Archives - January 2004

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January 30, 2004

The Great Dildo DefianceLink to this

Some of you may have seen this story on the national news, but for those of you who haven't, here's a little bit of Texas justice in a nutshell:

Joanne WebbIt seems one Joanne Webb had the gall to purvey sex toys in local Tupperware-type theme parties for all the ladies in the fair burg of Burleson, Texas, just a stone's throw from Fort Worth in neighboring Johnson County. She owned a franchise in a company called Passion Parties, which specializes in these girls-night-in parties where they can see and buy marital aids, sex toys, whatever you want to call them. The State of Texas deems them "an obscene device." More on that later. Well, seems someone tipped the local police to her shenanigans, and a deep undercover operator from the Burleson P.D. infiltrated one of her parties and bought two of the contraband devices from her. A few days later, this mother of three, Baptist Church member, former school teacher, and former executive member of the local chamber of commerce, was indicted on Class A misdemeanor charges for her nefarious deeds. A Class A misdemeanor is the same level of charge as spousal assault, DWI, animal cruelty, and possession of a usable quantity of marijuana.

The resulting fracas has blown up in the faces of Johnson County officials, who are now on the sharp end of a federal lawsuit aimed at striking the statute down as being unconstitutional.

Here is the Texas statute, under the OBSCENITY titles, courtesy of the Texas Penal Code:

43.23. Obscenity

(a) A person commits an offense if, knowing its content and character, he wholesale promotes or possesses with intent to wholesale promote any obscene material or obscene device.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a) is a state jail felony.

(c) A person commits an offense if, knowing its content and character, he: (1) promotes or possesses with intent to promote any obscene material or obscene device; or (2) produces, presents, or directs an obscene performance or participates in a portion thereof that is obscene or that contributes to its obscenity.

(d) An offense under Subsection (c) is a Class A misdemeanor.

(e) A person who promotes or wholesale promotes obscene material or an obscene device or possesses the same with intent to promote or wholesale promote it in the course of his business is presumed to do so with knowledge of its content and character.

(f) A person who possesses SIX OR MORE obscene devices or identical or similar obscene articles is presumed to possess them with intent to promote the same.

(g) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the person who possesses or promotes material or a device proscribed by this section does so for a bona fide medical, psychiatric, judicial, legislative, or law enforcement purpose.

Added to this, here's the definition of an "obscene device":

7) "Obscene device" means a device including a dildo or artificial vagina, designed or marketed as useful primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.

This statute is still on the books, back from God knows when. Just how our legislators came up with the "SIX OR MORE" clause is unknown. But I bet the conversation in the committee went something like this:

"Hey, Duane, we need ta make them dildoes and artificial vaginers illegal, man."

"Well, hell, Darrell; everybody's got one."

"Hell, I don't have one. So for the sake a compromise, let's say a person cain't have two."

"Two? Damn, Darrell. We gonna be arrestin peeple for haven two dildoes? The jails will be full."

"Just how many dildoes and artificial vaginers does someone need, Duane? Hell, ya only got so many damn orifices to put 'em in. What, you wanna let em have a dozen?"

"No; that's too damn many. Let's split the differnse and say six."

"Well, hell, that's too damn many but I'll go with it; it's damn neer lunch time."

So, Mrs. Webb is now at the apex of a political nightmare because of bone-headed lawmaking like this. Anyone involved in the system knows, fighting a case through the court system this way is an expensive and time-consuming effort. The people of Johnson County will wind up footing a million-dollar tab while this case winds its way through the courts. Let me tell you a little something about Johnson County, my neighbor to the south. It's the home of one of the most corrupt political machines in the state. Illegal methamphetamine labs are literally everywhere. The same county allows adult bookstores and video arcades in it. But if someone dares to sell some artificial vaginas or penises to nothing but a crowd of women CARDED to be over 18, well, buy God, that's a damn crime. Here's what Chris Webb, her husband and Gulf War veteran, has to say about it, and it pretty much sums it up:

"I'm a veteran," Chris Webb said. "I know freedom isn't free. I know my family pays the price for a woman to speak openly about their sexuality."

He added that fighting for women's freedom is worth losing business, as he has since his wife's arrest.

