Saturday, September 29, 2007

AL East Champs

Okay, so this is Step One in The Quest. They at least got this far. I did not get to see last night's game, but have been scrutinizing Globe photos.
Jonathan Papelbon closed out Boston's victory over Minnesota.
Here is Jonathan Papelbon, last night's closer, being congratulated by catcher Jason Varitek, a good looking guy but with a low hairline (you can't see it in this pic). That's all right. The lower the better when it comes to playoffs.
Papelbon hoisted a cooler over his head in the locker room.
Jonathan Papelbon a bit later and a bit scarier. WHERE DO YOU WANT THIS COOLER?
The Red Sox clinched their first division title in 12 years Friday night by beating the Twins 5-2 at Fenway and then watching the Orioles rally to beat the Yankees in extra innings. (NESN Screen shot)
Here's JP the closer with Dice K, the starter, united in the ritual of liquor drunk and sprayed. One looks very well-fed-with-meat-and-potatoes and the other very cut-that-sushi-crap-and-show-me-some-Taco-Bell
They weren't disappointed, as Baltimore rallied from three down to beat the Bombers in extra innings, clinching the division for the Sox and setting off a celebration in the stands, in the locker room, and on the field.
Red Sox Nation, not caring in the slightest where their cars are or what's happening to them.
David Ortiz sprayed champagne in the locker room.
David Ortiz, also known as Big Papi, also known as God.
Red Sox players celebrated on the field.
I don't really like seeing the players in their shorts. It's embarrassing. They're very white and googly-looking.
With a beer in one hand and a bottle of bubbly in the other, Jonathan Papelbon danced in his postgame outfit.
Sometimes there's just nothing else to say but wow. Papelbon again, Being Here Now and auditioning for some kind of calendar. I think a number of organizations would be proud to have him. Gasp. Flutter.
All right, so I got off cheap today with a few photos. Hopefully, I won't get sued by the Globe. Thanks, Globe. You guys are the best.
A bientot

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Home Sweet

 Ilam hybrids. What is home anyway? It's the four walls around you, whatever they are. A house, an apartment, a telephone booth (if you're Superman). It's the place where you can scratch when it itches, wherever that is.

It's a region sometimes. Home for me used to be Arkansas, where they have gorgeous azaleas like these pictured. For many years as the plane landed at Little Rock National Airport (don't get me started on THAT), I felt I was coming home. As I strolled in my parents' neighborhood and saw the familiar houses, I felt I was home. I still think of the Ashcrafts living next door and the Isenmans over on the next street and the Jackman house is still the one on the corner, even though those families are long gone (and in some cases dead).


But I realized that it's not home any more. It's too different. The stores aren't right. The lanes of traffic aren't right. Right near my family's house is an intersection where someone decided to paint four lanes going across. The only problem is there isn't room for four lanes. There might be room for three. So when you come barreling down the rather steep hill toward this intersection and you get into what seems like the left lane to turn into my parents' street, you will notice that OHMYGODTHEREISN'TENOUGHROOM. Just a little blood pressure elevation to add variety to your day.

See, I don't accept the last twenty years of development in Little Rock. All those stores and malls and Arby's and McDonald's out in the west part of town? I don't accept them. I don't know how to get there anyway.

Meanwhile, I've lived in New England for lo these many years and it should be my home. It should. But you know, I pronounce "ant" and "aunt" the same. This will never be my true home. It's funny when you head back to Massachusetts from Arkansas. The people are so different on the airplane. They all have laptops and books. They're quiet and look like they have advanced degrees from a better school than where you went. I'm not exactly at home here either.
So what am I saying?
I don't know. I'm just rambling right now. Trying to get back in the groove. Grading 15 papers per day and it's a ball buster, pardon my francais.
A bientot

Re-entering the earth's atmosphere

I have just returned to my house. It looks like a shack. I'm exhausted and don't have time to unpack. I'm going to kill all airlines with my bare hands.

