25.5.09

The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana Annotation Project, initiated by Eric Ketzan, is an online concordance to the novel, organized by page and chapter. This site is a godsend, since the annotations in the print novel are skeletal and there is a great deal for allusion-hunters (allusionists?) to track down. Anyone may contribute. Brilliant.

22.5.09

Tweets from Outer Space

Keep up with astronaut Mike Massimino on his Twitter page.

From orbit: Just saw Orion's nebula in the night sky -- the sights make all the hard work and risk worthwhile
From orbit: Night pass over Australia, the city lights give stunning signs of life on our planet
From orbit: got a call from President Obama, it was a great event for our crew and very thoughtful of the President

14.5.09

Hot news about one of my books!

THE ZODIAC OF PARIS, a history of the fortunes of a stolen Egyptian zodiac in 19th century Paris, written with Jed Z. Buchwald (Caltech), has just been accepted for publication with Princeton University Press! Yay!

12.5.09

Lumps

You can pay your bills, sort the recyclables, mow the lawn, manage the inbox, make your deadlines, eat all your veggies, and still things go all to hell ... life is so lumpy sometimes.

7.5.09

Compound Words

We are sitting around MJ's office and it's very exciting because he's just got home late from the train. Jane, who is up well past her bedtime, is explaining that today's reading lesson involved compound words.

She and I had discussed this earlier.

Beanbag, I said.

Weekend, she replied.

I thought we understood each other.

In the office, MJ says to Jane, "So, give me a compound word."

Beanbag, I think. Weekend.

"Batshit," she says, giving me a significant look. "Completely and totally batshit."

6.5.09

RIP, Marilyn French

She was 79.

Nike Learns An Important Lesson

It's raining, the apple tree has dropped its blossoms. and Nike's beloved outside toy, the Aged Bald Basketball, is covered with petals. As he noses the ball around the yard, now and then he snarfs up a petal, which makes him cough.

You gotta learn to take the bad with the good there, Nike, I say. It is fun to patronize him. We have shortcomings in common.

I don't say: You need to understand that your all-good object, the Aged Bald Basketball, has its flaws, too. I don't say: Someday you will understand how the bad petals on the good basketball fit into the larger scheme of things.

Well, now he's chewing up apple blossoms. This is how he has decided to solve the problem.

If he throws up, we still have work to do. If he doesn't ... Problem solved, I guess.

2.5.09

Fresh Ink

Just out: A review of Karl Iagnemma's debut novel, The Expeditions at Gently Read Literature; and, at Metrotwin, Something's Brewing, a list of places to find and and enjoy locally brewed beer and wine in NYC.