Benchmarks…we don’t need no stinkin’ benchmarks

Today’s rant

Blog Post 5:30 AM for Thursday 1/27/11 – 27 degrees – 3 inches of snow

Things that I will blog about in the next few days:

I froze my ear once

My quest for a big screen TV

This blog process

Interviewing a female truck driver

The old radio term “Leaving here fine” and it’s relation to modern IT departments

My love affair with several on line comic sites

And people wonder where my ideas come from.

I mentioned in previous blog-post that I was going to try and establish benchmarks for this exercise in self-flagellation. Here is another.

I am taking a class in journalism and we have to write. A lot. Thursday will be the day I post some of that output. It could be considered lazy but I will also dress up these assignments with pictures, video if appropriate and additional text. Who you gonna call lazy?

Harlan Ellison, one of my favorite authors of ALL time once said that he used to tell “jamokes” who asked him where HIS ideas came from “Schenectady.”

He would say there was an idea service in that town, he sent them some money and every month they sent him a six-pack of fresh ideas.

He was always amused when the “jamoke” would ask him for the address.

I think you might enjoy reading Harlan Ellison but it’s pretty strong stuff. Here is my suggested reading list:

Start reading Harlan Ellison with this book.

After you have read “I Have No Mouth” when you can sit upright and take nourishment again you can read this:

Not for the faint of heart

Buy Essential-Ellison-Retrospective

Now you can watch the movie “Dreams with sharp teeth”.

It's on Netflix stream. I suggest buying it for loved ones

Buy Dreams with sharp teeth
A small sample of that movie, which is so far beyond excellent that it needs a new class of superlatives:

The assignment this week was to write down a quote that we thought inspiring on writing and then write about it. Here is mine:

People on the outside think there’s something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn’t like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that’s all there is to it. – Harlan Ellison

When I was growing up, Harlan Ellison was one of my heroes. He wrote powerful stories that in my estimation defied classification. He was shelved in the bookstore in the science fiction section but to me he was far more than just a guy who told stories about spaceships and aliens. The thing I admired most about Harlan’s writing was his ability to breathe life into some very odd characters. He would make these strange people and ideas very real.

Ellison took no crap from anyone. He took on other writers (he once had a famous spat with Isaac Asimov) movie studios and television executives with glee. I admired that as well.

But the story about Ellison that has always resonated with me is that he loved to write in bookstore windows. I was astonished by this. Just blown away by the idea of doing it. The act of writing is very hard work for me, as I imagine it is for anyone who does it for a living. It’s not hard work in the same way as a ditch digger but the muscles I use to write become just as sore after I finish.

Ellison would get an idea, sometimes someone would hand him a sealed envelope at 9am with the idea in it, and he would open it and finish the story by the time the book store closed, posting pages on the window as he finished them.

Up until I heard about that I thought of writers as beings somehow greater than ordinary human beings. That they had to work in absolute silence, well shielded from ordinary concerns. And I thought that writing was magical and couldn’t bear the cold harsh light of day.

Ellison took a lot of the mystique about writers away with his bookstore work. The idea that Ellison would produce writing, good writing at that, in such an environment was very eye-opening to me. It told me that maybe; just maybe, a low-life such as me could also do it. It was a very powerful concept and has helped me over the years to produce under pressure, on deadline.

Today’s rant is a concert review. It precedes the fame of the performers daughter by a few years. The long-suffering wife likes this one a lot.

I am not a big fan of country music. I like it about as much as I like kielbasa which is to say in small doses with lots of time in between usage. This is interesting because…more

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About James Rising

A recovering radio addict wrestles with the written word.
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