Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on Kickstarter!

My New Paper Shredder

is an absolute dream. For years I’ve hunched over a brown paper grocery bag every few months, laboriously trying to cut my medical reports and payment past due notices into confetti. This year I got a brand new shredder for Christmas, and feeding six months worth of backlogged paper into this hungry little monster was the most fun I’ve had since piling up all those bills and medical problems in the first place.

shredded

As I was about to take the bag down to the recycling bin, I spied one cutting that read “on bended knee”. Seemed significant. What on earth could the gods be trying to tell me?

I looked at another that turned out to have a number of Chinese characters. Assuming I could safely disregard these, I sat down right there on the floor and pulled out a few more, continuing to disregard the Chinese characters, lines of seemingly random numbers and letters, and of course those that were blank or had been cut perpendicular to lines of text. What I ended up with was this:

fortunes

Thank Heavens for my training in Classics, which included deciphering legends stamped onto coins, the handling of ancient manuscripts, and—most helpful here— epigraphy. Here’s what I’ve been able to determine:

IMPORTANT:
[Your] mission is [at] 5:00 on T[itan.] We have the e-Surge, and we claim thy pathways logo are trademarks of Cenall. They are like nomination meetings, or s[oft]ened [skulls], but [oh] how it felt on bended knee! Now is the time, Wanderer—pray tell your fri[ends they] ARE NOT REQUIRED TO PAY.

So there you have it. Not gods, I now understand, but that intergalactic force of aliens from EGS-zs8-1 now hiding behind Planet X. While I appreciate the information as well as sentiments conveyed in that last line via all caps, I’m not sure how I feel about Cenall claiming my pathways. And they may denigrate said pathways as a reading back of the minutes of an annual Rotary Club meeting or Aunt Sylvia’s habit of including herself in the conversation on Fox and Friends, but the point is simply this: these pathways may not be pretty, but the fact is they work. What you’re feeling there is success. You’re welcome.

So I won’t be disposed of that easily. I’m a man of my word, so you can count on me to make that trip to Titan—but you can also expect me to wander by the Cenall HQ on Europa before I do. And then we’ll see about that e-Surge, you can be sure of that.

Potter Sighting

I haven’t seen much of Potter lately, but a mutual friend sent me this clip from his 50th birthday party:

Looks like he may be finally getting around to that midlife crisis.

The Novel May or May Not Be Dead …

… according to a magazine nobody bothers to read any more. I think this article is mostly, or probably, or at least hopefully a load of crap, but the subject is certainly on a lot of people’s minds. Maybe because a lot of people want to write novels, but still … c’mon now!

The novel still stands, sure enough, but it stands uneasily, a kitschy McMansion whose vocabulary is steadfastly outdated, a form that can only look backward. I can’t think of a single full-length novel published in 2014 that did anything new. Most of the ones I read rehashed the same realistic formula that has held at least since Raskolnikov wandered through St. Petersburg’s dingy courtyards.

A McMansion? Really? Might this have more to do with which particular shelf you choose to browse?

And don’t forget that Korrektiv has a couple of novels, or one novel and one novella qua screenplay, available for your reading pleasure just as soon as you can tear your eyes away from this screen.

the Dylanologists

We interrupt this casting call to bring you some really old news about Bob Dylan. Somehow I missed this when it came out at the end of Spring, so if one of the others has posted this already, well … so what?

I’d read about Dylan’s use of the Yakuza autobiography, which made a funny kind of sense, and then of course his impersonation of the Civil War poet, which made a lot more sense, but some of the stuff in this A.V. Club article shows how he took it to a whole ‘nother level. Surfing with Mel fans, take note:

When Warmuth found similarities between phrases in Chronicles and Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas’s book about the Monica Lewinsky scandal, American Rhapsody, he was dumbfounded. “Even I was thinking, ‘There’s no chance,’ but as it turns out, some of the more salty lines in Chronicles comes from Eszterhas!”

Jack London, John Dos Passos, and even self-help author Robert Greene are all fair game.

Dylan’s response to charges of plagiarism?

“All those motherfuckers can rot in hell,” he said. “Wussies and pussies complain about that stuff….It’s an old thing,” he said of appropriation. “It’s part of the tradition. It goes way back.”

Makes you wonder why anybody would spend $250 for the right to quote from his lyrics to Gotta Serve Somebody, Trouble in Mind, and I and I.

Maybe add “sucker” to that list.

Pending

Perpetual_help_original_icon

12 July 2012

A slipper hangs from tiny toes: Our Lord –
A little child – has seen His cross and spear,
Has sped to her whose heart will know a sword.
She holds Him close. Her gaze is dark and clear.
They hang in golden silence…. Twitterings
Of careless birds bring day. Dawn fades the dark.
The clockwork clicks. The hammer hangs, then rings.
The planet turns, and swings along its arc….
The morning sun glides silent up the sky.
The moments pass beneath its sightless ray.
Some few hang solid like an ambered fly;
The rest, like Polaroids, fade fast away….
The noonday sun hangs high. Three things are all:
The point, the palm, the hammer poised to fall.

Alpha by Poet

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What Came in the Mail

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It’s been awhile since I’ve held a paperback that exudes this particular mid-1960s bouquet.  The last one I can recall that gave off this distinctive compact pulpish effervescence was my first copy of The Last Gentleman, published in 1966 and purchased by me in a used bookstore in Walla Walla, WA in 1986.  There was a near-pornographic image of a woman doing some sort of postmodern dance of the seven veils on the cover and in the air the smell of acidic pages destined to crumble as the 20th Century unwound. Now I turn to McLuhan for help in healing that wound Percy put his finger on, or at least in furthering the diagnosis.

What did one Easter Island head say to the other Easter Island head?

photo copy 3

“The band’s gonna make it.”

Le Blog de Jean-Paul Sartre

A little existentialism from the New Yorker. My favorite:

Monday, 27 July, 1959: 4:10 A.M.
Lunch with Merleau-Ponty this afternoon in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. I was disturbed to hear that he has started a photoblog, and skeptical when he told me that although all its images are identical—a lonely kitten staring bleakly into space as rain falls pitilessly from an empty sky—he averages sixteen thousand page views per day. When I asked to see his referrer logs, he muttered evasively about having an appointment with an S.E.O. specialist and scurried away.

So this is hell.

Basically me looking at Potter, back when I used to post at the Quotidian. Back when, you know, I used to post at all.

River Ghosts

River Ghosts from 50 Hour Slam on Vimeo.

more here