Superman Returns

     A rather mysterious envelope arrived in the mail a few weeks ago.  It was from a church with which I was utterly unfamiliar, yet with which I indeed shared a connection I’d not considered.  As it turned out a local artist had bequeathed a large group of paintings to the church upon her passing nearly two years back.  The letter further stated that these works would soon be sold at auction, with the proceeds evenly divided between this church and another charitable organization.
     The news prompted a flood of emotions, questions — and memories.  It also prompted a determination to be in attendance when the event took place.  For, although I hadn’t actually spoken to this artist — Eve Alwyn Hinchman — in many years, she had been a very great influence on my childhood, and because (regular readers of this publication well know) I value art as a most wondrous and lasting reflection of the artist, I was filled with excitement at the possibility of becoming the fond caretaker of a couple small pieces of Eve’s life.
     I’ve written previously
here in Mil Mania about another favorite oil painter — my mother.   And, while I’ve made it abundantly clear I believe my mother truly gifted in this area, she did have one (and only one) teacher to assist in honing her artistic skills — Eve.
     To explain from the beginning, my mother, her mother, myself and my brother all took oil painting lessons from Eve, my own tenure in this endeavor beginning when I was nine.  At that time I and my brother were in the “kids” (under 18) class while my mom and grandmother were in the women’s.  That may seem obvious but I point out the distinction because my brother quit after a very short time, at which point Eve proposed I join the women’s class as well...the youngest student ever granted such an honor.
     I must point out, too, however, that this privilege wasn’t bestowed because I exhibited any precocious talents in the form.  In fact, I’d have to say that while I enjoyed the lessons and made every effort to improve, I was under no illusions I might ever become the next Rambrandt or Van Gogh...although, come to think of it, becoming the next Munch was a distinct possibility — I was undoubtedly capable of eking out a “Scream” from even the admirably patient and encouraging Eve.
     Be that as it may, I attended these classes during summers, school vacations, and for the half-year in 7th grade our junior high experimented with “split sessions”.  And, while I may have learned little in terms of “how to” paint throughout those years, I did learn much about appreciating art, and a great many lessons on the art of life itself, and growing up.  I also learned quite a bit about Eve, and in particular enjoyed that aspect of the education. 
     Born in New Zealand, she still retained a rich accent that only added to an already colorful personality...which featured elements I’m sure seemed incongruous to those who knew her as merely a passing acquaintance.  Although she had been a member of “society” in the most prestigious applications of the word — including  serving as a show business/feminist pioneer by co-hosting both a radio and TV program with her psychologist mother, Laurie — Eve walked away from the spotlight when she met and married NJ farmer Roger Hinchman.   Roger was a very wealthy man, surely one who could have bought his way into the social circles Eve had long inhabited.  He had no aspirations toward this end, however, choosing instead to live a simple country life on his family land — a pursuit Eve thrust herself into wholeheartedly...right down to the coveralls and muck boots that would have more easily convinced strangers of homeless person status than that of a “lady” in every sense of the word.   I vividly remember Roger stopping by the studio — i.e. the back yard, filled with roaming ducks, geese (and far too often a butting sheep named Elvis!) — to say hello to Eve’s students from time to time.  And, while I can recall quite a number of these visits, I can’t to this day conjure a mental picture in which Roger isn’t smiling.  He was just a kind, cheery and humble man who made it easy to understand Eve’s choice. 
     Of course, that didn’t make it any less amusing to see the quite proper Eve one minute serving English delicacies at a “tea time” break during classes, and the next take a break from class herself to go bottle-feed an orphaned lamb in the farmhouse kitchen. 
     Speaking of the (18th Century)  farmhouse, it was the
painting pictured here of this
 very structure that proved the
 prize of the auction for me. 
 Oddly, of all those in atten-
 dance vying for (more than 70
of) her works, there was only
one other bidder on this piece. 
Maybe it’s the Irish in me that
still leaves me baffled by this
circumstance.  As Gerald
admonished Scarlett in
With the Wind
, “It will come to
you, this love of the land. There's no gettin' away from it if you're Irish...Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts.”
     I’m not sure I’d go quite that far in placing value on...well — place.  But, I’ll admit I was quite determined to win this representation of Eve’s “place”.  For, when I look at this house I’m transported by a myriad of recollections to a most welcome re-living of countless experiences.  I see various other paintings from the auction hanging where they did in the various rooms.  I almost trip once more over the heaved plank floorboards in the dining room.  I again make my way carefully up the narrow spiral staircase leading from the kitchen to the upstairs hall.  I feel the warmth of the enormous living room fireplace in winter, pet the coarse hair of canine gentle giant, Boy, and enjoy the warmth of dinners with my family and our dear friends.  And, of course, in every memory I see Eve, think about her many words of wisdom — and, of course, hear her contagious laugh.
     I’ve received one of those forwarded e-mails a couple of times that says we have “some friends for a reason, some for a season”, etc..  Although I didn’t see Eve many times after reaching adulthood and moving on with a life that didn’t include painting classes, she remained someone whose advice continued to serve me well, and who I looked forward to sending birthday and Christmas cards to as a tiny way of letting her know she yet lingered in my thoughts.  While some might say such occasional correspondences serve little purpose and should perhaps even be discontinued after a time, I just want to close with this final note.  When the auction had ended and those conducting it struck up a conversation with me, it was asked how I knew Eve, etc.  I briefly outlined our history, adding (a bit ruefully, I admit) that we’d been out of (in-person) touch for years, but that we still sent Christmas cards.  A light went on at that revelation as I was informed, “That’s how we got in touch with you!  We contacted the names in Eve’s personal address book.  You were there.” 
     With that in mind, I just want to close with some gentle advice of my own.  When you think there’s no point in just sending a card to someone, think again.  For, small gestures, much like pictures, truly can be worth a thousand words.  In my case, they were worth a chance to recapture a thousand memories.  And, all the words I’ve written here can never describe the worth of that picture above… the art — and more than mere imitation — of life it represents.

