Archive for the ‘Gatsby’ Category

Obit watch: September 11, 2017.

Monday, September 11th, 2017

Don Ohlmeyer, legendary “Monday Night Football” producer, and later NBC executive.

In 1998, Mr. Ohlmeyer feuded with Norm Macdonald, the sardonic comedian and anchor of the “Weekend Update” news segment on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Mr. Ohlmeyer called Mr. Macdonald increasingly unfunny and ordered Lorne Michaels, the executive producer of the series, to remove him from the segment immediately.

“The Last Tycoon”, Amazon’s series based on the unfinished novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Interestingly, a few days ago Amazon also cancelled “Z: The Beginning of Everything”, a series based on the life of Zelda Fitzgerald. “Z” had actually already been renewed and was apparently in pre-production for the second season when Amazon pulled the plug.

Is there just not a great demand for Scott Fitzgerald any longer? Or were these just not very good series?

Bad writer! No cookie!

Monday, August 28th, 2017

Fan fiction isn’t my cup of tea. If you enjoy it, more power to you. And I don’t like making fun of other writers for being supposedly “bad”: it feels kind of like throwing rocks from inside my glass house.

But I ran across a discussion of this work of fan fiction while looking into something else (I’ll get into that “something else” later) and thought it was worth mentioning here. Especially for all you “The Eye of Aragon” fans.

“My Immortal” by “XXXbloodyrists666XXX” is a work of Harry Potter fan fiction. With vampires.

… the story centers on a 17-year-old female vampire, a non-canonical character, and her relationships with the characters of the Harry Potter series, most notably her romantic relationship with Draco Malfoy.


The protagonist of the story is Ebony (occasionally Enoby, Evony, or Egogy) Dark’ness Dementia Raven Way, a seventeen-year-old vampire who attends Hogwarts (located in England instead of originally Scotland) as a member of Slytherin House. Hogwarts is depicted as being divided between two cliques, the goths and the preps. Ebony and all the sympathetic characters are part of the goth clique while the members of the prep clique are portrayed unsympathetically. Many of the main characters of Harry Potter are given “goffik” [sic] makeovers, moved to the Slytherin House, and renamed.

And it gets crazier from there. Draco Malfoy is bisexual, Harry Potter is a vampire, “there is also an unexplained cameo by a gothic Marty McFly, with the DeLorean time machine able to transform into an iPod.”

Also, the author can’t spell:

A third plot point sees Professor McGonagall (often referred to as “McGoogle” or “McGoggles”) and Severus Snape (often called “Snap”, or “Snope” at times) attempting to rape or harm the protagonists. Yet another plot point follow Remus Lupin and Snape being bisexuals who spy on Ebony, at one point resulting in a moment shortly after Draco’s “death” where they are sitting on their broomsticks with “Loopin masticating [sic]” to Ebony bathing.

This was originally published in 44 chapters to The author claims that chapters 39 and 40 were actually written by someone who hacked into their account. And the author also apparently had a falling-out of sorts with “their editor” somewhere around chapter 12. (Personally, the most amazing part to me is that the author had an editor.)

“My Immortal” is no longer on, though copies are still circulating. I haven’t found one yet. If I do, I am tempted to give it a shot. The 44 chapters total to about 22,000 words, so it shouldn’t take too long to struggle through.

But what’s the rest of the story? How did this come to my attention, and why am I interested? Well, there are rumors floating around – based on supposed similarities in the writing – that “XXXbloodyrists666XXX” is actually Lani Sarem, author of the “New York Times bestseller” Handbook for Mortals.


Obit watch: June 24, 2015.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

For the record: Don Featherstone.

Frances Kroll Ring has died at the age of 99. The significance of this is that she was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s personal secretary at the end of his life, while he was working on “The Last Tycoon”.

Random notes: February 23, 2015.

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Am I understanding things correctly? They made a movie out of “Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law“? And it won Best Picture?

