June 2008 Archives

Scott McLemee makes the excellent point in his post on Critical Mass  that political blogger Jon Swift should be considered one of our country's most incisive book reviewers, even if the solons at Amazon.com have squelched some of his contributions to their fine intellectual journal. Or rather, perhaps he should be considered an excellent reviewer because of their deletions.

At any rate, in the tradition of scrupulous honesty that characterizes all book blogging, Mr. Swift begins each review with the confidence-inspiring declaration that "I have not actually read this book, but ...." and then proceeds to make such trenchant observations as the following about Ana Marie Cox's Dog Days: "Most people nowadays write non-fiction books with bits of fiction secretly interspersed throughout, sort of like Where's Waldo for adults. But Ms. Cox has brilliantly turned this idea on its head and written a fiction book with bits of non-fiction secretly inserted into the text. I wonder if Oprah knows about this unique innovation."

Or this, about Ben Shapiro's Porn Generation: How Social Liberalism is Corrupting Our Future: "I don't plan to read a book that is basically pornography. I must confess that when I was a teenager we used to look at books like this, which claimed to condemn pornography and various perversions, but went into very explicit detail about them. We would mark the dirty parts and pass them around."

Mr. Swift proudly points out that, contra Amazon, his work has inspired serious comment, notably a spectacularly self-defeating whine/rant by Michael Fumento, author of Fat of the Land, and an admiring citation by the Uncyclopedia.

It's here that book/daddy took special interest --

June 23, 2008 3:57 PM |

semicolon2.JPGThe last writers to receive much notice for semicolon use have been a New York City Transit employee and the Son of Sam. In 1977 the NYPD speculated that "the killer could be a freelance journalist" because of his "use of a semicolon" in his taunting letters. (Decades later, columnist Jimmy Breslin still marveled that "Berkowitz is the only murderer I ever heard of who knew how to use a semicolon.")

As for me, they will pry my semi-colon from my cold, dead typeface.

June 23, 2008 9:20 AM |
sarah bird.jpgMy very funny friend, author Sarah Bird, will be reading from her new comic novel, How Perfect Is That, tomorrow evening at the Borders at Preston and Royal in Dallas -- as you may have read in the Dallas Morning News this morning. You may also know Sarah from her  humor column in Texas Monthly -- she was the writer the magazine turned to when Kinky Friedman decided to channel his jokes into a failed-but-amusing (or even failed-because-amusing) run for governor. (Sarah now trades off the chuckle duties every other month with the Kinkster.)

But me, I know a different Sarah, one I remember with great fondness and, perhaps, even a nostalgic tear. Yes, yes, indeed, I know a Sarah hidden from the public, a passionate Sarah -- Sarah on an afternoon long ago, when son Gabriel was just a tyke, asleep in his room, and Sarah and I -- modesty commands I say only that we "churned up the water" in the children's wading pool in her backyard.

Unfortunately, that backyard is located halfway up a limestone bluff in the hills northwest of Austin -- they don't call Sarah's street Wheezing Mountain Climb for nothing -- and well, husband George, sadly familiar with Sarah's athletically amorous antics, had, quite deliberately, failed to anchor the pool in any real fashion that morning before he left for work in the Texas State Department of Measuring Something Vague. So our passionate sloshing around (we were younger and more vigorous then) caused it and its heated-up contents to slide over a 40-foot drop. The sudden downpour, the floating rubber toys flying about, the Official Mighty Morphin Power Ranger Wading Pool bouncing down the hillside like a loose hubcap along a freeway and our wet, pink skins stroboscopically flashing through the branches and leaves startled a number of coyotes, deer and grackles, not to mention two members of a lawn maintenance crew and Sarah's exuberantly incontinent Yorkie, Tinkle.

Many years -- too many years -- later,

June 17, 2008 11:13 AM |
It seems Fafblog is back after a two-year hiatus (see below). And the marvelously droll Jon Swift has returned after several months of non-postings ("I started this modest blog more than two years ago for the same reason everyone starts a blog: to become fabulously wealthy"). He even apologized despite, he said, the longstanding conservative tradition against admitting anything.

Now Scott McLemee has returned after many desultory posts and has written a follow-up explanation of his lack of productivity, assuring we happy few, we loyal band of hypocrite lecteurs, that he actually didn't need cheering up, thanks much, because, you see, his new post was about how his midlife crisis (or as book/daddy prefers to think of it, "the expense of spirit in a waste of online blogging") had already passed, more or less, so no need for the sympathy cards. (A new Hallmark line -- the "ROFL Series" -- that book/daddy has already pitched: "Sorry your blogging is sagging" (open card) "But you never were any good anwyay, get off the internets, I pwn you, you miseralbe accuse for a ciritc.")

Sooo ... the fact that book/daddy is welcoming back these prodigal bloggers with happy expressions a week or two late should indicate his own persistently low blood sugar level, blogging-wise. Ah, yes, book/daddy recalls very well back when he was a young book blogger, full of piss and vinegar (a cocktail, he has always thought, not likely to induce any later fits of nostalgic reflection -- just simply fits). Ah, when he used to crank out a Monday literary round-up after midnight on Sunday -- that was, what? Less than a year ago? An eternity in blogtime. It's a cold, ruthless, speedy little goddess, this digital muse.

Essentially, I have of late, wherefore I know not, lost all my desire to write about books. book/daddy can barely even read about them. And mostly, the books that book/daddy has been reading haven't been worth blogging about. A decent thriller here, a good history that's already old news over there.

But hey, in the past three weeks, book/daddy put up a new wooden gate on his driveway, tiled the kitchen and graduated a daughter. In the midst of all that work, it struck book/daddy how little he missed all the "keeping up" -- what did so-and-so write about such-and-such? Everything that happened online had so little, so incredibly little relevance, to a delightful dinner with friends and family.

Large parts of life really do exist elsewhere, it seems. In our case, that elsewhere was Hector's on Henderson. Highly recommended.

June 10, 2008 3:46 PM |
Marvel - Iron Man (2)-400.jpgThe new Berkeley Bionics exoskeleton has an acronym that actually suits the NEXT Marvel superhero summer flick (HULC -- Human Universal Load Carrier), but you can see where it's headed: Tony Stark-land, right down to the military applications.
June 6, 2008 4:07 PM |
And it now comes with extra giant pill bugs.
June 3, 2008 11:12 AM |


Best of the Vault


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2008 is the previous archive.

July 2008 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.