Monday, June 30, 2008

Poem for Monday

Ode to Joy
By Miroslav Holub

You only love
when you love in vain.

Try another radio probe
when ten have failed,
take two hundred rabbits
when a hundred have died:
only this is science.

You ask the secret.
It has just one name:

In the end
a dog carries in his jaws
his image in the water,
people rivet the new moon.
I love you.

Like caryatids
our lifted arms
hold up time's granite load.

and defeated
we shall always win.


Another from Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "The way Star Wars stopped sci-fi movies from being cold, Holub warms up science for unscientific thinkers. Only he can make a knowing argument that the scientific method is akin to love in its relentless pursuit," writes Mary Karr. "The ideas of the narcissistic dog carrying his own image and the moon being riveted bring up in metaphor what poets have feared from science -- the self-involved, inhumane machine -- which is why Holub's phrase 'I love you' arrives so aptly." The poem is from Intensive Care: Selected and New Poems.

I am typing this at one of my two favorite places in the world -- the other being Glastonbury in the UK -- where we are sitting at a picnic table on the banks of the Belle Fourche river with Devil's Tower rising hundreds of feet above the campground. We set out this morning from Mitchell, crossed the Missouri River, passed at least two dozen road signs advertising Wall Drug, paused at the outskirts of the Badlands to take a few photos and left the Central Time Zone for the Mountain Time Zone. Then we stopped for lunch at the aforementioned Wall Drug, which makes the Corn Palace seem tasteful by comparison, took photos by the Jackalope and Ladies of the Night, bought fudge after considering some lovely knives with handles shaped like wolf heads, rainbow horse t-shirts and other wonderful items, and drank our Free Ice Water.

From Wall we drove to Mount Rushmore, which the kids had wanted to see again since National Treasure 2 (sadly, we saw no evidence of a city of gold anywhere nearby). Then we headed into the Black Hills to Devil's Tower, which we reached in the late afternoon and immediately went to hike around the boulders that surround the giant cliffs, weaving through a deep, wonderful-smelling pine forest and sunny hillsides. There's a huge prairie dog colony at the entrance to the national park where we stopped to watch the critters play. We checked into the campground at Devil's Tower where Close Encounters of the Third Kind ends, had a weenie roast -- well, actually chicken sausages -- and s'mores, and watched the sun set behind the monument. Glorious.

George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln carved on Mount Rushmore in Keystone, South Dakota.

We visited this lovely site after a glamorous lunch at Wall Drug...

...and an encounter with the most feared beast in the American West, the Jackalope!

We also stopped at the outskirts of the Badlands, where it was warmer and hazy...

...before heading on to Devil's Tower, where under clear skies we walked around the path at the base of the boulder field.

Climbers were making their way down from the summit...

...while turkey vultures flew high above the peak.

And prairie dogs frolicked at the base of the tower!

I got to see the Milky Way spread out in all its glory, fall asleep to crickets and wake to singing birds, but sadly I had only the crappiest of internet connections and could neither answer mail nor post anything! And of course there's no phone signal. So here's hoping this gets through!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Poem for Sunday

Heart Transplant
By Miroslav Holub
Translated by

It's like falling from an airplane
before the masked face of a creator
who's dressed in a scrub suit
and latex gloves.
Now they are bringing, bedded in melting ice,
the new heart,
like some trophy
from the Eightieth Olympiad of Calamities.
Atrium is sewn to atrium,
aorta to aorta,
three hours of eternity
coming and going...


From Poet's Choice in Sunday's Washington Post Book World. "Late Czech poet and immunologist Miroslav Holub mined greater treasure from the sciences than any other poet I know," writes Mary Karr. "Holub swings open the operating-theater door in 'Heart Transplant' and reveals technology's new beauty...a few recent poets have peppered their work with technical gobbledy-gook, but only Holub has made lovely -- at a cellular level -- how both hemophilia and interferon function.

Saturday was another long travel day broken up by stops at scenic locations in Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota, where we are staying tonight near the only Corn Palace in the world. *g* Some of the highlights I couldn't photograph included herons in standing water in flooded fields, red-winged blackbirds perched on fence posts, huge wind farms with spinning propellers visible for miles and dozens of signs alerting us to our impending arrival at Wall Drug along with all the wonderful things we can do there. Here are some of the highlights I could photograph:

Rock formations high above the onetime path of the river near the Wisconsin Dells.

Looking back at Wisconsin from the banks of the Mississippi River near Winona, Minnesota.

