1. Sarah Vaughan - Body and Soul
2. Nick Drake - Bryter Layter
3. U2- Stay (Faraway So Close)
4. Steely Dan - The Fez
5. The Squirrel Nut Zippers - It Ain't You
6. Ladytron - Cracked LCD
7. Yo La Tengo - Periodically Double or Triple
8. The Beautiful South - Woman in the Wall
9. Morphine - Cure for Pain
10. Nat "King" Cole - This Can't Be Love
Friday, April 27, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
I've had the omnibus collection of Lewis Carroll stories for years now. I bought it when I worked at a discount bookstore, so in addition to it being cheap at that point anyway, I also got an employee discount. Since I bought it I've been meaning to read Sylvie and Bruno, but never got around to it. Until now, natch.
S&B was written much later in Charles Lutwidge Dodgson's life than the Alice books. They were at this point something of a burden for him, at least the way he saw it. As an author he was seen as something of a one hit wonder. Hence this story of a brother and sister who are both human and fairies, and how they cope with their father being betrayed by political underlings.
Here instead of the children transporting themselves to the fantasy world through a rabbit hole or a porous mirror - or a wardrobe, as a later author might have done it - they just toggle back and forth with not much thought and really no warning. This dream like jumbled-up quality may be the story's most interesting element. James Joyce was an admirer.
From what I've read so far, the lack of quality villains is the biggest problems. In Carroll's Alice books, the Queen of Hearts and the Red Queen are horrible and monstrous, but they're also colorful. They don't take away any of the story's fun. In Sylvie and Bruno, the Vice Warden and his wife and their son Uggug may be evil, but it's in a drab way. In fact Uggug is less creepy than retarded, simply drawing the short straw to become one of the antagonists.I'm still in the process of reading, so I'm also in the process of deciding how successful the venture is. If nothing else I am inclined to keep on until the end.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Saturday, April 21, 2012
1. Morphine - Mary Won't You Call My Name
2. The Kinks -Victoria
3. Talk Talk - Living In Another World
4. Duke Ellington - Crosstown
5. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings - Nobody's Baby
6. Finn Riggins - Dali
7. Pink Martini & Saori Yuki - Yoake No Scat (Melody for a New Dawn)
8. Nick Drake - Sunday
9. Sly & the Family Stone - Poet
10. They Might Be Giants - When Will You Die
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
"Did you ever look at the stars so long," she continued, "that you almost became a part ofthem, so that when a lightning bug flew past your vision it got all mixed up with the Milky Way?" Did you ever sit alone for hours chewing the cud of your own futility, hating yourself for being yourself and blaming life for making you so? Well, that's the way I feel to-night. It's time for me to be moving on. I've enjoyed this sort of stuff too long. There are other things to do. I don't mean better things, merely more interesting ones. Our capacity to enjoy life should be measured by our ability to create life, or beauty or some form of happiness. So far I've created nothing, only a constant confusion, a restless, discontented stirring in the ether."
I'm glad to have read Thorne Smith's Topper. As far as I can recall, I never saw the movie. My guess is that Cary Grant's George Kerby character was expanded from the book.
For most of its length it's a well-made but very much of-its-time comic fantasy. In the final chapters, it achieves an ethereal beauty, and the dissatisfied middle-aged husband of the title finds a new kind of contentment. Sort of a fairy tale ending, but an unexpected one.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Can't blame her for not dating guys who approach her on the basis of seeing her show. That must get old pretty quick
But I have to wonder how you find out that this is one of your talents. How do you learn that you are one of the few who can successfully pull off this truck, and not one of the many who would painfully and perhaps fatally lacerate your internal organs.
Even more so, how did the first sword swallower come about? Since the Stone Age swords had been used to kill food animals and battlefield enemies. Who first said, "I can fit one of those in my trachea, and I'll be just dandy." My first thought was "failed suicide attempt", but that's about the least attractive method.
Sidenote: I haven't been good about responding to comments, mostly because I've been logging in while minutes away from passing out. But I'm getting to that.
Friday, April 13, 2012
1. Sly & the Family Stone - Spaced Cowboy
2. Ladytron - cease2exist
3. Brian Eno - Julie With...
4. Pink Martini & Saori Yuki - Du Soleil Plein Les Yeux (Eyes Full Of Sun)
5. The Magnetic Fields - Xylophone
6. Nick Drake - At the Chime of a City Clock
7. Morphine - Candy
8. Talk Talk - Desire
9. The Beautiful South - I'll Sail This Ship Alone
10. SArah Vaughan - They Can't Take That Away From Me
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Sunday, April 8, 2012
The truth is, I want to be known as a writer who can write almost anything. That extends to character. I don’t want to spend my career specializing in twentysomething white guys with a college education who come from working class backgrounds because that would get really boring, really fast. When I take a roll call of the characters I’ve written over the past few years and check them for gender alone… well, it’s embarrassing.
Know the feeling.
It may be an excuse, but I find women harder to write because girls are more thoroughly socialized from a young age. My own rather pronounced introversion and terseness make me kind of an odd duck as a man. If I were a woman those traits would be outright discouraged, maybe on threat of witchburning.
Of course whatever the reason, it's better to at least know this is a deficit and to work on it. Some male authors "know" that they understand women and can write them naturally, in the same way that Peggy Hill knew she was a fluent Spanish speaker. It's not pretty.
Friday, April 6, 2012
On another note:
1. Talk Talk - Living in Another World
2. Sarah Vaughan - I Cried For You
3. The Cramps - Jungle Hop
4. The New Pornographers - Mystery Hours
5. Jimmy Smith - Memories of You
6. Sly & the Family Stone - Thank You For Talkin' to Me Africa
7. Morphine - All Wrong
8. Brian Eno - Through Hollow Lands (For Harold Budd)
9. The Kinks - Nothing to Say
10. Steely Dan - Sign in Stranger
Thursday, April 5, 2012
The Angel Esmerelda, by Don DeLillo: This is an author I've been greatly marked by, and have I guess made some attempts to copy. It's been a while since I've read anything new by him, though. This is his first short story collection, as he's more associated with novels. As it turns out he doesn't always need a novel-length canvas. "Midnight in Dostoevsky", which first appeared in The New Yorker a couple of years ago, makes its self-consciousness a virtue.
Dororo, by Osamu Tezuka: I got this as a gift recently, and it's an inspired one. It's a massive omnibus book, and I've just read the first few chapters. They stand pretty well on their own. It's about a warrior who, as a baby, had all his vital organs sold by his father to demons. (The old man doesn't seem to have considered that the demons might just be testing his pliability.) The results are kind of nightmarish but as they say, it gets better. You have to train yourself to read things in revrse if you're not used to reading manga, but Tezuka gets great use out of white paper and black ink.
'Salem's Lot: Vampires invade small town Maine. Early Stephen King. I read it a long time ago, and I'm rereading it for a book club I'm in. Sort of. It's been expanded to at least double length since I first read it. While I think it mgiht lose a little focus, I don't see a lot of obviously tacked on stuff. One thing that hasn't changed, I think, is that while the hero and heroine aren't that interesting, the doomed (even before the bloodsuckers showed up) townies are well drawn.
Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior, by Christopher Boehm: Sort of dense anthropology stuff, but readable by the layperson. I think I may give this one its own post later.
So I'm not sure what any of this proves, if anything. Basically I try to keep things diverse. I've got Thorne Smith's Topper from the library, and I have a feeling that will be fun.