Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gently Rapping

I’ll kinda miss doing my Wednesday and Saturday blogs, but today is my final one. I’ll still stay in touch by updating my CLD Facebook page on the first day of every month, plus more if I have any big news regarding my book-publishing effort.
I did attend the Killer Nashville mystery writers’ convention a couple weeks back and had some encouraging news. I was there on a Sunday morning for three agent/publisher book pitches, with my first 10-minute shot occurring from 10:40-10:50 with publisher Martin Shepard of The Permanent Press out of New York. When I finished, he asked me to send him the first 50 pages of my manuscript, so a glimmer of hope right off the bat.
The next 10-minute pitch was with publisher Deni Dietz, and she ultimately asked me to submit my entire manuscript to her. Then my third and final shot was with New York agent Jeff Kleinman, supposedly a difficult person to deal with who surprised me by wanting to see my first three chapters.
In fact, Kleinman immediately liked my story idea and asked if I brought the first three chapters with me. I didn’t, never suspecting that any agent or publisher would ask such a question at the convention. He chided me a bit for being unprepared but bottom line: He still wants me to send the first three chapters.
Of the 650 people at the convention that weekend, an organizer told me that the agent/publishers asked to see a total of 40 sample writings, including my three. Made me feel good until they all gave me their final words of advice – “Okay, we like the idea. Now make sure you have every word perfect before you submit anything to us. Don’t send us crap. Now it’s all about the writing. Make it great.”
Deni Dietz, who wants the entire manuscript, told me that her publishing house doesn’t take any manuscripts under 65,000 words. Mine, before I began a final edit that I just started over Labor Day weekend, was 57,800 words. As I currently write this blog Tuesday night Sept. 6, the book is now 59,000 words after I’ve gone through the first 10 chapters of the 45-chapter novel. I’ve got some more ideas of scenes to add, so onward I shall go.
Dietz and the two others said there is no hurry for my manuscript or chapters – they each already have their 2012 book lineups set. They all told me that when I’m ready to submit my work to them, the earliest it could get published is 2013. Sheesh, they work way in advance.
So more writing and editing is my plan of attack, and I’m focusing on impressing Deni Dietz since she asked for the whole thing. I work with a good editor at Journal Communications – Raven – who said she would read and critique my manuscript when it’s finally ready.
Ironically, Edgar Allan Poe is one of my favorite authors and his most memorable work is The Raven, so Raven seems like a choice of destiny to oversee my final edit. I plan to have the rewrite completed by the end of September, at which point I will approach Raven for her help. I will suddenly come a tapping, as if someone gently rapping, rapping at her chamber door. Hopefully, Raven won’t say, “Nevermore.”
Thank you to niece Andrea who from March 8-Sept. 7 posted my 45 blogs – hey, the same number of chapters that are in my book. Thanks for reading the blogs, everyone. Talk atcha on my CLD Facebook page Oct. 1 – maybe sooner. KL

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Haven’t blogged in awhile because my life kinda stinks right now, like the tuna fish sandwich I ate yesterday. But onward we all go.
Book update: I will be attending a Killer Nashville mystery book writers convention Aug. 26-28 near Vanderbilt University in Nashville. The annual convention showcases the mystery genre with many nationally recognized speakers, agents, editors and publishers in attendance.
One of the nice aspects is that a registered attendee like me is allowed to pitch his book for 15 minutes to a New York agent. Ironically, I’ll just so happen to attend a seminar called The Perfect Pitch only an hour prior to my personal pitch. Good luck, me.
A thank you goes out to Jessica for putting together a flashy one-page, two-sided, flyer-like, card cover (inside joke) handout I can give to agents at the Killer Nashville conference. The flyer has my book cover on the front (thanks Jon Brooks) and a brief synopsis and my bio on the back. There is even a cool graphic of my signature – looks like I signed with my own blood (thanks Keith).
Also a shout out to Gary, who e-mailed some encouraging words last week telling me to keep plugging with Crazy Lucky Dead, as he relayed a fact about the best-selling book The Help. It’s a 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett about African American maids working in white households in Mississippi during the early 1960s, and apparently Stockett was rejected by more than 60 agents prior to finally getting a book deal. Her novel ultimately made the New York Times Best Sellers list.
Okay, that’s all for right now. I still love to write but dislike all the other aspects of this peddling process. The whole thing makes me feel like a hamper of dirty clothes. Maybe my washing machine will be at the Killer Nashville convention.
Next blog Sept. 7. Goodbye.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

From Kevin

I am going to end my blog on Sept. 7.
That will be a full six months since I first started blogging on March 8, and I don’t think anyone really cares what’s coming out of my mind anymore. I think you’re all ready to move on to something else, and so I am.
Right now I’m in the process of writing my second book, plus I just put together a children’s book that I will soon try to peddle. As for Crazy Lucky Dead, I certainly haven’t put enough effort lately into either finding an agent or self-publishing it or e-publishing it, so I need to get back at it. Luckily for me, I wrote the book so it’s timeless, meaning that if an agent ever does take a chance even years from now, I’ll barely have to rewrite it. Just transform 2005 Chevrolet Impalas into 2016 Nissan Leafs, and things like that.
So today’s blog, then a blog on Saturday Aug. 20 to catch people up on things, then the final one Wednesday Sept. 7. The whole thing a little confusing? Maybe, but I’m a little confused myself these days – kind of like a tourist in New York City.
Thanks for reading. I’ve really enjoyed blogging.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Distorted Reality

I must be turning into a 14-year-old teenage girl.
I've been watching too many TV reality shows lately, mostly for all the gossip and drama that accompanies them. This became especially evident Thursday night when I was affixed to the season premieres of Project Runway and LA Ink.
Don't know why I watch Project Runway – I'm certainly not a clothes horse. Maybe I'm attracted to the design artistry that's involved. By the way, this season I'm rooting for the straight guy. Oh, wait – there aren't any.
As for LA Ink, again I like the artistry. I'm impressed when clients bring in pictures of people's faces they want tattooed on their arms, and the tattooists make the finished tattoos look exactly like the pictures. Speaking of which, bad move by Kat Von D to get a big likeness of fiancé Jesse James tattooed on her underarm, then the couple broke up in real life a week after the taping of that particular episode.
Okay, I need to stop. Gotta go listen to my Justin Bieber CD.
Burn, Baby, Burn
Lose weight and increase metabolism in a healthy, scientific way?
Nope, this isn't a Billy Mays (deceased) commercial. I wrote an article this week on research advancements at the University of Tennessee, and interviewed Joy Fisher with the UT Research Foundation. She mentioned quite a few upcoming medical breakthroughs at UT, including:
“We're backing a company that has developed a can't-miss, scientific weight loss product called Innutria,” Joy said. “Innutria is a food ingredient with a specific blend of natural nutrients, which when added to food or a beverage helps your body burn fat and increase metabolism.”
Joy doesn't yet know the launch date (it will be soon) or where Innutria will be sold. will have updates.
Speaking of Food
My friend Tony visited Sea World the other day, then relayed this joke:
“Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant? I'm halfway through my fish burger and I realize, Oh my…I could be eating a slow learner.”

