thehefner: (Iron Man: Life is Empty w/o GIN)
So apparently at one point I guided a small search party down to the basement to show them my Dad In A Box and the dead cat in the freezer topped with hamburger buns.

...

If that makes no sense, I'd say, "You had to be there." But that's the thing: I don't really remember being there either. Thank god for the memories of slightly less-drunk Henchgirls.

Y'know, I honestly thought the biggest fiasco with the grog would be that the home-made falernum would taste awful, or that I would screw up the proportions of light rum, gold rum, and dark rum, or hell, just use too much triple sec. Heck, I thought the fact that the falernum wouldn't be ready until midnight meant that it would be too late for anyone to want grog, if anyone would be left at the party.

No, no, the falernum was amazing, holy shit. Wow. And the resulting grog was goddamned perfect, better than even the grog at Piratz Tavern. The fiasco, rather, came from the fact that I was actually damn fool enough to *drink* the stuff.

When you are drinking a full mug of three different kinds of rum, triple sec, and a spiced syrup derived from overproof rum--the kind that has a label on front that reads "Warning: Flammable"--know this: it's a sometimes food. The sort of thing you want to drink only when you're not drinking anything else.

I've never gotten so drunk that I've actually lost time before. At least, as far as I know (which is suddenly far less comforting a thought as before). Henchgirl is recounting a couple things that I have absolutely zero recollection doing. That shit's kind of scary, especially for me, for whom the validation of memory is a very tender personal issue. So yeah, never doing that again. In fact, my liver and brain cells would probably appreciate me laying off the booze for a bit, even though I totally just scored some new bitters I'm dying to try out.

I don't know *where* I will be able to use rhubarb bitters, but god damn if I ain't interested in finding out!... ooh, maybe a strawberry daiquiri?

The party--what I remember of it, anyway, which I dare say is 98%--was magnificent. I'd particularly like to give a special shout-out to [livejournal.com profile] frumple and K. bringing a home-made apple pie, with half of it sprinkled with cinnamon, Two-Face style! They know me so well.

Hopefully everyone had a great time, and to all those who missed it, well, you stink but I still love you. Maybe I'll see you at my next party, where I use you all as guinea pigs for my various experiments with bitters in drink and food alike! Because lord knows I'm not gonna be fool enough to subject my body to that kind of abuse again. Tony Stark I am clearly not.

Hmm... I wonder what the rhubarb bitters would taste like *in* the grog...? NO! BAD HEFFIE! NO DRINKIE!
thehefner: (Hulk Have Axe)
So at [livejournal.com profile] tazira's birthday party, I demonstrated my characteristic wit and dazzling conversational skills by asking where the nearest computer was so I should show people crap on the internet.

No, wait, this was important! I needed to show these people in particular the photoshop work of MightyGodKing.com. So here, for those who wanted to bookmark those pages and for the rest who need to see these, are the links with example images.

It all started with a box of old Steve Jackson/Ian Livingstone FIGHTING FANTASY gamebooks, which such new, improved covers as:





Followed by his epic three part series of Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels, both famous and infamous:





And part two:





Aaaaaaand part the third:





But wait wait wait, he wasn't done yet. There was one more topic left to be covered. A... FINAL frontier, if you will...





It was hard to choose one from each to post here. I laugh my ass off at most of them, even if I only get about 40% of the material they reference. That's comedy excellence right there.
thehefner: (Charlie: Shun the non believer!)
Speaking of [livejournal.com profile] bitemetechie, I'm compiling a "Why Superman Actually Doesn't Suck" mix of graphic novels for her to read during out mad twelve-day excursion to Orlando Fringe Festival.

And really, I've needed to make this collection for some time now. After all the years of hearing people complain about how they hate Superman, it's only in the past year or two that I think we finally have some amazing Superman comics that can finally depict what we fans have always known in our hearts and seen between the bright colors, boy-scout heroics, and lack of grimdark angst.

