Wednesday, July 19, 2017

On abuse of actors

Last week I was feeling favorably disposed toward “Civil Youth.” I was really looking forward to being in their music video. They booked me several weeks in advance. I skipped submitting for other gigs. I packed up for the trip to Philadelphia. I arranged for pet care. I stored stopped the mail and newspaper. I drove to Metropark and parked my car there and took a train in.

But, just as I was parking, I got word that the video was cancelled.

Now I’m feeling less favorably disposed.  I’m an attorney. I could possibly sue them, based on having relied on their booking me – because I skipped submitting for other gigs for the days I was booked for.  I studied contract law.  I remember that “reliance” was a basis for recovery.

Am I going to sue them?  Unlikely.  The video was supposed to shoot in Langhorne, PA.  That would mean I would likely have to drive down there and make a claim in small claims court.  The amount that I could recover in salary would probably not cover the cost of the trip.

There is also the loss of exposure, which would be hard to value, especially because I can’t prove for sure I would have booked the alternative gigs even if I had applied for them. 

And people wonder why so many actors become socialists. Actors are routinely abused in employment.

I've been repeatedly exposed to dangerous air quality issues on set: particulates (plastic dust, spray on makeup). In one short, I was paid nothing, because I was non union, while union background were paid. I've endured inadequate restroom facilities. I've frequently been paid under minimum wage. Non union jobs often don't pay for rehearsal time. No one seems to pay for time spent at home memorizing lines.

It's considered acceptable to abuse actors, because actors are so eager to get any gig.  They’ll do almost anything, even if it’s dangerous.

One of my friends fell downstairs doing a dangerous shoot and was seriously injured.  She even told the director she thought it was dangerous, but he told her to go ahead and she did.  In retrospect, she shouldn’t have, but she didn’t realize the magnitude of the injuries she was about to suffer.

When I complained about the plastic dust on set in “Book of Henry,” they did not take me seriously because I am not in the union.  I tried complaining to the government, but the OSHA people told me that my employer was Central Casting, so they would have to go against Central Casting, not against the movie producer who exposed me to plastic dust.  I didn’t want to go against Central Casting. I didn’t really consider it their fault. Moreover, I wanted to book more gigs with them.

The union is hard to get into.  You have to book 3 union gigs to get in.  Apparently, they don’t help other actors.

This really isn’t very good politics on their part.  If other actors are getting hired because productions can get away with abusing them, that hurts union members, who presumably will be avoided.

There is here a more general issue with workers who work by the day on projects that only exist for a short time.  There’s really no one to go after, even if you were to sue.  Particularly, in the case of film projects, the boss is likely to be an ordinary person making only that one film, with no resources.  We may not even have an address for them or their real name.  We are also often independent contractors.

Generally, agencies that the government has in place to protect employees don’t protect self-employed independent contractors.  If they are workers, working in home improvement, they can at least put a lien on real property to secure payment. 

If I get lung cancer in a few years from the plastic dust on the set of Book of Henry, or the spray makeup from Bite School, it’s going to be hard to prove that those things caused my problem. 

I feel that there is a gap here in government protection.  Actors are particularly vulnerable, because the business environment is so fragile and competitive.

Another thing that is missing is a union that any actor can join, even if they don’t have union experience – a union that wants to protect all actors – not create barriers to employment.

Of course, some shows make you sign a contract agreeing that you’re non-union and that the production is non-union.  I’m not an expert in labor law, but I wonder whether these contract clauses that basically say that the actor can’t be in a union are even legal.

I feel that this blog is not completely edited and thought out.  I need to get better organized conclusions – and possibly a better organized introduction.  I want to create some kind of manifesto about the need to protect actors.

Cities like New York and Los Angeles, which have a lot of actors, should be particularly interested, as these actors are a substantial fraction of their people. 

I saw that actors were on strike in Los Angeles demanding that actors be paid minimum wage – that these tiny stipends that don’t even cover expenses should be illegal.  Possibly they are already illegal – but in this atmosphere of actors being so desperate for any kind of work – who would sue?

Meh.  No one pays much attention to my blogs. I could dream that this could be the start of an organization – of new legislation – but it’s not likely to happen.  Dreams…  Of course, a lot of acting is about dreams.  You have to be a good dreamer even to be able to act.  Moreover, actually getting well-paid employment in the field is a huge dream for most actors.-


The spotlight from this projector shows how thick the fractured plastic snowflake dust was in the air on set.  The director told us that these plastic snowflakes were approved by SAG, but I doubt that that approval foresaw sitting there for 3 hours with no break having the snow released over and over -- and having the snow fracturing into tiny particles.  The flakes themselves were too large to inhale, but the dust was not. 

