The readers put their minds to use with questions.
Q: Since your novel "Good Vibes" was the basis for the horse racing movie "Let It Ride," would you send me a signed copy of the book if I pay the cover price and postage?
A: Probably not. A California bookseller currently offers for sale a copy of the hardback "Good Vibes," in decent condition, for $1, 795.50. A flag signed by Betsy Ross probably goes for around thirteen hundred. When a novel is published, they send you a small box of free copies, ten or 20. Additional copies are made available to the author at half price. I thought the novel was pretty good. But then, I wrote it. At book signings and speeches, I clearly recall giving away copies to winos and reprobates: Hey pal, take two, use one for a pillow.
An ex-wife has three hardback copies.
I have two paperbacks.
If you have a hardback copy of this novel, take it out from under the beer can immediately.
Q: Is picking a winner at the horse races harder than it used to be?
A: No, sorry, it's you.
Angles change. If you go in with old-school rules, you lose. Longer layoffs win with regularity. Here's something else I've noticed this spring: Big drop-downs aren't automatic pitches. Steal a purse, get paid $10,000 or $15,000 or so on a claim, there's worse.
Q: Each fall, you publish a football Lock of the Millennium. Will you have another this time around?
A: Last year I had two Millennium locks, Texas over Oklahoma (announced in August), then Alabama over the Texas Tech Red Ryders (they shot bb's) in some finger bowl. Alabama covered late, something like 4-0, final, a glorious victory, once I was revived.
The secret of picking team winners is to trust the number and place yourself in the spot of the bookmaker, few of whom go begging. The talented team sports player has this in needlepoint over the vault: The Obvious Is A Loser.
I'm looking at Oklahoma-Oregon and Arkansas-Southern Cal for this fall's Millennium headliner.
Q: What do you think of Hold 'Em poker?
A: Not much.
Playing well turns you into a stat nerd, a severe price to pay.
I do like the part of this game where everybody flings over his and her hands and a modified version of the kids' game of War ensues, high cards win.