Monday, June 10, 2019

Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips

Not great, but it's only the first draft...

Here are ten hard-hitting writing tips from Cody Delistraty's article 21 Harsh But Eye-Opening Writing Tips From Great Authors.  

1. The first draft of everything is sh**. -Ernest Hemingway

2. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious a**. -David Ogilvy

3. If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy. – Dorothy Parker

4. Notice how many of the Olympic athletes effusively thanked their mothers for their success? “She drove me to my practice at four in the morning,” etc. Writing is not figure skating or skiing. Your mother will not make you a writer. My advice to any young person who wants to write is: leave home. -Paul Theroux

5. I would advise anyone who aspires to a writing career that before developing his talent he would be wise to develop a thick hide. — Harper Lee

6. You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club. ― Jack London

7. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. — George Orwell

8. There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. ― W. Somerset Maugham

9. If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time — or the tools — to write. Simple as that. – Stephen King


10. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong. – Neil Gaiman

For all 21 tips, click here.

Do you have a harsh but eye-opening tip to share?

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally published 12/12/16 

Monday, June 3, 2019

Theda Bara: First Sex Symbol of the Silver Screen

My hometown of Cincinnati is the hometown of some very famous screen legends including mega-director Steven Spielberg, actress/singer Doris Day and actress/dancer Vera-Ellen. Another famous legend who hailed from these parts is Theda Bara, the silver screen's first sex symbol.

As a sex symbol, Theda's real life didn't exactly fit that mold. She experienced no scandals, had no substance abuse problems, and she was only married once, and happily at that. And although she retired from the screen while still in her prime before the advent of talking pictures, when she passed away decades later in 1955 at the age of sixty-nine, she died wealthy.

Here's more about this unconventional sex symbol from Wikipedia:

Bara was one of the most popular actresses of the silent era, and her femme fatale roles earned her the nickname The Vamp (short for vampire). Bara made more than 40 films between 1914 and 1926, but most were lost in the 1937 Fox vault fire. After her marriage to Charles Brabin in 1921, she made two more feature films and retired from acting in 1926.


She was born Theodosia Burr Goodman in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was Bernard Goodman (1853–1936), a prosperous Jewish tailor born in Poland. Her mother, Pauline Louise Françoise (née de Coppett; 1861–1957), was born in Switzerland.

The origin of Bara's stage name is disputed; The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats says it came from director Frank Powell, who learned Theda had a relative named Barranger, and that "Theda" was a childhood nickname. In promoting the 1917 film Cleopatra, Fox Studio publicists noted that the name was an anagram of Arab death, and her press agents claimed inaccurately that she was "the daughter of an Arab sheik and a French woman, born in the Sahara."

At the height of her fame, Bara earned $4,000 per week. She was one of the most popular movie stars, ranking behind only Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford. Bara's best-known roles were as the "vamp", although she attempted to avoid typecasting by playing wholesome heroines in films such as Under Two Flags and Her Double Life. She also appeared as Juliet in a version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Although Bara took her craft seriously, she was too successful as an exotic "wanton woman" to develop a more versatile career.

To read more about Theda Bara, click here.

Are you familiar with Theda Bara? Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally published 3/20/17

Monday, May 27, 2019

Famous Actors Who Served in the Military

On this Memorial Day, I want to extend many thanks to the brave men and women who have served and are currently serving our country. 

