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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/30 - Complicated

Pornography has reached the pinnacle of its evolution in Lisa Ann: drop dead gorgeous, intelligent, shrewd, positive, supremely self confident and assured, guiltless, a sort of uber-woman. Future queens may be her equal but none will be her superior. Is there anyone more representative of societal change? Would even a Superman conquer, return her to the straight and narrow? She has 650,000 followers on Twitter -- unbelievable! I’d quake in her presence. These thoughts have kept me up the past few nights, mind afire. I was hesitant to express them for fear of leading young women astray. How laughable. Since the dawn of the internet, porn has emerged from the underground, skyrocketed into the mainstream, and become an avalanche of increasing momentum. Is it a positive or a negative? Certainly, it is a boon economically, a multi-billion dollar business. Overall, maybe it’s somewhere in between, as is so much of life, but maybe that just rationalizes my fascination with it. I’ve debated it to death inwardly, amazed at how it can dominate my otherwise conservative nature. I’m writing this at 4:45 AM, having given up on getting any sleep.
Recently, the daughter of an old friend mused on Facebook how wonderful it was to be sitting in her backyard watching her children frolic and how she wished she could freeze time. It was so touching, and I was thinking how lucky her husband was to have such a prize. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I also dub as “lucky bastards” the men who work with the women of porn. Then again, there may be porn divas out there who watch their children at play and think the same as my friend's daughter. Married swingers must. If I’d been blessed with a daughter, I would not have wanted her in porn, although I’ve watched thousands of people's daughters participating in it, which makes me a hypocrite, and telling myself all of us are hypocrites in certain ways offers little comfort. Life does not conform to A or B. It’s A to Z, especially in this the most diverse country, socially and ethnically, the world will ever know. Freedom seems to make it more, not less complicated. Forgive me for saying this yet again, but the species is endlessly fascinating.

The floating book shop was sidelined today. I would have taken a shot if I'd been able to score a reasonably close parking spot that would have allowed me to scramble out of the rain, but it was not to be. I'd missed only one day since early June, my godchild's birthday. If the forecast goes the way of the worst case scenario, I may not be selling books until Tuesday, by which time I may be in a strait jacket. My thanks to Zoom Panel surveys, which sent me a $20 CVS gift card.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/29 - The Club

I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me during the first episode of Gotham’s second season, but the plot line is similar to one of my two screenplays, All Hallows, which I describe as “five nuts escape asylum, wreak havoc.” There is even the same ratio of four men to one woman, a young beauty as opposed to my wicked witch wannabe. I’m not suggesting the idea was stolen from my story, which takes place in a small town anywhere USA, not a big city, but it is quite a coincidence. The creator of the show, Bruno Heller, certainly doesn’t need to pilfer from me. He wrote or collaborated on all 151 episodes of one of my favorites, The Mentalist, which I still watch in its syndication run on Thursday night on MyNine. Gotham may be the most violent prime-time TV show ever.

After watching the premiere of Minority Report last week, I switched back to Scorpion. I prefer its silly fun. The four young geniuses differentiate it from other action shows... After its brilliant opening sequence in episode one, Blindspot has settled into standard action fare. Not bad, but yet another fast-paced thriller with repeated cliffhangers at commercial breaks. There are many series like it... Supergirl doesn't debut until late October. I look forward to it, but hope it doesn't clobber viewers with feminist cliches. Just let her be heroic. People will get it.

I teased Barry Spunt, author of Heroin and Music in NYC, as he passed the floating book shop today. I called him "Professor." He actually is one, having earned a PhD in 1990. "That and two-seventy-five will get you on the subway," he said. I also had a visit from Bob Rubenstein, whose reworking of his first novel, Ghost Runners, will be available very soon at Create Space and Amazon. I introduced him to Al the Mensch, who was on his way to an audiologist and kiddingly saying: "What? What?". He recently attended the funeral of his mother in law, 92, and had awkward moments with his ex-wife, who now lives in Arizona. He claims her relatives say: "Why did you divorce this man?" Apparently, he is still carrying a torch for her, despite the pain. There are millions in that club. Always has been, always will be.

My thanks to the kind ladies who bought five books between them.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5
Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/28 - Stripes

Congratulations to Jordan Spieth, 22, who won the final FedEx Cup tournament to capture the $10 million prize for the overall points title. It caps off a phenomenal year in which he won the season’s first two majors and finished fourth at the British Open and second at the PGA Championship. He also won two other tournaments in 2015. He earned $22 million, a million for each year he has been on this earth. Kudos, kid.

What an ugly scene in the Washington Nationals’ dugout yesterday. Reliever Jonathan Papelbon called out outfielder Bryce Harper for not running hard on a routine fly out. They had a hand around each other’s throat and were pulled apart by teammates. The Nats have been MLB’s biggest bust of 2015. Expected to coast to the eastern division title, they have been buried by the Mets and even eliminated from the wild card race. Both players, especially Harper, are very talented, but each has behaved like a diva on occasion. Harper is not going to be traded. It will be interesting to see if Papelbon is back in Washington next season. And, if he's traded, what will happen if they face each other? Will Papelbon throw at Harper, especially early in the season when the pennant stakes don’t seem high?

