I have not read any of the late Erich Segal's academic books on Roman comedy but I did read Love Story -- and also the sequel, Oliver's Story. "Versions of the Pastoral"! In 1972 a former Marine who I'm sure had never willingly read any other book of fiction told me how moved he had been by Love Story. It really is authentically great and I don't want to patronize it. This was a tremendous achievement. It appeared at the same time as The Godfather -- both of them contributing phrases that have permanently been assimilated into the language. The Godfather was in part an attempt to write an American Brothers Karamazov -- and parts of Karamazov are a lot like Love Story. Ave atque vale!
Test Drive the 800 Pound Elephant!
"The 800 pound gorilla" and "the elephant in the room" are tired old business
metaphors. Substitute the 800 pound elephant and watch what happens!
Use the 800 pound elephant to describe:
>> An important project that's badly underfunded
>> Someone who's lost a great deal of weight but still looks fat
>> Now YOU think of one!
Hi, tigers! I've realized that I can support myself as a writer by making a series of inspirational (and substantive!) posters and cards available to the arts community. This is the first one. Go right ahead and download it. In fact, they're all going to be free. I'll get rich from advertising on my website and by fees from speaking engagements!
For the past few weeks I've been creating a series of interactive workbooks on topics like affiliate programs, website design, dropshipping, and internet marketing. It's the first time I've done any graphics and I'm really excited about the possibilities. I'm far from adept but the hours just fly by! It keeps me from going meshuginah. Or does it?
Times are still hard...
Almost a hundred years ago, Edna St. Vincent Millay was one of the best-known women in America and certainly the best known female poet. Though she's been unfashionable for many years, I predict a comeback -- for reasons explained below. Anyway, true talent is never a matter of fashion for those who strictly meditate the thankless muse. Certainly that included Papa Hemingway, who said of Vincent (as ESVM liked to be called), "She could hit them with the bases loaded":
Tenderly, in those times, as though she fed
An ailing child -- with sturdy propping up
Of its small, feverish body in the bed,
And steadying of its hands about the cup --
She gave her husband of her body's strength,
Thinking of men, what helpless things they were,
Until he turned and fell asleep at length,
And stealthily stirred the night and spoke to her.
Familiar, at such moments, like a friend,
Whistled far off the long, mysterious train,
And she could see in her mind's vision plain
The magic World, where cities stood on end...
Remote from where she lay -- and yet -- between,
Save for something asleep beside her, only the window screen.
In 1920 Vincent began her love affair with young Edmund Wilson, whose books Memoirs of Hecate County and To the Finland Station are sexual allegories of this torrid and inflaming time. "Bunny" and Vincent used to amuse themselves by shooting nude figure studies of the poet, of which some excellent prints still exist. The pictures are now in the possession of the Library of Congress, but are under an embargo...until 2010. Yes, that's why I predict the start of an ESVM revival beginning as soon as next week!
But as a reader of the Best American Poetry blog, you don't have to wait until next week. Through my contacts in the government, I've been able to obtain a few of "Bunny's" quite excellent photographs. I submit them here to your connoisseurship, including the brief notes that "Bunny" scribbled on the backs ---->>>>
Here's a link to a good article about Vincent, including mention of the photographs and shared optimism for revival of interest: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200110/mallon
In the old days -- that is, in ancient Greece -- the male citizens of Athens used to gather each year in the amphitheater and, together, recite the Iliad from memory. Poetry was really popular! Well, it's still popular, relatively speaking, as I will now show.
In this video Venezuelan actress Mercedes Brito tells what coming to Hollywood from Caracas has taught her. There are a number of interesting things about Mercedes Brito. First, she's absolutely bilingual, which I always find kind of spooky. Second, she has 250,000 Facebook followers, and whenever she posts anything on her Facebook page at least a thousand people immediately comment on it. So take it away, Mercedes Brito ---->>>
Mercedes Brito is huge, right? Well, not so fast. Most of her fans are probably Venezuelans -- and as Mercedes Brito herself admits, America is a whole new ballgame. That's why, when Mercedes Brito goes against Jorie Graham in a Youtube faceoff, Jorie Graham kicks her ass ----->>>
Yes, at the time of this writing Jorie is beating Mercedes by a score of 2700 views to 640. So I hope I've restored your faith in the public's taste. But let's not get carried away. To provide a bit of perspective, here once again is the all-time most popular kitten video, with 14,000,000 views and counting --->>>
My favorite movie scene is the one where the detective and his wife are sound asleep and the phone rings on the night table. The detective quickly awakens, picks up the phone, and says, "I'll be right over" or "I'm on my way!" I feel really safe and secure whenever I watch a scene like that. It's so very familiar, like an old shoe. Versions of it have been in lots of movies but never enough for me.
Along the same lines, sometimes when I'm stuck in a a traffic jam (happens every day) I listen to call in shows on the NPR station. Often a caller will complain that the attention wasted on celebrity gossip or other drivel should be devoted to serious topics like health care or climate change. Whenever I hear that I get the same warm, reassuring feeling that comes with the scene of the detective waking up. I feel the same way when somebody says that lots of other people were killed in car crashes like Princess Diana but there were no newspaper articles about those people. I love it!
