Wall-to-Wall Non-stop Mondoville Action!

I headed up to the bedroom last night after watching my beloved Wildcats dispatch the Fighting Yuppies of Vanderbilt, and because I was the last of us to bed, I let the Hound of the Basketballs out the sliding glass door to make her appointed backyard rounds. It’s usually a 5- or 10-minute event, but within a couple of minutes, I heard the Hound’s steady barking — yap, yap, yap — coming from the vicinity of our patio.

I called for her. Yap, yap, yap. So I stepped out back (clad only in my skivvies — I was ready for bed, after all) to discover that I had arrived upon a Sergio Leone-cum-Tarantinian showdown between the Hound and a good sized opossum. By “good sized”, I mean that the possum (not counting the tail) was about the same size as Jasmine (the Hound, not the Disney character). Jazz had cornered the interloper, and seemed prepared to (in the words of Louis L’Amour’s Sacketts) “read it from the Book.”

The possum was less than enthused about the prospect, but contrary to stereotypes, showed no inclination to play dead. Instead, the damned thing growled at the dog, and braced for Jazz’s oncoming rush. And here it came, yap yap dive, flurry and shift of positions. I was trying to get into a position to snatch Jazz up before she could take another shot, but she was busy, dammit, and simultaneously maintained distance from me while continuing to seek an opening in the intruder’s defensive position.

All this movement (and some harsh language on my part) roused Mrs. M (who was, thankfully, better dressed than I was), who came over and joined in the effort to get everyone to a neutral corner. She tried placing a piece of our patio furniture over the possum, but remember when I said Jazz and the possum were about the same size? This meant they could each fit through gaps between the love seat and the ground. So that experiment failed a couple of times, with more yaps and growls, and a couple more attempted takedowns from the dog.

Finally, though, Jazz (by backing away from the possum and from me) got within Mrs. M’s reach, so she grabbed the dog and the three of us withdrew to the bedroom. Jasmine continued to yap dire imprecations in the possum’s direction, and the marsupial marauder went about its own nightly business, or at least was gone from the yard after a bit.

Jazz’s lip was lightly nicked by the encounter, but a little hydrogen peroxide and paper towel work seemed to take care of matters, and all her shots are in order, so things appear to be all right. But once more, we were treated to our local version of Nature’s Rich Pageant.

***

And so this morning, I headed over here to campus to (I hope) do some work. I pulled into my usual parking space behind my office, but as I walked toward the building’s entrance, I saw a wallet lying on the concrete. There was no one else around, so I picked it up and brought it with me.

Fred c dobbs

The Prof in his office (Artist’s Conception; urchin not included.)

When I got to my office, I opened it up and found the owner’s driver’s license, along with a bank card and somewhere between $100-200 (I didn’t count it — it wasn’t my money.) I got online and checked our student directory, but no match. So my next move was to look up a phone number that matched the Virginia address on the license, but the land line was (as so many are these days) no longer in service.

A further search revealed an ID for a college other than Mondoville, but still no luck in providing contact info. Then I checked the Book of Faces using the owner’s name and his college affiliation. Bingo. And as it happens, I noticed a name on his friends list that matched one of my current students, who also happens to be from Virginia.

So I went back to the directory and called my student, but to no avail — I got voice mail. But as I was getting ready to leave my message, I got a ringback from the same area.

Mondo: Hello! Is this [student]?

Voice: This is his father.

M: Oh, OK. I’m Warren Moore, an English professor at Newberry College. Does your son know someone named [wallet owner]?

Student’s Dad: Yes.

M: Well, I have his wallet. I found it in the parking lot near my office.

S.D.: Oh, good! At first I was afraid you were the police.

I laughed, and told him that as best I can tell, his son’s a good kid.

