Saturday, July 15, 2017

July (second week) 2017 Reads

A lot of short stuff this week. Two short story collections, a poetry anthology, forty-two pages of The Invented Part (Life After People, or Notes for a Brief History of Progressive Rock and Science Fiction, pages 361-404), a short novel, and some online things including the Deal Me In story for the week.

 “Deal Me In 2017!”
The story:
The Gay Old Dog. By Edna Ferber (on Gutenberg in The Best Short Stories of 1917)
This story tells of the ups and downs of Jo Hertz, a successful man in the leather business but in a bind with his family and romantic life. It seems he made a deathbed promise to his mother: he won't marry until his sisters are taken care of. He does meet someone, but she isn't willing to wait for the sisters to find mates. Jo ends up a lonely and resentful loop-hound ("a man who frequents it [the Chicago Loop]  by night in search of amusement and cheer is known, vulgarly, as a loop-hound.") Note: back when this was written "gay" was not synonymous with homosexual.

"He was the kind of man who mixes his own salad dressing. He liked to call for a bowl, some cracked ice, lemon, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, vinegar and oil, and make a rite of it. People at near-by tables would lay down their knives and forks to watch, fascinated. The secret of it seemed to lie in using all the oil in sight and calling for more."

The card: Seven of Diamonds. The "beer card" in bridge and other trick-taking card games. Sorry I didn't know about this tradition back when I played this sort of card game.
Design by Christina Berglund, a graphic designer based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
" Seven of Diamonds Brewery is based on the beer card tradition. As the tradition goes, when a player wins the last trick of the hand with this card, his opponent must buy him a beer." 

also online...

Alan Bean Plus Four By Tom Hanks
When I read that actor Tom Hanks has a story collection (Uncommon Type) coming out in October, I found and read this story in the October 27, 2014 New Yorker.
"Astronauts in the Apollo era had spent thousands of hours piloting jet planes and earning engineering degrees. They had to practice escaping from launchpad disasters by sliding down long cables to the safety of thickly padded bunkers. They had to know how slide rules worked. We did none of that, though we did test-fly our booster on the Fourth of July, out of Steve Wong’s huge driveway in Oxnard, hoping that, with all the fireworks, our unmanned first stage would blow through the night sky unnoticed."
What fun! I do want to read the stories in Uncommon Type.

It’s Raining in Love by Gunnhild Øyehaug; Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson)
On a more serious note, a visit with a terminally ill friend.  From another story collection I want to read: Knots.

Stadium Club by Mark Mulroney
On the art of chasing down baseball player autographs. A great memoir piece in Victory Journal, "a print and digital publication devoted to the intersection of sport and culture. Rather than engage in statistical analysis or partisan squabbling, Victory spotlights the drama of sport and the enduring glory of athletic pursuits the world over."

Another Gutenberg find...

Little Songs of Long Ago   The original tunes harmonized by Alfred Moffat; Illustrated by
H. Willebeek Le Mair; published in 1912.
Words, music, and wonderful illustrations of thirty nursery rhymes. Sound files of the tunes played on the piano are available.

From my Shelves...

The Frangipani Hotel by

Worlds from the Word's End by

And Other Stories Publishing.

Elsewhere  by Eliot Weinberger (Editor)
Fourteen poems (translated into English) by fourteen international poets musing on travel and/or displacement. A perfect anthology for a former ex-pat (ex-ex-pat? re-pat-ex-pat?), displaced Californian (new-New Englander?) like me. First of all: the subject matter interests me

from the library...

Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O'Nan
This is not just last night at the Lobster, it's The last night. A few days before Christmas and manager Manny and his crew are serving up the last lunch at a New Britain, Connecticut Red Lobster. The chain has decided the location is not getting enough business. At least they have a little advance warning and manager Manny and four others are getting transferred. Why do the others even bother to show up? Well, Manny holds their final pay checks and there is also some team loyalty (or not). One shows up and leaves after lunch committing some acts of vandalism on his way out. Some lunch customers show up in spite of a snowstorm. Manny copes and even tries some lame attempts to revive a failed romance. A quick read about a bittersweet night.


  1. I read The Last Days of Night a while back and Graham Moore has George Westinghouse making his own salad dressing, though generally not in public. I thought it was a weird detail, an eccentricity that maybe Westinghouse was famous for, but quick google research doesn't turn anything up. Funny that it turns up in "The Gay Old Dog." Maybe something rich people did?

    1. Maybe it was something to do when they ate alone? Attention getting device? It must have been something a certain kind of person did because Ferber introduces it with "He was the kind of man who..." Now you've got me curious. Did Ferber know Westinghouse? Did she know he had this quirk? Hummm...

    2. Update: tried a google search "mixes his own salad dressing" (using the quotation marks)and got an interesting result. Try it and choose the result for Cartoons Magazine - Volume 10 - Page 557
      It seems it was a thing--the Cartoon citation is from 1916

    3. Update update: full text available here:;view=1up;seq=85
      This is so much fun! Thank you Katherine!