“Read it and Weep”
E. Hemmingway Smedley, the legendary local gadabout who regards himself as a “man of letters,” invited the writer of this column to a book signing party held recently at the VFW Drinkarama Room. Smedley’s latest tome is titled “Lost in Inner Space,” described on the book jacket as “a psychological, philosophical, homespun, poignant, perplexing, page-turning, heart-warming love story thriller!” It was not clear who wrote the jacket blurb or the several short “accolades” on the back of the jacket. And certainly, the photo of the author remarkably resembling Fabio, posed leaning against a door of an old barn, raises some additional questions.
The party was lightly attended by about fifteen people – all new to the Bay and thus not familiar with the antics of Smedley. Added to this group, were seven VFW barflies who are at the VFW day in and day out, needing no “event” to draw them in. This slim turnout should surprise no one as E. Hemmingway is widely known – as kindly as I can put it – as being a flim-flammer, a quirky reprobate, and most of all – a MOOCH! Recall the greasy, greedy innkeeper in the musical, Les Miserables, and you have Smedley, a far cry from Fabio!
To give you an idea of some of Smedley’s past scams there was the 2005 “Chicken Litter Conversion to Ethanol Kit” caper which promised riches to the many gullible, retired, senior citizens here trying to make it on their limited incomes. This scheme centered around “a process as proven viable by Prof. Rolph Smarmy of Toad Suck Agriculture College,” where a load of chicken litter would be delivered to the investor’s yard and then sprayed daily for two weeks with tap water. The resulting glop would then ferment into ethanol, and with some simple piping and fluid collectors, the ethanol by-product costing pennies could be resold at $3 a gallon. This scheme that was believable in the sense everyone knew that the feedstock for chickens was corn, and that the chicken waste (litter) was essentially semi-fermented corn, which in turn was the basic ingredient of ethanol. A ll that was needed to produce commercial ethanol was a little more fermentation gained by adding the tap water and two weeks in he sun.
Smedley sold each “Kit” for $1,995.00 and at one time there were thirty-seven yards here in the Bay loaded with chicken litter and also all smelling to high heaven for weeks on end. Needless to say, the County and City Environmental authorities soon shut everything down leaving the swindled investors with the only recourse being to hire an attorney to get their money back from Smedley and hopefully some jail time for him as well. Smedley, claiming he, too, was swindled, was successful in deflecting his culpability onto Prof. Smarmy. At Smarmy’s trial, it was uncovered that he had a severe drinking problem and his “proof” of the chicken litter conversion process was drawn up on a cocktail napkin. Unfortunately, all Smarmy’s cash had gone to pay his bar bill, leaving zip for the FFB investors and Smedley. However, the judge did give Smedley some disgusted dirty looks.
Some of you may remember Smedley’s scam of last year involving a similar scheme involving the conversion of hog waste into valuable commercial methane. This story was covered in the Dec. 4, 2013 edition of the FFB News. Coincidentally, there was also a “professor” attached to this scheme but this time, Smedley was the victim, losing the $100,000 he had dislodged from a “woman” he had wooed via the internet. (FFB News, Nov. 13, 2013.)
It is not clear yet what Smedley has cooking in this, his latest adventure of passing himself as an author. A quick read of “Lost in Inner Space” indicates that Smedley has had either a serious fall off the wagon, or that a lifetime of delusions has become his reality. In this book, Smedley as hero: solved the JFK assassination (It wasn’t LBJ, but Walt Disney!); in August of 2001, he led an Eagle Scout Troop to bin Ladin’s compound in Afghanistan to earn a very important badge but the boys’ arrows just missed their target and the rest is history; he set all kinds of records for undersea exploration without a tank!; and finally, he tracked down a very live Elvis holed up in a Tibetan monastery near Katmandu.
Perhaps the sign on the card table/book signing setup gives a clue as to Smedley’s simmering swindle: “ For a mere $99.95, you can sign up to receive my next six books – all signed, first editions, worth at least $100 each! Order today and get FREE SHIPPING!”