Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Perfect Day

Wednesday was my birthday. I’m…well, I’m quite young compared to the seventy-three year-old college basketball player in Tennessee. I burned a personal day. Sleeping in until six, I started things off with a cup of coffee and a little ESPN on the TV. Then it was off to the gym for a nice work out. My wife and I relaxed with coffee and muffins at the local bakery. I’m telling you, this is the life. Slightly jacked up on the coffee, I headed over to the nearest book store to pick up a couple of writing magazines.

The main event was opening day of Spring Training with my seventeen year-old, Macaulay. The Angels played the White Sox at Tempe Diablo Stadium. We basked in the Arizona sunshine, eating hot dogs and Italian Ices. As a father of five girls, my sports IQ has diminished over the last couple of decades. The only person I recognized was Angels coach, Jim Abbot, and this is due to the fact he only has one arm. You don’t need to know the names of the players to enjoy a baseball game, not when the sun is shining and the company is right. The Angels won thirteen to four. Or was it thirteen to three? Either way, it worked out good for those of us in attendance. You see, when the Angels score ten or more runs, everyone in attendance gets free chicken wings from The Claim Jumper Restaurant. So Macaulay and I stopped at the Claim Jumper where the hostess handed us each a bag of hot wings. I know chicken wings are bad for you but man they were good.

Back at the house, my wife showed up with Pei Wei take out. I had the Asian coconut curry chicken. Among my gifts were a t-shirt that reads IRISH I Had Another Beer, a sign for the garage that reads Free Beer Tomorrow, and a couple of six packs of Zwiec Polish beer. I think my family is trying to tell me to drink more beer? Zweic is my favorite beer – very expensive so I only drink it on special occasions. You have to buy Polish beer at the Chinese market. I guess this is because we don’t have a Polish market. I'm sure there are Polish markets. I wonder if they sell Chinese beer. I enjoyed a couple of Zweics and tried to follow what was going on with Lost before hitting the sack at eight-thirty. How can you beat a day like this?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Chuck Norris of American Presidents

Andrew Jackson was a bad dude, bad and maybe a little psychotic. He fought in the American Revolution and spent time as a prisoner of war. In the War of 1812, Jackson partnered up with the pirate, Jeanne Lafayette to trounce the British at the Battle of New Orleans. Strangely enough, the battle was fought after the war had officially ended. Jackson was known as Old Hickory because he carried around a hickory stick – and beat people with it.

Andrew Jackson may be the reason we use the term OK. There are a few theories on the genesis of OK. The Jackson theory goes something like this. Jackson was a notoriously bad speller. He once said, “It’s a damned poor mind that can only think of one way to spell a word.” According to the story, when a bill came across President Jackson’s desk, he either labeled it with a V for veto or OK for Oll Korekt. Of course Jackson’s connection with the word, OK has nothing to with his tough guy status but it’s cool.

He fought more than twelve duels and carried two bullets in his torso as reminders. People usually managed to survive duels back in those barbaric days. Jackson did kill one poor slob, a man by the name of Charles Dickinson. Jackson’s adversary fired the first shot; the bullet cracked two of his ribs and lodged itself two inches from his heart. Jackson proceeded to take careful aim. Dickinson folded his arms across his chest to protect his heart. Old Hickory evenly lowered his aim and shot the man in the family jewels. Mr. Dickinson died a slow and painful death.

Maybe Jackson was a lot psychotic.

Jackson was six foot one and never weighed more than a hundred and forty-five pounds. By the time he became president, his skin was said to have a yellow tint. The strange coloration was probably a result of the bullets in his body, bouts with malaria and dysentery. The tough old curmudgeon somehow lived to be seventy-eight years old.

Jackson was the first president to undergo an assassination attempt. The president was approached on the street by an unemployed house painter by the name of Richard Lawrence while his bodyguards were, I don’t know, playing tidily winks. The would-be assassin produced a loaded pistol, aimed at Jackson and pulled the trigger. Nothing. The sixty-eight year-old Jackson proceeded to beat the snot out of his attacker with his hickory stick. Lawrence managed to pull a second gun, which also misfired. The presidential bodyguards had to pull the infuriated president away, quite possibly saving the house painter’s life. Statisticians determined the odds against both guns misfiring were 125,000 to one. The housepainter spent the rest of his life in a mental institution. Lucky, homicidal, and more than anything else, Andrew Jackson was one bad dude.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Say it Ain't So, Ken

I have some bad news for my fellow Ken Mink fans. It is with immeasurable anguish that I come to grips with the fact that my new personal hero, seventy-three year old Ken Mink has flunked Spanish and been declared ineligible. He will not suit up for the Roane College basketball team in this season’s home finale. Ken was planning to dress out in a 1950’s uniform and perform a rap song. Perhaps it’s for the best. Did anyone really want to hear a seventy-three year old man perform a rap song or see him dressed out in Daisy Duke shorts? I think not. Not in this life time.

