Archive for the ‘Bookish’ Category

Life is some bizzaro fuck of a treadmill lately, the more ground I gain the more the horizon seems to creeps steadily away. Mostly I’m just ornery cause the book aint done yet. Ain’t close to done. and the more progress I make, well, I already made that metaphor. So much for me getting shit together around here. Everything has been shoved a bit into the background while I piece together the grab bag of Akea pieces that is the Madness project. That’s the biggest reason why there hasn’t been much up here lately, nor have I launched the other projects I keep mentioning, though plans keep being made.

I just finished reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail of 72. In fact when I sat down to write this post, the intention was to do another of those ‘vocab’ pieces, but playing catch up turned into that little spiral of self pity at the top of the page. Anyhow, I should just get on with it.

If you weren’t conscious of the goings on in American politics during the Nixon era, you may have to slog through this one. In fact, I don’t suggest a straight read of this five hundred page drug addled ode to inside baseball. I love doctor Thompson’s, but most people aren’t enough of a political junkie to keep up with this amount of detail in their own decade. However, if you are a friend of mine and you’re reading this, what I suggest is that you borrow my copy and only read the parts I’ve notated. that much would be worth it. If you aren’t, you’ll probably be fine just reading this. Good luck is that at least a third of the book is Thompson bitching about deadlines and putting garbage in his mojo wire (fax machine) to confuse his editors at Rolling Stone.

 

careful, this is a long one

 

[due to him missing deadlines Rolling Stone] showed up at my door, with no warning, and loaded about forty pounds of supplies into the room: two cases of Mexican beer, four quarts of gin, a dozen grapefruits, an enough speed to alter the outcome of six super bowls.

When Professional antagonists become after-hours drinking buddies, they are not likely to turn each other in… but unlike other correspondents, I could afford to burn all my bridges behind me….[I’m here] to write about it-as close to the bone as I could get, and to hell with the consequences.

without some extremely powerful speed there might not be any final chapter. about four fingers on king-hell Crank would do the trick, but I am not optimistic. There is a definite scarcity of genuine, high voltage Crank on the market these days.

cord  – unit of measurement for wood measuring 4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft. (a volume of 128 cubic feet. )

when a man gives up drugs he wants big fires in his life.

[on racism] I have noticed the fear syndrome clouding even my own mind: I find myself ignoring black hitchhikers, and every time I do I wonder, “why the fuck did you do that?” and I tell myself, “well, I’ll pick up the next one I see.” and sometimes I do, but not always

Charley Starkweather – an American teenaged spree killer who murdered eleven people in the states of Nebraska and Wyoming in a two-month murder spree committed between December 1957 and January 1958.

nothing like a big hit of red corpuscles to give a man the right lift for a rush into politics

[on ‘good’ politicians] you might as well go looking for cherries in a Baltimore Whorehouse.

discoteques – this is what night clubs were referred to in the 70’s

George McGovern, the only candidate in either party worth voting for, is hung in a frustrated limbo created mainly by the gross cynicism of the Washington Press Corp…but it is hard to recall any candidate in recent history who failed to move what is now called “The McGovern Vote” to the polls if they actually represented it.

What Nixon and Mitchell have done in three years-is reduce the US supreme court to the level of a piss-poor bowling team in Memphis

live steady. Don’t fuck around. Give anything weird a wide berth – including people. It’s not worth it. I learned this the hard way, through brutal overindulgence.

…back to Chicago; it’s never dull out there. you never know exactly what kind of terrible shit is going to come down on you in that town, but you can always count on something. Every time I go to Chicago, I come away with scars.

These kids are turned off by politics, they say. Most of ’em don’t even want to hear about it. All they want to do these days is lie around on waterbeds and smoke that goddamn marrywanna.

[on objectivity] the only thing I ever saw that came close to objectivity was a close-circut TV setup that watched shoplifters in the General store at Woody Creek, Colorado…with the possible exception of things like box scores… there is no such thing as objective journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.

how many more of these goddamn elections are we going to have to write off as lame but “regrettable necessary” holding actions? And how many more of these stinking double-downer sideshows will we have to go thought before we can get ourselves  straight enough… to give 20 million people a chance to vote for something, instead of always being faced with that old familiar choice between the lesser of two evils…it has been 12 years since I could look at a ballot and see a name I wanted to vote for… in ’68 I spent half a morning in the county courthouse getting an absentee ballot so I could vote out of spite, for Dick Gregory.

