Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion

Archive - 11/11/2008 to 01/04/2009

Harlan Ellison Webderland: Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion

Unca Harlan's Art Deco Dining Pavilion

Michael Mayhew
- Sunday, January 4 2009 20:55:20

search function

Could one of you smart, long-time Webderlanders point me towards the search function on this board? I have a feeling that it's head-smackingly obvious but I cannot find a place where I can enter a key word or name and get a list of posts containing same. Is there such a thing round here?

I ask because Quint, over at Ain't-It-Cool reviewed The Goodbye Girl (very positively) and mentioned near they end that he had heard that Richard Dreyfuss' performance was inspired by HE but he personally had his doubts, and seeing as that very topic came up recently round here I figured I'd point him toward the relevant post that Harlan put up...

Except that I can't remember quite when it was and I can't figure out how to search this board.

So, if any of you can point me towards it (not you, Rick, you just heal), I'd be, as they used to say in the westerns, much obliged.


Brian Phillips
McDonough, GA - Sunday, January 4 2009 20:49:39


Since I have very little to speak in terms of published work (liner notes for two CDs) and since I enjoy the company of the people here, I would like to announce that I did a dramatic reading of a poem, "I, Odysseus" by Tom Drake that has been posted here:


This probably will not work for those who have dial-up connections. At very least, you will hear what I sound like. I hope you enjoy it. So we don't clog up the board, if you would like to write to me about it, my gmail address is ototwab.

Brian Phillips

John Greenawalt
- Sunday, January 4 2009 20:24:37

Most spooky movie of all time

"Race with the Devil"

Quote from the movie - "Any trouble you make for us you'll get back ten fold!"

Chuck Messer
- Sunday, January 4 2009 19:26:9

Welcome back Cindy! Busted computers are a pain in the ass, aren't they?

Speaking of color-coded terror alerts, I've run across a system that makes a lot more sense. Along with colors, the codes use Japanese monster icons. Megalon, Monster Zero, Mothra, Gamera and Godzilla. The advice that accompanies each alert is, "Be Terrified but carry on with your day."

Here's the link: http://www.poe-news.com/features.php?feat=32197

Remember, it is unAmerican not to be terrified.


shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Sunday, January 4 2009 19:19:1

Some days require second posts...
CINDY - Welcome back, and remember to keep yourself and your family safe.


And to the assholes that pointed and laughed at my youngest son and I as we trudged up the hill in the sudden, blinding snow (our own car far down the hill behind us, parked as out of the way as I could manage), remember there is a special place for you in Hell for people like you...right next to child molesters and people who talk in theaters.

And to the fellow who stopped and gave us a ride, I once again offer up one thousand and one blessings. In good weather, it wouldn't have been a long walk. In snow, coaxing along a child who didn't understand why things were so different, it was longer than I ever care to make again.

Remembering the big picture,

TEXAS - Sunday, January 4 2009 18:42:37

Ahhhh at last!
I tumbled down the rabbit hole into internet purgatory so long ago. No service-- only a dismal screen that indicated my machine could no longer connect. The kind folks in Verizon's internet help department couldn't make it work--due to my ineptitude. Finally my travelin' son Beau, a computer science/mathmatics major at Texas State University wandered home and found the time to work his mojo on my derelict equipment. So here I am!
Hello, my friends.

Rick! I am so sorry about your pain! I've had a bad back since 1983-- if you can get your hands on BC powders--they're amazing. That and hot baths. Fill the tub all the way so the water (just as hot as you can stand it) goes clear up to the back of your head-- you'll have to be lying down for this. My father's a doctor he told me it helps by relaxing all the muscles that pull and tug on your sore back.

Same goes for the rest of y'all who suffer similarly.

OHHHHHH-- the new Sheriff has been sworn in and is now at the helm. 911 is once again an option in case of emergency. The ousted lout is no longer in control of this County but he is not out of the legal woods. I continue to pray that God will-- ummm, take care of him.


- Sunday, January 4 2009 18:35:8



Thanks, but absolutely no thanks.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
Stowe, VT - Sunday, January 4 2009 17:16:32

I feel your pain. About 30 years ago, I went into a field full of horses to collect mine and was kicked in the back. A week later, having learned my lesson about NOT turning my back on that particular horse, I faced her as I got my horse and she kicked me in the crotch. The result was that she snapped the support on my 3rd lower lumbar and shoved it out of line about 1/4 an inch. My orthopedic surgeon told me that I could no longer ride, and that if things didn't improve he would fuse my back. I said fuck that and exercised A LOT to strengthen my back muscles.

I have been very fortunate in that I have not had to get my back fused, and (my daughter being completely obsessed)have even started riding again, but there are days when I can't move and cannot find a comfortable position in which to lie. Large amounts of Advil help, as do a heating pad and a really good Sauvignon Blanc.

Rick, good luck with the oxycontin. Nasty stuff.

back in h-town, - Sunday, January 4 2009 15:32:46

report back on mail
Susan - RH #46 arrived whilst I was away, not sure when.

To my nephew Harlan - *hee* Best piece of mail in the bag. (FYI - my other nephews used to call me Mean Aunt Peggy. ;-) )

Andrew F <asfuller@owlsoup.com>
Portland, OR - Sunday, January 4 2009 14:10:0

more about Facebook
I was looking for a Harlan "topic" in Facebook, which are not the same as groups. Perhaps it's not worth doing, but I remain a willing volunteer to create and moderate if Harlan says launch. As for the two people who created profiles, well, they are the kind that make me shake my head. I'll investigate.


Frank Church
- Sunday, January 4 2009 13:26:58

Barber, not even falling down. You are responding to my diamond hard critique.


Faisal, you know what's going down. We need your input cappy. These white folk are scary.


Al Jazeera is quite democratic and I love the internet. Runz.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Sunday, January 4 2009 13:12:2

KOS - Glad to have you back. Please drop me a line if there is anything I can do. This is not an empty offer.


RICK - Lots of water, even more water, and more water on top of that. Better to take the time to walk away from the painkillers than hang on and wonder what happened with your life.


There are three boys upstairs (12, 13, and 39) shooting Nerf guns at LEGO creations and giggling madly with every direct hit. This is what rainy Sunday afternoons were meant for.


Michael Rapoport
- Sunday, January 4 2009 13:4:11

For whatever it's worth, the Library of Congress has just added "The Terminator," among other films, to its National Film Registry of American films deemed to be "'culturally, historically or aesthetically' significant, to be preserved for all time." And ... the LOC's citation of the film specifically notes that its script was "clearly influenced by the works of sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison."

Nice that they knew enough to credit our host. Less than nice that they didn't know enough not to put his name within shouting distance of the hideous term "sci-fi."


- Sunday, January 4 2009 13:1:27

Or even SEPARATE, rather than "seperate."


- Sunday, January 4 2009 12:59:3


Kev, I presume you've seen a doctor, preferably a specialist...at least for prognosis? As both Susan and Rick can attest, this is bad juju, kiddo; and not to be fucked with, or allowed to go unattended. But, shit, kid, I know you know that. Just didn't want you to think time and space seperate us more than they actually do. Selah.

Yr. longtime pal, Harlan

- Sunday, January 4 2009 12:51:50


Yes, Zuz, if it isn't too much of an imposition, would you please advise FaceBook that these are bothersome. Minuscully, it's true; but if you can do it without agita, I'd appreciate it.

Many thanks, Yr. Pal, Harlan

- Sunday, January 4 2009 12:45:19


For pitysakes, keep your head down. I have grown inordinately fond of you Out There and, with many of those I love dying daily, well...let me not get maudlin. Just sup well at the bountiful groaning board of Caution.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

K. M. Kirby <kevin.kirby@gmail.com>
San Francisco, CA - Sunday, January 4 2009 12:41:35

The Spinal Fusion

Right after you mentioned your solution to a compressed disk, a similar spasming-lower-back thing started happening to me. It's become a true challenge in pain to get up from my cot, or even roll around. Is this happening to anybody else here?

I've had the sciatica/compressed disc thing before, about 20 years ago, but it mostly cleared up after a few months of upside-down exercises, physical therapy and such. No operation required.

But now it seems I'm a near invalid again; now in the coxyx(?) department.

- Sunday, January 4 2009 12:40:59


Well, you're doing somewhat better, but we're still dealing with semi-anonymity, as I don't know which Jeri is the progenitor of said daughter.

Thus substituting one-degree-less of pseudonymity.

Here's the point, kiddo: I like to look into peoples' eyes when I'm having a conversation. Time-bedizened protocol for establishing trust 'tween strangers. Otherwise, I tend to believe--for good or ill--rightly or wrongly--fairly or unjustly--that the intellect across from me is hiding something I may need to know, in order to have a productive chat.

When you've gotten past all this slippery silliness--unless you are undercover for the NSA or somesuch and actually constrained by law from revealing your true identity--I will attempt to do you the courtesy of sharing my meager pelf of wisdom re theft vs. hommage.

So stop trying to talk to me as if through a Judas-hole; and we'll see if you can be accomodated.

Harlan Ellison

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Sunday, January 4 2009 10:30:52

Book Soup
For those who live in the L.A. area: shocking news -- the venerable Book Soup bookstore is being sold! Here's something from the Deadline Hollywood Daily Column (www.deadlinehollywooddaily.com):

In 1975, Glenn Goldman opened the Sunset Strip's famed Book Soup. On Friday, he put it up for sale. On Saturday, he died. In a prepared statement, Book Soup general manager Tyson Cornell said, "The store remains an extremely viable business, and the entire staff wants to carry on the legacy of Book Soup." Please, Hollywood, make sure this showbiz treasure stays open and financially sound

Let's hope someone who loves books buys it.


On the good news side: Al Franken is ahead by 225 votes now in Minnesota.

Michael Zuzel <cartographer@islets.net>
Boy-See, Eye-Dee - Sunday, January 4 2009 9:36:22

More on Facebook

Not sure what's up with your dual doppelgangers on FB. One lists his home as Oman (talk about a change of scenery) but posted no photo; the other lists no hometown but includes the Stathis Orphanos portrait from "Watching." Neither of them lists any "friends," which usually means they're either new or inactive pages.

The way FB works, there's no way to get more details about these two accounts or who might have created them. If you'd like, I would be happy to report them as "abuse" to FB's managers on your behalf.

Incidentally, I missed one other legitimate HE-related group on FB, "Dangerous Visions," which includes among its members Barney and other Pavilion regulars.


Steve B
- Sunday, January 4 2009 9:28:33


Make that:

*...in our psyches)"and Guantanamo Bay -- Bush/Cheney convinced us do things that in her proper frame of mind, America would never have done."


"Rainbow Jeri's Daughter" not "Rainbow Jeri"

Stevev Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Sunday, January 4 2009 9:24:7

Terrorists and the Art of Zen

Not that it matters, but I agree with Dorman's assessment that the terrorists won. And largely as a result of the Bush Administration's response to the 9/11 attacks. Instead of doing the responsible thing, which would have been react, respond forcefully, and deal effectively with the attacker, we were lead on a long circuitous path of Orange/Red/Blue/Yellow (hey, a Rainbow!) alerts that only served to reinforce that we were in daily danger. In other words, terrorized.

If the goal of a "terrorist" is to frighten people into changing their lifestyle and being afraid, Al-Quaida won whether they perceive it that way or not. By panicking Congress and the people of the United States into many of the changes made by Bush -- allowing, as a people, warrantless wire taps; the "Patriot" act; use of the term "Homeland" (a term that closely echoes the Soviet's "Motherland" and the Nazi "Fatherland" in our collective psyches).

The terrorists won because our government was complicit in the terror.

Somebody pick Frank up off the floor. (He keeps doing that.)

Rainbow Jeri. (Though who Jeri is remains to be seen, I guess. I'm sure she's a nice person.)

I'll take a shot.

An homage is a reverential reference by deliberate action. It is done with the intent and reality of paying a compliment to someone else's work. If I take a photograph of some aspect of Yosemite National Park and deliberately set it up as an echo of a photo Ansel Adams took, or a painting by Albert Bierstadt, making it clear in the work that this was a tribute -- that is an homage.

If, on the other hand, I took a story written by Harlan Ellison, changed the words and structure around and tried to sell it as my own, that's ripping him off (and committing plagiarism at the same time).

Acknowledging the source is the key, IMHO. Had James Cameron stated up front that Harlan's works formed the basis of the idea for the Terminator films, and that certain scenes were an homage to Harlan's work -- that would be far more acceptable than deny, deny, deny and insisting that the work was his own. THAT is ripping Harlan off.

And this applies to general art. I'm working on a photographic composition right now that is an homage to Andy Warhol's four-image portraits. It will be clear in the finished shot that it's an homage, not just a rip off. But I certainly hope the finished piece not only stands as an homage but also has its own artistic merit. But I'd be a fool to try to pass the piece off as solely my own composition.

Harlan is correct that he's the best person to respond to your query. I respect the fact you came back with a half-compromise. You should recognize that your initial post DID have the ring of an anonymous poser trying to incite a fight -- and that is looked at very dimly 'round here.

Hope my amateur answer sufficed in the meantime.

john zeock
- Sunday, January 4 2009 8:26:3

old news
This is probably old news but in David Thomson's HAVE YOU SEEN ? and its piece on Terminator it mentions Harlan (although, in a poorly copy edited book the reference is to DEMON WITH A GLASS...HEAD.) And, it occurred to me while watching THEM! on New Year's night that that film should have done what STAR WARS did in 1977. It was Warner Brothers' highest grosser of 1954. BEAST/20,000 made oodles in 1952 ; most of dear George Pal's films did very well. Hollywood used gimmicks like 3d and cinerama in order to draw people out and kept overlooking a Kong sized gorilla in the room. The audience was telling them what it wanted to see and they wasted the advantage they did have-the Hollywood technicians. Now, whether the rise of the SF film 23 years earlier would have been a good or bad thing who can say ? Me, I see a world where maybe Ted Sturgeon is being paid real money and Alfred Bester is making more money in fiction than on Holiday and Willis O'Brien isn't slaving away in Mexico as being a net plus. Just a thought...

- Sunday, January 4 2009 8:16:25

Percocet/Oxycontin withdrawal sucks
jesus h. christ

that is all thank you

eu - Sunday, January 4 2009 5:40:44

"Jeri's daughter" - that's a little better, sounds like a person. I think that's what Harlan was getting at. I think you may have taken it a bit personal, but there is no reason to - he was explaining, not accusing. What he said about the internet was an explanation. You yourself would have difficulty talking seriously to someone you have to call Zen-something-or-other.

"I was just wondering if there's a borderline between what constitutes an homage and what qualifies as stealing someone else's "thing"."

There are definitions for both things, and in my view the distinction is clear. There isn't really a borderline. It has to do with intentions and how they are carried out. There are no borderline intentions. You brought up Tarantino. There are people who do lots of homages, as he sometimes does from scene to scene, and anybody who knows a few of those films knows what he's doing. He's an artist and a scholar, like many writers, including Harlan. Very few people understand all they are doing in terms of homages but it's not their fault.

You also asked if we are permitted to use other artist's techniques. Obviously every artists HAS to learn from those who came before him or even from artists in other professions. For example, writers frequently learn from painters and vice versa. I don't think that's much of a discussion topic either.

HARLAN & RICK: On the seldom-read rules page it says, "Anonymity is allowed on this board", if it's not used as a shield, which it wasn't. I understand the problem but we're no closer to any permanent solution than before. Let's make it a rule that people have to use part of their real name. In the past we already discussed how using the full name may be a privacy problem for some. By the way, I still see "Clipping Service" from time to time - I assume Harlan knows who it is but the same rules should apply to everyone. Let's not forget that visitors see handles like that, and DTS and KOS (we know who they are) when they come here and assume they can use any handle they want.

Faisal A. Qureshi
Multan, Pakistan - Sunday, January 4 2009 4:29:5

DTS - Don't worry about it dude. Do the terrorists view it as a victory? In my studies, not in any way. Destroying Israel, taking over the Holy Lands and in some cases, recapturing Spain (!?!) would be a victory for the higher ups in these circles.

I know some people who were buddies with Bin Laden just before the end of the Afghan war and would meet regularly until 9/11. One of them observed that OBL and AQ are now more in love with their tactics than any realistic end goals. Look at what OBL demands and compare it to what leftie groups like the Red Army Faction or the Japanese Red Army were after in the 70's. I look at their demands now and just ask myself: "You got to be kidding me". Some of these demands are issues that do need to be seriously dealt with (i.e. The ethnic cleansing of Palestine for one). Others are just ridiculous (i.e. the imposition of Shariah law despite no idea of an infrastructure and the discouragement of any debate on this issue to discuss the pro's and cons... something the RAF also did when it came to discussions concerning how a Marxist state could work in the real world).

Though it doesn't make the front page in the world papers, tensions have been escalating between Pakistan and India given the denial from Pakistan that none of the gunmen were from its territory. Suddenly local Jihadist groups posted messages on forums saying that if India decides to invade, the Jihadists will fight for the survival of Pakistan and will give the invaders 100 years of hell, etc. etc. etc. You can imagine them masturbating to images of an upcoming massacre. I doubt Pak-India will go to war, it's just OTT sabre rattling but your typical extremist here is more than happy to go and fight without giving any thought that he would be fighting for a very US friendly Pak Govt. Long term considerations are something else or make their demands so impossible to realize that the only option is to keep on recruiting the gullible to kill the innocents.


Jeri's Daughter <rainboowzen999@att.net>
New York CIty, New York, USA - Sunday, January 4 2009 1:30:14

Dear Mr. Ellison,

I appreciate you taking time out of your busy life to communicate with me.

You stated that you've chosen not to answer my question because you have some issues with various negative behaviors and practices that people go in for on the internet and specifically with me (or anyone) using a pseudonym in your personal electronic venue. This is, as you stated, your site, so you get to have things your way here. I can't fairly argue about that since I'm inclined to be equally demanding of visitors who are interested in connecting with me on my own site. I have no problem with the use of pseudonyms, but no one gets to act the part of the bully or troll there. Including me.

Anyway, I was completely unaware of your objection to the use of e-names here. I just noticed that this is a place where many intelligent creative professional people communicate regularly.
I love the high level of interaction that goes on, and I hoped some of the regular posters might be willing to share their thoughts on the question I have. Of course, certainly, you would be someone who could contribute very knowledgeably to such a discussion, and of course I'd greatly value your input on the subject, but I wasn't actually expecting *you* to respond. I mean you're YOU. That's why I addressed my post merely to "Dear Webderlandians", I was not getting above myself.

I don't think my reasons for using a pseudonym were covered in your list of suspected motives for people doing so. I'd be glad to tell you my name and give you any other personal information you wanted from me in a private message if it would help unstop the seal on the font of your valued knowledge.

Regardless, if I ever again attempt to communicate with others here I promise not to go in for "Spiteful postings, endless needing to explain every intended nuance, time-waste, cultural generation-gap amnesia causing repetition of matters everyone should know, adolescent arrogance, slovenly diction/grammar/punctuation, basic lack of originality..." and etcetera.

Thank you again for taking the time to respond to me. It meant a lot, even I didn't get the answer I was seeking.

Chuck Messer
- Sunday, January 4 2009 1:4:0

KOS my good man, I hope this spells the end of your financial travails. I know what it's like to go through that wringer and it doesn't tickle. Hang in there, old bean.


The DataCombs, - Sunday, January 4 2009 0:25:45

After a rather unexpected four week diversion from the internet to reality, mixed with an mild but nevertheless aggravating case of "La Grippe", one eviction notice (narrowly averted by use of certain resources that appeared out from the blue), two losses of phone service and a retreat into a blue funkdom of the first order, and further travails which concluded with the formal severing of all connection between myself and my former ISP, I am dropping in to report:

The Books Got Here A Few Days Ago.

I will have more on that in a few days, once the swelling in the buboes goes down.

-IF- it goes down?


What if Rainbow Zwn is the dudes real name? Y'know. like River Phoeniz, Moon Unit Zappa and Sine-Aid O'Connor? Just sayin'...

- Saturday, January 3 2009 23:33:10


Yo, Zuz--!

Just out of curiosity, what's the story with the two ameboids who logged in on (FaceBook, right?) as HARLAN ELLISON? Was the photo used by one of them a photo of me? I is confused. Please straighten me out. I cannot keep up with the antics offered as entertainment from one monkey to other monkies.

Thanks. Harlan

- Saturday, January 3 2009 23:21:47


I have a feeling you haven't absorbed the very very few rules of comportment and transparency I've asked visitors to abide by on this one site. This is not the internet. I do not like the internet for the most part; and I resent the way its denizens keep trying to push everyone--myself most notable to me...my site, you see--deeper into its cultural behavior. Spiteful postings, endless needing to explain every intended nuance, time-waste, cultural generation-gap amnesia causing repetition of matters everyone should know, adolescent arrogance, slovenly diction/grammar/punctuation, basic lack of originality, and the idiot use of "handles" instead of one's real name...somehow in expectation that one can have one's posts traced to your detriment. Here, we trust each other. Whenever someone dupes us, or ATTEMPTS to dupe us--for heaven knows what purpose or profit--the rope is very short, and it is pulled taut quickly.

Which is to say, "Rainbow Zen," it is semi-difficult to deal seriously with questions, serious or otherwise, raised by someone making him/herself small behind a, well, frankly, silly pseudonym. I can assure you, you won't be hearing anything from me, likely one of the best persons to reply to your query.
, as long as you need to subscribe to the assorted fraudulence and mendacity of the internet.

This, here, is NOT the internet. How could it be? I don't like the internet.

Harlan Ellison

DTS <none>
OZ, - Saturday, January 3 2009 22:55:56

FAISAL's reply
FAISAL: Thanks for the reply...and the disturbing story. Hope things like that don't happen as often as they do in the U.S., but...as Pogo once pointed out...I'm afraid that "we have met the enemy, and he is us." (Or to put it more succinctly: the terrorists won, since we westerners -- Americans in particular, but others as well -- live in a climate of fear, and continue to allow others to stoke the fires thereof).

Best of luck in all your future travels,

Scott McKinley <montag63@hotmail.com>
Landing, NJ - Saturday, January 3 2009 22:39:51

HERC Renewal
Hi Folks; it's good to be back!

My membership to HERC expired anon and I just didn't want to post here without it being renewed. It's sort of the price of admission for me.

So, SUSAN: My renewal for HERC shall be on its way; funds secured. In addition, is the hardcover of Shatterday still available for ordering at $20.00? Or The Voice From the Edge Cassettes Volume Two? (and if so, at what price?). I'll take any recommendations gladly as well. Thankee.

Michael Zuzel <cartographer@islets.net>
Boy-See, Eye-Dee - Saturday, January 3 2009 22:20:1

Actually, there are no fewer than four HE-related groups on FB:

"The Harlan Ellison Facebook Fanclub"

"Harlan Ellison deserves more attention"

"Pour la réalisation du scénario de I robot écrit par Harlan Ellison"

and "A Boy and his Dog was the best movie EVER!"

In addition, two individuals have registered as "Harlan Ellison" ... one of them with HE's photo.


Anthony Tollin <at@shadowsanctum.com>
San Antonio, TX - Saturday, January 3 2009 21:38:34

Edd Cartier, illustrator of THE SHADOW and science fiction
If anyone here is interested in reading more about Edd Cartier, one of Harlan's favorite artists, you can view my press release and a sampling of Edd Cartier's wondrous illustrations at ...


The favorite illustrator of John W.Campbell (and a major influence on the art of Frank Kelly Freas), Edd Cartier passed away Christmas Day at the age of 94. During the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction, Cartier created more than 800 ilustrations for THE SHADOW MAGAZINE, another 200 for UNKNOWN and nearly 300 illos for ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION.

Brian Siano
- Saturday, January 3 2009 21:36:33

I wrote a long appreciation of Westlake over at my blog, http://briansiano.livejournal.com/596826.html. Hope y'all like it.

And I have some _good_ news for readers. This August, _Inherent Vice_, a mystery by _Thomas Pynchon_, is due out. That's right. Pynchon wrote a novel within _two years_ of the last one, _Against the Day_. (Which I still gotta finish.)

It's nice to keep hope alive.

Andrew F <asfuller@owlsoup.com>
Portland, OR - Saturday, January 3 2009 19:46:20

HE on Facebook
Dear Harlan,

I recently noticed the absence of HE (or the Kilimanjaro Corp or S.P.I.D.E.R. or the Flying Blue Monkeys or Jackanapes from Painesville) as a topic page on Facebook. Please scold if this has been previously discussed, though I searched the Pavilion and could not find mention. I'm almost sure that you are uninterested in visiting or maintaining a profile on a social networking website, but -- in my quest to remind every living thing of your and your stories' existence -- I would like to volunteer to create a topic "page" (not profile) about Harlan Ellison.

People have created topic pages for everything large and small within this site, like organizations, restaurants, films, music, and the guy who threw shoes at Bush. Anyone can create a topic page, so I was puzzled at the absence of an HE page. And I thought it prudent to ask the man himself before doing so.

These topic pages usually include a photo and a simple description. Visitors can simply become a fan, or discuss your works. For instance, here is a page about some random guy http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alfred-Bester/48702635518 . Whomever creates the topic page can moderate its content, as a kind of Rick Wyatt. (I could easily delete any witless attempts to post malicious lies or copyrighted material.)

If anyone in the Pavilion has further thoughts on Facebook topics, please chime in. (Facebook overall gives me caution, though I've found it helpful to promote myself as a struggling writer, and a communication tool.) Perhaps the HE page could be subtle or subversive, maybe about some guy called Cordwainer Bird.

All best,


Steven Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weynouth, MA - Saturday, January 3 2009 19:13:0


I, too, think its a witty fusion of "Alas and alack," and the words, "Lack-a-day" and "Lack-a-daisical," but it is a bit of a groaner pun when taken in itself. Ad part of the song, it is superb.

Sorry about the double-post. I will not post again for several days.

Steve Dooner

- Saturday, January 3 2009 18:9:10

Ira's rhyme
Mr. Dooner, I think your quoted Gershwin rhyme actually shows a great deal of puckish wit.

And we all know the old joke, don't we: George Gershwin wrote lots of wonderful songs with his lovely wife, Ira.

Steve Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Saturday, January 3 2009 17:42:48

On Doggerel, Rhyme and Catchy Titles

I'm just a little shocked to think that a member of Monty Python would use a doggerel rhyme to create a catchy title! Shocked, I say!

And though you are correct to cite Ira Gershwin, as an example of the best a lyricist can be. He was not above filling out a line with a casual rhyme. Take this lyric (which was obviously written just for a laugh) in the absolutely fabulous and classic standard, "But Not For Me":

"I was a fool to fall and get that way;
Heigh-ho! Alas! And also, lack-a-day!"

I know the "ennui" in the song's mood allows for this kind of lazy lyric, but I'm also pretty sure that it took no great effort on Ira's part to write such a line.

Steve Dooner

Rainbow Zen <rainboowzen999@att.net>
NY's Home, But It Ain't Mine No More, USA - Saturday, January 3 2009 15:5:45

Defining The Borders
William Sherman, Thank you for those legal definitions. Of course, if one wanted to get into it, one might want to have "illicit approbation" and "misrepresentation" very clearly defined. If all it takes to be cinematographically "licit" is to call a movie an homage to someone...

If you stole that someone's original story ideas, only changing the names and/or genders and/or occupations of the characters, setting them in a different-from-the-original time and place...if that's all you did, that is still stealing. It's got to be.

There's got to be more to it all. From a legal standpoint.

I was thinking of something else entirely. A totally different medium.

Mr Tarantino is largely a self-taught artist. He acknowledges some of his sources of inspiration. But he brings a whole, *whole* lot of his own to everything he creates, making all his movies his, regardless of where he gets his inspirations. I only mentioned him because he's famous for doing homages. And there have been some who have criticized him for this.

If I love someone else's work, so much so that it compels me to create something of my own, with me putting my own unique, and original spin on things, if I use entirely different colors, textures, materials and forms, but if I try to imitate their use of contrasts, symmetry and balance... because THAT was what I loved about the other artist''s stuff. and I'm trying to understand/learn about how to use balance and symmetry anyway...


I was just wondering if there's a borderline between what constitutes an homage and what qualifies as stealing someone else's "thing". And if there is, where it is. See?

Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to answer me.

"Rainbow Zen"

P.S. I do not yet know quite how to use this Notepad thingie. That is why my margins are all over the place. I hope looking at that mess doesn't make anyone seasick.

Steve Evil <evening_tsar@hotmail.com>
- Saturday, January 3 2009 15:5:18

Matt Smith?
What is with the BBC and its youth fetish? At least he ain't pretty. I'll wait 'till he takes the screen before passing judgment, but I was so hoping for an old man. . .

Frank Church
- Saturday, January 3 2009 13:26:46

Song lyrics were never meant to be high end poetry, so you can torque the rules governing rhymes. As long as the rythem of the rymed word makes some sense or more importantly, that the song makes some sense or is at least clever.

I Wanna Hold Your Hand is banal in concept, but the finished product can still be a masterpiece.

This is why I rarely admire most rap, because when someone talks lyrics, those lyrics should say more. With singing you want to hear the voice--the complexity of the voice, but with rapping you want to hear the words--they should make some kind of sense. It doesn't have to be some deep statement, but it should at least be clever. Eminem proves that theory.


There is one element to the Palestinian question that I have yet to comment on. The Palestinians tend to be dark skinned, Israelis white jews. White racism plays a lot in this crime. The Palestinians are black South Africans fighting the Jim Crow cracker of Apartheid. Even Jimmy Carter understands that.

It is too bad because european Jews know what racism does. We all want to hate the other, and blame them for our own faults.

Ben Winfield
- Saturday, January 3 2009 13:0:58

Doctor Matt


I like this guy. He appears to be a vulnerable, unassuming "aw shucks" kind of bloke, which is a welcome contrast to Tennant's quick wit and acid tongue. He also looks like the protagonist of a David Lynch movie, and that's always awesome in my book.

Here's hoping the Smith/Moffat combo is dynamite.

Jason Davis
Burbank, CA - Saturday, January 3 2009 11:31:21

The Doctor
Matt Smith is superlative in a very brief flashback sequence trimmed from the movie In Bruges (easily my favorite films of last year). He plays a younger version of Ralph Fiennes' character and has that same burning intensity that is vital to playing the Doctor well.

He was also quite charming (at first) as the shag who wouldn't go home in the sixth episode of the Billie Piper vehicle The Secret Diary of a Call Girl.

The combination of Smith on screen and Moffat at the computer is something I look forward to with great anticipation.

alejandro Riera
- Saturday, January 3 2009 11:29:50

Is it me...?
...or does the casting of the new Doctor Who resembles a bizarre imitation of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"? As the Doctor grows older in Time Lord years, the BBC keeps casting younger actors...

Faisal A. Qureshi
Multan, Pakistan - Saturday, January 3 2009 11:25:51

Response to DTS
There have been a few occasions where the seating plan I had confirmed and the one's that was made available to me on the flight had changed considerably. Air France did this to a flight on Cuba and since then, I suffered it on nearly every airline that I flew on in the US during last month. I always ask (and get) an aisle seat, usually located at the very back of the plane. I then found myself getting window seats, usually next to elderly senior citizens who don't feel keen on moving.

But there was one occasion on 11th Sept. 2006 on a late night flight back from Varna to London. I had overseen the editing of several short films at the Balchik Short Film Festival and the flight was a late one. Also with me was DoP Lol Crawley and his missus. I got my back seat, Lol sat in the middle and quickly fell asleep.

I had a copy of Kathleen Taylor's Brainwashing and was reading when I noticed the guy in the next seat was looking very closely at me. I tried some banter, suspecting that he was nervous. He asked what I was doing in Bulgaria, I informed him and then after a few minutes he left his seat and went to the Stewardess cabin. A sotto whisper elevated to loud screaming as he told them that I was nothing more than a suicide bomber ready to celebrate the fifth anniversary of 9/11. He then came back to the seat, put his head in his girlfriend's lap (she had the window seat) and started whining. His girlfriend, very stunningly attractive, also had the look of ignorant hate in her eyes.

The Stewardess came over and I calmly explained who I was and that I was sponsored by the British Council and if she wanted to see or check anything, I could provide phone numbers and documents. I also requested another seat as the asshole was making me nervous and I didn't fancy getting a plastic knife embedded in my aorta. This was turned down.

The plane took off and the paranoid lunatic swapped seats so his girlfriend sat next to me. In case I did blow up, at least her body would shield him from the blast. I decided to chat her up to which she responded that she didn't speak to Moors.

Which goes to show that Bill Hicks was right when he observed that chicks dig jerks.


Steve Hatton <stevehatton@blueyonder.co.uk>
St. Helens, UK - Saturday, January 3 2009 11:14:57

Here's a link to the BBC page

He certainly looks interesting has the kind of face that looks older than is.

Also congratulations to Terry Pratchett on his Knighthood

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Saturday, January 3 2009 10:24:13

A relatively unknown actor, Matt Smith, has been cast as the "youngest Doctor" to date. He's 26, and main claim to fame is having appeared with Billie Piper in two series previously.

Haven't seen anything he's been in, so have to greet this news with a wait and see attitude.

I will say I'm desperately disappointed Joanna Lumley didn't get the nod. THAT would've been fun.


Mike Jacka
Phoenix, AZ - Saturday, January 3 2009 7:3:2

In defense of "invented-word" rhyming.

Dr. Seuss


Alejandro Riera
Chicago, Il - Friday, January 2 2009 21:11:35

Tomorrow afternoon....
...the mystery as to who will play the next Doctor will be unveiled during a special broadcast of Dr. Who Confidential.

- Friday, January 2 2009 20:12:51

You wouldn't catch Ira Gershwin doing it...
Mr. Gershwin once wrote a ditty called I LIKE TO RHYME. But one rhyme he'd never make would be MAGORIUM/EMPORIUM. I must confess my prejudice against the title of that movie alone has kept me from having any desire to see it (though I might not have any interest even if it had a different title). I just have bad reaction when someone has to make up a name just to rhyme it with an unusual word. It couldn't have just been Mr. Smith's Emporium? It had to be revoltingly cute and rhyme?

Los Angeles, CA - Friday, January 2 2009 18:36:12

Reply to Steve B.-

Just a note..._Meet the Robinsons_ was very, very far along when Disney Feature Animation was placed under the control of Catmull and Lasseter. There was a brief production hiatus for Lasseter and Catmull to review the movie and give notes, but not much of the story was changed. The film was wayyyy too far along for any changes to be made to the look.

You may want to give a little leniency,too, since MTR had a short production schedule compared to a film like _Bolt_ or the typical Pixar feature. Internally, it was described as 'the film shot out of a cannon'. The R&D for look wasn't even finished when production quota started. Kind of like sprinting forward but there's no ground there until right before your foot hits.


DTS <none>
OZ - Friday, January 2 2009 17:59:56

ALL: File this one under: Had they been caucasian...


AND HERE'S my question: Do things like this happen as often on airlines from other, supposedly, civilized nations? Can Webderlanders in England, Europe, Australia, Japan, etc., etc., say if they have read or heard about such incidents with the airlines in their own countries? Or is it just in the "Land of the brave, home of the free..."?

Anyone? Bueller?

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Friday, January 2 2009 15:56:28

The Former is Not the Latter; Self-Editor Malfunction
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

(Pardon the double post--thought I'd save Mr. E. a stroke.)

Line 3 should begin, of course, "The former is simply ......"

Off to a bad start this year.

William Sherman

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Friday, January 2 2009 12:45:17

Plagarism vs. Homage, and Book Sent to Mr. E.
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

As one, self-flatteringly, rigorously trained undergrad to whom much in the way of warnings against plagarism has been taught, I'll take a swing at "Rainbow Zen's" query:

The latter is simply an illicit appropriation and misrepresentation of properly registered intellectual property by one of another for some material gain--a univeristy degree, money, etc. For example, were I researching a paper on special relativity, and palmed ideas of Einstein's as my own without citing him directly, that's plagarism.

An homage is simply a conscious mimicry of another's intellectual property, while paying due respect to that other--academic citation via footnotes, merely mentioning the person's name, or paid royalties in respect of copyrights. For my hypothetical paper above, a footnote for Einstein's original 1905 paper would suffice. As Mr. Cameron discovered from our dear host, his movie "The Terminator" was NOT an homage to his story "The Soldier", from "The Outer Limits", because he knew he was lifting Mr. E.'s idea almost vertatim, but did not respect Mr. E.'s copyright for the story. (One of Michael Ansara's better roles, I might add.) Mr. E. appropriately sued, won, and earned a paid credit from Cameron.

As for Tarantino, his "Kill Bill" franchise, are homages to the "Dollars Trilogy" of Sergio Leone, which movies themselves are homages to movies of one of my cinematic gods: Kurosawa. (See "Yojimbo" and "The Seven Samuri".) These do NOT represent plagarism because Tarantino did not utilize samuri in medieval Japan, as Leone did not. He put a novel, creative spin on the idea: Uma Thurman, in Bruce Lee's yellow sweat pants, singly avenging her groom's murder with a samuri sword. Enough difference exists for there to be little plagarism. Had he set his stories in either medieval Japan or in the American Southwest/Mexico of the 1860's, there would be room for doubt; yet, he did not, so an homage it is.

Mr. E.: sent "Men of Mathematics" by E.T. Bell today. Postage: $8.25.


William Sherman
Boxford, MA

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Friday, January 2 2009 12:24:14

The electric heat is out, so I have a fire in the fireplace and the kids' lips are no longer blue. The electrician will be by later this afternoon. Eh, it could be worse. It could be Montana cold rather than Washington cold.

I'm listening to ON THE ROAD WITH ELLISON, VOL. 2. My youngest comes rushing out of the room every time I laugh out loud. He's going to be plum tuckered out by the end of the CD.


Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Friday, January 2 2009 10:19:14

JIM THOMAS - I am showing you registered on Dec 22. I will see if Rick, once he comes down off his morphine high, can pull your password. My guess is that somehow this was either mis-typed or otherwise not what you expected (have you tried caps/non-caps, etc?).

Stay tuned.

It's great to see a goodly number of new registrants in the Forae. I feel a little like the witch-woman at the end of POLTERGEIST when I say "All are welcome, all are welcome..."

(Just watch out for that light. It's Frank with a flashlight, the kidder.)

We went on a bit of a Netflix binge yesterday, watching MEET THE ROBINSONS, MR. MAGORIUM'S WONDER EMPORIUM, and MICHAEL CLAYTON.

MEET THE ROBINSONS had some moments, but pales in comparison to some of the other Disney Pixar fare out there. (It was Disney-made, but after Lasseter and company joined the company.) Still, some fun stuff in there.

MAGORIUM isn't nearly so awful as was indicated by some of the reviews it got. Visually striking, it could have been better directed and edited.

MICHAEL CLAYTON is a terrific picture. Taughtly written, keeps you guessing as to where it's going (no spoon feeding here), and some outstanding performances.

SUSAN - I've checked the HERC page and a couple RABBIT HOLEs and can't find reference to ALL THE LIES THAT ARE MY LIFE. Does HERC have a copy of the complete edition lying around someplace that one could put a reservation upon???

Jim Thomas
- Friday, January 2 2009 8:46:53

forum registration issue
I did all the registration stuff for the forum, but my registration appears to be caught in Limbo. When I try to log on, I'm told that I have an invalid username and/or password. If I try to register again, I'm told that the username/e-mail address are already in use, so I know I'm in there somewhere.

Could the admin take a look, pretty please? My username is jthomas666.


Frank Church
- Friday, January 2 2009 6:48:23

Yes, I had to work on New Years, while you mooks had your heads in bubbly and burbly, I worked. Sure, my lady nearly raped me when I got home, but that's beside the point. I was tired and could only give her like twenty orgasms. Hey, this is all blue collar guys do well. We can fuck like bunnies.

Too much information, you say? Stuff it. hehe.


Slaymaker, Angus stuffed with cheese and salami? Talk about overkill. I bet you gave hubby plenty of breath mints.

Slaymakers Haymakers, Video Parlour, how about that?

Netflix is pretty bad. They are like the nazis. Yea, a bit much, but that kind of efficiency is a bit like making the trains run on time. Can't a motherfucker wait three days for a fucking video?


Barber, Cris wants her tongue back.


Westlake! aww, Westlake.


Rainbow Zen <rainboowzen999@att.net>
NY's Home, But It Ain't Mine No More, USA - Friday, January 2 2009 4:56:44

The Borderlands
Dear Webderlandians,


Can someone here define/examine the border between plagiarism and homage for me? Maybe? Please? Because I am presently wondering where plagiarism ends and homage begins.

I mean, just for example, Quentin Tarantino is a self taught artist who has, throughout his film-making career. offered what he calls cinematic homages. But he has also been consistently accused of making movies that are highly derivative of some one or another.

In response to my inquiry I imagine an urge might come upon some here to surround the Quentin Tarantino issue fore and aft, but I'm not actually asking about him specifically. I was just using him as a case in point.

I'm just saying...

I wish you all a joyful New Year. Bye for now.

Rainbow Zen

Faisal A. Qureshi
Multan, Pakistan - Friday, January 2 2009 1:40:45

Dammit! Only just heard. Poor dude, great writer. Another voice who'll be missed.


Mark Palko
- Friday, January 2 2009 1:4:20

If you haven't read it yet, add Westlake's Levine collection to your list (and don't skip the insightful introduction by the author). Lovely, introspective stories. The penultimate one took years to make it to print but I think it may be his most affecting tale.

Franky4posts <frank.zubek@yahoo.com>
Ohio - Thursday, January 1 2009 23:51:32

Westlake's gone
But he did leave behind some great work behind

Far, far too many writers never get into print and just live out their otherwise unremarkable lives and they too, pass on,
leaving the world empty of the reward of reading a little of
all of their own works

It's January here in Ohio and the temperature seems to have dropped a few degrees

Joseph Walker <jsw47408@yahoo.com>
Bloomington, IN - Thursday, January 1 2009 20:26:34

Aw, come ON. Wasn't 2008 shitty enough? Did it have to get in this last, terrible blow?

Just a few nights ago I was sitting around with some friends watching an episode of "Leverage," the new caper show on TNT. I remarked on the fact that the show's master thief is named Parker, and noted that this *had* to be the show's way of tipping its hat to Richard Stark. My friends--uncultured baboons all, apparently--had never heard of him, and I spent the next half hour enthusing over the glories of Westlake, Stark, Dortmunder, and particularly that supreme creation, Parker. I got myself so worked up that I shuffled a couple of my favorites ("The Man With The Getaway Face" and "Drowned Hopes") into my reading pile. I'll be reading them in a much different mood, now.

This is a really, really sucky way to be starting a year.

Jim Thomas
- Thursday, January 1 2009 18:46:29

Donald Westlake, RIP

As a kid, my two older brothers and I literally wore a copy of The Hot Rock out from re-reading. I hadn't thought about the book in years, decades even, but I was out in Fresno several years ago, and rummaging through a used book store I came across it and several other Dortmunder novels, and stayed up half the night reading them.

Mr. Westlake, you will be missed.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Thursday, January 1 2009 18:40:38

RIP Westlake?

You're joking, right? C'mon...where's the punchline...


Every word of his that I had not read, and every smile of his that he will never know, will be sorely missed.


rick <rick@rickwyatt.com>
who cares, - Thursday, January 1 2009 18:38:43

oh fuck no
First my favorite essayist, David Foster Wallace, and now my favorite novelist. Harlan, you better watch your six.

This is too much. See you guys in a while.

Chris M Barkley <cmzhang42@yahoo.com>
Cincinnati, OH - Thursday, January 1 2009 17:58:36

HEY! Best Graphic Story Hugo Nominations Needed...Like RIGHT NOW!
Happy New Year to All Weberlanders!

If you will cast your mass-mind memory back to early August 2008, you will recall that Steve Barber and I successfully lobbied for and won a chance to establish a Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.

An overwhelming majority at the Business Meeting at Denvention III voted to establish the award. A second ratifying vote at this year's Worldcon in Montreal is needed to make the award an annual feature on a trial basis (until 2012, it's along story and if you're really interested, you can google the details.)

(BTW, Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention, will be held in Montréal, Québec, Canada, from 6 to 10 August 2009. Guests of Honor include Neil Gaiman, Élisabeth Vonarburg, Ralph Bakshi, Taral Wayne, Tom Doherty, David Hartwell, and Julie Czerneda. You're all invited. Really.)

The Chair of Anticipation, Rene Walling, and his convention committee voted to use their special provision under the World Science Fiction Society constitution, to try out the Best Graphic Story Hugo on for size.

Very soon now, nomination ballots will be in the mail to all the members of Denvention III and current members of Anticipation.

The text of the amendment reads as follows:

Any science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form appearing for the first time in the previous calendar year.

This means that any graphic novel that tells a complete story OR any outstanding individual story published in 2008, is eligible.

(And yes friends, that includes stories from our host's latest edition of Dream Corridor!)

I could use your help; I am writing an editorial for Comics Journal about this and since I am not a regular reader of comics, I am sorely in need recommendations to research and cite.

I'm on a one weeks deadline so please, either email me at my email address above or discuss them here. I'd appreciate ANY help I can get on this...Thank You; Now hit those keyboards!

Chris M. Barkley

ps: and another shout out to Steve Barber and the others here who helped Steve and I with the preliminary draft of the amendment; we couldn't have made it this far without you guys!

Adam-Troy Castro
- Thursday, January 1 2009 17:55:4

R.I.P. Dammit
John Dortmunder, Andy Kelp, Tiny, May, Murch, and Murch's Mom. I hope that when you get to Heaven you find that perfect score and get to keep the money this time.

- Thursday, January 1 2009 17:54:33


I had not heard. Read Palko's post.

Oh god, no.

The best writer in America has gone.

I will not be able to deal with this; not for a very long time.


- Thursday, January 1 2009 17:36:58


Steve: Good to hear a squeak from you, old chum.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

alan <DaliEnoRox@aol.com>
largo, fla - Thursday, January 1 2009 17:13:26

tony rabig
thanks,mine is still sealed and circulation not visible.best new years wishes.

Mark Palko
- Thursday, January 1 2009 15:15:41

NYT obit
Donald E. Westlake, Mystery Writer, Is Dead at 75

Donald E. Westlake, a prolific, award-winning mystery novelist who pounded out more than 100 books and five screenplays on manual typewriters during his half-century career, died Wednesday night. He was 75.

Mr. Westlake collapsed, apparently from a heart attack, as he headed out to New Year’s Eve dinner while on vacation in San Tancho, Mexico, said his wife, Abigail Westlake.

Mr. Westlake, considered one of the most successful and versatile mystery writers in the United States, has earned three Edgar Awards, an Academy Award nomination for screenplay writing, and the elite title of Grand Master from the Mystery Writers of America in 1993.

Since his first novel, “The Mercenaries,” was published by Random House in 1960, Mr. Westlake has written under his own name and several pseudonyms, including Richard Stark, Tucker Coe, Samuel Holt and Edwin West. Despite the diversity of names, one shared feature was that almost all his books were set in New York City, where he was born.

He used many names in part to combat skepticism over his rapid rate of writing books, which at some points reached four a year.

“In the beginning, people didn’t want to publish more than one book a year by the same author,” said Susan Richman, his publicist at Grand Central Publishing, his current publisher. In the later half of his career, Mr. Westlake had narrowed himself to his own name and Richard Stark, author of a dark series about a one-name criminal named Parker.

The full panoply of all his books was a spectacle to behold, his friends said. “We were in his library, this beautiful library surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of titles, and I realize that every single book was written by Donald Westlake, English language and foreign language editions,” said Laurence Kirschbaum, his agent.

Mr. Westlake’s cinematic style of storytelling, along with his carefully crafted plots and crisp dialogue, translated well to the screen. More than 15 of his books were made into movies, some multiple times. In addition, he himself wrote a number of screenplays, including “The Grifters,” which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1991.

Donald Edwin Westlake was born to Lillian and Albert Westlake on July 12, 1933, in Brooklyn, but raised in Yonkers and Albany. He attended a number of colleges in New York State, but did not graduate from any of them. He married his current wife, Abigail, in 1979, and the couple made their home in Gallatin, N.Y. He was previously married to Nedra Henderson and Sandra Kalb. He is survived by his wife; his four sons by his previous marriage, Sean Westlake, Steven Westlake, Paul Westlake, Tod Westlake; two step-daughters, Adrienne Adams and Katherine Adams; a step-son, Patrick Adams; his sister, Virginia; and four grandchildren.

He was writing all the way till he passed away. His next novel, “Get Real,” is scheduled to be released in April 2009.

Brian Siano
- Thursday, January 1 2009 14:25:12

Westlake's gone?
I read that and actually yelped in shock. I love Westlake, Stark, and all the other names. And this year, he helped me alleviate a friend's severe depression via copious loanings of the Dortmunder books.

I'm tearing up. I'm going to miss waiting for the next one.

Mark Palko <mark@kruzno.com>
LA, CA - Thursday, January 1 2009 13:50:22

Goodbye, Mr. Westlake
If you haven't heard, Donald Westlake passed away last night.

I'll probably get in trouble for saying this here but for years I've said that my two favorite writers were Westlake and Lawrence Block. Both men did everything a genre writer is supposed to do and they did them brilliantly, but they also did all of the things that genre writers are supposed to be incapable of.

Westlake in particular had extraordinary range and impact, from his comic novels to his tough Stark books to screenplays like the Stepfather and the Grifters. He even made occasionally forays into fantasy and science fiction with novels like Humans and short stories like the infamous “Nackles.”

Like Eisner, Westlake liked to put real and very ordinary people in situations normally reserved for heroes, villains and other stock characters. Maybe that was why characters like Abe Levine got under your skin.

Ben Winfield
- Thursday, January 1 2009 11:14:11

This might be jumping ahead a little bit, but I can't wait until 2010 arrives. My mouth is so tired of saying "two-thousand-one, two-thousand-four, two-thousand-seven". Twenty-ten, twenty-fourteen, and twenty-seventeen just roll off the tongue much more easily.

In the meantime, Happy 2009!

Steve B
- Thursday, January 1 2009 10:54:31

Forgive the second post, but with all the Youtube fooferahh of a couple days ago, I thought the New Year merited a note that Harlan's PAY THE WRITER clip has hit the 208,037 views mark.


Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
Stowe, VT - Thursday, January 1 2009 9:16:6

A Memorable Dinner Redux
Last night my hubby Sputnik (it's a nickname) and I went to Trattoria la Festa in Stowe for dinner and had one of the best meals we've ever had. On a prix-fixe menu we had a fabulous antipasti, and a good Caesar's. Sputnik had a Black Angus sirloin stuffed with mozzerella and salami and dressed with a mushroom sauce. I had filet mignon of pork stuffed with spinach and gorgonzola and dressed with an herbal cream sauce that was excellent. Dessert was a dolce yule log. Alec Baldwin waited on us (actually he's a friend named James, but he looks so much like Alec that he gets stopped constantly). The ambience was perfect, the wine delicious, and we were home when the ball dropped. It was great.

If ever you come to Stowe you must do two things: stop in at Stowe Video and say hi (and rent a movie!), and eat at Trattoria. It's worth it.

Death to Netflix! Death to Blockbuster! Happy New Year!

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Thursday, January 1 2009 8:53:38

The times, they are a'changin'.

(Or maybe it's just me.)

I'm feeling old this morning. Only a slight hangover. From drinking too much wine. Red and sparkling. Dinner last night consisted of bleu cheese biscuits, baked sour cream and onion melba rounds, and hummus on taandori bread.

We stayed at home and had some friends over.

Played dominoes all night.

Ten minutes to midnight we watched Dick Clark deal with a should-be-shot-at-dawn Ryan Seacrest, a horrible Jonas Brothers performance, and something named 'Kelly Pickler'. Drank two glasses of decent sparkling wine. Kissed the missus. (Several times.)

Went back to dominoes.

To bed at 2:40, auto-clocked awake at 5, struggled to sleep until 8.

I'm feeling old.

Next year, TIMES SQUARE. For real!!! Who's with us????

- Thursday, January 1 2009 8:19:21

Sir Terry
I was delighted to see that Pratchett was knighted. The Lovely Wife and I spent a pleasant New Year's Eve re-watching the adaptation of his delightful HOGFATHER.

Chuck Messer
- Thursday, January 1 2009 3:32:31


I said, we'd *try* to behave. You know us.

A friend and I welcomed 2009 in downtown Denver, first attending the Bovine Metropolis Theater, an improv group similar in concept to Groundlings in LA. Very funny group of people. I will pass on an unusual pairing of words that propelled one of the improvs: Quantum Zombie. Make of that what you will, all creative types.

Afterward, we watched, oohed and aahed as the fireworks were set off directly overhead on the 16th street mall. A good time was had by all.

Goodbye 2008 and good riddance! Don't let the screen door hit ya where nature split ya!

Here's to a better 2009!


Doug Odell <DragonsHonorFivePillars@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Thursday, January 1 2009 2:33:17

Ahem. That's SIR Terry Pratchett, if you please.
For both of you that frequent this place who had missed this news, I bring it to your attention.


- Wednesday, December 31 2008 23:59:57

"We now take you to the Meridian Room in the Park Plaza in New York City, where Ramón Raquello and his orchestra are playing a tune that never loses favor . . . Stardust."

Ladies and gentlemen, we interrupt our program of dance music to bring you a special bulletin from the Intercontinental Radio News

At twenty seconds before midnight, Professor Farrell of the Mount Jennings Observatory, Chicago, Illinois, reports observing several explosions of incandescent gas, occurring at regular intervals on the planet Mars. The spectroscope indicates the gas to be hydrogen

Professor Pierson of the Observatory at Princeton, New Jersey, confirms Farrell's observation, and describes the phenomenon as, quote, "like a jet of blue flame spelling out the words..."


- Wednesday, December 31 2008 23:44:27

Two twenty-eight AM on the east coast - still not entirely sleepy, catching up on a little telly with my honey, her cold toes, and the roommate's Silky Terrier, Samantha (who is the only one of the three of us with enough sense to go to bed). We had a nice start to a new year: a fine three-course meal in Falls Church at 2941 Restaurant (a fabulous venison preparation), and a jazz concert at the Kennedy Center (the Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, conducted by Slide Hampton and hey, there's Jimmy Heath AND the New York Voices to boot!) with the requisite balloon drop and live music and dancing in the foyer afterwards.

No resolutions. Guidelines. Better, stronger, faster.

Happy 2009. Here's hoping it's a good one for all concerned.

Harlan, Susan - ESPECIALLY you two. Smoochles.

David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland , OR - Wednesday, December 31 2008 22:31:54

Happy New Year!

Have a good one, everybody!

Steve Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Wednesday, December 31 2008 22:11:57

We now take you to the Meridian Room in the Park Plaza in New York City, where Ramón Raquello and his orchestra are playing a tune that never loses favor . . . Stardust.

Happy New Year!

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Wednesday, December 31 2008 19:44:34

Happy New Year
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

As the Romans might have said, "Felix Annus Novus". To those uninclined to celebrate, Happy Thursday, again.

Ave atque vale.

Regards from, compared to Minnesota, a warm (9 degrees F) "other coast".

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Alejandro Riera
Chicago, Il - Wednesday, December 31 2008 19:27:59

Great to have you back Rick. Morphine is good, morphine is king.

And to all the Webderlanders around the globe, may 2009 bring you the strength, the courage and the love you need to face any and all challenges the New Year may throw your way. The economy may suck, the world may be going to hell in a handbasket, but we can all rely on our good friends and family and peers for succor.

Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Wednesday, December 31 2008 18:27:2

Feeling California
DTS-that tagline about had me spurting scotch; the good shit.

Happy New Year ya'll, from the epitome of a cold motherfucker.


reading Pangborn

Alan Coil
- Wednesday, December 31 2008 18:26:1

Jeff R. said:

"At that point, I must confess, I gave up. Just walked away. Sometimes, that's all you CAN do!"

Well, you could have squashed a grapefruit in her face.

Tony Rabig
Parsons, KS - Wednesday, December 31 2008 15:14:30

All the lies

Back of my copy says Underwood-Miller did 620 copies. 220 were signed (20 presentation copies not offered for sale, and 200 numbered & sold as a collector's edition). Which would leave 400 sold as regular trade copies.

If I'm reading this wrong, I'll bet there are about a zillion people here on the board who'll let us know.

A belated Merry Christmas and a barely on time Happy New Year to all Webderland inmates.


alan <DaliEnoRox@aol.com>
largo, fla. - Wednesday, December 31 2008 15:5:12

all the lies that are my life
anyone know how many issues of HE special hardbound trade novella was circulated in usa?

DTS <none>
OZ - Wednesday, December 31 2008 14:40:38

Rod's reply (that sounds like the title of a porno)
ROD: Regarding the "Dreams" DVD: Amazon solved such problems long ago. In fact, given the still outrageous price of books and DVDs here in OZ, I'd be surprised if most Aussie's _didn't_ buy more such items from Amazon (and I still can't believe the publishing industry is throwing out the baby with the bathwater by claiming higher book costs subsidize culture here in OZ -- they'd make _far_ more money by charging less for the books, and making it easier for Aussies -- who, from my experience, read more than Americans -- to afford more books. As for what the film & TV industry is doing to itself -- via the cost of DVDs and via their own boneheadedness in the way they operate --the less said about that idiocy, the better).

Having admitted all of that, I'm still finding Melbourne a far nicer -- far saner -- place to live than most cities and locales in the U.S.


- Wednesday, December 31 2008 13:54:31

that should read "even more" - hehe

eu - Wednesday, December 31 2008 13:53:41

RH46 received earlier today.
See, told ya, May 26!!
Thanks for the look at the rejection leters and the essay which makes me look forward a little more to Harlan's memoirs. Sounds incredible somehow that there was a time when Harlan was "at best only spuriously literate".
I guess that in May those of us who don't reside in L.A. will be jealous again (more than usual, I mean). Should be an interesting month for Harlan, Susan, and us.
Also interested in Josh's selections in April.
A good new year to you all.

Dennis C
Glendale, CA - Wednesday, December 31 2008 11:14:16

This site has a longer look at WATCHMEN, with an interview with director Zack Snyder (not addressing the Fox lawsuit, of course):


Faisal A. Qureshi
Multan, Pakistan - Wednesday, December 31 2008 10:57:47

Israel, Hamas and the net
Frank, Semi-writer and all the others who've contributed to this topic. I've followed this subject for a long time and I've got a bit of advice which I hope you pay heed too at this time.

Let it lie.

While I'm personally horrified by actions of both sides, I have found in the past that debate of this topic on the net can escalate/descend to over simplifications, name calling, repeating matters of history that probably don't matter to the current participants of the conflict. Believe me, you go up to someone involved in the mess and start going on about UN Mandates, the death of Count Folke Bernodette, Ottoman Land codes, Balfour Declaration, etc. etc.etc. they will not give a flying fuck.

You're not going to convince the other side of the rightness of your position. Better to expand your energy by doing something far more worthwhile like writing to your representative either supporting or attacking whose doing what to who and why you feel its important. Go to protest/support meetings. Sign petitions. Do something in the real world because these kind of debates on the net doesn't really make a difference. Just agree to disagree on this issue and move on. It's not worth losing net friends over.

Brian - Heaven's Gate is a great film. It was murdered and unfairly so. Yes I've read Steven Bach's account of the making of the movie, oh I think it's pretty fair whose fault or faults it was. Yes it was a financial disaster but I would not dismiss it as an artistic one. When I finally saw the film, I thought it was a terrific piece of work, though one that really needed to be seen on the big screen. It worked for me and a lot more than Bertolucci's even more self-indulgent five hour version of 1900. Give the film a chance, you may even like it more than the last film I recommended to you... which if I remember was Zardoz.


Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Wednesday, December 31 2008 10:50:8

From My Strange Family
Years ago,my very right wing bone stupid cousin told mehow much she loves THE OSCAR. "Uh, you know, the main writer on that film says it's terrible and has publicly apologized for being involved with it," I told her.

"Oh," she stuttered, "he says that deliberately so people willl watch it. He wants people to watch it, that's why he says

At that point, I must confess, I gave up. Just walked away. Sometimes, that's all you CAN do!

Brian Siano
- Wednesday, December 31 2008 10:10:25

Bad Movies 'n' Stuff
I( started to watch _The Oscar_ a few months ago, when Bill Maher had programmed it onto TCM. Maher has a jones for the modish, Vegas and Rat Pack and old-school-lounge culture, even at its goofiest, and _The Oscar_ comes out of that era. So I tried to watch it in the same spirit.

I really couldn't. I switched off after maybe twenty minutes or so. If I watched it with a roomful of witty, knowing people-- a lineup of Bill Maher, Michael J. Nelson, Patton Oswalt, Trace Beaulieu and Mary Jo Pehl'd be _ducky_-- I could get in the swing of things and have a good time with it. I guess it marks me as a humorless thud, but I couldn't see it as anything but a prime example of vintage Hollywood lameness, like _Valley of the Dolls_, or the original _Ocean's Eleven_, or _The Carpetbaggers_. Sorry you got sucked into that mess, Harlan.

As I'm writing this, I'm watching _Heaven's Gate_ for the first time, on the off-chance that it might not be as bad as reported. I'm twenty minutes into it, and so far it's been a shitload of pointless graduation revels at Harvard, a sudden shift to Wyoming "twenty years later," a frontier murder, and endless shots of immigrants trudging along a dusty plateau, shot through the bluntest of sky filters and and dyed with gallons of English Breakfast Tea. Every dollar's up on the screen, every crinoline, every artfully-sculpted pillar of smoke, every wooden wagon and gilded storefront, every museum-grade steam engine brought into the shot at the right moment... and now, half an hour in, nothing's really registered as an actual story. All that money given to Michael Cimino, when it could've been used by Sergio Leone.

Frank Church
- Wednesday, December 31 2008 9:44:19

Mark, Semi-Writer, do you guys read Pravda for your facts?

I want you all to have a peaceful new year but this cannot stand. The facts about the "ceasefire" from Znet:

"Like any occupied people, the Palestinians have the right to resist, whether they choose to exercise it or not. But there is no right of defence for an illegal occupation - there is an obligation to withdraw comprehensively. During the last seven years, 14 Israelis have been killed by mostly homemade rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, while more than 5,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel with some of the most advanced US-supplied armaments in the world. And while no rockets are fired from the West Bank, 45 Palestinians have died there at Israel's hands this year alone. The issue is of course not just the vast disparity in weapons and power, but that one side is the occupier, the other the occupied.

Hamas is likewise blamed for last month's breakdown of the six-month tahdi'a, or lull. But, in a weary reprise of past ceasefires, it was in fact sunk by Israel's assassination of six Hamas fighters in Gaza on 5 November and its refusal to lift its siege of the embattled territory as expected under an Egyptian-brokered deal. The truth is that Israel and its western sponsors have set their face against an accommodation with the Palestinians' democratic choice and have instead thrown their political weight, cash and arms behind a sustained attempt to overthrow it."

The continued occupation is an act of war and the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves. It is wrong for them to fire the rockets, but the rockets are weak, homemade and have killed few people. Israel uses overwhelming force to kill mostly innocent people. The violence is a way to juke the coming elections. This has nothing to do with self defense, especially since Israel has the ability to nuke the middle east. This is like healing a cut by cutting off an arm.

Russia says Hamas wants to have a cease fire. Will Israel agree? Hopefully they will. With history as a guide, this will not be the last time they use Shock and Awe against an occupied people.

I don't like what Hamas is doing, but the overwhelming violence in on one side. Just as molested children become molesters, victims of violence become violent. Me acting outraged about every act of violence around the world makes no sense. Nobody else does such a thing, and when they do, we call them ninnys.

I have control over my country--they can get Israel to stop their slaughter. The best way to stop the Qassam rockets.

This is chess, not checkers.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Wednesday, December 31 2008 9:40:41

Chuck M. wrote: "In the meantime, we'll try to behave over here."

Since when? Um...oh...Rick could still check in...

Um...Behaving. Yup. That's what we're doing! Sure thing!


We're planning a Chinese New Year's party to ring in the new year. Screw 2008! 2007 hasn't passed yet (I refer you my posts of hubby's rolling the car just a few days into 2008). I refuse to go down without a fight, though, and there will always be a reason to face the future.


To Lurkers With Introductions: Welcome aboard! We bite, so check to see if your HMO covers rabies shots.


Enjoy the evening doing something with someone you love. Find a reason to face the future, and I'll see everyone in 2009.


Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Wednesday, December 31 2008 9:21:36

The Late, Unlamented 2008


Here it is. The end of a year that deserves a good swift kick in the ass when it heads out the door this evening at 12:59:59 plus two seconds. (Leap second and all that.)

May 2009 bring each and every one of you a more financially secure situation; fewer conflicts with idiot neighbors; dependable (and gainful) employment; improved (or retained) health for yourself and your loved ones; good travels; more books, less TV; artistic success; recognition for same by your respected peers; and at least 24 individual moments of pure and utter joy.

Barring that, Rick will have to share his painkillers with the lot of us.


1 – Lose weight so I don’t quite so readily resemble “Fan Boy” from Freakazoid.
2 – Excuse Frank for his excesses.
3 – Learn a foreign language. (I’m thinking English)
4 – Resist the temptation to win every argument with a baseball bat.
5 – Be the good spouse waiting in the wings.
6 – Learn what the big words mean BEFORE Harlan asks, not after.
7 – Actually do more than three entries in my blog.
8 – Return out of town guests to their homes in reasonable condition, with no visible scars or bruises.
9 – Reduce my dependence upon hyphens, commas and other grammatical excesses.
10 – Be as gentle as possible with NeoCon buddy Jim. He’s in a delicate place right now.

Happy New Year Harlan, Susan and the rest of the Webderland Mosh Pit.

Franky4posts <frank.zubek@yahoo.com>
Cleveland, Ohio - Wednesday, December 31 2008 9:17:55

I have netflix and out of curiousity I typed in
Dreams With Sharp Teeth and lo and behold it's scheduled to be released on DVD and available thru netflix- May 2009

I had been hoping that I could see it in a theater (here it would show in a small art house theater called Cedar Lee)but perhaps it HAD it's run here and I missed it for some reason.
Either way it's just a short 5 months to go. DVD is just as good considering. As long as I can watch it finally.

I continue to hope that these large multi-screen theaters would get smart and start reserving (at least) one of their 20 screens for smaller films such as this one.I mean, once the latest Adam Sandler comedy (or big effects driven blockbuster) has it's three weeks, the four theaters it's showing in just keep playing it to empty seats as the audience has moved on to the next "hit" (as some of you may know-- with the first few weeks of any film, the first few weeks boxoffice monies FROM
that film goes TO the studio and then and only then does the theater owner start making money (one reason why popcorn costs 5 bucks)
Now, the way I see it----If the theater owners would arrange to reserve ONE of those "four" showing the bigger film for a small weekend film festival (or even, a little bitty small film with a really limited audience such as Dreams With Sharp Teeth) I would think that over time, an audience would become interested in the "smaller interest fare" and an over time, an audience would build and the theater owners could come to count on the monies generated from that ONE reserved theater that has little film festivals (and this idea can go beyond the usual Trek stuff-- we're talking 70's and 80's retro horror film festivals
as well as today's market of Indie films.

Each city (including Cleveland) has a core film loving audience that would love this type of thing to look forward to even a few times a month. I would think that the monies brought in by this kind of project might bring in a little more money than anything that did it's standard 5 week tour and just played to empty seats for the rest of it's 5 week (contracted) run

If ALL theater owners gathered together and tried to make some sort of arrangement for this kind of entertainment in their neighborhoods, maybe we could stall the inevitable downfall of the movie going experience before the whole thing collapses to a point where you press a button on the remote and have the latest blockbuster beamed straight to your basement entertainment room with that big 82 inch plasma screen your so proud of.

Anyway-- I hope you all (as well as Harlan and Susan) have a good New Year

Michael Rapoport
- Wednesday, December 31 2008 8:51:30

The Amazon listing for DWST promises over 80 minutes of bonus material (at least some of which I think is already on the film's website), including "Six Bonus Harlan Ellison Readings," "Pizza with Harland (sic) and Neil Gaiman," "'An Evening With Sharp Teeth': The Film's Premiere," and the trailer.

Susan: Rabbit Hole #46 and the rest of the package arrived here in New Jersey today. Thank you so much! A wonderful bundle of reading and listening with which to start the new year.

Rick: I was in the hospital myself this week, for something not remotely as serious or painful as your problem, but it was enough for me to know that you're undoubtedly going stir-crazy if you're still there. Just know that you have the best wishes of everyone here for a speedy recovery and the admiration and respect of everyone for the work you do here.

That - and reading these other recent introductions - reminds me that I have not really introduced myself since I began posting here a few months ago. I am a journalist, as I think I've mentioned before, a columnist for a major financial-news wire service. (Don't worry, we're off-the-record here: In the highly unlikely event that I'm interested in quoting anything said here, I'll ask for permission first.) Married, two wonderful sons. Aficionado of film noir, comics, baseball, American history. (Currently reading THE DEFINING MOMENT by Jonathan Alter, about FDR's First Hundred Days, which a certain president-elect is reported to be reading as well.)

Been an Ellison reader and fan for more than 30 years - if memory serves, the first Ellison story I read, in its initial magazine appearance, was "Adrift Off the Islets of Langerhans." Which I hated. What did I know? I was maybe 14 years old, and soon learned better. His work has warped my brain in all the best ways, and a new Ellison story or essay always goes to the top of my to-be-read pile.

Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Wednesday, December 31 2008 8:41:18

Rick, glad you are feeling better and I hope you will be able to return to your normal level of activity pain-free soon.

Chris Noble and Jim Thomas, welcome and, if you would like a bit more lively debates (and the ability to post more than once per day) join us over on the forums.

Frankie, bubbela, you know I love you (in a purely platonic way) but seriously, shut the fuck up about Israel being the aggressor and the Palestinians being the victims. Israel has committed horrible acts in the past (bulldozing houses with people inside, allowing the slaughter of Lebanese Christians, etc.), and this ramming of a boat is indefensible, but where is your outrage for all of the rockets fired on Israeli civilians?

Neither side is clean in this mess. Both have blood on their hands, but the Israelis did not strike first in this particular conflagration, this was instigated by Hamas. What I find interesting in this latest conflict is that Israel is really almost an ancillary player in this. Some believe Hamas fired the rockets as a way to build up support among the Palestinians to counteract Fatah's (the former terrorist arm of the PLO) growing influence. It is odd that very little press has been devoted to intra-Palestinian conflict which may have served to prolong the conflict with Israel.

In any event, I wish all of you a very Happy New Year,


Chuck Messer
- Wednesday, December 31 2008 6:14:52


As I've said before, take it easy on that spine. And don't climb any ladders for a while, 'kay?

In the meantime, we'll try to behave over here.


Rod Williams <liman@mauve_level.com>
Melbourne, Oz - Wednesday, December 31 2008 3:33:55

Reply to DTS + Censorshit

DTS said:

'DVDS: Can't wait for the release of "Dreams With Sharp Teeth," since I left Amurrrica before it was released and haven't had the chance to see it. Looks like it will be just in time for the Inimitable One's birthday.'

I just checked the Aussie censor's classification database*. DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH has not been submitted by a distributor for classification yet, unless it has a different title, or I fucked up the search somehow.

In other news, I've spotted the DVD release of MASTERS OF SCIENCE FICTION, which has 'The Discarded' episode on it, in local DVD emporiums.

I spotted DROOD over at the Subterranean Press webshite yesterday, but the premise didn't grab me, and I think it's already sold out. Pre-ordered Jack McDevitt's first short story collection CRYPTIC instead.

90 mins left of 2008 down under. So that's 4,500,000,001 orbits for planet Earth. It doesn't look a day over 3,000,000,000 if you ask me.

* http://www.classification.gov.au/

P.S. The classifiation 'RC' (refused classification) is governmentese for B*A*N*N*E*D. Compare that with the US: you can release any title commercially unrated. Doing so in Australia is illegal. But that is old news. Mandatory internet filtering is now being trialed, despite protests, sheer lack of common sense, technical problems, etc. Please pass the bandaids...

DTS <none>
OZ - Wednesday, December 31 2008 0:0:56

Spines...and forthcoming DVDs and books
RICK: A terminator spine -- extremely cool. You can now walk around saying, "I'm lhooking fur Seeaaahrah Cohnuhr," and not worry about anyone laughing at you. After repopping my disc twice (and maybe a third time, I've finally broken down and decided to go see the Doc on Friday), I've decided to go easier on my back in the future (ANY type of jogging/running on a regular basis for exercise is out -- only bikes and pools for this codger). And if they offer me a metal spine, I'll take it, cause although I've gotten used to living with the pain, the last couple of days have been worse than usual (thank the Wizard that a drug called Codapayne is legal here in the land of Oz).

DVDS: Can't wait for the release of "Dreams With Sharp Teeth," since I left Amurrrica before it was released and haven't had the chance to see it. Looks like it will be just in time for the Inimitable One's birthday.

Speaking of Inimitable...
HARLAN: Have you read DROOD yet? Everytime I read a scene involving Dickens, I think of you (because of the magnetic personality parts, and the descriptions of worldclass readings, too). If you've read it, and care to share your thoughts, please do. I'm half-expecting Simmons to dedicate it to both Dickens and you...mostly because of the similarities in your lives (pointed out by someone in one of your past newsletters) and because of the vibrancy of Charles Dickens the man (equal to your own) but also because of the importance of your respective ouevres to the literary canon.

Even though I still don't pay much attention to dates, ages and holidays,
Happy New Year to you and Susan.

Steve Ringgenberg <sringgenberg1@cox.net>
Scottsdale, AZ/USA - Tuesday, December 30 2008 22:11:33

Hello, old friend
Dear Harlan

I'm watching The Oscar and thinking of you, one of my very favorite writers in any genre. I know you know that movie is junk, but it is tremendously entertaining, like a Russ Meyer flick. Hope that you are well and that 2009 treats you right. Drop me a line sometime if you have the time to let me interview you for Heavy Metal. Any time, at your convenience, of course.

With respect and affection,

Steve Ringgenberg

- Tuesday, December 30 2008 20:7:40

"I about when into a diabetic coma"

Rick, I'm breaking the Holy Rule to tell you, genuinely from my heart, that I hope you make a FULL recovery and you live an incredibly healthy life!

Greg Hurd
Alpena, MI - Tuesday, December 30 2008 19:37:2

My best wishes to Rick W.

On another note, someone at TCM has a sense of...humor? At 11:45 The Oscar is on followed by Heaven's Gate. What a night!

Jordan Owen
- Tuesday, December 30 2008 18:55:42

quick response to Chris Noble

Theoretically, such a walled in community would flood naturally with rain.

suffice to say if the whole region dropped off the planet, it would be no great loss to me.

Hail Satan,

Rick <rick@rickwyatt.com>
Little Rock, AR, - Tuesday, December 30 2008 18:50:40

T.F.U.S. says hello
Thanks for all the kind (and clever) comments. It was so nice to check in here today and see them all. You really are all a wonderful bunch, especially consider I could have been kinder to you at times. I'm reminded of what was said to Dexter Morgan's sister: "You got one tool in your toolbox, and that's a hammer."

I will consider (CONSIDER, mind you), as she did, finding a few other tools for the T.F.U.S. Utility Belt.

Glad to see all the Rabbit Holes arriving - can't wait to get back to Atlanta and see mine (among other things).

I overdid it a bit today but I am at least as ambulatory and intelligent as a Romero zombie. Not, mind you, the zombies in DEAD SET, the effing brilliant mini-series I'm watching as I lay here recovering from a little too aggressive rehab tonight. If you haven't heard of it yet, you will.

Last Note: I called Harlan and Susan shortly before posting and I do have to add that they were both so sweet I about when into a diabetic coma. I'd like to take a break from my usual sardonics to thank them both and let them know how healing it was to know I was in their thoughts. And Josh, you are in charge of making sure Harlan chooses the "heart healthy" entrees when you two go carousing - no matter how he pleads. This is important.

Here comes Nurse Ratchet to change my dressing...toodles!

Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
Home at last!, - Tuesday, December 30 2008 18:4:3

Rabbit Hole #46 has landed in Vermont. Yay!

Chris Noble <chrnoble@gmail.com>
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Tuesday, December 30 2008 17:3:53

Thank you very much. I promise to use this ugly lump on my shoulders from now on. But only for good.
I should probably introduce myself, as it seems like a polite thing to do. I'm thirty-seven, divorced, three offspring. I mostly lurk, as I prefer to let the grown-ups talk. Occasionally I'll pipe up, but I promise to try to only do it about something I know about. Keep in mind I said "try".
I first read Mr. Ellison when I was about 14. It was an introduction to the American editions of Target's "Doctor Who" novelizations (I think it was Pinnacle Books), wherein Mr. Ellison... yelled at me. You know, Darth Vader sucks eggs (I was a big Star Wars Fan), Mr. Spock was a weenie (big Star Trek fan, too), Doctor Who was where it was at (I agreed on that last point). I took offense as only a fourteen-year-old can: by buying as many of his books as I could find. My being more than a little messed up in the noggin is down to his influence. And Michael Moorcock's.
That's all.
I will try to be grammatically correct. But, I , abuse, commas, so I'll need to watch that.
Jordan Owen-
As live and let live as I generally am, I sometimes find sympathy with Mr. Ellison's statement that the region should be walled in. This usually happens when a rape victim is stoned to death, or a kid is sent to jail for converting to Christianity, or a prepubescent girl can't get a divorce, or there's a riot about a FUCKING CARTOON. Filling it with water... that's over the line. Frustration is one thing, but what you're saying seems more than that. Perhaps this wasn't intended. If so, I apologize.
Finally: "FUCK YOU SPINE" is now a phrase I will use in casual conversation as often as I can.

eu - Tuesday, December 30 2008 16:53:55

I think this hasn't been posted/announced? DREAMS WITH SHARP TEETH will be on Region 1 DVD May 26, 2009. It is finally listed at Amazon and several other places.
List price is $26.95 (but who pays list price on DVD's).

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Tuesday, December 30 2008 14:24:27

SUSAN - And by dealing I'm certain you mean enjoying yourselves and the beauty of your lives. Works for me!


susan ellison
- Tuesday, December 30 2008 12:36:58


It arrive today. We will deal with you later.

The Ellisons

- Tuesday, December 30 2008 12:35:52

Zack--Got your card. Many thanks. What's the $10.00 for?

All best--Susan

- Tuesday, December 30 2008 12:22:33

Chris Noble: No problem with your membership. Just gave you a pro rata membership--on the way to you.

All best--Susan

Los Angeles, California - Tuesday, December 30 2008 12:4:17

"Israel has a history of ignoring UN mandates." So do the Palestinians! You want to talk about basic reading, then look at a map from 1948 and compare it to now--the amount of land that the U.N. set aside to create Israel isn't even 1/4 of what it was originally. Palestinians have been defying the U.N. and hammering away at U.N.-sanctioned land for 60 years--and not by peaceful means.

Which means... that if we go back to the U.N.'s original designation of what Israel IS and where its borders lay, then the "illegal" fence WASN'T illegal. It was Israel reclaiming U.N.-established territory.

But again, neither side is RIGHT in this conflict. Neither side can claim to be the "victims" or the "slaves." EACH has done their part to aggravate the situation and now Israel, the stronger military force, is using their muscle. I don't agree with them denying aid to regular Palestinians, but look at it from their point of view for a second--it's done out of FEAR. Fear that weapons are going to be smuggled to Hamas amongst food and blankets and so on. It's the same fear which has led Israel to bomb the tunnels; the tunnels were a lifeline, a good supply line for the people, but the transportation of ammunition and weapons corrupted their purpose.

From this point, there are only two alternatives. Either those two people have to fight it out to the end without outside interference, or the U.N. has to step in and re-establish whose land is whose... and in that case, you can bet that things will eventually be right back where everything started, as each side re-claims "their" spot of land over time.

Because if any other countries get involved in the fighting, we're in for one hell of a world mess.


Damn it, I hate the New Year's crap. I've basically got open invitations to just "show up" to two different venues, but one place involves being around a crowd whose average age is 70, and the other involves being with damaged people (read: comedians).

Usually, I'd take off and drive up San Francisco and the Palace of Fine Arts, where they put on a comedy show every year, but finances being what they are (non-existent), that's not an option.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Tuesday, December 30 2008 10:56:33

There was a rabbit with a satchel full of bounce notes waiting on my front stoop when I finally made it home last night. The poor thing looked so cold I let it inside and gave it a cup of hot cocoa.

Thank you, Susan, for your hard work. And thank you, Harlan, for once again reminding me I am not alone.


ROGER - I'm sorry for your loss, but I hope your aunt's passing clears away the veil of confusion and she can rest in peace.


RICK - Ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow ow....Please take care of yourself during your recovery. We want you in one piece, new spine and all.


Hindsight being what it is, I would not have have gone to Disney World. The high points were much like the frantic gasps of air as your strength gives out and your head slips under the water for the last time. I will focus on those moments and refuse to allow the others to rule my life.

HARLAN - The Young Jackanapes did us both proud. He stood up to my brother after a particularly ugly incident. When I took YJ aside in the hopes of smoothing things out before the fact, he looked me square in the eye and said forcefully, even as the tears threatened to spill over, "No, Mom. You let me handle this. I'm tired of him pushing me around. If Uncle Paul doesn't like it, too bad."

That's a big step for a kid who can't unravel most social situations. I silently cheered as he said it, and cried bitterly when it was all said and done.


Richard Gilliam <richardgilliam@earthlink.net>
Ann Arbor, MI - Tuesday, December 30 2008 10:53:4

National Film Registry (The Terminator)

If you haven't seen it already you may want to read the official press release for the National Film Registry's selection of "The Terminator."


It's also repeated in Variety.


My first time to post here. I know you don't like the term sci-fi, but it's still pretty cool to have the Library of Congress refer to you as a legend.

Best wishes,


Laurie <lauriejane@dslextreme.com>
Los Angeles, California - Tuesday, December 30 2008 10:31:13

Rabbit Hole #46 A-OK
I pick up my mail once a week so don't know if this will help you, Susan. As far as I know, my Rabbit Hole newsletters have all arrived in a timely manner. (My mail can afford to live in Beverly Hills but I can't). Just received Rabbit Hole #46 and have now read all those rejection letters. The letters seem warm and mostly encouraging but must have been painful at the time. Harlan Ellison's rejection letters--what a concept! Thanks for revealing them, Harlan.

Jim Thomas
- Tuesday, December 30 2008 10:25:13

I've posted here a few times without bothering to properly introduce myself, so please allow me to rectify that transgression.

I'm a technical communications specialist living in Birmingham AL. I'm married, w/ one adopted daughter and two foster sons whom we hope to adopt soon if DHR can get its collective thumb out of its ass.

I'm 45, though I tend to think of myself as being younger. The delusion finally died during my last haircut, as I spent most of the time going, "Holy Christ, where the fuck did all that gray hair come from?!?"

I have a side gig writing reviews for DVDverdict.com--it doesn't pay anything other than the free DVDs, but the money I save on newly released DVDs almost covers the money I spend on older DVDs. And I got a massive ego-boost when Harlan praised my trashing of The Starlost.

I got interested in Harlan's writing through the good graces of David Gerrold--I had read his two books on Star Trek, and his descriptions of Harlan were so captivating that I started hunting down his work. Harlan pours so much raw passion into his work that I just get swept up in the vortex.

Hope you're doing better. I've had two surgeries for a ruptured disc, so I know all too well the pain you endured prior to your surgery. One time I was in the Delta ticket line at LAX on my way home when the damn thing decided to go ballistic--all the blood must have drained from my face, because one of the Delta workers came over to check on me; she took me to the front of the line so I could get my ticket and sit down. Both my surgeries were just "clean out the crap" surgeries, so recovery was much simpler, but if that disc goes again I'll have to have a fusion.

That's enough for today; I'd best get back to work.

Jordan Owen
Atlanta, GA - Tuesday, December 30 2008 9:43:41

Isreal, Hamas, etc.
Mr. Ellison:

Your borderline psychotic (but oh so true) rants have an orgasmic rush surpassed by none. Reading them makes me feel like I've just made love to a high powered assault rifle and been left grinning.

That said, it may just be the Satanist in me talking, but I am so GOD DAMN SICK of hearing about the middle east and all their shenanigans that I'm with you- build a twenty five foot (or better yet MILE) high wall around the whole place. Then fill it with water.

We all know if they didn't have so much oil nobody on this side of the pond would give a flying fuck if the whole region were wiped off the face of the planet.

Is it too much to ask that my government focus on things that are useful to me like health care, creating jobs, and learning to adequately harness solar power?

Hail Satan,

- Tuesday, December 30 2008 9:31:38

Rick, I always thought of you as the hard-assed sort!

We greet the return of thine steel whip!

After all, even bargain basement deals in S&M are hard to come by in this economy!

David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland, OR - Tuesday, December 30 2008 9:2:39

Wyatt duck? (from a Marxman)


Have you considered chess?

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Tuesday, December 30 2008 8:50:7

Rick's back! Rick's back! Rick's back! (Really, his back!)

Overheard in a small bar over Christmas vacation:

Captain Renault: "What in heaven's name brought you to Casablanca?"
Rick: "My health. I came to Casablanca for the waters."
Captain Renault: "The waters? What waters? We're in the desert."
Rick: "I was misinformed."

Good to see you up and around again, Sir Rick. Place was relatively quiet in your absence.


When do the doctors expect you to return to the frisbee field???

(And technically, are you now "enhanced" and have some sort of cyborgian advantage?)

Josh Olson
- Tuesday, December 30 2008 8:49:55



Seriously. Ow.

Glad you're with us, man.

Keith Cramer <remarck@hotmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Tuesday, December 30 2008 8:31:49

Meeeeester Reeeeeek!
As soon as you are well, we're going to St. John's for snorkelling and SCUBA. You need some low-impact interests.

Was this an Extreme Frisbie accident, or did something else kick your spine in?


Frank Church
- Tuesday, December 30 2008 7:10:14

Rick, Jesus man, you went through some Mount Olympus style hell. Sorry to hear that. But good to know that you finally get me. Ah, fill the rest of these mooks in. I am better than morphine, babee.

Don't get hooked on them pills. We don't want one of them Vietnam vets stumbling through zombie flats. Actually, hemp would have eased your pain better than pills. Wink.

Good to see the hell getting behind thee. Much love my Rickster.

Does that spine get Satellite Radio?


Semi-Writer, do some basic reading. Israel egged Hamas into broaching the cease fire, which doesn't exist, since an illegal occupation makes the Palestinians slaves. Slaves are always allowed to rebel against the slavemaster, no matter the rules. The illegal fence is over on Palestinian land--an act of war. The cease fire don't mean squat. Israel has a history of ignoring UN mandates.

Then today, an Israeli vessel rams an aid vessel, sending goods to the Gaza area. One of the passengers is Cynthia McKinney, the ex-Presidential candidate of the Green Party.

Israel is the aggressor. Palestinians are the victims of terror. No contest.



Nancy Pelosi can kiss my ass.


We love you master Rick!

Alan Coil
- Tuesday, December 30 2008 6:19:56

Congrats, Rick, on being in less pain. Hope you get back to your home soon.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Tuesday, December 30 2008 6:10:28

Welcome Back Rick!

Really glad to have you back, Rick. It's good to see you on the mend. Our thoughts out to you.

What happened in the interim? Let's see. Ummum... well, we had an election. The black guy won. No recount, it's all good.

The fat guy in the red suit and the flying wildebeasts was NOT a hallucination.

Harlan had a problem with Rabbit Ticks in his FreakaHoles.

The kids in the sandbox are fighting, again.

We re-calibrated the Atomizer 3000 to fire Stupid-Eeze Missiles at anyone who throws books in the trash.

We lost Eartha, Bettie and Harold.

The advance warning about the sequel 'Blade Runner 2: All American Replicant' made Adam-Troy's blood sugar go north for the winter. We talked him down, though.

James Bond was having a memorable dinner with W.D. Griffith.

Frank made everybody mad and Rob ate him all up.

Shucks, that's about it.

Welcome back, man.

Faisal A. Qureshi
Lahore, Pakistan - Tuesday, December 30 2008 3:10:57

Welcome back Rick
Hey Rick, welcome back to the board. I didn't even realise you were suffering as I don't recall it ever being mentioned here or on Facebook. But glad to know you're on the mend and hope it goes well.

Harlan - I'm going to restrain myself commenting on the latest Israel/Hamas situation. I'm not informed on the region as I would be in the past (I'm supposed to be visiting Afghanistan in the next couple of days. More on that later).

It's a gentle nudge to observe that Al Jazeera is nothing like Fox. Wanna see something like Fox? Try some of the South Asian channels which broadcast rubbish like Loose Change or politely whine about Jews controlling the media, etc. etc. Al Jazeera tries to keep it even handed. Heck, my typical extremist now views AJ as part of the mass murdering media thats "ignoring" the "truth" of the current situation.

I'm gonna go and get myself in more trouble.

Chat later.


Tad Dunten
Hines, Oregon - Monday, December 29 2008 22:35:48

Sir Rick's triumphant return

Welcome back, sir. Fortunately, the trolls seem to have had better places to be, and any small fires were quickly dealt with by the imposing presence of our fine host.

And "Titanium Fuck You Spine" is climbing up the Death Metal charts as we speak with their eponymous first album...

Michael Mayhew
- Monday, December 29 2008 22:27:26


Just wanted to say that I'm grateful for this place you have built and am glad you are on the mend. I didn't fully grasp the seriousness of your situation.

Heal well!


Douglas Harrison
- Monday, December 29 2008 22:14:48

Viva Rick's Back


I'm so glad you're over the worst and on the mend. May you feel much better soon.


Dennis C
Glendale, CA - Monday, December 29 2008 22:6:43

RIP Ann Savage
Ann Savage was one of the toughest of film noir dames in that great no-budget classic DETOUR.

Rick <rick@rickwyatt.com>
my old bedroom, my mom's house, Little Rock, Arkansas, The young. In one another's arms, birds in the trees - Monday, December 29 2008 21:21:24

What I Did On My Winter Vacation by Ricky Wyatt, Age 42
On Thursday, March 18th, I endured a hellish 9 hour ride from Atlanta to Little Rock, Arkanasas, with my stepfather at the helm of my honda civic hybrid and me lying in the reclined passenger seat feeling the vibrations of the road run up and down my spine and turn my sciatic nerve into a river of lava that Vulcan himself would not dare approach.

By tne Eve of Xmas Eve, my crippling sciatic pain had reached the point that I could not longer so much as take a simple piss without an agony that would put the eyeless Oedipus to shame. In the words of my neurosurgeon, I could not walk 10 yards without collapsing. I spent my nights with an array of pillows and props, trying to find a position that quieted my body enough for the hydrocodone and valium and ambien to kick in.


On Dec 24th at 730AM I had a spinal fusion performed on my L5 (lumbar) and S1 (sacrum) vertebrae. It started with a 6 inch incision in my lower back and the retraction of the muscles blocking access to the spinal column, which they then breached.

They put 2 titanium screws in each vertebra and attached them with titanium rods. They then decompressed and freed my right sciatic nerve which was actually being crushed by the L5 bone and ligaments, cleaned out the area around it, and removed some bone around the area.

These two fine neurosurgeons then applied bone morphogenic protein (bmp) between the two vertebrae to fuse them and roughed up the bone of the vertebrae in the area to force it to "heal" itself and complete the fusion. They then closed up and sealed the incision with a superglue-like substance. The operation took 3 and a half hours.

I woke up around 4 pm.

The surgeons said the operation went very well. All I could tell was that (a) I could not leave the bed even if I wanted to, (b) I had a lovely morphine drip running through my system, and (c) I had a lovely handle with a lovely green button, and when I hit that button I got MORE MORPHINE.

This seemed a good way to spend the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, my family, my doctor, and my physical therapist disagreed. So I began to work at the business of moving and eating and of actually peeing instead of letting a gigantic rubber tube twanged up my johnson do the job.

I got out of the hospital early - on the afternoon of Saturday the 27th. I returned to my childhood home to recover.

Since then I have been taking a LOT of pills and rehabbing. I have already walked far further and with less pain than the month before the operation. I do not know what the timetable is for my return to work or even when they will let me return to Atlanta but I should find out early next week.

I hope everyone had a good holidays. I just popped in to say hello and to thank whatever dark gods kept some furor or some fundamental stupidity from erupting here while I was absent.

You fuckers are in my thoughts, and I do thank you - but if you think this is the time to run rampant I remind you that I have a TITANIUM FUCK YOU SPINE now and I am not afraid to use it.

But seriously, thank you for being here and being who you are. I've been watching, and I've been moved and amused.

