Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Stephen King: Writer of Crime Novels and Prognosticator of the Future?


Today's the day. New Stephen King. I'm going to find the closest bookstore and then I'm going to pick it up. It's a trade paperback and they're priced to move. I'm excited about it. This is one of the reasons I was worried when I heard he was retiring: I wouldn't get to go to the bookstore on the day a new Stephen King came out (I sound a little like Annie Wilkes (Kathy Bates's character in Misery), I know). Anyway, it's short and King writes for readers to read, so my guess is I'll be telling you how good it is pretty soon.

In other news, I've decided not to expell the new John Irving book, Until I Find You, from my reading list, but merely to put it on probation. If I get through another long chapter and it's still going nowhere, then it's done. I'll put the dust jacket back on and I'll consider it fair game for my next trip to the used book store. The reason for my magnanimous gesture of Jesus-like mercy on John Irving's latest doorstop is that the story did pick up a little after the opening section; the main character, Jack Burns, is an 8-year old boy and he's now attending an all-girls private boarding school. The older girls are showing an interest in Jack that goes beyond "Awwww". So as you can imagine, the story's getting kinda icky, but it's not nearly as boring, which for this book is a vast improvement over its first 120 pages. I know. Fascinating.

Also, I found out that Alan Lee, the illustrator of the Lord of the Rings books as well as one of the production designers of the three films, will be visiting Atlanta on the 25th of this month to sign his new book of illustrations. I'd like to go, but the cost of a big glossy book of Lee's drawings may be prohibitive. We'll see. Also, Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America and her latest, Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream, will be speaking in Atlanta on the 18th. I don't know if she's signing anything, but it might be fun to hear her speak.

One last thing: I watched Bush's press conference this morning. I get the sense that Bush kind of hates the press. I understand that: to him, they must seem like a pack of vultures asking him loaded questions wired to blow up in his face at the first moment's candor. But watching him today you can tell he has a real disdain for them. They asked him again and again for one reason Harriet Meirs, his new pick for the Supreme Court, was more qualified than any number of conservative women he might have nominated, and he would just dip into the litany he'd rehearsed. She's got "strength of character", he knows "her heart", and she's been "a pioneer in Texas." He got four or five questions from the press corps regarding Meirs and each time he dipped back into his speech. He repeated word for word what he'd said before. One time he said, "I guess I can just say it again," and then he recited his weak, touchy-feely description of her. Another time he prefaced his Meirs answer with, "I just talked about that, but I guess I can do it again." And then he did. He recited his description again. I'm surprised the press corps were able to suppress groans. I didn't. I mean, he knows he's spewing forth meaninglessness -- he knows that all the people sitting there and all the people watching at home just heard him say why he liked her, but still, he goes through it again, like we're all idiots and only through repetition will we ever get through our thick skulls the simple words he's uttering. It's almost like he's punishing the reporter who asked the question with 30 seconds of unendurable banality for daring to challenge him about his bonehead, crony pick.

These press conferences are ridiculous, especially when you have an idiot behind the lectern. At least when Clinton gave us non-answers (which it seems they all do), they didn't sound always like non-answers. Bush just comes right out and basically says, "I don't think I have to answer that question, and I'm not going to." And that's to every question. I read just a little while ago that the reason Bush says "he knows [Meirs's] heart" is because she's a Born Again Christian, and that she's on the extreme end of the anti-choice spectrum. It's not looking good, folks.

But then there was one very strange thing he said.

Someone asked him about avian flu and a possible outbreak in this country. He talked about using the military to quarantine sections of the country. He said stopping air travel was one thing, but what about a quarantine over part of the country? How could that be done? One of the answers was the military. He said he would keep his options open on that score. So the question is this: What does W know about the avian flu that we don't? My guess is quite a lot. For more information on what a military-enforced quarantine would look like, please read The Stand by Stephen King. It's a novel about a flu epidemic that kills just about everyone.

My world seems less secure every day. All right, I'm out.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I heard that she supports gay rights... Could she be gay. Not married and all. What is the deal with that?
Not that any of this matters. It seems we all base our decisions on weather or not they will vote on letting a woman abort a fetus with the federal governments permission.
Don't forget that its been around for so long it's part of the American system. The states won't change their positions. Abortions galore.
In my opinion, the Republicans love abortion because the Dems waist so much time effort and money "defending" it. Falling right into the hands of the Good Ol Strategy of Destraction.

Let the Girl on Girl action begin for 2008!

Anonymous said...

that anonymous person is an idiot. Post in the right posts moron!

blankfist said...

Crane, I'm starting to suspect you dislike Bush. Are my suspicions correct? Hmmm...

No matter what Bush does in his meager 8 years in office, no matter how much death arises because of the avian flu, or how much Stephen Kings new novel sucks, you have to admit that things are not really going to get any worse, are they? Seriously? I know you hate Joseph Campbell, Crane, but I think there's some truth when he says (and I paraphrase) "the present is the worst its ever been and the best its ever been".

