Ramblings & ephemera

Robert Fagles on the dramatic sense of Homer

From Edwin Frank & Andrew McCord’s interview of Robert Fagles in “The Art of Translation No. 2” (The Paris Review: Summer 1999, No. 151): As I read Homer, he’s a remarkable combination of the timeless, immortal phrase, and of the timely, too, and he’s meant to be heard, not read. “Homer makes us Hearers”—in Pope’s […]

James Ellroy on how he writes

From Nathaniel Rich’s “Interviews: James Ellroy, The Art of Fiction No. 201” (The Paris Review: Fall 2009): I begin by sitting in the dark. I used to sleep on the living-room couch. There was a while when that was the only place I felt safe. My couch is long because I’m tall, and it needs […]

Gottman on relationships

From THE MATHEMATICS OF LOVE: A Talk with John Gottman (Edge: 14 April 2004): So far, his surmise is that “respect and affection are essential to all relationships working and contempt destroys them. It may differ from culture to culture how to communicate respect, and how to communicate affection, and how not to do it, […]

30 seconds to impress

From The Scotsman‘s “Men, you have 30 seconds to impress women“: HALF of all women make their minds up within 30 seconds of meeting a man about whether he is potential boyfriend material, according to a study on speed-dating. The women were on average far quicker at making a decision than the men during some […]

Denise-ism #890

Denise Lieberman, 15 November 2001: “I’m up to my earballs with work!”

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.

Jans clarifies it for us

Back in November 2002, a bunch of us went camping in a cabin in the woods. Around midnight, we were sitting around the fire, talking. The subject of crime came up, specifically the statute of limitations. Scott: I think the statute of limitations doesn’t apply only in cases of murder and rape. Denise: That’s right. […]

Denise-ism #631

Another quotation from my wife, Denise, in February 2003: “Your fly’s open. Wiiiiiide open.”

Denise-ism #356

Denise talking about me, March 2003: There’s a fine line between a freedom fighter and a conspiracy theorist … and sometimes I’m not sure which you are.

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.”

Denise-ism #234

Another quote from my wife Denise in May 2003: So we’re sitting in the theater a while back watching the X-Men movie, and Denise leans over to me and whispers, in all seriousness: “Wow! This could be a comic book!”

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 […]

Unsure of himself

From "The Producer" in the 15 October 2001 issue of The New Yorker, an article about the Hollywood producer Brian Grazer: Ron Howard: But you love really sophisticated movies. Grazer: Like what? I guess I do. I do? Which ones were you thinking of? 

Willie Nelson in New York

From Adam Gopnik’s "The In-Law", a profile of Willie Nelson in The New Yorker (7 October 2002): "I love Michael J. Fox," one says. "I was upset when he left the show because of that sad illness of his." (Willie’s family really talks that way: Willie,  on being asked about Kris Kristofferson’s remark that he […]

Malapropism #600

I had a guest in my class, talking about how she tries to have as many co-workers as possible work on her organization’s web site, "so I’m not bearing the grunt of all the work".

Bringing up the rear

Two things people have said about Jans: "With friends like Jans, who needs enemas?" "Jans is a social laxative – he loosens everyone up." 

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 […]

Denise-ism #92

11 July 2003: David: “That tree is really dropping a lot of apples.” Denise (helpfully): “It’s an apple tree!” 

Denise-ism #103

Me: “Denise, it’s like you’ve pushed a snowball down a steep hill, and it’s rolling and rolling, getting bigger and bigger …” Denise: “… and now I’ve created a firestorm!”

Denise-ism #98

Denise about someone else: “She’s really cutting off her hand to spite her face!”