Biannual roundup of what you are reading on this blog

You have done it again. No wonder I wander around flitting arbitrarily from subject to subject. My readers flit, too.

During the past year, you have remained as Alamobsessive as I, particularly focusing on the guns  Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson let be drawn in front of the Alamo. You joined me in remembering my father-in-law, George Spencer, and photographer Rick Hunter. You have demonstrated your interest in photography by two artists, Richard Nitschke and Sarah Brooke Lyons. You have let me take you traveling to San Miguel de Allende, and shown interest in the reign of Maximilian and Carlota in Mexico.

You refuse to let two old posts, one about David Sedaris’ “Nuit of the Living Dead” and one about Sandy Skoglund’s cheesy “Cocktail Party,” fade off of the top 12 list. It makes me particularly happy that you still show interest in the San Antonio Song and have given life to my true tale providing a ghost to inhabit Brackenridge Park.

The number in parentheses represents the rankings from six months ago:

  1. Please come and take them away from San Antonio, (1) 2013

    “They say Sam Maverick forged the bell for St. Mark’s from a cannon used during the Battle of the Alamo. If only the concept proved contagious….” Postcards from San Antonio – No. 12, “Peace be with you.”
  2. George Hutchings Spencer, 1923-2013 (3), 2013
  3. The State surrenders the Alamo; Run for Cover, (4) 2013
  4. Richard Nitschke: Seeing Agave in a Different Light, (8) 2013
  5. Please put this song on Tony’s pony, and make it ride away (10), 2010
  6. Sarah’s faces more than a thousand times better, (11) 2013
  7. The Madarasz Murder Mystery: Might Helen Haunt Brackenridge Park?, 2012
  8. “Nuit of the Living Dead” (9), 2010
  9. Postcard from San Miguel de Allende: Sun rises again at La Aurora, 2014
  10. The Tragic Rule of Maximilian and Carlota in Mexico, 2014
  11. Cheez Doodles as Art (12), 2011
  12. Rick Hunter lives here. And many other places., 2013

Thanks for hanging out here some and for giving me permission to keep on rambling on about whatever I’m currently pondering.

An Intimidating Week to Release a Book

The week started off with the head of Trinity Press, Barbara Ras, reading from The Last Skin at The Twig Book Shop.  Then there was the San Antonio Public Library Foundation’s spectacular Copyright Texas Dinner last night featuring the dynamic Carl Hiaasen.  His Star Island is populated with celebrities and paparazzi; there are drugs, sex and the excitement of a kidnapping.  Hiaasen’s book even has a sensational trailer. 

The stimulating journals of Anita Brenner, a young American Bohemian living in Mexico City amongst artists such as Frida and Diego, will be unveiled at the Instituto de Mexico in HemisFair Park at 6 p.m. on Thursday, November 18, and then Saturday brings David Sedaris to town.

With so many important literary events this week, how can I possibly convince you to come out to The Twig at 5 p.m. tonight to celebrate the publishing of Last Farm Standing on Buttermilk Hill: Voelcker Roots Run Deep in Hardberger Park – a book with no drugs, sex or celebrities? 

Think of it as an intervention.  How could you leave me there alone with a case of wine?  And how about the music of Hank Harrison and the Lone Star Swingbillies in full cowboy regalia and the opportunity to support the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy? 

Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker certainly was no Cherry Pye, but that’s not a bad thing.  She was homegrown and reflects a part of our agricultural heritage we tend to forget. 

Hope to see you tonight at 5, or better call a cab for me.

Update on November 17:  Thanks to everyone who protected me by coming to share the wine!

The Max and Minnie Tomerlin Voelcker Fund is donating 60 percent of the cover price of books sold during the November 16 celebration at The Twig Book Store to the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy, which kept the former mayor smiling. (photo by Kathy Babb)

Update on November 27:  “Urban Spotlight” blogger focuses on the celebration at The Twig….

“Nuit of the Living Dead”

“Oh, I see that you have a little swimming mouse.”

I have to thank Texas Public Radio for sending Keynotes into my inbox this morning with news that David Sedaris is coming to San Antonio.  That brought to mind my all-time favorite short story, ideal for Halloween – “Nuit of the Living Dead” from Sedaris’ Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

Actually, I first read “Nuit,” then titled “The Living Dead,” in a 2004 issue of The New Yorker while waiting at Shag the Salon.  Tears cascaded down my cheeks.  Couldn’t stop laughing long enough to even begin to explain what could possibly be funny about a man attempting to drown a mouse. (Fortunately, Shag is not an ’09 salon where everyone is supposed to pretend they are “normal.”  As though normalcy exists.)

Sedaris will read from his most recent book, Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary, at Borders in the Quarry Market at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 20.  I feel as though I shouldn’t blog about his appearance in advance because I fear he will attract far more people than can be accommodated and I would like to be able to hear him.  But I guess I was not the only person in San Antonio to receive the Keynotes email.

Have only read a couple of these animal “fables,” including this excerpt relevant to gated communities or the not-so-great wall of the Rio Grande:

Then a squirrel disappeared, and it was decided that something had to be done.  A meeting was convened in the clearing near the big oak, and the hawk, who often flew great distances in search of food, proposed that they build a gate.  “I’ve seen one where the humans live, and it seems to work fairly well.”

“Work how?” asked a muskrat. 

The hawk explained that once the gate was erected, anyone entering the forest would have to stop and identify himself.  “It keeps out the riffraff,” he said, adding that when bad things happened, that was usually who was responsible – riffraff.

Wondering if anyone has read what the squirrel and chipmunk might be up to in the book….  Would it be safe for Parky the Squirrel, the mascot of Friends of the Parks, to show up wearing her tail? 

Heller Mcalpin might have answered that question for me on NPR’s website:

Despite chatty barnyard animals and charming illustrations by Ian Falconer, creator of the Olivia children’s book series, don’t be fooled into thinking this is a children’s book.  Remember the puritanical brouhaha over Maurice Sendak’s naked urchin in In the Night Kitchen and the hen’s egg-shaped bulges in Ron Barrett’s drawings for Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing?   Well, we’ve come a long way, baby:  “The Grieving Owl” features a puckered pink hippopotamus rectum.

Although “The Cat and the Baboon” includes mention of a less-than talented harp-playing squirrel, it gets rather “assy” as well.  Sorry, Parky.  Think you better leave your tail at home and go incognito.

And, when I go to Shag next week, I hope they behave like Sedaris’ hair-grooming baboon:  No matter what I say, just nod and smile and say you remember the swimming mouse well, “the way one must in the service industry.”