How to tell a story

How to tell a story

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Washington State Announces Effort To Take Climate Fight Into Its Own Hands | ThinkProgress

Washington State Announces Effort To Take Climate Fight Into Its Own Hands | ThinkProgress:

"Even as a climate change stalemate persists in Washington, D.C., the other Washington is embarking on a broad-based effort to reduce carbon pollution and expand the use of clean energy."

“This is the right time to act, the right place to act, and we are the right people to act,” Inslee said in announcing the executive order. "

Washington always has been more progressive than Oregon, going all the way back to the Territorial days. Many Oregonians deny history and reality and believe otherwise because we have a bottle bill. Lots of smugness in this state.

Sun + no class prep = Heaven!

Ah, the remarkable day continues! Non-stop activity, all fun ...

  • mowing some yard
  • making dog treats
  • cleaning the bbq
  • trip to post office
  • trip to library
  • to to market
  • trying to set up better online banking routine
  • beginning prep of Ore Lit Rev files for xfer to Eng Dept (big job!)
  • marketing research re musical and some definite conclusions about what composer needs to do (i.e. prepare a CD)
  • resting in the sun with Sketch
And the day continues. BBQ tonight ... of course.

What a great day!

No school issues on my mind, a hint of what retirement will be like. Today's priorities ... yard work, bbq prep, ukulele. Onward.

Sunset: the Musical

In 2007 I wrote the book, Robin Henderson the music, for a musical, SUNSET, a love story set in a retirement center. For complicated reasons, Robin wasn't ready to market it 7 years ago. Now he's retired and wants to market it. Another resurrected project!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mariners beat Yankees in NY!

A good start ...

Taking advantage

Rain moved up to Sunday, so have to take advantage of sun while we can. For example, barbecuing! a great So Cal common activity. Will hope to get it together for dinner tomorrow.

How nice to be warm enough to have the door open and to see sunshine through the screen door! How strange I've lived so long in such a wet and gray place!

Bowerman Mile loads up with many of world’s best | Sports | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon

Bowerman Mile loads up with many of world’s best | Sports | The Register-Guard | Eugene, Oregon:

 "The Bowerman Mile will include eight of the top-10 ranked 1,500-meter runners in the world as well as former Oregon star Matthew Centrowitz, who is ranked 18th overall but owns a silver and bronze medal from the last two World Championships.

“From a statistical standpoint, you’ve got to consider this the best field we’ve ever had,” said Tom Jordan, the longtime meet director for the Pre Classic, which will be held May 30-31.

* When I was in grad school, I saw a running of this in which more runners broke 4 mins. than ever before. Half a dozen or so. Finish made cover of SI.

Elizabeth Warren To Campaign For Jeff Merkley In Oregon

Elizabeth Warren To Campaign For Jeff Merkley In Oregon:

 "WASHINGTON -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is headed to Oregon next month to help secure the reelection of one her fellow progressives, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)."

New Quantum Theory Could Explain the Flow of Time | Science | WIRED

New Quantum Theory Could Explain the Flow of Time | Science | WIRED:

Yes, Tornadoes Are Getting Stronger | Science | WIRED

Yes, Tornadoes Are Getting Stronger | Science | WIRED:

Sad Laughter

From my archives:
  • Staged readings only:
    • Song of the Salmon
    • Sad Laughter (1999) (adapted for the screen)
      • "My life is a dress rehearsal for a play."
      • Best Stage Scenes of 1996 ISBN 1-57525-077-2
      • Best Men's Stage Monologues of 1996 ISBN 1-57525-075-6
This is my reworking of a commissioned play, which premiered in 1984 with the title The Comedian In Spite Of Himself. This is the version that Harold Prince called "first rate work" after being given a script by a NYC actress who had seen it and wanted to be in it. But I never liked this longer 3-act version and shortened it to 2 acts. Later I adapted it to screen, and my agent at the time called this version "the best screenplay I've ever read." It never went anywhere, not even a nibble.

How did an unproduced play get scenes in two "Best" books? Because the editor found it on the Internet and asked permission to use it. Obviously this is something that never could happen "in the old days."

There also is a paperback of these: Sad Laughter: the Stage Play and the Screenplay.

Both scripts are high on my list of personal favorites.

Post-racist America, right

The sun! the sun!

For the first time in a long while, I hobbled to campus IN SUNSHINE. Mid 70s today, 80s later in the week, and no rain until Monday.

I remember my first spring in Oregon in Eugene as a grad student. When the sun finally appeared. students went crazy. Guys ripped off their shirts for sunshine as they walked across campus between classes. It all looked nuts to a SoCal guy like myself but it didn't take long before I understood perfectly.

