Wednesday, September 28, 2011


The shoe factory show is back! But the shoe factory itself is completely gone. No one works at the shoe factory anymore. The guy who used to work at the shoe factory is starting a recording studio with his brother. That seems iffy. Why don't they open a bookstore while they're at it? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Because people hate books. Also, on last night's episode, Lauren Graham ordered coffee. And I was like, NO WAY! She used to order coffee on GILMORE GIRLS. I was filled with rage. "Where is Luke, the scruffy diner owner?" I screamed. [In a remarkable coincidence, the "blog's" most recent mention of Luke, the scruffy diner owner took place five years ago to this very day! - ed.] Stop tormenting me with memories of GILMORE GIRLS! In an exciting subplot, a kid got a rash. And I thought, "This show concerns exactly nothing I care about. Yet here I am watching it in the dark eating a peanut butter sandwich." Later, I saw by chance a few minutes of Jay Leno, a person I do not care to watch on television. At the end, apparently, of his opening monologue, he made some unseemly, leering comments about Lauren Graham, who was to be a forthcoming guest on his televised program of conversation. His comments included, "I like brunettes. My wife is a brunette." Then he said the words "little black dress" and his mouth twisted itself into a weird, untrammeled grimace that turned out to be one of the creepiest and most unsettling things ever presented on television. I switched over to David Letterman, who fought with Jack Hanna, the "animal expert." They are the two oldest and crabbiest men on television, and as such give me great, unending cheer. Mr. Hanna brought out some possums. He claimed that a possum had been caught in the revolving door of his New York City hotel that day. He told Mr. Letterman that there are more than 200 kinds of marsupials in Australia. Mr. Letterman asked Mr. Hanna why the marsupials of Australia are so numerous and varied. Mr. Hanna replied, "It's cold down there and they sit in the pouch! I DON'T KNOW!" He was very irritated. Then he tried desperately to get a colorful bird to eat out of his hand.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Ha Ha Yay, Hugs

... is the awesome punch line to the latest "Babycat" comic strip by Kent Osborne.

Mind Cats!

Over on the "blog" of Megan Abbott and Sara Gran there is a "guest post" by Karolina Waclawiak about a Victorian artist who painted cute little pictures of kitties but as his mind became more troubled so did the cats, as seen here. See also.

Horrible Discovery in the Old Toy Shop

Barry B. was in the toy shop and came across a Mickey Mouse doll with sunglasses and a guitar. If that is not horrible enough, it sings a Kinks song but gets all the words wrong. Instead of singing "Girl, you really got me now" it sings "Hey, I'm really rockin' now," to Barry B.'s recollection and horror. Is that the way you want your children to grow up? Learning all the wrong words to Kinks songs? Then just buy them this $60 monstrosity. FULL DISCLOSURE: Jon Host and I once "wrote" a "song" that went like this: "We're rockin' now/ we're really really really really rockin' now." See also. PS: When I was looking for an image of the rockin' Mickey Mouse doll to share with you, I came across a shady toy-selling site seemingly translated poorly from another language, and I quote: "this rock star mickey is definitely on his great jam with the most fun shades, he’s ready to give his fans the greatest show ever. Now that you eventually rock with the one that goes out together... This Rock Star Mickey has finally developed when asiding with the Dance Star Mickey. At the premiere time, it’s more true that the present of the Mickey Mouse rather than merely Dance Star Mickey. The previous Mickey toy just seem like it’s too large. The fresh proportions of it looks like a lot better and that quite good for the fresh appearance."


As I stayed up last night, brooding about what I have done with my life, I was at least consoled by Tracey, my favorite personality on the Gem Shopping Network. In the course of describing a necklace she said, "like in Shakespeare - Rosaline's quivering thighs." Her co-host Alan was shocked! "It's early in the morning!" he exclaimed. Shocked but delighted. He laughed heartily. He is always delighted by Tracey's antics. They make a great team. Alan is the old pro. For example, someone on the telephone wanted to know how to clean hematite. Do you think Alan had to pause to consider the question, or look up the answer in a book? He did not! He has immediate mental access to all the information you need about cleaning hematite.