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Johnson Rod

My last blog pointed out how proud I was of ridding our house of ants, then followed that achievement by painting the entire downstairs of our two-story house. But since pride goeth before a fall, I could almost count on something else popping up at home to quell my enthusiasm.
Sure enough, only hours after last Saturday’s blog was posted, our air conditioning unit went on the fritz. Luckily, our home is cooled by two pumps – one for the upstairs and one for downstairs -- with the pump failing for the upstairs. Everyone in the family stayed downstairs for the remainder of Saturday and all of Sunday, with the temperature upstairs reaching 99 degrees one time when I checked.
The repairman was at our house at 8 a.m. Monday and gave me a detailed explanation of the problem, and I was pleased that the bottom line for fixing the unit was only $120.
“Yeah, it was your start capacitor,” the repairman began to tell me. “Those capacitors used to run on oil but the government ended all that with the environment thing, so now every capacitor wears out after maybe three years of torque-starts to cycle the motor.”
“Do what?” I thought to myself.
I can hold a pretty good conversation about cars and most home improvement projects, but air conditioners and furnaces – not so much. The guy could have told me that the air conditioner needed a new Johnson rod and I would have gone along with it.
Sorry. Only Seinfeld fans would understand that Johnson rod reference.
The Bell Tolls
Back when I attended grades K-12 and then took six years to earn my four-year college degree, I never began a school year prior to Labor Day weekend. The first day of a new school year was always Sept. 5 or 6 or 7.
That’s why it always surprises me when wife Jenny, a teacher at Spring Hill (Tenn.) Elementary School, begins every school year at the end of July. Jenny was back at school this week on July 25 to attend teacher and administration meetings in anticipation of students arriving back to class this coming Monday, Aug. 1.
But there is actually a method to this madness of being in school with basically two months of summer remaining, as current-day temperatures hover around 95 degrees. Spring Hill and the rest of the overseeing Maury County Public Schools district adheres to a year-round school calendar, with everything beginning in late July and ending in late May. The late May graduation is one advantage of year-round schools – I never graduated from any grade prior to June 14 or 15.
Plus the year-round schools get two weeks of vacation in October, a long Christmas vacation, and a two-week vacation in the spring. However, that is being altered a bit this year by having some days cut from both the fall and spring vacations, then those cut-days are being added to dates throughout the year that will allow for a few three-day weekends and a few four-day weekends.
Jenny says she likes the year-round calendar.
“We still get a full two months for summer vacation, and looking forward to that break in October is really nice,” she says.
So good luck, Spring Hill Elementary and all Maury County Public Schools as you already embark upon 2011-2012. It’s still boiling hot outdoors, so I hope all classrooms have good air conditioning units that have no chance of Johnson rods ever breaking.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Humble Home

Being a homeowner is tough. There always seems to be something to fix, upgrade or address.
Two weeks ago a colony of ants charged into my living room like a Marine invasion, and the reason for their unwelcome appearance remains a mystery to this day. But a quick trip to Home Depot followed by strategic positioning of ant traps got rid of the pests overnight.
Then last week I decided to paint the entire first floor interior of our two-story home, fully confident that it would be an easy undertaking. Oh, how wrong I was, what with the taping, ladder-climbing, sanding, priming, spackling, caulking, rolling, edging and trim work.
I figured it would take 3-4 days to complete everything, but I wasn’t able to rest until the seventh day. The whole project moved slower than rush hour traffic, but you know what? Now that it’s finished and I look it over, I couldn’t be happier with my accomplishment.
But as I walk around as proud as a peacock today, the next home problem will surely occur tomorrow. Today I’m a peacock. Tomorrow, a feather duster.
Horizontal Author
I’ve always heard that author Truman Capote was strange, which was somewhat proven to me this week when I read about his writing style.
Capote, who penned classics such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood, claimed to be “a completely horizontal author.” He always wrote lying down, in bed or on a couch, with a cigarette and coffee. The coffee would switch to tea, then sherry, then martinis as the day wore on.
Capote said he wrote his first and second drafts in longhand, in pencil. And even his third draft, on a typewriter, would be done in bed – with the typewriter balanced on his knees.
Where’s Gramma?
A quick joke e-mailed to me yesterday by friend Mike:
“You have to stay in shape,” Mike says. “My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. She’s 87 today and we don’t know where she is.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mrs. Kracht

What is the capital of Nevada? Carson City!
What’s the capital of Washington? Olympia!
What’s the capital of Maine? Augusta!
I found out last week that my old fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Kracht, passed away a couple months ago at her home in Ferndale, Mich. I don’t remember many of my former teachers – I vaguely recall one from second grade, another from sixth grade, one from high school and a couple from college – but Mrs. Kracht stood out. She had innovative and fun ways of getting her students to learn, and to this day I remember competing in row races to learn all of the U.S. state capitals.
Mrs. Kracht would sit at her desk and announce a state (for example, New Mexico) at which time the first students in each of the six rows in her classroom would rush to the front blackboard, grab a piece of chalk, write Santa Fe on the board, then run back to the second student in their respective row and hand off the chalk – all while Mrs. Kracht was announcing the second state.
The pandemonium in the classroom was uproarious, and her students excelled. I still know all of the state capitals to this day.
Mrs. Kracht was a lady who exuded kindness in everything she did. Someone once told me that you should live so well that when you die, even the undertaker will be unhappy. Mrs. Kracht lived life as well as it can be lived.
The capital of West Virginia? It’s Charleston, Mrs. Kracht.
Heaven Is for Real
My mother read a book the other day entitled Heaven Is For Real, then called to chat about it.
“Kevin, I no longer have any anxiety about dying and going to heaven,” she said. “This is such a beautiful book. It brought me to tears every chapter.”
The true-story New York Times bestseller details small-town Nebraska pastor Todd Burpo, whose then-four-year-old son, Colton, suffered from an undiagnosed ruptured appendix. After emergency surgery, little Colton began describing people who were impossible for him to have seen or met, such as his miscarried sister who nobody had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born.
“It’s so amazing that I’ve started reading it a second time,” my mom said yesterday.
End With a Joke
My Uncle Rich loves to tell jokes, and told me this one last week:
A man has six children and is very proud of his achievement. He is so proud of himself that he starts calling his wife “Mother of Six” in spite of her objections.
One night they go to a big party. The man decides it’s time to go home and shouts to his wife at the top of his voice across a crowded room, “Shall we go home, Mother of Six?”
His wife, irritated by her husband’s lack of discretion, shouts back:
“Anytime you’re ready, Father of Four!”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Flowers in Concrete

