Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are.
It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened?
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.
Ask who did the most to shape the English language, and most people will answer Shakespeare. But another writer of much less fame did at least as much: William Tyndale, the first to translate into English the Greek New Testament and most of the Hebrew Old Testament (a follower, Miles Coverdale, finished the work, published in 1526). That work was later a major source of the 1611 King James version. Estimates of his contribution run as high as 90% of the King James New Testament. One of the earliest Tyndale Bibles will be auctioned by Chiswick Auctions today. The estimate of £8,000-10,000 ($10,200-12,700) seems a bargain for the work that immortalised “let my people go”, “the apple of his eye” and “go the extra mile”. Not that it did Tyndale much good: to render God’s word intelligible to ordinary folk was a daring act. He was strangled and burned at the stake for it.
Wait… What is that?
Fragmention is a portmanteau word made up of fragment and mention (or even Webmention), but in more technical terms, it’s a simple way of creating a URL that not only targets a particular page on the internet, but allows you to target a specific sub-section of that page whether it’s a photo, paragraph, a few words, or even specific HTML elements like
<span> on such a page. In short, it’s like a permalink to content within a web page instead of just the page itself.
A Fragmention Example
Back in December Aaron Davis had made a quote card for one of his posts that included a quote from one of my posts. While I don’t think he pinged (or webmentioned) it within his own post, I ran across it in his Twitter feed and he cross-posted it to his Flickr account where he credited where the underlying photo and quote came from along with their relevant URLs.
Fragmentions could have not only let him link to the source page of the quote, it would have let him directly target the section or the paragraph where the quote originated or–even more directly–the actual line of the quote.
Here’s the fragmention URL that would have allowed him to do that: http://boffosocko.com/2017/10/27/reply-to-laying-the-standards-for-a-blogging-renaissance-by-aaron-davis/#I%E2%80%99m%20not%20looking
Go ahead and click on it (or the photo) to see the fragmention in action.
Let’s compare the two URLs:
Note: rather than the numbers and percent symbols, one could also frequently use the “+” to stand in for white spaces like so: http://boffosocko.com/2017/10/27/reply-to-laying-the-standards-for-a-blogging-renaissance-by-aaron-davis/#not+looking+for+just This makes the URL a bit more human readable. You’ll also notice I took out the code for the apostrophe by omitting the word “I’m” and adding another word or two, but I still get the same highlight result.
This can be a very useful thing, particularly on pages with huge amounts of text. I use it quite often in my own posts to direct people to particular sub-parts of my website to better highlight the pieces I think they’ll find useful.
It can be even more useful for academics and researchers who want to highlight or even bookmark specific passages of text online. Those with experience on the Medium.com platform will also notice how useful highlighting can be, but having a specific permalink structure for it goes a step further.
I will note however, that it’s been rare, if ever, that anyone besides myself has used this functionality on my site. Why? We’ll look at that in just a moment.
Extending fragmentions for easier usability.
Recently as a result of multiple conversations with Aaron Davis (on and between our websites via webmention with syndication to Twitter), I’ve been thinking more about notes, highlights, and annotations on the web. He wrotewhich discusses “Page Bookmarks” which are an interesting way of manually adding anchors on web pages to allow for targeting specific portions of web pages. This can make it easy for the user to click on links on a page to let them scroll up and down specific pages. Sadly, these are very painful to create and use both for a site owner and even more so for the outside public which has absolutely no control over them whatsoever.
His post reminded me immediately of fragmentions. It also reminded me that there was a second bit of user interface related to fragmentions that I’d always meant to also add to my site, but somehow never got around to connecting: a “fragmentioner” to make it more obvious that you could use fragmentions on my site.
In short, how could a user know that my website even supports fragmentions? How could I make it easier for them to create a fragmention from my site to share out with others? Fortunately for me, our IndieWeb friend Kartik Prabhu had already wired up the details for his own personal website and released the code and some pointers for others who were interested in setting it up themselves. It’s freely available on Github and includes some reasonable details for installation.
So with a small bit of tweaking and one or two refinements, I got the code up and running and voilà! I now have a natural UI for highlighting things.
What else would be nice?
I can’t help but think that it would be fantastic if the WordPress Fragmention plugin added the UI piece for highlight and sharing text via an automatically generated link.
Perhaps in the future one could allow a highlight and click interaction not only get the link, but to get a copy of both the highlighted text and the link to the URL. I’ve seen this behavior on some very socially savvy news websites. This would certainly make a common practice of cutting and pasting content much easier to do while also cleverly including a reference link.
