Thursday, August 24, 2006

Scary Old Photos!

Lately, Marie and a few other pals here in the blogosphere have been posting some old photos from when we were younger and working at Marvel Comics. I thought I'd dig up a couple and post them here to embarrass those involved. Including me...

This first one is from January 1991 at the Players Club in NYC. That's where Marvel used to have their Christmas parties. This pic shows Marie and her pals Marie and Nancy. You can see them posing at later Marvel parties on Marie's blog. That year, a couple of assistant editors and I decided to rent tuxedos for the event. I will spare you all those photos!

Okay, here's me that same year during my long-hair period. Aww...Ain't I purdy?

Stepping further back in time a couple years, alas, I must share this picture of Don with his eighties "flat-top" and our pal Vince who looks to be about twelve here. This was at David Wohl's infamous "wall-smashing" party, where everyone had a turn trying to destroy a wall partition David and his roommates had constructed in their Brooklyn apartment.

Next, I just need to point out Marie's shirt. A wonderful "hound's tooth" pattern, that is actually made up of black & white images of a dog. Wonder what happened to that one.

Oh, and just for fun, here's a picture of Sara making a face. She hates this photo. Heh!

That's all for now. That was kind of fun. We'll have to do it again. Maybe I'll share some nifty travel photos next time (I've got a good one of Marie on a camel, but those are a dime a dozen).

Friday, August 18, 2006

ECONOMY OF STORYTELLING: The Genius of Jerry Bruckheimer!

Note: This article was originally written in 2002 for Comiculture magazine. I present it here today, slightly edited, for fun and posterity…

Top Gun. Bad Boys. Crimson Tide. Con Air. The Rock. Enemy of the State. Armageddon. Pearl Harbor. Coyote Ugly?


That might not be the first word that comes to mind when you look at the list of films above. Exciting, yes. Entertaining, to be sure. But these blockbusters aren’t usually regarded as food for thought. More likely, candy for the eyes. A roller coaster ride. Mindless escapism.

My friends, I beg to differ!

As someone who works in the field of storytelling, I give a lot of thought to the movies that I watch. Probably more than I should. Maybe I need a hobby. Be that as it may, I have, over the years, spotted a trend in these films. An interesting shorthand has been developed, designed to give moviegoers more bang for their buck. A formula that taps into our society’s collective unconscious intertwined with popular culture. I call this formula "Economy of Storytelling." I believe that producer Jerry Bruckheimer may be the genius behind it.


In many cases it's unclear what role the producer plays in the making of a film. I don't know anyone who follows the careers of movie producers. Personally, I'm much more interested in who the Director is, probably because it's easier to spot a directorial "style." Producers seem to dwell way behind the scenes, and mostly involved with the business end of the film making, as opposed to the creative end.

The films of producer Jerry Bruckheimer seem different to me. Regardless of who is directing, each of these films has a signature style. That's not to say that filmmakers Tony Scott and Michael Bay have no style of their own, but I think it's safe to say that the priorities of these two directors (both Bruckheimer staples) are similar. Bruckheimer tends to work with the same directors again and again, so I believe it's also safe to assume that he chooses to partner with directors that are on the same wavelength as he.


When I watched Con Air in 1997, I first became aware and fascinated by the concept I call "Economy of Storytelling." What I'm referring to in this case is a huge amount of story told in amazing shorthand. The point of this formula is to get all the characterization and plot set up and out of the way as quickly as possible, in order to get on with the 2-hour roller-coaster ride of violence and mayhem that is expected from a Jerry Bruckheimer film.

In Con Air, nearly all of the important information is handed to the viewer before the opening credits are over. The film opens: Nick Cage plays Cameron Poe, a decorated Army Ranger. He comes home to find his beautiful wife Tricia, pregnant and working at a roadhouse bar. Some bar regulars hit on Tricia and Poe nearly gets into a fight with them--but restrains himself. Tricia comments that, "For a second, I thought you were that guy again." Hinting at Poe's troubled past. Unfortunately, the three guys jump Poe and Trish in the parking lot. They fight. One guy pulls a knife; Poe kills him barehanded in self-defense. The other guys run, taking the knife with them. Poe is arrested and makes a deal, pleading guilty to manslaughter--still; he gets 7-10 years in prison because the judge considers Poe to be a deadly weapon due to his Ranger training.