So a few minutes later, the kid who lost the wallet buzzed me on FB (where I had sent a friend request) and made arrangements to get it back to him, which transaction we completed a couple of minutes later, my student and the wallet’s owner rolling up in a nice-looking pickup truck. As I handed the kid his billfold, my student hollered from the truck, “Hey there, Dr. Moore!” I responded, and told him I’d see him on Tuesday morning. They rolled away.

And now I’m back in my office, hoping to get some work done. I’m telling you — the excitement never stops.

Posted in Education, Family, Pixel-stained Wretchery, Why I Do What I Do | Leave a comment

Saturday Potpourri: Finally Fall Edition

So it’s another weekend in Mondoville. Mrs. M is at her school, doing a little planning for the week. The Spawn is reading in her room, and I’ve been looking at tenure portfolios while watching Alabama dismantle Tennessee (21-zip, ten minutes into the game.) Seems like a good time for some potpourri.

***

One of the highlights of the week came Wednesday, when I had dinner with an old college friend. I met Kristine Tucker when she came to Transylvania U during my freshman year in order to interview for the same scholarship I had.  Although she wound up attending a different college, we hit it off, and met up that summer when my friend William and I visited Nashville.

Life led us in different directions, but the development of social media allowed us to reconnect. As people do, we had our shares of ups and downs, but each of us has achieved a fair amount of our respective goals. Kristine became a successful veterinarian in Florida and found a terrific husband in the form of Ken Clark. About a year ago, they decided to move to England, and Kristine found a partnership in a practice near Stonehenge.

But these things take time, so only now have the two of them (and their own pets) been able to start their trip. They’re traveling by ship from New York, and making the trip from Florida in a rented RV. As part of it, they’ve been doing some sightseeing, visiting people and places along the route. And on Wednesday, the Clarks met up with me at a local Mexican restaurant. We chatted for a couple of hours over an early dinner before we all had to get on our ways.

Kristine at SJ 1

L-R: Mondo, Kristine and Ken Clark

Kristine and Me

Kristine and me, 34 years after meeting.

They’ll be heading across the Atlantic before long, and I hope you’ll join me in wishing them a safe trip and many happy years to come.

***

I’m pleased to report that I have a story coming out next spring in an anthology called Greasepaint and .45s, a clown-themed set of crime stories from the folks at Down & Out Books. Ryan Sayles put this one together, and I’m sure there will be plenty of good stuff in it. Details will follow as I have them, and with luck, I’ll have even more fictioneering news before too much longer!

***

Meanwhile, are you looking for a suitable soundtrack for your Halloween party? As it happens, the Internet can meet your spooky music needs at DeadAir, which streams the stuff 24/7, all year long. Give it a listen… if you dare! Bwahahahahaaaaa!

***

And speaking of music, here’s a band that I’ve mentioned before, but it’s been a few years, so here they are again. From Medway, England, here are garage revivalists/Who Enthusiasts the Len Price 3 (none of whom are named Len Price.) This is “With Your Love.”

See you soon!

Posted in Culture, Family, Music, Pixel-stained Wretchery, Why I Do What I Do | Leave a comment

QotD: Why So Serious Edition

As I mentioned in last night’s potpourri, I felt happier a couple of days ago than I can remember being in a very long time, and even a couple of days later with a few papers left to grade, I’m still feeling pretty darned chipper.

At the same time, when I look at my social media feeds, I’m confronted by the palpable anger of a polarized (and ever-more-polarizing) culture. The overwhelming majority of the anger (on both sides) is politically driven, and since I decided to retreat into the desert a few years ago, to become something close to an idiot in the original sense (from the Greek idiotes, someone who prefers to live privately, without involving himself in the affairs of the polis), looking at this stuff leads me to suspect that I chose wisely.

Still, I read a variety of stuff, and some of it is concerned with the polis — I may no longer choose to be of the world, but I do remain in it. I think part of my retreat was because whatever satisfaction I find in life won’t be political, but emotional and spiritual. In that respect, I suppose I’m still a man of the Right, because I still see the government more as a necessary evil, something to limit, than as a desirable good, to be invited into more of our lives. The less that my life must intersect with the coercive power of the State, the happier I suspect I’m likely to be.

