Sunday, October 31, 2010

Some Jack-O'-Lanterns

The Halloween film festival ended with WHEN MICHAEL CALLS, a movie about what happens when Michael calls. Nothing much! It starred Ben Gazzara, and yes, I know what you're thinking: "Ah! Ben Gazzara, the master of horror." It almost rhymes if you pronounce it the way I want you to. Do it! WHEN MICHAEL CALLS had some jack-o'-lanterns in it, I'll say that for it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Triumph of Glitter

A French critic referred to a Sun Ra show as "the triumph of glitter and gilded cardboard." He was trying to be mean! But once again, a reviewer trying to be mean has made me happy and enthused about the object of his scorn.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Caramel Apples

Hey, look at this interview with Janet Jackson! She says her guilty pleasure is caramel apples and the last book she read was QUEENPIN by "Blog" Buddy Megan Abbott! I think Ms. Jackson's song "Nasty Boys" would be even better if it had a line like, "Who's that eating those caramel apples? Nasty boys!" Hey, I am "teaching" QUEENPIN in the spring semester. It's almost as if Janet Jackson and I are best friends, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monolith Is Okay

Such a terrible time I have been giving McNeil about that monolith he loves so much, yet it turns out that Sun Ra loved monoliths too! Why couldn't I just be supportive of my friend's monolith obsession? Why did I need a celebrity monolith spokesman to turn my head around on this? I blame the shallow modern age we live in! The title of Sun Ra's album MONORAILS AND SATELLITES "may refer to the monolith of [2001]," suggests Sun Ra's biographer John F. Szwed, "which Sun Ra elsewhere seems to remember as a monorail, perhaps connecting it with his UFO experience." (Early in the book, Szwed quotes Sun Ra on that subject: "First thing I saw was something like a rail, a long rail of railroad track coming out of the sky.")

Help Wanted

"The French have Jerry Lewis." That's how an article about Sylvia Plath (!) begins in today's New York Times. Ha ha ha! Ho Ho ho! Shut up! I told you to shut up about this, New York Times. You need an editor there whose only job is to search out and delete that hoary "insight." I'm available!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mysteries of Life

I've been checking out the "blog stats" again. Robins are still in the lead! But you know what was really popular today? "Click" here to find out! I barely remember it, have no substantial idea why I "posted" it and NO INKLING how anyone could find via my "blog" - it has no title and I wrote nothing to go with it, so how would anyone even begin to search for or discover it here? I guess it's one of those mysteries of life they always tell us about. Hey, here's another one! McNeil sends a news article about a kid who was hit by a meteorite traveling 30,000 miles per hour. "A red hot, pea-sized piece of rock then hit his hand before bouncing off and causing a foot wide crater in the ground." He's okay, folks! It's from June 2009, but that's the kind of news that never goes out of style. Speaking of miraculous things, Dr. Theresa and I just strolled by Square Books and saw a big stack of Barry Hannah's final collection: LONG, LAST, HAPPY: NEW AND SELECTED STORIES. What are you waiting for? Go get it! It has bright blue endpapers he would have loved. There are jets on them.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Say No to Asteroids

There is a big anti-asteroid editorial in the New York Times today. There really is! It is full of sentences like "A decade or so ahead of an expected impact, we would need to ram a hunk of copper or lead into an asteroid in order to slightly change its velocity." The guy also keeps hinting that we will all be wiped out by an asteroid if we don't do what he says.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Heads Up

The heads are coming! I am speaking of course of McSweeney's issue #36, which is in a box meant to resemble a head. Here is a look at a sample head, just back from the printer. I don't have my head yet, but I hear that heads are on the way. Do you see that book, slightly bent, near the front of the head? I believe (because of the big letters "MO" I can make out) it is my contribution to the issue - an 85-page "abridged novel" called JUNGLE GERONIMO IN GAY PAREE. I am happy to reiterate that JUNGLE GERONIMO IN GAY PAREE is beautifully illustrated, inside and out, by Michael Kupperman. Finally I will say that I chose L. P. Eaves as the pseudonym under which I wrote it. Only later, thanks to his hilarious piece in the most recent Oxford American, did I discover that Michael Kupperman sometimes uses the pen name P. Revess. The two names seem similar to me! But it was just a happy coincidence. And now I wish you a pleasant evening.