You can read a bit more about Eve via
this newspaper article announcing the above-mentioned auction.


     M  i  l    M  a  n  i  a


        The Official Newsletter of WWW.ARTISTINSANE.COM



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All Content Written By Mil Scott Unless Otherwise Noted

© Mil Scott                                                                                                                   

Welcome To The 2nd Anniversary
Issue of Mil Mania!!!

    Volume 3, Issue 8, Sept./Oct. 2007


Music Mayhem    

As noted in the December 2005 edition of Mil Mania, I continue to include news in every issue to keep readers up to date on the latest happenings with the three acts most prominently featured on However, I now also choose one additional artist — in some cases a new discovery I’ve recently made, in others an individual or group whose work I’ve long appreciated — to make a one-time appearance here.  And, as with all aspects of Mil Mania, feel free to offer suggestions.


This month’s featured artist:


Magnum — Although the
internet informs me there
is/was a UK band by this
name, the group I’m refer
ring to here was a more
regionally known entity
from the East Coast of the
U.S.   My own familiarity with them, however, relates primarily to the theory “six degrees of separation” — or more accurately about two hundred feet of road between my house and that of Magnum’s drummer — a founding member who remained with them for the entire (nearly 20 year) duration of their existence.

     Of course, the privilege of that proximity meant that shortly after meeting this personality-filled percussionist I was in possession of much Magnum memorabilia — and more importantly — both recordings they’d released of original material.  It should also be noted that because there were a host of lineup changes over the years I never had the privilege of meeting certain of those who’d participated in the first of these (the cover of which is pictured above).  Entitled Hot Nights, it was actually an EP which consisted of just five songs.  One of these, however — “Public Memory #1” — proved a Billboard Hot 100 hit and another called “Unanswered Love” proved just as “memorable” to me.  In light of such promise — resoundingly delivered upon — it’s no surprise the band was chosen as the audience favorite of one of the area’s largest radio stations two years running.

     As I came into acquaintance with the band very late in its existence I only had the privilege of attending a handful of live shows.  However, I enjoyed each thoroughly — not only for the chance to hear live versions of favorite originals but also wonderfully rediscovered renditions of a wide array of covers...particularly a version of Van Halen’s “Right Now” sung by the band’s guitarist...who surely would have left Sammy Hagar jealous — and surely left their audiences absolutely thrilled.