And I believe with just one more oxycontin, I will finally understand Frank Church. Really. It's like being able to work the Hellraiser cube while making one of those magic eye pictures work at the same time.

my god

it's full of stars


Los Angeles, California - Monday, December 29 2008 16:59:55

Israel / Hamas
I personally don't "blame" either Israel or the Palestinians for the situation they are in; they have been butting heads for decades and there is plenty of evidence that BOTH parties have used cruel, horrific tactics against one another. Each has done what they felt they had to do for their survival and their rights. But nobody is innocent. There is no "right" side in this battle. No heroes, no villans. Just two different groups of people with issues.

The important thing for NOW - for THIS era, for THIS generation - is that the current cease-fire was an attempt to start anew. It was an effort to put aside all those conflicts of the past aside, and to carve out some sort of co-existence for today.

Hamas broke the cease-fire first as it kept up its push against Israel, rejecting the possibilities of peace and negotiations in favor of fighting. Is Israel "overreacting" by such heavy bombing now, killing over 300 people? Or are they finally just sick of being shot at and blown up in the streets? And who could blame them?

I'm not a bible-quoter but the "you reap what you sow" bit comes to mind. The sad thing is that the Israeli war against the Hamas militants is taking out innocent Palestinians at the same time. The Palestinians as a whole most likely didn't ask for nor deserve what is happening to them, but the actions of Hamas have brought the fire down on everyone's head.

Jim Argendeli
Lawrenceville, GA - Monday, December 29 2008 13:25:5

RABBIT HOLE # 46 has arrived to Lawrenceville, GA.

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
- Monday, December 29 2008 12:35:21

Rabbit Hole reaches Cleveland
Film at 11.

Off to make spaghetti sauce. Ciao.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Monday, December 29 2008 9:45:2

Thank you Adam-Troy. Bullseye.

HARLAN, SUSAN - The 'avocados' are in the mail.

I do not side with Israel automatically. They have done some seriously nasty things in the name of "self defense". But I have a policy that those who are attacked have the right of striking back.

Regardless of what was done previously, Hamas broke a functioning cease-fire. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting different results each time. Fire on Israel, Israel fires back.


Barney Dannelke <dannelke@gmail.com>
Allentown, PA. - Monday, December 29 2008 7:57:33

Jan wrote: "Generally speaking, there is a fourth choice: Communication, negotiation, diplomacy."


Thank you. For reasons large and small that drop of sanity made my day.

Best regards - Barney

- Monday, December 29 2008 7:52:31

R.I.P. Freddie Hubbard
Freddie Hubbard passed away this morning. Now playing: Hub-Tones.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Monday, December 29 2008 7:49:33

Frank: Your metaphor implies the "fat kid" to be a misunderstood victim being picked on for no reason.

Now assume that the big bully is sitting in a bar, and the little psychopathic fat kid he once shoved off his bar stool many years ago now keeps trying to stab him with a whiskey bottle.

There's no doubt about it. The big bully started the fight. But the big bully has said, "I won't bother you if you sit on your side of the bar." He has said this many times. He has even offered to buy the fat kid a placatory drink.

But the fat kid holds a grudge and tries to reclaim his old seat. The big bully pushes him down. The fat kid gets up with a knife. The big bully breaks his nose. The fat kid pulls out a gun, and the big bully breaks his jaw. The fat kid gets up again, and smashes the bully over the head with a chair. The bully throws him out the plate glass window, and the fat kid comes running in through the front door again with a hand grenade. The bully gets some fingers blown off in the ensuing explosion, but knocks the fat kid on his ass, backing down before actually, you know, annihilating him. The fat kid tracks down the big bully's kids and beats them up instead. The big bully punches him again. And so on.

And throughout this the big bully has repeatedly said, "This does not have to keep happening if you stop trying to kill me." And all the reasonable patrons of the bar have said, "You know, we don't like that big bully any more than you do, but he's won, he's here to stay, and will not bother you if you just sit over here with the rest of us. We'll even buy you drinks to calm you down, and pay for your brass knuckles so you feel a little safer." And the fat kid has repeatedly said that no solution will satisfy him except for the big bully being beaten to death. And he resents the other patrons of the bar so much for not helping him beat up the big bully that he jumps up and down and cheers when the other fat kids in the neigborhood show their solidarity by mugging the ones who wander out into the alley.

And many of the other patrons have had their families dragged in and hurt, but are so solicitous of the fat kid's feelings that they continue to treat him like the only injured party.

And the "cops" have been called multiple times and have on each occasion looked at the bully's superior musculature and the fat kid's quivering lard and said, "Stop picking on this little tub of suet, you big bully," and therefore proven that they can be of no possible assistance to the somewhat more muscular guy who grew tired of the fight long ago but cannot stop fighting because the fat kid keeps getting up with a new broken bottle and a fresh psychopathic gleam in his eye.

Being a fat kid in this metaphor doesn't necessarily mean you're the put-upon party. It can also mean that you're the ego monster so wrapped up in your own victimhood and so empty of identity other than your own victimhood that the fight is more important than the goal, even when you keep getting your head handed to you. If you witnessed this in real life, you would eventually say, "This is pitiful to watch, but that fat kid is clearly not fit for civilized society." And you'd be right.


When Judi and I got married one of the gifts was a five-DVD set of Alec Guinness comedies. We have seen four of them, THE LADYKILLERS, THE LAVENDER HILL MOB, KIND HEARTS AND CORONETS, and THE MAN IN THE WHITE SUIT. It took us years to get around to finishing off the set, but last night we did, catching up with the rarest of these films, THE CAPTAIN'S PARADISE, which was repressed in the United States due to unbelievable period prudity.

The concept: Guinness is the Captain of a passenger ship making regular short hops between Gibraltar and Tangier. As a result of his lifelong quest for the perfect way to live, he has hit upon the brainstorm of having a wife in both places. The British wife at Gibraltar is all cozy domesticity, darned socks, home-cooked meals, stuffiness and 10 PM Bedtime. His spanish wife at Tangier is all hoochie-coochie and wild dancing til dawn. In between, on the ship, he only associates with men and enjoys intellectual conversation.

This is of course sexist as hell, but it's the Captain's sexism, not the film's. The welcome surprise is that the inevitable complication does not come from the two wives meeting each other and comparing notes -- though that comes close to happening when his british wife flies to Tangier to surprise him, and he has to employ a ruse to avoid disaster. No, the welcome twist is that both wives start to chafe under the tightly-proscribed roles the not-so-good Captain has arranged for them.

American censors dictated a reshoot of one scene, which now makes a point of establishing (far too late) that the spanish lady has never been married to him. So the censors, in their ham-handed idiocy, thought it preferable that this reprehensible man cheated on one wife with a mistress than cheated on two wives with each other. The compromise counts as a flaw, but it's not a fatal one. I ultimately enjoyed THE CAPTAIN'S PARADISE and recommend it, especially for those who still think Alec Guinness was only an avuncular presence in a
certain trilogy of films he profited from but deeply despised.

Frank Church
- Monday, December 29 2008 7:0:17

Harlan, we all have choices, I was just saying that states have bigger choices, since states are not moral agents. I will gladly pick nunber two on your list.

Israel fired back, I believe, to affect the coming election, to make sure Likud didn't get elected. Olmert wants to look tough, so he bombs a few women and babies to get his dick hard.

For Israel to survive they have to go along with mandated internationl law and talks with Hamas are what is needed. They are the bully beating on the fat kid. The bully has more responsibility than the fat kid. The fat kid has every right to use violence as a response, even though he shouldn't. But this is the real world--sadly.

I just want the violence to end. If that makes me a bad man, so be it.


Roger, you're only 37 pounds! Hey, man, you better go eat something. No, I agree, monkey suits are bad.

- Monday, December 29 2008 6:38:20


*James Thurber used his friend Robert Benchley as the basis for Walter Mitty.

Never knew that.

**Viewed "something" made by Frank Miller this last weekend.

I'm only saying this: Even though he was never an Alan Moore, Miller did some great stuff to revitalize comics.

Miller's movie venture is a bleaker pot. Since the ultra-abysmal Robocop 2 back in the 1980's, it's had ample time now to prove itself.

Regrettably, I'm ready to say film is not Miller's medium.

At least not until he understands homage to "style" alone is not enough to make a movie a MOVIE! Violence - caricatured, monotone, and without context - is fuckin' BORING! Noir is great, but only when it carries a great story. He hasn't learned that yet, it seems.

Fritz Lang's THE BIG HEAT is coming up on Turner next month. Miller should revisit THAT one for inspiration, to help recalibrate his approach.

Because my own fervor for animation and graphic novels aside, I'm rapidly losing interest in Miller.

Doesn't mean I'm giving up on him. But, for NOW...AH!

MOVE past the hollow HOMAGE, man!

- Monday, December 29 2008 3:36:0

Oops, correct link in English:
(This says 4 copies - was 5 in Europe, though.)

Cologne - Monday, December 29 2008 3:32:17

Harlan: Just letting you know: This eBay item of "100's of E-Books" (SF) sold out (5 copies) while I was checking stuff - looks illegal, and he obviously tries to have this detectable on eBay for brief periods only.
(Surely not the only such offer - don't look at me as if I'm naive.)
(No RH today.)

Generally speaking, there is a fourth choice: Communication, negotiation, diplomacy.

Chuck Messer
- Sunday, December 28 2008 19:56:13

A note for Susan:

The check is, at long last, in the mail. Sorry for the delay.

Again, many thanks for creating the Rabbit Hole in the first place.


Chris Noble <chrnoble@gmail.com>
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Sunday, December 28 2008 18:55:56

Last post, sweartogod.
... order form?
Oh, jesus. The hyperlink in big glowing letters that says "Order Form"? That order form?
No, I didn't see that, either.
I'm going to go look for the rest of my brain...

Roger Gjovig
- Sunday, December 28 2008 18:23:39

It was an easily explained mistake. The info about the recording collection, HERC, has the price at eight dollars in the instructions, but when you print off the order form it is listed as fifteen dollars for six issues as the subscription price.

Chris Noble <chrnoble@gmail.com>
Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Sunday, December 28 2008 18:14:40

Harlan and Susan:
On December 19, I decided I should be a member of HERC. I wrote a check to join. This check... was for eight dollars.
I have no idea where I got the idea that membership in HERC was eight dollars. It isn't, I can *see* that it isn't.
It *was* late at night. I'll blame that. Sure, why not?
How 'bout I write a check for the additional? Or did you want me to just write a check for the full amount? Or did you want me to drive off a cliff? You call it!

Roger Gjovig <rlgjovig@aol.com>
- Sunday, December 28 2008 18:9:20

Rabbit Hole received here in Des Moines yesterday.I received a return of a very old present this Christmas. In the late 50's as children my brother Russell and I were given a game to play with called Stadium Checkers. It is a round plastic game with rotating levels you move to get 5 marbles to the goal in the center. There are eight levels and four sets of five marbles with instructions inside the lid of the boxIt is in very good shape, my mother found it in one of our plastice storage tubs.

I'll be out of town the next couple of days. My aunt Aneta, my father's sister, died Friday after struggling for years with alzeimers. My cousin Sharon called to ask if I would be a pallbearer, so headed out tomorrow about noon. I had to try on suits in the closet since I only recall wearing one once since I started this diet and actually had several choices. I'm down 37 pounds now, with hopefully much more to go.

- Sunday, December 28 2008 18:2:29


I reiterate the bottom-line, piracy of my work online and/or replying in kind to being shot at endlessly. Only three choices:

1) Sit quietly and take it.
2) Seek legal redress like a civilized person.
3) Pick up an AK-37 and raise the black flag of slaughter, and kill everything in sight.

All your rodomontade and obfuscation cannot un-triangulate the only choices available. To all of them. To all of us.

Harlan Ellison

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, December 28 2008 15:59:40

Just Wondering
Israel does not have clean hands.

I am wondering, however, about the difference between a country that goes too far and where many people argue for moderation, and one where the death of the perceived enemy under any circumstances is the only accepted goal. There was once a conference in Jerusalem between Israeli peace activists, and Palestinian leaders; a couple of the Israeli peace activists became hawks in the process, because as one said to the other side, in absolute frustration, "You won't even accept as a hypothetical the premise that I have the right to live!"

I worked for two years with a Palestinian woman who was a sweet and warm human being as long as we did not mention Israel. When we did, her ONLY position was that Israel had to be driven off the land, to the very last citizen. I asked her a similar question, "Do you at least say that blowing up a school bus filled with children is an evil act?" No, she told me. She could not say that. Not even hypothetically. Because the children were Zionists and Israel had no right to exist.

The rockets fired into Israel were not about protecting Gaza. They were about making increasingly large parts of Israel unsafe to walk around in. They were de facto land grabs. And if Israel had said, fine, we'll just move all our cities further away from the border, creating a no-man's land in between...then the rockets would have been recalibrated or repositioned to fire further.

Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Israel figured out a way to, let's say, bulldoze sand into the Mediterranean and create a new land mass as large as its prior borders, and moved the entire population into that region without taking so much as a single holy relic. Let us assume that they said to the populations sweltering in Gaza and the West Bank, "Fine, we wash our hands of the whole thing, you can HAVE Israel, we're moving to New Israel." The one question I ask you, Frank, the one I want you to consider and answer, is: do you honestly believe that Hamas would not continue to fire rockets and fund terrorism in the new created landscape? Can you tell me with absolute certainty that they would not say, angrily, "But you have now stolen our beachfront access?"

I think the answer to that is obvious.

Frank Church
- Sunday, December 28 2008 13:48:42

Comparing the bombing of people to suing bloggers is a bit odd but I will accept that Harlan is angry, as he has a right to be, and went a bit overboard in moral nuance.

With that said, let me admit that I forgot a simple equation to the story here. I mentioned Israel, incorrectly, when I should have said the United States and Israel, since we fund their weapons, which is the ultimate point. I am an United States citizen, I have power over what my country does, but I have zero power to what Hamas does. The arab people have to deal with hamas, not a white guy from Cincinnati. I have power with my vote and certain political power to protest what my country does. In that I can only do what is feasable. The basic truth is that I care about what my country does first, because I have a say in what it does, plus my taxes pay for the bombs. Soviet Dissidents never cared about what America did in East Timor or elsewhere, but did care what the Soviet state did, because it was their country and they had a stake in what it did or didn't do. This is why I have a one sided view on this matter. I can affect change on my side.

There is also the fact that Hamas defends innocent Palestinians from the aggression of Israel. Does Hamas do terrorist crimes? Yes. Do those crimes compare to Israeli/American crimes? Not even close. There is always a moral difference between defense and aggression disguised as defense, which is a standard method of the US/Israeli bond. Israel, by egging on the arab world, only adds to their destruction, which does nothing to defend the poor Israelis who die from those rocket attacks. The back and forth comparison is not the same as well, especially when the US holds the gun.

The major Superpower fighting a ragtag group of arab killers is no contest. We should not only talk with Hamas, but understand why they are popular with normal Palestinians, who see them as defenders of their humanity. Crimes are crimes, but who holds the bigger gun is important as well. This is why I always thought comparing Hussein to Hitler was so insane. No contest.

Didn't want you angry at me. But I believe what I believe, with I hope is decent informational sourcing.

I'm rushing through this posting because the library is about to close. Ignore the typos.

Hides in the doghouse.

Michael Mayhew
- Sunday, December 28 2008 13:38:0

Stowe Video...

...may not be the catchiest, cleverest name, but it does lend itself nicely to ad slogans and jingles: "So yo! What's yo' video sto'? Stowe Video!"

Late night cable awaits!


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Sunday, December 28 2008 13:24:28

Edmund Burke, Your Office Is Calling
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

As Mr. Burke observed, allegedly, two centuries ago, "Evil triumphs when good Men do nothing." Had the West united in the early 1930's and threatened war when the Third Reich committed violation after violation of the Versailles Treaty, nothing would have tempted Hitler to perform his "Anschluss" with Austria, his seizure of the Sudetenland, his attack on Poland, and, finally, I believe, the Holocaust--thus preventing the creation of the State of Israel. Having just watched "Exodus" for the first time in years, I was reminded, historically, of how much the Jews of Europe who fled that "charnel house" in order to settle in Palestine had lost any faith in the "Great Powers" to act with their interests at heart. The actual emigres realized that they were on their own, to create, and to survive as a nation that for the last sixty years has existed metaphorically with a knife at its throat; yet, despite this, the State of Israel has never, to my knowledge, failed to pursue maybe not peaceful, but non-bellicose, co-existence with any sovereign nation, or "liberation movement", that wishes to perform dialogue. Hamas--an organization whose very existence rests on a declared intention to destroy the State of Israel--in twenty-five years has never once made a peaceful overture to Israel: only belligerent gestures, even after Israel abandoned the Gaza Strip to whichever democratically-elected party wished to govern. The State of Israel, as I see it, merely practices the sole discernible function--to me--of any government: self-survival.

Besides, who are we Amerians to complain? Sixty years into our history, our government pursued policies I would not brag about today: provoked wars (Mexico), threatened wars (Great Britain, for the third time), seizure of Native American lands, slavery, anti-Catholicism, and lack of female suffrage. Native Americans leave a hellhole of a reservation, wipe them out; Mexico and Spain abolish slavery, attack both Mexico and Florida in order that escaped slaves may not travel there. As Bismark, one of the least studied statesmen in the U.S. said, "Nations have no allies, only interests." It was he who promulgated the notion of "Blut und Stahl (Blood and Steel)". In short, nation-building is bloody work, as is "nation-maintaining". Why the U.S. has maintained a hellish arsenal of weaponry since 1945. Don't attack us, we don't attack you. Same lesson the State of Israel has practiced since 1948. For us, no more Pearl Harbors--still doesn't excuse our failures on September 11, 2001, or "Iraqi Freedom"--for Israel, "Never Again".

As to Mr. Ellison's defense of his copyrighted work, I say: no prisoners. As Lenny Bruce once uttered, "Deprivation leads to desperation leads to violence."

(Did I really compose that much?)

Regards from 65-degree New England.

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
yep, still here..., - Sunday, December 28 2008 12:54:49

Frank: the name Stowe Video was not my idea. I wanted to call the store "Vidiots" or "Cinematherapy" or somesuch clever moniker, but my husband insisted.

john zeock
- Sunday, December 28 2008 12:13:24

Ben-upon further review,yeah,you're probably right. Steve Moffat (the 21st century's answer to Nigel Kneale as far as I'm concerned ) is in an interesting position,pretty much damned if he does and damnned if he doesn't. He has said that he'd like his doctor to be old and funny looking and I take that to mean that he's avoiding another matinee idol ish doctor. If I was forced to bet a large sum of money I'd lean toward James Nesbit. I'd think that your natural tendency is to go with people you've worked with before. Here's two other names that just popped in-how about Richard Coyle or Simon Callow ?

Stteve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Sunday, December 28 2008 11:38:15

Frank, I am hysterically funny. Really. I just dole it out in small amounts over a long period of time. Like saliva.

Speaking of humor: In perusing Yutoob to see the reputed Tick/Freakzoid clip in question, I decided to see if my favorite (bar none) Animaniacs moment was somehow, magically, uploaded.

It was: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BlXjIg4fH74

The Tick actually came up at a party last night. I was at a friend's house with the very erudite (and no longer just) Long Beach "Writers' Bloc", when my friend Stephen Perry (the poet, not the gennulman who comes about the Pavilion)(nor the singer guy) mentioned that he once sent a Tick t-shirt to a magazine editor he'd heard was suffering from Lime Disease.

He, in turn, received a scathing reply from the editor, severing all relations with my friend and concluding, after two very abusive pages, with "And I'm wearing said t-shirt this very moment".

Magazine Editors 1, Poets 0

I just thought the timing was unusual. Not very often The Tick comes up as a topic, let alone in two separate places amongst two sets of talented literary types.

For Christmas this year, Cris gave me a massive three volume set of THE COMPLETE CALVIN AND HOBBES. Weighs a ton, but ooh whatta treat!

- Sunday, December 28 2008 11:37:41


"They're" on untenable ground...


"their" on untenable ground.


- Sunday, December 28 2008 11:34:53


Oh my yes indeedy, what Israel is doing to Hamas. Disgraceful. Brutal. Evil. Unconscionable. Barbaric.

Were it not for the past six weeks--since the expiration of the "no fire" truce--during which Hamas has bombarded Israel without cessation.

If what Israel is doing, Frank (and I'm no big Israel supporter, despite being somewhat of a Jew), then it is also disgraceful, brutal, evil, unconscionable and barbaric when I am forced to sue those who steal my work and put it on the Internet for whatever cobble-up reasons that obsess them. Whuh? How the hell do you equate this, asks Frank?

Well, sir, here's the bottom-line, unarguable, cast-in-bronze , eternal equation. Pay close attention, it's simple:

1) SOMEONE IS DOING YOU ILL -- (blanket rocket killing your children every day for six weeks) or (stealing your annuity for their own pleasure or profit)


A) You can sit there, hoping everyone will think you're a "nice guy," (even though those who despise you wouldn't think you're a "nice guy" if you magically engendered World Peace)(al-Jazeera is about as impartial as Fox News) and get blown to smithereens) or (let a hundred purposely-ignorant-of-copyright slackers post everything and anything, thus insuring your poverty as the sun sets) and systematically get the shit blown out of you, all to make sure Frank Church doesn't go tsk-tsk, bad Israelis, fighting back.

B) You can go to the law for surcease, succoring, mitigation, or estoppal. (In this case, the World Court, the United Nations, or God) or (threaten to sue, and if they do what they ALWAYS do--ignore you, respond not at all, dismiss you--send you on a merry chase of your own tail with interlocked directorates, phony shell companies, legal firms, subsidiaries, and officious, arrogant hack lawyers--counter-sue--drive you to court--and if they see their on untenable ground, rush to "settle" with you, because only a litigious Bad Guy would forego the money and sue just to be vindictive...thereby giving al-Jazeera or David Langford or anyone of the million other "enemies" you've accrued by DARING to sue Star Trek or some little blog pisher, all the megaphone they need to reiterate that Ellison is antagonistic, vindictive, egregiously greedy, ruthless, brutal, unconscionable, et al). And you'll be waiting till thebirth of a two-headed chimera before the courts, the UN, or GawdAlmighty grinds off its ass so slowly you'll be too old and infirm to enjoy whatever victory you can prise out of the apparat.

C) Fight back. I sue. The Israelis bomb the shit out of Hamas.

Since I think (as I've said repeatedly) we ought to put up a twenty-five mile high wall around the entire Middle East--Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, the entire whole fuckin' shebang--a wall with one small door in it, which we open once every fifty years, look in, see if they're still fighting and killing and acting like assholes not worthy of walking this Good Earth, we slam the door, and leave them all in there till they act like decent human beings.


Fuck'm all! Let'm keep killing and killing each other without let or conscience,and asking for reprisals, and getting the vengeance, thereby generating MORE "payback," and having nincompoops like Frank Church bleating how the evil, brutal Israelis are "killing civilians."

Well, who the hell do you think Hamas is, Frank???!!!!???

It's fuckin' civilians, with shoulder-firing cannons, just like the Israelis and all the rest of those religious religious kill-for-the-love-of-Kali (or whomever, this week) morons.

And leave Obama out of it, Frank. That's a non sequitur.

Harlan Ellison

- Sunday, December 28 2008 10:57:15


Okay. Bone withdrawn.


Frank Church
- Sunday, December 28 2008 10:19:0

Paul Michael Barkan, I take it you are not a cat lover.

Damn, I'm funny. Unlike Barber, who makes his cream of wheat curdle.

Cris, on the other hand--she is the mint julip to his Md/2020.

I love him dearly. Can't you tell.


Stowe Video? Sara, I won't ask you to run my pr firm. hehe.

Vermont must have loads of snow by now. A good reason to snuggle up to a dvd.


Harlan, forgive Rob, his mother mistook him for a watermelon and tried to take out the seeds.


Disgraceful what Israel is doing. Obama will not condemn them. Damn him.

Dennis Thompson
- Saturday, December 27 2008 21:47:11

Just read the latest "Rabbit hole".
Who but HE would have the stones to publish their rejection letters?
Great reading, priceless artifacts!

- Saturday, December 27 2008 20:36:35

Oh, and I forgot to add the Civic Minded Five's battle cry:


- Saturday, December 27 2008 20:29:43

The Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs At Midnight!

The self-absorbed Die Fledermaus!

Chairface Chippendale!

The all-night diner on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams!

Priceless episodes like:

The Tick V. Prehistory

The Tick vs. The Tick (featuring The Comet, a dance club for Superheroes that discriminates against and excludes sidekicks; the latter must sit in a shack behind the club and wait till their partners are ready to leave)

The Tick v. the Uncommon Cold

The Tick v. Proto-Clown

The Tick v. Arthur's Bank Account

Armless But Not Harmless

Coach Fussell's Lament

The Tick v. Education

Absolutely one of my favorite animated ventures of ALL time!
I got ALL the episodes, and I ROYALLY lamented the cancellation of Ben Edlund's creation!

Ben Winfield
- Saturday, December 27 2008 16:58:58


No offense, but having the Doctor regenerate into Donna's clone would probably shake the series up a little too much. Besides being INCREDIBLY weird.

And Kevin Spacey's American. Yankee actors simply cannot be considered. A female Doctor? Okay. A black Doctor? Sure. But an American Doctor? You'd be better off summoning Cthulhu from the watery depths, mate.

Köln, Germany - Saturday, December 27 2008 16:28:18

Here's some "minor news"

There's a well-done "Copyright Website" that, under "internet cases", now has an article on Ellison v. AOL (2004)

Famous FoE James Moran has published a noteworthy "2008 End of Year Thingy"

To be released in the Czech Rep. on Jan. 15th: "Extrémní science fiction", a well-announced anthology. (Should I get a copy? Could send it with other books, but perhaps you want to wait for free ones.) Publisher: http://www.iapetus.cz/ (third book down on left)

I hope to get RH on Monday.

john zeock
- Saturday, December 27 2008 15:50:59

11th doctor
Two suggestions: Catherine Tate (already half Time Lord ) and (provided he can fit it into his Old Vic schedule) Kevin Spacey. And Susan...Rabbit Hole arrived. JZ

Brian Phillips
McDonough, GA - Saturday, December 27 2008 15:40:18

Note to Susan Ellison regarding Hytone
Thanks for the response about the Hytone 1% strength, which I did indeed plan to purchase at the time that I posted, however, when I just (as in yesterday) tried to order it, the source that I mentioned, MedExpress, no longer carries it. Further searches on the web and in my local stores have turned up nothing.

However, as was mentioned earlier, I do indeed see the 2.5% strength here:


The price for three tubes is much higher than the Hytone 1%. One tube is forty-two dollars, which may be more than you wish to spend. The 1% was quite a lot less.

Please advise me on how I should proceed and I apologize for the length of time between your response and mine; I have been on the road for much of this month.

Keith Cramer <remarck@hotmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Saturday, December 27 2008 14:51:56

RH arrival

Today, at 2pm. Great work, as usual!


Paul Michael Barkan
Rocky Point, NY - Saturday, December 27 2008 14:19:11

Rabbit Hole 46 has emerged in the land of White Castle.

Hi Susan,

RH46 has arrived on Long Island today. Thank you for the Deep Shag ordering info for HARLAN ELLISON'S WATCHING, though they no longer carry it. Not to worry, I just received it as gift from my lovely and vigilant better half.

Harlan, your essay was heartfelt and worth the wait.

Steve Barber,

Thanks for the welcome.

"Glad you felt compelled to add yourself to the choir. If you've been lurking, I'll avoid all the warnings and caveats regarding Frank."

Nonetheless, they would have been fun to read. I sing baritone, BTW.

Cheers, PMB

Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
Malvern, PA - Saturday, December 27 2008 13:21:41

Greetings from the land of McMansions
Checking in, Frank. Or as Harlan has been known, on occasion, to say: "I'm here! I'm here!"

Rabbit Hole may have arrived in Vermont but, unfortunately, I am not there to read it.

Harlan, kudos and congratulations. You fight the good fight.

Aside: my daughter Jessie, my husband and I own a video store in Stowe (called, oddly enough, Stowe Video). Jessie is a Twilight fan, books and movie, and has been visiting the fandom sites, where she regularly runs across links to websites with the movie running. While she will occasionally try to explain why it's a bad idea to pirate a movie, she's also aware that most people don't care - they just want to watch the movie for free. So she sends the website addresses to the FBI.

My entire family is getting together tonight for the first time in a while. I am looking forward to great stories. If there are any worth repeating, I will pass them on.

Alejandro Riera <alejandroriera@sbcglobal.net>
Chicago, Il - Saturday, December 27 2008 12:13:29

El Mono Azul de Illinois reporting

The new Agujero del Conejo has been received.

Cambio y fuera,


Douglas Alexander <syngeon@one.net>
Ohio - Saturday, December 27 2008 12:2:28

Rabbit Hole
Issue 46 has arrived safe and sound in Ohio. I'm glad
I mailed in my renewal last week as this is my last

- Saturday, December 27 2008 11:35:11



We have been randomly asked, over the past few months, as to what currently is the dispensation of the more than several matters of active- or potential-litigation pursuant to misuses of Ellison material on the web, and in several other venues.

Ten days ago we received, at last, our portion of the bankruptcy settlement from "The Divine Matter." (DIVINE, of course, was the internet colossus that spellt itself backwards--ENIVID.) We (meaning The Kilimanjaro Corporation, myself, all you brilliant members of the Flying Blue Monkey Armada, Susan, the bloodthirsty barristers) were instrumental in bringing down this arrogant and unrepentant behemoth, and I thank all of you for your part in helping to engender Zorrolike J*U*S*T*C*E. It was a nice-sized cheque.

In more picayune pursuits, we have struck honorarium deals with seven (7) individuals who thought--or DIDN'T thought--they were cool by putting my annuities online for their own pleasure or profit. That's seven (7) in the last six months.

The total encroachments look like this:


Onward, ever onward. Spread the news.

Harlan Ellison

- Saturday, December 27 2008 11:34:35



We have been randomly asked, over the past few months, as to what currently is the dispensation of the more than several matters of active- or potential-litigation pursuant to misuses of Ellison material on the web, and in several other venues.

Ten days ago we received, at last, our portion of the bankruptcy settlement from "The Divine Matter." (DIVINE, of course, was the internet colossus that spellt itself backwards--ENIVID.) We (meaning The Kilimanjaro Corporation, myself, all you brilliant members of the Flying Blue Monkey Armada, Susan, the bloodthirsty barristers) were instrumental in bringing down this arrogant and unrepentant behemoth, and I thank all of you for your part in helping to engender Zorrolike J*U*S*T*C*E. It was a nice-sized cheque.

In more picayune pursuits, we have struck honorarium deals with seven (7) individuals who thought--or DIDN'T thought--they were cool by putting my annuities online for their own pleasure or profit. That's seven (7) in the last six months.

The total encroachments look like this:


Onward, ever onward. Spread the news.

Harlan Ellison

- Saturday, December 27 2008 11:22:5


He is not a doofus. It was, indeed, I who steered him wrong re:
"Freakazoid," not "The Tick." I think I knew I was incorrect when I did the steering, but that was more than a few years ago and, well, I apologize to Josh, who worries himself to a frazzle that total strangers he's never met will think him less cunning than he truly is.

Sinking to one knee, as if in a snirp,


- Saturday, December 27 2008 11:12:20


Pursuant to more rejections than Carter has Little Liver Pills, I did a substantial rewrite on what HAD been originally titled as "The Rarest Rarie," and it was, indeed, published--as "If This Be Utopia..."--and little more was heard of this nincompoop caprice, though I think it WAS collected in one of my short story olios ... UNTIL ... and this is the swell part ...

When I was picking stories to be transmogrified into graphic versions for HARLAN ELLISON'S DREAM CORRIDOR, some errant whim made me pick the rarie story, and to commission the great comic cartoonist Phil Foglio to limn it...and...oh boy...it turned out majorly FUCKIN' WONDERFUL!

If you haven't seen it, it's in one of the two collected volumes, but I believe Susan even has the original single comic Dream Corridor in which it debuted.

I still laugh out loud every time I look at the comic version, which is monumentally better than the narrative version. I do, in fact, believe that story was born to be a comic book creature.

Nice to hear from you.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

- Saturday, December 27 2008 10:38:11

Harlan, I was reading the latest ish of the Rabbit Hole that hit my mailbox yesterday and perusing the rejection letters. You actually wrote a story based on the old shaggy dog joke, The Rarie? Being a lover of puns, I remember the first time I heard this joke. My father told it during Sunday dinner one afternoon. He was a great joke-teller (usually dirty ones) and he adroitly milked this yarn with all the requisite colour and flamboyance it deserved before arriving at the punchline. It was long a favourite of mine and remained in my own repetoire for years. I had no idea it was that well-known.

Do you know the one about the guy who lost everything because he loved the world's greatest apple strudel?

Josh Olson
- Saturday, December 27 2008 10:3:48

Freakazoid it is. I can only say in my defense that the source of the information regarding Ellison's appearance on the greatest superhero cartoon show EVER was, in fact, ELLISON.

I've informed him that confusing The Tick with Freakazoid is about on par with me discussing how much fun I had writing The Discarded with L. Ron Hubbard.

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Saturday, December 27 2008 9:7:37

2009 movies
Thought this poll was interesting:

According to Men:
1. Star Trek 23%
2. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 17%
3. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 14%
4. X-Men Origins: Wolverine 9%
5. Terminator Salvation 7%
6. Watchmen 7%
7. Angels & Demons 5%
8. Public Enemies 3%
9. G.I. Joe 3%
10. New Moon 3%

According to Women:
1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 25%
2. New Moon 15%
3. Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen 11%
4. Angels & Demons 9%
5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine 7%
6. Star Trek 6%
7. Public Enemies 5%
8. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian 4%
9. The Lovely Bones 3%
10. Where the Wild Things Are 2%

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Saturday, December 27 2008 7:29:45

The oft times horrific sterility of an environment dedicated to efficiency rather than diversity, where employees are "cast members" and the maintenance workers wear white gloves to do their dirty deeds in the presence of guests, received a serious blow last night as hubby and I stayed out far too late and giggled like school kids as we rode rides all by our lonesome.


Today is laundry day in Dsney World. Isn't that...magical.


Frank Church
- Saturday, December 27 2008 6:29:47

Freakazoid to be sure, just saw it on the TubeofYou.

"Curse your tiny paper hat!"

"The lethally lactic milkman."

Oh my.


Mike Jacka, welcome to the darkside.


Sara, please come back.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Saturday, December 27 2008 5:21:5


While I'm sure Susan will shine considerably more light on the subject, I'm compelled to point out that HERC is anything BUT an online membership. There is an actual, for-real paper-based semi-regular newsletter (the oft-mentioned "Rabbit Hole"). There is virtually nothing more online about HERC membership than an occasional mention here on the Pavilion, and it's a point of reference (and discounts!) when ordering Harlan Ellison appurtenances directly from The Source.

Yours in watershed revelations, even at 5-freaking-twenty in the morning.

Gonna be editing my website this weekend, removing a number of shots and putting up some other work. (The FoE gallery is on indefinite display, however.)

Last chance to see several of the other galleries. Just sayin'.

Douglas Harrison
- Saturday, December 27 2008 1:19:10

Michael Mayhew:

Just to be clear, I don't represent the HERC in any capacity and simply quoted information from elsewhere on this site, specifically http://harlanellison.com/herc.htm. I apologize for the sloppiness.


Los Angeles, California - Saturday, December 27 2008 1:11:25

While HE is the reason for a good portion of my literary voice and HERC is something that I'd like to get involved in, I unfortunately don't do very well when it comes to having any kind of online memberships. I had an Audible account for a while but kept forgetting that I had it, so I repeatedly paid for a subscription that I never listened to AND ended up with a backlog of program listings. And I don't even want to think about the money lost to Netflix, thanks.

ADD what? Look at the pretty colors. Time to take a nap.

Oh, and I just got new brake pads (the pads were free, but the labor and the rotors took a big wet bite out of a certain portion of my lower anatomy). Couldn't afford the brake flush but, hey, you live with these things.

Douglas Harrison
- Saturday, December 27 2008 1:2:38

Here's the Location of the HERC Order Form


Douglas Harrison
Kamloops, BC - Saturday, December 27 2008 0:57:6

David Loftus Is My Evil Twin

Please disregard the botched post immediately below.

Michael, here's the information you covet, from elsewhere on the site:

Ordering Recordings

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must be a member of the Harlan Ellison Recording Collection to order recordings! If this is your first order, you can join the HERC by simply ording the HERC Membership item. Membership in the HERC is fifteen dollars, gives you a Membership Number to order recordings with and entitles you to six issues of THE RABBIT HOLE (the HERC Newsletter) as well as frequent "special deals" on HE merchandise. You can re-up your membership by using the same item on the order form.

Please make checks/money order (US FUNDS ONLY) payable to:
The Harlan Ellison Recording Collection

Send to: The Harlan Ellison Recording Collection
P.O. Box 55548
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-0548

Please use the order form when possible. You can print this form from within most web browsers using their internal print commands. If you have ANY trouble with this form or it doesn't look right, please send e-mail to webmaster@harlanellison.com and I will do my best to correct the problem. Postage and Tax information can be found on the order form.

The HERC Order Form. Please use it!

Douglas Harrison
Kamloops, BC - Saturday, December 27 2008 0:51:57

David Loftus Is My Evil Twin
Ordering Recordings

IMPORTANT NOTE: You must be a member of the Harlan Ellison Recording Collection to order recordings! If this is your first order, you can join the HERC by simply ording the HERC Membership item. Membership in the HERC is fifteen dollars, gives you a Membership Number to order recordings with and entitles you to six issues of THE RABBIT HOLE (the HERC Newsletter) as well as frequent "special deals" on HE merchandise. You can re-up your membership by using the same item on the order form.

Please make checks/money order (US FUNDS ONLY) payable to:
The Harlan Ellison Recording Collection

Send to: The Harlan Ellison Recording Collection
P.O. Box 55548
Sherman Oaks, CA 91413-0548

Please use the order form when possible. You can print this form from within most web browsers using their internal print commands. If you have ANY trouble with this form or it doesn't look right, please send e-mail to webmaster@harlanellison.com and I will do my best to correct the problem. Postage and Tax information can be found on the order form.

The HERC Order Form. Please use it!

David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland , OR - Friday, December 26 2008 21:40:31

Rabbit Hole subscription

For you, Michael, $150 a month!

One-time only offer.

Brian Siano
- Friday, December 26 2008 20:53:40

A brief comment on Doctor Who
In one of his video reviews, Charlie Brooker said that _Doctor Who_ manages to "somehow bypass the cynical nasty gnarled bits of my brain and plugs straight into my gurgling overgrown child." A sentiment with which I'm in complete agreement. I can't bear to watch any of the Star Wars things without thinking of the crummy dialogue, Star Trek's bored me years ago, and most of the SF on TV these days feels too much like fan-wanking.

But somehow, Doctor Who remains immune. Every episode's a treat, and even when it swings _maddeningly_ between comedy and pathos, I just let it ride and laugh and cry with everyone else. And after watching the new Christmas episode, I think I've figured out why.

It occurred to me that our recent habit of making superheroes more morally compromised says something about this. We can take Batman, and turn him into something almost as psychotic as any of his opponents, and he's still the Batman. We can take Superman, and portray him as a Boy Scoutish tool of the State, and see him merely as a compromised Superman. Take Jim Kirk, make him an anti-Klingon warhorse and irresponsible spreader of cosmic herpes, and he'd still be Jim Kirk. In other words, you can make them less noble and they'd still be themselves, more or less.

But, if you tried to portray a Doctor Who without a core of nobility... well, he'd be a brooding, unreliable guy with a magic blue box and a shitload of angst. Even when he's in a morally compromised situation, even when he's had to make a decision that may ruin the Universe for someone... well, you just can't imagine the Doctor _not_ trying his humane best. And he doesn't have to be psychologically messed-up to be interesting, either. Without his nobility, he just wouldn't be the Doctor.

So maybe that's why we can't bring the cynic-filters in on the old guy.

Michael Mayhew
- Friday, December 26 2008 20:34:0

Knucklehead Question

SUSAN (or anyone really)--

All this talk of The Rabbit Hole reminds me that I, too, would like to subscribe. I've found the address and all, but I cannot find the price, which is maddening because I know I've seen it, more then once, but, well, I'm a knucklehead...

If it turns out that this information is actually kinda hidden (which would make me feel better), then perhaps it ought to be bigger and bolder so as to sell more stuff.

If it already is very big and very bold, well, er, see above.

Struggling, but sincere,


Bob Ingersoll <bingersoll@mindspring.com>
South Euclid, Ohio - Friday, December 26 2008 20:29:37

A Correction...

Sorry for the dual post, but I wanted to correct some mistakes in my last post.

Most of my post was taken from memory, and my memory let me down in some of the details, as I discovered when I checked the episode on line.

First Freakazoid doesn't run into the comic book convenntion, he and Fanboy fall through a skylight and land in it.

Second, Freakazoid offeres Fanboy three things to get rid of Fanboy. The first is the script of the new BATMAN movie. Fanboy says he plucked it off the Internet that morning.

The second is an autographed picture of Stan Lee.

"Who's that?" Fanboy asks.

"I have no idea," Freakazoid says.

Then he offers Fanboy "Your very own Harlan Ellison," and, as I described earlier, physically lifts Harlan up and puts him in front of Fanboy. When Fanboy rejects this offer, Harlan runs off.

So the dialog existed as I remembered, but it was about Stan Lee, not Harlan.

And the physical humor of the Harlan Ellison bit was exactly as I described.


Bob Ingersoll <bingersoll@mindspring.com>
South Euclid, Ohio - Friday, December 26 2008 20:15:14


I've got to agree with Adam-Troy and Tony Isabella on this one. I've seen every episode of the animated THE TICK and I don't recall Harlan ever appearing in any of them.

However, the 4th episode of the first season of the Kids WB series FREAKAZOID! -- "And Fanboy is His Name" -- fits your description precisely.

In this episode, Fanboy -- voiced by Sephen (Flounder) Furst -- wants to become Freakazoid's sidekick. Freakazoid tries several things to get rid of the pest. Eventually, Freakazoid tries to hide in a comic-book convention. Fanboy follows.

At one point, Freakazoid tries to get rid of Fanboy by offering him, "Your very own Harlan Ellison." Freakazoid actually picks up Harlan, who is browsing a back issue box, and offers him to Fanboy.

Fanboy responds to the gesture by asking, "Who's that?"

Freakazoid puts Harlan down and says, "I have no idea," while Harlan runs off.

Later in the episode, Freakazoid sees Mark Hamill, who is a special guest of the convention. Freakazoid says that Fanboy should forget about him and go after Hamill. "Why settle for sidekick, when Jedi Knighthood awaits?"

Fanboy gets starry-eyed and runs after Hamill. Fanboys tells Hamill to "Join me and we shall rule the universe as Fanboy and son." Hamill flees crying, "No!" in exactly the same way he did in RETURN OF THE JEDI.

This simply, HAS to be the episode you're remembering. It fits the description of having both Harlan and Mark Hamill in the installment. And, as I said, I've seen every episode of the animated THE TICK and don't remember Harlan ever appearing on that show.

Bob Ingersoll

Mike Jacka
Phoenix, AZ - Friday, December 26 2008 17:40:30


Rabbit Hole has appeared in Phoenix, AZ.

And to all,

This has never happened to me before. I have agreed with Frank Church in print. What 12 steps do I turn to?


- Friday, December 26 2008 16:46:32

Josh, is it possible that you're conflating this series with an episode of a show called FREAKAZOID?

Tony Isabella <tony@wfcomics.com>
Medina, Ohio - Friday, December 26 2008 16:45:24


Are you sure you're not thinking of FREAKAZOID?

Josh Olson
- Friday, December 26 2008 16:37:24

A plea
A few days ago, I turned my girlfriend, the lovely Vanessa, onto the rapturous joys of the animated Tick series. Needless to say, she absolutely flipped over it. So imagine her joy when I informed her that her beloved unca Harlan had made an appearance on an episode of the show. Problem is, Unca Harlan can't remember the name of the episode, and I never saw all of them, so I don't remember it either.

So the question is as follows: Can anyone here tell me the title of the Tick episode in which the Tick and Arthur come across Harlan and Mark Hamill at a comic convention?

- Friday, December 26 2008 12:19:18

That was messy. Sowwy. Spank me someone.

Frank Church
- Friday, December 26 2008 12:17:30

Gwynnie, you sassy tart you. In a land of murdering Santa Clauses you keep that spirit going.

Hope all was well toots.


Harlan, oh no, Harlan, nooooooooooo...Joe Arpaio is an evil, evil man, and admiring him is close to admiring Caligula. The guy has a whole host of corruption charges, taking money from shady people, people killed in custody by his other thugs with badges, having very bad ideas about immigration--the guy is basically a racist.

The chain gang thing cannot be tolerated in a democratic country. This treatment comes right from the Jim Crow...North!

They do harm reduction in Europe, seems to work. You treat prisoners well and they don't want to hurt society when they get out. Obviously I am not talking about violent offenders. Arpaio's tent cities have kept even men who didn't have any charges yet.

No, Arpaio is pure scum. His own cops even hate him. He is slick with his pr stunts that keep getting him elected. You know how the gullible public is. Arizona is a shithole.

I say this in love.


Barber, watch those barbs. You might make me cry. I'm as sensitive as a tissue angel. Piddles on the silvery moon.


Speaking of Robert Ford, this Elton song fits that movie well:


- Friday, December 26 2008 11:48:37

I want to recommend highly THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD, starring Brad Pitt.

Just saw it for the first time. Beautiful and poetic elegy about people trapped by the inevitable, and I can't recall a movie that detailed the period more accurately.

You have to be in a contemplative mood to really benefit from the viewing. It gets into the internal world of these men; so, action is sparse, yet unnerving.

Some of the film's elements evoke both Altman and Kubrick.

Anthony Tollin <at@shadowsanctum.com>
San Antonio, TX - Friday, December 26 2008 10:0:17

R.I.P. Edd Cartier
Edward Daniel Cartier passed away yesterday, Christmas Day.

Edd was one of the all-time greatest pulp illustrators, legendary for his whimsical work on John W. Campbell's UNKNOWN and ASTOUNDING STORIES and 800 illustrations for THE SHADOW MAGAZINE. He also illustrated DOC SAVAGE, and drew stories for Street & Smith's RED DRAGON and SUPER-MAGICIAN COMICS.

The favorite artist of ASTOUNDING editor John W. Campbell and writer L. Ron Hubbard, Cartier illustrated the beloved Hoka tales by Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson, and stories by John D. MacDonald, Isaac Asimov, Henry Kuttner, L. Sprague de Camp, Clifford D. Simak, Walter B. Gibson, Lester Dent and many others.

With his passing, we lose not just a wonderful, charming, talented man, but also one of our last personal connections to the Golden Age of Pulp Fiction.

Gwyneth M905 <cyberdew41@gmail.com>
San Francisco, California - Friday, December 26 2008 0:48:6

The Dangers of drinking too much caffeine late at night...
A Jolly old elf named Kris Kringle
Got his jingle bell stuck in the Pringles
He said,"These damn greasy chips..
Give my fingers the slips,
But they make my extremities tingle!"

Merry Christmas to the Christians, Protestants, and Catholics on this site.

Peace, Love, Happiness, Joy, Freedom, Friendship and Fun to all atheists, agnostics, Buddists, Jews, Hindus, Moslems, free-thinkers and good reasoners and generally everyone and anyone I may have forgotten in the above.

And for those who are imbibing something a little stronger than eggnog this holiday -- or mixing something a little stronger than cheap stuff in the eggnog:

Glenfiddich -- it comes in a bottle
It's distilled in the glens and the hollows
This single malt scotch
Tastes like my crotch,
But Lad, you can spit and not swallow. ;)

And, for after the eggnog...

She gave him a standing ovation
When she saw his erect elevation
She smiled really wide
Slapped him backside
And said, "Baby, let's start a new Nation!"

And to all -- a Good Night! ;-)

W. Powell
Bloomington, IN - Thursday, December 25 2008 21:30:58

A-TC's story.
What's really amusing is that I've seen Mr. Dye in more than enough films to actually picture that happening to him.

Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@aol.com>
Malvern, Pennsylvania - Thursday, December 25 2008 20:9:4

Adam-Troy, you bring a giggle to my soul. Thank you. And merry whatever.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Thursday, December 25 2008 18:21:52

A True Story For Christmas
This is a true story.

Dale Dye, the occasional actor and military consultant who has worked on films as diverse as PLATOON, SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, FULL METAL JACKET, and so on, was on the set one day when an actor he knew slightly told him that his dog had just had puppies, and that he wanted Dale to have one.

Dale had never been a dog lover, though, so he demurred.

"Come on," the actor said. "You should see these puppies. They're amazing. Spend a little time with one and you'll fall in love."

Dale still demurred.

"Tell you what. I'll bring one over and you can take care of it for one night. Agree to that and I'll shut up. I'm willing to bet that after one night with one of these puppies, you'll love it so much that you won't be willing to give it back."

Dale agreed, just to shut the actor up.

Well, six weeks pass, and the puppies are ready for adoption, and Dale is sitting at home kicking himself for ever agreeing to such a darnfool thing, but knowing that he's given his vow and that to break it would dishonor him as a one-time military officer. He really doesn't want the dog, but he wants to prove that he's a man of his word. He's also half-sure that the actor isn't really going to show up.

But then there's a knock on the door.

Dale goes to answer it, and sees the actor standing there with a puppy in one hand and a dog carrier in the other.

Just because he's feeling a little defensive about the whole thing, Dale assumes that the actor brought the dog carrier to bring the animal home, in case Dale refused to take it for the night.

So he asks, "Are you expecting me to balk?"

And the actor says, "No, Mr. Dye. I'm expecting you to Bond..."

Faisal A. Qureshi
Manchester, UK, - Thursday, December 25 2008 16:15:52

Harold Pinter

10 October 1930 – 24 December 2008


Paul Michael Barkan
Rocky Point, NY - Thursday, December 25 2008 14:47:56

RIP, Catwoman
Eartha Kitt, January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008

Poignant that the singer of "Santa Baby" died today.


Lori Koonce <purplelynn35@gmail.com>
SF, CA - Thursday, December 25 2008 13:0:30

Happy Holidays
Here's to another year almost over and one almost beginning

May you have all the love and happiness you need, and a little lefotover to share with others.


Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Thursday, December 25 2008 12:52:17

Holiday Gifts
Gifts I received that I'm very thankful for...

MODERAN by David R. Bunch


and the CD Collection AMERICAN PRIMITIVE VOL II --Pre-War Revenants (1897-1939) -- nothing primitive about it, just great music


looks like Fox got their injunction against THE WATCHMEN movie so we'll see what happens

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Thursday, December 25 2008 8:19:3

I wrote a heartfelt post yesterday about spending Christmas at Disney World with the family, and how "magical" is now a @%@$!! swear word as far as I'm concerned, much like Harlan's "N" word...

...and the fuggin' hotel internet connection timed out on me and the entire thing was lost. Bah!

Despite all that, may you find a reason to celebrate the good in life and recognize that you matter as a human being. Keep the spirit of Happy Thursday in your heart all year long. Or, as my brother said this morning: "I do too keep the Christmas spirit all year, but sometimes I'm Jewish."


Keith Cramer <remarck@hotmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Thursday, December 25 2008 6:58:15

Good morning!
Happy Thursday (good idea!) to everyone here in my favorite on-line community.

Just ground up and made some Dunkin' Donuts coffee in my electric 1951 Dormeyer coffee percolator. It's a mild brew, but tasty.

Getting ready to go to my sister's apartment and spend some time with her, my neice and nephew, and my mom. Crystal spent the night with her father and stepmother and half brother and sister last night, because they wanted her to go to church with them. I don't do church.

I hope everyone is having a great morning, and that it continues through the rest of the day. Even Rob, whom I will begin to call Verbal.


David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland , OR - Thursday, December 25 2008 6:52:52

Best wishes of the season, folks

I hope everyone has a lovely and peaceful holiday.

Carole and I are dressing up and packing for a snowy trek to Temple Beth Israel for a long day of serving Christmas dinners to several hundred low-income folks -- an annual event we've participated in for about half a dozen Christmas Days. (Carole organizes the thing -- 140 volunteers from Meals On Wheels drivers to bathroom monitors; I just do heavy lifting and odd jobs.)

RIP Harold Pinter.

Steve B <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Thursday, December 25 2008 6:44:37

It's o-dark thirty. What the "*" am I doing up at my usual workday time when it's a holiday?

As a kid, this was the hour of torment. Mom and Dad told us we could not -- after spending the entire night listening for the rustle of packaging, the clang of some piece of bicycle hardware being clamped onto another, or some other dead giveaway of what awaited us in the morning -- wake them prior to 6am. We learned to tell time at an early age. (Non-digital clocks. Very pre-Cambrian, I know.)

But the torture was not over when we burst into their room "It's six, it's six! Can we go downstairs now???". We knew the answer, and the answer was "not yet".

Second rule of Christmas morning: Mom and Dad had to have their coffee in hand and drinkable before the kids came down to see what Santa had brought. (This was somewhat dealt with in later years when my older sister figured out that if we had the water already boiling, it shortened the wait by five minutes or so. Of course, the dilemma was the kitchen being downstairs. With the presents. But she swore not to look, so Mom let her turn on the stove to boil the kettle.)(The stove was an electric, which, of course, takes much longer to heat water to boiling than does a gas.)

Then, and only then, would Mom and Dad go into the living room, light the fire (gas, thankfully!), turn on the tree lights and let us come down.

The hour of torment, even if only fifteen minutes in duration.

So, here I am forty years later sitting at a computer at 6:30 a.m. remembering those days and thinking "it's gonna be at least two hours before Cris gets up. I wonder if I can maybe unwrap just a couple of things and then tape 'em back".

Maybe not.

Harlan. Susan. The essay is wonderful and poignant. No spoilers.

Semi-writer wrote: "'ROUND YOUNG VIRGIN!'"


That's "Round YON Virgin", but perhaps Ethel's mind was not on Christmas at that particular moment.

Or perhaps I should have consumed more caffeine before logging in.

Then again, it's taking FOREVER for the water to boil.

Tom Morgan
Silverado, CA - Thursday, December 25 2008 0:50:1

RH46 reached my corner of Orange County early on 12-24.
Thank you for the kind words and for taking care of the request.

A good day to all here.

Douglas Harrison
Kamloops, BC - Wednesday, December 24 2008 23:25:4

Joy to the Board

Happy winter celebrations to those who partake in them, and serendipity to all.


(Reads better.)

Douglas Harrison
Kamloops, BC - Wednesday, December 24 2008 23:22:40

Joy to the Board

Happy winter celebrations to all who partake in them, and serendipity to all.


Chuck Messer
- Wednesday, December 24 2008 23:19:37

Just wanted to wish everyone a Frueliche Festivus! May you rejoice in the company you keep and win the traditional throw-down wrestling match.

Piping Down and Signing Off,


diane bartels <chcagokarenm@yahoo.com>
chicago, il, il - Wednesday, December 24 2008 22:14:51

catching up
hi, guys and girls. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all. May the joy and stillness of this season abide in your hearts.
I just got done baking Christmas cookies with the tots, and must soon wrap presents. Just thought I would take a minute to catch up.
One of my best and most memorable dinners was when I was fourteen. My aunt Dolores, who was also my godmother, took me to a French restaurant down the street from our house. It was one of my first grown up meals. I had Beef Wellington, (I ate meat at the time,) with rice and raisins in wine sauce. We had chocalate mousse for desrt. Everything was delicious and elegant and the owner and wait staff were very warm and cordial. It was my first real grownup, dressup event; I felt so mature and sophiticated, darlings. It's one of my favorite memories.
I wanted to respond to the woman who said she is uncomfortable around blacks, because no matter how she acts, she fears she will seem prejudiced. I forgot her name, ( I am getting toooooo old), but for many years when I was young, I felt exactly the same way. I grew up in a time and place where discrimnation and name calling, as well as outright acts of hatred, were common. For years, I thought I had to make up for that by being overly nice and attentive to blacks.
It was after I had my accident in 85 when I was 25 that I finally understood. I got to know some blacks very well as my doctors, nurses,therapists, and fellow patients. And I realized that that old commercial states the truth - " How do you treat a person with a disability, (or a black person, Hindu person, man woman)? Like a person" And that is really all that is necessary. Do unto others. Simple but what a better world if we all did that even 75% of the time.
As for the censorship question. There are very few works I would censor out of the gate, without reading. As stated, I grew up in a very discriminatory environment. My family shared in this prejudice. Some still do. What was my way out of it?
Reading. I read early. I read everything. And noone censored me. I learned to reason. Realized there was no intellectual basis for hatred or discrimnation. That the progress of the human race depended on understanding and cooperation between all races, creeds, sexes, etc.
I truly believe education and literacy are the best and most effective solution to our problems. I read Huck Finn the first time when I was 11. I read Uncle Tom's Cabin earlier, and Mein Kampf, and Anne Frank and so many things at a young age. And was able make appropriate judgments given all I learned and read
Which was the most effective antidote to the hatreds and ignorance I grew up with.
Good night, all, and rest ye merry.

- Wednesday, December 24 2008 18:17:14

Dennis: "do we appreciate the artist and try to forget the bigot?"


Difference between Kazan's own actions toward former friends and what the screen presents an audience. When I have to see the justification for a black man being tossed on a guy's porch in "the name of justice", I draw the line. (Kazan's movies don't show me the traitorous personal acts of their director; Polanski similarly comes to mind as well. BOAN, on the other hand, is in itself a movie that believes what it's saying. BOAN is an accurate depiction of how the white majority perceived things in that time)

We can appreciate the overall contribution of Griffith without necessarily venerating EVERYTHING he did with a blind eye.

Other than being a historical document of its time, both as technical achievement and a reminder of what was once a greater mindset in this country, I don't give a fuck about BOAN.

Would you really make the same argument if Leni Riefenstahl had done Nazi propaganda movies showing acts of the Holocaust in a noble light? I doubt it.

Listen: I can call the Conceptualist, Jeff Koons, an artist and still loathe the stuff he puts out; I can call the PostModernist, Paul McCarthy an artist, and still really fucking loathe his work. Yet, I'll still look at what they're doing.

By contrast, this asshole who called himself an artist - Guillermo Habacuc (I think I got that right) - killed a dog so he could photograph it and put it on exhibition. You think I'm going to separate this guy from his act? Not a chance. THAT'S where I draw the line.

If you want to seriously pursue your own query where Griffith's concerned, turn to INTOLERANCE. BOAN remains a record of a deluded population, during an era that saw up to 3,000 blacks murdered with no effort to indict the perpetrators. It was an era when a black man could be murdered just for LOOKING at a white woman. BOAN is a time capsule.

Los Angeles, California - Wednesday, December 24 2008 17:26:37

Bah... oh, you know the rest.
So it's raining here in Los Angeles and there's nothing at all warm, friendly or cheery about my current living conditions... and you know the sad thing? I'm fine with it! It's a sick and twisted mind that finds the particular state of poor living that I'm in as acceptable, but it hands-down beats the hell out of going back to the Home State and suffering through the tortures of being arond those related to me. Here in the little cocoon world, I've got cable, the internet and a bed to curl up in. It's all good.

And should the 'net or cable go out, there are always the four Richard Jeni DVDs in the desk drawer for backup entertainment. RJ: "That's why I only play happy music, like the 'Ethel Merman Christmas Ballad CD.' Nobody can sing a tender, fireside ballad like Ethel... 'SILENT NIIIIIIGHT! SIIIIILENT NIIIIIIGHT! 'ROUND YOUNG VIRGIN!' Rock me, you Merman wench, I'm fallin' asleep by the fire. You tender balladeeress..." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9DkxI0tU7Q

The only down side right now is that someone ran into my freakin' truck sometime this morning between midnight and 8 a.m. Big ol' dent in the side. Bastids. It's like the universe knows this stuff will never get fixed and just wants to tally up the road wear to amuse others.

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Wednesday, December 24 2008 16:59:12

Birth o' dat Nation
I know it's no excuse but that film class on BOAN was pre-VHS days back in the misty dark ages of the 70's. There were few film programs outside of NYU and USC (and I wasn't at either one). It was a History and Film class, showing how films reflected history at the time they were made. And if my fuzzy memory serves, I think the discussion was afterward, and the teacher (who really knew History more than Film) kind of blamed the book on which it was based. (Griffith was going through a kind of resurgence then.)
And, yeah, I think there should have definitely been a discussion beforehand.

But once again, whaddya do? I mean, I can't quite appreciate Kazan's films without remembering how he ratted out pals back during HUAC and McCarthy days. I guess things like that shouldn't matter, but they do to me.

So do we say Griffith sucks? or do we appreciate the artist and try to forget the bigot?


William Sherman:
Thanks for the Happy Thursday.

I'll simply say Happy Holiday, because I hope all of you have the day off and will do something worthwhile... or just nothing at all, which is also highly worthwhile.

Sara Slaymaker <SaraYoskin@yahoo.com>
Stowe, Vermont - Wednesday, December 24 2008 16:47:59

To Everyone Re: The Holidays
What Barber said. He said it ever so much better than I could.

Tomorrow I leave the Winter Wonderland and head to the Philly suburbs to see my family. I will log back in when I get a chance, so until then, fellow Ellisonites (and, of course, himself)(and herself - Hi Susan!), stay loose and enjoy the days.


- Wednesday, December 24 2008 16:38:27


Sheriff Joe warning noted. So Shellenbarger sends me this weird book about WEIRD ARIZONA, and I read the entry on this lawman, and I commend his idea of putting these arrogant and shameless scofflaws, et al, on chain gangs, and making them live in tent cities and...

...I confess, with a wicked smile...

...that I had, perhaps only an hour earlier, said to Susan that my sense of true justice would be served by putting these banking thieves with their Bentleys and BMWs, as well as Bernard Madoff, Cheney, the auto CEOs, and assorted other motherfuckers who do the crime and then giggle at "doing the time," because they know they'll be out in six months and living high in Barbados...

...on a chain gang, makin' little ones outta big ones, till they coughed up every goddam cent they'd pilfered and hid, before their sentences could be mitigated by even an hour...

...and here you come saying Joe the Sheriff is "an evil man." Well, it may be so, and I log in no demur, but I don't live in Arizona, a state FILLED WITH reprehensible Bush-loving dotards, so I take heed to your gardyloo, while confessing THAT PART of the evil Sheriff Joe's legend appeals like crazy to me. If he's a bad guy, well, he'll get his in the end...or not. As we used to say in Chinatown, "It's Arizona, Jake." Apparently, he keeps being re-elected, and by a large margin of votes each time. Forget it, Mike: it's Arizona.

Alan Coil
- Wednesday, December 24 2008 15:56:26


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Wednesday, December 24 2008 15:47:31

Merry Christmas
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

To the Catholics and Christians in the Pavilion: Merry Christmas.

To agnostics, anarchists, animists, atheists, my bulldog Gus, Deists, Druids, Festuvians, iconists, iconoclasts, infidels, Mr. Harlan Ellison, Marxist-Communists, non-believers, neurotics, psychotics, rationalists, (o.k., Satanists), Mrs. Susan Ellison, Zoroastrians, and various bookies of mine over the years: Happy Thursday.

Regards, and peace to all (because we need it),

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Steve B
- Wednesday, December 24 2008 14:34:18

Down the Rabbit Hole

Sighted and consumed this Christmas Eve, 2008.

Further, the deponent sayeth naught.

Mike Jacka <figre@cox.net>
Phoenix, AZ - Wednesday, December 24 2008 7:0:53

Support Your Local Sheriff (Not)

Don’t know how serious you are about keeping an eye on the Sheriff Joe bandwagon with thoughts of jumping on – but do not do so. This is a seriously evil man. Latest stats show that the crime rate in the areas for which he is responsible have risen at a higher rate than other parts of the state (and cities), law suits against the sheriff’s office (and the losing of same) have drastically increased, his focus on rounding up illegal aliens in constitutionally questionable stops has distracted everyone from the real crime issues, he is a grandstander that is more impressed with his clippings than the actual completion of his duties. I believe he seriously thinks he is above the law. (“Well, when the sheriff does it that means it is not illegal.”) And, with this posting, I wonder if I will now be on his enemies list (only half in jest).

I am as appalled as any by the ethical collapses we seem to see daily. But Sheriff Joe is no more the solution than Joe the Plumber. The persona that goes out to the world does not match the scary reality we have had to endure for too, too, too many years. Yes, to some in this very state he is a hero. But there are also people who rate “W” as having done a good job.

This warning brought to you by The People Who Get to Read About Joe Every Day.


Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Wednesday, December 24 2008 6:21:18

Robert Ross - For many years my parents celebrated their anniversary at the Inn at Little Washington. It is, by all reports, fabulous.

Paul Michael - Welcome! Glad you felt compelled to add yourself to the choir. If you've been lurking, I'll avoid all the warnings and caveats regarding Frank.

Happy Whatever Holiday you choose to celebrate/not celebrate as you see fit! May you enjoy the love of family/spend quality time alone, receive the gifts you always prayed for/give generously to the poor, and share a wondrous meal/start that new diet with the ones you love/lust after/like/barely tolerate/hate with the passion of a thousand angry bees but "he's Uncle Henry so what you gonna do?".

(God. Lawyers get everywhere don't they.)

Or, as my dogs prefer to see it, Happy Marrow Bone Day!

DTS <none>
OZ - Wednesday, December 24 2008 4:0:8

In Case It Needs Over-stating....
HARLAN: My kiddo _always_ has to point out that I over-explain things and often run a subject into the ground, all in the name of avoiding miscommunication. Not one to break a streak, just wanted to sign off for the holiday weekend by saying...in case it needs over-stating, alla my posts regarding your anecdote about Goys and Jews and free comic books were made in a most passion state of whimsy. I thought your story was funny. So you can remove the cold compress from at least _one_ side of your neck.

I remain,
Politically Incorrect in The Yarralands,

DTS <none>
OZ - Tuesday, December 23 2008 21:57:26

Harlan's dis
HARLAN: Yo, Esse! Don't be Disin' me, vato (even if you do it with passion, gringo).

Back from an absolutely fun day of walking, dining, and falling into the Yarra river near Warburton, Victoria, I sign off (for real this time) with love and best wishes for a relaxing, enjoyable and whimsical holiday for you and Susan...and anyone who drops by the Temple o' Mars this weekend.

Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Tuesday, December 23 2008 21:46:30


I thank you for the Margaret St. Clair information. I did not know Idris was Margaret. I know Harlan has sung Margaret's praises for decades. She rocked, so to speak.

Did you know that Margaret is a town in St. Clair County , Alabama? She is.

Happy Holidays, and may you get blessings all over yourselves,

reading Ramsey Campbell

Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Tuesday, December 23 2008 21:38:58


good soul here, I will pass on your note to KIM, I'm sure he will be back online very soon, till then let me wish you and Susan a very Merry Christmas, take care and enjoy.

and too everyone else here I would also like to say, thanks, keep writing and be happy.


Laurie <lauriejane@dslextreme.com>
Los Angeles, California - Tuesday, December 23 2008 17:54:56

Dinner to remember
A back injury kept me from being able to sit up at the computer this week until now--my excuse for being awkwardly late with this post.

But, late, I hope not too late, in the conversation, I will relate my own "favorite dinner" story:

It wasn't the food that made it memorable. It was the people and the situation.

In the winter of 1972, I traveled from Portland, Oregon, where I was living at the time, to Vancouver, B.C. to visit some friends, Barry and Kathy. They had moved there several months before and told me to drop in and visit them any time. They had no phone and I'd made the trip on impulse after hearing from mutual friends in Portland that they had just had a baby boy.

I located their address and was stunned and appalled to realize they were living in a very poor area, in a basement, that they had come on such hard times that their gas and electricity had been turned off. They had an old wood stove in the basement and had been using it for heat and cooking. They were being evicted from their apartment for non-payment of rent and this was their last night before being thrown out on the streets.

They were delighted to see me. They insisted that I stay for dinner--even though they were running out of food. They refused to accept any assistance from me. I was poor myself at the time but could have come up with something for them but they insisted they would manage and that all they needed from me was my company. Fortunately, they did have formula for their infant so at least their baby wasn't facing an immediate foodless future. But they were. Homeless and foodless.

They had sold all of their furniture. They spread a table cloth on the floor. They cooked up one small pot of rice, another one of steamed celery and onion and served up the last bottle of wine in jelly glasses. We ate on aluminum pie tins since they had sold their dishes. They lit their one last candle and placed it in an empty tin can at the center of the table.

What got me about all of this was their happy upbeat spirit and the ceremony with which they presented and served everything. They conveyed to me how happy they were to be able to host one more dinner with a friend, have one last good time in their home before they had to face the next phase of their lives.

It was snowing outside. They cooked everything very simply but very well. They put the wine bottle out in the snow to chill a bit and poured it at just the right temperature. They told jokes and stories that kept me laughing all evening and they expressed gratitude at having me for a friend.

When I told them how amazed I was at their joyful, brave little dinner, they pointed out that being unhappy that night would not change anything for the better. Their bad luck had taken them way past the point of worry or fear. What would come would come. Meanwhile, we had a dinner party to appreciate and enjoy. They served their last few soda crackers for desert.

This still stands out in my memory as one of the happiest, all around best dinner parties I've ever attended. It ended late that night as they once again protested the loan I offered them. They told me that they wanted to remember this night as a time and place where only friendship and laughter were exchanged. They insisted that I leave just before midnight as their eviction began then and they did not want the party to end on a sad note. They urged me not to worry about them. And somehow, perhaps because of their wonderful spirit, I found that I did not do so as I left them. I hugged the baby, who had been just as charming and as good a companion that evening as they had, kissed them both and went back to Portland.

That is the story of my most memorable and cherished dinner party. Perhaps it will be of some comfort for you to know that Barry and Kathy's fortunes did turn around very soon after, although they did live in their van on the streets for several weeks. Eventually, and by the time the weather turned warm, they had begun a very successful business. By the time of the next snowfall, they were living in a lovely apartment in Victoria.

But that dinner in that candlelit basement with fine, witty companions, a chortling baby and lots of laughter along with the saltine crackers...it just doesn't get any better than that.

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 17:4:29

Harlan...as long as that's DISPASSIONATELY unconnected.

Or, in the celebrated words of Daisy Dolittle: "vier bra ka aswirl huarache bhakta ctenidia"

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 16:31:41



Would the good soul who popped in here a couple of days ago, to pass on the message that KOS could handle a new shipment of saleable volumes, kindly pass on to Kim that such a box is in the book rate post as we speak. THANK YOU.

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 16:24:36


Dear Shane:

Before my tiny head explodes from dealing with these guys, let me tug my forelock for not getting back to you sooner with a large thankyou for the WEIRD ARIZONA book you sent. Just what I needed: a book. Don't have one of them things hereabouts.

Nonetheless, I have in fact mulched on through the oddities therein, and I must say I am a great admirer of Sheriff Joe, or whatever his name is, the one who throws poltroons onto the chain gangs. He may seem inhuman and bonkers to some, but in the lee of Bernard Madoff, banking CEOs who have given themselves big bonuses from the bloodsucked bailout money, the woman who abandoned her newborn in a Wal-Mart toilet, Cheney and Dubya and Paulsen and Gonzales et al...well, Sheriff Joe (or whatever his name is) has become my hero, and his brand of wonky sanity a beacon in a mad mad mad mad mad world.

So, chum pal buddy, thank you for the nice gift. Don't send me no more books.

Warmly, Harlan

Steve B <barb...well, fudge, you know it....>
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 16:19:31

I feel like Yukon Cornelius.

Rushed home. Checked the mail.


- Tuesday, December 23 2008 16:15:50


DORMAN T.: I have read thoroughly, and taken serious note of, your separate, unconnected postings.

As both of you have responded passionately to uh, well, That To Which You Have Responded, um, Passionately...I can only reply with a brief nod of utterly DISpassionate, uhm, uh...reply; and an acknowledgment that I have read thoroughly, and taken serious note of, your separate, unconnected postings. To which I reply with, uh whatchimacallit, Responcitity.

Strenuously, but with need for a cold compress on the back of my neck, Harlan Ellison

DTS <none>
OZ - Tuesday, December 23 2008 14:22:27

Politically Incorrect terminology -- and holiday wishes
HARLAN: Good for yew, my brutha from anotha muthaaaaaaa! Bitch (I'm talkin boy-bitch) say you Jewin 'em down, then a brotha jus' gots to fuckin go postal and drop a Goy bomb on his ass! I'm down (up and all aroun) wit dat shit. Las' time I wuz at da local butcher, muthafuckin' chink bitch call me Honey.
You git whut I'm sayin'? Bitch call me HON-ey!

She thought she was being purty darned clever, but you an' I know jes whut that little fillie was up to. 'Cause she could tell from my small nose and beady little eyes that I was of Germanic background. You see whut she was'a doin', right pard?
Honey...get it...Hun-eee.
I beat the livin crap outta her slant-eyed, off-kilter cooze ass an' sent her packin past the 42nd parallel (or some such spot in the Asian-Pacific Rim -- and don't EVEN get me started on the various conotations of that last word).

I have no idea what moved me to type this post. But I'm glad it's out of my system now. Whimsy...it's a mysterious thing, indeed. Now I'm off to Warburton -- or, whoobuddtin, as the locals call it -- to enjoy the mountain air, partake of some good food, and take a ride or two via shanksmare.

Happy Holidays to all my bruthas and sistahs in the U.S. of fuckin A!

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 13:56:24

And, amidst all this talk about race, cinema and the Old South comes news of the passing of Robert Mulligan, director of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 12:33:41

And, Jan, I think your statement was stupid.

I happen to know some Jewish people who'd LOVE to curb certain liberties of speech in public when it's anti-Semitic.

Yes, indeed; there ARE people who will talk about freedom of speech, only to draw a line when it treads on their personal interests.

Many examples of such in the gay community too.

Yep. That's a common reality.

Hopefully, you're following me!

I better start hauling out the newsprint to cut out some dunce caps!

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 12:25:2

'Jim Crow-ism was a detestable plague emanating solely from "The South.'


WHAT in the name of Al Jolson's FIRST BORN gave you the notion you needed to tell me about THAT???????????????

First off, I indicated in my post that my friend grew UP in the Jim Crow South. That means the SOUTH. Not the North. Not the West. Da's da SOUTH. DAT's where he grewed up! DURING the Jim Crow era. Why then would I refer to any OTHER region? I had no REASON to refer to the neighborly hoods of Chicago, Philly, New York, Los Angeles, or any other DUMP!

You got me goin' here because the point you made - "PC kneejerkism", perhaps? - has nothing to do with what I went on about.

I thought you were up on all our posting history, but I suppose not. Otherwise, you'd remember I did lengthy screeds here in the past about Duluth and Chicago, as well as ethnic factionalism throughout all regions of the country.

I'm UP on that history, OK??? Of COURSE I know that shit!

You're right about the "Crowe" spelling, of course. But now I don't even feel like giving you THAT!

Jeezus, we spend years together cracking safes, running the numbers, and leaking stock prices, and STILL he can accuse you of being THAT naive!!

As Karloff's monster would put it:


Paul Michael Barkan
Rocky Point, NY - Tuesday, December 23 2008 12:6:32

Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs
Jim Thomas:

Thank you for the background on this toon, especially Duke Ellington's involvement. It turns out that several people have posted "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs" on YouTube, to my surprise, so you can all go and enjoy it. Very interesting . . . reminds me of the brilliant "The Three Little Bops" (also WB, but not one of the Censored Eleven).

It occurs to me that this is my very first post after several months of lurking, so perhaps a quick intro would be in order:

First exposure to Harlan's work: "Demon with a Glass Hand" (at age six I was pretty clueless what was going on but nonetheless intrigued).

First Harlan Ellison book: SHATTERDAY

What I do: I write music.

Furthermore, what I admire most about Harlan's work is how his choice of words and the flow and rhythm of those words play out for me as fine music. I am moved as I am by the greatest of composers.

Thank you Harlan, and happy holidays to all.
Paul Michael

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 11:55:59

Rob: "I sometimes wrestle with the double standard: in Germany, it is illegal to say "hail Hitler" ... I admire the gesture ... Yet, it's a freedom of speech issue."

You know I respect you and all but...

That's a silly attitude. You wrestle with that? You can absolutely say what you want without greeting anyone using those words. The German equivalent of freedom of speech is freedom of OPINION, there is no complete free speech.

Besides, you got the expression wrong, which would translate as "May Hitler prosper!" (including the exclamation mark).

This has been a free public announcement brought to you by etc.

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 11:49:15


Your wish was granted earlier this year:

The US Postal Service issued a set of gorgeous commemmorative stamps (which I, as a philatelist, welcomed with the joyous shout "Hallelujah!" as emblazoned on one of them) featuring six or eight (can't remember which unless I go look in my album) of the most popular Black Cinema masterpieces. They were 41 cent stamps, and are readily available from the USPS.


- Tuesday, December 23 2008 11:42:44


Jim Crow has no "e" on the end. Crow...as in black bird.

And dissuade yourself from the widespread misconception that Jim Crow-ism was a detestable plague emanating solely from "The South." Have you never visited Chicago? How do you think The South Side, "back o' the yards," got to be the largest black ghetto north of the Mason-Dixon line?

The South was vile, and we had to go to war to lance that murderous racist pustule in the Dixie nature, but upNorth was well within the parameters of prejudice, however nuanced and misperceived. Again, before any of us can claim innocence, we must come to the table with clean hands.


- Tuesday, December 23 2008 11:20:49


I refuse to believe that recent events in your life have so totally dulled your legendary sense of high wit and good humor that you reallyreallyreallyreally didn't get that my dropping-in mention of The Tet Offensive amongst seasonal good wishes was, um, er...

A bit of jackanaperie.

Bewitched, bothered & bemildred, Harlan

Jim Thomas
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 11:15:2

Re: Baby w/ the Bathwater Racism
There's a group of Warner Brothers cartoons known as the "Censored Eleven"--cartoons that WB has no intention of ever, ever allowing to see the light of day because of their racial content.

Chief among these is Bob Clampett's "Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs"--obviously a black take on Snow White.

Here's the thing--Clampett made the film at the suggestion of no less than Duke Ellington. Clampett and his team went to black jazz clubs for weeks to get a feel for the lifestyle and the music. Many of the characters were voiced by black (including Dorothy Dandridge's sister and mother. The short is generally considered one of the best cartoons ever made, yet it is only seen via bootleg copies at festivals and conventions.

It's a classic example of how fear and a twitchy censorship finger can result in art being suppressed, particularly given that some racially charged cartoons are included in the Loony Tunes Golden Collections.

Thank God no one got twitchy over Porgy and Bess.

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 11:2:4


I'm an idiot. I forgot to give you the punchline after the punchline.

Ten minutes later, as I sat signing, a kid came up and said, "That guy over there, the one you yelled at...he's gone."

I have no idea what transpired after I walked away, but ten minutes later the guy had packed up his shit and was gone."

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 10:51:39


Pursuant to your expatiation re the lady who trumpeted her virtue at not having "jewed you down," I offer this m.o. that ALWAYS works wonders for me:

I'll tell it thus:

I was at a comics/media convention in Novi, Michigan, suburb of Detroit, a number of years back. With Susan. Huge venue. A great empty space five times the size of an aircraft hangar; the size of the LA Convention Center; a size only slightly smaller inside than the Chicago Convention Center where they hold Political Nominating Get-Togethers. Big, is what I'm saying here; a big, echoing, sound-carries-for-ten-blocks gigantitorium wall-to-wall with ex-tv actors signing their photos for ten bucks each, with small comic book publishers hawking their wares, with grunge bands blaring their CDs for sale, with a cacophany so oppressive and mind-numbing it would make the carillons of Hell resound like Donny & Marie.

And after sitting there in just such an agora, trying to SELL my books (which most of the slavering children and a few of the goofier adults thought they ought to get for nothing because wasn't I sitting there downwind from actors who were only charging ten bucks for a PHOTO???) I felt the need to micturate, excused myself, and hied me hence to the pissatorium.

On my way back, I passed the site of a small independant comic book artist whose now-defunct magazine had been something I'd collected; and I saw the one issue I was missing. It was perhaps five or six years' gone, and selling (if anyone wanted one) for about 35 cents, according to The Overstreet Guide.

So I paused to speak to the dude sitting there all alone, sketching idly, who was obviously the comic artist himself, and I introduced myself, and I said I'd like to buy issue #whateveritwas. And he said, and this is approximate, but accurate: "That'll be fifteen dollars." To which I exclaimed, not merely a bit taken aback, "You're not serious, are you?"
To which HE said--and this IS telephonically accurate--"Are you trying to Jew me down?"

To which, without losing a heartbeat, I replied...

in that gimungous cavern





There ensued an appreciable drop in ALL the noise not only in OUR crowded area, but rippling outward like the inner circles of Dante's Inferno. And EVERYONE looked at this dude, and he actually paled, and thrust the comic at me and blathered, "Here, take it, for free, just take it and go away!"

And I said, again VERY VERY VERY loud, so they could hear me in Detroit, "As one poor Jeeeeeeew, I thank you for your Gentile charity," and I walked away with the fairly useless blue ribbon of that encounter.

Sara, I offer this phrase to you: "Don't goy me down," or "Don't try to goy me up." Either one, that should emerge from your face, phone ringing or not, the instant the loathesome jingo "Jew me down" emerges from the face of ANYone, and the more crowded the locale, the better. Malls, supermarkets, ballgames, town hall meetings, Church socials...

But, I'm sure you get it.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 9:42:54

Glad everyone liked my question. I mentioned yesterday about the meal in Paris, but actually the most memorable meal I've had was probably at a little pizza place named Arturo's in the Village. On Houston, corner of Sullivan (or Thompson, I forget). Jammed to the gills; very loud; New York waitress; an old wooden booth in the front bar; jazz band jamming in the corner -- lots of people sitting in; and the best coal oven pizza in the city. Just me and the missus, but referred by the owner of Cexton Records and made a friend of the bar when we mentioned his name.

(There was also the spontaneous rhum party at the Sunset Grill in Grand Case, Saint Martin, but since I used the word "memorable" and don't remember a whole lot beyond the fifth round, it doesn't count...)

The beauty of this debate on racism is the honesty, folks. While we don't necessarily agree with each other on all points, it's refreshing to have thoughts presented so openly. Like Michael Rappaport, we live in a very diverse neighborhood, and really nobody seems to care. There are the occasional "tsk, tsks" about people behaving a certain way, but it usually is reflected more in what idiots they are than their ethnic or cultural backgrounds.

But just two short years ago three white women were beaten nearly to death by twelve or so black teens. And a decade and a half parts of the city burned during the overflow from the LA riots.

Progress is being made, but we can't take it for granted that we're done just because I drink my coffee black, like my President.

Rob - I like GONE WITH THE WIND, but respect your take. It is also of note that Walt Disney openly commented that James Baskett -- Uncle Remus -- was "the best actor to be discovered in years". Unfortunately, like Butterfly McQueen, he was not allowed to participate in the Atlanta premiere of SONG OF THE SOUTH.

But, as Ms. McQueen is quoted as saying: "Now I am happy I did Gone With the Wind. I wasn't when I was 28, but it's part of black history. You have no idea how hard it is for black actors, but things change, things blossom in time."

I am anxiously a-watching the mailbox.

(So far, not a twitch from the thing, but it's early yet.)

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 9:33:12

Of Amos & Andy, other stereotypes
Y'know, I watched a few episodes of Amos and Andy once. I did not wince. If there was room for Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton, foolish white people who were very specific types, then there was room for Amos and Andy, who were (if I recall correctly) a similar duo after a twist of the contrast knob.

AMOS AND ANDY did not make me wince as much as I do when I see certain contemporary black comedians play broad stereotypes that are somehow supposed to be more acceptable because black people originate them. Chris Tucker's usual screen persona, for instance, strikes me as far more in-your-face offensive -- and for more grating -- than anything Amos and Andy ever did. That high-pitched, whiny voice, the exaggerated reactions, the wilful ignorance, the entitled rudeness, the impatience for anything but instant gratification; the someimes specifically-stated thesis that he acts that way because that black, and not because he's one individual idiot -- well, were I black, I'd want to burn down the theatre. And it's contemporary, which is to say it has no excuse.

I can speak from a little relative experience here. I happen to be a major fan of silent movie comedies. I am gratified to note that offensive racial stereotypes are pretty thin on the ground in Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin films, at least in the features. (Keaton did use blackface in one of the shorts, that I know of.) But Harold Lloyd? You will find Fetchit types appearing (always gratuitously) as late as his brilliant and underrated final film, THE SIN OF HAROLD DIDDLEBOCK (1947, otherwise known as MAD WEDNESDAY). It's always something you have to gloss over, and I always wondered whether this was something I could do because I wasn't involved, and whether I'd feel differently if I ever saw him attack Jews that way.

Well, here's where we come to Lloyd's most famous (but certainly not best*) film, SAFETY LAST. That's the one that produced the iconic image of Lloyd dangling from the minute hand of a giant clock, high over the city streets. You likely know that image even if you don't know the film (or even Lloyd by name). The movie's a classic of physical comedy, with Lloyd's character a publicity seeker playing human fly on the outside of a department store building, and nearly getting killed a million times from the mishaps that befall him on the way to the top. Really. Hilarious, thrilling, heart-in-the-throat stuff. You need to see it if you haven't.

But earlier in the film his character visits a jeweler to buy an engagement ring, and the jeweler is...excuse me...a stereotypical kike, complete with big nose and slavering money-lust, the kind of character who rubs his hands greedily when he sees a large sum in cash. There is absolutely no question that it is the proprietor's Jewishness being commented upon: he wears a yarmulke and prayer shawl, and his store is festooned with Hebrew lettering. The movie doesn't need the scene. It makes no narrative point not duplicated in the scenes around it. It's just there, a wart on a slapstick masterpiece. Am I bothered? Well, yes. Do I reject Harold Lloyd, or this film, utterly as a result? Absolutely not. I understand that the people who made this film were products of their time, that they didn't know any better, and that even if the scene falls woefully flat now it is also part of the entire artifact's historical texture. Watch for another five minutes and the moment is forgotten.

* That would be THE KID BROTHER. Pure Heaven.

Robert Ross <rbrross2937@yahoo.com>
Frostbite Falls, Minnesnowta - Tuesday, December 23 2008 9:10:18

Just want to pop in, before the topic becomes too dated: Most memorable meal would have to be at The Inn At Little Washington, some years ago. I was on a road trip with family members, and we had reserved one of the two rooms available over the gift shop, which is kitty corner (or catty corner) from the main Inn. During the meal the front desk concierge came to our table and told us that the reservation for the other room had just been canceled at the last minute, and they were giving it to us, no extra charge. I can't recall specifics of the meal (which may lead one to say, hey, if you can't remember what you ate, what's the big deal?) but every meal at the Inn was excellent, as was the service.

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 8:4:54

"Perhaps this is why media depictions of race from the past have revisited now and then".

I meant, "..this is why past media depictions of race should be revisited now and then"

- Tuesday, December 23 2008 7:56:3

Dennis C.,

You mean there was NO discussion at all as to the subject or content of BOAN?

What the hell kind of a lame class IS that?

Well...anyway. NOW ya know!

I rented BOAN about 5 years ago to examine it on my own. I looked it at on every level, including that of technical achievements.

But ONE viewing was enough for me. I started walkin' around in public with a spinning ass n'a bounce t'the knees. The GOOD news is there were more white folk ready to beat my face in than there were blacks.

One should not burn such shit into oblivion, but it SHOULD be viewed in historical context. Otherwise, blind ignorance is perpetuated.

Same has to be said for Nazi propaganda films, like Triumph of the Will and Olympiad. Those too get shown in film classes. I sometimes wrestle with the double standard: in Germany, it is illegal to say "hail Hitler", as are Nazi symbols. Needless to say, I admire the gesture, given a nation owing up to its own horrific history. Yet, it's a freedom of speech issue. It's always a test when we face the personal lines we're tempted to draw.

Having said that, I'll go self-righteous on you for a second and point out that you SHOULD have had some information about Birth of a Nation on your OWN time. It's not like this was some arcane mystery from ancient scrolls. Cable has been flooded with documentaries about it. SO many that in the last few years I came in on several entirely by accident. I make the point, because we've diminishing excuses for relying on others to furnish the facts. With today's technology, research on our own time is less demanding than finding a restroom. To put it another way...basically, you should have known about this BEFORE the course; just enough, anyway, to have the expectations.

(When I ran over to pick up the movie on dvd, I remember the attitude I was jumping in with: a smile on my face knowing - from years of reading about Birth of a Nation - that this thing was going to be pretty warped. I was very curious to see just HOW warped it would get. I went on to view it with MORBID curiosity. Filled with my countless and audible, periodic outbreaks of laughter and "ohhhhh, my GOD!!!", it was rather enjoyable. As long as I knew this was the only time I was going to bother with this damn thing. The more important thing is that after viewing the movie I did a LOT of research on the history surrounding it; this included President Wilson's response to it. Wilson, at some time in his youth, was in the KKK. That's right: we had a President who'd once been a Klan member. Had it not been for viewing Griffith's flick, I would not have come to understand how "acceptable" it once was to be in the Klan. This country once had a MASSIVE contingent)

**Racist content as defined by the period I'm finding to be increasingly variable, and from all quarters:

I've an older African American friend who'd grown up in that generation of the Jim Crowe South. He told me about the Amos n'Andy tv series, and how lame, from HIS pov, the NAACP was being about the show when it was bumped off the air.

I used to assume - since I've never seen a single out-take from the show - that Amos n'Andy was DEEP in the stereotypes; in other words, I figured ALL the black characters were shown as lazy happy types. That's how I IMAGINED it.

Apparently, not so. The main character aside, many blacks in the show were depicted as middle class professionals. There were black doctors, lawyers, specialists, etc.

My friend here therefore felt these roles presented positive black role models - in an era when few were seen on the tube.

Thus, it's HIS contention that the show was treated and remembered unfairly.

Perhaps this is why media depictions of race from the past have revisited now and then.

(On the OTHER side of the coin, I wish they'd bring to better public awareness the independent efforts made by blacks historically. The movies from the 1930s, for example. While White Hollywood was depicting its blacks as native savages and happy farm hands, the black community was doing movies with entirely black casts. Likewise, far MORE should be brought to everyone's attention on the Harlem Renaissance; painters, writers, poets, etc., all of whom had been breaking personal ground in the arts from 1919 to 1933. It's fine that we're reminding ourselves of the racist shit out there. But we're not offering enough applause for the artistic achievements due so many from an unjustifiably forgotten era)

***Just for the record, I HATE 'Gone With The Wind'. I read tons about Butterfly McQueen - the kind of independent-thinking and educated person she was, and the way she'd been treated in those years (for example, she was not invited to the movie's premier opening in, of course, Georgia). But more directly, the movie often nauseates me. That's the bottom line.

Barney Dannelke <dannelke@gmail.com>
Allentown, PA. - Tuesday, December 23 2008 7:49:38

Seasons greetings
While I was most amused by Harlan's holiday well-wishes posting I think it should be pointed out that Harlan ***MIGHT*** be conflating or confusing the Tet Offensive which ran from January 30th to September 23rd 1968 with the Christmas Bombings of North Vietnam - over 4,000 sorties including over 700 by very imprecise high flying B-52's between December 18th and 30th, 1972.

Since people in the media are floating all kinds of mildly complimentary opinions about Nixon from signing the EPA into existence to going to China, in the wake of the FROST/NIXON media event I felt it was important once again to remind folks born after his reign what a terrorist and malign thug he truly was.

Merry Christmas folks - Barney Dannelke

Brian Siano
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 7:41:37

To Jordan Owen:

I am delighted to point out that the verses you quote ("For the customs of the peoples are worthless; they cut a tree out of the forest, and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel. They adorn it with silver and gold; they fasten it with hammer and nails so it will not totter") apply not only to Christmas trees, but to _crucifixes_ as well. This makes me smile.

Michael Rapoport
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 7:33:20

Sara Slaymaker
Sara, I am a Jew who happens to be married to a black woman, and I live in a genuinely multiracial community (latest census data says my town is 62% white, 28% black). This is going to sound like a terrible cliche - and I'm sure the black readers of the Pavilion can speak to this matter with much more authority than I - but in terms of "how white people should behave around black people," the best advice I can give is: just be yourself. Whatever kind of person you really are, it'll show through - just as it did with that woman in your shop.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Tuesday, December 23 2008 7:25:26


If you have a moment, would you please see that i am up to date as to be receiving this Rabbit Hole edition? I know, i should know myself, but right now, i don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my @$$.
For all you do, we appreciate you. For your diligence and self-sacrifice, was raise a glass, salute, and keep you both in our thoughts. Thank you.

