December 30, 2005

SJF iso SJD (Single Jewish Dolphin)

It could be a joke report, but judge for yourself.

An unusual wedding ceremony was held in the southern resort town of Eilat on Wednesday, as Sharon Tendler, a 41-years-old Jewish millionaire from London married her beloved Cindy, a 35-years-old dolphin, Israel's leading newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.

The groom, a resident of the Eilat dolphin reef, met Tendler 15 years ago, when she first visited the resort. The British rock concert producer took a liking to the dolphin and has made a habit of traveling to Eilat two or three times a year and spending time with her underwater sweetheart.

My favorite quote of the article: "I made a dream come true, and I am not a pervert." (In case you're wondering, it wasn't the dolphin who said that.)

If it is true, the jokes write themselves:

- The bride's previous marriage, to TV star Flipper, ended in divorce.
- In addition to a pre-wedding bloodtest, the groom had to be tested for mercury contamination.
- The bride wore dolphin-safe fishnet stockings.
- On their wedding night, they did it in the fishionary position.

Hi-o! I'm here all week.

Posted by Doug at 08:15 AM | Comments (1)

December 29, 2005

Andover Townsman

There is an article about me and the book in this week's Andover Townsman, my hometown newspaper. I haven't seen it yet, but I'm betting the ciruclation will see a huge uptick, what with my mom and grandmother buying every available copy.

Posted by Doug at 08:40 PM | Comments (1)

Ask Me

Things are mostly quiet this week and next, although I will be doing a little bit of publicity.

Next week I am doing two radio interviews (more details to come) and an online chat with Boston.com, the Boston Globe's website. I grew up in Massachusetts and went to college there, so I'm excited to be involved with something connected to a place I love so much. That chat will be on Wednesday, January 4th at 1 PM. I'll post more details when I have them, but whether you are at home or sneaking around online at work, please check it out and ask me a question or two!

Posted by Doug at 09:06 AM | Comments (2)

December 28, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Less Like Christmas

Christmas has come and gone and I've hardly noticed. While you might think that has to do with the fact that I'm married to a rabbi, you'd be wrong. Even though I'm Jewish, I actually like Christmas, especially in the city. I always take a moment when I walk by the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree for the first time in December and I have fond memories of each year's window displays at the stores on Fifth Avenue. I even miss the beat up snowflake that used to hang across 57th Street before it was replaced by the newer - and corporate sponsored - Swarovski version. New York, especially my neighborhood, is a place that was made to be strewn with string lights.

So, despite my affection for this time of the year, the reason that Christmas came and went without my paying much attention has everything to do with my DVR. And my iPod, too.

I didn't realize how much my experience of Christmas had been changed by my digital video recorder and iPod until my friend M brought it up. He was mentioning how he hadn't experienced any sort of holiday fatigue this year and posited that it had to do with the fact that he was able to skip over the endless barrage of Christmas commercials typically played on every network from NBC to Telemundo. So this year he saw not a single ringing Hershey's Kiss. Not one anthropomorphic polar bear drinking Coke. No crowds of TV newscasters singing Christmas carols. No ads for special "doors open at four AM" holiday sales. And, most thankfully, no promos for special Christmas episodes of Yes, Dear and Hope & Faith.

I realized that I, too, had missed most of the more commercial aspects of Christmas which, I would imagine, are exactly the things that make the holiday season stressful for so many people. Instead of tuning into a favorite radio station only to find that it had switched over to an all-Christmas-music format on the day after Thanksgiving, as I might have done a few years ago, I listened to my iPod. I caught up on podcasts instead of listening to wacky morning drive hosts give out tickets to the Radio City Christmas Show. (And was grateful to have never heard that extravaganza's excrutiatingly annoying jingle once this entire month.) When I did watch TV, it was to catch up on Lost, a serialized show which would suffer from a huge credibility problem if the castaways stumbled upon a Christmas tree in the jungle.

I know I am not alone in my experience of being cured from years of Christmas fatigue. There have to be more people out there like M and me. This year the eyes and ears of untold numbers of technophiles were sheltered from the more tasteless and commercial aspects of the holiday, allowing us to savor the things that make this season special: lights, presents from friends, drunk co-workers at office holiday parties, food, and more food.

