Sunday, May 29, 2011

Got White Space?

Since President Obama announced the details of his National Broadband Plan, online news editors have been breaking out in hives.

The announcement came last spring: National Broadband

Now that it is being implemented, editors are frantically asking "What will we do with the white space?"

“White space” is a term used by many national print newspapers and magazines that need some kind of fill (article) to complete the newspaper’s content. When they have too much white space, they will resort to printing a lame story like “Stray Politicians Checking Into Cheap Motels Are Warned by Homeland Security Not to Sign-in as Lars Vilks” or "What Did Horace J. Digby Jr. Mean When he Said 'You only need one real stroke of genius to make it through life . . . Gee I hope that wasn't mine!" just to fill the remainder or white space.

If its just a small amount of white space needed, you will notice that the text in the newspaper or magazine is a tad larger than usual or column lines are a bit shorter at the end of each page.

You will also see newsletters filling white space with blurbs from Canadians bragging about their Olympic prowess.

With broadband technology, the white space can now refer to either seconds of broadcast time or "fills" for text content. You will be glad to know that The Onion has found an ingenious solution for filling broadcast time, so we can all keep up with current events 24x7:

Breaking News: Some Bullshit Happening Somewhere

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Interview with W. Bruce Cameron

by Rose A. Valenta

Photo courtesy of W. Bruce Cameron, Cathryn Michon, and Tucker

I was so pleased when W. Bruce Cameron granted me an interview. I have admired his work for many years, especially after the success of his sitcom 8 Simple Rules in 2001. I met him at the 2006 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop where he gave the keynote address and autographed his book for me. I was impressed with the ease in which he spoke to the entire group for over an hour. I had been struggling with public speaking jitters, so I was focused on his performance. It was flawless, as if he was born with a mic in his fist and an innate talent for effective communication. I asked him about it later, he just shrugged and said, “I Just do it.”

Although Bruce is on top of his game now, the journey to success has not come easy. He worked at a variety of day jobs to support his family while simultaneously submitting manuscripts to literary agents, but he always knew that his true passion was being a writer. He wrote his first short story in the fourth grade and sold his first short story to a publisher when he was only 16 years old, so he knew. In college, he worked on the literary magazine and Westminster student newspaper. However, it wasn’t until 1995 that he managed to get his "Cameron Column" syndicated via the Rocky Mountain News. Then, in 2001 with some help with a book proposal, he published his first blockbuster 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter, which was immediately chosen for both a Disney feature film and the popular sitcom. The story was based on Bruce’s real-life family adventure - father of three.

Bruce has also written How to Remodel a Man, 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter, A Dog’s Purpose, and Emory’s Gift, which is scheduled to be released in September 2011. He won the 2006 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor and has twice received the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) Award for Best Humor Columnist . He was recently named Best Columnist of the Year by the NSNC. I will be attending the awards dinner at the NSNC “Rebound in Motown” Conference in Detroit, to congratulate him personally on June 24th.

Bruce’s nationally syndicated column is published in more than 50 newspapers. His fiction debut, A Dog’s Purpose, is a New York Times, USA Today, and Los Angeles Times bestseller and is soon to be a major live-action film from DreamWorks Studios. He will be writing the screenplay for DreamWorks with his beautiful new wife, actress Cathryn Michon. Again, the story is based on a real-life interest in animal rescue, thanks to his daughter, 28-year-old Georgia Lee. She is the founder and president of Life is Better Rescue, a non-profit rescue organization. No date is set for the release date of the film.

Following is my interview with Bruce:


How did you get started as a writer?
That’s almost like asking me how I got started as a human. For as long as I can remember, I’ve written stories. For many years, I held down day jobs, including a career with General Motors, but I always wrote.


Other than A Dog’s Purpose what is your favorite project that you have worked on?
I have a book coming out in August - Emory’s Gift. It’s my favorite.


When your book, 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter, was selected to be made into a sitcom, how many writers worked on that project for the show?
When it started, it was just the show runner, though he did go out to some other writers for help, which is typical. He and I had lunch and I’d pitch him ideas, some of which made it into the pilot.


How is that type of writing different than writing a book?
Writing a book is a solo effort. Sort of like the movie 127 hours: you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, and eventually you have to cut your own arm off. A TV show is more like a high school prom, with everyone terrified and eventually you wind up going to the dance with someone you don’t even like.


Were you surprised at the success of the show?
We had a great cast and the show was about my crazy family. I thought all other networks would simply give up and cease broadcasting.


What was the impetus that made you decide to write A Dog’s Purpose?
The book crawled into my head and kept chewing on my brain. I had to let it out before it wrecked the furniture.


I understand that you and Cathryn are now writing the screenplay for DreamWorks. How did that evolve?
When I sell a property, I make sure I’m attached to write the adaptation. And I wouldn’t think of doing it without my writing partner, who is not only a successful author but has a solid track record in both TV and features.


What is the most challenging/stressful part of your career?
To be a successful author requires lots of luck and lots of marketing effort and skill. The less luck you have, the more marketing you have to do. What’s stressful is trying to write full time and market myself full time.


