Saturday, January 31, 2009

Freedom and Choice

This weekend, the Catholic Faithful were enjoined from the pulpit to help defeat the Freedom of Choice Act. Of course, they didn't call it by name, only initials. FOCA. Because the words, FREEDOM and CHOICE, are so very threatening. A poster displayed the list of horrific consequences should the liberals hold sway. Most parishes offered preprinted, addressed postcards so each person can lobby their Senator to defeat the bill.

I expect egregious misinformation from the usual vocal opponents of Pro-Choice. I didn't expect printed material delivered in church, dispensed by the diocese, to be full of inflammatory misrepresentations.

Silly me.

Shame on them.

Here is a link to the actual text of the bill. Freedom of Choice Act. In previous sessions of Congress, it has been submitted twice and died, twice, in committee. Even though one of President Obama's campaign promises was to pass and sign the Freedom of Choice Act, the Senate is still, by small margin, Pro-Life.

Here is the treacherous villainy some in Congress would foist on the American public.

"A woman's decision to commence, prevent, continue, or terminate a pregnancy is one of the most intimate decisions an individual ever faces. As such, reproductive health decisions are best made by the woman, in consultation with her medical provider or loved ones, without governmental interference." is a site that tracks the progress of bills through Congress. This link shows the progress of the bill in the 110th Session. I hope the 111th does better, even with an onslaught from the Catholic Mislead.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Eureka and All That



Fine-a-lee, after, I shudder to think how long, I FINISHED my anti-war script.

Poor script was interrupted by disaster after disaster that consumed my time and energy until I thought George Bush wasn't the only one who'd never get out of Iraq.

I even passed the point where I wanted to write, and then they all died, and move on to something else. But I didn't because, I have a rule.


So, I did.

Of course, now that we have President Obama, the time for war protests is probably over. Plus none of the anti-war projects that got made did very well.


If I let little things like that dissuade me, I wouldn't be a screenwriter in the first place.

Party at my house tonight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


There's an article here about a crisis in Emergency Medical Services. I thought the sidebar held interesting information.

Come to your rescue

"If you want EMTs to arrive in time to save your life, you need to do more than just dial 911 and pray really hard. You also need to heed the findings of a recent study published in Academic Emergency Medicine and take these four steps to eliminate EMS obstacles."

Show the way

"A wrong address is the most common reason emergency services are delayed, according to the study. After you give your address to 911, ask the dispatcher to read it back to you so you can correct any errors they (or you) might have made."

This is misleading. Your phone number reveals your address to Dispatch unless you're on a cell. However, Dispatch only knows what they've been told. If you live on the corner, behind the garage, up the stairs in the back, second door on the right, give some directions or rescuers might spend some time milling around in the yard.

Flip the light on

"The right address won't do the EMTs much good if they can't read your house or apartment number in the dark. Flick on every outside light. And take the time now — before you're clutching your chest — to install reflective house numbers."

My service area is 110 sq miles with over 300 residents. We have two subdivisions* with no posted house numbers and no street signs.** We have a few houses with a street address where there is no access from that street.*** Interesting, no? We have, a couple of times, zeroed in on the house with the lights on, and so far, haven't surprised someone just up for a midnight snack. If I -- someone relatively familiar with the area -- am sometimes confused,**** what chance to the city boys in the ambulance have? Clearly mark your house. Do not wait for local government to do it for you.

X marks the spot

"Tell the dispatcher where you'll be inside the house. You don't want them to waste time on a room-to-room search. Or have someone escort the EMTs to your side; in the study, doing this cut 24 lifesaving seconds off the average rescue time."

This hasn't been a problem for us. Usually, someone is standing on the porch, desperately waving and yelling, "Hurry up!" If you're alone, collapsed in your bedroom, holding your chest with one hand and the portable phone with the other, tell Dispatch where you are, and that you forgot to . . .

Unlock the door

"Obvious? In their panic, a lot of people forget to slide the bolt or turn the key. If you're alone and lose consciousness, the EMTs will have to burn critical minutes trying to break down the door — or doors — to reach you. Give them a clear path."

Yeah, we'll break down the door, but not before we've spent time making sure no one's coming to answer it, and then notifying Dispatch we're about to break into a house.***** You might want us in there sooner than that.

My best advice

Take time to think about an emergency situation before you have one on your hands. Even the smallest consideration of what would I do if this happened -- will work in your benefit should you need help.

*I'm not sure you'd call them subdivisions, more like 20+acre rancherias.
** Montana, last best place to hide out or hole up.
***If I wanted company, I wouldn't have moved out in the middle of god-awful nowhere.
****Not lost, thank-you.
*****Again, hoping we're not about to surprise someone just up for a midnight snack.