Bill O'Reilly, are you reading this? If there truly is a war on Christmas, there's one weapon that will help you save it: TiVo.

Posted by Doug at 12:43 AM | Comments (1)

December 27, 2005

For Immediate Release

Today's the day! I am proud to announce the official release of The Engaged Groom by yours truly.

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The book should be available at a bookstore near you; as of this writing I know it's in stock in at least three Barnes & Noble locations in New York City. It's also available online.

Thanks to everyone for their support!

Posted by Doug at 07:44 AM | Comments (2)

December 26, 2005

LeeVees Interview at Gothamist

In case you missed it, my interview with Adam and Dave of The LeeVees is up on Gothamist. I'm catching their show tonight at the Bowery Ballroom. See you there!

Only one day until the book is officially released. Although rumor has it that it is in stock and on shelves at more than just my local Barnes & Noble...

Posted by Doug at 10:30 AM | Comments (0)

December 23, 2005

The Book Has Landed

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You are looking at the first picture of The Engaged Groom in a bookstore.

The official release isn't until Tuesday, so you can imagine my surprise when I popped into the Barnes & Noble on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope tonight for a last-minute Christmas present and saw my book on the "New in Paperback" table. It's probably the first real double take I've ever done. I wanted to grab the woman standing next to me so I'd have at least one witness to the moment, but I didn't want to scare her kids.

The picture was taken from my crappy cellphone's even crappier camera. Nevertheless, I think the fuzziness of the image gives it a first-images-from-the-Moon-landing sort of feel. While I'm no Neil Armstrong, seeing this in the bookstore definitely felt like one giant step for Dougkind.

Posted by Doug at 10:23 PM | Comments (5)

Strike Week Wrap-Up

Total miles walked this week: 31.

Best celebrity sighting on my unconventional commute to work: CNN's Anderson Cooper crossing Sixth Avenue not far from 23rd Street on Wednesday.

Best "depends on your definition of celebrity" celebrity sighting on my way home from work: Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz, welcoming weary walkers home on the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge, bullhorn in hand. He strikes me as a latter-day LaGuardia: short, rotund, and a keen knack for public relations.

Stupidest protest sign: "Jail Bush Not Toussaint." People supporting the TWU were demonstrating on both sides of the Brooklyn Bridge and a few people hooked their cause wagons to union horses. While I'm no Bush fan and can think of plenty of reasons why he should be impeached and jailed, I think it's a long road from the MTA-TWU negotiations to the White House.

Best overheard comment: a kid, about ten years old, walking with his mom and brother across the bridge last night, talking about Christmas presents and Santa Claus. "I don't think Santa believes in L.L. Bean," he said, cleary trying to head off a gift of a sweater or slippers. "Santa believes in Elf Elf Bean." So precocious, it almost belongs in the Times' Metropolitan Diary.

Best recorded customer service message: needing to make a change to our New York Times subscription, I called the paper's 800 number and got a brief announcement before being sent to the main menu. "Due to the transit strike, delivery may be affected in the following areas: New Jersey, Connecticut, Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Brooklyn." Glad to know that people in Philadelphia are still getting their papers on time.

Merry Christmas to all of you this weekend. And remember, The Engaged Groom hits stores on Tuesday!

Posted by Doug at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2005

Strike Is Over (If You Want It)

Although it doesn't necessarily mean I'll be riding the train home tonight, it looks like the strike is nearing a resolution. I got a ride in to the city today and only - only! - had to walk about 30 blocks to complete the journey after being dropped off.

While I'm not a religious man, today's musical selection, Harry Nilsson's I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City seemed an appropriate choice, given the news.

I’ll say goodbye to all my sorrow // And by tomorrow I’ll be on my way // I guess the Lord must be in New York City

I’m so tired of gettin’ nowhere // Seein’ my prayers goin’ unanswered // I guess the Lord must be in New York City

While it hasn't exactly been a sorrowful few days - I'll let the shop owners who have lost holiday sales and the people who live even further out than I do own that emotion - I was definitely tired of gettin' nowhere as the car I was in this morning inched and inched and inched through Brooklyn to the bridge. Thank goodness for the company and the heat.

