The guest on this week's 3rd & Fairfax podcast is acclaimed screenwriter Scott Frank, who received an Oscar nomination for the film Out of Sight (that starred George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez), as well as Get Shorty, Minority Report, and Marley & Me among many others. He also created the new Netflix mini-series, Godless.
This week's 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild of America has a disclaimer on the Guild site, so I'm just going to quote from it directly --
WARNING: This episode contains course language and potentially offensive jokes. It is also the closest interview in tone to a sitcom writers' room you are ever likely to hear on a podcast.
Comedy writing duo Justin Halpern & Patrick Schumacker talk about their career and upcoming projects with Steve Trautmann. Justin and Patrick got their start in TV on the sitcom $#*! My Dad Says, which they created. They also created Surviving Jack, and were producers on How to Be a Gentleman, Cougar Town," iZombie and Powerless. They recently sold a multi-cam pitch to Fox entitled Suspended.
This week on the 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild, the guest is Bruce Miller, who created and is the showrunner for the series, The Handmaid's Tale, which won nine Emmy Awards including Outstanding Dramatic Series, and he himself won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing. Among the many other series that he wrote for and was an executive producer of were Alphas, The 100, and Eureka, and he was supervising producer of Everwood and E.R.
"The poem you are referring to is not part of the original Statue of Liberty. It was added later.”
-- Stephen Miller, White House spokesman, dismissing "The New Colossus" poem about immigrants
To paraphrase the great Molly Ivins when she wrote about Pat Buchanan's culture war speech at the 1992 Republican National Convention, Stephen Miller's press conference yesterday probably sounded better in the original German.
A quarter century later, they haven't changed, still battling against immigrants. Not even illegal immigrants, but in this case, legal ones! Just as a starter, this position he made above trying to rewrite reality about the Statue of Liberty is one taken by many white supremacists and passed along on their websites. Just a very quick historical note to Mr. Miller and any of his like-minded friends on the point of the words being "added later." So too was "Under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance.
(The words "Under God" were "added later" to the Pledge of Allegiance nine years after it was adopted. So, perhaps by the standards of Stephen Miller and pals, God can be ignored in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Almighty has no meaning to its intent.)
And as long as Mr. Miller and his white supremacist followers -- unless it's the other way around -- are so concerned about the lack of importance for anything "added later," it's worth noting that the Bill of Rights and all 27 Amendments were "added later" to the United States Constitution. These include the Second Amendment which so many on the far right and white supremacists swear by, and also the First Amendment which allows them to say such stupid things without fear of incarceration or being thrown into the loony bin. Moreover, as the inveterate Chris Dunn pointed out, 37 of the 50 states were "added later" to the United States As was Washington, D.C. as capital of the nation.
By the way, so is water when you make Cup o' Soup. Man, if Stephen Miller thinks the concept of "added later" means you can dismiss its importance, I'd like to see him try eating that dry mixture on its own. Maybe in white supremacist world, but not in any delicious culinary universe I know.
Of course, given that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France, its "intent" is not from the Founding Fathers or the U.S. government in the first place, but rather...France. When the words of Emma Lazarus were added to the Statue, that in and of itself is a specific act and absolutely clear intent of the government. Besides, why do Miller and his merry band of white supremacists think it was put on the water's edge to greet incoming ships in the first place? If it wasn't to welcome immigrants, they could have just put it in Nebraska, which needs a tourist attraction a whole lot more than New York.
And as long as we're dealing with history, reality and facts, the poem "The New Colossus" was written as a donation of artworks at an auction raising funds that would allow for constructing the pedestal under the Statue of Liberty -- three years before the the Statute itself was dedicated. So, in fact, it is part of the history of the Statue of Liberty pedestal on which it is engraved, before the pedestal even existed!!
Alas, all of this is really pretty much for naught. For all the Sturm und Drang from the White House and the belligerent Stephen Miller yesterday on this anti-immigrant bill, reporter Sam Stein of the Huffington Post commented on The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell that the proposal has NO chance of passage. And every other panelist agreed. But at least the administration got its dog whistle out to the base, and its white supremacist wing. However many dwindling dogs there are.
