The Best Short Novels

Have you lived?

Have you lived? Then why can’t you ever laugh?

Nobody wants to read a whole novel anymore. The form died a long long time ago. But it’s still possible to experience superior prose in a few hours. Here are the best.

Miss Lonelyhearts, Nathanael West

Cat and Mouse, Gunter Grass

Notes from Underground, Fyodor Dostoevski

The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

Hard Times, Charles Dickens

Master and Man, Leo Tolstoy

I used to think, well, never mind what I used to think. It’s irrelevant now. It’s just that I feel the need for someone else to read, or have read, something. Anything other than Philip Dick or Robert Heinlein. And Isaac Asimov and Arthur Clarke don’t count either.

You can find them all at Amazon and probably at Kindle too. Maybe some are free.

I enjoyed fiction once. I stopped enjoying it when I developed objections to linearity as writing technique. But now I miss the shared knowledge of the canon. There were a lot of us who had read the same books, shared the same touchstones of what we used to call culture. People who had read at least one more book than Atlas Shrugged.

Never mind. It was a fugitive desire. Gone by morning, no doubt. Probably inspired by all the fake sophistication of Red Eye. None of them knows anything, has ever read anything, or believes in anything. They’re just smart.

I want to shoot pool. Something real for a change. And quote Swinburne to somebody who knows what I’m saying as well as he can play eight ball.

Ever done a four wheel drift? A wheelie? Never mind.

Just tired of fake and hollow wit and wisdom. Not that you exhibit that routinely. But I miss the richness of life, the laughter and thought as well as the ideology. Forgive me.

Hannity Tonight

Raebert and I are still disagreeing about how we see the guy. My view’s on the left, his is on the right. Maybe we’re both right this time.

Once again, Hannity’s trying to prove the obvious. And once again, he feels compelled to invite the participation of one of the most indefatigable Democrat spinners, Lannie Davis.

The president may have oversold the plan a bit. But it's still a great plan.

The president may have oversold the plan a bit. But it’s still a great plan.

There’s also a Democrat pollster who thinks it’s more important to fix the website than investigate what went wrong. And Yuppies who insist that the intentions are so good it doesn’t really matter how badly ObamaCare misses the mark.

Yada yada yada. But the Democrats are offset by the (as usual) outstretched legs of Kimberley Guilfoyle.

Democrats are dumb.

Democrats are stupid, but… yeah, stupid.

All is well. (Okay. Other people are saying other things, but who cares?) Sean is smiling. Let not your heart be troubled. He knows he can bring back the dead and broken body of ObamaCare sooner or later.

Even a poodle has serious skills.

Even a poodle has serious skills.

What Raebert tells me, anyway. Hounds don’t retrieve. Ever. He’s a fan of the clowns who do what people command them to do. It astounds and mystifies him. And he has faith in The Guilfoyle’s legs.

Not much I can do with him. Sorry.

P.S. More seriously, the poodle proved worthy of his breed. He did something fine. Having called the 800 number for ObamaCare, he learned that the operator he spoke to got fired for answering his questions honestly. He made it right out of his own pocket (a year’s worth of income) and got her a job to boot. It’s possible he’s a nice guy despite his incredibly low forehead.

Yo, Sean. Yous a gentleman.

Yo, Sean. You’s a gentleman.

Tonight on the Kelly File


So Megyn asked a good question: In light of the disaster, any chance the MSM is feeling guilty for not having asked hard questions about ObamaCare before it became law? Howard Kurtz, the new Fox News media critic, was forthright in his answer. Well, he reported, the New York Times and the Washington Post have both run stories in the last few days asking hard questions about how well this law is going to work. That ought to put the kibosh on rumors of media bias. He was beaming like a cocker spaniel whose mistress just got home. You could practically hear his little tail wagging. Wow. Such journalistic integrity.

Then Megyn tossed her hair around and went on to more important subjects. Thank God for Fox News.


He's got the Starfleet pedigree; I've for the Vulcan brain. He’s got the Starfleet pedigree; I’ve got the Vulcan brain.

Yeah. We spend a lot of time watching the news together. We process it in different ways. Sometimes we watch on the iPad and his nose is inches from the screen, his super focused sighthound eyes. He’s sensitive to voices, music, he leaves when he’s offended, because he’s not as logical and unencumbered by emotion as I am.

But we mostly don’t fight because of the mind-meld. We just visualize things differently — I with my less accurate human sight and he with his infallible vision. When, rarely, I see photographically, I’m still somehow a step behind.

For example…

<imageimageIt’s worse now that I have a truly rotten attitude and see almost everything as a cartoon, utterly divorced from any reality I would have recognized a few years ago. As I understand Raebert, he’s resisting that kind of reduction. Where I perceive only two-dimensional imaging, he still somehow detects life. Take Hillary. I see Cruella Deville, and he sees a living being, a member of his own family, however remotely related.


And so it goes. Maybe he’s right some of the time. How do you see Kathleen Sebelius?

image. image


We were simpatico on John Kerry too, I'm thinking.

