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Articles. Essays on Life

Trust But Verify

Professionals tell you that things will move more smoothly if you’ve got a professional helping you. Is that good advice? 

Calling Columbo

Call it “The Case of the Abandoned Apartment.” I heard about it when I ran into two board members who told me about a strange situation that had occurred at their mid-sized co-op. One day, some years ago, a shareholder had sublet his apartment to an elderly woman – and then disappeared. He left the co-op one day and never returned. The board continued to get rent directly from the subtenant who stayed there until she died. With the unit-owner still MIA, the board subsequently took over the apartment and put it up for auction.

You're Alright, Jack


The Ten-Minute Paper

Excerpted from DISAPPEARING ACT, available from AMAZONIf Mr. Riordan hadn’t pissed me off,I never would have met the professor.It started when I was in my last years in high school. I had been at St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s since kindergarten, and I was comfortably settled there. I had my friends, my girlfriend, and the teachers and classes that I enjoyed. I wasn’t thinking much about college.

Things that Go Bump in the Night

Excerpted from Tom Soter's new book BEDBUGS, BIONDI & MECurrently available from AMAZON

Faux Tarzan

Excerpted from Tom Soter's upcoming book DRIVING ME CRAZYWhat is one to make of Tarzan: The Lost Adventure? It has a terrible title (more a blurb than a proper name for a book) and was released in 1995 by Dark Horse Books with much fanfare: the cover has an illustration of Tarzan (looking a bit like the version in the Disney cartoon) crouching with a knife before a panther. The J. Allen St. John logo (from the ninth novel Tarzan and the Golden Lion in 1922) sits at the top of the art, with a little gold circle below it proclaiming, “First time in print! Burroughs’ final Tarzan novel.”[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1549:]]

Disappearing Act

 My father and mother would often tell the story of the day they lost my grandmother in Atlantic City. They were at a casino with  her and while they were gambling, the old woman wandered off. Minutes after she disappeared, they began a frantic search. When they couldn’t find her, they went to casino security with their problem. The man at the security desk was very sympathetic. He told them to follow him and took them to a room. He opened the door and revealed 25  little old ladies quietly sitting on chairs. “Is any one of these yours?” he asked with a sigh.[[wysiwyg_imageupload:1523:]]

The Grandmother Joke


Escalating in Oblivion

[[wysiwyg_imageupload:272:]]WARNING, WILL ROBINSON!            I guess the moral is you can never trust a salesperson.            It all started when I decided to upgrade some software on my computer. Roxio Toast, to be specific. I was checking out the prices and features, and talked on the phone to a saleswoman at Roxio who, after explaining the attractions of Roxio Toast 10 (I only had Roxio Toast 7!), added the clincher to the argument: “If you buy it from us, you can take  advantage of the free technical support we offer.”

From the Editor 26: Paranoia

 On People, Policy, and Paranoiafrom HABITAT, February 2011 [[wysiwyg_imageupload:269:height=267,width=200]]