Harry Lime Cuckoo Clock Quote
- Harry Lime
The intelligence reports fitted the suspicions of the time: al-Qaida sleeper agents were scattered across the US awaiting orders that were broadcast in secret codes over the al-Jazeera television network.
Flights from Britain and France were cancelled. Officials warned of a looming "spectacular attack" to rival 9/11. In 2003 President Bush's homeland security tsar, Tom Ridge, spoke of a "credible source" whose information had US military bracing for a new terrorist onslaught.
Then suddenly no more was said.
Six years later, Playboy magazine has revealed that the CIA fell victim to an elaborate con by a compulsive gambler who claimed to have developed software that discovered al-Jazeera broadcasts were being used to transmit messages to terrorists buried deep in America.
Leonardo Notarbartolo strolls into the prison visiting room trailing a guard as if the guy were his personal assistant. The other convicts in this eastern Belgian prison turn to look. Notarbartolo nods and smiles faintly, the laugh lines crinkling around his blue eyes. Though he's an inmate and wears the requisite white prisoner jacket, Notarbartolo radiates a sunny Italian charm. A silver Rolex peeks out from under his cuff, and a vertical strip of white soul patch drops down from his lower lip like an exclamation mark.
In February 2003, Notarbartolo was arrested for heading a ring of Italian thieves. They were accused of breaking into a vault two floors beneath the Antwerp Diamond Center and making off with at least $100 million worth of loose diamonds, gold, jewelry, and other spoils. The vault was thought to be impenetrable. It was protected by 10 layers of security, including infrared heat detectors, Doppler radar, a magnetic field, a seismic sensor, and a lock with 100 million possible combinations. The robbery was called the heist of the century, and even now the police can't explain exactly how it was done.
The loot was never found, but based on circumstantial evidence, Notarbartolo was sentenced to 10 years. He has always denied having anything to do with the crime and has refused to discuss his case with journalists, preferring to remain silent for the past six years.
Labels: Con Games
My path to showrunning is essentially unique. I'm not sure that if you want to write/run a television show you should do hundreds of gigs on the road as a stand-up, get a failed sitcom pilot, then spin that into a staff position and spec feature career, all oriented solely 'round your geek identity. I mean, I can help you with some tools in the writing toolbox, but I basically backed my way through the process of building a career.
So I'll heartily recommend Hollywood University, where Jessica Butler -- former producer and newly minted writer -- attempts to run you through the basics of the business and craft. She's got a nice eye for detail, does actual research (as opposed to my anecdotal style) and has already accumulated a wide range of links over a good spectrum of resources. Warren Bell also contributes the occasional article. Considering Warren was running shows when I arrived in Hollywood (in, actually, the office two doors down from mine) that's a good ringer to have.
That’s not really the case. Aspiring screenwriters have always had access to this material the same way Reeves apparently got access to it: by working and interning in the industry.
In between answering phones and trying to get their bosses on flights out of Kennedy, bright underpaid aspirants have the opportunity to read almost every script in town. Impromptu networks of assistants pass around their favorite screenplays, in the process picking the next generation of hot writers.
Studios turn a blind eye to this because it helps the industry. You want the smartest people with the best opinions working for you, and you want them to have a good sense of what’s in development all over town. A boss at Disney isn’t going to lose sleep if an intern at CAA reads a draft of that Miley Cyrus comedy. It’s expected. It’s good.
But you need nothing more than a structure, a common topic, a place to meet up, a backpack full of the most basic office supplies, perhaps a bottle opener, and the will-power to see it through; with any luck, in other words, more "counterfeit universities" will be popping up here and there, their research published independently on blogs, their meetings hosted in apartments, offices, restaurants, bars, and other spaces in their after-hours, bringing more and more people into productive conversation.
■ Bruce Sterling’s comment about "Nazi layers" in his recent address to augmented reality (AR) company Layar comes true very fast, as the BNP releases a "British layer" that superimposes on your camera view of any British town a hyperlocal guide to population pressure, of "indigenous" British supposedly being "forced out" by what the rest of us call simply "other people". AR is self-selected mediation of the world. It lets us choose the glasses we want to see through. A nicked iPhone and credit card lets you buy criminal layers that establish where CCTV is densest in relation to regions with the wealthiest demographic, establishing the easiest predation. Soon enough, citizens of the digital cities are peering at everything through their AR phones, seeing not the city that’s in front of them, but the city they want to see.