SIMULACRA by P.K. Dick. Best comic I read all year was probably JLA: YEAR ONE by Mark Waid. Unfortunately the last part of the year has been slow as far as reading for my own pesonal edification goes, but I'll try to fix that over Christmas with some Fritz Leiber and Franz Kafka and Schmitz Fifka and Schloofy Blanwitz.

Okay, so I said I'd tell you about being attacked by a ravening horde of rabid assault bees while I was in Mexico, just as soon as I could afford to stop studying for finals. I can't afford it but I'm taking a break anyway to dine on a glass of flat Pepsi and a hideous sandwich I just cobbled together out of moldy bread, charred oven crumbs and the remnants of what I think used to be either tuna salad or banana bread. And whilst I eat, I will tell you about just one part of my adventure in Mexico. I'd tell you about the dolphins and the sea turtles and the staggering beauty of the island and the most hideous poverty I've ever seen, but we'd all be here till 2002, knowing the way I tend to go on.

So I'm in Mexico, right? This is the day before we went back to the States. We spent the morning kayaking in the Sea of Cortez, heading back to the mainland after our stay on the protected island of Tiburon. We beached our kayaks and unloaded all of our gear, and we were getting ready to have lunch. I helped make breakfast, so I was excused from lunch preparations. As a result, I was just laying around on the beach, trying to spot more dolphins, just about as fat, dumb and happy as I could be. Out of nowhere I felt this sting on my back, as though I'd accidentally chosen to lie down on a sharp stick jutting up from the sand, and indeed that's what I thought had happened. I shot upright, swiping at my back, and my hands brushed over something airborne. It was hovering over my shoulder, and whatever it was felt disconcertingly plump. Plump and fuzzy. And buzzing.

I don't deal with insects very well. I scrambled to my feet and did the "oo akk arrgh help help for the love of God get it away from me I'm far too young and gorgeous to die" dance. The little bastiches retreated into the bushes behind our campsite, and I was left standing there, burning like New Mexico, once the sting juice kicked in. One of my comrades, Justine, alerted by my girlish high-pitched screams, ran over and took a look at my back, which was rotten with stings right beneath my left shoulder. My whole left side was burning, and my rib cage in particular felt like it was on fire. Justine said there were red, irritated-looking streaks running down my side. She called over the two biologists we had with us, as they seemed to know virtually everything about the area we were in, and asked them for their analysis.

Their horrified expressions were of little comfort. "Africanized bees. They get the name "killer bees" because they attack people who come into their territory. They've killed a few people in the U.S. over the past few years."

By now the pain had abated considerably and I was able to speak again. "WE'VE GOT TO GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE, C'MON, QUICK, RUN!"

No, I'm fooling. I was still too paralyzed by the fact that a bug had stuck part of its ass into my body to speak. The biologists were looking at my back and telling me that Africanized bee venom is no more potent than that of regular honey bees, but that Africanized bees attack in far greater numbers and chase down perceived enemies for quite a long way. They were very concerned that I had been attacked, and suggested that we might want to move our camp. They said that if a larger attack happened, we would be basically defenseless. We couldn't even run into the sea and take shelter there, because these bees will hover over the water and wait for you to come up for air and sting the hell out of your face when you do. "What were you doing to upset the bees," they asked.

Oh, so now this was MY fault, was it? Hey, man, I was just sitting there minding my business. I had just put on some bug spray and-

"Bug spray? That might have upset them."

Great. I finally contributed something to the conversation, along the lines of, "Goddamn fuckin' bullshit bug spray, bee bastards, stings like a fuckin' fuck fuck."

Oddly enough, no one payed much attention to me, as they tried to figure out what to do. I staggered off to one side, as by now my side had begun to burn considerably once again. I looked over at the bushes and began vigorously to curse the bees for cowards, and that was about when one of the bees popped up to tell me what he thought of that by trying to sting my face. I swiped at him and he stung me in the finger.

I actually managed to bitch slap it before it buzzed away in a severely concussed manner that I found intensely satisfying to watch, as I cursed like a longshoreman in an Asian cathouse. This time I caught a stinger, and it was embedded deep in the side of my reddening index finger. I suddenly remembered a documentary I had seen a while ago about how bee stingers will continue to rhythmically pump venom into a victim from little yellow sacs on the top of the stinger, even once the stinger had been detached from the bee. I wept openly as Justine went off to get some tweezers.

Justine came back a second later with some tweezers, as everyone else watched from a safe distance, at least ten paces away from wherever I happened to be standing. Justine pulled out the stinger and almost immediately afterward, even before I got the chance to ask her for a Luke Skywalker band-aid and throw a hissy fit when she told me she didn't have any, the bushes behind us started to vibrate. BZZZZZZZZ. Justine took a few cautious steps away from me.

Within seconds, the air above our campsite was black with bees, zigzagging through the air in an enraged frenzy. I've gotten myself into some bad spots in the past, but I cannot recall any time in my life when I have been in such mortal terror. Some people stood there frozen, while the rest of us hit the deck. I pressed myself just as far down into the sand as I could, looking up the whole time at the swarm as it hovered above us. In a supremely odd and terrifying way it was kind of beautiful to watch them move, so furious and purposeful. Then, seconds later, they were gone, moved on down the beach.

If they had decided to attack, I really don't know what we would have done, particularly not if anyone was allergic to the stings. We were at least ninety minutes away from any medical facility, and anyway our van was broken down and Aaron hadn't finished fixing it yet. Anyone who panicked and tried fleeing into the water would have been in for a surprise as well, because not only do those bees wait for you, but when I went snorkeling earlier I quikly discovered that the sandy floor I was floating over was alive with an abundance of sting rays. We were just lucky.

I wish I'd brought my .357. I just enjoy the thought of myself flailing around in a cloud of bees, shooting at them wildly with a revolver, calling them motherfuckers and asking them if they want some more of this, while my travel buddies dive into the sand to avoid stray bullets.

And now I'm stuck here, in all this, this- civilization, eating bad food and studying for some bullshit test. ~sigh~ This is no kind of education. Mexico was an education.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 12:55:42

PA Berman~ Wasn't THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION a Stephen King short story as well?


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 12:54:43

Oh, and Chris? Just noting that I manage to have a movie from 1948 on my list. *ducks*

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 12:51:22


Reasonable enough. Now go to bmw.com and see Guy Ritchie's short film. Sure, it's Ritchie. Sure, it's a commercial. But it's funny as hell. Also worth watching is the great Ang Lee short.

How, oh how, could I forget one of the best movies I saw this year? I completely forget to mention YOU CAN COUNT ON ME! Wonderful casting, great writing and direction, and Matthew Broderick being a complete dick. It's all there for'ya.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 12:47:29

Chris, I took my list from the box office returns archive at IMDB. Yes these films may have been made in 2000, but they were still in the theatres in 2001. How's that for splittin' hairs?


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 12:37:34


Sure, I understand. My disinterest in seeing Snatch stems from the fact that it appears to copy the style of Lock, Stock... (based on both previews, reviews and conversations with friends) in addition to the fact that Guy Ritchie is doing it. Doesn't mean I'm saying Snatch is a bad movie. I haven't seen it. I don't know if it's good or bad. But just as I won't be lining up to buy John Grisham's next book, I won't be planning to see the next Guy Ritchie film - especially when it seems to be so similar to his last one.

Also, just for the record, just because I'm the type who likes to keep the record clear, a lot of the movies folks are mentioning as best or worst of 2001 are from 2000. Almost Famous, Finding Forrester, Crouching Tiger, Snatch, O Brother Where Art Thou, Erin Brockovich and others.

Just bein' anal. :)

As for my picks and pans, for some reason, I also haven't seen a lot of new films this year. I don't know why. Maybe I was so crushed by Planet of the Apes - I was really looking forward to it since I like Tim Burton and then had to suffer through that dreck!

I liked Memento but I think it substitutes gimmickry for plot and character development. It's a neat idea but just a so-so story.

Mulholland Drive never played around here. I will be seeing The Man Who Wasn't There in a few days. Otherwise, wow, I can't think of a single 2001 release I really thought was great but I assume that's because of my limited viewing. I can't wait to see The Man Who Wasn't There. And I'm looking forward to Ocean's 11, Gangs (not Sidewalks) of New York, Lord of the Rings and The Royal Tennenbaums.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 12:24:53

Short stories successfully made into movies:

"The Body" by Stephen King into STAND BY ME (OK, it was a novella)
"We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Philip K. Dick into TOTAL RECALL

Favorite movies last year:
Sexy Beast
Crouching Tiger
The Pledge (I was so twisted up after seeing that one)

I haven't yet seen Mulholland Drive, From Hell, Ghost World, or the Coen Bros film, but I will eventually.

Least favorite:
Phantom Menace (why oh why?)
Moulin Rouge (pretty trash w/excessive use of Elton John)
Evolution (sucked soooo bad)

I avoid any full-priced movie that even has the slightest whiff of being poor, but there's a $1.99 theatre so I took a few risks.

Interesting failures (enjoyed despite serious flaws)
The Others
The Princess and the Warrior
Sleepy Hollow

What was the last really good, scary movie you saw? The Others was visually lush but did not scare me in the least. Ditto for Sleepy Hollow.

...nothing could ever be scarier than ALIEN

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 10:59:53

I usually listen to music as I go to bed--I have tinnitus, so the sound helps me to sleep. Last night I put on a CD by the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, the great Texas psychedelic garage band from the 60's (and the only group I know of that had an electric jug for an instrument). Well, after I fell asleep, the damned cd player decided to go on the blink, and ended up skipping ALL NIGHT like some Burroughs cut-up machine. I woke up eight hours later to *SKITCH* "YOU'RE GONNA MISS ME BABY--"*THUP* *THUP* "FIIIIRE ENGINE--" *SKITCH* *SKITCH* *THUP* *THUP* "WHOOAAAAA--" *SKITCHSKITCHSKITCHSKITCH...*

I don't even want to mention the nightmares I had. Let's just say, I don't feel dewy-fresh right now, ok?

I'd love to jump in with my own Best/Worst Movie list for 2001, but the sad truth is that I haven't seen many films this year. MEMENTO, THE OTHERS, and ALMOST FAMOUS were at the top of my cinematic experiences, but they had little competition. (Of course, that only applies to new releases. I've been buying/renting classic movies on Dvd like there's no tomorrow--and there really ISN'T a tomorrow, if you think about it...)

Oh, and just to be a TOTAL contrarian: I actually sorta liked HANNIBAL, and thought it did an admirable job of picking out the best parts of that seriously flawed novel. Have at me! Break my heart! Make me doubt my own aesthetic sense! (you punks...)

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 10:53:39


Well, here in Chicago it's currently a very Decemberish 66 degrees and sunny. It's vaguely creepy.

As for "Emperor," I go by the Ebert comment that it appeared to be made in a forgotten corner of the Disney lot where the animators just wanted to wear silly hats and joke around. Wonderful movie, and pointed out all the more that "Prince of Egypt" should have had the strength of it's convictions and gone with no songs. It didn't need any!


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 10:43:47

Joseph~ ::LOL:: What part of "The Devil Went Down To Georgia Cause Chicago Was TOO FREAKIN' COLD" did you not get? It's all of 56 degrees outside and I'm miserable cold today. Other than that well, it seems I'm already betrothed. (He liked both of those films too, if that counts for anything.)

EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE surprised the hell out of me with how good it was. And no singing! I love children's movies that don't talk down to children. I didn't like it then, and I don't particularly appreciate it anymore now. David Spade and John Goodman were at the top of their game in this flick. And Earth Kitt *made* the villainess. I have no idea how the animators got this one past the Disney studio execs, but I imagine it involved copious amounts of liquor and really expensive call girls.

Films I'm anxious to see: The Brotherhood of the Wolf. Anyone heard anything good about this film?


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 10:19:6

Lynn, marry me. We can sit around and watch Ghost Dog and the Emperor's New Groove all day.

Anyhoo, another wonderful thing about Ghost Dog (besides the low-rent mobsters - notice how everything they had was for sale?) was the soundtrack. I'm not usually one that's down with the rap, but this music grabbed me and was a real boost to the movie. RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan did a faboo job there.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 10:3:13

Joseph~ I actually saw GHOST DOG (when did all caps become the hungarian notation for movie titles?) in the theatre. Wow what a film. Forrest Whitaker as a selfmade samurai, a bunch of mafiosa that are even more pathetic than some of the guys on the Sopranos, a French Haitian guy who sells ice cream, and a kid. The scenes that stick in my head is where this massive guy moves through the crowds of people as if he were utterly invisible to them. Very subtle, very well done, I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it. I've always wondered how Blockbuster would file this one. Mystery? Action? Drama?


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 9:51:32

Well, films I've enjoyed this past year:

MEMENTO, EMPEROR'S NEW GROOVE ("Why do we even have that lever?"), CHRISTMAS STORY, JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK, MOULIN ROGUE, ERIN BROKOVICH (Despite my non-admiration for Roberts, she was decent here and Albert Finney rocked), THE MAGIC TRICK (a fabulous & touching short I caught at a Chicago Community Cinema night), MY GIRL FRIDAY, ARSENIC AND OLD LACE, SHREK (which deserves some kind of award just for the Gingerbread Man scene), HARRY POTTER, SEX LIES & VIDEOTAPE, IN THE COMPANY OF MEN (well, maybe not enjoyed - how about appreciated), A KINGHT'S TALE, GATTACA, GHOST DOG and some others I can't remember.

Movies I want my money back from: GIRL INTERRUPTED, BATMAN AND ROBIN (I'm keeping this one in trust), PLANET OF THE APES, UNIVERSAL SOLDIER (okay, I saw this at 11:30 on a Saturday night on WGN, so it's all my fault - the kind of train wreck you can't look away from. Did have Jerry Orbach, and the lead actress in the movie was much better than the material).

Yeah, there's some older stuff on my list. So what?


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 9:36:29

David, I don't think anyone here is stating their movie 'bests' and 'worsts' as anything more than their opinion on movies that they saw. There is no need to advise them to consider a preamble (such as the ones in my lists) which states that these are just opinions and they are based only on movies that were viewed by the writer of the note.

Lists on this board are obviously 'favorites of what I know' and no more; unless it is a list of fact such as 'here are the top ten words in the 1998 edition of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary under the letter Q'.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 9:34:19

Todd~ Re: Snatch, Ah well. To each his own.

Lynn's Personal Best Films of 2001 (In no particular order):
Oh Brother Where Art Thou (And not just for the music.)
Traffic (Again, not your normal movie fare. I especially liked all of the personal appearances.)
A Knight's Tale (If you've ever jousted or fought tourney - or squired in anyway - you know they were true to the feel of the lists. Hairstyles not withstanding.)
Emperor's New Groove (Not your typical Disney fare.)
Finding Forrester (No need to explain this one.)
Crouching Yadda Yadda Yadda (Hong Action with Fantasy. Gimme.)
Memento (Original stuff. Plot holes not withstanding.)
Shrek (One long Disney slam fest.)
AI (And the game leading up to it played a large part in my liking this film. A new era of interactive entertainment.)
Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (Just for all the in jokes. I confess, I laughed my ass off at this one.)
Iron Monkey (Hong Kong Action, done to perfection.)
(spot reserved for LOTR - ::fingers crossed::)

Lynn's Personal Worst Films of 2001 (Again in no particular order):
Moulin Rouge (And not just because of Kidman, this film left me flat.)
Hannibal (On the list of all time unnecessary remakes)
Castaway (Ugh.)
The Mummy Returns (Why make this film? One word: Merchandise.)
The Musketeer (Hong Kong needs to learn how fencing physics work.)
Atlantis (One long Jules Verne ripoff)
The Score (Too much acting talent, not enough writing talent.)
Planet of the Apes (Tim, I'm so disappointed...)
From Hell (Johnny, I'm so disappointed...)

My two cents worth. I saw all of these films except Emperor's New Groove in the theatre, which makes me realize, I spent a *lot* of money on crrrap. ::sigh::


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 9:30:33


Actually, I base a film on whether I'd be interested in it. While I might be more predisposed to see a Coen brothers movie than a Guy Ritchie job, I know that film is such a collaborative process that I have to base my personal feelings about a film on a whole raft of factors: who wrote it, who's acting in it, is the subject matter something I give a rat's ass about, does it look like it was made by the kindergarteners on "Recess?" Director credit does come into play, of course, but to base my movie-wathcing solely on that (not that you're doing that) is incomplete to me. It all ties into the whole "the director is responsible for everything" auteur theory that's taken hold these past few decades. The "A Film By" blarney is another symptom.

Sorry, I'm rambling. I hope you see my point, and here's a hand in friendship, so that we're not sniping at each other.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 9:8:28


Well, obviously that's true but how else to judge a director's works than based on... his works.

It's always possible the next Roland Emmerich film is going to be a gem but if I know a new film is directed by him, I have no interest in seeing it. Independence Day Two might be a matsterpiece but I wouldn't have any plans to see it.

You don't actually pretend that movies exist in a vacuum, do you? I mean, if you like the Coen Bros. and don't like Tom Green based on what you know of their works, would you be equally as eager to see Freddy got Fingered as you would The Man Who Wasn't There?

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 9:0:24

Again with the superlatives! I feel utterly unqualified to hold forth on which might be the "Best" and "Worst" movies of the year, because I simply haven't seen all the good movies, and I assiduously avoid most of the bad ones, so the most I can list are the ones I liked the best (and would advise the rest of you to consider doing the same, instead of adopting some sort of mock authority on the subject).

"Swordfish" was indeed a loser, though the first 10 minutes or so were pretty promising. "Moulin Rouge" was a fascinating failure.

I don't understand all the annoyance over "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels," because I thoroughly enjoyed both. Not very deep, sort of ultra-violent farces ... "Sexy Beast" traveled something of the same vein, but with much greater characterization.

In the same way, the Harry Potter movie was satisfying, if not deeply so. Very much like the books, for me.

"Memento" was probably one of the best of the year; "Mulholland Dr.," "The Man Who Wasn't There," "The Princess and the Warrior," "The Road Home," "Waking Life," and "Ghost World" were definite must-sees, although I can't say they were definitely the Best; "The Closet," "The Dish," "Almost Famous," "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," and "Under the Sand" were all worthwhile, and while clearly not the Best, helped make the year memorable.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 8:27:28

Lynn, no, I did not see IRON MONKEY, so I have no opinion on that one. As for SNATCH, my opinion has nothing to do with not understanding the language. I understood it all. I even understood every single word that Brad Pitt spoke, and I was far from impressed with that 'clever' mumbling routine. I just loathed this movie....it was forced and just plain boring. The little lady (or beauteous wife, if she's listening to me type) liked it.....but I refuse to buy her the DVD. On this one I'm standing strong....if she wants to bring that crap into our home, she will have to use her own hard earned money. Ick. If she does, I don't plan on filing it with my other 200 DVD's....I'll put it in a special pile so the smell does not rub off on our collection.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 8:26:6


But by not saying why you had no plans to see "Snatch," you implied that it was because it was by the same director as "Lock," as you condemn the movie in the next breath. A quite reasonable supposition, based on what you wrote.


Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 8:5:1

Jim: I'm sure The State bought it because the town needed to make way for a coffee house or a funky-ass clothes store. Am I right? In Harrisburg, there were two attempts to bring back that kind of fun. There's a $5 million renovation going on to an old movie house that sits empty because no one can afford to pay the light bill during the renovations. The plan was to show classics, arthouse fare, along with vintage movietone clips, cartoons, shorts, etc...an evening affair. Now its in the hands of the idle rich and the bureaucrats. What was once a project to revive a dying art became an issue of "$500 a year per person membership" and exclusive receptions. We still have a drive-in somewhere in the rurals and three restored deco theaters within 40 minutes of Harrisburg. They only play third-run movies, though.

Short Stories as Feature Films: I think it depends on how it's handled. I've heard from two schools of thought on this - one that insists that film is obligated to be an extension of the source work and, therefore loyal to the story first, and another that says the source material is just the springboard for the visual medium and the film must have its own identity.
Is the Director accountable to the Author's vision any more than the Screenwriter's? Is the Director accountable for maintaining the vision of the Screenwriter in the first place?

Are we making a film, or filming a story?

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 7:55:33


With all due respect, my friend, you may need a little help in the reading comprehension department.

My comments were about Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, not Snatch. The only thing I said about Snatch is that I haven't seen it and don't plan to.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, December 5 2001 7:45:39

Oh, it's not that I don't think that short stories should be made into movies. Films like _The Dead_, _An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge_ and even _2001: A Space Odyssey_ were all derived from good short stories. My point was that the essence of "A Sound of Thunder" really is best suited for a shorter presentation-- say, a half-hour episode of _The Twilight Zone_.

- Wednesday, December 5 2001 6:0:45

Regarding Bradbury's "Sound of Thunder": I don't agree with Mitch that all short stories shouldn't be made into feature films (THE KILLERS---the Burt Lancaster one; not the later one with Ronald Reagan), but I will say this: Peter Hyams?? Of all people? Peter Hyams? Jesus Christ, keep that man away from science fiction.

And, much as it pains me, I'm going with Todd and Frank on some of the films on their "worst" list. Specifically, SNATCH and HARRY POTTER. I liked LOCK, STOCK, etc., though I didn't think it was any great shakes and it didn't exactly send me, but SNATCH was the same ol', same ol', and though there were a couple of sequences that were great (Farina's scenes when he was always flying and Pitt getting his clock cleaned and he falls into water--now that's a fuckin' metaphor) as a whole the movie was way more complicated than it needed to be.

HARRY POTTER just stunk. And--this is going to cause some ire, I believe--I would have to blame the source material. I have no idea why these books are causing the sensation that they are and am marking this one down to mass hysteria.

By the way, Jim Davis, you won't have to put any money down to help those Nigerians distribute their money (wonder if they use Tide while money laundering). All you have to do is give them your bank account. They'll take care of the rest.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, December 5 2001 5:34:34

DTS: While the word "scrotum" is not an obscenity, it is also not a word you would just bring up in casual conversation, is it? OK, maybe *you* would, but for me, imagining I see the word "SCROTUM" in 3 foot high letters on a huge highway sign seems a bit obscene. I makes me laugh my ass off every time I drive by it. I enjoy obscenity of all kinds.

Whatever that means about me, feel free to form your own judgement,

can't believe i'm justifying this...

Mitch <mitch_3737@yahoo.com>
Hazlet, NJ - Wednesday, December 5 2001 3:31:57

I'm with Brian on this one. Short stories shouldn't be made into feature-length films. No matter how good the source material is, or whether the author approves. For those who disagree, I have two words:
'Johnny Mnemonic'


Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, December 5 2001 2:46:22

CHRIS: I, too, am vastly uncomfortable in social situations. Meeting new people? Cool. More than three at a time? Uh-oh.

But I cover REALLY well. Used to be, I was either charming as hell or a gregarious asshole. I like to think I've gotten better at being less of an asshole. No matter how well I cover on these occasions, though, I still fear them.

BRIAN: You DON'T?!? The what the hell fun are you?

Jim Davis
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 23:59:48

Bermanator: Marianne Faithfull IS God. You want some feminist song lyrics to teach? Hunt down a copy of her CD BROKEN ENGLISH, and listen to "Why'd Ya Do It?", the best song about sexual jealousy ever written, bar none. (On second thought, it's unbelievably dirty, so maybe Joni Mitchell might be a better candidate for that class...)

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 23:30:13

Jay: Thanks for the info on the Capitol Theater. I STILL can't believe it wasn't paved over, or something--that, unfortunately, was the fate of Delaware's OTHER great movie house, the State in Newark. Wonderful theater, the State was--the only place you could see foreign and art films without trekking into Philly. It was also the local home for THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, that universal safehouse for the freaks and outcasts of the world. The city tore it down the year after I graduated high school, and I STILL haven't forgiven the bastards. My best friend scored a brick from the ruins, and we're planning to toss it through the appropriate window at the first opportunity.

I actually kind of liked LOCK, STOCK, ETC. It was derivative, true, and the plot disintegrated under close scrutiny, but it had plenty of verve. I haven't seen SNATCH, so no comment there. Ms. Ciccione could do worse, in my opinion (I think she already HAS).

Lynn: Thanks for the heads up on the worm. I just checked my hotmail account, and nothing except a "Spanish Prisoner" scheme: "Hello, I am the director of operations of a reputable commercial bank in Nigeria. A Monsieur Jacques Claude opened a safe deposit account and made a deposit of US $21 million. Monsieur Claude was killed in a shoot out with rebels, and nobody has come forward as the next of kin to claim the money. I want you to stand in as the next of kin so we can claim the money--I will do the necessary documentation here in my bank as the chief Executive. I am prepared to give you 30% of the total sum at the end of the transaction. Contact me by email for more details."

Riiiight. Do you wanna bet that I'd have to make a security deposit of some kind to transfer the funds over here? Jesus H, do people really fall for this crap? (Let me guess...)

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 23:29:33

To Todd Cassell: Hey, I liked A.I., _especially_ the last twenty minutes! So THERE.

A feature film of "The Sound of Thunder?" As much as I love Bradbury, I can't see how that one'd make for a whole feature. It's a great story, with one of the great "stings" of literature, and it would've made a fine segment on the _Twilight Zone_. And _The Simpsons_ managed to turn it inside-out about four or five times in about ten minutes. (That line "This is gonna cost me" kills me every time I see it.) But stretching it to ninety minutes to reach the same sting? I just can't see it.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Tuesday, December 4 2001 22:57:52


So, you're condemming a movie ("Snatch") you haven't seen? By your criteria, I should avoid "Christmas Story"because it's directed by the same man who directed "Porky's." Let's try to be a little more realistic, okay?


Kerry Bullock <kerryb@ozemail.com.au>
Broken Hill, NSW Australia - Tuesday, December 4 2001 22:43:33

Hi all. Found this over at SCI-FI.com. Hope noone minds me just cutting and pasting it here, but its both amusing and apalling and I think you will all like it.

From SCI-FI.com

Venerable SF author Ray Bradbury told SCI FI Wire that the feature-film version of his time-travel story "A Sound of Thunder" should begin production in Mexico's Yucatan in the spring. Pierce Brosnan is still starring--but director Renny Harlin has been fired because he wanted to alter a key element, Bradbury said in an interview.

"He's been on the project for more than a year, and he's a fine director," Bradbury said. "But then, about four weeks ago, quite suddenly, [he said,] 'Why don't we take the butterfly out of Sound of Thunder?' Can you believe that? When I heard it, I whooped with laughter. I said, 'Oh my God, ... if you wanted to be accurate about being stupid, this was it.' So they fired him, and we've got a new director now. I don't remember his name. They told me, but I didn't write it down." The Hollywood Reporter said that Peter Hyams (End of Days) was in talks for the job.

In the story, a time traveler journeys back to the past to observe dinosaurs, but inadvertently steps off a designated path onto a butterfly. When the traveler returns to the present, everything has changed. Of Harlin's comment, Bradbury said, "I think that's hilarious, don't you? It's the center of the story. It's been published in 80 anthologies. It's in every school in the country. And if you took out the butterfly, you wouldn't have a film. So, in the middle of all this, the Crusader [Entertainment] producers sent me a huge bouquet of inflated butterflies, six feet tall, beautiful butterflies. And I'm having a recording made by Frank Sinatra of the song Poor Butterfly right now."

DTS <none>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 19:55:44

HEATHER & P.A. BERMAN: I, too, see words that aren't there when reading (makes for an interesting experience...and a thorough read, since I have to go back over paragraphs). And ever since I got rabbit punched in the left ear by a lady friend's drunk and jealous boyfriend over twenty years ago (losing about 30-40 percent hearing), I also hear words that weren't said. Which causes me to laugh out loud or do double takes quite often (I don't mind anymore, because it makes conversations so much more interesting).

By the way, Berman -- you don't REALLY consider the word scrotum an "obscenity," do you? If so, THAT says yards more about you than anything else.
-- DTS

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, December 4 2001 19:19:42

I didn't see Snatch and have no plans to.

I thought Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels was infantile and asinine. Or, as I put it to my friend, right after viewing it: "Uniquely stupid."

So I guess I'll admit it was unique.

But what a piece o'crap.

Jon <jon_alper[atsigngoeshere]mac.com>
Boston, MA USA - Tuesday, December 4 2001 18:11:34

>SNATCH - I never fell for that Guy Ritchie crap. The first one > was an english mess, and this one was moreso.

I found it absolutely hilarious. Laughed out loud repeatedly.
While my enjoyment of this film obiviously indicates a bias, I think, no matter how you may *feel* about the film, you have to admit that, unlike the others you put on the "worst" list, this was, at least an interesting and atypical film.


- Tuesday, December 4 2001 17:57:37

Todd~ Pt.2: And you liked Training Day. Which I thought was the most boring, predictable, awkward performance with odd (nauseau inducing) camera angles and a way too much "head space" that did nothing to advance the plotline. Would have ranked it in the Worst Films of the Year except that Denzel can act even if no one else in the frame can (memories of Richochet).

Interesting. Did you see Iron Monkey? Just curious to know what your take on that was.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 17:52:27

Todd~ re: Snatch, Okay - you and I saw a different movie. I absolutely laughed my ass off at this comedy of errors. I liked it so much I went out and threatened my local Blockbuster geek with bodily harm until he coughed up his stashed copy of "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels." Snatch was quick, it was funny, it made you have to think to keep track of the blending plotlines. The timing with the simultaneous car accidents was a sublime piece of filmwork. In fact, it would probably be on my list of the Best of 2001. Something I'd want to own (and that doesn't usually happen unless Mr.Gilliam makes a costume piece). Please, if you have to, put on the subtitles to understand the dialogue (something most Americans are too proud to do - but hey - if it helps you understand what's going on then who does it hurt), but give it try again.

My two cents,

"Do you know what 'nemesis' means? A righteous infliction of retribution manifested by an appropriate agent. Personified in this instance by an 'orrible cunt... me!" Alan Ford as Brick Top Polford, Snatch

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Tuesday, December 4 2001 15:51:1

Worst movies of the year that I've seen and absolutely totally my opinion and not to be confused at attempts to state them as facts:

PEARL HARBOR - The best thing about this shit was the fantastic coming attraction that played with Hans Zimmer's THE THIN RED LINE score. Everything else about this shit was shit.

SNATCH - I never fell for that Guy Ritchie crap. The first one was an english mess, and this one was moreso.

EVOLUTION - Bad bad bad bad summer movie without a joke to offer those blinding themselves with their coke straws.

MOULIN ROUGE - Self indulgent crap trying to get by with one or two good songs and a lot of color and movement.

Best movies of the year so far that I saw and I thought were best and don't care what anyone else thinks because not many agree with me much anyway:

THE PLEDGE - Nicholson is superb in this terrific flick directed by Sean Penn.

MEMENTO - Truly fun...and beyond the backward story schtick is a nice, thoughtful them on memories and how we let them rule our lives.

A.I. - I liked it I liked it even the final 20 minutes so fuck you all I liked it! Nya ha ha ha ha!!!!!

THE OTHERS - Not many movies can scare the piss out of me these days. This one got a couple of trickles.

TRAINING DAY - A Denzel Tour De Force. Yowza!

MULHOLLAND DRIVE - Lynch at his best. Luv it!

THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE - The Coens never disappoint me. Never. Much more to this than simple black and white noir.


Frank Church
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 15:21:15

Ok, worst films of the year, so far:

1. Swordfish-A dead fish instead of an Oscar for Mr. Travolta, for being attracted to such tripe this year.

2. Domestic Disturbance-Ditto...Can we once and for all expel Vince Vaughn into another realm of reality. The boy just cannot act. Travolta's wooden dialogue was just plain silly, and the movie is so utterly boring. Steve Bushemi bit it near the beginning, because he was smart.

3. Harry Potter-Special effects taking place of a heartfelt story. Money grubbing instead of art. Some books just should not be movies.

4. The Last Castle-flag waving swill from Robert Redford. Are we sure he is a liberal? lol.

5. American Pie2-More teenage dick jokes. Lotsa fake breasts. A real bore.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Tuesday, December 4 2001 15:12:54

Jes, YES! Thanks for the info. Anita, how did I not know that? She looks pretty different from the last time I'd seen a picture of her, but she suits the role of The Devil opposite Marianne perfectly.


P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Tuesday, December 4 2001 14:59:42

Heather: I know exactly what you mean about "blue teeth." In my case, though, it's usually obscenities I see instead of the real word. This often makes me laugh out loud and people think I'm crazy. An example: there's a town in PA on the way to Bingo called "Scotrun." I always see it as "Scrotum." And a local mailbox that says "Ballard" I always think is "Bastard." What this says about me, I'd rather not speculate.

David/Chris/Brian: I hear you about not making friends easily. Could it be an age thing? I used to make & have tons of friends in my twenties, male, female, gay, straight, all shapes, sizes, colors. It was fun but tiring. I haven't made a new friend in 3+ years and I don't much care to. No one can live up to the friends I've had for 10+ years.

I also really don't think this is a gender issue. I share deep thoughts with male friends as well as female. I know my several female friends who feel lonely and alienated, and men friends who make new pals all the time. I think it's an issue more of temperment, situation in life, and possibly age.

As for depth of relationships, I observe my students' friendships and I don't think the girl friends are any closer to each other than the guy friends are. The girls complain of back-stabbing and shallowness (apparently this is a big issue among girls) while the boys largely seem at ease with their close buddies. Also, lots of cross-gender friendships.

I just never like to make sweeping generalizations about how the genders work. I mean, we are talking about several billion people, you know?


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, December 4 2001 13:39:10


I think I'm a lot like you. I am painfully awkward in social situations. It's easy for me to be alone in a room full of people. I never know what to say. Small talk is beyond me.

I do not make acquaintances easily - or at all.

But I do have several very close friends. They're almost the only people I know in the world but we're very close. That's why I said I didn't identify with the article which implied that it's these close relationships men have trouble with.

For me, it's the casual or superficial relationships. I don't know how to initiate those at all. I just smile and act polite.

Every year, a group of five male friends (including me)gets together for our annual fantasy baseball draft. We've done this since college. It's a weekend everyone looks forward to. We talk about it iwth rgeat anticipation for months ahead of time. And during the weekend, we are very expressive and unafraid to show our feelings. Of course, a lot of that manifests itself in the typical male bonding ("Fuck you, you fat piece of shit, you don't even know who the fuck Alfonso Soriano is, why the fuck are you bidding $10 on him.)

Also, counter to the argument in the article, I have never had any urge to rush into the next romantic relationship after a breakup. In fact, I find the very thought repellent. I wouldn't have been in the relationship if I wasn't deeply in love with the woman. How can I just walk away from that and jump right into another relationship? I never understood people who could jump around so easily from relationship to relationship. I'm not talking casual sex - that's understandable. But people who go from dating someone seriously to the breakup to the next serious relationship in the course of a month or two. It's beyond my capacity to understand.

Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Tuesday, December 4 2001 11:59:17

Judd Omen - He was in Dune and played Jamis who Paul kills in a duel. His role was cut from the film and he only appears for five seconds during the ambush scene. The rest of the footage appears in the bastardised MCA TV cut.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 11:45:31

Oh, something else in Chris's note prompts another comment from, well, me. Chris said that he (she? I forget your gender, Chris-- sorry) didn't identify very much with the comments about men in the article because Chris has never had much difficulty in establishing friendships.

This reminded me of a point of contention with a girlfriend of mine a long time ago. She was, frankly, one of the most amazing people one could hope to know-- intelligent, pretty, funny, involved in social causes... sort of an anarchist, non-sports version of _There's Something About Mary_. I couldn't believe my good fortune in being her Significant Other.

There was this one little fly in the ointment. (No, it wasn't the reason we broke up-- her attentions drifted elsewhere, and I'm not a clinging or controlling type, so I said I understood so she could move on and enjoy her life.) She was one of those people that others immediately liked, had lots of friends, had no anxieties about social situations, lots of confidence... and after a while, I started to realize that she _could not understand_ why I had such a hard time in social situations.

Now, at the time, I was telling myself that it was my responsibility to soldier on, and try to cultivate a bit of confidence for myself. But it _was_ tough, and it would've been nice if she'd acknowledged the effort. Instead, at times, it was as though I was a poor kid dating a rich girl, who couldn't understand why I couldn't summer in Europe or winter in Aspen.

So, bringing this all back to Chris, may I suggest that maybe you're one of those unique and blessed people with a real knack for making friends?

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 11:23:55

I liked David's piece a lot, because I'm pretty much the opposite of Chris L in the friendship respect. I have trouble making friendships. Truth be told, I get the impression that I'm just not one of those people that others greatly desire to have around. (Note to Alex Berman: Relax, I don't crap on the carpets.) But, unlike the men David mentioned in his article, I don't rush out and find a quick substitute. Fact is, I'm getting a little _too_ used to being alone a lot of the time.

This is one of those topics which, if I dwelled on it for very long, it'd drive me into a pretty dark area. (I'm used to _that_, too; I've even managed to do some decorating down there.)

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, December 4 2001 10:56:41

That was an interesting article, David, mostly because I can't say I identify with any of it. I know a lot about loneliness having seen a whole lot of people die in the past decade. But I have never had trouble making close friends and expressing my feelings to them. I have trouble making casual acquaintances - in fact, I hardly have any except on-line. But I have several best friends with whom I can and do share anything I want. Unfortunately for me, all but one of them lives a long way from me now but we make do.

I wonder if the key was my parents. Your article mentioned that a lot of men don't consider their parents friends. I don't know if that is true or not but, in my case, my mother was my best friend in the world. I had to work to break down some barriers with my dad but he grew to be my closest friend after my mother died. Is the relationship with the parents one of the main differentiating factors in future relationship with friends? Seems plausible.

Anyway, thanks for the link. I suppose it's further confirmation for me of just how out of touch with the norm I often tend to be. :)

Jay <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 10:28:25

Joseph: No doubt he gave a good performance, but like everything else in the movie, the character was cardboard. He was the family man who just happened to be a communist invader. The mattress tag thief was a more dynamic character. :) "Red Dawn" was a dull movie with a surprising number of promising actors who had nothing to do but hide, pout and shoot guns.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, December 4 2001 9:55:54


Thanks for the help! Wasn't Micky the mattress-tag-cutting fugitive in "Pee-Wee?"

As for "Red Dawn," I actually thought that Judd Omen was the least stereotyped person in the movie. He was interestingly conflicted about his duty, and I really think is a well-written character that Judd Omen did some nice work with.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 9:50:3

Marianne Faithfull as God, and Anita Pallenberg as the Devil? And I thought _I_ was good at lunatic casting.

I was just reminded of a nifty bit of parody casting from Saturday Night Live. On a Weekend Update segment, they had commentary from "Mick Jagger and Keith Richards." Mike Myers played Jagger, but the gag-- the only gag, actually-- was that _Mick Jagger_ played Keith Richards. Did a decent job, too.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 9:44:49

Virus Alert, guys. I hate to do this but I know *I* appreciate the heads up when these things hit. If you receive an email with the attachment GONE.SCR, delete it without opening it. It's a worm and it's nasty. Read more here:


- Tuesday, December 4 2001 9:42:52

>The Latin American Communist Stereotype<

How I miss them! Remember when they were all we had to "worry" about? Ah, bygone days....

Jay <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 9:26:35

The Latin American Communist Stereotype was...er, I believe it was... Judd Omen billed as "The Nicaraguan Captain" Same guy who was in Pee Wee's Big Adventure as Micky and (according to IMDB) he was in David Lynch's "Dune"

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, December 4 2001 8:53:22


Funny you should ask about men and friendship. I wrote a piece on the subject that was published some years ago in The Oregonian. Here's the text:


That's hardly all I have to say on the subject, and it certainly says very little about how or why friendship among women (or even between men and women) might differ -- for a start on that, read the work of Nancy Chodorow and Carol Gilligan -- but it'll get ya started.

Deep Shag Records
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 8:38:42

Greetings. Our thanks to all who participated in the artwork contest and congratulations to the winner, Grant Fuhst. On The Road With Ellison is now available and can be ordered at www.deepshag.com.

Best To You All,

Deep Shag Records

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, December 4 2001 8:27:35


A bit of trivia help, if I may. I noticed that the FIlm of the Day over at the IMDB is "Red Dawn." Now, while this is by no means a great film, I've always been struck by the performance of the actor playing the Cuban commander of the invasion force. Sadly, the IMDB cast listing was not much help, as I can't remember the character's name. Anyone remember who played him?


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 8:18:48

I guess I did watch a lot of Twilight Zone, too. That was the first show I remember realizing, hey -- there was a time before these guys were famous? Recognizing noted actors in bit parts. And Hitchcock. I do remember spending Sunday afternoons at my grandparents watching Hitchcock Presents.

And Buck Rogers, yes. And Battlestar Galactica. Gimme a break, I was nine years old. Having not seen an episode in 20+ years, I can't imagine it would be any worse than say, Special Unit 2 or PsiFactor: Chronicles of the Paranormal.


Jes Bickham
Bath, UK - Tuesday, December 4 2001 7:45:41

Hey Bermanator
The devil was played by none other than Anita Pallenberg.

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 4 2001 6:47:33

Oh had I grown up with Twilight Zone instead of crap TV...

Favorite Villains: Mark Lenard as the severed head ex-lover of Wilma Deering; the potato-headed space vampire that sucked "life" with his fingers (some of the best woman-in-heat acting ever in that episode from Erin Gray as the slave of the vampire); GARY COLEMAN as President of the Universe (or whatever the hell he was); COUNT EBLIS from Battlestar Exlaxia...most were no brainer characters from a Sid and Marty Kroft show.

Favorite Supporting Character: Wolfman Jack from Exlaxia 1980.
Runner Up: Wilfred Hyde-White as Doctor Crotchity in that last season of when Buck Rogers became "Star Trek" and Wilma stopped wearing spandex catsuits.

But then, I look back fondly on Superfriends, so what the hell do I know?

All I can say is "Beedeebdeedeebeedee, Fuck you, Buck."

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Tuesday, December 4 2001 5:16:36

Hey, is anyone on here watching the new episodes of Absolutely Fabulous? If so, in last night's episode, who played the Devil? I know God was Marianne Faithfull in a recurring role. I recognized the Devil but couldn't quite place her.


Mitch <mitch_3737@yahoo.com>
Hazlet, NJ - Monday, December 3 2001 21:4:34

*slaps Heather*
Only 'cause I love ya...


Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
- Monday, December 3 2001 20:53:28

You're not alone in your minor hallucinations on the page. I mis-read stuff like that all the time. I could SWEAR I saw a different word from what was actually on the page. It's more common than you think. Human perception is nowhere near as reliable as we like to think.

Of course, I stopped smoking pot twenty years ago for two reasons. One was my bad lungs. The other was the realization that my mind was born altered, and I didn't need to ingest any chemicals to achieve that state.

Grain of salt. :^)


Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Lakewood, CO - Monday, December 3 2001 20:46:13

Glenn Larson. Yeah, I would say you're right, there. Both Cattlecar Galaxative and Duck Dodgers were pretty short of any creative...anything. I gave up on Galactica when I saw the episode that was a direct rip-off of SHANE. Not an adaptation. Not inspired by. Not even really a "sci-fi" version of. Apollo crash lands on a frontier planet, and is taken in by a family in a log cabin. Near a western town. The people ride horses. Of course, the horses had stripes painted on them and they growled, but they were horses. The western town had cowboys who wore fiberglass hats. The evil town boss owned a salloon where a synthesizer played Scott Joplin music. From THE STING. Yeesh.

The Jack Palance character, the local gunman, was a cylon with a dent in his head. Had amnesia, y'know. Apollo woudln't fight the bad guy (robot) but eventually he did, and he rode off in his viper as the kid yelled "Come back Apollo!".

I saw Richard Hatch at a convention once. He talked about how in one episode, he was tired of playing the straight-arrow Apollo. He wanted his character to be a rogue, at least once, like Starbuck. You know what the "writers" did? THEY SWAPPED THE NAMES!!! That's it! They gave Apollo's lines to Starbuck and vice versa.

What a crappy, crappy show. The second season of Duck Dodgers was even worse. It was fascinating, like watching the things that crawl under rocks. The production values were more like ROCKY JONES SPACE RANGER. The writing would make Bert I. Gordon blush. A friend of mine and I saw the now out-of-work actor who played the character Hawk. He waxed eloquent about his character and the relation to the birdman myth from Easter Island. During the question and answer session afterward, one of us -- I don't remember who -- asked him, "Excuse me, but isn't your character Tonto?" To his credit, he didn't try to kill us. We'd have whooped his ass anyway.

And, you know, I don't think Melies used split screen to show simultaneous action in a story. His films didn't tell a continuous story, rather they were done in a series of vignettes.

When filmmakers turned to episodic storytelling, Melies didn't adapt. His films became relics that stopped selling tickets. Poor Georges died broke. I think now it was Griffith that used split screen for storytelling purposes.


- Monday, December 3 2001 18:51:11

Oh, and one more thing. Wondering if this has ever happened to anyone.

I was reading a book last night. I saw the words "grandmother's blue teeth." It was clear as day, on the page. (The light was good, I was not tired, I'd simply been doing a lot of .. I dunno.. I DUNNO.. I'll come back to that. *laugh*)

I looked at the page a moment later; and the phrase I saw was "grandmother's false teeth." Now, at first, when I FIRST saw the word 'false' I thought, "oh, well, you probably read it at such an angle that the letters fused and you thought you saw a different word."

Well, I tell ya, I tried to recreate that action.. and could not do it. I swear to god, I SAW the word "blue" teeth.


Gonna go lie down now. Yes, I'm in the library--doesn't matter--I see a nice spot over there by some plants. I won't even be in anyone's way.

Heather, failing rapidly...

- Monday, December 3 2001 18:23:51

I'm probably asking for trouble here, but I'm gonna ask.

Harlan, I seem to 'get' your stories. I remember reading "Repent Harlequin"..the first time and thinking "hmmm..n'okay..." Course, it may have been my frame of mind then--I'd been digging in anthologies trying to find your stuff and maybe I'd just had enough readin' that day. (I reread it recently, and it seemed to stick into me a lot more deeply, so.. nuf said.)

But I read "Lonelyache" not too long ago (Thank you, HE/Grim) and I didn't 'seem' to get the ending. And I know how important this one was to you...


I'll try this again later (you need not reply, as always--this is fanboy material) but I reread the ending twice that day..and maybe I was missing the symbolism..or something.

I don't know.

Maybe I don't 'completely' understand being lonely.

I'm not sure here. (Yes, I know the above statement sounds like crap.)

I was the only sister in the family. I felt like out man out with two brothers, but, well, I dunno, I guess I learned to deal with it early on. Being "me" seemed more important to me than 'fitting in' with groups at school. My dad taught me well, I guess, about self-esteem or summat and I couldn't see taking two steps back (most of the time) after taking one step forward, when it came to doing things I enjoyed and looking for friends that liked me the way I was--dunno.

So.. and maybe it's that 'guy thing' again, I just don't seem to understand it when guys talk about being lonely or longing for "something".. when they've GOT a pack of guy friends. Like.. having a woman friend.. is, somehow.. different.. more important.. more completing.

I dunno. Somebody slap me.

- Monday, December 3 2001 18:4:41

Correction on Jay's page:

www.zebrapix.com/rant/ not 'rants.'

Excuse me, if this is a duplicate. I didn't SEEM to see it anywhere.

DTS <none>
- Monday, December 3 2001 17:44:18

ALL: I know lots of folks here enjoy the fiction of Dan Simmons. In addition to a new novel out in February (A WINTER HAUNTING, which is part of a loose grouping of novels featuring "Elm Haven" characters -- SUMMER OF NIGHT, CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT, FIRES OF EDEN, DARWIN'S BLADE, and something of a sequel to SUMMER...), Simmons will be publishing a collection of novellas entitled WORLDS ENOUGH AND TIME (Subterranean Press -- $40 trade) in late March and a second book featuring Joe Kurtz (the anti-hero of his crime fiction novel HARDCASE) is due out by Summer of 2002. The novellas included in WORLD ENOUGH... will be: "Looking For Kelly Dahl"; "Orphans of the Helix"; "The Ninth of Av"; "On K2 With Kanakaredes"; and "The End of Gravity" (the third and fifth novellas are first publications).

By the way, if you subscribe to "Pages" magazine right now (www.ireadpages.com) you can start getting your issues just in time for the March/April issue (out in mid February) which will feature an article about Harlan Ellison's battle against AOL,Rem- arQ, and a handful of unnamed internet pirates.
-- DTS

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Monday, December 3 2001 17:3:59

Joe: I've decided to play Tori Amos' "Mother" and tie it in with the myth of the rape of Persephone. The song is rife with allusion to the myth and would reinforce my earlier lesson on Jungian archetypes.

I agree with Maltin/your feelings about the Carrey version of the Grinch. I just got the Karloff version today. Did anyone ever see the one narrated by Walter Matthau? I've seen it on eBay but never viewed it.

Jim: So what you're telling Frank is that what he saw was just a fart?

flatulence jokes never go out of style

Jay Smith
- Monday, December 3 2001 15:52:29

Flashbulb Ghosts and Spectres:

Art Bell is a hilarious source of fever dreams and hallucinations. "These pictures PROVE the Loch Ness Monster was circumsized by the Archbishop of Nod in 1325 as my next guest states in his new book...'Nessie the Great: True Ruler of Brittania'

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Monday, December 3 2001 15:32:16


Yes, indeed, the Capital Theater is undergoing a sort of revival as a historic landmark. According to a friend of mine who still lives there, its back to its stage-show roots and regarded as "high brow" for the local elite. Of course, when you compare it to the rest of Delaware, that's not saying much.

I learned that twice a year, the locals board up and leave to make way for the great unwashed hordes that crowd the highways to the speedway. I made the mistake of driving up home to Pennsylvania to visit my son on one of those days...literally took me three hours to leave town. Oh the stories - four police departments and not one open container arrest, guys driving up 13 open cans toasting the cops sitting on the median...

But anyway, the place is apparently also used to host film festivals, so I suspect you might enjoy a trip there.

Here's a more detailed account: http://www.artsdel.org/econimp/capitol.htm

Jim Davis
- Monday, December 3 2001 15:11:56

Tangential thought on Ginger: Americans are overweight and indolent enough; is an invention that eliminates walking and bicycling really that beneficial to mankind in the long run?

Frank: Escaping gases from imperfectly sealed sewer lines create "strange vapors" like that all the time. You may have seen a ghost of a triple burrito deluxe from Toxic Hell, instead of a person...

Frank Church
- Monday, December 3 2001 14:21:42

Lynn, ewww, sounds scary. Closes eyes. Smile.

Joseph, ah, Radon eh? Good possibility. But ya never know. Boo.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, December 3 2001 14:16:22

Joseph~ You forgot any number of lens flares that can occur. Don't video lenses come with a protective film sometimes? I've actually considered experimenting with double flares off lens & mirrors to create such illusions.

Frank~ Recommend you don't do the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. The ghosts get IN the car with you. It's really cool!


Camaro Boy
- Monday, December 3 2001 14:2:58

Thanks, David.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, December 3 2001 14:2:40


Possible explanations for "unexplained mist?" Hmmmm....let's see:

Radon contaminated with water vapor to make it visible
Dry ice fumes from the sewer workers below unpacking their lunch
John Edwards' ego
Morlock fireplaces
Smoldering bags, garbage, etc getting ready to combust.

Frank Church
- Monday, December 3 2001 13:53:2

Saw a show about ghosts on the Travel Channel, and must say I was unglued by a video of a strange vapor that appeared in the basement of a supposed haunted house. That vapor could not have been anything but unexplainable. Don't think it was a ghost, but it sure was trippy.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, December 3 2001 13:40:53

Patty~ You're not nuts. What you saw was a rocket that had delivered its payload (satellites) re-entering the atmosphere. Read more below: (Courtesy www.spaceweather.com)


Weekend Fireballs: Pieces of a Proton rocket disintegrated in Earth's atmosphere this weekend, startling sky watchers in western Europe and at least seven US states.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, December 3 2001 13:33:17

It was a 1967. (See _An Edge In My Voice_, installment 16 or 29.)

Camaro Boy
Chicago, IL - Monday, December 3 2001 13:27:23

Anybody happen to remember the model year of Harlan's Camaro?

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, December 3 2001 12:52:41

Pointless meandering of the day, as I point out a succint and 100% correct review, Leanord Maltin on "How The Grinch Stole Christmas":

"Cheerless bastardization of the beloved childrens book by Dr. Seuss about a dastardly creature's attempt to rob Whoville of its yuletide holiday. Carrey is good, but the film is loud and cluttered, losing all the charm of the sweet, simple source material. Only good songs are two holdovers from the vastly superior 1966 animated TV special. Full title is DR. SEUSS HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS. Bah, humbug!"

Bah, Humbug indeed!

- Monday, December 3 2001 12:51:26

>What exactly is considered as Sky Trash???<

Rocket parts, old satellites, rusty space stations, and any Big Mac wrappers tossed out of shuttle windows.

Oh, and maybe any hillbillies who have settled up there in orbiting trailer parks....

Patty Nance <pab@par1.net>
Galesburg, KS USA - Monday, December 3 2001 12:36:50

I just posted a message and I accidently put in the wrong date instead of December 02, 2001 @ 10:15PM it should have been on December 01, 2001 at 10:15PM. Sorry about the mistake. All of the other information that I stated is correct. Thank you again, Patty Nance

Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Monday, December 3 2001 12:36:1

Ed -

My point about Leigh is that he used to inform people or create the impression that he was a 'working class' lad which goes against the facts. There are plenty of middle and upper class twits I've met who try to hide their true background in a bid to appear more 'artistically legitimate'.

In much the same way Guy Ritchie condescendely informed people how he admired and grew up with gangland figures and that he was a great a true working class 'cockney' folk who climbed out of the gutter. Maybe film makers should finally shut up and just release the damm thing.

- Glad to come from a middle class background

And I still hate the 5th Element

Patty Nance <pab@par1.net>
Galesburg, KS USA - Monday, December 3 2001 12:31:17

On Saturday December 02, 2001 at 10:15PM in Parsons,KS 67357 my husband and I observed a strange siting in the Western sky. It looked like a series of lights double row, in a horizontal line traveling from southwest to northeast. It appeared to be around a city block long and seemed to be "burning out" so to speak, what can you tell me about these sitings? Our local news called it "sky trash" and that it had been sited from Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas. What exactly is considered as Sky Trash??? This sounded like an easy way out for the news media to us. Do you have any pictures that may be observed on the internet?? Please answer with any all information you may have. Thank you, Patty Nance

- Monday, December 3 2001 12:19:54


Just one more...'afterthought':

I thought I'd quibble with you over your grouping Glen Larson with Irwin Allen and Gerry Anderson. By comparison, Allen is a David Lean; Anderson, a British David O. Selznick.

There is nothing - not one goddamn thing - redeeming about Larson; not a single artery of creative passion exists in his being. No zeal can be found in any part of the embezzled heaps of shit he squeezed out of the tube. He can't write so he makes a living by lifting everything. 'Galactica' is the laziest cash-in on someone else's success I've ever seen. I'll put up with anything as an option to that show, in sf; I'll watch the mockery they made of 'The Starlost', which was utter defacement brought to a beautiful premise developed by Harlan and Edward Bryant (Phoenix Without Ashes), before I would ever watch Galactica. To group Larsen with 'schlockmeisters' is too high a praise.

At least Allen and Anderson were driven by personal childhood passions, even if they didn't care much about the substance. The former had an obsession with old ships at sea and an archetypal Verne-sense of adventure. Admittedly, when any of his shows rose above 'mediocre' it was because a writer he'd hired had a little more vision than he did; you have to climb through a jungle of crap to find them, but he did have some occasional high points. There's maybe one or two things he did that remain very, very close to my heart from my own childhood days. Apart from that he could be a very inventive technician; there was a genuine sense of fun coming out of his projects - whether they stunk or not to a viewer. As for Anderson, he came up with one of the most original concepts in the history of children's shows with that Supermarionation stuff. A very creative individual with an obvious love for what he does...WHETHER it stinks or not to a viewer.

Larsen is an unimaginative, impartial embezzler, strictly interested in the easiest possible dollar. Nothing in his output ever proved otherwise. He doesn't belong in the company of the other two at all.

Jim Davis
- Monday, December 3 2001 12:16:36

Oh, and Brian...

Being crushed by a giantess's feet?!? Jesus Christ, don't people just have INTERCOURSE anymore?

Jim Davis
- Monday, December 3 2001 12:6:7

Jay: The Capitol Theater is STILL around?!? Oh, that's wonderful news--I thought it had surely been torn down! I'm going to have to revisit it when I do my Journey Through The Past, Darkly Tour of the Northeast next year. I moved out of Delaware in the mid 80's, after graduating from Newark High School, and I currently reside in Tampa Bay, Florida. NASCAR and loads of Amish pretty much sums up my memories of Delaware--at least the southern portion of it, anyway (dubbed "slower Delaware" by the locals, as I recall). Still, the place had charm, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it a LITTLE. Do you still live in the First State?

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Monday, December 3 2001 12:1:43

Harlan- Please add my belated condolences to the ever-growing list. My grandmother (to whom I was very close) passed away this past March. I may not know exactly what you're going through, but from personal experience, I know that it's a painful process. You have my deepest sympathies for your loss.

Brian / Jim / Eric- "Ginger" (the Segway H.T.) is a pretty fascinating piece of machinery. Apparently, the US government, the Postal Service and the City of Atlanta are all interested in purchasing "It" in bulk. This is gonna be one of those things that may take off despite the media hype. If you want more info check out:



Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, December 3 2001 11:25:16


I'll agree with you whole-heartedly. I'm going to miss Mark Waid (you did know this was his last issue, right?), if only because he wrote such good stuff for Plastic Man. The last 18 months have been a bonanza of quality Eel O'Brien, with nothing better than his monologue to Wayne about the sound of a pistol whip during the whole split-in-two story line..

On a similiar note, anyone want to place rank speculation bets on The Dark Knight Returns 2, which starts this week? I'm fascinated to see what Miller comes up with, now that he has over a decade more experience. Don't know how artisticaly successful it will be, but it's worth the try (and it's not like this is the most recent in a 15-year series). Oh, and if you haven't read Miller's "300," about the Battle of Thermypolae, you're really missing out. It's fantastic!

Joseph, who sounds like a real fanboy in this post.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, December 3 2001 11:20:30

I caught the Justice Files last night, and after being filled in on all the pertinent details from the boyfriend (who was apparently lot more into comics than he'd ever like to admit), I have to say it was okay. I laughed especially hard at the comment, "That's how we solved our lawyer problem."

Catching up, from the last few days,
Eric~ Thanks for sharing your dream about Harrison's passing.
Todd~ Thanks for sharing the reminescences of your childhood movie memories. I remember running home from school to catch the 3'o'clock Million Dollar Movie on tv. My mom never let me watch the really scary stuff, so I didn't see my first genuine horror film until I was in high school (Nightmare on Elm Street). So mine was a steady diet of Greek myths done in stop motion animation and Vincent Price tales. The real horror was in the pages of Poe's stories. Yes, I was the geek child with her nose in the musty old books. Try to act surprised. I think the one movie memory of utter terror was from the original Blob, where the kitten was sitting on the steps caked in goo and just fell over. I still get nightmares about that one.

I guess I was mostly into the Japanese monster movies. And of course, anything with Vincent Price in it. Sweet memories.


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Monday, December 3 2001 11:1:25

This Christmas posting comes to you from the local Jew:

For those comic book readers; remember the fun of your favorite comic book offering a special Christmas issue? Those 70's Batman books where somehow the spirit of Christmas and Santa is imbued in the dark knight's battle with dockside thugs? Sure, even this Jew enjoyed the better heroes-battle-at-Christmas issues (hey, I loved The Grinch Who Stole Christmas as well, though Charlie Brown's Christmas was always uncomfortably religious for me)!

I haven't seen a good holiday themed comic book in some time, until this week. If you like this stuff, if you enjoy sharing a comic book with your child, or your sibling's child, or some child walking past your window, then you should love this month's JLA. It's quite well done. Mark Waid wrote an extremely cute tale of Plastic Man ad-libbing for his nephew a tale of Santa joining the JLA and fighting Neron (DC heroes' Satan-like villain). There a cute touches throughout....I love those tossaway lines such as Neron referring to "Plastic Man's JLA".

It's quite fun, quite clever, and it even supplies the usual coup de grace (spelling?) of our protagonists looking out the window ....and what do they see? But with a twist.

Just a little Christmas spirit comic book stuff from your friendly Grinch.


Jay Smith
- Monday, December 3 2001 10:36:56

Jim: The Capitol Theater in Dover? Wow. There's a highlight of my 12 months in that backwater. That's on State Street, right? When I lived down there last year, there was a campaign to restore it. Right now its a playhouse and I think the HQ for the Dover reperatory company, getting back to its roots. Are you still in the area? I remember driving down Route 13 along this long strip of commercial NASCAR and tourist nonsense, turning right on Loockerman and >BAM< I'm in a small town. Beautiful little town that seems under seige by NASCAR and the Amish. :)


- Monday, December 3 2001 10:32:10

Another problem with Ginger (or the Smegway, or whatever it's called) besides the lack of means to carry your briefcase, coffee, music, etc is that unless it's at least 55 degrees outside, you're not gonna want to be on it for very long...

I can just see people lurching around these things in shopping malls, their parcels in backpacks (or some third-party basket accessory that throws off the gyros). Someone will no doubt take a header over a second-floor railing, and that will be that.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, December 3 2001 10:17:52


You are, of course, correct. I could swear that something off that album is in 11/4, though not "Blue Rondo a la Turk" - that's in 9/8. Damn. Not having the album in front of me, I can't say for certain. Anyone?

(And yes, I know there is "Eleven Four" on Adventures of Time.)

Oh, and just to note that the brilliant Paul Desmond was the composer of "Take Five." Didn't mean to imply otherwise.


- Monday, December 3 2001 10:4:12


Yeah - well - I'm a grouchy son-of-a-bitch late at night. Too many burs up my ass at that hour...the Hour of the Bur.

Chuck, et al

An afterthought re: Melies and split screen.

Except for brief clips I never saw Griffith's films or any of Melies' fx pioneering bits at the turn-of-the-century; so, I want to be sure we're all talking about the same thing: there is the fx shot using the seamless split screen - which enables you, for instance, to see your double in the same setting - the sort of trick consistent with what Melies would've come up with; then there is the multiple split screen which I and others were discussing, wherein the screen is broken up 3 or 4 ways to show separate action. You may well have understood the latter is what I was talking about, but I wanted to make sure. Griffith did it in 1909 or 1910. Gance made it famous with 'Napolean'.


Since you made a brief reference to the electric car - an environment-conscious issue - I thought I'd branch off from that to comment on alternative fuel sources - in the wake of the oil and fossil fuel debates. Back in the early 70's when they were collecting and studying material on the moon they discovered helium-3. H-3 was the MOST important discovery they made - most Americans either not understanding this or forgetting it - because it is the key alternative to fossil fuels as it is tested and developed in the course of this century. A light isotope of helium, it exists in massive quantities on the lunar surface.

I hope they hurry the hell up while our biosphere can still be salvaged. When that day does come it'll be interesting to see how the outcries and protests from the oil industry trigger off.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, December 3 2001 9:59:53

Joseph: "Take Five" is in 5/4, not 11/4 (hence the name). This correction has been brought to you by Frustrated Musicians' Local #593. Look for our colorful flier in the mail.

Yes, Michael Jackson's current persona, with its mix of infantilism, kitsch, and body mutilation, is HORRIBLY unsettling, to say the least. But the man DID make some great pop music once, and that shouldn't be forgotten--his album OFF THE WALL is a classic, and I always thought "Smooth Criminal," with its terse melodic structure and macabre lyrics, was one of the best singles of the 80's. (sigh) Whatever happened to that promising young BLACK man?

Todd: Nice post on the rediscovery of childhood treasures. You know, for a brainwashed right-wing wacko, you're all right! (Hey, I only know what I read here.) I'm reminded of a similar film experience from my childhood. My mother managed a movie theater called the Capitol in Dover, Delaware in the early 70's--it was an old vaudeville playhouse built in 1904, with a seating capacity of six hundred, or so. By the time she started her job there, it only showed movies, though you could still find vintage costumes, stage props, and other remnants of its theatrical past in the back stage. My mom would take me to work with her, and I'd play with my toys, or read, all day there. And I'd watch movies. LOTS of 'em. Not just the G-rated stuff, either--I dare say that I saw almost every movie Hollywood produced in the 70's at LEAST a dozen times. (I still have strange cinematic "flashbacks" when I watch certain films for what I think is the first time, and I realize that I first saw it at the Capitol, all those years ago.) And if you think that sounds like a wonderful way to grow up, you're absolutely right. The Capitol was a REAL movie theater, not like these dreary little pre-fab multiplexes you find everywhere these days, with their lilliputian screening rooms and hideous plastic-mold decor. That place ruined me for life for these ugly Matchbox Palaces, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. A true Citadel of Dreams, it was.

Anyway, there was a film in '71, or so, that was the first horror movie that I ever recall seeing, and damned if it didn't haunt me like a revenant for many years after. It was about a woman who, while recovering from a nervous breakdown, moves to a farmhouse in the country with her husband and a male friend. They find a mysterious young woman who is squatting there, and they invite her to stay with them. Many mysterious happenings ensue, and I'd always remember the ending scenes of a dead man's splayed body tied to a moving tractor, and the protagonist collapsing with fear in a rowboat in a lake, as the townspeople and the young woman stand silently on the shore. For almost twenty years I searched for this movie EVERYWHERE, with no luck--I couldn't recall its name at all, and no one else seemed to remember it. I had given up on ever seeing it again, when I flicked on the telly one day, and lo, there it was: LET'S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH. It was WONDERFUL. You know, there's always the danger, in rediscovering something beloved from childhood, that it will look dated or banal to adult eyes. That was not the case, here--if anything, it was even better than I remembered. True, it was low-budget, and the male leads were wooden, but the film had a genuine eeriness worthy of Henry and M.R. James. Hell, to my eyes, it's one of the best horror movies of the last thirty years, and it did more to push me into the arms of the fantastic than anything else I can think of.

(A couple of years ago, I nailed a factory shrink-wrapped video of it on eBay for fifteen bucks, and now it's a Halloween tradition at the Davis manse. Hey, Harlan--the Internet IS good for something, after all...)

Brian: Ginger looks like a niche item--it will certainly replace many of those trendy razor scooters, but cars and bicycles? I really doubt it. Americans love speed and power, and Ginger is a little too twee for their tastes. (And years later, when Ginger has completely transformed the urban landscape, let's remember this post, and have a good laugh at my expense, ok?)

I TOLD you Batman was a psychopath: www.fortunecity.com/petparade/persian/158/

(And did I ever mention that Orson Welles was the Black Dahlia killer?)

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, December 3 2001 9:53:11

Lorin~ If you're up to hunting for it, check here: http://judaism.about.com/cs/yiddish

(Wondering if there is such a thing as too much sex.)

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Monday, December 3 2001 9:20:53

Just received this weeks edition of THE WEEK and there smack-dab on the cover, is a half-dollar size yellow dot with a quote from our favorite author. "THE WEEK is a mini-marvel of succinct journalism.", Harlan Ellison, writer.

Lorin O.
- Monday, December 3 2001 9:1:13

Re: the last post - that should, of course, be "Yiddish WORD." I was just cutting/pasting my friend's message.

Also, to HARLAN AND SUSAN: Just wanted to add my words of sympathy to those posted here. Those cluster losses can be so tough to take, like the universe is just piling it on a little TOO thick. Like everyone else here, I'm sending warm thoughts your way.

Lorin O.

Lorin O.
- Monday, December 3 2001 8:50:23

Received this question from a friend in my morning email. My Yiddish is extremely limited, but I thought perhaps one of the erudite peeps on this board might know.

"Do you know the Yiddish work for too much sex? Or fatigue from sex? It starts with a 'k'. Someone told me what it was the other day... maybe it was spanish, but I don't think. Not many words start with a 'k' in Spanish."



Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Monday, December 3 2001 7:28:50

I guess most of us have seen the news about the Ginger, that motorized-gyroscopic scooter thing that got a lot of mysterious press a few months back. I'm enough of a tech-fetishist to be interested, so here are my amazingly wonderful and insight-loaded opinions on the matter.

As a piece of engineering, the thing looks great. It seems very stable, users report that it takes only a few minutes to get the hang of it, and they seem to have built a lot of safety into the thing. So, until several thousand are in use, and the unforeseen problems start to become apparent, I can't fault it on that count.

I can see why it'd be really cool to use-- especially in places like warehouses or airports, where fast mobility across a large, controlled-traffic environment would be especially desirable. I can see it becoming widely used in suburban areas, and even on nature "walks." But in an actual city, with cars and buses zooming about... well, it's scary enough riding an ordinary _bicycle_. Unless they start limiting traffic in a huge way, I can't see this thing becoming a major force in urban transportation.

Now, I'm a urbanite, so I'd probably be a prime user of such a device. But what would be my advantage? Most of the places in town are accessible by bus, or just by plain, healthy walking. The only times I need an actual vehicle are when I have to go outside of the city, or when I do a lot of shopping, and I'll need to bring a lot of stuff back. Neither one of these are satisfied by this Ginger device. If I have to travel out of the city, well, I'm not going to be travelling the Schuykill Expressway or I-95 at 12 miles an hour on a small platform, no matter how stable. And if I buy a bandsaw or some paint thinner at the Home Depot, it'd be a real trick to hang onto those while steering a Ginger, won't it?

So this is the sort of device that's best used for short shopping trips, or getting about when you're in a city. How easily can it be locked up? It's supposed to have some sophisticated encryption-security built into it. Fine. And if people only stole things that they could use, that'd be just _ducky_. (And how long will it be before someone comes up with a way to bypass that security technology? I'd say about half an hour.)

I'm thinking of how I'd use this thing if I were to ride it to the local Barnes and Noble's. I wouldn't want to leave it outside, but I certainly couldn't ride it inside, either. I can't carry it, especially if I'm also carrying two or three books and a satchel. So what could this thing be used for?

Well, if you could disengage the wheels from their motors, and wheel it around like a small cart, then you could take it into the bookstore with you. That'd be a nice feature-- especially if you could pile books and your carrying bag on the platform. In fact, you wouldn't even need all that gyroscopic stabilization stuff-- you could have a simple frame and two wheels, sort of like those carts golfers use to trundle their bags across the fairways.

The Ginger looks like a really neat toy, and I suppose it'll sell well among _Wired_ subscribers. But I'd much rather have something like a small electric _car_, something with a seat and a roof and some storage space, that'll get me outside the city and back with a minimum of fuss and bother. The gyroscopic stuff is impressive as hell, but for a car, you can ditch that in favor of an older invention-- a third or fourth _wheel_.

Bill Gauthier <Gauthic@mediaone.net>
New Bedford, MA - Monday, December 3 2001 5:52:10


Thanks for the info. Still rubbing the back of my head (that smarted!).


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Monday, December 3 2001 5:43:26


Oh, I didn't mean to quibble about Soderbergh having creative input, or being able to direct (hell, he managed to get a marginaly decent performance out of Julia Roberts). Those we are in complete agreement about.


- Sunday, December 2 2001 23:45:46


Ah. Excuse me, I mean 'Melies'. It's late. I's very tir'd.

- Sunday, December 2 2001 23:26:8


Well, that COULD be true; on the other hand maybe he was a producer of the film because he liked the material so much. Neither of us know for sure if he had any creative input on Pleasantville. That was never my point, though. It's the kind of projects he'd associate himself with, I'm suggesting, that is part of his rep. So, for the last time: I was saying it was his creative input as director of The Limey that opened my hopes for 'Solaris'. I dunno WHY you're quibbling about this.


Yes, with the exception of a handful of UFO episodes Anderson shows certainly had scripts that sucked lemons.

Doppelganger, or as I know it, Journey to the Far Side of the Sun, works very well as far as I'm concerned because of the Caligari twist at the end. We learn the whole movie was told in flashback, from a mind that is not whole. Once that is the case anything goes. If not for that ending none of the illogic would hold. What WAS compelling was that character - obsessed with his space program, fighting to the bitter end to raise the money from the European community and finally the U.S.; it was his dream, like a kid and his toy train or Orson Welles making Citizen Kane. He and Barry Gray's music were the reason I dug that film.

BTW, I did catch that correction about Milies.

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Lakewood , CO - Sunday, December 2 2001 20:30:25

Just got in after a couple of days. My condolences for Harlan and Susan, and the families of Don & Judi. It sounds like they were wonderful people to have in your life. I'm trying to write the appropriate words, but I just keep erasing them and starting over. I suppose sometimes speechlessness can say more than a long string of half-assed words. I did raise a glass to them, and your ailing friend. My best wished for whoever that is.

UFO: I try to keep an open mind when it comes to the work of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, but like Irwin Allen and Glenn Larson, most of their shows featured scripts that stunk like crap, but visually, they sure had some WONDERFUL toys. Actually, I'd put the Andersons a cut or two above Allen and Larson, as I did like some of their stuff. DOPPLEGANGER has holes in it's logic that you could drive a Saturn V through, but it's still an honest attempt at a truly speculative story. That's something Allen or Larson never seemed to try.

Rob: Many visual techniques such as closeups and intercutting were originated by Griffith as far as I know. However, for techniques such as split screen, the originator was George Melies. It was fitting that a professional magician was the one that originated many of the VFX techniques that are still in use today. By the way, there is an episode of the HBO miniseries FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON, LE VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE, which interposes the story of Apollo 17 with the story of the making of Melies' early masterpiece. A very original approach, in a series that was brimming with original ways to tell the story of each mission.


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shiksa Lite, Oohey ya - Sunday, December 2 2001 19:35:48


*-smack!-* Okay, that's out of the way...

The Week has a website at http://www.theweekmagazine.com but you can get a cheaper subscription to it at an independent magazine sub site. Try http://nbaf.com/subscriptions/n/tw.html We're talking major difference in bucks here. $74 for a year at the magazine's own site, and $38 for the same year from the independent site. I'd recommend it, but Harlan already has, so who needs input from me, eh?


Bill Gauthier <Gauthic@mediaone.net>
New Bedford, MA - Sunday, December 2 2001 18:52:44


You get THE WEEK, too? Is there a website for it, by any chance. Harlan mentioned it at his MIT lecture and when I came home, I tried to find it but can't. Any help thrown my way would be greatly appreciated.

(I hardly post but when I do it seems like I'm always asking for something. I must be selfish. Somebody smack me).

Thanks in advance.


John Thompson
- Sunday, December 2 2001 18:41:55

Frank, that book of horror stories has already been written. It's called DEATHBIRD STORIES. There's an atmosphere of unease in that volume that has rarely been equaled.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, December 2 2001 18:32:10


Er, not to disagree with you, but Producer doesn't mean Soderbergh had anything creative to do with the movie. Just that he helped get the bills paid (a necessary task, but c'mon, there's 12 producers on Pleasantville).


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shale Core Heights, Ohia - Sunday, December 2 2001 17:27:31

Okay, I confess it. Though I noticed long ago that Vic doesn't eat the meat, I never appreciated the importance of it. Now I need to reread the story. Harumph.

And Harlan, do you get THE WEEK earlier than culturally blighted midwesterners? I haven't seen the issue with your comment on it yet. Faz baz.

On musicans dying, hey, I'm sorry that Harrison bought it, too. I look forward to the release of his final album. There are hints reaching the media now. But as to the wrong musicians dying, Frank, it's not the continuation of horrors like Michael Jackson that bothers me--it's the short time we have so many young musicians with incredible potential. Ah, what I'd give for ten more years of work from Pete Ham, Kevin Gilbert, Bix Biederbeck, Eric Dolphy--or Mozart, comes to that. At least we enjoyed Harrison's company well into his fifties. For a rock musician, that makes him an old fart (like the rest of us).


- Sunday, December 2 2001 17:3:40


Incidentally, I based my new-found hopes for SOLARIS on the directing style Soderbergh brought to THE LIMEY not what Ross did on PLEASANTVILLE (as much as I tout the latter). The SUBSTANCE is consistant with the kind of material Soderbergh can be involved with, either as director OR producer.

- Sunday, December 2 2001 16:48:7


Yeah, Soderbergh was one of 3 producers on PLEASANTVILLE.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, December 2 2001 15:42:25


Soderbergh, as far as I can tell, was not involed with "Pleasentville." That movie was written and directed by Gary Ross, who also wrote "Dave" and "Big." Not the subtlest of writers, but there's a clarity of feeling that I enjoy about his work.

"Pleasantvile" does deserve credit for one thing especially - note that in the movie, before things change, there is one crucial note: the people in the town have television, but all the books are blank. The biggest turn for the town (and my favorite scene in the movie) is when the books start to fill in as Mary Sue & Bud tells the story of Huckleberry Finn. Great scene, wonderfully underscored by "Take Five," from the Dave Brubeck Qaurtet (a muslcal joke, as that was a groundbreaking song for it's use of time signature (11/4, I think)). Talk about a plug for the power of literature! The town has safe, comfortable and mind-sapping television, but they don't have literature until Bud and Mary Sue arrive!

Hmmm....maybe Gary Ross could pull off "Solaris." But Soderbergh would make me believe it might actually work.


- Sunday, December 2 2001 15:0:9

Dear Bud...

Sorry, we never met. Heard you kept a mutual friend happy for a long, long time. (This is good--I thank you.)

Why am I calling you 'Bud'? I have NO idea. Woke up this morning, composing this note. Thought you might like the prose/poems. Wrote them last night. Wasn't THINKING of you (and no, I'm not a ghoul or opportunist--I write; it's what I do). Hope you like them.

I don't drink. So instead of raising a glass (it seems), I raised a poem.

Hmm? Oh, okay.

Yer welcome.

This, Bud,'s for you:

At the risk of wanting to be loved, I offer this:

1) owed to a mousepad
2) I opened my eyes
3) A winter yellow tulip

owed to a mousepad

Behind my eyes, I'm feeling free.
Behind my eyes, I'm really me.
I'm looking now, outside your blue; [eyes]
are you true?
Do I believe in you?

I see your mouth, it's small and scared
I see your lips, you're unaware
I think I'd die if you
caught my stare.
Are you true?
Believe I in you?

Your brow is deep,
Your cheeks, they dimple
I call your name,
You reply: "It's simple."
You 'stand my 'tude. Your answer true:
"I believe in you.
Now, shall we kimple?"

I opened my eyes

I opened my eyes and caught the last
wing flit of the pigeon, a soft dove grey
bird with a backsplash of white, as he
loped across from the lumo-light fixture
near the slow slurring fan in the ceiling,
to the atrium's library roof. He twirl-tailed back
to the edge of the black metal and glass wall,
in that mechanical, stuttering birdwalk way of
his. Stopped; peered out and put a bead on me.
I stared back, a mind gone mute. I swore I
saw a grin creep the corners of his mouth
as he returned my gaze--his eyes bright and
blue. Then his stare went blank and he
looked out at the quad. He'd deny every
emotion I'd made--I just KNEW it.

A winter yellow tulip

Enwombed and entombed in a bright Toronto
street winter window
w/ flocksam and jectsom covering
its tawny green knees,
that groped up and
hugged the view at
the corner of a street; no, two.
I recall when the time
I stared at its summer
It was my only duty.

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, December 2 2001 14:33:33


Re: Michael Jackson Moonwalking onto a landmine. Thank you for the image. It gives me a warm fuzzy. However, for the resulting six months following his death we would be blanketed with every single one of his songs played non-stop, every video, every crotch grab, every "hooooooooooooooo" and (shudder) Tribute shows featuring family members better left mute. Healdines, magazines, billboards, tribute concerts, memorial bathrobes, stuffed monkeys, and so much more.

For this reason alone I wish MJ a long, fruitful life or perhaps one in a prison or asylum cell.

Jon <jonalper[atsigngoeshere]mac.com>
Boston, MA USA - Sunday, December 2 2001 13:53:34


I think we have a comparably calibrated skeeve-o-meter on this one. ; )

Portman was, indeed, brilliant.

Re: Predator

I was also particularly taken by Elpidia Carrillo this viewing. I lamented out loud that I couldn't think of anything else she's been in. (A trip to the imdb just now indicates she has been working just not where I've seen her.)


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Sunday, December 2 2001 13:29:27

To David, re "missing" lyrics. The George Harrison song "It's All Too Much" had an extra verse which is in the film _Yellow Submarine_. Strangely, this longer version has not turned up on the original soundtrack, the remastered soundtrack, or the _Anthology_ collections. Also, there are a lot of versions of McCartney's "Get Back" that have sneaked out on bootlegs-- one was a parody of British xenophobe Ian Paisley ranting about Pakistanis "taking people's jobs."

