HEY! WE ALL HAD TO START SOMEWHERE: an interview with Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female Saudi Arabian filmmaker and writer/director of Wadjda

Meet Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female Saudi filmmaker. MSNBC did a special documentary about her, focusing on “Women Without Shadows.” Her husband, Brad Niemann works at consulates.

Howard Casner - Rantings and Ravings

This is the next post in a series of interviews with writers who have had their first films, web series, television assignment, etc. make it to the big or small or computer screen. It is an effort to find out what their journey was to their initial success.

First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

and check out my Script Consultation Services: http://ow.ly/HPxKE

 

Next up: a very special interview with Haifaa Al-Mansour, the first female Saudi Arabian filmmaker and writer/director of Wadjda

 

al mansour use this oneHaifaa Al Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia (for her first…

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Bruce Dickinson: Historically Underutilized Bohemian Intellectual — A Biographical Sketch, by J.D. Meyer

Top musicians in the hard rock/heavy metal industry rarely receive the widespread serious respect and attention that they deserve. Hence, the subtitle for this biographical sketch is a play on words, a take-off on the Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certification for predominantly minority or female owned businesses. Nevertheless, Bruce Dickinson succeeds in carving a wide range of niches for himself though his achievements largely go unnoticed as far as mainstream pop culture is concerned.

Best known as the lead singer for Iron Maiden since 1982 with a break for a solo career in the mid 90s, Bruce is a noted fencer who has a line of fencing equipment. Bruce has contributed his share of song lyrics to Iron Maiden, and he has written two novels. Dickinson also flies jets, does BBC documentaries on jets, and hosts a BBC music talk show.

Bruce began fencing at the age of 13 (1971) and became captain of the school fencing team by age 15. Music got his attention, so he quit fencing until 1983 when one of Iron Maiden’s roadies brought back his interest in the sport. Two years later, he endured a rigorous fencing trainers’ camp and earned a certificate. Bruce entered tournaments around Europe between the Powerslave (1984) and Somewhere in Time (1986-1987) tours. Bruce moved to Bonn in West Germany for tax purposes and to be close to the outstanding national center for fencing. Bruce ranked as high as seventh in Great Britain in men’s foil fencing, and his club—the Hemel Hempstead Fencing Club—represented Great Britain in the European Cup of 1989. Bruce founded a fencing supply company, Duellist.

Bruce wrote two novels, and they were translated into German. Bruce’s novels are about an English landlord, Lord Iffy Boatrace, situated in northern Scotland. Iffy’s problem in both novels is the lack of money. In The Adventures of Lord Iffy Boatrace, Iffy tries to solve his money problems through all-year long grouse hunting. But Iffy needs some grouse built for him, so his next-door neighbor, retired wing commander, Bill Symes-Groat builds some indestructible grouse. But first, the commander introduces Iffy to a huge plum pudding with a cherry on top, a very special and magical pudding. Then Iffy invites some folks from his old boarding school under the pretense of a school reunion. The guests arrive and strange things start to happen. The book was written during the Somewhere in Time tour (1986-1987) and published in 1990. It sold 30, 000 copies.

The sequel to this novel is The Missionary Position. The story begins with the Battle of Hastings in 1066 then switches to a flight to Los Angeles where an elderly couple meets Lord Iffy and his butler, ex-con John Butler. Lord Iffy and his butler scam the elderly couple of their money and tickets. Meanwhile, Lord Iffy’s new scheme is to become a TV evangelist under the guidance of Jimmy Reptile. The evangelist was modeled after a corrupt character in the Iron Maiden song, “Holy Smoke.” At the time of that song’s writing, there were at least two TV evangelist scandals, and they involved Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker. There are a few other fascinating bizarre characters, including a US senator, a Japanese businessman golf fanatic, a rock manager who spends his days in an earthquake proof Jacuzzi, and a porn star.

