Thursday, May 31, 2007

Loud Moviemouths

No crap, I had the idea for this over the weekend. Everyone loves to snitch. Rat bastards...

B


Movie Patrons Can Rat Out Rude Behavior
GRS Allows Anonymous Paging Of Manager

POSTED: 7:52 am EDT May 30, 2007

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Are you fed up with rude movie patrons? A major theater group is offering a way to tattle on them.

The Regal Entertainment Group has been testing small hand-held devices called "Guest Response Systems." Selected patrons can use them anonymously to page management when there's a specific problem.

The GRS's are wireless and have four buttons marked "picture," "sound," "piracy" and "other disturbance."

Company spokesman Dick Westerling said they have been used to report audio or video problems or to tell on someone who is illegally taping the movie. But he said most complaints have to do with loud talking and cell phone use.

Westerling said the Guest Response System seems to be improving "customer etiquette" in the 13 theaters where they've been since last summer. Now, he said, the company is adding them in 101 more locations.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Book Expo and The Electric Slide

Off to Book Expo where they're unveiling my publisher's new name (what was Warner is now Grand Central Publishing). My real goal is to corner Colbert at the book party.

Otherwise, the only thing getting me excited is the legal battle over the Electric Slide. All you Bar-Mitzvah bands owe this man!

B

'Electric Slide' creator backs down from DMCA claim

Posted by Daniel Terdiman

The man who claims to have created the famed Electric Slide has backed down from a legal claim against an engineer who posted a YouTube video of people doing the dance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation announced.

The EFF had represented the engineer, Kyle Machulia, in a lawsuit against the dance's creator, Richard Silver. But on Tuesday, the EFF said Silver had backed down from his claim and his general "online video takedown campaign" and agreed to allow anyone noncommercial use of the dance.

In February, Silver filed a Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notice with YouTube demanding that the service remove a video in which the dance briefly appears.

"Mr. Silver's misuse of the DMCA interfered with our client's free speech rights," EFF staff attorney Corynne McSherry said in a press release. "New technologies have opened multiple avenues for artists and their audiences to create, share and comment on new works. We cannot let absurd copyright claims squash this extraordinary growth."

Under the terms of the settlement, Silver agreed to license the dance under a Creative Commons license. That means anyone will be able to perform, reproduce, display or distribute recordings of the Electric Slide for noncommercial use in any medium.

For his part, Machulis said he was excited for what the settlement means for general use of content--like videos of people dancing in public places.

"This is a huge win for open-source licenses as well as line dance enthusiasts and hapless nerds with video cameras," Machulis said. "It's as much a win for Creative Commons as it is for me, as this is a much more understandable platform to talk to people about intellectual property and licensing on than the usual software claims that come up."

The video is now back online as a result of the settlement.

Book Burner

C'mon, it's the death of the written word. Gotta send this along...

B

Mo. Man Burns Books as Act of Protest
By DAVID TWIDDY

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Tom Wayne amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero's Books. His collection ranges from best sellers like Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" and Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," to obscure titles like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But wanting to thin out his collection, he found he couldn't even give away books to libraries or thrift shops, which said they were full. So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books protest what he sees as society's diminishing support for the printed word.

"This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today," Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.

The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn't have a permit to burn them.

Wayne said next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply - estimated at 20,000 books - is exhausted.

"After slogging through the tens of thousands of books we've slogged through and to accumulate that many and to have people turn you away when you take them somewhere, it's just kind of a knee-jerk reaction," he said. "And it's a good excuse for fun."

Wayne said he has seen fewer customers in recent years as people more often get their information from television or the Internet. He pointed to a 2002 study by the National Endowment for the Arts, that found that less than half of adult respondents reported reading for pleasure, down from almost 57 percent in 1982.

Kansas City has seen the number of used bookstores decline in recent years and there are few independent bookstores left in town, said Will Leathem, a co-owner of Prospero's Books.

"There are segments of this city where you go to an estate sale and find five TVs and three books," Leathem said.

Dozens of customers took advantage of the Sunday's book-burning, searching through those waiting to go into the fire for last-minute bargains.

Mike Bechtel paid $10 for a stack of books, including an antique collection of children's literature, which he said he'd save for his 4-year-old son.

"I think given the fact it is a protest of people not reading books, it's the best way to do it," Bechtel said. "(Wayne has) made the point that not reading a book is as good as burning it."

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day

My second to last stop on the book tour this year was a signing at Ft. Hood in Texas. We all have our war opinions, but when you go to a base, and you see the young (YOUNG!) people who're truly out there giving their lives... That's when the war really comes home.

