I'm reading Calvin Trillin's Remembering Denny, which looks back to Yale in the 1950s, among other things. This quote cracked me up:

My boyhood friend from Kansas City who had enrolled at Princeton the same autumn I showed up at Yale had a roommate I never heard him address as anything but Eberhard Faber the Pencil King, as in "Could you please pass the salt, Eberhard Faber the Pencil King?" There were, of course, at Yale as well as Princeton, boarding-school types you wouldn't joke with the way Eddie Williams could joke with Eb Faber--people who seemed to resent the presence of people they didn't recognize from the cotillion. For them, Eddie used a Princeton phrase that I've mentioned ever since when the subject of evocative epithets comes up: tweedy shitballs.

I was just picking something up at the pharmacy and noticed a sign for free suicide screening services. Do you think they do a blood test or something?

Well, it took me six months, but I finally made it all the way through Joyce Carol Oates' Bellefleur. Like most Oates novels, I liked it, but I'm not sure exactly what to make of it. It reminds me of One Hundred Years of Solitude in a lot of ways: dense, mysterious, sprawling, and full of characters that get carried off by giant vultures or disappear into harpsichords, ponds, and spare rooms. I especially liked this passage:

In a strange land where the sky has disappeared and the sun has gone dark and the rocky inhospitable soil beneath our feet has vanished, on the borders of Chymerie . . . on the borders of the deathly-dark lake . . . beneath the waters of the deathly-dark lake . . . the god of sleep, they say, has made his house. . .

The god of sleep, a corpulent god, a most greedy god, has made his house where the sun has no dominion, eclipsed by the brute matter of the earth. There, no man may know aright the point between the day and the night. In that place a still water abides . . . a still, lightless, bitter-cold water which runs upon the small stones and gives a great appetite for sleep.

And I loved Mahalaleel, and Bromwell, and Germaine the younger.


My Best Fiend - Werner Herzog's remembrance of the psychotic Klaus Kinski.

It's really interesting and funny, especially if you've seen Fitzcarraldo. After a few minutes watching Kinski rant and rave, you're rooting for the Amazon natives who offered to kill him, and ready to join Herzog when he plans to firebomb Kinski's house. But in the end the scenes of Jason Robards and Mick Jagger, who were originally set to play Fitzcarraldo and his sidekick, make you realize how good Kinski really was.

King Kong - To me, the King Kong story is just relentlessly sad, with no redeeming qualities. Peter Jackson's version is just bigger and longer. The CGI was really good until live people got involved, and you could see that they were just standing before a green screen.

Walk the Line - Very good movie. Reese Witherspoon deserves an Oscar.

Check out these pictures that Cosmo took from our new backyard. The big pile of cargo containers is near the south end of Centinela, on the Hughes Aircraft/Playa Vista Stages site. We think it's a movie set for a Ground Zero scene. Isn't Oliver Stone doing a 9-11 film?