Friday, May 29, 2009


I don't think of myself as a triskaidekaphobiac. As a matter of fact I wore number 13 on my jersy as a high school basketball player. But the truth is I felt the need to throw up of fourteenth post because I wasn't comfortable with 13 blog posts for the month of May.

Astro Jetson and Technology Wars

I can sound exactly like Astro Jetson. It’s worth noting that I can also sound like Scooby Doo and anyone who knows their cartoons knows that Astro sounds an awful lot like Scooby Doo. I can also stick my thumb in my mouth and cause a baseball cap to rise from the top of my head. My old friend Danny Martinez taught me the amazing baseball cap trick. Just thought I ‘d share.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Dolla, 50 Cent, Barney the Dinosaur and more Steve McQueen

CLASSROOM BANTER My students were talking about the recent shooting of a rapper by the name of Dolla.

“Is there really a rapper named Dolla?” I asked.

“Yeah, dollar’s tight.” one of them said.

To which I pointed out, “I guess he must me twice as good as 5o Cent.”


It was a decade or so. I was hosting educational television programming. A local actor told me his agent was looking for voiceover artists who could imitate the voice of “Barney the Dinosaur”. I could indeed do the voices of Shaggy and Scooby, Goofy, and yes – Barney the Dinosaur. I met with the agent; we created a tape and the agent and she sent it to the Barney the Dinosaur people. If it panned out, if I were to become the voice of Barney, I’d be looking at a couple hundred grand a year – just for doing a goof ball kids show voice. Alas, it turned out producers used the voiceover tape to show the real voice of Barney he could be replaced. So you see, one of my worthless talents was almost worth something – almost.


Anchorage police arrested The King of Cool for drunk driving in 1972. Legend has it that McQueen executed a back flip during the field sobriety test.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On Practical Jokes and Impractical Talent

One of my colleagues has been working with a confident young student teacher. We’ll call the student teacher Fred. We’ll call him this because it’s his actual name. Fred was asked to deliver his final lesson. This was supposed to be his masterpiece, the lesson with which he would demonstrate everything he’d learned about education. Unbeknownst to young Fred, his master teacher had given the students a special set of instructions beforehand. She also asked the principal to drop by. He had also been given a special set of instructions. Fred had stayed up half the night preparing the mother of all English lessons. Nothing could have prepared the self-assured young student teacher for the nightmare he was about to experience. Fred began his brilliantly prepared lesson on existentialism. In accordance with the master teacher’s instructions, the students began talking on their cell phones, throwing things at each other, walking out of the room, laying on the floor and feigning sleep. It was a three ring circus. The principal pulled Fred out in hall and gave the verbally battered him into complete submission. The boss assured Fred that he would never get a job in his school district, that his name was Mud in Arizona. The master teacher, the principal, and the students had a blast executing the elaborate prank. The last time I saw the student teacher he was walking through the hallway muttering incoherently to himself.

I can sound exactly like Goofy. I’ve been able to imitate Goofy since I was in high school. Just thought I’d share another example of my numerous worthless talents.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Star Trek

"These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise, it's continuing mission to explore a strange new world, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before. "

I AM NOT NOR HAVE I EVER BEEN A TREKKIE, but I did thoroughly dig the new Star Trek movie. The going rate for a daytime movie in Arizona is seven bucks, a hefty chunk of change to be sure. And you know what? I feel like I got my money’s worth – even with two noisy inconsiderate nitwits who brought an infant sitting directly behind me.

Note to inconsiderate nitwits: You’re not supposed to bring infants to the movies. Furthermore, you aren’t supposed to be noisy, or inconsiderate, or a nitwit.

Back to the subject at hand; the new Star Trek movie is a roller coaster ride in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the first Star Wars movie; escapism in its purest form. The casting selections are outstanding. The young actors were able to pull of the mannerisms and speech patterns of the original cast. The new Scottie is funnier than the old Scottie. The new Sulu is cooler than the old Sulu. The young Bones and Kirk capture the essence of the originals. And the young Spock is the old Spock. As for the new Uhura, she’s quite beautiful but doesn’t begin to approach the sultry sizzle of the original Uhura. That’s right, I said sultry sizzle. I have a personal history with the original Uhura. When I was seven years old, this woman stirred up new feelings within me, bringing about a realization that not all girls were ickie…
My mother-in-law was upset that Leonard Nimoy and not the greatest ham in television history, William Shatner delivered the monologue from the original series. Of course my mother-in-law is harboring a forty year crush on Billy Shatner.

