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Saturday, October 17, 2009

Follow me on Twitter

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

How Did You Know?

For the last 18 months, I've been running a weekly trivia scavenger hunt over on the _floss. Besides showing off how smart you are, you can win a $100 shopping spree in our store over there. This week is the start of another series of challenges. Be sure to check it out this way.

We've got a Facebook page for the hunt, as well. Check it out here.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


it's been so long since i've posted, i forgot my login info and had to reset everything. i'm still writing daily for mentalfloss.com. so not much time to for the old rat-a-tat here. but i did want to put up a link to a new web site i started for short stories. if you're an author looking to get published, this might be a good place to start. though we're pretty picky, we are also hungry for new material right now. so go check it out: apt23.com.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Espionage as Sustenance

i've got a new essay up over at the wonderful oneforthetable.com

you can read read the whole essay here.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

One For The Table

i've got a new short essay up over at my favorite new web site - the exceptionally savvy, savory, OneForTheTable.com.

you can check it out here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mental Jotto

after years of searching for other jotto enthusiasts, with no luck, i think i've finally decided to put an ad out here on my site. drop me a line if this speaks to you. and if you don't know how to play but want to learn, check out the rules as i've posted them over on mentalfloss right here. and once you've practiced a bit, drop me a line.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

5 christmas songs written by jews

in case you missed this one over on the _floss: 5 famous christmas ditties written by jewish composers.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Vlogging now

my first vlog On Music post over on the _floss. special thanks to sam fischer for taking so much time to do this with me. rock'n'roll.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Writers on Writing Interview

you can go to iTunes and hear the podcast of a radio interview i did recently, or check it out here. (have patience or fast forward through the crazy intro music...)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Woody Allen Quiz

thought you all might like to try your ear at my latest quiz over on the floss. how well do you think you know woody allen's films? i bet it's harder than you think.

Friday, July 27, 2007

A True Story

my latest word wrap over on the _floss might make you smile... that is, if you've ever had a horrendous experience with customer service reps on the phone. check that out here.

you might also enjoy my latest for the mag: a story on the yiddish rival going on in la and around the world. that one is right here.

lastly, mangesh and will, who started the _floss when they were at duke, just made the 30 Under 30 list of america's coolest entrepreneurs over at inc mag. read all about it here.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Name that guitar solo

the quizzes are really catching on over at the floss. tens of thousands are taking them and passing them around the web. here are two new ones:

name that guitar solo and a follow up to the first cartoon quiz -- much much harder this time!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

More Quizzes

so many fun mental_floss soundbite quizzes, not enough time to keep up with them. here's one i made on cartoon characters, and another that tests your knowledge of famous quotes. Still another on songs from the movies, and lastly, perhaps my fav, at least the one that was the most fun to edit, one on tv jingles.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sherry Lansing

i was fortunate enough to interview sherry lansing recently, the first woman in history to run a major motion picture studio. at the age of 60 she walked away from her successful career to concentrate on her charity work. which is to say: she's one of the most upstanding people you could meet in hollywood!

check out the whole story here.

Friday, April 20, 2007

TV theme songs

i've edited two new quizzes i'm thinking you need to take, now... check 'em out:

tv theme songs 1

tv theme songs 2

Saturday, March 24, 2007

My latest

here's my latest cover story for mosaic: a fascinating interview with stanley gold.

also: have some fun with this movie quiz i made over at the floss.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Music Quiz No. 1

i've started posting some "name-that-tune" type music quizzes over on the floss.

check out the first one here.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Bro in the mo

my brother marc has a new doc that's been making the rounds. it's about an experience he had visiting with the infamous john of god. check out the trailer...

Friday, February 09, 2007

On Music

i've started a new music feature over at the _floss. enjoy...

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Recovered Voices at LA Opera

my latest for the mag. check it out here

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Puttin' my Jewface on

first let me place a huge apology on the table for my lack of posts here. in addition to the teaching, floss blogging, and novel-finishing, i've recently been named editor-in-chief of a magazine here in los angeles called mosaic. so i'm back in an office, working long hours, mostly as a journalist, which is new and shiny and very fulfilling, to my delight.

i'll try to make time to update this site as often as i can, but no promises until i get into a nice rhythm at the magazine. meanwhile, if you want to read a piece i wrote about this very hip, new CD put out by reboot stereophonic, you can go here.

and to buy the CD, check out reboot stereophonic here.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Just Kidding

my latest for the la times is up... a little send-up of children's books.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another Covenant?

this one i wrote for the la times in honor of the 50th anniversary of cecil b. demille's the ten commandments, a film which obviously had a big impact on me.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Covenant Schmovenant

new piece up over at the morning news today, just in time for the high holidays.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Two Ditties

too busy blogging over at the floss to keep up with my journal... my apologies. but here are the latest two pieces from the la times...tattoo you and reality bites.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Times Ticking

i know my readers are spread far and wide, so i'm hoping someone will drop me a line if you're reading this in belgium... 'cause i have a very specific question about a very specific belgian custom. (and, no, it has nothing to do with lawrence ferlinghetti.)

