Monday, April 30, 2007


The good news is, I have some freelance work coming in. The bad news is, part of my assignment is watching BEACHES tonight. Or maybe it is not bad news! I have never seen BEACHES. It could turn out to be "my kind of thing." But it does raise the question: what kind of job is this? A job is where you make things, or fix things, or build things. A job is NOT where you watch BEACHES. Yet here we are.


Our anonymous tipster will not give up. First he tried to supply a picture of our undercover correspondent Dr. "M." but his chicanery was thwarted, perhaps by the minions of Dr. "M." herself. Now he has sent us a "link" to an entire article PURPORTING to expose the relationship of Dr. "M." and a certain farmer with whom she has been seen at fashionable nightclubs and so on. If one reads the article carefully, one will see that it is a cheap ruse. A farm in East Atlanta? This scenario is not likely! So we present it without fear, as an example of the flimsy attempts of our enemies to spoil the "blog" for innocent children everywhere.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

The Stomping Machine

Our neighbors are back, after an apparent vacation of three or more weeks. And they are upstairs stomping away now, as if to make up for lost time! Their dedication is such that they seem to be trying to jam three weeks worth of stomping into a single afternoon. Stomping is a job for them, a craft, an art! In fact, and I'm not kidding, they seem to have brought something back from their travels, some kind of machine that stomps more proficiently than any human (or specially trained elephant-sized dog) ever could. From the sound of it, it runs on something like a lawn mower engine. But if I may say so, no machine could ever match the sheer poetry and passion of their stomping, and that of their beloved hounds. Hats off, stompers! Welcome home. Stomp me to sleep tonight with your ineluctable rhythms.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Perfectly Fine

No, you're not "freaking out"! A few hours ago I did indeed "post" something about a lost cat in this very spot. But now I've had a few ideas about how to turn the "real life" incident into a short story, so I'm afraid I've had to take down the "post" so it can be processed beyond all human recognition and scientifically turned into "art."

Tomatoes Bursting With Flavor and Evil

Our friend Dr. "M" was out at the farmer's market today, with a certain friendly farmer of the "blog's" acquaintance, when she ran across, in her words, "a new kind of tomato that I had never heard of before. But some were labeled 'Juliet' while others were labeled 'Juliette.' Two different handwriting styles." Longtime "blog" fanatics will recognize the implications: our twin struggles over spelling and good and evil have spilled over to our food supply. The "blog" envelops the world in its loving tentacles! We eat the "blog," we breathe the "blog"! Others, who do not keep up with the "blog" so much, will be momentarily baffled in the ten seconds or so before this "post" evaporates into the indifferent ether. It's win-win!

Friday, April 27, 2007

Mr. Ward's Presidential Korner Preview

I just received a cell phone call from Mr. Ward. Fancy! Anyway, he promises to tell us more about Grover Cleveland's jawbone soon... particularly, President Cleveland's SECRET OPERATION! And he begs you NOT to visit the "web" sites of the museums he mentioned in his previous "post." According to Mr. Ward, their exhibits are disgusting beyond belief. From what little he told us, we are inclined to believe him.


You're probably too young to know what kind of banana popsicles I'm talking about. A banana had not come within 100 miles of these popsicles.


This wine tastes like banana popsicles.

Nap Likely

Maybe I'll take a nap.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Orange Heads of Yesteryear

Theresa and I just finished watching the Rock Hudson vehicle A VERY SPECIAL FAVOR. The premise was sordid and creepy, the execution misogynistic, and the transfer made everyone's head look orange. In other words, it was everything that Jeff McNeil promised it would be. You know how we like to stay positive here at the "blog," but I must admit that we made an attempt to turn off the movie at about forty-six minutes in. Even Dick Shawn, that reliable old "blog" "fave," was straightjacketed into a restrained role, his spirit peeking out in just a very few expert double takes. Rock Hudson reprieved himself with a gifted comic turn just before I hit the button, and Theresa stayed my hand. A little over an hour in, we had to check how much running time was left because they had worked themselves into such an ugly little corner. But then there was a competent scene between Charles Boyer and Leslie Caron (left) that seemed to herald an amusing reversal. Did it happen? Sort of. And finally, in the last eight minutes, well, I can't get into it, but our jaws hit the floor at the inappropriateness of the penultimate twist. It just goes to show that any movie is "good" if you put yourself in the proper mood. Well, that's a theory I'm working out, anyway. My head hurts.

"The Man" Strikes Again

Hey, we used to have a hilarious picture of Jon Lovitz illustrating one of our editions of Mr. Ward's Presidential Korner, but "The Man" has seen fit to remove it. It's weird, because "The Man" apparently scanned the image off his television set somehow, which seems to be okay in "The Man's" opinion. Anyway, we are sorry for the loss of amusement you have experienced due to the selfishness of "The Man," who wants to keep all his stolen merchandise to himself. But that's why he's "The Man"!

Mr. Ward's Presidential Korner 2

Welcome once again to our extraordinarily popular running feature Mr. Ward's Presidential Korner. Today, Mr. Ward has submitted, and we have approved with relish, something he calls "Current Location of Presidential Body Parts." Here follows Mr. Ward's list, though we have not "fact checked" it, nor shall we: "Grover Cleveland's jawbone (down the hall from Chang and Eng Bunker's liver) - The Mutter Museum, Philadelphia. Dwight D. Eisenhower's gallstones - National Museum of Health and Medicine, Washington, D.C. George Washington's hair - your home?! On eBay right now (along with a small piece of his original casket) - current bid $142.00."

"Blog"trospective Update

The "blog"trospective on Tom Franklin has now been updated to include a few recent "posts." We at the "blog" vow never to stop working for you, the faithful "blog" reading public!

Jonathan Rosenbaum

If there is a movie critic we love in the Pendarvis Building, I guess it is Jonathan Rosenbaum. He wrote a book about "blog" "fave" film DEAD MAN. One of his books has a blurb from "blog" "fave" Godard. Plus he writes eloquently and appreciatively, in at least one of his books that we have here, on the subject of Jerry Lewis, so dear to the "blog's" heart. Finally, he spent part of his youth in Alabama, like me! (In my case, the part of my youth I spent there went from age zero to age thirty. That's a long youth!) So we were tickled when an intern alerted us to the fact that over on the Chicago Reader "web" site, Mr. Rosenbaum has "linked" not only to our Tennessee Williams article, but to the "blog" itself. We even broke our rule and commented on Mr. Rosenbaum's "post." Once again, we immediately regretted ever commenting on "posts." We thanked Mr. Rosenbaum for "recommending" our article... but as we thought about it more deeply, we realized that perhaps it was a mild chiding, rather than a unreserved recommendation. On the other hand, the aforementioned "links" IMPLY a kind of recommendation, we believe. And what is up with us switching so freely from "we" to "I"? What's all this "we" stuff, anyway? Do we think we're the king of France? On the other hand, "we" (Theresa and I) do have a few Rosenbaum books between us, but "I" grew up in Alabama. Still, we need to get a grip on this. (Pictured, the king of France.)

Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner: Tom Franklin, DO NOT READ

Well, this is a "blog" first: two TV Korners in a row! Before we turn things over to Dr. "M.," we must beg Tom Franklin not to read this "post." On our recent drive to Arkansas with Mr. Franklin, we discovered that he is just now finishing up the first season of LOST on DVD. We state right now that to read the details of last night's episode may harm him irreparably and take away his sense of childish wonder. With that, we give you Dr. "M.": "Well, last night's LOST allowed us yet another look into the complicated dichotomy of good and evil. I hold fast to my belief in Juliette's general goodness. Yes, she can be a tad saccharine sweet at times--to the point that you don't trust that endearing smile. However, I think she really wants to help the island's ************ challenged (and **************) women. BUT she ain't gonna let anyone stand in her way of getting back to her sister, thus explaining her complicity in Ben's maniacal shenanigans. And I don't mean the bar of the same name that ******* and I recently saw in Edwardsville, IL, or the bar of the same name that was once a prominent watering hole on DAYS OF OUR LIVES."