Joanne Webb said,

"I'm a little fearful of a legal system that singles someone out like me."

You should be. We all should be. I don't know how things are gonna work out for Joanne, but I wish her the best of luck.

*****

January 28, 2004

Carz

A national magazine just published the Ten Worst Cars of All Time. I was glad to see that none of mine made the list, although two of the "winners" caught my attention. The first:

The AMC Pacer. My own experience with the Pacer was in 1977 when I worked at a restaurant. Our manager, Roman, owned one. Late one night after closing, he was going to give me a ride home. We had to swing by the bank and get the day's deposit in before midnight, or he would be fired. Okay. So Roman gets in, and when he went to close his door, the ENTIRE DOOR PANEL came off in his hand. The whole damn inside of the door. With no time to spare, he chucked the thing into the back seat and we took off down the road toward the bank. About a block away, the transmission siezed. Period. Dead. So, with about 5 minutes until midnight, we had to run to the bank. Roman gave me the bag and told me - because I weighed a 110 pounds and he weighed about 220 - to get to the bank and he'd meet me there. I hauled ass and made it, then waited for him. We both wound up walking home.

Except for the Pinto's little problem of EXPLODING IN A HUGE FIREBALL UPON IMPACT TO THE REAR, this car was a good one; you still see a lot of them on the roads even today, driven by people who obviously do not read the newspaper or watch TV. For many years, these were the white trash equivalent of the Civic.

 

 

One day I need to write down all my weird experiences with the cars of my youth.

*****

January 26 , 2004

Reverse Cudos

I spend a lot of time on this blog tooting my own horn. Posting great reviews, reader feedback, stalker ramblings... But everyone out there needs to know that there's a flipside to this admiration; there's a dark side to writing and allowing others to see your work. I've been fortunate - blessed - to have more praise than I've had slams, but I have indeed had my share of down times and negative comments.

I was digging through my Rubbermaid box in the garage yesterday, looking for some old hard copies of short stories to post. I ran across a folder marked "REJECTIONS." I put many of my early rejection letters and critiques in here. I won't bore you with the full texts of these letters, the bulk of which are simple Xeroxed form letters or postcards that read "Not for us" or "We are not accepting new submissions" blah blah. I will, however, post a few of the more choice quotes:

Regarding Undercover White Trash -

by the University of North Texas Press: "...too coincidental... too harshly critical of the lower classes (Wal-Mart types)...characters are too stereotyped and thin; they fail to engage the reader's sympathies...intent to be humorous fails."

This reviewer must have been a Wal-Mart shopper.

by Crown Publishers: "...there's a lot to like about this amiable and clever story...but I'm not sure this one works in a fun and unpredictable way..."

Crown was absorbed by Random House. Their lack of sales placed them in position to join or go out of business.

by Fawcett Books: "...we don't publish much humorous fiction, since we found it doesn't sell."

Fawcett also was on the verge of bankruptcy before being bought out by Random House.

by Sherry Robb literary agency: "...Although I loved the name, I'm afraid too much dialogue gets in the way of the plot."

This agency is apparently out of business, period. The Preditors and Editors publishing-industry watchdog site calls them a definite "NOT RECOMMENDED" for their readers because of their past practices and lack of definite address. No wonder: any agent that says "the dialog gets in the way of the plot" should be running for their lives in front of a mob of pitchfork-wielding readers.

by Charles Stern Associates, literary agent: "The storyline is too weak."

Again, this agency is apparently out of business.

by TCU Press: "...we tend to favor historical novels which fit into Texas' pastoral tradition."

Translate "Texas' pastoral tradition" into "Perpetuating the myth of the cowboy, oil baron, and big-haired cheerleader," all stereotypes this state would be glad to dump.

by Harper-Collins: "...it just isn't well enough written to survive in the world of fiction these days."

But it was written well enough to win a writing award from Foreword Magazine.

So, I guess this a long entry just to remind all the indy writers reading this that you have to have a tough skin if you want to be in this business. Take constructive criticism gracefully, but NEVER acquiesce to tripe like this stuff. Always fight them, always keep your head up, always keep pushing forward. After it is all said and done, you'll be the one standing, and they will most likely be by the wayside, watching your backside while you count your money.

