Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #72 – “Itchin’ Like a Man on a Fuzzy Tree”

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THE USUAL NOTE FROM LB: From the summer of 2002 to  the spring of 2010, Gwen the Beautiful and I were the proud and often exhausted owners of a beautiful Ozarks property we called Cloud Creek Ranch.

In many ways, the ranch was paradise. But it was a paradise with a price that started going up before we even knew it existed. Here’s another Monday musing about our adventure and the lessons we learned.

Oh, and if y’all detect any irony, please believe me when I say it comes straight from the universe and not your kindly Uncle Larry B.

by Larry Brody

I’m covered with bites today and, as Elvis put it so well, “itchin’ like a man on a fuzzy tree.” Which means I’m ready to rant about one of the most maddening aspects of living in Paradise.

Ticks!

Wherever you find beautiful greenery you also are sure to find Earth’s most obnoxious little bloodsuckers.

Step outside on a beautiful summer day, and the odds are good you’ll step back in with a tick somewhere on—or in—your clothes.

Over the years I’ve learned how to deal with chiggers. Stay out of the woods. Wear boots and long pants and tuck your pants inside your boots. Keep moving. Deet up.

Ticks, however, are another story. Pick up a rake and presto! There’s a tick crawling up your arm.
Walk past a shed and wham! That’s a tick fastening itself to your neck.

Trim a tree branch and pow! That ain’t no aphid clinging to your leg.

I can Deet myself to death and still find a little bump in an inappropriate place, scratch at it…and splatter myself with my own blood, courtesy of one fat, well-fed tick mom.

I remember as a child plucking off a tick and continuing on my merry way. What I don’t remember is the welt the size of my mountaintop and the Big Itch afterward that I feel now. Have ticks mutated into something far more powerful than before?

In Paradise, common wisdom says there are two ways to beat the ticks.

The first way is to move to the city and spend your life on concrete and asphalt, insulated from nature’s miserable little sucks. Since my neighbors and I are all about living where we can touch and smell and listen to the land, that’s not an option.

The second way is to spray all around with the strongest possible poison. But that’s got a downside too. Everyone’s livestock would pay a high price for grazing on chemical-soaked grass.

Yesterday, as I pondered and scratched, Brannigan the Contractor came by to ratchet up our sagging back deck. After a couple of sweaty hours he came inside to take Gwen the Beautiful up on her offer of sweet tea.

After pulling up a chair, he noticed a two foot long feather on my desk. Brannigan eyed it curiously. “What’re you doing with this?”

“Admiring it,” I said. You don’t see an eagle feather every day.”

Brannigan snorted. “Eagle feather?! No way! It’s from a turkey vulture. Eagles are noble. They hunt just like real men. But vultures? They’re the lowest form of bird life there is. Good for nothing but stripping roadkill!”

After Brannigan left I picked up the feather. When I’d thought it was an eagle feather I’d seen it as beautiful. A prize. But now?

Now I felt like a jerk.

Which got me to wondering. Why value eagles over vultures? Is killing food automatically a “better” thing to do than eating what’s already dead? Wouldn’t it be easy to argue exactly the reverse?

I called Johnny Lee, Deputy Game Warden at Paradise County Fish and Game. Asked him what he knew about vultures.

“Vultures are awesome,” he said. “I’d want to be one if I was a bird.”

This was a surprise. I asked Johnny Lee one question. “Why?”

“They’re the ultimate team players. They know how to make everything around them work for them. They’re not made for hunting so they depend on others to kill. When the hunters are finished, the vultures eat what otherwise would rot and be wasted.

“And they share it with other animals. Everything in the woods knows where to go for supper when they see vultures circling around.

“They’re great flyers too. Most efficient gliders of any bird, and they’re just about the healthiest. They’ve got special bacteria that knock out most disease.”

Which, believe it or not, brings me back to ticks and the itch I’m still scratching. Vultures are in tune with the world, and they’re big on sharing, right?

Well then, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m taking that big feather outside and waving it at the next turkey vulture I see overhead. And I’m asking it the Question of the Hour:

“How can I get along with ticks? How can I get something good out of them? What should I do?”

And I promise that when that vulture tells me, Brannigan the Contractor will be the first to know.

LB: Hey, Trekkers, Have You Seen the Official Star Trek Timeline?

by Larry Brody

For reasons so personal that it’s embarrassing, I admit to being thrilled to learn that startrek.com, which is a genuine, real life CBS-owned official Star Trek site, has issued a timeline for the entire Trek universe, including all its alternate dimensions and casts.

This in itself is a very cool thing for Trekkers and even casual fans, but here’s what’s so wonderful to me:

STAR TREK: THE ANIMATED SERIES
IS NOW CANON!!!

And as canon, its stories now are genuine records of events that happened during the last year of the 5 year mission to go where no man one had ever gone before of a certain star ship called The Enterprise, commanded by this dimension’s Capt. James T. Kirk.

And the icing on the cake here is that although over the years I’ve been employed (that means paid) to write several episodes of different versions of ST, the only one that ended up getting shot with me being the sole writer was an episode of ST:TAS called “The Magicks of Megas-Tu.”

