Thursday, June 18, 2009

Free Opining! Open 24 Hours!

Here's your chance to participate in a totally unscientific poll. No door prize, no trophy, no goody bag; but you do get to spend your own two-cents worth of opinion!

Read the two samples below, and vote for the one YOU think is the most entertaining to read.

Then, I'll divulge who the authors are unless you can guess yourself (and, no, neither offering is my own invention).


Ah, Shapiro, the victor of Waterloo drew apart to shed bitter tears for the dead (slain under his orders). Not so my ex-Missis. She does not live between two contradictory Testaments. She is stronger than Wellington. She wants to live in the delirious professions, as Valery calls them - trades in which the main instrument is your opinion of yourself and the raw material is your reputation or standing.

It was not terribly original, this idea of Shapiro's, but he did a good clear job. In my review I tried to suggest that clinical psychologists might write fascinating histories. Put professionals our of business. Megalomania for the Pharaohs and Caesars. Melancholia in the Middle Ages. Schizophrenia in the eighteenth century. And then this Bulgarian, Banowitch, seeing all power struggles in terms of paranoid mentality - a curious, creepy mind, that one, convinced that madness always rules the world. The Dictator must have living crowds and also a crowd of corpses.


In Cleburne during the 1950s, we always looked forward to October. This meant the World Series, the Texas-Oklahoma football game, and the State Fair in Dallas. We just called it The Fair.

Actually, that's pretty much what it has been since its inception over a hundred years ago. With revenues of over $100 million for Dallas each year, the State Fair is second only to Christmas as a religious event.

The Fair of 1956 would prove to be especially religious for the teenaged girls of Cleburne. Elvis was coming. To the rest of the world, he wasn't The King yet, but he was to our girls.

The boys loved him, too, but we would never admit this to the girls. "He's not so hot," my argument went. "He's certainly no Sinatra. Why, when Sinatra opened at the Paramount Theatre in New York in 1941, thousands of girls got heart attacks - and died!"

But of course my psychology failed, and on that momentous night, hundreds of teenaged girls in hoop-skirts fetched their fathers' binoculars and squeezed into cars driven by desperate mothers and headed east on Highway 67, bound for pelvis-pumping, hip-gyrating, lip-curling, ducktailed glory at the Cotton Bowl. This convoy of ecstasy formed at the courthouse and reached all the way to back on West Henderson Street to the football stadium.


joared said...

I'll pick Example 2 'cause I don't have to think so much. That's saying something, 'cause I'm not really that interested in mindless mass idolatry.

bill / prairie point said...

don't ask me.

Erin said...


Anonymous said...

#2, without a doubt.


Cowtown Pattie said...

First selection from a Pulitzer prize winner - Saul Bellow.

Second selection from a local north Texas writer - Tom Dodge