Stealing Cars (5)

(started 6/13)

Jeff pulled up near the steps to the train platform.

“You got your ticket?” he asked Stephen.

“I don’t need no tickey. I’m driving back.”

“The hell you are. Even if you had a car – you’re drunk, dude.”

“So many cars here.” Stephen bent his head past Jeff to survey the lot. “There’s got to be one with the keys in the ignition. Or screw it, I’ll just jump it.”

“You don’t even know how.”

“Ha. Watch me.”

“You’re drunk. Go home to your wife.”

“My wife.” Stephen dipped his head, then turned and looked in the other direction. “I think it’ll be that Nissan Z over there. What do you say?”

“I say the train will be here any minute.”

Stephen grabbed the door handle, snapped it back and got out. Then he leaned back into the car, his breath heavy with booze.

“You comin’?” he asked.

“Where? New York?”

“Steal a car.”

“Screw you.”

Stephen laughed, then slammed the door shut. The window was still open.

“See ya,” he said. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome. Happy B-day.”

“Happy B-day. B-day.” Stephen leaned down against the door. “I am taking a car.”

“Don’t call me when you get caught.”

"I never get caught,” he said, his voice firm. “That’s the shame of it.”

“Right.” Jeff put the car in gear.

Driving over the bridge, Jeff heard the train’s horn in the distance and wondered if Stephen was getting on.

He would.


Maybe not.

“Always was an asshole,” Jeff said aloud. Then he turned the radio on to drown out the train.

Rogue Warrior - Fact or Fiction?

North Korea blew up the cooling tower to its big, bad nuke reactor Friday . . .

A definite step toward . . . peace?

To get the full story, you'll have to read Rogue Warrior: Dictator's Ransom this fall.
Apache attack...

Notice the layered procedure to get clearance to fire?

The longer version gives a better feel for the mission...

Of course, some of us just like the boom...
George Carlin

Stealing cars (4)

Started 6/13

“What we oughta do is steal a car,” said Stephen, pulling himself inside Jeff’s Honda. “For old time’s sake.”

“Old time’s sake? We never stole cars.”

“Why not?”

“Because we weren’t thieves.”

Jeff checked his watch. The last train out of Beacon left in twenty minutes – just enough time.

“I ain’t livin’ in the past, Jeffy. I’m movin’ forward,” said Stephen.

“The booze is what’s movin’,” said Jeff. He laughed uneasily, hoping he wasn't as drunk as his friend.

“We gotta steal a car tonight. That’s what we gotta do.”


“I’m serious.”

“You’re outa your fuckin’ mind. You work on Wall Street, for christsakes. You gotta big job.”

“We gotta steal a car.”

Stephen didn’t answer. Neither spoke again until they were three-fourths of the way over the bridge.

"A fast car," said Stephen. "Not a piece of shit."

(to be continued . . .)

Who's on first . . .

Sometimes, being confused is the only sane response ...

More Abbott & Costello:
Paola from Italy . . . isn't

So Dogboy calls me last night at like twelve or one or something, on my cell no less, all hot and bothered. I figured he was in jail, but no, it was a real crisis.

"Paola from Italy isn't," he said, his voice distraught.

"Isn't what?"

"From Italy. Or Paola. She's Bernice from Queens. From Queens."

"I was just talking to somebody about Queens the other day," I said. "About how it's not like a status thing or a tough-guy thing, more a self-put-down - "

"Are you listening to me? I got a personal crisis here, and you're going philosophical."

"Who's Paola anyway?"

"Bernice... Remember that web site I told you about? Remember how I was having a conversation - "

"Are you talking about a porn site?"

"You are really no help in a friggin' crisis."

The line went dead. I killed the cell and went to sleep.
Stealing cars (3)

“It’s a miracle we never got arrested, half the stuff we did.” Stephen picked up the shot glass and downed the vodka in a gulp. Then he pushed it across the bar for a refill. Skye was the best you could do here.

“We never did anything they would arrest us for,” said Jeff.

“Shit on that,” said Stephen. The bartender wasn’t responding, so Stephen took out his wallet and unfolded a hundred.

No, I’m paying,” said Jeff. “It’s your birthday.”

