Well, I checked in with Dr. Idi Amin, my dentist, at the end of the week, and I am recovering. I've weened myself off painkillers, except for Vitamin A, Advil, when my jaw send me my 2AM wake-up call. With the new laptop up and running, I've pretty much stopped hemoraging cash. I've started working on the first SG audio podcast, and along with the techies at The Outdoor Channel, we're working on downloadable video podcasts of our shows.
The only thing missing is the entire contents of the Michael B. Firearms Contingency Fund, in essense the money I use to buy guns. Sigh...
Then, as if by hand of the occult, a letter arrived last week, from some Authors' Registry organization in Europe. I figured they wanted me to give them some money to list me as a Famous Author, but I opened the envelope anyway. A check fell out. A check for almost $1000. I read the reems of paperwork that came with the check and discovered that numerous universities in England and Europe use my book, White Boy Singing the Blues, as a "tool" for understanding American culture. White Boys, incidentally, has been called by an actually credible library journal as "one of the best books ever written on rock and roll and culture." It's taught in numerous universities (I actually took a test on White Boys in a University of Colorado class...and failed) and has been the subject of numerous Masters amd PhD theses...I've read a few...it's really creepy..."If we exterpolate Mr. Bane's concepts to the society at large"...etc. etc. In a small corner of the academic world, I am bizarrely enough "respected."
So, of course, my publisher took the book out of print. They hired another one of those rocket scientist sensible shoes/plaid skirt/cream sweaters university graduates, who sent me a note that read, "We are taking your book out of print so we can republish important music journalism from Nick Tosches and Peter Guralnick." Wow! She must be BIG FUN on a date! "You're nice, but you don't have nearly the sex appeal of my Fah-ther!"
What's funny, of course, is that both Nick and Peter and very old and very good friends of mine, and, yes, they are brilliant music journalists. Then again, White Boys has been lsted as, "one of the five best books ever written on rock," ironically along with books from Peter and Nick.
But until I get the book republished by the publishing company I own, Flying Dragon, White Boys is out of print.
Which is how I came to make a grand without working. The Euro universities copy pages of White Boys and distribute them to their students hungry for the "Real America." Each time they copy a page, they apparently chip a few pennies to me. When it gets to be about $1500, the copyright group that keeps tabs on such things takes out a big chunk for taking care of such things and sends me the rest.
My Sweetie said, "Get yourself something nice and try to forget Idi Amin," but I'm too conservative for that. Half the money went to replentishing my flagging savings.
The other half...
A few months ago I stopped by my favorite local gunstore, and the owner says, "Hey, I put something aside for you!"
With much ado he goes to the safe and produces a really nice short-barreled Ruger Flat-Top .357 with a wonderful set of stag grips. The gun is maybe NRA Good to Excellent, a beautiful example of late 1950s Ruger. You know I love old Rugers...
"I knew you'd want it," he says. "You don't often see Flat-Tops this nice, especially with stag grips."
He had five-and-a-half on it — high, but not a bad price for a really good Flat-Top. I suspect the days of $150 Flat-Tops/3-Screws are behind us.
I had been compiling this list of guns I "needed" for the shows — a bunch of Scandium, a SIG 220, etc. "Yet Another Old Ruger" was not on that list.
I passed, and he was shocked. "I never thought I'd see the day when you'd walk away from that good a Flat-Top," he said.
So yesterday I made a call. Do you, I ask, still have the Flat-Top with the stags? Surprisingly, he said yes he did. Seems that the 50th Anniversary Blackhawk Flat-Tops and the smaller Colt-like Vaqueros have been hot items, flying out the door, and the unintended consequence is the price of "standard" Blackhawks and Vaqueros has plummeted. So he's moving a lot of Rugers, but the old Flat-Top just sat propped up in the corner of the case while the money went to the new Flat-Tops or the cheaper NM Blackhawks and Vaqueros.
"$495 on layaway?" I asked.
"At least I know it's going to a good home," he said. "Sold."
There's a certain humor in thinking of all those Euro equivalent of pennies that went into the Flat-Top. HEY ALL YOU LITTLE WEINERS ACROSS THE POND...I TOOK YOUR MONEY AND BOUGHT A GUN! STUDY HARD!