Friday, January 23, 2009

< Funny

Caught the Jeff Dunham show in Bozeman Tuesday night. In case you haven't heard, he's a ventriloquist whose characters are a curmudgeon -- Walter, Bubba J-- redneck, Peanut -- hyper whatsis, and Achmed -- The Dead Terrorist, who is famous for saying ...

I always thought Achmed was edgy and bold. This morning, I'm wondering.

Last night, Dunham's character, Peanut, went on an extended rant about ordering Chinese food over the phone to a Chinese person who couldn't speak understandable English.

That's right. Chinese people talk funny.

At one point, Dunham admonished Peanut that this was racist, to which Peanut replied, "and funny as hell."

No, Jeff, racism is not funny. It's cheap and lazy.

But now, I'm wondering. Has Dunham's comedy always been racist, and I didn't mind because, afterall, who likes Arab terrorists?

Maybe, Jeff isn't the only one who should be ashamed of himself this morning.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar Time

Nominations for the Academy Awards are out. Screenplays listed LAST, as usual.

Here is the list, with nominations for best writing FIRST because, hello, without the script, you don't have a movie.

Nominees for the 81st Academy Awards

Adapted screenplay

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Screenplay by Eric Roth, Screen story by Eric Roth and Robin Swicord
  • Doubt” (Miramax), Written by John Patrick Shanley
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Screenplay by Peter Morgan
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Screenplay by David Hare
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original screenplay

  • Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics), Written by Courtney Hunt
  • Happy-Go-Lucky” (Miramax), Written by Mike Leigh
  • In Bruges” (Focus Features), Written by Martin McDonagh
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Andrew Stanton, Jim Reardon, Original story by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docter

Performance by an actor in a leading role

  • Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
  • Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
  • Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
  • Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

  • Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
  • Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
  • Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)

Performance by an actress in a leading role

  • Anne Hathaway in “Rachel Getting Married” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Angelina Jolie in “Changeling” (Universal)
  • Melissa Leo in “Frozen River” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • Meryl Streep in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Kate Winslet in “The Reader” (The Weinstein Company)

Performance by an actress in a supporting role

  • Amy Adams in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Penélope Cruz in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” (The Weinstein Company)
  • Viola Davis in “Doubt” (Miramax)
  • Taraji P. Henson in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
  • Marisa Tomei in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Best animated feature film of the year

  • Bolt” (Walt Disney), Chris Williams and Byron Howard
  • Kung Fu Panda” (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount), John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton

Achievement in art direction

  • Changeling” (Universal), Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
  • The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
  • Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

Achievement in cinematography

  • Changeling” (Universal), Tom Stern
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Claudio Miranda
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Wally Pfister
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Chris Menges and Roger Deakins
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Anthony Dod Mantle

Achievement in costume design

  • Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
  • The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
  • Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Albert Wolsky

Achievement in directing

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Fincher
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Ron Howard
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Gus Van Sant
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), Stephen Daldry
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Danny Boyle

Best documentary feature

  • The Betrayal (Nerakhoon)” (Cinema Guild), A Pandinlao Films Production, Ellen Kuras and Thavisouk Phrasavath
  • Encounters at the End of the World” (THINKFilm and Image Entertainment), A Creative Differences Production, Werner Herzog and Henry Kaiser
  • The Garden” A Black Valley Films Production, Scott Hamilton Kennedy
  • Man on Wire” (Magnolia Pictures), A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
  • Trouble the Water” (Zeitgeist Films), An Elsewhere Films Production, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal

Best documentary short subject

  • The Conscience of Nhem En” A Farallon Films Production, Steven Okazaki
  • The Final Inch” A Vermilion Films Production, Irene Taylor Brodsky and Tom Grant
  • Smile Pinki” A Principe Production, Megan Mylan
  • The Witness - From the Balcony of Room 306” A Rock Paper Scissors Production, Adam Pertofsky and Margaret Hyde

Achievement in film editing

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lee Smith
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), Mike Hill and Dan Hanley
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Elliot Graham
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens

Best foreign language film of the year

  • The Baader Meinhof Complex” A Constantin Film Production, Germany
  • The Class” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Haut et Court Production, France
  • Departures” (Regent Releasing), A Departures Film Partners Production, Japan
  • Revanche” (Janus Films), A Prisma Film/Fernseh Production, Austria
  • Waltz with Bashir” (Sony Pictures Classics), A Bridgit Folman Film Gang Production, Israel

Achievement in makeup

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), John Caglione, Jr. and Conor O’Sullivan
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army” (Universal), Mike Elizalde and Thom Floutz

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Alexandre Desplat
  • Defiance” (Paramount Vantage), James Newton Howard
  • Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Elfman
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

  • Down to Earth” from “WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Music by Peter Gabriel and Thomas Newman, Lyric by Peter Gabriel
  • Jai Ho” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyric by Gulzar
  • O Saya” from “Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Music and Lyric by A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam

Best motion picture of the year

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), A Kennedy/Marshall Production, Kathleen Kennedy, Frank Marshall and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
  • Frost/Nixon” (Universal), A Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment and Working Title Production, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Eric Fellner, Producers
  • Milk” (Focus Features), A Groundswell and Jinks/Cohen Company Production, Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, Producers
  • The Reader” (The Weinstein Company), A Mirage Enterprises and Neunte Babelsberg Film GmbH Production, Nominees to be determined
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), A Celador Films Production, Christian Colson, Producer

Best animated short film

  • La Maison en Petits Cubes” A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
  • Lavatory - Lovestory” A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
  • Oktapodi” (Talantis Films), A Gobelins, L’école de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
  • Presto” (Walt Disney), A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland
  • This Way Up” A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

Best live action short film

  • Auf der Strecke (On the Line)” (Hamburg Shortfilmagency), An Academy of Media Arts Cologne Production, Reto Caffi
  • Manon on the Asphalt” (La Luna Productions), A La Luna Production, Elizabeth Marre and Olivier Pont
  • New Boy” (Network Ireland Television), A Zanzibar Films Production, Steph Green and Tamara Anghie
  • The Pig” An M & M Production, Tivi Magnusson and Dorte Høgh
  • Spielzeugland (Toyland)” A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank

Achievement in sound editing

  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Richard King
  • Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), Frank Eulner and Christopher Boyes
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Tom Sayers
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Ben Burtt and Matthew Wood
  • Wanted” (Universal), Wylie Stateman

Achievement in sound mixing

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Mark Weingarten
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Lora Hirschberg, Gary Rizzo and Ed Novick
  • Slumdog Millionaire” (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
  • WALL-E” (Walt Disney), Tom Myers, Michael Semanick and Ben Burtt
  • Wanted” (Universal), Chris Jenkins, Frank A. Montaño and Petr Forejt

Achievement in visual effects

  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron
  • The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Nick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber and Paul Franklin
  • Iron Man” (Paramount and Marvel Entertainment), John Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick and Shane Mahan

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

You're Breaking My Heart

Just got back from giving a talk for an EMS Crosstraining night with our firemen. My topic was medical emergency.

I asked them, "What is the #1 killer of firemen?"

Heart Attack.

Average age of these heart attack victims?


#1 Killer of Women?

You wanted to say men, didn't you?

Heart Attack.

Average age of these heart attack victims?


Good little screenwriter that I am, I managed to work in mention of film.

Odds are it won't be like in the movies where someone clutches his chest or left arm and hits the deck, dead. Heart attacks can begin as mild discomfort that may be ignored until it's too late.

This is especially true of older women -- that generation who took care of everyone and now doesn't want to be any trouble.

Grandma's having trouble catching her breath? She doesn't want to be any trouble. She'll just sit over there in the corner and not bother anyone while she progresses to a major cardiac event while no one is looking.

Do not ignore these symptoms.

Chest Pain – A sensation at the center of chest that feels like pressure, squeezing or fullness in degrees of mild, which may be mistaken for gas, or crushing, that inhibits breathing.

Pain in the upper body. Can include pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Back – between the shoulder blades.

Shortness of breath. May be a result of the crushing chest pressure, but may occur before the other symptoms and without pain. Respiratory distress should not be ignored. If you’re having trouble breathing, get help.

Other heart attack symptoms that may be mistaken for mild illness. Nausea, light-headedness, cold sweat, anxiety and fatigue.

Women Are Different From Men.


A woman having a heart attack may present completely different symptoms than a man. They will probably occur without chest pain. These symptoms may be ignored until she is dead.

1 Fatigue.
2 Nausea.
3 Heartburn or indigestion.
4 Shortness of breath.
5 Pain in the jaw, belly, back, shoulder or ring finger.

Remember: the most important medical contribution you may make is to advocate for a woman patient if her “heart attack” symptoms are being ignored.

Sunday, January 11, 2009



Acting is stellar, but the story is a downer, tied to an anchor, soaked in dismay.

Knocked that Gran Torino song out of my head, though.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Get Off My Lawn



After a very l o n g stretch of sitting through mediocre or less movies.

Gran Torino.

Went to the first matinee, Saturday afternoon. Theater was full.

Clint Eastwood is a brave actor. Not afraid to let the audience see his age. He's a brave director. Eastwood's character, Walt Kowalski is a hard sell for quite a stretch in the film. By the end, he generates real emotion, not the cheap-trick, tear-jerking of let's say, killing a dog.

I laughed out loud several times, then I cried.

I bet this line is going in Eastwood's iconology.

Ever notice how you come across someone once in a while, you shouldn't have fucked with?

And look, nostalgia fans. Beefcake.

