Thursday, April 18, 2024

Of Mice and Dogs

Yesterday, when I was telling you the shameful story of how McNeil's grandfather stole a copy of PAL JOEY, I was looking for something to "link" via "hyperlink" to the words "PAL JOEY." You know how I love to "link" to things! Indeed, if you examine the "blog" with the eye of a scholar, you will soon realize that it is designed in a secret way to be nothing more than a never-ending loop of "hyperlinks" that an immortal person could enjoy forever. (And, as I have emphasized repeatedly, it works much better on your laptop than on your phone, due to the extra bells and whistles. But I'm not the boss of you! Also, you may not exist.) Anyhow, I could have sworn that I had mentioned PAL JOEY on the "blog" before. But as far as I could tell, I had not. So I went ahead and "posted" the damn thing. Pardon my salty language! Later on, I thought, wait a minute, I could swear I "posted" at least a photo of the time when Laraine Newman and I went to William Faulkner's house and one of us (I couldn't remember which) held up, whilst being photographed, Faulkner's own personal copy of PAL JOEY... presumably purchased legally. Turned out I had not "posted" that either... until now! (See above.) Meanwhile, McNeil has been emailing me his thoughts as he begins to read his grandfather's stolen copy of PAL JOEY: "On page 35 of Pal Joey and so far only a dog has shown up. Joey mentions 'mouse' a lot, but that's just when referring to a female human." To be clear, McNeil brings up the dog because he was hoping for an owl. He also learned, from the eponymous Joey, the term "one-arm joint," which he passed along, and I looked it up in my GREEN'S DICTIONARY OF SLANG, which cites, in clarifying the definition, PAL JOEY itself, as I was thrilled beyond measure to report back to McNeil. Just another endless loop.

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

The Wonderful World of McNeil

McNeil has stumbled across a copy of the novel PAL JOEY that his grandfather checked out of the library... it's 58 years overdue! (See proof above.) The discovery led McNeil to reflect upon his own tardiness. He still has a copy of WITHOUT FEATHERS that was due back on May 26, 1982. "I guess it runs in the family. We get busy and forget!" McNeil's email concludes. Incidentally, McNeil dug out "his" WITHOUT FEATHERS and opened to page five, where he read "The only thing you'll do is in collaboration with an owl."

Monday, April 15, 2024

Innocent Merriment

I was listening to Haydn's Drumroll Symphony... yes, I was! Shut up! And I grew curious about the almost modern-sounding melody line at the very beginning, so I thought I'd see if my quaint and trusty old MILTON CROSS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT COMPOSERS AND THEIR MUSIC had anything to say about it. Well, sorry to report that they devoted just one short paragraph to that work, containing nothing on the subject which had captured my interest. But! Underneath that paragraph was one on the Toy Symphony (now [and I use the word "now" loosely, considering the relative antiquity of the volume] attributed to Mozart's father), for which the following instrumentation was catalogued: "penny trumpet, quail call, rattle, cuckoo, screech-owl whistle, a little drum (in G), and a little triangle." This, Milton Cross and his associates conclude, makes for "innocent merriment to delight both young and old." It also makes the MILTON CROSS ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE GREAT COMPOSERS AND THEIR MUSIC - Volume I, at least - a book with an owl in it.

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Outlaw Pants

As you know, I tell you every time I read a book with an owl in it for secret reasons that no one except we (as I believe is gramatically correct) will ever understand. As you also know, Tom Franklin brought me a bunch of old comic books when I was in the hospital, and in one of them, the masked cowboy known as Vigilante met up with some real rascals (spoiler alert! they were reformed and had been framed!) known colloquially as "owlhoots." I don't suppose any of us will ever forget that. But what you DIDN'T know was that after I got home from the hospital, Tom brought over a fresh stack of old comic books! I was lying in bed reading one of the new batch last night and this character the Two-Gun Kid shoots Jesse James's pants off him! He does it in order to embarrass Jesse James in front of a bunch of schoolchildren. It's an odd choice, but hey, he's the Two-Gun Kid. He uses his two guns to shoot off Jesse James's pants, what's the big deal? Here, let me give you a direct quotation from the Two-Gun Kid himself: "LOOK, YOUNGSTERS! THE OWLHOOT WHO HOLDS UP STAGES IS HAVING TROUBLE HOLDING UP HIS JEANS! AND NOW, JESSE... DANCE!" What may we conclude? Let us consider: Vigilante is a DC character, while the Two-Gun Kid was created by Marvel. Therefore, though these mighty giants of comics publishing were adversarial in every other way, the term "owlhoot" was universal enough to bridge the immense gap between them. Can't we all learn a lesson from that in these trying times? Sidenote: I was going to title this "post" "I Shot Jesse James...'s Pants," an allusion to the Samuel Fuller film I SHOT JESSE JAMES, but no one would have understood or, had they understood, cared.

