Friday, May 19, 2017


As you know, Megan Abbott and I are on a steady diet of celebrity memoirs, which I tell you about only where there is an owl in one of them. So! Louise Brooks is widely read, and sprinkles her reminiscences with literary allusions, including a passing one to Edward Lear's nonsense masterpiece "The Owl and the Pussycat." PS I didn't even put "owl" in my search terms but here's Louise Brooks with an owl photoshopped onto her head. It popped up like magic.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

How About an Apple, Chad?

As you know, I never "blog" anymore except when I do. For example, I am obligated to "blog" every time I read a book with an owl in it because it has to go on my big long list of books with owls in them ("click" here). A couple of weeks ago, I guess, I ran into Bill Boyle at Square Books, and you know how Bill is always recommending books. So I got the book he recommended and we went to the City Grocery Bar (pictured, with book), which is conveniently located. (Also pictured, a Benjamin Franklin pencil sharpener Ace Atkins gave me that evening.) So I've been reading this book and thinking, "Oh well, I can tell Lucia Berlin is not an owl type!" But suddenly last night she gave me some "ratty horned owls." And Jell-O, which is in the books I read almost as often as owls are. The Jell-O appears in the same sentence as the book of Deuteronomy, a good balance. I like those two proper nouns holding down a sentence from either end. I am also allowed to "blog" about THE BIG VALLEY. Hey! Remember when Heath really had a thing for apples in the first episode? So last night I was watching one in which this kid goes through a horrific tragedy, seeing his grandfather gunned down before his very eyes, so Heath is awkwardly holding an apple and he says, "How about an apple, Chad?" Apples are Heath's answer for everything! He also loves cleaning guns, especially when Audra is around, but not exclusively. I'm going to watch some more and make sure this is true. I'll tell you one thing, though. Jarrod is always staring into the fireplace. That's where he goes to stare!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

The Tinder of Our Wishes

Hey remember when my book about cigarette lighters came out? Me neither! But for a while there I would see something and think, "Oh, I should have put that in my cigarette lighter book. If only I had known!" But after a while you stop thinking that because you'd go mad. Mad, I say! But I just read AGNES GREY. To my surprise there were no owls in it, because those Brontë sisters are usually reliable purveyors of literary owls. The closest we get are some rooks who fly away as the sun sets: "For a moment, such birds as soared above the rest might still receive the lustre on their wings, which imparted to their sable plumage the hue and brilliance of deep red gold; at last, that too departed. Twilight came stealing on..." And I was like, "Oh, boy! Here come the owls." But there were no owls. Here's what Anne Brontë DID have: something I would have stuck somewhere in my cigarette lighter book, had I read it in time... "the flint and steel of circumstances are continually striking out sparks, which vanish immediately, unless they chance to fall upon the tinder of our wishes." I also enjoyed (this is unrelated) her elaborate conceit on the subject of a lonely glowworm. Anne Brontë is in great sympathy with nature. The same cannot be said for Arnold Schwarzenegger, I fear. We watched most of ERASER last night. You know, Dr. Theresa and I saw it in the theater when it came out, and I associate it with the very earliest years of our marriage. I did not recall the part in which Arnold is being pursued through a zoo by some bad guys, so he shoots out the glass on a tank full of alligators, and the alligators immediately begin eating the bad guys. "Don't they feed these alligators?" I wondered. Actually, what I wondered was "Don't they feed these crocodiles?" But I decided later that they were supposed to be alligators, for reasons that will soon become clear. So after the alligators eat the bad guys, one of them gets after Arnold, so he shoots it in the head. Hey, these alligators just helped him out! And isn't he responsible for them now? Doesn't he realize their terrible irony? But no, he just says, "You're luggage." That's what he says after he shoots the alligator. I found it unnecessary! First of all, the alligator is already dead. Second of all, even if the alligator was alive, it wouldn't be able to understand what you were saying. Third of all, why are you gloating? Even if forced into a situation in which she was required to kill an alligator (there is some arguable precedent in AGNES GREY), Anne Brontë never would have gloated about it! Fourth of all, why are you staying and making wisecracks to a dead alligator when there are more bad guys coming? In any case, his remark was in extremely bad taste. I decided they were meant to be alligators because I believe shoes and belts and boots and suitcases are traditionally made from alligator hide, not crocodile hide. I don't know the difference. I must sadly conclude by noting that Arnold Schwarzenegger appears in my cigarette lighter book more than once, poor Anne Brontë (as noted) not at all.

Monday, May 01, 2017

A Very Important Announcement

I can't believe it took me so long to watch the ending of THREE RING CIRCUS. I just got around to finishing it last night. So Jerry does a clown act with a tiny monkey. This is one tiny monkey, believe me. And it runs over and starts riding around in the sawdust on a tiny scooter and I was like, "Gee! They really found a tiny scooter to fit that tiny monkey. Look at him go!" This isn't the important part, but it was pretty great to see that tiny monkey really booking it on that tiny scooter. And he's wearing like a red silk diaper. Suddenly he's off the scooter and posing Burt Reynolds style in his red silk diaper. We haven't gotten to the important part. Now Jerry, for reasons I can't quite recall, picks up something like a bazooka and starts shooting something - maybe they're long foam tubes? - at the reclining monkey. It's all real harmless and Jerry misses by a mile anyway. Don't make me swear to what it is coming out of that bazooka. But one thing is for sure: that monkey needs to escape, and pronto. So he jumps up and hops on the back of a convenient dog we haven't seen before and rides away to freedom. That's the important part: THREE RING CIRCUS has A MONKEY RIDING A DOG IN IT! As I'm sure you will recall, I have mixed feelings about monkeys riding dogs. They (the feelings, and the monkeys riding dogs) even come up in one of the stories in my most recent short story collection MOVIE STARS, in which they (the monkeys riding dogs) symbolize... the futility of existence or something? I can't remember. But in this case I was okay. I even laughed! The dog seemed into it.