And that brings us, I think, to Kevin Williamson’s column at NRO today. He’s looking at the same inclination toward fanaticism that I see when I look around, and like me (and like Eric Hoffer), he sees this polarization as symptomatic of a deeper, spiritual problem. Hence, the Quote of the Day:

Political fanaticism is not rooted in ideology. It is the hollow clanging sound that social life makes when banging up against an empty soul.

He goes on to say:

[…] The angry partisan cannot believe that life is good, because he must then ask himself: If life is good, then why am I not enjoying it? Why do I feel so alone, so frustrated, and so meaningless?

I can’t answer those questions for other people, nor can they answer it for me. But I can hope that they can find something in their lives that brings them a day like I had Friday, and I can hope they’re alert enough to notice.

And now, to the papers, and for you, a bit of Neil Innes.

Posted in Culture, Faith, Music, Politics | 1 Comment

Saturday Potpourri: Fall Break Edition

I’m three-fourths of the way through this year’s Fall Break, which means that I’m already nearly halfway through the term. I’ve spent much of the break grading papers, and will wrap that up tomorrow — just in time for a fresh crop on Wednesday. But that’s okay. And as for the rest…

***

Once again, Clan Mondo was lucky enough to dodge any ill effect from a hurricane, Michael in this case. We got some significant rain and had another of out three butterfly bushes beaten down by the wind, but once more were far luckier than many of our neighbors in the region. And both yesterday and today have boasted absolutely spectacular weather — skies the color of a swimming pool liner, occasional breezes, and finally a break from temperatures around the 90-degree mark.

How nice was it? Mrs. M cut back some shrubbery, and it wasn’t even miserable hauling the multiple loads of branches to the street.

Here’s hoping it continues. The weather, that is — I’ve had enough branches for the season.

***

Yesterday was a Daddy-Daughter day, as the Spawn and I spent the afternoon in Real City. When I gave blood a few weeks ago, I was given a couple of movie passes, and since the Spawn and I were in the mood for a popcorn movie, we decided to catch a matinee of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Nobody will confuse it for The Seven Samurai, but it wasn’t meant to be, was it? If you’re in the mood for a lightweight comic monster movie, this’ll do just fine.

The basic plot structure is much like the first Goosebumps movie — an evil ventriloquist’s dummy (series favorite Slappy) emerges from a R.L. Stine manuscript to wreak havoc on a small, Norman Rockwellian town, and a group of plucky kids have to thwart Slappy’s scheme. In the first film, the plucky kids are aided by Stine (played by Jack Black). Black reprises his role in the sequel, but only pulls down about 5 minutes or so of screen time. I had previously mentioned to the Spawn that between this movie and House with A Clock in Its Walls, Jack Black was essentially going up against himself, but in fact, his appearance in Haunted Halloween is essentially an extended cameo. He does get a decent Stephen King joke, compounded by the fact that one of the Plucky Kids is played by a child actor who played in the recent film version of King’s IT. Unsurprisingly, the film remains open for a sequel, and there are worse settings for popcorn consumption.

Our next stop was the mall, where I snagged a frappuccino while the Spawn hit a makeup store. After that, we made a run to the area used media store. I picked up Jonathan Santlofer’s The Death Artist and a collection of John Rebus stories from Ian Rankin. While I was aware of the Rebus series, I hadn’t read any of the books until I saw Rankin at B’con last month. I got a copy of the first Rebus novel for my birthday, read it earlier this week, and discovered that I had a whole new series to work my way through.

