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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Alcoholism: A family disease with a cure BOOK REVIEW of Bill Borchert's How I Became My Father ... A Drunk!

How I became my father…a drunk, A memoir by William G. Borchert (BOOK REVIEW)

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Alcoholism is often seen to run in families. In fact, research shows that a family history of alcoholism increases the risk of alcohol use disorder by 50%. While scientists may call it the “alcoholism gene” there is usually more to the story that just genetics.

The inspirational true story, “How I Became My Father…A Drunk” portrays a family impacted by the devastating disease of alcoholism for generations, but has a happy ending. Why is this book a honest and intimate must-read? How can it help anyone who reads it find hope, get in the shoes of an alcoholic, and understand the impact alcoholism has on families and loved ones?

We review this book here. At the end, we invite you to share your questions and comments as we try to provide personal and prompt responses to all legitimate inquiries.

6 truths about alcoholism and alcoholics

In How I Became My Father…A Drunk, Bill Brochert takes us on a journey that begins in his childhood living in a family impacted by his father’s alcoholism. It takes us through his youth when he starts drinking and into his adult years where he discovers 12 Step meetings and gets sober.

This story that evolves through a long stretch of time allows us to sneak a peak at some typical situations in the lives of active alcoholics and their close family and friends. Moreover, it shows how the effects of alcoholism are transgenerational and can influence anyone that finds him or herself in its path.
Here are some general truths I recognized in this book.

1. Alcoholism is a disease.

You know that there is something dysfunctional about the family portrayed in this book from the very start. Bill’s father can be constantly found in Moochie’s Bar and Grill. The family moves from place to place to be able to pay out debts and keep food on the table, yet Bill’s dad keeps on drinking every day.

One characteristic of alcoholism is continued drinking despite negative consequences. Eventually, the brain and body become dependent on alcohol for normal function. In the story, Bill’s father will continue drinking even as his brothers and drinking buddies pass away due to the same disease. This behavior will continue to inflict great pain to Bill, his mom, and his brother and sisters.

Later on, as Bill starts his relationships with alcohol, he will find himself moving his wife and children from one to another smaller house, owing large amounts of money to sharks, struggling to pay the bills, and even at a point living in his mother-in-law’s basement.

2. Alcoholics are not bad people.

We tend to view drunks as evil people. But the author manages to capture the other side. Bill’s dad will always try to compensate for his problem drinking. He tries to win the family’s affection in many ways: buying a new car, taking them to a carnival, organizing something special for Bill’s birthdays, etc. In fact, he will unsuccessfully attempt to quit drinking many times (right before he goes back to drinking), and in these sober times he is a very different and loving person.

3. Codependency is a real issue.

Out of shame and fear of losing face and the only income the family has, Bill’s mom will call the newspaper to lie and cover for his dad whenever he’s been drinking too much. She will also lie to relatives, try to keep the family’s image in front of neighbours, and for a long time act as if there is nothing wrong in front of the children. Many of these behaviors only enable the drinker.

4. Alcoholics are good liars and deceivers.

Although deep down they may be good, honest people, alcoholics will try to disguise their problems and would rather not talk about it. Bill will lie to his wife and to his employers. He will also deceive bar owners where he would frequent for several days just to get acquainted and then he’d say he lost his wallet or forgot he didn’t have any money. After such event, he would usually never show up there again.

5. Blaming fuels problem drinking.

As he starts drinking, Bill believes that the bad things that happen in his life are a result of bad luck. He places an external locus of control for what goes wrong. Progressively, everything is someone else’s fault. Moreover, everyone and everything becomes a reason to drink.

This is the vicious downward spiral that many people can relate to: your drinking causes problems in your life → you can’t deal with the pressure of those problems → you will drink because the horrible circumstances “force” you to.

6. Self-pity and a sense of entitlement are present during alcoholism.

As a spiraling alcoholic, Bill is a victim of what we now know as “stinking thinking”. Oftentimes, he will start to feel bad about the things that he does to his wife and children, but the only way he know how to soothe this pain is by grabbing a drink. He develops a bizarre sense of entitlement thinking that he’s not paid enough money at his job, so he starts to cover his private expenses with the newspaper’s money.

Sobriety: The power to turn your life around

As the disease of alcoholism gradually and insidiously strips everything away from Bill, he will find the strength needed to get help. In fact, it is his wife that will have the strength to stay with him and support him, and his mother-in-law that will have the faith to never give up on believing that he’s a good, but a sick man.

