read to velma (incomplete)

Posted on November 18th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Books, Memory, Short Stories, Words.

We read to each other, at first constantly, then sputteringly, and then, with my stroke, it ended. I'm trying to assemble which fictions that I read to her. (For some reason, it's much easier to remember the ones I read to her than the ones Velma read to me.)

So, at random, probably added to later:

Joanna Russ, Picnic on Paradise
→ "Nobody's Home"
→ "My Boat"
→ "Bodies"
Barry Hughart, Bridge of Birds
Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman
J.G. Ballard, "Billenium"
→ "End-Game"
Algis Budrys, Be Merry
Gene Wolfe, The Eyeflash Miracles
The Death of Doctor Island
→ "Melting"
R.A. Lafferty, "Continued On Next Rock"
→ "Nine Hundred Grandmothers"
→ "Slow Tuesday Night"
→ "Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne"
Avram Davidson, "Take Wooden Indians"
→ "Sacheverell"
→ "The House the Blakeneys Built"
Neal Barrett, Jr, Skinny Annie Blues
→ "Perpetuity Blues"
→ " 'A Day at the Fair' "
Jonathan Carroll, The Land of Laughs
Alasdair Gray, Five Letters from an Eastern Empire
→ "The Great Bear Cult"
→ "Homeward Bound"
Michael Bishop, "The Quickening"
Pamela Dean, The Dubious Hills
M. John Harrison, "Egnaro"
Francesca Lia Block, Weetzie Bat
Greg Egan, "Learning To Be Me"
Kate Wilhelm, "Baby, You Were Great"
Damon Knight, "Semper Fi"
→ "The Handler"
G.K. Chesterton, The Man Who Was Thursday
The Napoleon of Notting Hill
Howard Waldrop, "God's Hooks!"
→ "Horror, We Got"
Leigh Kennedy, "Her Furry Face"
C.M. Kornbluth, "The Last Man Left in the Bar"
→ "The Advent on Channel Twelve"
Jim Thompson, Pop. 1280


screaming hairy armadillo!

Posted on November 4th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Stuff, Words.

No, really.

Okay, it's also called Chaetophractus vellerosus, but it loses something in Latin.

Screaming hairy armadillo. Screaming hairy armadillo. Screaming hairy armadillo. Screaming hairy armadillo. Screaming hairy armadillo.

Screaming hairy armadillo!

1 comment.

sometimes i forget what i write completely

Posted on October 30th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Literary Criticism, Memory, Words.

I read various music blogs, some of them on Blogger. Today I was looking up another person's bio, and I realized that I probably had a Blogger bio, because I had a picture - but I hadn't looked at it in ages. Probably before my stroke.

So I looked. And I did have a bio (the same one that I have here); but I also had a aborted blog: Another Thick Square Blog, which is a great name for a blog, and I shouldn't have punted it. And there was one post, dated 10 April 2008:

Always scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr Gibbon? Scribble scribble scribble Mr Gibbon Gibbon Gibbon. Scribblin' gibbon. Can you say that, Mr Gibbon? Eh? Scribblin' scribblin' scribblin' gibblon. It's a bit of a tongue workout, eh, Mr Gibbon? Mr Gibblon gabblin' gobblin' Gibbon. Eh? Eh? You're a good sport Mr Gibbon, I always say. Thanks for the book.

I don't think I took a Blogger blog seriously....



Posted on September 20th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Literary Criticism, Words, Writers.

Hewlett married Hilda Beatrice Herbert on 3 January 1888 in St. Peter's Church, Vauxhall, where her father was the incumbent vicar. The couple had two children, a daughter, Pia, and a son, Francis, but separated in 1914, partly due to Hilda's increasing interest in aviation.

--Wikipedia: Maurice Hewlett



Posted on September 15th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Albums, Badness, Music, Words.

I dislike album titles that pun upon a person's name. It's very easy, usually, and most of the time it doesn't pun any further. Like most puns, it's child's play. (If you must pun on this entry -- I know that some people take it as a challenge -- please pun in at least two dimensions.)

But Roy Haynes, boy: I hope that the title of his 1992 album, When It's Haynes It Roars, wasn't his idea.


anyway, it's not, usually.

Posted on September 13th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Editing, Stock Phrases, Words.

Does anybody write "replica" without first writing "exact"?

Oh: I'm back. Cheers.

Is anybody there?


i know i'm a canary about fashionable words and jokes....

Posted on April 3rd, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Editing, Stock Phrases, Words.

....and you can ignore it. (Oh, like you usually stay up at night worrying.)

Anyway. "Hot mess" -- unless you are using it in a different way than everybody, please just remove "hot". It's past vogue.


two ages

Posted on March 20th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Media, Words.

