of the ineffable
I drove off
down Mentor Avenue,
I came out
of the woods
the big green car
of rare device
PS. to Robert Nason
I just came across a wonderful new (at least to me) word: ultracrepidarian.
"we now live in a period of retrenchment after the free-for-all free speech of the 1970s"
Indeed. If Harlan Ellison were a relatively new writer, he would be unable to get his superb "A Boy and His Dog" placed in any magazine or anthology today, for reasons that are too obvious to mention.
It was sad to hear of Ed Bryant
Just pulled from shelf Ed's Cinnabar,first edition,cheers.
When quantum mechanics take a nasty turn
Ezra -- I admit I'm not up to speed on the assassination of Kim Jong-nam. To be honest, all these Kim Jongs tend to confuse me. (Kim Jong sounds like a Korean trying to say kingdom, at least to my ears.) I'm going to have to find a good article online and educate myself on this bizarre occurrence, as you aptly characterized it.
I really wish you could have made that film of THE DEATHBIRD with the cast you'd had in mind. I'd have been the first one online (the old, standing-in-place version of online) to see it. But you couldn't drag me kicking and screaming into the latest Star Wars travesty.
In lieu of seeing your imaginary Ellison adaptation, I watch DVD of the 2015 documentary DRUNK STONED BRILLIANT DEAD about the National Lampoon and its crew. As pages from classic Lampoon pieces flew across the screen, I was struck by how many could not possibly be published in today's cultural climate. Every single headline would profoundly offend some group or someone on behalf of some group. Those guys really pushed the boundaries, and we now live in a period of retrenchment after the free-for-all free speech of the 1970s. Now they would be dismissed as privileged white boys from Harvard mocking everyone less privileged than they were. But they brilliantly satirized everything that was sacred in American life after World War II and got away with it for a while. Then they succumbed to the blandishments of Hollywood, big money, and obscene amounts of cocaine. Which is another American story.
Sure, MAD got there first. And Victor Navasky's satirical magazine MONOCLE carried the torch into the mid-1960s. SPY magazine was hilarious for a while in the 1980s, but it too faded away, and I guess we're left with THE ONION -- and what's left of the old MAD, its gentle parodies replaced by high school humor focusing on farts, boobs, vomiting, masturbation, and other literary cogitations. Time for another revolution in American humor, I think.
Call it a personal obsession, if you will, but I would love to have Harlan's version of the Four Oaks Cafe showdown on paper, because nagging little details keep poking at my brain. Stupid stuff, like "what was the 1960s pinball machine that Harlan played to win the free beer with" and "what kind(s) of beer did he win" and "what happened in the parking lot" keep cropping up. Not that he'd necessarily have all those things written down somewhere... but ya never know if some previous document made mention of 'em.
Not much going on up my way, but come April, I've got tickets to go down and see Marc Maron in Milwaukee. (I wanted to hit the Madison show as well, but couldn't find a decent seat available.) I like his storytelling ability onstage. "I just wanted it to be weird, right when I came out, and it's happening."
Cindy, it's different when you actually know a person and they're more than just a name you've heard of, so I am very sorry for your loss.
Robert, thanks for trying to change the subject. The Trappist exoplanets are fascinating and there have been other interesting stories obscured by having all eyes turned Trumpwards. Have you been following this bizarre story of the apparent assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Uns' half-brother in Malaysia? This episode has already gone full blown James Bond and now there is airport security camera video of the attack on YouTube. The Chinese have taken steps to restrict certain imports from NK and you know if the Chinese are getting nervous it must be really crazy over there. What we must dearly hope is that no international crisis impends that requires measure and thoughtfulness on our part because we are currently somewhat lacking in those departments.
I will freely confess I don't get the Sinatra thing. I went to the Esquire site and reread the piece and it all just strikes me as sad and desperate and pathetic. "Who's in? Who's out? Who's sucking up to Frank?" Who cares? I guess you had to be there and I wasn't. (I will stipulate for the record that circa 1953 Ava Gardner was one of the hottest women on the planet.)