I’m still inspired. F in Spanish or no F in Spanish, Ken Mink is a stud.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Spirit Guide Bar Query Letter

A fellow blogger posed the following question yesterday:

Can you take some time sometime to suggest how I should start with sending queries about a proposed book?

Although I've yet to publish anything, I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned so far. First of all, check out the 2009 Writer’s Market. Don’t go out and buy it. It’s available at your local library. The book does provide the format for a query letter and some basic information on how agents operate. The contact information for publishers is darned near worthless because so many of the listed publishers won’t read unsolicited manuscripts. And the book’s list of agents is quite limited. Larger lists of agents can be found free online.

Here is the link to the agent list I’m currently using.

Here is the link to Mike’s Writing Workshop and newsletter. It’s an understatement to say Mike provides a lot of information. This guy is incredibly prolific, sometimes posting as many as ten times a day.

Finally, here’s my query and first chapter for The Spirit Guide Bar. I hope this is helpful.

To: The Bryan C. Frank Literary Agency

Subject: Query: The Spirit Guide Bar

Dear Mr. Frank,

I am seeking representation for my novel, The Spirit Guide Bar, complete at 71,332 words.

The story follows a beaten down teacher as he embarks on a spiritual journey down a road of dreams and visionary experiences. He finds himself bellied up to the Spirit Guide Bar with Ernest Hemmingway, Ulysses S. Grant and the Scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. The journey stokes some hard questions. Is there a God? Does He communicate with us? What is sanity? What is reality? Are there things that can’t be forgiven?

Like the protagonist in the book, I make my living as a moderately beaten down high school English teacher. Along with performing stand-up comedy, my resume includes a four-year stint writing and hosting educational television programming. In addition to The Spirit Guide Bar, I have produced a collection of stories called The Eight Fingered Criminal’s Son, complete at 85,000 words.

Thank you for taking the time to read my query. The first chapter may be found below. Please consider taking a look.

Bill Snyder

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Short Review of a Short Film and the Agent Search Report


I offer you a short review of the short film, Octopodi. It’s one of just two Academy Award nominated films I’ve seen this year. Octopodi is fantastic, beautiful, brilliant, and funny. Perhaps I should climb down off of the fence to say I loved this movie. Set on the Greek island of Mykonos, the story follows two octopuses as they try to escape captivity and make it back to the ocean. Yeah, I used the word octopuses. Bet you thought I should have used the word octopi. Hah! I could have used octopi. I could have used octopodes, but I didn’t. I used octopuses. And all three are acceptable. I used octopuses because it sounded wrong. I’m feeling like a rebel today. Sorry for the digression. Octopuses are intriguing creatures, incredibly intelligent, and capable of critical thinking. Cameras in marine biology labs have recorded octopuses leaving their tanks in the middle of the night, crawling across the floor and into tanks containing smaller creatures, eating the creatures, and crawling back across the floor and into their own tanks by the time the scientists returned the next morning. Weird - and fascinating.I don’t seem to be doing a good job at talking about the movie. The bottom line is it’s a good animated short and you’ll probably in enjoy it very much.


I’ve been sending off query emails for my novel, The Spirit Guide Bar since October. I’m using the scattergun approach to the agent search. Using an online list of several hundred agents, I send off queries as fast as I can past my letter to the emails. With this method, I do send queries to agents who only represent self help authors or historical biography authors, but so what. What’s the worst that can happen? Somebody sends me a scathing letter? I’d love to have a scathing letter to hang on my mirror.

