Trivia was excellently hosted by Jess and Marissa this evening. Among the highlights was an all-Bruce Willis round. There were many funny moments. When a team wanted to get credit for their answer of "Holly" for John McLean's wife in "Die Hard," Jess finally gave in and said (jokingly), "You can have it, but you're a bunch of jerks." Another question was, what was Bruce Willis' catch phrase in that movie? The answer was "Yippe kai-ay, motherfu**er." One guy complained that he didn't know it because "I've only seen it on TBS."

Among the popular team names tonight:

- "But Daddy always told me I'M Deep Throat!"
- "W. Mark Felt me up."
- Paris is burning...down there.

The top 10 round concerned best selling movie soundtracks. It was a very good round. They included Saturday Night Fever, Footloose, Lion King, Forrest Gump, Titanic, Purple Rain, Dirty Dancing, Grease, and some others I ain't thinking of right now. Number one, believe it or not, was the Bodyguard.
Let the good times roll.

I had a car this weekend, so I did a bit of stocking up.

Deep Throat has possibly been revealed.

Now, go about your business.


In today's entry, young Philly-area writer D-Mac writes of his recently deceased English teacher. A moving entry.
Woke up, put on clothes. Tomorrow I will have to go to work.

Forty years ago this weekend, the Sound of Music premiered in theaters. Ernest Lehman's writing took what was an eh show with wonderful music and turned it into a wonderful, suspenseful movie that actually has some very clever dialogue (think I'm joking? Don't remember? go to imdb.com and look at the quotes section.) Todd Purdum gives it its due in today's New York Times.


Woke up, put on clothes, didn't go to work.

Several people have found my blog by Googling an actress named "Karen Cliche" and spelling her first name with a "C" by accident. Yes, if you put "Caren Cliche" into Google, I'm the first blog you get to. Well, I have discussed cliches, but I'd rather not have that as a nickname. So if you get here and you're looking for the real Karen Cliche, here's her site. BUT FIRST, oh please oh please read a novel called Carrie Pilby...in fact, maybe Karen Cliche can star in it.


Woke up, put on clothes, did errands, took naps.

Taking off for a week is dangerous to my feet. So far, I've spilled boiling water for tea on my left foot, dropped a little bottle of spring water onto it, and accidentally walked into the foot of my bed, jamming my toes and requiring an icepack.

As for the novel, I feel like I did a lot of good revisions to it this week. It says what I want to say, it's emotional, the characters are distinct. Hopefully an editor will feel the same way.


My friend just posted a blog entry that starts off this way, and it completely cracked me up:

"My dog owns a lot of clothes and accessories. Yes, I know."
If you haven't figured it out, I haven't gone to work this week. I needed a break. Plus, you know, the novel is getting revised. If you work for a major publishing house and are reading this, sometime within the next few months, my third novel may be coming to a desk near you.

Yesterday I bought Mike Finkel's book True Story, which I wrote about a few posts earlier. I also read Josh Braff's book, The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green. He's Zach Braff's brother. I have to support all (at least most) New Jersey enterprises. Good book.

I decided to cook this week since I actually have the time. What I've found is that for the most part, it doesn't save money, and it certainly doesn't save time. I suppose if you are cooking for more than one person, it does. I bought some pork chops and broiled 'em with some basil and Hoboken Eddie's apple brandy BBQ sauce and fresh garlic and potatoes. Tasty, but it might've been better to stop at the restaurant down the street. Then again, I guess if I lived in the burbs, I wouldn't have that as an option. Seriously, how did my mom make us dinner every single night? Oh that's right, all she did all day was watch soaps.
Will later wake up, put on clothes, revise third novel some more.

It's almost there. Almost!


Will later wake up, put on clothes, etc.

Wite Out + Too Much Free Time = what someone did to a sign on the NJ/NY PATH train.


I've now cut out 4,500 words, or about 5 percent, or 20 pages.

I keep putting Part I of the book to the Cringe Test -- can I open to any random part of the book and not cringe? Or are there still parts that are shoved in just to make a point or a joke, but are no longer necessary? Or parts I thought were needed for background but can be explained more subtly?

