Posts

Showing posts from April, 2006

Save Me A Seat (YouTube)

Some readers don't like the Quicktime version of the videos I've been uploading so here is "Save Me A Seat" in flash/YouTube format.

National Anthem in Spanish, Part 2

Image
There was a Spanish translation of the "Star Spangled Banner" done back in 1919 -- by the - aHEM! -- U.S. Bureau of Education:
I guess the question is why does the US Bureau of Education hate America?

(Thanks to Michael Scott for the tip).

Saturday Picture Gallery

Image
I've been writing so much about the past that I haven't really spent much time on the present. It's not that exciting, really, given the fact that I spend most of my time at the computer either mixing music or making videos. Not a whole lot to tell, but...

This is Aaron. Aaron is a film student and Jim had agreed to appear in his new film short. Unfortunately, the day was cloudy and it started to rain, so the shoot was put off until June. Very sweet script about two guys looking at their gravestones and having a little tension over their neighboring plots. We all met for breakfast and I even had volunteered to be a production assistant. Who knew it would rain in Los Angeles? What kind of a world is this coming to? And also, how adorable is he? A really sweet guy who felt bad about postponing the shoot, but what can ya do.

This past week we also attended the opening night of Jay Johnson's "The Two & Only" in Burbank at the Colony Theatre. I waited around and…

Thurber Helps Daddy

Image
Yesterday, as I was recording different takes of "Save Me A Seat," Thurber decided he needed to be in the shot. I ended up not using anything from this particular take after deciding that the one, single shot of me just singing simply into the camera worked best, but I couldn't let this moment go by, now, could I?

Speaking of cats doing their own thing, my friend Michael's cats, Figaro and Jett, seem to be up to a lot of online mischief. He woke up the other morning and they had forgotten, during the night, to turn off the computer. And THIS is what he found. Apparently, they decided to start their own blog. One wonders if they've been checking out all the kitty porn sites.

Save Me A Seat

Image
Here is another song from The Last Session. This is a song I wrote about my own memorial service.


Click here watch Save Me A Seat

The National Anthem

Image
I was kind of appalled to hear that the national anthem is being turned into a political fight about the English language. When Bush today was asked what he thought about the national anthem being sung in Spanish, the immediate answer that could have come from him that would have been so graceful and put this issue to bed immediately would have been to say, "I'd love to hear the national anthem in EVERY language."

But he didn't.

sigh

"Imagine what would happen if American Christianity came from the Martin Luther King side of the family rather than the TV evangelist side."

Saint of 9/11

Image
I have to hand it to Andrew Sullivan today for his passionate and beautiful tribute to Father Mykal Judge of the NY Fire Department who died on 9/11 -- and who is the subject of a new documentary film called "Saint of 9/11." From Andrew's blog:I truly hope that it will get wide distribution and that many will see it. I say this not simply because this saintly man was gay, because he would be barred from the priesthood under the current Pope, or because, in the mysterious way God works, Judge's sexual orientation actually became a way for him to minister more effectively to the marginalized, sick, poor and forgotten.And this really got to me:For me, his ministry to people with AIDS in the very early days means the most. We forget how terrifying HIV was in the early and mid 1980s, how patients would be quarantined in dark rooms, abandoned by their families, with their meals rolled into their rooms on trolleys. From the beginning, Mychal did as Jesus did and walked righ…

Listen to Neil Young's Album Here.

Image
You can listen to the entire Neil Young album here, presumably for a limited time only.

EDIT: THIS THING ROCKS! This is clearly the best work Young has done in years. I can't believe how good this is. Well, yes I can. It's Neil Young.

Saddle Up LA

Image
I wanted to draw attention to a benefit for The Life Group LA happening in Los Angeles on June 3rd called Saddle Up LA. They have a particularly cute PSA: Saddle Up LA. If Jim and I can work out the details, we've been asked to sing a couple of songs for the participants as they gather out in Griffith Park. Should be great fun -- and I do love me some horses!

Surprise at the White House Easter Egg Hunt

10 Yrs. Ago: Paragoric

Image
I didn't take too many pictures of myself during this period, but I found this one. I don't look too bad in it, but what you can't see very well is that my skin was mottled terribly from some fungus infection that no one could figure out. I'm not even sure when this was taken, but I think it's from a few months earlier.