Rebus is an interesting take on what has become a stock character: the police detective married to the job and perforce alienated from much of the rest of his life (with the possible exception of his nondenominational Christianity, which he finds both critically important and difficult for him to understand). Not quite a loose cannon, but not quite a team player either, he occupies a liminal position in the Edinburgh PD. And Edinburgh itself — the city and the people of its various social strata — serves as a sort of character in its own right, perhaps not yet at the level of Philip Marlowe’s L.A. or Matt Scudder’s New York, but then I’ve only read two of the books thus far. I plan to remedy that.

I read the collection today while I was waiting for and through an oil change for Mrs. M’s car. I’ve noted before that I love short stories — both reading and writing them, and that a number of my favorite writers (Ellison, Block, Kotzwinkle, and Heinlein, for example) are or have been aces in the form. In A Good Hanging, Rankin demonstrates considerable strength in the genre through a dozen stories. None of them are less than good, and at least one, “Sunday” (an account of a day off for Rebus after a… challenging week) I think is amazingly good, a small masterpiece of the form.

Clearly I’m late to this particular party (which is okay — it’s a large party, after all), but as I said, I plan to catch up in short order. I suggest that you do the same.

***

While we were at the used media emporium, I happened to discover a hardbound copy of Harlan Ellison’s The Essential Ellison: A 35-Year Retrospective (A 50-year version came out in 2005, but this was a first edition, the same one I have.) Now one of the nice things about this particular store is that sometimes things sneak onto the shelves without the staff quite realizing what they have. For example, I’ve found several autographed books there over the years — including Ellison’s Strange Wine, which I picked up a couple of years back for a buck and a half.

Even so, I was a little taken aback when I saw the book was priced at two dollars. (It had actually been placed as part of a set of hardbound books sorted by color, presumably for use as home decor.) I didn’t want to see the book wind up as part of someone’s decorating scheme, like the uncut novels on Gatsby’s shelves, but as I said, I already own a copy. Fortunately, a former student of mine lives nearby (the wife of the Berries’ keyboardist, as a matter of fact) and even more fortunately, I turned her on to Ellison some years ago in a class I taught on the short story. So I texted her to see if she was interested. She was, so I asked the cashier (another former student of mine, although he’s still attending Mondoville) to hold it for her, and not long thereafter, I got a text letting me know that the book had found a new home.

By then, however, I was already picking up some cans of Cincinnati-style chili at a nearby supermarket before the Spawn and I made our way home. And you know what? The whole thing added up to one of the best wall-to-wall days in my recent memory.

I think sometimes it’s too easy for me to overlook wonderful moments — they disappear in the busyness of everyday activity and in what I know to be my own tragic view of life. (After all, even my blood type is B negative.)  But sometimes, a day or a weekend can be beautiful enough that even I can see it. It’s refreshing, and I’m grateful for them.

***

Well, let’s wrap this up with a bit of music, as is my custom. Tom Wilson (not the 60s producer) is a songwriter from Hamilton, Ontario. Down here, he’s likely best known as a member of Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, but he was also the driving force behind a terrific band called Junkhouse, and has released solo work as well. This is the opener of his Dog Years solo set, and the video was done in one take. The Spawn and I dug this one as we were on the road yesterday. I hope you will too. This is “Keep On Grinning.”

See you soon!

Posted in Culture, Education, Family, Literature, Music, Why I Do What I Do | 1 Comment

In Which Clan Mondo Marks a Quarter-Century

So 25 years ago today, a lovely young woman flipped her last initial from a W to an M.

Wedding Pic 9 Oct 93

Yes, I had cake icing on my face, but it matched the tux. (Photo: Michael Dearing)

In commemoration of the fact that she hasn’t chucked me out over the ensuing 25 years, I wrote her a poem (as is our custom) and we headed about 25 miles up the interstate to a seafood restaurant in the town that is home to Mondoville College’s erstwhile arch-rival. We had never been there before, but the place came recommended by some of Mrs. M’s coworkers, and the menu looked promising, so we decided to give it a go. We’re glad we did.

