BONUS BLOG (DUE TO BOURBON!)

GOOD EVENING, LADIES AND GERMS (Shecky Greene, 1965) HOW DO YOU LIKE THE CATSKILLS?  THE CHEF MAKES FOOD FIT FOR A KING!  (HERE, KING, HERE KING….. )  Since I have consumed a copious amount of Kentucky Bourbon (In South Carolina!) I have decided to compose a “bonus blog,” which proves that man does not live by  bread (pudding) laced with rum alone!  So….  here’s what happened today…

The morning began with the consumption of the WORLD’S BEST almond croissant and fresh brewed French roast coffee.  Shortly thereafter, Miss Daisy and I meandered over to the Charleston Museum, one of the finest museums in the South.  I got to view the H.L. Hunley submarine, the Confederate submarine that was the VERY FIRST sub to sink a ship!  (A Yankee carpetbagger that was blockading Charleston Harbor!)  The sub sank in 1864, killing Mr. Hunley and seven other crewmen.  It was brought up in 2000 and fully restored to its natural splendor.  (Truly incredible.)  What a treat to view this historic vessel.

Another treat came at lunchtime…..  a mini-feast of Southern vegetables at Jestine’s Country Kitchen.  OMG, the okra and collard greens were incredible.  After lunch we toured one of the historic homes of Charleston, a Winnebago parked on Meeting Street.  (Just Kidding!)  We went to the amazing pre-Civil War home of Joseph Manigault.  (Ever hear of the “Manigault Line?”)  Wait a minute, I think that was the Marginot Line.  Never mind, I was just joking.  (Have I used this “line” before?)

The Manigault family was one of the founding families of Charleston, and all of the streets in the area are named after their children!  (Except Main Street, who was named after their most important cousin.)  Naturally, they were of Huguenot descent, and they made a fortune selling rice.  (One of them became Jewish and sold “converted rice.”)  His name was Shecky Manigault, and he wasn’t fat, just a little “puffy.”  I think he became a “colonel” during the Civil War.

This evening we dined with a prominent Charleston physician and his lovely family.  (Another amazing meal at the Hominy Grill.)  Try to envision a perfect Mint Julep, followed by fried green tomatoes, homemade biscuits, collard greens, red beans and rice, and the best tasting piece of cornmeal crusted grouper with shrimp gravy in the UNIVERSE!  I am almost (key word, “almost”) embarrassed to admit this, but Miss Daisy and I actually split a piece of buttermilk pie for dessert!

In the immortal words of Oscar Wilde, “I can resist anything but temptation!”

We leave for Jacksonville and then Boca Raton tomorrow….. so look for the continuing adventures of “The Galloping Gourmet” and his faithful sidekick, “Crazy Daisy” in the days ahead…..   May the force (and the Alka-Seltzer) be with you!

Col. Rufus T. Firefly, N.U.T.   (a/k/a Doc Yanoff)

SINGIN’ THE BLUES…..

Sadly, we lost the great George Jones this week.  A big loss for those of us who love country music.  As some of you know, I was born in Nashville.  Back in the day, my aunts often took me to the Grand Ole Opry, and I remember meeting Mr. Jones backstage.  He was always very polite, and as I recall, always willing to give some squirt an autograph.  Did you know that his big song, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” was recently voted “the greatest country song of all time?”  Interestingly, Jones did not like the song at first, and he almost refused to record the darn thing.  He thought it was too long, too sad, and too depressing!  (Much like my writing career!)

Personally, I thought it was a great song, but not as good as the one and only country song that I wrote.  (“I’ll Never Get Over You Until You Get Out From Under Him.”)  My little tune was recorded by The Inbred Brothers, and even though it didn’t get much airplay outside of Arkansas, it was nominated for a Granny.  (Similar to the Grammy Award, but given to a senior citizen.)  What a treat it was to see my name in Billboard.  (Actually, my name was ON a billboard, but that’s a long story, and I was falsely accused.)

NOW FOR SOME LITERARY NEWS…..    Aberdeen Bay Press has received permission from my publicist (Invisible Irving Flakowitz) to feature my photograph on their worldwide webpage!  Sooo…. if you are so inclined, or even horizontal, you can log onto their website and view photographs of me signing books in England and France!  In all seriousness, this is very cool, and I appreciate the publicity.

Speaking of publicity….. I would like to publicly thank Mr. Ken Evans, a distinguished gentleman and world-class poker player, for purchasing 10 copies of MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE last week!  (They do make wonderful gifts.)  I’ve noticed that a handful of Austin celebrities are also reading the book…..  i.e., Judge Susan Marquess, Rich Walker, Leigh Ann Woodward, Barbara Talbott, Donna Simon, Christine Nickles, Paula Johnston, and Lee Bomblatus.  (Some of these folks ain’t from Austin, per se, but who’s counting?)  They are here in spirit!  Thanks gang!

