The Solomon Scandals
The D.C. newspaper novel, the media,the Washington area, tech and other surrealism: David Rothman at large

Decades before the ABC-TV series Scandal or House of Cards on Netflix, The Solomon Scandals existed in manuscript form—a quirky look at a darker side of D.C. that you can’t see on the screen right now or read about in the standard bestsellers. Scandals isn’t about a comely fixer in love with Mr. President, or […]

Enjoying the gritty depictions of Washington power players in the fabulous House of Cards series on Netflix? Then you might also check out The Solomon Scandals, which predates the Netflix program. Like so much of House, as well as the classic novel All the King’s Men, Scandals is about the conflict between friendship and duty. […]

A new local bookstore and Twilight Times Books, publisher of The Solomon Scandals, are teaming up to offer the e-book version for free, in major digital formats, for customers who buy the paperback from the store (price: $16.95). The bundling deal will be limited to the first eight buyers. re∙reads Books is south of Alexandria, […]

Sally Quinn-bashers have once again been at work—ridiculing an essay headlined Sally Quinn announces the end of power in Washington. Granted, Ms. Quinn has never delighted my inner Veblen. The essay among other things recalled the era when Quinn and her husband, Ben Bradlee, “might have attended five-course dinners a couple of nights a week, […]

While this site exists partly to plug The Solomon Scandals novel about old-time newspapering, it’s also an experiment in online technology. iPad owners can see a snazzy magazine-style look from the Onswipe add-on for WordPress (described in detail in an independent blog post by my friend Nate Hoffelder). If you don’t own an iPad, click […]

Smith Corona typewriters and all, the Front Page days lasted for decades at the Lorain Journal, now the Morning Journal but once an evening paper. I can still smell the old paste bottles and remember my fear of impalement on a copy spike, or the time a neighbor of the director of the local public […]

On CIA matters, The Solomon Scandals is fiction—not about what happened, but what could have happened. To this day we still don’t know the full story of why a U.S. senator held a secret stake in a CIA-occupied building in Arlington, VA, that the agency leased by way of the scandal-ridden General Services Administration. What has been established over the years is […]

Tax dollars at work, GSA style Angry taxpayers are buzzing over the organizational “culture” at the General Services Administration, the federal procurement agency. I don’t mean Chaucer, Mozart or Van Gogh. Enjoy this spoof video for a GSA conference—rudely picked up by ABC News and others. Hey, you helped pay for it. GSA was supposed […]

Trailer from Scandal ABC series The Solomon Scandals novel, set amid the Washington muck, bears the same title as ABC-TV’s similarly located Scandal series, except for the "The," the "Solomon," and the "s" Big differences I’ve seen so far? The book, though fiction, takes on The System. ABC is less serious-uppity. Also, Scandals’s Jonathan Stone dedicates […]

”Among the other expenses were $3,200 for a mind reader, $6,300 on a commemorative coin set displayed in velvet boxes and $75,000 on a training exercise to build a bicycle.” – Washington Post report on $823K splurged on a 300-employee federal conference in Las Vegas. Ouch. The gems in the sentence above don’t even include […]

Your wisdom, please, readers. Did you think that the blonde woman on the cover of The Solomon Scandals‘s electronic edition was too sexy? For now, we’re reverting to the original cover, shown in the e-book ad on the right. A giant Sy Solomon is plunking down a wildly unwanted skyscraper that he bribed an obliging […]

The presses still roll at thousands of newspapers throughout the world, but for how long? And meanwhile this video from the Internet Archive, via the Atlantic site, reminds us of the days when news stories were “locked up” in the most physical way—in lead columns. The Solomon Scandals takes place around 1980, and back then, […]

E-books aren’t like regular books—they’re invisible except on the screen of a computer. Particularly at a time when so many bookstores have vanished, could e-libraries be one way to keep books on people’s minds? And help reinvent the concept of family literacy? Check out my other site, LibraryCity, where I discuss those issues and more. […]

Jane Austen wrote for herself, not her contemporaries. Her earliest reviewers were less than fully gung-ho about her fiction. Among other things, if you go by a recent book by Claire Harman, certain critics felt Austen’s writing wasn’t fresh enough. Talk about critical blunders! It took decades and decades, but the world finally caught up […]

Yes, I mean real footnotes, not just endnotes—so readers will actually read them. The Solomon Scandals contains two endnotes, and one of them involves a dog, Harry S. Truman, and the New York Times. Read the novel for the full lowdown here. I disagreed with the Times about the Truman-related details. But in many if […]

The terrorist-friendly Quarter Pentagon, the twin towers formally known as BRAC-133, has made Time Magazine. Time depicts the 6,400-worker complex as a “soft target” for truck bombers. Jihadists or others might wipe it out if given a chance. Since last year, the Solomon Scandals blog has been warning of the security concerns among other issues […]

The literary afterlife was oh so simple for Jonathan Stone, protagonist of The Solomon Scandals. While still alive in the corporeal sense, he just turned his memoirs over to the Virginia Historical Society for release back to his family a century afterwards. But what to do in the era of the Internet—not just with text […]

A sign that the U.S. economy is looking up? Twilight Times Books has ended the 99-cent sale, and the e-book edition of The Solomon Scandals is back at its former price of $2.99 on Amazon. I myself liked the 99 cents, but this is my publisher’s choice to make, and I actually can see both […]

Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Sarah Ockler’s Twenty Boy Summer got official thumbs-downs this week from a comstock-bullied school board in Republic, Missouri, in line with last year’s stupidity. The censors banned the books from both the curriculum and the school library. I take this rather personally. A George Washington University professor assigned The Solomon Scandals […]

Update, 7:51 a.m., July 20: The AdWords gods have sent me other notes recommending Amazon-style features but for now are letting me use the service without them. – D.R. Good news, Google fans. The AdWords gods in India were finally satisfied that I didn’t have to do a mini-Amazon act and include certain store-style features […]

Update, 5:53 p.m.: I’ve just heard from Google’s Alan Davidson and will not be calling the FTC tomorrow. As a shareholder, I’m rooting for Google to get to the bottom of what happened.  – D.R. If my AdWords hassles are not just an isolated screw-up, Google deserves a tough antitrust investigation by the Federal Trade […]

  Not everyone in real estate or construction is Washington-smooth like Sy Solomon. Thanks to my friend Court Merrigan for this link to an excerpt from the Glengarry GlenRoss movie, adapted from the David Mamet play. Both show, in Court’s words, ”the cold seething black heart of capitalism.” Management doesn’t want you sipping coffee if […]

Film as perfect budget-crisis metaphor? As generic rhetoric, some in Washington may talk of  a “perfect storm” of chaos in the American and global financial markets if Republicans and Democrats don’t raise the debt ceiling by August 2. I myself, however, am thinking precisely of the book and movie title based on the meteorological term—yes, […]

The Solomon Scandals is fiction—a mix of suspense, tragedy and satire—but more than a little history lurks within in it. A high-rise collapsed in Northern Virginia, and a Senator really did hold a secret and illegal investment in a CIA-occupied building a few miles away. Characters and events are composites or imaginary. But Scandals still […]