Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Deadly Buddha

... new cover for Tom Ong's next thriller. What do you think?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Will Miss You, Senator McGovern

... a true story:
Alone with me in the basement of a New Jersey motor lodge,

a presidential candidate who vigorously campaigned against the

Vietnam War took off his suit coat. Two secret service agents remained

stationed at the top of the stairs. He unbuttoned and removed his

shirt, unbuckled his belt, stripped to his shorts and handed me each

article of clothing as he dressed in more “conservative” attire. He

explained that he was heading to New York City and didn’t want

the folks back in South Dakota, via national television coverage, to

see how he appeared during the luncheon stump-speech delivered

minutes earlier.

Now I possessed the answer to the burning question of the ’72

campaign, asked by at least one reporter at each stop. The candidate

glared at me and said, “Charlie, swear—swear you’ll never give the

answer to the boxers or briefs question.”

“Yes, Senator, I promise.” But I wondered if travelling campaign

reporter, Hunter S. (Gonzo) Thompson, if he knew, would keep Senator

George McGovern’s deepest personal secret. I imagined not.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

World Peace Interrupted

For Taylor Mali in the land of Gandhi

World Peace Interrupted


Imagine a poem that pursues world peace.

Thanksgiving dinner sans arguments.

A school playground without a scuffle.

Civility returns to the U.S. Congress.


Imagine a poem that elevates world peace.

          RING. RING.

Rappers remove F-bombs from their lyrics.

Folsom Prison skinheads play music on the bars.

Mississippi clansmen burn hand-me-down sheets.


Imagine a poem that promotes world peace.

Machetes melted for dinner plates in Ethiopia. 

Fights in Thailand are over Pad Thai or Woonsen.

Tanks backup in North Korea.


Imagine a poem that advances world peace.

          RING. RING.

Cartel guns in Mexico go silent.

Harmony settles over Palestine.

War no more in Afghanistan.


Imagine a poem that encourages world peace.

The spirit of Gandhi spreads throughout Pakistan.

Bomb-makers in Karachi bake honey cakes instead.

Al Qaeda begs forgiveness before disbanding.


I’m writing a poem to establish world peace.

          RING. RING.


          “Lennon would have turned seventy today. Imagine.”

“I already have.”


October 10, 2010

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Paintbrush That Tamed A Town.