Running at about 80% now and continued slow improvement.

The goals today are, home after class, make olive bread and mow some more lawn. More mowing tomorrow. The next 3 weeks bring my most reading until the end: midterms, and project first drafts. Then a short break before end of term tsunamis. This is week 5 of 10. Soon, on the downhill side! The future looks bright, with no more reading about zombies and vampires! I can't wait!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Progress, I think

Mowed the side lawn, which was very long. Didn't relapse afterward. If I do a little every day until the rains return in a week, should be caught up without hiring anyone. This is the plan.

Grass grows

A dry week ... I need to cut grass, 100% or not ... it's getting too much for my push mower.

Headline of the day

So Much for a 'Post-racial' America

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Latest teen sensation

Lydia Ko just turned 17 the other day. Her present to herself was winning the Bay area tournament today (Wie was 9th, Creamer 35th). She now will be ranked 2nd in the world.

Good news

The Eng Dept "would be proud" to host Oregon Literary Review. They may even resurrect it.

The Human Future

The Human Future

I have no children or grandchildren in my life. Sometimes I feel this as a profound loss. But at other times, contemplating the human future, I feel relief: I have no descendants whose inevitable future suffering would keep me awake.

I have no doubts that worldwide human suffering will define our future, perhaps for a century or more. It's not only that Nature is getting its justifiable revenge from what Cummings called mankind's "prodding fingers," pushing short term "progress" without regard to long term consequences. This has started and will become far worse. But what bothers me more are the conflicts that will be driven by water and food shortages.

I foresee another historic period of revolutions, lasting decades and defined by an angry poor subclass rising against a frightened ruling wealthy class. It will be as horrific and ugly as anything experienced in the French Revolution. This is our legacy to grandchildren and future generations.

Those who can afford it will escape and colonize Mars. This is how the species will survive. The wasteland left behind on Earth will make Eliot's vision look like utopia.

This story is neither new nor original. There are many theories of why humans developed this way, but the one that makes the most sense to me is found in the magnificent prose poem LOVE'S BODY by Norman O. Brown.

Brown's book ends this way: "Everything is only a metaphor; there is only poetry." He closes with a quotation from Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism.

Western culture came to dominate the world and, driven by what Brown calls Protestant Literalism, led the parade to our crisis today. Considerable contrary visions in the culture itself were ignored to do this: Transcendentalism, for example, where Emerson argued that a man is defined by his thinking; the interior life trumps action. Thus Brown can argue that contemporary war is war perverted, and the problem is not war itself but the perversion.

And what is this perversion? Brown turns to William Blake, one of his greatest influences: the real fight is the mental fight, "the Fiery Chariot of His Contemplative Thought." Blake's image has always resonated with me. It is the basis of the title of my first play, Above the Fire. It creates the subtext of my recent essay, Creativity. Faith. Impotence.

I think Brown is right about where Western Culture went wrong but I get no satisfaction from this. The human tragedy remains the same. However, I do get a kind of solitary solace, knowing I can step away and create my own world in which baking bread, playing with the dog, brooding, writing, are acts that bring me peace, acts that are their own reward.

My life has been blessed, and I feel blessed, in moments like writing here, that I am old and my future short, and when I pass I leave no generation behind. If this is not the best of possible worlds, it also is not the worst.


Baking bread has become an important ritual in my rhythm (replacing making scrapple, it seems). I have rye waiting to go in the oven. Buttermilk brewing (the next batch).

Oregon Literary Review

Oregon Literary Review:

Enter the archives here. I am blown away by the high quality and variety of the work Primus St. John and I did on this (if I say so myself). I've been paying for the bandwidth myself and, retiring, want to find a home for it. I am giving the PSU Eng Dept, the most logical choice, first dibs. It only takes 3.5G to host the archive.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mothership, where are you?

For reasons too complicated to explain, tonight I went out (!) and heard some bad poetry and worse music, including the absolute worst version of St. James Infirmary I ever heard, or could imagine, which earned decent applause. I AM ON THE WRONG PLANET.

Home, feeling much worse (re cold) than when I left, and if I relapse for bad poetry and worse music, I'll be pissed. I should know better.


Finally got the 4 scripts done, so I can begin tomorrow without playing catch up. Even played some ukulele! Not up to speed but not bad.

Interesting day

Still haven't gotten to the scripts. Just 4 short ones today, others tomorrow, online stuff Monday.

Today just been mellow and a little in awe that our splay will be pitched to many in the upper ranks of LaLaLand who could actually make it happen ... and my collaborator has the time, money and passion to focus on making it happen.