The day after Dennis told me, "OH MY GOD YOU'RE GONNA DIE IF YOU DON'T DO SOMETHING NOW," we scheduled an appt. with a new doctor. Quoting:"Dr. Steve had me take some blood tests and a chest x-ray and then prescribed paregoric to stop the you know what as a last ditch effort. Yes, the old famous paregoric. He said no one makes it anymore and it's hard to find. But, of course, Bob's Pharmacy had it. Bob has everything. I looked it up in the dictionary when I got home and saw that it's made from opium. How nice."In case you aren't aware, narcotics help block up the old poop machine. This new doctor, who I hav…

"Say Hi to Jesus For Me."

Last night we saw some old friends, Marie Cain and Adrian Russ, both fellow writers for the theatre. They were remarking that it was very informative for them to see the posts looking back 10 years.

Marie said, "I didn't know that YOU didn't know how sick you were."

Adrian said, "What amazes me about that time is that you never stopped moving; never stopped going out. If it'd been me, I'd have stayed home and hid."

I laughed at that. It's always fun to hear what other people were thinking during that time period. Marie really put it into focus, though.

"Steve," she said. "Everytime I saw you, I'd think, Okay this is the last time I'm going to see Steve. And then you'd pop up again and I'd think, Okay this is REALLY the last time I'm going to see Steve."

It's true. I guess I knew and I didn't know. The thing is that when you're in your own skin and going through something like that, you don't re…

The Group

Image
I promised my musician friend down in the Bahamas that I would begin uploading songs from "The Last Session" to this site. So, today I put together this video of "The Group." Just click on the upper image for the Quicktime version. Some have told me they can't play a Quicktime file, so just below that is the YouTube version in flash.


Click here to download


Happy Birthday Phill Wilson

Image
Today I was looking through AIDS news sources and found this wonderful story about an AIDS activist in the Black community here in Los Angeles. His name is Phill Wilson and, like me, he almost died in 1996. That's what drew my eye to his story. Where I wrote a musical about AIDS, Phill went to work and established the Black AIDS Institute focused squarely on the issues specific to the African American community -- issues which were being largely ignored. Phill seems like the kind of person who moves mountains with his sheer passion and drive. From the article:“I found out that I was HIV-positive at 27 and I didn’t think 30 was an option,” says Wilson, who has full-blown AIDS. “So, to be 50 is amazing.”

Phill Wilson is an amazing person. He’s throwing a big birthday bash this Saturday in Los Angeles. And it’s not your typical birthday party.

“I don’t know what the traditional gift is for someone on their 50th birthday – let alone surviving for a quarter century with a life-threatenin…

10 Yrs. Ago: The Scream.

Image
April 25, 1996 is a vivid day for me. It was a landmark day. It was the day I lost it. As I had been hinting in the days leading up to April 25, 1996, the slow realization that I was totally and completely losing the battle -- like a frog in a pot of water about to hit boil -- all came to a loud, angry, out of control scream.

The person who got screamed at was Dr. Frank Jasper. Dr. Frank was this beautiful, gentle, kind man. He was an actor before he went into Chinese acupuncture, appearing as the muscle-bound bad guy in the movie "Vision Quest." To call him kind and gentle is to understate my absolute love for him. And the only reason I was able to undergo these treatments was because they were a life-saving gift from John Bettis. I have no doubt that these treatments played a part in keeping me alive up to this point.

So, I shocked myself when "the scream" came out. And it wasn't just an "all-purpose scream at the ceiling cry of desperation." No. This…

10 Yrs. Ago: Breaking the News to Friends

The April 24, 1996 entry is a day I remember vividly. It was a night at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel for the ASCAP Film & TV Awards. This is a very glitzy annual event where ASCAP honors the composers of the biggest movies of the year and it's one I used to always enjoy. But the entry starts out:I had to leave early last night before they even served the food. It was the ASCAP Film & TV Awards dinner honoring Randy Newman and all the movie composers of the biggest films of last year. I just wasn't feeling strong and I started getting a little sick, so I left. I remember vividly feeling profoundly weak that night. I wanted so badly to be there, to pretend that I was getting better and to show my face, but I could barely hold myself up. I also had one of my first experiences with breaking the news to an old friend. Remember, in 1996, AIDS was an almost instant death sentence. The therapies we enjoy now were not on the market -- or, rather, they were mostly rumors and specu…

More Neil Young!