Stephen King says he writes 10 pages every day without fail, even on holidays.
That tidbit is from his book On Writing, which provides insightful advice on the craft. I was thumbing through it this week and came upon a chapter where King discusses pace. I’ve always thought that fast-paced writing results in enjoyable reading, and was pleased to find out that King feels the same.
“Mostly when I think of pacing, Elmore Leonard explained it perfectly by saying that when he writes, he leaves out the boring parts,” King says. “Take out the fluff so you don’t intrude on the story. Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
Rewrite 44 Times
While King writes 10 pages a day, other greats had different routines. Ernest Hemingway wrote only 500 words daily, but was meticulous. Someone once asked him why he rewrote the final chapter to Farewell to Arms – supposedly 44 times.
Hemingway’s answer: “To get the words right.”
Like Hemingway, author James Joyce prided himself on taking his time with each sentence. A famous story has a friend asking Joyce on the street if he’d had a good day writing.
“Yes, I did,” Joyce replied.
“How much did you write today?” the friend asked.
“Three sentences,” Joyce happily answered.
Act Two
I started a second book yesterday. I think writing a book is the hardest thing I do without getting a hernia. It’s as difficult as growing flowers in concrete. But there are some moments in life that have an indescribable loveliness to them, and I experienced one yesterday after penning a satisfying paragraph.
So act two has begun, of a continuing adventure where I never feel quite alright.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

What the Faulkner?

Just exactly like father if father had known as much about it the night before I went out there as he did the day after I came back thinking mad impotent old man who realized at last that there must be some limit even to the capabilities of a demon for doing harm, who must have seen his situation as that of the show girl, the pony, who realizes that the principle tune she prances comes not from horn and fiddle and drum but from a clock and calendar, must have seen himself as the old worn-out cannon which realizes that it can deliver just one more fierce shot and crumble to dust in his own furious dust and recoil,
Oh, my gosh. That 120-word, long-winded beginning of a sentence is from William Faulkner’s 1936 novel Absalom, Absalom!, which I purchased and then began reading this week. Faulkner holds the record for the longest sentence ever published in a book – 1,257 words in Absalom, Absalom! – and it runs from page 181 to page 184.  I bought the book specifically to read that passage, and did yesterday. In the pantheon of sentence writing, it is a freak.
As for the novel itself, I’ve battled my way through the first fatiguing chapter and encountered quite a few sentences that are 400-500 words in length. Good grief, William. Were periods frowned upon in 1936?
No Blog Fog
Friends Roy and Diane asked me last week if I still enjoy blogging, and I do. It’s challenging. Who knows? If one of my eventual 7 books sells someday, I can put together a little compilation of these 104 blogs that I’ll end up with from this first book endeavor.
Andrea my niece just told me about a woman in Omaha who has been approached to do a book based on that woman’s blogs. Write on, all writers.
Watts New
I took an enjoyable ride in an all-electric car last week, a 2011 Nissan Leaf, that friend Mark purchased for himself and wife Karen. Very nice car and plenty of hop as Mark and I punched it along the freeway, hitting 85 mph in mere seconds.
Gasoline barons obviously dislike the Leaf, but an eventual major conversion to electric vehicles seems inevitable for America’s driving future. Congratulations, Mark and Karen, for being way ahead of the game.
Calm Frozen Face
And now, as I inwardly emit a blood-curdling scream of anguish, let me share with you the final 98 words from Faulkner’s 1,257-word sentence:
…carry him up the front steps and through the paintless formal door beneath its fanlight imported pane by pane from Europe which Judith held open for him to enter with no change, no alteration in that calm frozen face she had worn for four years now, and on up the stairs and into the bedroom and put him to bed like a baby and then lie down himself on the floor beside the bed though not to sleep since before dawn the man on the bed would stir and groan and Jones would say, ‘Hyer I am, Kernel.
Hurray. A period.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Write Stuff

I am a charter member of the fraternity of dreamers, so I will begin writing my second book this coming week as I embark upon an 11-day vacation. I don’t want to divulge the subject just yet because I’m superstitious. All I can say is that I’m filled with verve and vigor as I look forward to book-writing again.
My goal is have the first draft written by the end of August and then clean it up throughout September, which is my favorite month of the year. I want to keep this schedule because I’m actually itching to get a third book started.
The third will be especially sinister. Won’t it, Natasha Stone?
Crazy Lucky Isn’t Dead
The start of a second book doesn’t mean that I’ve given up on Crazy Lucky Dead. No, that’s not the case at all.
I still haven’t heard anything from the three agents who contacted me a couple months ago and showed a modicum of interest, so I’m assuming that they have long rejected my project. Therefore, yesterday I e-mailed five more query packages as I begin actively trolling again for agents, as if they were largemouth bass.
Absalom, Absalom!
Reading a book? I haven’t done that in ages but decided to tackle a classic by a writer who many regard as the most difficult author of all time. I accessed this past week and ordered a copy of Absalom, Absalom!, written in 1936 by William Faulkner.
I bought the book for one main reason, and I’ll share that with you in Wednesday’s blog – after I’ve slogged through the first couple of excruciatingly difficult chapters.
News of the World
Admission of guilt: My favorite newspaper in the world is the sensationalistic New York Post, and my favorite weekly tabloid is the National Enquirer. The irreverence of both publications intrigue me, and many stories they run simply serve as poignant eyewitnesses to man’s imperfection.
So I was stunned this week – along with millions of other people around the globe – when officials with News of the World newspaper in London announced they are discontinuing operations of the long-standing lurid publication. The final issue prints tomorrow after 168 years of being England’s top-selling paper.
Yes, it has been in business non-stop since 1843. The newspaper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, is stopping the presses following scandalous accusations that the paper’s top editorial officials illegally eavesdropped on the phone messages of murder and terror victims as well as politicians and celebrities.
News of the World, which sold more than 2.5 million copies every Sunday for decades, now sees 200 employees out of jobs. In these days of newspapers dying for a variety of economic reasons, here is a wildly successful one that meets its demise for an entirely different reason.
Cause of death? Unscrupulous suicide.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Open Vent

Quick change of plans: Today I'm flying to Orlando for a big party at Hooter's. I hear Casey Anthony is already there.
Interesting that you can kill your child or have knowledge of how they died, then hire a snake-tongued lawyer and ultimately go free to continue your gallivanting lifestyle. Casey Anthony is lucky she didn’t go to prison, because hardened inmates think child killers are the lowest form of human life.
But from what I’m hearing, many people think she’ll now be killed in the free world. Party hard while you can, murderer.
Baby Gaga
MTV – is that an acronym for Maternity Television?
Much of its programming these days focuses on reality shows about 16-year-old girls who are pregnant. And once they give birth, viewers can enjoy their fascinating journeys into ridicule, despair and welfare.
That's good entertainment, MTV. But who am I to talk? I’m looking forward to Jersey Shore returning.
Great Gurgitators
On a somewhat comical note, did any of you watch the Nathan’s Famous Hotdog Eating Contest on ESPN July 4? The winner was Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, who in 10 minutes ate 62 hotdogs, including the buns.
Chestnut defeated competitors such as Erik “The Red” Denmark, the current world champion of smelt eating; Tim “Gravy” Brown, the reigning potato wedge-eating world champion; and Bob “Notorious B.O.B.” Shoudy, the world's current chili spaghetti champion.
To the scoffers among you, including any of you who live in Missouri, I'm not making this up.
The ESPN announcers said that for normal people, it takes about two minutes to devour maybe 3-4 hotdogs if we hurry. Chestnut had 12 hotdogs and buns eaten in the first minute, and a total of 20 after two minutes on his way to 62. No wonder he is holder of the coveted Yellow Mustard Belt.
Oh, and the reason why champion eaters drink water basically after every bite, or soak every bun in water? The water takes all the air out of the hotdog buns, making them easier to slide down the esophagus.
Geez, I know entirely too much about this.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Left Eye Lopes

