Wednesday, December 30, 2015


NOTE: So, I first published this on my blog in July of last year. I soon deleted it, because (1) I wasn’t really keeping up the blog (as you can see) and (2) I felt like I might have gone over the top (me? THE HELL YOU SAY!). But given the OUTRAGEOUS nastiness that has been aimed particularly at Carrie Fisher in the media and its buck-toothed sistercousin from Deliverance (and by that I mean social media) since The Force Awakens opened, I thought I’d bring this one out of the mothballs and republish it here, because clearly, I didn’t go over the top. I understated the jackassery of internet paper tigers.

So, here goes. Take a trip in the wayback machine to July 2014:


For reasons best known to trash tabloid editors, Carrie Fisher turned up on the cover of the NY Post last week, giving me a reason to revisit this too-seldom used blog and share a bit of my patented outrage about the disturbing snarktasticness that has erupted on the interwebz about (1) Carrie Fisher's age and appearance; (2) Mark Hamill's age and appearance; and (3) Harrison Ford's age and appearance (see a trend here?) ever since it was announced rumored unofficially stated revealed by the actors themselves discussed that the three would be signed contracts might be are in negotiations to could star in be featured in cameo in may somehow appear in Star Wars: Episode VII, which will be released in May December 2015.

But let me tell you something about these three folks:


 I mean these three folks:

Awwww....there they are. Major childhood idols right there. The reason I started writing. The reason I love me some movies. The reason I have never found a real-life man who can compete with Han Solo (damn you, George Lucas). Yeah, sorry about that, Luke. I was a Han Solo girl through and through, which perhaps explains why I am still single, because in real life...they never sign up to be generals in the Alliance, do they?

And Princess Leia? Like many girls who were six in 1977, I wanted to BE her. Disney Princesses weren't so much of a thing back then (God help us, Princess Leia has now become a Disney Princess). A wise-ass princess with cruller hairbuns who was the boys' equal both with a blaster and a snotty comment, now SHE was a thing back then. If you think about it for a second, having that for a role model sure beats the heck out of Bella Swan and that horrific doofus of a 19-year-old character (Alexandra? Alhambra? Ali Baba?) whose name I can't even remember that we'll soon be subjected to in the film version of "50 Shades of Making Sex Boring."

Amazingly enough, both of the guys in Star Wars were romantically interested in Leia (until that unfortunate "sibling" thing) despite the fact that she was smart, confident, and able. Clearly, this was a different time in our cultural and dramatic history. Or maybe it was just because Leia didn't live in New York City. Not that I'm bitter. BUT I DIGRESS...

The point of this whole post is to try to avoid working this: There's been a whole lot of snark going around since these three have been rumored to be reprising their iconic roles from the "Original Trilogy" in what is being called the "Sequel Trilogy." Just a few examples below:

Now I'll admit, the bald Harrison Ford image made me snort a baked pita chip up my nose -- which, incidentally, is something you do not want to try -- the first time I saw it, perhaps because it conflicted so sharply with my childhood vision of Han Solo, although I have to say that Carrie Fisher looks pretty much like an ideal middle-aged Leia in that meme. The first meme is sophomoric and the last one is absurdly mean-spirited (and hey, meme-creator, nice to mispeell the nome of the pewson your triying to fat-shame. High five, loser).

Oh, and it doesn't stop there.

Here are a few other internet commenters:

Harrison Ford Begs Agents to Just Let Him Die Now - The Onion
Really, The Onion? Is that even funny? IMHO, that's just frickin' mean.

She looks awful for 57! We have eyes! - DD from USA, Daily Mail poster
Aww, that's lovely, DD from the USA. Next time, though, post a pic of yourself while criticizing so we can all have a go at you.

Mark Hamill Totally Looks Like Jabba the Hutt - another Daily Mail paper tiger
Nope. Not seeing the resemblance. Outdoorsy guy in his 60s sans botulinum toxin (Botox, y'all), which is not a bad thing. Hey, JJ, give him a beard in Ep. VII and he's gonna be cute n a Sean-Connery-in-Indiana-Jones-and-the-Last-Crusade way.

