Tuesday, June 19, 2012


There is something hilarious about seeing the rich get fleeced.

This morning I heard--on the Madeleine Brand show, on KPCC-FM, an NPR station in Pasadena, CA--an interview with Michael Steinberger, who had done a story for Vanity Fair on arguably the greatest wine con-man in history.

Here is a link to the Vanity Fair story:  

And here is a link to the Madeleine Brand show:

This alleged con-man was buying and selling millions of dollars worth of rare and vintage wines. Turns out, allegedly, that some of these wines were fake. He was collecting empty bottles of very rare and expensive wine and refilling them with not so expensive wine, so the prosecutors say.  

Whee. There is something delightful about seeing greedy self-indulgent rich people get fleeced.

I don't know why. Oh, yes, I do. Poetic justice. I'm glad it's them and not me. I can't even afford to get fleeced in that way. Whee.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Monday, June 18, 2012


If you don't believe the Devil walks the earth, you should read an article in Mother Jones for July/August 2012.

It's about Ira Rennert, whose company Doe Run Resources owns lead smelters that pollute the environment in Missouri, USA, and in Peru, South America.

This guy commits the worst sin I can think of: damaging the health of children for the sake of making more and more money. As if he didn't have enough millions already.

I could not find this story on Mother Jones's website, but here is a link anyway:

I recommend you subscribe to this magazine, one of my favorites. Or read it at your local library. This article begins on Page 5.

Here is another article on the inappropriately named Doe Run Resources--it should be called Dead Run:

What is your definition of evil? Mine is harming innocent people for your own greed.

According to Mother Jones, a magazine that I trust and respect, Ira Rennert fits that definition to a tee.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Thursday, June 14, 2012


As you may know, I am a writer, and for many years I tried to make a living writing novels. Came close, but no cigar. Oh, well.

My theory was that if you wrote well enough, and put out engaging and meaningful stories, you might have a chance.

But now I see a society overwhelmed with stories, a popular culture that has a glut of narrative.

Today, the LA Times has a section called "The Envelope" which is full of stories and ads about TV dramas. Lordy, there are a million of them, or so it seems. I counted ads for 24 dramatic TV series. And that doesn't count the 300-400 movies that come out every year, plus thousands of novels and nonfiction books. Some 180,000 books are published in the USA annually, according to some estimates.

How does a writer compete in this environment? It's like prescribing drugs to a society that is already over-medicated.

Here, folks, is yet another story. Why should anyone care? Because mine has more depth and better writing? Do people honestly give a big hairy rat's derriere?

I wonder. I used to believe that if you wrote well enough, you could float the pages out the window, and they would find an audience.

Ha! It is a lot more complicated than that. It involves agents and editors and corporate conglomerates. Most of what is published, at least in fiction, seems less than stellar. How do you compete against bestselling literary junk food?

I don't know, but I will keep at it--because this is what I seem wired to do, and this is what I want to do--and we shall see what happens.

My philosophy has always been simple: Go after what you want in life. If you don't, you know you aren't going to get it. If you do, at least you have a fighting chance.

Wish me luck. I will surely need it. Big time.

Meanwhile, I have to say I do love it. Win or lose.

- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


I was appalled the other day to read this opening line of an article in the June 3, 2012, issue of Los Angeles Times Magazine:

"The world is obsessed with Blake Lively."

Really? Who the hell is Blake Lively? I never heard of it or him or her.

The article's headline is "Blake Lively." Then the teaser lines say she is "at the center of Oliver Stone's crime thriller Savages." I never heard of it either.

I hate this kind of journalistic crap.

How are we supposed to believe anything in this article? Why would anyone read further? I didn't, and I won't.

I tried to find an e-mail address for the bylined writer, Leslie Gornstein, but couldn't find one. I was going to gently and politely point out that she is a purveyor of journalistic bullsh**. Of course, it could be that her editor added that stupid line. Such things happen.

You can see why some people have lost respect for newspapers and magazines.

I have to point out that the news pages of the LA Times are enormously more respectable than those of this cheesy magazine. And there are still great newspapers and magazines out there. I rely on The New Yorker and The New York Times. The latter's weekly magazine is good, I think.

The problem is that a lot of people have no quick and easy guide to what is junk journalism and what is reliable.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Sunday, June 10, 2012


I saw in the LA Times today that former Vice President Dick Cheney got the government to exempt hydraulic fracturing (fracking) from federal regulations, namely the Clean Drinking Water Act:

Is that evil or what?

The Republicans seem to think that is a good idea, to poison our drinking water. I don't know why. 

Why are the Republicans evil?

I have no idea. They seem to want to kill us all, slowly. They deny global warming and deny that we are at an ecological tipping point. But we are:

I don't know what to say. Do they think because they are mostly rich, that they can buy their way to a new planet, where they will live in splendor?

When I was a kid, there were a lot of good Republicans around. What happened to them? If you find them, let me know.

-- Roger
Copyright © 2012 Roger R. Angle

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Good article about mediocrity, which is everywhere in the good old USA:


People are afraid to be too creative, too original, too inventive, at least in culture and the arts. It's OK to be bad, if you are bad like everyone else.

The same thing is true in popular and not-so-popular literature. Most fiction in the USA today is unbearable crap. But few venture outside the norms.

This is true of all kinds of fiction, from so-called literary fiction, which is not usually very literary at all, to the most blatant of genres, mystery fiction.

The famous mystery writer Raymond Chandler said, toward the end of his career, “As I look back on my own stories it would be absurd if I did not wish they had been better. But if they had been much better they would not have been published.”

Maybe this also accounts for the preponderance of crap in the art world.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


I was thinking today about the worst boss I ever had. He was controlling, no trust, no confidence in anyone but himself. No respect for anyone. He was the opposite of a good manager.

The famous manager and management guru Jack Welch famously said that being a manager is like being a gardener. Your job is to water the flowers and get rid of the weeds.

My old boss, Brian, was just the opposite. He treated everyone like weeds. He treated everyone like dirt. He didn't trust anyone. Everyone who worked there was physically sick. All 15 people separately and individually woke up at 4:00 in the morning with diarrhea. When it started to happen to me, I quit. Told him to go make whoopee with himself, only not in those words.

A terrible gardener. A black thumb. I hope he is broke and poor and miserable somewhere. Maybe even in jail. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.  

I don't know if other people wish their bad bosses would burn in hell. I sure do.

-- Roger

Copyright © 2012, Roger R. Angle