He called my script "a masterpiece." I don't think so but I'm sure glad he thinks so.

I'm feeling good about how this is developing. No way I could go this route myself.


I have 5 students shooting video for their term projects, more than ever. Must give feedback on their scripts today. Will make the last day of class, showing them, more fun than usual.

The splay marketing team is getting in gear, beginning with personal pitches to the many power players they know. If this happens, it's from that old adage, It's who you know. At any rate, it is out of my hands.

I actually feel good about their energy and approach. I feel fine about this. I hope they give me a retirement present.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Talent poems

is the latest installment of Terry Simons' poems set in Talent, Oregon, and one I particularly like. The series brings to mind Under Milkwood, Spoon River Anthology, and in prose Winesburg, Ohio, short pieces built around the people and events in a small town.

Check this out and go backward through his blog to find many others. Surely a book eventually will compile them. It will win the Oregon Book Award. You heard it here first.

Bavarian sausage

For some time now, we've now and again passed a German deli, saying, We should stop there some time. Today we did. What a find!

Many, many varieties of sausage. Three kinds of headcheese!

We stayed for lunch. Best reuben sandwich I've had in years.

What an issue!

I subscribe to the NYer on my Kindle reader. In the new issue, EVERY article interests me, which seldom happens. Lots to get to.


Lots of school work this weekend ... but next week is the halfway mark.

Not feeling great but feeling better. Ukulele has really suffered during this long illness. Canceled tomorrow's workshop but will begin the 7 week theory class the following Saturday.

I couldn't ask for more dedication and enthusiasm than my collaborator brings to our splay. He is taking a producer's role, at least in the beginning. I'm glad I don't have to participate in marketing: burned out and cynical in that area, moreso than ever after taking time to study it regarding the Overdrive project.

At the end of the term, in the marketing sequence, I will try very hard to turn students on to Overdrive and hyperdrama. Disciples ha ha.

I really look forward to retiring from teaching. There are a few grad students I'll be happy to continue mentoring if they so desire ... but no more grading and reading about vampires or zombies.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


So I have this dream my collaborator hates the rewrite - "what have you done to my story!?" - and we fight about it ... the dog wakes me up. I feed him and open email. A note fom him. Trepidation ... but he loves it! So off to market.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

At last!

Seager snaps Seattle's skid with walk-off HR
Third baseman hits two-run shot in seventh and three-run blast in ninth
By Greg Johns / | 4/23/2014 6:43 PM ET

HOU@SEA: Seager wins the game with his second homer

SEATTLE -- Third baseman Kyle Seager launched a three-run walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth as the Mariners snapped an eight-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 5-3 win over the Astros at Safeco Field.

Another resurrection

Another email from the past. Years ago I wrote the book to a musical called SUNSET, a romance set in a retirement center. I loved it but for reasons never clear to me, the composer wouldn't market it. Now he's retired and wants to.

This time, I wrote that I loved it but wished no participation, being tied up in other things with my limited energy. I gave him some suggestions and resources and wished him luck.

Two very old projects rising from the dead in the same month!

Say what?

Stumbled upon this, which is from a blurb for my mystery DEAD BODY IN A SMALL ROOM, being sold ... where? Vietnam? What a world.

Văn phòng & Thiết bị trường học > Văn phòng & Thiết bị trường học
Chọn lựa ngôn ngữ
Ebook pdf xác chết trong một căn phòng nhỏ: một bí ẩn- Charles deemer
US $7.99 / đơn vị

This and that

Finished reworked splay, sent to collaborator to market, have an agent. I'm keeping my realism/cynicism to myself.

Need to pass out midterm tomorrow. Last one. Going to review past ones, pick a favorite.

Go get a chest xray today. So far, no idea what I have. Great.

Taking it as easy as possible today.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Golf at Lake Merced

Starts Thurs and I'd love to see Wie and Creamer fighting for the lead.

This Company Has A 4-Day Work Week, Pays Its Workers A Full Salary And Is Super Successful | ThinkProgress

This Company Has A 4-Day Work Week, Pays Its Workers A Full Salary And Is Super Successful | ThinkProgress:

"The 70 people who work at Treehouse, an online education company that teaches people about technology, only work four days a week at the same full salary as other tech workers. Yet the company’s revenue has grown 120 percent, it generates more than $10 million a year in sales, and it responds to more than 70,000 customers, according to a post in Quartz by CEO Ryan Carson.

