Archive for Journal

Talk about Angry Birds!

Here you have the real thing.

Forty-eighth Saturday

Bright red neon sign.

Blue lights marching down railing.

Soft white streetlight dots.

High tide after rain.

Silver river, silver sky.

Pilings’ black slashes.

From far shore, whistle.

Train nears station. Ferries docked.

Gull flies overhead.

Forty-seventh Saturday

Leaves mass under trees.

As sun rises, no wind yet:

Lawns and walks still clear.

River shimmers pink.

Restless surface reflects clouds,

Motionless above.

Flock of geese heads south.

Two long lines of wings in sync,

Black against blue sky.

PD James, RIP

I wanted to wish you all a good holiday, and I still do, but I have to share this: PD James has died, at 94. What a graceful writer, a deep and subtle thinker, a gracious lady. I interviewed her at the 92nd St. Y once, found her genuine, forthright, and charming. I’m thankful, this day, for her life and her books.

Race riots

I’ve been thinking a lot about Ferguson and how to frame what I want to say. I’m just about old enough to remember the “race riots” of the 60’s, and I use that term with trepidation, because even then what was going on was not about race. It was about anger, frustration, and being ignored and considered valueless. Those emotions were based in race. But “race riot” paints a picture of black people running amok and white people cowering under their beds. Some of that did happen, in the 60’s and in Ferguson, it’s true. I wonder, though: why wasn’t it a “race riot” when a mob of whites burned the black town of Rosewood, FL, to the ground? Or the Chinatown of Tacoma, WA? Or when South Dakota “militiamen” ambushed and massacred 75 Lakota at Stronghold? When for decades in the south and midwest the KKK held rallies and then looked for the nearest black man to lynch, why wasn’t that ever a “race riot?”

For the same reason north is at the top of the map. Privilege is invisible if you have it, impervious if you don’t. And that, right there, is the heart of what happened in Ferguson, and the heart of the matter.


It’s gray and chilly in NYC, a real November day. Next week Santa will roll into town at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but his red-cheeked face has been shining from ads since Halloween, prompting you to do your holiday shopping early. If you’re considering following that advice and people on your list — or you yourself — could use a 2015 calendar, well, look no further! Due to clamoring demand, The 2015 SJ Rozan Travel Calendar and of course The 2015 SJ Rozan Accordion Calendar have arrived!

Wondering what photos are included in these masterpieces? For example, these:

travel calendar 2015

accordion calendar 2015

travel calendar 2015

accordion calendar 2015

travel calendar 2015

accordion calendar 2015

I leave it to you to figure out which go in which calendar. So get yours today!

At Bouchercon

I moderated a panel called “Tall Guys Telling Tall Tales.” Oh yes I did. And chose the panelists, too.

Tall Guys Telling Tall Tales -- panelist and moderator

Cold and rainy

Dark, cold and rainy in NYC, and I must say I prefer this to sunshine as a re-entry after a terrific long weekend in Long Beach at Bouchercon. This is emphatically a New York November day. Out in CA, lots of sun but a little chill in the air, not enough to keep easterners from drinking our coffee (or later in the day, other stuff) by the pool because we could. Hanging out with the buddies I don’t get to see often filled most of my time, but I also managed to do two panels and to interview the Fan Guest of Honor, Al Abramson, although in truth Kent Krueger did the heavy lifting on that and I just stuck in wisecracks from time to time. And there was some urban birding, resulting in white pelicans, cormorants, sandpipers, coots, gulls, and a group of small diving birds about half the size of a cormorant. They were fishing in the ocean near the rocks but I couldn’t get close — anyone know what they might have been?

And there was also the annual basketball game, submitted here for your consideration. A rare outdoor game, but it was, after all, Southern California.

basketball at bouchercon, 2014

I love New York

At Penn Station on my way to the airport. Jazz keyboardist in echoing spot, playing upbeat standards. Across the walkway from him, Salvation Army Santa with bucket, ringing her handbell in syncopated time to his beats.

I love New York.

Forty-fourth Saturday, one day late, from a train out of Grand Central

Neat square white houses,

Bright unruly foliage,

Clouds striping blue sky.

“African Market” —

Sign’s letters throw sharp shadows

In slanted Bronx sun.

Train passes through trees.

Staccato of light and dark

Wakes the passengers.