Just a few hundred feet away, the bluffs rise far above the highway, revealing sheer rock where not covered by trees.

The 55-foot Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, Minnesota.

A giant steer's head sculpture on a farm in South Dakota.

I'm afraid that I cannot label Mitchell, South Dakota's gift shops among the more tasteful we've come across, though they do have Black Hills well as "Homeland Security" t-shirts showing Dakotans with their guns and polyester Indian headdresses.

Here is that height of tastefulness, the Corn Palace...

...within which one can purchase every corn-related product and condiment known, except biofuels!

Thanks to the wonders of wi-fi, we were able to download and watch "The Stolen Earth" in between dinner and a quick trip to K-Mart for drinks and mustard. I am too distracted for anything resembling analysis so here is some gratuitous out-of-order squee. Spoilers: I was so pleased that Donna figured out the connection among the missing planets -- not just recent ones but all the ones she's ever heard about from the Doctor or anyone else. That impressed me far more than the Doctor speaking Judoon. I squealed every time someone else popped up -- Jack, Gwen and Ianto, Sarah Jane, Luke and Mr. Smith (whom Sarah Jane tells to dispense with the fanfare), Martha in New York...and then when Harriet Jones shows up and makes everyone work together! And Grandpa fighting the Daleks with a paint gun! And the Doctor (again using a tip from Donna) following the alien bees!

I had told my friend in London that I might forgive anything and everything if the episode gave me some hope for future Doctor/Jack/Sarah Jane fic, and it did not disappoint. My favorite scene all season may be Jack flirting with Sarah Jane, who tells him she's been trying to keep Luke away from his big guns, which of course doesn't faze Jack in the slightest and Harriet has to tell them this isn't the time. Whereas the Doctor tells Donna that it will NEVER be the time...figures he wants to be everyone's center of attention on top of his God complex. My reaction to Rose being back and griping that she was there before Martha was less amused than eye-rolling disgust; at one time I would have found it amusing, but if I have to watch a bitch-fight over the Great and Powerful Doctor in the wake of saving the world, I will puke. If the most loyal companion is indeed going to die, I hope it means Rose rather than Martha at this point, though I suspect given the cues we've had all season that it's actually Donna. I admit to snickering during the Rose-and-Doctor-race-toward-each-other-like-Maria-and-Tony-in-West Side Story sequence; I was expecting the shot, and that it would hit him rather than her. I wish I'd actually cared.

Because I'm afraid my biggest regret is the same one that I've had all season, namely that I'm slowly discovering that Doctor Who is often my least favorite character on Doctor Who; I was so thrilled to see Harriet, Torchwood, Sarah Jane and Martha all working together and would have been utterly delighted to see Rose as well, except that Rose this season is even worse than Martha last season preaching the One True Gospel of the Doctor, refusing to sanction the idea that there might possibly be some other saviour, perhaps even one born of her own planet. No wonder Baltar's Messiah fantasies aren't bothering me on BSG so much these days!

Someone who watched previous Doctors will have to fill me in at some point on Davros, the Medusa Cascade and all the things that have clearly been important at some point in the past. We brought most of the Tom Baker series with us but haven't watched any yet. My kids adore the Daleks but I sort of feel like we're seeing stories that have been told before...oh, so now the Time War and the destruction of Gallifrey aren't time-locked, immutable events? Why am I afraid we could have piles more Time Lords around to interfere with humans in upcoming seasons? Give me the good old human connections between everyone else without the Doctor being the center of the world. Or maybe what I mean is, give me Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures and more stories about Donna, but i'm not sure how sorry I'll be to see this Doctor's season end.

My mom says my uncle is doing much better, though he still has pneumonia, so that is a relief! Sunday night we will be at Devil's Tower and I have no idea if I will have an internet connection, so this may be all besides Twitters for the weekend!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Poem for Saturday

Preludes for Prepared Piano: Such Sweet Thunder
By Estill Pollock

The simple formula is:
the time of the bullet's flight, times the speed of prey
gives lead-bullet flight time,
one length for the kill zone front half of the trophy

I've never smelled anything like it—
dank, earthy wetlands,
underlying notes of chocolate, anise, redwood.

The rig dog caught the scent; the others
whine, squeal, yip from hollows to hardwood ridges,
inhaling its heat, long quivering wails fading.
It seemed everywhere at once, and then
turned towards us, one mutual cry forever
with the aberration.

