Saturday, December 3, 2011

Monkey Chaos 1.0

Many years ago, my son Ben Shearn, (whose blog "This list is life" is a must read for film geeks of all ages) told me that every year there is a monkey movie every year.
I for one would like to see Ben's list of the all time greatest monkey and primate movies of all time. Mine would be the original "Planet of the Apes."

So, I have written many scenarios for Monkey Chaos, my version of the genre. This is one of them. I don't remember writing it. And yet I find it, very much in my style.

This is me as a blonde.

Monkey Chaos  
by Nye Polanaise

Chapter 1
When Mickey Spilkes bought me a submarine sandwich in Lincoln Park in 1972, I had no idea that it was the prelude to the dissolution of polite society. After all as Freud once forgot to say, 'sometimes a hoagie is just a hoagie.' But Freud would have been wrong as was I and in a greater sense so was Mickey Spilkes.
    Before beginning his career as the subverter of Western culture, Spilkes was a gifted violinist, first chair of the Steelcase Symphony Orchestra. However in a tragic rush accident at Sigma, Sigma, Stigmata, Spilkes lost the use of his right hand and left eye brow. He was then unable to play the violin or react archly to any comments. And as this was before the days of the anti-depressant, he found work at the Chicago Zoo.
    There Mickey Spilkes found his soul mate, Ulysses, a nearly 600 pound lowland gorilla who could not sit anywhere he wanted. Ulysses had been expected to be the next Bushman or even Sinbad, popular animals beloved by adults of all ages and children from 6 to 7. Instead, Ulysses just grew fatter and spent his days sitting on a scale watching the dials go around.
    Mickey tended him lovingly and at one point thought of proposing but he felt self conscious about his eye brow, so demon-like he worked to create a formula which gave Ulysses the ability to communicate telepathically to other lowland gorillas and the guys who change light bulbs in really tall rooms. And what he communicated was a subtle message. And that message was "none of it matters, all life is pointless, give up while you still have a chance."

Chapter 2

    The telepathic assault was launched from zoos, circuses, rain forests, and certain television programs. It was supported by strange occurrences in rooms with high ceilings.
After years of this suggestion, the population became lethargic, disinterested, and motivated only by snack food and air pollution.
    Mickey Spilkes had won. Ulysses sat stuffed and mounted in Mickey's recreation of Carnegie Hall made entirely of Popsicle sticks and bags of Cheetoes. And me, I'm still on the road, looking for that next submarine sandwich.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Words count. Especially 50,000 of them.

I wrote 53,842 words as part of National Novel Writing Month. 
But who's counting? Me and frequently.

I enjoyed the writer's life and remembered the years in my 20s and 30s when I believed that I would make a living as a writer. Of course, it was much easier at that time because I smoked cigarettes. That makes writing much easier although it makes your insurance premiums higher and there are apparently health risks.

                                     (these guys got to smoke, big advantage)

It is not coincidental that my 17 year old main character (or mc as we call him on the ChiWriMo facebook page) smokes cigarettes and has an Ace of Spades Zippo lighter.

The reward for all that writing became the word count. To write 50,000 words in 30 requires writing 1,667 words a day. Putting this in perspective, last Tuesday column (11/29/11) by Thomas Friedman in the New York Times is 891 words. In terms of bulk then, it is writing 2 Thomas Friedman columns a day and unlike Thomas Friedman you have to make everything up. (There may be room for debate on whether TF is making things up but that is another blog post for another blogger)

Don't know if TF is a smoker

The NaNoWriMo site has an excellent stats tab that show daily progress in a graph form as well as an estimated completion date based on a running average of your production.

Now that I have typed all these words, I have to decide what happens next. Do I edit what I've written? Turn it into a screenplay? Create a puppet show?

Time will tell. As it stands now, I am only happy with one line in the book.

Doris is the mc's aunt (by marriage, not blood).

Not that my own family showed a lot of affection but the only thing Doris could nurse was a hangover.

My wife had an aunt Doris but she was very nice and not at all like the character in the book.

By the way, I am winner of the 2011 NaNoWriMo.

Since its inception, several books written during NaNoWriMo have been published.

I will advise when I make this list.

(this post is 441 words and a bunch of them are cut and pastes from wikipedia)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Local man types fas.t NaNoWriMo in full m.f. effect

I subscribe to the Gotham Writer's Workshop e-mail newsletter. The reason for this can be found in this charmingly out of date profile of the author Amy Shearn. (what about being a mother of two super kids and having another book published and starting a play school and blogging for Oprah)
Cute Picture don't you think?

