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December 2011

Voters and the Iowa Caucus

ImagesPlease tell me these folks aren't representative of the general electorate. The NYT has a story today on how voters are choosing between the Republican primary candidates. Comparing foreign policy chops? Nope. Jobs plans? No. Health care positions? 'Fraid not. Here's what these folks are weighing as important:

-A 21-year-old college student is leaning towards Ron Paul because of his speaking style - a "high-pitched, squirrely voice" which makes him seem "like a real person because of his eccentricities."

-A 60-year-old retiree who likes Michele Brachman because she raised 23 foster children.

-A 45-year-old tree farmer who supports Mitt Romney because he reminds him of his father. "It's something about the way he carries himself."

But another woman said she could never support Romney because she can't stand his voice, and puts the TV on mute when he comes on.

Oy. These folks, who will cast their ballots on Tuesday, had trouble coming up with any of the candidates' positions on taxes, government spending, etc. Brings to mind the saying that you get the government you deserve.

The Creator

UnknownI've had some interesting titles in my day, but this is the best: The Creator. This morning I have been reviewing a contract from a national woman's magazine for a first-person article about The Mama's Boy Myth. I am thrilled they want the piece but must work out a few issues with regards to exclusivity on the topic.

But what really caught my eye in the contract is that they do not use the term "writer." Oh no, I am "The Creator" with a capital "C." This seems to me to be a pretty lofty job description, and I'm going to see if I can employ it in every form I fill out from now on. Occupation: The Creator.

Pretty good, eh?

Mother-Son Outing

UnknownThe Boy - and I must say, it is increasingly hard these days to refer to my son as "The Boy," given his size and adult status - and I are heading into Manhattan today for our traditional outing to the New York Historical Society. We both love this museum and usually try to carve out time to visit it together at least once a year. 

The Historical Society went through a major overhall this year and we haven't been back since it has reopened. I'm clearly getting old and cranky, because I haven't even been there yet, and I'm already thinking how much I  liked the old historical society. It was very managable - the exhibits small and discreet; the permanent collection waiting for us like patient friends. You could easily do the whole museum in a few hours. 

Now there are multiple new shows up. We are definitely going to "Revolution! The Atlantic Reborn", which looks at the American, French and Hatian revolutions as a single global narrative. The Boy tells me he took a class on this at college. There are two photography shows - one on the struggle for civil rights, the other on 9/11 - which we want to take in. There's an exhibit on the legend of Santa Claus that claims he's a New Yorker (well, at least Clement Moore was) and much more. 

I have a kazillion things to do, both book and home related, and The Boy would no doubt prefer to sleep late and chill all day, but tradition is tradition. And chances are we will have a pretty good time.

Home For The Holidays

ImagesHooray! Both my kids (well, they are not exactly children anymore, but they are still my kids) are coming home today. The Boy is arriving from Boston this afternoon. My Daughter will take the train up to Manhattan. Today will be an all-cooking day. Will get the Christmas music cranking in the kitchen and go to it. Tonight the four of us will decorate the tree. Oh boy!

Wishing everyone a lovely holiday. 

Holiday Distribution at Food Pantry

UnknownOff to the Pantry this morning for our special holiday distribution. It is always Pantry_Bag.2194839_std crazy this week. In addition to the groceries we always offer our clients, at this time of year, we also have toys for the children (thanks to Toys For Tots), a gift card to a local grocery store, and - for the second year - warm gloves and mittens for both adults and children, graciously donated by a glove manufacturer.

These are are biggest distributions of the year - long lines and a very crowded pantry. If you are still running around thinking about last minute gifts for the holidays, please consider a donation in someone's honor at their local food pantry. It's thoughtful, one size-fits-all, and completely in the true spirit of giving.


First Book Review!

20090407130148_SS-Book-webiconG-LGI got my first review and it was good! There are several places that review books before publication, and Kirkus is one of them. But you need a subscription to access the full review, and all I could see was the very beginning: "In this provocative review, New York Times contributor Lombardi challenges the cultural message...."

Augh! It was so frustrating. Who knew where it would go? But by the end of the day, the publisher's publicity department was able to get the whole thing and I am happy to report that it was all positive, summarized the book nicely, and dubbed "an insightful, timely study." 

Well, there was one small thing - they got my first name wrong, but that, presumably, can be fixed.  This is starting to feel more and more real.