Query Emails sent 278
Rejections Received 60
Under Consideration 16
Miscellaneous Responses 2
Requests for a Second Chapter 1


Dear Bill,

My name is XXXXXX and I work with XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Thank you for writing to us and sending a proposal for your book The Spirit Guide Bar.
XXXXXX specializes in the representation of authors in the international market with translation rights, and our main activity is representing authors on behalf of other British and American agents, therefore we tend to take on very few authors for whom we act as principal agents.

We did feel that your proposal looked promising, however we feel that you would do better seeking an agent closer to hand – i.e. in the US . For this reason, we regret that we therefore have to decline your representation.

If you are still looking for an agent in the UK , you can find a complete list in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook.

Kind regards,

Yours sincerely,


There is something wrong here. Rejection is supposed to make me feel bad. Those British really are polite, aren’t they?

Friday, February 20, 2009

George Washington was the Eighth President of the United States


I’m a little late with my Presidents Day trivia, but here goes nothin’.

George Washington was elected president under the newly ratified Constitution in 1789. But America declared its independence in 1776. Ever wonder who was running the show between ’76 and ’89? I did and here’s what I learned. There was no president during the Revolutionary War. The first president under the Articles of Confederation was John Hanson, elected in 1781. He served a one year term. There were six presidents elected after Hanson and before Washington. They were Elias Boudinot, Thomas Mifflin, Richard Henry Lee, Nathan Gorman, Arthur St. Clair, and Cyrus Griffin. George Washington was actually the eighth president of The United States.

Finally, do you remember a pop group called the Hansons, the Um Bop Hansons? As it turns out, the three brothers are direct descends of the first president. OK, no they’re not. But wouldn’t it be a nice wrap up for this little posting if they were?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

NBA Legends Brunch

Here’s a shot of NBA legend, Bob Love, the #167 nephew and yours truly.

I finally figured out how to get one of the legends brunch pictures from the digital camera to the computer to the blog. Yeah, my war with technology is fought one battle at a time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dr. J. Loves Pancakes


I’ll remember Sunday, February 15, 2009 until the day my Alzheimer’s sets in. My brother-in-law, Brett invited me to join him and my two nephews for the NBA All Star Legends brunch at the Phoenix Convention Center. Brett explained that he had brought along in part for my basketball expertise. I came through while walking from the parking lot to the convention center, when I correctly identified the 6’ll former Denver Nugget, Danny Shayes. The thing is I darned near got hit by a one of the light rail trains in the identification process. The city just put the light rail system in and it’s scary. The trains come zipping along without warning – no bells, no horns, nothing. It’s just a matter of time before someone gets flattened. Somebody ought to write a letter.

Inside the convention room the superstars of my past were absolutely ubiquitous. There was Doctor J., Michael Cooper, Buck Williams, Truck Robinson, Magic Johnson, Tom Chambers, Kevin Johnson, Bob Love, Mark Eaton, Clyde Drexler, Lafayette Leaver, Clyde Drexler, Jo Jo White, Alvin Adams, Dick Van Arsdale, Ricky Sobers, Eddie Johnson to name a few. There were dozens of faces I just could not put my finger on. The extra years and pounds made them impossible to identify. Pretty much anyone over six feet wearing a coat and tie was a former NBA player. Many of these men were personal boyhood idols. It was a transcendent experience, a time walk.

And the food wasn’t bad either – all the steak, eggs, breakfast burritos, fresh fruit and pancakes a guy could eat. Speaking of pancakes, My nephew Dylan almost got a picture with Doctor J. Dylan was standing in the buffet line when a tall sophisticated character leaned over his shoulder and said something like, “My word, it looks like they’re out of pancakes?”

My nephew turned and said, “The lady said she right back with some more pancakes.” Then he realized he was talking to Julius Erving, “Dr. J, oh my God! Can my brother take a picture of us?”

“Sure,” Dr. J said moving into pose. Dylan called for his brother to head with the camera.

Brady was rounding the corner with the camera when Dr J said, “It looks like they’ve got some pancakes over there. I’ve got to have some of those pancakes” smoothly peeling off Dylan and over to another buffet line.

So close, but no cigar. Apparently, Dr. J. really likes Pancakes.

And then there was the Kiki Vandeweghe fiasco. After the speeches and presentations had been made, Brett and I were wandering across the banquet hall trying to position ourselves for pictures. We were a couple of middle-aged kids giggling and socking each other in the arm, running alongside veterans like Mark Eaton and Bob Love, trying to catch them as they finished conversations.