Friday, April 05, 2024

TV Memories

Last night I turned on the TV, which happened to be tuned to TCM, as it often is, and I saw a super special guest co-hosting a movie presentation, and I was like, "Hey! That's a guy who fired me once!" Actually, he fired Barry and Sven and myself, and we all got in a car (well, not the guy who fired us, but the rest of us did) and drove straight to Manuel's Tavern, suddenly jobless, and on the way there, we saw a dead man lying in the street. I realize now that I recounted this story in an anthology about bars called COME HERE OFTEN?, which I assume still exists in some form, if you'd like more details. I'm not sure there are more details.

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Teraphim For Real

Almost exactly two years ago, I made my famous prediction that 2022 would be the year of Rachel and the teraphim. Maybe I was off by a couple of years! Because guess what I just read in JOSEPH AND HIS BROTHERS by Thomas Mann? That's right: a chapter about Rachel and the teraphim. It took me a while to get there, because the book is so big and heavy that I wasn't allowed to lift it during a recent medical adventure (not the most recent medical adventure).

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Twisted Dharma Stories

Stopped by Square Books yesterday and picked up a Penguin paperback called BUDDHIST MEDITATION: CLASSIC TEACHINGS FROM TIBET. If it's any of your business! This collection starts with a few old poems, and the second poem in the whole book introduces an image that readers of the "blog" are sure to go into a tizzy over, for reasons of which I need not remind my initiates: "Old Owl sits on the rock and hoots." Next comes a question to which I could only answer yes: "Do you sit upon your rock,/Spouting twisted dharma stories to others?" Speaking of which, I had lots of thoughts about those WORLD'S FINEST COMICS starring Batman and Superman that Tom Franklin brought me in the hospital. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to express them anywhere, except in texts to Tom, but the combination of being sickly and quitting social media is a potent one! Plus, discovering the owl in yet another book opened the door to a legitimate "blog" "post" and now my fingers may type as much as they like and no one can stop them! These comic books are from back when I used to read comic books, and Batman isn't cool and edgy, as I suppose he is now. Like, Superman will say (I paraphrase), "All right, Batman, I'm going to go to outer space and do some important stuff. All you have to do is watch this one guy, and he's literally asleep, can you handle it?" And Batman goes, "Sure thing, Superman!" (Again, I paraphrase.) And in the VERY NEXT PANEL, someone is bashing Batman in the back of the head with a big stick. Down he goes, out for the count! He had one job, as the hilarious meme from years gone by would have it. I have always pictured Batman as being very alert. On the anecdotal evidence of the two issues of WORLD'S FINEST that Tom brought me, I can also say that Batman and Superman are surprisingly testy with one another, bickering and petty, like some old couples. Often, they keep their bitter feelings deep down inside, and express them only in thought bubbles. Here I will cease paraphrasing and give you a couple of direct quotations. "WHERE IN BLAZES IS SUPERMAN? WE WERE SUPPOSED TO MEET HERE BY THIS OLD SUGAR MILL BY NOON!" Batman sulks with a petulant look on his face. From a separate story: "BLAST! IT'S ALL BATMAN'S FAULT... IT WAS HIS TIP I ACTED ON. SOME DETECTIVE!" Superman silently rages. "AND WHERE IS HE?" he adds, exposing the odd Beckett-adjacent sub-theme of these comics, which is that Batman and Superman wait around for each other a lot, demi-gods paralyzed to helplessness by a perceived dependency that perhaps does not exist. In the same story, Superman is so over Batman's crap that he demolishes an office desk with his fist in frustration, although it is not adequately explained why Superman is sitting behind an office desk like a chump. In conclusion, Dr. Theresa reports that there is a rabbit in the backyard RIGHT NOW. And it's Easter!