Tap into your inner Raymond Chandler to finish phrases


April 05, 2009|By DAVE ROSENTHAL

On March 26, the literary world marked the 50th anniversary of Raymond Chandler's death. The author of The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely was, along with Marylanders Dashiell Hammett and James M. Cain, a creator of the cynical, hard-edged private eye. His characters knew that politicians had something to hide, cops were on the take, women were dangerous distractions and whiskey kept a man sane.

Chandler's writing was simple, straightforward: "I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a house in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun." And he was noted for sharp descriptions that were often laced with irony: "the voice got as cool as a cafeteria dinner," "his smile was as stiff as a frozen fish," "she was as cute as a washtub."

Now you have a chance to channel Chandler, by imagining what he would write today. Just complete these phrases in his style:

1. as - as a Dick Cheney sneer.

2. as - as an A.I.G. bonus

3. as - as a Democratic Congress

4. as - as a Madoff expense account

5. as recession-proof as ---

6. as - as a Gitmo cell

7. as - as Obama's TelePrompter

8. as unemployable as -

9. as - as a Detroit assembly line worker

10. (provide your own here)

Here's what some Read Street readers had to say:

The waitress shoved the cup-o-joe in front of me; it was as bitter and cold as a Dick Cheney sneer. - Ed

as self-righteous as a Democratic Congress - Gail

as cheerful as a Gitmo cell - Fleisch

as unemployable as Rush Limbaugh at a nudist hemp-macrame collective's job fair - Cornelia

as recession-proof as a back-yard still - Ellen

Do you have other suggestions for these Chandler-isms? Send them to me in an e-mail or a comment on Read Street.

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