I've smeared the faces of others on set,  who haven't given permission for their likenesses to be used.

This is a photo of my glasses, showing how much dust was on them when I left the set.  Obviously, I was also inhaling that stuff.

There was no warning that there would be particulates on set. I'm a cancer survivor.  There's no way I would have subjected myself to inhaling plastic dust, if I had had prior warning.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Proposed constitutional amendment

It seems unlikely, given the current configuration of the government, that we can get the constitutional amendment to remove the electoral college. I'm trying to think of some wordings that might be more generally palatable. Here's a draft


Subsequent to an election for President or Vice president, a new election may be ordered by

  • by a majority vote of either house of Congress or 
  • in response to a petition signed by a number legally registered USA voters corresponding to 10% of the number voting in the election to be redone, 

under any of the following circumstances

1 the winner does not have the largest popular vote
2 no candidate has a majority 
3 substantial evidence that the winning candidate is in violation of any clause of this constitution
4 substantial evidence that the election has been tampered with. Tampering may include
  1. rigging of voting equipment or altering ballots 
  2. physical or virtual invasion of any candidate's premises or equipment or data
  3. widespread libel or disinformation directed at any candidate

The new election shall be a direct election, without use of the electoral college. If no candidate receives a majority in the new election, then there shall be a runoff election between the two leading candidates two weeks afterwards. 

A new election under this provision may be ordered no more than once per calendar year. 


I've written this to apply to the President and Vice President, but it might apply to members of Congress as well

Monday, June 12, 2017

basement bathroom floor plan

The purpose of this blog is to show contractors the floor plan of my basement bathroom that needs to be remodeled.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Department of Labor messing with IRA regulations

New federal regulations on IRA's are affecting the way brokerages run IRA accounts. This means that they are going to require discretion in trading the accounts, which means that they will charge me 1.5% per year to hold these accounts. Otherwise they cannot offer investment advice. Whereas I want it on commission, because I don't make that many trades.
I have my IRA spread over brokerage houses, so they can't balance my investments on their side, and they want to uninvest things that I've chosen when they can't see my whole picture.

This means I'll pay more fees and lose control of my account -- or I'll have to choose an account where they give me no advice at all.
So much for Trump reducing regulations.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Updates for April & May 2017

Link to my ongoing updates blog  This blog serves as an index to my performance related blogs and other materials

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2016 Updates

This was deleted from my ongoing updates blog and moved to its own blog.  The Ongoing updates is a sort of index to my activities and can be found here: Ongoing Updates

News from 2016

past performances

Completed performance related courses/events

Law related courses:

  • 11/17/18 NYIPLA One-day Program, Princeton Club, NYC
  • 10/28/16 Cybersecurity: What Lawyers and Business Leaders Need to Know, Columbia Law School
  • 10/25/16 IIPS Meeting -- talks by Hetal Kushwaha of Marks & Clerk, Canada and Roosevelt V Segarra of Myers Wolin, NYC -- both on the topioc of patentability of computer software
  • 10/18/16 ENYIPLA Dinner Meeting -- talk by Mel Garner of  Leason Ellis LLP on the topic of Trade Secret Practice and Advice for the Practitioner
  • Ethical Considerations in Patent and Trademark Practice, IIPS 9/20/16
  • PTAB tips and tricks, sponsored by NYIPLA 6/8/16 at NYC
  • JPPCLE, NYC 4/21/16

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Misguided officials advocating against family bed

So it's happening again.  Misguided government officials in Middletown, PA are concluding that, because a mom rolled over on her baby and suffocated the baby, when the mom was high (alcohol and marijuana), that no moms should sleep with their babies.

I saw something similar in New York City back in 2015, which I blogged about then.

If a mom kills her kids when driving drunk, should we conclude that no moms should ever drive their kids? NO!

Similarly, if a mom kills her kid in bed, when high that doesn't mean that no moms should sleep with their kids? No.

I am a fervent believer in the family bed.  The family bed facilitates breast feeding, which dramatically improves the health of moms and babies both.  The family bed reduces or eliminates SIDS, probably because proximity to mom helps babies synchronize their breathing.

I once read an article about a family in the jungle in Indonesia.  They lived in a rude hut in primitive conditions.  They slept on the floor with the baby between them.  They woke up one night, hearing the baby crying and found the baby's arm down the gullet of a brown snake.