While we are on the subject of publicity…..  My friend, Diane Fanning, who just happens to be an incredibly talented writer, is celebrating the publication of her 20th book!  Quite an accomplishment.  Congratulations, Diane!  My other friend (I have two) Larry Brill, is off and running with his first book, and from what I hear, it is destined to become a huge success.  (It’s called “Live@Five”)

I would like to remind my faithful blog followers that Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  (Each year I send my own mom a card of congratulations for having me.)  I’m not sure how my mom feels about that.  (She likes to say “If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong!)  Still, I would remind you that we’re supposed to respect our elders, even though, as time marches on, it’s getting harder and harder to find one!

By the way, speaking of finding things, you might want to order a copy of MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE this week.  There are only a few copies left from the first printing, and the second printing, which will begin this week, will take some time to complete.  (Your mom will be very disappointed if she gets candy or flowers again!)  I sent my own mom two copies (I charged her full price, but I paid for half of the shipping) and I’m sure she was touched by my generosity.  Where there’s a will…. I want to be in it!

Well, folks, take care and have a safe and happy week.  The spring book tour begins this Saturday, so the next time that you hear from me I will be in Tupelo, MIssissippi!  (Where the heck did I put those blue suede shoes??)  Elvis loves you, baby!

Doc Yanoff

LIFE IS STRANGER THAN FICTION!

STRANGER THAN NONFICTION, TOO!  Have you folks been following “the Presley plot?”  No, not my brilliant, best-selling novel, but the Ricin-laced letters that have been sent to President Obama and Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi?  Whoa, talk about art imitating life!  The true (and thoroughly bizarre tale) took place in…..  Tupelo, Mississippi.  (The first major stop on my upcoming book tour!)  Get this….. one of the participants is an Elvis impersonator and the other worked in an insurance office!  (Do you think my book, THE PRESLEY PLOT, had a big influence on these clowns?)

The fellow that was first arrested (Paul Kevin Curtis) was apparently framed by a fellow impersonator (James Everett Dutschke) and was totally surprised when the F.B.I. showed up.  He thought he was being accused of sending “rice” in the mail!  (No joking.)  The poor guy had never heard of Ricin.  The feds arrested Curtis on some flimsy intelligence… First, he had an Uncle Ben.  Second, his girlfriend was pregnant when he married her, so the crowd threw “puffed rice” when they came out of the church.  Third, Curtis was a “kernel” in the Mississippi National Guard!  (My wife, Patty, wrote these last 3 jokes.  She knows a lot about rice.  You might say she’s a “rice Patty.”)

I will be in Tupelo for a book signing/speaking engagement on May 12th and 13th, so I will keep you informed of the case.   From there we head to Birmingham, Atlanta, Charleston, and then down to Boca Raton.  My wife’s cousin, the S.W.A.T. team guy, will be “house-sitting” while we’re gone.  I really like the guy, but he asked me if he could bring his “bitch.”  (His word, not mine.)  He travels with a Belgian Malinois, but I’m told he keeps her on a “tight leash” and that her bark is worse than her bite.  I’ve never met her, but I hear she’s a real dog.  Oh well, to each their own.

Hey, can somebody explain something to me?  Why do we bother to wash bath towels?  Aren’t we clean when we use them?  Just saying.

I have had a VERY busy week promoting my new book, MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE.  On Tuesday, I spoke in Giddings, Texas, a charming little town southeast of Austin.  My hosts were very nice, and they seemed to be impressed that I knew something about the history of their town.  (Which was built on part of the land granted to Stephen F. Austin in 1821 for a colony in Spanish, Texas!)  The population of Giddings is 5,105, but there are 19 churches in town, so as you can see, Lee County might be called “The Holy Land.”

On Thursday I had my very first interview by a New York magazine dedicated to reviewing newly published novels.  I spent a full hour on the telephone, chatting about this and that, and promoting THE PRESLEY PLOT and MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE.  Two months from now, a full-length book review will be available, and when I get it, I will post it on this blog.  The reporter will be reviewing the second book, which he seemed to like on the telephone.

Meanwhile…..  Miss Emily (the world’s best typist) is busy at work, typing my first nonfiction book, THE SECOND MOURNING.  Marketing will begin sometime in July or August, so keep your fingers crossed for me.  I began my final editing process for the third “Adam Gold Mystery” on Wednesday.  The book is called DEVIL’S COVE, and thanks to my art director, Rachel Zell, we came up with another wonderful book cover.  (Think of a mysterious-looking cove, engulfed in fog!)

