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Archive for April, 2012

Check out this ‘micro interview’ with Elizabeth Searle who will give a talk on Reality Fiction at the Muse & the Marketplace wrtiers’ conference in Boston May 6th…

In the wake of Congress rebuffing the Buffet bill, yet being ‘shocked, shocked’ by GSA conference excesses in Vegas, our own “Ol’ Bill” offers some perspective…

PARTISAN OVERSIGHT: Rebuffing Buffett Rule & Scapegoating Vegas by Ol’ Bill

The AP reported that congressional “members of both parties could barely restrain themselves as they sometimes shouted their outrage” over lowly General Services Administration bureaucrats blowing $823,000 on a Los Vegas conference. The conference custom likely started in dim past years as a humble beer bust for some of the bureaucrats who get things done and has since grown under customary congressional oversight into bigger and better family celebrations on the Las Vegas strip. A perfect opportunity for congressional bullies to haul unfortunate miscreants before the TV lights for a little one sided oversight.

Meanwhile in the Senate, fiercely partisan anti-Obama Republicans near unanimously blew a ten year opportunity to save $47 Billion Dollars. They simply needed to enact a measure that would impose a minimum 30 percent tax on folks making over $2 million a year. Perhaps testimony from some of the world’s wealthiest might reassure our failing “leaders” that while some billionaires want tax cuts to help pay for million dollar campaign contributions, most neither need nor want special tax relief in light of profit opportunities afforded by a booming economy that pays its bills.

The best Congress money can buy. And “we” elected them!

(photos: theculturezone.com, netrightdaily.com, businessinsider.com, via Googleimages)

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Judith Podell is now reviewing non-fiction for Publisher’s Weekly. In her spare time she channels blues legend Memphis Earlene Gray on www.memphisearlene.com.  Judith 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.

JANE & NANCY: Couldn’t She Just Say No?  by Judith Podell

Jane Fonda has been tapped to play Nancy Reagan in upcoming biopic about the White House butler. (Yes, Jane Fonda, and no I didn’t read this in the Onion but on page 2 of the Wash. Post Style section. March 28 ). This feels wrong on so many levels I don’t know where to begin.

Is this just the latest example of Jane Fonda re-inventing herself to be cheerleader for the times? She was Barbarella in the 60’s, Hanoi Jane of the 70’s, Feminist turned Exercise guru of the 80’s, and Mrs. Ted Turner in the 90’s. Is this some form of public penance?

Meryl Streep sidestepped questions about Margaret Thatcher’s policies. She was only interested in Margaret Thatcher, the woman. I can’t wait to hear Jane Fonda’s tribute to Nancy Reagan, the woman.

There aren’t enough good parts for women in the movies, let alone older women so I suppose I should be grateful that my favorite movie stars can get work as right wing icons.

Future coming attractions: Susan Sarandon as Ayn Rand ?

(images: telegraph.co.UK; abcnews.com, awardsdaild.com)

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UPDATE: Pippa’s car companion APOLOGIZES FOR ‘GUN INCIDENT

PRINCESS KATE & ‘SCANDAL-SISTER’ PIPPA

It takes two— a year after her royal wedding, Princess Kate wins straight-As for her classy yet cheery demeanor and flawless wardrobe.  Meanwhile, sexy Pippa Middleton ‘takes the heat’ for her big sister, scandle-wise– recently crossing into a danger zone by allegedly ‘packing heat.’

PEOPLE runs the story that Pippa’s male companion’s pistol was a toy.  But Pippa needs to be careful about pushing her role as ‘scandal sister’ much too far.  So far, she has mostly kept her footing (even in stilleto heels) and kept the notorious British press too bloody distracted to give her sister the Princess too hard a time.

Maybe all Di needed was a sister as adventurous as Pippa.  With her plunging necklines, sly grin and revolving Rich-British-Bachelor boyfriends, Pippa has sashayed through the Fleet Street circus with flair, always giving ’em (and us) ‘something to talk about.’  Too much, this week.

Meanwhile lovely Kate glides through her own regal role like a swan, seemingly unruffled by crude rumors of pregnancy woes, above the fray yet projecting a warmth and down-to-earth charm that would do Di proud as she greets the masses.

Speaking as someone lucky enough to have one: there’s no substitute for a good sister.  As long Pippa can keep her own flaming fame– and her friends– in control, these two can ‘keep each other’s backs’ with their Sister Act.

(images: popeater.com, umf.com, Today.com, People.com, all via Googleimages)

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And the winner is– no one.  Fiction writers these days are used to being dissed– but when fellow writers join the chorus of rasberries, it hurts.  At a dire time for serious fiction, the Pulitzer Prize board allowed an epic fail.