But we were simpatico on John Kerry, I’m thinking.

Essentially harmless.

I was wrong about McCain. I thought him essentially harmless.

The deerhound view. He's a ferocious, indiscriminate killer.

The deerhound view. He’s a ferocious, indiscriminate killer.

My biggest miss. Here’s how I saw Nancy Pelosi.

The evil queen from Snow White.

The evil queen from Snow White.

How Raebert sees her.

So true.

Mirror, mirror, make it stop.

There’s more. Much more. We’ll get to it in time, in future Washington updates. But I’ll close with one where we seem to be convergent, although his vision is ever so much sharper than mine.

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

That was mine. Weak compared to Raebert’s.


Sarah Palin. He knows. I’ll try to do better.

It’s Cartoon Time!

Let's transition to a wholly animated universe, eh Raebert?

Let’s transition to a wholly animated universe, eh Raebert?

Now for an update…

The president is closeted with Kathleen Sebelius to prepare her for next week’s congressional hearings.

Whatever you do, don't crash and burn near me!

Whatever you do, don’t crash and burn near me!

Meanwhile, the White House press secretary is doing his best to defend the administration and deflect attention from the president.

Me. Carney, is the White House prepared to admit that the president has established a pattern of running away from every blossoming scandal -- Fast & Furious, IRS, NSA, Benghazi, and now Aren't you administration flacks starting to wonder what sort of sniveling coward he is?

Mr. Carney, is the White House prepared to admit that the president has established a pattern of running away from every blossoming scandal — Fast & Furious, IRS, NSA, Benghazi, and now Aren’t you Obama flacks starting to wonder what sort of sniveling coward he is?

Oops. Raebert’s not entirely pleased. I’ll have to get back to you.


Nothing to see here.

Nothing to see here.

We’re just about an hour into the congressional hearing in which the principal software contractors are testifying about their roles in All we’ve had so far are opening statements by congressmen and the four witnesses.

Interestingly, to hear the witnesses tell it, they performed their jobs as contracted, met their goals, and are proud of their work. So I guess the system is actually working quite well.

Who knew?

Somehow I doubt congress is going to make much of a dent in their jargon-filled testimony. But we’ll see.

uh, Ms. e elites, how was the gala in Boston last night?

uh, Ms. Sebelius, how was the gala in Boston last night?

Bob Beckel is Drunk

Slurring and incoherent. Actually, nicer than usual.

Slurring and incoherent. Actually, nicer than usual.

I was going to cite some facts and anecdotes about his recent appearances on The Five. But he makes everything up to suit his own purposes, so screw it.

His much ballyhooed sobriety is gone. He slurs his words, he nods off when he thinks he’s off camera, and he can’t keep his hands off Kimberley Guilfoyle.

Guilty as charged by me.

Obama’s Third Term


Help me out here. I’m a big picture guy, not a lawyer. It’s obvious upon reflection that ObamaCare is supposed to fail and bankrupt all the private sector insurance companies. Which feeds automatically into single payer government control of all healthcare, which means the government owns your body and everyone else’s too.

But there’s not enough time for this to happen in Obama’s second term. He needs, must have, a third term, paving the way for the title ‘President for Life.’

I know that the easiest path is an excuse for the declaration of martial law. But somehow it seems too obvious. Except that I can’t think of a way more suited to O’s authoritarian personality. So, I guess, the excuse has to seem like an unexpected calamity. Collapse of the world economy in the aftermath of Iran nuking Israel? Collapse of the world economy following a 50 percent crash in the stock market and the hyper-inflation generated by the traitorous chairman of the Federal Reserve who finally stopped printing money backed by nothing? Another 9/11 scale attack on the nation that succeeds in spite of the valiant efforts of the NSA to protect us by listening to our bedroom conversations via bugs in our wives’ negligees?

Or will it be as simple as the sudden death by toaster malfunction of Justice Scalia, leading to a good-will Republican confirmation of Van Jones as his replacement and a sudden reversal of the 22nd Amendment in a test case involving the Obama Action Committee’s fundraising for the 2016 election.

Or maybe he’ll just declare that he’s running for a third term and the New York Times will tell us that any opposition is mere racism, and Eric Holder will explain that, once again, the Constitution doesn’t matter.

As I said, I don’t know. You smart ones need to lend a hand.

The Washington Rednecks

Rednecks with a capital “R.” It’s the perfect solution. A way out of the PC nonsense and a lesson to boot.

Not without precedent. Here’s an actual Washington helmet from the past:

Yup. It was and could be again.

Yup. It was and could be again.

Oh. The feathers. They have to be replaced. Easy. Redneck war dress includes something called headers.

How a Roadrunner scalps a Goat.

How a Roadrunner scalps a Goat.

Oops. Did I say something incorrect? Ah, forget it. That’s something we can move beyond with the new name. Redneck is a pejorative term far more commonly used these days than Redskin. The latter is, if offensive to some, quaint, the memory of a hard-on nobody has anymore. The former is a contemporary raging hard-on of a whole generation of spoiled twits who live in high rises and gated communities and sneer at the ones who don’t. Meaning the ones who do all the real work, like, say, building their high rises and gated communities, and the roads they drive their Bimmers on, and the electrical and electronic grids they simply couldn’t live without. And, aw, they didn’t go to college, which means they don’t know all the crap that just ain’t so which “informs” the cognoscenti who dismiss them as a worthless, faceless herd of fools.

