December 31, 2011


About a year ago, I made a resolution to be the best version of myself that I could be this year.  As 2011 winds down, I realize that, while I am far short of that mythical, optimal me, that I am so much stronger, better, wiser, and productive today than I was in 2011. 

I've been blessed with so may gifts this year: an absolutely fantastic lady and the great home we're building together; lots of outstanding great new products, both professionally and creatively; a renewal of my faith; and, most important of all, the resolve to do what is necessary to get even better. 

The year has been challenging, but each hurdle has been a gift to show both how high I can jump, and who's there to catch me when I fall.

Thank you, 2011.

And, with all due respect to the Mayans, 2012 is not the end.  It's the beginning.

Happy New Year, gentle readers.

December 20, 2011

The Return of Stories About Stuff

Yesterday we were blessed with previews and interviews about two very high profile film projects for next year: Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises and Ridley Scott's Prometheus, and I could not help but notice something a bit different from these two films.

There's a moment in The Dark Knight Rises trailer where Selina Kyle whispers into Bruce Wayne's ear:
"Did you think this would last?  There's a storm coming, Mr. Wayne, and you and your friends had better batten down hatches, cause when it hits you're all going to wonder how you ever thought you could live so large and leave so little for the rest of us."
Boy, that sounds very 99%-ish, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, over in the Prometheus world, Ridley Scott talks about how this is a movie about the origins of humanity itself, where one of the main characters, played by Michael Fassbender, is an android observing the human's reaction to the horror.

In other words, it's a true sci-fi movie.

Big ideas for, ostensibly, big summer popcorn movies.

Directors who actually have something to say about our world around us, and are not just interested in driving you into an seizure from 3-D effects.

Young storytellers, take note.

December 18, 2011

Now that the Iraq War is over...

I'm not interested in debating the success of the mission: goodness knows I did a ton of that back in 2003.  And I know there are a lot of people, particularly servicemen for whom I have the utmost respect & admiration, who feel very passionately about its importance.

I will just say this:

Think of what else we could have done with $800 BILLION (with a B) dollars over the last ten years.

We could have bought a year's worth of good American-sized groceries for 86 million families.

We could have paid four years worth of tuition & expenses at Princeton for 4 million kids.

We could have bought Exxon Mobile.  Twice.

We could have bought the entire population of Dakar, Senegal a single family home in the suburbs of Santa Cruz, CA.

I'm just sayin'.

Glad it's finally over.

One war down.  One more to go.

A thought on Occupy Wall Street

A few weeks ago I was playing Monopoly with my better half and some friends.  I usually play with my family back in Baltimore, and I usually make a respectable showing but typically lose to the sharks like my brother and my cousin. 

But this time, I was the shark. 

I got super-lucky, landing on Free Parking, Park Place, and Boardwalk.  I had other properties, but I quickly realized that, as long as I didn't trade with anyone else, I could keep them all from building houses while I just bled them dry.

So I did.  And I won.  It took a while, but I ended up with over $12,000 in cash.

It was pretty obvious I was going to win, but I choose to really pour on the gas.  Which made for a really rotten game for everyone else but me.

Somewhere along the way, I had the thought: "Is this what it's like to be in the 1%?"

Luckily, it was only a game.

December 16, 2011

for Christopher Hitchens, or Requiem for a Contrarian

I did my research, and the first time I referenced Christopher Hitchens here on Macroscope was way back in 2002, in a post called "The Shadow King" on the absurdity of naming Henry Kissinger, of all people, to investigate how badly the government botched the prevention of 9/11.  Around that time, Hitch had written a book about how a very convincing case could be made that Kissinger should be prosecuted in The Hague for war crimes, given the campaign he and Nixon conducted in Cambodia and the way they sabotaged LBJ's negotiations with the North Vietnamese by secretly telling them to wait until Nixon won the '68 election to get a better deal.

I feel like I'd been aware of Hitchens for a long time, and while I bounced back and forth between agreeing with him wholeheartedly and thinking he was completely off-base, what I loved about him was that he was one of the few people in public life who took the time to argue eloquently.  Yes, he was a chain smoking jerk, but he never backed away from a fight and he always did it with the very best lyrical flourishes.

He reminds me of a political pundit version of George Sanders, and felt like he faced his own impending demise the same way he confronted all of his adversaries: with the ongoing power of his words.

Cannot think of anyone who more definitively owns the classification "rapier wit".  A quintessential man of letters in the vein of a William F. Buckley.  Hitch was often more conservative and reactionary for my tastes, but at least I always knew what he was thinking.  At least I always knew THAT he was thinking.

The political discourse could use far more voices with the style, guile, passion, and care that Christopher Hitchens possessed.  The world is poorer for his passing, but much richer from his presence.

Rest in peace, Christopher.

December 12, 2011

Scary Christmas

Now, Macroscope fans, as a special holiday gift from, if you have an Amazon Prime membership, which already gives you unlimited free 2-day shipping and a huge cache of free streaming videos, you can now get all four of my horror short e-books for FREE.  That includes:
  • "I'll See You in Hell", where not even death can put an end to the vicious feud between two rival hitmen.
  • "The Worst Place On Earth", about the terror unleashed with a secretive, "old money" family are forced to open the doors of their mansion to the public.
  • "The Monster That Ate My Summer Vacation", something abominable that is slowly, deliberately stalking a family driving home through the post-Las Vegas desert.
  • and, "The Trick-or-Treaters", who come knocking on the door of a working girl who hates Halloween.  As you can imagine, the Trick-or-Treaters are not amused.
 Not your every day stocking stuffers, but definitely good for huddling around the open fire.