Friday, February 14, 2014

Imprinting Press

When our cat, Cosmo, died in March 2011, we talked about getting another not long after. More recently, as Amelia has continue to ask about fish, a dog or a cat, we considered getting two kittens.

Well, nearly three years later, we finally adopted a new pet.

Her name is Lily, and she's very cute and sweet and seems to be fitting right in. If the shelter had another girl cat around the same age, we might have adopted her as well.

The kids love her, of course, and Beth and I are happy to have a new furry friend. We had Cosmo for more than 15 years, and he was a great pet. I don't even mind resuming litter box and feeding duties.

We brought Lily home Monday afternoon, after picking her out at the MSPCA the previous Saturday. As instructed, we closed her into a small room with her litter box, food, toys and some blankets so she would have some time to get used to her new home. Once during the evening she escaped our basement bathroom, so once we captured her, we blocked the door so she could just chill out overnight.

I got up early the next morning and sprung her so she could roam around the house for an hour or so before the kids woke up. For much of the rest of Tuesday I didn't see her. Mid-afternoon, I found her in the unfinished half of our basement, behind an old table stacked up with stuff.

Over the next few days she began to come out of her shell -- sleeping under and atop beds, cuddling on laps during evening TV time, playing with her toys a little bit.

As of last night, she's in full-out imprinting mode -- trying to make her mark on us and the house in many ways.

She tried numerous times to get under the covers with Beth and me once we were in bed. We kept picking her up and either putting her on the floor, or on to of the covers. She got under once when we were both asleep, and I promptly evicted her. I wouldn't mind her sleeping under there -- Cosmo used to do it -- but she was kicking around like she thought it was her litter box. We don't want to have to buy Kitty Depends for her.

Other times during the night she snuggled up to my neck, something Cosmo never did. I was awake for a while because of her extracurricular activities, but that's OK.

This morning she took her imprinting tactics to a different place: the breakfast table.

Thinking me distracted by the newspaper, Lily kept approaching my cereal bowl and attempting to dip her head into my granola. When I shooed her away, she promptly stuck her cute little head toward my OJ glass. After several vollies back and forth, I scooped her up and put her on the floor. She hopped back up, I put her back down. Ad infinitum.

I know this is standard cat business, but we never dealt with it with Cosmo. He wasn't a food grubber.

Upon arriving home from volunteering at the National Archives Friday afternoon, I was greeted practically at the door by Lily, which is nice but I would have liked it if she'd brought my slippers and a tumbler of Scotch.

As I type this she's sitting in my lap after, once again, several attempts on my part to get her to stop stalking me. She's very cute, so I can't get mad at her. I assume as she gets used to all of us and our house, she'll stop being quite so needy.

In the meantime, I'll just have to keep using the lint brush to get her white and black hairs off my dark sweaters.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Devil Didn't Make Me Do It

Earlier this week I made a list of writing projects that I want to complete in the next few years. Top of the list is my first children's picture book, which is moving along well with an illustrator and the backing of the MBTA, the folks who run Boston's subway system (see January 29, 2014, "Kidding Around").

At the bottom of the list I wrote this:



I've never written a screenplay. I have, however, written a few plays. Last March I read an article in the Boston Globe about a Boston gangster known as White Devil John, and immediately I thought, "Talk about a movie-ready name!"

Here's the part of the Globe story I threw into a Word document with an eye toward developing a story based on this case:

They called him Bac Guai John or “White Devil John,” and he was their enforcer.

John Willis was a white man from Dorchester, yet, according to court records, he quietly emerged as a leader among Chinatown’s Asian gangs, historically known for insulating themselves from outsiders.

He had been introduced to the neighborhood’s underworld when he was about 12 years old, learned to speak Cantonese and was essentially adopted by a Chinese family, according to federal prosecutors. From there, they say, he followed the leaders of the violent and once-powerful Ping On Gang, launching a career that spanned more than two decades.

[In federal court he pleaded guilty] to an indictment that painted him as the nexus among low-level Asian gangs that ran rackets in Chinatown, including drug dealing, gambling and prostitution.

After reacquainting myself with this story today, I searched online to see if there were any updates on White Devil John. Turns out, I can erase this idea from my project list.

A book is already in the works, and has been sold to a publisher. Rights for TV, film and a graphic novel have also been sold.

So who's behind the project?

Boston sports reporter turned news anchor Bob Halloran, that's who.

Halloran is a very likable guy who, it turns out, is much more than a good news reader and clever wordsmith when reporting on Boston's teams. He's written at least five books, covering topics ranging from Whitey Bulger and Steve "The Rifleman" Flemmi, to "Irish" Mickey Ward (Halloran served as a consultant on "The Fighter") and the Red Sox.

Working with White Devil John himself -- John Willis -- Halloran has written a non-fiction, true crime tale tailor-made for the big screen (James Gray has been hired to write and direct; Gray's credits include "The Immigrants," "We Own the Night" and "The Lost City of Z," which is in pre-production and is based on a great book I read a few years ago).

Here's part of the blurb from Publisher's Marketplace:

"Still a teenager, John took a job as a bouncer at a club near Fenway Park. After coming to the aid of a young Chinese man named Woping (John Jo in English), John had a friend he would forever call his brother. He was taken in by John Jo's family. He learned to speak Cantonese, grew fond of the Chinese culture of honor, family and Buddhism, and went to work for the Chinese Mob in Boston's Chinatown."

The book will be published by BenBella Books in the spring of 2015.