Beat

His Doctors Wage A Frantic Fight To Save A Wounded Officer: The guarded entrance to Building C of the Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn is designed for ambulance traffic, but the green Impala that stopped at its painted curb around 3 a.m. yesterday counted as an emergency vehicle.
There were bullet holes in the doors, and the front-seat passenger, Officer Dillon Stewart, was bleeding from a massive heart injury.

Dust In The Water

Read Kelley’s story: They eat cold fried snapper for breakfast. Taso shaves with saltwater and enjoys the sting. He says “buenos dias” to Louie the sun and plays with his dog, but his mood is falling. He found healthy sponges 40 miles from home, but not many, not enough. Jason has work tomorrow, and it’s time to head back.

Taso will make about $250, enough to pay for his groceries but not his gas. This trip wasn’t so much about finding sponges as finding answers, and now he has some. He knows not to bother with the spots he loves close to home. Travel farther. What he will do next year, he isn’t sure.

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Black Friday

Is it that time of year again? Time to string the cliches from the rafters and hang the unoriginality from the mantle and tuck the ridiculous quotes snug into bed for a long winter’s nap?

Here’s the participatory Holiday Weekend version of Gangrey.com.

You be the judge of who did the obligatory Friday-After-Thanksgiving story justice, and let’s try to learn something.

Brace yourself, though, for much swarming and luring and quite a few references to standing in line for this or that. Be warned: A Google News search shows at least eight reporters wrote “line snaked” on Friday, so, um, OK, here’s a cross section.

Looks like it got pretty wild at the Walmart in Middletown, N.Y. (Someone’s going to die in one of these stampedes.) There were more wacko’s in Washington, but the retail giant’s PR machine was fully functional. (“Christi Gallagher, a national Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said the most excitement was caused by two people shouting at each other. She said, “From time to time, our customers get very excited about the prices we’re offering.”)
The Mercury News sent a team out for the “near-riot” in Mountain View. Those covering fist-fights and police action at least had something to write about. Not so in Detroit, where people reportedly woke up: “And get out of bed they did.”
Of course, you can’t neglect to mention the menacing weather. “Morning rains did little to dampen the ardor of shoppers who crammed into big-box retailers, department stores and malls Friday,” in San Francisco. And shoppers in Baltimore’s burbs were “Lured by early-bird specials and undeterred by frigid weather and jostling crowds.” “Frigid temperatures” didn’t stop crap in Oklahoma, thank goodness. It’s actually refreshing to get a kinda-funny anecdote by Doris Hajewski at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Jim Bainbridge at the Colorado Springs Gazette gets props for working his tail off.
The Pittsburgh Post Gazette went overboard: “This story was written by Teresa F. Lindeman based on her reporting and that of staff writers Caitlin Cleary, Monica Haynes, Madeline Izzo, Rebekah Scott, Anya Sostek and Monessa Tinsley.” (No men?)

Thank God for Steve Israel in sleepy Sullivan County.

Until next year…

Stovetop

Hank Stuever: Quick! Stir this while we take a sec to give thanks for dear Ruth Siems, who is credited with inventing Stove Top Stuffing in 1972, of which tens of millions of boxes are eaten every year. (Instead of potatoes.) She died last week, but somebody neglected to run her obituary until today, which is such a holiday-rush kind of thing to do…

Beige and White

The OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley on one of California’s most awful hate crimes: We joke, in Orange County, about beige and white, about beige carpets in beige homes behind beige walls in beige housing tracts, and white walls in the beige homes. We joke because beige and white aren’t really colors, and color suggests excitement, and Orange County, particularly South County, is, well, anything but exciting. We joke until we see something like a crime-scene photograph of a Tustin apartment, from the summer of 2002. The apartment had been ransacked, its once-white walls now grotesquely spattered burgundy, and on carpet that had been beige but is now turning almost black, there’s a bedspread. The bedspread, we’ll learn, covered the mutilated corpse of a nude man. He was hog-tied from behind with white athletic socks. Though he suffered a myriad of injuries, the most serious wounds were deep gashes in the top and back of the head, wounds that, by the time the photograph was taken, had attracted an army of ants. The lethal weapon, an unopened bottle of Moet & Chandon, lay nearby, covered in blood. (Thanks Alex.)

Wrestling With Bam Bam

Michael Kruse’s story: Bam Bam Bigelow skidded off the motorcycle and onto the hard wet asphalt on State Road 50 one Sunday in early October on the west side of Hernando County.
The woman who had been on the back of his bike hit the pavement with a sound one witness said was like an open palm slapping the surface of water. Then she flopped around like a rolled-up rug.
Bam Bam landed about 50 feet up the road. The former professional wrestler with the tattooed scalp and the name no one can forget was covered in blood, but he managed to get up. He held his scraped-up arms straight out from his sides. He lurched back toward the woman, who was moaning.

Studying Narrative

WriterL member Lynda Ward has started a Yahoo group for studying and analyzing narrative themes in movies like Million Dollar Baby, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Station Agent.

I tend to wonder: Who has the time? But I recall one winter afternoon when a certain duo left the office for 5 Mills Avenue to study Final Destination II (we couldn’t find the original) and ended up with a pretty decent read.

Ward’s description of the free group: “Writers who wish to practice narrative writing by analyzing the plots and subplots of popular movies with layered narratives, this is the group for you! We will analyze movies for their five main foci: the complicating factor, plot points, mid point shift, and resolution. Also topics of discussion will be imagery, symbolic substructure, negation of the negation, and so forth. Please join us especially if you have either read or attended Robert McKee’s “Story” book or seminar, or if you have read Jon Franklin’s “Writing for Story.”
If you want to practice analyzing narratives in order to strengthen your own writing, please join us!”

Kate Boo

Kate Boo on lying low:

“The darnedest thing about real people is that they don’t conform to our little preconceived narrative of life,” Boo said. “So they are going to surprise you, and if they don’t surprise you, then you probably aren’t doing your job right.”

(How come Boo never came to Arkansas Tech to speak?)