Finally, the audience applauded at the end of the film, something I haven’t experienced in a long time. So go ahead and plop down the seven bucks to see the new Star Trek Movie; it’s well worth it. Now if you live in L.A. or New York where a trip to the movies will run you somewhere in the neighborhood of 147 bucks, you might be better off flying out to Phoenix to see the movie.

Here's the original cast. Wait a minute, the blond wasn't a cast member. I think that's my mother-in-law. How'd she get in that picture?

The Origunal Spock

The New Spock


Kirk and Uhura engaged in the first interracial smooch on network television.

Everybody dug Uhra.

Even Mr. Sulu...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

On Scooby Doo and Blogging

I can sound exactly like Shaggy or Scooby Doo. This is a talent to be sure, a talent that has afforded me absolutely no benefits. Speaking of worthless talents, I can do lots of unusual things with quarters. Just thought I’d share…

To those that read Dual Dreams and John Hill, thank you.

I’M STILL STRUGGLING TO FIGURE OUT THIS BLOG BUSINESS. The idea of this blog is to promote my writing and establish some semblance of a network. Last week I posted a short story in three parts, hoping people might be willing to read it in smaller chunks. The site meter tells me 241 people hit my blog last week; however, just 15 people stayed long enough to actually read the story. It seems I’m attracting a lot of traffic, but not a whole lot of people who are interested in reading my short stories.

While I have somehow managed to attract hits, I need to figure out how to bring in readers who are interested in my style of writing. Better yet, I might benefit by attracting publishers or agents who are interested in my style. Oh well, I suppose I’ll keep hammering away.

My hit count has enigmatically increased significantly over the last month or so. I was under the impression that the key words “Swine Flu” and “Star Trek” were responsible for attracting hits, but the hit count remained high with “Dual Dreams and John Hill.”

Last week I received an email from a travel agency offering to place fifty bucks in my Pay Pal account to insert an advertisement on my blog. Fifty bucks! I could use an extra fifty bucks. An internet savvy friend rained on my parade, advising me not to accept the offer, that the ad could damage my computer. For a minute there, I thought I’d hit the big times, not to mention the fifty bucks...

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dual Dreams and John Hill

A Short Story from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son
“Dual Dreadms and John Hill (1968-1976)"
by W.Z Snyder

© 2006 William Snyder


Dreams are wiser than men.
-Omaha Saying

I was shuffling through the playground sand at Hawthorne Memorial Park on the corner of Prairie and El Segundo. It was 1968 and I was in the fourth grade. The park was completely empty. It was quiet; there were no cars on the road, no other kids, no old Italians playing bocce ball, no planes in the sky. I was feeling kind of lonely, and then I noticed John Hill from my class at Saint Joseph’s swinging on the monkey bars. He was wearing his thick black-rimmed glasses and our school uniform, a neatly pressed white collared shirt and salt and pepper corduroy pants.

“Hill!” I shouted to him.

The kid was doing some amazing things on those monkey bars. He looked like some kind of gymnast, swinging up and over the bars. John Hill was a pretty good athlete but these moves were nearly impossible.

“Hill!” I shouted again as I sprinted to the monkey bars.

“Hi, Snyder.”

“What are you doing here?”

Hill let go of the bar, did three flips, and in the same motion, shot upward to the square platform at the top of the big metal winding slide. Dumbfounded, I executed a Little Rascals style double take. Something wasn’t right.

“What the heck? How did you do that Hill?”

“We’re in a dream Snyder. You can do anything you want.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Do I look like I’m kidding, Snyder?”

He hopped down from the platform, strolled over to the basketball court and casually picked up a weathered red, white and blue, ABA style ball that just happened to be sitting at mid-court. John Hill dribbled the ball, showing moves that would have put Walter Clyde Frazier, himself to shame. Upon reaching the free throw line, he leapt into the sky and threw down a crushing, rim-rattling, two handed Wilt Chamberlain style dunk.


“Go ahead and try something Snyder. Nothing’s impossible in a dream.”

Taking a couple of steps, I leapt into the sky. I became weightless as I shot rapidly above the park and into the clouds. I was flying. The cool pristine breeze rushed against my face. Freedom. Hill was right. This felt too real to be a dream. John Hill promptly joined me amongst the mysterious white clouds. “Try this.” Hill said.

