Random Saturday

Bob and I decided not to do HWSWA this week and ended up e-mailing all week instead. So no HWSWA. Do you have requests for topics? Because we’re out.

I have also discovered that an automatic “absolutely not” follows the words “alpha billionaire” in a book description for me. It’s right up there with “can he save her” and smirking. On the other hand the ingredients “chicken thighs” and “lemon” together make me hit Bookmark and the grocery. What is it about lemon and chicken anyway? Well, lemon and anything. Limes, I don’t get, but lemons? Hoo boy.

But I digress.

Oh, wait, this is a Random post. I’m supposed to digress.

So I went to look at the excerpt from a book recommended here and saw it was $9.99 and thought, Maybe not, and then read the excerpt and thought, Hell yes because that guy can write. And then I thought, What are my books priced at? because let’s face it, they’re all old at this point. The Harlequins are reasonable, and most of the SMPs are $7.99, but Bet Me is $11.99? And here’s a shocker: The Cinderella Deal is $13.99. Bantam must have lost its mind. No, we have no control what publishers charge for books. I was trying to think what the sweet spot was for me for hitting the Buy button, and I think it’s around $6.99. There was an excerpt I was reading the other day where I thought, Only if it’s free, and it was a BookBub and it turned out to be free, so I bit, but mostly if I’m going to try something, it needs to be cheap. Cheap R Us. Unless I hit really good writing, then I pay $9.99 for Sudden Death by David Rosenfelt. That’s not a recommendation, I’ve only read the excerpt, but it was good, so I’ll risk ten bucks. You want a recommendation? Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt. Currently two bucks on Amazon.

I know we usually complain about books not being available in digital, but I just discovered something much worse: Better Off Dead is not available to stream. What the hell are they thinking? That’s as bad as Green As Spring being $49. No, it’s worse, because at least Green As Spring is available.

I’m feeling the urge to do a John Cusack binge, not sure why, possibly he’s lurking as a placeholder for a character, but I’m having a hard time finding movies I want to watch. Grosse Pointe Blank, of course, that’s a no brainer. Say Anything annoys me, but Must Love Dogs I can’t remember, so I’ll try that. I do remember not liking Serendipity, but it’s a rom com and sometimes my tastes change; I didn’t like Down with Love the first time I saw it and then loved it the second time. I think High Fidelity was good. He’s made some violent stuff that I am not interested in seeing again just because I’m not in the mood. Give me comedy and romance, please, with a happy ending. At least until after the election.

Speaking of which, kudos to New Zealand to being well on the way to keeping their excellent PM. Now there’s a smart country.

My guilty pleasure right now is Marley Spoon. Every week, food arrives with recipes, like a gift from Santa, if Santa were Martha Stewart. It’s expensive, which isn’t good, but it’s my one guilty pleasure since all the others (eating out, going to the movies, shopping) are postponed until after the apocalypse. This week it’s Chicken Moo Shoo wraps, Lemony Chicken Scampi, and three desserts: Coconut Cake, Fudge Cookies, and Snickerdoodle Muffins. Next week is Peanut Noodle Stir Fry, Cheese Ravioli with Prosciutto, and Chocolate Lava Cakes with Drip-kit Coffee. Really, Christmas every Friday, and it’s all consumable so I don’t have to find a place to put anything. Perfect.

I’m babysitting my neighbor’s dog this afternoon. Jake has a schedule he needs to stick to, and my neighbors had a family thing, so Jake and I are together again (we’ve been here before). He’s a sweetheart, although sometimes he gets so enthusiastic about something invisible that he almost tugs me off my feet. We have discussed this, but I put up with it because he’s a sweetheart and he’s old, and this neighborhood has lost enough dogs this year. Beautiful Kara next door died the same week as Milton, and Jackson, next door to Jake is going on fourteen or fifteen, so his days are probably numbered although the little bastard runs his whole family so he may be able to defeat death, too. The point is, Jake can yank on his leash all he wants as long as he keep breathing. That’s all I ask.

In other words, my life is quiet and full of small pleasures, and I am grateful for that, even as my country burns down around me. Please god let this election go well so we can go back to being boring in the news. Somebody described Biden’s town hall as being “delightfully boring.” That’s my wish for America’s future. Delightfully boring.

That and food in a box every Friday and old dogs that don’t die.

