Archive for December, 2011


Caitlin McCarthy received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College. An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin has two feature films in development: “Resistance” with Populus Pictures; and “Wonder Drug” with actor/producer Alysia Reiner. In addition to screenwriting, Caitlin serves as an English teacher at an inner-city public high school.

A SOAPY LIFE by Caitlin McCarthy

The Great Aunts

 In 1974, when I was 4-years-old, the TV became my babysitter. Now don’t worry – I wasn’t planted in front of a TV all by myself.  My great-aunts were right there with me, watching the entire CBS soap opera line-up. My parents both worked during the day, so my friend Michael’s mother would drop me off at my great-aunts’ house after nursery school. I had quite the set-up: a little chair before a marble coffee table, where I ate lunch and watched TV at the same time. My great-aunts surrounded me like guardian angels on the couch. Even Bijoux, my Great-Aunt Lulu’s beloved French Poodle, had a perch – the La-Z-Boy recliner – where he watched the soaps with his “missy.”

First Communion: Caitlin and sister Erin, 1974

The afternoon would kick off with “The Young and the Restless” and end with “Guiding Light,” which my great-aunts (born in the late 1800s) had started following when it was just a radio show in 1937. When the music for GL’s end credits started, my great-aunts would turn off the TV, put on an Engelbert Humperdinck record, and then discuss the various shows at length.

This was my first master class in storytelling. I learned about character motivation, storyline development, plot critique – you name it. No wonder I became a writer later in life.  I was surrounded by characters, both on and off screen.

Great-Aunt Lulu was, by far, the biggest character in my family. Of Acadian descent, she dated a fellow French-American named Napoleon for 25 years. Uncle Nap died 10 years after they married.

Great Aunt Lulu with Bijoux

Childless, Great-Aunt Lulu treated her French Poodle Bijoux like a baby, sewing outfits for him and giving him a rhinestone collar long before bling came about. She refused to feed him dog food or let him eat of a bowl. Instead, she would place him on the La-Z-Boy recliner, tie a bib around his neck, and feed him a specially prepared “gruel” with a spoon. The poor thing hated having the spoon shoved into his mouth. But he developed a case of Stockholm Syndrome and only had eyes for his missy. He growled and snapped at everyone else, especially if they dared to sit on *his* La-Z-Boy.

The real-life characters weren’t limited to my great-aunts.  My neighborhood in Worcester, Massachusetts was filled with them. (more…)

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~~by Ol’ Bill~~

The slow motion fiscal train wreck has been building for decades. Finally under President Bush it culminated in two undeclared wars, huge unfunded tax cuts and other giveaways, causing the near collapse and bailout of our under regulated banking system. About half the nation’s wealth now trickles through the hands of a tiny number of billionaires and other supremely wealthy interests.

Corruptly financed Congressional politicians have created this fiscal catastrophe. Middle class employment, housing values and disposable income have plummeted. Demand which fuels our consumer economy has followed– down. Global depression now confronts us.
The President continues proposing desperately needed job boosting measures designed to increase aggregate demand, standard recovery measures defined in any Economics text book. Not particularly daring or unorthodox even to conservative editorialists. So what’s the response of the Congress? Continued partisan political sabotage, uncompromising refusal to seriously negotiate legitimate policy differences, a continued three year drive to make Obama “a one term president” in the oft repeated words of the Senate Republican minority leader. Millions unnecessarily unemployed and bankrupt. Why? Congressional Treason? Media Myopia? Economic Illiteracy? Uncaring Voters? All of the above? Election Day is coming; will things change?
(images: shark-tank.net, zimdaily.com, economaniac.com)

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Check out Newt Gingrich’s second wife dishing on him in Esquire… & read about MEN UNDRESSED, featuring fiction by Elizabeth Searle, in a rave review in ChicagoReads….
It’s Newt’s turn.  Given America’s gnat-sized attention span– what blog cynic Litotes calls our ‘Gnational Attention Span’– voters seem game for a second look at this self-described ’68 year old grandfather.’  Especially when Mitt Romney is looking like a losing bet.
My favorite response on the Mitt Romney nutty $10,000 debate bet is the Tweet: “Mitt Romney says his butler will personally deliver the $10,000 if he loses…”  Well, he did lose.  How could the former GOP frontrunner and his high-end advisors have such a tin ear politically as to make a $10K bet in the midst of a Depression?
Mitt may be ‘right’ on some debate points, but as the Big Dog Bill Clinton observes, in American Politics it is often better to seem ‘STRONG & WRONG’ (like Newt) than WEAK & RIGHT (like Mitt)–
Blog commentator Penny2 sees parallels from the past:

This election brings to mind for me the 1984 election. That year, Democrats faced a tough primary between a plodding technocrat (Walter Mondale) and a conceited adulterer (Gary Hart).  And the winner faced Mr. Charisma, Ronald Reagan.  As Obama gets his groove back in Kansas, the Democrats can only hope for the same outcome as our Mr. Charisma faces 2012’s plodding technocrat (Romney) or conceited adulterer (Gingrich).