Now it's no big revelation for me to say that the anonymity of the internet is basically making all of us -- including me -- behave like, as the Muppet Show used to say, "pigs in space," or, as I like to say, "assholes in cyberspace." It makes me hope that there is an afterlife with one of those "life reviews" that people who've had near death experiences always talk about, and lotsa people are made to feel lotsa existential shame for their internet behavior.

But since I'm assuming that a lot of this nastiness is coming from my generation or the lovely (she says with gritted teeth) generation behind me, I'd like to point out an itty bitty factoid that the snarkalicious commenters seem to be missing:

YOUR BOOBS WILL SAG (Guys, hate to tell you, but this applies equally to you.)
YOUR NUTSACK MAY DROOP. (Live with it, because you won't be able to maintain an erection either)



And that right there, my friends, is the sum of your lack-of-options (and the carbonite isn't really an option, much as you may wish it to be). But I seem to have forgotten one more thing to add to the list above, and that is the fact that IF YOU'RE AN ACTOR WHO PLAYED AN ICONIC ROLE AND DARES TO REVISIT IT 40 YEARS LATER, YOU WILL BE SUBJECTED TO FAT-SHAMING, AGE-SHAMING, AND APPEARANCE-SHAMING BY YOUNGER GENERATIONS ON THE INTERNET, BECAUSE APPARENTLY THE NORMAL RULES OF TIME, PHYSICS, GRAVITY, AND BIOLOGY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO APPLY TO YOU. OR, IF THEY DO, YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO HIDE YOUR AGING FACE UNTIL YOU DIE.

Hold onto your seatbelts, folks in my generation. This paragraph is going to make you feel old, as well it should, to the extent my generation is involved in the age and appearance shaming going on in cyberspace. Here's the reality, gang: we are today as many years removed from the original theatrical release of Star Wars (38 years) as Star Wars was from GONE WITH THE FREAKING WIND (38 years). Scary perspective, no? Make you feel like you may be a little older than you'd like to consider yourself to be? Damn straight, sparky.  And frankly, it should. 

Because one of the incontrovertible facts of human existence -- even in a galaxy far, far away -- is aging. Apparently, from the tenor of the internet, Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable did the movie-going public a huge favor by dying at sadly young ages and sparing us from having to see them aging onscreen, reviving past glories in the way that middle-aged (and older) men at baseball camps, middle-aged (and older) women wearing miniskirts to Duran Duran concerts (I AM NOT GUILTY!), and middle-aged (and older) couples buying red, convertible sports cars would never, ever try to do because, you know, we're just too mature for that.

 Can a 57-year-old Carrie Fisher not play Leia as a Senator (as she was when Star Wars began)? True, of course, that we don't have any older females in leadership positions in real life. Ummm...right?

Oh...hi, gals.

Can a 63-year-old Mark Hamill not play a Jedi Master? Nope, nuh-uh, never seen an older religious leader. We usually prefer callow youth who have not come to terms with mortality. Oh, but Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama say hi.

And there's been a lot of questioning about what a 71-year-old Harrison Ford has to offer the galaxy far away, because, clearly, older men aren't rogue cowboys like Han Solo. Yeah, right, tell that to, you know, HARRISON FREAKING FORD.

And nothing, NOTHING warms the cockles of my bitterly post-ironic heart like the idea of a chubby and grey-haired Leia in Mon Mothma robes still in love with her aging scoundrel, General Han Solo. You hear me, JJ Abrams? You get the kids with all the pew-pew-pew and lightsaber duels, you get every living woman over 35 with this:


So feel free, JJ -- no, feel obligated, JJ -- to give us both the pew-pew-pew and the older characters if, you know, Hamill, Ford and Fisher actually are in the movie. Which can only happen, of course, if the New York Post and the Daily Mail don't make it their mission to humiliate and destroy Carrie Fisher first.

I'm loathe to describe what the comPost and the BM (sorry,, actually, right the first time) have "reported," in the loosest possible sense of reportage. But I'm even more averse to anyone googling and clicking through to those slimy pieces of worm-ridden filth, so, in a nutshell, they supposedly tailed Carrie Fisher for seven days, during which she turned up a few times at a sketch Hollywood apartment (the implication being that illegal transactions were occurring), and apparently they thought she looked chubby and sloppy. It seems, by the way, that the last part bothered him the most. (The takeaway: if you become famous, engage in illegal transactions and act bizarrely if you must, but for God's sake do not ever leave your home until you have applied a thick coat of makeup and flat-ironed your hair, because that shit's important, y'all).