25+

82 thoughts on “Random Saturday

  1. My rage finally got the better of me – that and the t shirt that says “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes” – and I ordered two t shirts. One says “Feminism: the radical notion that women are people” and the other says:
    “Science is Real
    Black Lives Matter
    No Human is Illegal
    Love is Love
    Women’s Rights are Human Rights
    Kindness is Everything”

    Now I will speak my mind, even if I’m not speaking at all.

  2. “Give me comedy and romance, please, with a happy ending. At least until after the election.” – Crusie

    “You see, comedy, love and a bit with a dog – that’s what they want.” – Shakespeare in Love

    Still true. Also, me too.

  3. Kiwi here and quite relieved (there have been so many shock election results internationally that I was nail biting through all of it).

    Also really impressed with the fact that the Greens and the Māori Party are both back (and hoping Labour will coalition with them even if it doesn’t have to).

    It is going to be an interesting 3 years.

    1. I was relieved and happy for you all in NZ when the results came through. Now, if we can just oust Scotty From Marketing here in Australia…

      1. Best of luck! I’m really impressed by how controlled the Melbourne outbreak seems to be now. I know it was awful but the numbers look really encouraging.

      2. It was also lovely to see the result in the ACT, with the returned leader kissing his husband/partner (for those playing elsewhere, the ACT is the Australian Capital Territory, where Canberra is located).

        There may be some hope for us in Australia, even if the ACT is the most progressive state or territory.

      3. Okay, maybe you, Annamal, and you, Emily, can advise me. My husband’s been writing for the mag on our last trip to Australia, the Great South, and a rose maze that tells the story of three women: a native, an English women and an Italian. Now, I know in NZ the original people are Maori, and I know why. But in Australia, I keep hearing “Aborigines.” That hits me wrong because of connotations, and I know the L.A. Times had an article sometime this year on the move to change that latter name. As his editor, I urged my husband to use the new term, but I can’t remember what it is. Thus, I seek enlightenment, and this seems the perfect place with New Zealand and Australia together here.

        1. Indigenous Australians, Thea. There are over 200 different mobs (despite white australia’s best efforts at genocide), each with a distinct language and culture, so we can’t use any specific group name as with Maori. First Australians works too. People do still say aboriginal Australians, but you’re right in that calling someone ‘an aborigine’ has connotations so it’s thankfully falling out of common use.

    2. Yes, another relieved kiwi here, and stunned at how well the left did overall. Especially relieved about the Greens given how low they’d done in some of the polls. Definitely feel like the country’s in safe hands and that’s a relief.

  4. We channel flipped during the town hall meetings the other night and if you only spent 15 minutes with the candidates going back and forth it was well worth the show and tell all the way. Biden was knowledgeable and calm and able to finish a sentence without being interrupted. DJT was his usual. I so want to go back to where I don’t have to think what has he done now. In fact I don’t want to think about my government on a daily basis again. I’m that exhausted.

    Because I have KU I think with that in mind when buying books. Actually if the author is writing a series and I like the start I’ll check to see if it comes in a bundle for a reduced price. I’ll also check the library. My cut off when purchasing is $3.99. Only rarely will it go higher and that’s if is the last book in a series added after a bundle and I just have to have it. Way back when there were paperback book stores and you could get books for half price, I think that’s where my cheapism started. Also a senior.

    Have you ever dropped a slice of lemon in chicken soup while heating it up? So good.

    1. Ooh, lemon slice in chicken soup. Sounds delish. I make my (homemade) chicken soup with parmesan rinds (for the umami) and sometimes a squeeze of lemon at the end. But the idea of a slice of lemon in my soup bowl is most enticing. Thank you @Mary

      1. I made the best from-scratch vegetable soup yesterday, and I have no idea how I did it because I just threw the vegetable drawer in there, but the whole lemon I squeezed in at the end definitely was the best.

    2. I had an online meeting this morning that went well — my Zoom is FINALLY working properly — and then a couple of errands . . . and then seem to have spent the rest of the afternoon and evening watching Royal Recipes on YouTube. You have reminded me of Pomme Fondant — potatoes in chicken stock and butter, lemon a definite possibility. AND apparently they can now be made in an Instant Pot, always nice to know.

        1. I never had either, though roasting small new potatoes in with the turkey / chicken / beef is definitely my favorite way to cook them.

    3. You know, I lied about what I would pay for a book, cook books that is. I would definitely pay for a really good cook book even if is just to browse the recipes and gaze at the results.

