Why Hillary Gets a Bad Wrap

As a follow-up to my earlier blog, I want to spend just a little time talking about Hillary Clinton. (And in terms of full disclosure, I voted for Bill Clinton?twice).

In regard to Hillary and her Presidential run, I?ve actually come around on her. I don?t love her, and I don?t hate her. In fact, if she became president, I don?t think she?d actually wrankle too many feathers when it comes to her actually policies, although I don?t think that would be the point. When it comes to actual decisAs a follow-up to my earlier blog, I want to spend just a little time talking about Hillary Clinton. (And in terms of full disclosure, I voted for Bill Clinton?twice).

In regard to Hillary and her Presidential run, I?ve actually come around on her. I don?t love her, and I don?t hate her. In fact, if she became president, I don?t think she?d actually wrankle too many feathers when it comes to her actually policies, although I don?t think that would be the point. When it comes to actual decision-making, I think Hillary would actually be pretty conservative, and keep things fairly calm and steady across the board.

Even a die-hard, right wing Republican friend of mine, who hates all things Clinton, seems to agree.

In terms of personality, well … that?s where the trouble begins. Too many Republicans simply hate Hillary, and just as many?if not more?hate Bill. And that?s a real problem. No matter what Hillary would do, or not do, as President, the Republicans who truly hate her would spend enormous amounts of time and energy lobbing bombs at her and Bill and their allies, essentially strangling Hillary?s ability to get anything done. It would be bad for her, bad for the Democrats, and, more importantly, bad for America. For you and me.

I think it?s a real shame that Hillary is being battered like this, but as columnist Richard Cohen wrote in yesteray?s editorial in the New York [i]Daily News[/i], he thinks Bill would stalk her presidency. I agree.

As for me, I?ve had enough with them. Enough with the Clintons. Certainly enough with the Bush family. That time has passed. I?m not going on any crazy Obama campaign here, because I?m not convinced he?s the answer, but this country needs a fresh voice to give us a chance, to recover from a decade that took us in absolutely the wrong direction.

If Hillary winds up getting the Democratic nod, I don?t think she can win the general election. And if she does, I think her run will be filled with landmines that exceed even what we?ve seen so far. We need a President who can actually be President, not spending his or her time defending themselves for getting elected in the first place.

Why I?m a Trekkie – Inner Space

When the mini-trailer for the new Star Trek movie came out last week, I got pumped, and that was only seeing it online. I?ve yet to see it on the big screen.

So … yeah. I?m a Trekkie. Now, I don?t love all the different shows, or the movies, either. But I?ve been a Star Trek fan since I was a kid. My earliest memories of Star Trek?and some of my favorite as a kid?were those on Sunday nights, when my parents would order in Chinese food, and we?d eat spare ribs and fried rice and watch StaWhen the mini-trailer for the new Star Trek movie came out last week, I got pumped, and that was only seeing it online. I?ve yet to see it on the big screen.

So … yeah. I?m a Trekkie. Now, I don?t love all the different shows, or the movies, either. But I?ve been a Star Trek fan since I was a kid. My earliest memories of Star Trek?and some of my favorite as a kid?were those on Sunday nights, when my parents would order in Chinese food, and we?d eat spare ribs and fried rice and watch Star Trek on WPIX, Channel 11.

And specifically, I remember watching the episode with the Gorn?the scaly dude Kirk does battle with, mano-y-mano?where Kirk concocts some gunpowder-based weapon out of minerals on this barren planet, and blasts his opponent to the ground with some rock stuff shoved in a tube, like a home-made grenade launcher. And whenever the Gorn would come on screen, my parents would shout ?Rock Stuff!?, and laugh.

Ahh. Good times.

But the reason I love Star Trek?I?m a true fan both of the original series and [i]The Next Generation[/i], but not really of [i]Enterprise[/i], [i]Voyager[/i] or [i]Deep Space Nine[/i]?is that Star Trek really wasn?t about outer space, but?as M. Scott Peck writes in his book, [i]In Search of Stones[/i]?inner space. In the episode with the Gorn, Kirk has his enemy defeated, and about to kill him. But he doesn?t. Kirk spares his life. Even with the action, it?s the morality play that intrigues us most.

