Of Pharisees and Plotto

I was pretty amused that the pop-up ads at NewAdvent.com (dedicated to the Holy Heart of Mary) were all directed at those of us of the Jewish faith--a Jewish dating service, a Jewish High School, a Jewish t-shirt company. Yes, a Jewish t-shirt company, Mazeltough.com--their slogan, "Jews Kick Ass!" (see above)

I was on NewAdvent to check out the Catholic Encylopedia and its definition of "Pharisees".

A politico-religious sect or faction....[when the] monarchial form of government had become a thing of the past; in its place [was created] a community which was half State, half Church. A growing sense of superiority to the heathen and idolatrous nations among whom their lot was cast came to be one of their main characteristics.

Sound familiar? Writer John Dufresne in an email today, asked me about Alito. I will be surprised if isn't a done deal. The problem lies with who's in the White House. Many in this country seem to cave to the right. Take the example of even that mildly amusing television program, the Book of Daniel. The American Family Association crows about its power of the pocketbook quoting its chairman Donald E. Wildmon:

NBC didn’t want to eat their economic losses...Had NBC not had to eat millions of dollars each time it aired, NBC would have kept ‘Daniel’ alive. But when the sponsors dropped the program, NBC decided it didn’t want to continue the fight.

AFA claims 2 million supporters online. Does that mean they count me, since I registered for the newsletter, just to keep an eye on them? These are the same folks who are reminding their followers to call for an up or down vote on Alito. Someone should remind these Pharisees that it's too soon to use that slogan after their treatment of that "closet liberal" Harriet Meyers.

It seems Mazeltough posts a lot of ads. One blogger, Vampirical, (Jeff Marion) actually questioned the addition to his site by Google ads on November 30. Through his site I learned about GNOD.com (Global Network of Dreams), the cool site artificial intelligence experiment of Marek Gibney of Hamburg, Germany. In his subsite, Gnooks, type in any three names of authors you like and it will recommend a fourth.

John Dufresne

Ed Falco

Bobbie Ann Mason

yields John Yount. I haven't read him, but I just may. Am on my way over to the library for the writer's practice group. By the way, substitue Marc Estrin for Bobbie Ann and you get Richard Russo. William Stafford for Bobbie Ann and you get May Sarton.

By the way, did you know that for folks who can't type, there's actually a site, http://dictioinary.com/ That's a good thing, because I can't. In fact, I just went back to this entry and corrected Bobbie Ann's name. (Yes, I know her from the Hindman Settlement School, where I walked her back to the Quiltmaker's Inn, but maybe I should still call her Ms. Mason.)

When I originally typed it Mason's name, Gnook suggested "Bobby". Since John Yount seemed on target and I lack confidence in both my spelling and my memory, I acceded. (Which I had to look up to get the spelling--did you know it also means to take the throne? That threw me (pun intended.) Then John Dufresne wrote me back, that Gnook mispelled Alice Munro's name. Maybe because the creator's German?

John's blog has a new feature, excerpts from Plotto: the Master Book of All Plots. He cites this one on January 25:

Involved in a Hopeless Love Affair, and Seeking to make the best of a Disheartening Situation: "A, and his friend A-2, traveling together, meet with a tragic accident in which A-2 is killed. Before he dies, A-2 requests A to carry the news of his death to his sweetheart, B. A proceeds with his mission."

Evidently, screenwriter/director Don Roos has a copy of Plotto. Consider his minor movie, Bounce: A man switches plane tickets with another man who dies in that plane in a crash. The man, feeling guilty, goes to check up on the widow and falls in love.

Is anything starring Ben Affleck except Good Will Hunting and Dogma minor? Roos also wrote The Opposite of Sex, Boys on the Side, and Love Field.

By the way, I wonder if John knows that the original author of Plotto, Michiganer

William Wallace Cook, prolific writer of dime novels. Heroes such as Frank Merriwell, Nick Carter, and Buffalo Bill were his specialty. Employed by Street and Smith, serial publishers, Cook's problems in turning out quantities of material on a tight schedule were described in the autobiographical account, The Fiction Factory. He later systematized his writing technique in Plotto, A New Method of Creative Fiction.

By the way, evidently Plotto is also a board game. Which is seredipitous, because, I was just about to pass on something about games which I got from the Guardian's news alert today.

I subscribe for its superior news coverage, not games. Yes and you bought Playboy for the interviews? You can now now download authentic Japanese hand drawn "addictive" sudokus, rather than their computer-designed imposters at its site.

(Sounds like a poem form). Dell used to call them Number.Places until a few months ago. I used to work them first in every issue of their Math and Logic Puzzles. They are addictive.


Happy Birthday, Walter Zevon

Today is the great Warren Zevon's birthday. The illustration is by editorial cartoonist R. J. Matson who, when he's not drawing for The New York Observer, Roll Call, The New Yorker, The Nation, MAD Magazine, City Limits, etc., also illustrated a CD for Zevon and others for the Capitol Steps comedy troupe.

Zevon was an honorary member of Dave Barry's Rock Bottom Remainders and played with them in 1998. This excerpt is from Barry's remembrance in the Miami Herald from 9/9/03:

He was also fascinated by writing. One of his closest friends was The Herald's Carl Hiaasen, a fellow twisted mind whom Zevon sought out at a book signing after Hiaasen mentioned him in his book Native Tongue. Through Hiaasen, Zevon became an honorary member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band of writers (I'm one) who periodically attempt, without success, to play rock 'n' roll. In 1998, at Hiaasen's urging, we invited Zevon to perform with the band; to our shock, he agreed, and flew to Miami to join us on stage for a performance at the Miami Book Fair.

We did several of his songs, including Poor, Poor Pitiful Me; the hilarious Hula Hula Boys; and the legendary Lawyers, Guns and Money. We also did Werewolves of London, but Zevon insisted that it had to be sung by Stephen King. King happily agreed, belting out a truly frightening version of the song, much to Zevon's delight.

Carnacki has a nice remembrance on his site today.