 In any event, this "investigative reporting," landed Fisher on the FRONT PAGE of the comPost, looking worse for wear. Venezuela is erupting in riots, Putin is going all Sudetenland on Ukraine, our real unemployment figure -- you know, the one that doesn't get reported -- is like a thousand percent, and an actress who has not played a lead in a film in 30 years, who may (or may not) appear in an upcoming movie and may (or may not) be doing something crazy sketchy like buying pot in California (WHAAAT!)  is the subject of a week-long stakeout? This is how we now allocate our media resources? (DEC. 2015 ED: OH, AND SOME JACKASS AT THE POST WAS APPARENTLY AT IT AGAIN TODAY, WRITING THAT CARRIE FISHER SHOULDN'T ACT IF SHE DOESN'T WANT TO BE CRITICIZED ABOUT HER APPEARANCE.  UM,  THAT'S NOT WHAT AN ACTOR OWES YOU, JACKASS AT THE POST. AN ACTOR OWES YOU ONLY A PERFORMANCE, NOT A CERTAIN "LOOK.")

 While we're at it, let's look at the human side of this story. Carrie Fisher's life, despite fame and fortune, has been no barrel of Hamlet-writing monkeys. She's been extraordinarily open over the years about her struggles with drugs and bipolar disorder. So if she's fallen off the wagon, or is going through a manic or depressive episode, that's reason for sympathy and a tragedy for Fisher and her family, not a photo op. This was not Britney Spears walking into a crowd of paparazzi and shaving her head. This was a middle-aged woman being stalked.

 Fisher has also been very honest about the downside of playing one of the most iconic female roles in film history (and this was even before the downside included being stalked by bottom-feeders thirty years after your celebrity was at its height), saying more than once that she wouldn't have taken the role of Leia in the first place had she known the impact it would have had on her life and also commenting -- apropos of the present internet bitchery -- that she wasn't aware that wearing a metal bikini at 25 obligated her to look like that FOREVER or let people down.

 By the way, here's what they all looked like when filming The Empire Strikes Back:

I submit that most of us never dreamed of looking that good in our twenties and thirties. I, for one, would have looked like one of the dancing rhinoceri from Fantasia if in a metal bikini when in my 20s, and thus have no grounds to complain about anyone's appearance in their 50s, 60s, or 70s.

 But think about it for a minute: constant judgment because you don't look like 25-year-old you. Add to that constant judgment the need to take psychotropic medications for a medical condition and which have a reputation for causing significant weight gain, total strangers from all over the world shaming you, AND, if media outlets are to be believed, a request from Disney that you lose weight for the film.

 I gotta tell you, whether or not Carrie Fisher is doing something crazy like smoking the wacky weed (WHAAAT?), were I in those circumstances, I would be snorting coke while getting a colonic while running fifty miles on a treadmill for eight hours a day and eating nothing but air until around 5pm, when I'd be so pissed off and starved that I'd turn into the Incredible Hulk, storm into the nearest Walmart, plop (literally, due to the colonics) in the baked goods aisle, and eat every goddamn YoYo, HoHo, and Snowball in the joint. Drake's would be my bitch. (Okay, Drake's is already my bitch, but that's a story for another day). And I don't even have a diagnosed mental illness yet (seriously, as you can tell from this post, it's obviously there, it's just not diagnosed).

But one thing is inarguable: People -- both the old media, and the new media, and the wanna-be media like me -- are behaving ABOMINABLY toward these three actors (particularly the woman, shocker) about this film. And I think I'm pretty accurate when I say these folks have done nothing wrong. They have not peed in anyone's cornflakes (except, maybe, Richard Dreyfuss' cornflakes). They have not killed your Golden Retriever. They have not spoiled the The Sixth Sense (the kid sees dead people, folks, and Bruce Willis is dead. And Crying Game? She's a man, baby [DEC 2015 EDIT: AND IN THE FORCE AWAKENS...OK, I WON'T. BUT IT'S BEEN TWO WEEKS AND I'M LOSING PATIENCE, JUST SEE THE DAMN FILM]).