My thanks to Ann, who bought Jim Gallery's The Wisdom of the Irish, and to Steve, aka Conspiracy Guy, who purchased a thick book on tricks only lawyers know. The highlight of the session was a toddler who passed with his mom. His T-shirt read: "Earn Your Stripes," the stripes represented by three horizontal lines. It is a wise philosophy for anyone of any age.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/27 - History

Mets fans are celebrating as their team clinched the NL East division title. I'm most happy for the manager, Terry Collins, 66, a baseball lifer who has taken a lot of heat in his five years at the helm of the Amazin's. He has been in pro ball since 1971 when he was a minor league player. He never played in the majors. In eleven years as an MLB manager, this is his first trip to the post season. As a former coach, I love to see long-suffering lifers succeed. Enjoy it, sir.

In a fascinating article in today's NY Post, Larry Getlen writes about a new book, Under This Roof by Paul Brandus, which details secret doings at the White House. One aspect was particularly surprising. I don't recall having ever heard of it. Here are excerpts, edited and pared by yours truly: "In 1914 Woodrow Wilson, our 28th president, lost his wife of 28 years. The following March he met a 42-year-old widow named Edith Galt. A whirlwind romance ensued, during which the president, 'in an attempt to impress her with his power and status, shared state secrets with her, a potentially foolish indiscretion.' Just nine months after they met, Galt and Wilson married. The first lady not only served her country by seeing our troops off to WWI for the Red Cross, but was also given unprecedented and wholly inappropriate access to classified information. 'She learned to code and decode messages for the president and other top officials, putting her at the very heart of the war effort and making her privy to the nation’s most important secrets.' After Wilson suffered a near fatal stoke in 1919, Galt secretly ran the country for 18 months, as her husband re-learned to speak and walk. The first lady, aided by White House chief usher Ike Hoover and various doctors and nurses, kicked-off  'the beginning of the deception of the American people.' Adopting a communications strategy of 'no details, no explanations,' Edith was so secretive that not even the vice president or the cabinet knew the full extent of the president’s condition. The country was being run by the unelected first lady, a woman who, just a few years prior, had been a simple housewife, then widow, with no experience in politics. Edith Wilson took it upon herself to 'screen all paperwork and visitors,' making her the sole decider as to which issues made their way to the president, and which were delegated elsewhere. As it became clear, over time, that the first lady was doing far more than hosting and charity work, the world was shocked. 'The Nashville Tennessean called Mrs. Wilson "the nation’s first presidentress." The Boston Globe’s phrase was more convoluted: "Acting First Man." The London Daily Mail called her, "the acting president of the United States.” She continued in this role until the end of her husband’s term. She admitted it was selfish, as she put the needs of her husband ahead of those of the country. Brandus sees her actions as more than just selfish: 'While no crime had been committed, Edith Wilson — a devoted wife trying to help her husband — certainly participated in one of the greatest cover-ups in history. By hiding her husband’s illness, by making decisions in his name, Edith Wilson — an acting president in all but name — placed the nation’s security and well-being in jeopardy. The condition of the nation, not its chief executive, should have been of paramount concern; astonishingly, for a year and a half, it was not.'"

I set up shop in Park Slope today. Beth stopped by, looking to feed her Phillip Roth addiction. Unfortunately, I have none of his work at present. She mentioned she was from Port Huron, Michigan, which is northeast of Detroit. I told her I went to Western Michigan. She did too, graduating in the mid '60's, more than a decade after I did. These days she's working for a law firm that sues pharmaceutical companies. We reminisced for a while. Her dad owned both a rock club and a disco. I said that the second part of Close to the Edge was set in a disco -- and she bought it -- my only sale of the day. My thanks. Go Broncos! Unfortunately, they've begun the season 0-4, two of the losses to Michigan St. & Ohio St.., who are both ranked in the top five.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5
Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f


Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/26 - Sonuva Gun

Son of a Gun (2014), Australian, is one of those discs that arrived from Netflix that had me wondering: Why did I rent this? Probably because it has a respectable rating and Ewan McGregor is in it. He’s not the star, but his role is significant. The lead is young Breton Thwaites, who acquits himself well as the victim of an abusive father. His character is sent to prison for a six-month stretch. As was the case with James Caan's character in Michael Mann's Thief (1981), one of the greatest crime films ever, he keeps a collage of happy images to which he aspires. He is saved from a gang rape by McGregor and his mates. Of course, there is a price to pay. Upon his release he is “recruited” into a violent criminal gang and his first job is to hijack a helicopter and break his “savior” out of jail. Eventually he participates in a gold heist. The film was directed by Julius Avery, his first time at the helm of a full length work. He also wrote the screenplay with help from John Collee. I like the way they trusted the viewer to follow the story as it leaped past unnecessary exposition. The flick runs a tidy 108 minutes. I also enjoyed the uncompromising depiction of the criminals. There is no honor among these thieves. There are questionable points, as there almost always are in such fare. I found it hard to believe the crew would trust a novice is such a crucial role in the robbery. Also, the kid does a lot of shooting but doesn’t kill anyone, an obvious plot-ploy to keep him sympathetic. McGregor, on the other hand… It’s easy to see why he took the role in such an obscure film, although I realize it may have been popular down under. 14,000+ users at IMDb have rated Son…, forging to a consensus of 6.5 of ten, which seems low. I rate it 3.5 of five. Those who are squeamish about violence and the realistic portrayal of hardcore criminals should pass. I had a vivid dream last night which was no doubt triggered by the flick. I parked my car in a lot to attend a wake, and when I returned it was gone. Another car and two vans were positioned as if to hide the fact that my Hyundai was missing, which I’m not sure makes sense outside a dream. There was a shady character nearby. I threatened to call the cops if my car was not returned. I promised “No questions asked.” I doubt I would be as brave in real life.

