Sentence of the Day: Sian Cain, The Guardian

As an antidote to the extremely respectful commentary The Economist has been according POTUS (which drives self crazy, she just might discontinue her subscription), here is The Guardian which really knows how to do satire:

The nicest thing anyone can say about US Vice President Mike Pence — a man who vigorously opposed marriage inequality and looks like an Action Man assembled from Play-Doh and cold cuts — is that he knows how to name a pet.

— from Vice-President Mike Pence disappears down the rabbit hole, by The Guardian’s Sian Cain, 20 March 2018

THE MANDIBLES: A FAMILY, 2029 – 2047, p. 262

Gosh, self loves this book now. She’s going to have to up her Goodreads rating for it. She initially gave it two stars, then upped it to three. But, on the basis of what she’s read thus far, she’ll up it another star: to four.

The novel follows each member of the Mandibles family as they deal with being broke and unattractive (Being broke is a far different condition than being poor: being poor is a situation you can’t always help; being broke is absolutely the result of mis-calculation or hubris or something, and there’s a lot of blame involved) in a not-so-distant future (2029, it says so right in the title)


For the better part of the last year, Avery had taken refuge in toil: scrubbing, dishwashing, mending, chopping and laundry . . .  Swallowing her umbrage, she coached Goog on his Spanish. She only panicked when she ran out of tasks. Drudgery was therapeutic. Were she ever to start another practice, she’d have all her patients mop the floor.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Also Reading: THE MANDIBLES, A FAMILY, 2029 – 2047

On March 11, five days ago, self (suffering from post-AWP Tampa exhaustion) decided not to finish reading The Mandibles: A Family. It follows the various members of a (mostly) affluent East Coast family named the Mandibles (What kind of name is that? How can she relate to any character whose last name is Mandible?)

Nevertheless, having already devoted three nights in Tampa to getting through this book, she decided to plough on. After all, it’s about how to deal when all your money is gone. There may be life lessons here, self thought.

She was correct!

Now, five days later, she’s halfway.  One member of the family is beginning to stand out, and he’s just a kid. His name is Willing, and he’s very smart. The more she reads about Willing, the more she sees parallels with the Parkland kids, David Hogg et. al., who have become thorns in the side of Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Mitch McConnell, the NRA, and Fox news pundits like Sean Hannity.

In a section on p. 203, a hapless Mandible named Lowell reflects on what he finds so irritating about his nephew, Willing:

But this Willing kid had slathered on an extra level of crapola, and unless his performance the previous evening was a one-off display to impress visiting relatives, Lowell could be throttling the little bastard within the week. The boy glowed with divine inspiration, as if he had a personal psychic hotline to the late editor-in-chief of the Wall Street Journal.

lol  lol  lol

Stay tuned.


Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Must Begin With the Letter ‘N’

Self is always happy when she can participate in Cee Neuner’s Fun Foto Challenge.

Since this week’s Foto Challenge is the Letter ‘N’, she thought this would fit the bill:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Still Reading: SUBMISSION, p. 161

Context: France is undergoing deep and rapid change. For one, the newly elected president is Muslim.

Been a long time since self has read a political novel.

Maybe it was too soon to give up after all — witness these two girls, and my father’s surprising late-life transformation. And maybe, if I kept seeing Rachida on a regular basis, we’d end up having feelings for each other. At least, there was no reason to absolutely rule it out.

  • — p. 161, Submission, by Michel Houellebecq, translated from the French by Lorin Stein

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Another Sentence of the Day: APE HOUSE

p. 209:

  • She was going to expose him for what he was — anonymously, of course.




Sentence of the Day: When Ape House Goes Prime Time

p. 201:

  • When the anchor asked why they were picketing Ape House, the woman explained that bonobos had bisexual and homosexual sex, and therefore were fags.


Ape House Prime Time


p. 184:

  • “How about,” he said again, slower this time, spreading his hands in an expansive gesture: “Ape House Prime Time.” He gave them all a moment to let their imaginations take flight. “The apes are in charge, twenty-three hours a day. Then, once a day, we do something to affect their environment. Something,” he said, sitting forward, “voted on by the audience. The paying audience. People who have bought the monthly package. Twenty-three hours of doing whatever they want, and then one hour a day of doing something chosen by monthly subscribers.”

This satire of ambitious people (Americans, lol) in a television-driven culture is very sharp.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

#amreading: APE HOUSE

Self’s indecision about Ape House is really annoying. First, she was sure she should skip it for American Gods, which is a very thick book. But time and time and time again she kept going back to Ape House and reading a little more, and a little more, and a little more, and finally she gave up and admitted to herself that she was really intrigued by the book’s premise and wanted to see how it all played out.

She’s on p. 149 (halfway, approx.)


The apes are kidnapped by a sleazy producer named Faulks and made to star in their very own reality show called, TA-RA: Ape House!

The house is “in a remote area of New Mexico best known for its third-rate casinos and ‘gentlemen’s clubs.’ The house otherwise entirely empty except for a single computer and a stool so the apes could reach it. Faulks installed the apes, switched on the cameras, and had been broadcasting the results live ever since.

After five days, “the show gave every indication of becoming the biggest phenomenon in the history of modern media, and not simply because of the astonishing language and computer skills of the bonobos.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Kelly Stout in “Shouts and Murmurs,” The New Yorker, 22 February 2016

Self knows it is really lame that she’s just now getting to her New Yorkers of February 2016. Nearly a year ago. But she’s so anal about it. She refuses to throw away a single issue she hasn’t read. That’s a very big pile she’s staring at, right now.

On to “Shouts & Murmurs.” It doesn’t always work. Sometimes it feels like whoever’s doing it is trying too hard to be satirical. Because that is the whole point of “Shouts & Murmurs”– to be satirical. Some people have satire in their blood, and some people can’t be satirical to save their lives. Some people can point to a stick of butter and make the gesture itself seem satirical. Others can say Moo Moo and ape a cow and pretend to be giving birth to a stick of butter and everyone would just look at them and say, Wut?

But, as usual, self digresses.

Here’s one that works: Kelly Stout conjures a judge giving jury instructions.

Jurors, I remind you that part of your duty today is to avoid discussing the details of this case with anyone outside this jury. Do not, for example, Gchat with your best friend from college, because she lives in Philly and doesn’t know any of the restaurants around here, and always says dumb, unhelpful stuff like, “Falafel isn’t as healthy as you think.”

Information from the news or from social media must not influence your finding in this case. For example, do not use Instagram to try to figure out whether Rob’s friend Warren got a Skrillex haircut or if it just looks like that because of the light. Also, Warren may not even be able to come, because his stepmom is in town.

You are allowed to make reasonable inferences, as long as they are based on the evidence. It is OK to speculate that Rob’s roommate may get on your case for being pro-Hillary and have literally zero sense of humor about it when you call him a Bernie Bro, because that is what happened when you guys met up for dim sum.

(How nostalgic self gets when she reads of pre-election chatter like the above!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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