As much as New Yorkers can adapt to miserable situations, the flip side of that ability is that it won't be long before we are all back to complaining about mumbled subway PA system announcements, sticky floors, smelly stations, overheated cars, and "unavoidable delays." Tomorrow we will all be on our way.

Posted by Doug at 12:59 PM | Comments (0)

On the Other Hand, It's The Only Express I've Seen in Days

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Express, the daily free paper published by the Washington Post, (kind of like AM New York) picked up a quote from my post about walking the Brooklyn Bridge while listening to Gershwin.

Posted by Doug at 09:05 AM | Comments (1)

Al Di Laaaaahhhhh

I figured out that I have travelled over twenty miles by foot in two days. Manhattan itself is only 13.4 miles long (and, at its widest point, only 2.3 miles across), so it's as if I've spent the last twenty four hours walking the length of Manhattan just about twice. Take that, you car-bound suburban dwellers! We New Yorkers can literally walk circles around you people.

My dad pointed out that, much like lab rats, monkeys and abused children, New Yorkers are quick to adapt; it doesn't take long for bad situations to become normal. So what if it took me an hour to get to the base of the Brooklyn Bridge this morning? It took a little longer the day before, so today wasn't bad by comparison. That's not to say that I can take much more of this - my blistered feet are about as angry at the TWU as Mayor Bloomberg is - but it's all relative. When I finally got in a cab at about 10:30 after crossing the Brooklyn Bridge yesterday morning, I shared it with a woman who had been travelling from the far reaches of Brooklyn since 7:30 and she still had about twenty blocks to go.

Our cab picked up one more passenger, a young woman, late twenties, wearing a long wool coat that probably cost more than my monthly rent, with a purse to cover my cable, gas, electric, phone and food bills, too. I had to go to 36th and 6th, the tired woman who had been in the cab before me had to go to 51st and Lexington and the newest addition had to go to 48th and Park. The driver, a kind man about my age by the name of Navin, explained that since we were already on 6th Avenue it made the most sense to go up 6th and drop me off first. Then he would continue up 6th, turn right on 52nd Street and drop the women off as close to their destinations as possible.

The woman who had just gotten in protested. "The traffic on Sixth is going to be terrible," she said. It was already starting to get a little thick as we headed north through the Village, but surely the traffic at this hour would be no different anywhere else approaching midtown.

Navin calmly replied, "It's getting bad all over the city."

"Why can't we go up Fifth Avenue?" asked the woman. "This traffic is terrible. I heard that Fifth is empty."

I laughed, but decided to let Navin knock this softball right out of the park. Had the woman not heard of New York One?

"Miss, there are two reasons why we can't take Fifth," said Navin as he steered the car in and out of traffic up the avenue. "Number one is that Fifth Avenue is closed to everything but emergency vehicles. Number two is that even if it were open, Fifth Avenue goes south."

It was a quiet ride after that.

After work, however, I skipped the cross-river walk home in favor of a kindly offered ride from a Brooklyn-bound friend and his coworker. Still, that involved meeting them about forty blocks south of where I was tonight, so I walked down Fifth Avenue - now open to traffic and busy with holiday shoppers, tourists and commute-weary New Yorkers - to meet them. We had a smooth ride home, and wisely took Seventh Avenue downtown before cutting across to the Brooklyn Bridge. (Traffic on the avenues on the East Side, including Broadway, was jammed.) Amazingly, we sailed onto the Brooklyn Bridge, and I could see people trudging across the walkway, carrying briefcases and backpacks, wearing hiking boots with suits and wintercoats. There but for the grace of friends went I. In fact, there went I just this morning.

When my friend's coworker dropped us off, we met his fiancée at Al Di La, a cozy Italian restaurant on Park Slope's Fifth Avenue, and my favorite eatery in the city. We shared war stories of our commutes, C relating a near-miss with a car while she rode her folding bike into Manhattan this afternoon and me asking J why he didn't simply sleep in the generous waiting area - flat panel TV, full kitchen, comfy couches - of his office. I probably should have gone home to go to sleep, but with so much happening in the city and with L out of town for work, it was good to share wine and break bread with friends.