What is the most rewarding/exciting part of your career?
I love the e-mails and Facebook messages I receive from my fans. It’s truly gratifying.


How have your career goals changed since you started out?
Cathryn and I shot an independent movie a few years ago and I want to do more of that.


Who has been your favorite actor/director/producer/writer that you've worked with?
I’ve only worked with one actor/director/producer/writer, and that’s Cathryn Michon. She’s my favorite.


Are you planning to write a subsequent novel or screenplay?
I am writing a sequel this year. We’ll see if it turns into a screenplay!


What would be your words of wisdom to someone starting out in this industry?
Develop the personal and presentational skills you’ll need to get noticed. With electronic publishing, anyone can be a published author. You need to attract attention in a crowded field.


Do you have a website, Facebook fan page, Twitter account, and other social networking sites where your fans can learn more?
Yes! My author site is For A Dog’s Purpose, I have a website,, and also there’s the Facebook fan page, where 34,000 fans (and growing) go to talk about their dogs, share stories and pictures, and continue important conversations.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Grandparenting 2012

by Rose A. Valenta

Grandparenting has evolved from feeding baby food to a toddler wearing a Disney character on his bib, to feeding spinach to a Neanderthal wearing a “Got MILF?” t-shirt – no bib.

That isn’t the only thing that has changed. This morning I got up and they were discussing media ethics on the news. I wish they would have thought of that when Clinton was President. You can't v-chip the news, so back then, you had to use the TV remote control like Morse Code, dit dit dit dah dah dah dit dit dit (Save Our Ship), while helping the kids with homework. Whatever happened to late-night? NOW they question ethics...too late...little Johnny already has a cigar-smoking Oval Office Masters Degree.

Read article: Media Ethics

Parents can't be too careful about children's safety these days either. So, I try to help out. I tell my grandson "If you find yourself in a strange place, always look like you know where you are going. If you are driving, never yell 'Who's your daddy?' out the car window in Arnold Schwarzenegger's neighborhood."

What’s happening to our culture? We live in a sick world.

Have you been listening to their music? The hip-hop generation is insane. They idolize Rhianna and Cee Lo Green, when they should be listening to healthy lessons about losing their dog, like “Old Shep” by Red Foley.

I went on YouTube after my youngest grandson left for school and learned a few lessons of my own. No wonder they are predicting the end of the world. Not that I believe in that sort of thing. It’s just a lot of scare tactics, like the 60s when some Tibetan banshee would be out chanting on the street corner, “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama…” and a 7th Day Adventist would carry a sign “The End is Near.” Now it’s 2012.

This is what is scaring our kids. No wonder they don’t want to do homework. It is all being mapped out for us by none other than Jesse Ventura:

Seriously, guys, can’t we go back to scaring the kids with harmless Boris Karloff movies?
Pick up my book, “Sitting on Cold Porcelain,” at SMASHWORDS.COM

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Real Flak From The Patty Baena Affair

"Bless me father for I have sinned. Last night, my husband and I were watching an x-rated video together, when he hit the remote to watch Neil Cavuto for a few minutes. Cavuto was discussing Arnold Schwarzenegger. I looked at my husband. His face turned beat-red. So, I flushed all the Cialis down the toilet and set the bedroom on fire." ~ Mary Frances O'Leary

After the fire engines left my friend Mary Frances’ house, she told me in confidence what had happened.

“But, what did he do?” I asked.

“Nothing actually, he just looked guilty… and then the fight started,” she said. “I have to go to confession.”

Thank you, Arnold Schwarzenegger. You have just screwed up the love life of some of my best friends. Mary and Patrick O’Leary have been married 30 years. YOU should have to listen to all the fallout!

The insurance adjuster showed up the next morning as Mary, our friend Helen, and I were discussing the situation over Mimosas in her kitchen.

“How did you say this happened?” He asked.

“A scented candle tipped over in mean my bedroom, when I had to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to my husband, who was in the next room watching Fox News.” Mary responded.

He panned all of us sitting at the table and the bottle of wine. “Where is Mr. O’Leary?” He asked.

“He’s over at the incinerator with Father Murphy saying an Act of Contrition and burning his porn collection.”

After the adjuster left, we started Googling all the news about Schwarzenegger, while consoling our friend.

“I think a shrink would call this ‘reaction formation,’ Mary.” Helen said. “Did you always have the hots for Arnold?”

“No, it wasn’t that,” she insisted. “Patrick just looked guilty. I know that it’s profiling and he should be considered innocent, but I kept thinking about the time last year, when I hired Frieda on The Spot to clean our house for Judy’s wedding. I was at work.”

“That’s called jumping to conclusions,” I said. “It would never hold up in court.”

“The house was spotless. Servicing the help didn’t even enter my mind, until last night.”

Helen was pensive and half shot already. “Isn’t Frieda’s closed now? Someone said that she was an illegal alien.”

“Yes, and Patrick would never do a thing like that. He supported Arizona SB1070. I mean, if he was going to sleep with her, he would have asked to see her papers. What have I done?”

“Here ya go!” Helen said. “This is why Frieda left. They had a hidden camera in the bathroom. You guys should just stop watching Neil Cavuto during sex.”

