Monday, August 31, 2009

I Hope You Did Not Forget Our Pleasant Ambition

It has been a couple of weeks, so I hope you did not forget that we are attempting to find engaging, pleasant people covering Beach Boys songs in their homes, schools, churches, and places of business, until we have found every single Beach Boys song covered by every single person on the "internet." Here is number 33 in our continuing series:

The Sad Little Book That No One Would Print

Mark Childress told me that the Publishers Weekly review of my new book is up, and that it's nice. The funny part is that no one seems to be in a rush to get the book printed. So there's a review and a cover, but no book. Ha ha! Ironical! Mark is right: the review is nice, once you take into consideration how much Publishers Weekly hates me! They give a good, accurate summary of the book, then add, "This series of minor misadventures worthy of an Abbott and Costello movie is sure to please the author’s fans." Now that might be a kiss or it might be a slap. Maybe it's both! That's kind of exciting! But if I were one of my fans, I could grow indignant. Like they're saying, "Those jerks will eat it up." On the other hand, maybe Publishers Weekly holds Abbott and Costello in high regard. In any case, it's pretty nice considering the abusive relationship I've had with them in the past, and their synopsis is attractive if you ask me. Also, it's adorable that they think I have fans! (This "post" adheres to the "blog's" new policy of recycling old pictures that have nothing to do with anything.)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Joan's Accordion

Tonight Joan (Christina Hendricks) played the accordion on MAD MEN, so that made me feel better. Joan and I are just alike! I thought it might be worth breaking my rule and adding a new picture to the "blog," but I couldn't find any pictures of Joan playing the accordion yet. I'll bet that's Dyna Moe's MAD MEN illustration for tomorrow, though. While I was looking for Joan playing the accordion I found this instead. And I couldn't resist adding it because it's so true in my experience, though my computer now has 1,003 pictures on it and will certainly blow up.

Go Do That

I don't like the commercial in which the guy asks his chum the rhetorical question, "How sick is the web browsing?" I know he means that the web browsing is good! I understand! But somehow I don't like it. It's not even the slang that bothers me, really. I think it's the idea somewhere on the corporate level that the slang was "relatable" - yes, I imagine some guy stopped another guy in the hallway and explained it was "relatable." Hey, there are probably more important problems to consider. Go do that!

The Crank

I may have been too hard on the young director in question, who makes the movies called CRANK. I haven't seen them, but Brian Z. contends that they are "the intersection of Michael Bay and the French New Wave." Half of that sounds pretty good! And Brian Z. is smart and from what I can tell always right so far. So maybe I'M the crank. Get it? Wheeeeee!

He Wishes!

As you know, there are two laws of the "blog": 1) Now I use only random recycled pictures that have nothing to do with the "post" (unless an interesting new costumed mascot character shows up). 2) Whenever Jerry Lewis is mentioned in the New York Times, it is my sworn duty to alert you, even if the reference is a dud, like today's. So today in the New York Times some hotshot young movie director joked/bragged that one day he might be considered "the Jerry Lewis of action movies." And I was like, "Good luck, pal." To make matters worse, he went on to indulge in the dullest and weariest of all "clever remarks," something about how much the French love Jerry Lewis, which, as you know, is a hoary old meaningless quip I have banned from the world by decree.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Mascot Exception

Okay! Here is one more new picture, because whenever our mascot discussion expands, I will allow a new picture of the mascot in question. Today I learned that a coworker went to a college at which the mascot was the fighting okra, which she described as "okra wearing boxing gloves." She promised to bring me a sticker for my accordion case. You can't see the boxing gloves in this picture: the fighting okra is hugging that guy from the Food Network and he doesn't look too happy about it, though neither does the okra for that matter. In other mascot news, Informant J2 got some junk mail today, including a catalog from Evergreen State, in which Speedy the Geoduck was depicted giving a "thumbs up." Informant J2 inquires, "What are the odds?"

A-O-A-O! That's How to Spell Garofalo!