I usually observe one constellation at a time,
my last in Canes Venatici, the greyhounds of Bo├Âtes.
Luckily, above the sky glow of the cities,
removed from the horizon haze, you see
that much more clearly, something
feral, hi fi.


Friday was entirely a travel day, with all stops being for meals or to stretch legs; not one sightseeing expedition. We left Ohio early in the morning, stopped for gas at the cleanest and friendliest rest stop I have ever seen (brand new off the turnpike near Newton Falls), then headed into Indiana under threatening skies that never quite turned to a thunderstorm. Had a picnic lunch at an Indiana rest stop that wasn't nearly as nice as the one in Ohio, drove into Chicago under partly sunny skies and admired the skyline from the Skyway. Got stuck in atrocious traffic on the Dan Ryan that reminded me of all the things I don't miss about living in Chicago...and since I couldn't see the lake from where we were, I didn't get to see the principal thing I do miss. Headed north, drove into Wisconsin, checked into a motel in Madison where the kids went swimming for a bit and we used the microwave for dinner.

Driving past downtown Chicago on the Dan Ryan Expressway.

We lived here for three years before we had children and older son was born here.

Here is where my true baseball loyalty lies: Comiskey Park.

Before driving through Chicago, we stopped at this plaza on the Indiana Turnpike to get drinks to have with lunch.

Lots of little birdies had made nests in the McDonald's sign.

There were many trains on the tracks paralleling the turnpikes and interstates.

Because what's a trip without seeing a castle, here's the Chicago-area Medieval Times.

And here are Paul and the boys relaxing in the motel pool!

I know I said I was skipping these while on vacation but I glanced at the questions and had to do this week's The Friday Five:

1) Theme: International Travel
    1. You have the summer and plenty of money to travel abroad. Where all would you go?
All over Europe -- fly into Paris and maybe cruise the rivers stopping in cities and towns along the way. Though I also want to go to Spain and Portugal, and Budapest and St. Petersburg and various places in Scandinavia...maybe I should get a train pass instead.
    2. What foods would you be sure you got to eat? Really excellent cheese and chocolate and tea.
    3. What landmarks would you be sure you got to see? I have a long list of Cathar sites in the south of France, plus castles, churches and synagogues.
    4. What airline would you use? United's where I have frequent flyer miles.
    5. Would your knowledge of other languages influence where you went? (i.e. would you be more likely to go to France if you spoke French) French is the one European language I do speak, but I wouldn't let that stop me from going elsewhere.

2) Theme: USA Road Trip
    1. Who would you take with you on a road trip?
My family. Though there are various people I would like to see along the way (MamaDracula, for instance, who I am seeing in a few weeks) and other people I'd happily take along if I thought they wouldn't go nuts in the van with my entire family!
    2. What states would you visit? As many of the continental 48 as I could.
    3. What national parks and/or monuments would you go see? Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, the Space Needle, Mount St. Helens, Yosemite, Hearst Castle, Topanga Canyon, La Brea Tar Pits, Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Cadillac Ranch, Asheville, and about twelve dozen others.
    4. Las Vegas: Overrated or a Must-See? I've only been there once, for a single day, largely to see the Star Trek Experience, but we had a great time seeing Siegfried and Roy's tigers, the pirate show at Treasure Island, the massive swimming pools with slides and all the free entertainment for kids. I couldn't have cared about the gambling -- I bet a grand total of about $5 and won most of it back at a slot machine.
    5. How long would you be gone? Each time we've driven across the US with our kids, it's been for a month. This is the last time, though, because my husband's company merger means no more extra two-week sabbatical every five years!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Poem for Friday

By Matthew Dickman

When grief comes to you as a purple gorilla
you must count yourself lucky.
You must offer her what's left
of your dinner, the book you were trying to finish
you must put aside,
and make her a place to sit at the foot of your bed,
her eyes moving from the clock
to the television and back again.
I am not afraid. She has been here before
and now I can recognize her gait
as she approaches the house.
Some nights, when I know she's coming,
I unlock the door, lie down on my back,
and count her steps
from the street to the porch.
Tonight she brings a pencil and a ream of paper,
tells me to write down
everyone I have ever known,
and we separate them between the living and the dead
so she can pick each name at random.
I play her favorite Willie Nelson album
because she misses Texas
but I don't ask why.
She hums a little,
the way my brother does when he gardens.
We sit for an hour
while she tells me how unreasonable I've been,
crying in the checkout line,
refusing to eat, refusing to shower,
all the smoking and all the drinking.
Eventually she puts one of her heavy
purple arms around me, leans
her head against mine,
and all of a sudden things are feeling romantic.
So I tell her,
things are feeling romantic.
She pulls another name, this time
from the dead,
and turns to me in that way that parents do
so you feel embarrassed or ashamed of something.
Romantic? she says,
reading the name out loud, slowly,
so I am aware of each syllable, each vowel
wrapping around the bones like new muscle,
the sound of that person's body
and how reckless it is,
how careless that his name is in one pile and not the other.


