Friday, June 8, 2012

Kirstie Alley Cat, cigar-box guitars, spelling bee standouts, and an ode to NYC

Alley at BEA. Photo
Kirstie Alley was her usual irreverent self being interviewed by Publishers Weekly (PW) at the Book Expo on her memoir The Art of Men. To a question on dating advice for women over 50, she replied "Carry a Glock in your Judith Lieber"; to "When did you find time to write about your love life?" she replied "In between shagging." Alley vows the book will provide "a good laugh and accurate data." Sounds swell!
This legend to a photo in PW's daily newspaper during the Expo has a certain poetic ring: "Caption cap caption cap caption Caption cap caption cap caption Caption cap caption cap caption." I shouldn't make fun; I know daily deadlines are perilous things. 
The Expo, which I attended, took place in NYC. With apologies to two children's titles, here is my ode to trying to get some sleep in the city that never does.
Goodnight cranking lift, right next to my room.
Goodnight drunk revelers bellowing a tune.
Goodnight hotel toilets, with your sonic boom.
Goodnight hardhats, as you crash by the light of the moon.
Oh how I love my cozy New York room!
But please, can you all leave off  soon?
I need to "Get the *$#@! to Sleep!!"

At the show, one backlist title grabbed my attention: David Sutton's Cigar Box Guitars: The Ultimate DIY Guide for the Makers and Players of the Handmade Music Revolution. Having tried and failed abysmally to create one myself as a young person, I was intrigued to find that this is a growing phenomenon, with festivals and workshops devoted to it. Both Charlie Christian and Carl Perkins played them. Sutton's looks like it only has three strings though. For music on the kind of guitar I finally acquired, try The Art of Segovia. No one in the modern era can match his influence on the instrument.
You know that quiz show in which three panelists offer definitions for weird words and the contestant has to guess which is correct? Good candidates would be succedaneum (Sacajawea's sister?) and smaragdine (a villain from Game of Thrones?), two of 17 winning words from past National Spelling Bees singled out by Mental Floss. I knew six of them—how about you?


  1. I must admit, the pic of Kirstie Alley posing with a bunch of hunks was not what I expected to be greeted by on my visit to the Glean today... it WAS good for a laugh, and makes my wearing a bath robe to IHOP feel much more publicly acceptable.

    Nice poem. I hope you were eventually able to procure some shut-eye.

    1. I would love to have accompanied you in a maroon silk dressing gown with gold dragons...
      Yes I did ... thanks for your concern. I couldn't really describe it adequately within the constraints of the verse, but the service elevator sounded like the garbage disposal of the gods and the demolition site like Thor's bowling alley.

    2. Oh girlfriend, let's make it a threesome! I've got a number in silk charmeuse guaranteed to get us service with a smile!

  2. I'm not even sure what to think of Kirstie Alley!! However, I love the guitars!! Reminded me of this great clip from "It Might Get Loud."

    1. Me either ... I don't even think I've ever seen her in anything; but I do like women who refuse to be intimidated by speculations on their weight, the carrion-like press besmirching their reputation, and so forth.
      Besides, all of the blogger gurus said we gotta up our keyworks :)
      The Jack White thing was radical!!!

  3. I though this was interesting. Maybe I'll check out Kirstie Alley's book when it comes out. Seems like it may be a good laugh.

  4. I have a bee about spelling bees. First, spelling is merely a convention agreed upon at any given moment by any given roomful of people. Regional variations exist. It seems almost unfair to declare a right and wrong way to spell some words.
    Also, a word like pococurante is as easy to spell as cat. Just sound it out. The higher levels of difficulty should have words like demesne, allele, or calx, which are really challenging.
    Thanks for giving me a chance to air my grumpiness on the subject. Loved the poem; there's a 3AM serenade of garbage pickups under my window every weeknight!

  5. Baron von MugenhausenJune 9, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    Let's be Frank, JP - Shirley you don't expect The Baron, Herr Haughtiness Himself, to attempt to guess such obscure words? Conversely, these few words alone, and you're spellbound by the word wizardry the likes of which westerners haven't seen since "Firing Line's" William F. Buckley; or more recently, Word Girl from PBS's "Word Girl' ("Word Girl! Word Girl!")
    Mind you ordinarily I would be up for such a penultimate challenge [that's right JP - your contents is even bigger and more massive than the ultimate] so instead, to stave off your disappointment, I'll focus on two words I do know quite well:

    failed abysmally

    With last month's webisode, "The Baron's Chorus Whine," one recent apt example. Here's another: Last year 7.11 claimed one day how customer could get one free slurpee but when I went to get mine, it was a tiny cup, JP - indeed, the penultimate disappointment. Looking to make lemonade out of lemons, or a slurpee out of the dispenser, I shoved my head underneath the nozzle and cranked up the coke slurpee sleeve to 11. Only the clerk angrily accosted and damn if I didn't get some of my finely coiffed hair weave transplant caught in the machine... "ouch! I screamed, pulling my toupee free and - after quick adjustments thru the reflection of the microwave - I confronted the clerk. :"You realize you touched royalty?" i sneered. "But we can make it better. Throw some of that beef jerky, two glazed donuts, starburst, peanut m&ms, a mt. dew super big gulp, some of those day-old chicken wings, fruit punch gatorade and a payday in a bag, Akbar or Jeff, and we'll call it even."
    So okay maybe that wasn't so bleak after all JP...
    Baron von Bellyache

  6. Being the gender scholar, when I read the folks t-shirts attached to Kristie Alley - my first thought was - of course they have a sex! I mean, perhaps outside of the male/female dichtomy, but still. Alas, no, they're probably referring to sexual activity.

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