THE PIRATES OF PERCHANCE!

DO YOU REMEMBER THE WONDERFUL OPERA BY GILBERT AND SULLIVAN?  (Actually, it was the “Pirates of Penzance,” but  you get the point.)    Did you know that Gilbert had a brother named Filbert?  (The guys was a real “nut.”)  Both brothers knew “the score” when it came to cruising… and here are some impertinent facts about my last voyage…..

Our ship averaged 15 knots per hour, but we never got tangled up.  We traveled roughly 2,000 nautical miles.  The captain kept a detailed log, but one of the crew threw it in a fireplace.  (It must have been difficult carving all those details.)  Our gross tonnage (not including the passengers from Arkansas) was 113,ooo tons.  The ship’s draught was Guinness.  Any more questions?

Now here’s the funny part… when we stepped ashore I was confronted by a reporter from the Houston Chronicle who wanted to know if I enjoyed my trip.  I tried to restrain myself, but to no avail.  So…  I recited a funny bit of dialogue from a Marx Brothers film called “A Night at the Opera.”  (Which was fitting, considering my previous mention of Gilbert & Sullivan!)  Try to imagine me speaking in an Italian dialect, ala Chico Marx…..

“Sure, I’ll tell you about our trip.  The first time-a we start-a, we get-a half way to Mexico when we run out of fuel and we gotta go back.  Then we take-a twice as much-a fuel.  This time we were just about to reach port, maybe three feet, when what do you think?  We run out of fuel again.  Then back we go again and get-a more fuel.  This time we gotta plenty of gas.  Wella we getta half way to Mexico… when what do you thinka happen?  We forgota the ship!”

Since I delivered these lines with a straight-face, the reporter wasn’t sure if I was kidding or just crazy.  Nonetheless, my fellow passengers were quite amused.  (Homeland Security not so much.)  What can I say?

The purpose of our voyage was to scout out possible film locations for the movie version of THE PIRATE PATH.  We found some beautiful spots, drank some wonderful rum, ate like little piggies, and came home with a tattoo of a manatee on my knee.  (Just kidding about that last part.)  The best part?  It was all tax deductible!

We met some terrific folks on this voyage, and we enjoyed reminiscing with complete strangers.  Every time I think about the past it brings back memories.  How did I get so deep?  Never mind, I have to run.  Tonight is the Annual Judge Susan Birthday Dinner & Lamb Swallowing Festival, hosted by the incomparable Max and Barbara Talbott, formerly of Muncie, Indiana.  We are looking forward to another memorable evening of frivolity!

Have a wonderful week and please do not be concerned about my fading tan as you shovel snow from the sidewalk.  Nobody ever said that writing was easy!  Love to all…..

Doc Yanoff, “The Original Globetrotter”

 

THE SNOOZE CRUISE!

WELL, HERE I AM ABOARD THE LOVELY CARIBBEAN PRINCESS!  (By the way, that’s the name of the ship, not a person.)  We are bound for Cozumel.  (Bound to get there in a day or two.)  I slept GREAT last night.  Wonderful mattress.  Ever hear of a “sea bed?”  One funny incident to report…  My wife asked someone where our “mustard station” was located.  (She meant muster station.)  I told her to go ahead, I would “ketchup” later!  I’m glad I packed some condiments, just in case I get lucky.

So what’s new in the wonderful world of literature?  Funny you should ask.  Are you sitting down?   The Dashiell Hammett Club of Los Angeles has chosen DEVIL’S COVE (my third mystery novel) as the “OUTSTANDING MYSTERY OF THE YEAR!”  WOW!  I am very honored and would like to thank you for the delightful surprise.  (Hammett was the author who created the hard-boiled character of Sam Spade.

I would also like to thank all of my Austin friends for buying so many copies of THE GRACELAND GANG and THE PIRATE PATH.  Both books have sold well and are now being featured on the BEST-SELLER table in the front of the store.  (BookPeople on N. Lamar Blvd.)  They just re-stocked the shelves, so if you need an autographed copy, come on down.  (I have attached a couple of photographs from a recent luncheon at the store.)

Tomorrow we reach Cozumel, and then (the day after) we go to Honduras, and then Belize.  The seas are calm, the sun is out, and it’s about 77 degrees outside.  Perfect tanning weather!  I got lazy this morning and slept in, missing my gym time.  That makes 3 years in a row.  I’m about to give up exercising!  My press my luck?