After one unsuccessful attempt to quit drinking, Bill will start to work the 12 Steps. Soon, things start going for the better. He can take his life back into his hands, pay out debts, and eventually save up to buy much better and bigger houses and progress in his career. The true blessings, however, come from the gifts that he is able to give others, like finally leading his father along into sobriety, making his mom happy by giving her the loving husband she always wanted, caring for their children and family, and helping out other people struggling with alcoholism.

Why we like this book?

William (Bill) G. Borchert is a great writer! This is a book that you will pick up and not be able to put down. His narrative is rich and simple, and you can feel he poured his heart and soul out into every sentence, page, described event.
Here is what I find to be the most important lessons from How I Became My Father…A Drunk:

1. Alcoholism is a disease with genetic predispositions. If you add up the environment that is the alcoholic household, as well as peer pressure, the road has been paved towards developing an alcoholic problem. Bill despised his father’s drinking and what it had done to the family, yet that wasn’t powerful enough to keep him from making the same mistakes.

2. The partners of addicts are extraordinary people. It is even incomprehensible where they find the strength to hold everything together as it all falls apart due to drinking. Bill’s mom and wife both are repeatedly loosing hope, feeling embarrassed and afraid, being lied to and disappointed. They tried to keep it all together, care for the kids, and pray for a miracle (a miracle which in their case eventually happens).

Becoming a drunk or getting sober: Do you have questions?

Do you have something that you’d like to ask or add? Have you read, “How I Became My Father…A Drunk?” Feel free to post your thoughts and questions in the comments section at the end of the page. We try to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.

About the Author

William G. Borchert is an Emmy nominated screenwriter for the movie “My name is Bill W.” a story about the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous that won three Emmy Awards. He also wrote the screenplay for the movie, “When Love Is Not Enough”. Bill is an entertaining and informative speaker, carrying his own message of recovery to medical groups, college campuses, large business organizations and recovery conventions across the country. He is also a Trustee of the non-profit Willingway Foundation in Statesboro, Georgia that sponsors and supports college students in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction and also holds workshops to help educate and fight against the stigma of addiction.


Read more at Addiction Blog

Monday, December 5, 2016

Dennis Palumbo's Essay In Equality

Dennis Palumbo's Essay will Appear in an upcoming Collection on the topic of equality due out in February of 2017.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

A Tribute to the Printer Aldus Manutius, and the Roots of the Paperback [via Doug Fetterly]

CURIOUS strollers in early-16th-century Venice might have paused by the shop of the great printer Aldus Manutius only to be scared off by a stern warning posted over the door.
“Whoever you are, Aldus asks you again and again what it is you want from him,” it read. “State your business briefly, and then immediately go away.”

To state the current business at hand briefly, Aldus is the subject of a new exhibition commemorating the 500th anniversary of his death — and the birth of reading as we know it.

Aldus has attracted some pop-culture attention in recent years, at least among those with a geekish taste for printing history. The novel “The Rule of Four” gave his most famous book, the enigmatic “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,” an upmarket “Da Vinci Code” treatment in 2004. There was also Robin Sloan’s 2012 best seller, “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore,” which turned Aldus into the founder of a shadowy secret society headed for an apocalyptic showdown with Google.

The exhibition that opened this week at the Grolier Club in Manhattan, “Aldus Manutius: A Legacy More Lasting Than Bronze,” gathers nearly 150 Aldines, as books from the press Aldus founded in Venice in 1494 are known, for a more sober tribute. Gutenberg may have invented the movable-type printing press, used to create his monumental Bibles. But anyone who has ever sat in a cafe, or in the bath, with a paperback owes a debt to Aldus and the small, cleanly designed editions of the secular classics he called libelli portatiles, or portable little books.
“It’s become a cliché to call them the forerunners of the Penguin Classics,” G. Scott Clemons, the president of the Grolier Club, said during a recent tour of the installation in progress. “But the concept of personal reading is in some ways directly traceable to the innovations of Aldus’s portable library.”

The exhibition, organized by Mr. Clemons and H. George Fletcher, a former curator of rare books at the New York Public Library and the Morgan Library, is a gallery of bragging rights. Aldus was the first to print Aristotle, Thucydides, Herodotus and Sophocles, among others in the Greek canon. He was possibly the first printer to compare manuscripts to arrive at the most reliable text. He was the first to use italic type. He was the first to use the semicolon in its modern sense.