Therefore, on the "musts" list for this "Why Superman Actually Doesn't Suck" collection, I think it's essential to have the first part of Geoff Johns' current ACTION COMICS run. Start with ACTION COMICS ANNUAL # 10, which for some reason is idiotically not collected anywhere*, even though it contains crucial material.

And then, go on to SUPERMAN: LAST SON (which I didn't love at first, but it leads to get stuff later with Zod), skip the BIZARRO WORLD story (unless anyone here thinks it's awesome/essential), go right to the LEGION OF SUPERHEROES story (the book that finally helped me get the Legion, and features three heart-stopping Clark moments), and finally, SUPERMAN: BRAINIAC (I dislike Brainy 1.0's new muscle-bound look, but it's better than the bony 90's-esque monstrosity he's been sporting recently).

Besides that, ALL-STAR SUPERMAN. I mean, duh. I think that should go after the Johns stuff. Let that be the grand finale of Superman. I hate, hate, hate what Morrison's done with BATMAN and FINAL CRISIS, but after rereading ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, I'm just in awe of this book's elegant power and joy. Throughout, he and Quitely are able to say so much with so little, making it tempting to breeze through the stories as if they were light little trifles, and thereby miss out on all the incredible detail they cram into each panel. Like a Sergio Leone movie, no one says a word of dialogue unless it's absolutely essential to the story.

Plus, Mark Waid's introduction to Vol. 2 really helped me better get what Morrison is showing here with this perfect portrait of who Superman is and why does what he does. He particularly nails it at the end:

But the big moment is the perfect line of dialogue. It comes in Chapter Ten, when Superman, without a second's hesitation, takes time from his world-building feats to embrace and comfort a suicidal young girl. When he tells her, "You're much stronger than you think you are," they become the most moving words we have ever read in a Superman story. And they are perfect because they reveal, in one sentence, the fundamental secret of Superman and why we love him so:

Gods achieve their power by encouraging us to believe in them.

Superman achieves his power by believing in us.


Couldn't have put it better myself.

Besides the Johns and Morrison essentials, I was thinking of including maybe the two Excellent Superman Comics That Don't Actually Feature Superman: IT'S A BIRD, by Steven T. Seagle and Terry Kristiansen, and SUPERMAN: SECRET IDENTITY by Kurt Busiek and Stuart Immonen (which is criminally out of print now! WTF?), not to mention SUPERMAN: RED SON, which is the one truly great thing Mark Millar has ever written.

I've considered SUPERMAN: BIRTHRIGHT, but I didn't get it for the same reason I didn't pick up Geoff Johns' "One Year Later" arc, UP UP AND AWAY, because it just seemed a little too been there, done that. Good stories, but nothing that'll really persuade somebody who doesn't like Superman. Maybe I'm wrong?

Meantime, I'm reading Alan Moore's two SUPREME collections. I'm not sure I'd put them on the list, as they're more about superheroes and comics in general rather than Superman himself. But damn if they aren't fun. Anyone who thinks Moore is too grim and serious should check these out, if they're even still in print. Cracktacular meta superheroics galore!

So yeah, to sum up my list, in the following order:

The Essentials

ACTION COMICS ANNUAL # 10
SUPERMAN: LAST SON
SUPERMAN AND THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES
SUPERMAN: BRAINIAC
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN VOL. 1
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN VOL. 2

Other possibilities

IT'S A BIRD
SECRET IDENTITY
BIRTHRIGHT
UP UP AND AWAY
RED SON


What think you, Super-fans? Any other suggestions? If nothing else, do assure Techie that these books are actually good, because I suspect getting her to read 'em will take some persuasion.




*More and more, I'm trying to figure out some way to campaign against Bob Joy, the editor of collected editions at DC. I've noticed so many problems in DC's graphic novels, such a drop in quality compared to previous editors like Robert Greenberger, that I feel like something seriously needs to be done. Who else is the blame for putting all the tie-in issues of SINESTRO CORPS in a separate volume, rather than integrating them into the actual story as they're SUPPOSED to be read?

