Saturday, August 29, 2009

I Am Desperately Trying to Give Away Millions of Dollars

. . . But Nobody Wants It!


Here are three business plans I years ago gave to my close friends, who are an MBA and two attorneys. They laughed at me, dismissing the plans as silly and unworkable. But as recent events will prove, Preston L. Allen is, as always, ahead of the curve.

1) A Clock that runs backwards (counter clockwise). You can hang it on the wall behind you in the bathroom so that while you are shaving you can keep track of time by staring straight at the mirror instead of turning around; the backward-running clock on the wall behind you will read forward when you look at it in the mirror.

2) A company that harvests human breast milk from lactating women and markets the milk and its related "human" dairy products.

Check eBay and you will find people looking to purchase breast milk as well as looking to sell it . . .

3) Celebrity funerals: People, I argued, will be willing to pay top dollar to be buried next to celebrities; therefore, we run a company that pays living celebrities a few million dollars up front to allow a select number of their fans to be buried near their final resting place; the company then charges the fans, wealthy fans, a tidy sum for the privilege of being interred near their favorite movie star, musician, athlete, politician, and so on; the burial spot will be predetermined so that if the fan dies before the celebrity, he/she dies knowing that eventually, and eternally, the celebrity will reside nearby.

In the case of celebrities that are already deceased, I argued, our company will make arrangements with their surviving kin, or caretakers of the property; for example, for fans of Elvis Presley, Graceland would be contacted to make arrangements to have select fans buried near the King (is Elvis actually buried at Graceland? I do not know, but it makes little difference. In fact, whether he is buried there or not, many of his fans would pay for the privilege of being buried there.)

Think about this third business plan as you read the following brief article about Marilyn Monroe--and remember, Preston L. Allen, your forward-thinking novelist, came up with it first.


Thanks,

Presty

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An American widow sold her husband's burial crypt directly on top of film legend Marilyn Monroe's final resting place for $4.6 million on Monday, through online auctioneer eBay Inc.

Elsie Poncher has said she was selling the crypt in a small, celebrity-heavy cemetery in Los Angeles to pay off her mortgage.

The auction opened earlier this month at $500,000 and attracted 21 bids before closing on Monday. eBay did not say who submitted the winning bid.

"We are currently working with the seller and the high bidder to finalize the sale and will be happy to report more of the details once the sale has been completed," it said in a statement.

Poncher's husband, Richard Poncher, bought the crypt from baseball star Joe DiMaggio, Monroe's ex-husband, as the famous couple was divorcing in 1954.

Monroe died at age 36 in 1962. Richard Poncher died in 1986 at age 81. Elsie Poncher said her husband's body was positioned to allow him to look "face down" on Monroe.

She plans to move his remains over one spot to a crypt that had been intended as her own final resting place. She now will be cremated when she dies.

The Westwood Village Memorial Park cemetery, surrounded by office buildings in the suburb of Westwood, is home to such celebrities as Dean Martin, James Coburn, Roy Orbison, Truman Capote, Natalie Wood, Carl Wilson, Minnie Riperton and recent arrival Farrah Fawcett.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Dean Goodman)
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Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker

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Bio


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.