The Amazing Colossal Five Things About Media and Technology Right Now

(I don’t know why I started giving these posts classic sci-fi/monster movie titles, but sometimes things just happen. Here’s Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12, and Part 13. (Bonus: this one has ten things!)

The 10 People You Meet in Hell (aka Twitter):

1. Hey, you know that TV show/movie/book/song/food you really love? You shouldn’t.

2. I haven’t read that article you linked to. Here’s my opinion about it anyway.

3. This tweet has inaccurate information, it’s stupid, I disagree with it, and it might even be dangerous, but I’m going to retweet it. (Related: “Hey, don’t blame me, I just retweeted it!”)

4. I’m going to mention this celebrity’s Twitter handle in my tweet. Maybe they’ll retweet it or follow me!

5. Social media has destroyed longform writing and blogs. Here’s why. (1/87)

6. People block me because THEY CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

7. 50% of my tweets are about how bad Twitter is and how it’s hurting my life and maybe the world, but I’m not quitting. (Related: “I quit Twitter for two days. Here’s what I learned…”).

8. “THIS.”

9. I completely misunderstood your tweet. It’s your fault.

10. You and I don’t know each other. Let’s argue!

(More on social media.)

Favorite TV Shows

I feel like doing a post but I don’t feel like doing any thinking or any actual, well, writing, so I’m going to do that blog trick where I do a list instead. Hey, everybody loves lists!

Here are my favorite TV shows, starting with the top 15:

1. The Dick Van Dyke Show
2. Mad Men
3. Everybody Loves Raymond
4. Jeopardy!/What’s My Line? (tie)
5. Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes
6. Parks and Recreation
7. The Middle
8. The Simpsons
9. The Andy Griffith Show
10. Seinfeld
11. Warner Bros. cartoons
12. Friends
13. Leave it to Beaver
14. CBS Sunday Morning
15. David Letterman (all 3 shows)

And here’s the rest, in no particular order (except alphabetical):

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.
Arrested Development
Breakfast Time (FX show)

Guiding Light
I Love Lucy
Kate & Allie
Magnum, P.I.
Murder, She Wrote
Mystery Science Theater 3000
The Odd Couple
Perry Mason
(NBC series, not the puppets)
30 Rock
The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson
The Twilight Zone
The West Wing

What’s on your list? Let me know in the comments below.

Good News, Bad News

The way these things usually work is this: you list the bad news first, to get it out of the way and make it seem less important, and then you end with the good news that will hopefully make everyone forgot the bad news. Let’s try it:

Bad News: I’m ending The Letter.
Good News! You’ll no longer have to read my tedious “It’s coming!” or “I’ve been busy but it will be in the mail next week!” excuses.

Bad News: I’ve also ended Professor Barnhardt’s Journal after 17 years.
Good News! Many of the features I had over there I’m going to bring over here.

That news about The Letter deserves further explanation. Even though I changed it from a monthly thing to a quarterly thing, I still had a hard time keeping up with it. I didn’t want it to become a chore. Having to come up with “content” sort of went against what a letter is supposed to be, and I didn’t want to pump them out simply because I had to pump them out.

More recent subscribers may have 2 or 3 issues left on their subscription. Don’t worry! ! I’ll make sure you get something to make up for it: a subscription to the next thing I do (I’m always doing something), a free copy of a future book, maybe even a personal letter at some point in the future.

I’m working on some new things and I’ll have some announcements soon. If you haven’t already, make sure you sign up to get updates by plugging your e-mail into the “Don’t Miss A Post” box on the right. And thanks!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have laundry to do, a floor to mop, and 10 inches of snow to shovel.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

I don’t go to the movies that much. Hardly ever, really. I’ll eventually see a movie on cable or DVD, but that means I’m always a year behind everyone else when it comes to seeing the movies that everyone is talking about. I did recently see The Shape of Water, and I still believe it’s the best mute-cleaning-woman-has-sex-with-the-Creature-From-The-Black-Lagoon movie ever made.

The Oscars are tomorrow night and I was looking at the list of the Best Picture nominees and I’ve seen…well, none of them. (I’m sure Roma is really good!) For some reason I started to feel bad about not seeing all of these films that so many talented people put so much work into, but then I realized that they probably haven’t read any of the stuff I’ve written either.

But I did buy Can You Ever Forgive Me? (up for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Adapted Screenplay – no Best Picture or Director nom) because it seemed like something I’d enjoy. I’ve already watched it twice. It hooked me from the start by using Jeri Southern’s “I Thought of You Last Night” as Melissa McCarthy goes home after being fired from a late-night editing job. A film about the life of a writer that features typewriters and Dorothy Parker and classic standards on the soundtrack? It’s like the makers of the film looked into my brain to see what kind of movie I’d like to see and decided to make it.

If you’re not familiar with the film, it’s the true story of Lee Israel, a once successful writer of biographies and magazine features who found herself unsuccessful after a big book flops (her personality didn’t help matters). She’s so poor she can’t pay her rent and doesn’t even have enough money to get her sick cat the medication it needs.

There’s a scene where McCarthy is so broke she has to sell books to a used book dealer, who of course doesn’t want most of them. I remember being in that position many times (right around the time Lee Israel was, actually) and the scene is so, so painful. Look, just give me anything for them, I don’t want to have to carry them all the way home.

In 1991 she decides to forge letters from famous people and sell them to collectors, who are more than happy to buy them without really questioning if they’re authentic or not. And the letters are really some of the best writing she ever did.

McCarthy is just fantastic in the role. She’s not exactly a likable person, but McCarthy somehow makes you feel for her. She doesn’t overdo it, and there aren’t any “hey, look at me I’m being dramatic now” moments you sometimes see with actors known for their comedy. She does these subtle things with her eyes and mouth that are so effective and powerful. There’s a scene near the end of the film where she has to make a statement in court that almost had me in tears.

So I haven’t seen The Favourite or Black Panther or A Star is Born or Green Book, but it doesn’t matter. I loved Can You Ever Forgive Me? and I think it should win all the awards. All of them. Just give it all the awards.

A quick note

You may have noticed that the post I wrote yesterday has been deleted. I did this for two reasons. One, the editor I was talking about had second thoughts about what he tweeted and deleted his tweets, so the link I embedded went to a blank page. And two, since he did delete it, I decided to delete my post about it as well, because I don’t want to drag this thing on anymore.

But I am going to take a chunk of what I wrote about the state of freelance writing and having a freelance writing career in 2019 and do another post, so look for that in the future.

Have a great weekend.