Wednesday, December 28, 2011

THE ROUNDERS - Bill and Wayne's Excellent Adventures in the World of Film

Wayne Mosbarger, the Mr. Miyagi of quirky cool old movies, recently turned me on to The Rounders, a 1965 comedy western staring Henry Fonda and Glenn Ford. Fonda and Ford cut it up with bigger than life character actors Denver Pile, Chill Wills and Edgar Buchanan. They honestly don't make actors like these guys any more. Set against the gorgeous backdrop 1960s Sedona, Arizona, the film follows the escapades of a couple of middle-aged, hard luck cowboys.

The quirky coolest aspect of this old western is Henry Fonda's love interest is played by the old gal who portrayed “The Penguin” in The Blues Brothers. And here's where it get's even quirky cooler in a Kevin Bacon kinda way: I was an extra in The Blues Brothers.

Bottom line, The Rounders with Hank Fonda and Bill Holden gets a thumbs up.

                               Hank Fonda cuts the rug with "The Penguin."

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve!

As Adam said to his better half, it's Christmas, Eve!

Sorry, I honestly can't help myself. I've always been a sucker for bad Christmas puns.


The e-book verison of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son is  moving quite nicely on The first Royalty check arrived in the mail recently. I suppose this is a milestone of sorts. Thanks to all who purchased the e-book. The bound version is in the works. One thing of learned about this book business is making an e-book is a lot easier and a lot faster than making a physical book.

Did you hear about the depressed elf?
He had low elf esteem.

Merry Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The-Eight Fingered Criminal's Son - The Cover Design

The long and painful search for a good graphic designer is finallyover. Here is the first cover cover proof.  We're still tweaking the design and playing with the colors. It's been a long process, but I'd rather have this project done right than done fast. God willin'and the creek don't rise, the cover design will be finished  and we'll give the printer the go ahead this week.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

John Wayne's Ghost - A Yuletide Story

John Wayne’s Ghost
Wiliam Z. Snyder
© 2008 William Snyder

It was late. Another perfect Christmas was in the books. Family and friends had been by for tamales and eggnog. That’s right - I said it; tamales and eggnog. Something wrong with tamales and eggnog? There had been plenty of Christmas music; the entire family had watched Jingle All the Way straight through, twice in a row. The wife and kids were upstairs fast asleep with visions of Schwarzenegger slugging it out with the dopey mailman dancing in their heads. I was trying to hash out my time travel story. This could be construed as something of a coincidence – working on a time travel story; you’ll make the connection soon enough. I’ve never been a late night writer, but the words just weren’t coming. I needed a change-up. The story was all in a mess; too many characters, each with an individual plot line. And I’d been told that too many of these people sounded like the same character. I was working downstairs at the old oak lawyer’s desk by the window, going at it John Steinbeck style, with twenty freshly sharpened number two pencils and a yellow legal pad. Although I’d been sitting at the desk since midnight, the first pencil was still sharp enough to draw blood.

The Christmas tree was beautiful. Heck, the Christmas tree had always been beautiful. That Christmas tree would always be beautiful. Our family Christmas tree was a place where the past and present came together, a place where new ornaments shared branch space with ornaments that were a hundred years old back when I was a starry-eyed boy. The oldest were pretty ragged. They were white bearded Santa Clauses with their eyes painted crossed, and their noses broken off. One of their hands had fallen off and all of their red suits had faded to pink seventy-five years ago. Poor little bastards. There were the wooden reindeers and wise men my aunt Lois had painted in the late 1960s when my uncle was in Vietnam. And there was the little fuzzy bear in a crocheted Christmas box my mother had crafted during her last Christmas season. Just above the bear was the handmade Grinch ornament my daughter, Sophia, had brought home from school this year. Yeah, I couldn’t help doing a little time traveling when I looked at that handsome Christmas tree.

