Continental Trailways Blues

We interrupt Literary Recycling Week to bring you this important message...

After four years of having a cell phone and no land line, I received my first telemarketing call yesterday. Would I accept the prize I'd won, awarding myself and a guest a two night stay at a resort in Branson, Missouri?

I did not accept the prize. Here's why:
A) I live in a blue state, thank you very much. You take your Yakov Smirnov and your Andy Williams and your Hee-Haw retrospective and sell 'em to someone in Kentucky.
2) The only way to get to Branson is by bus. It's a bit like Brigadoon that way. As far as I know, you can't get to Branson by plane or car -- and I ride the bus enough as it is, thank you very much. And getting there by foot is right out -- this is America, you'll need a motor.
III) While no gourmand, I like my vacation destinations to offer something a bit more extravagant than Silver Dollar Pancakes and Chili's Chocolate Chip Paradise Pie.

So rather than visit Branson, I visited the National Do Not Call Registry. It's free for the whole family, easy to use, and low in trans fat.

The National Do Not Call Registry. It's Government, Working For You.


Brother, Can You Spare Me A Through-Line?

In Robert Coover's Pinnochio in Venice, the former puppet returns to the maze-like streets of his hometown and seemingly turning back into wood. Meanwhile, in Louis Bayard's Mr. Timothy, a grown-up Tiny Tim flits about the dark corners of Edwardian London, lacking much sponsorship from his unnamed "benefactor," who could only be a post-conversion Scrooge. In the non-graphic novel Tintin in the New World, Frederic Tuten takes a boyish French comic book character and gives him his first sexual experience, in a plot that has Tintin meeting characters from Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain.

To me, this is interesting stuff. But problematic, too, in that stories that borrow characters from other stories can touch on issue of intellectual property rights, copyright law, ideas about "fair use," "authorial intent" and imposter-ism, and -- sometimes -- the nature of parody or satire. Questions arise, some of which I hope to explore in later posts this week. Questions like:

Welcome to Literary Recycling Week. Stay tuned...


I Never Saw You, I Only Heard of You

According to Thursday's Boston Globe:

"Boston scientists released a provocative report yesterday that challenges the timeline of human evolution and suggests that human ancestors bred with chimpanzee ancestors long after they had initially separated into two species."

Shame, Barbara. For shame.

It's so clear to me know why the man opposes "human/animal hybrids," or hybrids of any kind. There is no hatred, after all, worse than self-hatred.

(Okay, maybe genoicide is worse than self-hatred.)

But let Toots and the Maytals set you straight. It's no lie, it's no lie: you've been hugging up a big monkey man.


When the Levy Breaks

Milwaukee is caught in the middle of a really...slow...moving hurricane this week. As Meg points out, we DO lag behind the coasts when it comes to trends.

Sure, our "flyover" hurricanes might seem simple and uncultured to those of you in the Other Blue States, but we pragmatic Midwesteners like them just fine. Last night, a hurricane was amblin' right down my street, just where the elm trees would have been if Reagan hadn't conspired with the Dutch on a plan for state-sactioned herbicide back in the early '80s. The hurricane said he'd been thinking about relocating ever since he saw how Madison was voted the country's "Most Liveable City" a few years back. "It's different out here," the Hurricane told me. "Folks seem, I don't know, more regular. If it weren't for this cold..."

And then it comes: the "I just can't take the winters" line that marks the weak of stature. I suggested that a place like Seattle or Vancouver would be a nice place for a slack weather pattern to settle down. "You know," I told him, "there's an active music scene, good coffee, lots of Asian-Americans with hip fashion sense, and several major airports."

He's considering it.


Other things to brighten a Friday:

Monkeys. They're just like people. Drunk, porn-obsessed, telepathic people.

Slate makes an economic case that the Playstation 3 brings more happiness than marriage. This is Slate saying this, I'm not saying this. I love my wife. But man, that thing sure is shiny.

Slate also has a fairly lengthy think piece about He-Man. Maybe I shouldn't be listening to Slate. Maybe Slate is an underminer.


(stolen from Livejournal)


The Sky Was All Purple; There Were People Running Everywhere

Throw down your DaVinci nonsense and pick up the latest Bret Easton Ellis novel. Turn off that "Lost" garbage and tune into some "Charles in Charge" or "Inspector Gadget." Pull on your off-the-shoulder distressed sweatshirt and tease out your well-conditioned and -colored chick bassist hair, because -- as decreed by the clandestine shadow cabal overseen by Larry Mullen, Jr. and Erno Rubik -- the eighties are invading Milwaukee!

Violent Femmes -- Summerfest Amphitheater (w/ Ben Folds), May 29
The English Beat -- Miramar Theater, June 4
ABC -- Waukesha's Taste of Summer, June 10
Buzzcocks, Joan Jett, Helmet, the Germs, and others -- Van's Warped Tour, June 17
Elvis Costello -- Summerfest, June 29
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers -- Summerfest Amphitheater (w/ Pearl Jam), June 29 and 30
The Go-Gos -- Summerfest, July 1
Bauhaus -- Summerfest Amphitheater (w/ NIN), July 2
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts -- Summerfest, July 2
Psychedelic Furs -- Summerfest, July 4
Poi Dog Pondering -- Summerfest, July 9
The Bangles -- Summerfest, July 9
Gary Numan -- Shank Hall, July 30
Flock of Seagulls, When In Rome, Missing Persons, Animotion, Gene Loves Jezebel -- Oneida Pavillion, July 31
Devo, Bow Wow Wow -- Oneida Pavillion, September 7

Do you realize where you are? It is 1987, you are halfway through a Jay McInerney novel, and you're turning seventeen in the Fall. This is the summer that Could Have Been, only 19 years too late.

[[NOTE: This list does not include folks like Sammy Hagar, David Lee Roth, Alice Cooper, Toto, and, um, POISON! who, while having some connection to the 1980's as a decade, are a bit too timeless and yet too outside of time to be seriously considered on the list above.]]


I Wasn’t Looking Too Good But I Was Feeling Real Well

Keith Richards fell out of a palm tree in Fiji, but he's alright now. In fact, he's a gas.

According to the BBC:

Richards, 62, suffered "mild concussion" after reportedly falling out of a coconut tree while on holiday in Fiji with bandmate Ronnie Wood.

News Quiz:
Put these Keith Richards utterances in their proper order.
1. "'Ospital? I don't need no bleedin' 'ospital!"
2. "Ronnie, why're you always doin' what I'm doin'? 'Slike you're me shadow or summat. Get your own damn coccoa-nut tree."
3. "Whup!"
4. "Lookit 'at tree, Ronnie. 'Fwee had a monkey, I could ast it to climb that tree and get us a coccoa-nut!"
5. "Oooh. Me achin' noggin!"
6. "Here, monkey monkey monkey!"
7. "Whose blood is this?"
8. "Gorram monkeys never come when called."
9. "Whatta ya mean, 'concussion?' Ron bleedin' Wood ain't got concussion!"
10. "What kinda resort serves a mai tai in a plastic gorram cup? We oughter be drinkin' out of coccoa-nuts, if all was right and proper!"
11. "Ronnie bleedin' Wood pushed me out of a gorram coccoa-nut tree!"
12. "..."

For Bonus Credit, answer the following:
What could Keith Richards do or say that would suggest to you that he was behaving abnormally, and may have a concussion?