Here is Neil on video explaining his new album. BTW, after 9/11 Neil was actually a supporter of Bush. Like many people, Young thought Bush's fight against terror was actually serious. He didn't really understand the way these megalomaniacs thought. But now he's come around, and boy is he swinging. What I love about this interview is how rational Neil is. Neil! You're my hero again!

You Know It's Election Time When...

Image
Like a faithful spouse, you can always count on the Republicans, especially the most desperate ones, to start in on the gaybashing when it's election time. Given how badly the GOP is doing now, showing themselves to be among the most corrupt group of Congressmen in history -- and Bush now named by most historians as the worst President in history -- it's inevitable that they would go to the issue that they have always counted on to stir up their religiously based voters: Gay marriage.

In a NY Times story, three particularly corrupt and viciously bigoted politicians, Frist, Santorum and Brownback, have gathered together a formidable group of Catholic Bishops, TV evangelists and conservative church leaders to once again pretend to fight for morality by backing a constitutional amendment to stop gay marriage.

Yes, these paragons of morality, as they support torture, bombing of innocent civilians (instead of fighting the war on terrorism), backing the spying on Americans, lining the…

AIDS in the Bahamas

Image
I received a letter from a reader in the Bahamas and thought it was worth sharing in light of the recent report about homophobia in Jamaica. Hi Steve I Just discovered your blog looking around for stuff about the new Neil Young record. My name is Andrew Jones. I've been positive for over 20 years..started writing and playing music after diagnosis actually during my first serious illness - shingles in the mid 80's. Saved my life for sure.

I was full blown by 91 or so and managed to hang on until the new meds came around. I've made 4 records in betweeen illnesses. I'm also living with hep b and c and have done a couple of inteferon treatments on top of HIV meds. Anyway I just wanted to thank you and congratulate you for your work. I'll spend some time reading your writing and hopefully hearing some of your songs. I spent a lot of time in New York in the 80's and Boston in the 90's.

I'm back in the Bahamas now where i was born and grew up. I've been wo…

An Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore, whose election campaign for President was unfairly clobbered by the press, who did everything except tell the truth about him, is going to be coming out with a new movie about a subject he has been writing about for years: global warming. I just found this promo on the net. Talk about your real life horror movie. No one would listen to him 20 years ago. Maybe they'll start?

Dan Brown speaks.

Image
In a copyrighted AP article (where they warn you that you can't even reveal the contents of the article (!) Dan Brown tells a sold-out group of writers in New Hampshire that it's "not his responsibility to address controversies stirred up by his book, "The Da Vinci Code."

He also says, "By the way if anybody in the audience would like to sue me, we have forms out back," Brown said. "Just pick one up on your way out."

Go Dan.

Neil Young's New Album On Net

Image
Neil Young was my songwriting hero when I was growing up. His album "After The Goldrush" was a record that I played endlessly. I memorized all the words which were written out in his hand on the inside sleeve. Now comes this story:LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Neil Young's newly recorded protest album "Living With War," including a song calling for the impeachment of U.S. President George W. Bush, will be posted for free Internet streaming next week, his label said on Friday.

Starting April 28, fans can log onto Young's Web site, www.neilyoung.com, and listen to the 10-track collection in its entirety, free of charge, said Bill Bentley, a spokesman for Warner Music Group's Reprise Records.

The album will first become commercially available as a digital download beginning May 2, "and we plan to get it into retail stores as soon after that as we can get them manufactured," Bentley said.

He said the label anticipates getting the album into retail outlets …

10 Yrs. Ago: Facing Family Issues.

Looking back April 22 & 23 of 1996, I can see that I'm beginning to wrestle more and more with the reality of what AIDS is doing to me both physically and socially. From the entry:I made it through the night without the codeine stomach ache waking me up. That was nice, and I didn't "leak" last night. It's humiliating and embarrassing, but I usually sleep in an adult diaper to keep from soiling the bed. I hardly ever really need it but I've had my share of accidents through all this and I don't like messing up our bed.I see now, contrary to what I wrote a few days ago, I was only now beginning to wear the adult diapers, and only at night. I was doubling up on the codeine to stop the diarrhea, but clearly, I was having "accidents" almost every night, so now I was protecting the bedsheets every night.