The Princess and I are registered to today’s poker tournament, which begins at 12 noon.  Hopefully, I will have some good news to share with you, but even if I don’t win the tournament, I will make up a good story!  (Any fool can convey the simple facts!)

I wish you all a safe and pleasant week, and if we don’t get captured by pirates, I will write again mid-week.  If we do get captured by pirates, send me a couple of roast beef sandwiches.  (Pirates love  “ARRRRR-by’s Roast Beef!)  Love to all…

Doc Yanoff

 

HOME ON THE RANGE!

Well, I’m not really on the range, which would be a foolish place to sit, but I am back in Austin, Texas, where the temperature is about 35 degrees, with rain and snow predicted for tomorrow.  Yikes!  When I woke up this morning (in Fort Lauderdale) it was sunny and 85 degrees!  What the hell happened?  Why did Horace Greeley encourage me to go west?  Why did I listen to Horace in the first place?  (The guy died in 1872!)  Well, in any case, I’m back in the Lone Star State and happy to be home.  (Sort of)

If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard from me in a couple of days, it’s because we experienced a solar bombardment while at sea and our ship lost all internet access.  (Even the Playboy sites were down!)  My God, what is this world coming to?  Since I am apt to roll with the punches (or the waves) I made the best of it and wrote 5 chapters of my new mystery novel, titled, RANSOM ON THE RHONE.  Between chapters, I almost became a poker legend, but that’s another story.  (Involving my wife, who ended up with four eights in a monster poker hand!)  Needless to say, I ended up with egg on my face.  (A sorry state for any Cobra!)

A word about St. Martin…..  lovely place, mainly French, and filled with wonderful bistros and restaurants.  We had a great day at Orient Beach, which thank God, has a section for nude bathers.  (Not me, mind you.)  I was busy taking photographs, I mean, snorkeling.  My lens kept getting foggy.  (Not the camera lens, the snorkel mask.)  I don’t speak French, but I think I was asked to leave the beach several times.  What the heck is a gendarme?

St. Martin is French, but St. Marteen (the other side of the island) is Dutch.  Believe me, it was no “Dutch treat.”  Very third worldish, and they all drink Heineken beer for breakfast!  They were also a little snobby.  (They only spoke to folks traveling aboard Holland America ships.)  What’s up with that?  Have you noticed that most Dutch chicks have two lips?  (tulips)  All right, enough island humor.

If you find yourself in St. Martin, stroll into the main book store in Marigot (the capital) and you will see two of my mystery novels prominently displayed up front.  (THE GRACELAND GANG and THE PIRATE PATH)  I donated some copies to the store on the condition that the proceeds would go to charity.  The manager was quite gracious, especially after I told him that I used to write under the pen name of Stephen King.  (Hey, the money is going to charity.)

All things considered, we had a wonderful trip, made lots of new friends, sold some books, contributed to the local island economies, and played some ferocious poker.  If you throw in the two bottles of coconut rum that we consumed, I’d say it was another incredible outing.  Still, it’s great to be home, and great to be back with our family and friends.  I believe it was St. Augustine who said that not traveling is like reading one chapter of a book, and I pretty much agree with that.  However, there is no place like home, and no place like our beloved U.S.A.

I will write again soon…. after I pay some bills!  Love to all…..

Doc Yanoff, The Pirate King of the Southern Caribbean.

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE!

PLEASE NOTE:  THE FOLLOWING BLOG CONTAINS A GREAT DEAL OF EMBELLISHMENT AND EXAGGERATION.  (Both of which fall under the purview of “Literary License.”)

WELL, IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT….. (Make that a hot and sunny day) whence our little ocean-going vessel limped along the Mosquito Coast of Central America, bound for the silver mines (tourist shops) of Cozumel, Mexico.  Our intrepid captain, Lorenzo Ronzoni, (formerly of Costa Cruise Line) gave the order to drop anchor (sadly without checking that we were already tied to the pier) and then we went ashore, searching for the Lost City of Gold!

We arrived in Mexico after our “Bungle in the Jungle,” which saw one of our shipmates attacked and bitten by a hostile simian, not to be confused with an angry Syrian.  The little monkey bit our compadre on the arm, and being a kind and gentle bunch of global-warming, rain-forest saving, nerds, we blew his head off.  (Not our compadre’s head, the monkey’s head!)  Just kidding.  We are American citizens.  We know what to do in these situations.  (We immediately filed a ten million dollar lawsuit!)

