Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Turkey Hunt: A Short Story by Victor Lana

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A week before Thanksgiving in 1938, my teenage brother and I walked through vast fields that sprawled behind the house where we lived in Queens, New York. In those days most of the area consisted of woods and farmland.
Dan wore Dad’s old Mackinaw coat which was worn on the sleeves at the elbows and a little tattered about the edges. We got to the top of the hill and the woods smelled sweet after the rain the night before.

``Dan, can we pick some berries up by the stream?'' I asked.

``Sure, but what's the use? We'll have a pie for dessert and no turkey for dinner.''

I heard a funny noise and said, ``Dan, you hear that?''

``Hear what?'' he asked.

“That!'' I said as I pointed at a large bird staring at us from behind a big oak tree.

``That's an honest to goodness gobbling turkey,'' Dan whispered back. He looked around and picked up a big rock.

``Talk to it,” he said, “while I creep around and pound him.”

Visions of a steaming bird on our Thanksgiving dinner table filled my head. I said, ``Hey, Tom, Mr. Turkey, I mean, how are you? I guess not too good since next week is Thanksgiving.”

Dan threw the rock but missed. The bird ran right past me in a flash and disappeared into the dark woods.

``Did you see how fast that bird ran?'' I said. ``He’s faster than Jesse Owens!''
Dan said, ``Say nothing about this to Ma and Pop, okay?''

``Sure, if you say so, Dan.''

``We'll take Pop's shotgun tomorrow after school and we'll roam these woods until we find that bird and bag ourselves Thanksgiving dinner.''

*

For the next few days we did the same thing after school: we came into the house, kissed our mother, put our books away, and sneaked into Pop's closet and took his shotgun. I carried the shells and Dan rested the gun on his shoulder as we walked quickly toward the woods. Each day seemed to get colder and the darkness came earlier. On the day before Thanksgiving we heard the funny little noise again. Dan put his finger up to his mouth. 

``Don't make a move,'' he whispered.

``Do you want me to talk to him again?'' I whispered.

``Yes,'' Dan said, ``I'll go over and get him from behind that bush.''

The turkey stared at me with dark eyes, its big black-banded wings fluttering ever so slightly. It made little curdling noises while bending its head to the side as if to study me. It suddenly came into my mind that this bird was a victim, a lost soul in a world of lost souls, and we wanted to eat him for a holiday dinner and couldn't care less about his troubles. I looked up and saw Dan as he started to take aim at the bird. I ran forward, waving my arms back and forth yelling, ``Run, Mr. Turkey, run like Jesse Owens and get away.''

Dan had pulled the trigger but the turkey once again flew past me faster than my favorite athlete. Dan ran toward me and screamed, ``Are you nuts?''

``I felt sorry for him, Danny,''

``Sorry for him?'' Dan asked.

``I thought he might have a family.''

Dan grabbed me by the coat and shook me. ``If I wouldn't get in trouble, I'd beat you up.'' He let go of me and went off into the woods and back towards home.

As we came toward the house we could see Pop waiting for us on the front porch, the lit pipe glowing in his mouth. Imposing in his police uniform coat and hat, Pop asked, ``Where have you boys been with my shotgun?''

Dan handed it to Pop nervously. ``We were trying to shoot a turkey for dinner tomorrow.''

``A turkey?'' Pop asked. “There's been no turkeys around here for twenty years.''

``We saw one, Pop,'' I said.

Pop said. ``Get inside and wash up.''

*

The next morning I woke to the aroma of Ma's cooking. I went into the kitchen and found my mother basting a huge bird. I said, ``Ma, did Pop get that from Krauss the butcher?''

``I don’t know,” she said. “He surprised me this morning with it.”

I went out to the garage where Pop was sawing wood. I asked, ``Where'd you get the turkey, Pop?''

``You boys said that you saw a turkey out there in the woods, so I went to take a look.''

I felt my stomach turn and asked, ``You shot Tom?''

``I didn't stop to ask him his name,'' Pop said.

