Same job, different uniform.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book 7: The Girl in the Flammable Skirt [stories] by Aimee Bender

Quirky. Fantastical. Playful. Fresh.

"My lover is experiencing reverse evolution. I tell no one. I don't know how it happened, only that one day he was my lover and the next he was some kind of ape. It's been a month and now he's a sea turtle."

"I often wanted to be like my mother because she had long hair with red in it and to me that proved she was crackling inside."

(a story about a woman whose husband has returned from war sans lips) "You're alive, she said, and hugged him. You're Steven. He pressed the disc hard to her cheek and kissed her, - - -, and she held herself in and tried not to shatter."

Her personal website.
An interview.
All sorts of info.

10/5 stars. This has probably been my favorite book so far this summer.

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Book 6: Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

Boot. Ishmaelia. Mistaken identity. Hilarity ensues.
Those are the best words I can dedicate to this book.

"His guests were well chosen, six of the most influential men and women in England; men and women such as only exist in England, who are seldom in the news but who control the strings of the national pulse. On my left was Mrs. Hogbaum the wife of the famous publisher; on the other side was Prudence Blank, who has been described to me as "the Mary Selena Wilmark of Britain"; opposite was John Titmuss whose desk at the News Chronicle holds more secrets than an ambassadors...big business was represented by John Nought, agent of the Credential Assurance Co.... I at once raised the question of the hour. Not one of that brilliant company expressed any opinion. There, in a nutshell, you have England, her greatness -- and her littleness."

"For twenty-three years he had remained celibate and heart-whole; landbound. Now for the first time he was far from shore, submerged among deep waters, below wind and tide, where huge trees raised their spongy flowers and monstrous things without fur or feather, wing or foot, passed silently, in submarine twilight. A lush place."

"William undressed and lay among his heaps of luggage. His anger softened and turned to shame, then to a light melancholy; soon he fell asleep."

Wikipedia entry.
An online book club discussion, with spoilers.

Five stars. Highly enjoyable.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Book 5: A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami


Unpredictable. Frank. Ears. Mediocrity.*
Sheep, sheep, sheep, sheep, sheep.


Nonetheless, we can in the same breath deny that there is any such thing as coincidence. What's done is done is done, what's yet to be is clearly yet to be, and so on. In other words, sandwiched as we are between the "everything" that is behind us and the "zero" beyond us, ours is an ephemeral existence in which there is neither coincidence nor possibility.

People start aging early, very early, on. Gradually it spreads over their entire body like a stain that cannot be wiped away.

Time really is one big continuous cloth, no? We habitually cut pieces of time to fit us, so we tend to fool ourselves into thinking that time is our size, but it really goes on and on.


Synopses and reviews
Murakami's Wikipedia entry

5/5 stars. Without a doubt. And if any reader of this blog has read this book, please comment. I have one major question and a few minor ones that I am dying to ask.

*this is a theme of the book, not a comment on the quality of the novel nor the author's writing.

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

Books 1 - 4: The Collected Works of Amy Hempel

I could learn a thing or two from Amy Hempel. "Simple declarative sentences," girlfriday likes to remind me. My sentences are often wordy and convoluted. Hempel's sentences are nothing if not succinct. Her works consist of these four collections of short stories: Reasons to Live, At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom, Tumble Home & The Dog of Marriage.

Here are the words I would choose to sum these stories:
Death. Survival. Dogs. Indifference. Concise. Moments. Frolicsome.

About Eve Grant, Wesley has said that he married the most beautiful woman he ever saw and learned the irrelevance of beauty.
from Three Popes Walk Into a Bar.

The year I began to say vahz instead of vase, a man I barely knew nearly accidentally killed me.
from The Harvest.

Here's a trick I found for how to finally get some sleep. I sleep in my husband's bed. That way the empty bed I look at is my own.
from Nashville Gone to Ashes.

"What I think," Chatty says, "is that if a man loves a woman more than a woman loves a man, then they're even."
fromTumble Home.

