"I cannot live without books: but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object." -- Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

In Memory of Guy Williams (4/30/1989) -- 25th Anniversary

An Interview with Antoinette G. Lane
Author of Guy Williams: Man Behind the Mask

Guy Williams played Zorro in Walt Disney’s TV show in the 1950s.

I remember watching Zorro as a young girl. To me, a masked hero, on his beautiful black horse, sword in hand, riding in to save the day, was exciting.

I fell in love with the show, with all the beautiful horses, the sword fights, the handsome hero and his loyal servant, Bernardo, the humor, and so much more.

Guy Williams was not only handsome; he was graceful and kind. Some say Guy Williams was born to be Zorro.

Sadly, when Walt Disney wanted more control over his show aired on a broadcast network, the discussions ended with Zorro being cancelled at the height of its popularity.

Like others, I often wondered, “What happened to Guy Williams?”

I got lucky, I found Antoinette G. Lane’s biography of Guy Williams and got my answer. Lane covers Guy’s life from his birth in New York City, through his modeling career, his marriage, and his experiences in a long but unpredictable career as an actor.

This was Lane’s first biography and it took her nineteen years to complete. She interviewed many of Williams’ family and friends. Plus, Guy’s fans offered Lane access to a treasure trove of memorabilia.

As a writer, I was intrigued by Lane’s achievement. So when I got an opportunity, I interviewed Lane about her experiences writing Guy Williams’ biography.

As Lane explains:
“I became obsessed with finding out more about him. I hoped to meet him, shake his hand, tell him I liked his work, and maybe ask him to write his autobiography. Then on Sunday, May 7, 1989 at the peak of my fever, I heard on the radio that Guy Williams had died in Buenos Aires. I was devastated. With no other fans to talk to I expressed my grief to the Los Angeles Times, who, to my surprise, printed my letter with a picture of Guy Williams, as a final tribute to him. As I heard myself saying, ‘Someone should write a book about him,’ an inner voice said, ‘Why not me!?’ “ (from Guy Williams: Man Behind the Mask)

An abbreviated version of this interview may get posted on Boomer Cafe. Below is the full interview.

Could you tell my readers how you decided to write a biography of Guy Williams?

Yes, I turned on the Disney Channel one day in the late 1980s and there was Zorro. It brought back memories of watching it with my younger brother. By Spring of 1988, I was totally hooked and very curious to know more about Guy Williams.

In my frustration of finding very little about him in libraries, (we did not have computers yet) I thought someone should write a book about him. Soon, it was my own curiosity and passion that helped decide, it would be me.

When Guy passed away in 1989, I was more determined to do the book as a tribute to him.

I suppose one of the frequent questions you get, is what is Mrs. Williams like?

I was lucky, or maybe the word is blessed. When someone is loved as much as Guy was, I find people enjoy talking about them.

Janice Williams is an extraordinary person, just as Guy was. Maybe even more so to me because she’s a woman. She had to reinvent herself and did it successfully. She’s smart, witty, charming, kind, friendly, and beautiful. Her love for Guy and her desire to keep his memory alive was to my advantage. 

In 1973, after discovering Zorro was popular in Argentina, Guy moved there to enhance his acting career. What was the response you got from the Argentinians you corresponded with regarding the biography? Is Zorro still popular in Argentina, today?

The response was Love, Love, Love. They were eager to share; eager to talk about Guy.

Yes, Zorro is still very popular in Argentina for a couple of reasons: Zorro is still on TV every day, picking up new fans every year. Fernando Lupiz, who played Guy’s son in fencing shows in the 1970s, now produces Zorro shows at Mar del Plata. He plays Zorro and always gives tribute to Guy Williams, keeping his memory alive. 

Can you describe a typical day working on the biography? Did you travel to many places where Guy Williams may have lived or worked?

Progress got off to a slow start for several reasons: we did not have the Internet yet; I had to research “How to write a Biography”; read a lot of biographies; read how to “find” people; type letters and wait for a response; and make phone calls.

Sheer will and intention brings results. In 1989, I met Kathy G. who had an enormous collection of all things Guy Williams. From her various magazine clippings I was able to compile a long question sheet.

Things took off in 1995 when I met Janice Williams and she graciously appointed our first meeting on January 14, 1996, Guy’s Birthday!  Then for the next four years, when she was available, she gave me hours of interviews.

