Archive for the ‘bookfoolery’ Category

Daily Batman: Cthulu edition

October 27, 2011

A terrible day to forget the utility belt.


“Batman and Cthulu” by Scott Vanden Bosch.

The other gods! The other gods! The gods of the outer hells that guard the feeble gods of earth!… Look away… Go back… Do not see! Do not see! The vengeance of the infinite abysses!”

(H.P. Lovecraft. “The Other Gods.” Weird Tales. 1948. )

Just Another Auden October: Composed of Eros and of dust, show an affirming flame — ft. photography by Andre de Dienes

October 20, 2011



Defenseless under the night,
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,


Ironic points of light,
Flash out wherever the Just,
Exchange their messages:


May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair



Show an affirming flame.

(W.H. Auden, “Sept. 1, 1939.” Another Time, 1940.)

All photographs by Andre de Dienes.

The date in the poem’s title refers, of course, to the invasion of Poland by Hitler’s Wehrmacht … or does it refer with remarkably prescient precedence to my birthday?

No. It refers to the other thing.

Take-two Tuesday: William Blake Month — “The Fly”

October 4, 2011

This entry originally appeared on June 22, 2010 at 1:44pm.

Late post, am I right? I’ve been invovled in some deep bookfoolery which I will explain below. The heading of each of the chapters in a book I read last night/today is followed by a quote, and one such quote was from this poem of Blake’s.


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Little Fly,
Thy summer’s play
My thoughtless hand
Has brushed away.

Am not I
A fly like thee?
Or art not thou
A man like me?


For I dance
And drink, and sing,
Till some blind hand
Shall brush my wing.

If thought is life
And strength and breath
And the want
Of thought is death;


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Then am I
A happy fly,
If I live,
Or if I die.

(William Blake, “The Fly.”)

So — the lateness in the day. Yes. Sorry, but I am not even firing on four let alone six cyllinders today. See, I went against all my usual instincts and quickly finished my yearly series last night wayyy ahead of time and I refuse to let that happen with my other obligations, so when I dropped the last in the series to the floor, I dug in to my pile and instead of snatching up The Tommyknockers (absolutely not touching it until July 2nd or 3rd or I will not be where I need to be for the 4th and I cannot afford any more Bad Days), I started this book my cousin Mary loaned me called The Descent.

I was initially skeptical and, at points, flirting with grogginess from the overabundance of sleep-inducing substances I pour down my throat every night in an effort to quiet the seven-headed rock dragon of my insomnia which makes the Balrog look like a Pound Puppy, but it was amazing shit, full of caves and sci-fi creatures and anthropology and linguistics and religious themes and Hell and mountaineers and Jesuits and everything else that rings my bell, and before I knew it I was completely sucked in to the throat of it. I powered through the layers of tylenol pm, Miller, and a slug of Ny-Quil I’d taken earlier, ignoring my sandy eyelids because I Couldn’t Stop Reading, and, having finally shook off any need for sleep and finished the last sentence and closed the book thoughtfully at around nine this morning, I can confidently say I’m a believer.


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I slid it under my bed and lay reflecting on what I’d read for a few minutes, because I felt like there had been some unresolved plot points, then I suddenly did this herky jerky twitch and thought, “How many standalone science fiction novels are that long? Plus … it was set in ’99, but the cover was new. No dog-eared pages. Mary would’ve loaned it to me years ago if she hadn’t just recently bought and read it. It’s a new book.” Reprint. Why?


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Totally excited by this chain of thought, I flipped my ass in the air, dove under my bed and grabbed the book back out of my piles and checked the front. HELL YES: among the author’s other books listed by the publisher is one titled The Ascent, which I think it is fair to conjecture can only be a sequel, so now that I’ve finished all the housework and cooking I’d planned previously to do in the hours of the morning I’d spent reading, I’m going to cruise out to the used book store by my house and see about scaring that bitch up for tonight — and see if there are more. Keep you posted. Don’t worry about the insomnia thing: I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.

Daily Batman: The worst of my faults … a profound duplicity of me

September 30, 2011


Photograph by Sylvain Norget.