We are away! I had a somewhat chaotic morning of packing that was greatly enlivened by a visit from the wonderful Jules, who is newly back from Australia and brought me a stuffed kangaroo! I fed her and the kids unexciting sandwiches, stuffed my suitcase full of t-shirts and shorts, and made sure I had all the right camera lenses. We had a beautiful early drive heading into Pennsylvania and saw the beginnings of a colorful sunset in the mountains, but after a Turnpike rest stop dinner, the sky opened and we had dramatic lightning storms for quite a while.

We ate dinner at this mountainous rest stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

As the sign says, this was the first US long-distance turnpike, and Midway is one of the original service plazas.

The entrance to the Allegheny Mountain tunnel...

...and the view inside the tunnel, shot through the windshield at driving speed.

We weren't far from coal country outside of Pittsburgh...

...but apparently there's some experimenting with solar and wind energy going on.

And, after the thunderstorm, a beautiful pink and purple twilight.

I was pleased to read Mars' announcement that it will sequence and analyze the cocoa genome with IBM and the Department of Agriculture to breed genetically superior specimens. And very, very pleased to learn that after many delays, Kiss of the Spider Woman is finally coming out on DVD! But once again I have been given a sign from higher powers to Get Out Of Fandom Free. If I had a moment of wavering, thinking, oh, maybe I will go see Daniel Radcliffe in Equus after all, like all the popular girls, now I have a rock-solid excuse for not going: Kate Mulgrew is playing the magistrate on Broadway! I'm wondering if ticket sales haven't been as hot as expected, if they're wasting money on more genre star power instead of hiring someone less famous and more suited for the role.

Friday is a long driving day from here to Madison, Wisconsin, passing through Chicago but not stopping at our onetime home there. I shall wave in the direction of the Hyde Park parrots.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Poem for Thursday

By Sharon Olds

They tell you it won't make much sense, at first,
you will have to learn the terrain. They tell you this
at thirty, and fifty, and some are late
beginners, at last lying down and walking
the old earth of the breasts—the small,
cobbled, plowed field of one,
with a listening walking, and then the other—
fingertip-stepping, divining, north
to south, east to west, sectioning
the little fallen hills, sweeping
for mines. And the matter feels primordial,
cystic, phthistic, each breast like the innards
of a cell, its contents shifting and changing,
streambed gravel under walking feet, it
seems almost unpicturable, not
immemorial, but nearly un-
memorizable, but one marches,
slowly, through grave or fatal danger,
or no danger, one feels around in the
two tack-room drawers, ribs and
knots like leather bridles and plaited
harnesses and bits and reins,
one runs one's hands through the mortal tackle
in a jumble, in the dark, indoors. Outside—
night, in which these glossy ones were
ridden to a froth of starlight, bareback.


Things accomplished: Lunch with PerkyPaduan and discussion of most relevant details for her visit with Rosie, Cinnamon and Daisy in the coming weeks. Retrieval of prescriptions and purchase of final necessary toiletries. Dinner with parents and gift, from mother, of plastic cosmetic bag for aforementioned toiletries. Burning of data DVDs, Master & Commander: The Far Side of the World and The Pirates of Penzance. Loading of ebooks onto transportable external hard drive. Sorting and packing of camera and computer cables. Final laundry.

Things not accomplished: pretty much all the rest of my personal packing. My share of the loading of the van. Figuring out a big fat book I might want to read that weighs less than Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Conversion of Second Doctor episodes from MP4 to MP3. Cleaning off of dining room table. Finding watermelon for PerkyPaduan. Calming down. Have some pretties:

We are departing some time around 3 p.m. after Paul works part of the day. Will hopefully be online from Ohio late in the evening while PerkyPaduan is online here with my cats!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Poem for Wednesday

Pear Tree
By H.D.

Silver dust
lifted from the earth,
higher than my arms reach,
you have mounted,
O silver,
higher than my arms reach
you front us with great mass;

no flower ever opened
so staunch a white leaf,
no flower ever parted silver
from such rare silver;

O white pear,
your flower-tufts
thick on the branch
bring summer and ripe fruits
in their purple hearts.