All they've done is given innumerable people aged fifty and under immeasurable happiness dating back to their childhood and continuing into their adulthood. Their greatest sin appears to be daring to show their age on a movie screen.

So here's what I hope for them and for Episode VII:

 I hope Carrie Fisher is well and healthy and, if not, the people who love her help her become healthy, happy, and more badass than ever. And when Episode VII rolls around, I hope a sixtyish, chubby Leia is QUEEN OF THE FREAKING UNIVERSE;

 I hope that Mark Hamill still has the infectious joy he always seemed to have about the Original Trilogy (I get the feeling he's a nerd too). And I hope that in December 2015, 63-year-old Luke whips out his saber (yeah, I went there) and out-Guinnesses Alec Guinness while out-Poping the Pope. (DEC. 2015 EDIT:WELL, WE'LL JUST PUT A PIN IN THIS UNTIL 2017. BUT  PLEASE DON'T ALLOW HIM TO OPEN ANOTHER JEDI SCHOOL. THE LUKE SKYWALKER ACADEMY FOR KIDS WHO DON'T FORCE GOOD WAS CLEARLY A FLOP)

I hope that Harrison Ford finds that lopsided grin that made us all fall for him and remembers that there's a lot to like about the character of Han Solo. And when it's time to play THE MAN one more time, I hope he shoots first. And second. And keeps on shooting. And I hope he doesn't get that death scene he always wanted in Jedi.

But mostly, I hope that Disney goes rogue and makes major merch tie-ins with Viagra and Geritol, just to piss off the eternal youth brigade. Because, I assure you, in the immortal words of Master Yoda: 

"When AARP you join, look as good you will not. AND WHO CARES."

Maybe that's not quite what Yoda said. But it's close enough.

Monday, October 8, 2012

I Scream for....

Life. It’s that thing that pulls you away from your blog for a few months.

But I didn’t want to not wrap up my stories of my little jaunt to NewfoundLAND, especially since, five months after the trip, I still find myself thinking often and fondly of the place.

Okay, it’s worse than that. Five months later, I still think regularly about running away to live there.  Not that I have any transferable skills. I can’t imagine there’s a great, big, screaming need for entertainment lawyers in Conception Bay South.  But hey, you never know. Maybe I could pick up a gig as Buddy the Puffin:

Seriously, someday I"m going to be a mascot. World's. Best. Job.

But anyway, how can you not love a place where, after you return safely from  your iceberg tour, and not so safely from yet another encounter with MAGELLAN (which tried to turn me the wrong way down a one way street...more than once), you follow the instructions of no less than a New York Times travel writer and stop by the the local ice cream shop:

Now come on, even if you don’t love ice cream – and if you don’t, are you human? – you’ve got to love the looks of this place and you have to love even more that, like every ice cream and coffee bar I saw in St. John's (except for one mercifully empty Starbucks), it's not a chain shop.

And if you do love ice cream, congratulations for being human, and take a gander (ten points for anyone who understands that’s a NewfoundLAND reference) at this:

That, my friends, is Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake Ice Cream.

That, my friends, is worth the price of the whole trip in and of itself.

But it was time to head off to Mass – yes, I still go to Sunday (or Saturday evening) Mass, wanna make something of it? -- so I scarfed down the ice cream and headed off toward…well, you can probably tell from this picture where I was headed:

If you can’t, you’ve been in New York too long, you irredeemable heathen, you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The End of the New World...

Had to take a mental health break from the blog for the last few days.  My Mom, a loyal reader and former English teacher, informed me that I was using "its" when I should have been using "it's," and that sent me into such a tailspin of grammar-and-usage-induced depression that I needed to step away from the computer.  You see,  I unfortunately lost my ability to discriminate between it's and its while I was teaching; I saw the wrong variant used so many times that first I started to second guess myself, then I started not to notice, and finally I forgot the correct usage completely.  The comp and rhetoric faculty where I used to teach would call this  "the evolution of the language."  I call that BS, so now that my Mom has given me a handy-dandy little way to remember which its is it's, I can continue. (Handy-dandy little way:  The apostrophe means something is missing.  What's missing is the "i" in "it is,"'s is it is.)