Medium-like highlighting and comments suddenly become a little easier for websites to support. With some additional code, it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump to dovetail this fragmention functionality with the W3C Webmentions spec to allow inline marginalia on posts. One can create a fragmention targeting text on a website and write a reply to it. With some UI built out, by sending a webmention to the site, it could pick up the comment and display it as a marginal note at that particular spot instead of as a traditional comment below the post where it might otherwise loose the context of being associated at the related point in the main text. In fact our friend Kartik Prabhu has done just this on his website. Here’s an example of it in his post announcing the feature.
You’ll notice that small quotation bubbles appear at various points in the text indicating marginalia. By clicking on them, the bubble turns green and the page expands to show the comment at that location. One could easily imagine CSS that allows the marginalia to actually display in the margin of the page for wider screens.
The book that started it all!
I’d originally read this sometime around 1988 after seeing the Warner Bros. feature film of the same name. It’s not quite as over-the-top as the comedy of the film and the humor is a little sharper and wrier.
For the most part, the plotline of the text is nearly identical to that of the film with a few exceptions mostly relating to names of characters and casting (warning: spoilers follow):
- The Collins family has been renamed Boyd, likely so as not to run afoul of the name of author Joan Collins.
- Fletch’s editors Clara and Frank are concatenated into the character of just Frank.
- Fletch’s beach girlfriend Bobbi doesn’t exist in the film, likely to focus more on Joan.
- Montgomery is a younger high-school aged student with more social ties than the Gummy of the film.
- Stanwyk is not involved in the drug trade and his death at the hands of the Chief of Police is motivated by a different bit of plot. He also has an additional local paramour. His character and motivations are much better delineated in the book and several characters backing this up were missing from the film.
- Much of the shennanigans of the film was added there and didn’t exist in the book, though almost all of the motivating comedy and sense of humor is surely there.
- Large chunks of dialogue from the film are drawn almost directly from the book.
- The film is obviously a bit more cinematic and kinetic with Fletch doing much more movement, travel, and even chase scenes to make things in the film move along, while the book is a bit more balanced and even realistic.
Certainly there are many other differences, but this covers the broadest spectrum.
In this motivating text for the remainder of the series, Fletch is drawn as a very clear-cut and incredibly interesting character with a fantastic sense of morality and humor. Of the parts of the series I’ve read thus far, this is definitely one of my favorites, second only perhaps to Confess, Fletch.
Here the cat-and-mouse-game between Fletch and Joan is better delineated and the relationship between Fletch and Stanwyk’s father is quirkier and more interesting.
If you enjoyed the movie (and even if you didn’t), you’re sure to appreciate this as fiction, particularly with Mcdonald’s ability to paint a picture with words and write story through character.
A brief note on the physical text
This is assuredly an optical character recognition scanned version of the original text. There are a dozen or so obvious typos that didn’t get fixed. There are more than several places where a temporal change in the plot occurs, but the additional line returns that were originally included to indicate the break are now missing. This can make reading portion a bit annoying. The quality control of the typesetting of the e-book text could certainly have been much better.
- 08/7/16 marked as: want to read; “The Rio Olympics reminded me that I’d gotten Carioca Fletch to read back in the 80’s and never got around to it, so I thought I’d come back and revisit the series.”
- 09/16/16 marked as: currently reading
- 09/19/16 27.0% “So far this is maybe even better than I remember it.”
- 09/20/16 68.0% “This just keeps getting better. I’m enjoying some of the subtle differences between the film and the book. No surprise that the movie renamed Joan Collins to Boyd. I know I’d read this 20+ years ago and I remember it being darker than the film, but the tone seems lighter to me now somehow.”
- 09/22/16 100.0% “A slightly different ending than one in the film, but still nicely tied together… Possibly my second favorite in the series so far.”
Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia
“What’s your name?”
“What’s your full name?”
“What’s your first name?”
“Irwin. Irwin Fletcher. People call me Fletch.”
“Irwin Fletcher, I have a proposition to make to you. I will give you a thousand dollars for just listening to it. If you decide to reject the proposition, you take the thousand dollars, go away, and never tell anyone we talked. Fair enough?”
“Is it criminal? I mean, what you want me to do?”
“Fair enough. For a thousand bucks I can listen. What do you want me to do?”
“I want you to murder me.”
—Page 1 · Location 37 This is the first exchange of the book and a really great opening
The license plate of the car was 440-001.
—Page 3 · Location 68
The paintings in the room were not particularly good, in Fletch’s opinion, but they were real.
—Page 4 · Location 92
“I’m a fairly reliable-looking drifter.”
—Page 5 · Location 106
“Bye, Clara. Nice talking with you. Don’t get any crumbs in Frank’s bed.”
