FROM PUTIN WITH LOVE

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A classic scene from (what I consider the the best of the Bond movies) FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, the exquisite Tatiana Romanova (Daniela Bianchi), a Soviet double spy, is ordered by the KGB to seduce Bond, and shows up uninvited in his lavish Istanbul hotel suite wearing nothing but a silk ribbon around her neck.

Bond is skeptical, even hostile, but Bond being Bond, he is not one to turn away a beautiful woman who has availed herself so freely.

As the hot sex ensues, we pull back to get a shot behind the two-way mirror behind their bed to watch it being filmed by the nefarious Rosa Klebb (Lotte Lenya), her KGB handler.

It seems, the tactic of “Kompromat” was well known by master spy Ian Fleming, and universally well-established as a common KGB ploy.

Now, my former business partner, a film broker, (who shall remain nameless) moved to Russia just after the collapse of the Soviet Union and as a sideline established himself as a procurer of beautiful Russian escorts for the G5 set. His clientele were all very rich, and very important, celebrities, billionaires and CEO’s who thought nothing of flying in on their personal or corporate jets for libidinous Moscow nights.

Both Moscow and St. Petersburg soon became a not-so-secret playground for the international jet set. A few of them even met their future trophy wives over there. I’ve met a few, and on occasion spent many a fine dining evening here in the States discussing Pushkin in his native tongue.

Russian women, especially the more desirable ones, are often sophisticated, intelligent and very well-educated. They are also extremely sensible and unbound by traditionally prudish Christian American mores.

But now, we’re all supposed to believe that our “Grab her by the Pussy” President-Elect conducted himself as a perfect gentleman during his thirty years of business dealings in Russia.

