Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Quote for the Ages

...novels should not be honest. They are a pack of lies that are also a set of metaphors; because the lies and metaphors are chosen and offered shape and structure, they may indeed represent the self, or the play between the unconscious mind and the conscious will, but they are not forms of self-expression, or true confession.

--Colm Toibin, New York Times Book Review

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mother's Little Odalisque

Left, by Eugène Delacroix. Above, by moi.

After fighting the family dog for bed space all through my teen years, I never allowed my subsequent dogs on the furniture. Putting end tables on the couch at night always kept them off.

And then last month along came Abby, who pulled the tables onto the floor so she could sleep on the couch. That lasted about a week, till I gave up and covered it with a sheet. As you can see, she finds the arrangement just to her liking. (I kick her off in the daytime.)

Update, July 24:
I got tired of shooing Abby off the couch, so I'm covering it with heavier furniture at night. We'll see how this works out.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Unused illustration for The Yellow Book, by Aubrey Beardsley

Tess Gerritsen explains "Why the hell won't they review my book?!!!" (She neglects to mention that the Washington Post reviews crime novels every Monday.)

Susan Henderson gives The Truth About Blurbs at The Nervous Breakdown.

Following in the footsteps of Lazlo Toth, Sean Ferrell tells how to get an author blurb, in four installments. Part 1: Paul Auster. Part 2: Thomas Pynchon.

And then there's Slush Pile Hell. My favorite: July 6.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Top of the Morning!

I thought I'd seen everything; then the above item showed up on eBay. Yes, that would be Lionel Stander as Max in "Hart to Hart" on a child's spinning top, made in Argentina. Bizarre, huh?

I'll pass (the image is enough for me), but you can bid on this precious objet here.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Sea Monsters in the Hudson!

Cecil the seasick sea serpent, from Beany + Cecil.

While doing research for the Bella Terra Northwest Lighthouses map, I happened across a 19th century New York Times article about a sea serpent off the coast of Oregon. Whereupon I searched the Times online archives for "sea serpent" and found a treasure trove. Apparently summer brought sea serpent sightings from around the globe, which the Times often covered with tongue firmly in cheek. In 1904 correspondent F. Carruthers Gould wrote, "It used to be called the Silly Season because of the perennial appearance at this time of the sea serpent..." (So Obama's talk of the "silly season" was nothing new!)

Some nearby sightings:
August 31, 1886, Wednesday

RONDOUT, N.Y., Aug. 30.—Fifteen minutes before the steamboat Daniel Drew caught fire on Sunday afternoon a sea serpent was seen in the Hudson River between Coddington’s Dock and Kingston Point by a number of Rondout boatmen and boys who were in swimming. Capt. R. Brush, of the schooner Mary Ann, also saw it. All hands unite in saying that its head was raised about 6 feet out of the water, and it was of the shape and general appearance of the well known anaconda or water boa of the Amazon, but much larger, being about 2 feet in diameter on a line with the eyes. The throat is described as being dirty white, while the back appeared to be mottled with light and dark brown. From a point about 6 feet back of the eyes a fin appeared which extended the entire length of its body, or rather that portion of the body visible, which was about 55 feet. Half a mile below Coddington’s Dock Capt. Brush said the serpent lashed the water with its tail. The serpent was also seen by persons on the Dutchess County shore. The parties say it was not seaweed they saw, and that they were all “perfectly sober.”

September 11, 1886, Wednesday
NEWBURG, N.Y., Sept. 10.--R.H. Randolph, of Rhinebeck, in a communication to a local newspaper says: "For the past week the New-York and country newspapers have been circulating the story of the 'Hudson River serpent' that was seen in the river at various points between Catskill and Poughkeepsie. I was one of the eye witnesses of that serpent. While the steamer Daniel Drew was burning, a gentleman and myself were sitting on the bank of the river at Rhine Cliff. We saw a long black log floating down with the ebb tide. The log was apparently about 30 feet long, with a number of knots projecting that gave it the appearance of a row of fins. A root about 5 or 6 feet long at the end of the log would occasionally roll up with the swell and might to a person of strong imagination look like a head or neck. I made the remark at the time that if it was only a little later in the evening that would be taken for a genuine sea serpent. This is what was seen on Aug. 29 by a number who claimed that they saw the sea serpent.”

January 1, 1887, Wednesday
TIVOLI, N.Y., Dec. 31.--The Captain of the schooner Many Ann, from down East, was the first person who saw the sea serpent near Kingston. Point last Summer. It has remained, however, for a man named Brown, who lives out back of Saugerties, to see the serpent in the Hudson in Winter. Brown reached Tivoli today en route for points South. Like pretty much everybody else who has seen the serpent Brown was “perfectly sober.” He said that at the commencement of the heavy snowstorm yesterday morning he walked a considerable distance up the Hudson for the purpose of setting his nets in the ice. Brown found a great crack in the ice. He kept tramping on. Suddenly, according to Brown, he felt a sensation as though the ice were being lifted up beneath him. He says he saw the ice roll, as it were, in waves, and then split in two, making a similar crack to the one he had jumped over a short distance to the southward. Brown says that before the waving of the ice had ceased a strange-looking animal, with two eyes nearly as big as saucers and of the color of terra cotta, glared at him fiercely. The head of the beast remained above the ice for several seconds, and Brown says he had an excellent opportunity of seeing it. Brown thinks it is the sea serpent that was seen off Kingston Point and elsewhere along shore last Summer, and that the billowy motion he describes in the ice was caused by the serpent lashing its tail. Brown is the first man on record in these parts who has seen the serpent after Dec. 1. Meanwhile every crack found in the ice on the frozen Hudson is being eagerly watched by untiring small boys, boatmen who have nothing else to do except to chew tobacco and “swap lies” at corner groceries, and perhaps one or two of the wise Washington scientists who gave their views so gravely to the public and who fought so bitterly among themselves over the matter, when the serpent was seen at Kingston Point.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Bellylaugh of the Day

Trailer for Gary Shteyngart's SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY. Take notes; it's filled with bons mots.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010


On Booksquare:
The Future of Print
(Disclosure: Kassia Kroszer has spoken at my Book Promotion 101 workshops in L.A.)

On Huffington Post:
One Author's Journey From Twitter-Clueless To Organizing A 48-Writer Social Media Giveaway
For all her raving about Twitter, author Leah Stewart omitted her username: @leahcstewart. And she states that Twitter is "like going to a writers' conference without the booze and ill-considered affairs." Perhaps that's true for her, but some of us (my lips and keyboard are sealed as to who) are having a Real Swell Time.

On Editorial Ass:
The Mystical Blue Yonder (Or, Book Publicity)

On The Book Publicity Blog:
How do you track online “buzz”?

Just for fun (and thought), on "The Daily Show" website:
Women of The Daily Show Speak

The New View from Here: Same as the Old View

Out my front door, 2:47 pm. Can't wait till the temperature goes down (!) to 90°, as forecast for tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The View from Here

As seen from my front door. FEH.

In Memorium

Jenny, March 2007. (Her tongue was mauve on top, pink underneath.)

Jenny, The Best Dog died one year ago today. I still miss her, even though Abby, whom we adopted a month ago, filled the dog-sized hole in my heart. Abby likes to bound into the water to fetch a stick or ball, whereas Jenny's favorite activity was The Pebble Game. See it below (I was still pitching lefty 4 months after the 2nd surgery on my right arm).

Monday, July 05, 2010

Quote for the Day

From Outspoken Is Great, Till It’s Not in today's NYT:
And if you dumped every reporter who ever sent a snide message or talked smack in private, there would be nothing but crickets chirping in newsrooms all over America.