Monday, November 17, 2008

Book Avoidance

In yesterday's NYT Book Review, the Endpiece was written by Joe Queenan, who, IMHO, is a gem when limited to a few pages of writing, but becomes dangerously self-immolating when allowed to write a book. (n.b.: Not an original thought on my part; he pokes without mercy at this very trait himself.) Mr. Queenan is a snippety kind of guy, a gem for this short attention span age. Speaking of which, do you think things will slow down in the next decade or so, forced to do so by the ever-aging Baby Blue Whale Boomers, a group whose sheer mass will steer the next 20-25 years of history to suit its ever-engrossed needs? Hey, I'm one of those whales and I offer my sincere apologies before I make some uncalled for demands.

But, back to the NYT Book Reviews.
Read the Queenan article first and then read this piece of trash. I 'm sure the reviewer, Chelsea Cain, took a long hot shower, alone, after submitting this piece. To me, along with this NYT Sunday Mag piece done in September, it certainly seems that Ms. Cheever must have some incriminating photos of someone big at the Times to have elicited such notice for a book that seems an absolute loss of tree life. Contrary to the point of Mr. Queenan's thought piece, no excessive praise is unloaded on this literary dreck. Hopefully, all debts with Ms. Cheever have been settled and she will fade, with utmost haste, to the remainder pile. I'm sure her children would be most thankful. This latest book deals with her version of her own sex addiction (Please! Please! If there is a God of Print, He/She will prevent any further books, by friends, family, lusters on this topic). After reading the article and noting that the doorman was one of multitude crowding her boudoir, I wondered if, as he was carrying out his end of the deal, was he counting how much more or how much less he would be getting in his Christmas letter from Ms. Cheever. Based on the fact that he was mentioned in the book, I hope, for his sake, it was more. To be associated, permanently, with a resident in his building in this manner and possibly have to face her kids when they visited, fairness would dictate a hefty sum for services delivered.

Damn, but those incriminating pics she must have of the NYT bigwigs must have truly been spectacular. That, or they simply have a soft spot for her father.

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Ms. Cain's review is stunning stuff, alright. She doesn't say anything I wouldn't learn from reading the book's table of contents. Nor does she offer much of an opinion on what she's read, leading me to assume she probably hasn't bothered with it. For this she gets paid, while the chattering class moans over the fate of newspaper book review sections. Eef.
 
WP, you are being too unfair! I figure she was picked to do the review because she lost in the Spin the Review This POS Book bottle game. It was a messy job and she got stuck with it and I thought she ambled her way out of that thankless job pretty well. I mean, I don't think she offended her bosses or the author, of whom she must have been a bit scared of. What I mean is, in Ms. Cain's spot, wouldn't you be wondering why this book should even be considered for review? And she did make her point at the end, with the mentioning of what Cheever's kids may have had as a dedication phrase.

One last thing. With this book, hasn't Cheever basically made it impossible for her to date anyone respectable? NYC doormen! Be careful. Be very careful
 
Doormen everywhere should be cautious. I have a friend who, when he was 25 years younger and 50-crucial-pounds prettier, was a doorman at one of Toronto's swankiest hotels. Once a week we'd bend an elbow at the pub. Long after he'd moved on to better work he confided that not a night went by when he wasn't offered his choice of "invitations". When asked whether he'd accepted any of them he said, "Absolutely not. Do you think I'm crazy?"

If you consider that he and I were both at an age when experience was pursued with more vigor than wisdom, I think you get an idea of what league Ms. Cheever and her doorman are in. On the brighter side, this might be just the material her brother needs to make a bigger name for himself.
 
WP, are you sure it's the "25 years younger and 50-crucial-pounds prettier" aspect that drew female flies to his honey? I'm betting it was the uniform. Aside from the true red-uniformed RCMP, I don't think any other profession's uniform turns on the female "Hold Me-Love Me" reaction as a 5 star hotel doorman.

Perhaps your buddy should break out his 1/4 century uniform and simply strut around his neighborhood. It'd be interesting to see what meowing ensues.

Your buddy should have known a college acquaintance of mine. Her morals were,uhmmm, advanced while her appetite was both voracious and peculiarly discriminating. For one cold winter her tryst sights were set on all the doormen of the fine hotels on Sherbrooke Street in Montreal. I distinctly recall her stories regarding the Ritz Carlton doormen, all of them coming in at a minimal 6" 2'. While my buddies and I were freezing our backsides off in a ratty cramped apartment complex which the landlord kept at a chilly 62 degrees, my lovely acquaintance was conducting a research program in 75 degree spacious rooms.

She even had the good fortune to run into Mr. Richler one evening, as he was at the Ritz bar. She did not mention what research he was doing.
 
Actually, age and the extra pounds have served my friend well: he is a stone-sculptor with a taste for heavy cotton shirts, and would look like a clown if he were to attempt to fit back into his doorman's uniform. He has traded-up, in fact.

So when is this college acquaintance coming out with her memoirs, I wonder?
 
Unfortunately, she has not been in my contact group for a long time. She traded up to well-to-do before any of her comrades in poverty, myself included, graduated from college. There was a distance she kept from herself and her subjects (and I would say "subjects" included just about everyone she ever had contact with) that left most people feeling cold. I just thought she was quite analytical and an upward movement on the evolutionary scale.

One interesting note about her "research". She NEVER had anything to do with rock groups or being "head groupie", although she did have a thing for the brass section of the Montreal Symphony and members of the John Mayall Band, circa 1976-80.
I'm with you that a book of memories would indeed be a great read, although, at least in those college years, she was not into evaluation or recording. The experience was the juice.
 
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