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October 6, 2006 friday
October 6th, 2006

According to my publisher, DRAWING THE LINE is now offically out! I had my first booksigning and interviews are continuing. Check out a chapter here, then run to go buy a copy. See what I wasted five years on and why I soon won't be able to work anywhere in town ever again, yippee!

Birthdays: Alfred Lord Tennyson,Jenny Lind the Swedish Nightingale, George Westinghouse, Janet Gaynor, Carol Lombard, Karol Szymanowski, Thor Heyderthal, wrestler Bruno Sammartino, late Syrian President Hafez Al-Assad, Britt Eckland, Le Corbusier, Elizabeth Shue is 43, Sean William Scott

In Ireland this is Ivy Day, when Irish folk commemorate the death of the great statesman Charles Stuart Parnell with a sprig of ivy in their buttonholes.

1802- The Heiligenstadt Testament- Composer Ludwig van Beethoven left behind a note found among his papers after his death in 1827. Dated this day it was addressed to his brother Karl and another unspecified relative. It was more of a spiritual Last Will than anything else. In the note Beethoven poured out of his heart confessing his faults and his fears of going deaf. It is an amazing insight into the great man’s soul.

1826- A Missouri saddlemaker offered a reward of one penny for a runaway apprentice. The boy had joined a Santa Fe bound wagon train and grew up to become Kit Carson, one of the Old West's most famous scouts.

1863- The first Turkish Bath House is opened in Brooklyn.

1866-The first recorded train robbery.

1889- Paris' naughty nightclub the Moulin Rouge opened.

1921- In London the society known as PPEN established, for Poets, Playwrights, Editors and Novelists.

1927-"THE JAZZ SINGER"with Al Jolson debuts. Okay, Okay, Somebody made a sound picture in 1924 and also something called "Footlights of New York" from 1926 but hey, you know what?- who cares! THIS was the movie that made "Talkies" a reality. The premiere was also the occasion for Sid Grauman to throw the first big Hollywood premiere at the Grauman’s Chinese Theater with limos and red carpets and spotlights.

1942-THE BIRTHDAY OF WONDER WOMAN. William Moulton Marston was an educational consultant in 1940 for Detective Comics, Inc.(now better known as DC Comics). Marston saw that the DC line, seeing it filled with images of super men such as Green Lantern, Batman, and their flagship character, Superman. Seeing all these male heroes, Marston was left wondering why there was not a female hero. Max Gaines, then head of DC Comics, was intrigued by the concept and told Marston that he could create a female comic book hero - a "Wonder Woman." Marston did that, using a pen name that combined his own middle name with the middle name of Gaines: Charles Moulton
Marston was the creator of the systolic blood-pressure test, which lead to the creation of the polygraph(lie detector). Because of his discovery, Marston was convinced that women were more honest and reliable than men and could work faster and more accurately. During his life time, Marston championed the causes of women.
In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, Marston said: 'Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power, Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.' In December 1941, Marston's 'good and beautiful woman' made her debut in All Star Comics #8. Following this exposure in what was the second largest selling comic in DC's line, Wonder Woman appeared in her own berth in Sensation Comics #1(January 1942), and six months later in her own self-titled book(Summer 1942).

1959- “Pillow Talk”premiered, the first romantic comedy pairing Doris Day and Rock Hudson. Stanley Shapiro won a best screenplay Oscar for it. The film typified the wink-wink attitude about sex before the 1960’s Sexual Revolution and defined Doris Day’s reputation as the wholesome, girl-next-door archetype. Oscar Levant quipped: “I knew Doris Day before she was a virgin.”

1971- William Freidkin’s gritty cop movie the FRENCH CONNECTION premiered. The film won best picture, director and actor Oscars, made a major star out of Gene Hackman. One unforeseen result was the movie stimulated interest in pursuing the investigation of the real French-Corsican Mafia heroin trafficking in the US until that mob was broken up in 1979. The two real life detectives the film was based on- Eddie Egan and Sonny Corso, booth retired from the NYPD and pursued careers in show biz.

I was in High School at Art & Design and everyone in class was talking about it. It was filming around our neighborhoods in Queens and Brooklyn, and it was full of swear words, and violence and gritty realism.

We thought it was the coolest movie.

Films are often mirrors of our society, and old films become time capsules of bygone eras. Now in middle age, watching from the secure shade of my California tangerine trees, I can see films like the French Connection are all thats left of my New York.

Even though the buildings are old, New York is a city that constantly evolves. The city my parents grew up in was the city of neighborhood tenements and pushcarts, the city of the 30s films Dead End and Angels with Dirty Faces.

My New York was the city of the French Connection, Mean Streets, Heavy Traffic and Taxi Driver. A little dirtier, a little more dangerous, a little more real. The Times Square I knew was not the corporate Disneyland it has become. It was a scary place after dark, a place that dealt in sin at a discount. It was a black and white city. NYPD drove in those black and darkgreen Plymouths, still the best looking cop cars to me. Like Popeye Doyle , I remember what it was like to hang out on a bitter cold streetcorner in January, steam pouring out of your mouth and nothing to warm you but a blue & white paper cup of bad Greek coffeeshop coffee. Jumping turnstiles, remembering to never ride in the last subway car, especially when going under a river, thats where the gangs ride. Making out in Central Park, heroin syringes among the litter in the bushes. Hot zeppole at the San Genaro Festival. Every street seemed to have a Jamaican steel drum player. You had to watch out for dogsh*t on your shoes, yellow snow and the subway corridors smelled of urine and vomit. Ah bliss.

It was probably good that it did evolve, but the films bring back the old shades of What Once Were, and Will Never Be again.