Because you’re all dying to be kept current on my reading habits, I can just tell.

Audiobook squee: I finally convinced Shoemom to let me get those Classic Bob & Ray CDs! Featuring all the McCarthy parody skits and a cameo appearance by Ray’s oldest son (aged about three)! Plus lots of other cool early stuff! Reason for yay!

…I’m not that obsessed, really I’m not. It’s just that, with these guys, there’s so much stuff you tend to find yourself constantly reading skit titles and going “Oooh, that looks like a must-have…”


Other audio goodness: My most recent purchase is Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey by Allison Weir. I thought it’d be fun to tackle a book I hadn’t read yet, except inasmuch as I own most of Weir’s non-fiction takes on Tudor history, and enjoy them quite a lot. Few people living can have a more intimate knowledge of Tudor minutiae than Weir; it’d be impossible to reach that point, I should think, and not start compulsively popping out potboilers.

There has anyway always been something distinctly novel-esque about her scholarship, and if it thus far seems that there’s something rather too scholarly about her novel – something a little disconcerting about hearing Henry’s attempts in bed with Catherine Parr narrated in the same tone used elsewhere to describe Elizabeth’s palace fittings –  well, I may not be the best judge. I am very pleased with the precision she brings to it all, and the effortless way she sketches character because of it, but the true dramatic validity of the material has long since given way to familiarity.

In fact I sometimes think wistfully how nice it would be to approach sixteenth-century-themed fiction cold, as they say. Without knowing, not only how it all comes out, but all the wonderful rich twists and turns on the way.

Sigh. I bet all historians are science-fiction fans by default. And all engineers read Tolkien.

Peering through the cyber-trees, trying to find the forest…

So about midway through the short sabbatical from writing to concentrate on dealing with some other stuff, I check back and realise the cliffhanger’s another oddly prophetic comic strip. I am sort of enjoying how the PBS posts have become markers for these little breaks in the process…it seems so appropriately random…but, uh, everything’s fine, folks. I just thought the strip was amusingly reminiscent of the way train whistles make me feel sometimes. Really.

Anyway, here I am back in the saddle again, ready to supply all your pointless rambling needs! The long-awaited Mythbusters post – look, I’ve been away, humour me for a sec, OK? – is in the pipeline, also another edition of the Occasional Christie. I just need to do a little cranial housekeeping first. Two weeks sans snark outlet has left it seriously cluttered up in here… More

Deer in the spotlights

So the other day I decided to recklessly shell out some credits on John Ritter and Arte Johnson reading Dave Barry’s columns. Quite good value, really; if only for the nostalgia factor. At that it’s funny how the one defect in Ritter’s reading is that he hurries a little, as if anxious to get it over. You’d think Barry’s Everyman-to-the-comic-extreme schtick would fit him as comfortably as if, well, they were sharing a beer.

At any rate, the collection also turns out to contain Johnson’s reading of the lengthy piece Barry wrote on the 10th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. It’s not about The Pelvis, per se, but his fandom – the hardcores, the Graceland ‘gate people’, the ones who made up the eager audience when he rented a local theatre for exclusive showings of (for instance) The Nutty Professor, night after long night.

The thrust – excuse it, please – of Barry’s essay is that, contrary to the popular notion, the really hardcore fans idealized, not the image, but the man himself. That they rode the downhill slope more faithfully with each stop, all the way to the sick, sad, trailer-park joke he was at the end – circling the wagons as you would for a family member, Barry points out. “I still don’t understand it,” he concludes, “but I’m not laughing anymore.”

I was standing in the checkout line @ Wal-Mart pondering this, and the thought occurred that – well, to be entirely honest, that I finally had a way of working Britney Spears into my journal [waves happily at theoretical oodles of new Google traffic] without feeling like a total sellout. More