Me & Joey

Joey Reynolds: . . . Yeah, so everybody has these blogs and -- you can't even read them all --

Me: I have a blog.

Joey: Have you read it all?

Me: I haven't finished it yet...


Postscript: Oh yeah, and we talked about Dieppe, and Rangers, and marriage.

They beat me up a bit, but it was great fun. Here's a url to their site, where there's a podcast somewhere. . . .
Editors on the edge

Overheard at the bar:

Writer1: I really wanted to punch out [an editor]. He was being such a @#$@#$ @#$@#$#@$.
Writer2: Did you?
W1: No. I realized it would be bad for business to get that sort of reputation.
W2: You're wrong there. Editors like living dangerously. Believe me, I know. I used to be one.
Patry Francis's new thriller

A friend of a friend has a new book worth checking out. Here's a vid:

Patry Francis, by the way, is fighting cancer, and a whole bunch of other writers have gotten together to give her a boost today. If you're interested in the story, check out the details at Susan Henderson's blog:

Program note: on air

I'll be on the Joey Reynolds radio show out of New York City Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Maybe we'll talk about Rangers at Dieppe, maybe we'll talk about the best pizza place downtown; up to him.

WOR 710. I think they stream live:
Hunting coyotes

Dogboy heard about this local coyote shooting contest and got all hot to trot.

“Hey, you used to hunt coyotes, right?” he asked at the bar the other day.

“Ancient history.”

“Yeah, well I ain’t asking you to hunt with me, just for some tips.”

“I don’t know any tips.”

“Aw come on. You gotta. I heard stories. You'd have great tips.”

“The stories are bs.”

“I heard ‘em from you.”


“Come on. Give me some tips. It's a cash prize. How'd you hunt them?”

“Well, you probably aren't supposed to do this, but we used to start with a rabbit."


“Yeah. See, the coyote smells the dead rabbit –”

“I gotta kill a rabbit?”

“Like I say, you’re probably not allowed to but we –”

“No way am I doing this. Buy me another beer.”

Dieppe Today

Check out the entire video presentation:
Speaking of Iowa . . .

Man, you guys have one flat state.

No wonder you're so friendly - there's no place to hide if you diss your neighbor.
These people don't screw around

At Last, a $20,000 Cup of Coffee

WITH its brass-trimmed halogen heating elements, glass globes and bamboo paddles, the new contraption that is to begin making coffee this week at the Blue Bottle Café here looks like a machine from a Jules Verne novel, a 19th-century vision of the future.

Called a siphon bar, it was imported from Japan at a total cost of more than $20,000. The cafe has the only halogen-powered model in the United States, and getting it here required years of elliptical discussions with its importer, Jay Egami of the Ueshima Coffee Company.

“If you just want equipment you’re not ready,” Mr. Egami said in an interview. But, he added, James Freeman, the owner of the cafe, is different: “He’s invested time. He’s invested interest. He is ready.”

Talk about having your priorities straight. I stand in awe...

Thanks, Iowa

A shoutout to my friends in Iowa (home of the 34th Division, where a good portion of the Rangers came from).
Thanks, guys.
Fan mail

Two writers were talking at the other end of the bar last night...

W1: If you get a fan letter about your latest book, and it's filled with mispellings and grammar screwups, but it says your the best writer since Shakespeare, do you count that as a positive?

W2: Depends on whether he asked for money or not.
Rituals of winter

Every winter, certain rituals must be observed to appease the ancient gods of cold and ice. Among the most difficult and arcane is the annual selection of baseball tickets, a process so involved that it cannot be successfully completed without elaborate computer snafus. This is especially true for fans of the NY Yankees, whose suffering when they attempt to secure seats serves as a crude initiation ritual to make sure they truly deserve to worship at the Cathedral in the Bronx come spring. Call it penance.
Engaged in a critical part of the ceremony yesterday, Fellow Writer encountered a series of computer screwups unique even for the Yankees, who have set new standards for electronic chaos over the past few years. He kept calling me with reports as the day went on; between calls I studied the suicide prevention manual.
In the end, he came away with three times the number of tickets he'd tried to buy, and the realization that he's related to someone who works in the Yankee ticket office. Unfortunately, the Yankee employee is from the black sheep side of the family, which may explain why Fellow Writer had so much trouble. Despite all evidence to the contrary, he is convinced that every ticket he reserved will be flushed and, if any are forthcoming at all, they will be for seats behind the McDonald's a block from the Stadium.
"Weren't you on deadline today?" I asked toward the end of the day.
"Who could work on a day like this? My editor's a Mets fan; she understands."
That's the difference between the regular season and the off-season. If there were a pennant race on, she'd've nailed him to the wall.
There may be a story here

The Albany Times-Union reports:

Steroids beyond sports

Celebrities now among those linked to drug shipments

PATCHOGUE -- The names of R&B music star Mary J. Blige, along with rap artists 50 Cent, Timbaland and Wyclef Jean, and award-winning author and producer Tyler Perry, have emerged in an Albany-based investigation of steroids trafficking that has already rocked the professional sports world, according to confidential sources.

Information has surfaced recently showing those stars are among tens of thousands of people who may have used or received prescribed shipments of steroids and injectable human growth hormone in recent years. . . .

What? No writers on the list? I may be able to name at least a dozen who may have used steroids.

I may even be able to name myself, but may have to decline on advice of counsel.

