Ring Lardner (1895-1933)
One of the great "ear" -- and "eye" -- writers in the language
"[A] little group of our deeper drinkers has suggested that maybe boys and gals who wants to take up writing as their life work would be benefited if some person like I was to give them a few hints in regards to the technic of the short story, how to go about planning it and writing it, when and where to plant the love interest and climax, and finally how to market the finished product without leaving no bad taste in the mouth.
Well, then, it seems to me like the best method to use in giving out these hints is to try and describe my own personal procedure from the time I get inspired till the time the manuscript is loaded on to the trucks."
-- Lardner, in the Preface to How to Write Short Stories
I know that last night I said we would probably be launching "Ring Lardner Tonight" with a first installment of his riotous travelogue "The Young Immigrunts." Well, that's why I included the "probably."
I knew I wanted to provide some kind of preparation for this sudden encounter with this amazingly brilliant writer, but I despaired of doing so, and thus formed the original plan: just to plunge into the Lardnerian wild. I subsequently had second thoughts, and think we can actually ease our way in, most importantly drawing on the master's own words, and the writing here is relatively straightforward, or at any rate straightforwarder than, say, that of "The Young Immigrunts, which confronts us with the travel diary of a four-year-old, as edited by his father! (Talk about layers upon layers!)
The thing that always seems important to me to remember in connection with his fiction writing in particular is that he was one of the supreme "ear" as well as "eye" writers in the language, with an extraordinary sensitivity to the sounds and rhythms of the language, and also how that language was translated to paper by the speakers created in his imagination, since these are always their efforts at written communication. When we get to "The Young Immigrunts," for example (Wednesday, I'm guessing), we're going to encounter an exchange recorded by our precocious young diarist, in Chapter 10, which includes one of the funniest and also one of the more-quoted four-word text bits in English. (Naturally, it's pretty much always quoted in ways that make no sense, or even nonsense, of the original sense.) It concerns "my and my fathers trip from the Bureau of Manhattan to our new home" (in "Grenitch Conn"):
In some way ether I or [my father] got balled up on the grand concorpse and next thing you know we was thretning to swoop down on Pittsfield.
Are you lost daddy I arsked tenderly.
Shut up he explained.
Interesting. Can you imagine the selfish ones in the US ever dreaming of helping the country like this? Think about how the bankers had their entire lifestyle rescued and maintained and how they investing heavily in blocking all reform of their irresponsible activities. The Chamber of Commerce would rather be dead than help America like this.
Japan's top business lobby gave the government the green light to scrap a planned cut in the corporate tax rate and urged firms to look at shifting production to western Japan as the nation grapples with its worst crisis since World War Two.
Hiromasa Yonekura, chairman of the Japan Business Federation, said the influential lobby would not fight the government if it decided to shelve a plan to lower the corporate tax rate, which at around 40 percent is among the highest in the industrialized world.
Economics Minister Kaoru Yosano suggested last week the government should reconsider the planned tax cut of 5 percentage points from April to prioritize spending on reconstruction and prevent the country's already massive debt pile from growing.
There is probably a lot more happening in this industry that we should know about, but don't. WSJ:
Nearly 30% of U.S. nuclear-power plants fail to report equipment defects that could pose substantial safety risks, a flaw in federal oversight that could make it harder for regulators to spot troublesome trends across the industry, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's inspector general said Thursday.
The Office of Inspector General said nuclear-plant operators were confused about what they were required to report to regulators about manufacturing defects. One section of federal law, known as Part 21, requires them to report defective equipment that could cause a safety risk, while another section calls for them to report only defects that compromise safety.