Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shoot the Brute

Verse by the side of the road from 1930:
Does your husband
Grunt and grumble
Rant and rave
Shoot the brute some
Burma Shave

Something I forgot to mention in last week’s blog: I made chili as my contribution to a Super Bowl party, and it was the best chili I’ve ever made.  It had cocoa powder, cumin, corriander, sweet bell pepper, and beer as ingredients, along with the usual ground beef, beans, onions, chili powder, jalepenos, salt and pepper.  I couldn’t taste any of the odd ingredients (which were called for by several recipes I found on the Internet), but the whole thing was more delicious than I expected.  I’m going to use them from now on.

This past Saturday I did a book signing to introduce A Drowning Spool to the world.  As usual, I dressed up, wearing a suit with a black skirt and a coat of gray flecked with black and a bright red hat that sits on the back of my head then rises in a pleated fan ornamented with gold braid and gold ornaments in front.  Very striking.  The  dressy clothing and fancy hats at signings and talks has become my schtick, or signature, and I really enjoy making a special occasion of them by dressing up.  I’ve taken it lightly, even made gentle fun of this thing, but I recently read an essay by a Jewish rabbi, Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, in which he says “clothes make the man” is more than a trite (even untrue) saying.  He quotes Erasmus and Shakespeare, among others as affirming the notion..  A sample: “(Late fifteenth century) Rabbi (Isaac) Arama notes that in Latin, too, the word habitus refers to both a special garment (e.g., a nun's habit) and a character trait (e.g. a good habit). He persuasively argues that ‘just as it can be determined from a person's external appearance as to whether he is a merchant or a soldier or a monk, so too, the discovery of our hidden inner personality begins with our external behaviors.’"   If you’re interested, here’s his column: http://jewishworldreview.com/0214/weinreb_Tetzaveh_clothes_make_man.php3

I’m doing another signing starting at 1 pm this Saturday, February 16, at Excelsior Bay Books – and I’ll be dressing to the nines again.

On Monday I was listening to the radio and heard a new word: Epistrophe.  It means a word repeated at the end of successive phrases or clauses.  The most famous example is from Abraham Lincoln’s Gerrysburg address:  “. . . this country, of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” But an almost-equally famous quote from First Corinthians in the Bible: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things.”  Very powerful rhetoric.

I just learned this morning that Shirley Temple has died.  Very sad, I love her movies. What an astonishing talent she had!

For Dru’s Book Musings, new today, go here: http://wp.me/p3nHH-4yl.  Click on A Day in the Life and then on the top offering, A Day in the Life with Connor Sullivan, for a glimpse into Betsy Devonshire’s happy Valentine’s Day gift, from A Drowning Spool.  That candy shop is real, by the way, and their chocolates are both spendy and to die for – and they ship.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Congrats on the publication of A Drowning Spool, Monica--and how great that you dress up to fit every occasion! I'm also impressed that you discovered a new word. I'm always looking...

Betty Hechtman said...

Interesting post as always. I think it is great that you get dressed up for your book signings. Your hats are always wonderful.

Monica Ferris said...

Next month I'm going to a St. Paul artist who designs one-of-a-kind hats to have her make my Easter bonnet. I'm going to have to work hard on book sales to make this hat worth while, but I'm sooooo looking forward to the experience!