Along those lines, I want to give you here a passenger from M. Scott Peck wrote in that book:

[i]When I was still practicing psychotherapy I used to tell my patients that they were hiring me as a ?guide through inner space.? There, I believe, is where the real adventure must be. And to succeed at ?deep? psychotherapy, the patient must be every bit as much an explorer as any astronaut, driven by curiosity about his own thinking process, his dreams and his genes, his memories and blind spots, his feelings and follies.

Indeed, I think there is much more riding on the ?conquest? of inner space than there is on the conquest of celestial realms; the key to the preservation of our civilization may reside in our coming to regard the exploration of our unconscious minds as ?the final frontier.? And I am a ?Trekkie? precisely because the real subject of ?Stark Trek? is not so much intergalactic travel as the inner journey of the travelers.[/i]

As good drama of medium can do, it challenges us to consider who we are, what we think, and why we think and feel the things we think and feel. It can also get us to question how we behave.

Of course, I don?t watch Star Trek because I?m looking for it to be a moral compass for me, but I?like many fans?relate to it because, deep down, it?s more about the questions, than the answers. While set in outer space, it?s really about inner space.

The same is true of Finders Keepers. Even though I?ve set some of the story in fantastical realms?including my goofy version of Eternity?at heart the story is really about the characters, and how they begin to question themselves, how that impacts them, and what they do about it.

On a personal note, I?m not sure if I?m an inner space astronaut or not, but I am curious about behavior. About my own behavior. My ongoing personal quest is to become a better man today than I was yesterday, and a better man tomorrow than I am today.

So I read and I listen and try to talk to people who seem to know more about these things than I do, and hope that I?m making progress, that I?m overcoming at least some of my flaws. I know that no matter how long I work at it there will always be more to do, but I figure that if I really want to evolve as person as much as I tell myself I do, then I to have to accept the fact that, while I?m likely to realize some things about myself that will be a pleasant surprise, I?m also going to learn some things that I might not like, that might even make me cringe a little. Shining the light on things in the dark.

Learning. Exploring.

The reason I?m a Trekkie is that there?s this sense of adventure. Looking at things that are strange and new and exciting. And things that get me to think. Not just traveling physical distances, but perhaps more importantly, journeying inward, so that I can take what I learn and then incorporate it into how I am with other people, passing on something good and positive, something that will live on even long after I?m gone.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/02/13 19:01

Is an Effective Person Run by the Clock?

In M. Scott Peck?s [i]In Search of Stones[/i], he says that [i]any effective person in society is run by the clock because society is run by the clock[/i]. I tend to agree. But there was one time in particular when I was a little bit late, and it really worked against me.

About eight years ago I was working with some guys that, well … let?s say, they weren?t the findest kind, and we?ll leave it at that. We were attending a conference in Midtown Manhattan, and the three of us had a meetinIn M. Scott Peck?s [i]In Search of Stones[/i], he says that [i]any effective person in society is run by the clock because society is run by the clock[/i]. I tend to agree. But there was one time in particular when I was a little bit late, and it really worked against me.

About eight years ago I was working with some guys that, well … let?s say, they weren?t the findest kind, and we?ll leave it at that. We were attending a conference in Midtown Manhattan, and the three of us had a meeting there with some executives at 9 a.m.

I was living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan at the time, and I thought I gave myself enough of a head start to be punctual. Turns out I was about 10 minutes late. This was back in the days before heavy cell phone use?and afterwards, I caught big-time abuse for my tardiness. Not because I ran a little late due to early-morning subway congestion, and not in that funny, ball-breaking way, but in that we hate your guts anyway and this is just another reason why you suck kinda way.