Carson has been working four-day weeks since 2006, when he founded his first company with his wife, he told ThinkProgress. He quit his job to start it, only to find that they both put in seven days a week. “I remember distinctly my wife and I were on the couch one evening,” he recalled, “and she said something like, ‘What are we doing? I thought that starting a company means you have more time and more control, but it seems like we have less time and less control and we’re more stressed out.’” They decided to cut back by not working Fridays, and after they hired their first employee, “we decided to officially enact [a four-day week] and we never looked back.”"


Does Climate Apathy Hinge on 'Pervasive' American Stupidity? | Common Dreams

Does Climate Apathy Hinge on 'Pervasive' American Stupidity? | Common Dreams:

"Despite near-consensus by the scientific community that processes of global warming and natural selection are real, Americans continue to be skeptical, according to a new poll released Monday.

Following its publication, Nobel Prize winning scientists said that the research highlights the "force" of those politicians and special interest groups working to thwart scientific truths.

More than half of respondents to the Associated Press-GfK poll (pdf) said they were "not at all confident" that the universe began with the Big Bang. Further, 42 percent said they were skeptical that "Life on Earth, including human beings, evolved through a process of natural selection.""

Earth Day?

Capitalism in 21st century

Thomas Piketty Is No. 1 On Amazon Right Now:

"The number-one book on isn't a guide to green juice or an erotic romance novel. No, the top seller on Amazon right now is a 700-page book, translated from French, about rising inequality and the state of modern capitalism.

In what may be a hint of widespread anxiety about the foundations of the U.S. economy, Thomas Piketty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," which is currently sold out on Amazon, is beating books like the science fiction mega-hit "Divergent" and the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Goldfinch." Also in the top five on Amazon is Michael Lewis's latest, "Flash Boys," about high-frequency trading on Wall Street."

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest -

The American Middle Class Is No Longer the World’s Richest -

Here I am

Finally seeing a doctor after class today. In the meantime, a tough class to get through but if I maintain as now, I should be fine. This damn thing comes and goes, think I'm getting better than wham!, I'm not. I need a magic injections from the doc. Not my regular one, couldn't get anything sooner rather than later, and I need this taken care of NOW.

Finished the reworked splay, getting feedback, then a final pass and send it off to my collaborators and be done with it, mentally, I hope. Man, it's good -- but I think the time to market it was two years ago, when HBO was developing its Silicon Valley series, maybe the subject matter was hotter. But TV, and the excerpt from HBO I heard, treats nerds as caricatures.

This story is first rate and an actors' piece. I think it has a better shot than most things I'm associated with. No embedded existential cynicism ha ha ha.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Citizen Screenwriter

Citizen Screenwriter:

"Immediately after the terrorists' attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, Hollywood responded by pulling movies scheduled for release that, in the horrific context of the times, suddenly were considered to be "in bad taste."

Question: why weren't these movies in bad taste before the attack?

A nice republication of an old column of mine.

Sunday, April 20, 2014


News that may surprise you:
Fareed speaks with Michael Porter, a professor at the Harvard Business School, about a groundbreaking new Social Progress Index – and how the United States is lagging on many indicators. Watch the video for the full interview or on GPS this Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET on CNN.
You were shocked at what you learned about America.
Yes, I think this wasn’t the picture of America that I think many of us Americans have – that we are a leader, a social leader, that we've advanced the ball in terms of opportunity and the needs of our citizens. And it shows anything but that.
So if you look at the Social Progress Index, on the whole, what's striking is the top countries are New Zealand, Switzerland, Iceland, these small countries. But basically then a lot of European countries and Canada beat the United States.
The United States is 16, Ireland is ahead of it, Japan is ahead of it, Britain is ahead of it, Germany is ahead of it.

The yard!

The grass hasn't stopped growing while I'm ill. By the time I can get back to it, it may be too much for my wonderful classic push mower. Might have to hire someone with power, then keep up.

My retirement term is not going as planned so far. But the good news is the splay resurrection, though we may be a couple years late to market. HBO just started "Silicon Valley" dramatic series.

But my collaborators are full of energy and presumably our agent is well connected. I can keep my cynicism to myself ha ha.

I definitely will give them a first rate script for a first rate story (not mine).


Read 8 of 10 scripts I have to do, which is my limit today. Exhausted. Man, I can't wait to be free of this responsibility. Takes too much out of me. Come on, summer!

Old news

Mariners' skid continues, 6th loss in row. Had 1 run lead into. 8th, gave up 2 runs on 1 hit, not that easy to do. The new season not looking very new.


Learned that SF is #1 on these two lists: 1. % of residents with college degrees. 2. # of homeless.