Pick up my book, “Sitting on Cold Porcelain,” at SMASHWORDS.COM

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

On Mother's Day, I began to reflect on the joys of motherhood and the sheer ecstasy of being a grandma.

As a mom, you have to take responsibility for everything from wiping away tears to forming good character, and maintaining a balanced diet. You read Dr. Spock's books on parenting and Dr. Seuss for bedtime stories, although I always got the feeling that talking about green eggs and ham before sleep inspired nightmares. It also spawned creativity in people like Steven Spielberg and Stephen King, who made all the rest of the kids think about the scary hairy creatures hiding under the bed. Thanks alot, guys!

As a grandma, you forget about the balanced diet and load the kids up on sugar cookies and chocolate ice cream, while grandpa teaches them that there is nothing more important to maintaining good character than a pair of brass knuckles, so you can beat the crap out of all the hairy creatures hiding under the bed. Plus, grandparents don't have to make kids eat their spinach and actually prefer a good game of Wii in lieu of a bedtime story.

Where little Johnny's mom would ream him another one for uttering a swear word, grandma often laughs and then teaches him all the synonyms, so he can entertain her Red Hat Society friends during cocktail hour.

Happy Mother's Day to all the famous and not so famous Moms, Mr. Moms, favorite aunts, and grandmas!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Geronimo! It’s All Bush’s Fault

By Rose A. Valenta

What else are we paying for besides the high price of gasoline?
We are paying for the U.S. Senate hearings on the use of the code word “Geronimo” for Osama Bin Laden. They could have used the “F” word, but although fitting and proper, it would have offended everyone else. So, yesterday there were Senate hearings at our expense. Even if they rule in favor of Geronimo’s descendants, the fact is they said it, and the word “Geronimo” will forever be linked to Navy SEAL Troop 6 and US Special Forces.

Read the News Article

Is it such a bad thing?
When I was growing up, we used to play cowboys and Indians all the time. Most of the kids wanted to play Geronimo. It was no fun playing Cochise. If you were Geronimo, you could kick ass. So, it was actually a compliment. “Geronimo!” is yelled when Paratroopers jump out of airplanes. It was yelled when the SEALs got the job done. It has good connotations. So, what’s up with the expensive hearings?

It’s all Bush’s fault. Back in 1918, Prescott Bush, Dubya’s grandfather, who was a member of the Yale Skull and Bones secret society allegedly stole Geronimo’s skull and other bones from his burial site in Fort Sill, OK. The society members then transported the bones to “The Tomb,” the society’s sacred building. A lawsuit ensued and Geronimo’s descendants demanded their return. This is how the fight started.

President Obama can now blame Bush for the negativity.

I want my money spent on gasoline hearings, guys! Give them back the bones and tell everyone to toughen up.
Pick up my book, “Sitting on Cold Porcelain,” at SMASHWORDS.COM

Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden is dead!

"Pick up a copy of my book "Sitting on Cold Porcelain" for less than a gallon of gas at Smashwords " ~ Rosie

It’s official, Osama Bin Laden was killed by Navy SEALs and his body confiscated by U.S. ground forces at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, about 80 miles north of Islamabad - long overdue!

Rumor has it that he will be buried at sea according to Islamic traditions (before the next prayer service). Speculation is that a quicksand pit at the Dead Sea will be chosen. This way, if terrorists decide to make it hallowed ground, we can wipe them all out in a single pilgrimage. The Dead Sea pit will absorb the bodies and there will be no leakage into any body of water.

Upon hearing the news, I donned my press badge and collected eulogy comments about the event including some from his designated pallbearers:

“It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. My boyfriend, Kermit, and me just bought scalper tickets to Next Restaurant.” ~ Miss Piggy
“I have decided NOT to become a sheepdog after all. This is too much fun. BTW, who gets to keep the bounty?” ~ Babe
“It was a Noble thing.” ~ Piglet
“We are throwing a party in Woodcock Pocket; you are invited.” ~ Toot and Puddle
“Risu and I are making a Hello Kitty body bag for him.” ~ Pippo
“It’s milk and apples on the Animal Farm tonight!” ~ Squealer
"As chief pallbearer, they call me MISTER Pig!" ~ Pumbaa
“They huffed and they puffed and they blew him away.” ~ Three Little Pigs
“Zuckerman gave me the day off to celebrate this event.” ~ Wilbur
“Hyv√§sti!” ~ Wagner the Pig
“He is now a dead wuz-wolf.” ~ Peter Porkchop
“It’s a clap hands celebration!” ~ Hamm
“I like my bin laden sausage with fennel seeds, please.” ~ Gordy the Pig
“Jolly good job!.” ~ Johnny The Pepermint Pig
“I am feasting on TWO Buster Bars.” ~ Noelle
“I knew he would get it. Can I put an apple in his mouth?” ~ Arnold Ziffle
“Can I have my old name back for the services?” ~ Pork Chop (a.k.a. Ferrous)
"Th-Th-Th-Th-Th-That's all, folks!” ~ Porky Pig
"I just love Stuttering pigs, don’t you?” ~ Petunia Pig