Hawking Up Hairballs

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

This and That

I have been remiss in my postings the last few weeks. There have been a few reasons for that, one objective and one personal. When the remnants of Hurricane Dennis came through a few weeks back, a falling limb took out my phone and power lines. A couple of weeks of frustration followed. The power was soon back on, though it cost me a substantial sum to have an electrician repair the damage done to the weatherhead on my house. The phone was another matter. It took the folks at BellSouth six days to get my line back and, when they did, there was intermittent static on the line. Sometimes it got so bad that I could hardly hear the people I was talking to on the phone. I called the BellSouth repair line and they did some automated test from their offices and insisted that the line was fine. Needless to say, I couldn't get a good internet connection. Late last week, though, I finally got a hold of them when there was a loud buzzing on the line. The person I was talking to could hear it as well and admitted there was a problem, which has now been fixed. Ah, the wonders of deregulation.

As for the personal, one of the things that I feared when starting this blog was that I would start worrying too much over the quality of my writing and end up fussing over my entries. Unfortunately, I let myself fall into that trap, which is a mistake. I don't want to let this blog take time and energy from my novel, so I've got to keep reminding myself to just bang out the entries.

I finally finished reading the Nabokov biography that I mentioned in an earlier post. I'm no more impressed than I was then. At the time I complained about all the print that he was devoting to Nabokov's ancestor and family in general. Now I understand why the author was doing it. He was writing a conventional biography and, though Nabokov was an expatriate, he didn't really have a very eventful life. The biography had to be filled out with something, though that's no excuse. One thing it cleared up though. Nabokov did not write Lolita in three months. He worked on it for five years. At that time Nabokov was doing a lot of driving across and around the country to lectures, etc., and according to the biographer he mostly wrote it in the backseat of a 1954 Buick while his wife was driving. Of course that doesn't square with the earlier statement that Nabokov wrote standing up.

In my novel there are three scenes that take place at poker games. Each of these scenes are pivotal. The story turns on them. Anyway, a tertiary character, Maggie, who is the cook for the circus, says that the queen of hearts is her favorite card. That has led me to read Alice In Wonderland to see if it would make sense to create any allusions to the Queen of Hearts character there. I've read glosses that claimed that Alice in Wonderland is really about drugs. It always sounded kind of farfetched to me, but here's the first sentence of the chapter where Alice encounters the caterpillar. "The Caterpillar and Alice looked at each other for some time in silence: at last the Caterpillar took the hookah out of his mouth, and addressed her in a languid, sleepy voice." Now, if that doesn't suggest an opium smoker, I don't know what does.

I've refrained from commenting on society and politics, mostly because there are so many sites that do it better. One of my favorites is Billmon, which I am now linking to. However, I feel compelled to remark on the London bombings. Such acts are horrid and morally reprehensible, but to express outrage about them without at the same time expressing outrage at the acts of the US military in Iraq is to imply that the lives of Westerners are more important than those of Iraqis. For example, the Marine snipers who positioned themselves on rooftops around the hospitals in Fallujah in order to shoot at anyone who entered or left the hospitals are every bit as despicable as those who set off the bombs in London's subways. In addition, the US government's policy of collective punishment in Iraq is every bit as reprehensible as the jihadist policy of bombing areas frequented by civilians. A plague on both of their houses is what I say.


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