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.

“I mean, someone could make a movie about this and it would be unbelievable.”

http://www.guernicamag.com/interviews/back-to-school/

Guernica: This reform movement is backed by so many powerful and wealthy entities, like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation. Is it possible for the country to change direction when it comes to education?

Diane Ravitch: I think over time we will change course. I wouldn’t continue to be in the midst of this struggle if I thought it was impossible.

More and more people are starting to understand what the end game is with this reform, which is to destroy the commons, to destroy what belongs to all of us, and to replace it with these choices. They are not even very good choices. I mean, the stories about corrupt charters… The Detroit Free Press had a weeklong series about how the state of Michigan spends a billion dollars a year on charters, and they don’t do any better than the regular public schools. And among them are the charters where there’s nepotism, conflict of interest, self-dealing, fraud, and corruption. Neighborhood public schools are being destroyed in order to, in some cases, line the pockets of people who are of dubious morality. This isn’t what people pay taxes for.

My favorite story at the moment happens to be a trial that occurred recently in Ohio, where a pastor and his wife started a charter school, and he was arrested and brought to trial because over a million dollars was diverted to his church and to businesses that he owned. And his lawyer’s defense was that he wasn’t an educator, he didn’t really know what he was doing, and he saw easy money and greed got the better of him. That was his defense! Greed got the better of him. All of those millions are just lying there for the taking.

The usual fraud is when the charter company buys the school property and then rents it back to itself and charges the state a million dollars or so in rent so that the actual money that’s being made is not on the tuition but on the leases. There’s a lot of money that’s being made that way. People are very ingenious. There have been stories about the charters in South Florida, where one chain in particular has acquired over $100 million in properties. And all of it, the public money, belongs to them.

Guernica: These are funds that are being diverted from the local public schools?

Diane Ravitch: Of course. It’s all public money. The League of Women Voters did a report on charters in Florida, and they pointed out the number of people in the legislature who are in the charter industry, or who are married to someone who runs a charter chain, or who have a sister who is in the charter business—and yet they are in charge of making decisions about how much money is going to go to charters. So the charter people—and this goes for those running virtual charters, too—they have been very clever about lobbying and placing friends in key positions in the legislature.

The biggest charter chain is associated with a Turkish imam, the Gülen charters. If you look up Fethullah Gülen, he’s very involved in Turkish politics and he lives in the Poconos. Fethullah Gülen leads a movement in Turkey which is very much at odds with the prime minister. He has a major political movement, and he also has about 120 charter schools in the US. They bring in Turkish teachers, and some of them can barely speak English, but they come in as math and science teachers. In Ohio, they have a lot of Gülen schools, and they take the legislators on free trips to Turkey. There are more Gülen schools in Texas than anywhere else. The FBI is investigating the Gülen schools.

I mean, someone could make a movie about this and it would be unbelievable.

It’s all unbelievable stuff. We used to have a public-school system where the money was devoted to the kids. Now we have public money being diverted to private businesses—to, in this case, a business that has roots in Turkey.

Birthday in about 2 hours…

I am the way I am. Mostly happy, mostly hopeful. Worried about my kid going off to college. Worried about taking care of my Donna. But there are some things I don’t worry about and for that I am thankful.

Things I am glad about:

finding this wonderful woman so I could stop the search.

this great kid in my life

the robust health of my parents

the relationship I have with my brother now

the fact that all these people love me.

I am thankful about so many things.

Genetti breaks

Act 1 ends when

-the boys throw in with Garcia and take Kate to the border to make Bible movies

-the cavalry chases them out of Los Angeles

-Edison faces court challenges in the east and can’t afford a scandal

Act 2 ends when

-the boys and Kate abandon Mexico (give Primo a girl) and head back to Los Angeles

-Edison has sent Cortland out to L.A. to hunt down patent breakers icw with the cavalry

-Bennett still wants Kate and has the law on his side; she killed his man, can keep her out of prison if she’ll be his property