On another note, here's a useful and interesting link to scriptwriting expressions in someone's blog. Anyone who likes sitcoms or TV in general will enjoy this. Thanks to Doogs for forwarding it.
Woke up, put on clothes, started revising.

Last night I went to a friend's party. When I entered the bedroom to put my coat down, her mom was in there talking to a male friend of mine, and she said to me, "Hi. We're talking about pedophilia."


This girl really doesn't like Aaron Carter.
It's time for today's ... RCF (Random Childhood Flashback)*

*PTTAWON (probably thought of to avoid working on novel)

So it's sixth grade, and I'm sitting in the back of the room as our teacher, Mrs. Shaak, goes over our spelling lesson. A blonde kid named Mitchell is sitting in the row behind me, frantically waving his hand, trying to get her attention because he has to go to the bathroom. His friend Darren is next to him, kinda laughing at him because she's totally oblivious.

Mrs. Shaak asks if anyone knows how to spell "Yacht." She sees Mitchell's hand in the air.

"How do you spell yacht? Mitchell?"

He says, "Y-O-T, but can I go to the bathroom?"

"No," she said, "it's y...a...c..."

I see his face contorting in extreme pain, and Darren laughs harder.

(Unfortunately, this ending isn't as exciting as you might have hoped, because he raced out a second later. I don't know why I thought of this, but I did. Now I guess I have to go revise my novel some more. Oh well.)
Woke up, put on clothes, started writing.

Odd how much faith in the beginning of this book is returning based on the fact that I am slashing rather than writing.

A very wise 19-year-old writer read the first half and told me, during one part, that I should "Cut the joke, keep the drama." She expertly realized that I added a few lines just to include a certain gag, and it wasn't a necessary gag. I've done that with descriptive paragraphs in other places, as well. I like them. But they don't fit anymore. Maybe they never did.



Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

It's that time again, folks. What time? The start of Hurricane Season! Hurricane Adrian has already appeared. But the big countdown on this blog starts July 15.

In other nooze, MK Letourneau and Vili are getting married tonight.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

I figured out what I have to do to improve my novel.

Cut all the stuff from years ago that I've been clinging to.

Over the years, I came up with some descriptive and funny scenes, sure, but they don't all fit anymore. And yet I've struggled to fit them in, like a 17-year-old trying to insert "veritable plethora" into his college application essay. Sometimes, as well-written as a scene is, it NO LONGER FITS. Slash, slash, slash. I must do it.

Next week is going to be a revision week. And yes, I'll be heating up some black-and-white cookies in the morning and enjoying them with steamed skim milk as I re-enter the world of my main characters and their forbidden affections. I'm getting primed for this. I'm thinking about what I have to do. Ready for Round 17, or whatever I'm up to.

By the time next week is over, Novel 3 will be unrejectable! OK, so no such thing, but it will be better, anyway. I want readers to enjoy this story. I want it out there.


Update on Brooke, the 12-year-old girl who looks like a baby: Apparently it's a real story (go to the link and follow the link in the comments), but the news stations pulled the link either because of a request from the family or because the originating station sent it to others inadvertently (huh?) I would imagine that the media would converge on this story, but they haven't, which is what surprises me. Her doctor, Dr. Lawrence Pakula, is a Johns Hopkins dr. So it's real, just very confusing.

Can you imagine taking care of a baby forever - she can never get older? She and her parents and her sisters must be tough, caring people.

Meanwhile... Can you imagine being the Seattle journalist whose job it was to check the Kings County Recorder's Office every day for the marriage license registration of M. K. Letourneau and V. Fualaau? Well, they came up lucky today. Put just the groom's last and first name in and you get to find out their full names. Whooey.
This AOL headline made me laugh out loud:

He's got wrong theater
Star Wars fan waits weeks where 'Sith' isn't playing

Who was it who said that being a NON-smart nerd is the worst kind?

In other news, I'm watching season 1 of the West Wing, at last. The jokes & rapid-fire dialogue seem a bit old to me, the plots a bit petty. But I have to keep in mind that I'm watching a 1999 drama in a post-2000 election, post-2001 world.

