Blissful Tuesday, & the Return of the NYTBR Post

Oh, what a looovely day it is today. Self feels like singing. She’s on the couch, where she spent the morning grading papers. She reald an absolutely fascinating student paper on “Tool,” the heavy metal group, which enlightened her on Tool’s mastery of The Fibonaci Method. Then self realized she was probably not going to Bali in the fall (as she would have done if she weren’t teaching — ha ha ha ha!)

For a while self was engrossed in a TV show that re-enacted the Russian airline disaster of long long ago, when a pilot allowed his 14-year-old son to sit at the controls and the plane ended up crashing. What seems to have happened is that the plane was on auto-pilot, but something went wrong, and the boy did not have the arm strength to manipulate the levers manually, and his father could not help him because centrifugal force (the plane was in a steep dive) kept him pinned to the wall of the cockpit and he was unable to reach the controls to help his son.

After that uplifting program, self switched to the “Dog Whisperer”, and saw Cesar Millan helping singer Patti LaBelle with her dog problem.

Then self began to ponder what other writing contests she could still join this year.

Then self realized she had not posted about The New York Times Book Review in a month (amazing!), so now she will proceed to list the books she is interested in reading after perusing the 11 May 2008 issue of The New York Times Book Review (and at this point, self can’t be expected to remember how many issues she’s skipped, though she thinks it might be as many as two or three):

(1) After reading Ben MacIntyre’s review of Richard Bausch’s “brilliant” 11th novel, Peace:

Richard Bausch’s Peace

(2) After reading Bruce Barcott’s review of Louise Erdrich’s new novel, The Plague of Doves:

Louise Erdrich’s The Plague of Doves

(3) After reading Kathryn Harrison’s review of Honor Moore’s account of growing up with her (bisexual) father, The Bishop’s Daughter: A Memoir:

Honor Moore’s The Bishop’s Daughter: A Memoir

(4) After reading Jonathan Miles’ review of Brian Hall’s fictionalization of the life of Robert Frost, Fall of Frost:

Brian Hall’s Fall of Frost

(5) After reading Marcus Mabry’s review of Robyn Scott’s Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood:

Robyn Scott’s Twenty Chickens for a Saddle: The Story of an African Childhood

(6) After reading James Glanz’s review of Patrick Cockburn’s biography of radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr, Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq:

Patrick Cockburn’s Muqtada: Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia Revival, and the Struggle for Iraq

(7) After reading Maggie Scarf’s review of Andrew Sean Greer’s novel, The Story of a Marriage:

Andrew Sean Greer’s The Story of a Marriage

( 8 ) After reading Alana Newhouse’s review of Lily Koppel’s (fascinating) The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal:

Lily Koppel’s The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal

Tapas & Tel Aviv Memories

This time last night, self was sitting in Picaro Tapas Restaurant on 16th Street in the Mission, and Lucy Burns was talking about that morning’s Bay to Breakers, and Zack was imitating some famous singer, and Alan Isaac was talking about his upcoming trip to Tel Aviv, and self was telling them all about how much she loved that city — the bookstores, the Neve Tzedek district, Allenby Street, Bialik Street, the Rubik Museum, the beach, Jaffa, her favorite cafĂ© on Gordon Street — and while all this was going on, self’s Nissan Altima was being towed.

The waiters were so friendly (and good-looking, too, which always helps), and we by no means were the loudest or most boisterous table in the restaurant, and there was even a very authentic-sounding mariachi band providing musical entertainment.

Self had parked in the middle of Dolores Street. Which is kinda crazy, when you stop to think about it. But there were 20 other cars parked ahead of her (in the middle of the street), and Zack asked one of the other people parking there, a man with a red SUV, and the man said that the City allowed cars to park in the middle of the street, just on that stretch of Dolores, and only on Sundays because there were masses at the nearby mission.

So, after dinner, we headed back to Dolores, and self had no idea, no idea that she had a problem, but Zack knew right away and said, “Shit. I think your car got towed.” And all self could do was stare at him with her mouth open. “What?” self finally managed to say. “Maybe this isn’t the same street.”

But, of course it was the same street, and while self and Lucy were still standing around in semi-shock, Zack was on the phone to someone, and every now and then he would stop to ask self a question: First, “What’s your license plate #?” and then, a little later, “What’s the make of your car?” and finally, “What’s the color?” And then he rang off and told self: “Your car’s at 450 7th Street, between Bryant and Harrison. We’ve got to get a cab.” And self was absolutely overcome with admiration at his total get-up-and-go.

Anyhoo, in the taxi, self sat between Lucy and Zack, who seemed *quite* concerned. But self was not at all concerned because, in the scheme of things, having your car towed is not as bad as having acute leukemia. Or having emphysema. Or having Bell’s Palsy. And this quarter teaching has been a nightmare. So what’s a few hundred dollars to retrieve a towed car (ha ha ha ha ha ha) ???

Anyhoo, car was retrieved in short order, and then Lucy and Zack took off for further carousing, this time with the “young ones” — Christine Balance and Anthem Salgado and a few others whose names self did not recognize. Self drove home. And, would you believe, dear blog readers, that when self walked in the door, and saw hubby just finishing his dinner, self was able to remain completely mum about the whole car-being-towed business? Really, self exhibited such aplomb that she amazed even herself.

Today, self decided to pay all her bills. So, she picked up her American Express statement, and running her eyes over the charges, this is what she found:

A charge from Roladin Coffee Shop on Allenby Street

A charge from Keren Muzion Art Dealer and Gallery

A charge from Landsberger Books on Ben Yehuda

A charge from Mazzarin Coffee Shop on Gordon Street

A charge from Ben Harim Travel Agency

A charge from Thailand House on Ben Yehuda

There was also a charge from the Frankfurt airport, where self had a stopover. For the life of her, self has no memory — zip, nada — of what she bought.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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