Monday, July 31, 2017

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Kanban: Traditional Shop Signs of Japan, by Alan Scott Pate


"While neon may have only a hundred years of history under its gaseous belt, advertising by signage is not at all a new concept."

From the Introduction, The Neon Scramble

Sunday, July 30, 2017

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From  The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4", African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian, by W. Kamau Bell


 “I pointed to a Black man standing nearby and said, 'If I had said something up there on that stage today that was crazy, that Black man — even though he doesn't know me — would have pulled me aside and asked me what the fuck I was talking about. I told him that white people need to do the same thing.'”

Saturday, July 29, 2017

A Bookstore Bird

Daily Dose

From The Nigger of the Narcissus, by Joseph Conrad


"It is otherwise with the artist."

From The Introduction

Friday, July 28, 2017

A Caricature

Daily Dose

From Loitering: New and Collected Essays, by Charles D'Ambrosio


"This was long ago, in a vanished world when my father was still alive.  I was standing outside his den, waiting, because when I'd knocked on his door he'd lifted a silencing finger to signal that he was in the middle of something important, some business.  So characteristic, that gesture, the air of preoccupation.  It always hurt, even though I understood that it was theater, like a frozen pose in Kabuki.  Now he's gone, gone for good, and only my memory of the gesture remains, a knot of puzzled meaning that chokes off other sympathies."

From Misreading

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A Caricature

Clerihew for the Departing Partisan


Gone is Michiko Kakutani
News uniformly considered bonnie,
Save by the few, it should be noted,
To who she remained stubbornly devoted.

Daily Dose

From Epitaph of a Small Winner, by Machado De Assis, translated by William L. Grossman


"Ah, my indiscreet and grossly ignorant beloved, it is this very capacity that makes us masters of the earth, this capacity to restore the past and thus to prove the instability of our impressions and the vanity of our affections."

From 27. Virgilias?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Caricature

Clerihew for a Grand Quaker Lady


Amelia Opie
Ventured to hope the
Calls she made for emancipation
Might help to persuade a reluctant nation.

Daily Dose

From How the Irish Became White, by Noel Ignatiev


"Although there were criminals, prostitutes, and paupers among them, the population consisted largely, in the words of a contemporary journalist, of 'the immense army of proletaires which exist in every city, who live hardby in poor cabins and shanties, and whose labor supplies the profits upon which the merchant-princes and their aristocratic families subsist in luxury.'"

From Chapter V, The Tumultuous Republic

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

First Rise

That was fast, or so at least it seems to me.  I've a new book coming, and soon.  That's the illustration for the back cover above.  Every such effort in the past has required time; to make the pictures and decide on rhymes and whatnot, and then to gather the component pieces into something more like a book.  Since my last, the process of publication has become, if not a well-oiled-machine then at least  a working contraption that no longer means figuring out how to make a wheel.  I'm usually the slowest part.  This time out I did the drawings, including the covers in less than a month.  I may have a book in hand before another month's gone.  Imagine that.

Can't quite say I've been inspired, as I don't accept the premise of inspiration, divine or otherwise.  In my experience an idea comes when it comes, good or bad, usually from something I've been reading.  I doodle something while I'm standing at a cash-register at work, just to pass the time really, and either the idea, and or the drawing, works or it doesn't.  If I like what I've done, that idea may lead to another, or not.  Best is when I hit on something that turns into a streak or a series.

This time I couldn't quite think of who the woman on the television was reminding me.  Then I got it.  So, I drew Sarah Huckabee Sanders as the Queen of Hearts from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  The result was amusing and surprisingly popular.  The rest of what will now be a book came along in just the two weeks after that first sketch.

Well now.

I mention this because I've never before had the experience of people actually telling me to make a new book because if I do, they will buy it.  Friends have been very kind to my previous outings in self-publishing, but no one ever told me that what I do strikes them as full of commercial possibilities.  No one's ever suggested I might sell a lot of coffee mugs if I put a caricature of Hilaire Belloc's mug on it.