Walkman No More

I hear from DJ Gnosis that the Sony Walkman - a portable cassette playing device, for you youngsters - has officially ceased to exist. Ah, memories. Like the time the band I was in with Jon Host played at Spring Hill College in Mobile. We emptied a huge room of people with our long, annoyingly repetitive musical tribute to the history of the Walkman, which at that time had just celebrated its 10th anniversary. Gosh, everyone hated us so.

Sun Ra Cures Norman Mailer's Cold

According to this Sun Ra book I am reading, Norman Mailer once went to see Sun Ra play. He didn't much care for the music, but it cured his cold!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Elephants Use Tools!

I guess everybody knows this already, but elephants use tools! Dr. Theresa was watching a PBS show about crows. I was lying there half-listening and reading my Sun Ra biography. Anyhow, this young biologist on the TV casually drops the fact that chimpanzees, crows, and elephants are the only animals (besides people, he forgot to say) who use tools. I have mentioned the fact that crows use tools on this "blog" before. But elephants? What kind of tools do they use? I'm too tired to look it up. Seems like something I should have been informed about before.

A Good Thought About Peach Pie

From that Sun Ra bio I am reading: "Long before minimalism, 'Sonny gave his drummers long solos,' said Lucious Randolph, 'and sometimes asked them to play the same thing over and over until you could hear something else in it. You'd ask him, "How long is this going to go on?" and Sonny would answer, "I'm trying to tell you something else... like, if you keep eating peach pie every day, [sooner or later] it's going to taste like something else."'"

Most People Want Pictures of Robins

This "blogging" "web" site that "hosts" my "blog" has a humbling new feature called "Stats." Or maybe the "Stats" feature has always been here and I have never noticed. But now I have noticed. And here is what I have noticed. BY FAR the most people who visit this "blog" are looking for pictures of robins. WHAT? Some other favorite search terms that have led people here: "where can I find a ninja blender" and "huge acorn."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Revenge of "Blog"danovich

Hey, remember December 5, 2006? Brian Z. does! And with good reason! That's when I came up with the hilarious "blogging" name Peter "Blog"danovich. I am sure all of you remember where you were when you first heard the phrase "Peter 'Blog'danovich." I heard it in my brain as I was inventing it with the famed creativity of my effervescent imagination. Well, Brian Z. reports that Peter Bogdanovich has stolen my great idea by starting a "blog" called "Blogdanovich." Here's what Peter Bogdanovich says in his introductory "post": "I had no idea what a blog was. A blob? No, blog!" Ha! Nice try, but playing it coy won't help! You know exactly what you're doing. I deserve half of your money, "Blog"danovich!

Milos Milos! Milos Milos?

The annual Halloween film festival has continued with INCUBUS and PHANTASM, which means that all the movies so far this year have had one-word titles. What does that mean? Shut up! That's what it means. I don't know. All I know is that in INCUBUS, an actor named Milos Milos (pictured, right) plays the incubus. Milos Milos! Sounds like the name of a Mel Brooks character. Does Milos Milos live up to the responsibilities of a title role? Yeah, I don't know about Milos Milos. I do know about PHANTASM, however! It has the world's best theme song, for starters, which goes like this: deedle, deedle, deedle, deedle, deedle, deedle, deedle, deedle.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Life In a Shoe Factory

Turns out Mr. Ward watches the televised television program PARENTHOOD, and he has cleared up a few things for me. For example, it is not about life in a shoe factory, despite what my few glimpses have strongly suggested. Lauren Graham, according to Mr. Ward, plays "an underachiever, and every man she meets falls in love with her. A poor man loves her and a rich man loves her and a schoolteacher loves her." I asked Mr. Ward how she could be considered an underachiever when, according to a scene I saw, she invented a shoe. "Well, she had an idea for a shoe," Mr. Ward clarified. Then he added, with a touch of sarcasm in his voice, "She doesn't believe in herself." He said that her character talks compulsively and a scene will often end with her stream of words still trailing off. "Actually, her speech pattern is a lot like Hank Kimball's on GREEN ACRES," Mr. Ward concluded.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Welcome once again to "Foodstuffs!" - the world's most beloved column about foodstuffs. Time for a "Foodstuffs!" quiz. Q: How do you know when the Southern Foodways Symposium is in town? A: You walk out of your house and spot the awesome Adolfo Garcia strolling down the sidewalk in full chef regalia. That's what I just did! And that's the end of the quiz. Side note: Sadly, sadly, I am not involved with this year's symposium, meaning that I have to walk around town looking for people dressed as chefs, hoping some food will fall out of their pockets.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Owl Movement

Friend of the "blog" Brian Z. chimes in with the best thing I have ever heard: he once played an owl on stage! Here's the kicker: he did it in COLLEGE. Plus he was "trained in owl movement." Suddenly I love college again.