“Don’t sweat it, boy. I’m rich.” Stephen held his stare a second, then started to laugh.

“You ain’t rich,” said Jeff, serious, and a little offended.

Stephen laughed even harder. “Who cares?” he said, sticking the hill in the glass like a flag. be continued
The Rogue speaks (YouTube version)

The marketing suits asked Dick why he didn't feel the need to be politically correct. He gave a calm, reasoned answer... before clearing the room.

The book can be pre-ordered here:

among other places...
Stealing cars (2)

“I can’t imagine doing that commute every day,” Stephen told Jeff when he saw him on the platform at Beacon. “Shit.”

“Shit yourself. How are you?”

Jeff gave him a bear hug and an arm punch, and they were on their way. Stephen was tense, more on edge than in the city a month ago when they’d hit the Stadium together and walked up the block for something to eat. But he shrugged when Jeff asked if something was up, and Jeff dropped it.

"Old place hasn’t changed, huh?” said Stephen as they drove to the river where the restaurant was.

Newburgh had changed a lot, Jeff thought, but he didn’t say it.

“Man, the things we used to do here, huh?” added Stephen.

“We had fun.”

“Newburgh – city of sin. But we made it out alive.”

“Speak for yourself.”

“Oh yeah. You’re still a prisoner.” Stephen turned to Jeff, suddenly animated. “Go down Dobbs and over to Johnson.”

"Bullshit on that. This ain’t the place to screw around.”

"Just do it.”

“No way. I value my life.”

“Why?” said Stephen, with an edge. But he let it drop.

(to be continued)
Stealing Cars (1)

Stephen was turning 30 and Jeff decided to do something special, take him out like the old days when they were kids in Newburgh. For the past few years they’d been drifting apart – since Stephen got married mostly – but when they were kids they were tight, knew what the other was thinking by the way he squinted.

Stephen was in finance on Wall Street. He lived in the city but if he didn’t he’d have a house near the river, a big empty place where Jeff’s boss would tell him to add twenty bucks to the standard charge when he went on a maintenance call. Jeff was an AC tech for a local company, had his own truck, doing pretty good in his eyes and compared to most people he knew, except Stephen. Stephen was in a whole other class, able to score Ranger tickets where they brought the food to you and you felt the cold of the ice.

“You want to party?” Jeff asked when he sent the text. “Up here? B-Day????” It took nearly the whole day for Stephen to get back to him. “Ynot?”

(to be continued)
For all you plane buffs . . .

The folks at the Smithsonian put together a list of the top ten planes of all time for the July issue of their magazine. The list ...

  1. Wright 1905 – (Note that that's NOT the first plane.)
  2. Junkers F13 – Not the first airliner, but the first with a light metal skeleton. Eh...
  3. Boeing 314 – Pan Am's 314 Clipper - this is why they serve drinks aboard planes...
  4. B-29 Enola Gay – One of two specific aircraft on the list. Doesn't really fit, though they try to make a claim for the B-29 as "the first nuclear capable aircraft" and mention its pressurized cockpit.... More evolutionary than revolutionary, unlike the first swept-wing jet bomber (the almost forgotten B-47) and the first stealth bomber(the misnamed Stealth Fighter)...
  5. Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG 15 – Good jet fighter, but is it really more important than the Me-262? And its superiority over the F-86 is greatly exaggerated, even if it is usually done as a compliment to U.S. pilots.
  6. Sikorsky S-55 – Not the first helo used for air rescue, but it did make it routine during the Korean War.
  7. Cessna 172 –Got me. There are a hell of a lot of them, though.
  8. Learjet 23 – First commercially successful corporate jet. Hard to argue.
  9. Boeing 747 – The Clipper's grandson.
  10. General Atomics MQ-1 Predator – Not the first UAV, but certainly a successful one and one that is in the public (media's) mind. UAVs certainly are the way of the future (and the present, actually)
Half the fun is disagreeing. Here's a link to the magazine where the list appears. If you scroll down, you can read some of the debate over what belongs and doesn't belong on the list ...
See Dick talk

... for the new Rogue Warrior, coming out this fall ...