Just Like Mama Used To Make

14MAMA_SPAN-articleLargeMassimo Galeano, own owns an Italian restaurant in Manhattan, just couldn't seem to replicate the delicate and light tortellini that his Mama used to make in Bologna, Italy. The solution? He flys Mama into town several times a year for six week streches to prepare the pasta for lucky diners at Gradisca, on 13th St. 

It's a mother-son story, of course, but I was caught by the NYT reporter's catgorization of this process: "In a scenario that seems to have come straight out of an Italian sitcom, or maybe a marathon therapy session with Dr. Freud, Mr. Galenao flies his family matriarch to New York..."

OK, can we have one article on a mother and son relationship that does not include a reference to Dr. Freud? It's a sweet story, but instead of turning it into the inevitable "mammismo" (that's "Mama's Boy" in Italian) schtick, could they maybe spin it as bringing in some family expertise? If a daughter called on their father for help into a business in which he had years of experience and special talent, would we be calling up the spector of Electra instead of Oedipus? 

Just sayin'....

Ho Ho Ho - Book Business Strong

UnknownAnd not just e-books, but good old hardcovers are doing well this holiday season. Barnes & Noble reports that store sales are up 10.9% from this period last year, and the American Book Sellers Association, a trade group for independents, said that sales were up 16% from this period last year.

These figures are from a NYT story on the book business, and the reporter speculates that the jump might reflect the closing of Borders, which has sent those customers to other shops. Book sellers are also concerned about all the folks opening their Kindles, Nooks and other e-readers this Christmas, and wonder what January will look like in the stores. 

Still, it's happy news that business is good. Meanwhile, I'm glad I'm not in Ann Beattie's shoes this week, after reading NYT reviewer Michiko Kakutani's review of Beattie's new book, "Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life."  I've never read a harsher review. She calls the book "preposterous" and says it "manages the reductive feat of turning a human being into a paper doll, dressed up in the author's own condescending imagings." Ouch.

"Your Writing My Life"

UnknownLast night I was at a holiday party, and got a lot of the following: "Weren't you writing a book?" Rather than explain again the glacial pace of traditional publishing, I can now at least say, "Yes, and it's coming out in 3 months." Then, of course, the conversation moves on to what the book is about. I am taking heart in the response. From mother of sons, it is sometimes, "you're writing my life," and more often  "my son and I are really close. Tell me more." From fathers, it is usually, "Hmmmmm, that's really interesting. Has anyone else written about this?" (My response: Not that I know of, and I've been researching this for years.)

Heading into Manhattan again today - always exhausting this time of year. Tourists are great for the economy, but it is absolute pedestrian gridlock all over midtown. 



Bill Clinton And Me

ImagesBill Clinton is holding a book signing event at the Chappaqua Library tomorrow. What a coincidence! I am also holding a book signing at the Chappaqua Library, though mine won't be until March, when the book comes out. I'm going to give a talk and then have books available. Don't know what Bill's plans are, though I plan to stop by and see how it's done by the seasoned pros.

Someday I will have to write about my life with Bill. Back in the day, I interviewed him for the NYT about his life in Westchester. I also covered him when he moved here, and once I wrote a story about his heart procedure at the Westchester Medical Center and how he woke up asking for bacon. I've run into him in town - at Starbucks, in the dry cleaning parking lot and, come to think of it,  I'm pretty sure I even wrote an article once about Chappaqua Clinton sightings.

Well, it looks like our relationship is going to take a new turn, as we are both just a couple of authors shilling our books. Ooo- I just got a great idea. I'm going to take a copy of the "Mama's Boy Myth" galleys to the library and see if I can get them to him. I mention Clinton's relationship with his Mama in my book. Maybe I could get a blurb. It's a long shot, but an inspired publicity thought!

Basking In The Glow of Mom

ImagesYesterday I was in Manhattan on some book promotion-related business, and after my meeting, My Daughter and I met at the Frick Museum, a gem of a collection on the upper East Side. They were having a special exhibit of Picasso's drawings. It was fabulous, particularly because it showed the artist's progression,  so you could watch him master classical drawing and then begin to play with shape and form. The first two pieces in the show were done at ages 9 and 11 respectively. At that age, he was rendering amazingly realistic forms.

Anyway, it reminded me of one of my favorite mother-son quotes, by the artist himself:

"My mother said to me, if you become a soldier you'll be a general; if you become a monk you'll end up as pope. Instead, I became a painter and wound up as Picasso."