I rather liked the new experience of being told people will buy what I do.  I'm not picking out new cars, you understand, but it was flattering to hear.

Meanwhile, I will say the present administration, while ripe for satire, is such a terrifying collection of side-show grotesques that I've also had the unique experience of being told my caricatures are "too kind."

As some of my subjects are leaving the scene even as I type, I can't quite say I hope the rest will stick around long enough for me to rush my book into print.  I will say sincerely that I hope they don't blow up the world before I can finish this sentence.

Daily Dose

From The Way We Live Now, by Anthony Trollope


"We are not allowed to fight duels, and that banging about another man with a stick is always disagreeable and seldom successful."

From Chapter 70, Sir Felix Meddles with Many Matters

Monday, July 24, 2017


Daily Dose

From The Warden, by Anthony Trollope

"That his resignation was a thing finally fixed on, a fact all but completed, was not in his mind a matter of any doubt."

From Chapter 18, The Warden is Very Obstinate

Sunday, July 23, 2017


Daily Dose

From What Maisie Knew, by Henry James


'Small coin dropped from her as half-heartedly as answers from bad children to lessons that had not been looked at."

From Chapter XVIII

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Snark Found

Daily Dose

From The Life of Mary Russell Mitford, Told by Herself in Letters to Friends, Volume II, edited by A. G. K. L'Estrange


"So you have never heard of the 'Pickwick Papers!' Well! They publish a number once a month, and print 25,000.  The bookseller has made about ten thousand pouns by the speculation.  It is fun -- London life -- but without any thing unpleasant... It seems like not having heard of Hogarth, whom he resembles greatly, except that he takes a far more cheerful view, a Shakespearian view, of humanity."

From a letter to Miss Jephson, dated Three-mile Cross, June 30, 1837.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Daily Dose

From The Life of Mary Russell Mitford, Told by Herself in Letters to Friends, Volume II, edited by A. G. K. L'Estrange


"I hope you love humor; I, for my part, delight in it, and hold Mr. Dickens to be the next great benefactor of the age to Sir Walter Scott."

From a letter to Miss Barrett, dated Three-mile Cross, May 4, 1837

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Loaded for Bear

Daily Dose

From The Lake, by Yasunari Kawabata, translated by Reiko Tsukimura


"He looked sad, lost in his own world.  Miyako felt as if the darkness in him had escaped and passed on into her."

From page 66

Wednesday, July 19, 2017


Daily Dose

From The Social Life of Books: Reading Together in the Eighteenth-Century Home, by Abigail Williams


"It is a sign of the burgeoning orality of reading that recitation culture had become so widespread that it threatened to render its central texts meaningless."

From Chapter 6. Drama and Recitation, Plays in Parts

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Red King

Daily Dose

From Our Village, by Mary Russell Mitford


"The generosity of the poor is always a very real and fine thing; they give what they want..."

From Hannah

Monday, July 17, 2017

White Queen

Daily Dose

From The Funny Side: One Hundred Humorous Poems, by Wendy Cope


There's not a Shakespeare sonnet
Or a Beethoven quartet
That's easier to like than you
Or harder to forget.

You think that sounds extravagant?
I haven't finished yet —
I like you more than I would like
To have a cigarette.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Red Queen

Daily Dose

From The Return of the Native, by Thomas Hardy


"All the shallower ponds had decreased to a vaporous mud amid which the maggoty shapes of innumerable obscure creatures could be indistinctly seen, heaving and wallowing with enjoyment."

From Book Fourth, Chapter IV

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Crocodile Tears

Daily Dose

From The Custom of the Country, by Edith Wharton


"So it went on, obtusely and persistently, whenever he tried to sound the note of prudence."

From Chapter XII

Friday, July 14, 2017

Oil Slick

Daily Dose

From Adam Bede, by George Eliot


"That is the great advantage of dialogue on horseback; it can be merged any minute into a trot or a canter, and one might have escaped from Socrates himself in the saddle."

From Chapter 9, Hetty's World

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Up In Smoke

Daily Dose

From Lyrical and Critical Essays, by Albert Camus, translated Ellen Conroy Kennedy


"... people are indignant at such serenity."

