Thursday, February 04, 2016

Coens: The BST Response

A kneejerk response ranking to this ranking of the Coen Brothers' flicks.

Based on very little thought, and the criteria being "which flicks I like best," my list does not include Hail, Caesar, which I will be seeing very, very soon.

(My list goes the opposite direction of Business Insider's case you didn't figure that one out...)

1.  The Big Lebowski might just be making its way to the top of my favorites list.  I refrained from watching for about two years (a personal record, since the movie's release on DVD), and watched it again on Christmas night this past year.  It just hits all the right notes for me.  I'm not sure there's a better on screen duo, for my money, than The Dude and Walter.  Like much of the Coens' work, I just like the way the story fits together.

2.  O Brother Where Art Thou? is my most viewed Coen flick, owing to its constant ( and welcome) play on TV.  Legendary soundtrack.  For me, the most quotable Coen flick, and the one that appeals most strongly to the Flannery O'Connor fan in me.

3.  No Country for Old Men just gets better every time I see it.  Anton Chigurh might be my favorite movie villain of all time.  The lucky quarter scene ranks up there among my favorite scenes ever filmed.

4.  Raising Arizona ranks just behind O Brother for quotability.  And if Jonathan Winters had never torn down a gas station in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, then the mobile home fight here might be the funniest brawl ever put to film hands down.

5.  True Grit is just a beautiful flick--as pretty as anything the Coens have put to film, all while being as grotesque and weird.  And as much as I enjoy Jeff Bridges, Barry Pepper and Matt Damon...Hailee Steinfeld is amazing, and a pitch perfect rendering from Portis's book.

6.  The Man Who Wasn't There is the one that's made the biggest jump, for me.  I liked it, initially, but it wasn't until I got to see it on a bigger screen that I came to appreciate how boxed in and weird this movie really is.

7.  Fargo is one that I came to appreciate after really feeling down on it after my initial viewing.  Probably the one I have to point to myself most, when I don't feel like giving a flick a second chance.  My initial viewing, way back when, left me feeling like the Coens were a little too impressed with themselves, and had gotten a little too cute.  I went three or four years before giving Fargo another chance, and viewing when I didn't have my head up my ass.  Strong flick.

8.  Hudsucker Proxy, like the Business Insider list notes, is one that's gotten better with repeated viewings.  I wish Tim Robbins had done a few more Coen flicks.  He just seems to fit.

9.  Inside Llewyn Davis is a strong flick, one that might eventually move higher on the list.  One I've been meaning to sit down to watch again, after watching The Force Awakens.  Cary Mulligan is another one I wish would do more Coen flicks.

10.  The Ladykillers is just funny.  It's a cartoon.  And it's a chance to watch Tom Hanks, perhaps the greatest big screen physical comedian of his generation, do what he does best.  Not that I think he doesn't have an admirable body of work, but Hanks is a tremendously gifted comedian. And he's at his ghoulish best here.

11.  Miller's Crossing is a fine flick, but one that trips on itself just a little, but I end up enjoying immensely, when I watch again.

12.  Blood Simple is one I need to sit to watch again.  I like the way it fits together.

13.  Barton Fink is ranked lower than some others because it's the only one where the lead actor just doesn't do much for me.  Which is a shame, because I like John Turturro, and generally enjoy his stuff.

14.  A Serious Man just doesn't seem to have the same watchability as many of the Coens' flicks.  I took a particularly disastrous date to this one.  That perhaps colors my memories.....

15.  Intolerable Cruelty works on a weird level, but it's also the one I've attempted to revisit least.  I like the line from the Business Insider feels like an imitation of a Coen Brothers movie.

16.  Burn After Reading is the only Coen flick which really clunks.  I still kinda like it for a couple of the performances, but on the whole, it just doesn't feel like it came together.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

An Offer

Alright.  Here's the deal.

I go back to work tomorrow, after being on vacation this week.

I work for 3 weeks, and then I go on vacation again.

Here's what I want.

How about one of you go in my place for the next three weeks?

I'll take those weeks off, and finish up some writing I'm trying to do.

Then, after those three weeks...and really, it's not even 3 weeks, it's like 18 days...that's like 2.5 weeks....I'm scheduled for that vacation, and after that vacation, I'll return to work, refreshed, renewed and reinvigorated after a five-week break?

You can have my salary.

That's the deal.

You can have my salary, for each of those days you work for me*.