To this day it is called the Kings Highway, some 236 years after the war aimed at ridding the colonials of the road’s namesake, King George III. The road traverses north/south through New Jersey from the lower Delaware Bay to the city of Camden, a fast ferry ride over to Philadelphia, the young Nation’s first capital. An overland trip from the Bay to Philadelphia back then was much easier traveled in New Jersey because of the numerous wide and fast-moving tributaries that flow into the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania side
          Fifteen miles from Philadelphia, Kings Highway effectively cuts the town of Haddonfield evenly east from west. Named for Elizabeth Haddon, daughter of an early colonial landowner, the town, even today, still has the look and feel of a New England colonial village. Tall, two and three-story houses face the wide, tree-lined roads. Ancient oak, maple, and chestnut trees shaded the front, sides, and back of most structures.  No ranchers or track houses of any kind allowed.
          In 1985, Carla Gach bought one of those colonial-style homes on Kings Highway, a mere three blocks from where Washington actually did sleep as Haddonfield was alternately occupied by both opposing forces during the Revolution. Dolly Madison frequently slept at The Indian King Tavern where the bed she used still sits on the second floor. One may even wonder if Dolly and George found themselves sleeping in the town at the same time, but not of course, in the same bed. It has been rumored though, that Dolly Payne (name from first marriage) quizzed Martha regarding the character of one, James Madison, before agreeing to marry the future fourth president.
“Historic, old-money, quaint, and quiet” are the names most often conferred upon Haddonfield by residents of the nearby communities. Holding onto its Quaker lineage, the town to this day, does not allow liquor sold anywhere within its borders.
          So you can imagine that when Carla Gach repainted her white picket fence a hot, hot neon-orange that a few Haddonfield eyebrows raised up. Even more than eyebrows, hands skyrocketed at the very next town hall meeting where volunteers eager to help curb Carla’s desire to be so colorful. Carla needed a good lecture and Mrs. Jonathan Whitmore IV would be only too happy to do the honors. The city fathers including Jonathan Whitmore III and Jonathan Whitmore IV agreed that a first meeting should be cordial, conciliatory, and should place trust in Carla’s acceptance of tradition over her personal color preferences.                                                    
          Mrs. Whitmore IV agreed with the approach. She invited Carla over to her habitat where with a big smile, tea and genuine English crumpets, the issue of the offensive color choice for Carla’s fence was politely discussed.
          Carla proved most receptive to the request that she change the color scheme. And Carla was made aware that sooner would be much better than later. The very next day, although a little weary, Carla, brush in hand, was observed repainting her fence.
          The next day thereafter, eyebrows and hands rose up once again all over Haddonfield. Without being specific that white, not chartreuse, was the only preferred color of choice for “white” picket fences — an emergency meeting of the guardian fathers reconvened. Mrs. Jonathan Whitmore IV was invited to explain why the meeting with Carla failed to produce the desired results. Placing part of the blame on failed communications and possibly stale crumpets, it was decided that Mr. Jonathan Whitmore IV should visit the offending neighbor. And, he should deliver the message with a man’s gentle, but firm, clear and concise fashion. No manner of refreshments were brought to the meeting.
          Even more tired than the previous day Carla, once again grabbed her brush, and painted the fence pearl-ivory white. One could feel a collective sigh reign all over Haddonfield. But before she put her brush away she dipped it in a pail of pale-yellow and splashed the front of her house. Then she stepped back and allowed Jones House Painting to complete the job.
          Not since Aaron Burr had walked down the Kings Highway seeking the affections of Dolly had such a dark cloud hovered over Haddonfield. Blasphemy! This was a deliberate act of blasphemy by a Devil-woman. No more Mr. Nice Guys. It was time to bring out the lawyers with their threats of financial damages, incarceration and public scorn. Did the community still own a pillory where one’s head and hands were locked in mockery for the entire world to observe? This tool was usually reserved for adulteress but warranted in this extreme case, thought a few of the town’s gentry.
          Carla had received all the Whitmore IV’s messages loud and clear. Haddonfield was run by a male dominated, archaic city council and she was not about to bow down. King George lost but Carla would not run and could not be dissuaded from her house color choices. She voted to let her adversaries bring out their biggest cannons.
          Now the city council was not alone in feeling that Carla had violated the principals of honorable ethics, the entire, well most of Haddonfield’s residences shunned Carla. She was ignored in the stores, seemed she had to wait in line longer at the bank where her business was evidently not wanted but tolerated.
The legal threats were not without basis either. The city fathers did have jurisdiction over many properties in historical zones or for homes with verifiable historic value. There was always an outside chance that Carla’s house could be subjected to an existing statute. In addition, the idyllic life she perceived in her new home was far from reality and the “war” was wearing on her. But she held her ground like Washington at Valley Forge.
The lawyers went to work and for a small town of 12,000, it boasts 390 attorneys, more than most of any similar sized community in southern New Jersey. But the case dragged on and on. Eventually the ice-cold treatment for Carla began to melt. Even Mrs. Jonathan Whitmore IV referred to Carla, as neighbor. The frost dissipated completely after Carla held a fund raiser for the Daughters of the Revolution in her home.
One day Carla tired of her yellow house and repainted it a brilliant white. The town rejoiced. The new mayor, Jonathan Whitmore V declared a “Carla Gach Day.” Soon after however, when Carla became a little bored she got out her trusty paintbrush once again. This time she painted a birdhouse imperial purple just to remind Haddonfield that she still possessed spunk.
Carla Gach, a long-time resident of Laguna Woods, CA and member of the Laguna Woods Village Art Association painted a paintbrush which inspired this story. The historical facts are correct; the rest of the story is a fable. Carla Gach passed away in 2011 but the Art Association honors her memory by prominently displaying the painting, shown above, on its website. Note: The author lived in Haddonfield, NJ where a purple-painted house on Kings Highway actually caused such a fuss during the 1980’s and still may to this day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Raves for Hummingbird from London



by Adeyinka Makinde, June 24, 2012

The Blue Marble visage of the globe with the African continent at its centre as portrayed on the cover of the latest edition of the Hummingbird Review serves as a statement of intent.

The Review, which according to publisher Charles Redner, is committed to “portraying the beauty and challenges of life through literature and art” as well as promoting “cross cultural writing in all forms” is indeed a smorgasboard of literary modes and devices; providing a forum for both established as well as neophyte figures.

Here poetry is presented alongside journalism as are lyrics and screenplays with the theme of this edition being largely to do with Africa. Redner’s thoughtful preface is headlined in the Shona language of southern Africa and, true to its stated intent, the content spans different regions of the continent.

