Thursday, September 27, 2007

Listing in a new direction

A short note on the life of someone who is about to become a co-author of a book:

Rob Ray and I teamed up for a short autobiography -- more of a memoir, even if I don't understand the difference -- that is coming out in November. I've been checking the boards for the past few weeks to see how it looks. Amazon doesn't have the right cover picture up, but the title is right and the price is right (Check it out at

The fun part is that has a best seller list, broken down to great extremes. The book popped up a while ago around #75 on the best seller list for hockey, which was pretty exciting in of itself. Then the other night, it went up and up by the hour, it seemed. It peaked at #10 for hockey and #23 for winter sports books, which isn't bad for a book that isn't due out until mid-November.

Now, there's a scene in the Tom Hanks-directed movie, "That Thing You Do!", when a band comes out with a single and its members hear the song on the radio for the first time. And they start screaming.

That's exactly how I felt when I saw #10. For at hour at least, I had a "best-selling hockey book." I didn't scream, but it would have been worth it.

Hopefully, more thrills are coming in the weeks ahead.

(P.S. It went as high as #2 on the hockey list around the end of September, but soon sunk off the top 100 several days later. Guess we'll actually have to publish a book to keep sales going.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Flash of insight

Sometimes perspective comes when you least expect it.

The other day I was walking around the local supermarket, doing the week's food shopping. Along the way I passed a man in his mid-20's, at least. He was wearing a baseball uniform top of a major league team and a hat of the same team.

And the thought struck me: Boy, does that guy look stupid.

Should you really be wearing half of a major league uniform in a market if you are over the age of, say, 12? Is your life that empty? Do you expect the big league to sign you for tomorrow's game, and you don't want to pack?

I've got nothing against the shirts themselves -- they are very appropriate at games, in sports bars, and other sports-related activities. And I've got nothing against baseball caps; I wear one all the time ... except when I'm in my tuxedo.

But for the most part, here's a reminder to keep those shirts in the closet. And the same applies to other sports gear as well. Sports fans have enough trouble with non-fans thinking they need to get a life without that sort of apparel in the supermarket.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Another note from the late shift...

Here's a story with a rather cruel twist.

When you get home at 1 a.m. from work, it's always fun to see what's on the television dial at that hour. One of the small local stations in town often runs an informercial from Dr. Gene Scott. Dr. Scott usually speaks of some issue of religious significance. A younger woman, Melissa, often is on as well.

I'd usually speed right through that sort of programming, but I have found myself stopping for a look because Dr. Scott often appears to be very sickly. Tonight, I visited the web site,, and took a look around.

There was a surprise waiting for me under his biography. Dr. Scott was born in 1929, and died in 2005. So he passed away more than two years ago. Pastor Melissa Scott is his widow.

There's a moral in there somewhere, probably about me not jumping to conclusions. Because they probably are wrong.

Friday, September 07, 2007

The Colonel

Allow me to tell you about Arthur Budd, my great-grand-uncle.

Budd grew up in Connecticut and joined the armed forces for World War I. He led a group of soldiers who practically liberated a town in France (Tannay) by themselves. The grateful town put up a statue to honor him, and named a street after him. Budd ended the war as the second-most decorated soldier on the American side, behind some guy named Pershing.

Returning home, he married the widow of a doctor and eventually retired to an estate east of Pittsfield. He apparently lived happily ever after, dying in 1965 and leaving his property to a land conservancy.

The fun part came when we paid a visit to the estate, Notchview. The place is now mostly used for cross-country skiing, and we found the Arthur Budd Visitor Center. The caretaker took good care of us, impressed that we were related and had come to see the place. We were given a book on the history of the estate, which included a lengthy biography of Budd. We read about the 24-room mansion that had been on the grounds (later torn down; too expensive to keep up), and how Arthur had left an estate of more than $2 million, including thousands of shares of Kodak stock.

After walking around, we were given instructions to the nearby cemetery. It didn't look like it had received a visitor lately, as the gate was rusted shut. So we hopped the fence and said hello to Arthur and Helen. The funny part was, Arthur had this small little headstone that reflected his military background. Helen, meanwhile, had a headstone the size of a small house. OK, I exaggerate, but not much. Helen also was 17 years older than Arthur, which might explain the lack of children.

My mother said the family used to brag about "The Colonel," but she wondered if everyone was blowing his accomplishments out of proportion. Apparently not. The best part of the genealogy stuff is finding out interesting stories about interesting people, and this was a good one.

Guess I'll have to go to Tanney now.