Anyhoo, I get this e-mail that says there is a National Novel Writing Month and November is it. The deal that you write a novel of at least 50,000 words in November and then they send you an e-mail certificate. And there are lots of online and dirt world sorts of things like forums and write-ins but I couldn't figure how what powers my Icon should have.

I am up to 9719 words, a little above the 1666 average I need to keep.

Here is what I know about this organization and it comes from Wikipedia. It started in San Francisco in 1999 with 21 participants. In 2010 there were over 200,000 would be Flauberts et al. And to date for 2011, they have raised $379,587 from about 10,000 fast typists or about $40 per person.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hey kids..Here's old school occupying

Don Shearn 2009
I prefer my post-ironic version.

Scary Person 1970s
I like all the hair.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sic semper tyrannis, Mideast flavor

 This looks good to me. It's Saturday. Let's see an old dead guy in a rug.
Libya 10/22/2011

Yassir Arafat's final landing. Hey, it's like that scene in Miss Saigon.

Ramallah 11/12/2004
As of September 2011, Miss Saigon is still the eleventh longest-running Broadway musical in musical theatre history.

"Would you like a piece of me?" Apparently yes, they did.  Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini splayed to rest, AKA Grand Ayatollah, June 4, 1989.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Fascist Insect

Whilst reading the NYT magazine, I came upon a story about a rebirth of vinyl.
A former corporate attorney and CEO, Vince Slusarz, left his water processing equipment position in 2008 and decided to be about pressing vinyl records.
Read the actual story here...

I understand that there is a hipster demo that is listening to and buying vinyl. Not Not Fun is a LA label that specializes in vinyl and cassettes and one of their bands stayed at my house but then the broke up. But it wasn't my fault.

Back to Cleveland where Vince has his company. One of his employees, Mitch Ribis is an Iraq war veteran and has a "noise-rock band" or  "down-tempo / industrial," Or "noise-worship Industrial/Doom." It is called  Fascist Insect.

This t-shirt that hangs upstairs in no way attacks the nice, industrial doom band or any of their individual members.
The t-shirt is a project that me and my friends did while we were in our 20s.
The painting is unsigned.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

60, a personal project

Recently, I left the basement to visit friends and family in San Francisco Bay Area.
The slide show has been banned by facebook because they objected to my recording of "The Sunny Side of the Street."
As many of you know, I do a spot on impression of Louis Armstrong and play very much in his style. True, I used a synthesizer for the rest of the combo.
Be that as it may, all individuals shown in this slideshow are actors who were cast as family and friends.

Enjoy...although it was shortened by google as well.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

It takes a Santorum to make a spillage.

Rick Santorum complained this week about a "Google" problem that he has had since 2003. Naturally, I went to Google to see what was troubling, the also-ran candidate for the GOP nod.

Here is what I found.

For santorum....

The top three...

There were better results for the former Pennsylvania Senator when I tried Rick Santorum.

The first and third results flip and Santorum's wikipedia page is #1. Santorum's official campaign site comes in at #6.

Santorum's real problem is more related to #2.

In 2003, Dan Savage, angered by Santorum's slurs against gay people, asked his readers to coin a definition for "santorum"  which would offend the Senator.

Today, "santorum" is known as the "the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex". 

Awesomely brilliant strategy.

The more Santorum grouses about Google, the more basement dwelling trogs view the page he finds so morally repulsive.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

T S Eliot and irony of cheese and a poet who is not afraid to talk about cheese

"What was peculiar to TSE in this sort," wrote I. A. Richards, "was the delicately perceptible trace, the ghastly flavor of irony which about his manner as though he were preparing a parody"--as when Eliot declined Richard's invitation to visit with him in Peking in 1929 on the grounds that he did "not care to visit any country which has no native cheese"

T.S. Eliot and the Cultural Divide, by David E. Chinitz, University of Chicago Press, 2005


CHEESE (a letter from T. S. Eliot)
Sir – Mr. David Garnett (reviewing Mr. Osbert Burdett’s book [i.e. A Little Book of Cheese, London: Gerald Howe, 1935, which was intended "to aid the reader in the choice of cheese"]) is in error in supposing that there is no tolerable American cheese. There is a delicious Port Salut type made by Trappist monks in Ontario. But Trappist monks, like their cheese, are the product of “a settled civilisation of long standing,” and I fear that there is little demand for either. Americans seem to prefer a negative cream cheese which they can eat with salad: and American salads are barbaric. I wish Mr. Garnett would take the initiative in founding such a society as he suggests; and I for one would be glad to buy a Double Cottenham, if he could put me in the way of it.
Oxford and Cambridge
T. S. Eliot
University Club
Pall Mall, S. W. 1

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The End of Irony?

