About Calgary Fats (aka Larry Specht)

I got my nickname from that legendary Southern California poet, Phil Stephens.  I grew up in Calgary, Alberta and I played pool, hence “Calgary Fats”.   Phil and I both attended the University of California at Santa Barbara during the late 60s, UCSB’s silly season.  I am told that it has since become a respectable school.  It wasn’t then, which suited me just fine.

When I’m at my day job, I am an organizer in the international department of a major American union.  I run several projects in the Middle East which explains my presence in Iraq in 2004, and my love for Yemen which is where the  picture at the top of the page was taken.

I have just completed a novel, entitled Now Appearing in Baghdad.  It is essentially a black comedy about an American software salesman who winds up in Baghdad a year after the US invasion.  He figures he is the ultimate hip war profiteer, but pretty quickly he’s in way over his head and consequently looses it.

I’m in the midst of a new novel, also set in the Middle East, Lebanon this time.  Lebanon is a natural choice, in a way, since my novelistic mentors, if dead guys can be mentors are Graham Greene and Joesph Conrad.   Neither of them wrote a story or novel based in Beirut, but many of their characters would sure feel at home there.

5 Responses to About Calgary Fats (aka Larry Specht)

  1. Judith Podell says:

    Is that the same Phil Stephens who wrote Lobster Pie??

    • Dennis Nagy says:

      I’d also like to know
      “Is that the same Phil Stephens who wrote Lobster Pie??”
      I’m one of Phil’s Undisclosed Recipients and it’s really addictive. I also voted for Phil for Junior Class President at San Marcos High School in 1961 (or was it 1960–don’t remember when the actual vote took place, but I’m sure Phil knows it, down to the minute).

      • Calgary Fats says:

        It is indeed the same Phil. I am also an undisclosed recipient. We are quite a select group. I Met Phil in 1967 at UC Santa Barbara.

  2. Graceland says:

    If time is money you’ve made me a weathlier woman.

  3. Steve High says:

    Leroy, boy, is that you? Think of you often, my old friend.

    Congratulations on your book. I’m a hypocritical person, and I mean that.

    I’ve been thinking , lo, these several decades, of getting off my ass and writing down the movies in my mind, but you did it. I think I’ve finally broken the code, however; it’s not getting off your ass, but getting on it, applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair as Sinclair Lewis said. Of course, somebody else said it first, but Lewis, like you, actually did it.

    Which means ever so much more than saying it.

    Dave High, who was by way of being Phil’s campaign manager at San Marcos, died a few years back (Saturday, July 28, 2001) at 57. I trust Phil is in better health. They were in the first graduating class of San Marcos, having started at a temporary campus on Santa Barbara’s Riviera, and were juniors in 1960, not 1961. Dave was born in 1943 (November 21, if anyone’s counting), graduated at 18, and while memory no longer serves, arithmetic does.

    I trust you know there’s an In-And-Out Burger on Turnpike Road, within walking distance of San Marcos. We got all of the drugs and most of the pussy, but those alumni who followed us got the hamburgers.

    I’d cheerfully forswear the 1960s if I could have attended high school in, let’s say, 1985. It’s far better to be younger and stupider than older and wiser.


    You said you’d write a novel back when we were very striplings, and, by god, you’ve done it. I’ll look for it in the library, and send you your royalty directly. Got a PayPal accounty?

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