I have fantastic news! It’s book week! Not only does the annual ABAA Bookfair open in Manhattan on Thursday, but there’s also a Modern Literature auction at Pacific Book Auctions in San Francisco at the end of the week. Isn’t life grand?!
There are two major bookfairs throughout the year, one in San Francisco and one in New York. Most of the books are priced well beyond the realm of affordability, but you have to go just to look around. It’s the world’s best rare book museum, except you can buy shit. How would you like to examine a Shakespeare first folio up close? The opportunity doesn’t come up all that often. Let me give you some perspective; think about the one material object in your life that brings you the most joy. The one thing that you’re crazy-obsessed with. Now, imagine walking into the Park Avenue Armory on 68th Street and seeing it filled to the rafters with your one special obsession. I get woozy just typing that sentence.
The PBA auction will feature a cornucopia of Beat and 20th Century literature, including a unique copy of Bukowski’s first chapbook from 1960 (est. $8K-12K) and a first edition of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Tender is the Night” with the super-rare dust jacket (est. $10K-15K). Take a look at the design on that jacket. Beautiful! Can you stand it?!
I went to church last Sunday for Easter service. I’m one of those Easter/Christmas Christians – the kind that priests like to lecture and try to shame. I went for the sake of Mrs. Wife and the two daughters but, to tell you the truth, I didn’t really pay attention to the proceedings. I spent my time either meditating or looking at the stained glass windows (I’ve seen better). As a child I attended a parochial school but it never really “took.” I bailed out on Christianity a long time ago. Do you really think that women came from a rib? I can’t imagine.
When I was in second grade and was introduced to the sacrament of communion, I didn’t understand what the words “symbolism” or “metaphor” meant. I honestly thought that the communion host, the Body of Christ, was precisely that – small white wafers of pressed human flesh. And don’t get me started on the Blood of Christ! I still remember watching Fr. Tully lift the chalice to his mouth, take a drink and seeing a red drop trickle down his chin. I thought it was blood! I came to believe that all priests were cannibals and vampires. It turns out that I wasn’t too far off the mark.
I saw “Parlour Song” at the Atlantic Theater Company last night. It’s a contemporary British comedy/drama by contemporary British playwright Jez Butterworth. He’s a great writer with a spiffy name. I absolutely loved it. The play was very funny, but it didn’t have a neat, tidy, happy conclusion and for that I was glad. At the end of the play, all three characters stood with blank looks on their faces and the grim realization that they somehow have to find a way to rise above the disappointments in their lives. Just like you. Just like me. Sam Sheppard sat right behind me. Someone didn’t use sunscreen when they were younger!
Before the show I ate at a skeevy diner on 7th Avenue and 23rd St. I ordered ½ a broiled chicken but I don’t think I was served a chicken. I think it was ½ a broiled wren or, perhaps, ½ a broiled hummingbird. Thankfully, I didn’t have much of an appetite to start with or I would have had to chew-up the bones as well. After the play I had a sweet tooth so I ducked into one of those scary little bodegas on 7th Avenue and bought a package of Reese Sticks. It cost $3.00! That’s $1.50 per stick! What the hell is WRONG with this town?!
I’m still waiting for the cell phone blocker I bought from an electronics company in Hong Kong to arrive. I’m taking back my commute, damnit. I’ve had it with yappy cell phone abusers on the train. Once I have my blocker concealed in my travel bag, all it will take is a flip of a switch and a powerful radio signal will disrupt all cell phone service within a 10m radius, thus creating a sphere of blissful peace and quiet. Muuuhahaha!!!
I feel like a Bond villain
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I just read a blog entry from a soldier in Iraq who has just seen combat. Can someone please kick me in the nuts for complaining about my “problems?” I deserve no less.
We were going to have dinner at Chelsea Bistro but it’s closed so Mrs. Wife and I ate at East of Eighth instead. As good as ever. Penne with vodka sauce, chicken, sun-dried tomatoes and prosciutto. I’m so damn thirsty but it was worth it. We went to the second floor and were given a table at the window with all of W. 23rd Street spread out below us. We met a friend and his wife who are visiting from Chicago. Another pair of NYC expats. He’s an absolutely brilliant writer and if there is any justice on this planet, he’ll be discovered. Soon. All he needs is a little luck because he’s got the goods. Mrs. Wife’s cousin is an editor at Penguin/Putman and we’re going to forward some of his work with our highest recommendation (for what that’s worth!). It’s not nepotism if the material is great, right?
At the gym this morning, the gentleman exercising next to me was wearing a black Ralph Lauren polo shirt with the collar turned up. I was going to helpfully mention that instead of looking fashionable, he looked like a vain little girl, but he was about thrice my size with a bad scowl on his face. I was fairly certain that he would have put my head in the crook of his arm and crush it like a walnut. Little does he know that I am now mercilessly taunting him in my completely anonymous blog.