Aside from that, I think there are variant versions of a couple of Who "Lifehouse" songs that have turned up on _Who's Next_, Townshend's solo album _Who Came First_, and probably a few other releases, but I can't say for certain.

To Frank Church, re Thomas Friedman. I went back to some references I had on the Middle East-- specifically, two of Edward Said's books, and Chomsky's _Fateful Triangle_-- in case this ws going to turn into an argument. Chomsky doesn't mention Friedman very much in his book, but he does cite some of the Times's reporting on the Sabra and Shatila massacres-- where, apparently, Friedman did a decent job. Said faults Friedman for the sort of myopic Orientalism which runs through a lot of Middle East punditry. There's a very good critique of Friedman's book _The Lexus and the Olive Tree_ in Thomas Frank's book _One Market Under God_, and his comments on Friedman's gee-whiz reporting of global capitalism echo Said's comments fairly closely.

To Ed Champion, re artists who came from middle-class background who deal with people of the lower economic strata; The one example I'd hold above all wouldn't be Mencken or Kubrick or Mike Leigh, but Eric Blair-- George Orwell to the rest of us.

Frank Church
- Sunday, December 2 2001 13:28:30

Reading, "A Boy And His Dog" is definetly preferable to the movie. Even though I know those classic last lines, I always seem to have a tear in my eye when I read them. I get a gait in my heart that starts to rev at maximum speed. If awards could be given out for classic last lines that one would be a shoe in. Killing the girl was an act of love for Vic, as well as survival. He loved the dog, and we seem to have symnpathy, even though killing the girl was barbaric. But the nessesity for the barbarism makes a lot of sense. Some knee jerk feminists dissagreed, but that is not important. The art always wins over hand wringing.

I like how Ellison never falls for the knee jerk approach in his fiction. "Croatoan" is a good fact of interest: The Story gives the impression of being anti-abortion but it could be interpreted in other ways. The main point being male responsibility in the making of unwanted babies. But we already know this. Every teen father should read this story at gunpoint.

Even though it is more entertainment than great artiface, "Flop Sweat" is one great chiller. I love the way that story was written. It would be cool to have Harlan write a book of all horror stories. He is quite good at the fear factory shit.

Jon <jonalper[atsigngoeshere]mac.com>
Boston, MA USA - Sunday, December 2 2001 13:16:28


Thank you for the warm welcome, the insights about "A Boy and His Dog and for the 'more credit than I deserved'.

If Kari had asked me whether Vic had shared the meat I would *hope* I would have checked before answering but I wouldn't have known off the top of my head.

Your note prompted me to re-read the HE/Richard Corben comic (graphic novel may be the better term) "Vic and Blood:The Chronicles of a Boy and his Dog" and both the fact and the meaning were crystal clear. I'll also re-read the original story after I rescue my books from their 'semi-packed for a move next weekend' condition.

Thanks again,

Matthew Davis
Redditch, UK - Sunday, December 2 2001 13:10:19

Extra-unused Lyrics:

The following is from when Cole Porter would give private performances of "You're the Top".

"You're the top!
You're Miss Pinkham's tonic.
You're the top!
You're a high colonic.
You're the burning heat
of a bridal suite in use,
You're the breasts of Venus,
You're King Kong's penis,
You're self-abuse. . . .
You're an arch
In the Rome collection.
You're the starch
In a groom's erection.
I'm a eunuch who
has just been through an op,
But if , Baby, I'm the "Bottom"
You're the "Top!"

Jes Bickham
Bath, England - Sunday, December 2 2001 13:3:43

Quick re-post:
Just trawled through some posts. Harlan and Susan - dreadful, my thoughts are with you.
Best again,

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Sunday, December 2 2001 13:1:34

Oh, one other thing. Don't recall whether anyone cited "If I Needed Someone" among George Harrison's best songs, but I love that one.

The acoustic demo of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" has an additional verse that's not on the album version ("I look from the wings of the play you are staging..."), which reminds me of the extra verse of "The Boxer" that turned up years after the single on a live Paul Simon recording ("...after changes upon changes, we are more or less the same").

Can anyone recall other "extra, less known" lyrics to otherwise famous songs?

Jes Bickham <jes.bickham@futurenet.co.uk>
Bath, England - Sunday, December 2 2001 13:0:17

Hi all
Well, it's been many a moon since I posted here, awash as I am with far too much work and sundry other time-munching nonsense. Be assured, however, that I lurk constantly, and am rapacious in my reading of the educated posts that appear, here, in this cosy corner of the electric interweb.
Anyhoo, I hope you're all fine; imagine my surprise at amazon.co.uk stocking Troublemakers AND The Essential Ellison (50th) - both hopefully winging their way to me as I speak. Treats indeed.
Harlan - a while back you responded to a query concerning any appearances in the UK; the answer alluded to David Twohy and Demon With A Glass Hand. Can I ask again if there are any plans to visit?
Also, an interesting note: several of my friends, having read American Gods, have borrowed (and devoured) my increasingly-tattered copy of Deathbird Stories, due to Mr. Gaiman's Acknowledgements. All have been duly impressed, this being their first taste of Ellisonia.
Again, hope you're all well. The UK remains wet but welcoming.
Best regards

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Sunday, December 2 2001 12:57:25

Harlan and Susan -- my deepest sympathies for the loss of your friends. The only thing I know about Don Buday was that he was mentioned in Installments 16 and 20 of "An Edge In My Voice," in one case for once finger-writing "Ellison Wash This Disgrace" on your old beloved Camaro.

Aside from someone to love and to love you, friends are the only thing that really make it all (lastingly) worthwhile.

Geez, all this talk about Mike Leigh and not one mention of my two favorite films of his, "Secrets and Lies" and "Topsy-Turvy." The first includes some of the greatest acting I've ever seen: Brenda Blethyn plays a character I wouldn't ordinarily give the time of day in real life -- a simple, lower-class, middle-aged factory worker -- with incredible beauty and sympathy. Leigh did not allow the actresses who played the two principal characters to lay eyes on each other until the first scene where they meet, and then the camera watches Blethyn, unblinking, for long minutes while she registers complex emotional reactions.

"Topsy-Turvy" is his loving tribute to Gilbert and Sullivan, with some very dark streaks running through it. Just beautiful.

Saw "Gattaca" the other night. A few missteps, but on the whole, very nice, thought-provoking work.

In our recent discussion of male starts, I think Russell Crowe got short shrift because everybody thought so little of "Gladiator," but on the strength of his work in "L.A. Confidential" and "The Insider," I still have high hopes for him. He's teamed with the luscious and promising Jennifer Connelly (who was pretty astounding in "Requiem for a Dream") in the upcoming "A Beautiful Mind," which could be pretty good.

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, December 2 2001 11:57:57


Welcome to the back fence. You were right on the money explaining "A Boy and His Dog" to Kari. One thing, however, that too often gets overlooked when explaining the denouement to others:

The boy was touched by the girl. He had never experienced love, merely sex or lust, and the only love he knew was for Blood, a dog. So he is confused, betwixt and between with this girl. And she is ruthless. Far more ruthless even than Vic, who isn't awfully bright (the dog is the smart one), but who knows that to stay alive, Blood must survive and thrive. Yes, in that blasted world of extremely hard choices and no sentimentality, he opts to keep the instrument of his survival alive, at the cost of losing a person who has betrayed him, shown callous disregard for Blood, manipulated him...but none of that matters. She could've been Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, the sweetest and bravest person who ever lived. Blood must take precedence. This isn't misogynistic, nor even--at this point--misanthropic; it is simple flat-out survival. What needs to be done MUST be done.

It is the emblematic exercise in understanding what happens to societies when they go down that road. It is the dramatization of the basic concept of cultural barbarism.


And this is what gets left behind in the explanations...

The boy never touches the meat.

He carries some of it wrapped-up for Blood...but...THE BOY NEVER TOUCHES A BITE OF THE MEAT!!

It's not that subtle a coda. Yes, he's been reduced to a state where human and animal have exchanged places--where Blood represents culture and knowledge and memory and civilization and loyalty and bravery and ethical behavior--and Vic is one step up from a nose-picking, gun-toting, simplistic, thoughtless and vengeful, primordial foraging creature--but somehow, magically, somewhichway, inexplicably, that core of humanity within us, no matter how bludgeoned and insensate, that nubbin of love and glory and godlike grandeur that exists at the smoldering core of the human condition...that sensitive place has, for the first time outside of love for Blood, been touched. He has been changed. Conscience has been awakened in Vic.

And THAT is what "A Boy and His Dog" is all about.

It's what fiction is all about, in its most responsible form. Limning the change in a human being from the beginning of the story to its end. Vic is a different person. How much, remains to be seen; but his humanity has been touched, in a totally inhumane world. Vic DOES NOT EAT ANY OF THE MEAT! That is the
clue that leads the careful reader to "understanding" the story. And it's in the movie. It's there. Blood hobbles toward the horizon, his wounds bandaged with Quilla June's wedding dress rags...but he says to Vic, "You didn't touch the meat." Vic mumbles something. And then...THEN, dammit!...then comes that moronic, hateful chauvinist last line, which I despise, and which I urge audiences to ignore, the line I could never get LQ Jones to delete, because when he tested the film at colleges, that line was the biggest applause-getter from all the frat boys and jocks and asshole college wimps who were nothing better than Vics-in-waiting. The most important point, the insight, the raison d'etre of what has been, on the surface, nothing more than a violent action-adventure movie, is buried, immolated, crushed beneath the cheap manipulative demeaning and hateful smartass retort that Blood would NEVER NEVER NEVER have spoken. He is too decent and noble and sensitive to have made a bad pun at the expense of a human being's death. I despise it!

Ignore that last line, introduced by LQ; and read the story. The last line of the story is what one should carry away. That, and the point of the story/film...


For Kari, and a welcome to Jon from Boston,

Yr. pal, Harlan

- Sunday, December 2 2001 11:23:48

Recently a couple of us were talking about the probably ludicrous propects of Hollywood doing a remake of Solaris. I said there are directors next to none I would trust with the project, as Tarkovsky had a very personal style stamped on his version. Yesterday I got info that ACTUALLY started opening my mind, seeing some promise: Steven Soderbergh, apparently, will be doing the remake. Don't no for sure if it means he'll strictly produce it or direct; if it's the latter he is one of those very, VERY few I WOULD trust. THE LIMEY turned me into a fan of his. He understands how time and pov can be interchanged in narrative structure. Those are the elements at the very heart of Solaris' ethereal storyline.

Soderbergh, producer of the monumental 'Pleasantville', I believe, is a guy with the talent and intelligence to bring good sf back to film - what people like Spielberg and Lucas and everyone else who jumped on the formula band wagon took away, once fantasy like Star Wars made us understand the unimportance of science.

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, December 2 2001 11:19:44


That's what's wrong with seeing a movie, but never having read the source material from which it was taken. You have missed the point of the ending of the story--and in fact missed the point of the title of the story--and your confusions are those of a generation that does not read, nor pays very close attention.

I mean no rudeness, but your lack of context is showing. Go read the story "A Boy and His Dog." It's available in many places, not the least of which is THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON.

For those of you who seem bewildered that the people of Topeka in the Downunder "wear makeup," and cannot understand why, let me ask you this: why do teenagers wear pants so baggy they fall down around their ankles? Why do genX fashion plates wear baseball caps backwards when the point of having a bill on a cap is to keep the sun off your face? Why do women wear uncomfortable spike heels or ugly clunky stack heels or push-up bras or dresses at thigh-height or ankle-height, or calf-height?
Why did the well-dressed in the courts of France wear lace and feathers and wigs? Why do crips wear blue and bloods wear red? Why does Kari put on lipstick? Why does Kari dress in a way that looks acceptable to her friends? Why am I answering a question, whose answer is so idiotically obvious?

Style, Kari. It may look weird to you, that they wore white makeup; but if you suddenly appeared in the middle of a Ubangi village in Africa, without a huge plate distending your lower lip, you'd look ridiculous to them. Get the explanation? It was that place's, and that time's, fad-of-the-moment; just as spats or zoot suits or kohl on the eyes or bow ties or tattoos are and have been the visual "group identity" code-passwords of every culture on Earth, from primordial times till today.

The director was trying, in a non-special effects, inexpensive way, to give you the feeling of an "alien" or "different" culture, using the time-honored trick of science fiction--arguing the point from the iconic smaller, to the implied greater. No airships, no rocket-paks, no BLADE RUNNER millions spent on ambience. It was a self-contained, buried culture, and they had developed their own tribal i.d.--in this case, the white makeup, much like the white makeup of the Japanese feudal era, or even the white chalk makeup of the Sun King's Versailles.

Go read the story.

Go read the story.

Go read the story.

Or...you could go read the story.

The gentle and grammatically-correct thrashing you've just been given is for your betterment, Kari. Don't take umbrage, take heed. You are ignorant in many areas, no matter how smart you think you are. You need to get smarter, if you have to ask what happens at the end of that movie, and why the people in Topeka were wearing clown-white. I'll bet you're not that old; but you've lucked out. You've stumbled in here, where the community REQUIRES everyone to be as smart as a whip. Hang out, make friends, and watch how your grades improve.

You'll toughen up, you'll learn oodles, and you'll discover that your BEST FRIENDS are not those who demand you look and think and sound just like them, but are the ones who DEMAND you become the cleverest individual Kari on the planet.

Geez, kiddo, did YOU luck out!

Yr. new pal, Harlan Ellison

Frank Church
- Sunday, December 2 2001 11:12:30

The George Harrison death is quite sad. Too bad the wrong musicians are dying. If only Micheal Jackson would moonwalk onto a landmine and do us a favor.

Thomas Friedman: Chomsky mentions Friedman is almost every interview. Friedman is one of America's foremost propagandists, and agent of lies in the mainstream media. He is a state department huckster with no real savvy as to foreign policy. His is the vanguard view of most of corporate America. His books are pure piffle.

Brian, I would say Duke is far right, but he is right-or should I say wrong. Smile.

Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Sunday, December 2 2001 10:54:51

On the subject of artists who deal with the lower class and come from a decidedly not so lower class background, I whole-heartedly disagree with the idea that they should be discounted in some way. Shall we ignore Mencken's muckraking because he attended a private school? Or the visions of Kubrick because his parents' affluent background allowed him to tinker with photography at an early age? Mike Leigh's oeuvre and his unique improvisational approach are simply too important to dismiss the man simply because of who he is and where he's from. In an age where VH-1's Behind the Music is indicative of the importance of the musician rather than the banal music itself, I find the same idea applied to any field of art whole-heartedly distasteful. Certainly, biographical details are intriguing and they can sometimes help us to place a work of art into context. Coppola's private notion of family, for example, provides a fascinating pretext to study "The Godfather" films and "Tucker." But shouldn't the value of an artist stem from the artistic schematic itself?

I interviewed Leigh a few years ago and he was a mighty surly guy. I've read several horror stories about the demands he places on his actors. But his work is too important to dismiss it in such a cavalier manner. Whereas Ken Loach bathes his films in flagrant political propaganda (a fault, admittedly, that sometimes works to his advantage, as in "Riff Raff"), Leigh lets the details of his characters (which are sometimes admittedly cartoonish) speak for themselves. This is why "Naked" is one of the most seminal films of the 1990s and why Leigh is such an important filmmaker. He creates films that take chances, never asking you to sympathize for his characters. Leigh's films have a remarkable way of illustrating specific class-oriented millieus in the revelation of private lives.

Harlan: Very sorry to hear about the loss of your friends.

Harlan Ellison
- Sunday, December 2 2001 10:50:46


1) The cover of the current (December 7) issue of THE WEEK has a blurb-encomium by HE.

2) Next week's issue of THE WEEK has a new piece by HE: every week the newsmagazine selects some well-known person (Yo Yo Ma, Liz Smith, John Mortimer, Ted Koppel, Sara Paretsky, etc.) to list his/her six favorite books in one or another category--favorite biographies, favorite books about World War I, favorite classical romances, etc.--and in next week's issue, "The List" will be HE selecting 6 great "lost" modern fantasy novels.

3) In the next issue of COMPUTER SHOPPER magazine, in the well-known "Hard Edge" column, Bill O'Brien is doing a piece on the merits of the KICK Internet Piracy lawsuit, and he praises all of you.

4) The current issue of The Dramatists Guild Magazine has a long and positive piece on our AOL/RemarQ/internet pirates suit. The word is, at long last, spreading. The more who know, the more who can likewise defend themselves.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Bill Gauthier
New Bedford, MA - Sunday, December 2 2001 9:41:41

Mr. & Mrs. Ellison,

Condolonces for the loss of your friends. No words can take away the sting so just simple condolences.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, December 2 2001 9:35:21


An interesting thought on Leon, but I think even for the French 12 is a little skeevy. Having said that, Natalie Portman is fantastic in that movie.

As for Predator, I strangely saw that again recently, and it does hold up very well. A strangely quiet movie at times, it has one of the best jungle locales in any movie, a damn good alien (gotta love Stan Winston), and a wonderfully understated performance by Elpidia Carrillo (who I'm happy to see is in Bread and Roses, a movie I can't wait to see).


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Sunday, December 2 2001 9:4:54

Firstly: Harlan. Susan. My condolences.

Secondly: You know what I like about you guys? You know what makes this place so much better than other websites? No matter how much we can argue about politics and movies and books and philosophies ad nauseum....sometimes getting downright rough about it.....no one here attacks people for not understanding things we would think obvious. No one calls anyone else stupid (they might call them wrong, or wrongheaded, or freaky, but not stupid) just because they don't know something the other guy knows. Case in point: Kari and her BOY AND HIS DOG questions. If this were any other website….especially the very popular AintItCoolNews….before answering Kari, all of the guys and gals would have a tossed out a “are you daft” or “stupid” comment. Everyone who knew exactly what the ending was about would have first belittled the questioner for not deserving to view movies if they can’t interpret the girl’s destiny. Not here. That’s why you guys are cool.

Thirdly: Just sharing – when I was a young-un I was a big Creature Features Saturday afternoon fan. We’re talking late 60’s early 70’s. I would return from the synagogue with my dad, Rabbi Louis A Cassel (I like to keep his name from scattering to the wind….which is why, when my mom gave me his Newsweek subscription when he passed, I kept it going and never changed the name on the address label…to this day, 20.5 years after his death, my Newsweek subscription still arrives each week with Rabbi Louis A Cassel on the label)….I would return from synagogue, dad would go out on the hammock in the backyard (if summer) or his office upstairs (if winter) pretending to read but really falling fast asleep, and I would plop in front of the tube and watch black and white monster movies. Universal monsters. Giant insects. Big Japanese men in lizard and turtle suits. Everything. I could watch these movies from noon until about 4pm, when the monsters went back into their caves and crypts and spaceships for another week (unless it was monster-week on the afternoon 4:30 movie).

There were always two more-or-less obscure movies that always scared the dickens out of my and that my friends never seemed to catch. No matter how many times I mentioned them, they would look at me odd and wonder if I were making them up. But I wasn’t. They scared the piss out of me. The first is now more well known thanks to the ALIEN franchise: IT, THE TERROR FROM BEYOND SPACE. The second one I thought was long lost to my memories. I knew it was there…..hey, it’s in my Leonard Maltin movie book for cripes sake, but I did not count on ever seeing it again. I movie was one of my favorite titles ever!

Then yesterday, doing the ole Chanukah/Christmas/metoometoo shopping at Best Buy, my Saturday afternoons came back to me…leapt off the DVD rack and smacked me in the face. Was I imagining it? Yegads, there it was!

I BURY THE LIVING. Hoo boy. I picked it up, showed it to my wife like a man who just won the lottery, and after she patted me on the head with her usual “good boy, you buy your little nostalgia toy and be happy with it” roll of the eyes I danced to one of the two open cash registers (why do these super stores always have 12-20 cash register lines, but never more than two open and never one that is not having a problem with a return or an incorrect price scan?) and bought myself I BURY THE LIVING.

Watched it with the missus last night. And you know what? She loved it. You know what else? For once in a very long time an old memory of a B-Movie that always affected DID NOT DISAPPOINT! Gawd, I love this movie, and it’s just as damn creepy as I remember. It was the concept that got me as a kid! Richard Boone is forced to manage a local cemetery whose large office map of the grounds consists of all the plots with either black pins (for occupied graves) or white pins (for family plots not yet occupied) poking all about. When Boone accidently places black pins in a young couples’ newly purchased plot, they die. The movie goes from there….black pins on the plots of the living result in their death. Boone sweats. Boone goes nuts. The office map grows and shrinks and wavers like heat in the desert and lights up bright as the sign and dims down into the shadows and, of course, there comes the time when Boone decides to try some white pins in the gravesites of the dead.

This movie surprised me last night. A childhood memory just as damn good as I remember. I BURY THE LIVING. Now my friends will finally believe me….because when they mock me when we list favorite category movies and I toss out I BURY THE LIVING in my top ten scary movies…..anyone who mocks me will be brought over to my home for a viewing. On a Saturday afternoon. A cloudy afternoon with a chill in the air.


Jon <jonalper[atsigngoeshere]mac.com>
- Sunday, December 2 2001 8:39:51


If I understand you correctly, I don't find your reason odd at all and I have mixed feelings as well....

I've seen at least two different cuts of the professional. One the American release and the other the 'International' release and the age of Natalie Portman is an even more disturbing a factor in the "International' version. The romantic/sexual aspects of the Leon/Matilda relationship are much less evident in the American cut though not by any means explicit or overtly eroticised in either.

While I have some unease about Matilda's age and *any* romance with the much older Leon, I think it's critical to understanding both characters. The excess emotional 'maturity' or tragic excess life-experience of Matilda is contrasted against the immaturity and emotional stunting that Leon suffered from the childhood he endured. In a way, Leon is made the man-child while Matilda is the girl-woman.

Ultimately, to me, there isn't a 'pedophile' vibe but an interesting and story-critical sort of troubling 'wrong love' a la Lolita or American Beauty but in a different context.. The 'romantic overtones' in The Professional are not, to me, the pivot point of the story but rather a way of revealing character.

Having said all that, I have to say that whenever I get a little skeeved out by it I reassure myself by saying; "Besson is French and they're just not as sexually repressed as we are."

Re: The Messenger

I'll try and give it another chance. I must confess that my negative reaction is probably based in part on my inate inclination to bristle at the whole "Message From 'God'" thing... In addition, there were a few too many full screen close-ups on Miss Jovovich's lovely face for me not to feel like I was being amateurishly manipulated. (Having said that....it may again be a cultural difference in film making. A different visual grammar. I am not by the wildest leap an expert in French film.)

The trebuchet was very well done. If you're interested in medieval 'seige engines' check out: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/lostempires/trebuchet/index.html

-Jon who saw Predator for the first time in a long time last night and was surprised at how well it holds up.

Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Sunday, December 2 2001 7:30:56

While I am not a big fan of "The Fifth Element" and couldn't work up enough enthusiasm to go see "The Messenger" I did enjoy "Kiss of the Dragon". It was interesting to see the team up of Luc Besson and Jet Li. Did anyone else who saw it think it felt like a 70's action film?


Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Sunday, December 2 2001 7:28:12

Harlan: My condolences on the loss of your friends. I hope Susan and yourself can take comfort in the memories of the time you spent with those who are now gone.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, December 2 2001 6:6:19


I wouldn't call "The Messenger" a career-ending movie (that's the Joan of Arc movie you're trying to remember). It's not entirely successful, but it's a damn good try. Some good acting, great production design (c'mon, how many movies use a trebuchet?), and an interesting attempt to show what a prophet would feel like when a message from God gets downloaded into her brain.

As for "Leon," it doesn't work as well for me because of what you might consider an odd reason. Natalie Portman's character is just too young. If she had been 14 or 15, fine. But a 12 year old It seemed a little too...wrong. Besides that, fine movie with the usual brilliant Jean Reno performance (by the way, a friend of mine insists that "Just Visiting" is worth seeing for Reno along).


- Sunday, December 2 2001 1:49:56


Actually, Zardoz is a patchwork of cliches, platitudes, and banalities. Boorman has had a checkered career; you do have to approach each of his films with some scrutiny. When he hits a homerun it's really out of the ball park; when he strikes out he REALLLY strikes out. This one runs more like a spoof of big-budget, overblown epics: the dumb dialogue forces Sean Connery to spit out lots of lines like, "where the sea meets the land", it's filled with cheap-looking props, it hasn't one likeable character (if they all want to die it's fine with me), and over-all direction is just plain clumsy.


I read the reasons for UFO's campy elements and most of them have two parameters: a tight budget (the reason for hilariously effective interceptors each carrying one rocket) and Gerry Anderson's wife who designed the costumes, hair styles, etc. Depending on who you are you either come to like the art direction or you don't. They originally had bigger, more convincing ideas on the drawing board before they realized how much money they had to mess with. That was always the case with tv. The redeeming points of the show are when it focuses on adult themes like Straker's shattered marriage, the episode I cited (easily the best of the series), subversion, and so on. Situations where a moral dilemma was created. That's what I base my whole pro-UFO argument on.


Um, yeah. Someone else already gave you most of the rundown on 'A Boy and his Dog'; the girl was indeed food for America's favorite telepathic canine.

Jon <jonalper[atsigngoeshere]mac.com>
Boston, MA USA - Saturday, December 1 2001 23:35:41

My most sincere condolences to Harlan and Susan.

---[pausing and unable to find a way to make an appropriately gentle transition in a message board post]---

re: A Boy and His Dog
I had always assumed the 'marriages' were a way to preserve or create the illusion of preserving an 'Our Town' morality. No kids outside the sanctity of marriage even if the whole thing is a sick, sad sham.

I also always interpreted the makeup as an attempt to simulate a healthy complexion and rosy cheeked innocence that had been corrupted by time and fading memory of what the real thing looked like.

Yes, she was dogfood....and apparently less than ideally flavored dogfood at that.

Dark humor aside, it was a matter of survival for Blood and Vic and the point that the world had been reduced to such uncivilized behavior was, to me driven home very hard. What can we be reduced to when the trappings of civilization are destroyed (above ground) or reduced to a pathetic enforced simulation below. In the absence of order, society decays to 'solo' savagery. In the presence of excess order it decays to organized societal savagery.

At least that's what I thought....

Re: The Fifth Element
At some peril I'll say (particularly perilous given my abrupt de-lurking) that t's one of my favorite movies. Not because I think it i carries a deep or powerful message about good and evil (a laughable notion) but because it appeals to me in a "Princess Bride meets Blade Runner on Crystal Meth" sort of way.

It's childlike good fun with beautiful imagery, some interesting presentation of 'speculative fiction' ideas; Beaurocratic world government, the devolution of the presidential debrief to a sound bite (you have 20 seconds), the integration of old and new (the flying Junk Chinese food delivery) the bizarre evolution of pop-culture to include a merged opera and disco.... There's a lot of texture in there.

Basically, a sweet if over-simple love story and fairy tale with amazing production design, more than serviceable and appropriately cartoon-like acting, a ***fantastic*** sound track, high octane action and texture for days!

Luc besson made a remarkable film with The Professional, a really fun movie in The Fifth Element and career ending (or at least damaging) bombast in Joan of Arc (or whatever the title was of the Joan of Arc 'epic' her directed after The Fifth Element.

Re: UFO. I always liked that show as 'ultra-camp with flashes of brilliance' and I even enjoy the VHS from Laserdisc dubs I have now .

*BUT* the show was always a letdown after the title sequence.

Re: Star Wars
I saw Episode i again last weekend and was reminded of two things:
1) It's a horrible movie that's almost bad enough to preculde any further interest in the next one and taint my appreciation for the previous three.
2) I remember being 12 years old when I first saw a preview for the first one (Star Wars) and was REALLY pumped because it looked like it might be dark and intense and the first on-the-big-screen presentation of the kind of worlds I'd seen in my head reading science fiction magazines and my dads 'science finction' collection and being somewhat disappointed with the 'softness' of the movie when I finally saw it a few months later. Sure I loved it but i wasn't unsettled by it the way I'd been by the War of The Worlds, The Trifids and even some Star Trek episodes. [I remember thinking, at the tender age of 10 or so that The City On The Edge Of Forever was one of the best Star Treks before I knew who Harlan was and *long* before I knew the back story that makes me pine for what that GREAT episode *could* have been. ]

So, even then, I was disappointed by Star Wars. Ewoks, of course, made me a rather ill a couple of years later because they sruck me as cloying despite my being squarely in the "Mommy please buy me all the toys" demographic.

Years later, Phantom Menace, despite advanced age and hopefully maturity, carefully managed and limited expectations aside, really irked me.

Beyond the "ten minute plot in a 2 hour movie"...

Beyond the "if the effects looked as good as they sounded boy would this be cool" bad compositing and bad lighting...

Beyond the "I wonder why they chose actors so wooden as to kill any spark even from Liam Neeson and whatshisname, beyond my dismay that they managed to have Sam Jackson come off as a complete wus for the first time in his career ...

Beyond the "pander to the kiddies by letting the kid save the day *twice*, a la Wesley 'I should have been the one killed by the oil-spill monster" Crusher...

Beyond all that we had Jar Jar Binks...

No words exist to fully describe how loathsome that character is.

Re: Good Books:

I have been reading Dashiell Hammett for the first time and enjoying the heck out of it.

Re: Atheism.... Nope.... I think maybe I'd better leave this one alone for my debut post...

With no intruduction and a "can I join in" look on his face,

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Saturday, December 1 2001 21:1:16

Harlan & Susan,

My condolences to you and to the families of your friends.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 20:30:4

To Faisal, re recent SF movies. I haven't seen Zardoz, but I usually enjoy Boorman's films, so maybe it'll be on my list when I buy a DVD player.

I can't get as worked up over _The Fifth Element_ as you are, tho. I didn't think it was all that great, generally-- and Chris Tucker is a one-man argument for rolling back civil rights laws. But I liked it because it did remind me of the way _Heavy Metal_ magazine was in the mid-1970s-- one could sense the influence of Moebius, at least.

What bothered me about the _movie_ of _Heavy Metal_ was that they didn't use anything from the French artists they'd been publishing. No Moebius, no Druillet, not even Caza. Instead, the few good stories were truncated and shortened (that sequence you mentioned), dumbed down (Corben's story) or forced into that dopey green-orb stuff. And they capped it off with a terrible tits-and-ass swordplay story that seemed geared more towards a demographic than an intelligent audience.

Oh, and Faisal, about that dolphin steak... you've heard Chris Morris's parody of REM, where they sing the joys of whale meat? (It can be heard at http://hot.virtual-pc.com/illogik/phuture/cookd/realaudio/notrem.ram)

To Kari; Vic has fed the girl _to_ the dog. Not only does he realize that he loves the dog more, he's made the realization that, without the dog, and with this very unexperienced and demanding woman hanging onto him, he'd never survive. The marriages were a convention that the downunder-people imposed to satisfy their dopey religious family values. (I have no idea why they wore makeup.)

Jay Smith
Crackerbox Palace, - Saturday, December 1 2001 19:23:9

Regarding Harry Potter:

I remember going to see Star Wars in 1977 as a boy who really had no other interest than being entertained. Sure, now at 30 its being marketed as some melodramatic spirituality/morality play to keep us interested, but it all breaks down to the same cowboys and lasers, spaceships and explosions, monsters and wizards and magic... just fun stuff I still love to this day.

Harry Potter is the same thing with 25 years more special effects evolution. My six year old enjoyed it. He didn't look at it with anything more than a fresh, idealistic and playful mind and he absolutely loved it. The magic, the monsters, the spells, the explosions...with a hero who seems to be pure, courageous and decent despite adversity. It's a fun story translated into a vivid tapestry of effects and images.

It was fun. It was just fun.

Is it high art? Nah. But it is sparking young imaginations (like the book) in the same way Lucas sparked my generation's. Say what you like about Star Wars or Potter, they both have and will inspire the youth on a different level than we could ever understand at our ripe old age. :)

And if it gets kids to pick up books and turn off the frigging television, then bloody brilliant for it. If it gets them to think and dream, even better.

Kari <zemk0008@d.umn.edu>
Hinckley, MN USA - Saturday, December 1 2001 18:28:23

I just recently watched a Boy and His Dog for the first time. I am confused on what happened to the girl in the end. We know that he chose to get the dog food and water, but it never says what becomes of the girl. DOes she go back underground? Also, what is the point of the girls marrying the man if they are just going to use him for artificial insemination? In addition, why did the people that were underground have to have makeup on? Were they all trying to look the same?

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, December 1 2001 16:54:44

Heavy Metal vs. The Fifth Element? Sheesh, at least Fifth Element was somewhat entertaining. Heavy Metal is animatic masturbation - animation for the purpose of animating stuff that no one else would animate at the time. Too bad they forgot to put a decent story in there. It's especially trite when you put it up against anything that's come after and before. I'll take the darkness of Dumbo over Heavy Metal anyday.


Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, December 1 2001 16:45:9

Susan and I thank you for the condolences and good thoughts.


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Saturday, December 1 2001 16:26:30


Leigh claims (or did a few times, I doubt he does it now) that he was from working class roots. An account I found total balderdash as he went to Manchester Grammer School and his father was a Doctor. Struck me as one of those people who try and find some sort of artistic credibility by claiming to have climbed out of the gutter of working class existence. I like Abagail's Party and High Hopes but this kind of attitude used to be quite common in arty circles. In fact, I think it still is. How many people did I disappoint by not going 'gangsta' on them in parties.


Zardoz has high points, the issues of static evolution, eugenics and the use of religion as a method of control are just some of the gems that Boorman throws in his flick. Its outrageous, dated but utterly compelling. There's also some wonderful supporting performances as well as a wicked sense of black humour from Arthur Frayn. I can forgive the fashion and hippy commune enviroment, its a film that needs to be re-examined. I also bought it on DVD with directors commentary.

Fifth Element - If you loathe it as much as I do, use those cheap fares to fly over here. Then, I'll cash in my 8000 Sainsbury Points and we'll cross over to Paris and verbally assult assho-, sorry autuer, Luc Besson for throwing this piece of cinematic celluloid crap onto the consumer. While we're at it, lets strap him to a chair and force him to watch the Harry Canyon sketch in Heavy Metal and ask which film is the greater piece of art. Not only that, lets burn the negative to that pretencious piece of rubbish 'The Big Blue', the film whose poster decorates a thousand student rooms as its seen as some spiritual journey. Do I sound pissed! I certainly hope so.


P.S. On the other hand, lets forget burning the negs to The Big Blue. Chances are once that happens, the film will be elevated to even greater heights than it already, undeservedly, occupies.

I'll be in London, Table 5 of the Fujioka resturant in Soho eating a Dolphin meat steak. Rare and bloody.

Matthew Davis
- Saturday, December 1 2001 16:3:16

The earliest user of split screen I think is Georges Melies in the late 19th century. The most dramatic use I can think of Split screen is Abel Gance’s “Napoleon” from the mid-20s.


Who ever called Mike Leigh a working class hero. He’s a nice suburban jewish boy, which is why is middle-class characters are such caricatures.. And his “Grown Ups” made me laugh until I was almost physically ill. I was rolling around in my seat until I almost fell off but caught myself very hard in the abdomen. It was worth it.

- Saturday, December 1 2001 15:52:11


UFO has high points; Zardoz does not. And if you mention Fifth Element again I'll come after you, even if I have to go to the UK to do it. I might as well take some sort of advantage of these new low flight rates.

- Saturday, December 1 2001 15:42:1


Griffith pretty much came up with split screen along with every other basic camera technique we've ever heard of. I think it was as early as 1910, thereabouts, when the ss was first used, though I never saw it.

The earliest movie I recall seeing myself making use of it was Mamoullian's 1932 Jekyll and Hyde, with Fredric March. But I remember more vividly a variation of it he applied, in the slowest dissolve I've ever seen anywhere - maybe about 40 seconds, maybe more; after the good Doctor helps a prostitute to her room, as he's leaving she pulls the blanket all the way up her naked body swinging her leg with a sparkle in her eye; the soon-to-be-doomed girl continues with a chant, "come back to me, come back to me..." And we see this go on WHILE he heads down the stairs with his colleague, into the streets talking. The two simultaneous images are clear with the intent to show what was burning, unbeknownst to him, in the good doctor's unconscious. FINALLY, as he continues his conversation outside, the image of the girls's leg vaporizes completely, as though forever imbedded in the doctor's mind. Temptation will come back to destroy both of them. A really remarkable scene. No Jekyll and Hyde film surpassed this version. (March, incidentally, won the oscar for this one). That whole set-up was extremely cool.

Anyway, the point is the split screen actually goes a long way back. It became the IN thing in the 60's the way wipes were in the 20's and 30's. Once it became standard use in titles I think it ruined the effect it had at first; that's why some like Chris, I think, couldn't accept it. It's my contention had it never been applied to the latter Chris and others would be more open to it. So, I think the 'titles' were the death knell of its artistic pliability.


No, I don't quite agree that ingenious set-up in Rear Window qualifies as a split screen, technically. Its psychological intent is comparable. But the full shots were arranged for us to see what Stewart was seeing, exploiting his voyeuristic subconscious, as you already know; and other times the camera constantly panned. When we DID have simultaneous action, like when Grace Kelly is snooping around in Burr's apartment just as he's returning, it all happens in the SAME frame. Thus, split screen is really to show simulateanous action and PLACE (even if it's occasionally just a reverse shot so we can see both faces counterposed); if this scene were defined by the split screen plan we would have seen Stewart's face at the same time Burr discovers Kelly inside. But the shots kept reversing. Therein lies the subtle psychological difference between the split screen and what Hitchcock was doing in Rear Window.

Interestingly, I don't think he EVER used the technique; he may not have believed in it, and subjective set-ups were his forte (take a look at Frenzy, if you haven't seen it already; I never forgot that fucking brilliant scene where the tie-strangler is about to victimize another lady; they head up the stairs, and close the apartment door. Slowly and silently the camera pulls back, down the stairs, back out the door, and into the noisy street. We don't need to see the action).

Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Saturday, December 1 2001 15:15:4

Harlan - Condolences on the loss of both your friends. I hope their families manage to pull through their personal tragedies.

On another note, I went to a informal talk from literary agent Lesley Shaw on Thursday. Her agency represents Helen Fielding and Pat Barker. During the meeting she mentioned that all publisher's have an internet section but they are very suspicious about the net and piracy. I told her about your case, which she knews nothing about and gave her details to where to find out more. Hopefully, the news might filter down to more writers over here.

Brian - David Thewlis in Dr Moreau. A misfire of a film but I still liked some of it, though other sections are utterly laughable. Its a pity that Richard Stanley was sacked as his script was written by the great Michael Herr (Dispatches, FMJ) which Frankenheimer had to junk.

Rob - I'll give UFO another chance if you go and hire out the under rated Sean Connery classic Zardoz. I'm not kidding, this film is a SF gem and has got more substance to it than the trash coming out now i.e. The Fifth Element.


P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Saturday, December 1 2001 14:24:21

Dear Mr. Ellison,

I'll lift a glass to Don and Judi (and your ailing friend) tonight and think thoughts of comfort for you and Susan.

My sympathies,

- Saturday, December 1 2001 14:16:48

Oh, and one more thing:

Remember, the light is pretty damn good in here. That's ANOTHER reason why you're seeing these neysayers, whoever they are and whatever their motives. And this lawsuit's a LONG WAY from over, yanno. It's gonna heat up quite a bit before it cools down or resolves itself. (And this IS part of a not too tiny Internet issue--whether it's being paid attention to, right now, or not.)

And..per Ellison's comments, in his books, about sometimes sharpening his brain on reader mail--dealing with dangos in here helps HIM TOO, ya know. Maybe the lawyers are picking up cues; but then, so is Ellison; so IS Ellison.

I've heard... just a rumor, might be true.. the boy's KINDA smart, yanno.

Who's Reading Harlan?

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, December 1 2001 14:8:54


At first, I wasn't sure what you meant, but after running it through my head, I think you're onto something with split-screen and Rear Window. The silmultaneous action in different windows certainly bears an interesting relationship to split-screen action (and makes for some of the tensest moments on screen). Since I'm not a film historian, does anyone know when split-screen first became available?


- Saturday, December 1 2001 13:58:36

Some people are posting -- to you they look like newcomers, but they're not -- because Ellison is online; some, as per random acts in the universe, are simply passing through like any forum or list. These people are out there -- ask Jayne about that -- and Harlan is an easy target; in more ways than one.

But the conversations from the neysayers? I wouldn't worry. Harlan been talking to matzoheads like these for years. You're just reading over his shoulder, for a change, that's all.

No, don't be concerned about new eyeballs. What we've had in here over the last while are a pretty standard average for an open forum like this one.

And god thank Rick because he'll sweep up the spider poop, if need be.

Alejandro Riera
chicago, il - Saturday, December 1 2001 13:46:7

Harlan and Susan:

Let me pass on my belated condolences on the passing away of your two good friends. Good friends are indeed hard to find in this day and age. And when not one but two leave this world at the same time…then the pain becomes so unbearable that words are not enough to express the loss. Yet, the memories are there, will always be there and as long as you and the dozens of friends and close acquaintances of theirs are still around, they will not be forgotten. They may not be replaced at all, but the new friends that you made along the way, and the companions that you met in this here forum, will always be there to share those memories with you and pass them along to a new generation. Hope that made some sense.

I may not have a bottle of wine tonight to drink a good healthy toast to the memory of your two friends. But, hell, as long as we are around, they sure as hell won't be forgotten..

Yours respectfully in this hour of pain and sadness,


Xanadu <X_a_n_a_d_u@yahoo.com>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 13:43:50

Harlan & Susan: I'm sorry to hear of your loss, my heart goes out to all involved. It sucks, it blows, it's a great big gaping hole in your life. These words won't bring 'em back, won't make you feel particularly better or even put a shine on chrome - but pain shared is sometimes pain eased and I offer whatever little touch I can through this medium.

Peg: My thoughts exactly - There seemed a little too much "opposition" lately, and it seemed interesting to me that each "attacker" presented the case in a slightly different frame of reference, as though testing various "motives". I decided during the last to direct the folk to the archives here and nothing more. (I thought about going through the archives myself and creating a FAQ (no relation to Faisal), but figured why the hell would I want to do the work for the overpriced suits on the other side?) In any case - my recommendation for everyone is to simply not discuss this case on this board.

Movie Note: Just caught Rear Window (the original) on cable recently and wondered - would the setting of the other apartment house qualify as a highly limited/stylized version of split screen? It seems to me like it would.

Jay Smith
Heading North, , Nowhere on a Map - Saturday, December 1 2001 13:14:31

Harlan: As someone who received comfort in your words in a time of great loss, I can only wish the same for you in some form or another. I know you will help the families of your friends recover by being there with and for them.

Eric Martin: No one, and I mean NO ONE reads Ellison like Ellison. :) Jeffty was a good one to start off with. The story didn't truly click for me until I listened to it. I'm confident you'll enjoy the other tracks as much.


Peg <trbotongue@aol.com>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 12:56:12

Firstly, my condolences to the families of both Don and Judi, and to Harlan and Susan, on their loss.

Secondly, pure speculation here. Could the evidence Harlan refers to be the appearance of various folks on the board in the last couple of months who post views decidely in opposition or in critism of the board's namesake? I'm not implicating any particular individual - truly - but the number of new folks posting in that vein has gone up tremendously of late. I have to wonder if that's coincidence or not.

- Saturday, December 1 2001 12:43:28

Sir Harland the Ellisential:

Do me ONE favor?

"Hang on, Harlan." (Susan, a hug for monsieur, would you please?)

I'm in the library and I smell popcorn. Do you remember popcorn--the real stuff done on the stove, slathered in butter and excessive salt?

Here, I send you this memory for your files--to be opened in case of sad.

Heather loves you. Pat, pat, pat.

Peg <trbotongue@aol.com>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 12:43:25

Firstly, my condolences to the families of Don and Judy, and to Harlan and Susan.

- Saturday, December 1 2001 12:25:6

Okay...(not saying these are great; I simply came across 'em in a library book sale)...

Any offers on the following books, once I've finished reading em? Let's try to cover the cost of shipping and I'll send the money I get to HE.

(Again, this was JUST a book sale, I'm not working miracles here; I wanted to read em but have no plan to start a library, okay?--I'm travelling light these days.)

"The Understudy" - Elia Kazan -- hardcover 1975
"Writing Down the Bones" - Natalie Goldberg - paperback 1991
"27" - William Diehl - hardcover 1990
"Of Love and other demons" - Gabriel Garcia Marquez - hardcover 1995

Michael <leftearpro@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 12:8:7

Ah, jeez...losing friends sucks no matter what way you look at it. I keep telling myself that those fine people who have left my life still live in my heart and memory...but that's not the same as having them close by. My deepest condolences, Harlan and Susan.

- Saturday, December 1 2001 11:40:10


Having spent a full Friday feeling dispirited over Harrison’s passing - not that I can compare that to your last couple of days - I want to offer my condolences along with others here. I’m truly sorry you had to lose that chunk of the world - one that goes so far back.

Jim, the Wacky Guy:

I have to tell you that acoustic version of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ used to blow me away even on my best days. It stuck with me all yesterday. Had me thinking about Lennon a lot too.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 11:21:8

Someone once said that one of the saddest things of growing older is that you can't make _new_ old friends. Which makes losing the old friends you have that much harder.

I'm not very good at words of comfort. My own attitude is that life has a lot of loss and pain, and as long as one can find some happiness without resorting to infantile fantasy or cruelty, life can be bearable.

The fact that you've had good friendships that have lasted thirty, forty, or even fifty years is a terrific blessing. You may miss the ones who've gone, but you have decades of memories to draw from. It's a crime and an outrage that they _did_ die, and they won't share the future with you-- but that future has been shaped by the past they gave you. There's joy in that.

And remember; if you'd passed away and they'd lived on, they'd have enjoyed the same memories, the same joys, the same riches that they've given you. Good friendships that last that long are as good as it gets.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 11:7:50

Harlan, I'm very sorry for your loss, and I will certainly lift a glass to Don this evening.


Eric Martin
- Saturday, December 1 2001 10:59:8

Just received an audio package from Amazon, of Ellison reading his work. Excellent stuff. The first one I put on was "Jefty is Five," since I had never read that story, and even my fourtenn-year old son was entranced. And he nevers reads fiction.

I have lots of good hours to look forward to during the morning commutes.

Eric Martin

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, December 1 2001 10:51:12

And in a bit of good news, Crown Princess Masako of Japan has finally had her first child, a daughter, after years of trying and at least one miscarriage. I wouldn't ordinarily care about such a thing, but I'm just glad that she finally had a successful pregnancy.

Well, okay, I'm selfish about one thing. Japan's constitution prohibits a female heir to the Chrysanthemum throne,so I'm going to be watching amusedly while that constitutional crisis plays out, as the Japanese royal family hasn't had a male birth since 1965. God, I love politics some times...

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 10:2:58

Harlan: I am so sorry about the recent passing of your two friends--my deepest sympathies to you and Susan, and their families. If I could think of something that would make sense of the senseless, I'd write it here for you. What a rotten week, indeed.

As for the recent snooping of our pork-suit wearing friends...Rick, know this: If you see a post of mine that might hinder Harlan in his fight in any way, you have my blessing to edit or delete it, no questions asked. (Though an e-mail notice of said activity would be nice.) I don't want to hear, somewhere down the line, that one of my dumb little jottings changed the course of the KICK lawsuit for the worse. I'm going to think thrice, not just twice, before posting anything directly concerned with Harlan and/or KICK again, and I suggest everyone else do so, as well.

Brian: I have mixed thoughts about Mike Leigh's oeuvre, but David Thewlis's performance in NAKED is definitely one for the ages. It also has a particular significance for me, since, well, I WAS that character for a brief period in my life. There's a strange kind of exhiliration in seeing yourself perfectly captured on screen, I must say...

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 9:50:7

Susan & Harlan~ Our thoughts and our hearts are with you in your time of loss. Deepest condolences.

With deepest sympathy,

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Slowboy Heights, OH United States - Saturday, December 1 2001 9:28:45

Found it on the web, by gum. The film's called "Lost." If it's the same Don Buday, he also did a flick with Kiss, the theatrical rock group from the seventies.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker Heights, OH United States - Saturday, December 1 2001 9:24:55


Don BuDay? Screen and TV writer, wasn't he? I dimly recall a nice little flick about a lost kid and a dog that my daughters enjoy (I've probably got the sucker on tape somewhere, but I can't recall the title). In any case, my condolences.

And, folks, to heck with "Harry Potter." "Monsters Inc" is a better flick by far. There's more art in the subtly applied final line of "Monsters" than in the whole Chris Columbus mishmosh about the boy sorcerer.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 8:55:41

Well, the only Mike Leigh I've seen was _Life is Sweet_, but now I have two reasont to rent _Naked_. One, because thinking of _Life is Sweet_ prompts me, and two, because I just watched a bit of _The Island of Dr. Moreau_ and it'd be nice to see David Thewlis in something _good_ for a change.

Okay, who else here thinks it's a bit strange to hope for a "director's cut" of a Chris Columbus movie? Okay, in this case, the added stuff'd be more of J.K. Rowling, but _still_....

I wouldn't agree that Harry's so passive in the early part of the book. After all, most of the story's told through his eyes, so we get a sense of what's going on in his head-- what he's thinking, what questions are going through his mind, etc. And it's not impossible to convey that in a movie.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, December 1 2001 8:48:50

Harlan and Susan,

My deepest sorrows for your loss, and my deepest sympathies to both families on their loss.

Regards and best wishes,

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, December 1 2001 8:46:46


Re: Your well thought comments on Harry Potter.

First off, I totally agree on the Oliver Wood scene, which I thought was a real high-point. The actor was excellent, and the whole scene was just a wonderful take on sports (excellent design of the box, by the way - looked like a well-used box should, with little nicks and worn leather straps).

As for the Quidditch match, I thought it was a GOOD thing that it was a little hard to follow, since so much of it was from the perspecitve of the players. It's like being a fighter pilot - until you do it, you can't quite feel how difficult it is to be keeping track of so many moving objects in three dimensions while you're moving at insanely high speeds. Oh, and if I had the cash and it ever came up for auction, I'd but Madame Hooch's referee uniform in a second. Fantastic piece of costuming.

I agree that certain scenes were a little flat (though I think you're selling the Dursley scenes short - they're not especially evil people, but Muggles with a very strong and boring sense of what's normal). I did love the little touch of Dudley running down the stairs and then taking a second to jump one more time on the step above Harry's alcove. As I've said before, it's all worth it for Aunt Petunia's monologue, which managed to give me more of a feel for her character's feelings than the book did.

Oh, and whoever did the paintings effects deserves every bit of adulation they can get. Incredibly smooth, and non-faky looking.

On another subject, I'm watching the opening of the World Cup from Korea/Japan (literally - they're joint hosts), and can I say it's a fascinating mix of Oriental customs and the European/South American make-up of FIFA. Also, it's really interesting to watch one of the hosts, a Japanese woman in traditional ceremonial kimono, speaking flawless Spanish, Japanese and English. That, and one of the heads of the Japanese soccer organization appears to be an Aikido master.

God, I love this century sometimes.


P.S. People surf in Seoul? God bless 'em.

Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, December 1 2001 8:41:10


It's been a few terrible days. You won't know who he was, but my friend DON BUDAY had a sudden, massive heart attack, without warning or previous coronary problems, and dropped dead in the arms of his wife, Annie, last Sunday. I didn't learn of it till Thursday late. He was a close friend, and in fact the very first friend I made in Los Angeles when I arrived here in 1962. We knew each other for forty years, and I am desolated by his death. We are, were, the same age; and it is a chunk of the world I cannot replace. You would've liked him a lot. He was cool.

Then, yesterday, Susan and I learned that a woman we very much admired and liked, who lived around the block from us, who had been valiantly fighting cancer for five years . . . died. Her name was JUDI BROKAW. Every morning, for years, Judi and her husband Michael would do their walking/jogging past our house, and (maybe not every morning, but hundreds of mornings over the years) we would have pleasant conversations about our lives, events of the day, things that bothered us in everyday life . . . whatever. And she was a remarkable, beautiful woman of high intelligence, wit, and questing intellect. Too young, too goodhearted, too valuable to have passed so untimely.

Don and Judi. And another good friend of mine, who is possibly very ill. Waiting for Kaiser Medical to move at something more than the speed of a blancmange oozing downhill, for new tests and a necessary reevaluation.

No need to mention his name. He wouldn't want it.

But I'm distraught at his prognosis. And Don. And Judi.

Today, I'll go, in about four hours, to Don's house, to see Annie, and Don's other friends, including Shain, whom I met through Buday, and have known almost as long as I knew The Gypsy

I mention his name, only because I don't want the wind to take it away. I knew him a long time. We were friends.

It is a rotten week.

------------------------ pause --------------------------------

HEATHER: You're absolutely right. Prying eyes ARE on this site, 24-7. More evidence of that last week. One of the reasons I've absented myself here, and will continue to do so, for the near future.

JAYNE HITCHCOCK: I don't have e-mail. Get your phone number to Rick Wyatt, the webmaster on this site, and I'll call you.

ABOUT THAT MONTH-END ANNOUNCEMENT: It's coming. Be patient. All good things at their own pace, in their own appointed time. Be, as I say, patient. And if it's no bother, lift a glass to Don Buday, the Gypsy, sometime today. On my behalf.

Wistfully, Harlan

Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Saturday, December 1 2001 4:18:19


From what I know of HP, a lot of stuff was cut out of the film. I think the rough cut was something like three and a half hours and that a lot of it was character development that was just slashed. I presume a lot of this material will be appearing in a future DVD release.

I haven't seen the film myself, I was on a date and we decided to catch Spy Game instead. An interesting film, quite enjoyable and I liked the portrayal of the CIA HQ as a giant call centre with office politics galore.

It wouldn't surprise me though if the Beirut section was the one that was re-written the most. A lot of great acting (especially from the Doctor character) that is left in a really confused section which is trying so hard not to offend anyone (well apart from Hezbullah sympathisers). From what remains in this section, I wouldn't be surprised if the original intention was to actually use real life events (i.e. CIA/Saudi bombing attempt of a certain sheik that left 80 people dead) and tie them in with the two characters. Otherwise, still worth checking out as it does try to deal with the moral vaccum that is the intelligence services and not as bad as 'Enemy of the State' (or as Film Threat nicknamed it 'Conversation 2: Electric Bugaloo').


P.S. Mike Leigh... Mike Leigh... have I ever told you how much I despise that self styled 'working class hero'? Apparently, the director in Hanif Kureshi's novel (and good TV series) 'The Buddah of Suburbia' is a veiled attack on the man.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, December 1 2001 0:42:17

Rob/Andrew: I don't mind being called wacky--it's better than my usual moniker of "Is this the guy you called 911 about?" (I prefer the name "Ineffable Spirit of Mordant Wit," personally.)

Lynn: I will never watch the Macy's Parade again without wondering if some balloon-pervo is getting his rocks off in the crowd. Another preserve of childhood innocence goes up in flames.

Brian: I have quite a bit to say about some of the stranger hunts for "the lineaments of gratified desire," but I really need to do my weekly sleep thing now, so it will just have to wait.

Oh, and I need to mention another favorite George Harrison recording: The lovely acoustic "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" on The Beatles Anthology 3. It easily trumps the White Album version (which was pretty great to begin with).

Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Saturday, December 1 2001 0:33:20

Harrison was more than just a sweet songwriter. Without him, we may not have seen "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," "The Life of Brian" or Terry Gilliam's first movies. A truly sad day indeed. My thinking is that the maniac who stabbed him helped to seal the man's cancerous fate.

Jay "On Vacation If the Rain Would Just Stop" Smith
- Friday, November 30 2001 22:39:32


Done as you requested. I'll be posting them to my website after I finish my George Harrison eulogy. Which, if you're interested, will be posted along with a bunch of winded rants as www.zebrapix.com/rants/. Mostly terror/war related, but still from-the-heart type stuff.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Friday, November 30 2001 22:29:16

I agree that the beginning of Harry Potter was rushed and you get little sense of his misery with the Dursleys. The scenes were treated as a nuisance that got in the way of the real story.

However, I think the rest of the film captured the book very well, perhaps to a fault. You really don't get much of a sense of Harry as a character in the first book. Harry is very passive and he tends to win his way through the obstacles in his path more by merit of who he is than anything he does.

I think this works well for kids though. Children do tend to experience the world much more than they bend it to their will (though I am sure some harried parents will tell me otherwise.) But Harry's pretty flat in the first book and gets fleshed out later, especially in Prisoner of Azkaban (easily the best book) when he seems to have grown up enough to start doing things for himself instead of just watching what's going on around him.

I thought the movie was pretty darn good and far exceeded my expectations. I would have liked to see more on the train to Hogwart's but, hey, they weren't going to let it run at three hours.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 30 2001 21:47:58

Just came back from seeing the Harry Potter movie. I wouldn't call it a bad movie, but I kept thinking that they could have done a hell of a lot better if they'd just taken their time a little. I can appeciate how they managed to trim bits and pieces here, combining scenes and shuffling plot points here and there.

But individual scenes had a feeling of having been rushed, almost as if the actors were told to say their lines quickly so they could fit more of the book into the running time. So we don't get a sense of Harry as a character. We don't even get a sense of how miserable he is with the Dursleys; he's treated badly, of course, but the filmmakers don't make how he _feels_ a terribly high priority during most of the film.

In fact, the speed of the film kind of brings one of the problems of the book into relief. Within a few chapters, Harry goes from being a modern-day Dickensian orphan to being a) a wizard, b) a special wizard who survived an attack by Voldemort, c) an especially skilled Quidditch player, and d) the hero of the day. In a book, there's space to meander, to dwell on the little events that lead up to such revelations, and to show what other people are doing with their lives. In a movie... well, it's as quick as one-two-three. And it's seems a bit empty without having given us a better sense of Harry's inner life.

There's a scene when he meets Ron Weasley on the train, and in the book, it's a gem because the dialogue is so _good_ at capturing that moment when you make your best friend. In the movie, it's surprisingly short, and seems played only for the sake of the chocolate frog gag. Even the scene with Dumbledore and the Mirror of Erised plays flat-- it winds up being a monologue for Richard Harris, who doesn't do very much with his role.

There were a lot of things I liked. The action in the background paintings was stunningly nice. Some changes from the book were nice-- for example, a vanishing glass _returns_ for a really funny gag about Dudley, and there's a coda to a swarm of flying keys that was _very_ clever. The Quidditch match was a way too _Star Wars_ey for me, with concussive zooms as the brooms went past, but unlike many complaining reviewers, I didn't have much trouble following the game.

There's one scene which sticks in my mind-- not for its own qualioty, but because it indicated how good this movie could have been. It's the scene where Oliver Wood teaches Harry about Quidditch. The scene itself is noisily Chris Columbus-like, but the kid playing Wood was very good. He didn't seem like one of the Goonies, but like a teenage footballer who was taking the adult responsibility of mentoring a young talent. In that moment, I wished they'd have let someone like Mike Leigh direct the movie.

Mitch <mitch_3737@yahoo.com>
Hazlet, NJ - Friday, November 30 2001 21:41:9

'Now and Again' had some real potential. Interesting premise, solid cast...too bad the scripts were kinda hokey.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, November 30 2001 21:33:30


I'm curious, what cells would you have the most interest in?

I have to admit, the image in the following link made me chuckle.

My aunt (a freelance commercial illustrator) often complains that women drawn in this manner are too "head-lampy" and bring to mind the front end of an old Buick (I don't see this as a bad thing myself).

Your Buddy, Dagmar ;)

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 30 2001 20:13:59

Here's what I'd like to collect. Maybe after the wedding...



Todd Mason
- Friday, November 30 2001 20:5:48

Well, Joseph, ONCE will be cancelled, I fear, sooner rather than later, NOW was cancelled quickly, and NOT is what we usually get...

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 30 2001 20:3:53

Jim, re: Balloon fetishists. I don't even want to contemplate what you were surfing for when you stumbled on that. At least I have the excuse that a friend sent me this link:


Happy weekend,

- Friday, November 30 2001 19:55:25

Apologies. Make that JAYNE. I'd been reading "J.A." so many times I lost track of the spelling of your first name--and I see you were learning a little Japanese while there. The travel pieces in Okinawa are cool. The pics are excellent.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 30 2001 19:51:2


As my wife once put it:

"Once And Again, Now and Again, Not This Shit Again...."

- Friday, November 30 2001 19:37:35

I ask:

Any more of you got online prose/articles you want to post your links here for, on the forum? I've heard the word 'screenplay' a few times lately; how about those or anything else "in progress"?

Jason, if you don't mind, would you go find Rick's addy and send him those two pieces you showed me. (I'd be worried about sending attachments from Yahoo--don't ask.)

I think the writing is exceptional, most particularly, the second piece. I sat here in the library and read them both aloud--much to the strange stares of nearby occupants, I would imagine. Some of the twists and turns of 'fate' are perfection, Jason. Thank you.

And I second Loftus' comment on "where's that old Ellison piece from the 'writers collection' he sent you?" (I remember reading that piece. Ellison soared in that one. It's a beaut! Anyone who hasn't read it will be truly inspired.)

Jane, do you have any other fiction online? I've read what stuff you have thus far. Do you SPEAK Japanese?

And HE, it's month's end. Where's that news bulletin?

Todd Mason
- Friday, November 30 2001 19:22:17

DTS--still looking in around here? ABC's superlative serial ONCE AND AGAIN, no doubt cancelled soon, gained many points in the episode transmitting now on the East Coast/CT...by having characters discuss their memories of the board game CAMELOT. For a game in print for thirty years or so, a lot of people seem to forgotten it...(a Parker Bros. game that somewhat resembled "Chinese checkers", STRATEGO, and a wildly simplified Chess simultaneously...)...

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 30 2001 19:4:45

Todd and others of the GOP Webderlanders: The Republican party needs more like you. Where are the Barry Goldwaters or Everett Dirksens? Now THOSE were some goddamn Republicans. True 20th century American conservatives. I didn't agree with everything they believed, except for their belief in the democratic ideals of the U.S.

I also respect the fact that you have enough sand to stay here and argue with the rest of us rather that take the tried and true method used by so many these days and run off whining, "Those bad people were mean to me! Waaahh!"

In case you didn't guess, my party affiliation is as follows:

"I do not belong to an organized political party. I am a Democrat." --Will Rogers

As for talk radio hosts, there was someone in our office who listened to them all day long. I was far enough away so that I couldn't make out any words. Their endless harangues sounded like the hooting of angry simians. Which did inspire this song:

Ninety-nine brain-dead babboons are screeching in my living room,
This one's Rush, this one's Joe, this one's Desi, this one's Flo,
They're all on my radio as ninety-nine brain-dead babboons go by.

It helped me survive those endless Ricola commercials. I was hearing "Riiicolaaa" in my sleep. I hope Rush has since switched sponsors. Then again, it may explain his hearing problems.


Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 30 2001 18:10:30


I take it you liked it? :) Thanks. You're welcome to forward them. I just remembered the PDFs I sent were sans front cover. I gave them out as Christmas presents a few years back. Sometimes managing a Kinko's has its advantages. :)

I'd enjoy any feedback you have for the next draft. Take care.


Todd Mason
- Friday, November 30 2001 17:12:15

It would be a sad thing if there was no more !nissassa. (Nudges from all over.) (!snissassa?)

- Friday, November 30 2001 16:32:16


(Pardon my french but)...

Holy fucking Christ! YOU WROTE THAT STUFF?


Show this to Rick Wyatt, I IMPLORE you. (I think he'll like it, is my point.)

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. I loved it.


P.A.. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Friday, November 30 2001 14:29:32

Rich: What a big nightstand you must have.

Joe: I was thinking "Silent All These Years," "Winter," or "Mother." Or maybe the last two together for a whole parental theme.

Lorin: I like Ani but I love Tori. I could probably put "Out of Range" in there with "Mother" for a double shot of Mommy!Angst.

Tony Soprano: What is that?
Irina: "Chicken Soup for the Soul."
Tony: You should read "Tomato Sauce for Your Ass."

- Friday, November 30 2001 14:16:33


BTW, I meant to respond earlier here:

I've actually met my backside lots of times. And each event made my lumbar and dorsal ever sturdier.

Actually, outside my jaw-hanging consternation over the Rightists reading Ellison (and managing to stay in their "morass") I enumerated facts - not mere leftist gripes - which, you could surely understand, piss me off. Particularly on the domestic scene, ranging from med insurance issues to fed tax and universities(every time they've run the show financial aid would become more difficult - unreasonably so).

And you already know my 'tude about imposing religious factions; you don't have to be very left at all to understand how their Puritanistic reach can stifle our social growth (the Scopes controversy, for instance, still lives on, though in a modified form). It's a presence in the Republican party comparable to toe-nail fungus.

- Friday, November 30 2001 13:17:48


'ey! You don't be callin' Jim no whacky guy! No one who gets off on Syd Barrett is whacky, see?

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 30 2001 12:5:12

Oh, yeah, the balloon fetishists. Maybe it's me, but I think they've got a long way to go to count as a really wei`rd sexual interest-- as compared to, say, the furry fans, pony fetishists, body inflation fans, and being-crushed-by-a-giantess's-feet crowds.

About two years ago, I picked up a book called _Deviant Desires_ by one Katharine Gates. It was published by an offshoot of the RESearch people, those trendy kids in San Fran who've done some decent books on strange films, pranks, J.G. Ballard, and that sort of thing. Sadly, after they'd published books like _Bob Flanagan: Supermasochist_, they seem to have exhausted their imaginations, so this book falls far short of its "incredibly strange sex" subtitle.

What's really funny about the book is this. The first section, devoted to the pony fans (people who dress and act like ponies, complete with bridles and saddles), is by far the longest chunk of the book. It's also the only one where the author herself decided to "give it a try." None of the other sections-- on balloon fetishists, fat fans, furry fans, giantess fans, clown fetishists, sloppy-wet-wallowing-in-food sex-- are nearly as long, and the author seems to keep her distance on these.

A few years ago, I was hanging at Philcon with a friend of mine who did a fanzine devoted to furry art. He and I were walking through a restaurant when he spotted an artist he was dealing with, so we sat down and began chatting. After a few minutes of their trading stories about the _real_ strange-os among that crowd, I had to ask a question that had been dancing at the back of my mind.

"I gotta ask. Has anyone in this furry fan stuff ever actually tried to _do_ this stuff with a real animal? I mean, they could go down to the local pound, pick up a nice spaniel for maybe fifty bucks, and with some ether and some mail-order bags of silicone, they'd have an instant Furry Companion to keep around the house. Anyone tried that yet?"

My friend told me later that he'd never seen his artist friend shocked into speechlessness.

Alejandro Riera
Chicago, Il - Friday, November 30 2001 11:53:29

Hey gang:

Today's Chicago Tribune published this story on how comics are trying to make sense of the September 11 events and at the same time gain mainstream acceptance:


Thought this might be of interest.

Lorin O.
- Friday, November 30 2001 11:33:53

Quickie to Bermanator, re: feminist poetry/music. Have you considered using something from Ani DiFranco? I find her lyrics a bit more artful and a LOT more coherent than most of Tori Amos's.

Two cents for free!


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, November 30 2001 11:10:25


I don't know what's more strange and inexplicable. The folks at baloonapallooza, you for mentioning it, or me for getting suckered into looking at the site. You're a wacky guy, but I think you're okay (despite what everyone else may think). ;-P


- Friday, November 30 2001 11:7:31

I was thoroughly devastated this a.m. when I read of Harrison's passing. I mean we're all scheduled to kick it at some point; but 58, by today's standards, is just too damn young. Sometimes I just can't believe how problematic cancer can be. I hope some real breakthroughs are made in the med research over the decade.

Anyway, I'll really miss this guy. It absolutely sucks.

Jim Davis
- Friday, November 30 2001 10:56:17

I only share this with you to demonstrate that the male libido can take many strange and inexplicable forms: http://www.balloonapalooza.com/

And, NO, I am NOT thinking of ordering the "Sydney's Huff & Puff" Cd (you buncha preverts)...


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Friday, November 30 2001 10:21:28

I have a request of my southern California friends on this fine board or of anyone else who has information on the subject. I'm applying to MFA screenwriting programs (yes, yes - I know you don't learn to write in school - I have different motivations) but, of course, there aren't many choices. I have already applied to USC but I'm hardly counting on acceptance there.

I'm planning to apply to Chapman and to Loyola Marymount but would like to get input from any locals on both those schools. Do you know anything about them and their respective locations (Orange ,CA and the Westchester section of LA.) I am disturbed by the frequent mention of God on the Loyola website but I already went to one Jesuit school where I barely even noticed the religious nonsense so I need a more personal an unbiased opinion.

If the board isn't the right place for such info, please respond by e-mail at the above e-address and thank you in advance for your kindness.

Also, any further suggestions on other schools to apply to (I'm not going to New York and I already did BU film school so they're all out) for screenwriting would be appreciated. Thanks.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 30 2001 8:57:48


Er, you do know Friedman earned a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Sabra and Chatilla Massacre, performed by Phalangist militia under the eye of the Israeli Defense Ministry, don't you? If that makes him unreliably pro-Israeli in your eyes, so be it. Hell, I never expect a journalist to be totally objective - just correct. Murrow was never objective - just fair and correct. While Friedman may not be in the same class, he has never let his pro-Israeli leanings get in the way of his reporting the truth.

By the by, you might note that the man Friedman help get kicked out of the Defense Ministiry, Ariel Sharon, is now big in Israeli Politics again. Sheesh. Nitwits in their parties have shorter memories than the voters here.


Eric Martin
- Friday, November 30 2001 8:47:12

A tale from the subconscious:

I was having a series of weird dreams last night, one of which talking dinosaurs were taking over the earth, and at one point, I was walking down a London street with George Harrison and his dog. He stopped and tried to climb into a barred window of this building, and there was this blinding white light. I knew the building was heaven, but George fell back on the sidewalk and said, "no luck this time." We walked a little farther, and my dreams shifted into something else.

Later I woke up five minutes before my alarm, like I always do. I laid there in semi-sleep, waiting for it to go off. It did, and the news guy said, "it's 6:00." Then a Harrison tune started up, and I immediately knew that Harrison had died.

I thought it was weird...I of course had read that his illness was becoming critical earlier this week, but there was nothing on the Net or the news in the previous day that might have spurred my dream that night. Feeling a little blue, I went to the basement and hunted down my Traveling Wilburys tape to listen to on the way to work, since I didn't really want to play Beatles, and I have no solo Harrison albums. The Wilburys were as much his band as anyone's, and I always liked that first album, which I bought the day after Roy Orbison died.

I listened to the first song, "Handle with Care," which George sings, and then picked up the case to see what the next song was that he sang (they all sing about two each on the album.) It was on the second side. It was called "Heading for the Light."


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 30 2001 7:39:1

Twenty-one years ago, I woke up with the radio playing Beatles songs, and figured maybe the day would be all right. Then the deejay came on and said John Lennon was dead. It's a bitch when history repeats itself, isn't it?

(My favorite Harrison songs? "Here Comes the Sun" is about as perfect a gem one could hope for. And I love his version of Dylan's "If Not For You" on the _All Things Must Pass_ album. Only two of many, of course.)

I'm not keen on Thomas Friedman; the guy's reporting on the Middle East has always been one-sidedly pro-Israeli, and _The Lexus and the Olive Tree_ struck me as a pretty silly exercise in cheerleading. Thing is, ever since September 11th, the guy looks sane compared to some of the maniacs writing opinion here in the States.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 30 2001 7:26:2

You know, I can't get this picture out of my head of Shaq sitting behind the desk of a small Alabama county jail with his feet up on the desk and his hat pushed back on his eyes as he reads the latest Field and Stream while waiting for Deputy Dale to come back from the Piggly Wiggly with his lunch.

"We don't take kindly to Bulls fans down here in Alabamy, son!"

Okay, I think the head cold is now infecting my brain...


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 30 2001 7:21:32

PA Berman,

Some Tori suggestions that would be suitable for Mormon high school seniors (Tori music with no swearing or overt sexual references - that's a little difficult). Anyway, here you go, with album title:

Winter (Little Earthquakes)
God (Under The Pink)
Talula (Boys For Pele)
Jackie's Strength (Songs From The Choirgirl Hotel)

If you want really good stuff for adults:

Icicle (Under the Pink) - creepy song about the combined shame and thrill of masturbating in church

Raspberry Swirl (Choirgirl Hotel) - let's just say that the chorus goes:
"If you want inside, well/
Better make with raspberry swirl."
Interpret as you will...

Hope my serious suggestions help!


Jim Davis
- Friday, November 30 2001 6:23:54


58 years old. I wish I could say it was a shock, but he was very ill for a long time, and I know from personal experience how hard the fight with The Crab can be. My favorite Harrison song? "Long, Long, Long." And, as I've mentioned here before, he was a helluva guitarist. He seemed, like Syd Barrett, to turn his back on the music biz in his later years, and who can blame him? Though it's hard to be sympathetic to stars who piss and moan about fame, he was a *BEATLE*, after all, and I doubt any of us can imagine the near-cataclysmic changes that level of celebrity can ring in a person's life. Again, always, forever: What a shame.

- Friday, November 30 2001 5:46:42

Here's the link to Sheriff Kazaam: http://espn.go.com/nba/news/2001/1129/1286574.html

As far as what's on my bedside table: a slightly sticky copy of Penthouse, Chicken Soup for the Soul (all of them, but I especially like the one for pederasts), Art of War (of course), Rich Dad's Guide to Investing, a couple of biographies--Ho Chi Minh, A Life and The Life and Work of Harold Pinter (they both have similiarities as strategists; one uses words and the other uses pungi sticks), a Justin from N'Sync bobblehead doll (I find myself glancing at the bobblehead doll while perusing the Penthouse and I don't know why), Hieronymus Bosch: The Complete Paintings and Drawings, The California Pop-Up Book, Fox in Socks (also in French), two dog-eared copies of Entertainment Weekly because I ran out of toilet paper a few days back (Tom Cruise is on one cover and Harry Potter on the other), a candy cane striped dildo (not mine; I'm holding it for a friend--and I'm not literally holding it, I'm...never mind), a box of Kleenex, one Garfield alarm clock, one Harley Davidson phone (and I imagine I keep burning myself on the chrome exhaust; especially when calling the 1-900 numbers), the NIV Study Bible and the Essential Koran since I'm also into mythology, and last but not least, a Fred Flintstone Pez dispenser that I keep my Prozac in instead of the little candies. It might be eclectic, but I call it mine.

Trust me, you don't want to know what's in my CD player. And it ain't a CD.

Jayne Hitchcock <whoa@haltabuse.org>
Dover, NH USA - Friday, November 30 2001 5:45:34

Harlan: Please contact me via e-mail. I have a question to ask that can't be put on the board. Thanks!

Crackerbox Palace, - Friday, November 30 2001 5:37:34

Thanks, George.

Sunrise doesn't last all morning
A cloudburst doesn't last all day
Seems my love is up and has left you with no warning
It's not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away

Sunset doesn't last all evening
A mind can blow those clouds away
After all this, my love is up and must be leaving
It's not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
None of life's strings can last
So, I must be on my way
And face another day

Now the darkness only stays the night-time
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good at arriving at the right time
It's not always going to be this grey

All things must pass
All things must pass away
All things must pass
All things must pass away

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Friday, November 30 2001 5:12:3


My question re: Tori was... I am going to be teaching a week-long unit on feminist poetry and wanted to use one Tori song. It has to be clean (no swear words, no overt sexual references) and not too cryptic for seniors. Should also appeal to boys as well as girls.

Any ideas? Also, if you can think of poems that might related to a particular song, that would be helpful too.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 30 2001 5:2:55


Your book recommendations are superb, and I'd like to add one just for a slightly different perspective (hey,you wouldn't think I would agree 100% with any book, would ya?): Thomas Friedman's "The Lexus and the Olive Tree." It's an atempt to look at what globalization actually is, and both the good and bad sides of it. Friedman tries to be as balanced as possible (which is a nice counterpoint to Grieder, who though he's a brilliant journalist, can be a bit hysterical to me), and it really is quite a good overview and examination of the issues involved.

I'm also pleased to see, though unhappy with the reason why, that Friedman's "From Beirut To Jerusalem" is back on the charts (though the thought of trying to understand Afghanistan by looking at Lebanon and Israel in 1988 is kind of ludicrous). Fine historical document.


Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philadelphia, - Friday, November 30 2001 1:52:4

Some sad news: CNN and Reuters are reporting George Harrison dead at the age of 58.

December's a bad month for Beatles.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 30 2001 0:21:51

Just one last note before I go off to bed. The books on my nightstand are _Positively 4th Street_, by David Hajdu, which is an enjoyable book about the relationships between Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mimi Farina and Richard Farina. Nicely written, and one of the book's surprises is that Hajdu managed to get Thomas Pynchon to answer a few questions about his friendships with the four above.

The other is _Jihad Vs. McWorld_ by Benjamin Barber. The title sounds like one of those smugly-confident pieces you'd see in _Slate_, where the writer gets all coming-doom over a conflict between us Good Christian Capitalists and those Backwards Unwashed Towelheaded Maniacs. (Samuel Huntingdon's got one out titled _The Clash of Civilizations_, and it's 100% grade-A bullshit.) But Barber's not that dumb, and the book's worth chekcing out.

Barber's thesis is that democracy could become a casualty of two trends in global politics. The first, as you may have guessed from the title, is a resurgence of tribalism, religious fanaticism, and nativist ideology that he loosely terms "Jihad." (Barber stresses that he doesn't confine the sketch to Islam, and that similar trends are seen in Christian, Hindu, and Jewish cultures, tho it's obvious that people will take it as another reason to bitch about Mohammed.) "McWorld," on the other hand, is the spread of a corporate monoculture, where the determinants of our lives have been taken away from democratic institutions and placed in the hands of corporations-- the end result of which is less public participation in decisions of policy, and more and more power going to fewer and fewer organizations that are less and less subject to democratic control.

It's also worth reading Thomas Frank's _One Market Under God_ and William Greider's _One World, Ready or Not_ as well.

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Thursday, November 29 2001 23:32:34

Hey, Todd:

You're not the only Republican who enjoys Harlan's work. I'm one too. And I wouldn't be surprised if there were a few more of us who don't bother mentioning it because they just don't see any point in drawing fire from some of the other folks on the board.

Some people apparently don't understand that you don't have to be of any particular political persuasion to enjoy the display of intelligence and craft to be found in Harlan's work. Nor does enjoying his work (or the work of any other writer) mean you necessarily have to agree with his political positions.

-- tr

- Thursday, November 29 2001 23:20:37


Great load of info on Barrett. I wasn't even aware he was still alive! Christ, he makes Kurdt Cobain look like the Great American Success Story by comparison.

I'll listen to his stuff soon.

- Thursday, November 29 2001 23:7:1

Brian and Faisal,

Re: UFO.

David Gerrold and I dug it (I already explained why). So fuck off. Now I see why it's good to have a bankable name in your back pocket. ;)

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 22:11:25

I'm with Faisal on the UFO series. I saw it when it was aired here in the States, in the early 1970s, and I thought it was just dreadful. Silly idea, uninspired production design, and not worth watching. And this was when I could still enjoy an episode of _Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons_, so it's not as though I was being a anob or anything.

On a brighter note, I finally settled on a design scheme for my website. Nice thing is, the style'll work well as a letterhead, too. Suggestions are welcome: http://www.briansiano.com

Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Thursday, November 29 2001 22:9:9

Current Reading: I've just started reading Proust (yeah yeah, I'm sure many of you around here have already been through the Rememberance; just never got around to it on this end) and I find myself traveling on the subway, perusing a particular descent into smell, sight and detail and completely losing track of my senses. This is a lovely feeling.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, November 29 2001 21:32:52


Strange you should ask. Nothing for the runner-ups, buy everyone should look ak the horribly funny stuff that Wells does at:


Damn. We're going to have to work REAL hard to beat this guy, aren't we?


Jay Smith
On Vacation, Beautiful Sunset - Thursday, November 29 2001 21:18:33

Joseph - Is there a site that features any of the runners-up from that contest, or last years? Is yours online? My big regret is not making it to Chicago for last year's con. My gang of mutants produced a music video, but it didn't get cut before the deadline. I am looking forward to another shot at the title.

Imagine getting a writing gig at Marvel with the stuff Zeb did. Wow. Talk about a golden ticket to the chocolate factory. Now that we all have a benchmark and an idea what the judges want, next year will be a fun race.

David - Thanks for making the dubs. I'll send you my mailing and let me know how much for them.

Gunther - Did you hear if "Battle Royale" was going to be released domestically? I can't imagine mainstream audiences getting it, of course, but I'd love to see it in a theatre, even an art theater... properly subtitled.