meanwhile, i've got a new ditty in the la times mag, which you can check out here, and another appearing in each of the next three issues. so stay tuned.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Learning Annexed

for those who missed yesterday's la times... here's my latest.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


i've been holding off on this post for a while as we worked on building up an archive for you to read, but you can now, officially, tune into my daily writings over at the wonderfully singular, brand new, and newly branded, mental_floss blog. (rejoicing! cheering! dropping whatever you're doing and clicking on link! more cheering!)

for those who've been following this journal, you know i've been writing fairly consistently these last months for the magazine... but this is something completely different: two postings a day, at least, happening in real time, as i become an official blogger.

and i'm not the only wit on the space. we've got many other skilled, crafty, funny writers bringing you the daily skinny on technology, science, the arts, trivia, history, sports and everything in-between to help you feel just a smidge smarter every day.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Albert Says...

i'll be teaching a few more courses for mediabistro this coming fall. a short story class and a novel rewrite class, along with another 12-week novelist. we're more than halfway through the summer novelist class now and it's been fantastic! as usual, space is tight in these courses, so save a little money and sign up soon. details below:

the short story writer (6 weeks)

the art of rewriting (12 weeks)

i'll post the link for the novelist class once that goes up, sometime next month.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sticker Shock

here's a link to my green bumper sticker trifle in today's la times mag. for those who don't know, the superbly done la times mag, WEST, insists the content be CA-based... if you've wondered why my send-ups are always about people who mostly live out here.

i've got some fun pieces in the new issue of mental_floss, as well. they should hit newstands sometime this week. and speaking of the floss, and the green band wagon: check it out, they're giving away a year's worth of FREE gas for one lucky reader!

Sunday, June 04, 2006


just to thank all those who've been supportive recently:

the empire folk in london -- thanks for the love from across the pond.

sydney greene, who i met at a fundraiser and thinks i'm into the "green movement" 'cause i drive a hybrid -- thanks for the plug!

c. wayne owens -- thanks for the plug and the BIG book cover reprint.

and faithful hilary, who's been a big fan for over a year now -- thanking, thanking...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Everyman Announcement

larger image here.

Sunday, May 28, 2006


my send-up was published today in the la times. you can check it out here.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Variety of News

first off: the send-up i've been promising for weeks is finally coming out in the la times mag this coming sunday. check it out on your newstands, or come back here next week for a link.

and: next week's variety should have a nice little blurb on the behind everyman movie deal.

and once you've read it, you'll want to meet the players... so... lucky for you, most of us were on hand last night for a little celebratory meal at magnolia.

producer, michelle sy

producer, beth hawk and director, john krokidas

for some more photos, you can go here.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Good Book

the first of two pieces i wrote for west magazine in the la times is out today. you can check that out here.

if some of the connections sail over or under your head, or if you just have nothing else to do, there's another page of explanations here.

(you might have to register to view those pages, but it's free, and they won't bombard you with junk mail, promise.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bistro Bits

last night's mediabistro panel was a lot of fun, and, i hope, insightful for all those who came down. two hours is a long time to listen to five authors ramble about their publishing experiences -- hell, you could've flown to vegas and back. so thanks for sticking it out! i'll tell ya, sometimes publishing a novel feels like going to vegas and back.

in other bistro news: my editor, danielle durkin, was interviewed by mediabistro recently. you can check that out here.

Aury Wallington, Rachel Resnick, yours truly, Maria Del Toro, Anna David, and moderator, Taffy Akner-Brodesser

Friday, April 28, 2006

Flossing for a Living

so while my la times piece has been postponed, i've got another little diddy coming out in the may 7th issue of their sunday magazine, west. my tiny contribution, should you want to check it out, is called "the good book."

in other diddy news, i've co-authored a piece in this month's issue of mental_floss magazine about the history and technology behind DISCO. on newstands now.

and while on the subject of floss, i'm honored to say i'll be one of their featured bloggers come june, when their daily blog goes live. check back here for updates and when to add this to your blogroll 'cause you're gonna LOVE this site! seriously: it's going to be the biggest thing since boingboing.

lastly: in the great tradition of "you blog my roll, i'll blog yours" -- check out the new books of some of my friends:

you know her from my essays she's published on her amazing fresh yarn site: hilary carlip's got a funny memoir out called queen of the oddballs. check out her website for reading dates, too.

on to fellow mental_floss writer and all around funny guy, paul davidson. his new book is in bookstores now: the lost blogs. with tour info on his his website. looks hilarious. the kind of thing you wish you'd come up with first.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Name Droppings

while i still can't give away the details of the behind everyman movie in the works, i can say this: it's officially been optioned by producers michelle sy, a former miramax/kennedy-marshall executive, who brought you finding neverland, among others, and beth hawk, a former disney executive. more details as i'm allowed to release them...

other news: in addition to the mediabistro course i'm teaching (see below), i'll be sitting on their panel called publishing your first novel. if you live in the la area and want to participate, you can go here for more info. other panelists include authors anna david, and maria a. del toro.

