Ramblings & ephemera

Movies in the night

Another image that enters my mind unbidden: My brother and I are spending the night at Grandma & Grandpa Scott’s house. We’re pretty young … I might be 8 and my brother 6 or 7. It’s the mid-70s. At our grandparents, we go to bed pretty early … say by 10 p.m. This night, Gus […]

The spirit of the real Texas Rangers

I rather like this, even if it’s probably not true: The story goes that Captain Jack Hayes and his men, the fabled Texas Rangers, were surrounded and vastly outnumbered during one of the many skirmishes of the Mexican War. He made the following prayer, certainly one of the most colorful ever made before battle: “Oh […]

Denise-ism #65

I start playing Norah Jones. Denise: I really like this music. Scott: You say that every time I play it. Denise: And you say that every time back to me. Scott: Well, somebody’s stuck in a loop, and I don’t think it’s me.

Denise-ism #90

A short conversation between Denise and I in March 2003: Scott: “Why are there so many pickles in the kitchen sink?” Denise: “Because I was cleaning out the bathroom!” (pause) “There’s something wrong when that statement makes perfect sense.”

That poor polish sausage

A conversation Denise & I had sometime in July 2003: Scott: Hey, did you hear about that baseball player hitting that mascot dressed as a sausage? Denise: Yeah! Scott: That poor polish sausage. Denise: Yeah. Scott: From what I read, he didn’t mean to hurt her. He just tapped her. I mean, those costumes are […]

My brother Gus and I, #12

True story: Gus and I stand at the entrance of the Indiana University Bookstore, where we must find a temporary locker for our bags. The locker require money. Gus: I need a quarter. Do you have a quarter? Me: No, but I’ve got a dollar. Will that help? Gus: Not unless it’s shaped like a […]

Amongst family and friends

From "The Producer" in the 15 October 2001 issue of The New Yorker, an article about the Hollywood producer Brian Grazer: His creation achieved its brilliant apotheosis a few years ago, when he reconceived Brian Grazer as a form of performance art. He started putting photographs of himself, grinning like a pixie, in dime-store frames […]

The mercurial man

From "The Producer" in the 15 October 2001 issue of The New Yorker, an article about the Hollywood producer Brian Grazer: [Edgar J. Scherick, the TV producer, hired Grazer when he was young, & had this to say about him:] "One day, he told me he was dissatisfied. We talked for half an hour and […]

Gershwin the prodigy

From Claudia Roth Pierpont’s "Jazzbo", about George Gershwin, in The New Yorker (10 January 2005): [Gershwin] had been saved by the piano. On a fateful day in 1910, a secondhand upright was hoisted through the family’s Second Avenue window and, to general shock, scapegrace street fighting George, age twelve, sat down and tore through a […]

He stopped in time

Joe Freeman & I were at a party at Jans & Sarah’s. He announced to me that his company had just decided on a new name: Iron Jelly. "Why that name?" I asked. Joe explained, "Well, I was looking through a list of words, and I went down the list until I saw two next […]

The wise ol’ Texas gambler

From "Bold Bets", in Maxim (June 2005: 104): Amarillo Slim Preston bet tennis pro Bobby Riggs $10,000 that he could beat him at game of ping-pong, with one condition: Slim got to choose the paddles. Slim showed up with two skillets – he had been practicing on the sly – and promptly waxed Riggs 21-8.

The largest library fine … ever.

I was an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis from 1985-1989, and a graduate student in English Lit. from 1989-1996. During that time, I racked up my share of library fines (not hard to do when the fines were $0.10 a day, per book), a couple of times into three digits. In fact, I […]