And the song over the end credits is stuck in my head.

gentle now the tender breeze blows
whispers through my Gran Torino

But, I don't mind.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Thursday Meme

1. Are you a celebrity news junkie?

Would you believe me if I said no? I do wish everyone would get over Jen/Brad/Angie.

2. Have you or anyone in your family ever had braces?

Yes and yes.

3. Name 4 things in your garage that you don't think anyone else has in theirs.

Fireman turnouts. Wood stove. My car. A toy barn my Grandpa built me.

4. Do you order Girl Scout cookies?


5. If you have a cat or a dog, what brand of dog/cat food do you feed them?

Nutro. Gracie has recently convinced us that she wants canned food.

6. When you cook, do you use measuring cups/spoons?

Yeah, but I also use the palm of my hand and a that-looks-about-right dash.

7. If you were stranded on a desert island, how many sand castles would you build?


8. Whats one thing you own too many of?


9. If given the chance to go to the moon, would you?

I'd prefer Paris.

10. Talk radio - listen or not?

No. Don't encourage the idiots.

11. When you put silverware in the dishwasher or in the drainer to dry, do you put the handles up or down?

Knives up, everything else, down.

12. Video Games for kids - good or not?

I don't think they're harmful. Good ... who knows?

13. Share a website with us.

Pearls Before Swine

14. Water - bottle or tap?


15. Have you ever eaten a giant jawbreaker all the way to the end?

Yes. I was a kid once.

Which reminds me --

It's never too late to have a happy childhood.

Tom Robbins.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

2B or Not 2B

You write
to communicate
to the hearts and minds of others
what's burning inside you.

And we edit
to let
the fire
show through the smoke.

Arthur Polotnik

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Top Ten Searches

That deposited readers on Coyote Underground.

underground -- makes sense

coyote -- ditto

fractals -- I mention them.

one person looking for a coyote scribe, which is, I suppose, a coyote who writes.

coyote truck -- truck made of coyotes? No, small camper for small trucks.

Montana -- as in, you might live here if . . . you're currently freezing your ass.

mountain pine beetles -- wide spread pest.

some other poor soul looking for Black Velvet pencils which you cannot get anymore.

mountain cow legs -- someone else with a mother who lied.

The current #1 search that will land you here is looking for any word in Gaelic, which surprised me because I haven't written about Irish in a very long time.

But that's better than was the #1 search the last time I checked -- Russian Transvestites -- which I'm not going to mention because I don't want to get on that list again. Ssh.

Friday, January 02, 2009


Friday Fill-Ins.

My heartfelt condolences to Janet on the loss of her Dad.

1. The world is big and beautiful.

2. Love you too was the last thing I said.

3. I wonder what comes next.

4. Relief is at the end of all things.

5. There's something to be said for minding your own business.

6. At the ocean is where I want to be.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to errand day being over, tomorrow my plans include finishing Gracie's haircut and Sunday, a movie would be nice!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

From Thursday Thunks.

1. Would you rather have a pet hippo or a pet elephant?

Elephant. Where would I get enough water to house a hippo?

2. If locked in a cell and music blasted constantly 24/7, what would NOT drive you crazy that might annoy other inmates?

Christmas music.

3. If you see a penny on the ground, do you stop and pick it up?

No. I don't know where that penny's been.

4. Sea salt or table salt?

Sea salt.

5. Do you use bar soap or liquid soap?


6. What/when was the worst travel experience of your life?

Husband Dearest worked for an airline. We could fly free on standby. Decided to go to Missouri for the 4th of July. Made it to Denver. Got bumped. Got on another flight. Sat down, seated miles apart. Got bumped again. Had to drag a ton of camera stuff and myself, from the very back of the airplane, while all the delayed, disgruntled travelers glared at me. Had dinner in Denver. Flew back to Billings. I hate airlines.

7. You are at someone's house for dinner. It's an important dinner such as meeting the In Laws, with the boss or an important client. The food comes out and all homemade. You take the first bite and nearly puke into your plate. You're sure you'll end up with food poisoning. Do you eat it, pretend to eat and spit it into your napkin or some other clever way to get yourself out of eating it?

There are a lot of memes going around now about eating something nasty. What's up with that? Oh wait, it's a meme.

Anyway, trust me on this, if your lovely dinner is spoiled or includes a cockroach or is in someway hazardous, inedible or repulsive, my manners do not include choking it down to spare your feelings. If I like you, I'll say, no thank-you, I've already eaten, and hie myself to the nearest Mickey Dees. If I don't like you ... um ... why are we eating together?

Before my in-laws were my in-laws, they offered me head cheese. I didn't barf, pass-out or run screaming from the table. And I still married him.

8. Do you watch any judge/court shows?


9. Is your nose pierced?

Good God, NO. I've always wondered, but didn't really want to know, what happens with a nose-pierced sneeze?

I do, however, have a new tattoo.

to me.

Today, I'm beginning my fourth year of blogging, and this is post 487.