The Writer's Life 6/18 - Chips
I slummed on the golf course today. I would have had a good time if not for faulty chipping. I was so inept I needed at least eight extra chips during the round. It was a long day. There was an outing at our usual haunt, Forest Park, so we headed over to Kissena, which is in beautiful condition, especially its greens. It's a short course, par 64, b
The Writer's Life 6/16 - Beautiful People
Brett Easton Ellis burst onto the literary scene in 1985 at the tender age of 21 with his novel of immoral youths, Less Than Zero, which was adapted to film, starring Robert Downey Jr., two years later. In 1991 another novel, the violent American Psycho, caused a storm of controversy. It too was made into a film, starring Christian Bale. I did not
The Writer's Life 6/15 - Winners
I finally got around to viewing Hugo, courtesy of Netflix. Martin Scorsese abandoned his cynicism for this ode to creativity. In great part it is a tribute to film pioneer Georges Melies, who made the oft shown short highlighted by the shot of a rocket ship flying into the eye of the man on the moon. The film's chief attributes are its cinematograp
The Writer's Life 6/14 -
It's Flag Day. Three cheers for the red, white and blue, and all for which it stands. May American continue to be the world's beacon. "Freedom is not the natural state of mankind. It is a rare and wonderful achievement." - Milton Friedman. We are blessed to be living here. Here's a guy, like me, who made money on street corners. Vinnie the Retard w
The Writer's Life 6/13 - Music
The other day a gentleman purchased a Linda Ronstadt compilation, donated by a friend, from the floating bookshop. He asked if I had other music, particularly classic rock. I don't have much on my PC, as my taste had begun to change before I began acquiring digitally. I didn't see the guy today. Here's the CD I burned during yesterday's rain. 59 mi
The Writer's Life 6/12 - Rain-Out Theater
The floating bookshop was open only an hour before the rain arrived. Before then, a Russian gentleman who visits once a month stocked up on thrillers. Spasibo, sir. So it's time for Rain-Out Theater. Here's an excerpt from a short story titled Distinctions, which I wrote in the mid 80's after a raucous night on the town. It was my first full year i
The Writer's Life 6/11 - Free
In 1980 PBS broadcast Milton Friedman's landmark 10-part defense of capitalism, Free to Choose. Last night I caught a one-hour follow up, Free or Equal: A Personal View, examining the ideas to see if they are still relevant 30 years later. It was hosted by a Swede, Johan Norberg. It was great. Then again, it is reaffirmation of my beliefs. How wond
The Writer's Life 6/10 - Win, Win
Alfred Hitchcock said: "What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out." The works I appreciate most are those that get life right, the average Joe struggling to lead a good life in a world where temptation lurks at every turn. Most major American films are not interested in this. There are exceptions, of course. Win Win (2011) is one of them. I
The Writer's Life 6/9 - Excerpt
My luck was on automatic pilot today. It started early, when I finally got around to checking my mailbox. The last of the survey checks I'd been expecting had arrived, so it was time to hit the bank. I was in the money even if I didn't sell a thing at the floating bookshop. Then, when I got home from the supermarket and did my weekly check of onlin
The Writer's Life 6/7 - Ray of Light
Ray Bradbury, 91, lived a productive life. He was the author of more than 500 works - short stories, novels, plays, TV scripts and screenplays. His most popular are The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, The Illustrated Man and Fahrenheit 451, all of which were adapted to the small or large screen. At present the latter seems to b
The Writer's Life 6/6 - D-Day
The results of the Wisconsin recall election have to be encouraging for those of us who wish to see the tide toward socialism reversed. By a margin of 53 to 46%, voters decided to retain Governor Scott Walker, whose reforms seem to be working. It's great to see that a majority of citizens refuse to let unions bankrupt them. The most satisfying aspe
The Writer's Life 6/5 - Grace
I was rooting around with the remote last night and stumbled into yet another great music documentary on a PBS station. I didn't think there were any significant artists from the early rock era I didn't at least know by name. Charlie Gracie (Graci) was born in Philadelphia in 1936. His dad encouraged him to play guitar, and he began winning talent
The Writer's Life 6/4 - Tears
Here's another money-making idea that will have most people wondering: Why didn't I think of that? Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, a cheeky store affiliated with the Ministry of Stories in the UK, has launched its newest product: salt made from human tears. According to the Monster Supplies website, the product "combines centuries-old craft with th
The Writer's Life 6/3 - Hall of Famers
This is a great day for alumni of Lafayette High School. Tonight in pre-game ceremonies at Citi Field, one of our own, John Franco, will be inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame. Johnny Boy spent 21 years in the big leagues, 14 with the Amazin's. He recorded 424 saves, the most ever by a lefty, 276 as a Met, the most by any pitcher wearing t
The Writer's Life 6/2 - Simba
After 51 years, a span of 8019 games, the New York Mets finally have a no-hitter to their credit. Johan Santana, who had shoulder surgery more than a year ago, accomplished what no other pitcher wearing the orange, which honors the departed NY Giants, and blue, which honors the Brooklyn Dodgers, has been able to do, but many ex-Mets have. Nolan Rya
The Writer's Life 5/31
Last night I watched another of the music videotapes I made long ago, this one circa 1994. It began with the unusual protest song Zombie, by the Cranberries, done on SNL. Despite its chintzy main guitar riff and bizarre vocalizations ("Eh, eh. Oh, Oh."), it somehow works. It is a stirring plea for people to wake up and demand an end to the "trouble
The Writer's Life 5/30 - Risk
There is interesting news on the financial side of pro sports. According to sources, the Stanley Cup finalists, the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings, are both up for sale, although ownership and the league deny that is the case with the latter. On his PBS talk show, Charlie Rose once remarked that the most common regret of successful busines
The Writer's Life 5/29
Yesterday Antenna TV's schedule consisted of war films. There was an unusual pairing from eight to midnight: Sahara (1943) and Castle Keep (1969). The former was made during WWII and is rife with propaganda. Humphrey Bogart is the leader of a band of heroes stranded in the desert, desperate for water. There are several notable elements beyond its e
The Writer's Life 5/26 - Thrills
I add films to my Netflix list months in advance. By the time they arrive, some are a complete mystery as to why I rented them. Such was the case with French thriller Point Blank (2010), which has slam bang action from start to finish and comes in at a tidy 84 minutes. Of course, there are instances that strain credulity, but that is the case with
The Writer's Life 5/25 - Destiny
My thanks to Lev, who overpaid for two Russian translations of Stephen King novels, and to the young lady who purchased a novel based on the TV series Alias. Here's an excerpt from a short story, His Destiny, that has received more than 15,000 hits at It is part of the A Hitch in Twilight collection. Reluctant, short of breath, he opene