The Phantom Tollbooth

Tue, Mar 16, 2021

Cover shows a boy talking to a large dog. The dog has a clock attached to his body.

First Paragraph:

“There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself—not just sometimes, but always."

—Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


Tue, Mar 16, 2021

Well gang, I guess it’s time I confess that I’ve been posting these last few months from my cell in a remote Russian gulag.

I finally received a second pillow for good behavior.

Picture of my unadorned bedroom.

I’ve been told I can hang a painting after the next security check.

Delicious Gifts

Tue, Mar 16, 2021

Treats received today from my good friend Will Leathem. I read them immediately.

We live in an age when you say casually to somebody ‘What’s the story on that?’ and they can run to the computer and tell you within five seconds. That’s fine, but sometimes I’d just as soon continue wondering. We have a deficit of wonder right now.

—Tom Waits

Recent Arrivals - March 2021

Sat, Mar 6, 2021

A Mosaic of book covers. Brother Robert, The Empathy Diaries, Klara and the Sun, Dancing at the Rascal Fair, The Cosmic Purr, A Subversive History of Music, Ride With Me Mariah Montana, Manhattanite, Jim Harrison-The Essential Poems

All these acquisitions, and any that aren't here but on the way, are justified by the fact that...I wanted them.

If you listen to Louis Armstrong from 1929, you will never hear anything better than that...You will never hear anything more free than that.

—Steve Lacy

The Moment Passed

Tue, Mar 2, 2021

For my running and rowing friends.

At a distance, solitary man runs up a rock formation, silhouetted against a gray sky.

Photo by Jeremy Lapak.

"There was a moment in which he knew he could not go on. He had begun at the wrong pace, another and better man's pace, had seen the man come almost at once to the top of his strength, hitting his stride without effort, unlimbering and lining out and away. And like a fool he had taken up the bait, whole and at once, had allowed himself to be run into the ground. In the next instant his lungs should burst, for now they were burning with pain and the pain had crowded out the last and least element of his breath, and he should stumble and fall. But the moment passed. The moment passed, and the next and the next, and he was running still, and still he could see the dark shape of the man running away in the swirling mist, like a motionless shadow. And he held on to the shadow and ran beyond his pain."

—N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn

House Made of Dawn

Tue, Mar 2, 2021

Cover of book has a photo of the sun shining through a desert stone arch.

First Paragraph:

Dypaloh. There was a house made of dawn. It was made of pollen and of rain, and the land was very old and everlasting. There were many colors on the hills, and the plain was bright with different-colored clays and sands. Red and blue and spotted horses grazed in the plain, and there was a dark wilderness on the mountains beyond. The land was still and strong. It was beautiful all around."

—N. Scott Momaday, House Made of Dawn


Sun, Feb 28, 2021

Black and white photo of a younger Joan Didion. She is facing the camera on a crowed sidewalk.

Joan Didion in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in April 1967. Photo by Ted Streshinsky.

One of the sexiest faces I've ever seen.

I imagine her attention falling to me, just for a moment, in this crowd, out on the street. I feel her size me up, a knowing critical gaze. Is she instantly writing my story behind those eyes?

She finds me...acceptable.

It's enough.

Currently re-reading Slouching Towards Bethlehem.

You spend too much time reading, Spenser. You know more stuff that don't make you money than anybody I know.

—Robert B. Parker


Fri, Feb 26, 2021

Black and white photo of Lawrence Ferlinghetti in the doorway of his bookshop.

Lawrence Monsanto Ferlinghetti (1919-2021)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, champion of Beat Generation writers passed away this week at 101 years of age.

Here’s the last line of “I Am Waiting” from A Coney Island of the Mind (1958.)

"...and I am awaiting perpetually and forever a renaissance of wonder."

The Final Sentence website contains some riches. It's handy if you are looking for something you've already read, but beware of spoilers. Use the search feature instead of browsing. Or not.


Wed, Feb 24, 2021

Photo of a hawk in flight agains a bright blue sky.

Photo by Molly Wright.

There is a kind of life that is peculiar to the land in summer—a wariness, a seasonal equation of well-being and alertness. Road runners take on the shape of motion itself, urgent and angular, or else they are like the gnarled, uncovered roots of ancient, stunted trees, some ordinary ruse of the land itself, immovable and forever there...


Wed, Feb 24, 2021

Myself and my brother david walking away from the camera next to each other on a quiet street.

Me with my brother Dave in Palm Springs, CA, February 2020.

The Coneheads never left. They've been hiding out in SoCal for decades.


Wed, Feb 24, 2021

Watercolor painting of Birch Tree trunks.

Birches. Kyra Mills, 2021, watercolor.


Sun, Feb 21, 2021

Gourd Kashaka. Dried gourds containing beads and connected with string.

Gourd Kashaka.

Dear ((name)),

Congratulations on your successful campaign to become a U.S Senator/Congressperson.

As you know from your introductory information packet, before you will be allowed to propose any legislation, post to social media, or be interviewed by any journalists or news networks, you must complete an introductory course in playing the Cas Cas. Thankfully, for the American people, this will likely be a lengthy process.

You should be receiving your Cas Cas shortly. Please view the video linked below for an example of how the instrument should be played.
When you feel you are ready, you may schedule a time to come in and demonstrate that your Cas Cas skills are sufficient.

Once you pass your Cas Cas audition you will have a useful benchmark for determining the worthiness of any legislation you may be considering.

Ask yourself, “Is this legislation at least as valuable to humanity as listening to someone play the Cas Cas?”

Chances are the answer will be no.

Welcome to Washington, D.C.

How to Play the Cas Cas