You won't need a disguise.  Get this:  for years and years I scoffed at the whole idea that Clark Kent could hide behind a pair of glasses to disguise himself from the general public.  Me?  If I get a haircut, I'll have customers who've seen me at that store twice a week for the past four years come up and say to me "you must be new here."

They won't notice.  Maybe shave yourself a baldspot.  Other than that?  You'll be good to go.

There are roughly 108 little things you have to do for my job, but to be really convincing, you just need to look vaguely frustrated, but not yell at customers.  Remember:  Do Not Yell at Customers!

I'm not going to feed you any stuff about the customer being right all the time.  We could debate that mess until the cows come home and regale of us stories of their time away at Cow College (otherwise called The University of Tennessee).  The customer isn't right.  The customer is simply the customer.  Treat them with respect.  And if they are wrong?  Tell them, politely.

Do not take your pants off!  That's a rule, too.  No matter how aggravated a customer gets you, do not take your pants off in front of them.  For any reason.  I know it's tempting.  Just don't.

Anyway.  You get my salary.  I make some headway into this writing project.  You get valuable experience working like a botard.  I get to sleep when my body's biological rhythms tell me to sleep.  Nobody takes their pants off in front of customers.  I cannot stress how important this part is.  Just don't do it.

It's win-win.

Any takers?

*In the interest of Full Disclosure:  I make $1 per day, plus all the water I can drink.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016


Shyam and I wandered over to Fall Creek Falls for a couple of days.  Her schedule and mine are difficult to coordinate.  Generally speaking, her busiest time of the year is my slowest, and my busiest is her slowest.  January, February are generally the only months where we can guarantee being able to get a few days off together.

We chose Fall Creek Falls for its relative proximity, and for being able to bring Mongo with us.  Mongo being, of course, her dog.

A quiet few days.  We had some winter weather blow through last weekend, the bottom end of Winter Storm Jonas.  It was an odd one.  We live in an area where we can look at forecasts from both Chattanooga and Knoxville.  It seemed like we had seven different forecasts heading into the weekend, ranging from rain and no snow to somewhere between 8 and 12 inches of accumulated snow.

We ended up with about two inches up at Casa de Big Stupid Tommy, which certainly didn't seem worth all the tumult and fuss leading up to it.  Seriously, Southeast Tennessee...let's get a grip when it comes to snow.

Anyway, it was storm that depended much on the temperature.  A couple of degrees cooler, and we could easily have ended up with a half-foot on the ground.  As Fall Creek Falls did.

We arrived a couple days after the snow, but it was still laying.  Mongo loves the snow.  So that was a plus.

We did a couple wanders.  It had started to melt can see in a couple pictures the opposite bank, which receives more direct sun, the snow's almost completely gone.

That night, the rain passed through and melted off all but the stubbornest snow piles.  Around lunchtime, a great fog rolled in.

We wandered across one person, during our wandering through snow and fog.  He complimented Shyam's hockey stick.  Beyond that, we didn't see another soul for nearly 48 hours.

It was perfect.

My minor resolution for 2016 was to take a few more trips.  Recharge.

Twas good, campers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Krystal and Shrimp

Well, it seems as if Krystal is test marketing some shrimp entrees.

Krystal is such a high risk, low reward proposition in general that they should rate items on their menu based on the likelihood that you'll be racing the Devil for the commode some time in the next 6 hours.  That said, it's something of a small wonder that we never managed to pair up the cockroach of the sea with Krystal.

I'll not rush out to try these entrees.  I like my shrimp, from time to time, only slightly more often than I am tempted by Krystal.  When that happens, I generally get three or four of the little mustardy cousins of the White Castle.  That happens once a year, or so, and usually when I know I will be someplace the next day unencumbered by obstacles or appointments that might keep me from a clear shot to the restroom.

So, no.  No thank you.  You may have your shrimps.  More for you, says I.

Last thought, and this is apropos of nothing:  Suttree's titular character makes a stop at a Krystal while coming back from his kid's funeral, in that book.  Cormac McCarthy knew these parts well.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

More Stupid Bullshit

Well, the Titans hired interim coach Mike Mularkey, removing the interim from his job title.

Marcus Mariota, in this lovely article from Titans Online, is happy.

"To have consistency I feel is important."

Alright, Yoda.

Tell me if consistency is important when you've finished another 3-13 season, and are vying for a third straight Top 5 draft pick.

A poor move, made by an ownership that doesn't care.

