My friend Zippo, famed not only as an award-winning newscaster, but also for being in several of my books (both fiction and non-fiction), is a virtual Sam’s Place of paranoia.  He recently suggested that homicidal stalkers and sex perverts could track down, for example, my nephew Tod Goldberg, famous author, and do kinky things to him.  These same sickos could show up at one of Lee Goldberg’s signings of the latest Diagnosis: Murder paperback and make rude noises by slapping their cupped hand under their armpit.  Zippo is right.  It is to help people such as he sleep better that we have the Patriot Act that says, in essence: “We the people of the United States, fearful of losing something, hereby give up everything.”

It is true that bad people can do mean things to nice innocent people. I know about that stuff. I write true crime books, remember?

I also know that being a Public Person means you take certain risks. I have already had my “Play Misty For Me” obsessive fan, complete with standard issue cliché dialogue, “if I can’t have you, no one can!” (cue Bernard Hermann score), and the babbling inane emails from self-published authors who want to know what I would charge to turn their non-selling book into a hit movie. If I had the power to “turn a book into a hit movie,” I assure you that I would start with at least four or five of my own books, all of Tod’s and Lee’s and Jan’s and Linda’s and Karen’s before I started working my magic formula on books by people whom I have never met, and who have never helped me catch a trout or de-hook a tinch. Yes, I know the Bush family has given nepotism a bad name, but I proudly admit that I value family and friends, and if I could shower them all with blessings equal to the love I have for them, it would be my greatest joy.  Devoid of such magic powers, however, I content myself with blog reading, posts of encouragement, and augmenting my personal library with their literary accomplishments.


"The reason you are asleep," the doctor explained, "is because your blood pressure is too low. Stop taking the medication we just had you spend $500 on, and you should wake up. You see, everytime you wake up it drains you of energy and causes you to fall asleep. That’s why you are sleeping all the time. Of course, it could also be due to the ingenue in the Philo Vance movie on TCM — you have the hots for her, and she is old enough to be your Nana."

Ok — here is medical update: Wednesday afternoon i have two more stents put in. Thursday afternoon they let me out of the hospital. A week or so later i should be strong enough to return to Santa Monica. The other good news, is now that they are adjusting the medication so i wont be asleep all the time, I will make more progress on STEALTH – my action packed political thriller novel based on the wowie-zowie thrill-a-minute action movie of the same name. The movie comes out in August in USA; the book and movie come out in October in Japan. Jamie Foxx co-stars in this film from the fine folks who brought you Fast and Furious and XXX.

Am I Awake Yet?

All I do is sleep. I wake up long enough to decipher that William Powell is NOT the actor playing Philo Vance in this black and white detective movie on TCM. Maybe I fall asleep from depression?  I get the hots for the cute ingenue, then realize she’s already deceased — maybe that’s what’s doing it. I’ll ask the doctor today if i can stay awake long enough to ask him.  Somehow I doubt his profound medical analysis will include "Well, you’re probably depressed because ya got the hots for the sexy actress playing the ingenue in one of those Philo Vance mysteries on TCM, and then realized that if she were alive today she would be older than your 93 year old mother."

Oh, I’m sure you were on pins and noodles wondering about my Office Depot order — fretting over it with the same degree of intensity you do when ruminating on my sister’s moving stories or the progress of my sister-in-law’s wine cellar.  Office Depot, in a fit of frugality, apparently left the order on the roadside curb rather than bring it to the door of the residence. Can you imagine Dominos doing that? No more,"get the door, it’s dominos!"  The new slogan: "That box in the ditch is  your dominos dinner"  may take a while to catch on. 

Office Depot 2 Go

Office Depot, like Pizza Hut, has an online order service. You just click, pay, and await delivery.  They will deliver your order prior to five pm on the date specificed on your receipt.  I don’t know about YOUR receipt, but mine says June 2nd. Guess what? It is 6:17pm, and Office Depot has not delivered my order.  As I cannot complete a certain time sensitive project without the product, and the sensitive time is evaporating as I type, I wonder what consolation prize Office Depot offers for failure to deliver and not even bother to call and say "Hey, man we don’t deliver to that part of town — a brick could fall off a parapet from one of the mansions, or one of the heated driveways could pop the tire on our delivery van."

Maybe I’ll get a coupon for a free real estate sign, such as "Restrictive Covenants Reconsideration Zone." 

I recall visiting my late Uncle Sid when he moved into his "new house" in Seattle long ago — he had a golf course right across the street! Of course, he wasn’t allowed to play there, but it was a great neighborhood. I always wanted to build a synagogoue and not allows Jews. 