But the one sternly polite letter I'd written him regarding my displeasure of the BATMAN VS. TWO-FACE collection went unanswered, and I feel like there's nothing I can do to voice my frustrations to any powers-that-be. It's seriously hindering my interest in buying trade paperbacks from DC.
thehefner: (The Hefner Monologues Sign)
... I tell you this story of my father and me to let you know I am qualified to be a comedian."



When I was going off to college, [livejournal.com profile] fiveseconddelay gave me an Ayn Rand two-pack: ATLAS SHRUGGED and THE FOUNTAINHEAD. When I graduated college four years later, he asked if I ever read them. When I replied of course not, he said, "Well fuck, now it's too late!"

There's something about discovering something at just the right moment of one's life. Whether it's a work of art or a person you meet, like the comedian says, it's all about timing. As such, it was absolutely perfect that--on the heels of my misadventure in Boulder--I would decide to read Steve Martin's memoir BORN STANDING UP.



I just now realized how ironic that cover really makes this whole situation.

I first read about Martin's book in the great Nathan Rabin's essay for the AV Club's series, "Silly Show-Biz Book Club," which proved intriguing enough for me to wanna check out the book. Insight into the lonely life of a solo performer who has daddy issues? I am there!

I used my library copy as a mini-table for my laptop computer for most of my Boulder trip, spending my time and energy on important things like revising the Monologues, the Harvey Dent novel, and of course precious precious internet. But once I started to realize that my audiences weren't ever going to crack past single digits, I felt like I didn't have it in me to create or even think, so when better to veg with a good book?

Here's the very first chapter, kindly provided by NPR:

***

BEFOREHAND


I did stand-up comedy for eighteen years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four were spent in wild success. My most persistent memory of stand-up is of my mouth being in the present and my mind being in the future: the mouth speaking the line, the body delivering the gesture, while the mind looks back, observing, analyzing, judging, worrying, and then deciding when and what to say next. Enjoyment while performing was rare—enjoyment would have been an indulgent loss of focus that comedy cannot afford. After the shows, however, I experienced long hours of elation or misery depending on how the show went, because doing comedy alone onstage is the ego's last stand.

My decade is the seventies, with several years extending on either side. Though my general recall of the period is precise, my memory of specific shows is faint. I stood onstage, blinded by lights, looking into blackness, which made every place the same. Darkness is essential: If light is thrown on the audience, they don't laugh; I might as well have told them to sit still and be quiet. The audience necessarily remained a thing unseen except for a few front rows, where one sourpuss could send me into panic and desperation. The comedian's slang for a successful show is "I murdered them," which I'm sure came about because you finally realize that the audience is capable of murdering you.

Stand-up is seldom performed in ideal circumstances. Comedy's enemy is distraction, and rarely do comedians get a pristine performing environment. I worried about the sound system, ambient noise, hecklers, drunks, lighting, sudden clangs, latecomers, and loud talkers, not to mention the nagging concern "Is this funny?" Yet the seedier the circumstances, the funnier one can be. I suppose these worries keep the mind sharp and the senses active. I can remember instantly retiming a punch line to fit around the crash of a dropped glass of wine, or raising my voice to cover a patron's ill-timed sneeze, seemingly microseconds before the interruption happened.

I was seeking comic originality, and fame fell on me as a by-product. The course was more plodding than heroic: I did not strive valiantly against doubters but took incremental steps studded with a few intuitive leaps. I was not naturally talented—I didn't sing, dance, or act—though working around that minor detail made me inventive.

I was not self-destructive, though I almost destroyed myself. In the end, I turned away from stand-up with a tired swivel of my head and never looked back, until now. A few years ago, I began researching and recalling the details of this crucial part of my professional life—which inevitably touches upon my personal life—and was reminded why I did stand-up and why I walked away.

In a sense, this book is not an autobiography but a biography, because I am writing about someone I used to know. Yes, these events are true, yet sometimes they seemed to have happened to someone else, and I often felt like a curious onlooker or someone trying to remember a dream. I ignored my stand-up career for twenty-five years, but now, having finished this memoir, I view this time with surprising warmth. One can have, it turns out, an affection for the war years.


