Sunday, May 28, 2006

Dateline: Boston

Home again – for a couple of days anyway.

Arrived back in Boston for the Memorial Day weekend, and not a moment too soon. Too many days in a row of getting up at 3:00 or 4:00 a.m. to get on a plane can wear a guy out. My daughter was away at a sleep-over at a friend’s house, unfortunately, but my wife was happy to see me.

My dog, however, nearly went out of her . . . fur. She’s a Golden Retriever we adopted from The Seeing Eye guide-dog school in Morristown, New Jersey. She’s a total sweetheart, like all Goldens, but more than a little neurotic. She has serious separation anxiety. Whenever she seems me take out my suitcase, she goes into a funk, puts her head between her paws and won’t move, issues long heartfelt sighs.

Anyway, when I came back Friday night she couldn’t stop running around in circles, and then insisted on licking my face and neck – and hair (!) – until I had to make her stop.

I dread seeing her Tuesday when I start packing my suitcase again.

So . . . a quick update. I haven’t blogged for several days because I haven’t had a minute to do so.

First thing: the taxi driver who took me home from Logan Airport home on Friday night told me some things I’m not sure I believe. Anyone reading this who knows the truth, e-mail me and let me know if these things are true: Pat Boone wrote several of Metallica’s songs, and the legal stipulation in the contract was that he couldn’t claim any credit as long as he stayed out of heavy metal – which is why he recorded a heavy metal album, which sold maybe 3 copies – just to stake a claim to authorship. (???). Barry Manilow ghost-wrote many of the Stones’ songs for Keith Richards. Can these things really be true?

Left the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas at 4:00 a.m. Appeared on “Atlanta & Company” on WXIA-TV, a really good if brief interview.

Then . . . I was scheduled to appear on CNN Headline News at noon to talk about KILLER INSTINCT. In the car on the way to CNN studios, my cell phone rang. The Enron verdict was going to be read at noon. I was going to be bounced (dropped) – unless I could talk about Enron. I said, sure. I can talk about Enron and the culture of corporate corruption. After all, don’t I write novels about that kind of thing?

Got to CNN, where they brought me to a computer right in the studio, and I frantically read up on the specifics of the legal charges against Lay and Skilling. Five minutes before noon, they miked me up and brought me to the anchor desk. At noon the verdict was announced: both men were guilty. They immediately turned to me for reaction.

I have a new admiration for on-air experts who can give instantaneous reactions, in real time. It ain’t easy. But I gave my opinion, which was a contrarian one: these guys don’t represent corporate America. A tiny percentage of corporations are involved in this kind of scamming. Sure, I write about it in my novels, but the truth is, most companies don’t do this kind of thing. Most of them, in fact, are overburdened by the Sarbanes-Oxley regulations that require a ridiculous amount of financial reporting.

I got a number of outraged e-mails from viewers who accused me of shilling for corporate America. Which is funny, since the usual attacks I get via e-mail are from readers who think I’m too ANTI-corporate. Sorry, folks – I tell the truth as I see it.

Still on an adrenaline high from CNN, I went right to a taping of the Paula Gordon Show, a very smart radio program whose hosts, Paula Gordon and her husband Bill Russell, are always incredibly thoughtful and smart. They're a welcome change from the usual 3-minute radio interview, and always a pleasure.

A nice signing that night at a Books-a-Million in Peachtree City, Georgia. Met a couple of longtime readers of my books and a bunch of people who were just discovering me – one of whom won the 42” NEC plasma TV.

The next day, I taped Café Central TV with host Conn Jackson, a show that’s seen in 47 markets. Conn is a terrific, energetic interviewer who’s interested in stories of inspiration. We talked about what it takes to make it as a writer, the obstacles you have to overcome. This is the kind of thing I normally talk about privately to beginning writers; it was interesting to talk publicly about it. Good interview.

Now, I’m unplugging until Seattle . . .



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