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner: Gentle Reminder

Welcome once again to Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner. Dr. "M." has written in to remind everyone that there will be a new episode of VERONICA MARS Tuesday evening at 9 eastern. We concur with Dr. "M.'s" recommendation. We believe that a story arc was recently concluded, so those wishing to pick up the thread for the first time may find a good starting point. Of course, nothing beats Season One, available on DVD. We are not shills! We just know what we like. "Do watch, won't you?" politely concludes Dr. "M."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Jamie Allen writes in to say that although he used the words "public television" in tonight's communication, he really meant "cable access." He goes on to claim that he does not know the difference between the two. Let me put it this way, Jamie. Cable access is like a "blog," and public TV is like, I don't know, a paperback about nature images in Emily Dickinson from a university press. Either way, I don't recall being taped for TV. Maybe it's an illegal operation! The prospect is titillating.

Turkey Watch '07

One of the turkeys in Mr. Ward's yard has a pronounced limp. In other turkey news, we just got an email from Jamie Allen, who "blogged" about wild turkeys in January, and even took a picture of the bird in question. See? HE thought it was significant enough to "blog" about. We feel justified. Allen also reports that the owner of the bar called Twain's has written him to say that she spotted me on public TV while she was working out at the gym. First of all, I salute that gym and its dedication to public TV! Second of all, why was I on public TV? I can't remember doing anything while there was a public TV camera around. But if I was, I guess this is a "turkey watch" in more ways than one! Ha ha!

Mr. Ward's Presidential Korner

We are proud to present what we hope will be a new and vibrant regular feature to the "blog": Mr. Ward's Presidential Korner. Mr. Ward, as a child, memorized every fact there is about U.S. Presidents and Vice-Presidents, and he retains it all today. He is, perhaps, rivaled by our ex-boss Lisa when it comes to knowledge of Abraham Lincoln (we should also mention Jim Whorton's obvious interest in Truman and Nixon, and his novel FRANKLAND, which deals in part with Andrew Johnson) but otherwise, Mr. Ward is the acknowledged champ. Just ask him about Franklin Pierce if you don't believe me (I'll warn you right now it's a sad story). Well, in our first edition of Mr. Ward's Presidential Korner, we give you audio recordings of Presidents Taft and McKinley unearthed by Mr. Ward. It is Mr. Ward's contention that President Taft has a surprisingly good voice, like a 50s or 60s TV or radio announcer, while McKinley (again, in Mr. Ward's opinion) sounds like Jon Lovitz as the Master Thespian.


I draw everyone's attention to the petition ("click" here) about the fate of the AJC's book page. Please sign it if you agree with it. I also draw your attention to signer #1181, who, unless they take him out, is a Mr. Peroni, whose purpose (according to the comment he provided along with his signature) seems to be to promote his "blog" of "erotica." He doesn't seem interested in the issue at all! We are at a loss to understand how burying his name way down there on a petition like that will promote his career as a writer of "blog" erotica, but we wish him well!

Wild Turkeys No Big Deal In North Carolina

Further evidence that Theresa and I have led sheltered lives when it comes to wild turkeys: Jeff McNeil writes in to say, "You've seen my neighborhood, too, right? Well, there used to be a group (?) or pack (?) of wild turkeys just roaming the neighborhood. It was an odd sight. Haven't seen them in a while, though."

Wild Turkeys No Big Deal In Connecticut

It turns out that I have been making a fool of myself over the wild turkeys. Mr. Ward, who lives in Connecticut and works in NYC, says that a number of wild turkeys have made themselves at home in his back yard. So, no big deal. Forget I mentioned the wild turkeys.

Bird Consolidation

It occurs to me that I should have "linked" my "post" about wild turkeys with two earlier "posts" on the subject of robins.

Monday, April 23, 2007

No More Cigarette Holders

Speaking of cigarette holders, our long cigarette holder nightmare is over. With this announcement, we officially put a stop to the "blog" cigarette holder countdown. Our reasons are professional in nature. I have recently started a short story in which a cigarette holder plays a central part, and I need to save up all my cigarette holder thoughts and use them there. The "blog" regrets the inconvenience. We believe, however, that by "clicking" on the proper "links," one after another, you will be able to console yourselves by reviewing every single observation we have ever made about cigarette holders. Have fun!

The Secret Dinner

I have to mention something, but I cannot name names. This is because it involves a certain person who will never be named or nicknamed on the "blog." She is "not really a 'blog' girl" (her words) and my God, who can blame her? She is very kind and generous and a good friend to T_____ and myself (remember, no names in this "post"!) and out of sincere respect and utter devotion I will never mention her on the "blog." But I must say this. She and her cousin cooked us an amazing meal Sunday night, out of an ungovernable sense of warmth and hospitality. A bunch of us - some of whom are "blog" regulars, but "nameless here forevermore" as I believe Poe once put it on his "blog" - ate out in the back yard. The cousin quit his job as a stockbroker to become a chef. This is the kind of chef I like! The kind who quits something to become one. Everyone should quit something to become something else! And it should be a scary decision! Although we don't like presuming to hand out advice on the "blog," we believe this advice to be the soundest we have yet put forth.

The Dick Powell Emergence

Speaking of the Oxford American, the new issue has come out ("The Movie Issue"), and I have two articles in it. Remember long, long, ago, when I told you I was writing about Dick Powell? Well, that's one. The other is about the Tennessee Williams adaptation BABY DOLL. "Blog" readers will be happy to discover that I found a way to mention Bob Hope and Dean Martin in the latter article and Jerry Lewis in the former. Of course, Bob, Dean, and Jerry are in all things. They're all around us! But back to the magazine. It comes with a free DVD. You can see a scene from the Joey Lauren Adams film COME EARLY MORNING. There's also something from THE PUFFY CHAIR, one of the stars of which also happens to appear in the feature film HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS, starring (and co-written by) "Blog" Buddy Kent Osborne. Is there any aspect of life that the "blog" does not encompass? We feel strongly that there is not! (Pictured, Tennessee Williams with, we believe, a cigarette holder.)


I do not know if this is proper to mention, though it FEELS innocuous: I learned from Christopher Hitchens himself (okay, I'm fairly certain he was not addressing me personally) that he enjoys karaoke. The two numbers for which he is celebrated (I hope I'm not giving anything away) are "Like A Rolling Stone" and "Proud Mary." I mention this for a few reasons. First, I think it will be of especial interest to our "blog" correspondent Dr. "M.," whose karaoke rendition of "Baby Got Back" is unrivaled. Also... the night before I learned this dirty, wretched bit of celebrity gossip (am I betraying a trust?), and COMPLETELY UNBEKNOWNST to Christopher Hitchens, I sang an entire BeeGees song, a cappella, to a stunned and bewildered gathering of literature lovers. I was supposed to be, I think, reading one of my short stories, but I pretended to believe that I was supposed to sing. My original intention was to sing one line and stop. But something (the ghost of Andy Kaufman? Poe's imp of the perverse? Three Guinnesses?) goaded me to keep going, and going, and going. And then I did half a verse of "Bring the Noise" by Public Enemy. And then I stopped being a smarta** and read some prose. I must now do two things: 1) apologize to the literature lovers; 2) thank Caroline Young, whose karaoke performance of "I Started a Joke" (the BeeGees song) was my first exposure to that little nugget of pop melancholy. They should have heard Caroline do it. But they got me.