I was also starting to get out a bit and see all my old songwriter friends after several years of having disappeared off the face of the earth. Fo…

Net Neutrality

One of the most important issues regarding the Internet is about to be debated in Congress. It's called "Net Neutrality." It's a law that prevents Internet Service Providers (ISP) from blocking Internet sites that don't pay them a fee. IOW, you might want to log into Google, but find that it's either deadly slow or missing. So you end up using Yahoo, thinking that it's Google's fault. Actually, what might be happening is the ISP is blocking Google because Yahoo is paying them for extra access. This is about freedom to roam the Internet at will. This short video explains it:



The pro-net neutrality coalition SavetheInternet.com is launching on Monday. Right now Congress is leaning AGAINST INTERNET FREEDOM. It's important that we stay on top of this and let them know we want full Internet freedom and neutrality.

Condoms for Catholics? Well, Yes. Er, No.

Image
I've been beating up on the poor conservative Christians for their deadly homophobia, so I thought I might as well mention, speaking of deadly, how insane the Catholic Church is on the subject of condoms and AIDS. Everyone knows about their completely irrational war against condoms to prevent HIV, even going to the point of lying about the effectiveness of condoms. But what I didn't know was that, officially, they are against married couples using condoms EVEN IF ONE OF THE PARTNERS HAS AIDS!

However, a powerful cardinal,Carlo Maria Martini (AP Photo/Luca Bruno), has departed from the official Vatican position. Here is the story in Sploid:A powerful Vatican cardinal who nearly became pope last year has taken the radical position of saying it might be okay to use a condom -- but only with your spouse, and only if your spouse has AIDS, and only if you haven't caught the disease yet.

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini's comments are seen by Vatican experts as being crazily liber…

EarthDay Pics of the Day 2006

Image
From the fjords in Chile...

April 22 is Earth Day, one of those forgotten relics of a time in our country's history when ecology and the environment were actually on peoples' minds. People say it's too late to help our planet, that global warming has reached the tipping point, that the Bush administration has turned everything over to the oil industry, that wars rage everywhere and no one is paying attention or wants to. Jim and I have the luxury of traveling the world and sometimes, when I'm really lucky, I catch this earth as it is and could be.

To the man/nature combo of Portofino Italy...

But, you know, in the bonus round, hope springs eternal.

To capturing the wind in Denmark.

The world has a funny way of healing itself if you give it half a chance. Let's give it half a chance.

A Parent's Sad Letter to Joe.

One of my daily reads is a blog called Joe.My.God. (Warning: Joe frequently and bluntly discusses adult subject matter). In today's post, he references an email from a mother regarding Exodus International, a group I have mentioned before. Here's the letter with his permission to reprint:Dear Joe,

I found your blog today after googling for items about Exodus, the ex-gay organization you wrote about yesterday. I am a mom in Texas and I keep an eye on whatever Exodus is doing, because you see Joe, I found some of their materials among my son's personal items after he took his life in 2002. Joe, he was only 19 years old and he was just the sweetest boy you'd ever want to know. My son had problems, yes, but his father and I (we are divorced) both feel that the Exodus people took advantage of his confusion about who he was. Even though he knew that we loved him, they helped him hate himself. Please don't stop writing about Exodus and the terrible, terrible harm they do t…

NY Library Webcasts of Hal Prince, Barbara Cook

Image
The Broadwayworld newsletter, which I love receiving in my email every morning, pointed me two webcasts available from the NY Public Library. One features Broadway director Hal Prince. (In the photo above, Hal Prince (center) directing Jack Gilford and Lotte Lenya in the original production of Cabaret, New York, 1966. Billy Rose Theatre Collection (Friedman-Abeles Collection).

The other is a Master Class featuring Broadway singer Barbara Cook. For anyone who loves theatre, these are treasures.

10 Years Ago: Realizing How Sick I Was

Image
On April 20 & 21, 1996, I'm starting to admit (to readers? to myself?) that I'm not doing so well when I confess, on the 21st:I've lost too much weight. I think I'm down to 140 (and I stand 6'2"). It may be time to go to a hospital and get TPN, which is food they put directly into your blood.No one, at this point, had said to me, "Okay, you probably only have a few weeks left," so it wasn't something I dwelt on. My focus was One Day At A Time -- and I mean that literally. If I had a good day, then it would seem to me, living squarely in that moment, that it was an indication that I was on my way back -- after all, I had already come back twice before. And if I had a bad day, it was just something to get through.

