Noir at the Bar 10/1/2020

This Thursday, October 1st, I’ll be reading with a great lineup of writers for a virtual Noir at the Bar hosted by Dennis Tafoya.
Megan Abbott, Jordan Harper, Jen. Conley, Wallace Stroby, Nikki Dolson, and Alison Gaylin will be reading, and I’m thrilled be with them.
Join us, it’s free and here is the sign up link.
Noir at the Bar 10/1/2020

For Warren Zevon

Here’s a story I wrote in tribute to the songs of Warren Zevon, which have helped me understand the world since my friend Peter Dell’Orto lent me his LP of Bad Luck Streak in Dancing School back in the ’80s. It’s still one of my favorite albums.

But I like to consider his music its own universe, and this is my attempt to bring some of my favorite songs together in such a fashion. “The Hula Hula Boys” has always been a favorite, and who doesn’t love “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner”? You’ll notice a few others from Bad Luck Streak, but no werewolves at Lee Ho Fook’s. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Beat to a Pulp if one of my favorite fiction sites, run by David Cranmer, who I collaborated with on for Blade of Dishonor. One of my first publications was “A Glutton for Punishment” at this great site dedicated to all things pulp. And “The Hula Hula Boys in: Headless Ticket to Hawai’i” is pure pulp, like so many of Zevon’s songs. I hope you enjoy it.

Tommy Salami’s Plucking Patreon

Forgive me, Dear Reader. I haven’t updated this blog regularly for a long time. Instead, I wrote the Goombah Gumbo Newsletter and a few articles on Medium, but I have finally settled on a Patreon to collect my writing for those who want to support me this endeavor. There will always be free stories, articles, and posts to read there. But I’m trying something new:

My previously published stories that are not available free online will be available there for patrons of the Foxy Donuts tier and higher, and I will write a Patreon-exclusive story or article each month for those patrons. You can also read regular posts for free, or chip in a buck if you want to buy me a coffee. The story-level tiers also get you a Harshly Worded Letter or a Fart Haiku postcard!

For those inclined, there are also tiers where you get monthly correspondence such as tiny stories and poems, and one where you get a book from my library of forbidden tomes and incunabula, aka pulp paperbacks and such.

Blogging is so 2000s. In fact, I missed the 10th anniversary of this one. I think there’s a place for communication between the flitting of social media and lengthy newsletters, and Patreon has a nice look to it. Please come visit, there are free snacks. As John Fogerty said, you don’t need a penny to hang around. But if you got a nickel, why don’t you lay your money down?

Click the image below to visit Tommy Salami’s Plucking Patreon.

2020-03-10 11_52_46-Window

The Salem Oak … and Diner

500+ year old oak.

Today we wax historic, for travels had me pass through the small town of Salem, NJ en route to Baltimore this week. It’s just off exit 1 on the NJ Turnpike, the last exit before the Delaware Memorial Bridge. You could make a day trip and visit nearby Fort Mott and Finn’s Point, which date to the Civil War. I visited them the last time I passed this way, and only heard about the 400 year old oak tree afterward.

This gives you some scale, with the tiny cyclist.

Now there are older trees; there’s a 3,000 year old bristlecone pine in Yellowstone, whose location is kept secret, to keep idiots from trying to pick souvenirs of its bark. You can’t even take fallen pieces of wood from that part of the park, because of souvenir hunters. This one just happens to be the oldest known tree in the state, because it was standing when the Quakers made this patch of land a graveyard in 1675.

South Jersey, especially the side along the Delaware, has a long history and colonial settlement predates Philadelphia. There are towns with storied histories, like the Othello side of Greenwich, supposedly named because a Moorish princess married a man there, and their progeny settled in that half of town. That’s from William Least Heat-Moon’s excellent road book, Blue Highways: A Journey into America, so if it’s complete bullshit, blame him. I haven’t managed to get down there yet. There are Weird NJ favorites like Shellpile and Bivalve not too far from here, and a muffler man statue in camouflage is between here and Cape May on Route 40, if you’re coming that way.

The Oak Tree is thought to be more than 500 years old; according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, Salem “was established in 1675 by John Fenwick, an English Quaker. The Friends (Quakers) Burial Ground in Salem has the Salem Oak— a tree 80 feet (25 metres) high that is said to be more than 500 years old— under which Fenwick signed a treaty with the Delaware Indians.” It’s quite a sight, being 88 feet tall and covering a quarter acre with shade. At least according to the plaque.

Across the street is the aptly named Salem Oak Diner, established much later in the 50’s. It’s a classic dining car that was expanded in back. They have a decent menu- we were there for breakfast and Boss Man had a bacon & egg on a bagel with home fries. I’d eaten so I didn’t sample their expansive diner menu except for some fruit, but it’s a nice clean place and worth skipping the nearby Cracker Barrel for, if you want to see the tree.

The classic New Jersey diner.