Last night's trivia game packed the house. One of my questions was, "What was former mayor David Dinkins' wife's name?" People were smacking themselves because they've forgotten so quickly. My co-host, Phil, and I gave away two t-shirts to teams that guessed "Dunkin'."
GUY ON PHONE WITH ME RIGHT NOW: "You sound young to be an editor."

Why yes, I am!
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

When I was a freshman at the U. of Penn, there was a senior who wrote a column for the Daily Pennsylvanian named Mike Finkel. He was a fascinating enigma - a DP sportswriter who was equally adept at feature and travel-writing, and oddly enough, he was in the business school (not liberal arts) studying finance. My favorite columns of his were often about social ills he saw in Philly; in one, he followed a homeless man to see where he went. He founded a group called Wharton Democrats. I also remember seeing him among a group of upperclassmen taking kids trick-or-treating in my dorm. Before he graduated, he got a personal essay into the New York Times magazine, when most of us hopeful writers and DP journalists couldn't get bit. As our now-deceased non-fiction writing professor Nora Magid put it at the time, "Mike got $1,000 from the Times, and an A from me."

He graduated and got a job at a skiing magazine, again when most writers fresh out of college couldn't get bit. He was apparently an amazing skier. He traveled the globe and started writing for the Times magazine.

Then he wrote a story that included a composite of a down-and-out child, comprised from several kids he knew while visiting West Africa. Only he didn't tell the Times it was a composite. When they found out, they fired him and pored over every other one of his stories. They didn't find any other fabrications, but the tarnish was there.

At the same time, believe it or not, some guy was being pursued for murder and had been passing himself off as New York Times writer Michael Finkel. So Finkel started following that.

His book on that is coming out in a week. I'm looking forward to reading it. Even since I was a wide-eyed, innocent freshman, I was captivated by his writing.


The knowledge base of my readers is vast:

As for the basset...it was probably a Basset Fauve De Bretagne. It's a very rare breed but they do come in all black (like all black pugs). If it was a little bigger than a regular basset it could have been a Grand Basset Griffon Vendeen...another rare breed but can also be all black.

Aren't you glad we debate the issues of the day?
Will later wake up, put on clothes, go to work.

OK, here's some of the story.

"Imagine being frozen in time as a baby forever. It sounds impossible, but it describes Brooke Greenberg.
The Baltimore-area girl may look like a baby, but she's nearly a teenager. In most respects, Brooke looks and acts like your average 6-month-old baby -- she weighs 13 pounds and she is 27 inches long.
But Brooke is actually 12 years old, reported WBAL-TV in Baltimore.
Dr. Lawrence Pakula has been Brooke's pediatrician since she was born.
"In height, weight, she's 6 to 12 months," Pakula said. "If you ask any physician who knows nothing about her, the response is that she is maybe a handicapped 2-year-old."
As far as scientists and doctors can determine, Brooke is the only human being on the planet who has this as yet unnamed condition. And it hasn't been any picnic for her parents. She's had numerous health problems.
Her body may not be aging, but Brooke's health is deteriorating. She is fed through a tube, and she's had strokes, seizures, ulcers, severe respiratory problems and a tumor the size of a lemon.
The four times Brooke has come dangerously close to death, she bounced back and no one knows why.
Pakula points out that the girl has a strong sense of self and of sibling rivalry. Brooke has no language skills, but she does have enough motor skills to pull herself up in her crib or scoot across the kitchen floor.
Pakula said Brooke has thrived because of the support of her parents and three sisters.
'When one sees how much she has accomplished, it's a wonderful reminder that even for someone who's limited, it's a wonderful world out there,' Pakula said."


Yes, I know...the story about the 12-year-old girl who hasn't aged since she was 6 months old has been taken down, at least for now. But this was on the news and everything. I watched the video on the 'net. It was on real stations. If you put it into Google News, it shows up that there were 56 mentions on it...but now they're unretrievable:


The whole thing is bizarre. How could they hide this for 12 years? Maybe there are other people who have a related disorder and would benefit from knowing that the girl had it. The whole thing makes no sense. I guess we'll hear more on this later, whether it was a clever hoax or not.


