Monday, June 22, 2009

Authors in the blogosphere

A couple of authors mentioned occasionally in this space have taken to the blogosphere. First up is Scott Philips (right), whose odd new collection of items bears the marvelous title Pocketful of Ginch. I don't know what ginch is, but the blog looks like fun.

Matt Rees has had a blog for a while, but he's picked up the pace lately. One post that might have readers howling for his head is a scathing discussion of Stieg Larsson's Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I don't expect the book's partisans will enjoy what Rees has to say, but he more fully articulates than do most critics one fault that even some of the book's fans acknowledge, and he has some fun with another aspect that I had not seen discussed previously.

Question to readers: What's ginch?

© Peter Rozovsky 2009

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57 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know, but I hear it somehow saved Chistmas.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And saved the day for all the Whos listening to the Who and smashing their guitars in Whoville.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

And do you suppose the ginch is a big ganch?

June 22, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

I think I know, but I'll let you all guess. But a hint is that you could find the defintion in the same place you'd find the one for 'ganch'. The word has many definitions, apparently. But only one seems appropriate.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Ooh, is this discussion ever interactive! Thing is, Scott Phillips is not Irish, though he has some Irish fans.

V-word: meter

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I'd done a brief search for a definition when I made the post, but I gave up when I found an entry for the Ginch Ganch Underwear Company. Now I find that that's appropriate for the word's meaning in Western Canadian slang.

Its British meaning is synonymous with one slang meaning of knish.

Once again, Scott Philips is neither British nor from Alberta or British Columbia. How he chose his blog's name, I don't know.

June 22, 2009  
Anonymous Jerry House said...

When I was younger, in rural Massachusetts, ginch referred to a female, not necessarily in favorable terms.

Edd "Kookie" Byrnes (of 77 Sunset Strip fame) ended his hit song (?) with the heart-felt words "Baby, you're the ginchiest!"

Any relationship between the two paragraphs above is purely speculative.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

This is turning more educational than I thought. That first meaning may relate to one of the meanings I found, unfortunately. It's not hard to imagine how a slang term might oscillate between favorable and unfavorable connotations.

I wonder if these meanings stem from a common matrix, ot whether some may have evolved independently.

June 22, 2009  
Anonymous Timothy Hallinan said...

If they evolved from a matrix at all, it was definitely a common one.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Any matrix that gave birth to terms for a woman and for men's briefs is indeed fertile and versatile.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Although I'm sure at the root they're all related, the most apt definition I saw has to do with neither women or with men's underwear. Have no idea where Scott picked it up, though.

Tim, I'm hearing good things about your books around these parts--the third just arrived at our store in paperback this afternoon, coincidentally.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The implication, Seana, is that I'll have to find that meaning myself, I suppose.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Well, someone should. You could probably just guess it, really.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Perhaps its one of the meanings I came up with the sixth comment in this string, one that, er, hesitate to discuss in mixed company.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Nope.You could easily discuss it in mixed company.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Er, ginch is British slang for the female genitalia.

There. I said it.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

It's not the definition I think he's meaning, though.

And if one meaning of ginch survived the Atlantic crossing as Jerry mentioned above, it seems safe to guess that others did.

I have to say that this is not the most common meaning of the word, but it does seem to be the only one that makes any sense in the context.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Dang, but this calls for a more intensive search, then. I'll be right back.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Actually, I take it back. Looking at Scott's blog, I'm not sure just what he means by it. For all I can tell, he might mean 'collectible robots'.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Aha!:

Ginch 6 up, 38 down
Slang for English Currency
"I'm fuckin fuming, I lost all me Ginch playing black jack in the Gauntlet last night when I was Bladdered"


Readers of the Urban Dictionary seemed not to like that one, but I suspect that may be because they are unfamiliar with this particular meaning.

I like the usage example for this definition, though dictionary's readers did not:

8. Ginch 2 up, 35 down
Any item that can (or should) be squinched (c.f.).
Hey, Philadelphia, squinch the ginch!!

June 22, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Yep, you found the source of my definition. I don't know how reliable it is, but it does have the advantage of making Scott's blog title comprehensible.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I wonder what it says about open reference sources like Urban Dictionary and Wikipedia. I generally like the thumbs up/thumbs down rating, but I wonder if the predominance of thumbs down in this case casts light on a legitimate meaning.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

Me too. There's something that sounds authentic about it, even if it turns out to be a very localized expression.

June 22, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I could appeal to some of my English friends for help. Or the next time I'm in England, I could walk up to strangers and ask, "Brother (or sister), can you spare some ginch?" and see what happens.

June 22, 2009  
Anonymous Ian said...

Actually forget it. I was going to suggest Adrian mackinty but then I read the comments on his recent post and find that you've got this one covered!

Ian Fehrty

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, Adrian's an established presence on discriminating bookshelves and RSS feeds everywhere. Scott Philips is newer to the world of blogging, and Matt Rees has recently shifted from solely promoting his own novels to blogging about crime fiction and the world at large.