My thanks to the kind folks who bought, donated and swapped books today. The session was made particularly bright by two visits. James, Lafayette H.S. class of '62, took down information on how to contact me on Facebook regarding my books. I have to temper my hope, as there rarely is follow up in such instances. Nile, a junior and finance major at Bernard Baruch, was feeling me out for an assignment on unusual businesses for his journalism class. He took a picture of the cover of Rising Star. I encouraged him to contact me on FB with any questions he might have.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5
Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Friday, September 25, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/25 - Principle

Why are drugs so expensive? Peter J. Pitts explains in an op-ed piece in today’s NY Post. Since 2000 companies have spent half a trillion dollars developing new medicines. In 2014 alone it was $51 billion. Fewer than 12% of new drugs win FDA approval. Bringing one drug to market costs about $2.6 billion and takes an average of ten years. I’d heard similar stats before, but they bear repeating. Pharmaceutical companies usually get a bad rap, damned if they do, damned if they don’t. They introduce products that extend and improve the quality of life of millions and are often sued when side effects adversely affect a relatively small percentage of users. The disclaimers on ads are as scary as they are preposterous, but must be included because a handful users are affected negatively, even die. I believe we are an over-medicated society, but the medicating is up to the doctor and, ultimately, the patient. I’m glad I don’t yet need meds, and I always research alternative methods. For example, when my cholesterol went to 250 years ago, my doctor immediately wanted me to take a drug. I chose to change my diet instead and, to his surprise, it worked. I’ve been adding a green tea supplement to seltzer for the past couple of years, and my prostate number has gone down. The next time I order some I will look into collagen tablets. According to Jerry Hickey, the head of Invite Health, people mistakenly believe that bones are comprised totally of calcium when it’s only five percent. Collagen is much more prevalent in the human body. The required dosage will be the key. One would go broke using all the recommended supplements. Upon hearing Hickey doing his show, I'm astonished by how many he professes to take and wonder if it is a danger to the stomach.

House Speaker John Boehner will be resigning his position, making conservatives happy. He has been excoriated as being too accommodating to President Obama, for not standing on principle, for not trusting that the majority of Americans would support political fights despite the threat of a government shut down. Will the next Speaker follow his lead and cave if the votes on heated issues aren't there, or will it be someone willing to do battle at least on select issues?

Ol' Smoky did a lot better than the floating book shop today. He found a year-round metro card that's good until June. This means he will be able to ride the subway all winter at no cost, which may be a life-saver. He, like so many other homeless, does not want to live in a shelter.
My thanks to the kind folks who bought books, especially Barry Spunt, author of Heroin and Music in NYC, who overpaid for an Ethel Merman bio. He will have one of his students at John Jay College read it, looking for instances of celebrity substance abuse, which is the topic of his work in progress.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/24 - Art/Life

Art imitates life, sometimes very accurately. I got a big laugh last night watching the opening of Who Was That Lady? (1960), which ran on Movies!, channel 113 on Cablevision in NYC. It stars Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and Dean Martin. In the opening, Leigh, at the time married to Curtis, walks into his workplace and finds him kissing a shapely woman. Of course, Curtis was a notorious womanizer. The couple divorced in 1962. I spotted Joi Lansing’s name in the opening credits and wonder if she was the recipient of the liplock. I didn’t stick with the flick because I discovered that Ion TV has begun running the original Law & Order on Wednesday night, and I am a great admirer of it. Anyway, whenever I encounter Lansing’s name I think back to the episode of The Adventures of Superman in which she appears as a police sergeant. At the end she declares her desire for Superman, and Lois Lane, played by Noel Neill, says: “You got competition.” My friends and I, teenagers dominated by hormones, always laughed that she would dare put herself in the same league as such a bombshell. Lansing was a busy actress, amassing 102 credits in her short life. Tragically, cancer took her at 43 in 1972. Neil has 79 credits listed at IMDb, which counts only one of the 78 episodes of Superman she did. She’s made seven appearances post-Superman, all having a relationship to the iconic figure. 95, she is still alive. She was more talented than she’s given credit for, having been a night club singer before she broke big. In back to back years she had a small role in Oscar winners: An American in Paris (1951) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952).



Think you’ve seen everything. Meet Gisele Marie of Sao Paulo, Brazil, a burka wearing Muslim convert who happens to be a heavy metal guitarist. I was sure it was a publicity stunt, but it seems legit. Here’s a one-minute clip of her playing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAW9NuJUs_c
On last night's premiere of season four of Nashville, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler did a duet of Crazy with Juliette Barnes/Hayden Panettierre. Fortunately, he did it straight, sans the screeching that has earned him a ton of money through the years.

