1. AOTW: Three winners this week--all, I think from the same family. We were driving slowly along the parking lot in front of Office Depot on the west side of Kent last night, waiting to get to the end of the row of parked cars to hit the main driveway. Right in front of us: the Three Stooges. They walked three abreast, even though they were obviously aware of our presence behind them. Had they slipped into single file and moved nearer the parked cars, we could have passed. But no! They were the AsOTW and kept the entire lane to themselves until they crossed the driveway.
2. I finished two books this week ...
- The first was John Irving's most recent novel, Avenue of Mysteries (2015), a novel about a writer who grew up in Mexico--as a "dump child" (he lived in and near a vast garbage/waste dump). The novel cuts back and forth between his boyhood and his current life--his relationship with his prescient little sister, who, later (SPOILER ALERT) is eaten by a lion; his fondness for reading; his relationship with a priest and others who encourage his academic/creative side (and, no, there is no priest-and-boy stuff here); an account of a life-changing injury to his leg; later, we follow him on a journey to the Philippines, where he is a visiting writer for a former student, now a teacher and writer, as well. Along the way he meets a mother and grown daughter (both with sexual interests in him--and vice-versa)--and both the women achieve, by the end, a sort of surreal, even spectral aspect.
I've always loved Irving's work. He first caught me with The World According to Garp (1978), which I devoured. I went back and read his earlier books, then, for a while, read each new one the day I first saw it in the bookstores (remember them?). Later on, I slowly turned elsewhere, though I eventually read the novels he wrote--just not on the day they appeared! I see I've not yet read his A Son of the Circus (1994), so I'll start that one soon ...
I didn't care for this novel as much as I have for some of his earlier books--but I recognized the metaphorical power of the dump: the cultural world that surrounds us all, the difficulty of having a reader's life in such a world. The novel just didn't--what?--grab me the way so many of his earlier books did.
- I also finished the new novel Underground Airlines (2016) by Ben H. Winters, one of the books I gave Joyce for her birthday in July (she's already read it). It's an "alternative history" novel--its premise being that the Civil War did not happen, that an agreement was reached (a Constitutional amendment passed) that allows slavery in four states. The time is now. The principal character is a black man who now works for the U. S. Marshals, one of whose duties in this Brave New World is to capture and return runaways. He is very, very good at it. At the beginning of the book he has an assignment to capture a runaway named only "Jackdaw," but as the story unfolds, the plot becomes ever more complicated, and our "hero" far more in conflict about what he's doing. Scenes in Indianapolis and in Alabama.
I enjoyed reading it (though I saw some of the complications coming) and was, once again, dazzled to read about our dark human capacities to do just about anything that will bring us wealth.
3. We're chomping at the bit, waiting for Disk #4 of William and Mary to arrive from Netflix ... we're "killing time" by watching, for about the 473rd time, the complete Rockford Files.
4. Some final words ... from my various word-of-the-day online providers ...
- latebricole, adj. [luh-TIB-ruh-kuhl] (OED)
Of an animal, esp. a spider: living concealed in a hole.
Origin:A borrowing from French. Etymons: French latébricole, Latin latebricola.
Etymology: < French latébricole, adjective (1870 or earlier designating insects; also as noun denoting a group of spiders: C. A. Walkenaer Tableau des Aranéïdes (1805) 28) < classical Latin latebricola person who skulks in concealment < latebra (see latebra n.) + -cola (see -cole comb. form).
Compare scientific Latin Latebricolae, plural noun (1856 or earlier).
Chiefly Zool. rare.
1889 Cent. Dict., Latebricole,..living or hiding in holes, as a spider.
1912 N.E.D. at Theraphose, Of or pertaining to the Theraphosæ, a division of latebricole spiders, as the mygalids and trap-door spiders.
2009 W. Penn Love in Time of Flowers viii. 497 He was at no other place than the very one I deducted he'd be.., a lair within a hole though not as latebricole as a mole.
- nodus (noun) \NOH-duh s\ (dictionary.com)
1. a difficult or intricate point, situation, plot, etc.
We are approaching the true nodus of our business, difficulty of difficulties ...
-- Thomas Carlyle, History of Friedrich the Second, Called Frederick the Great, 1858–65
Origin of nodus
Nodus stems from the Latin nōdus meaning "knot." It entered English around 1400.