Required Reading
Cap'n Flynn (deviantART)
Cap'n Flynn's Salty Sea Chest

The Unveiled Clepsydra

The Voyage to Ruin
Catholic Works
Aliens in This World
Apologize and Don't Be Sorry!
Catholic Ragemonkey
De Fidei Oboedientia
Doubleshot Thoughts
E-Pression (Zorak)
Flos Carmeli
For Keats' Sake!
Happy Catholic
John C. Wright's Journal
Old Oligarch's Painted Stoa
Scuffulans hirsutus
Shrine of the Holy Whapping
Summa Mamas, The
Troglodyte, The
The Stacks
Basia me, Catholica Sum
Corner, The
Fiat Lux!
I Am the Lizard Queen!
The Kawaii Menace
James Lileks
Wasted Words
Weirdsville, USA
8-Bit Theater
Get Fuzzy
Sluggy Freelance
xkcd: A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language
One Guy's Opinion
Dark Echo
Reference Materials
Catholic Culture: Liturgical Year
The Holy See
Invisible Children
New Advent
The Rosary Confraternity
Anglican Use Society
Book of Divine Worship
Pastoral Provision
Saint Mary The Virgin Catholic Church
Chambers' Book of Days
King's American Dispensatory
The Writer's Den
Jim Butcher
Bruce Campbell
Susanna Clarke
Harlan Ellison
Stephen King
Lit Gothic
The Studio
Jeff Matsuda
Moby Dick, the Movie
The Conservatory
David Bowie
Dougie MacLean
Gaming FM
Great Big Sea
Kate Rusby
The Myriad
Nickel Creek
The Recliners
Back Issues
Wishful Thinking
Buy Me a Book?
Site design by kashi
This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
23 February 2004
Celling Our Souls

Yesterday we finally broke down and got our first cell phones. I must admit that I kinda like the infernal little device. It's not a flip phone like my wife's, but it's still pretty stylish. And yet, a part of me feels a great shame at owning one. On the bright side, our reason for getting them was completely practical--Kathy's up at the school animating at all sorts of random hours lately, and with the Admiral requiring the occasional unexpected refitting--often in some strange port where phones either do not exist, or are made inaccessible by our friendly police station staff members who can't help a poor girl whose car's broken down by the side of the road because they have rules and regulations which prevent them from acting like bloody human beings (but that's a run-on rant for another time).

But I fully intend not to become a typical cellular idiot. No driving while talking. No moronic ring turned to the utmost volume (I'll likely have it vibrate most of the time, though I must confess, the Peer Gynt ring is pretty cool, and very much me). In fact, I'll likely not use the thing unless it's to communicate with my wife when neither of us is home, or when I'm online--which I found last night to be terribly convenient. 'Tis a tool, and that is all. Shame so many lives revolve around them these days. Oh, well.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   12:36 PM
Email the Wolf
20 February 2004
Hollywood Brains

Speaking of zombie holocausts (see Russ' blog
here), wouldn't that be a lovely addition to this year's Oscar ceremony? Now, I'm sure it's awful and uncharitable of me to even think this, let alone espouse it here in public, but I can't help but smile at the thought of a hoarde of zombies upsetting the awards. Those pretentious wankers would drop the self-congratulation in a hurry with a bunch of decaying mindless undead trying to gnaw on their brains. Ahhh, what a story that'd be!

On a more serious note, I'm warring with myself over whether or not to watch the stupid Oscars. I know what to expect already. Same thing as last year. Same thing as all the other years. Random moronic statements from the usual Hollywood types having nothing to do with the movies themselves. Lots of unnecessary political agendas being foisted on the audience (who mostly eat it right up), when what should matter is the few quality films in the given year getting recognised for that quality. And yet, quailty matters little in the Oscars. Nor does popularity, nor box office receipts. There's almost something to be said for the low-brow vulgarity of the MTV Movie Awards (realise that it's been a few years since I've seen one, so I've no idea if they've improved--though I expect they've actually gotten worse). What matters is whose ego the Academy voters want to pump this year. You know who I like? The guys and gals who get up there, look incredibly uncomfortable, say thanks (that's it: one word--"Thanks") and go away. But no, it's not Hollywood unless you get grand pompous statements.

