Category: POLITICAL COMMENTARY

BOOK EXPO AMERICA 2013 – SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

When walking the floor at Javits for BookExpo America, I always have several considerations in mind. One is that since I am a writer and am developing a few long-form manuscripts, I make a point of checking which publishers are putting out titles in a similar vein as the projects I’m working on; lingering at their booths affords chances to engage in conversation any editors, agents or other industry personnel who might be there, and hence afford proposal opportunities. As I am also a reader, I always spend time ‘browsing the stacks’ of the show, seeing what diverse books and other sundry items are being promoted, with no objective other than satisfying my general curiosity. Occasionally, these two preoccupations merge.

IN WHICH A 65 YEAR OLD UNSUCCESSFUL WRITER ATTACKS A BELOVED 102 YEAR OLD EX-TEACHER

I guess I was waiting for her death to unburden myself of some long held grievances against Bel Kaufman, my 9th grade teacher at Taft High School in The Bronx, but it now looks like she’ll outlive me, so I will just proceed with this testament as if it were a deathbed confession. Only it’s not a confession but an attack before the encomiums and hagiographies are published to accompany the inevitable hosannas following her death. After all, we’re told never to speak ill of the dead, so I guess I’ll have to rush this. It won’t take me too long because this has been cooking on my back burner for some years. Many years.

THOSE PESKY “P” WORDS

The following commentary was written for the members of the NYC Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service (http://www.nyc-arecs.org) that I am the President of. While some of the points are intended for those responding to an emergency, the overall idea is that each of us needs to properly plan for ourselves, families and businesses in case of an emergency. Feel free to email me directly at n2nov@nyc-arecs.org for more information.

FROM OUT OF MY MIND: THE JET BLUE PILOT “MELTDOWN”

After 9/11, there was a lot of talk about the need for people who could think about the unthinkable because no one could have imagined the Al-Qaeda plot so we were unprepared to defend against it, let alone prevent it. A suggestion was made; why not make use of the seemingly unlimited imagination for mayhem represented by Hollywood, (by which we mean, naturally, the film industry). I don’t think this was acted upon and I really find it difficult to visualize how this would happen. I think if the government ever tried to “go Hollywood” they’d make a tour of the usual suspects, Spielberg, Lucas, Bay etc. and after a suitable expenditure of expense money, go home. Sort of like the boss’s son in THE PLAYER who when he hits Hollywood wants to look up Meg Ryan. In other words, they weren’t really serious.

NYC SUBWAY FOLLIES (YET AGAIN)

New York City public transportation, once again, is getting shafted by city and state elected officials, political appointees and MTA board members. Whether lining their own pockets, their campaign coffers or kissing ass with NYC’s business elite and real estate developers, stupidity, more than corruption, rules the day. The latest moronic proposal on the table is to extend the #7 train to, of all places, New Jersey. Why? So NYC can attempt to tap into the federal dollars Governor Christie of NJ passed on to build a new rail tunnel between NY and NJ. Knowing MTA incompetence, there will be cost overruns.

THE ABSURDITY OF AFGHANISTAN

Congratulations to Gen. David Petraeus on his recent appointment to head up our efforts in Afghanistan. That it is essentially a mission impossible should not be taken lightly by anyone, especially the forces that will be required to maintain this new position and the obscene waste of money that will accompany another hideously bad decision by the powers that be in Washington. It is a totally naïve and foolish declaration of insouciance again being perpetrated on the American people in the name of what has become a universal joke: democracy as defined by the United States. To quote Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, “It’s a one- way ticket to Palookaville.”

FOX NEWS AT 10

Due to the shade of illumination provided by the lamps arranged throughout the temporary tent set up there, the corner of West 48th street & Avenue of the Americas became a red light district on the evening of Wednesday, October 4 when Fox News Channel held a party to mark its 10th anniversary. Anticipating that the space might qualify as a red state in miniature within the blue sea of Manhattan, I donned my raspberry sherbet-hued suit jacket for the occasion, and likewise was unsurprised to find that all of the servers and bar staff had been outfitted with sartorially apposite red ties as part of their uniforms for the evening.