It takes a lot for me to leave a team.

An apathetic ownership will do it, though.

Friday, January 15, 2016

The Revenant

Don't read this post if you don't want parts of The Revenant spoiled for you.

Just a couple quick thoughts, before I head to bed.

1.)  How Coleman missed out on having the Pinto Sleeping Bag Revenant Tie-In, I don't have a clue.
2.)  I want to watch the movie again to see which has a higher representation, phallic or vaginal symbolism.  (I have a guess.  I just want to keep score).

3.)  There's an alternate Universe where Leonardo DiCaprio rasps, as he's cut the horse open, "I thought....they smelled bad....on the outside....."

4.)  Is it possible that I enjoy Domhnall Gleeson's work more than I do his father's?  I just wouldn't have thought that possible.

5.)  It's a beautiful flick, and deserves attention.  Definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

A thought

Went to a visitation tonight.  Good guy that went to the same church we went to when I was growing up.  He passed away this week.  I spent a lot of time thinking about him today, which surprised me, because I'd only run into him a handful of times in the past 20 years, and few in the past ten, as his health declined.  Still, he was in my thoughts quite a bit today.

John Cooley was a good guy, though.

I was a weird kid.

Not completely weird.   Not in the weirdo setting fires in Old Lady Semple's mailbox kind of way.   Just a curly-headed, heavyset, bookish kid who grew up to 6'3" by the time he was 12.  I probably wasn't that weird.  I felt weird, though.  I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb.  Even among friends, I sometimes felt like an outsider.  I guess all kids feel that way.

I still feel that way, sometimes.  I guess we all do.

John had a way, though.

He never made me feel like I was weird.  He made me feel like part of the group.  He made everybody feel like part of the group.

He was genuinely interested.

He always had a joke and was ready to talk to you about anything.

It may not have meant a thing in the world to him, an adult treating a quiet kid on unsure footing like he was just one of the guys.  It was just his way.  I always appreciated him for that.  The world needs more people like that.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The Wheel of Calamity

It turns, and it turns and it turns.

Spent some time outside, flipping that Cheshire Cat Moon a good bird or two, and screaming obscenities at it until my throat was raw.

As one does.

Man.  It's like the holiday season had diarrhea, and we're still cleaning that shit up on January 5....

Thursday, December 31, 2015


Happy New Year, Campers.  2015 wasn't bad, but it's ended on a sour note.  I've spent more time working these last three months than is kosher.  More than that, I've spent more time these last three months covering for people at the expense of living my own life than is cool.

No huge complaints.  Just didn't care for this last quarter of the year.

Here's to making a better 2016.

Happy New Year, folks.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Year-End Book Post

Welp.  It's the 29th of December.  Near enough for a look back at what I read in 2015.

First, the list, and then a few thoughts:


1.  The Plague Dogs, by Richard Adams
2.  Moonshine: A Cultural History of America's Infamous Liquor, by Jaime Joyce
3.  A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
4.  Silver Screen Fiend, by Patton Oswalt
5.  So, Anyway..., by John Cleese


6.  City Behind a Fence:  Oak Ridge, Tennessee 1942-1946
                                     by Charles W. Johnson & Charles O. Jackson
7.  Revival, by Stephen King
8.  All Clear, by Connie Willis


9.  Tretiak: the Legend      by Vadislav Tretiak
10.  In the Kingdom of Ice, by Hampton Sides
11.  Black Swan Green,  by David Mitchell
12.  Dead Wake, by Erik Larson
13.  the Outlaw Album, by Daniel Woodrell
14.  Trigger Warning, by Neil Gaiman


15.  the Eye of God, by James Rollins
16.  the Guns of August, by Barbara W. Tuchman
17.  Prisoner 489, by Joe R. Lansdale
18.  the Prague Cemetary, by Umberto Eco
19.  the Martian, by Andy Weir


20.  Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: the Untold History of English, by John McWhorter
21.  the Dark Tower:  Gunslinger      by Stephen King
22.  I am Radar, by Reif Larsen
23.  Dust and Decay, by Jonathan Maberry
24.  Long Black Curl, by Alex Bledsoe
25.  Finding Nouf, by Zoe Ferraris


26.  the Jesus Cow, by Michael Perry
27.  Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn
28.  the Great Movies, by Roger Ebert