More later

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Mary C. Willis 1913-2007

I will not be posting for a while as I mourn the loss of my mother.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Getting a Few In

Law Library - BooksDo you ever try to accomplish something right before the buzzer? JUST before you have to stop, do you rush out there and try for one more? I do and always have. Right now, before the massive Paper Influx begins, I am trying to suck down as many pleasurable novels as I can.

I read Robert Crais's WATCHMAN and swallowed it almost whole (one day).

I read PRIEST by Ken Bruen in less. Oh man, is this ever a good book. I HOWLED even though it's dark and depressing and leaves little hope. This guy orders a whiskey and leaves it sitting. You are on edge the whole book to see if he will relent.

I'm reading SCANDAL OF THE SEASON by Sophie Gee and it's delicious. I needed to know more about Alexander Pope, anyway. Sophie is on faculty at Princeton and I hope Joyce Carol Oates is friendly to her. I love her too.

Let's see, what else. Oh yes. TRAVELER by Ron McLarty and it was excellent. You know, I have to say it violated one of the cardinal rules that I have learned about writing. Make your beginning compelling and interesting. His was not. But oh gosh, am I ever glad I stuck with it.

This is just to commemorate summer and the silliness.
What possessed me to do this?
I do not know.
Does it go with the Dairy Queen poses? The attempts at Winslett/DiCaprio verisimilitude?
I think not.
A Big Truth: the difference between mid-August and mid-September is vast.
A moment of silence on that.
A bientot

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Living for Columbus Day

That's right, dear reader, and every teacher and every student in America knows why. IT'S A FREAKING DAY OFF, THAT'S WHY.
God, it seems I've been doing this for months and it's only been a week. I have around 130 students and frankly, this is how I feel.
Know what I'm sayin'? I of course do not have the six-pack abs. Is that what those are? My ribs can't exactly be made out. Let's not go there. Next week the first papers come in and I will more closely resemble this guy.
Image of a man drowningI wonder what the most prevalent error will be. Will it be "women," as in "a women walked into the room" or "she was a foolish women." Perhaps it will be something erudite, such as "if you believe that, you believe in the Eastern Bunny" [note: he can't be everywhere, you know]. Hopefully, no one will speak of the Noble Prize.
But I will get through it. I will get to Columbus Day and enjoy it fully. And then? And then? Oh baby, that's right-- Veterans' Day!!!!!
The 3rd U.S. Infantry’s U.S. Army Drill Team executes precision drill movements during a festival at Fort Eustis, Va.  This photo appeared on optimistic, boys and girls.
A bientot

Thursday, September 13, 2007

GCC Pick: Toni McGee Causey

Toni McGee Causey has written a book I look forward to reading. You've got to love someone who has as bad a day as this gal has in Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day . Here's a taste of how it goes.

Bobbie Faye Sumrall is a dead-broke Cajun living in a broken-down trailer in Lake Charles, Louisiana. When criminals demand Bobbie Faye's Contraband Queen tiara-- the only thing of her mama's she inherited-- in exchange for her good-for-nothing brother, Bobbie Faye has to outwit the police, organized crime, former boyfriends, and a hostage she never intended to take (but who turns out to be damn sexy), in order to rescue her brother, keep custody of her niece, and get back in time to take her place as Queen in the Lake Charles Contraband Festival (think Mardi Gras, with more drinking and pirates). Luckily, she knows how to handle guns, outwit angry mama bears, drive a speedboat, and get herself out of (and into) almost every kind of trouble. If only that pesky state police detective (who also happens to be a pissed off ex-boyfriend) would stay out of her way . . .

And here's a little bit about Toni:

Toni McGee Causey lives in Baton Rouge with her husband and two sons; a Louisiana native (and Cajun), she has nearly completed a double masters at LSU. She's placed in top tier screenwriting contests, published many non-fiction articles and edited a popular regional magazine. To support her writing addiction, she and her husband Carl run their own civil construction company. Bobbie Faye is the first in a three-book deal with St. Martin's press on a pre-empt; the chaotic, rollercoaster thriller world of Bobbie Faye owes much to Toni having way more experience than she'd like to own up to in the world of trouble-shooting, disaster-prevention and survival.