At this point in the film, the opening title appears! Credits roll over a montage of images as Poe does his prison time. A voice-over narrative--letters to his daughter Casey--tell the story of years passing. Photos show Casey growing—Poe has never seen her in person. Poe is a good man; he sits quietly in his cell during a riot, he learns Spanish, he can't wait to see his daughter. Finally, as the credits come to an end, Poe is about to be paroled. He's going to fly home in time for Casey's birthday.

Now, I know that there's a standard Hollywood formula that says that you need to set up the story within X number of pages, but DANG! That's a lot of story before the credits are even done. It gets better though…

Once the credits have passed, we learn that Cameron Poe is about to hitch a ride home on a prison transport plane that just happens to be carting all of the worst criminals in custody to one new super-prison. All the rotten apples in one basket. We meet our other hero; Marshal Vince Larkin (the ever-likable, John Cusack) and a bunch of DEA cops we aren't supposed to like. Colm Meany plays a guy we instantly dislike because of his attitude and the fact that he drives a sports car with a vanity license plate that reads "asskicker" or something like that.

Then we meet the villains and the true genius of this film and subsequent Bruckheimer productions becomes apparent…


In previous generations, this would never work. But today, American culture is so intertwined with the film industry. Movie stars are our royalty. Memorable film characters create our own mythology. This isn't a groundbreaking idea, but what's interesting to me is a practical application of this fact. If you have a big enough budget for your film, you can hire any actors you want. You can get actors who not only bring their talents to the roles, but also bring the baggage of all the characters they've played in other people's movies!

The villains in Con Air have pretty much NO time devoted to exploring their characters. Still, we know all about them the moment we see them. John Malkovich plays Cyrus The Virus. We all already know how twisted and brilliant he is--didn't you see In The Line of Fire? Ving Rhames plays the uber-militant black leader, Nathan "Diamond Dog" Jones. All we need to know is that he's black, he's angry and he's dangerous! But anyone who's seen Pulp Fiction already knew that. We also know that Steve Buscemi is just plain weird! Introducing his character, Garland Greene, all trussed up like Hannibal Lecter--well--'nuff said! Most of the other villains are played by actors who may not be household names, but they are ALL familiar from playing similar roles in other films.

Okay, so you may argue, "so what. They're just playing to type." That's true, typecasting isn't a new thing. But there's a difference here. Normally typecasting is about an actor only getting certain types of roles because of past experience or simply because of the way they look. That's it, there's no deeper motive. I believe that in the films of Jerry Bruckheimer, there is a definite motive behind the casting. That is to flesh out the characters, not with dialogue or even interesting scenes, but with the audience's familiarity of the actors as similar characters. In Con Air, this familiarity made the villains much more interesting than if unknowns had played them.

In a way, it's all about the budget. In a major blockbuster film, there's more money to get the actors you want. Instead of casting, say, a "Jimmy Stewart-type" for a role…what the hell, let's hire Jimmy Stewart!!!

Well, he's dead, so we might want to consider Tom Hanks.

This clever casting trend in Bruckheimer 's films reached an even more interesting level in The Rock…


In The Rock, directed by Michael Bay, Nick Cage is again our every-man hero: Stanley Goodspeed. Goodspeed is an expert in chemical warfare who must accompany a S.E.A.L. team to Alcatraz Island. Terrorists have taken hostages at the infamous "Rock" and plan to launch missiles loaded with deadly gas into the heart of San Francisco. Actually, it's more complicated; the terrorists are rogue U.S. Military led by General Hummel (Ed Harris), and they have a fairly sympathetic political statement to make. ANYWAY, in order to penetrate the old prison, they must get the help of the ONLY person to have ever successfully escaped from Alcatraz. No, not Clint Eastwood, but a mysterious character named John Mason, played by none other than Sean Connery.

The film is a virtuoso action film that follows all of the formula noted above on Con Air: A montage opening credits sequence that sets up General Hummel's entire character and motivation. An exciting introduction of Goodspeed almost being killed by a nasty chemical bomb followed by a look at his home life: we meet his beautiful girlfriend, who turns out to be pregnant (natch!). We also learn that Goodspeed is a “Beatlemaniac” who loves old vinyl LPs. I suppose this is important because it recalls the era of the so-called British Invasion. Careful viewers will note that the album he gets excited about is With The Beatles, released in 1963--only a year after Sean Connery invaded America as James Bond in Dr. No. Hmmmmmmm…..

