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

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. […]

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Might this guy sell more books if Washington weren’t so billionaire-friendly? Actually, yes—authors like John Grisham might well benefit from smarter fiscal policies such as the end of the top-tier tax cuts and other measures that have enriched multimillionaires at the expense of the rest of us. Let me explain. TechCrunch recently asked whether technology […]

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You can order a trade paperback of the The Solomon Scandals through re.reads BOOKS south of Alexandria, Virginia, Bridge Street Books in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. or your own neighborhood bookstore, or buy it via the publisher, Twilight Times Books. The novel is also available online in digital editions. List price of the 252-page paperback is $16.95 […]

"Jeffrey wasn’t sure why no one would hang around with him anymore. Maybe it was his new deodorant?" – Animals being dicks, via Court Merrigan. Here’s the full story—G-rated—via an animation. Oh, and please ignore the meaningless “Similar Posts” links below unless they’re of interest to you in your “random” mode. My cyber-elves must be […]

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 […]

The Solomon Scandals site has just ditched an older, more cluttered look in favor of a sleek new one. You’ll almost immediately find out what’s on the home page, through a mix of text and images. OK, Washington Post. Time for you to follow with your own radical redesign? You’ve just appointed a chief experience […]

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Twitter has been abuzz with talk about The Price of Typos. Here’s the angle in the essay that most intrigues me:  the possible differences in the particular literary gifts of good and rotten spellers. On the New York Times site, Virginia Heffernan says: “A writer with a mind that doesn’t register how words are spelled […]

Updated October 24. See note at end. – D.R. A threatened post office near Sen. John McCain’s old prep school grossed almost $260,000 in Fiscal Year 2010. Nice profit opportunity for the Postal Service? The tiny branch even receives free space from Virginia Theological Seminary, the  major user. Terri Huff, the popular postmistress at the […]

Update: A link to an official postal complaint form is at the end of this post, although it might be too late to complain. Also see follow-up documenting the Seminary branch’s more than $250,000 in annual revenue. – D.R. Arizona Sen. John McCain‘s politics are oceans apart from mine—I’m far more to the port side. […]

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Bio History-inspired mix of suspense and satire A Jewish novel, too Solomon for real? The actual Telegram? Sen. Ribicoff’s spookish investment The real GSA scandals Deadly Skyline collapse Two Chicagoans: Bullard and Obama Internet angles Truman and “Get a dog” More on Scandals’ origins Corrections: Any to add?

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 Montgomery County Council in suburban Washington killed a proposed resolution calling on the national government to throttle back defense spending and our wars abroad. Lockheed Martin, the biggest nongovernment employer in the Maryland county, apparently thought too much peace could be bad business. It put out word. Virginia began trying to woo away Lockheed […]

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 […]

Video by rhidoyakash California, not the Washington, D.C., area, is where  Americans go if they want to flirt with the apocalypse, at least the seismic kind. Man-made disasters here in Northern Virginia? Well, there was 9/11 at the Pentagon several miles from me—Target Zero, of course, during the Cold War. But in Alexandria, we locals […]

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Standard & Poor’s is right about the US. political process, even if the financial downgrade was crap. The process is kaput, Reason One for the budget debacle. Broken, too, are the mainstream news organizations  whose brainlessness and wimpiness helped the Tea Party outFox the somewhat less insane. Here’s my general rule about the Fourth Estate […]

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 […]