I don't hate many people.

I mean sure, Matthew Pfeiffer back in elementary school, and Jason I forget his last name in 11th grade, but the list is short. Maybe Hitler is on it. And I'm not too happy about Benedict Arnold either. However, I've got to say without compunction or malice that I hate Michael Delgass. When I met him at Cobb’s Mill Inn for a beer recently on the recommendation of a friend, he shows up with a huge bruise on his face. I ask him about it. Come to find out, he’s an MME fighter, and for real.

Sometime later in the evening we’re talking about Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers and I’m explaining how the military service in the book isn’t mandatory, and there’s no penalty if you don’t join, except you can’t vote, just like during the Roman Empire – you weren't a full citizen until you did time in the army. Delgass chimes in: That depends on which era of the Roman Empire you’re talking about. Which I don't. So not only can he kick my ass, but he’s smarter and better read than I am. Did I also tell you he was just appointed CEO of his firm? I think there’s a circle in hell for guys like him, but I’m going to have to brush up on my Dante to find out.

Ed Parker’s another one on the list. He grew up in South Carolina, went to Clemson, and then totally on his own applied to and got into Yale Architectural School. Wonder how big that alumni group is? Probably like two people, and the other one’s 100 years old.

Anyway, I’m over his house one night for dinner and there’s music playing on the stereo. I love this band, I say, who is it? Of course it's his band and it's so good I'm almost ill. Damn! Did I mention his beautiful wife? His 4 awesome kids? So we’re shoveling the food in and I say something about a book I read, or wrote, and Ed says he also wrote a book. I tell him I’d be happy to take a look at it and give him my honest opinion since I know it was going to be an embarrassing amateurish botch job.

He sends me the document the next day and let me tell you the only reason I didn’t commit suicide right then and there: I thought I’d con him into becoming his ‘publisher’ and ride those coattails all the way to Hollywood, baby!

Which I'm doing as we speak.


Seriously, you're probably wondering what the book is about. Whenever I’m asked about a movie or a book, I always quote Woody Allen: “I read War and Peace in ten minutes. It’s about Russia.”

Fire: An Account of the Curious Adventures of the Presleys of Fox Hollow Farm is the first in a series of 4 books (Water, Earth and Air), and it’s a terrific (G-Rated) mix of Harry Potter and The Penderwicks. Wonderful and wondrous, snappy and happy reading – it's a great family gift for Christmas. The first Old’s Cooler to answer this question correctly will get an autographed first-edition from the hand of the man himself: According to Taoism, what’s the fifth element?

You can send your guess here asap – johnnymustard@oldscoolcompany.com – or just let us know what you're doing, how you're doing, and why.


January 14, 2024 — Johnny Mustard