Ackquille Pollard is a rising young rapper under the name Bobby Shmurda. Mr. Pollard’s rap career has been temporarily sidetracked:

Mr. Pollard was arrested for what city prosecutors said was his role as the “driving force” and “organizing figure” behind the street gang known as GS9, an offshoot of the Crips. In one incident just a month before he was signed, prosecutors said, Mr. Pollard shot at his brother, shattering glass at a Brooklyn barbershop. He faces up to 25 years in prison for conspiracy, reckless endangerment and gun possession; others charged, including Mr. Pollard’s childhood friends, face more serious accusations, including second-degree murder.

Mr. Pollard is being held on $2 million bail. And he’s upset that his record label hasn’t bailed him out.

But as rap has become more corporate, that kind of aid is unusual. Matthew Middleton, Mr. Pollard’s entertainment lawyer, said that while Epic is not obligated to cover bail or legal fees for Mr. Pollard, the artist expected more support, financial and emotional, especially after the label’s spirited pursuit of the rapper made them business partners.

“These companies for years have capitalized and made millions and millions of dollars from kids in the inner city portraying their plight to the rest of the world,” Mr. Middleton said. “To take advantage of that and exploit it from a business standpoint and then turn your back is disingenuous, to say the least.”

Obit watch: Herman Rosenblat. Mr. Rosenblat was a Holocaust survivor who wrote a memoir of his experiences. In that memoir, he told a story about a girl who threw an apple over the fence to him while he was in a concentration camp; later, after he moved to the United States, he met the girl again and married her.

This was, of course, a great story. Mr. Rosenblat made “Oprah” twice, got a book deal, and there were plans to turn his story into a movie.

And sadly, it turned out that Mr. Rosenblat completely invented the story about the girl and the apple. The book was never published and the movie was never made.

There is an Indian actor named Amitabh Bachchan. He’s apparently not well known in the United States, but he’s hugely popular in India. “He has appeared in more than 150 Bollywood films and served as a longtime host of the country’s wildly popular version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?'” according to the LAT. He also had a small part in the 2013 “Gatsby”.

And because of that small part, a group of Sikhs in the United States are claiming Mr. Bachchan is subject to US jurisdiction.

The group has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. making the improbable argument that Bachchan’s work with a U.S. film company gives American courts the ability to hold him responsible for the massacre of thousands of Sikhs in India three decades ago. The group alleges that the actor, now 72, made statements that incited a violent mob.


The suit hinges on the Alien Tort Statute, which in recent years has become the center of a debate over whether American courts can and should be the arbiter of human rights abuses committed elsewhere in the world by non-U.S. citizens. The 1789 law, which was passed by the first Congress and initially used in cases of piracy and stolen goods, states that federal courts shall have jurisdiction over wrongs “committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the United States.”

It seems unlikely this will work, at least according to the LAT: the Supreme Court has restricted the ability of plaintiffs to pursue claims under the Alien Tort Statute, and they are also likely to have issues accomplishing service on the defendant.

One Wisconsin suit was dismissed after it became clear the process server hired by the group mistakenly served another Sikh man with a long white beard and turban, not the chief minister of the state of Punjab. Hospital security and Secret Service agents proved a hurdle in serving another Indian politician at a New York cancer treatment facility. A case against Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister at the time of the suit, was thrown out after the U.S. State Department stepped in to declare to the court that Singh was entitled to immunity as a head of state.

On at least one occasion, the group resorted to offering a $10,000 reward for anyone who could successfully serve the lawsuit on Punjab’s chief minister.

Instead of actual content…

Friday, September 12th, 2014

…I give you a very silly quiz from the WP:

Is this a line from ‘The Great Gatsby’ or a New York Times profile of Lena Dunham?

I have never seen an episode of “Girls” (since I refuse to have cable). However, I still got a perfect score on the quiz. Which says something: either about my knowledge of Gatsby or about how silly this quiz actually is, I do not know.

Oh, what the heck, I’ll throw this one in, too:

I sent this to Lawrence with the suggestion that it might be worse than Bello De Soto’s website: Lawrence doesn’t think so, and I’m still trying to make up my mind.

