Saturday, May 20, 2006


Like the Assassination of President Kennedy, or the Attack on Pearl Harbor, who can forget where you were when you learned the true break in SANGRAAL? I can’t. Seriously. It was about fifteen years ago. My blood non-royal ran cold. I smacked my forehead, indignantly acknowledging eight hundred years of blind stupidity. Along with every other reader of “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” I now limped out of the mineshaft of hidden history into the fierce noonday sun of revelation. Of course, I wasn’t in a mineshaft. (It was the Rutgers Tunnel.)

Or out in the noonday sun. (But the sign for the F train is in an orange circle.)

And Sang Raal isn’t the true syllabic break. It’s still San Graal.
Now I don't hold any of this against Dan Brown, or Messrs. Lincoln, Baigent or Leigh.

Since I have to direct this anger at someone or something, I'll be miffed at the History and Discovery Channels and the people - yes you too Edward Herrmann if that's really your name - making a living, it seems, by deflating every conspiracy theory I hold dear.

And of course, I’m upset with myself. The plagiarism trial – that shoulda been me. ME.

After I read “Holy Blood” I came up with an idea for a novel entitled…Here are some of my notes.

The unseen writer writes. “June thirteenth, A.D. nineteen ninety six.” leaves a space, moves the pen down the page and writes more. “If I’m writing this then the world didn’t end today. And you only have Sister Mary Magdalen to thank.”

This is the Convent of the Sisters of the Order of His Most Precious Blood. It looks like a citadel, which convents of course actually are. After all, as our Founding Father Ben Franklin once mused, “Neither a fortress nor a maidenhead will hold out after the parley begins.” Shhh, Mass is being said…

“Like Simon knew Our Saviour in the Temple, so too shall they know you.”

They visit the new Camelot casino in Atlantic City. In a display case near the entrance is a replica of the Holy Grail (“Naaaah…can’t be,” she thinks.) Upstairs is an antique car collection that includes Hitler’s own VW Beetle and his golf clubs.

“I had a vision the other night. Our Lord Jesus Christ, bow your head with me Sister when I say the Most Holy Name of Our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ appeared to me. He was like an older man, in his sixties and very gray, but I knew who He was. He said to me, never identifying himself, ‘Sister Teresa D’Avila, see that I too am old. But I remember the promise made unto you that you would see the flower of your line before I take you to My Kingdom where you shall receive your life’s reward.’”
Long before “The DaVinci Code” –
Long before “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” –
Even before Kazantzakis’ “The Last Temptation” –
There was “King Jesus”. From the mind of Robert Graves there takes form the truest picture of the life of said Messiah. Graves is unable to reconcile his completely human character – an Herodian fitzroy with a legitimate claim – and the source of his Divinity – the mystical healer anticipated by Jews and Gentiles alike. Nevertheless, I have no doubt when Graves arrived in Heaven, Jesus paid him the highest compliment, “Robin, you nailed it.” Thanks to former EvenTime workmate Jim Parsons who made me read it.

Thursday, May 18, 2006


In the journalist’s version of baby-seal-clubbing, A O Scott beat up on Ron Howard’s “The DaVinci Code (The Motion Picture)”, Akiva Goldsman’s “The DaVinci Code (The Feature Film Screenplay)” and Dan Brown’s “The DaVinci Code”. Oh Lame Saint indeed.

Look for the next entry - Et In Arcadia Ego as I disembowel DaVinci.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Call it, “When Worlds Collide.”

Doug E went to see those great disaster movies of the 1970’s.

Years later Doug E loses a friend on United Flight 93.

Then Doug E goes to see “United 93”, the disaster movie based the tragedy wherein his friend is a character.

It was no “Airport” I learned in a telephone call. “Go see it yourself and tell me what you think. It was kind of boring. Everybody was on their cell phones. My friend kept being shown shaking in his seat. That would never have happened. I couldn’t follow the story. And I knew the story.”

“Is that because there were no stars?”

“Maybe. If George Kennedy – is George Kennedy is still alive? – played the man in charge of the air traffic control station…”

“And Muhamad Ata was portrayed by Omar Sharif.”

“Yeah, was Muhamad Ata on Flight 93?" “No, but this is a movie.”

“And if the pilot was having an affair with a flight attendant. And there was some good theme music.”

“I never knew where anything was. It could have used location titles typing up on screen tat-tat-tat-tat-tat.”

Doug E was the only person outside of NYC about whom I was worried on September 11th. He traveled a lot for work and for the Army Reserve. He was often stationed at the Pentagon. He was at a conference in New Hampshire on that beautiful autumn day he lost a friend in a field in Pennsylvania. (Not just out of respect but because these things can be searched, I’m will not publish the name of Doug E’s friend who was killed on September 11, 2001. I will remind you that as yet, no one has been brought to justice for that crime.)

