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Thomas Burchfield's Blog

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Jan.04.2012
DO NOT CATCH THIS FLU. The Flu first emerges as a deceptively mild cold that lasts for 3 days or so. You may even feel the cold disappearing and your energy flaring anew, but DO NOT BE FOOLED. For verily, on the 4th day, the Flu shall blossom and soak and rage through your helpless flesh, and...
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Dec.17.2011
    Because he was scrubby and dirty they took him in . . . And because he was so dirty,  they named him “Harry.”   This Christmas, act like a Christian. Uh-uhhh, I didn’t say be a Christian, your kneecaps bending on a cold floor, your hands steepled, eyes rolled in gooey...
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Dec.10.2011
  BOYS WITH GUNS: THOUGHTS ON THE SISTERS BROTHERS   By Thomas Burchfield   A couple months ago, I was chatting with Bob, the proprietor of Walden Pond Books on Grand Avenue in Oakland (where you can pull a real paperback copy of Dragon’s Ark  from the New Mystery section of...
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Dec.03.2011
         FRANCIS COPPOLA’S (NOT BRAM STOKER’S)   It happens to all actors, even the greats such as the De Niros and Streeps, Oliviers and Hoffmans. They’re cast in a role that doesn’t suit them, that’s beyond their skills, range, or type. Often the casting is not even...
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Nov.25.2011
      Deciding what the best photo I’ve ever taken was a medium-stature order because, for one, my lists of favorites are always fluid and, two, I’m a fairly competent amateur with a camera. So picking the best—or more fairly, my favorite—took some cogitation. The one above is...
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Nov.19.2011
    I have read that more movies have been made about Dracula than any other literary character with the exception of Sherlock Holmes. I can’t confirm this claim, but I certainly have not seen all of them. Nor do I plan to. None of those I’ve seen are great movies, even as horror movies...
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Nov.12.2011
 In mid-October of this year, my wife and I spent a four-day weekend on a thousand-acre working ranch located in the San Juan Valley of southern Colorado, a few miles across the border from New Mexico. The ranch sits about seven miles up from the two-lane main road that winds through that...
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Nov.04.2011
  This week, the Red Room has challenged its members to write about our favorite book for sale on the new Red Room bookstore.   A-ha! I thinks to myself. I could praise Red Room member David Corbett’s novel Do They Know I’m Running? or, recommend any number from member Peter Straub’s...
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Oct.29.2011
  There are no unsacred places;  There are only sacred places  And desecrated places --Wendell Berry I’m seated in a wood-slab patio recliner on the east deck of a huge cabin, the legacy of a cigar-chomping Chicago banker and big game hunter. It’s a clear-blue early morning on the...
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Oct.12.2011
A talented but cowardly law clerk's blind passion for a beautiful, mysterious attorney puts him on the Fast Track to Hell when a glib n' greedy hit man hires himself to whack the attorney's fiancé—a slapstick nightmare about the awful things that happen when a dream comes true.   In the...
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Oct.08.2011
  Before I started my bullet-packed crime novel, Butchertown, my knowledge of Prohibition revolved around its gangsters. (Tales of copious gunfire tend to focus a man.) I've read several biographies of Al Capone, plus crime histories such as The Bootleggers and Their Era. I am also well-...
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Sep.30.2011
Our precious eyes frame the world. Light enters, infused with information about objects and the space they occupy. The information is narrowed down, focused by the lens, which then beams the light onto photoreceptive cells glued together in the retina at the back of the eye, where the light is...
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Sep.24.2011
I’ve been fascinated by the history of Prohibition and organized crime since I was a lad. Like many Baby Boomsters, this interest was sparked by the old black-and-white TV cop show The Untouchables, which ran from 1959 to 1963. Starring Robert Stack as real-life Treasury agent EliotNess,...
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Sep.23.2011
This April, I delivered my first presentation to promote my novel Dragon’s Ark  at the monthly meeting of the California Writers Club—Berkeley Branch. I’m a trained actor with a Bachelor’s in Speech-Theatre (U.W.-Oshkosh) and I’ve spoken off and on over the years. I spent days preparing my...
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Sep.17.2011
(Another version of this piece, with a photo, can be found at my official website, A Curious Man.) I’m unable to find the exact quote, but I recall John Updike once saying that one of the problems with being a prolific, practicing book writer—paid or not, I’ll add—is the little time it leaves for...
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