He dove into a cloud. I followed him into the thick fog that made up the immaculate white cloud. It felt good, wet droplets spitting against my face. The pure white light from the sun hurt my eyes as I emerged. I really dug flying. I still do, at middle age - in my dreams. It feels so incredible, so free, and always so real. John Hill taught me well.

“So Snyder,” Hill looked at me as we shot past a screeching seagull, “isn’t it weird that we’re both having the same dream at the same time?”

“I thought this was my dream.”

“Well, it’s my dream too. Isn’t that obvious to you?”

Hill was the smartest kid in the class.

“This is your dream?”

“No. It’s our dream Snyder; I read about this in a psychology book.”


“No stupid, dual dreams. Two people sharing the same dream.”

"How do I know you’re not just part of my dream and the real John Hill isn’t at home dreaming about the Green Bay packers?”

“Here’s a simple solution, Snyder. Ask me about the dream when you see me at school tomorrow.”

He spun left, executed a series of rapid rolls and spins before rocketing off into the horizon over the blue Pacific.

Dual Dreams and John Hill can be read, in it's entirety in The EIght Fingered Criminal's Son, available in a book store in Thailand in November of 2010 - Or you can check current entries to this blog to order a copy of this book...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is Lindsay Lohan Pregnant? What's the Deal with Miss California? What about Donald Trump?


Do you really care whether or not Lindsay Lohan is pregnant? Miss California seems to be getting a lot of attention today. I’m not sure I understand why. Quite frankly, I wasn’t aware that people still cared about beauty pageants. Apparently, the woman made a remark about gay marriage. Why would anyone care what a model thinks about gay marriage? Now people are freaking out because seminude pictures of this woman have bubbled to the surface. Donald Trump is also involved in the nonsense. He has forgiven Miss California for the semi naked pictures. I wasn’t aware anyone still cared what Donald Trump thought. Clearly, I'm observing how key words in the title effect my hit count...

Here's some information you can use. Miss California has no connection with Star Trek. But Steve McQueen does. The King of Cool costarred with William Shatner in a 1957 Studio One production of The Defender.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Lala, Vasquez, The Swine Flu, Star Trek and a Sunday Morning in Prescott


I have nothing to say about the Swine Flu or Lala Vasquez. Including Swine Flu and Lala Vasquez in the titles does appear to attract hits to my blog.


Star Trek also appears to rack up the hits.
Bluesfrau in Germany asked for a definition of Tribble. Tribbles are the cute furry creatures you see above. They appeared in a Star Trek episode entitled The Trouble with Tribbles.

Word on the street is the new Star Trek movie is quite good.

Below is a shot of the new Lieutenant Uhura. She's a cute enough kid, but she can't begin to compare with the hottest woman in the history of network television.


A couple of Sundays back I headed up to Prescott with my eight year-old, Barit and seventeen year-old, Macaulay. An entire cup of coffee ended up in my lap before we hit the one mile marker. We had to head back to la casa Snyder so I could change my pants and despite the adversity, climb back into the car and head north. About thirty miles into the hundred and twenty mile drive, I frantically pulled off the freeway to find a restroom. Such is life when you have a bladder the size of a grape. We stopped for donuts in Anthem and Macaulay insisted that I definitely not buy any more coffee. It was nice to escape the concrete jungle and experience a crisp Sunday morning driving across the wide open Sonoran desert and up into the Arizona high country.

Macaulay is a excellent photographer and she wanted to take some black and white of some old buildings. I was hoping to connect with the former territorial capital since it’s the setting for my latest story. We casually strolled around the courthouse and toward Thumb Butte on Gurley Street as Macaulay snapped away, stopping for hot chocolate in a sub street level bakery. It was a good morning, a nice little adventure with a couple of my girls.

Here’s a shot of the Bucky O’Neill Rough Rider memorial statue in the Prescott Town Square. Captain O’Neil and the Arizona Rough Riders assembled in the square before shipping out to Cuba in 1898. Former Prescott sheriff and judge, Bucky O’Neil and the Arizona Rough Riders assembled in the town square in 1898 before shipping out to Cuba. Captain O’Neil was killed at the Battle of San Juan Hill, shortly after saying, “There isn’t a Spanish bullet made that can kill me.”

Bucky O'Neill is the namesake of Bucky's Hotel and Casino.

Theodore Roosevelt and the victorious Rough Riders at the top of San Juan Hill, sans Bucky O'Neill.