     Thankfully, Magnum reunions still take place from time to time, and various of the band’s members continue to engage in music-driven pursuits.  If you’re ever in the NJ/PA area and have the opportunity — catch one if you can!  I trust it’ll be an experience that stays in your own memory  — in the most positive way — for a very long time to come.



Third Eye Blind has announced a string of fall concert dates...including one in Allentown, PA — which is only 30 miles from where I live.  Assuming my always hectic schedule permits — and that tickets don’t sell out before I get to purchase mine (!) — there’s a chance I just might be in attendance.  If so, a report will follow in next month’s issue.


Brian Fitzpatrick is back from the Ireland trip noted in the August issue and has proved in the interim one very busy artist.  Not only does he continue to wear many hats...including both graphic designer and musician, in service to the latter of those he’s announced he’ll soon be recording not one, but two new albums in the weeks ahead.  Both are scheduled for release in 2008.  What’s more, I’ve been asked to join many other of Brian’s friends in contributing to the group vocals on one of these...and yes, I am greatly excited (and fearful!) about this honor and privilege!!! 
     You can read more about this and other goings on in the Fitzpatrick world via the blog on
Brian’s page at


Michael McDermott has a host of news to report since the last Mil Mania issue was sent out.  That said, perhaps I should start with the most recent and work backwards.  You can check out a beautiful performance of the song “Broken” from a TV appearance in WI on 10/12 via this link.  Also, as “Broken” is the song from which his new album’s title, Noise From Words is taken, it’s further appropriate to mention here that the busy tour schedule which followed the disc’s late August release prevented him from checking out the pauper community’s joint birthday/CD release project until just this month!  Entitled “The Broken Record” (for obvious reasons) Michael declared the gift “amazing” and “moving” in a subsequent message of thanks...which sentiment I here extend myself to everyone involved.   If you haven’t already seen the finished product, you can view a web page describing it (with photos) here.
     In other news, Michael paid a visit to World Café Live in Philadelphia for a (fantastic) late September performance.  A review page detailing this show will be available soon.  And, (once my website is fixed!), you’ll also be able to check out another sharing a bit about his final August appearance at the Living Room in NYC — a truly fine night of music itself.  Keep checking the
New Madness page of
     As always you also can go to Michael’s
myspace page or his official website for more info on upcoming tour dates...and this
of for
updated setlists from recent shows.


Text Box:   If you enjoy perusing this issue and are not already a subscriber to Mil Mania, SIGN UP HERE. 

  Everyone is welcome and ALL readers are appreciated!!!  

   P.S.  You can also read all back issues by visiting the sign-up page and clicking on the appropriate month’s link.

Ravings of a Mad Woman

This column corresponds with the Mad Ra-vings On section of, and is dedicated to selected reviews of movies, television and books… most of which are unlikely to represent “the latest” in any of these categories, but rather a  random selection that represents a new and/or noteworthy discovery to me.



Elizabethtown —  I have to say up front that it’s completely inexplicable how I came to watch this film in the first place...let alone record it to my DVR and save it there until I eventually set aside time to give it a look.  The thing is, I’ve never had a great affinity for any of the actors, the reviews I ran across were less than promising, and the premise was by no means all that attention-grabbing.  Be that as it may, it brings to mind a bit of “wisdom” I read somewhere with regard to screenwriting:  it’s the first 15 pages that sell a script, and the last 5 minutes that sell a film.   And, the reason I mention this is that truly never have I found a more prime example of that observation in action.  For, while the opening exposition definitely tweaked my interest, by the time the ending credits rolled it was in the final moments of action that I’d indeed been “sold”  — twice over.

     Actually, I’m not sure “action” is an appropriate word to use with regard to this film...which is, in fact, part of its charm.  Pretty much everything happens slowly, a strategy that allows us to really get to know the characters — and to feel the stifling perspective of protagonist Drew (Orlando Bloom)...a circumstance that has little to do with the  sultry heat of the title Kentucky town. 

