Smooth Opereader

"Wrinkle and the Big Red Dog."

“Wrinkle and the Big Red Dog.”

Where are they now? I’m not talking about The Human League, or Men at Work, or The Village People (apparently 80’s bands wanted everyone to know they were members of the human race, and not cross-dressing robots like we all suspected), although I would love to hear The Human League perform someplace other than supermarkets and elevators. Actually, I was referring to the second grade classmate Wife and I both remember as The Girl Who Always Read Hard Books. For anonymity’s sake, let’s call her GWARHB. Not only was Gwarhb taller and better mannered than the rest of us chocolate-milk guzzling neophytes, but she carried a dog-eared paperback edition of A Wrinkle In Time with her onto the playground, into the cafeteria, gymnasium, auditorium, and even to the Principal’s Office, where, I have to assume, she volunteered her time balancing the elementary school budget for that fiscal quarter. Of course, I didn’t notice any of this until my first Scholastic book order arrived: Clifford the Big Red Dog and a picture-book about frogs. Suddenly, Gwarhb was making me painfully aware of My First Inferiority Complex® (all-rights reserved by Mattel), and I knew what I had to do to make things right: read the book with the flying horse and scary blue guy on the cover. I can’t tell you what the book was about, but I can tell you that I felt like a Big Kid holding it in my hands. And that, my friends, is why I never started smoking cigarettes. Thanks, Gwarhb.


The Two Libraries

"Abandon all books ye who enter here."

“Abandon all books ye who enter here.”

Two libraries, not alike in dignity, / In fair Middlesex County where we lay our scene. [bops self on head with fist like Curly from The Three Stooges] Ah, that’s better. Sorry. I’ve been drinking this Walgreens La Croix selzer nonstop and for some reason it makes me talk in iambic pentameter. It’s OK though because I get wellness rewards with every purchase. Anyway, what I was trying to say is that Wife and I frequent two libraries, one in our mutual town and one in the town we now live in, and they could not be more opposed in every aspect of their existence. Our hometown library is a shining beacon of the pursuit of knowledge. The floors are spotless, the books and media fastidiously organized, and the librarians practically scream “How May I Help You?” with their cheery dispositions (if they actually screamed they would be insta-fired). And then there’s the other library, or, The Dungeon, as I like to call it. The first thing you will notice walking into The Dungeon is the smell, which can only be described as Flea Market After Downpour. The next thing you will notice is that you are suddenly inside a labyrinth of willy-nilly bookshelves. It’s as if The Dungeon Master has been expecting you for decades, and now that you are in their clutches, you must endure a series of trials to prove you are worthy of that murder mystery Wife’s been wanting to read – the one that takes place in a croissant factory. Oh well. I guess not all libraries are created equal. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to return “Pastrycide” to The Dungeon. Wish me luck.


The Goose of the Baskervilles



I’m being chased by a goose.

Not just any goose, either. I’m being chased by a Canadian Goose, which is the rabid hyena of the goose kingdom (I guess the Canadian Government is pouring so many tax dollars into teaching their human citizens how to be mild mannered and kind that they have completely overlooked their indigenous goose population).

But I don’t blame the goose. I blame Fyodor Dostoevsky. Allow me to explain.

Ever since I attempted to read The Brother’s Karamazov in short bursts while on the treadmill at the gym, I have been unable to finish a book. I don’t know if it was the combination of running 6.5 miles per hour while trying to decipher Dostoevsky’s epic prose, I don’t know if it was the blow to the head I suffered when I lost my balance and fell off said treadmill. The jury is still out.

What I do know is that since my butt got Karamazov’ed off that treadmill, I just can’t focus. I’ve tried Roth, Coetzee, Bellow, DeLillo, Rushdie, C.S. Lewis, R.L. Stein, the back of the shampoo bottle, the front of the conditioner bottle, the three year limited warranty on the coffee maker that we got as a wedding present and is now broken – if I’m reading it while my body is inert, I quickly lose focus.

So, naturally, I decided to try taking walks around the pond near my house with my nose buried in a paperback.

It has changed my life.

I’m tearing through books now. I used to get antsy after fifteen pages. Now I’m reading fifty to a hundred without blinking an eye. Plus, I’m getting exercise without the risk of being catapulted into a Nautlius machine.

Just…do me a favor. If you’re going to try this yourself, make sure you watch where you’re stepping so you don’t inadvertently invade the personal space of a large alpha male Canadian Goose.

Because it will chase you. Like the one that is chasing me now.

PS – Somebody call animal control.

Oliver Tweet

Criterion collection.

Tweet this. If you do, I will retweet your tweet in exchange for a couple favs next time I tweet. Are you following me? I’m not asking if you are confused, I’m asking if you are following me. On Twitter. Because if you are not, you should be. Why? Well…I, uh…I’m not exactly sure… Just do it, alright? Jeez, not everything in this world has to be wrapped in a pretty little explanation, tied with a cute reason, and handed to you on a sapient platter. Do you think Charles Dickens had to give people a reason to read his books? Heck no! He just wrote them, and BAM! Millions of followers. He didn’t have to jump through any hoops, either. No “favoriting” his contemporaries’ works in the hopes they would reciprocate. No “hashtagging” his sentences to attract more readers. And of course, no character constraints to get his points across. I mean, “Dombey and Son” is over a thousand pages long! Are you kidding me? Do you have any idea how many tweets that is? I do. It is roughly 8,929 tweets*. That’s impossible! I’ve been tweeting for like, four months, and still have only managed to write about 600 of the stupid things. At this rate, I’m never going to be as famous as Charles Dickens! This sucks! What did he have that I don’t, anyway? A British accent? Please…do you know how easily I can fake a British accent? Very easily. And if that’s all it takes to be world famous, have millions of followers, and get your 9,000 tweet books to be made into musicals, movies, and magicians (David Copperfield), then con’sider y’self at ‘ome, ‘cus I got great expec’ations for m’ tweets.

*(50 characters per line x 25 lines per page x 1,000 pages per novel) / 140 characters per tweet.