Wie gets it together

Michelle Wie got her first win since 2010. Starting the final round 4 behind, she won by 2, which included her only bogey, on 18. She starts the season with 2nd and 1st finishes. Next up, SF on Thursday. Is this her year (finally)?

A Letter Of Complaint

A poem by Marilyn Sewell.

So I just learned yesterday
That my friend Jane
Is dying:
Stage IV, lung cancer.
She never smoked,
But what does that matter?

It happens all the time
They’re dropping like flies—
Exactly like flies, as a matter of fact:
A short life span
And slam, bam, thank you ma’am.

Got hit by a truck
When crossing the street—
Looked the wrong way, and
She’s dead.

Vince, ex-priest,
Who quit for love—
Parkinson’s taking him,
Breath by breath,
Word by word.

I just want to go on record—
Not that you care—
I don’t like your Plan.

Sure, it’s fine for you,
Being infinite and all—
And sure, we may be
Our tiny molecules
Shifted around, atoms rearranged
Into a fish or a frog or a cat—
But to tell you the truth,
That’s not much comfort,

Don’t you understand,
Ruler of the universe,
That you plant us here,
Teach us,
After many false starts,
That love is all that matters—
And then you require that
We watch helplessly
As you thump them,
These we love, one by one,
Like insects,
So carelessly off your plate,
Until we’ve nothing left.

Is that the deal, then?
To take from us
All that matters,
So that we’re content to go?

Come on—
Think about it!
If in fact you think at all—
Is this a Plan
You can be proud of?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

2 forward, 1 back

Recovery frustratingly slow ... good night, no coughing, productive morning ... then a cough, another, and now feeling worse than earlier. Taking it easy, at any rate.


Scripts to read!

But a fruitful morning, early start, finished decluttering script, looked through new NY Rev of Books ... and put 2 books on reserve at library. Read the Chronicle. Nice profile of Herbert Gold, now 90.

Now I need a second wind ... and school work.


This sudden reappearance of a screenplay after a quarter century strikes me as a swan song from the gods. I've been "retired" as an active screenwriter for some time. But here I am, polishing as good a story as I've been involved in.

Moreover, there's considerable marketing energy in my collaborator and his/our agent. I can let it go, confident I went out with my best work as a craftsman.

I remain as cynical of the market as ever. But what a nice retirement gift to be proven wrong.

It's a hell of a good story ... and now a damn good contemporary spec script. (And I have a new visceral understanding why producers hate clutter.)


Got the clutter out of the co-authored script we are resurrecting. 112 pages became 94. Now that's clutter! A polish, feedback from a colleague, and done.

This is a damn good screenplay. But I'm not sure this matters. What may is that there are several great roles for actors here.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Early progress

Got early start and caught up with my advanced students. Abour ten student first script pages to evaluate this weekend, good to get others out of the way. If I do some each day, I'll be fine.

But this morning took its toll ... feel worse than when I got up. Maybe can do more this afternoon.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Below .500

With their third straight loss this afternoon, the Mariners drop below .500 for the first time. The "great start" is over.

Olive bread


Man, rough day, even if all I did is show a film. Glad to be home.

Once again ...

... here but not fully recovered ... but better than yesterday, and I just show a film today. Do it and leave. Next week some harder work begins so I hope to be well, or close. This sucks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

'Bout sums it up


Mariners blow game in bottom of the ninth to ruin another gem from Felix Hernandez

Brad Miller’s error, and Fernando Rodney’s wildness help Rangers score twice for a 3-2 victory


Ah, the old frustrations of a Mariner's fan ...


Co-author of 1990 screenplay collaboration has rediscovered script and got reminded of how great the story is. True! But hugely over-written for today's market, so I am fixing it, translation to lean and mean.

Great dialogue in this! He says it's mine. Wow. I don't remember being that good.

Guarded optimism

A tad better this morning ...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Exhausting day

Barely made it home in time to crash. Fortunatey, show film Thurs and can relax tomorrow. Need to kick this, man.

Old college try

At school to hold my class ...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Friday, April 11, 2014

Misery ...

... thy name is Spring Virus.

Comfort food

My family camped a lot after WWII, late 40s, early 50s, before it was fashionable ... and a dinner staple was Dinty Moore's Beef Stew. My dinner tonight, bringing up happy memories.

Friday... slow, slow recovery. Have to start teaching chores tomorrow, energy or not. Bummer.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Restoring Coastal Ecosystems Creates More Jobs Than Offshore Oil Development | ThinkProgress

Restoring Coastal Ecosystems Creates More Jobs Than Offshore Oil Development | ThinkProgress:

Scientists: "Jesus said to them, my wife" papyrus is real

Scientists: "Jesus said to them, my wife" papyrus is real:

Very interesting indeed.