It Was Nothing Like My Dinner With Andre

On the drive to the Arkansas Literary Festival, I mentioned to Tom Franklin that Christopher Hitchens was speaking there, and that I was deathly afraid of him, based on his television persona. I had a particular horror of being thrust into some sort of social situation with him. I pictured myself saying something oafish or unpalatable, or simply something wonderfully brilliant with which Mr. Hitchens disagreed, and Mr. Hitchens lacerating me thereafter with his famous tongue (not literally. Or maybe literally!). But it did not seem likely that our paths would cross and Tom and I made much jolly sport of the notion. I also happened to mention my paralyzing fear of Christopher Hitchens to Mr. Smirnoff (the editor of the Oxford American; I met him for the first time this weekend). And so it came to pass that on Sunday morning I had just ordered breakfast when who should walk into the joint but Mr. Smirnoff and Mr. Hitchens. Mr. Smirnoff insisted that I join their table, though I was waving him away and making faces of despair and terror (not so that Mr. Hitchens could see. It was not my intention to insult him!). Mr. Smirnoff introduced me, first of all, as a "young writer," which was flattering but incorrect and no doubt puzzled Mr. Hitchens, as I loomed over him (he was seated) with my grizzled beard. My nose hairs, many of which have turned a dazzling white, were also visible, I believe, from Mr. Hitchens's enviable vantage point. Then Mr. Smirnoff said, and I quote, "Jack is terrified to meet you." Mr. Hitchens reacted graciously to the news, with a charming and pleasant (yet terrifying!) bon mot that I will not repeat for fear of getting it wrong. Well, dear readers, I mainly kept mum and tried to look intelligent as I picked through my andouille and chicken hash. I am pleased to report that Mr. Hitchens's breakfast consisted of Johnnie Walker Black and cigarettes. This is not accurate! Mr. Smirnoff and Mr. Hitchens had dined earlier in the day. Mine was a late breakfast. But I wanted so very much to believe that Mr. Hitchens breakfasted in such a fashion. Didn't you?

Wild Turkeys

Theresa and I spotted two wild turkeys just hanging out together on the side of Highway 6. We both commented that we had never, in our memories, seen wild turkeys just hanging out by the road like that. Possibly, we had never seen wild turkeys in person. THEN, 60 or 70 MILES later, on Highway 78, we saw ANOTHER WILD TURKEY just standing there sort of watching the cars go by. Good Lord! Wild turkeys. Better looking than I imagined they would be. Stately.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Okay, we're gone! Try to occupy yourselves for a few days!

The "Internet"

I am not completely made for the "internet." But I'm giving it a good try, right? Anyway, on the "web" site where I found out about the bad news for the AJC book page, a guy came along and commented that maybe all this was the little guy's fault and we should stop and consider the sweet, tender, hurt feelings of the giant multimedia corporations of our nation and indeed the world (I'm paraphrasing). He also made the suggestion that short story writers should try writing good books and then maybe people would read them. And I thought, "Wow! That's pretty good advice. Maybe I'll give it a whirl one day!" You never know! Yet when I tried to comment back in a jaunty way, I'm afraid I ended up sounding disagreeable and perhaps incoherent. That's the problem with me and the "internet"! It is not the other commentator's responsibility, the way God made me! Anyway, I vowed on that "web" site never to comment on someone else's "blog" again. But I would like to state for the record here and now that I DO reserve the right to comment on my favorite Aquaman "blog." I love it! Still, I am not so sure about this "internet" business anymore. Do you think it will catch on?

The Well-Known Flowering Shrubs

This one goes out to my sister. She keeps asking me to look up "rose-hips" in my OXFORD COMPANION TO FOOD, and I keep forgetting. Anyway, turns out it's the "fruit" of the rose. Perhaps this raises more questions than it answers! If this helps, the COMPANION refers to roses as "the well-known flowering shrubs." So I suppose "rose-hips" are the "fruit" of that "well-known flowering shrub." Also known as "rose-haw." Now, about rhubarb. It's a vegetable, but in 1947 everyone decided to call it a fruit instead. The stalk is the good part. In ancient times, the root was used for medicine. At some point, maybe in the 17th or 18th century, somebody said, "Hey, these stalks are pretty tasty." Hope this helps! (Pictured, the world's largest rosebush, or so says the "internet." It's in Tombstone, Arizona! Hey, I've been there! Maybe I'll "blog" about it one day. It's the first place I ever had chorizo. For that reason alone, I love you, Tombstone, Arizona! "Blogs" are awesome!)

Ginger Snaps

There is no such thing as a bad ginger snap. The secret ingredient is ginger! Have a few ginger snaps today.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


And while I'm listing my annoying habits I should also mention how I used to call movies "hypnotic" when I couldn't think of any other word to use. What a jerk!

Just Maybe the Chanting Homunculus

I've noticed another example of my lazy writing. I guess when any movie is sort of weird, I compare it to Bunuel. Now, I can make a strong case for the similarity between COLD TURKEY and VIRIDIANA... but I believe Bunuel was the wrong "go-to guy" for my recent reflections on THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. First of all, we don't think of the gaudy, striking colors in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR when we think of Bunuel. Really, the only POSSIBLY Bunuelish thing was the mynah bird that turned into a chanting homunculus - though even that is pushing it - and I may as well have mentioned any number of other surrealists and left poor Bunuel out of it. So I'm instituting a new rule here at the "blog": no more comparing weird stuff to Bunuel. It's lazy! Even when true, as in the first example, it's lazy. You may say that I seldom keep such promises. I know I have fallen off the wagon and used the word "great" quite a bit, though I believe I have been more successful with my ban on "professing delight," and I think that with the support of my family and friends I can stop making superfluous references to Bunuel all the time. (Pictured, Dick van Dyke, the star of COLD TURKEY.)


Speaking of National Poetry Month, I should have included a "link" yesterday to the work of brand new Pulitzer Prize winner and "blog" acquaintance Natasha Trethewey. Well, I did, sort of. If you "click" on one of the "links" in that former "post," you will be taken to another "post," and if you "click" on the correct "link" there, you can see Ms. Trethewey reciting one of her poems in a wonderful little filmed presentation. But that is too much work for the likes of you, the busy "blog" reader! So here I will provide a "link" to another Trethewey poem. You know, I didn't even know it was National Poetry Month when I "linked" to yet another poem a little while back. I guess poetry is just in the air. Yes, that's probably what that smell is. Poetry. Breathe it in!

Books Are For Squares

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has decided that it really doesn't need to have articles about books anymore, because books are for squares. Well, I'm just guessing at their rationale, don't quote me. Maybe they read a certain poem by Philip Larkin, which I present here (via this "link") in honor of National Poetry Month, which apparently this is, though somebody forgot to tell me.

Greetings, People of Little Rock

Guess what? I'm going to be on a panel at the Arkansas Literary Festival this weekend. Come out and say hi. Noted author Tom Franklin and I will be on the same panel, in fact. And before that we're driving in to Little Rock together, for the last four hours or so of the trip. What we should do is a live "podcast" or "webcast" of our awesome car ride together, full of literary nuggets of advice and complaining, but we don't know how to do that. We're old men.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Ornette Coleman

Speaking of Pulitzer Prizes, I suppose that our one-time nemesis (before we calmed down) the famous intellectual is feeling pretty "put out" today, thinking of Ornette Coleman and his Pulitzer Prize. I mean, if the famous intellectual TRULY considers the elegant and magisterial Sonny Rollins to be "unlistenable," as he claimed on C-Span 2, we can only imagine the shudders that pass through his poor old body when Ornette Coleman starts laying down some crazy free jazz. Well, we have a real soft spot for Mr. Coleman ourselves. Just the day before yesterday, in fact, by sheer coincidence, we were listening to his COMPLETE SCIENCE FICTION SESSIONS. So we're happy. But we do not wish to gloat at the expense of the famous intellectual, who is no doubt lying on a cot now with something cool pressed to his forehead.