But still, just as a reminder --
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
On this new 3rd and Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild, Monique Sorgen has an hour-long conversation with Erin Cardillo & Richard Keith about their new series Life Sentence. They talk about being a writing team, acting, and improv. The show stars Lucy Hale (formerly of Pretty Little Liars) and tells the story of a young woman who has been living for years with the knowledge that she has a terminal illness -- and then discovers that she's not going to die soon, but has her full life ahead of her, and she has to adjust everything she has prepared for, and hasn't prepared for.
I post this also for a personal reason. One of my oldest friends since childhood, John Kretchmer, was hired to be a producer and director on the series. So, there you go...
Over in another venue, I was explaining a bit why I often write the way I do, and it brought up a story that I don't think I've told here, and figured it was worth repeating.
The background is that I was politely challenged for bringing up the thoughtless, inappropriate political argument of "the other side." That even though I refuted the argument, the person didn't think I should have even have brought it up, though knowing I was trying to be fair.
What I said is that it's how I've written probably most of my political articles for years (and some others). For years, I've had people tell me, "You're wasting your time, you'll never convince them" -- and my response is always that I'm not trying to. I'm not writing to the other side, nor am I writing for my own side. Rather, I'm trying to convince the people in the middle who are reading the piece and don't know yet, who are undecided and might be convinced by the other argument. So, I bring up the other side's argument, and then do what I can to knock it down. That then opens the field wide for me to make my point as unimpeded as possible.
All of which brought up one of the most hellish experiences I've had is because of writing like this. It's a very LONG story (and good because of the details), but that's best in the in-person telling, rather the reading, so I'll keep as short as possible.
Almost 11 years ago to the day (May 4, 2006), I wrote an article on the Huffington Post praising Al Gore -- An Inconvenient Truth had just been released, and I wrote about it, and about how Gore would still make a great president if he ever wanted to run again, which he'd said repeatedly that he didn't. But though it was an article of high praise, it began it with all the slams about him -- how he invented the Internet, how he was dull and wooden, how he was a political loser -- which I then explained in specifics why none of them were remotely true. And with those three criticisms out of the way, I spent the second half of the article explaining how terrific he was. Jump forward a couple years --
I was in a hotel room, being interviewed by Al Gore about being the writer of a proposed, syndicated daily radio series he'd do with Westwood One Radio (the company that among many other things syndicates NFL football). I brought along samples of my work...including that piece about how good he was, and that he would be a terrific president if he ever decided to run . He asked to see what I'd brought, which he said he'd read later. I handed them over...but for whatever satanic reason, that article about him ended up on top. And so when he saw it, he decided to read it right then and there, in front of me. While I sat there waiting. An article that goes on for a page-and-a-half bringing up all his supposed flaws -- that he lies, is wooden and is a loser (before knocking them down and then praising him).
All I could do was sit there, in hell, as he read. Knowing that, among many other things, I was going to reference the then-famous, hyperbolic insults lashed out against him by the conservative press after he had delivered a scathing speech about George W. Bush -- among them a quote from New York Post columnist John Podhoretz who wrote, "Gore’s speech is the single craziest political performance of my lifetime." And then suddenly, as I was looking everywhere around the room except where he sat, I heard Gore read out loud in a knowing voice of remembrance, "'...the single craziest political performance of my lifetime,' HA!!!" and I knew I'd likely be okay. And then he finally finished, and silently read the last line of the article which summed up his career, his current activities, and the impact of his new galvanizing movie, and ended with, "And that's the point. Whether or not Al Gore runs for President again; in fact, whether or not he should, make no mistake: there is substance here. And passion. And outspokenness. And now he’s got an 80-foot high soapbox." And having finished, he put the paper down, looked up at me and said, "Thank you."
There's much more to the story. Including that a 15-minute interview turned into 45 minutes. But the short ending is that I got the job. And we recorded half a dozen shows. And we got 200 radio stations to sign up. And raised a lot of money. But -- it wasn't enough for the syndicator Westwood One and Al, who both wanted to bigger landscape to make it worth their time, and so alas it all fell through. And I regularly sing, "This Nearly Was Mine"...