Christmas at you, everyone. Play nice.

Frank Church
- Tuesday, December 23 2008 6:37:47

Did Harlan just call me a ho?

You humble me, my leige. If you want me to kill Rob I will. Freebie.

Merry goat--blood drinking day to all. Suck a teet, avoid the street.

Much love for my favorite warm blooded grafted devils.

Me and Daryl have the upraised black fist. Honkies step back.


The funny thing about O'Reilly is that Fox news has been giving out holiday cards and have been having holiday parties for years. Bill stays clamped. I cannot wait to see the day he gets carted off to the white padded room.

He will be eating bugs and carnal sins.


Cindy, Barber, Dylag, Gwynnie, Douglas, you all are my favorites. Smootchers.

Stay frosty.

Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
Stowe, Vermont - Tuesday, December 23 2008 6:28:8

I just read that President-Elect Obama will be sworn in on the same bible used by Abraham Lincoln. I am in tears.

Racism is easy to identify, to act against, to target and say "bad!" Prejudice is a more difficult, slippery slope. Prejudice requires a more intense self-examination to root out and abolish.

I live in one of the whitest states in the country, which has always surprised me because it's also home to some of the most liberal, socialist and high-minded people in the country. We were the first state to declare for Obama. And yet, the only blacks who live in Stowe (with one or two notable exceptions) are the Jamaican ladies who come up every winter to work in the resorts. Granted, Stowe has a permanent population smaller than Wasilla, but still...

I am a blond, blue-eyed WASP. I am passionately anti-racist and a passionate believer in equal rights. I try very hard to take people at face value, on a one-on-one basis. And yet...I am generally uncomfortable around black people. And it's not that I'm prejudiced, it's that I'm so afraid of being judged as prejudiced that I freeze up. If I'm too nice, I'm prejudiced. If I'm not nice enough, I'm prejudiced. If I think someone's an asshole, if their skin is any darker than mine (and everyone's skin is darker), I'm prejudiced. I feel like I can't win for losing.

I will cop to being a bit of an elitist. I KNOW I'm a better person than that idiot woman who came into my shop the other day (I work in a resale shop), bought a bench, and then said, "aren't you glad I didn't jew you down on the price?". As I stared at her coldly, trying to form some devastating riposte along the lines of "you know, I'm Jewish", the phone rang and she walked away. Ah well. NEXT time...

Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Tuesday, December 23 2008 4:33:31

Should the day Nixon died be a national holiday? If that sounds a little too severe, how about the day he resigned? Or, maybe... both?

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Monday, December 22 2008 20:52:53

Racism... (and best meals -- not at the same time)
I do wish someone had warned me a little about BIRTH OF A NATION instead of just showing it in film class -- still traumatized by the 'heroic' KKK coming in to save the day from those evil low-breeds!

But what do you do about a genuine artist who's a bigot?

I studied Griffith after that and really love some of his shorts -- elegant, beautiful. But he's a racist. Whaddya do?

And what about Leni Riefenstahl? I don't buy her past 'I didn't know anything, I was an innocent little girl who didn't know what those nasty Hitler and Goebbels men were up to...'
And I can't watch TRIUMPH OF THE WILL without wanting to shred the screen with my blood-caked fingernails.
But I think her OLYMPIA is one of the greatest films ever made -- some of the finest images ever committed to celluloid. And that troubles me.
Don't have an answer, just bringing it up.


Best meal ever: a little restaurant in Groningen, Holland called Mueller. The owner-chef, who knew no English, went out of his way to personally serve the two know-nothing Americans who'd popped in out of the blue. Marvelous meal on all counts.

But best conversation: saved up for years to finally go on that Safari trip to Africa. The irascible camp manager, whose wilting glare sent his minions hiding behind any available bushes and trees, had joined us at a 'boma' (group meal by a fire at night). Somehow he found out I knew about comics... and we were up all night discussing Doc Strange and the X-Men and the Dark Knight and Chris Claremont and all sorts of other superheroic characters. He was STARVED for anyone who knew anything about that particular cultural area. He wouldn't let us leave.
And we became friends for (so far) life. Don't know if I'll ever be able to afford to go there again, but I email him all the time about comics and movies based on comics (I won't tell him about the bad reviews for THE SPIRIT... and he's been thirsting for WOLVERINE since I told him it was in development.)

Small world.


My fave part of Christmas is the pagan Christmas Tree. I worship it.
Oh, and I guess I like those gifts, too.

Chuck Messer
- Monday, December 22 2008 19:22:32

A note to Susan:
Thanks for the gentle reminder. I'm sorry for being so dialtory, but my finances have been taking it in the nuts for the past month. I should be able to get myself up to date in a week or so.

And thanks for creating the Rabbit Hole in the first place. I hope you know how much we all appreceate it.


Jordan Owen
- Monday, December 22 2008 19:7:28

Pagan Xmas
Mr. Ellison-

Your withering critique of Bill Oh-Really is, as always, horrendously accurate. In your list of holiday greetings you left out the pagan traditions on which Christmas is based. So on that note:

In nominou de nostri Satanis, Bon Saturnalia!

And on the subject of Christmas, I wanted to share this little nugget from chapter 10 of the book of Jeremiah:

1 Hear what the LORD says to you, O house of Israel. 2 This is what the LORD says:
"Do not learn the ways of the nations
or be terrified by signs in the sky,
though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the customs of the peoples are worthless;
they cut a tree out of the forest,
and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.

4 They adorn it with silver and gold;
they fasten it with hammer and nails
so it will not totter.

Christmas trees are blasphemous, apparently.

Hail Satan,

- Monday, December 22 2008 18:28:5


Have a plentious and cheerious holiday, no matter which one (or more) you subscribe to:



for that yawping dunghill, Bill O'Riley, bloviating churl and detestable garlickeater...prey to the endless caprice anent the wholly mythical "War on Christmas" that exists solely in his dementia-festooned imagination, which makes him (as the word was used in Samuel Johnson's era to mean "someone mentally unbalanced") an "enthusiast"--with a "'" over the "u"--from the Greek root--this sober offering from a righteous Jewish Atheist:

Susan and I are preparing a pilot for our forthcoming (2009) Xmas tv special, GETTIN' JIGGY WIT JEEEZUZ! Bite THAT, Billy-Boy.

Again, Ho Ho Ho to all of you!

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Alan Coil
- Monday, December 22 2008 17:31:48

I've never really had a memorable dinner upon which to comment, but I and my friends once did give up our seats for Harlan, Susan, and posse. It was at the pizza joint across from the venue where Dreams With Sharp Teeth was shown in Cleveland a couple years ago.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Monday, December 22 2008 17:20:6

HARLAN & SUSAN: It took a bit of doing, but haunt the HERC mailbox. Happy Holidays!


I'm posting from a hotel in Renton. Tomorrow we catch an early flight for Orlando and six nights at Disney World. We as in: myself; hubby; Young Jackanapes (now 13, and don't you forget it, Mom); Youngest; mother-in-law; brother; niece. We want to give the kids good memories of this Christmas.

As for myself, I am wounded by I am not slain. It hurts, though...


- Monday, December 22 2008 16:50:25

To One And All:

Rabbit Hole #46 (with the original Ellison essay) was mailed today. Will someone in each time zone let me know when it arrives. Many thanks.

Tom Morgan: Your request was my pleasure. The package to Chris is on the way. You're a good guy.

Lost Herc Member: John Krocker--last in Austin, TX.

Best wishes to you all--


Frank Church
- Monday, December 22 2008 16:44:12

"Always fucking excuses for racism. ... Blah, blah blah. The cartoons and comics with the racist themes were trash and should be forgotten."

I will forget them, nobody else has to. I will not censor them. If I ever do I hope someone strangles me.

I also am worried about the force of right wing talk radio, amping up the Obama hate. I really don't want to see another black leader killed.

Compare my stance on racism in art to Harlan's stance on knife-kill films.

We will not ban them or suggest they be banned, but we will be able to go after offensive art or culture, because it is actually dangerous.

I also love South Park. No pc me.

Harlan, didn't want to ire you so close to the holidays. Better that it die now. Peace be unto the board.

Saquilla Cactus Church

- Monday, December 22 2008 15:11:6

TONY ISABELLA: You asked 2 questions. Here are two answers: yes, and yes.

MEMORABLE DINNER: Sometime in the Fall of 1960. New York City. Le Chateaubriand. Maurice Chevalier and me.

FRANK CHURCH: Yes, you did. Here is exactly what you said, on Sunday 21 December 08, at 10:16:49:

QUOTE: "Always fucking excuses for racism. ... Blah, blah blah. The cartoons and comics with the racist themes were trash and should be forgotten." UNQUOTE.

How is this NOT "baby with the bathwater" PC censorship?

One final word to one and all, including Frank Church and my beloved Carol Cooper: I KNEW Will Eisner, and it would break his heart even to hear someone WHO IS BEING UNACCEPTABLY JUDGMENTAL accuse him of racism. Will Eisner was a true man, a great and good man, a man of courage and kindness and humility, a model on which The Perfect Decent Human could be forged. And as for Sambo, the dear Little Black Sambo, his Aesoplike story is no more racist than A CHRISTMAS CAROL. I was even around to see the early-PC day when every Sambo's restaurant (and they were GREAT restaurants) altered their signs so Sambo wore a turban and was clearly from the Indian subcontinent...where they have tigers.

As for "white people" thinking it's amusing to give "black people" funny names, I recall NO white people who EVER gave "black people" names as stupid and hardly amusing as "black people" give their children, unless (racist that I am) you find naming kids NyQuillia or JerHighness wildly hilarious. And kindly donot ramble down Paralogia Lane by tossing at me, as ameliorative, as distraction, those asshole WHITE celebs who call their kids Bronx Mowgli DooWhaDitty Simpson or RocketMissile BangBanana or Pilot Inspektor Lee.

Semiliterate boobazoids of MANY colors seem to have run amuck, namewise--think how cozy a life will be had by the two sons of the knave who called his older Aryan Nation and his younger Adolf Hitler--but eschewing grand Afrocentric names such as Muhammed Ali or Kareem Abdul Jabbar to imprint your kid with a name that sounds like an over-the-counter psoriasis medication sorta places facedown on the playing surface most any "fuckin' whitey makin' funna blackfolks' names."

If you ask me. It's sorta like coming into court having never heard of the concept of "clean hands."


Josh Olson
- Monday, December 22 2008 14:10:17


Funny timing. I just hung on my wall a beautifully framed VHS of that very movie, with a brass plate on it that reads, "Last feature ever released on VHS."

Got it framed, by the way, at Laurie's Flash Framers on Ventura, the best framer in LA, and thanks to our esteemed host for turning me on to her.

Shane Shellebarger
Phoenix, - Monday, December 22 2008 12:43:24

Did you know "A History of Violence" was the last major Hollywood
film released on VHS? It was, according to the L.A. Times article found at:

Michael Mayhew
- Monday, December 22 2008 11:43:55


Steve B:

Back about 20 years ago I lived on the west side of LA, and discovered a tiny neighborhood restaurant called the Palms Bistro. There were three things on the menu: chicken with vegetables and cream sauce, filet mignon with vegetables and cream sauce, and fish with vegetables and cream sauce. Place was run by a little tiny Filipino lady named Marie Boden. About half the time you could only get two of the items on the menu because for whatever reason she didn't feel like making all of them. Other times she'd get a hankering to make something else and she'd just tell you what the special was.

Best food in the whole world. Any of it. All of it.

There were only four tables. They were almost always all filled with local folks who knew what was tasty. In the back, behind the kitchen, there was a little extra room, not remotely authorized by the city or in any way up to code, where there was another couple tables and a couch and a beat up old piano.

The mood of the place was like visiting a beloved, slightly dotty old aunt, whose entire focus was food and conversation. Marie would scurry about in flip fops, pouring tasty but undoubtedly cheap wine from carafes, then hustle back to cook the food, then pull up a chair at one table or another for a visit. My goodness what a wonderful restaurant!

I remember a friend went salmon fishing in Alaska and came back with an ice chest full of fresh fish. He took it to Marie and said "do something wonderful with this" and then about ten friends squeezed into the little back room for the best fish I've ever eaten.

I remember showing up late one night when the restaurant was mostly empty, and Marie sitting down at my table, pouring us both a glass of wine, and telling me the story of the her first love, back home in the Philippines, when she was a very young girl.

All this is preface to my answer to your question about a one memorable meal. Around the time I was frequenting the Palms Bistro, I was dating a young lady and we were very much in love. Complicating matters was the fact that my young lady had gotten a job in the Bay Area and was about to leave town. Our possible future together was suddenly in doubt.

I wanted to do something special before she left town, so I called Marie to make reservations for a goodbye dinner. More trouble, she was booked full that night. But Marie took pity on my plight and told me that there was a storefront next to hers that she'd ben leasing to a florist who had gone bust and cleared out. If we wanted, she could set up a table in there.

And so it was that my lady love and I had an entire, somewhat ramshackle former florist shop to ourselves, lit only by the candle on our table, watching the early evening sunlight fade away to deep darkness, saying our goodbyes and pledging our undying love despite all obstacles.

Marie had wheeled her piano into the space, and she played for a while, something simple and sweet. We even got up and slow danced a couple of numbers.

It was the most romantic meal I've ever had.

I'd love to say that it cemented the relationship, and that this was the woman I married, but eventually we broke up. Not really anybody's fault, we just weren't quite right for each other. We were good at being friends, but not so good at being partners. And somewhere in all that there is a useful lesson about the difference between lasting love and romance. The woman I married was not the woman I had the doomed romantic dinner with, but boy are we a swell team.

My one regret is that, because Marie had played such a part in the romance with this previous lady, I was too mortified to go back and tell her that we'd broken up. By the time I went back to see her, the restaurant had closed.


Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
Stowe, Vermont - Monday, December 22 2008 11:16:53

Memorable Dinners
The most memorable dinners I've had were when my extended family got together. I have had some interesting people in my family: my grandfather was a statesman and professor at Princeton; my grandmother was witty and acerbic and loved telling stories; my Uncle Sid is an authority on Russian Literature; and my brother has managed to live a fascinating life. When we all got together (which wasn't nearly often enough), we would sit at the dinner table for hours after we'd finish eating, drinking wine and telling stories. My grandfather would talk about Princeton and the people he knew there, Einstein and Oppenheimer and others; my mom would tell the story of taking Secretary Marshall sailing; my brother would talk about when his pet 6 foot alligator ate the neighbor's dog. I've been meaning for years to pull all those stories together into a book. It will happen one of these days!

Los Angeles, California - Monday, December 22 2008 10:48:4

Rainy Days and Mon-da-days
Sadly, even though I've been to a variety of countries (Spain, Italy and Sicily, Crete, Israel, United Arab Emirates), I can't recall one spectacular restaurant visit. There have been memorable ones, certainly, like when I ordered a Pina Colada and was greeted by some soupy yellowish drink (no ice, just a combination of alcohols) that tasted horrible. Or when I discovered calamari for the first time in Crete--but it was boiled, gray and squishy, with all its legs and suckers attached, and no breaded coating like you'll find in the States. I do recall that Italy had the best food overall, though the UAE (this was back in 1993) did try its best to offer a worldwide menu and appeal to all its British and American visitors in every way possible, even being extraordinarily polite to those lesser creatures of the Arab world, the women.

I've got to go for an hour-long drive in the rain now for a neurological exam. Yay. Last week, I was out in West L.A. to get my dislocated ankle looked at. They let me limp out of there when the "intern read" of the x-ray revealed no problems, only to call back Monday morning and wake me up (they weren't the ONLY ones to do so that day... AHEM!) to tell me the "physician's read" detected a "tiny fracture." But did Ortho call back last week to schedule me an appointment? Hell, no, that would indicate the medical profession had some proficiency to it! Whatever. I bought myself a cane at a thrift store for $6 and I am limping on.

(insert whistling from "Bridge On the River Kwai" here)

Holidays. Gawd. They're making me very testy. Everyone is asking, "What are you going to do for..." Screw your fancy home decorating and your plans for holiday parties and get-togethers and trips to The Grove and presents and all that. 'm gonna SLEEP, if you don't mind.

Tony Isabella <tony@wfcomics.com>
Medina, Ohio - Monday, December 22 2008 10:29:33

Can I get away with a second post on my birthday?

My Sainted Wife Barb gave me a package of Hydrox cookies today. I don't know if they are as good as I remember them being when I was a kid, but they're still REAL good.

Harlan, did you ever find these? If so, were they as good as you remember them being?


Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Monday, December 22 2008 10:13:31

Memorable Dinners
Mr. Barber,

I was a bit unclear as to your question, whether it was the best meal of one's life, or the one with the most memorable dinner companions.

If it was the first, then the best meal I have ever had was in a restaurant in Florence, Italy called Il Latini. The 4 course meal was served family style and included unlimited house wine. My three companions and I were the first people to arrive that night we stood in line a full 90 minutes before opening) so the owner gave us a free bottle of champagne. Memories of the food served (I do remember a veal served in lemon and butter that was more tender than I believed possible) are rather dream like, both because of the excellent quality of the meal as well as the 4 liters of wine we drank (in addition to the champagne). In retrospect, the limoncello after the meal was not a good idea, as it made the trip to Rome the next day slightly shall we say, uncomfortable

While I have had a chance to meet some celebrities, I have never shared a meal with any of them, so I would probably choose for a memorable meal with dinner companion the dinner I had at Fuddrucker's during MiniCon with Keith Cramer, Doug Lane, Kristin Ruhle, Rob Ewen, Rick Keeney, Jody Wurl and many others, including the blind singer that Harlan bonded with so much he called him "his brother from another mother". (Anyone remember his name?) Not sure there was ever any more than 5 seconds of silence during the entire meal, with all of the conversations flowing around the tables.

Outta here tomorrow to go to visit my family, Happy Holidays to everyone,


St. Pete, FL - Monday, December 22 2008 9:52:29

Steve B. - The one that always sticks out in my mind is a supper I had with the nuclear physicist, Edward Teller, about 25 years ago. After the main meal, he poured cold water into his coffee cup, about 1/3 cup, and proceeded to empty about 10 bags of sugar in it, one after the other. I kept waiting for him to stop after each one. He stirred the gooey contents and began eating it with a teaspoon. I suppose this was his "energy drink" in the pre-Red Bull days.

C. Cooper
NYC, - Monday, December 22 2008 9:51:13


Nice review!


Although I can only speak for myself in this, I have no particular problem with the mere existance of almost anything--whether I like and support the thing or not. Diversity makes the world go 'round. What I do have a problem with, sociologically speaking, is when only one type of "thing" is allowed to exist, or when a broad swath of the public is made to think that only one type of thing exists, existed, or even *should* exist. This is why I wanted to bring the Ormes book to broader (dare I say "mainstream") attention. Because without CONTEXTUAL examples from the time periods under discussion or dispute, people who don't know better will have legitimate reason to continue to believe that the cultural artifacts they are familiar with are the only cultural artifacts that then existed (or that then could exist).

Does anyone really believe that black actors and actresses (or "white" or Jewish ones) would have routinely corked-up to do blackface routines on stage had there not been pressure (most of it not positive pressure) for them to do so? Just because some people liked or enjoyed blackface comedy was no justification for all actors attempting to portray blacks on stage at a certain time in America's theatrical history to feel pressure (economic or social) to do so in the same artificial, messy, and rather ridiculous way. If I'm against anything in terms of media representation, I'm against the PRESSURE someone might feel to conform to a single standard, and the reluctance of a few contemporary pundits or historians to admit that there were any viable (or coexistant) alternatives.

For the record, remember I never accused Eisner of anything. People who knew him far better than I,who worked for or with him, and admired or were inspired by him, decided to explore these issues on film in a documentary about Eisner's life for posterity. And I admmire them--and the film--all the more for that.

Steve B
- Monday, December 22 2008 9:23:39

@%$&, the Sequel

Please insert the following correction in the previous post. Thank you.

"Hopefully this will embarrass him hideously when he finds out I've posted it here."

Complete thoughts. Complete thoughts. Complete thoughts.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Monday, December 22 2008 9:19:50

Monday Monday, so good to me

It's wet, rainy, gray and blech here in the City of Angels.

We finished shopping, donating to the local economy, Saturday with a last-minute rush to Costco. My Uncle's partner's best friend ("What's that to me?" "Nothing!") is gonna love the eighty pound box of chocolates...

We even hung our traditional outside ornaments from the rafters, and got the most important stuff on the tree.

And watched two different versions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Patrick Stewart and George C. Scott, respectively).

Merry Effing Xmas I'm tired.

Webderlander James Moran, who made the journey from London to LALALand solely to meet his favorite writer, made note of the trip in his most recent blog. Homefully this will embarrass him hideously when he finds out.

(No copyright was injured in the reprinting of this paragraph.)

"I've already talked about meeting Harlan in detail on the blog, so you know the story. But it bears repeating how much of a big deal this was for me. Meeting one of your writing heroes, who then turns out to be wonderfully kind, funny and encouraging, is a fantastic experience. It also came at just the right time. I was overworked, tired, completely worn down (see next section), and he gave me the boost of energy and enthusiasm I needed. I had also just had a really bad haircut, and he was kind enough not to mention it. That, folks, is the true measure of a man."

(God. I may have succeeded in embarrassing TWO people with this. Woohoo!)

Question for everyone, but Harlan in particular:

You've had some truly memorable dinners in your life, with a variety of spectacular dinner guests.

Does one stand out more than all others as being truly special?

Cris and I pinpointed our first evening in Paris, at Le Rotonde in Montparnasse as best among many good memories.

Harlan? Anyone? Beuhler?

Brian Siano
- Monday, December 22 2008 8:36:47

racism and other stuff
I've been holding off on commenting here. Not that I haven't been thinking about it. How Joel Chandler Harris, a man who held views on blacks that weren't exactly enlightened, was also one of black culture's best preservationists. How many of the people who made movies now considered "racist" were actually very appreciative of black culture, but could come to grips with it only within the limitations of their own culture. How Even some of the best examples of the past, like John Hammond's "From Spirituals to Swing" concerts, Orson Welles's staging of __MacBeth_, could very easily be denounced as examples of racial condescension by some. How this tension of appreciation, and our own cultural boundaries, carries to this day.

Which makes me question whether our own standards of racism and not-racism make any sense, either. I mean, take kids who love gangsta culture. You can give it all kind of attributes-- macho, desire for vibrant culture, sense of danger, adventure-- but it carries as many racist assumptions as Stepin Fetchit.

I think we're in a bind here. On the one hand, we want to be as open-minded, culturally diverse, and appreciative as we can. We work against our own personal limitations, which we're only half-aware of, and we work against all the barriers our culture throws at us. But there's also all that ideology-- all the cultural loading and barriers and assumptions that we're not aware of because, well, it's the stuff that's seeped into our bones.

So when I look at stuff in the culture that's considered racist by our modern lights, I try to remember that, sometimes, it was made by people who _liked_ black culture, but could work with it only within their limits. As we do.

Not always. It's nearly impossible to look at _Birth of a Nation_ and have much sympathy for D.W. Griffith. But stuff like _Song of the South_ and _The Green Pastures_ has a strange mix of condescension and affection. And when you learn that the guys who made _Snow White and de Sebben Dwarfs_ loved hot jazz and got a lot of local black musicians to work on the cartoon... well, it kind of makes one question our _modern_ notions of appreciating other cultures, and if there isn't a lot of condescension and semi-racism there as well.

I mean, actual _hate_ is pretty evil, and easy to see, and over racist beliefs in the superiority and inferiority of groups of humans is pretty clear-cut. But hunting around in the culture for signs and signifiers, merely to assert our own superiority over the past or the "others" in our present... that sometimes feels like a moralist's failure of empathy than anything else.

mark spieller
san mateo, california, - Monday, December 22 2008 8:30:41

Content of character and the classroom
As a denizen of the California educational system (norther california division, I was always intrigued by the passive things that were offered to us. In the back of the classroom there were always copies of "Catcher in the Rye", "The Bell Jar", "I never promised you a rose garden" and "ask alice". The school library was filled with Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H Rider Haggard and any number of writers that would be banned. For films, especially in Jr. High and High School there was ALWAYS "Birth of a Nation" and "Night and Fog" Content AND Context were things that teacher then wanted to pass on to us. It was important for us to see thing not only as it was, but the time that shaped it. Now, of course everyone is so scared to teach content, context has been thrown out with it.

During my forays in collection old radio shows, I aquired a number of Amos and Andy programs. Minstrel comedy, was done in black face as the social convention of the time looked askance as white people doing such things. In fact both actors did their show in 'blackface' before their radio audience. Al Jolson, "blacked up" for his minstrel/jazz performances till such time that form of music became acceptable. "Othello" has been a part where dark cosmetics were looked up as part and parcel. This does not excuse some of those things we now know as wrong. It merely puts them in a frame that explains them. Amos n Andy, by the way was one of the longest running programs on the air, even mutating into a Kraft Music Hall-type programs during its 1950s incarnation and its TV version with an all black cast was very sucessful and removed as the nation became more sensitive to this vestige of a bygone form of entertainment.

It is important to keep all these things, as lessons, as ways of show where we have moved forward or slipped back. Destroying them, banning them, merely is a way of denial, and showing lack of courage is acceptance. The Uncle Remus stories tell morals, as do all fables. Amos and Andy is a time capsule, like all mass entertainment. Books and Films that may carry racist and seemingly racist content tells you as much about the artist as it does about the audience it was created for.

Now please excuse me why I watch my copy of "The Ducktators".
Happy holidays.

Steven Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Monday, December 22 2008 7:24:40


It's a little more complex than that. Noted collections of African American literature alway retain Joel Chandler Harris' "Br'er Rabbit stories" because everyone agrees that those stories are part of consistent oral tradition from Africa. The mythic totems in those stories are universal, and Harris' transmission, tinged by racism and replete with all the trappings of minstrelsy, is still valuable.

The old minstrelsy routines also are also part of the foundation of clasic works like John Berryman's Dream Songs, where Mr. Bones becomes an iconic figure of death.

Similarly, there are entire chapters of Huckleberry Finn that are, indeed, nothing but "minstrely." They become more meaningful in the greater context of the work, of course, and the book is certainly an outcry against slavery, racism and the whole United States of Lyncherdom, but Twain was also a comedian and Jim is certainly the butt of a few broad and embarrassing jokes, much as Don Quixote was the horse's ass, on occasion, in Cervantes' novel.

We no longer read Erasmus of Rotterdam, we no longer praise folly, and we live in a serious age when everything is reduced to either robotoic seriousness or cruel quips and attacks. There is something valuable in Jolson, at the great African entertainers who used cork, at old race records that would make polite, white society cringe--a thousand things that are unexpected can be found in our racist past. We simply need to look at who we are. "Zip-a--dee-doo--dah," was a song I sang innocently in my childhood. It's from a racist movie called Song of the South, which has terribly uncomfortable scenes of a little boy bossing around black adults who show him deference, but the song was better than the film, as was Bill "Bo Jangles" Robinson's dancing in Shirley Temple films. I am too afraid at times that we live in a completely sanitized culture that does not acknowledge the rather racist white actors who played "Amos and Andy" on radio, or the black actors who played them on film.

Steve Dooner

Frank Church
- Monday, December 22 2008 6:42:15

Now we are reading my mind. Which may scare small children.

I don't want to "burn" or censor any thing, I try to avoid obviously racist speech, unless it has some redeeming value or makes a provacative argument. Me laughing at the racists at that white racist site, well, that's for my own pleasure.

Just glad we live in a world that no longer has Amos and Andy and bug-eyed minstrels. David Lee Roth doesn't count.


Carol Chomsky RIP

Tony Isabella <tony@wfcomics.com>
Medina, Ohio - Monday, December 22 2008 4:58:38

Plug I Must
I reviewed the Jackie Ormes book here:


There's nothing quite like the thrill of discovering a terrific new-to-me cartoonist.

Tony Isabella

David Pareis
- Sunday, December 21 2008 23:1:47

RIAA to stop lawsuits

The article from the local paper mentioned that the cost was greater than the judgements.

Doc <drdespicable@gmail.com>
- Sunday, December 21 2008 19:30:44

Re: Racism in THE SPIRIT
Dear Friends - Some of you need to read, savor, really LOOK AT some things before you start chucking them out with the garbage (Frank, I'm looking at you...).

On the subject of Eisner's "racism", I concede that, as a particular example, the character of Ebony White was indeed presented in a "minstrelsy" stereotypical style. But all of that was superficial twaddle. I draw a distinction between how Ebony was presented and how he was portrayed - because in his portrayal, one finds that he was a loyal, capable, reliable assistant to the hero, helping The Spirit out of many tight spots. To my knowledge, none of the good guys ever made much if any reference to his race. In fact, over the course of the comic, Eisner made a point of developing Ebony's character above his appearance and dialog. How many comics, back in the day, book or strip, even HAD Black characters, let alone assigned on as the hero's trusted, respected friend and side-kick? If I may borrow from Dr King, we should judge Ebony White not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character - because, in the end, that character virtually mocks the stereotype. And if you're still sniffing at Eisner and smelling racism, I direct you to another Black character among the the SPIRIT milieu: Detective Grey, a very capable Black man, with NONE of the minstrel show trappings. A lot of people, over the years, have done a lot of shouting of "Uncle Tom!" about Eisner's Black character - which I don't get. Uncle Tom (of "...Cabin" fame) was a noble, kind, loving, decent man, who allowed himself to be beaten to death, rather than rat out a pair of slaves who escaped - he didn't even try to escape himself!

And regarding Sambo's, evidently there was a chain of them - we had one in Oklahoma City, in my youth. Their pancakes were unbeatable. They had a series of drawings high on the wall depicting the adventures of Little Black Sambo - when I was very small, my mother would tell me the story while we waited for our food. I don't recall ever thinking of it in racist terms - the kid just happened to be Black, which my mom never made an issue of in the tale. Which, in all the firey hoo-ha about racism, suggests that we need fewer censors and more responsible parents.

And before any further barbs are cast at DW Griffith, let's take a moment to consider that his film took its subject matter from a novel, THE CLANSMAN, by Thomas Dixon. I confess, I haven't read this, but I HAVE been in several history classes in my time, and I know that in the post-war South, the behavior of most of the occupying forces of the Conquering Heroes was hardly more laudable and gracious than that as perceived of their former enemies.

When it's all said and done - Miller's SPIRIT movie is still going to suck.

Kenneth Stevens <stevens.kenneth@gmail.com>
Knoxville, Tennessee - Sunday, December 21 2008 18:29:41

Optical prescriptions change over time, and those who view works of art high and low through the lenses of today commit the logical error that David Hackett Fischer calls “Presentism.” Anyone who has read “Fahrenheit 451” or a history of Cambodia's Year Zero has to know that this leads us over a cliff.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, December 21 2008 18:19:29

Many years ago, when I was but a wee college student, I happened to be sitting behind another student when the Professor in an American literature class said that Mark Twain's HUCKLEBERRY FINN accurately depicted the racist attitudes of its time, while presenting a character who ultimately rejected them.

I saw this student write in his notes, "MARK TWAIN: RACIST!", underling the adjective three times, and adding an exclamation point.

In truth, Twain was nothing of the kind. Read his essays, his political arguments, even his other fiction, and you'll see that he rejected racism as thoroughly as any writer of his generation ever did, at times expressing contempt for the white race for the way it treated other cultures.

James Levy <susjpl@hofstra.edu>
Syosset, New York - Sunday, December 21 2008 17:17:33

"Bad" books
The first time I ran into this issue was when a friend of mine was getting her Ph.D. at Duke about 15-20 years ago. I mentioned to her reading Conrad's "Heart of Darkness". She said that her professors (bigshots one and all) had told her that she was NOT to read that terrible, racist, imperialist, nasty little book. I was stunned by this, as my friend, who had never read the thing, went on at great length about just how terrible, horrible, no good, and very bad it was.

I have watched "Birth of a Nation" and find it reprehensible, and "Gone with the Wind" is objectionable because it's trashy and vulgar as much as its views of race relations are retarded. I can say those things because I saw the offending items. The unspoken fear (as Robert Hughes and Katha Pollit have so ably demonstrated) is that "we" right-thinking people have to prevent young folks from seeing this stuff because their reservoir of allusions is so empty, their minds so literal, and their experience so circumscribed, that they may swallow the pro-KKK message of Griffith's film whole. PC types fear, with a smidgen of reason, that kids read so little that if they get "The Turner Diaries" in their skull, it will act as a template for their ideas and perhaps even actions. But as Hughes and Pollit contend, the only answer to this is for kids to see more films, read more books, and develop a little judgment.

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Sunday, December 21 2008 15:32:52

Control of the Past in Order to Control the Future
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

Have just entered this interchange between Mr. Church and our dear host about P.C. and expunging the historial record of various bits of "racist" literature. Allow me my two cents worth.

My parents sent me, a mere lad of sixteen, to Continential Europe and the U.K. for a "Grand Tour" of six weeks. While in Bavaria, in probably the coldest June I can remember, my group, comprised mostly of college students, visited Dachau. Saw everything the Allies and, later, the State of Israel wanted to remain standing: the guard towers, barbed wire, concrete slabs where stood the barracks, the crematoria, etc. That visit, combined with my grandfathers' memories of fighting in Europe during WW II, convinced me that anti-Semitism, or any sort of bigotry and closed-mindedness, was simply wrong. To contradict Mr. Church, by NOT expunging Dachau, or even "Mein Kampf", for that matter, which I have read, along with "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion", we have allowed ourselves these last sixty-three years to learn about a time when bigotry ruled. Had the same feeling when I visited Ireland ten years ago, and saw many graves of those who didn't escape "The Hunger". Made me question the verities of "free trade". Words like "paddy", "mick", and, my favorite Victorian slur against the Irish, "white Negro", don't offend me, but remind me of the extremes to which such attitudes drive people.

So, when I read "that word" in "Tom Sawyer", or "Huckleberry Finn", I realize that I ought to dampen my own usage of ANY slur against ANY group. Without reading Twain, or visiting Dachau, or reading histories about nineteenth-century American treatment of Native Americans, I'm not sure what sort of person I'd be today. I've seen "Birth of a Nation", and "Gone with the Wind", and I've read Howard, and Ellison--check out Mr. E.'s story from "Slippage", "Nackles". Makes me treat people as just people, which, according to genetics, is all we are. Race is merely an artificial construct.

I'm not saying show "Birth of a Nation" in the local movie megaplexes, but don't burn all the prints, either. Censorship originating from anti-racism is a form, to me, of racism itself: a painting of people as being so un-intelligent that they can't make up their own minds. The censors, therefore, feel that they themselves must make up those minds for them, and must make them not learn from the past in order to control their future behavior. My major complaint with P.C. Stalin and Goebbels would approve.

I'm young enough to remember the "Sturm und Drang" created when Monty Python's "Life of Brian" was banned in Boston, but not in Cambridge or in parts north of the city. The cinemas in the latter cities made major bank, from people fleeing Boston. Did the movie insult Christianity or Catholicism? No, it poked fun at religious conformity, the very thing on display during protests against the movie. Made me more open-minded about religion, not less.

Well, back to the shovelling. (Twenty-three inches of snow, so far.)

Regards from, but not banned in, the "other coast",

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Los Angeles, California - Sunday, December 21 2008 15:4:2

Sambo's Restaurant

Sambo's Restaurant was much like Denny's, and when I was a kid and we went there every Sunday for breakfast. Not once did it ever occur to my child's mind that the story of "Little Black Sambo" was any different than that of the restaurant's "Little Sambo" where, by the mid-'70s and for the purposes with the goal of the restaurant's success, the story was streamlined and the Sambo's mascot was NOT African (http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/8/9/7/5/3/5/webimg/207992373_tp.jpg).

Of course it was reflective of the time it was written in, calling the parents "Mumbo" and "Jumbo" but, as has already been said here, you make that clear to a kid and then the "racist" portions fall by the wayside in favor of the story itself. The gist of the story, to my child's mind, always concerned the character's bad misfortune to lose items of his wardrobe to bully tigers, only to be fortunate and get them all back while watching his enemies defeat themselves. Non-violent, endure what life subjects you to and you will succeed, almost King-like message to live by.

David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland , OR - Sunday, December 21 2008 13:55:37


I remember Little Black Sambo very clearly and fondly. My parents read it to me often, and I don't remember any confusion or concerned discussion about it. What I enjoyed most and still remember vividly was the tigers and their transformation into butter. Sambo was just an ingenious kid, like me.

There's a restaurant in Lincoln City, on the north central coast of Oregon that has the appropriate pictures of the characters and you can tell it USED to be called "Little Black Sambo's," but the sign has obviously been altered and it says something else now. "Little Sambo's," maybe.

Brad Stevens
- Sunday, December 21 2008 13:41:0

"I am talking about Little Black Sambo, overt stuff."

Haven't read LITTLE BLACK SAMBO myself, but Robin Wood offers the following defence of it (in an article on race in Hollywood cinema that appeared in CINEACTION):

"A few decades ago I used to read LITTLE BLACK SAMBO to my children: it was one of the books they requested most frequently. We thought the names the author gave his characters pretty silly (no one is really called Black Jumbo and Black Mumbo), but I explained that the book was written a long time ago when pink people thought it was amusing to give brown people funny names, a concept which a reasonably intelligent three-year-old has no difficulty in assimilating. I was delighted with the ease with which my kids were able to identify with the problems, sorrows and triumphs of an intelligent, resilient and resourceful hero who happened to be 'black'. There was no question of condescension or distance: as I reread the familiar story, they were Little Black Sambo. The book of course is no longer obtainable".

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Sunday, December 21 2008 12:56:34

Octavia Butler cannot be read too often or enjoyed too much. She practiced her craft with dedication, intelligence, and love.


Frank Church
- Sunday, December 21 2008 12:11:6

I never said to ban it, I simply said that we should never soft soap racism, even in art. Mark Twain was describing the times, but not saying they were good--a strong difference.

I am obviously talking about overt racism, not provacative discussion of racism. I am a fan of both Spike Lee and Public Enemy, who have both gotten in trouble for comments.

I love Little Rascals, which have racial stereotypes. But, to see black kids and white kids as friends was a good first step.

I am talking about Little Black Sambo, overt stuff. Imagine how many people were hanged from the stereotypes parlayed.

I am radically pro-first amendment, but also believe in consumer freedom. If it offends turn it off.

I am not pc, really I am not. Love me, love meeeee!


Public Enemy told it best:


Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Sunday, December 21 2008 11:48:26

We've already lost SONG OF THE SOUTH, one of my favorite films as a kid. And, as Harlan points out, you doom TOM SAWYER and HUCKLEBERRY FINN as well.

We don't forgive the sin by blanking out the past -- you view the past through modern eyes thereby seeing the progress that both has been and still needs to be made.

(For those who don't read the Forae, I'll repeat a recent endorsement of Octavia Butler's fine novel KINDRED.)

- Sunday, December 21 2008 11:37:2


Do you REALLY think such a despicable, PC attitude has even a poisonous drop of volume when it would first of all banish and forget Mark Twain, GONE WITH THE WIND, most of Robert E. Howard and even early writings by Harlan Ellison?

As we progress, we learn, Frank.

- Sunday, December 21 2008 11:31:32


Uh-uh, not cool. That last one goes over the line.


- Sunday, December 21 2008 11:28:56


Should racist films like THE BIRTH OF A NATION also be forgotten, despite being important historically?


Frank Church
- Sunday, December 21 2008 10:16:49

Sara, please no straying. We scare too many women away from the forums. I can't explain it. The girls just can't hang with all this masculine fire.

Which cheek do you want to slap first?


Always fucking excuses for racism: "oh, it was the age where that kind of thing was accepted"--blah, blah blah. The cartoons and comics with the racist themes were trash and should be forgotten. The makers of it should do alms and ask our forgiveness. Break a branch off the tree and whip that white fanny. Listen to Strange Fruit in a dark room with candles and bring kleenex.

We need to wash our hands of it.


C. Cooper
NYC, - Sunday, December 21 2008 9:32:29

Eisner & The Spirit....
A very smart and wide-ranging documentary on the life and work of Wil Eisner screened at this year's New York Comic Con, and helped me to more fully appreciate his intelligence and his various contributions to the comics medium.


If I remember correctly, among the many talking heads in the doc who were tapped to explain and/or excuse the often goofy, even "coonish" black stereotypes that Eisner drew as sidekicks during his Spirit run were Jules Feiffer and Kyle Baker. Perhaps even Nat Hentoff. as well as Miller, etc. ....iirc.

They mostly felt (excepting Feiffer, who took a harder view) that Eisner believed American newspaper audiences in the '30s, '40s and 50s would not have understood or accepted more realistically and attractively drawn black characters that did not speak in mistrel-show dialect. They further claimed that Eisner would not have seen or had access to other ways of drawing black characters during the decades when The Spirit became popular.

This last assumption is not true.
A marvelous, new, fully illustrated career biography of the political black cartoonist Jackie Ormes proves that from 1937 until 1956, nationally distributed black-owned newspapers in America ran four different strips created at different times by Ormes that reached up to 300,000 readers weekly.
Ormes--a prominant member of Chicago's black entrepreneurial class, the same milieu which produced Lorraine Hansberry--drew predominantly female, attractive, modern (and proto-feminist!) black characters to comment wittily on racial, economic, and gender politics in the USA. And earned herself an FBI file in the '50s for her trouble. People who are fans of *The Spirit* owe it to themselves to become familiar with Ormes's work. The book is from University of Michigan Press, written by Nancy Goldstein. The title is: "Jackie Ormes: The First Black American Female Cartoonist."

DTS <none>
OZ - Sunday, December 21 2008 5:22:48

DOONER: That had to hurt. Semiliterate _fanboy_: at least I'm one rung above you on the IQ ladder...at semiliterate paramecium.

Cheers from paradise (aka, Melbourne),

Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
Stowe, Vermont - Sunday, December 21 2008 5:14:54


I've been reading your stuff since I was 12 (that's 41 years, darlin'. I can't fuckin' believe it either), and have read most of what you've recommended over the years - Hugo, Borges and Bester to name a few - and so far it's about 90% to the good. So yes, I'd say our reading tastes are simpatico. I'm enjoying Not Wanted on this Voyage immensely and look forward to reading the others. I also recently read The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher, which I found interesting, and the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik which I loved (I understand Peter Jackson has bought the rights to the series - would love to watch those movies!).

Did you ever read any of the Edgar Box (aka Gore Vidal) books? When I was 16 my friends and I found a copy of Death Likes it Hot in my father's library and had a wonderful time entertaining each other with dramatic readings. It was fabulous. Who knew pulp mysteries could be so much fun?


Margaret St. Clair wrote a book I adored when I was a kid, called The Dolphins of Altair. I haven't read in in about 20 years, but as I remember, it's worth tracking down.

lovely day, all - we're expecting another snow storm, so I'll be hunkered down with cocoa and a movie this evening. See you tomorrow.

Los Angeles, California - Sunday, December 21 2008 1:25:18

The Spirit
I came across a couple of of "The Spirit" posters a few months back but couldn't even sell 'em on eBay for pennies, a realm where people will buy anything from toenail clippings to old Army jets. I found that to be an interesting early indication of the hype... or lack thereof... concerning the film.

I've never been big on comic books, myself. I once owned the "Boy and His Dog" comic books and had the entire collection of "Quantum Leap" comic books, but that was the extent of my interest for that particular medium.

And I KNEW that I hung out here for a reason! Harlan's presence and passion for writing has inspired me to create an original short story for the first time in a little under a year. The only disappointing factors are that it's not very long, and I don't know that it's very good, either. Ah, well. It's something. And it just goes to show you what hanging out with the right crowd will do for you.

- Saturday, December 20 2008 19:17:34

The Short Story in Question

Rick Keeney,

I believe you are looking for:

"An Egg a Month from All Over", by Idris Seabright (pseudonym of Margaret St. Clair)

Appeared as follows::

* 1952. The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1952 (1952, Anthony Boucher, J. Francis McComas, $0.35, 130 pages, Magazine)
* 1954. Human? (1954, Judith Merril Lion, Paperback, Anthology)
* 1954. Human? (1954, Judith Merril Lion, Catalog ID: #205, $0.25, 190 pages, Paperback, Anthology)
* 1963. Fifty Short Science Fiction Tales (1963, Isaac Asimov, Groff Conklin Collier Books, Catalog ID: #LCC# 6221646, $0.95, 285 pages, Paperback, Anthology)
* 1966. The Vintage Anthology of Science Fantasy (1966, Christopher Cerf Vintage, ISBN-10: 034070326X, $1.95, 310 pages, Paperback, Anthology)
* 1974. Change the Sky (1974, Margaret St. Clair Ace, Catalog ID: #10258, 300 pages, Paperback, Collection)
* 1974. Change the Sky and Other Stories (1974, Margaret St. Clair, Collection)
* 1974. Change the Sky and Other Stories (1974, Margaret St. Clair Ace, Catalog ID: #10258, 300 pages, Paperback, Collection)
* 1985. The Best of Margaret St. Clair (1985, Margaret St. Clair, Martin H. Greenberg Academy Chicago Publishers, ISBN-10: 0897331648, $4.95, viii+271 pages, Collection)
* 1997. Fifty Short Science Fiction Tales (1997, Isaac Asimov, Groff Conklin Simon & Schuster/Scribner, ISBN-10: 0684842963, $7.95, 287 pages, Paperback, Anthology)

Hope that helps,

informationally, the mite

Adam-Troy Castro
- Saturday, December 20 2008 19:6:33

Dr Despicable: You are not alone. Based on advance word, THE SPIRIT is well on its way toward becoming one of the most reviled movies of the millennium. I am sorry about that, too, since I venerate Eisner and have enjoyed (some of) Miller's comic-book work immensely. But this thing seems to give off a stench.


In this news item, a lawyer has been jailed for passing his shackled client "a piece of candy" in court.


Mentioned here because what's the charge? Malomarpractice?

Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Saturday, December 20 2008 18:47:52

-24 windchill with 5" of new snow, if you were wondering

Please help me out folks. I'm looking for a short story title. It's a classic. I thought it was "An Egg a Day From All Over." Damned if I can find it. What the hell is the title of this story? I can't even remember the name of the lady who wrote it...


Virgil Oddum

Listening to Son House. "Death Letter" floats my chilly boat.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Saturday, December 20 2008 18:47:32

DOC wrote: " by which I mean "ass-gravy with barbed chunks"."

PUCKER FACTOR! ....ouch...ouch...ouch...


Doc <drdespicable@gmail.com>
- Saturday, December 20 2008 18:33:55

What with all the current chit-chat about movies and comic books and heroes, super and not-so-super, and movies about comic books super/not-so-super heroes, I thought I'd ask:

Is it wrong of me not to really enjoy much of Frank Miller's work, as a writer/artist/director? Yeah, yeah, new attitude, new directions, et cetera and like that - innovator, yadda-yadda. I haven't read the "Sin City" series, but I did see and enjoy the movie. The trouble with that is, there were several directorial hands in that one, and only one whose work consistently appeals to me.

And now we have these trailers for the forthcoming movie of "The Spirit", and it looks just awful, by which I mean "ass-gravy with barbed chunks". An affront to all that Eisner was doing. And I happen to glance at my shoulder and found this chip growing there.

So is it me? Or, to quote Alexander Woollcott, who pinched the line from Tallulah Bankhead, is there "less there than meets the eye?" I'm not trying to start any fights, so if you dig Miller, please put an ice pack on any sore spots; and I confess that my comics background is woefully under-informed. And it is not impossible that this is mostly because I hate what I see of what he's done to a favorite of mine. But I just don't get Miller.

David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland, OR - Saturday, December 20 2008 17:46:14

Timothy Findley

Wow, I'm delighted to see Timothy Findley not only mentioned on the Pavvy, but specifically singled out for praise by Harlan. I don't think I've ever seen him refer to Findley before, and I've been a big fan of _Not Wanted on the Voyage_ for many many years. _Butterfly Plague_ is pretty good, but I'd also recommend his coast o' Maine murder mystery novel, _The Telling of Lies_, and his memoir, _Inside Memory: pages from a writer's workbook_. _Famous Last Words_ is one of the great book titles, but it's a strange book.

I wasn't that enamored of _The Piano Man's Daughter_ and haven't gotten 'round to a couple of the other late novels, _Headhunter_ and _Pilgrim_. But I will, eventually. _Not Wanted on the Voyage_ is one of my very favorite "unknown" novels.

- Saturday, December 20 2008 16:31:55


It's J-E-F-F-T-Y

not "Jefty."

P.S.: I haven't read an issue of ANY of the 51,000 dopey Batman titles with which DC has swamped the groaning universe, lo these last eight or so years since they thought it was cute to have his back broken and then send him out to work again. So don't ask me about Batman again till DC has completed the current medical programme of lobotomizing its semiliterate fanboy editorial staff. Kapeesh?

Sam Wilson
Los Angeles, CA - Saturday, December 20 2008 15:39:19

WOLVERINE trailer...well, not an X-Men devotee to start with...tailer didn't entice me.

As I said before,JOHNNY DEPP would be up to replacing LEDGER's indelible performance as THE JOKER...

SEVEN POUNDS...as the major star in the world, Will Smith must be testing his box office appeal by appearing in a movie with zero entertainment value. A leaden lump in the execution of what might have looked like an intriguing idea on paper. Give me BAD BOYS III or MEN IN BLACK III next before such ill-advised experiments as 7#

- Saturday, December 20 2008 14:4:40

PS to Sara...hey, my syntax sucks at 3am! MY fault, not yours!!

Stan <I do have one.com>
Beaverton, OR - USA - Saturday, December 20 2008 13:28:54

Holiday Greetings
Well guys, I am asshole deep to a nine foot Sasquatch in that white stuff we here in the Pacific Northwest call.....SNOW. Looks like a White Christmas after all. Anyway to Harlan, Susan and all on this site, including you Frank Church....Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Steven Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Saturday, December 20 2008 13:18:12

Hey Jefty!

Are you reading the latest Grant Morrison story in Batman comics? I know its not as good as The Demolished Man, but do you think Bruce is really dead? Will Dick become Batman? Is Dr. Hurt really Thomas Wayne?

I also just read that Doc Savage story you told me to read. Do you really think people can be turned into hideous giants?


Steve Dooner

- Saturday, December 20 2008 12:33:59


Unless I'm comparing apples and oranges (i.e., your reading taste and mine)you will find the Findley not just a hoot, but a sheer delight.

If you do, I would suggest, of similar excellence, THE BUTTERFLY PLAGUE and THE LAST OF THE CRAZY PEOPLE.


Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Saturday, December 20 2008 11:1:47

Anyone see the new WOLVERINE trailer playing in theaters now? Any thoughts?
(I'm conflicted over it, so I'd like to hear what others say. Though Liev Schreiber seems a good choice as Sabretooth... Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool??? Dunno)


Looks like California Attorney General Jerry Brown is going to try to overturn Prop. 8 -- good luck. The forces of evil are arrayed against him.

eu - Saturday, December 20 2008 10:53:21

Um, yeah. In 1968.


Clipping Service
- Saturday, December 20 2008 10:41:36

Why Democracy Will Never Work in the United States...
NYT Poll


72%...agreed Richard Nixon was a man of “high integrity”

Yikes...but even worse...

51%....agreed Richard Nixon had a “warm personality.” (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?)

To update Mr. Lincoln...you can fool 51% of the people all the time...and that’s enough.


Los Angeles, California - Saturday, December 20 2008 7:49:19

Sorry, please disregard that Mailinator thing. All it's getting from here is spam mail, no legit mail. Whatever.

Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@yahoo.com>
Stowe, Vermont - Saturday, December 20 2008 7:30:23

You're right, Rob, I was a little thrown by your syntax ("I know there are many factors, including region and terrain (Europe had climates in more east-west longitudes; Americas, more north-south); another was the use of horses, long before the Spanish brought them over."). I will parse a little more thoroughly in the future before saying anything.

I sympathize, Steve - I'm up every morning before 6:30 to feed horses and clean stalls, and on those rare occasions that I get to sleep in, I can't. I have to say, though, that it was nice being up early this morning. It's been snowing here and we have about 8"; it was very quiet, except for the horses munching hay, and the sun was just rising, painting the sky. All in all, a great way to get centered and prepared to face the day and deal with the the ski yahoos.

Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Saturday, December 20 2008 7:25:34


Kim, a.k.a KOS is incommunicado because of sunspots, magnetic flux or internet problems so as his official Igor I have been told to let you know that he would be more then happy to receive any books from you to be sold on the internet.

I’m sure he will be back with us soon, but till then he and I would like to wish you and Susan a very happy Holiday.

Waiting in my dungeon…….Gary

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Saturday, December 20 2008 6:47:56

F$#@ My Internal "Car" Alarm

(I have no business being up at 6am on a Saturday, but my internal clock doesn't have an effing snooze button. Neeeed cooofffeee...)

Rob, I must've misread your post as well, so missed the horse stuff.

There's a completely logical explanation for the technological disparity: Ancient Astronauts. They gave the Aztecs and Mayans everything they needed.

Okay, seriously, you're right on a lot of counts, but I think it's actually much simpler than you're suggesting.

The northern latitudes had to contend with much harsher weather patterns than did the ancient central and South American cultures (particularly during the Little Ice Age, which began in roughly the 1200s, making Europe and Northern Asia challenging places to live). When crops grow relatively easily, and your enemies have roughly the same sharp objects that you do, and the priests can easily have someone offed for not paying proper -- oh, wait, that would be the Spanish Inquisition, sorry.

Postulate #1: Adversity inherently causes creativity.

The Americas lacked some of the natural resources for simple development. China invented gunpowder and exported the concept to Europe, while Europe became more advanced in metalurgy because of the need for things that could contain heat during cold winters.

Postulate #2: Resources plus Adversity cause Technology

Horses were used primarily for two things: transport and agriculture. The native American cultures may have been impacted more by the lack of trade -- as was made possible by horse as well as ship. Lacking the horse, Native Americans did not have the means to discover new technologies, and given the lack of truly hostile weather conditions they did not need the development of metalurgical skills as the Europeans and Asians did.

Postulate #3: Technology, applied correctly, speeds the development of other technologies.

In other words, European and Asian cultures had greater resources and motivation to develop the more advanced technologies faster. I don't agree that Pizarro would have gotten his ass fully kicked -- but even if he had, the likely overwhelming military response from European powers would ultimately have been just as deadly to the South American empires.

I drove past the Croatan National Forest during my recent trip to North Carolina. I considered visiting but ended up spending the day on Emerald Isle with my sister and her kids. Looked like a beautiful place, however.

Roger - Thank you for the aside. Yes, much agreed. Now, if only we can get the Transfer on board (pun intended).

The weather may have been brutak, but were the borogoves as mimsy as ever???

HARLAN, SUSAN - Thank you again. Most sincerely appreciated.

Michael Rapoport <rapdow(at)aol.com>
- Saturday, December 20 2008 6:19:58

Semi-Writer, I sent you two emails about the book list several days ago (to the Mailinator address), and I haven't heard back from you. Did you receive them? Please contact me at the email address above. Thanks.

- Saturday, December 20 2008 4:55:45

Sara Slaymaker,

"While horses were native to North America at one time, they died out. There were no horses for aboriginal Americans to utilize. The Spanish brought them over"

Well...yeah...wasn't a body here who thought or d'clared otherwise. I made the point myself in my OWN post. I mention this because it strikes me that you missed it in your reading.

The horses being here till some 10,000 years earlier made sense because of the land bridges.

But the relevance in THIS argument is that the application of horses in the Old World lent to the technological leaps there.

'Nobody Important':

"Europe was an Iron Age culture, Pre-Columbia was still only Bronze Age. (The effects of gunpowder can't be dismissed, either)"

Like Sara's, your parenthetical suggests you missed stuff in my post.

Everything in your response misses my core question: WHY the discontinuity in the evolution of technology between the two continents? Your speculations about Pizarro aside, there is no QUESTION about who held the technological cards.

Since, historically, the Bronze Age preceded the Iron Age, and the latter ended around something like 1,000BC, your reply offers little about the REASONS for the disparities.

The Americas had been populated by natives for around 12,000 years. The Earth was made up of worlds unaware of each other's existence. Yet, while Greeks were evolving in culture and written language (yet another factor aiding later in technology! Oh, yeah! How could we leave THAT one out?) during their Hellenic period, I haven't the information yet about the course of ancient peoples on THIS continent.

The basic question, then, is "WHY?" WHY, for example, didn't any native here observe and consider the explosive reaction when certain basic chemicals interact with another? In Asia, it was around 200BC when they "accidentally" discovered the basis of the firecracker when they observed bamboo rods explode in a flame. How come no such dynamic in discovery took place in tribal societies? Indians had proved themselves remarkably adaptable in many ways; yet, the potential in higher mechanics elude them. For THOUSANDS of years!

Now, however, I have TWO guesses that might explain the main reasons: motives in war (I mean its domino effect in wealth, power, and the spread of empires via the seas); AND...WRITTEN language. No tool, perhaps even the wheel, held more power. I mean, the systemization of linguistics lent directly to abstraction and theory, in turn opening doors to higher studies. This mechanism developed in Hellenic Greece, Asia, and ancient Persia; helluva catalyst.

Didn't quite work out that way in tribal societies.

Anyway, I think it's fascinating.

I DID see a segment of the PBS documentary, 'Guns, Germs, and Steel'; but only that one. The first of the three, about the Spaniards and the Mayans. Learned a great deal from it; it answered many questions I had THEN, but not the one I'm addressing here. But I'll take a look at Jared Diamond's book as well. I know it offers a LOT.

The key is in the catalysts of higher technology, and - like, y'know? - there may be only a few basic ones essential to the ascendancy to power.

I'll find out.

...and to think all this insomniac obsessing was inspired by Harlan's 'Croatoan'. If this gets on anyone's nerves...blame HARLAN!

Jordan Owen
- Friday, December 19 2008 21:27:55

Questions about the Icarus myth
Hello all-

I'm working on a project that references the Greek myth of Icarus and I thought this might be a good place to go for clarification on something.

In the Icarus myth, his father Daedalus is commissioned to build a "labyrinth" to house the minotaur. This brought up a question in my mind: the term "labyrinth" is often used interchangeably with "maze" even though the words describe fundamentally different constructs in that a maze is a puzzle meant to confound the player while a labyrinth is a direct, if convoluted, path to a center chamber or point. So... what did Daedalus build? I want to think it was of the maze variety since it was designed to contain the minotaur and those Minos chose to exile but a "traditional" labyrinth could serve the same purpose provided it was intricate enough.

Would love any insight anyone might have.

Obsessing over the details,

ps- I just can't see Eddie Murphy as Riddler, but that's just me. As abysmal as Batman Forever was, I think Jim Carrey delivered the definitive performance of the Riddler. But, Heath Ledger did raise the bar... I suppose if it needs to be an African American then Mos Def, Jamie Foxx, or Don Cheadle would probably be best.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Friday, December 19 2008 20:53:8

Frank, you've corrupted my very e-mail.

Shame on you.

Paul <FrankChurch>
ATX, - Friday, December 19 2008 20:51:53

Words and memory.

Roger, I empathize with that. I've gotten that "thing right in front of me" deal since childhood and it's maddening. For myself, it's a mild dysnomia. I can come up with correct, arcane words at the drop of a hat. Coulrophobia, paroxytonic, virgule, dereistic. No problem.
But sometimes, give me a normal word, an object right in front of me, and I'm tabula rasa.
"That thing... you know... oh, for shit's sake! It's a ....big.... a box.... you put food in it... A REFRIGERATOR!!"

Ridiculus. I sound like Homer Simpson.

Roger Gjovig
- Friday, December 19 2008 20:9:22

The group I saw was the Manhattan Transfer. I think i need to go to bed.

Roger Gjovig
- Friday, December 19 2008 20:7:13

That would be brutal, I have no idea what brutak is

Roger Gjovig <rlgjovig@aol.com>
- Friday, December 19 2008 20:5:30

Frank the weather was brutak last night. The concert hall was about 2/3rds full and many even in the first four rows simply let discretion be the better part of valour and stayed home. The drive home was even worse, but I got behind some snow plows on the way home and just drove slow and paid attention.
The show was excellant. 90 per cent on the program was Christmas/Holiday songs and the band was accompanied by 25 members of the Des Moines, which included a freiend of mine on sax and flute. This was the first time I had seen the Holiday program it was really terrific. Now if I could see a show with Cris opening for them at the Holiday Bowl-sp?, that would really be cool.
I looked back at my email from yesterday, what a mess. I have to be honest, I sometimes have difficulty writing notes that are cogent. I had a minor stroke about 7 years ago that sometimes make my brain and the rest of my body not work in unison.I normally spell check before I post but I ran out of time this time.I'll give you a couple of examples. I'm sitting here typing, just pounding away.and when I look up what I have typed is not what was I thinking while i was typing, but it was typed correctly and makes sense, but it was absolutely not what I was trying to say. Example 2:I was standing in front of the concession stand buying two diet Cokes and I'm looking at a display f candy o see if there was anything sugar free. I looking at a package which I absolutely recognise, but the word will not come to me. I'm standing there blank for a moment and finally realize the word I want is jelly beans. I hate that when it happens, sometimes it is an answer on Jeopardy that I aboslutely know, but it just will not come to me. Very frustrating. At any rate after that long explanation, if my emails sometimes sound a bit off, I just have trouble expressing myself sometimes exactly as I desire. I'll try to be better and a bit more clear.

Sara Slaymaker <sarayoskin@aol.com>
Stowe, Vermont - Friday, December 19 2008 17:42:44

While horses were native to North America at one time, they died out. There were no horses for aboriginal Americans to utilize. The Spanish brought them over when they came,some escaped, some were stolen, and native Americans, most notably the Nez Perce, took to them like ducks to - well, you know.

I enjoyed Duma Key, but have a serious problem with Steven King for putting me off Ranch Dressing for good - he likened it to "slightly sweetened snot". Thanks, Steve. Thanks a lot.

Just finished reading "Your Heart Belongs to Me" by Dean Koontz. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I just started "Not Wanted on the Voyage" by Timothy Findley, an interesting take on Noah's Ark. I'll let you know.

Dan Peretti <danperetti@gmail.com>
- Friday, December 19 2008 16:25:44


I've thought about the things that are filling the sleepless hours of your nights as well--technology, differing civilizations, etc. In response, here are three book recommendations:

Roanoake, by Lee Miller
1491, by Charles Mann
Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond

They might be of some help. The last one cleared up a question I've had for a long time--why Zebras haven't been domesticated. Apparently they're too ornery.


- Friday, December 19 2008 10:41:13


Writing today; but just popped in to respond to your props for Eddie Murphy as a possible Riddler.

Yes, he might do; but I think everyone agrees that the next time the Riddler appears in a Batman movie it should be an Afro-American. I agree.


Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Friday, December 19 2008 9:48:44

Tracking Santa

A number of Wbederlanders have younger children, so I felt obligated to pass along the following company press release:

"Verizon Business is once again teaming with the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to provide toll-free calling to the NORAD Tracks Santa hotline so children can track Santa Claus’ Christmas Eve journey around the world.

"Beginning at 4 a.m. Mountain time on Dec. 24 through 3 a.m. Mountain time on Dec. 25, children across the U.S. and Canada can call 1-877-HI-NORAD to find out Santa’s exact location on Christmas Eve. (Callers residing in the local Colorado Springs calling area can reach the hotline by dialing 719-556-5211.)

"More than 1,000 volunteers, military personnel from Colorado Springs, their families and friends, and NORAD Tracks Santa corporate sponsor team members will be continuously manning the NORAD Santa tracking hotline to ensure children know the whereabouts of Santa on Christmas Eve."

And if you prefer to do this stuff electronically, you can always use http://www.noradsanta.org.

(There is no truth to the rumor we go to Defcon 2 when Santa crosses into US airspace...though Dick Cheney has reportedly been sighted outside the Naval Observatory with his shotgun and a bottle of Jack Daniels.)

Frank Church
- Friday, December 19 2008 8:10:44

Roger, you are such a good son. Watch driving in that snow.


Brian, we should not think like that. Best to hope god has mercy on Wyrick or he will never have mercy on us.

The Holidays are about cheer. Have I turned over a new leaf? Life is short so maybe.


How about Croatoan as a film? Nolan could direct it. George Clooney could play the man, the woman could be played by a black woman--a racially tinged bit of danger.

The only difference between Harlan's story and the actual movie would be a few musical numbers. Dancing fetus's. Woot.

Merry Christmas Harlan. Lovebug.

Robert Morales
New York City, New York - Friday, December 19 2008 7:14:13

Eddie Murphy
is only as good as the material he chooses. He was recently great in BOWFINGER and DREAMGIRLS; he's made a number of indefensible, crappy films (as have Jim Carrey and Robin Williams and, yes, Johnny Depp); and he does a lot of family fare I don't have to see because I don't have kids, but my friend and occasional collaborator, artist Kyle "I have FOUR kids" Baker vouches for them, MEET DAVE included - and Kyle knows funny. So given a good script, Murphy COULD be a fine and genuinely interesting Riddler. The talent is there.

Nobody Important
- Friday, December 19 2008 6:15:18

Rob's Theory

You'd lose the bet, Rob.

The three largest Pre-Columbian empires were all driven by conquest and in two cases, religious bloodlust. They were as motivated by wealth and power as any European culture. If the Inca hadn't just emerged from a bloody civil war of succession, they would have kicked Pizarro's butt, despite his overwhelming technological advantages. And that, is the difference. Europe was an Iron Age culture, Pre-Columbia was still only Bronze Age. (The effects of gunpowder can't be dismissed, either)

Chuck Messer
- Friday, December 19 2008 6:15:7

Woo-hoo and mazel tov on your blood sugar levels. I hope things continue to improve.


Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Friday, December 19 2008 6:2:57

On Stupid Internet Rumors and Various Other Things
That rumor about Eddie Murphy as the Riddler in the new Batman movie has been raised before and slapped down before. Christopher Nolan has not even said he's doing another Batman movie. He hasn't written a script. He hasn't signed any new cast members. He hasn't decided to do a silly-ass move like cast Eddie Murphy as the Riddler. This is a tabloid wacking off. No connection to reality. None. It's Internet crap.

(And, editorializing, I'm less than enthused by rumors about who's going to play what supervillains in what superhero sequel -- even if following up a series I've deeply enjoyed so far -- than about the news of movies based on novels I loved; I am hoping for goodness from the adaptation of THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE, but it was supposed to be out in November, and its delay does not bode well.)


Harlan: Blood sugar 96 this A.M. Woot.


I take off my virtual hat in memory of Mark Felt, who once upon a time did the right thing and helped to lance one of the foulest boils ever to afflict itself on the sphincter of the Republic.


Currently reading: DUMA KEY by Stephen King. I had been avoiding King books of late, since he'd done a few in a row that had either angered or failed to impress me. The last one I loved was THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON, and even that came after several in a row that struck me as bloated and inferior. I had no intention of reading LISEY'S STORY, and still won't. But I'd heard good things about DUMA KEY, and must report that I'm impressed at the midway point. The protagonist is a man horrifically injured in an accident who must then nurse himself back to health, and King puts all of his own terrible personal experience onto the page. We will see if the book holds up in the second half, but so far: yay.

- Friday, December 19 2008 5:53:10


Excuse the double post but my last comment was addressed to Rob

Mike Lane <mflane@odu.edu>
- Friday, December 19 2008 5:52:4

You may have already read both of these books but if not try 1491 by Charles C. Mann which is a good synopsis of American history and culture prior to European colonization along with explanations as to the how and why of the success of that colonization. That book, in combination with Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond which I am about half-way through provides that author's answers to your questions regarding differences in cultural development. Undoubtably, there are other authors with other theories but these two authors make, what are to me, very convincing and satisfying arguments and they are also entertaining to read.

- Friday, December 19 2008 3:9:45

Some Planned Readin' For The Holiday

Per "Croatoan", the lost colony of Roanoke, I'm fascinated by the lost history of the tribal empires of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Specifically, WHY technology evolved in Europe and Asia as they did prior to the 15th century, SO differently from that of America and Africa.

Why did Native Americans remain closer to the hunter-gatherer hierarchies while the power of the wheel and gunpowder found its way throughout Europe? Even the Mayans and the Aztecs - who applied astounding mathematical principles to architecture and agriculture - missed out on the mills, clocks, gears, and ships to explore; native Indians never harnessed the laws of motion as had the Europeans.

I've never really had a chance yet to research the reasons for this. WHY the two civilizations evolved so differently, and why Europe reached the level of technology as they did. Why did white Europeans venture the oceans while native societies, tied to agri- and aqua- culture, remained where they were? I know there are many factors, including region and terrain (Europe had climates in more east-west longitudes; Americas, more north-south); another was the use of horses, long before the Spanish brought them over.

My GUESS, however, is that the more important answer lies in war. More specifically, the MOTIVES for war. Tribal peoples, for example, went to war - I think - mainly to protect a territory they relied on for their survival (yet, among many of the hundreds of tribes throughout America, societal hierarchies were DEFINED by war; warfare was often a lifestyle); Contrastly, in Europe, CONQUEST was, for millenniums, core incentive for war. "WHAT can we plunder from that land faraway"? And with such an incentive would come steady gain in wealth; from wealth sprung invention, often to help gain yet MORE wealth. I would be willing to bet this was a key. The paradigms were different. Early societies identified themselves through their own means of survival, serving the foundation and course for those civilizations.

I think it's fascinating. When I have a chance, I'm turning to anthropologists and archaeologists to explore the disparity.

Looking at the outcome for Native Americans and the African nations - not to mention the Oceanic tribes, as the Polynesians - it was, as we know, to their peril that one side of the globe would develop as it did.

This topic, incidentally, was inspired, tangentially, by Harlan's "Croatoan". I always make sure EVERYONE's credit appears on the screen!

(BTW, this is the shit you get when I can't sleep! I was tossing and turning in the sack for over an hour!)

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Thursday, December 18 2008 23:6:42

next Batman
Rumors today that the next BATMAN movie directed by Christopher Nolan will have Eddie Murphy as The Riddler and Shia La Beouf as Robin.
I think that's BS because Christian Bale once said he'd leave the series if they brought in Robin. Sounds more like something Joel Schumacher would have done during his time at the helm.

Eddie Murphy as the Riddler? How could that be a good idea?

It's a London tab reporting it -- so I doubt it.

Other reports have cast both Rachel Weisz and Angelina Jolie as Catwoman, Johnny Depp also as the Riddler and Philip Seymour Hoffman as the Penguin in the sequel to the box office smash. The Depp and Hoffman rumor began with none other than series star Michael Caine, who plays Bruce Wayne’s butler, Alfred, but Hoffman himself denied it to MTV News.

But I'd certainly rather see Depp do it.

W. Powell
Bloomington, IN - Thursday, December 18 2008 20:33:37

Passings, good and bad.
Hadn't heard about Majel till I read the comment here. Sorry to see her go.

As for the other one...well, Weyrich was always rather high up on my list of people that, you know, if you actually HAD the time displacement thingabob and the programmable T-800 Arniebot, who would you at least be tempted to try and remove from history entirely? (Won't bore any of you with the names of any of the others, but I'm sure you could all substitute your own anyway.)

Brian Siano
- Thursday, December 18 2008 20:5:22

Care to dance on a grave?
Today, Paul Weyrich passed away. Weyrich founded the Heritage Foundation, co-founded the Moral Majority, advocated Christian Dominionism, and... well, isn't that enough?

I _was_ hoping we'd find his body in a squalid men's room somewhere, his flaccid mandibles wrapped around the phallus of an asphyxiated Pat Robertson. As he'd had his legs amputated following a spinal injury, it would have been fun to think of him as a funhouse-mirror version of Larry Flynt. But we can't have everything, can we?

It's going to be nice to watch these gargoyles drop by the roadside.

DTS <none>
OZ - Thursday, December 18 2008 18:16:3

TERRIFIC documentary
Hey ALL: Just watched a TERRIFIC documentary on DVD, filmed by the BBC over five years: it's called "Earth." Narrated by Patrick Stewart (who keeps his inner Picard in check), it is filled with absolutely gobsmacking images, one after another. It's not just the vistas (breathaking shots of waterfalls, etc., using a cineflex and a rig in an air balloon, put together by a french guy, which is called a "cinebull"), but things like polar bears emerging from hibernation and what can only be described as the ballet-like grace of a great white shark breaching the ocean by four feet as it feeds on a seal (I know that sounds cruel, but when I saw the filmed image -- edits were made so no gore is seen in any of the very few scenes like that -- I was astonished that I ever thought of these sharks as mindless killing machines.

In any case: dynamite film, and well worth picking up at the local store (the directors are Alastair Fothergill and Mark Lin field, in case more info is needed -- and the disc I got came with a making of documentary that showed the amazing things the crew went through in five years of filming, plus some interesting outtakes, like scenes of the mother polar bear nursing her young, a rare sight). The images really are worthy of the overused superlative, breathtaking. And the circular narrative cooked up by the directors and Leslie Megahey is top-notch as well.


Roger Gjovig <rlgjovig@aol.com>
- Thursday, December 18 2008 15:59:36

No offense taken Ezra, we all have our own beliefs and cannot be afraid to express that. The first memories I have are of the church i attended as a child and the long path I've traveled since then. My faith crumbled during a very difficult period in my life when my parents seperated and then divorced after nearly 25 years of marraige with my father's failure as both a husband and father, with the death of my only sibling, my brother's when hit in a car accident by a drunken driver,a brother with whom I had finally come to terms with after spending nearly all our time together in conflict with both my parents working and being the older was responsible and he was a character, and my father's marraige to one of my mother's sisters, a wedding i would not have attended because my brother aboslutely would not have been there, but one in which I ended up being the best man because my cousins requested that I do so. This was all in one year and I went down the tubes because I lost touch with my God, and blamed Him for all these things happening. It was just life happening and in this case it happened to me. That I even survived this period that I was raging at God is a miracle, given some of my actions. But survive I did and was asked back to church by a young friend of mine that had just started attending. i knew from the moment i walked in the dood that is where I was supposed to be and have been there ever since and thank the Lord I survived my insanity.
Thanks Frank for the kind words. Harlan thanks for backing me up. You and I have met many times in many places and I credit your stories for helping me retain my sanity in the worst period of my life.
I'm off to see the Manhattan Transfer tonight, I'm taking my mother with me for her Christmas present.
Happy holidays to all.

Los Angeles, California - Thursday, December 18 2008 15:25:56

Jeremy Piven's Mercury Poisoning
Please understand that I do not post this here in order to mock the physical ailment being suffered by Mr. Piven. Seems that "a test revealed that Jeremy had the highest level of mercury that {his doctor) has ever seen, which amounts to six times a healthy amount of mercury, in his system." Which is pretty shocking, to be honest.

I'm also not a big Hollywood news fanatic who adores keeping on top of "the latest" and wishes to infest the rest of the world with what I consider "fascinating updates."

But I do so love a good line... and David Mamet certainly delivered it.

"Mr. Mamet told Variety that Mr. Piven, the “Entourage” star, had left the show (Speed-the-Plow on Broadway) because he had been feeling ill recently due to a high mercury count. 'I talked to Jeremy on the phone, and he told me that he discovered that he had a very high level of mercury,” Mr. Mamet said, according to Variety. “So my understanding is that he is leaving show business to pursue a career as a thermometer.'"

(Oh, yea. I'm also an anti-sushi person, too, and heartlessly mock vegans. Now pass me over that Whopper with cheese, will ya?)

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Thursday, December 18 2008 13:30:30

Majel Barrett Roddenberry, RIP.

- Thursday, December 18 2008 12:1:36

" a democracy live up the name."

God--see Harlan, you make me too nervous. hehe.

Frank Church
- Thursday, December 18 2008 12:0:6

I'm quite sure Roger took no offense, since he understands that differing beliefs are what a democracy live up the name. The simple fact that he reads an atheist author attests to that. Harlan would be seen as an apostate back in the day. Roger loves him any ole way.

Roger is a nice guy with sincere beliefs. But we must always remember that fanatics of any stripe can lead a country to fascism. I have no doubt Roger is on our side in that front.

Snow in Vegas means god has a sense of humour.


Rick Warren cannot be allowed to invocate Barack's inauguration. He is a homophobe and an abortion bigot. We must stop this. We must.

- Thursday, December 18 2008 10:37:30

To Mr Ellison

Admonition graciously accepted. Freedom of speech does not mean putting aside good manners.


I am not afraid of giving offense but my intention was not to simply offend you because you and I disagree about these matters. I won't bore you with biography but a good portion of my life has been spent struggling with these issues. I don't want you to think that I am one who stands on the outside sniping at those on the inside.

It's too important for that.

I take your religious beliefs as seriously as you do. I am not able to reconcile them with my own experience. Many can. I'm sure you're aware of Francis Collins, the architech of the Human Genome Project, who is able to reconcile his science with his deeply held religious beliefs.

I wish I had the talent to be able to communicate to you the world I see. I suppose if I have any faith it's that human beings can comprehend their world and use that knowledge to shape it, to make a home for us all.

- Thursday, December 18 2008 10:13:47

Alan--I like the way you think. Oh, if only I could make the world see through your eyes.

With kindness--Susan

Chris <christophercameron@btopenworld.com>
Hereford, UK - Thursday, December 18 2008 5:21:27

Thanks for the reply Tom

I am very interested in buying the IHNMAIMS paperback. I will look into the game guide at another date. I do have a paypal account of my own. How much would I be paying for shipping to UK?


Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Wednesday, December 17 2008 22:30:7

I don't want to give any of you ideas, but apparently there are honest-to-gosh people who dress in costumes and say they're superheroes and go out and fight crime.

An article on them is in the newest Rolling Stone (Brad Pitt on the cover) called THE LEGEND OF MASTER LEGEND. They go by names like Master Legend, the Green Scorpion, the Eye, Citizen Prime and even The Black Panther (how does Marvel feel about that?). There's even a World Superhero Registry, a Heroes Network and a Worldwide Heroes Organization. And they dress in rubbery outfits and go out to do good.

I'm kind of amazed. And scared.

Alan Coil
- Wednesday, December 17 2008 19:32:1

Jordon Owen--

The Electric Baby is Harlan's wife Susan. She also has/has had other nicknames/titles depending of the latest tale/incident into which she has been thrown by Harlan, or which she has undertaken on her own volition. She is also known to some as the Bestower of Good Karma to Unworthy Supplicants, which is but one of her stately obligations as Queen of Harlan's Universe.

Tom Morgan <tjmorgan58@cox.net>
Silverado, CA - Wednesday, December 17 2008 19:28:22

I cannot answer whether the electronic book is abridged but I can offer other advice. If you go to the Resources/Store section of this website you can order the paperback book. You can also order the clue book for the game, which includes 9 pages of new material written by Harlan on the background of the characters. The clue book also includes an interview with Harlan. So if it is more background to this world you are looking for it is a good purchase.
If you have any difficulty ordering and paying in US funds I can also help with that. If you or someone you know and trust has a Paypal account I can handle the financial exchange part. Let me know if you are interested.

I ask no questions, just wish you luck. A combination of jerk neighbors and jerk Code Enforcement have cost Connie to the tune of 5 figures. I know you will do what it takes. On second thought I wish you justice. Luck shouldn't be needed when you are right, but it too often is.

A good day to all here, including the locals enduring the deluge. In 3 days we triple last years rainfall. Remember what I said about the weather getting more dynamic?

Chris <christophercameron@btopenworld.com>
Hereford, UK - Wednesday, December 17 2008 17:42:12


I'm not entirely sure if I'm in the right place, but here goes.

This morning, after a long search for the book I Have No Mouth, I finally gave in and read the eBook version. This is probably one of the most interesting stories I have ever read! I just wanted to ask if the eBook is abridged in any way, and if you have any plans at all of writing a longer, more in-depth look into the world of AM? I am currently playing the game hoping to get a greater perspective on the story and I have ordered God of Pain and Angry Candy.

Very unlikely optimism, I know.


Steve "I was never here" B
- Wednesday, December 17 2008 17:39:41


(You see that beautiful redhead at Harlan's side? 'Lectrifying, ain't she?)

Jordan Owen
- Wednesday, December 17 2008 16:54:46

Patton Oswalt ROCKS!

Jordan Owen
- Wednesday, December 17 2008 16:53:21

The Electric Baby
Mr. Ellison,

I noticed you referred to "The Electric Baby" again in a previous post. I seem to remember that enigmatic figure being on the dedication page for Deathbird Stories and was wondering who that person might be and how they came about the nickname. If its not someone you wish to identify, I understand, but my cat-killing curiosity was stimulated...

- Wednesday, December 17 2008 15:52:47


Geezus, toots, I am really losing it. I got so thread-drifty in my post, I clean forgot to give you the name of the restaurant. Mother'o'mercy, I hate when my brain deliquesces.

The restaurant is called


Not THE Jar, just J...A...R. How's THAT for fuckin' poncey?


- Wednesday, December 17 2008 15:47:51


Er, a "keep" is not a "donjon."

And, for you, and everyone else...don't ask about court today.
Susan went down there. Nibbling. Minnows. The road goes ever on.

Gee, Harlan, Life is tough.

Well, yeah, sure it is. But if it weren't, EVERYBODY would be doing it.

- Wednesday, December 17 2008 15:43:21

Dear Bob Shanahan:

Geezus, kiddo, I once got kicked off a rattler in Hays, Kansas when I was a road bum. Yard bull dragged me out of a crate-car by the hair and threw me down a gravel embankment.

Ah, yes, dear old Hays, Kansas.

Welcome to my 'hood.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

- Wednesday, December 17 2008 15:39:54


To the first question: yes.

To the second question: yes.

And when you've read the other 72 books I've written, you can then appropriately begin to nag me for "new" work. Because, Tony, baby sweetie chickie honey, as Dickens said, "Any book you have not read is a NEW book."

Cheerily, cobber, good onya, Harlan

- Wednesday, December 17 2008 15:33:23


It posted before I added:

You haven't done anything wrong, or horrifically contentious. I just thought a gentle, soft note should be sounded. Okay?


- Wednesday, December 17 2008 15:31:16


A gentle, soft word in your ear. Please:

Go ever so politely, VERY gently, VERY softly, when speaking to my VERY old friend Roger Gjovig...or for that matter, on the same subject, to my DEAR friend, Cindy...

Their faiths, their religions.

I would take it as a personal favor if you would not cramble their beliefs. I know all of this lies at the epicenter of freedom of speech, entitlement to opinion, et al; and I'm not trying to tuck up your heart of grace; but -- well -- it makes me a little twitchy that a statement of faith becomes the prod for -- well -- mildly snarky retorts.

- Wednesday, December 17 2008 15:19:6


I'm pretty sure you're talking about the INCREDIBLY EXPENSIVE boite whereat The Electric Baby and I were the guests of the brilliant raconteur and comedian, Patton Oswalt, and his extraordinary spouse, Michele.

Tangentially, after the non-event of yesterday--kindly do not ask, for I am being sedulously nibbled to death by minnows--Susan and I said awfuckit to my gloomy dieting, and we used a gracious gift certificate at IL TIRAMISU that we had received from the noble HERC member, Mr. Dan Forbes. It was absolutely the finest vitello parmigiana I have ever scarfed, and Susan had an osso bucco that vanished from her plate as if she were an Oreck. So, if you need any future restaurant recommends, we have a plethora, as well as a myriad.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Los Angeles, California - Wednesday, December 17 2008 12:36:18

Sober Pinball Players Make The Best Lovers
You think that'd look good on a t-shirt? Thanks to hearing the word "pinball" a little while ago, my mind is spinning in fond memories of "The Who," "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Creature From The Black Lagoon" and other pinball machines that I'm fond of. In the Navy, I used to start every single damned evening off with "Guns 'n Roses," a machine whose opening theme music was "Welcome To The Jungle." Loved "Creature" so much that I bought the awesome computer version.

Anyway, it's impossible to express my thanks to Mr. Ellison and the astonishing, fascinating, richly-textured life that he continues to share with all of us on a daily basis. Harlan, man, you just don't KNOW...!

- Wednesday, December 17 2008 12:13:37

Talk about kicking the habit
Swapping coffin nails for culture: Repurposed cigarette vending machines that now dispense art...

Mike Jacka
Phoenix, AZ - Wednesday, December 17 2008 10:47:56

Steve Barber,

Please do not make me laugh like that when I am at work. They will realize I am not working.

Very, very funny.


Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Wednesday, December 17 2008 10:11:29

Keeney, I owe you an apology. A very Happy Belated Birthday to you, good sir, next time we meet up at Dreamhaven I will make sure I get you a comic (but only if you have been good)

Harlan, best of luck on the lawsuit, I hope you are able to keep your perfect record intact.

Embarrassing story time: the drive home last night was absolutely miserable, took me damn near two hours to get home. It was my night to make dinner and my girlfriend was not home when I arrived, so I started getting everything ready. She calls and says she is in worse traffic than I was and will be home even later. We were going to be having various items for dinner including fried polenta. So I think to myself, “Hey self, this is a chance to experiment, really put together a nice meal and give my lady a treat for when she gets home.” Because I am a brain damaged moron, I forgot that I had already placed a pan of olive oil on the stove to heat up while I hunted through the pantry and tried to concoct other components to the meal

I made a discovery last night: when oil burns, it can produce a ton of smoke in a hurry. Thankfully, no fire resulted but the entire main floor of her place was filled with smoke. Others have mentioned how cold it is in Minnesota but, to confirm, the temperature at the time when all the doors were open was -2. Not exactly the relaxing night I envisioned. My girlfriend arrived home to find the doors open and smoke coming out of her home. Luckily, I am involved with a wonderful, understanding woman who did not verbally eviscerate me for this well-intentioned error but I felt like a schmuck (and a cold schmuck at that, ‘cause it was a while before the house warmed up again)

Wishing warm thoughts to you all, even Frankie,


Frank Church
- Wednesday, December 17 2008 9:54:6

I was looking at litigious in the dictionary and saw Harlan's picture there. hehe.

Go get em my leige.

The Keep is a dungeon. That's where Harlan keeps book critics.


I'd avoid the forum for a few days folks. Lots of juvenile behavior there. Romper room with the smell of love canal.


Kudos to Israel for letting the prisoners go. Some of it is pr, but it is a good start. The settlements now have to go and the fanatics on both sides clammed up.

Israel should renounce violence and sign the peace treaty already. A two state solution before the world descends unto chaos.

We just want peace.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Wednesday, December 17 2008 8:23:20

I hope it went well yesterday at the city. Though once the Keep is complete, it might accidently have a few loose tiles fall in a roughly neighborly direction...

(Sandra, I’m only one of many voices in here.)(Boo!)

Heard this morning in a certain Los Angeles courtroom:

“HARLAN Ellison? HARLAN Ellison!? I thought you said RALPH! Oh, lord, we are SO screwed.”

“Mr. Ellison is lying. We know he gets his story ideas from a service in Schenectady.”

“It’s not the Guardian, it’s a chocolate donut.”
“Then why does it say ‘I am the Guardian of Forever’ if I press this button?”
“Bad rewrite?”

“That’s a mighty big model of the Seaview Mr. Ellison. May I ask what you intend to do with it?”

“Package delivery for Paramount. Book rate.”

“Mr. Ellison, would you please get off the lawyer’s chest and let him up?”

“Oh. THAT clause in the contract. Um. Yeah…”

“Mr Carmichael, will you instruct your client to put his shoe back on? Rachel, would you get the other one? I think it’s somewhere behind the witness.”

And lastly,

“Well, if nobody ELSE on the internet gives a crap about copyright laws, why should WE???”

Alex Krislov <Alexkrislov@cs.com>
still in Shaker Heights, Below the Lake - Wednesday, December 17 2008 7:52:33

Good luck in legal battles
Harlan, best of luck with the neighborhood churl and the litigation. I'd love to see you and David both get your due. It would be a ray of hope in a weary world.

Bob Shanahan <shan@ruraltel.net>
Hays, KS - Wednesday, December 17 2008 7:46:11

Dear Mr. Ellison, Just a simple thing that I should have done
decades ago. Thank you for all the words arranged in wonderful
orders. You made a difference in my life and my outlook on same.

I was and am one of the multitudes of wannabes but never could
bes. Even so, my lack of all things necessary to any art, this
does not preclude by capacity for appreciation of those who can
and do and who pursue excellence with a life long passion.

Thank you, Bob Shanahan

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Tuesday, December 16 2008 21:58:59

Hippo birdies two ewes?

Boy, you have a weird way of celebrating your birthday.

But, I can still hope it was a good one!


Rick Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Tuesday, December 16 2008 21:44:48


happy birthday for me
happy birthday for me
happy birthday, dear me
oh, dear me
me and Arthur C. Clarke

i still read comics, and play with toys

and lovin' it,

Doc <drdespicable@gmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 21:24:5

Dear Shagin - It was what it was, and welcome all the more. I think we both needed it. I'll put together a proper reply as soon as I can focus - for some reason, I've become a bit flighty lately; can't concentrate for sour apples.

Hug to You & Yours,

Tony Solomun <homerjay10@yahoo.com>
Sydney , Australia - Tuesday, December 16 2008 17:41:9

Hello from a new reader
Hello Harlan,
I'm a relatively new reader of yours,
though I've known of your name and work for quite some time,
I read Spider Kiss recently,which I quite enjoyed,
very well written,

I also happen to be very good mates with Ryall,
the EIC/Publisher of IDW for 10 years now.

I want to ask,will you still be releasing your book with IDW called,
Yr Pal,Harlan ?
and do you have any other new books,short stories and or essays being released soon ?

I would be over the moon if I can hear from you.

take care mate,
all the best,

Tony Solomun

Chuck Messer <Colder >
Than, Hell - Tuesday, December 16 2008 16:50:7

Greetings from Frostbite Falls, Colo.

Yes, it's fargin' cold here in the Rectangular State. It finally migrated up to the double digits, which were the highs. Buses and any diesel-powered vehicles refused to start all over the metro area. The air quality sucks big time here, and my head is throbbing.

Keep warm!


Mike Valerio <mikevalerio@roadrunner.com>
Van Nuys, CA - Tuesday, December 16 2008 15:20:1


The entire story behind THUNDERBALL, its remake NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN and the bitter legal action between Ian Fleming and Kevin McClory is all told in a book called THE BATTLE FOR BOND: THE GENESIS OF CINEMA'S GREATEST HERO by British author Robert Sellers.

BATTLE is a badly written book, but it contains tons of information not found anywhere else…as evidenced by the fact that it has just been pulled due to a brand new lawsuit by the Fleming estate.

Again, it's obvious that wordsmithing is not Mr. Sellers' strong suit, but the book is a fascinating cautionary tale for all creative types who wish to understand how important rights issues are.

- Tuesday, December 16 2008 14:8:31

"Stavro." And the maddening thing is, I *knew* that, and have *always* known that, and these goddamned incessant brain farts of mine are beginning to piss me off. Dammit.

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Tuesday, December 16 2008 14:3:9

The Iron Duke Would Be Proud
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

May I humbly remind our dear host of Wellington's observation about "The Little Corsican's" defeat at Waterloo: "He came at us in the same old way, and we defeated him in the same old way." Victory is assured. Glad I'm just a hack mathematician and landlord.

Were Napoleon a studio exec, a quote by, ironically, Napoleon, would suffice: "Let Ellison sleep; for when he awakes, the entertainment world will tremble."

Carry on the Good Fight, sir.

Regards, safely, from the "other coast".

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Tuesday, December 16 2008 13:36:42

HARLAN & SUSAN: Keep fighting the good fight, and may you always come out on top!

HARLAN: Some months ago you posted about a dinner at one of LA's finer restaurants (I believe it was LA) where the food was exquisite and served a la carte. You and the lovely Mrs. Ellison were the guests of friends. Would you please post the name of the restaurant? I would like to look it up.


STEVE B.: Get out of my head, I'm dressing.


DOC: Yeah, that surprised me, too, but once the floodgates were opened there was no holding back. If it was an overshare, I do most humbly apologize.


- Tuesday, December 16 2008 13:29:3

Attn: Roger Gjovig

Since you believe in God you must believe he gave you a brain for some reason. Nowhere in the Bible does it say to passively accept without question. Moses argued with God. David argued with God. Job, Isaiah, etc etc etc.

"Be wise" it says. "Test the Spirits."

The evidence is overwhelming that life on earth evolved over millions of years. Denying this evidence is not an act of faith but an act of blindness.


You have fought the good fight for decades. Good luck to you, sir.

