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!

Hunter Thompson and Salvador Dali – prisoners of their own creations

I love Hunter Thompson, and Salvador Dali.  I LOT.  Like, I moved my life around for those two.  HST is a big part of why I moved to Colorado.  As for Dali, we honeymooned in Spain, partially so we could travel to Figueres to the Dali museum.  Both were worth it.  They are both huge influences and heroes to me.  Never, until recently, did I think of them together.  On a flight over the Pacific, I watched this cool documentary on Dali.  I would hyperlink it here, but I don’t remember the name of it, or the production company, or anything. To clarify, this doc had nothing to do with Hunter at all. In watching the doc, though, I had an epiphany.

On so many levels, Hunter S Thompson and Salvador Dali were the same person.

Boy, I better deliver on that one.  See, they were both creative geniuses.  They were both  HUGELY celebrated artists.  They were both starfuckers.  They were both trapped by their best creations… themselves.  They both peaked early, and spent the rest of their lives being haunted and pigeonholed by those creations.  Hunter talks about it openly below (jump ahead to the 11 minute mark, but watch the whole piece if you can.  It’s pretty good).

Basically, they had both peaked by 30.  They both did little, effectively, after that.  Hunter, for example, probably has 20 books to his name.  About 3*** were original creative works of any kind of consequence. The rest, and there are MANY, are collections of letters or short stories. (*** see below for aside on this)

Though I love just about all of Dali’s art, and most of Hunter’s full length books (remember, there are basically 3)… their best creations was themselves.  These two LOVED a spectacle.  They invented spectacle.  This was fun and awesome, likely, when they were young.  It became a prison of sorts as they aged.  You realize quickly, as Jimi Hendrix did, that people just want to see that character.  In the early days, Jimi did wild stuff to his equipment, just out of fun and passion.  Pete Townshend, too.  In time, though, people didn’t come to here Jimi play the blues.  They wanted stunts.  For Pete, they wanted to see a Strat smashed of they would have felt they never saw a full Who show.

Luckily, for all mentioned above (except Hendrix), they got to live long enough to see the futility of their creations come to haunt them.  I say ‘luckily’ not because I want them to suffer… but luckily that they had long enough lives to see the silliness of being such a one dimensional characters.

For both Dali, and Thompson… being themselves was their full time jobs.  Remember, Hunter lived to 2005, but hadn’t written anything at length of consequence since 1972.  Now, is that to say Hunter did dick all for 35 years but ride his own coattails?  Yeah, pretty much.

With Dali, we are lucky that we have a great body of work.  However, the documentary I watched strongly implied that he also didn’t do dick all after about 30.  Oh sure, you get the lobster telephone.  However, it isn’t exactly on par with the masterpiece ‘Persistence of Memory‘.  In fact, look at the irony; there is an expression used when people put in bare minimum effort and still get credit.  It’s called ‘phoning it in’.  Is there a better example in all of history than this?

While it isn’t my personal favorite piece, it is certainly Dali’s best known.  ‘Persistence of Memory‘ is most known for it’s iconic ‘soft watches’, though I always called them melting clocks.  Even the Simpson‘s have paid homage.  Aw heck, it looks like everyone has.

This isn’t meant to be critical in an anti-artistic sorta way.  It is more meant to be critical in a ‘huh, I never thought of it that way.  Maybe you got something there’.   Really, mostly I am just jealous.  These guys are SO impactful to my life.  I think I write this to help me better understand why. Proof of their impact on me?  My first tattoo will be a Ralph Steadman drawing of the great white rabbit from the Alice books.  I have been trimming my beard for years, but never ONCE the edges of my mustache, in hopes I can do this one day.

 

*** 3 books of HST.   There is Hells’ Angels, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972.  That is it.  That is all you need to know about Hunter from start to finish.  Now, he has 4 books of compiled letters (I am also including ‘Better than Sex’ here) and about 10 of short story compilations.  In retrospect, that is kind of a week body of work.  However, those few books were SO good and SO influential.  Look at Lewis Carrol.  What else did he write besides Alice in Wonderland?  Nothing, really.  He was a preacher and a mathematician.  He wrote books on math.  His name isn’t even ‘Lewis Carroll’.  Carroll is a pseudonym he used for the Alice books because he was so embarrassed and mortified of what his religious math buddies would think of his silly childhood fantasy tales.

Friday Fives – cheeky movie edition

Hi.  Listen, I know it’s not Friday.  Its not even Thursday.  Allow to explain. My editor sent these to me.  Apparently, he thinks it’s Thursday.  He’s a great guy, so I don’t have the heart to tell him he is a day off.  It’s like the thing about never waking a sleepwalker.  So, maybe it isn’t a Friday – what are you a cop all the sudden?

1.  What is the Best-Worst Movie Ever?

this is a very important two-way tie.  I am very passionate about these movies, as you will see.  The movies in question here are Gotcha, and Summer School.  They both have big Hollywood casts.  However, I am guessing they made about $6 box office, total.  These movies did so badly that when DVDs first came out… these didn’t make the cut.  It took a good 10 to 15 years for them to press these to DVD.  Think of it, they had the film done.  It probably cost a couple grand to remaster the movie for digital distribution.  They did not bother to do that for these movies.

The cast, though, in both, is huge.  Collectively, we have Mark Harmon, Anthony Edwards, Kirstie Alley, Courtney Thorne Smith, and Rob Reiner!  These are funny, funny movies.  They are also both infinitely quotable.  In fact, I quote them a lot.  Here is what’s fun.  Most people quote well-known movies – like Princess Bride.  Princess Bride is perhaps the most quotable movie ever.  When someone comes to you with a Princess Bride quote, you come back to them with your Princess Bride quote.  When I quote Summer School (written and made by Carl Reiner… the father of the guy who made Princess Pride) no one knows what I am talking about, and I sound like an idiot.  Like this line.  This line is goddamn cinematic gold.  Scene – Mark Harmon is sitting on the porched with this golden retriever, Wondermutt.  They are sharing peanut butter right out of the jar, using his fingers.  He is sad because his girlfriend left.  He says “you know what we need, Wondermutt?  I mean, besides bread.  A woman who appreciates us.”

I wish I could embed this clip, but no one has bothered to edit it out.  Here is a bunch of stuff they did edit and post.  Skip that, though.  Rent it.  No.  Wait.  Buy it.  Seriously.  Spend the $4 and buy it.  If you don’t like it send it to me.  I am still waiting for the four disc criterion collection and directors cut to come out.  That will not happen.  I wanted to pick it up on blu ray, but it doesn’t exist.  wtf?  This Blu Ray omission exactly makes my point that these movies are disregarded.

Sorry, I never even got to Gotcha.  It deserves its own 1200 words on a movie absolutely no one gives a shit about besides me.  We’ll get to that later, one day.  Today, brevity is not my strong suit.  I accidentally knocked out two pages on Summer School and Johnny Depp below.  If I went into Gotcha, we would be here until Sunday.  Rent it, though, it’s brilliant!

2.  What movie have you seen in which you can tell the director knew he was a making a pos so he made it even more campy on purpose?

I can’t think of anything that terrible.  well, I can actually.  However, this movie was so terrible I don’t want to give it any ink.  Lemme cop to something I was wrong about.  I am not wrong often, but I celebrate it.  I had written a review of the movie Drive.  I never write movie reviews.  Never once.  But, I saw Drive and I was very upset and disappointed.  I expected action, and chases, and maybe even dialogue.  It had none of these things, and I was pissed.  Then, a came back 6 months later and watched it again.  Without any expectations, I really really enjoyed it.  The issue was the movie was marketed poorly, and wrongly.  It’s a think piece, and a slow burner.  Can we also just address that Ryan Gosling is hot?  Like, I would change teams for that guy hot.  Like maybe a 5 or 6 on the Eggers scale hot.

I was wrong about Drive, and I apologize to you.

3.  What are some films that should have been absolutely amazing, but ended up being absolutely horrible?

everything Johnny Depp has done in the last 20 years.  I keep rooting for him, but all he does is shit out soulless blockbusters.  Don’t give me that jive about him doing the blockbusters so he can do his art projects.  He doesn’t do art projects.  He was offered a super cool and interesting role doing a Whitey Bulger pic.  This would be amazing, and likely Oscar material.  Problem is, they didn’t have 30 million to give Depp.  Even though Depp likely has about 250 million in the bank from the 13 Pirates movies.

Now that he is insanely rich and successful… why not make some art? Because, if he took that role for 2 million, that then becomes his market value.  It’s like the ‘comps’ in your neighborhood when you are selling your house.  Your house may be worth $500,000.  But, if your neighbor has the same house and just sold it for $300K… then that is all your house is worth.  Johnny, I guess, doesn’t want his neighborhood value to crumble.  I did some more research, and I have actual figures.  Depp makes 20 million a film.  For the Bulger biopic, they offered him 10 million.  10 million dollars to do some art and get an oscar.  He turned it down.  Why?  So he can get paid 30 million to do a Lone Ranger sequel?  Depp is a hack a sell out.  That hurts me to say.  He bona fides are impressive.  He was a close personal friend of Hunter Thompson, and spent millions paying for Thompson’s insane funeral.  I love him for that.  He hangs out with Tom Petty and Pearl Jam, and plays guitar.  I love him for that.  He chooses only terrible super high profile films, and seems only to play a caricature of an actor.

Jesus, this thing went WAY off the rails.  Not sure where all the Depp anger came from, but it’s warranted.  But since we are here, let’s hit another issue about Depp and my favorite book of all time.  Depp did Alice in Wonderland.  I love this book more than life itself.  Well, your life, anyway.  🙂 This is the greatest and most important book ever.  So, how did I feel about the Depp movie?  Aren’t I supposed to say “the book was better?”  No.  here is why – the Depp movie was an imagine sequel.  What happens if Alice comes back 20 years later?  I love the premise, and I can guarantee Lewis Carroll would have loved it, too.  I am not in love with the movie, but I don’t hate it.  I admire the spirit of such a bold move.  There are trillions of Alice in Wonderland remakes, but no one has tried to tell a whole new story.

Can I tell you one incredibly factoid on the book, of which there are hundreds?  Alice in Wonderland is actually two separate books.  The second book, “Through the Looking Glass” is a chess game.  It is an actionable, executable chess game.  Each movement of a character in the book relates to a specific chess move.  This guy was a master published mathematician.

Can you comprehend the moral dilemma put on us by the story of the Walrus and Carpenter?  You see two weird fat guys eating oysters.  I did a ten page essay arguing that the Walrus is the true tragic figure.  Thought he ate the most oysters, he felt bad about it the whole time.  Did you know that all the stories in those books are related to fish?  Do you even know what a caucus race is?  Jesus, its like talking to my cat with you people.

4.  Along the same lines, what is a book/story that you just know would be ruined if it were made into a film.

Lamb – a book that rocked my world.  I love that book so much that I fear it could get tampered with.  It would make an amazing independent movie.  However, once suits and money get involved they would suck the life out of it.  I truly can not say enough good things about that book.  I will put my name on it.  As a recovering Catholic, it spoke to me on some serious and heavy beautiful levels.  Also, dig this; I wound up listening to the book on tape on Christmas day.  I was driving by myself, a long drive  4 hours.

think of it.  You could almost put it in the book – due to major insomnia, I was in a very strange place physically and emotionally and spiritually when I happened to have a long solitary beautiful snowy drive all by myself all day long listening to this story on audiobook.  I mean to say this without hyperbole as an atheist with a gift for hyperbole > the book that day was a religious experience

5.  Sharknado?  Yes or No?

It’s a little too soon, bro.  My father was killed by a sharknado.  Is everything a joke to you people?  Meet me at Cafe Friedrichstraussen

Friday Fives – a true random edition of fives

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1.  Name five celebrities you admire?

Zach Galifinakis, Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines, Adam Carolla, Anthony Bourdain, and Ozzy.  Why?  I find them funny, talented, and trustworthy.  I would never expect anyone of them to say anything that wasn’t 100% to their beliefs and philosophies.

Can I be more specific?  let’s talk about Dave Mustaine from Megadeth.  Dave recently said, in Europe on tour, that the Batman theater shootings were orchestrated by President Obama to launch gun control.  What kind of fucking stupidity is that? I get that he hates the President.  He gets to, that is why America is great.  Lord knows I hated Bush with a profound depth.  But, that statement is just mean to all the people who suffered that.  Does he really believe that?  Or, was that just an excuse for him to address the fact that he doesn’t trust Democrats on gun control.  I lost SO much respect for Mustaine when I heard that.  I had precious little already, but that was about the end of it.