Act 3 ends when

-The boys have made their masterpiece and have their own company

-Cortland is dead, GOING OFF A CLIFF DURING A BIG CAVALRY CHASE SCENE

(THEY’RE MAKING A COWBOYS AND INDIANS MOVIE. THE REAL CAVALRY IS PLAYING ITSELF WITHOUT KNOWING THEY’RE IN A MOVIE. MEXICANS PLAY THE INDIANS (they asked the Indians to be in it and they weren’t interested…)

-Edison is forced to give up his monopoly and tries to throw in with the former outlaws out West, via Weller

Last scene:

still

The boys show their movie on opening night, the lights come up…

as the lights go off in Edison’s MPPC office in NY

So…

ecc haul kilt twins hoverhands goodvape kays fudgewell, I’ve been busy. ANd there’s a stack, a huge stack of essays in front of me to grade by midnight.

So.

What better time to post on my blog.

Work: I am doing well. My two lower-level classes are yielding diamonds in the rough. If I can get them to realize that they are not stupid, that they just haven’t been listened to or paid attention to in the right way, then they can come up with some surprisingly good work.  My not-intending-to-go-to-college seniors are settling into the fact that, no, I do not get drunk before class or ignore the dumb things they do. And if a student keeps insisting on ditching… Well, have at it. You’re repeating, what, THREE English classes this semester because you can’t show up for class? Let me explain how that works; we’ll use excerpts from ‘Outliers’ to illustrate.

(and note that. Yes, the district won’t be buying new textbooks for at least three years and the idea is to ‘reap’ new materials from wherever. Do I feel bad about using materials this way? Yes. It’ll make my kids smarter and I get to read the book as we go. Eventually, someone will figure out what is going on with copyright stuff and the district will get sued. Lessons will be learned. I’ll retire in 12ish years.)

Friday, my buddy and neighbor-teacher came in. We greeted each other, we hugged, and a kid I’d never noticed before said clearly and distinctly: “Faggots.”

Buddy heard it, I kind of heard it but couldn’t ID who did it. Luckily, a kid was VERY upset about that term and dropped that dime so hard it curved the Earth’s orbit.

Now, what am I gonna do to this kid?

Ponder, ponder, ponder…

Most of me want to do this: pull him out of class on Monday and say

“listen, I heard what you said. I didn’t want to stop the class or embarass my friend at the time. Now, though, it’s YOUR time and your call. I’ve already checked with the administration and they’re okay with this, so let me tell you how it’s going to go. You’ve violated the rule about insulting me, you’ve violated the rule about denigrating other groups, the rule about using offensive language, the rule about not violating rules when a visitor or any kind enters. In short, you’re done.

You have until 4th period, about 2 hours from now, to come up with a plan to prove to me that you are sorry about what happened. But- I want to hear what YOU think is a good way to show me, the class and my buddy that you very much regret what you said. If not, let’s go by what the administration told me to do with you.”

(and I’ll just let that hang there.)

“I want you to consider the fact that LBGT kids are 4 times more likely to commit suicide. I want you to consider our firm stance on bullying. I want you to think about sexual harassment and its effects in the workplace. I want you to consider the fact that you offended me NOT because you called me gay- if I were gay, I’d be REALLY, REALLY gay and I’d be the best at it (just as I am at being straight) – but that you tried to insult me in my workplace to see what would happen. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I’ll see you in two hours. Don’t get lost, that’ll make things worse.”

And I’ll ask that the admins okay a plan for him to write a paper based on the Trevor Project http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

and present his findings to the class and maybe the Gay Straight Student Alliance group.

In other news…

The vape convention was a lot of fun. I had a choice: be rudely greedy and grab a TON of free stuff, or be myself and merely get so much that I eventually went home because I couldn’t carry anymore. I chose the latter. Wore my black kilt (pockets, many many pockets, oh, and comfort in the heat) and met some very nice people. And yes, Mom: my nicotine level has dropped. But I still like the flavors.

Wife: is very nice. She looked so French the other night when she was talking to my mother. Sometimes she looks so French but she acts very Vermont. I love that.

