Monday, September 17, 2018

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork


Time for an easy recipe! Thought this one from The Recipe Rebel sounded tasty. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pulled Pork

Ingredients:
  • 3 lb boneless pork roast
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
Instructions:
  1. Add the roast to a slow cooker. Top with water, seasoned salt and garlic powder. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or until falling apart.
  2. Just before your roast is ready, add the rest of the ingredients (vinegar through garlic) to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Boil over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes, until thick and syrupy.
  4. Drain juices from pork. Shred your pork and stir in half of the prepared sauce. Serve the rest of the sauce alongside the pork with buns.
I love any kind of pulled pork! Do you?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, September 10, 2018

Julia Sand: Encouragement in a Time of Crisis

So just who was Julia Sand? I'd never heard of her until I read Candice Millard's Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, an amazing account of James A. Garfield's life and the assassination attempt on him while serving as president.

Garfield, an extraordinary man, was actually nominated for president against his will.  However, four months after his inauguration, he was shot in the back by the deranged Charles Guiteau, who'd sought a political office in Garfield's administration.

It wasn't the would-be assassin's bullet that killed the president, but rather the medical treatment Garfield received.  As Garfield suffered for nearly two months, the nation was thrown into turmoil, and during this time, Vice President Chester A. Arthur ( a not so extraordinary man) stayed in seclusion. When Guiteau was apprehended he announced his wish for Arthur to become president.  Because of this, there was a brief investigation into whether Guiteau had been hired by Garfield’s enemies.

Although no proof was found to support this, there were threats made on Arthur’s life and he feared making public appearances. Arthur’s past was linked to some scandals involving the New York Customhouse and many thought Arthur as president would mean disaster for the country.

Here's where Julia Sand fits into the equation.  She corresponded with Arthur beginning in late August of 1881, before Garfield's death.  Her last surviving letter is dated September 15, 1883. Sand referred to herself as the President’s “little dwarf”, alluding to the idea that in a royal court, the dwarf is the only one with courage enough to tell the truth.

Sand was an educated woman who lived in New York, yet when she began writing Arthur at age 31, she was bedridden due to spinal trouble, lameness and deafness.  What I'm posting below is a portion of Sand's first letter to the would-be president:

The day [Garfield] was shot, the thought rose in a thousand minds that you might be the instigator of the foul act. Is not that a humiliation which cuts deeper then any bullet can pierce?

Your kindest opponents say "Arthur will try to do right"– adding gloomily –"He won’t succeed though making a man President cannot change him."

…But making a man President can change him! Great emergencies awaken generous traits which have lain dormant half a life. If there is a spark of true nobility in you, now is the occasion to let it shine. Faith in your better nature forces me to write to you – but not to beg you to resign. Do what is more difficult & brave. Reform!
It is not proof of highest goodness never to have done wrong, but it is proof of it, sometimes in ones career, to pause & ponder, to recognize the evil, to
recognize the evil, to turn resolutely against it…. Once in awhile there comes a
crisis which renders miracles feasible. The great tidal wave of sorrow which has
rolled over the country has swept you loose from your old moorings & set you on
a mountaintop, alone.

Disappoint our fears. Force the nation to have faith in you. Show from the first
that you have none but the purest of aims.

You cannot slink back into obscurity, if you would. A hundred years hence,
school boys will recite you name in the list of Presidents & tell of your
administration. And what shall posterity say? It is for you to choose….

Apparently, her words of encouragement inspired and changed him. At the end of his presidency, Arthur earned praise from his contemporaries for his solid performance in office. In 1886, the New York World wrote: "No duty was  neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation." And according to Mark Twain, "[I]t would be hard indeed to better President Arthur's administration."

Had you ever heard of Julia Sand? Also, can you think of anyone you can encourage today? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally posted 10/1/12.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Off for Labor Day

I'm taking a day off from blogging to enjoy the last holiday of summer. Enjoy your Labor Day and I'll see you next week!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Memorable Movie Lines

Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca
"Play it, Sam..."
"The stuff that dreams are made of." Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, 1941

Dream weaving, illusion and great stories make wonderful motion pictures. But what makes a line of movie dialogue, or even just a single word, timeless and unforgettable? What makes it so memorable that it's often quoted in real life, other movies, television and even kids' cartoons?