We’re also being asked to believe that Vladimir Putin has zero compromising material on his favorite little lap lackey. Of course, the press is practically useless in ferreting any of this out, but if you’re taken in by any of it you’re probably oblivious enough to have voted for this two-bit, globe-trotting lothario in the first place.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/api/edit/embed?embed=%257B%2522type%2522%253A%2522link%2522%252C%2522title%2522%253A%257B%2522localized%2522%253A%257B%2522en_US%2522%253A%2522Russia%2520says%2520it%2520doesn%2527t%2520gather%2520dirt%2520on%2520others%252C%2520but%2520history%2520of%2520%2527kompromat%2527%2520says%2520otherwise%2522%257D%257D%252C%2522description%2522%253A%257B%2522localized%2522%253A%257B%2522en_US%2522%253A%2522The%2520Kremlin%2520on%2520Wednesday%2520dismissed%2520as%2520%255C%2522a%2520total%2520fake%255C%2522%2520allegations%2520that%2520Russian%2520intelligence%2520agencies%2520collected%2520compromising%2520information%2520about%2520President-elect%2520Donald%2520Trump%2520-%2520a%2520denial%2520that%2520was%2520echoed%2520by%2520much%2520of%2520Russia%2527s%2520establishment.%2520But%2520when%2520President…%2522%257D%257D%252C%2522author%2522%253A%257B%2522name%2522%253A%2522David%2520Filipov%2522%257D%252C%2522provider%2522%253A%257B%2522name%2522%253A%2522Washington%2520Post%2522%252C%2522display%2522%253A%2522Washington%2520Post%2522%252C%2522url%2522%253A%2522http%253A%252F%252Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2522%257D%252C%2522request%2522%253A%257B%2522originalUrl%2522%253A%2522https%253A%252F%252Fwww.washingtonpost.com%252Fworld%252Fkremlin-denies-that-russian-agents-compromised-donald-trump%252F2017%252F01%252F11%252F55625e02-d7e1-11e6-8505-8e7091d7cd98_story.html%2522%252C%2522finalUrl%2522%253A%2522https%253A%252F%252Fwww.washingtonpost.com%252Fworld%252Fkremlin-denies-that-russian-agents-compromised-donald-trump%252F2017%252F01%252F11%252F55625e02-d7e1-11e6-8505-8e7091d7cd98_story.html%2522%257D%252C%2522images%2522%253A%255B%257B%2522url%2522%253A%2522https%253A%252F%252Fimg.washingtonpost.com%252Frf%252Fimage_1484w%252F2010-2019%252FWashingtonPost%252F2017%252F01%252F11%252FForeign%252FImages%252F2017-01-11T101151Z_981432802_RC1389B23620_RTRMADP_3_USA-CYBER-RUSSIA-KREMLIN.jpg%2522%252C%2522width%2522%253A1484%252C%2522height%2522%253A966%257D%252C%257B%2522url%2522%253A%2522https%253A%252F%252Fimg.washingtonpost.com%252Frf%252Fimage_606w%252F2010-2019%252FWashingtonPost%252F2017%252F01%252F10%252FNational-Politics%252FImages%252F2017-01-09T174355Z_1179851453_RC1CF9D85650_RTRMADP_3_USA-TRUMP-ALIBABA-3195.jpg%2522%252C%2522width%2522%253A606%252C%2522height%2522%253A446%257D%252C%257B%2522url%2522%253A%2522https%253A%252F%252Fimg.washingtonpost.com%252Frf%252Fimage_480w%252F2010-2019%252FWashingtonPost%252F2017%252F01%252F11%252FForeign%252FImages%252F2017-01-11T101151Z_981432802_RC1389B23620_RTRMADP_3_USA-CYBER-RUSSIA-KREMLIN-3703.jpg%253Fuuid%253D7UETBNfqEeaaNh0pZTSzHg%2522%252C%2522width%2522%253A480%252C%2522height%2522%253A312%257D%252C%257B%2522url%2522%253A%2522https%253A%252F%252Fimages.washingtonpost.com%252F%253Furl%253Dhttps%253A%252F%252Famsarkadium-a.akamaihd.net%252Fassets%252Fglobal%252Fgame%252Fwebgl-spider-solitaire%252F74fed3ef-93c6-4925-b8bf-b08250534230%252F292x194.jpg%2526op%253Dnoop%2522%252C%2522width%2522%253A292%252C%2522height%2522%253A194%257D%252C%257B%2522url%2522%253A%2522https%253A%252F%252Fsubscribe.washingtonpost.com%252Facqapplepay%252Fapplepay%252Fimages%252Fproductimage.png%2522%252C%2522width%2522%253A284%252C%2522height%2522%253A218%257D%255D%252C%2522data%2522%253A%257B%2522com.linkedin.treasury.Link%2522%253A%257B%2522url%2522%253A%2522https%253A%252F%252Fwww.washingtonpost.com%252Fworld%252Fkremlin-denies-that-russian-agents-compromised-donald-trump%252F2017%252F01%252F11%252F55625e02-d7e1-11e6-8505-8e7091d7cd98_story.html%2522%252C%2522html%2522%253A%2522The%2520Kremlin%2520on%2520Wednesday%2520dismissed%2520as%2520%255C%2522a%2520total%2520fake%255C%2522%2520allegations%2520that%2520Russian%2520intelligence%2520agencies%2520collected%2520compromising%2520information%2520about%2520President-elect%2520Donald%2520Trump%2520-%2520a%2520denial%2520that%2520was%2520echoed%2520by%2520much%2520of%2520Russia%2527s%2520establishment.%2520But%2520when%2520President…%2522%252C%2522width%2522%253A-1%252C%2522height%2522%253A-1%257D%257D%257D&signature=Aas5xGvLI4XVIjYuBFSC32A3hjXJ

Russia says it doesn’t gather dirt on others, but history of ‘kompromat’ says otherwise http://wpo.st/UDDS2

For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia https://nyti.ms/2jRQ7mq

Several Foreign Intelligence Agencies Now Believe Trump Could Be Compromised (DETAILS) http://bipartisanreport.com/2017/01/15/several-foreign-intelligence-agencies-now-believe-trump-could-be-compromised-details/ via @Bipartisan Report

 

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Boris Godunov, anyone? It’s not about a moose and a flying squirrel

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I spent six years adapting the life of Alexander Pushkin for the screen. I read at least four biographies several times, but especially, Henri Troyat’s biography, which I may have read about nine times, as well as everything Pushkin ever wrote to accomplish my goal: to portray the life of one of history’s great literary geniuses.

