Post #120: Happy New Year!


Greetings, and a very merry New Year to all of you out there. I guess it’s customary this time of year to make resolutions. But I’m struggling. Last night I resolved to drink less this year, then promptly poured myself a beer. So…well…there’s always 2015.

Some brief apologies for the extended wait between posts these last couple months. The hate mail, which I know comes from a place of love and real pain on the part of our loyal readers, has been piling up on our desk. And rest assured, we read every last piece of it, and try to reply personally as often as we can. Chalk it up to this: I’m starting a low-residency MFA program and the prep work, along with the end of the teaching semester has been kicking my already  bruised ass. We’ll resolve to serve you better in the new year.

Until then, here’s a few recommendations to ring in the new year, as well as one urgent observation.

You should watch…

The Newsroom on HBO. I had listened a little too loudly to the bad buzz on Sorkin’s latest. And though he’s reminding me of Woody Allen in the way he repeats both themes, motifs, and plot points, assuming his genius excuses such blatant repetition (which it kind of does), the show, especially the second season, is definitely worth watching. A great ensemble cast. Whip crack dialogue. Laughs. And a nod to serious issues of the moment, even if they’re delivered with a bludgeon to the head. This guy is one of the great screen writers of all time.

You should see…

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. There’s some hit or miss moments, but you get to spend almost an entire hour with a giant dragon voiced by Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch.

You should listen to…

“Foreverly” by Billie Joe and Norah. This is an odd one. Greenday’s Billie Joe Armstrong and jazz/pop chanteuse Norah Jones teamed up to record a whole album of Everly Brothers tunes. The results are spare, haunting, and beautiful.

You should eat…

More Peanut Brittle. I proved this holiday season that it can be eaten as an entire meal without losing consciousness.

You should read…

Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro. I’d explain why if they hadn’t just given her the fucking Nobel Prize. She’s that good.

And finally, one urgent observation…

Black bean sauce really doesn’t taste that much like black beans.

Happy New Year’s from all of us here at The Almost Right Words. We wish you a healthy and productive 2014.


Post #52: How Great is the Internet?

Things you should be watching

Man, I love the Internet.  Where else could you ever have access to the mad genius who spent God knows how many hundreds of hours assembling and cutting together a seven minute video of all the phrases that Aaron Sorkin (pictured at left) has repeated, and then repeated again (via his characters) throughout his career.  For those of you who don’t know because you’ve been stuck at the bottom of the ocean for the past fifteen years, Aaron Sorkin is a television and film writer responsible for The West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the recent HBO series The Newsroom, A Few Good Men, The Social Network, and a whole bunch of other amazing shit.  Suffice to say, he’s the best writer of televised dialogue of his generation, maybe of all time.  And wildly, inhumanly prolific.  To boot: for the first four seasons of The West Wing, he wrote nearly every single episode.  A season of The West Wing is 22 episodes, each an hour long, which means that basically this guy wrote roughly 88 plays in four years.  And that was just 4 years. He worked himself so hard that he eventually had to leave The West Wing because of a pretty bad speed and cocaine habit, an event that surprised the sum total of no one.

I loved this video, and oddly, it made me love Sorkin even more, even though his writing can be idealistic and saccharine and repetitive.  You gotta love a guy who quotes himself this often and writes so much that he just can’t help it.  
Reminds me of Woody Allen, who you could easily do the same kind of video with.