Larry Brody: Live! From Paradise! #59 – “Blind Eye Circus”

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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

About two years ago, at the age of 48, my wife Gwen the Beautiful was blinded by a stroke. She sees something, but only to the left in each eye. The right half of what should be her field of vision is inky blackness.

Or, on days of beauty and wonder, a sight that’s not there. Images of gardens. People. Animals. Plugged directly into (and by) her brain.

I’ve written about all the medical rounds we’ve made, trying to learn what caused the stroke so we can take the right steps to make sure it doesn’t happen, and what we can do to help her see completely once more.

Until yesterday no doctor anywhere, no matter how highly regarded, ever had said anything about the cause but, “We’ll probably never know,” and, about the possibility of a return of Gwen’s vision, “Very unlikely. The brain cells that interpret the right side of your vision are dead.” Both statements followed by, “Take these blood thinners and try to adjust.”

A couple of months ago Gwen left Paradise and went to Robert Superko, a San Francisco area doctor who’s an expert in “cardiac risk.” She spent half a day giving blood for a series of tests, including DNA tests no one else had given her.

Yesterday we got the results. They’re complicated, and neither of us understands them well enough to go into detail, but the gist is that Gwen’s DNA has an extra molecule on its strand that has caused the level of a cholesterol lipid called “El Pea Little A” and spelled “Lp(a)” to be three times what’s considered normal.

What does this do? Why, it throws a whole mess of stuff out of whack—and causes blood clots. Like the one that smacked Gwen on the back of the head one December evening and dropped her to her knees with half her lights out.

Wait, the news gets better. Not only do we now know what we also know how to prevent another stroke. Dr. Superko’s able nurse practitioner, Pam McDonald has a designed a program for Gwen to follow right here in Paradise. And which can be supervised by Dr. Ted, her Paradise M.D.

Three elements are involved. Regular cardiovascular and strength-building exercise. A balanced diet. And laboratory quality niacin, a thousand mgs. a day.

That’s right. No drugs. No stents. No shunts. None of the usual medical marvels. Instead, a big-time cardiovascular doc has recommended—


A dash of common sense. A sprinkle of knowledge. Stirred by experience and wisdom. Based on a recipe that’s totally high tech.

Who says the new and the old can’t co-exist?

That times can’t change in a way that lets today and yesterday embrace?

At first it seemed too easy to Gwen.

“Are you sure I can do the exercise?” she said. “It’s not going to hurt me? And that kind of food…it’s all right for my body?”

Pam told Gwen to take a good look at the page after page of test results she’d already sent. “You’ve had the most complete physical exam anybody can have anywhere. See those numbers? What they add up to is that you’re as healthy as they come. One genetic defect, that’s all you’ve got. And after six months of taking care of yourself you’ll have kicked that defect’s butt.”

“You mean I’m a healthy woman?” Gwen said.

“You’re a healthy woman,” Pam said.

Over the next several hours Gwen said it again herself.

And again. And again.

And as she checked the tomatoes in our garden yesterday afternoon something wonderful happened. She stopped questioning and instead asserted, as strongly as anyone can:

“I’m a healthy woman!”

And, after more than two years, she felt healthy at last.

This isn’t the story of a miracle. Gwen’s sight hasn’t returned. But she’s already started her new regimen, and is looking at life a new way.

Today when we woke up and kissed good morning she greeted me with a smile. “Wow,” I said. “Haven’t seen one of those this early in a long time.”

“There’s no reason for me not to smile,” Gwen said. “After all, I’m a healthy woman.”

“Yes. Yes, you are.”

“And,” she said, “do you know why?”

“Why?” I said.

“Because I’ve got hope.”

We kissed again. It was everything any couple could hope for.

Bruce Lee Was My Friend, and Tarantino’s Movie Disrespects Him

NOTE FROM LB: I didn’t know Bruce Lee, but many of my friends did.

Hey, what can I say? I used to hang out with martial artists. My martial artist friends were all good guys as well as world champions, and they made me feel safe. In many ways it was like being around superheroes.

Yeah, I was very young back then.

Be that as it may, I’ve been hearing from several of the champs recently, and they’re all upset about one particular thing – the completely inaccurate way Bruce is presented in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

There’s a genuine line (and not necessarily a fine one) between an artist exercising their creativity and just plain being a jerk. This article by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says it best.

by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Remember that time Dr.?Martin Luther King Jr. kidney-punched a waiter for serving soggy croutons in his tomato soup? How about the time the Dalai Lama got wasted and spray-painted “Karma Is a Beach” on the Tibetan ambassador’s limo? Probably not, since they never happened. But they could happen if a filmmaker decides to write those scenes into his or her movie. And, even though we know the movie is fiction, those scenes will live on in our shared cultural conscience as impressions of those real people, thereby corrupting our memory of them built on their real-life actions.

That’s why filmmakers have a responsibility when playing with people’s perceptions of admired historic people to maintain a basic truth about the content of their character. Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does not live up to this standard. Of course, Tarantino has the artistic right to portray Bruce any way he wants. But to do so in such a sloppy and somewhat racist way is a failure both as an artist and as a human being.

This controversy has left me torn. Tarantino is one of my favorite filmmakers because he is so bold, uncompromising and unpredictable. There’s a giddy energy in his movies of someone who loves movies and wants you to love them, too. I attend each Tarantino film as if it were an event, knowing that his distillation of the ’60s and ’70s action movies will be much more entertaining than a simple homage. That’s what makes the Bruce Lee scenes so disappointing, not so much on a factual basis, but as a lapse of cultural awareness.

Bruce Lee was my friend and teacher. That doesn’t give him a free pass for how he’s portrayed in movies. But it does give me some insight into the man. I first met Bruce when I was a student at UCLA looking to continue my martial arts studies, which I started in New York City. We quickly developed a friendship as well as a student-teacher relationship. He taught me the discipline and spirituality of martial arts, which was greatly responsible for me being able to play competitively in the NBA for 20 years with very few injuries….

Read it all at

10 Most Viewed TVWriter™ Posts of the Week – August 19, 2019

Happy Monday morning everybody!

Hope you’ve had a great weekend. 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:

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

Writing the Dreaded Outline

PEOPLE’S PILOT 2019 Writing Contest

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

Corporal Punishment and Primetime TV

LB: New Shows I’m Looking Forward to This Fall

LB: New Shows I’m Never Going to Watch This Fall No Matter How Much Other People Love Them

8 Tips for Writing for Children’s TV Shows

Empty Promises: My experience submitting scripts to Amazon Studios

The Outline/Story

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!

Stephanie Bourbon on Why Agents Keep Rejecting Your Queries

The first question most new writers ask those of us who already are working professionally at the craft in various media inevitably is, “Will you read my script/book/whatever else I’ve written?”

After that gets the most tactful version of “Hell no!” the pro can come up with, most newbies swiftly move to the second most-asked question. “Why won’t the agents I write to even answer me?”

To this TVWriter™ minion’s knowledge, our pal Stephanie Bourbon has never turned down anybody who asks the first question politely, and here’s her current response to the second one, and a very helpful one it is.

Stephanie’s YouTube Channel is HERE

And her website chock full of further instruction is HERE

Former Larry Brody student Stephanie Olivieri Bourbon has found great success as a writer and illustrator. Now she’s branching out into video with a series of extremely helpful ones about – surprise! – writing and illustrating.

New Media and Made for TV Films

Remember when feature films used to be the leaders in cinematic expression?


Well, come to think about it, that was pretty long ago. Here’s an interesting video about the new leaders of the media pack. Enjoy and learn, gang!

From Cinema Cartography