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Flatbush Flashback

Name That Year: July 27 Edition


July 27 is my birthday and it'll be here before you know it. It's also fellow Brooklynite Bugs Bunny's birthday, though he's considerably older. (He was born in a rabbit warren under Ebbets Field.)


I'm not going to say how old I'll be because that will make me feel older than I am (and older than I feel). But the information's out there. You can look it up.


Or you can read the list, below, of nine newsworthy events, which I've compiled from a chapter in Bobby in Naziland. Everything on the list took place in a 12-hour period, from 8:30 p.m., July 26, to 8:30 a.m., July 27. See if you can guess the year. The answer is in the UFO video at the end of the post.


  · Eva Perón—"Evita"—the first lady of Argentina, died, at age 33.


  · Objects unknown—UFOs—traveling at speeds between 100 and 7,000 miles per hour, buzzed Washington, D.C.


  · The stock market reached a 22-year high.


  · King Farouk of Egypt was deposed in a bloodless coup.


  · A woman flying Pan American airlines, from Rio de Janeiro to Rome, was sucked out of the plane off the coast of Brazil when the emergency door popped open.


  · U.S. B-29s bombed North Korea's electrical power grid.


  · At the Summer Olympic Games, in Helsinki, Bob Mathias broke his own world record for the decathlon.


  · The New York Yankees were in first place in the American League, and the Brooklyn Dodgers were in first place in the National League.


  · Cleveland Indians third baseman Al Rosen was leading the American League with 18 home runs, 4 more than Mickey Mantle of the Yankees.



Bugs Bunny's July 27, 1940, debut. If you're of a certain age, you've seen it many times.


One of the multitude of UFO sightings that occurred during the month of July, many years ago. Find the answer to the "quiz" in this video.


Bobby in Naziland is available on Amazon and all other online booksellers, as well as at your local brick-and-mortar bookstore, where you should (and probably can) buy it again.


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The UFOs of '52... and Evita


The above photo is a detail from a two-page advertisement that ran in The New York Times several months ago. It was for a show on the History channel, Project Blue Book, described as a drama "based on the true, top-secret investigations into Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs)… conducted by the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1969."


I checked out the first episode and turned it off after a half hour. It was pure, made-for-TV schlock. Yet the ad itself was astonishing—because the date on the newspaper article in the ad, July 27, 1952, is the day I was born.


As the excerpt from Bobby in Naziland indicates, the UFO frenzy of July 1952 is an incident that I explore in some detail—and as I was preparing the book for publication, it was weird to see one of the very newspaper articles I'd written about being used to promote an ancient occurrence that the gods of TV had suddenly deemed fit for mass consumption. Was I on to something?


I explain in the book that I found out about the UFOs of '52 only a few years ago, when I was in the library researching something else that had happened hours before my birth: the death of Eva Perón. I knew about Evita because my mother, a big fan of "The Lady of Hope," was always telling me about how Perón's death was on the front page of all the papers the day I was born. But she never said a word about the UFOs, which I'd have found a lot more interesting.


So it was a bit of a shock to learn that this other thing was also dominating the headlines that long-ago summer day. And it made me wonder: Had the aliens come for Evita and me?


Perhaps the gods of TV will explore that in some other extravaganza. Quality, in this case, would be a nice touch.


Meet me in St. Louis, Wednesday, October 16, 7 PM, at Subterranean Books. I'll be reading and signing copies of Bobby in Naziland.


I'll be reading and signing Bobby in Naziland at Temple Sinai, in Dresher, PA, Sunday, October 27, 10 AM. To attend, please RSVP by Oct. 22 to Tobey Grand, The event is free, all are welcome, and, I'm told, there will be a candy store and egg creams. Seriously.


Bobby in Naziland is available on Amazon and all other online booksellers, as well as at your local brick-and-mortar bookstore, where you really should buy it.


I invite you to join me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter or my just-launched Instagram.

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Empieza a difundir la noticia/Start Spreading the News

El lunes 27 de noviembre yo arribaré a Buenos Aires, Argentina, para el lanzamiento de la nueva edición en rústica en lengua española, de mi biografía de John Lennon Nowhere Man, cual fue anunciada oficialmente hoy, en el 77 cumpleaños de Lennon.

