Categories
Willeford, Charles

A Letter to A.A. (Almost Anybody)

In the interest of spitting a sluicy cobwebbed thread to tie together the conversations in and around this corner of the infoweb and its earbound counterpart, I wanted to offer up one more chance to allow our space to double as the hotbed of information on the social and biological activities of the Tree Squirrel, and bring some attention to our relationship with tree squirrels.

For starters, Charles Willeford, of today’s story, frequently set works in Florida, and without being a Florida’s-my-bag sort, he invoked the sticky filth of sweat and exposure to fake everything and always-heated flesh as well as anybody. Another Florida writer, Douglas Fairbairn, writes with the same virtuosistic reverence for, YES, the tree squirrel.

You see? It’s like that Kevin Bacon game, only with rodents.

Play
Categories
Hurst, James

The Scarlet Ibis

A Listener (you know who you are) wrote to me recently requesting that I laugh hysterically for fifteen minutes into my microphone and post this as a short story for you. Now, while I agree that this would be a particularly amusing johncagey experiment, I have not, unfortunately, seen hyenaic laughter transcribed this way, and have no idea what it might look like on the page.As always, if you can send the story, though, I’ll see what I can do. Thankfully, Denise (you also know who you are) offered an alternate recommendation, which I happily oblige.

Play
Categories
Goodman, Paul

The Joke

Does the title of today’s story affect you in such a way that the person nearest you is now asking what you’re sighing about? Or maybe you rolled your eyes so far to the side that you now have a stress headache and need to refocus before reading the rest of this blurb? (If so, please, take a moment. The next few words aren’t -that- important, and I won’t be accountable for repeated stress injuries. I just won’t.) Because it had that effect on me, typing it just now. I mean, there’s Kunder’s The Joke, and the Monty Python bit about the world’s funniest joke, and a recent study concerning the same. There’s the wildly not funny Freud essay, and from all this, we might think we’re taking a right turn onto Hackneyed Street.

But I promise you, my dears, if this The Joke was a bag of prepackaged organic baby spinach, you’d all be sick, not from bacteria, but from overindulging on its goodness. Enjoy.

Play
Categories
Anderson, Sherwood

Sophistication

Today’s bedtime story has been requested by Patrick (as for the O’Connor, I will do, yes, but for now, have you heard this one?), and I looked all over town but couldn’t find a more appropriate selection for today, so you should all join me now in thanking him.

Play
Categories
Twain, Mark

The Five Boons of Life

My friends and compeers and heroes at Librivox are celebrating their first birthday right now, and so I felt it necessary to add my kudos to their basic first-year achivements:

— cutting teeth on Conrad and Dostoevsky
— picking up the necessities of verbal communication with Wilde and Wodehouse
— and now, sleeping in Big Kids Bed and breaking themselves from thumbsucking thanks to Descartes and Machiavelli.

Really, they do what I do here, only without so much swearing, and with a little more patience. Go wish them the best birthday to-date, as I do, from this humble squat of senescence. Here’s to toddling!

Play
Categories
Saroyan, William

The Shepherd’s Daughter

Perhaps you might use Miette’s short sabbatical to catch up on some of the classics that you might have missed the first time around.

Or, maybe this will hold you over? You’ll hear from me soon…

Play
Categories
Hecht, Ben

The Lost Soul

Do you know about Ben Hecht? I only ask because a lot of people don’t, and because as a responsible Purveyor of Fine Information I ought to clue you in, and in the interest of living up to such, I should tell you that Ben Hecht was best known to many as a screenwriter, that the same mind is to be held accountable (in some ways) for Hitchcock’s Notorious, His Girl Friday, Gone with the Wind, and Scarface, although largely in an uncredited stop-the-presses-who-can-fix-this capacity.

[And yes, I’m aware that that’s one mighty long sentence, but it was a mighty long thought. Stay with me.]

I mention this only because it’s remarkable to me that someone could be brought on as the FIXER and produce what he did. It’s like building a rocket out of spiral ring binder scraps and spit, and not just ending up with a functional rocket, but a time-warping, human-transporting, beam-me-to-the-sunning Rocket of Tomorrow. And I don’t wax with simile very often, so when I do, you know it’s one that gets me excited. So I was mightily pleased to stumble on tonight’s story.

Play
Categories
Weidman, Jerome

Slipping Beauty

I know that I should be wishing some of you happy Passover, others happy Easter, others the goodliest of Fridays. But more importantly, more important than sweet Haroseth and pastel eggs and chocolate covered matzoh shaped as salty rabbits, let us not forget today’s holiday, the one hundredth anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s birth, which is deserving of thrice-leavened gilded eggshells. The obvious question: “why I’m not podcasting Beckett today, if it’s so damned important to you?”

The equally obvious answer: well, I’d rather not get sued during holy week. Not for this, anyhow. And besides, this allows me to thrust two writers on you at once, and chances are you know who Beckett is, but could use a little familiarity with Weidman, whose first name is a Saint and last is suitably Jewish to satisfy all of our celebratory needs for the coming days. So: listen to Weidman now, then go read Beckett.

Trivia for you: when Beckett was born, a hundred years ago today, it was Good Friday and Friday the Thirteenth.

And sincerely, to those in celebratory ways, my wishes for happiest of Passover, Easter, Beckett’s Birthday, etc.

Play
Categories
Algren, Nelson

He Swung and He Missed

When you listen today, I will disclaim now, you will hear a boxing story. Not to be confused with the Clint Eastwood boxing story, or the other girlie fight boxing story, or the what’s-his-brutish-name-from-New-Zealand-with-the-attitude, not that one either. But when reading this boxing story (which again, is NOT one of those mentioned), I couldn’t help but feel incredibly provoked by it — which is possibly one reason these boxing stories are so compelling.

Basically, my dear friends, I was so charged during this reading, and especially during the play-by-play of the boxing match, that I discovered a latent desire from deep within my psyche. I want to be a sportscaster.

Don’t laugh; I don’t want to do it forever, not as metier, not as my life’s ambition. But once, for one match or game, of any sort. And so I offer you this as a service, free-of-charge: let me lend my voice to your son’s little league or your niece’s diving meet, and you’ll be satisfying a very real need for me. I’ll probably need a bit of coaching on the rules of the sport before we get started, but I’m a quick learner and a pro at “winging it.” If you’re in the area and can help, think about it. You’d be satisfying Miette’s most hidden desire — how much is that worth to you?

Play
Categories
Rosenblatt, Benjamin

Zelig

I beg and implore you, dear listener: don’t be misled by the title of today’s podcast. Today’s story features neither the lovely Ms Farrow in her prime -nor- jokes about Hasidim, dental extractions, or polygamy. However, if you can recommend a story about any or all of these subjects, a cookie and a song for you. In other news, I was out on a walk earlier and saw an old church with the sign flaking and the letters peeling. The sign in the front reads “Aptist Church,” and I’m quite curious… what is it that Aptists do? Could I be an Aptist without even knowing it. Stay tuned; I may podcast live (ha! I may be apt to do so!) and on location before you even know it. Just watch.

Play