For instance, on the 20th: A perfect day yesterday. Got up nice and early, ate rice and bananas, made my diary entry, took my shower, went to Bob-A-Lew, started making tape copies of the show, felt like a million bucks -- no residual …

Sedona Arizona Part 8

Paul finishes Sedona Arizona. Still in pursuit of his spirituality, he tells the story of what happened when he finally put on his show at Sedona.

10 Years Ago: Dave & More Stones

Image
Last night (present day), I drove over the hill into Hollywood and attended an industry showcase for a young performer named Sara Haze. (She's only 16 or 17, by the way. She and I have written a couple of songs together, and she totally kicked ass last night). She's being managed by my friend and former songwriting protege, Dave Robyn Woekener. What was interesting was that it was exactly 10 years ago today that I attended the first concert Dave performed as a songwriter singing songs I had been working with him on in my capacity as a creative director at Espy Music (then called Bob-A-Lew).

(I enjoy helping other songwriters. But I do this by digging into their souls, forcing them to confront the stuff most people avoid. If writers don't do this, then they are boring and their writing is vanilla and their potential unrealized. At least, that's my philosophy. I scare a lot of songwriters.)

Looking back at the diary entry of April 19, 1996, I start to get a notion of why p…

"It's a war on the homeless."

Image
Longtime readers know that I've made friends with a guy named Chuck who mans a shopping cart out on our street. Chuck is a completely harmless guy with some missing teeth who is a Vietnam vet. Every morning, like clockwork, he mans his route with his tricked-out shopping cart, scavenging for cans and other items he can turn in for cash. He's been homeless at various times, but he has a residence of sorts these days, though he doesn't have a stove.

I caught him the other morning and gave him a treasure trove of our saved-up cans. (His eyes turn to saucers when I have a lot of them). But Chuck wasn't in a good mood that morning.

"I got ticketed," he announced.

"Really?"

"Yeah, I gotta go to court. And it's gonna cost me five hundred dollars."

"FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS??"

"EXACTLY!" He said, laughing and spitting at the same time. "How am I supposed to come up with that?"

"Well, how did it happen?" I asked.

&q…

Sedona Arizona Part 7

The late Paul Sykes, in this second to the last episode of Sedona Arizona, discusses his marriage, his adopted kitten, how humans can be so cruel to helpless creatures, God's "servants"...and AIDS.

Most Homophobic Place on Earth?

Time Magazine has a new article about Jamaica, pronouncing it among the most homophobic places on earth. For the longest time, I was a huge fan of reggae music, but artists like Buju Banton are getting away with writing songs advocating the murder of gay people. Reggae, once hailed as a music of freedom and liberation is turning into a music of violence and death, unless, of course, you're a nice "normal" heterosexual. Isn't it funny how an oppressed people can be so viciously hateful to those they don't like.

Quoting from the article:Brian wears sunglasses to hide his gray and lifeless left eye—damaged, he says, by kicks and blows with a board from Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton. Brian, 44, is gay, and Banton, 32, is an avowed homophobe whose song Boom Bye-Bye decrees that gays "haffi dead" ("have to die"). In June 2004, Brian claims, Banton and some toughs burst into his house near Banton's Kingston recording studio and viciously beat h…

California will track AIDS patients by name.

From the Los Angeles Times
Schwarzenegger Signs Bill to Track HIV Cases by Name
By Michelle Keller
Times Staff Writer

April 18, 2006

Epidemiologists tracking the spread of HIV in California will begin using data based on patient names rather than relying on a flawed code-based system under a new law signed Monday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The shift will ensure that California continues to receive more than $50 million annually for HIV/AIDS care from the federal government, which has ruled that code-based reporting is unreliable. With at least 38 states already signed on to use patient names, California is one of a handful of states still using alphanumeric codes to identify HIV cases.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Nell Soto (D-Pomona), unanimously cleared the state Senate and Assembly and was lauded by health officials around the state.

"This is a historic moment in time in fighting AIDS," said Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "We're aligni…

Cat in a Bag

Image
Sometimes you have to let the cat out of the bag.

Sedona Arizona Part 6

Paul talks about how he totally fell apart about his brother, David's death; how he shaved his head into a Mohawk, drank until he puked, acted in the worst way possible, and discovered that women were attracted to it. And he talks about his relationship with lesbians and well...

