Monday, October 29, 2007

Congratulations Red Sox!

No need for an extended essay. Red Sox fans can decide for themselves whether this year feels better than 2004. As a Yankees fan, and therefore as a completely objective observer, I can only say that this year's team performed even more impressively than that one; the apparent lows and dire comebacks only tend to confirm their essential dominance of both leagues. There's every reason to expect they will continue to contend strongly in the foreseeable future.
Speaking of which, it looks like uncertain times coming up for the Yanks, to say the least. Man, I don't even want to go into it right now.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ann Coulter, Perfect

Idiot. Normally I don't watch or listen to talk shows, nor do I pay much attention to what Ann Coulter says, unless I read about her inane opinions elsewhere. In this case, I followed a link from today's post by Laila Lalami to a transcript of Coulter's interview with Donny Deutsch on his CNBC show "The Big Idea" last Monday. I could not believe it. Just as Deutsch kept pressing Coulter to clarify her statements to the effect that Jews need to be "perfected" by becoming Christians, I kept reading through the transcript trying to figure out if my eyes were deceiving mein other words, trying to figure out if, at any time during the interview, she'd made a statement that would make sense to an intelligent person.
Now I want to be fair. I couldn't find the actual word "need" in her statements in the transcript. However, it does start off with this startling exchange:
DEUTSCH: Christian -- so we should be Christian? It would be better if we were all Christian?
DEUTSCH: We should all be Christian?
COULTER: Yes. Would you like to come to church with me, Donny?
Later, in response to Deutsch's attempt to compare her to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the head of Iran, she clarifies as follows:
COULTER: No, we think -- we just want Jews to be perfected, as they say.
DEUTSCH: Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?
Are these the dumbest things she's ever said or written? Not even close. Do I think she's as bad as Ahmadinejad? Not really. But did her statements take her down a rhetorical path well-travelled by anti-semites? Absolutely! I love the last lines of the transcript:
DEUTSCH: You said -- your exact words were, "Jews need to be perfected." Those are the words out of your mouth.
COULTER: No, I'm saying that's what a Christian is.
DEUTSCH: But that's what you said -- don't you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic --
DEUTSCH: How do you not see? You're an educated woman. How do you not see that?
COULTER: That isn't hateful at all.
DEUTSCH: But that's even a scarier thought.
I like to call these attempts by media arch-conservatives to communicate their ideas "close encounters of the sixth, seventh, or eighth kind" (according to Wikipedia, first through fifth are taken), which I define respectively as "An entity is observed, but no intelligent activity is reported in the area at that time", "An entity is observed, but the subject (observer, listener, viewer) experiences some kind of 'unintelligible or incoherent communication' ", and "Attempted abduction of intelligence by alien entities in the form of right-wing media pundits". Note that, unlike other classes of alien sightings and encounters, these can be observed with high frequency by large numbers of humans under ordinary conditions.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Not always a loser...

Certainly don't want to give that impression. Evidence to the contrary appears in the form of a 100 word story of mine, "Advice", now appearing on-line in the Fall 2007 issue of the Boston Literary Magazine (Drabble section). I can tell from the many comments that appear beneath my blog-posts that my audience is huge, which gives me a nice platform I can use to boost the on-line circulation of publications and web-sites I admire.
Oh, did you link here from there? Never mind....

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bad Writing Contest Loser

What do you do with a losing entry in a bad flash fiction writing contest? Post it at your own blog! The "assignment" was to come up with a badly written beach scene, limited to 250 words, that would make any editor want to shred it.* The implied challenge, of course, is that it should be bad, but artfully bad! How many fundamental flaws can you find in this loser?
by Steven Levery
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. The opening line of "Murphy," by Samuel Beckett, is appropriate here, because it makes me, the author, sound highly literate, although I was drunk most of the time I read it and don't remember much, except in "Murphy" the sun "shone" over an apartment complex somewhere in the British Isles, while in this story it "shone" over Detroit Beach. I'm not sure if there really is a beach in Detroit, but it doesn't matter because I'm making this stuff up, same thing Beckett did when he wrote "Murphy." I feel that Beckett and I are the same, except he's dead.
The sun shone on Detroit Beach like a lozenge in the sore throat of the sky, except it wasn't cool and soothing. Ginnie and Minnie found the sun annoying, but not as annoying as the rotting seaweed, birds and fish that littered the beach because of a raging storm the night before. Ginnie tripped over a dead sea skate and cursed. You'll have to imagine what she sounded like, unless you're from Detroit. Another woman walked up, her towheaded son in tow. What is that thing? she said. Looks like a sea skate, said Minnie. The woman wanted to focus her son's attention on the carcass, but his gaze kept wandering to the ocean, which was bigger. Look at it, Adam, she said, I'm trying to teach you something! What is it, Mommy? he finally asked. It's dead, she said.
*The contest was sponsored this past August by CoolStuff4 Writers. Note that the deadline, September 1, has passed, and the winner selected, or I wouldn't be posting this. If you want to see the winning entry, go to their web-site, where it will be posted soon (it has already appeared in their newsletter, to which you can easily subscribe).
For anyone who is wondering, I was told by a fellow writer who lived in Detroit that there really is a beach there (on Belle Isle in the middle of the Detroit River). Thanks Bill!