And that's what I mean when I say it's how I often write. I think it's a good way. But at times if you're not careful, it can be a living hell. Until you come through on the other side alive...
This week on the 3rd & Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild of America, the guests are Robert and Michelle King, who talk about their shows The Good Wife and The Good Fight, as well as other good things.
I've known Robert and Michelle for a couple of decades. In fact I served on a couple of Writers Guild committees with Robert (the editorial board and the committee to select candidates for the Guild's governing board), and was also business partners with him in an online venture that about a dozen Writers Guild members started, called the PAGE BBS -- back in the days when "bulletin board services" predated online chat groups which were just coming into prominence. It was an online meeting place for professional writers, not just WGA members -- indeed, the acronym stood for The Professional Authors Group Enterprise. (We had decided on a different name, but for some reason, PAGE, popped into my head just before the final approval vote. Everyone loved it -- except the guy who had suggested the other name -- and it was passed.)
My funniest memory of the time with PAGE is that as we were developing the site before it went online, we did a lot of testing, and Robert was always our guinea pig. That was because he was basically a technical Luddite, and we knew that if Robert could understand how to maneuver throughout the site, anyone could. To put this in perspective, Robert at the time was working more in feature films than creating TV shows, and very successfully so: he'd written the movies, Clean Slate, Red Corner, Speechless, Cutthroat Island and a lot more -- and for all that success, the way he typed his screenplays bewildered the rest of us, to the point of hysterics. It wasn't that he didn't use the normal touch-typing with all 10 fingers-- he didn't even use the old "hunt-and-peck" style, where you use both your two index fingers to tap across the keyboard. No, Robert typed all these major studio movies with a single index finger on his right hand. Single letter-by-single letter. It was hilarious to watch in action. But the screenplay results he ended up with were sure awfully good.
Eventually, Robert moved into television, wrote some TV movies, and then his wife Michelle collaborated with him to develop the TV series, In Justice. Here's the interview.
First things First, this is above all a Media Alert.
Tonight (Tuesday), the scheduled guests on Stephen Colbert's show are Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee and John Oliver, as well as Ed Helm and Rob Cordry. As the the expression goes, set your DVR. If you've got one of those coal-driven models, start cranking it up now to get it all warmed up.
That's CBS at 11:35 PM on the West Coast and in the East. 10:35 PM in the Midwest. And for all I know there are still some places where they don't try to eke out that extra five minutes of commercial time from their newscasts.
It's especially good timing -- and does seem a matter of kismet, since bookings are made many weeks, if not months in advance. And given how the Colbert fellow has been in the news the past few days, the schedule couldn't have worked out better. I'm guessing that ratings will do quite nicely.
As you may have read, it was announced over the weekend that the FCC will be "investigating" Colbert for an off-color joke he make about Trump and how his mouth serves another function for a part of Vladimir Putin's anatomy. Just to let you know, this couldn't not be further from the truth. But don't take my word for it, Mark Evanier wrote about that here, when he wrote about how the FCC does not "investigate, but rather just reviews a matter when they get complaints -- and they get complaints all the time. But don't take Mark's word for it. After all, just yesterday, the FCC itself corrected remarks made by its chairman when a spokesman told CNNMoney, "We review all consumer complaints as a matter of standard practice and rely on the law to determine whether action is warranted. The fact that a complaint is reviewed doesn’t speak one way or another as to whether it has any merit.” And another spokesman said the same thing to Vanity Fair.
There are a few things about the outrage over the joke that strike me as loopy.
For starters, the FCC has very different broadcast standard during the day and during Prime Time than it does afterwards during late night, when it's presume most children are long-since in bed.
Also, if you've seen video of the joke, it got bleeped by CBS. Which means that absolutely nothing went out over the air to the ears of Americans. People can guess what was said, or presume it, and they're probably right. But maybe not. Maybe he said that Trump's mouth serves as a "cop's holster" for Vladimir Putin. I serious doubt it, and I wouldn't take any bets, but the point is that it got censored by the network and nothing got heard.
In addition, what the continued outrage and protests to the FCC has done is keep the joke in the news long after its Use By date. Gotten it shown repeatedly and discussed relentlessly, bring more and more attention to what was (presumably) said.