Thanks for the visit. Come back soon.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Peter, I just got "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" from the library, and I'm wondering if I saw it mentioned here and that's what prompted me to get it. But I don't see a search function which would allow me to look through your archives to see if you'd discussed it. Am I blind?

captch: voodiol -- What Morton Thiokol was targeted by after O-ring malfunctions

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

You could type "Stieg Larsson" in the "search blog" box at the top left. That should get you to any posts that mention his name. In addition, each post has a list of terms by which I've indexed it. You'll find these after the word labels at the bottom of the post. Click on "Stieg Larsson," and that will get you to all posts that I've labelled with his name.

A voodiol might be what people were sticking needles into in order to cause the O-ring malfunctions.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger seanag said...

I don't think you're blind, Linkmeister, but I'll just tell you that my search box for the blog shows up in the header bar above the title box.


v word=haiker. Nature-loving walker who at the same time strives to imitate a very structured short form of Japanese poetry.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

A haiker could be that which appeals to a salty old hillbilly who appreciates structured, short, often imagistic Japanese poetry:

"Yep, Jethro, I'm a-fixin' to set right down and compose me some of them 17-syllable haikers."

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Oh hell. My excuse is that I'm not used to using the Blogger search box for anything at all.

Okay. Did you ever review the book? I'm on page 45 and finding it intriguing.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

And after searching by label, it appears you haven't yet reviewed either of the two which have appeared in English. Maybe I will.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Yep, each blog host does things differently enough to confuse a visitor from another host.

I am one of the relatively few people in the crime-fiction universe who has not read Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I may wait until the fuss starts to die down.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

Peter, I don't remember hearing the term ginch used in England. But of course as a product of an English public school that produced some of the great literary writers of the last century slang terms were not in our vocabulary.

I have reviewed and discussed Stieg Larsson and Lisbeth Salander at great length over at Crime Scraps. I know this is heresy but you could even delve in to book two and leave book one, classifying it as a learning process for Larsson. Two is a infinitely better book.
I would not want people to be put off {as I was before conversion] by the turgidity of book one. :o)

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Philip said...

I am sure Norman is right in his first paragraph, Peter. That fine school has also produced a host of international rugby players, including some very notable recent ones, and it is well-known that after they get their heads surruptitiously stomped on by an opposing player, their customary response is "I say, you naughty fellow, that's not exactly playing with a straight bat, what?", or some variation thereon of equal moderation and verbal purity.

June 23, 2009  
Anonymous marco said...

My brilliant v-word, fecker, makes me think that the school attended by our verificator may have been somewhat less refined.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Uruah/Norman, that is heresly, all right. I was once warned that starting with the second book was not to be done. And you were one of the heretics I had in mind when I noted the opinion of some that the first book can be slow going. Rees suggests that this is due to its excessive resemablance to a magazine article -- a nice explanation, I think.

Perhaps I will start with The Girl Who Played With Fire.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Philip, I suppose those same rugy players, disgusted by a bad call by an official or rough treatment from opposing fans, will stare down the offenders with a disdainful "Tchah!"

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Or maybe our verificator hangs out with Gerard Brennan.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

"Tattoo," from what I can tell, is not so much slow going in spots as in need of an editor who said "nah, the innards of the new laptop aren't of interest to the average reader," and (maybe, since I've seen no sign of it yet) "why are you throwing in these sex scenes which are extraneous to the plot?"

I've gone from p. 45 to p. 329 since my last comment about it. And I'm #74 on the waiting list for "Fire" at my library.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I've read that suggestion before, that the first book could have used an editor. That doesn't seem to be stopping you, though, and many others as well. More power to the patient readers among us. Let me know what you think when you're done with the book.

June 23, 2009  
Anonymous Elisabeth said...

Oxford English Dictionary says:

slang (orig. and chiefly U.S.).
An attractive woman, esp. (freq. depreciative) one regarded as an object of sexual gratification. Also as a mass noun: such women collectively.

1934 J. D. CARR Eight of Swords ix. 98 He found himself walking away beside this lithe, bright-eyed, altogether luscious ginch in the tennis frock. 1960 Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune 5 Dec. 3/3 Flip little ginch, ain't yuh? 1971 E. TIDYMAN & W. FRIEDKIN French Connection (film script) (Electronic text) 6 A close shot of a chorus line, with lots of tits and ass and lean, long legs... Russo takes the seat on the right, eyes immediately on all that ginch. 1992 C. NOVA Trombone (1992) III. 242 Well, I guess that's Dean's last piece of ginch, isn't it? There isn't any romance or desperate women where he's going. 2002 J. A. JACKSON Badger Games 17 You're shaggin' the ginch. I seen her, not a bad little piece of ass.

A ginch seems to be somewhat worse than a twist:

slang (chiefly U.S.).
A girl, a young woman (freq. depreciatory).

