Author Archives: Norb Vonnegut

A Scam Story for Thanksgiving

Two days ago I was driving up Amsterdam Avenue in NYC, en route to pick up my daughter at Columbia University before returning to Rhode Island for Thanksgiving, talking hands free on my cell. That’s when my world unraveled. I’m working on a non-fiction book with tips for avoiding financial frauds and know that all con artists share the same basic approach: 1) scope out the target, 2) isolate the victim, and 3) create an artificial sense of urgency. But it’s far easier to be Continue reading →

What’s Not to Love About Cheeky Kids?

The first time I read The Ransom of Red Chief by O. Henry I was smitten by fictional kids who stand up to adults. Back then, I liked Johnny because he had red hair and lived in the deep South. Me too. Today, the “Johnnies” are much tougher. There’s less of the innocence that characterized O. Henry’s fiction. But precocious youngsters still draw me into stories…probably because I’m a dad. I find observations about society so much more disturbing (or entertaining depending on what the writer is trying to accomplish) Continue reading →

He Versus She

Dr. Seuss invented the term “nerd.” Geoffrey Chaucer coined “twitter.’” Vladimir Nabokov gave us “nymphet,” which is probably what you would expect from the author of Lolita. I have no idea who said “selfie” the first time, but clearly the English language has a long and storied history of word creation. Which leads me to our problem, the lowly pronoun. English users need a fix, an injection into our verbal circulatory system that serves as the gender-neutral alternative to “he” or “she.” “They,” as neutered Continue reading →

The Death of Secrets

“Over the long run, nothing is secret.” This quote comes from Jack Legare, the hero of my thriller in progress. He was talking about Wall Street. He could have been discussing “DarkLeaks.” Huh? I first learned about DarkLeaks through Hacker News. Think of it as a 24/7 auction for secrets that could belong to anyone or anything. Facebook’s quarterly earning are secret before they’re announced. The formula for Coke is kept under lock and key. So is bad behavior if and when it exists inside Continue reading →