Here's to Five Horrible Years

It's official! I have now been "blogging" for five years. What a waste of time. On the plus side, Kelly Hogan just sent me this picture of Jerry Lewis sticking his nose in Frank Sinatra's eye.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Suspended in the Night

GHOSTS by Cesar Aira (which I am teaching now and have taught before) is our latest "book with an owl in it." One character's glasses are "two shining circles, like the eyes of an owl suspended in the night." Is that a "real" owl? I say what's a real owl around here! So shut up.

Typewriter Monkeys

I was reading over on the gawker about the efforts to get monkeys to type up the works of Shakespeare... you know about that old gag, right? But they are mostly talking about a computerized version of typing monkeys, which doesn't count! It doesn't count! Only real monkeys count. Real monkeys, I say! Luckily, there's a reference to a time (2003) when some people really did give some monkeys something to type on. Here is the most wonderful sentence, quoted from the Telegraph: "The monkeys produced five pages of text, mainly composed of the letter S, but failed to type anything close to a word of English, broke the computer and used the keyboard as a lavatory." I know how they feel!

The "Blog" Helps Society

Hey, remember that unsettling commercial where the kid is weirdly holding a wrench aloft inside a jewelry shop? I just saw that commercial this morning, and they have blown up the final shot, thereby CROPPING OUT THE WRENCH, restoring normalcy and making us all feel better. I can only assume it is thanks to the constant "blog" scrutiny of TV commercials that this important correction has taken place. You're welcome, America! And yet... am I just contributing to the homogenization that makes everything duller? I hope so!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lost Cars

You kind of can't tell because the sound quality in this video ("click" here) isn't the best, but this is something like a lost Cars single. You may even be able to make out a Ric Ocasek impression around 1:20 and 2:05. These strange old man words mean nothing to you, do they? Buy the album version of the song for the full effect. I know you're going to steal it, because that's what you do.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Ammonia Coke Again

Hey, remember when I told you about ammonia Coke and all the swell times we had thinking about the ammonia Coke? Here is something I just read in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE by James M. Cain: "I went downstairs to fix myself a coke. I hadn't any more than squirted the ammonia in it when she was at the door." Why am I telling you this? I don't know! I thought you liked it when I told you things. I thought you were my friend.

Tales of the Golden Lobster

So the gossip columnist for the New York Times went to a party. There are lots of sentences like this: "Later, we wandered the mansion’s art collection and snapped photographs of him as he petted a taxidermy leopard." And "Male models working as butlers flanked the entrance." And then a male model offers the gossip columnist a tempting snack of lobster that is LITERALLY COVERED IN GOLD. Strange encounters with seafood make up a big part of her work. Here is a "link" to the whole thing if you don't believe me. But just trust me. You don't really want to read about that, do you? Maybe I do it so you don't have to! I know "gossip columnist" is not exactly the correct phrase but I have decided not to care. Speaking of fancy things, Dr. Theresa and I watched a new soap opera called REVENGE, set amongst the fancy people. There was a scandalous temptress named Lydia Davis! Ha ha ha! Yes, just like the brilliant writer and translator. Well, it seemed funny to me. Never mind.

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Crazy Science Excitement Time For All

In case you didn't believe me, here is some creepy video (if you ask me) about one of those things and here is a news article about another one of those things. Science!

Science Things I Heard Somewhere Maybe

1) Mom was right! The satellite is going to fall on us. 2) I guess some scientists think they found a particle moving faster than the speed of light, which, as Einstein said, would open up the possibility of time travel. But other scientists are like, "Shut up! You're dumb! Stop embarrassing us!" 3) Scientists are getting even better at MAKING PICTURES OF WHAT WE SECRETLY THINK IN OUR BRAINS! Come to me if you have any other questions about science.

Adventures in the Library

All this ghost talk made me nostalgic for the weird sections of the library, so I poked around in there the other day and found a book called MAGIC, WITCHCRAFT, AND GHOSTS IN THE GREEK AND ROMAN WORLDS. It's a collection of excerpts from "literary and documentary sources," 776 BC-476 AD. So expect some exciting public domain stories of people in togas running away from ghosts! I also stopped by the periodicals room to read THE NEW YORKER magazine, in which Gay Talese was reporting on Lady Gaga, meaning everything I predicted HAS COME TRUE. This has reached beyond repressive desublimation and into an area I just made up called desublimated petrification! Sad news from the library: the shabby coffee shop that used to be stocked with a supply of bizarre free books has been converted into a shiny Starbucks with "lite jazz" coming out of it and no free anything for anybody ever.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ancient Philosopher

"Who the hell wants a kitchen and a bathroom?" All these Bill Cunningham quotations are coming from a really good documentary I am watching right now: BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK. Check it out! He is a fashion photographer who lives like an ancient philosopher. But he's nicer than Diogenes. All right! Goodbye.

