Sunday, September 28, 2008

Are You Ready for some Baseball?

Every team that makes the playoffs thinks they will win. T-shirts and hats are printed. Kids skip school. Nuns wave rally towels. [we think that towels are childish in Boston: we prefer singing a Neil Diamond song during seventh inning stretch] People root around in the garage and dig out Infant of Prague statues, put them into strollers, and walk through stadiums chanting. It's exhilarating. The celebrations are poignant and heartfelt, not to mention drunken and debauched. We stand in front of our TV sets and smile like saps.

"Look at So-and-So. Isn't he funny? I wonder how much champagne he can pour in his mouth without choking. That is so cute."


You really have to feel good for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They never win anything, do they? Aren't they pretty much a laughingstock? I'm happy for them here, except we will have to beat them and their good times will be over. Hey. They have the good weather. They shouldn't complain.

The Cubbies are getting used to being in the postseason and they look like they're in Chariots of Fire or a slow-mo beer commercial instead of a baseball game. If you had to pick who to root for based on how many people would kill themselves after another loss, the Cubs would be your first choice. They are every year. They've taken over from us and you know something? They are welcome to the honor. We used to have the 86-year curse here in Boston, but we got rid of ours. Good luck to the Cubs, though. I love the way people can watch the game for free on the rooftops near Wrigley.

The Phillies look happy, I guess. I mean they are smiling. But gee whiz, no one is leaping onto anyone's back. No one is crying. They were in last year too, so maybe they are getting used to this also. They look more like a happy bunch of groomsmen at a wedding, don't they? HEY. I JUST WON TWENTY FIVE BUCKS ON KENO. HAVE WE GOT TIME FOR THE BACK NINE BEFORE THE REHEARSAL DINNER? Except for the two on the left, who have just asked each other to slow dance.

This unknown Angel at least looks happy. Maybe not ecstatic out of his mind like the Devil Rays, but grateful to God. It's sort of embarrassing the way the Red Sox always seem to have the Haloes in their back pocket, so I'm sure they want to beat us wicked wicked wicked bad. It's troubling to think of.

CC Sabathia gets a champagne shower after his complete game four-hitter led the Brewers to their first playoff berth since 1982. (Morry Gash/AP)
Now this is more like it. CC Sabathia and the Brewers are HAPPY. They've got the pulsing adrenaline thing going on. They barely made it in and they will be a Cinderella team too, if they don't fall flat. I find it interesting that champagne is evidently allowed in the clubhouse. I thought maybe only beer would be provided because of their name. Let's be honest. CC was a little soft last year, know what I'm saying? Maybe he should lay off those He-Man dinners.

Manny, Nomar playoff-bound after Dodgers clinch
And here's Manny being LA Manny, shown doing his Stevie Wonder impression. This is troubling also, simply because I do NOT want to see him come to the plate at Fenway. Incidentally, Derek Lowe is pitching their opening game, another former Red Sox player. LA has good weather, movie stars, and Disney Land. They totally do not deserve a baseball championship. Enough said.

The Red Sox defeated the Indians Tuesday night at Fenway Park to clinch a postseason berth. Jonathan Papelbon's on-field celebration after the game included giving away the bases to fans who stuck around for the party.
And finally, Jonathan Papelbon handing out actual bases to audience members at the Red Sox clinch celebration. You know, I don't think there's anyone anywhere who wouldn't want to party with JP. Bring it, son. The fan shown here is displaying Fenway enthusiasm to the max, possibly even further than the max. He may have an Infant of Prague statue in his car and if you want to make fun of him for it, go ahead. I will wait over here. A lot of us are much calmer now during a postseason run because the curse was broken, let's face it. But we'll build up to it, don't you worry, dear reader.

The last team that will make it won't even be decided until Tuesday. It will be either the White Sox or the Twins. Ho hum. Detroit would have been more fun. Talk about a Rust Belt bad-weather town. Yeah!
Pass the hope, baby.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Becky Addresses the Scale

Dear Scale,
The one in my daughter's room on the floor.
There's no other scale in the house, so who else would it be?
Not to be disrespectful, of course. Please stay calm. Please stay at zero.