So if you feel so inclined, please "make my day" by inveighing against the two video clips below. The first one appeared just yesterday. It's a nice long "Today Show" interview with Tiger Woods' girlfriend Cori Rist -- and it couldn't be more wonderful! I love everything about this interview and I've watched it many times. I really don't think any detail has escaped me. And yes, yes, I should be watching interviews with Joe Lieberman, which makes it even better. In fact, just thinking about Joe Lieberman (or Paul Krugman, if you prefer) in conjunction with this video gives me a tremendous rush of Mr. Snoid-like pleasure. Lawrence Summers and Cori Rist! Timothy Geithner! OMG!
But that's not all. How about a "cute kitten" video that has gotten almost twelve million views?! Think of it! The cute kitten video is 17 seconds long. Multiply 17 seconds by twelve million and you've got a lot of time that could have been devoted to Joe Lieberman, Paul Krugman, or climate change. Where's the phone? I've got to call NPR!
I could go on and on. But without further ado I
offer these two masterpieces for your pleasure or annoyance, as the
case may be.
More movie pitches...
Hey Kids, What Time Is It?
A down and out ex-ballplayer meets up (but does he really?) with characters like Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy on the subway. He gets taken to the psych ward but when his case is publicized he starts speaking on college campuses and his sex life revives.
Told from the intercut points of view of a college student’s laptop; an old lady’s laptop; the laptop of a traveling salesman; and a laptop in public library being used by a man who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania but is now a homeless man. We see who these people really are and who they pretend to be in internet chat rooms, blogs, emails, and on social networking sites like Beautiful Surrender and Facebook. But the computers are the real heroes.
Please Kick Me
A lovable animated pig joins forces with a major league umpire who made a bad call in the World Series and with the help of the umpire’s 10th grade daughter, a science prodigy, they switch places so the pig becomes the umpire and the umpire becomes the pig. But all hell breaks loose because the pig is a huge Yankees fan.
Locked in the Bathroom
When his grandmother accidentally locks herself in the bathroom of an Olive Garden restaurant a survivalist named Peter Polinari looks everywhere except the Olive Garden bathroom and in so doing gets himself into deep financial trouble. Finally, when he has to choose between finding his grandmother and the wilderness, he chooses the wilderness – but we know she’s already gotten out so “no harm no foul.”
A small-town insurance man wakes up one morning with the ability to play world-class tennis but nobody believes him except this one nerdy high school kid who makes a video of the insurance man playing tennis and posts it on Youtube. Before long the insurance man is playing in the finals of the US Open but then he forgets how to play tennis (like when Dumbo loses his magic feather) and the nerd has to go into the broadcast booth with John McEnroe to explain this to millions of viewers.
The Main Course
Remember in 2005 when that ex-Soviet spy was allegedly poisoned by radioactive smetena (sour cream) at a London restaurant? What about in 2006 when another ex-Soviet spy (a beautiful woman) was also allegedly poisoned by radioactive smetena? Or in 2007 when a third ex-Soviet spy (secretly working for the CIA) was allegedly poisoned by radioactive smetena? Debbie, a junior at the University of Pennsylvania , starts to connect the dots but all hell breaks loose when her professor makes her eat smetena.
A rookie police officer with an extremely high voice gets partnered with a veteran police officer who also has a high voice and the unlikely team hits the streets of L.A. for run-ins with the Mexican mafia, brutal gang murders, and corrupt cops, but because of their high voices nobody takes them seriously.
Careful What You Fish For
Naomi is a 30-something attorney who thinks she’s found the perfect man (Bob) but when he doesn’t call after the first time they sleep together she does some investigating and finds out he’s the male equivalent of a mermaid (merman?) so she turns for help to her girlfriend Drew who works at the aquarium and who can actually talk with fish. So after explaining Naomi’s problem to some fish, Drew releases the fish into the ocean where they network with thousands of other fish to find Bob.
Like a Bumblebee, Kick Like a Mule
The life and times of the first mule ever to kick a field goal in the National Football League from his birth on a farm in Maine to the last ten seconds of the Super Bowl which is between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Diego Chargers (the mule is playing for the Chargers, who are two points behind ) and the coach puts him in, but something goes wrong with his hoof, so instead of kicking the field goal he has to try to run for a touchdown. (Ball was on the thirty-five yard line.)
Opportunity, children’s furniture stores
He called himself Blatchford Sarnemington
That night they all ate pork rinds. Name from
‘The Scandal Detectives,’ Fitzgerald story
None better than Scott put yearning on a page
So he called himself Blatchford Sarnemington
That night they all ate pork rinds. See, he was
So frustrated craving the attention of Valkyria
As she called herself, young Cuban fem
Going to Northwestern. Later they married
But by then he called himself Lou Belmont,
$$$ was the object of desire, nay pussy,
Nay pork rinds, nay progress by any means,
And he read Scott’s last letter,
to the IRS.
And he read Scott’s last letter, to the IRS.
I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.