The strike will continue today, but I will probably have a ride in to the city. How I'm getting home tonight, however, is another story. Stay tuned.

Posted by Doug at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2005

Rhapsody in Transit Strike Blues

I walked to Manhattan again today, journeying across the Brooklyn Bridge.

I set my iPod to shuffle and something miraculous happened. As I headed down Flatbush Avenue, walking faster than the cars were moving, Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" came on, bringing a smile to my face. It was as if the tiny white gadget was in tune with my head, giving me just the song I needed to remind me I got out of bed this morning.

Billy was followed by Paul, who reminded me that I was "Born at the Right Time." At mile three of my walk, despite the cold, despite my aching feet, I actually agreed with him.

By the time I got to the beginning of the Brooklyn Bridge walkway, I decided not to press my iPod luck and made my own musical selection, George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue." It turned out to be a perfect pick. The jazz-era piece is just over sixteen minutes long and if you walk quickly enough, you can make it just past the second tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, halfway down the remaining walkway as it descends towards City Hall, before the music reaches its final crescendo. I highly recommend loading a copy into your MP3 player and trying this during your walk tomorrow or on any day.

As I did the walk, somehow my eyes were directed by the music to see the things that fit each movement of the song. The traffic crawling across the bridge below the walkway. My first glimpse of the Empire State Building, which rises as if at the top of a hill in midtown. A straight on view of the mathematically-symetrical cables and brick towers of the bridge itself. I felt like I was living the opening scene of Woody Allen's Manhattan, only in vibrant color and surrounded by a cast of thousands.

If you choose to do this, start the song after you've crossed the street and entered the walkway approach. You'll want to press play about fifty feet from where you enter. If you walk as quickly as I do, you should get most of the way across the bridge before it ends, but even if you stop to appreciate the view or are held up by pedestrian traffic, you'll probably make it to the second tower of the bridge before you have to pick another song. After Gershwin, however, I didn't want the moment to be ruined by anything else, so I put my iPod back in my bag. I still had to find a cab.

Posted by Doug at 12:03 PM | Comments (3)

December 20, 2005

Walk On and On and On By

Reasoning that it would be better to get home from work before nine tonight, I left my office on 36th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues at four thirty.

While I had read that on the way in this morning people were gladly sharing their cars in order to comply with the four-person-per-car rule, I had no such luck trying to get home since that rule only applied to people entering the city this morning. So I walked. And walked. And walked. Down Broadway through the Fashion District, past Madison Square Park, lit up in lights. Through Union Square Park and the craft stands that have been set up for the holidays. I took a brief break to warm up at the Strand Bookstore before continuing down Broadway. If it weren't also just a few days before Christmas, I would have assumed that the store was crowded because of other people like me, looking for a distraction before having to venture out again into the ever-colder night.

Walking through SoHo, I caught up on a few phone calls, calling friends and giving them an insider's perspective on what they are only seeing on the news. New York is Paris. New York is London. The only difference now between those cities and here is that in Europe strikes happen with every new moon, not every twenty-five years.

When I got to Canal Street, I figured I'd have some luck flagging down a cab. Surely there had to be other Brooklyn-bound commuters willing to give a fella a lift. No such luck. Cars queued up at the entrance to the bridge were stuck in gridlock and none of their drivers were willing to make eye contact with the would-be hitchhikers on the sidewalk. A few people were waving at drivers, trying to get them to roll down their windows so they could beg for a ride, but no one responded. Apparently some people's charity ended as soon as the restrictions for getting around the city did too.

So I crossed the street and made my way to the pedestrian walkway on the Manhattan Bridge. It was busy, but not crowded. A few cyclists buzzed by, but most were polite and a few even walked their bikes through some of the more bottlenecked stretches. Over FDR drive, I paused to take a picture of the scene below: red tail lights snaking south towards the Brooklyn Bridge , but open lanes as clear as they are in ads for luxury cars in the other direction.