No one benefits from the inexplicable inability of the Pulitzer Prize judging board to find one worthy title among hundreds.  If the three ‘finalist’ titles offered– all by brilliant writers, including Denis Johnson, overdue for this honor– did not please this board, couldn’t they request more titles?

From a report in Salon, it sounds like the committee did have the rarely exercised ‘option’ to bestow the prize on their own title.  If not, who would have cared if they bent their silly rules?

A lot of writers do care, BTW, that they didn’t care to try.  So much has now been wasted.  $10,000 and a career-altering honor and a rare chance for a serious book of fiction to claim some sliver of the national spotlight.

Yes, I was one of the writers lucky enough to have a novel published this year.  No, I didn’t dream the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate— an old Laugh-In gag that always comes to my mind regarding prizes– might point my way.  Though like many indie-press writers, I’d taken heart from the great successes of books like BINOCULAR VISION by Edith Pearlman, a splendid story collection containing the wisdom of a lifetime, which would have done the Pulitzer proud.

Everyone’s list of ‘obvious suspects’ from this year would be different, but mine would include (including some friends) THE LEFTOVERS by Tom Perrotta, THE MARRIAGE PLOT by Jeffery Eugenides, Don DeLillo’s story collection, FAITH by Jennifer Haigh, GOD BLESS AMERICA by Steve Almond.  The Pulitzer ‘gods’ decided to bless no one this year, to their own disgrace.

“And I’d like to thank– no one.”  Rasberries all round.

(images: discardedlies.com, orthocuban.com. StMartins.com, all via Googleimages)

**On a more upbeat prize note, follow this link and vote for DES activist/author Caitlin McCarthy, nominated again for prestigious President’s Citizens’ medal…

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RIP, Mike Wallace.  I grew up with 60 Minutes; Wallace was the beating heart behind that ticking clock– and by his death this week at 93, maybe a last bastion of the kind of journalistic integrity celebrated in Humphrey Bogart’s Deadline USA.

This same week on TODAY, Sarah Palin tries to ‘out-perky’ her nemesis Katie Couric.  In more clearly labeled ‘entertainment journalism,’ Perez Hilton (often more entertaining than the stars he covers) steals the show on the red carpet at ‘NewNowNext’.

On the business side of show biz, there is one bold voice in Entertainment News carrying on in Deadline USA style some of the old-fashioned values of reporting.

Deadline.com offers the scoop on entertainment business, with smart savvy Nikki Finke leading the charge.  Unlike many of the bot.-bod. models who populate Entertainment channels, Finke has real reporter’s chops.  She used to cover the Kremiln.  Plus, in the Grande Dame tradition of Hollywood news legends like Louella Parsons and Rona Barrett, Finke delivers her news with sharp-edged wit.

Screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy penned DEADLINE KNOWS, a stylish and heartfelt film  tribute inspired by Finke which Finke featured on her site.

In a Reality TV world, where the lines between entertainment and journalism continue to blur, Nikki Finke offers discerning Hollywood-news readers the real deal.

(photos:newyorkdailynews.com, thehollywoodgossip.com, the daily beast, Googleimages).

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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: WONDER DRUG with producer/star Alysia Reiner and Oscar-nominated director Joan Stein Schimke; and RESISTANCE with director Si Wall. In addition to screenwriting, Caitlin teaches English at an inner-city public high school. 

Dear Friends,

As a DES Daughter, I’m appalled that on Friday the FDA refused the call to ban BPA from food packaging. BPA is the “chemical cousin” of DES – and we all know about the generational devastation of DES exposure. (For decades, DES or diethylstilbestrol was seen as a medical miracle to help women with pregnancy issues and one of the first cash cows for pharmaceutical companies – but was in fact a toxic, carcinogenic drug and one of the biggest medical disasters in history, affecting millions of people worldwide.)

As you know, US Senator John Kerry (D-MA) and US Senator Scott Brown (R-MA) jointly sent a letter to the FDA about a DES apology in 2010.  In 2011, the Senators finally received a 3-page response from the FDA. The FDA’s letter did not contain an official apology from the federal government for the DES drug disaster. However, it acknowledged the devastating health consequences of DES, explained FDA initiatives to prevent future drug disasters, and talked about DES as a “tragedy.”

In light of the Senators’ championing of DES victims, please ask them to speak out against the FDA’s refusal to ban BPA from food packaging.

The Senators can be contacted in two ways:

** Fill out email forms for Senator Kerry and Senator Brown. You don’t have to live in Massachusetts to write to them. Also, it doesn’t matter what political party you belong to – the  Senators are friendly with each other and willing to work together on issues: http://kerry.senate.gov/contact/ and http://scottbrown.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contactme. (more…)

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