One good thing could come from this horror: it could spell the end of the age of irony. For some 30 years--roughly as long as the Twin Towers were upright--the good folks in charge of America's intellectual life have insisted that nothing was to be believed in or taken seriously. Nothing was real. With a giggle and a smirk, our chattering classes--our columnists and pop culture makers--declared that detachment and personal whimsy were the necessary tools for an oh-so-cool life. Who but a slobbering bumpkin would think, "I feel your pain"? The ironists, seeing through everything, made it difficult for anyone to see anything. The consequence of thinking that nothing is real--apart from prancing around in an air of vain stupidity--is that one will not know the difference between a joke and a menace.

Roger Rosenblatt, Time Magazine, September 24, 2011  

Read more:,9171,1000893,00.html#ixzz1XfB9aCeL

The New Yorker, September 5, 2011

Sunday, September 4, 2011

how improv training helps you to play with your grandchildren or children or a nice nephew or niece

1. Agreeing with a two year old is better than asking questions. If you ask questions, they answer and the game stops. Example. Do you want Elmo to go to the park?
Child will say yes or no and then what.

If however you say, "I'm taking Elmo to the park"
The kid says,"Let's take him on the swings."
Now, you've got a narrative.

2. The "game" in improv world is what happens that is unique, strange, or remarkable about the interaction between the people on stage. Example...a senior partner at a law firm is so arrogant that he can't even compliment a junior partner without it being a put down. He just gets worse and the junior partner quits the firm.

With a child, the game is less complex. Elmo and non-branded dolls a bath. The game....shampoo in their eyes...they either get shampoo in their eyes and they cry or you are careful to keep shampoo out of their eyes. That is the centerpiece of each bath scene.

3. Props can work. My granddaughter  (2 1/2) picked up a ukulele. I suggested that she play "Twinkle, Twinkle little star." She played that. Then she became a song leader and made up words to the tune of "Twinkle, twinkle" and had the doll students standing up, sitting down, dancing and singing.

FYI...there 57 million google results for Elmo and and 6.5 million image results.

Here is Joe Pesci, playing with Elmo,

                                          Elmo in Don's Basement

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pan Flutes, Simon and Garfunkel and Anger

In Sunday's NY Times, Neil Genzlinger, city critic, comes up with 10 (or 9) offenses for which offenders can be fined.

First on the list...." Anyone playing a pan flute in public, licensed or not. Double fine for any pan flutist who plays that old Simon and Garfunkel song more than six times an hour."

That song is El Cóndor Pasa (The Condor Goes by (or Flies by), a Peruvian folk song.

This pan flute situation is very serious in New York. Here is link to Gridskipper than calls out the pan flutists.

Peruvian pan flute buskers rank just above NYU kids playing Bob Dylan covers in the Astor Place subway station in terms of pure distilled crap. Amazingly, you can go anywhere in the world--or at least wherever tourists can be found--and catch a group of sad looking Peruvians blowing on their pan pipes, strumming a guitar, with a PA system providing back up and a tambourine forlornly keeping time, churning out New Agey pap. 

The Gridskipper post is from 2006 and Times wrote about these dudes on 2011.
Get out much or is it the end of political correctness?

St Swithin's Day and Frank Sinatra

In the movie "One Day",  Emma Morley (Anne Hathaway) and Dexter Mayhew (Jim Sturgess) begin a friendship that will last a lifetime. That day July 15, 1988 is St. Swithin's day.
As far as I can tell, St Swithin's is some kind of "ground hog day" for rain.
As in this verse..
St Swithun's day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithun's day if thou be fair
For forty days 'twill rain nae mar 
  Who was St. Swithin or Swithun? You can look it up.

What interests me is a letter that Frank Sinatra wrote to George Michael after Michael wrote about the "tragedy of fame" in a 1990 magazine article.

Come on George, Loosen up. Swing, man, Here's a kid who 'wanted to be a pop-star since I was about seven years old.' and now he's a smash performer and song-writer at 27, he wants to quit doing what tons of gifted youngsters all over the world would shoot grandma for- just one crack at what he's complaining about. ....And no more of that talk about the 'tragedy of fame' The tragedy of fame is when no-one shows up and you're singing to the cleaning-lady in some empty joint that hasn't seen a paying customer since St. Swithin's Day. 

Thus my belief, that it is still Frank's world and we're just living in it.

St. Swithin