From Encounters with Andre Gide

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dumpty on the Beach

Daily Dose

From The Complete Poems, by Andrew Lang


IN torrid heats of late July,
In March, beneath the bitter bise,
He book-hunts while the loungers fly,
He book-hunts, though December freeze;
In breeches baggy at the knees,
And heedless of the public jeers,
For these, for these, he hoards his fees,—
Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs.

No dismal stall escapes his eye,
He turns o’er tomes of low degrees,
There soiled romanticists may lie,
Or Restoration comedies;
Each tract that flutters in the breeze
For him is charged with hopes and fears,
In mouldy novels fancy sees
Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs.

With restless eyes that peer and spy,
Sad eyes that heed not skies nor trees,
In dismal nooks he loves to pry,
Whose motto evermore is Spes!
But ah! the fabled treasure flees;
Grown rarer with the fleeting years,
In rich men’s shelves they take their ease,—
Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs!


Prince, all the things that tease and please,—
Fame, hope, wealth, kisses, cheers, and tears,
What are they but such toys as these,—
Aldines, Bodonis, Elzevirs?

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Don't Know Jack

Daily Dose

From The Complete Poems, by Andrew Lang


Dead--he is dead! The rouge has left a trace
On that thin cheek where shone, perchance, a tear,
Even while the people laughed that held him dear
But yesterday. He died,--and not in grace,
And many a black-robed caitiff starts apace
To slander him whose Tartuffe made them fear,
And gold must win a passage for his bier,
And bribe the crowd that guards his resting-place.

Ah, Moliere, for that last time of all,
Man's hatred broke upon thee, and went by,
And did but make more fair thy funeral.
Though in the dark they hid thee stealthily,
Thy coffin had the cope of night for pall,
For torch, the stars along the windy sky!

Monday, July 10, 2017


Daily Dose

From The Complete Poems, by Andrew Lang


While others are asking for beauty or fame,
Or praying to know that for which they should pray,
Or courting Queen Venus, that affable dame,
Or chasing the Muses the weary and grey,
The sage has found out a more excellent way -
To Pan and to Pallas his incense he showers,
And his humble petition puts up day by day,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

Inventors may bow to the God that is lame,
And crave from the fire on his stithy a ray;
Philosophers kneel to the God without name,
Like the people of Athens, agnostics are they;
The hunter a fawn to Diana will slay,
The maiden wild roses will wreathe for the Hours;
But the wise man will ask, ere libation he pay,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

Oh! grant me a life without pleasure or blame
(As mortals count pleasure who rush through their day
With a speed to which that of the tempest is tame)!
O grant me a house by the beach of a bay,
Where the waves can be surly in winter, and play
With the sea-weed in summer, ye bountiful powers!
And I'd leave all the hurry, the noise, and the fray,
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.


Gods, grant or withhold it; your 'yea' and your 'nay'
Are immutable, heedless of outcry of ours:
But life IS worth living, and here we would stay
For a house full of books, and a garden of flowers.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

A Seat at the Table

Daily Dose

From Selected Letters, by Horace Walpole


"To their tribunes it speaks daggers; though, unlike them, it uses none."

From Letter # 177, to Mary Berry, Park Place, 8 November 1790.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Dormouse

Daily Dose

From The Poems of Walter Savage Landor


 In spring and summer winds may blow,
And rains fall after, hard and fast;
The tender leaves, if beaten low,
Shine but the more for shower and blast

But when their fated hour arrives,
When reapers long have left the field,
When maidens rifle turn'd-up hives,
And their last juice fresh apples yield,

A leaf perhaps may still remain
Upon some solitary tree,
Spite of the wind and of the rain . . .
A thing you heed not if you see.

At last it falls. Who cares? Not one:
And yet no power on earth can ever
Replace the fallen leaf upon
Its spray, so easy to dissever.

If such be love, I dare not say.
Friendship is such, too well I know:
I have enjoyed my summer day;
'Tis past; my leaf now lies below.