The inaugural piece features an interview with Noam Chomsky conducted by Said Leghlid, a Moroccan-born American, in which the venerable intellectual voices his characteristically insightful and vehement analysis of United States foreign policy, this time in regard to the Arab Spring which of course started in North Africa.

Among the poetical selections is The Cloud, an 1835 work by Alexandre Pushkin, the acknowledged father of Russian Literature who was the descendant of Abram Gannibal, a general of the Russian Empire who may have been of Eritrean ancestry or with roots further west in modern day Cameroon.

Among the eye catching works are The Berber Stone and the Cherokee Enigma, an essay which postulates the migratory connections between North Africa and the Americas via oral histories handed down through the mists of time, linguistic similarities, archaeological discoveries, and even DNA traits.

Also of interest, from this writer’s perspective, is an excerpt from a biographical screenplay on the heavyweight boxer George Foreman. It is centred on the profound transformation in the life philosophy of Foreman; the roots of which germinated from his experiences related to the ‘Rumble in the Jungle’, the legendary heavyweight championship contest he had in 1974 with Muhammad Ali in Kinshasa, the capital city of what was then Zaire, which is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Another highlight of this edition of the review is a rationale of and an example of contextual poetry by this genre’s proselytiser-in-chief, Dr, Thea Iberall, poet and scientist. Contextual poetry aims to “integrate the knowledge of science and history with the language of poetry.” If the purpose of literature is to stimulate thought, to provoke debate, to evoke joy and pathos, to educate, and to develop the inherent human thirst for a personal understanding of the stirrings of the inner mind as well as the wider world, then the Review strives to provide some measure of each.

This journal genuinely serves as food for the cerebral palate.

Adeyinka Makinde is the author of the biographies: DICK TIGER: The Life and Times of a Boxing Immortal and JERSEY BOY: The Life and Mob Slaying of Frankie DePaula. Website:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Mounting Storm

How's this cover grab you?
It's a rough draft of Tom Ong's exciting new book due to market -- soon!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Hummingbird Vol 3, No. 1 Takes Flight

At Amazon:

                               Imbai nheketerwa kurumbidza mazwi

Sing Praise for the Words!

A light breeze floated across Zimbabwe, picked up speed in Botswana, darted north over Egypt, sailed west to Morocco, and then blew across the Atlantic. A zephyr carried voices of Africa to our ears and into our hearts. Two African poets sharing their verses; an American screenwriter conveying his behind-the-scenes treatment, Hollywood-style, of Ali and Foreman’s “Rumble in the Jungle;” and a woman studying elephants, like Goodall studied chimpanzees, cram this issue with unique views as diverse as the continent itself. Wonder along with us as Brian Wilkes ponders tribal customs of the Cherokee Nation that match those of Berbers (Imazighen) living in the Atlas Mountains. Be sure to read Moroccan-born Said Leghlid’s talk with Professor Noam Chomsky who looks beyond the obvious to help us understand the causes and possible aftermath of the Arab Spring.

Called the “Blue Marble” when viewed from space, our swirling, spinning world is most often shown with the Americas centered and thought you’d like to see earth from another vantage, one where it all began for the human race—Africa. For our cover art, we thank oil painter Judith DiGirolamo Redner for her unique “Earth from on High” interpretations.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Conversation with a Hollywood Star

Barbara Rush (left) talks about Brando, Monroe, Sinatra, Dean Martin and others during “Write Now Show” interview with me and co-host, Judy Saxon.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two words for the screenplay: "Incredibly brilliant"

It was a tough, tough assignment to write about a 9/11 family even ten years removed. Pitching a New York agent a few years ago with a novel that just touched on the event, I watched as the agent described how he simultaneously witnessed the towers come down on TV and out his office window. His breathing became labored and I though he was going to cry. He wasn’t about to consider my book. I understood. Eric Roth’s (Academy Award for “Forrest Gump”) screenplay for “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” may make it possible for others to now write on the subject if written with Roth’s sensitivity and genius – a salute also to Jonathan Safran Foer for the book.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Carman Tilelli with Eagles cap featured on the cover of my book, DOWN BUT NEVER OUT. Carman worked at Cherry Hill, NJ’s City Hall as a custodian for 28 years before retirement in 2005. His father a world champion middleweight boxer helped Eunice Shriver launch the Special Olympics.