***

Ever have a book where you want to read a chapter/a section/multiple sections over and over again? Certain parts stand out to me more than others (that early part about "enjoyment" hit me hard, man), but this intro as a whole just floored me. Even before I got halfway though, I knew this was a book I must own and reread over the years. For me, at this stage of my life, this book is many things, including a spiritual guide and a cautionary tale.

[livejournal.com profile] whimmydiddle warned me that I shouldn't go into showbiz if I couldn't take what happened in Boulder, and this book was a powerful reminder of that: for every triumph Martin had along the way, there would be a dozen more failures and missteps to follow. He had to appear on The Tonight Show twelve times before it ever did him any real good. And even then, while it finally and suddenly catapulted him to fame, none of it ever seemed to give him any real joy (which helps one ultimately understand how seemingly easily he was able to turn away and--until this book-never look back).

Rabin's article discusses the BORN STANDING UP itself much better than I could at the moment, and is definitely worth reading for curious parties, but I will say that I am absolutely gonna buy a copy to earmark and underline the hell out of as I reread it over the coming years. That said, I will quote Rabin in one part, because it completely echoes my own thoughts after reading this fine book:

As a habitual over-writer, I treasure economy and elegance in other writers. BORN STANDING UP has economy and elegance up the wazoo. There isn’t a wasted word or pointless digression in the entire book. It’s spare, understatedly funny and absolutely essential for students of comedy. Here’s my closing question for you, dear reader. Does the fact that Martin is still capable of greatness, of writing something tender and true (to borrow a particularly resonant phrase from SHOPGIRL), make his current cinematic hackdom more or less excusable?
thehefner: (Fountain: Death is the Road to Awe)
Ever since the A.V. Club's fascinating two-part interview with the man, I decided to finally check out some Harlan Ellison. I remembered that my library had a collection of Ellison short stories read by the author himself, so I picked it up along with PARADISE LOST* and checked 'em out.

God damn.

Now, I'm sure the stories read on their own would still be great. I imagine I could have just read, say, "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream," and thinking, "I see why this is a classic, yeah," and I probably would have wrote "Laugh Track" off as amusing but lightweight and likely forgettable.

But Ellison isn't just reading these stories. He's performing them, and in a way no other writer I've ever heard has performed his or her work. He performs these like he knows every inch of them, inside and out, and stretches them to their limits with his energy and rhythm.

Have you ever listened to a piece of music that makes your body contort? More than bobbing your head to a beat, more than singing along, you find your head, neck, hands, etc, twisting and flying in an attempt to follow--to ride--the music. It's like composing a symphony, only backwards. Hopefully you know what I mean. I've had that happen before... but never with spoken word.

I've been describing Ellison's stories on tape as "Ray Bradbury as performed by George Carlin," and on "Laugh Track" especially, I'd throw a healthy dash of Denis Leary in there too. And it's music. It's pure music to my ears, head, neck, hands, wrists, fingers, every part that's as free as can be while I'm driving my car, listening to books on tape.

I'm almost done with "A Boy and His Dog," and while I'm fond of the movie (mainly for the ending), it doesn't quite capture the book's twisted metaphorical nature. Afterward, I'm gonna listen to these stories all over again, which I've never done with any book on tape before. Because seriously, as a performer and a storyteller, I could learn a hell of a lot from this man.

Between this, finishing Matheson's THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN (incredible indeed!), and old-school EC Comics adaptations of Ray Bradbury short stories, I'm finally starting to catch up on my classic sci-fi. Definitely gonna get to Heinlein one of these days too.



*I figured listening to it would be easier than trying to read it. Ugh, barely got halfway through the first tape. Maybe next year. Maybe if it was actually performed, rather than dryly read. I wouldn't be able to get through even my favorite Shakespeare plays if it was read like this guy did.

