Are you ready to kick up your heels again with Gina Vivinetto’s Greatest Hits?
Let’s push this sucker to 2,000,000.
The fun kids over at the Once Upon A Win web site have brought back a very happy childhood memory for me: ordering Scholastic books in school! Did you? Remember the little catalogs? They were thin and bright and they looked like this, except without Rachael Ray, who I reckon is now so ubiquitous, she can infiltrate our very memories:
I went through books like crazy as a kid, but my parents could afford to purchase Scholastic books only, like, once. I remember getting my shipment, but I don’t remember what the books were.
Last fall, when I returned after nearly 30 years to Palmer, the small town in Western Massachusetts where I started school, I was excited to visit the public library where I spent endless hours reading Amelia Bedelia, George and Martha (remember them? They were hippos!) and, later, Encyclopedia Brown books, wherein you got to choose your own adventure! (UPDATE: Actually, as faithful reader Mindy points out, you didn’t get to choose your own adventure in Encyclopedia Brown books, you just got to select from several different endings).
The Palmer library also housed a nifty collection of Dynomite! magazine. (I feel sorry for any kid who grew up without it).
Alas, I was told by an old neighbor I happened across — yes, all the same people live in my little town — that the old colonial-era library had been torn down and a new modern one was built on a nearby street. I was devastated. Such memories. What new ones would have flooded my brain had I the chance to walk into that old library?
What are your book memories? Did you read a lot as a kid? What were your favorite books?
It’s Gina Vivinetto’s Greatest Hits’s eight month anniversary! Woo-hoo! Let’s celebrate with a clip from The Flinstones:
This blog is way more popular than I ever thought it would be thanks to you guys.
We’re going to get our 190,000th hit today. Can you believe it?!
My friend Marky Mae Brown and I have known each other a long time. On a recent trip to Brooklyn, Marky Mae dug up these old cartoons we created when we were mere twentysomethings, killing time at the daily newspaper where we worked as copy boys.
Marky Mae drew the pics and I wrote the quips. Here are two from a larger series:
We cracked up when we looked at them again. I keep trying to get Marky Mae to do a book-length series with me, but he doesn’t see their marketability.
But, seriously, wouldn’t you buy a book of these? Wouldn’t you?
Hallowed comic book writer and Pulitzer Prize-winner Art Spiegelman (Raw magazine, Maus, ) will be George Washington University here in D.C. tonight discussing “Comix 101.1,” whatever that is.
Spiegelman’s speech begins at 7 p.m. in the Jack Morton Auditorium, Media and Public Affairs Building at GW, 805 21st St. NW. (Phone (202) 994-5206).
I want desperately to go, but as you regular readers (yes, all five of you) have probably surmised, I am wickedly busy. I’ve got actual work-related writing to do, I’m walking something like 700 neighborhood dogs, I’m tending to a post-surgery sweetie, and I’m preparing to move both of us into a much smaller apartment in two weeks. This is why, Facebook friends, I’ve been complaining about falling asleep every night at 10:30. My shit is tired. Or vitamin-deficient.
While I was in Florida I read five books, most of them graphic novels, so it wasn’t as impressive as it sounds. Here they are, in order, the last five books I read:
(1) Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons. Yes, just in time for the movie. Aren’t I trendy? It was every bit as good as I had heard it was:
(2) Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli. Way too late for the Dark Knight film that came out last year, but I’m glad I’ve now experienced both although this book only covers the first part of the movie. Also: Commissioner Gordon cheats on his (pregnant) wife?!
(3) The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, not just one of the greatest graphic novels I’ve read, but one of the greatest books, period. It’s Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in modern Iran during the Islamic Revolution. I also borrowed but have not yet viewed a copy of the 2007 film based on the book, which Satrapi wrote, animated and directed herself. The book was especially interesting to me because the author and I are only a year apart in age. I related so well to her character because she was opinionated, rebellious and she loved pop culture and punk rock. Only I was able, in my country, to express all that. She wasn’t. Fascinating. Very highly recommended.
(4) The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss. See? This one didn’t even have words (other than an introduction by Maurice Sendak):
(5) Blues People: Negro Music in White America by Leroi Jones (who now calls himself Amiri Baraka), a great book chronicling the history of black folks in this country, from slavery to mid-20th century, and how it affected music and spawned at least two unique genres, blues and jazz. A great book.
What have you been reading?
Okay, I’m back in D.C. and ready to tell you about my two week trip to Florida. On the first Saturday I was there, a group of us trekked over to Plant City for the ultra-rednecky Florida Strawberry Festival. Here’s me and my friend Carrie:
(I had to buy an $8 pair of sunglasses at Big Lots on the way to the fair because that Florida sun will burn your eyes clear out of your head).
Although the festival features plenty of rides:
and game booths, mostly what we did was eat. Here’s a picture Carrie took of my lady friend and her best friend sharing some nutritious fried dough. Or a “gut buster.” Good question: What name do you call this delicacy?
As we left the carnival, we took pictures of all the interesting things you see when driving to and fro Plant City. For example, these flags in one resident’s front yard:
And some of these gigantic dinosaurs that entice drivers to make a stop at the famed Dinosaur World:
And perhaps most curious, the Stonehenge-like monument built of vintage AirStream trailers:
After the Strawberry Fest, we headed over to the gay carnival in Ybor City where our group ate some more, hit each other repeatedly in the bumper cars, and I laughed uproariously at this bear ride:
A bear ride at a gay carnival: get it?
After the carnival we went to The Grass Root, a great vegan and raw food restaurant in Tampa. Yum! I love their onion bread.
That night some of us went to the Ten Pins bowling alley on Pass-A-Grille beach and entered the big karoake contest. A bunch of my friends sang and the crowd loved them. However, the same crowd was flummoxed by my friend Eve‘s faux drunken rendition of “The Greatest Love of All,” which had her hobbling around with a martini glass (filled with water), warbling the lyrics. Eve proceeded to take a beer off someone else’s table and swig it, kick off her shoes, and for the big finale, fall flat on her behind. The whole time Eve was “performing,” the alley’s owner, an older woman, was pacing back and forth, frantically telling everyone in Eve’s group to “Make her stop!” I told her Eve wasn’t really drunk and it was just a joke, like on Saturday Night Live, but she was furious. Eve and she continued to bicker all evening after that with Eve, at one point, accidentally insulting a mentally disabled woman. True story.
Needless to say, no one in our group won one of the three cash prizes that night.
But, what a lively beginning to my epic trip home!
Thank you all for being so patient while I’ve been vacationing down in the Sunshine State.
I’ll be back tomorrow evening and I’ll start blogging lickety split.
I have so much to tell you!
I’m sorry I’m not blogging while I’m in Florida. I have a weird internet situation here at my dad’s.
I promise when I get back to D.C., in just a few more days, I’ll get you all up to speed on what I’ve been doing and show you all the pictures from my trip.
Thanks for being patient with me.
I’m in St. Petersburg, Florida doing Florida things. Last night we went to the shuffleboard court where the night’s theme was Bollywood. Indian music was playing and women dressed in Indian garb served yummy samosas and curried veggies and other things.
Right now I’m in Tampa about to head to the Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City where I expect to see lots of fried food, strawberries, and rednecks.
I’ll check in with you all a little later. Tonight we’re heading to a bowling alley on Pass-A-Grille Beach where we’re entering the big karaoke contest. Tomorrow I hope to hit some yard sales.
Sigh. I love Florida.