Monday, January 31, 2022

Ms. Magazine Turns 50


In December of 1971 New York magazine featured a very special, one-time supplement with its otherwise typical distribution. Ms. magazine was the creation of Gloria Steinem, a notion born from her work in journalism and the publishing industry and years of activism.  She worked with publishing executive Patricia Carbineto to create a magazine committed to highlighting and spotlighting feminist ideals and concepts. The magazine and supplement sold out in eight days, proving this new idea had an audience.

Ms. magazine, proud and on her own, hit the stands and stores in July 1972. The first issue pulled no punches. “We Have Had Abortions,” perhaps one of the most defining and ground-breaking articles of the time, featured 53 famous American women declaring their truth, they had undergone abortions. Abortion was still illegal in most of the U.S. at this time and participation in this feature was courageous.

Gloria Steinem, Nora Ephron, Judy Collins, Billie Jean King, Susan Sontag and Dorothy Pitman Hughes added their name to the petition, among others. The hope of these women and the writers of the article was to save lives by casting aside the stigma of abortion and the shame and guilt that is forced by society. They hoped to move the idea of a woman commanding authority over her own body to law. 

And all these years later, we are fighting to keep those rights.

Saturday, January 29, 2022

The Great February Reset

Scott D. Parker

Do you know the best thing about February is? No, not the holiday. Valentine’s Day is one of my least favorite holidays on the calendar. It has always felt manufactured, like if the folks who sold flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards all got together and invented a holiday to increase their bottom lines.

Actually, one of the best things about February is the chance to reset on any habits you might have already broken.

I suspect you’ve seen all the historical data that tell us many people stop doing their New Year’s Resolutions sometime around 14-19 January.  That's just two weeks. Typically we think of resolutions like going to the gym or talking a daily walk to help us exercise or stop eating a certain food or abstaining from alcohol.

Those are all well and good, but often, we creatives want to start a habit and, in some ways, that can be more difficult, especially if we’ve fallen by the wayside prior to New Year’s Day.

But here’s the thing: a New Year’s Resolution is not a one-and-done. It’s not like if you fall off the wagon sometime in mid January you have failed for the entire year. Let’s not judge an entire 365-day cycle by the actions of a 14 or so days.

I’m a firm believer that every new month is an opportunity to get back into a habit or reinforce one you started the previous month. I resolved to write a 1,000 words a day in 2022 (or reach 365,000 words for the year). I’m happy to say that my streak is intact, but boy, some of those days were a slog, especially with a day job.

In fact, I battled with myself over just how important a streak like this is. To remind myself of the power of streaks, I need only look at the small calendar on the fridge. I had fallen away from taking vitamins every day so I needed to start that back up again. I did the Jerry Seinfeld thing where I put an X on the calendar for each day I took my vitamins. Eight days into the new year, I forgot. Boom! Busted up my streak and my January has a hole in it. Irritation.

But my writing streak is alive. My writing resolution is alive. I hope your resolutions are alive, too.

If they’re not, dedicate the month of February to creating a new habit. It’s only 28 days long, an even four weeks. Chances are high if you maintain that new habit until 1 March, you’ll be good to go. But if not, then let March be your new start date. Heck, let each Sunday be a start date. Just start. Then continue. The rewards will flow to you.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The Dead Girls by Jorge Ibarguengoitia

I was poking through my bookshelves the other day looking for a particular novel, when I came across a book I haven't thought about for a long time but which I remember enjoying.  It's the Mexican novel The Dead Girls (Las Muertas), by Jorge Ibarguengoitia.  I read it years ago, when it came out in the US as part of that great Avon Bard line of Latin American fiction that you could find on bookstore shelves here in the 1970s and 80s.  

First published in Mexico in 1977, the novel is loosely based on a real Mexican murder case.  Two sisters named Delfina and Maria de Jesus Gonzalez, who had run a brothel, were arrested and put on trial in 1964 after the bodies of eighty women, eleven men, and a number of foetuses were found buried on their property.  At their trial, it came out that young women lured to work at the sisters' brothel by ads for housemaids had been killed if they became sick or their looks faded.  Male clients who had lots of money on them were murdered.  One doesn't have to use much imagination to figure out where the foetuses figured in.  The sisters were found guilty and sentenced to forty years each in prison.

