MEMPHIS IN MOURNING!

NO, THEY DIDN’T RUN OUT OF PORK RIBS AT CORKY’S!

Last Friday, August 16, marked the 36th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death.  Hard to believe, but the King of Rock ‘n Roll died in 1977.  Oddly enough, his passing is “celebrated” with an annual week-long festival known as “Elvis Presley Week.”  In mid-August, the city is transformed into one big Elvis event, and each year over 400,000 people show up to join the party!  Believe me, it is quite a sight.  (Try to picture several thousand Elvis impersonators!)

Naturally, copies of THE PRESLEY PLOT will be available at various locations throughout the city.  (One vendor is selling only autographed copies….. my signature, not Elvis.)  I don’t make a great sum of money, but the publicity is wonderful, and I get to meet some interesting characters.

Speaking of books, I am currently reading a book about anti-gravity.  (I just can’t put it down!)  Incidentally, last week I mentioned that Elvis Presley’s Army uniform was about to be auctioned off in Dallas.  Well, how much do you think it fetched?  How does $35,000 sound?  While this was a decent price, it didn’t come close to the King’s peacock jumpsuit that sold for….. $300,000 in 2008!  In any case, I’ve decided to sell my socks on eBay, so don’t be a “heel” and buy a pair.  Each pair has been thoroughly washed, so you won’t get “toe-maine” poisoning.

How about some “food for thought?”   Last week’s book signing was held in Lampasas, which was followed by a Moonlight Swim at Hancock Springs.  (Although there wasn’t much moonlight at 4 p.m., the swim was wonderful, and we stopped at Hopdoddy’s for dinner!)  If you go to Hopdoddy’s, order the “Llano Poblano” hamburger…..  An angus beef patty, topped with pepper jack cheese, roasted poblano peppers, apple-smoked bacon, and chipolte mayo.  Simply amazing…. especially with a 512 IPA Beer!  (or two)

I have recently viewed the new book cover for MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE, and can report that it is simply marvelous.  The revised book should be out in early November, but by then, I may be back in the Caribbean!  Looks like we’re going on the road again, (or should I say the water?) and marching toward St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Martin.  (“When the saints, go marching in….. “)  Well, you know how that tune goes.  Yummy, yummy, more rum in my tummy!

Finally, if you want to try the BEST pancakes in the free world, come visit me in Austin, and I will take you to the Rise and Shine Bakery for their homemade buttermilk pancakes.  As Judge Susan and Princess Patty can attest, they are absolutely delicious!  I was there yesterday and I saw plenty of nice stacks.

Well, have a great week and remember not to believe everything you hear.  My wife thinks I’m a skeptic, but I don’t believe a word she says!  (Would you believe my neighbor has a skeptic tank?  What’s that about?)

Love to all…..

Doc Yanoff

AVIGNON… ARLES… AU REVOIR!

Well, in the words of William Jefferson Clinton, all good things must come to an end! (Oui, Monica!)  The time has come to bid farewell to France, and even though I enjoyed every minute, just in the nick of time…..  My liver is turning into foie gras and my brain into pate!  (All things considered, not such a bad way to go.)  Nevertheless, it is time to go, and I must say it has been quite a party.

Yesterday was spent in Avignon, once a Papal residence.  The old town is surrounded by a three-mile long wall fortified with 39 towers and a pair of pits.  (Or was that parapet?)  In any case, the place was built in the 13oo’s, which speaks well for the building unions of that time.  There are some cracks here and there, but by in large, it has held up well.  (Reminds me of a few mademoislles I saw!)  After an intriguing tour of the Papal Palace, we strolled over to Le Pont d’ Avignon, the most famous bridge in France.  French children learn to sing a nursery rhyme about the bridge at a very young age.  I think Simon and Garfunkel also wrote a song about the bridge.  Here in lovely Avignon I had the best coffee and quiche of my life, plus I met a guy in the village square who was the runner-up for Pope during the last installation.  (He took the defeat rather hard and is now selling postcards.)

Today was spent in Arles, which rhymes with “Carl,” but without the “C.”  (French ain’t easy!)  Arles has the most impressive Roman remains outside of Italy and Hoboken, New Jersey.  The town is simply stunning, and as some of you know, it is closely associated with a very famous painter named Norman Rockwell.  Wait, I got that last part wrong!  I meant to say Vincent van Gogh.