The Rock also has a great cast of top-notch actors with their own histories. Why, Michael Biehn even plays a navy S.E.A.L.; a vocation he'd portrayed at least twice before (Navy S.E.A.L.s and The Abyss come to mind). The rest of the cast is great, Michael Bay put in an expert directing job, but for me, the most amazing thing about The Rock is the character John Mason.

As the film reaches a crucial turning point, it is revealed that John Mason was once an agent for the British Secret Service. After stealing some super-secret microfilm that contain all of America's secrets from the last half-century, Mason was caught and imprisoned without trial in 1972.

Have you caught on yet?

John Mason IS James Bond.

1972 was the year that Diamonds Are Forever was released. That was the last Bond Film that Connery starred in. In a wacky and wonderful way, The Rock is a sequel to Diamonds Are Forever! This explains where our favorite Bond has been all these years--IN PRISON!!!

Pardon my French, but that is FUCKING AWESOME!

The Rock is a cool action film on its own, but the simple fact that Sean Connery is pretty much playing James Bond again makes it all the cooler. It adds a totally new dimension to the character--of course Mason can beat all of the terrorists, practically single-handedly: HE'S JAMES BOND, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!!! This is a direct evolution from the sort of typecasting in Con Air. It's as if, instead of Steve Buscemi playing a character similar to Hannibal Lecter, they just said, what the hell, we'll get Anthony Hopkins! But the genius of The Rock is that you don't NEED to know that Mason is James Bond to follow the story, but if you DO know, there are all kinds of fun implications.

This is Economy of Storytelling: You don't need to spend screen time demonstrating how cool John Mason is. Or how skilled or ruthless he is. Just watch Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever. There are about 10-12 hours of scenes demonstrating all of that! Now THAT'S a well-developed character!

If this isn't proof of a TREND yet, let me tell you about another Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster called Enemy Of The State.

In Enemy of the State, directed by Tony Scott, Will Smith plays Robert Clayton Dean. Dean is a lawyer who accidentally is targeted by a rogue element in the N.S.A. From early in the film, he is on the run from foes that have Orwellian eyes and ears--a victim of a high-tech surveillance society gone out of control. As in The Rock, the hero must team up with an older, experienced outcast in order to survive. In The Rock, Mason was once an insider in the intelligence community--a spy betrayed by an ally country. In Enemy of the State, the mentor character is Brill. Brill was once a surveillance expert for the N.S.A., who went underground in 1980. Brill is played by Gene Hackman.

Francis Ford Coppola's 1974 film, The Conversation, is not a part of pop culture iconography in the way that James Bond is. However, talk to anyone in the "industry" or even in film school and you'll find that Coppola's bleak masterpiece is regarded as one of the most important films of the 70's. The film centers on a lonely surveillance expert named Harry Caul who becomes obsessed with a conversation he has taped. Epitomizing the times in which the film was made, Caul's obsession leads him to complete paranoia and detachment from the world around him. Caul is marvelously played by Gene Hackman.

I don't have to tell you that Brill IS Harry Caul, do I?

It's really obvious if you know both films. In fact, in Enemy of the State, there's a scene where the N.S.A. chief, played by Jon Voight, is given a video-dossier on Brill. The image displayed of young Brill is actually young Hackman from The Conversation. There's also the obvious homage to Coppola's film where the N.S.A guys wiretap a conversation in a park between Dean and Rachel Banks (Lisa Bonet).

Once again, Enemy of the State works as a story without this insider knowledge, but if you are privy to The Conversation, the character of Brill becomes that much more interesting.


Since Enemy of the State was released in 1998, Jerry Bruckheimer has had several other blockbuster films. Armageddon was also released in '98 and Pearl Harbor in 2001. Both were directed by Michael Bay. Neither film used characters from older films, but both used familiar actors in their ensemble casts. The same is true of Black Hawk Down and Gone in 60 Seconds. The latter film closely follows the formula of The Rock & Con Air, and also stars Nick Cage--hey, if it ain't broke…

Coyote Ugly stands alone as a recent Jerry Bruckheimer production to break the mold (well, not entirely--the set-up for the story all occurs in the trusty, credits-sequence-montage). But what makes Coyote Ugly different from the other films cited here is that it's a character-driven story, not an action-adventure. Director David McNally has the luxury of being able to take time to develop the character of Violet Sanford (Piper Perabo). In this way, Coyote Ugly is more similar to some of Jerry Bruckheimer's earlier films--like Flashdance. Personally, I love this film. I admit it is one of my guilty pleasures.