All this begs the question, what’s it all about that “The DaVinci Code” gets released on Doug E’s birthday, but the remake of “The Poseidon Adventure” comes out one week before?

All this talk about disaster movies, classic and Vlasic, made me nostalgic for a time when I was a wrote, directed and produced them. Here are some stills from the rarely seen “Fall Of Troy”, an adaptation of “The Aeneid” (!) which we made for Latin IV class in 1981.

Click on the filmstrip below to view the destruction more closely.

Here they are! Scans of my unfinished “Atlantis 2: Sea City” (1980). Click to enlarge.

It was a total rip-off of Irwin Allen’s TV movie called, gee whiz, “City Beneath the Sea.”

I’m warning you, I’m coming back and bringing the brimstone with me.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New Poll Numbers Are In !!

My iPod Makes Me Feel Thin

...has been pre-empted to ask you, the reader, a question. Who looks even uglier and meaner in person?

Christine Todd Whitman.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know that I've had an axe to grind over that hatchet face since November 1993. That doesn't make her any prettier. We crossed paths at 49th and Madison, a little Saks bag swung from her hen's claw hand. Can't you just imagine the retail nightmare some poor, pretentious salesgirl had to suffer for that teensy-tiny purchase.

Yuck, maybe it was a foundation garment - no, please not thong underwear.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

From Disney News "Lawmakers Forget Anthem Lyrics"

Hmmm, I was ahead of the conventional media curve. Again.
Our National Anthem: Unwanted, Unsingable, Unmemorable.

Physician, test yourself. Line Number Three of The Star Spangled Banner is…

A. "Look for those bear necessities. Those simple bear necessities."
B. "Zippity doo dah, zippity ay."
C. "Lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?"
D. "Play ball!"

Why The New York Times Sucks (Today)

The kiss-of-death headline above the fold: Optimistic, Democrats Debate the Party's Vision

Translation: Foolhardy and Fractious, Democrats Begin Infighting In Earnest

Clearly, this is TNYT's penance for last week's positive article about Republican congressional seats at risk in our area, especially a certain NY29.


Now that I've read that friggin' front page article I'll really tell you why TNYT sucks. This paragraph below has been kicking around since Time Magazine printed a column by stupid Joe Klein six weeks ago. The article was an undisguised and glorified plug for his new book, which is not attributed to Anonymous. Some would call his column an advertorial but I do not employ non-words in this weblog.

So thank you, The New York Times, for serving us this sandwich on stale bread. (If you need to log in, my user name is fzuccarello and password is 140140.)

"The frustration with consultants - and their impact on Democratic politics - is widespread among the Internet pundits, and at the heart of several recent books, including Crashing the Gate, co-written by Markos Moulitsas, founder of the blog (sic) the Daily Kos. In another, Politics Lost, Joe Klein mourns the passing of a more authentic, preconsultant politics that he argues was embodied by Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 campaign.
"Even the film industry recognizes the mood; Bobby, an account of June 5, 1968, the day Kennedy won the California primary and was assassinated, is scheduled for release in November.

Where does Joe Klein get off lecturing us about the forgotten "more authentic"? He wrote a book under the name Anonymous. So back to RFK. The wandering, the lack of meaning, the absence of message, the failure of message when we possess it, all of which characterize Our Party, the Democratic Party, derives in no small part from one inescapable fact. In 1963 and 1968, three visionary leaders of the Our Party were murdered. Five years, three caskets. The dead can vote, but they can't lead.

Look, we may have some success (touch wood) in taking back the House of Representatives this November, in spite of TNYT. But if you feel the wind at your back it's just hurricane season. The only way we'll have ever have a Democratic president is when our nominee walks out of Pakistan - whoops, did I say Pakistan, I mean Afghanistan - with Osama Bin Laden's head on a pike. Period. And if I'm wrong, it's because this goofy country has elected a Democratic president.

All this talk about Bobby Kennedy reminds me of a story. My old boss, David Dee, edited two television commercial campaigns for the late John Frankenheimer.

One was a big AT&T job created by the also-late N. W. Ayer advertising agency focused around the bicentennial celebrations in France. The other was a big - David edited big and yelled bigger - job for the Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds family of fragrances, Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds by Elizabeth Arden. Where am I going with all this yes okay...

John Frankenheimer has directed some incredible films, from my personal favorite, Seven Days In May, to Black Sunday to the highly acclaimed HBO film "Path To War." He had an extraordinarily renascent career at the end of his life. Yet this last work and his other historical dramas for television are evidence that he was building up to something important.