Climate Change Is Not a Debate: It Is a Struggle That Pits Survivors Against Fossil Fuel Profiteers | Common Dreams

Climate Change Is Not a Debate: It Is a Struggle That Pits Survivors Against Fossil Fuel Profiteers | Common Dreams:

 "Climate change is impossible to make sense of as a debate, precisely because it is not a debate. It’s a struggle."

Good news and bad news

The good news is I am here at the university and only have to show the film Tales From The Script.

The bad news is I should be home in bed.

Zero Sum Universe

Zero Sum Universe

in our zero sum universe
the pain in the world
is balanced by
the joy in the world

but the pain
gets all the press

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Treats for Sketch, made from baby food (green beans).


A thing of beauty

Watching replay of last night's game ... UConn women are a sports ballet. Can't get more impressive than this - and without dunks! (Why I prefer women's bball).

Benefits of retirement

Van Gogh working

Jobs, working mainly for a paycheck, are the curse of the artistic class. Many artists blossom after retirement, when for the first time they have the opportunity to focus on their craft.

My longtime friend Tom Strah is a case in point. I met him in grad school when he played the lead in my first produced play, a one-act that had come in 3rd in the national Tennessee Williams competition, which was success enough to change my MFA studies from fiction to playwriting. Later Tom and I performed Albee's Zoo Story together. Still later, Tom visited after retirement while I was shooting The Farewell Wake, so I gave him a cameo role.

Tom has picked up the brush since retirement with impressive results. Here are two recent examples.

Vincent Van Gogh at 18

More Strah art at


Buttermilk waiting for the oven ... whole wheat in the hopper. Baking bread = good medicine.

Hanging in

A tad better today ... a surrealistic world when sick, time and space awash ... couldn't really appreciate UConn and Mariners home victories last night but tried ... show doc tomorrow ... today, taking it easy, yard work undone alas ... maybe strum Cordoba, chord work, height of my activity ... but better is main thing, keep getting better ...workshops start on 25th, 8 Saturdays of ukulele classes.

Hangin' in like Gunga Din.

Dog and sick man

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

UConn 79-58

No surprise.

The battle rages

But I made it to class ... might end early but will give it a shot.

Monday, April 7, 2014


Fighting virus, worst timing. MUST lecture tomorrow.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Round up

Wie hangs in for 2nd ... UConn blows away Stanford, dream game final on Tues ... Mariners blow lead but go 4-2 on road ... sun tomorrow, yard work! A day of sports and chords.

Westwood One radio

Terrific coverage of women's dance. No Pdx station carrying it, however ... use app to get it off Internet.


Notre Dame crushing Maryland. I missed this one ... ND has more depth than I realized. Might be cool final, after all.

Front 9

Thompson 4 under for day, Wie 1 over, now tied for second ... Wie may not finish in top 5 at this rate ... Thompson is on fire!

LATER. Wie making a run after 12. Stay tuned.

The horror

Watching an HBO doc on the complete, total, horrifying sham of "a college education" for jocks in big time sports in big time universities. Outright fraud by NCAA, universities ... far worse than I imagined. Where in this country is a university president with courage to expose this and change it?

Examples ... scholarship UNC football players with 4th grade reading levels. One "graduated" in "General Studies" despite 12 F's and 7 D's. This sounds like a sick joke. It's commonplace and getting worse. What a sham.

Will Wie cave?

Michelle Wie, once a sensational teenager, goes into the final round at Kraft Nabisco tied for the lead with the current teen sensation, Lexi Thompson. After failing to live up to her promise, Wie has an opportunity to get her career on track. I'm rooting for her.

Her problem has been a lack of mental toughness. I remember an interview when she was a teenager after blowing a big lead with a series of bogeys. Not upset at all. She talked about how well she did on the front 9. Just blew a major win big time and she's all smiles and giggles. This lady, I thought, won't win as a pro. She's too easy on herself. Probably one of those kids given a medal at school for finishing last.

In a recent interview, the Stanford grad says she has a new appreciation for the game. I hope it includes mental toughness. She doesn't need to win, that teenager is good, but Wie needs her best round or close to show she didn't choke. The wins will come if her head is right.


Saturday, April 5, 2014

Another very weird idea

Brooding about possibilities for a ... what to call it? ... "jazz ukulele music drama" ... seaming a libretto from my two books of poems, Aging in America the theme ... something I may fiddle with during retirement ... if I still am brooding about it by then.

Sunday - Tuesday

Looking forward to final games at women's dance. Done with men. I could get interested in Kentucky if they were actual students. They are visitors, stopping by briefly on way to NBA. Total sham.

