Category Archives: Kindle Single
My Seinfeld Year by Fred Stoller
A very light, very short Kindle Single by Fred Stoller, a character actor, comedian and writer recounting his year working on the writing staff of the legendary sitcom Seinfeld. Enjoyable enough but doesn’t contain any particularly juicy revelations about its cast or the way it was produced. Stoller’s main point seems to be how tough it is to make it in Hollywood.
He is not a big time name, but my guess is that most folks would recognize Fred Stoller as he has appeared in a number of television shows (Friends, Murphy Brown, Everybody Loves Raymond), usually playing a nebishy sad sack type, and in movies (Dumb and Dumberer), yet his career was not one that has brought him great wealth. He is a working stiff like most of us, just trying to get ahead. He drives a beat up old car and lives in an apartment. After pitching an idea to Larry David, co-creator of Seinfeld, he was brought on as a staff writer. Stoller had had some writing experience before working the stand up circuit, but his main desire was to act. He viewed the steady pay check he would get while on the Seinfeld staff as a way to move that goal forward.
He does shine a very narrow light on the process by which Seinfeld was made. Writers would use experiences from their own lives to come up with situations for use in the show. It was a requirement that each show contain a story line involving the four main stars, and that each one connect by the end of the episode. This was a hallmark of the Seinfeld formula.The story would be pitched to Larry David who would make a snap judgement on its worthiness and order the writer to proceed with a script if he viewed it as a potential episode. Inevitably each script would be heavily rewritten by David and Seinfeld. Basically it seemed like writers were hired so the show could use their experiences as the basis of an episode rather than for their writing skill. This is actually the plot of a later episode when Elaine’s boss J. Peterman buys Kramer’s life stories for use in his autobiography. Later Kramer uses this fact to start a lame “Peterman Reality” bus tour to cash in on the fact that he is the real Peterman. In a case of reality aping fiction, Stoller was later roped into participating in a similar enterprise concocted by Kenny Kramer, Larry David’s friend on whom the Kramer character was based.
Fred Stoller is listed as the writer on one episode of the show,”The Soup,” in which in exchange for a free Armani suit given to him by his comedic rival Kenny Bania, Jerry is obligated to take Bania to dinner. Stoller is responsible for the name of the restaurant that most Seinfeld fans will recognize from this episode, “Mendy’s.” He is also given a “story by” credit for the episode “The Face Painter” in which Kramer gets into an argument with a chimpanzee at the zoo and is later forced to apologize to the animal.
I any case, if you are a Seinfeld fan this would be worth the hour of your time it might take you to get through it. It would have limited appeal for anyone else.
A fun little Kindle Single (originally published on The Atavist) by Joe Kloc, “The Case of the Missing Moon Rocks” follows one man’s obsession with accounting for all of the moon rock samples given out to foreign governments, and to each of the fifty states by Richard Nixon, following the end of the Apollo program. It turns out a substantial number of these samples have gone missing, and remain so to this day.
After Apollo 17 made its way back to Earth part of one of the rock samples it returned, known by NASA as Sample 70017, was divided into pebble sized pieces, encased in Lucite, affixed to a commemorative plaque along with a national flag that had flown to the moon, and was presented to leaders of all the countries in the world as a gesture of peace and goodwill. Pieces were also distributed to each of the fifty states. Many of those countries apparently weren’t all that impressed as most of them have apparently lost, sold, or misplaced their piece of the moon. Occasionally some have popped up on the black market. One man made it his personal mission to track down as many of these missing pieces as possible.
In the United States it is illegal to sell or buy Apollo moon rocks, pieces of Apollo 1, or pieces of the space shuttles Challenger and Columbia. Special NASA agent Joseph Gutheinz made it his personal mission to stop and to prosecute anyone attempting to do so. He had a fair amount of success, recovering one of the commemorative pieces given to the Honduras that ended up sold to an American collector and another lost in a museum fire in Alaska. As this little single reads like a detective story (which in fact it is), I won’t go further.
I enjoyed this as far as it went. I hadn’t really read anything about this before so this was new information to me. It is well enough written though it ends very abruptly. It took me 45 minutes to read, so well worth the diversion!
Bucket Source (Personal Addition – Kindle Single)
Purchase at Amazon.com Here