Onthe Nightstand

by kara on July 14, 2014

Abroad by Katie Crouch

Sarah Crichton Books, Hardcover, 9780374100360, 304pp.)

Publication Date: June 17, 2014


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On the Nightstand

by kara on July 7, 2014

Friendship By Emily Gould

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374158613, 272pp.)

Publication Date: July 1, 2014


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Here’s a fun library story for ya.

by kara on July 7, 2014

Welcome to post racial ‘Murica. Guess we can shut down the whole NAACP thing now.

Because there is no greater celebration of a nation than public mockery of its duly elected leader, an entire town of racist assholes policed by racist assholes had this really cool Independence Day parade. It happened in Norfolk, Nebraska (aka America’s outhouse), and featured an “Obama Presidential Library” float where the “library” was an outhouse

It didn’t include a noose, so there’s that.

The wooden-like shitter was on a flatbed trailer being pulled by a blue pickup truck (If they had any imagination the pickup would be “Rollin’ Coal”). The words “Obama Presidential Library” posted across its side,  because that is some quality humor. The eerie figure that stood outside guarding the structure was dressed in overalls and stood next to a walker. The ghoul’s head and hands were green and “zombie lie” ;and there were miniature American flags affixed on top of the float and on the pickup as well.

So that’s why the books I get from the library are covered in shit. Wingnuts think it’s a baffroom!

OK, we actually get the outhouse joke, presumably because Bamz is putting America in the toilet. But the zombie thing? Is Bamz supposed to be a zombie? Is he turning American into a nation of zombies? The walker? Is Obama senile, or is he hobbling America? Don’t know, don’t get it.

In fairness, this (left) is where most Nebraskans read. They may have been confused. They even recycle the catalogs! Do they allow Sears Catalogs in there, or just the bible?  Or maybe Norfolk men didn’t recognize the structure as an outhouse without glory holes in the sides.

Who thinks those dumb fucks would benefit from spending some time in a real library. But eh,  why bother? They’d only rip out the pages to wipe their behinds with.

Characteristucally, parade organizers had no interest whatsoever in hearing any concerns about the float. Parade committee member Rick Konopasek said the float wasn’t meant to be any more offensive than a “political cartoon” would be. The only restriction for entering a float is that it can’t be considered morally objectionable.That basically translates to a ban on nudity to sexually explicit messages, offering a really stirring defense of the tyranny of the majority.

Konopasek said:

“We don’t feel its right to tell someone what they can and can’t express. This was political satire”

Now stop right there, that float isn’t satire – that’s really what they think libraries are for.

” ..:If we start saying no to certain floats, we might as well not have a parade at all.”

OK, so it was a sad, pathetic parade with only one float?

“If we start saying no to certain floats, we might as well not have a parade at all.”

Well, that there’s a persuasive argument. If one has the IQ of mayonnaise.

“If we start saying no to certain floats, we might as well not have a parade at all.”

Yes, because the one thing that is absolutely required in Fourth of July parades is some total racist bullshit. If you don’t have that, your parade actually gets shut down.

“It’s obvious the majority of the community liked it. So should we deny the 95 percent of those that liked it their rights, just for the 5 percent of people who are upset?”

But that is exactly how it works with guns. We deny the rights of 92% who want well-regulated background checks just for the 7% who oppose it.

“We don’t feel its right to tell someone what they can and can’t express,”

Unless of course, it be sluts wanting slutty slut stuff, or them homersecks-ya’llz talking all queer, or them Kenyan Moose Limbs and their creeping Sharia Law. But other than that, we’re like “whatevz!”.

As usual, the float was anonymous. I’m sure if someone put an anonymous float of an outhouse with a Jesus slathered on a crucifix  on it or a bible in a large jar of piss the city fathers and the chamber of commerce would be screaming their fucking asses off and pointing fingers and holding whomever entered it up to ridicule. But now, well nobody knows nothin’.

Clearly, rural white folks know much more about out houses than urban black folks that have flush toilets and in-door plumbing. They are just expressing themselves with the limited education and life experiences that they have. I admit that it is sad and pathetic. Their white skins will never be worth more than they were yesterday. Being ignorant is no way to success in the 21st century. The 1% are laughing at them all the way to the bank.

Clearly, the float artists need to study their T S Eliot to learn about objective correlatives and other principles of metaphor, simile, metonymy and synecdoche. Or perhaps they could familiarize themselves with the work of symbolist poets such as Baudelaire, Mallarme and Rimbaud. Wasn’t this stuff covered in the home-school version of literature? Or did Mom tell you it wouldn’t be on the test? But the zombie thing? Is Bamz supposed to be a zombie? Is he turning American into a nation of zombies? “Zombies, Kenyans, same difference!!!”