I realized at some point today that I had misspelled Janeane Garofalo's name. Her first name I got right somehow, though it's a brainteaser in its own way. But I was not near a computer and was powerless to correct my Garofalo. Needless to say, it was all I could think about during the faculty meeting. Don't worry! I've fixed it now. A good trick, in case you need to spell Garofalo, is to remember A-O-A-O. That's how the vowels go. Very symmetrical, and I'm ashamed to have blown it. At least I can still spell David Strathairn at the drop of a hat. I've got that going for me. (Why doesn't the picture have anything to do with Janeane Garofalo? Because that's the way the "blog" is now!)

I Dream of Talk Shows

Hey! Do you want to know what I dreamed last night? No? Then why are you reading a "blog"? So last night I dreamed that Jerry Lewis was interviewing Janeane Garofalo in front of a live studio audience. I remember one of the questions. Jerry asked Janeane, "How did your father spell his name?" And Janeane looked puzzled, but started to answer: "G-A-R..." then she stopped and said, "He spelled it just like mine." And Jerry said, "You don't look like a Garofalo." But the main part of the dream was that the studio audience seemed unaware of their responsibilities as a studio audience. They were chatting amongst themselves during the show, for example, and a number of them were standing up and milling around. Jerry got upset and called off the interview. Then he told the audience he was going to sue everybody in it. At this point in the dream I was filled with anxiety, because I suddenly realized I WAS IN THE AUDIENCE! Do you want to know what this dream was about? The difficulty of teaching Anita Loos to our modern day college students. (This "post" illustrated with random picture #7.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Man and Superman

McNeil was telling me about another ad from his 1975 Superman comic book. There's this boss chewing out this guy who was seven minutes late for work. Then the guy says (as McNeil tells it), "I don't care about your job, old man! I've been accepted at the Cleveland Institute of Technology and I'm going to learn to be a radio operator!" McNeil thought it was funny that they were targeting a disgruntled middle-aged demographic in a Superman comic book. ("Click" here if you care why this "post" isn't illustrated with a picture of Superman.) Also, McNeil isn't sure it was the Cleveland Institute of Technology, but he's pretty sure, and anyway, it was something like that. Finally, I asked him what was on the cover and he said that Superman had been captured by "some army guys."

Hector Santiago and the Ceviche of Fear

I'll admit I was scared when our friend Hector said he was going to make "tofu ceviche." I believe I said, "Noooooooo!" To a long-time TOP CHEF viewer like myself, it sounded like a rookie mistake. And they edited it the way they usually edit the mistakes, including a clip of Hector saying something like, "It's hard to make tofu taste good" (I'm paraphrasing). Almost always, that means that later in the show there's a disaster, and the home viewer has been primed to shout at the TV: "Why did he cook something that he himself said never tastes good?" But guess what? Hector's tofu ceviche was a triumph, one of the judges' favorite dishes of the evening. So Hector moves on to another round - with honors. Go, Hector! (Note: If you wonder why the picture doesn't match the text, see any one of my recent "posts" for details.)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Down Swings the Sword

I wish you could see the comic book ad McNeil sent. But you can't, for all the reasons previously stated (which also explain why this "post" will be illustrated with a random picture of I don't know what). Anyway, part of the ad goes like this: "CONDEMNED TO CHAINS FOREVER! He tried to skip ship, but skip he will no longer. A hard hearted scene with alligator and all. But alligator beware! A finger's touch and... Zap/Action! Down swings the sword upon the alligator's head!" And it shows a skeleton clobbering an alligator with a sword.

