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

Archives for May 2008

Apologies.

Trying to get some things done…

In the Future

I gave up candy bars as a form of solace
I gave up trying to please everyone
I gave up ice cream
I gave up smiling when I don’t feel like smiling
I gave up lies
I gave up violence
I gave up shouting at my kids
I gave up not listening to my wife
I gave up coffee
I gave up TV
I gave up Internet
I gave up insomnia
I gave up staying up late
I gave up overeating
I gave up meat on Fridays
I gave up driving too fast
I gave up sugar
I gave up wanting to be something I’m not
I gave up fear

Into the Wild

We watched Into the Wild last night. I can’t say I liked it, really, but I would say I appreciated it. The main character is not really very likeable, and I guess Sean Penn (the director and author of the screenplay adapted from John Krakauer’s book) consciously didn’t try to make him likeable. The lad’s idealism and the chip on his shoulder regarding his relationship with his parents both have an air of contrivance I found abrasive. And yet you can’t help but admire the boldness with which he sets out to erase his identity and set out on a journey of simplicity and freedom that leads to the wilds of Alaska. And there is a small but powerful epiphany at the end, which elevates the story beyond a mere tale of adventure and misguided youthful idealism.

(Here’s James Berardinelli’s review of Into the Wild. Berardinelli’s Reel Views is usually my first stop when I’m looking for a movie review.)

A big shy fellow from Spokane

Today is our patron saint Walker Percy’s birthday, born on this date in 1916 (died May 10, 1990).

A few days ago, Quin brought up Percy’s mention of Mt. St. Helens in The Thanatos Syndrome. Well, here’s another Pacific Northwest reference, from The Moviegoer this time. The scene is a meeting of stock brokers in Chicago, where Binx and Kate have traveled by train, confronting the failure of flesh poor flesh en route and the Genie Soul of the Windy City. It seems to me Binx’s irony softens quite a bit here and his sentiments towards Stanley Kinchen of Spokane are really quite sincere:

The delegates are very decent fellows. I find myself talking to half a dozen young men from the West Coast and liking them very much–one in particular, a big shy fellow from Spokane named Stanley Kinchen, and his wife, a fine looking woman, yellow-haired and bigger than Sharon, lips curling like a rose petal, head thrown back like a queen and a tremendous sparkle in the eye. What good people they are. It is not at all bad being a businessman. There is a spirit of trust and cooperation here. Everyone jokes about such things, but if businessmen were not trusting of each other and could not set their great projects going on credit, the country would collapse tomorrow and be no better off than Saudi Arabia. It strikes me that Stanley Kinchen would actually do anything for me. I know I would for him. I introduce Kate as my fiancee and she pulls down her mouth. I can’t tell whether it is me she is disgusted with or my business colleagues. But these fellows: so friendly and–? What, dejected? I can’t be sure.

Kinchen asks me if I am going to be in the Cracker Barrel. He is nervous: it seems he is program chairman and someone defected on him. He takes me aside.

“Would you do me a favor? Would you kick off with a ten minute talk on Selling Aids?”

“Sure.”

We shake hands and part good comrades.

We Call It "Ball"


Little Joan-of-Arc McCain begins to grasp the ballness of ball.

The Feng Shui of Leaving Spokane

A train departing as you are departing or arriving as you arrive indicates harmony.

Morte D’Urban on Catholic Radio International

The Wisconsin Poet introduces and reads from J.F. Powers’ masterpiece, and does a fine job of it. Yes, he mentions me in the intro – I introduced him to this oddly neglected book, just as James McCoy once introduced it to me No, that’s not why I’m blogging it. Our man sounds good.

Oh, and now that he’s no longer reading my own little book, it’s not unseemly for me to say this: spread the word about CRI and Cover to Cover. Add it to your sidebar. Bring the love.

Corpus Christi

One thing the Incarnation means is that the body matters.

Bow down with him on Sunday, salute him when his birthday comes . . . .

[Image Source: David Lewis Baker]

Point your browser at Spokane’s River 99.9 tonight at 9:00 Pacific Time for a two-hour Dylan birthday extravaganza, with guest host Rufus McCain.

Shakespeare in Love

Ernie and I visit the glory that was Miramax.

"Lot of water under the bridge … lot of other stuff too."


These are images I took of the Spokane River at the suspension bridge in Riverfront Park today. This is the highest I’ve ever seen it.

My radio show airing tomorrow night opens with the sultry-voiced Marie McCallister reciting the following parody of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour intros, imagining Bob crossing this bridge:

It’s nighttime in the River City. A man with a cane and a full length leather coat walks across the suspension bridge over the falls raging with spring runoff. He feels the mist in his face and thinks, “Lot of water under the bridge, lot of other stuff too.” It’s the man’s birthday and there’s a child on the other side of the bridge waiting to give him a drum and sing him the birthday song. It’s Open Waters on Spokane’s River 99.9 with your host Rufus McCain.

It’s Bob Dylan Days here at korrektivpress.com.

"Lot of water under the bridge … lot of other stuff too."


These are images I took of the Spokane River at the suspension bridge in Riverfront Park today. This is the highest I’ve ever seen it.

