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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Mike's Dream: To see multiple facings of his book on front table at Border's

Mike's dream: To see multiple facings of his book "Chasing Charley" on the front table at his local Border's. For a dedicated writer pushing a first book, this is the ultimate validation in his opinion. Wish him luck as he continues this long, strange journey that was hatched by a humble, tattered volume of John Steinbeck's "Travels with Charley" found sleeping between books at a library book sale.

Lauterborn's website goes live!

Mike is proud to announce the launch of a new website,, which details his 25 years of marketing consulting experience, past accounts and services as well as his lifelong writing experiences from early school papers right up to his latest book projects "Chasing Charley" (being shopped to publishers) and "Island Roots" (in development). This website is one of four that Lauterborn will have online. Soon to follow will be a site dedicated to the aforementioned "Chasing Charley", to provide an easy overall picture of the project for publishers to reference and interested parties to read all about and enjoy prior to its release in bookstores -- hopefully later this year! A third site will be dedicated to a business he has developed and is launching called "A Shore Thing". This is a local guided tour service targeting overseas visitors to New York City who would like to come up on the train to Mike's hometown of Fairfield to spend a day seeing shore sites and padding through local shops and restaurants. Look here on Mike's blog for more details as available. Finally, his developing book "Island Roots" will have its own site so that potential underwriters and sponsors can view the project and, as they come on board to offset Mike's travel expenses, will be featured, together with hot links to their own home sites. These are exciting times for Mike, who is taking multi-media outlets by storm!

A Touching Note from Friar Tuck

Mike heard from another old friend, just yesterday, Martin Williams. He was just "Marty" to Mike, or "Fry" due to his diminutive size at the time compared with Mike and his brother Dave's size... or "Friar Tuck", which was "Fry" in its expanded form we'd decided... or "Pilliams Fry", which was an oleo of nickname take-offs.

He had been a neighbor of Mike's family when they lived on Van Curler Avenue in Schenectady during the period 1972-1977. A tow-headed, hyperactive bundle of energy that bounced around like a jumping bean and always seemed to be smiling, Marty was a best pal, bike riding and tree climbing friend and co-conspirator when we plotted water balloon attacks against a neighboring street. He and Mike had lost touch over the years due to geography, job pursuits and family responsibilities but there remained a connection between them that would not be severed. Their conversations were never serious, so Mike never really had a sense about Marty's deeper thoughts... until receiving his recent email:

You must remember all those letters you and Dave used to write me, with your neat, even script, from margin to margin, complete with small caricatures and doodles?

Your creativity, humor and joy were always an inspiration to me. I copied your style and still tend to write in that same block lettering.

Once a writer, always a writer.

"I am that I am"

Pilliams Fry

Funny how you think you know a person but, often, it's just the public shell that you know. When you peel away the shell, get to the core of the person and discover what's inside, that's when you can truly say you know someone. For Mike, this revelation from an old childhood friend was truly touching and confirmed that their friendship was a sincere one based on mutual respect and genuine fondness for each other's company.

"Thanks Pilliams Fry for the good times and memories. I will cherish them." - Mike

Blast From the Past

Mike reached out to an old college friend recently, to update him about some of his activities. He received an almost immediate reply, but with no words and just the attached photo at right. Words weren't necessary, the photo said it all -- a captured moment of carefree abandon, of youth knowing no boundaries, free spirits and the assumption or ignorance that actions would have no consequences, a groovy time in a sunny place with excellent friends...

Yes, that's Mike in the middle... and yes, that is indeed a multi-colored Dirty Harry-like Mexican poncho that he is wearing... and, yes, that does appear to be a liter of Ronrico Rum in his left hand... and yes, that is a fine crop of hair on his head... and yes, those are palm trees in the background, left, as this photo was shot in Florida, at the University of Southern Florida (USF) Sundome in Tampa... prior to a Grateful Dead concert the trio was attending.

From left, Steven (last names omitted to protect the guilty) or "Greenie" as he was commonly known, Mike, and John. The three attended Rollins College together as freshmen, Sept 1983 to May 1984. Away from the watchful eyes of their parents and collectively inspired to experiment with all that they could and with everything and everyone they could, they manufactured some priceless memories together -- of their time spent living commune-style in "The Pit" of Elizabeth Hall dormitory, attending campus keg parties, exploring alternate realities, air-jamming to classic rock tunes, taking spontaneous road trips and muddling through school the best they could while dialing up their social skills.