We got there a bit early in the evening — in the 5 p.m. range or so — and as a consequence were among the younger diners during our visit. While I don’t know if there’s an early bird special per se, our fellow patrons seemed the demographic for that sort of thing. Mrs. M and I laughed about it a bit as we walked in.

The decor is not especially fancy — the restaurant sits just off the Interstate, in front of a Quality Inn; the architecture betrays the building’s origins as a chain steak house; and the furniture tends toward the tables and banquettes one finds at a Shoney’s or similar eatery — but there’s a nice water feature along one wall and the place is really comfortable and welcoming.

Our waitress was equally friendly, and seemed really delighted to hear of our special occasion. We ordered beverages and an appetizer, both of which arrived with celerity. For dinner, Mrs. M ordered grilled salmon, while I stayed true to my Southern working-class heritage and ordered fried fish and fried potato wedges. As we waited, we laid into a complimentary basket of hush puppies (done in what I’ve come to think of as the sweeter, African American style, as opposed to the more savory Southern white folks’ version) and laughed about the goings-on at our jobs.

The food arrived high in both quality and quantity. My two grouper fillets were substantial — large enough to conceal the spuds beneath — and cooked quite nicely, with a cornmeal batter that was neither heavy nor greasy. The meat itself was light as well, and good enough that I only used a little malt vinegar. Mrs. M’s salmon was equally impressive, and came with a baked sweet potato and cinnamon butter (and I also gave her my cole slaw, but I’m generous like that.)

Debs anniversary dinner

Enough salmon to impress a grizzly, or at least Mrs. M.

As we were wrapping that up, the serving crew approached with a couple of complimentary slices of cheesecake and a song offering the restaurant’s good wishes for our anniversary. Yeah, it was about as bourgeois as one could ask, but for a girl from an Appalachian holler and a guy from a blue-collar subdivision in Nashville, bourgeois has its charms — especially when it comes with cheesecake and hush puppies.

free cheesecake

Cheesecake is the traditional 25th anniversary gift, right?

But even better than the meal (terrific as it was) is the fact that we’ve made it this far. My mom and dad used to say that the two toughest years of marriage are the first one and whichever one you happen to be in at the time, but they stuck together for 46 years. Mrs. M and I have made it more than half that far now, and that’s not too shabby.

Happy Silver Anniversary, Deb — I love you.

Anniversary Pic 9 Oct 18

At least this time I was icing-free.

(And in honor of the occasion, here’s the tune that was “our song” during our dating days, and our first dance as a married couple. From 1965, here are the Vogues, with “Five O’Clock World.”)

Posted in Family, Music, Why I Do What I Do | 6 Comments

Sokal Hoax II: Electric Boogaloo

So there’s a fresh tempest a-brewin’ in the teapot of academia, in the form of three academic hoaxsters who decided to expose the weak scholarship in areas they called “grievance studies” by submitting bogus papers to various journals in those fields. Why?

Something has gone wrong in the university—especially in certain fields within the humanities. Scholarship based less upon finding truth and more upon attending to social grievances has become firmly established, if not fully dominant, within these fields, and their scholars increasingly bully students, administrators, and other departments into adhering to their worldview. This worldview is not scientific, and it is not rigorous.

The hoaxsters contend that the hegemonic worldview they describe has made it impossible to have a good-faith discussion of certain issues, and they describe their efforts as an effort to “reboot these conversations [in the fields under consideration, such as cultural studies, identity studies, and other areas dominated by critical theory.] In practice, what they have done is present an argument that these emperors are in fact without clothes, not unlike the famous hoax that Alan Sokal played twenty-some years ago.

The hoaxers in this case are Helen Pluckrose, James A. Lindsay, and Peter Boghossian (hereafter called PLB) — and The Chronicle of Higher Ed reports that they:

[…]  spent 10 months writing 20 hoax papers that illustrate and parody what they call “grievance studies,” and submitted them to “the best journals in the relevant fields.” Of the 20, seven papers were accepted, four were published online, and three were in process when the authors “had to take the project public prematurely and thus stop the study, before it could be properly concluded.”