I'm still waiting for another Bruckheimer film to use a beloved character from the past. If Lucas and Spielberg can't get it together to do another Indiana Jones film, perhaps Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay can give us a story where a hot young actor (Josh Hartnett?) plays an every-man who needs to team up with an aged archeologist/adventurer played by Harrison Ford. Hey, Jerry--Give me a call, I've got some ideas if you're interested!

End Note: As I stated earlier, this article was originally written in 2002, a few years before the film National Treasure was released. This Bruckheimer-produced film, directed by Jon Turteltaub, is a fairly clever knockoff of The DaVinci Code. It beat DaVinci to the theaters by two years, did almost as well in the box office and has spawned a sequel due in 2007. As I kind-of predicted, Treasure is also an Indiana Jonesish adventure to fill the niche still unfilled by Spielberg & Lucas. Jerry Bruckheimer Productions does nothing if not give the people what they want. God bless ‘em!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Coming Attractions

I’ve been going through some stuff I’d previously written and think this blog would be a good place to re-visit some of the old material. Two articles in particular will find a nice home here, with a little updating. My next post will be an edited version of an article I wrote for Comiculture magazine (still available!) called The Genius of Jerry Bruckheimer. It is about a trend I call "Economy in Storytelling."

The second is a little public service article called Breaking in to Comics. That one was originally written in 1998 for and updated in 2002 for I think it’s worth repeating here for posterity with some new info for 2006.

Look for the first article later today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, I’m pleased to report that I’ve finally finished thumbnailing my Tokyopop book (That means I’ve done rough, miniature layouts—called thumbnails-- of each page, so my editor can get an idea of what the whole book will look like). I’m pretty jazzed because now I can start actually drawing the real thing! I’m a little behind schedule, but the book is not scheduled to be on sale until next July, so I have time to catch up to where I’m supposed to be. Here is a little look at what my thumbnails look like..


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Netflix Your Power (2 Blogs in One--Now That's Conservation!)

Another day at the museum, another opportunity to free-associate blog-style!

So, all over Los Angeles—probably all over California—there are these cryptic messages on the highways. You know those electronic signs that alert you about traffic conditions and Amber Alerts? Well, I guess their default message these days is “Flex Your Power!”

All summer long, we’ve seen them; Flex Your Power! Flex Your Power!

What the hell does that even mean?

A simple Google search explains at that “Flex Your Power” is the slogan of a campaign by some of California’s utilities, businesses and government agencies united to conserve energy. When you see the slogan, you are supposed to be on alert to conserve! That’s why we’ve seen it so often this summer.

That all sounds good, but I still don’t understand what it means to “flex” my power. All I know is that I feel guilty about not going to the gym.

In other conservation news, we’re pretty excited about a program by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP). It is called, “Trees for a Green LA.” It’s a program that lets customers get free trees to landscape their homes—the idea being that more trees equals more shade to help keep homes energy efficient (and purdy!). The website is pretty cool. You actually have to read through a lesson plan and take a test to qualify for the program. If you pass the online test, that tells you how to plant & care for trees, you can choose from a pretty large selection of available trees that will be delivered to your home.

Speaking of home delivery, have I mentioned how much I love Netflix lately? If you ‘re a movie lover like I am, I can’t recommend it enough. The premise is simple: You order DVDs for rental online and Netflix mails the discs to you in a returnable postage-paid envelope. Piece of cake. For me, the best part isn’t the convenience of delivery; it is the unbelievably huge selection. This ain’t no Blockbuster, people. In the past year, I have seen all kinds of programming, much of which I never would have heard of if not for the Netflix search engine. You can search for movies by title, genre, actor or director, or just browse common group categories like “New releases,” or “Television.” And if it is on DVD, they most likely have it. I’ve seen all sorts of foreign films & TV and Documentaries that you’d never find at a local video store. Eventually, I assume all this stuff will be available “On Demand” from your cable companies, but right now, there is nothing that equals the Netflix library for the variety of programming.

