Archive for April, 2014

Cheap Laugh

April 28, 2014

Lunghu is pretty sure he knows why this is among Reuters’ most-clicked-on articles today.

Somewhere a headline writer is being summoned to the managing editor’s office.  Reprimand or raise?  Maybe both.



Spring Cleaning

April 20, 2014

T’other day I trashed a dozen paperback books from a distant era.  Ripped their covers off, tore the bodies in half or thirds along their brittle perfect-bound glued-up spines, and tossed ‘em into the recycling bin to await later pickup.  None of these books was less than thirty years old, and their pages had long since toasted to a deep Havana tan, speckled with mildewed sunspots along the edges. I’ve been winnowing the chaff from my bookshelves, donating most of the no–longer–re-readable rejects to charity for resale.  But bookish beggars apparently can be choosers: this particular group stipulates that it “cannot accept … paperback books with ripped covers or brown pages (dirty or mildewed) … anything you would not read in bed.”  However, they had no problem accepting books that you wouldn’t want to read in bed regardless of their condition:  literary efforts that will succumb only when the reader is sitting bolt upright in a hard, straight-backed chair, with a large cup of coffee close at hand.

When I dropped off my two boxes of booty at their warehouse, the ladies in waiting skimmed off the substandard volumes and returned them to me in a paper bag, explaining that their own recycling barrels were rapidly filling with other rejected books.  (Quite a posh bag it was, too —heavy, embossed paper all the way from Faubourg St. Honore.)  So it seemed that these were books not easily willing to die, but not worthy of reincarnation either.  John Barth. Donald Barthelme. E. L. Doctorow. William GassAlain Robbe-Grillet.  And other, lesser lights. Names once known and lauded in the pages of literary review journals, but now mostly dim or fading memories.

I had no intention of ever reading these books again, because in some instances I regretted having read them in the first place, but it seemed to me that something should be done to mark their passing.  So, as I ripped each volume in half at roughly the middle of its story, I paused to read aloud the first few sentences or paragraphs I saw there.  Intoned in a solemn Oirish accent of sorts, and then (when I eventually tired of mere Hibernian comedy) in a crude approximation of Australian.  Great fun, for an audience of none.  In most cases, the literary merit of the work was in no way improved thereby, but –for me at least– this mock oration nonetheless served as a brief and final elegy for fiction that was never destined for immortality as deathless prose.


Instead it’s fated to be pulped, deckled, dried, spooled, trimmed, wrapped, packed, shipped, stocked … and eventually re-sold.  Perhaps as toilet paper, 30% post-consumer recycled content.  A century ago, castoff books, pamphlets and magazines migrated to the outhouse, where their pages performed a similar function … without the protracted industrial intermediation that now provides so many marginal livelihoods.  In the 21st century, we may have interposed innumerable anonymous middlemen between the library shelf and the cesspit, but the end result is the same.  Little wonder that writers are treated like shit.  Good thing I don’t qualify as a writer, and that you can’t wipe your arse with the internet.


4 the Record

April 2, 2014

1]  Lunghu does NOT believe that MH370 was deliberately flown to or toward the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia  –whether as an insidious CIA/MI6 plot to kidnap its passengers or as part of a wild jihadist scheme to attack Anglo-American imperialist military facilities there.  Analysis of blog traffic appears to suggest that many people in Southeast Asia seem to consider this an actual possibility.  Possible it may be, probable it isn’t.

2]  Lunghu is resolutely and adamantly opposed to ANY release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard from federal prison –other than at the long-overdue conclusion of his life sentence.  Not even if presidential pardons are simultaneously offered to Bradley “Chelsea” Manning and Edward Snowden.  This latter course of action is unlikely, since AIPAC isn’t conditioning its support in the mid-term Congressional elections on clemency for Manning and Snowden.  Yo, Barack:  at the very least, make your decision some time after June, when Sheldon Adelson will have to swallow a big dose of “Gold-in-Sands” bad qi.  Things may appear very different in the blazing mid-summer sunlight.

3]  It’s April, the Dragon month. In feng shui, the dragon is associated with the Earth element, while the Horse (this year’s zodiac sign) is associated with Wood. Wood conquers Earth, which is the money element for Wood Horse people.  Can this mean that April will be financially rewarding for those carrying the Horse sign?  For their sake, let’s hope so.

4]  Final Four:  men’s and women’s.  Lunghu has a vague feeling about portents of victory for … Wisconsin (?!?) and Stanford.   Does that mean he’s seeing red?  Or just that he doesn’t want to see a double championship at UConn?



Feng shui signs are looking good for Stanford’s team, whose emblem is a giant tree (definitely the Wood element writ large).  Wisconsin’s men may be laboring under the burden of its Badger emblem, whose closest correlate in the Chinese zodiac would be the Dog (Earth element).  UConn Huskies => Dog; Kentucky Wildcats => Tiger; Florida  Gators => Dragon(??).  Dog and Dragon are Earth element signs.  Tiger is a Wood element sign.  Wood conquers Earth.  Does this mean that Kentucky will be national champion after all?  In a Dragon month?  Hmm … this might mean these games will be heading into overtime.   Lunghu may have to hedge his bets.