They survived this period... and flourished. Steven is now a prominent lawyer in Boca Raton, Florida. John is an independent business owner based outside of Miami, Florida. And, Mike (or "Spike" as he was known back then), well, if you're on this blog you know how he turned out!

Good times, good friends, good vibes. Long live The Pit.

Never Doubt a Thomas

God Bless Mary Thomas and Her Da's Soda Bread

Mike had hatched a grand plan for St. Pat's Day to make a fine meal for my family: Corned Beef with Red Currant Mustard Sauce, Chocolate Mint Brownies and a sidecar of Black & Tans (made with Guinness and Harp Lager naturally, and facilitated with his pouring spoon). But in the words of poet Robert Burns, "the best-laid plans of mice and men go oft awry." Such was the case with Mike's ambitious culinary endeavor and he suggested that the family head, instead, over to their local "pubbery", Archie Moore's. It was a sure bet they'd have a lively crowd and a good sampling of Irish cuisine. So decked in their assorted greens, Mike, his wife Marlene and their two boys Evan and Phillip strolled on over. Sure enough, every seat had a body parked in it and there was enough corned beef on hand to feed an army.

Unable to attract the busy barkeep's attention, the foursome stood to the side waiting for a table and passing time with Mike's old friend Bob McGuffey, with whom the boys and Mike had participated in a scouting program some number of years back.

Before long, they were settling into a corner spot and, anon, the first Guinness arrived. Ah, the roasted tones, WD-40 color and smooth-as-molasses finish... "heavenly," Mike cooed. He toasted his departed Irish grandmother for the second time that day... and, noticing a jolly-looking couple at the next table over, clinked glasses and exchanged happy wishes with them as well.

He also snapped a few silly photographs with his 10-megapixel digital camera. The specs of the camera are mentioned here only because its usage must have suggested to the adjacent couple that Mike was a competent photographer and, thus, they asked him to snap them with their disposable camera.

He agreed and clicked away, but then questioned whether the flash had gone off and the photo had actually been taken. To be sure the moment was securely captured, Mike suggested he take a photo with his own camera as well -- one that he could email to one of them.

The gesture was appreciated, Mike followed through successfully and Mary Thomas as she was called, a redheaded lass with a friendly demeanor, tweed cap and KISS ME I'M IRISH t-shirt, passed off her email via a napkin. Above and beyond simply thanking Mike though, she fetched a Guinness for him and a Harp for his wife.

Detecting a brogue, the writer asked if she hailed from Ireland and she confirmed she was from County Cavan, in the north. Mike mentioned that his ancestors were from County Cork, in the south on the sea -- "a bunch of crazy fisherman." Again he toasted his Nan, remarking to the couple that she was distantly related to wild west pioneer William "Buffalo Bill" Cody.

Mike also noted aloud a plan to hop over to our friends' the Ryan's house for more festivities after this dinner stop. Mary hoped we were on foot to which Mike assured her, "No worries. I have onboard GPS," then jokingly added, giving definition to the acronym,"Getting Pissed Shortly."

Their dinners arrived and, for Mike, that was Chicago-style Corned Beef. Priced to move, it included some hot peppers which gave zing to the beefy bulk. Mike wished he had soda bread to accompany it, so that he could enjoy the three major food groups simultaneously, the other two being Guinness and corned beef. To this, Mary dug deep in a carrying tote and produced a small, Christmas-themed red plastic tub -- containing none other than some fine quartered soda bread! To boot, it was her Da's concoction and had come over direct from Ireland.

Mike was flattered by the gesture and looked about for some butter to slather on the bread. Again, from the depths of her tote, Mary retrieved a solution -- another tub, but this one a Land 'o Lakes whipped butter container... and with it, a plastic knife. Even Mary's male friend, who had known Mary for some five years dating back to their time together in school, was impressed by her mobile pantry.

Mike thought her intention was to give him just a piece of bread from the tub, but she bestowed the whole container on him, with more than a dozen slivers inside. Mike felt he had to thank her with an embrace, so hug they did... then much scarfing of bread ensued.

As it happened, it was also Mary's birthday. Mike told her of a pin that he has that declares, "It's My Birthday," that he occasionally wears it out and that it never fails to garner a round. "I should try that sometime," she vowed. Mike felt that, with that insider tip, he had at least earned his round of Guinness.

Then with some final hugs, the two were off, leaving the family to cherish the brief but rewarding interaction.