If you know anything about the legendary 20th century bank robber Willie Sutton, chances are it’s one of two things you remember:
1. He was extremely good at robbing banks, and extremely good at breaking out of prison.
2. When asked why he robbed banks, he replied, “Because that’s where they keep the money.”
Willie Sutton was a complex figure in a lot of ways: Yes, he was a criminal, and yes, he stole lots of money. But he may have been the friendliest, most gentle criminal ever. He allegedly never actually used his gun during any heist, and went about his business as peacefully as possible.
Had never really read much about Sutton until J.R. Moehringer, an incredibly gifted writer who wrote “The Tender Bar” (which I reviewed here) and co-authored Andre Agassi’s amazing memoir, Open (which I also raved about here), wrote a new historical novel about Sutton. I just finished it, and man, was it good.
The creative way Moehringer wrote “Sutton” was that all the historical accounts of his robberies, the characters involved, and details about Willie’s childhood are based on fact.
What is invented is the dialogue, some of the plot twists in Sutton’s life, and in the most compelling part of the book, his 12-hour adventure on Dec. 25, 1969, the day he got out of prison for the final time and travelled around New York City with a newspaper reporter and photographer, going to all the famous spots in his past (that day really did happen, but there’s no good historical record of what went on).
The book is hilarious in parts, poignant in others, and constantly entertaining. You alternately want to yell at Sutton for taking stupid chances, feel bad for him having to deal with an awful childhood, and praise his guts at other parts of his life.
It was a rollicking book that tells a great story, even if half of it isn’t true. You can check it out on Amazon here.
**I never got the whole Psy “Gangnam Style” craze, and frankly I’m not too crazy of what I do know about the South Korean strange dude.
But whoever took the time and energy to create this flip illustration done to his song, I say “Bravo.”
In the words of Andrew Sullivan, from whose blog I first saw this video, “Seriously, where do people find the time to make amazing crap like this?”
**They say if you live long enough, you’ll see just about everything.
But I gotta say, I didn’t see this one coming.
The ubiquitous rapper Snoop Dogg, who has apparently changed his name to Snoop Lion (I must’ve missed that press release) is pretty much known for two things: rapping, and smoking a whole bunch of marijuana.
Now though, Mr. Lion has become a children’s author. So naturally, his first book is going to be about weed.
Yep, the working title of this sure-to-be- classic is “It’s Just A Plant: A Children’s Story of Marijuana.”It will be about a little girl who is taught the “awesomeness” of pot by her parents.
I can only imagine the chapter titles: “Why is Daddy just lying on the couch all day eating Cheetos?” And “Mommy stares at a poster on the wall and after a few hours, is convinced it’s talking to her.”