Warning: I’m all over the place today.
Gimme a Brake
The recent car crash and death of Jackass star Ryan Dunn prompted the website to post a list of Top 10 Celebrities Who Have Died in Car Crashes. Thanks, Natasha and Lisa, for giving me a heads up about this, and yes, I correctly guessed the No. 1 death – James Dean.
But me, being a trivia nut – how did I not come up with No. 2, which seemed so obvious? The answer never even crossed my mind. Of course, Princess Diana would rank high on that list.
The rest of the top 10 dead car-crashers in order were Grace Kelly, Jayne Mansfield, Gen. George S. Patton, Jackson Pollack, Porfirio Rubirosa, Billy Martin, Steve Prefontaine and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.
Book It
My big boss, Bob, and friend, Maurice, both suggested at lunch the other day that perhaps I should publish 25 of my books myself locally, then I can keep about 15 and maybe hand out 10 as mementoes of my initial push-to-publish experience.
Then, if an agent eventually shows interest in Crazy Lucky Dead, that would be fine, but if nothing happens, at least I’d have a handful of copies as keepsakes. Maybe I’ll do that – I don’t know yet.
Barry True
A longtime friend, Barry, lives in Cleveland and is a diehard Browns football fan, and he called last week to talk sports. First, we both hope the NFL has a 2011 season, given that the lockout is now in its third month.
“How’s things look in Nashville? Your Tennessee Titans any good?” Barry asked.
“Nah, I’m thinkin’ 6 or 7 wins this year – they’re rebuilding,” I said. “But hey, we’ll never be as bad as your Browns. You guys are horrible every year.”
“I blame management,” Barry instantly answered. “They can never find any good players. Those idiots couldn’t find their ass with both hands and an ass map.”
He sighed, then continued.
“And I blame the coaches and players,” he said. “If they’d give 100 percent every Sunday, maybe we’d win more than 4 or 5 blasted games a year."
He sighed again.
"But I really blame my parents," Barry said. “If I was born in Pittsburgh instead of Cleveland, I could root for a decent team."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Wikipedia gets checked by me every week to see if any celebrities died, so I can keep up on pop culture. Their deaths never affect me one way or the other, although I remember being sad for two entire days when Dale Earnhardt was killed in February 2001. I’m a NASCAR fan and Earnhardt was always my favorite driver, and his shocking death hit me hard.
Other than that, I’ve never been sad about another celebrity’s passing until I heard last Saturday morning that actor Peter Falk died.
“Oh, man,” I muttered and was legitimately sad for the day.
Falk became famous on TV in the late 1970s for playing the role of detective Lt. Columbo, but all the episodes aired as reruns throughout the 1990s on the Biography channel, which is how I got hooked on the series. Columbo was a cigar stub-smoking, wrinkled raincoat-wearing, old beat up Peugeot car-driving, irritating murder-solving genius. The show was groundbreaking because in almost all Columbo episodes, the murder occurred early and the TV audience knew who did it, then the plot steadily unwound as Columbo eventually figured things out for himself and nailed the killer.
I mention Peter Falk today because Columbo was kind of an inspiration for my Crazy Lucky Dead book. A murder in CLD takes place somewhat early, then the psychological bizarreness of the main characters is showcased throughout the rest of the novel.
A quick fact about Peter Falk himself – he was blind in one eye due to cancer at age 3. Falk’s daughter, Catherine, offered this anecdote about her father at his eulogy.
“My fond memories of Dad include watching him on Hollywood sets, and taking family trips with him to the California mountains,” she said. “Oh, I also remember many exciting car rides because that man behind the steering wheel had only one eye.”
Look into the AbyssStill no word from any agents. I’ve pretty much given up hope and am starting my next book when I go on vacation in mid July.
“You’ve given up?” wife Jenny remarked when she read the draft of this blog. “Get back on your horse and start mailing and emailing packets again – there are hundreds of agents out there. You’re not giving up so easily on your dream, are you?”
I’m a Seinfeld fan, and that was the exact sentence that Jerry once spoke to Newman when Newman, a mailman, said he had given up hope of ever getting a mail route in the paradise state of Hawaii.
“You’re not giving up so easily on your dream, are you?” Jerry asked.
“I usually do,” Newman answered.
Okay, I won’t yet. There aren’t many things I dislike more than mailing query letters and trolling for literary agents, but just about everything I’ve ever dreaded doing in my life has actually turned out well.
Wait a second. I’m out of stamps. There goes the dream.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Gut Check

That Mardi Gras scream is in tribute to the first Cajun meal I’ve ever eaten, which was two days ago. Co-worker Mark and I bought lunch for another co-worker, Marcus, who is leaving the company, and we all decided on Cajun because Marcus and I never had such food, and Mark barely has.
Three bloody Marys (a going-away toast) were followed by six appetizers and two soups, and those eight different menu items allowed us to sample a lot of famed New Orleans dishes all in one sitting. The appetizers were hog-tied shrimp, crawfish etouffee, boudin, red beans and sausage, crab cakes and fire shrimp, along with seafood gumbo and jambalaya soup.
Amazing, amazing meal. One of the best lunches ever. When the waitress first served all the food, our table looked beautiful. It was as eye-pleasing as a Bob Ross painting.
“My favorite dish? The hog-tied shrimp,” Marcus said following the feast.
“I gotta go with the fire shrimp,” Mark said.
“The crawfish etouffee for me,” I chimed in.
We all agreed that all eight selections were incredible. Who dat? We dat. Great Cajun cuisine.
A quick shout out to another co-worker, Jeff, who has a sideline beekeeping and honey production operation. Jeff bottles honey under a Tru Bee brand name, and his honey was just highlighted in the July 2011 issue of Cooking Light magazine. Cooking Light is a national monthly publication with a circulation of 1 million readers.
I bought a bottle of Tru Bee a few weeks ago because my son Andrew has bad allergies, and I’ve heard that natural bee’s honey – specifically produced in the part of the country where you live – is a medicinal wonder. Well, it has certainly helped Andrew, to the point where he hasn’t needed his Friday allergy shots for the past two weeks.
Congratulations, Jeff…and Andrew, too.
I was walking along the street the other day when a lady approached me and angrily pointed at my suede jacket.
“It makes me sick that cows are used for food and clothes,” she yelled. “Y’know, a cow was murdered for your jacket!”
“Ma’am, I didn't know there were any witnesses,” I said. “Now I'll have to kill you, too.” 
Just a joke. Sorry if I offended any cows.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Just Foul