... shit, to take it full circle, I'd pay good money to have Harlan Ellison read PARADISE LOST.

i reed gud

Jul. 2nd, 2008 11:54 am
thehefner: (Batman: Riddler)
Has anyone read Luke Reinhart's THE DICE MAN? Is it worth checking out? When I discover a book about a man who bases all decisions according to the casting of dice--and thereby discussing this philosophical implications of a life ruled entirely by chance--you might understand why my interest could be piqued.

If you've read that or Reinhart's "self help" guide, THE BOOK OF THE DIE, do let me know what you think. And if you have either, can I borrow them? The latter, especially; it's out of print and going for 20 bucks used on Amazon. It all sounds very Palahniuk*-like.



Meantime, I'm reading THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN, by Richard Matheson, author of I AM LEGEND. I've heard great things about the 1950's film** and so I wanted to check out the original. This is only the second Matheson book I've ever read, and already I'm inclined to include him as one of my top three favorite authors.

The title is kinda terrible, leading one to believe the book to be trashy sci-fi pulp camp. Instead, what we get is one of the most engaging and usual adventure thrillers I have ever read, with layers upon layers of metaphorical implications. As with I AM LEGEND, this feels like a book-length TWILIGHT ZONE episode, and I mean one of the great episodes. And no wonder, considering who the author is.

By the way, THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN also includes a number of his most famous short stories. Ever read "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" while actually in a window seat on an airplane? It's fun! I only wish it had been night during a thunderstorm. Ah well.



*I was thinking about being a smartass and again misspelling Palahniuk's name in a Homer Simpson type way like "Palaninuckihick," but last time I did that, somebody threw a hissy fit.


**According to imdb, they're remaking THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING MAN.

Directed by Brett Ratner.

Starring Eddie Murphy.

FUCK YOU, EVERYTHING.
thehefner: (Jaws: Hay Guyz!)
I don't suppose anybody here is buying the 2-disc special edition of THE MIST?

Because only on the 2-disc version is there also a black and white version of the film, director Frank Darabont's original vision, which is supposedly fifteen times more awesome than the theatrical color version.

I haven't seen the film either way, and have heard seriously mixed. But Frank Darabont is an old-school monster-movie geek with deserved Oscar cred, and is one of the very few people to excellently adapt Stephen King to film (King's strength is as a storyteller, not in his plots nor characters). The dude co-wrote both NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3 and THE BLOB remake (thus scarring me for life by creating one of the most enduring nightmares to this day) as well as directing SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION. He's earned my trust and curiosity.

Netflix only has the regular edition (while somehow also having the second disc?), and even if I can figure out how to adjust the color on my TV screen to black and white, I somehow suspect it won't be the same. Or maybe it will.

Or perhaps THE MIST just blows no matter what color it's in. But I'd still like to see this black and white version.

So, yeah. Anyone in my area buying the 2-disc special edition, so that I may bum it off you?

EDIT: Ooh, it turns out that the second disc from Netflix DOES have the black and white version! Never mind. The one review there says "I've seen both versions and I'll go ahead and say that I'll probably never watch the film in color again. The b&w version is the way to go. Incredible!" Consider me doubly-intrigued.
thehefner: (Machine Man)
My Amazon.com Wish List has become a deeply disturbing collection of nutball survivalist booklets and post-apocalyptic fiction. The things I do in the name of research for my novels.

God, I wish my local library carried these. Am I seriously going to have to buy the complete works of Rangar Benson and Boston T. Parry's BOSTON'S GUN BIBLE? This list has likely already put me on another list or two, keeping an eye on that ticking time bomb that is John Hefner, ready to start up his own guerrilla militia of intolerant geeks and snobs, declaring "JUNO is thoroughly overrated, but it's still pretty damn good! Just not that good! Rrrargh!"*.

Remember, I looking for story research and stuff that'll provoke ideas, not necessarily a practical guide written by a sane person.

To make matters worse, I also have to do an assload of research into Herakles and greek myth in general. I've purchased BULLFINCH'S MYTHOLOGY, which should hopefully ease me into everything, and from there I might go to Robert Graves' volumes (I've heard good and bad things) as well as whatever classics I can find, hopefully good translations that aren't dryer than Johnny Go's Evaporated MartinisTM.