Luckily for me, some of the work I do is mindless enough that I can actually watch some of these things during the course of my work-week. This has allowed me to watch some of those TV programs that people are always yapping about (like Lost for example). Have I mentioned that we NEVER watch any regular TV in my house? That’s a rant for another day, and a lifestyle choice I whole-heartedly endorse. Netflix lets me have my cake and eat it, too. Here’s a list of some choice Netflix recommendations from my recent rentals (if anyone on Earth cares!):

The Spiral Staircase: I’ve been on a film-noir kick lately, and this was the last one I watched. Creepy!
The Killers: Just watched both the 1946 and 1964 versions of this story, based on a Hemmingway short story. Both worth watching, but the 1946 version is FAR better.
The Cincinnati Kid: Steve McQueen, Edward G. Robinson and poker. How bad could that be?
Seven Days In May: Burt Lancaster plans a U.S. Coup in this paranoid thriller.
The Pawnbroker: A classic Sidney Lumet film about a haunted Holocaust survivor and his business in Harlem. Explosive!

The Blue Planet: This is a BBC series about ocean life. Incredible stuff you’ve never seen before. Stuff NOBODY has seen before. My favorite episode is “The Deep.” All about life in the deepest darkest oceans. I actually bought this one. My kid loves that “Fangtooth!”
New York: an 8-disc series about the city I grew up in, but evidently hardly knew about. This series is awesome. Directed by Ric Burns, brother of the famous documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns who happened to direct…
Ken Burns’ Civil War: A superb 5 disc series.
Murderball: an excellent film about the intense sport, quad-rugby and the intense players on the US team.
Empires: The Medici, Godfathers of the Renaissance: We watched this before going to Florence last year--really interesting stuff! Besides the intrigue of the mafia-like power of the Medici family, this documentary is also a nice, quick overview of renaissance art and the history of Florence.
The Weather Underground: A fascinating look at a forgotten part of recent US history: our very own home-grown terrorist group! Aw!
Super-Size Me: I talked about this in another blog. Fun. Horrifying. Yum!
Why We Fight: actually, I’m not sure if I recommend this one, but it’s an interesting, if completely one-sided look at the so-called “military industrial complex” that supposedly governs every aspect of our lives! I’m not a big fan of this kind of documentary, as you can probably tell. It’s not difficult to take a position you want to espouse and then find a bunch of film to support that view without dealing with contrary opinions. Blah blah.

Sleeper Cell: I just started watching this, so I’m only 4 episodes in. What I’ve seen so far, I like. Reminds me of an updated Wiseguy.
Wiseguy: since I mentioned it, I was a big fan of this series when it first aired in the late eighties. It was a great cop show about an undercover FBI guy named Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl). Great supporting cast & villains. A must see! This was one of the first (if not THE first) TV show to tell stories in large arcs. The DVDs are divided by arcs—try to watch them in order to see how Vince’s character grows. One complaint: The DVD has different music from the original series as it was created. Why? Because they did not keep the rights to the pop music that they used. Unfortunate, but I don’t know if you’d miss it if you didn’t see the original.
Deadwood: Love love love this HBO original series. 2 seasons currently available. Don’t rent it if you can’t take harsh language!
The Shield: What a show! Mythic!
The Sopranos: ‘Nuff said.
Cracker: This is a BBC cop show starring Robbie Coltraine. Never heard of it before I stumbled across it on Netflix. It’s amazing.
Rescue Me: Dennis Leary’s firefighter drama. Superb.
The Office: The original BBC series, starring Ricky Gervais, that is. Funniest show ever. Haven’t seen the American version, though I hear it’s also pretty good.
Also, I’ve happily been brought up to speed on 24, Alias, CSI, Nip/Tuck, The Wire and the new Battlestar Galactica, all of which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed and recommend!

C'mon, give it a try...

Netflix, Inc.

Monday, August 07, 2006

More Randomnessitude and Query

Another day tagging along with the Adventures in Nature camp at the Natural History Museum. This week my son is in the “Prehistoric Pals” class and we went up to the mysterious “staff only” fourth floor where the Paleontology lab is. Pretty cool stuff up there. We had a look at how they clean fossils & whatnot. Currently, most of the team is off in Montana digging up a T-Rex. How cool is that? It’s fun to see this stuff through the eyes of the kids.

In comics news, I am almost finished thumbnailing my Tokyopop project. Looks like it is shaping up to be about 170 pages long. Once this stage is done, I finally will move ahead with drawing the actual book! I should be able to post some preview pages pretty soon. I think I’m supposed to wait until they ‘officially’ announce the book before I start showing stuff or giving away details. The book is on the schedule for next July, in case anyone is wondering.

