Archive for September, 2009

h1

Travels, Gulliver-style

September 30, 2009

I have a new found respect for one, Lemuel Gulliver. I recently spent some time on the high seas myself. Admittedly, I was on a brief Lighthouse Tour of coastal Maine as opposed to the long exploratory voyages of Mr. Gulliver, but I am feeling a special kinship with your fictional friend.

Here are some lessons I learned from the sea:

1. “Sea Swell” does not mean “the sea is great.” It actually means: “Don’t get on the boat.”
2. Fear the seagulls. (They out number us on the water, and I think they know it.)
3. Don’t love anything too much.

Here is a picture of my maiden voyage. Do not let the pristine blue sky decieve, the seas were rough and briny that day, my friend. Notice the wave induced angle at which the picture is taken (the lighthouse is not, IS NOT, I say supposed to be at an angle):

maine

I like your thought of bringing back the literary adaptation to network television. (If the BBC can do, why can’t we?) Here’s a literary adaptation I think we’ve all been waiting for:

Jane Eyre starring Ms. Fran Drescher. We’ve seen her as The Nanny now see her as THE nanny. In a fun bit of stunt casting Charles O’Shaughnessy could play Mr. Rochester and Lauren Lane could play Bertha Rochester.

Whatcha think?

Justin

h1

I Believe the Brobdingnagians Are Height-Weight Proportional

September 30, 2009

I just wanted to clear that up because I cited in an earlier post the use of the term “Brobdingnagian booty” from which I inferred that the Brobdingnagians would be on the obese end of the body mass spectrum.  But from my reading I find no textual support for this original inference.  I think they’re just tall (I mean really tall!) but still height-weight proportional.  And I just wanted to clear up that misconception for any other reader that may have stumbled upon that entry too.

To support the alteration of my imaging of the Brobdingnagians I’d like to cite the following clip from the Ted Danson miniseries that NBC produced in the 90s:

See Glumdaclitch looks quite healthy….just really tall.

On a side note: Have you noticed that two of the books that we’ve read recently were made into network TV miniseries back in the 1990s.  Why doesn’t NBC or ABC or CBS make miniseries anymore?  There are plenty of classic novels that are  just waiting to be translated into star vehicles for ex-sitcom stars (I’m thinking Ray Romano in For Whom the Bell Tolls and/or Jenna Elfman in Sister Carrie–and that’s just a start! Right from the tippy-top of my head.)

I don’t really have much to comment on otherwise…right now the major story is that Gulliver is tiny…and now he’s at the Brobdinagian court…and he hasn’t had a single bowel movement in chapters and chapters (yawn).

Well I’d best get back to reading!

Jon

h1

Quibbles and Bits

September 25, 2009

Dear Twin,

As you know I hate to quibble…no wait…quibbling I love.  It’s quiddling that I abhor.  So as I proceed with my quibbles know that I’m quite enjoying this.

I have to correct some misconceptions that you appear to have about Lilliput as you wax rhapsodic, like Ariel, the little mermaid (but I think she’d rank larger than a Lilliputian) on what it would be like to live where the (little) people are.

Point #1:  Your pun, although hilarious (well played), would make no sense in Lilliput as they speak a language all their own (although it sounds kind of Welsh to me).  So your joke wouldn’t translate…you could say it, but no one would laugh but you (on further recollection not so different from your joke telling here–I kid!  I kid because I love–but seriously, be funnier).

Point #2:  You couldn’t sleep in a matchbox because matchboxes in Lilliput are built in proportion to Lilliputians (perhaps you haven’t gotten to Chapter 6 yet).  Did you think that everything from the cows to the mountains were in proportion but the Lilliputians insisted on making Gulliver-size matchboxes?

Point #3:  I love The Littles!  (I was remembering them, but my recall is a little hazy–did they have long rat-like tails?  Or was that The Ratties?)

Point #4:  Please paint!  The world has waited too long for your move into a visual medium–share your vision! (Unfortunately it will be Lilliputian and therefore practically invisible to the human world that has long sought to see your art).

So maybe try a little more close reading so next time I won’t have to spend my entire post showing you how you’re wrong.

I was going to write really insightful things about the beginning of Lemmy’s adventures in Brodingnag (you see whereas before he was really big, he’s now quite small–brilliant!  I think lessons will be learned aplenty!)…but now my hands are tired.

I hope you enjoy the adventures (and take notes on Chapter 6!)

Until next time,

Jon

h1

If I Were Lilliputian

September 23, 2009

I am still mired on the wee island of Lilliput. It seems as much as I want it to Gulliver’s Travels will just not read itself. The funny part is (some might even call it “a hoot”) is that I really like the book.

Your assessment of the book to this point seems a bit, shall we say, lukewarm. But come now, Twinner, what’s funnier than microscopic people, biting satire, sea voyages, and, who can forget, poo jokes.

What’s not to like?

Well, as I continue to extend my stay on Lilliput, I’ve been giving some thought to the question, “What would I do if I were Lilliputian?” Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

1.) Start saying: “I will tell you where you can ‘Lilli-Put-it.'”

2.) Sleep in a matchbox.

3.) Look for The Littles.

4.) Paint. (I’ve always wanted to paint.)

The list could go on and on and on. Well, the list could go on and on and on if I were feeling a little more creative, but to be honest I think I pulled my creativity muscle fishing out that The Littles reference.

Now I need a nap, and, you know, to actually read the book.