The worst of my faults was a certain impatient gaiety of disposition, such as has made the happiness of many, but such as I found it hard to reconcile with my imperious desire to carry my head high, and wear a more than commonly grave countenance before the public. Hence it came about that I concealed my pleasures; and that when I reached years of reflection, and began to look round me and take stock of my progress and position in the world, I stood already committed to a profound duplicity of me.

(Robert Louis Stevenson. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. 1886. p. 81.)

Talk nerdy to me — Heinlein Month: This is the greatest event in all the history of the human race

July 20, 2011


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This is the great day. This is the greatest event in all the history of the human race, up to this time. That is — today is New Year’s Day of the Year One. If we don’t change the calendar, historians will do so. The human race — this is our change, our puberty rite, bar mitzvah, confirmation, from the change of our infancy into adulthood for the human race.



And we’re going to go on out, not only to the Moon, to the stars; we’re going to spread. I don’t know that the United States is going to do it; I hope so. I have — I’m an American myself; I want it to be done by us. But in any case, the human race is going to do it, it’s utterly inevitable: we’re going to spread through the entire universe.

(Robert Heinlein. Interview with Walter Cronkite. CBS News. July 20, 1969.)


Is it gauche to use a Clarke cover in a Heinlein entry?

Happy forty-second birthday to the Apollo 11 mission (Hey, 42!). Which was apparently for nothing since we’re not going to colonize it even at all. Not under the aegis of organized government-funded scientific think-tanks, at any rate, which it seems are going the way of the Betamax and Karen Carpenter*. Privatizing space travel/exploration is about as dicey an idea as any I’ve heard in this life. There will be a Wal-Mart on the moon before a fucking hospital. Depend on it.

(I’m just bitter because I have always wanted to live on the moon. Sorry. This is not a joke: my ultimate fantasy would be to make love on the back lawn of my terra-formed moon house — by EARTHLIGHT. Picture it, you look up and the planes of your lover’s face are illuminated by light from Earth. HOW AMAZING WOULD THAT BE? Crazy amazing. Crazy. Plus outside sex.)





*Oh, my god, why would you even make that joke? Because I am a terrible person.

Take Two Tuesday — Per mi amico: Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day, “Happy birthdohs, Jonohs” edition with brief bookfoolery

July 19, 2011

This post originally appeared on July 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm. Congratulations on another trip around the sun to you, my good true friend, and I hope you have many more to come.

Happy birthday to the one and only Jonohs Danger Welchos!


Nolite te bastardes carborundum.

This encouragement is doubtless unnecessary because I doubt that you ever would. I’m sure you would talk the bastardes around to your point of view and you’d all have Fin du Monde and play Beatles Rock Band and they would vow never to carborundum again. I’m finishing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter shortly and I’ll be starting next on my yearly Atwood. How nice to know this year when I re-read it that you will have just done so recently too. Last year I knew you, and was re-reading Handmaid’s Tale as always, and you had not read it yet. This time it will be different and I’ll know that I’m reading words that yet another of my friends has also enjoyed. See the interstitial power of the shared unconscious experience of reading? That’s impressive shit. If that is not impressive enough, I will buy you some sushi the next time we are both in town. But really, dude — the gift of reading. Come on. Be excellent.

But just in case you ever do feel down, remember that you are an awesome friendoh and I’m so glad to have gotten to be friends, and that I know great things are going to happen for you like in a perpetual motion engine powered by amazing karma for all your kindnesses and good humor to others.

And, of course, be prepared for whatever befalls you on this, the day of your birth —


A very recent addition to the pantheon of inside jokes via uglyxdutchling on the tumblr.

Hope you’re off work and having a great birthday, Mr. Welchos! But do try and hold it together.

I will be thinking of you!

Heinlein Month: A lion caged with a lamb

July 7, 2011


Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962).

We lived like that “Happy Family“ you sometimes see in traveling zoos: a lion caged with a lamb.

It is a startling exhibit, but the lamb has to be replaced frequently.

(Robert A. Heinlein, Have Spacesuit, Will Travel. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958.)


Lolita (Stanley Kubrick, 1962).

