Archive for October, 2011

 The FBI released surveillance tapes of the 2010 Russian spy ring. Too bad the tapes have no audio. Damn FBI wants to keep everything quiet.

Here’s the link to the FBI website:

On Monday, March 11th, I went to the Engineering Societies Library to photocopy some American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) papers that Katkov had given me. The citations dealt with articles for spacecraft design. One in particular caught my attention. It came off the handwritten index card list. Someone had written in the word “em-dash” as part of the title. I thought nothing of it until I held the actual document in my hands. It contained a title and subtitle punctuated by what proofreaders call an em-dash (a long hyphen). Most computer printers circa 1985 could not print em-dashes or other special characters like Greek letters, subscripts in chemical compounds, and other scientific notation. Database vendors like DIALOG worked around this problem by printing out the name of the special character; i.e. in the case of this particular document, DIALOG printed the word “em-dash” in the title. Therefore, the citations on this list must have come from an online search. And whoever copied these citations off the printout did not know proofreading symbols. He or she simply copied the title word-for-word.

Fig 8-1 Top: handwritten list Katkov gave me. Middle: the “em-dash” on the actual document (see red underlines). Lower: title as it appears on a computer printout.

This minute detail, coupled with a book I’d just read, answered a question that had been nagging at me for a long time: Why were so many of Michael’s want lists handwritten? Now I had the answer.



I’m the guy without the helmet. I have an oddly shaped head; it’s long and narrow. When I joined the New York/New Jersey Bandits, along with home and away uniforms, I was issued a piece of headgear that was far too circular to fit my head comfortably. It hurt  so much that I only wore the damn thing when I was on the ice. Had to protect my brains. I didn’t want my egg-head to crack open and spill its yoke.

This picture and ice hockey are very much parts of ROOFMAN the true story. The only reason I did not include them in the ebook is because I figured no one would believe me. Like I said, fact IS stranger than fiction. So here, on my blog, is the story behind the story.

I still have my jerseys, by the way; and notice the bandit and his masked face peeking just above the boards. Cool, huh?


I was already taking a big risk by taping my meetings with Mikhail Katkov in my apartment for the FBI. The way I figured it, why should they have all the golden memories? I wanted a tape too.

However, my apparatus cost about $50, whereas their device cost $3,000. That meant I had to be very careful in secreting my recorder.