******

January 24, 2004

Art

I don't buy art very often. However, I made an exception and bought a print the other day because it just kind of reached out and grabbed me. It's a silly picture, really, but it made me laugh. It also was a great companion piece for another print I own, Charles Bellows' classic American painting Dempsey and Firpo from 1924:

Now here's the print I just bought, Eric Joyner's latest work, The Final Blow:

The Final Blow, Copyright 2004 by Eric Joyner

Older folks will recognize the Rock'em Sock'em Robots in the ring. All the other robots are genuine robot toys from the 40's through the 60's. Eric uses them as subject matter in quite a few of his pieces. I don't know if Eric was influenced by Bellows' masterpiece, but the similarities are remarkable. And hilarious. That's what art is for: it touches us inside, one way or another. This time, it made me smile. And that's good enough for me. As soon as I get it framed, it's going on the wall of my office, right next to the Bellows.

A side note: That's Jack Dempsey falling out of the ring in Bellows' piece. In the real fight, the Manassa Mauler got back in and knocked Luis Firpo out in under four minutes, in what is considered the greatest prize fight of all time.

Visit Eric Joyner's site to see a real talent at work. Maybe you can pick up something for yourself.

*****

January 21, 2004

Sales, Hollywood and Elephants in need of the Betty Ford Clinic

Since the bulk of my books are sold online, I try to keep up with the trends in online sales. Saw this just before the Christmas season:

It's shaping up to be very happy holiday season for online merchants this year. U.S. consumers went online and spent $8.5 billion last month, 55 percent more than last November...The biggest category was apparel at $1.6 billion, up 33 percent. After that, it was video/DVD, up 133 percent, then books, up 61 percent, and Music/toys/games, up 32 percent. Forrester Research has already predicted that when it's all over, online sales will have jumped 42 percent this year over last. In fact, right now, most categories are up 40-50 percent.

Selling books online is a huge business. People browse in B&N, and they buy on Amazon. Even though people can get my books cheaper direct from the publisher, they usually buy from Amazon. Why? I dunno. They have accounts there, coupons, they trust their credit card security; could be many reasons. So a note to all you indy writers out there; if you don't have an online presence complete with book-selling links, you're missing the boat.

Hollywood Update

Got a call today from My People in Gollywood. My screenplay is on its way back to me, proofread, for a rewrite. I guess I'll have to dig out my Complete Idiot's Guide To Screenwriting and bone up a bit. You think I'm kidding, but I'm not; I used this book to write the screenplay.

Elephant Blues

News -- Drunken elephants kill six in northeastern India - Associated Press Dec 18

GAUHATI, India - Rampaging elephants drunk on rice beer killed six people in northeastern India, where the world's largest population of wild Asian elephants is running out of control, destroying crops and property. Herds of migratory elephants from neighboring Myanmar have crossed the border into India's Assam state, joining the Indian elephants already struggling to survive in the shrinking forest. Some farmers have resorted to killing the growing number of beasts. Last week, a herd of elephants descended on a tea plantation and broke down sheds to get to the traditional rice beer the tea-pickers had made, said Forest Minister Pradyut Bordoloi of the northeastern state of Assam. They feasted on the standing rice crops and ransacked homesteads, killing six people in the state's Tinsukia district. "They guzzled down fermented rice beer ... and ran amok, leading to the tragedy," Bordoloi said. Four other people were killed in the area earlier this month. Bordoloi expressed alarm at "the violent man-elephant conflict" and said authorities had begun a huge campaign to raise awareness at the plight of the elephants. If you take away the elephants traditional migratory paths, you have to expect bad things to happen. Along with the loss of their habitat -- are we surprised that elephants and people are killing each other?

Damn right; my homeys ain't gonna take it no more! They're joining up, getting plastered, and kicking some hairless primate ass! Yo!

