Ripped from the headlines

  • 02.18.17 ‘It’s been a good run, but I think we reached the end’


    I said to him, “I think we’re done here.”
    He looked at me, waiting for the next shoe.
    “As a country, I mean,” I say. “It’s been a good run but I think we reached the end, logical or not.”
    “How so?”
    “Think about it. If she’d been elected – they just would not have let her govern. Yeah, she has lots of government contacts and plenty of savvy and could have done a decent job, but there would have been no honeymoon period.”
    “I don’t think so.”
    “Really. Look at the last eight years. What did he get done? ... continue

  • 01.31.17 Beyond civil disobedience: Why we need bridge-burners to smoke out Washington’s monsters


    Earlier today, I read a Tweet from editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden that said, in part, “Protests are great and should continue but shaming the unshameable isn’t a plan.”
    He’s right. And we’re going about this all the wrong way.
    Part of the problem – the true cognitive dissonance many of us have been feeling since the inauguration – is that we are reacting to the new administration the way we would if other politicians were irritating us, or doing things we disapproved of. We opened up the rule book and it said, “Make calls.” Then it said, “Write letters.” And ... continue

  • 01.23.17 Kick out the White House press corps? Oh, please do!


    The Orwellian playbook the new White House administration has been using now has a new phrase: “alternative facts.” That’s how spokesperson Kellyanne Conway characterized new press secretary Scott Spicer’s assertion of attendance at Friday’s inaugural of the new POTUS.
    But she also had this gem to add, speaking to “Meet the Press” anchor Chuck Todd: “If we’re going to keep referring to our Press Secretary in those types of terms, we’re going to have to rethink our relationship here.”
    Oh, please, Ms. Conway! Please do!
    Then on Monday, the new administration continued down this path, with the POTUS telling Fox ... continue

  • 01.11.17 Where to find me: Boston in January! (Aka: Arisia)


    For those of you who are intentionally or not-so-intentionally heading up to Boston for the long MLK weekend, I would like to invite you to check out Arisia, the biggest science-fiction and fantasy convention in the Northeast, and visit me at one of five, count ’em five, panels!

    While the whole convention is terrific and runs Jan. 13-16, I’ve got them all bunched into one day: Sunday, January 15:
    10:00 a.m. (Marina 2)
    “Well-Behaved Women Rarely Make Fantasy”
    From Susan Pevensie’s lipstick to fan-hate for Sansa Stark, feminine characters often get shortchanged by fantasy authors and fans alike, losing ... continue

  • 1.3.17 ‘I would like to be who my mom has been – not afraid to be a little weird’


    I never did get to speak with the late Carrie Fisher or Debbie Reynolds (more’s the pity) but I hear they were cracking gals. The pair died within a day of one another last week, which sent a lot of us into a tailspin, once again shaking our fists at the craptacular way 2016 presented.
    But in September 2016 I did get to speak with Fisher’s daughter Billie Lourd (who uses her agent father Bryan’s last name, and stars in “Scream Queens”). Lourd, 24, was just awesome in a way you don’t expect when speaking with young actors. She was ... continue

  • 12.26.16 All respect to George Michael, who helped me find my tribe


    Take me back in time maybe I can forget
    Turn a different corner and we never would have met
    I owe George Michael so much.
    And the first time I saw him, I wasn’t even sure he was a boy.
    I was in 10th grade in the fall of 1984, in my brand-new high school and really didn’t know shit about anything. I was desperately concerned with being seen as cool. My middle-school record collection was heavily populated with stuff like Air Supply and Simon and Garfunkel and Neil Diamond and the soundtrack to “Grease.”
    I was definitely going ... continue

  • 11.28.16 ‘All actors love having a death scene’


    We’ve all seen the bad death scene in movies and on TV. There’s usually a lot of coughing, dragged-out final “last words” that inevitably mean nothing or are so riddle-iculous they end up kicking off some huge mystery, then more coughing and — zap! Frozen eyes, limp body. Or worse, eyes suddenly close, body goes limp.
    “All actors love having a death scene,” screenwriter and actor Robert Schenkkan told me. But as I explored in the article, it’s not always easy to get it right. So how do actors and filmmakers keep from going full-on cliche when it comes to ... continue

  • 11.12.16 ‘I’m done with you people’


    I saw a headline this morning that read something like “Mike Pence doesn’t accept evolution, and here’s why that matters,” here was my reaction:
    I’m done with you people.
    Utterly spent, completely done, worn down, nothing but raw bone showing.
    I think I’ve been done since I went to bed in tears around 11pm on Tuesday night, and I’ve really only gotten more done in the ensuing days. I am not listening to NPR re-hash it all again, and I’m averting my eyes and ears whenever the subject comes up on TV or in the newspaper. I find memequotes from various historical ... continue

  • 11.08.16 In which to no one’s surprise I out myself as a big honkin’ liberal


    When I was 10, Ronald Reagan got elected. The Washington Post published a whole section devoted to the man. I still remember the picture of his lined, determined face, of the white hat on his head. He’d warned: things are bad. And he’d promised: I will make them better. He appealed to me.
    Bear in mind, I was 10. Stuffed animals appealed to me. Black-and-white reasoning appealed to me. Rules without exceptions appealed to me.
    Then I grew up.
    I think I was probably in middle school when I determined that I was a big ol’ liberal. I can’t say it ... continue

  • 10.24.16 A warning to others (or) how not to get published in an anthology


    This is my favorite Demotivational Poster:

    As a writer, there are any number of ways to break into the business. The best ones involve sales of stories and books and notice and applause by the world. But all writers have at least one of the other kinds of stories. The kind where even as you’re living it, you begin thinking, “This is one of those bad moves that hopefully will serve as a warning to others. Maybe even myself.”
    Back in July, I submitted (for the nth time) a short story in the hopes of having it included in an ... continue