Some of their topics included canine rape culture in Portland, Oregon dog parks (published and recognized by Gender, Place, and Culture); a recommendation that men anally self-penetrate with sex toys “to become less transphobic, more feminist, and more concerned about the horrors of rape culture” (published in Sexuality and Culture); and the one I found especially over-the-top:

The trolling trio wondered […] if a journal might even “publish a feminist rewrite of a chapter from Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.” Yup. “Our Struggle Is My Struggle: Solidarity Feminism as an Intersectional Reply to Neoliberal and Choice Feminism” was accepted by the feminist social-work journal Affilia.

These were not “pay-to-play” journals, either — while those are a problem in scholarly publishing (the academic equivalent of vanity presses), PLB wanted a relatively fair fight:

We set out with three basic rules: (1) we’ll focus almost exclusively upon ranked peer-reviewed journals in the field, the higher the better and at the top of their subdisciplines whenever possible; (2) we will not pay to publish any paper; and (3) if we are asked at any point by a journal editor or reviewer (but not a journalist!) if any paper we wrote is an attempted hoax, we will admit it.

To the credit of the academic publishing world, PLB discovered that top-ranked journals in these fields have their limits. (There is a notable exception to this: highly ranked feminist philosophy journal Hypatia accepted a paper arguing “That academic hoaxes or other forms of satirical or ironic critique of social justice scholarship are unethical, characterized by ignorance and rooted in a desire to preserve privilege.” That is what we in the idea biz refer to as “calling your shot.” Likewise, while Hypatia returned a “revise and resubmit” to a paper that “advocate[s] rating students by their identity, privileging the most marginalized and discriminating against the most privileged to the extent of having them sit on floor in chains and have [sic] their contributions discredited”, none of the suggested revisions had anything to do with the paper’s position.) However, even a partial move down the scholarly food chain yielded some action, as described above.

So PLB let the cat out of the bag (along with a distinct caution not to toss babies of good scholarship out along with the bathwater of ideological bias), and the reactions are interesting. Some commenters found PLB’s work to be funny and telling. Some of the anti-PLB comments condemn the hoaxers’ bad faith and claim that their work was a poorly designed experiment. This appears to me to be a case of the commenter’s not fully fathoming the distinction between “ruthless empiricism” and “practical jokes.” But the one that really made me giggle came from Karl Steel of Brooklyn College and the CUNY Grad Center:

 [PLB’s work] is too narrow in disciplinary scope, he said. It focuses on exposing weaknesses in gender and ethnic studies, conspicuously ideological fields, when that effort would be better spent looking at more-substantive problems like the replication crisis in psychology, or unfounded scholarly claims in cold fusion or laissez-faire economics. [Emphasis mine — Prof. M.]

The trio could have reached out to colleagues in physics and other fields, but instead opted for “poor experimental design.” And they targeted groups that are “likely to be laughed at anyway,” showing not intellectual bravery but cowardice. “These three researchers have demonstrated that they’re not to be trusted,” he said.

Hmm… PLB shouldn’t be “exposing weaknesses in [. . .] conspicuously ideological fields” that are “likely to be laughed at anyway”? Um, isn’t that exactly what we should be doing, if we want to have any credibility? Instead, we live in an era where much scholarship in the humanities is driven by Marx’s call not to interpret the world, but to change it. By doing that, we abandon our responsibility to understand and explain and just become another set of agitators for some political outcome or other, and in turn are willing to excuse crappy work in the name of a political alliance.

And that isn’t funny.

Posted in Education, Politics | Leave a comment

Monday Potpourri: QotD and Other Stuff Edition

I got home from work a little while ago, and although I have class to prep to do this afternoon that I didn’t do yesterday (as I was recovering from being out late on Saturday), I thought I could spare a little time to say hello, so here we go!