I feel the fear coming on, and the only cure for that is to chew up a fat black wad of blood opium about the size of a young meatball…peel back the brain… and get locked into some serious pornography.

whatever might be said about Nixon-and there is still a serious doubt in my mind that he could pass for human-he is a goddamn stone fanatic on every facet of pro football.

there are only two ways to make it big time in politics today: One is to come out like a mean dinosaur… the other is to tap the…disillusioned electorate that has long since given up on the idea that we all have a duty to vote…Robinson calls it the “sleeping giant vote” Dellums… called it “the nigger vote” but he wasn’t talking about skin pigment
“it’s time for somebody to lead all of America’s Niggers, by this I mean the Young, the Black, the Brown, the Women and the Poor- all the people who feel left out of the political process. If we can put the Nigger Vote together, we can bring about some real change in this country”

The thing  the political bosses want most is for young people to drop out… because they know young people can change the system, and the bosses don’t want change… no wonder that McGoverns Manchester headquarters is full of people who talk like nervous PoliSci Students on job leave.

60,000 Americans have died for that mistake, along with several million Vietnamese… the United States Air Force will rank as the mist efficient gang of murderers in the history of man.

presidential candidate George Romney…tried to ignore it. He knew the TV cameras were rolling so he curled up his mouth in a hideous smile and kept waving at the crowd as they continued to chant “Romney eat shit! Romney eat shit!”

The nut of the problem is that covering this presidential campaign is so fucking dull that it’s just barely tolerable… the only thing worse…is having to come back to Washington and write about it.

wont – in the habit of doing something, accustomed to

the main problem in any democracy is that crowd-pleasers are generally brainless swine who can go out on stage & whup their supporters into an orgiastic frenzy – then go back to the office & sell every one of those poor bastards down the tube for a nickel apiece.

ken – ones own knowledge or sight

bastinado – eating the soles of a person’s feet as a form of corporal punishment.

ibogaine – a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in plants in the Apocynaceae family such as Tabernanthe iboga, Voacanga africana and Tabernaemontana undulata. A psychedelic with dissociative properties,

one of the most frustrating realities of this goddamn twisted business is the situation where somebody says “I’ll only answer your question if you promise not to print it”

Dick Tuck  – to my surprise is not a made up person. He was a political consultant, campaign strategist, advance man, and political prankster for the Democratic National Committee

if you’re a safe happy nice young republican, you  probably don’t want to read about things like dope, rock music, and politics anyway.

Cazart – made up word by Dr. Thompson. something equivalent to AHA! holy shitsnacks! I should have known!

File cards are handy for canvassing and for people who want to get heavy into the Dewy Decimal System, but they are not much good for cataloging things like Lust, Ambition, or Madness.

as the demonstrators approached… they found themselves walking a gauntlet of riot equipped police on one side and martini sipping GOP delegates on the other

the demonstrators  were a useless mob of ignorant chicken shit ego junkies who… embarrassed the whole tradition of public protest

am I turning into a politics junkie? It is not a happy thought – particularly when I see what it’s done to all the others.

This may just be the year when we finally come face to face with ourselves…we are really just a nation of 220 million used car salesmen with all the money we need to buy guns, and no qualms about killing anybody else in the world who tries to make us uncomfortable…
McGovern made some mistakes, but in context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon  does eery day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for.
Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be President?

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It’s time for another vocab lesson with the Dirty Old Man! This time we’re doing Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Like last time, I’m not going to review the thing (gods know there are more than enough people doing that these days). I’m just gonna run through words that stood out to me.

 

 

This is the quote that opens the book:

Maurice Sendak to Art Spiegelman in the New Yorker – I remember my own child hood vividly I knew terrible things, but I knew I mustn’t let adults know I knew them. It would scare them.

 

Catkins –  Sometimes, even if I know what something is, especially a plant or animal, but I don’t see it often, I’ll look up a picture so’s I can keep up with the author.

 

Dowsing –  a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites,[1] and many other objects and materials without the use of scientific apparatus. [I’ve always heard this called water witching.

 

Trestle – a framework consisting of a horizontal beam supported by two pairs of sloping legs, used in pairs to support a flat surface such as a tabletop.

Poulter – Poltergeist

 

Shuck – a person or thing regarded as worthless or contemptible.

 

Girls and Boys come out to play – an old Nursery rhyme 

 

In those dreams I spoke that language too, the first language, and I had dominion over the nature of all that was real. It is the most basic building brick of everything in my dreams I kept a perfect little bed and breakfast by the seaside, and to everyone who came to stay with me I would say in that tongue, “Be whole” and they would become whole, not be broken people, not any longer, because I had spoken the language of shaping.

 

That’s the trouble with things. Don’t last very long, Kittens one day, old cats the next. And then just memories. And the memories fade and blend and smudge together…

 

I do not know why I did not ask an adult about it. I do not remember asking adults about anything, except as a last resort. That was the year I dug a wart from my knee with a penknife, discovering how deeply I could cut before it hurt, and what the roots of a wart look like.