Some of that in women's bball, too, but less obvious and obnoxious because less money involved. Filthy Lucre.

Santa Anita Derby today! An institution if you grew up in SoCal in 40s and 50s.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

We’re Not No. 1! We’re Not No. 1!

We’re Not No. 1! We’re Not No. 1!:

 "the United States excels in access to advanced education but ranks 70th in health, 69th in ecosystem sustainability, 39th in basic education, 34th in access to water and sanitation and 31st in personal safety. Even in access to cellphones and the Internet, the United States ranks a disappointing 23rd, partly because one American in five lacks Internet access."

'via Blog this'

When more libraries are closed what will happen to intellectual freedom & prejudice in America?

When more libraries are closed what will happen to intellectual freedom & prejudice in America?:

 " Libraries are being starved all over America in these belt tightening times in favor of other organizations because the rich don't want to pay their fair share of taxes. This sad reality escapes the attention of most citizens because frankly they have a full plate in America today and they can lose sight of the fact that they're losing their community libraries which can have very tragic consequences."

'via Blog this'

My favorite unproduced play?

Might be this one, THE SADNESS OF EINSTEIN.. It came close to a major production in Seattle, scheduled to open a new play festival at The Empty Space, but financial problems led to cancellation of the festival and eventual closing of a very fine theater company. Close but no cigar and all that.

 It opens this way ... which my late friend and actor Ger Moran called  the best opening scene he'd read in ages ... he was in Arizona when I sent him the play for feedback, and his excited input came by return mail. A nice moment, to write something so far out that gets appreciated. But Ger and I had similar sensibilities. I miss him.


Autumn, 1927


Brussels, Belgium


A hotel room in Brussels. Entrance is stage left. A bed is stage right. Upstage, a window
looking down on the street. The bathroom is shared and located in the hall (exit stage left).
(AT RISE: ROBERT and LEONORA are in bed, making love, Leonora on top with her back to the audience and a sheet around her. She frantically rides Robert below her. HENRY is at the window, looking across the street with a pair of binoculars. Leonora's sexual frenzy will increase to the orgasm indicated below.)

   HENRY:   The paper this morning called it The Copenhagen Interpretation.   Niels Bohr debated Einstein and won. Poor Einstein, nobody believes him any more. The   city fathers welcome him as a hero, the greatest genius of his time, they celebrate  Einstein Day, but his peers prefer to listen to an unknown from Denmark. The Copenhagen Interpretation.                                                                                                                                          
(Henry turns to the bed.)

   HENRY:   For God's sake, woman, aren't you finished yet?
This is the famous conference of physicists where Bohr and Einstein debated about quantum physics, and Einstein lost ... hence his sadness. And the loss of a view of reality in the bargain. Unrealized human sadness.

It's a pretty far out play, if I say so myself. This was supposed to be the first of a quartet of plays, The Quantum Quartet, but I got hijacked by hyperdrama, which is where the "real" qauntum writing would evolve. This was an early "linear" work in this area of interest.

Einstein and Bohr in Brussels
Play published in this collection.

I met Ger on a summer day in the early 1980s. I was sitting outside, sipping gin and tonics and listening to jazz, at what was then the Lovejoy Cafe in NW Portland. This tall gentleman comes to my table (I'm sitting alone) and asks if I am Charles Deemer. I am. Well, his lady friend is a big fan of my plays, would I like to join them? Sure. Ends up, he was living in Seattle, soon to move to Portland to be closer to her, and he had an acting background, primarily in SF, so we had a lot in common.

When he arrived a few months later, I took him under my wing and introduced him to my favorite watering holes, and our friendship blossomed from there. He became my best friend living in Portland. By the time I wrote Sadness, he was living in Arizona with a different girl friend. He was quite "a lady's man," at least in his own eyes ha ha. But he did have a lot of girlfriends. 

He died shortly after he'd retired into the perfect living situation for him. Very sad, very bad timing. The big C. Happened quickly.

With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy | Common Dreams

With McCutcheon Ruling, An Activist Court Opts for Full-On Plutocracy | Common Dreams:

 ""It is far too often the case in Washington that powerful corporate interests, the wealthy, and the well-connected get to write the rules," says Baldwin, "and now the Supreme Court has given them more power to rule the ballot box by creating an uneven playing field where big money matters more than the voice of ordinary citizens.”"