May your enemies tremble when they speak your name.

Brian Siano
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 13:7:17

"The Keep?"
Harlan and Susan... if I resubscribe to the Rabbit Hole to get this essay, any chance a future issue'll include a description of this "keep?"

Dunno if you recall, but a few years ago, I asked for la Word Perfect for the people in my neighborhood pushing for Historic District designation. Harlan provided "pecksniff," which was _amazingly_ perfect, as a statue of Chas. Dickens is a major fixture in our nabe. The HD didn't succeed (though it lurks in the minds of the locals), but the experience taught me a lot about meddlesome neighbors.

Row houses don't lend themselves to Keeps, but I'm always appreciative of architectural follies.

- Tuesday, December 16 2008 12:17:57

If I remember my college anthropology courses correctly, the current operating paradigm is that homo sapiens sapiens first came on the scene in Sub-Saharan Africa. On the other hand _civilization_ first arose in the Fertile Crescent. There's a big difference there.


Whatever you think of Bush's legacy, the shoe throwing is no laughing matter. The failure of security is abhorrent and that shoe could have easily been a distraction for a sniper. One hopes the Secret Service gets their act together before the real nutcases come out of the woodwork after Obama is sworn in.

Dennis Thompson
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 12:8:42

Good luck
Here's hoping you are victorious both at city hall, and in court.
It's time for a little justice in this world.
Bust 'em up.

Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Tuesday, December 16 2008 11:50:50

"Those who cannot remember the past..."
You'd think Paramount would remember the trouble you can give them from the "Brillo" case. Well, you beat them before and you'll beat them again.

Richard Halasz <jacktyrade@yahoo.com>
Milwaukee, WI - Tuesday, December 16 2008 11:33:19

Pretzelcoatyl missed but...
After eight years of The Embarrassment Administration, wouldn't it have been appropriate for George to 'win' The Lottery in Iraq. I'm guessing there are no Egyptians named Mulligan with pairs of cleats.

Richard Halasz

- Tuesday, December 16 2008 11:33:5


Today, around 3:00, Susan and I will be going down to the Dept. of Building & Safety where, at last--gawd willin' and th' crick don't rise--I will write a check that will allow us to complete the work on The Keep, a project ground to a halt by the meanspirited act of a neighborhood churl. Last February 23rd we were halted, and The Keep has sat up there, naked, unfinished, a daily reminder that other than living in, say, a country ruled by Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, or George W. Bush, the worst venue horror that can befall you is...

Living next door to an miserable person and spouse.


Second "May You Live In Interesting Times" event. Tomorrow, at about 8:30 AM, Susan and one of my attorneys, John Carmichael (he of the successful AOL lawsuit, & others), will go before a judge of the California Superior Court for a preliminary conference hearing on my litigation against Pocket Books, Simon & Schuster, Sony, Paramount, STAR TREK, and about a dozen editors and apparatchiks thereto owing allegiance, in the first large step to making the gigantor ST franchise pay me what they owe me for using the elements of my CITY ON THE EDGE OF FOREVER story and teleplay. In the offing, if they choose to continue to be arrogant and non-responsive, is a Federal Suit that will make it possible for ALL past Star Trek writers--such as, notably, David Gerrold--to seek substantial reparations for 40 years' worth of pillage and greed by Paramount, et al.

Watch this space. I'm old, but not yet senile or frightened.


Roger Gjovig <rlgjovig@aol.com>
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 10:58:1

It is very cold and snowing here today, we are predicted to be getting 3 to 5 inches. I'll have to get out and shovel the sidewalks later today.Woo hoo!
In my long distant youth, I was so interested in ancient history I desired to be an archeologist. I studied a great deal about Egypt and the middle East and about the Aztecs, Incas and Mayas in our part of the world. In college I took courses in both Archeology and Anthropology in the desire to be a scientist. I couldn't figure out how to make a living doing that in Iowa. I do remember learning about the Leakeys finding human remains in Africa. On the other hand as a Christian I have the "fertile crescent" given to me as man's birthplace in the Bible. I do not believe you can pick and choose what you want to believe from the Bible. It is the Word of God in it's entirety, who am I to say this part is right or this is wrong, or I only want to believe this is the truth. At any rate I do believe in the Bible in full as it is written, not just bits and pieces, and try to live my life every day the best I can.
To all the Webderlanders out there I wish you a Happy Holiday season and I wish good health and happiness for each of you and your families. Harlan and Susan best wishes as always to you and continued success with the diet.

Michael <mlauzon@gmail.com>
Toronto, Canada - Tuesday, December 16 2008 10:57:52

I, Robot....
Seeing as how the Will Smith "I, Robot" was very loosely based on Asimov's -- I truly believe he's rolling around in his grave because of it -- story...do you still hope they will turn your script into a movie?!

- Tuesday, December 16 2008 10:51:30


It's Stavro, not "Stavros."


Alan Coil
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 8:39:23

Robert Ross--18 here in southeast Michigan last night. I am on medication for high blood pressure, so it FELT like 18 below zero. I had no symptoms of high blood pressure, but I sure have a symptom of being on the meds.

FinderDoug--That 1996 Phantom movie was fine enough, but suffered from coming after the Indiana Jones movies.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 8:19:19

Am looking forward with anticipation and yet trepidation to RH 46. Something which can be described as "one of the most touching and painful essays he's ever written" from the man who has given us an entire SPECTRUM of "touching and painful essays" (and stories, and memories) is gonna be...interesting (for want of a much better descriptive word that likely hasn't even been coined yet).

Are any locals planning to attend the Gallifrey One con in Feb? I may be attending and Webderlander James Moran is one of the invited guests.

Email me at the above address if you're going and want to grab a cup of coffee (or send a PM over on the Forum side).

I've only had a shoe thrown at me once. (If you don't count the time Harlan beat me senseless with his loafer whilst screaming "stupid, stupid, stupid". Technically the shoe never left his hand.)

It was on the 5 freeway. Another car cut me off. I honked. He then played chicken with me -- him in a large Caddy, me in a Honda CRXsi. When it became clear my ability to maneuver far outweighed his own, the passenger side window was lowered and a shoe tossed out. It flew across three lanes of traffic but missed my car completely, bouncing off the side of an innocent pickup truck in the next lane. The Caddy beat a hasty retreat.

We were both so shocked at the absurd childishness of it all, Cris and I just had to laugh. (But she still waggles her finger at me for honking in the first place.)

ROBERT ROSS: We can identify with your weather. It was in the mid-40s when I went out to my car this morning. Nearly had to put on a jacket. Bone chilling.

DORMAN: No, none of Josh's improperly-spelled pseudo-siblings -- twins or otherwise -- were present. Roughly guessing, the twins would have qualified as great grandchildren for the majority of party-goers. "Old Money", so to speak.


Members of the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department reported a male suspect was in front of the fire station on North Washington Street and was having an altercation with an inflatable penguin just before 2 a.m. Saturday, police said.

Ray Carlson <Chicago>
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 8:7:47



Can hardly wait for Rabbit Hole (#46) to darken my mailbox and to cozy-up with Unca Harlan’s new essay and two fingers of scotch.

Folks, if any of you haven’t already, do yourself a solid and become a HERC member. The Rabbit Hole is one damn fine publication and more than worth the price of membership.

Jim Thomas
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 7:36:43

Adam-Troy Castro

The Fleming collaborator was I think, Kevin McCrory. If you know the story at all, it's impossible not to think of it while watching Quantum of Solace, as Quantum is so obviously SPECTRE.

Re the shoe-throwing: A Muslim friend of mine commented that it would have been awesome if the the guy had pulled out a third shoe to throw.

Random comments:

I managed to start a fire in the house last night. Was in the middle of cooking dinner, and *thought* I had turned up the eye the veggies were on. In reality, I had turned on an eye on the other side of the stove, and due to a cleaning blitz, there was some crap on top of it.

On the plus side, the fire extinguisher worked fine. On the negative side, one of the casualties was a Winnie the Pooh brush my daughter's social worker gave her as an adoption present.

to balance that downer a bit...

I'm a graduate of the University of Alabama, so I feel an obligation to brag on something that probably didn't get much attention outside of the state. A prominent booster wanted to make a donation. Of course, when that happens, said booster usually gets something named after him/her/it. The problem: The booster's name is James M. Fail. Not something you generally want to use as a name. With one exception.

Henceforth, the vistor's locker room at Bryant-Denny stadium wil be know as The Fail Room.

Frank Church
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 7:13:16

Roger, I'm a universalist Christian, but do not believe in Adam and Eve. I believe the Bible is mostly allegory, except for the words of Christ--even Jefferson believed that. Adam and Eve are taken from other religions, much older ones. David and King Solomon probably never existed as well--Moses too. Egypt kept strict histories, there is no proof of any of these people in the ancient record, except for the Torah.

One of the big reasons that I am so fumed about the Israel situation. David Horowitz even suggested that the Palestinians can go back to Jordon.

Visit a Unitarian church sometime, you may like it.



Wondering what would happen if you threw a shoe at Bush here?

Robert Ross <rbrross2937@yahoo.com>
Mpls., MN - Tuesday, December 16 2008 6:7:57

It was ten below when I left for work this morning.

If you're reading this from a warmer clime, please go (@%!?*&) yourself.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 5:27:40

Various, Again
Rick Keeney: the story of how the rights to THUNDERBALL in particular fell out of the hands of the Brocolli family empire is actually quite fascinating, and was covered at length in an article I read some time back.

It all had to do with Ian Fleming being a dick to an uncredited collaborator. I don't recall the details of his behavior, but he was arrogant and abusive, treating the guy as a hired hand. They worked together on a Bond screenplay, sometime before DR. NO. Evidence shows that the guy really did most of the work.

An early-sixties lawsuit ensued, proving that the fellow came up with most of the Bond iconography (including Q and SPECTRE) that later made it into the novels and the movies, and he was in danger of owning a huge piece of the franchise until, in failing health, he settled for the rights to THUNDERBALL alone The subsequent film was a one-off; the Brocolli family no longer has rights to that novel, and has since lost the rights to SPECTRE and to the perennial Bond villain, Ernst Stavros Blofeld, which is why they and he disappeared from the film franchise after DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER. (Yes, I know the films later managed a cameo where he was dropped down a smokestack, but they were careful as hell to never call him by name.)

The guys who now owned the rights to THUNDERBALL were also careful as hell when it came to making NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN. They wondered if it really necessary to make the exact same movie, and noted that the novel makes fleeting reference to three other Bond adventures that take place off-screen and could, arguably, be said to be part of the THUNDERBALL universe. They discussed starting a rival franchise from those stories. But either they were given a stern warning or they decided that discretion was the better part of valor, because they decided that a strict by-the-book remake of THUNDERBALL was all they could get away with, without having to defend their actions in court.

But they kept trying, knowing the size of the cash cow they had, which is why subsequent incarnations of their partnership have tried to get backing for at least three further reincarnations of THUNDERBALL since then, at least twice taking advantage of the familiarity factor by casting actors who like Connery had played Bond before. (I believe they tried with Roger Moore, for instance.) With CASINO ROYALE the biggest hit in the franchise's history and QUANTUM OF SOLACE not doing badly, I would not be surprised under the circumstances if that third version of THUNDERBALL arrived, all Bourned up.

I do, however, think we have seen the last of Ernst Stavros Blofeld, at least in his previous wardrobe. Mike Myers has ruined the field for bald scarred guys in Nehru jackets.


And no, that wasn't the Bond rant.


Harlan: 94 reading last night, 122 this AM. Woo-hoo. Also, wondering: have you watched the Showtime series, DEXTER?


The shoe that got thrown at President Bush lends an entirely new meaning to the word, "Clodhopper."


Two weeks left to get EMISSARIES for free at the Harper/Collins site. This is not venality. It's free, free, free!

- Tuesday, December 16 2008 4:21:17

Word from down under yesterday about a new PHANTOM film in the works. Bruce Sherlock returns as Executive Producer and believes more budget is the answer (while avoiding blaming anyone specifically for that $17m domestic gross on the 1996 take):


While writer and proposed director Tim Boyle tips his hand on the story to the AP:


Because if you don't want a remake, try a present-day re-imagining.

Los Angeles, California - Tuesday, December 16 2008 1:11:32

Books-es-es for The Best Writer in the World...
Harlan, your books are separated out. Give me a call, or have your assistant call, any time on Tuesday. Hopefully, my little cell-bastid will cooperate. "Technology is the key to the future." Pffftt.

I can pass along an address where the books can be picked up at that point. And as far as $$ goes, look at them first and then judge accordingly. No hurry on my end. Hey, if we can't trust YOUR judgment on books, where does that leave the world?

So this means that means that anyone else willing to cover postage can have the rest of the books; just leave a comment on the blog site where the list is. I've got it marked for comment moderation, so your address info won't just be thrown up on the 'net--only I'll see it.

Michael Mayhew
- Tuesday, December 16 2008 0:13:10

the Origin of Man

Roger asks: "Why would it even make a subject of conversation where the origin of man was...?"

Because it's really, really interesting! I am not a scientist but I am absolutely fascinated by physical anthropology and paleontology. What could be more interesting then unfolding the intricate origami of our origins? I love reading about what folks in the field are uncovering, and what the latest thinking is about human evolution.

And while a great deal more has been proven then you might think (the scientific definition of "theory" is very different then the way the word is used by most people), the uncertainty of our understanding, the give and take of competing ideas is exactly what makes science so very much fun.

By the by, to my knowledge, most of the most ancient human ancestral remains were dug up in central east Africa, in places like Kenya and southern Ethiopia, well south of the Fertile Crescent.

Delighting in Science,


- Monday, December 15 2008 22:45:57


You lurkin' out there? Posted a query re: can you handle another shipment of books from me? Last Friday.

Come back, Road Warrior, 10-4.


- Monday, December 15 2008 22:34:8



Here's what I'd like to have:

August Derleth, editor: THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD
August Derleth, editor: FAR BOUNDARIES
Shirley Jackson: THE SUNDIAL
Shirley Jackson: THE LOTTERY

Just tell me how much, and where to send my assistant in LA to pick them up and put the cash into your hand. Or check, if you prefer, but I should think cash would be better.

If you'd rather I call and you'll give me the cost and site, just pop back in here tomorrow.

I is excited to see these wonderful findings!

Thank you again for the opportunity to chink a few holes in my lovely library.


Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Monday, December 15 2008 22:1:19

one man's trivia
Robert Ross
I was not privy to the bit of trivia you shared re: the remake of THUNDERBALL. And you're right; that kind of crap occupies more brain-space than it deserves. That's what makes it trivia, innit?

I am much more enamored of the written word, so my knowledge of film and television is more than limited. Love the Ian Fleming novels, and mostly disappointed by the Bond films. Mostly.

Always good to hear from you, Mr. Ross.

Roger Ghovig--good to hear from you again as well. And I admire your courage in posting that last message. Allow me to comment that all aspects of man's origin are of dramatic spiritual importance to Christians because these are directly related to the authority of Christ. Also, I would substitute "Fertile Crescent" for "Garden of Eden." I spoke withj my daughter in Des Moines this evening, Roger. And I assure you I am just as cold as you are. Layer up, my friend.

Warm Regards,

Roger Gjovig <rlgjovig@aol.com>
- Monday, December 15 2008 17:4:18

I have always thought man's origin was in the area between the
Tigrus and Euphrates Rivers known as the Garden of Eden and I know archeologists have found human remains in numerous places. Why would it even make a subject of conversation where the origin of man was, it is not like it can be proved one way or the other?That is assumimg carbon 14 dating in placing a date of origin is even accurate, or if God's time for creation was not measurable on the human scale of measuring time and it just tool however long he choose to do so.

- Monday, December 15 2008 17:2:4

Robert Ross,

"How many people know that NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN was a remake of THUNDERBALL?"

That was always broadly known because it was declared in the original marketing. Not very important, but it's scarcely "trivia".

Just to crowds who know nada about film. Nothing wrong wit' dat, 'ceptin' yer in the wrong niche to expect such a crowd.

Now, what I'm finding more interesting is years in transition for movies between silent and sound. I used to think once 1928 came along, ALL releases had full sound. Not so. There were still silent releases in 1929, but with far greater technical levels never seen previously in silents - including the dialog cards, which now often had animation incorporated.

Here's another piece of "interesting" trivia: F.W. Murnau was brought to Hollywood in 1927. He'd have become an American director had he not been killed after his fourth movie here. Would have been a helluva career to watch!

So, you see, THAT'S the standard if you want to hang around here without getting embarrassed.

Shit - that felt good! Been a tough day, and I needed to let it out on SOMEONE.

C. Cooper
NYC, - Monday, December 15 2008 15:33:39

What great news! For this I must subscribe to the Rabbit Hole!

Those of you who might need or desire another literary take on the whole race (a/k/a "identity politics") question, might like to read the short story "White Rat" by Gayl Jones, herself a black American of Cape Verdian extraction (much like jazz legend Horace Silver.) The story is the first person tale of a black man in the south...who happens to look white, and tells readers as his tale begins that he knows his daddy migrated down to "the city" from some hillbilly mountains somewhere, claiming to be black, and thus "condemning" all his kids to identify as black in the segregated deep south. Brilliant.

James Moran
- Monday, December 15 2008 15:27:28

Sir Harlan: The package has already gone on its merry way, but I am at your disposal, and happy to help out. I'm at home all day Tuesday, just call and let me know what you need, and it'll be in the post as soon as possible.

Your loyal British subject,

James Moran

- Monday, December 15 2008 15:6:21

Five minutes ago, Harlan finished one of the most touching and painful essays he's ever written. So good, I cried and got all puffy. This original essay was written only for the upcoming Rabbit Hole (#46). So proud!!!


Los Angeles, California - Monday, December 15 2008 14:15:40

URL. http://huggdbunny.blogspot.com/

And I'm sorry, I meant "about the list" not "at the list."

Last post of the day. I promise.

- Monday, December 15 2008 14:6:6


If you give me the whachamacallit to connect me to the list, I can try to bring it actually, er, UP. And can then compare what you've got with what I've already got. Is that possible?

I apologize for being so limited in my e.smarts.


- Monday, December 15 2008 13:54:5


Yeah, I well know that ornament. It's an exhibit in my current lawsuit against Sony, Paramount, Simon & Schuster, Pocket Books, et al.

It's a nice ornament; and it actaully uses the spoken words from my teleplay, which makes it a VERY strong element in my case.

Thanks, though.

Harlan (whose blood sugar this morning was 140)

Semi-Writer <2muchbullshit@mailinator.com>
Los Angeles, California - Monday, December 15 2008 13:48:52

Sorry for two posts in one day but Harlan is worth an explanation.

There are two things that hate me in this world: my body and technology.

I've got some kind of minor fracture rather than a dislocation of the ankle, so it's MY apologies that are in order... for having a defective body that 1) took me away from my residence yesterday, 2) required me to take Vicodin this morning (I hate pills), and 3) didn't allow me to limp to another room fast enough for your call. Also I live in a 1920s building, all steel and concrete, and reception is tricky.

Incidentally, anyone that wants to email me at the list can do so at the Mailinator address (again, spam concerns so I don't want my actual email out here).

- Monday, December 15 2008 13:48:8


I think you mean "throws off," not "through off," you semiliterate paramecium.


- Monday, December 15 2008 13:29:37


Damn! Got your post. Been meaning to call for two weeks now, with a request for a small favor that you might've been easy to put in said package. Got derailed, turned from my true purposes, so


If the package hasn't yet left your paws--unlikely, if I read your post correctly--let me know here, and I'll give you a ring.

If it's gone, well, mayhap when you come over and we see you in a few months.

Either way, love to you and Jodie from Susan and me.

DTS <none>
OZ - Monday, December 15 2008 13:24:51

STEVE: DAMN...no sign of the Olsen twins either, I suppose...

LOFTUS: The proper term is: Heinz 57 -- a club to which me and my main man, Irving, proudly belong.

Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Monday, December 15 2008 11:4:10


For those of us who always thought that the whole concept of the Internet was just too good to be true...

Brian Siano
- Monday, December 15 2008 10:3:41

One more comment on Race and Obama
A few weeks ago, a bunch of kooks tried to file a lawsuit with the the Supreme Court over Obama's citizenship. One was a black minster by the name of James Manning who, after denouncing Obama as a "long-legged mack daddy," introduced a new criteris for blackness. Nope, not the one-drop measure. Nope, no comparisons to shopping bags. Now it's whether a _black womb_ has produced a President or not.

Hey, I can't claim to have some gold standard to decide whether someone's white or black... but I know _craaazy_ when I see it.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Monday, December 15 2008 9:59:2


Oh, um....*ahem*...

Sorry, sorry....um...Harlan...Rick...

The water sample, um, for the well at my mom's house passed. This means we'll, ah, be able to finalize the sale, y'know, take care of everything.

Maybe I won't have to ask Santa for a nervous breakdown for Christmas.

If you need me, I'll, um, I'll be over in the corner doing a happy, um, happy dance.

Sorry...didn't mean to interrupt.


David Loftus <dloft59@earthlink,net>
Portland, OR - Monday, December 15 2008 9:39:43

mix 'n' mate

Speaking as a proud Merkin of mixed-race heritage (Nips and Vikings, primarily), I wish to say that I am SHOCKED and INSULTED that the President-elect would refer to a person like me as a "mutt."

I've always preferred "mongrel."

Faisal A. Qureshi
Manchester, UK, - Monday, December 15 2008 9:7:59


I couldn't have said it better myself.



Jim Thomas
- Monday, December 15 2008 8:59:34

Adam-Troy Castro
Re: Obama--The whole racial thing is just confusing me, frankly. I liked that he identified himself (perhaps disingenuously) as a mutt. But given that he was identified as Black long before he was elected, it seems ridiculous to change the rules at this point.

Besides, I've been told that Clinton was the first Black President. ;)

James Bond rant: This could be interesting. Quantum of Solace has been a pretty polarizing movie, it seems.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Monday, December 15 2008 8:35:55

DORMAN: Neither Britney nor her panties were seen at the Vintage Club event. But I didn't look under any tables.

Cobbler Comments #1: Interesting to note that in the space of two years we've gone from the Vice President shooting ducks, to the President ducking shoes.

We're in the midst of perhaps the soggiest day in LA since I led the Webderlanders Grand Tour of 2007. Misery has no expression greater than a dog who needs to squat in the cold downpour. Unless you consider the dog's owner as they contend with the goopy mess that comes back in through the dog door and decides to shake before you can firmly throw the towel around them.

Cobbler Comments #2: If Phyllis Schlafly is correctly called a Presidential Gadfly, is Muntadar al-Zeidi now a Presidential Shoefly?

It's Monday. The coffee is warm, the ginger bread fresh (from this little bakery in the bowels of Macy's Plaza, downtown LA), and the office relatively quiet.

News at 11.

Cobbler Comments #3: Al-Zeidi was misquoted. He works for CONTROL. What he said was "It's for you" before tossing his phone at the President.

I'll be here all week. Tip your waitress.

Frank Church
- Monday, December 15 2008 7:54:19

Hoarding is a real condition. This video is one of many:



We are so intermixed who's to know what is what and which is which. Purity is the old ritual, mutts now run the planet. We even have one as President. Amen.

- Monday, December 15 2008 6:59:36

Is there a more dreary discussion than RACE?

The Human Genome Project effectively put the kibosh on any biological concept of race. Alas we are left with the CULTURAL concept of race which will be a long time dying.

Obama is a "mix" of the same thing as every other human being who has ever lived, the genetic material of his mother and his father.

From a biological perspective electing the first "black" President is like electing the first President with red hair. From a cultural perspective the election of the first "black" President assumes great significance of course since after the HGP the concept of race is ONLY meaningful in a cultural context.

The question that needs to be asked is whether a concept that has no meaning in a biological context should have any meaning in a cultural one. It seems to me that the HGP has given us a wonderful opportunity as HUMAN BEINGS to walk away from this nonsense.

Robert Ross <rbrross2937@yahoo.com>
Mpls, MN - Monday, December 15 2008 6:55:42

Not a mis-spelling but the wrong word: I saw a transcript of a deposition once where an attorney objected to a question by saying something like, "Whoa, whoa, whoa, counsel, we're not getting into that now."

But the transcript had been written as: "Woe, woe, woe, counsel, we're not getting into that now."

Remakes: How many people know that NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN was a remake of THUNDERBALL? How many care? Just more trivia taking up space in my brain.

Los Angeles, California - Monday, December 15 2008 6:4:32

Michael: Not an issue, so don't worry. You expressed more of an early staking-out of territory, that's all. In the event that HE doesn't want all (or any) of them--it's too early to tell, and perhaps the 150-plus books aren't interesting enough to him--then of course the people here in the Pavilion are next in line to pick and choose, and I will make the list available to all.

David: Thank you for reassuring me that my predilection for book salvaging is a healthy thing, at least in the eyes of other readers.

I'm definitely not a hoarder (in fact, due to my current financial limitations, I've stripped myself down to a minimum amount of "stuff" over the past year). Apparently I don't have the physical ability to move things (or myself, for that matter) without injury any more, much less exercise the financial option of paying for someone else to move them, so the less attachment that I have to material goods, the better. The majority of "my" things are, in fact, perfectly-working items (vacuum, floor fan, etc.) and furniture that others discarded. I'm not a dumpster diver... more like a drive-by salvager, which earns me between $100-$300 a month. And, yes, it's amazing how wasteful people can be. Oh, the trash-night stories I could tell...

Rest assured, friends, the books are now safe and neatly stacked in and on top of a cabinet, safe and warm and out of the steady rain that began yesterday.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Monday, December 15 2008 5:46:38

Edward Brock:

What's going on with claims that Obama "isn't really black" is a crazy, desperate form of denial.

Coming from those among black and bi-racial people, who may find him insufficiently of their type, it's one thing -- albeit no less wrong -- but I find the same claim much more interesting, and contemptible, coming from whites.

I have heard this from a number of folks who were against Obama during the election, including one close relative by marriage who wanted me to know that Obama "never" acknowledged the white half of his heritage (not even in the bestselling book he wrote about it), and that he just dishonestly identified himself as black to get elected (like that has historically been the sure-fire way to make getting elected President in this country.)

The only possible reason for such a person to make a big deal about this now is to deny him the accomplishment of becoming the first Black President -- and indeed, this is the point I have heard most desperately stressed. That he's NOT the first Black President. He's "lying."

(Yes, the relative in question actually believes this.)

Obama is more black, by ancestry, than a large number of people in the United States who identify themselves as black. People as black as him were slaves. People as black as him were lynched. People as black as him were denied opportunities in this country; people as black as him were forced to live through Jim Crow; people as black as him had to sit on the back of the bus. He is black enough to have had a black father. He is black enough to have black relatives in Africa. He is black enough to self-identify as black. He is black enough that were he not a famous figure, nobody seeing him for the first time would have any issues about calling him black. There is no possible reason for any white person to say Obama's "not really black" except desperate, frightened denial, grotesque on the face of it given that his otherness (such as it is) was played for such fear during his campaign. It's the same kind of people who feared that he was a "secret Muslim" or who claimed that his agenda was to "make white people slaves" who are now saying he "lied" about being black, everywhere except in his bestselling book about being raised by his white Grand-parents.

Anybody who says this stupid thing, including that relative, is an asshole. And a frightened one.


James Bond rant still coming. For what it's worth.

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Monday, December 15 2008 5:11:26

A Quick Visit to the Pavilion
Mr. Ellison et al.:

Mr. Rapoport: spot on. Did refer to "The Ungovernable City" by Vincent Cannato. Should be required reading for all urban dwellers and city officials in these "interesting times".

Mr. Messer: thanks for that wonderful story. My nine-year-old dachshund "Sammy" passed away on Dec. 6, and your anecdote provoked catharsis in me. "Sam" showed more humanity and courage than most American elected officials today. Indeed, most humans today.

Are we all African-Americans? No, we are "homo sapiens sapiens", all with different sets of genetic materials and, as a result, talents. We scattered, and we changed. Just like Darwin's finches on the Galapagos.

Off to the meat grinder.


William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Monday, December 15 2008 4:41:41

Just wanted to say to anyone exploring Kurosawa's works: when you're done with the famous classics (SEVEN SAMURAI, YOJIMBO, RASHOMON, RAN, KAGEMUSHA, HIDDEN FORTRESS, etc. -- all deserve the 'classic' moniker), please check out a few of his lesser-known films, such as...

IKIRU -- you'll probably weep at this one. Incredible.

THE BAD SLEEP WELL -- more Shakespeare by way of Akira.

and the usually ignored RHAPSODY IN AUGUST, a late work that starts slowly but builds in intensity and will overwhelm you.

Makes me want to go and have a Kurosawa festival over the holidays.

Edward Brock <spiderz@shentel.net>
Virginia - Monday, December 15 2008 3:15:31

My mistake. I know we are not ALL African-"American", but we are all of African descent. Correct me if I'm wrong, but did we not evolve from an original African source?

Robert Morales
New York City, New York - Monday, December 15 2008 0:23:39

Um ...
Edward Brock, the short answer is "No, we are NOT all African-American." (For one thing, not all humans wind up American.)

Genealogy as a mooring of identity is not unreasonable for people whose ancestors were intentionally scattered to the winds. Recently I heard a story about a Brit who'd had his bloodline genetically traced to a small village in, I think, South Africa. He traveled there, but got lost and went to a town he knew to be near his destination and asked for directions, explaining his visit. A town elder was called for and told his story - the elder immediately corrected the Brit, insisting he stemmed from a completely different village. The guy protested, waving his sheet of lab results, but he eventually followed the elder's advice: The old guy was right; he knew the moment he set eyes upon the Brit, from the shape of his head and the way he walked.

* * *


The best film ABOUT remakes is Michel Gondry's BE KIND, REWIND - a sweet, daffy and inventive tribute to our collective movie memories, and the best fastasy on screen this year.

Michael Rapoport
- Sunday, December 14 2008 21:42:13

Mike Valerio: I think they'll still tend to be called "newspapers" when they go online-only (though I suspect the day when that happens in toto is still some time off, notwithstanding the industry's current troubles). That's because, by and large, the same institutions that publish the best and most prominent newspapers now will be the ones behind the best and most trusted news websites. Yes, there are welcome and promising news websites that started online, but even the best of them don't (yet) have the infrastructure to cover the news from top to bottom, or the breadth of scope that would even lead them to attempt such a feat, that a top-quality newspaper does.

Steve Jarrett and Michael Mayhew: Thank you for your fascinating posts. Most intellectual stimulation I've had in a day of dealing with my two boisterous kids.

William Sherman: There's more than one book called "The Ungovernable City," but I suspect the one you're referring to is "The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and His Struggle to Save New York," by Vincent J. Cannato.

From the Dept. of Things I'd Never Thought I'd See: The august New York Times not only ran a full obituary for Bettie Page, but also, in Saturday's paper, a full and respectful analysis of her career, labeled "An Appraisal," by one of their chief film critics. Accompanied, yet, by a huge photo of Bettie in lingerie, gloves and heels that takes up most of the top half of the front of the Arts section. The article doesn't posit anything that will be surprising or new to anyone familiar with Bettie, but I'm amazed that it appeared at all.

Plus, the Times' website has an online slide show of Bettie photos:

Finally, I have to apologize for my faux pas here yesterday. When I suggested that Semi-Writer might want to post the list of some of those discarded-book finds in case anyone on the Pavilion was interested, I had completely forgotten that our esteemed host had already and properly put in first claim to those books. Everyone in the Pavilion has been kind enough not to point out this obvious evidence of advancing senescence on my part, but I'm sorry anyway.

I'd still like to know what kind of nitwit throws away tons of perfectly good and potentially valuable books...

David Loftus <dloft59@earthlink.net>
Portland , OR - Sunday, December 14 2008 21:27:32

books? in the trash?

I'm a bit late in responding to this, but the other day Semi-Writer wrote:

:: Now I'm not sure where the problem lies: with the neighborhood residents
:: who are throwing out perfectly-good hardcover/dustjacket books, or with
:: me for stopping to retrieve as many of them from the curbside as I can.

Clearly none of us would think you're crazy for retrieving them. I know I've said this here before, but I don't even write in books because I don't really consider them "mine"; I'm merely the current caretaker, and fully expect most if not all of them to continue to live on and please other people after I'm gone because of the good care I've taken of them.

But I wanted to comment here about tossing out and retrieving in general. Not just books, period -- even fairly rare and valuable ones such as you apparently ran across, Semi -- but ANYTHING that still possesses some use and utility. It is astounding, the things Americans throw out -- very much a symptom of our culture's presumption and wastefulness.

From streets and dumpsters in Oregon, Boston, and Germany since I was a kid, I've scrounged everything from treasured pieces of clothing to a writing desk and a "Sheriff of Anaconca Montana" shoulder patch. Found an awful lot of men's magazines in the trash over the years, too. In late 1987, as a cub reporter and columnist at a small town daily in southern Oregon, I wrote an op-ed piece about my "career" as a scrounge, which brought a number of accomplished fellow "ragpickers" -- a male nurse and Vietnam vet, an officer with the city police -- out of the woodwork and furnished material for a follow-up column. (Maybe I should put those on my Web site.)

Today Carole and I live on the sixth floor of a new apartment building that has a recycling room and trash chute on every floor, and it regularly astounds me that, not only are other folks on our floor unable to follow the simplest instructions (e.g., don't put cardboard or styrofoam in the paper recycling bin), but they throw out so many perfectly valid things. I found a potted tree, somewhat the worse for wear but still clearly alive, in there; I rescued it and it is big and green and beautiful in our digs now. Several months ago we were discussing the purchase of a bathroom scales, which we have not owned for a number of years, and dang if a high tech digital one in apparently perfect working order didn't turn up in the recycling room.

It's a sick, thoughtless, wasteful country we live in.

Edward Brock <spiderz@shentel.net>
Virginia - Sunday, December 14 2008 19:41:24

According to the AP (by way of The Huffington Post), Obama's heritage is being called into question. Many are asking if he is African-American, bi-racial, mixed-race, etc. (or a mutt as Obama himself as said).

The Huffington Post piece can be found here... http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/14/ap-many-insisting-that-ob_n_150846.html

Since all human beings originally came out of Africa (assuming my limited knowledge of science is correct), aren't we all African-American?

Am I the only one who finds this constant emphasis on one's heritage/lineage/legacy annoying and irrelevant? Why do people care so much about where other people came from, or who their ancestors were, or what their great-great-great grandfather did? Is there something wrong with trying to do the best with your life in the present (thus affecting your future), instead of bowing down to a past you were not involved in?

Please enlighten me!

Chuck Messer
- Sunday, December 14 2008 19:40:32

Dorman, that was worth the extra post. Thanks for the laugh!

Speaking of our canine friends, I saw a story out of Santiago, Chile. This is a heart-tugger, not a joke. A dog was hit by a car trying to cross a highway. Another dog braved fast-moving traffic to pull the injured dog out of harm's way. Unfortunately, the first dog did not survive. The second dog was not injured.

Doggies is good peoples.


DTS <none>
OZ - Sunday, December 14 2008 18:36:26

Funny story
(sorry for the double-post Rick, but since the schoolmarm is home sick, thought I wouldn't get into too much trouble -- especially if I promise to go sit in the corner for two days)
Hey ALL. Thought you'd enjoy this story -- reportedly sent by one guy to another, here in OZ (even if it isn't a true story, I can still see our venerable host doing something like this -- and "Big W" is the equivlent of K-mart):

_The Meaty Bites Diet_

I've got 2 dogs. I bought a large bag of Meaty Bites at Big W and was standing in line at the check-out.

A woman behind me asked if I had a dog.

On impulse, I told her that no, I was starting The Meaty Bites Diet again, although I probably shouldn't because I'd ended up in the hospital last time, but that I'd lost 25 kgs before I woke in an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices and IV's in both arms.

I told her that it was essentially a perfect diet and that the way that it works is to load your pants pockets with Meaty Bites and simply eat one or two every time you feel hungry & that the food is nutritionally complete so I was going to try it again.

I have to mention here that practically everyone in the line was by now enthralled with my story, particularly a guy who was behind her.

Horrified, she asked if I'd ended up in the hospital in that condition because I had been poisoned by the food. I told her no, it was because I'd been sitting in the middle of the road licking my dick and a car hit me.

I thought one guy was going to have a heart attack he was laughing so hard as he staggered out the door.

Stupid b*tch...why else would I buy dog food??

Here's hoping you left the pavillion with a smile on your face...meaty bites diet or no.

Faisal A. Qureshi
Manchester, UK, - Sunday, December 14 2008 17:28:39

Completely unrelated Antonioni name dropping
Mark Peploe was/is my script mentor. I choose him cause I loved The Passenger and The Last Emperor. He also dared to adapt The Sheltering Sky which was just mad but... then he re-wrote Rudy Wurlitzer's script for Little Buddha who also re-wrote one of my scripts which Alex Cox would like to make and then last Monday I was at a graduate screening at the London Film School and was introduced to Harley Cokeliss and I screamed like a fanboy and asked if he was the same dude who directed Battle at Billy's Pond and Dream Demon and completely forgot that Rudy had also done uncredited re-writes on the Burt Reynold's actioner, Malone and then...

Some weird random six degree thing but last month in New York, I got a last minute rental bedroom in a flat in Manhattan owned by a couple (I discovered Craigslist). One day I get chatting to the husband, he's Italian and I asked how he managed to end up in the US. Tells me he used to work in movies, said I probably don't know any of the filmmakers he worked with, Antonioni, Bertolucci, Visconti... and I just go, you know Mark? He goes yeah, lost touch with him years ago. Used to take care of his daughter and stuff. Then tells me loads on great Antonioni stories of working on Zabriskie Point and stuff before he went to Peru, India, Afghanistan, travelled world, etc.

I gave him Mark's details. Two old friends re-connect after twenty years.

I don't believe in fate or karma. This was just unsettling series of coincidences.


Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, December 14 2008 16:18:10

James Bond rant still coming; blood sugar 126 at dinner; thanks to those of you who sent concerned e-mails. Your thoughts warmed my day.


Harlan, forgive me if this is old news, but I am aware that the powers-that-be have transgressed before, and prefer redundancy to silence. Are you aware of the City on the Edge of Forever Christmas tree ornament? Check this page. Second imbedded screen. Kirk and Spock framed by the Guardian of Forever. The ornament provides audio of the Guardian explaining its purpose.


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Sunday, December 14 2008 16:14:55

Well, I Should Have Known ............
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

Indeed. How presumptive of me. Should have guessed that Mr. E. would have seen Kurosawa many times over. I, on the other hand, being trapped both in my generation and in the suburban wilderness north of Boston, must scramble whenever possible to view anything on the large screen, as intended, of the top tier of directors of world cinema: Kurosawa, Visconti, Antonioni, Lean, Lang, Truffaut, and, I would even inject, Cassavetes. Either Cambridge or bust, around here. (Guess I'll have to look into the complete Janus Films DVD collection I read about last year.) Hence my excitement. Will, on the other hand, look into the Ed McBain 87th Precinct novels. Fascinating.

Oh, Mr. Ellison, forgot to mention: my mother's cousin, a retired Army Sergeant Major now living in El Paso, TX, has been emptying his garage of books picked up at the various flea markets in his area over the past thirty years--especially some from the library at Fort Bliss. He has sent me six boxes of titles, in hard and soft, from the 30's through the 60's, for sale on a consignment basis. If I may, once I have completed my inventory, I'll send you a list to see if any titles might interest you. Be my pleasure. Already have about 500 titles that I haven't read yet, so glad to share.

Thanks again for the license not to dwell on Kurosawa.

Regards, etc., etc.

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

DTS <none>
OZ - Sunday, December 14 2008 16:5:9

Papers, books, stunts gone awry and...Britney's Beaver
MIKE V: It's a good bet that most of them _aren't_ newspapers now, before they morph into online news sources. (Newsloads? Newslinks? NewsPages? NewsVues?)

SEMI: Thanks for the link to photo of one of the books you found: it's a thing of beauty (they sure knew how to make 'em way back when). Wish _I_ had been lucky enough to stumble across the treasure trove you found, Indy...I mean, Semi. I love me some books.

FRANK: In addition to being in the forthcoming film "Knowing" (alongside my daughter, Anyanka -- that's her screen name -- and some slow-talking dude named Nic -- watch for it Mar 20th), I was actually at the shoot of "Commando." I _saw_ Arnie (as we in the biz call him) accidentally throw that pipe clean through the stunt man. It was a freak accident that was immediately recorded in the memoir entitled L.A.: CITY OF FREAKS, ANGELS AND ACTOR-TYPES by Mortimer J. Snerd, Producer. The steam was just a special effect added later (the guy who did that advised me that the temperature of a still-warm body would through off the trajectory of the water particles, causing the steam gyser to deviate and possibly shoot into Arnie's eyes by mistake -- thus the CGI). But the pipe throwing part actually happened....I kid you not.

BARBER: All I wanna know is: was Britney there, and if so, was she wearing undies?


Mike Valerio <mikevalerio@roadrunner.com>
Van Nuys, CA - Sunday, December 14 2008 15:12:46

Message received and understood. Let your kyron-flag fly!

On the topic of the evolution of language...allow me to offer this up for group debate:

Once all newspapers follow the Christian Science Monitor and stop delivering their news on paper (in favor of delivering only by the Internet)...will they still be called "newspapers"?

James Moran
- Sunday, December 14 2008 13:58:5


A package is currently winging its way towards your magnificent temple. It contains the items I mentioned a while ago: three books, and two magazines. It is also sealed up with so much Sellotape, it will probably take several weeks to open. I have no idea when it will arrive, but our stamps have a picture of the Queen on, which means it has to stop every hour to be saluted while one hundred guardsmen on horseback circle around it. So it may take some time.

Pip pip, guvnor!

James Moran

- Sunday, December 14 2008 12:46:13


Same goes for yours, as Jarrett's. I knew none of this. I am in your idiomatic debt.

Thank you.


- Sunday, December 14 2008 12:40:27


Magnificent post! It is THIS quality of knowledge and bonhomie that reifies, for me, the web in toto, and this occasionally ever-so-trying venue in particular.

Wish I'd seen it before I entered MY post. Yours is better.


- Sunday, December 14 2008 12:27:49


To save you future posting on this single matter only:

If Kurosawa made it, I've seen it. Many times. From first to last, high and low. And even read the Ed McBain (Evan Hunter) 87th Precinct novel on which it was based, when it was originally published. Long have I been a worshipper at the Olympian throne of Kurosawa. If he made it, I've seen it.

But thank you for your Good Offices.


- Sunday, December 14 2008 12:18:33


Yeah, you are, of course, absolutely correct. Yet...

The hitch in the gitalong is strictly a personal one for me; and no dissembling. I first learned of chyrons years ago and, like the use of the word "measure" in a screenplay, rather than "stock" or "stock footage," and "Arri" or "Arriflex" for "hand-held camera" or "Steadicam," I am in love with certain words and their sounds, and so...while giving you your due and acknowledgment...I continue to use MY yeah INCORRECT spelling and the nomenclature, onaccounta it pleases me to do so. But: no offense intended, none taken. I let go of some stuff most reluctantly. Kyron is one of them. Pity me.


Andrew Laubacher
Buffalo, NY - Sunday, December 14 2008 12:11:58

Writers Guild Nominations
Over at ComicMix, Bob Greenberger posts, "Genre vets Marc Guggenheim (ELI STONE), Drew Goddard, Brian K. Vaughan (LOST), Marti Noxon, Zack Whedon, and Danny Strong (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) have been nominated by their peers. The Writers Guild of America, West and the Writers Guild of America, East announced their nominees for outstanding achievement in television, radio, news, promotional writing, and graphic animation during the 2008 season to be honored at the upcoming 2009 Writers Guild Awards on February 7, 2009, in Los Angeles and New York."

The list of television nominees is here: http://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/12/13/writers-guild-nominates-best-writing/

Honestly, I'm actually more excited by another ComicMix story (geek that I am)--John Carter of Mars toys!

URL: http://www.comicmix.com/news/2008/12/11/triad-toys-signs-john-carter-of-mars/

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Sunday, December 14 2008 11:32:24

Day my Brain Stood Still
Still reeling from the astoundingly awful remake of 'THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL' -- lacks all credibility from frame one (a very fake studio set with very fake snow that's supposed to be the Himalayas with a mountain-climbing Keanu... huh?) and careens into some of the most amazingly bad dialogue, bad effects, bad everything that I've ever seen.
Saw it with a friend who reviews films for a living and he said it's the worst thing he's ever seen (obviously he's never seen THE TERROR OF TINY TOWN, the all-midget Western).
But my award for Worst of the film is the acting of the kid, Jaden Smith, who got the job because of his Dad and Mom (Will and Jada)... you have not seen such hammy histrionics since the silent era.
So don't pay good money to see it, wait for cable and see if you agree with me.

The only good thing was when we were leaving, a younger couple was saying 'how the old one was so much better' -- so THEY ADMIT THERE IS AN OLD ONE! AND IT'S BETTER!


Regarding misspellings, the one I've run into recently in several publications is 'distain' for 'disdain'. Maybe they're from Brooklyn and they're saying to their dry cleaners 'Dis Stain has got to come out' -- but I think they're just dumb and their spell-check doesn't get it because there is a verb 'distain' that means to 'disgrace' (but they're definitely using it as a noun). They don't know the word 'disdain' -- disgraceful!


And regarding the auto industry bail-out bill, I'd like to post this paragraph from electoral-vote.com (and, as a follow-up, ask: why would any worker NOT want to be part of a union? If I were not a union member, I would be worked 20 hours a day for no benefits with no job security... I know this because I did non-union work before I joined the union... so why would any worker be against it ever????) :

Car Bailout Pits North vs. South
A striking pattern has emerged in the fight over bailing out the big three automobile companies. Senators from the north are for it and senators from the south are against it. Why? It turns out there are assembly plants in both the North and the South. The ones in the North are owned by American companies and are highly unionized; the ones in the South are owned by foreign (mostly Japanese) companies) and are not unionized. Hourly pay in northern and southern ones is comparable but benefits are much better in the North. Southern senators who oppose the bailout don't really object to the government interfering with private industry and don't really even mind a government-appointed car czar running the companies. The sticking point is that they want to break the unions and force union members to take cuts in pay and benefits to bring them down to the level that the workers in the South get. In this way, workers will see that unionization has no value and won't be inclined to join unions in the South, which will greatly please the foreign auto companies and keep them firmly attached to the South. So what may look at first like a noble principle (keep the government's nose out of the private sector), is really a parochial interest (keep unions out of plants in their states so foreign companies will continue to invest there). Some observers say that in the deep South, there is no much difference between union and Union Army

Frank Church
- Sunday, December 14 2008 10:22:27

Adam Castro, haha, actually, Commando is a personal favorite in shlock cinema. The entire movie is filled with crazy flubs.

Aanold breaks into a gun store, knowing full well that the alarm will alert the cops within minutes. Not only does he take his time, but the lucious Rae Chong is able to get away, with a cadillac full of goods. The shot of her trying to use a hand held rocket launcher is classic corn.

The macho antics in the movie are eye rolling.

There's also the scene where Aanold throws a pipe at the bad guy, and the force of it not only goes into the guy, but it goes into the steam pipe, throwing steam from his body. The force of such a shot would take the power of Superman. No way in hell could one man attempt that. The pipe would bounce off the bad guy's body--especially since the actor had a chainmail vest on.

What saves the movie is the camp and lucious Rae, one of my childhood fantasies.


Barber, see, I was right, you liberals will sell out for a buck every time. haha.

PM me. I want to know what famous names were at that gig.


Michael Mayhew
- Sunday, December 14 2008 10:14:7

Down the Chyron Rabbit Hole

The current generic term for the sort of textual graphic identifiers (the name of a person being interviewed, for example, or of the volcano being shown, etc), which used to be called Chyrons, is "lower third." (meaning words that you see in the lower third of the screen). Plural is lower thirds -- as in, "The cut's almost ready but we gotta double-check the deliverables and do the lower thirds."

(If it's full screen text it's called a "title," whether or not it was generated electronically)

(unless it moves a lot -- in which case, even if it is a title, it's called a "graphic")

The term for those little network-identifying logos that sit in the lower right hand corner of a show for the entire broadcast is "bug." As in "Yeah, they'll sell us the shot as stock footage but their lawyers say we gotta leave in the bug."

The term for those animated, dancing, leap-up-from-the-bottom of the screen, attention-pulling, narrative-crushing advertisements for the next show after the one you are watching is "rape." Or at least it ought to be.



Steve B
- Sunday, December 14 2008 9:27:53

Throes, not Throws

(But it does make for an interesting image, doesn't it. Death throws. There's a story in there somewhere...)

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Sunday, December 14 2008 9:24:53

Egads I'm exhausted

Cris played a gig in Indian Wells (ten or so miles past Palm Springs) last night.

It was the annual Christmas party at the Vintage Club, an entirely way-too-above-my-paygrade crowd, identified by the manager as "some of the richest people in the world". He pointed out some names. Um, yeah, they were.

Ever been in a room and been hit with the urge to grab the mic and yell "What the %$#@ are you people THINKING!?!?!?"

Fortunately, common sense and a rather large paycheck kept me quiet.

As Mr. Ellison says, "I can be bought, but at the highest possible price".

If Sir Rick has not yet responded, SEMI, Sandra is right. Shoot whatever it is to the above email address and I'll see that Unca H gets the list.

ATC - Thank you for the inadvertent warning. I've been skating the edge at 120-125 for a few years now, and am on a blood sugar med. Glad the Doc (hopefully) caught it before you suffered an unexpected attack of something...

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 has the hallmarks of an unnecessary remake -- even though that's already been done. As has been mentioned, remake the "almosts" and the "missed its", but leave the good ones alone.


(Okay, I'll admit it, that one DOES get better with each iteration.)

The English language does change. It roils and undulates like some misshapen sea serpent in the throws of death.

But there are still rules.

My favorite malaprop that became a word is "flustrated".

St. Pete, FL - Sunday, December 14 2008 9:1:45

Any Breaker Morant fans?
If so, you may enjoy the new film, Australia. It was nice seeing Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson in the same film and they both did a wonderful job with their parts.

Steve Jarrett <sjarrett@aol.com>
Winston-Salem, NC - Sunday, December 14 2008 8:40:41

Isn't it Chyronic?
Funny thing about language. Some words, when superseded by technological change, or social change, or paradigm shifts, go quietly out to pasture and are never again encountered in common usage. But others somehow are able to stay on long past their expiration date without going stale.

For example, when 78 rpm records, which had an inherently short playing time, were employed to disseminate longer stretches of music it was common practice to bind multiple discs into an album. When the long-playing vinyl record replaced the 78 album, however, the result was still commonly referred to as an "album," even though it consisted of only a single disc. And now that the vinyl LP has been superseded by the CD, many people still refer to the CDs as "albums" -- a usage that is now two technological generations removed from its origin.

Similarly, in the motion picture industry, the process of re-recording dialogue in postproduction originally involved making a workprint of the scene in question, then splicing the head of the scene to the tail to create an endless film loop. This loop could then be projected over and over while the actors performed the dialogue repeatedly until both the lip synch and the performance were deemed to be acceptable. The process was therefore referred to as "looping." Nowadays, of course, no one uses a film loop, and the official term for the process is ADR -- Automatic Dialogue Replacement. And yet, many people in the industry still refer to ADR as "looping." I often wonder how many people call it "looping" without even knowing why.

And so it is with "Chyron." It's perfectly true that actual Chyron equipment is a thing of the past. And yet the term is not. Like "looping," it seems to have bridged the generational gap to be picked up even by people who are too young ever to have actually used a Chyron.

What is happening here, it seems to me, is that certain words and phrases, for whatever reason, are able to sidestep obsolescence by making the leap from simple denotative language to figurative language, thereby achieving a kind of lexical afterlife. "Album," "looping," and "Chyron" have, in effect, been promoted from simple word status to the status of metonymy. "Album" no longer denotes a set of discrete discs bound together, but rather figuratively indicates the digital files that are "bound" together to make up the contents of a compact disc. And "Chyron," while it no longer has a concrete referent, lives on as a simple, effective, and broadly understood trope in the film and video industry.

Steve J.

- Sunday, December 14 2008 7:25:10

Attn: Semi-Writer
Rick recently posted he's out with back problems. He may or may not check his email. I suggest you send your list to the estimable Steve Barber (should be able to find his email address on the Pavilion) who will be able to get it to Harlan.


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Sunday, December 14 2008 4:57:32

Pre-caffeinated, Eye-opening Thoughts
Dear Mr. Ellison, et al.:

On seeing "High and Low", by Kurosawa, I must re-act: wow. A true genius of world cinema, at the peak of his creative powers for Toho Studios in the early 1960's. Please see if and where possible, size of screen notwithstanding. Excellent "police procedural" film.

Staying within that genre, I'm not old enough to have seen "Taking of Pelham, 1-2-3" in theatres, but have seen the movie a few times on the "Glass Teat". Wonderful movie. Matthau's best acting since "Fail-Safe", in my opinion. Robert Shaw's leader of the kidnapper's truly chilled me; also, Martin Balsam's frustrated ex-trolley driver convinced me. Truly a movie that evoked a time and place accurately--NYC in the early 1970's, the "ungovernable years" I witnessed during my childhood. There's a history to read: "The Ungovernable City", whose author I can't recall at the moment.

Steve at "soon to be sold off" Wrigley Field: I knew the quote came from a German Romantic; I guessed Goethe. Why I inserted the parenthetical remark. Thanks.

Frank Church: many thanks for the kind sentiment. Coincidentally, my mother has been on me for years at least to attempt a work. I quote: "you've been reading that science fiction (expletive deleted) for all these years. Maybe you should write some." Guess I've been too distracted by life. Will ponder.

Jan: point taken. I simply cringe at the sight of books, of any sort, in the recycling bins or, worse, dumpsters; especially, as "Semi-Writer" has noted, when the volumes appear to carry both monetary and cultural worth. I just think the former owner surrenders culture without at least a struggle to pass the information on. On this point, eBay does play the role of "deus ex machina".

Mr. Castro: I empathize. Blood sugar holding in pre-diabetice stage (100-120 mg/dl). Eating spinach leaves for breakfast. Haven't eaten an egg in weeks. I look at my old Class A uniform and "laugh, clown, laugh".

Mr. Brock: yep, the Grim Reaper gathered in a fine harvest this year. (My great loss was Arthur C. Clarke). Brutus's observation in "Julius Caesar" comforts me somehow: "Death will come when it will." Ended one of my favorite "Twilight Zone (TOS)" episodes: "The Passerby".

Hunter S. Thompson said it best for me: "Buy the ticket, take the ride." Sadly, the ride does end.

Regards from Fear and Loathing in Massachusetts,

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Los Angeles, California - Sunday, December 14 2008 0:54:5

Harlan, sorry for the delay. I sent an email to your webmaster so as not to clutter up this space, or to lay anything that resembles your "business" out there in public (I shudder at the repercussions of such a venial sin--and yes, you still scare me a little).

You are more than welcome to have what I found! I've only listed a few through eBay, but since they have no bids yet, I can still take them off the auction block if they are of interest to you. I'm only reluctant to give up four other books, so along with boxes and a dolly, you may have to have your crew bring a crowbar to free the remainder from my grasp.

Here is one book that is listed now--just look under the username to see the other items.:
Follies & Grottoes (1953): http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=330293734402&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT&ih=014

Edward Brock <spiderz@shentel.net>
Virginia - Sunday, December 14 2008 0:21:57

We have lost so many respected and admired individuals this year that I find myself tempted to forget 2008 completely.

I'll miss these wonderful folks...
George Carlin
Dave Stevens
Bo Diddley
Stan Winston
Richard Wright (of Pink Floyd)
Paul Newman
Studs Terkel
and now, Bettie Page.

The world is now a little dumber, quieter and less beautiful.

Mike Valerio <mikevalerio@roadrunner.com>
Van Nuys, CA - Saturday, December 13 2008 19:54:51


Because you're a stickler for spelling and accuracy, I feel compelled to point out that your reference to a "kyron" should have been spelled as "chyron", as in the Chyron Corporation. In 1966, that company began manufacturing dot matrix character generators for race track and airport displays before quickly adapting the technology for TV news and sports broadcasts (which, up to that point, had been using art cards or slides to get words and numbers on the screen).

Spelling aside, it is highly unlikely that the FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION graphic on your Academy DVDs was applied by Chyron or any other hardware-based character generator system, which are mostly reserved for live TV. More likely, the FYC graphic was created using the kind of software-based titlers (like LiveType or TitleDeko) that are frequently used with non-linear editing systems (Avid, Final Cut Pro, etc).

There was a time in TV when all on-screen graphics were generically referred to as "chyrons", but we're about a decade past that.

- Saturday, December 13 2008 18:47:39


Still waiting to find out if you're interested in getting rid of any of those Found Books before you offer tham to e.bay.

My library is extensive, but you may've turned over something I'd like to have.

When you have a moment. If you please.

Harlan Ellison

Sam Wilson
Los Angeles, CA - Saturday, December 13 2008 17:45:12

QUANTUM OF SOLACE was truly bad, but I'm glad to hear screeners are being distributed...I can watch the action sequences at 1/16th speed and maybe figure out what was going on.

GRAN TORINO is a marvelous movie. If it's Clint Eastwood's last, it's a great note to go out on. John Wayne would never have dared to end the movie as Clint does.

- Saturday, December 13 2008 16:5:4

Keeney: Huh? I read the Godey novel multiple times, before seeing the movie. It was as faithful as you can expect: streamlined for length, but that's a given. All the major plot points were hit.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Saturday, December 13 2008 15:29:27

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3 was already remade once, as a tv-movie, and it was as lame as expected; there's no way to recapture that film's evocation of 70's-grunge Manhattan, or that final closeup of Walter Matthau (which may have beem the best moment of his movie career, even if it wasn't actually the best movie; no other actor could have communicated as much as he did, with that look).


Y'know potboiler movies have gone downhill when you catch bits of the original THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE on TV and realize that it had characters, drama, tension, and even a healthy religious subtext. I'm not making false claims here. It wasn't a great movie, just an effective one at doing what it tried to do. And it wasn't considered much more than a potboiler in its day. The remake couldn't even be bothered to introduce, let alone characterize, its players.


Not quite up to discussing the stupidest action movie moment of all time, a moment that actually exceeds for sheer imbecility Arnold Shwarzenegger plummeting hundreds of feet from a passenger plane, into a swamp, without injury, in COMMANDO; or a bad guy attempting to escape Sam Elliott by boarding a roller coaster, in SHAKEDOWN, only to be killed when the heroic cop tears out the brakes and forces the coaster to crash, an act for which his superior praises him with, "Good Work," ignoring the self-evident facts that the thug couldn't have escaped the coaster in motion and that there was no danger of him escaping since roller coasters always return to their starting point for reloading. (And actually, that movie had several moments just as mindbogglingly stupid.) No, the one I rant about, because it's stupider than THOSE, the one that has been a burr under my skin for years now, took place in a James Bond movie and is stupid for reasons that go way beyond the rubber physics of James Bond movies. Stay tuned.


They're still slamming the Clintons, almost twenty years later, for a failed land deal where they did nothing wrong except lose their own money. Eighty million dollars of taxpaper money was spent trying to pin something on them, without success, unless you count a sleazy little personal matter which was none of the country's business? But the current chimp? The people tallying up his crimes have "Bush Derangement Syndrome." Go figure that.


Deep praise: THE QUEEN OF BEDLAM, by Robert McCammon.


This has been, as mentioned, a difficult pancreatic week, that has contributed to me doing some stupid things of late, at home and on-line. Monday I went to the doctor for a totally routine checkup and they found out that my sugar level was 488. That day I started insulin. Yeah, I have joined the ranks of the diabetic. My numbers are much lower at the end of the week -- I just got a much more acceptable 134 -- but I am still feeling the pinch of the necessary adjustments.

- Saturday, December 13 2008 15:18:21



Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Saturday, December 13 2008 15:9:22

the taking of Pelham
There is no remake that can do it'"right' or 'better'."

How 'bout someone makes a version that follows the plot of the John Godey novel it was based upon?


- Saturday, December 13 2008 13:26:15

Lame Remake Watch

Adding to the dumb-ass remakes list ahead - which, I've come to guess, will ultimately be ALL movie classics - they are now doing TAKING OF PELHAM 1 2 3.

OK, we're not talking about Manchurian Candidate or Casablanca.

But the 70's Walter Matthau version hits it out of the park on 2 counts: the hilarious hard-assed humor spearing every gritty, foul-mouthed New York stereotype (yet, so ACCURATELY!), and David Shire's incredibly cool, quaking jazz score.

Hey, the idiot politician that is the Mayor embodies every asshole we deal with today ("You know what will happen if I go down dere. What ALWAYS happens. I'll get BOOED."); this feature alone makes the movie a one-and-only.

There is no remake that can do it "right" or "better".

Stay tuned for next week's Lame Remake Watch!

eu - Saturday, December 13 2008 13:23:10

W.S.: So someone is discarding a few old books - doesn't mean everybody's doing it.

The TIMES has published its best-books-of-the-year list, and the first one is a book of stories by Steven Millhauser, "a master fabulist in the tradition of Poe and Nabo­kov". Perhaps when Harlan's next one comes out, the world will be ready?

Requiem for a Harlequin: Two Perspectives on Time, and a Celebration of Kairos, in Three Stories by Harlan Ellison (by Michael Spence)

Strictly for Harlan's records, "Mona at Her Windows" was read at KFAI Radio in August - https://www.kfai.org/node/13850

Harlan, you're mentioned in passing in a non-fiction book called "Weil sie wissen, was sie tun" by Wolfram Knorr which is about the American pop culture and entertainment industry and why so much good stuff comes from America.

Frank Church
- Saturday, December 13 2008 10:4:46

William Sherman, you are a very gifted writer. Now go off and do that great American novel. You have it in you, trust me.


Arianna Huffington is damn sexy but she is getting on my nerves with her idea about the greatness of blogging. What makes a good blog, in her mind, is to think of the first thing that comes to mind, because blogs are not essays or anything like that. What has me itching is the fact that that ideal of what makes something a blog also adds to the slovenly ideas that we see online. Sure there is good stuff, but lots of real dreck.

Arianna also has to talk about the fact that blogs may singnal the death of newspapers and actual magazines. Book reading is already dead.

Sure I'd drink her bath water, but that's beside the point.


"How beautiful do the words have to be before they conquer every heart?"


Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Saturday, December 13 2008 9:2:33

Smartass Wordplay, Inc.
Chuck M~ Since you've got the schematics, I need a horse of a different color. Please send contract for complete date and labor costs, thank you. ;)

Semi-Writer~ The problem lies wherever there are gullible ears who don't want to hear the truth. The problem doth LAY, however, solely in the realm of the Stygian Blind who toss the treasure away.

I share the 'freebook' jones. We at work have an elderly gentleman who used to stop by our store semi-monthly on his way to drop off books at the Goodwill and Salvation army. He'd give a couple of us first pick. Nothing extravagant, but I did learn about Jeff Noon, Don Winslow, and Brian A. Hopkins (a brilliant fantasist, in my opinion), I snagged a ferocious novel THE BROOKLYN BOOK OF THE DEAD by Michael Stephens, and a knock-off Timescape paperback, Van Vogt's THE WAR AGAINST THE RULL of which i had never heard.
Free stuff is cool.

I won't discuss the guy i knew who burned his paperbacks for firewood kindling when he was short on wood. Coulda used newspaper or at least lighter fluid, but didn't. Let's just say... i was acquitted.

My true friends are the ones who don't wince at the box upon box, crate upon crate, of books that are ready to go on moving day. They smile, nod, wearily. They understand.

Apparently possessed by the ghost of David Loftus (with 1/10 of his skill),

Wrigley Field, - Saturday, December 13 2008 7:7:59

correction for Mr Sherman
I believe you meant this:
"Wherever they burn books they will also, in the end, burn human beings." - Heinrich Heine

Goethe said something about burning bridges.

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Saturday, December 13 2008 5:48:31

By Hook or By Book
Dear Mr. Ellison et al:

Just a quick observation for the day. Just as, I think (help!), Goethe said that "when books burn, people soon burn afterwards," so do we have the phenomenon of the discarding of books as the prelude to the discarding of people.

In this spirit, Barbara Tuchman would later write: "Books are the carriers of civilization." I suppose that should we discard books, we discard civilization. That would leave only the Internet and a few "bitter-end" newspapers to promulgate values, ideas, entertainment,....and culture. Let's hope the electricity lasts.

As Mr. Bradbury might have written had Guy Montag been a "book disposer" instead of a fireman, "first we dispose of the books; then, we dispose of the pulp resulting from the books; then, we dispose of those who disposed of the books." Melville on Mondays, Tolstoy on Tuesdays, Whitman on Wednesdays,.......but Ellison everyday!! Then, I would wake up in a cold sweat, clutching my current reading project, checking my snoring bulldog, and, contented, return to sleep, dreaming of electric sheep.

Hold onto the books, friends. To the bitter end.

Off to Kurosawa.

Regards from the Athens of America,

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Michael Rapoport
- Saturday, December 13 2008 5:17:52

I shake my head in disbelief when I hear about someone tossing away books like that. With the exception of obviously-not-useful-to-anyone-else stuff (outdated travel guides, completed crossword-puzzle books, books damaged beyond reading), I don't think I've ever thrown away a book in my life. You GIVE AWAY (or sell) what you don't want. Apparently the people discarding books in Semi-Writer's neighborhood either have no friends who read or can't find their way to the nearest library that accepts donations.

Semi-Writer, congratulations on your finds. Good luck selling them on eBay - but if you were to put up a list of some of them here, I suspect you'd find some eager buyers among the denizens of the Pavilion...

Semi-Writer <2muchbullshit@mailinator.com>
Los Angeles, California - Saturday, December 13 2008 2:22:5

Books, books and... you get the picture.
Now I'm not sure where the problem lies: with the neighborhood residents who are throwing out perfectly-good hardcover/dustjacket books, or with me for stopping to retrieve as many of them from the curbside as I can.

This collection has books from the 1950s and up. Dorothy Parker. Meyer Levin. Various other authors, and some true crime as well. Hell, I haven't had a chance to look through them yet. I just grabbed 'em, as is my habit when the two words "free books" come to mind.

(It's REALLY time to get a life, ain't it?)

john zeock
- Friday, December 12 2008 22:13:52

I always go into a movie wanting to love it .DAY started and was,for about 5 minutes , Not Stupid and I dared to hope. Foolish me. Does any one write a script anymore where point B in the plot is arrived at through A because it makes sense and not because it HAS to get there ? Aren't charecters supposed to have discernable human motivations and not simply do whatever the fuck the scriptwriter wants them to do because it would be really, really cool ? I'll learn one day, I swear...

Brian Siano
- Friday, December 12 2008 19:36:30

For Your Consideration
Actually, I thought Harlan was referring to a sequel to that straight-to-DVD release, "SECURITY DEVICE ENCLOSED."

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Friday, December 12 2008 19:19:58

Will Be In Mail By Monday/Tuesday
Dear Mr. Ellison:

Done. Will be in mail by early next week. Glad to be of assistance.

Most cordially,

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

- Friday, December 12 2008 19:6:15

So I Brain Farted
Blame a stressful pancreatic week.

Jordan Owen
- Friday, December 12 2008 18:48:52

re: Cockring of Solace
I had a feeling the new "Bond" film would fall short of the mark. The stunning remake of Casino Royale was a once in a life-time fluke and now they're back to the kind of Saturday morning fluff that was killing the franchise. I'll take everyone's word and skip it.

Being an avid video gamer (I actually discovered HE by way of the IHNMAIMS game), I think its only a matter of time before the action movies are replaced completely by action games. (And given a couple more thousand years, we'll all be wired into the Matrix anyway.)


Chuck Messer
- Friday, December 12 2008 18:46:31

Speaking of QUANTUM OF SOLACE and the bad buzz coming off this film, I've been reading a book titled, FIASCO: HOLLYWOOD'S ICONIC FLOPS. It includes CLEOPATRA, ISHTAR, POPEYE, SHOWGIRLS, LAST ACTION HERO, BATTLEFIELD EARTH, ad infinitum.

One constant that showed in all these out-of-control productions was the lack of a finshed script before the movie went into pre-production. That, and heaping helpings of steaming hubris.

If you don't have the blueprint, the horse will probably finish as a giraffe.


- Friday, December 12 2008 18:43:44


Can you handle another deck of books to sell?


- Friday, December 12 2008 18:42:46


Oh, shit, Lars! Damndamn dammity damn!

Yes, of course, I got them. And splendiferous they are.

And shamefaced am I. I owe you! There was a note enclosed with an amount, and it's in a stack of unattended paperwork on my desk.

No excuse for such dilatory behavior. Tomorrow, on my oath.


- Friday, December 12 2008 18:31:46


Grand offer, and I thank you. Yes, please. Remuneration for postage, of course. Send it care of HERC.


- Friday, December 12 2008 18:24:57


Truly, I am not nearly as stupid as you seem to think.

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION is the kyron burnt onto "screener" DVDs sent out by the studios for "consideration" for awards. It appears as a large caption four or six times during the course of a film; and those of us In The Industry who get them would understand that my use of the phrase ironically should not be ignorantly misread by smartasses with too much time on their hands.

Of course, you shithead! Of COURSE I was talking about QUANTUM OF SOLACE.

Shaking his head in disfuckingbelief, I remain

Smarter than the average bear.

Dennis Thompson
- Friday, December 12 2008 17:54:4

HE hits it on the head
On both points, Bettie Page and James Bond.
Bettie had beauty, grace, and an incredible presence.
The Bond film has none.
It's only worse because I really liked Casino Royale, and expected more of the same. It really is a mess, please don't waste a moment of your life, or a penny of your money on it.

Douglas Harrison
Kamloops, BC - Friday, December 12 2008 16:13:41


I hope your back shows startling improvement forthwith. As if wangling a functional board weren't a big enough pain ...

Mend well.


Ryan Leasher
Los Angeles, CA - Friday, December 12 2008 15:47:16


So you and Susan weren't held rapt by the sharp screenwriting that seemed to culminate with, "Gosh, Billy, those hydrogen cells sure seem unstable"?

Lazy, lazy writing.

What annoyed me most, I think, was that there were so many opportunities to improve it with minimal effort. Truly a waste.

We ended up re-watching _Casino Royale_ a day or two after watching _Solace_ and were shocked by the stark contrast between the two.

Oh, well, here's hoping for a good showing next time out.


Lars Klores <klores@gmail.com>
Alexandria, VA - Friday, December 12 2008 14:32:44

Magic Book
Hi Harlan,

A couple of weeks ago I sent you a copy of the magic book containing the card trick you inspired, along with a magazine reprinting same. Did you receive them? Just checking.


shagin <smodell1995>
Bremerton, Washington - Friday, December 12 2008 14:28:58

Steve's coins sounded lonely as they jingled in the can, so I threw in my share to keep them company.


Rick: Sendin' ya a fresh batch of warm fuzzies for a speedy recovery!


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Friday, December 12 2008 14:13:6

Of Inhuman Bond-age
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

Thank you so much for the warnings about "Quantum of Solace". It refreshes me to realize that I am NOT the only sentient human being tired of the franchise. This goes beyond chewing the same cud more than once; this demonstrates chewing, swallowing, and regugitating the same cud over, and over, and over again, like an infinite loop in a computer program, until the cud exits through an ear. As a math/physics person, however, I am somewhat bemused to see the word "quantum" mentioned so prominently in any part of our popular culture. Perhaps a random civilian or two may check the word out on Wikipedia or, (some higher power) forbid, refer to a book to explore the word. Some good may come of it.

Saving my $10 in sucker's bet money, I intend, therefore, to attend a free showing tomorrow morning at the Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, MA, of Kurosawa's "High and Low". First of his canon without samurai that I shall have seen, outside of parts of "Tora, Tora, Tora".

To Mr. E. directly: I have an extra copy of E.T. Bell's "Men of Mathematics" in my gift pile. Would you like it?

Regards from the "other coast".

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Frank Church
- Friday, December 12 2008 14:7:47


Frank Church
- Friday, December 12 2008 14:6:59

Bettie Page put out a sly danger in her photos, but you knew their was humanity in her image. She also gave off a sly wink to a very repressed age. She was the ultimate irony of the 50s. So many of the harpies and cupcakes of this age just don't have her verve or her charm.

I expect some wonderful essays about her to come from Camille Paglia or John Waters. I bet they were both fans, as was I.

She was a mystery and very sexy.

Big hugs to Harlan for his loss.

- Friday, December 12 2008 13:45:46

3rd Post, I'll Shut Up Now
Yeah, I can see now that he meant the joke. I should have seen. But I'm brain-farting, this week. Ah well.

Steve B
- Friday, December 12 2008 13:24:21

Kill me for a second post, but...

FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION is the label on a film being submitted -- for consideration -- to members of the Academy.

(Or some other voting bloc, like the WGA, for some other film awards...)

Ben Winfield
- Friday, December 12 2008 13:20:45


Something tells me Harlan's choice of title for QUANTUM OF SOLACE is a joke. I don't quite get it yet, but it would probably make more sense if I actually watched the movie.

...which I won't.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Friday, December 12 2008 12:41:35

Not today, because I've already posted and I don't have time, but remind me to offer my oft-repeated rant about One Of The Stupidest Moments I Have Ever Seen In An Action Movie. Without ever going to the trouble to make a list on paper, I have mentally compiled the ones that irritate me most mightily, simply by going to movies to see them; and I must report that a James Bond movie is guilty of one of the five worst. (Even accounting for comic-book physics. Seriously. It's lunatic time.)

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Friday, December 12 2008 12:36:59

RICK - How much can I get if I don't shave an entire goatee for a month???

I just tossed a coupla coins in the tin.

My sole knowledge of Ms Page was as the son of a Navy man. Let's just say that she had many, many fans in that particular service, and I would see her picture frequently when on board a ship. Fuel for a young boy's imagination, however demurely I might have pretended not to have seen anything. Anything at all.

Word is that David Tennant is ALSO headed for back surgery. The BBC is reporting that he had to unexpectedly exit a London production of Hamlet.

New pics up on my website, under the MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE and MONTHLY galleries. Some time in the next few weeks I plan to get in there and clean a few things out.

SUSAN - Amidst the "Covina" incident, I'd posted that I'd like a copy of Mind Fields. Can you confirm if you've got stock available???

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Friday, December 12 2008 12:36:28

Not to be obnoxious about it
I think you're talking about QUANTUM OF SOLACE. (FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION is a funny Christopher Guest movie about Academy Award fever.)

The James Bond movies are a bad habit I picked up in childhood. I always saw them in the theatres, even after they stopped being fun, even when there were sometimes a number in a row with nothing to recommend them. I hated about half the Roger Moore films, despised the Timothy Dalton films, and tolerated the Pierce Brosnans, only to be blown away by CASINO ROYALE. I have not been able to bestir myself to see QUANTUM OF SOLACE, which has terrible buzz. You, sir, have just capped my decision. (Why spend money on Bond when there are so many promising films out there worth seeing? I don't even have to list them...)

Rick Wyatt <rick@rickwyatt.com>
- Friday, December 12 2008 12:20:1

Staches for Cancer
Okay, guys. I have been disabled (as in it's a Faulknerian odyssey for me to make it to the bathroom to have a piss) by a lower back / sciatic nerve issue for a month now and ailing for 6 weeks. Getting slightly better but I may have to have spinal surgery in the next few weeks. Thank you for playing nice and continuing to do so as I can't even sit up straight to work on the computer.

If anyone wants to do a good deed for the day, throw in 5 or 10 bucks to Mustaches for Kids, http://atlantamustache.com - a bunch of us have been growing 'staches for the last 5 weeks. Just click the donate link at the top and mention my name (Rick Wyatt) in the comment field. Today is the last day!

I should know next week sometime if I need surgery or not. Sorry I haven't called, Harlan - it's been kind of hairy.

Gwyneth M905 <cyberdew41@gmail.com>
San Francisco, California - Friday, December 12 2008 12:7:1

She surpassed even Marilyn Monroe, I think, for sheer allure and sensuality. Marilyn managed to parlay her looks and talent into a film career, while Bettie was turned down by Fox for her "too thick Southern accent". But her photographs, with Irving Klaw, with Bunny Yeager, showed the world just how sensuality could be conveyed through a hot body---but always with that "girl next door" grin. Not even Marilyn could do that. If you will forgive my opinion, Marilyn was not a great actress, whereas Bettie was an outstanding model, whose influence lasted far longer than her short career.

Bettie had those wide, childlike eyes, with one ever-so-slightly drooping, and that amazing, beaming, smile. Even in the bondage flix and pix, I had the feeling that she was having fun. According to everything I’ve read about her, she was a consummate professional as a model, inventing her own poses, and willing to pose for hours.

Bettie will always be a modeling babysitter to me--my older neighbor friend, who just happened to like taking her clothes off and posing with cheetahs. There seemed to be NO photos where she didn't look FABULOUS!!!!

As Bunny Yaeger put it, "You just couldn't catch Betty (sic) looking bad. I shot over 1,000 photos of her and I think that she only blinked and closed her eyes in one photo. She was always ready for the camera." (Betty Page Confidential, Page 42.)

Bettie, may you be tantalizing and scandalizing the angels even as I type; you will always be an inspiration to me. Like the Cheshire Cat’s, your smile will linger long after you have Disapparated from this dimension.

- Friday, December 12 2008 11:46:58


Susan and I were sent a studio "screener" of the latest James Bond offaling (not offering) FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION. So we watched it last evening.


This is one of the most genuinely unredeemably ghastly and awful movies I have seen in a lifetime of attending hundreds of thousands of motion pictures. Not even stark curiosity should impell you to see it.

As we used to say about certain writers, "back in NYC, back inna day," this film stinks on ice.

Ice stinks on this film.

If you moronically choose to fail to harken to my gardyloo, kindly do not come back here to discuss this ten million dollar running-sore of cinema.


- Friday, December 12 2008 11:39:46

News of Bettie's passing...and so soon after the loss of Dave Stevens...most of you will know the important, now tragic, connection...well, it hit me very hard. She once said to me, in jesting seriousness, "I'll bet you've touched my breasts more times than any other man in the world."

She was, of course, probably incorrect, because she was making reference to my having had to examine closely many thousands of contact sheet and transparency images of Her Grand Self in the nude, when I was selecting photos for Rogue Magazine when I worked for Hamling in Evanston after I got out of the Army.

Wrong, of course, because there were hundreds of men's magazine editors, not just those at Rogue and Playboy, but hundreds at Titter, Gent, Dude, Erotic Adventures, Penthouse, Gallery, and on and on and on, who were privileged, nobly and honorably privileged to be permitted to view Sweet Bettie using loupe and red grease pencil for circling selections.

Some, of note, pass...and I smile with true meanspiritedness at the scent of cleaner air throughout the universe. The loss of one so small, yet so wonderful, who brought so much joy into a drab world, puts me in a cage of muted sorrow, or as our good friend and sage aphorist Rick Keeney has said, "Death is a fence that won't take whitewash."


shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Friday, December 12 2008 11:24:57

Chuck wrote: "I believe the membership consists of his family and...well, his family. This self-promoting pustule of a "man" will go on and on, tarnishing the image of Christianity, even though he represents a minority that even anti-gay Christians despise."

Yeah, I do. I simply have no tolerance for it. I can't really say if it is unfortunate or not, but I agree with one blogger's opinion that it would be better to take down all of the symbols rather than feed the @%!$!! that's bubbling in the stewpot.

My brother and I can't agree if we would rather see a large holiday tree decorated with symbols and memorabilia of Washington state, or one decorated with representations of all the world's faiths.

The closest I come to Christianity is having Christian friends. I'm a blatant practitioner of respect and tolerance. Pisses people right the hell off, y'know?


Mark: Awww...you little yaoi horndog, you. How sweet.




I received an email yesterday from the counsellor at Young Jackanapes school thanking me for coming over to help with the "could have been much worse" crisis of yesterday.

Um...thanking me for helping? I'm his mother. That's part of having a child. I'm not perfect, I'm not even in the same state as perfect, but...he's thanking me for being there?

That's a scary thought...


Andrew F <asfuller@owlsoup.com>
Portland, OR - Friday, December 12 2008 10:50:38

A bit about pits
Pitbulls are not a breed, but a type of dog, which includes several specific breeds like American Staffordshire Terrier, the original English Staffie, Bull Terrier, and more recent versions variously called American Pitbull Terriers and such. This makes classifying them difficult, especially for lawmakers defining banning laws. They are complex dogs with a sense of humor, endless affection and determination. Like any breed, they have tendencies, but individual dogs have temperament, which can make all the difference in behavior. Check out my companion, Grendel at http://www.owlsoup.com/dog, where there can be found some adorable photos and additional informative links.

In other news: I'm working on twelve new stories for a calendar gift, and re-reading (for at least the 10th time) HE's and Yerka's Mind Fields, Borges Ficciones, and Calvino's Invisible Cities.

Lori Koonce <purplelynn35@gmail.com>
San Francisco *aka a little south of sanity*, California - Friday, December 12 2008 1:32:23


Happy Birthday you cute little thingyou!

I finally got your number off my Face book page, and will call you later on today!

BTW, seeing as how it's way bad form to kick someone's ass the week of their BD, I'll pospone the fight for a week. Besides, it's gonna take at least that long for me to make enough raspberry Jello to make it worth our efforts.

Los Angeles, California - Friday, December 12 2008 1:4:48

'Tis the Season...
The Christmas holiday, like many other things in my life, is something that will always remain a comfortable memory from my "pre-tween" days (aren't these modern labels just so darned cute and nifty?). I'll always treasure those insulated childhood years filled with decorated pine trees and hip-deep snow and Rankin/Bass specials, when the world really did seem like a Charlie Brown cartoon and all the happiness in the world could be contained in a red plastic snow block maker. And miracles really HAPPENED, damn it; after all, that's why we have saints. Then I got older and saw how things really are--the financial struggles, the emotional conflicts, the religious differences, the setbacks, the disappointments--and now I view the holidays as little more than a worldwide puppet show. "Let's hold up that peace and love illusion, now. Oops, a litte higher on your end, if you please. All right, we're lookin' good! Now, come on, it's time for punch. Yay!"

To go back to the topic of the recycle bin for a second... yes, sadly, I did dive in and rescue almost all of the books. But doesn't this fall into the "get a life" category when this kind of activity is the highlight of your day? On the more cheerful side of dumpster diving, the same people who so callously dismissed "old" books also threw out a collection of 1920s playbills from Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles/Pasadena and England. I've only listed two on eBay so far, but they have made me just over $55.

So... okay, fine. Christmas miracles can still happen. You got me there.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Thursday, December 11 2008 22:28:28

Goodnight sweet princess.

Harlan knew her. I did not. But I blow her a goodnight kiss. Memory will serve as epitaph.

Tad Dunten
Hines, Oregon - Thursday, December 11 2008 21:38:6

Goodbye, Bettie.

Just... damn.

Doug Odell <DragonsHonorFivePillars@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Thursday, December 11 2008 21:15:8

RIP Bettie Page
Page, who was also known as Betty, attracted national attention with
magazine photographs of her sensuous figure in bikinis and see-
through lingerie that were quickly tacked up on walls in military
barracks, garages and elsewhere, where they remained for years.

Her photos included a centerfold in the January 1955 issue of then-
fledgling Playboy magazine, as well as controversial sadomasochistic

Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Thursday, December 11 2008 20:53:51

Thank you for those wonderful images, I may have nightmares tonight imagining Doug and Harlan together with Cramer being the result of their union.

On a far different note, Rick Keeney and I are meeting up at Dreamhaven in south Minneapolis on Saturday around 1 PM, anyone who is around and would like to join us would be welcome

DTS <none>
OZ - Thursday, December 11 2008 20:29:1

FRANK's post about Pit Bulls
FRANK: Like so many others, I used to think they were bad juju -- something in the breeding, perhaps. There are dogs that can be a bit twitchy -- dobermans, German shepards, etc. -- and need an owner who brooks no B.S. and lets the dog know who is the subserviant in its particular pack (which is how they view families). In any case, after a particular dog was dropped off on my porch one day -- and when no one knew for sure if it was a pit or a crossbreed (a staffie/boxer, say) -- I did some research on the breed. And found: 1) There isn't a definitive lineage (pits are a mixture of several differen breeds, which is why some are larger and wider than others) and 2) Even more so than most breeds, their main motivator is to please the human who owns them. Which is why people succeed in turning them into such monsters sometimes.

Speaking from experience, here: I've owned at least 10 dogs during my lifetime (when two of them had litters, that number was, temporarily, 22). Of all the dogs I've ever owned, the one that was mistaken for a pit (by a few dog pound types, and others we ran into) turned out to be the sweetest, gentlest "soul" of them all. Worst thing he would do to another dog (or a person who liked to play rough) was bump and tackle, like staffies do, or pinch (using his teeth on loose skin as if nibbling corn on the cob). He wouldn't bite (even when another dog took off the tip of his ear) or growl (serioulsly -- there are play growls), or bear his teeth or attack or whine and holler like a crazed mongrel. He enjoyed falling asleep on his back -- on the couch -- sharing my bed (whether I wanted him to or not, since he figured I was his mother), nibbling on human food, riding in the front seat so he could watch the crazy humans, and chasing possums and cats. He also learned to yawn/groan -- Chewbacca-like -- in such a manner that it sounded as if he was saying, "mama." And he was sensitive as hell (if upbraided, he would mope -- when I once laughed at a pratfall of his, he managed to affect an embarrassed look and then ran back and nibbled the back of my arm until I squealed like a pig, while still laughing and rolling about helplessly on the floor). He had a short dark hair that looked as sleek as a seal's, and felt like a plush toy. And _every_ time we ran into a dog-loving lady, said lady would refer to him as...gorgeous (made _me_ jealous, I can tell ya). I could tell from his behavior that he wouldn't even try to defend himself -- seriously defend himself -- against an agressive dog, so I was always ready with walking stick when we went out on excursions.

Coolest dog, ever. Right up there with Rin tin-tin, Lassie, Blood and...Ahbhu (really).

Michael Mayhew
- Thursday, December 11 2008 17:48:42


Every year about this time I re-read your essay, “No Offense Intended, but Fuck Xmas!” It’s one of my favorites. It’s not that I agree with everything you wrote, or even most of it, but it forces me to separate the holiday wheat from the chaff – to pick the two or three things that matter to me about Christmas and stay sane.

But this year, when I read about the “Black Friday” incident at a Long Island Wal-Mart, in which a crowd of several thousand frenzied Christmas shoppers broke through a glass door as they swarmed inside, in the process smothering to death a store employee, my first thought was maybe Ellison’s right. Completely right. If it’s come to this (and the endless rerun of the Shocking Video of the aftermath, as members of this same mob joke about the man’s weight while the paramedics try to revive him), then maybe we should just toss the whole sorrow show in a dumpster.

I was going to end this by saying that I am now turning to the east and saying “God forgive me, I’ve had the same thoughts,” but frankly that’s a lot more glib then I’m feeling right now. No doubt the feeling will pass -- but maybe that's a tragedy, too.


Gwyneth M905 <cyberdew41@gmail.com>
San Francisco, California - Thursday, December 11 2008 17:8:26

Coffee with SF Webderlanders this week

It's my birthday today! Whoopie! I am now officially over the hill, a geezer, a codger, a curmudgeonly grouch who can tell all the kids to, "GET OFF MY LAWN GODDAMN IT!!!!"

SOO, I WOULD LIKE TO.. oops sorry, blame the shouting on my encroaching deafness...invite the SF Webderlanders, ESPECIALLY the DIVINE MS. Lori, whom I foolishly challenged to a jello wrestling competition over on the forums, to coffee and biscuits.

Paeans will be sung to sneaking senescence, coffee and tea will flow, highly caloric carbs will be consumed, a good time will be had by all!

Besides, I have to celebrate the 1. new tattoo 2. new piercings and 3. portrait by Merkley??? that mark my passage into an (cue flutes and bass) Age of Aquarius.


Peace, Love, Joy, Kindness, Freedom, Friendship, & Fun!


- Thursday, December 11 2008 15:25:34

A Truly Unique Quandary

When I first invoked the infamous "truly unique" here years ago, Harlan nailed ME for it too. But being the incorrigible, spiteful brat that I am, I deliberately repeated it in my posts about 100 times. I never used it again since, ANYWHERE.

Interestingly, though, it's SUCH a COMMON faux pas. I often hear professionals in journalism use it, for example. I heard Charlie Rose use it. I heard Thom Hartmann use it. I've heard MANY otherwise literate people use it.

Look, can't we just make it the "marijuana" issue of grammar, and "legalize" its application? You're outnumbered, so we might as WELL!

(PS - in case you find an error in this post as well, I typed fast, and had NO time to edit! Now my ass is covered!)

Chuck Messer
- Thursday, December 11 2008 15:20:33


You probably already know the so-called Westboro "Church" is simply Fred Phelps' tax shelter. I believe the membership consists of his family and...well, his family. This self-promoting pustule of a "man" will go on and on, tarnishing the image of Christianity, even though he represents a minority that even anti-gay Christians despise.

The world will never be rid of people like that. Fortunately, there are also people like you and the other patrons of the Pavilion. Keep the faith.


shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Thursday, December 11 2008 14:7:50

My day started well...hot cocoa and Victor Borge will do that to a person.

I made it through a tween crisis with Young Jackanapes that could have been much worse.

And then my brother turns my attention to a debacle of bigh on biblical proportions in Olympia.


How I missed this, I don't know. I'll bastardize a quote and admit that "Igorance is bliss", and then take another breath and focus on reason and common courtesy.

Come to Washington state. We have mountains. We have the San Juan Islands. We have plenty of knee jerk hate, and to spare.

Cindy, Brian, and the rest of the Webderlanders who hold to a Christian faith -- Thank you for not giving in to the convenience of hate.


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Thursday, December 11 2008 13:31:50

The English Language, When Properly Written
Dear Mr. Ellison, et al.:

May I inject into this Mobius curve of an ongoing narrative a brief observation about writing in what, I believe, Marlowe coined the "muvver tunge"? (In homage to Elizabeth I).

As our dear host has noted many times here in the Pavilion, rules do exist in English; the challenge has lain in the fact that, unlike the Romance languages of Europe--Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian, etc.--English-speaking countries have NEVER established Royal Academies or Directorates to fix rules of usage, vocabulary, or to ban words stolen from other languages, etc. How else to explain Australian English?

Rules, like common law, survive by custom. The responsibilities for remembering rules, etc., lay on the users and Strunk & White, never governments. As all my grade school English teachers--Sisters of St. Francis-- and prep school instructors--Brothers of St. Francis Xavier--stressed to me, upon threat of the most Holy Office of the Language Inquisition, or a yardstick, or the dreaded red pen, clarity of expression in writing denotes clarity of thought in the ideas being denoted.

As Brother John Mahoney, C.F.X., now teaching in Burundi, told me: "To write well, William, read excellent writing." Probably why I still bother with some guy named, uh, Ellison.

Regards from the reading capital of the U.S.,

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Jim Maloy
- Thursday, December 11 2008 10:48:38

I'm gonna go curl up with a copy of THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE for a couple of months. Bye.

Steve B
- Thursday, December 11 2008 10:36:19



Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Thursday, December 11 2008 10:35:31

This explains the tears when I asked Keith "Who's your Daddy?".

While I try, deperately at times, to be literate in my messages and accurate with my use of the language, Harlan's commentary below is the sort of thing that drove me to photography.

1000 words a pop, and nobody can correct your grammar.


And ain't that a bitch?

(DTS, ATC and assorted other three letter acronyms who come here often excepted of course. Not accepted. Excepted.)

Firming up plans for the momentous return of Lord James Moran and the Lady Jodie Kearns to our fair shores. They are attending the grand ball known as Gallifrey One here in Los Angeles this February.

More to come. News at 11.

Frank Church
- Thursday, December 11 2008 10:10:40

Hey, Ellison, it's SEVERAL not everal.

I know, shut up Frank.


How about that story of the pitbull who took three bullets for his family. The fucker lived--a miracle? Maybe not all pits are evil.

Keith Cramer <remarck@hotmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Thursday, December 11 2008 10:3:29

Repeal Prop 8!
For I have 2 daddies.

Finder Doug
- Thursday, December 11 2008 10:1:37

Hmm. We have a terrible "Keith has two fathers" moment.

So this is what awkward feels like...

Finder Doug
- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:59:53

KEITHER - Your mother and I raised you better than to peddle garbage for free on the internet.