Another goodie on my favorite beasties:

Elephant dentures in demand - The Nation - January 14, 2004

Mahouts from Surin are queuing to have dentures made for their elephants after an 80-year-old female elephant from Kanchanaburi was reported to have become the world's first elephant fitted with false teeth. Somsak Jitniyom, an animal husbandry official from Prachuap Khiri Khan's Bang Saphan district, said several members of the Thai Elephant Association had asked him to make the dentures for their elephants after he successfully fitted a set for Morakot, an elephant that had lost most of its teeth. An estimated 10 per cent of elephants in Thailand have dental problems. Somsak said that since elephants could have different kinds of dental problems, he had to invent different dentures to suit them. Somsak fitted Morakot's dentures on Monday. He injected two cubic centimetres of drugs into the elephant, making it drowsy for five minutes. Two mahouts then helped him insert the dentures. One sat on top of the elephant, guiding the dentures into place with a string tied around them. The other assisted from the ground. Within a few minutes of getting the false teeth, Morakot was able to eat bananas and grass as though it had natural teeth. The dentures are to be removed once a month to make sure everything is working properly. Somsak has contacted the Department of Intellectual Property & International Trade Litigation to patent the elephant dentures.

If you read In The Way That Elephants Do, you remember that to lose their last set of teeth was a death sentence for an elephant. Unable to chew enough food to survive, they slowly starve. Their weakened bodies are unable to fight off infection and predators, and they soon die. Fitting them with false choppers could add decades to their lives. I suppose the zoo industry here will follow suit very soon. They'd better hurry before Somsak patents the process; the HMO's will get involved then and no elephants anywhere will qualify for them.

*****

January 18, 2004

Blogs and pain

Here's an interesting little blog I found on Blog Search Engine. I'm dedicating my find to DaGoddess. I don't know why, just seems something that may interest her lately. And maybe Sugarmama, or Trailer Park Girl... :)

http://www.slavespath.net/

Anywho, I spend quite a bit of time checking out other blogs, and I've blogged about this before. Blogging about blogs and blogging. Reading these is like walking up to a house that has the windows open and shades raised. It's dark outside, and you put your ear close to the window screen. Voices whisper from the kitchen...

You can see inside people's real lives, things we normally don't see or talk about. Just in the past ten minutes, I read an entry by a girl who witnessed her teenage friend slapped around by his father. She's wondering what to do; compassion and fear emanated from her words. Another blogger told about her dear friend who hanged himself a few months ago, and she is just finding out. Grief, loss, sadness, memories... Not all blogs are funny; sometimes, they're just about life, and sometimes life isn't funny. But sometimes it is.

Reviews

Every now and then I check my Amazon and B&N pages for new reader reviews. Found this one yesterday on the Undercover White Trash Amazon page. I don't know this person, either, BTW:

Leaves you wanting more
December 28, 2003 / Reviewer: Marilyn A. Stires from Iselin, NJ USA / Book is fresh, well written and leaves the reader wanting more. While reading it one easily pictures this as a movie starring Steve Martin. Quick paced the reader is immediately absorbed into the vignette. Let's hope to see more books by author.

Guess it's time for Son of White Trash.

Speaking of UWT, here's another sort-of review from Brandy at American Butterfly. It's really a continuation of her previous review of UWT: (edited)

Marathon of Books - I've finished the last of the three books I got for Christmas. This last one. The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time, was ok. It is written from the stand point of a fifteen year old Autistic boy. The author did very well at expressing all the worries and likes and dislikes of this boy who's name is Christopher...It made me laugh a couple of times, but it also made me think how hard Autistic children's lives must be as well as the parents and family lives. Anyway it was pretty good. I still liked Undercover White Trash better, though.

UWT tops yet another Today Show Book Club item and Amazon's #61 seller? It was a debut novel, at that. When is Doubleday gonna look my way, for MY debut novel? Hmmm. An interesting side note: I read some of the reviews posted on Amazon. One started out with a five-star rating and said:

Wonderfully accurate -- as an autistic, I should know!

Just how fucking autistic can this guy be if he can write a review on Amazon.com? Sounds like a bloody misdiagnosis to me.

*****

January 17, 2004

Roller Derby and Google

Got an email from Wayne Hurlbert at at Wayne's Derby World. Seems Google says this site and another of his, Codswallowandflapdoodle, are similar to mine. That Artificial Intelligence thing they have going at Google is right on, man, right on; the first site is for Wayne's definitive blog on ROLLER DERBY, one of the finest sports ever to grace the TV's of the world, and his second site details conversations between a couple of characters that bear an uncanny resemblance to my own writing style. Very interesting. Speaking of Google, I guess I've finally hit the big time; put my name in it and my main site usually comes up first instead of on the tenth page like it used to. Being an ignoramous, I don't know what that means in computerese, but at least I lead the other four big David Kilpatrick B-list celebrities in the world: a photographer, a veterinarian, a Celtic guitarist, and of all things, a child psychologist.