So today, think a good thought for all those abroad, and all those who came before them.

B

Friday, May 25, 2007

Harlan Ellison on Identity Crisis

From his Newsarama interview. Ah, candidness.

B

NRAMA: I was curious about what you thought of Identity Crisis and some of the other crossovers, because I’m guessing you were not a fan…

Harlan Ellison: Horses**t. A maximum amount of pointless s**t. Not to be too candid about it.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I Still Believe

For the past few months, my wife and I have been working to bring City Year to Miami (more on that later, but see www.cityyear.org for the propaganda). But what amazes me (and in a good way) is number 5 on this list.

According to a survey of 40,000 college students by Universum Communications, these are the Employers that Undergrads want to work for most:


  1. Google
  2. Disney
  3. Apple
  4. US State Department
  5. Peace Corps

B

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Zero Game is...Alive!

Last week, the winner of my personal tour through the Capitol was...er...with me in the Capitol. So, to commemorate, here's a reenactment of the scene from The Zero Game where Harris darts through the curator's office and is almost stopped by a handsome member of the curator's staff. That's me playing Harris...and dear friend Scott Strong playing the role of the handsome curator staffer (which is a stretch since he works in the curator's office as a staffer).

My favorite is the one where he's taking it on the chin. Let's see Shakespeare do THAT!

B



Friday, May 18, 2007

How To Get Your Book Published

Forget all the emails about the novels -- THIS is probably the most asked question I get: how do I get my book published? And so, here's my response to a friend's questions. Hope they help. And no matter what, when it does get picked up, send me an invite to the book signing.

B



1) I already know an agent- he's sort of a family friend. He works exclusively with children's literature. I know he wouldn't be a good person for my novel, since it is clearly NOT children's lit or young adult lit. Is it OK to ask him if he knows any other agents, in this case in the field of romantic fiction? Or is it VERY unprofessional to ask one agent about another?

B: I'm not worried about unprofessional -- I just worry he'll say, "Oh, I'll do it" and then you're ... AWKward. :) Use my trick: go to the hardcover books of authors you like, check their Acknowledgments, and THAT'S how you find good agents.

2) Can you send cover letters explaining the novel to different agents at the same time? Or should you wait until you get rejected to send out another cover letter? What if more then one agent wants to work with you? (That last question is in my WILDEST dreams)

I sent all at once (ten agents max, just in case your letter needs work, so you don't use everyone up at once).

3) What if you get an agent and they can't find a publisher for your book, do you still have to pay them? Do all agents get a cut of the money if you get published?

You should only sign with someone who gets paid only if they sell it (though some ask you to pay minor mail fees, etc, which is fine).

4) What is the turnaround time between sending cover letters out and getting some sort of response? When should I give up on the person and move on. I'm assuming if I never hear from them, that they think my novel will never sell and since they can't say anything nice, they won't
say anything at all.

Usually 6 weeks or so. But when you think about calling them, remember: there's a fine line between enthusiasm and desperation.

The Writing Process:

1) You said on your page that it takes about a year to a year and a half to write a novel.

Is that writing it EVERY day? Doesn't life ever get in the way? Do you ever get annoyed with the characters and just need a break from them?

I write M-F, only these days.

On my first book, I wrote M-TH (8 - 11pm), took off Friday, and wrote
Saturdays and Sundays for 5 hours.

Of course you need a break in the week. Otherwise you'll go nuts.

2) You also said you write a first draft and then you rewrite it.

Besides your wife and Noah, do you show your writing to anyone else?

Is too much feedback a bad thing? So far I've had about four people read bits and pieces of my novel--- the feedback has been good, but I'm worried people just might be being nice to me. Do you ever feel like that?

Of course. When a draft is done, and you've reworked it to a point, show it to 5 friends (who you think won't lie to you). You'll get 5 different opinions, but at the end of the day, you'll start to see the overlap. You can't -- and shouldn't -- listen to everyone. But listen to your gut. You'll know which comments are right. Also, you want it to get to a point where your friends say, "Wow -- I'm really digging it." If they're just saying, "Yeah, it's kinda okay" keep working on it.

3) Does your agent give you pointers about your novel before they start to submit to publishers? Do publishers give you pointers or 'YOU MUST CHANGE THIS OR NO ONE WILL EVER BUY IT!' comments? How perfect does the novel have to be for an agent or a publisher to even look at it?

Yes. And yes. But it's always up to you as to which comments you want to address. One editor once wrote in the margin: "I'm so bored right now, I wanna put a gun in my mouth." Really. And it just has to be good.