“Who’s that?” Brett pointed to a 6’9 white guy who looked to be about fifty.

“I think that’s Kiki Vandeweghe.”

“OK, get over there. I’ll take the picture.”

“I don’t know…”

“Get over there.”

Feeling quite silly, I loped over.

“Excuse me, would it be alright if we took a picture.”

“Sure, no problem at all.”

What a nice guy.

As Brett was snapping away like some kind of New York fashion photographer, I looked up and said, “There’s no way you remember me, but I played against you high school.”

“Really?” he said, “Which school did you play for?”

“Hawthorne High.”

“OK, I remember playing Hawthorne.”

“And I think your dad brought a couple of my friends into the world.”


His expression changed. He looked down at me like I was out of my mind.

“Wasn’t your dad an OBGYN?”

“Uh, no.”

“You are Kiki Vandeweghe, aren’t you?”


What do you say in a situation like this?

“Well, who are you?”

“I’m Steve Hawes.”

“Oh, err… I bet you get that a lot – I mean people confusing you with Kiki Vandeweghe.”

“No, I can’t say they have. Somebody thought I was Randy Johnson once.”

I noticed Brett out of the corner of my eye; he was on the floor laughing.

“Well, this is all pretty embarrassing. Thank you for the picture.”

The big man shook his head.

“You know the funny thing is we did play against Hawthorne High School.”

“Hawthorne, California?”

“No, Idaho. Weird, huh?”


That was awkward. But what a nice guy. I googled Steve Hawes; he had a respectable career with Atlanta and Seattle. I should point out that he definitely looks a lot more like Kiki Vandeweghe than Randy Johnson.

Note: I would have posted all of the incredible pictures it took if I weren't a technological moron. You see, I borrowed my daughter's digital camera and most of the pictures I thought I took turned out to be video footage of the feet of some of the greatest basketball players of all time. You thought I was kidding about my war with technology didn't you?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Music Mojo and the Agent Search


A few weeks ago my daughter, Macaulay took me to see This Season’s Love, a Chandler based alternative rock band. I was especially interested in hearing their rendition of Dancing in the Moonlight. The lead guitar and base players are former students and I turned them on to the 1973 King Harvest hit. I told them if they ever covered the song I’d make it a point to see them play. Their take on the song was quite good; they added a punk rock twist. As it turned out it was their last performance. They split up after the drummer and lead singer got into a fist fight back stage. OK, I made up the fist fight in an attempt to make the story more interesting. I don’t know why they decided to part ways. It was a good night. It was nice to spend a little time with my daughter and see a couple of former students in the pursuit of dream.


Friday was an exceptional day. Three members of the school choir stopped by my classroom to serenade me as a Valentine’s Day gift. It’s the first time I’ve ever been serenaded. They sang I Can Show You the World from Disney’s Aladdin. Of course they were very good. I returned the favor, singing them my interpretation of If I Only Had a Brain from the Wizard of Oz. I wasn’t as good as they were but I think they appreciated the effort. There are times when being a teacher is a pretty good job.


I’ve been sending off query emails for my novel, The Spirit Guide Bar since October.

Query Emails sent 272
Rejections Received 59
Under Consideration 16
Miscellaneous Responses 2
Requests for a Second Chapter 1

Agent Search News

I received the following response the other day.

My name is xxxxx. I work with Ms. xxxxx and she asked me to look at your query. Can you send the first 20 pages by snail? Put att; to Susan on the envelope and include our e-mail exchange.

The agent doesn’t have a website. This is the first request for additional material. I suppose I’ll invest in a couple of stamps and send her the first twenty pages. We’ll see what happens.

Friday, February 13, 2009

What's so Funny?

Today I’ve determined to come up with a funny entry. I could start with a couple of jokes. My bank account, that’s a good one. How about my agent search? The banking industry? Plungers are funny. So are Whoppers, Big Macs and Jumbo Jacks. Fast food in general is funny.

Bananas are funny, aren’t they? Bananas are without doubt funnier than apples or oranges. What is it about bananas? Is it their shape? Perhaps it’s their connection with monkeys? Monkeys are funny, even if they are a little creepy. Did you know you can shoot a banana by squeezing the bottom? And you can slip on a banana peel. Whatever - bananas are funny.