It’s something every student in Russia does by rote. I’ve never met a single Russian who couldn’t recite Pushkin by heart.

When I look at the world that may become manifest by Friday, courtesy of Vladimir Putin, I am compelled to recall Pushkin’s political masterpiece, Boris Godunov.

It’s about a power hunger Czar who rises to power through manipulation, subterfuge and lies only to be brought down by another imposter.

The Russians are masters in agitprop and Kompromat. Donald Trump is an ignorant buffoon and a marionette.

Don’t believe me? Read Pushkin’s Boris Godunov, because I can assure you, Vladimir Putin has.

( Hint: It’s not about a moose and a flying squirrel)

For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia https://nyti.ms/2jRQ7mq

IT MUST NEVER BE OVER!

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A complaint you hear far too often these days implores us all to stop posting “political garbage” and get over a presidential election heavily influenced by a foreign power, a derelict Fourth Estate, timely interference by our own Director of the FBI, swayed by hyper-partisan agitprop manufactured, perpetuated and espoused by a profoundly unstable autocrat and his team of professional propagandists.

What exactly would you like us to get over and move on with?

Firstly, such a misbegotten plea requires some serious self-examination. What exactly bothers you about your fellow countrymen, a majority of whom voted against the president-elect for very sound, reasoned and historically informed purposes?

Psychologically, the complainant first bears the responsibility of self-examination. What precisely are you demanding, and why? Indeed, the sweeping demand you’re making reveals more about yourself than those you would stifle.

The truth is those of us who persist, resist, protest and dissent perceive a travestying injustice has occurred. Do you expect us to gloss over these evidence-based convictions simply because you’re fatigued or oblivious to them? In other words, you have acquiesced for personal reasons, and now foolishly, and, I must say, rather solipsistically suggest the uniform response for all of us.

If little else this attitude reveals a truly vulgar understanding of what a democratic republic is about. IT, however you intend for us to get OVER, is NEVER OVER. It will never be over! It must never be over, lest we die as a democracy, republic and sovereign nation.

Did Carrie Fisher Play the First Truly Kickass Princess?

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It might be a little too simple to credit Carrie Fisher with such a total sea change and view it more as a milestone in a continuum of progress. The reality was that women were changing across the cultural divide, and subsequently, so too, were attitudes about women and women’s roles in films. A whole slew of young filmmakers were emerging from Sixties and early Seventies influences and universities (Milius, Kasdan, Coppola, Scorsese, Lucas, Zemeckis, Spielberg, and, notably, James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow ) and they were more interested in playing with archetypes than stereotypes – hence the anti-type casting of a deep-voiced no nonsense Leia.

Certainly, Ms. Fisher was no slouch. Her mother, Debbie Reynolds had pioneered and achieved a kind of balance between America’s kid sister and the tough talking Unsinkable Molly Brown. Likewise, so too, did, Natalie Wood, Jane Fonda and even Karen Allen in Raiders of the Lost Ark offer fuller and more syncretically complex male/female or feminist protagonists.

In a story meeting at Lightstorm Entertainment Larry Kasanoff told me outright he and James Cameron had no interest in doing stories with male protagonists. Compare that to former Warner Bros. production chief, Jeff Robinov and his “…no more female lead characters” edict in 2007.

Carrie Fisher played the first truly kickass princess http://ti.me/2huwq7p

How long before the white working class realizes Trump was just scamming them?

scam-artists-dtFor me, the bigger issue is the growing numbers of American fellaheen in the 21st century. Having recently spent four years in the Midwest I found these folks to be intellectually isolated and culturally balkanized from more current scholarship and information trends.

Oh yeah, they’re all up on the latest technology, model cars, music, movies, and TV shows, but when push comes to shove their entire worldview is a weirdly antiquated hybrid of Iron Age Manichaean constructs of fact v fantasy, science v religion, black v white, good v evil, theism v atheism, right v wrong and Liberal v Conservatives.