Poor Vincent led a troubled life.  If you ask me, he moved around too much.  (Dare I say that he was a “moving” van?)  So where, you might wonder, did Van go?  Well, he traveled all over France but spent 15 happy months painting in Arles.  I think this was after he cut off his ear, which the locals thought was “eerie.”  (I was going to go with “irritating,” but it was too easy.)  Walking around the old city, we actually got to see some of the locations that he painted, and that was very interesting.  The man was definitely talented, but he was no Olaf Weighorst.  (There was a man who could paint horses!)

This afternoon, we drove to a working olive farm (mainly because it didn’t make any sense to visit a non-working farm) and learned how olive juice, I mean, olive oil is made.  It was very “depressing.”  (Think olive press.)  By the way, the Countess thought that an olive press was the local newspaper!  Sometimes that girl is the “pits.”

All right, no more olive puns!

After sampling some great olives and olive oil, we drove up to a Medieval fortification and had time to tour a small, but fascinating museum dedicated to Grace Kelly!  (Her hubby was part of the Grimaldi family, which once owned most of the land in the area.)  The Mistral (cold winds) were acting up a bit, but we were still able to see many fascinating sites, including a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean.

Well, it is time to pack the ship towels, I mean, our clothes.  Tomorrow we take the High-Speed train back to Paris, spend the night, then fly back to New York City for some badly needed rest.  (This vacation wore me out!)  Thank you all for following my Elvis/Travel Blog for the last few weeks.  I have had over 1,000 blog hits since we landed in London, and at last count, I’ve heard from 33 different countries!!

I am VERY flattered that so many people took the time to read my blog!  Sincerely, I thank each and every one of you, and I hope I brought a little smile to your face.  You will hear from me soon…. whence I return to the Lone Star State and catch up with the mail!

Au revoir, my friends!

Monsieur Stephen…..  A homesick American!

PRESLEY! POMMERY! POMMARD!

(If we were watching Johnny Carson, he might say….. name a King, a mustard with zing, and a wine that will make you sing!)   O.M.G., the south of France is totally, how shall I say, MAGNIFIQUE!   (Which is slightly better than magnificent.)  Our wonderfully serene cruise has brought the Countess and I through the heart of Burgundy, gliding past some of the most spectacular (and valuable) vineyards on earth!  Yesterday was spent in the thoroughly charming village of Beaune.  (The historic center of the dukes of Burgundy.)  Not to brag, but I met the descendants of the Duke of Earl and the Duke of Snyder.  Believe it or not, they walk around town using stilts!  This may be where we get the term “put up your dukes!”  (I was going to go with “uppity,” but I changed my mind.)

After purchasing a few gallons of mustard, we were driven to Chateau Pommard (Yep, that Chateau Pommard!) and were treated to a gourmet luncheon, tour of the vineyard and cellars, and a marvelous wine tasting experience.  Oddly enough, the wine director recognized me, or thought he did, as “Monsieur Stephen” the famous American author.  (I later discovered that he thought I was Stephen King!)  Sensing a golden opportunity to pull the wool over his eyes (yeah, they raised some sheep, too) I convinced him that I was Stephen King…. and he brought out the “good stuff” for us to sip.  (The REALLY good stuff!)  A wonderful wine that I managed to swallow in vast quantities without getting drunk!  From what I remember, we all had a great time and eagerly await our next chateau visit.  (Which happens to be tomorrow!)

When we crawled back on board our vessel, it was time for the Captain’s Dinner. (Think caviar, pate, saddle of veal, souffle, and……  more wine!)  Only because people are starving in China and India (according to my mother) I forced myself to consume a huge portion of the above treats, but I limited myself to one liter of champagne and one liter of wine.  (By the way, “liter” is the French word for bottle.)  God, I’m really starting to love these villages.  What Gauls they have!

Well, mademoiselles et monsieurs, I must run….  the fascinating city of Lyon awaits!  (We just dropped anchor.)  Looks like another sunny, warm day.  We are docked in the heart of the city, and from what I can see, the French have done it again.  Truly remarkable!

Best wishes and love to all,

Stephan Yanoff, a/k/a  The Marquis de Sade (isfied)

 

ELVIS! EVIAN! EIFFEL!

BON JOUR MADEMOISELLE ET MONSIEUR AMERICANO!

