Tuesday, November 28, 2023

The Smiling Accusation

Look, I've fulfilled my duty 100% by telling you about the character in THE SCARLET RUSE by John D. MacDonald who says "I look like a big goggly owl." Yes, a subsequent owl has appeared in the text, but our contract states that I am under no obligation to tell you about it. HOWEVER! It's the same character talking about owls again. This time, she is with Travis McGee's sidekick, who she says is "smiling at me like some kind of owl." She must have owls on the brain. Unlike me. NOW! Over the years, we have collected here quite a trove of owl imagery, and owls have been accused of a lot of weird things by authors of varying insight and ability, but as I search the files, I cannot find a previous example in our catalog of anyone ever thinking of an owl as smiling. I am ready to be corrected! In any case, you can see why I had to attach this footnote. We are constantly making new discoveries in the area of literary owl usage.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Sooner Than I Expected

Well, given that Barbra Streisand was in a movie called THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT (not to be confused with the poem of the same name), I sort of knew that her autobiography would have an owl in it. It's so incredibly long, the book is, that it probably has everything in it! Something on her honeymoon with Elliott Gould reminds her (here, far in the future) of her movie THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT. To be clear, the movie came out many years after her honeymoon with Elliott Gould, so I was not expecting that particular owl to appear so soon. But I knew it was coming! Some day I'll remember why I tell you every time I read a book with an owl in it. Was I proving a point?

Sunday, November 26, 2023

The Sleep of Swamp Thing

Someone (I hesitate to say who or why, though the details are interesting!) kindly made a present to me of the complete SWAMP THING comic books by Alan Moore. So, I was going through those, and what do you know? Jason Blood came to town. You may know him better as the superhero/demon called, fittingly enough, "The Demon." Well, first thing he does is stop at the local freaky magic occult shop and pick up a copy of Goya's "The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters" to hang on the wall in his bachelor pad. (Sometimes translated as "The Dream of Reason Produces Monsters"... either way, whatever it is is producing monsters.) So I'm squinting at this piece of art as represented in this here comic book... let me tell you something. I stopped reading comic books when they still cost 25 cents. Now, later on, in the 1980s, for example, when these SWAMP THING comics by Alan Moore came out, well, they really started cramming a lot of visual information on a page. Too much, I say. It's kind of taxing! So I'm squinting at this postage-stamp-sized fragment of "The Sleep of Reason" on this chaotic field of shape and color and I'm like, that's an owl, right? Because, if so, that's very important to me. So I had to look up the real thing on the "internet" just to make sure, and then I looked back at the comic book panel for comparison, and yes, okay, that was an owl I was looking at.

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

My Problems

Let me tell you about my problems. I went to visit my parents. That's not a problem! But practically as I was walking out the door, I realized I had not brought a book to read. Now, I didn't want to bring this Lydia Davis book, because I was almost finished with it, and I didn't want to finish it down there on the Gulf Coast and be sitting around with nothing to read. Nor did I wish to bring the next entry in the 2-person book club, because it is a real whopper, almost exactly as long as the unabridged ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY. So I kind of glanced along a shelf in my home office and saw a brittle, used Travis McGee mass-market paperback I purchased for money in 2014 but never read because even Ace Atkins, the world's biggest Travis McGee fan, had described it to me in what I took to be unflattering terms. And I have a lot of misgivings about Travis McGee to begin with! But somehow it seemed like the perfect thing to take on my trip. So a character in the book describes herself in the following manner: "I look like a big goggly owl." I respect you enough not to belabor the reasons why this is important to the "blog." Furthermore, the character once again confirms Ace's observation that Travis McGee's author especially likes women who are also powerful storybook giants. The description of her devouring an enormous picnic lunch lies somewhere between Rabelais and Lovecraft. As we have seen in the past, Travis McGee fears being eaten by women, though I have never thought to reconcile it with his sexual appreciation of hungry giants.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Funny You Should Mention It

Elizabeth Ito was in town last week, and it was during her visit that we walked around Square Books and I picked up the Lydia Davis book I mentioned in a previous "post," which had an owl in it. The book, not the "post." Well, both had owls in them. Later in the week, I gave Elizabeth a copy of my crummy little book of poems, and she took particular notice of one I based on the first sentence of June Havoc's memoir. Elizabeth said it made her think of the time we had hot dogs, and I said funny you should mention it. Well! Yesterday I was reading the Lydia Davis book and came across a short piece about June Havoc. I thought that was interesting! You don't come across many books with June Havoc in them, unlike owls. As I was typing this, I recalled that June Havoc also appeared in a recent selection of the 2-person book club (more recent than her memoir, which was also part of the 2-person book club and also, of course, had June Havoc in it, as it was her memoir, after all), so, the more I think about it, maybe lots of books have June Havoc in them, so never mind.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Very Small

There is a "very small owl" in this new Lydia Davis book (see also). I bought it (the book, not the owl, though, in a way, I guess I also bought the owl) at Square Books, which I especially want to mention because Lydia Davis has seen fit to make this book available only through independent booksellers and not through that one un-independent bookseller, you know the one. The cover has an egg on it. Well, an egg and a ping-pong ball. I didn't notice the ping-pong ball the first time I looked. If you read the book, you will understand the egg and the ping-pong ball.

Tuesday, November 07, 2023

Three Times the Owl

As I often do between book-club books, I picked up Ovid and randomly opened to yet another owl: "three times the owl/ Wailed out his cry to warn her." I don't want to say what the owl was upset about, but it was pretty sick stuff. Let's just say the owl had some good reasons! You're once, twice, three times an owl, and I love you, to paraphrase Lionel Richie. Which reminds me: back when I went to Sunday school, some folksy Christian troubadours came by as a special treat one time, and I was mesmerized by a short-haired young woman in a French-style striped shirt (you know, like Jean Seberg in BREATHLESS, basically, though I had not seen it at the time), who strummed her guitar and sang words about Jesus to that Commodores song, as I still remember: "You're once, twice, three times a Savior." That's what we thought was cool!