And then there were the unwitting firsts, like what may be the earliest known version of “This page left intentionally blank,” preserved in a 1513 edition of the Greek orators included in the show, along with instructions to the binder to remove the extra leaf.

“He printed the instructions in Latin and Greek,” Mr. Clemons said. “But of course bookbinders couldn’t read Latin or Greek.”

Aldus, born in the Papal States around 1452, trained as a humanist scholar and worked as a tutor in aristocratic households before taking up printing in the 1490s. It was a moment of upheaval in reading roughly equivalent to our own digitally disrupted age. And Venice was the Silicon Valley of printing, home to dozens of shops locked in cutthroat competition.

The Aldine Press, in its start-up phase, emphasized Greek and Latin lexicons and grammar manuals. In 1495, Aldus began publishing the first printed edition of Aristotle. In 1501, he released the first of his small octavo editions of the classics, books “that could be held in the hand and learned by heart (not to speak of being read) by everyone,” as he later wrote. The show includes 20 libelli portatiles, all bearing Aldus’s printer’s mark, a dolphin curled around an anchor. (The colophon is still used today by Doubleday.) Some of the books were treated as treasures, and customized with magnificent decoration that harked back to the tradition of illuminated manuscripts. Others were workaday volumes, filled with marginal scribbles.

The exhibition also includes examples of Aldus’s larger-format work, including the “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili” (1499), sometimes said to be the most beautiful — and the most unreadable — book ever printed.
The book, a densely allegorical erotic love story attributed to Francesco Colonna, is celebrated for its integration of gracefully shaped typography and elegant woodcuts. But visitors to the Grolier would be forgiven for letting their eyes go straight to the famously excited ithyphallic (to use the scholarly term) god Priapus standing at attention, as it were. The book is displayed cracked open a modest halfway to that page, directly across the room from a 1547 medical encyclopedia open to a passage discussing the uses of cannabis.

“We wanted the show to have both sex and drugs,” Mr. Clemons explained.

Most of Aldus’s contributions to the art of printing are more subtle, like that first italic typeface, which he created with the type cutter Francesco Griffo, a shadowy fellow who broke with Aldus acrimoniously and then slugged a man to death with an iron bar before reputedly meeting his own demise at the end of a hangman’s rope. Italics, which were intended to mimic the humanist handwriting of the day, first appeared in a modest five words in a 1500 edition of the letters of St. Catherine and soon spread to other Aldines, and beyond.

And then there was the roman typeface devised for a 1496 book by the humanist scholar Pietro Bembo — the inspiration for the modern font Bembo, still treasured by book designers for its grace and readability.
“The book itself is almost frivolous,” Mr. Clemons said of the text, which recounts a trip to Mount Etna. “But it launched that very modern typeface.”

The libelli portatiles also attracted less flattering imitations. Aldus, who had secured special printing privileges from the Vatican, was plagued by counterfeiters, despite the warnings on his title pages that those who made unauthorized copies would be excommunicated.

Things got so bad that in 1503 he printed a broadside warning consumers of the telltale marks of fake Aldines, including specific textual errors, low-quality paper with “a heavy odor” and typography that exuded, as he put it, a sort of “Gallicitas,” or “Frenchiness.” (Many counterfeits came from Lyon.)

“The counterfeiters just said, ‘Thank you very much,’ corrected their errors, and kept printing fakes,” Mr. Clemons said.

While putting together the show, Mr. Clemons identified one previously unknown counterfeit, a 1501 Virgil printed on vellum and held by Princeton University. “It was immediately obvious,” Mr. Clemons said. “It was Frenchy.”
Aldus died in 1515, and the press was taken over by his father-in-law and then by his son Paulus. The center of printing had begun migrating north, but the press continued to produce some important editions, including the first printed Greek Bible, the Septuagint, in 1518, and the official proceedings of the Council of Trent.

Aldus’s grandson, known as Aldus the Younger, took sole control in 1574, but “the gene pool had run very shallow,” Mr. Fletcher said.

By 1579, Aldines carried a list of still-available titles printed in the back. “You can almost imagine him looking over his shoulder at the unsold books piling up,” Mr. Clemons said.

In a last-ditch effort to save the press, Aldus the Younger accepted a commission from Pope Sixtus V for a new Latin Bible, only to produce a rush job so riddled with errors — about 4,900, Mr. Fletcher noted grimly — that it was suppressed.

“Sixtus died, and the new pope said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ ” Mr. Fletcher said. (The book, which includes carefully pasted-in printed corrections, is now among the rarer Aldines.)