Return of Owl

Speaking of owls, as I once was a long time ago, you remember how I told you that all great literature has owls in it? Here is more proof. It's an issue of TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE by Michael Kupperman, and may be found in the compilation TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE, VOL. 1. But wait! There's more! If you "click" here you can see a version of this same cover done by "blog" "fave" illustrator Dyna Moe. It's on a "web" site called "Covered." This is where artists go to reinterpret comic book covers by other artists - like a "cover" band "covering" favorite songs! There is a really scary rendition ("click" here) of Bob Hope, for example.

Old Brainy

After my comments yesterday, I decided it was clearly MY DUTY to flip back and forth between simultaneous episodes of the broadcast television network programs THE GOOD WIFE and PARENTHOOD and present you with my findings. When I first flipped to PARENTHOOD, Lauren Graham was walking around in what appeared to be a warehouse full of shoeboxes, I SWEAR, suggesting ONCE AGAIN that despite its title, PARENTHOOD is about the shoe industry. I could not help but notice, meanwhile, that THE GOOD WIFE employed TWO actors from GILMORE GIRLS, as if to slap PARENTHOOD in the face (Lauren Graham portrayed one of the eponymous "Gilmore Girls")! Logan, the slick and unworthy boyfriend of Rory on GILMORE GIRLS, portrays a slick, unworthy lawyer on THE GOOD WIFE. Lauren Graham's own TV FATHER, Mr. Gilmore, played an attorney on last night's episode as well! This feels like a particularly low blow, breaking up the family AND sourly commenting on the very title of the rival show. Or maybe Edward Hermann just needed a job. Hey, remember when Doyle from GILMORE GIRLS went to work for the MAD MEN and the universe began to fold in on itself? Now the process is practically complete! It turns out that Peggy's cool Greenwich Village friend from MAD MEN (pictured, left) is just an insecure high school kid in the warped Bizarro world of PARENTHOOD. And they are BOTH actually David Mamet's daughter in really real real life for real! That's it, brain! These are the things you need to work on. Pack 'em in tight, brainy! You're going to need this stuff one day.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lauren Graham Shoe Expo

These two shows THE GOOD WIFE and PARENTHOOD come on at the same time. Which one to watch? How about neither? That sounds like the best idea of all! But I did see two minutes of PARENTHOOD last week and can confirm my earlier suspicion: it is all about Lauren Graham and a shoe she invented. Why else would it be that every two minutes of that show I happen to catch is about Lauren Graham and her adventures in the footwear business? Last week's two minutes took place at a big shoe expo, and of course Lauren Graham was there - probably demonstrating the shoe she invented - and these two guys were there and Lauren Graham's eyes darted subtly back and forth, expressing this thought: "Here I am at the shoe expo and these two gentlemen are rivals for my affection!" I had no context and she said it all with her eyes. That's acting! Still: neither. I am not going to illustrate this "post" because there are no pictures on the "internet" of Lauren Graham inventing a shoe, but I swear I am not making that up. Or maybe I will find a picture of the little elves that helped the cobbler, you know those guys.

Celebrities Are Everywhere

Hey, remember when my brother had his picture made with MC Hammer? Sure you do! You probably printed it out and put it somewhere you can always see it. Well, like father like son, I guess, because here is my nephew Ozzy with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Hello Dolly

You know how Martin Scorsese or Spike Lee will put an actor on a dolly and pull him or her along so that he or she is kind of gliding instead of walking? And there's a weird jerkiness to it and weird music is usually playing and it's all so very disorienting (I think it happens for a few seconds in THE HANGOVER as well)? Well, I do an impersonation of that. It all started when we were in a restaurant with plastic palm trees and some weird music was playing while we waited for our food. Dr. Theresa loves it! We have a lot of time on our hands. Goodbye.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Thoughtful persons may ask how I can give McNeil grief about his beloved space monolith yet show nothing but respect for the great Sun Ra, who claimed to be from Saturn. Well, I don't know. I guess I'm just a jerk.