And, yeah, I fucking love that!

All my thanks to the CBS/StarTrek.Com powers-that-be.

The 2-minute timeline video can be seen HERE

The full episode of “The Magicks of Megas-Tu”, albeit with terrible sound quality, is HERE

Info on some of my ST work including the background of how “Magicks” came to be is HERE

LYMI
LB

10 Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – Nov. 18, 2019

Happy Monday morning everybody!

Hope your weekend has been a great one. Time now for TVWriter™’s latest look at our most popular blog posts and resource pages during the week ending yesterday. They are, in order:

How To Write The Perfect TV Series Review To Captivate Your Readers

‘The Following’ Season 4 was Cancelled by Fox Because the TV Series Became a Victim of Lazy Writing!

Writing the Dreaded Outline

SPIDER-MAN UNLIMITED SECOND SEASON ARC

LB: 2nd Thoughts on my 1st Thoughts on the PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 Writing Competition Entries

Corporal Punishment and Primetime TV

LB: First Thoughts on the PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 Writing Competition Entries

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 Writing Contest

Still Howling At The Moon

The Logline

Big thanks to everybody for helping us have another terrific week at TVWriter™. Don’t forget to click above and read what you missed and re-read what you loved!

No One is Safe from ‘The Great Streaming Battle’

A few days ago we posted a video about recent events in the cord cutting world. Today we bring you more details, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal. In the classic early 20th Century tradition of Popeye’s “Let’s you and him fight,” we find this fascinating and hope you will too.

by Amol Sharma & Joe Flint

A new era is dawning in the entertainment world and you’re about to get a whole lot more choices—for better or worse. The streaming wars are here.

Titans of media and technology are wagering billions that consumers will pay them a monthly fee to stream TV and movies over the internet. Walt Disney Co. is launching a $6.99-a-month service next week, following Apple Inc.’s entry earlier this month. AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. ’s NBCUniversal next year will mount their own challenges to streaming juggernaut Netflix Inc.

The combatants are fighting on the same battlefield, all seeking to lure in subscribers, but they have radically different motivations—and some have far more at stake than others.

Legacy giants like Disney and AT&T’s WarnerMedia are racing to reinvent their core media business, which is under assault as consumers turn away from traditional broadcast and cable TV. For them, selling streaming subscriptions to consumers has to work—and has to be profitable. For Apple, while streaming can advance its business, failure is an option.

Consumers will have choices to make as new entrants join the fray: Americans are willing to spend an average of $44 monthly on streaming video and subscribe to an average of 3.6 services, according to a survey of over 2,000 people in recent days by The Wall Street Journal and the Harris Poll. That is up roughly $14 from what most people pay now.

But with so many existing players already in the market—Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, CBS All Access and ESPN+, among others—not everyone can emerge victorious. “This market is going to have to shake out — it doesn’t feel like all these players can continue to play this game forever,” said David Wertheimer, a former president of digital products at Fox Networks Group who is now a media and tech investor.

Netflix is in an enviable position with a big head start, but may be in for some turbulence. Nearly one in three Netflix subscribers said they would likely cancel the service in the next three months to make room for a new entrant, according to the Journal-Harris Poll survey. Some 43% of parents with kids under 18 said they were likely to cancel, as did 44% of men ages 18 to 34….

Read it all at wsj.com

Blogging or Podcasting? Which is for you?

The future belongs to those of us who make the right choices for ourselves. Here’s some info to help content creators decide the best way to express themselves and get their work before an appreciative – and maybe even paying – audience:

by Lindsay Harris Friel

If you want to gain authority in your field, sell products, or influence others, then producing engaging, helpful content is a great way to drive traffic to your website. What’s the best way to present that content? Blogs and podcasts are the two biggest methods. Which one is going to be best for you? Let’s take a closer look at blogging vs. podcasting. We’ll figure out out what best uses your abilities, and engages your target market.

Why Choose Blogging?

The most popular choice for creating and putting out content is to start a blog. It’s not hard to see why.

All you need is internet access, and some writing skill. Web site editors are as easy to use as tweeting or posting on Facebook. The bar for entry is pretty low.

However, it can be difficult to keep people’s attention, once you’ve gotten it. Short, frequent social media posts seem to have conquered users. A Kennesaw State University study showed that frequent social media users have shorter attention spans. If you’re marketing your products, services and skills to people who spend a lot of time online, be aware that short posts have the most impact.

Podcasting Barriers to Entry

Like blogging, you don’t have to get permission to share your thoughts via a podcast. But, you have to make a bit more effort than simply typing thoughts into sentences. You need to record your audio, edit it so it makes sense, upload it to a media host, and then publish it online.

At its most basic level, podcasting can be nearly as simple as making a phone call. Most people have smartphones with decent voice recorders included. It’s very easy to record an episode and upload it to a free account on somewhere like Soundcloud. This is limited, but realistic. Even so, there are more steps between the initial idea and the published content….

Read it all at thepodcasthost.com