The fact that my high school students don’t think I’m funny is kind of funny. They never laugh at my jokes . I even try telling them jokes by world famous comedians like Steven Wright. Today I said “I know a guy with a circular driveway. He can’t get out?” Not one kid laughed. They just asked questions like, “How did he get there in the first place?” “Why wouldn’t he drive across the grass?” “Why would someone have a circle driveway?” and “Do you really know a guy with a circular drive way?” Yeah, my students don’t think I’m funny and I think that’s funny, even if they’re right.

I think it’s funny that my wife thinks she’s funnier than I am. In the name of everything that’s good, I was a stand-up comedian for two years. Where does she get off? She says I have Three Stooges style humor while she has Woody Allen Humor. She’s so smug about the whole thing. And you know what? I can’t think of one funny thing my wife has ever said. I can’t give you an example of her Woody Allen style humor. But I can think of lots of funny things I’ve said. Here’s a primary example of my sense of humor.
My father-in-law was cleaning out his truck and I was standing around keeping him company. He picked up an old milk crate and asked if I could use it.

“Use what?” I asked.

“This.” he said, nodding down toward the box.

“That?” I asked

“Yeah, you want a box?”

And I shot back with, “Not today Wayne, but I’ll wrestle you if you want.”

Now that’s humor, baby. It’s so funny that the last time we were finishing up out meals at a restaurant and the waitress asked if I was finished, I made it a point to say yes so she could say, “want a box?” And of course I snapped back with, “Not really miss, but I’ll wrestle you if you want.”

My wife proceeded to say I was immature. And quick as a whip, I came back with, get this, “Oh yeah, you’re the one who has the cooties.”

As it turned out, we didn’t need the box since I ended up with my leftovers on my head.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

#167 Dad's Hot Dog and a Book

According to a recent Time Magazine article called Books Unbound by Lev Grossman, the business of writing and selling books is changing fast. Four of the five best selling books in Japan began as cell phone books. Thousands of Japanese authors are making their books available on cell phones - free of charge. Although cell phone readers pay nothing, some of the more popular cell phone authors are picking up book deals.

Writers here in America are podcasting books and posting books on blogs, chapter by chapter. The Kindle and Sony Reader are making millions of books available on their funky screens.

American agents and publishing houses are dropping like flies. Borders and Barnes and Noble are on unsteady ground. Meanwhile, the literacy rate is skyrocketing and people are reading more than ever. While conventional publishers are going by the wayside, vanity publishers are expanding. According to Grossman, “Vanity publishing has become practically respectable.”

Lisa Geneva self published Still Alice, promoting her book from the trunk of her car. Before long she landed an agent and a six figure book deal. The Shack, The Lace Reader, Contagious, and Daemon are all examples of self published books that became best sellers.

So, where all of this leave me? Rest assured, I have an ingenious little plan. How does the phrase #167 Dad’s Hot Dog and a Book grab you? You see, I’ve been toying with the idea of buying a hot dog cart for some time now. There’s money to be made in the hot dog vending business. Bad economy or no bad economy, everybody loves a good hot dog. If I sell really good hot dogs, my business will explode. I’ll have to set up dozens of hot dog stands and hire a crack team of hot dog vendors. And then at the peak of the #167 Dad hot dog craze, I’ll introduce a new deal. #167 Dad’s Hot Dog and a Book for just ten bucks. Thousands of hungry Phoenicians will be chomping down on #167 Dad hot dogs and pouring over paperback copies of The Spirit Guide Bar or The Eight Fingered Criminal’s Son. And here’s the beauty of the plan, if the hot dog and book deal doesn’t catch on, who cares? I’ll go back to making a mint selling the dogs a la carte. I’ll be making so much cabbage I won’t need to sell my book. I can just circulate my books on Japanese cell phones. I know exactly what you’re thinking; William Zachariah Snyder is a stinking genius. It’s an absolutely brilliant plan. Thank you. Now, anyone know where I can pick up a used hot dog cart for a reasonable price?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Hardwood Time Travelers