But let's speak frankly, little friend. You know me quite well, so don't act like this is a surprise. You see me almost every day, usually shivering and wearing nothing.
Quit laughing. Don't agitate me, okay?

Remember you are somewhat fragile. Plastic can crack so easily, you know? A quick blow with a hammer and oh gosh, your guts are hanging out and you're babbling like last year's cell phone.

Yes, I know my cell phone came from the grocery store. What of it? Don't try to distract me.

You're very quick to add a pound or two if I have relaxed and ingested a slice or two of cake.

You jump your number up instantly. I understand that you don't accept excuses and I'm fine with that. I'm the same way in my class. I'm sure you feel that is a display of high standards and I don't say that's wrong.

And no one is faster than you at hefting on an extra half pound if I enjoy a few too many grapes.

Oh my, you can be cranky about that. Real chicken rather than Weight Watchers entrees? Your heart is cold.

All of that is okay.

But if I suffer and sacrifice for TWO BLOODY WEEKS, you are cool and indifferent. You do nothing. You give out the same number day after day after f-ing day.

Now I'm not losing my temper. I've kept my calm with far bigger and better appliances than you. Ask the water heater, who annoys the living shit out of me on a daily basis.
But I just want to point out a few things. IT'S NOT LIKE I'M POUNDING DOWN FRENCH FRIES, OKAY? Sorry. What I mean is, I don't eat potatoes. I don't eat bread. I don't eat desserts or pasta or even rice. Never a potato chip, never a cookie.

AND WHAT REWARD DO I GET? NONE. Okay, okay, I know it's all a numbers game. I know the rules.

Would you take a bribe? I'm not really serious, but would you? If I stood on one leg, would it make a difference? That's what I thought.

You want me to starve, don't you?

Well, here's what you are, Scale. You are plain cruel. Despicable, reprehensible, and loathsome in the extreme.

But be advised that I will not give up. I am going to win.

Just don't forget that a fall from the second floor could be quite painful. And I have some very big hammers out in my shed.

With all love,

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

ASKING FOR MURDER by GCC's Roberta Isleib

Mysteries were always my first love and here is an exciting new one! ASKING FOR MURDER by Dr. Roberta Isleib (Berkley Prime Crime, September 2008) is the 3rd book involving psychologist-advice columnist-sleuth Dr. Rebecca Butterman.

A clinical psychologist herself, Roberta says the work of the detective in a mystery has quite a bit in common with long-term psychotherapy: Start with a problem, follow the threads looking for clues, and gradually fill in the big picture.

Her advice column series debuted in 2007 with DEADLY ADVICE and PREACHING TO THE CORPSE.Roberta is the president of National Sisters in Crime and the past president of the New England chapter. Her books and stories have been short-listed for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.

Psychologist/advice columnist/sleuth Dr. Rebecca Butterman plunges into her third mystery when her close friend and fellow therapist Annabelle Hart is found beaten and left for dead. Rebecca is determined to help search for answers. But this time, no one wants her help. Not Detective Meigs, who thinks the crime was either a botched robbery or the result of a relationship gone sour. And not Annabelle’s sister, who makes it clear that Rebecca isn’t welcome in family affairs. The only place where her opinion matters is the therapist’s couch. Rebecca's agreed to see Annabelle’s patients while her friend is hospitalized, but it won’t be easy. Annabelle’s area of expertise is sandplay therapy, which Rebecca knows little about. While she studies the images in the patients’ sand trays and puzzles through Annabelle’s family secrets, another victim is murdered. With a killer on the loose, she can only hope the clues in the sand are buried within easy reach.

Isleib's advice column series debuted in 2007 with DEADLY ADVICE and PREACHING TO THE CORPSE. A clinical psychologist, Isleib says the work of the detective in a mystery has quite a bit in common with long-term psychotherapy: Start with a problem, follow the threads looking for clues, and gradually fill in the big picture.