They were able to save the baby because they were right there at the time.

This is the kind of environment we evolved in -- on rife with predators.  Children instinctively need to sleep with their parents at night, because sleeping alone in the wild is dangerous.  Children instinctively fear monsters at night, because of ancestral memories of living where there were in fact monsters who ate children everywhere.

Given children's instinctive fear of monsters and sleeping alone, it is cruel and inhuman to make them sleep alone.

Let's not punish all moms and children because this one was drinking and using marijuana.

Also, please read Dr. William Sears' Book Nighttime Parenting for more information.


Friday, May 5, 2017

My response to Jeff Immelt on linked in,6266264237815926784)

What has really happened is that we have destroyed a generation of children by putting too much pressure on them in elementary school, especially early elementary school, forgetting children learn by play, and eliminating arts education. Arts education teaches children creative thinking. Our kids were always the most competitive because they could think. 

In the idiotic search for college prep, we have eliminated Home Ec and Shop from middle school and high school. We're raising a generation of kids who can't do anything, who only know how to take tests, who are helpless in the real world. 

My dad taught graduate physics at the University of Wisconsin. He always found that the best students were kids raised on farms, because they knew how to do things. 

We've become obsessed with the test results of foreign students, not seeing  that those students were neurotic droids. We decided to make our kids neurotic droids as well. 

Test results have nothing to do with what will make our kids internationally competitive. We have destroyed the world's best education system in the misguided attempt to imitate foreigners. 

Now that we have destroyed our youth we are doomed on the international market. Sorry. It's too late. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Posts copied from FB today about Trumpcare

"Not one of the 217 people who voted for this 'Trumpcare' can ever call themselves 'Pro-Life' again. They voted for a bill that specifically targets stripping women and children the pre/post natal & maternity care that ensures that children are born healthy and women survive child birth. A lot of bodies will drop, including babies, if this gets thru the senate." - Amy Cherowitz


ASK YOURSELF: Do I want to swim in a HIGH RISK POOL? Do I want my children to swim in a HIGH RISK POOL? FUCK NO! Especially not if they have a serious health condition! FUCK ALL REPUBLICANS!


Today is officially the day that the current GOP members of the House signaled that they don't care about the American people. Today they cast their votes for a bill that will knowingly result in the deaths of thousands in it's current state.


May 4, 2017: the day Republicans killed tens-of-thousands of people.


From @TedLieu:

#Trumpcare not only harms people w/ pre-existing conditions such as cancer, it lets insurers charge 5 TIMES MORE on seniors. #VoteNoAHCA


"Not one of the 217 people who voted for this 'Trumpcare' can ever call themselves 'Pro-Life' again. They voted for a bill that specifically targets stripping women and children the pre/post natal & maternity care that ensures that children are born healthy and women survive child birth. A lot of bodies will drop, including babies, if this gets thru the senate." - Amy Cherowitz


In any civilized society GoFundMe would not be thought of as a Health Care plan. As of today, it might be the only alternative for many people. #ResistTrumpcare #SaveTheACA


Preexisting conditions, copied and pasted from a friend

"AIDS/HIV, acid reflux, acne, ADD, addiction, Alzheimer's/dementia, anemia, aneurysm, angioplasty, anorexia, anxiety, arrhythmia, arthritis, asthma, atrial fibrillation, autism, bariatric surgery, basal cell carcinoma, bipolar disorder, blood clot, breast cancer, bulimia, bypass surgery, celiac disease, cerebral aneurysm, cerebral embolism, cerebral palsy, cerebral thrombosis, cervical cancer, colon cancer, colon polyps, congestive heart failure, COPD, Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis, DMD, depression, diabetes, disabilities, Down syndrome, eating disorder, enlarged prostate, epilepsy, glaucoma, gout, heart disease, heart murmur, heartburn, hemophilia, hepatitis C, herpes, high cholesterol, hypertension, hysterectomy, kidney disease, kidney stones, kidney transplant, leukemia, lung cancer, lupus, lymphoma, mental health issues, migraines, MS, muscular dystrophy, narcolepsy, nasal polyps, obesity, OCD, organ transplant, osteoporosis, pacemaker, panic disorder, paralysis, paraplegia, Parkinson's disease, pregnancy, restless leg syndrome, schizophrenia, seasonal affective disorder, seizures, sickle cell disease, skin cancer, sleep apnea, sleep disorders, stent, stroke, thyroid issues, tooth disease, tuberculosis, and ulcers. To name a few." -Sherrod Brown (D) Ohio

#AHCA Q: If rape & domestic violence are pre-existing conditions now, do rapists & perpetrators of domestic violence become uncoverable too?