4) How LONG should it be? I know that is sort of a loaded question.

But my novel is about 280 MS Word pages (single spaced), which would make it about 560 in novel format. Should I keep it long and let the publisher or agent tell me what to cut or should I just start hacking away at it?

I've written 300, 400, 500. The best rule of writing: there are no rules. If it's good, it's good.

Most important, good luck!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Read This One

This story (from the New York Times) below comes via my dear friend Elliot Kaye, who is the lawyer mentioned in the article. He sent it to me to send to others in the hope that the government would give up on their appeal. Regardless of your politics, this one will tear your heart out.

So please pass it along through the Times web site...

B

May 13, 2007

Taking the War Out of a Child Soldier

By NINA BERNSTEIN

New York Times

The teenager stepped off an airplane at Kennedy International Airport on Nov. 8 and asked for asylum. Days before, he had been wielding an automatic weapon as a child soldier in Ivory Coast. Now he had only his name, Salifou Yankene, and a phrase in halting English: “I want to make refugee.”

Eventually Salifou’s story would emerge, and in granting him asylum, one of the system’s toughest judges would find it credible: the assassination of his father and older sister when he was 12; the family’s flight to a makeshift camp for the displaced; his conscription at 15 by rebel troops who chopped off his younger brother’s hand; and an extraordinary escape two years later, when his mother risked her life to try to save him.

But when a lawyer took the case without fee in January, Salifou, then 17, was almost ready to give up. Detained in a New Jersey jail, overtaken by guilt, anger and despair, he resisted painful questions, sometimes crying, “Send me back!” And the lawyer soon realized that saving Salifou would require much more than winning him asylum.

There are 300,000 child soldiers worldwide, human rights groups say. Only a few have ever made it to the United States, but campaigns to halt recruitment and rehabilitate survivors are resonating here — not least because a best-selling memoir by one former child soldier, Ishmael Beah, has put a compelling human face on the potential for redemption.

Yet no one has really grappled with how to handle those who make it to this country seeking refuge.

Their violent pasts pose hard questions: Should they be legally barred from asylum as persecutors or protected as victims? How can they be healed, and who will help them?

Both Salifou and Mr. Beah, who testified on Salifou’s behalf, show that on the ground, the answers are haphazard, and the results may turn on the kindness of strangers.

Mr. Beah, now a 26-year-old who exudes a gentle radiance, surged to celebrity with “Long Way Gone,” showcased at Starbucks and acclaimed on “The Daily Show.” The book tells how he was orphaned, drugged up, indoctrinated and made to kill indiscriminately by government forces in Sierra Leone’s civil war — and then reclaimed by counselors at a Unicef rehabilitation center.

But unlike Mr. Beah, who became a permanent resident without applying for asylum, Salifou has faced legal opposition from the government. And while Mr. Beah has had a decade to adjust to America, go to college and come to terms with his past, Salifou’s story is still raw, and changing.

Less than three weeks ago, days after his 18th birthday, immigration authorities abruptly released Salifou alone, at 10 p.m., on a street corner in Lower Manhattan.

“They say, ‘You free to go,’ ” he recalled, eyes wide. “I say, ‘Go where?’ ”

That night, the former child soldier — now over six feet tall, with toned muscles and a diagnosis of severe post-traumatic stress disorder — slept on a couch in the Brooklyn apartment of his lawyer, Elliot F. Kaye, near the toy trains of Mr. Kaye’s 2-year-old son.

Salifou could still be deported. At his asylum hearing in April, the government argued that based solely on his own account, he was a persecutor, and thus legally barred from refuge.

When the judge disagreed, citing Salifou’s youth and coercion by his rebel captors, a government lawyer invoked a right to appeal that will not expire until May 23.

Ernestine Fobbs, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said on Friday that the agency did not comment on active cases.

Salifou testified that to satisfy leaders who punished disobedience with death, he had looted during raids, grabbed new child conscripts and hit and kicked civilians without pity if they resisted. He maintained, though, that while he had shot at people, he had never knowingly killed anyone.

Many mysteries remain in the story of the escape of this adolescent, whose sheltered, upper-middle-class childhood and French schooling in West Africa ended abruptly with his father’s murder.

One is the real identity of the foreigner his mother called Father William, who smuggled him onto a plane to Geneva, he said, outfitted him in jeans and Timberland boots, and sent him on to New York with a false Swiss passport.