My thanks to Alan, who bought Cliff Ryder's Out of Time, the floating book shop's only sale of the day.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/23 - Icon

RIP Lawrence Peter Berra, 90, baseball legend and American icon. Even Yankees haters loved Yogi. His accomplishments are staggering. He was a member of 13 world championship teams, 10 as a player. An 18-time all-star, he led the Yankees in RBIs for seven straight seasons, on teams that featured Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. He was a three-time AL MVP. He managed both the Yanks and Mets to pennants, losing the World Series to the Cardinals and A’s. I’ll never forget the ad he did for Yoo-Hoo, which had him climbing a billboard and robbing a batter of a home run, and his spouting: “Mee-hee for Yoo-Hoo.” He was famous for hysterical quotes, many of which he claimed he didn’t say. My favorite: “No one goes there nowadays, it’s too crowded.” He served in the Navy during WWII, and was a gunner’s mate on the USS Bayfield on DDAY. There are nine books under his name. He joins his beloved wife Carmen in heaven. Well done, sir.

Also in baseball: Here are three youngsters making a name for themselves. Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals is batting .342, has 41 HRs, 94 RBI, 118 BBs, 116 runs scored. His OB% is .447. He is only 22... Jake Arrieta, 29, of the Chicago Cubs won his 20th game last night. He has only six losses. His ERA is 1.88. A true stopper, he is 9-1 following a Cubs’ loss. His teammate, Kris Bryant, 23, set a Cubs’ rookie record by hitting his 26th HR.

Having enjoyed the movie on which it is based, I looked forward to watching the premiere of Limitless last night on CBS at ten. It didn’t disappoint, but it looks like it will be limited strictly to an action series. The story involves the taking of a pill that has the brain hitting on all cylinders. Bradley Cooper, the star of the film and one of the producers of the series, made an appearance. Hollywood veterans Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Blair Brown and Ron Rifkin lend support. Jake McDorman, who appeared with Cooper in American Sniper (2014), which I’ve yet to see, is the star.

Given the heavy Jewish presence at my usual nook and in the area of Bay Parkway, I decided to take the floating book shop to Park Slope today, Yom Kippur. Of all the hundreds who passed, only one bought. My thanks to the young mom who purchased J. D. Mason's You Gotta Sin to Be Saved.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/22 - Jeepers

The new television season is underway. Apparently, the war for control of Gotham’s underworld has ended and the Penguin has emerged as the top dog. Shock and brutality have superseded imagination. Early on the series featured a quirky villain in each of several episodes. That was pushed aside for the gangland stuff. This season’s major theme will apparently center on the inmates who have escaped from Arkham asylum... At nine I chose to forgo the silly fun of Scorpion for the brand new Minority Report on Fox, although I did not enjoy the 2002 film on which it is based. Set in the future, it has great effects and it was amusing to hear a reference to Super Bowl 87 and to the Washington Red Clouds, formerly ’Skins, but I don’t know that the show is very different than the action fare that’s so prevalent these days. I will probably switch back to Scorpion, which has goofy charm... At ten I chose to forgo old favorite Castle for NBC’s brand new Blindspot. The beginning was as good as TV gets: a large duffel bag is left in the middle of Times Square. After the area is evacuated, a beautiful, naked young woman emerges, heavily tattooed from the neck down. She is suffering amnesia. From there it went standard. She’s a Navy Seal who speaks Chinese. Rogue Chinese elements plan mayhem in the states. The tattoos are clues to prevent the attacks. My hunch is the show will be entertaining but will never rise to good.

NFL Week Two Recap: The Patriots may again go undefeated. Only injuries would derail their march to the Super Bowl… Remember when Saints head coach Sean Payton was considered a genius. It appears only Belichick is among the pro coaching brethren… The Colts and Dolphins, thought by many experts to be serious contenders, look like pretenders… How refreshing is the atmosphere around the Jets minus Rex Ryan? Kudos to Todd Bowles, who has the team exceeding expectations in the early going, and seems to exude class… How in the world did Eli Manning defeat Tom Brady twice in the big game?… If any team can rally to the playoffs from 0-2, it’s the Seahawks, but the NFC seems to belong to the Packers… The league remains a war of attrition. The 16-game grind is brutal. Only Belichick seems unaffected by a rash of injuries. He simply plugs unknowns into the holes and prospers.

RIP Jack Larson, 87, who baby boomers hold close to their hearts for his portrayal of Jimmy Olsen on 101 episodes of The Adventures of Superman. He has only 28 other acting credits listed at IMDb, and several of those that came after the fabled series ended had a relationship to the iconic character. He also has four credits as a film producer, and he has written plays that have been performed worldwide. Well done, sir. Gotta say it: "Jeepers, Mr. Kent."


Since I'm out of Russian fare and have a only couple of works by the most popular authors, I figured there wouldn't be much business at floating book shop today -- and there wasn't. Fortunately, Jimmy came along late in the session and bought five books, including two large pictorials. Thank you, sir, and also to Herbie, who donated a paperback thriller.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5
Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/21 - Red Jade