The New Concept of Zap Action

Remember when I wasn't going to add any new pictures to the "blog"? Well now I am again because who cares. Besides, Kent sent me some pictures of a mascot that Mr. Ward and I had a hand in creating. So how could I NOT put it on the "blog," what with all the talk of mascots that has been going on day and night and causing such a ruckus among people in the know? That's Ushy. He's an usher, which is why his name is Ushy. Also seen: Jimmy, a puppet who was voiced and puppetized by Mike Mitchell. The human among them is Kent. (Mr. Ward is wearing the Ushy suit.) In other picture news, McNeil sent me an ad from a Superman comic book of his youth, and I was going to put that on the "blog" too, but the file was unsuitable or something, and I couldn't make it work. In other words, I was going to fall all the way off the wagon and give you all the new pictures you could possibly stand! The ad was for some pirate skeleton toys exemplifying what the copywriters referred to as "the new concept of zap action." Okay, I am going back to putting nothing but random old pictures on the "blog" because now my computer has 1,001 pictures in it, counting Ushy, and from my understanding of computers, that's all a computer can handle before it explodes, and this time I really mean it for real. My other problems include the search feature on this "blog," which hasn't worked properly in months and the fact that last night when I was removing the zest from a lemon, I accidentally grated part of my finger. My problems are HUGE and IMPORTANT!

What You Are Probably Asking Yourself

You are probably asking yourself, "Where do I go for funny or interesting pictures now that Jack Pendarvis has stopped adding new pictures to his 'blog' and is illustrating all his 'posts' with completely random pictures he has used before?" I am glad you asked! The "web" site of Michael Kupperman (who, as you will recall, wrote TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE, VOL. 1, the funniest book ever made) assails and delights you with amusing pictures galore. Many of them feature monkeys! Some others have robots. Go there now and never come back.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Frolicsome Romp!

By the way, everyone is still keeping strangely mum about when my overdue book - the text of which is just languishing at the printer - is going to be printed. Ordinarily, that would depress me. But my brand new gimmick of adding completely random illustrations to each and every "post" transforms even the most frustrating news into a frolicsome romp!

1,000 Pictures Are Worth a Word

Ha ha! Did you see how I took an old saying and turned it around there? What I am telling you is that my computer - which I trust with my life - informs me that the li'l cosmonaut handing out presents to a bear cub and a bunny rabbit is the 1,000th picture I have put on this "blog" - a subject about which I have decided to say "a word." Therein lies my delicious "pun." I don't think there is a reason to add any more pictures. It seems wasteful. From now on, I will use only pictures I have used before. Until I decide not to. The trouble is that I do not know how to catalog or label these pictures for easy access on my computer, so it will be hard to find a picture that properly matches the entry in question. Well, so be it! Randomly chosen pictures may add a fresh air of youthful experimentation to my otherwise fusty ruminations. For instance, now I will find a random old picture with which to illustrate this "post." I'm already tired of this idea.

Colorful Pillows of Bob

I was over at the Ajax Diner for lunch, sitting up at the counter and reading BURY ME DEEP by Megan Abbott. Then when I got home, there was a package from Megan on the porch. And inside the package: an actual, 100% authentic lobby card for CRITIC'S CHOICE, a Bob Hope vehicle from his "questionable period." Not since Barry B. gave me those LPs by Jerry Lewis has there been such a gift. Bob is lying on a green couch in front of a red curtain, and tossed blithely all about him have been pillows of lavender and gold and red and blue. He is balancing an empty liquor bottle on his forehead and an empty glass on his chest. He is wearing a tuxedo without the jacket. I can't find a picture of this magnificent lobby card on the "internet" so here is a picture that popped up for no apparent reason while I was searching for it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Revenge of Tree Dog

McNeil is enraged that NPR did not talk about Sammy Petrillo today. Facebook friend Scott P. (not Petrillo!) points out that Gary Lewis was quoted in the Times obituary. Rhea provides a picture of Yggy, the tree dog who thinks he's a man. Sarah Marine lives in Oklahoma now, where many versions of the boll weevil song say the boll weevil ended up. "Click" here for her Oklahoma "blog." Phil says somebody is showing SHIP OF MONSTERS in a film festival. The "blog" was there first! And as far as mascots go, "Blog" Buddy Pamela would like us to consider the Geoduck of Evergreen State, where the fight song goes in part, "Siphon high, squirt it out, swivel all about, let it all hang out." None of these things are connected.