"A short while ago, Republicans in the House of Representatives passed legislation that would take away health care from 24 million Americans, strip away pre-existing condition protections, and reorder 1/6 of the American economy … and they did it without without reading the bill or knowing how much it would cost.
Now this bill is headed to the U.S. Senate, and I want to be completely frank about what happens next: your response right now will determine whether this bill becomes law, and if millions lose their health insurance.
If you have a Republican Senator, call him or her and tell them to oppose the bill. Then call again. Show up at town halls. Tweet. Tell your friends about this vote. Share your story with people you know if you benefit from Obamacare. At this point, stopping this bill will require massive collective action on a national scale and your voice is critical.
This Senate vote is a rare “life or death vote.” If this legislation passes, people will die. More will be one accident away from losing their savings or going bankrupt. Those are the stakes.
But if everyone acts, I believe we can stop this bill.
Every best wish,
Chris Murphy
U.S. Senator, Connecticut"


If you voted for Trump or any of the representatives who just voted to take healthcare away from me and millions of Americans, kindly fuck off of my friends list. And if you still support them after this, kindly fuck out of my life entirely.


If my life is worth less to you than your guns, I don't need you.


Republicans have had Bud Light ushered into the Capitol to celebrate a bill that will strip millions of Americans of life-saving healthcare. I just don't see how anyone can call this a win. How do these people sleep at night?


ATTN WOMEN: Trump's new healthcare bill includes the Meadows-MacArthur Amendment, which allows states to waive protections for pre-existing conditions to "cut costs." That means things that could be considered "pre-existing conditions" in Trump's new healthcare bill - which include having a C-Section, being a rape or domestic abuse survivor, having a history of post-partum depression, or needing OBGYN or Mammogram checkups - will be at risk for denied coverage. While New Yorkers probably don't have to worry about that happening - you can bet your ass that in red states like Indiana, women will suffer. And overall, the fact that it is even an OPTION to waive coverage for these services is  **GENDER DISCRIMINATION.**


Why would the government allow these grey areas to exist? It seems like a no brainer to give rape victims therapy, and medicine for new moms who are adjusting. And yet... all these shady loopholes. Why? WHY? WHY?  Maybe it's because we elected someone who proudly grabs women "by the pussy." Maybe it's because we have a bunch of men in power who think rape victims are asking for it.


Call your congressperson. Make noise. Fight back.


After today's vote in the House of Representatives, people may shift their focus to the Senate. One of the most effective ways to sway the Senate will be to let Senators see the hellfire rained down on members of the House who voted against the best interests of the American people today. Call your Representative, tell him or her what you think, go to town halls and other forums, contribute to candidates you support, write letters to the editor, march if you're so inclined. Hold the House accountable — one sure way to influence the Senate.




The estimated premiums for those with my "pre-existing condition" is $9,000 MORE than I make ANNUALLY



I have a pre-existing condition which under the bill recently passed by Congress would probably force me to buy "High Risk Pool" insurance, raise my rates and deductible, and might have a cap after which I'd have to pay it all myself.
If you have a congressional representative who voted for this bill, I ask you to consider me and any other friends and family who would end up in the same situation when the 2018 elections come.


Some day we will ALL face life threatening illness. Plan on dying, under this new health care plan.

apparently there is some indication that repealing the affordable care act will violate international law

Washington Post Article

"It is among the most basic human truths: Every one of us, some day, will be brought to our knees. By a diagnosis we didn't expect, a phone call we can't imagine, or a loss we cannot endure.
That common humanity inspires our mercy. It fortifies our compassion. It drives us to look out for the sick, the elderly, the poor, and the most vulnerable among us.
Yesterday's bill -- yesterday's devastating bill -- does the opposite.
The bill is more than premiums and tax cuts. It is a cold and calculated world view: One that scapegoats the struggling, and sees fault in suffering. One dead set on dividing us based on who we love, where we come from, the direction of our faith and the size of our fortunes.
We see it in their tax plan, their budget cuts, their immigration policy, their civil rights assaults -- and yesterday, in their cruel health care plan.
We must reject it.
We must decide, instead, to take care of each other -- because, but for the grace of God, we will all one day wake up in need of a little mercy.
This nation's character has never been defined by the power we give the already strong -- but by the strength we give the weak."
-- Joe Kennedy III


And some tweets