     To start at the beginning, we first meet Drew offering sober observations via narration while declaring himself “fine” to every character he encounters to interrupt his internal monologue.  Of course, we realize long before discovering he’s the central player in a business “fiasco” — a grave circumstance not to be confused with mere “failure” — that he’s nothing of the sort.  In fact, we soon learn he’s at a point so low news of a death in the family comes as more of an intrusion on his depression than a cause for this itself.  Ironically, it’s this unexpected dark event, the experiences and characters it thrusts upon him, and the subsequent acquaintance he makes with himself and the greater world beyond that offer the even more unexpected promise of a journey toward the tiniest hint of ever growing light.

     While I enjoyed this movie as a whole a very great deal, there are a few aspects I believe could have been handled to better effect with a lighter hand.  At one point Drew tells a love interest trying to cover a moment ofself-consciousness, “You don’t need jokes.  I like you without the jokes.”  The same applies to the film overall.  There’s one scene wherein the leisurely pace drags on too long, and another immediately following where an overt attempt to win laughs serves instead as a jarring bit of incongruity.  No such “jokes” are needed to appreciate the gentler humor inherent in the human character who takes himself a bit too seriously, and the beauty of coming to terms with one’s human — and wholly forgivable — floundering and flaws. 
     What’s more, while the story focuses most pointedly on Drew, the film features a host of colorful supporting characters, including many standout performances that underscore the themes and provide a wonderfully eclectic picture of the diverse personalities who remain strongly bound as family.  And, it’s this larger unit that ultimately provides the atmosphere of love and openness that gently urges each member toward understanding and acceptance. 

     As Drew’s laid-back cousin Jesse notes at one point,  even at night “It’s hot as the hinges of hell”...then looking up he adds, “But we’ve got stars, too.”

     Truly, life in Elizabethtown is anything but perfect.  Still, it’s warm, inviting, and a fine place to get lost along one’s solitary road trip toward greatness — or mere


                                  If you missed the announcement in the 
December 2006 issue, as per the precedent  
                          set by
Dear Abby which syndicated column
MOLLY     retained that title when passing to its origin- 
                         ator’s daughter , so this column continues to retain the name of its  originator now that
Molly has passed on.  The “madvice” currently offered herein, therefore, is that of Keela, one of the “noisy neighbors” Molly spoke of frequently — and who you may have met previously via the photo collection taken during her pregnancy and in the weeks after her fifteen babies were born.  Needless to say, with that kind of experience, Keela, like Molly, knows a bit about life as learned by her adventures as a rodent single mom.  Also like Molly, she has a strong mind of her own with much rat wisdom to share.  I hope you’ll enjoy her commentary. 


E-mail your “Molly Madvises” questions to mil@ and I’ll pass them on to Keela.  Thanks!


That said, on to this month’s question…


Dear Keela,

     What can you tell me about MSAs-metropolitan statistical areas?  Hmm?  Yeah.  I don't' have a clue either.  But apparently I said I did because one of my colleagues dropped into my cubical the other day and asked what I had for him on the topic.  I just kind of said,
"Ehhh.  I'm not quite finished with that," hoping he would give me some inkling as to what exactly he was talking about because I must have been preoccupied with other thoughts when he had asked me
in the first place and at this point didn't even recall him asking.  What was I thinking?!  He said it was not a problem, to get him the numbers as they related to our project by Friday.  "Oh!  Yes.  I can do that."  He left happy that he'd have what he wanted in three days, and I stayed there only a smidge less perplexed.  I scrolled through the employee finder to see who might be able to help me with. exactly what I still wasn't 100% sure.  I called Dean, explained what I thought I was looking for and he started in with a lot of enthusiasm on something that sounded like it might be what I needed.  Then he said Karen on 16
could give a report with all the breakdowns, but he didn't think that the MSA ranges were part of it.  He dropped by some reports a few minutes later and so did Karen — with the same enthusiasm as Dean, that to share their knowledge on the subject.  Now, I'm sure you are just as confused at this point, Keela, as I was then!  But what about the MSAs, I kept asking??  No one knew! to the rescue, I thought, but still it was no!  Well, I pulled together some valuable material and diverted my colleague's attention from the missing MSAs issue.  He was very happy with what I had, said it would work for the meeting, but let's get that MSAs range into it for later in the month.  NO!!!  This was an exercise in what a total collapse of communication produces. 
Yes.  I take the credit for it starting with me, but through the whole chain of connections not one of us really listened to what the other was saying.   Keela, why is communicating so difficult?  Why can't we say what we mean, ask "Why?" or "What?" and not leave it up to ourselves to try to fill in the blanks on our own?