I was walking around the stadium between games of the College World Series in Omaha four years ago and noticed a young boy, maybe 8 years old, approach a player from the University of South Carolina baseball team.
“Could I please have your autograph?” the boy politely asked, even though he probably had no idea who the player was. The little baseball fan just wanted an autograph from a baseball player.
“No, kid. I don’t have time for that. No,” groused the South Carolina player, even though it was between games and he was doing nothing except shooting the breeze with a couple of teammates.
The dejected youngster walked away and the arrogant player spit on the ground, then continued talking about nothing with his chums. Maybe it was an isolated incident and that player was a jerk of a human being, but I’ve never forgotten that scene and will never root for the University of South Carolina in anything.
That’s right. If South Carolina had a ballgame today against Al-Qaeda, I’d probably root for Al-Qaeda. Well, not quite that far but you get my drift.
Decline and Fall
I’ve never considered sports stars to be idols or heroes, and tend to cringe whenever those words are used to describe these celebrities. I once read The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and one of the key messages in the book was that the Roman public literally worshipped their athletes.
The common citizens adored their gladiators, and lavished chariot racers and other sports luminaries with huge amounts of money and privilege. Sound familiar?
Ted Williams
Now, let me turn this blog around. I once was in Florida watching spring training baseball and met Ted Williams, who the media historically characterized as a despicable cuss. I found myself only steps from the retired slugging great and not many people were around, so I took a shot at asking him for his autograph. I’m not an autograph seeker by any means, but Ted Williams is Ted Williams.
“Mr. Williams, could I please have your autograph?” I asked with nervous trepidation.
“Yeah, sure. You got somethin’ to write with?” he answered.
I had a small notepad and a blue pen in my pocket, and he signed one of the notepad pages. Ted Williams isn’t my hero or idol, but he proved to me that sports celebrities can at least be role models if they want. All it takes is a little effort.
Shh, Movie’s Starting
I’m movie illiterate – I haven’t seen a movie in eons, because I really don’t enjoy them. Maybe I have a short attention span, but if a movie starts slow or sags at any point, my will to keep watching gets crushed like an ice cream cone under an 18-wheeler.
However, I’m taking a vacation soon and my list of relaxing things to do includes watching the DVDs of Citizen Kane and Napoleon Dynamite, both for the first time in my life. Several people have long told me that I must see these movies, so I’ll make the monumental effort and get it over with.
But before all that, my son Andrew has somehow wheedled me into taking him to see the new Cars 2 movie, which apparently debuts this weekend. I guess he wants some dad time and even though I dread films, I’ll go with a positive attitude because I sure don’t want to disappoint the boy.
Not like that South Carolina ballplayer did.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Many who like sports also enjoy the violent aspect of the games. I do.
The controlled mayhem of football, the brawls of a championship boxing match, the hitting and fury of a playoff hockey game. Sports can appeal to the primal beast in us.
The now-infamous Wednesday night riots in Vancouver following a Stanley Cup playoff hockey game has garnered plenty of negative commentary internationally about the fans of Vancouver. Someone wrote that Canadians love hockey so much that it takes precedence over all facets of their lives, including civilized behavior.
Watching scenes of Vancouver residents rioting that night was like watching war footage from the Middle East. Ten guys beating up one guy, mobs flipping over trucks, fans throwing newspaper stands through store windows, looters wearing goalie masks, rioters throwing tear gas canisters back at police – those are images I’ll remember for a long time.
I’m sure alcohol along with anger over hometown Vancouver losing to the Boston Bruins had much to do with the violence, but even if you’re drunk and mega-outraged that your team lost, shouldn’t you still have enough human sense to keep yourself under the slightest of control? I mean, CNN reported that one innocent guy on the streets was wearing a Boston jersey and got stabbed in the neck, and is still in critical condition today.
I had a violent experience years ago in a Detroit bar when a fight broke out while a packed house watched playoff hockey on TV, and I suddenly and unwillingly found myself in the middle of escalating mob chaos. One maniac rooting for the opposing team pulled out a knife and started slashing wildly at everything, and cut my left forearm badly. I still have the scar today.
I guess my point is that crazed sports fans have a different mentality than people in normal society. I’ve always heard that Vancouver is a beautiful and progressive community, but whenever I think of that city from now on, memories of riot videos posted on YouTube will be what I think of first.
Trivia Pursuit
Speaking of sports, today Vanderbilt opens the 2011 NCAA College World Series vs. North Carolina at 1 p.m. in Omaha. Win or lose, Vandy will always be part of a trivia answer.
Question: Who were the first 2 teams ever to play a College World Series game in the brand new TD Ameritrade Park baseball stadium in Omaha?
Answer: Vanderbilt and North Carolina.
So go, Vanderbilt, go. I sure hope you win. But if you don’t, I won’t storm into my garage and flip-over my truck, then light it on fire.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Soapboxy Today

Why didn’t Google draw a graphic about Flag Day on its search engine home page yesterday?
You’d think these days when patriotism and our military are often on many people’s minds, Google would have observed such an occasion. I guess they only recognize things like Mozart’s 255th birthday. Last week, they even devoted two days to celebrating guitarist Les Paul’s 96th birthday.
Two days for a birthday? His mother must have had a difficult delivery.
Law of Average
I’m watching Judge Judy last evening and there were four commercials for slip-and-fall lawyers during the half-hour I watched. I read a couple days ago that Chinese universities are currently graduating 1,000 engineers for every 100 lawyers, while the United States is graduating 1,000 lawyers for every 100 engineers.
The U.S. falling further behind in math, science and engineering? I rest my case.
Khloe Who?
My wife likes any reality show with the Kardashian sisters in it, but I have trouble watching because they all have such nasal, whiney voices. However, I have seen enough of them to know the only reason why they are such a money machine.
The Kardashians owe their entire empire to one distinct-and-famous body part on Kim. I honestly believe that. I’d bet my ass on it.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Wikipedia defines serendipity as when someone finds something they weren't expecting to find. It means a happy accident.
A past blog mentions me motoring along a freeway at 75 mph one morning, and my engine totally died. I was able to maneuver my fast-coasting pickup from the left lane to the right shoulder, then called a tow truck.
A similar incident occurred this past Wednesday evening as I was barreling home in the fast lane, and the engine completely shut off. Traffic wasn’t too heavy so I cautiously switched two lanes to the right and coasted as far as I could, looking for a safe place to pull to the shoulder and bring my vehicle to a halt.
But while I was coasting and continuing to decelerate, I noticed in the far distance that a vehicle had already pulled to the side of the road – maybe 300 yards ahead of me. As I got closer, I recognized what it was.
It was a tow truck. How serendipitous was that?
I finally guided my pickup to a stop right behind the tow truck, then exited my vehicle and walked up to the driver’s side door. The guy was shocked to see me as he rolled down his window.
“Yeah?” he asked in total confusion.
“What are you doin’ here?” I inquired.
“Uh, a cop just pulled me over for speedin’ but only gave me a warning,” the driver answered. “Why? What’s it to you? Who are you?”
“My truck just died – I’m right behind you,” I exclaimed, pointing at my disabled truck as the driver looked in his rear view mirror.
“You’re kiddin’,” he said. “Do ya need a tow?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Let’s go.”
So the guy hooked up my truck, then hauled it and myself 15 miles to my mechanic. The tow still cost me 70 bucks, but the whole experience sure was serendipitous.
‘Dore Prize
I can relate to Chicago Cubs baseball fans because I’m a long-suffering Vanderbilt University sports fans. The Commodores compete in the powerful Southeastern Conference against teams like Florida, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, Auburn and Kentucky, so Vandy teams and their fans must perennially endure the cruel foulness of fate.
But the ‘Dores have a great baseball team this season, and are actually on the verge of qualifying as one of eight universities that will travel to Omaha next week for the 2011 College World Series. Vandy will be Omaha-bound if they can win just one more qualifying game, either tonight or tomorrow night at home against Oregon State.
So, c’mon Vanderbilt. Throw this dog a bone. Don’t tear out my heart again – I don’t know how much heart I have left.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