Monday, March 06, 2006

12-Week Novelist

i'll be teaching a fun, 12-week course on writing your first novel at mediabistro, here in la. for registration and details, go here. check it out and sign up! only 12 slots available.

mondays, 7-10 p.m.
may 15-august 14

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

David M. Israel

okay, i know i promised some news regarding the BE film... what can i say? these things just take forever. but really now, any day... inches from announcing.

other than that, you can look for a new essay (actually a send-up) in the los angeles times magazine come april. i'll post links once i get 'em.

in the meantime, it's high time i introduced all you faithful readers to another david israel, the original david israel... david m. israel.

if you haven't heard of him, that's about to change. here's the scoop:

one day last year i started getting royalty checks from ascap. small ones, mind you, but hey, we struggling ar-teests take what kopeks sail our way and quickly deposit them in the bank. usually without looking at the source. i mean when the net total of a check is less than the cost of a pack of chicklets, does it matter where the money is coming from? no, it doesn't matter.

unless that money isn't yours to begin with. see, due to some bizarre corporate screw-up, a song that was written for the show 3rd rock from the sun was being attributed to yours truly. when, in fact, the actual author was david m. israel: sports writer, seasoned tv scribe/producer, and as i've recently come to learn, one pretty hilarious dude.

once i realized the money didn't belong to me, i started to feel guilty, of course, and immediately got my secretary to place a call to david's agent. my secretary shot back, "yeah, right. how can i do that when i don't even exist? loser." so i was forced to suck it up and make the call myself.

i left word with the agency and a few hours later the phone rang:

"Is this David Israel?"
"Yes. Who's this?"
"David Israel."
"Speaking. Who is this please?"
"David Israel."
"Yes, this is David Israel."

and just like that, in a "who's on first" moment, a friendships was born.

turns out, david m. israel had been googling himself just the day before (it's okay, we all do, admit it) and my website, er, that would be THIS website, came up. so he already knew a little about me. (whoa, mental note for a good future episode of the twilight zone: he googles himself, finds my website, and reads this entry even before we speak on the phone. scaaary. okay, maybe not.)

so finally, after many months of procrastinating, we finally did meet. at nate 'n al's famous deli in beverly hills. i, of course, picked up the check. how could i not, right? 'cause i'd been pocketing his checks all along.

and wouldn't you know it, the bill came to almost exactly the same amount i owed him. give or take a couple kopeks.

so what's the moral? easy: always order the cheapest sandwich on the menu when it's your turn to foot the bill. (converserly, when it's the other guy's turn, always order the most expensive)

and now that i know david, and have met his lovely wife and three cool kids--even though they don't know which sports teams kick butt yet (philly's!) and which stink--but hey, they're only kids, right?--i can honestly say that the guy is a first class guy. and not only because he believed me when i told him the bill at nate 'n al's equaled what i owed him from ascap--no, not at all. but because david m. israel had the guts to wrap tefillin with a total chasid-stranger outside the deli in the middle of beverly hills. i mean, COME ON, if that ain't worth giving it up for the guy, what is?

here's some photos for those who don't believe me.

finally, since his life is a helluva lot more interesting than mine at the moment (his brand new tv show has been ordered to pilot by nbc), you might be getting some curious entries by the man himself over the coming weeks. no promises. 'cause he's pretty busy at the moment. but i'm just saying... all david israels are welcome at davidisrael.net -- we don't discriminate based on middle initials here. no sir.

the david israels do nate 'n als

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

BE - The Movie

sorry it's been forever since i've posted. just zonked with deadlines, work, writing new things for you to read. but i'm almost ready to announce some of the particulars regarding the BE film deal. keep checking back! any week now. and if you have ideas about who should play everyman, let me know. our short list includes people like zach braff, topher grace and adam brody. more as i have it...

Friday, November 11, 2005

BE Tour Fini!

tonight was fun! thanks to the d.c. jewish book fair for the invitation and to all those who made it out. it was a nice, intimate way to end the tour. more photos here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Mo Pitkin's

jesse hartman

thanks to all who made it down last night to mo pitkin's. for those who haven't stopped by yet, do. great food, great atmosphere (see photos here.)

next, and last stop on the BE tour, D.C...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

BE in DC

info on my upcoming reading in d.c. is now online. you can find out all about it here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005


in case you missed my gawker interview...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

By Jack Ronda

from my latest essay, we turn to the very first piece of fiction i ever wrote. found recently while cleaning out my apartment in preparation for the big move west. go easy folks. remember, i was only ten at the time.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Why Woody Allen Always Trumps Francis Ford Coppola

the essay i wrote for il giornale came out not too long ago. for the mildly curious, or those with a lot of time on your hands, check it out here.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

BE Makes TOP TEN "Beach Read" List

behind everyman has made wal-mart's top ten best-sellers list in the "beach reads" category.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Translation Update

my hebrew translator, amit yariv, says me'ahore kolgever (literally "behind everyman") will be out by the end of september or so. just in time for the jewish holidays.

baruch atah kolgever.

here's a mock-up for the cover.