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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Writer's Life 5/10 - Fantasy, Reality

Born in Britain, currently living in the USA, Neil Gaiman is in the midst of an ultra-successful writing career. He started as a journalist, doing interviews and reviews. His first book, in 1984, was a bio of rock group Duran Duran. He has done comics, a video game, screenplays, plays, teleplays, short stories, and novels, including the graphic variety. He has won many awards along the way. He even has four credits as an actor and has toured with his wife, a musician, doing readings at which he does a sort of singing. The guy is prolific. I just finished the tenth of his eleven novels, a fantasy, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It is told from the point of view of a middle age man recalling events that occurred when he was seven. Although the genre is not one I really enjoy, I was interested to learn the foundation of Gaiman's popularity, perhaps envious of it. The fact that the book is only 178 pages made it easy. Although I wasn't bored and liked the characters, it did not transcend the genre. I thought it a tad overwritten. Many aspects are left unexplained, which was probably the right way to go. The resolution in many sci-fi and fantasy works often seems lame. Suspension of belief is a must, as the action is often outrageous. The title refers to a pond in which an entire ocean is contained. I'm not comfortable rating a book of this category, so I will let readers at Amazon speak. 4779 forge to a consensus of 4.3 of five. I think it's appeal is restricted to fans of the genre.

No one should be surprised that FBI director James Comey has been fired. I believe he is another casualty of Clinton scandals. He was in the unenviable position of ruling on a presidential candidate whom polls predicted would win the presidency easily. Did he choose wisely? All except the most partisan of us need to ask ourselves what we would have done in his shoes. There is one amusing aspect of the dismissal. Democrats, who have been blaming Comey for the loss of the White House, are now pretending to be shocked and angered, and are crying cover-up, as if Comey alone were investigating charges of a Trump-Russia collusion. The cesspool that is politics is currently as rank as it gets.

Marion Barber, 57, had a seven-year NFL career with the NY Jets. Today he will be fulfilling a promise he made to his mom long ago - graduating college. He has completed the two years of credits he needed, accumulating A's and B's, attendance perfect, and will be receiving a degree in Youth Studies from the University of Minnesota, where he played. His youngest son is a sophomore LB for the Golden Gophers. Kudos, sir.

RIP Paulie Sommerfield, one of life's good guys, who was in his mid to late 50's. Even though I'd heard he'd had a massive heart attack years ago, his passing was a bitter surprise. Our lives crossed paths so many times. He was a student at John Dewey H.S. when I was an aide. I had a beard then, and he called me Grizzly Adams. I saw him so many times through the window of a deli on 86th Street, working behind the counter, smiling and waving as I passed. Then suddenly he were both working at the Commodity Exchange. And then he and his family were living up the block, renting an apartment in a private house on East 13th. He loved basketball and invited me to play at JHS 281 on Monday nights. He had a good jump shot. When I'd pass him in the hall at work I'd tease him by saying "From the corner..." and he would respond by saying: "It's good." Before he moved his family to Staten Island, as I was walking to my car one day, his son Matthew, who was three or four called my name and ran toward me with such urgency - just to deliver a kiss. I don't think I'll ever forget that. If there's a heaven, I know Paulie will be there.

My thanks to the kind folks who bought books today. Special thanks to the elderly Russian couple who donated a shopping cart full of wares that included books, VHS tapes and even a telephone answering machine. The most interesting item is a book of erotica, in French, that includes illustrations by Salvador Dali and Ralph Crumb. I will offer it to select customers.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
Vic's Short Works:

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