      1. Mark Bittman’s How to Bake Everything is $3.99 right now. I have no idea if it’s good but it looks like a great reference.
        Just sign up for Book Bub and click “cookbooks” as one of your choices. I’ve been getting at least one a week.

        1. I got one of Dorie Greenspan’s cookbooks for ~$3 on Kindle once. I read it cover to cover like a novel, enthralled. I can’t quite manage to cook from an e-reader, but they’re a good way to decide what I want to buy in hardcover later on. (I did the same thing with Ottolenghi’s “Plenty,” and Costco came through for me later on that year (less than $20).

        2. I shudder to think how much money I have dribbled away on electronic cookbooks. If it sounds mildly interesting and costs $1.99 , I can barely resist. The $2.99 books need to *really* interest me before I buy, but I have some of those too. And the 99 cent books? I still have to be interested, but they are almost instant buys (particularly if they are vegan/vegetarian/baking).

          Earlier this year many of the River Cottage handbooks were on sale for $3. I started with Preserves (#2) and Fermentation (#18), which I will actually use, but then because in my head I am always just a few months away from living in a cottage with a walled garden in the British countryside, I bought Hedgerow (#7), Chicken & Eggs (#11), and several others. (Note: I am unlikely to end up in a cottage with a walled garden in the British countryside.)

          I signed up for EatYourBooks.com $). You search for ingredients and it returns recipes that contain those ingredients. It’s quite a help given the ridiculous number of cookbooks I own (physical and electronic). I might still end up using a recipe I find online, but at least I know what I’m ignoring on my bookshelves.

      2. If you are using an Instant Pot, the best cookbook for it is the Rootitoot cookbook, available in ebook on Amazon and in print on the Rootitoot.com website (spiral-bound shipped from Canada). And there’s a Rootitoot Instant Pot Recipes and Help Facebook group — by invitation, but VERY friendly and everyone’s very helpful. Food porn pictures.

  5. I am just wrapping up Birthday Week. Since I have no family around, I decided a few years ago to take the week of my birthday and do something every day, no matter how small, and celebrate myself. The pandemic made it a little more s year but I managed to something every day whether going for a hike, ordering a chai latte, watching a movie (and eating popcorn) to curling up in my reading nook on a rainy day with a mug of tea, a book, and a cat on my lap. Today, I found a new town park to visit and there were some hiking trails (not difficult, but in the woods and there were no insects!) to explore. It was a beautiful, sunny, cool day and I have enjoyed it thoroughly.

    1. Happy Birthday!
      In my family we call that a Polish wedding style of celebration. Now you need to extend it to an entire month (or as long as the hiking weather continues).

      1. Thank you all for the birthday greetings!

        Jane, Please take the idea and run with it. I hope you come up with some really fun ideas.

  6. Thrifty? Frugal? Provident? No, I’m just cheap. I think it comes from having parents who grew up during the depression.

    Received my mail-in ballot today. I’m going to fill it out now and drop it at my county election bureau on Monday.

    Trouble with ballots reported with OH and PA counties using a mass-mailing company in Ohio. Thank the gods and goddesses that it’s not the one my county is using.

    It’s calm; I like calm.

  7. I decided to check if Spring As Green was available on Gutenberg, because I’m always outraged when a person can’t get a book. Nowadays with digital technology, why isn’t every book ever written scanned and uploaded? There should be armies of people saving all the books. And—Spring As Green isn’t on Gutenberg, either, but I discovered a $35 copy on Abe Books. You know, the bargain price.

  8. I don’t think I have a price limit on books. It’s mostly how much I want the book vs the price.
    I took M, T, W off election week. I need DJT to go down. If he’s defeated big all the better. He really brings out the very worst in people.
    I recently watched Coco and loved it. Thinking of ways to stay home and enjoy Dia de Los Muertes.
    Also, seriously considering joing this; https://americanshortfiction.org/the-constellation-challenge/
    Thinking it might be good to turn on the writing faucet everyday in November.

  9. Here’s my trick for those $9.99 and above books on Kindle (this is for new authors, mind you. There are plenty of authors for whom I’ll pay $9.99 and above). I put them on my wish list, and a few weeks later, Amazon will send me a “coupon” for $5.oo off, and I snap them up at $4.99 or $5.99 or $6.99. It’s like magic.

    Thanks for the recommendation for Rainy Day Sisters. Right up my alley, and now on my Kindle app.