As I passed DUMBO and the big clock-topped apartment building that is the neighborhood's centerpiece, I could see into a few windows. People at home, watching TV, making dinner. I remembered the big signs that graced Storrow Drive in Boston before the Big Dig: "If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home By Now." That memory was broken by the sound of silence. Something was missing from this walk - which I had done with friends one late summer night not long ago. I realized that without the trains running across the Manhattan Bridge every few minutes, my trek across the river had been relatively quiet. The denizens of DUMBO probably hadn't experienced so much quiet since the blackout. For this moment, I was glad I had forgotten my iPod at home.

Back on land on the other side of the bridge, I figured I'd try my luck at finding another cab. Surely someone would be jumping out of one now. But luck was not on my side. No cabs were to be found, only passenger cars, jammed onto the streets that fed off of the bridge. When I made it over to Flatbush Avenue, cars were at a dead standstill. Even if I had been able to find an available cab, I would have paid at least twenty dollars for the priviledge of going nowhere.

So my walk continued and I easily outpaced the traffic. Eventually I passed the Brooklyn Academy of Music and I knew I was in the homestretch. L and I have often gone to movies at BAM, and it was the first real sign of home. A little further on, I turned right onto Fifth Avenue, leaving the fumes of the idling traffic behind me.

By now my feet were killing me. I had worn comfortable shoes, but there's a reason marathoners and seasoned hikers put as much thought into their socks as they do their sneakers or boots. My socks were bunching up, rubbing my heels, and I knew that I needed a break. So I crossed the street and popped into Gorilla Coffee. A two-dollar hot chocolate warmed me up. At this point, after walking more than six miles from my office, I felt like I needed - and deserved - ten cups.

Then, back outside. At this point I was in the home stretch. A turn left and I walked up the slope that gives my neighborhood its name. The territory became even more familiar. My bank. My grocery store. My favorite coffeeshop. My street. I was home.

It was almost seven o'clock. Considering my detours - book browsing, photo taking, the cocoa - I had made good time. Seven point two miles according to Google Maps.

When I got home, this magazine was waiting for me in our mailbox. Here's the cover:

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As if I needed any help remembering what I love it here. My walk showed me a city I'm lucky to be a part of but don't often get to see from my seat on the F train. Sure it was cold and my feet are going to require a bit of rest. But I don't care. If this thing isn't over by tomorrow I'll just have to do it again.

Posted by Doug at 07:53 PM | Comments (7)

I Still Love New York

Leora and I are about to walk out the door for our walks to work (mine will be about seven miles, hers about ten) across the Brooklyn Bridge. Even though the strike is terribly inconvenient, to say the least, I'd rather have to walk to work for a week here than be stuck in traffic every day of my life in the suburbs somewhere else.

The positive side to all of this? No waiting for a train in a crowded station. At least for today and tomorrow, I know the F isn't coming at all.

Update tonight after my walk home.

Posted by Doug at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

Social Insecurity

I was on the phone today with my bank's customer service department, trying to clear up a problem I've been having with the new ATM card I received in the mail recently. (It works fine as a bookmark or for cutting lines for my twice-daily cocaine habit, but for withdrawing cash it's worthless.)

At the start of my call, after taking my account number and full name, the customer service representative asked for the last five digits of my social security number. I've gotten used to giving the last four digits of my social security number when I call my bank - and everywhere else, for that matter; my credit card company, gym membership office, you name it - but this was the first time anyone had asked for the last five. I asked Stephen, the polite Indian-accented customer service rep, why the bank now required the addtional digit.

Here was his answer:

"Yes, we used to only require the last four numbers, but we now ask for the last five to provide you with additional security."

How on earth does providing more information make access to my bank account more secure? If I give you the first two digits of my gym locker's combination, aren't I making my possessions less secure than if I had only given you one or none? But since I needed cash more I needed answers, I didn't pursue this bit of Orwellian corporate logic with Stephen.

At this rate, I figure it will only be a few years before I call the bank and, for security purposes, am required to give the last eight digits of my social security number.

