Thursday, June 29, 2023


I think you know why I'm here. I'm back to reading Mann's DOCTOR FAUSTUS, and one character calls another character a "crazy hoot-owl."

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Long Way to a Short Thing

I'm sure you all remember the Simpsons episode when some fans are asking questions of the people who work on their favorite cartoon, "Itchy and Scratchy." One of the fans observes, "In episode 2F09 when Itchy plays Scratchy’s skeleton like a xylophone, he strikes the same rib twice in succession, yet he produces two clearly different tones." All right, keep that in mind! So, I recently rewatched TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN, and thought, in the middle of my viewing experience, that it would be a good idea to order a self-published (?) book by an obsessed (?) fan of the show, because it would be fun and interesting to read some theories about the plot and so on. Well, the book came, long after I had finished watching the series again, and I sort of flipped through it, and it was giving me a headache, through no fault of the author. It was just cloudy yesterday, and the light was poor. But also, I couldn't remember why I had ordered it... or, to be more accurate, I couldn't recapture the feeling of wanting to engage with it. Furthermore, to my jaded eyes, a lot of it seemed to be, maybe (and this is based on an unfair skimming under bad conditions), of the "he strikes the same rib twice in succession" variety (the questioner goes on, "What are we to believe, that this is some sort of magic xylophone?"). I see that I have mentioned xylophones on the "blog" only twice before! That seems low. I've been doing this for, God, 17 years, please help me, though, of course, I stopped "blogging" in 2016. Well, all I really wanted to say, and it should come as no surprise to anyone who has a passing familiarity with Twin Peaks, is that this book has an owl in it.

Saturday, June 10, 2023

An Incident Drawn from Life

Yesterday we saw a commercial in which a golf cart mat was presented as the perfect Father's Day gift. A father was so excited by his golf cart mat that he enacted a frantic dance of appreciation. At this point, I remarked, "Your golf cart mat isn't 'all that,' as the kids say." And Dr. Theresa wisely rejoined, "When was the last time the kids said that?" To which I admitted, "Probably when that movie came out," meaning SHE'S ALL THAT (1999). "That's what probably killed it," my baseless speculation continued. But then my brain jumped up in my head! I suddenly recalled, thanks to the fact that I had recorded it on the "blog," the time I was walking around in 2016 and heard a young woman tell her friend that scarlet fever wasn't "all that" as far as diseases go.

Thursday, June 01, 2023


It seems that I have six books going at once, a feat (?) not equaled since July 2020. I don’t know what it means, but it can’t be good, can it, given that timing? Troubled times! The usual number of books “going” is one or two. I have calculated, in fact, that it is always one or two, with the twin exceptions, from now and then, of six. It is never three, four, five, or seven. How can this be true? At some point they must have piled up, one by one. Furthermore, as two books cannot be finished simultaneously (can they?), the stack must likewise dwindle, 5, 4, 3, if only for the span of a word or two. One must also consider, I suppose, whether a "next book" is waiting to slide into its spot, complicating matters, but I'm already so tired. Now, I thought for a moment that I might escalate to seven, but I (ironically?) finished Megan Abbott’s new novel (maybe her best yet: dreamy and dangerous, with a gothic punch!) just before I was due to start another book that Megan Abbott and I are reading in our tiny book club consisting of only ourselves. Now! You may ask how I know a book is “going.” I can only answer that I know when a book is NOT going – when it has been abandoned. Not one of these books has been abandoned. Two of them may look that way to the untrained observer, but they are merely being read at a rate impossible to detect, much as someone told me in a dorm room once (was it McNeil?) that glass is nothing but a very slow-moving liquid (a claim for which I have sought no evidence in the three decades or so since I passively absorbed it - the claim, not the glass). For example, I was only a couple of pages into a Stephen King novel when Megan’s book arrived. The former, therefore, may appear as though I have not even begun to read it. But I have. In the case of Mann’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS, I may have come close to abandonment, but now I am too far along. It has attained a kind of glacial momentum. Here, I must admit that I was tempted to abandon THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN quite a few times during the first hundred pages or so. I’m glad I didn’t, as the final 800 or 900 pages really rollick along. They have a rootin’ tootin’ time in that tuberculosis sanatorium! In conclusion, for a book to be “going,” it must be made for reading (from cover to cover), as opposed to browsing, a distinction that I regret to say is not up for further exploration within our current framework.