I felt sick and went outside and started up the hill in the cold, thinking about the turkey and how my father had shot it for us. He didn't think about the turkey's family, or if it was lost, or even if it had a name. These were hard times and people were starving all over our country. Who was going to mourn the loss of one bird?

I started thinking that I was going to enjoy this meal just as much as anyone in my family would. The gravy and the stuffing and the bird itself would be delicious. The Fantinis of Queens, New York, were going to have a true feast this Thanksgiving, one to rival ones being eaten by those rich people living on Fifth Avenue.

I thought about my mother's pie made with the raspberries I had picked along the stream. Ma said it would be one of the best pies we had ever eaten. I stood up and looked at the smoke coming out of my chimney, the windows of my house so warm against the cold, and at that moment I couldn't have wanted to be anyone else or live anywhere else in the world. I was more certain of this than anything I had ever known in my young life as I started back down the hill and headed home for dinner.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Talking More Than Turkey – Preparing for Election Rancor to Rock Thanksgiving

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Ah, the holidays – those warm, cozy times of families gathering around the festive table to eat a great meal and enjoy one another’s company. This year – not a chance! If you are feeling like I am right now, you are dreading the inevitable holiday dinner sit down that could possibly turn into something like a wrestling cage match.

As it is, holidays bring out the best and worst in people. We like to think of the past at these times – those fuzzy moments when we all gathered around the table with friends and loved ones who are no longer with us. Looking back now (still from the vantage point of sitting at the card tables in the living room with young siblings and cousins), I like to think of it as a Disney version of things – remembering everyone getting along and passing the sweet potatoes with melted marshmallows, instead of Uncle Jimmy yelling so hard about something that his false teeth popped out into a glass of cider.

mickey%20mouse%20thanksgivingYes, we tend to glorify that past as the good old days and  gloss over squabbles and bickering and the drunken relatives who would not leave the table until draining that wine bottle. Alas, they were also good times and everyone who is gone seemed so healthy and vibrant then, even my grandparents and other older relatives.

As a boy I took comfort in us all being together, and I figured every family had its disagreements. Back then the bickering could be Mets-Yankees or Jets-Giants more than anything political. Though I do recall when turning 18 and registering to vote being lambasted by my older relatives on Thanksgiving that year for not registering as a Democrat or a Republican – I chose to be an Independent and shook them all up a bit.

Though I recall one contingent of my family loving JFK (they adored him mostly because he was the first Catholic POTUS) and being fiercely loyal Democrats, they never fought with the Republican family wing who worshipped at the altar of Reagan. Maybe life was simpler then, but the disagreements tended to be much more about local politics (the two sides either loving or hating New York City Mayor Ed Koch, for example) and sports.

This year is poised to be different for my family and no doubt yours. The divide is much deeper now – the rift wider than ever before. In the past you didn’t see people most of the year and got together without knowing much of what was going on in their lives since last New Year’s Eve, but now courtesy of Facebook, Twitter, and email, we know everything that every cousin, aunt, and uncle thinks and does all year long (like seeing pictures of that great vacation Aunt Ester had in Florida or knowing about the deer cousin Jerry hung upside down in his garage after shooting it last week).

We also know about our family members’ political views and, this year in particular, the battle lines have been drawn in the sand in deep red and blue. The prospect of friendly banter may be subsumed by acrimonious conversations, especially if that annoying cousin Millie makes her usual one contribution to the conversation – this year no doubt being something along the lines of “How about that Trump?”

131127_pol_thxpolargument-jpg-crop-promo-mediumlargeSince war may be waged over the Thanksgiving dinner table, perhaps keep the option open to using plastic utensils. Those big drumsticks – good possible weapons for sure – should probably be left on a platter in the kitchen, and don’t let Uncle Ralph (who will no doubt be wearing his red Make America Great Again Donald Trump hat) sit next to Hillary Clinton supporter Dad as he is carving the turkey, unless you want the shower scene from Psycho to unfold.