Trudy Truly

I was reading the "internet" today - by the way, have you read the "internet"? You simply must! I'm almost done with it. Don't tell me how it ends! - and discovered that the person who portrays Trudy on MAD MEN is also the star of a current sitcom of which I have seen several episodes. But I never knew she was the same person! What can the explanation be? 1) She is so good at her job that she completely transforms herself into whatever character she plays. 2) I am a blind old man who is dumb and not terribly observant. 3) I am delusional, and whenever I watch MAD MEN I think I am spying via a magical device on real people living in a different time or plane of existence, therefore my brain cannot accept that an actor might be portraying one of them. I believe it's a combination of 1 and 3. With some 2 mixed in.

Further Adventures of McNeil and His Monolith

Worried about McNeil. He's got that monolith of his on the brain. He sent an email titled "A-ha!" Have you ever received an email titled "A-ha!"? Then you know it's never a good sign. There was a "link" to an article in that email: "Mars 'Monolith' Fuels Theories of Alien Life." I'm not going to bother you with it. There is nothing about alien life in it. There's stuff like this: "Layering from rock deposition combined with tectonic fractures creates right-angle planes of weakness such that rectangular blocks tend to weather out and separate from the bedrock... It is not that unusual." I think McNeil is just reading the headlines. And wearing a homemade hat to keep out the space rays. A terrible side effect: McNeil mania is spreading! Wishing to chip in, my sane friend Lee Durkee (you should read his wonderful novel RIDES OF THE MIDWAY) sends me a "link" to a "web" site about UFOs... the kind I can't show you because it's on that bad part of the "internet" from which you might never return. And I can't be responsible! The comments section is filled with things like "THIS should convince people those objects weren't balloons" and the evocative if impenetrable "Let's not forget the disappearing village."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Clint Eastwood and Sun Ra

So I am reading John F. Szwed's biography of Sun Ra. One of Sun Ra's friends said of him, "Sonny was no threat to anyone - especially other musicians - he never threatened to become 'successful.'" Bear in mind, this is said with admiration. I especially like the quotation marks around "successful." I am going to put it in a big pile with my favorite quotations about... about what?... by Jasper Johns, John Ashbery, a Maine antiques dealer, Kierkegaard, Frank Kermode, and Chuang Tzu - yes, Sun Ra here sounds like the great, gnarled tree of Chuang Tzu I like to natter on and on about. In the New York Times today, there's a gem from old Clint Eastwood, and we'll chuck in the pile for good measure: "When something hits you and excites your interest, there’s really no reason to kill it with improvements." Kill it with improvements! Eastwoodian! So in a way - though they both belong in the pile somehow - Eastwood is the opposite of Sun Ra, who at the time of which his friend was speaking had a non-stop rehearsal going in his room for a band that would never play in public - yes, a rehearsal that virtually NEVER STOPPED and was not directed to any END in the usual sense of a rehearsal - so, a rehearsal for what? EXACTLY! Ouch, I just blew my own mind. Wait! I've got it. What do we VALUE? Where does value lie? Maybe that is what - like the aforementioned Maine antiques dealer - Clint Eastwood and Sun Ra are asking us to consider.

Spider Walk

I saw my friend from the Audubon Society last night. She had just returned, she said, from a "spider walk," during which she took several interested parties on a walk, looking for spiders, hence the term "spider walk." Participants were not required to walk LIKE spiders; I asked. She told me about some spiders whose eyes reflect light, like the eyes of a cat. Her description ended with "and soon there will be thousands of eyes looking at you," which was terrifying, though she didn't seem to know it, and sounded rather jolly about the prospect. There are these other spiders that spit. "It's a wall of spit, not a spray," she said. She sounded happy about that, too.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Barbara Billingsley

Sad to hear that Barbara Billingsley passed away. Mr. Ward and I worked with her a long time ago, and she could not have been sweeter or more professional. I recall that she had a cold, and we were working outside on a windy day and she never complained, but did everything with more dedication, grace, and aplomb than was necessary, and at long last we sent her away with a limo driver who rubbed his damp hands together a lot and skulked around looking suspicious, so that when the car pulled away, we said, "Well, that's the last anyone will ever see of Barbara Billingsley!" Mr. Ward tried to secretly videotape some of our conversation with her in her trailer, because we just couldn't believe we were talking to her, but I think all he got on camera was the top of her head. All I can recall now about that conversation is that she was mildly scolding Martin Sheen about something (in absentia). In closing, I will remark that LEAVE IT TO BEAVER (which plays an important part in the title novella of my second book) had some great, subtle writing and acting on it, especially in its early days, so you should take another look at it if you recall it as a cliché. The only thing that seemed to make Barbara Billingsley mad was when people talked about "June Cleaver vacuuming while wearing high-heeled shoes and pearls." THAT was the cliché, and it really steamed and insulted her, though of course she remained mild and gracious while expressing herself on the subject. I seem to recall that on the day we spoke, she was a tiny bit exasperated because Oprah had said something about it. So don't give Barbara Billingsley any guff, not today. Another day we'll try to figure out why she's wearing pearls in every single picture on the "internet." What a nice person. Bye, Barbara Billingsley!