"Chuck Norris had twins at 61." That thought, published today with a "impressed" veneer, has a little piece of information left out. The piece that shoves it into "who cares" territory.


sam? footnote.

Posted on February 23rd, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Media, Sports, Stuff.

I sent a tweet to Andrew Sharp -- the Grantland guy who sometimes writes hilarious, awful "attempt[s] to write the worst sports column on earth" under the hashtag #HotSportsTakes (a parody -- I assume -- of the dim Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith columns on ESPN):

Soren deSelby Bowen ‏@ScrapsDeSelby
@andrewsharp I'm waiting for a #HotSportsTakes about J Collins, outmaneuvering M Sam: now Collins will make history, and Sam? Footnote. :-)

(Oh, I hope somebody will be stupid enough to say it. Because many people will think it. And if people will say it {out loud}, you can bet they will use the "political correctness" defense. (Silent 25% nixon majority: solemn agreement, solemn agreement.)


beckett tattoo

Posted on January 26th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Quotes, Sports, Words, Writers.

Reading about the Australian Open winner, Stanislas Wawrinka, a first-time major winner, I read that he has a Samuel Beckett tattoo on his left forearm. It's one of my favorite Beckett quotes: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

I think Stanislas Wawrinka is my favorite player all of a sudden.


g md fraser addendum

Posted on January 5th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Books, Comedy, Short Stories, Words, Writers.

I forgot one thing in my "review"! I couldn't understand half of the Scots lingo. It was funny, but sometimes I was very lost, and MacNeill's commentary didn't clear it up at all. I'll bet that in America it was never published. (My editions are Pan.) Fraser in the introduction to the second book he says diffidently that lots of people begged for a glossary, so he provides a skimpy one. I think it helped in two or three places. Oh well.


reading etc: george macdonald fraser

Posted on January 5th, 2014 by Scraps.
Categories: Books, Short Stories, Words, Writers.

I'm slowly enjoying reading again, at least sometimes. Complicated reads are still frustrated for me at the sentence level. And I can't delve into why I'm enjoying anything*, let alone analyze anything. But I'm going to report what I'm reading, because.**

The last two books I've read in the previous year were The General Danced at Dawn and McAuslan in the Rough, two books of short stories somewhat based on true events of George MacDonald Fraser's life as a lieutenant in the Gordon Highlanders after World War II, mostly in North Africa. I bought them used at St Vincent de Paul; I didn't know they existed, but I read (a long time ago) almost all the Flashman books.

They're mostly good. Fraser is funny, of course. The viewpoint character, MacNeill (presumably Fraser), is complicated and he looks back on himself with kindness but sometimes of course he's wrong. Mostly he's good, trying to lead, eventually learning. He's very much the opposite of Flashman. Sometimes that's embarrassing. With Flashman you know he's a cad and a coward. With MacNeill, his views of Arabs, in passing but everywhere, is uncomfortable-making. There is a story that is about a black man who wants to play with the band, and the author is at pains to point out this was in the forties. The dialogue in which the black man gets in is fascinating, one of the the best in the book, diving into the heads of several of the men, and you can see how very carefully Fraser gets dialog. But Arabs? Apparently Fraser hasn't seen the necessity of treating Arabs as people. (The two books were written in the early seventies.) I'm not treating Fraser severely, I think; I think he's a good guy, etc. (Anyway, he's a good writer.) But I wouldn't recommend these two books to Arabs***.

(Another thing that bemused me. I'll just quote:

This was in the days when the British Army was still spread all round the globe, acting as sentry, policeman, teacher, nurse, and diplomat in the wake of the Second World War, and getting no thanks for it at all.

No irony, if you're wondering.)

But another good thing or two. There are several long paragraphs, usually setting up the story, economical and pleasing, lots of them with long sentences linked with several semi-colons. It looks easy, but. Eventually I started looking for them, because it was pleasing. And the characterization was fleshed out immediately, even though they were mostly comic characters.

I bought them thinking that these were comic novels (or linked short story collections), like the Flashman books, and the publishers sold them that way. But they were not really; comic-tinged, but human, lived-through books.

* I wrote this before writing what came after. I, uh, will still defend that "can't delve into why" thing... my thoughts around my thinking is always scattered, and I still, looking back on what I've immediately written, is how I didn't express most of my thoughts clearly through my brain-fog.

** "because" is the word of the year according to the American Dialect Society. I approve.

*** I know late in life Fraser took shots at "political correctness". If you want to point this out, and j'accuse! me: yawn.


ed reed: moving up my favorite football players list

Posted on November 20th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Words.

