My New Stray Cat

We have a new addition to our household, Moogie. Most Star Trek fans, especially those who lean toward Deep Space Nine, will recognize the name as the mother of Quark and Rom. Moogie was a stray cat, but now we have given her a home. I’ll take the opportunity on this #caturday to tell you all about her.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The first time we saw Moogie, she was scratching at our back door. Although we knew she wanted a home, we were reluctant because of our newborn, Frankie. I searched the town’s Facebook page. Most people with lost and found pets post there, but I saw nothing about this cat. Then I took pictures of her, posted them, and received no response.

Talk About a Guilt Trip

Months ago, as I prepared the nursery for an impending visit from The Stork, I painted a portrait of St. Francis of Assisi, surrounded by animal silhouettes. I finished off St. Francis with a rabbit, a bird, and a cat. Two days later, there was Moogie.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I kept feeding her most days because some days she was nowhere to be found. Every time I’d walk into the nursery and see St. Francis with the cat, my guilt trip got worse. After a few months of failing to find a home for her, my wife and I decided to keep her. After all, we were already feeding her.

Off to the Vet

The first problem was our cat carriers. They were too small for this rather large kitty. I purchased a carrier for a small dog and Moogie fit without a problem. I took her to the vet and he checked her out for feline leukemia and other communicable diseases. Because her long hair was matted, they gave her a bath and shaved her.

How Did the Other Cats Behave? Is the Fur Flying?

So far, only Phoenix and Luna have accepted Moogie. Despite the initial hissing contests, the cats eat together and have even tried to play with Moogie. Minnie, on the other hand, is reacting differently. She can be a very jealous cat. Minnie follows me around from room to room, always has to jump on my lap, or get into anything that has my attention.

4titlead

Check Out Ernesto’s Amazon Author Page and Put Some Short Stories On Your Kindle. Just Click The Pic And Go Straight To Amazon! ->

 

And Now?

Moogie and the other cats have settled into a routine. Our four-feline brood eats and plays nicely together. The transition has been smoother than expected. It is possible that the other cats were already accustomed to her because of her extended stay under our deck.

Got a stray cat story to tell? Or just a good one about your domestic kitty?

Every Time You Reply – Little Frankie Doesn’t Cry

DSC00166

Star Trek Turns 50 (Part II)

Tomorrow is September 8th and therefore, I must watch a few Star Trek episodes. The trouble is which ones to select. The original pilot episode “The Cage” is an obvious choice and a must view on this very special anniversary. Others include “The Trouble with Tribbles” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”

***Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Star Trek Captain!***

bobblespock

I’m also considering the episodes “Darmok” and “The Offspring” from Star Trek: The Next Generation

A great Voyager episode would be “Tinker, Tailor, Doctor, Spy.”

How about “Trials and Tribble-ations” from Deep Space 9?

As for Star Trek: Enterprise, “Carbon Creek” or “The Xindi” or “North Star,” are wonderful episodes as well.

***Visit Ernesto’s Amazon Page and Choose an awesome short story***

enterprise

What are your choices? Did I pass on one of your favorite episodes? Perhaps I should add more episodes and turn this September 8th into a four day #StarTrek weekend?

***Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Star Trek Captain!***

 

Star Trek Turns 50 (Part I)

They call me Mr. Trekkie, because I own the DVD collection for every Star Trek Series and Movies. Yes, I was an avid fan when the original series aired back in the 60’s. Of course, I was a bit too young to understand all of the serious complexities and themes being fleshed out. However, in the 70’s I grew up and appreciated the show even more during re-runs.

enterprise

Tastes change over time and I readily (and quite eagerly) accepted the new paradigms of The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, and Enterprise. Sometimes, other sci-fi adventures got the better of my attention like Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Battlestar Galactica (original and 2.0). I’m not apologizing for drifting into alternate sci-fi future universes. After all, they were well made too. Perhaps that makes me Mr. Geeky, but I don’t care. There’s nothing like curling up with a snack and an awesome show for a top notch Science Fiction experience.

Here’s a poll (and it has nothing to do with Trump or Hillary)

Who is your favorite Star Trek Captain? Psst I don’t want to influence anyone. I’ll reveal my choice after the votes are cast.

 

***Visit Ernesto’s Amazon Page and read an awesome story. Live Long and Prosper***

bobblespock

 

 

My Favorite Films of the 90’s

You may not agree with every film on my list, but that’s o.k. These are my favs from the era. They may not all be Academy Award winners, but who cares?