This is about the craziest story I have seen on the web, and obviously, that'd have to be crazy. I can't understand why this has not been reported before, if true. A 12-year-old girl has not "aged" since she was 6 months old. Is this a hoax?

Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Weird things I thought of for no reason:

1. I can play several instruments:

2. When I was in second grade, friends would ask me if I saw last night's "Three's Company" or "Happy Days," and I had to say pissedoffedly, "The only show you should ask me about is Diff'rent Strokes, because Friday is the only day I'm allowed to stay up 'til 8:30." After a bit of this, I knew it was time to get my bedtime increased. I pondered my strategy. Finally, I went to my mother and said, "All the kids in school talk about those shows like 'Three's Company' and I have nothing to say." She relented and increased my bedtime to 8:30. Unfortunately, that meant my little brother got to stay up that late as well, even though he was three years younger than I and thus should have had to go to bed at the time that I had to go to bed when I was his age. Oh well.

3. I still want to know about that black basset hound. What all-black breed could they have crossed it with that could have possibly been in the right shape to have sex with a basset hound?


The cover of the book containing the Carrie Pilby sequel is up at Amazon. Take a look. I'm sure we will doing some holiday promotions for it later in the year. Maybe there will be a party. Maybe there will be eggnog. Mmmm...eggnog.

What, too early?
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Last night I saw an all-black basset hound. I don't know if there was some other breed mixed in. I don't think pure bassets can be all black. Very curious.

I'm quite tired today. "If you're tard and then you're tard again, you're REtard" - my 9th grade geometry teacher


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Reader mail:


I thanked him and directed him to Amazon.


Will later wake up, put on clothes, go to work.

I'm mailing a screenplay to a contest this week. I know, I know...I write too much. But actually I finished this one last year and the timing wasn't right to send it to the contest I wanted to send it to. It's a simple, Disney-type family thing. Anyway, I did a quick revision week and will send it off to see how it does. I found that I still liked it, and otherwise it would have just sat idle. At least I'll see if it makes it to semifinals or what have you.

Back to the novels. I checked out the unjustified page proofs for "Carrie Pilby's New Year's Resolution" (novella in the forthcoming Scenes from a Holiday) and made some corrections and sent them back to my editor.

I've been thinking about nips and tucks for Novel 3, too.

Actually, I've done very little writing in the last two weeks. Mostly just relaxing and little revisions of projects like the ones above. I even had time to watch "The Office," the DVD of which my friend gave me months ago. It's bloody funny! Now I have to figure out whose stapler to put into Jello.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Spring has come.


It was a dork and starmy night.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

It is mighty windy outside today. It says something on weather.com about a nor'easter. I'll have to check the barometer when I get home.



A reader writes: "I went to middle school with Edward Norton. Back then, he was just Ed. And I remember that he got annoyed when, on the first day of school one year, a teacher started imitating Jackie Gleason when he read out Norton's name."

Hey, let's not be spreading rumors, now.
A friend writes: This week is Cover the Uninsured Week, and it comes at a time when the nation’s health care system is in crisis. According to the latest figures, 45 million Americans have no health insurance. That’s 5 million more than there were in 2000. This crisis is affecting more than the uninsured – American workers and businesses are also suffering.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Today is 05-05-05.


What do you call a gorilla with no eyes?

A gorlla.
Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Wouldn't it be funny if in the upcoming Honeymooners remake, Edward Norton starred as Ed Norton?

Of course, it's an African-American Honeymooners, but still.


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Sentence I just corrected in a news article:

“We set high expectorations, and the students know it.”

That's almost as good as the time we got a press release from a superintendent who said that a certain budget measure would "straddle the taxpayers."


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

Last night, "Family Guy" returned to Fox, and "American Dad" followed. They proceeded to, between them, make fun of Christians, conservatives, Mel Gibson, and have a joke where Gepetto stuck his tush in front of Pinocchio's nose and tried to get him to tell a lie. I don't think this will last long.

The Simpsons seemed tame by comparison. In the words of Marge, "Jiminy Kimmel!!"


Woke up, put on clothes, went to work.

This was posted on a local messageboard for New Jersey daily newspapers, in response to an article. I think it's sage advice: