FAKES… SNAKES… AND PATTY-CAKES!

Dearest Lovers of All Things Literary…..

On this very day, October 3rd, 1945, Elvis Presley entered a talent contest at the annual Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show.  (The states were poor even then, so they had to combine the sponsorship!)  Anyway, one of Presley’s TEACHERS arranged for him to enter the contest after she heard him sing in class.  (Her name, just for “the record” was Mrs. Oleta Grimes.)  Elvis sang while standing on a chair and without any accompaniment.  (For those of you who went to school in New York that means without music.)  The Once and Future King sang a tender old hymn called “Old Shep.”

The poor lad won 5th prize!  (and got spanked by his mother for going on a dangerous ride!)

Well, that was NOT the case last night!  The FAKES refer to the poor folks who thought they could play poker with The Queen of Cork.  (Called thus because of her love of rose wine and also because she is VERY Irish…  think freckles!)    The SNAKES refer to yours truly, well known in poker circles (and among squares) as THE COBRA!    And finally, PATTY-CAKES is the nickname (yeah, she has several) of the woman who destroyed all of the competition at the huge and vicious My Place Poker Palace last night….. the one and only cutthroat chick, formerly known as the Corpus Christi Crusher…. Patricia Eileen McCloskey!  (nee Yanoff)

Don’t ask me how (because it’s too painful to remember) but the above poker machine ousted the mighty Cobra and several hundred others saps to place SECOND in the tournament.

She almost won the whole darn thing, but lost to a full house (the place was crowded) on the river!  (Actually, we were playing inside, not on the river, but you know what I mean.)  Yes, sir, that woman is “one of a kind” when it comes to games of chance.  And me?  Well, I played extremely good (what else is new?) but alas, my pocket queens were trumped by Big Slick on the flop.  (In keeping with THE PRESLEY PLOT theme I took my defeat well, but I insisted on singing two verses of “Don’t Be Cruel.”)

My utter grief and humiliation was short-lived… I ran into some friends in the parking lot and they asked me if they could purchase a couple of books.  (By sheer coincidence, I had several boxes, I mean, copies in my pickup truck.)  Consequently, I sold two books, autographed them, and went on my merry way… back to Merrywing Circle.  Well, I didn’t win the dang tournament or increase my standing, but I am now the best-selling author of the Jester Center Parking Lot.  (Hey, it’s all good!)

Today is sunny and pleasant down here in Austin, Texas.  I am on my way to spend some quality time with my grand-dog!  I hope you have a wonderful day, too.

(Baker, my grand-dog says hello!)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff, F.P.L.   (Former Poker Legend.)

 

 

QUEENS AND KINGS… ARE WONDERFUL THINGS!

GOOD AFTERNOON, FELLOW STALACITES!

I say stalacites, because like me, you are “hanging in there.”   Uh oh, I’m off to a “rocky” start.  What can I say?  I have a “cavernous” mind.  Well, I’m sure you get “the point.”

All right, no more mineral or stone jokes!

Who do I think I am, Chris Rock?  Billy “Crystal?”  I think not!  (I had to get those two out of my system.)

Anyway….. I used the above heading (Queens and Kings) not to reference THE PRESLEY PLOT and The King, but to point out that I have been spending way too much time playing the cruel and devious game of Texas Hold ‘Em Poker.  True, I have been winning loads of chips from my fellow gambling enthusiasts, but man does not live by “bread” alone.  (Especially in France.)

I have made the “Final Table” (sounds like an autopsy thing) in the last 3 poker tournaments!  (With little or no cheating I might add!)  Naturally, my brilliant card play has resulted in a huge increase in my overall ranking and point accumulation.  If I keep playing at this level, I will become a gambling legend throughout the Southwest and in two or three counties in rural Arkansas.  Time will tell if I make the move to Vegas, but since I detest casinos, I doubt it.  (No light, no sun, no fresh air, no fun!)

Yesterday was enjoyable and profitable for another reason….. I had a long overdue reunion with Terri Schexnayder and Helen Ginger, the two wonderful women who used to run the Writers’ League of Texas during its heyday.  They looked marvelous, and as I expected, they are still accomplishing some wonderful things here in Austin.  Those two are a class act!  (More about the purpose of our meeting in a future blog….. but hold onto your hats, because it’s quite exciting!)

I also had a great meeting with Larry Brill, the former television newscaster and talented producer of “Writing Across Texas.”  (Which in my humble opinion, was the best show ever produced in Austin.  And I’m not just saying that because I was one of the interviewers!)  Larry is also a class act, and in addition to his thriving media career, he is also an author!  He has written several books and one day I expect to see his name on the New York Times Bestseller List.  If any of you folks need a great media person, Larry Brill is the man to call.  (Listed, of course, under Brill Media in the phone book.)

Finally, on this day, in 1957, the Long-Playing Album “ELVIS PRESLEY’ reached number one on the Billboard album chart and stayed there for six weeks.  When you get a chance, ask someone under the age of 30 to describe a “Long Playing Album.”  Trust me, you will have a good laugh!  (One of my college students thought a turn table was something that a bird sat on!)

I think he was confusing “turn” with “tern.”

Well, in any case, it’s my turn to say adios!  Have a great day and make somebody smile…..

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

 

 

 

 

FLEA MARKET MANIA!

SO…..  a while back, as I was ruminating about my trip to France… and discussing some of the French masters, I signed out by saying “Au Renoir!”   (Instead of “au revoir!)

Well….. apparently my harmless little joke set off a chain of cosmic events that culminated in a brief, but shining example of serendipity!  (What the heck is he babbling about now?)  First, my definition of “serendipity.”  Which to me, is like searching for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer’s daughter!  In other words, incredible good luck.  So, to what cosmic-like happening am I referring?  (Fasten your seat belts, art lovers!)

Two days ago, as I was putting the finishing touches on my second mystery novel titled MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE, an actual RENOIR came on the market in a most unusual fashion!  Several years before, a Virginia woman went to a local flea market (ostensibly to buy fleas) but ended up plunking down $7.00 for a little framed painting that she thought was a “poor copy” of Renoir’s painting style.  Well, fast forward several years, and guess what?  The woman now owns a bona fide work by Pierre-Auguste Renoir!!  (I wonder which summer month Renoir liked the most?)  Anyway, the French impressionist was very talented.  (They say he did a great Elvis impersonation!)  He was also a decent painter.

How decent you ask?

The Potomac auction house handling the sale is expecting a MINIMUM bid of…..  $100,000!  (And if you want more than the frame, bring a lot of loot!)  Just between you and me, this little darling is going to fetch much, much more.  How do I know?  Because I know something others don’t.  (This guy Renoir is dead!  No more paintings from him!)  By the way, in case you are interested, the painting goes on the auction block on September 29th.  (No out-of-town checks will be accepted.)

For you cultured types, the painting dates back to 1879 (the year before James Garfield was elected President!) and is titled……   “Paysage Bords de Seine.”   (Which in English, means “Landscape on the Banks of the Seine.”)  Having just come from Paris, I can tell you that there are many banks along the Seine, but the exchange rate stinks!)  I hope the French go back to using francs.  (The Germans could then use sausage!)  Hot dog!  I would “relish” such a monetary shift.

And speaking of francs…..  one of the few things that is known about the Renoir painting is that it was purchased by a French art gallery in June 1925 from a woman who called herself Madame Papillon for 5,000 francs.  (Remember the movie called “Papillon?”  Starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman?)  Just coincidence?  I think not,  monsieur!  Want to hear something even weirder?  “Papillon” is the French word for butterfly!  And Steve McQueen’s last name?  Yeah, now you know where I’m going…..  Butterfly McQueen!  Just another coincidence?  I think not again!  (I’m spending too much time on the computer.)

Well, in all seriousness, I think this is a fascinating story.  I will never, ever make fun of folks who go to the flea market again!  (Unless they come back with a Rembrandt.)

Have a wonderful weekend!  Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

THE GOOD BOOK….. THE VERY GOOD BOOK!

No, my friends, not THE PRESLEY PLOT!   The other Good Book.  (The Holy Bible)    I have some interesting news to report, and as you might imagine, it will be the “gospel truth!”  (Surely you saw that one coming!)   Well, in any case, check this out…..

A bible once owned by ELVIS PRESLEY (a Chrisitmas gift from his uncle way back in 1957) was recently sold at auction (in England) for the incredibly sum of …..  59,000 Pounds!

So, you might wonder, how much would that be in U.S. currency?  How does $94,000 sound?  (I hope it sounds good, because that’s the amount.)  My mom always said that the Scriptures can enrich the soul, but she never mentioned an exact number.

I had heard rumors about this auction when I was in London two weeks ago, but I  had no idea that the worn and tattered Bible would fetch such a handsome price.  The big numbers are usually reserved for books or manuscripts that are in good to excellent condition.  The Presley Bible was in fair condition at best, but that just proves how valuable anything connected to the King can be.  When I heard the news I wondered what two reels of never-before-heard songs by Elvis Presley might be worth.  Just between you and me, that would be a good plot for a mystery novel.  (Sounds a little familiar to me!)

Anyway, I understand that an American gentleman was the winning bidder, but the dear boy did not wish to be identified.  (NO, it was not me!)  However, I should mention that there were over 300 bidders involved at the auction and hundreds more bidding online.  (Including a certain mystery author from Austin, Texas.)  In case you’re curious, the Bible was leather-bound with gold lettering on the cover.  Roughly 1600 pages long.  And now for the best part…..  there were at least 20-30 annotations by the King himself!  (How cool!)

One of the entries written by ELVIS read…..  “To judge a man by his weakest link or deed is like judging the power of the ocean by one wave.”  (I always attributed this saying to Jacques Cousteau, but I guess I was wrong.)  Nevertheless, it is a very deep thought and speaks volumes about the man himself.  I wonder what he was referring to?  I don’t suppose we will ever know for sure, but it’s quite intriguing.

Finally, in light of my September 4th blog (“I see London, I see France… “) you might be interested to know that one of the few items that did NOT sell was a pair of underwear once worn by Elvis himself!  Would this be considered a “stain” on the event?  The underwear was shown “briefly,” but alas, there were no bidders.  Again, I do not wish to make a “big flap,” about this, but I am surprised.  (I can’t think of any Fruit of the Loom jokes, so let’s move on.)

On my next blog post I have some exciting news about our blog membership level and all of the new outlets that are now offering THE PRESLEY PLOT.

If I were you, I would stay home, forget about work, grab a cold beer, and wait for the next post.  (Welcome to my world!)

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

 

 

“THE PRESLEY PLOT”….. A FRENCH BESTSELLER!

Excusez-moi, mesdames et monssieurs!

I almost forgot to mention that THE PRESLEY PLOT (“Le Complot Presley”) is now the number one bestselling mystery novel at the world famous Le Meridien Etoile bookstore in Paris!  (Eat your heart out, E.L. James!)

Proving that they have exquisite taste, the Parisians gobbled up each and every  copy that I provided!  (That dang suitcase weighed a ton!)   In England, THE PRESLEY PLOT was selling for 10 pounds, which is roughly $15 here in the U.S.    If I recall, the French were selling the book for about 12 eruos, which is about the same, give or take a few cents.  All very confusing, but that’s show biz.

I wish to publicly thank the Meridien Hotel group for their kindness.  (Do you think a “French Toast” would be appropriate?)  Why not…..  Vive la France!   Incidentally, they were also sweet enough to provide a very lovely room upgrade on my return visit… a great room overlooking the Eiffel Tower!  Very kind and most memorable.

In truth, the “French Connection,” (meaning the bookstore) was a complete surprise, and I am most grateful to the charming demoiselle that offered to feature my modest tale.  (I do feel a little guilty.  I told her that I was Victor Hugo’s great-grandson.)  What some folks won’t do for fame!

Hopefully my commission will be paid in euros.  (Then I’ll have to go back to Paris to spend all that loot!)  And you thought being a writer was easy?  Ha!   The pressure never stops!  (All right, maybe it lets up a little while you’re munching on caviar and drinking champagne, but that’s about it.)   By the way, the French word “etoile,” means “star” in English.  Now I ask you, was there ever a bigger star than Elvis Presley?  I think not.  Another strange coincidence!

Well, I must leave you now.  I am flipping through a catalog of French countryside chateaus….. just in case THE PRESLEY PLOT takes off.  I’m torn between the Medoc region and Burgundy.  Decisions, decisions!  I guess it will come down to wine.  I’ll keep you informed of my progress…..

L’Amour pour tous…..

Au Renoir,

Doc Yanoff

I SAW LONDON, I SAW FRANCE, I SAW ELVIS UNDERPANTS!

No kidding.  Whilst walking around a London department store, I spotted a pair of Elvis boxer shorts!  The King’s image was in all the wrong places, if you know what I mean.  (Let’s not make a big “flap” out of this.)  I did NOT buy a pair, but I was tempted.  Nevertheless, this proves that some people will do anything to get close to Elvis.  (A little too close, if you ask me!)

I am writing to you from my boyhood home, a quaint and quiet village called Manhattan.  Home to a mere 12 million residents, all of them willing to greet you with a smile and a handshake.  (Some loose change required.)  Ah, the joy of communal fellowship!  Here everyone is strange, I mean, there are no strangers.  Everyone seems to know your name… if you name is “Hey, Buddy.”