Sounds grim, but the novel itself, believe it or not, is a comic one. Blackly comic, but comic nonetheless.  It reduces the number of victims to six, all women, though six is plenty, and it achieves a distance from the horror of the actual events by presenting its narration through police interviews and reports.  The telling is dry and deadpan in a way that becomes a parody of crime reporting, a use of language at once revealing but also inadequate for what is being described.  It's that official, investigative language we've all become so accustomed to hearing, and  Ibarguengoitia uses it to wonderfully disorienting and ambiguous effect.

I won't say much more other than that the individual crimes open up to a society populated by not just murderous madams and their victims, but also by corrupt soldiers and corrupt politicians and reporters of dubious moral fiber, a world rife with rot.  Sound relevant and topical?  Always.

The old Avon Bard line of Latin American fiction ended years ago, so after I put my old copy of The Dead Girls back on my bookshelf, I wondered whether it is still in print in English.  I found out it is -- nice to see -- from Picador Classic, with an introduction by Colm Toibin no less, and it's also available as an e-book.  With true crime a rage like it's never been, this novel based on a true crime, told in a language that in part mocks true crime tale telling, is a worthy read.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Ultimate Home Library

By Claire Booth

A photo in the New York Times this week caught my eye. For obvious reasons.

It’s heaven (to me at least). Books, chairs, wood bookcases, ladders. Ladders!

I’d seen the photo before. It pops up on social media every once in a while. The NYT tracked down its origin. A Johns Hopkins professor and scholar of comparative literature named Richard Macksey owned the books and housed them in that wondrous library—and throughout his house—in Maryland.

When he died, “a SWAT team-like group of librarians and conservators” went through his collection and picked out only 35,000 books to add to university libraries. The rest when up for sale.

So if there are people in your lives who perhaps make noise about you owning too many books, put it in perspective for them by pointing to Dr. Macksey. And then keep right on stocking your own home library. Because let’s face it—you’re never going to match him. But it should would be fun to try.


Saturday, January 22, 2022

Carving Up Your Hours and Meat Loaf’s Example for Creatives

Scott D. Parker

You don’t find the time to write. You make time to write.

That’s an adage I’ve held onto for years. I firmly believe that if you truly want to write, you will make the time to write. Thus, the excuse of “I would love to write but I just don’t have the time” flies out the window.

But sometimes you have to carve up your time to find those pockets in which you can write. I did a little exercise this week that you might find instructive if you are wanting to find all those extra minutes in your week to get your fingers on the keyboard and your brain into its imagination.

I started a new day job this month and this is the end of week three. Naturally, I now have a new schedule, one that involves three days in the office and two at home. It felt like I had less time to write, so I broke down my days.

Every weekday, I wake at 5am. Yes, I am a proud member of the 5am Writing Club. Have been a morning writing for going on nine years now, and dedicated 5am-er for the past three or four. I find it liberating to have the house to myself, only a single light on over the kitchen table, and just a cup of coffee (two, actually) beside me as I write. Zero internet, zero TV, zero anything other than a psalm a day until the words are out of my head.

I work in the office Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. That means I have a hard stop at 6am so I can get ready for work, jump in the car with the daily smoothie, and drive to work, usually listening to an audiobook (most recently finished Carol Burnett’s memoir).

So, accounting for the waking, exercising, Bible-reading time, I’m left with approximately 45 mins in the morning to write, give or take. Doing the math, 45 x 3 = 135 mins. Since I work from home on Mondays and Fridays, I allow myself an extra 30 minutes. 75 x 2 = 150 mins. That’s 285 mins, or 4.75 hours per week in the mornings to write. Not bad at all.

Side note: I don’t write during Family Time at night.

Then there are the lunch hours at the day job. Accounting for regular meetings going long and, you know, eating, I estimate I have 45 minutes I can spend writing on my Chromebook. That’s another 135 minutes, which bring us up to about 7 hours per week that I have to myself and I can write.

I have more time on Saturdays. I tend to wake at 7am, get the dogs, head out to Shipley’s for do-nuts, come home, cook and eat breakfast. Generally, I get to writing around 8am and the family leaves me alone. On Saturdays in which there are few things to do, I can get two hours easy. Then, it’s Family Time (or Chore Time) so the writing is off the table. Now I’m up to 9 hours, more or less.

Sundays are a tad different. I still wake at 7, but I have a hard stop around 9:30 or so to get ready for church. So let’s call it a good 90 minutes. Now I’m up to 10.5 hours of writing time per week.

