This is nothing new

In a piece of trend journalism, the NY Observer writes about how lots of young male writers create protagonists who have emotional issues or are anti-heroes.  This is really something new?  Look at Holden Caulfield.

And it's a reach to string together the protagonists that the author links.  Ned Vizzini's main character in "It's Kind of a Funny Story," who has emotional problems, is not a bad guy; he just suffers from depression, a mental health issue.  The new book by this Sam Munson fella sounds really interesting and I'd like to read it, but I doubt it's the same thing as Vizzini's character or the others mentioned, y'know?

While I'm writing about writing, here's a brief update on my own writing:  Revising a teen novel (not the one I'm usually revising), also in the midst of an adult novel, hoping to get the former to an agent this month and the latter some time this summer.  
Self-publishing: Worth it?

I get asked that question at times. Here's a pretty good story from the NYTimes. Thanks to my friend and former roomie A. for sending it.


T-Mobile commercial

Never mind the Saved By Zero commercial...the worst commercial on the air now is the T-Mobile one.  It's the one where the dad is talking about his T-Mobile services and his son says something like, "Now you can call that woman you're always staring at at my soccer games."  The dad looks totally busted.  But then his daughter says she wants to call Derek, and the dad says, "You mean Derek with the mustache and the Mustang Derek?"  Then he says there's a no Dereks with mustaches clause and adds teasingly, "What a drag...dude..."

But really, who is this paragon of morality to start in on his daughter when he's practically fornicating in his head every weekend and his son's ballgames?  Hypocrisy has risen to new heights.  Instead of telling his daughter whom she can and can't see, he should drop to his knees, beg for his wife's and son's forgiveness, promise not to lust in his heart, and then get a new hairstyle.
Well, this is unique

Today I got internet spam that starts out, "DEAR INTERNET SCAM VICTIM"!!

Hmmm. Nothing like showing your hand right away. But it goes on to say:

"ATTN: Sir/Madam, How are you today? Hope all is well with you and family? You may not understand why this mail came to you. We have been having a meeting for the passed 7 months which ended 2 days ago with the then secretary to the UNITED NATIONS. This email is to all the people that have been scammed in any part of the world, the UNITED NATIONS have agreed to compensate them with the sum of US$ 850,000.00 each (Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand United States Dollars).
This includes every foreign contractors that may have not received their contract sum, and people that have had an unfinished transaction or international businesses that failed due to Government problems etc. Your name and email was in the list submitted by our Monitoring Team of Economic and Financial Crime Commission observers and this is why we are contacting you, this have been agreed upon and have been signed..."


Old signs

Whenever I see an old community with antiquated signs, I worry that someday they will be destroyed and people will wonder what used to be there.

Anyway, I was on Broad Avenue in Bergen County today and took some photos of old signs. A few of them tell a story. 

Okay, this one is not incredibly old, only a 60s/70s-era sign, but I liked it anyway.  Fading and humble, this business was or is someone's dream, but it's not very flashy in this industrial neighborhood.

Who really stayed at the Toddle Inn? It's just an old house. I notice that the company is registered to a Mr. Angus Todd, who is or was an official in the town, but "Toddle Inn" is registered as some kind of parts supply company. My guess is, his family used to run the inn and when it went out of business, he kept the company name.

No surprise that there are vacancies.

Old sign next to the new.

Apparently the Rivoli-Rutherford (see the paint on the bricks) was a 1920s vaudeville theater.  They are supposed to be restoring it.



Sometimes you have to swallow your pride.

$10 an hour ain't bad, but he does have to use his own car.



A very faithful blog reader sent me this excellent link.  What fun!


Would you help, or not?

By now, many of you have probably read this story about an elderly woman who was mugged in England and tried to beg for help, but people ignored her.  How many times does that happen here, when someone needs help and people make assumptions in order not to help, assuming perhaps the person is drunk or is at fault in some other way (when maybe they are actually ill)?  Would calling police at least be a start if you are not sure whether someone is in trouble?