Well, after four days in Paris, France, all I can say is…..  VIVE LA FRANCE! …..VIVA LAS VEGAS! ….. VIVA ZAPATA!    What a grand and beautiful city is Paris, “The City of Lights.”  (Not to be confused with Las Vegas, “The City of Fights.”)  I must say from “ze getgo”  (not an official French term) that Paris is incredibly beautiful, majestic, and truly a grand.  The buildings (especially the museums) are like none other in the world….. and this from a guy who grew up in New York.  Honestly, there is almost nothing on earth to rival some of the great museums in this city, and the Countess and I visited some of the best and most impressive, but you know the names, so I shall not bore you.

In my younger days, I thought that France would be a great place to visit if there were fewer French people there, but again, my views have changed.  Everyone was quite hospitable and charming, and we did not encounter a single act of rudeness.  (Except for that one guard in front of the Mona Lisa……  How did I know you weren’t supposed to trace over the painting?)  Anyway, the good news is this:  the French have changed!  They are more like the English.  (Who bear a vague resemblance to us.)

How could anyone find fault with a country that gave us French toast, French fries, and French kissing?  (By the way, I tried the kissing thing on the hotel elevator and got slapped for my trouble!  The maid did not appreciate my “tongue in cheek” attitude. (So much joie de vivre!)

Lady Spendthrift – who has now been renamed Le Countess de Currency – got off to a bit of a rocky start by referring to the most famous landmark in the city as “The Awful Tower.”  (I straightened things out by telling the locals that she posed for one of the gargoyles on the church of Notre Dame.)  I think the “Frenchies” believed me.  (They are so “Gaulible.”)

I intended to read a passage or deux of THE PRESLEY PLOT at the Louvre, but there were too many gendarmes guarding the place and they did not look like Elvis fans to me.  (Who the hell is Edith Piaf?)  I think she may have been a gourmet chef, because I once saw a dish called Rice Piaf on a menu.  In any case, I did not do a public reading, but I have spread the word about the book around the city.  I hope the good citizens of Paris will buy a few copies, and I think they will like the story.  After all these folks think Jerry Lewis is funny!  (Let’s just hope they don’t think my writing is crepe!)

For those of you who are keeping track of my whereabouts (friends, family, the I.R.S., burglars, etc.)  I happen to be aboard a luxury river barge called the River Royale.  We are presently docked at a charming village in the south of France.  (A place called Chalon sur Saone…… which loosely interpreted means “the town of many missing Euros.”)  Tomorrow we are off with our dear friends, Barbara and Max Talbott (who are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary today!) for a tour Chateau de Pommard in Burgundy.  If I don’t get locked in a wine cellar, I will give you an update on my international tour to promote (or destroy) Franco-American repartee!

Until then, mon ami, remember to pursue joie de vivre!

And now I must say Adieu!  (And Adieu have to go to dinner!)

Monsieur Stephan Yanoff, The Count of Mushy Crisco!

 

THE BRITISH ARE COMING! (WE SHOULD ONLY BE SO LUCKY!)

Good evening, my royal subjects…..

Well, as many of you know, Paul Revere (who I have always “revered”) was a colonial patriot who rode through the suburbs of Boston shouting that “the British are coming!”  Why he had to shout I do not know, but now that I have spent a few days in London, I must confess that I absolutely adore our British cousins and would gladly welcome them to invade our country once again.  (But we already pay enough taxes, thank you very much!)  Taxation aside (even with representation) the Brits are more than welcome to stay with me any time they come to the Lone Star State.  (For you folks in Arkansas, that would be Texas.)

After our lovely breakfast at the Egerton House, where we met two of the nicest people on Earth (Mr. Sohail Jaffer and his beautiful wife) we took a cab up to the British Museum, and all I can say is….. WOW!  The place was filled with old stuff, but still very impressive.  Truly one of the best museums in the world, and so big that it would even look oversized in Texas!  (Now that’s big.)  Being a semi-famous writer, my first stop was the William Shakespeare room.  The man was an obvious genius, even though he never wrote a word about Elvis Presley.  (THE PRESLEY PLOT would have made a terrific play, and I might send a copy to the folks at the Globe Theatre just to get their reaction.)

My favorite two stops (after Bill Shakespeare)  were seeing the Rosetta Stone, which next to Mick Jagger, is the most famous stone in Great Britain, and viewing the Elgin Marbles brought to the museum by Lord Elgin.  (Whose family also makes great jalapeno sausage.)  Lord Elgin, as you may remember, “borrowed” the stones from the Parthenon in Athens, but has yet to return them.  (Personally, I think the Greeks lost their marbles way before Lord Elgin, but who am I, an amateur archaeologist to say?)