Wow! Now I can say I've eaten with a Pulitzer Prize winner at the Bama Grill! Thanks to the eagle eye of "blog" contributor Jeff McNeil, who recognized her picture in the New York Times today as the same one we "posted" a few months ago, we can confirm that "blog" acquaintance Natasha Trethewey just won a Pulitzer for poetry. This is a big deal! And she deserves it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

We Take It All Back

We woke up this morning full of big, important realizations about how the famous intellectual who made us sad last night would not - we assume - require Beethoven, for example, to provide him with a toe-tapping good time, and the unspoken, rather unsettling implications of that fact... and then we recalled that Sonny Rollins does not need us to take up for him! All he has to do is blow one or two notes on his horn, and all arguments cease. Also, opinion has no place on a "blog"! We were intemperate. We should not have allowed our love of Sonny Rollins to get us "riled up" at the famous intellectual. It is none of our beeswax what music the famous intellectual enjoys or disdains! To each his own! This is what the music of Sonny Rollins has taught us! From now on we vow only to "blog" when our favorite fork gets stuck in a drain, and so on, and to leave opinion and speculation on C-Span 2, where they belong.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

C-Span 2 A Mixed Blessing?

After all my distress over C-Span 2, and its happy resolution, I must say I saw something on C-Span 2 just a little while ago that filled me with a strange sadness. It was a famous intellectual author who called Sonny Rollins "unlistenable" -- seemingly because Mr. Rollins has dared to be, in the famous intellectual's estimation, well, intellectual, like the famous intellectual author. The poor old fellow can't tap his toes to Sonny Rollins, he claims! Maybe he should try harder! But no, his argument seemed false to me. He seemed to say that only highly cultured professional musicians could enjoy Sonny Rollins... and that the sort of complex, supposedly "unlistenable" music made by Mr. Rollins is a sign of decadence in the arts. It is hard to explain why, then, as a teenager in Bayou La Batre, Alabama, I was so taken with Mr. Rollins' cut "Blue 7" that I went out and bought every Sonny Rollins album I could find. I was no jazz expert. This was the first jazz I had heard! And it is impossible for me to believe that the poor, dumb teen that I distinctly recall being was so much more advanced and culturally decadent than the famous intellectual is TODAY, after all his globe trotting and drinking expensive wine with the queen and being on C-Span 2. The famous intellectual tried to get Duke Ellington in on his argument, as an exemplar of the toe tapping good times that he seems to regard as the only reason for music's being, ignoring the fact that Mr. Ellington played with John Coltrane (the primary recipient of the intellectual's scorn), Max Roach, Mingus... and that Monk, for example, was a careful student of Ellington... and I think that Ellington - always a searching and curious musician - probably even picked up a thing or two from Monk as he went along. Perhaps the famous intellectual brings all this up in his book and wryly dismisses it as balderdash. Why is my dander up about this? My dander is usually not up! Especially on the "blog" for all to see. Finally, what if -- and it IS NOT true -- but what IF only serious musicians could understand and enjoy Coltrane and Rollins? So what? Don't they get something they can enjoy, too? I believe I'm actually losing sleep over C-Span 2. It's supposed to PUT me to sleep! Well, that last remark was unkind to C-Span 2, and not even the truth. But Sonny Rollins is "LISTENABLE"! Listen!


After MILDRED PIERCE was over, we turned off the DVD player and on came the TV as if by magic, tuned to TCM. Came in midway through the transformation scene in the original Jerry Lewis version of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. Let me tell you, yanked out of context like so, the transformation scene in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR is as disturbing, disorienting, and surreal as Bunuel... Jerry's face blue then red then fish belly white as he writhes in splatters of primary colors and his mynah bird grows a human head... and the two scenes after that definitely inspired some Scorsese techniques in GOODFELLAS... first the camera POV stuff and fluid tracking as everyone marvels at the transformed Jerry, then the crass and complete intimidation with which Jerry takes over the bar (a la Pesci, or any number of Scorsese would be smoothie thugs). And the colors in the bar scene most assuredly inspired Godard's PIERROT LE FOU. Two more plusses for THE NUTTY PROFESSOR: "blog" "fave" Stella Stevens AND one of the greatest character names ever devised in any medium: Buddy Love. Jerry! Lewis! Yeah!

Sweet Sap, Shady Sleaze

MILDRED PIERCE is on. Theresa's watching it for her class. She's going to show those lucky kids choice scenes from MILDRED PIERCE, DISCLOSURE, and 9 TO 5. But anyway, watching MILDRED PIERCE gets us to thinking about Jack Carson, one of our favorite actors in the Pendarvis Building. Mr. McNeil and I have discussed his virtues several times, generally agreeing that any movie with Mr. Carson in it is worth watching. He was typecast, but not as the usual single character over and over. He would play either a sweet, vulnerable, dimwitted sap OR a shady, carnivorous sleazeball con man. He could do either one! And I believe those are virtually the only two roles he ever played, direct opposites. In MILDRED PIERCE, he's on the creepy side. But he was ideally suited for the former kind of part as well. What a strange kind of versatility. Go out and rent a Jack Carson movie today. And tell 'em the"blog" sent you!

The Stomping

We now bring to a sad and untimely conclusion one of the many "threads" of the "blog." Jeff McNeil has suffered - unfairly, we in the Pendarvis Building believe - at the hands (feet?) of the Maryland Grape Growers Association. Not only did they reject his novel in an excoriating and detailed letter, they (to quote Jeff) "even wrote on the copy they returned... smashing me like a grape."

Plummy Is A Word

Today I was using the word "plummy" in a short story and my "spell check" refused to recognize it. You know, "spell check" recognizes Elvis but does not recognize Sinatra. I would like someone to write a scholarly paper on the social, political, or cultural agenda of "spell check."

Saturday, April 14, 2007


Dr. "M." has taken the trouble to confirm that Juliet on LOST does indeed spell her name in the conventional manner. We are distressed! We do not wish to start some wild "fact checking" trend at the "blog." We cannot overemphasize our pervading feeling that there should be no "facts" on the "blog." From now on we will spell that name any way we like. Maybe with a "G"! As in the great Italian actress Giulietta Masina (pictured, unless The "Man" takes the picture away). Dig all the extra letters! And the Italians probably came up with it first! We must mention - we thought about it yesterday and kept mum - that one of our favorite Lou Reed songs of all time (and that's saying a lot, because he has written and performed a lot of our favorite songs) is "Romeo Had Juliette." If it's good enough for Lou Reed...

Friday, April 13, 2007


Oh yes, and we learned today that "The Pipe," a short film in which we have a personal interest, has been accepted at The Maryland Film Festival. Now as far as we can tell, we have not yet been added to the official "internet" schedule of either that festival or the other one we mentioned recently. But all this is coming straight from the director, and he should know! Shouldn't he? Anyway, the Maryland Film Festival takes place in Baltimore, so we like to fantasize that our imaginary friends Laura Lippman and David Simon will attend with the entire cast and crew of THE WIRE. It could happen!

"Blog" Celebrates 600th "Post"

The celebration was muted today as an accountant at "Blog" Industries duly noted the appearance of "Mustache Trouble," an otherwise unremarkable trifle that happened to be the 600th "posting" on The Place Where Jack Pendarvis Has a "Blog." "It's hard to get worked up about it," said an anonymous source. "It's just so fast on the heels of our 500th 'post.' I guess none of us can believe it's really happening. We made it in record time. In one way, hooray, I guess. In another way, it's depressing. It's just depressing."

Mustache Trouble

Earlier today we spelled mustache like this: "moustache," the way we have been spelling it for several decades without thinking twice. Well, sir, the "spell check" told us we were wrong. Yet later, when we looked it up, our dictionary proclaimed "moustache" an acceptable variation. Still, we quaked in our boots at the authority of the "spell check." Why? From now on, we are going back to "moustache." And in fairness to Dr. "M.," I should admit that I found the image of that LOST person in the earlier "post" by searching for "Juliette," using Dr. "M.'s" variant spelling, however brazenly I ribbed her about it. I've learned a lesson or two today! All about being myself and sticking up for what's right!

Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner: Uh-oh!

