Woke up, bla etc.

Someone complained that my entries are too short. OK. Here are some literary thoughts...

1. A few days ago, I complained about writers needing to start their articles with a single dopey generalization before getting into the pith of their lead. I thought I had discovered one of these at the beginning of a New York Times book review, but I should have had more faith; it was meant to make FUN of the author for doing things like that.

Here is the sentence: "One reason it's tempting to follow the smart set -- that anxious clan of stylishly camouflaged, overeducated social maladapts that function in the literary world a lot like those guys sucking White Owl cigars do in metropolitan Off Track Betting parlors -- and flatly declare David Foster Wallace a genius and the greatest young fiction writer of his time, is that doing so is much, much easier than actually reading his sentences (compared to most of which this one is a haiku)."

That was Walter Kirn on David Foster Wallace's new book, Oblivion. He comes just short of skewering Wallace's "ostentatiously elongated, curiously bureaucratic, stubbornly overdetermined prose style" (as if that doesn't do it right there.)

I think I've lost half my readers, so here's something Howard Stern said today, from memory (so it might be a bit off): "90 percent of what I've been fined for are doody quotes. Doody. Doody. Making a doody."

2.I'm reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves, the hit punctuation book. I was reading it with a pencil, underlining things I like and even circling a grammatical error, when I got to this line: "Sticklers never read a book without a pencil in hand, to correct the typographical errors." Whoops! Actually, I almost never have a pencil in hand anymore, but I do for this book because it's good to remember this stuff as a writer and editor.

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