Bruce Dickinson’s flying career started with getting a private license before being taught by British Airways pilot, Phil Dales. Bruce passed his commercial pilot’s license and later his ground and flight exams. Now Bruce flies Boeing 757s for United Kingdom airline, Astraeus. He flew the Rangers Football Club (soccer) to a UEFA cup game against Hapoel Tel Aviv. Bruce feels that the greatest innovations in jets are the aerodynamics of swept wings and power plants. Bruce’s flying career and radio/TV career have intersected through the documentary, Flying Heavy Metal, a five-part aviation series on Discovery Channel UK. He was even a guest on a Discovery Channel about trains, and he drove a Russian T-34 tank for a program on tanks.

Dickinson presents the Friday evening rock show on BBC Radio Station Six. Bruce interviews up-and-coming musicians and plays their songs. You can find this program easily in the US on the Internet, along with archives of the series. He has taken over the BBC Radio Two serial, Masters of Rock. Bruce’s documentary career led to a show entitled, “Inside Spontaneous Combustion with Bruce Dickinson.”

Iron Maiden songs represent the peak of thinking man’s lyrics. Like Bruce Dickinson, Steve Harris, bass guitarist, also was a history major in college and writes many of the lyrics for Iron Maiden. For example, Iron Maiden’s longest song (over twelve minutes) adapted Samuel Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” “The Flight of Icarus” comes from the ancient Greek myth. True to the British Air Force, “Aces
High” shows the life of the fighter pilot. “Trooper” recounts a cavalryman’s tale of the Crimean War between Russia and England in the mid 1850s. Yet “Mother Russia” (1990)hails the end of Soviet domination and welcomes the beginning of a new era; time has shown the change to be a major improvement over the Cold War era. Bruce may not have written all these songs, but his influence has always been felt in the lyrics of the band.

Bruce Dickinson certainly fits the definition of a Renaissance Man, someone with a wide range of intellectual pursuits and curiosity. Furthermore, he has taken all of them into moneymaking professions. Bruce can say that he has been 42,000 feet above earth in a Boeing 757 and played in front of 300,000 fans at Rio de Janeiro with the rest of Iron Maiden. What will he do next?

Note: This information came from various websites—Wikipedia, Bruce Dickinson’s Official Website, Discovery Channel, and BBC Radio Six. Originally, this article was published at the now defunct Voices.yahoo.

Arithmetic for Beer Drinkers: The Average Beer is 4.8% Alcohol. What if you drink strong beer, wine, etc? By J.D. (Joffre) Meyer

I am writing this beer consumption article because it seems easy to underestimate the actual number of beers that you have consumed. In other words, do you favor alcoholic beverages that go beyond the 4.8% average? Maybe you’re a fiscal conservative, who wants a cheap buzz? Usually, I walk a block to Speedy’s at the NE corner of E. Front ST & S. Beckham AV in Midtown (Hospital District) Tyler, Texas. Speedy’s is also a gas station. This article focuses on drinks in my neighborhood.

My Choices at Speedy’s
Let’s start with my favorite strong, very cheap beer: Milwaukee’s Best Ice ($1.79). This quart comes in a fat can–blue and black with white letters, together with red and gold trim. Milwaukee’s Best Ice is 6.9% alcohol, meaning you really drank 46 ounces–closer to 4 beers than a quart.

How about a Bud Light-a-Rita ($2.69)? They come in a variety of exciting flavors—such as mango, lime, lemon, grape, strawberry, cranberry, apple, watermelon, peach, etc. The 24 ounce slender can is 8% alcohol, meaning you just slammed a 40-ouncer!

The Gold 4Loco ($2.69) tips the scales at 14%, the second strongest beverage you can buy at a take-out store in Damp Tyler, Texas. A 23.5 ounce can is more like 68.54 ounces of standard beer. I like mixing it with low-fat milk, horchata powder (Mexican rice milk powder with cinnamon), and water. I call it a Damp Eggnog! If it’s half-&-half, I’m still drinking a 40-ouncer.