I don’t know about you, but I am contemplating skipping the whole dinner thing and going out to look for someplace that is open on Thanksgiving Day. The prospect of sitting down alone and eating some General Tso’s chicken at Szechuan Palace is infinitely more appealing than being there to witness the battle of the red and the blue over turkey and cranberry dressing.

So, gird your loins, America – this Thanksgiving is going to be a bumpy ride, but take solace in knowing that it will pass, and then everyone can kick the crap out of one another the next day trying to get the best deals in the stores on Black Friday. Man, you just have to love the holidays.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Why a Write-In Vote for President Is Not a Wasted Vote

While I had promised myself not to write anymore about the 2016 Presidential election until it was over, I find myself getting agitated by people saying, “A write-in vote” is a waste of time or a wasted vote. For those people like me who are thoroughly disenchanted with the two main candidates for the highest office in the land, saying something like this is as condescending as it gets.

To begin with, I am a registered Independent, so here in my home state of New York that basically means that I don’t exist. I cannot vote in the primaries, and the candidates that usually are considered the leading ones never represent my party (on occasion they do get an endorsement from my party, but that doesn’t mean they are the ones for whom I wish to vote).

After a raucous and obnoxious campaign waged by both Hillary Clinton (the Democratic Party nominee) and Donald Trump (the Republican nominee), I still have no inclination to vote for either one of them. This is more than about the issues or the personalities of these two totally unqualified candidates – it is about the lack of equity and accountability in the way nominees are chosen.

Earlier this year I wrote about getting rid of the conventions for both parties because they seem meaningless. When I see the machinations that went into depriving Bernie Sanders of a fair shot at being the Democratic nominee – and I firmly believe that he was robbed of the opportunity by the DNC, chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Ms. Clinton herself – how could I ever bring myself to vote for the nominee whom I believe does not deserve to be there?

On the Republican side, there were so many supposedly “qualified” but unlikeable and annoying candidates that Trump – in no way the cream rising to the top – became the nominee by default. You can say what you want about his tactics and personality, but it was his opponents’ haplessness and lack of personality that catapulted Trump to the nomination.
So, after watching the unthinkable become the unimaginable – two of the most unpopular candidates in American election history running for the presidency – can you blame me and people like me for wanting another option?

Someone I know whom I respect a great deal said about my wanting to write-in Bernie Sanders for President that “It is just sour grapes.” He, a staunch Hillary supporter, went on to say “Any write-in vote is a vote for Trump.” However, I have heard Trump supporters saying just the opposite – that a write-in vote is a vote for Hillary. Of course, I couldn’t disagree more.

A write-in vote is a vote of conscience and integrity. It indicates that I (and many like me) am unhappy with the system, disgusted with the way we are expected to vote like cattle, and that many American voters want more options than just Republican or Democrat.

I have liked some of the things that both Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein have said; there were also things that I did not appreciate. I was bothered by Johnson missing the beat on Aleppo and Stein seeming to lean toward policies I disagree with in some areas, but more than that, I just am not comfortable casting a vote for either one because they were not my first choice, and I still think my first choice is the best one for me.

bernie-sanders-mug_5fea106e0eb494469a75e60d8f2b18ea-nbcnews-fp-320-320From the beginning I liked what Bernie Sanders had to say and what he wouldn’t say – he never knelt down in the gutter like Trump and Clinton, who have repeatedly gotten on their knees mired in the muck to attack each other. Bernie’s candidacy was fueled by high ideals and the notion of not the bluster of making America great again, but rather making it a better place to live for all people.

I know that many voters feel that a write-in vote is meaningless, but I beg to differ. A write-in vote can shake the world – if only more Americans would be able to join with me and others like me and take that giant leap. Your write-in vote is not just one small step calling for change in this election but a giant leap for redefining democracy in America. By choosing to write-in a candidate for president you are saying so much by not uttering a word and casting your ballot against the status quo.

