Thursday, November 30, 2006

There was a very nice piece on my book in yesterday's New York Daily News. (Click here to read it.) God bless you, Andy Clayton. The only problem is, while he clearly likes the book, Mr. Clayton's piece doesn't really contain a good blurb. "I wasn't disappointed" is about the best I can come up with. If any of my faithful readers can come up with something better, please let me know. Whoever submits the best blurb will get a postcard from Independence, Missouri. Good luck!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Arrived in Kansas City last night after a 26-hour journey. (Needless to say, I slept well last night!) Spent today at the Truman Library doing research. It's always interesting, going to a specialized research library. There are two other people doing research there right now, a guy about ten years younger than me and a guy about ten years older. Each of us is wondering what the other two are researching--"Is he working on the same thing I am?!"--but protocol and our natural social retardation preclude anybody from asking. So each of us spends the day in his own little universe, barely acknowledging the others. It's uncomfortable, but that's the introverted researcher's code.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Allyson and I went to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful meal, but it’s hard to get into the spirit of the season when it’s 98 degrees out. Not exactly like spending the holiday in Maine. … The new American embassy has opened here. Can’t go into much detail, but suffice it to say that it’s beautiful. The old embassy was, quite frankly, a bit of a dump. … On Sunday I’m leaving for Kansas City to do some research for my next book proposal.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Another Steagle has passed away. Jack Hinkle died at his home in Norristown, Pennsylvania, on Thursday (November 16). He was 89.

During World War II, Jack was given an honorable discharge from the Army due to ulcers. He played running back and defensive back for the Steagles in 1943. He scored three touchdowns and had four interceptions. He also led the team in rushing with 571 yards. He retired from pro football after the 1947 season.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Jack and his wife Joane for my book. They were patient and kind and very supportive.

Simply put, Jack was a good guy, incapable of meanness or pettiness. I’m glad I got to know him.

Jack is the fourth member of the Steagles to pass away in the past two months. Now just four remain: Ray Graves, Bucko Kilroy, Allie Sherman, and Al Wistert.
I have discovered a comrade in arms in the war against the misuse of the word "literally." Literally, A Web Log is a blog that tracks abuse of the word in the media. Among their recent discoveries: "literally raining cats" and "literally exploding with confidence." Good stuff. Check it out when you get a chance.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Severe storms hit Alabama yesterday, causing extensive damage. Describing the cleanup effort on CNN today, Governor Robert Riley said the state is "literally a beehive of activity." I hope nobody gets stung.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Allyson and I celebrated our eighth wedding anniversary last night with pizza and champagne. (Da Guido, an Italian restaurant on the other side of town, actually makes good pizza – and they deliver.) … The Marine Corps Ball is this Saturday night. It’s the embassy’s big social event of the year. Allyson had a beautiful dress made for the occasion. (I’m just wearing a black suit.) … Not much to report on the book front. I’m working with Roberts Communications, a public relations firm in Pittsburgh, to place ads in a Steelers fan magazine. It’s expensive, but probably worth it: I really need to drum up sales before the football season ends. … On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I’m flying to Kansas City to begin researching the next book proposal. … Good use of “literally” on Ebert & Roeper last weekend: Roeper said Sacha Baron Cohen (a.k.a. Borat) “would literally do anything for a laugh.” Now that’s comedy!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Kudos to the Associated Press for an excellent use of the word "literally" yesterday:

MADISON, Wis. - Joe Paterno literally couldn't stand to watch as Wisconsin beat Penn State. The 79-year-old Nittany Lions coach was forced to leave the sideline for the second time this season after one of his players tumbled into his leg early in the third quarter.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

I'm reluctant to announce it, but my very sweaty interview for the Pennsylvania Cable Network's weekly "PA Books" program will air statewide tonight (Sunday, November 5) at 9. PCN will rerun the program Monday through Friday this week at 8 PM. ... According to this (scroll all the way down to the bottom), it looks like the New York Daily News will review my book later this month. (Let's hope they're nicer than Philadelphia Magazine was.) ... Forecast for Bamako today: 96 and sunny. Ah, autumn in West Africa.