Saturday, May 22, 2010


Be back soon. Sunburnt, drunk, and ready to blog.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bellydancing Beauty with a Power-driven Saw

So yesterday, as I was finishing up S.M. Stirling's A Meeting in Corvalis, the name "Lady Eleanor" pops into my head. Some people in the Stirling books go by "lord" and "lady", but I don't think any of them are named Eleanor, particularly. But it jogged a memory of this name, and that reminded me of this song, which I'm pretty sure I taped off WXPN when I'd first started listening to it, and the depth and breadth of the music they'd play seemed so much vaster than it does to me today. (Granted, I rarely listen anymore, since I'm about 10 miles out of broadcasting range.)

This might have actually been on the same tape as Tim Hardin's "The Lady Came From Baltimore," also a strange, old-timey folk song, though far less trippy. "Lady Eleanor," on the other hand, recalls Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysses,"or if Fairport Convention were playing King Crimson songs.

Anyway, here's a recording of the band Lindisfarne's 1972 hit "Lady Eleanor," inspired by the Edgar Allan Poe short story, "The Fall of the House of Usher." Along with, improbably, pictures of butterflies.

(Well, that just bounced from place to place, didn't it? I ain't joking, woman, I got to ramble.)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Brother, Can You Lend a Hand?

Kathy and I had a damn good dinner the other night at Bar Six in the West Village; I had a tender barbecued short rib, and she had a really tasty Mongolian chicken dish. Good stuff, but I have such posting inertia that a good meal isn’t enough to get me to write a blog post these days.

But this sign, found in the men’s room (and, apparently, the women’s room as well), is:

“Employees must wash all their hands before returning to work.”

Certainly a good sentiment, and a proper, hygienic practice. But: All their hands? There’s something about that phrasing that makes me think that someone on the staff has a little vestigial hand poking out of his belly, the last remnant of a twin he absorbed in the womb.

(Lifting up shirt to scrub tiny belly-hand.) “Sigh… this is such a pain…”

Gotta wash your babyfingers. It’s the law.


Friday, May 14, 2010

I Just Realized I'll Be Missing the Lost Season Finale

Appropriately enough, I'll be on an island.

Anyhow, this will have to hold me over until we get back from our trip:


Saturday, May 08, 2010

This Just In.

Nancy just blew my mind.

(Just a quick link to let y'all know I'm alive. Regular posting will resume shortly.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

It's Shade Day!

Jeri Smith-Ready's new novel, Shade -- her first young-adult book -- is available in bookstores and online today, and it's a hell of a read. Picture this: Ghosts are real, and suddenly, they're commonplace and visible... but only to kids aged 16 and younger -- people born after a mysterious moment dubbed "the Shift." For this new generation, the world is very different, and immeasurably more complicated. Especially when your boyfriend dies and comes back as a ghost. Is it okay to start seeing other flesh-and-blood people?

And -- well, look, Jeri's put up a description on her website that says it better than I could, and, more importantly, gives away only the plot points she wants given away. So  let me just say that the premise of the book, where no one over a certain age can see ghosts -- is a deft allegory for how all generations see the world differently from the ones that precede them. The story isn't about this generation gap -- it's a more personal story than that -- but it takes place in a world with a chasm that separates young from old more efficiently than technology, the way we do it in our world. (No, I don't have a Tumblr account.) In Shade, nature has made that divide crystal clear, and, as ever, parents just don't understand.

I've read all of Jeri's books, and this is my favorite. Jeri writes with confidence and charm, and opens a new world to us where death is not the end, but only teens can see what's next. (Shade also got a fantastic review from Publisher's Weekly. I don't think a direct link to the review is available online, so Jeri's reprinted it on her site. If you need a convincer, it'll do the job nicely.)

P.S. Had a great time at Lady Jane's Salon last night, where Jeri read from Shade, along with Christina Britton Conroy, who read from One Man's Music, and Leanna Renee Heiber, who gave a delightful reading of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, a Victorian haunted romance that promises a lot of spooky, proper fun. Also, we hung out in a glass room full of comfyness, including leopard-print beanbag chairs, with some of Jeri's other friends -- one of whom I'm blanking on her name* (beer was involved, and it's best not to guess), and the other of whom a check of Twitter reveals is Kate Milford, whose debut novel The Boneshaker hits the shelves in three weeks, and looks phenomenal. Congratulations to you, too, Kate.

*UPDATE: Thanks to Twitter, I was able to find out/confirm her name, too, and it's what I'd have guessed -- Julie! Although there's no reason for you to believe me. But the fact is, I has considered doing a little parenthetical John Edwardy type thing (not schtupping a woman who's not my wife, that's John Edwards with an S; I mean the cold-reader phony-baloney "psychic"). So I would have been all, like, "I'm getting a "J" and hope that someone would chime in with Julie, and then I'd say "Yes, Julie, I knew it all along." I was like 85% Julie, 12% Judy. And 3% Yuengling, but that was the beer talkin'.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Riding Around

Good day today; we got my bike back in shape (air in tires, oil on chain), rode our bikes into town to pick up some stuff from the hardware store and get some iced coffee (and to remind me how easy it is), and then rode around a little cemetery in Metuchen with an awesome gravestone. I'll try to get a photo soon. Then came home (I made it up the hill pretty well, considering I haven't ridden my bike in a year -- straight and relatively speedy, but once I got into the driveway I was a panting, sweating mess.).

Since then, I've cleaned off the grill and put the screen doors in. And bought a few new parts for the grill, since the heat shield is literally being heled together by rust and ash. I picked it up to clean it, and part of it crumbled in my hand.

But: BBQ pork chops tonight! Let the deliciousness begin!