I’ve been shopping for a new toy of late — a tandem bicycle. I’m gonna offset me some carbon with a vengeance, once I get my hands on one. Kate and I will pedal all over the Pointes on it this summer, but first I have to find just the right candidate. My price range is “reasonable,” which means “below $500.” Mitch Harper had a drool-worthy one on his site earlier this week, but it’s way too rich for my blood, and I don’t think they’re going to drop the price by 50 percent. (It does, however, match my current bike perfectly; they’re both Cannondales from the same year.)
So the answer is, more likely, an old Schwinn Twinn or something similar. Poking around has led me deep into the world of vintage-bicycle nerds and their odd ideas of what things are worth. To give you a sense, I’ve seen Twinns in various states of repair at prices ranging from $80 to $1,500, and the condition of the bikes didn’t range nearly that wide. I’m convinced some people just don’t really want to sell, and so set outrageous price tags to make sure the bike stays in their garage.
Anyway, I have my eye on a couple. I love you, eBay. I cover you with kisses.
Boy, Madonna and I really are nearly the same age, aren’t we? I kinda like some of these items from her H&M collection. They strike me as understated and classy. What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with her?
Laura Lippman makes the NYT best-seller list this week: I’m #11, separated by an asterisk from Mitch Albom at #10, which means our sales are virtually the same for the week. That’s gotta be a good feeling. Congratulations. Buy the book. Let’s get her above Mitch next week. SHAMEFUL UPDATE: The book is “What the Dead Know.” (Blush.)
I shouldn’t spend so much time blowing love to Ken Levine, but I’d pay money to hear him tell Hollywood stories. Fortunately, he tells them free of charge:
Our line producer informed me that the studio refused to pay our secretary’s parking. The budget for each episode was over a million dollars. Weekly parking was $13. Above-the-line people (writers, directors, producers, actors) got to park on the lot for free. Below-the-line peons had to park in a structure across the street.
And don’t let the Hollywood address fool you. This was not a great neighborhood. I used to call the lot “Fort Paramount.” While working at WINGS on rewrite night we often watched drug deals go down across the street at the parking structure. An ice cream truck would arrive every night about 11 and we would say, “Cracky the clown is here. Looks like he’s got some great shit tonight for the kiddies!”
I’ve probably heard more inside-Hollywood stories than most Midwesterners, but far fewer than the average Californian. Nevertheless, I’m always amazed at how often parking plays a major role in showbiz power struggles. It’s a place where everyone works out all the time, and yet having to walk from a too-distant parking space is considered an appalling insult. (The safety factor Levine mentions is a wild card.) My screenwriting-rewrite teacher was working on a project with Katie Holmes the semester our class was meeting; this was before she became Scientology’s zombie bride. He was going out to Los Angeles most weeks and “taking” meetings with his writing partner and Katie, who was “attached” to this project. (I just love slinging that lingo, but my outsider status requires me to put it in quotes.) One day they arrived at a movie lot in two cars. My teacher and his partner were directed to an inside-the-gate spot, while Katie was told to park at a remote lot two blocks away. That she did this cheerfully and without complaint — even keeping a pair of sneakers in her car for just these occasions — was offered to us as proof of what a wonderful, sweet, not-Hollywood-at-all, down-to-earth girl she was. “She’s really from Toledo,” he’d say.
The project later dissolved before it bore fruit, as I gather 99 percent of them do. You know the rest of Katie’s story.