The ground is being laid for my own madness and torment.
Maybe a bit dramatic but I’m getting a little down about this publishing quest.
“It’s an impossible market right now. Just keep trying,” says my wife, Jenny.
When this whole unknown adventure began March 8, 2011 with my first five mail-outs to prospective agents, I charged into this endeavor with the determination of a riled rattlesnake. But today on June 8, three months into this wild ride that I will officially deem derailed on March 8, 2012, I am feeling lower than a snake’s belly in a wagon rut. That’s low.
There are a few blips of hope. I sent the first 30 pages of my manuscript to a Hollywood agent who contacted me a few weeks back, then sent 50 pages in early May to a Los Angeles agent. I mailed two packets to New York in April, plus gave my entire manuscript to a girl I know in Nashville who has a friend who knows publishers.
But my optimism currently resides in a ghost town – there’s a tumbleweed feel to it. Then, I get a letter from Richard Curtis, an agent in New York:
I’m not in a position to commit to your project because my current roster of established writers requires enormous investments of my attention, service and resources.
But here’s a tip for you that I don’t normally tell others. Try contacting the Association of Authors’ Representatives, check out their website at, for agents who might help you. I hope you get published.
Richard Curtis
I’ll check out the site this weekend and start mailing-out more packets, which I haven’t done in weeks. Somebody once told me to strive for the top because the bottom is overcrowded. I need to start striving again.
Wii Bowling
The Journal Communications company I work for has organized a Wii bowling tournament, with the bracketed competition beginning this coming Monday in our open conference area that’s equipped with a large plasma screen. The winner will get a paid half-day off.
My Wii bowling average is about 200 so I inked “Kevin Litwin” onto the signup sheet, and expected maybe 6-8 people to join up. But as the tournament nears its start, a whopping 24 employees will be competing.
And my gosh, the trash talk has begun in earnest – mostly from the 16-or-so women participants. Kristy “Kick Butt” Duncan has already declared that the tournament is hers.
Well, anyways, I’ve got to get back to work. No, not putting together manuscript packets to mail to agents. I need to go practice making my spares.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yes & No

Yes, I like writing.
Yes, I also wish that I enjoyed the other parts of this whole book-publishing process. But no, I don’t like putting together query letters and packets of my book’s first three chapters, then mailing or e-mailing them to prospective agents. I don’t even like corresponding with agents once they contact me.
I’ve actually got a couple of e-mails from agents that I received a few days ago but haven’t checked them yet. I’ll wait until tomorrow when Sunday ushers in a fresh week that I hope will be sweeter than a Pacific Ocean breeze. Strange? Yes, but that’s how I roll.
BTW: My Wednesday blog will update where this whole agent-searching process is right now. I’ll open my e-mails and all other correspondences by then.
What’s in a Name?
Friends Gerald and Karen say I never offer any tidbits about Crazy Lucky Dead, so here’s one. There are about 25 fictitious characters in CLD, and all of their names are connected to people and situations in my life.
For example, one character is William Screen, named after my brother-in-law Bill who owns theaters. A character Andrea Neese is named for my niece, Andrea, and there’s even a police officer named Lt. Andrew Josephson – after Andrew Joseph, my son.
There’s Jenny Booker named for my wife Jenny, who is a librarian/teacher, and one character is Jenna Redd for my daughter, Jenna, who has red hair. There’s even a frightening scene in the novel that takes place on Lorens Street – my boss where I work is Natasha Lorens.
Tim Sousley
A part-time newspaper reporter and friend – Tim Sousley – died last Sunday after falling off the roof of his house. Tim’s full-time job for the past 25 years was teaching technology and second grade, so his death is that much more unfortunate because not many men nowadays are teachers at the elementary school level.
Besides teaching, Tim also worked many weekends for the Columbia (Tenn.) Daily Herald primarily covering sports, and I first met him 10 years ago on the sidelines of a Spring Hill (Tenn.) High School football game. I covered the games for a Spring Hill newspaper and Tim was great with statistics, and he always handed me a sheet of his official game stats once he compiled them after each Friday night game – even though we worked for rival newspapers.
Yes, Tim Sousley – a good reporter and a good guy.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


My dad and I once saved a lady from a burning apartment building.
I was reminded of this two days ago as I drove along a busy road and suddenly saw a house on fire in the near distance. Luckily, the fire department had arrived and looked like they had things under control.
My own fire incident occurred one morning years ago when my father was driving me to high school, and we noticed fire billowing out of a small window on the first floor of an apartment building. My dad, with no hesitation, whipped the car into the parking lot and then sprinted toward the fiery unit, with me on his heels.
He immediately kicked in the picture window and yelled to a woman who was inside screaming and crying. She apparently couldn’t find an escape route because of thick black smoke that filled the apartment, so my father kept beckoning her to the window and she followed his voice to the opening.
My dad then grabbed her arm and yelled for me to help hoist her out to safety, which we did. The fire department arrived quickly thereafter and an ambulance rushed the middle-age lady to the hospital, where I assume she recovered.
My father, being a humble man, told me to hurry to the car and we eventually sped away while noticing that TV news trucks were arriving on the scene. Nobody but me ever knew of my father’s heroics.
Pizza, I Do
Most grooms don’t have much say in the planning of their wedding. I remember that I wanted 10 people at our wedding and my wife wanted 200, so we had 200.
That’s why I’m impressed with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo for stepping up and choosing the menu for his Memorial Day wedding to model Candice Crawford. Wedding guests never had a choice of chicken, steak or fish – the couple instead had a full pizza buffet bar.
Talk about taking all the guesswork out of wedding food. There were 600 people in attendance with many of them being humongous football players, and those big lugs were probably happier than vultures eating road kill as they piled their dinner plates high with mounds of toppings-loaded pizza.
If Romo would have chosen cream- and jelly-filled donuts for dessert, it would have been the dream wedding of a lifetime.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