We were hoping to end Friday the 13th with a perfect 13 "posts," but something has just come over the transom that cries out for immediate dissemination. Dr. "M" has taken umbrage, yes, we are not afraid to admit that umbrage is what she has taken at our brash quibbling of earlier today. We can do no less than allow her to justify herself in her own fiery words: "I beg to differ with the blogger's bracketed rebuttals to my assessment," she writes, just getting warmed up. "First off," she continues, "the final look of Juliet (or ette, if you will--I do!) [Ouch! replies the "blog," allowing itself a set of brackets] was not one of evil but of indifference, in my humble opinion. She doesn't care about The Others or...what would be the word for these island folks if they aren't The Others?? The Ones?? (discuss...)...Anyway, she only cares about herself and getting home, thus the characterization of the Lone Vigilante. If I am wrong, I will drink two Buttery Nipples in less than 2 seconds. (For those of you who enjoy said Nipples, you will know that this is not as arduous of a task as I make it out to be! Yum!) I still thinks she wants to 'do it' with Jack--as implied in her 'Nude Eating Ice Cream' scene, she does like to 'frolic.' [The "blog" breaking in again. Does it strike anyone else that Dr. "M." has taken to "lampooning" our "style"?] I digress... [continues, elliptically, Dr. "M."] in response to another comment made, was it ever really proven until this episode that that had not orchestrated certain traumatic events? When those events happened, we knew that they were 'surprised,' but I had always thought they knew it was coming...but perhaps not 'when.' ??? On another note, I am not yet ready to divulge my SECRET thoughts on THE SECRET. I get very worked up about it, and that is not good for anyone, even Matthew Fox!" The "blog" stands bested... and a little hurt that Dr. "M.," in her fury, did not mention how we personally thanked the purveyor of her favorite commercially available chicken salad.

Ding Ding Ding!

We are both sad and happy to report that today, Friday the 13th of April, 2007, now holds the record for most "posts" "posted" on the "blog" in a single day. Thirteen of them, in fact! No, sad was right. We're sad.

Look What They've Done To My "Blog," Ma

The "Man" has already taken away my picture of James Agee. That's okay. I figure The "Man" will always take what he wants and there's nothing I can do about it. No hard feelings, The "Man"!

Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner: Dr. "M." "Loses" It!

Ha ha! We put "loses" in "quotation marks" because this "post" deals with the TV show entitled LOST. Also, it is kind of a pun, as we believe that Dr. "M.," usually so lucid in her LOST interpretations, has "lost" her "marbles"! Or perhaps that is too "harsh"! But judge for yourself, with this week's edition of Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner. (Note: As usual, we have heavily edited Dr. "M.'s" remarks to prevent "spoilers" for persons who have not yet had a chance to see the most recent episode of LOST). And now, we turn things over to Dr. "M.," who writes: "Is it just me or does LOST get better and better? Those writers really heeded our impassioned cries for 'more answers, more answers'! Now we are being bombarded with such information--I can barely keep up. But what I do know after the episode on Wednesday night is [here Dr. "M." includes some information that we are pretty sure we found out earlier this season, but just to be safe we are editing it out. However, this is the first sign that something is not quite right with Dr. "M.'s" analysis.] The other question that was raised: Juliette--evil??? Of course not, people! [Here again, we must differ with Dr. "M." First of all, is that really how you spell that name? Second of all, didn't Dr. "M." see the last scene? Not to give anything away, but we believe that the scene had "evil" written all over it.] As a lone vigilante [Dr. "M." continues with another dubious characterization], she is now determined more than ever to get off that island matter what it takes. She must, must, must get back to her ********** ******** *** *******--remember how she impregnated her sister? (Not the old-fashioned way, you sickos out there!) But this will mean leaving Jack behind and having to miss out on hot *** with Matthew Fox. Boo hoo for her, I say! But don't despair--maybe she will get in one good romp before her flight home. We can only hope!" Dr. "M." then adds cryptically, "On another topic, have you seen THE SECRET? One word--don't." This is Dr. "M.'s" second mention of said "Secret," a subject about which we are woefully uninformed. We can only hope that Dr. "M." will begin to file reports under the rubric Dr. "M.'s" Secret Korner. Coming soon, we suspect!

I Lied

Contrary to what I said a few moments ago, I have one final "post" about the party last night. When I ran into Jamie Allen there, he began telling the unfortunate young woman who had stumbled into our range not only about our artificially inflated and deeply meaningless dispute, but about all the jolly "blogging" we had done on the subject. A true party killer! Beware, young "bloggers"! There is perhaps nothing sadder than two "bloggers" talking about each other's "blogs" in front of a rightly uninterested third party at a social function. Nothing sadder... except, perhaps, when one of them (I, for example) says, "And now we can 'blog' about this conversation tomorrow!" Sad... and sadder still when one does so, as I am doing now. Gosh, I've given myself a lot to think about.

The Best For Last

Okay, I've only got one more "post" about the party in me. So, the young woman to whom I referred in my most recent "post"... would it alarm and surprise you to know that her husband owns the Brickstore Pub? Yes, the very same Brickstore Pub which dispenses Dr. "M.'s" (formerly Agent "M.") very favorite chicken salad in the city! I was introduced to this gentleman and had the extraordinary privilege of thanking him in person on behalf of Dr. "M." for his delicious chicken salad. He accepted graciously, and remarked in a most flattering manner that he believed he recognized my name. "It was a huge banner headline," he claimed. "It was in some magazine or newspaper. A huge interview." I was dumbfounded and amazed, as I spend the majority of every day "googling" myself when I am not busy "blogging," and I felt sure I would know if such a mammoth interview or profile existed. It turned out, in the end, that he was thinking of my "blog," which he had noticed because I mentioned his pub and its chicken salad. Oh, the circular nature of "blogging"! A veritable Ouroboros of sorts, wouldn't you say? Dear me! We all had a good laugh at the idea of human frailty and then we went home.

Premium "Blogging"

So, at this party, Jamie Allen was chatting with a young woman. She was introduced to me as the owner of Twain's, a bar in Decatur, Georgia. I remarked that I had been in her bar on a single occasion. Theresa and I were on our way to a midnight showing of BLAZING SADDLES with our friends Doug and Dewayne. There was some time to kill, so we ducked into Twain's for a refreshment before the movie. Suddenly the TV over the bar interrupted its regular programming to report the terrible events surrounding the passing of Princess Diana. We absorbed the news and eventually we paid our tab and went to see BLAZING SADDLES. After I regaled all present with this tale and its many subtle layers of tragedy and comedy, the young woman reported with some surprise that she had been working that very night, and that odds were good she had waited upon us. Now it was very unusual at the time, or so I believe she implied in the festive din, for her to "take a shift." So WHAT A REMARKABLE COINCIDENCE, wouldn't you say? Meeting again after all those years? This is "blogging," people, plain and simple. Like it or lump it, this is "blogging" at its finest and most elemental! "Blogging"! (Pictured, Slim Pickens [left] in BLAZING SADDLES. You may also remember him from PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID, RANCHO DELUXE, DR. STRANGELOVE, and other films.)

Mr. Vonnegut

We just learned from Jamie Allen's "blog" of Mr. Vonnegut's passing. This is sad news indeed! And it is really sort of sad that we learned about it from Jamie Allen's "blog." Yesterday we consumed with some relish an interview with Mr. Vonnegut "posted" on the McSweeney's site, but we did not put 2 and 2 together, even though it apparently says "In Memory of Kurt Vonnegut" right there at the top of the page. Goodbye, Kurt Vonnegut!

Party Mustache

Who did I spy at last night's shindig but Jamie Allen? I pretended not to recognize him! Oh, how we chuckled warmly over that example of my crystalline wit. For you see, there is a whole long story about another time that Jamie thought I did not recognize him! The reason for my supposed snub, in Jamie's febrile brain, was the mustache he has recently grown, and which, he seems to believe, has given him the power of Lamont Cranston to cloud men's minds. It must be admitted that his mustache seemed to have "morphed" since the last time I saw it, growing two tiny muttonchops of its own. I know I am using the term "muttonchops" incorrectly, but I'm painting a verbal picture, okay, a verbal picture that has worn me out and rendered me incapable of typing for the moment. More shortly.


