A word about funerals ...
Friday, April 30, 2010
Going out on a limb here: I'm getting tired of all this "celebration of life" business. Honestly, everyone's having a celebration of life these days instead of a funeral, and I just think it's unhealthy and a little weird.
I like the idea of friends and family getting together to remember the high points of a loved one who has died. But we are forgetting something about death: the GRIEVING PROCESS. It is very important to for us to grieve when someone close to us dies, and it's even more important for us to grieve as a group, collectively. Funerals are an odd but important bonding process. As we mourn together we look at each other and quietly take stock of the relationships and bonds between us all. We need to cry and hit bottom and get sad (funeral) in order to bounce back and carry on. That's part of the human experience. It seems as if Americans these days are trying to gloss over death -- and it's not healthy.
I'll tell you what: When I die, I want people crying and fainting in the aisles of the church. I want BIG-ASS sadness. I want people to feel regret and remorse and loss because I am no longer there.
And THEN, maybe a year after I'm dead, you can get together and celebrate my life.
Case of the Missing Suitcase: Chapter 2
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
In my post a few days ago I talked about how my wife's suitcase full of suits and shoes was stolen from the loading dock of our condo highrise, where I'd mistakenly left it overnight. Well, we found out, thanks to security cameras, that I DID get it upstairs after all, and I'd left it in the cargo-elevator lobby on our floor, which is where people leave their large items to be taken down and discarded of ...
Yep. You guessed it. Some maintenance worker named Manny thought all those clothes and financial documents were trash, and he threw them all away and decided to take the suitcase home for himself ... even though my wife's business card (with phone numbers) was in the ID tag.
We got the suitcase back. But, alas, the goods are lost ... for good.
Ad and "The Fly Girls"
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Hey, everyone, be sure to check out my mom's guest blog at bookreporter.com. She talks about my strange reading habits as a kid.
to go to the blog.
Hey ... you're wearing my wife's dress!
Monday, April 26, 2010
So I brought up a truckload of stuff from Fort Myers, to our condo in Nashville, and I alone unloaded and schlepped all the furniture and large items from the loading dock, up to our sky lodge on the 29th floor. Got everything moved and in place and was very pleased with myself when my wife asked me, "Where's my big suitcase with all my suits and shoes? Didn't you bring it?"
I'd brought it ... and I could not remember bringing it up stairs. I'd left it on the loading dock. The night-time manager said they'd found an empty suitcase, filled with trash, and that one of the custodians took it home.
I asked him if that was the way they usually handled situations like this: "Do you always let your employees take things home that they find in the building?" He didn't know how to respond to this. Today I'm going to the manager and calling the police to file a report because, based on our estimate, there was about $4,000 worth of clothes in that suitcase.
Yeah, you've already probably guessed what we did all day yesterday: WENT SHOPPING TO REPLACE THINGS! It's amazing how many things were in that suitcase and now need replaced.
With Mother's Day around the corner, I'm expecting Carol to say, "You know that diamond necklace and matching earrings from the stolen suitcase? Well ..."
If anyone sees some very nicely dressed homeless people walking around downtown Nashville, please call me.
Vaseline on a stick.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
We were watching the 35,000 runners in the Country Music Marathon today, winding through the streets of midtown and downtown Nashville. Two memorable things:
1. This being Nashville, there were live musical acts scattered along the route.
2. And you know how they hand cups of water to runners? Well, one woman was handing out tongue depressors, each one with an end covered with a glob of cloudy goo. I asked what it was. Vaseline, she said. For all those parts that chafe in a long run.
Nordstrom To Open Store in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado
Thursday, April 22, 2010
I finally visited my first IKEA store, and though I found it less than transformational I did manage to find a nice writing desk. IKEAs are popping up all over the place now -- Florida alone has three of them -- like mushrooms after a rainstorm.
Sometimes I wish really-cool places and products wouldn't populate like rabbits. Because when they're a dime a dozen, they lose their specialness.
I remember when the first H&M opened in Manhattan, the first in the U.S. Big deal. Clothes horses from across the U.S. made it a point to stop by when they were in the Big Apple.
And look at Nordstrom. Remember when it was a big deal to visit one? And nowadays...isn't there one in Topeka? Okay, not yet, but keep watching. I hear they bought the lot where the old John Deere dealership used to be. (wink)
Others: California Pizza Kitchen, Range Rover, Smith & Hawken, Trader Joes.