Perhaps it's spoken during a suspenseful situation, or in a scene where love has gone wrong. Maybe it's exclaimed in the thick of danger, or during the thrill of excitement, or in the midst of a conflict about to
Lauren Bacall as Slim Browning in To Have and Have Not
explode. It could be line akin to a sigh of relief, spoken at the very end, when all problems are resolved.

With a skilled screenwriter and an awesome story, all of these elements can create exciting dialogue and at least one immortal line that leaves the audience saying, "I loved it when he said...", "Remember when she said...", or "I can't believe that's what______ meant!"

Here are 10 of my favorites, in chronological order.

1. "Wait a minute, wait a minute! You ain't heard nothin' yet!" Al Jolson as Jackie Rabinowitz in The Jazz Singer, 1927
2. Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." Clark Gable as Rhett Butler in Gone With the Wind, 1939
3. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore." Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz, 1939
4. "Rosebud." Orson Welles as Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane, 1941
5. "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By,'" Ingrid Bergman as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca, 1942
6. "You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow." Lauren Bacall as Marie "Slim" Browning in To Have and Have Not, 1944
7. "Badges? We ain't got no badges! We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinking badges!" Alfonso Bedoya as "Gold Hat" in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 1948
8. "Stella! Hey, Stella!" Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, 1951
9. "You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could've been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am." Marlon Brando as Terry Malloy in On the Waterfront, 1954
10. "Say 'hello' to my little friend!" Al Pacino as Tony Montana in Scarface, 1983

What are some of your favorite movie lines? And in your opinion, what makes them so memorable?

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by!

Originally posted on 12/01/14

Monday, August 20, 2018

From Novel to Screenplay


Gone With the Wind is  a movie that's just as phenomenal as the book it's  based on. But have you noticed that's not always the case when  a novel  is made into a motion picture?

Right now I'm in the process of adapting one of my novels into a screenplay and have found it to be a rather daunting process. Now I understand why some movies fall flat when compared to the novels they're based on.  

Forget about introspection and long descriptions, plus subplots have to be dropped and minor characters combined or omitted in order to condense a three-hundred and fifty page novel into a one-hundred and twenty-five page screenplay. If you have ever considered turning a novel into a screenplay, here's a portion of an article from Scriptmag.com to help you start the adaptation process:






First, make a list of the following:

  • The world and setting of the story.
  • The 5–8 main characters of the story including the protagonist and antagonist, what their respective back stories are and why/how they come together.
  • What 5 things about your main protagonist/antagonist are the most important for an audience to know.
  • The major core conflict of the story and why/how this occurs.
  • The most visual and key scenes in the book that connect to how that conflict plays out.
  • Your 10–20 FAVORITE lines of dialogue that drive the plot, are vital to the story or character development and that really shine.
  • The major overarching theme of the book.
Margaret Mitchell with her novel
Be aware that you will probably have to cut many supporting characters, subplots that don’t connect to your main storyline, and almost all of the description. Instead of two pages of character description, you only get two lines. Often, two or three different characters in a novel will be combined into ONE character in a screenplay. And what happens on the first page of the book may not be how you need to open the film. Try to nail the same tone that the original material had—as that is part of what built its fan base and that tone needs to translate on film. But the real key to adapting a book to film or adapting someone’s true story—is FOCUS and knowing how and when to take poetic license.
If you are adapting a true story, it becomes even trickier, but you need to know that changing the timeline of the original story is OK. Your primary job isn’t to be loyal to a book or to another writer or even to the main character—it’s to be loyal to the core story and yourself. You can’t show a whole lifetime on screen (except maybe in Benjamin Button), so you need to choose the most important, interesting, conflict-filled, character-building part of the book or the person’s life—and focus on that to create a tight story.
Or alternatively, if you’re adapting a small personal story, you may need to expand it to fill the screen. All those Nicholas Sparks novels are incredibly small and usually depressing, but the screenplays introduce more conflict and raise the stakes. Though not based on a book, let’s examine Academy Award nominated The Fighter, which was based on a true story. The screenwriters looked at all the material they had—all the characters, all the true things that happened, the time range of the real story—and then wrote what worked. The Amy Adams character wasn’t even in Mickey’s life at the time he won those fights. Many characters were combined and the time period was totally fudged so that the story became more cinematic and engaging but it kept the essence of the characters involved, the story and the emotion of it all.
That’s exactly what your job is when adapting a book or person’s true life story. Much like in life, learning to adapt is often a difficult process but can be one of the keys to success. Keep writing!
For the complete article, click here.
Have you ever written a screenplay or considered writing one? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!