Moreover, it's more more attention to Colbert's show which has been getting its best ratings ever. All of which, as fate would have it, brings the show to a peak tonight with its guests. I wonder if anyone will bring up off-handed mention of the joke...?
Now, stepping back, I think it's safe to say that the joke was crude. It was well-written and pretty funny, but it was definitely off-color. Even at that, though, it could easily be said by a comic in a nightclub, and the FCC and most people wouldn't blink an eye, and you probably wouldn't ever of it. So, it's not a matter of the joke not being allowed to be said, but just whether it should have been said on television, even having gotten bleeped. Given the very late hour, the answer may well be "Yes, sure, not a problem." Or not, we'll find out. But -- the worst that will happen if it does get reviewed by the FCC and determined to have been against broadcast standards, even having gotten bleeped is...CBS will get fined and pay whatever the amount is, which likely won't be much, considering that it's coming from CBS's pockets, and considering that they'll be thrilled by all the free publicity their top-rated late night show is getting that's driving ratings even higher.
So, that's the result of all the continued outrage over the bleeped joke on late night TV.
By the way, I do understand why some people were bothered by the joke, wherever it was said, bleeped or otherwise. It was, as I noted, crude. It's not a joke I'd make, though I found it well-crafted, pointed and funny. And I have no problem with people complaining about something they understandably don't like. That said, I suspect most of those complaints were more political rather than semantic, given that the joke was said late at night, long after Prime Time and got bleeped. But beyond that, I also reiterate what I said above, that for all the outrage and complaints to the FCC, they've been counter-productive and only served to keep the joke in the public ear.
I was very glad to see my guild, the WGA, speak out with a very strong defense and support of Stephen Colbert, who is a Guild member, saying the real outrage is not the joke, but that "What is obscene is not what Colbert said but any attempt by the government to stifle dissent and creativity.”
That said, I have the sense that the Guild's response was directed (rightly) by the erroneous reports that a government agency would be "investigating" Colbert, something that is chilling. If the first comments by the FCC commissioner Ajit Pai had accurate and said merely that the FCC review all complaints, it's probable that the Writers Guilds' response would have been muted, if not non-existent. But when the FCC commissioner himself says his government agency will be "investigating" someone for joke, that does require a blunt response.
I also appreciate the notice that many have made of the irony of people on the far-right up in arms at Ann Coulter not being allowed to speak on a college campus, having her First Amendment rights abridged, but themselves outraged at Colbert's joke and calling for government involvement. Never mind that Ms. Coulter was invited back to the campus, has countless opportunities to speak and the First Amendment only pertains to government making laws against speech, not private colleges -- and that the FCC actually is a government agency, making their involvement far closer to a real First Amendment violation. Though for all that, I must say that I don't think the situations are the same, as much as some are trying to make them. Forgetting that neither outrage may be appropriate, broadcasting does have a long history of FCC review oversight of standards since TV and radio operate on government licenses. So, the comparisons don't really overlap. But stepping back, and laws and standards and amendments aside, the imbalance of outrage from the far-right on two similar issues is, if not fully ironic, then delicious...
If you want to hear more about this, then you should probably tune in to CBS tonight, when Stephen Colbert's guests will be Jon Stewart, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Ed Helm and Rob Cordry. I'm guessing someone will bring it up.
On this week's edition of the 3rd and Fairfax podcast from the Writers Guild of America, the guests are Jim Gaffigan and his wife, writer and producer Jeannie Gaffigan about their careers and the challenges of making a TV series, most notably their recent show, The Jim Gaffigan Show.
My pal Mark Evanier has a terrific article here about the history of WGA strikes and current negotiations that are leading towards a strike authorization vote. (As he notes, a strike authorization vote is not a vote to strike -- just telling the leadership whether you support their negotiation platform, and offering, hopefully, a show of strength.)
During the last Writers Guild strike which began in November, 2007, I remember participating in an online writers board for WGA members and getting into a debate with a very famous writer, one of the guys who had written Pirates of the Caribbean -- I think that it was Ted Elliott, who either had or was about to run for Guild president, I don't recall which at this point -- who was chastising me for an article I'd written about why I thought the strike would end in February. By the way, the strike ended in February.