I Married Dora

Pretty dumb premise for a TV show, right?  A guy marries his maid so she can stay in the country and keep taking care of his kids.  They can never figure out if they really want to be "together" or not.  Anyway, I used to watch this on Friday nights in the '80s, and it actually started getting pretty funny.  

In the last episode, there was a debate over whether the dad would end up taking a job overseas for a year, and leave Dora and the kids.  Such suspense!  The ending was very surprising... 

I knew it had to be on Youtube somewhere, and it was.  It's only 24 seconds long...


Why women sometimes believe men are jerks

I just saw the term "threadjacking" in the comments section on someone's blog.  "Threadjacking" apparently means making a comment on a thread that completely changes the nature of the thread.  I thought it was a pretty cute term, and I wanted to see if the person made it up, or it was commonly used in cyberspace.  I Googled it and there are like 143,000 entries, so I guess it is quite popular.  Heck, it wouldn't be the first time I hadn't heard a term that everyone else uses.

Anyway, the top link in the list of Google entries was to a debate that was going on on a dating web board about whether it is "acceptable" to date a fat woman.  So I had to look.  And of course I got annoyed.  

Instead of saying "Depends on her personality," they all are being rather judgmental here

What really bothers me is the guy who comments that the first woman "doesn't respect herself" just because she is overweight.  Why does that mean she doesn't respect herself?  That's bull.  If you simply aren't attracted to someone, don't try to make it about them - it's about you, too.  Just admit that your comments are based on attraction, not someone else's personality failings.  She might respect herself just fine.  Pleeeease.  And then the guy says, "barring a medical reason" or something else.  Well, exactly - how do you know? 
Things from my camera...

It was 7 degrees outside when we woke up this morning.  But right now it is way up to 20 outside.  That must be the high for the day.

What my day planner looks like at the beginning of a year.

What it looks like at the end of a year.

Most dogs I ever saw walked at once.  This was in Union Square, NYC, last week.  I count seven.



Don't try walking past me on my street with a bulldog and expect me not to photograph it.

I WILL find you.


Trees and choo-choos

Today was the last day of the holiday train display at the Bronx Botanical Garden. The focus was more on the elaborate NYC apartment buildings that they constructed more out of natural materials, and on the plants, than on the trains. It was $20 a person plus $12 for parking.



Blogfan Sam writes:

“I might agree to the bailout if there were a porn shortage, if maybe Grils Gone Wild had gone bankrupt because girls were no longer going wild. If they bail anyone out, it should be the girls dancing naked on the net to ‘put themselves through college’... a $5 billion scholarship for wayward girls.”

Ned Vizzini sent out an mass update about his life, progress, etc. He notes:

“Sixth, in 2008, I finished the first draft of my new book. It was 584 pages long and cost a lot of money to print at Staples. (The first time I printed it, I forgot to put in page numbers. Do not try and edit a 584-page manuscript without page numbers.) It is being polished like a diamond and I will turn it in to my agent by my birthday, April 4th, 2008.”

Well, I’m looking forward to reading all….584….584?? pages of it. Ned’s other books were fabulous, straddling the line between adult and young adult fiction. You can read about him at www.nedvizzini.com.

That's all, folks!


Believe it or not

This is a real story on CNN:  "Porn industry asks for bailout."



Today we ate at a comfort food place in NYC called Cafeteria, at 17th and 7th Ave.  Even at 3 p.m. there was a 20-minute wait.  But it was good food:  Smoked gouda mac and cheese, big salads, sandwiches, meatballs, soups, etc.  Definitely a hipster kinda place.  It's sorta like "We're so hot, we don't even need to give our restaurant a real name."

From the looks of half-asleep people in their jammies, it was also kind of a "morning after" place.

Anyway, I'm not into the whole mac and cheese revival (big deal), but it was tasty.

Oh, it's open 24 hours, so you can go now if you want.  

Also in the city, I got a haircut.  No, no photo, sorry.  


Out in the country

About six months ago, we spent a few days in Burlington, Vermont. It was a fun trip.  I happened to see the photos today when looking for some others, so I figured I'd post more as a reminder of summer.