29.  The Likeness, by Tana French
30.  Finders Keepers, by Stephen King
31.  The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, by Joseph J. Ellis
32.  Hocus Pocus, by Kurt Vonnegut
33.  Pitching in a Pinch: Baseball on the Inside, by Christy Mathewson
34.  Armada, by Ernest Cline
35.  Dorie:  Woman of the Mountains, by Florence Bush Cope


36.  M.A.S.H.: A Novel about Three Army Doctors, by Richard Hooker
37.  Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel
38.  The Power of the Dog, by Don Winslow


39.  A Head Full of Ghosts, by Paul Tremblay
40.  Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow
41.  The Shepherd's Crown, by Terry Pratchett
42.  The Coloring Book: A Comedian Solves...., by Colin Quinn
43.  Secondhand Souls, by Christopher Moore
44.  The Squared Circle: Life, Death and Professional Wrestling, by David Shoemaker

45.  The Bone Clocks, by David Mitchell
46.  The Sixth Extinction: an Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert
47.  As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from....., by Cary Elwes, with Joe Layden
48.  American Gods, by Neil Gaiman
49.  Bombs Away: the Hot War, by Harry Turtledove

50.  Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
51.  Epitaph: a Novel of the OK Corral, by Mary Doria Russell
52.  Jacksonland, by Steve Innskeep
53.  The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick

54.  The Cold Dish, by Craig Johnson
55.  Suttree, by Cormac McCarthy
56.  Childhood's End, by Arthur C. Clarke
57.  Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, by Jack Weatherford
58.  The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett

My unofficial goal was 52 books, which I broke.  I don't think I actually read more than the last couple of years, but I also didn't read any doorstop tomes like The Stand or any of the Song of Ice and Fire books, which take time.

For the largest part of the year, up through October, the list is split pretty evenly between books I read, and books I listened to during my commute to work.  The last couple of months haven't been really conducive to reading at home.  I've had little down time, and when I do, I haven't had the concentration for it.  Stress, anxiety and all that.  I don't enjoy the holidays, and not being able to relax and read is a big part of it.  The only books I actually read during those last two months were Johnson's The Cold Dish, Pratchett's Colour of Magic and bits of McCarthy's Suttree, and Clarke's Childhood's End, in between listening.

Favorite books of the year?  

In the Kingdom of Ice is a tremendous, fun read, and one I gave as a gift a couple of times this year.  It's one I've tried to remember, when I'm having a bad day.  As bad as the day has been, at least I haven't been dragging a boat across the arctic ice pack, only to end up 7 miles behind where I started, because we aren't walking as fast as the ice is drifting.

Paul Tremblay's A Head Full of Ghosts is one of the better horror novels I've ever read, and one I'm probably going to have to revisit, because I haven't landed on a definitive answer as to what the hell just happened.

Craig Johnson's A Cold Dish was a lot of fun, and I'm glad Shyam recommended that one.  Johnson turns a good phrase, and I like Sheriff Longmire a lot.  

I was tremendously sorry that I'd waited so long to get to Suttree.  What a tremendous book.  And one that'll make me take a walk around downtown Knoxville sometime to see the sights.  I loved this book.

Epitaph by Mary Doria Russell is one that I keep coming back to.  I was uneasy with the ending, which seemed to meander, but it has since grown on me.  I've given this one as a gift to a couple people.

Alex Bledsoe's Long Black Curl really hit close to home.  Alex's Tufa books are my favorite things that he's done, and this one was my favorite of that bunch.  I got a better sense of the community in this one, than I had before.   I gave this one as a gift, as well.

And Michael Perry's The Jesus Cow as a funny read that hit very close to home for me.  Somebody else I'd recommended it to didn't have a lot of use for it, though.  As with all things, your actual mileage may vary.  For me, it hit somewhere in the region that Keillor, Hiaasen and Christopher Moore hit.  I liked it very much.

There were disappointments, I'm sorry to say.

I love Christopher Moore, but Secondhand Souls was rough.  It felt very much like a book his publisher wanted him to write, as opposed to something he enjoyed.  I can't describe it except that there isn't as much bounce in that one, as there is in others of his.  At the end of the day, I didn't care a lot for A Dirty Job, the book that Souls is an unnecessary sequel to.  I guess if another comes out in the series, I'll avoid it.

I used to love Harry Turtledove, but Bombs Away left a bad taste in my mouth.  It's like he's trying to channel George R.R. Martin, but using paper dolls to do it.

