|“Deal Me In 2017!”|
The Gay Old Dog. By Edna Ferber (on Gutenberg in The Best Short Stories of 1917)
This story tells of the ups and downs of Jo Hertz, a successful man in the leather business but in a bind with his family and romantic life. It seems he made a deathbed promise to his mother: he won't marry until his sisters are taken care of. He does meet someone, but she isn't willing to wait for the sisters to find mates. Jo ends up a lonely and resentful loop-hound ("a man who frequents it [the Chicago Loop] by night in search of amusement and cheer is known, vulgarly, as a loop-hound.") Note: back when this was written "gay" was not synonymous with homosexual.
"He was the kind of man who mixes his own salad dressing. He liked to call for a bowl, some cracked ice, lemon, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil, and make a rite of it. People at near-by tables would lay down their knives and forks to watch, fascinated. The secret of it seemed to lie in using all the oil in sight and calling for more."
The card: Seven of Diamonds. The "beer card" in bridge and other trick-taking card games. Sorry I didn't know about this tradition back when I played this sort of card game.
Design by Christina Berglund, a graphic designer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
" Seven of Diamonds Brewery is based on the beer card tradition. As the tradition goes, when a player wins the last trick of the hand with this card, his opponent must buy him a beer."
Alan Bean Plus Four By Tom Hanks
When I read that actor Tom Hanks has a story collection (Uncommon Type) coming out in October, I found and read this story in the October 27, 2014 New Yorker.
"Astronauts in the Apollo era had spent thousands of hours piloting jet planes and earning engineering degrees. They had to practice escaping from launchpad disasters by sliding down long cables to the safety of thickly padded bunkers. They had to know how slide rules worked. We did none of that, though we did test-fly our booster on the Fourth of July, out of Steve Wong’s huge driveway in Oxnard, hoping that, with all the fireworks, our unmanned first stage would blow through the night sky unnoticed."
What fun! I do want to read the stories in Uncommon Type.
It’s Raining in Love by Gunnhild Øyehaug; Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson)
On a more serious note, a visit with a terminally ill friend. From another story collection I want to read: Knots.
Stadium Club by Mark Mulroney
On the art of chasing down baseball player autographs. A great memoir piece in Victory Journal, "a print and digital publication devoted to the intersection of sport and culture. Rather than engage in statistical analysis or partisan squabbling, Victory spotlights the drama of sport and the enduring glory of athletic pursuits the world over."
Another Gutenberg find...
Little Songs of Long Ago The original tunes harmonized by Alfred Moffat; Illustrated by
H. Willebeek Le Mair; published in 1912.
Words, music, and wonderful illustrations of thirty nursery rhymes. Sound files of the tunes played on the piano are available.
From my Shelves...
The Frangipani Hotel by Violet Kupersmith
Kupersmith's short stories start out with seemingly normal and familiar scenes and situations. There is a run-down Vietnamese hotel, a night shift in a Houston market, a delivery driver on his regular run--nothing strange here, is there? But then there is a shift and weird things happen. I don't like this sort of comparison but I kept thinking of the stories of Saki (H.H. Monro). This book has been sitting on my shelf since March 2014 when I won it on the blog Books à la Mode - sorry I let go unread for so long. I really like it.
Contents: Boat story; The Frangipani Hotel; Skin and bones; Little brother; The red veil; Guests; Turning back; One-finger; Descending dragon.
Worlds from the Word's End by Joanna Walsh
Joanna Walsh has a way with words and the reader gets carried away into a convoluted world where meaning has words. I love these stories and their clever wordplay. "The story of our nation will be entirely true, and it will be a good story, despite its being true."
Contents:Two; Bookselves; Postcards from Two Hotels; Worlds from the Word's End; Like a Fish Needs a…; Exes; Travelling Light; Femme Maison; Dunnet; Two Secretaries; Enzo Ponza; The Suitcase Dog; The Story of Our Nation; Blue; Simple Hans; Me and the Fat Woman --
Joanna Walsh; Reading Habits; Hauptbahnhof.
From my subscription to And Other Stories Publishing.
Elsewhere by Eliot Weinberger (Editor)
Fourteen poems (translated into English) by fourteen international poets musing on travel and/or displacement. A perfect anthology for a former ex-pat (ex-ex-pat? re-pat-ex-pat?), displaced Californian (new-New Englander?) like me. First of all: the subject matter interests me; secondly: there is a variety of viewpoints (time, place, nationality of poet, etc.); and, most importantly: the poems can be read on several levels--taken at a superficial face value, delved into a little deeper for my and the authors' emotional responses to the situations, and even more deeply for the universality of the material.
From my subscription to Open Letter Books.
from the library...
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
This is not just last night at the Lobster, it's The last night. A few days before Christmas and manager Manny and his crew are serving up the last lunch at a New Britain, Connecticut Red Lobster. The chain has decided the location is not getting enough business. At least they have a little advance warning and manager Manny and four others are getting transferred. Why do the others even bother to show up? Well, Manny holds their final pay checks and there is also some team loyalty (or not). One shows up and leaves after lunch committing some acts of vandalism on his way out. Some lunch customers show up in spite of a snowstorm. Manny copes and even tries some lame attempts to revive a failed romance. A quick read about a bittersweet night.