The Pinstriped Bible comes to you from a railroad car moving between Baltimore and Philadelphia, or what those of us who rarely find a reason to venture off of I-95 between New Jersey and Washington refer to as "terra incognita." "Here there be dragons," the maps say, and one suspects that what they refer to are not literal dragons but bad Chinese restaurants secretly staffed by goth college dropouts from the Midwest who have parlayed an interest in hair-straighteners and black dye into semi-lucrative careers in ethnic impersonation and culinary counterfeiting, passing off Indiana corn and Arkansas chicken parts as Moo Goo Gai Pan. It could be some intestinally corroding experiences with off-coast Asian foods has made me paranoid, or maybe it was two days amidst the striped-tie boys of occupied Washington. Maybe they're all working together out of the CIE, Culinary Institute of Espionage. The latest briefing says that the Iranians won't have the George Foreman Grill for at least five years, but we may go to war anyway.It was an honor to be a bit player in that little comedy, just as it's an honor to spend time with Steve, who's one of the best friends I've made in this racket. We're separated by two hours of geography and don't get to spend much face time except in the context of these promo gigs; most of our interactions tend to come via instant messaging in the wee hours as we pick apart something I've written for one of his book projects. As one of the hardest workers I know, he's a great influence to be around, always reminding me that I can and should think bigger and do better, and -- given the serious health woes he constantly finds himself up against -- with a greater sense of urgency. More than that, he's a constant font of ideas, with a tremendous breadth of knowledge and a wacky sense of humor, the ability to muster an apt and funny quotation that will find its way into a conversation several times in a given encounter (such as the Abe Lincoln one in the title of this post).
I enjoy traveling by train between short-hop destinations like New York and Washington. In the age of the interminable airline delay, it really is the smarter, faster way to travel, and indeed, as soon as (if) the United States ever gets a true high-speed train system up, airline travel between Boston, New York, and Washington will wither and die. Similar effects have occurred in Europe, where they bullet along similar inter-city distances at roughly 200 mph in more or less perfect safety. With no grade-level crossings, there are fewer opportunities for Jereboam to park his poultry truck on the tracks and cause a major disaster.
My only regret about this one trip is being cautioned by the Norman Lloyd look-alike across the aisle (for photo reference see, appropriately enough, Alfred Hitchcock's "Saboteur") not to speak. Jay Jaffe, my traveling companion, and I inadvertently ensconced ourselves in the "Quiet Car." The Quiet Car, to quote the sign hanging above the aisle, requires that you, "Please refrain from loud talking or using cell phones in this car." When Jay whispered a question at me about — well, I never did get to find out what he was asking — I am hopeful that he had not just discovered that he was on fire — Norman jumped up and shouted, "Could you guys not TALK? It's really disturbing." I briefly considered shouting back, "Hey, Himmler, this is the Quiet Car, not the MUTE car. This is not the Maharishi's Meditation Caravan or the Prior Restraint Choo-Choo. Maybe you'd be more comfortable in the Corpse Car. Are you disturbed now? How about now? Wait until I tell you my theory about Chinese food imposters in off-highway Delaware. Then you'll be sorry you stopped my friend from telling me he was on fire."
Alas, I only mumbled a small fraction of that, not wanting to be forcibly relocated or removed. Principle was on my side, but after a few weeks of touring, I'm too fatigued to fight. That's my story, anyway, and I'm sticking with it.
June 2001 July 2001 August 2001 September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]