The lamb has to be replaced frequently.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Textual healing, “It’s something I’m feeling all over”

July 5, 2011


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Living around the blanks.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Don’t be a Don’t Bee

July 3, 2011

Do be a Do Bee: a cheerful, smiling drone.


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You don’t want to be a Don’t Bee. Then you’ll never be very happy.

Fight Club Friday: Where there’s smoke …

July 1, 2011


Art by de-lune on the d.a.

“Recycling and speed limits are bullshit,” Tyler said. “They’re like someone who quits smoking on his deathbed.”

(Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club. Chapter 16.)

Quitting smoking is going crazy well. I feel really good about it.


“In the Flesh” by JKB Fletcher, 2010.

I have gone back to plucking individual hairs from my body and stripping them down with my fingernails to curl them up like little tiny frayed wrapping ribbons, but since it’s not in a frenzy or anything I’m pretty sure it would take, like, forever for that to realistically impact my appearance, so I’m not too worried.

Perfectly normal, perfectly healthy.

Daily Batman: Talk nerdy to me, “Grok this” edition

July 1, 2011


Photograph by mandysparky on the d.a.

“Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.”

(Robert A. Heinlein.)

Grok it, dudes.

A whopping happy FIFTIETH FUCKING BIRTHDAY to Stranger In A Strange Land. Can’t believe Valentine Michael Smith has been rolling through the cultural landscape for half a century. R.I.P. to wonderful Robert Heinlein, who died on a May 8th, by the by, in case you’re keeping track of my apocalyptic ramblings.

You are only an egg. Now get out there and make some water brothers in Heinlein’s memory.


This is what the cover of my copy looks like.

You know what? This was going to be Bradbury Month but let’s bump that to September: that’s nice synchronicity anyway because that’s my birthday month and he’s my fave-ohs. July is now officially Robert Heinlein Month! Balloons and confetti just fell on us all!

Flashback Friday: Pricklypear li’l G and couch fort bravado

June 24, 2011

This entry originally appeared in slightly different form on October 28, 2009 at 1:45pm.


Photographed by Sally Munger Mann.

Me, she had dispensed from joining the group; saying, “She regretted to be under the necessity of keeping me at a distance; but that until she heard from Bessie, and could discover by her own observation, that I was endeavouring in good earnest to acquire a more sociable and childlike disposition, a more attractive and sprightly manner — something lighter, franker, more natural, as it were —– she really must exclude me from privileges intended only for contented, happy, little children.”


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“What does Bessie say I have done?” I asked.

“Jane, I don’t like cavillers or questioners; besides, there is something truly forbidding in a child taking up her elders in that manner. Be seated somewhere; and until you can speak pleasantly, remain silent.”

(Charlotte Brontë. Jane Eyre. Cornhill: Smith, Elder, & Co., 1847. pp. 3-4.)



Worst. Christmas. Ever.

Do you remember the positive indignation of adult severity in the face of your early self-expression? I think the knife really twisted because you knew they were just flying by the seat of their pants, arbitrary jerks running scared, threatened by your stabs at mastery. They had no more particular power or experience than another kid facing you down in a play war.


Another by Ms. Mann.

Don’t forget that. Every person who attempts to wave some type of banner of authority in your face is probably prickly-sweaty under the arms and hopped up on 90% couch fort bravado. Poke their pile of cushions with a stick and see if it tumbles down.

Flashback Friday: Bookfoolery: If I never sleep again until the end of my days, at least I will die well-read

June 3, 2011

This post originally appeared on June 24, 2010 at 6:26 p.m.

Maybe “well” is subjective …


If anyone but my Asia Argento plays Lisbeth Salander in an English-speaking adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I will put my hand through a blender. I pictured her the entire time I was reading.

Finished Girl With the Dragon Tattoo over a sleepless night that lead to one uneasy stretch of light snooze cut short by sudden bouts of vomiting. I found it very absorbing — the book, not the violent gut spasms from who-knows-what combination of stress and inattentively poor personal care — but it caromed briefly in to a few areas for which I was not wild. Still it all hung together in the end and I recommend it without reservation. Then I ended up reading a particularly pulpy and breezy Ross Macdonald mystery from the 70’s whose title I have already forgotten even though it kept me company for several hours.


