Screw you guys, I’m going home

August 9th, 2006 → 8:46 am @

That’s right — I’m feeling pretty petulant right now: It’s less fun talking about the Sox all the time when the Sox are sucking. (I will note that in Ortiz’s last two at bats, when the Sox were losing, he went 1-for-1 with a homer and a walk.) So it’s down to Florida for me, because what could better than readings in Palm Beach County and Miami in the middle of August?

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings

I’m not worthy

August 3rd, 2006 → 10:34 am @

In the course of researching, writing, and promoting Feeding the Monster, I’ve had a chance to meet, talk to, and learn from many amazing people. Last night stood out as a unique, wonderful experience. Doris Kearns Goodwin–Pulitzer winner, political commentator, baseball fanatic–spoke with me about FTM at the escalator-challenged Union Square Barnes & Noble.

There was a certain surrealness to the whole experience: the author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, as well as brilliant books about FDR, LBJ, the Kennedys, and growing up with the Brooklyn Dodgers, spent an hour in 100-degree heat talking to me about my book. My own parents could not have been more gracious or complimentary. Even more incredible: Doris managed to seamlessly work in references to both “tits” and “balls.” And I did not.

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings & Red Sox & Smoky Joe Wood

Reflections from another week on the road

August 2nd, 2006 → 9:49 am @

The second (and final) week (and a half) of the 2006 New England Monster Tour included one Portland Sea Dogs game, one David Ortiz walk-off hit, two Red Sox games, one hotel, one bed and breakfast, six readings, seven nights at my parents house, and another 450 miles in what became an increasingly horrid Hertz rental car. Some observations:

* It is very hot outside.
* In the summer, New York City is truly the city of funky smells.
* I was in a Ford Fusion, not a Ford Focus.
* Ford Fusions are horrible cars.
* My cousin Jahsiah is unspeakably cute.
* People in New England like reading about the Red Sox; so, apparently, do people in the rest of the country.
* There is an older gentleman who frequents Boston’s Downtown Crossing Borders who sits in the front row at readings while thumbing through tour books of Ireland. He also stands up in the middle of readings, walks directly behind the person reading, and re-stocks said book. This has nothing to do with the quality of the reading, and the reader should not be offended. Or so they tell me.
* My three favorite meals from two weeks on the road: the burgers at Fat Boy’s Drive In in Brunswick, the wood-oven roasted mussles at Fore Street in Portland, and the lobster bake (2.5-lb lobster, mussels, steamers, and clam chowder) at the Chestnut Hill Legal Sea Foods.
* There are people who still remember (and make fun of) the shirt.
* The complete absence of traffic lights on Martha’s Vineyard is not quaint, it is moronic.
* Bed and breakfasts are, on occasion, pleasant and enjoyable. Eating breakfast with strangers is never anything but awkward and uncomfortable.
* I wish I saw more of the Coltons.
* I wish I saw more of the West Coast Mnookins (and the D.C.-based Browns).
* When men can comb the hair on the back of their necks, they should make sure their barbers shave it off. Especially if their seats are in front of mine at Fenway.
* Sometimes, I make mistakes.

That about wraps it up. Tonight the Union Square Barnes & Noble will host the last stop on the Northeast leg of the Monster Tour; I’ll be in Florida next week (because what could be more fun than Florida in August?), and popping up at assorted locales throughout the fall. If you want to be kept up to date, sign up for the Monster Newsletter. And stay cool out there. But not so cool that you contribute to a massive strain on the energy grid and help cause a blackout.

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings

Reflections from a week on the road

July 23rd, 2006 → 10:47 am @

The first week of the 2006 New England Monster Tour has included one rained-out Portland Sea Dogs game, two loads of laundry, three hotels, four readings, five continental breakfasts, and more than 600 miles added to a Hertz rental car. Some observations:

* Most, but not all, people can figure out how to pronounce Mnookin
* The Ford Focus is an excruciatingly uncomfortable car
* Hadley’s Hampton Inn is nicer than Manchester’s Equinox Resort and Spa (working phones, functional television remotes, and desk chairs really are important)
* Fans in South Hadley MA, Keene NH, and South Portland ME wanted to know who on the Red Sox was using steroids and why Theo hadn’t yet signed his contract; fans in Manchester VT did not
* It was very cool to meet Smoky Joe Wood’s son and grandson
* Older folks enjoy book readings
* It’s always fun to talk about the Red Sox, and it’s even more fun when you get to talk to lots and lots of people who care, and know a lot, about the team
* can be unintentionally hilarious
* Personalized inscriptions fluster some people
* The staff of the Northshire Bookstore has seemingly read every title they have in stock, and the Northshire is not a small store
* The staff of the South Portland Marriott is dressed in camp uniforms and serving s’mores because this is parents’ visiting weekend for overnight camps in Maine (make your reservations for 2007 now), and
* The Apple PowerBook G4 does not like to be dropped.

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings

I’m not worthy

July 20th, 2006 → 10:05 am @

Another fun reading last night, this one at Keene, New Hampshire’s Toadstool Bookstore. I shared the floor with Dave Clark (no, not that Dave Clark), an invaluable resource for all things knuckleball. But the highlight of the evening was unquestionably the fact that the son and grandson of Smoky Joe Wood came out to hear me talk. That’s a little bit like someone writing a commentary on the Bible and then having Cain (or Abel, for that matter), stop by for a chat.

Wood, for you apostates out there, was the proud owner of the right arm of god long before Pedro came on the scene. In 1912, when he was 22-years-old, Wood went 34-5 for the Sox. He started 38 games, finished 35 of them, and racked up 10 shutouts. His ERA was 1.91 in a year in which the league average was 3.44. That, my friends, is a season for the ages. The next year, Wood suffered an injury that all but ended his pitching career; he never started as many as 20 games again, and by 1918 had transitioned to the outfield. (Still, Wood’s lifetime winning percentage of .672 is the 11th-best all time.) Wood’s son and I discussed whether Ted Williams was actually the greatest hitter who ever lived (we agreed that while perhaps he wasn’t, we’d allow him the moniker) and who else had a history with Yale’s baseball team (George H.W. Bush, for one).

It’s going to be hard for tonight’s reading in Manchester, Vermont to top that. (Anyone know where Tris Speaker’s family lives?)

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings & Red Sox & Smoky Joe Wood

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood

July 18th, 2006 → 8:18 am @

It’s a perfect day to begin a driving tour of New England. First stop: South Hadley, MA, where the temperature at the start time of tonight’s reading is expected to be a pleasant 97 degrees. I’ve checked in advance with the Odyssey Bookshop, and they report that their AC is top-notch. So come on down…

On a related note, I’ll be channeling Johnny Cash for the rest of the month, with readings throughout New England. (I’m also planning on going to this weekend’s Sea Dogs games, if there’s anyone else who’ll be at Hadlock Field.) I’m going to explore doing regular updates after each night’s appearance. That means I’m expecting the crazies to show up in impressive numbers. Please don’t disappoint.

Post Categories: Feeding the Monster Readings