I wasn’t in the mood for a mystery, but when I saw Henry Chang’s Red Jade was set in Chinatown and came in at less than 250 pages, I dove into it. It is the third of his four novels, each featuring NYPD detective Jack Yu. He is haunted by a shootout that killed several and left a childhood friend on life support. A questionable lead has him take a weekend swing to Seattle on his own dime. The quality of a crime novel has to do with authenticity, and this one has it in spades. Chang grew up in Chinatown, graduated from CCNY, and has experience in hotel and building security. As I’d hoped, there are many references in the book to the  culture of the areas involved, including terms such as gwailo for white person. As one would expect of someone who constantly deals with the dark side of human nature, the hero has a hard shell. Dealing with the lowest forms of life day in and day out would make a cynic of almost anyone. There is a fascinating femme fatale at the center of the story. At 14 she was pimped off to cover her father’s gambling debts, leading to an intense hatred of men. Although she is indirectly responsible for the murder of a sap she used to steal money and jewelry, she is sympathetic, even though it is highly doubtful she will ever be able to trust anyone, especially male. The title refers to a good luck charm she carries. There is a hint of the paranormal in the work, which I enjoyed despite my skepticism. Soho Press published it in 2011. Its editor was negligent. There are numerous errors throughout. One was amusing, the detective putting out a cigarette twice within the same page. Only eight users at Amazon, where it is selling modestly, have rated Red Jade, forging to a consensus of four of five. I rate it 3.5. Chang is still living in lower Manhattan.

I've never been excited by any pope's visit to NYC, not even John Paul, whom I greatly admired and miss. Due to his leftist beliefs, I'm not a fan of Pope Francis. In an op-ed piece in today's NY Post, George Will takes him to task, stating that the the pontiff's views are detrimental to those he wishes to help most, the world's poor. The language is tough but civil, as one would expect from Will. No doubt he will draw fire from the left, who support the Pope's political views while rejecting, laughing at the church's traditional teachings.

Scott Walker has suspended his campaign for the presidency. That's too bad, as he's done a great job as governor of Wisconsin. He had the sense and conviction to take on unions, and still held on to a majority of voters, who like what his policies has done for the state's economy.

My thanks to the kind folks who bought books today on Bay Parkway.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5
Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/20 - Women

RIP Jackie Collins, 77, who succumbed to cancer. She was one of the most successful authors of all-time. Her 32 novels sold more than 500 millions copies, delighting fans. According to Wiki, she is 14th on the list of the best-selling writers in history. Well done, madam.

Here's a snippet from Peggy Noonan's op-ed piece in today's NY Post. I love how it humanizes the players: "In the commercial break the candidates thirstily gulp down water and then go straight to family and friends in the crowd for hugs and handshakes. Wives and grown children whisper advice. Supriya Jindal repeatedly huddled with her husband. Throughout the debate Ted Cruz kept his eyes on his wife, Heidi, in the audience. She gave him thumbs-up and mouthed advice. It was like seeing Burgess Meredith call to Rocky in the ring. On TV the candidates seem bold and composed, but when you’re in the room you see how needful of support and encouragement they are."

Last night Movies!, channel 113 on Cablevision in NYC, ran a musical I'd never seen: The Girl Can't Help It (1956). It stars Edmund O'Brien as a down and out gangster who hires an agent, Tom Ewell, who has fallen on hard times, to promote his beautiful but untalented girlfriend, Jayne Mansfield, who would rather be the mom of a big family similar to the one from which she comes. The slim, wacky story is padded by appearances by Little Richard, Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Fats Domino, the Platters and others. The best of these is by Julie Wilson, who was supposedly represented and loved by Ewell's character, a novel idea. Drunk, Ewell puts one of Wilson's albums on his turntable, and her image haunts him wherever he turns as Cry Me a River, Wilson's most enduring track, plays. O'Brien seems to be having a great time in his over the top performance, singing and dancing during the final number. The film has echoes of The Seven-Year Itch (1955), which also starred Ewell, and Marilyn Monroe, who was regarded as Mansfield's natural rival; and Born Yesterday (1950), the classic starring Broderick Crawford, Judy Holliday and William Holden. It was directed by Frank Tashlin, who, writing and directing, had great success with Bob Hope, Martin and Lewis, and Jerry Lewis' solo flicks. The color by Deluxe is appropriately lush. Mansfield, whose singing was dubbed by Eileen Wilson, acquitted herself well and looked scrumptious. I don't know that I'd ever seen more than a few minutes of her work prior to this. I was surprised by her smoothness, as it had always seemed she was a Hollywood creation rather than a bonafide talent. Unfortunately, she didn't have the time to prove herself, as she was killed in a car accident in 1967 at 34. I wouldn't say the flick is good, but it has charm.

My thanks to the gentleman who grew up in Salt Lake City, who asked which of my books was the best and, warned of its politically incorrect nature, still bought Killing. Thanks also to the gentleman who purchased the book on 88 great jazz pianists.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/19 - Madness

The inmates have taken over the asylum. How many times has that phrased been used? It is the basis for Stonehearst Asylum (2014), which I watched last night courtesy of Netflix. Joe Gangemi adapted the screenplay from a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether. It is the story of an idealistic young physician who goes to work in a remote corner of England at the end of 1899. The film boasts an excellent veteran cast: Ben Kingsley, Kate Beckinsale, Brendan Gleeson, Sinead Cusack and Michael Caine, who has gone from a great leading man to a great supporting player. Jim Sturgess, with whom I'd been unfamiliar, plays the hero, and David Thewlis, who logged a lot of time in the Harry Potter series, is the main villain. The lighting is appropriately dark. The institute is cloaked in dense fog, reminiscent of old Universal fare. The cinematography was done by Tom Yatsko, who I was not surprised to learn has done 11 episodes of Gotham, which also uses dark lighting. There are a couple of neat surprises along the way, and two excellent lines about madness, both spouted by the great Kingsley: “And make a miserable man out of a happy horse?” and “We‘re all mad… Some are simply not mad enough to admit it.” In this role, Kingsley reminded me of Donald Pleasance, who passed away in 1995, a part the latter might have played. I wonder if that was the intent. Apparently, the movie was a box office flop. It may be too old fashioned for modern audiences. Only 66 users at IMDb have rated it, forging to a consensus of 6.8 of ten, which may be a tad low. It was directed by Brad Anderson, who has had an interesting career, mostly in TV, doing episodes of Fringe, Boardwalk Empire, Person of Interest and other series, and films out of the mainstream such as Session 9 (2001) and The Machinist (2004). Stonehearst Asylum
runs 112 minutes. It's not a great film but one deserving of more attention.

