Archive for December, 2011


Shut The Front Door (Or “Lillibullero” Part 2)

December 22, 2011

No preface is necessary for this quotation (other than a prefatory explanation of the complete superfluity of a preface)

The six scoundrels were sitting grumbling under a sail in the forecastle; ashore we could see the gigs made fast, and a man sitting in each, hard by where the river runs in.  One of them was whistling “Lillibullero.”

Just in case you missed it I’ll zoom in:

One of them was whistling “Lillibullero.”

Hold the phone!  We’ve seen this song before…way back when, when we started this blog in Tristram Shandy.  And (!) right when this story takes a very Shandean detour, regressing in time to give a different perspective (of the Doctor left on the boat) of the time when Jim is gallivanting around Treasure Island, meeting cool castaways and learning more about Long John Silver’s nefarious doings.

The level of excitement I felt when I saw this has only ever been equaled by my realization that I only watch film adaptations of Madame Bovary when traveling away from home (see last post) (man I need a hobby).

That is all…Merry Christmas!  I’ll be back next week with my “Jon’s Year in Reading” post (a favorite of yours, I know.)

Until then,



Travels With Emma

December 18, 2011

Tally ho twin!

This post might be a little bit off topic, but I don’t feel particularly constrained by our blogging standards (which, I believe is clear, do not exist)…so here we go.

This past week I found myself staying at a hotel in West Lafayette, Indiana.  To while away my free evening hours I had stopped by my local branch of the public library and perused their DVD collection.  While browsing their titles I came across a heretofore unknown version of Madame Bovary from 1949.  It starred Jennifer Jones as Emma, Van Heflin as her husband, and Louis Jourdan as the roue that steels her heart.  As I sat watching the movie on Sunday night I had the following thoughts:

  1. Boy I love watching movie versions of Madame Bovary when I travel!  I saw the 1991 French version while I traveled in Spain three years ago (right after we finished our conversation on the novel).  Two trips, two versions of movie…isn’t that something! (I’m realizing re-reading this sentence that this fact is probably not as interesting to you–or anyone else–as it was to me.  But I’ll tell you I was gobsmacked when I made the realization. Gobsmacked!)  The major differences I could see in the two versions were that the 1991 version was in the French language and filmed in color.  I kid!  The 1949 version seemed to be much more on the side of Emma.  Also it employed a weird framing technique where the story of Emma Bovary is recited in a court of law by Gustave Flaubert (the ever dashing James Mason) as his defense to the government’s (?) charges of immorality (which doesn’t seem super effective to me–but hey it ended with him getting let off–I guess the folks that thought it was immoral just needed to hear it out loud?).  Also the 1949 version had no blue vomit (if you’ve seen the 1991 version no more need be said).
  2. Okay my only thought was “Wow I only watch movie versions of Madame Bovary when I travel!”  (Well that and “Louis Jourdan looks exactly the same in 1949 as he does in 1958 (in Gigi)!”).

I don’t really have interesting thoughts.

Back to the matter at hand…I’ve been introduced to a new (and I believe pivotal character) in TI the off-puttingly intense castaway Benjamin Gunn (whom Jim originally mistakes for a bear or a monkey–which I thought begged the question “Is there a place where bears and monkeys co-exist?”).  I was also curious to know what fell into the classification of “Christian food” that Benjamin was so hungry for…does he mean English food?  Because that seems a little anglo-centric to me.

In my glance at the next chapter (Part IV, ahem) I see that Jim gives away narrative duties to another character.  That was unexpected…I hope everything is okay.

Well I should probably sign off…my word count is getting a little lengthy (and yet I said so little).

Until next time!



The Horror, The Horror!

December 8, 2011

Ah Fate!  How you love to make me look like an asshole.

In my last post I layered chagrin on top of guilt while throwing in a soupcon of irritation in my attempts to passive-aggressively exhort a post from you.  …And then I proceed to go two weeks (I guesstimate) without joining back into our literary conversation.  Well isn’t my face just the cherriest shade of red?

But I’ve decided to take a break from my new-found Twin Peaks addiction (all I want to do when I get home from work is watch that show…all night long) to discuss one of the most horrific scenes I’ve encountered in fiction.  For those of you with weak stomachs or frail spirits you may want to turn away….there’s definitely a monster at the end of this blog post.  Here we go:

And with that, this brave fellow turned his back directly on the cook [Long John Silver], and set off walking for the beach.  But he was not destined to go far.  With a cry, John seized the branch of a tree, whipped the crutch out of his armpit and sent the uncouth missile hurtling through the air.  It struck poor Tom, point forward, and with stunning violence, right between the shoulders in the middle of the back.  His hands flew up, he gave a sort of gasp, and fell.

Okay let’s take stock…Long John Silver has just ripped a giant branch from a tree and threw it with such force that it has downed (impaled?) a hale and hearty seaman.  “So what?” you might posit.  “Yawn” you might nonverbally communicate boredom.  Just wait.

Whether he were injured much or little, none could ever tell.  Like enough, to judge from the sound, his back was broken on the spot.

!!!!  I question the scientific feasibility of Jim’s wild speculation.

But he had no time given him to recover.  Silver, agile as a monkey, even without leg or crutch, was on the top of him next moment, and had twice buried his knife up to the hilt in that defenceless body.  From my place of ambush, I could hear him pant aloud as he struck the blows.

This is a book for children?  The Muppets made a version of this story?  I find the image of the one-legged LJS monkey-galloping to the fallen man and then brutally murdering him while making audible animal noises a little…disquieting.

I wonder which Muppet played Tom in Muppet Treasure Island?   I bet it was Skooter.

Well I’m off to dine with the Log Lady!