I wrote a long, weekly series of "Primers" for the Huffington Post during the strike, 26 of them in all. Several are memorable to me. The most notable was the piece "Understanding Misunderstanding" in which I explained what the AMPTP was misunderstanding about the Writers Guild and therefore thinking members would fold anytime soon. I had more Guild members come up to me on the picket lines after that one article than any others (and I had a lot during the strike).
Two other article exchanges stand out because they were confrontational. One got me into an online Huffington debate of sorts with the actor Alec Baldwin, who in his own Huffington Post blog was criticizing WGA leadership from a perspective that was woefully misguided, often (wrongly) comparing it to how the Directors Guild so-wonderfully managed negotiations while avoiding strikes. (In reality, the way the directors "managed" negotiatons was usually, "Let's not ever strike, which management knows we won't do, so they can always low-ball us, but then reap the benefits of whatever the WGA gets after it strikes." At one point, Mr. Baldwin singled me out by name, how my "quips" were killing him, in his piece here.
What had brought that about is I wrote a long reply "Primer" in the middle of our exchange that was an appreciation to actor, since writers and actor were natural enemies on a movie set, but that it was impressive how strongly supportive actors had been during the current WGA strike. In explaining the historic conflict between writers and actors, I told a story about unnamed actors who infamously had publicly slammed the legendary Neil Simon on the set of the movie, "The Marrying Man" by shouting out loudly so that everyone could get every word, "Doesn't anyone here know how to write comedy??!!!" Simon took such offense that he stopped coming to the set after that or even doing rewrites, and the film ultimately flopped. What I intentionally left out in my article was that the actors in question were Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger who he later married. I left it out from politeness, not wanting to publicly ridicule him, but also -- since I knew he was well-aware who I was referring to -- so that he would know I understood exactly who he was. To my surprise in his response, he outed himself. (I guess, give an actor a chance to talk about himself, even if it makes him look arrogant and whiney, and he will...) I decided not to keep debating, since I'd made my point and also -- remembering my friend Nell Minow's wise admonition that situations occur where you realize "Someone has to be the adult in the room, and that it is you," and I knew it would have to be me. (What was amusing was reading all the comments to Mr. Baldwin's blog and my articles that came from his adoring, fawning fans. I wanted to write them back, "You do realize that as much as you suck up to him, he's not inviting you to his house for dinner.")
I do recall one of his chides against me. It was that apparently I thought writers were gods and couldn't dare be criticized, even the Great Neil Simon. It took a great deal of self-control for me not to answer -- since as I said I chose not to keep debating him there -- but I was chomping at the bit. What my clenched fingers so dearly wanted to type in return was, "This has absolutely nothing to do with not criticizing writers. Writers can be criticized all the time, as can actors. The point is not that Neil Simon couldn't ever be criticized...he can be, and has done so himself...but rather how insanely stupid it was to shout out in public to an entire movie set that Neil Simon -- the most successful playwright in the history of Broadway, author of 'The Odd Couple,' 'Barefoot in the Park,' 'Plaza Suite,' 'Prisoner of Second Avenue,' 'The Goodbye Girl,' and much, much more, including and especially later on with the 'Brighton Beach' trilogy and 'Lost in Yonkers' that won him a Pulitzer Prize -- didn't know how to write comedy!! That's what was so stupid, childish and offending, and why it made national news. But beyond even that, if the movie script was so terrible to begin with from someone who seemingly didn't know how to write comedy...why on earth did you and his co-star agree to be in the movie in the first place??"
But I didn't write that. Well, okay, until here.
The other memorable exchange was a series of articles back-and-forth with a WGA member named John Ridley. He had a fairly high profile at the time, which has become even more so after writing the film, 12 Years a Slave" and creating a TV series and other films. Back then, he was appearing as a period guest on NPR and also (I believe) as a semi-regular on ABC's "Good Morning, America." So his words held weight with a national audience. Unfortunately, his words were more often than not idiotic. Not just in interpretation, but factually wrong. But as galling as all this was, it didn't come close to touching how reprehensible he was when he went "Financial Core" during the strike.
