Over at Old Hag’s, for a limited time, readers have the ear of a New Yorker cartoonist–and she’s entertaining suggestions of fresh new cartoon settings! And lest you think that’s all, there’s a prize.
Archives for March 15, 2005
Frankly, I probably won’t. I am heading to Detroit on Thursday for a long weekend, so it’s possible. And I had a good time watching basketball tonight. But why risk spoiling a perfect 1-0 record as a spectator? That’s right, the out-of-nowhere Golden Grizzlies, team close to my heart, have a prom date. They kept their qualifying game close when the other team looked scary in the first half (Alabama A&M seemed to be under the impression that only 3-pointers counted, and for a while it looked like they might get away with that), then ran away with it in the second. I hear this next team is a sight more formidable, but–barring some absurd miracle–I think the Grizzlies will mean it when they say in their post-game interviews that they were happy just to be there. You know, like Tom Wolfe in the Morning News Tournament of Books. Oh…wait a minute…the semis? Huh.
By the way, did you know ESPN has a broadcaster called Len Elmore? Can’t slip him past a native Detroiter.
Go, little engine! I refer, of course, to the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies, who contend tonight for a berth in some big old basketball tournament about which I normally would not care, not even in lieu of the much-missed run-up to the NHL playoffs that should be absorbing all of my sports-dedicated attention right now. But the Golden Grizzlies occupy a special place in the hearts of the Demanskis, and for one special, unprecedented night, I will willingly watch college basketball.
You say 12 and 18? Upset specialists, say I. Go Grizzlies!
A small new feature has cropped up in the book section of the Atlantic Monthly, unique to the magazine as far as I can tell. It’s called “Close Reads,” and both installments that I’ve seen have been written by Christina Schwarz. In the most recent issue she illuminates a single paragraph from an Ann Beattie story, “Find and Replace”; the month before that she gave similar treatment to a tiny passage from John Updike’s “Villages” (subscription required for this one, though you can view the passage without it).
I love this feature. There’s something faintly fusty about it–back to basics–and yet a really great close reading can be so dazzling (Schwarz does pretty well with hers, unearthing lots from seemingly straightforward extracts while avoiding getting too schoolmarmish about it). There’s no room in a typical newspaper or magazine book review to perform analysis quite this detailed, even though it’s just the sort of work one hopes critics’ larger judgments are built on.
The nice thing about Schwarz’s analyses is that they not only unravel the meanings and effects packed into her chosen fragments, but show how they’re representative of that author’s particular bag of tricks. And there’s just something that feels salutary about having these little demonstrations of good reading tucked in among the large-scale reviews. If I were in charge of a book section, I’d lift this idea in a heartbeat. I’m sure there are many, say, book bloggers who would be only too happy to pitch in with some readings.
This is to warn you that I’ll be deeply immersed in writing Hotter Than That: A Life of Louis Armstrong for the remainder of the week. Any postings that happen to find their way onto the blog will be…er, fortuitous.
“I’m playin’ a date in Florida years ago, livin’ in the colored section and I’m playin’ my horn for myself one afternoon. A knock come on the door and there’s an old, gray-haired flute player from the Philadelphia Orchestra, down there for his health. Walking through that neighborhood, he heard this horn, playing this