We Americans might forget how sweet our freedom is, and how lucky we are to be protected by the men and women of our armed services. This Memorial Day weekend, I’m not forgetting. Thank you, all current and former members of the U.S. military.
Heroin and Champagne
I used to write NASCAR stories for a magazine called Track Record and found myself in Charlotte one Memorial Day weekend to cover the Coca-Cola 600. Photographer David Mudd and I made the trip for three days of interviewing, photo-shooting and story-writing, and the temperature each day was an unbearable 100 degrees with high humidity. I was a moving puddle whenever I stepped outdoors.
An early-afternoon Saturday assignment had David and me hiking about a half-mile from the track to an interview/shoot, and I started feeling woozy once we arrived. I immediately told David that I needed to leave, then embarked upon the sweaty, laborious walk back to the track with a goal of ultimately reaching the air-conditioned media center.
But that second half-mile hike in roasting conditions caused me heat stroke, and I was in trouble. Without hesitation, I weakly entered an infield care center where doctors quickly hoisted me onto a bed and placed a dozen ice packs on my neck, shoulders, chest, stomach and wrists.
But only 10 minutes into my incoherency, I suddenly heard a burly bear-of-a-guy on the next bed violently vomiting into a bucket. After his fifth gut-wrenching heave, I wearily hoisted my head and glanced at the guy, and he stared at me.
He was about 6 feet tall, 300 pounds, had a long ZZ Top beard, big beer belly, a multi-stained muscle T-shirt, filthy blue jean shorts and a pair of flip-flops that exposed toenails that hadn’t seen clippers in months. Then he retched into the bucket one more time.
“Too many Budweisers?” I asked, believing that I guessed his correct beer brand.
“No, man,” he answered nonchalantly. “Too much heroin and champagne.”
Heroin and champagne? What? At a NASCAR race?
We never spoke again. With every subsequent throw-up, he just got messier than an unmade bed, while I personally continued to sizzle like a T-bone steak.
The Big O
I honestly never watched a second of Oprah during her 25 TV years, but I do have a slight connection to her. My niece and nephew were both in her Chicago audience in September 2004 when Oprah gave away 276 cars.
The cars were sporty Pontiac G-Six models that stickered for around $28,000, but my niece and nephew had to sell both vehicles because they couldn’t afford the taxes. Oprah didn’t foot that part of the bill, and the tax on each car was around $6,000. Still, my niece and nephew came out of that experience with a nice chunk of change.
Oh, one more slight connection with Oprah and me. She actually started her TV career in my home city of Nashville. Way to go, O.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Grubby Hands

I’m whiney because of a diet I’m two days into, so this blog could sound cranky today. Turn back while you have the chance.
Gogh Away, Kid
I can barely draw a stick man, so I greatly admire the master artists. My favorite has always been Vincent Van Gogh.
I saw a couple of his paintings online yesterday and it reminded me of an incident about a year ago that involved both VVG and me. I was viewing a special exhibit at Frist Arts Center in Nashville and found myself alone in an open room with one of Vincent’s early works.
But I quickly realized that I was actually close enough to the painting to touch it if I wished, because the area wasn't condoned or roped off. I was literally inches from a Van Gogh creation that I could have done anything to.
I mention this because I walked away to look at another piece but happened to look back at a grubby-handed boy – probably 4 or 5 years old – who walked up to the Van Gogh and rubbed his nasty little fingers over the canvas. Then the kid's mother walked up with a smile and didn’t even scold her son.
I darted to find a security guard who hustled to the room and politely admonished the mother and child, then ultimately set up a roped area so nobody could get within six feet of the valuable painting. But I couldn’t help wonder why Frist officials didn’t barricade the painting in the first place.
The whole incident was so strange – kind of like playing darts with spaghetti. It made no sense whatsoever.
Fast Food Funk
When giving me my change, why don't fast food cashiers hand me the coins first and then the dollar bills, instead of first handing me the dollar bills and then balancing the coins precariously on top of the bills?
And also, does any customer ever answer “yes” when fast food employees on the drive-thru intercom ask you to order something just introduced on the menu?
“Would you like to try our new oatmeal and crushed walnuts cereal this morning?” they might ask.
“No,” I will always answer. Those poor employees might have to ask 500 consecutive motorists if they want to try the new oatmeal and crushed walnuts cereal, with every motorist answering “No.”
It's no wonder there’s always so much turnover at fast food restaurants. If I had to ask 500 motorists that kind of question 500 consecutive times, I would bolt from that job faster than a chicken being chased by Ronald McDonald.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Latter

Should I post the link? Should I not?
I blogged a month ago about my home city of Nashville getting inundated every 13 years by millions of cicadas that look like locusts, and a discussion in my Journal Communications office led to the topic of how much money it would take for someone to actually eat one. The responses weren’t surprising.
“I’d do it for $1,000,” said one.
“Yeah, $1,000,” agreed another.
“It’d take $500 for me,” said a third.
Then, my turn.
“I’d eat one for 50 bucks,” I said foolishly. “It’s no big deal.”
Well, everyone attacked that assertion and word quickly reached our company owner, Bob. He ultimately pledged paying me the $50 himself if I ate a cicada on video for a website.
Journal writes and produces magazines and websites, among which are agriculture-based Tennessee Home & Farm and Illinois Partners. Jessy, one of our social media whizzes, created to educate those readers about the 13-year cicadas that swarm the two states for about five weeks.
Anyway, I agreed to cicada-dine and really wasn’t thinking about posting the link or writing about this today, but several people bugged me to do it. I don’t know whether to be proud or ashamed. Probably the latter. Here it is on YouTube.
Diploma at 6
My six-year-old, Jenna, was part of a graduation-from-kindergarten event yesterday that had as much pomp as a commencement ceremony at West Point. She received a very professional-looking diploma and I bought my little girl a small bouquet of flowers to congratulate her on the achievement.
I am amazed what kids learn in kindergarten these days. Jenna already has a huge start on reading, can count by twos to 100, loves music, enjoys computers – plus likes just hanging with her friends and being a kid. Thank you, Mrs. Miller, for all you did for Jenna this year.
BTW: What a difference kindergarten is today compared to yesteryear. When I attended, I would pretty much pass kindergarten if I took a two-hour nap every afternoon and if I didn’t mess in my pants too many times during the year.
My mom told me that because of the latter, I barely graduated.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