"Financial Core" is looked on with great scorn by Writers Guild members. It allows someone to quit the WGA, yet retain all the benefits of Guild membership. But as much as it's anathema to those in the Guild at any time, it's an explosively deplorable, selfish, mean-spirited act during a strike. It's an "I want to get mine, screw you" action, where a writer can go off and sign a contract during a strike. And it goes beyond the level of scabbing, because that's usually done by someone on the outside. This was someone who is a fellow-member, who will benefit from the sacrifice his compatriots are going through in the strike, some losing their homes, while he dances off to sign contracts and make money.
Yet Mr. Ridley was always seen in his public appearances as a supposedly-thoughtful Guild voice, when he was anything but. He was, in fact, often utterly imbecilic. Okay, I know that sound hyperbolic, but here's just one example that I remember, because it really stood out. I and others had challenged him about what he would suggest was a better tactic than the one he was regularly slamming Guild leadership for. He came up with his bone-headed suggestion -- he wrote that the Guild should show how much it didn't need the AMPTP (who the Guild was striking against) by pooling its own resources and making a blockbuster movie that would become a huge hit.
Without even knowing anything about the Writers Guild or film industry, I'm guessing that most people reading this can see immediately how numbingly foolish this "idea" is. At its most basic level, there's no guarantee that such a movie would even break even, let alone be a blockbuster, and could even be a disastrous flop having nothing to do with whether the movie was good or not, and so you could therefore risk bankrupting the Writers Guild and ending its existence. Further, blockbusters cost over $100 million to make -- the WGA didn't have anything remotely close to that in its bank account. Whatever they had, they could probably only finance something at the level of what's known as a small "indie." Then there's the question of distribution, blanketing the film across the country on a national scale, which a blockbuster needs and studios are specifically set up to do, but not many others, including the Writers Guild. But far above that is the critical, indeed #1 concept of deciding what script you would actually use. There are 12,000 WGA members -- each of whom has what they believe is the world's most brilliant script that the Guild show use. How on earth was the Writers Guild supposed to decide on ONE??! But the thing is, none of that is even the worst, most stupid problem in the wise, thoughtful John Ridley's suggestion. It's that IT WOULD BE ILLEGAL. There are actual laws that forbid a union from using its money to pay a member for work. (Otherwise, the doors would be wide open for massive corruption.) I've written freelance articles for the WGA in-house magazine, and was not allowed to be paid for them. Imagine someone writing a Guild check to a member for writing a major motion picture screenplay!!! It was an appallingly bad, naive and ignorant suggestion from John Ridley, the wise and thoughtful fellow, national analyst, and yet when challenged it was the best thing he could come up with after criticizing Guild leadership for their battle plans. Before he then went Financial Core during the strike.
As you can see, even after all these years, the fellow still galls me. You can read a final article I wrote about him during the strike here, which goes into even more detail, specifics from the time.
And no, I have still not yet found it in me to see "12 Years a Slave," or the TV show he created, or any of his movies, including one that is being promoted now as we speak.
So, that's a bit about the Writers Guild and striking. And you have a reading list of links on top of it. Whether a strike will take place this time around, I have no idea. From all I've read and discussed with people, it seems like it will, though that's separate from how long or short it might be. I hope there isn't one, and matters are settled to everyone's satisfaction. I'll only add an agreement with Mark Evanier's post linked above that a strike is not something most Guild members ever want, but are sometime pushed into a corner by the studios and networks. (To anyone who doubts this, imagine if your company offered you and your fellow-employees a new contract, and it cut your salary by 30%, offered no money for overtime work, eliminated inflation protections, got rid of several of your important health benefits, and trimmed your pension. Would you sign the contract? Take it or leave it. Or strike?) And also, as Mark notes -- contrary to many people's wrong impression -- many issues at stake for writers are not about money.
Robert J. Elisberg is a two-time recipient of the Lucille Ball Award for comedy screenwriting. He's written for film, TV, the stage, and two best-selling novels, and is a regular columnist for the Huffington Post and the Writers Guild of America. Among his other writing, he has a long-time column on technology (which he sometimes understands), and co-wrote a book on world travel. As a lyricist, he is a member of ASCAP, and has contributed to numerous publications.
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