Due to popular demand (from the bar staff)  I shall be returning to the poker tables starting today.  I will be playing in this evening’s poker tournament at the Waterloo Ice House, and again on Thursday evening at the “Bi-Monthly Cut-Throat, Don’t Even Try To Bluff Tourney” at Steiner Ranch.  Wish me luck!  (Did you know that poker was invented by sailors from New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1829?  They spread the game via riverboat, and the original version used a 20-card deck.)

I have been accused of not playing with a full deck, but as you know, I am much like the weather in Texas.  (No, not a “blow hard!”)  I refer to the fact that I am immune to criticism!  Hence, I shall now sign off, and prepare for tonight’s inevitable poker victory!  Have a wonderful week…..  Love to all…..

Doc Yanoff

DO NOT READ THIS SENTENCE!

OOPS, TOO LATE… NOW YOU HAVE TO READ MY ENTIRE BLOG POST…

SO….. Have you noticed since everyone has a camcorder or smart phone these days no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to?  Well, almost no one.  CNN reports that there are 500 “sightings” per month, but alas, most are aircraft (earthly ones) or weather balloons.  I recently read that both Jimmy Carter and Dennis Kucinich are among the political class who swear to have seen a UFO.  Somehow, this does not surprise me.  I always wondered where their “home districts” really were.

Of course, there is another explanation… perhaps our intergalactic visitors have been furloughed due to the sequester?  Takes a lot of fuel to go from Mars to Earth, and then there are the tolls.  Not an easy trip.  (The AAA map weighs 75 pounds!)

Well, in any case, I am not interested in heading north.  No sir, my motto this week was “Go west, young man!”  Heeding the words of Horace Greeley, I packed up the old Ford pickup and drove west, bound for a sold-out book signing/speaking engagement in the lovely town of Wimberley, Texas.  (No, I did not go to Wimberley on a whim!)

I was actually invited, and I must admit, Wimberley is quite whimsical in a wonderful way.  (Whew!)  This was not my first trip to the lovely burgh, but the last time I was there I went swimming in the famous “blue hole,” a charming, spring-fed spot on Cypress Creek.  If you haven’t seen this little gem, you owe it to yourself to take a drive out yonder.  (If you go in April, you will see some truly amazing fields of Texas wildflowers.)  Did you know that they named a flower after Dennis Rodman?  (It’s called a “bloomin’ idiot!”)

So what else is new…..  Well, last night we celebrated not one, but two birthdays!  Miss Barbara (Talbott) and Miss Patty (Yanoff) reached an important milestone.  (Actually, they are both several miles down the road, if you know what I mean.)  Together with a large crowd of well-wishers (led by Judge Susan, and Helena and Lee Bomblatus) we ate, drank, made merry.  (Merry was our waitress.)  Thank God she didn’t complain about my tip.  Geez, that would have been embarrassing!

During the birthday festivities, Judge Susan gave me a box of cheese pockets from a famous Dallas bakery (No, I will NOT post the name…. the lines are getting too long!) and as I peck away, I am devouring the last tender morsels of my morning treat.  Bless you, Susan.

I will be sharing a beer or two with Larry Brill on Tuesday, so if you would like to meet this (semi) famous television personality, or learn about his forthcoming literary efforts, drop by North by Northwest around 5 p.m.  (We should still be erect by then.)

After my sterling (make that silver-plated) performance at the poker table last week, I will be putting my title on the line this evening…. as I play in another W.S.O.P. tournament, challenged, as it were, by a host of pretenders-to-the-throne.  Knaves!  Varmints!  Visigoths!  (What the hell is that?)  Do these fools really think they can beat the mighty COBRA?   Have they read THE PRESLEY PLOT?  Have they read MURDER ON MAIDEN LANE?   (I couldn’t think of any other way to get the book titles into the blog.)  Never mind, those are just rhetorical questions.

I will leave you with a thought I recently had.  As I was driving back from Wimberly, I spotted a herd of cattle.  Have you heard of cattle?  I digress… So as I’m driving down the highway, I says to myself, “Steve, I says, who was the first person to look at a cow and say, ‘I think I’ll squeeze these dangly things and drink whatever comes out.’ ”   Now there’s a fellow I’d like to meet.  (Need I mention that he had a “lot of pull?”)  Got Milk?

Well, I must run… another grueling day of writing, eating, drinking, and poker awaits the mighty Cobra!  I hope everyone has a great week….   don’t forget to set your clocks ahead or back, depending on your political persuasion.  Love to all…

Doc Yanoff