Archive for July, 2009


A Post Rife With Sexual Tension

July 30, 2009

I was a bit nervous about getting back into Ship of Fools what with my two week hiatus from reading. I thought it might be difficult to get back into the flow of things. Luckily, this book with its loosely connected plot and cornucopia of characters really lends itself to being put down and picked back up again. Starting from the middle is just like starting from the beginning.

I was not more than a page in before I hit another moment oddly fraught with sexual tension. First, its an eroticized ping-pong game and now it’s a sexually charged medical injection:

“Dr. Schumann did not wait for La Condesa to get back to bed, but seizing her by the upper arm as she passed plunged the needle abruptly into the soft muscle. She shuddered deeply with pleasure, her eyes closed.”

Believe me as one who gives himself several shots a day, I have never once “shuddered deeply with pleasure” as a result of an injection. (But, maybe I am not doing it right.)

After reading that, I was thinking of other typically mundane things that have the highest potential of providing the next unusually sexually-charged moment:

  1. Ironing
  2. Shuffleboard
  3. Organizing bookshelves
  4. Dusting

 Have at Katherine Anne Porter, have at it.



The “Ship”-ping News

July 28, 2009

Hello blog.

You may not remember me. My name is Justin. I am a Pisces, who likes walks on the beach, publishing books, and dense, character-filled, plotless novels. (Consider that a ZING! Ship of Fools).

It’s been awhile since I last picked up the big book of tangential story lines (ZING! #2, SOF). But I am now back from my travels, and ready to read. 

So consider me back on the boat, and I will be back soon with some book-related thoughts.




July 24, 2009

Look at me posting two days in a row!  This post is to show just how serious I am about finishing this book!  Behold the seriousness!

As I was reading today I was struck with the perfect, most apt metaphor for this book…this book is the novelistic equivalent to The Cheesecake Factory (Or The Cheesecake Factory is the dining equivalent of this novel).  TCF has about 100 things on the menu, SOF has about 100 storylines and at the end (or page 200 of  Ship of Fools) you wish that both would focus on just a few of their options and do them really well.


Now on to my reading thoughts:

So the almost murderous Johann is really just another protagonist in the strain of Footloose‘s Ren McCormick and Billy Elliot‘s Billy Elliot….he just wants to angry dance!  After another verbally abusive interaction with his invalid uncle he…”took one bounds toward her, seized her waist accurately at arm’s length, and strode away with her in the dance, still with the look of one caught between flood and fire.”

Oh, he’s just misunderstood.

And speaking of his wheelchair-bound uncle…if he has healing powers (and I should say that I think he does) then why doesn’t he just touch himself (tee-hee) and heal himself…end of that story let’s focus on Miss Treadwell.

That’s all I have…until next time.



The Love Boat?

July 23, 2009

Sorry for the delay in posts…I knew you were traveling sans Ship so I decided to take a little break as well…but now this book is a priority.  More specifically finishing and moving on (not unlike a ship on the ocean..filled with fools) is a priority.  I shall move through the many (many, many, many) plots like a schooner through a squall (is that fast?  I don’t really know anything about boats).

First a quotation:

“Love,” she remarked, shrivelling her nose, “this ship is simmering with it.  I’m sure it’s all Real Love.  I must fly,” she said, “Elsa’s in love, too, and I promised to help her fix her hair in a new way.”

This is irony, right?  I’ve never been strong on irony (I always ask myself “Is it like rain (or ray-ee-ain) on your wedding day?” (check) or “A death row pardon three seconds too late?”(check again–yep, irony))…but this has to be it.  Or I’m stupid.  Because I’m seeing zero love on this boat.  None.  Not a drop. Oh how I long for there to be love on this boat (or really anything other than boring-ness).  And what’s with that random capitalization?

That second half about Elsa ties in nicely with quotation number two:

“I give you until tomorrow,” said her mother firmly, “until tomorrow to be in better spirits, and then I shall give you a good purge.”

