Spectator Sports

1. Shirley Jackson on “The Lottery” at Shaken and Stirred: “People at first were not so much concerned with what the story meant; what they wanted to know was where these lotteries were held, and whether they could go there and watch.”

2. Jessa Crispin on William and Henry James, who are a favorite of mine as well, and also obviously a favorite of a novelist named Richard Liebmann-Smith, whose new The James Boys posits a strange scenario wherein Henry and William’s ne’er-do-well younger brothers Rob and Wilky turn out to be Frank and Jesse.

3. I hear that actress Estelle Getty, who died last week, was in the TV show “Golden Girls”. Actually, all I know of her is from a great, great play I once saw on Broadway, Harvey Fierstein’s autobiographical Torch Song Trilogy, in which she played Harvey Fierstein’s stubborn mother. The fact that this little lady could hold her own against the tornado of comedy that was young Harvey Fierstein says all you need to know about Estelle Getty. Later she was replaced by Anne Bancroft for a movie version of Fierstein’s three-act play which was tellingly not as good.

4. It’s good to hear that Frances Bean Cobain, now 15 years old, may be contemplating an editorial career by summer-interning at Rolling Stone. She has her father’s piercing gaze; if she’s going to make it in the tough New York City magazine biz, let’s hope she’s also got lots of her father’s charisma and some of her mom’s toughness.

5. From the computer science department at Columbia University: some truly intense palindromes.

6. Congrats to Kassia Krozser (one of the lively participants in our book pricing discussion last year) for her News Hour with Jim Lehrer appearance! I unfortunately missed it so I hope Kassia hits us with some YouTube.

7. This website is sort of strange, so that you have to scroll a full screen down to read Finn Harvor’s article about future directions for the literary blogosphere. But I agree with him and I think this is worth reading.

8. Yay, there are functional iPhone e-book readers! In other news, I went to the Apple Store on 57th Street in Manhattan, heavily contemplating the immediate purchase of an iPhone. I said to a helper “I’d like to buy an iPhone!” and he said “Great! Be on line by 7:30 tomorrow morning and you should be able to get one!” I thought to myself “Goodbye!” and left. But I do believe an iPhone is in my near-to-distant future, and there better be a good e-book reader waiting for me when I get there.

9. If you liked Peter Carey’s hilarious Theft as much as I did and are similarly not Australian, you may also have been wondering what a Magic Pudding is (via Inq).

10. It’s only because Sarah Weinman turned me on to The Night Gardener that I know enough to be excited about The Turnaround, the new novel by popular Washington D.C.-based mystery novelist George Pelecanos.

11. Bill Ectric spins some thoughts around Thomas Pynchon.

12. Ed on the New York Times.

13. Detox, a new Dr. Dre CD, may come out as early as 2008. Dre doesn’t release albums too often (the last one was the masterpiece 2001, actually released in 1999, and before that, “… my last album was The Chronic”) so this is big news. Let’s hope this gets out before Chinese Democracy.

14. Check out The View From Here, a new literary magazine, and see what you think.

6 Responses

  1. A screaming came cross the
    A screaming came cross the sky.

    When was it decreed that every high school student in America will read the Lottery and then write an essay on its meaning?

    A groaning came cross the class.

    Ice cream in a bag with pie.

    I was inspired to go to googly books and read some gravitas fainbow last night. I hadn’t read it or tried to for a long time and I hadn’t ever finished it. It did seem dense. I always remembered pretty closely the first line, ice cream and pie in the sky. And I could figure out that the main character, whoever he was, was obsessed with a buzz bomb coming down directly on his head. But other than that I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.

    Last night I did not see it as being so hard to read or dense, but I only read random parts.

    Pynchon write briefly in an aside, off handedly in a book that is 500 pages of off handedness of Isaac Lubbock of Shell who just got a grant to develop some other expolosive fuel process.

    OK, Isaac Lubbock was a real guy, cheif engineer for Asiatic Petroleum, developed a fuel from analine and liquid nitrogen, again according to a book on the wonderous googlybooks. Pynchon knew his stuff.

    Anyone who writes Spike Jones liner notes can’t be all that bad.

    This all reminds me how there is a new biography of Werner von Braun and I learn from googlyweb that today is the 50th anniversary of NASA.

    Not Billy, you can’t stone billy to death!!! I was all for the lottery until it was my son chosen at random.

    Gosh maybe I learned a lesson that the lottery is bad.

    Now I’m gonna go see why that ol widder woman Emily’s house down the way stinks so bad.

  2. Speaking of Henry James, I
    Speaking of Henry James, I recently read a good short story by him called “The Author of Beltraffio.” Sometimes his stories build up to disappointing endings, but I liked this one.

    As for his brother William, I think it’s cool that he is even mentioned in AA literature:

    Our first printing gave many readers the impression that (change) must be in the nature of sudden and spectacular upheavals. Happily for everyone, this conclusion is erroneous.

    Most of our experiences are what the psychologist William James calls the “educational variety” because they develop slowly over a period of time. With few exceptions our members find that they have tapped an unsuspected inner resource which they presently identify with their own conception of a Power greater than themselves. . . the essence of spiritual experience.

  3. Hi Bill, here’s something
    Hi Bill, here’s something that spills over from your blog linked by Levi above.

    The reason there are no more Scarecrow of Romney Marsh clips available is probably because the entire series is going to be released on a two DVD set near the end of the year.

    It’s going to be part of the Walt Disney Treasures which has had a number of fantastic releases.

    I don’t really remember that show except as a kid being scared of the scarecrow get-up.

  4. TKG, I believe you are
    TKG, I believe you are correct. I don’t remember the scarecrow movie all that well, either, being quite young when I saw it. I do remember that I made a scarecrow mask (probably ridiculous looking) and ran around annoying my parents and terrorizing my brother with that creepy staccato laugh. And I tried to sing the song, too!

    On the southern coast of England,
    there’s a legend people tell,
    Of long ago when the great Scarecrow
    would ride from the jaws of Hell
    with a fiendish yell!

    Disney made him a Robin Hood type of character.

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Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!