Black Rose

Bill Cunningham sees a woman using a garbage bag to keep the rain off, and he calls the garbage bag a "black rose." That's how he sees! He is some kind of mystic. Let's try to be more like Bill Cunningham.

What It Is

Today's Quote of the Day for the day today: "If you don't take money they can't tell you what to do, kid." - Bill Cunningham. And he also said, "You've got to stay on the street and let the street tell you what it is."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Not Digging It

Not sure I'm digging this description from the New York Times: "a mound of hamburger meat glistened, as pink and moist as the chef Mario Batali's forehead."

Ghost Eating Stacks of Money

Well, here is the best search term that has ever led anyone to this "blog": "ghost eating stacks of money." Ghost Eating Stacks of Money! Did somebody need to see a picture of a ghost eating stacks of money? Why? It is exciting to think about: "I need to know more about a ghost eating stacks of money!" My brain will not stop repeating that phrase. Ghost eating stacks of money! I assume and am sorry the searcher was disappointed. Is that a thing, though? A ghost eating stacks of money? Is that a thing that everybody knows about? Is there a famous ghost who eats stacks of money? "Rachel McAdams crying" turned out to be a thing, as you may recall. I'm always the last to know about Rachel McAdams crying and the ghost eating stacks of money.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ghost Chicken

Is THE MOST DANGEROUS THING by Laura Lippman "a book with an owl in it"? A couple of characters are referred to as "night owls." I have taken this matter to the Board and we have decided that THE MOST DANGEROUS THING is indeed a book with an owl in it. After all, we have included in our tally many owls that may be theoretical or metaphorical, or which occur "off the page" in summary or exposition. Furthermore, some of the characters in THE MOST DANGEROUS THING spend a lot of time in the woods, so chances are high that an actual owl will pop up at any moment and scare us. Meanwhile there is an ominous chicken! Well, there are some ordinary chickens and one chicken that I strongly feel may be a ghost chicken. A ghost chicken is not Laura Lippman's kind of thing. I am willing to admit I may be reading too much ghostliness into the chicken of which I am thinking. I guess I'll have to wait and see. There's only one way to find out: read it for yourself!

Monday, September 19, 2011

My Chances

Mom called to tell us that a satellite is falling out of the sky on Friday. "You have a big chance of being hit," she warned me.

Sizzling Celebrity Gossip

Fred Willard is going over to JoAnne Worley's house for dinner tonight. How do I know? Ruth Buzzi's twitter account! That's it for today's edition of "Sizzling Celebrity Gossip." Goodbye forever. No, wait, there's more. I like following Ruth Buzzi on twitter! She lives in Texas now and often "posts" pictures of her horses and cats. Sometimes her friends and neighbors come over, like Willie Nelson and Van Cliburn, who is still alive. She uses contemporary slang (like "swag" in its most current sense) then turns around and talks about old-timey things like telephone party lines. I love her! Say, did you know I wrote the musical score to a feature film that Fred Willard was in? It's true! That's a "blog" "fact" you can "clip and save"! (Pictured, Ruth Buzzi, Goldie Hawn, and Henry Gibson.)

Quote of the Day

"Never eat a whole can of pork and beans just before teaching." - McNeil


I looked through Roger Ebert's autobiography at Square Books the other day. It has a great first sentence: "I was born inside the movie of my life." But then I checked the index, and Jerry Lewis appears on just one page. Unacceptable, Mr. Ebert! As you know, I check all the indices for Jerry Lewis as a public service, and one mention is just not enough to justify purchase, even if the one reference is a story about the time Jerry Lewis ruined Dick Van Dyke's meeting with the queen! And in the Ebert, Jerry displays no such waggery, but gets a mere passing reference. So, great first sentence, but no go. I will tell you what I did buy that day: THE MOST DANGEROUS THING, the new novel by Laura Lippman. Not sure what the most dangerous thing is yet. But one of the most dangerous things is the last sentence of Chapter Four. I won't tell it to you because that would be a spoiler. Also, it won't have the same impact unless you suddenly bump into it at the end of Chapter Four. When I read that sentence, I made a noise!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Endless Peanuts

I saw a commercial for a regional chain restaurant which promised a $7.99 steak dinner featuring yeast rolls, two sides, and "endless peanuts." Endless peanuts! I thought that was weird but maybe it is not weird. But I think it is. "Endless peanuts."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

City 2000!

Finally took a tip from McNeil and watched BEAT GIRL. I bet you didn't know that beat girl's dad has a large box in the middle of the living room, and inside the box is an entire miniature city he has designed and built. "Real Superman stuff," says beat girl disdainfully. Beat girl's dad calls it "City 2000"! Says beat girl to her new young French stepmother: "Don't kid yourself he's in love with you. He's in love with City 2000." Indeed, beat girl's dad stands over City 2000 with a glazed look in his eyes, brooding and drinking a dark cocktail. Beat girl's young French stepmom looks like a science fiction creation herself, with an astonishing white helmet of hair and shocking black eyebrows and a futuristic raincoat. And maybe white lipstick. Lots of other stuff happens. Like beat girl and all her friends go out and put their heads on a railroad track because they're so bored with life. And Christopher Lee spies on beat girl through a two-way mirror! "Drinking's for squares," we find out. One of beat girl's friends is shamed by the gang because he is secretly drinking gin out of a cough syrup bottle. "Have a dry martini, general?" his Eddie Cochran-like friend mocks. Featuring Oliver Reed as "plaid shirt." That's his character's name in the closing credits!

When Is the Next Spice Girls Movie Coming Out?

Just last night I was regaling a dinner party with tales of my insomnia. It was like reading my "blog" except in 3D! I pray you can imagine the shudder of thrills that whisked itself around the table. In particular, I touted the comforting sights and sounds of the Gem Shopping Network as one's most pleasant friend in times of trouble. And that reminds me! A couple of weeks ago or so, when I couldn't sleep, and my favorite Gem Shopping Network personality Tracey was not on the air, I tried out a different jewelry channel. I happened to tune in just as the host was flopping her head down on the table and exclaiming, "I bore myself!" It was kind of alarming and not lulling at all. Accept no substitutes! PS Last night when I couldn't sleep I watched part of the Spice Girls movie - when is the next one coming out? - and some of a movie about Don Johnson as a hateful old sourpuss who is baby sitting a young Elijah Wood for some reason.

Sizzling Celebrity Gossip

Welcome once again to "Sizzling Celebrity Gossip," your one place on the "internet" for gossip about celebrities that is sizzling! Today we are just going to go ahead and steal our sizzling celebrity gossip straight from the New York Times. Their gossip columnist visited with the second drummer for the Ramones, who plugged a brand of pasta sauce (I think) he is selling at Whole Foods. Sizzling!

Search Me

Search terms that people are using right now to find this "blog": "girls of Hee Haw" and "the embarrassing non sequitur of death" (!). All right!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Stolen Franks

I cheerfully stole this photo of Mr. Sinatra from Kelly Hogan. She uses it to help explain why she might be coming around on her famous aversion to the man. Read her interesting reflections! Speaking of stolen franks, ha ha! Some kids in Iowa boosted a 400-pound anthropomorphic hot dog statue and drove around with it until they became "'creeped out' by its leer." Read all about that, too! I first came across this news in the "gawker," where some commenters were concerned about the way the hot dog was licking its lips as it applied ketchup to its own head. I argue that the hot dog does not want to consume itself! I think it is merely expressing the effort and determination with which it is engaged in its decorative chore.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

UFO Paraphrase

McNeil said he looked up some obits of the famous alien abductee who recently passed away. One "internet" commenter on one of the obits said (and here I will paraphrase McNeil's paraphrase) "My dad and I were in a nearby boat and saw the whole thing happen! But we never told anybody because we didn't have a fishing license."

Grebes and Meats

From grebes to meats, truly the "blog" has it all.


I have already mentioned a humorous phrase from today's New York Times, and now I would like to announce my "fave" sentence from today's New York Times: "'The grebe chicks have hatched!' he needlessly exclaims." From a book review by Janet Maslin.