                                                             Mixed Up By MSA’s And More


Dear Mixed Up,


     Hmm..what can I tell you about MSA’s?  Let me see… Marshmallows… Sweet potatoes... And lots more yummy treats!
kidding!  As you guessed, “metropolitan rat-istical areas” are Greek to me.  But wait a minute...Greek...don’t pomegranates grow in  Greece?  My, how Sweet and  Appetizing those are.   Mmmmmm…
Oh, sorry — better scurry back to the topic at hand.
     Well, again I’m faced with something so hard to gnaw on as to wear my teeth down to nubs — and they’ve just barely grown back from doing that last month!  In any case, I think all of your questions really come down to three hu-man (and hu-woman and maybe even rat) characteristics:  ignorance, fear — and pride.  The first of these, of course, could be remedied pretty easily in a situation like yours by just being doesn’t seem you were really all that scared of this hu-man who’d asked for the information, and you didn’t seem to think he’d actually bite or do anything to make you scream “E!” or “Let me GO!”.  However, it does seem fear played into all of this in the sense you were afraid he might think something less of you if you admitted your ignorance...that you might be embarrassed by having to say you didn’t catch what he’d said and maybe let him know you’re less than perfect.  Of course, who’s to say you didn’t hear him ask you because he didn’t???  How can you be so sure it was your mistake?  I’ll bet he makes them sometimes, too...or isn’t he hu-man after all?
     The good part in that, however, is that you don’t think yourself so rat-astic at everything that it couldn’t possibly have been your mistake.  Maybe it was.  Who knows?  But, a lot of time was wasted trying to communicate with people he hadn’t asked, either, so they couldn’t possibly know what it was he’d (maybe) asked you for.  That, of course, is where pride (which is kind of related to ego as I’ve talked about so much before) comes in...not to mention feeling backed into a corner.  Like I said, it would have been easiest and quickest to just ask him what he meant the first time he brought the MSA’s to your rat-tention (or rather, the first time you actually did hear him and started scooting around in panic).  Instead you wasted a lot of energy trying to find out what he wanted from other people — and never found out anyway!  It’s kind of like me asking for help from someone with pet snakes.  I’m pretty sure they aren’t going to give me any answers that I’m looking for...and might just “help”  me into a way worse situation than I’d been in to begin with.
     Keep in mind, I’m not criticizing you or any other hu-person for acting hu-man.  You already know from all my prior columns a rodent single mom can act pretty hu-man sometimes, too.  It’s just that we don’t have as much time as hu-people to keep trying to get things right...and we face a lot more dangerous consequences than embarrassment or hurt pride if we get them wrong.  We don’t get taken to lunch to discuss ways to improve; we might just become lunch.

     Even so, the really good news is there really are a lot of nice hu-people out there willing to help others out.  Look at how those folks Karen and Dean you mentioned were so eager to try and get you what you wanted.  Just maybe the hu-man who (we’ll never know in the first place may really have ) asked you for the MSA’s would have been just as helpful if you’d only given him a chance.  Sometimes, all we need is to be given a chance — like my adoptive mom and dad gave me.  And, sometimes, what we need more is to give someone else a chance — like I...well, eventually...gave my adoptive mom and dad.  You’ve got to remember, this hu-man you’re speaking of was very nice about the information you did give him...he didn’t try to make you lunch because you didn’t have what he wanted the first time around.  Given my own experience, I’ll just bet he really would have been every bit as helpful as Karen and Dean were in trying to steer you in the right direction.  And since, unlike them, he actually knew what it was he was talking about — he might have even been more.

     If not, I have only one possible explanation — he owns a snake.  Or, just maybe... he is one. 