Since I had four children at home at the time, a typical day was trying to find time: to work on the book, to transcribe taped interviews, to find a quiet time for a phone interview, and to put the puzzle pieces together by writing. So it was a long ordeal. 

Yes, I did go to many places where Guy lived and worked. Some of the places were: Hollywood where I saw his houses; 20th Century studio where he worked; the hills and rocks of Aqua Dolce and Chatsworth where I climbed and traipsed through areas where Zorro went on location; and Mission San Luis Rey where the first few episodes were filmed.

I did not go to New York but I contacted people from there who lived in Guy’s old neighborhood: classmates and his sister. I did not go to Buenos Aires but a friend of Guy’s sent me a video in which she filmed and narrated places that were Guy’s favorites, and where he lived and walked. Plus, she drew a diagram of his apartment, all of which were invaluable.

What advice would you give other writers who may want to attempt a biography?

DO IT!  Just jump in there and get started. Stay focused and things will come to you. An amazing magnetic force develops. 

Guy Williams died in Argentina on April 30, 1989, twenty-five years ago. How are Zorro fans honoring Mr. Williams on this day?

There are many websites and Facebook pages devoted to Guy Williams and fans post their feelings and memories on his birthday and death day. Some make a visit to his Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to place flowers; some get together for lunch. 

Fans have also initiated several dedications in Guy’s memory:

  • Bronx Walk of Fame, NY, May 2000
  • Bench dedication in Central Park, NY,  October 2002
  • Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund Project 2002, to aid children of 9-11 tragedy in Guy’s name.
  • Bench dedication at Mission San Luis Rey, Oceanside, CA,  August, 2003
  • Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, CA, August, 2001
  • Named A Disney Legend, Anaheim, CA, August, 2011

Source: http://www.guywilliams.net/g/02.zorroyears.htm

You can find Lane’s biography on Amazon: 

See more about Lane and her adventures with other Zorro fans on her Facebook site:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Ongoing Rundown of Cafes in Mérida, México

I am a cafe person. So, I am always thrilled to find a new cafe.

Look for updates, since things change frequently

Updated 3/5/16

New Cafés

Casa Maryposa
Calle 62 x 41 y 43 #360
Colonia Centro
Martes - Jueves 11:30am - 7:30pm
Viernes - Sabado 11:30am - 6:00pm
From Nachos to Fajitas, $50 - $75 with a wide selection of hot & cold drinks and desserts.
Try the cookies!
Internet available.
Update: Casa Mariposa closed during the low season (approximately June to October)

Espresso de Arte
Calle 62 #445 53 y 51
Colonia Centro
Lunes a Sábado 10:0 am - 10:00pm
Brand new.

El Origen Cafe
Calle 62A #472 x 39 y 37
Reforma, Centro
Lunes a Viernes de 12pm a 3pm
offers servicio a domicilio
What is great about this cafe is the vegetarian influence on the menu choices. The chef uses light seasonings.  The main dish is served with rice, salad & soup.
Update: El Origen Cafe on Calle 62A has moved to Av. Reforma (Calle 72 #404-D x 37 y 39

OMG! Cafe
Av Colon #505 x 8 y 9
Garcia Gineres
I came for the scones! Great pastries and coffee.
Internet available

Some Other Cafes

El Gran Cafe
Calle 47 y Paseo de Montejo
They have cut back on the hours they are open.
Internet available.

old address, Call47 y 70. They moved somewhere nearby.

Jaquar Cafe
Calle 60 x 45 y 47
Cafes, sandwiches, frappes, and my favorite, Soda Italiana, mineral water flavored with syrup. This café continues to improve. internet available. For the moment, my favorite is the Chai Tea Frappe!!! So good on a hot day.
Update: Jaquar Cafe has closed.

Pop Cafe
Calle 57 x 62 y 60
Listed in Lonely Planet.
Located in central downtown historic centro.
Typical cafe menu.
Nice refugee after a busy day.

Cafe Chocolate
Calle 60 y 49
Cafe with art, with outdoor patio, cafes, sandwiches and more. My favorite is a nutella frappe.
Internet available.

Paseo de Montejo, on the left as you head up Paseo towards the Monument
Friendly staff, can always met other expats or tourists.
Internet available but flaky.

Vendito Azul
Calle 62 x 49 y 51
Wed–Sat 1pm to 10

Bistro Cultural
Calle 66 x 43
M–F, 9–4
Open Saturdays now.
Chef prepares a daily dish.
Always something going on there.
Love the omelets.
Internet available.
Update: Bistro Cultural has expanded, now have an outdoor garden area.