Imagine if enough of us went into the voting booths all over the country on November 8 and wrote-in Bernie Sanders’s name? Perhaps he would not win, but if a tangible percentage of votes went to him it would send a message to the parties and to the politicians that people want change; it would signal that the “political revolution” that Sanders promised during his campaign is not over – it has only just begun!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Clown - A Short Story by Victor Lana

Due to well-publicized creepy clown sightings, clown decorations for Halloween were banned in the county. Besides the banned decorations, clown costumes could not be bought in Warrenville’s stores as per Sheriff Hawkins’s edict.

Tommy Parker didn’t care much for rules in his fifth grade classroom or at home, and he certainly wasn’t going to let Hawkins stop him from being a scary clown for the Halloween party.

On the night before Halloween Tommy crept up into the attic and found the clown costume his older brother wore years before. The multi-colored jumpsuit and floppy felt shoes were okay, but he loved the sinister mask and the plastic butcher knife accessory; this clown costume would be perfect.

*
The next day in school the teachers were all talking about something in the hallway. Tommy’s best friend Billy Dee (so named because Billy Dee Williams was his parents’ favorite actor) leaned over to him and whispered, “I think something big is going on.”

Tommy nodded. “Like when poor Principal Olson died.”

“Yeah, right,” Billy Dee gushed.

Their teacher Ms. Tate came back into the room forcing a smile. She was the first teacher that Tommy ever liked. His teenage sister said, “She looks like Taylor Swift,” and Tommy fell in love sometime after that first week of school when she came in wearing a polka dot dress and black high heels looking like some kind of teaching superstar.

“What’s wrong, Ms. Tate?” asked pesty Marie Reynolds, the girl that had annoyed Tommy since Kindergarten.

“Oh, nothing is wrong at all,” Ms. Tate said, crossing her arms and biting her lip. Tommy knew something was definitely wrong.

*
After dark Tommy went to meet Billy Dee in the back alley behind Joey Martin’s house where the best Halloween parties were always held. Tommy carried the costume in a bag during the ten minute walk, just in case Hawkins or one of his deputies was around. Sure enough during his journey he saw three police cars with deputies patrolling the streets to watch over the trick-or-treaters as they went house to house with their parents.

Bill Dee was waiting for him dressed like Lando Calrissian from Star Wars. “Hey, you were supposed to be Jason Voorhees,” Tommy said.

“Yeah, but my Mom sewed this for me. She took a picture and they’re going to send it to the real Billy Dee.”

Tommy started putting on his costume. “Well, your mustache looks fake and that wig is weird.”

“Yeah, I guess. Hey, my parents heard on the radio about a killer clown in Barton. Mom says he killed three people.”

“Bet that’s what the teachers were talking about,” Tommy said as he finished transforming into a clown.

“Are you crazy?”

“Dude, Barton is far away. Besides, I’m not letting that stupid sheriff stop me from wearing this.”

Just as Tommy had slipped on the mask they heard an approaching police car siren, screeching tires, and what sounded like three gunshots from the street in front of Joey’s house. As they looked at one another in disbelief, a large man dressed like a creepy clown came rushing toward them carrying a huge butcher knife that was dripping blood.

“Oh, crap,” Billy Dee screamed. They moved back and tried to hide in the corner.

The clown glanced at them as he ran by and saw Tommy. He yelled, “You got balls, kid!”

Tommy took off his mask and threw it on the ground. The boys looked around the side of the building and saw a police car with the driver’s side door open; a deputy lay on the grass clutching his bloody shoulder.

The Martins and their guests ran outside trying to assist the deputy. Mr. Martin was on his cell phone calling for help. Tommy looked at the clown running away from them. “You’ve got your cell?”

Billy Dee nodded. “Sure, why?”

“Let’s go!” Tommy ran in the direction the clown had taken with Billy Dee running after him.

“What the hell are we doing?”

Tommy said, “We’re going to catch that clown.”

They ran through the park and saw blood on a still swaying swing. Billy Dee asked, “That can’t be dripping from the knife?”

