Ed McMahon’s Adjunct

Step right up, bona-fide schmucks aspiring writers! The time has come to hand out the Sobol Award! Yes, $100,000 is on the table, kiddies! With $25,000 and $10,000 for the runner-ups! That’s some good bread, don’t you think? Why, all of you Writer’s Digest subscribers who have always thought about sending in your novels but haven’t done a thing because you fear rejection now have the perfect opportunity to get with the program right now! We’re the Sobol Awards! Why, the name’s almost a palindrome!

Oh, did we mention an $85 non-refundable registration fee? Well, contrary to those pesky critics of ours who claims that this isn’t an award. It is an award! Did you not see “Award” in “Sobol Award?” Is that noun not provenance enough?

Vanity presses? Poppycock. Did you not read the large print?


We think this should quell any doubts.

Who cares if we’re run by Sobol Literary Enterprises? You act as if a word like “enterprise” is a bad thing. Okay, so we’re not a foundation. But isn’t any writing experience an “enterprise” of sorts? Writing is an adventure! Embarking into the unknown. To boldly go…hey, you Star Trek fan fiction writers, I’m talking to you. Enterprise — it’s a good name, right? Send in your Kirk/Spock love stories to us and we might give you — what are those four words again? Let’s see.


Yes, that’s right!

Remember, it’s first come, first served. Just like any great scam. And if you’d like to send us $85 anyway, we’ll be happy to send you a postcard straight from Sobol Literary Enterprises headquarters thanking you for your money. Because that’s the kind of people we are.

Did the Van Man Wear Ray Bans?

Ronald Jordan, known as the White Van Man, stole tens of thousands of Lonely Planet guides and hawked them on the street with help of a few shadowy vendors. But he’s now been caught. London police have described the case as “a flashback to Victorian London,” though when pressed on whether Jordan wore gaiters and a silk cravat, they were unable to offer clear answers. The internal affairs unit has unearthed several “large Thackeray and Dickens collections” behind police lockers. “The lads aren’t taking drugs,” said London Police spokesman Peter Thorin. “They were overworked and were getting bored with the tedious work. So they read a lot on their spare time and started seeing associations that didn’t exist.”

A Books-A-Million in Alabama has removed Playboy and Playgirl from its shelves. The decision came because Alabama has one of the toughest anti-obscenity laws on the books. Apparently, display of human genitalia, buttocks or female breasts “for entertainment purposes” is verboeten. I’m surprised that the bookstore didn’t counter this. It’s clear to me they were selling the magazines “for commercial purposes.”

If you’re wondering what happened to Freaky Friday author Mary Rodgers, she’s still around. (Yes, I read all those books when I was a lad too, including A Billion for Boris and Summer Switch.) She’s 73, and her 1959 musical Once Upon A Mattress is being staged for a comeback.

Big surprise of the day: McSweeney’s puts up something funny.

The Rise of the Creative Class author Richard Florida suggests that current economic trends may be discouraging vital creativity.

And The New York Times reports that Bonslav Pekic is staging a comeback from the grave. Purportedly one of the finest writers in the Serbian language, Northwestern University Press has announced that a translation How to Quiet a Vampire will be released in the spring.