Pistache (formerly La Boheme)
a french cafe
Quiches, french pasteries and breads
open daily from 7:30am until 11pm
Internet available.
One of my favorite stops.
It gets really busy on Sunday mornings due to Merida's Biciruta event. Also a bazaar had grown into a large event with tables of crafts, antiques, food specialities and artists displaying their work.
I call this the "Unofficial Cat Cafe" because the owner has adopted a cat and she had kittens, to there's usually a cat about. They are not socialized.
Update: Last time I went out on Sunday morning, the bazaar had been closed down but a few vendors had setup within the areas of a local restaurant. Have heard that the vendors are working with the city government to get permission to hold the bazaar on Sundays, again.

Cafe Creme
French cafe
Calle 41 x 60
M-F 7:30am - 7pm
Saturday 9-1
I like scramble eggs, so I am always grateful when a cafe lets me order scrambled eggs. Great coffee, great service.
Internet available.

Jardin de Santa Ana
Calle 47 x 60
indoor and outdoor seating
Not sure of hours, they seem to vary.
Internet available.
Update: Cafe has changed hands, looks like it's now a nighttime hot spot.

a Musa
Avenue Paseo de Montejo #496 x 45 y 43
Centro Historico
Open 9am to 11pm.
Interesting menu. Heavy on the cafes, tes, frappes, jugos and more. Baguette sandwiches and you can order one half a sandwich. Pastas, ensaldas and a separate breakfast menu with the usual eggs, croissants with various spreads.
Update: This cafe has closed but another one has opened in the same location. Similar menu.

Since I began this list 2 years ago, some cafes have opened, some have closed, some have changed owners, some have changed hours, that is how it is here in Merida.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I Wanted to Like This eBook

Salvation Jane
by Ann Massey

I wanted to like this book. You have no idea how much I wanted to like this book.

The first few pages suckered me in then the author dropped me off a cliff into a morass of mindless mishaps.

The author, Ann, offers a colorful opening page. I liked the imagery of a gallery picture compared with the main character’s arrival.

She sets you into the scene immediately with the cab driver, street cleaner, and hobo on the doorstep.

The lead character, Jane, has left a call centre job to run a hotel.

I laughed when Jane typed her notes on an iPad. It just struck me as so modern and so out of place.

It was refreshing in its use of Aussie slang.

A story about a hotel for the homeless is quite a different world from tales and misdeeds of the faux beautiful and their pampered amoral lives -- or about vampires or war. Ann provides a slice of real life with a heavy dose of humor.

I loved her description of the parliamentary receptionist:

“Call me bitchy, but it crossed my mind that the receptionist, a frosted-Nordic lily in a white linen mini dress and with enough silver jewelry to stock Georg Jensen’s showroom, had been chosen to complement the sleek, minimalistic lines of the furnishings.”

Then, I lost the train of thought of the story. I think it started when “Hardie” visited the hotel and Jane and he bumped heads.

Plus, Jane’s mild acquiesce to the take over of her hotel took some of the energy out of the plot.

Jane has intelligence but no common sense. She has no sense about men. She keeps meeting jerks and even hires them.

Her lack of common sense is phenomenal and her ability to learn from her experiences is questionable.

Then the enthusiastic, pessimistic, cockeyed efforts of misfits in various states of disarray, from here and there, somehow pull off a quasi-effective candidate campaign for Jane. Even twitter gets a guest spot.

The introduction of the inner workings of government was interesting for a bit but got bogged down as the author starts introducing new characters with little background. Then Jane seems to find every male she gets near attractive which smacks of a lack of self-control or self-awareness and has the potential for a great deal of disasters.

Sadly, there is no good guy in the story. Horrie does not count. The “hidden” backgrounds of several characters are just too pat.

I know what it’s like to write a few good pages of a story then wander off into a ditch but I could not read all of Jane’s stupid antics; they weren’t even funny or useful in the plot. They seemed like useless decoration just to fill a page with words.

While she does illustrate the opinions and beliefs of phony conservatives, she also provides plenty of poor portraits of liberals enforcing the notions of liberals as flakes, unprofessionals, ignorant sods.

There is not one character in the story that had their shit together. Was this a romance? Was it a mystery? Was it a comedy? Was it an adventure? What was it? It appeared to try and be a bit of everything and ends up being nothing.