50.   Ace Ventura: Pet Detective………………..d. Tom Shadyac

49.   Star Wars: The Phantom Menace………..d. George Lucas

48.  The Matrix…………………………………….d. Andy Wachowski

47.   A Bronx Tale………………………………….d. Robert De Niro

46.   Saving Private Ryan…………………………d. Steven Spielberg

45.   Independence Day…………………………..d. Roland Emmerich

44.   The Usual Suspects………………………….d. Bryan Singer

43.   The Fifth Element……………………………d. Luc Besson

42.   Life is Beautiful………………………………d. Roberto Benigni (Italy)

41.   Interview With The Vampire………………d. Neil Jordan

40.   Starship Troopers…………………………..d. Paul Verhoeven

39.   The Coneheads………………………………d. Steve Barron

38.   Bram Stoker’s Dracula……………………..d. Francis Ford Coppola

37.   Unforgiven……………………………………d. Clint Eastwood

36.   Contact………………………………………..d. Robert Zemeckis

35.   My Girl…………………………………………d. Howard Zieff

34.   What About Bob?……………………………d. Frank Oz

33.   Twister………………………………………..d. Jan De Bont

32.   The English Patient………………………..d. Anthony Minghella (USA/UK)

31.   Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls………..d. Steve Oedekerk

30.   Liar Liar……………………………………..d. Tom Shadyac

29.   Bhaji On The Beach………………………..d. Gurinda Chadha (UK)

28.   Ed Wood……………………………………..d. Tim Burton

27.   The Remains of the Day…………………..d. James Ivory (UK)

26.   My Cousin Vinny………………………………..d. Jonathan Lynn

25.   Robin Hood: Men in Tights……………………d. Mel Brooks

24.   Pi…………………………………………………..d. Darren Aronofsky

23.   The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc…..d. Luc Besson (France)

22.   Much Ado About Nothing……………………..d. Kenneth Branagh (UK/USA)

21.   The Doors………………………………………….d. Oliver Stone

20.   Star Trek: First Contact………………………..d. Jonathan Frakes

19.   Reservoir Dogs…………………………………..d. Quentin Tarantino

18.   Stargate…………………………………………..d. Roland Emmerich

17.   Star Trek: Generations………………………..d. David Carson

16.   El Mariachi………………………………………d. Robert Rodriguez

15.   Nine Months…………………………………….d. Chris Columbus

14.   Casino…………………………………………….d. Martin Scorsese

13.   Secrets and Lies…………………………………d. Mike Leigh (UK)

12.   Rush………………………………………………d. Lili Fini Zanuck

11.   Indochine………………………………………..d. Régis Wargnier (France)

10.   Land and Freedom…………………………….d. Ken Loach (UK/Spain/Ger/ Italy/ Fr)

09.   Cyrano De Bergerac…………………………..d. Jean-Paul Rappaneau (France)

08.   Eat Drink Man Woman………………………d. Ang Lee (Taiwan/USA)

07.   Different for Girls…………………………….d. Richard Spence (UK)

06.   Tank Girl……………………………………….d. Rachel Talalay

05.   Johnny Stecchino…………………………….d. Roberto Benigni (Italy)

04.   Goodfellas……………………………………..d. Martin Scorsese

03.   Better Than Chocolate………………………d. Anne Wheeler (Canada)

02.   Kundun…………………………………………d. Martin Scorsese

01.   Mediterraneo………………………………….d. Gabriele Salvatores (Italy)

Yes, the small budget film Mediterraneo ranks as my number one. It just gets better and better every time I see it.

Star Trek Fan Fiction

STE2

Star Trek Telephone by Alex Kerhead used under CC License

“The Green Gas Giant,” is a Star Trek fanfiction short story based upon the original series during the five-year mission, and it went over well at my critique group. Even younger members who don’t know anything about the original series were snorting and chuckling. It was odd that the day after presenting this piece did the news start circulating about the death of Leonard Nimoy. A few members of our group noticed the eerie connection and mentioned it on our Facebook page. I guess it was just “one of those things.”

Spock

by NBC Television [Public Domain} via Wikimedia Commons

My first visit to a fanfiction website was quite an eye-opener.

I could say that besides traditional publishing there’s the world of independent authors, and then there is the third world for authors, fan fiction. The amount of work was staggering. Then what caught my attention was the size of some of those files.

