Archive for the ‘Arts & letters’ Category

May we have your liver?

March 29, 2020

“A census taker once tried to test me.”

While sipping my morning java and traipsing idly around the Innertubes I happened upon this at the Bob’s Red Mill site.

Out of fava beans?

And we just got our census forms in the mail.

If Chianti is on backorder too, I’d say life is busy imitating art again.

‘The excitement is contagious. …’

March 16, 2020

Dr. Memory … paging Dr. Memory. …

I woke up singing, “Make the World Go Away.”

It wouldn’t, of course. The world is remarkably persistent. Always up in your grille with its pestilence, stock-market crashes, toilet-paper shortages, leadership vacuums, Darth Gimp boots, doctor’s appointments, and stupidity.

For, like the poor, ye have the stupid always with you.

Sometimes, a guy wants a little smart. And so, after a consultation with Dr. Memory, and in keeping with the general plague theme, we present for your listening enjoyment “Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him” by The Firesign Theatre.

If only we had a generated, veneered leader. (Hear, hear!) Our own “Fighting Jack.” (Where, where?) But nope — all we have is a pestilence (There, there).

Good news

March 14, 2020

“The unthinkable had always been thinkable.”
Edward Abbey wasn’t just a writer, he was a prophet.

Anyone in the mood for a bit of apocalyptic fiction in these dark days could do worse than “Good News,” by Cactus Ed Abbey, who died on this day in 1989.

Like Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion, Abbey’s Jack Burns took many forms (and many beatings) over the years, from “The Brave Cowboy” through “Hayduke Lives!” in which the titular character, George Hayduke, says with a grin, “See you in Hell, Jack Burns.”

He might just see the rest of us there, too.

Requiem

March 7, 2020

His Excellency permits a brief photo op
while inspecting the perimeter in March 2019.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who expressed condolences upon the passing of our beloved cat, Turkish.

May you all be in heaven a half hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.

While we’re on the subject of Irish blessings, may I recommend Frank O’Connor’s “Requiem” to anyone grieving a fallen comrade? Father Fogarty, who did not yet know for whom he would be asked to say “only one small Mass,” speaks thusly:

“All I know from my own experience is is that the more loss we feel the more grateful we should be for whatever it was we had to lose. It means we had something worth grieving for. The ones I’m sorry for are the ones that go through life not even knowing what grief is. And you’d be surprised the number of them you’d meet.”

Random acts of radio

February 18, 2020

The mighty Zenith K725.

Back in the Day® it seemed some oversensitive jagoff was always shrieking at us to “Turn that noise down!” Or even off.

How little things have changed.

Impeachy the Clown and Porky Pompeo have it in for NPR because a couple of its reporters had the temerity to, like, y’know, report, an’ shit.

And they’ve started cranking up that tired old double-chin music about defunding NPR and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, because these fatboys can only punch down.

Naturally, this triggered me, because I’m as oversensitive as the next jagoff. Throw in the confluence of Presidents Day and Random Acts of Kindness Day, and boom: Before anyone could tell me to shut my yap I was opening wide to deliver another painful sound bite with the yellowing fangs of Radio Free Dogpatch.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: This episode was recorded with a Audio-Technica AT2035 microphone and a Zoom H5 Handy Recorder, then edited in Apple’s GarageBand on the 13-inch 2014 MacBook Pro. Post-production voodoo by Auphonic. The background music was cobbled together by Your Humble Narrator using Apple’s GarageBand and the iMovie effects bin. KRCC operations manager Mike Procell appears through the miracle of Rogue Amoeba’s Audio Hijack.

R.I.P., Charles Portis

February 17, 2020

“The Dog of the South,” by Charles Portis.

One of our best and perhaps least known writers, Charles Portis, has gone west. He was 86.

You may recall the name from “True Grit,” which was made into two movies (John Wayne and Jeff Bridges).

But the former New York Herald Tribune reporter also wrote “The Dog of the South,” about a former copy editor who pursues his wife, his Amex card, and her first husband with his chow dog, to Mexico. Being familiar with copy editing, the relentless vindictiveness of American Express, and chow dogs, this naturally spoke to me.

There was also “Norwood,” about an itinerant ex-jarhead trying to collect a debt; “Gringos,” featuring the search for a lost Mayan city; and “Masters of Atlantis,” about a cult based on the “secret wisdom” of that place.

His books were filled with screwballs, dingbats, and scammers, and his use of language was superb, particularly in “True Grit.” At times I wonder whether Thomas McGuane might have absorbed a bit of his style.

And yet hardly anyone knows him, or his work. He guarded his privacy, but the Alzheimer’s stole his wit.

A final bit of strangeness: Roy Reed, the reporter who wrote Portis’ obit for The New York Times, is himself dead. Another, Steve Barnes, handled the finishing touches.

Orange Julius Caesar killed Spartacus

February 5, 2020

Can we impeach the sonofabitch again?
This time for homicide?

He did it by giving that bloated scumbag Flush Limburger the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the same honor Kirk Douglas received from Jimmy Carter.

Douglas died today at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 103.

Interesting notes: He made his bones with “Champion,” based on a Ring Lardner story of the same name. And his favorite movie apparently was “Lonely Are the Brave,” which was based on an Ed Abbey novel, “The Brave Cowboy.” I had no idea that was his fave; I certainly liked both stories, the way I like all Lardner and Abbey stories.

And I loved me some Kirk Douglas movies.

Today, we are all Spartacus. Except for, well, you know. That guy.

 

99 Mobiltelefon

February 5, 2020

The headline reads: “A man walked down a street with 99 phones in a wagon. Google Maps thought it was a traffic jam.”

Back at base bugs in the software
Flash the message “something’s out there!”

Our robot overlords will not be amused, Herr Weckert.

And yeah, he drew inspiration from a Jay-Z song, but Nena’s piece was the first one that sprung to mind for me.

Hit the road, Jack

January 24, 2020

A few more days like this and the trails will look more like trails
and less like muddy creeks.

It’s hard to believe, but today’s outing was my first road ride of the new year.

Oh, sure, I’ve been riding the road, but on a cyclocross bike, or a gravel bike, and then only to get to the dirt, where the fun is.

But the trails have gotten pretty gooey lately, and with the sun peeking out and the temps inching up I’d just as soon not add my 33mm scrawl to the graffiti being carved into Mother Earth. Thus, today, the road.

In other news, my man Hal Walter is talking about pulling together another e-book with the tentative title of “American Flats,” a reference to a section of the World Championship Pack-Burro Race out of Fairplay. More as I hear it.

R.I.P., Terry Jones

January 22, 2020

One of our family jokes is, “’Ee’s not the Messiah, ’ee’s a very naughty boy!”

That was only one of the innumerable killer lines delivered over the years by Terry Jones, who died at home Tuesday. He was 77, and had suffered from primary progressive aphasia, a cruel disease that stripped him of his marvelous powers of communication.

As a member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Jones generally wrote with Michael Palin, co-directed “Holy Grail” and “Meaning of Life” with Terry Gilliam, and flew solo as director for “Life of Brian,” which gave us that family gag we use so often.

Condolences, peace, and egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam, or Lobster Thermidor au Crevette with a Mornay sauce served in a Provençale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and with a fried egg on top, and spam, to Jones, his family, the surviving Pythons (“Two down*, four to go,” notes John Cleese), and their friends and fans.

* Cleese forgot to count the Seventh Python, Neil Innes. No spam for him.