Monsey visited the floating book shop today, armed with enlargements of a picture of a cloud formation she took months ago when she was feeling blue. When blown up and turned upside down, she saw religious images and one of her little brother, who died long ago. I saw images of faces, but was unable to determine if any resembled the one of her brother. I don't dismiss such beliefs, but I've never seen evidence that convinces me divine forces are at work. I sense Monsey appreciated that I took her claims seriously. She overpaid for books on Chinese Wisdom and reincarnation. My thanks, and also to Jack of Chase, who purchased a Steve Martini thriller, and Bill, who bought a short work by Samuel Beckett.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5
Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

 

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/18 - Beatnik

Here’s an excerpt from a teleplay I intended for a Fox anthology series that was axed after only a few episodes in the mid 90's. The protagonist, a Tony Danza-type, addresses a “Beatnik Night” gathering at a Greenwich Village cafĂ©. His pregnant wife is in the audience. Harry is the owner. It is a less than ten-minute read:

  “Because my beliefs are conservative, I’m becoming a dwindling minority in a city I was born and raised in. Because I’m guided by the moral principles of my faith, I’m called reactionary. Because I believe that abortion is murder, I’m called a misogynist. Because I believe that feminism is largely whining, I’m called sexist. Because I believe that the cultural elite is usually wrong, I’m called intolerant. Because I believe that being a mother is more important than ninety-nine-percent of all jobs, I’m called an oppressor. Because I believe that many blacks give in to hopelessness rather than take advantage of their rights, I’m called a racist. Because I believe that most taxes are unjust, I’m called unpatriotic by leftists. Because I believe that liberalism is a cancer that threatens the greatness of this city and nation, I’m called an extremist. Because I believe that an able-bodied man who is jobless or homeless has only himself to blame, I’m called compassionless. Because I believe that we are becoming a nation of thin-skinned whiners who fear initiative, deny responsibility and look to government for handouts, I’m called morally retarded. Because of all of the above, I’m called politically incorrect, and I bask in it. Because I am strong and have learned initiative, I will endure no matter what obstacles fall in my way.”
   During the recital there are a gamut of emotions: smirks, outrage, surprise, anxiety, nasty comments. Some patrons have walked out. Nina is ringing her hands. Harry is on edge. Finished, Dan gazes outward, now emboldened. The silence is suddenly acute.
   “What d’you know about bein’ black?” a black man snaps.
   “Only what I see. Why do so many succeed despite racism? Are they tokens? Tell that to Mel, who rushes from his job at the Exchange to his video shop every day. He started with a hundred tapes and was wise enough not to take a dime in government loans. Tell it to Katie, whose been payin’ her own way through college at night for six years. Tell it to the gentleman seated among us who patrols this neighborhood on horseback. Tell it to any black broker who’s earned trading privileges.”
   “You’re a broker?” a woman sneers.
   “Is that the product of the moral principles of your faith?” a man says ironically.
   Dan stares defiantly. “Do I detect the air of prejudice here? You mean it’s true that liberals are tolerant only of liberal ideas? You mean it’s not possible to be honorable and a broker? Talk about stereotyping: ‘He’s rich, therefore he must be corrupt.’ Gimme a break. My parents were immigrants. Eighteen years ago I stumbled into a place I had no idea existed and I started workin’ my way up on as level a playin’ field there is. The city -- no, the country, should work half as well, half as equitably. I pay taxes quarterly, and probably a lot more than any of you.”
   “And more in charity,” says Nina testily, turning heads.
   “And I’m the bad guy? And now the ultimate treachery is on the way -- federal funding for abortion. My tax dollars are gonna go to the murder of innocents. The death camps’ve been back for years, and people are still lookin’ away.”
   “Didn’t I read that in the New York Post?” says a woman sarcastically.
   “Who are you to say what a woman should do with her body?” says another, rising.
   “My objection is that government sanctions it, not with what women do with their bodies.”
   “In other words, let’s go back to coat-hangers.”
   “Shouldn’t despicable acts carry dire consequences? Thirty years ago abortions were one of the worst things anyone could imagine. Meanwhile, one of the consequences of its legality may be the callous disregard for life so prevalent in society today.”
   “Let me guess,” says a man -- “William F. Buckley?”
   “You are a misogynist,” says the woman who is standing.
   Harry fidgets.
   “Ask my wife if I am.”
   “What kind of woman would marry you?”
   “Hey!” Nina cries out, struggling to her feet. “Watch your mouth, witch, or I’ll drag you outside. You’ll never find a man like him -- never.”
   Now Harry is really nervous.
   “Easy, Nee,” says Dan softly. “It’s only words, like on the trading floor. Forgive my wife’s temper. She didn’t know me when I was in my twenties and a real chauvinist pig.”
   The quip falls flat, swallowed by the overall tension. The woman sits, as does Nina. Harry breathes a sigh of relief.
   “I owe you an apology, miss,” says Dan. “I was sure you’d run atta here in a huff before I finished. In fact, I owe you all one. I expected at lot more heat -- or aren’t you finished?”
   “You already called yourself every name we could’ve,” says a man gruffly.
   Dan chuckles.
   Another man stands. “You haven’t said anything about sexuality. Should public shows of affection be restricted to heterosexuals?”
   Dan smiles uncomfortably and begins a response.