When you look up the word stud in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of 55 year-old Charlie Bickford. Last year he was the country’s oldest college basketball player. I am not making this up. Charlie Bickford was an extreme outdoorsman, working as a backpacking and a whitewater rafting guide. With a new wife and a couple of kids, it was time to settle down and find a steady career. He enrolled at the University of Main at Augusta to study nursing. After watching the six-foot four inch, 230 pound Bickford bang a couple of the school’s basketball players around in a Monday night pickup game, the coach, just a few days older than Bickford, was impressed enough to invite him to practice with his depleted team. Looking at it as a good way to stay in shape, Charley agreed. Before long the 52 year-old was suiting up as the sixth man off of the bench. Repeat, Charlie Bickford was the sixth man off the bench. A 52 YEAR OLD MAN WAS ACTUALLY CONTRIBUTING TO A COLLEGE BASKETBALL TEAM. Bickford played two seasons with the UMA Moose. He has opted not play this year. I guess that whole supporting a wife and kids business got in the way. Charlie is working for the university and finishing up his degree. I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired.

I recently learned Charlie Bickford is not the oldest man ever to play college basketball – not even close. The distinction is held by Ken Mink who is 73 and currently playing college basketball for Roane State Community College in Harriman, Tennessee. It sounds impossible but I saw the video footage with my own eyes. It’s available on You Tube. The man gets up and down the court better than your average forty year-old, better than lots of thirty year-olds, and he still possesses some legitimate basketball skills. His passes are crisp and he consistently drops vintage 1950’s push shots and runners. To add to his credibility, Mink scored two points in a real game. The ball came to the old timer in the corner. Ken threw up a fake, sending his defender into the popcorn machine. When the opposing player finally came down, he hit Ken with a hard foul. Grandfather Basketball stepped up to the free throw line and coolly dropped his two free throws. Man, it was absolutely beautiful.

Ken Mink is my hero. He personifies the impossible dream. At 48, I don’t see how I can even think about calling myself old. Ken Mink has proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that we are as old as we choose to be. I haven’t participated in a pickup game for over a year and I’m thinking maybe I’ve got a game or two left in me. As a matter of fact, I think it’s time to lace up the Nikes and see if I can find my old shooting stroke. The way I figure it, I’ll be retiring in twenty years. That gives me 240 months to get in shape for the Chandler, Gilbert Community College tryouts.


Saturday morning basketball officiating seems to get better every week. This last Saturday a mom actually offered me after game snacks. Yeah, I think I’ve found basketball referee heaven. I’ve officiated close to 200 games over the last three years. And I’ve heard a lot of nasty comments. This is because I am cursed with something we referees call rabbit ears. The second most disturbing comment came my first year of officiating when an irate parent told my partner and me we were the worst referees he had ever seen. This character really got to me. I had to ask, “Really? The worst referees you EVER saw? Are you talking the course of your entire life?" The guy didn’t answer. He just stalked off in a huff. I guess he thought I was being sarcastic, but I really wanted to know. I’m more sensitive than your average run of the mill ref. The most disturbing comment came in the form of a threat on my life. That one bothered me too. I didn’t have to deal with any insensitive people last Saturday. No, it was a good day; I drove home eating Cheetohs, drinking grape Gatorade and feeling pretty good about my Saturday morning gig.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Time Traveling with You Tube


"Two American scientists are lost in the swirling maze of past and future ages, during the first experiments on America's greatest and most secret project, the Time Tunnel. Tony Newman and Doug Phillips now tumble helplessly toward a new fantastic adventure, somewhere along the infinite corridors of time."

With a little help from You Tube, I took the opportunity to do a little time traveling of my own last night. I rocketed myself back to 1966 for an episode of Irwin Allen’s The Time Tunnel. All I can say is the experience was captivatingly cheesy. In case you’re unfamiliar with the show’s premise, it goes something like this: an entity of the United States government was in the process of building an enormous time travel facility beneath the Arizona desert. When a congressman showed up to shut the project down – due the excessive cost, a couple of cool sixties cats named Tony and Doug jumped into the tunnel in order to prove that the apparatus in point of fact did work. The two protagonists bounced around in time over the course of thirty episodes while thirty-thousand scientists and time tunnel team members tried to figure out how to bring them back to1968 (the show was produced in 1966). The scientists were able to get the guys out some terrific mess each week, pulling them back into the tunnel just in the nick of time before they sunk with the Titanic or were killed at Little Big Horn. The show always ended with the heroes dropping out of the sky into the middle of some new well known historical crisis which would serve as the next week’s episode.