I mean the video. The basement is wonderful. A little narrow, and very white, and Lord knows you can't run a thousand watts of movie lights and two cameras off those outlets, but it's comfy enough. I encourage people Keith has met to take him up on this substantial value, for he is an excellent host: he's polite, doesn't serve marginal produce to his guests, and only picks his nose when he thinks you're not watching.

But for the love of all that's holy, don't let him screen video for you. Ever. Sicko.

ALL - I received an unexpected opportunity this past week: a last minute, one-off freelance assignment for a short (500 word) biographical sketch for a salsa dance magazine start-up here in DC. I'm ashamed to say it was my first real exposure to classic Afro-Caribbean musical styles and their creators - and happy to add it may not be my last: the editor is considering making it a regular gig, thus quarterly if the magazine finds its audience.

- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:54:50

You're a good boy, Keith. Your mother and I always said that.

The occasional slip is not a felony. I'm as guilty as the rest of you. I entered a post everal nights ago when, according to Susan, I was dead asleep...and still typing. It was all in caps; and the next day I had but NO MEMORY of having done the communication. So, apology accepted; go forth, my son, and expostulate crepitatingly no more.

Yrs. in Christ, Harlan

- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:50:20

C'MON YOU PEOPLE -------- !!!!!!!

I didn't sign on this cruise to be your remedial 2nd grade English teacher. The hideous slovenliness and rushed gibberish spelling, misplacements of apostrophes, and just plain lazy habits of this internet thing may infest the rest of the web, where every semiliterate fancies him/herself a savant, but I find it painful to get it here. One or two of you have actual physical limitations that permit exceptions to My Perfect Writing Rule, and we take note of those exceptions and say nothing.

But the rest of you are just getting goddam ludicrous.

As some wise fellow recently posited: what is WRONG with you people?

Miss Dexter, Grade 2, Lathrop Grade School

Keith Cramer <remarck@hotmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Thursday, December 11 2008 9:48:13

Big H.
I know, I know...and also...thorough should have been through.

I did not proofread the post. I'm, like, so ashamed!

Jordan Owen
Atlanta, GA - Thursday, December 11 2008 9:46:25

Mr Ellison:

Thank you for the insight- It would seem my reading list just expanded exponentially!

I actually have the DVD of The Human Operators. Like in IHNM, its an example of the environment actively working to oppress its inhabitants. That's something that I'm considering in my story as well, but with a different spin.

You're right about how one shouldn't do a tired genre unless they can put some new life into it. Its for that reason that I stay the hell away from writing about haunted houses, vampires, werewolves, etc.

Funny you should mention Heinlein- I've always wanted to do a military science fiction story but shied away from it because I don't think I can top Starship Troopers.

I'll keep your words in mind as I labor over the empty page...

- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:44:4


It's "afterward," not "afterword."

And less "valleygirlspeak" would be "as if," rather than "like."


- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:41:26


It's "afterward," not "afterword."


- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:39:37


Two things.

1) First line of your post: "who," not "that."

2) I trust you saved all those books. Tell me you did; and if you don't want them, I'll take them. I'll take ALL of them. And: I'll have someone come to you to get them.


- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:35:13


It is unacceptable, incorrect, and egregious bad grammar to say "very unique." As I've screamed here over and over and over. UNIQUE is what is termed an ULTIMATE WORD. It stands alone. It CANNOT be modified. Something is either unique or it's not! Not "very" unique or "truly" unique or "almost" unique or "any other fucking word" unique.

What the hell is wrong with you people?

And it ain't "mental" telepathy, either. Nor is it music hath charms to soothe the savage "beast." Nor is the word nuke-yoo-loor!

What the hell is wrong with you people?


- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:29:51



(Although I much prefer to deal with people by their real name, not some goofy internet "handle." Why should we answer honestly and openly--which is what you're asking of me--when the total stranger asking the question lacks the honesty even to make inquiry with his own face?)

Nonetheless. Common courtesy reply.

I try never to chew my cud twice. That is why I've never written a sequel to any story. (Not even "A Boy and His Dog" which, though there be two other "stories" featuring Vic and Blood, they are all just three sections of the much-larger novel, BLOOD'S A ROVER, still unfinished...and no relation to the forthcoming James Ellroy novel.) I began writing DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND as a novel--working title: OBITUARY FOR AN INSTANT--but almost immediately after I began work on the narrative, I got the OUTER LIMITS assignment, and did DEMON as a sort of precis note to myself, so I wouldn't forget the basic plot. But once having done the teleplay, I lost interest in writing the novel, and so the few actual pages I had written remain unused in my files.

I try not to rehash material done (in my view) properly the first time around, unlike those working today who need fifteen sequels to tell the boring tale of the Search for the Belt Buckle of the Elf Kingdom Ad Seriatum.

And the Building was not the "Baxter" as in The FF, it was, and is, The Bradbury Building.

So. The only extant version of DEMON is the graphic novel, available for purchase at HERC. (And if you don't know what THAT is, it's a question you should ask others who dwell here.

Harlan Ellison

- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:29:0



(Although I much prefer to deal with people by their real name, not some goofy internet "handle." Why should we answer honestly and openly--which is what you're asking of me--when the total stranger asking the question lacks the honesty even to make inquiry with his own face?)

Nonetheless. Common courtesy reply.

I try never to chew my cud twice. That is why I've never written a sequel to any story. (Not even "A Boy and His Dog" which, though there be two other "stories" featuring Vic and Blood, they are all just three sections of the much-larger novel, BLOOD'S A ROVER, still unfinished...and no relation to the forthcoming James Ellroy novel.) I began writing DEMON WITH A GLASS HAND as a novel--working title: OBITUARY FOR AN INSTANT--but almost immediately after I began work on the narrative, I got the OUTER LIMITS assignment, and did DEMON as a sort of precis note to myself, so I wouldn't forget the basic plot. But once having done the teleplay, I lost interest in writing the novel, and so the few actual pages I had written remain unused in my files.

I try not to rehash material done (in my view) properly the first time around, unlike those working today who need fifteen sequels to tell the boring tale of the Search for the Belt Buckle of the Elf Kingdom Ad Seriatum.

And the Building was not the "Baxter" as in The FF, it was, and is, The Bradbury Building.

So. The only extant version of DEMON is the graphic novel, available for purchase at HERC. (And if you don't know what THAT is, it's a question you should ask others who dwell here.

Harlan Ellison

Jim Maloy
- Thursday, December 11 2008 9:13:24

"It could be my gift, to you."
You have a very unique sense of what constitutes holiday cheer, Mr. Cramer.

Keith Cramer <remarck@hotmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Thursday, December 11 2008 8:5:43

holiday gifts - merry happy mazeltov, joy and peace and charity

If anyone hasn't seen the "Two Girls, One Cup" video, I can e-mail it to you. It's only about 4Mb. I plowed thorough that Internet fad without having seen it, and then afterword, felt like I had missed out on a bit of cultural history. So I tried in vain to find it, but nobody was hosting it. So I got it from the source. It could be my gift, to you.

Secondly, as a growing number of you know (Finder Doug, Peg, Douglas Harrison), I live kinda close to Washington, DC, and I've got this basement bedroom (w/queen size bed) and separate private bathroom. Though I am trying to move, I will not have the place on the market by Inauguration Day, so if anyone wants a free hovel to shore up at, to visit and experience {{HISTORY IN THE MAKING}}, I would be happy to throw my doors open to you for free. There are no hotels to be had. There are homes to rent, but I hear one just went for $67,000 for the week.

Obviously I will be glad to host anyone, but I will give preference to those I have met at least once. If you're interested, call me or e-mail me and let's set it up. I am not yet invited to any of the Inaugural Balls, but I do plan to trek out and watch the swearing in ceremony.

Yours in kindness and brotherly love,


Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Thursday, December 11 2008 3:57:50

Dear Dr. Magoo:
It's actually called the Bradbury Building.

Los Angeles, California - Thursday, December 11 2008 2:42:44

People ain't got no respect...
For books, that is. One of my biggest pet peeves is with people that don't see the value in books--either their intellectual/entertainment contents or their cost. But this morning hit me on a new level of disgust, for while passing by a big, blue recycle bin I glanced in and was dumbstruck to find a collection of mostly first-edition books (with their dust jackets) from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Just... pitched into the trash. The worst thing was that the most valuable one in the collection, "The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson, was at the bottom and half-submurged in scummy water.

We're talking the original 1959 Viking Press copy. With dust jacket. Which would've been near-perfect if not for the water damage. Ouch. Oh, yea, and the hardcover/dustjacket version of "The Lottery" was in the same boat. Double ouch.

Doctor Magoo <Django68@hotmail.com>
dALLAS, tX - Thursday, December 11 2008 0:25:1

Mr.Ellison. Great pleasure here just to have you read my question. even if I know its a Nuisance in the stomach to keep hearing the same ones over and over again.

But you do things that interest people. even if its something you done Many Calendars ago.

Did you ever write an official story of the Glass Handed Demon? or Still have on the plate a Novel of the story?

Its just one of those creations that stick with you and makes one a Dreaded Fan Boy(helpless here)

Thanks for everything!!

P.S DoubleWide
Did you recognize the Baxter Building(ha, sorry i used the fantastic four due to lack of memory here) as the building Scott used in Blade Runner(I'm guessing as a Tribute to your story)

Alan Coil
- Wednesday, December 10 2008 21:3:17

Roger Ebert can no longer talk, but he sure said a lot about the power of good writing here:


He begins by telling the story of his friendship with sportwriter Bill Nack, and mentions Secretariat, Nabokov, Mark Twain, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Studs Terkel, Molly Ivins, Cormac McCarthy, and more.

- Wednesday, December 10 2008 19:33:28


The first REAL version of this concept, of people traveling in a great arklike ship, and being unaware that it isn't all the world, was done by Don Wilcox (a pseudonym, I believe) in the old pulp AMAZING STORIES. Title was something very close to "The Million Year Voyage." Thereafter, no one messed with the concept till Bob Heinlein wrote "Universe" and its sequel for John W. Campbell, Jr. at ASTOUNDING SCIENCE FICTION about 1939. It blew the slats out of the sf crib; done as a book many years later. And there's Kate Wilhelm's MILE-LONG SPACESHIP, which is, to this day, nonpareil.

And let me just say this: if you cannot write a better, newer, stronger version than the impeccable, stunning and inventive Heinlein swing at the concept, or Kate's tour de force, then stay the fuck away from it. You must find your own way or (as Hemingway put it) "beat dead men at what they have done better than you can."


P.S. There's also "The Human Operators," the exquisite short story I wrote with A.E. van Vogt, for PARTNERS IN WONDER. They did a decent job of teleplaying it on THE OUTER LIMITS just a few years ago, for the new incarnation from MGM.

Dennis C
Glendale, CA - Wednesday, December 10 2008 17:20:30

Sixth Sense
Sorry for dredging up painful memories.
But it's a freaking great story.

alan <DaliEnoRox@aol.com>
largo, fl. - Wednesday, December 10 2008 17:9:44

re.qualifications for presidency
i remember HE saying a time ago here that Palin was not qualified to be President.after seeing how Dong Yun Yoon handled a jet slamming into his house and killing his whole family i can with certain say he is qualified and certainly would have my trust to act civilized and walk high in the shoes of trust expected of any citizen given the great experience of representing the common experience of being a u.s. citizen.the posting has kinda bugged me for a while. after the latest chicago corruption scandal that is not even close to being fully layed out for us yet,what is qualification for president?Ray Bradbury!! i wish and wish. what did Ray say sometime back,that we should let disney run the world. i think not.maayybbee,no!

DTS <none>
Confusion - Wednesday, December 10 2008 15:41:17

JORDAN's post
Hey JORDAN: Thanks for weighing in on what is a _very_ complex (and nebulously posed) question in my earlier post. Not sure if it's ever likely to be fully answered. Actually, even over here in OZ, there are incidents of violence on public transportation. I was just musing over whether or not public transporation contributes to civility (because we see each close up every day, and not at a remove, from inside our cars) or has the opposite effect. As for regarding Melbourne -- and even Australia as a whole -- in a Utopian manner, not really. Yeah, the place is still new and exotic (from the birds to the accents of the women), but it's hard to ignore the fact that there is less violence in this city of four million (less _gun_ violence, and less violence overall) than there was in Kansas City, MO (which is only just passing the one million mark). Shortly after I moved to Kansas City (with my wife, who was born and raised there), a mother and her daughter were shot and killed (at a video store they were working at, around 4 p.m.); this took place only 4 miles away from our home, an act of violence by a man who was using I-70 to commit a series of murders. He had to drive within half a block of where we lived to get to that store. Shortly before we left Kansas City (and America), two teenage boys shot and killed a man who was out for his morning jog at 6 a.m., only three blocks from where we lived. The boys were from Independence, which is only five miles from where we lived. In between those two events that bookended my nearly two decades in Kansas City, I read, or heard (on the radio) or viewed (on TV, usually) about some type of violence, usually gun-related, that occured in Kansas City _every single day_ . And KC is city with a MUCH smaller population than Melbourne's; a city with a MUCH lower cost of living than Melbourne's. So why so much violence? Obviously the ease with guns can be had in the U.S. is a HUGE factor. But what else is flipping so many switches? Is it the surfeit of violent shows on TV and in the cinema? Is it the 24/7 saturation of fear mongering(from the media, via "news" and reality shows, to some of the more popular fictional shows like CSI, etc., which dwell on murders, to our Big Brother style government which knows how to control the masses by using color-coded fear buttons)? Is it too much religious intolerance? (If you've lived in the midwest, or most states _not_ on either coast, you'll know what I'm talking about -- especially if you had the chance to live in another western country, where believers aren't quite so arrogant about their faith). Is it the influence of the hip-hop/rap culture? (Which I truly believe has been mostly detrimental to innercity life in most large cities). Is it too many drugs and/or too much booze? Is it a lack of proper education throughout our lives? (Having lived nextdoor to Kansas for 18 years, and seeing how well-informed the average joe is in Melbourne about politics, this is a valid question).
Or is it a combination of all of the above?

So far, a few of the main differences I've noticed (other than the obvious population size, which would mean _more_ violence in America), is the fact that there are few guns (because of the laws enacted in the 90s), that people here have the option of using public transportation (in KC, there was none) which can cut back on road rage (and often allows people to interact with others they might otherwise avoid), that it's sunnier and the weather is clement, that there _is_ a lot less intolerance in this city (it still exists, but not in the harsh, act-out-in-a-violent-or-hateful-way it so often does in the U.S.), and that they tend to have fewer violent movies in the cinema (I think the last item figures the least in the behavior of people in this country/city, and the first item figures prominently in the fact that there are fewer violent acts/encounters that result in death (because, obviously, when you're angry and you have a gun at your side, it's easy to pull the trigger first and think about it later).

In any case, though I don't think they solved the puzzle (and though you were wrong in assuming I was looking through rose-colored glasses when viewing Melbourne), thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

- Wednesday, December 10 2008 13:9:26

"That's a great-looking watch you're wearing. Where'd you get it?"

I'm sorry.

I'm truly sorry.


The guy may have been an untalented pile of moss, but that was one GREAT response!

I like your watch TOO!

Mark Walsh <mmwalsh4@yahoo.com>
Weymouth, MA - Wednesday, December 10 2008 13:0:24

A Note of Thanks to Harlan Ellison

A brief note of thanks. A few years ago, I started making your Cafe Ellison Diabolique, and since that time, my life has changed for the better. Not only do I delight myself with this brew several times a week, but I also make for all sorts of gatherings here at Walshy World Headquarters. And there has never been one dissatisfied coffee enthusiast in the lot. I am much loved for offering such an elixir, but I defer the credit to you.

I confess that I have varied the ingredients to suit my pallet, but I have remained true to the essential design; I even make sure that guests add a drop or two of honey to their cups.

You, sir, are the Charles Atlas of Java.

Mark W.

Jordan Owen
- Wednesday, December 10 2008 12:37:49

Sorry to derivate from the discussion of Mr. Ellison's Sixth Sense experience- that all went up while I was typing this. :)

Jordan Owen
Atlanta, GA - Wednesday, December 10 2008 12:35:44

PS response/adaptation/genre question...
Hello all-

To answer the PS question asked about Melbourne- you mentioned Boston as being one of the less safe places, but suggested that Melbourne was more civil because it had public transportation. Having lived in Boston for 4 years during college, I had first hand experience with the public transportation there and, if anything, it contributed to the hatred and disdain I felt for most of those people. Being cramped in close during rush hour, coughed on all winter, and begged for change by some of humanity's revolting genetic misfires contributed to the profound sense of misanthropy that I felt.

Thus, I would suggest that one reason Melbourne might seem safer and more livable is that it might, for whatever reason, have a "Utopian" quality in your mind. This is not necessarily a bad or delusional thing: I have a Utopian outlook on my city, Atlanta, and it makes the daily grind of frustrating people, etc, easier to deal with. I have no idea if that is the case or not, but Haruki Murakami articulated what I'm talking about in his story "Slow Boat to China."

On the subject of adaptations, there was a VERY cheap student adaptation of IHNMAIMS on youtube, though I think it may be gone now.

There is also video on there of a BAND called I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream. I'm tattle telling on these guys because NO BAND has the right to use the greatest short story ever written as their band title.

(On a similar note, there's a band out now called THELEMA. Do those assholes even realize that THELEMA is a religion and that naming your band that is about as pompous and arrogant as naming it CHRISTIANITY or BUDDHISM? But I digress...)

Lastly, I wanted to pose a question for debate among Webderlander:

I've been working on this story that's set in a "contained universe," that is to say an environment like a space ship that is a self sustaining world cut off from external reality. There have been other stories set in such "contained universes" (Ellison did it in IHNMAIMS and again in the Starlost, Clarke had the RAMA series, Vonnegut had Slaughter House 5, Pauley Shore had Bio-Dome, Brad Strickland had Ark Liberty, etc) so I've always thought of "contained universe" as a sub-genre of science/speculative fiction writing and one that could be employed without fear of plagiarism.

But then I got to thinking- there have been a great many book series for young adults to come about lately about young children who find out they have magical powers and go off to special schools to learn how to use them. People actually refer to these various books as "magic school" books (or something similar) as if trying to pass this off as a genre and not just a RIP OFF OF HARRY POTTER!

So my question, to you all, is at what point does an idea become so universal that its no longer plagiarism to employ it in a story?

For instance, the idea of people being able to wire their brains directly into computers was done in IHNMAIMS then later by William Gibson in Johnny Mnemonic, then by Masamune Shirow and Mamoru Oshi for Ghost in the Shell, and most recently by the Wachowski Brothers for four Matrix movies.

Curious to see what y'all might think,

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Wednesday, December 10 2008 12:1:27

Corporate Fascism, or Fascistic Corporatism
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

Yes, indeed, the modern corporation in many ways "ipso facto" adheres to the command-and-control model of a fascist state. In fact, having been in the belly of a few of these beasts over my short life, the reasons present themselves plainly. A corporation must utilize its available resources to maximum efficiency in order to maximize profits and dividends for its shareholders, the real elite under discussion here. Therefore, centralized decision-making is crucial.(I would not even use the term "fascist", as a previous poster has used it: "totalitarian" would suffice, as Hannah Arendt used it in her work, "The Origins of Totalitarianism". After all, Stalin envied Henry Ford's River Rouge plant, and used his management techniques in order to implement his "Five Year Plans" in the 1920's and 1930's. Ford and Hitler also begat a mutual admiration society, as did many industrial titans of the 1930's. The joint stock company preceded the modern nation state by at least one hundred fifty years.

President Eisenhower, in his televised farewell address in 1961, warned of a "military-industrial complex" in order to explain to us dolts that such in-breeding between the corporate suites and government departments of the U.S. undermined liberty, party notwithstanding. Mindset matters here: like many of my friends who received their officer commissions, and would later earn their MBA's after leaving the military, only to become VP's of various firms, corporate officers take and execute orders, irrespective of the effect said orders may have on "stakeholders" or outside vendors only for the good of the corporation. (Our dear host, I'm certain, would agree to this.) Do not forget history, again: Hitler's most ardent civilian supporters were industrialists--i.e. Oskar Schindler. Like the Founding Fathers, elites fear "The Mob", "The Masses", or "The People". Too anarchic and wasteful of resources.

For such an enterprise--corporation, nation-state, military--to function at highest efficiency, an atmosphere of paranoia must exist within in order to keep such disparate individuals in line with the decisions made by a "High Command".

Just a random thought for this holiday season.

On a lighter note, now reading "Lincoln's Dreams" by Connie Willis for my reading group. Wonderful novel.

Regards from what's left of the "other coast",

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Wednesday, December 10 2008 11:46:9

Coincidence? Perhaps not...
The all-time worst episodes of THE GREEN HORNET ever filmed, a two-parter called "Invasion from Outer Space," were the only two segments produced by... Stan Shpetner!

(Harlan, did you ever tell him where you got the watch?)

Frank Church
- Wednesday, December 10 2008 11:24:52

Harlan, I am going to do a stage production of Jefty Is Five, but all the charactors will be wearing pink tutus and Jefty will be represented by a plastic pink flamingo. It will be an experimental look at one of our great authors, but cast through the head of a psychopath.

I'm sure you would approve.


- Wednesday, December 10 2008 11:14:13


It was a ghastly work-experience. Universal Studios. Office high up in the Black Tower. Working for a major jerk named Stan Shpetner who got me so crazy on a daily basis, a man so untalented and thick-as-a-two-short-planks, that at least once a day I had to remove myself to the echoing stairwell in that dehumanizing structure, and just let forth actual Primal Screams of frustration and impotence. I saw things, and learned things, in that season (for which I was VERY highly paid and it STILL wasn't sufficient compensation for having to put up with that diploid Shpetner) that culminated in me vaulting onto his desk and screaming my resignation, to which Shpetner responded (I swear this is true!), "That's a great-looking watch you're wearing. Where'd you get it?"

Okay, now you have your SIXTH SENSE/Ellison Anecdote.


- Wednesday, December 10 2008 11:4:41


I hope you are professional enough to know you CANNOT do a film from a published work unless you have obtained the rights EVEN TO SPEC A SCRIPT, from the legitimate author. I get ten of these a week, usually from some film student who has--without my permission or authorization--"adapted your story 'BlahBlah' for my project, Mr. Ellison, because I love your work and I blahdeblahdeblah..." Then I have to waste my time sending him a registered cease&desist letter until I grant or deny permission, pursuant to a one-page permission contract we use a hundred times a year. You CANNOT do the deed, THEN ask permission...you'll likely be told to get stuffed, and possibly (as I've had to do it when the purloiner got snarky with me) sued.

If you are actually interested in adapting one of my stories, we have a procedure. You can drop me a letter--not a post here--I don't like my business being out in the street--c/o HERC, or through the Webmaster here, or by conveying a phone number and we can discuss it. But it has to be a more substantial request than this one, otherwise it's just blue-sky, and time-waste for both of us.


Dennis C
Glendale, CA - Wednesday, December 10 2008 11:4:29

Sixth Sense

Shamefacedly I admit it was a dopey question, but I was hoping for one o' them famous Ellison Anecdotes about the gig... but if it was just a job with no fun stories, then that's what it was...

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Wednesday, December 10 2008 11:1:20

Harlan, my tale was meant to be read not as woe but of joy, of how we DO get Books of Ellison here. To say that you are stocked, and sell out, at what seems to be a regular rate. To mention of the past weeks library reconnaissance by everyone that, here in that Texan oasis of sanity called Austin (sorry Peg, Cindiana; love ya!), we CAN find you. To note that many stores carry the items you mentioned, and others. Intended as gratefulness that we get your books, not a lack thereof. Didn't mean to cloud the water.

Those stores I discover without your books, you can be assured, know your name by the time I leave.

I took your admonition to heart a while back. I mayhap cannot purchase all I'd like from HERC, but I am a member and thanks to a well-timed Rabbit Hole a new copy of WATCHING with a new introduction now sits prettily upon my shelf. Oh, and your 33rpm On The Downhill Side (from HERC) was playing as I decorated the tree last weekend.

I didn't mean to add a thorn, just wanted this group to know we gets our Ellison here, even though sometimes it's every reader for his/herself. Not that it HAS to be. Just that even though i know where to get my grocery staples, i still love to visit those out-of-the-way shops.

Sandra, good luck on your story. The friendly skies need all they can get.

- Wednesday, December 10 2008 10:55:49


I don't want to alienate you by saying your query is incredibly dopey ... as to what my part in producing the tv series "The Sixth Sense" was ... when you yourself note that I was listed onscreen in the credits as "Story Editor" ... but, geezus-peezus, Dennis, why are you asking such a stupid question when you've already posted your own correct answer?


- Wednesday, December 10 2008 4:24:41

Make that EXITED

Marrakech, Maroc - Wednesday, December 10 2008 4:23:44

Yesterday I existed into smokey, almost empty streets where teenagers where roasting lamb heads on fires. The heads are a local delicacy - you eat everthing but the eyes. The hammering noises came from boys cutting off the horns. Of course there were some tourists who had to pick just that day to arrive in Morocco.

Los Angeles, California - Tuesday, December 9 2008 23:6:16

Nina Foch
I was trying to think where I'd seen Nina's name before, and then it finally dawned on me (http://www.xmoppet.org/orig-rev/compulsion.html). She was on the 1958 episode of "God Is My Judge," the old GE Theatre TV show, with Dean Stockwell and Gary Merrill.

Duh. How many times does one have to read, write and spell (and double-check the spelling of) a name before it sticks in the memory banks, anyway? I'll just blame the concussion that I suffered two weeks ago. Which was proceeded by a case of whiplash and a week of wearing a collar. Sensitive thing, the human body.

Max White <max@studiodrive.com>
LA, CA - Tuesday, December 9 2008 21:50:8

Looking for a story to shoot in 3D
Hello Mr. Ellison, I am working on developing a short film that will be shot in 3D. I am just starting to look for a story to center the project on. I was wondering if you have any favorite stories that you would like to see made in 3D? I know this is a long shot, but as I fan of your work, I just had to ask.

Keep up the great work. You inspire us all.

Max White

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Tuesday, December 9 2008 21:46:4

Sixth Sense TV Show

If you've answered this before, my apologies but what was your association with the tv show THE SIXTH SENSE? I have fond memories of it (and later met star Gary Collins who seemed a nice sort) and saw you listed as 'story editor' on some episodes.


And for any Zappa fans, Frank's son Dweezil has put together a band of his Dad's old musicians and some new very good ones to perform Dad's songs -- and he does a great job. They're playing throughout California under the name "Zappa Plays Zappa" -- I'm seeing them on Friday at the Roxy. So if you like that kind of music, please check them out...

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Tuesday, December 9 2008 19:43:6


Thanks for sharing your story "I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream". It's always nice to see a new piece of work. At first I was thrown off by the first person PoV for the story considering your title, but I figured out where you were going with it in the end. Are you sure you want a comma there?

I wasn't certain what to make of the pattern of dots along the side of the page. This looks like a formatting glitch. Check the FAQ if you have any questions about cleaning up the piece.

I really liked most of your characters. For the most part they're interesting and have a sense of depth, although the guy who looks kind of like a monkey (I can't recall his name off the top of my head) seems a bit over the top. I also can't help but wonder why you included the comments about Ellen enjoying sex with him because he has a large penis. Is that because you decided to make her black? You may want to consider revising that part.

This certainly was a different story. In the end, I would have liked to have seen a more upbeat ending, like if they'd made it out of AM and back to the surface to find more people. I also wondered how they got down there in the first place. And why did AM chose those people and not others, like politicians? Wouldn't that have made more sense?

Thanks for letting me read your story. I think it has some real potential if you tighten your descriptions and pay more attention to your vocabulary. There are some words I didn't understand.

(Brought to you by "Tongue'n'Cheek Internet Critiques", another fine example of why you should tell some people to fuck off if they aren't willing to take a chance with their own work.)

*grumbles as she gets back to writing*


DTS <none>
OZ - Tuesday, December 9 2008 15:57:31

HARLAN: No sweat. And along P.S. question for ALL
HARLAN: No sweat...and thanks, mom. (Kiss Susan for me).
DTS (who also has a hard time staying away from the open bag of chips)

P.S. While I'm posting:
I've noticed (and said as much here on the board) that even though Melbourne is a city of nearly 4 million, I'm less anxious about letting my daughter and wife go out and about in it on their lonesome than I was when in various cities in the United States. Or, at least, I'm comfortable with them going out together -- without me by their side, like some aging guarddog, ready to defend them from predators.

The thing is, I can't figure out _why_ I feel safer -- or at least I feel that my loved ones are safer -- living here in Melbourne than I did while living in America (be it Kansas City, Boston, etc.

I can list some reasons I think affect this particular state of mind, but I'm not sure they are valid.
1) The most obvious, Melbourne doesn't have nearly as many guns (handgun or automatic) as even the mid-sized metros (like Kansas City) in the U.S. That one is understandable and makes sense.
2) I was thinking that perhaps the presence of public transportation makes people over here more affable, more apt to consider the human equation when running into each other, because they actually mingle so much (in places like Kansas City, people rarely interact outside of the workplace, the mall, the grocery store or their homes -- much of their time is spent in cars, insulated from the rest of the population -- especially since drive through foods, beverages, etc., etc. are available).
3) And I was also thinking that there may be less of a fear factor at play here. And I'd have to attribute that _not_ to the absence of TV/news shows that like to play that stuff up (or even the government), although they do their share. I'm pretty sure it's due to the absence of (and this isn't a deliberate poke in Cindy's or anyone else's eye) willing acolytes where religion is concerned. There are plenty of Australians who practice religion, but they aren't as in-your-face about it as Americans. And very few of them, in my experience thus far, take everything about their religions as gospel, for lack of a better word. They take it with a grain -- if not a shaker -- of salt. Which makes them less apt to fall for the fear-drenched con, I think (I'd be surprised if Aussies shelled out money to save someone like Oral Roberts from being "called" to Heaven the way American "believers" do).
All of which is a long-winded way of saying, I think religion plays a part in proliferation of violence thesed days, if nothing else, through the fear and intolerance so many churches see fit to spread.
(Also, as a side note, I haven't watched TV -- network TV, Cable, anything -- in over a year -- which, I think, ties into reason number three, in that I don't get the constant, over-the-top bullshit/sensationalism/fear-mongering piped into my home and psyche everyday, the way I used to).

Okay. That's enough hot wind from this direction for today.
If anyone has had the patience to read all of the above, tell me your thoughts -- especially those who have lived in other countries (when I lived in Germany, even though I was younger and only had a wife, there was still also less of sense of danger as regards the big cities).

- Tuesday, December 9 2008 15:25:26


Oh. I see you caught it.

Nevrrrrrrr mind.


- Tuesday, December 9 2008 15:18:27


Not Vonnegut. Heinlein.


DTS <none>
OZ - Tuesday, December 9 2008 13:34:44

ROB's Post
Hey ROB: Couldn't agree with ya more. I've been saying the same thing -- abeit without as many facts -- for years. Unfortunately, the majority of men and women leading quiet lives of desperation have already bought into the B.S. peddled by the lobbyists. Can't close pandora's box once it's open. With any luck, perhaps the evil "spirits" let out can be put down.

- Tuesday, December 9 2008 12:56:35

Bear in mind, that was a rushed post. I compressed some terminology, but hopefully the gist was clear.

- Tuesday, December 9 2008 12:48:43

Oy! This is a bit like the big fight sequence at the end of Blazing Saddles, where one sound stage breaks into the other, dragging EVERYONE into the fray!

It's uncharacteristic for Steve to voice things out of context, and mangle the meaning.

So, let's try to give my own position (the topic being historical pattern, not semantics) the breath that was intended:

I'd simply made the point that: "Since Reagan, we've seen Unions fall, merges steadily quash competition (the ONLY device that allows capitalism to work at all; remove that and you're absolutely talking about Fascism), and FDA and FTC are now controlled largely by the drug companies." Why? Because the laws are extensively CONTROLLED by the power brokers. With the kind of control multinationals have legally, and an unbearably powerful lobby, they, in effect, ARE government.

"Review the hold they had in this country throughout the 19th century. Review the force rallied thru government - back then, largely thru graft - by the railroads. Review the false advertising urging settlers to head west, promising land that would turn out totally useless. Review this INHERENT pattern laid out by the robber barons. That power existed then, and it exists now. They won, till the late 19th century, and they're winning again (thanks to the Reagan era).

Antitrust laws originated in reaction to public outcry over trusts - those late 19th-century corporate monopolies that dominated U.S. manufacturing and mining. Trusts took their name from legal device of business incorporation called trusteeship, which consolidated control of industries by transferring stock in exchange for trust certificates.

They, in effect, overruled the People (that humble contingent supposedly represented by government), by the power of the lobby, a bought out media, and Conservative Supreme Court appointments.

"It's been a threat to our system from the outset, the pendulum between capital and labor. In this struggle, way too often, Corporate America gets too much control on the governmental departments crucial in the balance. That's what makes it INHERENT."

Now, according to Steve Barber, I must mean that Corporate America is government in absolutes. That's a bit like interpreting the Bible literally.

Those in government are appointed by votes, right? The wealthiest entities in the country pay well to see that their interests are represented in all branches of government, and they have always done so. To help achieve this, Corporate America uses and has always used media and advertising to sway public perception; a strategy that keeps working, until the economic bubble bursts (only then people GET it, and fight back with their votes; then, in time, they forget the historical patterns and fall back into cognitive hibernation)

That's how they did it in the 19th century, and that's how they succeeded so over the last 30 years. They make every effort to minimize or eliminate the regulatory safeguards, and every time they succeed they come that much closer to creating a Fascist system. THEIR ideal universe IS Fascist, since they crave complete control. No regulation; no monopoly laws (which has practically happened); a news media entirely theirs (which has also practically happened).

Before closing, I even pointed out on the board that people who "incorporate" are not, de facto, malicious in their intent. If I move forward in my own long-run plans, I, myself, may one day incorporate.

It's the bigger historical pattern I was addressing. The pendulum between capital and labor that is unceasingly threatened when one side gets too much power. The internal issues with labor aside, the former has held those cards for about 200 years. It's simply an ongoing threat - to environment, to our health, to a Middle Class economy, and to culture itself.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Tuesday, December 9 2008 10:26:11

I'm old enough to remember when Carson and his kind booked not just actors and singers and comedians, but also (occasionally, and not sufficiently, but at least to some extent) writers, newsmakers and even raggedy ordinary people who happened to be interesting for some reason or another.

This move to put Leno on five nights a week crowds out dramatic series, and magazine-format news shows, in favor of a mix that will likely be ALL celebrity prattle. Of the sort watched by folks who find it fun to gawk at actors and actresses (but would never actually, you know, see their movies even if good).

Roger Ebert has complained about movie reviews going away in favor of celebrity gossip pages: i.e. more stuff about who got what tattoo, instead of useful journalism about what is actually being made.

I don't consider primetime Leno good news. Not at all.

Frank Church
- Tuesday, December 9 2008 10:13:8

What Barber forgets to tell you guys is George Orwell agrees with me and Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity agrees with him.

I sure as hell won't debate this topic for months on end. History tells the story, I don't have to say squat.


No, what NBC is doing is horrible. We certainly don't need more meaningless celebrity prattle. Talentless hacks who try to hawk their books and idiot movies, with Leno acting like the sappy point man. They also want to cut the budgets all across the board. Expect them wanting a handout very soon.

All the media are cutting back. Expect news divisions to be cut the most. More crap, less ideas. It will get ugly.


According to Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio, a Nobel Prize winner, blogs and the internet could have stopped Hitler if that technology was available back then. Interest point to think about.

Online ridicule could have stopped his murderous plotting. You never know. It sure would have stopped Reagan.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Tuesday, December 9 2008 8:44:1

I suppose it's quite the credit to Harlan that he attracts such a diverse and multitalented coterie of friends. The Forums (on the other side of that curtain, the one over there in the corner) have an incredibly diverse set of topics. Even ones where Frank is occasionally right.

"Harlan, we are debating the idea that corporations are fascist. I say yay, the mooks say nay.

Now that's some ooga booga for ya."

What the mooks -- this one at least -- actually said was "No duh".

Then again, Frank and Rob have now moved to the "Corporations ARE Government" phase of the disagreement, so this ought to be fun.

It's a constantly moving argument, on the other hand...

JORDAN - Congrats on the Incarceri 9 debut. Hope it goes very well for you.

JAN - Whatever you do in Marrakech, avoid taking the Express. I've heard it's a real doozy. Hash it out in advance if you go.

HARLAN - I am curious. You've worked with a large number of well-known actors, of course, but some you've become good friends with, while others you seem to remember fondly but allowed to wander away.

Of all those who wandered away, who do you most wish you'd kept in touch with?

Michael Rapoport
- Tuesday, December 9 2008 6:48:19

For all the Southern Californians here (and any Chicagoans, too)
In case anyone hasn't heard by now, the Tribune Co., which owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection:

Robert Ross <rbrross2937@yahoo.com>
Mpls., MN - Tuesday, December 9 2008 6:32:2

Did I say bald?

So when my hair started to fall out, I thought it would be just a couple of days and, pfffft, cueball. So I got it cut very, very short; and when I saw myself in the mirror, I looked sort of like Doc Savage, on a Bama cover from the Bantam paperbacks of the '60s and '70s. That was actually kind of cool.

And now, more than two weeks later, I still have enough hair on my head that when I look in the mirror, I don't think, "oh, I look bad." Rather, I'm reminded of how much I loved reading those Doc Savage books when I was a kid, and how beautiful the Bama covers were.

Just this morning, when I turned on the bathroom light and looked in the mirror, I almost blurted out, "Monk, you and Ham hold them off while Johnny and I translate this map and find a way out of the Maze of Death!" Or something ...

Marrakech, Maroc - Tuesday, December 9 2008 2:47:34

Reporting in again. My stomach is better, and Steve has my blessing to talk about food again. I eat at the Djeema el-Fna square where you can get great food out in the open. They put a special brownish kind of salt on the fries - I have to find out what it is exactly (unrefined salt?), but they taste great. There used to be a strict dress code here but most tourists don,t adhere to it, and the young women of Marrakech, that I see, are not wearing much traditional islamic stuff anymore. Three of four times a day all music stops, and you hear some sort of chant-prayer from loudspeakers all over the city. Haven,t really seen anybody pray though, except in the mosques. Air pollution is bad. Walking near a street outside of the old town is like walking into THE MIST and just as deadly. Gotta go now - best to all!

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Monday, December 8 2008 18:29:24

TV News
Not sure if any of you care about this, but it's kind of big news in TV.
Jay Leno was supposed to leave THE TONIGHT SHOW in 2009 to make way for Conan (the only way to keep him happy years ago was to promise Conan that he'd get THE TONIGHT SHOW eventually). Speculation was Leno would run to ABC or FOX and do a rival show.

But The New York Times is saying that NBC (whose primetime program schedule is in freefall -- they're in 4th place) has apparently been able to keep Jay and is putting him in a new show at 10pm nightly.

So Jay actually gets a promotion to primetime! And you don't have to stay up till after midnight to see him.

I'm not a fan (I'd rather watch Letterman) but it seems a savvy move on his part. He'll beat all the other late-night hosts because the stars would much prefer to be on in primetime when more people are watching.

And NBC doesn't have diddly to put on in that 10pm spot anyway, so why not give it a shot....

Kind of interesting....

DTS <none>
OY - Monday, December 8 2008 17:22:56

Er, um...
ADDENDUM: Nothing like typing too fast when operating with an ADD-led brain...make that: hie thee to a library or bookstore and check out some Heinlein. (You say grok, I say granfalloon, and we'll all spread wonderful foma -- on rye bread, no less).

DTS <none>
OZ - Monday, December 8 2008 17:18:6

Cindy (getalonghome)
CINDY: First, sorry about the parenthetical aside. Everytime I hear your name, I think of that song ("Cindy, Cindy"). Don't tell your husband, 'cause he might punch me should we ever meet in person. Second, try as I might to group you with all of the bible thumpers (or bible bashers, as the locals call 'em) you just wont stay put...always floating up into the ether regions, where saints and beautiful winged creatures glide on the thermals.

Even though we haven't met face-to-face (and I haven't been able to truly grok your persona or your physical beauty), I understand why Harlan holds you so dear to his heart.

You keep on keepin' on down in old Baja Oklahoma. Stay safe and, as always, sweet.
Friends as always,
P.S. For those young'uns in the crowd who think I was referring to a physical act in the second to last paragraph above (grok), hie thee to a library or bookstore and check out some Vonnegut.

alan <DaliEnoRox@aol.com>
largo, fl. - Monday, December 8 2008 17:9:38

wallace west remembered
i remember my first wallace west book,found at used book store that sold books wrapped in sandwich baggies,two per baggy for fifty cents in '85.it was castaneda "journey to ixtlan" and the late greats' The Time Lockers"

Tom Morgan
Silverado, CA - Monday, December 8 2008 15:33:3

Mitch Keith,
Thanks for the update. One bladder down, one stomach to go. Here's hoping for the best for you and your sons.

- Monday, December 8 2008 13:44:31

I knew Nina Foch from 'way back in the New York days. I wrote a part for her in one of my BURKE'S LAW episodes: "Who Killed 1/2 of Glory Lee?"


- Monday, December 8 2008 13:28:52


Joe Gordon was just selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame.



Charlie, I will have to check that out.


I don't consider Al Franken a writer.

Then again, I don't consider Norm Coleman a politician.

Frank Church
- Monday, December 8 2008 12:56:48

Speaking of oooga booga, I am now regretting my idea on posting on the top white supremacist forum. Those idiots just make my skin crawl. What made me think I can reach some of those people? How can a sane person look up to Hitler--now? I will continue to watch them. These pissants need scrutiny, like an ant under a hot light.


Harlan, we are debating the idea that corporations are fascist. I say yay, the mooks say nay.

Now that's some ooga booga for ya.


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Monday, December 8 2008 10:3:45

Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

Mr. Ellison: I do hope my former post's reference to your absence was taken in a spirit of empathy. I too feel the need to abandon my post occasionally to pursue an urgent matter, or "to seek a breath of fresh air". Were I not, I would occasionally feel the urge, like Brutus, to throw myself upon my sword. Were it taken otherwise, I sincerely apologize.

Now reading: "The Ascent of Money", by Niall Ferguson. Heard him speak at Harvard three weeks ago, and highly recommend this book as a primer to the world financial mess we're experiencing now.

Regards from the "other coast".

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Monday, December 8 2008 9:7:20


Ditto what Michael Rapoport said, minus that stuff about Covina. I was utterly in the dark about anything serious that you were dealing with.

Hating to stink up the place,

Alan Coil
- Monday, December 8 2008 7:51:16

On the other hand...

I propose that Harlan ALWAYS post in all caps. It would set his words apart from all the rest, making them easier to find when searching for older posts.

Scott Levin
- Monday, December 8 2008 7:46:7

Correcting your mistakes
Joe the Plumber is not a "published" author. PearlGate is a one-man vanity press whose only book to date is the publisher's religious time-travel novel. As for JTP's failures and dubious public persona disqualifying him from becoming an author . . . are you kidding me? Maybe he's really as much of a jerk as he seems to be, and I doubt he can write anything more detailed than a grocery list. All the same, the work is what matters (which will be ghost-written, in this case), not being a Model Citizen and an Alright Dude. Opportunism, professional ineptitude, and crank politics are hardly black marks in the literary world; if anything, they're necessary qualities.

Jordan Owen
- Monday, December 8 2008 7:15:13

re: Covina/JohnE
Mr. Ellison: I had thought your moving into a travel lodge was a joke in response to "loosing" your house in the bet you placed on this forum. My apologies. And leave the caps lock off- there's no need to shout...

First of all, I just went and checked- Paris Hilton's album peaked at #6 on the US Billboard, selling a cool 180,000 copies in the US alone and shipping 722,488 copies worldwide. For Paris that might be failure, but I know people who would give their right eye for those kinds of sales. (But, as the Rabbi said at the Vatican, "if this is poverty, I can't wait to see chastity!")

No, you don't know my friends so know this: I'm a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. I've watched some of the best and brightest musicians this generation has to offer be turned down at the door. The music industry works like the fashion industry in that whatever the top brass decides is popular is what will be popular. If they'd stop promoting novelty parasites like William Hung and get behind some of the incredible bands that I've seen form and disband, those would be the in-thing.

John Lennon established himself as a poet and a gifted lyricist before writing his book, lending him a merit of literary credibility lacked by J.T.P.

I don't think I'm being over-protective of rigid standards by simply HAVING standards. In addition to Harlan Ellison (my favorite writer) I'm a tremendous fan of Haruki Murakami, Kurt Vonnegut, William S. Burroughs, Koushun Takami, Philip K. Dick and Chuck Palahniuk, to name just a few. All of these writers have different strengths and weaknesses but all fulfill a certain standard of literary quality. I don't think I'm being snobbish when I say that these writers are head and shoulders over creative typists like Kirsten Bakis or R.L. Stein.


I'm well aware of how the scene works, and you are right- my band (Incarceri 9, whose debut albums is coming out in spring of '09! check it out!) has been asked to play plenty of shows that we've turned down because the club expects all the bands on the bill to work for nothing. The asshole amateurs are more than happy to do it, making it that much harder for the professionals.

Hail Satan,

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Monday, December 8 2008 7:0:23

A Tale of Two Agents, a Parable
Jordan, JohnE -

Once upon a time there was this beautiful little barnyard chicken with a terrific singing voice. This little fowl, let's call her "Chicksinger", had what amounted to a reasonably successful career -- nothing that blew the doors off, but it paid its own way and even acquired Chicksinger a small following amongst the barnyard animals as well as a modicum of notoriety among the other professional musicians.

Now Chicksinger in her prime dealt with three or four booking agents, all of whom were tasked with setting up concerts for Chicksinger at all of the other farms. Some were very small farms, while others were great big "corporate" farms, and yet others were sort of in the middle (playing for farm animal weddings, or farm animal birthdays, or even farm animal anniversaries).

The problem was, the agents that Chicksinger used -- all of whom had approached her and asked if they too could join the party and help arrange places for Chicksinger to play -- had vastly different views of who Chicksinger was, and how they should book her.

One agent, let's call her Rhode Island Red, thought of Chicksinger just like any other "act" on her plate. Red didn't see Chicksinger as an artist, she saw her as a "draw". As such, Red ignored Chicksinger's stage presence, her recording history and Chicksinger's following. Red would set up nightclub engagements first, then decide whichever bands she wanted to put in the club. Red also took 40% off the top.

But Red booked Chicksinger and her band into some very nice clubs, and did so on a regular basis.

On the other hand Chicksinger's other major booking agent, let's call him Woody, felt Chicksinger was more than just a club band, and worked hard to get Chicksinger gigs at corporate parties, street events, and much larger night clubs. Woody felt that Chicksinger's band was very good and so therefore approached his clients wanting specifically to book Chicksinger.

Well, it came to pass that the smaller nightclubs fell on hard times, and told Red they needed to lower their fee for her bands. So Red called Chicksinger up and said "they're not paying as much. I've got lots of gigs I can give you, but you'll have to take a cut in pay. Instead of $100 per musician, I'm only able to pay you $75. Maybe you can make it up in tips."

So Chicksinger rang up her friend who also got gigs through Red and found out Red had told that singer that she could only pay $70 for the same clubs Red had offered Chicksinger. (The friend is a much younger, "hungrier" musician, and had agreed to the $70. For Saturday nights.)

Chicksinger then got a phone call from Woody, asking if a certain date was open/ Because Chicksinger had just told Red what Red could do with herself, the date was open. Woody sighed in relief. He had already told the client he would book Chicksinger at $400 per musician.

The end of this entirely too long and poorly written parable is that Chicksinger went on to play at the St Regis Hotel, Monarch Beach for the Very Large Corporation's annual shareholder meeting.

The moral of this now longer and even more poorly written parable is that professionals need to be paid, and that amateurs who are willing to work for little or nothing not only are not true professionals, but they also screw it up for all of the other bands by agreeing to work for free.

Yes, it's a competitive industry -- but just as with any other art form, the value of the work is artistic expression. But you can't eat artistic expression, so the secondary value is monetary. If you only think your band is worth $70 a musician on a Saturday night, then that's precisely what it's worth -- and for every Woody, there's a Red waiting to take her cut of your success.

God I need coffee.

Adam-Troy <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Monday, December 8 2008 5:59:10


The CAPS LOCK key is a dangerous thing, and should always be used for good instead of evil.

Haunt your mailbox.


St. Pete, FL - Monday, December 8 2008 5:8:12

Sonny, TED Kennedy has stated that his favorite JOHN Kennedy book is A Nation of Immigrants. The '64 HC sits in my library. A nice read.

- Monday, December 8 2008 4:13:25

Jordan Owen wrote: "I have to agree with this article 100%. Its even more true in the music world. I've watched my fellow musicians- and I bestow the title based on their skills as songwriters, composers, instrumental virtuosos, etc- being forced to take menial, low paying jobs because the high paying slots for people with their skill sets are being occupied by the likes of Britney Spears, Hanna Montana, Kenny G, and so on."

Mr. Owen, I obviously don't know the first thing about your friends but the reason 99% of musicians are forced to take 'menial, low-paying jobs' is because the music field is crowded and hugely competitive, period -- not because Britney and Hannah are insolently stealing musician jobs. Not to mention, there are a lotta just plain terrible musicians out there (and I oughta know).

Then Jordan Owen wrote:

"In a way, I think that in both cases (literature and music) there is a truth in the notion that Ayn Rand put forward: this strange outlook that the common folk have about artists in any field which declares that if a person WANTS to be placed alongside the masters, they are ENTITLED TO BE!"

The "common folk" have a lot of strange outlooks (cf. Sarah Palin's ascendancy), but the idea that they (we) are swayed by declarations of mastership and entitlement, or that they (we) know or even care who the hell "the masters" are, is almost surely not the way it works. The way it works is this: mass audiences consume works of entertainment that amuse and/or engage them until they become bored, whereupon they proceed to the next shiny object. This is nothing new. Paris Hilton is a shiny object that generates unfathomable curiosity and amusement (though I personally think the secret to her 'success' is that she can financially afford to simply not go away), so some record company decided to let the little twit record an album in the hopes that it would make some money. Know what happened, Mr. Owen? The album bombed, it flopped, it got laughingstocked, and it is doubtful that Ms. Hilton will ever be offered a record deal again. So not only was the rich little twit stopped in her musical tracks for good (we hope), but another silver lining is that she probably used studio musicians on her CD -- studio musician being neither a menial nor a low-paying job. So, there's that.

Speaking of musicians: in 1963 John Lennon authored a book called "In His Own Write", causing just the sort of outrage evinced in Egan's op-ed and in Mr. Owen's comments here. There were people amongst the literati at the time who thought the Beatles were musical and artistic idiots, and all kinds of musicians and songwriters were thrown out of work in the wake of their ascendancy. The point is, I am simply loathe to take the stance that artistic merit is so easily identifiable on its surface that we can capably sort out the worthy from the not worthy, or the masters from the talentless masses, without getting ourselves into some sort of trouble. Common sense will help -- Joe the Plumber is unlikely to be the next John Lennon, or the next anyone for that matter, but over protectiveness of rigid standards, real or imagined, can swiftly morph into pure snobbery. And none of us wants that.

Michael Rapoport
- Monday, December 8 2008 4:10:24

Harlan: I have a feeling that I may be among those whose responses you classified as "snarky," with my minor japes about Covina. I honestly thought the whole "he's gone away to the TraveLodge" bit was a joke, an amusing trope in this forum in the wake of your absence, and it was in that spirit that I commented. Not for an instant would I have done so if I had known it was making light of what was a serious and real situation for you.

I am mindful of your admonition that this is about you, not any of us, and I look forward to reading your exposition in full. In the meantime, however, if anything I said caused you the slightest bit of irritation or distress, I apologize.

Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Monday, December 8 2008 0:3:34

More passings
We lost Nina Foch and Beverly Garland this past weekend.

Loved Nina in RETURN OF THE VAMPIRE, CRY OF THE WEREWOLF and (especially) MY NAME IS JULIA ROSS (which if you haven't seen, please seek it out -- a wonderful noir!). She was also in (in smaller roles) SPARTACUS and AN AMERICAN IN PARIS.

Beverly was a Corman favorite, in NOT OF THIS EARTH, GUNSLINGER, IT CONQUERED THE WORLD and NAKED PARADISE -- but she was in tons of other movies and TV shows, including MY THREE SONS.

I'll miss them both.

TEXAS - Sunday, December 7 2008 21:53:10

I'm just happy to have you back.

You're STILL Nivenesque-- and you always will be to me. Those magnificent roses are still in full bloom here in my heart. I'll never forget them.

Your friend,

- Sunday, December 7 2008 20:37:30




- Sunday, December 7 2008 20:37:28




< >
, Colorado - Sunday, December 7 2008 17:0:11

What is a Writer
To be a writer one must hear the music.
--Harlan Ellison, PRAYERS TO BROKEN STONES, Introduction

Jordan Owen
- Sunday, December 7 2008 15:55:12

re: NY Times article
I have to agree with this article 100%. Its even more true in the music world. I've watched my fellow musicians- and I bestow the title based on their skills as songwriters, composers, instrumental virtuosos, etc- being forced to take menial, low paying jobs because the high paying slots for people with their skill sets are being occupied by the likes of Britney Spears, Hanna Montana, Kenny G, and so on.

In a way, I think that in both cases (literature and music) there is a truth in the notion that Ayn Rand put forward: this strange outlook that the common folk have about artists in any field which declares that if a person WANTS to be placed alongside the masters, they are ENTITLED TO BE! For instance, Paris Hilton, who is famous for doing something other than singing with her throat, was able to have a hit single simply because she felt like having one. In the current scene there's this idiot named Jeffery Starr who is a famous singer not because of his talent but because he's a loud, obnoxious, intentionally annoying transvestite. Joe the Plumber is no different or better.

I wont go into detail on my feelings about Palin. Suffice to say that there is always at least one individual in any group who embodies- intentionally or not- the worst, most stereotypical aspects of that group and Sarah Palin is the living embodiment of every negative stereotype attributed to US Americans: shallow, fickle, pretentious, arrogant, dim-witted, illiterate, uneducated, dogmatic, hateful, primitive, uncivilized, slack-jawed, and inbred (at least in behavior.)

As far as I can tell, most people just can't tell the difference between fame and talent.

- Sunday, December 7 2008 11:27:7

Politicians who are writers:

Interesting article. I thought that 'Faith of My Fathers' by John McCain was very good (although to be fair, Mark Salter undoubtedly did most of the actual writing).

Ron Paul's 'The Revolution: A Mannifesto' also had some interesting ideas in it. Apparently he didn't do much of the writing in it either.

Profiles in Courage by John Kennedy was also good, but again there have been allegations he did little of the writing. I havn't read Kennedy's 'A Nation of Immigrants' or his Harvard thesis 'Why England Slept'.


Frank Church
- Sunday, December 7 2008 11:24:19

Harlan, we all have our days; bugs on the windsheild, palsy in the limbs; we don't need to understand, but we do.

Even for atheists, Zening out is a good ideal. Kiss.

No tongue. I know how you hate slobbers.


Barber, you are sounding rather anti-capitalist there. Pretty soon you will inform us that you are shopping organic. Safeway and Vons might be heartbroken.

A glass blower, eh? Doth he make bongs?


The rich deserve pain, the poor a balm.

Honolulu, HI - Sunday, December 7 2008 10:50:27

Aloha Webderlanders:
Take a look at Timothy Egan's column in the NY Times "Typing Without a Clue". I wish the publishing industry would heed his words.

Cheers, Colleen


Steve B <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Sunday, December 7 2008 9:56:57

Registering on the Forums

Anonymous Diane of the Witches.

Send me an email explaining the problem with registering, I'll do my best to walk you through.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Sunday, December 7 2008 9:54:9

Conventry: Or, Perceptions as an Enigma

Perceptions are a funny thing. If I perceive something, it is then fundamentally part of my frame of reference. It doesn't matter who said what, or where it was said or to whom. It doesn't matter what was done, who it was done to, or why.

It just is.

Glad to know Harlan is not lying in a ditch somewhere, wondering why no one thought to check room 222 to see if he'd checked out.

Cris and I made a huge contribution to the local economy, and local small businesses, at a craft show in Pomona yesterday. By row four my wallet was melting but we'd renewed a couple of very nice contacts with a woodworker and a glassblower we've been buying from for years.

In these harsh economic times, might I make the suggestion that you buy -- using cash if at all possible -- from local merchants or personal author's sites rather than the big box stores and Amazon? (Susan, reserve me a copy of MIND FIELDS, C Voo Play. I want to "orderb" one for a friend.)

I kinda figure it's better to spend a little more of my hard earned bucks making the small guys money than putting credit card receipts into the pockets of Wal-Mart Shareholders. Kind of my little revolution against the people who started this whole meltdown rolling.

Our motto this Christmas: Spend cash. Spend it down the block.

If you can't, you can't. But if you can, it works wonders on people's morale.

Steve Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Sunday, December 7 2008 8:53:46

Hi Harlan,

I was just wondering if you caught the recent "Death of Bruce Wayne" series by Grant Morrison (Batman # 677-681). I found it a fairly inventive storyline, and similar to territory ploughed by Philip K. Dick and yourself.

I will not say more, in case some have not read it yet.

Steve Dooner

Jon Bravard <jon.bravard@gmail.com>
Lock Haven, PA - Sunday, December 7 2008 8:4:21


I sent a check several months ago, to remain in good standing with HERC. So far it has not been cashed. Did you receive it or did the dreaded postal monster eat it?


Baton Rouge, Louisiana - Sunday, December 7 2008 8:2:18

Just sent in my newsletter renewal. Thanks.

liar <somewhere>
somewhere, il - Sunday, December 7 2008 1:5:41

I'm totalling lying about my name, etc. because I do not want to be lambasted or tied to a stake in the hot sun over an anthill. I posted today already. But then I went and got pixillated again. With my sister, who has now retired for the evening. And left me to my solitary and solo(redundancy) ruminations. So here I is, in the wee small hours.

Harlan, this is direct to you. As you do not consume alcoholic beverages, you may not identify with the courage in back of this post. But here is the thing - .... See, you are truly one of the people on the planet whom I sincerely admire. And respect. And of whom I almost completely approve. (If I approved of you completely, you would approach Deity like perfection of mien and mode, and though you come most close, sadly you are not the Deity.) I have admired you and read your work and been glad for your presence on our planet since 1979 at least. (When I was a mere 9 months old. Yes I started readng your works in utero.)
Therefore and hencetoforward, you would have to decapitate my dog and revile the memories of my parents in a totally public forum to earn anything resembling castigation or disapprobation from me. I really am glad you are back. But that is selfish on my part.

And just for the old record, not that anyone here or anywhere does or should give a farthing what think I, I am a writer. Not published. Not, given the current speed of my rate of production, likely to be published in the memory of this eon. But a writer nevertheless, because I care most passionately for what I write, the poems, the drama, the fiction. And I bleed when I write the good parts. And it is the most basic form of identity I have, at the core, the very root of who I be. And doesn't that blood, that passion, that heart's core count for something, anything?

Will Carrie and Steven, Mac and Vanessa, Ryder and Destiny or any of my other created people ever be revealed to another heart, another mind? I don't know; it depends of extringent factors,some of which of have a (sorta illusory control over) and some of which I don't. The apportionment of guts in this universe is something I did not get a vote on. (On which I did not get a vote.)Yet in my heart, I know I am a writer, much as I know I am a homo sapiens, an American, a woman, etc. Much more fundamemtally a writer than I am any of these things.

Just one women's opinion. One writer's opinion. If I could figure out the registration thing on the Forums, I could have posted this there in the appropriate forum. C'est la vie, la vie. I have accustommed myself to the vagaries of the tech age.

Love you all, sincerely. Unreasonably. Unseasonably. The Lady Diane of the Bewitching Hour.

Jordan Owen <jowen@berklee.net>
Atlanta, GA - Saturday, December 6 2008 22:36:33

Mr. Ellison:

Given some of the wording of this post I worry that your disappearance was rooted, at least in someway, in my idiocy. I certainly hope I didn't cause you and your wife undue strain...

If, on the other hand, I'm being presumptuous and silly, then please feel free to flog me as you might see fit. As the Marilyn Manson song says, "Take your hatred out on me/Make your victim my neck."


Tim Case Walker <feliciafxx@aol.com>
Dayton, Ohio - Saturday, December 6 2008 20:58:16

R.I.P. Forrest

Shocked. Forrest J. Ackerman has died at the age of 92.

diane bartels <chcagokarenm@yahoo.com>
chicago, il, il - Saturday, December 6 2008 20:28:34

This is hopefully a kinda funny, gently amusing true story. I am babysitting for my nephews and niece, as my sister and her hubby are out for their anniversary. Joe, the youngest is five.
Through his young friend Kenny, Joe has just discovered sharks and the movie Jaws. He is fascinated by both, and has a few toy sharks, a hammerhead, a great white, etc. After the movie, he says, "Didi, I'm going to play Jaws and he gets down on the rug with his sharks and a Transformer guy(toy action figure, for those of you without your own munchkins). The sharks are catching and eating the Transformer and Joe picks him up in his mouth, pretending he's the shark. Rachel, his eight year old sister, who is trying hard to grow into her newfound tweenie dignity, goes "oooohhh, he put it in his mouth. Tell him not to do that." I said it was okay, and she insists that her mom and dad would not let Joe eat the shark. I pointed out that I am not her mom or dad, and have spoiling rights. Then she says,Well I bet it tastes terrible. Joe looks up at me and grins and goes, It tastes like chicken.
I could not believe it. I laughed and laughed. This kid is only five, but he's so smart and funny. I wish this age could go on forever and ever.

Stay well and happy everyone. Diane

diane bartels <chcagokarenm@yahoo.com>
chicago, il, il - Saturday, December 6 2008 20:27:18

This is hopefully a kinda funny, gently amusing true story. I am babysitting for my nephews and niece, as my sister and her hubby are out for their anniversary. Joe, the youngest is five.
Through his young friend Kenny, Joe has just discovered sharks and the movie Jaws. He is fascinated by both, and has a few toy sharks, a hammerhead, a great white, etc. After the movie, he says, "Didi, I'm going to play Jaws and he gets down on the rug with his sharks and a Transformer guy(toy action figure, for those of you without your own munchkins). The sharks are catching and eating the Transformer and Joe picks him up in his mouth, pretending he's the shark. Rachel, his eight year old sister, who is trying hard to grow into her newfound tweenie dignity, goes "oooohhh, he put it in his mouth. Tell him not to do that." I said it was okay, and she insists that her mom and dad would not let Joe eat the shark. I pointed out that I am not her mom or dad, and have spoiling rights. Then she says,Well I bet it takes terrible. Joe looks up at me and grins and goes, It tastes like chicken.
I could not believe it. I laughed and laughed. This kid is only five, but he's so smart and funny. I wish this age could go on forever and ever.

Stay well and happy everyone. Diane

chicago, - Saturday, December 6 2008 19:24:24

just passing through
Through conflict,introspection,empathy and over again,we seldom cease to amaze.With any luck,this crap could go on for quite a while.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Saturday, December 6 2008 16:34:19

On "Not Getting It."
Gentle chide here, Harlan: I'm a little taken aback by the citation. I may or may not "get" the reasons for your absence, but I also offered no theories, and indeed argued for the subject to be dropped, writing, in full on the subject:

"Let us not assume the default explanation for silence as, "Something's wrong with Harlan." He doesn't need a blizzard of phone calls begging to know if he's okay. Simply put -- if he's not busy for the reasons we want him to be busy, which is to say living life and writing good stuff, and he hasn't mentioned misery here, he does not consider it our business."

Seems pretty clear to me. Wasn't one of those saying "Get Over It." Quite the opposite, one of those arguing, "Leave it be."

Remained voluble on other subjects, but that was about it.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Saturday, December 6 2008 16:14:9

Risking the Wrath of the Webmaster and Host Alike
HARLAN wrote: "One day soon I'll codify it...not that anyone SHOULD give a fuck other than I."

Friends do give a fuck and SHOULD give a fuck. That's what friends do. Even if you've a sense they don't recognize how or why something has meaning to you. I don't live in your skin, but if you've an itch and I can help scratch, even if it means keeping my hands to myself, then...

Your Friend,

- Saturday, December 6 2008 15:55:18


Just finished my post, went back, saw yours just now. Thank you.

One does not attempt to convey the enormity of value for a friend's loyalty. Casual as this all may have started, it became a profoundly valuable experience for me. One day soon I'll codify it...not that anyone SHOULD give a fuck other than I.


- Saturday, December 6 2008 15:49:35


With the sole exception of "Sidney Doubleposter" on December 1st, none of you -- especially my dear and valuable friend Chas. Edward Pogue -- and my dear Cindy, or Adam-Troy, or Dorman, or any the others of you I value deeply and truly -- none of you "get it." Didn't expect you to "get it." Took ME out in the Covina TravelLodge a while of introspection to "get it." Your ruminations and advisements to "get over it," however wellmeant, are dismissive and insulting. YOU get over it, muthuhfuckuh! Don't EVER tell someone to "get over it" because YOU are bored, or angry, or fed up with, or judgmental about something that means more than an inconvenience-of-the-moment to THEM!

Why I went away has heft and size to me.

One day soon, when I have the time to "waste your time" (this being MY little ego-wallow, if you recall), I will do an entire essay on it titled as above. But as I once titled an essay of personal reflection, "I Don't Know You; You Don't Know Me."

And, yes, Chas. Edward, astonishingly for both of us bearing not a whit of narcissism, this one is not about you...this one is about me.


- Saturday, December 6 2008 15:34:57


Pursuant to yours of 26 November:

What # issue of BATMAN (I presume you're not referring to any of the sub- or mini-Batman titles) do you mean? And why are you asking me if I've read it?


- Saturday, December 6 2008 15:34:9

Pogue can get quotes right; he just can't type
CORRECTION: The below should read: ..."HARLAN ELLISON'S WORDS TO LIVE BY"...

- Saturday, December 6 2008 15:28:33

Scene Setting
I'm not going back to look up those silly-ass posts, but I believe Harlan's scene-setting was accurate. I think all the follow-up debate on who had it right, who can qualify to call themselves a writer, the parsing of the precise language, utterly missed the point (which both Harlan and I understood) of what I thought had a pretty simple and obvious meaning, whatever the precise wording of the quote. And that was:

People anoint themselves with all sorts of self-aggrandizing, even delusional, titles without said self-descriptions ever having been remotely proven, tested, challenged under, or demonstrated through any pragmatic, authoritarian criteria.

To express it in another quote that one hopes won't be over-analyzed to death: "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride."

Or in another way, by contradicting the famous Skinnay Ennis song,"Wishing Will Make It So",...NO, IT WON'T!

One works for and earns those titles. And there are milestones to pass and dues to be paid. Rex Ingram ain't going pop out the bottle and, Poof! You're a writer, Sabu!

Here's another quote for you:

"Writing is easy. All you do is sit down and open a vein."
-- Red Smith--

And, in hopes that all this has been dutifully explained and can be put behind us, I leave you with one more quote, which I have plundered from a piece of paper under the plexiglass top on my desk entitled "HARLAN ELLISON'S TO LIVE BY" and bestowed upon me by the Maestro himself:

"I am an artist; and should be exempt from shit."
--P.J. Proby--

David Silver <silver@well.com>
CA, - Saturday, December 6 2008 15:7:8

Okay, so I'd rather be right...and I'm friggin' sorry!

As usual, I was away from the forum for a bit, so I wasn't aware of Harlan's self-imposed exile over..."the quote"! To straighten up this mess, I knowingly accept all the blame, it wasn't Pogue's fault in the least, as I was the one who remembered it, well, a bit too accurately. Pogue just verified it later from some such web site. But, for cryin' out loud, I was also, at the same time, the one who said that Harlan's "transliteration" of the quote was actually BETTER than the original! And I further stated I would be proud to use Harlan's quote in my workshops, fully credited to him! Geez, what's a guy gotta do?! Harlan, please get yer lovable mush melon head back in here, and stop being so sensitive! I was offering PRAISE of your creative ingenuity regarding the quote, an homage of sorts, and NOT demeaning your memory! C'mon, big guy, please say all is forgiven!

Yer down-the-dumps pal,


(...who will gladly do extra credit work if that will get him out of trouble!)

- Saturday, December 6 2008 15:6:54


I continue to be astonished at these detailed tales of woe...how one fine person such as you...cannot find my books.

Over and over, we hear this! Time and again! What has happened to simple garden-variety ingenuity?

Endlessly; no matter how common sense is the solution; no matter how many times it is restated:

My books are (if not easily) rapidly acquirable. Multiply.

If you want my out-of-print titles, in mint condition, signed if you so request, for a decent price far below the outrageous prices sought for used copies on the web, or beyond the cognition of naifs in bookstores...

Well, we have a little bookstore right here.

Find it. Use it. Or drop a request per the instructions hereabouts, to HERC (The Harlan Ellison Recording Collection), and we'll send you a price list of what we have in stock.

Or advise your bookpeople staff that I have two excellent titles in print from Morpheus International--THE ESSENTIAL ELLISON and MIND FIELDS--SLIPPAGE and ANGRY CANDY in print from Houghton Mifflin's Mariner Books--SHATTERDAY in print from Tachyon--etcetera. And on and on. They are not beyond general acquisition, apart from those many available on download from EReads and fictionwise.com. As for the obdurate statements by the bookpeople clerk, all they have to do is ORDERB THEM!! This is NOT advance human cloning, or even rocket science; and for someone as smart as you, this doddering about, wailing in the desert, is simply ridiculous.


TEXAS - Saturday, December 6 2008 14:7:53


Just Curious
- Saturday, December 6 2008 13:50:58

I have been wondering, and now that Harlan has (however briefly) broken his silence, I feel free to ask: did he have the rest of the details (angles, types of chair, etc.) right? (I'm guessing he was pretty close, and if not, I hope that doesn't further upset him.)

I agree with whoever said that his version of the quote makes more sense, but I guess that is neither here nor there.

Frank Church
- Saturday, December 6 2008 9:44:35

Shagin, I wish my mom and pop were as encouraging as you and your ace hubby must be. Maybe I would be another Harlan Ellison. Not that I could handle the size of my head. haha.

Harlan, get back in that motel room, Susan has her paddle.


The fascism debate is going well. These mooks dont' know what hit them. They know that there are differing opinions on what actual fascism is. You cannot teach these people anything.

But I love them to death. Well, not Rob. He smells funny.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Saturday, December 6 2008 8:13:35

Things have been very rough around here of late, enough so that I can't make up my mind which I want more for Christmas -- a nervous breakdown or a one-way bus ticket to Not Here. Hubby and I did manage a very pleasant escape last night to have dinner in Seattle and then see Robin Williams in concert. Between you, me, and the fencepost, I don't think I could handle Robin and Harlan in the same room together for fear of laugh induced asphyxiation.

Young Jackanapes is hanging in there in school. We've set up a system of rewards for good behavior and finished schoolwork. I don't want a drone, I don't want a conformist, I want him to do his best and take pride in his work. He's a smart kid, and I'm not going to let him forget it.


SUSAN: I hope Harlan managed his own laundry in Covina and didn't return home with bundles o'smelly socks in tow.

Be safe,

- Saturday, December 6 2008 7:57:4

I ain't no mook
All I did was find the exact quote that both of us were hitting around and neither of us getting correct. Geeze, let's all get over it, shall we?

Mitch Keith <saganmov@gmail.com>
Dalton, Georgia - Saturday, December 6 2008 5:17:42

Thanks to all!
Just wanted to pipe in for a brief report. I asked for and received many much appreciated prayers, thoughts, good wishes,etc. a few weeks ago for my son who had fallen down a flight of stairs and damaged his kidneys. Just wanted to let you all know that he came home yesterday! He is doing well, though weak. I just want to say thanks to all who expressed their concern, especially you, Harlan. You might be pleased to know that about an hour after you wrote that you weren't the praying kind, but that it probably couldn't hurt, his urine flowed like water rushing over Niagara Falls. That's one more skill you can add to your resume: Bladder Repair Specialist. (Of course, if it had been G.W.Bush who'd done this,I guess he would've been called : the Urinator.)
Anyhoo, much thanks to you all and please remember my other son who goes to the Mayo in January. Harlan, if you can fix his stomach problems, I'll call the Pope personally and request you receive official sainthood (in this life)! Of course, in my book, you are already a saint. May you all have a great day and a great weekend.
Mitch Keith

Semi-Writer <2muchbullshit@mailinator.com>
Los Angeles, California - Saturday, December 6 2008 2:33:6

Don't take one misquote so hard, sir. We are all only human.

Trust me when I say the internet has a thousand other ways to cripple your self-esteem, destroy your spirit and crush your soul, not to mention strip you of things like your right to free speech, equal rights, employment... oh, yes, if you want, I can relate quite a horrible tale of woe that makes your one erroneous quote on one little message board in the vast world of the Interweb seem like a minute dust speck on a picture window. I can even point you towards lasting public humiliation in video form. To which, I hold comedian Marc Maron's quote dear: "The internet is not a tool. It's a toy. YOU'RE a tool."

I've gone back to what was supposed to be Novel #5 for me lately. Last year, Novel #4 resulted in a failure after about 22,000 words (and it's the only book I've ever outlined and timelined and brainstormed and did character breakdowns on and so on--everything I could think of that you're supposed to do!), which I ended up releasing instead as a short story, trimmed down to 15,000 words.

So now Intended Novel #5 is Intended Novel #4. It's puttering along at 35,560+ words at the moment, with a solid 90-page beginning and a definite ending point. But with a gap in the middle larger than the vacuous vulva of a seasoned Hollywood starlet. I know what's SUPPOSED to go in the middle of the story--the character's descent into his own private madness. Just a matter of bridging the gap between scattered scenes at this point. Ha. Oh, does that not sound so simple?

I don't have an agent or a manager or any literary contacts whatsoever. I'm not even familiar with the attendant at the newsstand next to Rite-Aid. So any strong directional advice on what to do with this thing "after it's done" would be appreciated. I'm not sure if I should just try and self-publish again (in which case, I will need to beg for money on Craigslist as I have NOTHING) or go through the agonizing and costly process of copying and mailing to literary agents again (in which case, I'll still have to beg for money just to do that). For the record, I'm putting a spam-deflecting email up for contact purposes. I was here on this site several years back and put up a personal Hotmail address which was still being beseiged by spammers when I closed it.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Friday, December 5 2008 22:4:22

Harlan in Texas
So... I discovered HE, I'd ravished my hometown library, the Washington County Library in Hagerstown, MD, for all things Harlan, found them, then progressed onward. WV. VA.

Outward. My search took me to the surrounding states and my trek led me to many books by Harlan I'd nary knew existed. Still, the Author's Page promised more. Read them I did, as i could find them, year after year. Seasons pass. I moved to Texas.

I moved from Hagerstown, Md to Victoria, TX. A backwater. Jerkwater. Non-drinking water. Not a place to raise your kids, is what I'm saying. The time I spent, in durance vile, in that profane city of the Queen's name, was punctuated by brief forays into bright happiness of civilization by visiting Austin, TX. Many times did i enter local bookstores in search of Ellison, Harlan, only to come away empty-handed. But these were quick excursions, and there were things to do. Time passes.

Then I moved here. And i discovered the lay of the land and the ebb and flow of bookstores. And one day it hit upon me- of course! If I could find HE anywhere, it would be Book People, surely! A three-story repository of all things arcane and wonderful! Of course!

The week I moved here, I went into Book People, whose staff, i was assured, knew everything from the Lost Library of Alexandria to the Hidden Precepts of Zionistic Narcolepsy, and went straight to the counter, and accosted the yes, modestly dressed and, yes, bespectacled girl who was, yes, involved in reading a biography of Dylan (i think), and asked, "where would i find the Harlan Ellison?"

She lowered the book and squinted. "HARLAN Ellison? You want the the fiction writer, not Ralph, right?" She looked me square in the jaw, and she knew I knew who I was looking for.

Finally! Someone familiar with the name! Oh frabjous day! Callou! Callay!

"Yes!" I said, ready to tell her how happy I was at not having to EXPLAIN who HE was. (Even though the other stores' geeks who were aware of Harlan had a sense of awe and respect for the NAME, they really didn't have a grasp of WHY he was important.) "I've been looking--"

"We don't have any." Dead stare. She put her book down.

"You're sure?" Me~tense. Hands splayed on glass countertop.

"Yes, " She says.

We lock eyes.

"No need to check?"


"You don't want to, say, peek around in the TV Critique or even Science Fiction for one?"

"No need to. I'd know if we have one. People ask for him all the time. We don't."

We understand each other, and our conversation is complete.

In sheer frustration, I closed my fist and laid it on the counter as a symbol of abject loss, and I started to say, 'You silly fucking people. Don't you know how long I've been trying to get one of his books through this joint? What the flaming technicolor hell is wrong with you? I just want a book! By all that is cognitively dissociative, i just want a gr-snippen-ZZickem-- book! Give me! GimmeGimmegimme! I have no time for this shii-ite..."

And before those words could leave my mouth, she shook her head, flapped her arm at me and grinned, "Yeeah, we can't keep him on the shelf. We get one in, it's gone the next day. Six books in a weekend shipment, six books gone by Monday. We can't keep him in stock. The demand's too great. Good luck, baby."

Frank, lemme tell ya, pardner......

I was home.

DTS~ Thank you. Seconded. Every damn word you wrote.

Harlan, nice to see you here. If being here makes you happy, great. If not, not.
"Life is the real game.
And it ain't no game."


Love for Bettie Page. I mean it.
Not the kind you send in brown wrappers, boys.

Robert Morales
New York City, New York - Friday, December 5 2008 19:18:47

Bettie Page
is critically ill in an LA hospital following a heart attack. Let's send her good thoughts.


No More Steambird Fol de rol, Pattie Foiled Grass - Friday, December 5 2008 17:11:33

I been busy
I've purposely avoided y'all for weeks, to get some real work done.

I have a new story, about 3,000 words, that I think is decent reading.

Before I submit it to marekt, I would love a little feedback from those with informed opinions on literary matters, such as Esteemed Host, ATC and various other pro's here.

I can send a PDF (Adobe Reader version, that's to say) if any care to help. It's aso in MS Word if that works best for any.


Trying to be a Good Boy!


Alan Coil
- Friday, December 5 2008 16:24:25


So you misquoted and a couple of mooks called you on it. And you're acting petulant about it?

Bah, humbug?

- Friday, December 5 2008 14:55:25


Wallace West was not only an extremely popular--and excellent--science fiction writer through the 40s and 50s--STARTLING STORIES, THRILLING WONDER STORIES, PLANET STORIES, ASTOUNDING--he did a number of marvelous novels in the genre (notably THE BIRD OF TIME) and I knew him. He has a story in THE LAST DANGEROUS VISIONS.

It is a shame people can weep over the passing of some, yet totally forget that others, better, are wholly forgotten.

I am quietly monitoring this site, but will never again ever enter a quotation from anywhere about anything.

Zipped up, Harlan Ellison

- Friday, December 5 2008 14:53:23

goodbye Mongo
George Chesbro,68

DTS <none>
Oz - Friday, December 5 2008 14:49:33

Regarding Harlan's absence and CINDY's plea
Hey CINDY: Having dispelled your notion I am (David) Nivenish and a gentleman, etc., etc., I feel safe in saying that I hope you don't get your wish this Xmas (as regards Harlan and the internet and this site).

_I_ hope he continues to stay away from this virtual bag of chips -- seriously! It can be distracting as hell, and his time -- as a husband, a friend, a writer, etc. -- is better spent in the "real world," where kisses and caresses are real, where food can be tasted and enjoyed, where movies and trees and beaches and odd-acting people can be sweet treats for the eyes and ears and (provided the smog aint too thick) nose...
...Anywhere but here...for the rest of his days, so that his time is spent wisely and well.

Not sure if Harlan and I don't know each other as well as you guys know each other, but I've valued him as a writer (and farway father figure) since the early '80s, and continue to value the friendship we _have_ forged for the past 12 or so years. What can I say: in my own, strange, way, I love the old fucker; and I hate to see him waste his time on the internet, where some mook is always baiting him into a dustup. Harlan's time is better spent with Susan and his friends -- enjoying good music, movies, food and drink -- and with his writing whenever he feels the urge. (And with folks like ATC, etc., alerting him to piracy issues, he can still take care of things via the telephone and his crack team of lawyers).

Hope that doesn't seem harsh, CINDY.
Me? All I want for Xmas is Harlan's continued absence -- and the ocassional announcement whenever a new project is in the pipeline -- and the sanguine knowledge that my two Los Angeles friends (Harlan and Susan, Susan and Harlan) are happily enjoying their days in the Lost Aztec Temple of Mars.

Cheers from Down Under,

Todd Mason <foxbrick@yahoo.com>
Philly burbs, USA - Friday, December 5 2008 14:1:10

Hello, Semi-Writer. I'm one of the contributors to an online project called the FictionMags Index, and the fact that there's a Wallace West story in that issue of SHEER FOLLY makes it relevant to that project. Can I ask the favor of a photocopy of the contents page (I'll be happy to cover the expenses involved!) so as to get the info in for the magazine...it's not, as a reading experience, worth at least twelve dollars to me at the moment, but getting the info in for it just makes the index that much more useful. Thanks. TM

The FictionMags Index:

Brian Siano
- Friday, December 5 2008 13:41:11

Another obituary
A friend of mine just blogged that Forry Ackerman's passed away at the age of 92.


- Friday, December 5 2008 11:39:51

My local library is full of Ellison but of course it's full of everything it being the Library of Congress of which a proud card carrier I am.

A NON-remake for you. MILK. Not a tract or a polemic but an evocation of a time and a place and a movement. I have not really ever been a fan of Sean Penn but here he's terrific, completely submerging himself into the character. James Franco, Josh Brolin, everybody's wonderful in this moving beautiful relevant (back then it was Prop 6) movie.

Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Friday, December 5 2008 10:22:49

On the subject of remakes, it looks like British comedian Russell Brand will be the lead in the new version of Arthur. Yes, I also just threw up in my mouth.

Adam-Troy, although I am not proud of it, I have seen Barb Wire and am not sure I would agree with your assessment that it is a remake (and a bad one) of Casablanca. Could you possibly elaborate on that thesis?

For those in the Minneapolis area, anyone interested in joining me at Dreamhaven books next Saturday 12/13? While your local library might not have much Ellison, you are guaranteed to find some quality Harlan books and comics at this store. Email me if you are available


TEXAS - Friday, December 5 2008 9:43:54

I wish Harlan would come home. The Christmas lights and carols aren't distracting me. It isn't a happy holiday season and it won't be until HE returns.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Friday, December 5 2008 9:41:56

POGUE noted

""A quote from John Huston
"Why do they always remake our good films? Why don't they remake our bad ones?""

Isn't that what I said.

(Well, yeah, he said it well before I did, but...)

Anybody know if the TraveLodge Covina gets cable???

David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland, OR - Friday, December 5 2008 9:25:47

They Riff
Jan asked:

** What is all this with Harlan being away?

Well, you know what they say. "When the cat's away--"


So . . . nice to see Roddy Piper get a mention here. I can't tell you much more, but I may be meeting the guy in the next month or two.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Friday, December 5 2008 9:25:10

My Library
Harlan's at my local library, kept in the display case by the front door. It's locked.

That's why he hasn't been here. You should hear the yelling.

Kell Brown <deadjohnnyzzz@zzzgmail.com>
Toronto, - Friday, December 5 2008 9:18:34


I'm always open to remake but I've rarely been rewarded. Tarzan's one that they'll continue to hit up although I'm partial to Chris Lambert's Greystroke.

Aronofsky is doing Robocop but regardless of what you think of the original his work in Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain and The Wrestler makes me think he can make at least a very entertaining film if not a great Science Fiction film.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Friday, December 5 2008 8:49:38

CASBLANCA was also remade as CABOBLANCO, with Charles Bronson, and (unofficially, but clearly) as HAVANA with Robert Redford. (Also, if you look closely, BARB WIRE.)

- Friday, December 5 2008 7:14:46

A quote from John Huston
"Why do they always remake our good films? Why don't they remake our bad ones?"

Frank Church
- Friday, December 5 2008 7:8:27

We have a wealth of Harlan at our library. Must be because he is from Ohio.

We have every book except for the first Glass Teat and Spider Kiss. We did have the first Glass Teat but someone stole it. Not me. haha.

They have eleven Dream Corridors! Four Edge's In His Voices! Four Myfisto's, the list goes on. We are blessed.

Best to move out of Texas. They only read beer cans there.


Rob, I may kill Madonna.

Kevin Avery
Brooklyn, New York - Friday, December 5 2008 6:58:9

Casablanca Redux
This isn't the first time CASABLANCA has been remade. If I recall correctly, HE expressed his dismay back in 1983 when David Soul played Rick Blaine in a five-episode TV miniseries. And, if IMDb is to be believed (not always a safe bet), CASABLANCA had already been made into a series once before, in 1955-56.

- Friday, December 5 2008 6:29:56

While you're on the subject of remakes, I hope you realize - and this just HAD to be coming! - that they are now trying to do CASABLANCA. Madonna wants to do it.

Just put a mustache on it, and it's ART, man!

Los Angeles, California - Friday, December 5 2008 5:38:25

Thinking of...
I'm not all that up on Harlan Ellison's connections, but I thought of him this morning when I found a 1937 copy of a magazine called "Sheer Folly" (let's just call it a "pinup magazine"--no full-on nudity but it's got women in lingerie or in conveniently full fur coats). In it is a short story by a guy named Wallace West called "Blood on the Rose."

"Tony's clumsy fingers gave up the frogs and ripped the gown from neck to waist. For a moment she struggled desperately. Then, her lips wite and set and her eyes hard, she relaxed into his arms..."

Funny how conveninet sex becomes 'cause the women just relax all of a sudden.

Even though "Wallace West" sounds like a pseudonym, it was apparently the guy's real name--Wallace George West. Sadly, because I need the money and because the magazine has Bob Hope in it from "Red, Hot and Blue," it's eBay fodder now. The writing is actually kind of interesting--not "bodice-ripper" material in this case, but it could've been!

Querzazate, Morocco - Friday, December 5 2008 4:4:34

What is all this with Harlan being away?

It's been cold here. I can see snow covered mountains. Took the bus over the mountains once and we had to wait four hours for the pass to be cleared. (I think it was a 15 to 16 hour drive in total. I have yet to experience a local bus with ventilation.) To think I'll have to go over the mountains again tomorrow...

There's a film studio in town where a lot of American epics are filmed, from Gladiator to Kingdom of Heaven. They leave some of the sets for tourists. Did you know that a lot of Lawrence of Arabia was shot around here too? I'd forgotten. Very few tourists at this time of year. I think I'll never again get so much (mostly unwanted) attention in my life.

Now I'll have pasta. Local food is good but my stomach has been on strike. Barber, would you take a break from writing about the best dining in LA?

W. Powell
Bloomington, IN - Thursday, December 4 2008 20:31:59

**N.B. Let ANYONE try to re-make either "Citizen Kane" or "Touch of Evil", and I'll see to it that the studio producing it is nuked.**

That's one of the very few jobs for which I'd gladly volunteer as a suicide bomber.

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Thursday, December 4 2008 20:6:23

Library Availability of Our Host's Works, & Re-makes
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

"Covina, Covina, Covina, Covina, ...... I love her so."

Inspired by Greg in Texas, I just checked the online catalogue for the entire library system of the Merrimack Valley area north of Boston, MA: thirty-four items--audio recordings, books (either Mr. E.'s works or works he introduced), etc.--over a twenty-five town area. Guess our dear host inspires too much fear, even here. Oh, Boxford lists only ONE item: Mr. E.'s into to Gaiman's "The Sandman". That's it. Saw our dear host at MIT in 2001 (?) and at Worldcon in Anaheim in 2006. He is such a force of nature that I actually saw people show genuine fear and cringe as he walked up and down the aisles in that Phil Donahue style of his. Fear not, though; he was a perfect gentleman to all, as we would expect, of course. (No one asked STUPID QUESTIONS.)

Local Barnes & Noble, Peabody, MA: one copy of "Shatterday". That was it. Fear there also. Best chance to acquire copies of works around here: used book stores, flea markets, sci-fi conventions (in hucksters'area), or library sales.

Remakes: generally hate them (see "Planet of the Apes", "Titanic", "War of the Worlds", and "Journey to the Center of the Earth". (Brendan Fraser over James Mason!) When done very well, acceptable: "A Fistful of Dollars", for example--a re-make of "Yojimbo". (As long as an American studio does NOT produce it from a foreign film--"The Magnificent Seven" from "The Seven Samuri".)

Must see "Last Remake of Beau Geste" to re-awaken sense of irony and satire. Again, a quote from our dear host: "Cows don't chew the same cud twice, so why should writers (in this case, scriptwriters)." Would love to see re-make of "A Boy and His Dog", though. Never happen while Mr. E. lives, but would love to see it. Cheap production, and never would be a Don Johnson fan. Jason Robards's acting was the most memorable for me.

N.B. Let ANYONE try to re-make either "Citizen Kane" or "Touch of Evil", and I'll see to it that the studio producing it is nuked. (Moustaches on the "Mona Lisa".) Or "The Seventh Seal". Or "Lawrence of Arabia". Someone produced a re-make of "Dr. Zhivago", I recall. Watched it. Still won't supplant the David Lean masterpiece.

Mr. E.'s Absence: Perhaps Obama is meeting with him about becoming Poet Laureate. Seriously, I think THE MAN just needed some quiet time away from this enlightened gathering of friends in order to write. Or get a face lift in Palm Springs. Or bowl a few hundred games. Just my idea.

Regards from the "other coast", and peace to all.

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Logical Reality
Sanity Clause, North Pole, - Thursday, December 4 2008 15:45:40


Perhaps the issue is less canoodling and strangleholds than it is bad buying habits on the part of your local library. (See, Libraries BUY the works, rather than stealing them. It's part of the budget.)

Mayhap the solution is to badger the Librarian about getting more Ellison on the shelves.

Yours in Logical Reality,


Concerned Cardholder
- Thursday, December 4 2008 14:48:31

I was concerned about the mention of an Ellison stranglehold on libraries, so I checked the online catalogs for the Upper Hudson Library System & the Mohawk Valley and Southern Adirondack Library System, which cover the public libraries in my general area of New York State -- around Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, & Troy. The catalogs listed 26 titles, by my rough count. So the stranglehold looks more like canoodling from here.

Just for the hell of it, here's a list of books currently OUT from at least one library in the systems (obviously not all libraries have all titles): Again, Dangerous Visions; Angry Candy; Approaching Oblivion; Deathbird Stories; Edgeworks, vol. 4; Love Ain't Nothing but Sex Misspelled; & Shatterday.

Meanwhile in the real world
- Thursday, December 4 2008 14:46:54

"Also Thursday, police said there were signs that some of the six victims of the attack on a Jewish center may have been tortured. "The victims were strangled," said Rakesh Maria, a senior Mumbai police official. "There were injuries noticed on the bodies that were not from firing."


Zack Malatesta
- Thursday, December 4 2008 14:44:40

My opinion about remakes: they are allowable.

It's like two different production companies putting on the same play. You don't hear many people screaming about how horrible that is, do you? I haven't heard any such nonsense.

So a director wants to try his hand at THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL or SOME OTHER MOVIE (can't think of any others). It's an interpretation, I guess. It might not be a good one, but I'm looking forward to how they deliver a certain famous, Gort-stopping phrase.

I'm sure that most of these remakes are made with money on the mind, easy with the story there and all. But some of them aren't. If I were a director, I'd like to remake FROM THE EARTH TO THE MOON.


Texas - Thursday, December 4 2008 13:21:20

Bad enough that the local used book store never has any Ellison in stock. I went to the public library and the only HE book on tap is Dream Corridor, in the Teen section.

I can understand wanting to get paid and nobody deserves it more than HE, but I never realized how far-reaching his stranglehold is--HE's even got the public library by the neck!

California - Thursday, December 4 2008 11:2:29

Don Dixon
Steve Barber, do you mean this Don Dixon?


There is contact information on the web page.

(I don't know him, but we have a mutual friend.)

Robert Ross <rbrross2937@yahoo.com>
Mpls., MN - Thursday, December 4 2008 9:11:58

Who can forget Rowdy Roddy Piper saying "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass ... and I'm all out of bubble gum"??

A really bad movie can sometimes get remade as just another bad movie. They remade THE HITCHER, after all.

And I read a blurb that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith are planning their own version of OLD BOY.

Before Arnold S. became governor, I thought I read that he was going to be the gunslinger in a remake of WESTWORLD.