Here's the link:
The day Vincent lost it

Vincent worked in an office tower, proof-reading invoice orders for the corporate purchasing department. He rebelled as best he could, sometimes changing orders for 1-ply toilet paper to 2-ply. Most of his coworkers thought he was a force for good.
But he didn't get along too well with his boss. She was a New Age type and had a habit of using furry little stuffed animals to make obscure points during section meetings. She'd squirrel up her lips and shake her head every time a typo got through.
Vincent gradually got to the point where he couldn't stand it any more. So one day he decided to take matters into his own hands. He smuggled his father's Colt .45 past the security people in the lobby. As soon as he got off the elevator he started waving it around and yelling.
Everyone ran for their lives.
Vincent went to his boss's office and barricaded himself inside. They he took all her stuffed animals and lined them up on the desk.
It took two full clips to off them all.
By the time the police came, he was standing next to the coffee machine, calming sipping a decaf.
His lawyer is toying with the idea of justifiable homicide.
Today's editor's question

Editor: Does the phrase for hello in Vietnamese sound like sin chow or seen chaw?

Me: It depends on whether the person has a gun or not.
Paying respects

Johnny D's gravely voice practically shatters my cellphone.

"You know who died last week, kid, don't you?" he asks.

Ten thousand people probably died last week, but since it's Johnny D asking, I know who he's talking about: Sal "Bill" Bonanno*, son and former consiglieri of the crime family of the same name.

"Yeah," I say.

"I wasn't even invited to the funeral."

"It was in Arizona. Not to mention - "

"I woulda gotten there. I woulda paid my respects." Johnny takes a breath. He's an old guy now, and when he takes a breath, you can hear it miles away. "Were you there?"

"I wasn't exactly tight with the Bonannos."

"You weren't there, were you, kid? Go without calling me? You wouldn't pull Johnny D's pud like that, right?"

"Johnny, the mental image of that metaphor is excruciating."

"We'll have a drink at the club the next time you come in," he says, just before hanging up.

*If you don't know who he was, read "Honor Thy Father," by Gay Talese. Or come down to the club some time and look up Johnny.
It's all in the solvent

And speaking of cleaning . . .

Today's all important fact

The "O" in Wint-O-Green Life Savers is capitalized.

Love those copy editors.
Cleaning up . . .

My friend(s) have a new one coming out this summer.

Of course, no self-respecting thriller writer would ever read a cozy . . . . I just look at it for the cleaning tips.
Dead men cash no checks

From America's paper of record . . .

Corpse Wheeled to Check-Cashing Store Leads to 2 Arrests

Published: January 9, 2008

Even for the once-notorious Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, it may have been a first: Two men were arrested on Tuesday after pushing a corpse, seated in an office chair, along the sidewalk to a check-cashing store to cash the dead man’s Social Security check, the police said.

When Virgilio Cintron, 66, died at his apartment at 436 West 52nd Street recently, his roommate and a friend saw an opportunity to cash his $355 check, the police said.

They did not go about it the easy way, the police said, choosing a ruse that resembled the plot of “Weekend at Bernie’s,” a film about two young men who prop up their dead employer to pretend that he is alive.

Link to the full story:

Tell me again why we moved out of Hell's kitchen, mom...
Things that drive editors nuts (# 139)

So the decision was: go over the copy edit, or hang in Bryant Park smoking cigars before the Ranger game.

Tough one.
Give me a break

Forget the boats, take out their f'ing homes.
What, the Navy's ships aren't armed any more?

This from CNN:
The U.S. military reported Monday on a "significant" confrontation involving five Iranian Revolutionary Guard boats that "harrassed and provoked" three U.S. naval ships in international waters over the weekend.

U.S. military officials said the incident occurred Saturday night in the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow shipping channel leading in and out of the Persian Gulf.

In fairness, the ships' crews were reported preparing to fire when the Iranians ran away, but why even give them the chance? Just sink the mf's and be done with it. Let's see how well the Revolutionary Guard can swim.

Call from a fellow writer:

Him: So this editor is freaking because I'm a day late with a manuscript. Harangued my agent and sent an email with multiple exclamation marks.
Me: Isn't this the same house that took nine months to pay you on your last book?
H: Yup.
M: And aren't they the ones that only sent you the contract a couple of months ago?
H: Yup.
M: And aren't they the ones that only paid you the signing money two months ago?
H: The same.
M: Did you point any of this out?
H: In an email.
M: What'd he say?
H: Email bounced back with an auto-reply. "Out of office until next month."
Why I left by train

Love the computer graphic - this actually happened on takeoff, not landing (a very good thing). Amazingly, no one was hurt.
New Years' resolution(s)

Dog Boy spent an hour New Year's Eve setting off fireworks, a few of which were truly impressive. One even blew a mortar-shell sized hole in my lawn; another set some of the woods on fire. By the time the fire department came, we'd doused it and moved inside.

Dog Boy sat himself down and began taking stock of 2007.

"Big year. Next year gonna be better."

"Very grammatical," I told him. "Maybe you should make a resolution to speak in full sentences in 2008."

He gave me the Dog stare.

"I'm doing real things this year," he said.


"I don't know yet. But real things."

Which would have been fine if the conversation ended there, but Dog Boy never knows where to stop.

"You should have some serious resolutions," he told me. "You have to change the path you're on."

"Which path is that?"

"The road to ruin."

This is coming from a guy with slit eyes stretched out with his clothes on (thank God) in my bathtub. And its doubtful that those clothes have been changed, let alone washed, in a week.

There was only one response possible: I turned on the water and left him to soak in the tub.
The party was ours before we were the party's

News item: Some kids took poetry apprecitaion to a new level last weekend, trashing one of Robert Frost's summer houses.

The real point of the story isn't that no one respects poetry any more; it's that there was a time when poets could afford not one but two houses . . .