So, did I burn my Megadeth albums?  no.  Megadeth is awesome.  Plus, anyone who expects deep wisdom from a guy who named himself ‘Megadeth’ needs to pick up a newspaper now and again.  If I want decent and proper right wing bantering, I have Uncle Ted.  Though I disagree with him on nearly everything, he is always well informed and passionate and articulate.  Also, Uncle Ted rocks.  There is simply nothing on earth cooler than this riff.  FACT.  I don’t care if he eats puppies for lunch, he is a great rock star.  Plus, it would not surprise me if Uncle Ted did eat puppies for lunch.

 2.  Name five celebrities you don’t care for?

 Jim Carrey.  Wanna know why?  A few years ago, In Living Color was doing a big reunion.   10 years, or 20 years… something big.  Every star was there, except Jim Carrey.  That show, 100%, made Jim Carrey.  Jim Carrey owes absolutely everything to that show, and to Keenan Ivory Wayans.  He said he was doing a movie or something.  I simply do not believe that he couldn’t make it if he tried.  He is probably getting 20 million a movie.  So, he should have hired a jet to take him back for 8 hours for the re-union.  See, with that show, Jim Carrey gets a jet.  Without that show, Jim Carrey drives a Jetta.

Listen, I am not saying Jim Carrey isn’t wicked talented, or doesn’t deserve his fame.  Not at all, see below.  I am saying Keenan gave him the break that got him started.

PLUS… along with his super hot and super crazy girlfriend, Jim Carrey has convinced parents not to immunize against measles.  They very incorrectly believe, and teach, that there is a correlation between measles vaccines and the rise in autism.  They are wrong, and I know that for a fact. The rise in autism cases does not, and should not, represent a rise in autism.  The rise in autism cases is changes made between the release of DSM 3 and DSM4 which changed the categorization of childhood behavior.  Before the DSM 4, you may have been a moody kid, or a sad kid, or a funny kid, or a chatty kid.  After DSM4, those were all moved to be labeled as ‘Autism’.  Something very very similar happened with ADD/ADHD.  When I was a kid, you were just called a ‘spaz’, but they didn’t’ medicate you for that.  Hot topic for me, as I am reading about this as we speak.

On the upside, though, dude is a remarkable actor.  He also makes gutsy choices.  He did a 2 hour ode to homosexual love called “I love you Phillip Morris“.  The movie studios were so afraid to back a movie about gay love that they pulled the plug and it went straight to video.  Plus, we can all agree he killed it in ‘Man on the Moon’.  He was more Andy Kaufman than Andy Kaufman ever was.

So… what about Ted Nugent?  Is he on my list here, for people I “don’t care for”?  Nope, not at all.  he is a decent and thoughtful guy who just has wildly different philosophies than I do regarding guns in our culture.  That by no means makes him an enemy of mine.

3.  Name five songs that you can’t live with out?

Angel, Jimi Hendrix

(the acoustic version, not that schlock from First Rays of the New Rising Sun that got shit out 30 years after he died.)  Since we are talking about Jimi, I have to acknowledge the ‘trinity’ of awesomeness:  Little Wing, Castles Made of Sand, and Wind Cries Mary.  To teach myself guitar, I taught myself those songs, because they were the toughest, and most beautiful.  I can still play the shit out of those songs on guitar.  Learning those taught me technique that was useful, and specific to Hendrix… like how he used his thumb

Allman Brothers – Whipping Post

Smashing Pumpkins – Mayonnaise

Grateful Dead – Scarlett>Fire jam – 5.7.77

Bob Dylan – Visions of Johanna

Ten Years Gone – Led Zeppelin

Seek and Destroy – Metallica

Parachutes – Pearl Jam

4.  Name your top five favorite books?

Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll*

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S Thompson

Tropic of Cancer – Henry Miller

On the Road – Jack Keroac

Steppenwolfe – Herman Hesse

Lamb; the Gospel According to Biff – Christopher Moore*

*you can find more thorough musings from me on these books over on this page, where I catalogue every book I am reading over the last several years

 5.  Name your top five favorite breakfast cereals?

fruit loops, apple jacks, frosted mini wheats, and bacon.  I know bacon isn’t a cereal, but bacon is delicious and yummy and easy to cook, and certainly not worse for me than those sugar shots listed above