On my nightstand - "Wilhelm Reich in Hell" by Robert Wilson, "The Devil's Dictionary" which I try to keep in my back pocket, the Ops Manual for my store, and a tape set of golden age radio shows, Maxim and Wizard magazine. I keep a copy of "Slippage" nearby.

I'm a big fan of Floyd WITH Roger Waters and continue to baffle my friends with my appreciation of Waters' solo work. I thought Amused to Death was a great album, but I hope its the last "war sucks and my daddy was killed in one" therapy session. Radio KAOS is a guilty pleasure of mine because its cheesy, dated yet brilliant. "The Tide Is Turning" is a great bit. Not sure what the big connection is between the post-Waters Floyd/the late Douglas Adams and Stephen Hawking. Neither Adams nor Hawking could help provide better lyrics or concepts for the crap they've been churning out since 'Momentary Lapse...'

Not sure why Waters and Warren Zevon aren't more popular than they are. Love them both. Warren Zevon gives a great small-club concert.

Time for a margartia...its birthday/vacation time! Be well everyone.

- Thursday, November 29 2001 20:27:36

P.(Eh?) Berman:

..a... ..a.. ..a.. Haiku!

Bless you!


New product idea (Come close; we wouldn't want someone STEALING this one.):

SLUSH BAG BABIES (TM) -- "When you're feeling hot / they can't be beat / but you sure can LICK em."

1) Sell SLUSH BAG BABIES at 7-11 quirky marts--ideal, as they have the distribution network and the slush machines.

2) Hire some of those deadhead teens who work for minimum wage in all those OTHER fucking induvidually-run jobs (and pay them MORE! What a concept!)

3) Rent computerized sewing machines to create SLUSH BAG BABY coverings/characters.(Bean bag baby = size of SLUSH BAG BABY) Talk to Ellison about rights to "FURRY BANANA" SLUSH BAG BABY. (TM)

4) Have teens run operation. (You think I'm kidding? I'm not. Most teens are not "jaded/indoctrinated/socialized/lacking that sense of wonder" enough yet to be REAL assholes. Think about it. Every one of you wishes you still believed the way you did when you were younger--even if it was only last Thursday at 1:38 p.m.)

Customers can enter store, choose SLUSH BAG BABY of their choice (available versions include: waterproof-lined; with/without swirly straw), fill it with the slush flavor of their choice (PAB flavors WILL BE MADE AVAILABLE pending Berman negotiations), seal that sucker, take it home and ENJOY!

Collect 'em, Trade em, reFREEZE em, leave them by the dog dish for a tasty surprise for Rover, fill 'em with grape jelly and put 'em on a SLUSH BAG BABY glass display (coupon available at 7-11. See manager named Ahm Sing Eng for more details.)

I'm buying the domain, "slushbaby.com" as we speak.

portland, oregon - Thursday, November 29 2001 20:10:18

*lurk off*

re: stupid folks
- there is a study supporting your observations -


*lurk on*

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, November 29 2001 20:0:11

PA Berman,

What's scary is that the '45 of Baltimore is worth about $800 these days....

Hey, what was the Tori question you had, anyway? Even if it did get answered, you piqued my curiousity.


P.A, Berman <virulentstrain>
Bingo, NY USA - Thursday, November 29 2001 19:44:6


I generally read Nietzsche in the can and listen to Tori in the car. I try not to combine those two activities.

Back atcha,

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, November 29 2001 19:14:22

PA Berman,.

C'mon, reading Nietzsche while listening to Tori's "Baltimore?" Is there anything better than that?

Hee hee,

P,A, Berman <virulentstrain>
Floydian Slip, My Haiku Contribution USA - Thursday, November 29 2001 19:8:56

Careful with that axe
You might wind up hacking off
Something important


P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Thursday, November 29 2001 19:4:18

You guys have time to read?!?

I have, on the nightstand The Portable Nietzsche, The Essential Lenny Bruce, The Essential Ellison, a copy of Maxim, and a copy of Harper's. I read little pieces of whichever strikes my fancy before bed.

Anyone read The Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin? I was just flipping through "A Clash of Kings" and longing for the 4th book to come out.

In my CD player is George Carlin's "What Am I Doing in NJ?" Also just listened to Tori Amos' "Precious Little Diamonds" b-side collection, Iron Maiden's "Number of the Beast," and William S. Burrough's "Spare Ass Annie."

am I eclectic or just a freak?

Haiku Jim
- Thursday, November 29 2001 18:5:9

Syd Barrett is gone;
Puttering in his garden
He hums "Arnold Layne"

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 29 2001 17:0:10

Darkside of The Moon
Wizard of Oz, my buttocks!
Smoke some more you nut

Haiku Of The Day
- Thursday, November 29 2001 16:52:17

floyd and ellison
not in kansas anymore
dark side of the moon

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 16:50:56

Left----> Center ----> Right ----> Wackos ----> :|| (loop)
Reminds me of Ca's Central Coast politics, before anyone knew Arianna Huffington as anything other than Michael Huffington's wife (or as that lady with the hair).


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Thursday, November 29 2001 16:46:48

UFO - Gerry Anderson show

UFO is a good show!?! I'll give it another chance but I hated the dammed thing and it was because of its terrible decor, the acting mostly stunk and the stiff upper lip syndrome. I'm not a big Anderson fan, I still can't watch stuff like Captain Scarlet or Thunderbirds without going 'CUT IT! CUT THE FUCKING SHOT! ITS TOO FUCKING MUCH! ITS ONLY A FUCKING MODEL!'.

But if people are saying its worth re-examining, well...

The Hitcher - Great film (another Eric Red classic is 'Near Dark'). Its a mean pulpy yarn which dispenses with all character building screenwriting manual pretensions to tell a story that scared the crap out of me. I was surprised about how subtle it was in that most of the violence occurs off screen (even, yuck, Jennifer Jason Leigh's death - a hideous breaking of convention). I'll have to see that movie again as well.

Got my free DVD's today and had a look at Bakshi's Lord of the Ring. God its dated badly now. I loved it a few years ago but now... just a mess. Rotoscoping could only accomplish so much. A I remember reading a lecture from Saul Zaentz where he commented that this project he lost control on as he couldn't tell how flawed the film would be as they didn't have animation dailies.

The other DVD was 'Natural Born Killers'. Thats not a film I like either.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 16:42:19

Fronk, you're going to have to learn to read things _carefully_ before responding. I wrote that "the lunatic racist ideas of clowns like Leonard Jeffries were _widely derided_ in the news media as "political correctness run amok," typical of the Left."

But the fact is this. Lunatics like Jeffries and Dworkin have had a following among people who otherwise claim liberal or leftist ideas. They don't speak for me, they certainly aren't typical of the better minds on the Left, and in truth, their ideas are the same kind of nativist fascist bullshit that the Left should set itself against. But they clothe their ideas in the language of liberation and justice, and there are quite a number of people who've been suckered by this.

(I remember attending a meeting of a student socialist group at Penn, and dropping my opinion that the Nation of Islam was a fascist organization. Boy, did THAT piss some people off.)

And I'd like to ask you this. We agree that crackpots like Jeffries and Dworkin aren't of "the left." Fine. But would you extend that same courtesy, and agree that crackpots like David Duke or Richard Butler are equally not of "the Right?"

Frank Church
- Thursday, November 29 2001 16:17:46

When was Leonard Jeffries ever a legitimate member of the left,Brian? He is more of a fascist/black nationalist. Nothing mainstream about that. Some say Chomsky makes stuff up, but his fact checking is amazing.

People used to say Farrakhan was on the left, but most of his views could easily be incorperated to the right. Coarse there are always nuts who get boxed in with groups they don't belong with. They say Andrea Dworkin is a leftist, but her views are looked down upon by most mainstream leftists. She is more of a cultural fascist, who uses leftist ideas as a smokescreen.

Coarse the terms "left" and "right" rarely have any viable meaning anymore. You are either for "truth" or "lies."

Gunther Schmidl <gschmidl@gmx.at>
Linz, Austria - Thursday, November 29 2001 15:40:57


stranger and stranger. Just today I thought about some horrible remake of a classic by some horrible director, but couldn't for my life remember what and who was involved.

Now I remember.

Simon "Tomb Raider" West is rumored to be the director of a Prisoner movie, if they ever do make one. What can I possibly say about this, other than a quote from Coming Attractions:

"McGoohan has said that Kevin Costner will not play Number 6 if those involved want McGoohan to take part in the film at all."
( http://www.corona.bc.ca/films/details/prisoner.html )

That's two things today this message board has reminded me of. You people rock.

Mike Smith <massmith@earthlink.net>
Culver, Calif USA - Thursday, November 29 2001 15:34:3

Hi all
I know Mr. Ellison changed his mind about appearing on Politically Incorrect recently, and will most likely appear on PI in December. I will be out of town for two weeks in Dec. and I bet I'll miss the show. Anyone know when he will be on? Or, would someone be kind enough to tape it and send me a copy? I am in L.A., if this helps.

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, November 29 2001 15:28:29

And yes, I can spell "victorious" by the way...



Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, November 29 2001 15:23:40


Open a can-o-worms willya?

Currently in heavy rotation in my house: theThe, "NakedSelf", and "Hanky Panky". XTC, "Wasp Star (Apple Venus Vol. 2)". The Clash, "Clash on Broadway (discs 2&3)". Peter Gabriel, "US". Inkuyo, "Double Headed Serpent". Paul Weller, "Paul Weller". Primal Scream "Screamadelica". St. Etienne, "Foxbase Alpha". Portishead, "Dummy". And last, but not least, Jaz Coleman and Anne Dudley, "Songs From the Victorius City".

Okay, okay, so it's a slightly eclectic mix.



P.S. Favorite Floyd albums? "Dark Side of the Moon" and "Welcome to the Machine". Goofy, ain't I?-AR

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 15:10:4

Never was much of a Pink Floyd fan. There are a few cuts I like, like "One of these Days." But when they'd done _Dark Side of the Moon_ and _The Wall_, it was at a time when every waterhead in my school thought they were The Shit, and that left a very bad taste in my mouth. Imagine, if you can, when completely average thugs of high-school age were rhapsodizing about madness and genius, and shouting out "We don't need no education" like it was a goddamn football chant. (Education? Fuck, I would've been happy to send'em to a fucking _gulag_. Good for them I wasn't Barry Ween.)

Todd: No, liking Rush Limbaugh doesn't make you a Satan worshipper. But, since Rush's listeners are more likely to include the humorless but energetic protectors of such conventional faiths as Jesus-worship, you can probably understand why many of us might not be inclined to, say, let you know where our meeting-places are.

To Frank Church; I hate to break this to you, but I've run across lots of times when people on the liberal and left ends of the spectrum rely on litle more than heresay, bald assertion, and popular myth. I will grant, however, that the right-wing has a LOT more cash to fund, nurture, and publish their particular propaganda. And this does make a difference: for example, the lunatic racist ideas of clowns like Leonard Jeffries were widely derided in the news media as "political correctness run amok," typical of the Left, yet the equally crackpot schemes of creationists and Charles Murray are treated with respect and careful consideration by the mainstream media.

As for Harlan's writing, well, it doesn't surprise me that he'd have fans among conservatives. Many of them like to adopt a strong individualist stance, and that's clearly a major theme in Harlan's work. This doesn't mean that their beliefs are consistent with anything I'd regard as wise or intelligent, and there are lots of people of utterly conventional outlook who think of themselves as radical or transgressive-- but that _appeal_ is certainly there.

Frank Church
- Thursday, November 29 2001 14:39:46

Pink Floyd bore the hell out of me. Any band that takes 3 months just to record one guitar solo can't be that great. I do believe that music should be a bit more spontanious.

Actually they do say that people become more conservative as they grow old, but I do think that is bunk. It really matters what kind of information you feed your brain, and that the info is from well researched sources. The big flaw in Conservatism is that lack of facts. Conservative's usually make up the facts, or recieve them from base sources. Read, The National Review and you can drive trucks through many of their facts. There are well meaning Conservatives, but their views just plain stink.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, November 29 2001 14:4:33


Though much of that type of music bores me to tears, I'll second the Enigma reccomendation. Fine album. SOmething else I've been listening to a lot is "The In Sound From Way Out," a French import of a Beastie Boys instrumental rock/jazz CD. Damn good stuff.


- Thursday, November 29 2001 13:22:2

That'd be: "Le Roi Est Mort COMMA Vive Le Roi"
::sigh:: pesky punctuation.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 13:20:29

Jim~ Just got done reading P&T "How To Play In Traffic". Great book. My favorite is the chapter on NASA's quantifying comedic timing. And the last chapter is painfully pre-Sept 11th.

re: Floyd: Waters is a whiner, but I still love Radio KAOS. Jim Ladd is a god. "I don't care. Shut up! Play the record!" (Something I often scream at my radio.) Much rather have my Moody Blues or Yes, thank you very much. I confess the major gaps in my listening collection are Clapton and Knopfler(sp?). I find myself craving Stevie Ray. Not enough blues. Must get more blues.

What's in your CD player? Dave Matthews Band, "Everyday." Waterbone, "Tibet." Cirque Du Soleil, "Dralion." Red Elvises, "I Wanna See You Bellydance." Enigma, "Le Roi Est, Mort Vive Le Roi."

::sigh:: Back to work,

Jim Davis
- Thursday, November 29 2001 13:2:25



(I just love P-Funk...)

- Thursday, November 29 2001 12:59:8


Incidentally, (since I now stand in a rain of 'warnings' ;)) to buttress your argument about the 'dystopic' threads in UFO, they lie not only in the objectives of the enemy but the courses our secret institutions like SHADO take in the name of security. One great line from Straker in an another episode I caught summed it up: "We're not in the business or morality..."

That's why they occasionally subvert other law enforcement agencies and that kind of commitment is the reason Straker had to let his son die.

Honest cynicism like that isn't easily found in American shows. Esp. in sf.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 12:43:56

Current Reading: I'm just finishing the second volume of THE ARABIAN NIGHTS; after that, I plan to read Bradbury's DARK CARNIVAL, Penn and Teller's HOW TO PLAY IN TRAFFIC, and the BFI Film Classics volume on THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER.

Rob: Syd Barrett...where to start? In the 60's, as far as most people were concerned, Syd Barrett WAS Pink Floyd. When he quit/was fired at decade's end, the band was considered to be OVER. After all, Barrett was the lead singer, wrote most of their material, and played an awesome psychedelic guitar. Gilmour hadn't joined the group yet, and Waters was just beginning to write songs, so the Floyd's future looked very bleak. To go on to write and record classics like MEDDLE and DARK SIDE OF THE MOON was a triumph of the will undreamt of in Nietzsche's philosophy, and one of the great musical comebacks of all time, to be sure.

Barrett's work with the band was relatively brief, and is found on their debut album, PIPER AT THE GATES OF DAWN, and some early singles. He recorded one song, "Jugland Blues," on the second LP, SAUCER FULL OF SECRETS, but he was pretty much finished as a band member by that time, laid low by mental illness and his massive acid intake. He released a few solo albums, but his fragile state of mind made recording them a nightmare, and he eventually quit the music business in the early 70's. He is currently confined to his mother's house, and is supported by songwriting royalties, friends, and family. Every now and then, you'll see a magazine photo of him puttering in his garden, looking like any other fat, bald, middle-aged punter, but that's it. It seems extremely unlikely he will ever record music again, and he seems to be content with that. What a shame. He made some of the wooliest, most paisley-drenched pychedelic rock of the 60's, and his 70's output had a spooky, sepulchral vibe that was compelling in its emotional honesty. There's a new BEST OF compilation of his solo work that I recommend checking out, although his album THE MADCAP LAUGHS stands on its own very well, thirty years on.

Todd: Some of my best friends are Republicans. (And some of my best jokes are friends...)


Eric Martin
- Thursday, November 29 2001 11:57:25

>I do enjoy listening to Rush Limbaugh whenever I get the chance. I find him funny. Whoopdeedoo, that doesn't make me a satan worshipper<

Yes it does.

Remember, you made the comparison.


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 29 2001 11:45:28

Oh, and Rob, another scary thing we have in common: Pink Floyd. I can't get enough of the Waters era, and Waters solo efforts as well. AMUSED TO DEATH is one of my favorite 'rock' albums (after his FLOYD work, of course), and seeing Waters live two years ago was one of my favorite 'rock concert' experiences.

I loathe their 60's jingle jangle shit, though, and I think they put too much of that on their recent BEST OF album.


- Thursday, November 29 2001 11:42:9

Joseph~ re: current reading fare:
Troublemakers, savoring with small bites. Gibson's Idoru, just finished. Not quite as much tooth as I would have preferred, but still a good read. And the last HP book, Goblet of Fire.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 11:40:11

Rich~ re: Officer Shaq, Where did you read this? Link please?

Rob~ re: Right-leaning individuals "getting" anything out of Ellison, please consider the other half of HE's body of work -- FICTION -- which while tending left, can be read without any real political bias at all.

And be careful, Rob. You're gonna go so far left you meet yourself comin' round the backside.

Decidedly centrist,

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Thursday, November 29 2001 11:35:30


Thanks for bringing up the Well's winning shorts for Wizard World (even if the bastard did beat me out - I'll be back next year with my Damage Control commercial). I love the Northstar - guy cracks me up.


So, what'cha reading these days? I just finished a history of the 1959 White Sox, so I decided to go with some actual literature and re-read the stories of Flannery O'Connor.


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 29 2001 11:34:49

Rob, I was a reader of Ellison long before I was a Republican. I started reading Harlan's work when I was 12-13. I was also heavily into Hunter Thompson in my mid-teens. Just because you enjoy the writing of certain authors, doesn't mean you change yourself to agree with every opinion they may speak.

I am not a Republican if your definition means I must support every single solitary platform spoken by Republican majority members. But then again, I would hope you are not a (Democrat? Liberal? Socialist?) that supports every tiny thing spouted by those folks as well. I'm a human being that knows how to read wonderful writing and say to myself "though I may not agree with the politics behind this essay, I sure as shit enjoyed it."

Your response appears to categorize Harlan and his politics/social commentary. I would say you are absolutely wrong in that respect. Harlan cannot be categorized.....his thoughts are his thoughs; his writings are his writings; and I don't think he puts pen to paper with the thought of "oh, waitaminnute, if I rage over this topic then I am taking the side of someone who had the same opinion but once said Ronald Reagan was the greatest president ever".....he's saying "this is what I have to say and if someone else agrees with me all power to 'em."

I'm a Republican. I do not agree with the abortion platform, or the religious platform, or the Creationist platform, or other things as well.....you have to stop pigeonholing people just because they voted for Bush.

And loving Harlan's work does not mean I have to agree with everything he says. Why would I? Why would anyone? He is my favorite author....ever. Even though I'm, gasp, a Republican (if we must use labels). Let me shock you with something else too....something that will really get you frothing at the mouth: I enjoy listening to talk radio when I get the chance....and guess what....I do enjoy listening to Rush Limbaugh whenever I get the chance. I find him funny. Whoopdeedoo, that doesn't make me a satan worshipper....and that doesn't make me a "dittohead" either.

Republicans are people too...I swear to God. When you prick us, do we not bleed?


- Thursday, November 29 2001 11:7:28


Nah. There was no vitriol here. I was merely showing my grenade amounted to more than a lob, 'liberally' condemning - and for your OWN good, y'must remember that - the Republicans and most of what they stand for. (Most? Most? I'm trying to think of ANYTHING redeeming. Had this remained the party it started as in the 19th century, when the Democrats were the butt-fuck conservatives - pro-South - who set back Reconstruction by a delightful 100 years - it took till FDR before policies between the two parties reversed - sentiments would, indeed, be different. Keep in mind, the bare resentment I convey toward the Republican party is not a clean splice; people like Strom Thurman - who became a 'Dixiecrat' to represent the pro-segregationists of the South - and George Wallace once ran as Democrats. By contrast, there were Republicans, like, God help us, Heston - who even did one or two films with a left wing voice - who participated in the civil rights movement of the 60's. Yet, as 20th-Century socio-political positions came to define themselves in the wake of change the Democrats - more of a mixed bag - would, on the whole, clearly represent the Progressives' plight).

I'll confess this: before venturing through the erratic gates of Webderland I never thought Harlan had avid readers my equivalent coming from the Right; never even knew it. I mean one would think they became so because he woke them up. How could they remain 'pro-Right' while ingesting not just the sense of alarm in his passions but the reasoning behind it and the supporting facts (the asshole pro-Creationists, for example, and what they do to the education system in this country - baring in mind a huge contingent of the Republicans reinforced the engine work of their movement; and dogma of dipshits like Limbaugh and Helms)? I mean, what are you guys doing when you read Ellison? Just filtering what appeals to you and closing your minds to the areas you don't want to hear about? Otherwise, how can you understand what he's saying without conceding his point? Seems to me SOME change in your psyche would have to take place. I guess paradoxes exist everywhere.

OK, Todd. Now you can help me with that newsletter.


Re: UFO. I wouldn't say those aliens were TOO far ahead of us considering how easily those single-mounted interceptors took 'em out when they came within lunar tracking. Their red-diaper space suits would break me up too. But tv is about compromise and I learned to accept the inexplicable when a show has really important high points (same certainly goes for 'Trek').

I HATE the idea of efforts to do a movie-version of 'The Prisoner'. It's a brilliant metaphoric show with objectives likely to be overlooked by Holler-wood filmmakers. It was already done anyway with 'The Truman Show'.


Conrad Hall is one of my all-time favorite cinematographers. The original 'Outer Limits', nearly my favorite series of all, was a tour de force of his photography.


I'm a long-time Pink Floyd fan; but I've never heard their stuff from the Syd Barrett days. I have no idea if I'd like it as much as the Waters/Gilmour collaboration (and I dug 'The Wall' film quite a lot, though I s'pose you better be in the mood for it; great animation that took me off guard) but I really wanna hear it some time.

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 11:5:17

For the geeks out there into indy film and comic books, here is a link to WizardWorld Convention winner Zeb Wells' collection of superhero-themed shorts. Some funny stuff here.


Everybody have a good weekend.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, November 29 2001 10:54:27

Rick Wyatt:

It just occurred to me: several months ago I emailed you the text of a piece Ellison originally wrote for "Writer's Digest" in 1960, a statement of purposed, republished with an update note several decades later.

It belongs on Webdlerland, but I don't see it on the site. Did you receive the file all right? Having a problem obtaining permissions?

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
Harrisburg, PA - Thursday, November 29 2001 10:11:20

Jim: I take it I came in late on a really long and in depth discussion of atheism...gotta check that out in the archives.

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, November 29 2001 9:58:30

Now that J.W.'s brought it up...

Rendezvous With Rama does have a lot going for it, not the least of which, "Moebius" is involved with the project. On the down side, the marketing wizards have some truly awful plans. Check out the website at:

Slide 11 is the one that troubles me.


- Thursday, November 29 2001 9:25:21

Good news for those living in the Los Angeles area. Officer Shaquille O'Neal is helping out as part of the police reserve force. I believe he's working with harbor patrol. He wants to be sheriff someday.

Now, that muthafucka gonna keep the peace.

Jim Davis
- Thursday, November 29 2001 8:41:5

Rob wrote: "...let's forget about movies and talk about Atheism again."

I think I speak for (almost) everyone when I say:

Dear God (who may or may not exist),

Oh MAN, did that hurt...

Gunther Schmidl <gschmidl@gmx.at>
Linz, Austria - Thursday, November 29 2001 8:33:15

Jay Smith:

Yes! I've heard about this movie on TV and I was looking for the name or any reference to it since! Thanks a lot.


Sounds complicated enough. I hope they don't fuck it up like virtually every remake out there.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 8:30:5

Peg~ This month a devoted DNRC member came up with another name for the followers of Osama Bin Ladin.


I'm so easily amused.

PS. The other side splitter was the guy whose boss told them that the rules for manual labor didn't apply to them because? They don't use manuals.

- Thursday, November 29 2001 7:30:34

Lynn - DNRC? Absolutely. I believe my registered title was "Peggy, Goddess of Process Simulation"...if the website didn't lose it. (That was in the early days). Glad I wasn't the only one who made that connection with Heather's post.

Heather - the people you are describing, who seem to be fairly inept, have the lovely label of an "in-duh-vidual" in the world of Dilbert and DNRC. Check out the dilbert website for more detail.


Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
Harrisburg, PA - Thursday, November 29 2001 7:20:55

Anyone see the Japanese dark-satire "Battle Royale"? It's a take on Japanese/American reality television in a world where juvenile crime has become so unmanageable that the answer is (and this is too weird to make sense) to randomly select a junior high class from somewhere in the country, gas them on the last day of school and transport them to this hidden island.

30-odd kids are each given a knapsack with some supplies and a random weapon (anything from a candlestick to a handgun with one clip of ammo) They are set out on an island with booby traps and a time limit and forced to eliminate each other. The winner is returned to the world for prizes, celebrity and, I'll bet, lots and lots of therapy.

The characters are a little flat for a "slice of life" take on schoolkids and the dark graphic subject matter is quite disturbing, but it is an interesting flick from a social/political perspective.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Thursday, November 29 2001 6:40:51

"...let's forget about movies and talk about Atheism again."

Rob, why don't you just chop off my other finger instead? It would be less painful.

I wanted to talk about actresses. Anyone see the French movie Ponette? That 3 year old is probably the best actress I've ever seen. She was also in Chocolat: Victoire Thivisol. If you haven't seen Ponette, try to.

saw Ponette after I lost my mother and cried like a baby

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 29 2001 6:31:35

Woa Nilly, Rob, where did that bit of vitriole come from? Yikes, you scare me bucko. Here we are, innocently talking about movies, and then I'm suddenly hit with a "TITANIC is good for Republicans" and then wooooooooosh.

Wow, this must be some leftover anger from our political debating a coupla weeks ago. Yes, I am a Republican. Doesn't mean that everything I say and do is politically motivated.

I just wanted to talk about movies....sob.....I didn't mean to get you going on arguments that have been made for years and years.

Oh, and I don't need to be told to read about Nixon. I've read plenty and watched plenty. I was 13 when he left office and wise beyond my years because I was already intrigued by what all the fuss was about....and I did my research even at that early age. I don't have any more time in my life to read about Nixon. Got a news flash for ya.....I know that you here a lot of extremist talk on radio shows and television.....but in the normal world Republicans are just people like you and me. Just because they vote one way or come down differently on certain issues, doesn't mean that Republicans are all marching around with Nixon medallions seared into their flesh.

Take a walk. Smell the roses. Calllllllm down, that's good, breathe in and breathe out. Gooooooood. Now picture Todd The Evil Republican .....look at how he is watching movies and television and reading books and not marching around to the beat of his politics.....look.....he's just a guy. Just a guy who likes to talk about stuff. Just a guyyyyyyyyyyyyyy.


J.W. <jo.wijnsma@hetnet.nl>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 6:31:2

Gunther, Solaris will be directed by Steven Soderbergh (director of Traffic and Ocean Eleven), it will be produced by James and by a productionteam involving David Fincher and Spike Jonze.

For Under Suspicion, I kinda loved the movie, although I thought the proces of Hackman becoming fucked up, could have been more convincing.

For any interested: the team behind Under Suspicion will produce the adaptation of Rendezvous With Rama. Morgan Freeman will star as captain Norton, while David Fincher (Seven, FightClub) will direct.

I'm a serious David Fincher addict, so if you want more information about him or the production of RWR just ask (or better mail me)



Jay Smith
Harrisburg, PA - Thursday, November 29 2001 5:49:51

Rob -

Funny, that's exactly what the data on that post said - no spreadsheet required.

Gunther <gschmidl@gmx.at>
Linz, Austria - Thursday, November 29 2001 3:41:14


Yeah, I didn't mean it was all campy; it had several excellent episodes. The good thing about UFO is, in my opinion, that it's dystopian rather than utopian: the aliens, who- and whatever they are, can do basically whatever they want since they're much more powerful than us humans, and they even win some of the time... unlike Star Trek's "can't we all just get along" whinyness. But then, it's not a Hollywood production, so some intelligent content is to be expected.

I'd actually first heard that James Cameron was going to be re-doing Solaris, which would've been worse, I guess. If they give it to Michael "Pearl Harbor" Bay, I'll have to kill someone.


Excellent news. The only copy I'd been able to locate so far was by some obscure french company and cost $40, so a Criterion release is the best one could hope for.

Edward Champion <edchamp@earthlink.net>
San Francisco, CA - Thursday, November 29 2001 0:45:47

Scott Bakula: 'Tis a shame what's happening to this underrated actor with "Enterprise." His Everyman humiliity is being transformed into yet another Shatner clone from the episodes I've seen. The best thing I saw him in was an indie film named "Luminarias" in which he (and the entire male cast, but in one of the most remarkable casting snafus I've seen, strangely not the females) was absolutely spot on as a romantic lead with misconceptions about Latin American culture.

"Gladiator": Commodus died far more interestingly in the history books, of which the screenwriters failed to consult. Pietro Scalia's editing is incoherent, the result of a mad Ginsu enthusiast permitted to run amuck in the factory. Why it continues to be lavished with praise, courtesy of a shoddy, bloated, play-it-safe measure in which "Oliver" wins over "2001" is a mystery.

Film critics: Even though he offered one of the most bizarre takes on Verhoeven in his "Hollow Man" review, Jonathan Rosenbaum is still the most reliable in my book.

Eric Martin: Concerning the "Star Trek" films, crap is crap. Can it truly be measured against itself when the stench still drifts across the room?

"American Beauty": So much ink has been wasted on this (my own included) that I have little to add except that I was wowed the first time, primarily by Conrad Hall's photography and Spacey's performance, but that upon a second viewing, I couldn't believe that I had lauded the film as much as I had. It's not godawful, but shortly after AB's release, "Panic" covered the same subruban middle class suburban ground and did it with craftier characterization. And speaking of Harlan's Macy-Cook connection, Steve Buscemi is, to my mind, the Peter Lorre of our time. Will we see Buscemi followup his directorial outing "Trees Lounge" with his own take on "Stranger on the Third Floor" with Macy in a supporting role?

Rob: You're kidding. Which dimwitted dilletante is remaking "Solaris?" And here I was merely dreading Simon "Con Air"/"Tomb Raider" West's upcoming remake/plunder of Patrick McGoohan's "The Prisoner." Will the madness of mining old material and recycling it into flaccid films without so much as a Vegas entertainer's subtlety ever stop?

I'm not sure I can sanction the "Dead Man" soundtrack. It is largely the same guitar chords played over and over and over ("Will this work for you, Jim? I've got a plane to catch for my next gig." / "Yeah, Neil, whatever."). But it does work quite well as solid texture for a great movie.

Seconding Rob's motion for a move away from movies,


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 29 2001 0:27:53

Gunther: Ask, and ye shall receive. A Criterion DVD of SOLARIS is slated for release next year. If it's done with the usual care that Criterion lavishes on its projects, then it should be amazing. (Their ANDREI RUBLEV disc is one of the best DVDs I own.)

And has anyone else noticed that some INSANE stuff is appearing on DVD? I saw a disc entitled SYD BARRETT'S FIRST TRIP tonight; apparently, it contains the 16mm film of Mr. Pink's first eating of the sugar cube. Even though I'm a Barrett fan, I passed it up for the DVD of "The Andy Kaufman Show," his Soundstage TV special which I NEVER expected to see for sale in the shops...

Rich: I'm with your roommate 100% on THE HITCHER. It was nonsensical, and not in a good way; gruesome and sadistic, without a trace of style or wit; and it starred C. Thomas Howell, whom I've dubbed NOT-C. Thomas Howell for his poor choice of film projects. If he's in a movie, then I can safely pass it up without worrying that I'm missing a future classic of the cinema.

Egads, I'm becoming too snarky on here. I'm starting to sound like a regular on AICN. Point me to the hillside where the rabbits will be, and blow my brains out now...

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 23:31:7


I think you done sunk the bar to Titanic depths. They're probably vying with each other for the coffers and antiques strewn all over the ocean floor even as we speak. The movie made US scowl, not cry. (And remember, I was with my girl when I saw it). You're too weak, Chris; too weak, I say. Now, turning off yer brain - yes, that it does. There I'm with ya.

...let's forget about movies and talk about Atheism again.

Mutti < >
Boston, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 23:28:53

Just read the intro to TROUBLEMAKERS. Now that's what I wait for! Harlan at the top of his form. Snappy! Just great stuff!
Made my day.

Thanks Harlan,


- Wednesday, November 28 2001 23:10:8


According to my Excel spreadsheet exactly 45% of your list is absolute bullshit. Data I thought you could use.

Jay Smith <zebrapix@hotmail.com>
Harrisburg, PA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 22:30:14

Star Trek Five? Proved Shatner had no concept of his character, even after 20 years and that he couldn't direct.

Titanic? How can you get both men and women together for a three hours + movie? Put a "forbidden" romance on a romantic cruise, throw in dashing personalities and the promise that thousands will die before the last reel in very, very cool special effects.

Apocalypse Now? Maybe later.

Seven Samuri/Magnificent Seven Former is better than the latter, but both were damn good films.

Carnival of Souls - proof that a maker of educational films can scare the hell out of people. Basis for my as-yet-unfinished craptacular opus "Mankiller 2: The Revenge of Ringo" (www.zebrapix.com)

Monty Python & the Holy Grail - Great satire. The DVD Special Edition is FANTASTIC.

Night of the Living Dead - Great Cold War parable.

Harry Potter - Any movie that sparks in my six year old a look and sense of wonder is brilliant in my book. Star Wars? He didn't see the appeal. Star Trek? Stupid. Blue's Clues? Interesting. Wild Thornberrys... neat... but Harry Potter on the big screen. He doesn't want to be a witch. He wants to create. That floored me. Now my mission as a single father is to get Ms Rowling to go out with me.

ET - Special Edition - It'll be nice to see it on screen again, but it wasn't necessary to digitally remove the guns, IMHO.

Donnie Darko - Be sure to bring a note pad for this one so you can put the data into an Excel spreadsheet...if you're really that interested to figure out what went on.

Of course, there are several Bill Murray movies on my list, but that's a little too biased.

Jay Smith
Tom Ridge's Turf, PA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 22:5:20

Heather: I feel your pain. The older I get the more I realize people just don't have a clue. The holidays just bring out the worst in people who believe the lack of material things pose a great threat to their security and/or happiness. Sometimes I wish I could bury myself back in the warm, snuggly blanket of the university. I work in retail. But then, I shake it off and go to customerssuck.com to put it all into perspective.

Michael: Congrats on your audio "big time" debut. It's God's work you're doing....

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, November 28 2001 21:31:23


Er...I'm a member of the ACLU and the CBLDF. Does that count?


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, November 28 2001 21:30:7



As movie soundtracks, I can only reccomend the Dead Man soundtrack when the movie is playing. Otherwise, it's a bunch of Neil Young music, which is comprehensible to me as Sanskrit.

A much preferable soundtrack to a Jarmusch movie, for me, is the incredible music for Ghost Dog, the most ignored movie of 2000. RZA, one of the members of the Wu-Tang Clan, put together a soundtrack that was a beautiful part and parcel to that odd movie. Warning, though; if you don't consider any rap at all to be worthwhile, you're screwed on this movie. Cruely ignored for score and soundtrack honors by the Academy and the two-bit nitwits at the Grammys.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 21:25:38

Alright. Fess up. Who's a member of the DNRC?


Michael <leftearpro@hotmail.com>
spending the money already, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 19:6:53

Hey gang,

Speaking of audio books, my very first commercial work has just been released. You can see it at www.americanabooks.com, it's the first thing that pops up on the front page, along with a tribute album for the people of NYC, on which I have a couple of readings. Wish I could recommend both of these to you all, but in truth...the book isn't all that great. Oh, the READING is impeccable, but the story and writing are not. And the tribute album? I was all for it, even donated my time and voice...and then I found out that Robert Schuller was on it. Jeez.

Oh well....at least my name is out there!


- Wednesday, November 28 2001 18:59:19


I am a Tarkovsky-lover. I became very enamored of Solaris; I've yet to see Stalker and I'm anxious to do so. The American version will doubtlessly be literalized. Tarkovsky had his own personal vision and style, his own statement which he channeled through the language of film. For me, to take a remake seriously would strictly depend on the director attached to the project; there is next to none I would trust. The greater likelihood is a hack will be handling it. Hell, if we're lucky it'll be Chris Columbus; with 'Potter' under his belt now, they'll hand to him anything that once had potential.

I actually became really interested in Anderson's UFO this last year. It's campy, as you point out, but it had a couple of brilliant high points (which talked with David Gerrold about). Case in point, in this episode I rented last February, because of red alert security concerns of SHADO, Commander Straker - quite pain-racked - must forfeit the life of his seriously injured 12-year-old son (to do so would risk security; BUT it would not have been impossible. It just might have meant a great price for the rest of the world); it created a terrific, unexpected moral dilemma. No punches were pulled. His ex-wife had finally learned to despise him. And all he could do was watch helplessly as she left the hospital crying. In a high shot the scene fades with him standing there completely alone. He had no one to turn to for consoling, no shoulders to cry on. Unlike some Capt. Kirk, he was not always a winner. And he grew cynical. HELL of an episode. It was probably the best thing Anderson ever did for tv. This and a couple of other episodes from that show I would like to have on tape some time very much.

Gerrold, for the record, told me he was actually jealous of the show because it allowed writers to get away with that episode when Star Trek refused to take any real risks.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 18:48:27


The Billy Zane character in Titanic was ridiculous - we agree on that. I am also not defending Titanic as a great or even particularly good film. But I think it is a good example of what it is - a soap opera tear jerker. It makes you cry. That's all it's going for. And it does it.

Of course, I don't want that to get extended to the notion that if a film sets the bar low and manages to stumble over it, that means it's good. Not at all. But I think if you want a good cry and want to shut your brain off, Titanic fits the bill. I also think DiCaprio did a fine job in that film but I know a lot of people disagree.

Mr. Berman:

Wow, we get to agree on something! :)

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Dead Man Soundtrack.

One of the most sublime moments in my life came earlier this year as I watched the sun set behind a ridge in Badlands National Park. I was all alone leaning against my car and playing Track 14 from the Dead Man soundtrack. I could feel the vibrations seeping into my body. It was a magical moment, one of those small epiphanies you mentioned in regards to American Beauty. But mine wasn't so damn cheesy. :)

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 17:45:17

I'm trying to think of a way to tell you about this, without going on at great length. Let's see how I do...

Some of the people at the university where I work..AMAZE me as to how stupid or unintelligent or slacker they are.

Why I mention it, I guess, is because in the last day or so I've had so many examples of it, I guess. And I guess it falls into a category (as well) where I'm having an epiphany about it..about realizing how UNLIKE me a lot of people are. You'd think I'd truly understand this.. you'd THINK...

I think it's been an issue that's aided my downfall on number of occasions--is what I'm saying here.

And I'm better..no..let's say..OKAY with it. It doesn't leave me so pissed off at them because I really, really REALIZE..just how stupid they truly are.

They can't help it -- I guess. But it simply makes me realize just how much crap I've put up with people about.. due to this sort of issue. I realize reading the stories Ellison writes about stuff this -- common, everyday events -- is partly what set me off.. but.. it's just as much me.. and where _I_ am, at the moment.

I'm not sure if you'll really 'get' this. As you may be still dealing with people on that old level too.

It's rather freeing.. is what it is...To have this realization.. I mean TRULY have this realization.

These people are stupid. And nothing they say or do can REALLY affect me. Not unless I let it.

There was this woman who was putting the wraps--sandwiches in tortilla shells, like Badass Jacks subs and wraps shop--in the frig for the customers but for whatever fucking reason, PUTTING them with the labels facing upside down. (I mean, she PUTS the regular sandwiches label side out, why wouldn't she think to do the same with the wraps--does she figure people can read upside down or something?)

So anyway, I caught her at the frig today (she's been doing it from the start; no really earthshaking thing; I tend to turn them around when I get to straightening that frig).. and I mentioned it..kindly, politely.. you know.. "it's no big deal but you know the person looking at your wraps will have to open the sliding frig door to read the sandwich; you MIGHT want to put them right side up."

(and I tell you something, I've SEEN her do this, okay? She comes out of the kitchen with a pile of assorted sandwiches and such and puts this kind of sandwich in the frig.. all of them (you gotta hand it to her for her consistency on this) upside down.)

So she turns to me; seems to understand what I said.. and she says, "Are THEY? They SHOULDN'T be. I put them in right. I don't know HOW they'd get that way."

*laugh* (rereading to this point just made me laugh. This woman has a voice like a nine-year old. An Einstein, if you know what I mean--not. *grin*)

I started to converse with her further; but realized..

What bullshit. She's either THAT stupid.. or THAT stupid to think she can bullshit me.

Can you imagine this?

I know this sounds small. It's minor. But it's indicative of the kind of thinking these people do.

It, simply, amazed me, is all.

And like I said, in the last day or so, I've seemed to have a lot of similar incidents. And it WASN'T just coworkers; it was customers too.

Like; I'm standing there thinking, "these are adults I'm talking to; late teens, early twenties, teachers and office staff.
And the stuff they believe and do.


Joke file
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 17:8:24

You know what you never hear about? A bunch of Jews being hit my a tornado.

Next time you see Bing Crosby playing a priest in a movie, Imagine him beating his children in real life.

Next time they give you all that civic shit about voting, remember that Hitler was elected in a completely free election.

Instead of warning pregnant woman not to drink, They should tell Alcoholic woman not to fuck.

If lobsters looked like puppies, people could never drop them into boiling water while they're still alive. But instead, they look like science fiction monsters, so it's ok. Restaurants that allow patrons to select live lobsters from a tank should be made to paint names on their shells: "Happy", "Baby Doll", "Junior." I defty anyone to drop a living thing called, "happy" into rapidly boiling water.

Rarely does a loose woman have a tight pussy.

Some see the glass as half-empty, some see the glass as half-full, I see the glass as too fucking big!

--George Carlin

Gunther Schmidl <gschmidl@gmx.at>
Linz, Austria - Wednesday, November 28 2001 16:17:45

And now for a completely unrelated thing:

Man, I love DVD.

They released the original 1930s "Flash Gordon" and "Buck Rogers" serials on DVD. I remember seeing those on TV when I was very young, and loving them. Now I get the chance to see them again.

More stuff needs to be released. I want U.F.O, campy as it is. I want Tarkovsky's brilliant "Stalker" and "Solaris" (the latter of which, incidentally, is apparently being re-made by Stephen Sonderberg with George Clooney as Snaut. Tarkovsky's probably already at 10.000 RPM, and Lem would be if he were dead).

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 15:59:36

Now, Todd:

What did I just post? ..."'Apocalypse Now' is easily my favorite war film". What genre does the Deer Hunter belong to? Gangster rap?

No, of a matter of fact I never cared much for Deer Hunter.

And, btw, my grenade was not a lob; you'll find out it landed on the target when your dreams come back to haunt your guilty conscience for being a Republican. I hope you do read about Nixon; he was the closest thing to a mobster we ever had in the White House (Brookings, Ellsberg, anti-semitism, secret Cambodia bombings, two solid years using his 'Plumbers' before Watergate came along, and so on). And then you have your detached dipshits like Reagan who hurled the economy into decades of deficit, which doesn't even include the S&Ls. If you don't know where deregulation works and where it doesn't - just supporting a blanket argument against its crucial need - then, like all Republicans, you're absolutely fulla shit. (As one with a history of med problems - though I do keep in shape - proper insurance coverage eluded me for years because of its goddamn expense, so's I'm pretty twitchy on that subject; when Clinton was running the show I wanted something to pass. He'd been the first to try anything, besides kissing up to insurance lobbyists. That alone is more than I could ever say for the business-sector simians you associate with. Then there's the addle-brained fundamentalist and 'faith-based' drives they push. And the stupid moralistic laws they support. And how they can be against a welfare system for the poor but not against one for mega-zillion corporations. Oh, yeah: and then there's the brainless stand against abortion and cloning experiments, which will be conducted somewhere overseas, anyway; at least there seemed to be an adequate division on the recent brain stem work; anyone against that just needs...well, I won't say it. Oh, yeah, and then there's the fucked-up dismissal of environment so characteristic of those bozos.

Todd...SNAP out of it!

Lemme know if you'd like to hear more on my views about this topic. Maybe you can help me start a newsletter.

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 15:40:58

I couldn't buy into the fact that they were even talking. Granted, I enjoyed the dialog between Freeman and Hackman and liked the idea of the "play" (though I couldn't understand the credits: based on a story by what seemed to be about five people and also based on a novel called Brainwash if memory serves and then screenplay by numerous folks). Hackman, who played a lawyer, should've kept his mouth shut as soon as he realized where Freeman was going. I just couldn't suspend that disbelief and it just seemed like laziness that a better scenario to get Hackman talking couldn't have been thought up. After all, they knew each other and had history.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 15:38:14

Best soundtrack music: Neil Young, Dead Man. Gabriel's Last Temptation would be second.

David: I agree with you about American Beauty. I enjoyed it a great deal and I love Baba O'Riley. You just can't please all of the people all of the time, right?

Two notes:

1. Mendes did not recreate the plastic bag scene. Apparently that snippet was taken from an archived film by someone else. I also don't understand why people must pillory that moment. Of course the circulatory system is more complexthan a dancing bag. That is sooo not the point. The point is, sometimes a completely odd, random, self-contained moment can move you and lead to an epiphany. If you haven't experienced a moment like that, I can't explain it to you.

2. I don't see any homophobia in the direction or writing of AB. The only well-adjusted people in that movies were the gay jogging couple.

AB is a movie about small epiphanies with huge, rippling consequences. Of course the characters are fucked up and often despicable. You don't have to like the hero to appreciate his journey.


Eric Martin
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 15:29:28

Oh, have no regrets. You're right, Trek V is in many ways a stupid, boring movie. (but then, most movies are stupid or boring at one point or another.)

But I maintain that Trek V stupidity and tedium does not compare to the overwrought angst of Generations or the simply awful story and acting of Insurrection.

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 15:25:45


Well, you n' I wrastled it out over 'Carrie' and we both survived the skirmish. So, I'll reinforce my original thrashing of 'Titanic' by adding when my girlfriend and I saw it (this was, I believe, the 2nd day after its release) we were constantly rolling our eyes in dismay at some FUCKING stupid scenes, including the moronic mustache-twitching villainy of Billy Zane and the climactic chase through the sinking ship. Interestingly, we could hear the rest of the audience reacting with the same incredulity.

Nah, I hate that flick.


Interestingly, Harlan proposed an early treatment when they were planning the first Trek movie which involved an alternate universe wherein reptilian beings had evolved as Earth's dominant intelligence instead of mammalian. If this is what worked its way into V either they moved far enough from Harlan's material to avoid legal wrath or the rights to the idea had been purchased so they could do as they like. I can't say the outcome justified much.


Most film critics are pretty fucking bad to begin with; given that I liked Leonard more than many. John Powers is an example of a much better reviewer. I have to confess too, I've always been kind of comfortable with star ratings because, unlike 'thumbs-up' they provide a sense of scale (***, ***1/2, etc.). Any rating system is going to obscure the difference between good films and classics, anyway. But I pretty much got used to 'stars' when I was a kid so that's a major reason I'm so accepting of it.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 15:18:2

HE~ Saw this. Thought of you.

"Bless those who challenge us to grow, to stretch, to move beyond the knowable, to come back home to our elemental and essential nature. Bless those who challenge us for they remind us of doors we have closed and doors we have yet to open."
-- Navajo saying


PS. Yes, Jim, go and get the gauze out to drape over your monitor. Blame it on the 'pods.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 15:15:11

Rob, your lobbed grenade at my Republican heart was a dud. I wasn't really defending TITANIC in my little tirade....I enjoyed my viewing when it came out, but mainly for the sinking and the priest talking about spouting out some little speech as he goes down that had something to do with accepting the modern world and omygawsh look at what it's doing to us (my memory can often go the way of another Republican we all know and love who currently sits around his ranch and, um, sits around his ranch)....I was just using it as an example of a movie that really did get some good buzz for awhile before becoming hated. Glad you like APOCALYPSE.....please don't ruin this warm feeling in my heart for you by saying you like DEER HUNTER over APOCALYPSE, though. A test I give many (and even my wife fails!!!!!but I love her just the same).

Rich, ok, what did you hate about UNDER SUSPICION? I am a Hackman addict (second only to Nicholson) and I caught this little playlet on cable about two months ago. I enjoyed it so much, moreso for the back and forth between Hackman and Freeman than anything else, that I went out and bought the DVD (previously viewed for $10). I even like the ending SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER

in that he doesn't accept his wife back when she shuffles on over to him to make amends.


- Wednesday, November 28 2001 14:57:39

Ah, fuck. I mean, 'Apocalypse Now'.
Saw another dangling typo too: SUR-prise, not SU-prise.

There. A suprisingly good piece of professional editing.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 14:50:35

As I understand it, the storyline for V was originally supposed to be the first ST movie, but it got canned. I believe it was because the plotline was summed up as, "Kirk fights God....and wins."


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 14:13:38

Oh, I know I'm going to regret this....


Star Trek V fails as a film because it's boring with a capital BORING. The only remotely interesting part is DeForrest Kelley's little deal with his character's helping his father commit suicide. Besides that, it's a stupid movie (perfect example: the ridiculousness of Klingons playing sharpshooting with a Pioneer/Voyager type probe, when it would MAYBE be a light-year from Earth and would probably be tagged as a historical artifact (or retrieved in a museum) - stupid idea, and just set the tone for the rest of the movie).

Eric Martin
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 13:59:18

>To this day Leonard Maltin gives 'Blade Runner' 1 1/2 stars <

Leonard Maltin is not a good critic. Blade Runner was a great movie. His was one of the first "all-in-one" review books, and since his reviews are generaally comfortable and inoffensive, he sells them in droves.

Giving movies "stars" is a precarious activity, expecially when the movies are not criticized in the proper context. By way of example (and this might be a loathsome example given the sponsor of this board), if you are going to rank a Star Trek movie, you really can only rank them in comparison to each other, and maybe a few limited guidelines that are applicable to science fiction serials.

Everyone loves to slam Trek V, which played out as an overlong episode of the classic series, but it is still a better film (and yes, better directed by pompous Shat), than Generations or the truly miserable Insurrection. Yet Trek V consistently gets fewer "stars" than any other Trek film, because the effects are weak at the end. Lucasfilm has made it impossible for anyone to make a science fiction movie without blowing millions on effects, or else they get fewer "stars" in their ratings. So today's sci-fi movies are long on spectacle, and short on story, since the kind of people who might make a thinking person's movie get no funding.

I like crappy effects, myself...makes me think I could almost do them. Viva Ed Wood.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 13:43:50

Come to think of it, the last Best Picture winner which I thought was a great film was Unforgiven. I haven't even liked most of the subsequent winners. I thought Shakespeare in Love was a lot of fun but seems rather insubstantial for a Best Picture winner. Of course, put it in the same company as Gladiator or Titanic and I guess that criticisms doesn't hold up either.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 13:34:33

I think Titanic has been unfairly pilloried by its detractors.

It is not a great film. It is, however, one of the best-written and best-acted soap operas I can recall seeing.

It's cheesy. It contains no profound insights into human nature.

But it's a good love story and an effective tear jerker.

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 13:15:52


BTW, to be fair to you, after closing my last post with a cheap though heart-felt shot, I'm glad you liked APOCOLYPSE NOW so much; it's one of my favorite films too. Easily my favorite war film.

Occasionally, you suprise me.

scott vander werf <vanders@gvsu.edu>
grand rapids, mi usa - Wednesday, November 28 2001 13:14:47

"Incognita, Inc." by Harlan is the lead story in this year's
Best Fantasy anthology edited by Ellen Datlow... grabbed it
at the local Media Play... alas they had no "Troublemakers."

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 13:7:45


I tend to believe that. Particularly with the sense of independence growing among women; they began feeling they no longer had to stay married in social role-playing. Yet, while mate-swapping and orgiastic recreation probably had absolutely nothing to do with divorce rates (after all it was probably a very small splice of the population trying it), I wonder if some aspects of the hippie consciousness did somehow factor in; after all, it lent to the concept of independence and mobility for many parts of the population. (And, for women, that was still growing in the 60's; the ERA itself was still stalled in the mid-70's conservative backlashes led by a lady named Phylis Schafly, who believed women's lib was an assault on God and country). It's a fascinating era because it was a culmination of so many movements, many of which had begun decades earlier (and violently suppressed).

So, I still tend to wonder, if I wanted to consult Mazursky's film as historical reference, was BOB AND CAROL distorting what was really happening with 'free association' psychology and youth inspired promiscuity ("that's beautiful, man; we all love each other"). Even if the movie does misrepresent the movement by an outsider it does so making an interesting point; I liked the ending very much (you can tell I just saw the flick). But I have an information gap about the era I'm trying to fill in.

Peace 'n love, man.


To this day Leonard Maltin gives 'Blade Runner' 1 1/2 stars - which I think is outrageous; totally absurd. It left me completely disillusioned with film critics. Not even Ebert draws more than a glance from me these days. Yet, it is largely the director's cut that draws most of the accolades; the original cut is still largely received with mixed reactions because of the dumb studio-imposed narration. But I do agree, it built a solid following.

However, many, along with myself, understand how stupid and insipid 'Titanic' is; a half-assed script, cliche characters and some painfully dumb scenes it really only got recognition for its technical effects. Now, even that isn't holding up in increased-ratio screenings because the people on deck are revealing themselves to be the computer generated cartoons they really are. A number of people came back to me saying so. I haven't watched the Oscars since that ludicrous night they gave this schlock flick so much attention; the whole thing is a joke.

''Titanic' is certainly a good movie for Republicans, though.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 12:47:31


Interestingly, we agree on the filming of Gladiator. Though much of it was very well made, the computer generated crowds and walls in the Colisseum were surprising crappy (say what you will about Star Wars I, the crowds for the pod racing stuff were much better). I regard the movie as incomplete, with a lot of great sstuff leading to a muddled product (specifically, a good Crowe performance, a Phoenix performance that is really growing on me, good work by Richard Harris, and a movie-stealing role for Oliver Platt - also, the opening battle is fantastic, a great use of opposing schools of tactics and some great blues and blacks on the screen).

However, Scott Bakula is still da'bomb in American Beauty. *ducks*


- Wednesday, November 28 2001 12:40:34

I must admit, Todd, that I do have a warm place in my heart for The Hitcher. Admittedly, I wanted to see Rutger Hauer kick C. Thomas Howell's ass, but probably the main reason I liked the movie was its cheesiness and the reaction of one of my roommates at certain scenes
when the cops get shot while Howell's in the back seat of the police car and my roommate was incensed at Howell's reaction since "ballistics would prove he didn't shoot them", and Jennifer Jason Leigh's dilemma at the truck stop. My roommate cried for two days after that, "Aww, c'mon. She didn't deserve that. That sucked. That movie sucked."

Yes, it's a bad movie and my reaction upon seeing it for a second time was the same as when I saw Star Wars on cable a few years after it came out: I actually liked that at one time?

Again, nostaligia or whatever, I can still watch The Hitcher whereas I won't sit through, say, Under Suspicion even though it has arguably two of the finest actors on the planet. (The reason is that the whole premise of the movie is flawed. Trust me on this one.)

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 12:27:15

Forget I asked about the auction. I tend to forget that there are prying eyes.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 12:23:10

Susan & Harlan~ The package arrived today. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Mere gratitude seems pale. Thank you.

Do we have a final total on how much the auction at LOSCON raised?


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 12:2:39


I hear what you're saying about the predictable counter-reaction people have to the loved movies. IMHO, this is what happened with Blair Witch. Out of Cannes, it had great buzz. And early on, everyone loved it. A couple weeks later, it became cool to make fun of it and a lot of people fell in line.

I remember American Beauty differently. It came out with mixed but generally positive reviews early on. There was no Oscar buzz at all in the early-going. Slowly it built up momentum and steamrolled its way through the Oscars.

I don't remember Gladiator being well received by critics either though it was very popular with filmgoers. I think it's an OK movie but surprisingly poorly filmed for such a high budget affair.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 11:26:2

Notice how so many hated movies start off with raves. The pattern is so predictable. Sure, there are people who will always have hated a movie from the start.....but in general, I see many huzzahs turning to tomato tossing in predictable fashion(BLADE RUNNER being one example of going from hated to loved).

GLADIATOR came out to many bravos. Had a lot of yawn reviews, and Roger Eberts sure hated it, but it had more raves than not. Suddenly, it is now considered the worst Oscar pick ever (and, not really giving a shit about Oscar, is a pretty bad pick....though it was a pretty bad movie year).

FORREST GUMP.....looooooooved by all when it first appeared. Now, even if you love it you usually only admit it if you find another GUMP fan. I can take it or leave it. Does nothing for me. Loved PULP FICTION that year.

TITANIC. Huzzahs supreme. Ooops, the script sucks. Ooops, the whole movie sucks. How dare you call this good cinema!

AMERICAN BEAUTY. Big time positive buzz. Comes out, mucho mucho positive buzz and hey even the public likes it. Grabs that Oscar and boy does this movie suck.

Now, don't go nitpicking me to death on how you all saw shit coming a mile away and you always hated this or that movie that everyone else has now learned to hate.....I'm talking in a general sense (the gang on this board is much more honest and intelligent with their opinions.....not led like a directionless wave by the blowing wind of popular opinion; that's for damn sure).

By the way.....I like THE HITCHER. Really. I do. For what it is, a piece of schlock stalker movie, it works for me thanks to Rutger and some of the director tricks.

By the by the way, just watched my APOCALYPSE NOW REDUX dvd last night. This is my favorite movie ever. Ever. I can watch this over and over and over and I have. Not sure how comfortable I am with the added scenes...maybe they'll grow on me....but it seems like Coppola's original cutting of the sloppy tits and ass scene with the playboy bunnies was wise (though I do love the rainy visuals before they are discovered), and that plantation dinner scene just felt really forced (and look, more tits and ass!). The rest of the added stuff was fine, but those two major scenes make me glad that I held onto my original-cut DVD.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 11:2:10

Jim: I'm with you on the running-a-studio idea. (Since I'm out of work, it might even be a step _up_.) Still, I thought Keaton was fine as Batman-- not my first choice, but he wasn't the shallow pretty-boy Val Kilmer was. (George Clooney had a definite gravitas that could have worked, but by the time he got the role Joel Schumacher was turning the films into a rubber fetishist's fantasy.)

I know the 'worst ever' rhetoric bugs me, too. I think I mentioned how it crops up over at Harry Knowles' site. But I think there's a difference here. Most of the time, fanboys are talking about bullshit fantasy movies that, by and large, are disposable product that were made to push toys and fill the seats. So when such movies are sweatily denonced as abortions, worst-evers, SUCKS, and so on, yeah, we know it's empty hyperbole.

But when we talk about movies like _Forrest Gump_ or _American Beauty_, I think the hyperbole may be warranted. Remember, these weren't films that were written according to merchandising templates. These were supposedly high-minded attempts at creating an important film or a serious drama, to make a serious comment about American life, and to be regarded as something more profound and intelligent than _Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back_.

And in most ways, these _were_ taken in exactly that spirit. The innalect-yall press ran dozens of essays, editorials, re-appraisals, and the like about these movies, reading them as diagnostics of the culture. And let's not forget that both won Oscars for Best Picture. When a film is taken _that_ seriously, then I think that people who dislike it for good reasons also have good reasons for resorting to such terms as "mendacious," "evil," "corrupt," "revolting," and worse. After all, they're going against approved opinion.

Oh, and the best comment on that plastic-bag scene came from the show _Family Guy_. At one point, Peter Griffin is taping Stewey. Suddenly he veers away to track a plastic bag in the wind, and rhapsodizes about how God made it happen to show him how much beauty there is in the world.

Then the camera pans up, and there's GOD, shouting, "It's just a GARBAGE BAG, dummy! Do you know how complicated your CIRCULATORY SYSTEM is?"

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 11:0:1

Saw SPY GAMES this weekend. The Diet Coke was ok, if not a tad flat and uninspiring, but the popcorn was the worst popcorn I ever ate.


Jim Davis
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 10:18:35

Poor Harlan...

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 10:8:48

Lynn: Hee, hee. A day without a blown mind in my wake is like a day without sunshine.

Brian: There are so many instances of unimaginative casting in Hollywood, I don't even know where to start. The problem is that too many directors and producers use looks and past roles, rather than the actor's ESSENCE, as the basis for casting. Take our example of Morgan Freeman. Except for STREET SMARTS, he has traditionally played good-guy parts. It's certainly easy to see why; he projects a quiet strength and a dignified surety, and these traits are very desirable in a screen hero. But these same qualities make the most horrifying villains--isn't it true that the most intimidating people aren't those who bellow at the top of their lungs, but the ones who talk in quiet, measured tones? The reason Freeman is so successful in heroic roles is that the audience is subconsciously GRATEFUL that he's on the side of the angels--they don't even want to IMAGINE Freeman as a baddie, it scares them so. Brian, I tell ya, we need to run a studio. Freeman as Lector would make Hopkins (who is an excellent actor) seem like a pale (so to speak) memory. Hell, they replaced Jodie Foster with Julianne Moore, so why stop there?

And when will they ever properly cast an actor in the part of Batman? The other part of the casting equation is discerning a CHARACTER'S essence, as well. Batman isn't a stoical pretty-boy (like Val Kilmer or George Clooney); he's a brilliant detective who, nonetheless, is genuinely DISTURBED. After all, this is a man who saw his parents being murdered in front of him, and decided to dress up as a bat and hunt criminals. Although Michael Keaton is a fine actor with a definite dark side (lamp his villainous turn in PACIFIC HEIGHTS), he kind of falls down in the brilliant detective department; he's a little too "regular guy" to properly portray the greatest ratiocinative mind since Sherlock Holmes. (He would have made a terrific Joker, however.) My choice for Batman? Montgomery Clift, honey...

Alejandro: And we need villains to fight Harlan, as well. How about some Christopher Priest and Charles Platt action figures?

Enough of this AMERICAN BEAUTY-hatin'. Why not save some of that bile for films that REALLY deserve it, like THE HITCHER, or anything directed by the anti-Orson Welles, Eric Schaeffer? (He helmed the cinematic abortions IF LUCY FELL, MY LIFE'S IN TURNAROUND, and FALL. Supremely dopey, all of 'em, and made unnecessarily icky by Schaeffer's unbelievable hubris. This guy genuinely thinks he is The Shit, and why he STILL gets the budgets to make movies is one of the Great Mysteries of Our Time...)

And I would like to state, for the record, that Bud Powell's recording of "It Never Entered My Mind" is simply the most beautiful thing I've heard in many a moon. What a genius of the keyboard...


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 9:12:4

I also understand Todd's dislike of my use of a term like "Most dishonest movie ever made" but I didn't write that off-handedly. I mean it. Though I should be more precise and say "Most dishonest movie I have ever seen."

I've thought about the film a lot and discussed it (ranted against it) a great deal. I don't like to throw around superlatives and try to avoid enaging in needles hyperbole. But I'll stand by that statement. There is not one single true moment in this movie until near the end when Lester's moment of clarity when he stops short of having sex with his lolita.

The characters are just... I still don't know what they are. Are they human? They remind me of the woman in The Cage. The aliens had never seen a human before so didn't know how to reconstruct her and thus rebuilt her as a homonculus. It's as if the filmmakers had never observed humans before and so created these bizarre caricatures of caricatures of caricatures that bear no resemblance to any real persons either living or dead.

I don't blame Chris Cooper for it but his character has got to be in contention for the most ridiculous character ever to appear on film.

There I go with the hyperbole again. What can I say? This film inspires it.

Oh yeah and the popcorn did stink.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 9:4:3

Just as a small note on Annette Bening's character in American Beauty, I note that people have been seeeing her character as needlessly shrill and grasping. Having worked with many a Realtor, I can assure you that someone who hasn't had a sale in a while can become more and more crazed by it (I thought the whole real estate deal in the movie was shown perfectly - only Glengarry has caught the desperation better). Knowing that, her character made perfect sense to me (and the whole cleaning her house in her slip to keep her dress clean was dead on).

Rick Wyatt
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 8:57:4

Also, I understand the popcorn Chris got at the movie was oversalted and devoid of any real soul.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 8:43:35


Wife swapping was surely not the primary cause of divorce in the 60s and 70s. Give Friedan's _The Feminine Mystique_ a look; consider the effects of Title IX and greater numbers of women moving into the workforce, thus achieving the level of economic and psychic strength to make it on their own. A lot of people got divorced simply because they could, because they saw other people doing it and surviving okay. I think an awful lot of couples before that time would have liked to get divorced, did in fact live separate lives as best they could while married, but the economic and social pressures were too strong against it.

Jay Smith:

Give me a mailing address, here or via private email, and I'll get to work making some tapes.

I can see there is indeed little point in trying to discuss "American Beauty" here; the vitriol is simply too over the top. Todd is right: "the most dishonest film ever made, etc." isn't measurable and isn't worth trying to tackle.

The enemies of the film seem to see it as peddling archetypes rather than telling a story about specific people. (Not much more subtle than the young woman I tried to reason with on AllWatchers.com some months back when she expressed horror that the film would offer a "child molester" as its hero.) It's just a story, fercrissake.

I agree the story is rather hamfisted in its handling of the Bening and Cooper characters (it's especially odd because Alan Ball is himself gay), but that's hardly all there is to the film. I heard an interview with Ball in which he said he himself saw a plastic bag flying around on its own one time, and was deeply moved -- it may even have been at the World Trade Center(!) -- and he was flabbergasted at how well Mendes was able to recreate that event.

No, Brian, I don't believe the movie said anything new or earth-shattering (other than being at least somewhat open about having a sympathetic married protagonist who -- gasp -- actually masturbates!), but HOW it said them was often refreshing and delightful to me.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 28 2001 8:42:31

To Peter: Enjoy the book, but try to look up those web sites I listed with critiques of the book. I'd also recommend reading Ralph Nader's book _No Contest_ for another p.o.v.

Chris L: We may be one in our dislike for _American Beauty_, but I guess we have different foxholes foxhole on the music front. I, for one, like "Baba O'Reilly" a lot, and it was pretty revolting to hear it in this movie. (The rest of the soundtrack was pretty dire, including Thomas Newman's music. If you want to hear a _great_ movie score, listen to Peter Gabriel's soundtrack for _The Last Temptation of Christ_. Or most of Howard Shore's work.)

Re Orson Scott Card; Sometimes I agreed, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I thought he was trying to sound like Michael Medved, who is beneath contempt.

Peter <writerpo@pacbell.net>
Union City, CA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 8:15:3

Wow, talk about synchronicity. A couple weeks ago Harlan referred us all to THE LOST ART OF DRAWING THE LINE by Philip K. Howard. I came by my department yesterday between classes and found that a faculty member had received a complimentary copy he did not want. Something about them changing the name and would he like to buy more at a discounted rate. In any case, he didn't want it and let me have it. I started reading it, and it makes sense. I'd encourage anyone who happens to find a copy to at least give it a chance before decrying it as right-wing propaganda bullcaca of the Nth order.

Must get back to papers and studies. Me go lurk now.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, November 28 2001 6:46:38

Actually, I think the music in American Beauty is positively dreadful too with the sole exception of the excellent Annie Lennox's excellent cover of Don't Let It Bring You Down. In fact, the choice of Baba O'Riley as the theme just shows how far on the other side of the planet the filmmakers were from me - I've always thought that was a candidate for single most overrated/worst classic rock song of all-time. And the score - yawn.

In all seriousness, EVERYTHING about the movie was awful. Script, direction, acting, sound, look, feel, stench - everything. There are worse films. But I have never in my life come out of a theater feeling so completely disgusted with what I had just seen. Planet of the Apes was close though.

- Wednesday, November 28 2001 6:34:0

I disagree with those that did not like American Beauty--but, the music...at least tell me you liked the music. And I'm not just talking about the songs inserted in various places that take the place of acting or writing because writers/directors don't know how to transition from one point to another without some song by his or her favorite band to relieve them of their laziness and/or incompetence. Shit. Where was I? Oh, yeah. The score by Thomas Newman. Good stuff. Anyway...as I was saying about disagreement over American Beauty's worth as a movie, I checked out Orson Scott Card's website (thanks, Lynn) and am amazed at the idiocy that pours from this man's pen (or, typewriter or keyboard as the case may be). I have never read anything by Card before and am not inclined to do so again after perusing his website. His diatribes against Pleasantville and Amistad are particularly befuddling as the movies, in my opinion, are not great film, but the stretches in logic to belittle liberalism, Clinton, and "Negroes" giving their opinion on whether they like segregation or not from a couple of films that MAY be worth renting on a dreary Sunday night (and then only with a rent one, get one free coupon) defy credulity.

By the way, since I'm obliquely referencing politics, it's nice to see that George Bush is finally reverting back to form. It was scaring me a bit there when he seemed to be doing the right thing and not getting in the way of his advisors and cabinet in the beginning of this "crisis" or "retaliation" or whatever the key word is that CNN or MSNBC is using to describe this "war". But now I can breathe a sigh of relief as he lets his attack dog Ashcroft round up the usual suspects for "interviews" and he okayed the secret military tribunals. We only need due process to those that deserve due process and not those terrorists, you know. Or, even those that look like terrorists. Sure, they may not have committed crimes, but they might have been thinking about it, though. You think this is a democracy or something?

Jay Smith
Harrisburg, PA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 6:11:53

Re: HE Action Figure Selection

...how about that super-special-limited-Wizard-magazine-exclusive-edition original series "Drug-Dealing Scotty" action figure signed by Gene Roddenberry?

My vote is for the "Warp Drive" Harley Davidson with ejection seat and exploding Bill Shatner figure! It comes with chaps and a super-small copy of the "COTEOF" teleplay complete with Shatner's line counts.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 28 2001 6:4:8

Collections? I have a cute little condom collection. Really. It's fun. A few years ago I noticed that I was often giggling at the variety of condom packages floating around typical stores. Always found myself grabbing that package of ROUGH RIDERS from the squeeky wheelie display at the boardwalk drugstore and looking imploringly at the wife (to no avail).

I used to talk about trying to create the next big mall store that would become a major chain....the Condom Store which featured not only every size and shape imaginable, but a trough of used condoms for a dime. Of course, having just read UNDERWORLD by Don Delillo, I guess my idea is no longer special (except for the river of used condoms, of course).

Anyway, I decided to start a little collection of the funnest condoms.....the oddest names, most interesting packages, etc. I just wanted a cute display in our bedroom and I truly enjoy it. My favorite is the set showing a little cartoon condom man (a very excited cartoon condom man....bursting with joy if you know what I mean) saying "LOOKING TO GET LUCKY WITH DEBBIE TONIGHT IN ATLANTIC CITY" and "LOOKING TO GET LUCKY WITH TODD TONIGHT IN ATLANTIC CITY". Of course, ROUGH RIDERS is proudly displayed as well.

Living so close to NYC and it's *ahem* eclectic shops, it is no longer a challenge to find interesting additions to the collection; but it's still fun.

As for the American Beauty discussion.....what I find most irritating in these types of arguments is how often a popular movie is described with such dramatic venom by the naysayers: "the most dishonest film ever made". You know what I mean....like The Simpson's comic book shop owner spouting "the worst comic book EVER" every week. I tend to wave off many of those comments as the simple anger expressed by moviegoers who simply must debase a film that attains some form of popularity. Happens way too often to not be a trend. First the acclaim, then the "it wasn't that good" then the "it was the worst movie EVER." "Most dishonest film ever made": That's a lot of movies to sift through to make such a statement.

By the way, I loved American Beauty. It was the one odd year that I actually applauded the Academy for a Best Picture decision, even though the movie I loved even more that year was not even nominated.....a movie that by mere mention will often result in the dismissive wave of "Oh fuck, why did I just waste my time reading this asshole's movie opinion": Loved Magnolia. Best picture I've seen in the past 2 years.


Alejandro Riera
chicago, il - Wednesday, November 28 2001 5:47:43


Ditto on the Harlan Ellison action figure. But make mine a Talking-Kung-Fu grip-G.I. Joe-sized (the 12" figurines from the late 60s, early 70s, thank-you-very-much, not the plastic crap Hasbro is manufacturing today), Tonka-truck-driving (the steel ones, again from the 70s, not the namby-pamby plastic crap) action-figure. The Talking part is essential you see.

And while we are at it, let's have a whole line of them. The Jeffty-is-Five Harlan action figure, the Repent-Harlequin action-figure, etc.

Okay, tirn fanboy-ish mode off…NOW!

- Tuesday, November 27 2001 22:38:24


A-HAAAAAHHHHHH. 'Tell It To The Marines'. I'll have to look at that. Yeah, there's a bunch of Chaney's I should see. I looked at four of his films; last one was 7 or 8 years ago. I didn't know about 'Marines'. And biographically I know more about his son.

His death - as you know - was a royal drag for many reasons, one being Universal had him set up to be their grand superstar for the new sound era starting with Dracula. He was already starting make-up tests for the film when he died (so, of course, Lugosi, who'd been doing the stage version for so long, was brought in; he may be memorable but I don't think he could do nearly as much as Chaney). Still, for the decade to follow Karloff was a damn brilliant bargain in the loss.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 22:30:35

To Jim Davis: The same night I got pulled to _American Beauty_, the dinner discussion turned to casting in movies. I mentioned that I like to think of actors who would have done equally terrific jobs in roles that others made famous. For example, I said, if you couldn't get Jack Nicholson to play the Joker in _Batman_, James Woods would have been a great choice.

Then the friend-of-the-friends, one of those hyperactive-stoner types who hadn't quite outgrown the teenager fascination with serial killers, decided to get cute and say, "Okay, fine. But nobody could have done a better job as Hannibal Lecter than Anthony Hopkins."

I smiled. "Morgan Freeman," I said. (The fact that everyone could _NOT_ see Freeman in that role was a good indication that, maybe, I was hanging with the wrong crowd.) Jim, you should be a casting director.

To Chuck: _Tell it to the Marines_ is NO LONGER LOST. It's not on video, but it has been broadcast on Turner Classic Movies every so often-- usually in October, when they rebroadcast the exceptionally fine bio of Chaney narrated by Kenneth Branagh.

More on Actresses; I'd like to make mention of Jane Horrocks, who's done astounding dramatic work in _Little Voice_ and _Life is Sweet_ as well as her role as Bubble in _Absolutely Fabulous_.

Okay, I won't knock Kevin Spacey. He's done terrific work so far-- I'm very fond of his Jack Vincennes in _L.A. Confidential_-- but when an actor of his caliber starts taking roles as benevolent aliens, I worry about the man's judgement.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 22:3:50

Jim: re: Hello Cthulhu!

I have one and only one thing to say to you...

MY EYES!!!! MY EYES!!!!!

::melting back into my component amino acids::

Jim Davis
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 21:54:40

Heather: Yes.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 21:45:56

Stuff I collect: Books, bad relationships, and plaque in my arteries.

I got my copy of DARK CARNIVAL yesterday. Oh. My. God. The guys at Gauntlet press really outdid themselves this time. The luminously beautiful dust jacket artwork is by Bradbury himself, and is reproduced on the leather slipcase. There's a cornucopia of supplementary materials, including a foreward by Ray to each story, and a few "lost" tales that never made it to publication. The whole shebang is signed by Ray and Clive Barker, too. (AND it came with a chapbook of a new story, with artwork by William F. Nolan.) Guys, get this little bastard while you still can--you will NOT regret it. Truly the publishing event of the year. Er, after TROUBLEMAKERS, of course (he says, nervously looking around).

Cookie: Norman Granz is dead? What a shame. It says something about our society's priorities that I only found out about his passing HERE, and not from the TV or radio. The recordings on his Verve label have provided me with many, many hours of enjoyment. (And I own a few Pablo albums, too, with those distinctive black-and-white covers.) He Will Be Missed.

Bermanator: I LOVE IT!!!!

"Q: What ultimately happens to Harlequin?
A: He is brainwashed to be one of the government's bitches and do as they say. I think that is not good. Everyone should be able to have fun and live a little."

I think the kid will be all right...

As for the thread on modern actresses of worth...the problem, as I see it, is that there are little or no women in film today. I know, "What the hell is he talking about? There are plenty of women in movies, just look around." Well, sure, there are plenty of giggly little girls to be found, but actual adult WOMEN are rarer than radium. For example, I think Heather Graham is just darlin' to look at, and certainly charming in limited roles, but she has never transcended the schoolyard in emotional terms onscreen. And she's damn-near thirty years old! Compare her to 19-year old Lauren Bacall, who was confidently trading fours with Humphrey Bogart in TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT, and you'll weep.

The problem isn't just with Ms. Graham, it's EVERYWHERE in Hollywood. There's almost a complete lack of gravitas to the performances by young actresses today, and I think it's the natural result of a system that prizes youth and immaturity over age and experience. I heard a rumor that Famke Jannsen (Jean Grey in X-MEN) was rejected for a romantic role opposite Keanu Reeves because she was considered TOO OLD for the part. She's in her mid-thirties, for chrissakes! (AND she's a year younger than Reeves, to boot.) If a woman isn't dewy-fresh, then there's no place for her in Hollywood, and that's a goddamn shame. It's no wonder that most of the female thespians are emotionally stunted; why bother growing up, when there's no incentive to do so?

Now, I'm not saying there are NO actresses of maturity and depth in film today, just that they're in the minority. A woman who qualifies for the title of "Female DeNiro", in my opinion, is Jennifer Jason Leigh. Now, I haven't always loved everything she's done, but she consistently takes on challenging roles with dedication and verve. Another woman I like is Angelina Jolie. Yes, her lips are creepy, yes, she's out of her mind, but she is supremely ALIVE onscreen, in a way that the other Stepford Schoolgirls of today are not. Again, I may not always like her cinematic choices, but nine times out of ten, she's one of the most compelling elements of any movie she's in.

Ashey Judd has done some astounding work in films like NORMAL LIFE and RUBY IN PARADISE, though her choice of projects lately has been lacking, to say the least. (DOUBLE JEOPARDY? SOMEONE LIKE YOU? SIMON BIRCH?!?!?!?!?) Emily Watson is another woman who started off strong (BREAKING THE WAVES), but whose recent work has been unimpressive. TRIXIE was an abomination, and is frequently cited by Atheists as proof that God does not exist. (Alan Rudolph hasn't done a good movie since CHOOSE ME, and should be beaten with hammers for foisting crap movie after crap movie on the public.) I'm REALLY impressed by the work of Cate Blanchett, who is the rare modern actress to handle dramatic AND comedic roles with equal facility. Plus, I've always had a thing for redheads...

As for the men, my favorite living actors are Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman. They consistently do the most amazing work, while making it look easy. I just wish that Freeman would do some villanous roles, as a favor to those of us who remember his turn as an evil pimp in STREET SMARTS. (I think he would make a PERFECT Hannibal Lector.)

Oh, and as far as Models-turned-actresses are concerned, a recent one with some promise is Saffron Barrows. She played the lead in Mike Figgis's screen adaptation of MISS JULIE, and did a very nice job in what has always seemed to me to be a very thankless role.

And no one had better talk any trash about Kevin Spacey, here. Knock AMERICAN BEAUTY all you want (I thought it was so-so), but leave the Spaceman alone. I've been a fan of his since his appearance as Mel Proffit in the Eighties TV drama "Wiseguy", and his work in THE USUAL SUSPECTS is as good as screen acting gets. He deserved the Oscar, just not for AMERICAN BEAUTY...

Lynn mentioned Cthulhu plush toys. Well, how about these apples: http://www.upl.cs.wisc.edu/~kimuchi/cthulhu.html

And I want my Harlan Ellison action figure, now!


Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Lakewood, CO - Tuesday, November 27 2001 21:4:29

Tom: D'oh, poopie! I mean Fred WARD, not Fred Willard. Though that choice would have been quite funny. Still, it wouldn't have worked as well when he said, "I vote for outer space. No way these are local boys."

Rob: As has already been mentioned, Lon Chaney was in TELL IT TO THE MARINES. His last silent movie (a lost classic) oh, I can't remember the title, but he played a locomotive engineer. He bought a used pair of overalls from a real engineer so that the clothes would look and feel right. He just came across completely authentic in the few scenes that survive. The scene where he strokes and caresses the last remaining scraps of his old engine are touching.

Jude Law has been metioned here. I have a question. Is he related to John Phillip Law? The American actor who was world famous in Italy for playing the jewel thief Diabolik? The facial structure of the two men are very similar. Though Jude seems to have more talent that John.