And yet, I can't beat the train wreck factor. I'm hounded by morbid curiosity. I've gotta know--just how bad will it be this year? How much Bush-bashing in those five hours (you know it's never going to get shorter--longer and longer every blasted year)? How much Catholic-bashing? I've already heard those are Billy Crystal's two big topics of the night. Will Michael Moore be there to spout more inanities this year? I have to know! Yes, it's a sickness, to be sure. Mayhap I can be cured, though. If I could be assured of some zombies, I wouldn't feel bad about watching. But alas, all the zombies will be at home, enjoying the back-patting, staring mindlessly at the screen. Oh, for an Arizona Bay!* We'd be so much more respectable a culture. Perchance some friends can come over for some lively conversation that night, and I will be able to resist being one of those unmotivated, glass-teat absorbed zombies. We shall see (or not see, if the Fates be kind).

*Thanks be to the late, lamented Bill Hicks for the concept of an Arizona Bay
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:21 AM
Email the Wolf
19 February 2004
Some Damn Fine Coffee

I have found myself in something of a musical hell of late. Or at least a musical purgatory. I've gotten most of the eighties music out of my head (though Pat Benatar is being rather persistent). But now, because of a reference in a Harlan Ellison bio read the other night, I've got "Mairzy Doats" running rampant through my head. Which I suppose wouldn't be too bad if I knew more than the refrain. Heck, I don't know if there is any more than the refrain. Sing along, won't you?

Oh, mares eat oats,
And does* eat oats,
And little lambs eat ivy.
A kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?**

Now, dietary habits of horses and lambs (mmmm, lamb) and such aside, this started me thinking again about Twin Peaks (and I'm actually listening to the soundtrack right now in an attempt to purge the above-mentioned ditty from my head). And in case you're thinking I'm off on a rather random tangent, "Mairzy Doats" is sung at one point by the character Leland Palmer, father of the famously deceased Laura Palmer, around whom the show revolves. (How's that for a very quick summing-up?) Though I do not claim to understand all of what transpired in the season and a half (Season One was a short seven eps--plus the pilot, I believe)--and let's face it, if I understood all that came out of the mind of David Lynch, I'd need to have myself put away--it's still a damn fine show, complete with damn fine coffee. Any show that reveres coffee that much must have some merit. And in my opinion, it was just about one of the best things to ever air (up there with Firefly, and The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr., and the best seasons of Buffy, and X Files--though to be honest, I think Peaks would win all in my book, even with some faltering plotlines late in season two).

Anyway, not really a point here. Just something to babble about. Also, it's my firm belief that everyone should watch this show. Someday I will replace my lame taped copies with the dvd release. Oh, how I look forward to that! Television is mostly pathetic, drool-inducing tripe, but for those few gems which work on far more levels than mere, base entertainment (and yet still entertain as well), I rejoice. And once my wife is not too terribly busy with school (so sometime next year ... maybe) I shall subject her to it (I did try the pilot out on her once, but it was late when we started, and she was already tired, and that's just never a good mix).

Now the question remains, would you really eat ivy, too? I certainly hope not. But the does and lambs and kids--now thems good eatin'. Possibly even better than Agent Cooper's favourite pie.

*you know, English has some weirdnesses, but most can be pretty much overlooked--or at least shrugged at; the plural for "doe," though, is just silly--I mean context probably helps most of the time, but "does" is just awkward in my book

**translated into normal language, but if you sing it at the proper speed, it still comes out all "mairzy" and "doezy" and "divey" and such
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:06 AM
Email the Wolf
17 February 2004

In attempting to keep the worrying to a minimum (as too much will only drive my wife nuts and therefore add annoyance to her illness), I've been trying to distract my silly, lame mind with actual thinking. Let's face it, fretting doesn't involve real thought. Mostly over-emotional delusion, when you get right down to it.

But this morning, I've been thinking of new and different variations on the classic, "He's not the sharpest tool in the shed" sort of statements. There're only so many synonyms for intelligence you can work with, but I'm certain there are some terribly good variations out there waiting to be used. Last night I tried: "not the brightest candle in the church." Not bad, but there must be more. Not the sharpest tack in the bulletin? Not the smartest suit in the closet?