Posted by Doug at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2005

It Takes a Village Voice

Having had a letter published in the New York Times and having been interviewed by Public Radio, I've now hit the trifecta of New York liberalism.
I am quoted in this week's Village Voice in a column by Rachel Kramer Bussel:

Home For the Holidays: 'Tis the Season for Sneaking Around at Mom and Dad's

While my mom has probably blocked the conversation out of her memory, I vividly remember calmly confronting her about where my then-girlfried would sleep during one college break visit. We talked in the side hall of our house, while my mom moved a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer, the activity giving her a distraction from the uncomfortable subject at hand. It's just one of those moments I will always remember; even though my parents always gave me a fair amount of independence, the conversation sticks out in my mind as a marker during my transition from kid to adult. (A transition that will probably never be complete.)

Posted by Doug at 12:01 AM | Comments (3)

December 15, 2005

Georgia On My Mind

Here's the link to the story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Helena Oliviero. (Free registration required to view at the AJC site. Entire text in the comments below.)

The story, Putting the pro into propose, focuses on over-the-top proposals, but uses L and me as an example of keeping it simple:

Doug Gordon, a 31-year-old TV producer and author of "The Engaged Groom" (HarperCollins, $14.95), kept things simple when he proposed to his now-wife a few years ago. But he did enroll the help of a few friends.

Gordon and Leora began the evening at a cozy French restaurant — a place they dined together on one of their first dates. After dinner, Gordon asked his sweetheart to join him on the rooftop of their Brooklyn apartment to see the stars. Earlier in the evening, Gordon's friends set up a blanket, champagne, flowers and cupcakes. Gordon made an excuse to go to the roof minutes beforehand.

When Leora appeared, Gordon was on one knee with ring in hand.

"You have to remember this whole thing is just about the two of you," Gordon said, "and I think sometimes having it more simple can be more meaningful."

Posted by Doug at 11:27 AM | Comments (3)

December 14, 2005

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

I was interviewed last week for a story in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. No word on exactly when it will run, but it might be tomorrow or Friday. If you live in Atlanta and happen to see the story, please email me to give me the heads up.

Thanks!

Posted by Doug at 09:46 AM | Comments (0)

December 08, 2005

Six Degrees of Someone Who is Coincidentally Named Kevin Bacon

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I'm not sure how something like this happens, but it's the bane of having a name so indistinct that I'm sometimes called by my last name, which is also a common first name.

The credits for Who Wants to be a Millionaire and Modern Marvels are correct, but not the acting credits or writing gig at a show called Comedy Night School, no matter what IMDB says.

Perhaps the confusion comes from Other Doug Gordon's role in a 2003 movie with a wedding theme.

Clicking through some of Other Doug Gordon's links, however, I did notice that I could play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon using the actor I am not:

Other Doug Gordon was in Eli Parker is Getting Married with Jonathan Lamer who was in the made-for-TV movie Truman which starred Gary Sinise who was in Apollo 13 with Kevin Bacon.

This makes Other Doug Gordon's Bacon Number only 2! Interestingly, UVA's Oracle of Bacon has Other Doug Gordon's Bacon number as 3. For once, I'm smarter than a computer.

Posted by Doug at 06:49 PM | Comments (2)

December 07, 2005

New On-Sale Date

On the heels of receiving actual copies of my book, I've just found out that the real on-sale date for the book will be December 27th, in keeping with the tradition of releasing media such as books, CDs and DVDs on Tuesdays. (According to my publisher, Amazon may still have the release as January 1st, but that probably has to do with when they are receiving shipments in their warehouses.)

So, while you're returning all of your Christmas and Hanukkah gifts, why don't you use your store credit to purchase a copy of the greatest book you'll ever own? And then, if you have any money left over, you can buy my book.

Posted by Doug at 03:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 06, 2005

Holy Tango, Batman

Francis is offering his book Holy Tango of Literature as a free eBook download. You can also read the whole thing, blurbs and all, online. The book answers the often-pondered question, "What if poets and playwrights wrote works whose titles were anagrams of their names?" (Only Francis had the cojones to find out.)

It's a hilarious read and is the perfect gift for avid readers, English majors and other people familiar with classic literature. I highly recommend it.