  10. I have read several David Rosenfelt books and enjoyed them ( he loves dogs which is always a plus) and the mysteries are good and so are the characters.. I get them from the library ..not sure I would want to pay 9.99 for them .. but I am cheap ..The most I have ever paid for a book were a few of the Lanny Budd books by Upton Sinclair which I bought for 30-35 dollars each.. Bit I knew what i was getting and they had been out of print for many years. Now they are on kindle but I kinda enjoy having the original very worn out hard copies.

  11. Another kiwi and oh my god I’m so happy.

    7.6% Greens! 40% ish of our MPs will be women. The Maori Party back, 10 MPs from the rainbow community (inc the Minister of Finance, and 26 year old Green MP Chloe Swarbrick who actually won a freaking electorate seat).

    I’m with Annabel, hoping for a coalition. And then I want to see action. SO EXCITED (and a little bit nervous. Housing affordability, climate action, inequality, and as everywhere, Covid and the economy are all Things That Need Fixed)

    PS For those who are interested, MMP gives us two votes – one for our local electorate MP, and one for the party we want in government – the party vote dictates the makeup of parliament (I know, right?). 7.6% of MPs will be Green because 7.6% of NZers ticked Green for their party vote. It’s rare for a party to be able to govern alone, and coalitions give minor parties a voice. We have 120MPs.

    1. Also, have two short vids via Twitter that fill my heart with hope.
      Nothing but good times ahead.

      https://twitter.com/Ash_Stewart_/status/1317437836136763397?s=19 (Clark is the PM’s partner. Earlier in the night he delivered venison nibbles and fish bites he cooked, from fish he caught himself the day before, to the journos outside their house).

      https://twitter.com/CrikaRika/status/1317553834969899008?s=09 (this is Chloe, the new Green MP)

      (I don’t think you need Twitter to see them).

      1. No just the kiwis! We had our ACT election on the same day and were celebrating both results. And an outright majority with proportional representation is huge!! So excited for you all!

    2. That sounds a MUCH better voting system than ours. I’m so tired of the undemocratic UK system. I live in (apparently) the safest Tory seat in the country. It’s been Conservative since 1835, apart from a blip in 1906 when it went Liberal. We’re seriously overdue a reinvention of democracy here. And of course are stuck for the next four years with incompetent ideologues.

      I’m delighted for you, and bright green with envy.

      1. With the absolute total mess that our central ‘government’ (only in the loosest sense of the word) is making of everything it touches right now… I’m trying to hang on to the idea that whoever gets in next (and surely, surely, SURELY it won’t be this lot again) will have all sorts of creative and effective ideas to fix things.

        Because our situation right now is rather depressing – we also have Brexit kicking in come 2021, which our darling PM has declared will be ‘No Deal’ (not what was promised), and… I’m getting annoyed just writing this so I’m going to stop and do some theraputic quilting.

        I am happy that I live in Wales, and so our immediate overlords do have some powers (and frankly to my mind seem to have more sense than the central lot).

        Do you think I could move to New Zealand? I hear it’s nice there…

        1. We looked into an NZ move in 2016. So many are doing just that, the government asks for a money commitment and it’s not small. Understandable, but a deal-breaker for us. We could do it, but with little left in reserve. So, lovely country, and I have my memories to keep me warm. Same with Australia. I’m wild about Tasmania, my husband pines for Auburn in WA. Lovely memories to warm us must keep us.

        2. Frances, my silver lining hope is similar: that they’re making such a complete hash of Covid and Brexit – and the inequalities and broken systems are being shown up so dramatically – that it’ll lead to some much better solutions down the road. The country’s fragmenting. Not sure how they’re going to be able to bluster their way through the next four years.

  12. Mentioning John Cusack made me want to rewatch America’s Sweethearts. Goofy fun with a happy ending. The perfect anecdote for the current gloom.

  13. I think I’d previously asked a questionable about easy-to-read first-person pov versus stilted first-person pov. It’s a difficult question to pose so I don’t expect a quick answer.

    What is it about writer’s word choices that keeps the story flowing compared to stories that feel stodgy. Is it how a first-person main character is written?

    I find Twilight a plodding read, compared to The Hunger Games. It’s not the plot or type of story that’s the issue. It’s how it sounds in my read when I read it.

    1. I think it’s what you said at the end of your comment. Does it fit the rhythm of the reader? Which is not nearly as varied as reader preferences in content.