In any case, the marble columns and statues are now brilliantly displayed in the museum for all to see, and they are quite impressive.  (Lady Spendthrift thought they showed a little too much “masculinity,” but I was kind of impressed with the dimensions of the ancient Greeks.)  Some of the statues may have been Roman, but as they say in Astoria, it was Greek to me.

When we returned to the Egerton House, which just might be the best hotel in our solar system, we were in for a real treat!  First, we met the charming and talented Antonio, a 40-year employee of the hotel, who is quite conceivably the best bartender in the Universe!  (I shall describe my wonderful martini at a later date!)  Then we dined at Mamounia Restaurant, which not only serves the BEST lamb tangine ever made by human hands, but also employs several of the MOST beautiful young ladies I have ever seen!  One was more beautiful than the next!  I had a hard time eating, but somehow I managed to overeat again!  (I am, after all, a professional gourmand)

I may be adopting a gorgeous young lady from Hungary!  And one from Poland!  And another from Ethiopia!  Nevermind, I’ll take them all!  (but they have to bring some lamb with them!)  What a marvelous restaurant!  If you go to London, you must stop by and try their amazing cuisine.  (Bring a camera so you can take some photos of the beautiful ladies!)

Finally, when we returned to the hotel, the amazing staff (under the direction of the world’s best General Manager, Ms. Michelle Devlin) had arranged for a special surprise for us!  The room was covered with rose petals!  There were candles everywhere!  Ice cold champagne!  Soft music!  Dim lights!  (Unfortunately, I was by myself, as Lady Spendthrift was shopping at Harrod’s again, but I still had a romantic experience!)  Just kidding, Mom.  What a lovely and thoughtful surprise!  Since I now have blog followers in 27 different countries, I would like to suggest that if you come to  London, you MUST stay at the Egerton House.  You will love it here, and will love everything about this hotel, especially the kindness and professionalism of the staff and management.  (And you could not ask for a better location!)

Well, it’ time to clear off the rose petals and hit the sack….. tomorrow we are off for Paris…. which I think is somewhere in France.  I can’t wait to show Lady Spendthrift how a guillotine works!  (I hope she doesn’t “lose her head” during my lecture.)

Bon jour mon ami!  I will write again soon….  (unless I decide to join the French Foreign Legion or the American Legion or the Elks Lodge.)

Ta-ta, old chaps……

Doc Yanoff   (a/k/a  Lord Sleepsalot)

 

 

 

 

LIVE FROM LONDON!

Good morning, ladies, lords, and assorted vagabonds……

Today I am “broadcasting” almost live (I’m still a little sleepy) from the lovely Egerton House Hotel in Knightsbridge.  (An up and coming area of London!)  Lady Spendthrift and I are having a jolly good time chatting with our British cousins, who have almost forgiven us for the Revolutionary War and the tiff of 1812.  (I was gracious and told them that the second conflict could have gone either way.)

Now for an update….  THE PRESLEY PLOT is selling quite well here in London.  Last night I gave a little speech in Chelsea, which is south of our hotel, maybe 2 miles as the crow flies.  (Better make that pigeons!)  I spent the evening in Chelsea.  (No jokes, please.)  Lovely area, reminds one (or two) of Greenwich Village, but without the garbage and with better beer.  Her Ladyship and I consumed a few pints of lager at a local pub and then dined on some truly wonderful Indian cuisine at a restaurant called Chutney Mary.  (Not to be confused with Bloody Mary.)  The food, as they say on Long Island, was to die for!  Best lamb of my life.  Mary had a lot of lamb, lot of lamb, lot of lamb…… well, you know how the nursery rhyme goes.

Several minutes ago, I gave another amazing performance here at the Egerton House, speaking to a packed room filled with hung-over tourists dying to hear about my literary adventures.  We met some wonderful people and made a lot of new friends, which is the point of this whole exercise.  What a lovely crowd.  And breakfast was once again marvelous!

In a moment we are going to hail a cab and wander up to the British Museum.  I hear the place is packed with old stuff, but we are going anyway.  I’m hoping they have some mummies for this daddy to view.  (I wonder if mummies listen to “wrap” music?) Her Ladyship is still mad at me for that bathroom joke…… last night she wanted a glass of water at the Indian restaurant, so I told her to go into the “Water Closet,” which wasn’t really a closet, but did contain some water.  (When Lords and Ladies use the bathroom is that considered a “Royal Flush?”)  Ah well, she’ll get over it when she has a pint or two.