George Strait

I woke up Sunday morning with a post-it note stuck to my forehead. There was no message on it – it was just stuck to my forehead.
My wife and kids were out-of-state at my nephew’s high school graduation, and I stayed home to catch up on writing. I was on the couch Saturday night with laptop and notes when I fell asleep around 10 p.m., then slept non-stop until 8 a.m. Sunday.
Ten hours of sleep, which is unheard of for anyone anymore. Although, I do remember a friend of mine going to bed after a bad drunk one Friday night and sleeping for 36 straight hours. He finally woke up as bitter as a hermit is poor when he realized how long it took him to get sober.
Air Apparent
My family returned home from their trip Monday night and I picked them up at Nashville International Airport, where I found myself proud of my local airport. I walked into the terminal and heard live music coming from a lounge near the front entrance, and apparently a variety of bands perform at the Music City airport most days from 11 a.m. to about 8 p.m.
Then I heard, “This is George Strait. Welcome to Nashville,” piped over the airport’s public address system. Supposedly several country stars have taped various messages to welcome visitors, and those messages are played every 15 minutes or so. 
Nashville Airport plays well on its Music City theme, kind of like how Las Vegas has slot machines in their airport terminal. Experts say the first impression most people get of a city is the airport, and people walking through Nashville’s on Monday night looked happier than birds eating from a fresh-cut lawn as they passed the live-music lounge.
One more nice aspect of Nashville Airport: The rental car lots are only about 50 yards from the front terminal entrance, so you can simply walk to the cars. No long bus trip is needed to transport you to-and-from rental car lots, which is the case in most cities.
But for all their clever thinking, not everything at Nashville Airport is as sweet as Carrie Underwood’s smile. The airport has long been undergoing a large renovation project, which seems to be evolving slower than a twangy bluegrass ballad.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Seeds the Day

A little garden got planted by me this week next to the backyard patio, and it has promise. The garden is as colorful as a Jackson Pollock painting thanks to tomatoes, yellow peppers, strawberries, lettuce and even a sunflower for flash.
However, a total city boy am I, as evidenced by a corn-growing incident two years ago. A small plot got planted and grew fabulously – 10 feet tall – but the city boy in me didn’t know that there is corn for human consumption and there is corn for cattle.
I mistakenly planted cattle corn from seeds purchased at the local co-op, and cattle corn is so hard that it can’t be eaten by humans. Bulls and cows eat the entire ear – cob and all – by crushing and chewing everything with their powerful jaws and teeth.
That was a big growing mistake, but it won’t be my last. Gardening to me is odd but interesting. It’s kind of like banjo music, but I don’t know beans about banjo music.
Sweet Slaughters
My all-boy Andrew has me watching animal slaughter TV shows, and I must admit that the violence is riveting. Sharks, hawks, bears and cheetahs overcoming their prey is blood-pumping action, but there’s nothing like the savagery of crocodiles to get my juices jumping.
We watched two nights ago a strange, annual pilgrimage of thousands of antelopes that eventually arrive at a narrow river in Africa, then cross it to access vegetation on the other side. Only one problem: Waiting underneath the water’s surface are hundreds of ravenous crocodiles that want nothing more than to rip apart a helpless antelope or two or 50, then blissfully gorge on the meaty beasts.
Ticketmaster should sell tickets to this thing, for spectators to see it live. I would pay $300 for a couple of front-row seats to witness this astonishing spectacle of nature. It sure beats growing cattle corn.
Novel Approach
No word yet on two scripts I’ve mailed, although another agent in Hollywood asked yesterday for the first 50 pages, so I’ll head to the post office after I e-mail this blog to my niece to post. I’m surprising myself by not getting too high or too low with any of this publishing process. Must be the Libra in me.

Mac and Gak

I had a nice meal with family and friends a few weeks ago at Applebee’s, and probably sampled eight or nine different foods thanks to many appetizers we all ordered from the menu.
Once the waitress brought a dozen appetizers to our table of 10, the conversation oddly turned to foods in the world that we don’t like, and it was eventually my turn to answer.
“There’s only one food I don’t like,” I said. “I like broccoli, cauliflower, liver, limburger cheese – bring it all on. But I can’t eat macaroni and cheese. I just can’t, and I won’t eat it for the rest of my life.”
Oh, the dirty looks I got. I felt like a fat kid in dodgeball with everyone ready to throw.
“I love mac and cheese – what’s wrong with you?” barked one guest.
“Everyone in the world loves mac and cheese – yeah, what’s with you?” chimed another.
My dislike stems from eating mac and cheese basically every day as a starving college student, and the only thing that got me through was smothering the gooey, yellow mess with packet after packet of ketchup. I promised myself that once I graduated from college and made anything of myself, I would never eat mac and cheese again.
I haven’t to this day and maybe it’s mushroomed to a psychological thing, because even the smell bothers me now.
No Panama
I heard yesterday that Prince recently sold out 21 consecutive concert nights at the 15,000-seat Los Angeles Forum. Good luck ever doing that, Justin Bieber.
I once attended a great concert and a horrible concert all in the same night, and with the same band. I drove from Detroit to Cleveland to catch my all-time favorite rock band – Van Halen – and my anticipation level was through the roof once I made my way to a fourth-row seat.
But the entire 2-hour show featured VH playing none of their mega-hits. I never heard Panama, Jump, Hot for Teacher, Runnin’ With the Devil, Dance the Night Away – nothing.
I eventually found out that the concert was a promo for their new album coming out a week later, and everyone in the audience seemed to know about it ahead of time except me.
But still – a Van Halen concert without Panama or Jump? That’s like going to a Hanson concert and they don’t play MMMBop.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mac and Gak

I had a nice meal with family and friends a few weeks ago at Applebee’s, and probably sampled eight or nine different foods thanks to many appetizers we all ordered from the menu.
Once the waitress brought a dozen appetizers to our table of 10, the conversation oddly turned to foods in the world that we don’t like, and it was eventually my turn to answer.
“There’s only one food I don’t like,” I said. “I like broccoli, cauliflower, liver, limburger cheese – bring it all on. But I can’t eat macaroni and cheese. I just can’t, and I won’t eat it for the rest of my life.”
Oh, the dirty looks I got. I felt like a fat kid in dodgeball with everyone ready to throw.
“I love mac and cheese – what’s wrong with you?” barked one guest.
“Everyone in the world loves mac and cheese – yeah, what’s with you?” chimed another.
My dislike stems from eating mac and cheese basically every day as a starving college student, and the only thing that got me through was smothering the gooey, yellow mess with packet after packet of ketchup. I promised myself that once I graduated from college and made anything of myself, I would never eat mac and cheese again.
I haven’t to this day and maybe it’s mushroomed to a psychological thing, because even the smell bothers me now.
No Panama
I heard yesterday that Prince recently sold out 21 consecutive concert nights at the 15,000-seat Los Angeles Forum. Good luck ever doing that, Justin Bieber.
I once attended a great concert and a horrible concert all in the same night, and with the same band. I drove from Detroit to Cleveland to catch my all-time favorite rock band – Van Halen – and my anticipation level was through the roof once I made my way to a fourth-row seat.
But the entire 2-hour show featured VH playing none of their mega-hits. I never heard Panama, Jump, Hot for Teacher, Runnin’ With the Devil, Dance the Night Away – nothing.
I eventually found out that the concert was a promo for their new album coming out a week later, and everyone in the audience seemed to know about it ahead of time except me.
But still – a Van Halen concert without Panama or Jump? That’s like going to a Hanson concert and they don’t play MMMBop.