—Page 9 · Location 180
“Wise ass. What if some ladies were around?”
“There are no ladies in California.”
—Page 10 · Location 193
“Dishonest of me, I know. “But as Pappy used to say about violating virgins, ‘Son, if you’re not the first, someone else will be.’ ”
—Page 12 · Location 231
“My extension is 705. Many thanks.”
“No. I.M. Fletcher.”
—Page 13 · Location 264 Like the man says: ‘I’m’ Fletcher, not Christ.
“Vicious and violent. Bullshit. One night I stepped on the cat’s tail.”
“You pitched the cat through the window of your seventh-floor apartment.”
“The whole place smelled of cat.”
—Page 15 · Location 297
“There you are, Mr. Gillett. Thanks for stopping by. I’m sorry we’re not on the seventh floor.”
—Page 16 · Location 313 Fletch had just mentioned throwing a cat out of the window of a 7th floor apartment.
Before leaving, Gillett tried to look haughty, but only succeeded in looking as if he were in the early stages of a sneeze.
—Page 17 · Location 324
Marvin and Helen Stanwyk, Nonheagan, Pennsylvania.
—Page 24 · Location 458
You just fired someone.”
“As a matter of fact, I just did.”
“A kid in the city room. He had been calling people up and asking them stupid questions, saying he was someone from the Associated Press.”
“Really? How awful! I always tell people I’m from the Chronicle-Gazette, myself.”
—Page 26 · Location 487
“Fletcher, we have to talk.”
“Are you up to it?”
“That’s why I thought we should have lunch. In the cafeteria. Put your shoes on.”
“You’re not taking me out?”
“I wouldn’t be seen in public with you. Even a drugstore lunch counter wouldn’t let us in, the way you dress.”
—Page 27 · Location 495
“See you upstairs. Put your shoes on.”
—Page 27 · Location 503
Clara Snow had ordered an uncut bacon-lettuce-tomato sandwich on toast. When she bit into it the two edges of toast nearer Fletch gaped as if about to bite him.
—Page 27 · Location 504
“I don’t resent women. I rather like women.”
“You haven’t had much luck with them.”
“My only mistake is that I keep marrying them.”
—Page 28 · Location 512
He chewed his calves’ liver open-mouthed.
“Such principle,” she said, sucking Coke from a straw.
“You can’t tell me you haven’t made every strung-out little girl on the beach.”
“That’s different. That’s for a story. I will do anything for a story. That’s why I put penicillin on my expense account.”
—Page 28 · Location 519
“If there is no one to complain for a kid, the law don’t give a shit.”
—Page 30 · Location 548
“A dowdy old thing. She always reminds me of an Eskimo full of baked beans. I mean, she looks as if, if she ever got unfrozen, she would evaporate in one enormous fart.”
—Page 41 · Location 748
Your style is exactly what Beau Brummel did in his time. All Brummel did, you know, was to bring the lean, simple country style into the city.”
—Page 41 · Location 754
—Page 41 · Location 763 An interesting use of the word from the 70’s. I don’t think I’ve seen it again until the early 2000s otherwise, and then in reference to tattoos.
His apartment was on the seventh floor of a building that had everything but design. His apartment— a living room, a bedroom, bath and kitchenette— was impeccably neat. On the wall over the divan was a blow-up of a multiple cartes-de-visite by Andre Adolphe Eugene Disderi.
—Page 53 · Location 973
In an ell of the room,
—Page 57 · Location 1035
“I used to be a pretty good house burglar myself,” Creasey said. “I even had equipment.”
“I got ripped off. Some bastard stole my burglary equipment. The bastard.”
“A fuckin’ riot.”
“You should have had business insurance.”
—Page 63 · Location 1153
Utrelamensky. John Utrelamensky.”
—Page 69 · Location 1268 One of Fletch’s pseudonyms
—Page 87 · Location 1585 What a fun word, and somehow so culturally 1970s
“John Zalumarinero,” Fletch said.
—Page 87 · Location 1587 One of Fletch’s pseudonyms
He knows less about cows than I do, and all I know is that a cow is square with legs sticking out at the corners.
—Page 92 · Location 1687
“Sorry I didn’t get to meet their daughter, Julie.”
“Jesus, I wish she had a sister so I could beat one of them to death with the other one. Have another drink?”
—Page 93 · Location 1693
Some of these people had been hanging fire two or three days.
—Page 99 · Location 1808 What a great phrase for people with no drugs.
Sitting on the divan under the Disderi, he ate two delicatessen sandwiches and drank a bottle of milk. On the coffee table in front of him was the big tape recorder. On the wall across from him was a copy of William James’s Cherry Beach. After he had finished his sandwiches and milk, he went into the bedroom and lay on the bed. Facing him was a copy of Fredric Weiss’s 1968 photograph of a boy apparently walking in midair beneath two roofs, Boy Jumping.