'via Blog this'

Pop writer's lament

A booksigning in older days would have fans lining around blocks just to have his signature, but a booksigning now might only get six people. “I have a 6 million following,” he said quietly, “and they don’t remember me.”
This is the popular Tracy Hickman, author of the famous DragonLance series, neither of which I've ever heard of (of course!!), but suggests the industry is changing even for the big money makers. He makes one-fourth what he made in the "good old days" of publishing. The crowded marketplace.

Read the article. 

In the office

Early but not as early as Tuesday ... still got a decent parking place. If I leave before 9, I should be able to do so without extending my hobble too much.

Strike scheduled for April 16. Obvious ploy -- but will it work, concessions from admin, or will there actually be a strike? And if so, will we adjuncts be considered "scabs" even though it is illegal for our union to engage in activities to support the strike? I already let the class know where I stand and that I will not penalize students for missing class to strike but they WILL be responsible for all the work they miss. But won't be considered "absent" if they are out picketing during class time or whatever.

Larger than usual class, my work is cut out for me. But this last time, I let anybody in who wanted in, upper limits thrown out. The dept sec said I am a "mensch" for doing this ha ha.


What I like so far ... 1. clutch hitting. 2. starting pitching 3. bull pen

What I don't like ... 1. closer (hasn't mattered yet with big leads but could be a serious issue soon)

Santa Anita Derby

This Saturday! Always a big sporting event, growing up in Pasadena.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mariners sweep Angels ...

... in Calif., first time in 7 years. 26 runs in 3 games, many with 2 outs. Good way to start the season - a very long season. On to Oakland.

Starting the day

I enjoy no eating experience as much ss breakfast. For years recently my comfort breakfast was scrapple and eggs over milk toast. Then some months ago, without pre-thought I stopped making scrapple. (Change happens instantaneously or not at all, NOB). Today my comfort breakfast is wet scrambled eggs and home toast. Several times a week I have oatmeal, often with bacon, today with links.

I used to think you couldn't ruin breakfast. How naive of me. Health-conscious foodies appeared and made breakfast unrecognizable to me. I have to be careful where I eat out.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Nerd nation

Stanford women to Final Four! But they play UConn in semi. If UConn gets cold, as in first half with BYU, the game can be competitive.

On the other side, Maryland, which played a healthy NDame close in regular season, has a real shot against the injured team.

I see a UConn- Maryland final, and then UConn by double digits.

No dream game

ND star injured, out for rest of dance. Not the same, no matter what happens. Too bad, man. Now we'll never know. ND might not get to finals now.

New class

Just signed up for a 7 week class in chord progression theory. Figure it should be useful down the road. Saturdays starting in May.

In the classroom

A great first day ... may they continue.

Stanford women play tonight.

UConn women can be poetry in motion. Never saw a TEAM acting so perfectly as a single entity. No arrogance here. Love watching them. One moment you are tied, then 45 seconds later you're behind by 10 points. It's something to see.

I play the ukulele

Check it out!

Faith and ‘Gomorrah’: a hero grows old

A fair review of my novel. Others at the Amazon page, link at bottom.

Art Scatter » Blog Archive » Faith and ‘Gomorrah’: a hero grows old:

"I knew from following Deemer’s writer’s blog that he’d rediscovered John Dos Passos’ 1930s U.S.A. Trilogy, and as he makes clear in this post he’s borrowed some of the Trilogy’s structural elements, adapting Dos Passos’ liberal use of contemporary newspaper clippings to the background dronings of news programs on CJ’s television set. It’s a tribute to Dos Passos’ imagination and Deemer’s contrarian sensibility that the techniques still seem fresh and out of the mainstream."

The book is here.... paperback and Kindle editions.

Democracy vs. Oligarchy | Common Dreams

Democracy vs. Oligarchy | Common Dreams: by Bernie Sanders

 "This process – a handful of the wealthiest people in our country controlling the political process – is called "oligarchy." 

The great political struggle we now face is whether the United States retains its democratic heritage or whether we move toward an oligarchic form of society where the real political power rests with a handful of billionaires, not ordinary Americans."

Wealth Inequality Is Now As Bad As It Was During The 1920s | ThinkProgress

Wealth Inequality Is Now As Bad As It Was During The 1920s | ThinkProgress:

Half A Million People With College Degrees Are Working For Minimum Wage

Half A Million People With College Degrees Are Working For Minimum Wage:


Last year the Mariners had good pitching but couldn't score runs. This spring, their bats came alive ... but that's spring training, right? Well, last night visiting the Angels, they came from behind when their bats came alive and won their opener 10-3. Hernandez struck out 11, though he gave up runs. A nice victory all the same. Be nice to see them do better, much better, than last year. Playoffs a long shot but we can dream, especially early on. It's a young team with promise.