There are many short stories, which could be expected, but there were also entire novels and trilogies. Besides lots of stories concerning Star Trek, I had to sift through a long column of subject matter from “Glee” to “I Dream of Jeannie” and everything in between (psst…and that’s just the amount of fan fiction dedicated to TV shows).

Naturally, I couldn’t resist but to dive head first into this vibrant literary sub-culture. But what should I write about? For me, the answer was obvious; I decided to write a comical short story based upon the original Star Trek series.

Please remember to drop a few comments after reading about “The Green Gas Giant.”

R.I.P. Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock)

If you’ve never watched a single episode of #StarTrek or if you hate science-fiction, you’ve still heard of Mr. Spock.  The television mythology of Star Trek has permeated our cultural identity and psyche.

Yesterday I heard the news about the passing of Leonard Nimoy, who so deftly portrayed the Enterprise’s Vulcan science officer. I am old enough to remember the original Star Trek when it was a new show. Therefore this is not a typical celebrity death for me. I could say that I’ve known and admired his work my whole life:-)

Spock

by NBC Television [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Besides bringing the character Mr. Spock to life, Leonard Nimoy was “Paris” on Mission Impossible, and hosted a show called “In Search of…” He also directed “Three Men and a Baby”, the rather controversial “The Good Mother”, and “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.”

He has credits on IMDB for acting, directing, and writing.

Live Long and Prosper (for eternity)!

Going Nowhere: Italian-American Portrayal

Many changes in the American film industry have taken place over the years. Gone are the days of short silent black-and-white productions with title cards for dialog. Along with these changes in technology have come evolving depictions of people.  Well…most people, anyway.

One has to look no further than the images of African Americans in D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” (1916), and compare them to the depictions we see today. The changes started occurring in the 1930’s and 40’s. Just have a look at anything starring Nat King Cole or Lena Horne. Then check out Sidney Poitier in 1960’s, TV shows like the wise-cracking Sanford and Son (starring Redd Foxx) in the 70’s, or Avery Brook’s great portrayal of Captain Benjamin Sisko for the long running series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the 90’s.

 STE2Star Trek Telephone by Alex Kerhead used under CC License

_____

Have you noticed that within the total canon of Star Trek, there are very positive images of African-Americans, Hispanics, women, Asians, Native Americans, and aliens of all sorts, but you will not find any character sporting an Italian last name?

_____

Yes, you’ll still find questionable depictions of different ethnic groups these days in film and television. But these have become few and far between. Of course, African-Americans are not the only group to progress from horrid portrayals to something positive. Asian and Native Americans have also been given a boost in their image, along with Hispanics and women.

The fact is that if you want to find positive imagery of most minority groups, you’re going to find it quite easily. And I have no problem with that at all; I’m glad that we as a nation are dropping old prejudices and nonsensical stereotypes. But what I do have a problem with is this: if you attempt to find any positive imagery concerning Italian-Americans, be prepared to do a lot of searching.

Italian stereotyping began in 1906 with Skyscraper, from Biograph (Thomas Edison’s movie company). In this 12-minute reel, the character of “Dago Pete” gets fired for making trouble and fermenting ill will among the other workers. He takes revenge by thieving and planting evidence to make false accusations against his former boss.

NYSkylineNew York City Skyline by Hyun Lee used under CC license

Since then, Italians have always been portrayed as either criminals or loveable dupes. From gangster films like Scarface (1932) to minor characters (like Mrs. Manicotti from the Honeymooners), the imagery is always the same. 1972’s The Godfather created a tidal wave of new gangster films like Honor Thy Father, The Seven-Ups, The Untouchables, and Goodfellas to name a few. Once again the criminal stereotyping was being firmly established.

_____

Italian-American authors like Mario Puzo and Nick Pileggi could only find success when they wrote Mafia tales. Otherwise, it’s possible these talented authors never would’ve been able to get anything published.

_____

Take notice of the minor character of Antonio Scarpacci played by Tony Shalhoub from the TV show Wings (1991-1997). Hopes for a modern and better look at Italians were dashed yet again. Antonio speaks English with an accent, he’s uneducated, and therefore does menial work as a cab driver.

Except for the addition of color and sound, are we really seeing anything different today? The HBO series The Sopranos ran from 1999 to 2007, and the dry old stereotyping continued to be cemented in the psyche of the American public. In 2013 the series was even given an award for the best writing ever on American television (golf clap from me).