There are so many things that push it towards legendary badness for me: the chicken walking around on the live Twitter feed (why?), the auto-play Chinese karaoke (ditto?), the spinning chat avatars, gratuitous abuse of the blink tag…

On the other hand, it hasn’t actually crashed any browser I’ve tried it on so far. On the gripping hand, it is an actually up and (apparently) functional website, as opposed to an archive of one…

TMQ Watch: August 13, 2013.

Friday, August 16th, 2013

We were trying to come up with a clever introduction to the return of Tuesday Morning Quarterback (and, thus, the TMQ Watch) but we couldn’t. On the other hand, we were also suffering from a bad case of 70s nostalgia (brought about by many things, but exacerbated by the death of Bert Lance). So we thought we’d throw some vintage music your way before cracking open this week’s TMQ after the jump. Oddly enough, it turns out to be fitting for reasons we’ll see later on…


Cahiers du Cinéma: I watched Gatsby so you don’t have to.

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Yes, I finally went to see it. Yes, I even sprang for the 3-D version. I run a full service blog here.

tl,dr: Wait for it on cable.


      • This is a highly personal reaction, influenced by a lot of things. In particular, I think I have a weakness for 1920’s era flapper outfits. But Elizabeth Debicki as Jordan Baker and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan are both just…wow. I don’t know how I can put it without lapsing into the vulgar. Perhaps I should just say I would be delighted to take either one (or both) of them out for a cheeseburger and the amusing house red. Indeed, one of the reasons I wanted to post this is so I could link to photos of both young ladies. Ms. Debicki:

        and Ms. Mulligan:

      • Tobey Maguire did not work for me as Nick Carraway. I felt that he exhibited a limited emotional range: either vaguely petulant or slightly baffled. When he did try to express happiness or friendship, he seemed stiff.
      • Jay Z’s music was…well, let me be polite and say simply “not memorable”.
      • The 3-D does not add much to the movie. There are a few neat tricks (the closing credits in particular are kind of trippy in a geometric sort of way), but I don’t believe you’ll miss anything if you stick with 2-D.
      • There were more than a few CG shots in the movie that were so poorly done and so obviously CG that they took me out of the movie. Luckily, all I had to do was wait for Ms. Debicki or Ms. Mulligan to come back on screen…
      • Other than the bad CG, though, there is a lot of lush and beautiful photography in the movie. It is pretty to look at…
      • …but ultimately empty. I think the biggest failure of the movie isn’t in conveying Gatsby’s obsession with Daisy; that comes across just fine. The point that I think Baz Luhrmann missed (along with Craig Pearce, the other credited screenwriter) is that Daisy is an unworthy vessel for Gatsby’s affection. Tom and Daisy are empty, shallow, vain people. Gatsby’s death isn’t the tragedy; the true tragedy is that he brings about his own end through his pursuit of Daisy, and that Daisy isn’t worth it. Luhrmann fails to develop Daisy in such a way that we’re able to see this. Towards the end of the movie, Maguire in his voiceover quotes the classic line about Tom and Daisy being “careless people“, but reading the words isn’t the same as demonstrating this to us.

I’m glad I went: it was, after all, a nice afternoon out at a nice theater. But I can’t recommend purchasing a ticket until The Great Gatsby comes to cable or the discount theater nearest you.

Week of Gatsby: Day 5.

Friday, May 10th, 2013

I hate being backed into a corner.

One of the reasons I wanted to do “Week of Gatsby” was so I could link to the classic Andy Kaufman routine from “Saturday Night Live”. I didn’t think that would be the problem it turned into.

That clip is not available, in any form, on the Internet, as far as I can tell. NBC Universal, as the copyright holders, seems to aggressively go after anyone who posts SNL clips on YouTube (as is their right, of course).

That clip is also not available, as far as I can determine, in Hulu’s library of SNL clips.

You can watch the entire episode with Kaufman (season 3, episode 13, with Art Garfunkel and Stephen Bishop) on Hulu – if you pay $8 a month for Hulu Plus (or sign up for a free trial). Otherwise, you’re out of luck. I say: to heck with that.

The text of Kaufman’s routine is available from the SNL Transcripts site, but reading the text of a Kaufman routine is like dancing about architecture.

