Meet The Author

Marisa Samuels has seen it all in her long lifetime, and boasts an obsidiously sharp mind some might call intimidating and wickedly humorous. Step into a world where left is north, right is deliciously wrong, up has never been so far down, and a twist always follows a turn.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I Dreamed I Saw Joe McCarthy Last Night...

I Dreamed I Saw Joe Hill Last Night, Alive As You And Me

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Trumbo, stop pacing.  You’re making me nervous.”

 “You’d be pacing too, Cleo, if you were testifying tomorrow before a bunch of assholes who’ve decided to eliminate civil liberties once and for all.”

“Probably.  Have you decided whether to take the Fifth?”

“I’m going to talk.  But I’m not going to say what they want me to say; name who they want me to name.  I’m going to tell them they are crushing the First Amendment.  Why, it should be called the Unamerican House Committee. They’ve subpoenaed producers, writers, musicians, directors, actors - -  they’ve ruined their lives, cost them their professions – why, they’re  going to drive people to suicide. The bastards. The bastards.”

“That’ll land you in jail.”

“I know.  But it’s the right thing to do.  You know that. So what if I were a Party member? It’s a legal political party. What have I ever done to overthrow the government?  Have I spied?  No.  Have I inserted Communist propaganda into my screenplays?  Oh, sure.  I had Margaret O’Brien recite Marxist principles in Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, when the director wasn’t looking.  She was an excellent student, when she wasn’t crying.  God, that kid could cry.  And I hear they’ve subpoenaed Jeff Corey, of all people.”

 “Who’s he?”

“Young actor.  Played a small role, ranch hand, in My Friend Flicka.  Probably taught the mare to whinny “The Internationale.”

“You start joking in front of the Committee and you’ll be put in solitary.”

“Good.  Get more writing done that way.”

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Columbus, Georgia, January 23, 2012 -- Ledger Inquirer
Georgia Judge orders President Obama to appear in court over “birthers” suit.
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Though he experienced success as a novelist and a screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo (1905-1976) is best known as a member of a group he would have preferred never existed-the "Hollywood Ten." After refusing to cooperate during the House Committee on Un-American Activities hearings in the late 1940s, Trumbo and nine other screenwriters and directors were sent to jail and later blacklisted in Hollywood. Below are portions of the PBS American Masters production, adapted from his son Christopher’s 2003 play and based on the remarkable letters Dalton Trumbo wrote during the devastation wrought by the ‘Red Scare’ in mid-20th century.

Friday, February 24, 2012


“This is a lovely villa, Heydrich.  Look at the beach.  Ah, I would like to go down and swim.”

“Josef, don’t be silly.  We have work to do. Gather the rest; they are all in the dining room looking at your beach.  We must get going.”

“We’re coming, we’re coming,” called one of the group.  “But where is Karl?  He is supposed to take the minutes.”

“That little mischling?” laughed Heydrich.  “He must be on JST.”

“What is that?  Some kind of drug?” another man asked.

“No, no – an American – a sympathizer – told me the expression.  Jewish Standard Time.  It means always being late.”

“Karl is not – he is not -- a mischling, really, is he?”

“Of course not.  But his complexion; his looks in general – the kids used to tease him back in Linz.”

“Oh, here he comes.  It’s about time, Karl.  We have to start the meeting, and you are to take the minutes.”

“Do not call me Karl.   I dropped that name long ago.  And the meeting starts when I say it does, when I put pen to paper.”

“All right, settle down,” said Heydrich. “I will open the meeting.  You start.”

And Adolf Eichmann began to take the minutes of the Wannsee Conference.

The Wannsee Conference, held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee on January 20, 1942, was the meeting at which the “Final solution to the Jewish question” was planned.  Thirteen high-ranking Nazis attended.  The conference lasted 90 minutes. The result of the meeting, which had been arranged in advance, was to confirm the principle of deportation to what eventually would become the camps where the mass murders of more than six million  Jews took place.  Eichmann’s minutes were found in 1947 in the papers of one of the participants. Two films have been made of the Conference, one in Germany, one in England.  The English film, “Conspiracy,” was made for television in 2001, stars Kenneth Branagh, and is available for viewing.  It lasts the length of Eichmann’s minutes.

(c) Marisa Samuels, February 2012

Hot As Heaven

In fond remembrance of the late columnist Art Hoppe, a mainstay of more than 50 years at the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Lord, there is a woman on Earth who says she is hot.”

“Oh, Me, St Peter.  She is?  Well, maybe she lives in what they call the Midwest.  I’ve been having trouble keeping the weather comfortable there.  I don’t know, maybe you-know-who has been interfering with my work.”

“No, Lord.  She says she is hot for Your Son.”

“Hot for My Son?  Does she mean she is hot because of My Son?  That does not make sense.  My Son does not control the weather.  Apparently even I cannot do that, no matter how hard I try.”

“It is a different meaning of ‘hot,’ Lord.  I looked it up on Your computer.  It seems that someone called her ‘hot’ and her associates grumbled.  She then said she was ‘hot for Jesus Christ.’ The shouters in the crowd meant she was ‘hot,’ um, sexually.  That is when she disavowed their assessment.  She says she meant ‘hot’ in the sense of – uh, enthusiasm .  She is enthusiastic about Your Son.”

“Well, that is good.  I am glad I got that computer. I should look up definitions more often.  The computer is easier to use than rummaging through My divine thoughts.  But what kind of crowd would shout such a thing?”

“The woman, who is pretty, in Earth terms, is running for political office.” 

“What sort of political office?”

“President of the United States of America.”


“And she speaks of the End Times.”

“How can she speak of the End Times?  I have not yet scheduled them.  Although, as they say down there, ‘Lord knows’ I have thought of setting a date now and again.  Incidentally, I thought there was a separation of Church and State in the United States.”

“Historically there has been that Separation.  But some seem to want to combine the two.”

“NOT a good idea.  I have seen this happen in other areas of Earth.  Then there are wars, which I try to prevent, but you know, St. Peter, that My creations have free will.”

“Are You tempted to interfere, Lord?”

“I am not tempted to do anything.  My creations are tempted; one hopes they will resist temptation.  Temptations.  If this woman is ‘hot,’ as you say, for My Son, let us hope she keeps her ‘hotness’ in check.”

“I am hot about your decision, and your hope, Lord.”

“St. Peter, PLEASE!”

© Marisa Samuels, August 2011