Friday, May 24, 2024

Doom and So On

I was chatting with Megan this morning through the medium of email about a Mark Rothko book I picked up at Square Books the other day. Its subject is the paintings he did on paper rather than canvas, and it features many vivid color-plate reproductions. Rothko is quoted in the introductory essay, of course, often saying the kind of stuff that Megan and I are partial to, as I am sure you will recall ("click" here) from the time we got all in a tizzy over something Bellini said about opera. I'll give you a couple of examples! 1. "I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions - tragedy, ecstasy, doom and so on." 2. "If a thing is worth doing once, it is worth doing over and over again." End of examples. Moving on to other artistic matters, a lot of these old comic books that Tom Franklin brought over are horror comics, a genre I read a little bit of as a kid, but not too much, after a story in either HOUSE OF MYSTERY or HOUSE OF SECRETS (I think) about a guy who turned out to have goat legs shook me up pretty bad. Which brings up something I've noticed... these old comic books, and not just the horror ones, either, really do have an awful lot of the devil in them, just like the Sunday school teachers used to say! I was wrong to scoff! But I'm sure you've guessed what I'm getting at. So, I was reading this one THE WITCHING HOUR last night, and there's a story in it about "coffin inspectors," which I didn't know was a job. You can learn a lot from the old comic books that Tom Franklin gives you! The coffin inspectors are marching along in the first panel, singing a song that goes like this (and, once again, I quote): "OOHOOHHOOO OH, HO! OH, HO! WHEN THE MOON IS GIBBOUS AND THE OWL CRIES FOUL... THEN WE'LL DIG AND SHARE THE WEALTH OF THOSE WHO NO LONGER DRINK... THE RED, RED WINE... OF LIIIIIIIIIFE!!!" I can't say that's much of a song, but it does have an owl in it. Yes, there are eight I's in LIIIIIIIIFE, I counted them several times in the interest of accuracy. Oh, and I get it now, they're graverobbers. Why, there's no such thing as a coffin inspector after all! In my defense, Ace and Angela came over last night for a special screening of Dr. Theresa's favorite TV show, QUINCY, M. E., and afterward, tuckered out from all the Quincy enjoyment, I did no more than glance at the first panel (after reading a previous story in the same issue, which I had trouble following, about the devil attacking a Swiss town - it ended as abruptly as SIMON OF THE DESERT! [which also featured the devil]) just enough to notice the owl before succumbing to slumber with a Quincy-like smile on my cherubic face. In conclusion, I don't mean to brag, but TECHNICIANS OF THE SACRED does have more owls in it, just as I predicted. If the numbers hold up, there should be an owl every 4.5 pages. One more thing. Goat legs (see above) make me think of a line that Dr. Theresa and I are always quoting to one another. It comes from one of those "true stories of the paranormal" shows. They were interviewing a couple of guys from Texas, I think, who saw a creature in the woods with "the head of a goat and the body of a jacked-up man." That's it. We say it a lot. Try it out at home! "The head of a goat and the body of a jacked-up man."