Reading Report, December 2023

Books Acquired:
The Velvet Underground and Nico (33 1/3), Joe Harvard

Progress Made:
Ringo: With a Little Help, Michael Seth Starr

Books Finished:
Cyber Way, Alan Dean Foster
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Alan Dean Foster
Bagombo Snuff Box, Kurt Vonnegut

In his introduction to Bagombo Snuff Box, Kurt Vonnegut says:

A short story, because of its physiological and psychological effects on a human being, is more closely related to Buddhist styles of meditation than it is to any other form of narrative entertainment.

What you have is this volume, then, and in every other collection of short stories, is a series of Buddhist catnaps.

I think 23 Buddhist Catnaps would have been a better title than Bagombo Snuff Box, which has a certain elan but tells you nothing of what lies within. It was a great read, though. My experience of the book was just as Kurt describes his experience of the Saturday Evening Post as a teenager:

While I am reading, my pulse and breathing slow down. My high school troubles drop away. I am in a pleasant state somewhere between sleep and restfulness.

Over and over I would crack open Snuff Box and time and space would drop away. Only once it was over would I return to the cafe or the sofa or whatever. I was bummed to finish this book. A rereading of Welcome to the Monkey House is probably next.

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Darkness Increased by One (redux)

So we have arrived again at the Great Turning. The days will now start getting longer, and not a moment too soon.

I always like to post something on this day, and yesterday the powers of the random shuffle reminded me of a music mix that I previously shared… let’s see… can it really be seven years ago?

It leans into the idea that it is healthy to wallow a bit in darkness before pivoting to face the light, which dovetails with the observation of Festivus two days hence (the airing of grievances and whatnot). If you want the full package, just scroll down a little.

But if you prefer to jump straight to the uplift, and/or don’t have an hour to waste, this is where things are going to end up:

Whenever I’m feeling glum about the state of things in this benighted land of ours, where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, I reach for Funkadelic to pull me out of the funk. “Everybody Is Going to Make It This Time,” which rings more prophetic now than ever, always triggers a lil’ stirring of hope. Any country that can give birth to such a thing can’t be all bad.

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My Statement on Draymond Green and the Golden State Warriors

“That brother needs help.”
—Josef Nurkic

A lot of people (hi Mom!) have been asking where I stand on the current situation in Dub Nation, which is, to put it succinctly: tire fire.

For those of you who are mercifully oblivious, my team currently stands at 10–14, and the truth is worse than that. Not only have they blown numerous 20-point leads this season, but their bellwether, their heart and soul, my wayward son Draymond Green is at the lowest ebb of his career. Just a few games after returning from a five-game suspension for going all Derek Chauvin on Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert, he whacked the Suns’ Josef Nurkic in the side of the head with a flailing arm and is now suspended indefinitely.

It’s bad. I’m always the first to defend Draymond, but I’m having a hard time doing it anymore. About all I can do is sigh and shake my head.

Having said that, here is my official position.

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Reading Report, November 2023

Books Acquired:
The Crow Road, Iain Banks
Sixty Stories, Donald Barthelme
The Black Hole, Alan Dean Foster
Cyber Way, Alan Dean Foster
Midworld, Alan Dean Foster
Splinter of the Mind’s Eye, Alan Dean Foster
Star Trek: Log Two, Alan Dean Foster
With Friends Like These…, Alan Dean Foster
Who Needs Enemies?, Alan Dean Foster
Mind Games: The Guide to Inner Space, Robert Masters and Jean Houston
The Modern Drunkard, Frank Kelly Rich
Apricots on the Nile, Colette Rossant
Ringo: With a Little Help, Michael Seth Starr
Bagombo Snuff Box, Kurt Vonnegut
Welcome to the Monkey House, Kurt Vonnegut

Progress Made:
Cyber Way, Alan Dean Foster

Books Finished:
The Black Hole, Alan Dean Foster
Look at the Birdie, Kurt Vonnegut


So, yes, I fell off the book-acquisition wagon pretty hard this month. But there were very good reasons for all of them, I swear.

How did I come to stockpile seven (7) books by the journeyman sci-fi author Alan Dean Foster? Well, recently I went down a (black) rabbit hole relative to the 1979 Disney movie The Black Hole, which I knew I saw when it came out but remembered very little about other than a crushing sense of disappointment. Could it really, I wondered, have been that bad?

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