See? Lots of people have insomnia and go on to have perfectly normal Summers! The Shining (Kubrick, 1980).

I only remember that I’d picked it up a few months back along with a couple 70’s editions of Zane Grey at my preferred comic store, which, besides selling comics and related games and accessories, also carries a small inventory of used, cheapo books and spotty collections of memorabilia depending on what luckless local nerds have either died or lost enough money to place their treasures in hock. I snatched up the Greys and this Macdonald book a few months ago because I dug the kind of blocky-schlocky look to the lines of the cover art.


The Underground Man — that’s right. Decent enough title, I guess.

The phrase “blew my mind” was used repeatedly in the book to refer to literally taking too much acid and suffering brain damage and prolonged schizophrenic episodes triggered by hallucinations, which usage I thought was a handy demonstration of the evolution of slang — in the book it was suggestive of overdose and possible fatality, but you can see how it developed over time the more benign definition it has now in the sense of changing one’s worldview in a feller-than-the-usual-pace-of-educational swoop, while still somewhat referencing the phrase’s original intent.


2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick, 1968). He swar to gar for all his life that whole sequences of this film were not planned to look like an acid trip, to which anyone who has ever done acid says, “Sure.”

The Macdonald book wasn’t the worst thing ever and some of the slangy shenanigans and quaintly dated rough talk in it wet my palate for some Hammett. I never re-read Red Harvest until October (red HARVEST, get it?) but I also brought down with me from Portland The Dain Curse and the Op’s short-story collection and could give one of those a spin. Think that’s what I’ll do tonight.

Actually maybe Hammett is only the appetizer. Know what? I think I will try to squeeze in L.A. Confidential before I have to pick up Tommyknockers. I usually, though not maniacally, like to read that closer to Christmastime because of the whole Bloody Christmas scandal that sparks so much of the action, but I’ve been self-auditing through all these long sick waking nights, and by setting this bookfoolery in to print I have come to see that I’ve got some really fucked-up and compulsive reading habits which are even perhaps the least of my worries and so I feel like rebelling against myself in this small thing to test the waters of making Change happen. I’m going to do this because I can.

Synchronicity — just dug out Red Harvest and the quote on the front cover is from Ross Macdonald, the author whose pulp I read this morning. Wild way that the universe is telling me I’m on the right track? or subconscious self-affirmation from whatever part of my brain has been looking at that (quite kickass) Red Harvest cover for the last four years?

I can’t say for sure. Either way, tell that girl from Canada that it ain’t ironic.

Art of the cover: Moby-Dick reimagined

May 30, 2011


Now small fowls flew screaming over the yet yawning gulf; a sullen white surf beat against its steep sides; then all collapsed; and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago.

(Herman Melville. Moby-Dick, final sentence. 1851. *SPOILER ALERT, the seas do not gang dry. Don’t tell.*)

This imagined cover art for Melville’s Moby-Dick was done in 2009 by Mark Weaver for the Kitsune Noir Poster Club, the collaborative brainchild of Bobby Solomon (the Fox is Black) and Society6.

Daily Batman: Bat Life With Batpecker

February 12, 2011


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If civilization is ever going to be anything but a grandiose pratfall, anything more than a can of deodorizer in the shithouse of existence, the people are going to have to concern themselves with magic and poetry. …

Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced, not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious, but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.

(Tom Robbins. Still Life With Woodpecker. New York: Bantam, 1980.)

Really grok this. My estranged husband loaned me this book when we were dating. This part always stuck out to me. Do I feel like a Robbins month? I’ll need to think about it. Maybe June?

Vonnegut Month: The people on the edge

February 8, 2011


Nous allons a la lune! via.

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

“Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first.”

(Player Piano. Scribner, 1952.)

I think this is more important now than I ever have before. I stayed comfortable in the past, I kept nervously to the middle and tried not to draw attention to myself even though I found it unfulfilling and dissatisfactory, purely because the idea of doing anything else and letting the real me out seemed far too iffy.