The funny thing is, I?m extremely punctual overall. In fact, I hate being late. Hate it, hate it, hate it. Normally, I would much rather be 20 minutes early than 10 seconds late. But this one time I was a little late because … well, I?m not entirely sure why, as it was a long time ago and I can?t remember, but I?m sure at least one factor was my not wanting to be in a room with those wonks one second more than I needed to, as they weren?t making life pleasant for me overall. I tried timing my trip so that I would get there with just enough seconds to spare. Didn?t quite work out.

That said, I want to be clear: Nobody else?and no other circumstance?made me late. I made me late. That was the last time I did that.

I?ve had many conversations with people over the years about this idea?being on time?and most seem to agree that being punctual is the way to go. Of course, we all know that things happen: there?s unexpected traffic, cars break down, extreme weather, etc. Being flexible goes a long way, and when we give each other a break, life seems to go more smoothly.

But don?t you notice how some people are pretty much always on time and others are pretty much always late? That?s not an accident. It?s intentional. I?ll explain.

Let?s say that Fred, who?s chronically late, wins a special lottery?a $150 million lump-sum payout, tax-free. But there?s one condition. To claim his prize, he must?must?show up at the collection office at 6 a.m. on the dot. Rain or shine. Blizzard or hurricane. Broken leg or blindness. No exceptions of any kind, no do-overs. He can get there by any means and with any help he wants, but Fred has to physically show up.

And if he?s even one minute late?even one second late; literarily one second, one blip of the second hand?he forfeits the entire $150 million. He gets nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.

It?s gone.

Do you think Fred, who?s chronically late, would be there on time to collect his $150 million? You bet your you-know-what he?d be on time! He?d be there three hours early!

So Fred has the ability to show up on time; it?s just that he often chooses not to be.

Being late bugs me.

And yet there was a time for me in college, my (second) senior year, if I remember correctly, when I actually experimented with the idea of being a little late, this sense of, what?s the big deal if I miss by a few minutes? Will the world really come to an end? And what I mean is, I intentionally came late to class a few times. I intentionally left my apartment later than I knew I should when I was on my way to pick someone up.

Yeah … it didn?t go well. Didn?t like it. Not for me. Nobody was particularly impressed with my tardiness. So after a few weeks, I gave it up, and went back to being on time.

I?ve been accused from time to time of being overly intense about a few things (no, really … some people actually say that about me; crazy, I know). Is this one of those things? Don?t know. But while I realize that I might not get any extra points in life for being on time, I definitely don?t get them for being late.

Is Barack Obama Like Eli Manning?

Yesterday was Super Tuesday, and now that I?ve voted, I have some predictions for the Presidential Election. But before I get into that, I want to be up front about my last prediction.

About a year ago, back when Hilary and Obama weren?t really gathering too much steam either way and kind of splitting the Democratic party, I was pretty convinced?and went out on a limb saying so?that Al Gore was going to swoop in at the last minute, take the nomination in a thunderous move, and then win theYesterday was Super Tuesday, and now that I?ve voted, I have some predictions for the Presidential Election. But before I get into that, I want to be up front about my last prediction.

About a year ago, back when Hilary and Obama weren?t really gathering too much steam either way and kind of splitting the Democratic party, I was pretty convinced?and went out on a limb saying so?that Al Gore was going to swoop in at the last minute, take the nomination in a thunderous move, and then win the Presidential Election.

Well … so much for that prediction (although I do think that had he moved a little sooner, Gore could have done it).

I?m not as convinced of my next prediction as my last, but more and more I?m starting to get the feeling that the upcoming election could be very much like the Giant?s Super Bowl victory, with a young underdog team playing quick and tough with a big flourish at the end, to win it all. I think our next president will be … Barack Obama.

Here?s why.

I find it very unlikely that Mitt Romney is going to outlast John McCain. I just don?t see it. Doesn?t mean it can?t happen, but I?ll be surprised if it does. So let?s say McCain wins.