      I think rhythm is also tied to content. That is, there are scenes where short staccato sentences communicate tension, and scenes where long lyric sentences communicate serenity. I get dinged all the time for the run on sentences in my sex scenes because I don’t think sex has that much punctuation and certainly not that many full stops.

      Best example I can give of rhythm and meaning is George Herbert’s poem “Denial”
      https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/50696/denial
      It’s about losing faith and feeling that his prayers are flawed and not heard, and every verse ends with a clunker line, completely out of rhythm like his prayers, until the last line gives him completion.

      The thing about rhythm in fiction, though, is that it’s part of voice. It’s damn hard to write outside your own rhythms–you’ll notice there are no long lyrical sentences in my fiction–so you generally just have to trust to your voice and write the only way you can.

      1. Jenny, your sex scenes are among the best sex scenes ever. For me the sentences are perfect when i get immersed in the moment and don’t notice anything but what is going on in the scene.

  14. I forgot about my e-book limits. It seems to be $5.69.

    $5.69 is R94.15 at current exchange rates. That’s under one hundred ZAR.

    Is use bread as my guide against costs. The two biggest national bakeries sell 700g loaves of brown bread at R14.99 and R12.99 at major stores. Bread is zero-rated for VAT.

    One e-book or a hard-copy? Since e-book rights do not last past death, I might as well buy the hardcopy for more money, knowing it will be passed on to family members in bequests or sold to pay costs.

  15. You don’t get limes, Jenny? I have two words for you: Margaritas and ceviche. You can also make a quick marinade for grilled fish out of lime juice, a little sliced jalapeno and a few sprigs of cilantro. And let us not forget Key Lime Pie or summer’s favorite drink, gin and tonic with a wedge of lime. Limes are luscious and juicy, just the way I’d like to be.

    1. You don’t understand. I don’t like Margaritas, ceviche, or Key Lime Pie. Probably because they’re made with limes. I just substitute lemon for anything lime. I love lemon.

      1. Oh, we lived in Lima for a year, love ceviche.

        Maybe it was the limes straight off the tree or the papayas straight off the tree or the strawberry jam, just like my mothers, and the chicken. All so flavourful. The food was fabulous even the basics. The vegetable sellers would push their carts full of produce around the streets, we would go down and buy whatever I was planning for a few days. A simpler time.

        Our first day with three and five year old boys having breakfast in the courtyard, papaya trees with fruit hanging overhead, the most delicious creamy cafe con leche, the toast, the butter, the strawberry jam and the scrambled eggs, all so flavourful is when I thought, “yes, we can have a great adventure in the new country for a year or two, if the food is this great, the people so lovely, and the sun was shining.” Being from the rainy west coast, sunshine is good.

        Well that was long, all because of ceviche. Happy food memories.

    2. I adore mojito smoothies – lime juice, fresh mint, maple syrup and coconut milk, and blitz it in a blender.

  16. We walked our ballots up to one of three drop boxes in our area yesterday and there were four other people doing the same thing. We got our ballots Thursday. Today I read that that box was full at 1pm today and the county sent a team to empty it. We are so excited to vote here.

  17. Calm is good. Maybe Being John Malkovich? I remember loving that Cusak movie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UuRFr0GnHM
    3.99 is my sweet spot Or cheaper. I love BookBub. I paid 4.99 for SpellBound: Paranormal Historical Romance. https://smile.amazon.com/Spellbound-Magic-Manhattan-Book-1-ebook/dp/B07MY6FSZH and I am so glad I did. I think I was looking up query letters and I read hers and thought I would buy this in a heartbeat so I did. I’m really enjoying it so far. This is her website. https://allietherin.com/
    OK enough random links. Off to do something with lemon.

  18. I carefully filled out my mail-in ballot this week, carefully drove it to City Hall, and carefully deposited it in the Official Drop Box. Wonderful feeling!

    Saw a calendar schedule today that goes:

    10/31 Halloween
    11/1 Day of the Dead
    11/1 Set your clocks back
    11/3 Take your country back.

    My price on books depends on the book — a special-interest book with a small print run is just going To BE Expensive. Some are interesting enough to me that I’m happy to pay for my pleasures. I do still go into shock when I see prices on works of fiction, like Doris Sutcliff Adams, which should just be available. My cousin was the same about Sally Watson, but those have eventually been reprinted and made available as ebooks, too.

    Of course, when asked what I most wished for, my answer is always, “A stack pass at the Bodleian.” Don’t think that will ever change.