The press closed for good in 1597. But Aldines, which survive in the tens of thousands, have exerted an unflagging hold on collectors, from Jean Grolier, the Renaissance bibliophile for whom the club is named, to the two curators, whose personal loans make up the bulk of the show.

Mr. Clemons, a managing partner at the financial firm Brown Brothers Harriman, bought the first of the roughly 1,000 Aldines in his collection while an undergraduate classics major. “It may now finally be worth what I paid,” he joked.

Mr. Fletcher, who acquired the first of his 125 Aldines when he was 16, summed up their allure with what might be called Aldine understatement.

“Aldus was a person with a strong aesthetic sense who was also able to work with common sense,” he said. “This is an almost completely unknown phenomenon, even today.”

Reposted From The New York Times

Friday, December 2, 2016

Ruby Rose and Jessica McNamee Wrap MEG!

Taking to Instagram on Wednesday evening, Ruby shared a snap of herself alongside Jessica as the pair prepared to leave New Zealand.

Captioning the shot, she wrote: 'Last day of #megmovie with the greatest most hilarious yet talented fellow Aussie @jessica_mcnamee.'

Ruby Rose on the set of MEG @rubyrosezone

Ruby Rose and Li Bing Bing

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


What is a sizzle reel and how can someone use one to pitch a reality show or drama?

A sizzle reel is basically a teaser or sampler of a program that’s used as an outline by the creator. The term came out of reality programming because you need a sizzle reel to sell a reality TV show. A sizzle reel is usually three minutes at the most and it’s supposed to be an exciting, well-edited teaser that gives you a vision of what the program is and what it is intended to be. In theory, the reel gives you a strong inkling of how the program will continue and how it will go beyond its pilot episode. Sizzle reels can introduce characters as well as convey the excitement and points of interest within the show.

Knowing how to make a decent sizzle reel is extremely important but very, very difficult because if you’re not actually in show business you don’t know what companies are looking for. Learning how to put one together is an extremely beneficial way of getting into the industry and it’s a great way to show what you have to offer.

If someone had a sizzle reel, would they then upload it on Vimeo or YouTube? Would it also be included in a pitch to a producer?

Yes, it’s important to send it everywhere you can. You can come up with a log line, or short pitch, that would get producers to watch it. Do a short version for Instagram. YouTube is definitely a great tool. People scour YouTube all the time looking for ideas for movies. Facebook is also good. It’s important to send it it in whatever way you can. If you have an email list, send it to everyone. Ask people to share it, pass it on.

Excerpt from Jeff Rivera's HuffPost Interview with Ken Atchity

Monday, November 28, 2016

Author Leah Downing Reviews Ken Atchity's Sell Your Story Hollywood!


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 As someone getting into the business of Hollywood, I found Sell Your Story to Hollywood: Writer's Pocket Guide to the Business of Show Business by Dr. Ken Atchity to be a must-read. Atchity offers encouragement to the writer coupled with a practical roadmap of a shifting & exciting business. There are too many gems in this book to go over in just one review, but highlights include: 

·         Where to register your idea FOR FREE for protection of your intellectual property.

·         A comprehensive list of industry definitions- literally a language unto itself!

·         Current, relevant films and books to model. This I loved…every other book I’ve read in this genre only offers material produced prior to 2000.

Sell Your Story to Hollywood shot to the top of my “favorites” tool bar for constant reference. 

-Leah Downing author of Catch a Falling Star #1 Bestseller on Amazon & 2016 WINNER in Cross Genre Fiction, Beverly Hills International Book Awards®

Saturday, November 26, 2016

ON THE MAP Theatrical Premiere Saturday, November 26th, 7:50 PM, at Laemmle Royal

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We are excited to open ON THE MAP this weekend (starting today!) at Laemmle Royal and share our new great reviews:


This is a reminder that ON THE MAP Theatrical Premiere will take place Saturday, November 26th, 7:50 PM, at Laemmle Royal, 11523 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA.
Please RSVP for limited complimentary tickets.
ON THE MAP is playing 5 times daily during the weekend including Q and A. Screenings continue through the week.

Here's the trailer and ticket information: 
With much gratitude!

Dani Menkin & ON THE MAP Team!

Event invitation

Theatrical Premiere of ON THE MAP
Saturday, November 26th at 7:50 PM
Laemmle's Royal
11523 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

Warren Woodruff dream comes true when he meets Carol Burnett