Monday, June 27, 2011

The Perils of Vanity

One of the charmingly weird pieces of information that has come out about the arrest of fugitive gangster Whitey Bulger (see previous post) is that his girlfriend, Catherine Greig, was obsessed with her appearance and liked to have her teeth cleaned professionally once a month. This helped identify her, which led to their arrests last week. It's a telling character trait, which is why in True Confections, Alice Ziplinsky likes to impress her hygienists by secretly alternating between two practices so each will admire her impeccable oral hygiene. One wonders about the connection between Greig's oral fastidiousness and the intriguing description on the Tulsa, Oklahoma "Wanted" posters for Whitey (one of many murders for which he is a suspect was a hit in Oklahoma), which describe Whitey Bulger having "extremely bad breath."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Finding Vermeer?

The FBI arrested the murderous 81-year-old Boston mob boss Whitey Bulger this morning at his condo in Santa Monica, where he had been living with his girlfriend in broad daylight despite being on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List for the past sixteen years. This is fantstic news!

Why do I care? Because I am among those who believe that he may hold some key information about the unsolved Gardner Museum heist, which is central to the plot in my 1999 novel The Music Lesson (just reissued this year from Broadway in an attractive new paperback edition). Does the Gardner get Vermeer's "The Concert" back on its wall where the blank space has been maintained ever since it was stolen in 1990? Fingers crossed.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Words I Never Use

This is, I suppose, the precise opposite of a staircase thought, or perhaps there should be a term for something you are glad you haven't said. Is there such a term? Anyway, there are certain words I simply cannot abide. In The Memory Of All That, I went out of my way to avoid "scion," "prestigious," and "socialite." Those very words have already been used, and I am sure will continue to be used, by others who have something to say about the book.

My word prejudices run deep and wide. For example, I am very unfond of "veggies." It's familial. My sister-in-law feels faint at the mention of "brunch." One of my daughters gets the cringies from "moist." What are your no-no-no-never! words?