Ed Reed last week was waived from the Houston Texans:

"[Critics] are looking for every reason to put everything on Ed Reed," Reed said. "That's funny. That's funny to me. And it's kind of funny that I'm speaking in the third person about that."


no, really? he's a small man? get out!

Posted on October 25th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Sports, Stock Phrases, Stuff.

"I think he just wants to flex his power," [Cliff] Bennett says. "He has small (man's) syndrome. I still talk to guys who are there, and trust me, there's not much respect for him in that locker room."

Cliff, why do you reference Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano's height when running him down? Many, many tall men casually flex their power, but you wouldn't refer to their height (well, maybe if he's seven feet tall). But if a short person "flexes their power", you hear it endlessly. It's cliché-psychoanalyzing. It's teeth-grindingly tiresome. As a short man (no, really? get out!), you have to behave like a short person should: deferential, always.

Greg Schiano's behavior is awful. To tie it into his height is a distraction when you should be zeroing in on the real problem: He's a classic, over-the-top boorish example of Football Coach's Syndrome.


very, very tired

Posted on October 15th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Comedy, Headlinese, Media, Words.

Album titles (or headlines) playing on "Straight Outta ________".


st vincent books

Posted on October 11th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Books, Short Stories, Words, Writers.

Yesterday we went to St. Vincent de Paul thrift store again. We're making it a habit; it's only half a block away. We got clothes, glassware, etc. I like best the one small room that's devoted to books. I almost always find at least one. This time I found four:

The Country of the Pointed Firs and other stories by Sarah Orne Jewett (Doubleday Anchor paperback, 1956). Selected and with a preface by Willa Cather (1925).

A Vintage (1968) collection by Paul Goodman: People or Personnel and Like a Conquered Province in one. I've never read either of them, and I'm salivating just reading the title of the first one.

Writing Home by Alan Bennett, a 634-page Faber paperback that collects essays and diaries.

And: a 1907 hardcover (Doubleday, Page & Company) edited by Hamilton Wright Mabie called Famous Stories Every Child Should Know. It's a series; the spine and the cover says The What Every Child Should Know Library. It's published by -- ready? -- Keep-Worthy Books. (It's a subsidiary of The Parents' Institute, apparently, publishers of The Parents' Magazine.)

A good haul. (cost: $5.06)


seriously, it's been six months

Posted on October 3rd, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Boring Posts, Editing, Media, Words.

I was reading a CBS News report about a fight between Georgia and Tennessee over water rights (basically, a surveying mistake drawing the border 200 years ago enabled Georgia now to claim more of the Tennessee River than they're actually entitled to).

The story says:

Georgia wants to pull one billion gallons of drinking water a day from the Tennessee River, less, its officials claim, than the one-and-a-half billion gallons that four major Georgia tributaries feed to that river every day. There's also a threat of other options. Rumley said, "We could damn up all these streams before they even got to Tennessee, then could build a reservoir and pump it back."

It's dated April 5, 2013. The typo -- well, a mindo -- has been there ("damn up") for six months. I don't know which possibility is worse, several people pointing out the typo and CBS not caring to correct it, or nobody noticing. (Or nobody taking the time to point it out; it does take a minute to hit the "contact us" down at the bottom of the page, true. And I have lots of time.)


identity, cracked

Posted on September 4th, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Memory, Recovery, Stuff, Words.

Charles R. Pierce, in a scathing piece about the NFL and how it bought out the concussion lawsuit and what it means to the public, as an aside wrote:

(As a writer, I have to admit, there is something darkly compelling about Alzheimer's because it attacks the two things most central to a writer's craft — language and memory, which together make up an individual's identity. Alzheimer's makes a new character out of a familiar person.)

Strokes, also. "Language and memory, which together make up an individual's identity." (Now I'm struggling to say what I need to say.) (Again.) (Well. I'll put it up because it's very true, for me. Maybe eventually I'll find the words to add.)


frederik pohl, the last futurian

Posted on September 2nd, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Science Fiction, Words, Writers.

among other things. I'm sad.

I was just musing last week that he was still alive, as far as I knew he was spry and probably in his nineties (and he was 93, turns out).

My mind always turns to demographics, in this case the science fiction field. Did you know (I ask myself) that Frederik Pohl outlived C.M. Kornbluth* by 55 years? And Pohl was older than Kornbluth by three and a half years, too.

* Pohl and Kornbluth were frequent collaborators, most famously on The Space Merchants.


"are your employees engaged?"

Posted on September 2nd, 2013 by Scraps.
Categories: Headlinese, Words.

enquires the technorati feed. Well, I don't know; usually we keep employees from talking about their personal lives, but if they're getting engaged, I think they should let us know, eventually.


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