Jay Smith
Harrisburg, PA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 20:49:50


Thanks for the information on recordings for the blind. Yes, the State Library and local colleges have a large number of recordings which, as I said, sounded like they were handed out to unprepared readers who read them like the newspaper. It's great. I'm a big fan of Frank Mueller, who reads many of Stephen King's stories, because of his range and dramatic talent. I picked up his reading of "The Body" for my dad and it blew me away. On the other hand, I picked up a compilation called "Tales of the Occult" which included stories like "The Tarn" and "The Yellow Sign" which were less than stellar. It seems the more obscure the work, the more uneasy the read.

Let me know what your cost is for those readings.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 20:1:10


RE: American Beauty

I think I love you!

Not in that way, I mean.

But the sentiment is the same.

Well, not in that way, I mean.


- Tuesday, November 27 2001 19:18:5


Since the Chicago Seven came up I have a question pertaining to the same era...for a very brief answer, so as not to take up your time. As both a participant in several movements in the 60’s and a former film critic could you tell me in a couple of words if Paul Mazursky had an accurate take on the ‘free love’ trend and free association in his satire ‘BOB AND CAROL AND TED AND ALICE’? Two historical questions actually hinge on the inquiry: one, divorce rates rocketed between 1965 and the mid-seventies. Was that at all attributable to married couples putting mate-swapping to the test in some wave of disillusionment? Two, is Mazursky’s pov on the material subjective or was he an outsider capitalizing on the hippie trend (thereby distorting what it was all about)? In short, is the film historically accurate in terms of how the movement affected older couples?

If you could take a sec to enlighten me in any way here I’ll buy you a bialy.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 18:59:9

What is Lalique glass? It's the work of glassmaker and artisan Rene Lalique, who create stunningly beautiful works straddling the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras. A decent Google search out to get you some sample pictures.

When I saw American Neauty, it was in the company of some friends who were ten years younger than I. They thought it was a wonderful movie. I thought it was a hokey, contrived, shallow piece of garbage. I thought, "This is the kind of movie Hollywood filmmakers love, because it reassures _them_ that middle-class Americans are shallow, repressed, wrapped-too-tight, and lacking in proper New Age spirituality." They gushed about how cool it was that Spacey's character could chuck it all and stick it to the man; I, ten years older, thought that Spacey's blackmailing his boos was an unrealistic plot device designed to let him off the hook from endangering his fragile family's finances. Annette Bening, whose character was now stuck with the responsibility of being the breadwinner, was presented as a shrieking fraud fit only for scorn and ridicule. And when they introduced that bullying next-door father, my _immediate_ thought was "This guy'll turn out to be a violent closet-case who'll kill Spacey over a crush." (The point was that all homophobes are actually secretly gay themselves, _get it?_ It's just a form of homophobia that disguises itself as sophistication.) If, as Joseph claims, the film treated them with pity, then I submit that it's the same self-important pity Christians have for us unsaved heathen.

And my friends insisted that I was being closed-minded and unreceptive to the film's sophisticated satire and subtle characterization. That's probably why I hate it so much-- there are so many people who actually believe that it said something new and interesting and profound. I thought it was one of the most unsubtle, cliched, manufactured-and-preprocessed piece of Hollywood cheese outside of Garry Marshall's movies, and surpassed in dishonesty only by the genuinely evil _Forrest Gump_.

- Tuesday, November 27 2001 17:12:49

Do you ever have one of those days -- I wouldn't quite call it an epiphanous situation but it comes close -- when you realize JUST how..stupid people really are? It wasn't any one person; it wasn't any one situation--kinda of a cumulative effect.

I have a hard time with this word elitist (though I understand your all use of it) but..


Are people REALLY that stupid?

I guess..they are.

Channel Twenty Three
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 16:27:54

And for your collecting convenience, each soap comes individually sealed in pristine cellophane or plastic wrapped, for easy dusting! As an alternative for you *avid* soap collectors, who wish to view their spectacular charges in their au naturale, al fresco state, please consider our new and improved hermetically sealed viewing cabinet! This stately viewing cabinet comes in oak or maple, and is vacuum sealable with its own HEPA filter! Yours for only three easy payments of $99.99! Call Now! 1-888-WASH-YOUR-MOUTH-OUT

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 16:16:10

Alex K: This is not a facetious question-- doesn't your wife's soap collection get dusty? If so, how does she clean it?

Harlan: Here are Freddie's words about Repent! I inserted periods and corrected spelling errors for readability and to save some personal dignity. The words, however, are his.

Q: What is the theme of Repent!
A: That people are not people, they do exactly what they are told to do. They don't live. They don't do as they please to make themself happy because they fear the consequences.

Q: What is Harlequin's motivation?
A: He is trying to make people have fun again, live their lives for themselves and not the government. He is trying to do this by creating disorder and ruining their schedules.

Q: What ultimately happens to Harlequin?
A: He is brainwashed to be one of the government's bitches and do as they say. I think that is not good. Everyone should be able to have fun and live a little.

Q: Did you enjoy this story? Why or why not?
A: Yes, I liked the story once it got going. The beginning was so long and slow but the story was good because it brought on disorder.

Not sure what to make of this, but I think he got your message.

hoping Fred doesn't wind up like Harlequin

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Tuesday, November 27 2001 16:9:26

Actually, the only people in American Beauty who seemed to have it together at all (besides the drug dealer next door) were the openly gay neighbors. Everyone else in the movie was a screwup. The attitude of Alan Ball & company seemed to be that middle America is simply a bunch of repressed hypocrites. Heard it before. Nothing new here. The only scene I thought really worked was that long sequence watching the paper kept dancing in the wind, endlessly it seemed. To spend that much screen time on that scene seemed braver to me than anything in the movie's deathless message to the masses.

But what do I know? I'm the guy who liked Temple of Gold more than I liked Catcher in the Rye...


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Tuesday, November 27 2001 15:57:33


Thanks for that, yup that was the name of the flick and a very good one it was too. I haven't found any of Sayle's written work here apart from his script and diary for 'Matewan'. Well, at least Sayle's can get his films a video release. Still can't believe that nearly all of Pontecorvo's and Peter Watkin's work is still unavailable.


I haven't read OSC's review of American Beauty. I thought the film was reasonable but a few friends of mine loathe it as they believe its homophobic. I can't remember too much of their arguements but it was something to do with the way homosexual sterotypes were used to get certain negative results (i.e. blackmailing the boss, the fact that Chris Cooper killed Spacey's character as he rejected his advances were two examples). Don't ask me to justify it as I can't remember all the arguement so can't possibly argue for them.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 15:37:48



You do have a point about the film getting a rise out of you. It's something, isn't it?

Anyhoo, two last points about Card's reviews. (A), I don't particularly care about his religious aspect - I just pass over it, and (B) I don't think American Beauty has the contempt for it's characters that Card is implying. If anything, it feels sorry for these sad sacks.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 15:27:31

I also agree that Card's movie reviews are often something less than profound. His dismissal of Citizen Kane as a "vanity piece" is inexplicable. However, I agree with his sentiment regarding American Beauty. I agree with anything bad anyone says about American Beauty. :) As someone once pointed out to me, though, the film must have accomplished _something_ if it arouses such intense hatred in me and I suppose that's true. Contrast that with a film like the recent Planet of the Apes which I thought was horrible. I do not despise it or feel any resentment towards it - I think it is just boring, inept and forgettable.

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Tuesday, November 27 2001 15:13:59


The Sayles title lost in the brain *ppphhhhhhffffffttttt* is BABY, IT'S YOU.

He's also done some nice fiction (probably all out of print now, but haven't checked lately). If you get a chance, scrounge up his short story collection THE ANARCHIST'S CONVENTION, and his novels UNION DUES and PRIDE OF THE BIMBOS. Have heard nice things about another novel of his, LOS GUSANOS, but haven't gotten around to reading it.


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Showboat Heights, Oh - Tuesday, November 27 2001 15:11:25

Collections? My wife has an unusual collection. She's filled two curio cabinets with soaps. Soaps of seashells, soaps of Mickey and Donald and Pluto, soaps of dinosaurs and dairy products and small children. Soaps of every shape except what one might expect to wash with. Sorta neat, really.

I'm like most around here--I collect books. And like many here, I started out not so much collecting books as searching for books I wanted to read. So, yeah, I tracked down Crocket Johnson's "Barnaby" books---because I fell in love with the strip after reading The Smithsoneon Collection of Comic Strips. I have the original Kurtzman "Mad" comic books because, until Russ Cochran produced the EC Library, that was the only way to read them properly. For the same reason, I have a large collection of first- and/or early edition Phil Dick, Harlan Ellison (hiya, hiya, hiya), Fred Pohl, Avram Davidson, Wodehouse, Thurber, H. Allan Smith, Philip Wylie, et cetera ad nauseum. But if you get them because you just want to be able to read them, does that count as "collecting?" Seems, I dunno, a little impure of motive. Y'know what I mean?


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 15:3:7

If you want to read the review Chris is referring to, check here:

Please note that I am not *intentionally* flame-baiting, but I have to agree with Joseph's opinion of OSC as a film reviewer. Was he even seeing the same films I was? And boy howdy, can we get any higher on that horse about religion?!


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 14:54:3

Jay Smith asked about my "audiobooks."

I don't really do audiobooks. I record books on CD-minidiscs which are broadcast locally once and then recycled. It's a very small, hole-in-the-wall, local operation. If you're interested in copies of the cassette versions I made simultaneously of _Something Wicked This Way Comes_, _The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury_, or the Sherlock Holmes selections I'm doing now, just for myself, I could make them for you at cost. But this is not high-tech, hi-fi stuff, I'm warning you.

If your father has been certified legally blind and has a tape machine that plays cassettes made for blind people (15/16 ips as opposed to the standard cassette player speed of 1-5/8 ips), then you/he might be able to get copies of some of the books I recorded for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind. They're on Ivy Avenue in Brookline, Massachusetts, although it looked like the recording studio was closed down when I swung by there last June. If that's the case, I'd be curious to know whether the masters ended up anywhere else safe.

For them I recorded John Kennedy Toole's _Confederacy of Dunces_, Ken Follett's _The Man From St. Petersburg_, John Jakes's _North and South_ (what a bear that was!), Le Carre's _The Little Drummer Girl_, and Julian Jaynes's _The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind_. A little book by Grant Tracy Saxon called _The Happy Hustler_ was also requested by a client, and I avidly volunteered to record it but was bored out of my mind after 50 pages. Live and learn. The director told me they got a lot of requests for the recording, though; word must have gotten out....

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 14:43:21

Much as I respect Orson Scott Card, I can't help but find some of his reviews incomprehensible, American Beauty being one of them. Same deal with one of the folks here in Chicago, Jonathon Rosenbaum, who makes me scratch my head at least 50% of the time and wonder if we saw the same movie (characterizing Strictly Ballroom as "one of the more horrific and unpleasant movies in quite some time" and a "disgusting first feature"? Huh?).

Of course, I regard Fargo as one of the great everyday crime dramas, so whadda I know?


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 14:21:52


If I say anything much about American Beauty, it'll wind up being another protracted discussion here and I'll get all wound up and I don't want to do that. I have vented my spleen copiously regarding this film and have no interest in rehashing it.

My one-sentence summary: It's the most dishonest film ever made.

I think it's the single worst critically acclaimed film of all-time. I agree with Orson Scott Card's review of the film if you want to check it out at his website. I hate it even more than he does, though.

Another review which sums up some of my feelings about the film can be found here:


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Tuesday, November 27 2001 13:59:6

John Sayles is one of those talents that we don't have in the UK. A genuinely politically aware, visually talented storyteller that doesn't have a snobbish bone in his body (the man wrote the scripts for Battle beyond the Stars and The Howling). Oh, if only Ken Loach could take that on board maybe I'd enjoy more of his movies...

Men with Guns and Alaska didn't get much of a distribution here which is quite unusual as Lone Star was a little art house success. His best film though was City of Hope and a nice little romance flick starring Rosanna Artquette whose title I've forgotten in a brain fart.

Just found out that I won the cartoon Lord of the Rings DVD from Radio 1. Well, saved myself 20 quid. Quite enjoyable but looking forward to the New Zealand trilogy.

Harlan - I've given up collecting stuff, I used to buy comics but durability make me now go for graphic novel re-prints when I can. Same for books, I'm more interested in the contents than what edition it is. My room is literally filling to the ceilings with all sorts of books (mostly non-fiction). So no room for old toys anymore.

BTW - Did you catch the Marquez article in the UK Guardian on Saturday? It should still be on their website.


- Tuesday, November 27 2001 13:33:2

*** Joseph *** If you like to lick glass and you have a speech impediment...

Barney Dannelke <dannelke01@enter.net>
Allentown, PA. - Tuesday, November 27 2001 13:31:13

*** Hey groupmind *** Can somebody [not Harlan] tell me what Glass Teat column [s?] or page #'s Harlan wrote about the Chicago Seven? I'm hammered for time or I would just skim the suckers myself. And if Glen Haumann [sp] is reading this, yes, I know the on-line computer version was searchable, but I no longer have those files. Why the Chicago Seven? Well, I saw "Steal This Movie" over the weekend with my daughter and I sort of wanted to bring her up to speed with some extra curricular reading. Any help would be appreciated. And what's the statute of limitations for harbouring a felon? Beuller??

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 13:21:11


What's Lalique glass?


Jim Davis
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 13:3:28

Of course, that trick only works IMMEDIATELY after losing the text, so if you've typed anything else since, then you're out of luck...

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 13:2:24

To Harlan, re collections: I'm sort of a half-collector, myself. If I had the bux to shell out for the stuff I'd love to collect-- Lalique glass is on the list, as are editions of _Barnaby_ by Crockett Johnson, one of those limited-edition models of the Nautilus from Disney's _20,000 Leagues_, patent-medicine bottles and ads and labels, and if I could ever have the green to blow on a piece of Hector Guimard furniture, well, consider it blown.

But for a lot of popculture effuvia that I _need_, I usually wait until it's available in a form that doesn't require a lot of labor. _Toxic High_ trading cards? Great-- complete sets can be had on Ebay. _Barry Ween, Boy Genius_? Just got the collections yesterday. Neil Gaiman's got a new series out? Fine-- I'll buy it when it's perfectbound together on solid-stock paper.

About the only real collection I have that took work was my nearly-complete set of the _National Lampoon's_ first five years. (I know you sold such a set on Ebay, but I couldn't have afforded your set-- anyway, I was only three or four issues away from Complete at that point anyway.)

But those, I can read and enjoy. Hummels? I used to get the feeling that the only creatures on earth who might find them compelling are the zombies from George Romero's movies.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 12:58:30

Harlan: I don't know if this will help you, but if you accidentally erased your text after highlighting it, you can retrieve it by tapping the right-hand button on your mouse and selecting "undo" from the pop-up menu.

Been gone for a week. Lots to catch up on. Hope everyone's holiday was cool. Will check in later tonight. May even use personal pronouns in sentences. May not.


P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
bingo, ny usa - Tuesday, November 27 2001 12:58:2

Can't believe I forgot to mention Gene Hackman. He's The Man. Also, Bill Murray is Most Underrated, so much so that I forgot him. Ed Harris too.

I didn't mention classic actors from the past b/c my criteria was "actors working today in film." TV actors and old favorites would be two completely different categories.

re: Reese Witherspoon-- I didn't scoff at her. I don't dislike her. I simply cannot understand why she would be singled out for excessive praise while Gwyneth Paltrow is heaped with scorn, Thora Birch and Sarah Polley aren't mentioned (my own fault there), etc. She's OK, she may be as great as you say, but I'm not impressed enough yet.


Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 12:23:5

Shit! I just lost a two-hour-long post to you.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 12:19:3


Thanks for the suggestion on Lone Star, which I'm ashamed to say as a John Sayles worshipper I've yet to see. Now I'm going to have to watcht Matewan again to refresh my memory on Cooper in that....

Hmmm...Sayles. Ah, Joe Morton! The Brother From Another Planet! There's an actor who can lift crummy material (hell, he's the only reason to watch the excerable Blues Brothers 2000 - his two songs are in permanent rotation on my hard drive). I also love his X-Files episode, and especially love him as Dyson in Terminator 2 (he just has the perfect demeanor for someone who's just been told that he will be responsible for the death of 5 billion humans).

Ooooh! My new coffee cup came today! It's a comic art one, using art from 9 Chickweed Lane (which you can see at comics.com). Guy does some very nice black and white block panel art.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 12:8:11

Geez, Chris L, what was so awful about "American Beauty"? (Or Spacey in it?)

Sounds to me like a case of unrealistic expectations; you didn't see the film long after it was released, perhaps even after the Motion Picture Academy honored it?

If not, I'd especially like to hear about your objections in detail, but I'd like to hear 'em in any case. I saw it very early in the run, before the buzz got so heated and of course long before the Academy showered it with awards. Don't you think they did a lot better in that case than with "Forrest Gump," "Braveheart," "Titanic" or "Gladiator"?

The Finder
Centreville, VA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 12:0:45

Lynn - the plush Cthulhu rules; I have one that keeps watch over my abode. The guy at the Another Universe store I picked it up at last year felt vindicated when I walked up to the register with a big, stupid grin on my face. We never spoke the name - no names were necessary, just nods and glances weighty with ancient knowledge.

With the exception of that time the boys from the Trilateral Commission dangled me over the side of the Hoover Dam (in a shameful display of poor sportsmanship) I've never felt so much a part of a secret society...

Matt Wilkins <mew@mr.net>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 11:59:17

While the discussion of "favorite" actors is largely personal opinion and therefore subject to much debate which will lead absolutely nowhere (much like other "favorite" lists), it can be a lot of fun. So, I shall add my two cents on Chris Cooper.

I enjoyed him most in "Lone Star" as did many others. However, he and Ethan Hawke in "Great Expectations" from 1999 really made that movie a little more than just the sum of its parts. Overlooked, in my opinion.

Additionally, since some of the "old" (hey - I'm only 25) actors have been overlooked - I love Jimmy Stewart in anything.

And George C. Scott. And Omar Sharif...

I also loved Rod Steiger in "Dr. Zhivago" - he was a force of nature in that one, though I haven't seen him in much of anything else...

I could go on, so I will stop.

I would just like to add that Harlan's introductions to his stories in "Troublemakers" are awesome and worth the price of the book alone. I especially loved and appreciated the one for "On The Downward Side."


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 11:52:25

I liked Kevin Spacey up until American Beauty.

I detest that movie so much I now refuse to acknowledge the posisbility that anyone associated with that movie is competent in any field.

Unfair and illogical but somebody has to pay for the pain I had to endure watching that travesty.

Alejandro Riera
Chicago, Il - Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:53:22


Re: Chris Cooper. May I suggest John Sayles' Lone Star and Matewan, two extraordinary films. Lone Star has the breadth and scope of a novel and it features some of the most acute observations, a true understanding, of Latino culture in the United States. It was one of my favorite films of a few years back. (And Puerto Rican actress Miriam Colon really shines in her role as the racist anti-immigrant Mexican owner of a Texas restaurant.)


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:47:53

Cartoon bandaids are the best thing you can put in an aid kit, especially if you have to treat kids. Nothing but nothing makes a boo-boo better than a Taz or a Bugs bandaid. Even when all they are is scared and need "mending", especially little kids, these things give them something familar to focus on. Having been a first responder on a horrific car accident, I can't tell you how far those little things go. If you keep a first aid kit (or first responder bag) like I do, I highly recommend getting a couple of beanie baby toys. (Currently I have Sonic from a Denny's promotion in my kit). If you have room, put in a blanket with cartoon characters on it or a plush toy. Someone will thank you for it later. (And yes, I keep a stash, because it's just bad form to ask for them back once they been given.)

As for collecting, when I was growing up I collected unicorn art. And stuffed toys and posters, but quite a few collectible figurines and books. I think they're probably still in my mom's attic. The only other thing I could honestly say I collect is weird beanies (or similar sized stuffed toys). The really odd or out there ones, like Sting (scorpion), Scorch (the little crispied dragon - no really, he's this mottled brown shag like he's been singed), Swoop (the pteradactyl), Scurry (the scarab), and my recent edition, from Monsters Inc: The CDA Agent. He's this little guy with four arms and six eyes in a hazmat suit. (As we joke around here, he's from the Chernobyl Janitorial Crew). And my crowning glory is my emerald green plush Cthulhu doll, which I should really post a pic of, because he has to be seen to be believed. I just love to see the look on my coworker's face as it blends from "Ah isn't that cute" to "What the hell is it?!"

I live to freak the mundanes.

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:37:30


If you like Laura Linney, I might suggest (although you've probably seen it already), the PBS miniseries based on Armistad Maupin's "Tales of the City". The series also features Olympia Dukakis(sp?) in a rather interesting role.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:36:57


Actually, I was talking with a pediatric friend of mine, and he said that he was very happy about "character" bandages, in that made the kids want to be treated when they cut themselves, helping to cut down on larger problems like infection and blood poisining. He cheerfully admitted that he had no hard evidence on this, but it seemed to be borne out by the kids who came into his office.

And hey, who wouldn't want a Hulk Band-Aid?

We'll see about Linney versus Dern, but I think Linney's a ways to go to beat a resume that includes Mask, Rambling Rose, Citizen Ruth and October Sky.

Oh, hey! Chris Cooper! The father in October Sky and the next-door-homophobe in American Beauty. An interesting actor I'm trying to get around to looking into his previous work.

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:36:21

Though nice to see my favorites like Robbie Coltrane, John Cusack, Kevin Spacey and Ed Harris get recognition, I'm rather surprised that no one has put up for greatness Bob Hoskins or Albert Finney. And how about Ellen Burstyn or Kathy Bates? I want to nominate Robert Downey, Jr., but he's not getting much of a chance to really act--unless he's acting contrite in front of a judge--not like he did in CHAPLIN.

ALEX K.: "The Rough Boys" was anthologized, after a fashion, in the DREAM CORRIDOR comic, with Gahan Wilson providing the art.

As for Fred Willard, I have trouble thinking of him, because I always think of the OTHER Fred Willard, an Atlanta crime photographer who has written two of the funniest caper novels this side of Westlake: DOWN ON PONCE and PRINCESS NAUGHTY AND THE VOODOO CADILLAC.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:17:19


You're right about Linney. I think she's a better-looking Laura Dern (and I think better acting). We just haven't seen enough of her.

You were the one who asked about what people collect, right?

I collect a variety of things, but not rabidly. Books by Ellison, of course, as well as John Fowles and Jules Feiffer.

I don't expressly collect mugs, but I have a few doozies: One that says "LOVE ME NOW!" on the outside, and "Avoid the rush" inside the lip; one that pictures an old prospector saying "I spent most of my money on beer and women. The rest I just wasted."

This is the first I'd heard that Harlan collects first day covers(!) How did that come about, guy? I had a stamp collection as a kid and a teen, but let it go by the wayside. Now I just trade mint US stamps with a retired engineer in Tallinn who sends me Estonian and Soviet stamps and FDC's in return. Now and then I buy a sheet or FDC that captures my fancy, but it's purely an aesthetic thing at this point.

HE said he would seemingly collect used Band-Aids if they intrigued him. Has anyone else seen the Harry Potter Band-Aids yet? I notice them at a local variety store alongside Harry Potter toothbrushes and shampoo. Now, really....

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:16:35


Ya know where I really love Spacey? Glengarry Glenn Ross. He reminded me and everyone I've ever talked to of the one asshole office manager that everyone's worked under at some point. Brilliant performance, especially considering the just incredible cast he was working with (and anyone in that movie makes my list - including Baldwin, who's inconsistent, but rules his scene here with an iron fist). Gotta love a movie with Jack Lemmon, Jonathon Pryce, Al Pacino, Ed Harris and Alan Arkin.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:8:6

Don't know why, but Laura Linney just popped to mind. I've only seen her in The Truman Show and the incomparable You Can Count On Me (which is fun to watch another Matthew Broderick role as a less-than-sympathetic guy). The lass has some chops.

Speaking of Truman Show (and by extension Gattaca), no one has yet mentioned Jude Law, an actor with a lot of potential (especially well used in The Talented Mr. Ripley).

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 10:2:39

I approve of the citations of John Cusack, Billy Crudup (he made a decent Prefontaine, too!), and especially Spacey. I adored him LONG before "American Beauty."

Dustin Hoffman HAS been great, but he seems to have gone a little over the hill the past decade. I haven't seen "Sphere," "Sleepers," "American Buffalo," "Outbreak," "Hero," or "Billy Bathgate," but stuff like "Wag the Dog" and "Hook" seemed little more than charming set pieces. I'm not inclined to go to something just because it has Hoffman in it, these days.

Hackman, on the other hand, is still going VERY strong (and dang it, he's entitled: he was already 37 when he first achieved notice in a supporting role in "Bonnie and Clyde" -- which I was a little too young to get into, so I perked up when I saw him two years later in "Marooned"), and without any cosmetic surgery.

Holly Hunter is always interesting. Loved seeing her turn up in "Timecode" and "Crash."

Scot loved Jennifer Connelly in "Waking the Dead." Haven't seen it, but she was incredibly courageous (and incidentally HOT) in "Requiem for a Dream." I'll be watching for more of her.

PAB said Buscemi was underrated, which I might have disagreed with, since he played such similar characters for a long time ... and then came "Ghost World." Agree that Helen Hunt is severely overrated; I wouldn't have given any Oscars to the ironically titled (in SO many ways) "As Good As It Gets."

PAB scoffed at Reese Witherspoon. I haven't seen a lot of her fluffier comic hits, including "Legally Blonde," but I can't see any of the blow-dried blondes doing what she did in "Election" and "American Psycho," on top of "Pleasantville." Her upcoming projects are "Sweet Home Alabama" (which sounds like another "Legally Blonde" vehicle) and "The Importance of Being Earnest" by you know who (which definitely does NOT; she's reportedly acting opposite Rupert Everett and Colin Firth, with Tom Wilkinson, Edward Fox, and Judi Dench in the mix!). I don't expect to see Sarah Michelle Gellar doing Wilde or any British plays soon.

Frank: I'm not apeshit over "Fargo" or "Pulp Fiction" either. Admirable stuff in both, but Tarantino especially is looking more and more like a flash in the pan -- the American version of Alex Cox -- with each passing year.

I'm guessing the "actress" HE slammed in the new "Planet of the Apes" (I didn't bother to see it) is Estella Warren. She did indeed start out as a model (an SI swimsuit girl as well), so acting was presumably not her goal, let alone training. The IMDb helpfully says she was a "very talented synchronized swimmer" with Olympic potential on the Canadian team, though....

With all the praise for Macy, I'm surprised that no one's mentioned a guy I often think of in the same class and even style: Dylan Baker. He was the pivot of "Happiness," and for all his weirdness, he did a terrific if brief turn as Defense Secretary Robert McNamara in "Thirteen Days" as well as a sympathetic priest just this month on "CSI." Like Macy, he's a little oddball and will probably never be a star, but he's ALWAYS interesting and worthwhile.

Jay Smith
Darwin's Waiting Room, PA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 9:31:54

...though Fred Willard in Tremors would have been funny. Replace Kevin Bacon with Christopher Guest and you'd have an interesting buddy flick.

On the subject of Atheism: I don't know if I'm trying to have it both ways, but I do believe in a "God", but I don't buy the idea that He or She or They put a hand down every time we feel mistreated by the world or when Grampa Harry goes in for surgery or when Fluffy shakes his leash and heads into the crowded intersection. I don't think they really have any more direct interest in us than the researcher has in his petrie dish. If there's an afterworld that looks like Medieval Europe and is populated by the self-proclaimed "virtuous" of Judeo-Christian morality, I know I won't make it past the bouncer, anyway.

Sorry if I'm misquoting, but Arthur Clarke said that 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.' I think of God in those terms - and as an abstract. If ANYTHING, I believe in an observing superior race/being is checking out how we work, live, think and play collectively and MAYBE, every once and a while, dropping a random bit of weirdness to see how we react. I know that sounds like a bad bit of speculative fiction, but what about any major religion (or a few modern ones) doesn't have that vibe at its core?

I'd love to think of God as a friendly old grandpa, but I think I have that particular phantasm slot filled by Santa Claus.


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker Heights, OH United States - Tuesday, November 27 2001 9:13:33

Heads-up for all you Ellison compleatists. I just recieved a reviewer copy of Lawrence Block's "Opening Shots, volume II." The Opening Shots books collect writers' first mystery/crime stories. It includes an early Ellison tale called "The Rough Boys," a neat little yarn that has not, I think, been anthologised before (Harlan, if that's not the case, please correct this poor sinner). Lots of other good stuff, too, mind you, including stories by Peter Straub, Joe Gores, Joyce Carol Oates, u.s.w. But I was particularly delighted with this early "Memoes from Purgatory"-scented tale from HE.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 9:6:14


Telepathy - the dogs were bred to be Rovers in war. It's all in the story (unless, of course, you've only seen the movie).


Nick <nhern@d.umn.edu>
funny, mn U.S. - Tuesday, November 27 2001 8:55:3

Regarding a boy and his dog.
How exactly is it that the boy and dog can speak to each other? I don't remember it ever truly being adressed. It just is. Also how would you see religion fitting into this movies framework?

Jim Hess <jchess@frii.com>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 8:32:13

Delurking for a moment, shaking sands from his pants, acquired from the electronic sandbox, and standing forth from the shadows:

An item of interest, following, especially for Harlan:


Back to the shadows, back to writing.

Until next time. . .

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 8:28:12

Harlan re: Your explanation for "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore", I have to shake my head and smile. I never imagined how great the gulf between the intent of the author and the perception of the reader could be. This is also one of my favorite tales, but for reasons in utter opposition to the ones you stated. Perhaps I am guilty of deifying the universe or giving a voice, a face, a sense of humor to Entropy, but those are the faults that make up who I am.

A quick question for you: Before the current troubles with internet piracy, did you have a previous issue regarding copyright that inspired your meticulous record keeping, or is that just the way you've always done it?

Warmest regards,

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 27 2001 8:27:7

Fred Willard is the actor who stole "Best in Show" last year, as the cheerfully vague play-by-play man for a dog show. Wonderful improv from Willard.

- Tuesday, November 27 2001 7:23:46


I believe Fred Ward was in Tremors, not Fred Willard.

Eric Martin
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 6:50:23

Excellent summation of atheism, Mr. Ellison. I'm glad someone out there is still willing to go the mats for it. I'm not sure I can shake the notion of guided design, but yours is a fine existential credo in these days of irresponsibility.


J.W. <jo.wijnsma@hetnet.nl>
- Tuesday, November 27 2001 5:57:30

Thanks Kerry!

Philip Hoffman was great in Happines, he really is the best actor on this moment!

For actresses, I kinda love Juliette Lewis and Natalie Portman.

There are so many good actors and actresses but there are just a few which are exeptional.

Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 4:52:32

Rob: Lon Chaney played Marine Sergeant O'Hara in "Tell It To The Marines" in 1926.


Jay Smith
Chocolatetown, USA - Tuesday, November 27 2001 3:57:50

Harlan: Thanks for the background. I used your template as part of personal writing exercise in how a specific character would respond in various situations given the same kind of power. While the rationale you described sounds very dark and cynical, that doesn't make it any less true. God isn't sifting through the bloody rubble in Manhattan and didn't charge the cabin of Flight 93 to retake the plane. No rosary or mantra or incantation..just human guts, muscle and spirit.

Joseph: You are correct - I have blasphemed against the Murray. He was a trip in "Ed Wood". "Rushmore" was an excellent performance (though to be honest, I wasn't all that fond of the movie) and his role in "Wild Things" was great. Of course, "Wild Things" was so full of unhealthy but nummy ingredients like a half-eaten box of chockies left after a party. But then, there's "Charlie's Angels" (a SNL sketch gone on too long) "Larger Than Life" (Of Mice and Men meets Cannonball Run II.) Bill in Hamlet? Hmmm...not sure about that one. I think what it comes down to is I'm biased. I miss the youthful and cocky "Peter Venkman"/"John Winger" characters I grew up with. But, the man turned me on to Somerset Maugham, too.

Kerry Bullock <kerryb@ozemail.com.au>
Broken Hill, NSW Australia - Tuesday, November 27 2001 1:17:21

J.W. - Troublemakers contents;

Introduction: "That Kids Gonna End Up in Jail!"; On the Downhill Side; A Lot of Saucers; Soldier; Rain, Rain Go Away; Night Vigil; The Voice in the Garden; Deeper than the Darkness; Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts; Sensible City; Djinn, No Chaser; "Repent Harlequin!" said the Ticktockman; Invasion Footnote; Gnomebody; Tracking Level; Jeffty is Five; Free with this Box.


- Monday, November 26 2001 23:29:7


Where did Lon Chaney ever play a marine?

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Denver, CO - Monday, November 26 2001 22:52:27

My favorite actors not mentioned or mentioned little are, Fred Willard, who made a great team with Kevin Bacon in TREMORS. He just plays a low-rent kind of guy so well.

How's about Robbie Coltrane? Elliot Gould. Dustin Hoffman. Al Pachino (When he's not doing that all-purpose accent, ala SCENT OF A WOMAN. What the hell IS that?)

Kevin Costner needs to GET OVER HIMSELF. And, he should never produce or direct a movie ever again, on pain of death. The man is terminally earnest.

Sidney Poitier, who has always given a sense of dignity and grace to any movie he's ever done, even when the films themselves weren't that good.

Ian McKellan. I own the video of RICHARD III. It is absolutely electric. Another Shakespearean, Kenneth Braunagh. (Spelling?) When he's not being self-indulgent, he's outstanding. (Frankenstein, anyone?)

Elisha Cook Jr., who could turn in a sensitive performance, but usually played THE GUY WHO GETS KILLED. When I see Cook in something, I say to myself, "well, his character isn't going to last very long".

Here are some actors from another era: Boris Karloff. Lon Cheyney, who could play anything. The man INHABITED a role. He was so convincing that when he played a marine, That when the throat cancer got him, the marines gave him a military funeral.

James Cagney, who could menace and dance equally well.

Humphrey Bogart. Lauren Bacall. The indestructible Barbara Stanwick.

And, Finally: Peter O'Toole. Not only can the man act, sometimes in chancy roles, but he can write. I read autobiography, LOITERING WITH INTENT and I thought his use of language was quite tasty. His description of the rabbit warren of an industrial village he grew up in was stark and vivid. My only problem was that for my yankee tastes, he used the modifier "had" too much. Perhaps it came from growing up in the British Empire.


Michael <leftearpro@hotmail.com>
- Monday, November 26 2001 22:36:42

Re: actors...
Two of the greatest American actors (in my opinion, natch) seem to have been overlooked entirely around here; Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman. Rarely do they offer a single false note, even in the worst of scripts.
David: if you truly wish to pursue the whole audiobook thing, there are a number of companies to whom you can send demo tapes or CD's. Contact me via email and I'll give a shot at locating addresses and names. It can be quite lucrative, I'm discovering.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Monday, November 26 2001 21:51:47


Bill Murray in "Ed Wood" or "Rushmore" - brilliant performances. But do ya know what I strangely love him in?

"Wild Things."

Now, that's a great trash movie. Makes me howl everytime I see it, and I'm laughing with the movie. It's so wonderfully, deliberately over the top, that you can sense the great delicious feeling of the entire cast trying not to crack up as they perform at the sensation of getting away with it. Matt Dillon, always fantastic (and whoever was getting down on Nicole Kidman, go rent "To Die For" and watch her brilliant parodic performance, along with Dillon, Illeana Douglas and Dan Hedaya). Kevin Bacon, dry and with an agenda of his own. Denise Richard and Neve Campbell, rising above their usual faceless performances. Robert Wagner, somehow managing to be better than usual (though amuses me in Austin Powers). And Bill Murray. Oh, Bill Murray, as a hurricane of a shyster lawyer. God, what a great tongue-in-cheek movie. Yeah, I love it. Laugh at me as ya will, you bastards!

Actually, I don't think anyone's given Matt Dillon his due. He obviously is very discriminating in his roles, and deserves due praise for his work (wonder if "My Bodyguard" is out on DVD yet....).


Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 26 2001 21:26:29


The "inspiration" for "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore" lies passim the story. Shirley Jackson. And...

Simply put, it is my unabashed philosophy of Atheism.

What the story says, simply put, is this:

There is no governing intelligence. The universe is neither malign nor benign. There is no luck, no "ultimate categorizable purpose," no predestination. There is utter randomness, thus utter potentiality for everyone. No limits, no rules, no godhood short of that which we take upon ourselves to manifest.
The universe doesn't even know we're here. It's a great free-for-all and you can win as big a pot as you desire, or bust out as forlornly as your inadequacies predestine. Don't look for gods, because sublime creation lies within you already.

Conversely, don't piss and moan about not getting the "breaks."
There are none. However, there are no cabals out to stymie you, either. Pasteur said: "Chance favors the prepared mind."

That, as the story suggests--Levendis--is as close to The Great Maker of Random Experience as you'll ever get.

Or, simply put, God doesn't give a shit WHO makes the touchdown, no matter HOW many times you drop to one knee and cross yourself in the endzone. No "god" watching, so do it on your own.

You asked, remember?

Respectfully, Harlan Ellison

- Monday, November 26 2001 21:19:23


You don't have to apologize for anything. Mine was a blunt but honest closing response (aiding my point with a scene from 'Cool Hand Luke') on a subject I'm not going to get started again; the irony is the way you referred to the argument you can't remember: 'God!'

Jay Smith
Amish Country, PA - Monday, November 26 2001 20:12:7

Are your audiobooks locally or nationally broadcast/distributed? I'm always looking for new material for my father who is an avid reader but with failing vision. I have to say many of the "Books for the Blind" I've picked up from the library locally have been read by orators from the school of Ben Stein.

I see your point about Macy, though.

Also, everybody... silly question. Is there a FAQ for "What was your inspiration for...?" type questions? I'm really interested in learning about "The Man Who Rowed..." but I didn't see anything on the site. Anybody have a line on that? It read like a great detailed exercise in free form journalism. Is it recorded anywhere?

Oh, and just to inject my personal bias on great actors...my personal favorites (outside the list) are - Bill Murray (pre-Larger Than Life), Jeremy Piven (in general), John Cusak (Grosse Pointe Blank), Minnie Driver (anything), Jason Lee (anything), Ewan MacGregor (trainspotting), William Macy (Magnolia), Sam Waterston (Gatsby), Gary Oldman (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern), Ian McKellen (Richard III).

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Monday, November 26 2001 19:38:57

Rob & Dennis.

Thanks, both, for reminding me about both of those fine actors. They're part of that great rainbow of fine actors who trigger an immediate "hey, it's that guy!" in my mind. Sad, I know, but I'm geting better.

God, which argument were we having that I called YOU condescending, Rob? I try to reserve that for the ocassional thickhead like the M**ked B**hip. Whatever, I apologize for being rude.

Oh, and I forget to mention Linda Fiorentino (hey, another fine actor giving good work in a Kevin Smith movie! Imagine that!). From fine work in the minor Vision Quest to the major The Last Seduction (stupid Academy rules, stiffing her of an award) to Dogma (c'mon, look at her wonderful lake scene with Alan Rickman and tell me that's not acting magic), she's dependable as hell.

Even in Gotcha! *ducks*


- Monday, November 26 2001 19:10:17


"What we have hea is...FAIL-EA t’COMMUNICATE". As the one you once charged as being condescending I felt obligated to let you know it’s Strother Martin who uttered them immortal words as the metaphoric prison warden in COOL HAND LUKE.

P.A. Berman <virulentstain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Monday, November 26 2001 19:0:49

Actors are a pretty wide category. As Brian said, men do have it easier in Hollywood. The most popular film categories, action/adventure and crime/cops/mafia, rarely feature women (that's why I love Sigourney). Ditto for science fiction/fantasy. And older women do sorta get phased out of mainstream younger than men. I for one am interested in watching movies about women, and not just the young, hot, blonde ones.

Interesting how quickly we all switched to talking about men...

But I'm game. This is a long list. Sorry.


The Greats
Robert DeNiro (obviously)
Al Pacino (descending into self-parody these days, hoo ahh)
Robert Duvall
Jack Nicholson (see The Pledge if you think he's washed up)
Anthony Hopkins (too cool for words)
Morgan Freeman
Harvey Keitel

New Greats
Tom Hanks
Denzel Washington
Kevin Spacey
Samuel L. Jackson
Gary Oldman
Jeff Bridges (The Dude)
Tim Robbins

Soon to be Greats
Edward Norton
Johnny Depp
Brad Pitt
John Cusack
William H. Macy
Sean Penn

Bruce Willis
Clint Eastwood
Leonardo DiCaprio (he did work before Titanic, and it was good)
Ian McKellan (can't wait to see him as Galdalf)
Steve Buscemi

Harrison Ford (I used to love him, but I had to kill him)
Kevin Costner (ewwww)
Sean Connery (lots of people disagree I'm sure)
Ben Stiller (the ugliest man in Hollywood)

I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch, but it's enough.


PS-- Helen Hunt is as ubiquitous as she is overrated. Holly Hunter, however, is awesome.

- Monday, November 26 2001 18:13:55


I realize these might be considered geeky fanboy type questions--if you don't wanna answer them, that's okay.

I haven't stayed up late reading lately--a good thing, as it interferes with staying awake at work. But I was up til two last night reading portions of "Over the Edge." I'm getting into this book, in a certain way. (Not important why, as it borders on one of those writing-type issues)

Two things: You wrote that this book, when first published, was sucked up by the first printing quantity of fans and then, that was that. This is a very impressive book. Maybe it's just my mood or my level of understanding of what you do, but I think the stories are really something else. Was it perhaps the cultural climate at the time that led to not much 'reaction' to this book?

I realize that reading these books, years after they were first published can often be confusing to one trying to understand why a book is picked or panned.

Were you 'ahead of your time' or your culture, when this first came out? (I sense you've done this, a LOT. Sturgeon (I think; or it might have been Spinrad) commented on how you've travelled, a lot, without any real roadmap, in terms of how you've tried to write.)

Second: "The Three Faces of Fear" (Incredible piece. You make concepts so clear.) (I'm gonna get the words wrong but...) Something hit me in an odd sort of way when I got to this concept of a person's reaction to fear--this response of "hiding one's eyes; yet peeking."

Could this psychological reaction of a person faced with fright be sidled up alongside another response you've alluded to in "...Whipped Dogs" (or another story where the female character was silently egging on a man, ready to jump off a roof)?

Could these people, so full of fright or fear, be "hiding their eyes yet peeking" at the someTHING or the situation that is so, so HORRIFIC to them that they end up egging on the participants because they are "drawn" to the outcome?

Yes, that idea sounds sick. I know it does. But I came to "Faces of Fear" last, ya see, and this concept has stuck to me and now I wonder.

Could these people who do nothing, actually be egging the situation on, submerging themselves in the fear...like that psychological response you mentioned?

Yes, I know.. brrrr... but..it's just a thought, here.

Frank Church
- Monday, November 26 2001 17:38:54

I am personally a part of the Morgan Freeman cult. He makes any film he is in interesting, even if that film has problems-dare I say it, "large" problems. Denzel Washington is amazing. Here you are two great black actors. See, I have proven that this room is culturally racist. Ha ha ha. No, I was only joking. See, you thought I was going to say something inferiating again. Smile.

Bill Gauthier <Gauthic@mediaone.net>
New Bedford, MA Neither here nor there - Monday, November 26 2001 17:25:14

Has anyone mentioned Kevin Spacey as a great actor or am I just on a Spacey bandwagon? I also enjoy Samuel L. Jackson immensely. Will Smith's persona of the wise-ass puts me off although I admit I'm intrigued by ALI. We talked about Robin Williams the comedian before but I think he's a helluva dramatic actor, from DEAD POETS SOCIETY to THE FISHER KING and AWAKENINGS. Not fond of his comedies, though.

I agree with Witherspoon for newer actresses. Helen Hunt was great in AS GOOD AS IT GETS as well.

Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Monday, November 26 2001 17:10:56

Joseph J. Finn: Elisha Cook Jr. will forever be known to me as Wilmer Cook, the young gunsel working for Kaspar Gutman in "The Maltese Falcon". He looks like he's about 19 in the film but according to the IMDB he was 38.
He was in over 100 movies but unfortunately to my generation he's generally known as Capt. Kirk's lawyer on an episode of Star Trek.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Monday, November 26 2001 16:59:50


In regards to collecting. I think I may have mentioned it before but I'll go for it again.

Toys are my bad habit. Especially vintage stuff like; tin-plate windups, pressed steel vehicles (old Buddy-L for example), and cast iron (banks, cars, trucks).

I also have a penchant for die-cast toys, both new and old, and an ever-growing collection of high quality stuffed animals (most notably, Steiff, and Merrythought). My fiance is less than pleased with my jones for Hotwheels and Matchbox cars.

A recent addition to my collections, toy soldiers (I almost cried when my aunt recently sold a set of Heyde "West Point Cadets" that had belonged to my late grandfather).

Probably more than anyone cared to know...

Who no longer has room for any of his goodies.

Alexandria, Va - Monday, November 26 2001 16:56:43

I've been scrolling through the lists of great modern actors and actresses, and a few more popped into my skull. I hope I'm not repeating anyone, but here goes:

Actors: Nick Nolte (probably my single favorite working actor; cf. "Affliction" and "Mother Night" and "Under Fire" and "Who'll Stop the Rain" and, "The Thin Red Line," "New York Stories," and, well, I could go on ...), Ian Holm, Elias Koteas, Bruce Willis, Adrien Brody, John Cusack, James Gandolfini, Ian McKellen, Nicholson in the vastly overlooked "The Pledge," Sean Penn, Bill Murray, Daniel Day-Lewis, Bruce Greenwood ...

Actresses: I'll agree with Reese Witherspoon (in "Election" and the incredible "Freeway," which also sports a nice performance from Kiefer Sutherland), but what about Sissy Spacek, Sigourney Weaver (especially in "A Map of the World"), Julianne Moore, Jennifer Connelly (rush out and rent "Waking the Dead," which, though not a perfect film, is very moving), Helen Mirren, and Brenda Blethyn? And how come no one's mentioned Sarah Polley?

Okeydoke. Just a few more names for y'all to ponder.

- Monday, November 26 2001 16:7:38

Oh, actresses. A favorite subject of mine, for sundry reasons both biological and relating to my love of cinematic conversation.

Sheryl Lee. Just look at her in MOTHER NIGHT. I mean, gawd, where is this one?

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Monday, November 26 2001 15:57:26

*pant* *pant* I just got back from Mexico, having narrowly avoided being stung or bitten to death while I was there. NARROWLY. I was, at one point, descended upon and repeatedly bitten by a swarm of Africanized "killer" bees, which I will tell you all about after I knock out a few assignments and have a few moments to spare.


p.s. A big, effervescent Justin welcome to Peter David. It's great to have you here! I love writers, man. They're so much more interesting than undergraduates.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Monday, November 26 2001 15:35:22

Reese Witherspoon? Really? I mean, OK. To each his own. I liked her in Election, but other than that? She doesn't stand out from Sarah Michelle and all the other blondes with multi-layered hair and teen movie success.

Gwyneth Paltrow, OTOH, is funny and has a varied string of films behind her. I almost always enjoy her work. I've met her and she was unnecessarily warm and nice, and we never talked about Hollywood. So, no use trying to convince me she sucks.

I forgot to mention Helena Bonham Carter.


Frank Church
- Monday, November 26 2001 15:9:42

Strother Martin definetely had the creep factor down to a science.

I like Macy, but he seems to play the same charactor.

Good to see someone doesn't go apeshit over "Fargo". Thought the movie had good scenes, but wasn't exactly the masterpiece that makes Roger Ebert spit up his ovalteen.

I hold the same inner bile for the horrifying, "Pulp Fiction". I find that film really dark and depressing. And is the dialogue really that clever? "From Dusk Till Dawn" is a better Terrantino written movie. At least that film is entertaining.

Reese Witherspoon is great. Kate Winslet is amazing also. But noone mentioned, Holly Hunter?? Anyone who can do a nude scene with the ultra baboon, Harvey Keitel sure seems like quite the trouper. When they kissed, I almost threw up in my popcorn. lol.

I think Edward Norton is the DeNiro or Nickolson of this era. He makes a movie worth watching, even if the script is less than stellar.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, November 26 2001 14:48:13


The best time to reach me is after 7:30 PM Eastern time. Outside of maybe a short trip out to the convenience store, I'll be home all evening past that time. Sorry - you're not the only person who has trouble getting me on the phone - I'm one of the last holdouts in Western civilization regarding the whole answering machine/voice mail thing.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 26 2001 14:46:7

Harlan and all,

Okay, I'll admit my ignorance (and isn't that the first step to knowledge - admittance of a problem?) - I don't know who Strother Martin & Elisha Cook are. Unfortunately for me, that makes your William H. Macy comparison meaningless (yes, I know - my fault here). Can anyone give me a hand?

And Reese Whitherspoon? Pure genius. Especially love her work in Election, a movie I force upon people with a vengeance, along with the director's previous movie, Citizen Ruth (and Laura Dern! There's another contemporary actress who always puts her best foot forward in a performance).


My favorite bit of Chase & Co. dialogue so far on Sopranos is the episode centering around Uncle Junior's perceived weakness for....returning the favor, so to speak. Beautiful. Also, one of the best cast shows on TV. Love Michael Palomontini (sp?), the guy who play Christopher. He fascinates me.

So, what does everybody collect (besides Ellisonia)? Personally, I collect mugs. I have a passion for coffee mugs, and love to find a good one.


Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 26 2001 14:26:4

DAVID LOFTUS: Two things. First, yes, Chuck Champlin and I are
long-time friends, through many wars together. He and I sat on the Writers Guild Film Society Committee for more than twenty years. I miss him terribly. Please pass on to him my ongoing affection, best wishes, and assurance that if he finds time and desire to chat, I'm still at the phone number you know, David.

As for the INCUNABULA MYSTERY PACKETS, well, we came home with three of them unsold. Each one contains--along with 9 other items--a copy of the ELLISON UNFROCKED chapbook that contains all of the pseudo-biographies I've written for my books and elsewhere. (At least current as of the date it was published, a few years ago.) I could not be more pleased that you are happy
with the one you bought.

So I would happily offer you a second packet at a price more sane
than the price you paid for the first one. Give us a call, make us an offer. And maybe, in the next week or two, we'll auction off the other two.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 26 2001 14:15:23



HEATHER: I have no idea why Amazon.Com has me listed with an "L"
middle-name. My middle-name is Jay. But I never use it. It shows up in bibliographies and WHO'S WHO-type compendia, but when a letter arrives here addressed to "Harlan Jay Ellison" or "Harlan J. Ellison"--I know it's boiler-room solicitation or sucker-list mailing, and out it goes...unopened. So this is very likely another instance of Snafu, left hand not knowing that right hand is picking nose, infra-system perpetuation of incorrect data. Heather, since you seem to know how to correct this stuff online, could you pleeeze get in touch with the sysop (correct term?) for Amazon.Com and advise of correct data, and ask for online correction? Thank you, in advance, if you can.
(Don't worry about it, if you can't. Not important, actually.)

P.A. BERMAN: Most recent, young, American actreses are die-
stamp blanks. They all have the same face. Which is to say, no face at all. The mannequin teen-age face of the Sarah Michelle Gellars. Gwyneth Paltrow is the Queen of the Clone-Faces. Parker Posey has some weight, as does Joan Cusack (but who alienates at the git-go by twisting her countenance into grotesque Chaneylike fright-masques), but even when there is outstanding and compelling physicality--Catherine Zeta-Jones for instance--the acting ability is Collegiate Drama Club, the sort of overdrawn heavy-breathing one gets at the "Glass Menagerie" sophomore production level. Take, for example, the (blissfully nameless to me, though I saw the film only last weekend) actress who plays the "pretty girl" in Tim Burton's boring, execrable, inexcusable no-need-for-it remake of PLANET OF THE APES. No face. Mouth hangs open. Adolescent overbite. One line, stiltedly delivered. Anorectic. Useless. I'm given to understand she's a model, and we all know that with the few memorable exceptions--Jinx Falkenburg, Kay Kendall, Lauren Hutton, Jessica Lange come to mind--casting empty-calorie mannequins adds only an additional James Spaderlike thespic black hole to the production. Probably jus'wondufull for the
omnipresent Gap Generation of Saturday night moviegoers, because
appearance-conformity is the #1 pro-survival quality toward which they all aspire, but wearisome and inevitably loggable as artistically tabula rasa, forgettable and just one more footnote in Posterity's grimoire of The Cinema Decades of Persiflage.

Yet there is ONE young actress whose work continues to compell me. Reese Witherspon. Whom none of you mentioned. Even in dross such as LEGALLY BLONDE, Reese Witherspoon determinedly struggles to transcend material beneath her abilities. I would love to write a film for her; a serious film for her; a solidly commercial, strongly-plotted, non-teenager film for her. Would one of you mind getting in touch with her, please, and tell her Ellison has a movie for her? Thank you.

CHRIS L.: I've been trying to call you at the phone number on
your cover letter, but have been unable to connect. I must be calling when you're at work. I need to talk to you. Not only to express my thanks for the comics, which sold well (not as well as if we'd gone out on e.bay with them, but handsomely nonetheless), but to ask you a couple of things. I'll
keep trying. Inevitably, I'll close the connection. If you have
an optimum call-back time, let me know here. Three hour difference in our venues, of course.

PAUL RIDDELL: Never got around to thanking you for the dino book
et accoutrements you sent. You are, as the informed universe knows, a stand-up, class act of a guy. Thank
you, buddy.

BRIAN, FAISAL, MATTHEW: I am an inveterate collector. Drinking
glasses bearing characters and provenances; comic books; first editions; pewter figurines; posters; sculpture; pop culture memorabilia; classic Japanese woodblock art; kinesthetic light-sculpture; Lalique and other glass; paintings; first day philatelic covers; military miniatures; magazine art originals; Tiffany lamps; art deco and flash-modern items; and on and on.

Seemingly, I would collect used Band-Aids if they intrigued me.

But Hummel ware? Like you, I am bewildered. In the same category of "I Don't Get It" as Hot Pockets, Garth Brooks, li'l
Negro lawn jockeys repainted P.C. white, Vegemite, Uma Thurman, Ms. Jolie's bruised-baby lips, beanie babies, THX sound-levels,
and the movie FARGO.

Hummel figurines scare me. They're creepy, not to mention way

JOHN PICKETT: Ohhhh yeahhhh! I would only LOVE to have a Harlan
bobble-head! Tres kewl concept, homes.

JOSEPH FINN: William H. Macy is this early-millennium's Strother
Martin-cum-Elisha Cook, Jr.

Hoping that brings us up to speed, closes the loop, nails down the lid, battens the hatches, writes finis to the epic, slays the last invader,

Yr. pal, Harlan

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, November 26 2001 14:14:33

Aside from my dissent regarding Ben Affleck (who may have talent but has thus far not shown any sign of it and I include the Kevin Smith films), I agree with most of the nominations so far. One I haven't seen yet, though I may have missed it, is Billy Crudup. His performances are so natural and effortless you can hardly believe he's even acting. He was exceptional in both Almost Famous and as the star in Jesus' Son.

If John Goodman hasn't been mentioned yet, I'd like to give him a shout out as one of the best and most reliable supporting actors around. He's at his best in Coen Bros. films.

I'm also a big fan of Robert Carlyle who delivers one of my favorite performances of all time in Trainspotting. I was very excited when he was cast as the villain in the last James Bond film but his talent went to waste in a forgettable role. He could have been the best Bond baddie since Robert Shaw in From Russia with love.

And Bjork was just plain brilliant in Dancer in the Dark but that's apparently the last we'll see of her on film. *sigh*

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 26 2001 14:12:5


We watched the end of the first season just last night. I was terrified that it was going to leave us hanging horribly, as hit shows so often do at the close of a season. The second season videos have been out a couple months and are an incredibly hot item at our local Hollywood Video; I seriously considered camping out at the store for an hour or two to get the first shows of Season 2.

But David Chase and Co. did the uncommon thing. Very classy! We may even be able to wait a week or two before trying to see some of the second season episodes!

Loved everything about the show, from the incredible Mom humor and therapy material to the sudden, shocking violence. Especially loved all the verbal malapropisms, though "albacore around my neck" is the only one that comes to mind right now. I had to explain the Neil Young reference to my wife....


I don't exactly record books for the blind. It's a 24-hour radio (actually SAP channel) service called "Golden Hours," under the umbrella of the local public broadcasting station. They take PBS shows off the feed, have a couple of locally-produced shows (author interviews, an actor-ventriloquist, a guy who plays selections from his huge collection of vintage radio shows), and about 5 hours a day of readings by volunteers. The readings air once, then are taped over. What a waste; I suggested copies be turned over to the public library, but that would bring up all sorts of copyright and funding issues.

When I lived in Boston I recorded books (from _Confederacy of Dunces_, _North and South_, and _The Man From St. Petersburg_ to _The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind_ and _The Happy Hustler_) for the Massachusetts Association for the Blind.

My state's library has been building a collection for blind patrons as well. You might inquire with yours; if they have the proper program and funding, they might send you a machine to do readings on at home. Basically, ya gotta sniff around to find the opportunities.

I wish I could record real audiobooks. I wish I could read aloud for live audiences more often. (I've done readings at Powell's Books and local Borders outlets; have scheduled an event at the county library's main branch with some other actors for Feb. 17).

As it is, I can only make cheap cassette copies simultaneously with my one-shots for "Golden Hours." (I did tell you guys I'm surely the only person on the planet to have read _Something Wicked This Way Comes_ out loud, cover to cover, FOUR times?)

This summer I made the acquaintance of Charles Champlin, film critic and Arts editor emeritus of the LA Times, and since he's a friend of Bradbury and he's also legally blind from macular degeneration, I sent him a cassette copy of my reading of several favorite Bradbury stories, which he thanked me for last week.

I assume you're acquainted with Mr. Champlin, Harlan? He and Peggy are a real class act. Carole said she would love to be like them when she gets old.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 26 2001 12:33:31


I'm doing the after-the-fact thing for the Sopranos as well, and it's great! Lovely to be able to pop in a few DVDs and watch an entire season. I'm starting season two this week - what are you up to in the series?


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 26 2001 11:22:30

Sheesh - now I'm not going to be able to get the image of William H. Macy playing Aquaman out of my head...

Strangely, there were brief rumors that Macy was lined up to play J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man, for what it's worth. Haven't seen OZ at all, so I have no opinion of the actor (Simmons?) who actually got the part.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, November 26 2001 11:18:39

Guys, don't forget Mr. Macy as The Shoveler in "Mystery Men". For all you comic book geeks, this is a definite must-see. Talk about a star-studded sleeper.

David~ How does one get into recording books for the blind? I've been curious about that for awhile.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 26 2001 11:5:16

Joseph and Jay:

I kind of agree with BOTH of you on Macy. On the one hand, Jay, Macy DID have something of a starring vehicle in "Panic" -- the role was made for him, and he was the center of the film, not part of an ensemble. Unfortunately, the story was a bit weak. (Anyone seen the new one, "Focus"? Looks like he's basically the star of that one, too, although the initial reviews say the film as a whole is weak, as well.)

On the other hand, I think Jay has a point. Macy has rumpled features and the sort of odd affect that doesn't make for lead roles. He probably will continue to be most effective in supporting parts, or, as Jay says, part of an ensemble.

Hey, Joseph, ya forgot "State and Main" -- very refreshing comic "lead" role for Macy as well as delightful spoofing by Alec Baldwin and Sarah Jessica Parker. By contrast, Philip Seymour Hoffman is wonderfully semi-straight in that movie, just as he was in a very different way in "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and "Almost Famous." Obviously, I'm a big fan of Hoffman as well as Norton.

But hey, J.W., what did you think of Hoffman in "Happiness"?

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 26 2001 10:53:31

Hope everyone had a great first-round 2001 holiday break. Not having subscribed to HBO, Carole and I had never seen any of "The Sopranos," so we rented the videos for the first season and watched them all. We're hooked!

I recorded a Sherlock Holmes story ("A Case of Identity" -- "The Red-Headed League" is next), part of Bradbury's "Frost and Fire," and the first 40 pages of James Loewen's _Lies Across America_ (about all the inaccuracies and outright falsehoods on historic markers and monuments) for the local radio service for blind listeners.

HE: the incunabula arrived on my desk this morning: safe, sound, and spectaculah. For me, the slicks are by far the best item; I'm definitely in the market for more of those if you wanna part with any in the future....

Jay Smith
Chocolatetown, USA - Monday, November 26 2001 10:51:31

(Sorry for such quick posts)


I see Macy as a tremendous talent. I agree he's had strong performances in ensemble projects with bigger names and egos, but he hasn't had the star vehicle or marquee play. Even in a pathetic role like he had in Jurassic Park III, he outshone Sam Neill.

He suffers from the sad Hollywood affliction called "thespianism" that gives himn great range, but keeps him from the above catagory. He actually would be harmed by being a leading man and a star. Far too talented in my book.

While we're talking about the Macy, here is a reckless idea...hear me out. Since Hollywood is busy "Reimagining" superhero stories, Warner Brothers could do well to bring William H Macy perhaps his career-defining role as...wait for it.... Aquaman! He can be the goofy "fish outta water" (pardon the pun) AND give an air of command and charisma. Forget the hippie-haired, brooding guy wandering about today's comics...let's "keep it real" by taking him back to his Superfriends roots. With the kid from Harry Potter as Aqualad, Michael Clarke Duncan as Krakatoomb, the undersea pretender to the throne of Atlantis...and Miguel Ferrer as the evil whalehunter Carlos Lombardi. Opens Christmas with a Burger King tie-in. Story? He's got a dead wife (Heather Graham as a mermaid) who talks to him in dreams. He's angst ridden and, as a result of his failure he's deposed and cast out into the surface world where he tries to track down his human father but instead finds love with the daughter of the evil Whale Hunter, played by Jennifer Lopez who inspires him to return and take back Atlantis. Throw in a quirky subplot with Aqualad in a private school (on the swim team????) and you have a cross-demographic blockbuster with toys out the kazoo, tie-ins with aquatic wear.

(Ten points for anyone who spotted the sarcsm in that message.)

J. W.
- Monday, November 26 2001 10:35:33

Talented actors:

Philip Seymour Hoffman (watch Magnolia and Boogie Nights, he's amazing)
Edward Norton (he's perfect in any movie he has played in, the best is by my opinion Fight Club)

J. W. <jo.wijnsma@hetnet.nl>
- Monday, November 26 2001 10:33:27

Made a little mistake...

I wanted to ask if you know which stories the book Trouble Makers contain.



J. W. <jo.wijnsma@hetnet.nl>
Holland - Monday, November 26 2001 10:31:41

Hello anyone,

I'm a kinda new here, cause I just discovered Harlan Ellison...

Now there is just a new book published by hem Trouble Makers, I tried to search which stories it contained, but couldn't find it anywhere.

Do know maybe know it?

Thanks in advance

Jay Smith
Three Mile Island, PA - Monday, November 26 2001 10:29:26

If Ben would just have the nerve to tell Kevin Smith, "You know, pal...I love ya, but I don't think my career can stand another movie about flatulent stoners, jewel thieves, and stolen monkeys." Actually, I think the world would be a better place if Kevin just made a couple more movies and then turn to novels and comic books. Affleck as Jack Ryan? Hmmmmm. Jury's still out on that one.

As for Nicole Kidman...(shakes head) it will never go away. That sore will take years to heal and will leave a noticable scar. She has a great voice coach, but jeez.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 26 2001 10:17:36


Affleck (besides his Smith movies) must have the same agent that Whoopi Goldberg has. Talk about wasted potential in not getting her more roles - the woman can do great stuff, but keeps getting tossed in hamster-droppings like "Rat Race."


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 26 2001 10:15:41


Gotta disagree with you on Macy. Man doesn't need a defining role - he's already had several: Pleasantville, Fargo, Panic, Murder in the First, "ER," Boogie Nights, just to name some highlights. That's a resume you can take to the back anyday.

As for Will Smith, besides Six Degrees of Separation, I'm looking forward to what may well be his defining role: Ali. The clips I've seen so far look highly interesting.

Oh, and in my weekend movie going, I saw an ad for an animated movie called Jimmy Neutron. Looks like some good goofball fun.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Monday, November 26 2001 9:32:16

Ben Affleck has a mindless git for an agent (or whoever it is that reads the scripts and says, 'yeah - do this movie!'). Doesn't mean he doesn't have talent. I like to think he's not just there to make Matt Damon look good.

And Nicole Kidman doesn't have one tenth the talent that either Michelle Pfeiffer, Sigourney Weaver or Angelica Huston have in their little toe. Woman couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag to save her life. I don't care how good her director is.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, November 26 2001 9:5:27

I cannot even begin to describe how painful it is to see someone include Ben Affleck in the same company as great talents like Johnny Depp, William H. Macy or even George Clooney.

I think my eyes are bleeding.

Jay Smith
Harrisburg, PA - Monday, November 26 2001 8:14:31

Thanks for the welcome.

Harlan's readings are simply amazing. I would love to hear him read the classics of Scifi and world literature. If we have to substitute listening for reading, at least we should have the best storytellers at the mic. I'm a big fan of "Slippage" and, especially "The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore." I'd love to hear the story behind that one and how Ellison would interpret it in performance.

On the subject of bankable/talented actors - let me chime in with my list...

(Been there, done that...just coasting)
Heston, Redford, Sarandon, Lange, Connery, Michael Douglas

(Been there, done that...still trying)
DeNiro, Pacino, Duvall, Ford, Hackman, Sigourney, Hopkins, Ed Harris

(Possibly had their best role, secured a future)
Denzel Washington, Dreyfus, Carrey, Paltrow, Foster, Hanks, Ralph Fiennes, Cruise,

(Yet to land a defining role based on range/talent)
Affleck, Clooney, Crowe, Will Smith, Tim Robbins, Depp, William H. Macy, Matt Damon

Overrated or Overstayed
(Too many trips to the well, face/talent ratio heavy on the face, or did something stupid like "starred" in a Michael Jackson video)
Brando, DeCaprio, Arnuld, Stallone, Caine, Frazer, Julia Roberts, Richard Gere,

Of course, that's off the top of my head and heavy in the American mainstream. I did try to limit those who have appeared in Kevin Smith movies, though.

Let the backlash begin! :)

John Pickett <johnp32608@yahoo.com>
Gainesville, Fl USA - Monday, November 26 2001 2:43:36

All I really want for Christmas...

A Harlan "bobblehead"

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Sunday, November 25 2001 23:20:8

To P.A. Berman: I'm pretty much in agreement with your appraisals of the actresses. But I still think that your three points of comparison with DeNiro aren't easily met by actresses. We can think of a lot of male stars whose careers as leading men continued well into their fifties, sixties, and even their seventies in some cases (DeNiro, Pacino, Hoffman, Redford, Newman, Gable, probably Harrison Ford-- hell, even Woody Allen). Women in their forties, fifties, and older just don't get as many leading-lady parts.

That's why many of the actresses you described as not making many films have moved into things like stage work, television, and other jobs. That's the work they're getting.

Actually, I wouldn't hesitate to put Jodie Foster on the short list-- I'm surprised that I hadn't thought of her in the first place. She hasn't given up acting. (And I'd count Shirley MacLaine as well-- she was doing leading roles in the mid-1950's, and was still getting leading roles and doing impressive acting work into the 1980s. Too bad about her New Age wiftiness.)

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Sunday, November 25 2001 20:44:9

Frank: What I need to do next year is NOT sharpen the knife right before I play Iron Chef with my finger. I have never cut myself this badly before, and it really freaked me out. Also, I am a wimp for pain.

Brian: What do you think of the following:

DeNiro Status= (could be Nicholson Status or Hackman Status just as easily)
1. Makes numerous movies over a long career in various genres
2. Gets big box office consistently
3. Receives critical and popular acclaim from American audiences

Note, skill alone does not qualify an actor. Anjelica Huston and Jodie Foster, who are extremely talented, both have a nice body of work but eschew acting for directing now; they would not make the list, but could if they chose.

Isabella Rossellini is good, but doesn't make many films these days. Ditto Glenn Close, Debra Winger, Cher, Sally Field, Geena Davis (sorry, TV does not count) Shirley MacLaine. Remember, DeNiro is as prolific as he is successful and skilled.

Women who I think may fit all of the above:
Susan Sarandon
Sigourney Weaver
Meryl Streep (even if I don't like her)
Michelle Pfeiffer (would love to see her do a futuristic genre movie)

Women who may reach this level someday:
Annette Bening (very close to DeNiro Status; give her 5 years)
Joan Allen (should do another comedy)
Cate Blanchett (I want to see more of her work)
Juliette Binoche (possibly the prettiest actress working today)
Nicole Kidman
Winona Ryder (do something good soon!)
Gwyneth Paltrow
Cameron Diaz (has taken a lot of risky parts)
Julianne Moore

Actresses I like but who play the same role over and over:
Julia Roberts (feisty American Girl who triumphs against odds)
Meg Ryan (spunky little blonde)
Christina Ricci (dark and brooding weird chick)
Renee Zellweger (quirky and perky)
Parker Posey (sharp and neurotic)

Did I miss anyone major? Anyone disagree with my lists?

Why are there no African American actresses on this list? I could only think of Whoopi Goldberg, Angela Bassett... that's it, and neither of them is a Bobby D or a Susan Sarandon. Hmmm. I suppose it's obvious that Hollywood is bigoted.

The Man Who Loved Lists Too Much

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, November 25 2001 20:42:20


Gamera is really neat/
He is full of turtle meat/
Everyone loves Gamera!

*whips self with reeds*


- Sunday, November 25 2001 18:41:22

Chris~ What I meant to say was, all the comix got high praise and all but one got above minimum bid. Only the one was held for another day. But that's because the one collector in the room was tapped out by the end.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Sunday, November 25 2001 18:19:32


Thanks for the good news. I had a nagging fear the books had managed to get lost in the same space-time warp where the USPS sent all my David Eddings books which I was shipping to a friend (OK, a girlfriend - I was trying to wheedle my way into her affections) - they were never seen, heard or smelled again.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, November 25 2001 18:6:10

Joseph~ GAMERA. Sheesh man. Rhymes with camera! You spell it that way and I can't help but hear the Creamora jingle in my head! AND I'M NOT THAT OLD!!!

Chris Long~ All of your comix save one (I think) got high praise and above minimum bid. You outdid yourself!

Rick~ I have classic and I do mean *classic* images of Harlan from Loscon 28. You don't get much better than this. I shall email them to you and you can decide how to distribute.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, November 25 2001 14:45:37


H-Bombs on Texas Stadium? Man, I watch the opening of the Drew Carey Show and imagine that Gamora is laying a shitstorm of flaming death eggs on Jacobs Field in the background. Fucking Indians.


- Sunday, November 25 2001 13:56:38

I'm always about five minutes behind here but are you familiar with this website:


I was looking at their use of the Amazon Honor System.

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Denial Gondwana - Sunday, November 25 2001 13:44:18

Jeff, that column is also in _For the Love of Mike_. Absolutely priceless, especially when he started quoting lines from the book and pointed out that they didn't make sense because it's hard to read a book that's been torn in half. In particular, I loved the ending, where he talked about the book's usefulness in starting fires, where he'd use pages to get the fireplace going, and then stare into the flames and pretend he was looking at Shea Stadium.

I know how he feels. In my case, though, I watch films of the early H-bomb tests and keep looking to see if it's a live feed from Texas Stadium. "Dallas is crawlin' with crackheads and debutantes, and half of 'em play for the Cowboys" doesn't even begin to describe my hate for my local football team.

child of ellison
- Sunday, November 25 2001 13:37:11

This missive for people with the letter "a" in their name.

Jay: Welcome, Jay (yes,I overlooked the address), Welcome. And thanks for the Ellison reviews at amazon.com.

Harlan: "Blast Off"? What's the story on your reason for an intro to this book? (Sorry,if this is old news--just came across it.) (Oh, and does your middle name start with an L? -- I thought it was a J? Amazon.com SEEMS to have you listed with an L.)

Ray: What a wonderful cover! At:


Warren: Got your newsletter about the following. You said:

"We just finished uploading the show that we recorded tonight at LosCon 28 out at the Burbank Airport Hilton. You can hear it by pointing your browser to the Hour 25 web site at www.hour25online.com"

Over and out.

Who's Reading Harlan?

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, November 25 2001 13:17:57


Movies? The easy way out? You've obviously never been involed in filmmaking. It's a horribly difficult process.


Frank Church
- Sunday, November 25 2001 12:11:2

Hummel scare me, to be honest. When I see one of their smiling figures anywhere I run for the nearest patch of welcoming sunshine.

Frank Church
- Sunday, November 25 2001 12:9:15

I forgot about how classic all of Woody Allen's 3 books are. This may be the greatest example of satire in the english language. Now why in the hell can't his movies be as funny? I would love to know why Mr. Allen has given up book writing. Too bad Woody has taken the easy way out.

Matthew Davis
Redditch, UK - Sunday, November 25 2001 9:59:54

Why Hummel? Its simple. It’s the little old lady equivalent of annexing the Sudetenland. In such an organised and focused society as Germany everything has a designated purpose. Toys are toys and therefore to be played with. Hummel’s sole purpose is as an outlet for otherwise dangerously suppressed reservoirs of sentimentality. Hummel is a perfect little world of Kitsch, where domination is the order of the day through ever-expanding acquisition. A little private emotional lebensraum in an otherwise tightly-bound existence. Then you tag them, arrange them and demonstrate your mastery of them.

Oh dear, is that the Committee for the Promotion of Racial Equality knocking at the door?

Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Sunday, November 25 2001 9:33:12


The Hummel figurine's remind me of Viz Comic's excellent satrical adverts on such merchandising. Stuff like 'Replica Council Houses', ' The Tony Hadley Faberge Pineapple' and 'Wee, wee Teddy'.

Brief Extract from "White Wee Wee" - Teddy's First Wet Dream.

"Award winning Teddy Bear artist Deidre Dimwit-Forbes has captured for all times the magic of that moment when little Teddy first awakes to find his bed clothes stuck to his fur. Its an irresistible image that will prove a constant source of delight for senile Teddy obsessives, and an exclusive Lovejoy quality antique heirloom edition which mentally fragile collectaholics around the world surely cannot 'bear' to be without".

The best though is saved for the order form with its tongue twisting legalities: "I need SEND NO MONEY NOW except 29.95 application fee. Thereafter, I will be invoiced at your pleasure and at intervals which may vary at your discretion. I consent to this fully and unreservedly. I waive all my legal and statuary rights in this matter and throw myself (and my family) entirely at the mercy of yourselves (and of any unscrupulous debt collecting agencies whom you may employ to frighten, intimidate or hurt me or my friends and relatives, and damage my property). May the lord have mercy on my soul. Take me down."

I'll have one of those and the Mr Spock limited edition collectors plate please.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Sunday, November 25 2001 8:52:16

I'd like to title that rant "They're DOGS, and they're PLAYING POKER!!"

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Sunday, November 25 2001 8:40:39

I like to think of myself as a fairly cosmopolitan guy-- I like living in a city, where you can find Moroccan restaurants sitting next to comic book stores just across the street from a barbershop where recordings of Caruso fill the day, and whre the used book stores have more Pynchon on the shelves than Danielle Steel. I might not _be_ as varied as the people around me, but I can appreciate the variedness, and I like to keep in mind the aphorism I'd seen attributed to Oscar Wilde: "Nothing human is alien to me."

That said, I'd like to ask why the _hell_ there are people who actually collect Hummel figurines.

This past weekend, my uncle brought over some shopping bags that an aunt had decided should go to me. The aunt's in a nursing home, so she had to get rid of a lot of stuff in her house, and most of it got distributed to the family; I'm led to believe that actual _money_ was probably left to the First Holy Apostolic Novenas of the Missions of the Sacred Heart, or somesuch, but that's my aunt for you.

So my uncle brings these bags. Two of them hold what look to be photo albums. A third holds this box. As it turned out, the books we4re actually of philatelic interest: albums of First Day of Issue from Around the World, mid-1990's.

The box held a dinner plate with a Certificate of Authenticity from the Hummel company attesting that yes, it's authentic, one of a limited run, the edge was in 24k gold, and if you even _think_ about actually using the damn thing as a _dinner plate_ you might as well be spraying "IGGY145" in day-glo tangerine-flake on the "Last Judgement." Lifting the foam rubber padding, I looked at the plate. The two macrocephalic kids who didn't get the Campbell's Soup gig trotting towards a tumbledown chapel.

So I'm thinking back to my mom, who had this rack of Hummels in the house. They'd collect dust in the living room, not the family room where everyone actually _functioned_, and for most of my childhood I'd figured that they were just some kind of doll that little Catholic girls played with during the Great Depression, because they couldn't afford dolls that actually _did_ stuff. After a while, I just ignored them, and by the time I moved out, they might as well have been the wallpaper.

But this plate got me wondering. I did a few searches to see what the market was for this thing, and found that the price in the box and the price at the Hummel website were the same ($30) and the usual going price on Ebay was usually <$30.

But there was a _lot_ of Hummel trading going on. I was surprised at how much there was. And this is where my pride in my cosmopolitan, understand-most, tolerate-nearly-all outlook has clearly FAILED me, because I canNOT understand why anyone would WANT to collect these fucking things.

Look at everything else regarded as a major collectible: Beany Babies, Transformers, Star Wars stuff, lunchboxes, comic books. Nearly all of these were things that were sold for some actual purpose-- as a toy, as a utility, as something to put George Lucas's kids into the upper 0.5% tax bracket. They had a _use_, they weren't originally expected to last very long, and the fact that most of them _didn't_ and the happy memories of millions, have made them highly desirable.

But where the hell does this apply to Hummel figurines? Nobody bought these things to play with. They weren't created for some use-- if they were, they'd have tiny holes in the tops, and the leters S and P baked into their sides. They weren't mass-produced to catch some ephemeral wave of childhood faddishness. They don't conjure up memories or romanticism about an era long-gone, like prewar comic books or pulp detective novels. They aren't even very _touching_.

I can understand a lot of strange things without endorsing or sharing them. I can understand why men and women can fall in love with members of the same sex. I can understand the mechanics of sado-masochism, tho I don't practice it myself. I can understand what drives people to kill. I can understand why a businessman would sell an evil product like the Dalkon Shield and keep it on the market well after the reports of uterine damage have started coming in. I can understand the sick rages of Osama bin Laden or Dylan Klebold. I can even understand why some people have a sick, infantile love for _cats_.

But the Hummel Figurine may very well be outside of my ken.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, November 25 2001 7:25:18


Texts are already covered by the incomparable Project Gutenberg, on-line at http://www.gutenberg.net/. A fine example of what the Internet can be used for, besides trading porn and bitching about movies (Kevin Smith reference is free of charge).


Jay Smith <harlanellison@excite.com>
(please excuse the email address), PA USA - Sunday, November 25 2001 7:4:0

Hello from a sometime lurker, first-time poster.

I've been following the crusade for a piracy-free Internet and, I agree with most of you that an artist has a god-given right to residuals and the proper compensation for his/her work. Sadly, the short sighted general public thinks the war is over now that the kid from Napster is serving up double-expressos at the Seattle Airport Starbucks. There are still a good number of sites where those users meet and swap full-length films, PDF novels, ebooks, software and anything else they can stuff into the bandwidth. Somehow, the media and Congress think the threat has been removed even though any one service has over half a million users online trading at any given time.

I'll admit it...I'm a reformed (ab)user. After all, at the time I thought I was doing the lesser-known artist a favor;it worked for me. I never would have listened to certain bands or picked up on certain authors had someone not slipped me an MP3 or ebook. But I know it's not enough. There are also tracks and programs I enjoy downloading: Great Speeches and news broadcasts from the last century... Variety and anthology shows like Inner Circle and Lights Out, Everybody or the Lux Radio Theater... Spoken word poetry and scratchy "live" jazz performances... items that aren't available to the general public any more and outside of copyright or licensing.

So I wonder: what it would take to set up an Internet version of a Public Library. There are so many rare and important texts and recordings that the Internet could provide.

Just curious.

- Saturday, November 24 2001 23:57:20

I bid $5.00 on a rock from Mr. Ellison's property (not to weigh more than 0.5 lb. to allow for easy shipping). Since I don't have the wherewithal to travel the planet, I collect small pieces of it. I have rocks from my beloved Maine, from Austria, from Afica and from the street where I live. Would cherish a stone from H.E.'s property.

For KICK, of course....

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, November 24 2001 23:24:36

From the www.loscon.org website, re: Harlan's appearance tomorrow at Loscon 28, at the Burbank Hilton:

Harlan Ellison vs. The Internet Pirates
- The Net makes it very easy to spread information - and to steal it, and books are information. Come learn about the case that will make or break an author's right to make a living. (Ellison/Valada) Sun 11:30 am

Harlan Ellison auction
- Harlan Ellison will auction off trash and treasures to help cover legal fees in the pioneering authors rights case. Sun 1:00 pm

Anyone else planning on going?

