paul neuhaus dot com

The De-Sissification of Ben-Hur

Posted by in society

Do me a favor and read this piece from Salon on the “straight-washing” of Ben-Hur. Now humor me while I pull it apart… Why am I doing this? Is it because I’m anti-gay? No, I’m not anti-gay. Nor am I pro-gay. I fall firmly into the I Don’t Give a Shit camp. If folks are gay, that’s their own goddam business. No, I take issue with this piece (and others I’ve seen like it) 1) for its stunted logic and 2) for its aim to spark controversy where there is…read more

December 25, 1939

Posted by in fiction

Southern California by way of Hieronymus Bosch, a brittle, brown hellscape packed with tan, smiling faces and beady, mean-looking eyes. Rollie’s senses were already overworked to the point of failure, and the ugly spectacle had him fighting not to bolt. Tinsel lined the streets and a tolling Salvation Army bell split the tepid air. All around him was Christmas but not Christmas as he knew it. This was a savage mirror-world Christmas, sinister in its combination of the familiar and the subtly inaccurate. What he saw was a cherished ritual…read more

Learn from My Other Screenwriting Fail

Posted by in craft, writing

I’ve already talked about my Lost Weekend away from screenwriting. In a nutshell, I choked and sank into a deep depression, unable to produce a word for months. This time I want to talk about something more practical. I can sum it up with a cliche: “Check yourself before you wreck yourself”. I think one of my assets as a writer is my off-kilter taste and sensibility. I’ve been complimented more than once on my unconventional premises. I’m here to tell you, though: Don’t believe your own press. After I…read more

The Riddler

Posted by in society

You know who you are. You’re the one at the head of the line asking all the questions. “How’s the French Dip sandwich? What does it come with? Can’t you slice it leaner? What about the chicken? What do you mean calling it ‘blackened’? Is it spicy? Is it too spicy? Can I get that with fruit instead of fries? How many ounces is a small coke anyway? Are you sure you don’t have any specials? You know what, I’ve changed my mind… I will have the Dip.” You never think to turn around. You’re oblivious…read more


Posted by in entertainment, history, random

When I was a kid in the 1970s, a recurring urban legend went something like this: “Did you hear about David Bowie? He was hospitalized last night. They had to pump his stomach because there was a gallon of semen inside.” This so-called rumor was presented to me at least three times with a different rock star taking the lead role each time. First it was the late, lamented Bowie, then it was Elton John, then it was Rod Stewart. I believe the phenomenon lasted at least into the eighties….read more

Nobody Likes a Busybody

Posted by in society

I try not to have animosity toward anyone. Actually, that’s not true as my friends will readily tell you. Let’s pretend that it is, though. I try not to have animosity toward anyone, but my view of the Deeply Religious would be less dim if they would only mind their own goddam business. I hate that I have to do this, but here comes the disclaimer… When I say I have a dim view of the Deeply Religious, do I mean all of the Deeply Religious? No, of course not….read more


Posted by in history, random

I live in Southern California now so I haven’t seen much snow since I left Ohio, the state where I spent my first twenty years. Snow is beautiful, but ultimately tiresome. After a few minutes exposure, you’re bound to say, “Great. Fine. Enough already”. But snow isn’t just tiresome. It can also be spiteful and tricksey. Many winters ago–let’s call this one the winter of ’75–I bundled up and went out to play with some friends. Kids, of course, have more patience for snow and I was eager to get…read more

Learn from My Screenwriting Fail

Posted by in craft, writing

In 2013, I self-published a novella called The Summit to the Amazon Kindle. The story’s about an alien invasion of Las Vegas in 1962. Who was there in 1962 to repel the forces of evil? That’s right, the Rat Pack. Sinatra, Martin, and Davis Jr. save the day — with an assist from a certain Catholic president. The book drew almost instant attention. Don’t get me wrong: it did not and has not sold well (I have yet to crack the Kindle marketing code), but some good eyes fell upon it. I posted a…read more

Hearthstone Can Suck It

Posted by in entertainment

Hearthstone is a collectable card game from the folks at Blizzard Entertainment. It’s digital meaning you don’t have to buy physical cards as you do with other games in the same genre (such as Pokemon or Magic: The Gathering). You play Hearthstone on mobile devices and on computers. It’s a well-made game full of pretty colors and snazzy special effects. It’s also—in my view—badly broken. I played Hearthstone on my iPad steadily since it came out a couple of years ago. For a while it was fun. I lost regularly, but at least I understood why I was losing—because luck…read more

The Tyranny of Digital

Posted by in craft, writing

I’m now fifty years old. That means I turned eighteen in 1984 so I spent my formative writing years in a pre-digital, pre-mobile device world. Hell, it wasn’t just the formative years. Let’s be generous: good word processing didn’t take hold until the 90s. The iPhone and the iPad are both less than a decade old. But–and it’s a big but–digital latched on with such strong fingers it’s tough to imagine a world without it. I’m not going to go over the benefits of writing digitally because I’m cranky and…read more