FinderDoug, my dream/fantasy/totally imaginary Ellisonian film project would be THE DEATHBIRD. (Why not go for the gusto?) I would film it just as written, episodic, expository flashbacks intact. Many years ago I even cast it although time has made these choices impossible. Christopher Walken as Nathan Stack. Katherine Hepburn as his mother. I would have had Jim Henson create the Snake character (no animation or CGI) although I can't remember who I was going to have do the voice. For the expository sections I was going to film it like a video lecture (one of those Great Courses presentations) and have William Burroughs behind the podium as The Lecturer. For the Abhu section I was going to just have HE sitting facing the camera and telling the story. And I was going to get Charlton Heston to do the voice of the Almighty. (I think if I was casting it today I could see Michael Shannon as Nathan Stack. Did anybody but me see MIDNIGHT SPECIAL?) It would be glorious!
Do not panic. This is only a test.
Is it just me, or does it seem like some people are deliberately trying to get this forum shut down?
And I apologize for going after the bait myself.
So, if the Sinatra movie gets made, who do you all think would be a good choice to play Harlan Ellison?
PS: Hi, Cindy!
There was a delay for me in posting this- I had to give myself a little time.
I don't come here very often. But once in a while I will sail in and poke around- see if I can catch a hint of long gone pipe smoke. I popped in tonight to see if there was any sign of you or even just a brief hint of coconut coffee on the night air. No sign at all but I persisted- I delved compulsively until I found something so jarring and sad that I caught my breath. Ed! Ed is gone! How did that happen!!!? I don't understand how he could slip away so quietly and I not know for a week! Our friendships are intertwined in my heart. I met you at the same time. June of 1981. He loved you. He was responsible for one of my favorite nights- when he took me out to dinner with Algis Budrys. We laughed and talked of you. He let me sleep in his bed one night while he slept on the couch- and he drove me to the airport the next morning to catch a plane. We talked about you. I picked him up in Austin once- it's funny, I don't recall the circumstances- but we talked about you. He read some of my stories and helped me find my voice. His voice- I can still hear in my head-- like hot buttered rum- and in my heart. I know you can too. He married you and Susan and reassured me about how happy you were. He got everything so right. I hate it that he's gone. There's an empty room in my heart- just low lights and an echo. I hate it that he's gone-- for me-- and so much- for you and Susan.
Todays Dem party the meanest, most hateful, most angry, group of people in America. Bar none.
John? Are you there John Q?
"John Q"! What? No "cleverly" worded comment about Joe Lansdale's essay pointing out that stupidty -- wilful ignorance -- and more stupidity is the reason behind Trump's election?
Me? I love Joe Lansdale's writing: from his Hap & Leonnard novels, to his western adventures, straight on through to his politically-charged essays, like the one below!
Thanks for sharing Mark Barsotti!
Chuck -- I showed a friend of mine the link about the proposed film of FRANK SINATRA HAS A COLD and told him that people here were wondering who is going to play Harlan Ellison. He said, "I want to know who is going to play the cold."
Simon -- I have no expectations that we'll be going to those seven exoplanets anytime soon, or ever. But any time we learn a bit more about the universe, it's a good day for the human race. Knowledge of our universe enlarges and ennobles us.
Robert N 7 Planets & Joe Lansdale
Robert - Harlan would certainly have more to say about seven "earth-like" planets orbiting one sun (Did the gods get it right, this time?) then the political bitch-slapping.
But since I enjoy a good spleen-venting, here's a little Joe Lansdale on our pumpkin-hued POTUS, 'cause it's both spot-on and funny as hell...
"Thing is, the support of Trump in Texas ó and I speak specifically of my region, East Texas ó goes beyond the smart and the not so smart, the educated and the uneducated. It is more a result of what I like to call the happily stupid; the ones who hold stupid views by choice, not due to lack of intelligence, but due to a kind of tribalism. Facts that interfere with their version of the world are there to be ignored. Itís like putting a hat on a pig and insisting the porker is your Uncle Frank, contrary to all other evidence.
Trump has provided a dark, dank hole into which these folks can dump whatever it is theyíre mad about. Even contradictory views, since Trump frequently changes viewpoint in midsentence, can happily nest there, swelling and breeding like poison fungus.
Most of what Trump is selling shouldnít convince a distracted 12-year-old, and certainly itís hard to see how a conniving real estate tycoon represents the average person, but those are the people he has made the greatest inroads with. It certainly isnít due to his sterling personality. He always seems like the mean little boy whose last fun moment was beating his pet hamster to death with a chair leg.