Weevils 'n' Dogs

Yesterday's multi-"post" reflection on mascots, culminating in the introduction of Yggy the Tree, has inspired a flood of missives. Well, two. "Blog" Deputy Rhea says a friend of hers has a dog named Yggdrasil, Yggy for short. "He's big like a tree and thinks he's a human," she writes. Rhea included a picture but I couldn't see it or open it or whatever you call it. You know how computers are! They're crazy! Meanwhile, the enigmatic Sarah Marine sent a "link" to a commercial (for a search engine, I think) which incidentally claimed that the boll weevil who represents the University of Arkansas at Monticello is the "dumbest mascot." I will take this opportunity to defend the boll weevil! In the old folk song, he (or she, but a he in the versions I have heard) is a model of perseverance and a symbol of oppressed peoples who refuse to be broken or defeated by the harshest treatment. "The farmer took the boll weevil/ And threw him in the red hot sand/ The weevil said, 'It's mighty hot/ But I'm going to take it like a man,'" and so on. I may also mention that a town in my home state of Alabama has a statue dedicated to the boll weevil, because it forced people to rotate their crops, or something. I can't remember the story. Let's say that an unexpected consequence of the weevil infestation was to save the family farm, I guess. I'll find a "link" and we can all refresh our memories.


Got up this morning to see an email from McNeil with the screaming subject line, "Petrillo dies!" I opened the email and the message within said, "Petrillo dies!" So I looked on the New York Times "web" site and sure enough there was the obituary for Jerry Lewis impersonator Sammy Petrillo, mentioned on the "blog" just earlier this week.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meet Yggy!

It took the "internet" about two seconds to tell me the mighty tree I had in mind was called Yggdrasil. Now to find a guy in a tree costume. We'll call him Yggy and he'll go around informing people about Nordic mythology at sporting events. PS to "Bloggy" the "Blog" Mascot: Don't feel threatened! Yggy will never take your place.

Some Great Tree

Just today I found out about two things I never knew existed, the Mascot Hall of Fame and the Society for Sports Uniform Research, and it's all because McNeil innocently commented that a mosquito is a terrible mascot. Oh, "internet"! You remind me of some great tree I read about in Nordic mythology but I can't say why because the details are fuzzy in my mind.

Lives of the Mascots

As I dug deeper into the Greensboro mascot situation [WHY??? - ed.] I noticed that the team was hyping an appearance by something called "Reggy the Purple Party Dude." Naturally, I became alarmed for the safety of the current grasshopper mascot, given the apparent fickleness on display and the propensity of Greensboro mascots to mysteriously disappear. But it turns out that Reggy is not a replacement. He was just making a guest appearance. I guess Reggy is sort of a wandering mascot. I imagine him like David Carradine in KUNG FU or Bill Bixby in THE INCREDIBLE HULK, moving from town to town helping beleaguered citizens and solving crimes. Reggy, it turns out, is "the official spokes character of the Mascot Hall of Fame," the "web" site of which refers to him as "one of the only talking mascots that we know of. This ability" (they go on) "brings some responsibility to share with the world the value of mascots in our lives!" (Exclamation point theirs.) PS: I loved the original caption of this photo, which read in part, "Reggy the Purple Party Dude and his 8-foot monkey were special guests at Tuesday night's Southern Illinois Miners game. The pair are from New England."

Who Will Speak for the Mascots?