Don't worry, this is not "political"! It is a funny phrase. I enjoy phrases! The New York Times is looking at Rick Perry's college record and reports that he took "what appears to be a course called 'Meats,' though the quality of the copy of the transcript makes it hard to tell for certain."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

UFO Guy Dies

Hey, remember when I was 10 years old and a couple of guys near my hometown were supposedly abducted by aliens? We were all very excited! Well, one of those guys just passed away. My brother-in-law David sent me an obituary, but I can't "link" to it because of all the dumb jerk "LOL" "internet" comments. It seems disrespectful to a dead old man! But here is the illustration from the article, in which the late Mr. Hickson is holding up an artist's rendition of his ordeal.

Shrub News

I believe Mr. Arrechea is referring to the agarita bush, with its "bright red berry that is a magnet for birds and small mammals and which makes a delicious jelly." Read more about it! And "click" here for every Texas shrub imaginable, including "the Fairy Duster" with its "disproportionately showy flowers." (!) That seems pretty judgmental for a shrub web site. See? I told you I would bore you soon. And I keep my promises.

Photo Op

Got the LAFA SHOPPER in the mail yesterday! John Arrechea's column was about a family trip to Texas. "Along a 17 mile remote stretch of Road No. 39, we slowed for a large dead black wild hog. We interrupted a family of buzzards, enjoying a hot lunch. We stopped for a photo opportunity." That's going to be some vacation slide show! Shortly thereafter, Mr. Arrechea's grandson throws up in front of "15 young girls on horseback and in English habit and tack" who happen to be nearby. Ouch! Hard to think of a less opportune time for a boy to vomit. But you know I really come to the LAFA SHOPPER to hear about interesting plants (and not the boring plants!). Mr. Arrechea encounters some "agreta bushes," the likes of which he hasn't seen since the 1930s, when "a German neighbor showed my father how to make agreta wine from their red berries." See, that gives me something to research! And later I will bore you with my findings. And so the cycle of life goes on.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Today In Seahorse Reflections

From the "prelude" to that seahorse book I bought: "What is it that make seahorses so special, like miniature dragons of the sea?... What goes on during a day in the life of a seahorse?... I tinker with these questions, the questions that fascinate me and occasionally keep me awake at night..." (!) She stays up at night wondering why seahorses are like tiny dragons! Aw, I kind of love her! In a later chapter titled "Why Seahorses Matter" (!): "An adorable but greedy seahorse wins the heart of SpongeBob SquarePants in a 2002 episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon series." Ladies and gentlemen, I am about to knock your socks off. The top-billed writer of that episode was none other than "Blog" Buddy Kent Osborne! He appears by name in a seahorse book footnote, too! Truly the influence of the "blog" is everywhere, down to the bottom of the ocean, in a nature book about seahorses I bought for some reason. At the beginning of chapter 3, there is a reference to "the elusive Chinese yeti." Why not? This book has everything! (Except, perplexingly, Aquaman, as previously noted.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Literary Matters

WARNING! This edition of our hated regular feature "Literary Matters" contains material of a graphic nature about the sex life of seahorses. I think! I am not kidding! DO NOT READ if you feel that would upset you. And now, a number of literary matters. 1) I was at Square Books today laughing at a book called POSEIDON'S STEED, because it seemed like such a hilariously overblown title for a nonfiction book about seahorses, which is what it was. Then I noticed that it was written by someone named Helen Scales! That made me laugh too. (The blurb on the back from THE ECONOMIST called her "an aptly named marine biologist." The blurb from NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC referred to the volume as "A compelling book about seahorses," which also tickled me with its aggressive mildness.) I noticed that POSEIDON'S STEED had a "prelude" rather than an introduction, which again I found humorous in its pretension. And then I looked in the index for Aquaman, because he used to ride a giant seahorse. He was not in there... BUT! (bawdiness alert) "aquasperm" was. WHAT IS THAT? I DON'T KNOW! Finally I recalled that I had a sort of coupon for Square Books in my wallet... so, reader, I bought that seahorse book! Laughter at some point had turned to wonder. I will let you know any interesting seahorse information I find. 2) Another book with an owl in it! "a bannerman holding Ingtar's Gray Owl banner": what can that be from but one of those crazy Robert Jordan novels? WHY am I reading another one? Can it have anything to do with my supposed "sprawling fantasy epic," or is that a sad joke doomed to failure... LIKE MY LIFE? It's none of your beeswax. Leave me alone! Are you trying to make me cry? Because MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! 3) Speaking of Square Books, 22 books have now sold from my famous recommendation shelf! That includes, most recently, the great Bill Mauldin's post WW II cartoons WILLIE AND JOE BACK HOME and a Lynda Barry book, which, once it sold, I replaced with the SAME Lynda Barry book, a practice which is COMPLETELY against my strict recommendation shelf rules, but who cares? Because EVERYBODY SHOULD READ LYNDA BARRY ALL THE TIME. 4) Also speaking of Square Books, guess what Michael Bible is reading? That's right! CHRISTIANITY: THE FIRST THREE THOUSAND YEARS. Good guess! He is the only person other than I who has taken a stab at that book. So expect some enlightening discussions between fascinating idiots! 5) The other night I dreamed that Gore Vidal came over to the house to talk to me about a new book he had written called THE PEPTIDE DIARIES.