I like Penny’s bright optimism, and can see Mitt as Mondale.  For me, though, Newt is not Hart.  Gingrich has mellowed out with age– he is less of a hothead and can imitate a human being more successfully at 68 than in his earlier years.  And in the Gnational Attention Span Deficit, Newt’s own record of Monkey Business seems far away. (Why didn’t George Stephanopolos ask Newt how he could have led the Clinton Impeachment charge while indulging in the exact same sins himself with his own ‘intern,’ the jewelry-devouring platinum-haired trophy wife?)
Rumor has it Sarah Palin may parachute in after all.  It is a comment on the craziness quotient of this field that she by comparison is starting to look relatively sane…
(photos: MakeMeHeal.org; LATimes.com, NYDailyNews.com)

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Caitlin McCarthy received her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Emerson College. An award-winning screenwriter at international film festivals and labs, Caitlin has two feature films in development: “Resistance” with Populus Pictures; and “Wonder Drug” with actor/producer Alysia Reiner. In addition to screenwriting, Caitlin serves as an English teacher at an inner-city public high school.

Steve G., his star & his 'police escorts' on Dec 12

Prior to education, Caitlin worked in public relations, where she fostered relationships with the press and crafted messages for companies that were delivered worldwide.

Hollywood icon Steve Guttenberg earns a STAR on Hollywood Boulevard this week; in this post from our files, Caitlin looks back on her experience with one celebrity not in disgrace.

AN “A” FOR GOOT BEHAVIOR by Caitlin McCarthy

I lead a schizophrenic life. By day, I am an English teacher at an inner-city vocational public high school, where over 60 percent of the students are on reduced or free lunch. By night, I am a screenwriter with a project – WONDER DRUG – in development with actor/producer Alysia Reiner.

My two worlds couldn’t be more different, and they usually don’t collide. But sometimes my students Google me and discover pictures online – not the kind that land you on the chopping block with Human Resources or on the news. (I’m not one of those teachers!) They’re the kind of pictures that trigger disbelief: “Miss, you know Steve Guttenberg?”

WONDER DRUG scientific advisor P. Harry Jellinck; screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy; actor/producer Alysia Reiner; and movie star Steve Guttenberg.



We met at the Hamptons International Film Festival, when he starred in a live staged reading of my screenplay WONDER DRUG with the amazing actress Alysia Reiner (SIDEWAYS).

As a child of the 70s and teen of the 80s, I had seen all of his work – from THE BOYS FROM BRAZIL, COCOON, and THREE MEN AND A BABY to CAN’T STOP THE MUSIC, HIGH SPIRITS, and DON’T TELL HER IT’S ME. Everything. At the Hamptons fest, I discovered that Steve was genuinely down to earth. The “good guy” image matches the real man. (more…)

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Check out ELIZABETH WARREN online…She is one politician decidedly not ‘in disgrace’!

Judith Podell holds an MFA from USM-Stonecoast and lives in Washington, DC. She has reviewed books for numerous publications, including the Washington Post. An excerpt from her novel in progress, The Last of the Khazars was in the first issue of The New Guard Review of Literature: www.newguardreview.com.

Why I Worship Elizabeth Warren Like she’s Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and War

I hate to argue with someone who’s good at it.
Larry’s good at it. He’s great at spur of the moment rational arguments.
I get that backed into a corner by a border collie feeling.
I get tongue-tied.
If I’m truly angry I sputter like Donald Duck.
I change the subject, shift it to something I can discuss.
Larry says it’s cheating.
I call it strategy.
It’s what you do when you have to testify before a Congressional Committee . It’s what you try to do when Elizabeth Warren asks you what you did with all that the TARP money.
Timothy Geithner looked cornered.

   whatamimissing.com & bookwormroom.com (photos)

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