In this particular episode the two sixties dudes were dropped in the middle of the battle of the Alamo. The Alamo itself looked a little more like a castle than a Spanish mission. There were plenty of historical inaccuracies but I didn’t mind. There was lots of stock battle footage, probably from John Wayne’s movie, The Alamo. I had an absolute blast watching the sixties hipsters interact with historical figures like Jim Bowie and William Barret Travis. It was especially cheesy cool when Doug and Tony used 1960’s karate chops and judo flips in hand to hand combat with Santana Anna’s Mexican troopers and later with the defenders of the Alamo.

Some of greatest cornball lines in the history of dramatic arts were delivered by the Alamo’s commander, William Barret Travis, played by journeyman television actor, Rhodes Reason. Colonel Travis became suspicious of Doug and dramatically expostulated, “I don’t know whether you are a mad man or a calculated trouble maker,” and then to his men, “Seize him!”

Later in the show, Travis was accidentally sucked back to 1966 by the project scientists
(If remember correctly, they were always sucking back historical figures, but they could never get a bead on the sixties cool cats). Staggering through the psychedelic tunnel, Reason unloaded the following hyperthespian gems:

“How did I come to be here? How did I come to this place?”

The scientists explained that he’s been brought to the future through time travel.

Reason pressed the back of his hand to forehead and shouted, “Time…travel? What kind of voodoo magic is this?”

When the scientists set the machine ten minutes ahead and showed Travis video footage of his death at the Alamo, the colonel gazed toward the heavens and announced, “I beg you, sir, send me back!”

The cheese whiz was beautiful. Rhodes Reason’s overblown dramatics were first rate. William Shatner and Charlton Heston had nothing on the guy.

I think I’m in love with You Tube.


Twelve unsent Christmas cards remain on the kitchen counter and there is still a gallon of eggnog in the back of the fridge. At this point we might as well save the Christmas cards for next year. We’ll probably have to come up with a different plan for the eggnog.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Doctor Mallet's Time Machine

Is it possible? Could there be a real world version of Back to the future’s Dr. Emmett Brown? My nosing around into the subject of time travel has led me to a physics professor at the University of Connecticut who says he wants to build a time machine. His name is Ron Mallet and he’s telling people he can fabricate a machine that sends sub atomic particles into the past. If successful, Mallet’s contraption could be a precursor to something akin to HG Wells’ time machine. The scientist is developing quite a following, including Spike Lee who intends to produce a film about Mallet. One more thing, Ron Mallet is looking for money, lots of money. He says he needs ten million to get his machine up and running. What? You thought time travel would be cheap? Here is the time travel professor’s home page:

Could this guy be legit?


Query Emails Sent: 260
Rejections Received: 52
Under Consideration: 16
Miscellaneous Responses: 2


Thanks, but I'm not a fan of first-person present tense.

I like this rejection and I’ll tell you why. It’s short and to the point. The agent tells me exactly why he’s not interested and I take some comfort in knowing he read enough of my sample chapter to determine it is written in first person present tense.

My prediction didn’t quite reign true. The Cardinals were not able to throttle the Steelers by a score of 70 to 6. True enough, it was an outrageous prediction. All I can say is I would have looked like a genius if the Cardinals had actually won 70 to 6. My boys didn’t quite get it done. But they did in fact play out the script of the movie, Rocky. Remember nobody thought Rocky had a chance. Although he didn’t win, he did slug it out toe to toe with the champ right up to the final bell. It was the same with the Cards, wasn’t it? The Steelers simply came up with one more big play than the Cardinals. Like the Arizona fans in my circle, I’m satisfied with the team’s performance.

As far as the owners go, the jury is still out. The Bidwell family has a history of under spending. Contracts are coming up for renegotiations and the team risks losing important players to the completion. Come next season, if the Bidwell family is one dime beneath the salary cap and the team has lost one key player to the competition, I’m finished with the Cardinals for life. Did you hear me? I’ll burn my Cardinals hat. OK, I won’t burn my Cardinals hat. My daughter wore it to school last week and lost it. But if the previously mentioned scenario does happen to go down, please understand if the kid hadn't lost the hat I would burn it. I think I've made my point -dammit.

Monday, February 2, 2009

A Short Story by W.Z Snyder

This story appears in Dart Safety and the Purple Bikini and Other Adventures of the Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son. See current posts for information on how to purchase the collection.

You can download The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son for just 5 dollars by clicking on the link below...