     Hope that helps.  And, as always, keep those letters coming.  
     In the meantime, I’m gonna go have some pomegranate sweetened apple cider Mom bought at the grocery store. 
Mmmm, So Appelicious!




P.S.  This comment was sent to me by last month’s questioner, “Wondering About Wanting” 


“For a creature that may be considered "worthless," as Keela said of her people, she certainly proves to be anything but with the sound advice she presents in her own "rat-is-tic" way.  I'm looking at her concluding paragraph and these words are sort of a gently woven alliteration that makes her point on their own..."sometimes," "surroundings," "screamed," "scary," "survive," and "surrendering."  And who doesn't "need some surrender[ing]" sometimes?  Oh, speaking of artistic expression, haven't I heard this grand thought in a song or two?   Scary as it can be, surrendering is so worth it.”


Thank you, Wanting!  I’m so glad you found my madvice of such good use!!!!  (But my ears are positively pink to the tips from blushing at your compliments!)


ALSO — oh my, I think I need to start making columns within my column to separate the ever-increasing volume of letters, news and comments to share — Deb, “The Rat Lady”, who featured Mom’s article in her Rat-a-Tat-Chat and Molly in her Rat Fan Club, has added a link on her “FAVORITE (!!!) Links page to my review of Ratatouille!  If you haven’t read this yet, go there NOW!!!  And, don’t forget — Ratatouille comes out on DVD Nov. 6th!  Don’t forget to scamper to the video store to get your copy!

                       Molly Madvises 

         (now by Molly’s neighbor Keela)








Comments from Mil Mania readers
                on the August issue...

In A Nutshell

  Writings From The Asylum

     “I was so sad to learn of Flannery and Noonan's passing and feel much sympathy for your loss.  Pets are so much more than pets, and we can learn great lessons from them.  My Yellow Labrador Maya is well into her golden years, 13+, but I won't let myself think about life without her.  I enjoy every minute I get with her.  Some canine wisdom I've learned from her is:  1. Avoid biting when a simple growl will do, 2.  If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it, and    3.  When someone you love is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.”



[On the McDermott B’Day/CD Release celebration project]:


   “Once again, thanks for all of your time, work, energy and TALENT!!!!!  I hope that you know how much it is appreciated!!!!!!”


Text Box:          As always, feel free to drop 
                by my “space” at



                                                                        “Little Ruth Riding Hood”
                                                                         wishes everyone a very

                                                                         HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


                                                                                   I’d just like to add a
                                                                         couple words about this
                                                                         particular celebration given
                                                                         there are so many divergent
                                                                         explanations as to its origins
                                                                         and meaning. 


As I happened to meet a favorite professor while taking a Fall Semester college course, the subject of Halloween came up during one of the October classes.  I don’t recall the circumstances that led to her sharing her own explanation of the day; however, it remains the one I like the most and which I myself celebrate. 


She noted that on “All Hallows Eve” people dress up as various ghouls, goblins, etc. to represent evil spirits and their attempts to reign and wreak havoc upon Earth.  At midnight, however, the “dawn” of “All Saints Day” arrives, at which time good triumphs as the saints chase the demons back to their dark domain — and subsequently celebrate this victory.


It’s therefore this promise of light overcoming when night is blackest that makes me smile at the sight of vari-
ous costumes.  Of course, not one for
gory movies or the like, I vastly prefer
the oversized pumpkins and cheery black
cats to spiders and skeletons.  In any
case, I’m sure you get the picture…
speaking of which, here’s another favor-
ite of my little friend Ruth — all dressed
up herself for “Trick or Treat”.  And,
looking at that face, I’m sure I don’t
have to tell you which she can invariably







A Boo-tiful Holiday








Kerouac’s On The Road “had been like a bible for me.  Not anymore,, that character Moriarty seemed out of place, purposeless — seemed like a character who inspired idiocy.”
Bob Dylan
Chronicles, Vol. 1

“In the end, the only people who fail are those who do not try.”
David Viscott              


                                            First and foremost, I
                                    want to thank each and
                                    every one of you who
                                    have been with me for the
two years of this
                                    publication’s existence. 
                                    And, thanks as well to all
                                   who have joined along the
                                   way.  I hope you continue
                                   to enjoy the journey and
                                   that you’ll feel free to bring more and more friends down the road.
     In a bit of technical news, I must report that I’ve been having no end of problems with my server (for at least a month now) — which explains the strange appearance (or in some cases, maybe even
disappearance) of various pages of my website...and the need to delay publishing of a couple pages intended for inclusion as links from this newsletter.  I’m continuing to work with my web host on this matter and hope to see all corrected in the very near future.