BOEING, BOEING aired on TBS at 1:05pm EST, April 13th, 1983, not April 12th, 1983, as previously reported. The "blog" regrets any inconvenience caused by our error.

Pia's Composer Korner: The Long Awaited Return

Welcome back to Pia's Composer Korner, our all too occasional feature by guest-"blogger" Pia Z. Ehrhardt. She classes up the joint! Today's reflection from Ms. Ehrhardt is on the subject of a particular piece by... oh, we'll just let her tell you in her own words: "It has become that time of the year when you listen to Samuel Barber's Knoxville Summer of 1915, which he wrote in 1947, and you wait for Eleanor Steber's voice to soar and plead when she sings 'One is my mother who is good to me.' James Agee's text struck a chord with Barber whose father was critically ill when he wrote this. This may be the most beautiful piece ever written about a family sitting on quilts under the stars." Pia included a "link" to the piece, I believe, but I couldn't make heads nor tails of it (the "link," I mean, not the Barber) because I'm just that way. (Pictured, James Agee.)

I'm Very Disappointed In You

Well, a week has gone by now, and we have had not one single complaint about the lack of a picture of Lizabeth Scott "posted" on the "blog." Not one single complaint! We don't know what the world is coming to. Something awful, seems like.

The View From Barry's House

Barry B. seemed at great pains to explain why he had been watching THE VIEW that day. Or not really WATCHING it, as he would like to make clear! It seems as if he had just settled in to feed his baby a bottle when he realized -- TOO LATE! -- that the TV was tuned to THE VIEW. He believes he has finally figured out why he sees THE VIEW so often. "Is it on the same channel as LOST?" he asked last night. I confirmed that it was. Mrs. Barry B. enjoys watching the LOST program on Wednesday night, which is why Barry often catches some of THE VIEW on Thursday morning. We hope this clears things up.

Big Crazy Party

We have only just recently returned, really, from a big party on the roof of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. We wish we could explain why! But it is a complicated affair, not easily condensed into "blog" form. We did, however, manage to glean several "bloggables" as we wandered to and fro, "moving and shaking," as Theresa called it. The party was tossed by the man who hates "blogs," and for that reason it was strange to see so many people there of such importance to the "blog"... many of whom we know in separate aspects of our lives, but had never expected to see together. Why, there was Barry B., and a member of Hubcap City, and the man who owns our neighborhood bookstore, and the Esquire feature writer Tom Junod, and the "Blog" Brother-In-Law, who kindly and casually began to call me Batman, thus cementing our already strong familial bond. But I can see that this party calls for "paragraph breaks," which I still have not mastered, so perhaps if I tell you more I will divide it into convenient chunks. You know, we tend to barricade ourselves in the Pendarvis Building. We are not "partygoers." And yet, how rife with "blogging" materials such functions are! We have learned our lesson! Parties for all!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Today's Weather: Eerie!

Welcome once again to our popular recurring feature "Today's Weather," in which we discuss today's weather. Jeff McNeil, who has been keeping the same notebook for over a quarter century, writes in to remark that 24 years ago TODAY, he recorded the movie BOEING, BOEING, starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis, from its 1:05pm showing on TBS. Next year we're planning a big 25th anniversary celebration. McNeil goes on to say that the weather that day (April 12, 1983) was "eerily similar" to the weather today. Eerie!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Candyland Forever

"What's wrong with the game going on forever?" Jeff McNeil inquires. "Do these other jokers not want to spend time with their kids?" he rages. "Hugs not drugs!" he insists.

A Message to the People of Nantucket

People of Nantucket, your voices have been heard! Thanks to an overwhelming hue and cry from the Nantucket area, the film version of my short story "The Pipe" will be screened as part of the Nantucket Film Festival.

Candyland Apocalypse

Not since chicken salad has anything resonated for the "blog" in quite the same way as Candyland. Over at the Pendarvis Building we have only the vaguest recollection of the game, but our friends with children seem to think about it all the time. Jim Whorton wrote in just last night to thank Jeff McNeil for his Candyland advice. "My thing with Candyland is, I don't care who wins," Whorton wrote, "I just want the game to be over at some point." By coincidence, this had been the topic at hand earlier in the day, when a "blog" reader by the name of Mr. Ward phoned the Pendarvis Building hotline to discuss, of all things, Candyland. His advice touched precisely on Whorton's concern. Mr. Ward suggests surreptitiously stacking the deck beforehand to ensure that the child wins the game fairly quickly. He was alarmed at Mr. McNeil's ploy of cheating to win, though he admitted that if one stacks the deck, one could stack it either way. Mr. Ward's main goal is speeding up the game. "Candyland is fine," he said. "But it can go on forever if you don't take the proper precautions."

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Had a little discussion with Theresa just now, about whether or not I might be able to legally change my first name to Batman. Did not turn out as well as I had hoped.

Much Like Poe

Hey, remember when I said that "Back In the Saddle Again" was a Tex Ritter song? Well, I'm an idiot. It IS a Gene Autry song, just as Lisa implied. And the answer was waiting right under my very nose - SPOILER ALERT! - just like the famous "Purloined Letter" of Edgar Allen Poe. Except it was on my "iPod." Once again, though, I owe you nothing, because this is a "blog."

Big, Half-Naked Kirk Douglas

I had a great big half-naked picture of Kirk Douglas "posted" on the "blog" to illustrate some fascinating point I was making about Spartacus and the nature of "blogging." But I suppose it didn't really belong to me and now it has been removed. So next time you read that "post" you'll just have to imagine a big old picture of Kirk Douglas glowering at you half-naked for yourself.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Dies Irae

I had the hiccups for a few minutes but then they went away. Wow! Scary!

Sad Telephone

Well, we finally threw out our crummy old telephone. It's in the trash can now, and occasionally emits a pitiful, muffled noise.

Jeff McNeil's Candyland Tips for Struggling Parents

As longtime "blog" readers will concede with a knowing chuckle, we at the Pendarvis Building have always held up Jeff McNeil as a paragon of gamesmanship. He proves himself again today, with this little nugget we found slipped under the door: "Here's a Candyland tip for the novice parent...Listen up, Whorton! The red cards and orange cards are VERY similar in color, and a six-year old is easily talked into a double red actually being a double orange if it suits your purpose at a certain juncture of the game. It's not cheating!! Just think of it as a 'lawyer training seminar' or's what those guys get rich doing all day long."


My ex-boss Lisa was not Gene Autry's personal assistant as previously reported! She simply worked for him at a television station he owned, and would see him around. But as I've pointed out just today, it is not necessary for a "blog" to get anything "right." Lisa highly recommends some museums Autry started in Los Angeles (the Museum of the American West and the Southwest Museum of the American Indian), which she declares are superb. And she offers this memory: "The only really juicy thing -- and rather touching also -- that I can relate is that his best buddy at KTLA, long-time friend, was former DJ Johnny Grant (he is the 'Mayor of Hollywood' and still, in his mid-eighties, I think, presides over all the Hollywood Walk of Fame star ceremonies), who used to do public service documentaries for the channel once in a while. By special request, he did one, actually quite daring at the time, about impotency, and the general knowledge was that Autry had requested the subject personally and you don't have to be a genius to figure that one out." Lisa goes on to make some saucy speculations -- sheer speculations, mind you -- which include a lascivious reference to the song "Back In the Saddle Again," which we believe was a Tex Ritter song anyway, but who cares, because this is a "blog"!

James Whorton, Jr.'s C-Spandemonium!