Chores, chores, chores, with only a small break for lunch with Gblvr and our kids at Bagel City...I was feeling deprived of good bagels after having been in Brooklyn without eating a single one. Had to get up early to go to the dentist because I thought I'd cracked a filling the other day; he couldn't see anything on the x-ray and said the tooth itself looked fine, so hopefully it will not cause trouble when we're in a campground somewhere remote! Picked up the minivan which now has new Toyota-approved door hinges after a recall on the old ones, stopped in the mall for body butter, went to Target for sunblock and socks, took the kids to Best Buy to get some Final Fantasy game we told them they could have for the drive, then took the kids to the pool, folded three laundries, burned some CDs, transferred some see how exciting my day was. Here, have some Maryland Zoo photos, mostly from the Africa region.

A Demoiselle crane trying to beat the heat -- it was over 90 degrees by 10 a.m.

The warthog chooses the tried-and-true "lounge in the mud" approach.

Does anything faze vultures? They probably like extreme heat; it means someone will be dropping dead somewhere.

This saddle-billed stork heads for deep grass... does this Addra gazelle.

Near the penguin colony, a pond full of tadpoles...

...are on their way to becoming frogs.

I'm not sure exactly what my internet or mobile phone connections will be like when we're in remoter locations on this trip, so I will be twittering when I can as littlereview. So feel free to friend or follow me wherever, or conversely to ignore me for the month of July as I will almost certainly be neglecting my friends list...apologies in advance! The itinerary starting Thursday is from here to Ohio to Wisconsin to Mitchell, South Dakota to Devil's Tower to Yellowstone to Paul's cousins in Boise to Paul's youngest brother in Salem to Yosemite to San Francisco to San Simeon to my uncle's family in Castaic to Paul's middle brother in L.A. to San Diego to Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands and Arches in Utah to Denver to Omaha to St. Louis to Indianapolis and back home!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Poem for Tuesday

The Room
By Stephen Dunn

The room has no choice.
Everything that's spoken in it
it absorbs. And it must put up with

the bad flirt, the overly perfumed,
the many murderers of mood—
with whoever chooses to walk in.

If there's a crowd, one person
is certain to be concealing a sadness,
another will have abandoned a dream,

at least one will be a special agent
for his own cause. And always
there's a functionary,

somberly listing what he does.
The room plays no favorites.
Like its windows, it does nothing

but accommodate shades
of light and dark. After everyone leaves
(its entrance, of course, is an exit),

the room will need to be imagined
by someone, perhaps some me
walking away now, who comes alive

when most removed. He'll know
from experience how deceptive
silence can be. This is when the walls

start to breathe as if reclaiming the air,
when the withheld spills forth,
when even the chairs start to talk.


We took the minivan in to be inspected and have all its fluids changed, since we just got back from an unexpected trip and are going to put thousands of miles on it next month, which meant that I was stuck in the house most of the day. The kids went to the pool in the late morning while the weather was nice and stayed till it turned dark late in the afternoon. I did laundry and sorted stuff we'll need to bring on vacation. Tuesday when we pick up the van, I want to stop in the mall that's next to the car dealership so I can get some solid perfume since that's easiest to use while traveling -- besides Lush's Karma, which I love, and Crazylibellule and the Poppies' Toi Mon Prince, I need suggestions! Anyone have anything vanilla/fruity or Nag Champa/patchouli that's not too strong but doesn't disappear as soon as you put it on?

Here are a series of photos of the red-winged blackbird that we saw attacking a much larger great blue heron who appeared to be completely disinterested in it. I did not realize at the time that they build their nests in marshes and will attack anything that appears to be threatening, though given its movements in the time we were watching, I suspect the heron was looking for fish rather than baby birds.

I keep meaning to post about Thursday Next: First Among Sequels, which took me an insanely long time to finish because my husband borrowed it to read and then it disappeared into a stack of books in the basement, only to reemerge when we got a new bookcase. After the library episodes of Doctor Who, which were clearly written under Jasper Fforde's influence, I sent a couple of the Thursday Next books to a friend whose birthday is this week. Thus inspired, I finally reached the end of the most recent, which I was in no hurry to do as it's a long wait between books and I love them so. Now I wish to quote some of my favorite bits for posterity. Spoilers: Amidst storylines about Thursday's son's various incarnations through time travel and finding out the literary character who bears her name had sex with her husband, plus the fact that the Minotaur is still after her, here are some of my favorite highlights...