How about they remake LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, and try and get it right this time?

Jerry Seward <thinman@journalist.com>
Saginaw, MI - Thursday, December 4 2008 8:57:14


Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Thursday, December 4 2008 8:29:4


I guess it was only a matter of time but I see there going to make a new Tarzan movie, form the looks of what I seen (very little) there going to mess it up!, but it’s Hollywood and what can you do?.

Its just the thought of seeing a great book hero being reduced to a Johnny Depp clone that make me shudder, setting it in the 1930’s sounds ok but it will just be a backdrop for today’s standards and I’m sure there will be all kinds of silly light hearted junk with our hero falling out of tree’s and a leading lady who has to rescue him form the jaws of death.

I mention some time ago about doing another Tarzan movie but I was hoping for a better outcome, now my mind is filled with horrible images of CGI apes mimicking the three stooges and natives dancing to music that has a Hip-Hop beat.

OK, I better calm down and take my heart pills, maybe its all a dream and I’ll wake up and find out that Hollywood does have a soul and will do the right thing?.

Keep dreaming.

Sitting around the Dum Dum………Gary.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Thursday, December 4 2008 7:47:34

It's a rhetorical question, but...

"Why do they try remaking movies that were done well in the first place, and not remake the ones that had potential but sucked"

Yeah. Rhetorical, as noted.

I agree with ATC that THEY LIVE is a good candidate, but will lose of a lot of the social commentary. Then again, it could be the filmmakers just never got that aspect of the movie and think it's a good story...

My top remake candidate for a movie that sucked (but the novel didn't) would be Roger Zelazny's DAMNATION ALLEY. The movie had almost nothing in common with the novel, other than a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Just discovered that artist Don Dixon lives here in Long Beach. May have to hunt him down and thank him for hours of imaginative staring at his works.

Agreed with Jeff R. I hope things other than health are keeping our patron occupied.

- Thursday, December 4 2008 7:37:32

I don't think I mentioned this, but ever impassioned by the abjective, nihilistic, and Dionysian influences of my humble yet stormy life, last week I honored Thanksgiving by running a film about Cotton Mathers.

Them Pilgrims cooked lots more than just turkeys!

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Thursday, December 4 2008 7:16:3

This is an e-mail response from Novels and Comics.

"Will be Glad to remove any proprietary material on notification



One can argue that it is unreasonable to assume the default position as "I have permission unless told otherwise," but the bottom line is that he says he WILL remove anything he is told to. An e-mail from any effected authors (and publishers) should do the trick.


Speaking of default positions, let us not assume the default explanation for silence as, "Something's wrong with Harlan." He doesn't need a blizzard of phone calls begging to know if he's okay. Simply put -- if he's not busy for the reasons we want him to be busy, which is to say living life and writing good stuff, and he hasn't mentioned misery here, he does not consider it our business.


Another plug for the new mystery novelists, Marcus Sakey and Cody McFadyen.


Mind-boggling movie remake news encountered various places this A.M.

ARTHUR. What the fuck? Who would have the cojones to remake ARTHUR? Who would have the cojones to try to PLAY Arthur?


THEY LIVE: Not a bad idea (though it was a bad movie), but it comes too late. The first movie explained away the Reagan years as a bunch of yuppie aliens making as much money off the planet as possible while human beings huddled among the homeless. It was, bad or not, a **profoundly political** b-movie. Tweaked for the Bushies, it would have been perfect remake fodder during the last eight years; but what are you gonna do now? Change the title to THEY WERE HERE AND MADE A MESS, NOW WE HAVE TO CLEAN IT UP?

And -- oh, vomit, puke, projectile phlegm -- a new TARZAN, "made in the style of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN," with plenty of people swinging on vines to avoid CGI monsters, and omitting that silly nonsense about him being raised by apes.


Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Thursday, December 4 2008 5:24:39

Gettig a little worried...
I just hope Harlan's longer than usual unexplained absence from the board isn't due to any health problems.

Man, - Wednesday, December 3 2008 21:24:43


Nixon's firebombing scheme for Brookings is nothing new. He'd been trying for ages to get hold of documents showing he was screwing the Paris peace talks between North and South Vietnam and LBJ knew about his little insidious gamble.

Wouldn't worry about Kissinger and Obama too much at the mo. HK probably be focusing on protecting his substancial interests in China.


Frank Church
- Wednesday, December 3 2008 17:32:22

More goodies from the dead Nixon. More tapes were released from the archives and Nixon is heard wanting the fire bombing of the Brookings Institute. I guess Gordon Liddy was the sane one and talked him out of it. Wink.

If Brookings is radical, no wonder the guy was crazy.

Also more info from the National Security Archive proving that Kissinger and Nixon plotted the overthrow of Allende in Chile.

Kissinger will advise Obama. Worry.

Zack Malatesta
- Wednesday, December 3 2008 14:57:50

and purge...
I've recently been on an SF binge, rereading old favorites and licking the gravy from the edges of tales new to me. Most of this adventure happened to be through the works of Dick and Ellison (surprising, I know), with my own self caught between the popping the pages of a Library of America: Novels of the 1960s PKDgasm and flipping the coin over and over in my Essential Ellison until my brain happily melted from being smacked around too many times. My poor, poor, masochistic brain!

Ah so, no better way to spend one's time: reading DEATHBIRD and THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE! Who would know that this was recession?

Now I will read TROPIC OF CANCER. Ho ho ho!


diane bartels <chcagokarenm@yahoo.com>
chicago, il, il - Wednesday, December 3 2008 12:37:42

Hello,all. Thanks, Adam for the name of the movie. I'll look for it if it's on again. I missed the very first few minutes. But I thought it was really well done.

I have a thought. I know, surprising, but it happens once in awhile. Maybe we shouldn't nudge Harlan so much about coming back. I know that sometimes I just have to absent myself from my friends and even my family for short periods. Just kinda drop out and tune into me, selfish as that may sound. I'm sure he know we care and he'll come back when he feels refreshed and himself. I mean, even on a physical level, procedures like he had can take a lot out of one, that one might not even realize for awhile.
Hope everyone else is well and good. Talk to all soon. Diane

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Wednesday, December 3 2008 8:42:37

The website's WHOIS info is being shielded by a group named "Privacy Protect".

"PRIVACYPROTECT.ORG is providing privacy protection services to this domain name to protect the owner from spam and phishing attacks. PrivacyProtect.org is not responsible for any of the activities associated with this domain name. If you wish to report any abuse concerning the usage of this domain name, you may do so at http://privacyprotect.org/contact. We have a stringent abuse policy and any complaint will be actioned within a short period of time."

I have submitted a request for contact info, since the info in WHOIS is inaccurate. I will advise ATC, Harlan and other interested parties once I get a response.

- Wednesday, December 3 2008 8:30:37

Sean Fodera notes over at sff.net,

"I note that on his comics page, though he lists five titles/characters, only one is actually available (Garfield). It also appears that he does not have links for most of the novelists named on the site. His Stephen King list is extensive, and the files appear to be there, but the Tolkein files appear to have already been removed. I think a lot of those names are just there to attract hits, unless he has material he hasn't posted yet. "

From the tiny size of the forum, I believe this site may be still under construction, which places it in the "Don't you even THINK it, buddy," category.

- Wednesday, December 3 2008 8:19:51

Oh, and your name is listed among the authors offered, but the link to your work does not seem to be working.

Oddly, authors are listed alphabetically by FIRST name.

I hate to provide news as weary-making as this, but whaddayagonnado?

As I said, I have sent my own cease-and-desist, cc'ing to my collaborator, Jerry Oltion; and I am following up with SFWA.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Wednesday, December 3 2008 8:16:51

Another &*%@ Pirate
Harlan, there's a new one.


Hundreds of novels, and some comic book runs, posted.

His name is Naveen, and his email is novelsandcomics@gmail.com.

I have alerted sfwa, and sent my own cease and desist letter. I will follow up.

Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Wednesday, December 3 2008 7:46:19

Semi-writer, while I realize you were relating that story about Harlan's professor as an example of the discussion on when one is considered a writer, you neglected to mention my favorite part of that tale: that Harlan sent him reviews, articles, and notices of awards received for many years afterwards. I wonder if the professor ever retracted that assessment?

On a completely different front, I have some positive news to share, that I was offered and accepted a position with the local transit authority. With news of layoffs and recession dominating the headlines lately, I am very happy to have found a good job in the government.

My thanks to Barber, Peg, Charlie, and numerous others who have given great support through this process. 2008 (and 2007 for that matter) were not all that great but I things are starting out great for 2009

Michael Rapoport
- Wednesday, December 3 2008 7:26:36

Absolutely true facts about Covina (if you believe Wikipedia)
- Sitting in front of the Covina police station is a replica of a colossal stone head built by the Olmecs, an ancient people from south-central Mexico. It was donated to Covina by the Mexican state of Veracruz, whose capital, Jalapa, is a sister city of Covina.

- Covina's slogan is, or at least used to be, "One Mile Square and All There," coined when the incorporated area of Covina was only one square mile, making it the smallest city in area in the U.S.

- The "Bohemian Rhapsody" scene from the movie WAYNE'S WORLD was filmed in large part on Citrus Avenue in downtown Covina. And multiple episodes of KNIGHT RIDER (the original David Hasselhoff version) were filmed in Downtown "Old" Covina.

- The city has a 30-screen movie theater, which it claims is the largest in Los Angeles County and one of the busiest in the country.

- Vince Neil and Tommy Lee of the rock band Motley Crue first met while attending Royal Oak High School in Covina.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Wednesday, December 3 2008 5:30:4

EXPLORING - Or Why I Love to Travel

(This EST thing will never catch on. It's only 5:30 am and these people expect me to be working...)

Last night I went exploring. About a mile from my hotel I found a genuine roadhouse (as opposed to the faux kitschy remakes and the endless chains of Chili's and Lone Star Steak Houses that have grown up around Raleigh). Wonderful little fifteen table hole in the wall, with eight or so counter stools. No formica, everything was built in real wood.

I had hush puppies, sweet corn, and the best North Carolina BBQ pork you could ever imagine. Very subtle flavor, just a hint of vinegar.

And a waitress that kept calling me "Hon" with no pretense about it.

Harlan would have heartily approved.

Los Angeles, California - Wednesday, December 3 2008 2:22:26

Doc said, "I find it odd that no one specified being a GOOD writer..."

Because "good" really is in the eyes of the beholder, as HE knows well. There's a diatribe in one of Harlan Ellison's books where he related the opinions of a college professor who told Harlan, in essence, that "you can't write and should someone accidentally read what you write, nobody will purchase it, you will never find fame and fortune," et cetera. I dare not copy/paste the text verbatim, but you get the drift.

You have to do what YOU do, not worry about doing what everyone else does, and get GOOD at what YOU do. Then you can tell the rest of the world to go indulge in certain self-satisfying earthly pleasures as to its judgments of your abilities.

Robert Morales
New York City, New York - Tuesday, December 2 2008 22:29:21


Dennis C
Glendale, CA - Tuesday, December 2 2008 17:56:7

Rumors abound that Covina is also a stomping ground (literally) for Cthulhu, Shub-Niggurath, the Dread Dormammu and also Duck Twacy.

Fantastic Conspiracy Theory? I think not.

Chuck Messer
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 17:14:15

On Thanksgiving, I spent it with my sister, mother and nephew. In that household, at least, there was reason to celebrate. A certain parasitic "guest" who had embedded herself in the basement has absented herself from the premisis permanently (no deaths involved), my nephew, after getting medication for ADHD, is now taking classes in computer graphic design. He's finally getting himself a life.

And one blessed event on the holiday: the TV went out. We all got a chance to really talk to each other. It was wonderful.

And as for the secret to solving the dish-washing conundrum here's the solution: paper plates. If the food and company's good, who needs Melmac?


DTS <none>
Emerald, OZ - Tuesday, December 2 2008 15:35:41

Thanksgiving -- and other holidays
ALL: I would actually hope (but not presume) that most guys posting here are part of the 5 percent of Thanksgiving celebrators who _would_ join in on the cleaning chores later in the day/evening. But having witnessed the larger portion of my gender watching sports, playing with the kids, holding court amongst the guests (doing all the fun stuff, in other words) while the women quite often get stuck with the work, I still feel the same way about the holiday. (And not matter what anyone says, the over-eating part of that day has become almost a ritual). I can take it or leave it -- preferrably the latter.

Speaking of HOLIDAYS: Does ANYone _truly_ believe that most of our holidays are still celebrated for the original reasons they came about? I mean, look at ARMISTICE DAY. It was meant to remind us of peace. It slowly morphed into Veteran's Day. And while it's nice to remember those lost in a war, I think _most_ of my gender (and I'm talking abou the ones I worked side-by-side with while working in construction, or in the Army, or as a truck driver, etc.) see the holiday as a way to extoll the glory of having been a soldier who died while fighting for "what he believed in." But what most smart, _experienced_ soldiers believe in is peace. Which is what Armistice Day used to remind us of. As for INDEPENCE DAY, don't get me started. I can't remember the last time I was engaged in (or overheard) a conversation -- that took place just before or on July 4th -- about how our country's forefathers fought bravely, etc., etc., to secure our indepence with people in the various neighborhoods I lived in while in the U.S. 99 percent of the revelers had two things on their minds: how much booze they could guzzle and (THIS is the one that REALLY speaks to the heart of the holiday in modern times) how many explosions they could cause with all of the fireworks they bought (never once giving any thought to the numerous fires and injuries that are caused by the juvenile act of "blowing stuff up" -- not to mention the damage to the environment). I could go on about several other holidays, but I'll stop here for now in case anyone wants to chime in -- or revoke my membership to Webderland.

MAYHEW: How much imagination does it take to _only_ get together with friends and/or family to enjoy good food and conversation one day a year? Who needs a holiday for that? (And why only once a year?)

FRANK: Only _you_ could give send shivers down my spine by ending your note to me with such an innocent word (the images inspired by that -- aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!). No offense taken regarding the punk comment. I taught Sid everything he knew.

Cheers, all,
DTS, aka, Ebeneezer (who lives in an Aussie state which has Melbourne Cup Day, a national holiday centered on a Horse race. Gotta admit, it's more fun than having a national holiday named Labor Day. That's, I say, that's a _joke_, son).

, - Tuesday, December 2 2008 15:6:31

I'm also surprised that no one brought up the Hemingway quote Harlan has used (in at least one interview), but which I have been unable to track down the source of, to the effect that: "A writer is one who wrote yesterday, is writing today, and (barring interference? disaster?) will write tomorrow."

Nothing in there about "good", either, or even publishing. I would say that those who keep at it, with whatever degree of skill, without being published are "hobbyists". Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Michael Mayhew
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 14:41:48

Edison and Tesla

This is a naughty double post, so I'll shut up for the rest of the week - but I just wanted to strongly recommend to Frank (and the rest of you) Mike Daisey's monologues on Tesla - Monopoly! and the Tesla segment of Great Men of Genius - or really pretty much anything by Daisey. I think the man is a gifted storyteller and a stirrer of the pot in the mold of our good host.

Now off I go to Time Out in My Room.


Doc <drdespicable@gmail.com>
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 13:56:14

Perhaps Harlan has gone away and sequestered himself for the purpose of turning into a butterfly? Anyone who goes looking for him, watch out for your pupik...

As regards a recent discussion of "When One Is A Writer..." - I think you're a writer when you write. And I find it odd that no one specified being a GOOD writer...

Sidney Doubleposter
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 13:11:11

Thank you all.

I will now go stand in a corner and blush in a very fetching manner.

Frank Church
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 12:47:35

Dorman, shush, ya Aussie punk, we need Harlan. He keeps us in line. We need that steady hand. We are such children. He be our daddy.

We are his legion of killer dwarfs.

I meant punk in a sweet way, Dorman. Suckle.


I have a great idea for a mini-series or movie: A film about the rivalry between Edison and Tesla. I heard that it was pretty heated. Edison was lit and Tesla was static with anger.

Tesla's weird personal quirks would make for interesting drama. The ultimate irony being that he did more for electric power than Edison, but Edison gets most of the credit. Tesla dies poor, Edison dies rich. Westinghouse rips off AC from Tesla, shutting him up by paying his rent. And you wonder why I think corporate America are a petri dish of scum.

Barney Dannelke <dannelke@gmail.com>
Allentown, PA. - Tuesday, December 2 2008 11:2:50

Andrew Wiernicki

I was very sorry to hear this. My sincere condolences. For others, here is a page devoted to his work. I never fell down the resin kit rabit hole - mostly for want of funds and display space - but I've always loved comics. The kits for Scott McCloud's ZOT! and Kirby's KAMANDI look especially nice. Not that these will be the primary reasons he will be missed. Just, well, at least there is the work.

- B


Michael Mayhew
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 11:2:37


DTS - in my family there is a friendly struggle for who gets to host and cook. When it's at my house, my wife and I share the cooking. Feeding friends and family is one of our favorite things. I love the buzz of a houseful of people all talking at once. This year my mom really wanted to cook, so she and my brother shared the job, but my wife and I helped with the final tasks, and we all cleaned up.

Thanksgiving, in my experience, just means people who like to be together sitting down to a home-cooked meal. There's lots of room for theme and variation (turkey is not required, in my book, although my wife feels that the season is not complete unless, at some point, she can cook and consume a very savory bird with lots of herbs and spices). I would suggest a bad Thanksgiving is more a failure of imagination then a failure of the underlying concept.

Cheers indeed!


Alan Coil
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 10:44:52

Where's Harlan? (with apologies to Waldo)

Rumor has it a disheveled man bearing close resemblance to Harlan Ellison was seen at the local humane society inquiring about adopting kittens. Whether to assuage his loneliness or for use as potential feedstock has not yet been determined.

- Tuesday, December 2 2008 9:4:53

DTS I am forced by your anti-Thanksgiving screed to reply!

The state of American democracy and culture is infinitely debateable but the one undiputed alloyed success of the US of A is to be able to produce fat people as if from some monstrous conveyor belt!

My god consider for a moment that the mass of mankind through the ages has been consisitently undernourished. Truly the American Dream is to satisfy the hopes and yearnings of all people expressed never more beautifully than in that immortal phrase in our founding documents...


Tim Richmond
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 7:59:51

Sadly to say sculptor and artist Andrew Wiernicki passed away just before the holiday. He was a real sweet guy, one of my closest friends. Some of you have met him others would know his work. As a favor please take some time today and google him. Andy would love that his work was still being appreciated. If you knew him at all (or not)you may leave a message for his wife Lorraine in a guestbook that is on line. Thanks.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Tuesday, December 2 2008 5:41:51

Dorman - Bitechertongue! (Okay, well, I agree with the sentiment about Harlan's happiness and work, but...)

Secondly, I do genuinely disagree about Thanksgiving. Yeah, some people do gorge and watch football, but on the whole it has always been a very family-oriented holiday in our household. (And I washed most of the dishes, carved the turkey -- and Freddie Kreuger would have approved of the job I did -- and made the vegetables.)

So there.

Unfortunately, it never occurred to me that one of my fellow "DWST" tour-around-town buddies lives in Raleigh until he got ahold of me last night. Our schedules don't match and so for the record he owes me a beer whenever we're both in the same town again.

For the record.

(Also for the record, my use of "ahold" is a deliberate attempt to lure HE from his hidey hole. We all know his inability to ignore such an obvious abuse of the English language, and thus will pop his head up and chastise me for it.)(Shhh. Don't say anything.)

I am reading Michael Crichton's TRAVELS. Good, albeit weird at times, stuff.

The person who invented Eastern Standard Time and 8am training sessions ought to be shot. Just IMHO.

DTS <none>
OZ - Tuesday, December 2 2008 4:49:11

Regarding Harlan's absence...and Thanksgiving
....because...much as I enjoy the banter that sometimes comes about from Harlan's visits/posts to this forum, and even though I check out the forum quite often to keep up on new works/releases, and even though this is a nice place to visit (and most of you guys are tops)...the internet can be as alluring and addictive as a bag of potato chips -- and about as unhealthy.

So it is my sincere hope that Harlan decides to spend the rest of his days and nights with his lovely wife Susan, his good friends in L.A. (and those in town, visiting), and...when the spirit moves him...working on his stories, essays, books, screen or teleplays, etc.

THANKSGIVING: I recently noticed (and, admittedly, skimmed over) a post by another writer whose site and forum attracts acolytes of a more conservative bent. Said writer was extolling the virtues of the holiday of Thanksgiving, basically saying it's the best of all holidays because it was designed to give thanks (for whatever one is thankful for) and hang out with family and friends, and eat food and watch football (which is usually on the TV during these gatherings).

I couldn't disagree more. Even if you don't have a dysfunctional family, the idea of getting together to gorge on food -- which is what most people do at thanksgiving -- and watch sports ad nauseum is just plain...well, nauseating. Worse, if most of you folks getting together for such gatherings pay attention, I'm betting that 95 percent of the time you'll witness the women doing all of the work (cooking, cleaning dishes, etc). I can see why middle-aged guys with a secret desire to be be more atheletic might dig the holiday; and even younger guys, who are still able to run 50 yards without wheezing (after all, having women waiting on you is every guy's dream). But after having the chance to spend time _away_ from the U.S. for over a year now, I can definitely say that Thanksgiving just seems like a celebration of gluttony (lets face it, unless one is religious, most people aren't spending many moments silently giving thanks -- they're eitehr wondering how they can pack a little more pecan pie into their gullets, or trying to figure out a way to hide the yams under the mashed potatoes -- it's mostly about food and sports thesed days). What's more, it's been refreshing to live in a country that _doesn't_ over-commercialize every holiday with "in-your-face" advertisements cropping on every billboard, banner and buttpack (actually, there aren't as many billboards cluttering the scenery and highways in this part o' the world -- which is also very nice).

Other than that, have a nice day everyone (really -- because I did -- and shall continue to do so for some time in the foreseeable future).

Cheers to all,

William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Tuesday, December 2 2008 3:39:23

Random Thoughts
Dear Mr. Ellison et al:

Mr. Lee: I would add one or two spoken lines to your fine list.

First: "....evidence of an alien civilization whose knowledge of science far exceeds our own."

Second: "I didn't know the Doctor had such a beautiful daughter. You have a doctorate in physics; hmmmm, beauty AND brains."

and Third: "Why is the Air Force so interested in our discovery, colonel?"

All directed by Roger Corman, of course.

Mr. Doubleposter: well done, sir. In your next post, we learn that the HE of whom you wrote is actually a clone holed up in a TraveLodge located in a Covina in a parallel universe, drinking abisinthe and sending lusty e-mails to Nigerian princesses in need of patriation to the U.S. The real HE never left Wonderland; he and Susan are now .......then Rod Serling and Philip K. Dick enter camera left and right, respectively, to add an epilogue and, then, and teaser for next week's episode of "Ellison's Law".

Los Angeles, California - Tuesday, December 2 2008 1:48:1

Sidney Doubleposter
You forgot to add...

"These and other questions will be answered on the next episode of... HE."

Los Angeles, - Monday, December 1 2008 23:18:11

Occam's Razor
And here I was thinking that Harlan was busy working on another epic masterpiece tentatively titled "Oh dear, he's not going to do Xmas again, is he?" "Yes, yes he is. Again."

The simplest explanation is usually the closest to the truth.

Frank and I can be seen strolling arm in arm at the local WalMart, shopping for towels.

Alan Coil
- Monday, December 1 2008 19:38:13

Gee, if Harlan had received just a penny for each of those hits on "Pay the Writer", he'd be able to afford better lodging than TraveLodge.

Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Monday, December 1 2008 18:28:53

jesus christ, ya'll sounds jus' like the illegitimate (not to mention, unlikely) offspring of Tom Robbins and Neal Stephenson.

ye gods. thanks for that.


p.s. man it is cold here

reading: H. Beam Piper's FEDERATION
listening: Aerosmith ROCKS
drinking: strawberry/banana smoothies

Sam Wilson
Los Angeles, CA - Monday, December 1 2008 16:56:2

Yes, you're right, No Country for Old Men. (I love Leno's joke, "That's No COUNTRY for Old Men"...)

My favorite movie of the last seven years.

And, in common with Schindler's List, it won Best Picture.

Sorry, no chocolate milk for the W. library water fountains.

Clipping Service
- Monday, December 1 2008 16:43:46

Poor Harlan....

...as I am sure he doesn't even have DIAL-UP at the TraveLodge, he will miss finding out first hand that his "PAY THE WRITER" rant just passed 200,000 hits on YOU TUBE. Two...hundred....THOUSAND individual computers basking in His Righteous Fury!!

Someone please pass along the news to him.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Monday, December 1 2008 15:44:17

Straighten Us, Sidney, Cuz We'z Reddy



*gasp*, *hurk*

HAHAHA...hahaahahaha...hehehehe....ouch, damn that hurts....

*gasp*, *sigh*



Frank Church
- Monday, December 1 2008 15:6:4

Sidney, like I'd be a banker.


You get the golden dragon, sealed in chocolate tears.


Sidney is one clever mofo. We better up our antes.

- Monday, December 1 2008 15:5:47

It's not like I tied li'l Nell to the railroad tracks...
You cut a guy some slack and he goes off in a sulk. Gee, if I knew he was gonna take it this hard, I would've at least insisted on a book or a piece of artwork or maybe one of his fifty jillion comics. Or, I suppose, I could have said nothing and let the whole thing slide...Nahhh, not a chance, baby, HE knows me better than that!

Jes Bickham
Bath, UK - Monday, December 1 2008 13:48:4

(Gasps for breath)
Absolutely, utterly, dimple-creasingly wonderful. My cheeks hurt.

Josh Olson
- Monday, December 1 2008 13:35:9


You got every single detail right, with the lone exception of this - TraveLodge is spelled "TraveLodge."

Harlan's shame is monumental.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Monday, December 1 2008 13:26:45

Why Harlan's At Home
Harlan and Susan standing in front of a stone arch, below which flash various newsreel images.

Susan says, "Now, all you have to do is go back in time and STOP YOURSELF from making that bet with Pogue..."

Sidney Doubleposter
- Monday, December 1 2008 13:7:2

Let me see if i got this straight.
By way of a casual wager, Harlan believes that he has lost his home to Pogue, and was last seen moving into a Travelodge in a dismal section of Southern California. Despite written and faxed-in entreaties from Pogue, and the pleadings of the level-headed Susan, Harlan persisted in his belief that he had lost his home in a moment of vigilance ceased.

"It was only a joke!" Susan cried, tugging at Harlan's bathrobe. "Here! READ this! A letter from Pogue saying the house is yours! He even had it notarized!"

"Nothing to be done," replieth Harlan, shambling forth into his fabulous walk-in closet (wall paintings by Steranko, floor tiles by Chiluly, ceiling by Orson Welles) to throw a change of clothing into his hobo's bindle. "Haven't had to use this since I was a teenager," he grumbles, his eyes glazing over with the pain over his wholly imagined folly. "Life was good on the road. Bo's taught me how to make good tin-can coffee. Can't be too hard to remember how."

"Will you LISTEN?" screams Susan, by now wondering if a lampshade cord might give her better purchase on her husband. "Pogue didn't take the bet! He doesn't want to take your house away from you!"

"Matter of pride," growls Harlan. He has now made his way into the awards room, his bathrobe stretched behind him like a terrycloth sail. Susan's attached at the end, canted backward at a forty-degree angle, her heels scraping curls of mahogany from the floorboards. Harlan regards his awards, tells himself that they matter not a sou when one makes mistakes like betting with Pogue, and decides that the only award which will accompany him on the Road shall be the half-Hugo for the movie of "A Boy and his Dog." It makes a dinging noise against the Little Orphan Annie drinking tin he'd stashed there yesterday.

By now, Susan has dropped the bathrobe, and is furiously tearing open the package Josh Olson dropped off. It's a custody tracker, an ankle cuff packed with chips and locaters and GPS stuff, and right now Susan is trying to gnaw through the tough vacuform plastic packaging. If she could grab Harlan's ankle for just a moment...

By the time she gets it open, and slams a couple of trible-A batteries into the thing, Harlan has ambled out the front door. He's halfway up the road, hobo bindle dangling over his right shoulder, but no, he hasn't gone out in his bathrobe. No, he's thrown on a Cerruti 1881 outfit he'd picked up in the mid-1960's, as a splurge after that first Burke's Law sale. But he's thrown the bathrobe on on TOP of it because, well, as Harlan walks down the road, he mumbles about having to bear his shame publicly, and thus, the bathrobe. By this point, Susan's decided that nothing's going to straighten Harlan out but Harlan, so she pours herself some iced tea and tells herself to give it a day or two.

Two hours later, Harlan arrives at what looks like a storefront church. And until 1975, that's what it was, but it has since been turned into a clandestine Yiddish Theater founded by dissatisfied Mormons who didn't think they were special _enough_ and figured maybe this might put them over the top, metaphorically speaking. Somehow Harlan manages to get on stage, and performs the role of Uncle Mordechai in the grand tragedy "Tante Shpilkiss' Ungrateful Children" for about forty minutes before people realize that he is NOT Peter Jurasik reprising his role of Londo Molari.

Two hours after that, Harlan arrives at the Travelodge. He pays for his room from a coffee can filled with grimy singles. He'd stopped off at Lower Sepulveda Mutual Savings and Loan, cashed a check, refused the free toaster-oven, and grimed the singles up at the nearby Pep Boys. "Ah, Pogue," he says distractedly, as the clerk uncrumples the bills for the cash tray, "a moment of weakness, a scintilla of certainty, and I am cast out into a life of penury and lost glories." The clerk does not hear this, as his iBuds have sealed his ears to everything but pirated MP3s of "Dokken's Greatest Hits."

So Harlan drags himself up the crumbling concrete steps to Room 204, a number with no significance, drops his bindle on the bed, and eyes the complementary bottle of Muscatel that has become de rigeur for fleabags such as this. (The greeting card reads "You've lost everything, but gained a habit.") The television waits patiently, licking its lips.

Meanwhile, Susan and Josh race across town in the Packard, with clouds of postcards swirling in their wake. It's a Christmas Miracle: thousands of letters have arrived (in fact, many are postcards sent by FedEx, the cumulative charges of which have boosted that company's stock within hours), stressing that there never was a real bet, that Pogue doesn't get the house, that the mortgage is paid off, that the bank's been bought by Frank Church who's forgiven the loan, that David Loftus's marathon seventeen-hour filibuster on pornography in modern life has raised over twelve thousand dollars, that the Easter Bunny has arrested Pogue for identity theft and running an illegal distillery (coincidentally, he was brewing Muscatel for a consortium of fleabag hotel owners).

Will Susan and Josh get to the hotel on time? Will Harlan break down, pick up the bottle of Muscatel and move it someplece where he doesn't have to see it? Will the Packard's suspension hold? Will Adam-Troy Castro make good on his threat to clone Cory Doctorow under a common-use license of his genome? The clock is ticking!

Do I have it about right?

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Monday, December 1 2008 9:56:50

SUSAN, JOSH - Please console me that one or the other of you has seen Harlan lately and he's in good health. Covina has been smoggy of late...

Training in Raleigh NC isn't what they tell you it is in the brochure. It's much colder, and the powerpoint presentations are pretty dry.

But the cafeteria has a decent salad bar...

Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Monday, December 1 2008 8:13:32


Yes, the original Mummy was very good and the others during the 40’s could never live up to that one but I still liked them Tana leaves and all, there are just some movies that I will watch no matter what, I guess I’m very easy to please, here is a short list of things that I’ll watch anytime, anyplace.

Any movie with the following in the dialogue.

1. “my god, exposed to that much radiation it shouldn’t even be alive!”
2. “ form the size of those footprints one things for sure, it’s not from around here!”
3. “ its been hours and yet the heart is still beating”
4. “ I come for a planet in the Orin system with a warning for all mankind”
5. “ramming speed!
6. “ that thing is growing at a phenomenal rate, by morning there may not be a New York!”
7. “ doctor you cant do it, that formula has never been tested on humans!”
8. “ there’s nothing to worry about, no creature could live through a blast like that!”
9. “ I haven’t translated all the inscription yet but it appears to be some kind or warning”
10. “remember what ever you do don’t open that box!’

Trying to find a good movie on TV……Gary.

- Monday, December 1 2008 7:22:59

Sometimes slow is worse
Hey Gary Lee sometimes slow is worse. I mean global warming is slow but we're sitting here like a dumb ox hypnotized by the headlights...

Speaking of the Mummy...the original Boris Karloff version is a wondeful masterpiece but the 1940s sequels were dismal and pathetic (Tana leaves and shit). But there was always one scene in them which sent shivers down the spines of my brother and my cousin and me sitting there in front of a big ole black & white TV in our jammies with our buzzcuts.

In the middle of the night an old couple would be in bed with the window open and the audience would see the shadowy figure of Kharis (usually poor Lon Chaney) passing by in the night on his way to inact revenge for the desecration of the Holy Tomb...

Steve Barber there was an article in the Post over the holidays about the complaints fliers have had about the TSA and the TSA whining about how hard their job is and how misunderstood they are. They're being given job training on how to be nice...

Robert Ross <rbrross2937@yahoo.com>
Mpls., MN - Monday, December 1 2008 7:3:55

The Shield

Apropos of nothing being discussed here, I want to point out just how terrific this last season of THE SHIELD has been, especially the season finale. I've always been a big, big fan of THE SHIELD, and I always thought the praise lavished on other shows such as THE SOPRANOS would more rightfully have been showered on THE SHIELD. Did Vic Mackey wind up the season finale eating onion rings in a scene that may not be really be happening? Of course not.

There were a couple of scenes in particular that really got to me. I don't think I'm spoiling anything to say, when one character says to another, "I'm dying. This is what it looks like," well ... since my new regimen of chemo has left me bald and sick, that got to me. And what ultimately happened to Vic Mackey is PERFECT.

If you've never watched THE SHIELD, you could do far worse than giving it a try. If you like the first few episodes, well, you've got seven seasons to watch. If you don't, the hell with it.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Monday, December 1 2008 1:17:15

I discovered the link for this potentially pending creative brouhaha on the Inkygirl website. I thought it might be of interest to the artistically minded:



Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Sunday, November 30 2008 18:42:50

Prop 8
The best explanation and examination of what happened with Prop 8 in California is in (what else?) the new ROLLING STONE -- December 11th issue with Britney Spears on the cover. For some reason this article isn't online. But it's the most cogent and comprehensive article on the issue I've seen.

Also a good article on the Minnesota recount by the ever-readable Matt Taibbi (that one is online at Rollingstone.com.)

- Sunday, November 30 2008 12:30:14

To Bob Van Voorhis,

In the words of Francois Truffaut, "Taste is a result of a thousand distastes"

The original OL had a FLOOD of excellent episodes, and brilliant writing, before and after 'Soldier'.

ANY one of Dutch lineage should know that!

Brian Siano
- Sunday, November 30 2008 11:55:25

Heads up on Burke's Law
I've started seeing reviews for the DVD release of Burke's Law, of the second half of the first season. This batch includes two of Harlan's scripts: "Who Killed Andy Zygmunt?" and "Who Killed 1/2 of Glory Lee?"

On another subject...
I've been playing a computer game called _Fallout 3_, which takes place in a post-nuclear war Washington DC. I just reached a point where the game gives me a dog to accompany me as I go about scavenging. And I half expected to be able to hit the "Talk" key and have the pooch start bitching at me and call me Albert. (The dog doesn't talk beyond the usual woof-woofery, but it was a fun thought for a moment.)

Bob Van Voorhis <feralduck@sbcglobal.net>
Austin, TX - Saturday, November 29 2008 17:37:4

Outer Limits, original series
Just finished watching the episode entitled "Soldier", which shows a marked increase in the quality of execution from some of the episodes preceding it. The leads, especially Michael Ansara, do a fine job, the direction is largely acceptable and the low budget effects don't detract from an interesting premise.
Thanks for writing a good script, and to the cast and crew for not screwing it up.

Frank Church
- Saturday, November 29 2008 10:12:39

Real heros these nameless lynchers of my private ceremonial.

If you can look on the Palestinian children's faces and not see their humanity you are the ones who build the electric fences, not me.

I never mentioned the Jews or Zionism or what happened in India. What I posted had nothing to do with that. What it had to do with was Israel and their continued terror campaign against a race of people. Israel is a state and states do violence--fini. I mention Israel's terror because we as Americans can do something about that terror since it is our tax money that pays for it. I can't do anything to make Islamic radicals not bomb people, but I can make my state be more personal, so that people won't want to bomb us.

Let's not forget the main critics of Israel are Jewish.

I also have no power over the comments section of the dank web. I do say "fuck Israel" in terms of how they act towards innocent people. And I don't want to hear about how these arab terrorists bomb pizza places and buses. The context is a bit overboard. For every Israeli bombed by arabs, 300 arabs get murdered by Israel.

See, I didn't backtrack or glom off my rock.

Now who wants pie?

David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland, OR - Saturday, November 29 2008 9:58:52

Liars in Love, as Richard Yates once wrote


Rather than having us stumble around trying to explain our own thoughts on the subject, or worse, translate what Ellison meant, I recommend you hunt up a copy of Harlan Ellison's _Love Ain't Nothing But Sex Misspelled_ and read the introduction. Any edition but the original Trident hardcover (which I doubt you're apt to run across anyway; mine cost me at least $75) will have it.

Anthony Tollin <at@shadowsanctum.com>
San Antonio, TX - Saturday, November 29 2008 9:1:41

Frank Robinson
Science fiction author and former "Playboy Advisor" FRANK ROBINSON is interviewed about his appearance in the new film MILK and his real-life background as Harvey Milk's political scriptwriter at:


Vick Torres <vicki77@optonline.net>
Parsippany, NJ - Saturday, November 29 2008 8:58:55

We become liars
What does that mean "The minute people fall in love, they become liars"? How so?

Please, I need this explained to me.

Thanks for your help.

Alan Coil
- Saturday, November 29 2008 7:39:26

I'm approaching the halfway mark of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon, and



Gee Whiz


is it ever a fine book.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Saturday, November 29 2008 6:5:55

It's just after 6am at Long Beach airport. The TSA is examining the carry-ons of a young blond girl. I would suggest a nefarious motive if it weren't an older asian woman doing the checking. (The same TSA inspector who I 'glared' at as she shoved my laptop computer further down the rollers because I was "blocking the way". The fact no one was behind me notwithstanding. But I admit, my stare -- not happy, and focused right in her eyes -- probably got me *this close* to a "more detailed" inspection.")

Check in took 5 minutes. Security another ten. Forty five minutes to boarding.

STEPHEN - The dogs are in residence and have been advised of your intent.

And if they don't get you, the Chicksinger will. She can take out a bass player at forty yards.

Harlan's silence is bothersome. The Travelodge Covina needs to add an internet connection.

See y'all. (Been practicing my accent, donchaknow.)

DTS <none>
OZ - Saturday, November 29 2008 5:46:42

Sam's query
Hey SAM: Ummmm, it's late, so my brain's tired and not up to full capacity. Either it was Deepak Chopra...Dr. Phil...orrrrrr...the academy awarding winning actor Javier Bardem, playing a character whose name I forget in "No Country For Old Men." It was a tough one to watch, but I liked that movie much more than the recent, "Burn After Reading" (but I liked even more after a second viewing, so maybe I need to wait for "Burn" to hit DVD before making a final judgment call.


Los Angeles, California - Friday, November 28 2008 23:14:43

Mr. Manners
Manners? In this day and age? Heavens, man, next you'll be asking us all to... to wear CLOTHES, of all things! And I suppose washing won't be far behind that request, either. *sigh*

Alan Coil
- Friday, November 28 2008 19:49:31

Let's please be polite here.

Take your discussions-arguments-attacks of a personal nature over to the other board where they can be properly dispensed. Keep this part of the site friendly, or at least cordial.

Dintcher Gramma teechya any manners?

Sam Wilson
Los Angeles, CA - Friday, November 28 2008 18:39:30

'Salright about the $5. Tell me who said:


and I'll donate another 5 bucks to the W. library, to buy crayons for the coloring book. Bonus points: what does the quote have in common with the Schindler's List quote? Guess that and I'll petition to have the library's water fountains spew chocolate milk....

Wrigley Field, - Friday, November 28 2008 17:6:15

Mr. Barber
So while you are away Steve I'll be the one ransacking ..er, taking care of .. your house.

Or will the dogs take care of that for us again? ;-)

Have fun on your trip.

Strother Martin
OH - Friday, November 28 2008 16:51:11

Frank you ignorant slut

Be nice to Frank, he is posting from the prison library and only
has so much time to peer into the outside world before being led
back to cell block D and the fine care of Ohio's correctional

Do I have to say what we've got here?

Heat Lightning
- Friday, November 28 2008 15:12:11

There he goes again
Frank posts a link to a propaganda video, but since the propaganda aligns with Frank's Silly Thinking Worldview, he can't go all "Chomsky Propaganda Model" on us.

His Bull Shit Detector only works in one direction.

Among the comments on the video, on the page he linked to, are such gems as "The Fascist State of Israel", and "Fuck Israel!"

All this on a day when I read that Muslim terrorists went to India, where there are ten thousand Jews in a country of over one billion, and there the terrorists sought out and killed: (-Surprise-) Jews.

Quite a filter there: one in a hundred thousand in India are Jewish, and yet they found some Jews and killed them. Of course, since the terrorists and their mouthpieces will loudly claim it was NOT because they were "Jews", but because they were Israeli's, or that other code word "Zionists", well, that makes it okay. The world is a free fire zone. verbally and literally, for Those Targets, right, Frank?

Way to go, Frank. Yeah, you're a humanitarian.

When it goes with your agenda, you are, anyway. If it doesn't fit that Procrustean Bed, murder is like water off a duck's ass: It don't fret you none.

Which is another way of saying that you're just another hater. You like to wrap your raggedy ass thinking in the robes of a Humanitarian. Actually, you are just as afflicted with the hate disease as any other human.

Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose.

Now watch Frank try to do that Old Fave of his, the Double Shift Cross Step Back Pedal to get right out of this one. He's really quite good at it, that is, he is once he get's both feet out of his frothing mouth.

Heat Lightning

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Friday, November 28 2008 13:55:27

Just had a lunch of "surprise!" turkey and stuffing.

Ah yes, the unbridled carnivorous rampage that was Thanksgiving. (Yes, we had three token vegetarians in attendance. We let them gut the turkey. Kidding.)

Off for Raleigh NC in the wee early hours tomorrow, so spending the day lazing about the house.

Hopefully, by the time I'm back, HE will be seen and heard from again. Covina is a nice place to visit...

(Well, not really, and I wouldn't want to live there.)

Cheers y'all. If I'm not back in five days, send in the troops.

- Friday, November 28 2008 12:44:19

William Gibson,94

john zeock
- Friday, November 28 2008 12:40:41

one less on the seesaw
Walter Gibson,94

Frank Church
- Friday, November 28 2008 12:33:16

While all you mooks are still drunk from turkey and the gastric tantra, best to also think of the dreaded outside world:

The truth about Palestine:


Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Friday, November 28 2008 10:43:2

Slumdog Millionaire
Just want to recommend the movie SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, directed by Danny Boyle, written by Simon Beaufoy, to all. Coincidentally, a lot of it is set in Mumbai.
Amazing entry into a world most of us have never seen -- tied into a fun, old-time story of lost love and good brother/bad brother.
Could get Oscar nominations. Go see it. You won't regret it.

alan <DaliEnoRox@aol.com>
largo, fl. - Friday, November 28 2008 10:13:29

i stand corrected
thanks,i will seek his works out.

Brian Siano
- Thursday, November 27 2008 23:4:45

It's not Elmore Leonard: James Ellroy's next novel is tentatively titled _Blood's a Rover_.

I thought of Harlan's story, specially since Harlan blurbed Ellroy's amazing _Black Dahlia_ (and was the reason I read it and became an Ellroy fan).

Graham Rae <grahamrae69@aol.com>
Chicago, Killinoise - Thursday, November 27 2008 22:6:28

Every writer has a mother (and is often very close to them); you might be interested in this:


"The only good Christian is a good Christian" - Foetus (on my fonez right now.


Lars Klores <klores@gmail.com>
Alexandria, VA - Thursday, November 27 2008 21:8:50

Blood's a rover
"Blood's a rover" is from an 1896 poem called "Reveille" by famous science fiction author A.E. Houseman, author of "To a Three-Toed Venusian, Dying Young."

You can read "Reveille" and the great book from which it comes, _A Shropshire Lad_, here: http://www.bartleby.com/123/4.html

James Van Hise <Jimvanhise@aol.com>
Yucca Valley, CA - Thursday, November 27 2008 20:18:14

Bloods a rover
If that's the title it's from an old poem. The section involved goes: "Clay lies still, but bloods a rover." I believe I first encountered it in a 1950s book MY BEST SCIENCE FICTION STORY.

alan <DaliEnoRox@aol.com>
largo, fl. - Thursday, November 27 2008 19:34:0

Blood's a rover.
just saw the new Elmore Leonard novel about to be released with similar title to HE comic.say it isn't so.

Adam-Troy Castro
- Thursday, November 27 2008 17:2:7

That Karloff movie
...was ISLE OF THE DEAD, directed by Mark Robson, one of the Val Lewton productions. Wasn't 1930s, but rather 1945. Glad to be of service.

diane bartels <chicagokarenm@yahoo.com>
chicago, - Thursday, November 27 2008 15:53:6

Hi, everyone. Happy Thanksgiving. Been gone for a while. Was in the hospital a couple weeks ago for a week. My blood pressure decided to go insane 251 over 151. Don't ask me why, cause I don't know. It took the docs 5 days, but they finally got it done and it has behaved itself lately. But I was drained.

I checked in a couple times, but not for a week or so. Scariest movie--- I'm ashamed to admit, I can't watch the Exorcist, or any of the Zombie movies. I saw one a couple weeks ago though that I had never heard of or seen. Sadly I missed the title but it was a '30s black and white, starring Boris Karloff. He played a Greek general and he and some other folks get trapped on a Grecian island by an outbreak of plague. This was a seriously disturbing movie; it actually scared me, not like where I jumped an screamed, but profound psychological disturbance, and like an "ooooo, yuck, oooo, no" feeling. I never so or heard of this flick before, but it reinforced what a magnificient actor Karloff was.

I saw something last night on PBS that scared me. It wasn't a scary movie though. It was a documentary about the Nazi's stealing of the art and treasures of Europe. I was torn between sympathy with the Allie's efforts to save and restore the art treasures, and the insanity of so much human life being so blatantly destroyed at the same time. We are a curious species. I cried in the middle of this. How can our species produce a Leonardo, a Tolstoy, a Mozart, and the same species produce Hitler, Goerring, etc. And Stalin and George W.

Paul was talking about his dream the other night. Last night I had a dream about President Elect Obama. He was lecturing at my old school. My professors and friends were there with me. I met him and he asked me to join the government and help him. I was very happy in the dream. I am so ecstatic he won.

Mitch, you and your sons will be in my thoughts and prayers this weekend. God Bless You and Yours.

I've always wanted to be a writer. Maybe one day I will be. If I get my butt in gear. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is lazy and timid and just not confident in self.

Hope you all have a good one. Take care.

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Thursday, November 27 2008 14:45:52


We're back from a pleasant family Thanksgiving buffet with my brother and niece. My uncle and his wife couldn't make it, so my brother ate their share.

My youngest did quite well in the restaurant. It was a pleasant change.

Best wishes to everyone. Find something to be thankful for, and share it with someone you care about.

And, Susan, be a dear and save a Lean Cuisine dinner for Harlan.


C. Cooper
NYC, - Thursday, November 27 2008 11:34:42

Happpy Thanksgiving to all! Especially those compassionate tofurky consumers.


Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Thursday, November 27 2008 11:32:34

HE in Exile
Since it is Thanksgiving, maybe HE can be permitted to leave the Travelodge???

Or at least upgrade to a place that will give him room service turkey?

Just askin' is all....

Texas - Thursday, November 27 2008 10:59:53

What is tape? What is dial-up?

And what is tofuckendurkey? Is this another of Ellison's archaic curse words?

Pleasant holidays to all.

Steve B
- Thursday, November 27 2008 10:46:0

HARLAN, if you get this, a second Thanksgiving-ish note to say that you inspired me with your weight loss. Enough so that with my last trip to the Doctor I am down five pounds -- with a long way to go.

Turkey and veggies only for this boy today.

(Well, maybe a LITTLE home-made stuffing...)

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Thursday, November 27 2008 10:42:48

Rest easy, Susan. If no one taped it, you can be assured it will be online shortly enough so that one of us can get you a copy.

It was a nice gesture, that little comment.

My morning began as the temperature hovered around 57 degrees (F) outside. Only a few degrees warmer within -- possibly a bone-chilling 60 or so. The water in the shower took some time to heat up, and when I first flipped the lever for the second set of shower heads it was very cold water that emerged on my back. It took, maybe, twenty full seconds for it to warm sufficiently.

This was followed by two pieces of toast, slightly burned, but with avocado paste from fruit off our very own tree. (Self-sufficiency being vital these days.)

I then had to drive nearly two miles to Ralphs for last-minute items, including a bottle of Jack D for the Bourbon Glaze on the turkey.

Returning home we realized that I had eaten too many eggs (two, exactly) on my eggs-on-toast breakfast yesterday morning, so again I hauled off into the semi-cloudy wilderness to the 7-11 for a carton.

I arrived back home to a blubbering spouse, busily chopping an onion for the home-made stuffing. Loading the dishwasher took another five minutes.

And the Pilgrims thought THEY had it hard. Thank God for HDTV.

All of which is simply my way of offering thanks for everything we have, all of our friends, family and others who have contributed.

A toast to everyone here, even those restricted to Room 14 at the Covina Travelodge.

Happy Thanksgiving Y'all

Steve "Alden" B, of the Plimouth Aldens (John and Priscilla) and Cris Barber nee Howard (of the York, England, Howards)

- Thursday, November 27 2008 9:54:4

Dear One and All:

HE is still at TravelLodge so it is my plea. Did anyone tape CRIMINAL MINDS last night? If so, can we get a DVD of the episode from a kind soul. We can't get it online--we have dial up. Thanks.

Steve of Maple Grove--Your check is on my desk. Will be deposited on Monday.

Brian Phillips--regarding the 1% Hytone. JUST SAW YOUR MESSAGE. If the offer is still valid, would you get me 3 boxes. I tried myself but--again with the dial up. I will, of course, repay the monies. I think each one is about $5.30 (plus shipping). If you can't, no harm, I'll find another way.

Thank you all. Merry Turducken.


- Thursday, November 27 2008 8:54:32

It's odd with The Shining, because I knew people in my own age group who thought the movie was "scary as hell".

I always thought it ran so much as a black comedy - Kubrick's trademark - that I could never put it on my "scariest as hell" list. It had great "creep" moments, to be sure. Like the ball rolling up to Danny while he's playing, and when he glances up there's NO-buddy there! Yeah, that worked very well. As did that bloody brilliant moment when Jack gazes down at the maze model on the table, cutting to the high overhead of Wendy and Danny walking thru the REAL maze (which is one of the devices that totally legitimized for me the departures from King's book).

Nevertheless, putting aside the now infamous, "Heeeeeeeeere's Johnny!", hilarious moments, like Wendy finding all that good writin' Jack's been spending months on the whole fucking time, or that "tender, heart-warmin'" father-to-son talk between Jack and Danny (NOT exactly an Andy Griffith moment!), with Nicholson reassuring his kid, "I love you more than anything in the WHOLLLLLLLLE world", with that demented look on his face...well, we're talkin' CLASSIC here!

Yeah, overall, The Shining was much funnier (deliberately) than scary.

I still say you're a bunch of weenies!

Jason Michelitch <jasonmichelitch@gmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Thursday, November 27 2008 8:18:8

Frightening Films

Best I can tell, no one's yet name-checked The Shining, which I watched by myself in an empty house in the woods in the dark. Maybe it was those circumstances, but I still hold that film up as the most effective horror movie I've ever seen.

Fes, Morocco - Thursday, November 27 2008 8:4:18

Salam aleikum. Greetings to all from an internet cafe here - think this might be another first, delivered as usual by yours truly.

Would talk more but this is a strange keyboard.

Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Thursday, November 27 2008 7:55:11

How slow can you be?

The movie FROM HELL IT CAME was lots of fun, the tree monster, (I think it was call the TOBONGA?), has got to be one of the silliest monsters of all time, not to mentioned the slowest!, I mean how hard can it be to get out of the way of a lumbering tree?.

My list of slowest movie monsters.

1. Tobonga
2. The mummy
3. The Blob
4. Zombies (vintage, not the new ones)
5. The creature for the Black Lagoon. ( on dry land not the water)
6. Frankenstein monster

But enough of that, have a happy Thanksgiving!.

Moving slow because of to much turkey….Gary

john zeock
- Thursday, November 27 2008 6:55:24


Gwyneth M905 <cyberdew41@gmail.com>
San Francisco, California - Thursday, November 27 2008 6:49:33

Happy Thanksgiving!
But Chuck, what does that say about us vegetarians, who will be tucking into tofurky? That we are the soy-lent minority?

(I guess better that than Soylent Green -- a movie that terrified me as a youngster -- more for Charlton Heston's acting and the picture of that lone steak hanging in the fridge, than for anything else.)

Happy Turkey Day All!

Chuck Messer
- Thursday, November 27 2008 5:33:19

Just wanted to wish all in the Pavilion a Happy Thanksgiving.

And remember, when you're digging into that saurian turkey that's been roasting for four hours, these words of wisdom:

You are what you eat.


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Thursday, November 27 2008 4:24:26

A Film that Frighted Me
Happy Thanksgiving to all in the Pavilion.

I am at this very moment listening to the FOX Movie Channel's all-day "Planet of the Apes" movie marathon. Wow. Memories of my childhood come flooding back as to how the first film frightened, but yet enlightened, me to my core. (Would later love Pierre Boulle's novel.) Michael Wilson and Rod Serling's script still sends shivers down the spinal column--the ideas of dislocation, senseless violence, and total annihilation of culture and way of life were too horrifying for that nine-year-old that I once inhabited. Include some of Charlton Heston's better acting later in his career, fine acting by the rest of the cast--Roddy McDowall, Kim Hunter, and Maurice Evans--and a destroyed Statue of Liberty, and one sees a film that, forty years on, still provokes thought and terror.

(Of course, in today's political and economic climates, the current administration wouldn't allow the Statue to be destroyed by "nucular" war, but melted down for its copper and sold to China at current world prices.)

Liked "Beneath the Planet of the Apes", but thought the anti-nuclear war idea too overt. Lacked the punch of the first film. Won't go into the others.

Should our dear host ever be cast out from Wonderland wearing nothing but sackcloth, ashes, and fig leaf, and, in his wanderings, need a pit stop here on the other coast, room exists here on the other coast, East of Eden. (In honor of my dachshunds, I've named my abode "Der Dachshundbunker".) Not that we have enough writers, mind.

Regards from somewhere north of Plymouth,

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

Inquiring mind <n/a>
- Thursday, November 27 2008 2:13:4

Ellison quote on Criminal Minds
So does anyone know which story or essay of Ellison's that quote was pulled from (or if it was something he said during an interview)?

Steve P.-O. <widmerpool@hotmail.com>
Albuquerque, NM - Wednesday, November 26 2008 21:14:7

Never heard of this supremely well-written teevee series CRIMINAL MINDS, but apparently you can watch the episodes online for free. It'll likely be up by this time next week:


- Wednesday, November 26 2008 19:19:20

"The minute people fall in love, they become liars."

- Wednesday, November 26 2008 19:9:26

"The moment people fall in love, they become liars."

Laurie <lauriejane@dslextreme.com>
Los Angeles, California - Wednesday, November 26 2008 18:23:26

Thank you, Wee Willie Rauschenberg
I appreciate your clarifying and unpretentious post. That whole discussion was thoroughly intimidating for me. I know I hardly measure up to many on the board in a literary sense. But I do write. I write every day, as well and as honestly as I can. I don't talk about it much or often but it means something to me. My passion for the craft is much greater than my very limited talent. I have hesitated to join such a discussion on a board dedicated to one who is plain brilliant and populated by a group of lively, intelligent literati. You made me feel that, in some way, what I do is real and counts. Thanks.

Don Cook <dcook654@mac.com>
Canton, GA - Wednesday, November 26 2008 18:11:14

Criminal Minds
Harlon quoted by name at the beginning of Criminal Minds tonight: The moment you fall in love you become liars.

DTS <none>
OZ - Wednesday, November 26 2008 17:44:43

Sam's Post
SAM: Sorry, dude. _Jes_ beatya to the punch (see the earlier posts). And since I waited a full day and didn't hear from him regarding the $5 prize and where it should be sent, I took the initiative and donated it to the coffer of money being used to fund and build the George W. Bush Presidential Library in Skidmore, TX.
(By the way: is Canada still an official country? I was under the impression that they'd been colonized by the U.S. -- or at least the Hollywood portion thereof).

Writing from Down Under,
I remain,
the Finest Deity Alternative in OZ,

Jodie Kearns
London, - Wednesday, November 26 2008 17:31:53

Thank you kindly

My phonecall to you yesterday simply won't do for a proper thank you. I was overwhelmed, and gleefully excited about the little treasure chest you so thoughtfully sent me, so I ended up not quite knowing what to say apart from "thanks" rather many times, and that cutting savannah grass sounds exciting, or somesuch jibba jabba.

I really do mean that your gift is a treasure chest. There are some of my favourite artists in there for me to enjoy and a whole host of great singers for me to discover anew, there are new (to me) interpretations of some of my most beloved operas, a wide reference base and study tool for me to pore over when approaching arias or roles myself, a style of conducting to examine and learn from, and hours of sublime music for me to listen to, and sing along with, oh yes! Apart from my heartfelt thanks, I wanted you to know how much use and how much enjoyment, entertainment, pleasure, enlightenment and happiness I will glean from it. Thank you.

So lost for words was I on the phone, that I forgot to upbraid you (in the gentlest possible terms) for addressing the boon to someone called Jodie Moran. I love James. I utterly adore him. I've been with him for 10 years, married to him for 2 of those, and to me he is the greatest man in the whole wide world. The nonpareil, the ne plus ultra, the paragon of the male species. But I'm still not taking his name!

Happy Thanksgiving, very much looking forward to seeing you and Susan in Feb

Jodie (Kearns) Kearns née Kearns

Jordan Owen
Atlanta, GA - Wednesday, November 26 2008 17:6:39

Mr. Official Word:
In the event that you are referring to me, I must point out that I am not merely one who has scanned a few letters that Mr. Ellison has written. I have in my collection:

-The Essential Ellison (35 year edition)
-Deathbird Stories
-Angry Candy
-Stalking the Nightmare (2 hardcover copies, plus the one in the Edgeworks compilation)
-Edgeworks 1&2
-The Beast That Shouted Love at the Heart of the World (2 softcover copies of different editions)
-From the Land of Fear
-Several issues of Dream Corridor
-Slippage (Hardcover first edition)
-Paingod and Other Delusions
-Shatterday (Hardcover signed)
-Alone Against Tomorrow (Hardcover signed)
-Pheonix Without Ashes
-Strange Wine
-The Illustrated Repent Harlequin Said the TickTock Man
-Earthman Go Home!
-Night and the Enemy graphic novel
-I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream CD-ROM game
-IHNMAIMS official strategy guide
-Mephisto in Onyx
-The Glass Teat
-The Other Glass Teat
-Dangerous Visions
-Again, Dangerous Visions
-The Harlan Ellison Hornbook

...And I've read all but three of them cover to cover, so rest assured I was well read in the full spectrum of the man's work when I made a complete ass of myself.


- Wednesday, November 26 2008 16:51:51

A short note of gracious thanks to Steve and the ever enchanting Cris for a terrific afternoon. Of course, he failed to mention his own shopping spree on eclectic coffee mugs that preceded the expedition to Chico's....

Oh, and Mark Goldberg - sorry, no wine that day. I've been cutting back to trim my middle and am trying an every-other-day approach. Seems to be easier for me than cutting back daily. So, another time, mon amie....

Cheers, and thoughts of thankfulness for all my friends and family, including the virtual type!

Sam Wilson
Los Angeles, CA - Wednesday, November 26 2008 16:7:55

Ralph Fiennes as Amon Goeth says "I pardon you" before raising the rifled...DTS, $5 American, please, no Canadian pennies...

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Wednesday, November 26 2008 15:49:1

The Answer: By listening to ON THE ROAD WIWTH ELLISON: VOL. 1

The Question: How do you threaten to derail a strong, productive writing session?


The Official Word
- Wednesday, November 26 2008 14:37:16

When a wriuter says you're a writer
I have a document from The Writers Of The World, Inc. (Pat. Pend.), printed on parchment with a nifty gold and saffron wax seal, that attests that a series of writers, going back to Homer, where the chain of evidence breaks down due to the mists of time (darn those mists!), that each and every one of the listed persons through the ages in unbroken succession averred that the subsequent person upon the list was indeed a writer. The chain, the Homeric Succession if you will, runs in a long and unbroken line through Virgil, Petrarch, The Veberable Bede, Dante, Shakespeare, Moliere, Voltaire, Goethe, both Shelleys, Dumas pere and fils, through Jack London and Dos Passos (oddly Hemingway is not in the Great Chain Of Writing) right down to some guy named Bill with a mailbox in Poughkeepsie. Bill sent me the parchment when I asked if I was a writer. The parchment attests, in lovely computer generated calligraphy (in gold ink no less!) "The above named person is and wll be forevermore A WRITER, because we, as writers, say so!"

There is an unverifiable tale (those mists of time again1) that Homer got it from a guy named OG, who first scrawled a crude runic figure upon a cave wall with a piece of charcoal. However, since OG never thought to utter the fateful words to Homer, "You Be Writer!, it's a mute (sic) point.

This ought to setttle this weighty matter. Now can we get back to such other neglected weighty matters as saving the universe and finding every person who ever scanned a word written by Harlan to post on his blog?

I'm glad we had this conversation.

Steve Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Wednesday, November 26 2008 13:3:50

Hey, Harlan!

Didja read the latest issue of Batman, yet?

I just got my copy!

Steve Dooner

john zeock
- Wednesday, November 26 2008 12:52:34

the man who knew too much
John Michael Chase,89

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Wednesday, November 26 2008 9:48:59

The slip-sliding drive into work this morning held a couple of odd images, one of which I may end up having a guilty meltdown over.

I was on the 10 freeway west, passing one of those electornic billboards which switch pictures periodically. It suddenly lit up, a'la the freeway signs in Steve Martin's brilliant 'L.A. STORY', with the work YOU in bright red capital letters against an off-orange background. That's it. No more.

And it paused, obviously hoping for the attention of virtually everyone on the freeway at that moment.

(Side note: The positioning of this sign was A Bad Idea, since it comes immediately after the merging together of the 10, 5, and 60 freeways -- a nightmare concrete spagetti farm known colloquially as the "East LA Interchange". The sign is at that point following the merge where some idiot drivers are known to decide, randomly, that your lane looks ever so much more hospitable than theirs...)

Anyway. This sign hung there, silently, accusing everyone on the freeway of something. I don't know what I did, but evidently it was ME that did it.

The second image from the drive was soon after I was hit with the guilt from the freeway sign I caught a glimpse of the Hollywood Hills tucked back behind the towers of downtown LA.

As many of you know, it rained heavily here last night, and as the morning clouds broke up a sight we don't see in the re parts very often manifested itself against the hills.

A rainbow.

A bright, well defined, colorful and spectacular rainbow.

I then realized that it was centered directly over West Hollywood.

And they say God doesn't have a sense of humor...

The Travelodge in Covina?


Josh Olson
- Wednesday, November 26 2008 9:27:25

Update on our host
I swung by Ellison Wonderland yesterday, and had a lovely cup of tea with the Mrs. She reports that Harlan is well, and settling into his life at the Travellodge. As Harlan has no cel phone and outgoing calls cost a buck and a half per minute, he's not in contact with the rest of the world, but a solution is, I'm told, being sought. I've offered to give him a cel phone for an early Christmas present, but she didn't think he'd go for that. He is, however, doing just fine. I'll probably swing by in the next couple days to say hey, but it's a long drive to Covina, so I'll wait until after the holiday.

- Wednesday, November 26 2008 8:27:57

When I was a small child a movie that scared the living shit out of me was a late 50s B flick called FROM HELL IT CAME. It was about a murderous and mobile...uh...tree.

Now if I tracked it down and watched it today it would turn out to be a piece of crap and spoil a wonderful childhood memory so why do it?

But you know folks maybe trees don't move...maybe...but they do whisper to each other and we often mistake it for the wind. And they're patient too knowing the animacules that crawl over their roots will surely somday pass away. And then the dark and cool of the green wet forest will be restored.

Wait..what's that scratching at the window...?

Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Wednesday, November 26 2008 8:27:14

Your a writer when somebody steals your stories and post them on the internet.

- Wednesday, November 26 2008 7:56:13

What, no one mentioned NIGHT OF THE HUNTER?

- "Chiiillllldren?"

- Shelley Winters at the bottom of that lake.

- "Leeeaaanin'..."

Shivers my damn timbers every time.

Steve of Maple Grove <muserapper@XXXXaol.com>
Maple Grove, Minnesota - Wednesday, November 26 2008 4:19:17

To Susan -
I wrote a check to HERC (member #1164) a few months ago but it hasn't been cashed yet. I received the items (I think). Perhaps take a poke around. If you don't find it, I can send you another. I worry about someone banging on my door at 2:00 in the morning screaming "PAY THE WRITER."

To Brian McDonough -
Thanks for the link to the decoder ring. One of my Mom's fondest moments is the anticipation she had using her ring to decode a message over the radio. A bit disapointed the message was "drink more Olvatine" but she loved the ring. I look forward to her unwrapping this in about a month.

Ghost of H. L. Gold
- Wednesday, November 26 2008 1:42:43

You're a writer when
You know you are a writer when H. L. Gold checks out of the booby hatch, get's a cab and shows up at three AM on your front doorstep screaming, "I'm Herbert L. Gold!"

So, until then, relax.

Los Angeles, California - Wednesday, November 26 2008 0:45:3

Er... how can one BE sleep? ;-)

So. Thanksgiving is in a few days. Is this trip really necessary? It's been years since I've had the fancy sit-down Thanksgiving and that Rockwellian family image is galling for us single folks. I could go and hit up one of the food-for-the-needy events (as things have pushed me into the needy category), but that'd require standing in long lines with no guarantee they'll have enough room or food for everyone. I'd rather grab a fast-food burger and hunker down out of the rain (it's raining pretty steadily right now in L.A., by the way).

All prayers for the people living in the fire areas, and here's hoping the anticipated mudslides don't cut more people out of their homes.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Tuesday, November 25 2008 20:6:45

I don't remember who said it or wrote it, nor if it was in reference to writing, nor whether i first heard it around age seventeen or if I just made it up then, but it has stuck with me for years, from then to now, every time i see it written in permanent marker upon the metal keycover of my very first typewriter, and it seems to bear repeating here, now.

"You are what you do with your time."

Wee Willie Rauschenberg
- Tuesday, November 25 2008 19:3:31

Anyone who writes is a writer, no matter who sees the writing or if it's for hire or not. If you get paid for it, you're a professional writer, and "it" can be anything from an instruction manual about a fishing rod to a book of haiku.

If you write fiction, then you can call yourself an author, and wear a cardigan. If you want others to call you an author, then let them read it. A paycheck is not part of the definition. A paycheck defines a job, not a creative act or a person who engages in such.

Most on this board probably think of Writer (note capital) as: person who consistently sells creative written work to a profitable market. Although I don't see a lot of poets consistently selling anything, and they are the most artistic of all scribblers. But that's Artist, not Writer...another debate...

Ben Winfield
- Tuesday, November 25 2008 17:15:23

The nature of fear depends on who's experiencing it. One of the most consistently scary movies I've ever seen was ERASERHEAD, but I've talked to others who simply found the film laughable - which I can sort of understand. There's a very thin line between the nightmarish and the outright absurd.

THE LEOPARD MAN definitely had me keeping the lights on in my bedroom. Japanese horror movies, on the other hand, leave me feeling both afraid and enraged - a very weird combination. It's the aura of oppressive hopelessness in those films that unnerve me and piss me off all at the same time.

Frank Church
- Tuesday, November 25 2008 16:20:47

The Fly is scary if you are 12. Jes, you brits scare easy. Elton John and Boy George, you poore dears.


How in Christ's kingdom of sin can I not remember the astounding Cat People--no, the old version. Just the shadows turn stern adults into mush.


Palin in front of the killed Turkeys. Know fear.

Jes Bickham
Bath, UK - Tuesday, November 25 2008 15:14:43

You Will Not Fool Me A Second Time
(Breaking the one post a day law and diappearing for a week in penance, unless otherwise summoned)
DTS: Schindler's List. Ha! I get one! Surely?
Ps. Scariest films: With Steve B on The Haunting. Watched it again recently, magnificent. And Cronenberg's The Fly: Can't watch it. Unbearable, both in terms of body horror and romance.
*Double poof*

James Van Hise <Jimvanhise@aol.com>
Yucca Valley, CA - Tuesday, November 25 2008 15:7:24

Re: frightening thought
Since Harlan would probably prefer that this thread about Forry not go very far I suggest you go to this website


where friends of Forry are posting at length about him, keeping up on his condition, etc. The set up there is that page one is where it began and page 35 is the current page on Nov. 25th.

Texas - Tuesday, November 25 2008 14:57:11

Bowfinger, and Waugh
Watched Bowfinger this summer on cable, hilarious.

The Loved One is playing at 5:45 PM Eastern, Wednesday, November 26 on TCM. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059410

Based on Evelyn Waugh's novel, screenplay by Terry Southern.

John Zeock
- Tuesday, November 25 2008 14:38:2

frightening thought
How many people were inspired,to whatever degree, by Famous Monsters, Monster World and the others ? And how many of those went on to make the movies that have altered our culture to the degree that they have ? And then that blockbuster attitude has affected television, radio and publishing. Think about it, ponder it, decide for yourself how you feel about it. This is Forry's world. (AIIIEEEEEE!!!!!!)

DTS <none>
OZ - Tuesday, November 25 2008 13:0:10

Blessings and pardons
STEVE: Bless you my son, for you walk the path of the righteous and the wide awake (not to mention, semi-esoteric).
JES: I pardon you (if anyone can remember which actor said THAT line while wearing a goose-steppers uniform -- an actor who, like Eddie Murphy in "Bowfinger -- and someone tell me I"M NOT the only one who knows that is a ku-llassssick piece of film -- where was I?...oh yeah...if anyone can remember who said "I pardon you" before pulling out his sniper rifle, they win five bucks. Just like the unknown "former webderlander" who got my reference to "Raising Arizona" a few posts back. Goodonya, mate). So, Jes. Go forth, and sin no more. So let it be written, so let it be -- um, nevermind. That's another story.

DTS (deity alternative here in the merry ol' land of...)

- Tuesday, November 25 2008 11:16:4

Before this sort of thing goes totally out-of-fashion, and the era of integrity kicks in, I want to get a splinter of the sinking boat while I still can:

I'm going to start using this site to sell AMWAY products. A trade name should prove very handy in suckering - I mean, DRAWING customers.

Care to try this skin care lotion?

BEND over.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Tuesday, November 25 2008 8:3:34

Jes, Old Chap. I have warned you about drinking tea versus coffee. It's right there in black and white: "on which the story is posted has been dormant".

It's not Dorman, T or not.

(See, and you all think I don't "get" these things.)

Nothing but Jamaica Blue for you from now on, Jes.

New pics up on the website. Four of 'em in the Monthly Gallery.


I am a photographer. Semi-capital "P". I am paid. I don't do it full time. But I am paid.

(Stop laughing David Silver.)

Susan, let Harlan know we've set up the cot in the garage. Just make sure he's dressed this time, before turning him out.

Last night the last of the bathroom remodel was finished. A three week project begun in August, and finished at roughly twice the initial top end of the budget.

I'll be selling oranges at the offramp, please say hello when you go by...

Jordan Owen
Atlanta, GA - Tuesday, November 25 2008 7:50:50

re: Writer or writer
As I alluded to before, I run into the same thing as a guitarist- people who think that learning three chords (or these days ONE chord that they just slide all over the neck) makes you a guitarist, apparently worthy of standing alongside Wes Montgomery, Steve Vai, and Frank Zappa as a master of the instrument. Are they guitarists? Yes in the most vague, loose, technical sense of the term.

But what is it that people think of when they think of the word "guitarist?" I would imagine most people think of someone who can bend the instrument to his/her will, using its aural capacities to evoke performances indicative of a full range of human emotions. Thus, I submit that the same emotive virtuosity is necessary to identify as a "writer."

As for amateur writing/guitar playing, I would say that such amateurs could self-initiate as being worthy of the title when they take on the course of study with full knowledge of the vast task at hand.

On another note- as I write this I'm watching Daron Aronofsky's "The Fountain." Is that a great film or what?


Jes Bickham
Bath, UK - Tuesday, November 25 2008 7:46:25

Me Not Think So Good
I think my brain is running on reserve today (hey, it's Tuesday, and I don't really warm up 'til Thursday), because I cannot for the life of me parse what you mean when you say "I wish you would _stop_ taking my name (and middle intial) in vain!"
Am I being incredibly stupid here? Throw me a bone, chum!
All the best,

Los Angeles, California - Tuesday, November 25 2008 4:40:35

Writer or writer...
Funny how it depends what artistic field you're in as to whether or not you can be defined by that title.

In the amateur stand-up world, you're just accepted by the community as a "stand-up comedian" so long as you're a regular performer, regardless of whether or not you've moved beyond the open mic and showcase stage into your own headlining or one-person shows. There is a slim "professional vs. amateur" line ("have you ever been paid for it?"), but even that's arbitrary; everyone recognizes that there are horrible comics that get money just because of the right professional connections, and good ones who never got a break. Even the off-the-wall people who go onstage not to tell jokes but to share or to rant about random events are accepted as-is, no judgments passed. Like with writing, you are the whole kit 'n kaboodle in stand-up. You're going before the public with your own ideas (not that there isn't plagiarism in stand-up, too), refining and editing those ideas to suit your particular rhythm, and presenting yourself to the world sans slick marketing.

My view, therefore, is that if you're putting that kind of personal work into what you're doing, then outsider opinions as to whether "you are" or "you are not" something (poet, filmmaker, musician, etc.) are just that--opinions. I have a harder time calling myself a writer than I do a comedian, to be honest, even though there's plenty of "evidence" about being a writer on hand and much less about being a comedian.

Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Monday, November 24 2008 21:39:36

you are a writer
I'm a reader. Been reading avidly since I was in first grade, some 42 years past. Few years back, someone handed me a book by an author new to me. The book was A PRAYER FOR THE DYING. Sat me on my ass. Same with THE ONION FIELD. I'd not heard of the author prior to cracking that one open. That book was a rolling ball of butcher knives. Roughed me up a bit. When my copy of THE HUGO WINNERS arrived at my door (from the Science Fiction Book Club), I stayed up late with the flashlight under my blanket and read a bunch of stories; one of them made me cry. The story was "Or All the Seas With Oysters." I was unfamiliar with many of the writers in that tome and I'd certainly never heard of Avram Davidson. Never heard of Stewart O'Nan, nor Joseph Wambaugh. But because I'd read every intro and story and afterword in DANGEROUS VISIONS and AGAIN, DANGEROUS VISIONS, I learned to recognize a writer.

Three more guys I discovered on my own: Howard Waldrop, Jonathan Caroll, t-winter damon; still not quite sure what kind of writers these are, but no less W-R-I-T-E-R-S. No?

My most recent discoveries: Will Christopher Baer, Craig Clevenger, Stephen Graham Jones. Writers all. The curse be 'pon them, for true.

So too, Adam Troy Castro. yep Solid writer.

And me, nary a writer is I am. Merely a reader, howsoever constant, or not.


shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Monday, November 24 2008 20:46:12

Today's ups outnumbered the downs so things worked out well in the end. It was a day of school conferences (ugh!), school district nonsense (enough to encourage me to get a pocket grenade launcher permit), and two healthy, happy boys. They may turn back into pod people tomorrow, but I'll enjoy today while I have it.

I received a very polite, very encouraging bounce back letter today from Strange Horizons. Am I a Writer or a writer? Dunno. I write, therefore I am.


SUSAN -- Glad that house and home are still intact.


Chris Thurlow <christopherleethurlow@yahoo.com>
Tehachapi, CA - Monday, November 24 2008 20:45:6

Vintage 'Space Age' Illustrations
I thought I should share this here:


Some amazing inventions and so many dreams for "tomorrow" from way back when.
My favorite illustration is the Popular Science "This Can Happen to You" cover.
That is a mighty smart dog.

And, while the subject of scary movies is floating around, the same site did a couple pages on 100 great horror movie posters.
That is, I mean to say that the posters are great...not necessarily the films themselves.




DTS <none>
OZ - Monday, November 24 2008 17:53:2

The S&M Master of the Enlgish Language
SHIT! Not only did I split some innocent infinitives, I abused the hell out of those parenthesis below. Just call me the S&M Master of the English Language.

DTS <none>
OZ - Monday, November 24 2008 17:49:34

Blasphemy and guilt
JES: I wish you would _stop_ taking my name (and middle intial) in vain!

ALAN: Way to wake up, Mr. Come-Lately. But that particular round of Nerdy Questions That Lead To Endless Lists has been over for 2.345 hours. We are now on to...
And being unafraid to boldly go where no nerd has gone before (not to mention split some infinitives, William Shatner style) I hereby begin by offering: "Bowfinger" (originally known as "Bowfinger's Big Thing"). A no-holes-barred comedy about the realization of (and belief in) dreams. I only LOVE this movie. EVERY part of it (that includes the extra goofy parts)! It's like butta, man. And even though he's misfiring like a sumbitch these days, THIS is the movie for which Eddie Murphy should have won an Oscar (as Best Supporting Actor, in the roles of "Jiff" and Kit Ramsey. It's been on my mind of late (have to watch it again), so I felt the nerdy urge to share it with y'all (that's Presidential talk).

DTS (the diety alternative in OZ)

Alan Coil
- Monday, November 24 2008 13:7:47

Scary movie? Trilogy of Terror starring Karen Black. 3 separate tales, the third of which still gives me the willies, and I haven't seen it in over 20 years.

Jes Bickham <jesbickham@hotmail.com>
Bath, UK - Monday, November 24 2008 12:33:2

Happy to help. It looks like the 'blog' on which the story is posted has been dormant since early October, but I've emailed the editor as per your wishes. Let's hope a response is forthcoming. It also looks like someone over there visits the Pavilion as there's an anonymous comment below the story itself (that address again: http://flashgenre.blogspot.com/2008/05/two-drawers-down-from-butcher-block.html) warning of the 'fatwah' you've issued. Let's hope it does some good.

Brian Phillips
McDonough (or Jordan Owen's left pant leg), GA - Monday, November 24 2008 12:6:16

Commiseration and a vote for a scary movie
To Jordan: Having been in a band, I can empathize, but also, since I know my way around fixing computers, which I consider to be a the job of a high-tech mechanic, I was stiffed by someone who had me work on their machine once.


They had me look at the machine, I did, like a foo' for about three hours. When I gave it back to them and told them it was beyond saving, they said, "Thank you", and walked away.

I have my rates, but I am not an ogre. Should you need my services and you are in trouble financially, I can be negotiated with VERY easily. That discussion, however, happens before I break open the case, not after. When people register shock at my charging for the knowledge that I have gleaned over 15 or years, Mr. Ellison's words ring quite loudly in my ears. Without the naughty words, for I am a delicate thing of beauty.

As for scary movies, there was a particularly bad one, whose name escapes me and lest I lose my house in the mad betting melee' that seems to have overtaken this place of genteel thought, I cannot quote it directly but basically, it was a political thriller, in which the fellow playing the candidate basically said, "I cannot speak properly and I strut around...vote for me".

Should you wish to see part of this unwitting rip-off of "All the King's Men", go here:


On another note, if you go to that "Postcards from..." some cat named, "Anonymous" admonishes this writer about the similarity of the stories and then goes onto describe us as "...creepy, weirdo fans". Stuff and nonsense to be sure, but those are indeed fighting words.

Now, if all of you have your HE Junior FBM Voodoo Doll/Decoder Badge with the Interchangeable Face Option (mine's SIGNED, losers!), the secret code is 3-12. Insert, 2-3-4 and out, 2-3-4...

Drink your Ovaltine,
Brian Phillips

P.S. Take a look at this link, it's cute:

Jordan Owen
Atlanta, GA - Monday, November 24 2008 11:2:1

Helping with Youtube copyrights
I have an HE tribute playlist on my youtube page at youtube.com/jordanowen42

The playlist is called "Videos with Sharp Teeth: A Harlan Ellison Tribute" and the direct link is

Thought this might help in rooting out copyright violators since this has most of the HE clips on YT in it. PLEASE NOTE: I did not post any of these videos myself, they're all linked to on the assumption that that the poster was within DMCA guidelines. It occurred to me, though, that they might speed your search for copyright violators.

I know a couple of different trailers for A Boy and His Dog are in there along with a couple of gameplay clips from IHNMAIMS. There is a trailer and an interview clip from the Dreams with Sharp Teeth movie, but I think those were put there by the producers.

By the way- though I UNwittingly asked Mr. Ellison to work for free last Friday, the "Pay the Writer" clip has become a favorite with me and my band, because we encounter the same thing from sleaze-bag club owners that think its okay to pay the lighting crew, the sound guys, the bartender, the bouncer, the wait staff, the janitor, the chefs, and everybody else EXCEPT THE BAND! These clubs advertise themselves as "Live Music" venues and they DON'T PAY THE BAND!

And what is there inevitable reason that we should play for free? Exactly what Mr. Ellison heard from the young woman in the video: It'll be good exposure. Yeah- to an empty room! If I wanted that we wouldn't have left our practice space.

But I digress... I hope my compilation assists in the rooting out of copyright violators.

- Monday, November 24 2008 10:0:5

Charles Edward--

You are a good man.


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Monday, November 24 2008 9:22:13

Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

Just a friendly heads up: YouTube also posted the complete episode from the original "Outer Limits" of "Demon With a Glass Hand". Starring Robert Culp and, a childhood crush of mine during its re-runs in the 1970's, Arlene Martel (Sax). Great episode.

Regards from the other coast,

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

- Monday, November 24 2008 9:8:0

The Wheenie Roast

'Ginnins of a gusty mornin':

I'm going to have to blow out some flatulence, and just tell you pansies that without Romero's NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, you've no case at all that can legitimize your wimpy-assed fear fest movie lists.

I've nothing against The Haunting, except that it simply isn't scary. I first saw it on the tube when I was 12 or 13 - still basically at that "impressionable" age - and found it way too clinical (though evocative and interesting) to be "scary".

Same goes for every other title you tulips have rattled off.

Nothing beats the primal horror of NOTLD. That thing is right out of the worst, archetypal nightmare. It was just mentioned a couple of times, but buried under heaps of relatively light stuff.

God! What wheenies!

(Now, beyond that, if you want a list of scare flicks that can rock a kid, you have better shots, to rattle off a few, with Alien, of course, Jaws, Halloween, The Descent, Exorcist (which runs more like black comedy as you get older), City of the Dead, aka, Horror Hotel, some of those early schlocky Italian things by Mario Bava, Antonio Margheriti, and Mario Caino)

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Monday, November 24 2008 8:43:10

Okay, not to be Pollyanna about this, but the mere fact that TLDV is mentioned as one of the top ten "Wish List" items means to me that there's still a lot of interest in what Harlan is doing -- naysayers and detractors of the project notwithstanding. To cavort, as he is, in the same "Top 10" realm as Alan Moore, David Lynch, George R.R. Martin and Roxy Music establishes that cool is cool, and the rest can got (Insert favorite Dick Cheney expletive here) themselves.

"and several Starlost episodes." - Frank Church

"And thus ended the reign of Youtube." - Encyclopedia Galactica, Popular Culture Edition


Spent a wonderful day with Miz Peggy yesterday, escorting her around the Long Beach and OC areas. Ate cupcakes.

I watched helplessly as Cris and Peg discovered the CHICO'S store in Belmont Shore.

We then dragged the poor gal to a JAZZ ANGELS Fundraiser to watch the younguns play their hearts out for dollahs. (Cris is taking my JA Board of Directors position effective Dec 1st, so being there made loads of brownie points.)

Peggy was a real trooper and good sport. Afterward we shuttled down to the OC to meet up with some of her long-ago college friends for a 20-year reunion.

Good time was had by all -- particularly the nice sales ladies at Chico's.

- Monday, November 24 2008 7:31:25

Oh, and Addendum
Troy Duffy is currently filming -- not flogging, but filming -- BOONDOCK SAINTS II.

Frank Church
- Monday, November 24 2008 7:12:9

Harlan, youtube has the entire A Boy And His Dog movie uploaded and several Starlost episodes.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Monday, November 24 2008 6:55:14

I am exceedingly reluctant to post this here, but someone else will if I don't, so I justify myself in that manner.

The ONION runs an article about 31 "lost" and "missing" projects that may be (or are in several cases, are definitely not) irrevocably gone, including BUCKAROO BANZAI AND THE WORLD CRIME LEAGUE, Frank Miller's Batman Vs. Al Qaeda graphic novel, the CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES movie, further issues of MIRACLEMAN, Terry Gilliam's DON QUIXOTE movie, Alan Moore's TWILIGHT OF THE SUPERHEROES graphic novel, THE DAY THE CLOWN CRIED, etc.



Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Monday, November 24 2008 4:39:26

I once knew a fellow who went to New York to become a highly paid, world famous actor. He drove a cab for four months, went to auditions but was never hired for even a bit part, but told anyone who would listen that he was an actor. After 16 weeks, he gave up and crawled back to Philly, where he's doing very well as a lawyer today.
A couple of years earlier, the same fellow found out that anyone could call himself a literary agent without having any special legal certification, or license, or whatnot, therefore he ran around calling himself one, even though he had only the vaguest idea of what the job entails.
Anyway, he had quite an imagination!

Bret Bertholf <bretbertholf@earthlink.net>
Denver, CO - Sunday, November 23 2008 19:52:9

What I have learned:
A. You're not a writer until SOMEONE, preferably a writer, tells you so or forces you to write it on your tax return.

B. If a professor tells you that you are definitely NOT a writer, you probably are.


Tony Adams
Indy, - Sunday, November 23 2008 18:7:13

The quote
I have to admit I've never seen the film in question, but the quote (and the idea behind it) works much better the way HE remembers it.

- Sunday, November 23 2008 17:35:9

So none of you here think that AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH isn't the scariest film ever made?

- Sunday, November 23 2008 17:29:9

He deserves a world of hurt for betting your worldly goods so rashly. But, as you may have noticed I did not take his bet, and far be it from me to evict someone as lovely as you. Now if it had been just his ole crotchedy self, he'd be out on the street in his bathrobe!

- Sunday, November 23 2008 15:48:7

Dear Charles Edward:

My husband is a drooling idiot. Am giving him a world o' hurt. Come anywhere near my house...

With oodles of love and kisses--


William Sherman <squigkato@hotmail.com>
Boxford, Massachusetts - Sunday, November 23 2008 14:37:4

To Be or Not To Be a Writer
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

Our dear host's comment that I remember from an interview a few years ago have allowed me to stay a landlord: "Anyone can be a writer; the trick is to STAY a writer." (Emphasis his.) Backed up toilets and late rent collections suddenly appealed to me more.

Horror movie to take with me to a desert island: Fritz Lang's "M". Place and show: Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" and "Olympia". Germany before and after its collapse into barbarism. Rounding out the superfecta, "Gojira", the original "Godzilla" in Japanese, without Raymond Burr. Frightening. To fast forward on this topic, I hope all in the Pavilion have seen "Untergang (Downfall)" In German, with English subtitles, best (superlative deliberate) treatment on celluloid of HIS last days in the Fuhrerbunker that I've ever witnessed. Beat both Alec Guiness's and Derek Jacobi's. Told from the point of view of HIS secretery. (I just can't compose that name now.) One sees the end coming, and HIS paranoia growing, then breaking to lead to offing himself. The tantrums wonderfully convey his, and Germany's, breakdown. There lies horror. Sorry my dear grandfathers weren't alive to see it.

Writer's Bloc: During composing of letter's, essays, theses, etc., what has helped me through it has been, simply, to read the writings of superior writers (including of our dear host)and to wrestle with both my dachshund and bulldog. Still dateless, obviously.

Saw on The Travel Channel last week an expose on that restaurant that Mr. E. kindly recommended in Hollywood: Marro and Frank's (Correct?) Can't wait for a visit next year before the betting, er, investing, at Del Mar.

Watched with horror the Santa Ana fires of last week. Hope they affected no Pavilion patrons. Reminded me of documentary footage of fire bombings of Tokyo, Hamburg, Dresden, etc., from WW II. London, Rotterdam, Coventry, Liverpool, etc. To paraphrase Lord Clarke, "Civilisation survives by the mere skin of our teeth." I just wish those people from Utah would stay out of the marriage debate.

Regards from a shivering (15 F)Right Coast, the dachshund, and the bulldog.

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

- Sunday, November 23 2008 13:17:51


I lose.

I have packed my rucksack; Susan and I can be reached at the TraveLodge in Westwood, the one on Santa Monica Blvd. across from the Mormon Temple.

Silent, the house awaits your arrival.

Harlan Ellison

- Sunday, November 23 2008 12:50:29

Good thing you didn't bet the ranch, pard...
...or at least I didn't take you up on it.

It was easier to check than I thought...the hardest thing was trying to locate the bloody tape, once I put it in the VCR...it came right up to the scene. Obviously, I'd checked it before to see if I had it right. I didn't...precisely, But the word used is "someone" not "writer".

Mr. Silver correctly quoted the part of the speech we're all hazily remembering. And the IMDB quote is accurate to what is in the movie.

The lead-in to that Griffith speech has Bridges once more referring to himself as a writer and Griffith saying: "You said that before? Ever had anything published?" Bridges replies: No..." and then Griffith launches into full IMDB quote culiminating with: "In short, when SOMEONE else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer -- not before."

The defense rests.

By the by, for those of you who get ION on TV, they are running Terry Pratchett's THE COLOUR OF MAGIC mini-series tonight. Of course, since it's running on American TV they are calling it THE COLOR OF MAGIC.

- Sunday, November 23 2008 12:15:4

I don't bet...
...especially on my faulty memory. But did you read Mr. Silver's post below and my follow-up about the IMDB listing the entire quote (and I think when one reads the entire quote, it makes perfect sense)? Okay, the IMDB may not be the last authority; in my massive amounts of spare time, I'll try to ferret out this film on my 300-odd video tapes or 200-odd DVDS (No, my memory is not that faulty...I don't have it on DVD, I doubt it's even out on DVD) and check it out definitively.

And why should only writers be able to say who and who is not a writer? Why cannot an esteemed critic? If you sell 4 million books, are you a writer? There are folks out there who have and either you or I might think they are terrible hacks, but 4 mil is a pretty strong argument for allowing them the title of writer.

But, again, I don't think this quote really has much to do with the label "writer" or what authority it takes to make the official call on whether one is or isn't. It is about self-perception vs. reality. Anyone can call himself anything; but it don't make it so. A guy can call himself an "actor", but if all he's been doing for the last ten-twenty years is waiting tables, isn't he really a "waiter"?

- Sunday, November 23 2008 11:32:8



You have done me a service. The MInton story is a transparent theft of my work. Do me one more service, if you will: reach this story-vandal and advise him if he doesn't get rid of this at once, I will treat him EXACTLY as I've treated the more than 225 web.pirates I've taken down, including aol. Had he paid proper note to the source from which he stole, there would be no problem...he would be doing nothing ORIGINAL...but at least he would be acknowledging that he was merely attempting the same feat with a different voice. And I'd have no grump with that. But if, like James Cameron, who had to be sued to get him to admit he had stolen "Soldier" to plot THE TERMINATOR, because his swollen ego would not permit him to cop to being less than King of the World, Minton has to have his hand slapped good. If he drops to his knee, he'll survive this offense that, in MY world, is accompanied by the death sentence. If not, well, as I've said recently, he and I shall dance.

Jes, he can come here to this site to save his ass.

And I thank you for being so alert.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Michael Mayhew
- Sunday, November 23 2008 11:23:49

Are you a writer

There was a period for three or four years where I made my living almost exclusively as a television writer. The point where I realized that I could call myself one was when I went on a trip to Canada where the show was being shot to visit the set and talk to producers.

I had to go through customs and they asked me if I was in Canada for business or vacation. Well, that's easy: "Business." Then the guy asks, for the purpose of filling out a form, "What do you do?"