Today at breakfast we met a charming couple from Tunisia, so in their honor, we will dining on Tunisian food this evening.  They pointed us in the right direction, so I’m sure we will be in for a treat.  Believe it or not, I think I’ll be chowing down on lamb again.  (We need to eat as many of them as we can, as they are truly vicious animals!)  Besides, they like to “pull the wool” over people’s eyes, so who needs them.

*****A SPECIAL NOTE:    I have met about 90 Londoners in regards to THE PRESLEY PLOT, and if you are reading this from London, please feel free to drop by or ring me up at the Egerton House.  I will make every effort to say hello or autograph a copy of my book for you.  And in any case, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

And now we return to our regularly scheduled program……  I will write again soon, probably tomorrow when we arrive in Paris.  (We are taking the chunnel in the tunnel at noon.)  Whence we arrive in the City of Lights (not to be confused with Washington, D.C., the City of Dim Wits) we will be “hooking up” with our dear friends from Texas, Barbara and Max Talbott.  Paris will never be the same!

By the way, in yesterday’s post, I misspelled the word HOOKAH.  (I forgot to add the “h” at the end.)  I apologize to any of you who frequent hookahs….. especially Lee Bomblatus, who is a legend in the Azores and in certain parts of Round Rock, Texas.

Well, I must run or I shall miss the grand exhibition at the British Museum….. please take care and have a wonderful day.

Cheerio and Rice Crispies……

Doc Yanoff…..   The Galloping Gourmet!

ELVIS ON AVON!

So who cares about Stratford-on-Avon, the home of some British writing hack named Bill Shakespeare?  Come on, people, we are talking about Elvis Presley….. and the amazing influence he had on our English cousins!  Oddly enough, they are also celebrating (actually acknowledging) the anniversary of the King’s departure here in London town.  Whence Lady Spendthrift (my wife) and I checked into our royal quarters in Buckingham Palace (actually The Egerton House Hotel) we ambled on down to Hyde Park (so named because it is well hidden from tourists like me) and as soon as we got through the hedgerow (not to be confused with the Heathrow) we were put upon by a band of ruffians!  (actually three old ladies and one Elvis impersonator.)

As previously promised (to a local Elvis Presley Fan Club) I did some quick magic tricks to thunderous applause (all right, there might have been some booing and hissing) and then…… to everyone’s delight (except Lady Spendthrift) I read several pages from my brilliant mystery novel THE PRESLEY PLOT.  I received another  ovation (mainly sitting) as soon as I was finished reading!  Hey, wait a minute, I wonder if they were clapping because I was done……  nevermind.   At my age any applause is good.

For those of you who did not receive a personal email from me earlier this morning, I would like to say that London is quite charming and this hotel is truly exceptional.  The flight from New York to London was rather smooth and easy, and because I’m so tough, I only needed 12 hours of sleep to recover!  They don’t make men like me anymore.  (No applause here!)

Last evening, her Ladyship and I dined on the best Lebanese food I ever had.  Humus, pita, olives, green stuff.  It was marvelous!  This was an authentic place, and there were a number of folks from Arab countries in the restaurant.  Believe it or not, there was a hooka right beside me!  (Look it up, Helena!)  I won’t go on and on about the hooka, but let’s just say she was curvaceous and hot and filled the room with steam!

Her Ladyship almost caused an international incident by trying to peek under an Arab chick’s veil, but I prevailed upon her to mind her own business.  (Besides, some things are better left to the imagination!)  Before we left, as a joke, I sold my wife to a very plump Sheik who was poorly dressed but dripping in diamonds.  (You might say that he was an unchic sheik, if you like tongue twisters.)  Anyway, I got two camels for   my wife.  Personally, I think she’s worth more than two cigarettes, but who am I to argue with a sheik?  (When I balked, he threw in a goat.  Now I can tell folks that I made a bad deal, but I really got his goat!)

I would love to hang around and amuse you further, but I am on my way to the Victoria and Albert Museum.  These folks have a collection of great novels written by some of the English masters……  Lord Byron, Percy, Dickens, Lennon & McCartney, etc.  Whence I arrive, I intend to ask the curator if he or she might be interested in purchasing a copy of THE PRESLEY PLOT.  Why go to a museum if there is no Elvis memorabilia?  Hopefully they will have a keen eye for great writing and corny jokes.

Well, my friends, pip pip and cheerio!  I am off to conquer the rest of London!  (I wish my friend Norman was here.  Then we could reenact the Norman Conquest.)

Have a safe and happy day and I will write again soon……

Doc Yanoff  a/k/a Lord Sleepsalot!