By Way Of Introduction


I’ve had a leasehold on for years now.  People smarter than I am told me that even if I had no sense of its use at present, I should throw a few shekels down in case.  But until recently, I saw no reason to do much of anything with the site. My ambivalence rests on a couple basic ideas: I’m a writer, and while I’m overpaid to write television at present, the truth is that the prose world from which I crawled — newsprint and books — is beset by a new economic model in which the value of content is being reduced in direct proportion to the availability of free stuff on the web. In short, for newspapers and book publishers, it has lately been an e-race to the bottom, and I have no desire to contribute to that new economy by writing for free in any format.  Not that what is posted here has much prolonged value -— or in the case of previously published prose, hasn’t soured some beyond its expiration — but the principle, in which I genuinely believe...

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Obits, Appreciations On Police/Crime

A letter for leniency

This is the full text of a letter written on behalf of one of the defendants charged with narcotics violations in conjunction with the death of my friend and collaborator Michael K. Williams. It was written at the request of Mr. Macci’s defense attorney, but what follows will make fully clear why I felt compelled to undertake the task in no small part to honor Michael’s memory. The Honorable Judge Ronnie Abrams Your Honor: I write to you in regard to the sentencing of Carlos Macci, who has entered a plea of guilty to narcotics offenses in conjunction with the overdose death of Michael K. Williams. And as a close friend and professional colleague of Mr. Williams, I write to urge you to consider leniency. Specifically, I met Michael in 2002 as a writer and producer, when I first cast him in a role in an HBO Production that broadcast for five seasons and chronicled the tragic American diaspora that is the drug war.  From that moment, I came to know and love Michael...

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Mr. Belafonte, sir.

There will be better and more substantive testimonials and remembrances of this great, great man published this week. I met him briefly, on limited terms, but on news of his death, I found myself reliving the entire encounter. The worst of it left me dazed, shaking my head at myself, incredulous that it happened as it did. And while most of the joke is on me, there is enough in this tale to deliver some insight into how sharp, savage and charming a man Harry Belafonte was. In short, it’s always a shame to not share a good anecdote, so here we go: A few years back, HBO execs brought me in to look at a project that had been languishing at the network for too long: A proposed long-form miniseries on Taylor Branch’s magisterial trilogy of America in the King Years, perhaps the most definitive account of the critical years in the civil rights movement. Those who have read those three tomes will immediately understand that there is enough power and content in any one of them for...

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Posts by Subject Social Media

Die Of Boils, Mr. Sparky Car.

Leaving this up for a week as a pinned tweet before locking the account. It’s been a lovely little war, folks, and some good fun was had,  But until this platform gets better and more honorable management, fuck it, no.            D.S. A long decade ago, my assistant, a millennial of course, explained to me that there was this sort of bulletin board, a tweeting, chirping sort of collective, where you post what you want to hype – a new season of television, an essay on your blog, a cute picture of your ferret. Okay, I said. You kids have fun with that. But no, there came a second moment when I found myself misquoted on something – I can’t remember what — and I wrote a corrective, which sat on my blog like a stale bagel on the plate until Reena explained it again:  You link what you write to the chirping thing, people find the chirp, and then find what you wrote.  So this odyssey began in simple utility...

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