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And now I have been galvanized in to action, in to pursuing the things I want, and I can’t believe I ever kept away from the edge, kept myself boxed-in and low-key and up-and-up. I don’t regret the time I spent hiding and gathering courage to myself, because that’s no use, and I don’t disdain myself for my fears or insecurities, nor anyone else for feeling like they are not able to be a jumper just yet, but I’m just so glad I’ve begun.

Vonnegut Month: A sensational invitation

February 7, 2011


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She was a dull person, but a sensational invitation to make babies.

(Slaughterhouse-Five. 1969.)

Is that often the case? I’ve been trying to get to know dull people more, because I did this thing when I was younger where I participated in cheer and rushed a sorority and I discovered that all those people that I’d a), reverse discriminated against by assuming they thought they were too good for me; therefore, I considered myself the superior one and assured our mutual alienation and b), speculated must be completely empty-minded automatons programmed to do nothing but stroll down the street saying, “Where you at?” on their cell phones like cockroaches who keep living despite having lost their heads, were at any rate just as real and authentic as me, and during this time of social expansion I found that I was the guilty snobbish one, and they each had their own personal memories and dreams and private tragedies. This probably seems overwhelmingly evident to you but it was brand-new shit to me: I’d always assumed that those type of people were just dull sheep. I’ve found myself slipping back in to that sort of deliberate ignorance of slick or facile-seeming people, and I’ve been trying to fight this bullshit reverse-elitism by purposely starting conversations with waitresses with bump-its and guys in leather car coats at the bank. I encourage you to give it a whirl, too. … Especially the waitresses.

Vonnegut month: Welcome to Earth and ramblings about kids

February 6, 2011


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“Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies — Goddamn it, you’ve got to be kind.”

(God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. p. 129.)

Everybody’s always preaching on about what the world is coming to and how everything’s changed and children aren’t being raised right anymore, and perhaps that’s so in more cases than it used to be, but, when I am with my kidlet and her friends or I’m in the classroom teaching and interacting with children, I don’t generally find these bell-ringing end-of-days declamations of “oh-kids-these-days!” too be true at all.

If “kids” seem as a group to behave in a way that runs counter to previous societal standards, that is not reflective of their motivations, but of their parents’ lack. If they act out in a way they did not do twenty years ago, it’s because they’re being allowed to be fed bullshit from the television and other media by people too lazy to lift a finger to defend their minds from rot.

Children are still people, and as long as we continue to try to teach them to be compassionate and to love, they will have the same things in common with the people of history (who were never any of them that great to begin with, don’t be fooled) that every other generation has done: love, sex, passion, greed, honor, and the whole scope of personal emotions. Kids cannot be cut off from the birthright that is human feelings by technology — only we, and our attitudes, can cut them off from that.

Don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys: Surprisingly non-NSFW Sherilyn Fenn edition

February 6, 2011


Darkness swallowed him up. He might have taken the time to saddle the horse or hitched up three spans of mules to a Concord stagecoach and smoked a pipe as it seems no one in the city was after him. He had mistaken the drummers for men.

“The wicked flee when none pursueth.”

(True Grit. Charles Portis. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1968.)

I meant to see the new film version of True Grit last night, but the time got away from me. Watched Big Lebowski instead, so I kept my promise to Jeff Bridges at least. No regrets. I’ll get to True Grit eventually.

Vonnegut month: Inaugural edition featuring pharmaceuticals

February 1, 2011

You are all like, “It is nice what you do and all, E, but why haven’t you had a Vonnegut month yet?” and I am all like, “I was planning to have this month be exactly that,” and you are all like, “It’s about time,” and you know what? When you start a blog, I will have nothing but kind, nourishing, supportive things to say about it. Because that’s how it should be. Snap.

Anyway.


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“I’m not a drug salesman. I’m a writer.”

“What makes you think a writer isn’t a drug salesman?”

(Cat’s Cradle.)

Take your protein pills and put your helmet on. Nous allons a la lune!

edit: When I went to make sure I had my french phrasing and spelling right, I googled “nous allons a la lune” and the only links that returned the exact phrase were all my own shit. So I’m thinking no. It’s a shame, because I say that a lot. Little help?