My Trump Connection

trumpInteresting story. Found this in an article online from 1993 in Caribbean Beat magazine. Caldwell was owner of Palm Island in the Grenadines, West Indies when I arrived around the same time to interview for another magazine, Cruising World (a yacht mag.) He told me about Streisand, but not Trump. Several celebs wanted to buy the place. When I later wrote a novel based on John’s story, I called it FAME ISLAND, detailing a Powerball winner’s battle to save the island from development (and using a Survivor type reality show as cover to fight a corrupt governor on neighboring Union Island.) !  Well, Mark Burnett happened to be producer of Survivor and The Apprentice, so I included a quote by Trump: “People are impressed by fame. Think big and live large.” Imagine my surprise to see the other day Trump liked Palm too! Caldwell died, and his sons sold the island to a private company. The audiobook version is narrated by Emmy winner (and Star Wars gaming voiceover and TV actor/director) Kris Tabori; the ebook version is titled “The Instant Celebrity.” Caldwell had sailed around the world with his family to discover the place, then spent 20 years with a wheelbarrow transforming it into paradise. He always hoped a movie would be made there, so I wrote a fictional version that includes his account of fighting off an attack from renegades. The audiobook was directed by a Grammy winning dramatist, and got accolades from a Disney producer, who said, “it would make a great movie, lots of twists and turns.” Alas, it was an indy press and not in hardcover first, and so didn’t get much press.

fame

Also interviewed pianist Lola Astanova, who Trump admired (and who played in Palm Beach.) The photo below shows her with Trump and Julie Andrews in 2012 at Carnegie Hall in NYC. Astanova reposted it from my Instagram feed. Andrews starred with one of my fav actors, James Garner, in the anti-war classic “The Americanization of Emily,” and read the intro to Garner’s biography. Garner’s daughter liked my review of the biography, AND Tabori (narrator of Fame Island above) was once in The Rockford Files as a guest star! So that’s my Kevin Bacon “6 degrees” moment. (Oh, and I also penned a Kindle ebook “TrumpWorld: Post Election Daymares.” It’s a fantasy on reading in honor of my mentor, Ray Bradbury.)

julie-andrews

james-garner

 

Flat Earth & the Role of Satire

AGTSATIRE: humor that uses exaggeration, wit, irony, and/or sarcasm to expose and discredit vice or folly. Humor with a point. It is a difficult medium to pull off well, and “whistleblowers” are frowned upon in our culture (except in sports, with real whistles), but some of the best literary figures in history employed satire as a means to keep the nation free of tyranny and repression. Voltaire, P.G. Wodehouse, Oscar Wilde, O. Henry, Lewis Carroll, George Orwell, Will Rogers, Charles Dickens, Ambrose Bierce, Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury, Joseph Heller, Gore Vidal, Woody Allen, Chuck Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, the list goes on. Then there’s The Simpsons, Futurama, South Park, The Family Guy and other shows. Robin Williams said, “People say satire is dead. No, it’s alive and living in the White House.” (He was referring to Bush.) In this spirit I dedicated an ebook to Ray Bradbury, who answered every letter I wrote him with kindness and insight:  TrumpWorld: an Amazon alternate universe fantasy ebook in which Trump is homeless and living under a bridge in a cardboard box. (“Will Work For Votes.”) Of course Hillary is involved in scandals too, her “team” having dissed Sanders, and with Bill Clinton having endorsed tyrants in the past, along with signing the Glass Steagall repeal (written by the GOP), which let Wall Street do its shady deals and led to the collapse of 2008. These two are the only choices you have, and you have to decide! I prefer the Coffee Party (look it up.)  The World’s First Trillionaire  is satire about a dweeb named Howard Rosen, who explains to the Rolling Stone how he became Super Duper Rich (SDR), with extended lifespan, a yacht that is also a sub (with nuclear torpedoes), and why his mansions and luxury cars don’t show up on Google Maps. (Also, why the NSA fears him, although he prefers to walk or take a cab. LOL.) Regarding the Flat Earth, there are literally hundreds of videos on Youtube that support it, and Trump. They disbelieve anything science says about anything, not just global warming. NASA lies about everything, they say, and yet some use NASA photos of the moon in other videos showing strange UFOs there. (You can’t have it both ways.) I had a cover article in Sky & Telescope (read part of it here), and spent four hours driving in a van to the Mt. Graham telescope near Tucson with the director. Just him and me, discussing his work on the Hubble team, physics, the scientific method, plus his directing the Kitt Peak National Observatory. I’ve also written about Kitt Peak for other magazines, and conducted research at the library, besides reading dozens of books on the subject. My novel The Miraculous Plot of Leiter & Lott uses optical science and physics in its plot, and is set in Tucson and Dubai, which Neil deGrasse Tyson used as just one example to prove the curvature of the Earth from atop the Burj Khalifa (where you can see it.) Yet many Youtubers (who don’t read books and get their McNews there) believe bling-a-lings who cherry pick their “evidence” and don’t realize that real science is self correcting. Or the “History” Channel.  Scientists all want to win a Nobel Prize (instant fame, prestige and wealth), and they don’t do that by shouting, they do it by proving. We refuse to see the world except as a competition between teams, races, religions…our gut reaction is to take sides, throwing bombs (or, symbolically, footballs.) We memorize things by rote in school, look at Tweets and think we know far more than we do, but don’t learn to think. So we are impervious to changing our opinions (given to us by social media giants who track us and feed back to us only what we already like and believe, hiding everything else) even when presented with new evidence. The Bible says the Earth is flat? Please. Time to wake up and smell the dark roast.

televangelists


Fame Island

The Instant Celebrity

Review from Audible: “Picking a veteran Hollywood screen and Star Wars voiceover actor for this was genius. This is an audio movie possessing wit, charm and intrigue in spades.”

Grenadines

Radio Grenadines aired a clip of the novel, as narrated by actor Kristoffer Tabori. The station is on Union Island, one mile from Palm Island, and is heard in St. Vincent and Grenada. The novel is set on Union and Palm, and postulates a coup attempt against a corrupt governor there. (The island was once taken over by renegade invaders in real life.) Today the place is bustling and friendly, a tourist destination. Palm Island was originally known as Prune island and, despite the allure of its sandy beaches, was uninhabited and contained quite a lot of swampland in its low-lying interior. In 1966 the island was leased by John and Mary Caldwell from the St. Vincent & the Grenadines government. They reclaimed much of the sodden interior by planting coconut palms, a habit John had developed on many of his previous voyages, earning him the nickname “Johnny Coconuts.” Fittingly, Prune Island became Palm Island, and the couple began constructing a 10-room hotel called the Palm Island Beach Club which they ran for the next 35 years. (I visited John to interview him for various travel magazines like Adventure Travel and Cruising World, and was inspired by his true story in writing my own.) Their hotel business was eventually sold and redeveloped after John died. 

Kristoffer Tabori

Fame Island

In CD or MP3-CD format or download from Audible or Audiobooks.com or Downpour or iTunes. Also ebook.