Thursday, November 10, 2005

They Call It Le Parkour

You go out in the morning, and right in the middle of the city, you find the most beautiful spot in the world, and you think, "I wish I had a camera." Never the time and place, and the camera, all together. Sometimes things change, though, and an accident can become enchantment. And I know that's very new age of me, I know, but I'm a slug-abed, and rarely see anything decent in the morning, nevermind a frosted world of Tennyson or Hopkins, or the harmony of the dying season. The pond and the park were like a sober and hopeful hymn this morning—not a hymn, no, but an old French ballad, one of the very old songs without sentiment, only an appreciation of the ways things fall apart. I believe my liberal university education is beginning to unhealthily affect me.

Listening: I've got mixed feeling, but I'm going to unmix them. The new Madonna video actually frightened me, I love it, brilliant, brilliant. I mean, totally derivative tripe, but brilliant. Godsake, how old is that woman? Forty-something, right? It's wicked. And strange (reasonable?) how the best bits of the vid are when she's not in it (all the inside-the-taxi shots are hilarious, the subway stuff, the bus stop, the crazy French-style house-climbing). The beat is insane, of course, which is what anyone gets hooking out ABBA, and that workout costume, seriously, pure positive poison. Half of me loves it, half of me Dresden-bombing disgusted at the first half. End the war! You know what? If this is what kabbalah does for your ass, damn. DAMN. But, no. NO. Man, I just googled it and Madonna was born in 1958. She's forty-seven years old. There are no more words to write. "Hung Up" + Madonna

Reading: There are many books out there which try to be funny, or their authors are trying, anyway. And it's a sad scene. Jasper Fforde is one of the worst offenders right now, and some dude—I can't remember his name—writes books about Jesus or whales that Monty Python would probably have deemed tasteless, which is alright, but I like my tastelessness to be clever and mocking, not unintelligent and lizardy. Which, trust me, this guy whose name I can't remember and you don't know, is. Humour appeals to different individuals differently, though. And now I'm starting to sound like a first-year grad, aren't I? Well, the obvious is easy to write, so humour me, please. Ha! Good one, that. No? Oh, well. What about Patrick F. McManus? He was part of the whole You Might Be A Redneck scene before there ever was such a scene. The different thing about him is, he was a professor of English at Eastern Washington University. See, the clever? Well, maybe. Lines like these, though—"At the time, I was writing for all the big-name, high-paying national magazines. Unfortunately, they never bought anything I wrote"—won me over without breaking a sweat. McManus' books all follow the same format (nearly) and consist of short stories, some of them done in the manner of Hemingway, some of them pinned for humour's sake upon some pretty academic conceits, but all of them are easy to read and easier to understand. Because that's what humour does, doesn't it? It makes things easy to understand. His earlier stories are the best, no question, but one can't really go wrong picking up any of his books. The first collection you read will probably be your favourite collection. I know mine was and is, and that's why I'm rereading it again, a green-backed hardcover of A Fine And Pleasant Misery + Patrick F. McManus

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