Thursday, January 22, 2009

Links 2

In the seventies a wild bunch of young writers and other artists went to Key West in search of bonefish, permit, and above all tarpon. Word was that a film was made of their quest but it never surfaced. Now it has.

I can't wait to see it. Not only for the leaping tarpon (I still want to catch one!) but for the sheer amusement of seeing people, many of whom I know and who are approaching seventy, as 30- something hippies. It also features what I believe to be the only footage of Richard Brautigan ever taken. You can also go here for an interview with Guy de la Valdene on the film's background and genesis.

Absinthe lollipops at Never Yet Melted. As David says "For All Addams Children Everywhere"!

Chas Clifton's dog Shelby has been making a pig of himself with pig remains. This put me in mind of the legendary Dogs In Elk, one of the funniest things I have ever seen on the webs.

"When I finally woke all the way up, it was to a horrible vision. Somehow, 3 dogs with a combined weight of about 90 pounds, managed to hoist one of the ribcages (the meatier one, of course) up 3 feet to rest on top of the swamp cooler outside the window, and push out the screen. What woke me was Gus Pong, howling in frustration from inside the ribcage, very close to my head, combined with feverish little grunts from Jake, who was standing on the nightstand, bracing himself against the curtains with remarkably bloody little feet. Here are some things I have learned, this Rosh Hashanah weekend: 1. almond milk removes elk blood from curtains and pillowcases, 2. We can all exercise superhuman strength when it comes to getting elk carcasses out of our yard, 3. The sight of elk ribcages hurtling over the fence really frightens the nice deputy sheriff who lives across the street, and 4. the dogs can pop the screens out of the windows, without damaging them, from either side."

Searching around, I found this follow up, in which we learn that one of the culprits was a New Guinea Singing dog (which makes sense); and a tribute to Dogs In Elk-- in pumpkin.

Carl Zimmer is not pleased with some science writing, especially this piece in Esquire.

Says Zimmer: "I…I just don’t know where to begin with the opening to this article in the latest issue of Esquire. “Pretty lady”? “The new poor part of town”? A noxious martini of mixed metaphors topped with an olive of ridiculous hype. (Forget it–I can’t compete with this stuff.)"

You think he is exaggerating? Let's take a few random paragraphs.

"First thing that happens when you have a heart attack, an unlucky part of your heart turns white. The blood's stopped pumping to that spot, so it becomes pink-speckled bloodlessness, coarse and cool like grapefruit gelatin.

"This is the moment when, if they could think, these heart cells in this new poor part of town would go, "Well, shit." Mortal things have a godly way of knowing when they'll die.

"Next comes the back-alley bruise of organ death. The cells turn from white to black, all shitted up like a body pit in a war, two weeks after. Suddenly, soldier, this part of your heart is dead, only it's still in your body, attached to the good section -- the 90210 ventricle -- and the good part is smirking, it's saying, "Come on, rebuild yourself, man!"


"But now look here, a woman. She is a pretty lady of Pakistani heritage who highlights her soccer-mom layers, which you don't expect from a lab-worn doctor-lady."


"For years, stem cells were this scream of a promise. A kitten-faced controversy that was going to be worth all the protest. The idea was that since they could become any cell in the human body, you could inject stem cells into diseased hearts and they would regenerate the dying meat. They were the bloody rope, the unholy cure."

KITTEN FACED CONTROVERSY?? WTF?? I would flunk this in a high school writing class, never mind a workshop for adults like I used to teach.

While it is hilarious, I also find it utterly depressing that I struggle to get published anywhere while this woman gets paid for writing in a magazine that once published the likes of Hemingway and Harrison. Arnold Gingrich must be spinning in his grave.


Anonymous said...

It just makes me want to give up writing completely and go try to make a living raising chickens or home-based telemarketing or selling plasma or something, anything, so I can stop asking myself why this garbage keeps getting published while I keep getting the same rejection letters from the same bunch of 21-year-old senior editors...

Not a helluva good time right now to be a writer, is it?

Steve Bodio said...

"...the same bunch of 21-year-old senior editors..."

Now THERE'S a hard truth!

Eric Edwards said...

I bought the movie Tarpon as soon as it was released on DVD.
(Actually, my wife the "parrot head" bought it for the Jimmy Buffett sound track)

It's a good movie with some really cool shots of the Keys and Tarpon fishing.

Daniel Gauss said...

No one's ever described a heart attack better than Richard Pryor in his stand up routine. It drives me nuts I can't find it on YouTube, but just saw it a couple nights ago on the PBS series on comedians (which is excellent, by the way!)

mdmnm said...

After reading "92 in the Shade" and "An Outside Chance", that tarpon movie is pretty much a must-see. Thanks for the tip, Steve.

Holly Heyser said...

Wow, that was really awful. I would flog my students for writing like that.