 

Small children believe themselves to be gods, or some of them do, and they can only be satisfied when the rest of the world goes along with their way of seeing things.

 

I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children’s stories. They were better than that. They just were.

 

When he got angry enough to shout at me he would occasionally remind me that he did not hit me, as if to make me grateful. In the school stories I read, misbehaviour often resulted in a caning, or the slipper, and then was forgiven and done, and I would sometimes envy those fictional children for the cleanness of their lives.

 

Narcissi  – Daffodils

 

Counterpane – a bedspread.

 

Why do I find the hardest thing for me to believe, looking back, is that a girl of five and a boy of seven had a gas fire in their bedroom?

 

Mangle (object) – Called a Wringer in the United States. a mechanical laundry aid consisting of two rollers in a sturdy frame, connected by cogs and, in its home version, powered by a hand crank or electrically. While the appliance was originally used to wring water from wet laundry, today mangles are used to press or flatten sheets, tablecloths, kitchen towels, or clothing and other laundry.

 

Oh, Monsters are scared… That’s why they’re monsters.

 

Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.

 

Knucklebones – Jacks (the ones you catch while bouncing a ball, not the men’s toilet)

 

The second things I thought was that I knew everything Lettie Hempstock’s Ocean flowed inside me, and it filled the entire universe, from egg to rose. I knew that. I knew what Egg was —Where the universe be can, to the sound of uncreated voices singing in the void—and I knew where rose was—the peculiar crinkling of space on space into dimensions that fold like origami and blossom like strange orchids, and which would mark the last good time before the eventual end of everything and the next big bang, which would be, I knew now, nothing of the kind.

 

Skeins –  a length of thread or yarn, loosely coiled and knotted; tangled or complicated arrangement, state, or situation

 

Spotted dick – a pudding popular in Britain, containing dried fruit (usually currants or raisins) commonly served with custard.

 

 

Shuffle says: “Psychological Recovery… Six Months” Hans Zimmer Sherlock Holmes

I recently finished Wanted which was brilliant and like most things I like a ballsy as fuck (yes that’s a technical term. Industry lingo and whathaveyou) graphic novel.  Millar keeps up a good pace, spending very little time with the whole training montage schtick, which I very much appreciate. So we get right on to the good shit.

The most important thing Millar does with this books is explore supervillans. There’s still ‘good guys’ or rather I should say protagonists with whom you can sympathize which makes it all the more brilliant when you see just how evil the ‘good guy’s are. In this regard, nothing else I can think of comes close.

We love to root for the bad guy, but we also limit their evil. The Sopranos, Sons of Anarchy, Vampires; these guys are just bad enough to make them sexy, but when you get down to it they are (relative to circumstance) not all that bad. The MC gives back to the community. The mob is ultimately a family friendly business. The psychopath only kills bad people. The Vampire doesn’t feed on humans. The Rebel Alliance, The Crew of Serenity. The list goes on.

Weaksauce ALL. (due respect to some fantastic works that I just listed)

The fact is, they aren’t bad guys. They’re antiheroes and within the diegesis of their respective media, laws and morality are clearly understood as separate entities and they always end up on the side of ‘Good’.

Wanted pulls all the stops. The Fraternity identifies themselves ans supervillians and the mean it in every sense of the word. The main characters steal rape and murder at will without hesitates and are still your protagonists. Though it’s not just a gratuitous romp of sex and violence. Wanted pursues a real exploration about villainy.

My favorite scene revolves around this central theme. The main character, Gibson, has recently began his career as a supervillain [I would like to note at this point that the word ‘superhero’ is accepted by my spell check while ‘supervillain’ is not]. After a heist he returns home to his fuckbuddy Fox after blowing off some steam. By blowing off steam he means stopping at a police precinct and killing every cop inside. Save one. A female that he briefly considers raping before breaking down in tears and running home. He tells Fox, “This supervillain stuff is starting to feel forced”. He didn’t want to kill the cops, wasn’t even looking at them as he blew them all away. Something must be wrong with me, he thinks.

Fox tells him that every supervillain goes through this phase at some point. What’s important to realize is that being a supervillain isn’t about violence. It’s about doing what you want to do. And some days that means raping your favorite A-list celebrity and sometimes that means sitting at home all day and just watching TV.

This argument by Millar is simply wonderful. The whole book he keeps comparing being a bad guy to being a man, juxtaposing Gibson’s old life of getting shit on by his boss, working a dead-end job in a cubical, being constantly cheated on by his girlfriend, his best friend treating him like shit, with a Nietzschen Ubermench version of himself doing whatever the fuck he wants.