Sam Elliot portrayed O'Neill in a 1997 TNT movie entitled The Rough Riders.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Swine Flu! Star Trek!


Are you a blogger? Would you like to attract readers to your blog? I’ve got two magic words for you: Swine Flu. My last two postings included Swine Flu in the title and my hit count seems to have quadrupled. I really don’t have anything else to say about the Swine Flu. Come to think of it, there are probably about a billion Trekkies trolling the internet since the release of the new Star Trek movie. Why not add Star Trek to my title?

If you stopped by to read about the Swine Flu or Star Trek and you’re still reading, welcome and I hope you aren’t so miffed that you won’t take a look around...

I did watch the original series as a kid. Never got into the later series'.


The Trouble with Tribbles was probably the funniest episode in the original series.

Spectre of the Gun is my favorite episode. Kirk and the boys were imprisoned in a psychic illusion shaped from the recesses of Captain’s mind. The illusion took the form of Tombstone, Arizona, circa 1881.

My second grade classmate, Danny DiAngelo brought his lunch to Saint Joseph's Parish School in a lunch box excactly like the one above.

Lieutenant Uhura. Hot. Smoking hot.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Swine Flu and Mine That Bird


The powers that be have decided to send my kids back to school tomorrow. The kids aren’t very happy about it. On the other hand, my wife is ecstatic. It turns out the Swine Flu isn’t as dangerous as they thought. Anybody else feeling manipulated here? Last week the local newspaper reported over a hundred Mexican deaths attributed to the Swine Flu; talk radio hosts were screaming for the head of Janet Napolitano because she didn’t close down the Mexican border. According to yesterday’s paper, there have been less than twenty swine flu related Mexican deaths. What gives? I can’t help but wonder if the drug companies didn’t make a few extra bucks from last week’s panic.


The Year of the Seemingly Impossible Dream continues. Note to underdogs: there’s always a chance. A fifty to one underdog by the name of Mine That Bird came from behind to win the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Man, I love fifty to one underdogs


Bet you didn't know Steve McQueen held a patent for a bucket seat. It's all about keeping people informed, baby...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Writing Report, Swine Flu and Random Musings


Although I stopped sending out query emails about six weeks ago, rejections emails continue to filter in. Strangely enough, I welcome the rejections; they make me feel like I’m still involved in the process. This one came in a couple of days ago:

Thank you for querying us regarding your manuscript.Unfortunately, after careful consideration, we have decided to pass on thisproject.

Thank you for considering 3 Seas Literary Agency for representation.

Michelle Grajkowski

Cori DeyoeLiterary Agents

3 Seas Literary Agency

Thanks a million, Michelle and Cori!

This morning I found the time to do a little reading on Prescott history. My novel, The Really Weird Science Guys takes place in Prescott. It turns out the Earp brothers ran a saw mill in Prescott before relocating to Tombstone. Virgil Earp was town constable. Furthermore, he shot some poor schmuck in front of The Palace Saloon. I’m not sure whether the Earp brothers will figure into my story, but I feel like I’m still in the game.

My seventeen year-old daughter and I are heading up to Prescott tomorrow. She wants to take some pictures while I’m hoping to do a little research and maybe pick up some inspiration.


There are four confirmed cases of the Swine Flu in Arizona. One of them attends school two blocks from my house. Thursday afternoon School officials announced Tarwater Elementary would be shutting down for one week. I know what you’re thinking; Tarwater is a ridiculous name for an elementary school, but try to say with me, the subject is the swine flu. My girls are thrilled to have a week off from school. The news scared me half to death. My wife, on the other hand, was irritated. “What do you mean the kids are going to be at home seven days in a row?”


This morning my five year-old was jumping on the bed. I hollered at her, “DON’T JUMP ON THE BED!” Five seconds later she was jumping on the bed. Is it a brain development thing? Come to think of it, I ask my high school students to wait to start packing up their things until the passing bell rings, reminding them it’s disruptive and rude. I ask them every day because someone starts loading up early every day. They say it takes upwards of twenty years for a brain to fully develop. It could be a brain development thing. But then again, I have a student from Vietnam; he told me Vietnamese students never disobey their teachers. He explained that Vietnamese discipline methods different from modern American methods, that Vietnamese teachers hit disobedient students with sticks. I attended Catholic school for eight years and I can tell you the nuns weren’t afraid to whack me on the knuckles with the metal end of a ruler every now and again. And other than the limited use of my left index finger, it didn’t hurt me a bit…