potential is a muscle

a blog about writing, shooting, climbing, eating, loving, cooking, cheese, money, teaching, my wife and kid, my dogs and being brave. And bacon.

No. It’s about the brothers. It always has been.

Carlo applied for a patent on the loop. How? I don’t know how, he went to a lawyer. But THAT IS ENOUGH OF A REASON FOR EDISON TO HATE HIM, THE THREAT OF THE VERY SUGGESTION THAT HE MIGHT NOT HAVE THOUGHT OF SOMETHING. Edison stole ideas like fruit off a tree, but NO ONE EVER CHALLENGED HIM. His workers just accepted it.


Carlo told him to see a lawyer and he applied for a patent.

He then OFFERED USE OF THE LOOP TO EDISON IN THE FORM OF A LICENSE. Edison laughed, shook his head, fired them…then went to Weller about the impudence of these foreigners…Weller calls Cortland and tells him to bring in the dagos so they can apologize and sign over the patent application or withdraw it all together.

And I get to keep the bathtub scene.


It seems to be sinking in. On Tuesday, I’m going to have 5 rooms of goofballs in front of me. Ugh. 

Things to do:

Print many, many seating charts.

Have copies of rules and vocab intro tests printed and ready.

Figure out what to wear. A tie, at least.

Stock my fridge: comfort food this week, all-keto next week.

Things not to do:

Don’t let anyone’s ridiculous obsession with symmetry at all costs bother me.

Don’t worry about money.

Don’t forget how lucky and blessed you are.

It’s about a girl. Like everything else.


Of course, during a meeting.

Today is my last day before the group hugs start.

‘Group hugs’ the meetings we have before the school year starts. They’ve gotten worse over the years- we don’t even meet in departments any more. We get together in these stupid, useless ‘data teams’ and go through the motions of jumping through the hoops of common core standards. Because THAT’S what makes the difference, you see. Not that parents let their kids roam the streets with their pants off until dawn and never turn off the TV. Not that we haven’t even talked about new textbooks for about 7 years. And certainly not because the only time I can get to see a parent is when there’s been a police report involved. No, no- this will solve everything.

But tomorrow’s meeting, the first meeting. Fuck. The superintendent will stand up and motivate us with rousing words of our community and our mission and our duty. Then some motivational speaker will stand up and relate our work to his or her experiecnce (some year, just before I retire, I’m gonna stand up and ask: how much did they pay you to show up? Can we get a refund and use it on printer paper?)

And all we want is to be in our classrooms, planning and worrying and planning. I’m pretty much set. Rosters and seating charts are ready. Rules are being copied and should be ready. The only new class I have is for seniors who a) aren’t going to college, b) have only been in the US for  a few years and c) haven’t passed the CAHSEE. So, basically 10th grade work with some new material; I’ve seen the book and it’ll work.

So when faced with the choice of going into my room for another day of pre-worrying (temperature yesterday in my room = 86.8 at about one o’clock) or savoring my last day? 

I made some pancakes and ate them with salted French butter.

I shaved my beard down to a mustache.

I figured out how to get the burnt flavor out of my vape.

Went to see ‘Let’s Be Cops’. It was so stupid. Many, many f-words (and thank you, idiot mom in the front row, for bringing those two little boys with you to an R-rated movie- and they had such fun repeating all the swear words! Gosh, hope they’re my students some day) but no nudity except for the SCROTUM OF THE FAT, NAKED ASIAN MAN ABOUT HALF WAY THROUGH THE FILM. Seriously. His scrotum. Eh, $4.

Called a relative and gave a lot of advice about how to deal with a break-up while eating some very nice sushi.

Came home to  a cool house and dogs who cannot resist tipping over a trash can. Cleaned that up- kid came home crying. He says it was something about not being in choir any more…huh. Maybe. gave him a ride to work and now I’m waiting for the solar energy guy to show up.

Sunday at Mt Rubidoux




Last day before meetings. Why sit in a hot sweaty room?



sure, anybody can make a wife gasp once

but a double gasp? That takes talent. Relax, it was just an e-mail.

Today, I went into my classroom. Now, at this time of year, EVERYTHING IS ANNOYING.  So, not being able to get into my building? Because AFTER 15 YEARS AT THIS SCHOOL WITH THE SAME SET OF KEYS, SOMEONE THINKS I, I CAN’T BE TRUSTED WITH KEYS? 

and the A/c wasn’t on. Smelled like a goat in about 30 minutes. I laid down. Thought about crying. And then shit started coming to me…move the desks this way, my lectern that way…7 seats across, more contact…copy ‘Outliers’ for discussion…

and then the fucking whiteboard fell off the wall after 12 years and I had to go lie down again.

But after Chipotle and a workout, I can see, no, not hope, but hey it’s what I do.

Tomorrow: IF I get up early? An oil change for $10, then a new whiteboard (I’ll install it wednesday, forget it), actually read the text book for my new class…then change into pants and go talk to the Norwalk city council (again!) about vaping. Should be a good show. 6pm?

How did I miss this?

The Renegade Roots of Hollywood Studios

By Christopher 

  Today marks the 100th birthday of Universal Pictures, and Paramount Pictures celebrates its centennial this year as well. While Universal and Paramount are major Hollywood motion picture studios today, they started in 1912 as the ultimate “indies,” challenging the monopoly that had a chokehold on the film industry and taking on an American titan: Thomas Edison.        

Carl Laemmle had heard enough. The 5-foot-2-inch German immigrant was the little guy in more ways than one, but he wasn’t going to let bigwigs—not even an American icon like Thomas Edison—tell him how to run his business.