So how did the Greensboro Bats become the Grasshoppers? I found an article to answer your question. Oh, "internet," there is so much on you! There's this, for example: "Moore and his staff started with a list of 28 names several months ago. The suggestions ranged from Dingers, Dirtbags and Bricklayers to Tree Frogs and Pinesaps." But they finally decided on the grasshopper as a mascot because, among other reasons, "The grasshopper is a creature that, when picked up, spits a liquid most people call tobacco juice." Read the entire article here, on the "web" site for the Society for Sports Uniforms Research. But won't you WON'T read here is whatever happened to Gigi Grasshopper (pictured) who disappeared in 2008, after a mascot refurbishment, along with a sidekick named Timmy the Turtle. A press release I found states that "Gigi, who unfortunately is allergic to dogs, moved to Grasshoppers Island in Australia and became a local tour guide. Timmy decided to stay local and will be working with students around the Triad as a staff member of the Bryan Family YMCA." I smell a rat. Or a rat mascot. In any case, I'm not sure the story holds up. A grasshopper who's allergic to dogs? So she moves to Australia? What, there are no dogs in Australia? And where exactly is Grasshoppers Island? There's a suspiciously large mascot turnover in Greensboro, that's all I'm saying. What are the authorities hiding? The mascots aren't talking. Because they can't.

Nominally a Grasshopper

I set the "blog" interns to figuring out the relationship between the bat mascot and the mosquito mascot of the Greensboro team (my theory being that the bat chased around the mosquito in a pantomime hearkening back to the commedia dell'arte, because bats eat mosquitos, right?) and they came back with the startling news that the bat and mosquito were retired in 2005, since which time the Greensboro mascot has been the furry green monster - nominally a grasshopper - seen here.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Moving Mr. McNeil

In his review of recent "posts," Mr. McNeil was also moved to note that "a mosquito is a terrible mascot. It's not going to make you want to go to a baseball game." As can be seen here, the real team mascot is, in fact, a bat who works for an insurance company. The mosquito seems to be involved, too, but in what capacity I cannot say.

Essence of McNeil

"It suggests that man's essence resides in his brain," McNeil observed of the comic book cover on which a mad scientist is switching Captain Comet's personality with that of a gorilla. I believe I heard him cluck with disapproval. He also let me know that the woman is carrying a big sign through the airport that says "Colon HEALTH" - not "Colon HELP" as previously and erroneously reported here at the "blog." "Though 'Colon Help' is better," McNeil generously concluded. Finally, I did "blog" yesterday, but the results were unsatisfactory. I deleted them. I guess you can say I was merely "blogging" to "blog." The erstwhile "post," however, did boast a fine picture of a plastic unicorn which I include here for your consideration.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Let a Mosquito in the House

I let a mosquito in the house. I have made a few ineffective smacks at it. It follows me from room to room, enjoying my blood. It's pretty energetic and has a lot of gumption and I think it's really going to make something of itself. I'm starting to wonder about the life span of a mosquito, which is something I could look up on the "internet" if I felt like it. I'm going to guess 30 years. And now it's on the "internet" as a reference! When you kids are writing your college papers, be sure to include the fact that a mosquito's life span is 30 years. And put this "web" address in your footnote.


McNeil called and said, "I want one of those jobs where you walk through the airport with a big sign on your luggage that says 'Colon Help.'" I told McNeil that I was unaware of such a job. McNeil replied that there's a commercial in which a woman walks through the airport with a big sign on her luggage that says "Colon Help." People stop her and ask her about Colon Help and she tells them about Colon Help. I told McNeil I would watch out for the commercial. I did not do a "Google Image Search" for this "post."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Go Hector!

Apparently I have never mentioned this on the "blog," but Theresa and I watch TOP CHEF all the time. Tonight, as the new season began, we were stunned and thrilled to recognize an old friend: Hector Santiago, the chef and owner of Pura Vida, a restaurant that was RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET from our apartment in Atlanta. When Pura Vida opened, we were among the very first customers. Before anyone else knew about it, we would go in and sit at the bar and Hector would tell us about all the different dishes and their relationship to his youth in Puerto Rico. I remember a goat stew that was something like his mother made. As a matter of fact, and by coincidence, his mofongo just ended up in a new piece of fiction I was working on last week. So we are rooting for you, Hector! I hope you remember us.