And take a look at these reviews, folks.

“Causey doesn't miss a beat in this wonderful, wacky celebration of Southern eccentricity.”
-- Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“This hyperpaced, screwball action/adventure with one unforgettable heroine and two sexy heroes is side-splittingly hilarious. Causey, a Cajun and a Louisiana native, reveals a flair for comedy in this uproarious debut novel.”
--Library Journal (starred review)

“Move over Stephanie and Bubbles you've got major competition tracking north from the Deep South. Bobby Faye might have had a very bad day but Toni McGee Causey is going to have a very good year. With Causey's debut novel (A Griffin Trade Paperback Original), Bobbie Faye's Very (very, very, very) Bad Day, Bobbie Faye Sumrall is out to capture both the hearts of spunky women everywhere and the minds of men ready for a challenge.”
-- Deadly Pleasures

“It's about time women had an Amazon to look up to… Bobbie Faye is a hurricane-force heroine who makes this novel the perfect adventure yarn.”
-- The Tampa Tribune

“This is an action comedy novel that will delight fans of the Ya Ya/Sweet Potato Queens genre. The pacing of the book will take your breath away.”
-- The Advocate

“If you like Janet Evanovich, if you’re looking for a lot of unlikely action (when is the last time someone you know escaped a burning boat by lassoing an oil rig?), or if you’re simply having a bad day, go out and find Bobbie Faye. She’s an outrageous hoot.”
-- The Times Picayune

“There are many things to love about this book --- the plot, the pacing, the dialogue --- but my own favorite element is the characterization… But if you want a short description of this great novel, think Die Hard in the swamp. And Bobbie Faye? She's a titanium magnolia.”

A bientot


Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Nose Where?

That's right, baby. To the grindstone!!!

My nose is already a little small and beaky, so this would be a fearful activity for me in literal terms. Gosh, think of all the folks with large, well, you-know-what and it rhymes with snozzolas, who could save so much cash by just leaning down into this puppy and whittling a bit off the edge. You'll never see this apparatus at a plastic surgeon's because they don't want you to know about it.
But I digress. Alas, I have turned my attention away from the fun tasks of summer, such as harping and bitching about Hannaford's, to real and actual work, such as grading papers and preparing class. May I say one thing? The harping and bitching are SO much more fun. Mind you, I could h and b about class, but it's not time for that yet. Everyone is so cute and eager. They are all smooth-combed little otters, sitting there and barking when I ask.

I know, I know. Otters probably don't bark.

Do I have to get everything right? Don't answer that.

I rise each morning at 6 am, dear reader. Oh dear god, I can barely stand it. I'd love to say I get on the treadmill, but my own treadmill, or "threadmill" as an old coupon client used to say, is still doing its impression of a bureau and just standing there. Anything electrical that just kind of hums when you turn it on?? to me is nature's way of saying RUN FOR YOUR LIVES. Also I was recently told that squirrels (nature's dirty little secret) have chewed through my power lines outside and they (the wires or whatever they are) need to be repaired immediately. You know what I say to that, dear reader. Lah dee dah. Ho hum. The thing is, these people insist on getting paid for their work and that hampers my repair schedule.
My regular place of exercise, the high school track, is overrun with school sports right now and I don't enjoy walking around the periphery of the football team, not that they aren't getting some enjoyment out of my pitiful attempts.
Here's what I say to that.
See this big piece of gum? Which car is yours, honey?
Now I don't mean that of course. I'm a peaceloving bighearted woman. Just don't distract me while I'm getting used to school.
I seem to be writing the nun book while I'm not writing. It's a great technique. I think I'm arriving at a big plot point that will be totally inappropriate and my agent may hate.
I miss summer.
A bientot
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Sunday, September 09, 2007


What's the old joke about the guy who is hitting himself on the head with a hammer? Why are you doing it, someone says. Because it feels so good when I stop.
Mind you, I didn't get sick on purpose. But I sure appreciate feeling good when it is over. This illustration shows a sunrise, folks, not a sunset and it's supposed to indicate a rejuvenation, a starting over, and not to suggest Gothic spires of Dracula's castle, which is the other thing that it looks like.