10 Years Ago: Diarrhea & LA Times

Image
Quoting from the diary 10 years ago today:
Last night wasn't a great night in that I had some vomiting and diarrhea, but I think it might be this new drug, Mepron, which is like a thick yellow liquid. It's supposed to be effective against some parasites. (I've tested positive for microsporidia -- then negative last year after doing some alternative therapy).
Hmm. I had forgotten about the fact that I had tested positive, used some kind of alternative therapy for these parasites, possibly gotten rid of them and was now speculating that they might have returned. What was happening was my t-cells were crashing so it was opening up my body for all kinds of infections and infestations. In this case, I had something called microsporidia, defined as:

Microsporidia are obligate intracellular parasites that have been recognized in a variety of animals, particularly vertebrates. Typical sizes of the spores range from 1.5 to 2.0um in humans. The infectious stage, the spore, contains a c…

Sedona Arizona Part 5

This is the most difficult chapter of Sedona Arizona. Paul discusses the horrible, tragic car crash death of his brother, David, and his aunt Karen's murder.

10 Years Ago Today: Pain and More Pain

One of the interesting aspects of looking back at the diary 10 years ago is remembering what was going on versus how much I was really willing to tell. It wasn't that I was purposely hiding anything; it's more like I was in the midst of so much pain and, yes, suffering that I was trying to tell myself that it wasn't that bad. Somewhere deep inside, I knew I was dying, but I felt if I just put on a good face, it wouldn't be true. That I could change reality by denying it.

On April 17, 1996, the diary heading is "Great Day." I made note of the fact that Jim has just said to me, "The old Steve is back." The reason the old Steve was back was that it was the first night in several in which I wasn't in pain.

In the days just before this entry, I had had a horrific night. It was a kidney stone. What I remember from that night was being in absolute agony. Not ever having had one before, it was the worst torture I'd ever experienced. I woke up in agon…

Robert Ingersoll, a forgotten genius of American Thought

A necessary resurrection...

And if there is to be an acknowledgment of God in the Constitution, the question naturally arises as to which God is to have this honor. Shall we select the God of the Catholics - he who has established an infallible church presided over by an infallible pope, and who is delighted with certain ceremonies and placated by prayers uttered in exceedingly common Latin? Is it the God of the Presbyterian with the Five Points of Calvinism, who is ingenious enough to harmonize necessity and responsibility, and who in some way justifies himself for damning most of his own children? Is it the God of the Puritan, the enemy of joy - of the Baptists, who is great enough to govern the universe, and small enough to allow the destiny of a soul to depend on whether the body it inhabited was immersed or spinkled? What God is it proposed to put in the Constitution? Is it the God of the Old Testament, who was a believer in slavery and who justified polygamy? If slavery was right…

Conversation about God Blog

I am participating in a new blog called Conversation God. It's a challenge for video blogging week where bloggers have been given a challenge to "dare" other videobloggers to talk about specific subjects. Anthony decided to create a blog called "ConversationGod." I sent him "Holy Dirt."

Sedona Arizona Part 4

After having visited Sedona, Paul and Audra make their way back home through Los Angeles where he discovers something surprising about his spirituality.

Photo of the Day: Easter

Image
(Click on the image for large version.)

A Happy Easter -- or happy pagan holiday of your choice :-) -- morning to all. The great thing about spring celebrations is they remind us that life is a cycle of birth and rebirth. I believe strongly that when we forget to lay aside old prejudices and myths and accumulated garbage, they will clutter up our hearts and minds and lives.

Let the old ways die. Clear out the junk. Let the new day bring on new visions, new clarity, new love, new hope and new cheer.

Leave Dan Brown Alone.

I have been bitterly angry at the way the popular press has beat up on Dan and Blythe Brown. As everyone and their dog knows by now, Dan wrote the mega-selling "Da Vinci Code," which is a historical thriller. During the recent trial, where some writers accused Dan of plagiarism (despite the fact that Dan copied nothing from their book but rather, in the tradition of all novelists writing historical fiction, referred to their scholarship, even going to the generous end of naming their book in his novel and naming a character after the authors), I grew increasingly disturbed by the misogyny displayed by the press.

During the trial, it was discovered that Dan actually has (horrors!) a research assistant! And even more, that this research assistant is his wife, Blythe!! (Additional horrors!!) This piece of "news," apparently, was enough to send the spinmeisters out of the minds, accusing Dan of, among other things, relying on his wife for information about church and ar…