Li'l Falco Is Right!

I approve of the philosophy expressed in this frame snatched by the Man Who Likes KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS from a biopic of Falco (!).


Here is a phrase I read in the New York Times: "a gin-soaked apple of ethical discord."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Inexplicably, a Monkey

In today's New York Times, a review of a reality show about "four dogs and, inexplicably, a monkey... You learn a lot about dogs from the clips... You learn, for instance, that they are close to figuring out how to drive cars." That's what it says in the New York Times! Way to bury the lede. But the dog news doesn't end there: the New York Times gossip columnist attended the Hero Dog Awards. I am starting to feel sorry for her! Back to TV: I watched Dick Cavett interview Mel Brooks on HBO last night. Sometimes Dick Cavett forgot to do the interview! He might suddenly tell a rambling story about Tallulah Bankhead, for example, while Mel Brooks sits there waiting for the question that never comes. Mr. Brooks was sprightly and entertaining, of course, although at one point he did a George Arliss impersonation (!) which even Dick Cavett realized was obscure. Cavett advised the live audience to hurry home and "google" George Arliss - a thrilling prospect. Let me put this in perspective: the other day I taught a college class in which not a single person had heard of Jessica Lange (pictured, with, explicably, a monkey). (By the way, yes, Dick Cavett indulged in the infamous Dick Cavett cliché of bragging in a particularly annoying offhand way about how he used to hang out with Groucho.) The show started with a Bob Hope anecdote and ended with a Jerry Lewis reference, so I should have been the happiest boy on earth, but all I could think about was a roomful of HBO executives: "Tallulah Bankhead AND George Arliss? This is gold!" At one point, Dick Cavett referred to Mel Brooks as "an exploding supernova of humor" (!) proving that mind-boggling Jerry Lewis-style cosmic celebrity glad-handing is not dead.

Friday, September 09, 2011


From the little note at the bottom of the New York Times review of CONTAGION, where they explain why it is rated PG-13: "a human head is peeled like a banana."

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Crouching Like an Owl

There is something called "owling." I guess you already knew about it. I saw a passing reference to it on "gawker" today. According to The Washington Post (!) it involves "crouching like an owl." I feel so tired. But that reminds me of some other dull, meaningless non-events from the newspaper I need to tell you about. Yesterday, for example, there was a Verlyn Klinkenborg piece in the New York Times with the alarming title "Trapped in a Tapestry of Ice and Fire." All I could think was that something terrible had happened on Verlyn Klinkenborg's farm, because Verlyn Klinkenborg is this guy who writes articles about leaves changing colors on his farm and that is all he does and then they put it in the New York Times. But this time he was writing about reading the books on which GAME OF THRONES is based. I guess he got tired of watching the leaves change colors. Here is a sentence by Verlyn Klinkenborg in which he tries to describe the story: "Some call it a potboiler full of cliffhanger soup." Well, I have to say that I don't believe anybody has ever called anything that.