Laemmle loved the movie business. He had quit his job in 1906 and sank his family’s $3,000 savings into opening a Chicago nickelodeon where he screened motion pictures for five cents a head. Nine months after his theater’s opening, Laemmle was making $6,000 a week. He expanded into film distribution and was living his dream, even earning enough to take his family on a four-month European vacation.

Not long after he returned, however, a sea change swept over the film industry, which for nearly a decade had been embroiled in litigation concerning patents on motion picture technology. At the center of the dispute was Edison, who had first filed a patent on a motion picture camera in 1891 and purchased related patents with his deep pockets. Seeking to end the ceaseless lawsuits, Edison brought the representatives of the biggest film companies in the United States together in December 1908 to form the Motion Picture Patents Company, also known as the Edison Trust, which collectively held 16 major film patents.

The cartel was the most powerful force in American film. In addition to requiring producers and exhibitors to use its patented equipment, the trust mandated that every theater owner pay $2 a week simply to hold a license to purchase and screen its films. The Edison Trust sued any “pirates” who screened or made films without its permission. It fixed a standard price of admission no matter how expensive or cheap a movie’s production, which meant studios had little incentive to produce quality films. Plus, the Edison Trust banned film credits for movie stars because it feared that actors gaining celebrity status would demand more money. The trust acted as de facto arbiter of what films were seen in the United States by blocking film imports and, believing Americans lacked attention spans for feature films, limiting movies to 20 minutes in length.

When Laemmle heard the Edison Trust’s stipulations in a meeting of key distributors, he was one of the few to balk. He started the Independent Moving Pictures Company, or IMP, in 1909 and brazenly challenged the tyrannical monopoly by building his own studio. He lured actress Florence Lawrence, one of the first movie stars, away from the trust by giving her name top billing. Laemmle then exhorted nickelodeon owners to screen his films for a fraction of the cost of those produced by the Edison Trust. His advertisements in trade magazines touted his independence and asked theater owners: “Have you paid your $2.00 for a license to smoke your own pipe this week?”

Edison and his compatriots did not take kindly to the competition. The cartel came after Laemmle hard, suing him 289 times for intellectual property violations. Edison hired detectives to unearth non-licensed equipment on production sets, and the “Wizard of Menlo Park” also conjured up gangs of armed thugs to seize pirate films, evict audiences from outlaw theaters and smash production and exhibition equipment of rivals who defied him. In spite of the pressure, IMP survived, and on April 30, 1912, Laemmle consolidated it with a handful of other independent studios to form the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, the future Universal Pictures.

Adolph Zukor

Laemmle wasn’t the only one bristling under the tight control of the Edison Trust in 1912. Hungarian immigrant Adolph Zukor, owner of a New York City nickelodeon, envisioned a film industry that generated more revenue by screening feature-length films built around the star power of actors. Few stars in 1912 were brighter than Sarah Bernhardt, so Zukor paid $18,000 for the American distribution rights to her latest film, the French four-reel silent picture “Queen Elizabeth.” Despite his enormous outlay, Zukor still needed a license from the Edison Trust to show the picture in his own theater. The trust, however, thought Bernhardt too big a celebrity and the film’s 40-minute run time too long for American audiences, so it denied the license.

In response, Zukor, like Laemmle, went rogue. He premiered “Queen Elizabeth” on his own in New York City on July 12, 1912, and the first full-length drama shown in the United States was a hit. The success led Zukor that year to launch the Famous Players Film Company, the precursor to Paramount Pictures.

Audiences flocked to the longer, star-studded films produced by the upstart independents, who soon made an exodus from the film capital of the world—Fort Lee, New Jersey—to Hollywood, California. In 1912 Laemmle and William Fox, who would eventually launch the studio that became 20th Century Fox, both filed antitrust actions against the Edison Trust. In 1915 a federal district court ruled the trust was indeed a monopoly, and it was soon dissolved.

Also in 1915, Laemmle finished construction of his own California movie metropolis, Universal City, now home to a theme park and the largest film production facility in the world. A special guest ushered in a new chapter in American film by dedicating Universal’s state-of-the-art electric studio. It was Thomas Edison.

Thoughts on the girl what brung me

What does Carlo want? He wants to be an American, he wants his adopted country to love him as much as he loves it. 

What does Primo want? He wants to make enough to live and bring his family over (wife? kids? Mama??? fair enough?)

Kate is working in the brothel when they meet her, still as just a roper. She knows the Bible front and back, she’s read a lot.

Murder can’t be the problem- those charges would never go away and they’d never be free of them. So…Let’s let Edison set Cortland on them. Weller sees this as a way for Edison to reinforce the legitimacy of his patents out West. 



tension between the brothers, tension with Kate, ‘fish out of water’

-AND THEY GO ACROSS THE BORDER, THEY PULL A BUTCH AND SUNDANCE after they meet Garcia and realize that Cortland is out there.

End of Act 2: Garcia gets the idea to make a BIG movie

-and we get to

the flood.



not snarky, not passive-aggressive. The kid uses snark. The wife uses snark; they both get into a stance and want to just bite off the ‘t’s at the end of every sentence. 

I am not like that. My over-riding principle is: does it work? Is it kind? Is it true? I don’t like snark. It makes me feel like less of a man, less of a human. And yeah, if you have some snark for me, get it all out, I won’t leave until your spring is all unwound and you’ve said your bitter piece. Gah. What good does it do you? I ask you.

Next Wednesday is my first day of dumb-ass meetings. Sweet Mexican buns will be served (without butter). A motivational speaker will be hired. I would prefer that the money spent on his or her appearance be spent on materials I’ll have to buy, but they seem to like people with slide-shows and they’re in charge. Then two days in my library; slightly more useful. 

Anyways, I have written this and now- it’s behind me.


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