“Asking for Murder is a charming and sometimes gritty mystery with an appealing protagonist who sleuths, cooks and psychoanalyzes.” Marilyn Dahl, Shelf-Awareness

“Top-notch writing, meticulous plotting – and a heroine who is perfectly imperfect…” Diana Vickery, the Cozy Library

“Dr. Rebecca Butterman, the quirky, flawed, eccentric, funny psychologist and advice columnist in PREACHING TO THE CORPSE, is my kind of protagonist.” Rebecca Rule, Nashua Telegraph

Isleib's series debut shines with wit and suspense, thanks in part to an affable and intelligent heroine. Succinct plotting and expert pacing also help this well-crafted cozy shine. Romantic Times Magazine

Monday, September 22, 2008


I waited as long as I could to post this, hoping that the Yankees would be eliminated for the 2008 season. That will be sweet, of course, when it happens and it will be VERY SOON. They said goodbye to Yankee Stadium last night. Ho hum.

Yankees I find bearable include Yogi Berra and Joe Torre, who I know is out in California now.
Berra is pretty much the modern-era Mark Twain.
"I didn't really say everything I said."
"Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical."
"Half the lies they tell about me aren't true. "
I think he could be in my composition class.
Torre combines grace under pressure with that state-cop-on-a-speed-trap look. I hate him and feel sorry for him at the same time.

Anyway, just for fun, here is the 2007 World Series ring with that nice Boston logo.

Last Yankees World Series win: 2000. AHEM. COUGH. COUGH.
I don't like being mean-spirited like this and I feel ashamed of myself. NYAH NYAH.

Continuing bloopers:
1) "I could hear the crow cheering my name."

2) "Her face looked as white as a weeding dress." [I've never worn one of these, but I rarely work outside anyway.]
3) "The man had dark betty eyes as he chewed his extremely rare chopped stake."

4) "When I started feeling contractions, I went into the hospital and they gave me medications to postpone my pregnancy."

Be Here Now, dear reader.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Summer Highlights and Early Bloopers

Bloomsbury Square in London--seems like a dream now.

Chin up, dude!

My father and my daughter in Arkansas

Loved houseguests

Red Lion Inn in the Berkshires, where I saw CANDIDA [chardonnay is what I actually saw at the Red Lion Inn]

Still crazy after all these years.....
[trying to live my life according to Paul Simon tunes]

Chi-chi cocktail party on Something-or-Other Wharf in Boston. Note all those flags. I wonder if Hannaford's has one up there.

Watermelon martinis at the Cape...
not just for breakfast any more!
[trying to live my life by Anita Bryant commercials]

Maeve's new house

Only a few blooops so far, but one is a doozy. Which one is it? Let me just say this--there won't be any illustrations of it.
1) I liked to play with linking logs when I was a child.
2) Our destination was a small damn.
3) Men tend to be labialized in one way and women are labialized in another.
A bientot

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Name This Guy

High school Nearly nine years removed from starting his last game as a quarterback - at 17, for the Chatsworth High School Chancellors in 1999 - Cassel has been summoned from football limbo to replace a legend, the injured Tom Brady, and attempt to guide the Patriots to their fourth Super Bowl title in seven years.

No, he's no relation of mine.

He's not American Idol.

He wasn't in the Olympics.

He's not from Alaska.


He's Matt Cassel, taking over at quarterback for the New England Patriots. Taking over for that Other Guy, what was his name, the one with the glamorous girlfriend?

Oh, I forget. Anyway, Matt is doing a splendid job [we do hate to use that word "super"] and is already two and oh. He and his wife are Southern Cal alumni, where Matt played for Pete Carroll ("we're pumped! we're jacked!") and she was captain of the volleyball team. She looks nice here, of course, but I wouldn't want to face her across the net.

Cassel did not make a start while at USC, but he did leave there with his future wife, Lauren Killian (left), who captained the women's volleyball team to the 2002 national championship (Trojans QB Carson Palmer was best man at their wedding).

AWWWWWWWWW. They are so cute. Let me not mince words, though. NEITHER ONE OF THEM COULD BEAT ME AT TABLE HOCKEY. I am the best that ever was. Occasionally, I let someone beat me in one game--think of a cat playing with a mouse, letting it think it has some freedom before the cat playfully and lightheartedly KILLS IT DEAD.

Okay then. I had a couple of tiny bloopers over the weekend ("pride is the route of all evil"), but nothing outstanding. I should start getting some next weekend as the first round of papers comes in.