Football Aliens

I guess lightning struck near a football field the other day and the stadium was evacuated. And the TV cameras caught a UFO darting around over the field! So says a person named "Sheila Aliens" (!) in a youtube video sent to me by my brother-in-law David, in an email titled "Football Aliens." But I looked at it and it's a bird. Sheila Aliens! With a name like that, no wonder she became interested in UFOs. Do I need to "link" to this thing? Probably not. "It's a rod chasing another rod!" someone exclaims about the bird. This makes me think of good old John Aubrey. I took all my editions of BRIEF LIVES back to the library, but I recall a story in it about Sir Thomas More. He was hanging out with his buddies and suddenly he started pointing to the sky and saying, "Wow! Get a load of that dragon!" (I'm paraphrasing.) And everybody was like, "What dragon?" And he was like, "That big dragon right there, up in the sky there! What's the matter with you? I can't believe you're not seeing this incredible dragon!" And pretty soon everybody saw the dragon. And Sir Thomas More was like, "Suckers! I made it up." He was messing with their heads.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Hay U.

... is what I should have called that last "post." Because we were learning about hay! And it's an all-around better pun. You remember my friend from "She Blogged By Night." Turns out she also made hay by night, contrary to the popular hay expression, or at least she knows a lot about hay. She informed me that the name of the machine I misheard as "hay tanner" is actually "hay tedder." If I had that "post" to do over again (bearing in mind its reference to "crooners"), I would have finished it off with a youtube video of someone singing "Hey There." How witty that would have been.

Hay You

Concerned that there aren't enough good shows about hay on TV? Just get up at 3 AM unable to sleep the Jack Pendarvis way! Hay shows await you. On the channel that airs the Porter Wagoner reruns, I came across a show called MACHINERY OF THE PAST, which made me think of BROADWAY DANNY ROSE, when the lounge singer is encouraged to perform his tribute to "Great Crooners of the Past Who Are Deceased." So when I tuned in to the most recent episode of MACHINERY OF THE PAST, they were visiting a hay museum. A hay museum! It was a long, long visit to the old hay museum. This fellow had every kind of hay machine you can imagine, and if you are like me, you can't imagine any. I swear he had something called a "hay tanner," though when I looked it up on the "internet" this morning, I found little evidence of such a thing. I found people NAMED Tanner Hay and Hay Tanning, and people who didn't know any better greeting a person named Tanner like so: "Hay, Tanner!" Also I found a tanning salon in the city of Hay, Washington. But as for the actual device, whatever it is called, the docent of the hay museum explained that it "fluffs up your hay" when your hay is wet. There was a machine called the "hay conditioner" as well, and a marvelously gigantic contraption entitled "The Haybuster loose haystacker." The only other thing I remember is that the guy REALLY WANTS YOU TO UNDERSTAND that he DOES NOT TAKE GOVERNMENT MONEY for his hay museum.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Goose Plot

I have been sort of keeping up with the current plot line of the comic strip MARK TRAIL thanks (?) to the "Comics Curmudgeon" "blog." No kidding, it is all about the hero, Mark Trail, discovering a goose with a gold band around its ankle... a gold band inscribed with a Bible verse! So he goes and talks to a mountie about it. And after he leaves, the mountie spends a LONG TIME talking to his dog Princess about it. As we see in today's installment, the mountie may be PART OF the mysterious conspiracy (?) to put Bible verses on the legs of geese. The mountie says (to his dog Princess!), "He may have seen this framed Bible passage on my wall... I knew this day would come!" I am just telling you what's going on. That's what's going on.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Extra E's, Please

There were some more owls in DAY OUT OF DAYS by Sam Shepard and I didn't even bother to tell you about them because you're probably busy. But then AFTER those owls I didn't tell you about there were even MORE OWLS! Now what am I supposed to do? "Great horned owls landing on your chest in the night, pecking at your eyes." Sam Shepard wins for the most owls. Owls in John Aubrey too, only he calls them "Owles." I love all the extra e's in John Aubrey. In fact, I feel disappointed now when I'm reading a book that doesn't have a lot of extra e's in it. Aubrey is quoting Sir Thomas Browne's VULGAR ERRORS about the Owles, something about them as omens of a losing battle, but the book is in the other room, what, you want me to get up and go in the other room? You can forget it.