Kid: working a lot, seems to like a new girl? Better be keeping up his grades! I guess we’re focused on CSUFullerton. Close enough to drive if he needs some ramen, far enough to have some independence.

Writing: okay, my goal is to have three fully-proofed and graphed scripts for the next Nicholl in April/May. I think The Birth of Hollywood is one. The Deep might be another. After that…remake of 3 Days Of The Condor? Teacher Of The Year, now with the cheating trial in Atlanta as the focus? Higher? There are others.

My three main stars guiding my ship:

1. Consistency. I am trying to write every night; if I don’t want to write one, I go to the others.

2. Foresight. My plan is outline first, then chart acts and subplots and relationships. Then a scene ON EACH every night BEFORE I GO SHOPPING ON EBAY AND BROWSING REDDIT. Make an appointment with myself to build them.

3. Hope, that and Faith. NO, I’m nobody’s pet. I have one contact in the industry who kinda likes me. But there was a time when I was very good at this. Potential is a muscle and I plan to massage it and give it tons of protein over the next six months. I hope to become a legend, the old, fat English teacher who came out of nowhere and THAT’S the real Cinderella story.

I’ve got papers to grade.

Genetti 9-10-14

 

1. Boys ushered out of meeting with Weller, arguing about what went wrong.

2. Weller talking to Edison about the innovation the boys just tried to sell/license to him- their camera holds TEN TIMES what Edison’s can hold and the film didn’t tear, not once. Edison says that Weller should see if something can be done. Weller finds Cortland…

3. Boys are making the bath-tub scene. Cortland comes in with thugs and things get to Sean Cortland dead, Primo half-dead and they’re on the train to L.A.

4. Sean’s funeral, Cortland’s rage.

5. Weller and Cortland: Weller sympathizes, offers Cortland a chance for revenge: just find the camera, they probably stole it AND they killed your boy. Bring the camera back and you’ll be Edison’s hero and who cares what happens to a pair of dago murdering thieves?

6. Boys arrive in L.A. They meet Gino the restaurant owner and find out how desperate things are for finding work.

7. Cortland busting up NY pirate theater (and it’s the old Edison nickelodeon, look down into the binoculars kind) and asking where the dagos are.

8. Carlo’s boxing match. Garcia films it as he wins. Primo and Garcia talk after the fight.

9. Celebrating the win at the brothel where Kate works. Primo is in love with her at first sight, but when a customer gets fresh with her (one of Bennett’s men), it’s Carlo who steps in and defends her honor.

10. Edison putting the heat on Weller. Edison is trying to replicate Primo’s invention and he keeps failing (the mechanism was covered up when Weller saw it). Edison tells Weller: if they went to Washington and applied for a patent, it’ll be he (Edison) kissing their dago asses to license it and that simply cannot happen. 

11. Primo spends time with Garcia, shows him the camera with the loop, while Carlo spends time with Kate just walking and talking, Kate’s past and Bennett’s obsession; they talk about Carlo’s next fight.

12. Cortland demands that Weller send him west. The dagos have obviously left NYC and Cortland wants revenge. Weller tells him that Edison has called his friends at the War Department and the Army is looking for them. Cortland wants to be told the minute they’re found, he wants to be in on the kill.

13. Carlo’s next fight- he gets beaten badly and they lose all the money they had.

14. Captain Folger of the western cavalry tells his troops that they will be hunting ‘foreign socialist murderers’ and that there is a reward from Mr Thomas A Edison himself if they are captured, dead or alive.

15. Garcia makes his pitch- Bible movies with tits, etc, – to Carlo while he’s in bed from his last fight. Carlo turns him down.

16. Folger and a few men ride into Los Angeles Little Italy, passing around pictures of the Genettis and asking where they are.

17. Garcia goes to the boys and sneaks them out of the hotel in a wagon, takes them out of town.

18. Carlo looks at the wanted poster and tells Primo that they can’t go back to L.A. Primo says he won’t go without the camera? Without saying goodbye to Kate? Better with Kate. Primo grudgingly agrees.