Kelp Reference

Although such a thing hardly seems possible, I appear to have missed a Jerry Lewis reference in yesterday's New York Times. Forgive me! In a theater review, a character is described as being "tricked out with a Jerry Lewis overbite." Now I am sure that Ben Brantley realizes that Jerry Lewis does not have an overbite. I assume he is thinking of Julius Kelp, the nutty professor in the film of that title. I refer Mr. Brantley to my recent Stanley Belt reference as a guide. Gosh, I'm glad that's settled.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A City Council Meeting With Owls

Owls! So, Ace Atkins and I went to the movies tonight. He admitted that the last movie he saw was the 3D cartoon movie about owls, because he has a kid. But his kid fell asleep during that one. "The owls talked politics most of the time. The movie was basically a city council meeting with owls," Ace explained.

Human Interest

In today's New York Times we meet a fellow who believes in "genies, aliens, sea serpents and strange swamp creatures." A reporter hops into the car with this gentleman and off they go into "the woods off Whangtown Road... Mr. Imbrogno recalled the excitement and confusion that erupted in 1983 when people began spotting UFOs in this area. On just one night, hundreds said they saw them." I think it was yesterday, maybe the day before, when the NYT ran a story about a man who claims to be a saint. The reporter described him sitting in his shabby little apartment tapping the ash from his cigarette into an empty pineapple can, I think. What is the tone of these stories? I can't quite grasp it. Is it, "Ha ha ha! People are weird. But we're the New York Times, so we're going to be understated about the way we poke fun at them"? I recall the man from the Sunday Styles section who wrapped himself in carpet and asked people to stand on him.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up

Welcome once again to "All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up," the one place on the "internet" for all the latest information on the celebrity stars of the world of entertainment. ITEM! You remember the young woman who eats dry oatmeal, don't you? Well, today I found out she prefers to be called "the girl who eats dry oatmeal," which I used to call her, but I stopped because I thought it sounded patronizing and sexist. When she was explaining her preference, she accidentally called herself a new variation: Oatmeal Girl. And she has decided she likes that name best of all. ITEM! Today Oatmeal Girl and I walked to campus to hear Bill Clinton give a speech in the great outdoors. Bill Clinton was literally a million hours late! The crowd became a little cranky. The sun burned off THE SAME HALF OF MY FACE again! But finally Bill Clinton arrived and had everyone spellbound with his spellbinding ways. And no kidding, right after he began to speak, the sun magically disappeared behind the roof of the structure from which he was speaking. Bill Clinton made the mean sun go away with the power of his oratory! Earlier, a friend of Oatmeal Girl had correctly predicted that just such a thing might happen! Thank you, Bill Clinton! ITEM! Bill Clinton ended his speech with a Faulkner quotation. He put on some white-framed half-glasses to read it. Oatmeal Girl said the glasses were "cute." Inspired by Clinton's Faulkner reference, Oatmeal Girl and I made our way to Faulkner's house, which neither of us had visited in quite some time. ITEM! Who was walking out of Faulkner's woods but TOM WAITS? That's right, I buried the lead. TOM WAITS! Tom Waits, walking for some reason I have not ascertained with "Blog" Buddy Ace Atkins! Also with Tom Waits was his wife Kathleen Brennan, who has co-written so many of his songs, and of course the man who takes care of Faulkner's house was leading them all on a merry chase or something. ITEM! Oatmeal Girl and I witnessed Bill Clinton give a speech and shook hands with Tom Waits. In one day! How did that happen? I guess it's all thanks to Mr. William Faulkner.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The magic number is 24. On October 24th, Tom Franklin's new novel CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER will officially debut at #24 on the New York Times Best Seller List! This is the inside scoop and you can take it to the bank. New York Times Best Seller Tom Franklin, everybody! Sometimes things work out the way they should.


I suppose at some point I am going to have to study the 9-minute clip McNeil sent of a nice old man making a speech at a UFO banquet. The speaker is, McNeil opines, "somebody Albert Brooks would dream up. He kept repeating how he wasn't as funny as the other guys before him - but then he went ahead and told his 'feed limit' joke anyway. Hilarious." Or he's like Stanley Belt in THE PATSY, I suggested, to which McNeil responded with a hearty and affirming cheer. "And then to go and talk about aliens, and the guy he knows who talked to one..." McNeil continued. I don't know what he's talking about because I haven't made it past the first two minutes of the clip without being sad inside somehow and stopping. He (McNeil) also wants me to know that Carl Sagan (pictured) theorized that Phobos (the Martian moon upon which McNeil's beloved monolith rests) is hollow. Hollow, and (in Buzz Aldrin's words) "potato-shaped." Hollow and potato-shaped! Just like McNeil's head. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Wheeeeeeeeeeee! I kid because I love. Finally, as far as I can tell, McNeil's beloved monolith has never been named. Can we get up a petition to send to NASA? Can someone name this monolith after McNeil? Who is in charge of naming monoliths? Can we just start calling it something until the name catches on? Send your solutions to "Monolith" c/o "Writer" Oxford, MS 38655.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

That Darn Monolith

Can't get McNeil to shut up about that monolith he loves. And something about a Russian spaceship "going dead" when it tried to photograph the monolith or something. He wanted to make sure you saw these pictures of the monolith. Anyway, he's going crazy.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Nice Banquet

I made it about 1:43 into the 9-minute clip McNeil sent me... a "former Canadian defense minister," says youtube. Yes, I made it all the way past his joke about molasses and his bit about the nice banquet at which he is speaking (he "exceeded the feed limit" he joshes) and to the part where he says, "Decades ago, visitors from other planets warned us about where we were headed and offered to help." Okay! I don't want to pick on this man. I feel nervous, like when I watched a video of one of the women who said Bob Hope was controlling her thoughts with his evil brain powers. No, I don't think I can "link" to it. It would seem so sportive. Is that the word I want?

This Comic Book Is In My Attic

Hey, when I was looking for an illustration for that last "post," this popped up. I have this in my attic. Good times. Why do you care so much? Thank you for caring.

Little Potato-Shaped Object

Why does McNeil send me these things? I don't know. Here's a clip in which Buzz Aldrin talks about (at around 1:15) "a monolith... a very unusual structure on this little potato-shaped object." Buzz Aldrin doesn't seem to think that Martians built it but there's a lot of weird background music that would seem to suggest otherwise. McNeil also sent one of his famous 9-minute clips, this one about UFOs, but I haven't been able to force myself to watch it yet. It features a former Canadian official or something and he loosens up the crowd by opening with a joke (?) about molasses, and that's as far as I got. I'll let you know.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jerry Knows Best

I told you! Now that Manohla Dargis is back where she belongs, the New York Times will be talking about Jerry Lewis again. In an article today, Ms. Dargis points out that Jerry Lewis championed BONNIE AND CLYDE (in an angry letter to TIME magazine, which had panned it) even before Pauline Kael proclaimed its greatness and everybody jumped on the bandwagon. Jerry! He knows what's what. Also: Arthur Penn directed Jerry on live TV! So says Manohla Dargis, my leader. In keeping with our theme, here is Jerry as a gangster in THE FAMILY JEWELS.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

My Advice

We get a lot of Tennessee political ads here. There's this candidate who comes out and says, "I guess you've been seeing a lot of my opponent's ads." But the thing is, he says it in front of a GIANT SCREEN featuring his opponent's face. Meanwhile, post-production trickery makes it look as if the candidate - THE GUY WHOSE AD IT IS - is as tiny as an ant in the shadow of this GIANT SCREEN FEATURING HIS OPPONENT. Are you that candidate? My advice is STOP MAKING COMMERCIALS IN WHICH YOU ARE REALLY TINY AND A GIANT IMAGE OF YOUR OPPONENT LOOMS OVER YOU.

Roller Skating Vampires Fail to Impress Some

It's almost Halloween, sort of. And you know what that means: Dr. Theresa and I enjoy our yearly Halloween film festival! And you don't care. But I tell you all about it anyway because how are you going to stop me? I graded papers all day and then we had a double feature: FROZEN (2010) and BLUEBEARD (2009). According to imdb, a different movie called FROZEN has come out in nearly every year of the 21st century, and more than a couple this very year! The one we watched was about all the gruesome things that can happen to you on a ski lift. Can you imagine all the gruesome things that might happen to you on a ski lift? Well, yes, you probably can. But that doesn't make them pleasant! BLUEBEARD was French, so there was fanciness galore. This is absolutely true: just after it started I said to Dr. Theresa, "This looks like one of those French movies where they chop off the head of a live goose to make some artistic point. I can't stand that." BLUEBEARD (pictured) was a good movie, but guess what? They chopped off a real duck's head, poor duck, almost exactly as I had predicted, and boy was it symbolic. Seemed like it just went on and on being symbolic, the poor duck did, until I started wondering if the whole rest of the movie was going to be about the duck. I know I'm a jerk. I will eat a duck but I don't want to watch his head get chopped off in a movie. I'm everything that's wrong with this country! I have an idea: sue me. I was grading papers last night, too, thank goodness, because Dr. Theresa was in the other room watching FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2. She was by herself, so that doesn't count as part of our Halloween festival! This needs to be made clear, though no sane person has read this far. She was pretty excited to see that it was coming on one of the movie channels, because the first FRIGHT NIGHT is one of her sentimental favorites. "I didn't know they made a sequel!" she said. She wasn't as excited once it was over. Here are some of the things she said: "They put a stain on the memory of the original." And, "The vampires went bowling." And, "There was a vampire on roller skates. Normally I would love that." Makers of FRIGHT NIGHT PART 2, if you made a movie with a vampire on roller skates and Dr. Theresa didn't like it, that is a sad job you did, a very sad job.

It Ain't Right What They Done

This is the cat who lives at Off Square Books. Can you believe that facebook removed her profile? Good Lord! I knew you were mean, facebook! I saw your movie! (Photo by Dent May.)

People Are Nice

At the post-Lippfrankmanlinfest dinner over at City Grocery, John Currence was bringing out seafood that he was pleased to announce came from the Gulf, "in spite of BP," he said. Guess what else? Joe York just brought us a big container of shrimp from my hometown of Bayou La Batre. Gulf Coast shrimp, people! Show some love to your Gulf Coast shrimp and the people who go shrimping for them.

Best Lippfrankmanlinfest Ever

Did I tell you that Lippfrankmanlinfest was going to be big? Did I lie? I did not! Look at these people on the actual day, ready to "get their Lippfrankmanlinfest on" as the vernacular would have it. You can read more about it and see more pictures on the Square Books "web" site. I can hardly wait for the next Lippfrankmanlinfest!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Let's Hear It For Gout

Is gout making a comeback? I just saw a commercial for gout medicine - also a candy commercial in which these pieces of candy were working at a candy factory, which upset me.

Bad News

I hate to say it, but Larry King's heart isn't in it anymore.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


Last night the man who takes care of Faulkner's house told me that Faulkner's brother Jack was one of the men who gunned down John Dillinger! Can this be true? The man who takes care of Faulkner's house says so! But he's crazy.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Preparations Have Begun

Today is the day! No time to "blog." Must make my elaborate Lippfrankmanlinfest preparations. Hope to see you there, 5 o'clock sharp. Lippfrankmanlinfest is celebrated differently by peoples of various nations. Here for example we see a happy group of "Lippfrankmanlinfesters" in their seasonal attire. Which one will be lucky enough to catch a signed novel in her tambourine?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Smells Like Lippfrankmanlinfest

What's that crisp scent on the breeze? Smells like Lippfrankmanlinfest! Wonder if I'll be able to sleep tonight.

