Posts Tagged ‘Mark Forsyth’

A Happy Accident*: Soccer + Books = Bliss

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*The expression “happy accident” originated with Bob Ross.


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Facing Unpleasant Facts (Narrative Essays). George Orwell The Highly Engaged Classroom. Marzano & Heflebower
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The Moronic Inferno.  Martin Amis The EtymologiconMark Forsyth
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Man and His Symbols.  Carl Jung The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. The NY Writers Workshop
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You Are Not A Gadget. Jaron Lanier What I Hate from A to Z.  Roz Chast


  • Housekeeping vs. The Dirt.  Nick Hornby
  • Shakespeare Wrote for Money.  Nick Hornby
  • The Pleasure of The Text.  Roland Barthes, trans. (badly) by Richard Miller
  • The Learned Banqueters.  Athenaeus
  • What I hate from A to Z.  Roz Chast

Today is UEFA Champions League Final Day!

     Cover your mirrors.

          Turn off your clocks. 

               Don’t answer the phone. 

                    Shut the drapes. 

                         Send the young’uns to their Auntie’s for the afternoon.

Oh, and watch it on a Spanish-language station if you can. They show you all the fun stuff – celebrations and all that. The American stations (FOX, in this instance) cut to commercial or commentary as soon as the players are done with the game itself. (Hey MLS, if you want America to love soccer, show all the prep stuff and celebratory stuff.  It’s so cool!) 

But this post is not about CL.  It’s just a multi-tasking thing.

I returned to my blogging raison d’etre during the last two weeks. As I read the two Hornby books, I was convinced that I had done the right thing by adopting and adapting his critical style. It’s a very human style, very humble. I’m not as self-deprecating as Hornby, though.  I struggled and sacrificed to be as book-learned as I am.  And I come from a culture that looks down on pulling yourself up. (George Lopez has a very good shpiel (sp?) about that.) But the crux of it all is simply that Hornby’s chatty, parabolic style appeals to me and it feels very natural to write that way.  (I don’t know him. I’m not getting paid to to talk him up. He doesn’t know  I exist. ©)

Right off the bat, the READ list and BOUGHT list have little in common.  The Hornby books, as I said, served as refresher courses in writing and book reviewing.  The Pleasure of The Text is going to get the blog treatment soon, so I will just say that it’s been a serious pain the synapses.  Roz Chast’s “Fuck It” List is so not worth the eight bucks and change that it costs!  The book is thinner than “Charlie Sheen’s Guide to Classy Etiquette.”  Thinner than “Kelly Ripa Interprets Shakespeare.”  I’m talking THIN!  It should be saved as a chapter to be included in a larger collection.  And she’s not a writer.  But on the bright side, her prose is refreshingly astringent, like a big glass of strong iced tea. 

The Learned Banqueters, a collection of ancient Greek prose writing about a banquet with the intellectual all-star team of the day, has a useful introduction.  It tells you in plain English what the book is about and how it came to be.  It’s unusual that an introductory piece is any good.  It’s not riveting prose, but it tells you what you need to know, and that’s quite valuable when dealing with this material.  The writing in Banqueters itself is choppy in several spots because the work is pieced together from leftovers.  That’s cool.  We’re lucky to have what we have, I guess.  In the 230s, I found myself engrossed in a treatise on the qualities of water.  WATER!  And it was INTERESTING!  WTF!

Man and His Symbols: Honestly, don’t even bother with buying the ridiculously thick paperback.  The print is too tiny and the illustrations are rendered useless by the trade paperback format with it’s cheap-ass paper and muddy picture quality.  I managed to get hold of a hardcover through  That turned out to be an excellent investment because it’s the original printing from the 1960s, and it’s BIG.  The illustrations are faded in that way that forty-year-old books can be, but that’s okay.  They are still better than the paperback.  It’s a better reading experience all around.  But if you need something to read on the fly, the paperback will do, as long as you don’t care about the illustrations being, you know…illustrative.

Etymologicon is based on blog material from The Inky Fool. It’s a great blog. Check it out. 

Here’s last year’s UEFA Champion’s League Final Day post.   UEFA site.

The game has gone to penalties.  Damn you, Chelsea.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you were holding out for that since you all equalized.  Can Schweinsteiger lightning strike twice?


Drogba is up… OH MY GOD!

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