For you bloggers out there, if you haven't seen the interesting survey on The Blog Search Engine posted awhile back, check it out. Some of it involves acceptance of advertising. I would gladly accept advertising. I'm surprised that the majority of bloggers feel advertising isn't appropriate on a blog, or that they just wouldn't run it, period. Another set of questions dealt with why people blog. The vast majority do it for fun or for the fun of writing. When I started this blog, I must admit my intentions were purely mercenary; I wanted to drive traffic to my main site in the hope of selling books. In that aspect, it has worked. But my motivations have changed now. The blog has been such fun, and such a great place to put all those little things I want to say, that I'd continue this blog even if I had no books to sell. Another thing that grabbed my attention is the question that dealt with what platform the bloggers used. NONE of the bloggers had a non-blog blog like mine; all used platforms like Blogger or LiveJournal, etc. Non-blog bloggers like me were not even mentioned. I guess in some circles I'm not considered a true blogger.

Imagine that; me getting no respect as a blogger. What a surprise.

Jacko Whacko, ad nauseum.

Saw where MJ rented a big house in Gollywood because Neverland was just "unlivable" these days. Press reports said the mansion overlooked a children's park. Nice. I also saw where Jacko was hosting a huge party at his place for his supporters. The last one at NeverNeverLand had many, many kids in attendance. I was perplexed by this, not because he had kids there, or that parents are stupid enough to allow this, but that authorities there let him do it. In Texas, as backwards-ass as we are, we usually place conditions on those people who are out on bond for a sexual offense. One of the main conditions is that they have no contact with children. They also can't get within a certain distance, usually 500 to 1000 feet, of a place children frequent like a school, day care center, or PARK. Getting caught violating these is an instant bond violation: the bond gets yanked and they go back to jail. Period. And I know all that innocent-until-proved- guilty bullshit; the courts have already upheld such conditions as being "reasonable" as written in the constitution. I think the DA's office in Santa Barbara needs to get that asshole back into court and petition to have such conditions placed on Jacko. But that's my own perverted and obviously antiquated opinion about a guy who is innocent until he is proven guilty and is being persecuted by a racist society because he is the King of Pop.

*****

January 15, 2004

my L.A. state of mind

Still playing with my new computer goodies. Got my wireless connection set up; yes, it was the base station. Broken. Still have a few bugs to work out here and there, but the new rig is sailing along.

Thinking a lot of Los Angeles these days. A place I both love and hate. I guess what's on my mind is the unknown status of my L.A. Stalker screenplay. Still no word. Like I've said here before, waiting around for "my people" to call is really disheartening. Even after all this time, I still find the waiting interminable.

So while I'm in an L.A. state of mind, thought I'd dig up a story I wrote on a plane on the way back from Gollywood. Check the link above.

*****

January 12, 2004 - link to this

Goodies and 46 Things

Just playing with my new BROADBAND connection! Yeeehaaa! Davo finally joins the 21st century. When looking at the options available in my area, I quickly decided on a cable modem. Why? Technical reasons? Faster pipe? A protest against the phone company? Nope: because I can get some premium channels for free (Hey, I know I'm cheap but I ain't easy). Everything went in like a charm, and I am grateful that it works. My attempt at installing a wireless network for my laptop, well, that is another story. I think the base station is fried. I'll take it back and try another. I bought a Microsoft base station and PC card because I figured Gates wouldn't sabotage his own product with XP (like he evidently does other competing products - look at what happened to HP). Anyway, I guess someone just dropped the damn thing or something. But I'm so tickled with my new connection that I'm not even mad about the wireless thing.

I've been on dial-up since the beginning of time; my first modem was a 9.6K job, the fastest modem a consumer could buy. That isn't 96K; that is 9600. You can strap a file to a homing pigeon and get it there faster. The transition to broadband is like a paradigm shift - I have to learn how to do things all over. For example, let's say I want to upload this blog page after saving it. Normally I'd set the signon, go get a glass of iced tea, see what was on the TV, fuss with my hair in the bathroom, outline a chapter or two, then come back to see if I was online yet. Then, I'd send the blog page to my host, then sweep out the garage, wash the car, stuff like that. Now, it is up in a second. Literally. Amazing.