Were Salifou deported now, concluded the judge in the case, Alan L. Page — who has denied 83 percent of asylum cases brought before him — he could face jail, torture or death from both sides in the conflict dividing Ivory Coast.

Instead, on Salifou’s first day of freedom, he awoke in the Kayes’ small Cobble Hill apartment, with the French books he had collected in jail: math and physics texts, Harry Potter paperbacks and a short story by Balzac that had made him cry, he said, because, like Mr. Beah’s testimony, “it is my own history.”

When the lawyer took Salifou’s case last winter, Mr. Beah’s memoir had not yet been published, but an adaptation in The New York Times Magazine led Mr. Kaye to contact Laura Simms, the woman Mr. Beah calls his second mother.

“How did you do that?” Mr. Kaye said he asked her, when he learned that she had taken Mr. Beah into her home as soon as he arrived on a hard-won temporary visa in 1998. “I remember saying: ‘I have a wife and a young son. He may not even know how dangerous he still is.’ ”

Ms. Simms became his mentor, the guide to an expanding circle of strangers determined to rescue Salifou — even, if necessary, from himself.

“At first I distrusted everyone,” Salifou said in French. “Elliot said, ‘Life is giving you a second chance.’ All I wanted was death.”

“Little by little, Elliot changed that.”

Unlike Mr. Beah, who had major trauma therapy in his country in a residential center staffed by trained counselors, Salifou was facing his demons in an adult jail, and the lawyers probing for details of his life, against asylum deadlines, were in effect his only therapists.

Sometimes, the lawyers said, they found a petulant teenager, or an angry soldier; sometimes he was a child closing his eyes, longing to be magically transported back to a time when his family was intact and pillow fights were his only combat.

“We realized we had to make him remember things that he wanted desperately to forget,” said Bryan Lonegan, the Legal Aid lawyer who screened Salifou’s case at the Sussex County, N. J., jail and enlisted the help of Mr. Kaye and his colleagues at the Cooley Godward Kronish law firm in Manhattan.

By then, Salifou had good reason to be confused and distrustful of the system he had entered when he sought asylum. Like many of the 5,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended each year, he had no valid identity documents. But based on the birth date he gave, he had been placed in a juvenile shelter in Queens.

Within days, after confiding to a counselor that he sometimes heard voices and had once attempted suicide, he was transferred to a mental hospital’s pediatric ward, where he was so medicated, he said, that he could barely move.

Discharged in time for Thanksgiving dinner at the children’s residence, he was suddenly declared to be over 18, not 17 years and 7 months as he maintained, based on an immigration service dentist’s interpretation of his X-rays — a practice that many doctors contest as unreliable. An adult immigration detention center refused to take him, so he was locked up in a county jail in western New Jersey.

His experience evokes the larger international confusion over how to draw the line between juveniles and adults, and what treatment is best for former child soldiers.

In one sense, Salifou’s childhood ended on Aug. 6, 2001, according to the 25-page affidavit he signed. That was the day his father and older sister were shot to death within earshot of the family home in Man, a market town in northwestern Ivory Coast. He remains tormented that as a 12-year-old he was powerless to protect his family when armed men ransacked the house and assaulted his mother.

His father, a civil servant in the defense ministry, had been politically active with an opposition party, but may also have dealt in arms and diamonds. He had been able to afford to send Salifou to a French school, where he excelled.

But after the murders of his father and sister, he fled with his mother, brother and two younger sisters. For three years, they lived in a roving camp for the displaced, and it was all they could do to stay alive.

Late in 2004, troops of the Mouvement Patriotique, the rebel faction that controlled the north, raided the camp for new recruits. As rebels grabbed Salifou and his younger brother, Abdul Razack, then about 13, their mother held on to Abdul’s arm, yelling that he was too young to take. To punish her, Salifou testified, one rebel chopped off Abdul’s hand with a machete.

Abdul was left behind, but Salifou was thrown in the back of a truck with other boys and began two years as an unwilling child soldier among thousands — trained, armed, drugged and growing numb to violence.

“There are some who can’t be healed anymore,” he said two days after his release, confessing that firing a machine gun had seemed “cool,” the power, heady. “There are some who can’t stop killing and giving orders. There are people who hate people. If you had a terrible childhood, if you hated your parents ...” He added, “I loved my parents.”

In the end, he said, his mother helped him persuade his chief to let him visit her briefly after one of his raids stumbled on her village camp again. Later, with a well-timed gift of a yam for his leader, she had Salifou return and meet Father William, a friend of his father’s who would take him to safety.

