Monday, November 30, 2009

Odds and Sods for Monday, November 30, 2009

Well, Andre forwarded this to me with "copyright infringement?" in the subject line, and I laughed out loud.


I like how they advertise this: "Be eSlick. Take your documents on the go."

Yes, you, too, can be like eSlick and always have your documents because God knows, you need to have those documents on you at all times, damn it!

And hear that, Eric? You will now have legions of followers.

Well, in any event, eSlick could not have come at a handier time, because my publisher sent me the following eMail:

"Mundania is running a Holiday Sale for all imprints. Entering the Discount code SANTA when checking out gives a 20% discount on the entire order.

This runs from now through New Year’s Day, January 1, 2010 on Mundania, Awe-Struck, and Phaze Books."

This is especially great news to me because I have a new book coming out next month called "Bitten to the Core" which is the third novel in the Three Days in New York City series so now is a great chance to pick up Three Days and its sequel, Another Bite of the Apple, so you'll be all caught up for Bitten -- here's the link for my author page at Phaze and if you are so inclined to order the eReader or have a Kindle, etc. of your own already, Daddy Left Me Alone is also available digitally right here.

So you can pretty much guess whenever I'm silent on the blog, it's for a reason. In a perfect world, it's because I'm writing, so yeah, that part of life is awesome -- I wrote my first short story in a while and put it up in an online workshop where its gotten some amazing reviews so now I have something to submit to a literary magazine or contest which is way cool; plus I continue to work on the new novel.

I was going to tell you all about Thanksgiving, but Julie Slick trumped me and her Thanksgiving blog post pretty much says it all with detailed pictures - by the way, I suggest you keep checking back because she's going to be putting up all the recipes. All I can say is, vegetarian or not, it was the absolute best Thanksgiving meal I've ever had. I mean, I didn't have turkey but Gary did so we did roast one, but the side dishes were to die for. Julie and Gary really outdid themselves as you can see by Julie's photos.

I do feel an explanation for this photo is in order, though:

That's me holding some kind of freaking brussel sprout tree that Julie and I bought from a "sustainable local farm stand" because we are good little yuppies (Oh, I'm kidding...we really do take our sustainable shopping seriously!)...and me drinking a lovely sparkling something that Julie picked out at the liquor store...but in case you are wondering, they had to be the absolute best brussel sprouts I ever really do need to stalk Julie's blog for the recipe. I don't know what she did to them, but she took something I spit out and hid as a kid and turned it into something better than a French fry. (This is the highest praise I can give as I am Potato Woman!)

Also, if you haven't been following Julie's blog, she has some funny pics and stories about her recent tour of Russia and Turkey. Here's the straight link to everything. You'll also see photos of last weekend's prep for the first Paper Cat studio CD, featuring Julie, Eric, and Robbie "Seahag" Mangano. Paper Cat returns to the studio again this weekend, and then of course they will share a bill with Cheers Elephant at the Khyber Pass in Philadelphia on Friday, December 11. Buy tickets right here!

Right after next weekend's Paper Cat recording session, Julie heads to Woodstock, New York to the studios of Medeski, Martin and Wood for a top secret project...and as I was just grabbing this link, I laughed out loud reading the band bio because of this passage: "Communal, on-the-road living has broken up many bands, but true-to-form, MMW thrived in this potentially treacherous situation. Their secret was a unique combination of individual personalities, with each band member taking on additional roles that suited their own aptitudes and interests. As always, nothing was planned out; it just happened.

John, with his love for cooking, was the band's chef, preparing incredible meals that made life on the road more bearable. Billy, who worked well with his hands, could fix anything up to and including the band's RV. And Chris, with his head for business, took care of the group's accounting. As it was with the music, Medeski Martin & Wood balanced each other out perfectly."

Ha ha, sounds like John and Julie have something in common, huh.

But do not be misled - Julie is not recording with MMW, she'll merely be at John Medeski's studio in Woodstock, playing her bass and recording with someone else, a male guitarist from England, and that's all I'm saying.

Eric right now is just utterly exhausted from six straight months on the road. We were talking the other day and he counted that he's been home in his own bed exactly three weeks since July. So while he's in for the Paper Cat gig, he's taking some time to chill, write music, and of course both Julie and Eric will be traveling to California in mid-January for The NAMM Show - Eric will be there as an endorser of Paiste Cymbals and Julie will be there as an endorser of Gallien-Krueger Amplifiers, and I see that Julie is not on their site yet as this is a pretty new endorsement for her -- all I know is, those amps sounded AMAZING on the west coast tour last month.

What does Julie do after NAMM? Hmm...could be another secret project. Gah! I hate being so mysterious, but I'm also superstitious and besides, this will be Julie's news to share if and when...

While Eric gets some much needed rest and relaxation, do not expect silence from his corner. I do not know if I mentioned it, but I assume it's okay to tell you that he won a very prestigious scholarship to study composition, which is his true love, and he'll be spending the month of July in France taking master classes. More details on that to, when I ask Eric and he gives them to me. I keep forgetting because I've been so damn worried about how wiped out he's been feeling. But he did see a doctor and had some blood drawn so we're on it and hope he starts rebounding soon.

We actually had dinner with Julie and Eric last night to celebrate Gary's birthday and I really need to take photos of the cards they gave him - as usual, both were hand made and they both manage to top themselves every year. Honestly, one of their cards is better than any gift you could buy for any amount of money. But Eric gave Gary a totally cool present, too - a magical device which turns albums into CDs. This has been Gary's dream invention for the past twenty years (I knew it was out there but when I checked years ago, it was a freaking fortune) so to say he's happy is putting it mildly. I bet I know the first album he turns into a CD -- it's by this band for sure! (Gary, if you are reading this, you should click on the link - there's an unreleased demo track streaming). Julie is giving Gary her specialty - a meal of his choice cooked at her place (so she gets to clean up) - I believe that is one night this week before the Paper Cat sessions and her trip to Woodstock.