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, November 24 2001 19:56:43

Ah, Jimmy Stewart going from despair to joy - that's some fine damn acting. Yeah, Iove "It's A Wonderful Life." I'll admit it - it can be hokey, but it can also be so dark and full of light and shows how we all touch each other and improve each other through our connections.

And hey, what othe rmovie has given names to Muppets?


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, November 24 2001 15:58:28


Royko actually made it into "Best Sports Writing of the Century" with a hilarious column about some nitwit sending Royko a Keith Hernandez bio book after the 1986 season (where the Mets edged out the Cubs to get to the World Series). A representative line:

"This is a very sturdy book. I know because when I opened the package, I shrieked and threw it against the hall. Then I jumped up and down on it for several minutes."

Beautifully bitter column.


Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Denial Gondwana - Saturday, November 24 2001 15:23:25

Channel TwentyThree, go out and pick up the two retrospective collections of Mike Royko's columns, _For the Love of Mike_ and _One More Time_, on the subject of the Cubs. I know that our host has nothing good to say about Chicago, but I honestly feel sorry for the Cubs at times, because they've been downhill since the end of World War II. Reading Royko's comments about "Cubs Flu" (the fact that anyone who plays for the Cubs and then goes elsewhere spreads that Cubs failure to the new team, too) are almost identical to the comments I hear out here about the Texas Rangers. The difference is that the Cubs have ALWAYS been on the bottom, and they have nowhere else to go. The Rangers could be a great team considering the amount of money the owners have to throw around, but you'd think the Rangers were a money-laundering scheme the way keep snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Another reason why I have respect for the Cubs. Cubs management would never blow a quarter-billion dollars on an arrogant twit like Alex Rodriguez, and then blame the fans for not being sufficiently loyal when the team gets its butt kicked even with A-Hole pitching. There's something to be said about not throwing good money after bad.

(And before you ask, I'm nothing more than a casual baseball fan. I'm willing to watch a game in a stadium (I haven't been to a game since Shrub and his buddies tore down Arlington Stadium to build the overly florid toilet bowl called The Ballpark), but I really don't keep up, and most of my baseball knowledge comes through osmosis. That's how I learned most of what I know about cricket, too: Dallas actually had a pretty impressive cricket team for a while, and I used to watch from time to time. The regulars all got a real kick out of watching some silly American kid coming out to watch the games every Sunday, and they got an even bigger kick out of discovering that everything I knew about cricket before that point came from watching "Doctor Who" as a teenager. I never lived that one down.)

Frank Church
- Saturday, November 24 2001 13:45:17

Joseph, not my thang, but let me swim in verese and that is a phantasm from heaven.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, November 24 2001 13:37:28

DeNiro classed actresses: Michelle Pfeiffer, Angelica Huston, Isabella Rosellini

Mozart was about as "churchified" as you are, Church. Turn the lights off and listen to the Requiem Mass sometime. Maybe just the Lacrimosa if you can't handle the whole thing.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, November 24 2001 12:48:28

Ah, Maggie Smith. One of the joys of watching "Harry Potter" last night was seeing that Dame Smith was used wonderfully - god, but that woman can work a scene. Give her full credit for being able to act with children, an underestimated talent. And good lord, does that woman have a fascinating face. Very emotive while at the same time private - for some reason I found myself thinkinf of Michael Rosenbaum; they both play their acting cards close to the chest.

Oh, and my mini-take-it-as-it's-worth review? A classic. Fun, exciting, genuinely dark at times, very emotional, nice effects (I was admiring that it was genuinely hard to follow the Quidditch game at times, like you were really in it). Wonderfully cast (I'm always impressed by a casting director who works just as hard to fill the small roles with quality, and this movie had it in spades). As usual, Coltrane and Rickman were fabulous (Rickman, my bet, has read all the way through the books and is playing Snape on a very fine line), Harris was fine, and the kids were pretty damn good (the girl playing Hermione was particularly good). Kudos to finding Weasley actors who all looked like they could be brothers. Chris Columbus is now forgiven for "Home Alone."


Churchified crap? Pardon, but have you listened to the Brandenburg Concertos? The Magic Flute? Don GIovanni? Eine Kleine Nachtmusik? Without Mozart, you might not even have a Prokofiev with his wonderfully wild rhythms - he opened up music from a stalemate of the times.


Bill Gauthier <Gauthic@mediaone.net>
New Bedford, MA - Saturday, November 24 2001 12:37:53

Re: Actresses...

I don't know about box office draw or anything like that but I love Jodie Foster's work (not enough to go and try to assassinate anyone or anything).

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Saturday, November 24 2001 12:18:43

To P.A. Berman, re actresses. I don't think one's likely to find an actress who fits the DeNiro standards you've set. For one thing, there are a lot of fine actresses who, for some reason or another, don't have the same staying force in films. It's a problem that actresses have to face; studios tend to make movies about women within a certain age range, and once an actress movies beyond that range, they either get supporting or character roles, or stick to work on the stage or television.

Also, they don't offer the same range of roles that they offer men. Take DeNiro in _Heat_ or _Ronin_, which are about as close to an action-hero role that he ever gets. Would they ever cast a woman in such roles?

But you're asking for actress who not only have considerable talent, but who seem to have a degree of box-office draw. There aren't many actresses I can think of who fit both of those requirements: Meryl Streep, Signourney Weaver, and Susan Sarandon. Kate Winslet and Nicole Kidman haven't been around long enough to rank this high, but I think they'r likely to, eventually.

There are actress who can open a movie, but I wouldn't rank Julia Roberts or Cameron Diaz among the most talented. I don't think they're _without_ talent, and they might surprise me someday, but they haven't really done exceptionally varied work.

But the actresses who _can't_ claim a box-office pull, but whose talents are considerable... well, I'd put Sissy Spacek or Emma Thompson up against DeNiro anyday. Then there's Angelica Huston, Jill Clayburgh, Maggie Smith...

Frank Church
- Saturday, November 24 2001 11:47:32

Bermanator, your only allowed adult supervision next year pal! Smile.

Yea, sad to say, WASP's are about as funny as frozen cadavers. Too much of the church, and not enough of the juke joint. Jews have a good grasp of humor from a very tight, secure culture. The black community has much humor, but the destroyed culture makes it hard to go beyond bile as humor-notably most gangsta rap, or yo mama snaps. This may be one of the sad reasons that blacks have had a history of paranoid anti-semitism hiding as black power babble.

Frank Church
- Saturday, November 24 2001 11:40:52

Bach and Mozart: God, this music leaves me limp. Churchified crap for the most part. Prokofiev all the way baby.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Saturday, November 24 2001 11:25:25

Hey. Hope everyone's TG was fun. Mine was fun except for thr part where I cut most of the top of my left index finger off. It's still attached, though typing is tough. I'll keep it brief.

Jews are the most consciously humorour people, for sure. Italians are funny without intending to be funny. The Irish do bitter humor well. JMO.

The big debate at dinner was: who is the greatest living actress in film today? We used Robert DeNiro as the yardstick: works in multiple genres, popular and successful at the box office, but most importantly, always does amazing quality work. Surprisingly, we had a very hard time agreeing on one. Several non-Meryl Streep fans (including me)vetoed her. Many names came up but none resonated the way that Bobby D does. In the end we settled on Susan Sarandon but felt we might be missing someone important.

I think it's tough for a woman actor nowadays to reach the status of a DeNiro or Nicholson or Pacino. Why is that? Why do we no longer have the Hepburns, the Bacalls, of the earlier decades? Or am I just being dense?

I like several of the newer actresses: Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz, Winona Ryder. Will they stand the test of time and still be acting in 30 years?

...why does he have nine fingers?

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Saturday, November 24 2001 10:26:27


Let's just say In have a wide variety of music tastes. Some I enjoy, some I appreciate. Beethoven, for instance, I appreciate, but his music doesn't give me the frisson of joy that Mozart or the Bachs do. To me, it's an important distinction.


Frank Church
- Saturday, November 24 2001 9:53:25

Joseph, you linguists are a special breed, my friend.

Channel Twenty Three <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 23 2001 22:7:43

Saw this and immediately thought of you guys... 'specially you folks in Chicago. (courtesy rec.humor.funny.reruns)

During Operation Desert Storm, Gen. Schwartzkopf was walking about in the Kuwaiti desert, and stumbled across something in the sand. Uncovering it, he found an old lamp. He took the lamp back to his tent and proceeded to polish it up, and (of course) out pops a Genie.

The Genie thanked Schwartzkopf for releasing him from imprisonment, and told him that he would grant him any wish that he desired. The General thought a moment and then unrolled a map of the Middle East onto his table. He explained to the Genie about the wars that had been ravaging the entire area, and his one wish was for peace throughout the region. The Genie responded that he and his ancestors had been working on that problem for several thousand years, had had no success, and now consider it hopeless. He asked the General if there was another wish he could grant instead.

Schwartzkopf thought for a moment and finally said that he wished that the Chicago Cubs could finally win a World Series. The Genie pondered a moment and then said, "Why don't we take another look at that map?"

- Friday, November 23 2001 17:29:9

I don't know if Harlan ever had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Norman Granz or if any of you are aware of him or had the pleasure of hearing "his" artists on Clef, Norgran, Verve, or Pablo, but I wanted to make you aware that one of the biggest proponents of the American art of Jazz, Norman Granz, has passed on. He was 83.

I feel that I personally owe this individual, Granz, gratitude because of his Pablo label which recorded American Jazz greats such as Ella Fitgerald, Basie, Sarah Vaughn, Joe Pass et al during the 1970's when acoustic, traditional Jazz was overshadowed by electronic/rock music. He provided an opportunity when the major labels were not.

This is really a tangent in some ways, but I wanted you all to know. If you don't know who Granz was, please find out. I believe strongly that "We Americans" *do* have a culture, but it is a subtle one. Granz preserved a part of the musical expression of that culture during a time when it was not profitable to do so.

Norman Granz was also responsible for Jazz at the Philharmonic and when JATP's entourage toured the south, Granz INSISTED that the artists black and white be treated with respect, dignity, and equity.

It is not only the "jazz community" who has lost a champion and friend in Norman Granz.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 23 2001 16:22:53


Let's make a distinction between "enjoy" and "appreciate a living American treasure." I enjoy Petty. I appreciate Dylan.

Frank Church
- Friday, November 23 2001 16:8:42

No, Joseph that is just bad taste..lol

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 23 2001 15:40:30

Of course, I'm a cantankerous cuss who's always enjoyed Tom Petty more than Bob Dylan....

Mitch <mitch_3737@yahoo.com>
Hazlet, NJ - Friday, November 23 2001 14:26:23

Joseph - My vocabulary's not so good, but I might be able to muddle through it. Wow...Europe in the early 30's. Do keep us posted on interesting tidbits.


Frank Church
- Friday, November 23 2001 10:59:40

Brian, I didn't say Britney didn't give me that special feeling. lol.

Frank Church
- Friday, November 23 2001 10:58:25

English rock writers are also damn amazing writers too. You almost wish these blokes would write novels. I never could understand why rock critics have to exist anyway. Everybody has their own taste. No rock critic can convince me that Bob Dylan is the greatest song writer in the history of humanity. I like him, but come on! Psychology Today could do an entire issue on the strange way music effects us.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 23 2001 10:31:27


Actually, this is fairly stoccato writing so far, and this is from a classically trained priest. Anybody read Greek, by the way? There's an inscription in the front.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 23 2001 10:30:49


Actually, this is fairly stoccato writing so far, and this is from a classically trained priest. Anybody read Greek, by the way? There's an inscription in the front.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 23 2001 9:56:47

It's always fun to read the journals and diaries of people in earlier times. but it's a little dispiriting, too, because it's obvious that people of earlier eras had a much stronger sense of the written word and of classical reference than we have.

It's humbling to read the diary or personal memoir of someone who may not have achieved the same stature of James Boswell or Samuel Pepys-- someone who could be considered an average, literate citizen-- and realize that their references to Hector or Percival or Apollo or "Albion's Sword" or the Furies were part of everyday conversation then. Sentences were complex and balanced, metaphors were used less self-consciously, and there's none of the staccato phrase-dropping that one reads in modern styles.

Jeff Homes <thequicksilverhare@earthlink.net>
- Friday, November 23 2001 6:5:11

Geez. All _I_ got on Thanksgiving was some parched turkey. (The fact that I'd made a successful attempt at Paul Riddell's tandoori turkey the week before made it worse than usual; felt like I was taking a bite out of Death Valley this year, as opposed to just White Sands National Park.)

Anyway, I trust you'll post the occasional entry here, for the folks whose ancestors never did anything interesting?



Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Friday, November 23 2001 4:41:13


Over at my parents for Thanksgiving, which was pleasant except for my nephew Duncan being a spoiled brat. Looking around in their basement as I put some chairs away, I notice some old small books in a rack of romance novels, so I glance inside them.

A fucking journal that my Great Uncle Tom (a Roman Catholic priest) wrote of his travels through Europe in 1930-31! How everlasting cool is that to find! Apparently my mother got them when my grandmother died a few years back, and forgot to mention them to me. So, I borrowed them and I'm going to read them. God, I never thought I'd have the opportunity to peer into one of my ancestors heads like that! I am so stoked!


Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 22 2001 22:44:34

Just wanted to duck in and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Lynn: I thought it had worn off, too, but then right in the middle of dinner I snatched a fly out of the air with my tongue. Kind of embarassing. Hee hee.


Channel Twenty Three
- Thursday, November 22 2001 21:57:10

There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.
-- Kenneth H. Olson, President of DEC, Convention of the World Future Society, 1977

If you put garbage in a computer nothing comes out but garbage. But this garbage, having passed through a very expensive machine, is somehow ennobled and none dare criticize it.
-- Anonymous

There are two major products that come out of Berkeley: LSD and UNIX. We don't believe this to be a coincidence.
-- Jeremy S. Anderson

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.
-- Andrew Brown

I'd wipe the machines off the face of the earth again, and end the industrial epoch absolutely, like a black mistake.
-- D. H. Lawrence

"First we thought the PC was a calculator. Then we found out how to turn numbers into letters with ASCII -- and we thought it was a typewriter. Then we discovered graphics, and we thought it was a television. With the World Wide Web, we've realized it's a brochure." -- Douglas Adams

- Thursday, November 22 2001 20:19:24

I was in non-verbal mode and decided to check out the Photo Gallery on this Webderland site. Came across that photo of that Ellison guy done by this fellow:


Have you SEEN that site? Christ! The things you can do with black and white photography.

He takes photos of a lot of authors, ya see--and thensome. (Check out the military category. The images are stark and in your face. Hard to explain.) So, simply...


Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Thursday, November 22 2001 19:49:58


If memory serves, the fella who figured nobody would want his own personal computer was Thomas Watson Sr.

And Happy Thanksgiving to all.

- Thursday, November 22 2001 18:10:19

Welcome, Mr. David. Welcome, Welcome, Welcome.

What size are YOUR 'feet'? I can send you Pooh soxes too.


Hello, Peter. Enjoy yourself here, please do. You are a good friend to Harlan which makes you many brownie points, in my book. (Previous sentence stated correctly.) Continue to cheer him on, would you please and thank you. And good wishes to you in what you enjoy doing.

- Thursday, November 22 2001 17:43:33

Kobalt said:

"If so, why isn't this BIG news, like Napster was? Where's the press, where's the angry publishers, where's all the money?"

I seem recall a fellow at IBM, years ago, not being interested in personal computers--the PC, as it was differentiated from the big mutthas that used to fill acres and acres of a computer facility. (Can't recall his name--somebody help me out here.) There was no MONEY in it, I think he said. "Why would everybody want a personal computer?" he said.


Bill Gates said something once (I'm the shits with details, people--fill em in if you wish) about "why would anyone need more than 64K?" too.


Yeah, Harlan, yer wasting yer time. This "concept" you are trying to foist on people and make work--it'll never fly.

(P.S. HE, can I buy a few shares of stock in this new 'concept' of yers *grin*)

- Thursday, November 22 2001 17:31:26

Heh...Forrester. Look it up. I'm ON the board here. Yeesh. *laugh*

Ed Howdershelt <unnecessary>
Spring Hill, FL USA - Thursday, November 22 2001 17:15:19

I'm considering using my SF ebook "STARDANCER" as an anti-piracy fund-raising device.
If I do this, I'll set it up with a $2.00 minimum and a click-through link.
Example: You'd click to select the title, make a donation, and then be returned to a download page where "STARDANCER" would be waiting for you.
I've just emailed to request permission to use the anti-piracy Paypal links to direct each donation to the fund.
On another note, one that I'm not sure would be completely above reproach, is there any reason that everyone who is against book piracy couldn't go to the Usenet piracy newsgroups and deposit a copy of one of the Gutenberg freebies?
Sure, there might be a bit of duplication to contend with, but I'm sure the pirates wouldn't mind. They'd be getting free books, after all...
Ed Howdershelt - Abintra Press
Science Fiction & Semi-Fiction

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Denial Gondwana - Thursday, November 22 2001 14:30:18

Oh, I don't know: in my experience, Catholics don't have a sense of humor, but people who marry Catholics have to have one. I point to my mother as proof. My father's side of the family is, for the most part, particularly bereft of a sense of whimsy or of wonder: I remember having to explain to my father why "Monty Python" skits were funny...when I was ten. My mother, on the other hand, has a particularly vicious humor streak in her, and she's known to inflict crippling wounds with a comment. She's also a nurse, so this comes in handy.

That ties into how my father's side of the family disowned me back in 1985. It's bad enough that the grandparents came out to visit the day I went to celebrate my 19th birthday (my grandmother still has pattern nightmares from seeing James Whale's "Frankenstein" in 1931, so you can imagine how thrilled she was to hear I went to see George Romero's "Day of the Dead" for my Sweet Nineteenth instead of getting drunk like any other Rust Belt Catholic. It was when Grandma Riddell started tearing into me about when I was planning to settle down and get married. Considering that my mother converted to Catholicism when she married my father, and that my grandmother has spoken maybe three dozen civil words to my mother in the last 36 years because her dear eldest son dared marry a former Lutheran, I just looked at Grandma Riddell and applied "Oh, when I find some nice Jewish girl." I was out of the will right then and right there.

That was the funny part. I knew my grandparents were a bit racist: they were some of the first members of the "white flight" out of the Dearborn/Detroit area when the population started becoming something other than pure alabaster. I just didn't know they were anti-Semitic. And then they wonder why I'd rather hang with my mother's side of the family. When the family's composed of Irish, Germans, and Cherokee, you tend to have a rather warped perspective on life.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 22 2001 11:39:28

To All~ Happy Thanksgiving! Hugs all around for a great year in the best online community I've had the pleasure of participating in.

Chuck~ The hex should have worn off by now..::wink::

This whole line about Jewish humor makes me think back to the scene in The Mummy, with Benny defending himself from the partially reconstituted Imhotep with a multitude of holy symbols. After working his way through four or five prayers in as many tongues, he holds up a Star of David and mumbles a prayer. To which Imhotep responds, "Ah you speak the languages of slaves. Perhaps you will prove useful..."

Whoever wrote that script was a gamer. I just know it.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, November 22 2001 10:30:42

Actually, Jonathon Edwards was a converted Calvinist, to be technical about it. And so we come full circle, because Harlan has recorded a reading of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," which can be found on an audio collection of Great American Speeches (sadly, I can't recall the name or find any info online - perhaps someone else has this and can fill in the blanks). It's a great recording.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, November 22 2001 9:22:41

To Jim: The speech is for anyone here to use, and what the hell, if it gets out into the culture and someone _else_ ues it, you'll all know who wrote it first.

As for religion and humor-- well, okay, Jews have a lot more comedians, but outside of Eastern European police states, nobody beats Catholics-- especially Irish Catholics-- for vicious, angry black humor.

It's mainly a degree of fatalism. Jews know that the worst can happen, and look to God for sympathy. Catholics know that the worst can happen, and _will_ happen, and after that, _we are all going to Hell_. That's why blasphemy is so satisfying.

Oh, that "sinners in the hands of an angry god" business ain't exactly Catholic; that's Jonathan Edwards, a Protestant in pre-revolutionary America. It's usually _their_ fault anyway.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, November 22 2001 9:20:12


I agree with you on individual writers in the British music scene, but the general tone depresses me. It seems like they champion a lot of undergound bands, who once they achieve any sort of success (and god forbid they become popular in the States) they start sharpening the knives. Perfect example is the treatment Radiohead has been getting.

Anyway, I'm just happy the Chicago Tribune has a good rock critic in Greg Kot. His writing is well-considered and fair, which automatically puts him above the editors at Spin, but he can still lay the smackdown on someone like Britney Spears when the lip-syncing tour comes to town.


John Pickett <johnp32608@yahoo.com>
Gainesville , Fl USA - Thursday, November 22 2001 4:37:39

Well I just want to pop on by and wish EVERYONE here a Happy Thanksgiving Day! and thank you Harlan for writing some of the better books,stories and screenplays I have read. Yes Harlan even that script for Star Trek which led me to Again Dangerous Visions and other titles.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 23:30:49

Brian: That's a good speech--do you mind if I use it for MY Best Screenplay win? (Har, har, har...) That reminds me of the two wittiest things I've ever heard at the Oscars. The first was Emma Thompson's quip after winning the Best Screenplay Adaptation for SENSE AND SENSIBILITY--"Before coming, I visited Jane Austen's grave...to pay my repects, and tell her about the grosses." The second was presenter David Niven's suave retort to a streaker's run across the stage--"The only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping...and showing his shortcomings."

And as for Jewish humor...I'd like to take this opportunity on behalf of my people to say that, yes, we Jews make up the funniest religious subdivision of humanity currently on the planet. (Well, besides the Scientologists, but we won't get into that now.) I mean, who else is in the running? Ok, the Catholics have a neat little tradition of dark humor, but that's it. (Must be all those "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God"-type sermons). It's primarily a defense mechanism, true--I'm sure that jokes have staved off many a potential pogrom in the past. ("Why, little Jew, you're very amusing! You know, I WAS going to burn your house, kill your livestock, and roll you downhill in a barrel lined with nails, but I think I'll let you live, instead!")

Frank: Rolling Stone sucks sewer pipes. I don't think I've actually READ an issue since Nirvana was on the cover in '92, or thereabouts. The British music press has it all over us--Mojo is the best music magazine, EVER, and Q is a close second. They actually write and report about MUSIC, which is apparently a novel idea these days. (I don't get the Brits' obsession with Scott Walker, however, but maybe that's just me...)

I'm going to be off-line all day tomorrow, so I want to wish Harlan, Susan, and all you other crazy bastards a safe and happy T-Day. (That even goes for you, Kobalt.) And remember my joke about the Supermodel and the turkey...


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 20:27:33

I'd heard the God-and-a-million-bucks jokes before, but you're going to love what I'd imagined its origin to be. It has the flavor of one of those shaggy-dog rabbinical tales, where the rich man learns of the suffering of the poor in the village, or the proud man is humbled by God, or the guy who prayed for a lottery victory is told that "he could've at least bought a ticket," or even Moses Maimonides' remark that the Messiah "may tarry."

And no, I am NOT going to start calling Harlan "Rebbe." Not only am I an atheist, I'm a former _Catholic_ atheist. I'd really be transgressing the ol' boundaries there.

On another front, _Slate_ ran some nice words about Ralph Bakshi's film of _Lord of the Rings_, which has been getting maligned now that Peter Jackson's project's due out. (My own opinions: I thought Rankin-Bass' production of _The Hobbit_ was pretty good, Bakshi's effort noble but severely flawed, and R-B's "Return of the King" to be absolute horror.)

Now, this goes along with a little bit of fanboy-nostalgia I've wallowed in a little in the past week or so. I can recall when the comic book Creation Convention came to Philadelphia, it was a comfortably squalid little project. It was held in the low-ceilinged basement of a hotel in Center City; a handful of dealers would set up on rickety card tables, a lot of the stuff sold couldn't be had anywhere else, and there was none of the big mass-marketing merchandise we see today. Back then, the dealers would bring almost _anything_, which enabled me to build a nice collection of early _National Lampoons_ and some faded-to-brown issues of _Zap_ and _The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers_. It was also a place where they'd screen 16mm prints of films I'd only heard about, like _Dark Star_ and Bakshi's _Wizards_ and Saul Bass's _Phase IV_ and, yes, I'm not just saying this to suck up, _A Boy and his Dog_.

At one of these conventions, I picked up a fanzine called AFTA #3. I liked it a lot at the time; the guy who made it, one Bill-Dale Marcinko, had clearly been reading the same stuff I'd been reading at the time. (A lot of the issue was devoted to appreciations of Stephen King and Steve Martin, and he'd even scored an interview with George Romero.) In a fit of nostalgia, I poked around the Web a bit... and picked up that issue from Ebay for five bucks. (Another Web search turned up nothing on that Marcinko guy; it'd have been nice to drop him a line and tell him that his 'zine was fondly remembered by at least one person.)

Ah, nostalgia.

- Wednesday, November 21 2001 20:5:21

That should have been "interesting". Damned webbed feet. Ribbit. Gorrp.


Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Denver, CO - Wednesday, November 21 2001 20:4:22

Peter David:

Welcome to the board. This place gets more intersting by the day.


Of course, my lady, I wouldst never associate a delicate flower such as you with a disreputable rakehell like myself.

Now would you please turn me back? My webbed feet don't type so well, and my skin is getting dry. Ribbit.


So, it was you who came up with the God and Man joke. The first time I heard it was from a standup comic here in Denver. He turned it into a song. I guess it's true what they say. Theft is the sincerest form of stand-up.


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, November 21 2001 19:59:47

I first heard the million dollar joke in a Stephen Wright routine about ten years ago. Don't tell me Mr. Wright is an HE fan too! Is everyone in the cult?

Kerry Bullock <kerryb@ozemail.com.au>
Broken Hill, NSW Australia - Wednesday, November 21 2001 19:10:47


I got your joke about God, the man, and the million dollars from Richard Dreyfuss, in a glossy mag with celebrity's favourite jokes in it.

It all makes sense now.


- Wednesday, November 21 2001 18:29:39

Actually, Your Holiness, I was contemplating a contribution. And since you are obviously as lovable as everyone makes you out to be, my desire to help you out is even stronger.

So I'm dense, pathetic, arrogant...yowsa. You're an angry guy. But that's your charm. It's not healthy, though, dude. Smell the roses, I'm just a poster who disagrees over some legal issues. Not worth the anger. Watch your heart.

Since I can't call you Harlan anymore, Your Holiness, I'll send the check to your lawyer.

And no, you don't have to pay me back with the settlement. Consider it one from the Belgians.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 17:43:0

Frank may have a point about Rolling Stone: after all, no _males_ above the age of twelve could possibly be interested in Britney Spears.

Frank Church
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 14:4:30

Can you believe this shit? Britney Spears is on the cover of "Rolling Stone" for at least the 4th time in a year! The world is being run by 12 year old girls, I fear. And RS has the gall to tell us how much they admire, Bob Dylan's, "Love And Theft."

Frank Church
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 14:0:37

Hell, Peter David!! Loved that living black suit of Spiderman a while back. Some fucked up shit. I wish we had one of those to off Bin Laden.

Let us hope that Christian rant was a joke. Talk about a family that inspired inbreeding--Billy Graham is wise to advise his offspring to clench their jaws.

Shocked to see the "Harry Potter" movie make so much money, so far. I think the Taliban is right; the west is decadent. Hehe.

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Denial Gondwana - Wednesday, November 21 2001 13:39:18

Q: Why do weekly newspaper music critics hope that their siblings become crack dealers and child pornographers?

A: So they have someone to look up to.

(Yes, that one strikes close to home for me, but I'd never deny it, either...)

Matthew Davis
Redditch, UK - Wednesday, November 21 2001 12:48:33


I was at Manchester University from 93-96. In terms of cinemas, theatres, bars, access to two huge libraries, and some great second-hand shops all crammed within about half an hours walk Manchester can certainly pull its weight with NYC and London. Haven’t been back since though; my student days came to a distinct closure when the IRA tried to blow up the city centre during my final week. I did think of going to the Cornerhouse over the Halloween weekend to see Nigel Kneale in person. Did you? My email is ukjarry@hotmail.com

Of course it may be that the IRA has a personal grudge against me. Only a couple of weeks ago they tried to set off a car bomb in Birmingham only 15 feet away from my bus stop. I’d caught the bus about 25 minutes beforehand, but this was a little too close this time.


It’s quite probable that the scavenged Douglas Adams book will have little to recommend it aside from occasional flashes. If it hadn’t been all so hurried and the publishers didn’t appear so desperate to get it out as soon as possible I’d be more willing to give this grab-bag of odds and ends the benefit of the doubt. But on the whole it doe seem an ugly venture. Vide the terrible trampling done to Hemingway’s reputation by his family’s publication of just about everything and anything he ever spilt ink upon. I missed Harlan’s original flights of invective against post-humous publication of unfinished works. But according to this argument all of Kafka is off limits, since he instructed his friend Max Brod to destroy all his manuscripts – no “The Trial”, no “the Hunger Artist”, no “Investigations of a Dog”. As the foot and a half of Kafka behind me testifies Brod disregarded these instructions, while the otherwise unremarkable date of Kafka’s birthday is now apparently one of the national holidays of Ellison Wonderland. Anyone wanting to tackle why a man with a pathological fixation on the violence perpetrated by father-figures is of such appeal to Mr. Ellison is a braver man than I.

Jamieson Christie
Cambridge, UK - Wednesday, November 21 2001 12:4:10

An Englishman, a Scotsman and an Irishman walk into a bar, and the barman goes, "Is this some kind of joke?"

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 21 2001 12:1:14

Peter (the student, not the writer),

I've been having those misgivings about "Smallville" as well, but I think the ending vison of last night's show pointed us toward a larger story arc (and isn't Michael Rosenbaum fantastic so far? He's a wonderfully cards-close-to-the-chest Lex). Definitely on my to-watch list of shows.

One thing I'm curious to find out, however, is something about Kristen Kreuk. Apparently, she's Chinese and Dutch. Now, I know we live in a much more cosmpitalitan world these days, but I'm just curious to know the story behind a young girl growing up with Chinese and Dutch parents in British Columbia. Fascinating combination to me (and the source for much minor amusement, as I reflect that Lana Lang has always previously been portrayed as a whitebread Great Plains redhead - so the world moves on).


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 11:40:8

Jim: You reminded me of the way I'd like to open my Best Screenplay speech. Since it's not likely _I'll_ ever deliver this wonderful line, I'll give it up so maybe someone here, sometime in the future, could use it.

"Getting this award is pure hell for a writer. You give us a microphone in front of a roomful of talented performers, and broadcast our words to a billion people all over the world... and we get only thirty seconds, and we have to spend it _thanking_ people." (Then you give a mock-sigh as the joke sinks in, say "But it's not like they didn't deserve the thanks," and get on with the rest of the job.)

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 21 2001 11:27:45

Pick a fight with Peter David? Never!!!

Even though HulkSmash is still the best way to do a Hulk series.

Even though Aquaman should have shaved and awakened from the "I lost half my arm" dream.

Even though Spyboy and Young Justice is just for kids....and hey, what kids read comics?

Even though I'm still waiting for Imzadi III and wondering if he thinks Troi has bigger boobies than Seven Of Nine.

((Just kidding, just kidding))

By the way, LOTR 2nd book movie would be called Lord Of The Rings II. You know, Hollywood is quite original that way. Then again, it would probably be Lord Of The Rings Part Two since the Roman Numeral II looks too much like twin towers.



Peter <writerpo@pacbell.net>
Union City, CA - Wednesday, November 21 2001 11:21:25

My goodness. Don't look at the board for a couple of days and end up spending two hours catching up, then refreshing and taking an extra fifteen minutes to catch up further... only to get distracted from writing this message again and catch up yet again.

Probably for the best, since I just wrote out the LARGEST FRICKIN CHECK I'VE EVER HAD THE MISFORTUNE TO WRITE, for my last semester's tuition. Not last semester's tuition, my LAST semester's tuition. Three and a half years of floundering and two and a half years of philosophy, and I'm finally fleeing the purgatory of undergraduate education. Woohoo!

That's if I survive the onslaught of papers and exams in the coming weeks. I fell a little behind (one paper, precisely) after that unfortunate halloween night, but I've managed to hold on enough so that if I can get through the next few weeks with my sanity intact, I can look forward to a last semester at a half load with a writing poetry class, a short story class and a weight lifting class. Funny thing is, the only requirement I need for graduation is that weight lifting class, the other two are just so I can work with the one English prof to earn my respect in my six years here.

So, had I known about the auction I probably would have broken down into sobbing fits at the current state of my bank account and my inability to participate. As it is, I'm going to have to force my hand to drop the envelope containing el checko grande into the deposit chute this afternoon when I break from work for lunch.

But I ramble.

Lynn, if you know anybody who might have taped last night's buffy, I suggest you contact them now and beg for the tape. It was good and a bit unexpected.

Has anyone else been watching Smallville? I must say that this show has been an unexpected surprise. However, for as much as I love the character dynamics (and the fact that Kristin Kreuk who plays Lana is just too cute for words), I'm disappointed in the monster of the week approach the show has taken and the fact that a majority of the kryptonite infected superhumans have met fatal ends.

I dunno. Me go lurk now.


Jim Davis
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 11:12:18

Brian: I'm exaggerating my feelings about Aniston and Paltrow for comic effect, of course. But then again, if you were forced to watch Paltrow's blubbery Oscar acceptance speech like I was, you might have Grand Guignol fantasies about her, too...

Jim Davis
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 11:8:11

Ok, ok, I admit it--I'm a LITTLE hived about Ms. Blanchett's loss (crime against humanity), but I'm trying to keep it in perspective (government conspiracy), so all of you (alien androids) can just move along now, ok?

Welcome aboard, Peter.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 11:7:58

Re Easter joke. No, the Generic Ethnic accent is actually very Middle European or Mediterranean-- Think of Gene Wilder's patient in _Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex_, the Greek man in love with his sheep, and you'll get the idea.

Re Jennifer Aniston and Gweneth Paltrow: I could never understand getting _that_ angry over celebrities. I figure, unless I know them personally, or their decisions affect my life, I'll just regard them as Attractive Objects whose work may or may not entertain me.

Okay, so who's going to be the first person to pick an argument with Peter David, and make him feel welcome?

Peter David <padguy@aol.com>
Long Island, NY US - Wednesday, November 21 2001 10:51:45

Hello. After repeated urging by the gentleman for whom this board is named, I'm coming out of lurking mode to tip my hat to you all. I thought I'd let you know that Publisher's Weekly had a year-end round-up of what they considered the best and most notable books of 2001, and my "Sir Apropos of Nothing" was one of the few SF/fantasy titles to make the list. So that was pretty cool.

Food for thought: If the second installment in the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy was hitting the theaters this year, I would bet that they would have changed the name since they would have considered "The Two Towers" to have unfortunate associations.


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 10:48:51

I never liked Jennifer Aniston, anyway. (She and that OTHER whiney, snarky-looking, neurasthenic stick-figure actress--Gwyneth Paltrow, I think it's called--should be skin-grafted together, and displayed in a sideshow tent. And NO, I'm not pissed that Cate Blanchett lost the Oscar, SO GET OFF MY BACK, OK?)

Ben Bova's being interviewed now on the local community radio station. He's talking about his latest tome (#105) THE STORY OF LIGHT--fascinating stuff. I plan to attend his lecture at the Museum of Science and Technology on Saturday, and maybe get a book signed, too. What do you consider to be his best work of fiction, Harlan?

- Wednesday, November 21 2001 10:41:18


I totally, absolutely, emphatically dig your Low-Grade Genie joke. For a goy I caught on to that one fast.

Y’know, last night I dropped in on PI; a very pretty lady there -I didn’t get her name - sat in utter unbroken silence, as you advised would happen if you came in. Unless that was you in drag (if so, you’re the prettiest guy I’ve ever seen in blond locks) she did your job for you.

...now how 'bout married couples in the late 60’s...any takers? (I actually need the info).

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 10:31:59

Link o' the day: Language and the Internet

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 10:28:46

Harlan, of course it's Saville Row. *That* was we affectionately term a 'brain fart' around our house. Name dropper.

Brian, as to making it a Generic Ethnic joke, you didn't do the sumo wrestler/kabuki actor/samurai voice at punchline did you? Reasons why jokes flop on paper that normally slay the room in person. ::sigh::

Joseph, yes, the Guinness joke is an oldie, but a goodie. Again, works best with accent in tow.

I've reached day three of my vacation and am just now approaching that lovely, timeless feel of losing track of what day of the week it is. Still haven't managed to go a day without checking the work email, but hey. I worry. So sue me. Saw Harry Potter last night. Book was better, but as films go, it was enjoyable. The effects were stunning. And I managed to forget to tape Buffy, the one episode I really didn't want to miss. Anybody want a bullet-riddled VCR?

Today's agenda:

::sigh:: Isn't it lovely?

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 21 2001 10:15:47


Don't make me come up there.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 10:9:50

Brad Pitt's getting divorced?

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 9:45:23


My god, you're dense.


Did you ever cosider for an instant that AOL and RemarQ/Critical Path have been fighting this--to the tune of more than half a million dollars in AOL legal fees in two years--because THEY think it's a SERIOUS MATTER? Despite the absence of a tsunami of pr in PEOPLE MAGAZINE or whatever empty journals you have read to you? Just because YOU haven't seen the articles on this case in The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times...just because YOUR scan of the world is deficient...just because YOU are intellectually out of the loop...does not mean that others (such as the number 2 man at Microsoft, who called us about how important this case is) agree with your sophomoric inability to understand that Change Will Be Done, whether web-mites like you like it or not.

If it were as dismissable a claim, as you continue boringly to assert, don't you think they, and their 3 COUNT 'EM 3 insurance companies, would have long since swatted this annoying little money-grubbing gnat with an out-of-court settlement?

The money is not now, nor has it ever been, for me, the issue. Yes, of course, I demand to be "made whole again" for the money they've forced me to lay out, and to pay back everyone who contributed to KICK (by the way, can we count on you for a contribution, because as we know, "Hell hath no fury like that of the uninvolved") but after losing two years of my creative life, there will be no out-of-court settlement absent a change in the way RemarQ/Critical Path polices protection of my work--and by extension others' work--on their service.

What the hell makes you think avoiding a lengthy jury trial isn't MOST UPPERMOST MOSTMOST urgent in AOL's mind? Do you think for an instant they don't perceive the peril to their 800lb. gorilladom from Ellison appearing before eleven men and women and true? If I had no case, would so many legal scholars have validated it and added their thoughts to our briefs? Are you suggesting that in a world where the stains on Ms. Lewinsky's dress are more absorbing to the masses and its journalists than the Taliban blowing up ancient Buddhist statues as early warning signs of terrorist attacks, that the less-than-sexy subject of protecting copyright doesn't get as much ink as who Brad Pitt is currently divorcing, is a measure of the value or importance or validity of this attempt to bring some order to the Wild West Internet? Are you truly that bereft of forensic argument to support your mewling and sniping?

You're blind. You're uneducated. And you've long-since grown to be a bore. Go find some other beast to poke. This one is done trying to let some light into your arrogant but ignorant attitude.

And I reseve "Harlan" for my friends. YOU may address me as MR> ELLISON, or "Your Holiness," whichever seems more aceptable.

Jim Davis
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 9:44:3

Why do so few Jewish mothers drink?
Because alcohol dulls the pain.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 21 2001 9:29:2

Damn, I gotta stop reading these jokes at work....people are wondering why I'm hunched over with tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh.

A two foot five genie. Classic.

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 9:17:49


Good jokes. But. It's SAVILLE Row, not "Savoy" Row. Pronounced savill with the accent on the first syllable, like cavil.

And those of you who have been at my last three or four lectures will recognize that the guy talking to God about a million dollars aphorism is of mine own origin. Thereby once again validating my claim that when I invent a joke and call Peter David and Neil Gaiman and Robin Williams and Robert Crais and Stu Levin and Len Wein and Julie Schwartz and Connie Willis and Chas. Edward Pogue and Barry Levine and Maggie Thompson and Otto Penzler and Monsignor Grey and David Twohy and Steve Stilwell and Bob Morales and Gordon Van Gelder and Ben Bova and a few dozen others, and tell them my new joke, it spreads like internet spam, and six months later a Webderlander fires it back at me like new-found Eldorado.

No jackanapes is SRO in his own casino.

So these two guys have gone fishing on the most boiling hot day of the year, and it's not till their rowboat is out in the middle of the lake, temperature over 100 already, that they discover there's been a glitch, and each one thought the other was bringing the cold beer, but when they open the ice chest they discover only one bottle, sitting in the last of the melted (and growing warm) icewater.

They've been planning this fishing day for months, so they're not going all the way back to town to get more beer, and they accept that they'll just have to share the one brew. And so they do, as the temperature climbs. 102. 104. And then, passing it back and forth, the last drop in the bottle is drunk by the two, who are now schvitzing like barnyard animals, stripped to the waist and gasping for breath.

And the one who has quaffed the last drop upends the bottle, but instead of another drop, a small cloud of thick auburn smoke erupts from the bottle and a GIGANTIC GENIE appears. Well, in fact, he isn't exactly gigantic. He's about two foot five, shorter than either of the fishermen.

"What the hell are you?" the less perceptive of the two asks.

I AM THE GENIE OF THE BEER BOTTLE, comes the reply from the diminutive sprite.

"A genie in a beer bottle?" asks the first guy. "What the hell kinda thing is that?"


"A wish? One wish? I thought it was three wishes?"


"Sure, sure, I want the wish."


"Ain't there always...?"




So the other guy says, "Ask him for lots of ice-cold beer. It's 112 degrees out here, and we're dyin'!"

"Good idea. Hey, Genie, turn the lake into very cold beer!"

VERY CLEVER WISH says the Genie. POOF! And the lake becomes
golden brew, nice and cold.

First guy looks at the second guy who made the wish, and says, "Asshole, now we gotta piss IN the boat!"

- Wednesday, November 21 2001 9:7:38

>This is Serious Business, and the stakes are high. <

If so, why isn't this BIG news, like Napster was? Where's the press, where's the angry publishers, where's all the money?

Maybe it's a tempest in a teapot. Everyone was stealing music off the web. I don't think many are stealing stories and novels.

I bet this settles out of court.

Bill Forrester
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 8:59:5

Harlan: You're most welcome. Did you have other items in mind? Such as, I acquired some "Rabbit Hole" editions ('91-94, including the Geo ads, the earthquake, etc); there were also various magazine articles/interviews, appearance fliers, etc., in the stack. Are these more the type of pieces that you seek for auctions, ones that could be included in a "mystery packet"?

Elsa, Kobie: No comment.

Lynn & other humor contributors: The other night, as I came downstairs from my office to snag a beverage from the kitchen, I passed thru the living room where my beloved spousal person was glued to her laptop & and a mountain of paperwork. "Check your email," I said. On my way back up, her laughter filled our home as she read some selections I copied from the message board and emailed to her (Lynn, I mention you by name because she just loved the haiku). For providing a much-needed mental break, I thank you all.

Heather: Lost your email address, drop me a line sometime.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 8:38:5

Kobalt: I think we're more passionate about the issue than "uptight and angry." This is Serious Business, and the stakes are high. For what it's worth, I used to feel exactly like you do now, but a little research set me right. If you put aside YOUR anger at being called out, maybe you'll realize that you agree with Harlan's campaign more than you think.

Rob: Robin Williams's quip about memory and the Sixties comes to mind...

Michael: Thanks (I think).

My nomination for a literary tag team: Thomas Pynchon, J.D. Salinger, and B. Traven. Of course, their trunks will have to be CLEARLY labelled, or we'll never know who's who.

Brian: This joke's for you--

"I heard you were moving your piano, so I came over to help."
"Thanks, but I got it upstairs already."
"You did it alone?"
"Nope. I hitched the cat to it."
"How could a cat pull a heavy piano like that up five flights of stairs?"
"Used a whip."

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, November 21 2001 8:25:41

Lynn's Guinness joke reminded me of one of my old favorites:

Irish guy walks into a pub, orders three pints and takes them to a table where he sits by himself and nurses them. Each week he does this. Finally, the bartender says, "You know, they tend to go flat when you get them all together; I'd be happy to pour them as you drink them."

The fellow says, "Oh, thanks, but that's not necessary. My two brothers and I always used to drink together, but now one has emigrated to California and the other to Australia. We still do it this way as a sort of ritual."

The bartender says, "Oh, okay, that's cool. I understand."

So the ritual goes on like that for many months until one night, the man orders just TWO pints and goes off to his solitary table. All the regulars notice this and the pub goes very quiet. The first instant he gets a break, the bartender walks over to the table and murmurs, "I just wanted to say that you have my condolences."

The man looks utterly bewildered for a second, then brightens and says, "OH! No, it's nothing like that. I've gone on the wagon!"

Dan Thorne <http://home.talkcity.com/BookmarkBlvd/lamp_shadey/>
Royal Oak, - Wednesday, November 21 2001 8:10:29

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet.
He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet,he suffered from bad breath.

This made him...what?
(Oh, man, this is so bad it's good)
A super callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 7:51:36

I'll take some joy from Kobalt's acceptance of the issues re AOL. Still-- the point isn't to "soak" AOL, or to punish people who are merely providing access to the Internet. It's to protect the copyrights of working artists.

As for mellowing out with a toke... well, that was nice when I was a young'un, but I leave that to the kids these days.

- Wednesday, November 21 2001 7:47:57

Poor Tom Wolfe. Always getting picked on. I mentioned him in conjunction with the others as Updike and Irving are apparently pissed that Wolfe sells more books than they do. Kinda silly, actually.

And if you're putting Andrew Vachss in there, Brian, I suggest doing it like some type of tag-team caged death match. You could have Vachss and Joe Lansdale tag-teaming against Camille Paglia and Andrea Dworkin. Vachss and Lansdale have the technique and training, but I wouldn't count out Paglia and Dworkin. Especially Dworkin. After dispatching Vachss with a testicle-tearing yank and using his eye-patch as a sling-shot to shoot the offending appendage at Lansdale, tearing out his trachea in the process, Dworkin would then turn against Paglia and force her to have sex with her, bellowing in rage as she (Dworkin) comes.

Or, something like that.

- Wednesday, November 21 2001 6:58:27

>AOL only took down my pirated stories eleven days after my attorney advised them--after months of OTHERS telling them this was rampant--and only then, eleven days later, when we served them with the papers.<

I won't ever argue that AOL isn't a bunch of creeps and shitheads. ANd if you can soak them in this suit, good for you.

I was just saying that blaming ISPs for people getting pirated books is not fair. In general, not from their own servers...if AOL is hosting your stuff for free on their machines, hell yes, get the bastards.

OK? Peace. Seems like you all need a little reefer here, everyone is so uptight and angry...mellow, mellow...life is a good thing, even with AOL in it....


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 21 2001 6:31:21

The Three Japanese men in Heaven joke: I heard it as the Generic Ethnic trying for U.S. citizenship. And I _really_ liked the fly-in-the-Guinness joke.

Can't recommend a good biography of Robespierre, but Robert Darnton's works on revolutionary-era France are probably the best available. (I especially liked _The Great Cat Massacre_, but that's because I HATE cats.)

Rob's question re _Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice_ reminds me of a question I asked a few weeks back. I'm asking those of you who are long-term Los Angeleans what you think of Mike Davis's books _Ecology of Fear_ and _City of Quartz_. I've enjoyed them a lot, but then, I have a really dark sense of humor. And Davis strikes me as an extremely accurate and scrupulous researcher. But I'd like to know how the town's smarter residents feel about his work.

Re _Bob and Carol and Sacco and Vanzetti_: I'm far too young to say whether the film's accurate about its period. I remember it being the cover story of the first _Mad_ magazine I ever read. But unlike a lot of other period movies like _I Love You, Alice B. Toklas_, I think it's held up well. It might be worth screening that alongside of something like Ang Lee's _The Ice Storm_.

Re the Locking of Three Writers in a Room to See Who Survives: That'd make for a diverting little game. Which three writers? I like the idea of pitting Andrew Vassch and James Ellroy against Tom Wolfe, but that might be overkill. I get the feeling that Eudora Welty wouldn't have a problem taking Wolfe down a peg.

To Elsa Christen: I strongly recommend you get an MRI brain scan. NOW. Only way to flense the demons from the cortex.

- Wednesday, November 21 2001 6:27:29

I think:
The reason Harlan's lawsuit hasn't generated the amount of publicity or fervor against AOL that the arguments against Napster generated is this: No one reads.

I mean we all read, but literature isn't quite the big business that the music industry is and doesn't elicit the frothing at the mouth that, say, Britney Spears elicits (speaking of which, I don't listen to her music, have never listened to her music, and have no intention of listening to her music, and wouldn't have the slightest inclination of even hearing her talk, but...don't get me wrong).

There are quite literally only a handful of authors who generate the incomes that would warrant someone's glaring attention if their work was published on the 'net without their permission. If you're not Stephen King or Tom Clancy or John Grisham (and these names may as well have a trademark after them as each name is almost synonymous with the genre; you may as well not even say horror or adventure or courtroom drama; just say the name and people know what you're talking about) or Oprah's pick then you are not big business. And that means money. And that means that unless you the author are bringing in big bucks for the publishing house, then starting lawsuits and fighting a culture that says the "Internet is about freedom, baby!" like some demented Dennis Hopper/Austin Powers computer geek, is all about getting returns on investment. It ain't worth it for a publisher to fight a corporation as big as AOL/Time Warner and to change a perception of what the Internet is. Lawsuits take time and money; copious amounts of both and it just ain't worth it to those looking at the bottom line.

Also, Napster was a business model that had to be nipped in the bud very quickly or an entire industry may have felt the consequences. (By the way, I never agreed with Napster's business model, despite what those Dennis Hopper/Austin Power geeks said.) Literature just doesn't have the allure of Marilyn Manson as some wicked-ass hermaphrodite parading up and down on some MTV runway.

The other thing is that to the vast majority that even know who he is, Harlan Ellison (rightly or wrongly) is labeled a SCIENCE FICTION WRITER. That label does not carry the same "literary" weight as, say, John Irving or John Updike or Tom Wolfe (By the way, I'd love to get those three guys in the same room and have them settle their differences. I'd make 'em duke it out. My money's on Irving, but Tom Wolfe is skinny and weak lookin', but kinda wiry, too.). Without that "weight", I believe Harlan is on his own though he will get by with a little help from his friends. (And I hope I will not be sued for using those lines in the last two sentences.)

Jayne Hitchcock <whoa@haltabuse.org>
Dover, NH USA - Wednesday, November 21 2001 5:38:57

Harlan: Please, please, call me Jayne! I'm glad you pulled out of PI. I couldn't talk my friend into it - he's kinda feisty. So now I'm dying to see him tonight. He's got some original ideas about the way things work and I'm hoping he'll confound Maher a bit (ha ha)

P.S. Thank you for your very kind comments. And let me know if I can do anything to help you in your cause.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, November 21 2001 3:12:12


God, I love that joke. Scary part is that it''s in a tourist pamphlet for the Guinness Brewery (or was when I was there in 2000).


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, November 21 2001 3:12:10


God, I love that joke. Scary part is that it''s in a tourist pamphlet for the Guinness Brewery (or was when I was there in 2000).


- Wednesday, November 21 2001 1:55:39

I wish I could help Chuck with the bio on Maximilien Robespierre but my reading sources on the French Revolution varied. But I have a historical question for any history buffs here too: We all know the 60's was the decade of flower power, free love, hippies, transcendental meditation, Woodstock, acid, and so on. Well, I just looked at 'Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice'. It's a film commonly stamped 'dated'. That's because the subject matter is intrinsic to the time. That makes the movie a reliable source as accurate historical insight about a specific time in history. In a very interesting way the movie pivots around these married couples trying to git it on in mate swapping orgies and free association; they try to verbalize every feeling, and be open about absolutely everything in their marriages...including infidelity. The twist at the end of the movie shows them unable to go through with the orgy together. They walk out of the room, for the first time totally silent. Their feelings are now genuine; they've confronted what doesn't have to be verbalized. The movie uses these older couples to argue the point you can't
have relationships without feeling.

Now, in that period free love became a hot hippie trend. DID the experiment reach married couples like the movie portrays? Were relationships broken because of it? Did divorce rates pick up because of the misconception about "being open" about everything with a spouse?

Where was BOB AND CAROL AND TED AND ALICE completely accurate and where was it taking artistic license as a satire?

Harlan, I believe you were around in those days. Maybe you could offer some input on the realities of the time.

- Wednesday, November 21 2001 1:50:22

I wish I could help Chuck with the bio on Maximilien Robespierre but my reading sources on the French Revolution varied. But I have a historical question for any history buffs here too: We all know the 60's was the decade of flower power, free love, hippies, transcendental meditation, Woodstock, acid, and so on. Well, I just looked at 'Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice'. It's a film commonly stamped 'dated'. That's because the subject matter is intrinsic to the time. That makes the movie a reliable source as accurate historical insight about a specific time in history. In a very interesting way the movie pivots around these married couples trying to git it on in mate swapping orgies and free association; they try to verbalize every feeling, and be open about absolutely everything in their marriages...including infidelity. The twist at the end of the movie shows them unable to go through with the orgy together. They walk out of the room, for the first time totally silent. Their feelings are now genuine; they've confronted what doesn't have to be verbalized. The movie uses these older couples to argue the point you can't
have relationships without feeling.

Now, in that period free love became a hot hippie trend. DID the experiment reach married couples like the movie portrays? Were relationships broken because of it? Did divorce rates pick up because of the misconception about "being open" about everything with a spouse?

Where was BOB AND CAROL AND TED AND ALICE completely accurate and where was it taking artistic license as a satire?

Harlan, I believe you were around in those days. Maybe you could offer some input on the realities of the time.

Kerry Bullock <kerryb@ozemail.com.au>
Broken Hill, NSW Australia - Tuesday, November 20 2001 23:18:39

Oh well, since we're all doing it.

A man gets down on his knees, looks to the heavens, and asks, “God, can you hear me. I have a question”.
“Yes my son”, answers God. “What is your question?”
“God”, says the man, “what’s a million years to you?”
“A million years is but a second to me, my son.”
“Oh”, says the man, and ponders this for a few moments.
“God”, says the man, “what’s a million dollars to you?”
“A million dollars is but a penny to me, my son.”
“Oh”, says the man, and ponders this for a few moments.
“God”, says the man, “could I have a million dollars?”
“Certainly”, says God, “just give me a second”.

Jim Davis
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 23:2:17

You looney bastards, you asked for it...

A man was reading the menu at a roadside diner.
"What's the difference between the blue-plate special and the white-plate special?" he asked the waiter.
"The white-plate special is a dollar extra," replied the waiter.
"Is the food any better?"
"No, but we wash the plates."

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:57:37

you were hoping against hopes that I could spell 'synchronicity' right more than once this late in the evening?


- Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:56:44

Just for you Joseph:

In a moment of universal synchronicity only possible in humorous anecdotes, a Brit, a Scot and an Irishman walk into a pub at the same time and each order a pint of Guinness. The moment of universal synchronicy continues against all odds, as each pint of Guinness is pulled and served before each customer respectively, only to have three flies land in each pint *one* *two* *three*.

The Brit looks at the tainted pint, wrinkles his nose and pushes it back towards the barkeep. The Scot carefully picks out the offending insect and flicks it into the fire, and then takes a long drink. The Irishman grabs the fly out and begins wringing it by its tiny wings, "SPIT IT OUT, YA BASTARD!!"

Thanks again, folks, I'll be here all week, don't forget to tip your servers.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:47:36


I give thee a ritual Celtic bellow of appreciation and pour a Guinness over your head in approbation.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:45:33

Chuck~ Hey, don't go lumping us pagans in with you heathens, okay?

Q. What do you say to an angry witch?
A. "Ribbit."


So these three Japanese businessmen die and find themselves at the Pearly Gates, face to face with St. Peter himself. St. Peter exchanges bows and respectful greetings with them and informs them that unless they can prove that they know the true meaning of Easter, he will not be able to let them into Heaven.

The first Japanese business man, obviously the highest ranking in his Kowloon silk suit, bows deeply and says, 'Ah yes - this is easy question. Easter is in wintertime, when people put lights in trees and spend much money on toys and videogames to shower their children with. When man in funny red suit with big belly fly around in sleigh with reindeer.' He smiles and nods to his companions and they smile and nod in agreement, and they turn to look at St. Peter who is shaking his head forlornly.

'No, my friend. That is not the true meaning of Easter.' A trapdoor opens up in the clouds beneath his wingtips and the businessman disappears in cloud of sulfurous smoke. St. Peter turns to the second businessman. 'Do you know the true meaning of Easter, my friend?'

The second ranking businessman, in his Saks Fifth Avenue silk suit, shares a worried look with his remaining companion. They consult in concerned whispers for a few moments before turning back to St. Peter.

'Ah - this is easy question. Easter is in springtime.' St. Peter looks up expectantly. 'It is holiday when children dye eggs all sorts of colors and then hide them in the yard, only to search for them later. Big rabbit comes with baskets of candy to pass out to all the little children.' St. Peter again shakes his head, sorrowfully, and the trapdoor opens again, swallowing the second businessman in a puff of brimstone.

'No, I'm afraid that is not the true meaning of Easter.' He looks to the remaining businessman with not much hope remaining. 'Do *you* know the true meaning of Easter, my friend?'

The last Japanese businessman is shaking in his Savoy Row shoes. He bows a few times, obviously shaken by the fate of his companions. 'Oh yes sir. Yes is easy question - Easter is in springtime, and it celebrate time when Jesus died on cross. They put him in tomb and roll stone across. On the third day, they roll stone back - ' St. Peter's face lights up and he opens his arms, but the man continues, ' - And if he see his shadow!'


Jim Davis
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:42:30

So, Elsa honey, your point is that God The Allmighty, The Creator And Sustainer, He Who Separated The Light From The Darkness, The Voice From The Whirlwind...IS THROWING A MASSIVE HISSY FIT?

I REALLY need to start doing hard drugs again...

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:37:39

elsa said: Funny how someone can say "I believe in God"

Hey, that is funny! Man, people sure are dumb.


Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:19:43


By the way, we heathens are also responsible for entropy, hurricanes, shingles and hemorhoids.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:13:42

You know, I have to stop checking this board before bed.

Or hide the keys to Elsa's parent's liquor cabinet.

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 22:9:19


Does anyone know of a good bigraphy of Robespierre? That was one strange mamma-jamma. A lawyer who became a judge, the pinnacle of his profession, only to resign because he was against the death penalty and didn't want to be in the position to condemn anyone. Who was still against the death penalty after the revolution.

Then later sent some 17,000 people to the guillotine.

I just can't figure out the switch. Has anyone?

If Harlan "just shut up and played the game", it be would the sign of the END TIMES. Hot rocks and dead frogs would fall from the sky. Babies would begin singing "I am Ironman" from Black Sabbath, and Jerry Falwell would be elected president.
Sounds kinda scary.


elsa christen <pinkpig411@hotmail.com>
Las vegas, NV where do you think???! - Tuesday, November 20 2001 21:57:16

Billy Graham's daughter was being interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said "I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman that He is, I believe that He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand that He leave us alone?" I know there's been a lot of emails going around in regards to 9/11/01, but this really makes you think. If you don't have time, at least skim through it, but the bottom line is something to think about.... In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. Let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body was found recently) complained she didn't want any prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school... the Bible that says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said, OK. Then, Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide) And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we said OK. Then, someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued (There's big difference between disciplining and touching, beating,smacking,humiliating, kicking, etc.) And we said, OK. Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said,OK. Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to do it anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, OK Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And agreeing with them, we said it doesn't matter to me what anyone, including the President, does in private as long as I have a job and the economy is good. And then someone said let's print magazines with pictures of nude women and call it wholesome, down-to-earth appreciation for the beauty of the female body. And we said, OK. And then someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the internet. And we said OK, they're entitled to their free speech. And then the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence, and illicit sex. And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes. And we said it's just entertainment, it has no adverse effect, and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead. Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW." "Dear God, Why didn't you save the little girl killed in her classroom? " Sincerely, Concerned Student... AND THE REPLY "Dear Concerned Student, I am not allowed in schools". Sincerely, God. Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why th world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how everyone wants to go to heaven provided they do not have to believe, think, say, or do anything the Bible says. Funny how someone can say "I believe in God" but still follow Satan who, by the way, also "believes" in God. Funny how we are quick to judge but not to be judged. Funny how you can send a thousand 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending message regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how the lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but the public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. Funny how someone can be so fired up for Christ on Sunday, but be an invisible Christian the rest of the week.Are you laughing? Funny how when you go to forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it to them. Funnyhow I can be more worried about what other people think of me than what God thinks of me. Are you thinking? Pass it on if you think it has merit. > it....no one will know. Don't sit back and complain about what a bad shape the world is in!

Barney Dannelke
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 21:48:51

Folks? twice? That's just creepy. Sorry to step on your post.


Barney Dannelke <dannelke01@enter.net>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 21:45:49

*** Folks [but particularly Harlan and Rick] ***

I just wanted to say that I have wanted to jump in and answer Kobalt's remarks with arguments similar to those that Rick and Brian brought up. It kills me to say nothing when people snipe at Harlan like this. But I am mindful of something that was said here awhile back. "The lawyers for AOL are reading this site."

Now that personally doesn't bother me but I am mindful of how lawyers attempted to use every stray remark in the Comics Journal back in the eighties to prolong and exacerbate what was a pretty straightforward 1st ammendment case. It seems the stakes are high enough that similar tactics will be employed here if they haven't been already.

If our tossing around opinions causes more discovery and more paper to fly, well I don't want to be part of the problem if I can help it. I guess I'm looking for some guidance here. Rick? Bueller? Bueller?

*** Kobalt *** First of all, you are yet another anonymous poster which renders you "opinion-lite" to me on a good day. Secondly, I think your notion/implication that this is an opportunistic lawsuit is ridiculous. Harlan has already invested so much time and money in this and the certainty of even fair renumeration is so low that setting a precedent to protect his work [AND THAT OF OTHER WRITERS] seems to me to be the only reason to proceed down this heavily mined road.

Thirdly, your annonymitity combined with your timing make me suspicious of your assertion that you were just poking around doing some research on internet piracy. Your timing sucks.

- Barney

*** Harlan *** I know smart people wont touch this one so I'll say it. I thought your response to the Ian posts was terrific and way more than he deserved. Well done. I mean REALLY well done.

Next auction I bid Tim Richmond's immortal soul. It keeps crawling out of the jar I keep it in and it drinks to much and it keeps hiding my car keys and...

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 21:0:30


This guy doesn't want to know. Why waste your time on him? He keeps slipping and sliding, and every ignorant, uneducated theory he offers gets flattened by those of you who have been studying this matter for a couple of years, yet he keeps bombarding you with what-ifs and what-abouts, and persists in ignoring the basic fact that AOL and its brethren managed to slip the DCMB through into law, but when it came time for them to live by the rules THEY HAD CREATED, they said aw fuggit and ignored REPEATED requests to flense the pirated material, and likewise ReMarQ/Critical Path. The language of the Digital Millennium bill is very specific. It says "ease of procedure" to stop pirated material from flourishing. Ease, Kobalt, do you get the message? EASE. Not blowing people off repeatedly over many months, not referring them to people not at accessible numbers, not changing your address without posting it, not directing complaints to people unequipped or disinterested. EASE is the word. AOL only took down my pirated stories eleven days after my attorney advised them--after months of OTHERS telling them this was rampant--and only then, eleven days later, when we served them with the papers.

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 20:21:15

Rick said:

"If AOL were storing child pornography or atomic bomb plans on their servers instead of just stomping on an artist's rights, we wouldn't be having this discussion."

At the risk of fawning, THIS is an incredibly good point. (So was Lynn's analogy on AOL, but she's already gotten stroked for that so I'd sound redundant.)

But hey, what's an artist? Who CARES what an artist is or wants, hey? Isn't he just some kinda freakazoid to serve the public purpose or something like that?

By the same token, I'm amazed at the lack of response--from what you've been telling me--from the creative community on this issue. But then, hey, creative types have their 'issues' too (just like anyone, I guess) about putting an oar in the water to paddle their own damn boat.

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 19:59:3

And yes, you ain't interested in my ideas--tough tiddies--but here's one I just quaffed somewhere.

Get KICK supporters to dine at a KICK-sympathic restaurant (or hell, any owner who stands to gain the rest of the take).

Have HALF the proceeds of the evening's dining go to the KICK fund.

You whacks seem to do a lot of restaurants, why not do this at one? And, it's good business for the restauranteur/owner as he gets a whack of people in his place of business, chomping down his food.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 19:30:31

IF some worrying business with the Mexican consulate getting me a tourist visa manages to work out properly, then I will be off sea kayaking in Isla Tiburon, Mexico, from tomorrow until Sunday. If I'm not bitten/stung to death by something between now and then, I'll check back on Monday. Have a more relaxing holiday than I will.


- Tuesday, November 20 2001 19:26:7

Harlan said:

"One of these days I'll learn to shut my yap and just Play the Game."

No, you won't. (And that's a good thing. And that makes it easier for the rest of us idiots, right guys?)

Oh, and yer a sick man, Ellison. A sick, sick man. (Pooh prophylactics, Heavens to Betsy! What would Pooh say?)

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
In transit, Oh to Ill - Tuesday, November 20 2001 19:18:1


I sympathise with your viewpoint to an extent. Let me be frank. If it were anyone _but_ Harlan giving AOL this grief, I might very well agree with you. AOL is a huge company with great assets and a hard-charger attitude.

But we're talking about Harlan here. He's slain invulnerable dragons before. We used to hear how no one could be the Hollywood machine on a plagiarism suit--until Harlan took them down on a show called "FutureCop" (or something close to that). The same thing happened with the film "Terminator," clearly drawing on Harlan's "Outer Limits" piece "Soldier." Now, when you watch "Terminator," watch the ending credits. Notice the change in typeface--and the credit to Harlan Ellison.

Quite recently, Harlan called me to ask a small favor. He wondered if I could use my influence, such as it is, in some quarters where I often lurk. I told him I'd try, though I was skeptical. It was something that I was sure would be very hard to accomplish. I can't give details, but it was something I considered a tall order.

Before I got to pull any strings on his behalf, he pulled it off himself.

There are people you just _do not_ count out until they're flat on the ground, unconscious. In Harlan's case, not even then. He might bounce back up when you least expect it.


Michael <leftearpro@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 18:42:11

My dear friends:
For those of you who have the cable channel Bravo -- tonight, and for the next two nights, they are showcasing the Cirque Du Soleil, with each night showing a different even, Alegria, Dralion, etc. I have just finished watching the Dralion...you owe it to yourselves to see this! One of the most visually powerful performances I have ever seen in a lifetime spent in the performing arts. The aerial pas de deux is nothing short of breathtaking...it brought tears to my eyes. They will be repeating it tonight, in just a couple of hours, and again tomorrow afternoon. I urge you all to catch it, it will lift your hearts.

yours with cotton candy,

Frank Church
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 17:29:3

Tori Amos: Godawful for the most part, but her version of Eminems, "Bonnie And Clyde" was so scary it put cold chills down my spine.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Tuesday, November 20 2001 17:22:19


Tori Amos fan here. What would you like to know?


P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingoland, NY USA - Tuesday, November 20 2001 17:9:51

Mr. Ellison et al,

Faithfully reporting the results of Fred's reading of Repent! would be, at this point, a bit dull, since I've gotten nothing written yet. Not sure why, esp. as he was forced to do it, and I told him I would relate to you what he thought.

The only response I got from him was verbally, when he was at the mid-point: "The beginning was slow and there were a bunch of words in it I didn't understand. The guy [Harlequin] is a lot like me, though."

Sigh. Better than nothing, I suppose. Perhaps Monday I'll get the lowdown. FreddyBoy has a lot on his mind these days besides literary analysis, I realize that.

Hey, since I have to go out of town (back to Staten Island, home of Wu Tang Clan and the largest man made object in the world, the Fresh Kills Landfill) I would like to say


to whomever celebrates it. I will be enjoying my side dishes and waiting for dessert (I'm a New Age hippy vegetarian, but you knew that on an instinctive level, probably).

Talk to you soon. Thanks to all of you for being something I can be thankful about.


PS: Any Tori Amos fans out there? If so, I have a question for you.

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 16:17:12

>why conglomerates like Random House and Banam Doubleday Dell haven't jumped on this is beyond me <

That is the question, isn't it? Who has an answer? I'll jump, and be reamed, I know:

They don't see this lawsuit as either valid or profitable. Or else they would have filed their own.

And as a library employee i can sadly say that most people come here to check out videos and read magazines, or play with the internet. I don't see hordes of people who would be interested in downloaded texts to read, especially long fiction ones.

that's why I think that the plaintiff is probably looking for a cash settlement. That's not a judgement, just a prediction.

Michael <leftearpro@hotmail.com>
jes' a-twiddlin' mah thumbs by the ol' dictionary, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 16:3:13


abdignation: the state of being outraged or indignant at the state of one's own, or somebody else's, abdominal muscle tone.

And thanks to the lunacy of the last few posts, I can't get the image out of my head: Lauren Bacall and Veronica Lake in rubber noses and pixie wings.

Sick. I know, I'm just sick.

Magenta Wilmoore

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:57:32


Ah, we've reached a point where we agree. The whole issue is the various named companies keeping illegal material on their servers (or allowing the storing thereof), which feeds right back into my stolen property analogy. It's a crime, electronic data or photocopies or carved stone tablets.

As for Harlan being alone on this issue, do look back through the archives here - you'll see that he has had some support, though sadly not as much as you'd expect (and why conglomerates like Random House and Banam Doubleday Dell haven't jumped on this is beyond me (though a cynic might suggest, in the case of music, that AOL Time Warner Music would end up having to sue AOL Time Warner for copyrighted music being stored illegally on it's servers - better to go after the easy Napster target)). Hell, I contributed my little part (and I swear to god, Harlan, if you attempt to pay me back I'll give that money in your name to...to...well, I'd think of something - what does that weasel William Bennett run these days?)


Jim Davis
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:53:58

Um, I meant to write "TORTUOUS," not...oh, fuckit. (Hey, I do this so YOU WON'T HAVE TO, ok?)

Frank Church
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:53:18

Didn't want to watch PI tonight anyway. Smile.

Anyone familiar with the writing of, Stanley Crouch? That guy can write, but the guy gets under my short hairs.

Harlan was very smart to avoid going on telly tonight. I am sure HE would of been bored stiff. I remember when he was on once and they discussed Micheal Jackson: Harlan could give a rats ass about Mr. Moonwalks life, and why anyone else should seemed to him idiotic. Rightly, the star fucking coarse is one to avoid at all costs. Let celebrities be shmucks. They live in their own world of make believe anyway--fuck em!!

Bad enough having to look at MJ's scarred face on telly. That boy needs help.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:44:5

This is driving me nuts. (No, I'm not talking about the Kobalt/KICK lawsuit discussion...)

I type really fast, so I always have a good amount of typos in my posts. Add to that the fact that I have difficulty visually processing computer text (which makes proofing a chore), and it's a miracle that ANYTHING I write here makes sense. Anyway, I was looking at an earlier post of mine, and I saw the words "a complete abdignation of personal responsibility." Huh? I think I meant to write "abdication," not "abdignation." But what does abdignation mean? I'm sure it's a real word, but I can't find the definition anywhere. I've searched a dozen dictionaries, both print and online, but no luck. Does anyone have a copy of the OED handy?

Oh, and to continue the public self-flagellation, I should have written, "Burton's prose was a TORTUROUS thicket," not a "TORTURED" one. I didn't mean that the thicket was actually being worked over with thumbscrews and blowtorches...


- Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:33:40

You know, I'm not here to bait anybody. I came here by accident, doing an Internet search on "internet piracy." Harlan's name was all over the place.

I work as the sysadmin for a library district south of Chicago, and we are always checking up on piracy and Internet issues. Like I said, you guys are prominent on the web in the searches. But you seem kind of alone on this. The music industry killed Napster pretty quick...where are the book publishers, the magazines, and the writers?

I think the alone part comes from the nature of the suit. Like I said, I'm not trying to piss anyone off, but I see from looking through this board that people get pretty riled here. But I think the suit against AOL is more than just their servers.

"At issue are matters such as whether AOL or RemarQ/Critical Path fulfilled their duties under the DMCA for the limitations of liability, whether the defendants had prior knowledge of the infringing activities or ignored “red flags,” whether the defendants are direct, contributory or vicarious infringers of the copyrights and whether their activities—or the activities they have failed to stop—also constitute unfair competition with Harlan."

That sounds like more than hey, clean my stuff off your servers. Guys, I'm an ISP man, and so I naturally rally to their cause, even one as lame as AOL. Yes, I think Internet piracy should be busted. No, I don't think ISP's should be held responsible for it, if it isn't happening on their own servers. So maybe we agree on some things, but not on others.

And if AOL offers to settle out-of-court, which they will if it looks like Harlan has a case, then what?

Rick Wyatt
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:28:11

Good points, all. I'd like to add only two things. First, AOL is also being sued because they were informed of this material being stored on their servers and did nothing to stop it. Second, arguments based on how "bad" a law is broken are spurious. If AOL were storing child pornography or atomic bomb plans on their servers instead of just stomping on an artist's rights, we wouldn't be having this discussion.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:14:31

Kobalt sez:
"Those servers are not "the Internet." If one is suing AOL (or any ISP) for providing access to an Internet that allows illegal activities, I maintain that is a wrong-headed suit that will go nowhere. Expecting AOL to police what their users do with their Internet service is like asking Ameritech to listen in on our phone calls to ensure we are not making illegal, harassing calls."

First of all, Kobalt, nobody is suing "the Internet." Harlan is suing AOL for allowing users to store copyrighted materials on its servers, when it should be preventing them from doing so.

And yes, One _can_ ask Ameritech to police illegal and harassing phonecalls. (Where have you been?) If someone is using AmeriTech to make harassing phone calls to you, you can ask them to trace the call, and provide law enforcement authorities with the information needed for further action, if warranted.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:10:31

To Kobalt:

I'm glad you're changing your argument from "Harlan, you're wrong to sue AOL because they're just a carrier" to "Harlan, you're wrong to sue AOL because it's too expensive and you might lose." At the very least, you understand that the former isn't a tenable argument. And the latter has the benefit of appearing to be sympathetic to Harlan. (Note the word "appearing.")

But you're very wrong in your note. You mention "community-based appeals for federal legislation and a created authority to bust the lawbreakers." They _already exist_-- there are already laws prohibiting unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials, and there are agencies that investigate and arrest lawbreakers. Harlan is asked for the law to be applied to a lawbreaker-- and how _else_ is he supposed to do this, since a "personal lawsuit" is such a bad thing?

And you really ought to distinguish between Usenet, the Internet, and AOL. The _Internet_ might be more like the phone service, but _AOL_ is _not_ the Internet, and Harlan is suing _AOL_. AOL is more like a trucking company whose rigs are being used to smuggle contraband, Harlan's trying to have the company crack down on this misuse of its own trucks, and he is _not_ trying to sue the highways. Understand?

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 15:9:9

>However, there are plenty of servers with copies of copyrighted work, that are part of certain companies networks. <

Yes, this is true, but those servers are not "the Internet." If one is suing AOL (or any ISP) for providing access to an Internet that allows illegal activities, I maintain that is a wrong-headed suit that will go nowhere. Expecting AOL to police what their users do with their Internet service is like asking Ameritech to listen in on our phone calls to ensure we are not making illegal, harassing calls.

IF Harlan is trying to simply bust AOL for hosting pirated work on their own servers, yes, he has a case. But is that all that KICK is trying to do? I get the impression that KICK asserts that ISPs are responsible for allowing users to find pirated work (break laws) on the Net. And that is like saying that by building a ramp to the highway with your tax dollars, your local highway authority is responsible when you go out and break laws on that highway.

B Kobalt

Jim Davis
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 14:22:59

And hey, Harlan needs to get rid of some of his crap, anyway. Better it should go to fans than the local dump...

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 14:14:31

David, et al,

For those who like police log type stuff, I just remembered this. Check out http://obscurestore.com/ for the best odd news stories each day. It's a wonderful adjunct to the incomporable Poyneter Institute, which also has a great web page at http://www.poynter.org/medianews/.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 14:11:12

Justin: I'm waiting for a visit from a twosome of Veronica Lake and Louise Brooks, myself.

Brian: There's a one-volume Modern Library abridgment of Burton's translation currently in print. (It's the one I tried to read.) Since I can't envision the 17-volume set being re-published any time soon, that will have to do, for now.

Kobalt: There IS "federal legislation that busts the lawbreakers."--Lynn has a link to it a few posts below. (Are you saying that the PENALTIES for breaking copyright law should be codified, as well?) Lawsuits are traditionally the best mechanisms for enforcing and explicating laws, though the court costs do tend to put an unfair burden on the non-wealthy. Of course, I don't think that a victory by Harlan will magically erase internet piracy, but it will set a hell of a legal precedent. You have to start SOMEWHERE, after all, and forcing AOL to properly police its newgroups is a hell of an auspicious beginning.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:56:43


Thanks for not wasting time on the airwaves.


As for the phone-and-highway anaology to the Internet, allow me to toss a fact-ful of cold water on that, Kobalt. You don't store illegal copies of copyrighted work on the phone system or on the highway system, mostly because they're not built for such a purpose. However, there are plenty of servers with copies of copyrighted work, that are part of certain companies networks. Now, US law is pretty damn clear on this basic principle - if you have stolen property on your territory, and refuse to return it, then you are culpable for holding stolen goods. If Bob puts your book under my bed without my knowledge, and you discover this and demand your book back, then I am legally obligated to give you your book (and give Bob a thwack on the head and de-invite him from my house, Buffy style).
Does that help?


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:55:40


I sent along a package with some comic books for the auction this weekend. It's going by express mail with the alleged guarantee it will be delivered by tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon. I waived the signature so just keep an eye out for a mysterious package from the East Coast - but if it's coated with an unidentified white powder, stay away 'cause it wasn't my doing.

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:46:53

>I didn't say you were an idiot. I said you were making yourself out to be one. <

Now that's a line I have to remember.

Suing AOL..it may be the RIGHT thing to do, but is is gonna work? I mean, we hear on this board how funds are drying up, how the big name writers and publishers are taking a pass, how this is like tilting at the world's biggest windmill...make no mistake, I can see Harlan's point, and slaying the foulest giant is always the most tempting course, but...

I see a reasonably famous and influential writer selling off his file cabinet ephemera to pay the lawyers. That doesn't FEEL right. And while I know Harlan disagrees, the Internet IS a lot more like the phone service or the national highway system than it isn't. This kind of move calls for a community-based appeal for federal legislation and a created authority to bust the lawbreakers, not a personal lawsuit against an ISP.



- Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:41:12

Oh. Well, it sounds like a wise move to me, Harlan. December it is.

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:40:56

FYI: The 18 page version, as opposed to the 94 page version previously cited.
U.S. Copyright Office Summary: December 1998

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:35:33

Yes, I suppose worrying about Harlan and Susan would be somewhat goofy, wouldn't it? Thanks for your reassurances, Harlan and Lynn. I'll gather up my concerns and toss them someplace they're more urgently needed.

"One of these days I'll learn to shut my yap and just Play the Game."

Puhleeeez. And one of these days Lauren Bacall will undergo a drastic reverse-aging process, all the way back to her early 1940s body, and show up at my door where she will proceed to tear every stitch of clothing from her body and scream, "TAKE ME, YOU BEAST!"

I've really no idea where that came from. My poor mother would be so ashamed.


p.s. Man, I can't wait for P.I. tonight! I've got TWO whole sticks of Bazooka Joe and a few coins I fished from the couch when I moved in that say Harlan doesn't just sit here "dumbly."

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:30:56


I cannot begin to tell you what I would pay - would sordid lengths I would go to - to see you go on PI in a rubber nose and pixie-wings.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:29:56


Okay, first things first. I didn't say you were an idiot. I said you were making yourself out to be one. I never said you were a waste of oxygen for wondering if AOL was the 'chief baddie' on this one. I said you were coming across as woefully uninformed on the lawsuit. Which you are. The lawsuit is about getting AOL to take responsibility for crimes committed using their services and their hardware. Not to take responsibility for proactively policing their users, which in a perfect world would be the correct answer to the problem, but to take responsibility for the crime after it's been committed and make proper recompense, i.e. taking the pirated materials off their servers. This is the minimum required by law. (Read all about it: http://www.loc.gov/copyright/legislation/hr2281.pdf)

You need to be fair too, Brett. You may feel as if you are opposed to Internet Piracy, but you didn't really come across that way. You came across more as, 'Gosh it's really a shame that people pirate creative properties and distribute them on the web, but what can we ever hope to do about it?'

