“A Road So Crooked that it…”
I was reading (listening to) this book last week – Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon … it’s one of those “Man becomes disillusioned with Life so he sets out by himself to discover America”… and rediscover himself” books.
The book is his one-man Odyssey encountering all manner of “diner-people” on America’s backroads. The title refers to the fact that “back roads” are in blue ink on most maps. His Rule was to avoid Interstate highways. He wrote it in the early 80s but much of it rings true today with a bit less “rage and rancor” than exists today. It’s an OK book. I give it 3.5 stars out of 5.
BUT… in the first chapter he has a Killer Line describing a back road in Illinois…
“The road was so crooked… it oughta run for the legislature.”
That line coulda been plagiarized from Will Rogers or Mark Twain or H.L. Mencken, or maybe he made it up. Regardless it was a YOWSA Line IMO. Nothing else in the ensuing 15 hours matched it but that line alone was worth the $11.50.
I have reached a level of cynicism that I now believe 98.3% of ALL “elected politicians” at every level are “crooked” i.e. “corrupt”… either initially or eventually.
RELAX… This is NOT a BobLee Political Rant. I promised you I would avoid those on this page. … If you just gotta have some BL’s political thoughts… go to BL EN FUEGO … LINK. A couple of “Can He Say THAT” Doozies posted this past week.
This is a Some Good Books I’ve Read Recently column.
I have, over the years, mentioned the Travis McGee series by (the late) John D. MacDonald. If you consider yourself a serious aficionado of crime / mystery fiction and you are not familiar with “Travis McGee” you need to reassess your “seriousness”.
I’ve never read this anywhere but I believe the Magnum PI (Tom Selleck) series was modeled somewhat after “Travis McGee”. Change the Hawaiian mansion for a houseboat (The Busted Flush) moored at Slip F-18 at Bahia Mar Marina in Ft Lauderdale…. next to Travis’ Rolls Royce pick-up truck (“Miss Agnes”).
Travis is “a salvage consultant” who helps people (often very attractive ladies) recover lost property. He is a White Knight forever saving damsels in distress… but never ending up with the damsel.
Tom Selleck in his Magnum days would best describe Travis physically and his Dudley Do-Right nature.
All 20+ novels written in the 60-80s have “a color” in the title. They are quintessential “beach reads”. You don’t have to read them in any order but I always suggest doing so.
The best “like Travis McGee” series I know of is Spenser by (also late) Robert B. Parker set in Boston. Except Spenser has a sidekick – the enigmatic “Hawk” – and a permanent girlfriend Susan Silverman. If you enjoy one series you will enjoy both. If you don’t enjoy either one … WHY do you bother visiting here?
There are numerous Travis McGee Wannabes in modern fiction. Even more than “Reacher” wannabees. All generously acknowledged that John D. MacDonald was their idol as aspiring authors.
Remember folks… I “read” 100-120 books/year. Over 1,000 in the past nine years. My opinion HAS to matter at least a little bit.
We will discuss other BobLee Favorite literary genres and authors in future columns. I have MANY…. CJ Box, Louis L’Amour, John Sandford, Angus Donald … … … … and I’m discovering new ones all the time.
If I can’t be reincarnated as a Major League Baseball Umpire… I would certainly settle for “the next John D. MacDonald” or “the next Robert B. Parker” … Yessir!
BobLee… “The Teddy Bear Whisperer”…. In my 32 years as a “Father / Dad / Daddy” I have received all the traditional Father’s Day gifts from “hand-made somethings” by a kindergartener… to clothes… to a copy of A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving (Which is AWESOME by the way)… to power tools, et al. With all due respect to each and every one of those precious gifts, this year’s mighta set the all-time bar for Kid’s Gift To Dad …
It was a simple text message waiting for me Sunday morning from Kid (also known as Twinkle & Scooter’s Mom… and Mrs Pastor Danny).
“…yesterday we were telling a friend about how all the girls stuffed animals had names and I said it was because my dad taught me that all stuffed animals had rich inner lives…”
No More Calls… We Have Our Winner – Game Set Match. …
“So Winston, tell me more stories about Mom when she was a little girl like me…”
Really?… I always thought EVERYONE “talked to” and “were talked to by” Teddy Bears and other species of stuffed animals… as well as cats, of course. Apparently not. Our late family cat – Annabelle – is still one of the Top Six most interesting “conversationalists” that I’ve ever known.
Twinkle (“Ruthie”) has Jennie Bunny. … and Ruthie and Scout share Eunice The Penguin.
Kid has always been a voracious reader and Twinkle seems destined to be equally voracious…Scooter not so much, yet. For multi-decades I have wanted Kid to read Watership Down by Richard Adams. It is a wonderful adventure allegory about rabbits. She has resisted so far… not realizing I have recently added “doing so” as a condition to her inheriting the family fortune.
Anyhooo… that 30+ years of my being a Teddy Bear Whisperer had not only NOT gone unnoticed but was cherished… what can I say? Excuse me… I must have something in my eye…