McNeil Month By Month

You know what today is, don't you? That's right! It's McNeil's birthday, an occasion marked each year by the latest installment of "McNeil Month By Month," our exclusive feature showcasing highlights from McNeil's young life as lived on the "blog." Spend this special day celebrating McNeil - with the help of "McNeil Month By Month"! September 2006: McNeil contends that he does not enjoy the "Little Dot" comic book. October 2006: McNeil furnishes a memorable quotation. November 2006: McNeil recalls playing Aerosmith on a jukebox. December 2006: First appearance of "McNeil's Movie Korner." January 2007: McNeil's system for winning at craps. February 2007: McNeil doesn't see what's so hard about reading a newspaper and eating a sandwich at the same time. March 2007: McNeil and I are talking about Bob Denver when HE SUDDENLY APPEARS ON TELEVISION! April 2007: Wild turkeys roam McNeil's neighborhood. May 2007: McNeil gets in touch with an Australian reporter regarding a historical chimp. June 2007: First McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival announced. July 2007: Medicine changes McNeil's taste buds. August 2007: McNeil's trees not producing apples. September 2007: McNeil pinpoints a problem with the "blog." October 2007: McNeil presents a video entitled "Jerry's pre-defecation chills." November 2007: McNeil's Theory of Potential Energy. December 2007: What is McNeil's favorite movie? January 2008: McNeil explains why the wind blows. February 2008: McNeil admires the paintings of Gerhard Richter. March 2008: McNeil comes up with an idea for a Lifetime TV movie. April 2008: McNeil's shirt. May 2008: McNeil's apple tree doing better (see August 2007). June 2008: McNeil is troubled by a man who wants to make clouds in the shape of logos. July 2008: McNeil's apples are doing great. August 2008: McNeil refuses to acknowledge that Goofy wears a hat no matter what I say. September 2008: McNeil's grocery store is permanently out of his favorite margarine. October 2008: McNeil on the space elevator. November 2008: McNeil comes across an incomplete episode guide to HELLO, LARRY. December 2008: McNeil thinks the human hand should have more fingers. January 2009: McNeil discovers that gin and raisins cure arthritis. February 2009: McNeil sees a ****** ******* awesome rainbow. March 2009: McNeil wants a job on a cruise ship. April 2009: McNeil attempts to rescue a wayward balloon. May 2009: McNeil visits the Frogtown Fair. June 2009: McNeil dreams he is watching an endless production number from LI'L ABNER. July 2009: McNeil sends text messages from his cell phone while watching a Frank Sinatra movie. August 2009: McNeil disagrees philosophically with a comic book cover that shows a mad scientist putting a gorilla's brain in a superhero's body. September 2009: McNeil resembles famed boxing trainer Freddie Roach. October 2009: McNeil's birthday celebrated with an expanded edition of "McNeil Month By Month." November 2009: McNeil reports that a bird broke the large hadron collider by dropping a bread crumb on it. December 2009: McNeil advises me to like the universe or lump it. January 2010: McNeil eats soup. February 2010: McNeil tells of the hidden civilizations living deep beneath the surface of the earth. March 2010: McNeil recalls a carpet of his youth. April 2010: McNeil starts wearing a necktie. May 2010: McNeil's DNA sample fails to yield results. June 2010: McNeil thinks up some improvements for the movie 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. July 2010: McNeil reads to me from I, THE JURY. August 2010: McNeil finds a hair in his crab cake. September 2010: McNeil has a cold. October 2010: McNeil's favorite MAD MEN character is Stan. Pictured, a promotional still for HELLO, LARRY (see November 2008).

Monday, October 04, 2010

Can't Hardly Stan It

Today James Wolcott refers to Stan as a "grinning jackass," proving my point that not everyone feels the way McNeil does about Stan.

Sunday, October 03, 2010


McNeil's favorite character on MAD MEN is Stan. I am 100% certain that McNeil is the only person in the universe who feels this way, including the guy who plays Stan. That's Stan on the right. McNeil likes Stan's shirts. McNeil would like some shirts like Stan's. In Stan's defense, tonight I noticed that the character Stan is great at parting his hair, that's one thing you can say about Stan.

The Little Prince

John Currence is like a divorced dad to me. Yesterday he took me to a football game and bought me a hot dog and a Coke. But I didn't get a balloon! I am not familiar with these "football games" as you call them, so I didn't do it right and the sun literally burned off one half of my face. Yes, I know what literally means, shut up. Later in the day, Dr. Theresa and I went out on the town with Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly. We saw a long, important movie about sour young men sending mean e-mails to one another. Not since Sandra Bullock in THE NET has there been such a timely movie about e-mail! In fact, the only difference is that THE NET had a role for a woman in it. But the saddest part was the little prince who never learned to love. Anyway, I know you are very upset that I didn't "blog" yesterday but that's why.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Movie Boyfriend II: The Garnering

Speaking of people's moms and their movie boyfriends, McNeil is not sure who his mother's first movie star crush was, but he has a good idea: James Garner. "She still has his picture on the refrigerator," he notes. "It's why my dad is so emasculated."