Category Archives: arts

OK, you’re in love, but can you sell my novel?


An editor friend just called to apologize, he hasn’t had time to read my new manuscript because he’s having his roof replaced and can’t hear himself think. I said hey, no hurry, it will still be there when you find … Continue reading

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Running out of gas with Steppenwolf


So I was on the highway, on my way to a sales job near Allentown with my stomach in a knot because I knew the job would suck. It was Throwback Thursday on the college radio station and the DJ … Continue reading

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The outsider who made friends everywhere


Anthony Bourdain, who was 61, wrote Kitchen Confidential, the definitive book about working on the wild side in the restaurant business. He created several acclaimed TV series, using food as a device for exploring foreign cultures and making friends with … Continue reading

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Philip Roth’s many phases


Time flies faster as you grow older. One day you wake up and read Tom Wolfe is dead. Blink a few times and there goes Philip Roth, too. I was drawn to Roth’s fiction indirectly, around the time he was … Continue reading

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‘Your people I do not understand’


On Sunday night the Eagles won their first Super Bowl and there was joy in Mudville, a.k.a. South Philly. I could hear the revelers from my bedroom window, hooting and honking car horns, breaking glass, rejoicing. Reminding the world that … Continue reading

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Dylan’s reaction to the big prize was… Dylanesque


“Philip Roth just bought an acoustic guitar.” That’s what novelist Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers, posted on Facebook soon after it was announced that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Perrotta was either taking a shot … Continue reading

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Cynical coda of ‘Mad Men’ finale: Coke is the real thing


An acquaintance of mine posted this question on Facebook last week: “Does anybody else find Mad Men‘s writing to be vapid, direction glacial, acting somnambulatory, and the cultural references boring?” I asked my friend Swamp Rabbit if he’d like to respond, … Continue reading

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