Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Write like the wind

May 16, 2017

A few days ago on Facebook a friend despaired of ever getting his Master’s thesis written, and others chimed in with reassurances and encouragement. Somewhat bizarrely, I was reminded of something I wrote to the newsgroup soc.motss back in May 1996: a recollection of a radio dramatization of Ouida’s romantic adventure novel Under Two Flags (set in the Algerian desert), with a character who cries out at a crucial moment.:

My name is Cigarette, and I can ride like the wind!

And so she can. Meanwhile, I slightly revised the quotation, to:

My name is N, and I can write like the wind!

A mantra for the frustrated writer.

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Closets

May 4, 2017

Two recent items focused on gay men in the closet, though in two quite different ways: Dominic Dunne (1925-2009), the subject of a recent biography (Money, Murder, and Dominick Dunne: A Life in Several Acts by Robert Hofler); and James Beard (1903-1985), the subject of a recent documentary film (America’s First Foodie: The Incredible Life of James Beard). Dunne, who died 40 years after Stonewall, nevertheless spent a lifetime cringing in the closet. Beard, who died only 15 years after Stonewall, was an exuberantly gay man to everyone who knew him, but his acquaintances and employers and the media built a protective closet around him, one that he decided to break out of publicly only at the end of his life — so that the world was robbed of an example of a gay man of great talent, living a rich, full life. (Dunne was, to my mind, no kind of model of how to live a life.)

For what it’s worth, neither man was flagrantly flamboyant, but I pegged them both the first time I saw them talking about their lives and work.

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From the FoxFiles

May 3, 2017

… of demented p.r. releases sent to Margalit Fox. On Facebook today:

Most, ah, arresting lede on any press release I’ve ever received: “I am a former incarcerated acid chemist. …”

Putting aside the question of the intended parsing of former incarcerated acid chemist (conveying, I assume, something like ‘acid chemist formerly incarcerated’), I focus on acid chemist, which has a straight sense — as in nucleic acid chemist ‘chemist who studies nucleic acids (like DNA and RNA) — and a high sense, as in this book title:

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where the acid in question is the psychedelic drug LSD, lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as simply as acid.

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Shelf Life

May 2, 2017

The cover of the March 27th New Yorker, “Shelf Life” by Luci Gutiérrez:

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Oh, a set of shelves. And a map. Of Manhattan. With objects on the shelves evoking particular neighborhoods. Cool.

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To Be Young, Gay, and Chinese-American

May 2, 2017

… also gifted, and a poet. That would be Chen Chen, who I became acquainted with through Matthew Zapruder’s poetry column in the NYT Magazine on March 5th, which featured the first poem (“Self-Portrait as So Much Potential”) in Chen’s debut collection When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities. The poet as a grown-up, in a rose garden (in a photo by his partner, Jeff Gilbert):

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Word by Word

April 30, 2017

The title of a new book by Kory Stamper, subtitled The Secret Life of Dictionaties:

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About how dictionaries are made and the people who make them, and about English words.

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There’s always room for another penguin or two

April 25, 2017

From the British Library on Facebook:

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We never miss a chance to share a penguin image. This one is from A History of the Birds of New Zealand, 1873.

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A cross-comic moment

April 14, 2017

Yesterday’s Mother Goose and Grimm goes meta, with a scene in the Dr. Seuss Cafe involving Dr. Seuss cartoon characters:

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The Cat in the Hat is spoiling for a fight with a Sneetch (on the left) and the Grinch (in the middle). while the table offers green eggs and ham.

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Annals of normalization: on the Santa Claus watch

April 7, 2017

From HuffPo on the 4th, this advance announcement about a Christmas book, “Santa Claus Will Be A Gay Black Man In A New Children’s Book: He’ll also be married to a white man”, by Curtis M. Wong:

Get ready to see Santa Claus in a new (and refreshingly diverse) light this holiday season, courtesy of a forthcoming parody children’s book.

On March 28, publisher Harper Design announced plans to release Santa’s Husband, which re-casts Kris Kringle as a black man in an interracial, same-sex relationship. Slated for an October release, the book will follow Santa’s life in the North Pole, except in this version, he’ll have a white husband who fills in for him at shopping malls around the world.

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Hitchhiking

April 1, 2017

(Lots of mansex talk in plain terms. Not suitable for kids or the sexually modest.)

You find that you’ve wandered into a gay porn flick and you’re on the road: in fantasy L.A., on Santa Monica Boulevard or on the Pacific Coast Highway along the beach or somewhere similar; or in fantasy Country & Western territory, maybe outside of Nashville or along Route 66 south of Bakersfield or on the West Texas plains or somehere similar. You’re either driving or hitching.

If you’re driving, there will soon be a hitchhiker by the side of the road, and he will your fantasy man, a William Higgins SoCal twink or a Joe Gage blue-collar hunk. When you pick him up, he’ll give you what you need. You do him, he does you, you trade, whatever. You get whatever you need.

If you’re hitching, there will soon be a driver along the road, and he will be your fantasy man, a SoCal twink in a red convertible or a blue-collar hunk in a dusty pickup. When he picks you up, he’ll give you what you need. Same deal: you do him, he does you, you trade, whatever. You get whatever you need.

One manifestation of the fantasy: grease-monkey boy in board shorts and ballcap. Curly hair, SoCal spread-lip smile. Ready to roll.

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