Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Speaking of 2012, I am sure you all recall it as the year McNeil remembered a middle-school book report he did. All he remembered of the book was, quote, "in the first 2 pages or so, the protagonist is waiting in a reception area and lifts the corner of a rug to see what company made it," unquote. So, just the other day, McNeil, not remembering that he had told me about it eleven years ago, repeated this memory in a brand new email... with fascinating additions, as you will see! (He also placed the memory in "7th or 8th grade," which was a slight change from the previous iteration.) Here's McNeil: "I don't know why it popped into my head. It was called 'The Crash of _____.' And the blank is the year, only I can't remember what the year is. I remember the cover. And I remember the opening. A man is waiting in an office for an appointment. As he waits, he notices how nice the carpet is (!). Hahaha....that sticks with me for 45 years! Always the carpet. Anyway, he flips over the corner of the rug to see who makes it so he can invest in the company." A couple of days later, McNeil comes up with the title! THE CRASH OF 2086. He also remembers the name of the class bully who mocked him for picking that book. A bully with intellectual leanings, I guess! Though I don't remember him that way. Anyway, it is so fitting that all this comes together just in time for the 17th anniversary of the "blog." That's right, it all began on September 27, 2006, what an embarrassing nightmare, let's all forget it ever happened.
Friday, September 22, 2023
Now I am sure you all remember how Michael Kupperman told me in 2012 about a series of detective novels written by the actor George Kennedy (pictured, above), in which George Kennedy himself is the detective... or, as I discovered by reading this one that Ace gave me for my birthday, at least the Dr. Watson. Anyhow, I'm not going to tell you what George Kennedy, the author, compares to "Jell-O on a plate," but I will say that he describes the first dead body he comes across as looking like a baked ham. Later in the book we find this beauty: "The moon was now the color of fat on prime roast beef."
Wednesday, September 20, 2023
I heard the sad news from Kent that Joe Matt died. Here he is in Oxford, Mississippi, in 2011. He liked cats! That's Dr. Theresa standing not far behind him, looking at the camera. She also likes cats. He asked me to guess who was the Faulkner of comics and I guessed wrong. So he told me the right answer and then made me sit there and explain to him why it was the right answer. RIP Joe Matt.
Friday, September 01, 2023
So! The first two episodes of ADVENTURE TIME: FIONNA AND CAKE came out yesterday. They were good! In the first episode, this character (above) tells Fionna that any plant can be considered a weed, which was something I had read in my book about weeds, as you may recall, and repeated hundreds of times to the delight of the writers room. I don't know if it's true or not, but thanks to my reading, that "fact" made it into the show! One will no doubt be reminded of when my reading of Vance Randolph's OZARK MAGIC AND FOLKLORE contributed, or not, to the original series. Speaking of reading, Megan and I are reading THE MAN WHO SAW A GHOST, which is a biography of Henry Fonda, though nothing about the title would make you guess that. Megan and I have a pretty large bet going on whether the ghost is literal or not. I say it's a metaphor! Because I am always thinking I'm going to get a real ghost, based on the title of a newspaper article or such, and the ghost always turns out to be a metaphor. Now, many of you will fondly recall the time I idly thumbed through THE MAN WHO SAW A GHOST back in 2012, standing in Square Books, and all the excitement it caused at the time. I'll tell you one thing I noticed in this oddly titled biography: there's an epigraph taken from Charles Fort, also the source of an epigraph for MY second book! Megan pulled a fast one, trying to say that it (the epigraph connection) was a ghostly occurrence, but I think I am winning this bet.
Saturday, August 19, 2023
After reading that Henry James novel I was in the mood for more Henry James! So I started reading his short story "The Figure in the Carpet," in which the narrator says of another character, "she was literally, facially luminous." Speaking of McNeil (he likes carpet), McNeil saw an obituary in the New York Times the other day, and he really admired the curtains in the accompanying photograph (he also likes curtains). I present a snippet of the curtains here, but no more, out of respect for the dead. McNeil also wondered what the deceased (living at the time of the photograph, of course) was holding in his hand. One guess was a toothpick, a guess with which I agreed.
Saturday, August 12, 2023
I know everyone will be excited to learn that I finished reading this Henry James novel. I skipped almost all of the footnotes, but I am glad I happened to glance at this one: "American ice-cream technology and distribution far surpassed British."