All it took was for me to analyze my schedule and see what time I have available. There’s a lot I can do in 10.5 hours. I knocked out NaNoWriMo’s 1,667-word threshold in any of those given time frames, but if it’s slow going, I can get 800 words in any one of those writing sessions (although my daily goal is 1,000).

Here’s where the math is magical. If I can average a 1,000 words an hour, that means I can write approximately 10,000 new words of fiction per week. With a day job. With Family and Chore Time factored in.

And all I basically ever do is wake up earlier than my family and write. Makes me really happy, productive, and helps start the day on a good note.

Now, how does your week break down?

Meat Loaf’s Example and His Challenge

The news broke yesterday morning that Meat Loaf passed away. I have an unabashed love for his soaring, Broadway-like anthems. In particular, there is a late-career gem I wrote about back in 2016 that was the first song I went to upon hearing the news. Then I listened it again before playing all the songs I have on my Mac.

In the various comments from folks yesterday, more than one commented on Meat Loaf’s improbably resurgence in the early 1990s. In an era of grunge and rap and early hip-hop, here was Meat Loaf singing about the things he would and would not do for love. The song was over the top, the video was even more over the top, but people ate it up. I know I did. There he was, wearing makeup to give him the appearance of a beast, starring in a mini-movie. Were it anyone else, they would have been laughed at.

But not Meat Loaf. He knew who he was, what his talents were, what kind of music he liked and performed well, and just did all that. He was himself no matter what. Sure, he had some down times, but he kept to his talents. When it worked, it soared. When it didn’t, he kept going.

From the last part of the tweet that announced his death came this challenge: “From his heart to your souls…don’t ever stop rocking!”

That’s his challenge to every creative: Don’t ever stop [making your art].

Friday, January 21, 2022

Film Review: Ghostbusters Afterlife.

 By Jay Stringer

I finally caught up with Ghostbusters: Afterlife on streaming this week. I held off for so long because of my own aversion to the recent trend of storytelling-via-nostalgia. Not only tv shows like Stranger Things -  which is more of a nostalgia for pop culture than for the decade itself - but also the newest spin on 'legacy sequels' or 'requels' that hark back to a feeling a certain generation liked in the past. On a deep level I find the idea unhealthy. I see a reboot as a separate meme. A reboot -if done well- is an update, bringing the themes and ideas of an older story into the modern era, and reframing it to talk about now. These legacy films, by contrast, often feel like conversations with themselves. 

There is an extent to which this is inherent in any ongoing franchise. As part of a genre essay I wrote for Crimereads a few years ago, I noticed that all sequels become a different beast to the original. Raiders of the Lost Ark may have been a mixed bag off references to old serials, H Rider Haggard, Erik Von Däniken, Treasure of the Serra Madre, Secret of the Incas, and heist movies, but Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is then in much more direct conversation with Raiders of the Lost Ark. Dr. No may have been the first film of it's kind, but every film they made afterwards was a Bond film, playing within -or challenging- the rules of Bond films. 

But even with all of that accepted and unavoidable, I find my own tastebuds don't lean towards nostalgia. I've been left on the outside of culture wars over the Star Wars and Ghostbusters franchises, and in large part this has felt like a war over nostalgia. A certain generation of Star Wars fan needed The Last Jedi to give them a dopamine fix of seeing Luke Skywalker doing the things he did fire years ago -and more importantly perhaps, doing all the things they've imagined in their own minds over that time- not necessarily doing the things that Luke Skywalker -with all his baggage of internalised hatred, familial guilt, and trauma- would be doing as an old man if he were real. What, to me, was an interesting and true character arc was taken by many as a betrayal of how they felt as children. Likewise, the 2016 Ghostbusters walked headlong into a shitstorm of online hatred. I don't want to dismiss that the largest determining factor of that hate was undoubtedly misogyny aimed at the all-female reboot, but I also think there's room to admit that the film didn't feel the same as the original, and that feeling was a problem for many fans who go to franchises from their youth wanting a drug hit of nostalgia. The 2016 film doesn't play with the same DNA as the 1984 original. It feels more tightly scripted, it relies less on the genuine (and overlooked) ties to Lovecraft, Theosophy, and other fringe thinking. On a nuts-and-bolts level, it uses a different style of humour. Paul Feig brought much more slapstick and farce, and a far higher level of bodily fluid jokes. That's not a criticism. While it does mean the 2016 version isn't really for me, it also doesn't need to be for me. I have a version of Ghostbusters that I already like, and it's a big world full of lots of people who also deserve to have a version of Ghostbusters. In many ways, I would argue that the 2016 film is a better use of reboot money. Making something different, for a different audience in a different time. 