Sad Space Story

There's an alien abduction almost at the end of Lewis Nordan's autobiography, but it's not funny. It's a sad one!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

History Channel

If you want to contact a bigfoot, go out to the woods and knock twice on a tree and sometimes the bigfoot will respond by knocking twice on another, distant tree, which is something Dr. Theresa learned on the History Channel last night.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Bus Stop Chocolate Milk

So one day, young Lewis Nordan runs away from Itta Bena, Mississippi. He eats a barbecue sandwich with slaw on it and drinks chocolate milk at the bus stop. Then he starts on his trip to New York. "I puked halfway to Memphis and a lady bought me a Coca-Cola in Batesville to calm my stomach down... If anything is remarkable about this time in my life, it is that I actually found the beatniks... right where rumor and corny jokes had said they would be." In his first coffeehouse, he sits at a table next to a woman who is reading a hardcover of Poe, just the way he imagined her. He calls it "one of those fictionlike moments that sometimes actually occur... My heart stopped, or seemed to stop, I swear. All traces and memories of pork barbecue disappeared from the face of the earth. The woman shifted slightly in her chair and placed one long red-nailed finger on the dust jacket of the book, which carried a famous picture of the author, dark-eyed and fully dissipated."

One Day

"This was the 1950s. One day, I heard about the beatniks. It was a word as yet undefined, or only vaguely defined for me, but wonderful. Goatees, yes, berets, possibly, dark glasses and dissipation. With so little information it was hard to imagine the beatniks very vividly. I thought they might go around reading the works of Edgar Allan Poe, for some reason." - Lewis Nordan, BOY WITH LOADED GUN


Another book with an owl in it, for those keeping score. BOY WITH LOADED GUN contains a brief passage from "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear.

Sad Groceries

BOY WITH LOADED GUN (what a title!), the autobiography of Lewis Nordan, is shamefully out of print, just like his great MUSIC OF THE SWAMP. But I was over at Square Books yesterday and saw Richard standing comically on a piece of furniture in his office to reach a high shelf. I asked what he was doing. He told me he was pricing some rare editions of Faulkner. It turns out there is a secret stash of certain old books for sale. Want an old book? Now you know where to go. And tell 'em "Bloggy" the "Blog" Mascot sent you! I idly asked Richard whether he had a copy of BOY WITH LOADED GUN lying around and he plucked a first edition off the shelf like magic. Here is Nordan on the sad "grocery store" where his stepfather went every evening to drink with his friends, "standing on the rough unpainted boards of the store among the meager groceries": "Mr. Shiloh had a meat case that housed only a long string of fierce-colored hot dogs that never changed position in the case." A string of fierce-colored hot dogs is one more reason to love Lewis Nordan. As a boy, he worships Superman: "I went to sleep there in my bed in the sunny morning, wearing my red cape and surrounded by comic books, dreaming about Superman's loving parents on Krypton, and in this way dreamed the death of the father I had never known, the explosion in his heart that had killed him." He gets so excited when his stepfather ("new father," who later becomes "father") buys the family's first TV that he tries to fly, and cracks his head on the concrete. (Image via the Silver Age Comics "blog.")

Friday, September 02, 2011

Palindrome Emordnilap

Just got my new BELIEVER magazine in the mail. It has an article about the purported master of the palindrome! Naturally this made me think of Jon Host. Our entire friendship is based on palindromes, anagrams, terrible puns, and self-loathing. I don't wish to cast aspersions on the palindrome champ, but Jon Host has been responsible for some of our universe's most compelling and complicated palindromes and I would match him up against anyone. But he works out of the spotlight! He's not in it for the big palindrome money!

Thursday, September 01, 2011


Welcome once again to "Foodstuffs!" - the only place on the "internet" to read about food. It occurs to me that any of the four previous "posts" might have served as a new edition of "Foodstuffs!", concerning as they did horrible chocolate wine, pig fragments, blobs of rice, and ammonia Coke. Mmmmmm, some menu. Reminds me of a postcard Kelly Hogan sent me many years ago (see above). Speaking of ammonia Coke, my friend from "She Blogged By Night" writes in with an interesting explanation: "Ammonia Coke contains Aromatic Spirits of Ammonia, i.e. smelling salts!"

An Alarming Report

"Blog" Deputy Rhea reports that the horrible chocolate wine now comes with "espresso flavor" added to the already unholy mixture. Curiously, there is no indication that she became violently ill while typing the message. Indeed, her tone is perversely happy.