vic fortezza
4 min readSep 7, 2023

Wow! Headline from nypost.com: “Cancer in people under 50 surges by 79% — ‘Western’ diet, alcohol to blame: study.”

As the cliche goes, war is hell. From NYP: “Terror from the skies: Russian missile takes out at least 17 at Ukrainian market as analysts reveal elite Russian soldiers killed.” More than 40 KIA.

The Biden follies continue to entertain. Gary Varvel cartoon:

As one gets older, the body begins to betray. Wondering if there was anything I could do to get through four hours of sleep without having to pee, other than pharmaceuticals, I clicked on exercise videos at youtube. After more than a month, it seems to have made a difference. I start nodding off in front of the TV at about nine-thirty each night and crawl into bed at midnight. I’ve recently had as long as four-and-a-half hours of uninterrupted sleep. As for the sexual realm, exercises work to a certain extent, 75% on a good day. For soloing it’s fine, but I wouldn’t be confident with a partner that came my way. The exercises are not fun, so I would understand anyone opting for the easier option of drugs.

Last night Movies!, channel 5–2 on OTA in NYC, ran a western I’d never heard of, The Secret of Convict Lake (1951), part of a Gene Tierney iconothon, co-starring Glenn Ford. The latter portrays, one of five escaped convicts who survive a fierce three-day mountain snowstorm and descend into a tiny isolated community where the men are away. Shot in black and white, the story is solid, the footage authentic and impressive. The director’s name, Michael Gordon, did not ring a bell. He helmed Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), for which Jose Ferrer won an Oscar for Best Actor, and then was caught up in the red scare and did nothing but a short from ‘52-’57. Too bad, as The Secret… has several smooth touches that manifest great skill. He rebounded nicely, doing the smash hit Pillow Talk (1959), Portrait in Black (1960) and the fun farce Texas Across the River (1966). In all there are 28 titles under his name at IMDb. The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, he was a graduate of Yale. A father of three, he passed away at 83 in 1991… The supporting cast of the film is outstanding: Ethel Barrymore, Jeannette Nolan, Cyril Cusack are all fine. Zachary Scott as a hardcore criminal sleazeball and Ann Dvorak as an embittered woman who falls under his spell are outstanding. Born in Texas, related to George Washington and Bat Masterson, Scott had a great career going, 75 credits under his name at IMDb, when he was taken by brain cancer at 51, a significant loss to world cinema. Married twice, he was a dad of two… Dvorak, the daughter of silent film stalwarts, was a direct descendant of John C. Calhoun. She appeared in three films as a baby before the sound era, then had a great run in musicals before breaking out in Scarface (1932). Fed up with the lack of quality roles, she moved to England. She drove an ambulance during WWII. There are 95 titles under her name, the final four in TV, the last in ’52. Married three times, she was childless. She succumbed to stomach cancer at 68 in 1979. Here are these two terrific talents in character:

The kids below remained in this pose for several minutes, fascinated by whatever was playing on the smart phone:

Was it this hot in July? Geez. I took my time setting up the book shop, adding sections as the shade slid into place, enjoying the breeze that blew along Avenue Z. My thanks to the gentleman who bought five cookbooks in Russian, and to young Gareth, who treated a friend to a Business Law textbook; and to Movie Buff, who purchased Dead Irish by John Lescroart; and to Wolf, who selected The Burden of Proof by Scott Turow; and to my Constant Benefactress, who chose The Land of Painted Caves by Jean Auel for a friend; and to the woman who took home Giada’s Kitchen: New Italian Favorites: A Cookbook by Giada De Laurentiis, and one on Paleo cooking, “an eating plan based on foods humans might have eaten during the Paleolithic Era…fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds,” according to a Google search. Yay team!

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vic fortezza

I was born in Brooklyn in 1950 to Sicilian immigrants. I’ve had more than 50 short stories published world wide. I have 13 books in print.