After trekking through the jungles of Honduras, we snuck across the border and found ourselves in Belize.  Unfortunately, the authorities also found us.  Who knew you needed a passport to enter a foreign country?  Anyway, we made our way to Belize City, and then realized that we had missed our dive and snorkel boat to the infamous “Blue Hole.”  (Who knew they actually had a schedule?)  I blamed my travel companions, and of course, they blamed me, so we returned to our “mother ship,” and consoled ourselves with a bucket of cold beer and more rum.

At this juncture, I might add that one of my companions was Judge Susan Marquess, of Austin, Texas.  Her honor happens to be celebrating her 39th birthday today, so on behalf of our expeditionary group, I would like to wish her a very happy birthday.  (Thank goodness we had a lawyer and judge in our party.  We were able to post some very reasonable bonds throughout our voyage.)

Some bonds are broken, and so are some bones!  I am happy to report that Barbara Talbott, the reigning poker champion of Honduras, only suffered a broken middle toe during her recent encounter with a Mayan pyramid.  Funny how fast some folks can run when they think they are being chased by a jaguar.  (Or a Mercedes.)  The “Princess of Poker”  (Her Mayan name) will be wearing a customized toe cast for six weeks, but after that, she will only have a slight limp for the rest of her natural life.  (A small price to pay for such a wonderful jungle adventure!)

Incidentally, Dr. Max Talbott has fully recovered from a nasty bout of Somnus Maximus.  (Sleeping Disease.)  Apparently, the dreaded illness was NOT a result of an insect bite…. but the result of a prodigious consumption of Ten Cane Rum.  Whew!  For a while we thought he was a goner.  Now that he has fully recovered (we think) I can tell you that we had already made final plans for the poor lad.  (I contacted the very best taxidermist in Belize.)  The idea was to stuff Max and put him on permanent display at the Blanton Museum in Austin.  (Max loves being around art.)

You might be interested to know, that just like last year, I had an evening visit from one of the local terrorist groups in Mexico.  Once again, I was forced to entertain a small band of masked baditos (or banditti, if you prefer) and as always, I was able to convince the poor outlaws that I had no denero.  (Turns out they wanted  Robert DeNiro, not money.)  They were the first autograph hunter/banditos in the region.  Odd group of outlaws, if you ask me.  (One of them wore glasses and had his/her nose sticking out of the sheet slot which was slit in the sheet sort of south of the smiling section of the silky satin sleeping sack.)  TRY SAYING THAT TEN TIMES IN A ROW!

For those of you who do not like tongue twisters, here are some facts about our recent voyage……   We traveled a total distance of 2,417 miles.  (Mostly upon the water.)  Our average ship speed was 18 knots.  Our average walking speed was .005 miles per hour.  Average nap time…..  64.8 minutes.  Average consumption of alcohol and drugs (Codeine)….. undetermined.

Finally, I would like to thank all of the people who purchased a copy of THE PRESLEY PLOT during the past two weeks.  Your generosity has now made the book an INTERNATIONAL BEST SELLER.  I can tell you that I actually saw my book in the ship’s library, and that many folks in Central America are now reading THE PRESLEY PLOT and are anxiously awaiting the release of MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE.  (This includes many of the local citizens of Honduras, Belize, and Mexico, and a large number of jungle guerillas (NOT gorillas!) drug cartel members, federales, I.R.S. fugitives, and deposed dictators.  (One cannot be too choosey about one’s readership.)

It will take a while to get this fantastic voyage out of my system (even with the antibiotics) so I will write again soon, whence I am fully recovered from my bout with pokus defeatus.  (Poker losses.)  Until then, it is wonderful to be home, back in the good old U.S.A.   I missed clean water, indoor toilets, and well-behaved monkeys. (Our elected officials.)  Take care, and they say in down south (far down south)….

Vaya con dios, no horda la Kaopectate!

Love to all,

Doc Yanoff    (Senor Jugador Malo)

P.S.  A word to the wise……  NEVER play Texas Hold ‘Em (or MONOPOLY) with the Corpus Christi Crusher.  Yeah, she’s that good!