19. When they arrive, Kate is fighting off another attempt at kidnapping by Bennett. She grabs one of her abductor’s guns, pulls it out- bang, the man’s dead. The boys grab Kate and sweep her out of there, back to Garcia’s little place.

20. Kate cries, she killed a man and she can’t go back- Bennett will have her one way or the other, he’ll pull strings and she’ll belong to him. Carlo says she should go with them, with Garcia, and make Bible movies- but across the border in Mexico. He gives good reasons why they should go and they agree

Deep Time. beats.

1. 2100: supervisor taking congressman on tour into the dig, explaining the construction, the levels, how the heat from the piles will power the whole thing until the radioactivity dies off. M (for mention) failed plan to ship everything to the Moon, mention the high cost versus the danger of leaving all this stuff lying around. M the time frame, 10,000 years and the place will be forgotten, how are they going to protect it.  We don’t even speak the same English we did a thousand years ago, how can we plan for ten thousand years?’ The supervisor says that’s been worked out, but he doesn’t know how, he’s just been told it’s foolproof. They exit and we see the statues ready to be erected at the entrance: the President and ?

2. The statues are nubs, worn away by sand and wind. The camera goes down, down the long ladder, into caverns: water distilleries, greenhouses, kitchens, armories, school, hospital, chapel, etc. At the bottom is The Heart, where SONOMA leads a meeting of department heads; FRESNO, the head of the priests, watches. Things are running fine, but Sonoma wants sentries posted; there was an attack a few months ago and a sentry was kidnapped and Sonoma was injured. M: the taboo of being on the surface, a necessary evil but everyone dreads going up there. Show: very simple lives, using things that don’t wear out; weapons are swords and lances.

3. ‘Night'; getting ready for bed. Sonoma eats with her husband, DALLAS, and daughters. The adults talk about the attack- does Sonoma have any aftereffects from the tumble she took during the attack, when the upper level shook? She says no and talks about something else

As a bed time story, Dallas reads to the girls, he reads the story of why they live down here and the religious foundations of how they live.

A sound starts playing, the lights dim and everyone starts getting into bed.

4. The lights are out, everyone is asleep- and Sonoma sits up in bed. She looks around, gets out of bed- then walks out, down the empty halls, to a door that should be locked- but the lock has worn out. She heads up a ladder, a long ladder.

5. At the top, Sonoma sits and looks around at the night. She sees a glow over the rim of the canyon; she watches it for a long time.

6.In the morning, Fresno and the other priests pull Sonoma into a private area and tell her: they know that she’s been up to the surface. Fresno has the ultimate authority in the Deep as the leader of the priests and he charges her with treason: she’s obviously been up there meeting with the Outsiders. He has her knocked out-

7. And she comes to consciousness on the surface, alone. She pounds on the door, screams- nothing. Crying, she starts to walk. Almost dead, she stumbles out to the rim and is captured by masked Outlanders. She fights and is knocked out.

8. She comes to in a hut with BURLINGTON, the guard who was kidnapped. He feeds her -the first time she’s ever tasted meat!- and tells her how things are out here…

Genetti Beats

1. Boys ushered out of meeting with Weller, arguing about what went wrong.

2. Weller talking to Edison about the innovation the boys just tried to sell/license to him- their camera holds TEN TIMES what Edison’s can hold and the film didn’t tear, not once. Edison says that Weller should see if something can be done. Weller finds Cortland…

3. Boys are making the bath-tub scene. Cortland comes in with thugs and things get to Sean Cortland dead, Primo half-dead and they’re on the train to L.A.

4. Sean’s funeral, Cortland’s rage.

5. Weller and Cortland: Weller sympathizes, offers Cortland a chance for revenge: just find the camera, they probably stole it AND they killed your boy. Bring the camera back and you’ll be Edison’s hero and who cares what happens to a pair of dago murdering thieves?

6. Boys arrive in L.A. They meet Gino the restaurant owner and find out how desperate things are for finding work.

7. Cortland busting up NY pirate theater (and it’s the old Edison nickelodeon, look down into the binoculars kind) and asking where the dagos are.

