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Showing posts from March, 2011

Cookie's Guessing Game About Food by Sesame Street

I'm aware that most kids and grownups find the Cookie Monster amusing.  I guess I don't. 

Consider the book Cookie's Guessing Game About Food.  Just look at the cover for a moment (as you can certainly judge this book by it) and try telling me with a straight face that the Cookie Monster doesn't set a wretched nutritional health and food etiquette example for our children, and does so under the disgustingly disingenuous guise of "educational entertainment".

Children have enough trouble as it is learning appropriate table manners without being poorly influenced seeing the Cookie Monster stuff eight cookies into his mouth simultaneously in one dangerous chomp that could potentially cause his choking to death.  Worse, compare the cover to the example set on page seven of this, frankly, terrible, Sesame Street board book where the Cookie Monster is pictured chowing down twenty (I counted) cookies into his gullet as if he's engaged in some solitary  "wh…

Tours of the Black Clock by Steve Erickson

I'm not at all happy with the following piece; it doesn't do Steve Erickson, or his signature novel, Tours of theBlack Clock, justice, not even close, but I'm going to leave it up anyway, because I'm confident I'm going to "get it," Erickson's novel (his third--his third that was published, that is), Tours of the Black Clock, one of these days.

I'm confident that something will click in my remembrance of the read, in its rich hallucinogenic imagery, and while I'm doing something else, the laundry, the dishes, that a connection, a dingdingding will be made, much in the same way, perhaps, as when after years of unconscious meditation on The Matrix -- perhaps also the closest approximation in content I could make in comparison to Tours of the Black Clock -- a light brightened abruptly in my interpretive awareness, and I'll catch a glimpse, likewise, of what Erickson, the finest abstract novelist alive, was after in this visually stunning an…

Mailer: His Life and Times by Peter Manso

Whether you admire him or abhor him, it's awfully hard not to be awed by him -- Norman Mailer.  He may have been a megalomaniacal legend in his own mind, but his both brilliant and obnoxious life, if not all his novels and new journalism, will probably remain legendary for all time.

Peter Manso encyclopedically captures that life, from his childhood in Brooklyn; through Harvard; the army; the crafting and enormous sensation of The Naked and the Dead; Hollywood; politics; Marilyn Monroe; Vietnam and anti-war protests; failed marriages and spousal abuse; boxing; failed collaborations and embarrassing interviews; the out-of-nowhere success of The Executioner's Song (only to find out later that Mailer may have taken too much authorial -- and definitely, research -- credit for it!); to the desultory, poor-selling novels of the '90s (Harlot's Ghost, which I actually liked, and that Oswald disaster that was a second-rate Libra); and finally, to the bitter, cash-strapped, &qu…

Angels by Denis Johnson

It's rather heart wrenching in this T.S. Eliot wasteland of a world that the proverbial grass isn't always greener for a young, overwhelmed mother of two ditching her abusive husband by hopping on board a Greyhound out of Oakland bound for what she couldn't have possibly envisioned when she bought her ticket would become a trip toward worse victimization, along with the loss of the children she was seeking to protect. Her name is Jamie and she's an emotional wreck.  Of Miranda Sue, her youngest child, constantly crying, she wishes (brace yourself) that "she could smother" her.  Call Denis Johnson a jerk, if you must, for sinking his teeth into some dark feelings and human frailties that most of us are content keeping down however we have to, repressed.  Which is not to say that most of us are emotionally repressed, but that most of us have some cozy mental filters in check that prevent us from admitting to the world that, in an acute crisis, we'd like to…

Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less by Alexander Aciman & Emmett Rensin

 I've never tweeted once.

After reading Twitterature: The World's Greatest Books in Twenty Tweets or Less -- at first a nominally amusing read that turned tiresome and awfully unfunny fast once the cutesy tweeting novelty wore off -- it's clear I've missed nothing by not embracing this brave new (and hyper-abridged) culture of the twit, tweeter, whatever.

Twitterature is the classics in 140 characters or less.  Har. Like an evening spent with a bad, linguistically challenged stand up comic.  Irritating.

Twitterature's individual entries are so short they're like Spark Notes to the real Spark Notes of the classics.  Frankly, I'd rather read the real classics.  Unabridged.

It's unfortunate that the made up word, "twitterature," just so happened to rhyme with the real word, "literature," thus making the gimmicky publication of this co-collegiate-authored book of mostly bad gags, possible.

But, on the flip-side, isn't it fortunate th…