I guess that's all. Not the most interesting blog post, to be sure. I end with one question:

HOW COME EVERYONE IS MOVING TO PORTLAND? Every time I turn around, someone else I know is moving there. I'm afraid that I'll need to follow if this keeps up. I once was very seriously planning on moving to Seattle, but then I met the woman who is now my wife. That changed things. Now, we have a family and some important roots that would make it difficult to make such a move, but I can't help but wonder what the appeal of Portland is. Never been there, myself. Perhaps I ought to take a trip. Meanwhile, can anyone out there shed some light?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Am I Just Stupid?

One of the few comics that I still read regularly is B.P.R.D., the Hellboy spin-off by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Guy Davis. It’s a really cool book about the Hellboy related characters in the “Bureau For Paranormal Research And Defense.” Kind of like a government sponsored team of freaks (or superheroes) that defends the U.S. and the world from monsters, demons and stuff like that. Great stories, great characters and great art—a ‘must buy!’ And I should know, it appears that I’ve bought several copies of each issue by mistake!

Don’t get me wrong—I love, repeat: LOVE, Mike Mignola’s covers. I love his art, in general. Mike has been a big influence on my own work. In fact, I have an original piece of his Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser art hanging right over my head as I type this. By the way, that makes me think of an amusing tale for another time. You’ll have to remind me to tell it later. But I must confess that I’ve discovered a that I have a little problem with these B.P.R.D. covers…

I can’t tell them apart.

Is it just me? Am I a moron? Has anyone else had this problem??? Specifically, the problem is that I go to my favorite comic shop and buy the latest issue, only to get home and find that I already have it! Yesterday, I accidentally bought TWO copies of B.P.R.D.: The Universal Machine #3. How did I do that? What’s worse is that when I got home, I realized I’d read it already!!! What am I, freakin’ retarded? Going senile? I hate to admit it, but this has happened at least 2 other times. And only with this book.

Maybe this is a clever ploy perpetrated by Mike and the gang at Dark Horse Comics. A way to get me to pay $9 for a $3 comic. I mean, I like the book a lot, but I don’t think it’s worth $9 for one issue. I’m not a collector (just a reader), so the extra copies are useless to me.


I guess I can pass them on to interested parties. Interested anyone?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Random Thoughts

Well, I’ve recovered from my dragon-related injuries, and I’m sitting in a classroom at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Today my son is learning about butterflies at the museum’s summer camp program. Being paranoid parents, we don’t feel comfortable leaving him, so I’m hanging out, hovering in the back of the class with my laptop. In a half hour, we’ll be going down to the Butterfly Pavilion, so I have some time to kill.

This museum is a favorite of my son. He’s been here a zillion times. I like it too because it is reminiscent of the museum I grew up with in New York. It’s a LOT smaller, for sure, but it’s not bad. Also, it is pretty old, dark and designed in a similar neo-classical style. Unfortunately, it is often pretty empty. That means less of a crowd to deal with, which is nice, but it doesn’t bode well for the future of the museum. It also does not speak well to the parents of Los Angeles. Why wouldn’t you bring your kid here? Next door there is a science museum, an IMAX theater and a small Air & Space museum. Also, a huge and largely unused Olympic stadium. Unfortunately, Exposition Park, which encompasses all of these attractions, is surrounded by a horrible neighborhood that probably keeps folks away.

Let’s see, what else…

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was reading Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Well, I finished it a week or two ago and I wanted to tell you all about the aftermath. First, the book is great and I highly recommend it, if you have a strong stomach. The book definitely had an effect on me. I have not turned into a vegan or anything, Let’s just say that I’ve lost weight! I’m having trouble looking at food the same way. For example, usually, when I’m hungry it is a bad idea for me to go to the supermarket. Everything looks good to me. I’m a sucker for trying new products and I will buy the junkiest food. After reading FFN, I was in a supermarket looking for something to eat around lunchtime. Actually, it was pretty late for lunch and I was starving. Instead of pulling stuff off the shelves, I walked around the store for a while, imagining the conditions at cattle ranches and slaughterhouses. I thought about strange labs and chemical plants on the New Jersey Turnpike where flavors are created for processed foods. I walked out empty handed and still hungry, if slightly nauseated. Thi shas now happened more than once.

I guess I need to get over it. I probably will. My family already eats very well. We already buy organic meats & milk products, avoiding hormones & whatever. Don’t know when I’ll ever eat another Big Mac, but I know I probably will someday. Right now, the thought is revolting to me.

Off to look at butterflies now. Maybe I’ll eat one or two when nobody’s looking.