People: If we have everything we want, anywhere we want it ... then how will special things remain special? Answer: They won't. They'll be mundane. We will be jaded. Bored. Always looking for something new because we have everything we want.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
This from my daily email from publishersmarketplace.com, the gossip sheet for authors, agents and publishers:
"As for the strangest and most embarrassing international news story, Penguin Australia reprinted 7,000 copies of the PASTA BIBLE due to a horrible typo. A recipe mistakenly called for "salt and freshly ground black people" instead of "pepper."
Have you stopped laughing yet?
Mystery of the Vanishing Squirrels
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Every time I see a squirrel standing in the middle of the road I'm afraid that I'm going to hit him. They refuse to move, and I flinch when I drive over them, expecting to look in my rear-view mirror and find them squashed and twitching in the road.
But they're always gone.
I guess they're faster than the human eye. Or else they jump up, into the under chassis of the truck/car, and hold on for dear life until you slow down. Then they drop off and run away to safety.
The Big Difference Between Men and Women
Thursday, April 15, 2010
You know that whole Venus/Mars thing with men and women? I've come up with a better way to differentiate the genders and the way they think:
Women are Bouillabaisse. Men are chicken broth.
Dr. Destiny, I presume?
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Recently, I was on a flight to ATL, and the woman next to me started talking with me (I always like to talk during a flight because flying terrifies me, even though I do it often), and she learned that I'm a writer and then got downright excited when she learned that she's read one of my books. Anyway, we talked and talked, and then the woman next to her suddenly joined in and told us how she bought her kids e-readers from Barnes and Noble, etc. etc. I learned that she was a doctor with practices in Naples and St. Louis, and she was flying from one office to the other.
Eight days later, I was supposed to fly out of Nashville, but my flight was canceled due to snow, so I got on another flight the next day. And, on my second leg from ATL to Fort Myers, who should be sitting RIGHT BESIDE ME? The doctor from nine days earlier!
I said, "What are the chances of this happening?"
She said, "I was supposed to be flying yesterday, but my flight was cancelled."
"Me, too!" I said. "And, still, here we are. Not only on the same flight, but sitting right next to each other. Do you know what this means? "
She looked at me, quizzically.
"You're going to save my life."
"No, think about it. Why else would this have happened? You're a doctor, and there must be something wrong with me, and you're going to discover it and save my life. You're going to teach me something about health that is going to change my life."
She nodded, chewing on this thought: "You might be right," she said.
My current doctor misses things all the time -- he's lousy, to say the least. So ... I'm making an appointment this week.
With Dr. Destiny.
A behavioral problem on Coconut Drive
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Because I work alone, as most writers do, I spend hour upon hour by myself. Therefore, I don't have to monitor my behavior. No filters are needed in a workplace for one.
I recently wondered if I had been making lots of strange noises and exclamations when I'm by myself, so I set up a digital recorder in my work space and let it run for the day.
OMG. Apprently I've been acting like a chatty parrot. Here is just a sampling of Ad Bursts: "Bite me!" ... "Aiiiiiiii!" ... "Well, hello, Mrs. Postal Lady, I see you're early today.")
Yeegads. If I'm talking like this by myself and don't even know it, then what am I saying outside the home, in public?
Please pinch me when you hear it happen.
Monday, April 5, 2010
An author friend who'd just finished reading "Househusband" and "Man of the House" asked me if I really cooked as well as Linc Menner, the protagonist. I replied by saying "You be the judge," and I sent her my quick-and-easy recipe for pasta carbonara. Enjoy.
Chop an entire package of bacon into little pieces and fry until fairly crisp.
Take bacon from pan and leave a few tablespoons of the oil.
Fry a diced onion in this oil. After about 10 minutes, add as much whipping cream as you need, but no more than a pint.
Let simmer on medium-low, stirring, for 15 minutes or so.
Then ... stir in a cup of frozen peas (which you have previously thawed)...and the bacon ... and (here's my secret): THREE BIG SHAKES OF TABASCO SAUCE...
Stir, then pour all of this into a bowl with already-cooked pasta and about a cup of finely grated Romano or Parmesan cheese....also a handful of minced fresh parsley....then some black pepper and salt to taste....and toss and serve!
Nowhere to go but ... down!
Friday, April 2, 2010
I was walking home from the gym in downtown Nashville yesterday when I looked up at a highrise, maybe 20 stories up, and saw a window washer suspended by a single rope, rappelling along the side of the building like Spiderman.
One guy standing next to me said, "Man, now that's what I call 'occupational hazard.' "