Friday Fives – somehow ends up being about Alice in Wonderland again

alice cover

What’s your “I can’t believe they got away with this in a kid show” moment?

I am reading ‘Alice in Wonderland’ again… slowly (on the toilet) and it holds up SO well.  Its my favorite  book in the world!.  I say that with a literature degree!  Anyhow, the books reminds me of Spongebob, in that it is clearly designed for both audiences.  You probably know the book is famous for a LOT of druggy psychedelic references.  You probably know that Grace had a VERY big hit with this song singing for the Airplane.  You probably know it was written clearly in the 60s.  It was.  The 1860s!  By a motherfuckin’ Reverend!  Not just a reverend but a published math wiz.  He isn’t called Lewis Carroll, either.  Dodgeson was so embarrassed by his writings of ‘Alice…’ that he used a fake name.  The man you know as Lewis Carroll is Rev Charles Dodgeson.  Also, Alice was a very real person… Alice Liddel.  Here are pics of her, which is SUPER cool.  And stop saying pedophile jokes.  Dude was a family friend, and he was never alone with Alice.

So… what does any of this have to do with the question?   Alice in Wonderland is a pretty f’d story composed almost entirely of antagonists.  Not sure it is should be a kids book.   Tell what what, if I ever get our kids back from the state, we’ll test it one of them.  Another reason this came up is legit, a couple weeks ago I got this in the mail.  Reminds me of the time I read this, when I found a Steadman copy.  To me knowledge, the Steadman editions are not currently available, and may have never been.  I got one, and it was a stolen library book.  Still worth it.

What’s the darkest secret you found out about a family member/ relative?

I have one, and if it were truly personal or bad, I would never share it with the likes of you.  Years after my pops passed away, I learned he briefly owned a toupee shop.  Needless to say, I have SO SO SO many questions.  No one seems to have answers.

Headphones or earbuds, which do you prefer and why?

All things being equal, it would be over the ear headphones.  These are more comfortable, and offer more sound protection.  Generally, if I am wearing headphones I am doing something very loud.  Running the tractor, woodworking, mowing… whatever.  The first job of the headphones is to protect my ears and hearing.  Also cool if it plays music.  

BUT… having said that, I just got some new in ear headphones that have incredible sound.  So which wins?  Won’t know until tomorrow when I am out spreading the horse poo.  These earbuds are so new I haven’t done any loud work with them.

What are your current go-to lazy meals?

A box of mac and cheese (any brand, who cares), a protein bar, some yogurt.  Alternatively, your sister!

 Who’s your favorite comedian?

That changes often.  Most recently, John Mulaney and Jimmy Carr.  Historically, it would be Mitch Hedburg and Brian Regan (got to see both of them live).  If we are to talk about comedy specials > it would be Delirious, and then anything Brian Regan ever did.

*** wait – why aren’t we still talking about Alice in Wonderland still?  YOU started it, Dad. You think I would just glance past an opportunity to talk about ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and move forward?  Ever ask your Uncle what makes Steely Dan so great?  Do it, I dare you!  and get comfy as he goes all ‘Uncle Rico’ on your ass for 35 minutes.  ‘Alice in Wonderland’ is actually two books.  Neither of them are called ‘Alice in Wonderland’, either.  The first book (and truly the most iconic on every level) is called ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’, and the second book is called ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’.  That second (and last) book?  It is also a playable chess game.  Serious.  I’ll let someone smarter than me explain it

The 64-Square Grid Design of ‘Through the Looking Glass’

The sequel to Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland was designed to be a playable, albeit whimsical chess problem

ALICESL PG 028

One two one two and through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

He game galumphing back

And hast thou slain the Jabberwocky?

come to my arms, my beamish boy… calhoo, calhay!

THAT – I just recited from memory.  Its about the Jabberwocky, a poem/story in the book that is unique as almost every word is total nonsense.  The poem is longer than that above, am just curious how I did.  Let’s look.  Above is my rickety ass memory, below is a cut and paste verbatim.  Think I nailed it!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

Friday Fives –

What is your favorite weird word in any language?

Easy – schadenfreude.  I have written about this word before.  It’s a German word meaning ‘to take pleasure in the suffering of others’.  Now, it isn’t too terribly surprising to learn the German’s have a corner on that market.  Still, though, we all live this.  You know when a ahole passes you like a lunatic and cuts you off in the process?  Even better?  Ok.  Watch this road rage clip, and stunning instant karmic retribution.  That laugh of joy and closure you hear from the lady?  That is schadenfreunde!

You know that warm, gooey feeling you get inside when you see him pulled over and getting a ticket ten minutes later?  Yeah, that is schadenfruede.  I wonder if there is any connection to the ‘Freud’ part of that word, and if there is a connection to Herr Sigmund.  Turns out, no.  The ‘fruende’ part of that word is for happiness.  I am more surprised to find that Germans have a word for happiness, than I am to discover they literally invented the idea of mocking one’s suffering.

What is a controversial book more people should read?

Well, I am a book guy.  I love books.  Got a fancy university degree just about books.  So, I can’t just give you one. Also, I am going to try and not write about Alice in Wonderland again.  God, how I do love that book. ok… so let’s talk about non Alice related books. How about two?  These are both ‘banned books‘.  However, every book worth it’s salt has been banned.  When someone once asked Keith Richards how we felt about the Stone’s records getting bootlegged (and so the band was getting ripped off), Keith replied ‘if you aren’t being bootlegged, you aren’t happening!’  I kinda feel the same way about books.

It took me a LONG time to get into reading.  When I was a kid, I was just force fed dreck.  Newbury award winnings books – just boring and sterile horse shit. I never ever saw reading as fun, or an escape, until Kermit.  Kermit was my high school buddy, and he turned me on to SO much.  He got me into Henry Miller, Salvador Dali, the Beatles White Album, Gregory, Bukowski, and so much more.

For a dense, hardcore, escapist read – go for Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.  He was an American writer who lived abroad (quite literally… tee hee hee) in France in the 20s.  He was broke, but he was wicked smart and fun and interesting.  So, rich people would keep him afloat to keep him around.  ‘Tropic’ is a coming of age story of wanderlust on every level.  Imagine the debauchery of Charlie Sheen, but written so beautifully it’s like Maya Angelou.  Imagine ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ set in Paris.  Imagine everything Charles Bukowski ever did or wrote… first.  It is a book every 16 year old young man should read.  It’s not a quick read, by any means… but nor should it be.

For quicker fare, but just as impactful (and just as banned) is George Orwell’s Animal Farm.  It’s about the animals rising up and taking over their oppressive humans, and making an animal utopia.  Well… it starts that way, anyhow.  People who wear eyeglasses and finger their goatees thoughtfully will tell you about the analogy to the Russian revolution.  Don’t worry about all that.  The story stands just terrific on it’s own, and you will have NO trouble drawing parallels to so many things in society.  Best part of all, it’s thin.  You can knock it out in a single evening.  Four Legs Good, Two Legs Bad!  It doesn’t just work as a meta study on humanity and barbarism.  It is also just a cute sweet story you could read to a 5 year old.  Not a 4 year old, though.  Seriously, that would fuck them up good.  5, though?  Yeah, he’d be fine.  Listen, kids gotta learn about tyranny from someone, amiright?

What’s an everyday grammatical thing that still kind of bugs you?

It’s – when do I use the apostrophe?  I should ask someone who has an English degree, right?  That would be me, and I still don’t get it.  They say ‘only if owns something (possessive), or is a contraction.  Well, isn’t that ALWAYS the case with it’s?

Guess what?  New rule – the only time I want to talk about apostrophe’s is if it is about Frank Zappa’s album.  SO much great, and stupid, Zappa work can be found on Apostrophe/Overnight Sensation.  First off, let’s go with this one.  Moving to Montana soon, gonna be a dental floss tycoon.  Then, listen to Frank explain, in a super catchy song, about how it is damn near impossible to get his lady off manually.  “dynamo hum, dynamo hum.  Where’s this dynamo coming from?  Dynamo Hum, Dynamo hum, I done poked and stroked till my wrist gut numb.  You may be thinking to yourself ‘there is no way in hell studios released an song about how to properly masturbate your girlfriend… and especially not 45 years ago’.  Oh yeah, baby.  They sure did.  Think of all risque Prince songs, like Darling Nikki.  How about 2 Live Crew?  Yeah, Frank was upsetting parents 30 years earlier.  Enjoy.  At work?  Oh, then turn it up really loud.

bonus fun?  That song is nowhere near the most offensive thing Frank ever recorded.  Not by a mile.

Replace a word in a movie title with “Bitch”, what’s the new plot?

Kill Bitch – it’s the sequel to Kill Bill, where all the daughters of the slain samurai come back after Uma Thurman and avenge their parents.  See, she had a beef with Bill.  Whatevs, that isn’t our business.  Just note that, like in every proper Tarantino movie, zillions of ancillary characters die in the hero’s wake.  Tee hee hee.

Write us up a nice little Haiku (5-7-5). 

Arson so pretty

Fire my only friend now

Oops, Sorry ‘bout pants

Friday Fives – snitches get … well… you know

What is your favorite poem? Can you recite part of it from memory?

Easy, Jabberwocky. It’s a piece of total and utter nonsense from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Of course, the whole book is full of nonsense, but this poem is largely constructed of words that don’t exist. It’s a perfectly cromulent solution.  Below, this is just working off memory, I swear!

Twas brilling and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble

All mimsy were the borogroves, and the momraths outgrab

 One two, one two! And through and through

The vorpal blade went snicker snack

He left it dead and with its head he came galumphing back

 And has thou slain the Jabberwocky? Come to my arms, my frabjous boy

Calloo, calay!

Ok, that was totally and entirely from memory. Not bad, especially when you consider half the words don’t exist. There is a middle part I left out, right before the battle. However, the battle and subsequent result… I think I nailed that perfectly. Let’s see how we did?  Here is the last part, about the battle.  Yup, look above… almost nailed the second half verbatim!

One, two! One, two! And through and through

      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!

He left it dead, and with its head

      He went galumphing back.

 “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?

      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!

O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”

It’s no big surprise, but I am not generally a fan of poems. I think it’s self indulgent blathering and navel gazing. You, of course, will then say ‘what about lyrics? You claim to love music so much… those are just poems!’ Shut up. No they aren’t. Lyrics have ae job. They are serving the song and the mood. Lyrics get up every goddamn day and go to work. Poems sit around all and don’t do shit except congratulate themselves for being so thoughtful.

Because I truly am the hero of the proletariat®, I wrote some much and put Lewis Carroll’s word do it. It’ called Dreamland. Look at these words. Beyond perfect and beautiful. Now that I have a band, I need to put that song to work. I think I forgot the music.   Anyhow, here is Lewis Carroll’s ‘Dreamland’. I should have mentioned that one above, as I have 90% of those words memorized.

When midnight mists are creeping
And all the land is sleeping
Around me tread the mighty dead
And slowly pass away

Lo, warriors, saints, and sages
From out the vanished ages
With solemn pace and reverend face
Appear and pass away

The blaze of noonday splendour
The twilight soft and tender
May charm the eye: yet they shall die
Shall die and pass away

But here, in Dreamland’s centre
No spoiler’s hand may enter
These visions fair, this radiance rare
Shall never pass away

I see the shadows falling
The forms of old recalling
Around me tread the mighty dead
And slowly pass away

 What is your favorite work of visual art? Can you sketch some of it from memory?

I love Dali, in a big way. I think he is the greatest artist of all time.  When we were in Spain, we went to his museum in Figueras and it was amazing. I think Picasso isn’t fit to clean his empty dishes. Like Alice in Wonderland, Dali had a wonderful sense of the totally absurd. This painting comes to mind, because the painting and the title of said painting are just… terrible. Today, we’ll feature a lesser known piece by Dali called “The Ghost of Vermeer of Delft, which can be used as a table”.   I don’t think that is necessarily high art. I think it’s dumb, which is why I love Dali.

If you think you don’t know Dali, you do. Take a look at this painting. It’s certainly his most iconic. Now, there is another part of the question. Could I draw it from memory? Well, I kinda think I can, and did. Take a look at the original, and my quick sketch. Teaser alert… I am not going to tell you which is mine, and which is his.

my vermeer sketch

Now; keeping in mind I have no artistic ability… or even and desire to have the abillity, this is pretty darn good!

What is your favorite piece of music? Can you sing or hum any of it from memory? Bonus points if you can sing a line of harmony from it.

Golly, that question is too big. Music is my thing, and there is no song I can’t just pop off. Wait, I gotta give you something, right? Wifey was singing this when we were changing the sheets- she started singing the Monkees theme song… and it’s still in my head. Now it’s in yours. What a great song!

Since you brought up the Monkees, here are a couple of interesting facts about them. They were the first group famous for not writing, recording, and anything of their songs. Know who wrote a lot of their songs? Neil Diamond!

Here is your second tasty Monkees trvia. Jimi Hendrix first tour of him being himself (as opposed to being a side man and session man) was opening for the Monkees. Even better, he was kicked off for sucking! It makes sense if you think about it. Does a 10 year old girl wanna hear acid blues? Especially from a huge black man hopped up on everything?

What is your favorite dance form? Can you dance it yourself, however badly, or is it something for which you are mostly a spectator?

My favorite form of dancing is none. I hate to dance. Really, really do. Ask my wifey. Going to weddings kills her, because of course she wants to dance. I try, and I’ll do a couple dances, but it really makes me feel uncomfortable. I can admit this, though. When the Grateful Dead is playing live (from anywhere, a record player, on tv, in concert whatever) I will dance. Tell no one, capiche? Snitches get bitches!****

What is your favorite work of literature? Have you committed any of it to memory?

I think I have answered that in the previous questions. I have a literature degree, so books are a big deal to me. I love them. My favorite book is the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ series by Lewis Carroll. I have written about it exhaustively here. My second favorite book? Lamb, the Gospel of Christ as explained to Biff’ – by Christopher Moore

*** Snitches get Bitches®

holy shit, I just coined that this very second. Man, that was good. I need to patent that shit!