But there was the business of the book. I had put the book aside nine months ago, after a friend read the first hundred and twenty pages and proceeded to absolutely rip it to shreds. This was new genre for me and it was the first time I tried writing in third-person. The scathing review truly took the wind from my sails. Somehow, somewhere along the line, I got into my head that I wanted to be a serious writer. And I’d been chasing the dream for five years. The agents and publishers had rejected my novel and short stories hundreds of times, but it was tough to hear it from my closest writing ally. Recently, I had decided I would finish the book, good or bad, come hell or high water. I didn’t believe in that writer's block business. It was like shooting slumps in my old basketball days. There was only one way out of a shooting slump and that was to shoot my way out. Likewise, I would have to write my way out of this writing slump. Writing was easier than basketball; I couldn’t go back and fix my missed shots, but I could always go back and clean up bad writing.

Determined to make something happen, I pushed the pencil to the paper. As Murphy’s Law would have it, headlights filled the front window. The shadow of a big man slowly, unsteadily emerged from a limousine. The chauffer climbed out and began gesticulating. The big guy waved him off and headed up the brick walkway to my front door. He walked a little like John Wayne. Maybe he was drunk. Standing, I moved toward the porch. Who was this guy? He wrapped quietly on the front door.

“Who is it?” I asked quietly, not wanting to wake Gail and the kids.

“It’s Duke Wayne. Open up, will ya?”

Looking through the peep hole, this character did look like John Wayne. And he was big, John Wayne big. He was dressed in slacks dress shoes, a polo shirt and a grey tweed coat.

“C’mon friend, I need a drink.”

You can read the rest of the story in my next book.

In the meantime, I suggest you read "The Spirit Guide Bar," available at this link:

The Spirit Guide Bar

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Christmas Comic, News on THE-EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON, and a Christmas Joke

It's that time of year again. I posted this comic last year, but what the heck, maybe it will be funny this time around.

Did I mention that I wrote a  book called The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son? You can download the e-book by clicking on this link:
I should have some news on the print version soon.

A Christmas joke: Did you hear that Scrooge's team won the football game? Yeah, the Ghost of Chritmas passed.

Friday, November 25, 2011

THE BOOK FROG - Support Your Local Indy Book Store

There's a new indy book store in the metropolitan Los Angeles area. It's called THE BOOK FROG. Former corporate book store characters Pete Ledesma and Rebecca Glenn are the proprietors.

While Pete Ledesma and I attended Hawthorne High School, we didn't run in the same circles. I did know of Pete Ledesma. Everybody knew of Pete Ledesma. If my memory serves me correctly, Pete Ledesma was known across the South Bay area for his bleacher jumping. Dozens of students gathered after school to watch young Pete leap from top row of the football bleachers, land gracefully 25 feet below, perform a kung-fu style roll, spring to his feet and perform a showman's bow. Pretty cool. Yeah, everybody knew who Pete Ledesma was. He was also a dead on Elvis impersonator. Pete performed paid gigs as a high school kid.

The last time I saw Pete, it was 1980. We teamed up as actors, playing a couple of bumbling detectives, in a student film called Coffee, Tea or Murder at Loyola Marymount University. I bailed on the project to take a job in soup factory.

Pete's also written a yet to be published book called Norman's Conquest. Apparently, a few copies have leaked out because a came across an extremely positive on-line review.

Word on the street is Pete and Becky's independent book store is off to a great start. Opening an independent business in the midst of the current economic turmoil is takes guts. But we're talking about a bleacher jumper here. Pete and Becky leapt from the top of the bleachers and executed their kung-fu style roll. Well done, Pete and Becky. It's time to take your showmen's bow.

Address 550 Deep Valley Dr #273, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
Phone 310-265-BOOK (2665)
Hours Mon - Thu: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Thursday, November 24, 2011


As I mentioned in my last posting, my earliest memories involve the JFK assassination. Over the years, I've been compelled to read several books on the topic. The truth has, in my estimation, been quite successfully hidden from the American people. I am relatively sure that the Warren Commission, led by Gerald Ford, was a sham. And I'm quite confident that Lee Harvey Oswald did not "act alone."