Child Rearing 101 from Mrs. Lutz…no problem is too big that can’t be solved by a good poop.  How many less problems would we have today if the soapy water enema hadn’t gone out of vogue in child rearing?

And in a slightly unrelated topic…I’m reading a second book that takes place on a ship!  I guess its feast or famine with me and maritime novels.  I have read nary a single sea-travelling page in years and now I’m reading two tomes simultaneously.  The other title is Three Men and A Maid by P.G. Wodehouse (I’m reading it on my iPhone–thanks Stanza!).  It also includes a sea sick dog, but that’s really where the similarities end (because the Wodehouse is interesting and fun to read).

But I’m not giving up on our classic!  I’m back on board!



No Foolin’

July 13, 2009

First of all, very nice Gilligan’s Island reference. The Professor would have enjoyed the subtlety. Mary Ann would have liked the gumption it took to make the joke. And Gilligan, well, I doubt Gilligan would have got it. (Gilligan is many, many things, but a sharp tack is not one of them.)

I may be a little light on my posts over the next few weeks. In my packing for my back-to-back work trips my gigantic golden copy of Ship of Fools didn’t make the packing cut. (It would pretty much have required a carry-on of its own.)

But as I was sitting on an airplane yesterday afternoon, my mind (as it often does) began wandering through the finer plot points of Ship of Fools. After about 30 seconds my mind started wandering again, and I thought how very different Ship of  Fools would have been if Katherine Anne Porter had set the book on a transatlantic flight.

First the title would have to change. Here are some suggestions:

Flight of the Dodos
The Plane Truth
Aisle Seats

Secondly, the book would be much, much shorter. Oh, and the Captain wouldn’t be able to casually stroll the deck (he’d be flying the plane afterall) and Dr….? What is the doctor’s name? (Sorry, I don’t have the book handy.) He would have to be re-cast as a flight attendant (but what a flight attendant he would be!)


Answers, I Have Answers!

July 11, 2009

So many answers that you may be sorry that you ever asked the questions.

Here goes:

1.) Are there any identifiable differences between Frau Hutten and Frau Schmitt?

ANSWER:  These are two different characters?  Oh my I am in trouble.  Frau Schmitt is tall?  No, no…I remember F. Hutten is ashamed of her drunken husband and has almost had enough.  While F. Schmitt is the humorless wife of the whimsical Herr Schmitt and together they have the fat and listless daughter…something with an E…Elsa?…and has almost had enough.  Night and day.  Apples and Oranges.

2.) If you were a ship, what kind of ship would you be? (I’d be a tugboat…I like to be helpful.)

ANSWER:  Easy–a swan in the love canal.  (I have a graceful neck).  Or The Minnow (because I get lost a lot).

3.) Is the shipboard society an accurate microcosm of society on the whole?

ANSWER:  Nope.  Have you noticed that everyone on this boat is white…and boring (except you Miss Treadwell–hugs!)

4.) Where’s Bebe?

ANSWER:  Oh my gosh that is not a pork chop!

5.) How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (That one always get me. I would guess a lot.)

ANSWER:  By chuck do you mean throw…because I don’t really think a woodchuck has the elbows or shoulders for high quality chucking of any kind.

Back to the ship!



A Few Questions To Ponder

July 9, 2009

Deepest apologies for not posting recently. This week has kept me crazy busy. So much so, that I have actually not read a page recently, but during our visit last week I couldn’t help but notice that I am considerably further along in the book then you are. So, consider this some catch-up time.

While you read, I thought you might like some food for thought. So here are a few questions that have been kicking around my mind as I read:

1.) Are there any identifiable differences between Frau Hutten and Frau Schmitt?

2.) If you were a ship, what kind of ship would you be? (I’d be a tugboat…I like to be helpful.)

3.) Is the shipboard society an accurate microcosm of society on the whole?

4.) Where’s Bebe?

5.) How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? (That one always get me. I would guess a lot.)

Yours in a ponder,