It's time once again for what polls are calling the public's all-time favorite feature, "James Whorton, Jr.'s C-Spandemonium!" This just in from Jim: "Nora [Whorton's young daughter] and I were watching James Baker III on C-Span tonight and playing Candyland. I won the first two games and for the third, she stacked the cards so that all the doubles were on top. Then she made a rule that we could not talk about what we were thinking. So whenever we drew a double we had to say, 'Another double!' Sorry no news from James Baker III." We at the "blog" have not played Candyland in a very long while, so we are not exactly sure what Whorton is getting at with this talk of "doubles" and so on. But we put it out there for you Candyland fans. Finally, we ask Whorton not to apologize. Our C-Span 2 is back and better than ever, which should remove some of the Atlas-grade weight from his shoulders.

On the Other Hand

On the other hand, it has occurred to me that the "internet" is infinite. Isn't it? It sure seems like it. And if that is the case, I think it is okay to "blog," because you're not really wasting space. You're not even making a dent!

For the Last Time

I have finished reading PHANTASMAGORIA. Who cares? No one! But this is what I get for "blogging" about books. I feel the compulsion to "wrap things up." I began to differ with the author, Ms. Warner, on a few points as the book went along... but what good is a book with which you agree 100% of the time, am I right, folks? What good is a book that doesn't occasionally prod and poke you? I do feel compelled to mention that a proofreader or someone had let enough typos slide for the lapse to become noticeable. Just small things, a letter or word dropped here or there, a singular that was meant to be a plural, little things. This happens sometimes! Maybe my next book will come out and be packed to the gills with typos! It is no great tragedy! And it can be fixed for the paperback. (Except in the case of my book, which for some bizarre reason which was explained to me, and yet which I cannot recall, is coming out as a hardcover and a paperback at the same time.) Nor does it take away from Ms. Warner's stunning collection and organization and interpretation of mountains of fascinating data! See? This is why no one should "blog" about books. People work hard and then other people come along and "blog." And of course there are no rules, no proofreading, no fact checking in "blogs." If you mess something up, it's quaint and delightful! You're a "blogger"! Aren't you cute? I sicken myself, truly. PHANTASMAGORIA was a fun book to read, not to mention an immense achievement. This time I mean it! No more "blogging" about books! It just brings down undeserved sorrow on everyone's head.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

McNeil's Movie Korner: Special Poetry Edition

Welcome once again to McNeil's Movie Korner. Today McNeil takes a break from Bob Denver films to turn his jaundiced eye to the world of poetry. It will be necessary for you to read the Richard Eberhart poem "The Groundhog" before continuing. Thank you. And now, we turn things over to Jeff McNeil: "so what's the point? that what I hear ol' dicky eberhart saying?...He's not the guy who invented the pencil is he (or maybe the eraser)?... maybe that was his brother. Anyway, there seems to be something ironic about the fact that he lived to be 101, too, though I'm too busy folding laundry to figure it out. I bet Dicky didn't have to fold his own laundry, that's how come he got to sit on his a***e all day writing fancy pants poesy, not to mention taking long walks through the countryside looking up dead groundhogs." The opinions, capitalization lapses, and punctuation techniques of Mr. McNeil do not reflect the philosophy and/or practices of the "blog," or those of its parent company "Blog" Industries.

The Groundhog

Hello. I took my normal route today, for the first time since the ghastly sight. But I avoided the particular area in question. Anyway, it got me thinking about a certain poem, "The Groundhog" by Richard Eberhart, for which I will provide a "link" here. I found the poem on the "internet" in a few spots, but this is the one that seemed to contain no typos.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Andy Garcia

Hey, y'all. I was just idly flipping around the television channels when I happened upon a film starring Mr. Andy Garcia. As this film was being aired on a "broadcast" station, the swear words that it had contained upon its theatrical release had been replaced by freshly dubbed terms of a milder tincture. What I'm getting at is, I heard Andy Garcia call someone an "ant hole." I got some enjoyment out of that, and I hope you will, too.

Standup Jeff

In my recent "posting" on the subject of fried pork skins outside the ICU, I noted that a comedian might be able to get some material out of that fulsome situation. Jeff McNeil has obliged us with a potential "gag" of just such a variety, to wit: "I guess putting a vending machine with fried pork skins outside the ICU is good for business...plain and simple...kind of like a tire place putting nails in its parking lot...c'mon!!! Is that the kind of joke you were talking about?" Indeed it was, kind sir. Indeed it was.

Today's Weather: Yak Cheese

Welcome to a special Mt. Everest edition of that perennial favorite among our many continuing features, "Today's Weather." Kent has climbed back down the mountain, and he reports thunder, lightning, and a cold drizzle. Also, his friend Dylan ate some yak cheese that didn't agree with him. Meanwhile, in America, I had to dig out the old flannel pants again. I was getting worried that the flannel pants hadn't seen enough action this year. But here comes a cold snap. Flannel pants to the rescue!

Friday, April 06, 2007


I was at the hospital again today... none of your beeswax why! ... and I couldn't help but notice that right outside the doors leading to the ICU there was a vending machine selling "Bar-B-Q flavored" fried pork skins! If I were a standup comedian I could really make hay with that. Anyway, it also reminded me that back in high school I had a teacher who claimed to have invented the particular kind of vending machine I saw today: the one that dispenses its goodies via a spiraling metal gizmo. Do you know what I mean? I hope you do. Anyway, you would know one if you saw one.

Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner: Boars Galore

Welcome once again to Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner, our popular look at today's television trends, written by frequent guest-"blogger" Dr. "M." Here is a message we received via semaphore flags from Dr. "M." this very day: "I noticed that you blogged about boars--did that come from the recent boar roast on Lost? What an episode that was! Did I ever tell you my theory about Lost--that at the end Jack is going to wake up as his old character Charlie from Party of Five? Sort of like Newhart!"


There will be no picture of Lizabeth Scott this week. That will teach you to take Lizabeth Scott for granted!

What's In the Paper Today?

Good morning, and welcome to "What's In the Paper Today?" our exciting new feature in which we see what's in the paper today. What's in the paper today is a review of a new biography of Gene Autry. This causes us to renew our call for our beloved ex-boss Lisa to send us some stories from the time when she was Mr. Autry's personal assistant. Come on, Lisa! Do it for the "blog"! (As a special treat, the accompanying illustration to this "post" is a painting by "Blog" Buddy Jon Langford. See his work at the Yard Dog Gallery in Austin, Texas! And send in your clippings for "What's In the Paper Today?" to "What's In the Paper Today?" c/o the Pendarvis Building, United States of America.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Ginger Ale Story

So I was having dinner at my sister's apartment and her boyfriend had a glass of ginger ale. And the bubbles from the ginger ale were leaping to extraordinary heights. I mean, these bubbles were leaping way up! I mean, these bubbles were high leapers. So high that we encouraged him to take video of the high leaping bubbles with his telephone, which is something people can do nowadays. High bubbles! Extraordinary. What extraordinary times we live in. Maybe we'll get it on to the "YouTube."

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Rumors Are Flying

Well, I see that Jamie Allen has "posted" an item about me recognizing (or not recognizing) him in a coffee shop. First of all, I hope this is not an example of the kind of "tabloid blogging" that Mr. Allen plans to pursue in the future. Secondly, I was not in my usual coffee shop that day. The pollen count was high, I had risen quite late, and I did not feel like taking my longer walk to Aurora (no offense to the fine people who work at the other, closer coffee shop, but I only came to them out of pure laziness). In any case, I was sluggish and disoriented. But I did indeed recognize Mr. Allen. The interesting part of Mr. Allen's tale is that he was on the telephone during the entire incident, as any careful reader of his "item" will notice. When one is speaking on a telephone in public, one is not emitting an inviting aura that says, "Communicate with me!" One is, rather, constructing an invisible "privacy wall" which discourages friendly communication from the outside world. I hope this sets the record straight! See? This is why people hate "blogs."

Another Walk

I just went on another walk. How about that? Two walks in a day! Eat your heart out, Kent! Anyway, this walk was with a fellow who explained to me that "blogs" were for people with hubris, and he was having none of that! He also used the word "puffery," as I recollect. And I was like, "Oops!"