In any event, speaking of my folks, I decided to email them this photo from Iceberg Quest as we motored over to Cape Spear to see:

A HILL!  Excitement.

Actually, that hill is the easternmost point in North America.  So there it is -- the end. (An optimist would tell you that it's the beginning.)  So it wasn't that impressive from the boat. I did get there by car despite the best efforts of Magellan on Day 2 in St. John's, and it's actually very impressive. But what this picture really got me pondering was this:

From a small tour boat in the North Atlantic, took a picture of Newfoundland on my Blackberry and emailed it from that Blackberry to my parents, who received it on their computer on Long Island thirty seconds or so later  (yes, yes, I know, we should all upgrade to 4G to make it really fast).  When my parents were young, Blackberry was only a fruit, Newfoundland was not yet a province of Canada, television didn't yet exist, and in order to make a phone call from  her house on Long Island, my mother had to speak to an operator over their party line.  (My father, being a doctor's son in NYC, suffered no such indignities as his family had a dedicated line.)

Talk about how much can change over the course of a lifetime...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


It is really hard not to hear Celine Dion in your head, and to envision her chest-thumping her way through “My Heart Will Go On,” when you’re out on an iceberg tour in the North Atlantic, especially when your cell phone has a perfect signal (NOTE TO AT&T: I have had great service in Alaska and Newfoundland, but my phone doesn’t work in my office in Times Square. Something wrong with this picture?) and you can update your Facebook status with a picture of the icebergs you’re viewing, prompting your friends to respond as follows:

“It's April 15, 1912 all over again.”
“Titanic, anyone?”
“Your heart will go on, Carter... And Celine will thump her chest for you...”

They are so concerned about my safety, it’s heartwarming. But speaking of Celine…

This little guy is what they call a “Growler.”  Awww…cute little iceberg, right?

Not so much.  In the words of Captain Barry Rogers of Iceberg Quest DSV:  “Now that berg is what we call a growler. Growlers are the most dangerous kind of ice there is, because it’s hard to pick them up on radar, and growlers live mostly beneath the surface.  You hit a growler at night, it’s like hitting a brick wall, and that’s what we believe took down the Titanic.”

Near….far….whereEEEEEEEVVVVEERR you are…              

It was definitely time to go below deck for a drink.

That, my friends, is Newfoundland Screech (aka really, really tasty local Rum) and Coke. 

The ice? A piece of the growler that one of the crew hacked off so we could use it in our drinks. 

Iceberg Quest: 1, Growler: 0.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Iceberg Quest: Insert James Horner Music Here!

13,000 years. That's how old they estimate the ice in the icebergs floating down from Greenland every spring to be.  Which makes that ice older than the planet, if  you believe some new-Earth creationists, or makes that ice from the era of "humans sharing the planet with dinosaurs" if you believe some of the less-new-Earth creationists.  Me, I'm just an ordinary old Catholic, so I have no problems with the timeline of the icebergs, and "Iceberg Quest" proved that its somewhat (ok, totally) cheesy name is not false advertising.

But first, since we're talking about advertising, a brief ad from me:

These homes, along the Battery in St, John's, were among the first things we saw from the Iceberg Quest boat, or IQ for short.   They don't stink, do they? So just head on over to Kickstarter today and contribute to the "Buy Carter a Writer's Retreat on the St. John's Battery" campaign.  If you'd all be kind enough to kick in, oh, $25,000 each, that'd be great. And, as is usual for a Kickstarter campaign, I'll give you something really great in return, like an "I Helped Buy Carter a Writer's Retreat" pin. (For $50,000, I'll make it a baseball cap).

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Remember those "little" icebergs in the Atlantic, as seen from Signal Hill? These guys?

Yeah. They weren't so little:

Those pictures don't really help all that much to determine scale, I suppose, because however big they are, the Atlantic Ocean is bigger.  But this may help:

See that boat off to the right side of the image? (You may need to click to enlarge).  That's not a little dinghy or speedboat. It's a 15-foot-long fishing boat.  Yes, iceberg biiiig.