Remember those old nodding, drinking bird things, where it looked like the bird was bending over to take a drink? Maybe we could make a huge one of those that looks like Obama, but have him bend backwards so that when he bends over his foot comes up and kicks Ted Cruz in the ass (with pants on, of course–don’t want to offend anyone). I think this would fit on the back of a flatbed truck and qualify as a float. Or how about a float honoring Open Carry with real live gun nuts, er I mean 2nd Amendment stalwarts shooting each other and unlucky spectators? Given that the parade organizers in Norfolk insist that they’d totally accept a liberal float if anyone would ever get around to entering one, please immediately submit your own librul parade float ideas:

Salute to Slut Pills: A line-up of animatronic young ladies with hands out, in line at the pharmacy counter, with the line automated such that after the pharmacist hands out the pills, the queue meanders behind the closed doors of dorm rooms and vehicles with “if this van’s a-rockin’ don’t come a-knockin’” bumper stickers. Float riders could toss condoms into the crowd.

We’re Here, We’re Queer: Obv’s something festooned with glitter, and even if thong-clad hotties aren’t allowed, bible-thumping self-loathers could still peek furtively out of closets before quickly re-hiding themselves and then popping out another door to denounce the gay lifestyle. Special guest appearances by Marcus Bachmann and Miss Lindsey.

FEMA Campers: This float features a magical socialist paradise where everyone is always happy and all of your children are “Agenda 21′ed” into Stepford-wife style compliance.

The End of the 2nd Amendment: Guns are tossed into wood chippers while the shredded remains are tossed gleefully on parade watchers.

The Triumph of Atheists: A panapoly of dramatic vignettes where Christian rights are offended. School teachers will forbid little blonde girls from praying at their desks, employers will be forced to employ women on birth control, a group of swarthy men will reenact building a mosque on some sacred ground or another, etc, etc.

- A Ronald Reagan Float, with Ronnie with his pants down eating jelly beans and pudding.

- A float honoring the Norfolk Coprophilia Society. A grouping of the town’s evolutionary also-rans at the dinner table (all fully clothed, of course) ready to dig into a large brown mound.

- A “Nebraska Ten Commandments” float would be seen as the same kind of tasteful satire:

1. There is no God but God, and handsy, creepy bald preachers are His prophets.

2. Thou shalt not f*** thy sister, unless she can’t run faster than thee.

3. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s green bean casserole with the canned crunchy onions on top; instead thou shalt just smugly show her up by buying a pineapple upside-down cake from the grocery store and putting it on a plate and pretending thou didst bake it thine own self.

4. Thou shalt display one’s AR-15 and one’s coal roller in proportion to how much longer thy cock needs to be.

5. Thou shalt barbecue with lighter fluid — but stick a few briquets in there too so as to look as though thou knowest what the hell thou art doing.

- The Washing of the Illegals -- little Hispanic children are forced to run alongside the float, and try to clamber up into the beautiful Victorian mansion by slipping under razor wire fences, climbing a 16 foot high wall, dodging bullets fired by drunk rednecks, all while carrying 75 pound bales of pot.

A ”Salute To The Magna Carta and its Influence on American Democracy” float.

Let them have their fun. We’ll just move the creator to the top of the death panel list. If anyone needs me I’ll be in my blanket fort Fortress of Solitude.

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in the Kansas City suburb of Leawood, Kansas, a 9-year-old named Spencer Collins has been informed by the city that his nifty Little Library” is in violation of zoning ordinances, and has to be removed. Now of course, the real lesson is that inside any organization there are pinheads who are sticklers for the rules, and freedom and democracy are advanced by laughing and shaming them into better behavior, not by doing away with governance altogether, but you can bet that this story will get traction on the right as an example of why government is no damn good, ever, and on the left as an example of “Kansas.”

Spencer was motivated to set up his little library after hearing about the Little Free Library movement, which seeks to share books for free from homemade book repositories with one simple rule: “take a book, return a book in order” to promote literacy and lifelong learning that claims to boast about 15,000 of these homemade libraries nationwide. And Spencer being one of those bright hyper-literate kids that far too many of us can achingly identify with  -Identify with them, well as having taken lumps for being one of them – he set up his very own Little Library, complete with a bench for people to sit and read on.

“Reading is one of my favorite things to do. We built it on Mother’s Day as a present for my mom because she really wanted one.”

Spencer stocked it with some of his favorite books, like Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (I loved that book. I bought it from Scholastic Books and ever since, I’ve been nothing but a dreaming wiseass. See also: The Phantom Toll Booth). Just imagine the shit-storm that would have ensued had the kid had Islamopagancommie Lit like Slaughterhouse Five, The Collected Works of Stephen Jay Gould or Heather Has Two Mommies on his shelves. Shoulda stocked his little lie-berry with at least a coupla copies of Guns and Ammo, Glen Beck books and whatever drivel Rush Limpballs has recently “wrote.” Or maybe they were they pissed because he didn’t have a Bible in his Secular Temple O’ Book Learning? All they had to do was leave one. The preacher could have picked up Gideon’s at his next motel tryst with the mayor’s wife.

But a month later, his parents received a letter from officials saying the library violated the city’s zoning ordinance and needed to be removed or they would be fined. The city prohibits people from having structures on their property that are detached from the physical house.

City officials justified the move because they said they “need to treat everybody the same,” says Richard Coleman, noting they can’t just ignore the two complaints they’d received because “we like the little libraries.”

And right there is your Buried Lede, nerds. This isn’t just a tale of gummint overreach, this is a tale of unidentified busybody assholic neighbors who complained that a little bookworm had a cute little library in his front yard, probably because property values and socialism and god knows what else.  there’s never any shortage of complainers. Petty little tyrants, always pissed off at someone with a less-than-golf-course lawn or someone with the wrong color shutters. Take pictures of all the birdhouses and trellises etc and to “complain” about all those.

Whatcha wanna bet the complaining neighbors were in favor of Small Government? Private bureaucracies would never, ever do something like this. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to spend four hours negotiating with my insurance company in order to reduce my $100 copay just to be interviewed by a therapist for one morning to maybe $90 if I’m lucky.

This must be why right wingers hate government- they always fuck it up when they’re in charge. This has RW interference written all over it, what do you want to bet that those “complaints” came from the owners of the local used book store? Serves the little pinko right. He should done what any normal, decent ‘american kid from Kansas would do. Set up a target practice range.

“Go back inside and play your Tour of Duty!”

Leawood is a wealthy suburb. Advertising on the street is déclassé and would invite ne’er do wells from god forbid Wyandotte County. This is Koch country,  snob city for Midwesterners and you can’t be too careful — in Kansas, public displays of books will bring down your property values. I don’t get it–you’re still in Kansas, for god’s sake!! Were this in Wyandotte County, KS, they’d just want to make sure this wasn’t a front for a meth operation.

Fortunately, Spencer is doing exactly what decent people do when confronted with rank schmuckery and/or bureaucratic idiocy. He’s alerted the media and he’s got a Facebook page, and best of all, he says he’s going to try to convince the city council to amend its zoning code. Cute kid + nerdy popular cause + idiocy in high places was a winning combination for Olivia McConnell, the awesome nerdgirl who eventually prevailed against dumb creationists and got South Carolina to name the wooly mammoth as its state fossil.

If worst comes to worse, Spencer, nail the bookcase to the side of the house. Problem solved. Unless they will consider that an addition. Put it on top of a Hoverround, problem solved. On wheels, not a structure. Fuck you , Kansas.

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On the Nightstand

by kara on June 20, 2014

Casebook by Mona Simpson

(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780385351416, 336pp.)

Publication Date: April 15, 2014


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On the Nightstand

by kara on June 8, 2014


The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

(Riverhead Trade, Paperback, 9781594484469, 528pp.)

Publication Date: May 4, 2010


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full disclosure

by kara on May 30, 2014

these are books i read over the past couple of months – without totally realizing it – and didn’t cop to.

now you know.



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This is horrifying.

The world famous Glasgow School of Art has suffered devasting damage after a fire ripped through the listed Charles Rennie Mackintosh building.

Firefighters are still struggling to control the blaze, which appeared to have started in the basement of the building shortly after midday. Eye witnesses feared that the whole west wing of the old building has been lost, including the irreplaceable Mackintosh library and the Hen Run, a famous corridor running along the roof which linked the west and east wing.

The school was completed in 1909 and is considered by many to be Mackintosh’s masterwork.

The library inside the Glasgow School of Art’s Charles Rennie Mackintosh building. Photograph: Barry Lewis/In Pictures/Corbis

full story from guardian uk

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by kara on May 23, 2014

Shirley Jackson in 1951. Photograph: AP

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On the Nightstand

by kara on May 20, 2014

Remember Me by Trezza Azzopardi

Publication Date: January 7, 2005

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