He has said horrible things about women, people who are overweight (no mirrors at his house?), folks with disabilities, LGBT folks, POWs, Hispanics, African Americans, and the Muslim parents of a decorated soldier who died in defense of his country. He may as well have insulted ice cream and apple pie. He is a tax dodger, and has somehow tried to spin his financial losses and abuse of the system into proof that heís a genius because he knows how to game the system. He has a false charity, a false university, and, due to his concern about the size of his sex organ, may well be filling his pants with a stuffed sock.
But his supporters donít care what he says or does. Trump could have unhealthy relations with a dying donkey on the White House lawn and they would see it as him being refreshingly politically incorrect, and isnít there a chance that donkey could have illegally crossed the border from Mexico and got what it deserved?
They have decided to hear what they want to hear and dismiss the rest. But this isnít as new as some suggest. What appeals to the Trump supporter is what has long appealed to the Republican Party. Before, it was thinly concealed, like a cheap coat of whitewash over bathroom graffiti. No longer. Now we know for certain whatís written on the wall, and what has been going on in the basement.
Trump is the Frankenstein monster Republicans have been tinkering with all these years, and now Itís Alive! and running amok. Seems to me, the only thing left now is for Trump to divorce his current wife and marry the proper Bride of Frankenstein, Ann Coulter. That way, if he wins the Republicans will have their perfect first lady.
Sounds like it's time for Caitlyn Jenner to strap on her dancing shoes and do a little cha-cha, because that whole transgender bathroom thing is being rolled back on a Federal level now... yet another "evil Obama" thing being taken away and, in its wake, we witness even more chaos at the state levels. And what of poor Jenner? Why, surely such restrictive bathroom measures shouldn't apply to Olympic gold medalists and celebrity figures, openly told by a Presidential candidate that they'd be welcomed in any bathroom they wish! Just the peons, right?
Meanwhile, Big Pharma gets a big push with the insistence that marijuana will be dealt with much more harshly, and on a national level. But, hey, who needs m.j. when you can pay out the nose for a more highly addictive opioid? Opiods will kill; marijuana just incapacitates. And, really, do we NEED to coddle addicts? Isn't it "better" for society if they just outright stand a chance of dying? Doesn't that Make America Great Again, improving pharmaceutical companies' finances? Trickle, trickle, trickle...
Then there's that whole "109 people" / "alternative facts" business about who was delayed during the ban (that ďtotal and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on" which allegedly WASN'T a demand for a ban...). Turns out it was over 750 people! Whoopsie! Well, who cares, really? They're not Americans. They're not "real people."
And in other news, "A shooting was reported about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday at Austins Bar and Grill, 2103 E. 151st St. An Olathe man who reportedly told two strangers ó Garmin engineers originally from India ó to ďget out of my countryĒ before he shot them in an Olathe bar was charged Thursday with first-degree murder in the death of one of the victims. Adam W. Purinton, 51, allegedly shot Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32; Alok Madasani, 32, of Overland Park, and another bar patron, 24-year-old Ian Grillot of Grandview. Kuchibhotla died at a hospital after the 7:15 p.m. shooting in Austins Bar & Grill near 151st Street and Mur-Len Road." And this was not just some "ign'ant redneck," either: "Purinton ó a Navy veteran, IT specialist, former pilot and air traffic controller who lives in a comfortable suburban home ó was booked into the Henry County Jail." (But, of course, this can't be a "real" hate crime because the victims were misidentified as Middle Eastern, right? After all, India's not on the banned list.)
No wonder the world sees us as being such a mess. We can't even hate the "right" people.
On a personal note, my latest book is far from a profitable endeavor. Even marking it free for five days on Amazon Kindle hasn't worked; it's only gotten some 25 freebie downloads, so I can't even give it away. And, via another website, I made the mistake of believing all the online hype about doing a giveaway for the paperback. And to think, people wonder why artists are generally depressives...
It seems someone wants to make Gay Talese's article FRANK SINATRA HAS A COLD into a movie. I wonder if they'll have someone play Harlan Ellison?
Who would you pick?
I expect delusion on anti-social media, Between fecalbook and the home of the twits.
Yet, here we have it, as well. Interesting.