And as to coming across as an idiot, don't worry. I seem to have mastered the art so perfectly, I'm thinking of starting my own guild. Wanna start a chapter in your area? FCB's of the world UNITE.

So suck it up, man. Sure, being nice never hurts. Until they run right over you! I hope you take this diatribe in the context it is intended. Nothing personal against you. In fact, welcome. Hope you don't have any strong feelings about The War or Religion, because that was last month's feeding frenzy.

Warmest and most tender regards to you, Mr. Kobalt,

PS. Joseph, re: Nafta "Cheap, fast, good. You only get two."

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:25:37

Geez, while composing this note, I refreshed the message board-- and saw Harlan's note about not going on _Politically Incorrect_. I'm sorry I won't get a chance to see the spectacle. But, Harlan's reasons are probably the most respectable I've heard in a _long_ time: do you people know how rare it is that someone states that he _doesn't_ want to be an opinionated gasbag with a national audience? (Here's hoping they crack the Rolodex a bit more than usual, and invite someone really sharp-- say, Mike Davis.)

Jim: You're reading Hussain Hadawy's translation? Great! I got about halfway into it about a year or so ago. (Anyway, the Burton translations are really hard to find.)

Kobalt: Sorry for the rude replies. But consider; Harlan's been dealing with this issue in the courts, at considerable personal expense, so he really is up to speed on this issue far more than most people. And he's had questions like yours before-- lots of times, over and over again. And we've had trolls here in the past who come on as though Harlan's some feeb who doesn't understand the wonders of computers. So I can understand his expressing more than a little bit of irritation at your question.

(And I speak from personal experience: I tried to catch Harlan out on a rule of grammar through a really extreme and silly example, and he laid into me _hard_. But I'm still here-- more likely to jump at sudden noises, true, but I'm still here.)

(Along these lines: Hey, Rick, can I make a suggestion? Add a bit of text to the intro to this forum, saying "If you're planning to ask Harlan about his lawsuit with AOL, read this FAQ first," with a link to something that spells out the issues plainly and clearly. That way, if someone does come on and post a less-than-informed question, we have _carte blanche_ to lay into him.)

Okay, re bios of Nixon and Reagan. The best take-out on Morris' Folly was by Joan Didion in _The New York Review of Books_, November 1999. As for D'Souza, he's just a clever right-wing ratbag whose work is almost never reliable or accurate.
And for another tasty bit of muckraking, check out Seymour Hersh's take-out on Henry Kissinger, _The Price of Power_, or Anthony Summers' book on Nixon.

Susan Ellison
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 13:11:49



I pulled myself out of the program. I will NOT be on the panel tonight with Mike Farrell, Charlotte Ross and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher.

This is a heads-up so you don't lose any sleep waiting for a non-appearance.

And to allay the usual conspiracy paranoia, let me tell you instantly that it was SOLELY my choice, and I'm rescheduled for early in December, after Thanksgiving.

My reason for begging off was one of responsibility and ethical behavior.

The procedure for PI is to select the topics for that night as close to airtime as possible, so things are ultra-courant. When the staff sent me the three topics they wanted to pursue, they were all about the war and strategy and would Americans pay more taxes to get better security, and suchlike. And I realized I had no particularly strong or original (or even compelling) opinions on the topics.

So I told them that there were already enough harebrained and uninformed opinions around that the world didn't need mine to add to the pollution. And while I understand that everybody looks on tv as nothing more than "show biz," I didn't think it personally responsible to go in front of millions of people with nothing but my dick in my hands. So to speak.

They weren't pissed at me for fucking up their TV GUIDE-solicited roster tonight. But they were a bit surprised that someone would forsake getting their mug on the tube because of a sense of propriety and serving the commonweal.

I have no idea who'll replace me, but watch your TV GUIDE and I'll be on in December.

Spread the word through your various contacts. I want to inconvenience people as little as possible.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 12:53:3

Back, by popular dementia...

Kobalt: You don't link to the Usenet--it isn't some website that you visit, like Ain't It Cool News, or The Drudge Report. It's a discussion system comprised of inumerable users, protocols, ISPs, and organizations corporate, academic, and otherwise. I is Usenet. You is Usenet. UUCP is Usenet. UNIX is Usenet. MIT is Usenet. AOL is Usenet. Get the picture?

Such a decentralized, seemingly-anarchic structure doesn't mean a complete abdignation of personal responsibility, as so many believe. Rather, it means that each participant has a GREATER obligation to conduct his/her/itsself in accordance with the highest legal and ethical standards. The DMCA is clear on this; if an ISP participates in Usenet, it has a duty to insure that the newsgroups it stores and disseminates adhere to copyright law. End of discussion.

Tiny Tigger socks as prophylactics...I tell you folks, could you find something like that on alt.fan.anne-rice? I don't think so. (And I think Susan just missed out on having a, um, UNIQUE experience, shall we say? 'Nuff said on that...)

The suggestions for political biographies sound really neato keen, but, as much as I'd like to read a good bio on Nixon, I'm gonna have to ignore youse guys' book recommendations for awhile. My "to-read" pile is so massive, not only has it achieved sentience and mobility, not only has it lobbied for political rights, but last night I caught it PISSING IN MY SINK!!!!!! So, my book-buying spree of late has most definitively ended, thank you. (Waiting in the wings: Gaiman's AMERICAN GODS, Kersh's NIGHT AND THE CITY, KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST, Massie's PETER THE GREAT, and many, many others.)

Oh, and since everyone is sharing what's on his/her nightstand table, I will, too. I'm a quarter of the way into Husain Haddawy's two-volume translation of THE ARABIAN NIGHTS, and it is simply one of the greatest books of the fantastic that I have EVER read. How did I live so long without this? These tales of efrits, dervishes, viziers, caliphs, and the gorgeous women they love are perfectly charming, and Haddawy's rendering of them is agile, assured, and voluptuous. Highly recommended. (I tried to read Sir Richard Burton's translation several years ago, but it didn't quite take. Burton's prose was a tortured thicket of achaisms and verbal grotesqueries, and I couldn't tell you how many times I got lost in there. After struggling through fifty pages, I was ready to throw a spear though Burton's face, too.)


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:50:7


Break-a-leg tonight and be sure to give Mr. Maher our warmest regards.

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:46:55

>It is theft, either way. It is misappropriation of that from which the owner derives income or benefit.

I never said it wasn't, old man. You're ranting at the choir. I just wondered if suing AOL was the way to go. Methinks you'll have better luck lobbying for an independent "net authority" to nail the pirates. Then you can take on the ACLU, who can't afford as many lawyers as AOL. Of course, the settlement possibilities are less tasty in that venue, but surely that's not a factor here.

>Try to get your mind around that. It ain't rocket science.<

Rocket science ain't the best metaphor for brains these days...didn't they crash one into Mars, forgetting the metric system thingy? I suggest linguistics as a substitute. Fresh cliches.

Yours, Brett

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker The Heights, Ohio the State Vespucciland the USA - Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:39:55


Well, you could wait for someone to say something inane (always a reliable event on Politically Incorrect) and then hold forth on the plague of people who think their opinions are worth spreading around like manure even if they know nothing about the thing of which they opine.

Of course, if you do that, you're attacking the very structure of Politically Incorrect, which might not endear you to them, much less lead to future appearances. Never mind. Just ignore me. Bad idea.

Give my love to Len and Christine, won't you?


Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Denial Gondwana - Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:32:12

It just occurred to me: Harlan, how do you feel about people willing their estates toward helping out with KICK? The way people drive around here, I figure that I'm going to find out if there's an afterlife every time I drive to check my mailbox, and I'd rather have the sale of all my worldly goods go toward something of value instead of helping my (soon to be) ex-wife do her best to be a perfect clone of Edina Monsoon in "Absolutely Fabulous". I know that $1.97 isn't much, but it's the thought that counts, right?

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:29:47

Geez, people, relax. I said I thought it was wrong. I just wondered if AOL was the right area to attack.

But for my pains, I get called a flat-earther by Harlan, who associates with greedy and uniformed adolescents. Lynn tells me I'm making myself out to be an idiot, and should go somewhere else to read my "lines of bullshit."

Is this the standard way of talking around here? You had my sympathies. Now I don't give a shit.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:28:15

Just 'cause I'm amused:

Lynn, could you explain NAFTA in those clear terms for me?


Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Denial Gondwana - Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:27:52

Just a little bit to help put the ongoing sniping by know-nothings about the KICk suit, and I'd like to thank an anonymous fellow at Fucked Company (http://www.fuckedcompany.com) for saying it first. (Again, if you steal an idea, leave your knife.)

"Oh and by the way, fighting on the internet is like being in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still a retard."

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:15:2

And after rereading that post I realize my own conclusions may be a bit esoteric. So let me spell it out.

Shared files = HEROIN
More addicts = MORE PROFITS

Can I get any clearer?

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:10:11

Kobalt~ First of all, it's Gnutella, a file-sharing network. For those of you who don't know, it's similarity with Napster ends there. Napster held an index of pirated files on their own servers, allowing users to login to Napster and see what was available. Gnutella has no owner. It's a pure net, with each user holding their own files, and users only having access to whoever is logged on at the moment.

Nutella is a chocolate hazelnut spread that is damned tasty, but useless for sharing files.

Gnutella Net was developed by Nullsoft and in May of 1999, Nullsoft was purchased by, if you hadn't already guessed {insert dramatic music here} America Online.

See: http://www.gnutellanews.com/about/ and http://www.nullsoft.com/

So I suggest that you get out your scorecard and start keepin' track of the players, and then go back and read the rulebook again - teach yourself what the game is about - else you're going to make yourself out to be an idiot time and time again.

No one suggested that this lawsuit is about anything more than AOL policing its own users. If the service is used for doing something illegal, the servicer is responsible. Period. Be it child pornography or copyright infringement. And if you want to argue about anything more than this point and this point alone, well then, go to Usenet and toot your own horn. I'm sure someone there will be more than happy to entertain you with the 'information must be free' line of bullshit.

I'm done.

PS. Yeah - and what Harlan said too.

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:8:8


You are as up-to-speed as a Flat Earther. Every appellate court in the land, duplicating the Napster decision and the Tasini decision by the Supreme Court just a few months ago, has denied the "common carrier" defense of internet servers. The web is NOT like the phone company or the freeway system. And if you MUST pursue that idiotic, universally-rejected comparison, yes indeed the roadways ARE policed. Taxes pay to fill in potholes, and cops bust you if you are driving a stolen car. Try to get the parallel, Kobalt:

Stolen car = stolen creative property.

It is theft, either way. It is misappropriation of that from which the owner derives income or benefit.

Try to get your mind around that. It ain't rocket science.

Yrs. wearily, after years of trying to get greedy and uninformed
adolescents to grasp the concept of honesty and the work-ethic, yr. pal, Harlan Ellison

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 11:4:18

Re: The Infamous Tigger Socks of Doom

As Paul Harvey would say, "Now you know....the Rest of the Story."

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:55:15

BILL: Thanks for the offer. But I think time is too short to make the transfer. Maybe another time. My thanks for the gracious thought.

Yr. pal, Harlan.

DAVID: I've passed the mailing instructions on to Susan. It shall be done.


John Pickett <johnp32608@yahoo.com>
Gainesville , Fl USA - Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:54:21

Well I'm ready to stay up real late tonight as my local TV page says Harlan is on PI tonight, well actually it comes on here at midnight. Other then the Charlie Brown Christmas special nothing else is worth viewing :)

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:51:3


"Politically Incorrect" tapes and airs on the same day. They'll send the limo for Susan and me (and our friends Len Wein & Chris Valada will be accompanying us, so keep a peeled eye in the audience during the show, for the three of them) at 4:00; we'll
motor down to the CBS Studio at Fairfax and Beverly; I'll go into makeup (light base only, if y'please); and we'll tape at 5:00 for delayed-airing tonight. Consult your local listings.

The topics they've suggested for tonight are subjects about which I have absolutely no opinion. They're upset with me because I'm assuring them I'll just sit there dumbly. There are already enough asinine opinions polluting the atmosphere without my adding any of mine own. Throwing alleged "celebrities" onto the airwaves, just so they can shoot off their uninformed mouths seems to me a most egregious activity. They may not invite me back for displaying such un-show-bizlike behavior. I suppose if I were so desperate to appear on tv that I would put on a rubber nose and pixie-wings, I wouldn't be having these feelings, but frankly, exhibiting my mug on the coaxial cable is a thrill long-since dulled in me. I have no idea how all this will go down. One of these days I'll learn to shut my yap and just Play the Game.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:38:35

CHARLIE: Thank you. Very gracious. And, of course, appreciated.

HEATHER: Susan snagged the Crayolas. The only protruberance on my body that the Tigger socks would've fit, was uh um er a bit limp at the time they were received, and had I waited for a more uh ah um "tumescent" moment, their porous nature would mayhap have overcome even the long-since-precaution of vasectomization, and my dear good wife would have to kill either me or the issue, or both. And she's far too gentle and kind for such behavior.


(My life is a hideous rigadoon.)


- Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:36:43

You don't need usenet to get e-books. You just need an Internet connection...there are plenty of servers out there like nutella.

I agree, it's wrong, and Harlan should be pissed, but I don't see how AOL can be called the chief baddie on this. You nail them for the mirrored sites (and that won't be easy), but then what? Tell them they can't be an ISP because people break laws on the Internet? And everyone has mirrored sites, which operate more or less automatically...we going after the colleges next?

What is really being asked for here is the equivalent of a highway patrol. CHIPS for the Internet, an agency to bust law-breakers. AOL just offers access to that highway...they can't be asked to police it as well.

Harlan Ellison
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:30:52


To the former: you are a welcome addition. I think you will find the venue salubrious. Your triumph over the scam mongers
is more heartening to the trench troops than you can know. Whenever a lone fighter does, indeed, "beat City Hall," as the trope goes, it firms up the rest of us to keep slugging. Thank you, and heartiest welcomes.

To the latter: for my money, the very best biography of Nixon was Pulitzer Prize-winning Fawn M. Brodie's outstanding and meticulously authenticated, voluminously source-footnoted RICHARD NIXON: THE SHAPING OF HIS CHARACTER (W.W. Norton, 1981).
Merely the anecdote about the polliwogs and the hatchet is enough to tell you everything you will ever need to know about the true nature of that man.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:17:35

David and anyone else here who has a net presence (read: a website), please read the following:


If you don't have a link graphic for KICK, get one. They're free. Hell, you don't even have to have a link graphic. The *least* you could do is put up a link. And no, I don't mean to the HE website. I mean to KICK specifically. If not on your front page, then on your links page. If you can't afford to give monetarily, it's a way to give back that's completely free.

Also, if you don't like the KICK graphics that myself or Rick have designed, contact me at the above email and I would be more than happy to design a link graphic (animated or still) that fits the look and feel of your website. And I do this for absolutely FREE - no fee whatsoever, save that you use the bloody thing when we finish it.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:9:49


Also, avoid at all cost the Dinesh D'Souza bio of Ronald Reagan, "Ronald Reagan : How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader." Poorly researched and horribly flawed conclusions (he ranks the top three presidents as Lincoln, Washington and Reagan, for crying out loud).

As for Morris, I'm pissed he blew off the chance to write a Reagan White House book and instead wrote a crappy novel. What a waste of eight years of access.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:6:50


My personal favorite polic log (and don't you love the formal way they're written in the actual reports? "Driver than called reporting officer an "asshole" and proceeded further along those lines...") was from when my wife was working in the Bloomington, IL area as a reporter. Seems a woman was pulled over late at night wearing panties. Her excuse? "I'm drunk, and I took off my clothing to keep from being seen by the cops, officer."


Some recommendations (though you've stumped me on McKinley - all I can remember off hand is that he was shot by Charles Guiteau at the Temple of Light at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo (in Buffalo!)):

"Florence Harding : The First Lady, the Jazz Age, and the Death of America's Most Scandalous President" - fascinating look at Warren and Florence and the whole mess that was that presidency. Poor man.

"Abraham Lincoln: The Prairie Years" and "The War Years": not to everybody's taste, but a great detailed look at Lincoln.

I know I'll get excoriated for this, but a good Roosevelt bio is "No Ordinary Time : Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt : The Home Front in World War II." Not a full bio, really, but fascinating.
(The author, Dories Goodwin, also has the fabulously lovely autobiography "Wait "Till Next Year," about growing up a Dodger's fan in the 40's).


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 10:3:54

Kobalt. The stories weren't "linked". They were mirrored, i.e. physically stored, on AOL's servers. They refused to delete these pirated works from their servers when requested to, as required by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which requires ISPs to remove copyrighted works from distribution that they have control over *when requested by the owner of the copyright.*

It's one thing to sue the highway patrol for a drunk driver they have no control over. It's another thing for them to put a drive-through wet bar at your local toll booth and then use the profits from it to repave your toll road.

Do a little more research before you automatically assume the wronged party in this lawsuit. I started out from a position very similar to yours and have, with some coaxing admittedly, come to understand what's *really* going on with AOL/Remarq and Internet Piracy.

Warmest regards,

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 9:50:14

Definitive Biographies of Presidents: Robert Caro hasn't finished his projected four-volume study of Lyndon Johnson, but so far I'd call it 'definitive.' As for any others, well, I've seen some very good critiques of McCullough's books on Truman and John Adams, and any book on Kennedy written by a former aide or Cabinet secretary is automatically suspect. As for Morris and Reagan... you're probably better off reading Lou Cannon.

But try to read Robert Caro's astounding book on Robert Moses, _The Power Broker_. One of the greatest biographies written in this century, and probably the best look at city politics ever written.

To Kobalt; AOL is not forced to link to Usenet newsgroups where large-scale piracy takes place. I used to link in through the University of Pennsylvania, and a LOT of the various binaries newsgroups were simply not available. That's because they could be held liable if, say, Microsoft were to sue them for providing the means for students and faculty to pirate their software. So it's well within AOL's power to close down access to newsgroups which are devoted mainly to piracy.

(Lord know where you dredged up that analogy to drunk driving; there's no connection at all to the rest of your note.)

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 9:34:37

>In April, 2000, Harlan Ellison was told that an individual using the screen name and e-mail address shaker@tco.net was scanning stories by him and other writers and posting them to a newsgroup called alt.binaries.e-book. (The designation alt.binaries means that it is a newsgroup where files of material are exchanged; there is relatively little discussion among the participants.) John Miller (former SFWA® secretary) and Susan Parris assisted in tracking the works which were copied to the newsgroup, which they received as part of the subscription to America Online.<

How do you sue AOL for what's posted on the Usenet? You might as well sue the phone company for crank calls.

AOL can police its own site and services, but just because they offer a link to the Usenet doesn't mean they are responsible for what goes on there. Can I sue the Highway division when someone drives drunk?


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Tuesday, November 20 2001 9:18:8

The check is in the mail!

(Err, well ... actually, it is made out and tucked inside an addressed and stamped envelope in the "Outgoing Mail" box here in the office, but I could run it over to the Post Office at noon....)

Harlan, please see to it that the package is sent to my office address, not the home address where I receive my HERC newsletters. Packages tend to have a safer arrival at:

City of Lake Oswego
380 A Avenue
PO Box 369
Lake Oswego OR 97034

Anyway, I hope you guys don't get the mistaken impression I'm made of money. This just happened to be a serendipitous time for me because the second half of the advance on my upcoming book came in last month, so I have a few extra coins to spend for the holidays and, most appropriately, for a book-defending cause.

My wife said that for this Channukah, instead of a gift a day for each other, we should donate something to a favorite charity on each of the eight days, which I think is a terrific idea. (But I got her a couple presents anyway.)

Joseph: Glad to hear you're a police log fan. One of the last unsullied sources of pure proletarian entertainment. I'm just maddened that in my search through my scrapbooks I haven't been able to find several of the ones I remember most vividly -- like the 13-year-old who traded a dead rat for food stamps, and the disgruntled reader who assaulted our City Editor in the news room with a cream pie.

Several unassuming-looking police log entries had great stories behind them (as you might guess). One concerned a woman who heaved a rock at the driver's side window of her husband's car when she went to confront him at his girlfriend's house and he tried to drive away.

What was great about this incident was that she came into the newsroom the morning I was writing up the incident to plead with us to keep it out of the paper. Her mistake was in wearing a bunch of sparkling jewelry which flashed in the face of the editor she was trying to cajole, who had himself been reported in the paper some months before for a drunk driving arrest and therefore was NOT particularly sympathetic to her plight....

Bill Forrester
- Tuesday, November 20 2001 8:59:25


Re: the upcoming auction. If you want an item to auction, I'd be glad to send you a signed limited edition copy of Slippage. How would you like to make arrangements?

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Tuesday, November 20 2001 8:51:8

Looking for a little help from my well-read pals....I enjoy reading some biographies....and lately I have tried to determine the definitive (or, at least, the best written) biographies of various Presidents to add them to my library of hundreds of 'books to read before I die.'

Since I do not have the time to read 30 different volumes on William McKinley, I'm looking for one good volume (or series). Any help you can give me would be great.

So far I've read Ambrose's Nixon series and Donald's Lincoln, and I have McCullough's John Adams and Harry Truman and Ambrose's Eisenhower. Also have Morris' Dutch (not that that is definitive, but probably the most definitive out today) and I hear his Teddy Roosevelt series (of which book two is released thia week) is quite good.

As for other well written, definitive President biographies....any suggestions?

Thanks. -TODD

J.A. Hitchcock <whoa@haltabuse.org>
Dover, NH USA - Tuesday, November 20 2001 8:49:56

Harlan: Is it true you're on Politically Incorrect tonight? One of my friends is currently taping for tomorrow night's show. Did you get to mention KICK? How was it? Did you cause a stir, LOL?

(p.s. now I'm hooked on this board, darn you!)

- Tuesday, November 20 2001 7:53:39

David: First off, thank you, sirs.
(Everybody: move your ass and look at David's website. He just paid for your evening's entertainment.)

Cramula Afrengicerdaecon: Post away, person with name like some kind of disease.

Rick: (sound of raspberry) I have IMAX down the street, ANYTIME I WANT IT. Five bucks a pop. Classic films every weekend. So there! (Did Dave contact you? He had a hell of a good offer. I wanted HIM to connect with you--not me. He can be a bit of a 'guy' sometimes; so let me know if he didn't. I'll push his tiny heiny (and I would have intimate knowledge of this body part) a push.

Jim: Yeah! I sent him baby socks. But he gave them away. *sigh* I feel suicidal now. (Oh, but he FAILED to mention that he kept the Crayola crayons, didn't you Harlie?)

Harlan: "Fuck em..."you said. "I win. I always win." Of course! Would a person of my calibre, beauty, intelligent, charm, wit (you can add on to this) back a dead horse?

And thanks to other bidders and other offer-ers of filthy lucre for Harlan's Kitty. Fifty grand. S/he be a BIG muggafucka.

Who's Reading Harlan?

St. Pete, FL - Tuesday, November 20 2001 5:12:46

HE's "Never Send to Know for Whom the Lettuce Wilts" is the lead story in the Jan. F&SF, 2002. Even though David won the auction, I'll be submitting my bid amount as a donation to KICK.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Tuesday, November 20 2001 5:0:5


Though you may be a wacky poster sometimes, you're a mensch.

And THEN you feed my secret addiction and post police logs! All I can hope is that they have the magic phrase "police believe that alchohol was involved." Anybody else here addicted to these bite-sized portraits of American life?


- Tuesday, November 20 2001 1:48:26

Can I just say that the auction was one of the most fun things ever to read??? I'm sayin' it. It was this great serial that unfolded over the course of---what?---hours?? It's was sort of the 21st-century- short-attention-span version of Buck Rogers or something.

I don't have cable so I can (obviously) live without my MTV. But dammit, I WANT MY WEBDERLAND!!!

You are all so fun, smart, and cool! I love to hear you "talk."


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 19 2001 22:41:44

* whew! *

I never was much of a gambling man. I'll get my check in the mail first thing in the morning.

In the mean time, in order to feel productive as well as "consumptive" this evening, I spruced up my Web site. Those of you who are connoisseurs of that sparkling feature of small-town newspapers -- the Police Log -- might get a chuckle out of some the items I reported back when I was a cub at a small southwestern Oregon paper:


I also put up a page devoted to most of my published letters to the editor, from the Boston Herald to the Portland Oregonian. This will be considerably less entertaining for you, so let me just tip you ahead of time that the best ones are probably "Gingrich and 'official English,' " "sea lions and steelhead," and "defending marriage." You can find them all at


Cramula Afrengicerdaecon
Blobtown, - Monday, November 19 2001 22:35:17

Social STATS

"I woke with my head pounding. The buzzer gave a sharp ring and then died. I remembered and hated him. This year I would give him
a -70 rating as I'm sure many others would. He would be shunned with such a low rating. He'd have to spend a year begging for our
friendships back. That would teach him. I got my voter box in the mail slot yesterday. Today I would rate every person I'd interacted
with during the year. People I'd rated in previous years would be added to this years rates and then averaged. The scale went from
-100 to +100. Satellite Mawing 55 would gve me a list of everyone I'd interacted with. They keep very good track of everyone and it
makes life easier, I'll tell you that. The rating system before Satellites took control was completelly dysfunctional.

I planned on giving out a -30 to Mr. Alkintran for his negative comments and bad poetry, a +100 to Bob Stoker for playing
(&losing) Watzroge with me and giving kind helpful word and making me laugh constantly with his light heartedness, +20 to May
Malmot for taking the time to deliver the Inchandroops on time, +10 to Quarter Cavert who gave me a list of drifters that helped me
make a killing at the Cash Cavatte, +11 to Larna Fecks, my neighbor who playes piano. I can hear it through the walls, so soothing,
+17 to Tinisha Walker who ranted to me about atmospheric atrocities in the morning over breakfast on 19th st., never a boring
moment, -08 to Bundrandle Stickles who was so weak minded she'd go along with what everyone else said even if the group mind
was illogically telling her to inhale volatile chemical combos for longterm fun, +01 to Ria Peters for the firm handshake and smile,
+97 to Mo Nortam for being my friend and general kindness, +50 to Yerber Beetlewagon for the inspirational ardor speeches at the
Cormulent factory, +100 to Hanry Gregors who was a cute little chubbalub, +100 to Cara Verezre who made my day 365 out of the
year, +80 to Willbur Renfair for having the courage to apologize for his bad behavior, +100 to Byorn Hadrish for being level headed
and witty, +100 to Selba Eapter for all the lessons on firestarting, -and finally -70 to Estave Redrigo who was consistantly heartless,
bitter, jelous, cruel, uncommunicative, competitive, and mean spirited. I would give him a -100 but I feel sorry for him. All that
bitterness and hatred must be painful.

I filled out the necessary slots and hit enter. The ratings were on their way to being tallied. I would find out my own ratings later that
night. I thought I'd led a fair year, nothing too negative, nothing too outlandishly horrific. I'd been steady. Maybe this year I'd get my
best ratings ever and my popularity would soar, eagle fly, bird high!!! I would be respected and sought after.
It was hard getting through the day, I was so excitable. I went for a walk down Fingrove Street, ate and threw crumbs out for the
pigeons in the park, went home and tattered my blanket into shreds so I could use it later for hamster bedding. I worked for the usual
2.5 hrs and then at 5:19 ran down to the rating hub. After hurredly punching in my code, I sent out a silent prayer to the powers and
looked. My heart beat so fast. I looked. I could feel my chest caving in. My heart sunk like a woman tied to a cinderblock thrown into
deep black waters. My ratings were -44, -12, -19, -11, -72, -99, -40, -22, -89, -60, -21, -05, -14, -37. Even May Malmot to
whom I'd always been polite said I was standoffish and rude. Selba Eapter said I selfishly gave nothing, "zero, zip, nada". I started to
cry and could not stop. Frantic and sad, I wandered out into the street and blindly trodded towards nowhere. It would be a lonely year,
a lonely desert. People I believe in do not believe in me."

This story is based on Ebay ratings. I hope this is ok to post here. I am a lurker here normally but the auction made me want to post it. :)

Rick Wyatt
- Monday, November 19 2001 22:30:6

Thank god, I don't think you can even get into a movie with $152.79 in Canadian money...

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Denver, CO - Monday, November 19 2001 21:58:56


Congrats, dude!


Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 21:17:58


David, please make out the check to "The Law Office of M. Christine Valada" and post it to the HERC address:

KICK Internet Piracy
c/o HERC
Post Office Box 55548
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413

We'll swaddle up the Incunabula Packet and fire it off tomorrow.
We've already got your address on file. It will be packed with
Susan's usual steadfastness and attention to detail. Please enjoy the items.

For those of you who came in close behind, sometime in the near future (after the Loscon auction Sunday) we'll do this again, with completely different items. And we'll give Chuck and Alex and the rest of you a chance at another Incunabula Mystery Packet.

CHRIS L.: If you want to pluck a few select items from your collection, which I can auction off on Sunday, boy, that would be swell. Ask Rick to give you our home address, as days grow short and Thanksgiving is in the middle. If you send them by overnight Fedex, ask Rick to give you our phone number and we'll give you OUR Fedex number to use. And thanks, in advance.

Yes, Jim, Heather sent me itty-bitty teensy-weensy baby socks with Tigger on them. I'd rather not go into this, if you don't mind. As Bob Sheckley once opined, "It's a strange world, full of odd-shaped people."

I'm going to lie down now.

Mrmee mrmee mrmee mrmee...

Jim Davis
- Monday, November 19 2001 21:5:50

Heather sent you BABY SOCKS?

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 21:3:56


Let me correct that time. It was 8:58:53 PM, PST.


Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 21:2:10



And the winner of the handsome rare-item-stuffed Incunabula Mystery Packet is . . .

DAVID LOFTUS at $175.00 with a bid placed at 8:58:30 PM PST.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 19 2001 20:58:53

Looks like several parties are coming down to the wire. I'm going to have to overshoot in order to win the bid, I'm afraid.

So I will resubmit my morning bid of $175.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Monday, November 19 2001 20:50:51

Well, well, well. Let the post-morten scavanging of Douglas Adams begin. As it has been for VC Andrews and Frank Herbert, so shall it be for Mr. Adams:


Who's joining me in staying as far away from this "book" as possible? If I die with something unfinished, I'm following Harlan's example and instructing my heirs to burn it all. Hell, make that part of any memorial service - let everyone apply a shotgun blast, match or electromagnet to a hard drive or notebook of their choice.


chuck <yadda>
yadda, yadda - Monday, November 19 2001 20:35:2

NO ONE EXPECTS THE SPANISH...oh, bugger. David beat me to the draw. Okay, podner. Make it $135.

Yuh mangy sidewinder, yuh.


Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Denver, CO - Monday, November 19 2001 20:31:15

Pant - Pant.

Sorry I'm rushing in a little late. A little? I think I'm still under the deadline, and I believe the last bid was $110.00. Sooo, okay then. Howzabout this: $125.00. What the hell, I was going to contribute to the KICK Kitty anyway.

By the way, this is something I would contribute to even if the guy leading the charge was named Harlan Schlobotnik. Of course, I might not have heard about it if that were the case. I listened in on discusions on another venue, connected with this site. I read people's takes on what the suit was and was not supposed to do. I made up my own mind. I'm in. Top that, muthuhfugguh!


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 19 2001 20:10:39

Raise my bid to $125.00

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Monday, November 19 2001 19:32:14


Hey, stop creeping me out. I was watching the new "Heathers" DVD as I read your post...


Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Straking Heights, Oh - Monday, November 19 2001 18:58:25

Well, if the bids are back on (is it really safe to come out? ooookay), I'll bump it to $110. I confess to a particular interest in the Kent State bits of the packet. Y'see, Kent State is just down the road a piece, and on May 4th 1970, I was just getting my college acceptance for the Fall quarter (no, not at Kent, but it was still traumatic, you better believe it). Besides, that was the year a nut blew up the Shaker Heights Police Department (this was part of the inspiration behind the film HEATHERS, I am told). Great time to turn 18.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Monday, November 19 2001 18:38:49

My monkey brain is having difficulty dealing with the cognitive dissonance surrounding this auction process. As my grandfather liked to say, I don't know if I'm pissin' or shittin'.

But I am bidding $95 and if that's an underbid then that's what it is. I think.

Also, Harlan, you mentioned an upcoming auction in L.A. Is this strictly an auction of writer-owned/related material or are you auctioning off donated items from well-wishers? If so, I am in the process of unloading most of my absurdly large (14,000 books and counting) comic book collection and I would be happy to offer a couple of nice books for the auction. You could give them a little Harlan Ellison blessing or whatever bizarre ritual you wish to perform to make them worth even more. Let me know if you would want something like that. If not at this auction, then keep it in mind for any upcoming auctions.

I admire what you're doing and I'm in a position to be able to help at least modestly but rely on you to advise me how to do so most effectively.

Oh yeah and I was pleased as punch to see Piers Anthony among the names on your list. I haven't checked out his work lately but Mr. Anthony was my absolute favorite author through my adolescent years. I even read that ridiculous book he wrote about the intergalactic dentist.

- Monday, November 19 2001 18:26:15

I saw Harlan's response to Frank only now.


Well, that's it. I'm heading to the GTE tower right now to make the great leap to that great animation drawing board in the sky. I leave all my humble belongings to Harlan, Lynn and Doc.

Although, the reality is I had two papers to get back to; one I'm being paid for. And they were due today. When my afternoon was gone I knew I only had the evening to get to it. THAT'S why I was leaving in a panic.

Well, I have a suicidal jump to take care of now and I'll let you know if there's any afterlife to speak of when I get there.

- Monday, November 19 2001 18:10:37

Praise the Lord, Harlan ain't pissed at me! This is PROOF there's a God. And to think it took just this to convince me after everything I put Berman through.

And, yeah, I'm gonna pursue that route on the site for 'Memos'; 'Web of the City' I need too.

As for that poor soul winning accolades as the 'Sexiest Writer of the Year', well, frankly, that's an aspiration of mine too. I fail to see the problem.

Actually, I once ribbed David Gerrold about something like that online because of the hunky GQ photo they used of him riding a Nighthawk in his old Starlog column. Hell, I still have it on my wall.

(Apart from that I enjoyed David's writing very much).

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 17:58:28



Jeezus, you people will send me straight to Aaaaaaaaaaaarghhhh!

Heather, thank you for popping back in. I have the sense, now, that I should just get the hell outta the way and let you people work this out among yourselves. You all mean so well, I don't know which way to turn to find surcease.


How about this. Let's assume the previous bid you entered was a typo, Heather. David is at $86 and the "ups" are supposed to be minimum $3 jumps. If you want to get back into the game--though heaven only knows what you'd want with these rare-ish items unless it would be to resell them later on e.bay or suchlike (which would not bother me, and which would be a smart move)--why not just make a three-dollar upbid, and we can go from there.

By the way, we returned the Canadian money you sent us. The baby socks I gave to my friend Andy Gumpert at Miramax Films, who has a new baby. Susan ate the chocolate. I loved the coins.

Do NOT make a huge upbid, or I'll have to have the RCMP visit you!

Now, back to the auction. I shall return in 3 hours.

Exhausted. HE

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 17:49:8


Don't be foolish. I have nothing against you. Shit, fellah, we've never met. Just because I thought you said something that seemed dopey to me, doesn't mean I'm not "fond" of you. I may NOT be "fond" of you, but I'm not "not fond" of you.

You're getting as bad as Rob, who missed out on going to dinner with the bunch of us yesterday, because HE thought I wasn't "fond" of HIM. Sheeeesh. You people will put me in an early grave, right next to Loftus and Lynn.

Frank, go quietly into that good night. I have no animus toward you.

Wearily, Hobo Harlan, jus' trudgin' down the road of his own life.

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 17:43:3



It is now something slightly short of 3 hours till the revised 9 PM (LA TIME) conclusion of the Incunabula Mystery Packet Auction. Since no one has registered a complaint pursuant to my disposition of the rules pursuant to the odd events of the day passim this matter, and since Heather has not popped back in to advise us of her position, I'm assuming the lead bid at the moment is David Loftus at $86 and that the "second track" bidding is extinct and extinguished.

Heather, if you're out there, please be content that I appreciate your gesture. Truly.

And Justin, kiddo, don't worry about Susan and me. We're okay. We will come up with the money. I'm used to fighting these battles alone, but this time I can hardly say I did it without help. Writers and readers and fans and Webderlanders supported us to the tune of more than fifty grand. That ain't risotto, son. That those who will benefit most have either ignored the situation, blown us off with bullshit "we're studying the case,"
pled ignorance of its existence, or have advised me that I cannot win, that I am an asshole who is battling the inimical force...doesn't deter me. I ain't happy about it, but then, even after Lincoln freed the slaves there were "plantation niggers" who fought emancipation because they were too frightened at the prospect of having to be responsible for their destiny, and there were always do-nothings, Summer soldiers, Sunshine Patriots and 5th Columnists during World War 2 who wanted to make friends with the Third Reich, so though I am personally honked at all those ostrich-folk who somehow have managed not to notice this case--and that includes the editors of the sf and mystery magazines, my own agents here in LA, and writers so wealthy they could buy and sell AOL--I just say fuck'm. I will win. I always win. That's what I do. And when I do, everyone gets paid back, so I'm not beholden. Then, people like Annie McCaffrey and Piers Anthony and Kevin Anderson and George Perez and Fred Pohl and Bob Silverberg and on and on and on--we'll publish a complete list of supporters sometime soon
for all to marvel at--will be seen for the Stand Up Mensches they are, and the rest of them with their phony-baloney congratulations and on-the-bandwagon Monday morning quarterbacking in which they aver how they always KNEW we were on the side of the angels...well...fuck'm.

So don't cry for me ArgenJustin. We'll muddle through.

There is already something important re this lawsuit, about which I cannot speak at the moment. But by the end of the month, more than likely, you'll be seeing a Press Release. Suffice to say, Ms. Hitchcock has proved you CAN fight and you CAN win. Which has been my contention all along; and when everything is quiet, when the dust has settled, there will be a wonderful Message to the Masses of Writers...a message I've intended to proffer from the git-go. A message that is the core of why I've fought this fight for two years. Be patient.

I'll pop back in a few minutes before nine, in the event of any last minute bids.

G'bless y'all. With unaccustomed humility, yr. pal, Harlan

Frank Church
- Monday, November 19 2001 17:40:53

Saw, "The Man Who Wasn't There" and am still stunned. One of the great masterworks of all time. Billy Bob Thornton comes off as a walking corpse, and his ghoul lope is breathtaking and kind of sad. Story is quite profound, and it makes you wonder about how we treat people that we consider invisible by the mere fact that they seem to be part of the common furniture of life. This film is about people who are merely "average" and how such people get the shaft. This struck me, since we had that "elitism" discussion earlier. Even a simple thing as going to get our damn hair cut takes on new meaning in this film. All I can say is go see it--run if you must.

The Coens have sealed their place in the pantheon. The look of the film is artsy and in glorious black and white. You wish more film makers would love the art form this much. The "Harry Potter" postings seem almost pathetic now. This is "elite" film beauty, and an awe filled achievement. Makes ya think, yes in deedy do. That can't be a bad thing, eh? Especially for me right guys? Smile.

Harlan, I know you aren't fond of me, but knock em dead kid!!

- Monday, November 19 2001 17:29:48

You people "confuse me." (I changed that from something a little more derogatory as we seem to have a few weenies that might balk at what I REALLY mean.) Do you realize what Harlan is doing? Are you helping him or making many, many, many tiny excuses as to how you can't put pennies (and relative to the kind of money HE'S putting in this pot, it's pennies you are offering here) in the pot. SURE, it's got his NAME on it but think about it; did he REALLY have to get into this lawsuit, huh?

I expected to have come back here and found myself, EASILY, outbid. Instead I find...(oooo...)

I'm sure, given the environment of greed that is starting to permeate the web, there'd have been other lawsuits, other authors, other companies doing this. I know Harlan's won't be the last.

The name of the game is, put up or shut up.

My offer still stands. And being that I'm not _even_ a collect-o-phile, that I can beat the bids of the people on this post..well..

I'm shuttin' up now.

Thanks, Jim, but no thanks. There's SUCH a thing as putting one's money where one's mouth is. And that's exactly what I'm doing are.

The only poor people are the uninvolved. And _I_ ain't poor.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Monday, November 19 2001 17:21:8


Thanks for your lucid and thought-out criticism of Ultraviolet. While I may not agree with all of it (I don't think it tried to be that grandiose), your criticism is what I love - reasonable and not mean-spirited.

As for Gormenghast, thanks for the perspective on British actors in it. Gives me a new viewpoint.


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Monday, November 19 2001 16:57:1

Matthew - You lived in Manchester? Did you go to University there around the early ninties? If it was around that time, can I talk to you privately about it? I remember the John Thaw series, Kavanagh QC. I think it was a YTV production to try and follow up on their hugely succesful Inspector Morse.

Gormenghast - Why, oh why, oh why!?! The show started off OK but became more and more wretched. Long shots suddenly cut to tight close ups immeadiately indicating that the show was made for TELEVISION. It was made wacky for the heck of it and the cast's performance was all over the place. All the oriental look was totally wrong for the piece, to Gormenghast was a old decaying structure that was forever growing and folding in itself. Not some cheap imitation Chinatown. They could have least stayed to Alan Lee's cover paintings for the eighties Penguin re-issues. Thinking about it, the decor also partly resembled some Rodney Matthew's paintings for scenes.

The recent TV adaptation of Dune also suffered from this. A pity as I got the feeling that the film makers were so afraid of David Lynch version that they were felt obliged to do ot differently, even if it went against the spirit of Herbert's novel.

There was a stage adaptation of Gormenghast with Ewan McGregor playing Stearpike, now that would have been interesting.

Saw 'The Ninth Gate', the recent Roman Polanski film. What fun for bibliophiles, hiliarious stuff with Johnny Depp's deadpan performance. A pity it didn't get more attention.

Brian - I've been having this one problem recently when I meet old classmates from high school. One, Most of them are married and got kids now. Two, they earn much more money than me, will pay off their mortage in a few decades and then live a happy and content life. When I bump into them, its the same comment, 'This is Qureshi, he actually went off to follow his dream'. A sad nod and then an offer to come over for a free meal.

My mental response - 'I want to be like you!'.

Will do anything to get out of debt these days... well, apart from taking the same old crap.


Frank Church
- Monday, November 19 2001 16:48:14

Robbie Coltrane must be God. lol.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Monday, November 19 2001 16:41:47

Thanks for the reunion comments, Paul and Faisal. Paul's account, of the former jock-god who wound up on the shit-end of everyti=hing, is genuinely appealing-- there was a similar jarhead who used to torment me, and I genuinely hoped he DID get into the Air Force, and crash a nice expensive F-14 into a mountain. There's just one problem with this fantasy.

I went to high school in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. And if you've read Jonathan Kozol's book _Savage Inequalities_, you'll recall that my high school was the rich-kid suburb one that Kozol contrasted against blasted-urban-poor Camden. While this technically makes me a Rich Kid (tho I sure didn't know it then), it also indicates, to me at least, that even the _jocks_ were going to do acceptably well in academia.

In short, I don't think I'd get the satisfaction of a story like Paul's.

(Actually, the movie _Dazed and Confused_ was amazingly accurate about my high-school years, making allowances for a) more dope in the movie, b) regional rituals that the movie has that Cherry Hill didn't, and c) its taking place a year before my own first year.)

Matthew Davis
Redditch, UK - Monday, November 19 2001 16:26:1


I never actually found “Gormenghast” boring. A pointless adaptation? Yes. Since the books are to a large part atmospheric description and history. The characters are well done caricatures but nothing more than that. So the pleasure for an English audience (or this one part of it) was to see lots of well known names and faces in unexpected parts and behaving rather oddly. The shouty Warren Mitchell as the Ritual Keeper was my favourite. Whereas Peake in his work tried to achieve something equivalent to the feeling of stone eroding, television was largely unwilling to accommodate and so I was watching what I felt was a piece of richly-clothed baroque camp. About the whole piece was a feeling of inflation, which you can either take or leave. Admittedly, I rather like 18th century novels by Fielding and Smollett, and like the grotesque and gothic so I was rather inclined to favour it.

Unlike “Ultraviolet” which tried to be too modern, and too serious about its vampires. In the end for all its intensity it was just a ritual of drama, reminiscences of portrayals from other better TV cop shows/thrillers. I didn’t find that the concern it was insisting I take in its characters and the world it made up was sufficiently realised that I should indulge it. So, when I say it was bad acting, I am saying that the conception and the execution of the piece were not equal and so the actors were reduced to arch mannerisms as to how they should act. The whole piece was not so copper-bottomed that it could withstand their awful gravitas – although Christopher Lee does achieve almost the same disastrous effect in “Gormenghast”.

Basically “Gormenghast” found its level and largely stuck to it. “Ultraviolet” may have had rather grandiose intentions but it had rather puny dramatic means.

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Denial Gondwana - Monday, November 19 2001 16:16:45

Oh, and about Robbie Coltrane, I've been using him the way Roger Ebert uses Harry Dean Stanton to determine the quality of a film: if it postdates "Krull", it's worth the effort if Coltrane's in it. Arioch help me, I actually even enjoyed "Nuns on the Run", but that's only because I'm as much of a lapsed Catholic as he is.

Now, if you can find them, hunt down the old "The Comic Strip Presents..." episodes: they're full of the New Comedy folks from the Eighties anyway, such as Rik Mayall, Nigel Planer, Adrian Edmundson, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Peter Richardson, and way too many to count. (Emma Thompson did several cameos in the series back when she was still doing comedy; in fact, she and Coltrane had cameos in the "Bambi" episode of "The Young Ones" alongside Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, and Ben Elton.) In particular, one episode featuring a crew of college students recreating an Iron Age village, complete with Coltrane going WAAAAAAY too far into character, was exceptionally warped, and it wouldn't have worked without Robbie Coltrane telling everyone what "Lug, son of Mill" figures is the best course of action. Every time I see a RenFaire crew in action, I think of that installment and just lose it every time. Hope this helps...

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Denial Gondwana - Monday, November 19 2001 16:9:37

Brian, a 20th year class reunion has its moments, which is why I figure I just might crash mine if I'm still alive by then. (With my smart mouth, I figure that it's just a matter of time before someone takes me out, especially for my gag about the concession speech in the upcoming "George W. Bush Presidential Library". And if you haven't heard that one, SMU and Baylor are currently fighting it out to be the host of the Shrub Library, and the way thery're going at it, they'll be throwing nukes at each other. The main reason why they want it is for the one sole existing copy of his intended concession speech in the 2000 election, which reads "Uh...this sucks worse than anything has ever sucked before. Huh huh huh huh.")

(Yes, this was terrible, but what do you expect? Is there some other reason why MTV stopped running "Beavis and Butt-Head" reruns right after Shrub won?)

Anyway, your point on people forgetting your previous sins against high school culture is pretty much on the spot: hell, I was the guy at my tenth year reunion who was the unoffical archivist. ("Of course you two know each other: you were high school sweethearts for four years, and you were married for two years after school. REMEMBER?") Naturally, I was the one who constantly heard "Oh, you haven't changed", even though I'd already been bouncing all over the place. With everyone else, the anecdotes were constantly "Well, I got married, and I got a job, and I'm living in the suburbs", to the point where I craved hearing one variation of Bill Bitchen's routine in the old Cheech and Chong "Let's Make A New Dope Deal" skit. (What's funny was that I used to do that skit with a fellow freshman in drama classes back in 1980, and he really DID do five years for a really dumb robbery of a Wendy's, but that's a different story.)

The real fun, though, is looking at the bigshots and looking at how even the ones who made the big time did so at the cost of their souls. My very own Jimmy Wheeldon was the halfback of the high school football team, and he used to beat the shit out of me every single day because he knew my folks wouldn't do anything. He promptly accepted a football scholarship to Baylor after high school, secure that he was the big football star, and he was more surprised than anyone else when Baylor wouldn't allow him to show up to class drunk or beat the hell out of anyone who bugged him the way he did in Lewisville. Three weeks after starting, he was thrown back to Lewisville, where he had a real problem understanding that he was the FORMER high school football star. A couple years of assault and battery, DWI, and public intoxication charges later (as well as losing his high school sweetie to his best friend), he finally straightened up enough to hang onto a job without going postal every time he wasn't acknowledged as a god. So far as I know, he's still working as a used car salesman on Highway 121, being more than willing to cut deals for current Lewisville Fighting Farmers and their cheerleader girlfriends.

Well, suffice to say, the reunion was a hoot in that regard. Most reunions are full of football players and cheerleaders who still can't understand that they peaked at 16 and the rest of their lives are a greased chute to the grave from there, but Roan led the whole lot. Not only had he gone to seed, but he now boasted a beer gut that obstructed his knees, and his hair (one of his prides in school) was now on its migration toward his back. The best part, though, was that he'd introduce himself to everyone with (I swear upon all that's unholy) "As you know, I used to play high school football." It's bad enough that I literally went to school with the inspirations for Beavis and Butt-Head, but how many of us can say that we went to school with Al Bundy?

After that, it was kinda hard to spray him down with pepper gas in the parking lot and work him over with a baseball bat, the way I was planning to do. Why bloody my hands when he did more damage to himself than I ever could? The worst thing I could do to most of these people is let them live unmolested.

(I have to add one caveat: rest assured that the people you DO want to contact again after all of this time will NOT be at the reunion, unless they happen to be locals. Most of them will have accomplished great things, and they have better things to do with their time than have the washups hit them up for jobs. Unless you're wanting to get back together with that old girlfriend, and she's currently between relationships/marriages/jails, don't even bother.)

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 19 2001 15:26:32

Oh, c'mon, the acting on "Ultraviolet" wasn't THAT bad. I mean, it was loads better than the dreadfully boring "Gorghenmast" (reminds me of an old line of Stephen King's about a rat in lucite - it's pretty, but still a rat).

Vampire$, by the way, I thoroughly enjoyed. Good ass-kicking silly fun.


Matthew Davis
Redditch, UK - Monday, November 19 2001 15:18:13


Re:crime series in Manchester. For some reason in the late 90s it seemed like every respectable actor was involved in their own ITV crime drama oop north. John Thaw was a barrister, where they tried to pass off the rotunda of the Manchester Central Library as a law court. Most awfully, a series of Prime Suspect was filmed in Manchester, and for almost a week during my final exams I was woken up very very very early every morning by a simulated police raid on the house across the road.


No, the acting in “Ultraviolet” wasn’t a parody of stiff upper lip. It was meant seriously and it was bad. I had managed to forget about it but now it all comes flooding back on a brown tide. “This (after-) Life” with fangs, it most egregiously wasn’t.

If you can see them in the US, and I think they used to show a couple on MTV, Robbie Coltrane was one of the better reasons to watch the “Comic Strip” series of rather well-shot, if not always well-written parody films.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 19 2001 14:52:50


What you call wooden, I call tongue-in-cheek parody of the "stiff upper lip" cliche. As a friend of mine puts it (strangely using the same comparison you do) - in America, we have Buffy and Vampire$, with lone groups fighting a battle against ridiculously over-the-top creatures. In a British version, they're much more practical - vampires are seen as a public health menace more than anything else.

Howvere, I do like the "more empathy with an IKEA wardrobe" line. Funny!

I'll keep an eye out for Tutti-Frutti, and I thank you for the heads-up. Krull, on the other hand, I have blocked from my mind so that it doesn't besmirch certain actor's careers more than necessary. Blech.


Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Monday, November 19 2001 14:30:25

School Reunions - Brian, I can well understand why you won't be going. The only reunion I went to was at my Primary School when I was 19. Most of my class were all set to study Business and IT courses, asked about myself, 'I'm going to make a dinosaur!' (it was either Biochem, Med Sci or Pharmacy, but I was the only one who went for a science). "Typical Faisal", commented one of my ex-classmates before being ignored for the rest of the evening.

(Heres an idea, hire a chopper and two hookers, fly into the football field, talk for five minutes than piss back out. it worked for Don Simpson).

Cracker - I never was able to sit through a single episode as most of it was shot in Manchester. They always nicked the best parking spaces during shooting... mostly on a weekend. I'd catch a clip on telly and think "Isn't that the Tesco on Dickinson Road?" or "I saw them shooting that outside College". I know people rave about it but just one of those things that I never got into... btw - Jimmy McGovern (creator of Cracker) wrote a script about Bloody Sunday that was partly shot in Manchester a few weeks ago. Should be coming out as soon as the enquiry finishes.


Ultraviolet - Ridiculous wooden rubbish. I found John Carpenter's Vampires more exciting. I found more empathy in an IKEA wardrobe than with the characters of that show.

Robbie Coltrane - If you can check out the BBC Series Tutti Frutti which Coltrane was quite good in. You can also catch him in Krull. I think he gets killed with Liam Neeson.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 19 2001 14:24:18


Coltrane is marvelous as a world-weary detective in "From Hell" (I'm certain I mentioned him in my admiration). He's like the logical rock that Depp's addled character is resting on.

As for Rickman, a performance of his that is very worth seeing is as the Metatron, in "Dogma" (for the non-Catholics, the Metatron is, as Terry Pratchett puts it, the voice of God - but not The Voice Of God - sprt of like a Presidential spokesperson). He's hilarious, kind of run down, and has a scene that is so tragic that it had me in tears. Also, who else is going to be the voice for Alanis Morrisette?


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 19 2001 13:57:55

Robbie Coltrane almost steals the entire "Harry Potter" movie from the rest of the charming and/or distinguished cast. He's a MARVELOUS Hagrid.

The optical effects are amusing; sometimes he's merely outsize, sometimes he is truly gigantic. I'd be curious to learn how (apart from huge platform boots, maybe), the filmmakers achieved the effect.

I notice he is listed in the cast of "From Hell" as the character Peter Godley, though I don't remember anyone on this board mentioning him there.

The first time I became aware of him was in the 1986 Neil Jordan flick "Mona Lisa," starring Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, and Michael Caine -- one of my all-time personal favorites. Coltrane played the hero's mechanic buddy and sounding board, Thomas, with an accent so thick (scouse? Scots?) I could hardly understand many of his lines, but he was definitely notable there.


Don't forget Rickman in the dashingly heroic but ultimately tragic role of a theater actor in the quirky dramedy "An Awfully Big Adventure" (1995) based on a semi-autobiographical Beryl Bainbridge novel, and featuring the terrific performance of a drunken, horribly self-loathing director by Hugh Grant, an actor I'm not usually that fond of.

The IMDb says his first significant video role was in the 1978 BBC production of "Romeo and Juliet," as Tybalt. Man, I'd love to see that!

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Monday, November 19 2001 13:38:57

Barney-- do you get A Word A Day?

Thanks everyone for the "jiggedy jig" info.


P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Monday, November 19 2001 13:37:53

Mr Ellison et al,

A while ago, you asked about what happened when I used Troublemakers in the classroom. I have a little anecdote for you.

I have this 9th grade kid; let's call him Fred. Fred is a Troublemaker himself, with the dog collar, the wild hair, the huge pants, the proclivity for pot with requisite stint in rehab. The boy has problems with The Man. He and I get along, mostly because we both like Ozzy and early Metallica, and I didn't assume he was a dirtbag from moment one.

Fred skipped school last week because he hates being there with a burning passion. 2 days in school suspension, which means sitting, sitting in a room all day watching the clock tick.

I was inevitable-- I gave him a copy of "'Repent Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman." Figured he would at least see some parallels with himself, a ray of light, you know. He began reading immediately upon receiving it.

15 minutes later, he got kicked out of the suspension room and sent home. Seems there was an...incident.

What did you expect, a Horatio Alger story?

To be fair, I don't think the story had anything to do with his
incident. It only troubles/amuses me to think so.

Fred is writing a review of Repent! tomorrow in his 3rd day in ALC. Will faithfully report the results to you.

Can I be Deke Thornton?

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Monday, November 19 2001 12:57:8

I bid my everlasting soul. It's just sitting on the bathroom floor right now getting underfoot. You could crumple it up and throw it at them in court when you get bored. I'll train it to pimp slap corporate lawyers. No one would see.

But I'll tell you all something: I'm entirely certain Harlan has far more prized posessions than Ellison Archive Papergoods and copies of SLEEPLESS NIGHTS ON THE PROCRUSTEAN BED, but this business is beginning to make me uneasy. I realize the necessity, but it just makes me uneasy. I'm not going to bang on about why, as it's not difficult to imagine why. What I do find difficult to imagine and get to grips with is this desertification of the KICK fund just as the legal costs are becoming far worse. For me, it's not a question of being able to afford to send something as it is a question of being unable to make a decent living doing what I love to do by the time I get out of college, if Harlan somehow didn't win his case. The stakes are high enough for writers that I really don't understand how that isn't enough to sustain at least a modest trickle of donations fairly constantly until the battle is won.

All I'm saying is that it makes me absolutely ill that Harlan has to give people material posessions in return for their money, as though his time and energy fighting for us doesn't quite cut it, because it can't be placed handsomely on a shelf. I understand the need to figure out what to price the Papergoods at, so I'm not attacking anything going on here amongst friends. I'm just, y'know, sayin'. And I'd better not be alone in this, you jackals.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 19 2001 12:6:46


I haven't had cable since 1995, so I've never caught Cracker. I'll check it out right away, as British crime drama the past few years has been the real high point for them (anyone else catch Ultraviolet, the most practical vampire series ever?)

I do recall now that Coltrane was Tweedledum in the recent Alice in Wonderland mini-series. Looking his credits, I see that I have caught some of his stuff, but much of it hasn't been up to his level (The Pope Must Diet? Nuns on the Run?) I am wondering why I don't remember him as the Duke in the Elijah Wood "Huck Finn" or as Falstaff in "Henry V."


Alejandro Riera
Chicago, Il - Monday, November 19 2001 12:0:57


Oh, come on, you mean to tell me you've never seen Cracker, the British detective series that actually turned things around for Robbie and which used to be shown at A&E? Get thee to your video store right now and demand copies of the series. A&E released the, I think, the first three movies in the series.

Cracker was later remade in the US by ABC, starring Murphy Brown's housekeeper as Cracker. He was good, but man, Robbie is a genius. Robbie is the kinda guy I wouldn't mind hanging out on a pub with.

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Monday, November 19 2001 11:53:52

Ms. Hitchcock below is a friend, and one helluvva gal (and, it almost need not be said, a damn fine writer!). Looks like she was just re-hipped to the KICK Fund on a newsgroup we both frequent. You'd do well to check out her cyberstalking site and find out about the H.E.L.P. Fund set up for it.

RICK: If you get a chance, you might even want to banner-link to it. I know that the SFWA site and (I think) the HWA site have both done so.

And ANYONE who writes or who has friends who do who may be considering vanity presses or assisted self-publishing should really be informed on the sitch.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Monday, November 19 2001 11:52:17

Ah, Robbie Coltrane. An actor who inexplicably hasn't been praised to the heavens yet in the States. I remember seeing him steal his scenes in both "Goldeneye" and "Tomorrow Never Dies" as an ex-KGB agent, and wondering who the hell the guy was, and why I had never seen him in something yet.

Speaking of busting chops, I was watching the Criterion Collection DVD of "Chasing Amy" over the weekend, and the commentary on that is just a wonderful hour and a half of Kevin Smith and Ben Affleck busting each other chops. Great fun, and a really good disc (the outtakes of Affleck and Jason Lee during the "White Hating Coon" section at the beginning are priceless).


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Monday, November 19 2001 11:40:57

Now I have another reason to wish I had a job; I could get engaged in the auction. Sadly... But those job interviews just keep lining up, don't they, so there's room for some optimism.

Haven't seen the Potter movie yet, but I'm anticipating enjoying Robbie Coltrane and Alan Rickman, who are always fun to watch. (Here's an example of why my Inner Casting Director has clearly had a stroke: if I were to cast Remus Lupin, one of the more heroic and likeable characters in the later books, I would've cast Gary Oldman. For some reason, when likeable actors play vicious murderers, it looks like an actor's stunt, but when villainous actors play sympathetic roles, something really magical seems to happen. If you don't believe me, watch Rickman in either _Sense and Sensibility_ or _Truly, Madly, Deeply_, and you'll never want to see him play another bad guy.)

On an entirely different subject: This Thanksgiving weekend, they're holding my 20th high school reunion. I'm not going: I had a miserable time then, and there's no good reason to go. But one _bad_ reason keeps haunting me. It's the prospect of running into people and having them have some kind of epiphany, something like "Geez, I thought Siano was some kind of crazxy dork, but he was actually a decent guy all along." Like I said, it's a _bad_ reason, and I'm still not going, but I'm fascinated with why this fantasy is so appealing to me. Why seek approval from people I should be holding in contempt?

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 11:25:25

I swear on the bones of my sainted mother, I didn't hit the button twice. I have no idea how it reproduced itself. I have not developed early palsy.

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 11:19:8



Haven't heard from Heather yet, but what you posted sounds reasonable, Jim. I am determined that Heather not feel disrespected or dismissed with her dear offer, but we do sorta
have to look out for one another here, and I hope I'm performing responsibly in hideously/paternalistically trying to protect her from herself.

So, on the one track we have Heather's bid, and on the other we have a high bid by David Loftus of $86 at the moment.


Rob: no, of course I'm not really angry at you, you silly goose. I was just busting your chops. That's one of the few constant pleasures for me...taking advantage of the opportunity of busting the chops of friends. (At the moment I'm working a primo opportunity with Robert Crais. In the current "sexiest men" issue of PEOPLE magazine, Bob has been named "the sexiest writer in America." Well, let me tell you, folks, I called every mutual pal, from Jim Ellroy to Dick Lochte to Steve Stilwell to Otto Penzler, to apprise them of this GOLDEN opportunity to rag on a friend, to make him crazy, to demean and humiliate and ridicule him. It has been a GLORIOUS few days!)

So. No, Rob, you are copacetic with me. Particularly since the Wild Bunch around here has ceased sniping at its compatriots.

And if you want a copy of MEMOS FROM PURGATORY, just check out our book sales page on this site. It's an inexpensive paperback...and I even sign the thing.

DAVID: Getting a copy of TROUBLEMAKERS is easy. It should be in your local bookstores, it's all over the net, and yesterday at the signing at Dangerous Visions, they sold more than 120 copies in two hours. It's a current release, so you shouldn't have any problem locating a copy.

And now, since no one seems to be objecting to extending the auction till 9:00 LA time tonight, I'm going off to work.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 11:19:6



Haven't heard from Heather yet, but what you posted sounds reasonable, Jim. I am determined that Heather not feel disrespected or dismissed with her dear offer, but we do sorta
have to look out for one another here, and I hope I'm performing responsibly in hideously/paternalistically trying to protect her from herself.

So, on the one track we have Heather's bid, and on the other we have a high bid by David Loftus of $86 at the moment.


Rob: no, of course I'm not really angry at you, you silly goose. I was just busting your chops. That's one of the few constant pleasures for me...taking advantage of the opportunity of busting the chops of friends. (At the moment I'm working a primo opportunity with Robert Crais. In the current "sexiest men" issue of PEOPLE magazine, Bob has been named "the sexiest writer in America." Well, let me tell you, folks, I called every mutual pal, from Jim Ellroy to Dick Lochte to Steve Stilwell to Otto Penzler, to apprise them of this GOLDEN opportunity to rag on a friend, to make him crazy, to demean and humiliate and ridicule him. It has been a GLORIOUS few days!)

So. No, Rob, you are copacetic with me. Particularly since the Wild Bunch around here has ceased sniping at its compatriots.

And if you want a copy of MEMOS FROM PURGATORY, just check out our book sales page on this site. It's an inexpensive paperback...and I even sign the thing.

DAVID: Getting a copy of TROUBLEMAKERS is easy. It should be in your local bookstores, it's all over the net, and yesterday at the signing at Dangerous Visions, they sold more than 120 copies in two hours. It's a current release, so you shouldn't have any problem locating a copy.

And now, since no one seems to be objecting to extending the auction till 9:00 LA time tonight, I'm going off to work.

Yr. pal, Harlan

J.A. Hitchcock <whoa@haltabuse.org>
Dover, NH USA - Monday, November 19 2001 10:49:44

Mr. Ellison, I was on a similar crusade to yours, although much smaller in scale. I wanted to help some writers who had been scammed by a "literary agency." When I did, I was harassed and stalked online by this "agency" for three years before the federal authorities could find something to charge them with (they're now awaiting sentencing on charges of mail fraud and perjury - I found out you don't mess with the US Postal Inspection Service). I did end up getting restitution for the writers - they received full refunds this past July. So hooray for you and don't let the buggers keep you down - I didn't and am winning.

If you want to read about what happened to me, just go to www.jahitchcock.com/cyberstalked

J.A. Hitchcock

- Monday, November 19 2001 10:26:24


The Mabuse series is remarkable because, I believe, it is the ONLY film series that extends from the silents through sound; in fact, through 1960 fer chrisake. And Destiny is said to have inspired Luis Bunuel to become a filmmaker.

This auction block is interstin'; wish I had the funds to be a bidder.

At some point, I've gotta get a hold of 'Memos From Purgatory'; always wanted to read it but I've been rather obsessed with it since eyeing a $75 copy yesterday at Dangerous Visions. It's an intriguing venture.

Jim Davis
- Monday, November 19 2001 10:3:5

David/Anyone Who Is Interested: If you want to grab a copy of Bradbury's DARK CARNIVAL before they're all gone, go to www.gauntletpress.com RIGHT NOW, and order it there. It's pricey, but if you love Ray's work, then you don't really have a choice, do you? (Hey, you can skip those expensive meds for a few months...)


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 19 2001 9:53:36

Okay, okay ... $86!

Jeez, you drive a hard bargain, Jim.

Ummm ... can anyone tell me how to get copies of _Dark Carnival_ and _Troublemakers_. It's been a pretty crazy month and I just wasn't paying attention. You can email me direct.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, November 19 2001 9:33:45

Harlan: Here's the deal with Heather (and boy, will she just LOVE this post, and me for sending it). She is currently working at the University of Winnipeg, but I doubt she has THAT much discretionary income. The odd amount of her bid indicates, to me, that she's bankrolling it with a bonus check of some kind (or maybe that's simple Heather perversity). Here's My Suggestion For A Solution: Pretend that Heather's bid was $83, and that David trumped it with $86--if Heather wants to bid again, let her plead her case here to you, and you can decide if she's still in the running or not. (And I think we can safely assume Chuck has been outbid in ANY case, though he can certainly try again.)


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 19 2001 9:32:48

My absolutely provisional, up-to-the-nanosecond, and unalterable (until the next development) bid is ... $85.00

So ... who's your favorite guest-star walk-on in the "Harry Potter" movie? Rickman? Cleese? John Hurt? Zoe Wanamaker? Julie Walters? (We'll rule out Richard Harris, Maggie Smith, and especially Robbie Coltrane, who all but dominated the movie.)

I haven't seen any comments here on "Waking Life," yet, which more than any other recent film raises some of the same issues we've hashed on this very board. I wasn't quite as knocked out by it as many of the pro critics, but it's definitely sui generis and not to be missed.

St. Pete, FL - Monday, November 19 2001 9:32:44

Just received Bradbury's "Dark Carnival" in the mail this morning, the Gauntlet Press edition, signed by RB and Clive Barker. Those Gauntlet folks did a GREAT job! A beautiful edition. Between that, Troublemakers, American Gods, 6 other books I'm reading and working, there just ain't enuf hours in the day!

Harlan, your auction decision was very sound.

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 9:12:26


Thank you ever so much.

Anyone else--regular or lurker or potential or past bidder--who wants to chime in, please please please feel free. I'm floundering. But want to do the Right Thing.


Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 9:9:45



I wish simple human activities didn't get snarled complex by idiosyncratic human behavior. We now have a problem, not having heard from Heather at 8:57 AM.

So, unless one of the previous bidders has a genuine problem with this, here's what I'd like to do:

I will extend the auction till 9:00 tonight, Los Angeles time.

By that time, I'm sure Heather will have checked in.

David: you are a swell guy, but let us do the following, insofar as your $175 bid is concerned...

Enter an ALTERNATE BID, as if Colorado Chuck's $80 offer was still the top. You would go to $83.00 minimum.

We'll have a 2-track bidding going on for a brief time, till we hear from Heather. If she withdraws, you would be at $83, if you choose to stay in the auction. If not, Chuck's would be the top bid--unless all this folderol moves him to withdraw, at which time we'd go back to the bid before HIS--and I'd declare him the winner, and close it out prior to 9 tonight.

I know this is all demented, but if you've been following the posts, you can see this is my attempt to deal with the problem rationally. If anyone has a simpler, saner m.o., fergawdsake don't be shy about offering it.

I await word from the provinces.

Bewilderedly, Harlan

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Monday, November 19 2001 8:55:54

Harlan: I just sent an email to Heather, telling her to check the board. She's probably at work right now, so I doubt she'll get it in time. I think your decision is sound, but she'll be pissed at you, just the same. (And she'll be pissed at ME, too, for saying that...) Let David be the high bidder.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 19 2001 8:42:31

Oops. Looks like I typed my opening bid at exactly the same instant as a yellow flag went in on the play. I'll abide by the decision of the refs ... which includes standing by my inflated bid, if necessary, or readjusting to a more realistic level if everyone's amenable to that.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Monday, November 19 2001 8:40:28

I'll bid $175.

The "Harry Potter" movie was a sweet delight. Don't go in expecting great cinema, just have a lovely time. I don't know when I've spent nearly three hours (there was a noisome series of video advertisements as well as previews) in a huge crowd of little persons who were (nearly) utterly quiet. There was a little tyke who quietly called out "Dumbledore!" within the first 30 seconds of the show, but that was charming, and believe me, the kids were utterly silent for the ensuing 140 minutes.

Did the filmmakers clear their anticipated $70 million opening weekend take...?

Harlan Ellison
- Monday, November 19 2001 8:37:2



This is extremely awkward, but if I recall correctly, Heather has been looking for work of late, and her finances have been
less than abundant. Heather, you are a sweet woman, and we all
love having you here, but I cannot allow you to bid so much money
on the packet. Please, dear heart, withdraw your bid so anyone
else can raise the previous $80 offer, if they want to. It is now 8:30 AM in Los Angeles. One-half hour till auction closes. If your bid remains high at 9:00, I'll simply have to withdraw the packet from offer. I don't mean to embarrass you, but this ain't right,kiddo.

With affection and gratitude, but with firmness,


Barney Dannelke <dannelke01@enter.net>
- Monday, November 19 2001 5:50:28

quote of the day and then I'm off to work...

It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than "try to be a little kinder." -

Aldous Huxley, novelist

Kerry Bullock
Broken Hill, NSW Australia - Sunday, November 18 2001 23:6:30

Berman and Jim,

The rhyme is from Mothergoose, and goes thus;

To market, to market, to buy a fat pig,
Home again, home again, dancing a jig;
To market, to market, to buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again, jiggety-jog;
To market, to market, to buy a plum bun,
Home again, home again, market is done.

I believe their are variations to this poem, because I remember my Gran sometimes saying, “To market, to market, went my brother John…” and I can’t remember the rest of what she said. I wonder if there are regional variations to this rhyme?


Alejandro Riera
chicago, il - Sunday, November 18 2001 21:21:36


Too bad you are in California. Up here in Chicago, the Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute has been showing most of Fritz Lang's silent films, all restored to their original lengths with live music accompaniment. Due to some work-related commitments, I managed to miss the restored version of Spies (175 minutes), The Nibelungen Part I: Siegfried (140 minutes), The Nibelungen Part II: Krienhild's Revenge (147 minutes), the rarely seen Harakiri from 1919 and Destiny. I will be able to see Dr, Mabuse Parts 1 and II on December 1 and 2 (both shows at 3:00 pm) and the complete restored 147 minute version of Metropolis on December 8 at 3:00 pm, though.

I would not be surprised if a DVD edition of these films hits the streets in the near future. Just a couple of months ago, the Film Center dedicated an entire months to the works of Buster Keatin (all in restored prints) and they are all coming out on DVD this week.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, November 18 2001 20:30:45

Berman: I actually know the answer. The lines in question are from an old English nursery rhyme. It goes like this:

"To market, to market,
To buy a plum bun;
Home again, home again,
Market is done.

To market, to market,
To buy a fat pig;
Home again, home again,
Jiggety, jig.

To market, to market,
To buy a fat hog;
Home again, home again,
Jiggety, jog."

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Sunday, November 18 2001 20:9:34

Ellison-related question: In "Grail," Mr. Ellison uses the phrase "home again, home again, jiggedy jig." That line is also spoken in Blade Runner, by the midget soldier with the white face and big nose.

From whence did this phrase originate? I say it all the time, not realizing it was a known saying, assuming it was just from Blade Runner (I forgot about its use in "Grail).

Anyone know? Or is it maybe just an old saw?


Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Sunday, November 18 2001 19:52:3

Justin said: "His workshops are fantastically informative, and in my estimation Ed proved himself to be a really gutsy writer. "

I take it he hasn't gotten to the part about cutting down on the use of adverbs yet. :p

Michael <leftearpro@hotmail.com>
the old Same place, - Sunday, November 18 2001 19:14:39

Well, hey, I had put some more expendable income together today, and was going to try bidding some more, but Heather beats the heck outta me with that one....greedy girl! Weren't the cheese crackers enough fer ya?

Re: the shower...it rains maybe a total of twelve days a year here in Albuquerque...but it sure as hell was raining this morning about 4:30! Wouldn'tcha know?

Justin: *ahem* ...........yo.

just chillin' wit my home skillet inna crib, yo

- Sunday, November 18 2001 18:20:10

Lynn and Doc,

Sorry I had to blow the scene so fast; apart from serious brain deterioration from hunger I had a LOT of work to get back to this evening (which I'm getting started on even as I post). I'd like very much to see you again. And Lynn, let me know when you aim for the Santa Monica Promenade, sweetheart. It'd be nice, a few of sitting around a yappin'.


If I've really been that annoying here, PLEASE accept my apologies. And thank you for the signed book; I look forward to reading 'Troublemakers', appropriately.

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, November 18 2001 17:28:55

You do realize that if this auction had been timed to my financial aid disbursement schedule you lot wouldn't stand a chance, don't you?

I have another question, now that I'm at it. Who knows what a "drabble" is? Put your hand down Harlan, I know you know. Hmmm, nobody else? Good, I didn't know either. A drabble is a story told in exactly 100 words. A super drabble is a story told in exactly 150 words. No more, no less. Ed had us do super drabbles in the workshop today as an exercise in precise editing and revision, and I thought it was supremely effective. You should try it. I wish you the best of luck at drabbling effectively, unlike myself, who dribbled rather than drabbled (or, more accurately, hocked a big snot-filled gob of literary viscid my mama should slap me for).

Ed is super cool, man. I just want to know who's been selling him those shirts (no, I kid, he pulls it off well). His workshops are fantastically informative, and in my estimation Ed proved himself to be a really gutsy writer. He doesn't think so, but check this out: He got up and read us this amazingly great and moving story he'd just written in the course of the past few days, and hadn't revised once. Not once! I'd have gotten up there and pissed myself like a hysterical schoolgirl.

So I had the pleasure of eating dinner with Ed on Saturday night, and we chatted about movies, skiffy conventions and other related matters. Plus I got some PRIME dirt on Harlan. Woo, let me tell you. Frankly Harlan, that was no way to treat a marsupial.

I jest.

Ed did mention that there is a signed and numbered limited edition of MIND FIELDS available at a used bookstore here in town, going for about $200. He seemed to think that might be of interest to Harlan, so I thought I'd post the information just in case.

Evvybuddy in the house say yo,


- Sunday, November 18 2001 15:29:3

Bet yer ass it's a bid.

- Sunday, November 18 2001 14:33:54

Can't compete with the the $152.79 bid. I'm assuming that's a bid.

Thanks to Rob for bringing it up and Dennis for providing the answer as I also remember seeing a chap sitting on a stool and telling jokes/stories and thinking they were funny.

Just saw FIGHTER. A good documentary that is worth checking out (a gentleman by the name of Jan Weiner escaped Nazi occupation and retraces his steps through Prague and Italy with a friend who was sent to Auschwitz; a bit more than both bargained for as they relive memories and choices).

And that movie and my recent purchases at the annual Wake County Public Library sale have gotten me thinking and I am asking with a tremulous voice a question of Harlan: Has anyone asked you or are there plans to do a biography (maybe even an autobiography)? This question may be tactless and a bit premature, but the reason I ask is that while checking out the biography of Paddy Chayefsky I'm a bit concerned with the "details" and overly-hip psychoanalytical analysis that seems to be taking place within the book. I wasn't sure if you would be concerned about something like this and/or if you really gave a shit seeing as how you're not one to keep secrets anyway. Just curious is all.

By the way, found a copy of GREEN SHADOWS, WHITE WHALE at the book sale and gave it to a friend who's a bigger Bradbury fan than I am. It was $2. (Also, picked up a decent copy of AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS for $2.00 and found that Roderick Anscombe book I had been looking for which is now out of print.)

- Sunday, November 18 2001 12:31:10


I'M delighted to find someone who remembers Dave Allen. Actually, I felt his sketches were his weakness; I never really laughed at those. It was his anecdotes - his sitdowns as you called them - that killed me. There was an intimacy about them too. And, fortunately, most of the time was taken up by them.

It just occurred to me, Martin Mull had taken a similar angle (but not before an audience, I don't think) to his act. I wonder, though I doubt it, if he had gotten the idea from Allen. All I know is they're the only two I saw do the sit-down.


I really want to see 'The Man Who Wasn't There'; my recent revisiting of Fritz Lang may have been a subconcsious inspiration. If you ever wanna see the roots of the COENS' inspiration, take a look at Lang's stuff. He is the FATHER of film noir, as he'd begun the genre during the silents and drove it through the 30's, 40's and 50's. I can tell you that even the Coens' best stuff can't measure to Lang's high points. No where near it.

- Sunday, November 18 2001 11:56:4


Did you give Rick those pics you promised him? I think you were talking about Troublemaker's "flats" or summat. Don't answer me. Just do it if you plan ta.

(I'm not reading the board consistently enough to respond to messages here.)

- Sunday, November 18 2001 11:34:13

Harlan said:

Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, November 17 2001 13:3:10


I said:

$152.79 US. with a Harlan Ellison drawn happy face on my purchase.

Frank Church
- Sunday, November 18 2001 9:32:50

Also, everybody is required to see, "Training Day."

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Sunday, November 18 2001 9:6:47


Hey, if anyone has somebody looking to change computers, I am upgrading myself and looking for a good home for my 2001 iBook. Rather than subject myself to eBay, I figured I'd see if any of my buds here know anyone who'd be interested. Drop me an e-mail if so, and we can discuss the specs if need be.

Joseph, who's intensely jealous of you clear sky people.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Sunday, November 18 2001 8:44:54

Saw a great movie yesterday: The Coen Bros. THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE. Terrific. I'm not one to talk details, especially about a movie that is not exactly in 3000 theaters at the moment, but suffice to say that there is more here than simply the black and white film noir flick that the critics are receiving lukewarmley (if that's a word).

When was the last time you saw film noir use The Uncertainty Principle as it's major theme? There's a lot more here than just the plot (as I tell anyone who rates Stephen King stories by the movies, not the novels).


Xanadu <X_a_n_a_d_u@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, November 18 2001 8:25:4

The Leonids were specacular here in the East, as well - (Rural Western New York, to be specific) - got up at 4:30am, packed up the chilluns, wife and babysitter and went to the folk's house out of town. Very, very cool. Very, very cold, too. After about a half hour/45 minutes the four year old started complaining of being cold. (Well, it was in the twenties, and there was a breeze). So we packed it back in and came home. I stayed out until 6:30 or so and, even in town, saw the wildest meteor of MY life. It was one nobody would've seen in a movie, and once I interpreted what I saw, I said "wow" and felt a chill.

Coming out of the constellation Leo, I saw a spot of green color expand to AT LEAST four times the width of any meteor I had seen that evening, then slowly fade. It was a good two or three seconds for me to puzzle out why the hell I hadn't seen a trail on that one. Then, realization dawned, I hadn't seen a trail because I saw the damn thing coming straight towards me. Believe me, THAT left a deeper chill than the morning air.

After a couple more minutes I packed it in, too. (I realized that sitting in the chair, leaning back watching the stars was not going to keep me awake and if I fell asleep out there, I would be in for a nasty surprise in the morning.)