Generally, in almost any story, the main characters confront their “demons” or “challenges” and grow, mature or gain knowledge or confidence. All Jane did was hang on. She was like a puppet, little of her own efforts played a role in her success, she followed the advice of anyone who gave it and got lucky.

A bomb? What a tortured path to a confusing, cop-out of an ending that money won’t solve.

I am a first-time ebook author. I know all about the hard work. I know all about the mistakes first-time novelists make because I made them all. But, it is becoming like torture to try and find an author whose books I like.

Samples don’t help. I am seriously considering going back to bookstores because I could find a novel I liked in a bookstore within minutes. It takes too much time to search through various online bookstores to find a title I might try. Then, it takes more time peruse the TOC or the front cover notes etc. then it does to flip through a book to determine if I want to buy it.

I have purchased x amount of e-novels and I have not fully enjoyed any of them. But, I have purchased x amount non-fiction ebooks and I have appreciated all of them.

It is exhausting to try and find novels I like -- I have tried review sites, I have tried “free” books, I have tried recommendations. I am at a loss as to what else to try, but this is getting old. I rarely had this problem when I went into a bookstore.

I like science fiction, I like comedy, I like drama, I like mystery, I like adventure, and more.

I like Janet Evanovitch, Ursula Le Guin, Dorothy Sayers, Dick Francis, John D. MacDonald, and others. One of my favorite novels, “Who Rides the Tiger”, by Doris Miles Disney is probably in the category of romance like Barbara Cartland. So, I am not a literary snob.

I am beginning to wonder if the crux of the problem is that self-published or small press novels lack a “book development” editor. There is no one looking at the story as the sum of its parts.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Minor Cooking Disaster

Over the last few days, I had been doing quite well cooking some "new" recipes.

So, today, I wanted to make a sandwich I had made before. I was confident I could make it from memory. Now, a clue that things were not going quite right was the fact I started making a batch of pasta. But, I missed the clue.

Then, I chopped some garlic and onions and started browning them. Then, I decided maybe I should look at the recipe just to make sure.

After perusing a few recipes, I realized I had three recipes in mind, not one. One was a cabbage dish, another was a sandwich and the other was a tomato soup recipe.

When I realized my error, I tried to salvage the situation. I continued making the pasta, no problem there. But, what was I going to do with the cooked garlic and onions.

I decided to try and add them to the original sandwich recipe I had thought of, "SPAM Applely" where you just fry a slice of SPAM, make a mayo, garlic and parmesan sauce and add apple slices. I added one-half of the cooked garlic and onions to the sauce and made the sandwich. Was it eatable? That is a matter of opinion -- all I can say is I ate it.

I added the other half of the cooked garlic and onions to the pasta and added lots of basil and a bit of olive oil. That dish survived.

I do not recall many recipe writers or cooks who talk about their failures.

While learning to make nutritious, frugal, tasty meals is important, so is salvaging a mistake.

The silver lining in this experience is I managed to wash the dishes as I prepared these items. No dirty dishes in the sink when I finished! That is a triumph in itself.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Coming Soon! My Interview with Antoinette G. Lane, Author of Guy Williams: Man Behind the Mask

I am excited. I am going to interview Antoinette G. Lane, author of Guy Williams: Man Behind the Mask. Guy Williams was the actor who played Zorro in Walt Disney’s 19050s TV show.

When I watched Zorro in 1958, I was too young to understand much about TV production or the profession of acting. I just loved adventure stories. The show, Zorro, was exotic with its late 18th century Spanish-Mexican political setting, horses, sword-fights, and a handsome, masked hero saving the day.

Later in 1965, I recall, I was happy to see Guy Williams on the show, “Lost in Space.” I know I watched the show just because he was in it.

But, as life went on, I forgot about Guy Williams.

Then, I found Zorro reruns on YouTube. Watching those shows brought back wonderful memories, and I wondered, “What happened to Guy Williams?” A few internet searches later I found Ms. Lane’s biography.

What a treasure trove of information and she spent 19 years doing research for the book.

In our interview, Ms. Lane will talk about the art and skills needed to write a biography, and about some of the wonderful experiences she had, as an author, during her years of research and more.

The interview and other materials will be available around April 30, 2014.

For more information on Ms. Lane's book go to: Antoinette G. Lane -- Facebook page

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Mocktail Adventure

Oh, the things writers must do for their books or stories.