Now, before I labor on and on about transcending fear and desire and social duty (yes, social duty was the third item to overcome based on JC Superstar), let me stop here and now. Interesting blog, though. Can't stand your writing, because it hurts my brain to think... and spel...

Got a question for you, Crane. I can take anyone of your post titles, even this one, and paste it into the blogsearch.google.com and you'd come up every time. But, if I do that with mine, it seems nothing happens. I no longer come up on search. Seems I've fallen off the blogsphere, somehow. Oh well. Didn't know if you had an inkling. I even changed back to one of blogspots' lame ass templates. Still, nothing.

My words are lost at sea. Dammit. Anyhow, just wanted to turn your entry into a subject about me. I, me, mine, dude... I me mine.

blankfist said...

What the eff is this:

"I am unemployed and fresh to Decatur, Georgia. Working on a novel and using this blog as a very effective procrastination tool. (Cue Adagio for strings)"

Why not just lop your penis off right now? Working on a novel? I hardly consider six years to be remotely close to "working" on anything. Sky scrapers were erected in less time. I'm just saying. Lop it off. Lop it.

Lop, lop, lop.

blankfist said...

Get to lopping!

blankfist said...

Wow, I must be your number one fan!

blankfist said...

I cannot wait until you come back tomorrow and check your blog and get all excited and say "holy cow, I got like twenty comments! My career is about to take off into places I never imagined!"

Word.

blankfist said...

Lop = bloop

blankfist said...

boring...

blankfist said...

Man, I can almost see the glee on your face when you check your blog tomorrow and see the comments are so high... you're going to be so unimpressed when you see all the entries are mine.

blankfist said...

Dis...

blankfist said...

Shawn thinks you're cute, Crane. That's kind of weird, I know.

blankfist said...

Okay, this is my last post.

blankfist said...

Ever...

blankfist said...

Like, forever ever...

blankfist said...

No, I'm serious this time... no more posts... this is the last one.. the very last one.. this is it...

blankfist said...

I'm serious this time... this is it...

blankfist said...

this...

blankfist said...

is...

blankfist said...

it...

blankfist said...

Wow, you made it to the twentieth post! That means this post rocks! Rock on, dude!

blankfist said...

Actually that was the twenty-first post... so this one is the twenty-second... I guess I'm not impressed anymore. How's the novel coming, anyhow?

Fried Pepperoni said...

Ahh, Heath. He says I think you're cute and then he posts 20 flippin' times. It's almost as sad as mistaking "weather" for "whether."
Nonetheless, I agree with the lopping part.

Anyway, here's something at least remotely related to your post. Barbara Ehrenreich was a keynote speaker at Miami my second year for some school function. I didn't go because I didn't have to, but most of my first year students did (because they had to). Boy oh boy did she inspire a mixed reaction. I think most of my mostly conservative students thought she was a communist because (GASP!) she believe people ought to make a living wage, not just minimum wage. Coincedence or no, the maintenance and services employees at Miami were on strike when she came, fighting to get a living wage as most were making no more than 8 bucks an hour. I don't know what part she played in the whole thing, but I do know the strike was settled and the worker's were given a significant raise. Those lazy bastards...

Another point of interest for no one other than myself, is that later that semester I assigned an interview paper in my ENG 111 class, where the students had to interview some person who did some sort of writing (and we stretched the definition of "writing" in a lot of cases.) One of my eager beaver students said he thought he might try to interview Ehrenreich. I said, "Wow, sounds great. Good luck with that," and then mumbled under my breath about how he didn't stand a chance in hell of pulling that one off. Sure enough, she agreed to the interview and the little son of a bitch got an A. I had another student who was friends with Tom Wolfe's grandson and got an interview with the Man in White himself. I don't think he got an A though. You can't just cut and past a conversation with Tom Wolfe in a paper and expect to get an A, after all. It takes a little more to impress me. I mean, I've got a film degree after all.

This concludes my fascinating account of the Day I didn't Hear Barbara Ehrenreich. I hope you enjoyed.

blankfist said...

That's awesome, Shawn. I hope you don't mind if I copy and paste your post and send it via email to the Miami University Ohio? If that's cool with you, then, well... oh well, too late... already sent that shit to all of MUCWGRAD! You know what I'm taling about, foo. Oh yeah! Oh it doesn't matter anyhow, because if you look here: http://www.ncarts.edu/callboard_bts/cb_sum_05.pdf

And you do a "find search" for harwell, you too will see he is actually a she...

Here is what NCSA, Harwell's former school, had to say about him:

Shawn Harwell '99 is completeing her master's degree in creative writing from Miami University of Ohio.

That is so brave of Hardswell to be upfront and truthfull about his, er, sexual orientation. Bravo, dude. Bravo. Now, if we can only stop him from dressing and looking like Andy Mutha-Fucking Dick! Dammit! Stop!

blankfist said...

Lop = bloop

Just a reminder, Shawn.