Oh, regarding my health. My heart is still beating. My head is screwy as ever, as you can tell. As for me — I’m looking out the window awaiting Office Depot.


That is not a fake tan; my skin is simply prematurely orange.

Actually, i dont think it is a fake tan at all — i used "tan accelerator" — it makes your tan FASTER or some such nonsense. The amazing thing is that it makes your tan faster even if you are locked in a basement with a bag over your head!  Aint technology a marvel?

Poor Mata Hari was executed this morning on Turner Classic Movies. She was killed for having sex with men with big shoulder pads while she, recalcitrant, had big fake eyebrows.  I kept trying to imagine Greta Garbo "going for the gusto," but I got the impression she may be more satisfied alone.

I am working on a novelization of the new movie STEALTH. I can’t wait to see it.  I bet it is one hot action flick! In the screenplay, the action is fantastic, and i bet the visuals are stunning.  In addition to reading the screenplay, I have done all the research on the REAL uav/ucav  Stealth planes currently in development and deployment and it is perhaps more scary than the film! Sheesh — don’t be surprised if the next sound you hear from a navy jet fighter isnt the sound of breaking the sound barrier, but the plane singing "daisy."

The number one problem with email and IMs is sending the wrong message to the wrong person — i finally did that yesterday!!!  OOOOPS….i thought i was speaking to a nice jewish ultra-liberal who worked on the Kerry campaign, when i was actually speaking to a Republican shiksa positioned just to the right of Atilla the Hun!! It is difficult to recover from such a mistake, no matter how fast you type. "Noooo — i didnt say Republicans, i said rude pelicans!"


My siblings and I share a remarkable trait – we’re not dead.  That’s not bragging, it is simply a statement of fact.  Being alive today is not an accomplishment for which any of we three can take credit.  My sister Janice was “supposed” to be dead more than thirty years ago from a “fatal disease.”  Is there such a thing as dying from a “non-fatal disease?”

My brother Stan has been living on borrowed time at least since High School. He missed the Senior Prom due to blood poisoning. A couple years later at ZBT Fraternity, he was having his morning shave when one of his frat brothers asked him about the “red line” moving towards his neck – a red line not visible to Stan because Stan is color-blind.  Had Stan finished shaving five minutes earlier, and slipped into a long sleeved shirt, nothing would have prevented Lionel Barrymore from completely taking over Bedford Falls.

I had a heart attack on Monday the 23rd of May, and I didn’t die.  The experience did however, make me nervous and hungry.  After a Big Mac and a Camel, I felt much better.

The Dr says I shouldn’t smoke as it causes some sort of constriction of the blood flow.  In Supreme irony, Flow doesn’t know that the boy she loves is a Romeo

The real mystery is this: My son and I were on the shuttle bus to the airport when I had the heart attack. The attack transpired because of blockage in my arteries. The blood could not flow anywhere. There was animal fat where blood was supposed to be.

On the Thursday following the heart attack, I met with a family doctor who asked if the hospital had given me a blood test to see if my heart attack was the result of a cocaine overdose! IS THERE A HISTORY OF PEOPLE BEING GIVEN OVERDOSES OF TOPICAL ANESTHETICS AND/OR STIMULANTS WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE WHILE RIDING THE SHUTTLE BUS TO THE AIRPORT? IS THIS AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION OF A COMMON PROBLEM?


Short Story Unearthed

I forgot that I wrote this back in 2002, but Donna McCooke, RGN unearthed it from the vault of Burl Barer short stories kept in the UK, and sent it back to me. Everything written by me, and stored on my other computers, is now history. Gone. Good thing most of my stuff got published. If i need it bad enough, I can go buy it!
Unrevised short story from 2002, entitled:

Nobody’s perfect.
Nobody’s perfect.
No body is perfect.
What percentage of my life, in hard math, has been sucked away into this mirror? I stand here awaiting the transmutation into shimmering silver translucence.
There is no transmutation.
There is no transubstantiation.
There is only image and disappointment.
The Priest has a mirror. He stands in front of it staring past the silver, penetrating my plaid skirt. He thinks of me ‘that way.’ I’m sure of it.
I will not mention to mother about my breasts. They are asymetric, I’m sure of it. One of them will be little and squishy and the other lopsided and larger and no one will call me mommy.
You needn’t have children to be a woman.
I read that, and I believe it.
Men smell of men, and too much of that isnt good for you.
Standing in front of this mirror isn’t good for me. It needs cleaning, for one thing. I can’t see me as clearly as I did yesterday or the day before, when my breasts didn’t make fun of me, and my skin didn’t crawl when I smelled all those men.
Those men. The smell clings to my clothes, and I scrub my skin and pinch my nipples. One nipple is larger than the other. I won’t tell anyone. The men don’t know, they only imagine.
I can’t imagine who would want them. Those men.
There’s a reason for everything, they say.
I have reasons. The men have excuses.
There are no excuses.
I accept no excuses because there is nothing to accept.
“I take no prisoners,” I say aloud to the mirror and if it were human, it might laugh at my cleverness.
Mirrors don’t laugh.
Mirrors don’t accuse. Mirrors accept.
Happy couples make love in the dark. I’m sure of it.
There are happy couples. I know that for a fact. I see them in magazine adverts.
The happy couples do not smell of men.
Or blood.
One man might, if cleaned regularly, be something tolerable from a distance.
Three men, four men, or more men….
I turn away from the mirror, but I turn back again.
Nobody’s perfect.
No body.
Those men.
They smell worse today. I sneaked a peak at them, and they stared at me, making rude remarks in silence.
I hate that.
They look at me with their bugged out eyes and thick black tongues.
They smell worse today.
All those men smell worse.
Someday you’ll meet a nice young man, my mum told me.
My mum met a nice young man. He fucked her, she had me, and it’s all my fault.
I’d catch my mother doing what im doing, looking in the mirror, wondering perhaps what life would be like if she hadn’t fucked. Where would she be?
I never noticed if Mom has one breast that’s not quite right. The men notice things like that.
I don’t really do this for me.
I don’t do it for the men.
There are too many of them.
They make remarks all the time. They say they want me, but they don’t know me.
They tell me I’m perfect.
Nobody’s perfect.
Everyday their bodies look worse.
I laughed at them the first day.
I mocked their surprise the way they mocked my breasts. My breasts are still here. They are here, still.
1And the smell.
One by one I brought them here.
One man at a time may be tolerable, I tried to say aloud.
But nobody is perfect. And men judge and imprison you and once they put that seed in you, you never know what your life would have been.
The men would hold your soul in their eyes if they could.
But I don’t take prisoners. I free the slaves.
“Have a drink,” I say with a smile, and each says “bottoms up” and winks as if he is clever.
I show them my breasts.
They stare at them.
I’m sure they stare because they see the difference.
I watch the look on their faces change as they stare at my breasts.
They are all the same.
They stare, drop the glass, fall to their knees wide eyed and speechless.
They still stare, but they don’t see me.
Damn. They smell.
How many now?
Too many.
I would move away, but I can’t take them with me, and I can’t leave them here.
I don’t leave the house. I don’t leave the mirror.
The smell.
They think they are so clever.
They think they still hold me prisoner. They think that their stinking dead bodies hold me here. They think they have me figured out perfectly.
Nobody’s perfect.
No body is perfect.
I hear the knocking on the door, but I ignore it.
I hear the banging, the demands, the splintering of wood and the breaking of glass.
I wont even turn around.
There is no need.
I have no excuses.
I have reason. I have the mirror.
The mirror doesn’t lie, but it doesn’t make my life stop.
Men do that.
Not to me they don’t.
I turned the mirror on them. They saw themselves.
Too bad they cannot smell themselves.
Men smell.
Dead men smell of blood and feces and I’m dancing now.
Dancing to the high pitched song of the dying, the electric scream flashing race-wheeled down the boulevards. They would lift me away, strap me down.
“Mad,” they say.
I’m not even angry.
Nobody’s perfect.

Financial Vampires From Hell

The wrath of God, in case you have not been keeping up with prophecy, is about to be unleashed on Capitol One (the Beast) and its unholy offspring, Alliance One (the second Beast) — the dual anti-Christ of consumer credit.

In one 24 hour period they increased my amount owed by 100% despite no activity on the card since September 2003. They had already increased it by 100% a few months earlier blaming “interest and fees” — while it made no sense to me at all, I was too exhausted from the fraud episode on the account perpetrated by the now incarcerated Frank Eiras III to hassle with it.

Before the fraud, I owed them $305. I have since paid them close to $1,000 and they now tell me that I owe them over $2,000 but are unable to explain WHY or HOW…it just IS. Now, I did mention to them that they have TWICE recognized that this is an error, and TWICE have apologized to me. I previously told them that if they ever call me again asking for money i don’t owe them, my terms of service clearly state that there is a $5,000 fee per instance. They have called four times this last week. They shall receive an invoice for $20,000, and a law suit…I’m not alone…THOUSANDS of people are suing Capitol One for pulling these stunts.