Dunno. Any suggestions?
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:05 AM
Email the Wolf
Worrier King*

In addition to a brief heart attack scare this weekend with my grandmother (she's doing fine now, is in good spirits, and should be going home again any day now--thank goodness), I again have an ill wife to worry over. And worry I do, as always. 'Tis a fault I cannot seem to rid myself of, much to my poor wife's chagrin.

Yet this time, it is not an invading bug, but an invading drug that makes her ill. The most likely culprit is her newly prescribed asthma inhaler, but it's clearly something her doctor prescribed. So now we get to add anger to worry, 'cause we rushed her to the doctor yesterday, waited 45 minutes after our appointed time, to be told in five minutes--well, it's either an allergic reaction to your meds, or a virus. Take Advil and get rest, Buh-bye.

I have this really bizarre, inexplicable preconception that not only are doctors supposed to help you when you're having trouble keeping your health up on your own, but they're also supposed to have a clue what side effects their prescribed drugs might cause. Kathy looked online last night while I was out frantically trying to find a decent antihistamine that might lessen the symptoms, and though the doc suggested the antibiotic as a possible cause, the inhaler looks more likely to us. Inflamed, reddening skin, nausea, dizziness. All things she told the doctor yesterday morning. Consult your doctor immediately if you are suffering any of these side effects. And what if your doctor bloody well blows you off and leave you to your own devices?

She says she's doing better today, but she's far from well, and I'm regretting more and more not just taking her to the emergency room last night. Though I'm not sure we wouldn't have gotten much the same answer from them. After at least a three hour wait, too. Sigh. She'll be up at the school all day, trying to get caught up on work she's been missing from previous illness as well as this reaction. And all I can do is worry--even though I know perfectly well she'll be fine once she gets this worked out of her system. Blah. Let me just say now that when we have children, I shall be a bloody wreck of a Jelly-Pinched Wolf. Yea, for I am a silly pup.

*Don't know if it's because I never did a proper tribute to the man after his death, but Zevon songs keep being very appropriate lately
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:17 AM
Email the Wolf
16 February 2004
Poor, Poor Pitiful Me*

Okay, this is really sad, I know, but I'm really bothered, and so I must vent. I've been thinking about the 80's quiz below, and while it's pretty good, it's just not complete. Where the heck are the Go-Go's? Wang Chung? How can you have an 80's quiz without them? What of the Stray Cats, or The Cars (okay, they kinda sucked, but they're about as 80's as it gets), or Flock of Seagulls? Berlin. Thompson Twins. Culture Club. And for one-hit wonders, you can't beat that decade. Can anyone say Taco? Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased I got the Human League song, "Don't You Want Me." And the fact that I remembered the lyrics to "California Girls" is pretty impressive (in a sick sort of way).

But some of the choices were confuzzling. Maybe I'm just weird, but I'd have picked something other than those chosen for Duran Duran or The Bangles. "New Moon on Monday" would offer some great stumpers. Or Peter Schilling's "Major Tom." Or why not go all out for a bonus--some good German lyrics from "99 Luftballoons" (I really hated it when they'd play the English version--even if I can't speak a lick of German, it always just sounded so much better that way--or the very rare version in English where Nena still sang "luftballons" instead of "red balloons"). And, okay, where was "Tainted Love?" Blah! Again, maybe I'm just weird, but the quiz was lacking.

Sigh. Okay, I'll stop now. It's not like I'm out to defend the decade. But if you're gonna test knowledge in the pinnacle of cheese and bad taste, I say go all out. That's all. Done now.

*to quote Warren Zevon
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:26 PM
Email the Wolf
15 February 2004
The Sad, Sad Things We Remember

Got a 70 on this quiz. I'm very annoyed about a couple I missed--misspelling of one, unnecessary pluralisation of another. And then the several I knew but couldn't recall the blasted word.

And yes, I'm deeply ashamed at being annoyed that I should miss more of these than I did.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   5:48 PM
Email the Wolf
02 February 2004
Wolves at the Door

A few weeks back I finished Stephen King's fifth part of his Dark Tower series, Wolves of the Calla, and since that time I've been wanting to do a smallish review of it. So here goes, and I shall be as non-spoilerish as possible for those interested or planning on reading.