If it?s a McCain/Hilary election, I don?t think Hilary can win. They?re actually too similar ideologically?two old guards?and too many Republicans just hate her. Hate. Her. And I think that would galvanize the Republicans, and take the election.

But if it?s McCain/Obama … well … that?s something else. It would be like Nixon/Kennedy all over again. Obama?s a bad match-up for McCain. He?s young and agile, energetic. He?s fresh and new, and speaks with vigor and vitality that we haven?t seen in a long while.

Now, I?m not making a bold prediction here, and betting the farm on this scenario. But I think it could happen, and I think it?s more likely than I thought even a few weeks ago. Despite all this talk among the candidates about being agents of ?change,? I think America is actually ready for change. New leadership, a new voice.

Will Obama pull it off? I don?t know. And I don?t even know if he would be a good president. But he could very well be the Eli Manning of the 2008 election, and rise above early expectations, making the biggest plays when they matter most.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/02/08 05:37

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/02/09 06:17

Super Bowl Wowser! The Greatest Play. Ever.

I?ve been a Jets fan my entire life?and seeing as how I?m creeping up on 37?that?s a lot of years to watch the Jets lose. They?ve never won–or even gone to–a Super Bowl in my lifetime. But still I watch.

And while I was never a rampant Giants hater, I didn?t root for them either. But yesterday–against the Patriots (and Jets enemy) you bet yer you-know-what I was rooting all game long for those Giants. And throughout a tight, exciting game, I kept thinking, [i]they really have a chance, bI?ve been a Jets fan my entire life?and seeing as how I?m creeping up on 37?that?s a lot of years to watch the Jets lose. They?ve never won–or even gone to–a Super Bowl in my lifetime. But still I watch.

And while I was never a rampant Giants hater, I didn?t root for them either. But yesterday–against the Patriots (and Jets enemy) you bet yer you-know-what I was rooting all game long for those Giants. And throughout a tight, exciting game, I kept thinking, [i]they really have a chance, but can they hold out?[/i]

And then, with just two minutes to go, Eli Manning, the Giants? quarterback, comes up with the play of plays. That play. Scrambling in the backfield with the Patriots literally all over him, he manages to break free of a near-certain sack, and slings the ball through the air. Amazing.

But just as amazing, David Tyree, the Giants wide receiver, leaps in the air, out-jumping the defense back, and grabs the ball, and then, [i]with just one hand[/i], traps it … [i]against the top of his helmet! [/i]… as he crashes to the ground, and by some miracle, manages to hang on.

Incredible. Just incredible.

This will go down as one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, one of the most thrilling moments in sports we?ll ever likely see. Games like this?and these once-in-a-decade moments?really bring out the joy of what great competition can look like. And what fun it is to be a part of it.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/02/08 05:36

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/02/09 06:17

Philadelphia Freedom

Just a quick one today, but I wanted to say that after spending a day in Philadelphia this week?a work trip?I really kinda liked it. It has that old town element from our original cities, and it?s really starting to ramp up in its downtown life as well. It?s a fairly friendly city, easy to get around, and it?s close to New York and Baltimore/Washington, D.C.

When I went down there I didn?t have any real expectations of what I would see?I always considered Philly as nothing more than an afteJust a quick one today, but I wanted to say that after spending a day in Philadelphia this week?a work trip?I really kinda liked it. It has that old town element from our original cities, and it?s really starting to ramp up in its downtown life as well. It?s a fairly friendly city, easy to get around, and it?s close to New York and Baltimore/Washington, D.C.

When I went down there I didn?t have any real expectations of what I would see?I always considered Philly as nothing more than an afterthought?but now I have to say that I?m a fan of Philadelphia.

Granted, I didn?t see enough of the city to claim any intimate knowledge of it, but what I did see, I liked, and I want to go back, hopefully sooner rather than later.

How the Writer?s Strike Helps Me

Like any TV junkie, I?m a little bummed that the writer?s strike is keeping some of my favorite shows off the air. Selfishly speaking, however, there?s a big upside for me with this writer?s strike, so I?m more than happy to wait as long as it takes for them to negotiate this out.