According to the Warren Commission, Oswald was a run of the mill American boy, nothing unusual about him. He served as an enlisted man in the Marine Corps before deciding to defect to the Soviet Union. Somewhere along the line, he had learned to speak fluent Russian. After a couple of years he decided to come back to the United States. Mind you, this story takes place in the middle of the Cold War. Oswald, or someone who looked a heckuva a lot like Oswald, was observed hanging out at the Soviet embassy in Mexico. It seems he became involved in Free Cuba Movement in the months before the assassination.

Although it's been said that Oswald failed a nitrate test, indicating that he didn't fire a rifle on the day of the assassination, I'm guessing he was one of two assassins. Some theories point to actor Woody Harrelson's father as the second gunman. Weird, I know. He was arrested that afternoon, held for a short time and released. Apparently, Mr. Harrelson had done time for shooting a political figure of some kind or another. Oswald was captured in a movie theater. He killed a police officer in the process. At the police station, Oswald said, "I'm just a patsy." The next day, Oswald was surrounded by police officers in the police department parking garage when Jack Ruby, a gangster from Chicago, shot and killed him.

Who was behind the assassination? Lyndon Johnson, no fan of the Kennedy clan himself, indicated the truth would have caused World War III. The CIA had attempted to assassinate Castro numerous times. Oswald's little vacation in the USSR makes the Soviets a primary suspect. Perhaps the Cubans were involved as well.

The list of suspects with motives is pretty extensive. Jack Ruby, the man who silenced Oswald before he had the chance to tell the truth, got started in the gangster business running numbers in Chicago for none other than Al Capone. JFK's old man Joe Kennedy got filthy, stinking rich as a criminal, working along side the likes of Capone, selling illegal alcohol during prohibition. After the Mafia worked hard to help JFK become president, Attorney General Bobby Kennedy exposed and prosecuted Mafia chieftains like Santos Traficante. Gee, wonder why the mafia would be upset with the Kennedys?

The CIA, the FBI, the oil industry, the military industrial complex had no love for the Kennedy's and have been tied to various conspiracy theories. Did I mention George Bush Sr. was the director of the CIA in 1963?

Lone Gunman? Not buying it...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lee Harvey Oswald - An Exerpt From THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON

An exerpt from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son
“LeAe Harvey Oswald (1963)"
by William Snyder
© 2006 William Snyder

It was 1963 and I was in a Sears’ department store elevator with my grandmother. The doors slid silently open. An enormous black woman filled the doorway. Her face was soaked with tears. “They killed Kennedy!” I looked up to my grandmother and she was crying too. Scanning the towering occupants of the elevator, I could see that they were all weeping and things seemed out of control. Although I hadn’t the slightest understanding of what was happening, I was scared to death.

My memory jump cuts to the dinner table at my grandparents’ home. We were having Jell-O. Tiny chunks of pears, peaches and bananas bounced around inside the cubes. My grandfather, who had been eating in silence, suddenly slammed his great lumberman’s fist on the table, “Goddamit! I knew they’d never let a Catholic run this country!” My Jell-O reverberated wildly in the glass bowl. On the wall behind my grandfather hung a picture of JFK and another of the blonde, blue-eyed surfer version of Jesus Christ.

My memory jump cuts again. Sitting with my my legs crossed, Indian style on the giant oval rug in front of my grandparents’ black and white television set, I watch a scene that I have already carefully observed at least a dozen times. Lee Harvey Oswald’s hands are cuffed as he rounds the corner in the underground parking structure. Dwarfed by giant gray men in cowboy hats, he wears a five o’clock shadow and looks like one if the guys who work on their cars behind my apartment building. I hate him because he is the man who killed the Catholic president. A man appears from nowhere, his broad back to the camera. I know that his name is Jack Ruby. He bum-rushes Oswald as the towering cowboy policemen stand by - useless. There is the muffled sound of gunshots. Oswald’s face looks almost funny. His eyes are shut and he looks as though he is trying very hard to whistle.

This incredibly chaotic, enigmatic scene is cemented into the foundations of the husband, father, and teacher I have since become.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Don't know that I've ever experienced anything like the Veterans Day basketball game played on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson. Enjoying the  grace and style of the greatest sport on the planet set against the vast Pacific Ocean sky was nothing short of sublime...