***

One of the things I did yesterday was read one of my birthday gifts — Matt Goldman’s Broken Ice, the second of the Nils Shapiro series. As I said on Twitter last night, Goldman is now two-for-two in this series. In this adventure, Shapiro is looking for a missing young woman from a small town in Minnesota, who disappeared during the state high school hockey championships. Things get complicated when another girl from the same town turns up dead, and an unknown archer nearly kills Shapiro at the scene.

As was the case in Gone to Dust (the first Shapiro novel), the whodunit aspects of the case are engaging enough — it’s a well plotted novel — but I think the novel’s real power comes from Shapiro’s character and voice. He’s a character with whom I enjoy spending time, and for whom I enjoy rooting. And Goldman handles the character engagingly, showing us his interior landscape while keeping things readable and not stalling the reader out by pondering the whiteness of the whale and such.

Indeed, one of the things I like about crime fiction is that I think that at its best, it illuminates the challenges of being human as well as any other kind of literature, and better than many mainstream novels. I’ve never liked the claim that such-and-such a writer “transcends the genre” — I think that actually translates as “transcends the reviewer’s snobbery” — but I think that crime fiction does get underestimated from time to time. I think the final paragraphs of Lawrence Block’s When the Sacred Ginmill Closes can stand with any number of 20th-C. novels I read in grad school, as can Jim Thompson’s tale of a suicidal jeweler from Killer Inside Me or Hammett’s famous Flitcraft parable from Maltese Falcon. And although I just read, Goldman’s book last night, Shapiro shares an anecdote that resonates the way good fiction should:

A client had given me [a bottle of whiskey] for tailing his wife for a month only to discover that all her excuses for being absent — triathlon training, extension courses at the U of M, volunteering at the Humane Society — were all true. I gave him a packet of photographs and time logs verifying her whereabouts. After reviewing them, he asked his wife why she chose to spend so much time out of the house.

She said she was disappointed in the man he turned out to be. She wasn’t cheating on her husband. She simply wanted nothing to do with him. When he asked if she wanted a divorce, she said no. Their marriage had its function, and at fifty-something years old, she didn’t want another chance at love. If he wanted a divorce then fine, they’d get divorced. Otherwise, she was content doing what she was doing. The man was still in love with her, despite knowing the love would never be returned. So he kept her like I keep books, loving them but knowing I’ll probably never open them again. He gave me the bottle of Redbreast as a departing gift with a note that said “When you need a warmth you can count on” (76-7).

That’s just good writing, is what that is. It should be encouraged. Buy the book.

***

Meanwhile, on my own fictioneering front, I’m pleased to mention that my story “Rough Mix” will appear in early 2019, in the abovementioned Mr. Block’s anthology, At Home in the Dark. Subterranean Press will bring it out in trade and limited hardcover editions, and the seventeen authors include some pretty heavy hitters. In alphabetical order, I’ll appearing with N. J. Ayres, Laura Benedict, Jill D. Block, Richard Chizmar, Hilary Davidson, Jim Fusilli, Joe Hill, Elaine Kagan, Joe R. Lansdale, Joyce Carol Oates, Ed Park, Nancy Pickard, Thomas Pluck, James Reasoner, Wallace Stroby, and Duane Swierczynski.

As the publication date draws nearer, I’ll let you know when and how you can order your own copy of what promises to be a high quality collection.

***

And how about a bit of music? The Ruen Brothers (Rupert and Henry Stansall) are from Scunthorp, England, a steel town in the North. I heard them last night on Slim Jim Phantom’s rockabilly show on Little Steven’s Underground Garage, and while those influences are apparent (especially in this song’s train shuffle beat), there seem to be some other things going on as well. From their new, Rick Rubin-produced album All My Shades of Blue, here’s “Walk Like A Man.” It ain’t the Four Seasons.

See you soon!

Posted in Culture, Literature, Music, Pixel-stained Wretchery | 2 Comments