46 Things

After looking over many blogs, I see that a hip thing to do is post a "100 Things About Me" page. So, I thought I'd be hip and do the same thing. But I can't think of 100 things to say about myself... So for now, there's only 46 things I can say about myself. I'll add some more if I can think of any. Click the link at left.

****

January 10, 2004

Australian review

A special thanks to DaGoddess who bought a copy of Elephants for her friends down under. Pat O'Brien there posted a nice review of it in the wildlife preservation organization's newsletter. It is basically my Amazon blurb with a few comments (italicized):

Elephants Apart. From the government web pages and the newspapers, I rarely get a chance to read fiction any more. However recently author David L Kilpatrick mailed me a copy of his beautiful book "In the Way That Elephants Do". It is wonderful story, about Noah the Wanderer, a cantankerous 100 year old bull elephant, who tells the story of his incredible life in his own words. His story unfolds in magnificent detail from his birth on the Plains of eastern Africa in the 1880s to his capture and eventual confinement in a small Midwestern Zoo. In his travels across three Continents, Noah witnesses everything the human world has to offer, war, peace, love, hatred, kindness and terrible cruelty. This is a wonderful book, it should be in the Libraries, and anyone who loves animals, or elephants, should try to get hold of it. *The ISBN is :1-58721-013-4. Pat OBrien

DaGoddess bought quite a few books of mine as Christmas presents and mailed them all over the place, including this one to Australia. I want to thank her for all her support and for believing in me as a writer.

*****

January 8, 2004

Kudos

Received an email yesterday from Brandy at her American Butterfly blog. Seems she read UWT and liked it. Here's her review as posted on her blog:

The second, Undercover White Trash, was better to me than the Time Travelers Wife. It was very descriptive and I could just picture what the author was describing. It was not a long book, unlike the Time Travelers Wife, and the mood was light and fun in the book. Out of the two I suggest this one.

Wow! UWT is better than a Today Show Book Club piece, and better than Amazon's #38 best-seller? Darn-tootin' it is! She went on to say:

Your book Undercover White Trash looked entertaining so I bought and read it. It was very entertaining and funny, you are very descriptive and I could see what you were talking about. I have a few friends that fit that "stereo type" as well, even down to the big screen tv in the small trailer. Anyway just wanted to leave my input. I will be looking into getting and reading your other books as well.

Out of the blue stuff like this makes it all worth it...

But she'll probably read Stalker next and never contact me again. Oh, well.

Speaking of stalking, I received good news today; my department is sending me to the End Violence Against Women's conference - "Investigating Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence & Stalking" - in Las Vegas from February 11-13. Yahoo! Out of state training is rare in our budget-tightening department these days, so I plan to make the most of it. Never been to Vegas. I guess I'll have to get a fifth of Jack and head to the Mustang Ranch for a little B&D fun. Oh, wait; I'll be there for an END violence against women conference...never mind.

Just kidding, folks. My non-conference time will be more like Micky D's, HBO, and lights out at 10pm.

*****

January 7, 2004

Networking

I've been asked by the illustrious A.P. Fuchs to write a little testimonial for his upcoming new ebook...details protected now but I'll link to it when it is published. Believe me; it is a book all indy writers will need to get.

This kind of thing points out how we independents need to network and support each other. God knows, no one else is doing it for us. Word of mouth and cross-linking are the primary ways we get the word out about our work. So if you're another indy out there reading this, be sure and get involved with other writers (and readers) on the 'net. Introduce yourself and communicate. Don't worry about being blown off. You'll find more support out there than you know.

Speaking of non-support, I read a great article in the Fort-Worth Star Telegram about the changing face of publishing, and the reasons publishers need to get their act together if they want to stop the slow bleed in sales for fiction, which fell about 8% again last year. I'd reprint or link to this article, except I found out it was written by my least-favorite writer they have, and thus realize it is total hypocritical bullshit. They espouse the need of the publishers to "nurture unknown authors" yet their newspaper does ZERO in this regard. I blasted a letter to the editor but as yet they haven't had the balls to print it.