“I told her that I wasn’t going to leave,” he said, mindful that the rebels often hurt or killed the families of those who escaped. “But she forced me.”

He has had no contact with his family since. The lawyers, despite tantalizing near-misses, failed to locate Father William, who drove Salifou to the capital, Abidjan, dressed him as a luggage handler to get him past airport security, then guided him onto an airplane to Geneva. There, Salifou said, he gave him a passport and instructions for a flight to the United States.

Salifou arrived in November knowing no one. Now his circle of supporters includes the lawyers who took him on a giddy shopping spree for sneakers, T-shirts and a Yankees cap the day after his release on April 23. It includes Ms. Simms, who saw his descent into deep sorrow the next day, twisting his fingers and saying he just wanted to sit in the dark.

A few days later, Salifou seemed resilient, even joyful, after a session with a therapist at Bellevue Hospital, prayer at the 96th Street mosque and a dinner cooked by Mr. Beah in Ms. Simms’s homey kitchen.

“A family was born,” said Salifou, who is now staying in Harlem with an interpreter who is himself an African refugee. “It’s true what I was taught, what the philosopher said: Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed. I thought I lost a family, but it was transformed.”

It was a lesson from physics, applied to humankind, and Mr. Beah, the writer, echoed the sentiment.

“I realized what an intelligent, calm and sweet person he is,” he said. “He just happened to have the misfortune of having his childhood taken from him. But you can see him coming back.”

“I consider him like a brother to me,” he added, “because we’re both coming from a place where we have learned to deeply understand the true nature of violence, what war really is and what it does to the human spirit.”

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Passwords

PC Magazine says these are the most commonly used passwords. That's fine. What makes me feel the tingles is that "monkey" is one of them.

B


  1. password

  2. 123456

  3. qwerty

  4. abc123

  5. letmein

  6. monkey

  7. myspace1

  8. password1

  9. blink182

  10. (your first name)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fall TV Schedule

Big week for the Jack & Bobby writer's room as Marc Guggenheim (Eli Stone), Jonathan Lisco (K-Ville) and Greg Berlanti (Dirty Sexy Money) all have TV shows picked up in the new season. So we'll be watching those with all our Nielsen boxes going at once. And if you own a Nielsen box...cheat for them.

Below is an UPDATED list of all of the series that have officially been picked up for the fall 2007 and 2008 mid-season.

B

ABC DRAMAS


  • Big Shots
  • Cashmere Mafia
  • Dirty Sexy Money
  • Eli Stone
  • Private Practice aka Grey’s Anatomy spin-off Pushing Daisies Women’s Murder Club

Officially renewed: Boston Legal, Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Men in Trees, October Road, Ugly Betty

Officially cancelled: Daybreak, The Nine, Six Degrees

ABC COMEDIES


  • Cavemen
  • Carpoolers
  • Miss Guided
  • Sam I Am

Officially renewed: Notes from the Underbelly

Officially cancelled: Big Day, George Lopez-unofficial, Help Me Help You, In Case of Emergency, Knights of Prosperity-unofficial

ABC ALTERNATIVE

Officially renewed: America’s Funniest Home Videos, The Bachelor, Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Supernanny, Wife Swap

Officially cancelled: The Great American Dream Vote, Show Me the Money

TBD at ABC:


  • According to Jim
  • American Inventor-scheduled this summer
  • Traveler-scheduled this summer
  • What About Brian





CBS DRAMAS


  • Cane aka Los Duques
  • Moonlight aka Twilight
  • Swingtown
  • Viva Laughlin

Officially renewed: Criminal Minds-unofficial, CSI, CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, NCIS-unofficial, Numb3rs-unofficial, Without A Trace

Officially cancelled: 3 Lbs., Smith

CBS COMEDIES

  • Big Bang Theory


Officially renewed: How I Met Your Mother-unofficial, Old Christine-unofficial, Two and a Half Men

Officially cancelled: The King of Queens

CBS ALTERNATIVE

  • Power of 10


Officially renewed: Survivor

Officially cancelled: Armed & Famous

TBD at CBS:


  • The Amazing Race
  • Big Brother-scheduled this summer
  • The Class
  • Close to Home
  • Cold Case
  • Ghost Whisperer
  • Rules of Engagement
  • The Unit



NBC DRAMAS

  • The Bionic Woman
  • Chuck
  • Journeyman
  • Life
  • Lipstick Jungle


Officially renewed: ER, Friday Night Lights, Heroes, Las Vegas, Law & Order, Law & Order Criminal Intent-moving to USA network, Law & Order SVU, Medium

Officially cancelled: The Black Donnellys, Crossing Jordan, Kidnapped, Raines, Studio 60

NBC COMEDIES

  • The IT Crowd-midseason


Officially renewed: 30 Rock, My Name Is Earl, The Office, Scrubs

Officially cancelled: 20 Good Years, Andy Barker P.I.