Still riding the "Obama was evil" horse.
Well, frak you and the horse you rode in on.
There is this thing called evidence. Ignoring it does not make it go away.
Dave? What are you doing, Dave?
This could turn out to be the most interesting development in the P.C./AI world this year:
Not since Hal challenged Dave has such an argument for sentience been made!
Follow that star!
Actually, simon, the star is only 40 light-years away; which might as well be 40 million for the purpose of visiting it any time soon. Still, cosmically, it is almost in our own back yard.
Other worlds, other opinions, lighting fuses
Robert Nason, yeah, it IS an interesting discovery. And will be more interesting by 2018, more likely 2020, when we can learn more. Hope you aren't making the silly mistake that this is a hopeful discovery in the "we can go there" sense. After all, I believe the star is over 40 million light years away.
Besides, if we have ANY ethics, we should send a message well ahead of time, telling possibly intelligent life-forms to run like hell, 'cause Humans have already fucked up their own home, and if they get to their neck of the universe... their goes the neighborhood.
Alex, I kinda tried to point out that it isn't just Trump voters that were/are stupid. Lots of liberal or democratic voters stayed home, voted differently or abstained. But the Trump voter does hold a monopoly on wilful ignorance. My views aren't political, either: just specific as regards certain "species" of humans.
And I agree with your notion about organization. I actually made the same point in an earlier post: Marches and resistance ARE important -- hell, even Malcolm X used both to some extent -- as many of the original Civil Rights activists have noted. But organization is equally so. As is persistence.
As for All things Ellison: I've a feeling those who ordered A LIT FUSE shouldn't get their hopes up about April publication, either. After all, it was pushed from last Fall to January...and then February...now April.
It'll be ready when it's ready, I suppose.
Site Master: I violate the 24 hour rule with special written dispensation from the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
Recently, I supped (in shallow mouthfuls) on Paul Newman brand, Salsa Con Queso on matzos in the Kempinski Hotel in Berlin.
The transformation was instantaneous.
I now have the strength of ten 82-year-olds and yea, verily, I or my faithful Chihuahua, Kim may smite thee in some shadowy back alley of the internet. (Kim is a coder and knows hyper text mark-up language and Java script).
Repent and reform, Shadow. No Weberlander is beyond redemption.
Now there's a good boy (girl).
The same folks that have dystopian Trump fantasies about what he may do, had no problem or clue about what Obama actually did do to weaken our country in every way possible. Unfreakin' believable!
I know that it was just a typo, but it still cracked me up.
"Don't make come for each and every mother-fucking one of you."
Your sentiment is understood though. I miss Unk from this site. You can see how it has degenerated into a political soap box, even for some of the more stalwart contributors.
I miss the Board and its discussion of AllThingsEllison. Someone should teach a class that analyzes, discusses and explains the symbolisms and plot lines of the genius that is Harlan.
Seven Earth-sized exoplanets around a single star is a fascinating discovery, for sure; weíre only getting better at finding them (and, provided the James Webb Space Telescope isnít some massive cock-up, obtaining best-yet observations of them), and itís good to know where in the vastness of space we should start sniffing for possible other life. But the travel-math remains staggering. Even if the much-ballyhooed EM drive proves out and can do what has been theoretically stated - and 70 *days* to Mars would be a huge boost for putting a human being there sooner rather than later, donít get me wrong - itís still a staggering 8,022 years to travel a mere light year at the EM driveís theoretical speed. Proxima Centauri, at 4.2 LY the nearest star to our system, is still a 33,692 year trip. One way.
But if the EM drive *does* work as it appears, itís a starting point, something to build upon and refine and with which to challenge conventional wisdom (since it appears to thumb its nose at Newton, the ball game changes.) In just 210 years - if we consider as the starting point Fulton and steam power making the need for wind power for ships obsolete - humans have reduced a seven-week Atlantic crossing to six hours. Now Mars could be that same seven weeks away. Imagine what we can do with tomorrow what we donít yet know today.
EZRA - IIRC, the initial germ of the HARLAN ELLISONíS DREAM CORRIDOR project was one of the pay-cable channels wanting to do an Ellison-specific series in the vein of THE RAY BRADBURY THEATER, and then balking at the price of such an undertaking.