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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Photos for Our Time

I thought today of those “iconic photos” that define a point in time and enlighten us with moments of reflection. There was the flag raising at Iwo Jima (Joe Rosenthal, photog), the sailor kissing a woman in Times Square as the world celebrated VE Day (Alfred Eisensataedt), the woman kneeling in front of student Jeffrey Miller shot at Kent State in 1970 (John Filo), General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon soldier (Eddie Adams).

I’m sure you can think of others. The question is what photograph describes our age most memorably? Somehow, Michael Jackson lying in his coffin doesn’t have the esthetics or meaning even of Demi Moore’s profile in pregnancy or George Bush, the little emperor, crying “Mission Accomplished”? And don’t suggest President Obama looking Heavenward like a cheap litho of Jesus.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bill Safire, R.I.P.

The New York Times Magazine is the last section of the Sunday paper I read, and then weeks pass before I get to this mostly innocuous magazine. But when I open the pages, the first piece I stop at is Bill Safire’s “On Language” column. I’m a word nerd, keep a list of new words to learn, read Quinion's World Wide Words RSS feed, and so on.

When I heard of Safire’s death, Sept. 28 of pancreatic cancer I felt the loss of a kinsman.

The Times obit mentions Safire’s “rules for writers,” which I love. “Remember to never split an infinitive. Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors. Proofread carefully to see if you words out. Avoid clich├ęs like the plague. And don’t overuse exclamation marks!” I even forgive him, when he was Nixon’s speechwriter, for coining Agnew’s phrase about “nattering nabobs of negativism.”

He was the kind of guy I’d want to have a beer with. He reportedly needed a shoeshine, hair could’ve used a trim, clothes were rumpled. “He was tall but bent—a man walking into the wind. He slouched and banged a keyboard, talked as fast any newyawka and looked a bit gloomy, like a man with a toothache.”

Yep, I know that kind of guy, and I recall banging out copy on a Remington when I was a cub reporter in the Chicago ‘burbs.

I’ll keep his last column when I find it in the pile on the coffee table. Now, the editors report he will be “on hiatus for a while.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bite the Bride

A news story out of Ohio gripped me by the, er, throat. A middle-aged couple was married, with the groom arriving in a coffin and dressed like Dracula ,while the bride was also dressed as a vampire. The minister appeared as Jason in Friday the 13th.

Now, I know Twilight soared to the charts and half a dozen neck-biting novels are on the best-seller list, but isn’t this carrying things a bit far? What did “Jason” say when the ceremony concluded? “You may now bite the bride?” Was the Champagne toast replaced with Type O blood—or plasma for those on a diet?

I know there’s a back story here somewhere!