NBC ALTERNATIVE

Officially renewed: 1 vs 100, The Biggest Loser, Deal Or No Deal

Officially cancelled: You’re the One that I Want

TBD at NBC:


  • America's Got Talent-scheduled this summer
  • The Apprentice
  • Identity
  • Last Comic Standing-scheduled this summer
  • Poker After Dark
  • The Real Wedding Crashers
  • Thank God You're Here




FOX DRAMAS


  • Canterbury's Law
  • K-Ville
  • New Amsterdam
  • Sarah Connor Chronicles


Officially renewed: 24, Bones, House, Prison Break

Officially cancelled: Drive-unofficial, Justice, Standoff-unofficial, The Wedding Bells

FOX COMEDIES


  • Back to You aka Action News
  • Return of Jezebel James
  • Rules for Starting Over

Officially renewed: American Dad, Family Guy, King of the Hill, The Simpsons, 'Til Death

Officially cancelled: Happy Hour, The War at Home

FOX ALTERNATIVE

NA

Officially renewed: American Idol, America’s Most Wanted, Cops

Officially cancelled: Duets, The Rich List

TBD at FOX:


  • Hell’s Kitchen-scheduled this summer
  • Nanny 911
  • So You Think You Can Dance-scheduled this summer
  • Trading Spouses
  • The Winner

Monday, May 14, 2007

NBC Fall Schedule

NBC announced their new 2007 fall schedule. See below.

B




MONDAY

8pm Deal Or No Deal

9pm Heroes

10pm Journeyman

TUESDAY

8pm The Biggest Loser*

9pm Chuck

10pm Law & Order: SVU

WEDNESDAY

8pm Deal Or No Deal*

9pm Bionic Woman

10pm Life

THURSDAY

8pm My Name Is Earl

8:30pm 30 Rock*

9pm The Office*

9:30pm Scrubs*

10pm ER

FRIDAY

8pm 1 vs 100 / The Singing Bee

9pm Las Vegas

10pm Friday Night Lights*

SATURDAY

8pm Dateline NBC

9pm Drama Repeat

10pm Drama Repeat

SUNDAY

7pm Football Night in America

8pm Sunday Night Football

In January:

7pm Dateline NBC

8pm Law & Order*

9pm Medium*

10pm Lipstick Jungle

*denotes new time period

Mid-season shows: in addition to returning series Law & Order and Medium, the network has ordered The Singing Bee (unscripted), World Moves (unscripted), The IT Crowd (comedy), Lipstick Jungle (drama)


NBC COMEDIES:

The I.T. Crowd / Joe Port & Joe Wiseman / Moses Port & David Guarascio / Fremantle / NUTS / Joel Mchale, Richard Ayote, Jessica St. Clair, Rocky Carroll starring / Gail Mancuso directed

Logline: Multicam & single cam. Based on the British series about IT workers at a company.

NBC DRAMAS:

Bionic Woman / Laeta Kalogridis / Jason Smilovic / David Eick / NUTS / Michelle Ryan to star / Michael Dinner to direct

Logline: A reconceptualization of the 1970's television series about a woman whose body is mechanically enhanced to save her life. This version will incorporate issues such as nanotechnology.

Chuck / Josh Schwartz & Chris Fedak / WBTV / Zach Levi to star / McG to direct

Logline: This drama follows an average joe whose life is thrown into disarray when he ends up downloading the CIA's database into his head.

Journeyman / Kevin Falls / 20th / Kevin McKidd to star / Alex Graves to direct

Logline: Time traveler SAM LAWSON is dispatched each week to recalibrate an event that's off-line in the past while trying to hold together his life, family and sanity in the present.

Life / Rand Ravich / NUTS / Damien Lewis, Sarah Shahi to star / Dave Semel to direct

Logline: A falsely imprisoned cop rejoins the force a changed man and uses a Zen-like approach to both temper his rage and to find the connections that help solve the crime – doesn’t employ traditional investigative technique.

Lipstick Jungle / Candace Bushnell / Heline & Heisler/ NUTS / Brooke Shields, Kim Raver to star / Gary Winick to direct

Logline: Revolves around a trio of power-hungry, rich women doing everything in their power to maintain their status in NYC.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Brad Goes To The Lincoln Bedroom

Broadcasting from the White House. Just went to the Lincoln and Queen's bedrooms. Saw the secret passage/hidden door I wrote about in The First Counsel. Was so happy to see I got that part right.