There is an average of at least 20 denominations of Christianity in these relatively small, mostly white, communities, and they all pretty much adhere to the same fairy tale construct of a 2,000 year-old Rabbi from Outer space who devised a means to come to earth, have himself brutally murdered so he could save the world from a 6,000 year old curse levied by himself, but disguised as his own son.

Now, statistics show that 140,000,000 of these fellaheen believe this self same ancient Space Rabbi will return within the next fifty years or so.

Oh, and FYI, 129,000,000 Americans voted in 2016.

I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of reminded of what David Hunnam once said about P.T. Barnum and a sucker being born every minute. Are these people truly likely to realize they’ve been conned? I’m not so sure.

How long before the white working class realizes Trump was just scamming them? http://wpo.st/I3kL2scam-artists-dt

MICHAEL CHASE WALKER WINS GEORGE RR MARTIN SCREENWRITING AWARD

MICHAEL CHASE WALKER IS RECIPIENT OF THE COVETED 2016 GEORGE RR MARTIN SCREENWRITING AWARD

14991179_1160320370670608_2778740851033389402_oThe New Mexico Film Foundation is proud to announce the winner of our 2016 George RR Martin Screenwriting grant. Congratulations to Michael Chase Walker. Look for a presentation by George RR Martin and a stage reading of last year’s winner Jocelyn Jansons in early January.

Our runners up were;

Mary Haarmeyer, Kirt Bozeman, John M. Broadhead, Regina Scherffius, Marina Ashrei Victoria Giorgii, Kristin Goodman and Cathy Weber. Congratulations to them as well.

And a big shout out to our judges; Terry Borst, Donald Davenport, Scotty Nërdräge and Ginny Cerella.

MY RESPONSE:

Thank you, Dirk, and thank you, judges! I’ve served at the screenwriting bench many times and I know how hard your task can be. It is an incredible honor and I am thrilled. Moreover, I am in awe of our own resident genius and raconteur supreme, George RR Martin. Every year, I marvel at George’s mastery at having fashioned the greatest televised cinematic event in history. I don’t think I’ve ever read or watched more stunning character arcs so deftly drawn since the works of our earliest literary masters. To receive this acknowledgment associated with his name makes all those years of lonely, nail-biting, deprivation and hard work worth the endeavor.

I was first inspired to write scripts at an Academy lecture by Larry Kasdan. Years later, dead broke, and going through a divorce, I ran into him at a Wrap party in Santa Fe (Wyatt Earp). I told him how he had inspired me to write and thanked him for ruining my life. He laughed, patted me on the back and asked, are you going to quit? Nope!

Thank you, George. Thank you NMFF. Thank you, Dirk Norris, you are a great credit to NMFF, and thank you, judges!

ON PRAYER: The Imaginist Sermon of the Day

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1. What you consider to be the Bible (presumably OT and NT) contains many so-called “commands” you arbitrarily choose not to obey, e.g. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material. (Leviticus 19:19). So simply because, ” the Bible commands it” [prayer] is not a terribly definitive answer.

2.) Assuming his teachings are authentic (big leap!) Jesus did not believe in germ theory nor in the washing of one’s hands (Matthew 15:11). He believed “devils” caused illness, and magical poles could cure snakebites by gazing upon them (Jn 3:14). So there’s no superseding reason to believe the act of prayer is any more veridical than his other teachings.

In today’s science we know magical incantations, repeated babble and spontaneous prayer have no impact or interaction with physical reality other than perhaps some assuaging psychological benefit for the supplicant. In essence, the only effect prayer has is on the prayerful and no one else.

Science does show that what we call prayer is actually a side-effect of a suite of cognitive mechanisms adapted for other purposes (Dennett).

The human brain is hardwired to engage in imagined one-sided conversations with all manner of inanimate traffic signals, supernatural forces, parents, adversaries, loved ones, phantoms, and even celebrities. As the famous movie line goes (The Sixth Sense): We talk to dead people! (Or at least imaginary ones)

So prayer is nothing more than a ritualized formal agreement to direct primitive neurological processes towards a cherished archetype as a coping mechanism with no empirical evidence of efficacy proven otherwise.