Justin

h1

Whatever It Is I Think I See Becomes A Tootsie Roll To Me

September 21, 2009

Take that sentence, scratch “Tootsie Roll” and replace it with Gulliver’s Travels.

But before I continue, let me take this moment to welcome you back.  It’s good to hear from you again (re: Gulliver’s Travels–for awhile there I thought it was just going to be me and Lemuel.)

Back to topic:  Ever since I started reading about Lemmy and his amazing journeys I find myself noticing references to this book everywhere.  Dean Olsher, in his book From Square One (about crossword puzzles!) cites the Houyhnhnms, Details magazine cites the Brobdingnags (in their article “Whale Watching” by Simon Dumenco — not the most sensitively titled article on what they term “fattertainment”–the exact phrase used  was “shaking of Brobdingnagian booties”).

I’ll give you a few seconds to judge for reading Details.  (What can I say, I’m fashionable).

And now as I catch up with New York Times crossword puzzles I find this clue from the Sunday, August 23 puzzle (“E.U. Doings” by Phil Ruzbarsky): 99 Down reads “Gulliver of ‘Gulliver’s Travels'” (BAM! Don’t even have to think!  You’re a good friend to have in my pocket Gully!).

So twinner I’m just saying you’ve picked a title that’s really increasing my cultural capital (even if it is a little hard to read–i.e. boring (but boring in a sometimes hilarious way)).  So points for you.

I finished the trip to Lilliput and I was pleased to see in Chapter 6 that Swift finally (!) addressed the questions I had about the Lilliputians and their relative size to ever thing else in the world (spoiler alert!: Everything’s small).

So this week I plan to tackle Brobdingnag!

Happy reading,

Jon

P.S.  In case my Post Title doesn’t bring back fond memories of Saturday morning cartoons, here’s a little refresher:

h1

Forget Gulliver

September 18, 2009

Or “Just What I’ve Been Doing Over the Last Three Weeks.”

I have to admit that over the last few weeks life has gotten a bit in the way of my typical reading schedule. I’ve read a page here. And I’ve read a page there. But my regular “chapters at time” approach (patent pending) has fallen by the wayside.

While I haven’t gotten to Lemuel’s urinary pyrotechnics I am closing in on the end our time in Lilliput. Gulliver is giving it to those old “High Heels” and “Low Heels.” In fact, I was just asking myself: I wonder which of the heels you and I would be?

And just as I was in mid-ponder I logged onto the blog and I saw you had answered the question for me. Because, Twin Brother, if you are 5′ 11 1/2″ you are definitely a “High Heel”-er.

So, thanks for saving me the mental calisthenics.

As for Swiftian humor, here’s a particular favorite of mine:

“His Majesty gave Orders, upon pain of Death, that every Soldier in his March should observe the strictest Decency, with regard to my Person; which however could not prevent some of the young Officers from turning up their Eyes as they passed under me. And, to confess the Truth, my Breeches were at that time in so ill a Condition, that they afforded some Opportunities for Laughter and Admiration.”

I wonder what caused the laughter and what caused the admiration?

Anyway, I will get back to reading a bit more consistently. I can’t wait to get to Brobdingnag!

Justin

h1

Michigan is not Lilliput

September 15, 2009

As you know I recently went on a little vacation…a long weekend away from the library, enjoying the warm and sunny beaches of Lake Michigan.  I thought it only fitting that while on vacation I would try to re-enact some of the excitement that I’ve been reading about in Swift’s travel book.  Alas I was disappointed from the start when I found out that everyone at the beach was regular-sized…and not just your standard Jon-size (5’11”–and a half!) but many of the beachgoers were actually taller than me (crazy!  Nothing like Lilliput!)

How disappointing!  Now how was I to lift them up and/or peer into their tiny houses…the one man I did try to lift up didn’t seem to enjoy at all (and neither did I–he was rotund and sunburnt and I have a bum back!)  Well no amusing stories to tell in the size difference department…so I had to regroup.  After thinking about it a little more I did some analytical parsing to determine other favorite aspects when I remember how the scatalogical humor of Swift often keeps me in stitches…those little Lilliputians carting away mountains of waste in their tiny little wheelbarrows. (How twee…I chortle still!)  “Welllllll…..” I thought.

Anyhow…it seems what I think is funny and what Swift thinks is funny is not (let me put that in bold: not) what your average beachgoer thinks is funny.  I tried to explain to them how they wouldn’t even need to use tiny wheelbarrows…but all my “Gully this…” and “Lemmy that…” while waving my Wordsworth Classic was for naught.  Not even one little snicker (although many gasps of disgust).

I’m going to chalk this one up to experience.

Okay this story was entirely apochryphal.  In total honesty I didn’t even think about Gulliver’s Travels while I was on holiday, let alone re-enact it.  (Although I do believe that the reaction I created for the beachgoers would probably have been accurate).

I was inspired to create this story while reading on the bus this morning as Gulliver put out the palace fire by urinating on the castle.  Ew, the smell.  No wonder the princess didn’t want to relocate back into those quarters  (but at least no one was hurt).

I was flipping ahead and I think I should finish the Lilliput portion soon (about time right?  It’s like fifty pages and I’ve taken a month to read it!).  So I’m looking forward to that.

I am also looking forward to hearing your thoughts…so maybe you’d like to write a post or something.  Maybe?  Justin?  Are you there?  Hello?

Jon