The other thing Millar does really well here is addressing the collective understanding of superhero’s (without setting himself up to be sued). Fox is a jewel thief who wears ‘fox’ ears (that’s Catwoman for all of you who never read a comic book). We witness the execution of “the detective” with whom she used to be fuck buddies and his “boy sidekick” (Batman and Robin, but honestly if you didn’t pick up on that one, this blog might not be up your alley). The Professor secretly keeps as his prize possession a red cape that once belonged to the greatest of them all (Superman. Oh did I mentions here be spoilers), That man is now confined to a wheelchair and bear a striking resemblance to Christopher Reeves.

It is a world without superheros. A world where the bad guys won.

They never say their names, but they don’t have to. Your psyche instantly connects you with who they are and you can’t help but feel a sense of loss somewhere deep in your guts.

The end then becomes a liberation and all because Mark Millar was not afraid to delve.

.

Post Script: Since writing this post, I’ve discovered there’s a movie vaguely inspired by this work. I only got in bits and pieces, but from the looks of it, has about fuck all to do with the comic. The one tiny thing it does have going for it, is about 9 seconds of Angelina Jolie naked.

Fucking Post

Posted: 25 July, 2012 in Bookish, Reviews
Tags: , ,

Shuffle Says: “Summer Time” Sex Bob-omb Scot Pilgrim vs. The World

Keeping in short and sweet today. There’s a queue of 57 posts I’ve been putting off for the past month that I need to get working on along with finishing up a bevy of short stories. I’ll be back with drinking games on Friday, but for now the below picture caught my eye and I posted it above my desk in the new flat (which is fucking gorgeous, but more on that some other time) between Buddha and the Jolly Roger flag. I think it well encapsulates my mindset lately.

 

 

to follow up yesterdays kickstarter post here’s another one I thought all you literate types might like

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bookriot/start-here-read-your-way-into-25-amazing-authors

Slan

In the Dumps: Maurice Sendak

Posted: 10 May, 2012 in Bookish

Shuffle Says: “Close to the Floor” Natalie MacMaster My Roots are Showing

I honestly don’t know what else can be said of the man. I don’t know much about him. I still have my copy of Where the Wild Things Are. I used to chase my cousin around the living room yelling  “I’ll roar my terrible roar, and roll my terrible eyes, and claw my terrible claws, and gnash my terrible teeth!… You cannot go! I’ll eat you up I love you so”.

I’m just going you leave you with this.

and here’s my dear friend Spike dressed as one of my favorite characters ever. I hope she doesn’t mind

The Hipster-Bro Continuum

Posted: 8 May, 2012 in Bookish

 

Hipster-Bro Continuum

The Hipster-Literary-Bro Continuum | THE LITERARY MAN.

Shuffle Says: “Tear in Your Hand” Tori Amos, Tales of a Librarian

I’m not going to do a whole 52. As you may notice some of these are carry overs from last year’s. Some because they still need to be finished others need to be reread.

For those just tuning in, last year I was inspired by Sasha Grey when she claimed to read a book a week, so I came up with a list of 52 books I wanted to read by then end of the year.

I didn’t get to them all, but that’s OK. Something that I noticed is that what you set out to read at the beginning of the year doesn’t always coincide with what you want to read in say July, or even March. In 2011 read about 35 books – only about two thirds were on the list – and I’m cool with that. I’ll shoot for more this year. However, I’m not going to try and come up with 53 for the year. Instead, I filled one notebook page with books to read which seems like enough for now. At the very least I’ll revisit it in June if not sooner.

So with out any more Gilding the Lilly and with no more ado what so ever, here it is, the books of 2012 are:

Cities of the Plain Cormac McCarthy

Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy

T-Zer0 Italo Calvino

Sandman: World’s End Neil Gaiman

Sandman: The Kindly Ones Neil Gaiman

Sandman: The Wake Neil Gaiman

Stardust Neil Gaiman

House of Mystery: The Space Between Matthew Sturges

Making Comics Scot McCloud

Reinventing Comics Scot McCloud

To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee

The Rum Diaries Hunter S Thomson

The Garden of Eden Ernest Hemmingway

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman Haruki Murakami

The Wind Up Bird Chronicles Haruki Murakami

Peter Pan JM Barry

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay  Michael Chabon

The Crying of Lot 49 Thomas Pynchon

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey

The Malteese Falcon Dashell Hammet

The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler

The Call of Cthulu and Other Stories HP Lovecraft

The Body Artist Don Delillo

The Best New American Voices

The Story Behind the Story

The Anchor Book of Non Required Reading

The Portable Beat Reader

Art By Committee Charna Halpern

Persopolis Marjane Satrapi