Ernest Cline's Armada was garbage.  I am mad at myself for pushing through to its end.  Ready Player One was a tremendous, fun read.  Armada was trying for that same vibe.  I'd almost think he was trying for parody, only I wasn't amused even by that.  I tried to tell myself I didn't dislike the book, after I first read it.  I think I was trying to soothe my mind after wasting that time, and I don't like running down the work of others.  Now, I guess I can admit that it was bad.  And I hope Ready Player One wasn't just lightning in a bottle.....

Final thoughts?

I'd wandered away from Terry Pratchett for a few years.  Not sure why, except that I probably read a lot of his stuff in a short period, and had sillied myself out.  I read The Shepherd's Crown this year, as it was a gift from a friend.  It is a great read, but it made me sad.  Pratchett's a favorite.  And this was his last.  I'm going to pick my way through the Discworld books that I haven't read.  I'm currently reading The Colour of Magic--I have about 50 pages left, and it'll likely be the last thing I finish this year.

I had a small handful of re-reads this year.  A Confederacy of Dunces was one of them, and I have an even greater appreciation for the work.  Came away from that one with a better understanding of Ignatius, and a bit of a kick in the pants to not be him.

I did The Gunslinger as a re-listen.  I'd always considered it the least like anything else Stephen King had written, in that there wasn't much of a Stephen King character in the book.  Until I realized this time around that young Jake was very much King.

And American Gods was an interesting re-read.  Odd the parts that worked for me greatly 10 years ago did not work as well now.  I may revisit it in another 10 years, just to see how I react then.

All in all, a good year.  Trying to continue to pull myself away from mindless TV.  It's too easy to let myself get sucked in.  The reading helps.  No specific goal for next year.  I'll just keep on reading....

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Listens, The Day, 27 December 2015

Haven't done one of these in a while.

Haven't written in a while.

Anyway, here's what popped up this morning as I wrote:

The Fairytale of New York,    the Pogues & Kirsty MacColl
The Last Train to Clarksville       the Monkees
Time Zone          Amy Ray
Turkish Song of the Damned      the Pogues
Low           R.E.M.
Help Me Make it Through the Night          Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash
Nobody's Child                   Traveling Wilburys
Sugar Dyed             St. Paul and the Broken Bones
Alice Eyes               Corb Lund
I'm Looking Through You              The Beatles
Don't Thrill Me No More             J.D. Wilkes & the Broken Bones
The Sound of Silence               Disturbed
Run a Mile              Todd Snider & the Hard Working Americans
Gypsy                Kim Boekbinder

Then I switched to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which came up available for Streaming right before Christmas....

The Hateful Eight

Wandered up to Knoxville to take in the Hateful Eight Roadshow, Tarantino's longer cut of his flick, complete with intermission and overture.

Incomplete thoughts:

Tarantino's about spectacle.  And he does spectacle well.

And he does spectacle beautifully.  This is a visual feast.  The scenes inside Millie's Haberdashery (where the bulk of the flick takes place) are fantastic.

I have always enjoyed Jennifer Jason Leigh as an actress.  Her eyes are the biggest reason.  In very few people have I never noted "there's a lot more going on behind those eyes than just the character," but she is high on that list.  Tarantino took note, and there are a number of shots where the viewer is directed to her eyes. Beyond that, she is a hoot in this flick.  She is reveling in her role, here.  I enjoyed her performance most of all.

I also enjoyed Walton Goggins, who's just a human cartoon anyway.  He fits into the Tarantino world view, and easily.

Odd thing that seemed out of place?  Kurt Russell's performance.  I dunno.  Somehow, it didn't seem to fit completely, which is sad to say because I generally enjoy his work very much.

Other thoughts:  I knew the flick was going to be violent, walking in, but was still taken somewhat aback a couple of times.  Spectacle, of course.

Problem with spectacle, though, is that there are diminishing returns.

I think Tarantino's probably smart not putting a flick out but every few years.   I enjoy his flicks.  But after a while, even Samuel L. Jackson snarling at you from the screen loses its novelty.

It hasn't yet, but if and when he wanders out with a new flick, the Jackie Brown fan in me says I'd like to see him try something a little different next time around.

But then, I laughed my way through this flick.  I still enjoyed this ride, and very much.  I'm not among those who wants to crown him King of all Flickdom, but he enjoys what he does.  It shows.  I enjoyed this romp as much as anything he's done this century.  I give it a thumbs up.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Is it my favorite day of the year?

Hello, December 26.

I don't hate Christmas.