     In the meantime, I trust this issue contains enough topics of interest to keep you entertained and occupied...and provide worthwhile food for thought.  The “Temporary Insanity” column in particular features a piece borne out of a unique experience that took place in does the “Newsletter Spotlight”.  Both have to do with different versions of history and déjà vu — but share the common thread of all parts of this publication that they express various aspects of its author.    And, again I feel privileged to have this “stage” on which to share with all of you my “world”.

     Also, I’d like to mention that autumn is undoubtedly my favorite time of year...for its crisp, cool weather, the stunning palette of color nature offers...and the building anticipation of the soon approaching holidays.

     Of course, all of that means the approach of many artistic endeavors as well — on which I’d better get started! 
     As always, happy reading.  Happy autumn.  Happy 2nd anniversary to
Mil Mania!


As introduced in the first issue of Mil Mania, this column presents the latest chapter in the “prequel” to my screenplay, Taking the Fall. While the script picks up four years after the suicide of the main character (Joshua Gray)’s girlfriend, the novel begins with that act itself, and the portion shared here continues to document events taking place in the weeks after the funeral…(you can catch up on prior chapters by viewing back issues on the Mil Mania Sign-up page).

  The Leap to Limbo (tentative title),     Chapter 16,  “Almost Home” cont’d. 



     As Josh stood outside Allison’s apartment door late Sunday afternoon, he suddenly began to wonder why he’d been so anxious to get back to L.A.  Right about now he felt certain he could’ve waited a few more hours…days...years — to once more occupy this particular spot.  It was like standing in one of those rooms of funhouse mirrors at the boardwalk amusement park his dad had taken him to as a kid.  Only they just distorted the outside.  He felt like he turned into someone else in far more significant ways whenever he faced Allison.  He wished he could just will Sultan through the door without even having to speak to her.  He’d had enough of feeling — and acting — like someone else.  It was time he got back to being himself…or rather, 
  time he moved on to figuring out who he was going to be from here 
  on out.

     Finally, Josh forced himself to knock and looked around the hall

 way nervously as he waited for Allison to answer.   Any subconscious search for a way out ended in seconds, however, when the door opened and he tried to offer a nonchalant smile.  Allison responded by flying into his arms, smiling broadly herself. 
     “Geez, you’re supposed to just be going away for a little 10-day concert tour and almost go away forever,” she mumbled to his chest.   Backing up to make eye contact — but not letting go — she asked in mock-earnest,

     “What would Sultan ever do without you?”

     “He’s a pretty adaptable guy,” Josh answered evenly.  “Once he realized I wasn’t coming back and broke out of your place, I’m sure he’d get along just fine.”

     Allison stepped back and punched him in the arm.  “You…” she growled, frowning.  “Unlike some men,” she went on pointedly, “he appreciates the attention of a good woman.”
     “That might be,” Josh acknowledged   “But what does he think of a bad girl like you?”

     Allison grinned.  “Okay.  Truce,” she offered, then bowed grandly, beckoning him through the door.  “Enter if you dare,” she invited in a throaty voice. 

     Hoping to enjoy the surprisingly comfortable repartee a moment longer Josh held his ground.  “I think I feel safer out here,” he teased.  “Maybe you should just go get Sultan so I can leave before I fall into any more life-threatening situations.
     “Aw, go on in, you jerk,” Allison replied, giving Josh a playful shove.”  As he moved forward to obey, she continued, “I like this not quite recovered’s easy to push you around.”