    1. Ann, in Philly? I took my ballot to City Hall to an official drop box. Yes, it felt good. There was a line of people that wrapped around the Hall to apply for mail-in ballots which they could complete and drop off right there. No one was complaining about the length of the line. They were all friendly and chatty while social distancing. The whole scene was very encouraging.

      Anyone who had their ballot already filled out could bump the line and go directly to a drop box. (For anyone who doesn’t know what Philadelphia’s City Hall looks like, google it. It’s a dynamite building.)

      1. No, Berkeley, California. I was able to drive up, park right there at the curb (mid-day on a weekday), hop out of the car and walk up to the box. What took me the longest was putting on a mask! because I don’t wear one in the car when I’m driving in lonely splendor. Lovely sunny day, though I wouldn’t care if it were hailing.

  19. Mmm lemons…I have a fruit infusion pitcher and a fruit infusion water bottle I use to make lemon-flavored water, and I love them both dearly. It’s delicious.

    I am so jealous of New Zealand. For lots of reasons, but mainly for Jacinda, especially considering who we have in the US. And especially over the past seven months. My ballot is filled out, but curbside drop off doesn’t start here until Monday. I can’t properly express how eager I am to vote, and I’m returning it as soon as I stumble out of bed that day.

    My preferred price for ebooks is 3.99 or less, although I will go up to 7.99 for an author I really love or if the physical copy is prohibitively expensive. One of my favorite authors writes a lot of stuff with a publisher that does limited edition hardcovers and they cost like $30-$40. Can’t afford that. Some of this has to do with volume – I buy a lot of books and I have to put price limits on myself because of that. Especially for something I can’t lend, re-sell, or donate. That’s why I love the Kindle Wish List so much; I put things on there and check it daily, then buy during sales. Of course there are exceptions, and I’ve bought a few more full price ebooks this year because of the pandemic. I paid for the new Nalini Singh Psy-Changeling book on Kindle this summer, and that was basically double what I would be willing to pay under normal circumstances, but it was worth it. That’s not something I can afford to do for every ebook, though.

    1. Are signed up for Book Bub? You can get really cheap books that way, and I’ve gotten some excellent ones.
      How to Bake Everything is on Amazon for $3.99 right now; it’s usually 19.00. SEP’s latest (I think) Dance Away With Me is on there and so is Alan Cummings’ memoir which I just started and is brilliant. I’ve found a lot of new books through Book Bub.

  20. Rainy Day Sisters was $1.99 on the rip-off Amazon Australia! That never happens! So I bought it.

    Normally, if it’s on sale elsewhere, it will be full price here. This is what is referred to as the Australian Tax – where overseas companies charge us more because they think we’re rich. Sigh.

    I will only spend more than a couple of dollars if I can’t get it at the library, I really really want it, and I can’t find it cheap second hand somewhere with free postage. If I get any more actual books, the floor may collapse; I rarely read ebooks (eye issues), so I really need a good reason to buy them. Library books are great, because they don’t stay here forever 🙂

    1. I got into ebooks when I had eye problems (before my cataract surgery). I found being able to make the text darker and larger on my Kindle worked wonders – especially the extra bold type. I also found switching to reading Kindle books on a Kindle rather than on my iPad helped a lot: it’s not glarey like the iPad. (I inherited the Kindle when my mother died – nearly gave it away since it seemed a needless duplication, until I gave it a go and realized how much easier on my eyes it was).

  21. I remember (does anyone else?) George “W’s” success after Bill Clinton’s second term described as the voters’ preference for a “B2” president to replace an “A1” president. The reference was to newspaper coverage. Clinton was on the front page of the A section so often that people became tired and wanted someone who would, at most, show up somewhere in the B section. “W” was very B section.

    I’m hoping that current voters — in addition to all the other reasons for supporting Biden — reflect the same wish for a “B2” president that helped “W” succeed. (Personally, I think “W” was a poor president and that Biden is our only hope for the future, but I also wouldn’t mind a lot fewer front page articles about the president.)

  22. Perhaps you feel you’ve covered this enough, but: 1) a definition of “screwball” as a type of comedy so at last I’ll get the distinction from plain comedy; 2) how to write slapstick. Slapstick and wit being the things at which I laugh out loud.

    If you’re gonna have chicken with lemon, for gosh sake’s throw some pimento-stuffed green olives in their too with possibly a slosh of white wine in the pan. Classic martini would start the meal off right.