I am writing a mocktail recipe book. Of course, I have to test the recipes. When I first started, I researched various mocktail recipes that resembled classic cocktails and adapted aspects of various recipes to suit available ingredients, and my budget and tastes.

Somewhere along the way, I felt I should try the original cocktail and make my mocktail recipes as similar in flavor and appearance as possible to the original.

When I went out with friends, it was easy to find Champagne and a Margarita but then I hit a snag. It seemed like many Mexican bartenders did not know how to make a Daiquiri, a Manhattan or Cosmopolitan.

Attempting to tackle the problem, when I went out to dinner, I would order one of the drinks I needed to test. But, on the first try, when I ordered a Daiquiri, I got a sorta of Margarita, a drink with slushy ice and a salted rim. I could not smell or taste the rum. The only flavor was the lime slush. The drink had no bite.

I did not make a fuss but I did check with the bartender to see what rum he used. When he showed me the empty bottle of Bacardi’s white rum, I understood why the drink lacked sufficient alcohol. My question upset the manager and he hovered over my table. I tried explain in my awful Español that I was writing a book about drinks and that the drink was fine. I am sure he thought ‘oh boy, another crazy expat.’

On a second attempt, at a reputable Irish restaurant, I ordered a Manhattan and got a concoction made with cognac. It was yellow and tasted awful. Even my friends said it was not a Manhattan. Whew! This experiment was getting expensive and time consuming.

Ok, one more try. I decided to go to the high-end American hotel, the Hyatt, on a Friday afternoon. They had an informal bar set up in the lobby.

At first, the young bartender, Henry, did not understand what I was trying to do. But, I was able order a Manhattan and watch him make the drink. I think he had to read up on how to make a Manhattan.

He used Johnny Walker Red. I knew JWR, it was a good scotch. But, the drink itself, while I am sure was well made, tasted like pure alcohol with a smoky taste which I think came from the scotch. It was not sweet. I could not discern the bitters or vermouth in the drink. It was cold, smooth, with a pure alcohol flavor.

I think I would rather have JWR on the rocks than in a Manhattan. Plus, I never considered trying a Martini. I just can’t drink straight alcohol.

I had drunk about 1/3 of the Manhattan and I had at least two more drinks to test, when Henry offered me a drink of his own design. He named it, Rivera. It was made with orange juice, Midor, Vodka, creme de menthe and a dash of Sprite. The garnish was a lime slice and mint sprig.

I liked it. It smelled good with a mild lime aroma. It was not too sweet and you could taste a hint of orange. The mint gave the drink a unique flavor. I gave up on the Manhattan and drank the Rivera.

While researching cocktails, the history of a drink often includes the hotel, restaurant or bar where the drink was “invented.” So, for the record, Henry created the Rivera at the Hyatt Hotel in Merida, Mexico.

Henry’s drinks looked like little drinks. So, I wondered about trying a Tom Collins.

I think the Manhattan was kicking in. I was feeling a little silly. I was also thinking about ordering a Cosmopolitan. I felt I was bordering on being foolish.

Do men giggle when they get tipsy?

I did not think my girlfriends would appreciate coming to my rescue if I asked them to order drinks just so I could taste them and to prevent me from going under the table. Just what does that mean, going under the table? If I think about it for too long, it doesn’t sound like fun.

I gave up on the idea of ordering a Tom Collins and asked Henry to make a Cosmopolitan.

Henry had all the right ingredients, so I figured, let’s get this done.

Watching Henry reminds me of the time when I was a bar maid and I had to use a book to make drinks. My favorite customers would let me make any drink I wanted for them. I would go crazy, using the fanciest glasses, embellishing the rims, and adding  various garnishes.

The Cosmopolitan smelled like pink grapefruit. I see why people like it. It is not an overwhelming drink. It is not too citrusy or overly sweet. There is a faint taste of orange. I suspect Henry used pink grapefruit instead of cranberry juice.

To heck with the Tom Collins and Daiquiri.

I think vodka is sneaky. What is the opposite of a liquor connoisseur? I am not a connoisseur of anything, but, I have grown to like my mocktails. They are tasty, fun and refreshing and I won’t be going under any tables if I drink them.

Good thing I didn’t finish the Manhattan.

Now home to create more mocktails.

Here's my revised Boyhattan Mocktail recipe: