Friday, April 24, 2015

Proust Dog Hug

WARNING! THIS "POST" CONTAINS SALTY LANGUAGE. I saw the word "hump" on twitter just now and had a Proustian flashback to a time many, many years ago that my friend Ward McCarthy and I were at someone's house in Los Angeles and she was showing us a photograph of Richard Dreyfuss and herself with the pope (!) and suddenly her dog began to "hump" Ward McCarthy's leg. She turned around from the photograph of Richard Dreyfuss and herself with the pope (!) and saw what was going on. "Were you two hugging?" she asked us. "He does that when he sees people hugging." We said, "Uh, no, we weren't hugging." The dog continued its business.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

This Is Happening

McNeil emailed to say that Jerry Lewis is going to play Nicolas Cage's father in a movie. That was half an hour ago, and I have already thought about it too much. I used to think Oliver Platt was the ultimate son Jerry Lewis could have in a movie.

All Day Suckers

Remember the time Dr. Theresa and I were eating steak and we saw Morgan Freeman? THE SAME THING JUST HAPPENED AGAIN. He was at the same table again, in the same seat, and - though this part may be my imagination - he was wearing the same clothes! The first time it happened, we were like "WOW!" This time we were like, "Oh." How jaded! On our walk home we saw a tyke with golden, curly hair standing in the bed of a (parked) pickup truck eating not one but TWO all-day suckers, as I believe those enormous lollipops are called. First he'd lick one, then the other. One, then the other. "That's the life," said Dr. Theresa.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Alone and Funky

Speaking of Funk! I was supposed to bring over some food to Lee Durkee's because we were gonna watch BARRY LYNDON. (Last time I watched BARRY LYNDON it was with Megan Abbott and Kent Osborne. What a combo!) Some place in town - which shall remain nameless - said, "We're not doing takeout right now." So I called Lee and told him so and he said, "Three people have told me that Funky's has the best pizza in town." Okay! FIRST! Understand that Oxford, Mississippi, is not the pizza capital of the world. The only person in town who makes good pizza is Bill Boyle. SECOND! "Funky's" is a "college bar." I've never been there before. I don't want to go to no "college bar." It's not where a self-respecting grown man such as myself would go! It's where Katy Perry went when she was in town. Look: So I was walking up the square to order some pizza from Funky's when I ran into Kaitlyn and her good friend the poet Caroline Randall Williams, and I said I was going to Funky's and Caroline Randall Williams said, "Order the Taylor Swift. While you're waiting!" And who am I to question the wisdom of youth? And so I did. I was the only customer. I guess it was early. I sat entirely alone at the long wooden bar. The "Taylor Swift" tasted like cotton candy and smelled like rubbing alcohol. Two boys in the kitchen were beating a big glob of dough into submission with their fists. Everybody was nice. Lee and I found the pizza acceptable, more than acceptable. Reader, we ate it.

The Stump, the Candle and the Pencil Sharpener

Read in this book about the Middle Ages about Francesco Dantini. "Orphaned when still young, he began trading everything that could turn a profit: weapons and spices, cloth and silk." Upon his death in 1410, "he bequeathed his entire estate" to a charitable trust he had founded, called "the poor people's stump." By doing so, he "hoped to avoid punishment in Hell." His charity "still exists today, a miraculous survival," the author calls it. So that's pretty good! I hope he got into Heaven okay. Speaking of the Middle Ages, didn't they believe in unicorns back then? I'll check one of my many reference books about unicorns. Yes, yes, I see in THE LORE OF THE UNICORN that the legendary figure Prester John (in whom a lot of people believed, according to my book about the Middle Ages) was supposed to have plenty of unicorns running around in his kingdom. Oh yeah, and I forgot William Davenant got a job fetching powdered unicorn horn for a duchess way after the Middle Ages, even. So! Rhea sent me this picture of some cupcakes she had made, and as you can see, she placed them decoratively around a golden unicorn. Who wouldn't? But then she had second thoughts! She felt, perhaps, that the makers of this unicorn had improperly given it a horn, when, as you can plainly see, the candle sticking out of its head should have cleverly served in that capacity. The horn is redundant! Or so Rhea feared. And I believe that Rhea is right. Take, for example, this pencil sharpener (below) given to me by Beth Ann Fennelly. Here we have the unsharpened silver pencil properly representing the unicorn's horn. I can only hope that future manufacturers of unicorn novelties will take a lesson from Rhea's tragedy.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The World Was Young

My friend and former ADVENTURE TIME coworker Emily Quinn made this portrait of Marceline. I tweeted it, but couldn't think of the proper name for the technique employed. Maria Bustillos helpfully tweeted back at me: "it is called pyrography, remember you could buy those kits of it when the world was young." And just minutes later my friend Judge of Chicago independently confirmed via tweet: pyrography. Somehow Maria's tweet reminded me of something you could order off the back of comic books when I was a boy: a shrunken head kit. A curious child was encouraged to make grotesque heads out of apples! At first I didn't even tweet to Maria that Vincent Price was on the box, though that's the way I remembered it, because it could't possibly have been that perfect. BUT IT WAS. Maria Bustillos, by the way, wrote a good, long article about ADVENTURE TIME, which I'm sure I've "linked" to you before, but just in case, here it is. You'll hate yourself if you don't "click."
And now, unless I'm crazy, I am recalling that there was (is) a song called something like "Ah, the Apple Trees! (When the World Was Young)" which brings everything together, but that can't possibly be a real title, can it? Pretty melodramatic! But then of course you remember what Bellini - dead at 34! - said: "Carve into your head in adamantine letters: OPERA MUST MAKE PEOPLE WEEP, FEEL HORRIFIED, DIE THROUGH SINGING." Speaking of which! Yesterday was Record Store Day and we played some records. We played a record Jimmy gave us a long time ago, back when he lived in town. It's called NIGHTINGALES AND CANARIES, and to oversimplify, it has some songs sung by immigrant women in New York in the 40s and 50s and songs recorded by women in Istanbul in the 30s. The first couple of numbers are sung by Virginia Magidou, which is, as the liner notes say, probably a pseudonym used because of the "disreputable, underworld style of some of her songs." One song she sings goes
(and the liner notes apologize because it's actually in "Greek slang that can't be precisely translated"): "I was born a tough chick, I'll die a tough chick... I like the tough life, and if I'm lucky I'll be rich./ In this lying world, I'll live even tougher... I would like to have a man who feels, a tough guy, or gangster./ To be the love of crazy guys who are a little troublesome... This false world, I just want to party in it."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Don't Think

Still slowly, slowly reading this book about the Middle Ages called THE MIDDLE AGES. And you know what? This is the absolute truth. As I was reading it today, I was LITERALLY thinking, "At least this won't have anything about lighters in it. I've turned in my cigarette lighter book and I'm not going to see lighters everywhere I look anymore." And then I turned the page and immediately came to a detail that MUST go into my cigarette lighter book. MUST! So that just shows you where thinking gets you. Nowhere, baby. Hey! I guess Jimmy is in town for Record Store Day. Saw him over at The End of All Music. We talked about monkhood. A famous monk came up. In conversation, I mean. I offered my (completely unsubstantiated!) theory that this monk secretly committed suicide. "He wouldn't be the first monk to commit suicide," Jimmy said soberly. Jimmy has a knack for saying things! Bill looked up the details of the monk's death on his cell phone. Some people left the room. Sorry to bring everybody down on Record Store Day! Anyway, Dr. Theresa and I are listening to this LP we bought on Record Store Day by the new-wave band Yachts and it's pretty great. See, not everything is about monks hypothetically committing suicide.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Be Sure to Include Dana Andrews

In another ASTONISHING COINCIDENCE, I hear from McNeil that he watched the old movie FALLEN ANGEL today. Here's what! Dr. Theresa and I came EXTREMELY CLOSE to watching FALLEN ANGEL today! OF ALL MOVIES. I don't even know what made me think of it. A vibration from McNeil's mind? That is the only reasonable answer! But for whatever reason we turned on MIRAGE instead, something I had recorded from TCM. We got a few minutes in and our brains hurt already from Gregory Peck's mysterious identity predicament. Don't we have enough problems with our own mysterious identity predicaments? "Maybe I'll take a nap instead," I said, and promptly fell asleep for four hours. Ain't life grand. So anyway, if you do a "Google Image Search" for the movie FALLEN ANGEL, don't just google the term "fallen angel" or all you'll get is a lot of scary fan art of scary looming demons with big scary wings. Add Dana Andrews to your search terms.

The Middleman

Well, it's been a real ADVENTURE TIME type day here in Oxford, Mississippi. I was on my way to lunch with Tom Franklin when I spied Jesse Moynihan's FORMING II prominently displayed in the window of Square Books. THEN! Tom had some comic books with him at lunch: OMAC comic books he wanted me to mail to Pendleton Ward with his compliments. I don't know what kind of deal they worked out when Pen was in town! I'm just the middleman. BUT HERE'S THE ASTONISHING COINCIDENCE! Just earlier this week in an ADVENTURE TIME meeting, Adam Muto used OMAC as an example of some action he wanted to get across to us. OMAC! More relevant than ever, I guess.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Hey look it's me with a Decembrist, or two Decembrists... I guess Hogan is a Decembrist. How do you know for sure? I feel like there's a ceremony with robes. Do they have business cards? Like, maybe, "Kelly Hogan, Associate Decembrist"? Do you get tenure? Is Kelly an adjunct? Or is it like the end of THE WIZARD OF OZ and one of the Decembrists puts a gentle hand on her shoulder and tells her, "Don't you see, my dear, you were a Decembrist all along!"? What are the mysteries of rock and roll? Anyway can you believe this nice gentleman's name is CHRIS FUNK? It's like he was BORN to be a guitarist. Certainly this is not a fresh observation.

The Incident of the Family with the Ball

Hey look what Lee Durkee found. "Click" here to read the whole story. Here are some of my fave excerpts if you are too lazy: "Back in their home, when Terry was playing his guitar, the first incident of the family with the ball took place." I also like the numerous typos and syntactical errors that lend this paragraph such pleasant heft: "Doors started slamming without any reason in the house and filled with organ music, even though no such music instrument around the resident. When Terry hit the ball with a metal object, the family members heard a ringing sound." Another nice fragment is "When the family had enough, they contacted the media." Lee thinks the guy who is presenting the ball to the public in this photograph (in front of a banner saying what appears to be something like "National Enquirer Blue Ribbon Panel of UFO Investigators") looks like Mandy Patinkin from THE PRINCESS BRIDE. In fact, Lee's email said, "Hey look Inigo Montoya found a magic outer space ball!" Myself, I see a touch of Father Guido Sarducci.