The Schlitz Gold Bull ($1.89) arrives in a 24 ounce can that is 8.5% alcohol—roughly 1 ¾ times stronger than regular beer. So you really drank 42.5 oz of conventional beer. It’s stronger than the original Schlitz Malt Liquor. The original Schlitz with the brown label was my favorite regular beer; unfortunately, it seems to be rare, unless you leave town for a liquor store.

Once I got adventuresome and bought a Bud Light Platinum ($2.69)–a 25 oz. beer in a silver can. Don’t let that word, “Light,” fool you. It’s really 6% alcohol, or 1 ¼ beers. So 25 ounces is really the equivalent of 31 ¼ ounces.

Most Ice beers range from 5.5% alcohol (Bud Ice) to 5.9% (Keystone Ice). I’ll let you do the arithmetic this time; just divide the beer in question by 4.8 & multiply by the ounces per can. You’ll get less than a 1/4 extra beer per 12 oz. serving in both cases.

My Picks at Family Dollar
Steel Reserve ($2.35) combines size–42 oz–with strength: 8.1%. This big, plastic bottle condenses a staggering 70 7/8 oz of conventional beer—nearly a 6-pack! A new blue disk on the label tells you if your beer is cold enough, based on how blue the cold sensor gets. I buy Steel Reserve at the Family Dollar on the NW corner of E. Front ST & S. Beckham AV–across the street from Speedy’s.

Let’s say I’m wheezing. I’m going to buy red wine because there are no bubbles like beer; plus, you get glutathione, a natural anti-inflammatory for those eggshell lungs. Liberty Creek Sweet Red ($6.49) is 8% alcohol in a 1.5 liter bottle. So that’s like drinking 83 1/3 ounces of standard beer.

My Choice at CVS Pharmacy
I go to CVS Pharmacy for asthma & COPD medicine: Advair, Combivent inhaler, & Dalisresp pills–as well as CoQ10, Red Wheat Rice, macular degeneration capsules, & Montelukast-an allergy pill at the corner of S. Broadway AV. & 5th ST in the Bergfeld Shopping Center—home of the 2nd Tyler Transit hub. I buy a bottle of Grape & Vine Sweet Red ($3.60), a 12% alcohol wine in a ¾ liter bottle. Once again, I avoid carbonation in beer and acquire glutathione. That’s like an even 2 ½ beers per drink, so it’s really like having 1 ½ liters of regular beer.

Miscellaneous
Wild Irish Rose is Tyler’s strongest takeout drink at 17% alcohol! Among other stores, you can find it at D&N in North Tyler near W. Gentry & Palace–next door to Neighborhood Services. Who could forget MD 20-20, aka. “Mad Dog 20-20?” This 13% alcohol, 3/4 liter wine comes in a wide variety of flavors, even Dragon Fruit & Habanero Lime-a-Rita. Alas, we can’t buy it around here either.

Conclusion
In conclusion, a beer needs to be over 6.5% to be particularly strong. So with standard Ice beers, you can have the full flavor without a severe alcohol level. Beware when your beverage is in the 8% alcohol level and over. Enjoy the flavor! Seek variety and save money.

THE TOWERING 5’10” BEAUTY IRISH MCCALLA | 1950s QUEEN OF THE (PINUPS AND) JUNGLE

The Selvedge Yard

irish mccalla pinup legs chest

Irish McCalla, the towering beauty who posed for Vargas, and then found fame as “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” was tough to measure-up against. She grew up humbly, forever the athletic tomboy, and even did her own vine-swinging and tree-climbing with her pet chimp, Chim, on “Sheena” until the day she misjudged a vine swing and crashed into it tree, smashing her knee. After that, the producers did the only thing they could do (due to her size), they hired male stunt men, and dressed them in leopard skins and blond wigs.

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VARGAS PINUP MODEL IRISH MCCALLA

5’10” beauty, Irish McCalla, posing for famed Peruvian pinup artist Alberto Vargas. Since she was born on Christmas Day, McCalla posed nude for the December page in a Vargas calendar. McCalla’s attention-getting measurements were reported as 39-24-38 in her heyday.

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