Tuesday, June 20, 2006

From Our News Desk, This Just in...


WHITE HOUSE UPSWING: So, President Bush (slogan: "Mission Accomplished...Whoops!") is gaining in the polls because his chief political adviser escaped indictment, and our troops killed someone who had nothing to do with 9-11.

PUDGEBALL KARL: Speaking of Karl Rove, doesn't the guy look like the pudgy kid always chosen last for the baseball team in sixth grade? And you read it here first...if you re-arrange the letters of his full name, Karl Christian Rove, you could spell: "Rival or Canker Shit."

GUNS & BUTTER: The Wall Street Journal, hardly a liberal mouthpiece, reports that the number of children in America living in homes "with limited access to food because of financial difficulties" rose from 33.2 million in 2000 to 38.3 million in 2004. Why doesn't the White House Press Corps (slogan: "Did Anyone See Our Spine?") ask Messrs. Bush & Rove about this? And why can't the Journal just say "children who go to bed hungry?"

HIGH JOURNALISM:Did you see Matt Lauer's interview with Britney ("I'm really a good mother") Spears. I'd say she resembles a waitress at a Stuckey's just outside Valdosta, Georgia, but that would be an insult to waitresses everywhere.

COFFE KLATCH:Headline last week: "Caffeine Helps Liver Against Booze." At last, proof that Irish coffee is good for you.

MEDICAL UPDATE: Last week, I spent 26 hours at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, for knee replacement surgery. The hospital bill just arrived. I will give an autographed book to the first person who can come within 15% of the total amount of the bill, which does not include the fee for the surgeon or anesthesiologist. Co-bloggers ineligible for first prize, but I will provide you with a wicked anagram of your name if you come close to the actual bill. Hint: it's a lot. Also ineligible, the nurturing Renee (pictured here), who keeps the cupboard stocked with tequila and my knee swathed in ice.

I'm now told that you no longer have to register or pledge your 401-K to post to this blog. You can do so anonymously. Best of luck. I'd say "break a leg," but I just don't like the sound of it.

BOOK NEWS:Kudos to fellow blogger Jacqueline Winspear, whose Pardonable Lies was just nominated for a Macavity award for best historical mystery of 2005. And, hold the applause, Solomon vs. Lord, the first of my new series, was nominated for best mystery novel. Winners to be announced at Bouchercon in September.

The Macavity is named for the "mystery cat" of T.S. Eliot's "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats." The award is voted on by members of Mystery Readers International. For a complete list of 2006 nominees, check out the Mystery Readers website.

No, that's not Macavity pictured. That's Taxi, the kitten my wife Renee found under a taxicab. She (Taxi, not Renee) lacks the abilities ascribed below to Macavity.

Macavity's a Mystery Cat: he's called the Hidden Paw--
For he's the master criminal who can defy the Law.
He's the bafflement of Scotland Yard, the Flying Squad's despair:
For when they reach the scene of crime--Macavity's not there!

From Macavity: the Mystery Cat, by T.S. Eliot

Paul Levine


  1. Typically a single knee replacement surgery costs about $40,000, or about the price of a low-level Lexus, but it doesn't corner as well. On the other hand (or foot, or knee), owning a Lexus usually doesn't force you to have body cavity searches when you go through security at the airport.

    I'm sure you'll be up and windsurfing soon. In the meantime, enjoy the Percocet.

    Mark Terry

  2. Wahoo!!!!! Congratulations to Paul and Jackie for their well-deserved nominations. You guys are awesome.

  3. from Jacqueline

    Well, congratulations, my fellow blogger, and thank you for yours! Macavity was always my favorite among the Old Possums Practical Cats. We had a teacher at school who would read the poem as a special treat when everyone had behaved themselves, which wasn't often. As we fell silent, he would creep slowly around the room, stopping by the desk of a particularly mischievous pupil when he whispered the words, "he's called the hidden paw!"

    Moving onto hidden claws, during my book tour last September, I was flying into Houston when every sensible person was flying out of Houston - in the wake of Katrina, another hurricane was on the way. But I had a date at Murder By The Book, and I was determined to be there, come what may. By chance I sat next to a senior photojournalist from AP, who specialized in natural disasters. So, speaking of disasters, I asked him (we were, after all, among the few who were on the 'plane), "Why are you press guys all lying down and playing dead with this administration?" To which he replied, "Two words: Karl Rove. He's got something on everyone who's anyone in the press."

    And when we exhausted that subject (or were exhausted by it) we talked about the plight of people and animals in New Orleans and Tom Cruise being too weird for words.

    Now, again, claws: My arm surgery cost in the region of $250,000 five years ago, so I'll pitch my guess at around $150-$200K. I was told that orthopedic surgery is the most expensive surgery, which surprised me, actually, because when I was wheeled into the operating room, the tools, implements and bits of steel that were about to be implanted looked like they'd just been bought at Ace Hardware - who needs anesthetic when you just flake out with shock?

    When I came home, my husband said he felt like Anthony Hopkins in Remains of the Day - running back and forth with tea and toast. Many blessings to Renee - may the force be with her.

  4. $85,000

    Alice Mansell (....who has seen hospital bills for over $2,000,000 for burn cases requiring ICU beds for more than 2 months. So, count yer blessings it was "just" a knee. Those images look pretty high-tech. Glad you are getting your money's worth: a new knee *and* frame-able digital artwork.)

  5. The Price is NOT right. So far, no one has come within striking distance. But what a range of estimates! Ted Habte-Gabr, a/k/a campaign manager of "Dave Barry for President"...you're too low. J. Winspear, you're too high. Both Jacqueline and Alice Mansell made me stop whining about the little twinges in the knee. Holy moly, as my grandad used to say. Those are some medical experiences. Mark Terry, that clever wordsmith, made me laugh, which in turn made the knee twinge. Jacqueline, I think it's fine your husband felt like Anthony Hopkins in "Remains of the Day." Just so he didn't feel Sir Anthony in "Silence of the Lambs."

  6. My guess is $115,000.00
    However, after reading the crap that you've spewed in your blogs it has become apparent to me that you must live vicariously through others. In other words you need to put others down in order to find some sort of self worth (talk about bull _ _ it!) Oh, by the way, even if I'm far from close regarding the cost of your operation you will probably want to send me one of the many copies I'm sure you have, considering no one else has purchased them, unless you count sales fewer than 1000 books as having been purchased. I actually purchased a copy of your “best seller” (Solomon vs. Lord) when I found it on E-bay. But after I read it I found it to be over priced at 50 cents. I find it hard to swallow when fools like you dog others using conjecture and obtuse statements that have extremely little or even NO truth to them at all! So please go STUFF YOUR BOOK and your comments along side the nomination for the award you have no chance of winning (2006 Macavity Award)!!!
    Comparing you to Connelly, Winslow and Robinson reminds me of the old saying, “It’s not who you know but who you _ low.
    A true talent to write is rare. Bummer for you. Read you later, just kidding, of coarse.
    Very Truthfully Yours
    (w)Right All the Time
    P.S. I'm sure you can fill in the blanks!

  7. how about $143,286.69
    I've had bypass surgery and the hospital only was around 170,000.00 , but I supplied my own parts.
    I live in Ga and get a discount on drivers license for signing up for body part donation, for some reason I get a kick out of this since most (if any ) are useless , just to many miles on this body !