Friday, December 08, 2017

Such Zests

"Such zests as his particular little phial of cayenne pepper, and his pennyworth of pickles in a saucer, were not wanting." - LITTLE DORRIT

Monday, December 04, 2017

Small Precise Pat

Reading LITTLE DORRIT, recommended by Lee Durkee. Came to a description I like: "a small precise pat of butter, cool, symmetrical, white, and plump." I like where the commas are and where the comma isn't.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

The Neville Conundrum

Here's Adam Sandler walking past "my" table at Dan Tana's in the movie SANDY WEXLER, or, as Kent Osborne calls it, SANDLY ADAMS. Did I watch SANDY WEXLER? Apparently I did. I have a comment and a question. The comment: It is really long! It took me two nights to finish it. At one point I was like, well, we must be reaching the end of SANDY WEXLER. So I paused it and saw that there was another hour to go. I couldn't imagine how it would be filled. It shouldn't take two nights to watch a comedy. I did a little math. I'm not good at math, nor did I check the running time of BROADWAY DANNY ROSE, the movie from which SANDY WEXLER lifted most eagerly. But I think you could fit 1.5 BROADWAY DANNY ROSEs into a SANDY WEXLER. That's an estimate! [There are almost exactly 1.548 Broadway Danny Roses in a Sandy Wexler - ed.] Aaron Neville is in SANDY WEXLER, which, combined with the fact that when I went to Rob Schneider's house he compared his own height favorably with that of Aaron Neville, leads me to the question: is Aaron Neville friends with the 90s cast of Saturday Night Live?

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Past Is Always Dead

Here's a bar my friend Ward McCarthy and I used to go to in Hollywood, USA, and it looked just like this... kinda goofy and even shabby... or perhaps in a yearning condition of imminent shabbiness. So last time I was in town, my brother's car started overheating and he was nervous to drive me all the way back to Burbank, so I said, "Hey! There's that hotel with that bar where I used to go. I'll just get them to call me a cab!" So I walked in and looked around and the bar wasn't goofy any more... it was all swank and dour and quiet and dark and cool, like where cool people would go to sit alone in the dark. There wasn't a goofy mural... there was just... blank, expensive wood. It made me feel terrible! As if I went back to my hometown and the house where I grew up was gone and there was just a little hill of dirt there, which is something else that happened to me recently.

Sunday, November 26, 2017


You are no doubt aware of my popular theory that every book has an owl in it. I don't "blog" anymore, obviously, yet I am compelled to tell you whenever I read a book with an owl in it. It's not the same thing! The magical new novel GOLDELINE by Jimmy Cajoleas contains any number of owls. Now! We know a few things about Jimmy: 1. Although he was in some classes that I "taught" I cannot and do not take any credit for his development as a writer. Why, I hear he was born with a quill in his hand! Literally! [This is a fanciful conceit, not an actual rumor. - ed.] 2. He was never in one of those classes in which I forced the students to put owls in their stories, cruelly enforcing the "Owl Theory of Literature" which would bring me such notoriety and profit throughout the academic world. So! I can't even take credit for Jimmy's owls. GOLDELINE takes place (so far!) in the woods, and often at night, so, you know, there are going to be some owls there.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

I Am Sorry to Tell You This

Remember this book was written in 1884, okay? So our protagonist's doctor gives him a "nourishing peptone enema" and he loves it! He decides that's the only way he's going to receive nourishment from now on. He's done eating with his mouth! He's going to eat... the other way. I was like, hey, this book from 1884 is shocking me. Our hero commences with a couple of paragraphs of gloating about his new way of eating, not with his mouth. "How delightful it would be... What a saving of time, what a radical deliverance... What an absolute relief from the boredom that results from the necessarily limited choice of dishes! What a vigorous protest... what a slap in the face for old Mother Nature, whose monotonous demands would be permanently silenced!" I leave the remainder of his rantings to your imagination. Well, his plan doesn't work out. It won't surprise you that on the last page or so, he says, "Well, crumble then, society! perish, old world!" That's just the kind of guy he is. We all know how he feels. At that point I believe he's raging about the subpar ingredients in today's (his day's) communion wafers. Oatmeal! Potato flour! You can't consecrate THAT stuff! "Now God refused to come down to earth in the form of potato-flour; that was an undeniable, indisputable fact."

Friday, November 24, 2017

A Big Lemon

Yesterday I handled a lemon that was "just shy of two pounds" in weight. The lemon came from a tree in Melissa Ginsburg's parents' yard. They make no untoward claims. The lemon tree was already producing big lemons when they moved into the house.