The Overton Window A Thriller by Glenn Beck with Kevin Balfe, Emily Bestler, and Jack Henderson

September 21st, 2010 at 8:27 am

The Overton Window by Glenn Beck

Before the story even begins, we are told in A Note From The Author that, “As you become immersed in the story, certain scenes and characters will likely feel familiar to you. That is intentional, as this story takes place during a time in American history very much like the one we find ourselves living in now.”

Then why is there a fucking pay phone on page 1? Page 1!

Verbatim, from the very beginning (seriously this is how it begins):

‘Eli Churchill was a talker. Once he got rolling it was unusual for him to stop and listen, but now a distant noise had him concerned.

“Hold on,” he whispered.

He cradled the pay-phone receiver against his shoulder, glanced down the narrow, rutted Mojave dirt road he’d traveled to get here, and then up the long, dark way in the other direction.’

A pay phone?

Along a dirt road in Mojave, California?

I am immersed in this story no further than that pay phone.

And that road. Which I know a lot about for some reason. It’s narrow, rutted, in Mojave, made of dirt, traversible, long, and dark. And has a pay phone.

This book is going to be good.

Paraprosdokian Sentences

September 20th, 2010 at 1:53 pm

A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.

For example:

“I want to die like my father, quietly, in his sleep—not screaming and
terrified like his passengers.”

Or anything ever uttered by former President George W. Bush.

The World With Us

September 16th, 2010 at 10:19 am

I will not consider joining the Church of Euthanasia or support the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, but something is rotten in America and I will simply point out man’s penchant for cruel irony.

This picture was taken in June on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana:

laughing gull wallows in sludge in June on East Grand Terre Island, Louisiana.

It is a laughing gull.


How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend

September 11th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

If dog training manuals were music, this book would be a jazz standard. It is useful and highly regarded. A classic.

How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend

But a bit too ambitious for Yours Truly. I don’t want to be my dog’s best friend, just one of her good ones.

You know, someone to keep an eye on things when I’m floating down the river:

How To Be Your Dog's Good Friend

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon

September 9th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

There was something very right about finishing this book over Labor Day Weekend, that great American demarcation of the end of summer, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” being the tale of a mobster’s son coming of age in the summer following his graduation from college in which he falls in love with girl, falls in love with boy, falls in love with girl.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

I’m sorry, spoiler alert? I hope that doesn’t ruin anything for anyone. As a matter of principle, I do not alert of spoilers if the book is older than 10 years. Mysteries was originally published back in 1988.

I just now got around to it as it was 90% off at a recent bargain sale. It just takes a while before books are affordable to the Authwhore. We are sophisticated. But sophisticated misers. My life is nothing more than a to-read list of books that I’m waiting to go on sale.

Mysteries of Pittsburgh is good. Not Great Gatsby or Catcher in the Rye good, but much better than the novel I wrote when I was 22. Good job, Mr. Chabon.

I am a Michael Chabon fan. Wonder Boys. Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Maps and Legends. Manhood for Amateurs. Yiddish Policeman’s Union. All good. I have even read Final Solution. With this recent consumption of Mysteries, I have almost completed the entire Chabon canon. I am only lacking the 2 collections of short stories and Summerland and the recent Gentlemen of the Road.

Just make sure you pronounce his name correctly. (“Shea” as in stadium and “Bon” as in Jovi.)

in Labor

September 6th, 2010 at 3:00 am

Peace Miner

On this Labor Day of 2010, I’m sure we’re all feeling a bit nostalgic for the days when the 3 greatest problems plaguing the American labor movement were corruption, racial discrimination, and communist infiltration.

In celebration of our dear American leaders rushing legislation to make Labor Day a national holiday in 1894 following the deaths of workers at the hand of government guns during the Pullman Strike, I’d like to share a few thoughts from a reading of “Labor in America: A History” by Melvyn Dubofsky & Foster Rhea Dulles.

Labor in America: A History" by Melvyn Dubofsky & Foster Rhea Dulles

One thing is sure: things are better. No one is getting shot by the government during labor disputes. Yet. But things are not good. 6 people were recently charged with human trafficking.

And of course the government is a little occupied right now with a black president, hurricanes, Islam, gay marriage, legalization of marijuana, health care, the Middle East, terrorism, the economy, unemployment, gulf oil spills, mosques at ground zero, and illegal immigrants.

Whatever happened to abortion and stem cells?

There has always been a scarcity of persons content with performing the humble tasks of society. The earliest record of a labor disturbance in America was in 1636. A group of fishermen employed by Robert Trelawney at Richmond Island fell “into a mutany” [sic] when wages were withheld.

There is a perpetual antagonism between Labor & Capital as one strives to sell their labor for as much, and the other strives to buy it for as little. Labor is a commodity bought at the cheapest rate.

When asked what the labor movement wanted, founder of the American Federation of Labor and its president from 1886 to 1894, Sam Gompers answered, “More.” Which seems a reasonable request in alignment with corporate America’s demands.

Ultimately, the story of labor in America is a harrowing epic of antagonism, inherent conflict, exploitation, extortion, corruption and woe, fought for the right to organize and thus bargain collectively.

It has always been Labor vs. Capital, Trade vs. Craft, skilled vs. unskilled, carpenters vs. woodworkers, and AFL vs. CIO, the irony being that capitalism benefited labor. The market was good for labor when competition between the AFL and the CIO led to more vigorous organizing efforts and to an enormous increase in the size of organized labor. If there is one thing that has hindered the labor movement, it is the labor movement.

Labor is an enterprise for which many have died, many have suffered, but mostly a few have gotten fairly rich.

Will we forevermore live in a world where dealing with people confers much more prestige and satisfaction than manipulating things?

Thwart Apostrophe Catastrophe

September 4th, 2010 at 12:00 pm

All proper grammar consists of Cool Rules.

Fresh Herpes

September 3rd, 2010 at 8:00 am

Fresh Herpes

This is not merely humor derived from words lost in translation.

We are in a recession and this symbolizes the thousands of English majors who are out of work and  could be using their degrees and areas of expertise working as translators.

Palin Pidgin

September 1st, 2010 at 12:00 pm

“One ought to recognize that the present political chaos is connected with the decay of language, and that one can probably bring about some improvement by starting at the verbal end. If you simplify your English, you are freed from the worst follies of orthodoxy.” – George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,” 1946

Our dear Sarah Palin has recently committed some amusing linguistic gaffes via Twitter. I only know about it because even a big, stinky Palin bowel movement is newsworthy these days. But also because I agree with Mr. Orwell and pay attention to how my nation’s (supposed (elected)) leaders (and popular figures) use language.

(Their words tend to be indicative of their thoughts.)

Sarah Palin and a book

First, Palin used refudiate instead of repudiate. Then had the gall, not to simply giggle, apologize, and correct herself, but to compare herself to Shakespeare and remind all of us simpletons that English is a living language.

Golly gee.

Then she used cackle instead of gaggle.

These are all understandable blunders. Just the other day I conflated “goodbye” with “later” and ended up telling a friend, “Glater!”

These things happen.

But with Sarah Palin they happen frequently and with a disappointing focus on being clear, concise, and correct. But most of all honest. And sincere.

This poor command of diction is no surprise however to those close to her who fear she may be suffering from a debilitating relapse into the confusing and tormenting world of a Salvia addiction.