By the way, MOUSEPADS are now available for Stalker and UWT. Don't be a weenie; buy one! To sweeten the pie, remember that a portion of the proceeds from these sales goes to my favorite charity: Me. And think of how cool you'll look in your office with a blood-spattered "Stalked" pad or a trailer-festooned UWT pad.

Still waiting on Hollywood to call me back...at this point, I've pretty much written the second deal off. I need to just put the thing out of my mind and get on with my work. If they want it, they will get back with me. "Build it, and they will come." I built it already, so...

*****

January 4, 2004

An itch I can scratch

The itch is back. The drive to write something new. It is a strange feeling, but a pleasant one. I can't really describe it, although I SHOULD be able to. It is a sense of purpose. A sense of meaning. It is like looking at something through a fog. The fog starts to dissipate, revealing the object behind it in all its clarity. I see now what I need to do. I need to start another story. What form this story shall take is still not clear, but it is coming into focus day by day...

Changing the subject: I've been watching more Whacko Jacko stuff on TV. To continue with my last post about him, I've seen now the Sheriff who arrested Jackson dispute Jackson's "abuse" accusations. This is great documentation, the kind of documentation I love to see that reveals the way a sex offender's mind works. Remember their plan once caught: create chaos, cast doubt, deflect blame, and garner support from the ignorant. Jackson did this by coming up with his "abuse" story. He garnered support from the ignorant: "Poor Michael; he's a victim of the state. Racist police. This is nothing but a modern-day lynching of a decent black man..." He created chaos by polarizing the public into two distinct camps; those that feel he is guilty and those that don't. Added now to the "don't" group are the "he may be guilty but I don't care; being a victim of the police is far worse than anything he has done." He cast doubt on his guilt by making the state's prosecution seem like a witch hunt; "If they are abusing Jackson, it is just part of their persecution of him." He deflected blame in his whiney TV interview (notice Ed Bradley, a black man, was the one allowed to interview him, adding to the racist connotation of his claims) by again reiterating that he is merely a misunderstood superstar, victim of money-grubbing parents.

What I love about the Sheriff's rebuttal is that he carefully documented Jacko's lies. Being new to the arrest/charging/trial game, Jackson made some big blunders when coming up with the lies. First, Jackson claims his shoulder was dislocated. The Sheriff showed video of Jacko leaving the police station and triumphantly waiving at the reporters with both arms. He also showed a segment of the interview where Jackson pushes his hair from his face quite easily. Jackson had claimed that his dislocated shoulder prevented him from lifting his arm above chest level. Jackson claimed that he was locked in a feces-covered and tiny restroom for 45 minutes. The Sheriff showed that 1) the tiny restroom was actually a rather large holding cell, 2) it had been cleaned just minutes before Jacko was put into it, and 3) his entire booking process only took 63 minutes from the time he entered to the time he walked out; with the time spent on the other booking procedures, Jackon couldn't have spent more than 5-10 minutes in the cell.

Such proof of a sex offender's manipulations is a real gem. We often don't see this sort of thing; we only see the manipulations. I hope that some people will be able to see the way the lies were dissected. Watching the lies unmasked should shed insight into the workings of a sex offender's mind. Having this knowledge will make people more aware, and therefore more diligent, in protecting themselves and their children.

*****

January 2, 2004

Nice review and the Great Possum Drop of 2004

Nice quickie review from Mandy regarding the new short story Rockets:

I thought I would email you and applaud you on a very well written short story. It was just so damn cute. The ending was unexpected as I began reading it, but it turned out great. A friend of mine is just reading it right now, and so far he says he likes it so far and its very well done. There you have a few quotes to use, if you'd like, from some fans.

See? I have fans. Well, at least one...

Well, how did you ring in the new year? My favorite white trash new year hoopdedoo is held in North Carolina. Never heard of the Possum Drop? Geez, you ain't livin'. Some good ol' boys get em a possum, put him in a glass box and lower him from Junior's gas station. Then, they let him go out in the woods. Don't believe me? Here's photographic proof:

Mr. Possum in his glass box. Complete with gold fringie stuff.