When I first began to read period crime fiction in earnest I soon found OED to be an excellent source not only for definitions but sources. It's often fun to read OED's blend of dead-pan definitions and sometimes wild text selections.

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

The O.E.D. citations are among the pleasures of reading. I'd love to have an O.E.D. on my desk, a full-size one, not the two-volume edition with the magnifying glass in a little drawer.

Those ginch citations tally with what seem to be the more frequent meanings of the word. The Urban Dictionary's "slang for English currency" definition is the only one of its kind that anyone here has come up with. But you know, this may bear yet further investigation.

I always liked "twist," perhaps because I have rarely encountered it, less frequently even than "frail."

June 23, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

Okay, I've now finished "Tattoo" and feel it's safe to go read Matt Rees' take on it.

My review is here, if you're interested.

June 24, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That was an interesting brief review. I had not known that the novel's protagonist invoked Agatha Christie when he set out to solve the novel's central mystery.

The brevity of your discussion highlights the book's several investigations and invites the reader to contemplate the oddity of a situation in which investigators are being investigated and then enlisting the help of the people investigating them.

Readers who have not liked the book and even some who have say the book moves slowly. I wonder if Larsson, a first-time novelist, failed to integrate the novel's social and physical milieu with its tale of investigation.

June 24, 2009  
Blogger Linkmeister said...

"I wonder if Larsson, a first-time novelist, failed to integrate the novel's social and physical milieu with its tale of investigation."

Oh, no. There's almost too much exposition about Sweden's "guardianship" laws (under which Lisbeth chafes, to say the least); and as to the physical, well, it's an island in Scandinavia. Cold is a big feature.

June 24, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

That's what I meant. I wonder if Larsson got so caught up in the exposition that he sometimes forgot or failed to keep the story moving.

It may be sadly ironic that Larsson's partner is suffering some hard times these days because of Swedish inheritance law.

June 24, 2009  
Anonymous marco said...

Peter, I know you have oftentimes expressed your disdain for Science Fiction and Fantasy , but look what Hebrew Punk Sf Author Lavie Tidhar had to say in a panel on international sf/f:

"To be honest, the way I get to read non-Anglophone writers is mostly in the crime genre, which seems to be a lot more open to translating in the field - so the Cuban or Japanese or French writers I do read are crime writers - check out Detectives Beyond Borders, which is a great introduction. "

v-word: fattorte

June 25, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Io non mai ho fatto nessun torte.

I don't know nearly enough about science fiction and fantasy to express disdain for it. At most I might have thumbed my nose at some easily lampooned aspects and gross stereotypes. If one wants to slip Eoin Colfer's work into the fantasy genre, then I'm happy to say that I greatly enjoy at least one fantasy series.

I'm not sure why I haven't been drawn strongly to speculative fiction or fantasy (and I'm not clear on any differences between the two terms). Perhaps I like to do my own imagining rather than have someone do it for me, at least when the imagining gets extravagant.

My graphic-novel reading has veered to the sci-fi/fantasy side, not just with Watchmen but also with Alan Moore's wonderfully enjoyable Top Ten.

In any case, thanks for passing on this news. I have tracked down the comment, and I'll try to send My. Tidhar a thank-you note.

June 25, 2009  
Blogger "Reg" said...

Hi Peter, I haven't found "frail" to be that rare, especially if you ever listen to Cab Calloway, who used it a lot, notably in "Minnie the Moocher." Talk about ginch.

June 25, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

I guess we hang around a different class of dames.

In fact, I have run across "frail" in the past year -- in Paul Cain, perhaps. Or maybe Megan Abbott uses it in Queenpin.

June 25, 2009  
Blogger "Reg" said...

Maybe David Goodis used it too?

You're right, my dame is pretty high-class.

June 25, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

A real doll!

I've read some Goodis even more recently. (Earlier this year, I joined a memorial service by Goodis' grave where fans read from his work, followed by a pleasant lunch.) I suppose he might have used the word, but I always had the idea that frail was more a product of the '30s. Of course, that was a magnetic decade, attracting all unattributed words into its orbit, so I couldn't be sure.

June 25, 2009  
Blogger "Reg" said...

You've got a point, it does sound more 30s. Read Cab's autobiog for some great stuff: Of Minnie the Moocher and Me (Thomas Y. Crowell, 1976).

June 25, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

OK, Cab's autobiography it is, as soon as I get done with a few more crime novels and Berlioz's memoirs.

I think my first exposure to Cab Calloway's music was through cartoons. I hate to sound like an olf f---, but I have to think today's kids lose out on the exposure to classical and jazz that we got through Warner Brothers and other cartoons of the time.

June 26, 2009  
Blogger "Reg" said...

How true, how true. Stokowski in Fantasia, for example. Stravinsky killing the dinosaurs!

June 26, 2009  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Or Elmer Fudd singing Wagner: "Kill the wabbit! Kill the WAB-bit!"

Any time I've heard music in cartoons in more recent years, it's been generically peppy soft rock -- the worst, in other words.

June 26, 2009  

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