Thanks to Boston Globe.
Fingers crossed for no hurricanes, disaster, or heartbreak.



Friday, September 12, 2008

Birthday Girl

Yes, dear reader, today is my birthday. Thank you. Thank you very much. I share my special day with:

Henry Hudson, explorer [I like to feel I'm keeping his spirit alive if only by trying new cocktails]

Richard Gatling, inventor of--well, what would you expect-- the gatling gun and in truth, I've always felt that the same things keep happening to me over and over and over again. BANG. OUCH. STOP IT. Luckily not actual bullets.

H.H. Asquith, Prime Minister of the UK [quite pleasing to an anglophile like me]

I could just see this guy on Upstairs Downstairs.

H. L. Mencken, American journalist [God, these dudes look arrogant, don't they? Can you picture any of them fixing their own baloney sandwich?]

Alfred Knopf, American publisher [OMG, wouldn't I love to get a deal with them! ]


Jesse Owens, American athlete in the 1936 Berlin Olympics--yeah, baby!!! F you, Adolph!

Paul McCartney's son James McCartney, here looking far more like Larry Bird.

Gosh, I guess that means somewhere in the world the McCartneys are gathered for a festive dinner. Maybe my friends and I will run into them at the winery in Bolton.

Caroline Aigle, first female French fighter pilot

Let's face it, I'm putting Caroline here because I COULDN'T FIND ANY OTHER WOMEN! I'm proud to be associated with Mlle. Aigle, though Wikipedia says she died in 2007. Oops. I'm still happy she got to fly those fighters and I'm sure she KICKED ASS.

September 12 is the 255th day of the year. Gosh, it doesn't feel like that, does it?

Are you ready? There are 110 days remaining in this year.

I don't need to tell my regular readers what some of them will be. UGH and UBER-UGH.

The h-h-h-well, you know.

Still happy.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

GCC: Joanne Rendell

Spotlight author this week is Joanne Rendell, who has written a delicious-looking book called

The Professors' Wives Club, and here's the cover which I love:

Oh, you just know there's going to be some devilment, and here's the press release:

In her new novel THE PROFESSORS’ WIVES’ CLUB, NYU faculty wife Joanne Rendell tells of four professors’ wives who risk everything to save a beloved faculty garden.With its iron gate and high fence laced with honeysuckle, Manhattan University’s garden offers faculty wives Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah a much needed refuge. Each of them carries a scandalous secret that could upset their lives, destroy their families, and rock the prestigious university to its very core.When a ruthless Dean tries to demolish the garden, the four women are thrown together in a fight which enrages and unites them. The wives are an indomitable force. While doing battle with the ambitious dean, they expose the dark underbelly of academia – and find the courage to stand up for their own dreams, passions, and lives.

"As an NYU alum, I enjoyed the behind-the-scenes escapades at the fictional Manhattan U. in THE PROFESSORS’ WIVES’ CLUB. Joanne Rendell has created a quick, fun read about a wonderful group of friends."
Kate Jacobs, NYT’s bestselling author of THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB

"The four women in THE PROFESSORS’ WIVES' CLUB who risk it all in pursuit of life, love, and green space in New York City are smart, funny and real -- friends you'd want for life. Rendell doesn't shy away from tough issues, but her light touch and readable prose make this charming first novel a delight." Christina Baker Kline, author of THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE
“Joanne Rendell's irresistible debut novel is a captivating look at an ivory tower Peyton Place filled with intrigue, heartbreak and hope.”
Michelle Yu or Blossom Kan, authors of CHINA DOLLS

Joanne Rendell was born and raised in the UK. After completing her PhD in English Literature, she moved to the States to be with her husband, a professor at NYU. She now lives in a student dorm in New York City with her family. The Professors’ Wives’ Club is her first novel. Joanne’s second novel will be released by NAL/Penguin next summer (’09).

Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


Season ending knee injury.
Yes. Season-ending means his season has ended.
You're getting it.
There's a little piece of foam on your chin. Want me to get it?
You know, it's fun to watch actual learning. They don't always do it in my classes.
But that's probably my fault. I think I'm going to buy a Dove bar. You want one?
You're getting the foam again.
Close your eyes and think happy thoughts.
Jonathan Papelbon
When one thing gets taken away, dear reader, we must be thankful for what we still have.
Hey. Who said shut the f up?
love from Mary Poppins

Saturday, September 06, 2008

High Speed Internet

The gerbils in the basement don't know what to do. Their wheel is no longer connected to my computer system and although they are still responsible for my power generator (and all electrical output), they're a little confused by the sudden drop in demand.

It's sad to see them like this, hanging around like derelicts, hair sticking up in odd places, and no sense of decorum, which I really hate. I'm sorry to say some have taken up smoking again and after all the hard work they put into quitting. A few are hitting the bottle, and that's really a shame. Their union rep has been in my face all day accusing me of outsourcing, but hey. Even I catch the wave of the future occasionally. Wall Street will love me now. I have some bacon I bought in July--perhaps I will grill that up with some nice mouse pellets and surprise them with breakfast. Can they be bought?

As with all new things, I am getting used to the new internet access. Right now I am at a loss without my old "favorites" list and trying to remember what was on there. I always seem to put things on there and then wonder a week later why I did it.



college website

second college website

stupid fashion choices web site

obscure website with no meaning

new york times

obscure website with no meaning

obscure website with no meaning

obscure website with no meaning

Well, you get the point. Also, my computer is hyperventilating frequently and I don't know why. It makes this rather loud I-Think-I'm-Vacuuming-Out-An-Airplane-Cabin sound. When it finally goes off, I feel exhausted.

In other news, I saw Hamlet2 last night and loved it. It won't be for everybody and it's a little on the profane side ("Rock Me Sexy Jesus" is HOT!)

but Steve Coogan and the kids are great. Here is the YouTube video of this electrifying number:

God, I hope it works. The gerbils will have to go into psychiatric counseling.

No papers yet to grade. My trusted wonderful readers are giving me feedback on my book and as soon as I have all of it, I will start out down the path of the next revision. Then it will be ready to send, tremblechokeshakeinmyboots, to my agent.

I hope Hurricane Hannah is kind.

A bientot



Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Simple Pleasures

WHAT: Kitchen Cabinet
WHEN: September 2, 2008
WHY A PLEASURE: Because it is newly cleaned out by me. Every Tylenol and Alka Seltzer free sample, every ten-year-old Tetley teabag, every twenty-year-old chocolate chip ( I think they were chocolate chips) has been pitched. It's newly and spaciously stocked and will be a pleasure to open every day.

WHAT: Town square/park in Clinton, Mass.
WHEN: August 31, 2008
WHY A PLEASURE: The sign says it's a "passive park" and I love that. This park will not talk back to you. It will not have road rage or display rude behavior or get pissed off. Ever. I of course advise against passive verbs, but am passionately in favor of passive parks.

WHAT: Plant of some kind, not unlike a hydrangea, my really favorite plant, but I don't know what the name of this is. I ain't no gardener.
WHEN: August 31, 2008 (near Passive Park)
WHY A PLEASURE: I rejoice in these blossoms because of their beautiful white clustery-ness. Clusters are good. Plus it's growing out of gravel and cement which is good too.

WHAT: A sundial! A real one!
WHEN: August 31, 2008 in Passive Park
WHY A PLEASURE: Because it makes me feel scientifically knowledgeable. Look at that. It's 1pm, right? The thing works! How did they think this up? Would it work at Hannaford's?
WHAT: A weird blossom
WHERE: Passive Park, Clinton, Mass.
WHEN: August 31, 2008
WHY A PLEASURE: Because it's near the end of summer and just knowing that there's a blossom like this actually organically growing and being spewed out by a plant, is nice. Nyah nyah nyah to cold weather

WHAT: Fountain in Passive Park
WHEN: August 31, 2008
WHY A PLEASURE: This woman is one of four, who sits and watches the water fall. She and they think deep thoughts. She is the only one wearing a necklace, though, so I noticed her. Why is that? Is she the most materialistic? Is she the one with a rich lover? A sense of fashion? Like the others, she is passive in the extreme.
But she may think the hardest and get the answer first. Maybe I will too.
Off to the salt mines, dear reader.
Ready for the rest of life.