Monday, July 30, 2007

I was born in a smalltown...

I am in a galaxy far, far away, aka visiting my hometown. Much has changed since my last trip - the nicest restaurant in town (40 years and goingh strong) has closed. The place that always had great New Year's stuff is now Mexican and closed on weekends. The local swiming hole has been closed for years.

I am most touched by the changes - the Victorian mansion I always fantasized about fixing up is now a parking lot. The reataurant which housed fast food, pizza and subs is no more - but so many places still stand and are beautiful.

Yours in reverie...

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Harry Potter thought

With all of the hoopla, there does seem to be an interesting under-currrent. A handful of us have been on the Harry Potter bandwagon from the beginning. I showed up at my local bookstore to purchase #2 and #3 the morning that each went on sale, that's how far back I go. There are others ike me - we don't seem to mind that others love the books, but there does seem to be a vein of "welcome, but some of us have been here longer than you and don't you forget it."

An English prof from IUPUI was interviewed this morning on NPR, and expressed her doubts that these books would endure. With Ellen Glasgow still on my mind, I understand her thoughts, but I think she's dead wrong. Glasgow isn't the sort of book one reads to children or revisits in a childhood reverie. Rowling is. Oh, sure, she may not be the be-all and end-all in twenty years (forty, sixty) but neither is she the next Glasgow.

Counting the hours -

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson

Much has been said about LBJ in the days since her death. All of it seems to be positive, and I would hardly deny it of her. Certainly she made a difficult role her own, and following in Jackie Kennedy's shoes is not a position I think most of us would want.

Certainly Lady Bird Johnson did well in the role. The kind of controversy attracted by the actions of Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton did not attach to her. At the same time, I'm quite intrigued that not one of the blogs, articles or radio pieces I've stumbled across has mentioned LBJ's infidelities, or her patience in that area. Hillary Clinton could solve every problem in the Middle East and fix our national heath crisis, but her obituary will still mention Monica Lewinsky. Nancy Reagan's will mention astrology.

I'm not complaining or griping, just intrigued. Maybe it's the residual from the 1960s, pre-Watergate forgiveness factor, kicking in one last time.

Monday, July 16, 2007

for Harriet

When we were young and we were poor, Harriet bought me drinks, so I feel that I owe her. Heck, I'm still poor, but I still do feel that I owe her to the best of my ability to repay when not writing large checks for my student loan debts. Thus when she punts a meme my way, I feel obligated to respond - but this is a toughie.

The basic theme seems to be six things that no one know about you - I am a dull person, but let's see what I can do here.

1) For an in-class presentation I once set a piece of paper on fire. Yes, I did manage to wrangle an A without setting off the fire alarm.

2) I have never eaten a brussels sprout and do not feel that this is a element lacking in my life.

3) Neither have I ever eaten cottage cheese.

4) This blog was named in part after Pilgrim's Progress and a cartoon in The New Yorker with (what else) lemmings in it. Since then, TNY has run quite a few lemming cartoons and I compulsively save them all. I know absolutely nothing else about lemmings.

5) I believe that I live with a ghost. I've only seen him once, but he moves and drops things, opens doors and generally reminds me that he's here. I'm not afraid of him, but I do believe that he's here, keeping an eye on things.

6) Um.... it's red.

Sam is still acting oddly. The tests all came back fine, but as soon as he finished taking the pills, Sam went back to acting oddly. I wish that I could actually talk to him, have ten minutes of conversation, and find out just what's going on. Thanks to all who asked.

Monday, July 09, 2007

author update

Last week I blogged about two parts of a passage from Ellen Glasgow's 1911 work The Miller of Old Church. A friend e-mailed to comment that though she couldn't remember a single thing about Glasgow, she had a gut feeling that Glasgow had been a big name in her time.

I did a little digging, and found a biography from circa 1960 which indicatd that, yes indeed, she had been. The story starts out exactly as you would expect of the stereotypical lady novelist of her era: ill health as a child, read extensively in the family library, not very close to parents but very close to a sister, etc.

Then I learned that she came to reject religion as a young adult and wanted instead to promote the rising middle class through her fiction. Much of the religious ruminating I found hilarious was in fact supposed to be hilarious (I stand corrected) and that the various class aspects were intentional.

The biographer praised Glasgow's scenery descriptions (I agree) and her general enthusiasm for writing. Apparently in her day, Glasgow was in a league with Edith Wharton and Willa Cather.

All right, so what happened? Well, the bigrapher noted some of the problems I have - the prose and language are dated and while concepts are good, the storylines are thin and repatative.

It's the old challenge, really - which of the authors making a storm today will be around and known in fifty years time? Stephen King? Yes, I think so. J.K. Rowling? Permanently ensconsed. Helen Fielding? I'm not so sure.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

my dog

I have more than I want to say about Ellen Glasgow (vaguely interesting!) but at the moment am sitting by the phone. Sam has been acting very oddly of late, so I took him in to see the vet yesterday. This was hot on the heels of what I assume was my first ever migraine headache, so it was quite a day.

The vet found no immidiate problems, but took some blood (not his favorite moment) and I should hear soon about the bloodwork.

He's probably fine. It's probably no more than, well.. he's not young any more. The vet and I ran through a long list of possible problems and came up with nothing.

Anyway, am distracted, sorry.