And got lots of little Presidential chocolates.

I love America.

B

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Research and Misinformation

I love research. I do. I fill my books with it. And I just love when really great stories wind up being false AND getting reported as thus...

So...Canadian nanotech...

B

'Poppy quarter' behind spy coin alert
By TED BRIDIS, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 35 minutes ago

An odd-looking Canadian coin with a bright red flower was the culprit behind a U.S. Defense Department false espionage warning earlier this year about mysterious coin-like objects with radio frequency transmitters, The Associated Press has learned.

The harmless "poppy coin" was so unfamiliar to suspicious U.S. Army contractors traveling in Canada that they filed confidential espionage accounts about them. The worried contractors described the coins as "anomalous" and "filled with something man-made that looked like nano-technology," according to once-classified U.S. government reports and e-mails obtained by the AP.

The silver-colored 25-cent piece features the red image of a poppy — Canada's flower of remembrance — inlaid over a maple leaf. The unorthodox quarter is identical to the coins pictured and described as suspicious in the contractors' accounts.

The supposed nano-technology actually was a conventional protective coating the Royal Canadian Mint applied to prevent the poppy's red color from rubbing off. The mint produced nearly 30 million such quarters in 2004 commemorating Canada's 117,000 war dead.

"It did not appear to be electronic (analog) in nature or have a power source," wrote one U.S. contractor, who discovered the coin in the cup holder of a rental car. "Under high power microscope, it appeared to be complex consisting of several layers of clear, but different material, with a wire like mesh suspended on top."

The confidential accounts led to a sensational warning from the Defense Security Service, an agency of the Defense Department, that mysterious coins with radio frequency transmitters were found planted on U.S. contractors with classified security clearances on at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006 as the contractors traveled through Canada.

One contractor believed someone had placed two of the quarters in an outer coat pocket after the contractor had emptied the pocket hours earlier. "Coat pockets were empty that morning and I was keeping all of my coins in a plastic bag in my inner coat pocket," the contractor wrote.

But the Defense Department subsequently acknowledged that it could never substantiate the espionage alarm that it had put out and launched the internal review that turned up the true nature of the mysterious coin.

Meanwhile, in Canada, senior intelligence officials expressed annoyance with the American spy-coin warnings as they tried to learn more about the oddball claims.

"That story about Canadians planting coins in the pockets of defense contractors will not go away," Luc Portelance, now deputy director for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, wrote in a January e-mail to a subordinate. "Could someone tell me more? Where do we stand and what's the story on this?"

Others in Canada's spy service also were searching for answers. "We would be very interested in any more detail you may have on the validity of the comment related to the use of Canadian coins in this manner," another intelligence official wrote in an e-mail. "If it is accurate, are they talking industrial or state espionage? If the latter, who?" The identity of the e-mail's recipient was censored.

Intelligence and technology experts were flabbergasted over the warning when it was first publicized earlier this year. The warning suggested that such transmitters could be used surreptitiously to track the movements of people carrying the coins.

"I thought the whole thing was preposterous, to think you could tag an individual with a coin and think they wouldn't give it away or spend it," said H. Keith Melton, a leading intelligence historian.

But Melton said the Army contractors properly reported their suspicions. "You want contractors or any government personnel to report anything suspicious," he said. "You can't have the potential target evaluating whether this was an organized attack or a fluke."

The Defense Security Service disavowed its warning about spy coins after an international furor, but until now it has never disclosed the details behind the embarrassing episode. The U.S. said it never substantiated the contractors' claims and performed an internal review to determine how the false information was included in a 29-page published report about espionage concerns.

The Defense Security Service never examined the suspicious coins, spokeswoman Cindy McGovern said. "We know where we made the mistake," she said. "The information wasn't properly vetted. While these coins aroused suspicion, there ultimately was nothing there."

A numismatist consulted by the AP, Dennis Pike of Canadian Coin & Currency near Toronto, quickly matched a grainy image and physical descriptions of the suspect coins in the contractors' confidential accounts to the 25-cent poppy piece.

"It's not uncommon at all," Pike said. He added that the coin's protective coating glows peculiarly under ultraviolet light. "That may have been a little bit suspicious," he said.

Some of the U.S. documents the AP obtained were classified "Secret/Noforn," meaning they were never supposed to be viewed by foreigners, even America's closest allies. The government censored parts of the files, citing national security reasons, before turning over copies under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.