By the way, you can download THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON for a measly 5 bucks  by clicking on the link below.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son News

The print version of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son is in the works. While the book will be available at, you can pick up a copy in person at Chandler Auto and Tire. I'm working with the friendly and efficient folks at Chandler Auto and Tire to put together a book and a tune-up deal. Owner Brett "Big Cat White" has even agreed to chain a copy of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son next to the commode. The first reading and book signing will be hosted by those mechanical wizards at Chandler and Tire. Big Cat says there will be plenty of stale donuts and bad coffee for all who attend.

You can download the ebook version of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son for a measley 5 bucks by clicking on the link below.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

THE EIGHT FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON - Rigmarole Over the Title...

It seems there has been some confusion about the title of my new book, The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son.

First of all, I am the eight fingered criminal's son. Furthermore  my old man did more than his share of time in the big house and he parted ways with two of his fingers, making him the eight fingered criminal

More than a few people have voiced their displeasure with the title."Doesn't everybody have eight fingers, eight fingers and two thumbs?"

"Did the guy have eight fingers on one hand?"

Yeah, I thought about the title's potential confusion. I guess I could have gone with one of the following alterate titles...

The Son of the Criminal Who was Missing Two Fingers

The Eight-Phalanged Criminal's Son

The Eight-Digited Convict's Kid

The Offspring of  a Convicted Felon with Six Fingers and Two Thumbs

The Menace to Society with Two Hacked Off Fingers' Son

See what I mean. I think I'll stick with The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son.

The collection of short stories is available as an ebook on You can download The Eight-Criminal's Son for a measly five bucks by clicking the link below.

The bound version of The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son will be available on and Chandler Auto and Tire in Chandler, Arizona soon.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Billy Bob Thorton and The Eight-Fingered Criminal's Son's Goofball Book Promomotional Campaign, Phase Two

Ladies and germs, it is my peasure present phase two of my goofball promototion of The Eight-Fingered Son.
My thanks go out to Ian "Tig" Welsh, Brady "Cat" White, Dickie "Tom Jones" Imbugia, and Wayne "The Geege" Mossbarger.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


This review was posted earlier this week on

"In 1959 a comedy writer by the name of Jack Douglas wrote a book entitled 'My Brother Was An Only Child'. My sense of humor gravitated to that book. The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son is more gravitational. You cannot help but smile and be sad at the true life glimpses of a man's early life. It conjures up memories in our own lives."
Wayne Mossbarger

Here are the latese Amazon Stats.
Ebook sales: 43
Amazon Best Seller Rank: 13,246

Thank you to fellow blogger, Miflife Job Hunter for purchasing a copy.

You can download a copy of THE EIGHT-FINGERED CRIMINAL'S SON by clicking on the link below. The book costs a measly 5 bucks and you don't need a Kindle. There is a free and easy to download app that will allow you to read the book on any phone, computer or pad.


Thursday, September 22, 2011


The following review was posted to by Paul Skolnick.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I'm hoping Bill will in the future fill in some of the chronological gaps with even more anecdotes. I'm NOT mentioned, and don't even know the author. But his descriptions and stories sure brought back my own memories of that time and a place about 10 miles to the east of Hawthorne.

Much Appreciated, Paul.

You can download the book by clicking on the link below. You don't need a Kindle to read. There is a free and easy app on the Amazon page. The app will allow you to read the book on any phone, computer or pad.
Thanks to Midlife Job Hunter for the first of my blogger friends to download!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The First Review of The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son

Here is the first Amazon review, written by Bryan Frank.

"Not just funny, but laugh-out-loud funny, insightful and touching. The life of William R. (Buzz) Snyder growing up in the City of Hawthorne, California is perfect in its' honesty and heart.

Buy it and read it and tell everyone you know about it. That way, when the movie comes out and Buzz is getting the Academy Award for best screenplay, he might mention your name like he sure as heck better remember to mention mine.

Yeah, that's me listed in the dedication. Doesn't mean what I'm saying isn't true."

