Category Archives: Non Sequitorial

Brain Drain

No espousing any wisdom or advice this week. I’ve recently completed grading seventy plus 10+ page final essays to close out the semester, as well as finishing up thesis-critiquing with my grad students, and also have been diligently working on my current work-in-progress. Then my sliding glass door goes and gets assaulted by a large branch in last week’s storm, smashing it to bits, and my car had to be taken to the dealer for a thump it seems only I can hear. To sum up, my brain’s a bit fried.

So see that table in the left background? It’s at a lovely little lakeside bistro in beautiful Greenwood Lake, NY. That’s where you’ll find me this weekend, basking in the sunlight, with a restorative frosty in my hand. I will call you if I need you.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend start of summer, all!

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Happy (deep state) birthday to me!

I blog every Wednesday, and it just happens that today coincides with my birthday. So I had a really good writerly topic I was going to expound on, and in doing so, I needed to look up a particular source I’d link to. So I go to Google and lo and behold, there is this doodle staring at me wishing me Happy Birthday, Gwen! (click on it to get the full impact of its exuberance). Okay, creepy enough, but how is this happening? Because Google knows everything about you, sweetheart! Nothing is secret anymore! Well, happy Wednesday to you, big brother!

 

BEA 2018 is coming to a Javits Center near you

The picture is from a couple or so years back of my experience at Book Expo America, which will be held this year from May 30 – June 1 at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.  I haven’t gone in the last couple of years for one reason or another and not for lack of wanting to. If you’re in the Northeast and in anyway connected with the book/publishing industry, it’s a worthwhile trip if you haven’t gone before. Nearly every book publisher in North America is represented, and the place is fairly swarming with editors, literary agents, publicists, and anyone in and around the industry. Not only that, but there are author signings almost from opening to closing, interviews with industry professionals or writers on a couple of stages, special programs for librarians and booksellers, and free books and swag galore. For more information, visit the BEA Homepage.

Waiting for Sandals

Spring has finally spring in my corner of New Jersey, and it’s hard to believe that next Tuesday will be May. We’re still looking at bare branches and there’s barely a bud in sight, though with the recent spate of 60-degree weather, they’re starting to pop out. It’s bizarre, as I’m still wearing boots and socks, and I should have long dissed them for sandals and toenail polish.

The fish have yet to reappear in the lake behind my house, even though a couple of weeks ago an OSPREY was in one of the large trees above the lake, ripping apart a fish. Hawks and Herons are fairly common sights, but a bird as large as an osprey is like having a rhino show up. Still, you never know what’s going to show up when you live on the water. Take, for instance, that thin yellow line in the upper left of the picture above, near the shoreline. That’s an oil boom from a spill when a house was demolished just above. Nothing like seeing men in Hazmat suits wading in the lake. Not that I should be surprised. This is Jersey after all.

Happy Holidays from my swingin’ crib to yours

Yeah, it’s been a sucky year. But in the immortal words of Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, “Never give up! Never Surrender!” For now, raise one for all of use, because we’re going to need it in the new year. But when has anything worth having ever been easy? Here’s hoping all that strife has been worth it!

Happy holidays to all!

Hittin the Holiday Film Vault

Movies are my favorite form of escapism, and when I first posted this list a while ago, the only diversion I needed was one from the over-commercialism of the season. How quaint that seems now. Without going into the reasons why, let’s just take these little gems for what they’re worth, a short vacation out of a reality that’s become too grim of late. So get cozy, grab the popcorn and lose yourself in these trifles of holiday storytelling.

1. The Shop Around the Corner ( 1940) – Must be my Eastern European blood calling to me, but I just love this sparkling Ernst Lubitsch romance set in a prewar Budapest gift shop. Starring James Stewart and Margaret Sullivan as two battling sales clerks who don’t know they’re falling in love via the post, as each other’s anonymous pen pal. Stellar secondary characters, including a priceless William Tracy as the cheeky delivery boy, Pepi. The Christmas Eve menu at the end had me salivating.

2. The Man Who Came to Dinner ( 1942) – After dining at a Ohio local’s home during a  lecture tour, notoriously acerbic radio personality Sheridan Whiteside slips on his hosts’ icy steps, and takes over not only their house but their lives. Starring Monty Woolley as The Man and Bette Davis as his aide-de-camp, the snark and sarcasm are so sharp and quick you’ll come away nicked but you’ll be laughing too hard to care. Still fresh over seventy years later, The Man is based on Algonquin Roundtable-er, Alexander Woolcott, his cronies thin veneers of Noel Coward, Harpo Marx, Gertrude Lawrence and all who were definitely in-crowd.

3. Holiday Affair (1949) – No one did heavy-lidded better than The Mitch, and the very fact that he actually made a holiday film piqued my curiosity enough to watch it. Just by the look of this poster you could see the only thing that remotely indicated that it had anything to do with Christmas was war-widow’s Janet Leigh’s sheer wrapping definitely promised presents for someone. Oh, somewhere among the movie’s a plot involving a department store clerk and a retail spy, a sassy kid, a train set, a jilted–oh who cares! Mitch smolders and Janet’s a brush fire waiting to happen.

4. A Christmas Story ((1983) – All nine-year-old Ralphie wants for Christmas is a genuine Red Ryder BB gun, and he’ll do darn near anything to get it. Based on the recollections of storyteller Jean Shepherd’s In God We Trust – All Others Pay Cash, Peter Billingsley had the part of a lifetime that until this day loops every Christmas on cable channel TBS. Darren McGavin ought to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award for one priceless part as Ralphie’s dad who spouts the immortal words, “It’s a major award!”

5. The Holiday (2006) – Don’t ask me why I like this story of American movie trailer maker Cameron Diaz, and English wedding column writer Kate Winslet who swap their respective Hollywood and Surrey homes for the Christmas holidays. Maybe it’s got something to do with Jude Law being tossed into the mix, I don’t know, but the whole thing sure sounds like a good idea to me.