Friday, April 21, 2006

X + Chain + Ginseng + Gland + Saïs

There was a time when giants ruled the earth. Not men, not large men with six fingers on each hand, not the sons of angels or the snake-headed men in Egypt who tried to sabotage the unity of the pyramids from a secret lair in the heart of Crocodilopolis, and not, most especially, the large thievish clan called Doone which terrorized parts of Cornwall and Kent, no, not any of these, none of these ruled the earth. But there were giants, pure beings of frost and root, hands like axes, eyes like beating hearts, and there was no stopping them, and they were demons on the land, kings and pure will. Large men were like grasshoppers beside them. But that's all over now. The Toronto Maple Leafs will not be in the Stanley Cup play-offs. I'm still in shock. No Stanley Cup, no surprise, sure, whatever. But no Leafs in the post-season? These are my first words of mourning. They will not be my last. In 2017—anyone who reads this can come—I'll be holding a fifty-years-without-Lord-Stanley party for my favourite hockey team. Still, I'm telling you, the Leafs better be in the play-offs that year.

"A Song Is More Than Just A Song" + Stook Every word of this song is true. It follows, then, that if Weezer went country, this would be a Weezer song—since the lyrics to every Weezer song ever are Midas-touch-true, even the bad lyrics, even the stupid songs. That's why the band is called Weezer. This song is a straight-cop from Music For Robots. They put it up a few days ago and now I'm putting it up. The robot who posted it nattered on about songs like "Hey Jude" and he was entirely correct in his nattering. "Hey Jude" is also a Weezer song, except that Weezer used to be called The Beatles back then. Weezer, country, The Beatles—you should be so lucky to be happily the victim of this song.

The Complete Sherlock Holmes + Arthur Conan Doyle That Chabon novella got me reading Sherlock Holmes again, and those stories are good stories, aren't they? Very good stories. Conan Doyle certainly has the gift. I remember reading the thick Boy's Own hard-cover The White Company years ago, it came to me one summer like a gift from God. I will never have those endless summers again, you know, or those long books full of knights and fair ladies (Oh, Richard Coeur-de-lion! Oh, Rebecca!). Conan Doyle's excellent prequel, Sir Nigel, was nearly as good as The White Company and certainly as good as any of Conan Doyle's Professor Challenger series, a series which puts to shame the entire oeuvre of Jules Verne in, what, four novellas? But all asides aside, there's no question—those short stories and novellas concerning Sherlock Holmes are the best work Conan Doyle ever did. ANALOGY-ISH TIME! Just like Batman Begins does a good job of convincing the viewer that Batman could be real, Conan Doyle did an amazing job making Holmes a believable character. I'm not talking the real-world setting, the name-dropping, etcetera—I'm talking the presentation of Holmes not as some fantastic vampire-mage, but as a vampire-mage who operates by the same rules that normal people use. There was the genius, the shrewd stroke of Conan Doyle! Sherlock Holmes is impossible; Watson is average. The average qualifies the impossible and hey! ho! let's go! everything snaps into focus and Holmes is calmly talking about some giant rat-dude on Sumatra and we're nodding our heads, just like we did in the theatre watching Christian Bale talk about fear and symbolism.

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