From the first trailer it seemed clear that Afterlife was in more direct conversation with the 1984 original. And against he backdrop of the 2016 arguments, it felt like a deliberate move to pretend the all-female reboot didn't exist. Is that far? No. Rian Johnston, Paul Feig, and now Jason Reitman all set out to make the best films they could, and in an ideal world would be allowed to get on with that free of other people's baggage. But in the case of Jason Reitman he also had to know what he was walking into. He's the son of the 1984 original's director, he would have been a five or six year old child scampering round the set, and the legacy cast returned because of his involvement. Not only is there the inbuilt temptation to see Afterlife as a requel for people of my generation having a conversation with our childhood, it's always felt directly like one specific person of my generation having one specific conversation with his own childhood. 

All of this as buildup to me pressing play.

Were these concerns valid?

Yes and no. 

I found Afterlife more interesting as a curiosity than entertaining as a film. Over the long term, curiosities often end up ageing into being among my favourite movies. They ask questions that stick with me. It's way too soon to know if Afterlife will do that, so I'm left with the feelings it gave me in the here and now. 

The film is in direct conversation with the 1984 original. Each character beat and plot decision in 2021 was clearly in relation to something that happened in 1984. As a viewer you are left to second-guess which archetypal role from the original each new cast member will end up playing. And the 2021 film makes many smart choices in this regard, playing with expectations, and allowing fresh looks on misunderstood characters like Louis Tully. And even for someone as nostalgia-averse as myself, there's a certain rush of glee that comes from hearing Bill Murray doing his Peter Venkman voice, in a moment that instantly makes you realise how long it's been since you've heard him doing it, and how much part of you wanted to hear it. But even in that moment we can see a tension between nostalgia and story. Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson give us readings that sound like older versions of their characters, Murray gives us a reading that feels like he's had the 1984 Venkman stored in a box the whole time, waiting for one more chance to shine. 

I would argue that Afterlife understands the origins of Ghostbusters more than any other spin-off -save for a few stand out episodes of the 80's cartoon- in grounding the story firmly into the Lovecraft and theosophy that so inspired Aykroyd. It's important to know he really believes in this stuff. Even the name Gozer wasn't plucked out of thin air, it came from a paranormal case in the 70's. Aykroyd crafted a story intended to mainstream a lot of ideas he grew up reading about. And he succeeded wildly. It's very much a story of the old ones trying to return, and plays into the secret sauce that Ghostbusters was never really all that much about ghosts, so much as a battle against demons and interlopers from a dark dimension. Ackroyd's deep sincerity was then buried away beneath layers of comedy and irony, from some of the best improvisors in the business. Afterlife isn't anywhere near as effective as a comedy, but it doesn't necessarily need to be. A second key ingredient is friendship. The 1984 film is powered by friendship, both on and off screen. For Afterlife Reitman keeps this element and encodes it into the very 80's-nostalgia-tinged story of a group of small town friends, misfit children who find each other. There's also the smart decision that these kids don't know about what happened in 1984. It's the generation above them who are defined by nostalgia. I'm tempted to find a knowing comment on nostalgia and reboots in that decision, and it makes me wonder if I'll come to reappraise the film over time, and find extra layers to appreciate.

But it's with a third element of the original that Reitman perhaps made the largest misstep for my own tastes. And it's the very heart of the movie. 

Two of the most important characters from the 1984 original, from a character sense, are Egon and Winston. Neither of them get the pop-culture glory of Venkman or the spooky bona fides of Ray, but Winston is just an average working guy who rolls with every change thrown his way, manages to never be out of his depth, and helps save the world. Egon, by contrast, is so clearly out his depth and scared shitless from the ballroom on upwards, and yet keeps going, is the first to recognise each danger, and provides the key information to save the day. 

Afterlife was dealt a tough card, in the sad passing of Harold Ramis. There are only so many ways to handle having a key legacy character missing, especially one who was secretly so important to the success of the original. Reitman takes the decision to frame the whole film as a love letter to Egon. On the surface, this is a good move. The story is driven by his decisions, characters are defined largely by his absence, and we get some very sweet emotional payoffs in the closing moments. 

