Sunday, March 13, 2005


Blogging for Books

[Following is my entry in the Blogging for Books contest #9, hosted by The Zero Boss. This month, entrants must write a blog post about any incident in their lives in the style of their favorite author. The author can specialize in either fiction or nonfiction, and can even be another blogger. See if you can figure out whose style I used...]

It is 8 o’clock of a Sunday evening and I am sitting in Mindy’s restaurant on Broadway partaking of some cheese blintzes, which is a very fine dish indeed, when in walks a fellow with a white fedora. Of course I know this fellow to be none other than Elisson, because of all the citizens who are likely to be in Mindy’s restaurant at any given time, he is the only one who is likely to be sporting a white fedora, never mind that it is the middle of March.

And this Elisson with the fedora comes right up to me and gives me a big hello, and I give him a big hello right back, as Elisson is always ready with the jokes and is even ready to stand a citizen to a platter of blintzes when said citizen has lost all of his potatoes on some proposition or another. That is not the case with me this fine evening, but it never hurts to be prepared, as them Boy Scout types would say.

Well, Elisson sits down and orders a dish of gefillte fish with horseradish, a dish for which Mindy’s is well-known and even famous, and we talk about how things on Broadway are not the same as they were in the old days. I notice that the older a citizen gets, the more likely he is to talk about how things are not the same as in the old days, and Elisson is no exception, seeing as how he is getting a bit long in the tooth.

“You notice how nobody on Broadway seems to care about the old stuff anymore?” says Elisson. “Nobody goes to the races anymore, and I am thinking that this is because the OTB came in and took all the fun out of it. And nobody seems to care about shooting some craps anymore, because you can run down to Atlantic City or up to Foxwoods and shoot dice, completely on the up-and-up. Even poker has lost its mystery – they show it on the television, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry is now studying Texas Hold ’Em like a doll studies a guy’s wallet. I am thinking that this has become a boring existence any more.”

“You have a good point,” says I. “Why, it seems that it is a good long stretch since I see most of the old gang. Nathan Detroit, Sky Masterson, Brandy Bottle Bates, Sorrowful Jones…come to think of it, these guys all must be playing the duck.”

And my fedora-wearing friend cannot help but agree with me, because it is as plain as the beezer on Durante’s kisser that lately many of these fine citizens are thin on the ground.

“I will lay you plenty of five-to-seven,” says Elisson, “that this blogging business has very much and not some little to do with it, too.

“Why, it seems to me that there is a whole new gang of citizens on Broadway, and they spend all of their time wearing pajamas and writing stuff that would be in the daily bladder, except that these guys do not care to write for the daily bladder as the dress code for reporter types, last I have heard, does not include pajamas.”

Elisson is right as rain about this, and as we are chowing down on our platters of blintzes and gefillte fish and talking about old times, I remember that some of these blogging citizens are not only writing such things as would be printed in the daily bladders, but they are also coming up with interesting propositions.

Propositions have been around at least as long as Broadway and these Johnny-come-lately bloggers are not the only ones who have the good ideas. I recall the time when Sky Masterson makes himself a few potatoes off of a fellow citizen in this manner. At the Polo Grounds, he buys himself a bag of peanuts from Schultzy the Gimp and dumps them in his pocket, and after the game is over, he says like this to the citizens walking with him toward the parking lot:

“What price I cannot throw one of these peanuts past second base from behind home plate?”

Well, everybody with two brain cells to rub together knows that a peanut is too light to throw much of anywhere, so Nebbish Nelson, who never met a proposition that he did not like, says, “You can have three-to-one from me, buddy.”

“Done – two Ben Franklins against six,” says Sky, and he proceeds to stand behind home plate, takes a peanut out of his pocket and whips it practically to the warning track. This is a most astonishing throw indeed, and it is a good thing for Sky that he is nowhere in the vicinity of Nebbish when it comes out that the peanut Sky throws is not a typical Schultzy the Gimp offering, but instead has been filled with lead.

But these blogging citizens have other propositions that are interesting in their own ways. Some of them have doped out a way to get a free iPod, whatever that is, and that must be a good thing because these iPods are costing not a little amount of moolouw over at the Apple store, whatever that is.

And there is another one that operates a contest every month and the citizen who writes the best “blog-post” wins a book. I myself have worked this proposition a few times but have zilch to show for it, but someone must think it is a good idea because a whole raft of guy bloggers and doll bloggers are writing like one-legged jockeys on nose candy in order to get hold of this book.

Well, of a sudden, Elisson jumps out of his chair and runs over to the front door of Mindy’s, where he hauls off and pastes a citizen right in the beezer and proceeds to give said citizen the old heave-o right out Mindy’s front door.

Mindy is, of course, none too pleased at this turn of events and so he says to Elisson, “What for did you put the blast on that citizen who, for all you know, could have been one of my regular customers? I can not afford to have my patrons afraid to come in here for a plate of sauerkraut and ribs lest some guy in a white fedora smack them upside the snoot. Please explain this to me, or I will have Cooksie give you the old heave-o.”

And Elisson explains things like this:

“A couple of months ago, this guy Cap, who seems to be on the square, comes out with a proposition. You write the best fifty-word movie review, and Cap sends you a couple books.

“And I am thinking that this is a good proposition, because I can write fifty words twice as fast as I can write one hundred words, and also, I am very interested to read the books that Cap is sending to the winner of this proposition.

“So I write the fifty words and there is nobody else that even bothers to write the fifty words, and I am thinking that there is not a single citizen who will say ‘Boo’ to me if I declare myself to be the winner of the proposition. But there is not a word from Cap on this matter.

“And then one day I send a note to Cap and he says that he is a ‘smacked ass’ or some such for forgetting about the proposition, and that I have won the proposition and he will send me the books. He even writes about this on his blog.

“But another month goes by, and there are no books, and I am a disappointed citizen.

“I send a second note and Cap sends back the same sort of answer, and I am beginning to think that I will never see those books unless maybe I am sending Gravel-Voice Larry to collect them, and I do not wish to do this because getting Gravel-Voice Larry involved usually means someone will get his feelings and other appendages hurt. So I am just a little bit frustrated, when of a sudden I see none other than Cap himself coming in the front door just now, and I am compelled to put the blast on him.”

And at this, Mindy says, “You have done me a favor, then, because I don’t serve Welsh Rabbit in my restaurant, if you know what I mean. Lunch is on me, boys.”

And then it occurs to me that Mindy is not referring to any melted cheese, or for that matter to anyone from Portmeirion or one of them places with two L’s next to each other, but to Cap, whose real handle is Capo di Nil, which translates to “Zero Boss” any day of the week, except my friend Elisson says it really means “Zero Books.”

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