Fat City

images.jpgLeave out the magic realism and switch from Albany, New York, to Stockton, California, and you might think you were reading William Kennedy. Leonard Gardener’s Fat City, despite the comparison to another excellent American author, is on it’s own a very good book.

If you know California, Stockton is not Sacramento; not San Francisco; not even San Jose. It is, however, an important hub for the commerce of California as a part of the major San Francisco economic zone. But Stockton has had its share of tough times. Wikipedia provides a depressing list of recent ills:

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Apple and the Conservative Noise Machine

As those who have followed this weblog from the beginning know, I have been highly critical of Apple on several occasions. Going all the way back to 1977 I have experienced great triumphs with Apple and also several highly disappointing failures. Did you buy a Lisa? An Apple serial card for your Apple ][? What about that Cube thing? So despite my allegiance to Apple products and my complete avoidance of anything from WINDOZ, I am aware that Apple is not sacrosanct and I will readily admit it.

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Morbid Stories Are Good For Children

OZWhen I was young I was often sick and spent many hours lying in bed either moaning in a darkened room with the measles (no vaccines then) or proped up on one elbow reading books and scratching my chicken pox. Sometimes I had books from the library and other times I had to rely on books that accumulated around the house. I got most of my books from Goodwill, used and often musty. Some of my books had evidently belonged to my parents, favorite stories from when they were young and impressed by Jack Hawkins, Bill Sikes,  or Dorothy Gale.

I still have vivid memories of avidly reading those over-the-rainbow books by the local San Diego author L. Frank Baum and unexpectedly flipping to a gnarly and often damned scary illustration that might interrupt my sleep for weeks. Or how about that wonderful illustration by the much revered illustrator N. C. Wyeth in the book Treasure Island that showed the gruesome skeleton of a pirate who had been marooned on the island long ago. In fact, just the concept of being marooned all alone on a desert island added a new level of fright and concern to both my waking and sleeping hours for years to come.

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