Literary Matters

I hate to tell you this, but it is time for more "Literary Matters." There are only three, so hold your nose and try to read them all at once. It hurts less that way. 1) I see that is has been officially announced that I am to have a monthly column in THE BELIEVER magazine. I can't believe it! Someone has made a huge mistake. Even more exciting is the fact that Megan Abbott also has an article in the issue containing my debut. 2) I was over at Square Books getting coffee a few days ago, and they had a poster in the window with a quotation from Ernest Hemingway: "All you have to do is write one true sentence." And I was like, "Wow! Really? That's all?" So I went home and wrote one true sentence - it took me about five seconds - but nothing has happened yet so I'm not sure what he's talking about. 3) Jamie Kornegay, one of the owners of Turnrow Books in Greenwood, MS (which makes this a literary matter), told me a story about a monkey biting Jerry Lewis. So I started looking for a picture of Jerry Lewis and a monkey to top the other pictures of Jerry Lewis and a monkey I have shown you in the past (not to be confused with the picture of Lewis impersonator Sammy Petrillo and a monkey). But eventually I got bored and deleted the uncompleted "post." Sometimes I question my existence! This comic book cover (above) kept popping up as I did my "research," though as you can see it is Captain Comet (which also makes this a literary matter) and a gorilla, not Jerry Lewis and a monkey. Thank you. These have been your literary matters for today. PS: I know that all the monkeys in the Jerry pictures are actually chimpanzees and that chimpanzees are not monkeys and for the last time I don't care.

All Your Happiness Has Been Cancelled

Hey, instead of having a reading at Square Books on September 2, I will not be having a reading at Square Books on September 2. Try to hold up under the crushing disappointment! My book - the actual text - is finished and ready to go. From what I understand, there is a delay with the printing. One day the book will be printed, from what I understand. For now there is a cover, which is the most important thing. Here it is.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Could Come In Handy

... so if David Strathairn is ever giving me his contact information and I'm writing it down on a napkin and he goes, "That's S-T-...," I'll be able to stop him with a casual wave of the hand and say, "That's okay, David Strathairn, I've got it!"

Celebrity Spelling Bee

One great thing about all this is I've learned to spell "Strathairn" without even looking.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Everybody Stop Staring At Me!

All day long my own "blog" has been creeping me out because David Strathairn's eyes follow me wherever I go. Not that he's scary by nature. He seems nice. It's just the way his eyes are in the picture. But I couldn't think of anything to "blog" about in order to push his relentlessly staring eyes down below the screen. Then I saw a TV commercial that kind of scares me for similar reasons, and I thought, "Hey! I can 'blog' about that!" It's for a phone, I think, or something like a phone, and the woman in it is very quiet and clean like a terrifying angel of purification, full of a holy and cataclysmic flame of righteousness, and she never says anything, just stares and stares and stares into your soul until you can't take it anymore. It makes me want to buy a phone!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Computers Have Everything

You know how the "internet" is jam packed with stuff and sometimes you accidentally find some of the stuff you never considered but there it is? Well, I just found out that there is a "blog" about nothing but David Strathairn.


I can't stop reading about Jim Dickinson. Here is a longer list of his projects than the one I previously gave you. We are talking about a man whose style could accommodate Screamin' Jay Hawkins (below), Freddy Fender & the Texas Tornadoes, Aretha Franklin, Giant Sand, Toots & the Maytals, Cybill Shepherd (?! - left), Sam & Dave, Mudhoney, and Petula Clark, just for starters. And I don't think he'd mind you knowing he played bass on the Rick Dees novelty record Dis-Gorilla! Somebody ought to try to make a more manageable list, which would consist of the few people he didn't play with. Jim Dickinson! Jim Dickinson! His motto was "World boogie is coming." He lived it!

Dickinson Interview

Dent May - local musician, former student, and friend - points us to this really fascinating interview with Jim Dickinson, who just passed away. In it, we learn that he ended up sitting in on "Wild Horses" because the regular pianist refused to play minor chords - ever! And there's lots more of interest, too. (Pictured, one of the many records he played on.)