The only positive portrayals that I could find were Daniel J. Travanti’s character of Capt. Frank Furillo on Hill Street Blues (1981-1987) and Columbo (1970’s).  Of course, this was about the time when Ragu ran that infamous commercial that caused outrage. I’d love to provide a link but I simply can’t find it.

Italian-American imagery has gone from “Dago Pete” in 1906 to Tony Soprano in 2007. They say that time heals all wounds and slow gradual change is best. So far, the Italian-American relationship with mass media seems to be frozen in time. I’m still waiting for that first step.

googlecov2

Ernesto San Giacomo is the author of Ragged Souls – Click the pic to go to this Amazon listing

 

Short Story Status Report: Stasis & Other Dystopian Tales

I’m hoping to release Stasis & Other Dystopian Tales by March, 2015. Here are the story titles and their current level of completion.

Stasis *extended edition              (Completed)

A Pound of Flesh                              (Ready for Beta Reads)

The Clinic                                             (3rd draft)

Preppers                                             (1st Draft)

Glossies                                               (3rd Draft)

A Most Generous Man                  (Completed)

There is another story that would fit in called Adrift, but I do not think that it will be done in time.

edit30

Editing a Paper by Nic McPhee used under CC License

More short story news items.

I’ve reached a compromise with “The Queen” concerning the #shortstory Little Red Revolution. If it does not get accepted for publication by April, then it will be released as a short story single for e-readers. The Queen and I can see the possibility of some magazine editors shying away from its raucous and raunchy humor.

The first draft of the Sci-Fi / Horror short Night Flights is done. I have to give it at least two more drafts before I have the nerve to bring it to my critique group.

The flash fiction piece entitled Everyone’s a Winner is almost completed. Perhaps I should not refer to it as a flash piece, because it is greater than 1,000 words. Most magazines / e-zines have a strict rule about the word count of a flash fiction story, so I think that submitting it now will be a lost cause. If I can trim it down a bit then I’ll submit it. If I can’t get it under the magic mark of 1,000 words, then I’m going to post it here as a freebie.

Two #StarTrek fan fiction pieces are in the works. The one for TNG is still in its 1st draft (#amwriting). The other which concerns ST original series is ready for a second draft. Both stories are of a humorous nature, because I just can’t resist doing things like that.

What’s your current writing / reading status?

#Writing Resolutions for 2015

A new year has just been born, and like most other authors, I’m making a list and checking it twice. Except this list has nothing to do with presents or the holiday season. I’m assessing what #writing projects can be finished and marketed in 2015.

cal2015

2015 Calendar Template by Sheri Oz Used under CC License

Of course I’m checking the list twice because I don’t want to set up a bar that seems impossible to accomplish. After all, there’s no reason to put oneself under unnecessary stress to complete a mountain of work. I made that mistake last year, and I shouldn’t do it again. Currently, my list of goals for the New Year seems quite possible to complete.

My first and most important goal is editing and publishing my #fantasy novel “The First Light.”

Finish and publish my second short story collection called “Stasis and Other Dystopian Tales”

I also have two comedic #StarTrek fanfiction pieces that need to be edited as well.

Lastly, I have several short stories and a few flash fiction pieces that I’d like to try to publish traditionally. These stories can’t be put into a collection because they vary in genre. Therefore, I’ll finish what I can. I consider this part of my list to be the “cherry on the cake” so to speak.

googlecov2

Click the Pic and go directly to Amazon

 

Happy New Year Everyone!

What’s on your list for 2015?

 

Assessing #NaNoWriMo

So it’s the beginning of May and the April 2014 #NaNoWriMo is over. I didn’t hit my #writing goal but I did get some things done. I finished chapter 13, completed chapters 14 & 15, and almost finished 16. My #fantasy novel is rolling along quite well.  I also got some things done in the short story department.

type15

Old Typewriter by Liji Jinaraj used under CC License

A new flash fiction called Everybody’s a Winner was completed, the first 7 pages of a #StarTrek fanfic were drafted, and a large chunk of a long dystopian short story called A Pound of Flesh was also edited. Not bad for a hectic month.

I almost forgot, 10 new #blog posts were also written in April, and the Tyrhennia Times newsletter was launched as well.

I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed by not reaching my goal for my novel. But as I looked back on the list of what I did produce, I am feeling a bit better.

Tell me about your writing accomplishments in April.