And guys, stop selling those bootlegged (as in stolen) advanced readers copies (as in early, unfinished and unauthorized drafts) on EBay, all right? Sheesh....
My kind of book party

The authors of Dinner Party Disasters: True Stories of Culinary Catastrophe, which Abrams published last month, saw their book’s thesis live in action at a recent dinner party, when fists flew over the presidential election just as guests were finishing their entrées.

Twenty-two movers and shakers of Litchfield, Conn., gathered last weekend at the home of a local couple for a dinner party to honor the book’s author, Annaliese Soros (first wife of financier George Soros), and her contributor, Abigail Stokes. Dinner Party Disasters promises to guide readers “through the faux pas that other hostesses have made so that you don’t make the same mistakes.” It contains instructions for putting together the “perfect mix of guests, food, décor, entertainment, and preparation, ensuring your next gathering will be a rousing success.” It is unclear whether or not the party’s hosts had read the book prior to the event.

As entrées were being enjoyed, a McCain supporter and an Obama supporter, having exhausted their verbal arguments, lunged at each other with fists flying. Eventually the kitchen staff came to the rescue and separated the two men, but not before some blood was shed and the well-heeled guests were shaken up. After a cooling down period, the rambunctious guests returned to the table (with revised seat assignments) and ate dessert.

“It’s funny now, but it wasn’t so funny then,” said coauthor Stokes. “The irony was that as the evening began we all kidded around about how someone should stage a disaster at one of these book parties—and lo and behold, it happened.”

I would've waited until after dessert to throw the first punch, but that's a personal preference.
A whole lot of 0's and 1's

From today's news :

An American military supercomputer, assembled from components originally designed for video game machines, has reached a long-sought-after computing milestone by processing more than 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second.

How safe is your encryption?

Then again, maybe they're just going to use it to surf porn sites . . .

But no, all that stuff in Deep Black is made up....

So what's the book about anyway?

Prince's party

I was always under the impression that Dogboy could barely read, and that the closest he came to the book world was the display of porn behind the gas station where he buys his smokes and ammo. Then yesterday he calls up and says he was at the year's biggest literary bash - Prince's party out at BEA in LA Friday night... and Saturday, and Sunday . . .

Me: Why were you at Prince's?
Dogboy: He parties, bro. He was rockin'.
Me: Yeah, but how'd you get an invite?
Dogboy: P Diddy invited me.
Me: The rapper?
Dogboy: He's a lot more than a rapper, dude. Now he's a literary impresario.
Me: You're white trailer trash. Why was he hangin' with you?
Dogboy: Because he knows cool. And hey, Guru was looking for you.
Me: Guru? My editor? He was there?
Dogboy: No shit. He was like, where is DeFelice? Why the hell isn't he here? But I covered for you.
Me: How?
Dogboy: I told him you were too stuck up to be at a party like this. I mean, Vana White's old house? Come on.
Me: Thanks.
Dogboy: From now on I'll just say you're in jail. Better?
Pakistan today

From today's NY Times . . .

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — With great fanfare, the Pakistani Army flew journalists to a rugged corner of the nation’s lawless tribal areas in May to show how decisively it had destroyed the lairs of the Taliban, including a school for suicide bombers, in fighting early this year.

Then, just days later, the usually reclusive leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, held a news conference of his own, in the same region, to show just who was in charge.

Here's a hint about how well Mehsud is doing - he's got a nicer truck than the army leader there . . . and he's not worrying about the price of gas.

Full story:
Just gimme the paper . . .

So Sunday morning at God's hour the local supermarket is having a grand reopening in celebration of having relocated the lettuce to an even less convenient place and added twenty-five more aisles of pseudo-organic food right next to the potato chip aisle. They also moved the front door three feet to the right, replacing the section where they used to sell books, except of course they didn't sell any because it was right behind the door.

The store manager come up and tried to give me a cup of supermarket coffee, a bag of popcorn and a balloon. I passed on all three. The bagpipes began to play and five guys ran up with 'Can I help you' T-shirts.

Not one of them knew where they'd moved the Sunday papers to.

Under the time cards, behind the courtesy desk. Would have been nice had they been put together. But doing it myself, I ended up with two classified sections... handy bathroom reading for the guests.

One of the bagpipers did look kind of cute.