Loose ends

I’ve finished reading Pulp. Good book. Great book. The story flows; it’s funny as hell and wicked in its language and outlook. Previously, I compared the book to Layne’s Dot.Con. Layne wrote to tell me he wasn’t consciously copping Bukowski. He said some other very interesting things about his novel, but since it was a private e-mail, I’ll let it go at that. But you can bet I saved it. I’ll probably donate to the Huntington Library someday for a tidy tax write off.

Tonight I finished another Bukowski novel — Hollywood. I’m pretty much hooked on Bukowski now, though I’m going to read a couple of other things before picking up another one of his novels. He’s a natural storyteller. I never read Bukowski before because my image of him was that he was somewhat avante garde, which usually translates into difficult, slow reading. That’s OK sometimes, but I since I got out of college, my tolerance for oddly constructed prose has been sporadic. To my surprise, Bukowski is the exact opposite. He reads quickly, smoothly, easily. He goes down like a good shot of single-malt scotch.

In between Pulp and Hollywood, I read Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep. This is the first Chandler novel I’ve read. What impressed me most about Chandler is his eye for detail. He vividly captures places, things and people. There is nothing glossed over and his details ring true.

At seven the rain had stopped for a breathing spell, but the gutters were still flooded. On Santa Monica the water was level with the sidewalk and thin film of it washed over the top of the curbing. A traffic cop in shining black rubber from boots to cap sloshed through the flood on his way from the shelter of a sodden awning. My rubber heels slithered on the sidewalk as I turned into the narrow lobby of the Fulwider Building. …

An old man dozed in the elevator, on a ramshackle stool, with a burst-out cushion under him. His mouth was open, his veined temples glistened in the weak light. He wore a blue uniform coat that fitted him the way a stall fits a horse.

Monday night at the A’s/Angels game I told Matt Welch that given the opportunity, I probably wouldn’t sacrifice my current job for a chance at a start-up, such as the paper Richard Riordan is reportedly interested in launching. Of course, if it were a tabloid funded by the Tribune, well that would might be worth considering.

A while back, I did an item about the LA Times giving songwriting credit to Ike Turner for “Rocket 88.” Jamie Gold sent me this final response a few days ago:

Hi, lest you think this issue has been forgotten, it hasn’t. Working with multiple editors is always time-consuming. In this case, the Business editor deferred to the music writer even though the article was about cars. I’m told their combined decision is that something will run saying that Brenston is actually credited with the song, though there is some dispute over whose song it was.

Thanks very much for your time and help on this.

My friends at work who helplessly root for the Dodgers were grateful today — the Padres did the unexpected and beat the Giants. The Dodgers are in a bad spot in their battle with Barry Bonds and cohorts for a playoff berth. A majority of the Padres remaining games are against the Giants and Dodgers. For several seasons now, ever since Bonds put on a Giants uniform, the Padres have had a tough time beating the Bay Area Nine. But the Dodgers have rarely ever had much success against the Padres. The Padres, fans and players, consider the Dodgers the team’s biggest rival, so the games are charged with emotion — on the Padres side, but not necessarily on the Dodgers side. This seems to give the Giants a decided advantage. If the Dodgers have any hope of making the playoffs, they’re going to have to beat the Padres. Of course, you won’t see me weeping if the Dodgers are sitting at home come October.

BTW: The Padres got crushed by the Giants tonight, 10-3. In the other race that matters, the A’s won and the Angels won, so they remain tied.

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