But not all icebergs are big, which brings us right back to our friend my next post. (Sorry. I'm a tease.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sorry about the missed day, ye faithful readers.  I had a good excuse:


Maybe it's not such a good excuse, actually, because nobody won the Stanley Cup last night, but I took the night off to watch hockey, which seems somehow appropriate when writing about Canada.  Oh, and while watching the game, I was crocheting with yarn I bought in Newfoundland. So really, I was still on-topic.

I am embarrassed to admit how much I spent on that yarn, because I'm usually a "buy-the-no-dye-lot-acrylic-and-make-a-blanket" kind of girl.  But I found this yarn at the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador.  They have quite a few of these publicly-run shops scattered about the province (New York State Council on the Arts, are you listening???), and they are dangerous in the extreme, meaning you will exit with a substantially lighter wallet.  Some of the pottery and glasswork was screaming my name, but fortunately I didn't have a way to get it home easily.  Some of the jewelry was also screaming my name, but then I saw that it was made in Ontario and decided it would have to wait for a trip to...right, Ontario.  So I defaulted to yarn.  But not just any yarn.  It's a hand-dyed, hand-spun knitting yarn with several different types of fibres (Canadian spelling!)/wools woven together, and it is soon to be a hand-dyed, hand-spun multicolored scarf for next winter (I couldn't wait to get at it, so I'm going to be ready for winter before I'm ready for summer).   The embarrassing admission?

I spent $70 on two skeins of yarn. Yipes. I am going to have to make about five Project Linus blankets in penance for spending that much on yarn.

But it's amazingly beautiful:

Actually, I just found the fibre artist who makes this yarn on the web.  She's here, her yarn is amazing, and I'm completely and utterly happy I spent that much on her yarn.

If the Cup Final goes a few more games, the scarf may actually be finished before my blogging about the trip.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hollywood and Jelly Beans

Bear with me here.

The most money I've ever made on a screenplay was about $15,000.  I earned that money off awards and grants for a screenplay called In Ntesinan, which was a laugh-a-minute comedy (not) about the horrible plight of Innu in Labrador ("Ntesinan" is the Innu name for Labrador), where gasoline huffing had become a way of life among the young people.  Being a broke student at the time I wrote it (and thus having no possible way to put my boots on the ground in Newfoundland), and also figuring that, when it comes to things Canadian, Hollywood is easier to fool than the bouncy but not too bright Golden Retriever who is TOTALLY SURE you've thrown that tennis ball,  a little bit easy to fool, I wrote the script without ever setting foot in the province about which I wrote.

Granted, I still haven't set foot in Labrador (see: turbo-prop), but part of In Ntesinan took part in St. John's, which I described as "a small city nestled against the stormy waters of the North Atlantic."  I'll give myself a shard of credit for using a homey word like "nestled," but other than that, no pats on the back for the generic "can't-you-tell-I've-never-been-there" writing.

Yes, I know what you young 'uns reading this are thinking. You're thinking, "Carter, it's called Google Earth. Or Google Images. Or just plain Google. Any one of these things would have solved your problem."  And I'm thinking, you little smart alecks, this was 2001, when telling someone to "google" something meant you were slurring because the alcohol was talking.

Well, in any event...a big oops about my description of St. John's. And thanks, Hollywood, for being so entirely gullible.  I enjoyed every dollar you paid me, and Sallie Mae, Chase Student Loans, and Mastercard enjoyed those dollars exponentially more as they got to keep them.

So here's that dark-and-stormy city, St. John's:

This is also St. John's:

As is this:

And this (the blue and orange house there is clearly owned by one of St. John's many Mets/Islanders fans):

It's just about the most vibrantly-colored city you'll find north of Bermuda.  They call these brightly colored houses "Jelly Bean Rows," and they're all over town.  They clearly deport people who paint their homes beige straight off to Nova Scotia.  It's just not done, luv.

The best thing about Jelly Bean Rows: You can find them with Magellan safely locked away in the glove compartment, serving his time-out.

The worst thing about Jelly Bean Rows:  You may feel a serious urge to paint the exterior of your brick Astoria walk-up magenta upon your return from Newfoundland. My landlady, Mrs. LePera, and I are currently negotiating as to whether this is called "artistic trailblazing" or "vandalism."