I rather like Christmas.

But what I hate is that tumultuous few weeks leading up to Christmas.

Especially that final week, where I generally have to work like a botard.

The previous post is a product of that general frustration.

So, the 26th is nice.  We're as far from that nonsense as we can get.

This one's a day sweeter.  2016 is a Leap Year, so there's one day's respite.

October through December is usually a rough time at the job place.

This year, in particular.

The final 12 weeks of the year include inventory, everybody squeezing in their last vacations, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years.  Add to that this year, another manager being out a week for illness, and being shorthanded of experienced help (a condition we seem to find ourselves in more and more).

New Year's is one more week, and it's tough because you have to change out a month's worth of displays in about 12 hours, and deal with more customers dealing with the "haveto" mentality.  So, I look forward to January 2 as much as anything during the year.

Next year?  Can we chill out?

Still.  The worst is over.  We're a year away from more Christmas nonsense.

Christmas itself was a good one.  Our family did Christmas on Christmas Eve.  I went to see the new Star Wars again with Mom and Dad on Christmas Day.  Super rainy, of note.  My drive to my folks' house took twice as long as normal due to heavy rains and overflowing creeks.

I do have the weekend off (my first since Halloween), and Shyam and I are gonna to go see The Hateful 8 this afternoon.

I hope Christmas was a good one for you, Campers.  And I hope you get to rest up from the nonsense.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

How to get my blood going on Christmas Eve

Drinking my coffee, I wander across this story, from the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

If I may, Charlie Wysong, Jan Frazier, Bill Reesor, Patty Currey, Mary Lynn Jones and Louise Reesor, as identified in the picture in the link, are idiots.  They are worthy of your scorn.

I'm about done with well-dressed white people with too much free time, you know? While I disagree vehemently with your stupid, demonstrably wrong belief that there is a war on Christmas, your complete waste of time is even more infuriating to me. If you feel so strongly about what Christmas is, why not use the time you've taken to make your stupid little signs and the time you're taking to stand out in the rain to go volunteer at a homeless shelter, or an agency that helps at risk women and children? Or help an elderly neighbor? Or volunteer at your local humane society? Maybe go do something to make this planet a better place to live on. That sound like too much trouble? Then, you could just do the decent thing, and stay home, and not bother anybody else. Personally? I'm jealous of your free time. After today I'll have crossed the 60 hour mark for the week, and I feel like I'm coming up on the end of Stephen King's The Long Walk. If you know me folks, and you feel that there is a War on Christmas, this is not the cause you want to mention within earshot of me, because it is not a hill you wish to die on.
I realize that this sort of sentiment is not the majority, or even a sizable minority of folks. Still, I'm aggravated. If there is a War on Christmas, I write this from Christmas's Heavily Fortified Position in southeast Tennessee. Happy Holidays. Don't be a dick.

Monday, December 07, 2015


I recently made Cormac McCarthy's Suttree my commute listen, and it was one of those purchases that made me a little sorry, after I started.  Not because it was bad, but because it was so good.  I was afraid that Richard Poe's narration might paint the novel in a way that my own mind might not.  Still, I've been alternating between reading (at home) and listening (on the road), and enjoying the roller coaster ride.

Today, one of my favorite jokes made its way into the text.  A fellow named Randy Pearcy told me this one, at the comic shop out in Murfreesboro.  I've heard variations since, on morning radio among others.

Suttree is the story of a man adrift on the outer fringes of Knoxville society, and among those he meets are other folks adrift.  Among them is Gene Harrogate, who might be the first character I've read where I read his adventures nearly agog at what I'm hearing.  Endlessly fascinating, tragic and funny.  Gene is a mess, even to those in the book who wouldn't pass muster in "normal" society.

Here, he is quizzing Suttree on how to meet women:

There were walking along the tracks with the city rat at Suttree's off elbow taking legstretcher steps over every other tie, his hands crammed in his hippockets gripping each skinny buttock.  He watched the ground and shook his head.
What do you say to em?
Say to them?
Yeah. say.
Hell, say anything.  It doesnt matter, they dont listen.
Well you gotta say somethin.  What do you say?
Try the direct approach.
What's that?
Wel, like this friend of mine.  Went up to this girl and said I sure would like to have a little pussy.
No shit?  What'd she say?
She said I would too.  Mine's as big as your hat.

I've dug McCarthy for a while, but I don't recall feeling like I'm reveling in a book of his like this one.