The Code

By Jack Engelhard

Over at the racetrack, on Sunday, two of us were talking about the Kentucky Derby, me, sipping vodka, and this horse player, drinking beer. This man was a professor, also a gambler. His choice for the Derby was a horse coming from Dubai. Maybe I’d had a vodka too many, and I said that plenty horses these days were coming from Dubai. In fact, our entire racing system, here in America, was being dominated by horses from United Arab Emirates.

Nothing wrong with that, I added, except that an Israeli tennis player was denied access to Dubai even after she qualified for some sort of tennis championship over there in the Emirates. The princes didn’t like the fact that she was Israeli. So maybe, I suggested – speaking as an American – we ought to return the favor and deny them access to our racetracks. Goodbye Dubai.

The gentleman said – “We need to change our policy in the Middle East.”

I caught the drift right away. I know the lingo. I know the code. So I knew what came next.

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Of Will Ferrell and Bullying and Bush

By Jack Engelhard

I don’t get to New York that often so I never caught Will Ferrell’s Broadway show on George W. Bush – an hour or so of “comedy.” But the one-man extravaganza – a big hit during its Broadway run – was given time on HBO and I was urged to watch it, which I did, for about 10 minutes. That was enough.

It wasn’t even funny, except that it lampooned Bush and that seems to delight so many of us.

I speak not as a Republican, nor as a Democrat, but rather as someone who knows the difference between humor and bullying. We all know about bullying in the schoolyard and that’s what this was, especially with the audience joining in with cheers and jeers. I know what it’s like when a mob sets itself upon a particular individual and begins to chase this individual with curses, taunts, derision and laughter. I call this mobism.

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When Fiction Becomes Fact

By Jack Engelhard

   The Girls of Cincinnati My latest paperback novel, “The Girls of Cincinnati,” is a work of fiction. It’s about a hot love affair that gets interrupted when a third party intrudes with the intent of doing damage. It’s true that I based the female lead on someone I knew, and knew warmly, in Cincinnati, back in the days of my youth. That would be Stephanie Eaton, as I have her in the novel – high-born and high-class. She is so rich and so beautiful that she feels that nothing can ever go wrong. (Life is full of surprises.)

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Chayefsky Rebukes Obama – Jack Engelhard

Dramatist and novelist Paddy Chayefsky (who died in 1981) wrote some terrific plays and novels. He may best be remembered for the 1955 film “Marty,” which won him the Oscar for Best Screenplay. He should also be remembered for an incident during the Academy Awards telecast of 1978.

That’s when Vanessa Redgrave (who accepted an award for something or other) used the occasion to bash supporters of Israel. None of the men in tuxes or women in gowns had the guts to answer back — except for Chayefsky. Clearly repelled by Redgrave, he used his moment at the podium to say that this was not the place for politics and that “thank you would have sufficed.” (This was Chayefsky’s polite way of saying, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” — quoting that famous line from his own movie, “Network.”)

Chayefsky, a World War II Army war hero, wrote the screenplay for the (underrated) movie “The Americanization of Emily,” from the novel by William Bradford Huie. It’s here that Chayefsky’s brilliance as a writer shines brightly – in his defense of America.

America needs defending, now more than ever, during this, the Europeanization of our president, Barack Obama.

There’s no need to unravel the entire plot of “The Americanization of Emily” except to note that it takes place in London at the onset of D-Day. James Garner plays Lt. Cmdr. Charles Edward Madison. He falls in love with British war widow Emily Barham, played by Julie Andrews. This is what he says:

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We’ll Always Have Typos

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Don’t know about you but as for me, I always catch my typos when it’s too late, like when I’ve already sent something out, or even after I’ve had it published — all that even after I’ve done the re-writing and re-reading a hundred times. I don’t let anything go until it’s perfect. But it’s never perfect!

 

Typos happen, usually overnight when you’re not watching.   

 

Though it’s already available on Kindle, I’m having a new novel published in paperback (“The Girls of Cincinnati,”) and in fact it already IS published though it won’t be up on Amazon until a couple of weeks. Before I gave it the okay, I had the proof copy for proofreading and found no mistakes, which makes my point, once again, that I’m a lousy proofreader – as are most novelists.

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Drunks on a Train

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Over the weekend there was a BEER FESTIVAL in Atlantic City. This event drew thousands from throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and states east, west, north and south, and in fact (at least I think it’s a fact) there’s nothing like a beer festival to get people hopping on trains, planes and automobiles heading for the shore. Once upon a time there was The Miss America Pageant, but that’s all gone, and we’re left with beer, beer pageants.

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Call Me Stimulus

 

By Jack Engelhard

 

Obama Never Wanted To Be President. He Just Wanted To Be Loved.

 

The Stimulus Bill weighs in at 1,588 pages – not exactly a page turner. The same lawmakers who wrote this heavyweight boondoggle, and voted for it, never read it, and that’s why there’s all this amazement about those bonuses for AIG. Nobody knows what’s in this package, except for $850 BILLION of our money that’s going, going, gone.

 

According to my calculations, that’s one thousand dollars per word, or maybe a million dollars per page. That’s a writer’s dream.

 

Mark Twain got a nickel a word and Ernest Hemingway maybe a dime or a quarter.

 

“Moby Dick” runs 464 pages. On those rates (if he were writing for Congress) Herman Melville would have died wealthy instead of poor, or started the novel with, “Call me Rich,” instead of Ishmael. “War and Peace” ends at page 1,296. Using the same math, Leo Tolstoy died poor for no reason except for the fact that he wrote novels instead of legislation.

 

(How do I get in on this?)

 

I actually heard three senators say that they never read the bill, that, indeed, nobody in Congress read the small print or even the BIG PRINT. Nada.

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Madoff: The Perfect Storm for anti-Semitism

By Jack Engelhard

 

They needed a picture, a poster boy, to be the face of our economic collapse and as if on cue, here came Bernard Madoff.

 

They got their man. He’s Jewish. How perfect. The mystery is solved. They know whom to blame. The Jews.

 

Right after Madoff was exposed, I overheard this conversation in a restaurant: “You heard about this guy Madoff?”

 

“Yup – here go those Jews again.”

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