"Uhhh... I'm a writer," I said. And then smiled hugely because it was true. So for me, the moment of knowing you're a writer is when you HAVE to say so, for legal reasons, on your tax forms or at customs (leaving aside entirely the issue of whether or not you're any good at it - I'm with ATC there, that's a moving target)

All that said, I think the status of being a writer can also go away. I don't make my money as a writer these days, and haven't for a while. My feeling is that I am capable of being a writer, and there is a very good chance that I will be again, but for now I am a video editor who writes as an avocation.


- Sunday, November 23 2008 11:15:26


Don't want to get snarky about this, but the way YOU remember the line, makes no sense. For example: if your granny says, "You're a writer," it means nothing. But Granny is a "someone." Is she not? If the worst hack in Hollywood reads your nephew Ronnie's attempt at a screenplay, and says, "You're a writer," it means nothing. But is not the awful hack a "someone"? If one of those We-Read-Your-Novel-For-$50 advertisers in WRITERS DIGEST tells some wannabe, "You're a writer," it means damned close to nothing. But isn't that scam-reader also a "someone"? Charles Edward, examine the specificity of your version, against mine. Yours means ANYONE can declare someone a writer ... my precise wording narrows it down only to ONE WHO IS ALREADY A WRITER, and thus knowledgeable enough to render a judgment, not an opinion.

Please pause a moment--I know you think you've got it right but TRUST ME, Charles Edward, I know this line as exactly as I know my love for Susan. The line only makes sense as an aphorism if it's

"Kid, you're a writer when a WRITER says you're a writer."

"Someone" means that ANYONE, knowledgeable or not, equipped to make a sagacious judgment or not, with or without an agenda, can dub thee WRITER. Makes no sense. But if a WRITER tells you, as I told Dan Simmons, Octavia Estelle Butler, George Alec Effinger, Ed Bryant, and a few dozen more who have gone on to make worthy careers as writers ... if as I, a WRITER ... say to someone, "You're a writer," it has a fair chance of being a fair appraisal. You can check the film if you want, but I am SO POSITIVE I am replaying the line accurately, that I will bet you my entire home and everything (except Susan) within it, against that Sherlock Holmes poster Susan covets, that I am right; with due respect and affection and not a scintilla of gotcha or nyahh nyahh nyahh. I have quoted this line hundreds of times since the first moment I heard it. The scene, by the way, is a late at night with Bridges sitting in an easy chair on the left, and Griffith in a swag-bottomed Morris chair on the right, maybe two feet between them. That's how closely I know this. And the line preceding is something close to this: Bridges is opening up to Griffith, who got him the stunt man job, and he tells Griffith, "I'm a writer of rootin' tootin two-gun western stories. I'm a writer" And Griffith fires back, "Kid, you're a writer when a WRITER says you're a writer."

Check it if you must, but you'll see that I relate precisely.

Get back to me on this.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Frank Church
- Sunday, November 23 2008 10:55:45

Paul, you are a wise man. Blair Witch didn't get universal great reviews by accident.

The best scares are ones you cannot see. Where you feel empathy for the people in it. Sure, Heather Donahue and the boys could get on your nerves, but you felt sorry for them. Not being able to save them added to the fear.

The Heather--looking at the camera with one eye thing, is one of the single most effective uses of horror ever.

The house, oh my fucking god, not the house!!

By the way, I have massive sex dreams involving Heather.


Science magazine has concluded that men and women are now equal in math scores. This means Lawrence Summers is a brick in the shithouse of fame.

Jes Bickham <jesbickham@hotmail.com>
Bath, UK - Sunday, November 23 2008 10:28:51

Checkin' in
It's been a while since I checked in here, although I do visit the Pavvy every day, so here's a long-overdue big hello to everyone. Hope you're all well, especially those in LA. Not much to tell from Bickham-world, but all is copacetic.
Anyway, the reason I post tonight is that a few friends of mine have set up a short story writing group, which I've started contributing to in the interests of seeing if I can actually write fiction. All fun so far, but one of my chums sent me this link to a story which he liked; and I have to post it here because the similarities to Harlan's 'Twilight in the Cupboard', to me, are remarkable. See what you think:

Los Angeles, - Sunday, November 23 2008 10:9:50

Missing Doctor Who episodes
I know Wikipedia isn't highly regarded around here, but I happened to notice an article on their front page today:


There are efforts to gather together and restore these lost episodes and archive them for future generations. Hopefully, there will be a DVD release as well.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Sunday, November 23 2008 9:46:32

Earning the Label
Y'know, on the subject, I used to be a cartoonist.

I never made a lot of money at it. I got paid for two one-panel gags, and for one four-page comic-book story. My lifetime earnings in that field is about two hundred dollars. Whee.

Now, I've been told I'm pretty good, and my work has been favorably compared to Basil Wolverton (you can see some of my work on my website), but the truth is that I never had the compulsion to sit down and draw, at length, for hours on end unless I was also doing something else; the vast majority of what I produced was drawn while I was on the phone, at the job from hell, keeping my hands busy while my mouth and mind were occupied with customer service. To that end, I also never fully mastered shading and perspective and anatomy, though I clearly have the building blocks. If being paid for an art is what makes you that brand of artist, then I guess I earned the label "professional cartoonist." In a larger sense, I'm not, because I haven't really drawn anything of substance for five years now, and I don't feel any pressing urgency to do more. Whatever it is that makes somebody a cartoonist by inclination, I honestly don't have.

I came to the realization years ago: what I am, really, is a doodler.

I also used to be a comedian.

Less so. Spent years doing weekly open-mike nights. Never got paid. But endured the hostile audiences. Got some laughs. Worked hard to get better. Pros who dropped by told me I showed some potential. Might have gone professional, if I'd be willing to keep working at it a few more years. Am I a comedian? No. Probably not by talent and certainly not by inclination. But I was more of one than the kind of guy who watches AN EVENING AT THE IMPROV and snots, "These fucks aren't funny. I could do that."

Emily Dickinson was not a writer, not really. Oh, she put her soul in those poems, but she never really SOLD many, not in her lifetime. A writer by inclination? Yes, the act kept her sane. But by profession? Ummmm, not really.

Certain professions are easy. Are you a brain surgeon? You are if you've spent years training for that skill, and have a license to exercise it, and are paid for your skill at it. Nobody practices brain surgery at home after working all day at the post office, but you can be a genius writer, even a "successful" writer, earning pocket change when something else earns the rent. And you can be a writer by inclination, just because that's what you do. I know folks who will never make it big because they have no idea what a story is, who nevertheless plug hard at their fiction on a daily basis; they hve the souls of writers even if not the mental kink they need to be any good at it. In truth, I know writers who will never be **Writers** who are nevertheless more **Writers** than some writers I know who are **Writers.** There's no way on Earth that sentence should make sense, but I know that everybody even remotely connected to the profession should know what I mean by it.

It's rendered not one whit more complicated by the existence of people who don't write who nevertheless consider themselves writers because they have unformed ambitions of writing someday when they "have time." The folks who produce wholly unpublishable manuscripts that take them a year to get on paper, that they've agonized over and worried over and finally exulted over? Are more writers than that crowd, even if nothing will ever happen to them. At least they feel the compulsion, even if they'll never earn a dime because of it.

My own personal experience, vis-a-vis "You're not a writer until a writer tells you you're a writer"? For me, you're not a writer if you ever think you've crossed the finish line. I thought I wouldn't be a writer until somebody paid me for my work. I got paid for a short non-fiction article and then I said, okay, I'm not a writer until I get paid for a short story. That happened and I said, I'm not a writer until I paid by one of the "major" magazines. And then not until I got my name on a book. And then not until it's a novel. And then not until it's a novel based on my own characters. And even then, NOT YET. In my head, that finish line keeps moving farther to the right. Being told I'm a writer by writers whose current work I respect, and later by writers I grew up reading, and later by new writers wh say they found inspiration in stuff I did at one point or another, is nice. It's wonderful. But it never feels like the finish line. Far from it, there has been no moment where I believed that I'd crossed the qualifying heat. And maybe that's where the qualifier lies. Maybe that's what makes me more writer in my head, if not QUITE ***writer*** wrapped in asterisks, than cartoonist or comedian.

"Are you a cartoonist?" Well, you can say that. I draw a little. I used to produce soem fine stuff. And may again, if I have the time. And if I feel like it again.

"Are you a comedian?" Well, I tried to be. Didn't excel at it. But I did step out on stage.

"Are you a writer?" Still working on it.

Yeah, maybe that's it.

It's about as much as I understand the difference, anyway.

- Sunday, November 23 2008 9:24:29

The quote
It's seems to me (which usually happens whenever I invoke this quote) that folks are getting hung up on the label of "writer" and not the quote and what it is actually saying.

The dream, the wish, is often not the reality. Calling yourself something does not make it so.

HE, finished the Ellin. Wonderful, wonderful stuff! Thanks again!

Jordan Owen
Atlanta, GA - Sunday, November 23 2008 8:19:41

Wow! Its really cool to think that my faux pas would initiate such an interesting discussion. I think that Mr. Ellison has a point, that one's status as a writer is a title of honor to be bestowed via the earned respect of an established author. Nevertheless I think there are two factors to take into consideration. 1, An aspiring writer ought to only concern themselves with receiving said validation from an author whose opinion they themselves value. If Mr. Ellison called me a writer, I would feel as though I had been invited into the pantheon of the gods to stand tall next to Zeus and Thor. If Kirsten Bakis called me a writer I'd probably vomit my toe nails. 2, I think that when it comes to the arts these titles can be bestowed on those who don't seek to make a living at them but who take the craft on as a hobby, albeit very seriously.

That said, I wanted to weigh in on the topic of scary movies. Its great to see that someone mentioned OLDBOY- that one has a single shot fight sequence down a corridor that is absolutely amazing to watch. Requiem for a Dream was certainly an effective movie, but I don't know about "scary." For me it had a kind of "there but for the grace of god go I" effect, making me feel like slipping into that sort of lifestyle could happen before I'd realized what I'd gotten into. The Deer Hunter was more of a psychological drama, the main scares being the Russian roulette scenes. I do consider that to be one of Walken's defining performances. That and the Continental on SNL.

I'm very much a fan of Japanese culture and arts (I speak the language somewhat fluently) and as such I think the Japanese have the absolute best horror films just as the British have the best comedy. For example:

Audition- Takashi Miike's signature achievement. It lulls you into a dream-like pacing for the first two thirds, thereby increasing the horror exponentially in the finale. It really does take the best aspects of Kubrick and Hitchcock into consideration and delivers.

Kairo (aka Pulse)- If you saw the putrid American remake of this stunning film, KILL YOURSELF. The Nipponese version is the ONLY one that matters. Its truly stunning to watch this hauntingly bleak film unfold.

Bullet Ballet- Shinya Tsukamoto's signature film about a man obsessed with owning the kind of gun that killed his common law wife. It combines the character study of Taxi Driver with the great sense of full-immersion film noir of the classic detective cinema.

Cure- This (along with Kairo) is a great introduction to Kyoshi Kurosawa. It really explores the director's ability to gently haunt you over time as you contemplate the full scope of what's being suggested.

I could go on, but those are some great films. I'm also huge on David Lynch- everything the man has done.


Steve B
- Sunday, November 23 2008 7:30:31


The grammatical and structural errors below only prove my point. I ain't a Writer.

(But I could show you some pretty pictures at a thousand words a pop.)

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Sunday, November 23 2008 7:28:1

Okay. I'm gonna disagree with some heavy hitters here about the whole Andy Griffith quote thingy. It doesn't matter who tells you you're a writer. At all. Harlan could tell me I'm a writer (if he could keep a straight face that is), but it wouldn't make it so. My high school writing teacher could have told me I'm a writer and it wouldn't make it so. I've written, had printed and been paid for a handful of things, written a really bad novel, and taken a shot at writing some pretty well accepted essays.

But I'm not a Writer. But I AM a writer -- lower case. I write, can write, and have done things which are argued would allow me to call myself a writer, but not a Writer.

So I would venture the theory -- theory only, since establishing a law in this case would be impossible -- the theory that the action of doing something requiring what we would call an "artistic skill" on a regular basis gives you the right to call yourself "whatever". Lower case. But...

There is a profound difference being being a professional and an amateur however.

(The essay below uses capital letters to differentiate between qualified professional credentials and skilled amateur ones. Given the restrictions on fonts on this board, I figured it was the easiest way to make my point. And I do have one for a change.)

Greg and Michael are Professional Writers. Obviously, so is Harlan, so is Josh and so is Adam-Troy. Pro indicates someone thinks enough of their work to push cash on the table in exchange for the effort. This enables the lower-case writer to become an upper-case Writer. (And Greg, journalism is as respectable a form of writing as any other. Except poetry. Poetry doesn't quite rise to the level of actual writing. I know several "professional" poets and the word just doesn't hold any meaning for them...)

But I digress.

Cris is a Singer. Upper case. She derives a substantial -- for a musician -- income from her pipes.

I am a photographer. Lower case. I derive a nice side income from my pictures, but my life exists as a corporate slave. My friend George Metivier is a Photographer, full time, long career. Man Ray was a Photographer. Bresson was a Photographer.

It is, within my definition, acceptable to label ones-self as a musician if you are in a rock band and can play a couple of chords -- but you're not a Musician. Eddie van Halen is a Musician, Joe Sample is a Musician, Clarence Clemens is a Musician.

It's in the perception, yes, of a difference between someone who earnestly works at a particular artistic skill versus someone who achieves a career based upon that skill.

Speaking of photography: DAVID SILVER, (or anyone else who might be interested) OVATION TV is running an excellent series of programs this weekend on the history and art of photography. Terrific stuff if you peek in...

john zeock <k33kong@aol.com>
CONSHOHOCKEN, - Sunday, November 23 2008 7:27:45

Andy Griffith
Fans of his should check out a wonderful western spoof, Rustlers' Rhapsody,with Tom Berenger, Marilu Henner, Sela Ward, Fernando Rey, Patrick Wayne and others. Andy's best line-"They were....dating ?"

Texas - Sunday, November 23 2008 3:46:3

I've been making a living at my typewriter (and later, keyboard) for about 25 years. They pay me to write, so I'm a writer-- a copywriter, tech writer and occasional article writer, but still a writer. Certainly no author or storyteller, though.

Los Angeles, California - Sunday, November 23 2008 0:45:49

Rob, Andy Griffith
I got the privilege of meeting him on "Play the Game" and the man is still a powerful acting force, albeit a little shaky on his feet. At one point, he asked for his folding chair so he could sit down but nobody on the crew seemed to be listening, so the lowly background performer ran and got it for him (after I shooed another extra out of it). And, man! The smack of realization that you get seeing a LEGEND like that in person! Whew.

My only disappointment in "No Time for Sergeants" is that the Broadway play version, which was recorded for TV in '55, didn't have Roddy McDowall it. I'm big into "Compulsion" research (1957, Broadway) and would've loved to see what Roddy was like in that play. But again... wow. There's Andy in the early stages of his career, smacking the ball out of the park in that role! Impressive doesn't begin to cover it.

Michael Rapoport
- Saturday, November 22 2008 23:24:27

another spin on this who's-a-writer business...
I am a journalist - a reporter and columnist for newspapers and news services. I've been making my living as a journalist since 1986. In that time, I've written thousands of news stories, ranging from short, just-the-facts pieces about the latest fire or murder to longer, complex investigative pieces and in-depth feature stories. My work has appeared in everything from small local newspapers to prominent national publications, and has won national awards. I have written about everything from Vietnam veterans to financial scandals to AIDS to politics and public policy on the local, state and national level.

Am I, therefore, a writer? As far as I'm concerned I am, but I recognize that others may feel differently. I have never written fiction, nor have I ever written anything of book length, which some people seem to think are the marks of "real" writers. Moreover, I know there are those who disparage journalism as the equivalent of bricklaying with words, a simple recounting of events that a chimp could manage. (To them I say: You try writing a coherent, clear, comprehensive news story on a complex subject - oh, and do it in an hour, to make a deadline - and see how easy it is.)

I agree that the dilettantes, those who "dabble" in writing without concerted effort or who don't produce publishable work, do not merit being called writers. I would further agree that writing fiction, fashioning stories and characters out of one's own head, requires a special kind of skill and creativity. But writing worthy of the name can take forms other than novels or screenplays or short stories or books, and that sort of writing requires hard work and ability and dedication, too.

W. Powell
Bloomington, IN - Saturday, November 22 2008 23:12:14

Andy Griffith
This thread reminds me of an old bit from when Babylon 5 was still on the air; I think it was one of those "You Know You're a True B5 Fan When..." lists, and one of the items read "You actually speculate on what The Andy Griffith Show would've been like had it been written by JMS".

That notion still keeps me up nights.

- Saturday, November 22 2008 21:56:1

Andy Griffith
I'll second Rob's praise of Andy Griffith, and love all the films and shows he cited. I'd also mention WAITRESS, where he gives a lovely performance as a curmudgeon with a secret sweet side. IF you haven't seen the film, it's worth checking out. He was also a good sport when he appeared in Ron Howard's campaign spot for Obama this fall, gamely recreating Sheriff Taylor opposite an (intentionally) absurd Howard, who plays Opie as if he hasn't aged in 40 or so years since he was on the show.

Tom Morgan
Silverado, CA - Saturday, November 22 2008 19:15:35

Not all...
Millions are screaming, but some are actually using the tool for intelligent discourse. And occasionally someone uses it to quietly and humbly ask for help.

Mitch Keith,
I do not pray but I wish the best for you and your family.

A good day to the Keith family. If my wishes of karma are worth anything, the rest of you are on your own today.

- Saturday, November 22 2008 19:9:51

"for goodness knows whatever reason, I've always been a huge Andy Griffith fan"

"For 'Goodness' Knows"???????!!!!!

Why would you be confused about your adulation for Andy Griffith?

He kicked ass in A FACE IN THE CROWD, NO TIME FOR SERGEANTS, and created an endearing tv icon, in partnership with Don Knotts.

The man DESERVES a following, for chrissake.

Hell - with all the miserable assholes in the world, I've been looking for Sheriff Andy Taylor all my life!

**An actor I myself been payin' special heed to lately, in his long career, is George Kennedy. Sometimes I forget the unique niche the man carved for himself: between movie and tv, he played an odd range of roles, from nerds to sadistic bullies (and sometimes, even a cross between the two!).

Pare two examples: in a Hitchcock Hour episode entitled MISADVENTURE he comes home (wearing specks, mind you) to his wifey and, upon seeing family dishes smashed on the floor, actually begins whining and crying, as he drops on all fours to pick up the pieces!

Match THAT persona to the brutal guard in LONELY ARE THE BRAVE, who beats the holy shit oughtta Kirk Douglas, and it's hard to recall any other actor who covered this sort of character range.

That's why he bagged the Oscar in COOL HAND LUKE.

Terrific actor.

Texas - Saturday, November 22 2008 16:39:41

Thanks to the Internet, everyone has a mouth now and they're all screaming.

- Saturday, November 22 2008 15:26:6

David seems to have gotten it right
According to the IMDB, which I usually find to be accurate on their quotes, the quote is part of a larger speech that goes:

"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Kings and Queens...you know what I mean? Too bad it isn't that easy. In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer...not before."

The screenplay, by the by, is by one Rob Thompson, and was nominated for a WGA Award. Thanks, David, for clarifying my memory.

David Silver <silver@well.com>
San Francisco, CA - Saturday, November 22 2008 14:35:11

That darn quote...

Harlan, I've seen "Hearts of the West" many times, it's one of my a favorite cinematic guilty pleasures (for goodness knows whatever reason, I've always been a huge Andy Griffith fan), and I'd swear the quote went more like this:

"...when someone else says you're a writer, THAT'S when you're a writer (pause) not before!"

Not a point of argument, but a matter of wondering how bad my memory is these days! The truth is, when I read your recollection of the quote, it spoke a greater truth to me then the one I recall from the film. I like that idea, that you're a writer when WRITERS say you're a writer. That definitely paraphrases an attitude I've reinforced repeatedly when moderating my writing workshops over the years, but I probably never expressed it in such an effective way. Good on you (once again!) for a clarifying moment! But I swear the quote in the film is closer to what I remember than what you remember. I'll leave it to the many internet surfers here to figure it out later. I primarily wanted to thank you for the quote as you stated it because I'll certainly be using it in future workshops (and if it doesn't match what's in the film, I'll be attributing it to you instead!).

As usual, all the best to you and Susan...


- Saturday, November 22 2008 14:22:31

HE - the quote
HE, my memory may be slipping as I collapse into geezerdom, but I actually think I quoted the line correctly. I'd have to review the tape to be sure(which I'm not sure I've got). I've been quoting this frigging line for years to all the would-bes, newbies,and wanna-bes, as well as the delusional; I'd hate to think I've been getting it wrong all these years. I'm pretty sure it's "You're not a writer till SOMEONE else says you're a writer." As you remember in the movie, Bridges thinks Griffith is just a cowboy extra; he has no idea of his literary past.

But whether it's your version or my version, I don't think the main message that far off.

I've always interpreted it as: Any yahoo can call himself a writer all he wants, but until someone who knows something about it calls him one or someone is actually willing to pay him good little green dollars for his writing, he's just whistling up his own bunghole and being soothed by an echo of self-deceiving reassurance.

You call me a writer, that means something; my Aunt Tillie calls me a writer and pats me on the head and says she's proud of me, it don't mean squat...If neither of you pay me for my writing and I ain't earning a living by it, am I writer?

The other line (my own) which I use on aspirants is "A professional knows when he does good work" and it drives them crazy. I get so tired of this cult that is always looking for approval. It's why I've always been a lone wolf and eschewed writers groups...especially the kind you find in Hollywood, a bunch of amateurs critiquing each other's work. You don't need people at your own level who aren't selling anything either to advise you on how to write. Nine times out of ten, they're not telling you how to serve your work, but how they'd re-write it. And when you solicited feedback; armchair critics usually take it for an invitation to be negative. But mostly, they just don't know...

If a writer can't tell whether he's produced something competent without the need of soliciting approval, then maybe he shouldn't be doing it. G.B. Shaw: "If you can't write a play withou being taught -- don't!"

In all the years we've known each other, I don't believe either of us has foisted work on each other and said, "Tell me what you think of this?" First of all, we both confident enough (or arrogant enough) not to give a damn whether the other likes it or not and, secondly, we know if WE like it. You have, at times, asked to read something of mine either because I was railing about the executives (i.e. The Vikings) or just because you wanted to (The Haggard)...but you volunteered to read them; I never asked you. Many a time you've read stories or pieces of your work to me (or several of us), but you weren't looking for critiques, but rather to entertain (and entertained we were, I may add).

I think the first talent a writer has to have is to be able to objectively appraise his own work and to have some sort of perception about how it succeeds or fails.

- Saturday, November 22 2008 13:14:48

That should've been HEARTS OF THE WEST, of course, not "Weat."

But all of this is picayune beside Mitch Keith's plea. There is a breath-stopping abyssal difference between the chitchat all of us throw up here regularly, and the World of Pain that is our true home. I'm not a "prayer" kind of guy, but if there is even a scintilla of possibility that massed thoughts of good will can do any good, it seems to me a small thing to be asked to contribute. And so I pray for an easing of the garrote around the throat of Mitch's family.

Respectfully, Harlan

- Saturday, November 22 2008 12:56:17


Hell, I haven't even SEEN Bobby Vaughn since U.N.C.L.E. was in first-run; and haven't hung out with him since the mid-'60s when we were partnered at one of the dart competitions in the legendary (sadly, now-gone) Raincheck Room in Hollywood.

But, what the hell! Happy birthday, Bobby!

Yr. Old Pal, Harlan

- Saturday, November 22 2008 12:51:37


Charles Edward:

(Synchronicity. I was playing the Crawford again yesterday, and sat for a minute or so lamenting your absence. Nobody else to talk Casa Loma orchestra-type stuff with. Miss you and Julieanne. A lot.)

You missed the point of the Andy Griffith to Jeff Bridges HEARTS OF THE WEAT quote. You got it wrong. The line is, exactly, this:

"Kid, you're a writer when a WRITER says you're a writer."

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Beaverton, OR - Saturday, November 22 2008 12:25:11

Okay my liberal friends, No more excuses...no more finger pointing...no more back stabbing...no more political lies (from both sides of the aisle). You wanted him, and you GOT HIM. Now let's see if President-elect Obama can live up to his promises.
As for me...I will continue as a registered Republican, but politcally I am back to be an Independent. No more political rantings from me...now to go back to writing that short story, novel and screenplay I have put off since I retired in February.
See ya!

maggie hoyal-patterson <alex5118@live.com>
Saugerties, N.Y. U.S.A. - Saturday, November 22 2008 10:36:10

Wriiting and rudness
Jordan Owen Actually you are in the best of company as far as artists, writers and over the top behaviour in which yours was just a speck on the ars of. The poet eza pound was beyond measure. Wagner who wrote the music for Tristan und Isolde trashed many lives in his life and our fair leader Mr. Harlan Ellson tromped on a few souls in his time perhaps with the best of intentions. Go figure. As far as being a writer and doing nothing but writing...well maybe not either. Herman Melville was a clerk while he wrote Moby Dick and Wallace steven the poet worked in insurance his entire life. Yet I can still see the giant diving into the depths and the long black shiny hair being streached out long and played with the bow of a violen. So pratice the 13 commandment and don't make a thing of it. maggie

Mitch Keith <saganmov@gmail.com>
Dalton, Georgia - Saturday, November 22 2008 10:11:45

Wanna ask for prayer and positive enery
Hey folks! I haven't chimed in for along while and much prefer to lurk on the sidelines and read the wonderousness. But, I am in the middle of some family strife and really would like to ask that you fine people remember me and mine in your prayers, meditations, daily chakras, whatever. My oldest son, Jim, tumbled down a flight of stairs this last week, in the process causing damage to his kidneys. Right now he has renal failure and possibly duo-lateral pneumonia and has just undergone his second blood diaslysis. The damage may be reversible (the odds are something like 90% in his favor), but the road may be long and bumpy. My other son, Glen, who is about to turn 17, has been fighting a hosts of maladies for two years now and has been diagnosed with Gastroparesis. We go the Mayo clinic in Jacksonville,Fl, on the 5th of January. I'm not asking for help, just asking that you fine folks please remember them in your prayers. I have handled about all I can in silence and just needed to let others know that I can handle it, but I'm not God and I'm not Dr. Marcus Welby. I'm just a dad and my prayers, nor a host of specialists, medicines, etc. have been of much help. I won't be back on the post this weekend probably, gonna be in the middle of all the hospital procedures, etc. It will just make me feel better, knowing that some of the people I admire so much are focusing on healing. Thanks in advance people. I really appreciate it.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Saturday, November 22 2008 9:5:19

I wrote a little something on the subject of S. King's 1408 almost one year ago today on the BB. Short for long, I like the movie, but the written story kicked my ass.

I also wrote about one of the only movies I remember being scared witless by as a child: The Tingler. Those who know the silent scene in the middle of the movie may perceive what I mean.
Spoilers with explanation here: http://harlanellison.com/heboard/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1312&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

I found myself, literally, on the edge of my seat before Blair Witch was over. I don't think that had happened before.

To go with ATC's 'what-sticks-with-you/f's-you-up' theme, SLING BLADE knocked me for a loop. Little brother. Dad. Fuck me, that hit hard, but good.
Also a scene in SHINDLER'S LIST involving a gun and a Jew. Damn.
I'll add to the N.O.T.Living Dead huzzahs. I saw it when I was a tyke. Late Nite Creature Feature. The final shots told me movies are not fair.

Hiya, Bret. Kathy (wife-person) has coulrophobia, and whatever the term is for the same fear of dummies and, to a lesser degree, puppets. She claims it stems from POLTERGEIST, where they were all combined into one evil little t'ing.
Opposites Attract 101~ I am in love with scary clowns. All of them. Movies, pictures, tattoos, album covers. I cannot share this love with her. This is the highest tension reached in our relationship to date.

Dept. of Perhaps Not Horror, But Disturbing Nevertheless:

Kathy was in Baltimore, MD for a week on business and I picked her up at the airport last night. We grabbed a quick bite at a Waffle House and got home 12-ish. She had to work this morn at 9, so we went to bed. To sleep. I had missed her very much.

Last night I dreamed that I was in bed with another woman who appeared to weigh three pounds and made Kate Moss look like Veruca Salt after the blueberry. There were people in the room and this female was, to be delicate, offering me sexual ... access... if you will. And when she did so, her body turned into one of those large wire sculptures of a reindeer one sees on some xmas lawns. I then decided to go to my high school reunion (which was being held in the local mall of the town where I grew up) with this FLAMING gay man who used to be my roommate when i lived in WV in the early '90's. However, I was too embarrassed to hold his hand.

Then I woke up, and was so very glad that Kat was home.

Yeah, that was weird.

Tony Rabig
Parsons, KS - Saturday, November 22 2008 9:2:6


Don't feel like the Lone Ranger -- you're not the only one who's never gotten around to seeing Saving Private Ryan. I didn't catch it in its theatrical run, and had thought maybe I'd rent it some time. But not long after it was available for rental, my sister told me she'd rented it so that my father (82d Airborne, Ste Mer Eglise drop on D-Day, etc) could see it. After it was over, he said, "Now let me tell you everything they got wrong in that one. . ." Never had any inclination to see it after she told me that. Some day, maybe. But I doubt it.

Bests to all,


Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Saturday, November 22 2008 8:46:13

"And I know I'm stepping outside the limitations of the discussion"

Limits? Limits? Those numbers on the freeway sign ain't LIMITS, they're SUGGESTIONS!!!!

(At least that's what I tell the cops when they pull me over.)

I don't readily agree that THE DEER HUNTER is a scary film. It didn't scare me so much as make me very, very angry. I would guess that's because I a) approached the film differently than you all might have, and b) had a couple/three martinis under my belt and it may have had an impact in my mood.

(I readily admit I enjoy jingoistic war films far more than those that profess to show the actual horrors of war. I still haven't seen SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, for which I am sure to get a whole ration of shit.)

But DEER HUNTER? Angry, not scared.

Bret brings up a good point, which is that when I look back I seem to have far more memories of being frightened out of my socks by television shows rather than films. (And THE HAUNTING was served by being both on tv when I first saw it, and right before bed time.

I vividly remember being told quite firmly by my mother that I could not stay up to watch THE FLY on tv one night. I was around 9 years old, and so lay in bed listening instead to the soundtrack of the film from the other room.

Yeah Mom. SEEING the fly would keep me from sleeping? The film had NOTHING on what my mind created that night. Kept me awake for weeks. Yeeks.

(BTW - The short story is a wonderful one, if you ever find it. George Langelaan's piece is a good late-nighter. Not sure if it's collected somewhere...)

Cris and I are meeting up with Lady Peggy of the Houston Peggys tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing her and am already on the hook for one glass of wine courtesy Mr. Goldberg (of the Minneapolis Marks).

Should be fun.

Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Saturday, November 22 2008 8:41:38

"what me worry?"
I have to agree with the list of scary movies that everyone has mentioned, there ALL good one but I’d like to add my own little fear feast, its an older movie called INVADERS FORM MARS, I’m not talking about that awful remake they did some time ago, the one that really scared me as a boy was the one made in 1953, to me it was every kids nightmare, your loving parents are taken over my some evil form beyond the stars.

If anyone remembers the boy mom and dad where sucked under the sand by creatures form Mars, it didn’t matter that the zombie men wore horrible felt suits and big bug eyes, its was that HEAD in the glass bowl that made me shiver.

But I’d have to go with you guys on the scariest picture and that would be, THE HAUNTING, I say that because the most horrible monsters live in the mind not the world.

Hiding under my covers…….Gary

Mike Jacka <figre@cox.net>
Phoenix, AZ - Saturday, November 22 2008 8:38:0

Final draft due Wednesday, November 26
Shagin wrote “Having a helluva of a time writing of late.” Not clear if that was a helluva good time, or a helluva bad time. (In context, I think the latter.)

For me - having no fun right now. I have a book due Wednesday. Actually two - a second edition of a business book I got published a few years ago and a companion workbook. All but one chapter of the book is complete. Only four of the ten chapters of the workbook are done. When forced to sit and write (as I have been for the last week and will be for the next week), the joy of writing quickly disappears and the work of writing raises its ugly head. And even with a deadline that is less than a week away, I find ways to avoid the work. To prove the point – here I am posting in the Pavilion when I should be writing about the risks to achieving a process’s objectives. (Yes, it even puts me to sleep.)

But, the conversation here has reminded me of something. I AM a writer. Writing was one of my ambitions since grade school. And I think a part of me still doesn’t believe that I have been paid to write. I’ve got a book published, I have a contract for another, I’ve just started doing a blog for Internal Auditor magazine on-line (yes there is such a thing), and that same group is talking to me about publishing a collection of my humor pieces about internal auditors (yes, there are some of those, too.) I think I’m never really going to feel like “writer” until I get that first short story published. But every once in a while I have to remind myself that I did get there – I am a writer.

I apologize if this post seems a bit self-serving, a little egomaniacal. But I really just wanted to thank everyone for the discussion about writing – a discussion that has put me in a much better mood.

(Now, back to that book. And, you know what, in spite of my bitchin’ and moanin’, it is still fun. Although, I feel like it’s my senior year and the final term paper is due tomorrow. Oh well, looks like another “C”)


Bret Bertholf <bretbertholf@earthlink.net>
Denver, CO - Saturday, November 22 2008 8:27:32

Not a movie, but...
I meant "pique" not "peak." What a dumbass! B.

Bret Bertholf <bretbertholf@earthlink.net>
Denver, CO - Saturday, November 22 2008 8:23:5

Not a movie, but...
I love the threads on this web-site.

And I know I'm stepping outside the limitations of the discussion, but when I was but a young sensitive lad, I had a great affection for ventriloquist's dummies, Charlie McCarthy, Mortimer Schnerd and the like. One night in the 70's my mother saw that a rerun of the Twilight Zone episode, "The Dummy," Rod Serling's adaptation of an unpublished short story, was being aired and called me in to watch. Scared the living shit outta me. Oddly, I remember a scene of the dummy's feet walking that stuck with me in nightmares, though the scene ain't in the broadcast. (Perhaps it was, in fact, the terrible "Caesar and Me.")

Thus began my on-again off-again fascination with almost universally horrible Evil Dummy pictures. Or universally horrible Dummy Comedies. (Though I still admire the craftsmanship of the puppet in William Goldman's "Magic.")

As for movies, I still have nightmares about great white sharks swimming out of the murk to bite my ass, though "Jaws" doesn't particularly frighten me. When I told my wife that what was scary was the Jungian relationship of vagina-dentata coupled with enormous floating phallus, she poked me in the eye and turned up the soundtrack to "The Tango Lesson."

Finally, I wanted to note how happy it made me to discover that Mr. Ellison knew Moondog (and that others had seen him perform!). I should not have been surprised, of course, since H.E. has known so many people whose work is dear to me (i.e. Shel Silverstein, and if you haven't seen Playboy's release of _Silverstein Around the World_, I urge you to check it out of your local library, search for it on Amazon, or rush to your local independent bookseller and order it!).

Let me humbly suggest another thread that might peak the interest of some: I have always thought that if I could live in another time and locale, I'd most want to be in New York between 1950 and 1972, when one might have encountered so many of those who make up the list of my cultural heroes, including Mr. Ellison and Moondog, but also Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns beginning their careers, Kerouac, Ginsberg and Burroughs, Horton Foote, Martha Graham and Jerome Robbins, early Philip Glass, unbelievable Jazz giants, etc., etc., etc.

Perhaps the only competition for that time is Rome c. 1605, to see Caravaggio at work on some painting or other, or spitting on a corpse off the Via Arenula after a soccer match. A story fit for the combined talents of our patron and the late, great Avram Davidson, (whom you could have met in NYC in the 60's as well. Talk about "Mad Men.")

How about you?

Yours, Bret

- Saturday, November 22 2008 8:1:52

Oh, and yeah. GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. I, too, worked for people who admired the Alec Baldwin character (more horrors than I could list, right now, but yeah, they abused their employees in precisely that manner.) I knew someone, once, who thought that Gordon Gecko from WALL STREET was a great guy, a role model. Brrrr.

Adam-Troy Castro <adam-troy@sff.net>
- Saturday, November 22 2008 7:57:32

Of Harlan's aghast cry of "Zombies?!?!"
Ahhhhh, Harlan, but as you know there's a major qualitative difference between being physically frightened...

...as can be accomplished, under the right circumstances, by even the crappiest horror film, and as I was, 1) at age 9, 2) in 1969, 3) when zombies were new and nobody had seen a million reiterations of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD; all circumstances that render the state of physical fright as a response to that film significantly more reasonable than it would be now...

...and being fucked up by what you've seen, which is another reaction entirely, and (I think) a more complex one.

I don't apologize nor regret my childhood being zapped by Romero's opus. It began a love affair with horror that has served me well in subsequent years.

But being fucked up by what I'd seen? Different experience.

LORD OF THE FLIES fucked me up royally, as a child. Those kids, turning on each other with a savagery I was currently experiencing in the playground, providing proof for me that if there were no adult: that fucked me up.

LORENZO'S OIL is one of many that fucked me up as an adult. Those parents, watching their kid wither into a shell, as they labored to produce a cure that would not come soon enough to help their own family; Mrs Odone telling her kid, "If you think it's time to go now, that's okay," well, that fucked me up.

DEAD MAN WALKING, with its unrepentant son of a bitch killer and his wholly loathesome crime, a man who didn't deserve an ounce of mercy or consideration, living his last day on Earth -- and marching to an execution that still diminishes the rest of us -- well, that fucked me up.

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM, a movie I'd rank with the best of Kubrick, and that last twenty minutes where the consequences of addiction keep hammering away at the three protagonists, in ways that demean and diminish their already battered souls; well, that fucked me up.

OLDBOY, that Korean Count of Monte Cristo where the unjustly imprisoned bastard emerges only after his humanity to gone, only to face worse horrors...well, that fucked me up.

PATHS OF GLORY, IN A LONELY PLACE, FITZCARRALDO, THE THIN BLUE LINE, DR DEATH, LITTLE NED, A CLOCKWORK ORANGE...hell, my first exposure to DEATH OF A SALESMAN, live with Dustin Hoffman and John Malkovich...the play THE PILLOWMAN, which I've recommended to all here as the ultimate fable of a writer's lot...hell, Hugo's LES MISERABLES...they all fucked me up.

Sheer physical terror may have been a *rarer* reaction, at least in my experience; but being fucked up (by which I mean, really, experiencing something that reaches past your emotional armor and leaves wounds), is a finer one, and one that lasts after the scares go away.

As you know.

Jordan Owen
- Saturday, November 22 2008 7:54:49

re: Professionalism

You need not lecture me on the disclosure of personal information on the web. Things such as my phone number and address, etc, are readily available to anyone who can access whitepages.com or any other directory website so I don't feel any need to hide them. Now, social security number, credit card info, that sort of thing, I keep to myself.

As for my idiocy in calling Mr. Ellison directly- he's more than made clear the errors in my actions and I agree 100%. I am happy to hold any level of status in his eyes, even if that level of status is ROCK BOTTOM.

Now I do have to agree with you about the Andy Griffith quote- I've had other people (excluding friends and family) call me a writer and it doesn't do anything but reinforce what I already know. I agree with Mr. Ellison in the sense that making your living at writing gives you the title of "writer" as a job title and designates a level of professionalism not only to you but to the field as well.

I'm sure we've both encountered the people who think that a slight level of ability in a field makes them worthy of its title. As a professional musician (and yes, I have the credentials) I'm constantly disgusted by the snot nosed punks who think that learning three chords makes them a "musician." Similarly, there are people on sites like Youtube that consider themselves "philosophers," hardly realizing that spouting their opinion is not a "philosophy."

But I digress...

Mr. Ellison: I can say nothing more than that I acted like an idiot. I can only hope that my actions from here forward will prove that to be only an act and not type-casting.
-Mr. Owen

Frank Church
- Saturday, November 22 2008 7:16:21

Lists, lists, my kingdom for more lists.

Blair Witch
Texas Chainsaw
The Legend of Lizzie Borden
Carnival of Souls
Night of the Living Dead
Dawn of the Dead
Friday the 13th
Forest Gump
Angel Heart--how can anybody miss this one?


- Saturday, November 22 2008 6:58:2

Dear Semi-writer
Maybe I should put that HEARTS OF THE WEST quote in context. In the movie, Jeff Bridges wants to be a western fiction writer. He goes around through the movie telling everybody he is a writer...although has written only one manuscript that no one has yet seen. Andy Griffith, who plays a burnt-out Zane Grey-type author (unbeknowst to Bridges in the story) tells him, "You're not a writer till someone else tells you you're a writer."

You, yourself, say you're a published writer. Someone, at some professional, authoritative level has acknowledged your skill whether you have or not. Someone has said, "You're a writer"; whether you think so or not is irrelevant.

The Griffith quote is meant as riposte to the empty boast, the claim that is yet unproven by any results...to give pause to all those wanna-bes and aspiring writers who actually either grind out copious amounts of unpublishable crap with no objectivity or self-realization about their output or just wish to be a writer but don't really work at it. The people who think the dream is enough without putting any real effort toward it. The same could be said for all those starry-eyed people that come out to Hollywood calling themselves actors but have never really done anything serious about it, never studied, never been in a play except for maybe High School...Ambition without effort. Wanting it without working at it is never enough. And sometime you can work at it, be serious about it, and still be no good at it.

Another movie example...I don't recall the title (The Buddy System?), but it stars Susan Sarandon and Harlan's pal, Ricky Dreyfuss, who keeps working on this novel in Venice Beach. Finally, he realizes he just doesn't have what it takes, he doesn't have the talent, no matter how hard he works at it...and he throws the novel into the canal. It was a great moment of unexpected self-realization for a character in a movie, because the audience is rooting for him, they want him to write a great novel and his epiphany is: he isn't a writer and when he realizes this, when he can abandon this dream, it's very freeing for him.

SPOILER ALERT: In HEARTS OF THE WEST, of course, the Griffith, as the Zane Grey character, reads Bridges' novel and calls him a writer. A nifty little movie, by the by, produced by another Harlan friend, Tony Bill.

Brian, There are still parts of THE FLY, I've never seen because they're too gruesome for me...mainly, the arm-wrestling scene. The scariest scene in THE EXORCIST for me is the spinal tap.

Harlan, am very much enjoying the stories in the Stanley Ellin opus. Now he's a writer! Mucho Thanks again.

Steve Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Saturday, November 22 2008 5:59:9



Harlan, have you called?

Los Angeles, California - Saturday, November 22 2008 2:49:1

The Deer Hunter
Speaking of "The Deer Hunter"... it was a "Deer Hunter" morning on the HBO channels. HBOPL ran the film from 11:45 a.m.-2:45 a.m. and then HBO2W put it on at 2:45 a.m.

Los Angeles, California - Friday, November 21 2008 23:40:5

Andy Griffith
"You're not a writer until someone else calls you a writer."

To which, I have to disagree. You're not a writer until you consider YOURSELF a writer. Other people's opinions about you aren't "shite," as the British say. Nobody truly knows who you are except for you.

I've had people telling me that I'm a writer since I was in a book competition at the age of seven, reaffirming over and over again that I've got "the gift." Yea, that's great. I sailed through college English courses, have written short stories, published books, published newspaper and magazine articles... but I haven't accepted that I'm a writer. Clearly, otherwise I'd be doing it for a living instead of hiding behind other jobs.

- Friday, November 21 2008 20:52:2

Advice to those who call themselves "writers"
"You're not a writer until someone else calls you a writer."
-- Andy Griffith to Jeff Bridges in HEARTS OF THE WEST --

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Friday, November 21 2008 19:56:46

Brian wrote: "Only movie that comes close is David Fincher's _Se7en_."

Ah, the movie you hope to see while you're depressed because going to watch it in a good mood is a sure way to end up slitting your wrists.

Love that film.


Having a helluva of a time writing of late. Stress...reality's way of saying it can, and will make you its bitch.


Los Angeles, California - Friday, November 21 2008 19:47:4

Just my two cents, for what it's worth (er, that would be "two cents," I believe)...

I've held various media jobs over the years from assistant editor to small-town newspaper reporter to assistant public affairs director to military photographer/reporter. When you make an error in judgment with a subject that you intend to interview and/or photograph, it is best to back off that person. Immediately. Don't even second-guess yourself and bug 'em again.

Initial contact with someone who holds a certain status in their field and is thus interview-worthy should always be made through a third party (an agent, educational institution, etc.), and in the event of a miscommunication, you the interviewer should approach that third party with apologies. From there, it's up to your intended interviewee as to whether or not you are offering a genuine heartfelt apology, and your SUBJECT can decide in their own sweet time to contact you and schedule a second interview.

Now, the internet is fun and all... but a public message board is not a place to try and make amends. That lets the world in on your business, not to mention your name, home address, email address, phone number and so on.

- Friday, November 21 2008 19:34:57


After you've been on the road as a kid, very few films can truly squeeze the pus outta your heart. I offer you the VERY few that have left me so fucked-up I couldn't see through the tears, and had to hold onto the theater wall to get back up the aisle to the lobby:




in the second tier are four movies that scared the shit out of me for a few minutes and have stayed with me for specific reasons, some of which you will find in reviews of same in my book WATCHING, newly-reprinted and uh gee kids...available:


Yr. Pal, Harlan

- Friday, November 21 2008 19:12:10

Mr. Owen:

Though I was stern and said (roughly this, after I took the phone from my wife's hand):

"Sir. You are calling my private home number, which is the first imposition; you are calling at a wholly inappropriate hour, which is the second imposition; we do not know each other yet you address me by my first name, which is the third imposition; you intrude on my life declaring yourself as 'a writer who wants to ask a question about characterization,' for which information and education I am usually paid many thousands of dollars, which is the fourth imposition; and you are too feckless or bumblebrained to know that there is a three--not three or four--just three--hour time differential between
Atlanta and the West Coast, which is too dopey even to rise to the level of imposition--"

And now you seek to waste my time and put yourself further into the line of my ire, by dopily posting your number. I need no revenge, sir. Were I to seek such, I would call you at MIDNIGHT, Pacific Standard Time, because it would be 3fuckingO'Clock in Georgia and, with a little luck, I could pointlessly wake YOUR entire household.

Don't hold your breath. We need not speak again, here or anywhere else. But this I CAN tell you...stop calling yourself a "writer." I don't know what you do for a living, or if you're still in your parent's house, but at present you are too blockheaded and slovenly in your daily life to claim even amateur status.

As I said (exactly) this morning, far more courteously than you deserved, "You are imposing on my privacy, and so you will not receive any more polite a reply. Goodbye." And, as I do now, I hung up on you.


Alisha Autumn
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada - Friday, November 21 2008 18:12:30

Horror Films
Hi All!

Well, boy oh boy I do love a good horror film. My husband and I have spent a significant amount of time watching films in the horror genre (which has caused more than a few sleepless nights). In looking at everyone's lists, the lack of currently produced horror movies surprises me somewhat!

My list:
RINGU (Japanese)
JU ON (Japanese)
IT (terrifying when I was younger)
REC (Spanish)

REC is a recently released (2007) Spanish film which I saw at a film festival in Edmonton this summer which I will likely never ever forget as long as I live. It filled me with horror.

I hope to hear about more people's horror film favourites - I'm always looking to watching something that will scare the pants off me.


P.S. REC is supposed to have square brackets around it, but for some reason brackets are a forbidden symbol, so if you search for it, you'll likely find the title with the square brackets around it.

Chuck Messer
- Friday, November 21 2008 17:29:58

Things that went bump in the night:

Prince of Darkness
Carpenter's The Thing
The Haunting
The Exorcist
Brainstorm (the life after death sequence)
Silence of the Lambs

And Glengarry Glen Ross. I worked for a guy who admired the Alec Baldwin character. Now I know what it's like to work for a sociopath.


Dennis J.
Connecticut - Friday, November 21 2008 16:43:26

Thanks and Horror
Harlan - Thanks for the tidbit regarding the quote. It was one of those moments where you feel impending madness if you can't find the info you're looking for.

John Z. - Completely agree regarding the Exorcist, both the book and film. As a teen I thought the film was absolutely hilarious. I mean I would fall out of my chair during it. Now...I won't have either the film or the book in the house. I know it's completely irrational and foolish, but it's just one of those things.

Mike Doran <Michael.Doran@nuveen.com>
Chicago, Illinois - Friday, November 21 2008 15:25:34

Scariest Movie
I'll tell you the one movie that scares me every time I see it, and it has no monster, no killer, not even a villain in the real sense: FAIL-SAFE. Just see it... and then think about it.

John Zeock
- Friday, November 21 2008 14:41:45

The Exorcist- after 18 years of Catholic school I can barely make it through the first 15 minutes without running from the room. My favorite horror films are The Haunting, Night Of The Demon and Kneale's The stone Tape. (Has anyone noticed that when you see Julie Harris in the widescreen version of The Haunting that things in the background are moving ? Only her. No one else...)

Laurie <lauriejane@dslextreme.com>
Los Angeles, California - Friday, November 21 2008 14:18:38

Horror stuff
Jeff R.
I agree with you about the original Manchurian Candidate. The dream sequences still haunt me. And the scene where Frank Sinatra's character shoots the kid while they're in a trance... Jesus. That really got me. Then there was that very creepy, very disturbing bit of maternal incest...that kiss! Ultimately, the underlying horror lurking inside the story, for me, was that it was all too close to what I, in my worst, most paranoid moments, imagine our political realities to be.

Somehow the Manchurian Candidate remake just didn't do it for me at all. It's hard to put my finger on why. When it comes to analyzing what scares us in movies, if we are over 20, we come up against the problem that we first saw many of our favorites decades ago when we were more sensitive, more impressionable and less jaded to horror in films (and in life).

Other nominees:

Alien, it plain scared the hell out of me (I even feared for the cat--sorry, Harlan).

The Re-Animator which was almost too over the top but is nevertheless truly horrifying.

Good ol' Diabolique which I haven't seen in years but still makes me want to avoid bathtubs. And knives.

A movie called Dead of Night which I barely remember but do remember that it kept me awake for a few nights (I think it was an anthology of stories, all of them frightening, disturbing, haunting).

I will include A Clockwork Orange even though it is not strictly a horror movie. Like Manchurian Candidate, Clockwork Orange accessed a lot of my everyday fears and half-conscious paranoias fed by my years of working with sociopathic people in institutions--some committed, some employees, some (most scary of all) administrators.


Again, I'm not sure that it qualifies as horror, but Harlan's story "Shattered Like A Glass Goblin" has stayed with me as an example of a disturbing too-close-to-home literary trip through hell. I first read it in my 20s, during the 1960s. "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" scared me as a kid but I was able to insulate myself from it by being sure it would never happen to me. Then came the "age of information" with computers gaining more power everyday..NOW that story's scaring me all over again with a whole lot less insulation.

The other deeply frightening story that burned its impression on my nervous mind: "1408" by Stephen King, particularly the audio version. King, like Harlan, is an excellent reader of his own work. I listened to "1408" in the middle of the night with the lights out. Then I turned them on.

DTS <none>
OZ - Friday, November 21 2008 13:39:25

Scary movies
Other than the musical score of JAWS (the shark no longer scares so much, but the score, always remembered when I start swimming out deeper and deeper into ocean water, not really knowing what lies beneath, will _always_ freak me out)...other than that score, for reasons unknown to me (because I'm not a believer...in god, God, or ghosts and demons) I always feel the hair on my neck stand up...and the urge to tuck my feet beneath the bed covers...after watching "The Exorcist." (I guess it's the combination of the very wrong sounding voice coming out of such a young girl, and the ugly lacertions and oozings that keep appearing on said face).

(Eep. Mama!)

Brian Siano
- Friday, November 21 2008 12:58:41

Scariest movie for me?
Look, most horror movies can hit me hard at first, but after a second viewing I can watch them analytically and not be scared or bothered. I'll look at the editing, expect the musical sting or the sudden cut or the surprising reveal. Scary films like _Halloween_, _The Haunting_, _The Texas Chainsaw Massacre_, _Alien_... first time's scary, but thereafter, they're stuff to analyze. Even movies that work on different levels, like _Frenzy_ or _The Shining_, turn into things I study to see how they achieve certain moods and effects.

Except one movie.

Pogue, you'll love this. The remake of _The Fly_ directed by David Cronenberg. I saw it in the theater and walked out feeling like jelly. And I don't think I've seen it since.

It really is NOT a movie I feel like watching again. It's _emotionally_ upsetting, and not because of the gross-out stuff. Also, I don't want to look at it too analytically, either. I want the memory to remain horrifying, and another viewing might spoil that.

Only movie that comes close is David Fincher's _Se7en_.

Tom Morgan
Silverado, CA - Friday, November 21 2008 12:19:17

ATC said:

"I have been physically frightened by only a handful of movies in my entire life. I am talking about the kind of fear that leaves you walking away on unsteady legs,..."

This sounds a lot like Harlan's review of the film Joe. It doesn't always come with blood and guts.

As always, a good day to Barry Manilow

Jeff R.
Phila., Pa. - Friday, November 21 2008 11:48:25

The Most Frightening Movies I Ever Saw
Can't narrow it down to one. How about...

Honorable mention to:

Alan Coil
- Friday, November 21 2008 11:42:4

Frank said:

"One earwig for Dick Cheney please."

More proof that Frank is an uncaring, cruel sumbitch, torturing an innocent little earwig like that.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Friday, November 21 2008 11:39:28

Scary movies
Jump scares -- which are common and easy -- aside, I have been physically frightened by only a handful of movies in my entire life. I am talking about the kind of fear that leaves you walking away on unsteady legs, and it's a step above discomfort or suspense or nail-biting nervousness or even the chills, all of which I've gotten in other entertainments. All of that is fine, and appreciated, but...

Sheer terror of the sort that made me feel like my heart was trying to bust out of my ribcage? Just in the following cases.

The original NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, when it was new and I was nine. Gotta tell ya. Zombies have since become fit for comedy (though scary tales can still be told about them), but that one was unrelenting.

JAWS. My mid-teens. Scared the living piss out of me. Couldn't stand in waist-deep water without thinking about it.

HALLOWEEN. Late teens. (A different creature from the knife-kill movies that followed, which Harlan justifiably decried; it's instructive, now, to note how truly bloodless it really was, next to the geek-murder movies.)

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. I ain't kidding. I'd already read the book long before, knew what was gonna happen, and Jodie in Buffalo Bill's basement still made me want to crap my pants.

REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. That last twenty minutes. Holy crap.

Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Friday, November 21 2008 10:58:2

Hope some of you are enjoying Roberto Bolano's 2666. This, the new one by the author of THE SAVAGE DETECTIVES. Wonderful writer. Wonderful ouevre. Do not overlook his poetry.


- Friday, November 21 2008 10:55:53

My scariest
My scariest movie choice is THE ISLAND OF LOST SOULS (1932) with the great Charles Laughton, Richard Arlen, Katherine (or was it Kathline?) Burke "The Panther Woman", and Bela Lugosi as the Sayer of The Law. "His is the Hand That Makes. His is the Hand That Heals. His is the House of Pain!" "You made us in the House of Pain. Made us not men, not beasts. But things!"

The British film censors banned the movie, condemning it as "against the laws of nature", to which Elsa Lanchester replied, "So is Mickey Mouse."

Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Friday, November 21 2008 10:54:58

I would agree with the estimable Mr. Barber about the movie version of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting. If you do rent it, try to watch it someplace where you have surround sound. It makes the knocking sequence (watch the movie and you will know what I am referring to) absolutely terrifying.

For me though, and this may not reflect well on my movie tastes, the scariest movie I have ever seen was the original Nightmare on Elm Street. Perhaps it is due to my sneaking into the theater to see it when I was 13, but that film almost literally scared the piss outta me. I have seen it a number of times since then and recognize that it is not a great movie, but oh dear god does it terrify me.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Friday, November 21 2008 10:37:37

(Jordan, do not take this personally. Yours is only the most recent transgression)


Just sayin'. Agin.

The NEW YORK TIMES is asking the question "What movie is the scariest?" and noting you cannot choose WALL STREET as the answer.

My vote: The 1963 THE HAUNTING.

For literal skin-crawling, fear-inducing, sleep-depriving jolts, there is nothing in any other film I've seen that compares with Robert Wise's masterpiece of terror.

Watch it late at night with the lights down low.

- Friday, November 21 2008 10:32:9

Screenwriting guru McKee says Hollywood is finished
An interesting article:


Any thoughts?

- Friday, November 21 2008 9:37:2

Frank Church: "Rod Serling is sentimental? You don't host Twilight Zone and Night Gallery if you are sentimental."

Rod Serling is NOT sentimental? You don't write "Walking Distance" or "The Night of the Meek" if you are not sentimental.

Jordan Owen <jowen@berklee.net>
Atlanta, Georgia - Friday, November 21 2008 9:32:56

My sincere apologies!!!!

In the sheer rush of calling you today I lost sight of the three to four hour time difference between our locations! Thus, I stand naked and ashamed before your utterly correct condemnation of my waking you up at 8:30 in the morning. :( As an act on contrition I offer you an opportunity for revenge. Below is my home phone number. If you call at around 5:00 am your time you should be able to wake me up at the same time, thus evening the score.


ps- revenge calling me is an offer I extend to HARLAN ONLY. If any of the rest of you contact be before 10:00 am EST, you shall feel my wrath...

Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Friday, November 21 2008 8:11:51


Like you I saw the turner interview with Bradbury last night, he did look a bit weary but you could tell that he was still young and passionate on the inside, and it was great to see him again.

Back in 1962 I spent most of the summer reading everything I could find written by Bradbury, needless to say it was a summer well spent, I got to meet him once many years ago and he was kind and spoke of going out and fulfilling your dreams.

Let hope we can keep him around for many more summers.


Frank Church
- Friday, November 21 2008 7:31:3

Rod Serling is sentimental? You don't host Twilight Zone and Night Gallery if you are sentimental.

Resaw the Night Gallery episode about the earwig. Single best ending ever.

One earwig for Dick Cheney please.

Scarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry shit.

Chuck Messer <Yugo >
Beep-Beep, Crunch! - Friday, November 21 2008 6:7:35

I didn't know they were still building the damned thing.
This week saw the closing of the Yugo production line. Funny how that little car outlived its country of origin.

Yu*go (yoo-go)
n. 1) Small, economical, Yugoslavian-built automobile.
2) 4x4 hood ornament.
adj. 1) What dosen't happen when you press the accelerator.

Q. How do you double the value of a Yugo?
A. Fill the tank with gas! (If it can still hold liquid.)
A. If not, put a gallon of milk in the back seat.

Q. What comes with every Yugo User's Manual?
A. The bus schedule.

What do Yugos have in common with Ferarris?
- A Ferarri can go from 0 to 60 in 4 seconds.
- A Yugo can go from 0 to 4 in 60 seconds.
Actually, a Yugo CAN accelerate as fast as a Ferarri,
...if you give it a fast enough running start, so it clears the cliff's edge...

Q. How do you fix a broken Yugo?
A. 1) Lift off the radiator cap.
2) Push off cliff.
3) and drive brand-new one underneath radiator cap.
(30-mile/3-day warranty included!)

A man entered an auto parts store...
Man: "I need a windshield wiper blade for a Yugo."
Clerk: "Well, only if you throw $20 into the trade."

I once bought a Yugo with a tow package.
...It was in the front.

Q. Why does a Yugo have rear a window defroster?
A. To keep your hands warm as you push it.

Q. What do you call a Yugo at the top of a big hill?
A. A miracle!

How do you make a Yugo go faster?
A towtruck.

What do you call the shock absorbers inside a Yugo?

Two guys in a Yugo were arrested last night in Oakland following a push-by shooting incident.

The new Yugo has an air bag. When you sense an impending accident, start pumping real fast.

A friend went to a dealer the other day and said, "I'd like a gas cap for my Yugo." The dealer replied, "Okay. Sounds like a fair trade."

How can you get a Yugo to do 60 miles an hour?
Push it over a cliff.

Why don't Yugo's sustain much damage in a front-end collision?
The tow truck takes the impact.

What do you call a Yugo with a flat tire?

- Thursday, November 20 2008 23:47:6

Just saw Ray Bradbury interviewed on Turner Classics, extolling my man Hitchcock, and talking at some length about his collaboration with the director in the early 60's, and how much he'd learned from him. He did 10 scripts for Hitchcock's show. (2 of which I recorded last year!)

They're gems. (Personal confession: when I was a kid I didn't know much of Bradbury's stuff; my only exposure before the age of 10 was Rod Serling's treatment of "I Sing The Body Electric", Ray's famous TZ script. Because of that episode (and reading anecdotes about director John Huston more-or-less bullying Ray years earlier when they teamed to do Moby Dick), I spent a period believing Bradbury's leanings were a bit too sugar-coated for me. THEN, I read how unhappy he was with SERLING'S re-write of that TZ episode. Later, when I saw his Hitchcock shows, particularly The Jar and 'The Life Work of Juan Diaz', I came to realize Bradbury actually had very dark ironic sensibilities. In turn, upon viewing more of the Twilight Zones specifically written by Serling, it was clearly SERLING who went for the sugary sentimentality. And, with that, I pretty much understood Ray's displeasure with the apparent adjustments made on his episode. I still respect Serling; but the mawkish stuff could be a big weakness. At any rate, at last, I came to really appreciate Bradbury. Demonstrates how the people in charge can affect your resume)

So, it was a pleasure hearing Bradbury talk about Hitchcock, and the mutual admiration that clearly emerged between the two great talents.

Poor Ray really looked weather-beaten, and had some difficulty speaking. Nevertheless, as always, it was a damn pleasure listening to his passion.

Maggie hoyal-patterson <alex5118@live.com>
Saugerties, N.Y. U.S.A. - Thursday, November 20 2008 23:9:30

simi-writer Who would ever say Harlan has ever been safe or guarded. He is not even safe to read without a good shield of truth. Ones own. maggie hoyal

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Thursday, November 20 2008 21:7:53


I loves me some "Shatterday".

To the books, ho!


Los Angeles, CA - Thursday, November 20 2008 18:34:23

Mario Vargas Llosa
There's a humbling pat on the head... "Ya oughta read more, kid."
"Shatterday" has many such references, of course. But, hey, at least we were half-right in that you were quoting another author.

- Thursday, November 20 2008 18:18:12


Dennis J. & Semi-Writer:

Yes, it was I who brilliantly conveyed that aphorism in one of his books. But...

I was quoting Mario Vargas Llosa.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Chuck Messer <The Sun>
Is , The Center - Thursday, November 20 2008 17:48:57

Well, it took 200 years, but they finally found the remains of Copernicus:


They apparently intend to build him a proper tomb.


Los Angeles, CA - Thursday, November 20 2008 17:30:44

Don't know who said it, but there is mention of writers/demons here: http://www.lifejournal.com/index.php?src=gendocs&link=Book%20Review%3A%20Deep%20Writing&category=Resources

"... only when the time is right do you decide which demons to embrace and which to exorcise."
"The budding deep writer begins by meeting his inner demons in a safe, guarded way."

Kevin Avery <chidder@optonline.net>
Brooklyn, New York - Thursday, November 20 2008 13:50:28

More Bradbury
Ray Bradbury is also tonight's "guest programmer" on Turner Classic Movies:


He'll be introducing the 1925 version of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (1923), REBECCA, and CITIZEN KANE.

It all begins at 8 o'clock (EDT).

Phil Nichols
Birmingham, UK - Thursday, November 20 2008 13:28:53

Those Pre-Dr Who BBC Memos
Brian Siano:

those pre-Doctor Who BBC memos are quite fascinating, particularly considering what was happening in US television around the same time. The Twilight Zone would have been on air for about three years, and thoughts of The Outer Limits and Star Trek were but a few months away. Strange that BBC TV staff would be considering SF as something so new, especially since BBC radio (admittedly a whole other world, with little connection with BBC tv) had been producing SF series for some years at this point.

It is interesting to see such a serious approach to the subject. If only there were a concern to relate TV SF to literary SF today.

Dennis J.
Connecticut - Thursday, November 20 2008 12:39:10

Quote Help
Greetings folks.

I'm drawing a complete blank and am wondering if anyone can help. I'm trying to remember who said "Writers are the exorcisers of their own demons". I know that's probably not a 100% accurate quote but it's as much as I remember. I don't know if H.E. said it or no.

It's an apt statement of my present condition of late, and I'd like to know who so squarely put hammer to nail head.

Thanks for any information.

Frank Church
- Thursday, November 20 2008 9:4:1

Yes, it is on I-tunes. Should have thought of that. Thanks guys.

The mp4 was an mpeg from Quicktime, which has a crappy history, at least to me.

I-tunes has it in their player. Nice.

It was a Jello Biafra interview.



Ray Bradbury is too sweet of a guy to tell Miller to kiss his ass.

Hope Bradbury lives a long long time.

Harlan too.

Tad Dunten
Hines, Oregon - Thursday, November 20 2008 8:37:36

I forgot to mention...
iTunes, for either Windows XP/Vista, or MacOS 10.4+, is 100 percent free, and available from apple.com. Big download, but it works well.

Off to work, now. Cows gotta be fed.

Ray Carlson
Chicago, - Thursday, November 20 2008 8:24:13

Ray Bradbury is on Dennis Miller's Radio Show NOW.

Mike Lane <mflane@odu.edu>
- Thursday, November 20 2008 5:50:16


This website might help you - claims to be a free MP4 to mp3 converter. There's other software out there but prices are around $40.


Brian Phillips
McDonough, GA - Thursday, November 20 2008 4:9:56

Life Of Riley
"Life of Riley" was a great show. I've actually played Digby O'Dell (played originally by John Brown, I believe) with my old theater group several times. Brecher will be missed.

I had tried to write an episode to try to get "Digger" to Washington.

Riley: Digger, it's you!

O'Dell: It is I, indeed, Digby O'Dell, the friendly undertaker.

Riley: I haven't seen you lately.

O'Dell: I wanted to show my son how our great country works! We've just been to Washington, D.C.

Riley: That sounds fascinatin'. Whad'ja do there?

O'Dell: We sat in on a session of Congress. We saw the introduction of several motions, but most of them died on the floor. We then heard about a bill addressing land preservation, a subject dear to my heart.

Riley: Was it successful?

O'Dell: I'm happy to say, it passed. Washington is my kind of town. Cheerio, Riley! I'd best be...shoveling off.

Riley's malapropisms were great fun and William Bendix was wonderful, although the first contact I had with this show was the TV version, which at one time featured Jackie Gleason as Riley. Still, any time I hear the show, I can't wait for the morbid Digby.

Happy Hallo...Dang,
Brian Phillips

Tad Dunten
Hines, Oregon - Wednesday, November 19 2008 20:10:4


If you have just about any version of iTunes, and the MP4 files in question are neither video nor protected (from the iTunes store), you can select the file(s), go to the "Advanced" menu, and choose "Convert selection to MP3" to have iTunes do the conversions for you. If it says "AAC" instead of "MP3", go to the iTunes preferences, click the "Advanced" tab, then the "Importing" sub-tab, and choose "MP3 encoder" under the "Import using" pop-up menu. (Honest, it's easier than I just made it look.)

If you want further confu... er, information, let me know and I can email you much more information than you'll ever want. Things like this get my slight autistic tendencies bubbling over. *sigh*

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Wednesday, November 19 2008 18:36:22

Irving Brecher, RIP.


My father-in-law loved "Life of Riley", as does my husband.

Rest in peace, Digby O'Dell. You must be shoveling off now.


Brian Siano
- Wednesday, November 19 2008 17:21:22

Some nice news, for a change
This Saturday marks the forty-fifth anniversary of the premiere of _Doctor Who_. The BBC's put up several documents from the archives, detailing the creation of _Doctor Who_ in 1962 and 1963.


It begins with a four page 1962 memo addressing whether the BBC should be running an SF show. The authors made a good-faith effort to surveyr the field, with an eye towards using British SF writers such as John Wyndham and Arthur C. Clarke, but they conclude that such a project may not work at that time: too few SF writers can do TV, and too few TV writers do SF. Also, the appeal of SF's in the ideas, and it appeals mainly to technically-minded young males, so an SF show may not make for attractive drama for most viewers. Fault them for short-sightedness, but the memo's not dismissive of SF at all: it's just that they looked at the field at the time, and what the BBC could do, and decided to wait and see. But, they add, they're sitting down with Brian Aldiss to discuss things.

A few memos later, we get the prospectus for the new show. It's at http://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/doctorwho/dr6403_1.shtml?doc=6403.

Then there's the preview press release, and a report on audience reaction to the show, which was mostly very positive. "Some viewers disliked the play, either because they had a blind spot for science fiction of any kind or because they considered this a rather poor example, being altogether too far—fetched and ludicrous, particularly at the end — 'a police box with flashing beacon travelling through interstellar space — what claptrap!'"

The report concludes: "Generally speaking, however, viewers in the sample thought this a good start to a series which gave promise of being very entertaining — the children, they were sure, would love it (indeed, there is every evidence that children viewing with adults in the sample found it very much to their taste) but it was, at the same time, written imaginatively enough to appeal to adult minds and would, no doubt, prove to be quite intriguing as it progressed."

- Wednesday, November 19 2008 14:36:30

Frank's Lament
It's not magic + since you didn't specify platform....try


http://www.mp4converter.net/download.html at least to start

John Zeock
- Wednesday, November 19 2008 13:56:32

Wotta revolting development this is ...
Irving Brecher, 94

Frank Church
- Wednesday, November 19 2008 13:7:49

Hey, funky blue monkeys, does anybody know how to make mp4s into mp3s? mp4s don't work on these damn things.



Dennis C <Dcoleman9999@yahoo.com>
Glendale, CA - Wednesday, November 19 2008 12:53:36

Stooge Fans
Any LA-area Three Stooges Fans:

Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Alex Theater in Glendale holds a StoogeFest -- with pristine prints of their shorts along with other Stooge-related stuff. Here's what they've got this year:

"This year's event, PARDON MY AMNESIA, is a brand new collection of bona-fide Stooges Classics that we have somehow forgotten in our past screenings. This is a great line-up of guaranteed laffs, presented on the Alex Theatre’s Big Screen!

The titles chosen by our blue ribbon panel for 2008 are:






We are excited that this year’s bonus features include a very rarely seen 1974 INTERVIEW WITH LARRY FINE, provided to us by his family. Larry talks about his early career, the Stooges vaudeville years and how the trio developed their film personalities and wacky brand of knock-about comedy. As we have each year, we’ll also present a clip from a “lost” Stooges short or feature film."

that's Saturday the 29th, at 2pm and 8pm -- AlexFilmSociety.org

I don't work for them -- I just have been going to this for the past ten years. I even dragged my wife along and now she admits that Curley is cute.

Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk.

John Ford <fordjr1@yahoo.com>
Olympia, WA - Wednesday, November 19 2008 10:30:4

that Turkish question
So, I asked my ex (who is still one of my best friends) about our Esteemed Host's inquiry, as she speaks Turkish and has done editing in same. Her answer to "Who's the publisher?" follows.

"Theoretically published by Ithaki Yayinlar (Ithaki publishers). I am cruising their 'website' which looks like a shell for a number of publishers.
I don't know the copyright rules well, but I know translations have to be authorized because I have looked into the legality of translating some turkish and mongolian things in to english.

Last time I was there I got a copy of Philip K Dick's 'Paycheck'. It has a holographic sticker (see 2nd article below) and a statement on the front page that it is 'copyrighted' by the Turkish publisher, but I can't tell if Dick authorized it or not.


Hope this helps,

Los Angeles, CA - Wednesday, November 19 2008 10:12:35

Hello, Harlan!
"It was, indeed, I whom you let make that turn. (It is very very nice, by the way, to have one of one's ingrained courteous gestures--my "thank you & wave of gratitude--documented)... If you'd like to name yourself, and hang out, I'd very much like to meet another Polite Fellow. And again, thanks for the traffic boon. Yr. Pal, Harlan"

Sorry to have waited some two weeks before I backtracked on my message to see your courteous reply (such a lapse suggests that I am busy with a personal life and/or a career, whereas I have neither). And thank you for confirming that my sanity in this L.A. land is still somewhat intact, in that I DID see you after all. Had to do the same kind of double-take to John Schneider the other week, in fact.

I'll try to hang out here more, and not be afraid and in jaw-dropping awe of The Harlan Ellison. Well, not too much, anyway.

Steve Hatton <stevehatton@blueyonder.co.uk>
St. Helens, UK - Wednesday, November 19 2008 6:6:12

Harlan and Sue

Check out the publishers details at

The book is available in the US
Korku Öyküleri Antolojisi - Karanlýkta 33 Yazar

Another antholgy is on sale from Tulumbas turkish site
Çaðdaþ Korku Öyküleri

Hope this helps


- Wednesday, November 19 2008 5:19:0

Two cents tacked on to Jan's scholarship:

Direct page link to the book:

If ordered from tulumba.com, the book will ultimately ship from New York, but they may need to import it from Turkey if not in stock; the six weeks part comes in here (from their website):

"If a book is not available in major distributors, we search bookstores in Turkey for up to 6 weeks. If not found, we remove it from your order. Old and rare books are the most common cause for delays." (Given that the site notes the individual volumes are out of print, and not the collected version, you may be in luck with an order.)

The company's Brooklyn "location" is apparently a warehouse crouched beside the Gowanus Parkway, but there IS a phone number for them on-line:

(718) 832-6193
934 3rd Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11232

- Wednesday, November 19 2008 4:21:18

(If still in business.)

eu - Wednesday, November 19 2008 3:54:37

No contacts in Istanbul. I can get Turkish books here but the best deal for you is to get the 2004 omnibus by US mail order (the book on left - $47.99):
Note that this takes 2 to 6 weeks to ship but from NY.
The 2001 volume 3 (book on right - same PUBLISHER: İthaki Yayınları) is listed as out of print there but still in stock over here ($25 total), so I could send it in mid-december with other stuff by regular book mail (or faster but not earlier).

The publisher's website is off-line. I had to look a bit harder for the data: ITHAKI, Mühürdar Cad. Ilter Ertüzün Sk. 4/6, 34710 Kadıköy-Istanbul. Phone: (90) 216 330 93 08. "Faks" (90) 216 449 98 34 "Eposta" ithaki@ithaki.com.tr
This info is from 2004 or later, and the number is also in the publishers' directory that's on the web. Perhaps they'll send you complimentary copies to make up for their forgetfulness?

Jonathan Head
Sydney, Australia - Wednesday, November 19 2008 3:7:52

Harlan and Susan:
I just wanted to say thank you for the free gift included with my newsletters.

Thanks again for your help with ordering.

Much obliged to all three of you,

- Tuesday, November 18 2008 21:0:26


The Turkish antology you cite is totally unknown to us. We MUST obtain copies, so we can locate the publisher and make a claim for payment. Both volumes.

Have you any contact in Istanbul?

Anyone else who can translate the posting and get us the name of the publisher, will be greatly appreciated.

Susan and I were able to translate the titles of the two Ellison stories. One is "Basilisk" and the other is "She's A Young Thing and Cannot Leave Her Mother."

All help, please!

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Steven <weltshmerz@aol.com>
Los Angeles, CA - Tuesday, November 18 2008 15:4:10


I was at a Q&A screening of CHANGELING recently, and someone asked JMS about that "serial killer" reference. He sheepishly admitted that the anachronism slipped past him during his compressed writing schedule (IIRC he said it wrote it in something like 11 days -- after years of research). Eastwood shot his first draft (!), and the WGA strike prevented JMS from being on the set, so it wasn't caught then. Not sure why they couldn't have fixed it post, but there it is.

Lori Koonce <purplelynn35@gmail.com>
San Francisco, California - Tuesday, November 18 2008 13:11:53

To all of you who didn't hang me from the nearest tree for all that lousy spelling and grammar in my last post. You are all good people!

Unca Harlan: Thanks for the parable. I guess I was just upset because some of the people I was talking about are relatives, one who has known for at least a decade that I'm what I am. It's hard not to get peeved to the max about that. At least it's hard for me not to get peeved.

To All: I promise that from here on out I'll let my ire subside before typing another screed like the last one. I stand by the message, but the messenger should have been hung out to dry!


eu - Tuesday, November 18 2008 13:4:31

Harlan: Are you & Tim aware of this Turkish weird tale anthology of 2001 with two of your stories:
Third volume in a series that starts with Poe etc. A 2004 omnibus version of this is in print but very expensive (big hardcover). Just for your info.

DTS <none>
OZ - Tuesday, November 18 2008 11:48:59

The Faith of Frank...And Human Beans
FRANK: I don't think the guy who prompted your reference was speaking out against faith -- merely in documents that refer to "God". Especially since these are man-made documents, and the men who draw them up -- not to mention the men who magically appear on TV screens, who stand peacock proud in front of pulpits -- claim to interpret the will of "God" (or gawd, or god). Thing is, no group of people has actually heard the voice of "God" (or...). They've merely heard the voice of some control freak who _claims_ to have heard the voice himself (or claims to know what "God" desires -- much like the politicians who claim to know what "the American people" -- every last oneofem, damnit) actually want at any given moment in time.

Faith is good. It allows the particle to become a wave; it allows us to often achieve the "impossible" (whether it be creating a work of art or sending men to the moon). One just needs to be careful about what (or whom) they put their faith in. The compassion of woman you've known for nearly two decades...the love of a child who only wants the same in return...the big-hearted devotion of a badly maligned breed of pup which was abandoned on your doorstep...one's own ability to realize certain dreams...You betcha! (See? I can be bi-partisan). _Those_ are things well worth a person's faith.

Walk softly. Believe carefully. And carry a big stick.
(And yeah, I'm lucky duck -- if ever I forget, your words will remind me).

Brian Siano
- Tuesday, November 18 2008 11:31:16

Jim Tully
Time to hit the Penn library, then. Sounds like someone I ought to read.

Here's a nice website devoted to Tully. The owner's published an edition of Tully's novel _Ladies of the Parlor_.

Best to all.

- Tuesday, November 18 2008 10:1:29


Jim Tully. Start anywhere, but THE BRUISER or JARNEGAN or BEGGARS OF LIFE (for which I am currently writing a new and longish introduction for the forthcoming Kent State University reprint ... a much-anticipated Tully program of new editions) would be my initial suggestions. I envy you discovering Tully, even so many years after his MAJOR influences on American writing ... and on me, the snot-nosed kid who walked in his shoeprints.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Tuesday, November 18 2008 9:6:56

the most hated man in Hollywood
HARLAN, if you've a mind to, would you please tell an ignorati where to start reading Jim Tully? Please.

I think Frank confuses faith with trust.


shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Tuesday, November 18 2008 8:26:32

And now for your morning political update.

Young Jackanapes and I were discussing the WASL test (ridiculous apptitude test required for graduation in Washington state) this morning as he was getting ready for school.

Me: "Yes, there's a new superintendent of public instruction, but we don't know what's going to happen to the WASL."

YJ: "Obama will fix it."

Me: "Obama hasn't been sworn into office yet, and this isn't a federal matter, anyway. He doesn't have anything to do with the test."

YJ: "What?! He promised change! That's not fair. Impeach Obama!"

Gonna be a long four years.


Called my family in CA yesterday. They're not in the line of fires, thankfully. That leaves more warm fuzzies for the ones who are. Take all ya need, folks.


Joseph Walker <jsw47408@yahoo.com>
Bloomington, IN - Tuesday, November 18 2008 8:19:46

I suppose you can call that faith if you want to, but the thing is that I've been sitting in chairs for going on 40 years now and very, very few of them have broken underneath me. I've eaten a lot of cereal without getting a bloody mouth. Trusting that these things won't happen isn't so much faith as the voice of experience.

The voice of experience has nothing to say to me about an invisible man in the sky who created me and wants me to, for example, not be gay.

On another note entirely, I'm trying to sharpen up my chess game after too long of treating the game casually. I'll never make Kasparov sweat, but it would nice to go into a tournament and not be put in a division dominated by six-year-olds. Anyone else play? Harlan?

Frank Church
- Tuesday, November 18 2008 7:5:33

People use faith all the time. When you see a chair, you usually just sit down, not checking it, expecting that the chair will not fall apart. When you eat your cereal you don't expect shards of glass to be in the box. It is possible, but improbable, so you have faith that the cereal will not bloody your mouth.

All people have that, even you wonderful atheists.


I respect Vidal, but he has become way too negative. The republic can be saved--there are many small victories.

Small victories are what gave us so many rights.

Obama will save us. Snort.


Dorman, lucky duck.


maggie hoyal-patterson <alex5118@live.com>
Saugerties, N.Y. America - Tuesday, November 18 2008 2:28:5

Dear Susan Ellison A car melt-down has made me hold my order for a bit. Not permanate and sorry for this delay.Best,maggie Mark Spieler The U.S.A is the worst country in the world except for every other country except America! We simply have a bad habit of falling on our own blade. You do not see this so much in other world powers. Not saying we don't have faults but with age and seasoning one sees perspective. The same aplies to the next in line President. He is a man, lets hope for more good then bad. maggie

A Former Webderlander
- Monday, November 17 2008 20:20:59

DTS's Obscure Film Reference

I can even hear it in Nic Cage's voice.

Thank you, sir, for the trip down memory lane. That film is one of my favorites from the wonderful oeuvre of the brothers Coen.

"Maybe it was Utah", indeed.

Chicago, IL - Monday, November 17 2008 18:39:22

There is an awesome interview with Gore Vidal now available to read at In These Times...

Sam Wilson <midasnight@yahoo.com>
Los Angeles , CA - Monday, November 17 2008 17:56:50

CHANGELING: not only was The term "serial killer" anachronistic, but I don't believe they had cell phones in the '30s (see the scene on the farm when the detective calls for backup). And when Jolie's character starts discussing plot points from "Lost"---well, it broke my suspension of disbelief


"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — "

Never rely on a document that draws on GOD for authority. As did the pro-prop 8 supporters. And keep in mind the author had sex with his 14-year-old slave--nowadays Jefferson would have to register as a sex offender. Perspective is everything

chicago, - Monday, November 17 2008 17:18:20

memo from purgatory
available on HULU


Mike Doran <Michael.Doran@nuveen.com>
Chicago, Illinois - Monday, November 17 2008 15:11:0

Something Completely Different...
I believe I mentioned in an earlier post two tv stations here in Chicago, MEtv and MEtoo. These stations are in the retro-tv business, the way TV Land was before it went wrong. Anyway, their inventory includes the Alfred Hitchcock shows, hour and half-hour, and this past Sunday on MEtoo (ch48) was run MEMO FROM PURGATORY by Our Host. Universal TV does a pretty good job with the upkeep of their vintage product, and this 44-year old film looked sharp. When watching an episode from a past time, I make an effort to view as best I can with the eyes of that time, in this case 1964. I'm embarrassed to admit, however, that my brain snagged on a silly irrelevancy - James Caan's hair. I know my showbiz history well enough to remember that tightly curly hair was not approved for leading men in those days, but the 'stylist' who made Caan's hair look like a bad toupee did the production no favor; given that the point of the play was that Jay Shaw was supposed to be passing as a member of the gang, the hair made Caan look quite a bit older than he was at the time. That's just me being dumb; the play was still effectively chilling, even 44 years on. Anyway, I just thought I'd pass this on, as a diversion from the more pressing subjects of the day.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Monday, November 17 2008 15:7:30

Boo to all the critics who thought that the movie should have ended with (EVENT AN HOUR FROM END); this is a docudrama and (SUBSEQUENT EVENTS) are very much a part of the story. It's not Eastwood's best movie, but it's a significant achievement, and JMS deserves kudos for his screenplay.

One point. One error I spotted: in a key scene, somebody uses the phrase "serial killer" in passing. Uh uh. Wrong. Although the existence of pattern killers was known at the time -- thirty years after Jack the Ripper -- and was even an element of pop fiction by then (Hitchcock had made THE LODGER and Fritz Lang was about to make M), the specific phrase "serial killer" didn't enter the language until fifty years later. To put that in perspective, it came into being sometime after the Boston
Strangler and the Zodiac Killer, but before the Son of Sam, in the 1970s. I am not even sure this qualifies as an error, as it may just be for convenience's sake that an offhand line uses a phrase familiar to the audience the story is being told to.

Rod Williams
Melbourne, United States of Australia - Monday, November 17 2008 14:37:47

From Melbourne...


Just a small correction to your recent post, sir. Locals of Melbourne are Melburnian, not Melbournian.

Yes, the spelling of this demonym is counter-intuitive. It probably harks back to the use of "Melburn" as a place name and/or surname during olden times in far away lands. I dare say that "Melbournian" is also acceptable, but you may find that the locals are pedantic (in a good way) on this point.

P.S. I'm glad your family is enjoying the city.

Rod W.

Ryan Leasher
Los Angeles, CA - Monday, November 17 2008 14:5:43

"Ryan, I have a very clear picture of the fire, but at the same time let's not get too pc."

Ummmm...what? Politically correct? I have no idea what you're trying to say.


- Monday, November 17 2008 13:48:0

Wait a minute friends. I realize Frank's middle name is "go off the deep end" but he's merely expressing a sentiment I've heard expressed by others in the last few days.

Obama looks pretty good at this point before he has had a chance to actually do anything but HE AIN"T SENT BY GOD!

He is a human fucking being. He cannot give meaning to a worthless empty life. He cannot make up for all our disappointments and frustrations.

In order to govern in this here country he will eventually have to make compromises and deals. That's the way it works folks. That's the way things get done.

God was on Bush's side remember and look where that got us. Our problems are human made and only hard work and imagination and brains will get us out of the mess we're in.

Nobody is coming to "save" us, to free us from the hard work of thinking and acting responsibly.

Obama looks like a smart self-aware dude. I'll be with him as long as he is trying to do what he thinks is right. But he works for us and nobody gets points for just showing up.

Phil Nichols
Birmingham, UK - Monday, November 17 2008 13:44:31

Where's George
Harlan and other California residents, have you seen George Takei lately? Wondering where he might be?

On peak time British telly!

George is in the Australian jungle* as one of the celebrities** in the so-bad-it's-almost-worth watching I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

I hope they're paying him well...

*Not a real jungle

** With the exception of George and possibly Esther Rantzen, not real celebrities

Rick Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Monday, November 17 2008 10:47:42

"Objects in mirror..."

I am Visitor #7399 to the Barber Gallery. Scary shots, Steve. Thanks for these.

Which God is behind Obama? Pleasepleasepleaseplease tell me it's not Kali, or that elephantine apparition, or that Egyptian deity with the boobies, nor drizzly dripping drooling Shoggoth, and not Surgat (last seen in Harlan Ellison's "Grail"; appropriate and horrifying in this context since Mr. Obama seems to have breached some previously padlocked portals) ....YIKES!


Reading: THE INFINITE JEST David Foster Wallace
Listening: JAMES BROWN:GOLD "Maceo!"
Drinking: LAPSANG SOUCHONG the timely tea that smells like parts of Los Angeles burning

Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Monday, November 17 2008 10:44:37


Thought you would find this interview with Prince enlightening. Lori, bubbela, you might want to skip it, 'cause it will only make you mad:


Everyone in CA stay safe,


Ben Winfield
- Monday, November 17 2008 10:11:13

"I hate to say this but I do believe that God had something to do with Obama getting elected. The guy just had too many things in his way that would have stalled his win."

Somebody should make that into a t-shirt slogan: GOD'S BACK, ASSHOLES.

Frank Church
- Monday, November 17 2008 8:53:35

Ryan, I have a very clear picture of the fire, but at the same time let's not get too pc.

Stay safe my peeps.


I hate to say this but I do believe that God had something to do with Obama getting elected. The guy just had too many things in his way that would have stalled his win. It may make me sound like Palin, but at least our side is sane.

God is sanity. Hides behind Cindy.



Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Monday, November 17 2008 8:52:42


The fire most threatening to our friends and family, the Freeway Complex Fire, is roughly 40% controlled. Our niece and her family, who live in Chino Hills and are among the 26000 people displaced in that area, are safely evacuated to her mother's house here in Long Beach, and we await word as to whether their house is out of danger -- roughly 3500 homes are still in the path of this thing.

In Diamond Bar, on the other side of the hills from my niece, are our friends NeoCon Jim and his family. As of late last night they were holding fast and in no immediate danger, though the air outside was described as "choking".

Today's air is substantially cleaner west of the blazes. The winds have died down, giving the firefighters some time to get ahead of these things. Keep your fingers crossed and for those of you open to prayer it's appreciated on behalf of those being impacted.

(And Frankie: *I* knew you didn't mean it.)


Charles, Mark and "Civics" - My point regarding the Declaration, also echoed by Mark, is that it carefully laid out the logic and argument to legitimize independence. Therefore the Constitution's power is enacted by the war and the Declaration. And while I am in the minority, and have no scholarly claim (I Am Not a Constitutional Lawyer but Would Happily Argue with One), my position is that if in the future circumstances mimicked those prior to the Declaration -- the Federal government contravening laws established by the Constitution -- it would be the terms of the DoI which would give legitimacy to those who would oppose or secede from the Republic.

DTS - Typos. Yes. I felt the same way after reviewing my post from yesterday. I should not post pre-caffeine in my case.

Speaking of NeoCon friend Jim, he and his wife came to dinner Saturday night. Not two minutes after walking in the door he (jokingly) said "no politics tonight, I don't want to hear you gloat".

Ten minutes into dinner, he brought up Prop 8.

No details, but lets just say it got REALLY heated, to the point his wife shut down and just began looking around the room with an angry expression on her face -- it came soon after I suggested that scaring people by saying Mr Boogedy would attack their children in school was obscene.

As Cris said, much later that night: "I really don't know why we're such good friends. Makes no sense whatsoever..."

And just to atone for palling around with NeoCons, last evening we went to a birthday party for a terrific keyboard player who just happens to be a lesbian (her partner and I are the designated "roadies"). Almost all the guests were musicians and a very cool jam session erupted.

Politics never even entered the conversation.

Welcome to Monday. Pics of the smoke are still on my website.

mark spieller
san mateo, california, - Monday, November 17 2008 5:35:24

Historical bruh haha
If we are going to choose between the two documents lets look at the background. The Declatration was done at the start of the Revolution to rationalize our decision to overthrough, and declare war on a major european power. It summed up our complaints, not to US, most americans knew them, but to the other european powers who we hoped would support us in our war against britian. It still stirs the soul and holds a special place because of Jefferson language and imagery.

Now, we jump ahead 13 and the rather pedantic Rules of Confederation that NO american had EVER studied in ANY American History course. Washington becomes President AFTER 13 of Conferderation, after we realize that we needed something better. That is when the Consitution comes into being. Once again better writing, better ideals, and setting down in english the plain matter of what we are as a country as people is set before us. The Declaration establishes the reason for us as people to exsist. The Consitution show WHY we are special, why WE try to improve upon who we are, and WHY we hold this special place amongst all countries in the world. In many ways the Consitution, Declares not only our Indendence but our Rights to that indendence.

I shall now wait for the storm of free speech we all celebrate here....guarenteed by the consitution.

allemagne - Monday, November 17 2008 4:39:18

This isn't new but did someone mention last month's Ellison's Watching review by John E. Mitchell? http://lastvisibledog.org/?p=802

"Have you been putting off adding our Harlan Ellison series to your CD collection? Perhaps you're considering giving it as a holiday gift? Well, Deep Shag is taking $5 off the total price of the 3CD set for the rest of 2008. Be ready for Volume Four - coming Spring 2009." www.deepshag.com

Ryan Leasher
Los Angeles, CA - Monday, November 17 2008 0:5:56

For Frank and anyone else that doesn't have a clear understanding of the magnitude of these fires, consider this...

I live in the valley not far from our esteemed host. I'm out of town, though, in Las Vegas. Tonight the smoke and ash reached us here.

We're 250 miles away but the fires are large enough that we're feeling the effects in Vegas.

Ryan Leasher

DTS <none>
OZ - Sunday, November 16 2008 22:19:57

WHOA -- just back from burnin my biscuits (and a bit of the chicken) ala Yosemite Sam, and I noticed alla the typos. Remind me NOT to post just after drinking my second bottle of Pepsi Max (sorry).

DTS <none>
OZ - Sunday, November 16 2008 21:24:46

The ever present past...and the post by Frank
HARLAN: Yeah, I know, I know. Guess I've still got enough childlike belief in the impossible to wonder why -- if I, an average thinker at best, can overcome my past -- other folks can't surmont the mountains for wrong-headed teachings, at the hands of parents, teachers, preachers or peers (as I child, I learned "songs" like the one about Daniel Boone and a bear and "running like a nigger through the woods"; and as a teenager, I heard so many friends -- and a few relatives --refer to Mexican Americans as taco benders or greasers or wetbacks, it's a wonder I never felt the call of racist indoctrination -- especially when I consider that my junior highschool years, where whites were nearly a minority, were filled with being stalked and picked on by Tex-mex kids and black dudes).