I hate to say it, but my old friends, lovely delicious grapes, may have been at fault. I admit to overdoing it a bit where they are concerned. Last weekend I took them with me on my travels, ten bucks worth (that's a lotta grapes, dear reader) and have been pounding them down ever since. Both Stop and Shop and Hannaford's have good ones just now and they were only 97 cents a pound at Han's.

HOW COULD I RESIST? Meanwhile, the last bunch I had were rather evil looking--huge, eyeball-size globules from some malaria-infested jungle, brimming with tropical bacteria. Tasty, though.

Okay, enough about that already.

The optimism is palpable in class the first week. I always ask students to say where they are from and the very first young man said "I'm from Athol and I hate it." All right!!! Tell us how you really feel!! This led to other people saying they really did like their hometowns and it was turning into a civic lovefest by the end of the hour. ATHOL, WE LOVE YOU!!!!

This shot is very far from my reality. First of all, I don't wear a white coat, although maybe I should. Maybe I would look like a medical doctor and get kowtowed to, which could be satisfying. Then again, someone could ask me why they had a pain in their head and I'd have to answer. FROM YOUR HUGE PROTRUDING BRAIN--I'D GET THAT LOOKED AT IF I WERE YOU.

I don't think I've ever seen a student dressed up in nylons and a skirt. They pretty much arrive right from bed, in their pajamas sometimes with bed hair. The girls are usually a bit more kempt than the young men, but not always.

I'm just under 40,000 words on the nun book, which I will have to put aside for a while
A bientot

Friday, September 07, 2007


Only three days of teaching, dear reader, and I am one tired cookie. I also think I might have picked up something from the Soup of Germs that surrounds me at school.
I am wasted. See this girl? That's me. I wanted to make her bigger, but I don't have the brain power to do it right now.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


In truth, I do walk into Starbucks, but I feel inadequate in the extreme. Is there a reason for the Spanish delineations? Grande? Vente? Cinco de Mayo Really FK Big? I thought it was a Seattle thing, coffee. As in small , medium, and large? Or even large, very large, and dude, we're talking horrendous? They want to know if you want whole milk or skim or latte. What's that for? Aren't I going to doctor my own cup over at the triage center by the door? I prefer Dunkin' Donuts because of this. Starbucks, I grant, is very gourmet. You are allowed a consulting session with the clerk about your drink. There are many questions to answer and don't get any wrong, okay? Also I don't really know what half the stuff is. How is espresso different from cafe latte? Is one stronger? Can I make a quick decision on it? Most customers are sitting and working laptops and that gives them an advantage because they can look up the translations before they order.

The clothing stores have fashion models that look like they're on heroin but not enjoying it. To me this is stupid. If you're going to starve yourself and take such a great risk as smack or crack or whatever they call it, I would think you'd be having a raving good time. You'd be hysterical, laughing at the world's perplexities. Instead, these people look miserable. Abercrombie and Fitch makes use of this same marketing angle.

Hollister, the clothing store, is so cool, most people can't even walk past it. You have to take the escalator and walk down. The place is dark inside and I mean no lights. When you walk by, you think it could be a haunted house.

What are you saying when you walk into BEBE at the mall? You are saying I HAVE A GREAT BODY AND DON'T STAND IN MY WAY. Or you could be saying MY DAUGHTER OR NIECE OR SOMEONE YOU DON'T KNOW HAS A GREAT BODY AND I AM PRETENDING IT'S ME!!
That's what I'm talking about, dear reader.
We just don't feel welcome everywhere and we should.
A bientot,