I close, agreeing with Lynn - if you had the opportunity to watch, and you chose not to, you missed a great show. Tony, my man, I am sorry.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrisov@cs.com>
Shootin' star, Oh - Sunday, November 18 2001 8:14:27


Amazing, wasn't it? We dragged out kids out of bed at 4 A.M. eastern and set up chairs in the backyard. There's some light pollution back there, but not enough to block that show. I've seen meteorites before, but never in such profusion. A number of times, I couldn't turn my head swiftly enough to catch two near-simultaneous shots. And the ones that exploded on contact with the atmosphere were a revelation. "Why are we up in the middle of the night?" my daughter Ivy asked. "To see something you may never see again," I said. "Look up."


Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Sunday, November 18 2001 5:7:30

Re: Leonids

Glad you westerners got a good show. After giving us a number of clear days prior to yesterday, the weather decided that it was time for solid cloud cover and rain here in SE Kansas. Checked several times last night anyway to see if we were getting a break, but it stayed solid all night. It's still solid. Damn.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Sunday, November 18 2001 4:39:50

It is 4:30am, Los Angeles time and I'm so tired I can barely see. If you guys did *not* go out and look at the sky tonight, you missed one HELLUVA show. We drove out to Rose Valley (the busiest stretch of highway in the middle of nowhere), six miles outside of Ojai. We arrived at 11:00pm and within ten minutes, we saw a trail of fire from horizon to horizon, flaming from green to blue. I have seen nothing like it in the length of my days, nor do I ever hope to again. It smacked of biblical omens and apolcalyptic times. Every thing else from that point out was gravy. Sweet, fiery, shotgun smatterings of meteoric epiphanies, starting in the east and soon filling the entire dome of the firmament with fireworks so fast and furious, there was no counting them. We froze our mother-lovin' asses off but it was worth every second. And when we packed up to leave at a quarter of three, it was STILL GOING ON. Nothing to match that initial explosion but DAMN. We watched white lines of fire streak and fill the sky with their radiance, however brief, leaving stains of ethereal light and dust that lasted for minutes after their passing. All the way home. Even here, in the light soup of the night sky over the Valley, I counted a double handful before we came up to the apartment to crash. And all I can say is, WOW.


Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Denver, Colo. - Saturday, November 17 2001 21:50:31


Thanks for the heads up on the Demento web site. I'll be looking in on that one.


Alas, I do not have the Millenium Dr. D. Sigh. Guess I'll have to look around for that one.

My bid:

(Takes deep breath) Okay, 80 bucks.

Dennis <dhughes@netwalk.com>
Columbus, OH USA - Saturday, November 17 2001 21:43:52

Rob: It's great to see somebody else remembers Dave Allen. His program was called "Dave Allen at Large". It mixed his standup (well, actually sitdown) humor and sketches. They used to show it on our local PBS station. I remember falling apart with laughter watching Dave Allen playing King Arthur. He was rowing a boat and calling for the Lady of the Lake to return Excalibur to him. She did so, right through the bottom of the boat.


Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, November 17 2001 21:5:22


You can call me Monday morning, after 9:00, Los Angeles time.


John Thompson <john_20650@msn.com>
Las Vegas, Las Vegas USA - Saturday, November 17 2001 19:25:45

Harlan: Jeff VanderMeer and Mike Moorcock want to republish an interview I conducted with you for their Fantastic Metropolis website. The article originally appeared in Citylife, a Las Vegas arts & entertainment weekly. Since the interview appeared a few years ago, I'd like to update it with info about TROUBLEMAKERS and the KICK fund. Would you mind if I called you to schedule a brief interview? I'd also like to talk to Chris Valada, if possible.

- Saturday, November 17 2001 18:30:19

Fritz Lang: twelve years ago was the last time I looked at his stuff; just saw 'Fury' with Spencer Tracy again last night. For any of you who know his work, it's an astounding, moving anti-fascist piece - especially for '36 when so much of this country was rural and uneducated. I'd almost forgotten how good it was.

This is a film, btw, that could only work in b&w. And, man, there is SO little in present-day theaters that could measure up to it.

Chris L <csjlong@hotmail.com>
Philly, - Saturday, November 17 2001 16:17:17

Oh a chance to indulge my old eBay fix without dealing with the pain-in-the-ass bidders over there.

I'll push the bidding to $75.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shaker Heights, Ohio - Saturday, November 17 2001 15:11:7

Harlan and Susan, I'll push the bid up to $50.

Brian, you're quite right bout Bill Cooper. He used to post on CompuServe's political areas, where I ran, among other things, the "Marginal Issues" section, created specifically to house such creatures. He also turned up on the UFO Forum, which I own (how does a skeptic end up owning the UFO forum? Market forces maketh strange bedfellows). You ain't kidding about Cooper--a real loony, and a dangerous one. Perhaps we should be grateful the little toad only took one deputy with him when he went.

Lynne and Chuck, I assume you know that Dr. Demento has a site on the web, and that you can hear hours of his shows in RealTime audio. http://www.drdemento.com


Michael <leftearpro@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, November 17 2001 14:30:22

Well, I'm on a tight budget, too, but I just can't resist!
$40.00, maybe more later if the roomies all chip in.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Saturday, November 17 2001 14:21:32

Okay, I have very good reason to toot my own horn today. I'd like to direct some of you to a document on my website, http://www.briansiano.com/Hangin%20with%20Zontar.htm

I wrote this article in 1993. It's about a handful of genuinely cracked UFO conspiracy theories that were circulating at the time, and the last third is about a repellent little psychotic named William Cooper. In the years that followed, Cooper cultivated a following among the militia-heads, white supremacists and survival geeks, and one of his listeners was a young architecture critic named Timothy McVeigh. Cooper was ugly in 1993, and got even worse as time went by.

I just learned that Cooper was recently killed-- in a shootout with Arizona sheriff's deputies, unsurprisingly enough. I am _very_ proud that I had this fuckhead's number, and I'm on record about it, at the very beginning.

On another front: I'm sorry I can't bid, Harlan. I'm on a very tight budget these days.

St. Pete, FL - Saturday, November 17 2001 13:54:45

Ok, seems like fun plus a good cause. $35.

Xanadu <X_a_n_a_d_u@yahoo.com>
- Saturday, November 17 2001 13:26:55

What the hell - I'll start at $25 - won't be able to go much higher - but I'll start the fun.

Harlan Ellison
- Saturday, November 17 2001 13:3:10



A while back, we mentioned that when we got a few spare moments, we intended to put together packets of "ancillary Ellison" paper
goods--newspaper reviews, convention booklets, mentions in columns, announcements of college appearances, posters, incunabula, miscellanea, etcetera.


Next Sunday, the 25th of November, there's going to be an auction at the LOSCON here in L.A., at the Burbank-Hilton Hotel, from 11:30 (at which time HE and attorney Chris Valada will do a panel about internet piracy) till 1:00 PM, at which time a small auction will held to help fund the KICK Internet Piracy lawsuit. Now that we've had to hire additional attorneys--Kulik, Gottesman & Mouton--whose billings are substantial, and now that the KICK contributions have almost entirely ceased, we (Susan and I) have put together some nice items for the auction...and among them will be MYSTERY INCUNABULA PACKETS of ten items each, all different.

But. To see what we ought to price them at, we need a yardstick. So we are offering one here. Now. The first of the packets. (I have no idea if we'll offer any others here, though we're being urged to go on e.bay with items.) We promised we'd give Webderlanders first crack at this stuff, so this is it, at long last.

The first packet contains the following items, all in mint condition:

1) Convention booklet from the November 1974 KWEST*CON of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. Contains work by Phil Foglio and Ruth Berman, and a short essay by HE, "Dreamsellers"
(Copyright 1974; dated 20 September 1974; with photo and Foglio cartoon of HE. 16 pages).

2) Page from GQ, March 1982. Tearsheet of review of HERC and HE's reading of "Jeffty is Five."

3) 81/2 x 11 flyer on yellow paper of HE's signing appearance at Mile High Comics in Denver and Boulder, November of 1982. Signed by HE.

4) November 4, 1982 issue of WESTWORD, a tabloid entertainment newspaper published in Denver, Colorado. This item links with item 3 above. The "arts" section heralds HE's forthcoming speaking engagement on 8 November 82 with the slug-line "An Ellison lecture is a cross betwen mass insurrection and a riot."
(36 pages, complete issue)

5) 6 April 1983 programme of DeKalb Community College (Clarkston, Georgia) presentation of AN AFTERNOON WITH HARLAN ELLISON. 81/2 x 11 stiff cardboard, folded to form 4 pages. Bio of HE, photo, list of at-that-time published works, and venue information. Sepia on cream paper.

6) Tearsheets of the Kent State University STATER, with front page article "Ellison arrives to raise money for memorial."
6 April 1989, on the 19th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre; includes huge advertisement taken by HE, reproducing his "letter of intent" to appear for this controversial memorial
after Kent State administration downgraded the project. One of HE's proudest moments.

7) NOW Comics News. Slick paper promo piece issued by now-defunct comics company, announcing HE's "Crazy as a Soup Sandwich" graphic version in TWILIGHT ZONE #1 comic edition, with art by Neal Adams. Dated August 1991.

8) 4-11 February 1981 edition of The NewPaper (Providence, Rhode Island), a free arts&entertainment tabloid (2 sections, 30 pages) featuring article/interview "Adventures in Ellison Wonderland" -- slugline: "Critics call Harlan Ellison a genius, lunatic, pragmatist, eccentric, peace-lover, troublemaker and 40-year-old child. Funny thing is, they're all correct." Also contains article on Elvis Costello and ad for The Grateful Dead, among other goodies. The piece was written by one Casey Carpenter, who apparently came out to LA and hung out for a while. Very intimate piece.

9) METROPOLIS, dated 19 October 1989. Toronto, Canada's "news, arts and entertainment weekly" includes a "profile" by Shlomo Schwartzberg of HE titled "Harlan Ellison Runs Out of Patience" with a pull-quote, "I'm tired of seeing Jesse Helms re-elected, morons like Bush put in office, and the male equivalent of a Stepford Wife, Dan Quayle..." 29 tabloid pages, including nifty piece on k.d. lang.

10) BONUS PIECE! 2 count 'em 2 pre-publication cover "slicks" of the Barclay Shaw NO DOORS, NO WINDOWS Ace paperback edition (1983) and the first Dell paperback edition of DEATHBIRD STORIES (1976) by Leo & Diane Dillon. These are the pre-release stiff-cardboard "approval" mailings to HE, so he can okay the covers, by terms of his contracts. Both are signed.

Which makes, actual, in reality, like y'know, ELEVEN ITEMS in this incunabula grab-bag. Now, if you're an otherwise normal human being, not afflicted by the collectors' bug, this stuff will be pointless and unwanted . If, on the other hand, you have a collection of Ellisonia, here is a chance to obtain rare items unavailable elsewhere. The Kent State piece is an especially interesting bit of history.

We're going to be putting together about ten or so of these packets for LOSCON, but we have no idea what such an accretion should/could/would bring. So, here's how we'll do it:


Simple, folks. No e-bay snipers, no convoluted regimen, no buyer-fee added. Just bid. Right here. That way, you can see what others have offered. We'll keep the bidding open till
9:00 AM Monday morning. At 9, LA time (which is noon, East Coast), the high bidder right here will get the packet. We'll acknowledge the winner, we'll give you an address to which you can send the Postal Money order, or check, or Cashier's Check, or whatever, and within 24 hours of receipt of same, we'll mail you the packet of incunabula.

So there you are. We'd like to begin the bidding at twenty dollars ($20.00), because we have no idea where else to begin. We ask that minimum $3.00 jumps in bidding be adhered to, otherwise we'll be here till Xmas.

Bon appetit! On your marks, get set, GO!

Harlan & Susan

Jim Davis
- Saturday, November 17 2001 11:19:11

FYI--Here's the line-up for Tuesday's "Politically Incorrect":

November 20
Actor/Director Mike Farrell; Actress Charlotte Ross; Author Harlan Ellison; Jane Chastain, Co-host, Judicial Watch Report

(Hmmm...looks like the standard PI assemblage: Two actors, one rep of a conservative watchdog group, and a "cultural" type. Has Bill Maher read much of your work, Harlan?)

Also, George Carlin's new HBO special debuts at 10pm tonight.

Frank Church
- Saturday, November 17 2001 7:49:28

Ah, forgot to mention, Monty Python. Life Of Brian really takes it to the Christ hoax.

Actually, Dennis Miller is quite good with hecklers. Maybe this was Dennis in his earlier days. Today he is quite pungent.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Saturday, November 17 2001 7:25:37

A while back, i did a Web search on Severn Darden to see if any of his work was available. There was, sadly, very little. But I did find an account of how blindingly fast his mind could work on stage.

Darden was doing one of his routines where he was an Expert on Everything. and he was giving an impromptu lecture on adaptation. Specifically, he was talking about how, since black absorbs heat and white repels it, it would follow that people who lived near in tropical areas would be very light-skinned.

Darden took questions from the audience. And one of the questioners was a very dark-skinned young man who, getting into the spirit of the night, asked "Professor, I was born and raised in the East Indies which, as you know, are in the tropics. And as you can see, I am very dark-skinned. How does this fit in with your theory?"

Darden blinked, and replied, "Well, you've obviously had a very sheltered childhood."

Bizarro Jim
- Saturday, November 17 2001 3:5:29

...and Pauly Shore, and Andrew Dice Clay, and Jim Nabors, and Chris Farley, and Jim Breuer, and Chris Tucker, and Gallagher, and...

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, November 17 2001 3:0:20

Tony: My mother was the hippest, funniest, most generous person I've ever known. She introduced me to Harlan, by way of her copy of AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS. She was Auntie Mame, Julie Christie, and Lucille Ball, all rolled up into one. What a damned shame, her dying so young. (She would've LOVED kibitzing with Harlan on this message board.)

Well, I watched the American IRON CHEF tonight.

You want to know what it was like?

It had Bruce Vilanch as one of the judges.

Need I say any more?

(And I lost count of how many times I said, "Kaga would NEVER do that!" Some things should just be left alone...)

Oh, and then there's Albert Brooks, and Lily Tomlin, and Tom Lehrer, and Dick Gregory, and Freddie Prinze, and Sid Caeser, and...


Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Friday, November 16 2001 23:21:41


Never got around to reading HOW TO TALK DIRTY..., but did read THE ESSENTIAL LENNY BRUCE. Never saw him live or heard the albums, but the book was terrific.

Your mother originally owned your copy of SICK JOKES? I think my mother (if she'd been a harsher sort) would have gleefully burned mine, and God knows I couldn't blame her.

"How'd you blow out that tire?"
"Ran over a milk bottle."
"Jeez, didn't you see it?"
"Kid had it under his coat."

Ah, memories...

-- TR

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 23:3:40

Chuck~ Do you have the Millenium cut? (Still need to pick that one up).

bulbous boufant. macadamia. ga-zeee-bo!


Channel Twenty Three <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 23:1:31

Duck walks into a pharmacy, asks the druggist if he has any condoms. Druggist asks, 'D'ya want that on your bill?' The mallard replying, 'Hey - I'm not that kind of duck.'

We now return you to reality, already in progress.

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 22:52:29


Dr. Demento! Ah, yes I have been a Dementoid (or is that Dementite?) for some time. I had a job in the 80's in which I did so much overtime, I almost forgot what my apartment looked like. The good Doctor got me through many a long Sunday night at work. I saw him when he hosted a Weird Al Yankovic concert. He played many of the demented favorites from his radio program, then introduce Al, who timidly tapped the mike and said, "Testing, testing -- AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

I have the Doctor's 20th anniversary album. How's that for a fangeek?

Favorite Standups: George Carlin, Steve Martin, Dennis Miller. Short list. I almost forgot about Victor Buono. I've still got his record, HEAVY. I also enjoyed National Lampoon's THAT'S NOT FUNNY, THAT'S SICK. Which reminds me of Richard Beltzer. Man has a tongue like a laser. Then, of course, for recorded humor and satire, let us not forget Stan Freburg. Elderly Man River speaks so much to our PC age.


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, November 16 2001 22:46:8


Nobody hooked me up with Lenny. I hooked myself up. I don't think Frankie ever even met him. (Maybe he did, but if so, it wasn't through me; nor during the period I was hanging with him.)

I picked up on Lenny's first album, on Fantasy, and that was pretty nearly at the beginning of his notoriety. I thought he was sensational, and I went down to Rush Street, to Mister Kelly's, to hear him live. He blew me away. I went back three nights running. Then I got it into my head that his routines would make great columns. Not to mention that we might get to be friends. So I wrote him a note on a cocktail napkin, and he came and sat with me, and we put it together. Next day I had to sell the idea to Hamling, who was about as courant as a rusty flintlock pistol. But I kept at it, and Hamling had come to trust me--gee, ya think it was because I was fuckin' EDITING the bloody magazine?--and so he let me run with it. And when I got Lenny's first submission I spent an entire night reworking it, editing it, vernacularizing it, getting the cadence of his voice and timbre into the raw copy. When I presented it to Hamling, I didn't bother to let him know that I'd rewritten the whole thing. But he laughed at it, Frankie loved it, and we were off to the races. Lenny was happy as a jade Buddha, and every time he worked Chicago, we hung out till the we ones. I admired the hell oujt of him. Next to Robin, he had the fastest mind I've ever encountered, including George's. So, in truth, magically,I collaborated with Lenny Bruce from the git-go.

Severn Darden--Sevie, as we called him--was a friend of mine. He was no less than magnificent, and WHAT GOOD COMPANY! Susan met him once, at a Sunday brunch at the home of the director of THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST, Ted Flicker. Where we got to be friends with Michael Horse. I'm still in touch with Ted, who moved to Arizona or New Mexico, or one of those improbable places, and it was Ted who called me the morning Sevie died, to relay the bad news. I cried.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 16 2001 22:30:50

Okay. Thanks to St. John Morrison, I got another joke for y'all.

Duck walks into a bar. He jumps up onto the bar and says to the bartender, "Got any grrrapes?"

The bartender thinks, "Wow, a talking duck. Neat." So he says, "Sure, I got a bowl of grapes right here. The duck eats the grapes, and leaves.

Ten minutes later, the duck returns. He flaps up onto the bar and says, "Got any grrrapes?"

The bartender says, "Sorry. You cleaned me out. I'll have some tomorrow."

The duck leaves. Ten minutes later, the duck returns. "Got any grrrapes?" the duck says.

"I told ya, I'm out," the bartender says. "Go away."

The duck leaves. And ten minutes later, he flaps back up onto the bar. "Got any grrrapes?"

"Look, I TOLD ya," the bartender says, "I ain't got no more grapes! Geddouttaheah!" And he throws a towel at the duck, who scoots out the door.

Ten minutes later, the duck's back. "Got any grrrapes?" he says.

"Okay, that's it," says the bartender. "If you come in here one more time and ask for grapes, I'm gonna staple your bill shut. Got me?"

The duck leaves. Ten minutes lter, he comes back, flaps up to the bar, and says, "Got any ssstaples?"

The bartender looks at him. "No." he says.

The duck replies, "Got any grrrapes?"

Chuck <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Mile High City, Colo. - Friday, November 16 2001 21:46:5


Just so y'all know, I got another suspicious e-mail. very much like the one I warned everyone about earlier with the virus. The name given is Jimmy A. Pinaula (jimp@ite.net). I didn't open the attachment. My e-mail provider protected me from the virus last time, but I wasn't taking any chances. It had the same line about asking for "advice".



- Friday, November 16 2001 21:36:26

On Carlin:

I hear the Twain comparison loud and clear.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
Shyster Huts, Oh - Friday, November 16 2001 20:19:35

Unlike Harlan, I was never blessed with a live Lenny Bruce show, but speaking as a collector, I strongly suggest picking up the two-hour-plus live concerts available from different labels. He's not just funny on these; they're not just snippets of his best moments. They're the whole damn thing, slow moments, hot cooking, grease fires, the works. You can hear the man thinking, not just doing his gig. One is "Live at the Curran Theatre" on Fantasy. The other is "Live at the Carnegie" on Blue Note. These are very different material, damned little duplication at all.

And, hey, did you know that Carlin once got arrested with Lenny? No wonder they're in the same tradition. They're my favorite stand-ups. I think Harlan's on to something with the Will Roger's comparison for Carlin, but Carlin is so _angry,_ Mark Twain might fit more perfectly.

But for my generation, the keystone of thoughtful comedy was Firesign Theatre. For me, it still is. I love the multi-leveled, surrealistic farces that are their best work. Happily, they've reformed of late. Their latest, "Bride of Firesign," is quite good.

Life being full of odd coincidences, I was rummaging through boxes in the basement the other day, and found an old copy of Alexei Panshin's "Star Well." Started reading it again, first time in 33 years, and thought, "What ever happened to Alex Panshin anyway?" I looked him up on the web. And found, on his webpage, his personal history of the battle over "Heinlein in Dimension."

Now I'm not one to argue that no public treatment of a public man can ever be beyond the pale. An attack can go to far, moving from fair comment to libel. But that's not the case here. For those unfamiliar with "Heinlein in Dimension," it is not an attack on him as a man, or even as a writer. It won the Hugo for non-fiction writing in its day. But Heinlein was very upset at the notion of that book being written, and he made legal noises to prevent it.

Much as I love many a Heinlein title, I found Alex's essay on Heinlein's behavior jarring. I don't know why I'd never read it before. I always knew there was some sort of problem, but never got the details before. I never knew just how hard Heinlein worked to suppress what was a book of simple (if well-thought-out) literary criticism. And I find, now, that I'm rethinking Heinlein entirely. Might settle back down to my old viewpoints, but for the moment, it's hard to say what I like best of his...because I'm not sure how I feel about him.


Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 19:55:25

The Ed Bryant workshop tonight was mostly gettin' to know you stuff. Ed recommended DANGEROUS VISIONS and AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS to the class when probed about good short story collections. He did seem a bit guilty about pimping ADV because of his inclusion in the volume, so he asked us to please check out ADV without looking at his story. Ed strikes me as being just about the mellowest cat this side of the grave.

Before tomorrow's workshop I need to come up with the most wonderous thing I can imagine and the character fortunate enough to experience it. My first thought was, "Valerie and Justin, respectively." But I don't think that would fly, as this is not a course on how to properly chronicle matters autobiographical. Meaning I'm going to have to give birth to something new this evening before I retire (I've a terrible suspicion I'm going to come up with something horribly obscene), so I'll just shuffle off now and go into labor.


- Friday, November 16 2001 19:42:24


Funny, what you come across, eh?

Remember this library person I once mentioned? Kinda fat; kinda Jabba-the-Huttish? (Maybe you don't. No matter.) We didn't really hit it off as she played "head librarian" with me for a long while here at the university library. Most librarians grate on me that way. Queen fucking spelling bees.


Well, time has passed....and it's gotten around to some of the types who work here, one way or another, that I'm into writing -- I sense they KNOW I'm not a student but I'm somewhat like furniture in this place now (and since I serve 'em as cashier at Riddell, well..there's an interesting perk of connection, you could say). So, around here I get no real guff about being in the library.

Anyway. To my point...

This library lady just came over; kinda did the nodding acquaintance sound, you know what I mean; and we got to talking..

Guess what she's doing? -- good for her! (Remember I saw her as a do-nothing; been-a-librarian-for-a-million-years, queen of the book-pile kinda sorta creature?)....

She's planning to take time off from work to work on her dissertation in the visual journalism of Russia, in the thirties.

She related how she was struck by a cartoon she saw, in a newspaper of this period..and the context and the message.. and the use of the media for the propaganda of that period, etc..

just floored her.

And she set to learning more about it. She's collected a bunch of the political cartoons and she said she even lectures on it..

and ya know what, Ali?

She had such a LIGHT in her eyes and a catch in her throat, as she talked about it.

Ain't that cool?


Heather, not sure if it's HER or the people she keeps running INTO just lately.


Michael Hurley
- Friday, November 16 2001 18:50:5

I have, for some reason, a terrible joke-memory. But I thought I'd share something truly funny and subversive I was just turned on to...a Canadian comic strip called Bob the Angry Flower. Anyone heard of it? The archives are at www.angryflower.com

If you're too lazy to read through the whole thing at least take a look at a few of my favorites...


in response to the logorrheaic brouhaha I offer this:

and for those who just like the sick jokes:

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Texas Texas - Friday, November 16 2001 18:34:21


Enjoyed the hell out of the IQ joke, but I had to add that it needs to be touched up a bit for current situations. Shouldn't the punchline be "So where did you go to get your MBA?"

(And yes, I feel the urge to tear into crowds of MBAs like a Kurosawa samurai. I have to live near Southern Methodist University, and so we have droves of dolt rich kids who come here for an MBA so they come home from eight years of college with something besides a cocaine habit and syphilis. I'd move, but the bastards breed like rats: I keep threatening to make up "Please: Spay or Neuter Your SMU Brat...Before It Breeds" bumper stickers, and if I do, I'd probably make a large fortune in Dallas sales alone. And before anyone asks, if we pushed for mandatory sterilization of both MBAs and SMU brats, we wouldn't have to deal with Jenna Bush, so it's all good.)

Paul T. Riddell <hpoomail@usa.net>
Dallas, Texas Texas - Friday, November 16 2001 18:17:30

Hey, careful with the Irish cracks. My father is a Brit/Scot Catholic, and my mother is an Irish/German/Cherokee Lutheran. I want to grab a big stick and beat the shit out of myself as is.

- Friday, November 16 2001 17:47:52


LOL. You may not believe it, but I SAW that Groucho once. There was another one like it too, where a lady contestant was talking about baking buns and her husband hanging around the house; she said, "I couldn't get no rise out of'm". Groucho: "What - your husband?". Piercing the innocence of 1950's TV audiences, the crowd was absolutely bursting with laughter, man. It sustained for 5 minutes; they edited nothing. Since Groucho couldn't get another word in he just nonchalantly pulled out a cigar, slowly lit it, stuck it in his mouth and glanced around. "Five minutes ago this was an innocent audience," he finally declared.


Re: Carlin. I think the Rogers comparison is very appropriate. If he's read strictly as a stand-up, there will be lulls. Because he doesn't just do stand-up. He projects social views in occasionally ingenious diatribes. He gets into dialectics as much as anything else. So, I think if you only rate him doing comedy you're misreading him. He's a philosopher. And he's brilliant. I saw him at UCLA once.


Chris Rock breaks me up but - and I really hate admitting this - I've held kind of a bias against him since he bragged with so much pride about beating the shit out of his young kid; I mean Lash City. With welts n' all. An appropriately timed cuff or mild slap should be enough as a general rule. But whipping a kid hard - and often - kinda crosses the line with me. I hate it when news gets out like that about people I'd admired. He was talking about all this on PI once.


Since you mentioned Gene Hackman, did you get the hype on his duking it out with two young guys in a road rage scene? My understanding is this 60-whatever-year-old guy (he was once a marine) belted one of these guys but they wound up jumping on him together, pinning him down.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 17:28:0

Tony: You are correct, Sir! You want to know something really scary? I just fired off those jokes, without even LOOKING at my tattered paperback copy (which originally belonged to my mother); I then checked my post against it, and damned if I didn't get almost every word exactly right. (I think I've internalized that book on a genetic level.) THE BEST OF SICK JOKES and Lenny Bruce's HOW TO TALK DIRTY AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE did more to warp my little newt brain than anything else I can think of.

Barney: The radio host Phil Hendrie has been doing some great stuff about America, post-Sept 11. (Careful what you say, Brian.)

Oh, and I used to really like Dennis Miller, but I've grown a little tired of his style. Obscure cultural references don't always insure laughs, and his overt smugness is just a drag.

Off to the movies,

Barney Dannelke <dannelke01@enter.net>
- Friday, November 16 2001 16:42:29

Comedians -

Well, Bill Hicks was probably the Lenny of my generation. Plus, like Lenny, he had real growth potential. Man, he would have had a field day with current events. By the way, has anybody done ANY standup pertaining to the events of
9-11? Somebody mentioned Dennis Miller and while I love his stuff he's sort of a pussy if one heckler can throw him off. I've got a 90 minute bootleg of Hicks doing a club in the UK and they HATED him. Hicks not only took it all and fed off it and then threw it back at them, he did an extra long set just to establish who was running the room. It wasn't pretty but the energy level was incredible.

I went through about a 10 year period [1985-95] when I didn't think much of Carlin. I mean he was really competent and had all the tools but nothing amazing. Then around 1995 I saw him do a routine and he was just on fire. Biblically angry stuff. That was the moment I thought he REALLY stepped up to the plate and sort of finally assumed the mantle of genius comic. I think he's bucking for philosopher king and he just might make it.

Obscure comics. Victor Buono. The 'large' guy who played King Tut on Batman. There are two albums of his poetry and stand-up and they are gems IF you can find them.

Most influential American comic - Mark Twain. Schools of comics, legions of comics owe him their livelihoods.
[and whoever mentioned Petroleum V. Nasby last month, my eyes damn near fell out of their sockets because that week I was reading a book about Twain's predecessors. Weird synchronicity.]

*** Harlan *** I have refrained from asking you questions here but since you mentioned Lenny Bruce...
I have a couple of the Lenny Bruce albums that were done on the Fantasy label [on red vinyl] and I was wondering if they capture what he was really like. The only live Lenny video I ever saw was that thing he did where he's reading court transcripts and newspaper clippings and I know that was way too late in his career to be representative.

ps. Did Frank R. Robinson hook you guys up?

ROTFWL - Barney

Xanadu <X_a_n_a_d_u@yahoo.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 16:14:23

Lynn - glad to have been a help.

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Friday, November 16 2001 16:12:29

And while it's not stand-up stuff, those tapes of Ernie Kovacs are a joy. Long live the Nairobi Trio and Percy Dovetonsils.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, November 16 2001 15:57:53

I think my all-time favorite Groucho ad-lib concerns the time a woman was on "What's My Line?" who had borne a phenomenal number of children, like 12 or 15. "I love my husband," was her bashful explanation.

Groucho's response: "Well, I love my cigar, too, but I take it out sometimes."

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Friday, November 16 2001 15:42:0


Many of the jokes you posted I recall from an ancient paperback called The Best of Sick Jokes. It was full of sick delights. (A favorite of mine: A woman is having a tea party and her seven-year-old daughter is dying to help, so Mom sends her into the kitchen to strain the tea, pour it, and bring it out. Kid’s gone a long time, and Mom’s about to go see what’s keeping her when in comes the kid with the tea and serves it up as nice as you please. After the guests leave, Mom asks, “Why were you so long getting the tea strained and poured?” “I couldn’t find the tea strainer.” “It should have been in the middle drawer.” “Well, I never found it.” “Then how did you strain the tea?” “I poured it through the flyswatter.”)

Bought that paperback at a Walgreen’s drug store when I was twelve and inflicted the jokes for weeks upon endless weeks on anyone unlucky enough to wander into earshot, mostly defenseless family members.

Many years passed.

Scrounging through boxes of old paperbacks at a flea market, searching for Cornell Woolrich mysteries, what should I find but a copy of The Best of Sick Jokes. I promptly bought it and gave it to my 12-year-old brother, who inflicted those same jokes on everyone in the family all over again.

It’s a miracle I survived.


Frank Church
- Friday, November 16 2001 15:20:18

Is Pat Robertson a comedien? lol.

I forgot, the Godfather, Rodney fucking Dangerfield. Rodney tells joke after joke, and that aint easy. Jokes are hard to write. Funny patter is a bit easier.

Carlin is in a class by himself. People in the audience seem to think that he is kidding about some of his views. It goes over many heads. I have heard boos at his shows, and Carlin I'm sure would consider that a job well done. Carlin is funnier than Lenny Bruce in the general yucks for your buck sense.

I consider spoken word artist, Jello Biafra to be a bit of a social commentator/Comedien in the best sense of Lenny Bruce. But the list could go on. And on.

Frank "shtick" Church
- Friday, November 16 2001 15:12:27

Oh, no, what about Dennis Miller? Can there be a smarter comic mind in America, or outside of the known universe? His politics have a lot to be desired, but boy can that man riff.

Also, the late, Redd Foxx: Dirty, but wonderful. As is, Buddy Hackett, who is very underrated. Chris Rock is amazing. So many, but I like the lists.

Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Friday, November 16 2001 14:40:22

David - Good post on Afghanistan

Forgot who asked about Zahir Shah but though he was counted as credible mediator in the eighties, the Pakistan govt. suddenly did a U-turn when it came out he had recieved reps from Indian Govt. Long story, lots of paranoia and did I tell you I researched this months ago and was anyone interested in looking at my treatment? Were they fuck. (BTW - Anyone check out the Onion 'Afghan expert' article last week? Hilarious stuff).

Imposter - Had little hope for it as its a story that can be told with very little visual effects. The trailer looked dammed silly and gave away the twist ending...

I know Imposter was expanded from a short sequence shot for a trilogy of short films. I recieved a writing grant from the people who made the other piece 'Alien Love Triangle' which is complete and unreleased. It was done by the Trainspotting crew and had Courtney Cox and Heather Graham. Available on bootleg but officially still not released from Mirimax's vaults.

Well, maybe 'Minority Report', not my favourite Dick story, will prove to be decent. At the moment, its still Blade Runner and Screamers as half decent adaptations.

Richard Pryor - I had a low opinion of the man until I saw him in 'Blue Collar'. Never realised how talented he was as an actor. Then heard his stand up tapes and asked myself why he made dreck such as 'Superman 3', 'The Toy' and 'Brewster's Million'. A great and wasted talent.

Woah - Just got the French Connection boxed set on DVD. This and The Conversation I'm prepared to have a decent Gene Hackman viewing weekend.

- Who wishes he can revise his posts so they don't read like the blabberings of someone who just quit reading the 'Readers Digest Guide to clear writing'.

- Friday, November 16 2001 14:10:42

Ooooooh, yes. Mel Brooks. About 2 years ago I lunged for the VCR to tape 'The Producers', Mel's masterpiece as far as I'm concerned, and exploded a thousandfold on every viewing.

Yet, you can't leave out Woody Allen; 'Love and Death' beat the crap out of me. Rodney Dangerfield used to obliterate me. The funniest Pryor I saw was his Long Beach concert. I was nearly ready to call 911; never saw 'Wild in the Streets', I'd like to check it out. Y'know, I understand Jack Benny wiped out audiences; I never saw tapes of his stuff but I did see 'To Be Or Not To Be'. Buck Henry is a funny son-of-a-bitch; I'm mainly remembering his stuff on Saturday Night Live, whose presence as host rivaled Steve Martin's (and HIS masterpiece I consider to be 'King Tut').

Here's one to challenge y'all: when I was a kid there was a Brit stand-up being aired on local stations in the States; a Benny Hill contemporary. A good-looking gent, he just sat there alone on the stage telling Irish/Scottish/English anecdotes, shifting accents, that totally blitzed me. I didn't have to know much about culture in the UK to connect with it either. I BELIEVE his name - if the mnemonic cells serve me - was Dave Allen. Does he ring with ANY of you? U.S. distribution, unfortunately, didn't hold as long as the Benny Hill stuff.

BTW, although I'm crappy at remembering jokes, I recalled one while putzing around a while ago in my resuscitated vehicle. If I get booed for the anemic effort I'll just fall back on the reliable Klassic Krusty material:

It was about a Jew, a Hindu and an Irishman traveling together; as night fell they came to a tiny country inn. The innkeeper told them regretfully that only two beds were available in the inn but that he'd be willing to set up a cot for the third man in the barn. So the three wanderers drew straws. It fell upon the Jew to sleep in the barn.
Minutes later there was a knock at the door. The innkeeper opened up. "I'm sorry", explained the Jew, "there is a pig in the barn; my religion forbids me to sleep under the same roof as a pig".
The Hindu gets stuck with the next straw. A few minutes later there's a knock at the door again. The innkeeper answers. Politely, the Indian gent explains that his religion forbids him to share shelter with a cow, as, indeed, one occupied the barn.
So, now, out goes the Irishman. In a few minutes there's a knock on the door again. The innkeeper answers.
There stood the pig and the cow.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 13:14:52

Speaking of stuff children shouldn't be dragged along to, I maintain that my warped sense of humor comes from being on vacation with my parents and five siblings in Kentucky, summer of 1979 (Land Between the Lakes, by the way, is one of the lovelier areas in the USA), and being taken to see "Airplane!" Now, note that in 1979, I was all of 6. And yet, I can still remember sitting in the theatre and being overwhelmed with the deluge of jokes, many of which went over my head, but some stuck enough (like the bad blue screen behind Robert Stack's car, or how he kept pulling off sunglasses) that I can still experience that movie-going night. And chuckle at "That's Sargeant Mulvaney. He think's he's Ethel Merman."

Justin <thedogindiana@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 12:59:28

Fun stuff, guys. I grew up on Carlin (my dad was a huge fan, and he took me to see Carlin live for the first time when I was about thirteen) and Dennis Miller, so they are my comic gods. My older cousins were always watching RAW and DELIRIOUS, so Eddie was a big one for me growing up as well. I have never heard a single comedy routine by Lenny Bruce. Please sirs do not injure me, I am a delicate snowfwake.

A few quick items. I'm at my new apartment, which is nice and quiet, enjoying the company of my new roomate, much to my surprise. Nice Jewish girl. Harlan would approve.

Harlan: My Ed Bryant writing workshop starts tonight. Let me konw if you'd like me to pass on a "Whaaasssaaa" to Mr. Bryant for you.



Jim Davis
- Friday, November 16 2001 12:55:32

"Mommy, is Sheldon stuck-up?"
"No, honey, I don't think so."
"Then why won't he come out of that old icebox?"

(I like the sick stuff, ok?)

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 12:34:41


Well, that puts Iron Chef in a whole new light. What's even funnier is that my wife always jokes that the dubbing makes the women sound like 1970's porn stars. Knock me over with a feather....


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Friday, November 16 2001 12:28:6

When I was in my late teens I was hooked on Lenny Bruce, big time. Still have all the old LPs. My favorite is Lenny Live at Carnegie Hall.

And what about Woody Allen’s standup? I saw him live in 1972 at one of those theater in the round thingies with the revolving stage. He was hilarious! Oh, and Jim Croce was the opening act. How's that for a weird double bill?

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 16 2001 12:19:23

Harlan: Thanks for mentioning the great Severn Darden. For months, I used one of his wonderful utterances as a sig file on Usenet. It was, "Of motion, the oyster has but a dim racial memory."

Others may remember him as Kropotkin, the sweet-natured Russian spy in _The President's Analyst_. The scenes with him and the equally-great-and-missed Godfrey Cambridge are a treat.

To Jim Davis: I'm with you on that elementary-school awareness. Did my 6th Grade social studies paper on the Chicago Seven trial. This was in 1974-75, I think. I do remember my teacher getting a bit wide-eyed when he spotted me reading Tom Hayden's memoir of the trial.

- Friday, November 16 2001 12:6:24

Blame *it* on the Du. {(#$&%*&%@()$%*)($#)%@)(&!!!}


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 12:5:0

Harlan~ The friend you so praise was the Yiddish Goddess Rachel. You'll remember her from when we joined you after the lecture in Claremont. According to her, it's gone around the net a few times, this time from her mother.

As to the other.. Hmmm. I see. A left-handed compliment. Alright. I can live with that.

Xanadu~ Thanks for the heads up. Your missive is resulting in an impromptu gathering (read: coffee, whiskey & Celtic Crossing) in the hills above Ojai. So if I'm bleary-eyed at your signing on Sunday, HE, blame in on the Du.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, November 16 2001 12:3:15


I've always found the show funny. But, a friend of mine informed me (and for all I know he could be right) that, many of the "actresses" that guest as tasters, are actually stars of Japanese adult films. True or not, this makes the commentary they utter take on a whole new meaning for me ('course, maybe I'm just a sicko-perv). All it takes now is an utterance like, "I like the way it feels in my mouth", to put me completely on the floor.

As far as the Jean Valjean/Chairman Kaga connection goes, my fiance never fails to point it out. Guess it makes it funnier that way.


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 12:1:13

And lest he be not credited, the Japanese actor who is the "host" for Iron Chef has the wonderful name of Takeshi Kaga.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 11:53:53


My personal favorite of Iron Chef is the actress who keeps going "Mmmmmm." I'm not sure why, but she and the dubbing crack me up.

Did you know, by the way, that the "host" played Jean Valjean in the spectaculer Tokyo production of "Les Miserables?" He has a magnificent voice.

As for Jack Benny, I note that Waukegan, Illinois, yesterday erected a statue in his honor. You have to love a town that's produced Benny, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Ray Bradbury. Magnificent in a wierd way.


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Friday, November 16 2001 11:47:16

Andrew....and then, if you want to believe the rumors, there is Shatner-cut-the-cheesy on his new MIND MELD video with Leonard Nimoy.

For those who haven't heard, this is a new video that is basically 100 minutes of Shatner sitting with Nimoy and chatting about their Star Trek experiences. At one point, people claim that Shatner ...ahem...let's say released a bit of enthusiasm from the nether-regions.

The production company has naturally reported the rumors as false and that it was a boom mike moving around. But the other day, Howard Stern asked him about it and played the clip and Shatner exclaimed in mock-shock "why does everyone blame me....why couldn't it have been Leonard?" to which Stern (who was watching the actual clip with Shatner in the studio) remarked "Well, you seem to be squirming a bit there while Nimoy is sitting perfectly still."


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, November 16 2001 11:39:37


There's Shatner-cheesy, to be sure. But there's a special kind of cheesy reserved for Japanese TV dubbed in english. One is fun-cheesy, the other is, well, just plain cheesy.

Yours in Cheese,

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Friday, November 16 2001 11:32:26

Andrew.....and Bill Shatner isn't cheesy?


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, November 16 2001 11:29:43


Say it ain't so... An American "Iron Chef" with Bill Shatner? The bad dubbing, and cheesy dialogue are what make the Japanese original so much fun.

Awww cripes...

Jim Davis
- Friday, November 16 2001 11:23:45

Harlan: I saw WILD IN THE STREETS for the first time a few months ago. It was, to my eyes, so painfully bad that I STILL wake up in night sweats because of it. And that Cristopher Jones song "52%"--OY...

And you're right: Pryor WAS the best thing in it.

What is it about Phil Dick's works that makes decent screen adaptations so rare?

This is going to be a hell of a weekend, moviewise. I'm gonna see AMELIE, THE MAN WHO WASN'T THERE, WAKING LIFE, HEIST, and the big-ass IMAX screen presentation of SHACKLETON'S ANTARCTIC ADVENTURE. (Don't eat the huskies! NOOOOOO!) And, yes, I WILL watch the premiere of the American IRON CHEF, with our old buddy Bill Shatner in the Chairman Kaga role. (Have I mentioned that I slow down for car wrecks?)


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, November 16 2001 11:19:2


What was I thinking, leaving out Mel Brooks. Both alone, as in THE PRODUCERS, and with Carl as the 2000 YEAR OLD MAN, et al. And what about Orson Bean, Mike Nicholls and Elaine May, Moms Mabley, Pigmeat Markham, Fat Jack Leonard, Robert Q. Lewis, Groucho fer chrissakes GROUCHO, not to mention Jack Benny and his cadre of writers, Fred Allen, Shelley Berman, Mort Sahl at the start, and probably the most inventive underappreciated brilliant comedic mind of his generation, Severn Darden.

Somebody wanna see Franklyn Ajaye at his visual best, short of the lps...rent CAR WASH. Yeah, I miss him, too. But not as much as I miss Lenny. He was a companion, and I still despise "them" for what they did to him.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 11:4:52


For Discworld, a personal favorite of mine is "Masquerade," though you can't go wrong with any of the Vimes stuff (quick rundown: there are a few different types of Discworld books, such as Vimes & the City Watch (Guards! Guards!, Feet of Clay), stories dealing with the wizards at the Unseen University (Soul Music), stories dealing with Death (Mort, Hogwatch), the witches from Lancre (Masquerade, Lords and Ladies) and the relatively stand-alones (Small Gods).

More information than you were probably looking for, and many of the characters from one type will appear in another (Death shows up a lot, for instance, especially in Soul Music).

Still, you can't go wrong with Masquerade or Feet of Clay.


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, November 16 2001 11:3:9


Well, hmmmm, lemme think a moment.

When my Mom or Dad would say it, I felt okay, well, maybe a little better than okay...because it was sort of damning with faint praise, if you catch my drift. I was being told I'd just scraped through, but it was likely dumb luck rather than ratiocination, and that grudgingly I was getting a gold star...albeit a tarnished one, going to verdigris. The proper response to receiving a fur-covered banana accolade, I guess, would be a gracious (but very slight, small) smile, and a weary shake of the head. That's as best I can summarize it for you, kiddo.


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, November 16 2001 10:48:18


I plotz! I kvell! My kishkes are farblondjet! Yiddish haiku!!! Your friend has sent you GRANDEUR!!! I've had a friend download and print out this magic missive. Thank you thank you thank you!

Rebbe Harlan

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, November 16 2001 10:38:10



Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Friday, November 16 2001 10:36:1

While we're tickling our funny bones:

For those of you who haven't yet, do go see "Monsters, Inc.". Those guys at Pixar have a wonderful sense of humor.

Lynn- Sick sense of humor 'eh? Check out these sites for a morning chuckle:

http://www.beyondgrandpa.com/ and


Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 10:35:38

"What a difference a day makes,
Twenty-four little hours..."

Harlan: You've GOT to drop a fur-covered banana reference during your PI appearance. Sort of a shout-out to your homies here, you dig?

On Paul Williams: I grew up listening to the wonderful PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE soundtrack, so the man is aces in my book. "Upholstery, when my baby sits so close to me. Upholstery, that's what life is all about..."

Lynn: Thou art an illumined Goddess. That Jewish Haiku was the funniest thing I've read in a long, long time.

Brian: Sorry to hear about the job falling through. The sun'll come out tomorrow, and all that.

Favorite Comedians: Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, Steven Wright, Bill Hicks, Andy Kaufman, Paula Poundstone, Bob Newhart, Steve Martin. Of all of them, Bruce was the most formative influence on me, comedically speaking. My mother was a Bruce fanatic, so I was exposed to his stuff at a fairly early age. (I grew up in a weird household--I was propably the only elementary school tot who knew who Lenny Bruce, Jomo Kenyatta, and Abbie Hoffman were.) And did someone mention Lord Buckley? What a sui generis talent...

Oh, and Jonathan Winters, Mort Sahl, Oscar Levant, Woody Allen (My SECOND greatest comedic influence), Brett Butler (her EARLY work), Joan Rivers, and Peter Sellers are top-flight, too. Seller's recording of "She Loves You," as interpreted by Dr. Strangelove, is the funniest thing ever commited to tape, bar none. "She...LUFFS you. YAH! YAH!"

And then there's the Firesign Theatre, and Monty Python, and...

I haven't read the Harry Potter books. Don't give me any crap--I get enough grief from my little cousin, ok?

Here's some jokes for your delectation:

"Oh, Mrs. Brown, is your son Timmy spoiled!"
"My Timmy spoiled! How can you say such a thing?"
"Well, if you don't believe me, come down to the street, and see what the garbage truck did to him."

The Supermodel cooked her first turkey for thanksgiving.
A guest asked, "What did you stuff it with?"
"I didn't have to stuff it," she replied. "It wasn't hollow."

A man approached a little boy sitting on a street corner.
"I-I-I-I s-s-say, little b-b-b-boy, c-c-could you direct me t-t-to the fire station?"
The little boy looked up at him and said nothing, but slowly shook his head.
"L-L-Look here, are you s-s-s-sure you c-c-c-can't direct m-m-me to the fire station?"
The boy looked up again and slowly nodded his head.
"W-W-W-Well thank y-y-y-you anyway," said the man, and strode off.
Another man who had witnessed the whole affair walked up and glared at the youth.
"Boy," he said, "why didn't you tell that man where the fire department is? You've been living in this town a long time, haven't you?"
"Yeah," answered the boy, "b-b-b-but do y-y-y-you think I w-w-wanna get the c-c-c-crap k-k-k-kicked out of m-m-me?"

(I know, it's un-pc to joke about stuttering, and all that. Have I mentioned that I had a speech defect till I was ten?)

And here's the sickest joke I've ever heard:

"Doctor, I still can't see," said the little blind girl after the operation.
"April Fool!"


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 10:29:32

David~ re: Pratchett. Small Gods, Mort, Feet of Clay. And even tho' it's not Discworld, Good Omens is not to be missed. "An angel who did not so much fall as vaguely saunter downward." Classic. Are you still reading Gibson & Stephenson? In between the stories in Troublemakers, I just picked up Idoru last night. Gibson writes like I think. Scary...


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 16 2001 10:26:3

If any of you see the book _Going Too far_ by Tony Hendra in a used bookstore, pick it up. You'll be glad you did, because it's a fine history of what Hendra calls "Boomer humor"-- the style of satire that developed from Mort Sahl and Lenny Bruce, continued through the work of Joseph Heller, Terry Southern, The Committee, George Carlin and Richard Pryor, and reached a culmination of sorts with Hendra's old stomping ground, the _National Lampoon_. (Okay, maybe that wasn't its culmination, but I guess Hendra can be granted a bit of favoritism here.)

The book has its gaps: Hendra didn't touch things like Lily Tomlin, Richard Pryor, Monty Python, and Beyond the Fringe, but he says many of those things have been covered better elsewhere.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 10:23:29

Pardon me for being a semantics wench, but I see an inherent difference between fur-*covered* and fur-*lined*. Covered would indicate to me a covering, a wrap, an outer package. Lined implies an internal surface. You can have a jacket lined with fur (inside), or trimmed with fur (around the neck & cuffs). But fur-covered distinctly implies banana *inside*, fur *outside*. And is so many more realms of absurd above a fur-lined bass I won't even deign to scoff.

Comedians~ Eddie Izzard is a recent acquisition in my cultural education. I've only seen one performance of his and yes, it made me laugh till tears ran down my cheeks. ("High stress job, chocolate biscuits!") I'm gonna have to hunt up some Lenny Bruce. As for Carlin, his humor/philosophy was a gift to me from a very special teacher. I had brought in a copy of Kip Adotta's Wet Dreams (fish puns - what were you thinking?) and he traded me a copy of Class Clown. I've been gone ever since. I have a signed copy of "Brain Droppings" on my shelf at home. Anyone here a Dr. Dimento fan?

Did you hear about the redneck that failed his geometry test? He kept arguing with the teacher, "Pi are round. Cornbread are square!"


- Friday, November 16 2001 10:20:57

Hey, (almost in PA) Bingo Berman (how's that for signifyin' yer Bermans??)

Did you see Carlin at Ithaca College in '95? I was there. I had a "press pass" from a now defunct local rag. Anyway, he is hands-down brilliant. I agree with Harlan's comparison to Will Rogers. George Carlin is an American philosopher and aphorist.

And whatever *did* happen to Franklin Ajaye (sp?)????

"Don't smoke dope. Fry yer hair."

Chris H. <otakuhick@aol.com>
Boston, MA US - Friday, November 16 2001 10:12:39

Greetings, all; just responding to Harlan's invitation to quit lurking and get to posting.

Regarding stand-up comics: I think that even if George Carlin is forgotten as a comedian, he should be remembered as one of the great social thinkers of our time. Yes, he's funny as anybody else I've seen, yes, he curses like a longshoreman, and yes, he throws out the standard allotment of "didja ever notice" humor, but there is a deep undercurrent of real thought under the yuks. Although Eddie Izzard is a pisser as well. "Jihad on you, ya fucker!"

- Friday, November 16 2001 10:5:28


That wuz beaut-ee-ful.

I'm afraid I found myself relating to Ol' Joe.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, November 16 2001 10:5:3

Since we seem to be in that kind of territory, I'll report that I'm currently reading my very first Terry Pratchett novel, _Guards! Guards!_, recommended highly by a friend.

I've told you guys before that I don't read much SF and I've read even LESS fantasy, but I'm enjoying this one -- sort of a cross between Harry Potter and Monty Python, I think. I'm not inclined to go out and read EVERYTHING Pratchett's written now (I'm slogging goodnaturedly through Roy Jenkins' brand new bio of Churchill, and the Pratchett gives me some nice breaks), but I'd be up for a couple more in this vein.

Could any of you Pratchett experts recommend a couple other titles?

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 9:59:53

Ah, Eddie Izzard. The only comedian who's managed to combine the Pope, scooters and transvestite paratroopers into the same bizzare story. Something about the way Izzard pretends to ride a scooter...."bzzzzzzzzzzzz......ciao." Kills me.

Help me: who is the stand-up comedian who has close-cropped blonde hair and looks like a tall Drew Carey? Oh, and Carey could kill when he was doing stand-up (his show's not half as good, but Ryan Stiles is a under-appreciated genius).

Actually, I think Izzard is a comedian who manages to balance stage and screen roles quite well - though I'm not a huge fan of "VELVET GOLDMINE," Izzard is ridiculously good as the manager (and it's amusing to note that he's the man with the least amount of makeup in his scenes). VG is also great for watching Christian Bale, an actor who has great things ahead of him (if directors can avoid typecasting him for AMERICAN PSYCHO).


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 9:53:25


I think you've hit on something that is a good point to remember about the Potter-verse: adults are not, for the more part, caricatures. They have a history of their own, with both good and bad to their credit, Personally, I can't wait to see how the whole Snape-Sirius dynamic plays out. So many books for children cast parents and other adults in a solely good or solely bad light, and it's nice to see the adults given the same consideration as the children by Rowling.


Harlan Ellison
- Friday, November 16 2001 9:50:0

The greatest stand-up who ever worked a room was Lenny.

Bare none. Lenny.

Lenny Bruce was so variegated, so intense, so multilingual in terms of cultural minutiae, so simply downright bloody hilarious and inventive, like Mark Twain on speed, like Bernard Shaw with a dexadrine spansule up his ass . . .non pareil. Numero Uno.

My favorite SINGLE female stand-up routine, at once hilarious and heartbreaking, was Whoopie's surfer girl monologue, the one she did at concert, the one HBO captured on film. Judy Tenuta kills me, as does Elaine Boozler, but then I know them both, so maybe that has something to do with it. (I took Elaine to Canter's for her first matzoh brie; and Judy demanded the right to have my baby.) So I suppose my favorite female stand-up is Margaret Cho, who has fallen on rough times since the demise of her tv sitcom. But such a fonny laydee!!!

And if you want to see Richard Pryor when he was at his best, see the film WILD IN THE STREETS.

And after Lenny, my favorite male stand-up is the extraordinary Franklyn Ajaye. And then Eddie Izzard. (I loved Andy Kauffman, but poor Andy is gone now, so I guess he don't count.) (And, yeah yeah yeah, Sam Kinnison was remarkable. He killed.)

I equate George Carlin with Will Rogers, so I don't even think of him as a comedian. George and I exchange communications from time to time, and I look on him as one of the truly important people of our time, a seer, a sage, a jackanapes with wisdom that enriches as it enlivens. He is sui generis, and that is why I don't put him on the Favorites list right after Lenny. He is too important for any list.

yr. pal, Harlan "Never Follow an Animal Act" Ellison

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 16 2001 9:45:2

Oh, just one Harry Potter opinion to drop. I think I might be the only person on the planet who liked _Prisoner of Azkaban_ more than _Goblet of Fire_. I mean, I liked _Goblet_ because it gave the reader _more_, so it's got that advantage.

But _Prisoner of Azkaban_ was the first book to give some serious depth to the backstory of Voldemort's fall and Harry's parents. Harry's fleeing the Dursleys at the beginning gave his problems with that family a nice sense of, well, depth, in that they're not just a pantomime Ugly Family, but a bunch who could be doing Harry serious harm. I'm looking forward to seeing the return of Remus Lupin, and it's always cool to have a brave-but-haunted hero of the Sirius Black sort in a story.

(I tend to like characters with a nice black streak in their psyches; Ron's resentment of his hand-me-downs and Poor Kid status, Snape's reasons for turning spy on Voldemort, and the fact that Sirius still holds a schoolbuy grudge against Snape.)

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, November 16 2001 9:39:17


I believe it's in book 4; could possibly be in book 3, but no earlier. Harry is desperately trying to get into Professor Dumbledore's rooms and tosses out all sorts of phrases in the search for the password. Happily, he stumbles on "Cockroach Cluster!" and the door opens, much to his surprise. Now, you tell me where Rowling could have dug up that phrase anywhere but Monty Python's "Crunchy Frog" sketch!

Todd: Nope. Pure coincidence. I don't think I know any house painters. I don't own a house, and don't particularly want to.

As for fur-lined bananas and favorite comedians ... I happen to be familiar with a lot of old-time radio comedy shows that first aired two or three decades before I was born. I heard them replayed on the Armed Forces Radio and TV Network in Germany in the early 1970s, and have caught them here and there since -- copying tapes out of the Boston and Cambridge public libraries, occasional local radio airings, public TV retrospectives, etc.

So along with being able to recite early Cosby, Newhart, Woody Allen, and Python routines, I'm awfully fond of Fred Allen, Jack Benny, and wacky and wonderful shows like "The Bickersons" and "It Pays to be Ignorant."

Which brings me to the (distant) furry banana connection. I distinctly remember the moderator-host of "It Pays to be Ignorant" congratulating someone who had answered a goofy question such as "What does a motorcycle cop ride on?" or "What beverage do we get from tea leaves?" with the line:

"Correct! Give that man a fur-lined bass!"

Not as funny as a furry banana, I'll grant ... but what is that seems to be inherently funny about fur on various things...?

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 16 2001 9:35:21

Actually, when I heard the phrase "fur-covered banana," I thought of Meret Oppenheim's famous Surrealist object-- the fur-covered bowl and spoon. I figured the phrase meant something that was utterly useless, unappealing, and unworkable as an object. (An interpretation that works within its original context, he added at the last minute to gain some innalectual cred.)

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 9:27:56


Ouch. That's one of those jokes that make you laugh and groan at the same time. (And actually, those are my favorite conversations to overhear in Burbank, Encino, Hollywood, the West side. At first it took awhile to get used to the conversation that begins, 'So I'm pitchin' this idea to the studio this afternoon...' But after awhile, I stopped trying to stifle the guffaws at some of the ideas I was hearing. I think my favorite was the one about the computer virus that was actually contagious to people. ::sigh::)

So, for clarification's sake, does the fur-covered banana reference make you smile and roll your eyes, or just roll your eyes, or sigh and shake your head? Positive or negative connotation for you? Trust me on this one, I have a really good reason for asking.

Rich~ Feel free. It wasn't credited or copyrighted, so I consider it net fodder.

Favorite Comedians~ George Carlin. Robin Williams. Steve Martin.

The origins of my personal sense of humor~ Wow. That one is an interesting question. Mine tends to be a bit twisted, surrealistic, morbid and dark at times. I love puns. I know where it comes from! My mom's an English teacher and my father is a rocket scientist.

Q. How do the little kids at the Cape learn to count?
A. 10...


PS. Just got finished with Penn & Teller's How To Play In Traffic. The chapter on NASA's quantifying comedic timing is as much a testament to the space program as it is to humor.

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 9:25:13


Interesting that you should bring up Roald Dahl in relation to the magical Potter series. Whenever someone I know brings him up, I immediately pop in with "I've always felt Rowling was more influenced by P.L. Travers, myself."

Sadly, outside of you guys, I usually get a blank stare. Anyway, something about the Potter books always reminds me of the duality of the Poppins books, with it's spoonful of sugar balanced by a feeling that the wolves could be at the door (or in the walls, but that's an upcoming Gaiman book that I was lucky enough to hear him read last year).

Oh, and Harlan? *rimshot* I'll be sure to pass that joke along to my screenwriter...


- Friday, November 16 2001 9:11:53

Thanks to Amy and David for addressing Harry Potter. They *are* delightful, fun books (and yes, good read aloud. Rowling's storytelling voice reminds me, in a way, of Roald Dahl. That's probably just the British accent, though).

It's funny, this movie thing. As you know, I was raised in the woods by fundamentalists. The only movies we were allowed to see were G-rated. In the '70s and '80s, these were few and far-between. This was before the days of the PG-13 rating. They took us to STAR WARS at the drive-in, but I wasn't allowed to see GREASE when I was in the 5th grade. All my friends saw it, but my parents didn't allow me to because it was---GASP!---rated PG! Not only that, but when I bought the novelization of the musical movie through Scholastic book club, my mother freaked because she read a few pages which happened to be Rizzo non-chalantly delivering the news that she was not pregnant (naturally, she turned to the END of the book). "Well," my mother said during the ensuing argument, "something must have been going on for the problem to even come up."

Fast forward.

Anyway, I've never been much of a movie watcher. And that is to my detriment I believe. Thanks, Mom.

As a kid, my favorite series of "fantasy/magick" books were the Chronicles of Narnia and Lloyd Alexanders "Prydain Chronicles." I have found that among my friends, most are quite familiar with the former and few have read the latter. Of the two, I gravitate toward Alexander's work, though I don't know why. Certainly, Lewis's work was much more in-line with my upbringing and the allegory was immediate to me. Still, the Prydain Chronicles resonated more deeply.

Harry Potter entertained and enlivened my "inner child." It hit me where Narnia and Prydain hit me. I'm excited about the movie and MUST read the other books (perhaps aloud to my children?) before their cinematic renditions are released!

Harlan Ellison
- Friday, November 16 2001 9:0:8


What a sea-change. Checked in this morning just to lurkaway, and what swell stuff is there!!!

TODD: The ACTUAL origin of the iconographic "fur-covered banana" is actually from my mother, actually. Remember a while back, in these environs, I entered a query about expressions endemic to one's childhood . . . phrases that were used in the family or by friends, that weren't commonplace . . . and I did a whole rap on how my Mother used to use the phrase "she has the guts of Carenza" to indicate someone exhibiting an overamount of gall, temerity, chutzpah, nerve? And many of you chimed in with similar origin-unknown words, phrases, etcetera. Most of which--ignoring the usual aphorisms such as "crazy as a shit-house rat" and other dumb as a-- or lazy as a-- adages, which wasn't what I was talking about--were fascinating and regional and some of the best (in my view) exchanges we have had around here. But I guess I forgot to note that when my Mother was forced at gunpoint to praise me for the occasional thing I did RIGHT (as opposed to the endless parade of things I did WRONG or STUPID or BITCHY or IMMATURE), she would say, "You win the fur-covered banana." Now, in fact, as my memory returns, I think it was my Dad, the revered Louis Laverne "Doc" Ellison, who came up with the fur-covered banana, and my Mom who adopted it. So, the purpose of the phrase is to commend in tightest moderation, someone who usually screws the pooch publicly and does it major embarrassingly. It is a narrow kudo, but one with echoes attached. I hope that alleviates Brian's etymological needs in this particular matter.

And, Todd, that is one of the funniest jokes I've heard in weeks! Thank you. Consider it appropriated. But here's one in return:

Guy sitting at one end of the bar, lamenting to the bartender. "One of the great sorrows of my life is that I'm a pretty clever guy, and I have never found another male with whom I could intellectually bond. I'm empty and bereft in that area. I'm not talking all this Iron John stuff, just someone at my intellectual level for mild male-bonding and conversation." So as the bartender turns and walks away, the guy sitting on the next bar stool says to the first guy, "Uh, excuse me, I couldn't help but overhear. Oddly, I feel precisely the same way, and I've never been able to speak of it. What's your IQ?" And the first guy says, "167, what's yours?" And the other guy grins and says, "159," and they immediately start to rap with each other. Einstein's space-time equations. Adam Smith's ruminations on market fluctuations. The Analects of Confucius. Advantages of the Hermitage Museum over the Louvre.

Halfway down the bar, a guy who has overheard the conversation, turns to a stranger beside him and says, "MiGawd, there's a miracle taking place over there. I've felt the same damned way about never finding camaraderie with men that was meaningful in friendship terms." And the guy beside him asks, "Well, I feel sorta the same way, I guess it's a universal emptiness in These Times. So...what's your IQ?" And the other guy says, "Around a hundred, hundred-and-one," and the one who asked him smiles and says, "I'm 97, 98..." and THEY begin chatting ferociously. The chances of the Wizards with Jordan onboard. What do women want, anyway. The new John Grisham novel co-written with Tom Clancy and Anne Rice. The best steakhouse in town.

And way down at the far end, two guys sitting side-by-side. The first one reprises what everyone has said previously, and laments he's never had the joy of a pal with whom he can discuss the world and such. And the fellah beside him asks, "Me too. What's YOUR IQ?" and the first guy says, "About 63," and the other one says, "Hey, I'm 54. So what's YOUR screenplay about?"

In reciprocity, yr. pal, Henny Ellison

- Friday, November 16 2001 8:59:32

Do you mind if I cut and paste that haiku? I have a friend who might get a kick out of that. Then again, he is of the mind that his folk are stubborn folk and have blood on their hands.

I'm kinda wondering where humor comes from. My humor is somewhat off the wall and sick and I certainly didn't get it from my parents. My dad's idea of humor was belittling someone and telling "nigger" jokes. I think all humor is at the expense of someone (whether yourself or others), but it doesn't have to be mean-spirited. By the way, my dad feels he has become non-racist because, as he told me, he no longer says the word "nigger". I asked him if he still thought of the word even as he doesn't say it and he said yes. When told that it didn't matter what he said as long as he thought that way, he gave me a quizzical look. Now, that's not funny.

Just found out the police station was robbed of all the toilets last night. The police have nothing to go on.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 16 2001 8:51:46

I'm another Harry Potter fan. LOVE those books.

Okay, here's my joke, my all-time favorite. And best of all, NO PUNS.

There's this prospector in the Old West, and he spends his days panning for gold. After a few months, he's saved up wnough gold dust to go into town and treat himself right. So, he gets to town, cashes in his gold at the assayer's office, and starts spending. He gets his burro some TLC at the local stable, buys new equipment and rations, and checks into the hotel so he can sleep on a real bed and have a real bath. He buys some new clothes, and heads down to the saloon.

It's not the busiest saloon-- there's a guy playing the piano in the corner, a coupla ranch hands playing poker, a few grizzled souls at the bar. The prospector goes up and says, "Hey, barkeep! Gimme a glass' yer best whiskey!" The bartender sets him up with a small glass, and the whiskey turns out to be pretty good. The prospector savors the taste, puts the glass down, and says:

"Say, barkeep... I bin out'n the desert for seven months, and I ain't been with a women'n longer'n that. Is there some place in this town where a guy kin..."

But the bartender's shaking his head. "'Fraid we ain't got no wimmen like that in this down. But some of the menfolk go with Old Joe down the way..."

The bartender points to a man at the far end of the bar. It's Old Joe, all right-- a really grizzled old man with a gotch eye and mungy beard stubble, staring off into space with a shot glass of cheap rotgut held in his trembling hand. He doesn't seem to mind the cloud of flies swarming around his unwashed body.

The prospector takes one look, and says, "Whut? Ah don't go in fer that bullshit!" And he pays for his drink, and leaves.

Six months later, he's got some more gold. So he rides back into down, gets his burro taken care of, lays in new supplies, gets a hotel room, a bath, some new duds, and heads back to the saloon. He orders up another glass'o that fahn, _fahn_ whiskey, takes a long sip, and looks around.

"Say, barkeep," he says, "Ah bin in the desert for more'n a year, and Ah gots money in my pocket that's just burnin' to git out. Ain't there some woman in town who'd wanna give an old-timer some lovin'?"

"'Fraid not," says the bartender. "Like I told you, we ain't got no wimmen like that in this town. But like I said, some of the menfolk go with Old Joe down the way..."

And at the end of the bar, like he hasn't moved in six months, is Old Joe-- gotch-eye staring into space, flies buzzing around, rotgut still in his immobile hand.

"Yech!" says the Prospector."I tole ya, I don' go in fer that hullshit!" But he stays for a few more drinks before he leaves.

Okay. Six more months go by. The prospector returns to town. He buys himself a second burro, gets new equipment and supplies, and checks into his favorite room. Bathed and clothed, he heads back to the saloon. He has the barkeep set him up with a glass of his finest whiskey, and then he asks,

"Look, friend. Ah ain't been with a woman in more'n a _year_, and Ah got more money than I know what to do with. If you can jist..."

But the bartender's shaking his head. "I keep tellin' ya. There ain't no wimmen like that in this town. But like I tole ya, some of the menfolk go with Ole Joe down the way..." And he points to the smelly old vagrant at the far end of the bar.

"Look, I tole ya, I don't go in fer that bullshit. But lemme ask you something..." The prospector pulls the bartender in close. "Let's jes' say, just for a minnit, that I wuz to... 'go' with Ole Joe down the way. I mean... who's goin' to know about it?"

The bartender thinks for a moment. "Well, there's you, 'n me... Ole Joe, of course... and the two other guys..."

"What two other guys?"

"Well, the ones who hold Ole Joe down. He don't go in fer that bullshit neither."

That is my favorite joke.

Joseph J. Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, - Friday, November 16 2001 8:50:59


Rather than start a whole SPOILER! thing here, could you e-mail me as to what you thought the Monty Python reference was in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire?" (By the way, that's my favorite of the series - it's a real growing up book, with implications of pubescent darkness).


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Friday, November 16 2001 8:36:45

Thank you guys for all the bad jokes. ::grin:: And I thought my "We was eatin' elephant for weeks!" was awful. Here's something a friend sent me this morning. Jewish Haiku...

A lovely nose ring--
excuse me while I put
my head in the oven.

lips near my ear,
Aunt Sadie whispers the name
of her friend's disease.

Looking for pink buds
to prune, the old mohel wanders
among his flowers.

The sparkling blue sea
reminds me to wait an
hour after my sandwich.

Tea ceremony--
fragrant steam perfumes the air.
Try the cheese Danish.

Lacking fins or tail
the gefilte fish swims
with great difficulty.

A cat steals into
the night just like my former
partner, that gonif.

How soft the petals
of the floral arrangement
I have just stolen.

Like a bonsai tree,
your terrible posture at
my dinner table.

Beyond Valium
the peace of knowing one's child
is an internist.

The shivah visit:
so sorry about your loss.
Now back to my problems.

Sorry I'm not home
to take your call. At the tone
please state your bad news.

Yenta. Schmeer. Gevalt.
Shlemiel. Shlimazl. Tochis.
Oy! To be fluent!

Hava nagila,
hava nagila, hava--
enough already.


Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Friday, November 16 2001 8:33:51

Man, I hate it when I hit the wrong button, and a lengthy message I'd spent twenty minutes typing gets erased.

Favorite Heinlein: I never was too enthusiastic about Heinlein. I think that's because, at the age when I _should_ have enjoyed him, I knew way too many people who'd taken the Lazarus Long books as some kind of _Jonathan Livingston Seagull_ blueprint for life. Utterly irritating habits, too-- dropping quotes like breadcrumbs, the pose of "knowing how the world works," and the like. When I finally _did_ get around to Heinlein, I found I liked his Future History stuff like _The Man who Sold the Moon_ best of all.

Standup Comedians: I grew up with two big favorites, George Carlin and Richard Pryor, and I tended to really like stuff that had a kind of engaged intelligence behind it. I mean, I loved comics who were just working at being funny, like Robin Williams and Steve Martin, but Carlin and Pryor tended to get me thinking as often as laughing. (By the way, on December 4th, Sony rereleases the first four albums of the Firesign Theatre! And for you Ebay geeks, here's a gem of an album to look for: Burns and Schrieber's _Pure B.S._)

And there are a lot of comics whose work I really enjoy: Drew Carey, Billy Connolly, Ellen de Generes, Bobcat Goldthwait, Robin Harris, Eddie Izzard, Jake Johansen, Bob Newhart, Rita Rudner, Emo Phillips, Steven Wright, Wendy Liebman, Greg Proops, even Don Rickles. (Yes, I did consult an alphabetical list of comedians to refresh my memory. I was, however, unable to track down a name for a lesbian comic I caught on Comedy Central some months ago. She was Hispanic, had short hair, and did some wonderful routines about being a widdle kid.)

There are comics whose stuff I genuinely _loathe_; Chris Tucker, for one. And then there are figures whose work puts them in a class by themselves, like Peter Cook and Chris Morris.

I was always of two minds about Sam Kinison. His ideas could be pretty rancid-- but he had the single greatest delivery of any comedian I've ever seen. He could spout some of the most imbecile bullshit ever, but I'd be in convulsions on the floor, laughing harder than I'd ever laughed before.

As for Bill Hicks, I just received a videotape titled "Sane Man," from Sacred Cow productions (http://www.sacredcowproductions.com/hicks/saneman/index.html). Apart from some video superimpositions that are just irritating, it's Hicks in fine form. And if you can get his HBO special, count yourself lucky. Watch Hicks-- and you'll never look at Dennis Leary the same way again.

Amy Jenkins <akojenkins@hotmail.com>
Krum, TX United States - Friday, November 16 2001 8:30:24

David: Unfortunately, for reading's sake, I live in KRUM. I have more books than the public library does. Normally I'd scoot right out and pick up a hardcover edition of a book that I expect I'd like--bought "The Black House" immediately (and regrettably...anyone wanna trade for HP?), but my husband's 40th birthday is coming up next month and every stinking pfennig of my cash is going toward his surprise party. The theme is, of course, Halloween. He'll love it. So, I've gotta wait for paperback, for the library to catch up with the 21st century, perhaps for Xmas, but at any rate, I've got to wait. Drag, yes.


Amy Jenkins <akojenkins@hotmail.com>
Krum, TX United States - Friday, November 16 2001 8:24:39

By the way, our Halloween was FABULOUS...finished my props on time (well, most of them) and scared lots o' chillun. Unfortunately, it was very windy Halloween night and blew a lot of our fog away, along with a PVC/fabric wall I spent hours constructing. Oopsie. My husband came up with the idea of rolling my car onto a ramp thisclose to our tree in the front yard, popping the hood and turning on the hazard lights. I finished it off with an open passenger door, a body sprawled on the ground, and monsters circling the "wreck." It was glorious. Y'know, I bitch and moan all October about the work that goes into this one night, but when I have SO many people thanking us, complimenting my work and telling me that visiting our house is now the highlight of their Halloween (they come by truckloads now), I have to admit that I really do love doing this crap.



David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, November 16 2001 8:23:24

cookie: The Harry Potter books are delightful. My wife and I read them aloud to each other. They may not deserve ALL the hype they've gotten -- I've seen fans of children's fantasy books complain that there are "better" authors and books out there -- but I found them charming, engaging, and helpfully strewn with a few subtle jokes that only grownups are likely to appreciate.

Amy: I'm amazed you've been able to hold back from getting the fourth, one way or another, if you enjoyed them so much. Since I live in one county and work in another, I have several library systems to choose from, so when I want to read a real hot book that the libraries allow out for only two or three weeks with no renewal, I put in a reserve at both library systems, thereby allowing me to have a copy of the book on hand for more than the limited borrowing time allowed by each!

That's how we managed to get all the way through book 4, which was considerably longer (700-plus pages) than the previous three (tended to be 300-400), although it doesn't feel that way.

There's also -- I am convinced -- a Monty Python reference in the fourth book, which I thought was terrific. The movie may not be that momentous (Chris Columbus isn't the most inspired or adventurous director around, and the strongest criticism I've seen of the flick so far is that it's "too faithful to the book" [???] ), but I'm sure it'll be a lovely diversion at least.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Friday, November 16 2001 8:17:49

David, I notice a theme in your jokes:

Do you hang out with house painters much?


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Friday, November 16 2001 8:12:41

Lynn asked for any good jokes heard "lately."

Unfortunately, I just don't hear jokes very often these days, for some reason. However, on the off chance that a few of you haven't heard these, I offer the two standbys I like to relate:

1. A man is nursing a beer at the bar when a gorgeous babe in a slinky black dress sidles up next to him and purrs, "I'll do anything you want ... for two hundred dollars ... if you can say it in no more than three words."
He thinks about it for a moment and asks, "Anything?"
"For two hundred dollars?
"Uh huhhh..."
So he looks her in the eye and says, "Paint my house."

2. Patrick had a great racket going with his paint business. He'd cut his paint with thinner so it would stretch, and thereby beat all the other bidders on paint projects.
One day, he's painting the roof of a church after having done his usual thing of beating all the other bids, winning the contract, and thinning the paint.
Suddenly, a lightning bolt shoots out of the sky, slams into him, and knocks him off the roof.
Rubbing his many bruises, he looks up from the lawn and says, "Okay, Lord, I get the picture. I've upset you somehow. Tell me how I can make it up to you."
And a booming voice rumbles out of the sky: "Repaint! Repaint, and thin no more!"

Amy Jenkins <akojenkins@hotmail.com>
Krum, TX United States - Friday, November 16 2001 8:10:1

Cookie: LOVE Harry Potter. Wish I could blow off work to hit the early show (before the kiddies overrun the theater). I'll probably grab a late-night showing to cut down on the kid factor. Funny that I like kid THINGS, but not the kids themselves. I've read the first three HP books and am eagerly awaiting the fourth in paperback. I would've devoured these books as a kid, for sure--my favorite books when I was in single digits were Edward Eager "magic" books.

Comedians: Lenny Bruce, George Carlin (anyone else see the "Canyonero" episode of the Simpsons? It takes a cute poke at Carlin.)and Eddie Izzard are my favorites. Eddie is a fairly new one for me, but he is SO damned funny, I have a feeling he'll stay on my permanent list. I always enjoyed Robin Williams, and from what I saw on Whose Line earlier this year, he hasn't lost his touch for improv.


Bill Gauthier <Gauthic@mediaone.net>
New Bedford, MA - Friday, November 16 2001 7:56:13

I don't remember many jokes, however, this is one I overheard a few years ago that cracked me up.

A guy comes into a bar with a monkey on his shoulder, sits, and orders a beer. While he's drinking, the monkey jumps off his shoulder and runs up and down the bar eating all the napkins.

"Hey!" the bartender says. "Your monkey's eating napkins!"

"Don't worry about it," the man says. "He'll be fine."

The next night the man and monkey returns. This time, the money gets into a box of straws and eats them all.

"Your monkey ate a box of straws!" the bartender says.

"He'll be fine," the man said.

The next night the man and monkey return. The monkey jumps over to the pool table and eats the cue ball. The bartender's amazed but knows how the conversation will go so says nothing, muttering about crazy monkies.

The next night: no man and monkey. The night after that: the same. A week goes by before the man comes back with the monkey. He sits down at the bar, orders his drink, and the monkey leaps over to the condiment tray, takes a cherry, puts it in his ass, then eats it.

"What the hell's wrong with him?" the bartender shouts. "That the most disgusting thing I've ever seen!"

The man shrugs. "Ever since he ate the cue ball, he measures his food before he eats."


Fav comedians: Robin Williams, Steve Martin, and the inspired lunacy of Andy Kaufman.

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Friday, November 16 2001 7:21:12


Curious to know how the IMPOSTOR screening went, if you care to share. Does it warrant our attention when it’s released? Thanks.

John Q. <johnq@jqadams.com>
Lockport, NY usa - Friday, November 16 2001 3:48:29

Leafing through next week's TV Guide, I see it has Harlan's PI appearance listed for late night Tuesday the 20th. Best consult your local listings to be safe.

John Q.

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Friday, November 16 2001 2:3:45

A small request to ALL: Might you guys differentiate between Bermans--at least when referring to us? It's gotten me a wee bit loopy, trying to follow myself around ...

Favorite Comedians:
At the top: BILL HICKS. Incisive, intelligent--and knock-me-down FUNNY. This man also truly cared; perhaps too much. Pancraetic cancer got him, at the age of 32, in '94. Still upsetting to think that ...

Then there are the top-flighters: Lenny Bruce. George Carlin. Richard Pryor. And, in a departure from comedians many think of as "Dirty", Lord Richard Buckley, who is sadly almost out-of-print now. Robin Williams, of course.

Richard Belzer, Richard Lewis, Dennis Leary, Alan King, Franklin Ajaye (whatever happened to him?), Kinison when he was thinking rather than drinking, Marsha Warfield, Robin Harris Cosby before he got his show, Eddie Murphy, Billy Crystal, Redd Foxx ...

- Friday, November 16 2001 0:5:36


Much about FDR will come out of that book I'm sure. Certainly to what extent he made the decision about the Nisei on his own; as you said, Hoover found no evidence of a Japanese threat to the U.S. internally. But I seem to remember reading how the media - magazines like Time - enflamed the already exaggerated fears, phobias and bigotries foaming from the mouths of patriotic groups, farmers and military leaders. Nightmarish events like the Bataan Death March, Wake Island, the Philippines and so on sent shock waves through a naive American public. It was now an outcry for blood. And Japanese civilians were easy targets. That's when FDR capitulated. Had there not been these internal pressures, would he have done it? That's the question sitting in my mind. I'm no history expert; it's been some time since I'd read about that period and I'd have to do some scrounging to give you confident answers on the matter. But there could well be some interesting info that book you mentioned.

If he had always been listening to Eleanor, a pretty remarkable woman for her time, I doubt he'd have done it at all.