FRANK: Next time you want to harangue someone for always having beautiful weather, pick on us Melbournians. The coldest it gets here in "Winter" during the daytime is maybe somewhere in the 30s. And while it does hit in the high nineties -- with an ocassional 100+ day or two now and then during the Summer -- that only lasts for three or four days at a time during Jan and Feb. After living through yearly ice storms in Kansas City, and (what?) two months (or more) of 100 degree (plus) weather during the summers (which me and my daughter _didn't_ escape on a driving trip to the East coast a couple of years ago), I've decided that Melbourne is Heaven...(or mabye Utah -- five bucks to the one who can figure out _that_ film reference without doing weire lexus nexus searches on the internet).

All best wishes to everyone -- Harlan, Susan, KOS, Josh Olson, EVERYone -- in the L.A./California are during this season of wildfires.

-Dorman (AKA, DTS)

maggie hoyal-patterson <alex5118@live.com>
Saugerties, N.Y. U.S.A. - Sunday, November 16 2008 21:8:31

Friends with their feet to the fire
With full understanding the heat this may get for this but I have friends in the fire zone that have not checked in yet, so I'm going to raise a prayer for all those who are. Yea, I read Harlan and I pray. The right hand doesn't always know what the left hand is doing. maggie out to Moira and R.V.

Chuck Messer
- Sunday, November 16 2008 18:48:43

Smoke in the air.

Oh, I know that one. During the drought of 2002 here in Colorado, we had dust storms during the winter. Dust bowls in dried-up resevoirs. During the summer there were wild fires all over the state. In the Denver metro area, the air was thick with smoke. No exaggeration. I had a part-time retail job and one Sunday we looked out the window and could barely see anything. It was like a thick fog out there. We went outside and the smoke was so thick the sun was dark orange, almost red.

My thoughts go out to those unhoused by the California wild fires. May the Santa Annas finally settle down so the firefighters can put these fires out.


- Sunday, November 16 2008 17:45:38

No joke about these damn fires!

I'm on the ocean, and even way over here the air quality is thermal and stifling.

It's been a bizarrely bad season for fires here, the last 2 months.

Civics 101
- Sunday, November 16 2008 17:36:34

I didn't expect my offhand correction to generate so much discussion.

Thanks to Rick Keeney for mentioning Lori's other (mechanical) errors; I didn't want that to interfere with my previous point.

Steve Barber: I don't know how one document would "trump" another (perhaps that is for a more advanced course (wink)) -- the intention of each is quite different. The Declaration is a "Mission Statement", if you will, and the ConstituTion more of an "Owner's Manual". (Also, the war that took place between the two is largely what gives the Constitution its authority, imo.)

Thanks to CEP for getting so specific without being overwhelming.

Now I will return to lurk mode, where I am more comfortable.

CEP <ceplaw@gmail.com>
Chambanana, IL - Sunday, November 16 2008 13:45:1

I don't play a constitutional lawyer on TV...
... but the US Constitution itself answers the "primacy" question. Sort of.

Article V holds that the US Constitution itself is the supreme law of the land, followed by duly ratified treaties, followed by federal law, followed by state law. Quick and easy, right?

Not so fast. The Constitution has been amended a few times; the most relevant one here is Amendment IX, which reserves rights not otherwise allocated in the Constitution (or, under Amendment XIV, by the federal government when properly abrogating state sovereignty allowed by Amendment XI) to the states or to the people. So, then, what are those rights not otherwise allocated? That's where the Declaration of Independence, and the Federalist (and, to a lesser extent, Anti-Federalist) Papers, and the Magna Carta, and Blackstone's Commentaries, and all of those other source documents come in. Of course, they're not entirely consistent with each other (or even internally consistent, particularly Blackstone); they're founded in the preindustrial world in which only landowning white men had a vote, and well over 80% of the population was barely above subsistence; and so on. Thus, they are at best persuasive authority for general propositions; they are not law, and they do not either establish or deny rights. Where they are excruciatingly clear and a matter falls directly within the scope of Amendment IX without any other allocation of rights, they may well provide compelling persuasion...

Except where a treaty provides otherwise. The real question on gay marriage is twofold: Has the UN Declaration of Human Rights been treated as a properly ratified treaty, and if so, does it answer the question? It's a close call on both questions, but I (and some others who pay attention to context, including more than a few law professors) say "yes" to both questions and believe that makes DOMA, and DOMA-like statutes and STATE law, that bars marriage on any religious basis improper. Given that nobody has successfully advanced a nonreligious basis for opposing gay marriage by law as of yet, I don't think it's lawful, under either the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution or under the US treatment of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. However, I don't think relying on the Declaration of Independence really gets us anywhere.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Sunday-afternoon televised mayhem.

Frank Church
- Sunday, November 16 2008 13:44:33

Harlan, your mild chiding is welcomed. I typed fast, trying to be funny. I am sorry if I offended. My childhood home, Running Springs CA was almost burned down with the last blast of wildfire hell. I feel that.

Love you for understanding.

My doghouse is well furnished. Peace to my CA peeps.

- Sunday, November 16 2008 13:12:58

The fires -- seven of them at the moment -- covering 23 miles along the Valley -- but fifteen or twenty miles distant from the mountain atop which we sit -- is "nowhere near us." But, shame on you, Frank! 88 degrees may seem cheery with snow in your offing, but that 88 degrees comes heavily freighted with 90 mph Santa Ana winds that are picking up millions of flaming embers in a hellfire vortex, and throwing them two to three miles in every direction. And when one lands, on a roof, in some chapparal, in an open dumpster full of paper, another human being loses his home, his cherished childhood photos, his family pet, his EVERYTHING in a time of such straitened economic circumstances that, well, even as lighthearted and not meant seriously as your huff may have been, it falls with a thud here in the flaming gut of massive awfulness.

Not mad at you; just suggesting that at the moment, with more than 1200 families on the street, in a landscape that looks very much like Dresden aftere the fire-bombing, well, kiddo...

Not so much.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

- Sunday, November 16 2008 12:56:38


Vomitous as it is, it IS, nonetheless, an aspect of the hideously flawed Universal Human Condition. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.


- Sunday, November 16 2008 12:54:18

JAMES MORAN: It has some physical weight to it, so I cannot guess how long the US/UK postal apparat will take to get it to Jodie, but a small amicus oblation is on its way pondwise tomorrow. Say nothing. Reveal nothing. Let not even bamboo shards 'neath the fingernails prise the knowledge from you.

Respectfully, Ashenden

- Sunday, November 16 2008 12:42:29


Sometime during the last, oh I dunno, maybe six years, in some minor public venue whereat hoi polloi had massed, I was mildly confronted by an otherwise sane individual--at least I PRESUME he was otherwise sane--who had a maggot-sandwich caught in his craw anent homosexuality, same-sex marriage, et al. He wasn't a shrieking liferoach Republican lurched-rightward religious boob (at least, again, as far as I could read him, he being a total stranger). He was just this guy.

And he faced off on me, asking me if I wasn't down on all this "gay stuff," and because he wasn't snarly or nutso in his manner, I let him off easy as follows:

"Well," I said calmly, "by actual statistical review, 31.6% of all the characters in the last ten years' worth of my stories have been gay or lesbian."

He was nonplussed, apparently being a close reader of my work, and he responded, "But...but how were we to know that?"

To which I answered, yanking the water-closet chain, "You weren't. The sexual orientation of those characters didn't matter in the context of the story being told. A full 48.9% of them were Black, some were of Amerindian extraction, a few were Asian-American, a few were just Asian, and uh er if I recall correctly, 2.8% had had sexual relations with both flora AND fauna."

He walked away from me. Climbed up into his High Dudgeon, stepped on the gas, and never came near me the rest of that soiree. Now isn't that odd.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Frank Church
- Sunday, November 16 2008 11:46:35

KOS lives around the fire area. Worried about my right wing buddy.


Cindy, owls live to be free--true anarchists of the forest primevil.


88 degrees in LA. I do not feel sorry about you Angelinos.

Possible snow here. Grrr.


Kissinger approves of Hillary as Secretary of Snakes. Be afraid.

You guys have to watch the Dershowitz, Chomksy debate. Near the end it really gets funny. Dirtbag cannot rattle Chomsky.

Alan the liar needs a padded cell.

Andrew Laubacher
Buffalo, NY - Sunday, November 16 2008 11:32:1

Challenging Prop 8
I can't take credit for the following. I seem to remember reading this suggestion elsewhere (just yesterday), but I cannot recall just where.

It seems to me that California's Proposition 8 can be challenged (and, hopefully, defeated) on Contitutional grounds. There are churches in the U.S. that allow gay marriage. A gay couple who want to marry within one of these churches within California should be able to argue that their rights under the U.S. Contitution are being abridged by Prop 8 because their freedom of religion is being curtailed.

Wouldn't that be delicious irony?

Steve B
- Sunday, November 16 2008 11:15:9


Oops, this might help.

www.barbergallery.net -- look for the California Smoke gallery towards the bottom of the menu.

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Sunday, November 16 2008 11:13:59

Fire, fire everywhere

(Fortunately, at the moment, nowhere near The Aztec Temple.)

I have uploaded a gallery of pictures of how bad the smoke is throughout the LA basin. We live twenty miles from the nearest fire, but you can see just how bad it is even here.

Cris' niece and family are being evacuated from Chino Hills and the authorities have lit backfires in an attempt to saves their neighborhood.

Other friends of ours live in Diamond Bar and are nervously watching the hills around them.

Looking out the window the winds seem to have shifted in the last few minutes. I can see brighter sunshine on the south side of the house.

But the news is still very ugly on Channel 7, and we're working the phones with relatives and friends who are in the red zones.


JASON - I'm not a Constitutional lawyer, but one could argue that the document that effectively severed the ties with the colonial power in charge (and sets out the rationale for that severance) is the fundamental source of the Constitution's authority and must therefore -- as noted -- trump even the Constitution on freddom's enjoyed by the people. The Constitution limits and frames the government, the Declaration of Independence frames the country.

Barney Dannelke <dannelke@gmail.com>
Allentown, PA. - Sunday, November 16 2008 9:36:55

*** Keith *** We're not calling that end of Somalia "civilization", are we? I'm just not that much of a Big Tent individual if that sort of behavior still allows you admission into the club of humanity.

*** Anyone *** Can anyone assure me, even briefly that all these fires I'm seeing are not near our patron's home and stash of highly flammable kewl stuff? Is there some graphic on the net that doesn't involve me using Google Earth, which my old/slow PC tends to choke on? Much appreciated.

- Barney

Keith Cramer <remarck@hotmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Sunday, November 16 2008 7:23:6

the world
As the Western world progresses beyond the point where people can practice whatever religion they want, and whatever sexuality they want, let us not forget the rest of world, which can be brutal.

In the most recent print edition of the Week, it is reported that a United Nations investigation has confirmed this: In Somalia, a 13 year old girl who was visiting her grandmother was raped by 3 men. She went to the leaders of the Islamic rebel movement "governing" that patch of blighted earth, and reported it to the Islamic Sharia Court. She was convicted of adultery and sentenced to death. She was dragged to a soccer stadium, buried in the earth up to her neck, and stoned for 10 minutes by 50 executioners until she was dead, in front of a reported crowd of 1000.

Just to show that humanity exists even in that part of the world, it was reported also that rebels had to shoot several people who tried to intervene on the girl's behalf, including an 8 year old boy.

This has been a reality check for me. We elect Obama to the most powerful position in our country, and in Somalia a 13 year old girl is stoned to death for being raped and reporting it to the authorities. And the rapists were not charged. The gulf separating the two ends of civilization seems to get bigger and bigger.

Jason Michelitch <jasonmichelitch@gmail.com>
Arlington, VA - Sunday, November 16 2008 6:48:7

Declaration v Constitution 10 rounds FIGHT!

"Necessarily trump"? Really?

I would certainly be amongst those that would argue that the Declaration ought to inform a close reading of the Constitution, but I think that the Federalist papers ought to as well, and a bunch of other primary documents...

..."necessarily trump"...gee, I dunno. You've given me some legal philosophy to chew on.

mark spieller
san mateo, california, - Sunday, November 16 2008 0:19:37

Title Mash Ups
The mash up of MOBY DICK & THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER..... kindled a memory of a film school contest: taking two movies that share a single word and combine them into the marquee title of a new movie. "I am (curious) Yellow Submarine" was one of the better examples. After a week of Wilder/Hitchcock/Wellesian wordsmithing this might prove to be a amusing antidote for all here at the pavillion.

By the way, one of Josh's guilty pleasures 'THE APPLE' is out on DVD. If you want to be awe struck check out the trailer and Josh's tribute to it over at TRAILERS FROM HELL. On another level entirely, the DVD of A BOY AND HIS DOG is out. I have not picked up a copy yet so I cannot say what kind of extras it has or the quality of the transfer. Has anyone seen it yet?

Jaws <ceplaw@gmail.com>
Chambanana, IL - Saturday, November 15 2008 22:24:20

On Another Antipiracy Front...
Almost six years to the day since I objected on Harlan's behalf (the notice was sent on 08 November 2002) to unauthorized electronic versions of his material appearing in an electronic database, we got notice that he's going to get paid for the claim.

Next month.

This is thanks to the viscissitudes of bankruptcy proceedings. Those of you with long memories may remember Northern Lights, and its parent divine, Inc. Those of you who know librarians may remember that divine was at the center of a bunch of libraries having gaps in periodical subscriptions when the new ownership of a widely used consolidation service took the libraries' money in 2001 and 2002... and neglected to send it along to the publishers.

In any event, it's not a lot of money... but it's another example of why authors MUST have their records in order; without records as organized as are our Gracious Benefactor's, we would not have been able to make a live claim prior to the bankruptcy, nor pursue it in through the bankruptcy. Final payment will be 43% of the face value of the claim; that beats a sharp stick in the eye.

Los Angeles, - Saturday, November 15 2008 20:6:20

The fires won't make it to Harlan's neighborhood, but the air is hot, and filled with windblown ash and smoke all through the greater LA area. Typical November (counterintuitive, but true).

Alan Coil
- Saturday, November 15 2008 18:15:54

Lori Koonce--no need to apologize, in my book. Several other people have broken the one-post-a-day on occasion...it happens.


Steve Barber--I'm willing to trade you some warm for some wet. 2 straight days of all-day rain has made the ground squish when I tread upon it. Snow mixed with rain today to make a miserable day. Supposed to go down to 25 in the next 2-3 days. Brrr.


It's not nice to hate, but I hate intolerance.

Rick Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Saturday, November 15 2008 17:9:56

HARLAN: Hope I'm not the first to check up on you with regard to the fires in nearby Sylmar. All clear? All our best from the Great White North.

LORI: Some Christians have not cornered the market on intolerance. Some other religious types don't like my GBLT friends too.

Your CIVICS 101 prof. would read your argument and go crossy-eyed and headachy and demand a rewrite based on spelling and grammatical errors alone. That for starters. (Don't think I know how to makes the grammar misteaks? Just axe me.)

Food for naught,

Listening: Allman Broshers Band-"Every Hungry Woman"
Drinking: Avalon Cab Sauv "Vintage 2005" bleah, switching to Laphroaig

what? you never heard of the Allman Broshers?

Lori Koonce <purplelynn35@gmail.com>
SF, CA - Saturday, November 15 2008 14:7:8

I know I said I'd lurk....
But, if the only thing Civics 101 can blast me on is my mistake about the document I was quoting, then I did well.

The fact of the matter is that my rights as a Bisexual woman are totally destroyed if Prop 8 gets to stand. Let's not even get into the California Constitution that states that things of this nature have to be brought to both branches of the state legislature, and both have to pass it with at 2/3rd's majority....

Rick, I'll take whatever punishment this double post deserves, but I really feel VERY strongly about this. I don't post here often enough for it to really be a bother IMHO though.


Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Saturday, November 15 2008 13:39:10

It is November. The temperature outside is roughly 90 degrees four miles from the Pacific Ocean. The humidity hovers at around 7%. We've just closed all the windows and turned on the fans inside the house.

There is an eerie orange glow to the sky, and an acrid, smoky taste to the air. It's 1:30-ish in the afternoon, yet the amount of light seeping in the windows would lead to you to conclude it's somewhere to the dark side of 5. This morning the skies were crystal clear, bright blue and tinged with a bit of fog.

No more. Los Angeles burns, and we can feel the heat even down here in Long Beach.

Civics 101 is correct. Lori's quote is from the US Declaration of Independence -- a document that I maintain must necessarily trump the Constitution in defining personal freedoms.

Titles cannot be copyrighted.


(I'm still on the first page, trying to figure out how to properly punctuate the double colons...)

James Moran
- Saturday, November 15 2008 13:35:4

Pip pip guvnor! What larks, eh? Yes, indeed she does. Will keep it under my hat, in fact I have printed this page out, so I can eat it, for total secrecy.

Toodle pip from Blighty,

James Moran

DTS <none>
OZ - Saturday, November 15 2008 13:13:7

This is why
ALL: This is why I so often have negative things to say about my fellow countrymen. Read this news article from the associated press, written by Jesse Washington. In a nutshell (no pun intended), it explains why I'm so cynical about Americans these days. Yeah, stuff like this can happen in any country. But here in the 21st century, with all of the information, all of the books, all of the lessons of history at our fingertips, there's no _good_ reason for it to happen so often in America. The mostly emptyheaded obeisance of followers of religions thousands of years old or the hateful ignorance of racism and bigotry should've long been relegated to the corner of our anxiety closets, but most of us cling to such willful ignorance like mud-caked security blankets.
Shit-filled pizza boxes --yeech! -- and what an apt symbol for the sorry state of intellectualism in our country these days.



Civics 101
- Saturday, November 15 2008 13:4:11

Actually, Lori
The Constituion makes no mention of any of those things. Thank you for playing.

(And thank you for getting out to protest, too.)

Lori Koonce <purplelynn35@gmail.com>
San Francisco, California - Saturday, November 15 2008 11:52:1

Notes from the front
For the reccord:

I've been a Californiana for 40.5 of my 41 years. I am also a bisexual.

With that said, I can now again be a proud Californaian. I just spent an hour outside city hall letting the rest of the state know just how I feel about Prop 8.

For those of you who may have voted for that vile piece of legslation on religious grounds I have only one question: If Jesus truly meant what he said when he said "Do unto Others as you would have done unto you," does this mean I can invaladate your relationships, marriages and other commitments you've made to your oposite sex partners?

To those of you who just voted yes because it seemed the right thing to do a question. Does the state have the right to discrimnate You may think that the majority has spoken and that I have to go a long with it. Must I remind you that at one point in time interratial marriage was the majority opinion, and looked what happened there.

"Life, Liberty and the persuit of happiness." That's in our National constitution as a right of all citizens. It dosen't discrimintate, and we all "know" that there were gays and sexual minorities during that time as well.

(stepping off of soapbox and going back to lurk awhile in the shadows)


shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Saturday, November 15 2008 10:32:55

CINDY wrote: "Such a pain went through my heart! It felt like someone had kidnapped them. Time did it.. it stole them."

I'm not listening to you. La-la-la-la-la-la...

Not listening...

My boys are going to stay young forever. La-la-la-la-la-la...


For a wonderful bit of whimsy, I direct you to the site below for a short (3:15) zombie/rememberance film by Teller of Penn & Teller fame. Work appropriate, no gore, and a right spiff viewing.


- Saturday, November 15 2008 10:15:42


Keep this to yourself. That is to say, don't let Jodie know I'm asking this: apart from her singing self, does she personally enjoy LISTENING to opera? A simple yes or no will suffice. All of this, as we in MI.5 put it, "on the down low, guv'nor."

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Michael Rapoport
- Saturday, November 15 2008 6:39:31

Mr. Graston: I add my compliments to everyone else's. Kudos to you, sir, for doing the right thing and taking responsibility.

On "Blood's a Rover": It's also the title of a story or book by Chad Oliver, and all references appear to go back to a line from a poem by A.E. Housman: "Clay lies still, but blood's a rover."

TEXAS - Friday, November 14 2008 23:16:43

You are very kind, as always. I imagine you have snow by now in Colorado. It's supposed to be cold here tomorrow night.
Stay warm, dear friend.
With affection,

I am proud of you for doing the right thing and for the speed with which you handled it.
Good guy.

I know you love owls too, dear. My 15 year old raised two more orphans over the spring and summer. He called them Hootie and Hedwig-- these were Great Horned Owls, unlike their predecessor
"Claws" who was a Barn Owl. Anyway, they were far less inclined to stay close to home. They did for a few months after they learned to fly. I could whistle them down from the trees or the top of the house in the evening and feed them chicken. One evening they flew away and never returned. Ah well-- I told Briggs that is the way it's supposed to be, sort of like raising children. I wish we could keep them like we do puppies that grow into dogs. But their pinfeathers molt and they shake their new real feathers and fly away. For each of my babies that grew up and flew I mourned. My husband would say, " I don't know what your cryin' for-- they'll be back-- and they'll bring more with 'em." He was so right. But still, I wish I could keep them. My mother brought me an old picture that I hadn't seen in twenty years--of my three oldest children with Santa Claus. Such a pain went through my heart! It felt like someone had kidnapped them. Time did it.. it stole them. I miss my four grown babies still. Thank God I have two left in the nest.

Your buddy,

p.s. Sorry I drifted so far afield from your sweet simple owl statement.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Friday, November 14 2008 21:42:35

Blood's A Rover

That would be James (The Black Dahlia, L.A. Confidential) Ellroy's forthcoming novel.

Dan Hillstrom <danm56560@aol.com>
Fargo, North Dakota - Friday, November 14 2008 20:28:41

Blood's A Rover
Many years ago Mr. Ellison was going to release a book that was a sequel to A BOY AND HIS DOG. When I saw the latest issue of Playboy, I thought he had, but someone has written something called Bloods A Rover.

Tad Dunten
Hines, Oregon - Friday, November 14 2008 20:21:45

My two cents to Brian
Kudos to you, sir, for doing the right thing and removing the content that caused such trouble. In aid of your understanding, I offer this advice:

Become a writer. If you have not yet become a published author, set that as a goal, and you will understand most thoroughly the issues at hand. You seem to have a firm grasp of the writer's tools; now become their master, and give back to the community that gave you the desire to read in the first place.

And if you can't become the next Harlan... well, we're used to that. Don't let it keep you from trying.

Michael Mayhew
- Friday, November 14 2008 15:43:23

Totally Off All Topics and Threads

So, last weekend my good wife and I went to Ventura for a couple days R&R.

While we there, we rented some bikes and went riding along the very beautiful beach path that they have. And after a couple hours, we stopped at one of those beachside public restrooms. And while I was using this facility, I noticed that some person -- actually I think a few persons -- had scratched their names, graffiti style, into the toilet seat.

And so my question to you - to the world - is this: what unholy combination of desperation for attention, low self-esteem and outright stupidity would lead a person to incise their name into a toilet seat in a beach front public restroom?!

Leaving aside the dank, acrid pong that always wafts through those places, that makes it an act of real need to use one even for it's intended purpose, leaving aside the makes-me-wanna-flap-my-hands germy yuckiness that would be involved in handling said toilet seat sufficient to carve your name into it, what gets me, what I can't let go of, is that the result of this nauseating act of taggery is that, for weeks or even years to come, people will be, quite literally, crapping on your name! What could possibly be the motivation?

And thus my new term for anyone committing a profoundly self-destructive act in a pointless quest for notoriety: "toilet-seat carver."


Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Friday, November 14 2008 14:32:24

Mike Wallace
That's a famous interview. Mike Wallace is a little perturbed that Serling is doing a fantasy series, and asks him whether that means he's turned his back on ever again doing anything "serious."

Brian Siano
- Friday, November 14 2008 13:18:33

Some serious edification here, people.
About fifty years ago, Mike Wallace hosted one of the best interview shows on television. He donated the kinescopes and other materials to the University of Texas, which has placed many of them online for viewing.


The first interviewee is Gloria Swanson, coincidentally enough. Others include Philip Wylie, "Commando" kelly, Steve Allen, Bennett Cerf, Fred Otash (fans of James Ellroy will remember him) Frank Lloyd Wright, Orval Faubus (who deserves the posterity he got), Kirk Douglas, Jean Seberg (God, she was beautiful), Walter Reuther, Peter Ustinov, Anthony Perkins, Abba Eban, Salvador Dali, William Douglas, Adlai Stevenson, Aldous Huxley, Henry kisinger (in 1958, predating even _Dr. Strangelove_)...

...and someone else put his interview with the first man to win three Emmys for writing, Rod Serling, on YouTube. While he and Wallace smoke up a storm, Serling talks about his TV plays, censorship, television, and this new TV series he's working on called _The Twilight Zone_.


- Friday, November 14 2008 11:12:34


Would that all internet foragers were as prepared to grasp the potentially-hurtful aspects of their jiggery-pokery as Mr. Graston. Would that they were one-twentieth as chagrined and prepared to clean up the mess.

Just a word to anyone out there -- this is not intended for Mr. Graston, but merely a general gardyloo -- a word about the flaws in asserting "I'll never be caught," "They'll never trace me, I'm too clever," "I've constructed a trail without a trail."

It took us less than twenty hours between Jerry Pournelle's heads-up phone call night before last, and my actually calling redneckghettotech.com's creator, and speaking to him. Twenty hours, and the trail was devious.

The Words to the Wise, thus, are this: dick with me and my livelihood, and we will dance.

Mr. Graston has graciously taken himself out of the line of fire, but I must, of needs, thank a few of the border guards and friends who carried the water on this one: Jerry Pournelle, Mike Rapoport, Rick Wyatt, John Oakey, Richard Curtis, Charlie Petit, Steve Barber, Lars-Mikel Andersson and Jan EU and Greg H. Several others have asked that their names be kept off the public internetairwaves, but a nod to them sotto voce.

Another good job, well done. The tally is now somewhere substantively north of 225 in just a few years. Wearying, but necessary. It's a shame the SFWA NetPiracyCommittee's left hand doesn't seem to know--even after all this time and the AOL lawsuit that has made casebook law--that a strong right hand even exists. I wince at how they flounder, but sustaining the anomie is a more preferable choice than being dragged into the whirlpool of their confusions.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

- Friday, November 14 2008 10:49:58

There are certain moments that cause a tingle to go up the spine where the only comment can be "Wow!" This is such a moment.




Good old Hubble keeps on giving. Amazing!

Steve B <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Friday, November 14 2008 10:34:3


(Apologies, all, for the secon...er, third post, but I have to say:)

BRIAN - That was, bar none, the most honorable and honest mea culpa I've read in a long time. Very well done, sir.

Please hang around, you may like the company here.

Frank Church
- Friday, November 14 2008 10:6:10

He may be this guy on YouTube:


This 19 year old kid might just be using the same name, so I cannot be sure. But it might be a lead. His videos showing explosions are somewhat creepy.


Computer hackers are hard to find. Somebody hacked into the White House computer, so everything now is possible.

Good luck with trying to find the story stealer. These people are beyond liferoaches, but they are clever.


Wyatt's the computer geek, he should be our point man.


Hitchcock, Wilder, Tarantino, they are all great. Let's kiss and have cocoa.


Cindy, did you know that Owls are my favorite animal?

kiss kiss.


I'm taking Darryl to the prom. Get back you mookpies. He can teach me the electric slide.

We are going to pen you crackers behind electric fencing.

Black power fist.


Chomsky's main source for defense issues:


Brian Graston <redneckghettotech@gmail.com>
Pue, CO - Friday, November 14 2008 9:54:4

Redneckghettotech, and my lack of consideration
Well, where to begin. First off, I was wrong. No beating around the bush on that one. I had never intended to wrong or harm anyone by my actions, but I did so through lack of thinking ahead. I posted on my site redneckghettotech.com several thousand ebooks from many great authors. I was using the material to learn more about site design and database searching, and it seemed to be a good way to do it, due to small file sizes and text searching. After speaking personally with Mr. Ellison this morning, I am realizing the gravity of this situation. While this in no way mitigates my actions, I failed to consider that it might become public and would infringe on other's rights. I have since been in communication with several authors who I have wronged, by both phone and email, and am coming to a new realization that what I did has such a negative impact on the writing community. I have since removed all content, and destroyed/deleted it as well. While this is no excuse, and does not undo what I did, I can only hope that this can be a new beginning to my knowledge. I humbly apologize to the entire writing community and all those I may have wronged by my actions. If there is anything I can do to help the community and turn my quest for knowledge into a more positive force I will be happy to do so. I can be contacted at redneckghettotech@gmail.com

- Friday, November 14 2008 9:27:19

Welles, Wilder & Hitch
Again, my whole part of this debate was not to denigrate either Welles or Hitchcock, but to counter the view that somehow Wilder was over-rated and not worthy to be in the other two's esteemed circle.

I judge filmmakers by their films; not by how many times they get mentioned by Pauline Kael (and lest we forget, it was Ms. Kael's New Yorker article back in the '70's that dared to suggest that Herman Mankiewicz might be the real engine behind and did the actual writing of CITIZEN KANE).

If there's one thing I've learned after nearly thirty years in the trenches of Hollywood, it's that directors are their own best promoters and PR machines and they will take credit for anything and everything. So the next time you're watching those extras on your DVD, take everything the director says with a grain of salt. It's the movies; it's make-believe.

The auteur theory is a myth...the greatest French Farce since Feydeau.

- Friday, November 14 2008 9:11:29

Josh...yeah, just for clarity (for lack of a better word!), I grouped your comments with those of others (the "set", et al) - well, let's just say, to save time, without identifying them. So, I guess you had to carry the cross this time. They OWE you!

(Sorry - just wanted Josh to get that reply. I'll shuddup now)

Steve B
- Friday, November 14 2008 8:45:53

&%$# me.

Not "Marie Celeste" -- that makes no sense analogically.

I meant The Flying Dutchman.

(Pleeeeze don't tell my father.)

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Friday, November 14 2008 8:38:41

I believe Our Friend's website has either been taken down or is running up against a bandwidth issue -- and my educated guess runs toward the former. The only things that keep me from saying so in earnest is a) I don't know anything for certain, and b) there are intermittant appearances, kind of like the Marie Celeste. And there's also the fact that on neither of the Myspace pages is he squealing like a stuck pig -- which this sort of person seems to do.

He may have done the decent thing. He may have had it done for him. Or, it might be that he's just built himself an undependable website.

Stay tuned.

A very public thank you to KEITH for the Drafthouse DWST "stuff". It was very sincerely appreciated.

You done a great job with the entire thing. Kudos. And thanks.

ATC's temporarily online book, EMISSARIES OF THE DEAD is one of the best SF books I've read in a while. Vividly written, well paced and quite a bit of fun to read (he keeps you guessing in the tradition of a great whodunnit).

Highly recommended and heartily pimped.

Despite the categorization of his work by some on the board, Wilder's work survives the test of time and stands up as a truly remarkable achievement. Hitchcock maintained a sophisticated "look" for his films that was relatively consistant, but Wilder's success came from being truly chameleonic from film to film. STALAG 17 is as visually and texturally (izzat a word?) different from SOME LIKE IT HOT which was completely different from both SUNSET BOULEVARD and SABRINA.

(He also was inordinately fond of titles starting with the letter "S", apparently.)

All of them are classics, well made in every detail, and as different from each other as can be. They were all pitch-perfect, and prime examples of the best in their particular genre.

That, in its own way, is a true sign of genius.

Mark Goldberg <markabaddon@gmail.com>
Minneapolis, - Friday, November 14 2008 8:23:26

Count me with Brian and the estimable Mr. Dooner, arguing that Wilder is better than Wells is like trying to argue that Walter Johnson was a greater pitcher than Cy Young. They are two of the greatest in their respective professions; why not just leave it at that?

I may very well be late on this recommendation, but I just finished the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winning book, "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz and absolutely loved it. Beautifully written, poignant, and filled with characters that I know or with whom I closely identify. Diaz is a major talent but is also a world class geek (and I say that knowing that I am one as well). I nearly burst out laughing when he pulled out a Cosmo DNA reference from the old series Star Blazers.

The title is a bit misleading, as it is more of a family history telling the tale of the DeLeon family: Oscar, his mother, sister, and grandfather. Stories related to the Trujillo dictatorship in Santo Domingo and weave in and out like a spider spinning a web. It is a rare book that educates me, nearly makes me cry, horrifies and uplifts me over the course of the story.

Highest recommendation and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more works from this author in the future

Josh Olson
- Friday, November 14 2008 7:26:13


"No, I only occasionally find myself disagreeing with Josh, but I think you're way off on that one. (I'm not sure, either, about what you meant by "he was cold" in his later films; I can only intuit your meaning. I think FRENZY is dynamite, for example; it's archetypal Hitchcock at his best. But GOD! it's "cruel". "Coldly" graphic, with moments incredibly tough to watch. I've never been a fan of seeing women humiliated. Nevertheless, the film carries all the trademark character quirks you'll miss if you see the movie only once)"

Um.... Don't think that was me. I love Hitchcock, and Frenzy is up there with his best. If I gave the impression of knocking any of those cats, that wasn't my point. I was just trying to stand up for Mr. Wilder, who sometimes gets slighted in these discussions.

And I STILL can't connect to this Redneck site. Keep getting an error message. I'm guessing that means the missiles have hit their target....

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Friday, November 14 2008 6:51:28

A Relaxing Sunday Auction

For those who enjoyed Jacek Yerka's work in the HE collaborative MIND FIELDS, Yerka has two new paintings going to auction from Agra-Art on Sunday, Nov. 16. Details here:

You can see the paintings here:

Bidding and buying info and FAQ can be seen here:

Poland is seven hours ahead of our time, and I have no idea what the exchange rate is nowadays. But it looks like fun.

W. Powell
Bloomington , IN - Friday, November 14 2008 0:56:34

Late to the party.
I've been lurking the past couple days and hadn't had time to comment, but on the directors thread I wanted to mention Welles' adaptation of a certain Scottish play, which wasn't well-regarded at the time and still tends to be underrated due to the liberties taken with the original.

Regrettably I must admit to being ignorant for the most part on the subject of Wilder, since I've yet to see any of his films apart from Stalag 17. At least that one's put me off watching Hogan's Heroes reruns once and for all.

Harlan, may your latest quest for justice go well for you (as they usually do). Out, damned spot!

- Friday, November 14 2008 0:14:29

That's "BUY a property", not "BY a property", ya dumb shit!

- Friday, November 14 2008 0:10:28

"Is Picasso better than Michaelangelo?"

Amazing. Verbatim, that was going to be my post tonight in response to this rather sophomoric and pointless comparison between 3 masters:

"I prefer Wilder, as Hitchcock has 'serious shortcomings'"

There isn't a filmmaker, or artist in any field, who is without "shortcomings". I can follow the context when someone says, "I connect better in a personal way to THAT artist more than the other"; but this bullshit about Wilder, Hitchcock, or Welles being "better" than the other is total disservice. It robs you of the opportunity to discover new things in their work that you may well have overlooked. Welles, Hitch, and Wilder were true to themselves, their own world views, their own vision, and their own voice. Discard any of 'em, and you'll never fully appreciate the many layers in their storytelling.


A great, great Hitchcock. But in many ways it pales compared to his earlier experimental ventures back in Britain, BLACKMAIL, THE 39 STEPS, and THE LADY VANISHES; or his later masterpieces, like (obviously) REAR WINDOW, VERTIGO, and PSYCHO.

SHADOW OF A DOUBT and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, likewise, as they are so odd and fickle for their time.

No, I only occasionally find myself disagreeing with Josh, but I think you're way off on that one. (I'm not sure, either, about what you meant by "he was cold" in his later films; I can only intuit your meaning. I think FRENZY is dynamite, for example; it's archetypal Hitchcock at his best. But GOD! it's "cruel". "Coldly" graphic, with moments incredibly tough to watch. I've never been a fan of seeing women humiliated. Nevertheless, the film carries all the trademark character quirks you'll miss if you see the movie only once)

I'm even still scratching my pate in response to the earlier argument about set pieces, when Hitch was working with a "quality scenarist".

Since Hitchcock had a background in both art and engineering, he often did his own sketches and storyboards, right down to conceiving sets to serve the shots he devised. In the case with Notorious, that fucking brilliant high crane zoom shot from the set ceiling all the way down to extreme close-up of the keys in Bergman's hand.

Didn't matter who he brought on board to work with him. Hitchcock commonly conceived the blueprints before bringing other writers in (he was the one who'd by a property to use as the basis for his project). Hence, utilizing sets were tied in with his approach to theme. All of his stuff worked that way.

Y'know, there is a Hitchcock art exhibit that began at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, and traveled to the Centre Pompidou in Paris. I read that it features two film series (which I'd love to see), one devoted to his movies (natch), and the other to movies influenced BY him; additionally, the exhibit features his production stills, storyboards, props, film clips, movie posters, sound-track sequences, and set re-creations with sundry instances of modern painting, sculpture, photography, and literature.

Hitchcock - himself inspired early on by painters, particularly among Surrealists and Expressionists - came to be thought of as a fusion of the Romantic and Symbolist traditions, brought into the 20th century with a new imagery; this, apparently, is what the exhibit sets out to prove.

The show was arranged thematically, with galleries organized by topics such as voyeurism, dreams, terrors, idols, anxiety, and fetishes...ALL part of Hitchcock's tapestry from his first film to his last.

A gallery even demonstrates the director's visual style by showing how it emerged from the art of the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolists. Like Kim Novak's staged suicide attempt in San Francisco Bay could be seen to derive, art historically, from Victorian images of Ophella's drowning. Another gallery drew connections between Hitchcock's longstanding fascination with the inherent eroticism and violence of the CITY, and the work of the Weimar Republic's Neue Sachlichkeit painters (I had to check my spelling on THAT one), a movement in 1920's Germany, which parted from avant garde), who, like the director, revealed the decadence of modern city life.

Other sections of the show get into what I talked about here once or twice before: Hitchcock's early inspirations from Magic Realists de Chirico and Magritte. It also references Munch, in the vampiric nature of erotic love.

The juxtapositions and allusions in the exhibit go on and on. Hitchcock is a little like cinema's version of Expressionist sculptress Louise Bourgeois, whose own personal sublimated obsessions surface through ingeniously dark and ironic installations (many of which, in turn, look a lot like something out of David Lynch).

Point I'm trying to make, you dispense or minimize a great body of work and you only deprive yourself of really intriguing explorations; such is the nature of our own personal conceit (Don't worry! There are moments I have to catch myself when I start doing it too).

So...y'know: you may prefer ONE of these 3 to the others; but be wary of your language, as you may not know as much as you THINK you do. Speaking for myself, I am impassioned by the films of all 3 artists; I'm nuts about 'em. I appreciate each for what HE himself was expressing as an individual. But Hitchcock, overall, connects with me better than any other filmmaker. Just look at those hilarious intros he does on the old anthology tv shows, and you "feel" that same ironic presence in every single one of his movies, even when the starring actor was Cary Grant or Jimmy Stewart!

(Hey! What OTHER director would have teamed his talents with Roald Dahl to do a 30-minuted episode, 'Lamb to the Slaughter', wherein, the good wife skulls her hubby with a frozen leg of lamb, and later broils and feeds the "evidence" to the hungry police officials as they rummage thru the house for clues?)

Steve Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Thursday, November 13 2008 20:58:41

I'm with Brian on this one.

The comparison between Welles and Wilder is an odd one.

I also wonder why such discussions should even be agonistic. Can't we like both? Is Picasso better than Michelangelo? Would Beethoven beat Mozart in a boxing match?

'Citizen Kane' is a gigantic work that will continue to loom over cinema forever. 'Double Indemnity,' 'Sunset Boulevard,' 'The Apartment,' 'Witness for the Prosecution,' 'Ace in the Hole' and 'Some Like It Hot' are absolutely great movies and should be viewed by everyone who loves cinema. To me, Wilder and Welles are on the same team. Let's have endless discussions about both.

Yet, if we must have comparisons, I'll take Welles over Hank Greenberg, but Ted Williams is obviously a way better hitter than Billy Wilder. I hope that settles things.

Steve Dooner

Brian Siano
- Thursday, November 13 2008 19:20:24

The one where I wander in and make random comments
I'm not sure how my opinions'd fit with this comparison between Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles. I can see comparing Wilder with Hitchcock, sure, no problem: Wilder'd done thrillers and mysteries, and Hitchcock had tried to make a droll comedy or two, and both functioned pretty well as mainstream Hollywood filmmakers. This isn't an insult, nor is it faint praise; working within the system, and accompishing great things, are not mutually exclusive things.

I'd give the edge to Billy Wilder for reasons others have given, but lemme add something else. After a few years of being a serious Hitchcock fan, reading books about him, reading and watching interviews with him... I just got _tired_ of him. The icy blondes, the "elegance" of murder, the clockwork plots... eventually the suspense set-pieces started to seem strangely _alike_. After a while, they seemed as hermetically sealed as Agatha Christie's mysteries. His films are great, but I burned out on'em.

But Welles seems like something from another planet compared with those guys. I like most of Welles's movies _because_ there's so much there that's utterly strange. The improvised production values, the Baroque atmosphere, the eccentric performances... if Wilder and Hitchcock and others cultivatedwere the artists who got the commissions from the Medicis, Welles was like the crazy monk who carved handmade icons in a gypsy caravan, unable to give people what they liked because he had to make what he wanted to make.

I commend to everyone's attention Charles McBride's book _What Happaned to Orson Welles?_, which argues that Welles's late career is that of a pioneer independent filmmaker. Sure, MacBride is a Welles alcolyte (and Welles cultivated quite a few, like Bogdanovich), but he shows that Welles spent years working on lots of small, personal-scale projects. (Funniest revelation: Welles actually edited part of a Georgina Spelvin porn film. Really.)

This doesn't make him better than Billy Wilder. But it makes him just too damn different for any comparisons to make sense.

Okay, now for _Killers from Space_ and _The Killer Shrews_. The Mystery Science Theater people are enjoying a small renaissance, what with the 20th anniversary reunion, box set, and new projects. _The Film Crew_ was fun, but I have to admit that Joel Hodgson's _Cinematic Titanic_ is at least as good as the original. (The addition of a woman's voice, that of Mary Jo Pehl, actually makes the original seem a bit deficient.)

Adam-Troy <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Thursday, November 13 2008 18:47:40

Pointing Out
Posting a second time long enough to point out that the guy in the blander of the two myspace pages is definitely the same as the one with the rather morbid one listed below, and that he lists his high school and the college he's attending.


Chuck Messer
- Thursday, November 13 2008 16:42:11

Cindy, my dear, there are a number of people I really wish had gone to *your* sunday school classes. They sure could have learned a thing or two from you.

As for our shiny new president-elect and what'll happen after he swears the oath:
Now we turn the page and find out what happens next.


eu - Thursday, November 13 2008 16:25:43

Piracy: First name is John - not a fake name. And his photos are on the MySpace page which Google has given us:
Good luck to our detectives.

Wilder: Yestderday after posting I wanted to consult Pauline Kael on Wilder and - what? - only mentioned three times on 1200 pages in her essential works, and never in connection with his films. Hitchcock, Welles, Huston et al: mentioned twenty times and having many a review devoted to them. I guess it's okay we all rank directors differently.

Josh: A ten percent share could mean about 1.5 million viewers at that hour, but perhaps the better news to an American is that it ran without commercials and in 16:9 format. (Also saw a five star review in the tv section of the local paper.)
I agree that Wilder was a terriffic scenarist, though like I said, half the credit should go to his co-writers like Charles Brackett, most of whom are known to be at least on his level, as well as to novelists and playwrights like the guys who actually wrote STALAG 17, the play. Not sure if anything he wrote was ever written solo or not adapted from a source. So I don't know if he was a great writer, which you seem to think he was, and you may be right. My term is "terriffic", though it partly seems to fall in the "working with good people" category. Also, none of the directors I mentioned was "just interpreting words" - they were all involved in the script or even the genesis of their films, so you can't single Wilder out on that basis.

- Thursday, November 13 2008 15:34:50

Hands off Darryl, people! I called him first!

*makes poking motions at you with broom handle*

David Silver <silver@well.com>
San Francisco, CA - Thursday, November 13 2008 15:26:58

To ATC, who wrote: "By my own choice, the e-book of my novel EMISSARIES FROM THE DEAD is **free**, absolutely **free**, from Harper Collins Eos for the rest of this year."

Thank you!

TEXAS - Thursday, November 13 2008 15:10:23

Your words are magnificent. I love your heart (I have for a long time now) and the truth that you speak.

It is my prayer that God will bless our new President, showing the world all that is good and wise and right with Barack Obama. In the end it is my hope and prayer that history will show him to be one of the greatest and most beloved of all Presidents. Democrats and Republicans need to put the devisive elements of the election behind us now, raise up our President Elect and support him.

You are a treasure, Darryl and I am so proud to be your friend.

Steve "Minnow" Barber
- Thursday, November 13 2008 15:6:3

Further clarification, though this will mean little to anyone outside the telecom industry: Our Friend registered his domain name through GoDaddy.com, and is in violation of GoDaddy's terms of service which specify the registrant must accurately file their whois identity.

His name is there, but I seriously doubt he lives on "something ave." in Pueblo or works for Qwest as an information operator at "7195555555". And yeah, his myspace site is a piece of work.

But we do have a name and GoDaddy is usually up and up about such things.

Jaws <ceplaw@gmail.com>
Chambanana, IL - Thursday, November 13 2008 14:26:21

Cue the Cellos...
sharks are in the water for redneckghettotech. One correction (because I may have misspoken on the phone this morning with Our Gracious Benefactor): This is the canonical list of works from Harlan's successful suit against AOL, not his entire canon. However, it's that canonical list right down to the typos.

Also, the guy has his site registered through Godaddy, but he's currently using a Comcast cable setup to apparently host the site on a computer at home. Probably in the basement of his parents' house (I know what block it's on, but not the exact address... yet), just like Stephen Robertson. <vbeg&rt;


Greg H
- Thursday, November 13 2008 14:21:35

or footage..sorry

Greg H
- Thursday, November 13 2008 14:20:58




I'm surprised there's no footing of shooting dogs. This guy is one creepy fuck.

Brad Stevens
- Thursday, November 13 2008 13:21:41

"He apparently has a facebook site that has been variously described to me (though I have not glommed it) as "bloody" and "particularly nasty.""

I think you mean a 'My Space' page, which can be found at:


- Thursday, November 13 2008 12:32:35

YOLEN, with an E, not "Yolan," of course.


- Thursday, November 13 2008 12:31:20


Not to drag you away from the discussion of Hitchcock&Wilder, but a matter of some consequence to me (and Neil Gaiman, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Jane Yolan, and dozens of other of your favorite authors) has hit the wall:

Late last night, my friend Jerry Pournelle called to advise me that a major pirate website


has surfaced and, to quote my attorney Charlie Petit, uploaded the totality, the "canonical totality," of my work, Jerry's, Stephen's, Dean's, and on and on. Hundreds, likely thousands, of stories; dozens, perhaps hundreds, of complete scanned-content volumes. Exactly like the idiot who originally got me into the tracking and suing of these vermin, some years ago, leading to the chastisement of AOL.


is, apparently a 20-year-old thief living in Pueblo, Colorado. His server is godaddy, and he is already in breach of their rules by posting phony names, phone contact numbers, etcetera.

He apparently has a facebook site that has been variously described to me (though I have not glommed it) as "bloody" and "particularly nasty."

The armada is sailing. Anyone out there with full bandwidth and e.smarts who wants to help, please get on board.

One more note on this: a number of webwise intellects have tried to log onto, or trace, this clown. They say, from hour to hour ... "Yeah, it's up and running," or "I tried and tried and couldn't get to it, front door or back door," or "Something's going on, but I don't know what," or -- most frustratingly -- "It's been shut down." Which may or may not be the case. We need no assumptions, gang, we need hard facts and Sam Spade investigation.

The entire community thanks you for any assist on snagging this vagabond.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

- Thursday, November 13 2008 12:6:27

MIDNIGHT is a terrific comedy and may be the last really good thing Barrymore did on film. He's quite wonderful. The movie also contains one of my favourite film lines of all times, spoken by Rex O'Malley who plays the great Mary Astor's hanger-on pal:

"I used to swallow things as a child. My mother never left me alone in the room with an armchair."

Another favourite line is also from a Wilder classic, THE MAJOR & THE MINOR, when Ginger Rogers, pretending to be a twelve-year old and getting the come-on from all the young cadets at a military academy, attends a ball with the girl's school across the lake. All the young co-eds show up with a Veronica Lake peek-a-boo hairstyle, including their teacher. The young cadet escorting Miss Rogers, looks disdainfully down the phalanx of would-be Veronicas and sneeringly explains:

"We use 'em for women."

David Loftus <dloft59 (at) earthlink.net>
Portland, OR - Thursday, November 13 2008 10:0:22

Conversations with Wilder
I hope all you Billy Wilder fans are familiar with the collection of interviews Cameron Crowe published a while back. Here's my Amazon review:

Smooth, pleasant, informative
March 1, 2000

Interviews are like popcorn: they go down fast and easy. I ripped through this book in a day and a half (that's while working full time, with an evening for a mandolin lesson).
Wilder's remarks are both engaging and interesting. Although he claims not to have viewed most of his films in a long time, his memory for (or perhaps willingness to talk about) specific scenes, shots, and actors in great detail, as opposed to events in his own life, is astonishing.

And the wit! The early movie "Midnight" (directed by Mitchell Leisen, screenplay by Wilder and Brackett) was "very, very well done" because "(John) Barrymore was too drunk to write his own scenes." Despite wild studio claims, Cinemascope and other wide-screen tricks were not going to revolutionize films, he asserts: "The love story of two dachshunds, that was the only thing it was good for." William Wyler "had no original ideas, but he did them to perfection." On Woody Allen: "he's a very, very cunning, sly guy who I wish would not act."

Though he revels in praise, Wilder is remarkably fair, even harsh toward his own work too. He recalls Pauline Kael's many criticisms of "The Front Page" and concludes "she was so absolutely correct.... I like Pauline Kael. She never had a good word to say about my pictures. Maybe a little bit ... 'Sunset Boulevard.' But she was more often right than wrong...."

Crowe is humbly unintrusive, yet his questions are well researched and probing. You can feel the trust and the master-student relationship grow steadily. Another plus with this book are the plentiful and beautifully reproduced photos -- stills from the movies and on set/from parties/life. Perhaps too many photos: I could have lived without seeing the pale, topless image of (a probably morphine-ridden) Peter Lorre playing tennis, but on the other hand, the shot of Barbara Stanwyck's legs (not the first thing one remembers about her) on the set of "Balls of Fire" takes your breath away.

I only wish I could be as sharp and witty as Wilder at 90 (or even half that age!).

mark spieller
san mateo, california, - Thursday, November 13 2008 9:5:43

A bit more on Wilder
Having started the comments about ACE IN THE HOLE and having enjoyed all the comments about Billy Wilder's movies, especially his skills as a screenwriter, it should be noted that when Wilder came to hollywood and was teamed with Charles Brackett, Wilder had limited speaking skills in english and was even more limited in writing in English. He however had the talent of being adept at learning things, and was soon picking up the idiomatic patterns of American speech. Looking upon the work that Wilder and Brackett did as screenwriters before Wilder even started his Directing career shows that the foundation of his career rested on his ability to craft a solid story for the visuals to raise from.

Harlan is right about "Fodora" it is one of the real lost gems of later era Wilder. "Buddy, Buddy" is nearly undigestible, but "Avanti!" has some great moments with Jack Lemmon in American Farce mode. By the way if you want a stone bargain www.oldies.com has a box set of Billy Wilder films for 39.95. They include, some like it hot, the private life of sherlock holmes, the apartment, the fortune cookie, kiss me stupid, irma LaDouce, One, Two, Three and Witness for The Prosecution. The last is a MUST for anyone who enjoyed the work of Charles Laughton. The movie proves that Billy Wilder was good enough to make Agatha Christie palable.

- Thursday, November 13 2008 8:22:5

Appoint, not appoing.

Appoing? I invented a new word. Goody.

Frank Church
- Thursday, November 13 2008 8:21:5

openleft.com has a petition to try to get Obama not to appoing Lawrence Summers at Treasury. I signed it and I hope you do too. Real progressives would. Wink.


Kim Gandy of Now made a good point. If Summers thinks women may not be as good as men in the science field, he may think the same way about African Americans.

Gary Lee
Mira Loma, ca - Thursday, November 13 2008 7:44:49


How about one called “the Killer Shrews“, in that movie the monsters looked like little dogs wearing silly masks and fur coats.

That’s because they where!.

Now that’s cheep!.

But what the hell, I’ve seen great directors make awful films, and I’ve seen awful directors make great films, I guess somewhere in the great movie universe it all evens out.

I just want to sit back and watch, I think somebody said that “movies are dreams made real”, and I guess some are turn out to be nightmares weather we want them too or not, lately most of the gene movies I like are just video games on the big screen, and honestly they really don’t make me feel all that connected anymore, but I can still think back to watching THE CREATURE FORM THE BLACK LAGOON and getting the shit scared out of me.

But I’ll still hope for the best form the new movies and keep my fingers crossed.

Sitting in the dark with my popcorn ready…….Gary.

Mike Jacka
Phoenix, AZ - Thursday, November 13 2008 6:25:25

Speaking of the musical “Sunset Boulevard”... I don’t know if this was the original intent, but in the version I saw, the audience laughed at the line “I am big. It's the pictures that got small.” And, from everything I could see, it was meant to be played for a laugh. One of the worst theater experiences I have had.

And having spoken of the musical, let us not speak of it again.


Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Thursday, November 13 2008 6:18:7

Wilder / Various
I was stunned, about a year ago, to make a discovery on a related subject.

The occasion was an assignment from the webzine SCIENCE FICTION WEEKLY to review a DVD called THE FILM KREW, which was a knockoff of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 by some of the same people. Three wiseasses sit in front of some godawful old movie and mock it at great length. It was a fairly effective specimen of that subgenre, which can be either hilarious or annoying.

The movie this time was KILLERS FROM SPACE, which I'd seen as a child and considered godawful even then. It was even worse than I'd remembered. It's the story of an astronaut played by Peter Graves who encounters aliens intent on conquering Earth. The aliens are played by guys with black leotards and bulging eyes, of the sort you'd make by cutting ping pong balls in half. Their subterranean headquarters is infested with giant lizards created by radiation, and Graves spends one awful twenty minutes of the film running endlessly throughout those caverns, stopping every five feet to so to react with steely-jawed amazement at the giant lizards placed there by matte shots and rear-screen projection. This is particularly ineffective rear-screen projection, grainy and poorly lit and utterly impossible to reconcile as being in the same universe as Graves...but what's worse is that this is not a passing technical deficiency, but the linchpin upon which the filmmakers hang TWENTY FULL MINUTES.

Graves eventually blows up the aliens and happily watches out a nearby window as a mushroom cloud covers the horizon. It's another bad matte, clearly an aerial shot taken by a plane. The horizon shakes more than you'd expect from a nuclear explosion.

The end. Of an awful, awful, awful, awful film, appalling even by the lowest standards of fifties shlock.

I was moved to research the director, W. Lee Wilder, who was active from about 1948 to 1968 (with a multi-year gap before his valedictory film.) KILLERS FROM SPACE is, alas, his best-known work. Almost all of the others are bad, with some rising as high as mediocre. They include THE OMEGANS, BLUEBEARDS'S TEN HONEYMOONS, PHANTOM FROM SPACE, and MANFISH!

Always poverty row. Always crap.

W. Lee Wilder didn't do nearly as well as his brother.

BILLY Wilder.

Who didn't speak to him for many years, and considered him "That dull son of a bitch."

This is a little bit like discovering that Orson Welles and Ed Wood were separated at birth.


I'm not one to go nuts over the trailers for CGI animation -- we've been burned too many times -- but this is one of the funniest coming attractions I have ever, EVER seen.



Billy Wilder's last film was indeed BUDDY, BUDDY, which is dire: the one film where Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau appear together and don't connect at *all*. (They even had more chemistry in JFK, where they had separate scenes and never appeared on screen at the same time.) There is no sense in BUDDY, BUDDY that either one of them is any good, or that the writer/director had any talent. It ws career-ender for Wilder, even though he tried to get other projects started for years after that.


I mentioned this just yesterday and will do so a second time just for luck. By my own choice, the e-book of my novel EMISSARIES FROM THE DEAD is **free**, absolutely **free**, from HarperCollins Eos for the rest of this year. How can you argue with **free**?


Brian Phillips
McDonough (I have the blue in a red city blues), GA - Thursday, November 13 2008 5:7:33

Kudos to Darryl and Sunset Blvd. notes
Thank you, Darryl for an excellent post! I have been reduced to the fellow in the crowd that stands behind you and utters, "What he said!"

1. The original introduction of the "Sunset Blvd." had Holden's narration, but the first shot was a pan of a morgue, stopping at the toe tag of Joe Gillis. Preview audiences laughed at a large shot of feet, so Billy Wilder re-shot it.

2. The music, by one of my Mother's faves, Franz Waxman, contains a reference for frequent moviegoers. At the end, as Norma Desmond walks down the stairs and the credits come up, you can hear a slow rendition of a newsreel theme, I believe it's "The March of Time".

3. Gloria Swanson, sadly, did not win the Oscar for this role and neither did Eleanor Parker in the movie "Caged", which is a fantastic and bleak portrayal of life in prison; even the uncredited Gertrude Hoffman has some great lines as a sort of elder stateswoman of the convicts. Great writing, unsentimental and well worth seeking out. 1950 was the year that included Anne Baxter and Bette Davis (both in "All About Eve") and Parker (I have not seen the winning performance, Judy Holliday in "Born Yesterday"). What an embarrassment of riches!

4. I believe that ATC wanted to know more about Max's story. Even though I have not seen it, the musical version of "Sunset Blvd." does feature a song in which one of cinema's greatest enablers expresses his feelings for Desmond.

Brian Phillips

Brad Stevens
- Thursday, November 13 2008 3:25:12

"Billy's last film...is titled FEDORA"

Actually, Billy Wilder's last film was BUDDY BUDDY. I'm a Wilder fan, but even I find that one difficult to defend.

Brian J. Robb <brian.robb@titanemail.com>
London, - Thursday, November 13 2008 3:12:49

Fedora is a great and little appreciated movie, and it shares much in common thematically with Sunset Blvd. I first saw it as part of my film studies course 20-odd years ago (back when film studies still meant something), and it has stuck with me since...


Phil Nichols
Birmingham, UK - Thursday, November 13 2008 1:5:22

Laugh tracks etc
Tad, Tom and other M*A*S*H fans: here in the UK, we got to see the entire run of of the show without laugh track, thanks to the BBC. I don't know how this came about, but maybe Larry Gelbart had some influence (having been a BBC comedy writer prior to MASH).

After the BBC dropped their rights to screen the show, in the '90s it went to some minor satellite/cable channel where it screened with the laugh track reinserted. If you think it's ghastly for MASH to have had a laugh track in the first place, imagine how much more ghastly it is to know and love the show for 11 years sans laugh track and then suddenly see it with laugh track added. Ugh.

(I believe that the DVD release of the series lets you turn the laugh track off, although I haven't seen the DVD yet.)

I can't resist a Hitchcock comment. Much as I love Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window and all his best remembered films, I agree with an earlier comment about Notorious. Arguably his best piece of storytelling - screenplay by Ben Hecht. Notice how his films rose above technical set pieces when he was working with a quality scenarist (think Strangers on a Train (Chandler and others); Shadow of a Doubt (Wilder)).

- Thursday, November 13 2008 0:30:2

Billy's last film, the one most people have never heard of, much less seen, that purists put down as "tail-end Wilder" or somesuch. A genuine killer, says Ellison

It is titled FEDORA.


Josh Olson
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 23:33:46


"JOSH. "A History of Violence" premiered on German free-TV yesterday at 10pm and got a 9.5 percent share."

Um.... is that good? Thanks, I guess.

And Pogue has definitely done a hell of a job defending Wilder, and I cannot even try to top him, but I will add my two cents: Fuck yes. A masterful filmmaker, he's one of the few in the pantheon who was also a great writer, and in MY book, that makes him a better filmmaker overall than someone who just interprets the words of others.

As great as Hitchcock was, there are serious limits to his interests. Doesn't make him unworthy, or lesser, but as several folks have rightly pointed out, Wilder could handle a huge variety of material and tones and ideas. He wasn't as showy a director as Welles or Hitchcock, but when he crafted an important shot, it mattered, man. That final shot of Kirk Douglas in Ace in the Hole... aye carumba!

While I go back to all of the greats again and again, I find I watch Welles and Hitchcock for pure pleasure (and that pleasure increases as time goes on), but I watch Wilder to learn at the feet of a master.

- Wednesday, November 12 2008 20:14:8

With regard to this Wilder thread, man, two people here and ONLY two people here, posted well-grounded comments: Pogue and Steve Dooner.

Billy Wilder took risks throughout his long career that got him into trouble in many quarters. He took gambles to preserve his voice, particularly with such works as ACE IN THE HOLE, which had failed in the box office at the time of its release. Wilder held no punches in his biting send-ups of institutions, from the military to the media, and his dark satire of human behavior.

Hitchcock, the film author who will FOREVER be number one with ME (whose own work was invariably about HIMSELF, more than anything else) referred to Billy Wilder, in response to DOUBLE INDEMNITY as "the two greatest words in cinema today".

I don't care if you really don't know much about the subject; but babbling ignorant stuff like, "he was commercial" is actually a cry for help!

I have a whole new angle to this thing. Instead of insulting people outright when I hate their comments, I'm going to code it in language filled with sugary LUV! I will rain sweet compliments on you that will make gay marriage look like John Wayne stud-machoism!

And just think: new people who come in here in the future, unfamiliar with the board's history, will interpret this coded language as veneration. They will think you gods. Works all round for ALL of us.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Wednesday, November 12 2008 17:22:21


Thank you very much for that exceedingly thoughtful and erudite piece of writing.

The classiness of this joint just went up thirty points.

- Wednesday, November 12 2008 15:51:54

Wilder and Orson, continued
Adam, First off, I agree with you re: Swanson's performance in SUNSET BOULEVARD for all the reasons enumerated. Swanson wasn't over-acting; her character was over-acting...she couldn't do anything but overact "I'm still BIG; it's the pictures that got small!"

Whatever Orson may have thought his best pictures were that doesn't necessarily mean that those will be the ones most people remember him for.

And if you go through the list that was provided, while there's some perfectly okay, entertaining movies there, I don't think most of them would make anybody's top ten...or even top twenty. LADY FROM SHANGHAI mostly remembered for the funhouse mirror scene. I've seen MR. ARKADDIN...hardly a work of genius. THE TRIAL was one of those duty things I did back in college when I felt I had to see all those art house and foreign movies. Frankly, I find Kafka a bore and I found the movie so as well. And Tony Perkins was a pal of mine. I am an ardent SHAKESPEARE buff...I've tried over the years to get through Welles' OTHELLO...have seen bits and pieces at various times on the telly...but never all the way through from beginning to end...I'll try again one day. CHIMES AT MIDNIGHT I'm very intrigued with...but again, I have trouble working my way through it because the quality of the sound is so poor.

But again, stack up Mr. Welles films against Wilder's and there's really no comparison. Neither THE STRANGER nor LADY FROM SHANGHAI compare to DOUBLE INDEMNITY. I hold with my original contention that KANE, AMBERSON, and TOUCH OF EVIL are the films that Welles is most remembered for and the ones that are the most watchable over and over again.

And I don't mean this to denigrate Welles...or, earlier, Hitchcock..both fine film-makers that I admire...It's mostly to defend Wilder against the charge of being over-rated, he easily holds his own against these two and he could outwrite both of them...I return to his films far more often than the other two.

When Welles was asked his three favourite film directors they were: John Ford, John Ford, and John Ford.

He also once said something to the effect: "The French ruin everything, they come up to you and say, 'You are one of the three greatest directors in the world, there is you, John Ford...' And I smile and nod and then they say, 'And there is Nicholas Ray.' It's always that third name that kills you."

Story Gielgud tells about playing Henry IV in CHIMES. On the last day of shooting, Welles said to Gielgud, "I need you for one more shot. Look right, look left, look down, look up." Gielgud passively obeyed having no other direction or context for what emotion he was to be feeling. The context came when the film was edited: Falstaff delivers Hotspur's body, claiming to have killed him. Gielgud looks one way at Falstaff, then the other way at Pince Hal, then at Hotspur's body, then up and we know he knows who really killed Hotspur.

That may not be the exact sequence...but you get the idea.

MR. ELLISON, thought you would dig the Crawford...You're in the groove, Jackson!

eu - Wednesday, November 12 2008 15:20:18

Rick: Frank is happy as he is. See his new avatar in the forums. (An American flag.)

Wilder discussion: It's interesting that Hitchcock is now reduced to suspense and camera angles in light of this, and everyone is suddenly overrated except Wilder. People like Hitchcock, Wells, Capra, Hawks, Huston, Lean in the UK were twice the directors Wilder was. Wilder was good - had good teams, good scripts (was a very good writer), good actors, and was himself an all-around good director with a large body of work. One can't argue with quality or even perfection, and I'm not doing that. I'm just saying that compared to some directors he was slightly on the obvious and crowd-safe side. Technically, I'm sure he was no worse than Hawks. By the way, SUNSET BLVD. is one of my favorite movies - it was just a great subject and they made it into a near-perfect film.

James Van Hise <Jimvanhise@aol.com>
Yucca Valley, CA - Wednesday, November 12 2008 12:52:41

Charlie Rose Show Wednesday the 12th
Tonight's CHARLIE ROSE SHOW will have a segment in tribute to the late Michael Crichton. In L.A. it is shown on PBS at 11:30 PM.

Rick <rick@rickwyatt.com>
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 12:48:43

nice surprises
I just got back from the orthopedic clinic for a hip issue that turned out to be an L5 slippage and pinched nerve. I was dreading the upcoming MRI and in a really foul mood and worried I would log on to the Pavilion/Forums to find some nastiness or shitstorm that would put me over the edge.

What a surprise to find two posts filled with such intelligence and thoughtfulness from ATC and Darryl. Really, with the exception of whatever that was about Harlan's fable/non-fable, the tenor and content of discourse here has been really good lately.

So thanks, guys. Nice to be pleasantly surprised now and again. Or it could be just the hydrocodone kicking in. I want to give Frank a couple of these and see if he starts writing poetry about unicorns.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 12:24:11

Gloria Swanson's eye-bugging, scenery-chewing performance in SUNSET BOULEVARD was not overacting, despite the people who have said it was. It was 100% appropriate and dead-on for a number of reasons.

1) Her character was a silent-movie actress. She emoted like one. The real Swanson was capable of subtlety, but Norma Desmond was not; she was to an extent even greater than most of us the star of her own personal movie, and she COULDN'T TURN IT OFF.

2) Norma Desmond wasn't able to continue her career past the silent era. Part of this was because of reason 3 (below), but the implication is that she really wasn't very good. She couldn't deliver a spoken line to save her life, and the fact that she incorporated her acting style into her off-screen life is very much part of what makes her so off-putting.

3) She was batshit crazy AND a recluse, which is to say that she didn't even have the natual corrective many crazy but functional people have, of needing to pass for sane among sane people. Norma Desmond had nobody but Max, who had given up a promising career and his entire life to becoming her servant and making her feel like she was still a star. He was the ultimate enabler, and he was not about to start rolling his eyes in derision whenever she trumped some minor inconvenience of her day into a wild melodrama.


Fame is the worst thing that can happen to certain people. One way to tell: let's say it's a singer. If the person says, "I want to sing," that's one thing. "I want to be a star" is another. "I want to be famous," is the third, and most pernicious. Wanting to be famous, and making your art a mere path to that, is a sign of severe deficiency. I'm sure Robin Williams, to provide one name, doesn't MIND being famous, in that he can perform and make movies and make oodles of money, and have enough power to at least try to push his own projects, but getting swarmed and stared at in public must be a major pain in the ass. I once heard somebody not without talent as a performer say, "I don't care whether it's my singing or my acting or my looks as long as I can get to be a STAR," and felt a great sadness. If fame, by itself, is the reward, and not the means to an end, that truly sucks. And SUNSET BOULEVARD is nothing if not the story of fame addiction.


Speaking of which...the movie is often seen as the tragedy of Norma Desmond, and of William Holden's son of a bitch, but Max is the one who really breaks my heart. Talk about a guy ruined by an addictive relationship. THAT'S the story I'd like to see.


Darryl, thank you. I should note that my wife excoriates me, nightly, for weeping at the slightest provocation. I tear up at the right kind of McDonald's commercial, let alone worthwhile moments in drama, and historical context? Start up the waterworks.


Arguments that Wilder didn't even come close to the brilliance of Hitchcock -- who, however worthwhile he was as an entertainer, made movies that were for the most part largely about, well, themselves as movies -- flummox me. I love Hitchcock. I do consider him one of the top ten of all time. But to me Wilder matched the greatest suspense moments in Hitchcock with the suddenhadow of the dangling light fixture in STALAG 17...


Steve Dooner: and if Welles had never made any of those movies either, he would still be remembered as an actor for the devastating monologue that ends COMPULSION.


True story: when I saw THE STARLOST, in its original airing, I remember thinking, "There's a brain involved with this, somewhere, but nobody's listening to him." What was I? Twelve?


An important personal plug. By my own choice, the e-book of my novel EMISSARIES FROM THE DEAD is **free**, absolutely **free**, from HarperCollins Eos for the rest of this year.


Darryl <nope>
Bay Area, CA - Wednesday, November 12 2008 11:27:5

Movies and Tears
Delurking for two quick comments.

About classic movies and when we saw them, I was 19 when I first saw Casablanca. I was an omnivore reader when I was a kid, and somehow got my hands on a book of film criticism. The critic extolled the virtues of the movie, and went into a bit of the story of the filming. This was all pre-cable, and the period where nothing was shown on the teevee that wasn't in C-O-L-O-R, dammit. I stored the nugget, and when the film was shown at the Varsity cinema, near my university, I decided to go. I saw it, walked out, and got back in line to pay my $$ to see it again. It's still one of those films where if I'm passing thru the channels, I stop and marvel...

Tears. ATC mentioned he was teary during the Obama victory declaration, speech and celebration, as shown on the networks. ATC then apologized for the tears, because he hadn't earned the right. The comment stuck with me, and my response is (as a black man) that your tears are just as deserved as mine. We're in this leaky dinghy together, and if you have the historical perspective and the moment moves you, sob away. We have no special right to the emotions of that night. I don't necessarily practice what I preach, because I had the same feelings about Georgia Representative John Lewis' tears and my own. If you don't know why, Google is a wonderful thing.

Having said that, I did hear a story which may be of interest. An African-American man was discussing the election with his father, who was in his early 80's. The father was about to vote via absentee ballot, and burst into tears. The son was astonished, as his father had never really cried in front of him. Assuming his father's tears were of joy, he mentioned that he was happy too. His father said "My tears are for the lost opportunities of my and previous generations."

I think the tears could be equally shed for all the "lost opportunities." The women who could rule equally well as men, but were denied. The darker who could learn as well as the lighter but were denied. The religious who chose the "wrong" religion, but were not allowed to teach.

One step closer to the "All are welcome" sign being hung over the door, with no whispers allowed.

Brad Stevens
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 10:58:12

"Actually, It's All True was shot in both Brazil and Mexico. The samba section, and "Four Men on a Raft" were shot in Brazil, "My Friend Bonito" was shot in Mexico."

Yes, but "My Friend Bonito" was directed by Norman Foster, not Welles.

Michael Mayhew
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 10:46:29

petty point

Actually, It's All True was shot in both Brazil and Mexico. The samba section, and "Four Men on a Raft" were shot in Brazil, "My Friend Bonito" was shot in Mexico. There's a pretty terrific documentary about the project, including a best effort edit of the raft section, and lots of the other material interspersed with interviews with Welles about what went wrong.

My own favorite "Orson Welles" film is not one that he directed -- The Third Man. Between the fact that Joseph Cotton plays the lead, and the similarity in sensibility that Graham Greene's screenplay and Carol Reed's visual style have with Welles', it always feels like it's an Orson Welles movie to me.


- Wednesday, November 12 2008 10:24:3


The Crawford is not merely spiffy, it is estimable!

On its fifth full play-through in two days.

I may move on to a Franck in D Minor ... perhaps tomorrow.

And yet one more time, another solid delivered by The Man Whom LA Misses. Thanks, dude.

Yr. Pal, Harlan

Steve Dooner <sdooner@comcast.net>
South Weymouth, MA - Wednesday, November 12 2008 10:7:41

On Welles

Don't you think Orson would have been amused to hear that he lacked "follow through," as he doggedly finished his film version of 'Othello'--out of his own pocket--in the sewers and baths of Morroco?

I am also amused to see that, of the three films on which Mr. Welles' reputation is said to rest, there is not one Welles himself would have chosen. He thought 'Chimes at Midnight' and 'Othello' were his best works.

If the following were Welles' only extant works:

The Stranger,
Lady from Shanghai,
It's All True,
The Trial,
Mr. Arkaddin,
Chimes at Midnight,
The Immortal Story,
and F for Fake,

he would still be among the most interesting American filmakers ever. Yet, he is also the man who delivered 'Kane,' 'Ambersons' and 'Touch of Evil.' That's pretty good for a guy with no follow through.

Steve Dooner

Brad Stevens
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 9:14:43

Pogue claimed that "Orson's reputation is pretty much wrapped up in three films CITIZEN KANE, TOUCH OF EVIL, & THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON, which he even looked at and sighed for what could have been. Of course, it might have been fine if he had just finished the job, but he was off in Mexico shooting stuff and that was Welles' problem...he didn't have a great follow-through, couldn't work in the system, and seemed to get bored with stuff before he finished the job."

Welles was "shooting stuff" in Brazil, not Mexico, and doing so not on some crazed whim, but because President Roosevelt had personally asked him to visit Latin America as a goodwill ambassador. RKO promised to send over the AMBERSONS footage for him to edit - needless to say, this never happened (RKO presumably being run by individuals who "didn't have a great follow-through"). Welles problem was not that he "couldn't work in the system, and seemed to get bored with stuff before he finished the job", but rather that he failed to realize that the people he was working for were scoundrels (notice how many of his films deal with the theme of innocence betrayed).

Steve Barber <barbergallery@verizon.net>
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 8:46:9

The argument as to "greatest Director" will find as many positions as there are arguers. It's virtually impossible to do any more than come to a common consensus. The conclusion always comes down to personal choices -- and, in that, the range will run from Spike Lee to Steven Spielberg to Alfed Hitchcock to Wilder to Coppola to Ford, Scorsese, del Toro ... or in the immortal words of King Monghut of Siam: "Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera".

I've mentioned A MAN FROM EARTH recently, and have to again given all the discussion of films. It has joined a limited few movies that haunt me days later. In that, it joins SILENT RUNNING, A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, SPELLBOUND, MOULIN ROUGE, GIANT, DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, SUNSET BLVD, CASABLANCA, and TESTAMENT in my pantheon of striking films.

Frank said: "Obama wants to reach out to Joe Lieberman. See, this is why I had a right to be worried about Obama."

Which reminded me of the old phrase which begins "Keep your friends close..."

- Wednesday, November 12 2008 8:3:12

Billy Wilder
Personally, I'd rather have Billy Wilder's body of work than either Hitchcock or Welles. Orson's reputation is pretty much wrapped up in three films CITIZEN KANE, TOUCH OF EVIL, & THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSON, which he even looked at and sighed for what could have been. Of course, it might have been fine if he had just finished the job, but he was off in Mexico shooting stuff and that was Welles' problem...he didn't have a great follow-through, couldn't work in the system, and seemed to get bored with stuff before he finished the job. There was greatness there, but too often it was squandered or incomplete.

Hitchcock could be cold...particularly in his later work. I prefer his early stuff like NOTORIOUS. He also seemed to stay within a very confined box.

Wilder, on the other hand, was all over the place, covering a broad spectrum of styles and genres. He purposedly wasn't looking to be a stylistic director. He said you'd never see a shot from him that would be from inside the fireplace, shooting through the flames out into the room. He understood that the director was there to serve the script. If the material is good, it doesn't need a lot of cinematic tricks to be engaging. The actors should do the heavy lifting. Drama is about people; not fancy effects and elaborate shots. If a director's style is calling attention to itself, then he has failed. If you're saying, "What a cool shot!"; then you've been taken out of the story and the director is showing off.

Another director who let his actors do the heavy lifting was Preston Sturges; another was John Ford...arguably the greatest director of all time...who didn't like directors who moved the camera all over the place.

Faisal A. Qureshi
San Antonio, Cuba - Wednesday, November 12 2008 8:0:24

Greetings from Cuba
Michael & others , thank you very much for that. Will try to check a branch out in Cancun.

Now in Cuba, the weather is very humid, all my hard back books are curling up in the valley but it´s still as beautiful as ever. People here have high hopes for Obama and all. When I get to Pakistan next month, will see what the grass root feeling is over there.

All the best.


Frank Church
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 7:25:13

A History of Violence hit me in the gut as well. Like eating a plate of bad fish.



Wilder was good, but a commercial director, for the most part.

He was no Hitchcock or Orson Welles, but who is?


You have to admit, Gloria Swanson did ham it up in that flick. All the times she bugged out her eyes.


The grave digger is supposed to dig your hole. When you are the one digging your own hole, then you know you are truly fucked.


Obama wants to reach out to Joe Lieberman. See, this is why I had a right to be worried about Obama.

Jim Thomas
- Wednesday, November 12 2008 6:29:14

Jan--A History of Violence hit me square in the gut. You just don’t see that kind of raw humanity in movies anymore. Also, I never, in a hundred million years, would have thought William Hurt capable of that performance.

Wilder’s not a particularly stylish director, but he’s an economical one; his direction rarely calls attention to itself, and lets the script and the actors do most of the heavy lifting. That should not be considered a weakness. I picked up The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes a few days ago (I swear, Barnes & Noble must be actively conspiring to get all of my money the way they schedule their DVD sales...); I’m looking forward to watching it later this week.

Adam-Troy--No, I haven’t seen The Wages of Fear, but that’s on my (lengthy) list of movies to see. I saw Friedkin’s Sorceror when it was first released and on TV several years ago, and it’s underrated as remakes go.

Tad, Tom--The M*A*S*H episodes that were filmed as documentaries didn’t have a laugh track; there were also a couple of “special” episodes (including the finally, IIRC) that didn’t have the track.

Theodore Marley Brooks
Hidalgo - Wednesday, November 12 2008 5:25:37

Even a standard maul gives you 150% damage to the undead. Attack speed's a bitch, though.

RIck Keeney <rick_keeney@yahoo.com>
Minneapolis, MN - Tuesday, November 11 2008 22:26:34

Thanks for acknowledging the Vets,
and you're all very welcome.

Rick Keeney
USN Submarine Service 1979-1983

shagin <smodell1995@yahoo.com>
Bremerton, Washington - Tuesday, November 11 2008 20:48:59

LAURIE wrote: "Thanks for letting me vent."

Venting helps keep a body and mind together. Dn't give up, and remember to take care of yourself.


Tad Dunten
Hines, Oregon - Tuesday, November 11 2008 20:47:55

Ain't laughin'.
I remember there were a *few* episodes of M*A*S*H that didn't have a laugh track, but most of 'em were tarted up as per SOP. One comedy I loved was "Sports Night", which had no laugh track except for a few episodes where some nervous nellie exec apparently forced them in. Awful, like being brought a B*g M*c when you ordered steak. Ugh.

Tom Morgan
Silverado, CA - Tuesday, November 11 2008 20:19:54

Frank and franky
Your comment on the digging and filling of holes was very well stated.

I am right with you on the TV peeves. I hate laugh tracks. I remember seeing a documentary on the making of the MASH series. The MASH people told of arguing to get the laugh tracks out. I think they were in for the first few seasons and then they managed to talk some sense to the people in charge.
Same with the other points you made about the "crawl" promos and the squashing of the end credits. Hey Mr. channel owner, you signed up to show this series and you put it into your lineup. That's why I'm here. The credits are part of the show. Some of us are looking to see some of the credits being presented. People worked on those credits, picking the style and color of the fonts, the background music, the timing... Use your own damn time to promote the other programming decisions you have made.
It's the same with radio DJs who talk over the beginning and end of songs. You are EDITING it. You are CHANGING it. And I think you have the right to do neither.

A good day to all here and to veterans everywhere, including our favorite Unca.

maggie hoyal-patterson <alex5118@live.com>
Saugerties, New York, 12477, U.S.A. - Tuesday, November 11 2008 20:15:8

Speaking as one who has on more then one ocasion as a child, been knocked unconsious and such till I wisely walked out the front door at fourteen with ten dollars in my pocket an a wildly uncertian future, violence taught me courage an to choose freedom at whatever cost over the prisons we make in our own minds. The gift you could give this young girl is the example of your own fearlessness. It is inside you. Best Maggie

- Tuesday, November 11 2008 19:12:13

Progress is Progress:

Over on the board, it was broadly agreed today that Cheney would definitely fill the role as Batman's sidekick, Robin!


MARVEL at the screen test: Just LOOK at that green thong wedge itself between them rhoids, them flashing hairy, varicose, bony calipers he uses as legs, that pallid pork-belly splitting wide his little red vest, them sloshing jowls waving in the charge, and the rancid musk only he can emanate as he BOUNDS into action!

Yes, indeed...the DEFINITIVE Robin!

I want you all to go to bed tonight with that image in your mind!

**BTW, why is it whenever I'm the one who mentions Billy Wilder here, their ain't scarce-like a murmur?

Oh, well: WUZ a time ACE IN THE HOLE sat in obscurity. But the film's been out there for a good number of years now. I rented it several times in the mid-90's, it's been aired a good number of times on cable since 2000, and the dvd has been available in both Borders Bookstore and Barnes&Noble since last year.

AITH was even parodied in a Simpsons episode, in conjunction with another film from the same era (but of far less historical or artistic importance) called THE WELL.

So, it's been comparatively visible for a while now, fortunately. Great, great film.

(Wilder and Kubrick share a LOT as the ass-biting, satirical cynics of great film directors. Bunuel is cut from the same cloth, but as a Surrealist he holds his own special niche)

franky4posts <franci.jr8206@sbcglobal.net>
ohio - Tuesday, November 11 2008 18:45:51

I want to let you all know up front that I used to watch way too much television from 1960 through 1980

Knew all the schedules and followed all of my favorite shows and bought the DVD sets and then after awhile I just slowed down

Part of it was the garbage that Hollywood has been making

These days I actually watch very little TV
I try to catch MONK and reruns of BECKER and I am looking forward to the latest entry in the Jesse Stone franchise that stars Tom Selleck (more than likely in February during the sweeps)(What a well written show)
But I really don't watch much else. And the main reason is kind of dumb. (Though it's quite important to me)

It's those frackin !@#$%^&*() laughtracks during the sitcoms.

It's like the 'suits' think I don't know where to laugh. (and sometimes it's as if they don't think I know how hard I should laugh in some spots either.(This is indicated by the big mouth chuckler guffawing in the back row of the audience)

And here is an interesting point---(at least to me) If they think I'm too dumb to know when to laugh, how come they don't tell me when to cry as well? Why don't they have the audience sobbing and crying in the background where appropriate during a dramatic scene in crime shows or films?

And why not have someone in the audience cry out "Don't go back in the house you dumb woman" or "Look out officer- theres a bad guy in back of you with an uzi!"

Finally, the newest irritant: those forced commercials they sneek in WHILE I'm trying to enjoy a TV show. Here I am watching my show and suddenly these stupid people from a whole 'nother series appear on the bottom of my screen staring at me making sure I am aware of their series and what time it's on and I had better tune in or else I'll lose the respect of all my friends and my noble standing in the community

Oh, and then, while I remember, that total disregard for the crew (this happens at the end credits of films that are shown on certain cable stations) They barely let the directing credit flash onscreen and they squich the screen of the film I was watching and show commercials or even START the next film as the credits race past at the bottom of the sreen (or sometimes the side)

I suppose none of it matters anyway. "They" will continue to do this forever and ever and my only alternative is to suffer through it or wait for the DVD sets and watch what I want in visual bliss.
But theres many times I want to sample a new episode of one thing or another without waiting for the DVD set and I don't like the fact that I have to have all this forced emotional indicators thrown at me while I'm trying to unwind from "the real world"

Okay-- rant over. Thanks for your attention. I feel better.

DTS <none>
Oz - Tuesday, November 11 2008 17:42:17

Um, obviously I meant to type in DTS for the name portion below (must've had a flash back to when the parents called us kids in for supper -- I always thought I was "hey" and my brother was "you").

Oz - Tuesday, November 11 2008 17:40:49

ATC and movies -- the fable
Hey ADAM: Wouldn't feel bad about not seeing classic movies until later in life. I imagine it's like a lot of folks who never get around to reading WAR AND PEACE or DUBLINERS other classic novels that can be a tough read (most of us just nod our heads when classics we're not familiar with are mentioned in close quarters). I've got a copy of IN A LONELY PLACE in the movie collection (we don't have cable or any sort of TV hook-up -- we subsist on movies and DVDs of television shows we like) Also have SCARECROW...and JUDGEMENT...but not the others. I'll have to check 'em out. I was "chatting" with another writer (known in genre circles) about movies, and mentioned that I was _blown away_ by Glen Ford's performance in THE MAN FROM COLORADO and the original 310 FROM YUMA. The writer rightly pointed out that Ford was always an under-rated actor, mentioning things like JUBAL, EXPERIMENT IN TERROR and, especially, THE BIG HEAT.

You should DEFINITELY check out more David Lean -- especially Dr. ZHIVAGO, one of my favorites. Watch it back-to-back with REDS some night when time permits. Pretty wild.

HARLAN: Strangely, I, too, got the impression that the junkie was a woman. Which made me cringe, sign-off and go do something to distract myself after reading the "fable." That's not a defense of Cutter's reaction, just an observation of how the narrative was interpreted by this reader.


Adam-Troy Castro
- Tuesday, November 11 2008 17:13:12

Noticing that in the act of elucidating films I have seen, I somehow deleted my opinion of SUNSET BOULEVARD, which I found to be a terrifying portrait of fame addiction, and a fine film. Gloria Swanson was terrific in it. (And I enjoyed spotting Buster Keaton.)

Laurie <lauriejane@dslextreme.com>
Los Angeles, California - Tuesday, November 11 2008 17:9:12

Just need to check in....
Yesterday was a bad day for me. I work on a job where the threat of violence is part of the atmosphere, in the air so to speak. Most of the time it doesn't bother me--or should I say SEEM to bother me--too much. But every now and then it gets to me and then I need a day off. Today is an official holiday so I guess I am lucky. And I did not get physically hurt, just to reassure you. It could be worse.

Here's what happened:

I went to a meeting Monday morning regarding a student. She is a sweet young girl, 19 years old but looks younger. She is in the hospital because of having endured an extremely abusive situation. Post traumatic stress disorder.

Before the meeting, they read a list of all of the violent incidents that had occurred over the weekend; it's been a full moon kinda week and the list was long and horrific. I was already shaking from everything I was hearing--rapes, attempted murder, suicide attempts, attacks, fist fights, blanket parties, threats--when they came to the last incident, the one that pertained to her. A guy at the hospital who is a super bully, decided to pick on her. He attacked her and terrorized her and hurt her (not rape but at least that bad). He had no quarrel with her. He just likes to hurt people and she is half his size. The description of the details of his attack I'll leave out because they have been haunting me ever since I heard them.

She is recovering, doing well actually, though she is shaken. So am I.

This subhuman bully came up to me about a week before the above meeting, giving me an unwanted quick hug before I saw it coming, then, as I backed away, telling me how much he liked me and how he'd decided he wanted to be in one of my classes. A few years ago this guy was in one of my classes which I team taught with another instructor and he'd picked a fist fight with that instructor--my colleague won the fight and the bully was kicked out of the class.

I told him I would have to think about whether or not to let him into a class. Now I am mad at myself for not having the guts to tell him to his face that there was no way I would ever consent to letting him into one of my classes, which was the truth.

At the meeting, I found out that the entire reason he was trying to get into my class was that he heard through the grapevine that the young chick was about to be enrolled and he wanted her to find him there when she walked into the classroom. Nice.

I hope you guys don't mind my posting this. I guess I just thought people here would understand my feelings about it all. Some things are really horrifying, really haunting. I have been unable to function normally (or whatever passes for normal in my life) all day. I keep replaying what I heard at that meeting. Before I left work yesterday, I went to visit the girl and talk to her. She is starting to feel physically better and is optimistic that this will not be a setback for her. People are resilient, it seems.

According to something Harlan once wrote, violence is one of the most important things in life. I suppose I have just had that confirmed. It is. Thanks for letting me vent.

Adam-Troy Castro <adamcastro999@yahoo.com>
- Tuesday, November 11 2008 16:53:27

On the Subject of Billy Wilder
To those who asked, not only do I think Billy Wilder one of the great movie WRITERS of all time (not overrated at all as some would have it, but a *storyteller*, one who was more interested in getting the emotions down than wagging his dick with camera angles) (and versatile as all hell), I have made a practice of seeking out his work, over the years; I have seen THE APARTMENT and SOME LIKE IT HOT and the truly nasty ACE IN THE HOLE and STALAG 17 and THE FORTUNE COOKIE and THE PRIVATE LIFE OF SHERLOCK HOLMES even his remake of THE FRONT PAGE multiple times, but sometimes things just evade me, and I somehow never got to see SUNSET BOULEVARD before except in excerpt. (SABRINA I only caught up to a year or so ago.)

It happens. Only a few years ago I straightened out a friend who had NEVER SEEN A HUMPHREY BOGART MOVIE. Think on that, people. I showed him CASABLANCA and THE MALTESE FALCON and THE CAINE MUTINY and...well, you know.

What I thought of SUNSET BOULEVARD. I found it a terrifying portrait of a parasitic relationship, and of the kind of person to whom fame was addictive.

Now, you want to know classics I've never seen?

DR. ZHIVAGO. Never saw it. Have seen most other David Lean movies. Never saw that one. Never watched THE BEST YEARS OF THEIR LIVES all the way through. Never, ever. I never saw any Val Lewton until, prompted by years of reading Harlan wax rhapsodic, I begged Scott Edelman to let me review the boxed set for SCIFIWEEKLY.

Having said that, I betcha lots of folks here have never seen, for instance, THE WAGES OF FEAR, or Bogart's saddest and most frightening performance IN A LONELY PLACE, or THE GAMBLER with James Caan or SCARECROW with Pacino and Hackman giving a couple of the best performances of their lives, or OUR MAN IN HAVANA, or the truly creepy PEEPING TOM, or JUDGMENT AT NUREMBURG, or...well, you get the point. Those titles off the top of my head are just a few of the treasures I *have* seen and recommend without reservation.

Paul <vaughnrichards@yahoo.com>
ATX, - Tuesday, November 11 2008 16:48:21

Gary, I'm proud to say I've seen them, one and all, with the notable exception of THE SEA HANK. That one, I will not watch.

I never could get behind period costume dramas about Australian nazis who cannot decide between their cutlass, bow and arrow, or M1 Garand, and seem bent on playing cricket on the decks of the Spanish Armada whilst arguing with Bette Davis.

And to tell the truth, I was never that fond of the sequel, THE SEA HAWK, either. My 2¢.

With a twinkle in my eye and a pod on your pool table,

P.S. Barber~ Just watch the last half hour, it's all you really need anyway. Spoiler alert - - it's about a bridge.

Alex Cutter
- Tuesday, November 11 2008 16:45:21

"Just to shame you for your rude behavior, one more jot, I will add to the parameters of "the fable" the following revelation:

Nowhere in this story does a female play any significant role. It was all, each and every, a man."

I never mentioned women, either. Besides, if you're saying you wrote this with an all-male cast in mind, then I guess they're gay, too, since the Straight is "head over heels" for the Bent. As for evidence that you intended us to at least wonder if you were telling a tale about yourself, there's the big "This may or may not be a true story" at the top, and the Straight being, er, straight and belligerent and screwed up with women. But that's just my take, I suppose.

It's not a very good fable, anyhow, since the only point of it seems to be "stop by Home Depot if you're having relationship troubles."

"What a profound ass-pucker you are."

I love you too.