Cruising the Green of Second Avenue

Wild Child Publishing has issued the second volume of short stories in Cruising the Green of Second Avenue. The tales take up where Vol. I left off — bringing back Klein the Biker, Straight Charlie and Sammy the Madman while introducing new characters stumbling over life’s difficulties in the late 60s. Vol. II is an e-book published by Wild Child Publishing that you can download, save as a pdf (Adobe) file and print. Read both volumes and see that life isn't all that serious. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other online book sellers.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Steal This Book, or This Book’s a Steal?

Story in the New York Times’ Week in Review focused on readers kvetching about Amazon selling e-books for $9.99. David Baldacci, the ubiquitous writer whose hardcovers regularly turn up in flea markets, had his new title stonewalled by readers who felt a great fat opus (in electronic form) wasn’t worth downloading for the cost of a couple of Starbucks lattes. Call it the Kindle conspiracy to mark up e-books. Worse yet in the fare hikes, there’s Sony, selling releases for its Reader at $11.99.

What the heck is going on? Marketing, dear friend, when costs don’t disappear simply because publishers eliminated paper, ink, binding and freight.

Now, have I got a deal for you! Cruising the Green of Second Avenue is available from for only $4.75. If that price is a choke point, go to for a pleasantly discounted price. There, put that on your Kindle or Sony or iPhone.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Hey, Mr. Jones, Where’d Ya Come From?”

I was stopped short by a reference in the New York Times Book Review (Mar 1, 2009)—Rich Cohen writing about the explorer Percy Fawcett. “He got the jones [sic, lower cased] for exploring, which back then you could catch like a fever.”

Where’d jones—or Jones—come from? The street corner or some nabob of neologism?

Inventing a new word lends itself to a kind of immortality. At least, if future generations have forgotten your name they’ll at least remember the word you invented.

Imagine being Herb Caen, columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, who coined the word beatnik. For Mr. Caen, there were two shots at immortality (in addition to his wonderful columns): he also created the neologism hippie to describe the generation that followed the beatniks chronologically and in spirit.

John W. Tukey was another immortal, both for his neologisms and as an influential statistician. He created the word software. “Three decades before the founding of Microsoft,” the New York Times wrote in his obit July 28, 2000, “Mr. Tukey saw that ‘soft-ware,’ as he called it then [with a hyphen], was... ‘at least as important as the hardware of tubes, transistors, wires, tapes and the like.’” A dozen years earlier, while at Bell Laboratories, he coined the word bit, an abbreviation of binary digit.

Variety, the daily newspaper of show biz, is famous for creating a host of neologisms. They claim such commonplace terms as sex appeal, corny and sitcom. Their glossary of terms is listed at, and includes boffo, moppet, scripter and dozens of other insider terms.

“Kathryn Cason, the widow of management theorist Elliott Jacques and coiner of the phrase ‘mid-life crisis’ has been trying to [evaluate leadership potential],” reported the New Yorker in the May 10, 2004, issue. Did we know there was a mid-life crisis before Jacques invented it in his book Death and the Mid-Life Crisis? And, are we better for knowing now?

Back to jones. The Urban Dictionary ( defines it as a “desire for something that may be sought irrespective of the consequences.” The earliest definition appears in 2002. As a verb or noun, it can apply to humans, love, and is strongly associated with heroin. We may never know the origin of jones, but it’s another example of English delivering an enchanting, descriptive, organic approach to communicating as well as prescriptive school-marm ordination.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Good Things Happening

I’ve been woefully derelict in managing this blog…and it’s all due to time-wasting on Facebook. (My uncritical friends laugh uncritically at my bons mots.) While I’ve chronicled my writing on this blogsite, Facebook sucked away my attention to such things as e-books. (“For those who buy/read/enjoy e-books, there’s a great site for interacting with others like you. Forums are set up for a variety of interests, news of e-book promotions, vulnerability of Adobe pdf’s, and more.. There’s more, at”)

All the while, I’ve been writing to some good reception while tediously marketing older stories. “Who Dares Call It Murder?”, a piece of near-future speculative fiction, will be published by OG Short Fiction in July, at And, “Louise from the Bar” recalls that when you’re 14 life can be thrilling, dangerous and filled with memorable sensations. It’ll be up in a week at Paradigm, an online quarterly, at . In particular, Matthew Norris, co-publisher at Paradigm, was so complimentary he can be assured they’re tops on my list of favorites. “We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to see your work,” he wrote. “We feel that ‘Louise from the Bar’ exemplifies the spirit of Paradigm, not to mention being something others will undoubtedly find exciting, inspiring, and worthwhile.” Ah, that is so nice. Thank you!

And, I’ve been having an inordinately good time working with the Writers’ Circle, a group of 15 or more (they come and go) now gathering fortnightly at our Ocean County library branch. Reading your work aloud is valuable. I used to have a cat who was a good listener, but the feedback was terrible.