I Am Sorry I Ever Mentioned Lady Gaga

I am sorry I ever mentioned Lady Gaga. Now Phil has sent me a "link" proving that she is the subject of CIA mind control and a participant in black magic and part of a Masonic plot to take over the world, I think. How could I not tell you? But I just can't make myself "link" to the site because some of the guy's topics (not the ones enumerated above) and conspiracy theories make me too sad and uncomfortable (though - no, because - they are presented in a flip manner) and as you know we don't go for those sad and uncomfortable feelings around here. We bottle them up deep inside, where they belong! But if you are curious, I am sure you could "google" some key phrases (along with the word "vigilant," that would probably help) and learn the truth about Lady Gaga. I'd like to give the guy proper credit but I'm too bummed out. Thanks for driving me crazy, Phil!

Mr. Dickinson on the Couch

Forgive the ad that pops up. From the Maysles Bros. film.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Great Jim Dickinson

As I have mentioned here before, one crazy thing I will never, ever forget - and which by all rights never should have happened - is singing on the radio with the great and generous Jim Dickinson playing piano. I have just found out that he passed away. Here are some of his amazing "sideman credits." He even performed on the Sun label. He produced a lot of records, too, including one of the greatest - Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers - as well as Theresa's favorite Replacements album. Here's something from the former. Don't be fooled by the subtitles. Though the footage is from earlier days, the music is from Mr. Dickinson's masterpiece.

Be True 32

Here is #32 in our famous series of everyone on the "internet" covering a different Beach Boys song. This one devolves into chaos at one point because everybody gets kind of excited and what's wrong with that?

Friday, August 14, 2009

When Larry Saw Mickey

Larry King saw Mickey Rooney today at Spago! Twitter told me. Thanks, Twitter!

Birds Have It Tough

Remember the bird from yesterday? Well, today a bird got caught in Amanda Stern's house! It's an epidemic. Is that an epidemic? Two things? "Blog" Deputy Rhea recalls the time a bird got "trapped behind a banner" where she worked. Now, she says, there's a ban on banners in her city, but she's not sure if the plight of local birds had anything to do with the banner ban. Maybe it's something aesthetic. I should have called this "post" "Banner Ban Belatedly Benefits Badly Battered Birds." Priceless! But I didn't. In conclusion, birds have it tough but keep going! Good for you, birds.

Literary Matters

Time once again for "Literary Matters." As you know from cruel experience, literary matters are usually a painful chore. But today there are no more than two literary matters, so we can bear it. Plus, they both come via Phil, and therefore are more awesome than the usual literary matters, which is not saying much, but still. 1) Phil sends us what he calls "the greatest book cover ever" and he is correct. But I think it's a periodical. That's it, above. 2) Phil notes the prevalence of "funny American women" in my course materials and says I should have included Dawn Powell. He is right. I love Dawn Powell. Well, I have read only TURN, MAGIC WHEEL, but it was a very good novel and I loved it. But I have turned in my book order and this time it is too late for Dawn Powell. Phil notes that Rory from GILMORE GIRLS loved Dawn Powell, and provides a corroborative "link."

Dargis Doesn't Disappoint

Manohla Dargis strikes again! In today's New York Times she advises a young director to spend "some alone time with a box of Jerry Lewis DVDs." We can always count on her for an appreciative mention of Jerry. Sometimes I think she's the only one over there who cares anymore. If I were to make a 1930s comedy short about Manohla Dargis, I would call it "Man Oh Manohla!" Hey, while I was looking for a picture of Jerry to put with this "post" I found a strange photo (below) of the carpet from THE PATSY, yes, the very carpet McNeil loves so much, his favorite carpet in all the films of Jerry Lewis. Plus some nice pillows! This one's for you, McNeil. It can be your Christmas card for next year! Now start trying to figure out if those are the same pillows from THE BIG MOUTH.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Big Excitement: Bird Excitement

A bird got trapped on the back porch today, so that was exciting. Everything turned out okay in case you were worried.

Oh No! Les Paul Died.