To shift gears for a moment let me tell you and everyone else what my last week has been like:

7 days ago I was driving home on the 405 Freeway South leaving Northridge. It was around 7pm; mild weather; steady winds. Well, regardless my rear tire decided to blow. There was no shoulder to pull into thanks to the legendary engineering decisions of LA. I came to a dead stop...in the middle of the car pool lane. I jumped out to see the back of the car underneath because the series of very loud bangs led me wondering if shafts had broken; I didn't know it was the tire yet. There had been no hydroplaning. I was prostrate for a second peering below; it then occurred to me my head was less than 12 inches from the next lane where cars were speeding by at a comforting 85mph (hey, when I get focused on something I get focused. OK?). Imagine the interesting road kill THAT would've made. Yes, having the common sense I was born with I actually rose and moved away. This wisdom surprised even me. When I finally spotted the tire, it had stripped down bare to the bone. Anyway, to shorten the scenario an ambulance happened by and he helped me limp my car to the opposite side of the freeway by staying behind me where I could put the spare on.
A day later I'm on the 405 North; it's 2pm. Fair weather. An SUV ahead of me by maybe 30 yards runs over a mega-chunk of scrap tire sitting in the middle of the damn freeway. The fucker hurtled into my car like a comet, slamming into vital organs below.
Two days later I'm on the 405 North around noon. My rear bumper goes flying off. Actually, it was dragging - so no drivers around me were bothered. I got to the side without a problem. But it sat in the back of my car like a corpse for the rest of the week.
A day later: I'm on the 405 South. 3pm. Just when I thought I was going to have a normal day a loud scream from worn brake pads scared the shit out of me; it sounded like the disk, cylinders and rotors were all tearing apart. I wondered if it'd been damage from that chunk of tire. I limped my car into service feeling like I'd barely made it.

Five days in a row on the Freeway of the Damned.
I rode motorcycles in my teens, I've traveled all over by car, I've driven on the freeways for years out here. I've never been through anything like this. I think I've finally become a believer: there are truly ghosts and demons out there and they live in the 405. Stay the fuck away from it.

And what's that you say?
"Why the fuck don't you take proper care of your vehicle, you fucking, deficient nimrod?"
Well...you may have a point there.

Chuck Messer <chuck_messer@hotmail.com>
Denver, - Thursday, November 15 2001 21:46:9

I asked for a joke some weeks ago, and people were kind enough to oblige. So, (scroll by if you've heard this one)....

A man was sitting at a bar, drinking steadily for about an hour. One drink after another. Finally, he decided he'd had more than enough (very responsbile!). He turned to get off the bar stool and fell right to the floor.

He dragged himself back up on the stool and said to the bartender, "Damn. I must've really gone over my limit. Gimme a glass o' water. Maybe that'll help."

The bartender gave him a glass of water, which he drank. After waiting for about twenty minutes he decided to give it another try.

Fell right to the floor. Dragged himself back up and said, "Dammit! I'm drunker than I thought. Maybe I need a cupa' coffee. Black."

The bartender obliged, with a cup from a pot of coffee that must have been sitting there all day. We're talking stuff that will instantly stain your teeth, shock your taste buds, make your lips pucker and steam come out your ears.

Feeling a little stimulated, the man once again tried to get up off his bar stool, only to immedeately collapse to the floor.

The bartender leaned over the bar, looked down at his prostrate customer and asked "Say, fella, did you happen to come from Winston's Bar about an hour and a half ago?"

Surprised,the man looked up and said, "Yeah, How'd you know?"

The bartender smiled and said, "Winston called. He said someone took off from there and left his wheelchair."

Yours in sobriety,


Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Thursday, November 15 2001 21:35:8

And nearly had convulsions years ago when I watched Robin Williams at the Met on HBO. Wish I knew what happened to my tape of that...

Tony Rabig <arabig@par1.net>
Parsons, KS - Thursday, November 15 2001 21:31:38

Always liked Cosby's stand-up stuff (and would have loved to see Cosby and Culp do a stint as a stand-up team). Steve Martin and Paula Poundstone do it for me, and so does Rita Rudner. And always found Rodney Dangerfield funny as hell.

Favorite Heinlein? The first one I read, which was the first science fiction novel I bought (and the one that turned me into a for-nearly-ten-years-I-read-almost-nothing-but-sf-for-pleasure junkie): The Puppet Masters. Who was it who said the golden age of sf is thirteen?

Found the movie of it a real disappointment, but thought Sutherland a nice choice to play the Old Man.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 15 2001 21:15:10

Favorite stand-ups? I loooove a good stand-up. Some of the best I've seen were Sam Kinison (his early stuff, before he got big), Richard Pryor (his first stand-up movie is probably the funniest stand-up I've ever seen....his follow-ups are not as good), Steve Martin, Paula Poundstone (forgetting her current problems, she has always been my favorite female stand-up...she is quick!), Rosanne Barr (before her teevee show), Jon Stewart (saw him in Atlantic City over the summer. He killed).

But one of the strangest favorites I have, a stand-up who is often loathed, a stand-up who never ever ever fails to crack me the hell up no matter how stupid he is.....is Howie Mandel. I've seen Howie live twice. I have all of his videotapes. His classic, to me, is Howie In Maui (which is actually filmed on one of the other Hawaiian islands, but it doesn't rhyme with Howie...natch). If I need a guaranteed hour of laughter, I will pop in that tape. He kills me. I have no shame.


Alejandro Riera
chicago, il - Thursday, November 15 2001 21:7:8

Well, P.A. and the rest of this fine community, do I have good news for you. The new George Carlin HBO Special airs this next Saturday November 17 at 9:00 pm Central Standard Time (CST).

In fact, Saturday looks like a great stay-at-home-order-some-pizza-and-beer kinda day because, you see my friends, the Cartoon Network will air the first three episodes of the new Justice League of America animated series beginning at 6:00 pm CST with an encore performance at 7:00 the following night (on widescreen format no less). No Glik or Gluk or whatever the blazes that ugly chimp's name was. Nope. This is pure Paul Dini good fun. The fact that the regular episodes will air right after Samurai Jack every Monday night makes my childish little heart sing a joyful song. Can I sing it for you guys?

(And as he warbles a tune, china and windowpanes and windshields can be heard exploding up and down the block.)

Xanadu <X_a_n_a_d_u@yahoo.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 20:55:34

Favorite Heinlein - Gotta go with the obvious - Stranger in a Strange Land - but not because of Valentine Michael Smith - I loved Jubal Harshaw - His harem/secretarial pool - and the concept of Fair Witnesses. Though I got a soft spot for most of his juves, too - Podkane of Mars, to name one.

Next point - this Sunday morning - all those reading this should haul themselves outta bed around 5:00am EST/2:00am PST and go watch the lightshow - the exciting estimates suggest frequencies of up to 4000/hour. The last time we had such an event, 1966 - estimates(they couldn't physically count that high) actually topped out at over 150,000/hour. It ain't a winter shower folks, this be a storm.

This link provides further info:


Be humbled by the grandeur of nature folks.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Thursday, November 15 2001 20:55:9

I know it was me that was boring. I am sorry. After I send this out I promise to take a break (and give you guys one from my lame ass).

My topic: George Carlin was in Binghamton on Tuesday. Saw him in 1995 and he was bitterly hysterical. Stand-up is a lost art; it seems like they all quit live comedy to become movie actors. So my question is: who is your favorite stand-up comedian ever? Favorite living comedian? Best woman comedian?

Hoping you guys will introduce me to some cool new humor; I'd love to laugh my ass off over Thanksgiving.

See you guys next week,

- Thursday, November 15 2001 20:53:49

Uh, duh, FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (singular).

- Thursday, November 15 2001 20:46:40

Ha HA! Good one!

Have we discussed the Harry Potter thing yet? I've only read the first book (because the Fundamentalists said I shouldn't) and I liked it. It was fun. My oldest child read the first book, too, and while he's not a fanatic, he and his brother (and their father and I) are really looking forward to the Harry Potter movie. We rarely, any of us, go to the movies so it's a family event for us.

Anyway, do any of you fine intelligent folks have any thoughts. BTW: we are also looking forward to THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RINGS. The children haven't read this yet, but my husband and I both read Tolkien in our formative years. We'll drag our kids to this and HOPE they dig it enough to dig out our old copies....

Bill Forrester
- Thursday, November 15 2001 19:53:23

Lynn: "PS. Anybody heard any good jokes recently? It's a tough room and could use some lightening up."

I'll give it a try, Lynn. Just don't be too brutal if you don't like it. Those of you who have heard HimsElf perform the "Leprechaun Nun" story, try to hear that voice in your head when you read this:

A man comes home from a hard day's work. Once a month, this fella has to work at the docks on Saturday and Sunday. Since he can't attend services on the Sabbath with his beloved, on Saturday evening, he stops at church for five o'clock mass on the way home, then joins his wife for dinner. This particular Saturday, as she set the table, he comes in the door - with a black eye!

"Jesus, Mary, n' Joseph Mary!" she said, "I thought ya said ya were goin' t' Mass, and I can plainly see ya went t' the pub and got carried away, drinkin', rough-housin' n' brawlin'!"

"But I did go t' church," he said, "tha's where I got the shiner." She stared at him. "How do ya get a black eye at church??"

He took a deep breath and said, "As the pastor came in, n' we stood for the entrance hymn, I noticed that the woman in front o' me had the hem of her dress stuck up in the crack of her ass. Well, I dinna want her to be embarrassed, so I reached across n' pulled it out, and wouldn't ya know, she took offense t' that n' hit me!"

She looked at him with sympathy, knowin' the story he just told her was so stupid, it had to be true. "Ya foolish man. Promise me ya won't ever do that again." "I won't," he said, " I promise ya."

A month later, Saturday night, she set to fixin' dinner and heared a "thump!" against the door. She opened the door n' there's her husband, two black eyes, a bloody lip, a knot on his head, the collar half torn from his shirt n' one shoe missin'. "Ya lyin' sonofabitch!" she roared. "Now I KNOW ya were drinkin' and fightin' and carryin' on!" He looked up and said, "I wasn't ... nowheres near a pub! I was at church!"

"Then, tell me what happened!" she demanded. He lifted himself to his feet and said, "Well, we stood as the pastor walked in n' I noticed that same woman, wearin' the same dress, had the hem stuck up in the crack of her ass again."

She rolled her eyes and asked him, "You dinna pull the hem out again, didja?"

"No!" he cried. "I promised ya I wouldn't.

"But the fella next to me, he reached over and pulled the hem outta her ass, and I sez t' him, 'Idjit! She doesn't like it when ya do that,' so I grabbed the hem and shoved it back in."

Quote: "Is a bear Catholic?" - Eddie Izzard

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 15 2001 19:22:10

Lynn, any good jokes lately? I hope you're not a blonde:

Brunette walks into the doctor's office. Tell the doc that she hurts all over....not a single inch of her body is without pain. Doctor is skeptical. Asks her to show him.

She touches her elbow. Screams out in pain.
Touches her thigh. Screams out in pain.
Touches her shoulder, her face, her toes. Pain. Pain Pain.
Doctor: Are you a real brunette?
Patient: No, doctor, I'm actually a blonde.
Doctor: Uh huh. Your finger is broken.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 19:3:36

Todd~ The fur-covered banana reference comes from a post made by Harlan on the 2nd of July. Search the archives for that, and you'll find that Harlan, in a moment of sublime pithiness, awarded the fur-covered banana as a doorprize to Alex for correctly spotting an error. We, the lowly groundlings of Webderland, could not let such a moment of surrealistic perfection slip past, and latched onto the image, parlaying it into a series of bad jokes and even worse fiction. It's that simple, and yet, so much more complex than that. And yes, it is my favorite dead horse to flog. I submit to you that it's better than laughing at the ridiculous poses one often finds roadkill in.

Barney~ re: the Heinlein comment, Thanks for making me go dig in the archives SOME MORE. ::grin:: I actually wish more people in the armed forces read the entire body of Heinlein. I would have spent less hours in the car waiting for fucking cocktail parties to end, and more hours actually having *intelligent* conversations about gays in the military or co-ed service.

NEW TOPIC: Your favorite Heinlein book and why. Mine? Cat Who Walks Through Walls. Why? I have a thing for tall, dark, and handsome heroes that wear an eye patch. Actually, Moon Is A Harsh Mistress was also one of my favorites, as well as Time Enough For Love. I think I quote Lazarus Long more than I quote Python, and that's sayin' something.


PS. Anybody heard any good jokes recently? It's a tough room and could use some lightening up.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 18:29:37

Looking through the web site of _Gadfly_, a fairly decent magazine devoted to pop culture, one finds a range of good writing, bad writing, and plain snarky attitide.

The good writing comes from their interview with Terry Gilliam. The snarkiness comes from a nicely funny review of Sylvester Stallone's movie _Paradise Alley_. And the _bad_ comes from a twerp named Victor Bockris, a Warhol-fixated bottom feeder of NYC's poseur scene who decided to write a tribute to his close friend, Albert Goldman.

That's right. The guy who spent the last years of his life shit-daubing the lives of Elvis Presley and John Lennon to justify his own hatred of rock music, is recast as a brave and forthright "man" as one with Mailer and Burroughs. (Thankfully, neither of Goldman's works in this vein have come to be regarded as definitive or authoritative. I suggest the works of Peter Guralnick and Ray Coleman instead, and I truly wish someone would work up a corrective to his book on Lenny Bruce.)

For a look, try http://www.gadflyonline.com/default1.html.

As for civility-- I've been staying out of the argument because, for reasons I won't vent here, I've had one of the worst weeks of my life. Nothing terribly tragic-- failed to get a particular job, a glicth on my mortage refinancing-- but it's been kind of stressful here at Casa Brian.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 15 2001 18:16:45

And sorry to the rest of you guys too.


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 15 2001 18:15:41

Hey, at least I've tried to steer toward other topics. I've posted notes on movies, West Wing, year-long Christmas lights, Howard Stern, some other things I don't remember.......yes, his is getting ponderous. No other thread seems to last as long as threads about politics, religion/belief, the 'war', because those are topics that will always bring passionate debate.

Alas, 'tis a problem with the internet. At least the folks on this board, lurkers and writers, have intelligence above and beyond the few sites I've seen elsewhere.

I still wish I knew what this goddamn furry banana thing is. Oh well, I shall be cool and assume it's an in-joke that I either have to dig through archives for or forget about.

Sorry, Harlan. I do not mean for everyone to grow weary with me.


Barney <dannelke01@enter.net>
Allentown, - Thursday, November 15 2001 18:11:38

Ah, the other shoe drops. I was watching one of the newsfeeds do a little precis on the Caspian oil reserves. Didja know there's only two places worth running a pipeline through to get it to the West? Guess where.

Iran and Afghanistan. Of course, when I'm made Emperor I will build both. You will definitely want a backup on that sucker. The region being just a wee bit less stable than Canada, eh?

Who was it that said this has nothing to do with oil last month? Sure it doesn't. I'm also sure we'll be going after Shining Path compounds next week. Then we'll forgive the Saudi Arabian debt. Can you imagine sitting on that much oil and still owing the West about $120 billion. Wouldn't want those guys near my checkbook. I suppose I shouldn't complain. I'm paying $1.04 at the pump and for a $800 million a day we're keeping our boys trained and field testing that third generation GPS targeting equipment.

*** Lynn *** What you said last month about Heinlein -
I think that's all to the good. NO sarcasm meant by that remark.
Heinlein devotees are exactly who I want watching the perimeter.
Although I think quite a bit of his stuff is a slog to read these days, his two main thematic questions, namely, "Who gets to be in charge here?" and "What sort of criteria are we going to use to determine how we make group decisions?" are the same sort of socratic dialog material that we should always expose young folks to. It won't entrench their thinking either. I think 80% of the people on this board read Heinlein and we barely agree on anything. :-)

This gets me to thinking about "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" and I'm sorta glad Heinlein didn't get to see how 3 man revolutionary cell theory and dropping large objects from a height played out. Shit, now I'm depressed.

- Barney

While I agree with Todd that last nights West Wing was a little more ham handed than usual [particularly the soft money primer], I don't think the show has degenerated into straw man arguments just yet. Everybody is still getting their innings. And some points of view SHOULD be beaten like red-headed step children for their own good. The "question" subplot was great. I still remember the day Ted Kennedy fumbled that ball. You'd have thought it would have been part of some lizard brain pavlovian response for him but nope. Train wreck indeed.

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, November 15 2001 18:5:57

Gee, I'm just as happy as a lost puppy in a Milk-Bone factory
that the four or five of you paid such heed to my remonstration anent civility. Perhaps I wasn't clear enough for you. Act like adults, not thorn-headed sophomores. You're getting nastier with each other, not kindlier. And that makes the lot of you incredibly crushingly BORING. And if you'd like to get a handle on just how you've driven everyone else away, go back merely a week and see what per cent of the postings are chalkable to just the less-than-half-a-dozen of you. You've become long-winded never-shut-up BORES. Now worse crime exists in the universe.

High verbal, yes. Hijacking the site, no.

I do wish some others of you, lurking (or merely hiding so as not to get hit with flak), would step up to the plate. These guys are getting to be oververbose pains in the ass.

Sorry to be thrusting my snout into your province, Rick.

But it's been a while since I got any pleasure reading this site.

For shame. Moderate, you people, moderate.

Respectfully, please note it's RESPECTFULLY, Harlan.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 17:55:37

Frank Church said that:
"As the former Soviet Union proves, hunger for Democracy is the greater of all the needs of the human animal."

I find this very hard to believe. Consider that democracy is a relatively recent invention for the human animal. Not only has it existed for only a little more than two hundred years, it's only existed in certain places on the globe, and even then, in a tentative, imperfect form. And in the given example of the Soviet Union, democracy seems to have withered in favor of corrupt oligarchies and criminal enterprises. The rest of the planet's history has been despotism, autocracy, and worse.

I love democracy, and I'd love to see it spread around the globe, but I _really_ hate slogans and cheap sentiment.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, November 15 2001 17:12:37


Oh My God, Trees!

Just feeling, silly,,,,


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, November 15 2001 17:12:1

Oooo, Todd ... getting a little testy, are we? So I'm hitting you where you live?

Like clockwork, just about the first thing you typed was "I'm not going to change my mind and neither are most of you," when only a couple days ago, I stated right here that this is not the goal, nor should it be. Another possible sign that you're just not reading my posts very carefully.

Maybe I do condescend. Maybe I AM a bit of a snot. Unfortunately, your evidence for that interpretation doesn't stack up.

I didn't type "I know you're not paying attention" simply because you disagree with me. My stated reason for saying so was that you closed your post with the implication that BECAUSE I disagree with you on our aggression in Afghanistan, I therefore had nothing to offer but the wringing of hands and empty threats. On the contrary, I posted SPECIFIC alternatives to our bombing campaign, and almost nobody had a reaction to them, including you. (I don't consider it "rude" that you didn't respond, by the way. People are free to respond or not, as they like.)

I'll agree that the "forest for the trees" comment was a bit stronger, but my reason for using it was, again, not that you disagreed with me, but that the things you and Lynn were crowing over (Kabul has fallen, women can walk with exposed faces again) had very little to do -- if anything -- with ending terrorism worldwide. They, and perhaps the entire bombing of Afghanistan, strike me as a mere sideshow to Bush's stated purpose, let alone whatever ulterior motives the administration has for pursuing this "war."

That's what I mean: the unclear, unstated, shifting goals and results of this war are the forest; the cute video of bombs hitting shadowy targets, people dancing in the streets, the Taliban vacating Kabul ... may be nothing more than emotionally satisftying but meaningless trees.

Finally, I'm amused that you accuse me of saying "I'm smarter than you" and tossing out opinions as facts. I see almost nothing in my posts but questions, not facts. You guys are the ones acting as if you're peddling facts.

Read my last post again: "Frank all but says what I'm inclined to believe ... So what makes you think...? ... I did not say ... [bin Laden] may be ... I stand by my declaration that there is clearly no evidence [although I could have worded that much better as 'I stand by my declaration that there is no clear and convincing evidence'] ... Just how does ... And how many ... are probably going to die ... I DON'T know why Saddam is still in power ... I have a theory or two ... You may just be right, but if you're right ... I freely admit I don't know what's going on. I'm just MIGHTY SUSPICIOUS...."

Looks like speculation, opinion, and suggestion, all the way down the line, not facts or a presumption of knowledge and understanding.

As for Berman's point about the oil, it's not that Afghanistan has it, it's that the oil that lies north and west of Afghanistan has to come out of the interior somehow, and bringing it through A. is going to be a lot easier than trying to bring it through Iran or Iraq. At least, bullying the locals into dealing with us toward that purpose will be easier. It certainly ain't going to flow smoothly to the north, through all the 'stans and then our ostensible friend Russia, to get to us!

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 15 2001 16:24:47

After days of giving my opinion in my own inimitable fashion, I found myself repeating myself on our two big political debates: The Terrorist War and Bill Clinton. Rather than repeat and repeat myself, after all I'm not going to change my mind and neither are most of you, I was ready to quietly stop leaping into the topic.

Unfortunately, with questions aimed directly at me, it's rude to not respond. So, just when I thought I was out, Mr. Loftus dragged me back in today. Oh well. I responded. I asked no questions. You know my thoughts. I know yours.

I notice something about many posts on the hot topics....there is a lot of "I am smarter than you" bullshit tossed out amongst the opinions. Other than a rather heated, yet fun, exchange with Joseph Finn the other day, I try to stick to the topic itself....not the people debating me.

You, Mr. Loftus, have a tendency to condescend. Extremely. It's rude. Let's just look at two lines from today that basically mean "To whom it may concern....you are so stupid and I am so smart and thus my opinion is fact and your opinion is runny mammoth excrement":

"I know you're not paying attention." aimed at me. Because I don't agree with you.

"I'm afraid you guys keep getting distracted by the trees and once again fail to see the forest." aimed at Lynn and me. Because we don't agree with you.

Now, a few days ago, Rob posted a simple "Ah. Todd...yer fulla shit." note. I took that humorously. Maybe I'm wrong, but I laughed and congratulated him on his concise opinion (similar to when I say things like "yadda yadda yadda yadda I'm right you're wrong")

Joseph and I had some heated words, but not once did I get the sense he was calling me stupid because I have different politics.

But you, Mr. Loftus, are....what do you call it.....a bit of a snot. State you opinion. Disagree with every word that is typed (and typo-ed) out of my fingers, but don't think you can rise above me with condescending comments that say "this is not opinion, you fucking right wing moron, this is fact."

I’ve given my opinion. 1) I agree with every fucking thing we are currently doing in the Terrorist War, but I pray we do more once we get over the Osama As Only Villain thing and 2) I hate Bill Clinton.

Everything else out of my mouth, though I my enjoy letting it run dry, is just repetition. After time passes, and new events take place, I’m sure I’ll babble more on those topics. Thanks….and GO YANKEES! (oh, that’s all over, isn’t it?)


(oh, Bermanator, I can’t resist your note……I don’t agree with anyone calling THIS aggression as being about oil. Any other Middle East country, that’s always an issue…but Afghanistan? Isn’t their #1 moneymaking product their poppies?? Now when we take Iraq…THEN, I will agree that oil is part of the issue…..more of a nice-to-have in addition to wiping out some scum.)

Frank Church
- Thursday, November 15 2001 15:59:54

As the former Soviet Union proves, hunger for Democracy is the greater of all the needs of the human animal. But our hatred of Islam and arabs will never give Democracy a happy face in that part of the world. Unless we have all new leaders. But, hell if I know when that will be.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 15:53:3

David~ I didn't think you were presuming my political tendencies at all. Just wanted to make sure that no one else did. I refuse to be categorized!!! {maniacal laughter here}

Andrew~ Sent you email.

Todd~ re: explanations. Yeah - that pretty much sums up what I understood. Thanks.


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, November 15 2001 14:27:19

Also, some of you might find this article, from Wired News, interesting.



David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, November 15 2001 14:24:46


There's a brand-new book out this year about Roosevelt's official correspondence leading up to the decision to intern Japanese-Americans. I don't recall a tremendous amount of public pressure on him to do it at the time. It's well known that J. Edgar Hoover's FBI found no reason to do it, and urged him not to. As far as I know, there were only a few well-placed parties that pushed it through (then-California Governor Earl Warren being one of them, much to his eternal discredit). But I don't really know.

Frank all but says what I'm inclined to believe: that the greatest force for keeping Saddam in power all these years has been the U.S. Pressure and calumny from the outside (plus internal control of information, of course) is what keeps driving the Iraqi people to support Hussein, or at least to prefer him to the unknown terrors of life without him. When we isolate the country, we make it easier for it to make up its own reality, just as shunning the high school outcast makes it harder for him to want to join the crowd.

Interesting that Lynn's explanation for the results of the Gulf War basically says George H.W. Bush and his administration lied to most of the military, as well as to the country. So what makes you think the government is being any more honest about its intentions and motivations now?

Which claim should we accept? That it really does have conclusive evidence bin Laden was behind the Sept. 11 attacks but it just doesn't care to share it with the world? That we can know for certain he's at fault from the other side of the globe even though we can't even track anthrax spores and mail on the Atlantic Coast? That we're fighting terrorism, period, in this Afghanistan adventure?

Check which countries have consistently vetoed UN resolutions against terrorism over the years. (Hint: it's the US and Israel. We just call it something else whenever we finance and support it around the world.)

I don't appreciate your repeated tendency to guess at what I "honestly believe in my heart," Lynn. Try to learn to stick to what I say. I did NOT say I don't think the Taliban sympathize with bin Laden, or even tacitly support him. On the other hand, he may be too big and too wealthy, or too sneaky, for them to control or oppose.

I also never voiced any assumption about your "political standings." Address what I write, not what you think I write.

I stand by my declaration that there is clearly no evidence that the Taliban supported the Sept. 11 attacks. As I heard Chomsky say in an Oct. 18 speech broadcast today on my local public radio station, when England wanted to put a stop to IRA terrorism, it did not bomb Boston, which, apart from the fact that it would have been criminally stupid, made about as much logical sense as our attack on Afghanistan, since a good chunk of the IRA's funding came from New England.

Just how does bombing the Taliban, never mind Afghani civilians, qualify as a proper and ethical response to the World Trade Center attack? Anybody? And how many Afghani deaths will "make up" for the American ones? Two? Ten? For all your outrage over "FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE - TWICE THE NUMBER THAT DIED IN THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR," more than ten times as many innocent civilians are probably going to die over there as a result of starvation brought on by the cutoff of adequate, directed humanitarian aid on Sept. 16, never mind the bombing. Very nice tit for tat, I'd say, but not inconsistent with past Western practice.

No, Todd, I DON'T know why Saddam is still in power. I have a theory or two, but my government certainly hasn't given me a plausible reason. "We were fighting the invasion of Kuwait" is not an answer, so I don't know why you write "Everyone knows why Sadaam was not vanquished...."

And we are bombing Afghanistan so we can "move around easier within the country"?!!! You may just be right, but if you're right, that's one of the more immoral, unethical, arrogant rationales I've ever heard for pursuing a war, let alone a war with a country who hasn't declared war, or taken a warlike action, against us. Just like shooting up a ghetto neighborhood with assault rifles simply because a couple of murderous felons are hiding out there. No wonder so many people overseas hate us, and more and more will come to do so with each passing day of bombing.

When you type "Or should we just have shaken our fist and said 'ooooo, I'm gonna get you just you wait'?" then I know you're not paying attention. Same old characterization of my position as black-or-white, on-or-off, after I've spent days suggesting other potential avenues of action.

Enjoyed your sarcasm, Ray, but if I point out the possible errors in someone else's sight, it does not automatically follow that I think mine is perfect. I've been raising questions, mostly, not making assertions, and I freely admit I don't know what's going on. I'm just MIGHTY SUSPICIOUS....

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Thursday, November 15 2001 13:40:50

Anyone here planning to take in the Leonid meteor shower this weekend? Looks to be the shower of the century.

Lynn- Looks like a go for Sunday. I'll let you know what time we plan to depart.


- Thursday, November 15 2001 13:28:19


I had a feeling that WAS crossed with someone else's post; the notion, however, of confusing me with a conservative voice like Todd's, I must say, tempts me to hara-kiri. Either that or slow poison.

Of course I completely agree with you about measuring one suffering against another. I would never want to open such an issue. AND there was, as you point out, this, one of FDR's few moments of dreadful decision-making (he submitted to public pressure instead of facts, disgarding civil rights).

It was just the lady's basing her argument on misinformation that bugged me so much. I didn't beat her up or anything; I just detailed for her the two settings so she understood what was happening here compared to the Nazi reign. She just kept nodding her head 'no'.

It's an interesting subject, though, getting pov from the Japanese who were there and family members. I'm always interested in input from those closest to critical events.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo (not Jingo), NY USA - Thursday, November 15 2001 13:4:53

Todd: Were we in Iraq because we were bravely intervened to help a free state retain its sovereignty from the dastardly Saddam Hussein? How heroic.

Might there have been any other reasons?

Once you answer the first question, the hostilities in Afghanistan take on a new color. The US is like a junkie drug dealer who is interested in a vertical monopoly-- we don't just want to sell and use, we want to own the source of the good black stuff.

Our rival dealers? Construct a good reason to put a cap in their ass. Our own soldiers? An acceptable loss. Our integrity?

Our integrity?

Right. Just give me my fix, man, and shut up.

yeah, I drive a car. shame on me. i mean that.

Frank Church
- Thursday, November 15 2001 12:49:38

Lynn, remember that the Taliban was put into power by the CIA originally? Now we are buddy buddy with Turkey, even though they are killing the Kurds. There is no justification for the Sept. 11 bombing, but we are the real bad guys on the block.

Saddam would loose a grip on power if our government would lift the sanctions. The people would see the light and overthrow his government.

Paul Williams has written some good songs and other songs that remind me of bugshit on the windows of perception. But, the stuff he wrote for Karen Carpenter went over the rainbow. Angelic resin in my heart everytime I hear that girl sing. Too bad all the good ones die so young. But at least fucking Garth is retiring, so there is a slight consession..lol.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 15 2001 12:36:37

For you, Lynn, I'll enlighten you. Our forces were just miles away from the Iraq capital. We had easily won the Gulf War and we could have done whatever we wanted to do in Iraq.....but our hands were tied. The agreement of the 'war', the agreement we made with the UN, was that we would ensure that the Iraq invasion of Kuwait was stopped and that appropriate sanctions be laid upon the land of Sadaam.

In other words, Bush could have taken Iraq to the point that we are currently taking Afghanistan.....and even though Sadaam would have hidden like a weasel, as does Osama, he would certainly have a hard time ruling his people while running from assassins.

Unfortunately, we were fighting the invasion of Kuwait....which was not sufficient backing for us as the attack of the World Trade Center. Look at how congress is actually helping all of this happen. The Dems are not creating roadblocks the way they would have back then. Instead of just a slim support back in the Gulf War, we have a nice solid support (at least for now) here in the Terrorist War.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 12:29:39

Todd~ re: Saddam not being taken out of power, please enlighten me. I'm curious to know.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 12:27:48

David~ I have heard numerous speculations about why we declared a victory in the Gulf and went home, including the ones that speculate Bush Sr. was an idiot in personifying the war as "let's get Saddam", so that when the actual objective of liberating Kuwait was accomplished, it meant nothing to the press or the public because we hadn't "gotten Saddam".

I have also had a conversation with a four star(yes - I have a very strange circle of friends) that was on the ground in Iraq when they were told to stop short of rolling into Baghdad, and from what this four star alluded to (hinted at, couldn't be fed enough Jack Daniel's to give it up) was that there was far more going on beneath the surface than even those in-the-know could speculate about. ::shrug:: He wasn't happy about it, his buddies weren't happy about it, but some diplomat had somebody by the balls and there was no discussion to be had, just get the hell out of there.

I don't pretend to have all the solutions, and I don't *begin* to pretend that I am aware of what's going on, on the ground, in Afghanistan.

As for the following statement, "...there is still no tangible evidence that the Taliban ... have any particular connection to bin Laden, let alone the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11...", David, let me put this in simple terms for you. Osama Bin Laden is very, very rich. He is the major funding force behind the Taliban. Their spiritual leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, is married to Osama Bin Laden's daughter. They have sheltered him, given him resources, allowed him to set up terrorist training camps in their rogue state. That's 'rogue' as in no government protection or services for their citizens, the poor innocents that had a month to get the hell out of Dodge before we started bombing. If you honestly believe in your heart that the Taliban has nothing to do with Osama Bin Laden and the terrorist attacks of September 11th (in which 5,000+ people died - that's FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE - TWICE THE NUMBER THAT DIED IN THE ATTACK ON PEARL HARBOR), then you need to go find a little cabin in the woods and sever your ties with reality all together. I hear Kaczinsky's place is available.

Respectfully if passionately yours,

PS. Please don't assume my political standings because of any position I take in this discussion. I'm so centric I meet myself coming and going sometimes. I'm honestly surprised no one has argued the erosion of our civil rights in recent days. Or are we all too well-informed to disagree on that issue?

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 15 2001 12:21:38

David, you are an intelligent man. I don't know if you are just trying to get a rise out of us or not, but I know you know why Sadaam was not vanquished during the Gulf War. Everyone knows why Sadaam was not vanquished during the Gulf War. It's a waste of time to even give the answer.

As for the Afghanistan action.....what does the eventual defeat of the Taliban do to help us get Bin Laden? Easy. It helps us to move around easier within the country. That's all. We are not at war with Afhanistan, which is why, as you detailed, this is not a declared war. We have to clear out the opposition to our going after Osama and his crew.

Will we ever get him? Most likely, the man will vanish into legend....as I heard on the radio yesterday, the man would probably end up blowing himself into droplets of blood and meat so that no one will ever be able to confirm his death....and the legend will live on of the leader in the mountains.

Whatever. This is a war on more than just one terrorist group. And if this fight does anything, it does one thing: it shows the other terrorist groups that the US is now pissed enough that we WILL come and bomb you into your paradise. Yes, it took a major action on our soil to get our country behind the action.....as opposed to all those actions off of our soil.....but if that's what it takes, so be it.

Or should we just have shaken our fist and said "ooooo, I'm gonna get you just you wait"?


Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Thursday, November 15 2001 12:17:12

It's interesting that David is the only one seeing things clearly and not being distracted by the timber. Ugh!

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 12:10:10

That would be, Impostor (2001) http://us.imdb.com/Title?0160399
Starring Gary Sinise & Madeleine Stowe. For those of you who follow such things.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, November 15 2001 12:10:7

Lynn and Todd:

To address your Wednesday posts about the "war" and this week's "success" in Kabul.

I'm afraid you guys keep getting distracted by the trees and once again fail to see the forest.

This is not a war. Doesn't matter how many bodies are involved, how much materiel, how many armaments. Afghanistan never declared war on the U.S., the Taliban never declared war on the U.S., neither clearly committed an act of war on the U.S., and of course the U.S. has not followed Constitutionally proper procedure for declaring war -- but I guess Presidents have been sidestepping that one for at least four decades now.

Just because the Taliban army's retreat was hasty and messy, that hardly means it wasn't made for tactical reasons, Lynn.

As for the Northern Alliance's statements about "setting up a security force" until the UN can move in, I wouldn't trust anything they say. I'm not sure they're sufficiently organized to be able to speak as a unified body, let alone control their troops.

They're barely an alliance -- we'll see how well they hold together once it's time to govern -- and I suspect they won't do much of anything willingly until the West forces them to. They're doing whatever they can get away with right now, whatever the West LETS them get away with, which makes them not much different from the Taliban in that respect.

Whether or not I would have grinned like a happy fool to see bare women's faces on the streets of Kabul -- I haven't seen that footage, and to be honest, have been too busy to look at much TV news at all; I mostly listen to NPR while going about my business -- is yet another red herring. This has nothing to do with capturing bin Laden, and it's no guarantee that things are going to be significantly different under the next Afghani regime (unless the UN and the US do some HEAVY leaning on whomever comes to power there, and I don't see them giving our lovely longtime ally Saudi Arabia -- never mind our sudden, short-term allies Syria and Libya -- a hard time about its treatment of women). Remember, women had a much better time of it in Iran until two decades ago, too. Two steps forward, three steps back, is an entirely possible result.

Todd, whether the abandonment of Kabul constitutes a "retreat" or "defeat" or not is a bit beside the point. I'll let you celebrate it as such if that's what you want. The main point is that the Taliban have not been defeated altogether, "losing" Kabul does not necessarily mean the hostilities are any closer to being concluded, the Taliban would -- and WILL -- probably last a lot longer out in the hills than they would have in Kabul ... and most important of all, there is still no tangible evidence that the Taliban, let alone the many civilians of Afghanistan who are dying under our bombs, have any particular connection to bin Laden, let alone the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

Does anybody have the slightest CLUE how many Iraqi civilians were killed in the Gulf War? I'll bet not. And nobody cares, either. I've tried to locate published titles of books critical of that conflict, and they are nearly all out of print already. This isn't the result of conspiracy, of course -- unless it's a conspiracy of American apathy. People just don't give a shit about innocent lives destroyed on the far side of the globe for suspect reasons. What's YOUR explanation for why the "vanquished" party in that charade, Saddam Hussein, is still in power, Lynn and Todd?

Attacking Afghanistan under the guise of "fighting terrorism" is an excuse, a red herring, an outright lie. Far from defeating terrorism, the fighting in Afghanistan may well breed MORE of it.

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Thursday, November 15 2001 11:43:42

A limo to a pre-release screening of a major motion picture. Tell me gang, who has more fun than our pal Mr. E.?

- Thursday, November 15 2001 11:41:59

Brian: Thanks for the link to the Paul Williams article. I never would have known it was there and I'm glad to have read it. I like much of Mr. Williams music. He has a knack for melody and is also a good lyricist (I love the English lyric to "Love Dance" and I can think of no other Paul Williams who would have written such a neat, natural, utterly singable lyric). I'm glad to know he's doing well.

Harlan Ellison
- Thursday, November 15 2001 9:49:5

Paul Williams and I have known each other for years. We worked together doing voiceovers on the animated series "Pirates of Darkwater." He is a super-duper guy, and I admire the hell outta him. (He, not to be confused with the OTHER Paul Williams, who makes his bones post-Crawdaddy sitting atop the headstone over Philip K. Dick's grave.)

Which, synchronistically, advises my mention that Dimension Films is sending a car for Susan and me today, to take us to a private screening of the pre-release print of IMPOSTOR, based on Phil Dick's story. If there's anything weighty to report, I'll get back to you.

I share Mr. Berman's angst.

Yr. pal, Harlan

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Thursday, November 15 2001 9:18:23


Sorry, sorry, sorry. It was not you, but Todd who made the ill-considered remarks about racial profiling I was attacking. Since my mother spent the war behind barbed wire on her native soil, I feel particularly qualified to talk about Japanese-American internment v. the Shoah.

There's no comparison, for unfairness and suffering. The woman's remark about "how the Nisei felt" is beside the point, and just plain rubbish. This is not something that can be measured. Some people apparently want to take on a superfluity of guilt on behalf of their government. Quite frankly, a lot of Nisei probably felt something like: "this is not right, but this is apparently what we have to do to get our country through the war, so I'll go quietly."

My grandfather, a Zen Buddhist, would allow no vocal resentment of the US government before or after the event, though he and his family were herded off to the camps, save for two sons who served in the US Army, in the Pacific theater, and were not allowed, "for security reasons," to visit their own kin back home.

On the other hand, Hitler was doing precisely what he'd said he'd do, years before, in _Mein Kampf_. He was being consistent, to no one's surprise. European Jews had plenty of warning, and a lot of them wisely got the hell out of Dodge. Roosevelt, however, was clearly violating American values and Constitutional tenets, even if he got the Supreme Court to tag along with him for several years.

Jim: no slag intended on Tool. I was just thinking of what sort of fans would more likely be found among the youth in military service, and how they might react to a visit from Mr. Newton.

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 8:53:7

Jim~ You are a sick & sadistic bastard! ::wiping hot beverage off the monitor::

Note to self: Do not sip coffee and check Webderland at the same time.

Good thing my boss is out of the office today, or I'd be in counselling for sure.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 8:45:0

Fact #1: This morning, I cleaned out my refrigerator. In the lower corner, behind the apple juice and boxes of cereal, I found a rotting banana. It was covered in *GASPETH* a purple-and-green fur.

Fact #2: Lately, I have been listening to the complete works of the Velvet Underground. Their first album has *SWOON* a banana on the cover.

Fact#3: Bananas are an excellent source of potassium.

Fact#4: I know, from reading an old magic book, how to segment the pulp of the banana, without even peeling the skin.

Fact #5: I've heard of clubs in Bangkok, where women...um, maybe I'd better not get into that...


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 8:9:22

Alex~ Pardon me while I fall about myself with gleeful laughter! No, no, no, man! The Other Berman and The Cassel expressed a curiosity about the in-joke, and rather than make them plunder through the archive searching for the elusive pelted herbaceous berry, I thought that you might simply clue them in. And yes, I need professional help! The thought of the fur-covered banana never fails to make me collapse in a heap of giggles. Susan, it's not unlike when Harlan does that thing with his tongue that makes you laugh.
Sheesh that sounds bad. I'm gonna shut up now and go in search of mocha java. And if all this laughter makes my coworkers question my sanity, well, all the better.

Yours in perpetual silliness,

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Thursday, November 15 2001 6:19:51

I don't recall where I heard that Harlan had been friends with songwriter Paul Williams. But, if that's the case, there's a nice profile of Williams, his recent recovery from drug problems, and his reactivated career in the New York Observer this week:

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Thursday, November 15 2001 6:2:23


90-4? Shit... Well, I'm all for it. Considering they're running at an unconscionable staff level, I'm not surprised at this strike at all (what was the Suni-Times at, a third of the Tribune's reporting staff?)


I'm going to try and pick up some more copes of ASM #36 today - if you need one, let me know and I'll be happy to get it to you.


Alejandro Riera
chicago, il - Thursday, November 15 2001 5:47:53


Believe me, in this day and age when editors with journalistic experience are being replaced by micro and middle managers as well as buffoons straight out of college with very little journalistic experience but who are cheaper salary-wise than a true veteran…editors the likes of Mitchell Royce would be more than welcome. Royce is right: as reporters we write, we make him look good. It is his responsibility, as an editor, to make sure that we have the necessary tools that will make him look good. It's part of the devil's bargain. Alas, that is not the case in many major metropolitan newspapers or dailies these days.

Did you hear about the Tribune's cost-cutting measures? A hiring freeze for next year, a salary freeze as well and the Trib's top execs salaries will be slashed five percent. Oh, and our competitors across the street, the Sun-Times, are in worst shape: the Newspaper Guild voted 90-4 to go on strike two days ago.

Fun days ahead in the media business.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Thursday, November 15 2001 5:18:5

Jim, don't worry, the dogfight is over. After reading and grading 300+ pages of 9th graders journals about The Miracle Worker this week, and 120 pages of college "essays," I've lost my sense of humor (and my joie de vivre). Put it down to that.

Thanskgiving is in 7 days. 4 school days left. 5 day weekend, man.


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Thursday, November 15 2001 5:17:34

Sorry I tossed out that profiling post.....it was not said in all seriousness and I didn't expect it to generate such an uprising (actually I would expect the uprising, I just didn't expect that anyone would really pay attention to one of my lesser ramblings).

On a different air safety note: We've heard all the discussions of fortifying the cockpit and air marshalls.....but I haven't heard anything spoken about the true issue that resulted in those hijackings...the fact that the pilot has to be in charge of every aspect of the plane.

Because of this, he has to be responsible for every passenger disruption....be they box cutter wielding terrorists or drunken passengers taking dumps on service carts.

Why should they be distracted so? Why can there not be a position, call it Airplane Manager for lack of a better title, that is held responsible for the management of everything that goes on in the fusilage except for mechanical flight issues. This would not only leave the pilots to concentrate only on flying the hunk of metal, but it would also have resulted on September 11 in the Airplane Manager being the party that attempts to deal with the hijackers, and not the pilot (who you can imagine was simply being coaxed out of his cockpit to quell some form of disruption).

It wouldn't be a perfect answer....nothing is a perfect answer....but it always concerned me that the pilot has to bother with some of the shit that happens with the passengers.


Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philadelphia, - Thursday, November 15 2001 0:34:0

You guys are evil.

The one--the ONE--week I oversleep on New Comics Day and can't get to the comic store before work (work being from four p.m. to three a.m.) to get my comics--including the Amazing Spider-man I've been getting religiously since JMS came on-board--and you're telling me that there have been runs on the issue? Aaaargh!!!

LYNN: You seem inordinately interested in my fur-covered banana ...
Here. Sit on zis couch, unt tell Doktor Sang-Froid all about zis ... fixation ... you heff.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, November 14 2001 21:56:53


Mitchell Royce? BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

Had a shit-eating grin on my face after this Transmet. Truly satisfying.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 21:54:27

As I posted on Sept. 29th: "Racial profiling is lazy policing. So all of you folks that are thinking that the Arabs (or Arab-Americans) out there should just get used to be harassed for belonging to a certain culture are whinging about the wrong thing. If I were you, I'd get a whole lot more pissed off that your SECURITY people can't get off their asses and do their job the right way and pick the THREAT out of a crowd of people getting on an airplane. 'Cause while Mr. Powdered-Donuts-Look-At-Me-I-Gotta-Gun-Security-Guard is hassling Mohammed, Mr. I-Swore-An-Oath-To-Uphold-The-Constitution-McVeigh (or his twin brother) is using his Southern Charm to walk right past you. Profiling is a *tool* that should be a piece of a well-defined skill set. It is not a miracle cure."

Think about it.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 21:43:38

Short and fast--I gotta walk my furry children...

David: Tool is actually not half-bad. Any band that samples Bill Hicks on their records is ok, in my book.

Rob: By all means, seek ye out FROM HELL. You won't regret it.

Todd: Aside from its intrinsic odiousness, I just don't have much faith that racial profiling at airports will prevent future terrorist attacks. Redesigning the jet's cockpit (making it separate from the rest of the plane) will; training airport security to properly identify security risks from passengers of ALL skin types will; and assigning marshals to flights to prevent violent skirmishes in the air will, too. But giving every dark-hued person a hard time for no good reason is just intellectually lazy at best, downright racist at worst--and hardly a fool-proof method of protecting passengers. (Avoiding "Arabic" clothing, wearing contacts, bleaching hair blonde, and using "lightening" makeup can render racial profiling useless.) If that's all our officials can depend on to protect us, then we're screwed.

Joseph: Thanks for the heads up on Amazing Spider-Man #36. I'll hit the shops tomorrow.

Faisal: Ah, THAT'S the name of the king--Zahir Shah! What's his story, anyway? I've heard that he's pretty enfeebled, nowadays...

Rob/Berman: I would dump a bucket of ice water on the two of you, if I could. Of course, no topic should be declared off-limits or finished for discussion. But the "God" thread was quickly degenerating into tiresome repitition and cleverly-worded insults, and I say good riddance to it (for the time being, anyway). I'm channeling Harlan right now (is that possible with someone who's still alive?) and he's telling you both to CHILL OUT! (Well, he wouldn't actually use those exact words, but you get the idea...)

Wayne Newton?!? (Give it a rest, Jim.)

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 21:13:32

And now for a totally frivolous topic: teevee.

Just watched THE WEST WING. This season has been such a shame, and tonight's show has entrenched in the world of 'Jumped The Shark' as far as I'm concerned. (for those unfamiliar with this term, which I doubt any of you are but just in case because I still don't have a fuzzy banana answer, Jump The Shark refers to the point when a quality show turns to shit and stays that way....usually reserved for when major characters wed or give birth).

Anyway, this show has been horrible this year. The writing has been simply terrible....overwrought, overdramatic, overfake.

I loved WEST WING the past two years (gasp, yes, this right winger loved WEST WING the past two years)! In fact, it was probably my favorite fiction show next to SOPRANOS (and SIX FEET UNDER wasn't too bad either). It was clever, extremely witty and super-intelligent. This year, starting immediately with the ponderous classroom terrorist playlet (Hey, here's how you defeat terrorism....show them that we all believe in different things!!) and then following with some real forced stuff.

Tonight took the cake. Are we to truly believe that Toby Zeigler needed to have the concept of soft money issue ads explained to him as if he had never heard of them? Sure, it goes against his philosophy, but the poor writing made it appear that he needed it first explained to him before he could debate it.

Then, they come up with the idea of really truly using the soft money for really truly issue ads? Fine....but then again, shouldn't their campaign coordinator immediately balk at writing an ad that pointed to the crumbling schools in dreadful condition across America.....when it's the sitting President who has presided over these crumbling schools looking to be re-elected? I think they would try to watch their phrasing.....

Then, we have some real fake conversations and jokes (what was with the I'm Too Sexy song bit) that we were told were witty because they were spoken in the usual veryveryveryfast manner...but they fell supersupersuperflat.

Then, to top things off, we have a President seconds away from ignoring all advice and about to make a decision that could get us into a war with Korea....only to find that the predictable last second result is just laughed off. In fact, the entire submarine subplot is played for laughs....joking around about Bartlett's lack of military leadership experience (even though I recall him handling himself just fine the past two seasons when the military tensions arose).

So why am I wasting valuable space complaining about a teevee show? Only because I am very disappointed that each week I sit down to see the show recover this year....it just gets worse. Jumping The Shark in season three.....quicker than X-FILES and ER ever did, that's for sure.

I tell people I felt it jumped the shark with their 'very special terrorist playlet'....but my friend at work has it right....it jumped the shark when Aaron Sorkin got arrested for his magic shrooms. Looks like they've finally killed the requisite brain cells for lost talent.

I hope I'm wrong.

Though, in the scheme of things, it's just teevee.


Alejandro Riera
chicago, il - Wednesday, November 14 2001 20:34:52

Todd and Joseph:

Amazing Spider-Man #36 was just amazing. I've been waiting for Joe Straczynski's run to be collected in trade paperbacks but I decided to buy this issue because I really wanted to see what Joe's thoughts were on this tragedy. And he did not fail me: Joe the humanitarian came shining through. I could not avoid shedding a tear after I read that whole two-page scene where Spidey ran into the black kid who is waiting for his father the fireman to take him home.

This why art and artists are important in this day and age. This is why we must seek their wisdom and succor, even if what they have to say may hurt us, even if we disagree with their particular point of view. After reading Amazing Spidey #36 there is no doubt in my mind that Joe Straczynski is a true artist.

And then of course I found myself reading Transmet #51 and wishing I had Mitchell Royce for an editor. Thought which I am quite sure is shared by many a fellow reporter.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 19:52:12

Several short things to say.

First of all, Todd. I don't think I could be accused of hypocrisy, as I've never commented on your using the Free Republic people as a source. But I find it hard to equate the liberalish but respected _American Prospect_ with the unruly, rumor-and-rant-swollen _Free Republic_ website. (It's a bit like the time an acquaintance told me that he gets news from both the Right and the Left; his source on the Right was the _National Review_, and his source on the Left was... _Time_.)

As for cool comic purchases, I just got the latest issue of Chris Ware's _Acme Novelty Library_. God, I love his stuff. Probably the blackest humor ever committed to comics. Utterly bleak and hopeless. NOT for recovering suicides.

Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, November 14 2001 19:44:53


Huh. Plenty available so far here at Chicago Comics. Maybe I should pick up a couple for friends...


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 19:36:48

Sorry to confuse in my poorly written final statement: I didn't mean they are already swiping up the reprint book (which, of course, is not yet in print)....but my unfortunate placement of subject has won me the WHAT THE HELL YOU SAYING MAN? award.

I meant that if you don't already have the Spider-Man book, consider yourself lucky if you are able to grab one at cover price.


Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 19:33:43


Good luck finding the Spider-Man book. Thankfully, I have a pull list and already had it on order. Every place in NJ is sold out and I'm sure there are already hundreds of copies available on eBay .......for $100!

Sheesh. It's times like this that comic book collectors must pray for a book to not get the kind of press that this one is getting.

Marvel has already announced it will be reprinted in a 96 or so page book of other hard to get recent comic books.....but it looks like the get-rich-quickers are already swiping these babies up.

P.S. Loved the art.


Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 19:33:37

Alex Jay Berman~ It's your banana, you should at *least* own up to it. I mean, if I had received such a prize from the Man, I would. Me, all I gots to show for it is this silly Medal of Cute Conduct. With that and a quarter I can get laughed out of Starbucks.

Yours in nihilistic surrealism,
Sister Chiquita Sertsa
Keeper Of The Faith

Faisal A. Qureshi <faq@ic24.net>
Manchester, UK - Wednesday, November 14 2001 18:38:34


Racial profiling? You cannot be serious? I hope you really don't mean that. Thats the kind of logic that Sir Paul Condon (former chief constable of London Police) used when he said muggings were mostly committed by those dratted coloured folk... so justifying the Police continually doing random stop searches of anyone whose coloured.

Wow, how great racial profiling is. If theres a race riot in the future, I'll be sure to put those comments of yours on a postcard back to you.

Rumours have come to me (and reported on BBC Teletext service) that a sizable number of child soldiers have been executed by the Northern Alliance. Why are most of the Taliban soldiers running? Because their conscripts. A friend of mine took some Taliban deserters for a holiday to a seaside resort last week and they told him why all of them left the country. Is this 'war' over, I suspect not.

The video of the alleged Bin Laden confession. Still not released though it should have been done today. Will be searching and have asked contacts for video AND transcript (which I presume is already present in the document released by the goverment today. God I am out of it today).

Brian - Sorry to hear about the lack of job offer. I'm still figuring out why my email is being rejected and it maybe due to my server. Will be checking it out.

For the Bin Laden trial, Bush has opened the option of a military tribunal where evidence and witnesses do not need to be examined or revealed... apparently. I hope this is not the case as it sounds similar to the Saudi Justice system... with the only difference being a defence being provided.

My MP ignores my correspondence... even though she got in by 32 votes. I though she would be begging for every vote. I find this behaviour most discortious, even her predessor, a Conservative MP, acknowleged my correspondence.

The return of Zahir Shah, a 'war' was fought so that a nation could be released from fundamentalist tyranny to... an aristocracy. How joyful. How long till the humantarian crisis is averted by the founding of a KFC Franchise.

Alex - Female Circumcison practise. Can I ask where you heard about this? To my knowledge, and I am remembering a paper in the British Medical Journal, concerning this matter. Female Circumcision is a custom that occurs in some regions of Africa and is virtually unknown in Pakistan. I can't remember the exact reference and I have never come heard of any cases in the Asian community in the UK. Then again, I never looked for it, so am very curious to know about the source of this story. Please email privately concerning this.

Sorry not up to speed at the moment. Had a very busy day.


Joseph Finn <JosephFinn@yahoo.com>
Chicago, IL United States of America - Wednesday, November 14 2001 18:37:22



Go out to your local comic store, or whatever.

Pick up Amazing Spider-Man #36.

Why does it take, pardon the term, a comic-book writer to really put it all into words?

God bless J. Michael Straczynksi.

- Wednesday, November 14 2001 18:33:46

Todd 'n Berman,

Just a couple of words should help you in the 'Mystery of the Fur-Covered Banana': Dadaism and Meret Oppenheim. Well, you could add Jean Arp to the source too.

But I like to keep the innuendo handy for conservatives to swollow.

Alright. Alright. Fergit that one.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 17:51:51

Sister Chiquita:

Like Todd, I feel like a dork for not knowing what this fur-covered banana thing is.

However, as an expert on produce and produce deification, I will say this: Worship of most fruits and vegetables is fine with me; however, exalting thick-skinned berries is over the line. It is, simply stated, dangerous and delusional. Your illogical irrationality, your utter lack of objectivity about the so-called banana's flagrant redefinition of what it means to be a berry, will set human thought back millions of years and cause aliens to abandon our planet to the searing flames of the sun when it blows up.

Don't even get me started about legumes.

Pope Endicott Skippy XXIII
(wondering who have I offended now)

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 15:54:58

.....and can someone pleeeeease let me in on this fur covered banana thing? Other than the usual sexual connotations rises in my often perverted mind, I haven't figured out what that is all about.

Thanks Mucho! -TODD

- Wednesday, November 14 2001 15:50:45


Um...racial profiling. I'm not sure where that subject was brought up. Is this an offshoot from my reference to the historical Wallace World of prosegregation?

However, since you mentioned it, and I have little time for details now, I got into an argument with a lady only last week who was trying to compare the FDR Japanese internment with the Nazi death camps; a blight on our history, absolutely; but an outrageously ignorant comparison. They were civilians jailed for having done nothing, but they weren't being tortured, gassed, starved, cooked in ovens or rounded up in mass executions as the Jews had been. Wanna know how she responded? "I doubt they (the Nisai) felt that way."

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 15:45:33

The American Prospect?

And I was taken to task for quoting The Free Republic.

Ahhhh, I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.


David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 15:15:32


"Racial profiling" is precisely the sort of programming that governments used against the Jews for centuries.

And the next time it happens, I don't know what they'll do to me, because despite the fact that I'm mainly a Norwegian and Japanese mix, I do have a dark complexion and a pretty impressive schnozz, and I regularly attend services at synogogue.

I hope nobody ever finds out.

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 15:6:21


OK, obviously I was not making myself clear. Sorry about that, but:

The battle was over, Rob, but you kept throwing stones. You did not merely point out flaws in my logic: you called me names, made wild accusations, misquoted and inaccurately paraphrased me.

You've bloody done it again. I didn't tell you to shut up, I suggested you cut out the hostility and drop your sword. My communication skills were poor.

You were rude to me far beyond the scope of strenuous debate. Just because Mr. Ellison didn't single you out for scolding doesn't mean your posts weren't unnecessarily nasty. Everyone else chilled, but you still felt the need to continue needling. As a result, my patience with you is thin.

So, I revise my comment. Go ahead and say whatever you want to say. Misrepresent away. I'm just going to skip your posts from now on, and I'd advise you to do the same with me for the sake of the community.

How's that for logic???

not nice...trying to be direct, though

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 15:4:30

Rich: "...even David Carradine from Kung Fu had to kick some ass the last five minutes of the show." ain't it the truth?! ::still chuckling from this one::

PAB: What about The Cult Of The Fur-Covered Banana? Does that have exempt status?

Q: What's the difference between a cult and a religion?

A: A university and a football team.

Warmest regards,
Sister Chiquita Sertsa
Blessed Order of St. Shel The Silverstein

- Wednesday, November 14 2001 14:19:13

Mr. Berman,

Re: "The religion subject is dropped, so *everyone* should drop it".

A very disturbing line. Remember: I may have griped about the sort of logic some of you guys tried to build an argument with but I never told you to shut up.

To keep things in proper perspective no one "should" drop any topic. If anyone here sees fit he/she will further comments or ruminations on the subject of religion or anything else - worded the way they choose to word it (a point I'll make to David as well). So don't sweat it too much. Within two sunrises there may be more.

Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:58:45

"Bingo" Berman,

I can't help it (Henson was the first puppeteer that popped into my head. I have to admit that I was quite weepy when I heard that he'd died). I just have this feeling that Cheney is going to pop up from under the podium up to his elbow in Shrubby's posterior. :)

(Who probably has better things to do with his free time, but just can't help himself.)

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Poor reading skills, NY USA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:57:18

I meant to say **Alex Jay Berman**, I agree with your words re: Afghanistan. I suck at keeping track of such things. I wrote "Brian" because I was thinking of him about the issue of interpersonal communication.

Sorry. I need to get off this thing.

What I meant to say was: Alex, your most recent long post was right on. Thanks.

yes, I'll shut the hell up

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:51:51

Andrew: re Cheney as Henson, Bush as Kermit

Only in the sense that Mr. Henson is dead and Kermit has something up his butt all the time.

Sorry, that was a soft pitch; I had to swing.

all apologies to Mr. Henson, one of my heroes, and Kermit (Hell, Bush wouldn't have a clue that it's not easy being Green)

P.A. Berman <virulentstrain@yahoo.com>
Bingo, NY USA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:47:48

Mr. Ellison: Sorry to offend. I'll be good.

But honestly, going back to the 'I'm not very nice' issue, this as nicely as I play (I'm not being facetious). The religion subject is dropped, so *everyone* should drop it, neh? That's all I was tryin' ta say, let it lie or risk looking like an ass. I tried to be as diplomatic as possible-- that's the best I can do. Brian, Jim: see, that's the Bad Berman coming out. Toldja I was a bastard.

Brian: I agree with you 100% on this entire Afghanistan issue. I don't need to say anything at all, you said it for me. Preach on, my brother.

Final thought re: the obsolescence of war--

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
--Isaac Asimov

meaner than a junkyard dog on crystal meth
(and that's on my good day ::wink::)

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:32:27


My god, a post of yours where I'm in agreement! Let the bells of St. Mary ring!

Though, to be persnickity, Gore was a reporter for "Stars and Stripes" for about five months in Vietnam, after a term of service in Alabama. (He served just under two years, since he "volunteered for enlistment," an Army procedure of the time that avoided the three-year draft enlistment). Here's a small story on it, with a photo of him in Vietnam:



Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:28:0

Am I the only person here that has a Cheney-as-Jim-Henson, Bush-as-Kermit kinda feeling?


Frank Church
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:20:2

Brian, I doubt Gore would handle this any diffrent than Bush. Gore was at least a Vietnam vet.

The Peoples History Of The United States should be manditory in every school classroom. Maybe kids would become more, "elitist" that way. Smile. I mean that word in the nicer sense.

Look out for the new PATRIOT act to possibly be passed by congress. A way to make protest a crime. Maybe we should rethink giving the FBI and CIA medals of freedom.

- Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:8:57

I will disagree with you and Howard that war is outdated. There will always be war as long as there are humans with personal and political agendas. And, unfortunately, war is a means to an end, especially when other means have failed. It's the ultimate escalation of violence. I believe it is a noble cause and effort to conduct our affairs without resorting to violence, but it is an impossible effort. I am not saying the effort shouldn't be made, but I am a realist and even David Carradine from Kung Fu had to kick some ass the last five minutes of the show.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 13:7:2

Oh, there'd be a difference. Here's what we have right now:

Most Liberals: sniping at Bush for not being very bright.
Some of those Liberals: Expressing their support for the President, and their understanding that the only way to fight terrorists is to be about as bloodthirsty as Curtis LeMay, and liberals who say this should be congratulated on their honesty and integrity. (Charles Krauthammer, for example.)
Yet another subset of Liberals: Calling for an expansion of the war into Iraq.
Conservatives: Ranging from support of the President, and praise for the war effort, to saying that we should go after Saddam as well. And the fact that Bin Laden still draws breath is entirely the fault of Bill Clinton.

If Gore were President, here's what we'd have:

Liberals: Expressing support for the President, reminding the rest of us of the need to fight terrorism with military strength, denouncing those farther left as traitorous cowards and poseurs, and patting themselves on the back for taking such a brave stand.
Conservatives: Complaining that Gore wasn't going far enough, and reminding us that it's all Clinton's fault anyway.

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:56:1

Oh, I'm not up for discusing Clinton's behavior in any great detail. But there is a nice piece in _The American Prospect_ about the Right's continuing obsession with the guy. It's available at

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philly, - Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:55:35

BRIAN: There would be a difference?

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:50:3

*hands Todd a copy of "People's History of the United States" and waits for him to read the section on profiling - specifically the chapter on the Sedition Act enacted during World War I and the horrific abused perpetrated under it, then directs him to the World War II section, where Todd reads about the internment of the completely innocent Nissei under primitive and degrading conditions. Then reminds him that profiling is useless, since terrorists go out of their way to look normal - we wouldn't have looked twice at the Gap-wearing hijackers on Nov 11*

So, how's that institutional racism...oh, sorry, I mean "profiling" looking now?

Brian Siano <bsiano@bellatlantic.net>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:49:4

Here's a revoltin' development. There's this organization called the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, or ACTA, and they're basically one of those Scaife-and-Olin funded right-wing think tanks devoted to ridding universities of anything remotely like liberalism or left-wing politics. They've just issues a fascinating report, available at http://www.goacta.org/reportsframeset.htm, titled "Defending Civilization: How Our Universities Are Failing America
and What Can Be Done About It." It's essentially a list of quotes from left-wing faculty members whom ACTA deems as unsufficiently patriotic.

That's right, gang; _Red Channels_ has returned, in a brand-new guise.

And here's an especially fun point to keep in mind. The two people who run this ACTA bunch are the unsurprisingly-demented Lynne Cheyney, and former VP candidate Senator Joe Lieberman.

That's right. If the Supremes had thrown the election to Gore instead of Bush, a crackpot McCarthyite lunatic would be only a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:33:59

If racial profiling stops a single person from flying another plane into another building, or walking into a pizzaria with a bomb strapped to his chest, then I'm all for racial profiling.

Would I have said that on September 10? Nope.

These are different times....whether people want to accept that or not.

Please, God, Please let them profile away when I board that flight to Phoenix in 3 weeks. Go ahead and profile me because my, ahem, special nose immediately makes me Jewish....I have nothing to hide and I would rather chat with my seatmate about common boring topics than worry if he/she is about to need some tackling on the way to the cockpit.


Jim Davis
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:30:55

Alex Jay: And what monsters will the US breed in the coming days in Afghanistan? If we aren't careful, we'll go through all the crap of the past two months AGAIN (and again, and again, world without end, amen). And you're not the only one who's angry, trust me. I've mailed off a couple of letters, both paper and electronic, to my elected representatives for their cravenly support of the Patriot Act.


Frank Church
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:28:3

Whoever made the comment about bombing Saddam is a bit ill informed. If you know exactly where Saddam is at this very moment, could you let the Government in on it. lol.

The footage on Kabul is definetly war propaganda, just as the food drop--a bit too late I might add. The people are afraid to touch it because they think it resembles cluster bombs or maybe chemical warfare compound. They do know America well enough. We play more dirty than the Taliban could ever.

The best thing is to convene an international criminal court and go after the terrorists this way. War will only bring more terror to the world. War is the old way to do things, as Howard Zinn has said. War is outdated. We can do better.

Please, no more Battlestar Gallactica talk. This aint the Sci-Fi channel folks.

Notice how nice I am being?

I just hope that PI will be good this time with HE.

- Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:22:38


Thanks for the designation; I'll haveta look at that graphic novel. As I once saw a cheesy-looking one on the same subject it didn't interest me. But you have my curiosity cranked up. And, as you know, the risk with ALL movies, whether inspired by comics or books, is the expunging of the details that made the source so great. All the same, better technique might've carried with more impact what elements the film held onto - something you would REALLY walk away with.

Alex Jay Berman <smeghead@erols.com>
Philadelphia, - Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:19:43

The Taliban.

The Taliban are evil fucks; reactionary assholes who deserve to spend their next lives as prepubewscent women in a Third World country where familial rape and the cutting of the rose (female circumcision) are still practiced.

Having said that.

Nice to see everyone all het up and happy the we've helped the Northern Alliance push them out of Kabul and Mazar-e-Shareef.

Bin Laden in custody yet?

BECAUSE THAT WAS OUR STATED INTENTION GOING INTO THIS. To coerce the Taliban by force and the threat of force to give up their "guest", Osama bin Laden.

A few weeks in, our aim suddenly became the punishment of those who would harbor terrorists. And we've certainly followed that up, haven't we? I mean, we've started campaigns against Germany, France, Ireland, Cyprus, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Israel AND the Palestinians, Sri Lanka ... taken out the Shining Path in Peru, the Japanese Red Army, Aum Shin Ryo, the IRA, the Ghosts of the Revolution, the Aryan Brotherhood, the Michigan Militia ... and, of course, Al-Quaeda.


Can we please, please, please, PLEASE, next time we have another undeclared war, go after someone we DIDN'T set up in the first damned place? Bin Laden: CIA-funded while helping the mujahadeen. The Taliban: The same. Milosevic. Aided him when setting up the Yugoslav government, because, of course, he wasn't COMMUNIST. Sadaam Hussein: Funded him in his war against Iran. Noriega: A CIA plant from the time when he was merely a captain in Panama's armed forces, we all but installed him in the highest office of that land. Ayatollah Khomeni: Made him indirectly, when in 1955, we forced the Shah to take political power so President Mossadegh wouldn't nationalize British Petroleum, then supported him through his reign of torture and terror. Ho Chi Minh: Set him up fighting the Japanese in WWII, then rebuffed him when he asked--BEGGED--for our help to set up a Viet government; Dulles refused to even shake his hand--so he turned to the Communists for aid.

The list goes ever on and on.

But hey! Kabul is taken, and all's well.
Flags are flying from every car antenna, house, chest, and yardarm in the land.

AND Ashcroft just said he has given the order so that we can be "observing" attorney-client conversations, in case we think there just-maybe-might be something to do with terrorism.
AND at least 5000 foreigners will be "questioned" based on their age, gender, country of origin, and such. I rather liked when Ashcroft came out against racial profiling earlier this year, didn't you? AND defense attorneys have been going nuts trying to figure out what to do about the more than a thousand people detained in this country without hearing or arrest.
AND some Congresspeople are now admitting that they signed onto the USA PATRIOT Act without even READING it to see what civil liberties are to be eroded and erased.

And the Boy King has just signed a new Executive Order (#13233) which ends the good done by the 1978 Presidential Records Act, which ensured that virtually all of a former President's records are to be made publicly available by the Archivist twelve years after that President leaves office, with narrow exceptions for
stuff that, for national security reasons, still needs to be held back. This Act further ensured that the open government of the United States--of, the people, by the people, for the people--could not be governed by secrecy.

Shot to shit now, by Baby Bush's say-so.


(The Order also grants executive privilege in withholding one's papers to the Veep, as well; this only bolsters the contention that Cheney may be a whit more Presidential in deeds and powers than he is supposed to be.)

INTERESTING that this Order comes JUST as the documents from the Reagan Presidency were waiting at the White House to be picked up and published by the National Archives. Is there something that Bush pere didn't want "in the loop"?

And no; I don't think that Baby Bush is his father's puppet (I'd be more secure were that the case); it's just that they do each other these kinds of favors--like Geedub sending all his records of his Governorship to Daddy's Presidential Library, thus effectively sealing them off.

But be happy! Kabul is taken by the Northern Alliance
(About whom we know SO much), so fly the flag high ...

(Yes, I'm fucking angry. This is my country; the land I love--and they're trying to turn it into a fucking police state. Why the fuck aren't YOU angry?)

- Wednesday, November 14 2001 12:6:30

Harlan, I look forward to the chills, thrills and spills at Dangerous Visions on the 18th. I may even have a book with me to sign this time. I'm happy this one is on a weekend. Should I remind you of any stories to tell when I'm there?

If fate shines, I will have two women with me to sacrifice: Lana and Danna. Now, Lana, being stubborn as she is, may not come along; so, if you see me accompanied by one lady only that would be the one called Danna (she, her boyfriend and I became chums from work). As you can see, I only choose women who can provide a rhyme.

David Loftus <DavidL@ci.oswego.or.us>
Portland, Oregon USA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 11:57:43

Chill, Jim.

Maybe the Tool fans in the armed forces will use ole' Wayner for sharpshooter practice, and that would be GREAT for morale.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 11:52:54

NEWSFLASH: As the seed-bearing product of a herbaceous plant, the banana is both a fruit AND an herb. A weary nation breathes a sigh of relief.

Here is the evidence for Osama bin Laden's complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks, such as it is: http://www.number-10.gov.uk/news.asp?newsID=3025. Why did the job of presenting this fall to the BRITISH government, I wonder?

(I don't really think there are any spoilers ahead, but I'll put this warning here, anyway. You satisfied?)

Rob: Maybe it's kind of unfair to compare a movie adaptation to its source material, but all the flaws of the film were the result of deviations from, and dilutions of, Moore's original vision. The relationship between Abberline and Mary Kelley is far more complicated and poignant in the graphic novel, and not so stuffed fulla Hollywood cliches. The novel's conspiracy has a deeper and darker resonance, mostly because it's given the proper length to fully envelop the reader. The murder of Mary Kelley is magisterially done in the novel; it goes on for thirty pages, careening into dizzying vortices of gruesomeness and mystical revelation, and is the most stunning sequence of any graphic novel that I've ever read. The movie adaption of the sequence, as gripping as it is, ultimately comes off as a Cliff Notes version (though if the Hughes Brothers' had followed Moore's blueprint more closely, the film would have had a hell of a time getting past the ratings board). Again, it's not a BAD movie by any means, but maybe an adaptation of FROM HELL that isn't a television mini-series is doomed to SOME degree of failure. (And if you think that I'm suggesting that you run, don't walk, and read the graphic novel, well, I always thought you were a bright guy. Yes, it's really THAT great, and it is the best fictional depiction of the Ripper legend extant, in my never-humble opinion.)

Todd, Ray, Lynn, et al: Although I've had some mixed emotions about our government's sojourn into Afghanistan, I must admit that the sight of the Taliban hauling ass out of Kabul was gratifying, to say the least. Even if it WAS just a tactical retreat, it still was a major defeat, nonetheless. But there are huge pitfalls ahead, and I'm not fully convinced that they will be avoided.

"Afghanistan" is not a nation, in the strictest sense of the word; it is a very loose amalgamation of numerous tribes and ethnicities with sharp divisions between them. These divisions have plunged the nation into bloody civil war in the past, and may do so again. (I'll go out on a limb and say it's likely.) Without the common enemy of the Taliban (who are far from finished) to unite them, there will major problems in establishing a unified central government. Even if the US reinstalls the former Afghan king (I can't recall his name), that's no guarantee of stability; he hasn't been in the country since 1973, and Aghans under the age of thirty have no memory of him whatsoever. A more probable, and perhaps desirable, outcome for Afghanistan is the creation of three or four seperate republics, rather than a single government overseeing all the disparate groups. The days (and years) ahead will be the TRUE test of leadership and vision for Bush, and not the relatively-easy bombing campaign we've seen up to now.

And now I have a bone to pick with all of you. Despite the intelligent, incisive commentary on the war in Afghanistan here (and I particulary like the contributions of David, Brian, and Faisal), I haven't seen ONE Webderlander mention the most glaring blunder by the Bush administration thus far, one that may well plunge the Middle East (and the world) into Ragnarok. Truly, the Fenris Wolf is nibbling at his chain, and no one here gives a damn. I am, of course, talking about...

The decision to send Wayne Newton to entertain the troops overseas.

Wayne Newton? Wayne Freakin' Newton?!? Is Bush out of his fucking mind?!? I know he has lousy taste in music (remember the roster for the Inauguration party? Ricky Martin? BROOKS AND DUNN?), but WAYNE NEWTON?!? Mr. Schmaltzy, Smarmy, Vegas-playin', Banjo-strummin', WAYNE DIDDLIN' NEWTON HIMSELF?!?!? What the hell do you think will happen when Newton does his tired, jive-ass, knocked-em-dead-in-Branson, Missouri schtick to the soldiers over there? The youngbloods who have grown up on J-Lo, Jay-Z, and Limp Bizkit will go BERSERK, that's what. There will be a paroxysm of mob violence that will make the last Woodstock look like Miss Cozy's Tea-Time Cotillion. I'm talkin' HEART OF DARKNESS and the fall of Saigon, here; they're going to wear Newton's skin like a goddamned VEST. If he even finishes one measure of "Danke Schoen," or "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast" without rifle fire, I'll die of shock.

Doesn't the world hate us enough, already? WAYNE NEWTON?!?!?!?

Stunned beyond all capacity to measure,

Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 14 2001 11:34:5

Hey, since we were talking about Battlestar Galactica, I'm pleased to now that they might have just crashed and burned since Bryan Singer has been forced by X-Men commitments to pull out of directing the pilot (according to IMDB.com). So, we may have all been saved from another piece of syndicated junk appearing on the telly (Mutant X, are you listening?)


- Wednesday, November 14 2001 10:49:22


Oh, yeah. You're absolutely right. Sorry about that. Shoulda knowed better. Spoilers warnings there shall be (if I consider going into the details I shouldn't).

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Wednesday, November 14 2001 10:37:41

My Dearest Rich and David, (howzdat for nice?)

I don’t recall stating that I felt it was over, over there. I referred ONLY to the fall of Kabul and the northern 70 percent of the country. There indeed is a LOT more fighting to do and not just in Afghanistan. This war on terrorism is a 30 round fight and we’re only in the middle of round one.

Todd Cassel <TheDoh@prodigy.net>
NJ USofA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 10:8:5

I'm right and you're wrong. Nyaaaaaaaa!

As I would warn my dad in the car, I'd leap out before he could even touch the brake......you ain't catching me!


Andrew <drew71@hotmail.com>
San Diego, CA - Wednesday, November 14 2001 9:55:29

Has anyone, who had tickets to the speaking engagement on the 15th, heard any details on why the event was cancelled? Ticketmaster is refunding my money but they seem to be in the dark as much as anyone else.

::Lynn:: I'll know by tomorrow if I'm coming up or not. I'll let you know as soon as I do.


- Wednesday, November 14 2001 9:52:16

I'll skip the hug, Joseph, though with all the GLAAD mailings I'm getting, maybe that's what I need. They apparently know something about me that I don't know. Anyway...

Lynn's comments are dead on in her respnonse to David and I would add only one other thing based on what Rumsfeld said yesterday: The reports of atrocities came from UN officials. There are no UN officials on the ground at this time as Rumsfeld pointed out. I'm not saying there is or isn't atrocities being committed (every war has them), but that these reports are unsbustantiated at the moment. (Reminds me of what John Stewart said the other night when he was watching CNN and some dunderhead said the following: "Can you speculate on the assumptions...". Complete rubbish. I thought they were supposed to report the news.)

And, Ray and Todd, David is correct that it ain't over just yet. I would agree that great progress has been made (as far as getting the Taliban out; however, are we any closer to destroying the terrorist network?) And for the record, I believe we did the right thing and are doing the right things in Afghanistan, but to celebrate when there is still no government or even representatives of the Afghan people in power is premature.

By the way, thanks to Charlie for the head's up on Dark Carnival. I ordered my copy and my wife has said that I can't buy any more books for the rest of the year. There goes my HERC order. Sorry, HE.

Another by the way: Volunteers are being asked to participate in a Mars training program on Devon Island in the Antarctic. Sounds like fun. http://www.marssociety.org/

Rick Wyatt
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 9:41:31

Harlan booksigning at DV Nov 18. Harlan on PI Nov 20. Details on the news page. 'nuff said.

Jim Davis <scythian66@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 9:35:14


Joseph J. Finn
Chicago, - Wednesday, November 14 2001 9:27:44

Y'know, Harlan does have better things to do than police us (and I include my little exchange with Todd in the slightly-over-the-top category).

Who wants a hug?

Harlan Ellison
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 9:22:32


Ray, Mr. Berman, Todd, any of the rest of you . . . play nice.
These are, after all, only opinions. There is no right or wrong.
There is only, apparently, Right and Left. War, terrorism, baseball, Battlestar Galaxative, conservatism, liberalism, Play-Doh, pimples, pop culture, crap movies and crap writing . . . all conversational grist for the opinion mill. I read you all, and marvel at how well-informed you all are, and it troubles me to see the passion of your posts everyonceinawhile lead you to mictirate in the others' chowder.

Please calm down and play nice. If I have to stop this car and come back there, you'll all get a good hiding.

Yr. pal, Harlan

Ray Carlson
Chicago, IL - Wednesday, November 14 2001 8:57:21

I'm just glad Mr. Loftus ain't running things. Jeez!

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 8:35:55

Courtesy www.dictionary.com: Word of the Day for Wednesday November 14, 2001:

gallimaufry \gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun:
A medley; a hodgepodge.

A gallimaufry of Webderlanders? Almost as good as General Stufflebeem. Sounds like a good English name, doesn't it?

Yours in perpetual silliness,

Lynn <cavalaxis@hotmail.com>
- Wednesday, November 14 2001 8:33:32

David~ Please look again. NPR's Morning Edition was reporting that the Taliban ran like the scurvy dogs they are, leaving tanks and heavy artillery behind. They left so damned fast, they left personal effects behind in their barracks. I also heard reports that the Pashtuni tribes of the south are fomenting rebellion against the Taliban in Kandahar. Remember that the Taliban are primarily ethnic Pashtuns. There was nothing 'strategic' or 'tactical' about this retreat.

And the Northern Alliance have repeatedly stated that they have not occupied Kabul, they are merely setting up a security force until the UN can get peace-keeping troops in place. As to the 'atrocities' being committed against Taliban sympathizers, gee. Wouldn't you have liked to have video from the streets of freshly liberated France in 1945? There's a reason why 'collaborator' is a dirty word. And again, this is War, not Wimbledon. If those folks get away with a beating, they'll still be way ahead in the game of kharmic retribution.

As to what the rest of the Middle East thinks, hearts & minds my friend. Hearts & minds. Even tho' we don't like what Al Jazeera reports, they are trying to put forth Western style objective journalism. Freedom of the Press. Don't expect that other righ