Dune buggy

Your Humble Narrator cultivates desert power.

I’m not casting a very long shadow around here lately.

Frankly, there’s not been much to report. That little tease La Niña is in town again and I’ve been chasing her around on the ol’ bikey bikes.

While all you Left Coast/PNW types deploy your parasols and Gore-Tex your loins against the Million-Pound Aquahammer, we here in the desert Southwest are enjoying a balmy period which makes us forget that before long we will be drinking our own sweat and tears, like Paul Atreides and his mom in “Dune.”

Yep, we watched Part I on HBO Max, and it was a’ight, pretty damn fine actually, not bad atall atall. Made the 1984 David Lynch flick look even worse than it actually was, which was pretty fucking bad.

Denis Villeneuve’s take on the Frank Herbert novel might’ve worked better as an HBO series; then he could’ve used a scalpel instead of a cleaver to move things along over the course of a season or two. But only a geek like myself, a science-fiction dweeb who’s read the book 1,207,275 times, is liable to grouse about the subtleties steamrollered to make the narrative march.

Too, if a series proved successful, there would be the temptation to milk the rest of the “Dune” tales. (We may have to deal with this in any case.) Me, I lost interest after trudging through “Dune Messiah” and “Children of Dune,” which is a very short trek indeed through the vast Duniverse.

Anyway, Rebecca Ferguson is the best of the bunch as Lady Jessica, and Timothée Chalamet is a whole lot better than I expected as Paul. He brings a whiff of Nic Cage and maybe a soupçon of Christian Bale to the role. Meanwhile, Javier Bardem as Stilgar is definitely channeling Anthony Quinn’s Auda abu Tayi from “Lawrence of Arabia.”

And the Hans Zimmer score is a character all its own, though digging it through our obsolete surround-sound system was like listening to the London Philharmonic performing Metallica over a walkie-talkie.

Still, it beat squeezing into the old stillsuit, flagging down a passing sandworm, and crossing the Duke City desert to the Harkonnen IMAX. We got beverages around here ain’t even been drunk once yet.

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11 Responses to “Dune buggy”

  1. JD Says:

    PO’G: I’ve absolutely no clue what you’re talking about after the second paragraph … my contemporary digital intellectual deficit and interest in other pursuits I’d guess. Mea culpa! 🙂

    Meanwhile, the La Nina “tease” does have me wonder if 1,000 years (or less) from now, archeologists will ponder why our US SW civilization moved on a la the Mesa Verde folks and lots of others.

    Especially when the handwriting was on the wall and many knowledgeable, credible voices were “crying in the now-fast-becoming arid wilderness”.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      JD, I was a science-fiction fiend in my misspent youth. The schools insisted that I read “literature.” I scanned it and went right back to Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, et al.

      Didn’t discover Herbert until the 1970s, as I recall. But I loved “Dune,” and have had a copy lying around somewhere ever since. He was a bug for language, and an old newsie and shrooms fan, so we had all that in common.

  2. Uncoffined Says:

    I read the book ‘Dune’ back in the 1980’s and at the time I thought it was a masterpiece. The movie that came out a bit later was a complete flop. One of the actors was ‘Sting’ (from the band ‘Police’) didn’t understand it and he was in the movie!

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    Andy and Liz watched it and also liked it. I have not read the book, but the smarter half did. Hey, drugs, war, racism, religion, tribalism, imperialism, and space travel are all there, what’s not to like? Kinda like reading today’s headlines. Oh yeh, let’s not forget drought, genocide, and habitat destruction. But, Herbert got one thing right, if you want to kick ass, all you need is a word and a worm.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Don’t forget greed. For some people too much is never enough. “Dune” serves up all of the Seven Deadly Sins.

      I’m routinely mystified by what Hollyweird decides to transform from words into pictures. “Dune?” Yeah, sure, but damn, trim too much and nobody gets what the hell you’re going on about (see “2001: A Space Odyssey”). Don’t trim enough and you have a 12-hour movie that nobody watches.

      “Foundation?” I haven’t bothered with that series. The trailer told me all I needed to know. Isaac Asimov must be rolling in his grave.

      How come nobody’s ever tackled Robert Heinlein’s “Glory Road” or “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress?” They seem ripe for adaptation to the silver screen, though you’d have to address some male-chauvinist piggery in both. I’d like to see someone have a go at Alfred Bester’s “The Stars My Destination,” too. Or a selection of Michael Moorcock’s “Eternal Champion” sagas, especially the Elric tales. Instead we get more Batman, more Spider-Man, etc.

      Speaking of movies and TV, anyone else watched “Reservation Dogs” on FX/Hulu? Herself and I both give it two thumbs up. We watched the first season twice.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        We did watch the 1984 version, and Sandy said it seemed like a very poor “Reader’s Digest” condensed version of the book. She also read “Children of Dune” and said that was better than the first book but enough Dune for her. We might go to the theater to see the new one, but not today. Pizza, beer, and guitar jamming are going to fill our afternoon.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’m just not into the theaters anymore. The Bug aside, manners have declined to the point where it’s just not worth the effort and expense, unless you go at some oddball time during the working week.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          That’s what we do. The Cinemark here has a “senior” matinee on the weekdays. More than once our group of 4 or 6 were the only ones there. When we went to see “Ford vs Ferrari” the 4 of us had the joint to ourselves.

  4. Pat O’Brien Says:

    This just popped up on the NPR website.


    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      That Oregon coast is really something. I spent a fair amount of time out there when I lived in Corvallis. Newport and fresh seafood were just an hour away from my hovel. Stare west until the head clears. A guy could only spend so much time whistling into empties at Squirrel’s Tavern.

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