I want to know everything about you. So I tell you everything about myself.
from Tumble Home.

"No one tells me better stories," he assured me. I was aware of the point at which a compliment becomes a trap, because you are expected to keep doing the thing you are praised for; resentment will follow when you stop.
from Offertory.

Wikipedia entry
An interview
An "interview."
New York Times Review

I give this book 4/5 stars.

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Her Father's Daughter

I love that my sister linked her blog and Father's Day by acknowledging his role in introducing her to old time radio. Now that she brings it up, it's a pretty sweet memory.

And those Suspense episodes were really, really creepy.

Thanks, pops, for bringing so much fun into our lives and teaching us a love of the old.

Happy Father's Day.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Special Tribute to Russert

I'm sure most of you media savvy folks already guessed or figured this out, but Tom Brokaw will host a special tribute to Tim Russert, who died on Friday at age 58, on this Sunday's (June 15, 2008), "Meet the Press." The guest list includes the following:

BETSY FISCHER, Executive Producer, Meet the Press
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN, Presidential Historian
MARIA SHRIVER, Former Correspondent, NBC News

Check these websites for listings:,

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I hope...

By all accounts, Tim Russert was a great guy. Tom Brokaw choking back tears said it all as he did his "sad duty" yesterday by announcing the death.

I hope that as all of his colleagues and competitors continue to memorialize him in the coming week that they listen to carefully to their own words. That they all learn a lesson in civility. That they begin to look at what it means to be a true and fair journalist. That they consider the concept of not interrupting their guests. That they start to do their homework and grill politicians on the real issues. That they take a moment or two to ponder historical context. But most of all I hope they take to heart what he said about being a father and a son, and that he never forgot his roots.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Good News / Bad News named Boise #4 out of Ten Best Cities to Live, Work and Play.

Even though, as my sister pointed out today over the phone, this kind of press might encourage people to move here (progress is usually better than regress, though!), it's good to rack up these kudos.

One of the things that I found especially encouraging:

Employers know they'll find a high proportion of college graduates here (37%, compared with the national average of 27%) and that new hires will find plenty of affordable housing.
What I can't figure out is where they got this:

The average work commute is 18 minutes.

The video above is the so-called walking tour of Boise, but native Boiseans will get a laugh. Their reporter apparently covered a five-mile radius: downtown and the North End Boise area. She even points to a couple of homes in the North End to give you an idea of "Boise home prices!" Um, if you are looking at homes in the North End to help you determine home prices as a gauge to making a decision about relocating, you should know those are generally the most expensive houses per square foot in the whole city.

What about the arts? What about philanthropy? How about the university or the greenbelt or the Boise Bench?

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Two down, millions to go.

I have completed the first two books in my summer reading adventure. I don't consider myself a book critic, so here's how my reviews are going to go:

- A series of single words to describe the book.
- Some of my favorite quotes from the book.
- Links to article(s) about the author and/or reviews.

I'll keep you "posted." Hahaha. Get it? Posted? And we're on a blog? ... That's some gentle comedy...

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

I'm baaaaaack.

"Jack Benny Presents the Golden Memories of Radio."

OTR stars get animated.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Obama on Education: He's a Democrat

This is Part One in this series. As you know, this series is not for Democrats. If you're voting for whatever Democrat is on the ticket in November, this is not going to dissuade you.

We begin with Senator Obama's own words on the issues, starting with education.

My dad was a secondary school teacher and my husband is a college professor. Both of them are bright, well-read and probably underpaid. This inequity, however, never translated into their beating the NEA drum of "more money for education is the answer"(God bless 'em). It's a popular drum to beat and it looks like Obama will beat it long and hard. Here are some exerpts:

Expand Early Head Start and Head Start: Obama will quadruple Early Head Start, increase Head Start funding and improve quality for both.

Address the Dropout Crisis: Obama will address the dropout crisis by passing his legislation to provide funding to school districts to invest in intervention strategies in middle school - strategies such as personal academic plans, teaching teams, parent involvement, mentoring, intensive reading and math instruction, and extended learning time.