My thanks to the kind folks who bought books on yet another spectacular day.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f


Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/17 - Debate

I did not watch last night’s debate. Although I will vote for whomever the Republican candidate is, I don’t expect miracles. All I hope for is common sense, less roadblocks to work around. I’ve just read in the NY Post that Carly Fiorina acquitted herself well, that Trump took some shots, and that Jeb Bush is going nowhere fast. I do not have any animosity toward Bush or his family. In fact, I believe they’re good people and think those who believe the 2001 terrorist attack was an inside job are completely unhinged. Still, the previous Bush presidencies failed, and pushing for a third seems utterly foolish. Right now the outsiders are polling better than the insiders. I’ve gone back and forth on Trump so many times I don’t know what to think of his candidacy, although I understand its resonance. Ben Carson is an exemplary human being of great accomplishment but has no real executive experience. Fiorina’s corporate record is checkered. I’m disappointed that Kasich and Walker, whose achievements as governors are quite impressive, haven’t made a better case for themselves. Cruz would be a hard sell, although he is eminently qualified. Rubio may be the man four or eight years hence. I cannot and do not want to picture Chris Christie as the chief executive. The post-debate polls will be interesting, but there’s still a really long way to go. And it's not about who's the best debater or who looks presidential. It's about who has the best ideas to get the country back on track.

Rumor has it that the Dolan family will sell Cablevision to a French billionaire. As a customer, I wonder how this will affect my service. I’ve had it in for CV since it doubled the price of my internet service about a year ago. I would love to dump it, but, living in an apartment building, options are few. Fios may be better, but I’ve had problems with Verizon in the past and I’m hesitant to go back to them. If my TV breaks down and I’m forced to buy a new one, which would be digital, the first thing I’d try is a standard antenna, which would allow me to dump the minimum TV package I have. I’d bet whoever owns CV would then increase the cost of broadband.

There wasn't much action today at the floating book shop. Two gentlemen bought books in Russian. Spasibo. The highlight of the session was the appearance of young Dmitri. Months ago he bought Killing. He gave it to his grandmother, who says she is enjoying it. Go figure.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/16 - Humans

The mass market edition of the novel Zoo by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge is 400 pages. The TV series based on it has filmed 13 episodes -- and is not done. As it did with Stephen King’s Under the Dome, which ran three seasons, it looks like CBS will milk it until its ratings go south. Boooo! I watched despite the awful dialogue, as the story line is interesting and there are creepy moments. I will not watch when it returns next summer.

Given the new tension between the U.S. and Russia, I find it odd that an American and Russian astronaut are halfway through a year’s stay at a space station. Completely at odds on Earth yet cooperating in deep space -- the human race -- endlessly fascinating.

I hate writing about Hillary, as there is so little that’s fresh to note, but a statement she made recently has added spice to the news. Addressing a rally for victims of sexual assault, she said women: “…have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed.” Of course, this excludes those who accused Slick Willie of sexual assault. As everyone knows, they were pawns of the vast right wing conspiracy. Her political instincts are laughable.

A New York judge has ruled that drivers are allowed to scrawl profanity on the checks they use to pay violations, as long as they are not threatening harm. I’ve been tempted to do it on those rare occasions when I’ve forgotten to move my car for alternate side street cleanup. I didn’t because I feared retaliation in unforeseen ways. I hate the leeches that prey on drivers, but, unless injustice is obvious, it’s probably better to pay up quietly than vent. It’s good to see a judge come down on the side of free speech, though.

Late last night in L.A. the Dodgers and Rockies played a 16-inning game wherein they set a record for players, 58, and pitchers used, 24. Colorado alone used 13 pitchers and 30 players, both records. Rookie hurler Jason Gurka was forced to play RF in the final half-inning of the Rockies' 5-4 win.

And here's a shout-out to Canadiens' defenseman P.K. Subban, who over the next seven years will be donating $10 million dollars to the Montreal Children's Hospital. Wow! Kudos, sir.

My thanks to the kind folks who bought, swapped and donated books today.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/15 - Success