During World War II, many actors put their careers on hold to serve, and the most decorated American soldier of WWII returned home a hero and then became an actor! Below are listed just a few celebrities who served from a list on Toptenz.net:
 Audie Murphy - Murphy was a true American hero and the only actor to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. In fact, Murphy was the most decorated American soldier of World War II who, besides receiving the CMOH, was also awarded 32 additional U.S. and foreign medals and citations, including five from France and one from Belgium. He later went on to appear in 44 films—mostly westerns and a few army films—before he died in a plane crash near Roanoke, Virginia three weeks shy of his 46th birthday. Not surprisingly, he was buried with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.
James Stewart - Stewart was an up and coming actor when he chose to give it all up and join the Army Air Corp in 1942. Considering how dangerous the skies over Europe were and the very high rate of attrition suffered by allied pilots, it’s a miracle he survived at all. Flying no fewer than 20 combat missions over Germany at the controls of the famous B-17 bomber, he received six battle stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal and even the famous French decoration, the Croix de Guerre with Palm. He even stayed active in the U.S. Air Force reserve after the war, reaching the rank of Brigadier General before retiring in 1968.
Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. - Few would have guessed the dashing actor and first husband to Joan Crawford would give up the sparkling lights of Hollywood to serve his country, but that’s exactly what he did. Commissioned an officer at the outbreak of World War Two, the actor served on Lord Louis Mountbatten’s staff in England where he observed the British make cross-channel raids on German positions designed to confuse and deceive the enemy. Taking that knowledge back to America, he was made part of a unit called the “Beach Jumpers” whose job it was to make bogus beach landings designed to confuse the enemy as to the location of the real landings. Serving in this capacity in North Africa, Sicily, and France, he was awarded several medals for bravery, chief among them the Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the British Distinguished Service Cross, and even the French Croix de guerre. Fairbanks stayed in the Naval Reserve after the war and ultimately retired a captain in 1954.
For all 10 actors featured in the article click here. I knew that some of these actors had served, but I wasn't aware of all their accomplishments. What about you?
Thanks for visiting and have a great week!
Originally posted May 30, 2016

Monday, May 20, 2019

Hawaiian Chicken

Summer is quickly approaching, and with summer comes vacation planning!

I don't know about you, but I'd love to go to Hawaii!  Unfortunately, with two kids in college, that won't happen any time soon. 

But I can always dream, and this Hawaiian Chicken recipe makes me feel like I'm there... well not really, but it sure tastes good!

Hope you enjoy it, too! It's a crock pot recipe and only takes minutes to assemble, but you will need to set aside up to five hours for it to cook. It's delicious over rice!

This recipe is from my General Electric Slow Cooker Recipe Book.

Hawaiian Chicken

3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, halved (I use thighs)
1 16 ounce can pineapple slices, drained (I use chunks)
1 15 ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
1/4 cup corn starch
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Combine all ingredients in the crock. Stir well. Cover and cook on:
Low - 4 to 5 hours or High - 2 to 3 hours

Where will yo be vacationing this summer? 

Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Aliens and Race Relations

Today I thought I'd share something fun about a famous interracial couple from history.  I'd never heard of Betty and Barney Hill, but if you're familiar with UFO trivia, you might know of them.  This article is from ListVerse.


Betty and Barney Hill were from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Barney worked for the post office and Betty was a social worker. The Hills were also members of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and community leaders. On the night of September19th, 1961, Betty and Barney Hill were heading back from a vacation in Southern Canada to their home in New England. They claimed to have observed a bright light in the sky that appeared to be following them. They arrived home at about 3 am and realized (later, when it was pointed out to them) that they had lost about 2 hours of time. Two weeks later Betty began having nightmares. In her nightmares, she described being taken aboard an alien spacecraft and then having medical experiments performed on her. Betty and Barney then decided to undergo hypnosis.  
In separate sessions, they described some similar experiences of being taken on board an alien spacecraft. Betty said she was shown a star map which she was able to memorize and reproduce later, which some believe is showing Zeta Reticuli as the aliens’ home. Under Barneys hypnotic session he said a cup-like device was placed over his genitals and thought that a sperm sample was taken. He also said he heard them speaking in a mumbling language that he did not understand. The UFO incident was distracting and embarrassing for Barney Hill. He feared that the tabloid publicity would tarnish his battle for equality and dignity. The Hills eventually went back to their regular lives but were always willing to discuss the UFO encounter with friends and UFO researchers. The release of the book “Interrupted Journey” in the mid-1960s, and a movie called The UFO Incident, starring James Earl Jones and Estelle Parsons turned Betty and Barney Hill into the world’s most famous UFO “abductees.”

Interesting Fact: Some psychiatrists suggested later that the supposed abduction was a hallucination brought on by the stress of being an interracial couple in early 60s. Betty discounted this suggestion, saying that her relationship with Barney was happy, and their interracial marriage caused no notable problems with their friends or family. Barney died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1969, and Betty died of cancer in 2004. Many of Betty Hill’s notes, tapes and other items have been placed in a permanent collection at the library of the University of New Hampshire, her alma mater.

Had you ever heard of Betty and Barney Hill, or have you ever known anyone who claims to have been abducted by aliens?  Thanks for visiting and have a great week!

Originally published 7/1/13