Friday, April 8, 2022

Things That Recently Caught My Eye

 1. Let's talk sex! Things ain't how they used to be.

An interesting opinion piece in today’s NY Times about the norms surrounding sex and how they may have become a bit too lax for our own good. The author suggests that the absolute permissiveness of the modern day has left a lot of people feeling somewhat confused and dejected about sex and relationships.

2. And rightfully so. They've been making a big deal out of an interview from when Prince was 11. 

3. Crime! “Unruly passenger” incidents, and other types of strange behavior have all soared recently. Why?

4. Why not? Neil Patrick Harris interviews David Copperfield, because he can.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022


 This Kevin Williamson column has a bit about eponyms. The word eponym refers to two things: a word derived from a person’s name and the person whose name formed the word.

The (possibly embellished) story is that Derrick was a convicted rapist who was spared execution for his crime by volunteering to become the London executioner, a job no one much wanted. He was appointed to the position by the Earl of Essex, whom he would later execute. Essex elected for beheading rather than hanging — big mistake: Derrick was an innovative hangman but apparently not very good with an ax, and he took several swings to finally do in the earl.

That story seems like a good premise for a novel.

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Finished: McMurtry's 'Horseman, Pass By'

 This was Larry McMurtry's first novel, written at the age of 25, and is considered a classic by those who consider such things. It was published in 1961. The main character's older stepbrother, Hud, pretty much a jerk, served as the main character in the movie "Hud" and was played by Paul Newman. Not bad for a first novel. (All that info was from Wikipedia.)

As was this:

The title of the novel derives from the last three lines of the poem "Under Ben Bulben" by William Butler Yeats, which are carved on Yeats’s tombstone:

Cast a cold eye

On life, on death.

Horseman, pass by.

This was the first of what became known as the Thalia trilogy. Thalia is the town in which the books are set. I much preferred McMurtry's "The Last Picture Show" (the third) thus this novel reminded me a lot of it. Maybe I would've liked "Horseman, Pass By" more if I had read it first. That's what I get for reading books out of the order they were written. I guess we'll never know as the Horseman is out of the barn now. See what I did there?

According to Amazon:

Horseman, Pass By tells the story of Homer Bannon, an old-time cattleman who epitomizes the frontier values of honesty and decency, and Hud, his unscrupulous stepson. Caught in the middle is the narrator, Homer's young grandson Lonnie, who is as much drawn to his grandfather’s strength of character as he is to Hud's hedonism and materialism.

I enjoyed the book. It wasn't a cowboy Western. It was more the gritty ranch life of Texas with some dark themes thrown in. Wasn't a pick-me-upper.

One reviewer of the book summed up McMurtry's writing very well: "The author does not telegraph how you are supposed to feel or interpret events. He just depicts events with flesh and blood characters, people whose motives you may partially know, or think you know. But judgment on their choices and actions lays squarely on the reader’s shoulders. McMurtry wants no part of telling you how to take it."

I gave it a 6 of 10 on the Haugenometer. Amazonians a 4.3 of 5.