The Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon was one of the most beautiful courses I’ve run. It was also perhaps the most miserable, pain-in-the-ass races, full of “Are You Fucking Kidding Me With This?” moments I’ve ever run.
On one hand, the first five miles are run through beautiful trails, through the woods, over old rail-road bridges, along the Hudson River.
On the other hand: 1,279 feet of elevation.
Not that you’d know that from the race’s website. Bounce around there a bit and you’ll see no elevation chart. I don’t blame them for this. They’d likely lose quite a few entrants if they put this on their website. And I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t run this race. It is beautiful. It is a challenge. And I want you to experience the same sort of misery.
Are you kidding me with this?
Not a week goes by without someone mewling about independent book stores or the “plight” of the book as if some great dark age is upon us. This sort of thing drives me crazy, because it’s completely divorced from, you know, reality. There are more books available now than ever. More fiction than ever. More nonfiction than ever. More people making more money doing it than ever.
Well, except for some of those independent book stores. Two things. 1: It’s a business. And if you need to rely on donations and pledge drives to keep your business afloat, then you’re doing something wrong. 2) Barnes & Noble (and then Amazon) might have hurt your business, but don’t pretend that those two companies haven’t delivered more books to more people who couldn’t previously get them. Having lived in one of those parts of the country that doesn’t have many independent bookstores — with the exception of hard-core Christian ones — I’ll argue that Barnes & Noble is a veritable Library of Alexandria for the parts of this country.
After a trip to the MoMA and with Cara in need of a shrimp-poboy fix, we went to the Delta Grill in Manhattan. I’d been there before and wasn’t immediately offended. Cara had been there before and found the poboys passable.
The good news: They are passable. The shrimp are a little small and mushy, but they get the overall thing right. French bread, plenty of fried shrimp, lettuce, tomato, mayo (and pickles). If you’re from Louisiana and might snap and neck-stab someone and it’s months before the next trip home, this might get you through.
They also serve Abita. Also good.
Now, the hushpuppies. Not sure what was going on there. Maybe they use beignet dough? Corn-flour instead of corn-meal? They weren’t sad and awful like those at Brooklyn Fish Camp, but they were … weirdly sweet, almost like a dessert. (If you want hush puppies, go to Van Horn in Brooklyn).
Before the poboys, I ordered a cup of seafood gumbo. How should I put this? It was an abomination before the lord.
Tomato based. Not a hint of roux that I could see. Okra seeds in evidence, but oddly no actual okra? It didn’t taste awful, but it wasn’t gumbo. Further, there seemed to be a general lack of “giving a shit.” The celery had been cut into chunks about the size of my palm. Pro-tip guys: Your chopped vegetables shouldn’t be bigger than the seafood.
Would I go back. Eh. Probably. If I were in the neighborhood and wanted a poboy.
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Well, isn’t that special?
When my first novel came out
, I caught a lot of flack for the cursing in it. “Too much cursing. Made Baby Jesus cry,” people said.
Look, I curse a lot. And many of the people I hang out with do, too. But the thing is “The First Annual Grand Prairie Rabbit Festival” was about a priest. And while I’ve known priests who curse and while it DID say something about his character, maybe they were right. Did I really need all the cursing?
So when I started “Bacon and Egg Man,” I figured I didn’t need the fuck-nozzle turned all the way to high. The characters wouldn’t curse that much. I even told one of my Pentecostal aunts that she wouldn’t have to worry (as much) about her immortal soul with this one.
Apparently, I lied to my aunt.
See that? That’s what a 20-ounce bottle of Gatorade looks like. I ran six miles this morning. After my run — after burning 600 to 700 calories — I was thirsty and had a couple of bucks on me. I wanted to replenish my electrolytes. I wanted a Gatorade. I walked into a deli and bought a Gatorade.
WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ILLEGAL TODAY IF MICHAEL BLOOMBERG HAD HIS WAY.
Think about that for a second. Think about how stupid that is. (And NYC runners, think about being in the middle of a long run on a hot summer day and running out of fluid and walking into a deli and not being able to buy a Gatorade.)
There are all sorts of clever arguments to be made against Bloomberg:
Political–a Republican could argue that if the government weren’t dabbling in paying medical bills, this wouldn’t be its problem in the first place.
Religious–I’m not religious, but pretty sure there isn’t a major religion that has anything to say about soda sizes.
Economic–One could argue it hurts businesses (or gives certain kinds an unfair advantage). One could flip the script on Bloomberg and point out that many people–including religions, communists and some mental-health scientists–don’t think it’s healthy for one man to have that much money all to himself, so perhaps we should restrict that.
But my friend Shawn made this point the other day and it’s actually the only argument that matters: It’s my body and I do what I want to.
PS: Buy my book.
I’ve been badgering you all to rush out and buy a copy of Bacon and Egg Man. More accurately, I’ve been pushing you to rush to your computer or Nook or Kindle to grab a copy because it’s not in actual stores yet.
But maybe you’d like to sample the goods, right? So here’s Chapter 2. I’m not going to bother you with too much set-up other than to say it’s set 50 years in the future and while he no longer walks the earth, the legacy of Mike Bloomberg quickly becomes clear. And our hero Wes Montgomery is in police custody.
We switched dog-food brands this week. By which I mean we bought a new type of food for the dogs, not that Cara and I eat dog food and switched.
The new brand came highly recommended by the super helpful woman at the store (you know the type, she wouldn’t stop recommending things ten minutes after I’d made up my mind). She said her own dog loved it. It had freeze dried bits of RAW food. That sounded like something a dog would eat. (That and chicken, chocolate, pretzels, corn chips, cheese, peanut butter, Kleenex, ice cream, beef. But thankfully not poop. Or carrots.)
Things seemed promising when I brought the bag home as Lucy practically humped the thing. And if you know anything about our dogs, Sylvie is the one who likes to hump. (Sylvie is also the one who just plows through a bowl of food).
Then we served the food. And last night noticed Lucy making a bit of a mess. Normally, Lucy takes one piece of food out of the bowl and walks to some other apartment to chew up that one morsel. A very frugal and future-thinking dog, sometimes she will hide a morsel in a safe spot–you never know when zombies will strike your parents. You can see how Lucy eats in this video called How Lucy Eats.
But last night, she was making a pile right beside the bowl. And it seemed mostly like a pile of rejects, though every once in a while she’d return to the bits on the floor, give them a sniffing and then maybe eat one of them.
Then it occurred to me: She’s pulling a Lucky Charms!
She’s just going through the bowl and eating up the good stuff and tossing aside the rest. Crazy damn dog.