Friday, September 05, 2014

The Star-Ledger Building: 1966-2014

Paid a last visit Wednesday night to the mostly-gutted and soon-to-be-vacated Star-Ledger office in Newark, where the paper's been since 1966 and where I worked for 13 years (1995-2008). The organization's been divided and dismantled, the staff decimated by layoffs, buyouts and attrition, and those remaining have been split up into smaller leased satellite offices in other cities. The building itself was sold to a developer and likely to be razed. Contrary to Thomas Wolfe, sometimes you have to go home again, if only to see that it's not there for you anymore.

(Above, stacked and discarded mailbox trays of former staffers.)

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Monday, July 21, 2014

On Raymond Chandler - and Robert Altman's - THE LONG GOODBYE

Scott Montgomery, master bookseller at Mystery People, the mystery division of the great Austin, Texas, bookstore Book People, asked me for some thoughts on Raymond Chandler's 1953 novel THE LONG GOODBYE, as well as Robert Altman's 1973 film adaptation. You can read Scott's column here.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Forty years at The Stony Pony

For their summer issue, INSIDE JERSEY magazine asked me to write something about the 40th anniversary of Asbury Park's legendary nightclub The Stone Pony, where I spent more time and money (not to mention hearing and brain cells) over the years than I care to admit. It's now available on-line here.

Above: Steve Van Zandt and Bruce Springsteen make an impromptu appearance at The Stone Pony in 1977.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dashiell Hammett, the not-so-simple sorcerer

Dashiell Hammett, putting the whole writing biz in metaphorical - if somewhat cynical - perspective.

"In this nonsense you've learned you'll find the satisfaction a man has in doing what - however silly - he can do skillfully. There will be days when you find a pleasure in the thought of things you have done for your clients, though that will come only on optimistic days ... You'll have your skill, and your craftsman's pride in that skill, and the money it brings you, and presently you will be middle-aged and old. .,. But in the end you will become - as I hope - a simple-minded sorcerer with childish pride and faith in your utility."

From "Magic," collected in THE HUNTER AND OTHER STORIES, published by The Mysterious Press.