But I digress……   While I am waiting for my limo to arrive, I will share some final thoughts about my trip.  First, old chap, we turn to England…..

Did you ever wonder where all of those shabby clothes from the sixties went?  The tie-dyed shirts, striped pants, bad hats, etc.?  They were shipped to London!

Americans put cheese on everything.  The British will only put cheese on a stale cracker.

The British do NOT believe in air-conditioning, cold beer, or ice.  (They are a very warm people.)

The British speak English.  We speak American.  (Know what I mean, dude?)

AND LEST WE FORGET OUR FRIENDS IN FRANCE…….

The French understand odors.  (Think perfume)  In most of their hotels the toilet is separated from the sink and shower.  Believe me, this is a fantastic idea.  Think how many friendships and marriages could be saved if we adopted this design.  (We would probably cut our divorce rate in half, maybe more in Texas, where we consume a lot of beans.)

Paris is the undisputed capital of ugly sneakers and hideous shoes, but the women and men wear lovely scarves.   (The Arab women wear scarves, too.  Unfortunately, they only wear black, and black is soooo yesterday.)

NOBODY in the entire country of France understands the tipping system.

Quiche Lorraine  is not a real woman.

Roquefort cheese can destroy a marriage.  (Unless your spouse likes the smell of dirty socks.)

Never order Beef Wellington, or anything else named Wellington, in France.

AND FINALLY……     ENGLAND AND FRANCE ARE SIMPLY WONDERFUL!

GREAT FOOD, GREAT HISTORY, GREAT PEOPLE, GREAT ALLIES!

IF YOU GET A CHANCE…. GO!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff

PASTRIES… POPES… PASTIS… AND PRESLEY!

Oui Mademoiselles et Monsieurs, I am still wandering around France, searching for my lost jigger of salt, ala Jimmy Buffet who was wasting away in Margaritaville.  Actually, I am not wasting away, but eating like a swine.  There are 3 distinct levels of French cuisine lovers….. gourmets, gourmands, and me….. gluttons!  This glutton loves mutton, but since they no longer serve this particular animal, I have been forced to make due with lamb and veal.  (Both vicious brutes who ravage the countryside!)

Yesterday we were in Viviers, which is quite Medieval in its appearance, and is best known for containing the St. Vincent Cathedral….. the smallest cathedral in France.  Despite its size, it is quite lovely.  We were treated to an organ recital, and before you ask, it did NOT involve an organ grinder or a monkey.  The organist had a powerful set of pipes, and he was kind enough to play some oldies from an album called “The Greatest Hits of the Monk-ees.”  (Hey, there aren’t many good organ jokes….. that are clean.)

After the organ recital, we hoped aboard our “Petite Pooch,” which is French for “Little Greyhound,” and drove to a working truffle farm.  In these parts, the truffle is known as the “black diamond,” and at $200 per pound, you can see why.  I really enjoyed this part of the trip.  The farm owner had a sweet doggie named Millie, who was trained to sniff out the truffles (which grow as a fungus on the roots of the trees) and then on command, dig down for the truffle and gently pick it up with her mouth and drop it at the farmer’s feet.  Each time she found a truffle she got a treat, so I decided to try it, and to tell you the truth it’s a lot harder than it looked.  Messy, too.

Later that same afternoon, we continued southward, driving to a truly amazing region where  Chateauneuf du Pape (The Wine of the new Pope) is produced.  Every inch of this region is covered with grape vines, and some of these vineyards produce the best and most expensive wines in France.  Naturally, we got to sample some of the good stuff, and since I am now a member of the “Legion du Gluttony,” I purchased a bottle of red wine, which the Countess and I (and some carefully chosen friends) will consume this evening!

Does it strike you that I’ve been doing a lot of whining (wine-ing) this trip?  God, it’s a good thing that I finished THE PRESLEY PLOT before I got here!  At this point, I’m not sure If I can hold a pen steady!

This evening, as we dine on more vicious lamb, we set sail for Avignon…. once a Papal residence (7 different Popes lived there) .  I’m not positive, but I think Avignon was also the home of Pope-Eye the Sailor.  In any case, it is supposed to be a beautiful village, and the home of some of the world’s great bingo players.  I shall, as they say in Provence, keep you informed of my whereabouts!

Au revoir!

The Monsignor of Mirth……  Monsieur Stephen Yanoff.