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.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

It's All Gonna Get Better

It’s been a helluva year for writers, or as Mickey Spillane might put it, “as tough as a Times Square babe with one hand on your wallet and the other hailing a taxi.” But we can trust that the New Year will be better.

I hope that marketers will stop naming products and companies with exclamation points (Yahoo!) or lower case aberrations (eBay), or changing their name for no good reason (Wal-Mart to Walmart).

…That new words will continue to be coined, like locavore (buying locally grown food), Obamamaniac (self-explanatory), fang-banging (sex with a vampire), and shovel-ready (infrastructure projects ready to spend stimulus money). My favorite: googlegänger, for the person always looking up his/her name. And who knew the distorted letters I puzzle through to respond to a blog is called a captcha? (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart). But I still don’t know what you mean when “you get the jones for a pizza.”

…That writers will kill needless adjectives and adverbs that allow them to be lazy. (And that young wannabes will learn what adjectives and adverbs are!)

…That young people and the intellectually challenged will stop signing off with lol and consign smiley faces to the archeological midden heap of bad communication. I’m tempted to exclaim, “WTF!” and hit the delete button.

…That reporters everywhere will remember to spell minuscule, that media is plural, and that the Smithsonian is an Institution.

…That elected officials not proclaim ordnances (subject to a statue of limitations), and that Congressional reconciliation does not mean head banging. Are they aware that election results is an anagram for lies—let’s recount?

Peace and good health to you and yours. May 2011 be a prosperous year in all ways. May your editors be benevolent and your proofreaders aware that a living language is not prescriptive.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Those Chores That Interfere

Why should I bitch because I ran ragged today through Costco, Bed Bath and Target? (“It’s good to be an aAmerican!”) No, all the chores are done, the present is almost made for our 3-year-old grandson, the larder is full, and the bank account still solvent. Least of my worries should be my writing.

I had an idea recently about metaphors because people kept telling me, “Jesus, where do you get those images?” (Well, really, it was one image--‘Her breasts were like two supermarket chickens reincarnated into flying eagles, threatening to escape her skimpy red tank top.’ It made me think that imagery is key to much of my writing being memorable. The reflection led to a 600-word piece for Flash Fiction Chronicles, up Dec. 13, at In the process, I mention similes, synecdoche, zeugma, and chiasmus. Tell that to your 5th grade English teacher!

And, did I mention why I have that benevolent smile on my face as the holidays approach? “Joined at the Heart” was published by Gumshoe Review in its December 2010 issue, at This was Gumshoe’s first venture into fiction. I have been peddling this story—satire that is near and dear to my heart—since 2005. Thank you, Gayle Surrette, editor of Gumshoe, for taking a chance on this piece of fiction. I remind people that a cynic is just an idealist with experience.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Book Burning Party; Bring Your Own Matches

Something on NPR reminded me that this is the date Joseph Goebbels stood in the Reichplatz helping to burn 20,000 books. At the same time, our Sunday paper headlined the fact that book banning is accelerating.

It’s Fahrenheit 451 all over again. Parents Against Bad Books in Schools ( has a list if you’ve got the matches. The organization states, “Bad is not for us to determine. Bad is what you determine is bad.” Ergo, every reader should bring his/her own criteria to the bonfire. There is no quality except that which you determine.

They recommend starting with Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses. Continue with Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Capote’s In Cold Blood, Doctorow,s Ragtime, Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five, and that perennial hazard to mental health, Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye.

Oh, I can’t go on! No, wait, I can. Happily, we still celebrate Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Banned Books Week is endorsed by no less an organization than the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Can’t happen in your town? Go to and click on what’s happening in your neck of the woods. Down the road from us in Vineland, NJ, Bill Aquado and Richard Newirth's Paint Me Like I Am had its pages literally torn out by the principal of Landis Intermediate School. The pages contained Jayson Tirado's poem 'Diary of an Abusive Stepfather' and were ripped out after one parent raised concerns over the age-appropriateness of the poem's content.