At the heart of the issue is what to do about Web money. Meaning, if any TV/Movies, etc. are delivered online, how much should the writer?s get paid? They want their fair share, and the studios pretty much don?t Like any TV junkie, I?m a little bummed that the writer?s strike is keeping some of my favorite shows off the air. Selfishly speaking, however, there?s a big upside for me with this writer?s strike, so I?m more than happy to wait as long as it takes for them to negotiate this out.

At the heart of the issue is what to do about Web money. Meaning, if any TV/Movies, etc. are delivered online, how much should the writer?s get paid? They want their fair share, and the studios pretty much don?t want to pay anything, or if they do, just peanuts. They argue that the Web is too new to be able to accurately compute what amount of revenue programming will produce–and by extension, what writers should get–and are therefore not paying at all.

Essentially, the studios want to figure out how they can keep the biggest slice for themselves. The writers want the same.

Thing is, if all goes well for me writing-wise, as I expect it will, some day down the line?and hopefully sooner rather than later?my time will come to cash in. Finders Keepers has potential for many mediums, as do the various other projects I?ve got in the pipeline. By the time my projects are coming up for Web delivery, I want to be protected.

So however long this writer strike takes, it takes. I miss my TV, but there?s a real issue at stake here. Not only do I support my fellow writers?who deserve to be compensated fairly?but one day Ill be on the negotiating end of things, and the more the writers work out today, the better off I?ll be tomorrow.

Jet Ski Tinkering Improved Finders Keepers

While I?ve been pruning away on Finders Keepers, I wound up spending about two full days on a Jet Ski as I made my way to a distant shore.

That is to say, within the confines of the story.

There?s an establishing scene in Finders Keepers?one that leads up to something major?I?ve been working on, where Theo is in New Zealand, and wants to discuss something important with his brother. I had done my big read of the entire manuscript at this point, had made my notes by hand on the printed While I?ve been pruning away on Finders Keepers, I wound up spending about two full days on a Jet Ski as I made my way to a distant shore.

That is to say, within the confines of the story.

There?s an establishing scene in Finders Keepers?one that leads up to something major?I?ve been working on, where Theo is in New Zealand, and wants to discuss something important with his brother. I had done my big read of the entire manuscript at this point, had made my notes by hand on the printed pages, and was just inputting the changes in the file, but I still didn?t have the language quite right. So I tinkered a little, I tinkered a little more.

[i]Yep, that looks good, but …[/i]

[i]Nah, not quite right. [/i]

So I tinkered again, cut a few lines, added something new and … no.

On and on this went over two days, and for a short chapter–probably the shortest sequence in the entire book, only 500 words or so–it took me about 8 hours to get the language right. And then I read it through again, only to realize that there was still something missing, just a little phrase here, a wrong word there …

Well, I?m happy to say that I finally got it nailed down; I?m happy with the outcome. I think this seemingly transitional, but important scene took some real doing because I initially underestimated its significance. The big action comes after this scene, but it establishes where the characters are, and why it?s important they get there.

Even after all these reads of Finders Keepers I?m still finding little things to tweak. Now, I know that I could go on like this forever, always making tiny changes here and there, but this was something I just couldn?t let go. I thought it was going to take me 10 minutes, wound up taking 10 hours.

Sometimes it just goes that way … but it’s all worth it in the end.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/02/15 13:40

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/02/18 18:13

The Movie Weekend

Every once in a while I just make a movie marathon out of my weekend. Well, this past weekend was one of those.

Liz and I kicked off the Saturday screenings with [i]There Will Be Blood.[/i] I went in with high hopes, and came out disappointed. There’s a very good movie in there, but they needed to cut 45 minutes from it scattered throughout. While some of it works really well, and Daniel Day-Lewis delivers huge–again–there are just too many stretches that are long and dull. Best movie ofEvery once in a while I just make a movie marathon out of my weekend. Well, this past weekend was one of those.