This, however, might make the effort worthwhile: from a Cornell website, the “New Student Reading Project”, some notes on Gatsby. Chapter 7, “Performing Gatsby“, is rather interesting, especially for the comments by some of Kaufman’s contemporaries on his routine.

David Brenner: “And, you know, people would boo the crying. They were New Yorkers.”

(Also: a young Sam Waterson? This I’ve got to see. Was the man ever “young”?)

Week of Gatsby: Day 4.

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Following up on a previous entry: it is legal to download Gatsby in every country except for seven. The United States is one of those seven.

If you happen to live in a country other than those seven – say, for example, Australia – it is perfectly legal for you to download Gatsby from the local version of Project Gutenberg.

Also, I wanted to link to this week’s episode of “The Ihnatko Almanac”: (Edited to add: Fixed. Thanks, Lawrence.) Andy Ihnatko touches on Baz Luhrmann and Gatsby, though his primary topic is one we brought up the other day: Sebastian Faulks continuing the Wodehouse Jeeves novels.

(I also wanted to link this because if you listen to the first couple of minutes, you’ll hear a name you might recognize.)

(Important safety tip: be careful who you page, and who you send feedback to. They just might read your name on the air. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)

Week of Gatsby: Day 3

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Why isn’t “The Great Gatsby” in the public domain? F. Scott Fizgerald has been dead for nearly 73 years, after all.

This is 19 Zillicoa Street in Asheville, North Carolina:

View Larger Map

This building is Homewood. Homewood was part of Highland Hospital, and was the home of Dr. Robert S. Carroll and his wife, Grace Potter Carroll. Dr. Carroll ran the hospital, and his wife taught music lessons. (Nina Simone was one of her students.)

In 1939, Dr. Carroll turned management of the hospital over to Duke University’s Neuropsychiatric Department. It was while Duke was managing the hospital that the final act of a great American tragedy took place.

On the night of March 10, 1948, a fire broke out at Highland. Various reports say the fire started in the kitchen and moved upwards through the dumbwaiter shaft. The fire escapes were made out of wood and also caught fire. By the time it was extinguished, nine women were dead.

One of the women who died was Zelda Fitzgerald, the widow of F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Zelda had a troubled life. I’m not an expert, but the consensus opinion I’ve seen is that she probably suffered from some form of bi-polar disorder, and medicated herself in an attempt to deal with it. She was in and out of Highland between 1936 and her death.

This is the closest thing I could find to an obituary for Zelda Fitzgerald. (Local cache if that doesn’t come up.) I hope wherever she is, she found the peace that evaded her in life.

(Information about Highland Hospital drawn from the NPS page.)

Week of Gatsby: Day 2

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Real estate people like Gatsby.

There are the Gatsby condominiums on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and the Fitzgerald apartment building on the other side of Central Park. There is a Gatsby Lane carved out of a subdivision in Montgomery, Ala., where Mr. Fitzgerald’s wife, Zelda, was raised. And there is a 50-year-old company created by the real estate titan Peter Sharp and his longtime partner, Norman Peck, that still exists today.

That company, by the way, is “East Egg”.

In the novel, Mr. Peck explained, wealthy people, including Jay Gatsby, lived in a fictional part of Long Island called West Egg, “but the better people lived in East Egg.”

In other news, have you driven a Gatsby lately?

(Nice looking cars, but not $34.5K worth of nice looking in my opinion. Assuming these people are still building cars, which I admit is a questionable assumption.)

Week of Gatsby: Day 1.

Monday, May 6th, 2013

In honor of the forthcoming movie, I am declaring this week the “Week of Gatsby” on WCD. Mostly for my own personal amusement.

Today’s entry: The Great Gastby for NES, a browser based game in which you wander around Gatsby’s party, throwing your hat at various targets and searching for the titular character.

(Yes, I am planning to see the movie. Yes, in 3D. “Argo” was the last thing I saw in a theater, and I figure I could use the diversion. Even if it is a pile of crap.)

(And, yes, as it happens, I do like the book. A short defense of it is here.)