GERMAN SPAM WITH WORMS: See those emails with German words in the subject field? Delete them.
See that letter from your dear new friend in Nigeria who found a zillion dollars in a bank account and somehow selected YOU to handle it as a good deed, and you get millions? Delete it.

See the doggie on my bed? Don’t delete it. Isis, the post-felon ex-convict, frequently muzzled but never equaled doggie of mine has to be dropped off at The Kennel Club at 4:30am on the way to LAX. She is delighted, I’m sure. This time she doesn’t get the deluxe doggie condo — private suite with pics of Lassie and Rin Tin Tin on the wall, and a color TV showing “dog friendly” movies — All Dogs Go to Heaven, Old Yeller, Cujo, and Dracula’s Dog (aka Zoltan, the Hound from Hell). She will be in doggie lock down till I return on Monday, the 23rd (Declaration of the Bab).


I’m having fun with the screenplay of the new action film, STEALTH. It’s sort of a 2005 riff on the HAL “problem” in 2001, or the android companion/lover gone hay-wire plot. It has top gun appeal coupled with a sci-fi “technology just ain’t human” edge — I wont give away more than you’ve seen in the previews, but this looks like a box office hit of the popcorn/crowd pleaser variety — the film comes out in Japan in October, and much earlier here in USA. I’m adapting the screenplay as a paperback novel for the Japanese market…no, i dont write Japanese; it will be translated. I have till mid July — figure two months — to deliver the manuscript, and there is enough diversity of characters and relationships to give me plenty to work with. I’ll start on it on my Seattle excursion, and finish it up here in lovely Santa Monica. I think Sony is giving me a sneak preview of the film — that would be nice. On THE SAINT I didn’t see a single piece of footage until long after the novelization was done, and on MAVERICK they were doing reshoots while I was doing re-writes. This time, the film is completed and I don’t expect any last minute drastic changes in plot or characters.

Tuesday the 17th is my mom’s birthday, so I am off to Seattle that morning. I’ll stay with Jordan while I’m up there. My sister and daughter are both going to be in town that week also, so I am really looking foreward to this trip. My brother, Stan, however, is off in China for ten days. With so many people already in China, I can’t imagine why they need to fly in more! (that was an element of humor).

Insanity in Santa Monica

Santa Monica is lovely,  I am surrounded my several the oddest assortment of strange ducks since I researched HEADLOCK by spending days at the McFeely Tavern in Walla Walla. In the room next to me is Elliot, former professional pool hustler, New Jersey Gin Rummy Champion, and real estate speculator. He speculates on what he could have made if he had gone into real estate.

"You know what I’m doing now," he asks rhetorically.

"Yes, you’re drinking."

Then, temporarily was the six foot five 19 year old Russian girl on her way to Seol, Korea from Anchorage, Ak. Don’t ask.

In the end room is a handsome young man sharing the bed with his mother. She is a paralegal, he insist, and not his paramour. Told him I saw The Grifters.

My ex-con canine, Isis, is going stir crazy. Our room is the size of a the new postage stamp commemorating low disc space messages. Every time I attempt taking her for a walk, my cell phone rings — it’s the manager of the hotel (i am, until tomorrow, assistant mgr) telling me that a new resident is on their way to check in. "Fax me all their information," he says. "Okay, which non existant phone line would you like me to use when I hook up the etheric fax machine?"  There is not one phone line in the entire building. I was on my way to walk the dog when it rang again — turn around, go back.  I took this gig because it gave me free rent. Management was very happy with my work! They bragged to the owner, "Burl and his adorable doggie are doing a wonderful job!"  On the good news front, I’m writing the novelization of a new action film, STEALTH. I’ve seen the previews — it looks like a cool movie…a popcorn film with good f/x etc….i think it is about a super-plane without a pilot that gets out of control and real live humans must bring it down…at least that’s what the previews imply. I’ll have the screenplay tomorrow. This will be a fun project. The most fun is the part where I make the bank deposit!

DOGGIE!??!!!??! There are no pets allowed in the hotel!! OOOOPS!

Tomorrow at 8am they pack me up and send me back to the OTHER hotel where they allow dogs and I was paying rent. I just need to put up with this until the 17th of May — then im going to Seattle to see Mom for her 94th birthday. I’ll stay with Jordan and Ida Kitty till the 23rd, then get an apartment when I return to Santa Monica.

Most recent guilty pleasure: Listening to the director’s commentary on DVD of "Vampires II: Los Muertos"