10 -- The description of teenage son Friday's room and person, in which all of Friday's dialogue is "grunt" and "mumble." Plus he's in a band and can't decide whether to call it the Wankers or the Gobshites. Mum is reluctantly forced to vote for the latter.

95 -- Isambard Kingdom Bunuel is in charge of book refits. Pride and Prejudice is regularly in for repairs due to its popularity, but "'it's not as bad as the Lord of the Rings trilogy; those things are always in for maintenance. The fantasy readership really gives it a hammering -- and the fan fiction doesn't help neither.'"

129 -- Thursday's argument with her religious brother about Doctor Who: the Daleks are his favorite, while his partner Miles favors the Sontarans, which Joffy says is "what I would expect from someone who thinks Jon Pertwee was the best Doctor." When Joffy insists that it was Tom Baker, Miles calls him a conventionalist.

146 -- T.J. Maxx is Temporal-J Maximum Security prison where people are trapped in line in five-minute loops forever to pay for their transgressions and keep the world safe. "What did you think T.J. Maxx was?" "A place to buy designer-label clothing at reasonable prices?" "The very idea! Next you'll be telling me that IKEA just sells furniture you have to build yourself."

181 -- Thursday5 gets dewy-eyed over the idea that Harry Potter might make an appearance at the Council of Genres meeting on whether they should be supplying characters to video games to give them added depth. "It's particularly relevant, as publishing these days doesn't necessarily restrict books to being just books."

199 -- Thursday5 brings an autograph book to the CofC meeting. "If you even think of asking Harry Potter for an autograph, your day ends right now," warns the real Thursday.

201 -- Announcement: "Sadly, I have to advise you that Mr. Harry Potter is unable to attend due to copyright restrictions, so we're going to leave the 'supplying characters from video games' issue for another time."

185 -- "The problem with that there aren't enough to go around. Lots of people in the BookWorld play them, they frequently appear in the narrative, and they're often used as plot devices. Yet for an unfathomable reason that no one can fully explain, there are only fifteen to cover the entire BookWorld."

185 -- Thursday wanders into Very Old Jokes and gets "I keep on thinking I'm a dog...since I was a puppy."

206 -- Fear of dirty bomb from the Racy Novel genre. "Outbreaks of incongruous obscenity from as far away as Drama -- Charles Dickens, no less." They read in Bleak House, "Sir Leicester leans back in his chair, and breathlessly ejaculates." Then in Mayor of Casterbridge, "the Mayor beheld the unattractive exterior of Farfrae's erection." Plus Oliver Twist has a character called Master Bates. Thursday says they used to giggle over that at school and Thursday5 insists these are words whose meanings have drifted over time. Thursday says she will only sanction a war on misplaced words in the classics when a bad sex scene shows up in To the Lighthouse.

221 -- Thursday jumps into her own novel, The Eyre Affair, saying her character had a psychotic personality. "Boy, was this book ever crap."

272 -- Pride and Prejudice to become a reality TV show where the sisters get voted off by viewers who also get to decide what they should do next. The original will be scrapped forever in favor of the one selected by the producers and viewing audience.

273 -- Classics called dreary, overlong and incomprehensible to anyone without a university education. "We have been suffering under the yoke of the Stalinist principle of one-author the modern world we must strive to bring democracy to the writing process." Discussion of whether authors view their writing process as creative totalitarianism. (Only if they're Anne Rice, Anne McCaffrey, Terry Pratchett or one of the other anti-fan fiction egotists, so far as I'm concerned.)

291 -- Thursday finds herself the captain of a ship in a text she doesn't recognize. "Without a Storycode Engine, we were either nonfiction or something in the oral tradition. Those were the upbeat possibilities: I might also be in a forgotten story, a dead writer's unrealized idea or even a handwritten short story stuck in a desk drawer somewhere -- the dark reading matter." Turns out she's in an ethics seminar, and as the captain of the ship in the anecdote, Thursday has to keep choosing between bad options until everyone's dead.

360 -- As someone tries to kill her yet again, Thursday puts it together, what with the attacks on Sherlock Holmes and Temperance Brennan: "Kill us and you kill not just the individual, but the series. It seemed too bizarre to comprehend, but it had to be the truth--there was a serial killer loose in the BookWorld.

I won't quote George Carlin since so many other people have, though he will be missed here, too.