Tommy yelled, “He’s bleeding – the deputy must’ve shot him.”

Rushing over the ballfield quickly, they spotted the clown across the road leaning against a building trying to catch his breath. Billy Dee said, “I’m calling 9-1-1!” Tommy saw the clown opening a window. Realizing it was Ms. Tate’s house, he started running toward it. 

“Tommy,” Billy Dee yelled, “are you crazy? Wait for the police!”

Ms. Tate apparently saw the clown climbing in the window with his butcher knife and screamed. Tommy jumped up and wrapped his arms around the clown’s legs; his weight pulled the clown down on top of him.

Tommy lay sprawled on the pavement as the clown got up and stood over him with the knife, noticing the costume jumpsuit that he had seen before. “Like I said, you got balls, kid, but now I’m gonna cut them off.”

As the clown prepared to bring the knife down on Tommy, five successive shots rang out; each one hit the clown in the chest, but the last one knocked him down. Tommy looked up to see Sheriff Hawkins holding his gun.

A sobbing Ms. Tate poked her head out the window. “Tommy Parker! Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Tommy said as he got up. Billy Dee came running with several deputies following him.
Hawkins looked up at Ms. Tate. “Are you okay, ma’am?”

Ms. Tate said. “Yes, thanks to Tommy it would seem.”

“About this costume…” Tommy started to say.

Hawkins put his hand on Tommy’s shoulder. “Let’s get you home to your parents.”

As they started walking away Tommy looked back. The deputies had handcuffed and turned the clown over; his green eyes had a preternatural glow, but it was the crooked smile frozen in death on a grotesquely painted face that Tommy would never forget.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Absurdity of Christmas Decorations in October

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Having ventured to Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, New York, yesterday to purchase some Halloween items, I was shocked to see the halls – and individual stores – decked with a good deal more than boughs of holly. The entire facility was festooned with Christmas decorations, and my only relief came from not hearing Christmas music.

There is something inherently wrong with Christmas in October. With what is known as Halloween weekend approaching, black and orange are the colors I should be seeing – not red and green. Not only is it appalling to see retailers subsuming the Halloween season like this, but it also seemingly negates a crucial holiday that falls in between Halloween and Christmas known as Thanksgiving.

Many years ago I worked in retail, and I remember decorating the store for Christmas on Thanksgiving Eve. This way when we opened the doors on the day after Thanksgiving, the Black Friday crowds would be greeted with seasonally appropriate decorations and the requisite music pumped over the sound system that went along with it.

As a child I recall my parents waiting until the first weekend in December to decorate the house for Christmas, usually around December 6, which is the feast of Saint Nicholas. My Mom’s German family called this “Little Christmas,” and we would get small gifts and treats on this evening. I always got excited on that day because I knew Christmas was not that far away.

Now is a completely different situation regarding Christmas; thanks to the retail and marketing people wanting to get a jump on the holiday season, the entire year is askew – we get Valentine’s Day items in the stores in early January, Easter decorations and bunnies following immediately after February 14, Fourth of July materials appear sometime in April, and Halloween paraphernalia gets put out in late August.

While I understand these retail executives have the bottom line in mind, they have no appreciation for the spirit of these holidays. Maybe some people do not mind seeing jack-o-lanterns in August, but I find this practice extremely annoying, especially because my kids start bothering me about getting costumes and decorating the house while I am still wearing shorts and thinking about barbecues, the beach, and the pool.

I know it is a losing battle, but I feel turned off by the complete disregard for respecting the integrity of the seasons. Seeing Christmas trees on October 27 is not only annoying, but it lessens my appreciation of just how beautiful the season truly is when the real time for it actually comes around.

rfm-1When I reached the store that was my destination, I was confronted with a massive Christmas display including Santa’s throne. How fortunate I felt not to have my kids with me so that I could avoid having to explain why Santa would be anywhere near the mall before they went trick or treating.