    Also, why are my particulars of name, email, etc., not being saved even though I mark the little box.

    1. Definition of screwball. A screwball in baseball is a pitch that breaks in an unexpected direction (on purpose). A screwball comedy is a romantic farce that breaks in an unexpected direction from regular romance. It was popular in the early and mid twentieth centuries, which is why “unexpected” is often defined as the woman controlling the action. See Bringing Up Baby and What’s Up, Doc. From Wikipedia: “Other elements of the screwball comedy include fast-paced, overlapping repartee, farcical situations, escapist themes, physical battle of the sexes, disguise and masquerade, and plot lines involving courtship and marriage.[2] Screwball comedies often depict social classes in conflict.” I have often been described as writing screwball comedy, although it was not my intention. I do love screwball movies. See also It Happened One Night, His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, The Lady Eve . . . there are a lot of great ones. Biggest distinction from plain comic farce is that it’s a romance.

      Slapstick. In my opinion only, it’s almost impossible to write physical slapstick because one of the requirements of great slapstick is that it be fast, and if you’re describing the action, it isn’t fast. Therefore, and again in my opinion only, the slapstick has to be in the language, as in P. G. Wodehouse’s description of Baxter falling down the stairs in Leave it to Psmith. I think slapstick in screwball comic fiction is in the language, the place where the language swerves into surprise. It’s a mental trip on the stairs. So any place in a story where you stop and laugh, you probably have written slapstick, something that swerved cognitively and surprised you into laughter.

      I like olives but not with my chicken. Shallots and mushrooms and lemon juice. And garlic, of course.

      Not sure what you mean by your particulars not being saved. We don’t harvest e-mail addresses here, but you’re a regular so you shouldn’t have to be putting in your info each time. Can you be more specific so I can ask Mollie?

      1. Oh, “What’s Up, Doc!” Madeline Kahn as Eunice just killed me. The Chinese New Year dragon being dragged by the delivery bicycle. The car chases in the VW. The courtroom scene.

        Turns out I’m on call tonight, so I know what I’ll be doing, and probably what I’m eating while I’m doing it!

      2. Sure, I can be specific: each time I comment, my name, email, etc., is asked for anew even though I mark the little “save my name” box with each new post of yours on which I comment. That marking holds for each new comment I make in a given post if I have marked the box with the first comment I make that post. The box mark holding my information – along with my information – vanishes with a new day’s post.

        Maybe I’m special that way. Or maybe that’s the way the universe works these days. Upside: voting went well, and the Registrar says my ballot is counted.

        Hope the above isn’t too tedious and confusing to read through. To get this comment to you, here I go inputting the info again AND once more marking the “save” box.

        Ya know, reading this over (proofreader here), my name held for saving is a tiny nag, not a great one. If Molly can’t find a fix, she shouldn’t fret.

      3. Ooh ooh, I get it! the difference between screwball comedy and comedy. Love screwball, just didn’t understand what made it so.

        Great insight into writing slapstick. (leaves to reread Psmith, great cover in my edition.)

        Thank you for answering.

  23. Sorry for the “their” for “there” in my comment above. Proofread all day for the magazine’s next issue, and evidently my eyes just glaze over when it comes to proofing my stuff. I’m pretty damn fine with other’s stuff, just so you know. But not in this blog, I don’t bring proofing eyes to anyone’s copy in this blog. Thems the rules.

  24. I’m not a big lime user but I do like them on pad Thai or just on rice noodles tossed with sesame oil and sesame seeds.

    My son uses them with enchiladas. And I will use them in shrimp salad with a creamcheese dressing for sandwiches and crepes.

  25. Some of my faves for “early” John Cusack:

    Hot Pursuit, Tapeheads, One Crazy Summer……

    I liked High Fidelity. America’s Sweethearts was around that time. Pushing Tin is interesting in a wacky way. I like Must Love Dogs…. Martian Child is not rom com but interesting.

    His filmography is long and varied….

  26. Hi. I follow your blog regularly but rarely comment. Invisible reader alert.

    I’m really enjoying Anna and Nate’s story. Could Luke Evans be your placeholder?

    Will we see Alice in this book? Will you write another book for North and Andie? I love Maybe this time.

    Please could you write a post on Nanowrimo? Do you think a discovery draft can be done in 30 days? Do you read Urban Fantasy? Would you consider writing one?

    Sending you chocolates and cold coffee. Hope you’re doing well.

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