You can download the book at Amazon by clicking on the funky configuration  above. You can read the book without a Kindell. Just download the free Kindell app at


You can purchase the collection of stories on Amazon for five bucks by clicking on the funky looking link above. It's only available as an E-Book at this time. The bound version is coming. I will keep you posted folks...

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Taking a Break

It's time for me to take a break from blogging. 
I'll be back when I have something relevant to say...

Here's a bad joke to hold you over...


Sunday, March 13, 2011


How much drugs and alcohol did Charlie Sheen Consume?
Enough to kill Two and a Half Men...

Saturday, March 12, 2011


It's worth metioning that a Nike factory worker makes something like 40 dollars a week. It would take him 31 years to make what I earn in one year. It would take him 27,500 years to earn what Sheen pulled in for filming  one year of Two and a Half Men.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I know. It's an old bit.  And it's corny too Can't help it. I like corny old jokes.

One on my students ran the following little ditty by me this week.
If Mrs. Bigger had a baby, the baby Bigger would be bigger than Mrs. Bigger because it would be a little Bigger.

I can't seem to find a consistent name for my blog cartoons. SNYDER COMICS, SNYDER TOONS, WHEN PIGS FLY, SOARING SWINE and WHEN SWINE SOAR have served as the title at one time or another.

Who says a guy has to have a consistent title for a blog cartoon?

Especially when the gags are as corny as mine.

One more thing. I was recently cut off on the road by shiny black Mercedes with a license plate that read OVRACHVR. What kind of pompous ass drives a shiny black Mercedes with a license plate that reads OVRACHVR? Who is the guy driving this car?

Is it just me?

Come on! 

A considerable percentage of the population is struggling to make ends meet while this jackass is driving around in that car with that license plate,  cutting off people in beat up Chevy vans with busted windshields and doors that don't always open. I gotta say that anything bad that happens to that rat bastard's shiny black Mercedes in the parking lot is his own fault. Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying I took a key to that vehicle in question. All I did was blow off a little steam on my blog. But I sure as heck understand why somebody would feel compelled to do some kind of harm to that obnoxious vehicle.  

As for Charlie Sheen. I got nothing to say about that over payed knuckle head. I guess I just said he's an over paid knuckle head, didn't I?

Steam of consciousness much?

I just wanted to see if Charlie Sheen would bring in more hits...

By the way, if you happen to get cut off on the road by some pompous ass in a shiny black Mercedes with plates that read OVRACHVR and you decide to retaliate by hacking up a little phlegm on the windshield or taking a key to the door, I had nothing to do wit it - you're on your own.



Monday, February 28, 2011


This panel ran in the South Bay Easy Reader in 1985. That was a long time ago. The cartoon was a bit of a take off on Tina Turner's What's Love Got to Do With It music video.

Friday, February 25, 2011


A few years ago, bored out of my skull, I transcribed a Friday afternoon faculty meeting.
Here here is the most exciting portion of an hour and fifteen minute meeting.

“That’s all I have. Is there anything else?” the boss asks.
Please nobody say anything, I think.

“I have a question about the dress code, Mr. Hammer,” one of the idiots pops off.

“Shoot,” Hammer replies.

Don’t shoot!!! I beg, using my best extra sensory communication.

“Boys aren’t allowed to wear ear rings at the junior high. Is that right?”

“Correct,” Hammer answers in no particular hurry.

“What about safety pins?”

“Safety pins in their ears?”

“That’s right.”

“Well, isn’t that a health issue. It’s not sanitary, is it?” another mindless nincompoop enters the fray.

“I’ve seen students take safety pins from their ears and throw them across the room,” someone else decides to throw in her two cents.

“Now we’re talking about a classroom management issue,” Hammer states very seriously.

“What about paperclips? Are we going to allow the boys to put paper clips in their ears?”

At this point I begin searching the room for the hidden camera. This has got to be some elaborate joke on me and they are all in on it.

Bla, bla, bla, bla.

Superfluous, superfluous, and more superfluous.