Nothing in the documents — except the reference to nanotechnology — explained how the contractors' accounts evolved into a full-blown warning about spy coins with radio frequency transmitters. Many passages were censored, including the names of contractors and details about where they worked and their projects.

But there were indications the accounts should have been taken lightly. Next to one blacked-out sentence was this warning: "This has not been confirmed as of yet."

The Canadian intelligence documents, which also were censored, were turned over to the AP for $5 under that country's Access to Information Act. Canada cited rules for protecting against subversive or hostile activities to explain why it censored the papers.

___

Associated Press writer Beth Duff-Brown contributed to this story from Toronto.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sneak Peek At Gene Ha's JLA

While researching The Zero Game, I went 8,000 feet below ground -- that's 6 Empire State Buildings -- straight down in an abandoned gold mine. It gave me my favorite scene from the novel. And now, it's the inspiration for JLA 11. The whole story takes place with two characters trapped. Nothing else to interfere. Just character character character in the scariest death-trap around.

Yes, it's an experiment. But I'm so glad we're trying it. Even if we fail.

So here's the first look at Gene Ha's incredible art and the stunning colors of Art Lyon. It's truly mindbending.

B

Gene Ha, JLA #11

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Legion Newbies

Have been asked if I was worried using the Legion in Justice League would confuse readers. But been getting tons of emails like this. Just makes me realize how much great undiscovered work there is out there. And how fun the Legion is.

B

From Shane:

I had never been a big Legion of Superheroes fan as I had always seen their history as a tad complicated but since their involvement in this storyline I have borrowed a few of the DC archives of a friend, bought the Legion Showcase vol. 1 and the Great Darkness Saga and I can officially say that I am hooked. To me he legion is one of those books that was so ahead of its time, its unbelievable.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Free JLA

This isn't a post for the comic book readers. It's for the novel readers. Tomorrow is Free Comic Book Day (Saturday, May 5th), which means comic stores across the country are giving away...wait for it...FREE COMICS! (Hoo Yay!) So take the day, bring a couple kids (nieces, nephews, friends, or of course your own) and let them come grab-bag all the FREE COMICS!

For me, this is the single best day to get new readers: all the books are approachable, all are good, and all are free. Plus, you can also help the local store by actually buying stuff. And if you don't know where a local comic store is, go here:

http://csls.diamondcomics.com/default.asp

And don't forget, JLA 0 is one of the freebies.

B

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Gene Simmons Reading Brad

Reader Mitchum S. sent this one:

So I am watching the newest episode of Gene Simmons: Family Jewels on A&E tonight (I've got a little crush on Nick), and lo and behold, during one scene Gene is reading JLA #5.


Anyone got a screenshot?

B

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Masonic Reviews

Just got a new review from a Freemason publication. The wild and sad part is the belief that they think they can't get press, but can only get it for the spooky stuff.

B

The Northern Light,v.38, No. 1 - The Book of Fate review

"To the author's credit,,,he qualifies his use of the Masonic fraternity in the plot and refers positively to our craft. The book contains 510 pages and was interesting enough for me to read it in three days...I found it to be stimulating, holding my attention from chapter to chapter, and causing me to read longer than I had planned...Isn't it remarkable that non-Masons are creating a greater interest in us than we have been able to create in ourselves with all our effort? If you are interested in reading gripping thrillers, you should be interested in reading The Book of Fate."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Will Eisner Movie - Screening Times At Tribeca Film Festival

Here's the info on the new film about Will Eisner. Someone I love is close to the director and swears it deserves all the geek cred it's getting. So let's all go and see it!

Times below the movie poster...

B

Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist

Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist

TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL SCREENING TIMES (www.tribecafilmfestival.org to purchase tickets)

Thursday, April 26, 7:30 PM (PRESS & INDUSTRY SCREENING)

AMC Village VII -- Theatre 2

66 Third Avenue

(at 11th Street)

Friday, April 27, 2:30 PM

AMC 34th Street

312 West 34th Street

(between 8th and 9th Aves)

Saturday, April 28, 6:00 PM

Tribeca Cinemas – Theatre 1

54 Varick Street

(at Laight Street, below Canal)

Tuesday, May 1, 4:00 PM

Clearview Chelsea West – Theatre 2

333 West 23rd Street

(between 8th and 9th Aves)

Sunday, May 6, 11:30 AM

AMC Village VII – Theatre 2

66 Third Avenue

(at 11th Street)