     “Bully,”  Josh shot back.  “You’re supposed to offer me tea and toast and want to plump my pillows and stuff…”

     “Hmm...some of that sounds like a bad girl like me…”

     “Easy there, tigress.  I’ve played 7 shows in three states over the past 10 days, driven 6 hours of the past 12 and — oh yeah, almost died, so I’m told, somewhere along the way.  You might want to cut me a little slack when it comes to too much activity.” 
     Before Allison could reply, Sultan came padding around the couch and was soon rubbing against josh’s legs, purring with great gusto.  Josh knelt down to give him a good scratch along his neck, hitting some invisible volume knob in the process; the purring grew incrementally louder until the utterly bliss-filled feline collapsed onto the floor, staring up appreciatively at Josh. 

     “I don’t know if he’s quite as adaptable as you think,” Allison said. 

     “Actually, if he found he had to be, I’ll bet he could surprise time.”

     “Yeah,” Allison responded, looking at Josh squarely, “I bet you’re right.”

     After a moment of silence that indeed represented an inexplicable truce, Allison asked quietly, “You want some coffee.”

     Weighing the offer for a moment and finding nothing more on the table, Josh answered with a slow smile, “You got any tea?”

     “I believe I have.  “Take a seat.  I’ll check.”

     Josh flopped down on the couch and sank into the voluminous cushions. Sultan leapt up to join him, curling companionably against his side, kneading contentedly as he drifted off to feline dreams.

     Minutes later, Allison stepped from the kitchen carrying two steaming cups and the necessary accoutrements on a dainty vintage tray.  Barely into the living room she stopped, stifling a quick sound. Smiling gently. she quietly set the tray on a tiny nearby table.

     Carefully easing a large knitted throw from just behind Josh’s shoulder, she spread it over the two sleeping males.  She watched them in silence for a moment before taking the tray back to the kitchen and emptying the cups into the sink.

     Returning to the living room, she hesitated a moment.  Finally, she gave a little shrug and curled up on the far side of the couch.  Pulling a corner of the throw close around her, she watched Sultan and Josh in silence until her own eyes grew heavy, and she at last joined them herself in a peaceful, and most welcome, sleep. 

Text Box: From The Rat 
                  Fan Club:
The Rat of the Week 

Molly lived with Mildred Scott in Washington, NJ.  Mildred writes, “It’s hard to say just a few words about the amazing little gal who introduced us to pet rat ownership and became our wonderful ‘Molly Polly Dolly.’  Surely few other one-pound packages to arrive via ‘special delivery’ have ever contained so much patience, wisdom and love.  And, I’d be willing to bet we might just be the only rat owners who obtained their tiny adoptee by mail—huddled under a drive-up mailbox on a particularly wintry early spring day.  With the mailbox surrounded by a drive/roadway and no positive outcome imaginable if we didn’t intervene, my husband and I took her home (much to her joy!) and began a crash course on the new adventure of caring for such a friend ...including the realization a growing tummy might mean more than an improved diet when her twin baby boys came along just two weeks later!
“Molly was indeed the first to expose us to a bright new world and worked her way so deeply into our hearts as to insure she’d never be the last.  We’ve met countless additional members of her species since and though each is fully his or her own, yet all we’ve known share many of Molly’s special qualities—including, of course, her beautifully giving spirit—and a love for playtime and treats! 
“I have a favorite T-shirt that says, ‘They sent me a rat...the other angels were busy.’   Indeed, ‘they’ did…and her name was Molly.
AND, on the topic of Molly and her species, my response to a “Yahoo Answers” question posed by Ratatouille writer/director Brad Bird has been published in the latest issue of the Rat-a-Tat-Chat — the official quarterly publication of The Rat Assistance and Teaching Society.

Visit to read the article in its entirety And, go to to join up/subscribe today!

                                      Temporary Insanity








Thanks for reading this issue of Mil Mania!  And, remember, this is a work in progress, subject to many and varied changes — all adding up to a new and improved I hope!  Please drop me a line to let me know what you think, including any and all suggestions.  Thank you!!!

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Though other more recent pets have taken the fore in prior issues of “Mil Mania”, once upon a time Arabian horses were an everyday part of life...including management of a sales/boarding/breeding facility located on the Scott family farm.  One of the stars in those days was EJ Jabask, who was later sold himself...much to my dismay.  BUT, as of just a few weeks ago, he’s back!!!  And, all I can say to that great news is…


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