My god, how I hate meetings!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Last week, a nefarious virus  infested my p.c., making it impossible to open various programs and slowing things down to a crawl. I was ready to purchace a new computer, possibly an Apple. I was considering the Apple switch because friend over at Microsoft said Bill Gates is a mean s.o.b.. Then a fellow blogger pointed out that Steve Jobs is also a mean s.o.b.. Since I didn't want to fork over my hard earned cash to either of those mean sons of bitches, I decided to take one last crack at the nefarious virus. Ladies and germs, I stood toe to toe with that rotten virus, slugging it out for five hours. Quite frankly, I'm not sure what I did. There was downloading, uploading and a heckuva a lot of deleting. And when the smoke cleared, the low down dirty virus had high tailed it out of town.

Final Score:
WZ Snyder 1
Mean Sons of Bitches and that Nefarious Virus 0

As for the cartoon, it has nothing to do with viruses or mean sons of bitches. It's an illustration from my never published children's book, How Larry the Griggit Learned to Fly.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

PRESIDENTS DAY - snydeR coMics #27

                                    whEn piGs Fly

Thought I'd do a comic in honor of National Stick Day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


This picture was in the bottom of my sock drawer. I'm the goofy looking one. We called ourselves The Comedy Guys. I did stand-up comedy with these guys in the eighties. Now we don't care what the temperature is. That was a joke. I think it's pretty funny. The fact that I think this joke is funny is a primary example of why I am no longer performing stand-up comedy.

I'm making this a quick entry because my computer keeps crashing. It's being attacked by a virus. I hate viruses. I'm probably going to need to buy a new one. I'm thinking of buying a an Apple. I hear Apples almost never get viruses. Furthermore, a friend of mine works for Microsoft. He tells me the working conditions are deplorable and Bill Gates is mean s.o.b..

I hate viruses and I'm not exactly happy with Bill Gates.

If I buy an Apple, I can stick to the man. I can stick it to Bill Gates. Make no mistake, Bill Gates is the man. I like to stick it to the man. Yeah, this one's for my buddy and his colleagues at Microsoft!

But wait. What if I start a trend? What if eveyone buys Apples because they never get viruses and Bill Gates is a mean s.o.b.? Won't my buddy lose his job? What if Steve Jobs is mean s.o.b. too? Life is so complicated.

I'll have to do some ruminating on this one...

Sunday, February 6, 2011


It’s been a heck of week, a cold week, the coldest week I can recall in the twenty-two years I’ve lived in Phoenix. My ficus trees are dead – dammit. It was cold enough to hurt your face, if that makes any sense. The automatic sprinklers watered the baseball field outside my classroom each morning and you could have ice skated on the puddles all afternoon. I had this fantasy of secretly tossing a little water onto the concrete outside of my door and asking a couple of choice freshmen to leave the classroom. I’ve seen the trick in movies. It’s not the kind of thing that happens in an Arizona desert city.

A few of my students competed in an academic competition across town. I served as sponsor and chauffeur. Would you believe me if I told you those kids made fun of my family Chevy Astro van? Well, they did, all the way out and all the way back – both days. They made fun of the cracked windshield, my broken blinker and the dents on the sides. They made fun of my busted taillight. And they made fun of the fact that the front doors wouldn’t open, forcing the front passenger and me to crawl in from the back. It kind of got to me when they called my family van a “creeper van.”

“Hey!” I told them, “Did you ever consider that this is the kind of car you gotta drive when you have five kids and a teachers’ salary? Huh? Did you?”

“How come teachers always complain about their salaries?” one of them asked.

“All you got to do is look at this van,” another kid came to my rescue.

“I happen to like this van. It reminds me of the broken orb on George Bailey’s staircase in it’s a Wonderful Life,” I said.

“Who’s George Bailey?” two or three of them asked at once.