Here’s a list of Forbes top ten performer earnings of 2015:
1. Floyd Mayweather -- 300 million. I’m shocked not only that he is first but by the length of his lead.
2. Manny Pacquiao -- 170 million. How much would Muhammad Ali be earning these days? I haven’t watched boxing in ages, since early in Mike Tyson’s career. I admire the skill and courage, but I’m no longer comfortable watching men trying to punch each other’s lights out. I have never nor will I ever watch women’s boxing.
3. Katy Perry -- I don’t know much about her music but I’m always impressed by her positive, smiling demeanor.
4. One Direction -- Don’t know anything about them. Don’t believe I’ve ever heard even one of their songs. They have to divide their take by four, but I think they'll get by.
5. Howard Stern -- I’ve never been able to warm up to him, but he has to be given credit for staying power. There must be something to him. It's impossible to fool the public for this long.
6. Garth Brooks -- I thought he’d retired. What a comeback! Ride 'em, cowboy.
7. James Patterson -- Seems to put out a book a week, often sharing credit with another author. I've read one of the co-writes and found it second rate.
8. Taylor Swift -- Has an artist ever had her/his act together like this young genius? As astute a businesswoman as she is a singer/songwriter. Seems like she will have a tough time finding an equal for a mate. Will have to marry down.
8. Robert Downey Jr. -- Tied with TS on the strength of the Iron Man and Avenger series. Remember when it seemed he would never recover from substance abuse? Kudos, sir.
10. Cristiano Ronaldo -- Heartthrob soccer superstar, whom I’ve never seen play. He's got the world on a string. Hope he appreciates it.

The weather could not have been better today. My thanks to Joshua, who bought nine works of non-fiction, and to the woman who bought the book on Body Language, to the one who purchased a Wendy Corsi Staub thriller, and to the elderly woman who donated a non-fiction on Israel, and Herbie, who donated a sci-fi and a Ethel Merman bio. All together now: "There's no business like show business..." I'll never separate that phrase from Merman.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5
Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f



Monday, September 14, 2015

The Writer's Life 9/14 - Time

I hadn't read a thriller in a while. I needed a break from the chick lit and Pulitzer prize winners I'd been reading lately. Cliff Ryder's Out of Time fit the bill, coming in at 346 pages, reading like less than 300. The story is simple: a top notch secret agent is assigned to destroy a biotech lab in China, which has engineered a weapon of mass destruction. There are complications. The agent is battling the onset of the worst form of MS, and his wife is a brilliant researcher at the firm's American branch. The pace is fast, the situations more plausible than usual for such fare. Although the prose and dialogue are solid, the editors missed a lot of errors. The manuscript needed another wash. Spotting such mistakes always has me worrying about any I may have missed in the books I've edited myself. Anyway, fans of the genre would probably enjoy the novel. It does not compromise. I loved the last passage, which leads to interesting moral questions. Of course, one wonders if such events actually take place. While reading, I recalled a deadly fire that occurred at a plant in China recently and asked myself if... Like James Bond, the hero has the moral certitude required to carry out such tasks, killing those who stand in the way, giving no consideration to whether the person is integral to the deadly program or just a working stiff. Ryder wrote six novels between 2008-09, all about 'Room 59," a virtual reality site agents log in to for assignments. As far as I was able to ascertain, each has a different protagonist. The books are still selling modestly. Only three users at Amazon rated Out of Time, forging to a consensus of 4.5 of five. I rate it three. I was unable to find any personal information on the author. He has a grasp of gadgetry that lends authenticity to the narrative. Is he working undercover? Has he been killed in the line of duty? Do such events actually occur? I don't want to know. It's scary to think they do.

RIP NBA Hall of Famer Moses Malone, 60, who was drafted right out of high school and played 21 years as a pro. He was a three-time MVP, and MVP of the 1983 playoffs when the 76ers won it all. In his career he averaged 20.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. Well done, sir.

I'm so glad I spend no time in sports rooting anymore because last night's Giants loss to the Cowboys would have made me sick back in the day. A Cowboys player's idiotic personal foul penalty all but handed the game to Big Blue, who threw it away because of poor clock management, a lost art in modern football. Of course, no one can say for sure whether Dallas QB Tony Romo wouldn't have found a way to pull out a victory with a lot less time to work with, but the percentage play for the Giants was to run, not pass. Head Coach Tom Coughlin took responsibility, but that doesn't accomplish anything. More is expected from a veteran coach and quarterback. I'd expected the G-Men to be routed. Their performance surprised me but now it is just a squandered opportunity. Perhaps they're not as mediocre as I think. Then again, the NFL has become completely unpredictable week to week. Even the Patriots, Seahawks, Steelers and Packers occasionally look bad... Kudos to the Jets.

Since there is a heavy Jewish presence celebrating the holiday at both my regular nook and on Bay Parkway, I decided to take the floating book shop to Park Slope. At first it seemed a dumb move, as I had to lug the crates a long way. And there was a stiff wind blowing along the shade on 7th Avenue. The warmth of the sun didn't make its way toward for an hour-and-a-half. I was feeling stupid, then back to back customers came along to make everything better. A gentleman bought the Gunter Grass Reader, and another purchased The Quotable Einstein, a book on the subconscious, and one on the thoughts of Marcus Aurelius. As I was packing up, a sweet middle age woman picked out a couple of chick lits. Thanks, folks. It made the long, strenuous trek back up the slope of 4th Street easier to bear.
Vic's 5th Novel: http://tinyurl.com/okxkwh5Vic's 4th novel: tinyurl.com/bszwlxh
Vic's 3rd Novel: http://tinyurl.com/7e9jty3
Vic's Short Story on Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/k95k3nx
Vic's Short Story Collection: http://www.tiny.cc/Oycgb
Vic's 2nd Novel: http://tiny.cc/0iHLb Kindle: http://tinyurl.com/kx3d3uf
Vic's 1st Novel: http://tinyurl.com/l84h63j
Vic's Rom-Com Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/kny5llp
Vic's Horror Screenplay: http://tinyurl.com/cyckn3f