Speaking of translations... so Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, the husband-wife team of Russian translators who made me fall absolutely head-over-heels in love with Dostoevsky*, have come out with their version of WAR AND PEACE? I haven't even cracked Tolstoy yet, and what's that, they've also done ANNA KARARARENENAREA? Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.

Clearly, this is the books' revenge for my not being a reader all my life. Then I discover that reading tons of stuff is the very best form of research and inspiration, and the books of the world go, "Well, well, well, if it isn't the movie geek! Who's the tough guy now, eh??"



*I've reevaluated my opinions on JUNO. See next entry.

**I still haven't gotten through CRIME AND PUNISHMENT yet. I love love love BROTHERS K and THE IDIOT, but so far, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT feels like the latter. I keep hearing that if you can endure the first quarter, it greatly improves. Here's bloody hoping. Shit, I also have to finish my copy of DEMONS!
thehefner: (Applause)
My Christmas was spent mostly watching movies, with a bit of reading in between to keep my brain alive. Actually, I was less watching/reading for the fun of it, but rather, more to right some grievious errors in my never having seen/read these things in the first place.



FIRST BLOOD, by David Morrell: My introduction to Rambo. The movie from Netflix should be waiting for me tonight. I'm guessing the Sheriff isn't the good guy in this one?



THE KING AND I: ... Gay for musicals as I am, I'm starting to seriously wonder if I draw the line at Rogers and Hammerstein. I mean, I adore Yul and his shiny head, but... man. Aside from the hot-as-hell dancing lesson, yipes, was this dry. I dunno, between this, SOUTH PACIFIC, and OKLAHOMA, R&H just aren't doing it for me. Maybe they need to be seen live, or I'm just being a plebeian again.



Akira Kurosawa's IKIRU (TO LIVE): I think [livejournal.com profile] ciretose lent to this me a year ago, and I only yesterday finally checked it out, as there was nothing else on TV. Yes, I am ashamed to admit that I only watched this out of desperation and boredom. Deeply ashamed. Because this proved not only to be my second favorite Kurosawa movie, but perhaps--with time and reflection--could well become one of my very favorite films of all time.



I mean, just seeing IKIRU alone was a treat, but the wonderful essay from the Criterion Collection really pushed the point home. IKIRU is as powerful in its purity, compassion, and touching humanity as RAN was in its brutally harrowing epic nature. Both are about old men realizing that they've misspent their lives, and with numbered days, struggle desperately to make things right. Unlike RAN's King Lear, Takashi Shimura (absolutely unrecognizable as the lead samurai from SEVEN SAMURAI; the Yul Brenner role, natch) might just succeed, even if he's the only one who knows it.

A masterpiece.



Now, masterpiece that IKIRU is, it's not exactly in the public consciousness as a film that everybody has seen and generally adores, the kind of film where anyone who hasn't seen it is an absolute weirdo and freak. And as the years go by, it gets harder and harder to finally watch such a film for the first time when expectations have been raised so high. Films so loved like that, they're often dated and adored by the people who saw them when they first came out, and don't hold up to newbies (I have no idea if I'd like STAR WARS if I saw it today for the first time).

That said, holy sweet merciful god did I ever bloody adore A CHRISTMAS STORY.

That's right, I'd never seen A CHRISTMAS STORY until yesterday, and with IKIRU, it was a double-whammy of shame. As far as Hefnerian movies go, this is right up there with ANNIE HALL (also playing on TV last night; it still rings painfully true each time). As I'm already late to this party, I have nothing else to add, other than to say that I think I need to track down the further work of Jean Shepherd.

Now I just need to finally see IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE. Maybe next year.



Finally, I've been reading the old POPEYE comics by E.C. Sagar. Now, like most people, I kinda hate Popeye. That's because, like most people, I only know Popeye from the cartoons. And like most people... it turned out, I didn't know jack.