By the way, the radio does work. I demonstrated this for my kids by playing A Prairie Home Companion all the way home Saturday night. For some reason, teenagers don’t fully appreciate Garrison Keillor. Got to tell you, I appreciated their lack of appreciation for Mr. Keillor.
The team didn’t exactly break any records. We had a few kids drop out, leaving us quite shorthanded. The highlight came when my students demonstrated the ability to sing that Journey song with the line, “Just a city boy, born and raised in south Detroit…”

It was a good moment. I mean, nobody took home a trophy or a medal and they made fun of my van, but all of my kids knew all of the words to very cool song. It was a very cool moment. Yeah, cool enough to help me appreciate my profession, my wise cracking students, and my 2000 Chevy Astro van.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


A Story from The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son
“Dave Cruz (1979)”

 by Willimam Snyder
 © 2006 William Snyder

The Eight Fingered Criminal's Son is available as an EBook on The bound version will available in 2012.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


This panel ran in the South Bay Easy Reader back in 1984. I'm pretty sure I lifted the cute little aphorism.

For those of you who who are new to the blog, I developed the Griggits when I was in high school. There were teenage daydreams of Griggit tv shows and movies. By the time the Griggits had run their course, there had been t-shirts, cofee mugs, and a comic strip run in a popular Los Angeles newspaper.
Not bad.

As far as Mr. Obama goes, he had absolutely nothing to do with the Griggits.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


Michigan born writer, Jim Harrison’s The English Major is a pretty good book. After losing a bad wife and a good dog, an old codger by the name of Cliff sets on a road trip/quest to rename all fifty states. Cliff is a high school teacher turned farmer.

Harrison is an outstanding writer. While he’s won all kinds of writing awards, his most famous story is probably Legends of the Fall. Harrison’s succinct and poignant style is reminiscent of Hemingway. It’s funny too. There seem to be a bucket load of allusions to Thoreau and Prairie Home Companion. Works for me. I happen to like Thoreau and Prairie Home Companion – and Hemmingway.

Although I was not English major, I was turned on to the book by an English major, an old pal by the name of Steve Wagner. Steve’s a cool cat, one of those guys who learned early in life to follow his bliss. After spending a few years playing guitar with a semi-successful rock and roll band, he picked up a job in a Portland brewery. A few years later, he and a partner founded the wildly successful Stone Brewing Company, most famous for Arrogant Bastard Ale. I’ve tried Arrogant Bastard and it’s a pretty good beer.

There you have it, a pretty good book and a pretty good beer. My job is done here now.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I have resolved to quit whining and complaining, to shift my focus towards the good mojo. It won’t be easy. Like they say, it ain’t easy to teach an old dog new tricks - and I am an old dog.

The first week of the new year was hectic and my mind is bit scattered, but I’d like to offer you some good mojo:

• Lindsey, my oldest daughter gave birth to Harper Bella Hernandez this week. Harper is named for Harper Lee. My twelve-year-old is named Scout, so Harper makes two Mockingbird girls in the family. She was four hours old when I made it to the hospital. The rest of the family had headed home and I had the honor of holding my grandbaby for forty-five uninterrupted minutes. Looking into the eyes of my four-hour-old granddaughter was nothing short of magic. Thanks to baby Harper, I can chalk up the first week of 2011 as a good mojo week. Let's call it a monster mojo week.

• My 2000 Chevy Astro van is on its last legs. My wife and I have resolved to drive until it breaks down again. Three of the four doors cannot be counted on to open. Today I had to crawl into the driver’s seat from the side sliding door. And I was good with this, feeling something like Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life when the wooden ball at the bottom of the staircase railing came off in his hand. He raised the orb to his mouth and kissed it because the Clarence the angel helped him to appreciate his blessings. Yeah, I felt just like Jimmy Stewart and Harper was my angel. How’s that for good mojo?

• Speaking of Jimmy Stewart, I think he said the keys to happiness are a comfortable bed and comfortable shoes. And I’m going to buy a new pair of shoes today. I’m not screwing around with his mojo thing.

• My daughters tried to teach me to dance The Jerk. I can’t say I learned The Jerk, but I did remember how to dance The Running Man. I’ve been dancing The Running Man a lot lately.

• I began teaching in 1986 when I was twenty-six. It’s kind of strange going to a job where nobody ages but me.

• Finally, there are some exciting new developments with my book, The Eight Fingered Criminal’s Son. I’ll fill you in as soon as the new plan is solidly in place.

• Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.