Monday, January 30, 2006

Why I Should

be working in publishing, or
"Hire Me, I Can Read."

I do not approve of newspapers' playing little tricks on the rest of the world such as when a New Times Media monthly publishes phony escort service ads to aid local police in "finding" people who use them.

I read that the Sunday Times of London sent manuscripts out to unsuspecting publishers and agents. The reporters were not looking to get their own masterpieces published, but to make a point about how even "good" books can be overlooked by the powers-that-print-on-paper.

The submissions were the first two chapters of two books. Rejection letters numbered 20; acceptance, 1.

So, have you read these 1970s Booker Prize winners?

Stanley Middleton's "Holiday"
and Sir V.S. Naipaul's "In a Free State" (which caught the Nobel Prize in 2001)

The writers' quotes are typical and make them sound rather pompous. The article's writer didn't include anything about whether people in the 70s were perhaps reading bad novels.

Middleton: "People don't seem to know what a good novel is nowadays."

Naipaul: "To see something is well written and appetizingly written takes a lot of talent, and there is not a great deal of that around. With all the other forms of entertainment today, there are very few people around who would understand what a good paragraph is."

Barking Time

For a "Tiger," who likes birds and is married to "Monkey" (all wrong! just like mixing a Cancer and Sagittarius - what were they thinking!?!?), the Year of the Dog, which began Sunday, sounds a bit scruffy and ankle-biting.

A wolf, I can respect more. However, for those who want to pretend to follow a lunar calendar, the dog's domesticated status symbolically means a year of home-life harmony.

The dog's blind loyalty will bring exactly what the world has been missing (I'm sure) - more patriotism. Can't have a secure home or homeland without feeling all bursting-hearted and proud.

Supposedly, the dog also possesses rigid willpower and an unbending sense of justice. Yes! More righteousness! Please!

The site I'm lifting this from says these traits will lead to some major confrontation, but that the winner will be from the weaker side. What does that mean, the meek shall inherit the earth before next January? Or that non-nuclear nations will finally get some cake to eat after America et. al. have been making icing bombs for decades?

The site itself lifted the information from The Handbook of Chinese Horoscopes by Theodora Lau (published by Arrow Books Limited), by the way, and continues to promote this silly dog by promising unselfish behavior for all during his reign. Dismal and stable, wow, I can hardly wait for the treasures 2006 may bring.

So far the "don't use credit cards" and "stop eating crap" mandates have not held.

Better go to obedience school. Ever try to keep a dog from eating crap?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

26th Street

and West Paseo. Not for sale or for anything. . . .

18th Street

Where a construction-sized trash bin was deposited today. Building is for sale or lease.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Me want bread

(reformatted from The New York Times, article by Lawrence Van Gelder, published January 4):

Contenders for the Whitbread Book of the Year prize dwindled to five yesterday in London, where winners, chosen from 476 entries, were announced in the five awards categories: novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children's book.

One of those works will be chosen the Book of the Year, to be announced on Jan. 24, when its author is to receive the grand prize, the equivalent of $43,000.

Each of the category winners receives about $8,600.

They are:

Ali Smith, for "The Accidental," chosen best novel;
Tash Aw for "The Harmony Silk Factory," best first novel;
Hilary Spurling for "Matisse the Master," the second part of her biography of Matisse;
Christopher Logue for "Cold Calls," in poetry;
and Kate Thompson for "The New Policeman," best children's book.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Canvas-back and Terrapin for Dinner

She didn't read any news today. She didn't write any either. She finished "The Age of Innocence" and had issues staying awake on this post-Ephiphany dull January day that weathercasters swore would be warm. The heat came on five or six times while she slept in the filtered sunlight this afternoon. The sky was cloudy and uninspiring, though she knew that to personify such a thing as the dome of the heavens was pathetic fallacy.

We accept many things that are pathetic and false. It would be simpler to list those which are not so. Cynicism of heart brings a mocking "no, not even that escapes falsehood" at every idealistic suggestion: "love" summarizes those suggestions. Distillations of marriage, filial, patriotic, Christian, neighborly, etc.

Love is contingent on honesty and practice. We may pose to "love our neighbors," but for the most part, we do so from behind glass, behind windows of the house, the car, the television.

She, too, doesn't fancy touching people. She has tried to make that an upfront condition, being one of the "we" as all go along pretending that the sky is judgmental even when it's sunny and that our actions are guided by these principles of justice and good.

Good gracious, remember the dream from this morning? A giant storm over an unlikely empty field, full of friends such as one finds on the Elysian, an alien ship's landing and a female voice calling her by name. The woman was dark-haired and offered a journey, irreversible and without contact with the current world. It had nothing to do with privilege or the foundations of actual decision-making. However, she had to refuse on the grounds of being married, that is, being expected and cherished so that to remove oneself would be the equivalent infliction of suicide. She did not wish to abandon her duty to those who loved her.

She recalls feeling regret only that she would miss something unknown, something implied as greater. She did not feel far enough into the future to admit any loss herself in leaving her friends, family, lover behind.

She laments the fact that time-travel is not a reality.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Tempted to Chug

When you're going on a float trip, for example, and make that last stop at the grocery store before hitting the highway, is cold beer on your list? Sure, you're getting ice for the cooler, too, and it's a certainty that several hours later when you start setting up camp, your beer will be frosty and drinkable, no matter what (unless your cooler leaked and now there's an unnavigable puddle in the car).

Of course, there are those, whose names I'm not gonna mention without permission, who do start the party hundreds of miles away from the campsite. Cold beer is involved, but I've seen warm beer get equal billing, not to mention the any-temp-will-do swigs from the Jack Daniels. . . .

But what about when you are on your way to a house party? That beer you bring better be chilly!

That's why I'm "so glad" that a 10-year-old southwest of St. Louis tugged the attention of Sen. Bill Alter. Yes, that's right, the senator got his idea from a fifth-grader "learning about government."

Sen. Alter's bill bill, read Wednesday in the Missouri General Assembly, makes it illegal for stores to sell beer that's colder than 60ºF.

Having been a cop for 20+ years, Alter was quoted by the AP: “The only reason why beer would need to be cold is so that it can be consumed right away.”

What about in 20 minutes? I love it when law enforcement officials make sweeping presumptions based on the yahoots they've encountered. This law seems best for rural and subsuburban places. It's no city-friendly thing.

Alter is from High Ridge, Mo.

Some of my relatives live there.

Should the Missouri Senate and House agree on SB763 and Gov. Matt Blunt signs it into a law, don't worry unless your float trip plans were for Labor Day weekend. The law would go into effect August 28.

How true is it that "people who want to drink and drive are going to do it anyway?" I think it's quite so. So, yeah, we don't "need" this new law.

It will save convenience and grocery stores electricity, perhaps. And boost business for liquor-only stores? It is unclear to a non-lawyer what Missouri Revised Statute 311.050 really means.