By the way, we just heard through the grapevine that Eric is in the January, 2010 issue of Guitar Player Magazine. Since Guitar Player was at the October 18, 2009 show at Slim's in San Francisco and put up these great interviews and film clips of the trio on their website, I am guessing that the print issue also includes Julie and Adrian as well but who knows? Ha ha, all I can tell you is, I'll be at the store today buying my copy so I'll report back.

Anyway, I guess that's it for now and I'd better start writing. Unfortunately, cookie baking season has started in Casa Slick, and this means BIG trouble for me because I'm home alone today with two huge plates of freshly baked confections, all involving chocolate. ARGHHH. In case you are a new reader to this blog, you should know that Gary's Christmas cookies are internationally famous, and we do mail out tins to selected friends, so if you think you are cookie worthy, shoot me your home address via email and I'll see what I can do (please be sure to mention any allergies like nuts, etc.). He makes at least ten different kinds if not more, and I honestly cannot say which ones are my favorite -- maybe the butter almond sugar, or the toffee shortbread...did I say ARGHHH? Oh, God, I should just get a hotel room and stay away for the next month. I have no willpower at all. None. Though if I give up all other food this month and just eat cookies, maybe I can mitigate the damages?

Oh how I wish it worked that way...


ETA: I just received this email from my pal Robert, and it's important. I'm actually sitting here shaking as you can be SURE I'm in 100% agreement with Mr. Moore. We need to take action TODAY!

Today at 9:16am
An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore

Monday, November 30th, 2009

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though. It's + 41 22 789 1662. I'm sure he could give you an earful about the historic blunder you're about to commit.

With our economic collapse still in full swing and our precious young men and women being sacrificed on the altar of arrogance and greed, the breakdown of this great civilization we call America will head, full throttle, into oblivion if you become the "war president." Empires never think the end is near, until the end is here. Empires think that more evil will force the heathens to toe the line -- and yet it never works. The heathens usually tear them to shreds.

Choose carefully, President Obama. You of all people know that it doesn't have to be this way. You still have a few hours to listen to your heart, and your own clear thinking. You know that nothing good can come from sending more troops halfway around the world to a place neither you nor they understand, to achieve an objective that neither you nor they understand, in a country that does not want us there. You can feel it in your bones.

I know you know that there are LESS than a hundred al-Qaeda left in Afghanistan! A hundred thousand troops trying to crush a hundred guys living in caves? Are you serious? Have you drunk Bush's Kool-Aid? I refuse to believe it.

Your potential decision to expand the war (while saying that you're doing it so you can "end the war") will do more to set your legacy in stone than any of the great things you've said and done in your first year. One more throwing a bone from you to the Republicans and the coalition of the hopeful and the hopeless may be gone -- and this nation will be back in the hands of the haters quicker than you can shout "tea bag!"

Choose carefully, Mr. President. Your corporate backers are going to abandon you as soon as it is clear you are a one-term president and that the nation will be safely back in the hands of the usual idiots who do their bidding. That could be Wednesday morning.

We the people still love you. We the people still have a sliver of hope. But we the people can't take it anymore. We can't take your caving in, over and over, when we elected you by a big, wide margin of millions to get in there and get the job done. What part of "landslide victory" don't you understand?

Don't be deceived into thinking that sending a few more troops into Afghanistan will make a difference, or earn you the respect of the haters. They will not stop until this country is torn asunder and every last dollar is extracted from the poor and soon-to-be poor. You could send a million troops over there and the crazy Right still wouldn't be happy. You would still be the victim of their incessant venom on hate radio and television because no matter what you do, you can't change the one thing about yourself that sends them over the edge.

The haters were not the ones who elected you, and they can't be won over by abandoning the rest of us.

President Obama, it's time to come home. Ask your neighbors in Chicago and the parents of the young men and women doing the fighting and dying if they want more billions and more troops sent to Afghanistan. Do you think they will say, "No, we don't need health care, we don't need jobs, we don't need homes. You go on ahead, Mr. President, and send our wealth and our sons and daughters overseas, 'cause we don't need them, either."

What would Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would your grandmother do? Not send more poor people to kill other poor people who pose no threat to them, that's what they'd do. Not spend billions and trillions to wage war while American children are sleeping on the streets and standing in bread lines.

All of us that voted and prayed for you and cried the night of your victory have endured an Orwellian hell of eight years of crimes committed in our name: torture, rendition, suspension of the bill of rights, invading nations who had not attacked us, blowing up neighborhoods that Saddam "might" be in (but never was), slaughtering wedding parties in Afghanistan. We watched as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were slaughtered and tens of thousands of our brave young men and women were killed, maimed, or endured mental anguish -- the full terror of which we scarcely know.

When we elected you we didn't expect miracles. We didn't even expect much change. But we expected some. We thought you would stop the madness. Stop the killing. Stop the insane idea that men with guns can reorganize a nation that doesn't even function as a nation and never, ever has.

Stop, stop, stop! For the sake of the lives of young Americans and Afghan civilians, stop. For the sake of your presidency, hope, and the future of our nation, stop. For God's sake, stop.

Tonight we still have hope.

Tomorrow, we shall see. The ball is in your court. You DON'T have to do this. You can be a profile in courage. You can be your mother's son.

We're counting on you.

Michael Moore

P.S. There's still time to have your voice heard. Call the White House at 202-456-1111 or email the President.