Archive for September, 2010

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Mork Calling Orson

September 25, 2010

I find it very hard to believe that your constant references to tropical detective dramas doesn’t make you the life of the party.(Why I remember when your impersonation of Figgins from Magnum P.I. used to have them rolling in the aisles.)

And, who, I ask who, does not enjoy a lively bit of James MacArthur triva? No one I know, that’s for sure! Perhaps, it’s the fact you that you lead with James MacArthur. Why, I shared the same bit of information at my bi-monthly Helen Hayes Trivia Knitting Circle, and one person cried out, “Why Honey, I think you dropped a stitch, because that was a pearl! A pearl of wisdom!”

So, I guess in the end you just have to know your audience.

Anyway back to the book. I know this is somewhat shocking, since (until this morning) I hadn’t “technically” read the book for a few weeks. Then I pick it up again, and I can’t figure out why I put it down for so long because it’s freakin’ hilarious.

Here are chapter 3’s greatest hits:

On names: “All people have names of one kind or another. Some are arbitrary labels related to the appearance of the person, some represent purely genealogical associations but most of them afford some clue as the parents of the person named and confer a certain advantage in the execution of legal documents”

Ha!

I also like the robber he meets on the road who describes life as “a certain death-trap.”

As you know, I have something of a habit of looking for narrative parallels between great works of fiction and late 70’s sitcom spin-offs. Well, I can’t help but see certain similarities between the interaction of our nameless narrator and his soul, Joe and the interactions between zany alien life form, Mork and his intergalactic contact Orson. This led to several questions:

1. Orson seems much more grounded and intelligent (albeit less zany) why did they decide to choose Mork for this intergalactic mission?

2. Is Orson really Mork’s soul?

3. Why is Conrad Janis pretending to conduct the music he is listening to on a record?

With that food for thought, I will leave you.

Na-nu, na-nu,

Justin

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Book ‘Em MacCruiskeen

September 24, 2010

This first part is a little off-topic…but did you know that the actor that played Dano in the original 1960’s Hawaii Five-O, James McArthur, was the son of legendary actress Helen Hayes. I found that out by listening to the This I Believe podcast and I’ve been bursting to share ever since. And unfortunately my attempts to drop it into my casual dinner party/water cooler conversation have all failed (for some reason, at the dinner parties I go to, once I bring the conversation around to the 1960s Hawaii Five-O, I find that I’m quickly talking only to myself. Sigh. And it appears that where I work we don’t even have a water cooler!). Anyway I just wanted to share, so I’m making this my venue.

I just checked and in the new version of Hawaii Five-O that is starting this season on the TV, Scott Caan plays Detective Danny Williams…it’s a role that must be earmarked for Hollywood legacies.

Now back the TTP…as my subject post hints (or at least is supposed to hint), the police have arrived (one of them is name MacCruiskeen…which is why I asked him to book the mysteriously ominous “’em”. The other one is named Pluck). I don’t want to tell you where I’m at so you can be as pleasantly surprised as I was when these two bumbling giants enter the narrative with their talks of bicycles and their rules of wisdom. I’ll be interested to hear how you imagine them…because in my head they’re a sort of cross between the Gorgs from Fraggle Rock and the titular Triplets of Belleville. Anyway they’re definitely puppets. In fact when I picture this book in my head as I read it’s always a sort of animation.

I’m beginning to enjoy the De Selby parts more and more. The fact that he defines human existence as “‘a succession of static experiences each infinitely brief'” because of his failure to understand how a cinematograph worked…is pretty hilarious. But the hilarity is tempered with truth…although he got the conclusion in an erroneous path, he’s still kind of correct. Life is just one little experience after another–and most of them are pretty similar and repetitive (which makes me happy because I do like routine).

Those are my thoughts for now…until next time.

Jon

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Last Day of The Poster Sale

September 20, 2010

So good to hear from you again!  Each day during your hiatus I would log in to the old blog with hope a-flutter in my heart that waiting for me would be a nugget of wit and wisdom from my chromosomal reflection…and each day I’d fold my laptop down with a heavy sigh and proceed to drown my sorrows in reruns of MacMillan and Wife (my analysis of that series in three short words and an exclamation point: More Nancy Walker!  Well that and I think that if Sally had a real job of her own, she wouldn’t always get caught up in the intrigue of the San Francisco crime scene.  And!  Do you think that Mac was the boss of Ironside–oh the crossover potential!  I bet the sparks would fly if you put Raymond Burr in a room with Rock Hudson.)

And now that you finally do post…I still wait for a nugget of wit and wisdom from my chromosomal reflection.

Ba-da-bing!  Zing!  I think being mean is funny!

