Monday, December 10, 2012
Legendary Actor Robert De Niro
While a typhoon raged in the Philippines and civil war raged in Syria, peace dwelt in Santa Barbara. Robert De Niro was in town to receive accolades from the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The headline in the Santa Barbara News-Press read "Film Festival honors Robert De Niro" and referred to De Niro as a "Legendary Actor."
De Niro is ..... legendary .... but he doesn't take this too seriously. He's a guy from New York who has had some good roles and some good luck. He makes a living. A favorite film is The Bronx Tale where De Niro plays the role of a city bus driver, a day-in and day-out job that makes him a hero to his family. This is the kind of guy -- that bus driver -- whom De Niro honors.
But the Film Festival picked De Niro for the mascot this year because once you get to the award level, they just keep picking you, giving you honorary degrees, all that.
What about five hundred other actors in Hollywood who are pretty good at their work, and when do they get an award? What about a man I know in Altadena -- Allan Wasserman is an actor, he makes a living. He's a familiar face on some TV shows, he also does theater. He keeps working and he's pretty good. He has a dog named Murray and a lovely wife. This friend of mine also comes from New York, like De Niro -- and I imagine these two gentlemen respect each other.......Robert De Niro and my legendary friend from Altadena..... who should also get an award.
Philippines Typhoon Takes Over 600 Lives and Damages Banana Crop
Aside from the still-climbing death toll on the southern island of Mindanao, the storm destroyed 34,000 acres of bananas, or 18 percent of the total crop. This crop serves as export income, and the loss will be felt deeply -- among other losses.
But just to point out that we live in a global culture and economy -- we eat bananas from the Philippines, and the price might go up a little bit because of the crop loss.
Which brings us to the ---
Kyoto Protocols. This is a treaty designed to reduce carbon emissions by the major economic powers. Less developed economies are not expected to reduce their emissions as much or at all --- that would make it like progressive taxation.
Only how do you account for the carbon life-cycle of a product? Our blessed land is a major exporter of wheat to Egypt.
We manufacture tractors and farm equipment, we use chemicals from agri-factories, and much fuel to grow the crops -- for the benefit of the people of Egypt. So who pays the carbon tax, the producer or the consumer?
Egypt is in turmoil. The military may soon intervene to restore order. Egypt receives over $1 billion in direct military aid from the US. We build tanks and jet planes and then "loan" the money to Egypt to buy the stuff. So who pays the carbon tax on the wheat and the military equipment?
And we pay a smaller amount to the Palestinian West Bank faction known as Fatah -- it helps to keep them moderate.
And quite a bit more to Israel.
How they gonna have a war without us? -- they would have to form a camel calvary and use swords.
But what about Rwanda? -- they didn't need chemical weapons or jet fighters from America, they slaughtered upwards of 500,000 of their fellow Rwandans, and they did it one corpse at a time, using machetes. (who sold them the machetes?)
The civil war rages in Syria and the typhoon rages in the Philippines. We say one is a natural disaster and the other is a man-made disaster. What is the difference?
A nice gift for Christmas, Frog Hospital, the book at Amazon.com where you can read a few pages -- It's a lasting value. You could read it today or five years from now -- durable words that won't wear out.
It's not a funny book. It's a serious book with a few jokes in it. Frog Hospital has three fire stories.
-- the trailer fire outside of Floresville, Texas, where a mother and two children died in the night
-- a memory of the Our Lady of Angels fire in Chicago in the 1950s when over 80 school children burned to death
-- a house fire in La Vernia, Texas, which was almost funny if it wasn't tragic.
The La Vernia woman was so mad at her husband that she poured gasoline all over the double wide mobile home and lit it afire, then stepped outside and called the sheriff to report her action. The house was left in ruins and she was arrested for arson. Some folks wondered if it was a crime to burn your own house down, but the sheriff thought it was a crime. Apparently the woman's husband also thought so, because he would not post her bail.
She stayed in the county jail. I didn't find out where the husband was sleeping.
That's the book. You see a photo on the cover of the author standing in a boat with Robert Sund's Fishtown shack in the background.
That's where the book begins, that's the attitude of the book, which is why it got on the cover -- but most of the book takes place in wide spaces from California to Ohio to New England, to St. Louis, and the year of drought in South Texas --- it's all about America.
You can buy it from Amazon for $14.95 -- and please let me know if you do that.
Or -- much better -- you can buy it from me directly and I will sign it...... Buy it from me by hitting the Pay Pal button on the Frog Hospital blog for $25 and then send me your mailing address.
Or -- takes longer -- send a check to 35 West Main Street, Suite B, #391, Ventura, CA 93001
We're approaching the goal of selling 1,000 copies. That's the magic number. At that point the publisher recoups his investment and we get to publish another book.
And that's the reward for writing books -- if it goes well, you get to write another one.
So far, it's been a pleasure. I want to finish by saluting two well-known authors.
Philip Roth, at age 79, has announced a retirement from writing fiction. I have just begun to enjoy his novels, and I am very glad he wrote them. He would know better than others if he is tapped out ---- well, let's remember Ted Williams hit a home run in his last at-bat and then said good-bye.
Elmore Leonard, at age 87, is still writing crime novels. He's a favorite to me.
So you give it up, or you keep going.
In the meantime, most of my words are on FACEBOOK these days. You should friend me at "Fred Owens" Nobody in America or around the earth composes more interesting and varied posts. Honestly, this writer is the premier FB poster of all time. That's what you will find out.
My blog is Fred Owens
send mail to:
35 West Main St Suite B #391
Ventura CA 93001