Posted by Doug at 08:49 AM | Comments (1)

December 05, 2005

Delivery

Just got an email from my editor. Books are in! He's sending some copies to me today. I feel like an expectant father. Cigars for everyone!

UPDATE 3:01 PM:
Three books arrived and they still have that new book smell! I've only ever seen the book in pieces in a way - A PDF of the cover design, the book's pages printed out on regular computer paper, the galley with its non-descript cover - so this is a huge thrill. There, on the back of the book, next to a bio, is my smiling mug. The cover looks even better in real-life than it does on a computer screen and I can now picture it really standing out on a table of wedding books or on a shelf. If I were at home instead of in an office - where I'm doing another temporary freelance gig for a show for The History Channel - I'd be bouncing off the walls. Seeing as how I'm new here, however, and don't want to freak out my fellow cubicleians, I'll opt for the alternative of quiet, enthusiasm expressed on a blog.

Posted by Doug at 12:26 PM | Comments (3)

Jennifer Jason Leigh - Madonna Coincidence?

I was flipping through the pages of the Times this week, and did a quick doubletake when I saw the ad for Abigail's Party, the Mike Leigh play currently being presented by the New Group. The play takes place in the 1970s and stars Jennifer Jason Leigh:

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Where had I seen that look before? And then it dawned on me. J.J. looks eerily like a certain pop singer who has embraced a 1970s disco style for her most recent incarnation:

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If you don't think they look alike, consider this: Jennifer Jason Leigh, playing the hostess of the party, speaks in a fake British accent, just like Madonna!

Coincidence? Methinks not.

See my earlier example of spooky celebrity happenstance: the Taylor-Lopez Coincidence.

Posted by Doug at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

December 01, 2005

Cocoa Oh No - My First Live Reading

Anyone who knows me knows about my love-hate relationship with Starbucks.

I now have a new field office: Cocoa Bar (228 7th Avenue between 3rd and 4th Streets). I read the galleys of my book there, did some last-minute copy-editing while enjoying a truffle and a caramel latte (with skim milk, at least), and have recently begun collecting thoughts for a possible second book while seated in Cocoa Bar's comfy chairs.

The shop opened early this summer in the space formerly occupied by psychadellic emporium Funky Monkey. (Even though Park Slope is about as liberal as liberal gets, Funky Monkey, with its Grateful Dead posters and tie-dyed T shirts, seemed better suited for places like Madison, Wisconsin or Burlington, Vermont than gentrified Brooklyn.)

Cocoa Bar offers free wi-fi, which might be reason enough to go there when one considers that the Starbucks just down Seventh Avenue - and every Starbucks in America for that matter - charges at least ten bucks to get online. Note to Starbucks: use your corporate might to get a major sponsor to offer free wi-fi access in all of your stores. In New York at least, enough signals bleed through walls and onto the street that paying to check my email while I enjoy a four dollar latte seems silly. Not that this move would convince me to switch loyalties when I'm in my neighborhood, but it does make me wonder: if the small java joints can find $40 a month for wireless service, why can't the jolly green-aproned giant?

But back to Cocoa Bar. I've met the husband-and-wife owners, Yanniv and Liat, and both are friendly, always remembering my name and the names of the many other people who have quickly become regulars.

I spoke to Liat recently and she told me about an event at the store, a night of readings, music, and other performances. It's also an event at which, thanks to Liat's kind invitation, I'll be reading. The first Cocoa Bar "Talent Show" will be held on Thursday, December 15th beginning at 9 PM. I'll be reading for about 15 to 20 minutes but not from the book. (Honestly, the book is a lot of fun, but a groom's guide, even one as great as mine, does not lend itself to coffeehouse reading series.)

While I'm comfortable in front of an audience, I'm a bit nervous for this as I haven't decided exactly what I'll read and will most likely create something new for the event. It's good motivation to get some my ideas into a form more organized than the pieces of scrap paper and journal pages that currently contain my random thoughts, jokes and musings. Either way, if you don't like what I wind up reading, you can always check your email.

Posted by Doug at 10:26 AM | Comments (2)