However, it's also this decision that ultimately leaves a bad taste. Egon is an absentee father. Okay, nobody is perfect and there's always room to explore that fallibility through legacy characters. But in choosing to do that through Egon, the character who is also being feted by the story, we are left being asked to accept that his absenteeism was something noble, something heroic, and in the final scenes we are asked to forget the lifetime of trauma and pain in one embrace between Egon's ghost and his daughter. Ultimately, in my own view, this does a disservice to Egon and weakens the film. 

Will that bad taste last as I get more distance from the movie? Only time will tell. For now I think it's a film that remains trapped holding a conversation with it's own past, and the many smart decisions can't rise it above the bad ones. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

2022 Edgar Award Nominations

January 19, 2022, New York, NY – Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce, as we celebrate the 213th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the nominees for the 2022 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2021. The 76th Annual Edgar® Awards will be celebrated on April 28, 2022 at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square.


The Venice Sketchbook by Rhys Bowen (Amazon Publishing – Lake Union)
Razorblade Tears by S.A. Cosby (Macmillan Publishers – Flatiron Books)
Five Decembers by James Kestrel (Hard Case Crime)
How Lucky by Will Leitch (HarperCollins – Harper)
No One Will Miss Her by Kat Rosenfield (HarperCollins – William Morrow)

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A Bloody But Crimeless Crime Tale

It's a rare kind of mystery story, whether a novel or a short tale, that is a blood-soaked puzzle, with a good deal of death involved, and with a tragic ending, that is essentially crimeless.  By crimeless, I mean that no human being does purposeful harm to another human being in any way, shape, or form.  Harm does come to animals in this story, and it's a harm that is effected on the creatures in a way that is in no way pretty, yet the motivation behind the hurt inflicted on them springs, believe it or not, from a poignant and loving place in a particular human being. 

I'm talking about a short story I recently read called "The Mourning Locomotive". It's from a collection of mystery stories called The Ginza Ghost by Japanese writer Keikichi Osaka, an author who wrote fair play impossible crime stories in the 1930s and 40s.  He was held in high esteem by his fellow mystery writers in Japan when he was alive (he died young, aged 33, in 1945, under the harsh conditions in Japan as the war came to a close), fell into near oblivion for decades, and then was rediscovered in the 70s and 80s by a new generation of Japanese mystery readers and writers.  

Here's a summary of the story from the collection's introduction:

In "The Mourning Locomotive" (1934), we are introduced to the workers in a railway locomotive depot.  Cleaning away the remains after a deadly accident is just part of the daily routine for these people but even they are surprised when one pig after another gets run over.  And it's always the same locomotive and the same operators which are involved.  Meanwhile, we are introduced to a mysterious girl in a shop in a nearby town who is always looking outside through one of the windows...The ending of the story is truly tragic and explains how this harrowing and puzzling case is due to the indescribable feelings of human beings."

This entire collection, consisting of the author's best tales apparently, is a very good one, but "The Mourning Locomotive" stands out.  It is gory, gruesome, and baffling, and in the end, quite moving.  It also is one of those stories that gives you an idea of what can be done with a mystery in innovative hands, and I love that kind of reading experience.  It's enjoyable for its own sake and gives you ideas for what perhaps you might be able to pull off in your own writing.

Monday, January 17, 2022

A little good news.

The Good News

Kellye Garrett…Publishers Weekly featured Ms. Garrett in their January 10th issue with a quick Q&A. Oline H. Cogdill asks Kellye about pop culture, family and her latest release LIKE A SISTER. In LIKE A SISTER grad student Lena Scott must investigate the death of her half-sister, reality star Desiree Pierce, when the official story doesn’t add up to the truth. Click the link and catch up with Kellye Garrett.PW talks with Kellye Garrett.

Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason…aka Sisters of Slaughter, released their latest tale of horror over the holidays. TWIN LAKES: AUTUMN FIRES, the story of a brave young woman facing off against a demonic serial killer, shapeshifters, and more is now available in digital format at Amazon and all other digital retailers. A paperback version will be available soon. While you’re perusing, check out MAYAN BLUE, their Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel. Twin Lakes: Autumn Fires

Jennifer Hillier…Canada’s public broadcaster, CBC, has listed THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK, released in July of 2019, on the “66 works of Canadian fiction to watch for in 2022.” THINGS WE DO IN THE DARK is an edge-of-your seat thriller telling the story of Paris Peralta, a woman suspected of killing her celebrity husband with a dark past. Jennifer is featured alongside books by the amazing Samantha Bailey, Farah Heron, Natalie Jenner and more! Click the link to read the entire list.66 Works of Canadian Fiction

Gabino Iglesias…Congratulations to the amazing Gabino Iglesias on his recent appointment to the Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest Chapter as their new President. Our friend is adding yet another title to his expanding list of talents, writer, professor, and literary critic. He’ll be working his magic in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Please check out Gabino’s author page at Amazon and get familiar with his work. Gabino Iglesias at Amazon

Hugh Lessig…RVA City Writer Hugh announced he will be part of the new anthology, GROOVY GUMSHOES, due out April from Down & Out Books and edited by Michael Bracken. GROOVY GUMSHOES: Private Eyes in the Psychedelic Sixties, fifteen PI stories by some of the best and hottest new PI writers, including Tom Milani, N.M. Cedeno, Grant Tracey, Jack Bates, C.W. Blackwell, Steve Liskow, Robb White, Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Mark Thielman, Neil Plakcy, Adam Meyer, Hugh Lessig, Mark Troy, Stephen D. Rogers, and Michael Bracken. All the books at Down and Out

Mia Manansala…Congratulations to Mia P. Manansala who was nominated in two different categories in the Chicago Reader Awards: Best Novelist and Best New Novel by a Chicagoan. Mia is nominated for her book ARSENIC AND ADOBO, the first book in a new culinary cozy series which follows Lila Macapagal as she tries to save her family business, clear her name of murder and get on with her life. Chicago Reader Awards

Alex Segura…Congratulations to Alex, Kirkus Reviews has given SECRET IDENTITY, due out in March, a *starred* review. The book is set in the struggling comic book industry of 1975 and features a gritty tale of whodunnit and why with plenty of dark secrets and dangerous resentments. This is the third starred review the soon to be release comic book noir novel has received, with thumbs up from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Alex Segura at Amazon

Gabriel Valjan…Cheers are in order. HUSH HUSH, third novel in the Shane Cleary series, was released January 11, following in the new year footsteps of DIRTY OLD TOWN and SYMPHONY ROAD. This series is funny and intelligent with loads of twists and turns. Celebrate the new release and check out other titles at Gabriel’s Amazon page. Gabriel Valjan at Amazon

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Don't Be a Dick


By Claire Booth

I came upon a great news item this week that was the perfect example of several things.

Instant karma.


A fantastic story, complete with villains and heroes.

Two Key West tourists in their early twenties rang in the New Year by setting fire to a buoy in the early hours of Jan. 1. It wasn’t just any buoy—it was the Southernmost Point Buoy and it marks the southernmost point in the continental United States.

So the residents of Key West were understandably pissed off about it. Security camera footage of the two vandals in the act circulated throughout the small community of people who live in Key West, many of whom hustle at multiple jobs just to make ends meet on the expensive island. One of those was a bartender named Cameron Briody. He recognized the two men; he’d served them on New Year’s Eve. But he must have served throngs of people that night, right? So, out of dozens and dozens of inebriated patrons, why did he remember them specifically?

They didn’t leave a tip.

Three different times.

Who doesn’t leave a tip? Especially on a night when bar staff are clearly working their asses off? Especially on New Year’s? Especially in a tourist town?

Nobody else, that’s who. Those two were the only people that night who didn’t, Briody told police, according to the New York Times.

Once he recognized the men in the buoy video, Briody and his boss at the bar Irish Kevin’s went to their own security camera footage. They spotted the two moving around the bar and matched the times they bought drinks with the times recorded on that night’s receipts. And lo and behold, the two had paid with credit cards. Irish Kevin’s turned the names over to authorities.

According to police reports, the two confessed. Whether they end up serving jail time will be up to local prosecutors.

Like many others, I assume, I read this story with delight. The buoy wasn’t permanently damaged, the vandals will face consequences, and a stiffed bartender won a victory for food service workers everywhere.  

As with all good stories, this one has a moral. Actually, for our purposes here at Do Some Damage, it has two:

1. Sometimes the best stories are true.

2. Don’t be a dick.