Bleah. I just finished watching the children’s-book-contest episode of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. What a grim, unpleasant way to spend the hour. The folks at Random House came off all right — Anne Schwartz smartly seized the opportunity to pooh-pooh the sing-songy rhyme used in the losing team’s effort (and in so many celebrity-written books, though she didn’t say so) — but I really don’t see how the publisher benefits by being involved in such tawdry proceedings.

It is possible, though, that I underestimate the book-buying public’s hunger for an aquatic retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk written by an eight-member collective going by the name “Primarius” and illustrated by… by…

Uh, well, they didn’t say. Thanks, Madonna.

In far better news today, I received an e-mail from the agent I’d corresponded with last week. It was just a quick note to tell me that she’d received the package of manuscripts I’d sent her. What a gracious thing for her to do. And completely out of the ordinary, in my experience. You have no idea how many points that earned her in my book. And it took, what, a minute of her time? Two minutes? Why is that sort of gesture so uncommon in this business?

Meanwhile, there was more to do with The Day-Glo Brothers, including a lunchtime phone interview with a source for the second time in as many days. (Didn’t I say that “finished” is a relative term?) For a while, I was unnerved that one source was referring to something as a type of fabric and another was referring to it as a resinous material (yes, we are getting this nitpicky), but then I realized that they’re both talking about cellulose acetate. It’s a fabric, it’s a resin, it’s a plastic, and so much more!

Oh, and there’s a Category 5 hurricane barreling toward the Texas coast, with vast amounts of wetness expected to reach up here to us in Austin on Saturday. In the meantime, it’s supposed to be 101 degrees tomorrow. Happy autumn, y’all.