8. Carlo’s boxing match. Garcia films it as he wins. Primo and Garcia talk after the fight.

9. Celebrating the win at the brothel where Kate works. Primo is in love with her at first sight, but when a customer gets fresh with her (one of Bennett’s men), it’s Carlo who steps in and defends her honor.

10. Edison putting the heat on Weller. Edison is trying to replicate Primo’s invention and he keeps failing (the mechanism was covered up when Weller saw it). Edison tells Weller: if they went to Washington and applied for a patent, it’ll be he (Edison) kissing their dago asses to license it and that simply cannot happen. 

11. Primo spends time with Garcia, shows him the camera with the loop, while Carlo spends time with Kate just walking and talking, Kate’s past and Bennett’s obsession; they talk about Carlo’s next fight.

12. Cortland demands that Weller send him west. The dagos have obviously left NYC and Cortland wants revenge. Weller tells him that Edison has called his friends at the War Department and the Army is looking for them. Cortland wants to be told the minute they’re found, he wants to be in on the kill.

13. Carlo’s next fight- he gets beaten badly and they lose all the money they had.

14. Captain Folger of the western cavalry tells his troops that they will be hunting ‘foreign socialist murderers’ and that

 

Genetti: Beats. starting…279 words, but it’s a start.

1. Boys ushered out of meeting with Weller, arguing about what went wrong.

2. Weller talking to Edison about the innovation the boys just tried to sell/license to him- their camera holds TEN TIMES what Edison’s can hold and the film didn’t tear, not once. Edison says that Weller should see if something can be done. Weller finds Cortland…

3. Boys are making the bath-tub scene. Cortland comes in with thugs and things get to Sean Cortland dead, Primo half-dead and they’re on the train to L.A.

4. Sean’s funeral, Cortland’s rage.

5. Weller and Cortland: Weller sympathizes, offers Cortland a chance for revenge: just find the camera, they probably stole it AND they killed your boy. Bring the camera back and you’ll be Edison’s hero and who cares what happens to a pair of dago murdering thieves?

6. Boys arrive in L.A. They meet Gino the restaurant owner and find out how desperate things are for finding work.

7. Cortland busting up NY pirate theater (and it’s the old Edison nickelodeon, look down into the binoculars kind) and asking where the dagos are.

8. Carlo’s boxing match. Garcia films it as he wins.

9. Celebrating the win at the brothel where Kate works. Primo is in love with her at first sight, but when a customer gets fresh with her, it’s Carlo who steps in and defends her honor.

10. Edison putting the heat on Weller. Edison is trying to replicate Primo’s invention and he keeps failing (the mechanism was covered up when Weller saw it). Edison tells Weller: if they went to Washington and applied for a patent, it’ll be he (Edison) kissing their dago asses to license it and that simply cannot happen. 

Taking these one at a time. Title of the post is the Movie. Constance.

Constance is a reader for the NSA. She reads books and stories from other countries and ferrets out the facts and the ideas that US intelligence can use. She speaks five languages, but she’s never been out of the States. She is very timid and shy, but in her head, she is a Valkyrie.

-so, why would someone want to kill her?

She found…something, maybe something she doesn’t even know she has found, some idea or plan buried in a novel. It’s about water and how governments in the Middle East are planning to starve out some regions to force people off the land, opening it for exploitation.

Or it’s in Spanish and it’s about a plan to make Cuba surrender and welcome US salvation from a horrible crisis (ebola? something like ebola).

But whatever it was, she did some digging and found that the author had hinted in interviews that he had some contacts with high-level officials and truth can be stranger than fiction…the author died in an accident a few months ago. Constance has sent out reports saying that this could be something where the author might ahve revealed too much in his booka nd might have been killed for it. 

And one day, her office gets hit.

 

My secret plan.

I shouldn’t say this. I am going to curse myself for this. 

 

 

 

 

I will have three finished scripts ready for the next Nicholl. Genetti, Constance, Deep Time, Higher and the new idea about terrorism.

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