May Is National Rewrite Your Novel Month

Hi! This is a holiday I just made up: Rewrite Your Novel Month. Come on, everybody, let's rewrite our novels in May. I really think this could catch on. Maybe you think your novel is fine the way it is. But it could probably stand another rewrite, let's face it! Together, we can make Rewrite Your Novel Month a rousing success.

No Good

You know the little walk I like to take nearly every day? The one where I saw all the robins that time? Well, today I saw a headless white rat. I know! I don't mean to "bum you out"! That's not what the "blog" is all about. But it had a big impact on me! So I'm just "telling it like it is." Well, that was a terrible walk.

The Trouble With Books

You know when you're reading a book and that book makes you want to go out and buy another book? Like, right now I'm reading PHANTASMAGORIA and I have become too intrigued by its references to THE PRIVATE MEMOIRS AND CONFESSIONS OF A JUSTIFIED SINNER by James Hogg. This Hogg sounds like a "wild dude" with whom it would be fun to "hang out" and "party down." Does anyone know if he has a "blog"? I bet he "posts" some wild stuff on his "blog"! If I were him, I would call it "James Blogg"! Priceless!


As you know, Yeats was speaking of "blogging" when he said, "something something something and the worst are filled with passionate intensity." I can't remember the whole thing. You'll have to look it up on his "blog." Anyway, thanks to Jamie Allen I have been taught how to provide a list of "links" to "blogs," as you can see for yourself. So I have included everyone who has been nice to the "blog" and who has a "blog," I think. I am probably forgetting some people. I will add them as I think of them. And others, such as Tom Bissell, Jim Whorton, Dr. "M." and Jeff McNeil, do not have "blogs" at all! What is wrong with them? I am pretty sure that Phil Oppenheim has a "blog," but I don't know the address. In conclusion, I would like to explain what a "blog" is. It is when you are rich enough to have a computer, and you have developed, at some point in your life, rudimentary typing skills. And also, as Fox News and CNN repeatedly explain, "blogs" are the most important thing in the world. I am sure that if Spartacus were alive today, he would be a "blogger." Or wait. He would have been too poor to own a computer. Well, that's something to think about, isn't it? Also, "blogs" come in handy if you have a product you are trying to sell, but you don't want to come off too pushy. Hope this clears everything up!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Mysterious Lincoln, Nebraska

The Pendarvis Building has been the recipient of a number of "hang-up" calls today, all seeming to originate in Lincoln, Nebraska, if the chart at the beginning of our telephone book is accurate. Now we only know Lincoln, Nebraska from the chilling and creepy Bruce Springsteen song "Nebraska." So needless to say, we are nervous! What do you want from us, Lincoln, Nebraska? Is it something to do with the National Museum of Roller Skating, which, as I have learned from the "internet," is located in your environs? Theresa was quite the roller skater in her day! Perhaps some sort of induction into a roller skating hall of fame? We are keeping our fingers crossed! I hope I will not be required to skate at the induction ceremony, as I am incapable of that feat.

Phyllis Diller Notification

Speaking of cigarette holders, a call came in from Barry B., alerting us that Phyllis Diller was on THE VIEW today. We have no idea why such an awesomely cool person as Barry B. was watching THE VIEW, but we are glad he was! We tuned in immediately, and caught the middle of Ms. Diller's appearance. Unfortunately, a call for "work" came in at the same time, so we missed most of Ms. Diller's witticisms. The volume was turned up sufficiently, however, to confirm that she got plenty of laughs.

Cigarette Holder Intrusion

Jeff McNeil writes in to say that in the first scene of DIVORCE, ITALIAN STYLE, the actor Marcello Mastroianni uses a cigarette holder. Okay. I'm going to let this slide because McNeil is a good person, and also because we actually have a copy of DIVORCE, ITALIAN STYLE floating around the Pendarvis Building. We've watched it within the past year, we are sure, though apparently before December 12, 2006, when we started rigorously cataloguing such things... to our everlasting detriment. But I cannot emphasize this enough: PLEASE DO NOT TELL ME WHEN YOU SEE A CIGARETTE HOLDER. My compulsive nature will require me to list it on the "blog," yet it is clearly outside the realm of what we do here for the people of the world.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Close One

I thought I saw a spider on the hand soap dispenser, but it was just an illustration of an aloe vera plant. Wow! That was a close one.


Remember back when I could get all worked up about fata morgana or Woody Woodbury and "blog" on the subject all day? I just don't have it in me anymore. I blame the high pollen count. Although I do still find it hilarious that some fellow who calls himself "Lord Rex Fear" is a Woody Woodbury fan. So that's a bright spot in my declining years.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

More Boar

For more about boars, or to see where I got the illustration of a boar I used in that earlier "post," I beg you to read about The Queen's College Boar. Be sure to take note of the part where the fellow uses a volume of Aristotle to kill a boar! That could come in handy. But I believe I just gave away the best part of the story.

Spectre of the Brocken Update

I believe that I have inadequately defined the Spectre of the Brocken! I hate it when that happens! I should have said that it is a giant SHADOW, not just a giant. I believe it is one's own shadow, spread across the low hanging fog on the mountaintop. There, that should clear things up! (See this "web" site "link," to which I should have paid more attention than a quick skimming. Gosh, before today I never dreamt there were so many "web" sites about optical phenomena. But I'm glad there are!)

Phosphorescent Creatures

"Coleridge sought out the Brocken spectre of the Harz mountains, but failed to observe it, and had to be content with the sight of a phosphorescent boar." If you love sentences like that as much as I do, hurry and buy yourself a copy of PHANTASMAGORIA by Marina Warner. That phosphorescent boar puts me in mind of the phosphorescent owls in my new book of short stories... owls I borrowed from the work of Charles Fort, whose description of said owls provides my epigraph. I am pleased to note that Mr. Fort rates an entry in Ms. Warner's index. Okay, I won't keep you in suspense, the Brocken spectre was a giant with a halo, and here's a brief scientific explanation of what it really was.

Fata Morgana Fan Club

Fans of a certain optic phenomenon will want to check out FATA MORGANA, a film by "blog" "fave" Werner Herzog. One of the mirages captured on film by Herzog, according to the book I'm reading right now, is a line of people waiting on a bus. In the Sahara Desert! But they're not really there! That's why they're a Fata Morgana! Crazy! Those Fata Morganas are crazy, I tell you! I'm going to give you the name of the book: PHANTASMAGORIA: SPIRIT VISIONS, METAPHORS, AND MEDIA INTO THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY, by Marina Warner. Seems like I should be fair and name it, despite my vow, as I'm drawing on it as a resource for the "blog."

McNeil's Movie Korner: Special TV Edition

With apologies to Dr. "M.'s" TV Korner, we feel obliged to let Jeff McNeil expand his Movie Korner, just this once, into the field of television. Mr. McNeil submits what he considers to be the most egregious example of padding in the history of televised programming: this clip ("click" here) of APPLE'S WAY, which consists of, as McNeil puts it, "almost two minutes of people mingling." (Pictured, Ronny Cox as he appeared in DELIVERANCE, as opposed to APPLE'S WAY, in which he also starred.)

No Foolin'!

Hey, and I didn't even think about it but what a crazy coincidence that I "blogged" about Fata Morgana on April Fool's Day! Because those Fata Morganas will really "fool" you, brother!

Fata Morgana

Hi! I'm reading a really good book right now but I can't tell you what it is because of my special vow. I mean, I could tell you, but then I'd feel bad about the other good books I've read and kept mum about. Why should the book I'm reading now get special treatment? I can say this much: There's a chapter on the phenomenon known as Fata Morgana. I guess I had heard the phrase before but never really thought about what it meant. You should look it up! Then you'll want to see a Fata Morgana, too. You're awesome, Fata Morgana!