We’re all patsies

The Fade Out, the blog edited by culture critic David D. Robbins Jr. (to which I periodically contribute), recently published my musings on Oliver Stone’s film “JFK.”

The Fade Out, the blog edited by culture critic David D. Robbins Jr. (to which I periodically contribute), recently published my musings on Oliver Stone’s film “JFK.” It’s part of an ongoing series focused on three of his presidential films, “JFK,” “Nixon,” and “W.” As the intro to the series explains, David and I “talk about the three movies and what they show us about ourselves, American politics and its inevitable effect on the rest of the world.”

David’s eloquent response to my bloviating should be coming soon. Enjoy.

Also, PBS recently re-broadcast one of the best episodes of one of my favorite shows, “Secrets of the Dead,” which took a closer look at Pharaoh Psusennes I, whose Egyptian tomb supposedly rivals (if not exceeds) the treasures and historical significance of Tutankhamun. He’s one of the most important rulers you’ve never heard of.

Daydreaming

As I write throughout the mornings and afternoons, I still find myself pausing in mid-sentence without realizing it, daydreaming of dark Mediterranean waves, sun-kissed Roman ruins covered in red poppies, and the cool Bosphorus breezes cruelly reminding me that I was merely a visitor.

My body came home from my wonderful vacation to Istanbul and southern Turkey, but only part of my mind and imagination accompanied it. As I write throughout the mornings and afternoons, I still find myself pausing in mid-sentence without realizing it, daydreaming of dark Mediterranean waves, sun-kissed Roman ruins covered in red poppies, and the cool Bosphorus breezes cruelly reminding me that I was merely a visitor.

Here are my tweets from throughout the trip (follow me here):

May 13
Caddebostan, Istanbul, 4:45 a.m.: Incredibly chatty seagulls, a car alarm and the call to prayer. Good morning.

May 14
I’m the only one awake, sitting in the dark, watching the moon soar over Istanbul. In a few hours, I’ll be in Antalya, on the Med Sea.

May 15
Toured Greek/Roman/Byzantine ruins at Perge. Still tingling with excitement. Now at Belek resort. Long Island Iced Tea or mojito? Both.

May 16
Few things better than breakfast with a beautiful woman, sunshine, a cool seabreeze, all overlooking a gorgeous blue sea.

May 16
I’m on fire. In a good way.

May 16
Soft sunrise over the Taurus Mountains.

May 18
Tucked away in a tiny resort in near Olympos. Rose bushes, orange trees heavy with ripe fruit, mountains towering over a stellar beach.

May 19
Day began on a gorgeous pebble beach and crystal clear water. It ends in Caddebostan, under fireworks and Turkish flags celebrating Ataturk.

May 20
Why can’t I stop time? Still have sailing tour, Bosphorus cruise, a visit to refurbished Hagia Sophia, so much more. Four days will fly by.

May 20
Ending another long, wondrous day in Istanbul. Bedtime reading: Sherman’s Civil War memoirs. Hey, it doesn’t always have to be Turkey 24/7.

May 21
Deep dark waters, beautiful eyes, a burning sun, crashing waves, legacies lost, a freefall through time, a long soft kiss. More. More. More.

May 22
Unbelievable cheers in Caddebostan after Fenerbahce’s 4-3 win for the league title. Flares, car horns, fireworks. Turks know how to PARTY.

May 23
Final full day in Nova Roma. First, a tour of the city’s secret past with an eminent historian and diplomat, then a grand farewell dinner.

May 24
Rest easier, America. F has returned.

May 25
Mini-NYC shopping spree begins now. First stop: Dean & Deluca.

May 26
Began the beautiful morning with Henry Wager Halleck at Greenwood Cemetery. Now headed home to Texas to begin another long, sweet summer.

May 26
Home at last.

What has happened to the short story?

Sometimes the best part of returning home is the huge, rich pile of mail, articles, newsletters, books, journals, newspapers, magazines and packages that await me. I dive in like a little kid jumping into a pile of fall leaves.

I’ve returned from vacation in southern Turkey, Istanbul and New York City. Now I really need some time to rest.

Sometimes the best part of returning home is the huge, rich pile of mail, articles, newsletters, books, journals, newspapers, magazines and packages that await me. I dive in like a little kid jumping into a pile of fall leaves.

One of the most interesting pieces in that pile was an article recently posted on The Millions website.

Paul Vidich explored why it seems the number of people reading short stories has dropped. The reasons have nothing to do with an overall diminished quality of short stories. Far from it. “The answer,” he writes, “is related to how readers are given the opportunity to read — distribution, in commercial terms.” The decline of mass market magazine readership has dragged down short story readership right along with it.

But technology, he says, offers a great opportunity. “Technology gave rise to the flowering of the short story, contributed to its decline, and technology will, in my opinion, again solve the problem of connecting readers and stories. Like the song, the short story is perfectly suited for mobile consumption.”

Interesting article. Check it out.