Really your post brought back fond memories…the hours we spent watching and re-watching (and re-watching!) Police Academy 4.  You said you’d eventually get it…and while I laughed and laughed at the highjinks of Tackleberry and Hightower you’d sit with a puzzled expression, frantically taking notes (an example “Winslow sounds like a vaccuum.  Funny because…he’s not a vaccuum, but it sounds a lot like a real vaccuum.  He makes a funny (?) face while he does it.  Jon is laughing.  ???”).  And you never got it. But then you saw Police Academy 5: Assignment: Miaimi Beach and you were in stitches from minute one.  Go Figure…maybe you just couldn’t “get” the comic nuances of La Gutenberg.

While I walked across campus on Friday on my way home from work, I saw a lot fliers with the phrase “Last Day of the Poster Sale” posted all around.  I thought to myself…what a perfect encapsulation of my feelings vis-a-vis Justin’s blog neglection.  It inspired this poem:

Last Day of the Poster Sale

Last Day of the Poster Sale…oh what a ball!

Last Day of the Poster Sale…I’ll by something for my wall.

I’m filled with anticipation, like a twin waiting for a blog post

I hope they still have the poster that I want most…

Maybe that guy in a toga from Animal House

Maybe an animal dressed like a human, maybe Mighty Mouse

Here I am only to find that the bins are all empty there’s nothing to choose.

I guess I’ll get this one with a kitten doing cute kitten things.  That’s disappointing.

Fin.

Well I look forward to jumpstarting our mini-book club again.  Until next time…

Jon

P.S.  Here’s a fun fact about PA4:COP star Billie Bird…she has the same birthday as you and I (only 72 years earlier)…and she was a vaudeville performer. IMDb you never cease to amaze me!.

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The Third Policeman Academy

September 17, 2010

Hello!

Apologies for the long delay between posts between a busy week of travel and my general lack of reading, the combination of little time and nothing insightful to say, has kept me silent. But, never fear, I won’t let not having anything of value to say keep me silent any longer…

First, I must applaud (you’ll have to take my word for this, but I paused between the word “applaud” and this parenthetical aside and actually clapped. Sorry you missed it, it was very uplifting. It started with me clapping slowly and loudly until the room erupted into a standing ovation–a.k.a. I stood up) your efforts in re-reading.

It brings to mind the time when a highly anticipated comedy classic fell flat for me. The witty wordplay, cutting punchlines, and guffaw-able physical comedy promised to me was just not tickling my proverbial funny bone. I briefly thought that I’d sprained my sense of humor, but in my case a second look did reveal the true comic genius that lay just beneath of this cinematic.

Coincidentally, my experience was also tied to a police-themed work of art, but whereas you aren’t having any of Flann O’Brien’s metaphysical hijinks, I was finding no humor in the equally complex and philosophical: Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol. (I know, crazy, right? How can you not find that movie funny? When Steve Guttenberg ceases to be funny, Michael Winslow’s zany sound effects do not illicit peals of laughter, Billie Bird’s elderly shenanigans don’t bring a smile to your face, it’s a problem of the viewer and not the movie. That cast could make the phone book funny. (MAHONEY!)

So, you see, I can relate.

In any case, I have now put travel and mammoth, realist novels (That’s right, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, I am looking at you.) behind me, so now I can more fully attend to the surreal comic brilliance that is The Third Policeman.

Justin

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The Third Policeman The Second Time Around

September 4, 2010

See now when you cite that footnote it does sound funny!  After reading your post I started doubting my own interaction with this book–perhaps I’m not reading it right.  So this morning I sequestered myself in a coffee shop and re-read the first 50 pages of the novel (you can also consider this “catch-up time”).

After re-reading the first three chapters…I still feel kind of the same.  Meh.

Sure, I did enjoy some of the DeSelby bits a little bit more (his theory on houses and his doodlings of “habitats” –one a house a with no roof and another a house with no walls–was significantly funnier this time around.  But other things you’ve noted as funny (Joe the Soul, something else [Note to Jon: stop just skimming Justin’s posts.  Note to Justin: J/K!]) just didn’t amuse me.  Now I’m afraid that this book is going to be like the Marx Brothers and Monty Python — where I have to listen to people wax poetic about the hilarity, and in theory I want to understand it — but in the end I just sit, perplexed at what all the hubbub is about.

Sigh.

Or maybe The Third Policeman will tie up nicely at the end and I’ll look back and have a great appreciation for the book as a whole…only when I’m through.

Maybe.

I think part of my problem with this book lies with my reading style…I’m constantly trying to figure out what’s going on…I have a feeling that there’s something more happening than seems apparent.  That the actions in the book are saying something more than they seem to be saying on the surface.  That they’re steeped in metaphor and that if I just think about it a little harder I’ll figure out the whole puzzle.

But maybe there’s no puzzle.  Maybe it’s just random stuff.

No, I’m pretty sure it’s a puzzle.

And in sounding a little too much like Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind…I think I’ll end this post and get back to puzzle solving.

That, and Ed Harris is in my living room. (Spoiler alert!)

Jon