Ripped from the headlines

  • 7.12.18 Why billionaires are not your financial angels, or your moral compass


    Did you hear the news? Flint, Michigan’s water supply is going to be saved.
    Elon Musk said so in a tweet.
    So you know everything’s going to be all right. Cue the Bob Marley music.
    Now, let’s take a breath and understand why – even if Musk does come through on his internet promise, even if he does throw whatever sums of money are needed at this issue and everyone in Flint can finally have a basic human right of drinkable water from its municipal source – this is a not a good idea at all.
    Let’s put aside the ... continue

  • 6.29.18 ‘Westworld,’ ‘Humans’ forget to ask the big question: What does a robot want?


    (Warning: Somewhat spoilery.)
    What does a robot want?
    In this time of real-world troubles among flesh-and-blood humans, I suppose it’s easier to think about robot needs and wishes, of androids dreaming of electric sheep. To consider where Westworld thinks its going, and about the hole Humans appears to have fallen into. And so ….
    As of now, I’ve watched all that Westworld and Humans have to offer, and both are based on similar tropes: robots designed to help and/or provide pleasure for humans become sentient and aware. The robot journey itself is far from new, either – Westworld iwas a 1973 ... continue

  • 6.13.18 We are officially old: Simon Le Bon is a Glamfather. Er, Grandfather


    Duran Duran fans, it’s official: We are old.
    How do I know this?
    Because — as had to happen eventually — Simon Le Bon became a grandfather on June 6.
    I figure there are stages in the life of teen fandom:

    You find the object of affection (OOA)
    You lust after OOA
    You write fanfic about OOA (OK, maybe that’s just me)
    OOA gets married and you mourn and then you try to pretend to be happy because he’s happy and Idon’tcarenotreallyanymoreIcanbemature
    While meeting OOA you realize, “He’s kind of a doofus,” which is endearing but makes all of ... continue

  • 5.22.18 How To Review Your Friend’s Book in 5 Easy Steps, and Why Authors Keep Asking You To


    A friend writes: “Someone close to me has self-published her book and asked me to write a review. I helped her with edits years ago, but haven’t read it since she published. It wasn’t really my style, but I was happy to help. I have no idea what to write for a review. We’re trying to sell books. I don’t think my review will do it. Any ideas?”
    I am so glad you asked this question. First of all, you’ve already done yeoman (yeowoman?) work in reading the thing in the first place, so you are already on the Good ... continue

  • 5.17.18 9 Ways I Know ‘Book Club’ Will Stink, Based on the Poster


    Last night, Dear Husband and I were talking about what we might do this weekend. (We still haven’t seen Black Panther, which is a stain on our character, and that is probably what will happen.) But then he brought up Book Club.
    I’m not sure if my eyes dropped out right then or a few seconds later, but my first thought was: He might be the only heterosexual male in the world to suggest that we go to this particular film. Then my second thought was, Oh, right, he likes Candice Bergen and Murphy Brown so OK.And then I ... continue

  • 5.13.18 How a musical called ‘Chess’ keeps making all the wrong moves after 34 years


    Chess is not a great musical. It is not even one of Tim Rice’s greatest musicals. But if you’ve ever heard “One Night in Bangkok” or “I Know Him So Well,” you know this: it’s got some pretty awesome 1980s-era pop music. And I love it dearly.

    How could I not? Along with Rice, the musical’s two other co-authors are members of ABBA (Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus), and based on the soundtrack – which was all I had to listen to for years, until a version came to Broadway – there was some terrific, pointed commentary on politics, greed, ... continue

  • 04.03.18 Farewell Steven Bochco, who knew TV audiences wanted to be ‘transported’


    He was the man behind Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue, L.A. Law and Cop Rock. OK, nobody’s perfect. But Steven Bochco, who died of a rare form of leukemia on April 1 at age 74, bridged classic old TV procedurals with a new, edgy way of storytelling that was also hugely commercial.
    As I grew up, his name was synonymous with television — and damn good television at that. I spoke with him twice over the years, and he was never uninteresting. Below, excerpts from our chats where he talks about other classic TV guys like Stephen Cannell and Grant ... continue

  • 3.31.18 Shiny, Happy, Drunken People … and a Dash of Racism


    Surely, no one wants to read about my first cruise. But if you do, then you are totally in the right place.
    This is a long one, so settle in, won’tcha? Also, here’s a shortcut to a few high- and low-lights:
    The Ugly
    In Conclusion
    Ah, cruising.
    When I was a kid, my parents went on a cruise. They did not take their kids: we were left in the care of my then-kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Casey, and I had the best week ever by not going on a cruise. She was awesome. This says things ... continue

  • 3.07.18 My grandmother was the president of my fan club


    I always knew my grandmother loved me. We called her Buddie, because I wouldn’t or couldn’t say “Bubbie” and it just stuck. But there was never a question that she was on my side and would have thrown herself in front of an oncoming train if it meant saving my life.
    Turns out she was also my memory-keeper and president of my fan club. I don’t even know when I got my braces, my driver’s license or (gasp) my period, but she was taking notes. Literally.
    My mom (her daughter) was moving house recently and had to discard a lot ... continue

  • 12.31.17 Arisia 2018 Schedule


    Come find me at Arisia in Boston over MLK Weekend in 2018! Here’s my schedule:
    Friday, Jan. 12, 11:30pm – 12:45am (Bulfinch)
    Author’s Late-Night Writer’s Cafe
    Night owls … is the Muse talking, but you can’t go back to your room? Bring your laptops and tap away at your keys, building wonderful worlds and heart-wrenching characters, hanging out with other writers until the wee hours of the morning, unworried about whether your mumbled dialogue or computer’s blue screen is keeping your roomies awake. Bring your own extension cords! Note: This is a writer decompress event; come prepared for some inspiration ... continue