I Am Not Percival Everett

I am teaching I AM NOT SIDNEY POITIER by Percival Everett in the Fall. I just read it. I was surprised to discover that it shares four things in common with my upcoming novel SHUT UP, UGLY: 1) a rufous-sided towhee 2) a character remarking upon the high intelligence of pigs 3) discussion of appropriate phrases to carve on gravestones 4) a character who talks too much and in a fragmented fashion (hence my title; in Mr. Everett's book, the chatty character is Ted Turner, yes, that Ted Turner, one of Mr. Everett's most felicitous creations, I think, and I have read a number (four) of his books. But I am not copying Percival Everett! My book has long been in the hands of my publisher, along with its coincidental towhees, intelligent pigs, and gravestones. I want everyone to understand as much. You know how afraid I am of copying people. Hey, do you want to know what else I am teaching in the Fall? No? Too bad! THE PORTABLE DOROTHY PARKER. GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES by Anita Loos. MATT & BEN by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers. THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Diaz. BURY ME DEEP by Megan Abbott (I have learned that Barry Hannah will be teaching BURY ME DEEP as well). THE SCHOOL ON HEART'S CONTENT ROAD by Carolyn Chute. SELF-HELP by Lorrie Moore. LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER by Stewart O'Nan. THE OLD MAN AND ME by Elaine Dundy. 100 DEMONS by Lynda Barry. GHOSTS by Cesar Aira. VARIETIES OF DISTURBANCE by Lydia Davis. IN PERSUASION NATION by George Saunders. Gosh! I'm going to be tired. I mean, I'm tired from just typing this.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

From Phil With Love

Speaking of mythical creatures, look what Phil sent. Ha ha! I accidentally made Phil sound like a mythical creature. No, it's Bob Hope and some mermaids is what it is. But they have regular legs so I don't know what to tell you. I guess that's the Queen of the Sea or something, and her friends. The fish appear to be upset about the whole deal.

Try to See Things From the Point of View of the Enchanted Pig's Father

Also, Diarmuid's father killed the sorcerer's son - in fact gave him "a mighty, powerful, strong squeeze of his two knees [! - ed.] so that he slew him upon the spot, and becast him under the feet of the staghounds" - BEFORE the sorcerer changed his son into a cropped green pig charged with killing Diarmuid in return, so I guess you can see why the sorcerer was upset and just remember kids, there are two sides to every story, okay?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Then the Wild Boar Rose and Stood, and Rushed Out by the Open Door

I have been looking into this subject of the possibly magical pig because I have nothing else to do with my life. In my recent "post" I called it a "regular boar" but I wasn't too happy with the "link" to the story (a site that gives you ideas for Irish baby names) and just look at this crazy old text I found on the "internet" now. According to it, the pig killed 30 warriors one morning. That's pretty good for a pig! So maybe it had some magic going on after all. Plus Diarmuid was under a spell that said his life would be just exactly as long as the pig's (I think. I sort of skimmed that part). So he could not kill the pig, see? Or he'd die himself. But - SPOILER ALERT! - he did. He killed the pig and the pig killed him, all thanks to the magic spell. If they had left one another alone, I guess they'd both be okay. And isn't that a valuable lesson for all of us? Oh, and dig this: "Then came the steward again with a magic wand of sorcery, and struck his son with that wand so that he made of him a cropped green pig, having neither ears or tail, and he said, 'I conjure thee that thou have the same length of life as Diarmuid O’Duibne, and that it be by thee that he shall fall at last.' Then the wild boar rose and stood, and rushed out by the open door. When Angus heard those spells laid upon thee, he conjured thee never to hunt a swine; and that wild boar is the wild boar of Benn Gulban, and it is not meet for thee to await him upon this hill." (That's from the text "linked" to above.) So it was a pig with no ears and no tail and it used to be a guy, but he got changed into a pig by his evil magical dad. So I'm leaning toward magic again pretty heavily. Yes, I feel safe in saying it was a magic pig. And green! That's some pig, all right. Pictured (above), Charles Nelson Reilly (with friend) as the sorcerer, let's say.