My radio show airing tomorrow night opens with the sultry-voiced Marie McCallister reciting the following parody of Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour intros, imagining Bob crossing this bridge:

It’s nighttime in the River City. A man with a cane and a full length leather coat walks across the suspension bridge over the falls raging with spring runoff. He feels the mist in his face and thinks, “Lot of water under the bridge, lot of other stuff too.” It’s the man’s birthday and there’s a child on the other side of the bridge waiting to give him a drum and sing him the birthday song. It’s Open Waters on Spokane’s River 99.9 with your host Rufus McCain.

It’s Bob Dylan Days here at korrektivpress.com.

Scratchboard Bob


My niece Alana did this scratchboard portrait of Bob Dylan a few years ago when she was in high school. I was the lucky recipient of it and now it hangs in my office.

We’re winding down Bob Dylan Days here at Korrektiv.

Artificial.

Second Son was watching Animal Planet at a friend’s house, and saw a commercial for a feminine contraceptive. When he came home, he told his mother about it.

“I saw this medical commercial. There was this plastic thing shaped like a wishbone. You put it in your body, and it prevents pregnancy for five years. Is that really true?”

The Wife, who was amazed at the clarity with which he recounted the commercial, reports that his attitude was one of, “Oh, come on. They’re trying to trick you. It doesn’t really do that.”

The Wife: “I think something like that would actually hurt your body. God doesn’t want us to do things like that.”

Second Son: “Yeah, He doesn’t want anything artificial. He wants us to be the way He made us to be. You should just go ahead and have those children.”

Fascinating. He didn’t get that from us. Even if he ever overheard us discussing contraception, which is unlikely, we don’t use the word “artificial” in relation to it. We just say “contraception.” And we’ve never said anything like “You should just go ahead and have those children.”

Sweet.

The first fruits of Second Son’s garden:

My Stint as a DJ

Mrs. McCain and I have a radio on a rope in our shower and it’s usually tuned to Spokane’s River 99.9. I also sometimes listen to 99.9 on my way to work or on my way from work or whenever I happen to be in the car. Most of what they play I like (although they also frequently play a new song by Death Cab for Cutie, a song and a band I’ve grown to loathe). Anyway, the station has a feature called Open Waters where you can sign up to guest host your own two-hour radio show. I was looking at the station’s website a couple of months ago and, momentarily forgetting that I am prone to pee-in-your-pants panic attacks and extended episodes of stammering incoherence when called upon to speak publically, I signed up to guest host on Open Waters. I suggested that I would play a lot of Bob Dylan as a corrective to their not playing enough Bob Dylan (which is in fact one glaring deficiency of the station). Strange to say, the nice folks at 99.9 actually accepted my application and scheduled me to do this two-hour Dylan bender–on Dylan’s birthday no less–this Saturday, May 24, 9-11pm. Tune in, listen up!

Standby

Technical difficulties here at Godsbody. Blasted FTP server…

From Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

I recently finished Ishiguro’s latest. It’s vaguely Sci-Fi (although it takes place in the ’90s), character driven, and written in the listless (maybe “composed”, postively stated) prose that characerized much of When We Were Orphans. Here’s a sample:

There have been times over the years when I’ve tried to leave Hailsham behind, when I’ve told myself I shouldn’t look back so much. But then there came a point when I just stopped resisting. It had to do with this particular donor I had once, in my third year as a carer; it was his reaction when I mentioned I was from Hailsham. He’d just come through his third donation, it hadn’t gone well, and he must have known he wasn’t going to make it. He could hardly breathe, but he looked towards me and said: “Hailsham. I bet that was a beautiful place.” Then the next morning, when I was making conversation to keep his mind off it all, and I asked where he’d grown up, he mentioned some place in Dorset and his face beneath the blotches went into a completely new kind of grimace. And I realized then how desperately he didn’t want to be reminded. Instead, he wanted to hear about Hailsham.

So over the next five or six days, I told him whatever he want to know, and he’d lie there, all hooked up, a gentle smile breaking through. He’d ask me about the big things and the little things. About our guardians, about how we each had our own collection chests under our beds, the football, the rounders, the little path that took you all round the outside of the main house, round all its nooks and crannies, the duck pond, teh food, the view from the Art Room over the fields … that was when I first understood, really understood, just how lucky we’d been – Tommy, Ruth, me, all the rest of us.

The reader is really in much the same relation to the narrator as the unfortunate donor, clinging to the story in hopes that her memories will become his memories. The specialized vocabulary is creepy – even a word like “carer” seems sinister in context. Euphemisms like “completing” (as this donor is in the process of) are obvious, but perhaps it’s not too much of a stretch that in an Anodyne New World just these kinds of words would become popular. The intense focus on memories and relations between the characters is what makes this novel more literary than “mere” science fiction, but I actually like the gadgetry and enthusiam that propels most science fiction written in the Amazing Stories mode. The story also seems plagued by what struck me as obvious problems in this alternate universe. How can somewhat like the minor character above make three donations? Is making this kind of small talk really a form of caring? If these clones are real, live humans walking and driving around, what’s to stop them from going into hiding? There’s a hint of an answer to this question at the end of the story, I think, that’s fairly chilling. I just wasn’t sure whether the author realized why it was so disturbing, communicated as it is in this prosey haze. Let’s trust that he did, and consider the book an achievement.