Friday, March 21, 2008

Ten Days to National Board Deadline

National Board deadline in ten days. Made for a fun spring break, kids. Really.

But, here's the real deal: I know that ten o'clock on a Friday night is no time to be writing (or "blogging," as some might say, verbing in a manner that I can't, just can't, bring myself to), but I had to share this, as I'm confident that I'll forget by whatever point next week that I remember that I, one, have a blog, and, two, have the ability to post to it.

It's Garfield Minus Garfield. Brilliant. Simple, and brilliant. Brilliant like the way that Yossarian finds the 22nd catch brilliant. Brilliant like the Liquor Giants are brilliant -- that perfect combination of coulda-done-it-myself and damn-i-mean-damn-I-wish-wish-wish-I-had-managed-to-think-of-that.

And how can you not like that?

Outside of Garfield, and National Board, and brewing twice, here's what went down this week:

1. Cormac McCarthy's first novel: The Orchard Keeper. I'm happy to be on this McCarthy kick. And this one was great. Floods, bootleggers, bars collapsing into the sort of crazy yawning abyss that they only dream of in the Garden State. And a funked-out not-quite-Oedipal conflict that develops every way but how you think it will. And a brilliant opening vignette.

2. Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion. I liked this more than I thought I would, based on interviews that I've heard Dawkins give. In interviews, he comes across as a self-righteous, half-intelligent, faith-based preacher of no-faith, spouting platitudes and possibilities as if they're supported by the kind of evidence that he insists all such spoutings should have as their foundation. But, the book has enough interesting moments to keep me with it. Sure, there's a little too much "and then I got this email from a reader in Topeka" and "and then I found myself in a debate with a distinguished Anglican believer and I tried to dissuade him from his etc etc," and I ultimately found myself liking Sam Harris' style and voice more, but there was something about this British guy, this educated British guy, trying to get all righteous and angry while remaining sensitive to everything in the whole damn world (except faith) that amused me. And, yes, that's mostly because my understanding of the British comes, first and foremost (and, therefore, most importantly) from National Lampoon's European Vacation, and I understand that. Understanding it, though, doesn't make it less humorous, to me, to read this discourse that's trying so hard to be angry, to be righteous, to be shaking-fists-pissed, in the voice of an unfailingly polite Brit.

3. Richard Price's Clockers. Because it'll be another eight or nine months before the last season of The Wire hits DVD.

4. I found Ha Ha Tonka's album at a used CD store for 3.99 and picked it up. So far, it hasn't impressed me as much as Panda Bear's record has. We'll see how it goes from here.

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