Monday, December 05, 2005

"Nobody Touches Pete's _____."

1) I watched Sky High (thank-you, C) and it was excellent—also, it was excellent because Bruce Campbell is in it. Bruce Campbell is a lousy actor but everyone in the audience (nearly everyone) is a happier person after watching him shout and act stern. It wasn't the trilogy that first made me his fan, though, it was that television series, Brisco County Jr. About other films which are not Bruce Campbell films, I have only this to say. I'll watch any film featuring Charlotte Gainsbourg, even the dreadful ones, even though they're all dreadful ones.

2) There's a ping-pong table set up in the back, now. I love ping-pong. The table is home-made, narrow, corners cut diagonally, net made out of painted cardboard. The paddles are tiny and plastic, matting carefully peeled off of one side. The one ball has a pin-prick hole in it. Work could be fantastic this winter. I like the Chinese grip myself.

3) I might talk a little politics in my next post. There's an election coming, and it looks like a monster.

Sneak-Thief + "Cold Ways (feat Lindsay-J)" The kids in the tight jackets and white pants probably yelled "Italo!" after hitting each other to this shiny-chain-swinging beat. Either that, or they started snapping pics of every flamingo they spotted. I could have helped them out with the photography, but the lingo? I don't know foreign languages. But I do know a solid bassline (who doesn't?), and this bass is solid cubed. I'm not going to try and fool you—yeah, Sneak-Thief aka Michael Morin is local, but he's not that local. Just like The Faunts, but at the opposite end of music, he long ago left the City Of Champions, and he's blazing around Holland and Germany all Peaches-style, where the closest thing they have to a guitar is a poster of Devendra Banhart in the record store. And DB doesn't go down very well on the dance floor. Anyway, this track is off Sneak-Thief's Cold Ways EP (2003), released on Lasergun. What's Lasergun? This is Lasergun, so get your rave on. Sneak-Thief has a website and thirteen tracks on the NMC business. This gold is old but it still gets glitzi.

The Riddle Of The Sands + Erskine Childers His cousin was the First Lord of the British Admiralty, and Childers himself graduated from Trinity College. He was not an unnconnected man. He volunteered for the British in the Boer War and was wounded. He wrote his only novel, a novel which heavily affected the British military, on his way home. Around the outbreak of WWI, he and his American wife were smuggling arms to Irish rebels, but he volunteered for naval service and flew a plane, earning the Distinguished Service Cross in WWI. He served as a member of Irish Parliament (despite his background) and was the father of the fourth president of Ireland. Childers was executed for treason against the British Crown in 1922, court-martialed for illegally carrying an automatic pistol . His last words were, "Take a step or two closer, boys. It will be easier for you." This book is about sailing, and war, and navigation, and ignorance, and so much more. This book is about two men who take a miserable holiday along the dykes and sands of Holland and Germany and Denmark and come to suspect that the Germans are making secret preparations to attack England and establish naval dominion over the northern half of Europe. The language of this book is like crisp poetry. Except for Kipling's Kim and certain sections of Defoe's novels, this would have been the first spy novel in the English language, perhaps in any language. What Childers did in this novel was successfully synthesize the German political stance and attitude into a novel, a novel which said Germany was going to attack England and Europe. The novel was published in 1903. WWI began eleven years later, and this novel reads like a history of the pre-war preparations. Correction: this novel reads like a thriller/adventure/spy novel/mystery/boys-own-adventure of pre-war preparations. It's the setting that dominates this book, though, the shifting sands of the title. The fog is always clearing or thickening, the water always rising or falling, the sands and shoals merging with the wind and water. Everything is temporary, everything is unknown, the enemy might be in the next country or a hundred feet away, who can tell? It's a good book, it's a standout. Look at the author's life. Whatever he did, he threw himself entirely into the effort. How could he not have written a fascinating novel?

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