This is the comic strip equivalent of W.C. Fields and the Marx Brothers, and I say that with absolutely no bullshit. Everything here is above and beyond the quality of most comic strips from that or any era, and it's all set against the backdrop of a deeply cruel, amoral world (reflecting Depression-era America). This Popeye doesn't need no fucking spinach; this Popeye is the Wolverine of his day. In his first story, the guy gets shot sixteen times and still beats the crap out of the villain before collapsing.

Just like Rambo, Popeye has become a pop icon, but for reasons that are either totally wrong or just forgotten. It's amazing to finally see them in their true forms, even if most others won't. I'm totally buying the rest in the series.



Oh, I almost forgot the movie with which I ended my Christmas...

JOYEUX NOEL, about the WWI Christmas Truce between the Scottish, French, and German soldiers.



God, it's heartrending, but in a good way. Overly sentimental, perhaps, but the fact that this happened, and a couple times again after the original Truce (much to the disdain of the higher-ups) is just... it reaffirms faith in humanity, even in one of the lowest points in human history.



And now, Christmas is over, and I have a life again. Dang it. Back to work.

I reed buks

Nov. 7th, 2007 02:38 pm
thehefner: (Default)
If you film it…: 21 good books that need to be great films, like now.

Just what I need, more books to add to my reading list.

Side note: Once I got to the description for A HEARTBREAKING WORK OF STAGGERING GENIUS, I came upon an epiphany: I'm now terrified to read memoirs. I don't think I have it in me (at this point in my life, or perhaps ever) to read the celebrated works of Eggers, Sedaris, Burroughs, etc without feeling super-uncomfortable, self-conscious, and inadequate.

Maybe if I sat down and actually read them, I'd realize that comparing myself to them is like apples and oranges. I mean, I don't feel this way when I listen to Garrison Keillor or watch Spalding Gray. I guess I'm still insecure over the literary agent's claim that THE HEFNER MONOLOGUES was too similar to other memoirs (but whose, they did not specify... damn it, which authors am I too much like?!), or being frequently compared to Sedaris (we're actually different, I know we are!).

Maybe these feelings will chance once I've joined their ranks, but for now, eh, I'm gonna stick with the three dozen or so books I have to read. Up next: Alan Weisman's THE WORLD WITHOUT US, which should give some great insight into a post-zombie-apocalypse world.

By the way, what's with people trying to adapt WORLD WAR Z as a straight narrative fiction? The only way it can be done is as mockumentary! Imagine a zombie film by Ken Burns.



I rarely read webcomics, but I have now discovered the wonder and joy that is The Perry Bible Fellowship. I like to describe it as what would happen if Red Meat and Gary Larson had a child.
thehefner: (Grindhouse: Gonna be a comedian!)
Something about today's date... hmmm... was I supposed to remember something today?

Remember... remember...

Oh well. I wonder what's on TV?



Just in time for the AV Club's article on "20 Good Books Made Into Not-So-Good Movies" comes CHUD.com's new round-table discussion of the snazzy new DVD edition of Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING. When it comes to Kubrick's film and Stephen King's original, most people I know vehemently love one and hate the other.

Personally, I love both, but for very different reasons, because each offer something the other doesn't. )



One more thing. I've been reading collections of PEANUTS strips from the 50's and 60's.

Like many people, I used to think of PEANUTS as a harmless, inoffensive, gentle, watery relic, not as taste-assaulting as, say, GARFIELD or FAMILY CIRCUS, but not really ever that funny either. A classic, only because it's widely considered a classic. I imagine some feel this way about CITIZEN KANE and CASABLANCA.

Then I started reading the classic PEANUTS stuff. And... oh... my god.

I had no idea how subversively brutal, how thoroughly rich in literary value PEANUTS was. Really, the best summation of its true power and timelessness was described below by Ivan Brunetti (whom I usually strongly dislike, and still sounds like an out-of-touch snob, perhaps purposefully so, but makes some compelling points):

I hereby declare PEANUTS the greatest post-war comic strip of all time... )

September 2012

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