Great Mystery Fiction, Emoticon-Style

I was reading an article about emoticons: you know, those little doodads that serve as a sort of end punctuation in emails.

Here are some classics:

🙂    Smiley face

😐    Neutral face

😦    Frowny face

Of course, we also have those great Web acronyms/abbreviations:

LOL  Laughing out loud

TTYL  Talk to you later

OMG  Oh my God

I was thinking that it might be fun to ruin some classic works of mystery and literary fiction with Internet abbreviations (and their common overuse of punctuation). Here are some great first lines, emoticonized. I think I prefer the originals.

Agatha Christie, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

Mrs. Ferrars died on the night of the 16th-17th September–a Thursday. 😦

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

When I think of my wife, I always think of her head.  WTF!?!

Josephine Tey, The Franchise Affair

It was four o’clock of a spring evening; and Robert Blair was thinking of going home. 😐

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. 😉

Scott Turow, Presumed Innocent

This is how I always start: “I am the prosecutor.”  OMG

Stieg Larsson, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

It happend every year, was almost a ritual.  ?????????

Elizabeth George, In the Presence of the Enemy

Charlotte Bowen thought she was dead. 😦

Alexander McCall Smith, The Handsome Man’s De Luxe Cafe

Precious Ramotswe, creator and owner of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective agency, friend of those who needed help with the problems in their lives, and wife of that great garagiste Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, felt that there were, broadly speaking, two sorts of days. There were days on which nothing of any consequence took place–these were in the clear majority–and then there were those on which rather too much happened. On those eventful days you might well wish that a bit more would happen; on days when too much occurred, you longed for life to become a bit quieter. 🙂


No Graffiti, Please

No Graffiti

I think the city of New York needs to better understand the importance of good typography.

Here is a serious, rather long-winded anti-graffiti policy posted on one of the 10,000 construction sites in NYC. Do the Powers That Be picture a graffiti artist/tagger running up to a blank wall, spray paint in hand, and stopping to read a bunch of legalese?

I’m not a graffiti artist (I only play one on TV), but I think people like Banksy and others would see these signs as a sort of challenge they simply cannot resist.

I wish this photo were better: I took it around midnight with a cell phone. Next time I’m in that neighborhood, I’m going to walk past this site again to see if the dire warning has kept those pieces of plywood nice and pristine. I am not feeling very hopeful…

Rules for Living … and Aging

Rules for Aging


I came to these two very different books in different ways. They represent both sides of the self-help coin.

I met Kingsley Gallup, author of Project Personal Freedom, at BookCon 2014. I liked her forthright style, and as she was signing books, I flipped through this one. I liked what I saw. This is a page-a-day book, with a piece of advice or wisdom for each day. The book focuses on what’s most important in life – in finding yourself, being true to yourself, and trying to live a life that you find fulfilling. Life goes by in a rush, and I know that I don’t always take the time to step back and assess … everything. Kingsley’s book encourages you to do exactly that.

Roger’s Rosenblatt’s Rules for Aging is a very different book. I found it while browsing the Bas Bleu catalog. While Kingsley’s book generates light, Roger’s is the cynic’s delight. What word, other than cynic, can you use to characterize a man who advises you to consult with people you don’t respect, and then send them thank-you notes? And yet, there’s a certain wisdom in here that will make anyone of a certain age smile and nod.

Years ago I read an article stating that self-help books really can and do help people; these books ably do exactly that, but in very different ways. I enjoyed both.