It is probably pointless to complain about this problem, but I am not going back to the mall until I turn the calendar to December. I know the Christmas soundtrack is coming, and I do not want to subject myself to hearing “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” or any other song or carol for that matter until I am in the Christmas spirit, and now I wonder if I will ever be.

Bah-humbug to all and to all a good night!

Monday, October 24, 2016

TV Review: The Walking Dead Season Seven Premiere – “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” Watching Anymore

















*This review contains spoilers and angry rants.

There is no other way to say this – after suffering through the season seven premiere of The Walking Dead (which used to be my favorite TV series) I am thoroughly angry and disheartened. Series creator Robert Kirkman and showrunner Scott Gimple – seen after the debacle on an episode of The Talking Dead that seemed like a Survivor finale in the rain – have clearly let power get to their greedy little heads. Kirkman has said that he would like TWD to go forever, but then he should seriously look at this episode’s title – “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” – and add the words “watching anymore” to the end of it because I am certain that I am not the only one and plenty of fans feel ready to dump this series.

I have been there since the first episode, and I have stuck with the TWD because I cared about the characters (obviously infinitely more than Kirkman and Gimple). I mean how many slings and arrows do they think we can continue to endure? They take Dale, Lori, Andrea, Herschel, and even dear sweet Beth, and we are supposed to keep going, right? The deaths are supposed to tell us anyone can bite the zombie dust (perhaps except Rick and Carl), and we are supposed to accept it. Up until last night I had hung in there, but now I’m on the fence and ready to jump off.

First of all it was bad enough to make us wait all summer to find out whom Negan (admittedly played amazingly by Jeffrey Dean Morgan) had dispatched, but then we had to suffer through two commercial breaks – two damn it – until we saw the action take place. This choice (whether made by director Greg Nicotero, Gimple, Kirkman or collectively by them all) shows complete and total disregard for the fans.

Instead of what we have been waiting all summer to see we get a tangent – an annoying an quite unnecessary one – with Negan dragging Rick (always excellent Andrew Lincoln) like a sack of bones into the RV and driving off and playing a game of “fetch the hatchet” with a hundred zombies running around. Now all of this seemed way off character for Rick who, despite having just witnessed the execution, would have – and I mean the real TV Rick and not the one they are trying to create now – would have grabbed that hatchet and thrown it into the back of Negan’s skull. That’s what the real Rick would have done, and then he would have driven the RV back, burst out with the machine gun, and cut down many of Negan’s men and send the rest of them running.

Alas, Kirkman and company are trying to shove this hybrid Rick down our throats now – and tossing the characters we love and the story we have followed to the zombies like entrails. We get scenes of Rick cowering, Rick subdued, Rick begging on his knees and raising that hatchet to cut off Carl’s arm. I am wondering if Gimple and Kirkman considered what a one-eyed and one-handed Carl might look like and decided against it, or if they just figured that the fans would start throwing their remotes at their TV sets at that point.

Getting back to Negan’s pummeling of the character (who turns out to be Michael Cudlitz’s Abraham) – brutal, bloody, and gruesome comes to mind – it is only after those before mentioned two commercial breaks and then we have nothing left to the imagination. I know Nicotero loves to use those make-up artists to create gore, but seeing it is less shocking than thinking about what it must have looked like.
Then, to rub salt in open and festering emotional wounds, Daryl (Norman Reedus) throws a punch at Negan and we all fear the fan favorite is doomed, but inexplicably Negan leaves him be (Gimple knows the death of Daryl would cause a fan revolt) and turns around and kills Glenn (Steven Yeun). Sure, we know it happened in the comics, but this is not the comics.

This is a TV show that has veered away from the comics more often than not, and it has made much narrative sense because you cannot get away with the crap from the comics on TV. For all those diehard readers who wanted the show to follow the comics word for way – it wouldn’t have worked for seven seasons, and after last night I am not certain if anything is going to work anymore.