—Page 101 · Location 1832
“Jim Swarthout speaking.”
“Hi, Jim. This is Bill Carmichael.”
—Page 101 · Location 1840 Another of Fletch’s psuedonyms
“I’ve got a lot of painin’ to do. To make up for what I did.”
—Page 112 · Location 2030 Painin’ is such a great word here. (Presuming it’s not a typo from OCR…)
Fletch wanted to open the window, but the window jack handles had been removed. The police were probably afraid someone would try to commit suicide by bopping himself on the nose with one.
—Page 115 · Location 2085
But again, she was educated and experienced without the flash that makes champions. And she was without the playful joy of the beginner.
—Page 142 · Location 2570 This description was used to describe both Joan’s tennis ability and then a few pages later her ability in bed.
“God, what a moniker. Zamanawink— say it again?”
“— eraleski. Zamanawinkeraleski.”
“You mean someone actually married you with a name like that?”
“Yup. And now there are three little Zamanawinkeraleskis.”
“What was her maiden name? I mean, your wife’s?”
“That’s a nice name. Why would she give up a nice name like that to become a Zamabangi or whatever it is?”
“Zamanawinkeraleski. It’s more distinguished than Fletcher.”
“It’s so distinguished no one can say it. What is it, Polish?”
“I didn’t know there was a difference.”
“Only Poles and Rumanians care about the difference.”
“What is the difference?”
“Between Poles and Rumanians? They make love differently.”
“Twice I’ve made love Polish style. Now I’ll show you how a Rumanian would do it.”
“Polish style was all right.”
“But you haven’t seen the Rumanian style yet.”
“Why didn’t you make love Rumanian style in the first place?”
“I didn’t think you were ready for it.”
“I’m ready for it.”
It was eight-thirty.
In forty-eight hours Fletch was scheduled to murder her husband.
—Page 144 · Location 2605 Another of Fletch’s pseudonyms sparking an interesting passage.
—Page 147 · Location 2644 Fat Sam’s original name.
“Oh, I forgot: you’re a pulse-taker. When I was home for lunch, Mrs. Stanwyk was still ticking over nicely. The older models are the best, you know. Better built, and they use less fuel.”
—Page 162 · Location 2916
If I remember rightly, girls have a couple of legs under them, a hank o’ hair up top, and a couple of protuberances about grab height. That about right?”
—Page 162 · Location 2921 Marvyn Stanwyk’s definition of girls.
“What I mean is, did you mean girls, or girl?”
“I’m in the hardware business, son. I’m apt to speak in gross lots.”
—Page 162 · Location 2923
She insisted it happened only once, but as Mother Goose said, once is enough.
—Page 164 · Location 2953
R. Sanders Fletcher
—Page 168 · Location 3030 The pseudonym Fletch uses at the Newspaper
All I ever won in the marines was a disease coffee doesn’t cure.”
“Do you still have it?”
“No. I lost it on a toilet seat.”
“At City Hall, I hope.”
“Probably. I thought you picked up the Bronze Star years ago.”
—Page 176 · Location 3164
Prowling the room, watching her, Fletch had the sudden, irrational desire to marry Joan Collins Stanwyk.
—Page 180 · Location 3232
“How very interesting. You go to that much effort for one paragraph?”
“You should see the efforts I go to sometimes for paragraphs I don’t even wite.”
—Page 181 · Location 3246
“The thing that tipped me off was something your wife said the other night when we were in bed together.”
—Page 187 · Location 3358 A great quote that made it directly into the film.
“Helluva story this morning, Mr. Fletcher.”
“Thanks for reading the News-Tribune.
—Page 192 · Location 3434
—Page 192 · Location 3444 A nice bit of newspaper terminology
—Page 32 · Location 601 Should be ‘I’ instead of ‘You’.
—Page 68 · Location 1244 There should be a text break above this.
“The Nonheagan Inn. Good afternoon.”
—Page 85 · Location 1566 Text break before this.
“Swarthout Nevada Realty Company.”
—Page 86 · Location 1575 Should have text break before this.
—Page 111 · Location 2009 Should be a text break before this.
—Page 141 · Location 2540 Typo: should be “Your”.
—Page 151 · Location 2728 “it” instead of I (typo)
At six o’clock
—Page 183 · Location 3289 text break before this
—Page 192 · Location 3444 typo: should be “l”
“Anytime you’re ready, Mr. Fletcher.”
—Page 195 · Location 3494 text break before