There was one more dream project in the mind of John Frankenheimer, and he shared the story with my boss, David, who in turn revealed it to me. Mr. Frankenheimer wanted to make a movie about Bobby Kennedy. It would start with the assassination of JFK, move backward in time, then forward and end with the death of RFK. The essence of the film was some rare home movie footage of Bobby Kennedy that Mr. Frankenheimer had taken. Later, when Mr. Frankenheimer was bounding back with, gulp, Reindeer Games, I learned that the man who drove Bobby Kennedy to the Los Angeles Sheraton the night he was shot was...John Frankenheimer.

David's little twist on the whole story was that I would play Jack Ruby.

As a post-script it would be unfair to go any further without mentioning, even as a post-script, that my pal Kamala Washington was held by Bobby Kennedy during a campaign appearance in Harlem.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Illegal Immigration - Legal Emigration

This is a response to certain repeated, irritating e-mails about the alleged problems of illegal immigration from someone who should know better.

Illegal Immigration - Legal Emigration – I’ve Been Quiet Until Now

A. Oh Illegal Immigration - Where Is Thy Sting?

New York has always had a reputation of a city that welcomes those who seek freedoms. Although freedom is in short commodity here these days, the people keep coming to New York.

As long as we are the world’s leading economic power, they will keep coming. Even when China overtakes us, somebody from India will think he'll make more money with his delicatessen in New York than New Delhi; somebody from Nigeria will think his future is safer selling phony Louis Vuitton bags in Battery Park; and some wetback will think he's better off delivering my lunch in midtown than to some poor soul in Mexico.

The illusion of America as the will last about twenty years into this era, we have recently entered, an era the economists call Managed Decline.

I’d even wager good money that the Chinese will still cram into cargo containers to get here even after their nation has reached the top of the Global food chain.

So I look around here and have to ask, What’s the problem with all these (insert applicable offensively racist epithet) coming here? We don’t feed them. Don’t clothe them. Don’t house them. Sheesh, we have to educate them - big deal, that costs any of us about four bucks a year. We have to give them health care? So what? They get a shot of antibiotics and go back to work doing my laundry and cleaning my hallway. That’s two bucks per person. How chintzy can you people be?

But they want to sing the Star Spangled Banner in Spanish. Oooooh. You know, seventy five years ago the United States finally got a National Anthem. It wasn’t the anthem anybody wanted (which was My Country ‘Tis Of Thee). It wasn’t the anthem anybody could sing (its melody is from a drinking song and you can only sing drinking songs when you’re drunk). Today, it isn’t the anthem anybody can remember.

B. The Emigration of Employment

The substance of the problem of illegal immigration is a very specific kind of legal emigration.

There was a time when there were both good jobs and skanky jobs to be found in the United States. Citizens got the good jobs. Wetbacks got the skanky. But Managed Decline doesn’t allow for that two-tiered system. Now, most of you compete for the skanky jobs.

Those good jobs, along with entire industries, have left this country for better climates and they will never return.

Myself, I look down on it all from my Ivory Tower on Fifth Avenue and laugh. I laugh hard because I won’t laugh last.

As a small business owner, I’ve been on the front line of the war to keep work (and the half-million dollars that work costs and the jobs that work generates) in this country because no matter how cheaply it can be done elsewhere, it won’t be done as well and certainly not better. Eventually, my clients realize this and prefer to keep the work here in New York.

One day, the sun will set on my profession and hopefully there will be a position open at the newstand in the lobby of my apartment building.

C. The First Amendment

There’s a quaint little notion in this country that reads in part, “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech…or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Oddly, the Founders wrote neither “abridging the freedom of American speech,” nor “the right of Americans peaceably to assemble.” They didn’t even get specific here: “to petition the American Government for a redress of grievances.”

It’s all as we would say today, generic.

That’s because, Our American Constitution doesn’t grant those freedoms. The fact is, all people - not just Americans, and not just people living in the United States, but all people, all people – are born to these freedoms. Our Constitution merely recognizes this fact and guarantees it in writing. Furthermore, Our Constitution asks us to be a people who preserve these guarantees.

Sorry to bring you the bad news: you’re a citizen so you’ve got to uphold the Constitution. That means people you don’t want around, except to pick your iceberg lettuce, still get to meet up around you and bellyache.

And if you don’t like it, don’t let the door hitcha.

D. Don’t Take My Word For It

For those of you who have to answer to an even Higher Authority,
like Republicans who can just start rehearsing their excuses right now, here are two additional qualifiers.

The Second Book of Moses, Called Exodus, Chapter 23, Verse 9
“Also thou shalt not oppress a stranger: for ye know the heart of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

The Gospel according to St. Matthew, Chapter 25, verses 41-46
“Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was ahungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.’
“Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, ‘When saw we thee ahungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?’
“Then shall He answer them, saying, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.’
“And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

And I can’t top that.

Mr. Francis Zuccarello
Forming a more perfect union since 1963