So Negan kills Abraham and Glenn (Check). He roughs up Rick in a stupid game that proves the series is losing its soul (Check). He acts like God ordering Abraham to kill Issac when he asks Rick to cut off Carl’s arm (Check). He leaves our group broken and two bodies with heads like bloody pulps (Check). And now we are supposed to come back next week, right? We are supposed to swallow this crap and then ask for another helping?

Okay, I admit, I will be back next week, but the ice is getting thin for me, and I’m not sure how long I’ll keep skating on this pond. Yes, I want to see Negan drawn and quartered, but if you read the comics you know that won’t happen anytime soon. That is what I am worried about – the Kirkman goal to have TWD go on forever. Hey, Kirkman, this isn’t Gunsmoke. Get with it that the TV series is not the comic book series, and this Rick has to get back in the saddle and kick Negan’s ass and then kill him.

I have stayed with TWD all this time – even through two episodes of the Governor back story that no one wanted or needed. Please do not give us Negan’s back story. We don’t want to sympathize with him or understand how he came to be this messed up – we want him dead.

Yeah, I am very ticked off and remain so. I don’t like the direction Kirkman and company is taking, but I am remaining hopeful that better awaits, yet not much in the recent seasons gives me much hope of that. They played chicken with Glenn dying last year, and when that blew up in their faces they decided that this time he really would die, but it would be an even more horrible and infinitely more senseless death.

I am hanging on for Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Carol (Melissa McBride), and Morgan (Lennie James) and hoping that they can snap Rick out of it, but I am skeptical. The TV TWD has to respect its viewership as much as Kirkman respects his comic readership, but right now it seems the TV fans are being treated with disdain. That has to change soon – very soon – or many fans are going to find something different to do on Sunday nights.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

An Open Letter to the Swedish Academy Regarding The Nobel Prize in Literature

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Dear Members of the Swedish Academy:

First of all, I am writing a letter of apology on behalf of my fellow American, Mr. Bob Dylan, upon whom you graciously bestowed the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature. I know that he has not been in touch with you regarding this magnificent honor, and some members of your esteemed organization are understandably irritated with his lack of, shall we say, enthusiasm at being held in such high esteem by your members.

author5Since I realize that November 10 is coming quickly, Mr. Dylan seems uninterested, and I am almost certain that you hope to bestow the award on someone who will willingly accept this most prestigious honor, I wish to nominate myself to be the recipient of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Some if not all of your membership may think this is unprecedented and perhaps arrogant, but I can assure you that I am in all humility a writer who is deserving of this accolade, and I have received awards before if that figures into your process of consideration. Honestly, if the teachers of the City of New York could bestow a creative writing award upon me in high school, and the National Arts Club saw fit to award me with top prize for poetry when I was attending CUNY, I believe that my inherent worthiness of further consideration for higher honors should be apparent.

People who have read my novel Like a Passing Shadow, which are at least six and counting (and that does not include any immediate family members), have told me that reading that book changed their lives forever. Since I have never seen or heard from any of these people again, I am assuming that they have gone about life altering journeys which they would have not undertaken without my book’s motivating message.

My offer to you is totally sincere and in earnest, and if you would just Google my name you will discover a wealth of published material for your perusal. More importantly, I will swiftly accept the award, make considerable fuss about receiving it, and comply with all your necessary and compelling rules and regulations regarding it. Honestly, I will even do the dishes after the ceremony if that counts for anything.

Hopefully you will take this under advisement and get back to me with a positive response shortly. In the meantime I will prepare my acceptance address which will be shorter than Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s but much longer than Mr. Dylan’s, since obviously he has not written even a sentence at this juncture.

nobel_medal_dsc06171Again, I do apologize for Mr. Dylan, and I am sending this off to you rather hastily because I fear your academy will believe that all Americans are a bunch of ignorant louts who think nothing of the true nobility of the Nobel Prize.

I am going to end this letter by thanking the members of the committee for their consideration of my candidacy, and now you must excuse me while I put the bubbly on ice, continue writing my acceptance speech, and await your phone call.


Sincerely yours in literary appreciation,

Victor Lana