Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So there I was yesterday sitting in a booth at Sweet Tomatoes and having a big salad for lunch because it’s good for me and all that jazz. And seated a few booths down from me is this lanky woman in a really cool, pale grey T-shirt with a white and light green argyle diamond pattern on its front and dark green crisscrossing lines throughout. I wanted that shirt. I wanted that shirt bad! And I would have been tempted to go over there and try to charm that woman out of it if it hadn’t been for that dude seated next to her with the sidearm hanging from his belt.

But that got me to thinking about that recent interview I agreed to do with Yoey O’Dogherty - that fifteen minute interview I endured without a drink and which very nearly killed me! And I was reminded of how I badly muffed one of the questions. Mr. O’Dogherty axed me, “What is something most people don't know about you?” I answered something about vegetarianism and Tiny Tim. Acceptable answers, I suppose. But that stranger’s shirt made me realize I could have answered mo' better.


One thing very few people know about me and which I can’t fully and rationally explain is my dislike of dust jackets on hardcover books. I don’t exactly know why I don’t like them but I almost always throw them in the trash. These jackets always seem to be in the way and causing trouble everytime I open a book that’s wearing one; they slip around and get caught between the pages and are just a pain and a nuisance!

Unless the dust jacket has a design on its front that I especially like, or unless it has a photograph of Senator Joseph McCarthy displayed upon it (and you’d be surprised how many books about McCarthy do), usually the first thing I do upon acquiring a hardcover book is trash the dust jacket. Besides the nuisance factor, I want to see what the book REALLY looks like underneath that paper cover: What color is the book truly? Which font was used to print the book’s title across the spine? And after I’ve read a book, I like the book to look like it’s been read. I see no reason to keep it pristine and hiding underneath some annoying paper dust cover.

Sometimes a dust jacket contains biographical information about the book’s author on its inside flap – information that I might occasionally wish to hang on to. In those cases, I will take a pair of scissors, cut the flap off the dust jacket and tuck it inside the book somewhere, tossing out the remainder of the jacket.

The last book I finished reading (last Friday) was ‘THE NEAREST FARAWAY PLACE: Brian Wilson, The Beach Boys And The Southern California Experience’ by Timothy White. My good friend The Flying Aardvark gave me this book for Christmas. Shown above is the book’s dust jacket, which I had to dig out of the trash in order to take this photograph. Up with books but down with dust jackets! Out! Out! Throw ‘em out!


Another very, very important thing about me which few people know is that I really like to wear argyle socks. And the more colorful the better.

My Ma used to give me a new pair of argyle socks every Christmas and on my birthdays. She passed away in 2005, but I still wear some of the socks she gave me. Sadly, however, all of the really colorful ones I wore out long ago; all I have left are the more formal black pairs. I still like ‘em, but they don’t have the same ‘zing’ that some of my older, more colorful argyles did.

My favorites were a pair of argyles that were bright yellow with bright red and blue diamond patterns in them. Hmmm… Or maybe they were bright red with bright blue and yellow diamond patterns. Well, at any rate, they were the primary colors. But my toes wore holes through them many long years ago and they’ve since gone to that Great Argyle Sockland in the sky. Poor sox! Poor, poor sox.

Yeah, like a top-of-the-line Cabernet Sauvignon from Beaulieu Vineyard, I’m a rather complex character: Lots of standout opulent cassis, with lovely undertones of raspberry, boysenberry and chuckberry. The palate is ripe and laden with layers of cedar, spice and leather – black leather, bad to the bone! With tobacco hints that linger. A smooth balance of acid, fruit and tannins with sweet floral notes (but not TOO sweet and not TOO floral, if you know what I mean). Well structured and bright with a supple, satisfying finish. Yup. That’s us, Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet and me.

But buried deep underneath all of those good things making up my character, there’s also a circus clown trying to get out. The only time we see traces of him is when I take off my boots or post some stuffs on my Blogs.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


arlee bird said...

Steverino! (in tribute to Mr. Allen--I'll bet he wore argyles too):

Those are some cool looking socks, but something that would never show up in my sock drawer unless somebody gave some as a gift or I made an absolutely conscious effort to buy some. I always dipped into my father's sock drawer when I was living with my parents and for him it was nothing but black, or on rare occasions brown. I just got into the habit of black socks, then later white tube socks that you can buy big bags full. Not very original, but functional.

Now my wife usually just buys me socks. Sometimes she does catch me looking longingly at the colorful gaudy sock department, but she quickly guides me away as she will have no bright colors in my wardrobe.

I like to remind her that her being Ecuadorian that she should like all those fancy colors like they wear down there. She hates when I talk about that. She detests those travelogues and National Geographic pictures where they show Ecuadorians wearing colorful native dresses, blankets, and bowler hats. Personally I think it looks pretty cool and I've always wanted one of those cool bowler hats, but I guess that's just me.

Dust covers? I always remove it while I'm reading the book, but then I put it back on when I'm finished. I'm okay with dust covers. Did my Stephen King review make you want to rush out and read that book? I know you really would like to.


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>[Did my Stephen King review make you want to rush out and read that book? I know you really would like to.]<<

Indeed, you are correct, sir. I truly would like to read that Stephen King novel. And it's the first thing I intend to do right after I've saved the Republic.

"Stephen T. McCarthy, you've just saved the United States of America! What are you going to do now?"

"I'm going to Disneyland to read 'Under The Dome' while on Mr. Toad's Wild Ride!"

~ Argyle Stephen
<"As a dog returns to his own vomit,
so a fool repeats his folly."
~ Proverbs 26:11>

arlee bird said...

I am laughing outloud, alone in my room in my house and laughing out loud. Nice way to start a day.

Sounds like the start of some song lyrics.

Anonymous said...


Always throw away my dust jackets. They are just a nuisance.

Never have and never will own a pair of argyle socks.

Another split. It seems I'm always running a steady 50/50 with you.

.....Whoooosh WP

Stephen T. McCarthy said...


>>[Another split. It seems I'm always running a steady 50/50 with you.]<<

Actually, even THAT should concern you!

~ "Lonesome Dogg" McMe

Anonymous said...

"Actually, even THAT should concern you!"

HA! ain't that the truth. : )


Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Hey, OL' BREEZE, if you ain't gone with the wind already, I wanna recommend a movie to ya:

I was at The Great L.C.'s house a couple weeks ago and he played me a song from a soundtrack to a movie called "The Commitments." I could hardly believe it when he told me the singer of this particular Old School Soul song was not only White but from Ireland. Man, Otis Redding didn't even sound that "Black."

Saw the movie last Monday and it was good! There were numerous places where I was laughing out loud. Then I got to thinking about my Old School Black buddy (you!) and how much he would like this movie.

So, if you haven't already seen it (which you may have because it's from the early '90s and I'm so behind the times), rent it someday. Your enjoyment is guaranteed.

"Lonesome Dogg" McMovieman gives "The Commitments" a solid "four bones".