Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Can't Get Enough

For the brief unpleasant time I lived in California, although nobody else there was a native, and many had degrees from prestigious East Coast schools, I never visited a home where I saw a bookcase with more than three shelves.
And if there were one, at least two of the shelves held knick-knacks, drug paraphernalia as art, stereo componants, or CDs.
But every house around me here on The SouthCoast has a library. There are even libraries on-line. I got that Lifetime Membership at LibraryThing. You can see random books from the few I've input over there to the right. (Funny how I can share books with Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath without even the slightest urge to finish writing a book or to kill myself. Isn't it?)
So, here in The SouthCoast, I'm always happy when one of my friends decides to do something with a favorite book. Usually it's someone who says "I'm working on a stage adaptation of Perfect Storm we can do at the Working Waterfront Festival."
or "Wouldn't it be great to make a movie about H.P. Lovecraft and Henry David Thoreau having coffee at a diner with some girls from Fall River?" or ...

"The commonwealth of Massachusetts deserves a whale of a book as its official epic, and Moby-Dick is that book.
This Friday, people are invited to the Whaling Museum from 9-2 for a public hearing on legislation to make
our official state book.
Moby-Dick is already the 'unofficial' New Bedford book. Even though Melville wrote his masterpiece in Pittsfield,
Moby-Dick tastes of codfish, clam chowder and salt spray."

Laurie. Laurie. Doctor Roberston-Lorant.
You know that I love to take part in the Frederick Douglass ReadAThon and support all the stuff you and Ben and Tem do with those hip-hop kids. (Except for the X-Men names. It's a heritage pride thing. Oh, and it's New Bedford. Not "New Be." Or "Secret City." New Bedford.)
And I really need you to never again let the words "whale of a book" come within 20,000 leagues of "Moby-Dick."
And EVERYBODY knows that the only OFFICIAL Massachusetts State Book can only be The Ultimate Red Sox Companion.
I have bought at least five copies of Moby-Dick. The Classics Illustrated version with the weird picture of Gregory Peck on the cover. The paperback that I read from time to time. The weird generic brown-covered book I got at the Moby-Dick Marathon and left there. Whatever "abridged" thing I had as a child, which I gave to a college roommate. And a kewl pop-up book I leave out on the coffee table to occupy visitors.
My Beloved and I share a painting done by George Klauba (part of his "Avis Transformata" series) entitled He declared that a whale must be near, inspired by that damn book.
It's all over the place around here, anyway. Streets are named after the book's locations. Places in the book are just over there. Dogs are named after characters. Children are named after chapters. Food is named after footnotes.
Do we have to indulge it, encourage it more?


hgranger said...

Ah, I've spent my time in the hell that is Southern California, too. I assume the south because I know they have no books there and I hear tell that folks in San Francisco do have spines on their shelves.

As a newcomer, why does a place like New Bedford, which has a strong identity, seem to be constantly striving to identify itself? Why the low shellfish esteem?

ThirdMate said...

Thanks for hopping aboard, hgranger!

Venice CA is nothing like the European one with art and stuff. I have people in San Francisco, and SF is in no way part of present-day HollyWackistan.

"Shellfishteem"? I gotta call Marketing.

I wonder if Dr. Zoidberg can do the tourism ads. (Lemme know if anybody gets that. Julie?)

karie said...


Docta-Zoid-Berg would be significantly affected by such a marketing concept. I am quite SURE of it. Enthusiasm! THAT'S what he'd have. (envision the softish-clacking of lobsta-paws)

hgranger said...

And a ripple of tentacles and a quick side step... doing the shellfishsteem hustle...

At least Venice (either way) has canals and street life... San Diego's got, eh, little of nothing...

Very glad to be Here!

DBB said...

I couldn't agree more. When I returned to NBAM after some major organ failure and saw they had placed a sign in front of the library steps that read "Herman Melville Square," I thought "what square?" Enough already!

ThirdMate said...

By "organ failure," I'm assuming you mean the Hammond B-3. (I know, I know. I kid because I love.)

Wasn't that the sign they made for the premiere of the Gregory Peck film Moby-Dick? When two of the forty theaters in town were showing the film? And they found John Huston doing a Lillian Hellman impersonation at O'Malley's? When Gregory Peck hid under the bowsprit of the Lagoda at the Whaling Museum until the docents left him alone? And other fun facts nobody can verify?