Mr. Possum again, definitely not a happy camper.

According to the boys, no possum was harmed in their yearly event. Thanks to Trailer Park Girl for the story and link.

*****

January 1, 2004

Screenwriting link, men's fashion and pot bellies

As I've said here before, I have dabbled in the craft of screenplay writing but I am not good at it. I received an email from David Daniel at Project Greenblog the other day and checked out his blog. David is a screenwriter that has much in common with me. His blog is a journal detailing his writing process and his adventure through the acquisition process. It's a good place for all of us wannabes to roost; David gives some great inside info on the perils and joys of getting material to Gollywood. Check him out.

Just got back from the maul, er...mall. I was checking out the clothes/shoes in a couple of big department stores (Foleys and Dillards) and remembered why I buy all my shirts (for work) online. With the widening of the American male, I find it difficult, make that impossible, to find shirts that fit.

I am trim. Not skinny, not buff, just not fat. However, my gender in general is for the most part overweight. I base this on two things: The Fat Game and shirt sizes. The Fat Game is a game I invented in which you take a set of people, such as all the people in line at the airline ticket counter, and establish a ratio of fat to skinny ones. For example, in a line of 55 people, how many are overweight? What is "overweight" must be established beforehand; I usually set 30-50 pounds as the cut off point. In the past few years, I have found that the ratio of fat to skinny has increased steadily; sometimes I can count over a hundred people and find only two or three of them that look like their ideal weight. Yeah, yeah I know; I'm a judgemental S.O.B. I know also that beauty is in the eye of the beholder blah blah. But my observations, coupled with some recent studies I've seen on the problem with obesity in the U.S., lead me to conclude the American male, once the Airstream of the western hemisphere, has become a Double-Wide.

To accomodate our spreading midsections, clothing manufacturers have started sneakily making their clothes bigger and bigger. "Relaxed fit" pants translate into "Big Ass" pants, etc. But even more sneaky is their re-sizing of the traditional dress shirt. Since I wear these to work, I have spent the last 20 years buying about 12 of these a year. When I began buying these, I was very skinny. In the mid-80's, they used to sell shirts called "European cut" which were very slim-fitting. You cannot find these any more. "Athletic fit" came next, which was a little more loose. These suited me for awhile. Then I started noticing that even these were getting baggy, even when I was gaining weight. Ten years ago, a 16 1/2 inch neck dress shirt fit a 34 inch waisted man, usually. I saw a label today on a trim-fit shirt that linked a 16 1/2 inch neck to a 44-inch waist. 44 inches?? A 16.5-inch neck is NOT big. It is very average. A 44-inch tail on an average-necked guy is designed for a freaking pot belly as big as Kansas. And that is a trim fit shirt! Jesus, what's the waist size for a regular fit shirt? 55? A trim fit shirt designed for a 44-inch waist is 11 inches bigger than what I need. This translates into 5.5 inches of overhang on each side if tucked in; enough to cover a freaking innertube around my waist. I've settled on J.C. Penney's trim fit shirts, which you can only find online. They only have about 6 or 7 inches of overhang on me. A guy I know who is my size takes his shirts to a tailor to have the sides taken in; that's all he can do because no one sells a true trim-fit any more. Being a cheapskate who doesn't want to pay a tailor $10 to fix a $20 shirt, I won't start doing that any time soon.

A side note: Men's suits have followed the same pattern. I wear a 39-inch coat. The pants sold with these are usually a 36 or 38. That's why I rarely buy suits; altering pants by 5 or 6 inches ruins them. If I can't buy separates, I don't buy the suit. Also, an interesting study of the male psychology is the Short/Regular/Long sizing for men's suit jackets. Anyone under 5'10" should wear a "Short." 5'10" to 6' should wear a Regular, and so on. The average height for an American male is 5' 9". One would think that the stores would be full of "Short" sized suits - that's the biggest market. Quite the contrary is true; the "Short" selection is the smallest. I know: I'm 5' 9" and I wear what I should wear. The problem is that most men my height won't admit they are freaking short, so they buy the "Regular" size suits. Wearing a Reg when you are a Short makes you look even shorter, for the sleeves and break are too damn long. You look like a kid dressed in your daddy's jacket. But I digress...

*****

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