Wednesday, September 12, 2007
The man is saying that he does not believe in God, that he believes in the usual omelette of evolution theory and The Big Bang, and he says, therefore, that he believes in other galaxies, forms of sentience, an infinite evolution of universes. "Infinite universes?" I say. Exactly. "Don't be foolish," I say. "If the universe is infinite, does it hold infinite possibilities? Are there possible versions of you and I out there?" Certainly a possibility. "Infinite variations?" Yes. "Well, if there is infinite variation, and infinite versions of you and I, and infinite versions of this unprovably best of all possible worlds, then, by the same reasoning, there is a world and an earth created by God. So your belief against God is no more than the argument for the possibility of His existence. You live in a contradictory world, then, a world that both is and is not formed by the God of the Christian faith and of the Jews."
Later, alone, I think that words mean nothing without belief, but that belief cannot fit into simple words. Everything is a contradiction and justification. Everything is belief.
Pig Island + Mo Hayder Not a thriller, not really, this is as close as a book can get to being a horror novel without being filed between Steven King and Lovecraft in that shabby little section half-way to the back of most bookstores. Joe Oakes is one of those reporters who deflates the paranormal for a living. He's good at it, so we—his audience—know he is going to come in for some hard knocks pretty soon, and he does, and so, unfortunately, do we. This book is as full of holes as a rusted-out colander. Thirty-one people are killed on Pig Island but only thirty—dum dum dum—can be identified. Great detail, and comes at a harrowing point in the novel, and nothing is ever heard again about who is really the thirty-first victim. Maybe I missed it, I miss a lot of things. The book holds together fairly well until the final crashing scenes, and everything splinters apart. I found no less than six glaring errors, in addition to the one named previously, which any of the policemen in the novel should have been all over before calling the case closed. But even Joe Oakes himself does not seem to spot them, nor the author, making for a heavily contrived ending. The details in this book are great, the set-up is terrific, Pig Island itself is properly ominous. Bestiality, gory deaths, The Island Of Doctor Moreau, a Satanic cult and extreme self-delusion—I'm disappointed this book was not better. The novel might make a good screen-play, but only if a director as sufficiently talented at distracting as Gore Verbinski—I'm thinking The Ring here—was in charge.
"Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" + Bishop Allen By now we have all seen the rain. Been that way for all my time. This is a good version, nothing special, but it would be hard to do a bad version of this classic. Live, yes, a bit muddy, yes, but the crowd is singing along and sometimes you have to make allowances for that. This cover will never be the iconic revision of John Fogarty's massive single that was Cash's cover of NIN or the charming nod that was Ted Leo's cover of "Since U Been Gone". This cover will never fill seats for fans of Bishop Allen or fans of CCR either. But this cover is good, and full of fun, and makes a good moment last a little bit longer, and who would ask more of a song than that? Also, Bishop Allen, right? Cherish them while they're here.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
That thick mincing pony of a woman returned to her table in the corner of the bistro, twisting the coarse strands of her rusty mane around her fingers as she trotted back. Her nails were painted a gleaming bright blue—Nicole OPI "Blue Lace"—and when her phone buzzed on the glass table, she had trouble picking it up, her blunt nails chattering against the slick plastic flip. She swore and dropped the phone on the floor and bent down to pick it up, her blazer unfolding like origami to reveal most of a rather large pair of heavily-freckled breasts. Her hair dragged across the plain white plate of spanish rice, cold golden grains flecked with spirals of dark green onion and bright halves of cherry tomatoes. She swore, again, and managed to flip the phone open and cursed the number flickering against the luminous display. A few grains of rice glowed against her brassy hair. Her fingers punched a message into the phone and she bent down again—she should really have considered wearing a different jacket, or maybe a blouse underneath, something white and crisp, with more shadows than light, perhaps—and buried her phone in her purse. The woman straightened up quickly, beckoning the waitress over, and ordered a double vodka with water, no, plain, are you listening, no ice, dammit. And when the waitress stumbled on her way back to the bar, stout blacks heels stuttering double-time on the polished slate, the woman looked up with a quick jerk of her strong neck and met my eyes.
Gaelle + "Give It Back" This is the only song I have ever featured twice on this blog. The Windows Media visual projection of this song is a series of shimmering circles, mostly filled with a pale after-midnight aqua, and what more needs to be said? "Longing for / An empty thought / But I seem to think of you instead." A slow-motion song, smooth hands on a black glass of wine. Low-slung couches pushed against a red wall. Many people in a small room, old gold picture-frames high above our heads. The girl with the porcelain collarbone is swinging her shoulders to the music. That couple in the corner, her with the green eyes, him in the white suit, have been together for years. You slowly walk down the narrow stairs, now, and out into the late-night street, a short walk home in the warm summer's night. Tomorrow night will be even better.
Killing Hitler + Roger Moorhouse What matters, I think, in writing history, and especially niche history, is not so much style as tempo, tension, timing. We all know how this book will end. There will be no surprise on the last page of this book. Moorhouse details eight different conspiracies against the infamous Fuhrer and focuses, time and again, not on why the plans failed, but on how close the plans came to succeeding. This constant sense of what-if, combined with sympathetic portrayals of some not-always-so-sympathetic men, including Chamberlain, give this book a page-turning quality not often found in books of historical record. "How could Hitler NOT have been killed?" is the thought constantly in mind. This book explains.