Expand High-Quality Afterschool Opportunities: Obama will double funding for the main federal support for afterschool programs, the 21st Century Learning Centers program, to serve one million more children.

It appears that increasing funding for every federal educational program is Senator Obama's solution. How audacious! This is consistent with his Woodrow-Wilsonesque progressivism that enlarges an already chubby Nanny State. Is this really change for the better?

Consider, we spend about 2.5 times more on a per pupil basis than we did forty years ago (adjusted for inflation). Is education 2.5 times better than it was in the 50's and 60's?

In an age of climate change, jihad and $4 gallons of gas, education may seem trivial. It isn't. It deserves an audacious approach that dares to look beyond throwing money at the problem. "Increasing funding" means taking money from someone, and it isn't Barack Obama.

Worse, it's trying to cure a disease with a placebo.

This isn't intended to be an exhaustive look at the problem of America's educational system. It's about understanding Senator Obama, what change means to him and who/what is likely to influence him should he win the office.

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Analogy of the day, part deux

Pregnancy (I'm assuming) is like getting halfway through your jog around Town Lake and realizing, "There's no way out of this, I have to get back to my car."

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Monday, June 09, 2008

I never met a bandwagon I didn't want to jump on

So here is my version of "things they won't say about me when I'm gone."

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Friday, June 06, 2008

Things they won't say about Molly when she's gone.

She didn't spend enough time with kids.

She wasn't much interested in studying languages.

She had refined taste in television shows.

She loved to talk about her personal life with her family.

She laughed, spoke and walked quietly.

She never sang.

She couldn't live without a boyfriend.

She was always even-tempered.

She only ever had one interest in life so choosing a career path came easily to her.

She was a young college graduate.

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Thursday, June 05, 2008

Things They Won't Say About Girl Friday's Mother When She's Gone...

(Brand new to this - that's why this was first posted under "comments")

"Blogging came naturally to her!"

"Too bad her kids were such a disappointment."

"She had no imagination."

"America's most celebrated foot model"

"She never met a person she didn't like."

Authored the best seller, "How to Breeze Through Menopause"

"She lived for a clean house."

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

In the absence of blood sisters...

...A locally situated sister-in-law is a must-have. Just a few minutes ago, mine brought me two armfuls of fruit -- she knows my ample prego tummy hasn't wanted much else of late. So this little post is an ode to JEB, who just wrote an ode to Elpheba, but certainly deserves one of her own! If only I could rhyme worth a darn.

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Happy 33rd, Bonny Lass

In Minnesota, in times of yore,
There was a bonny lass.
She was trained up right in the way she should go
And she chose an upright path.

She went to the mountains and met a boy,
From Texas, big and wide.
She tossed her head and shorted his sheets
And he made her his bride.

Together they went to the Lone Star state,
A place of fabled lore.
Together they mades some legends themselves,
And and a lass and lad she bore.

Along the way she met some folks
Whose origins are a jumble.
But make no mistake,
When Nerts is at stake,
These folks, they can rumble.

The bonny lass from Minnesota
Her journey 't 'aint nearly done.
After 33 years she's finally ready
To have some non-Evie fun.

So raise a glass,
To that bonny lass
From the land of a thousand lakes.
May the road be long and lovely,
May her winters one day have flakes.

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girlfriday: Things they won't say about me when I'm gone

She had the patience of Job.

She wore the same shoes all the time.

She never cared how she looked.

I never heard a word of complaint come out of her mouth.

She was a slow, courteous driver.

Humility was one of her virtues.

She was so shy.

She hated to try something new.

She always backed away from a fight.

She never smiled.

Whatever else you can say about her, at least she was punctual.

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A year ago today, Elphaba received arguably the best birthday present ever...

...and he just keeps getting sweeter and creamier by the day.

I love you both and wish you the happiest of birthdays!

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Analogy of the day

The miracle of your new born baby is to soon forgetting about childbirth as the taste of greasy, crispy bacon is to forgetting about the last time you made it and had to clean up after it.

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