Liz and I kicked off the Saturday screenings with [i]There Will Be Blood.[/i] I went in with high hopes, and came out disappointed. There’s a very good movie in there, but they needed to cut 45 minutes from it scattered throughout. While some of it works really well, and Daniel Day-Lewis delivers huge–again–there are just too many stretches that are long and dull. Best movie of the year? Uh … no.

Sunday was a day at home, with movies on demand. My afternoon matinee was [i]Ratatouille[/i], which I liked. I didn’t love it, but it was fun. There wasn’t quite as much to the story as I thought there would be, but it was kind of a hoot watching a rat trying to be a gourmet chef in Paris. But even though it had the animated fluffy feel, it was hard to entirely overlook the fact that it was a rat–and sometimes an entire kitchen full of rats–doing the cooking. Thumbs up, but not quite a top 10.

Our Sunday night feature was [i]The Bourne Ultimatum,[/i] the last in the Bourne series. I was in the mood for a good rock ’em, sock ’em get the bad guys kinda flick, and this did the trick. I liked this one best out of the series, with some really intense action sequences. It slipped a little for me in the believability department, given that Bourne became almost indestructable, no matter what kind of beating he took, but it was action thrills across the board.

And for a Monday night capper, Liz and I watched the last three episodes of [i]Lost [/i]Season 3–including that incredible 2-part finale. Season 4 starts on Thursday, and we wanted to get back into it. I had forgotten just how good [i]Lost[/i] can be when it’s really grooving. Awesome.

So that was my movie weekend. I don’t know if I’ll have another any time soon, but it wasn’t a bad way to spend a few days at all.

Jamaican Surprise: My Exploding Eye Socket

Now that I think about it, for a trip that was absolutely great?and it was great?my Jamaican getaway had more than it?s share of bizarre moments. As I noted in my last blog, I had an inexplicable beach anxiety situation one morning, which I ultimately figured out.

But this little act of agony occurred before I even got to Jamaica. So there we were, Liz and I, on the plane, no more than 30 minutes before we were to touch down in Jamaica, when suddenly my left eye starts to feel … weird. AtNow that I think about it, for a trip that was absolutely great?and it was great?my Jamaican getaway had more than it?s share of bizarre moments. As I noted in my last blog, I had an inexplicable beach anxiety situation one morning, which I ultimately figured out.

But this little act of agony occurred before I even got to Jamaica. So there we were, Liz and I, on the plane, no more than 30 minutes before we were to touch down in Jamaica, when suddenly my left eye starts to feel … weird. At first I just chalked it up to a twitch, just one of those little spasms that seem to come and go every once a blue moon. (Well, the moon wasn?t blue, but the water sure was …).

But then it became clear that whatever was going on was more than just a twitch. It kinda itched, and it kinda ached a little. So I rubbed at the corner of my eye a few times, like scratching an itch. But then that wasn?t enough, either. Something else was going on. So I started putting pressure on the corner of my eye socket, which relieved the pain somewhat.

But the pain itself was starting to increase. It was getting more intense. So much so that it actually had me doubled over, with me instinctively putting more pressure on the outside of my eye socket.

At this point it?s like a pencil was actually inside my head trying to force its way out through the corner of my left eye, breaking right through my skull. When it occurred to me that I?d been fighting off the possible beginnings of a cold?I was a little stuffed up?and we were finally starting our descent, changing the air pressure in the plane. And thus wreaking havoc in my head.

Figuring out the cause of it relieved some of my anxiety?but none of the physical pain. I just kept the pressure on, trying to keep my eye socket from exploding, until we touched down. And then in a matter of just a few seconds, the pain went away. Gone.

[i]Poof.[/i]

I?d never felt pain like that, and I hope I never feel it again. But once it was gone, it stayed gone. So even though I started off my Jamaican trip under bizarre circumstances, it ended up a-okay.

Post edited by: rcolchamiro, at: 2008/02/09 06:16

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