¿Por qué viajar 5,310 millas para presentar un libro, que Random House Mondadori (ahora Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial), publicó originalmente en 2003? Porque Nowhere Man no se ha impreso por años, y yo no puedo pensar un lugar mejor que Buenos Aires para celebrar su regreso. Lennon es amado en Buenos Aires, una ciudad donde los aniversarios de su nacimiento, el 9 de octubre, y muerte, el 8 de diciembre, son siempre conmemorados, y donde hay incluso un Museo de los Beatles.

Es asimismo una ciudad impregnada de mitos literarios y políticos, y aunque yo nunca he estado allí, siempre me he sentido conectado a ella, porque Eva Perón murió 12 horas antes de que yo naciera, el 27 de julio de 1952. Su muerte estaba en la primera página de todos los periódicos de Nueva York ese día. Y mi madre, quien idolatraba a “la dama de la esperanza”, siempre estaba hablando de Evita como si fuera una amiga personal.

Pero no se equivoquen: el objetivo primordial de este viaje es empezar a difundir la noticia, de que una edición re-traducida en español de Nowhere Man: Los últimos días de John Lennon, se vuelve a imprimir después de una prolongada ausencia. Con un precio de $ 12.60 dólares, el libro está ahora disponible en Amazon España, Amazon México, Amazon USA, Barnes & Noble, y directamente en CreateSpace. (La edición e-book, por un tiempo limitado, se vende con descuento en $ 9.00 dólares, y la edición de Kindle Matchbook, como siempre, tiene un precio de 99 centavos si tú ya compraste el libro en rústica).

Mientras esté en Buenos Aires, yo estaré firmando libros en una serie de eventos, está atento a los detalles.

Así, sí, yo estoy deseando mucho conocer a mis lectores, los medios argentinos y a mi traductor René Portas. Yo asimismo espero mejorar mi muy limitado español, y quizás incluso aprender a bailar un poco de tango. Y sí, mi esposa, la cantante y compositora Mary Lyn Maiscott (a quien Nowhere Man está dedicado), se unirá a mí, y mientras esté en la ciudad, podría ser persuadida de tomar una guitarra, y cantar una o dos canciones de los Beatles.

Podría suceder.

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Start Spreading the News

On Monday, November 27, I will arrive in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the launch of the new Spanish-language paperback edition of my John Lennon biography, Nowhere Man, which was officially released today, Lennon’s 77th birthday.

Why travel 5,310 miles to present a book that Random House Mondadori (now Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial) originally published in 2003? Because Nowhere Man has been out of print for years, and I can’t think of a better place than Buenos Aires to celebrate its return. Lennon is beloved in Buenos Aires, a city where the anniversaries of his birth, on October 9, and death, on December 8, are always commemorated, and where there’s even a Beatles Museum.

It’s also a city steeped in literary and political myth, and though I’ve never been there, I’ve always felt connected to it—because Eva Peron died 12 hours before I was born, on July 27, 1952. Her death was on the front page of all the New York newspapers that day. And my mother, who idolized “la dama de la esperanza,” was always talking about Evita as if she were a personal friend.

But make no mistake: the primary objective of this journey is to start spreading the news that a retranslated Spanish edition of Nowhere Man: Los últimos días de John Lennon is back in print after an extended absence. Priced at $12.60 U.S., the book is now available from Amazon Spain, Amazon Mexico, Amazon U.S., Barnes & Noble, and directly from CreateSpace. (The e-book edition has, for a limited time, been discounted to $9.00 U.S., and the Kindle Matchbook edition is, as always, priced at 99 cents if you’ve already bought the paperback.)

While in Buenos Aires I’ll be signing books at a number of events—stay tuned for details.

So, yes, I’m very much looking forward to meeting my readers, the Argentine media, and my translator, René Portas. I’m also hoping to improve my very limited Spanish and perhaps even learn to dance a little Tango. And yes, my wife, the singer-songwriter Mary Lyn Maiscott (to whom Nowhere Man is dedicated), will be joining me, and while in town she might be persuaded to pick up a guitar and sing a Beatles song or two.

Could happen.

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