“Warriors – and those other 20+ gangs – Come Out To Play” (11-21)

Proposed drinking game while watching “The Warriors:”


Spot The Gang.

Fans of the film may remember some of the more prominent gangs – The Baseball Furies, The Lizzies, The Turnbull AC’s – but there are many gangs, which, if they were lucky, got a frame, maybe two, of screen time, as the camera roamed the Big Gang Summit which opened the movie, or, if director Walter Hill was in the mood to show off shiny jackets and interesting hats, merited a moment in the subway station.

11. The Savage Huns – bet you didn’t even remember there was a sandal-clad gang of Asians that – I think – was meant to evoke the Vietnam war…sorta.


But college kids haven’t forgotten about them, especially come Halloween.



Cancer: The Battle, The Journey (update #5)

Ten weeks after being diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer, my friend Gabrielle Burton recounts a summer filled with grandkids.


Update # 5, August 28, 2014

The Grandchildren


Well, we’re closing in on fall, still having perfect CA summer days but no more sunshine streaming into our bedroom at 6AM, and the grandchildren (and Charity, daughter #5, dance teacher for LA Unified,) are heading back to school.


After being here nearly the whole summer, Gabrielle (#4), Graeme, Annabella, 7, and Philip, 6, have gone back to Ohio, and Jenn (#2), Ani, Roger, 12, and Lilia, 10, have gone back to Boston, leaving the LA Contingent, Maria, Ursula, and Charity, here with Rog and me.

The grandchildren are eight:

Kick Ass Diplomacy



Three young twenty-something Americans have done for our standing in Europe what 8 catastrophic years of Bush and 8 more meh years of Obama could not do: regain the region’s respect, trust and admiration. Today U.S. Airman Spencer Stone (23), National Guardsman Alex Skarlatos (22), and their friend, college student Anthony Sadler (23), will be meeting with French president Francois Hollande to receive the prestigious Legion of Honor medal for their ridiculous heroics on board a French train.


(22, 23, and 23! For chrissake, these boys probably still have baby fat and pimples! And the goddamn hearts of lions!)

By now the world knows they jumped 26 year old Ayoub El-Khazzani (what is it with today’s youth, good and bad?) on a French bullet train, subdued the assault rifle enthusiast, got a little cut up in the process, hog tied the bad guy, took a quick breather to render medical help to a wounded passenger, and saved hundreds of lives in the process.

I’ve only ever pumped my fist and chanted “USA! USA! USA!” ironically.

Not today.

Cancer: The Battle, The Journey (update #4)

Six weeks after being diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, Gabrielle Burton, with characteristic candor, gets down to brass tacks: HAIR.


Update #4, 7-28-14

Vanity, vanity, all is vanity
Hair today gone tomorrow

Hair #1: “With this particular chemo mix, your hair may thin but you won’t go bald,” my oncologist said at my first chemo session.

“Well, I know I won’t be able to dye my hair because hair dye is poison, I said.
He gestured to the iv dripping into my port. “That is poison we are putting into you. You can dye your hair.”



“Warriors – and those other 20+ gangs – Come Out To Play” (1-10)


On one sweltering night in The Bronx, a charismatic young man named Cyrus, leader of the city’s most powerful street gang, “The Gramercy Riffs,” calls a summit of all the city’s gangs to propose a truce so they can create an alliance to take control of the whole city. During the summit, however, Cyrus is murdered by an anarchistic member of a minor gang, “The Rogues,” who in turn frame another minor gang, “The Warriors,” for Cyrus’ murder.


The Warriors must then make it back to the safety of their home turf in Coney Island before the rest of the city’s gangs catch up with them and take them out for killing Cyrus.


Above: Cyrus’ #2. You might want to rethink killing Cyrus.

Yup. “The Warriors.”


How has this movie not been remade?!? With all the crappy reboots out there, where is the gritty “Training Day”-esque update of “The Warriors?” Fifty bucks says it has to have been bouncing around in Development Hell for at least the last two decades.

Cancer: The Battle, The Journey (update #3)

One month after being diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer, my friend Gabrielle Burton talks about chemo, a crowded house, and, as she puts it, “doing nothing fully.” update3.4

UPDATE #3 July 10, 2014

My dear friends and family, Things are going well. I have my 3rd chemo today, and we’re still evolving the domestic routine. Yesterday Ani, Jennifer’s husband, and our oldest grandchild Roger, 12, arrived from India, so the whole gang’s in town now, 20 in all–a few sleeping here, more sleeping at Ursula’s, stuff at Charity’s. Baggage and stuff is our biggest problem, but the rentals didn’t pan out, too far away to be convenient or TOO EXPENSIVE (Roger and I could make a killing renting out our cottage, but then we’d just want another place here at the beach.)



Cancer: The Battle, The Journey (update #2)

Two weeks after receiving the news that she has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, my friend Gabrielle Burton talks about the beginning of treatment. She is told by one oncologist that the mean survival time with stage 4 p.c. is 12-14 months.


6/25/14 Update: My dear friends and family, That doggone UCLA Share site is so frustrating for everyone we’re dumping it. This is a long update–later ones will be shorter. It’s been an action packed 14 days since we found out June 10th about my Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer (p.c.) metastasized to liver.


Our fabulous daughters all came. Roger and they started research, following many leads sent by loving friends.

Cancer: The Battle, The Journey

I can’t remember how I first found out she had cancer. A mutual friend? A note from the folks who run the Nicholl Fellowship? A rumor? Doesn’t matter.


For over a year now, Gabrielle Burton, a friend of mine I met in 2000 through the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, has been living with cancer. She is an accomplished author, film maker, wife, mother of five daughters, and an all around kind and giving person. Those words – “kind, “giving,” might sound trite, the kind of thing anyone would say about someone coping with a major illness, but, as you’ll see from her own writings, they are, if anything, an understatement.


Global Warming and The Not-So Expendables


I always thought it would be today’s teens who come up with a fix for global warming, but it looks like a group of ten retired scientists, ranging in age from 60 – 79, might be our next real-life action heroes.


Says physicist Jack Foster aka The Magician, 79: “We are interested in an insurance policy for global warming. We are not interested in deploying it unless it is necessary. But we’d like to have something available so we know what works and what doesn’t work.”

And what is this top secret weapon he and his team would rather not deploy unless they absolutely have to?

A “cloud whitener.”


I HATE It When My Favorite Bands Are Dismissed As “One Hit Wonders”


Here and there, on VH1, say, or the web, I’ll come across a “Greatest One Hit Wonders” type show and chuckle along affectionately when the videos to “Safety Dance” or “Walking On Sunshine” or “In My House” are shown – yes, I grew up in the 80′s – but when Devo’s “Whip It” or Blondie’s “Heart Of Glass” or the Go Go’s “We Got The Beat” are included, my eyes bulge, I start to foam at the mouth, capillaries burst, and anyone within earshot is forced to hear me rant about “incompetent list makers,” “musical know-nothings,” “unheralded bodies of fine work,” “short sightedness,” “band wagonneering,” “complete lack of vision,” “underrated genius,” “the cold and vindicating eye of history,” and reams of unprintable vitriol.



Standing In Line For The Measles


California state Senator Richard Pan is being hailed in the press as a hero for helping to pass Senate Bill 277, which tightens the state’s famously loose laws on vaccination rules for school children.


SB277 eliminates the “personal belief exemption” loop hole which had allowed parents to send kids to school potentially carrying, say, measles or the mumps, because some half-informed celebrity or left coast new age healer pronounced vaccinations inherently harmful, a government conspiracy, a big pharma money grab, or a combination of all three.