You see, Redneck is not a racial term, except perhaps to the Yuppies who stereotype them all as white trash. In reality, there are rednecks of every ethnic and geographic origin. They do a lot of stuff outdoors. They shoot guns, they hunt, they bowl, they have pig roasts on the Fourth of July, they go to church or they make excuses for not going to church, they usually didn’t arrive here on the Mayflower but on the run or in chains, their wives and girlfriends show off their figures and dance to sexy songs played by jukeboxes, they live everywhere in the country, including New York City, where they insist on liking Elvis and Aretha more than Bach or The Beatles, and all the suited ones just know they are the stupid cattle it is their mission to rule and confine to their seedy trailer parks.

Fair enough. Except that Rednecks don’t care what you think of them. Unlike every other group whose sensitivities liberals spend so much time protecting, Rednecks are an active target no one even tries to protect. Why is that? Partly because liberal tolerance doesn’t extend to those they can’t exploit as useful victims. And partly because Rednecks actually revel in liberal disdain.

That’s gotta hurt. Everybody else has a rights group, a defense group, an attack group, a litigious little army of resentful paranoids. Rednecks have a BRAND.

And they love it. Think that’s an overstatement? They’re not as dumb as you suppose. They know they’re the only acceptable target of vicious bias based on stereotypes left in our politically correct banana republic. And more than that, they know your contempt for them is tantamount to the minstrelsy tropes you make up inferentially in the ordinary speech of your political opponents. They’re happy to play this role. They. Expose. Your. Absolute intolerance.

We'll still be here when you're escaping to Switzerland.

We’ll still be here when you’re escaping to Switzerland.

Some Brit said no man is a hero to his valet. Think about that. You write regulations for an agency in DC. Pretty important, huh? Some Redneck unstops your toilet when your shit clogs the pipes. Maybe way more important, huh?

Could be the real reason liberals hate Rednecks so virulently and openly is that they refuse to be victims and aren’t buying your phony, superior act.

And they know that some part of you secretly envies them.

They don't make these at Bryn Mawr.

They don’t make these at Bryn Mawr.

Talk about reparations… DC power players have plenty to make up for with the hardworking people they’ve scorned as trash while they do almost nothing worthwhile. Here’s a solid first step.

And because I can’t not do this, Redneck Opera. Or do you prefer Redquiem? Or maybe Redneck Aria… Unless you want downright Redneck Tragedy our president would only laugh at, which this is, truthfully, awfully, and left as a lifelong burden to the lady who wanted something in red. She got it. No. Not kidding. You could look it up. Rednecks routinely experience emotions ten times the intensity of the drab who sneaks smokes out of sight of his wife in the White House.

Won’t do what I could — Cher, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Mylie. The braindead empties of a lost generation.

Me? I’ll stick with the Rednecks.


Just follow the candy.

Shut up and follow the candy.

New hypothesis. He’s just a precocious but emotionally arrested kid with borderline sociopathic tendencies.

His Rose Garden performance today was an astonishing display of denial and willful self-delusion.

He’s living in a universe that simply doesn’t exist. In point of fact the specific reasons for his break with objective reality don’t matter. He actually preened on stage, backed by people who didn’t really enroll in ObamaCare, and delivered an infomercial for a program that does none of the things he insisted it does.

The people whose job it it is to scurry around with pre-printed cabinet petitions asking the president to remove himself from power for reasons of personal incapacity should be scurrying double time right now.

He’s in a state mental health professionals normally refer to as a psychotic break. Whatever reality he thinks he’s in is not the reality the rest of us are living in.

My advice? Give him a Lego set and tell him it’s the best way to “transform” America in the remainder of his term in the asylum, er, office.

NOTE TO FOX NEWS: if you want to preserve your reputation as being distinct from the mainstream media, please be advised that the term “glitches” was retired by all but leftists a week or so ago. A system that doesn’t work at all isn’t suffering from glitches. It’s a software disaster. So it might behoove you to remove the term from your chyrons and the mouths of your anchors and opinionators. Also, as with the Global Warming nonsense of a few years ago, don’t go to political pundits for comment on science and technical matters on which they are entirely ignorant. Nina Easton knows nothing about the dire intricacies of software development and failure. Get someone who knows what the hell he is talking about or do another segment on the latest Victoria’s Secret show.

I guarantee you she knows as much as the real calamity lurking inside ObamaCare as Nina Easton of Fortune magazine.

I guarantee you she knows as much about the real calamity lurking inside ObamaCare as Nina Easton of Fortune magazine.

Although her costume probably cost less than Nina’s usual get-up.

My hobbies are quantum econometrics and Univac machine code.

My hobbies are quantum econometrics and Univac machine code. And classic Chanel.