For any who don't know, The Dark Tower chronicles the journey of Roland Deschain of Mid-World, last of the Line of Arthur Eld, last of the gunslingers, as he seeks the eponymous tower before his world (and all others) ceases to be. The Tower, you see, is a nexus between all worlds (both in the sense of alternate realities, and in terms of the worlds King has created in his stories). And something is amiss in the Tower, leaving Roland, last of his people, to right it. Along the way, he's met Jake, a pre-teen from 1977 New York, Eddie Dean, a former junkie from 1987 New York, Susannah Dean, Eddie's legless now-wife, who in late sixties New York formerly suffered a dual personality as both Odetta Holmes and Detta Walker, and an adorable, semi-intelligent critter called a billy-bumbler which goes by the name of Oy. They also meet many a mutant and monster (like the lobstrosities) on the way (as well as an old "friend" of King fans who bears the initials "R.F."), but that's neither here nor there. It's also less horror than his usual, being mostly a combination of fantasy and western.

Enough back story. Wolves finds our heroes in the farm and ranching community of Calla bryn Sturgis, where the folken are beset every twenty years or so by creatures resembling wolves, riding grey horses out of the land of Thunderclap. The people of the Calla have a tendency to breed in twins, and the Wolves take one of each set, sending them back a short time later as broken idiots who grow at an alarming rate until they die painfully. The story is pretty straightforward, with the gunslingers planning to put a stop to the wolves once and for all. However, the twist comes in the form of the Old Fella, a member of the town's community who actually comes from much farther away, in another story of King's, which he shares with Roland's ka-tet (group bound by destiny). And it doesn't stop there, for the Dark Tower appears in some form in all worlds, and the one in New York (in the form of a rose in a small vacant lot) is in danger. Add to that some strange activities on the part of Susannah, and the book becomes part action stand-off, part quest, part mystery.

Perhaps the most obvious shift in this part of the series over the others is in King's intent. Finally, we are given some clue as to what the Dark Tower really is. And though he is in no way obvious about it, it seems it may be more than just a nexus between the worlds he's created in his books, but a nexus between all stories everywhere. Perhaps even the locus of creativity itself. And let's face it, that is indeed in danger. If the state of fiction today is any indication (where most stuff is either the worst kind of popular tripe or the worst kind of pretentious tripe), the art of the story is fading fast. Of course, many have argued that King himself is popular tripe--I would vehemently beg to differ. He is a popular author, to be sure--he does not write for the high-brow literary types (and for that, let us be thankful)--but neither does he write crap. Not that he doesn't have misses amongst the hits, but he's far better than most seem to grant him, especially those who judge him based on the movie versions of his works. Even Pet Sematary was better than the pathetic movie based on it (though I confess that Fred Gwynne was really darned good in his role). But King's always had a way of working in themes that don't get in the way of the story, but can still be looked at critically (if that be your bent--t'isn't mine). And the most important thing is that he's a master storyteller. It's something of a lost art these days. Something Harlan Ellison and Ray Bradbury and Patrick O'Brian have excelled at, but it's becoming more and more rare. Yet King still spins the yarn, and is still as popular as ever. Heck, they've even learned to make good movies based on his stuff.

He really got to flex his storytelling arm in Wizard and Glass, the fourth installement. Now, though, he's getting to keep doing that whilst delving into the power of the art itself. For, anyone who's written knows full well that even if it be only in the mind, those stories and characters possess their own life. Their world is very real in some intangible way. For King, I believe, they reside in The Dark Tower (which is itself a literary figure, having been taken from Robert Browning's poem, "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came"), and if the tower is lost, then maybe so shall we all. Without creativity, we are a sorry lot.

One of the best installments of the series (though I am finding it more difficult to choose between these last three), and since he's already finished the final two, we shall have a proper ending before the end of the year. This is certainly the most intriguing of them, though, and leaves one hankering for more. Also, I defy anyone not to be infected by the Calla-speak. May it do ya fine. Say thankya.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   2:03 PM
Email the Wolf