Monthly Archives: August 2014

Okla Hannali

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I have never read an historical novel before so I have no nothing to compare it to in that genre. But this was one great book. It follows one Hannali Innominee, a Choctaw Indian Mingo. A giant of a man which Lafferty makes you laugh with, cheer for and cry over in a trampling yarn that covers the one hundred years of Hannali Innominee’s adventurous life.

The book is part historical with many facts related to the treatment of the Territory Indians and that “Devil of the Indians” Andrew Jackson, to the their destruction during the Civil War. The book is also part tall tale, of which Lafferty was, undoubtedly,  one of the masters. The tall tales are in the details of Hannali’s life as history plays its hand around him. That last sentence describes the undertone of the novel rather well because history is not something that would change a man, such a buffalo bull of a man, as Hannali Innominee. 

As per usual, I do not like to give away stuff by going over the plot, but to give an indication and my approval or disapproval of the work’s merits (man, its been awhile since I have been disappointed). But I will go so far as to say Hannali’s showdown with his nemesis, Whiteman Falaya is something that is etched in my mind permanently. I can see everything that Hannali sees, hear and smell everything he does, so when he takes down Whiteman Falaya I felt I was also in spirit. Also Whiteman Falaya is a haunting sort of character, and frightening in a way that a stalker is; there is no reason for Falaya’s attacks on Hannali, no prelude to any of it, no instigating situation or action. He is like hate made for one man, a force of malice. 

This is the one Lafferty book that is kept in constant print, so get off your duff and read it!


Another Lafferty Acquisition

And probably the last for awhile. 

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I had to get this one because the cheapest price for a copy was $70 (now $45 because the person’s last two copies are not brand new as mine was, but they didn’t drop the price until after my order). If those copies came any more scarce, the price would go up dramatically. Basic Economics. I do want to get his historical fiction novel THE FALL OF ROME and several other volumes that are cheap and rather plentiful out there. But I think my book money is tapped for now. 

There is no write up for this book as it is not a book currently or even recently in print, but I do like the single reviewer’s short write up.

An allegory with a teenage girl as the Savior? Yes, but in Lafferty’s inimitable style, this battle between good and evil takes on more than Christian undertones. It reads like a myth from many cultures. OK, she arrives in a spaceship, but to call this science fiction is like squeezing an elephant’s foot into a baby’s shoe. Like many of Lafferty’s novels, this will reward a second reading. The man goes that deep, and that high. But who are these guys with horns on their heads?

 

I will not be attempting to acquire TALES OF CHICAGO, ARCHIPELAGO, nor MORE THAN MELCHISEDECH  as I have never seen these volumes for less than $250 and up. I suppose at some point they will have to be republished.  


Mormon Girls!

I think I have figured out why the Mormon church always enjoys positive growth rates. They send out adorable girls for door to door missionary work. I’m pretty sure they send out guys too, but who cares.

Back when I was a full fledged atheist I had always promised that if I were lucky enough for them to knock on my door (I think the Mormons are the only ones who do this) I would surely invite them in and then torture them relentlessly. Torture, as in philosophically (and to heckle them about Joseph Smith). Even though I am no longer an atheist (consider me a non-denominational super crappy, cosmological theist) I still thought I’d invite them in for some discussion.

And so they knocked. And it was two bubbly, pretty Mormon girls wanting to know if I would want to learn more about Jesus Christ (and, presumably, his supposed trip to America, etc). I didn’t do it! I got stage fright or something. On the other hand, my wife was home and she is utterly hostile to religion, like Chewbacca finding Darth Vader has been invited to dinner. 

On the other hand I found myself with the case of the giggles. I told them it wasn’t a good time. They asked if they could come at another time and I said certainly and took their card. Upon closing the door my wife asked me if I was seriously going to entertain Mormonism (I think she’d rather find me in bed smoking crack with a couple emaciated crack whores than at a church service).

I told her not to be ridiculous. And of that I am serious – Mormonism is an elephant sized red pill that makes regular ol’ Christianity seem quaint in its level believability.

But I find nothing wrong with having a discussion with a couple of missionaries. In my line of work, bartending, the conversation can be mind-numbingly one-dimensional. And, by necessity (time and multi-tasking), has to be brief and of a shallow or frivolous nature. 

It would be fun. I hope they come back. And hey, it would be rare contact with young women where I am not getting them intoxicated so they can go out and defile themselves.


Yet Another Lafferty Acquisition

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Upon Centipede Press, or Amazon, delaying the second installment of R.A. Lafferty’s short story collection yet again (this is the 4th or 5th month in a row) I decided I may be dead before any percentage of his vast writings are republished. So I give you Sinbad! the 13th Voyage.

This is from a very  small publishing house very late in his career. He was relegated to the small, independent publishing houses when the New Wave tide subsided and people decided they no longer wanted to think and read at the same time. I don’t know when he wrote it but its publication date is 1989 which is after his first stroke and after he had mainly stopped writing. I didn’t see any diminishment in his EAST OF LAUGHTER that was published in 1987. Then again a publication date and a writing date don’t exactly coincide unless you are James Patterson. This could have been written in 1971 for all I know. 

I’ll have to do a little reading up before I tackle this one. I know nothing about Sindbad except there being a comedian by that name. I know, that is embarrassing, but I’m not a freaking encyclopedia. I personally know one, but I am not myself one!

My next one will be AURELIA from 1983. The starting price on that one is $70 so I will see how the week goes first. I can’t wait too long though, Neil Gaiman has mentioned him twice in the last two weeks and once in the NY Times so there may be some collector interest out there.

GET BACK YOU! OR I’LL SEE MY BLADE THROUGH YER BACKSIDE! SHE’S MINE, SEE? MINE!! 


Guardians of the Galaxy

So on the recommendation of several people and the general praise the movie received, the wife and I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy last evening. For the most part I enjoyed it knowing before hand that it was a light-fare science fiction romp based on a Marvel comic.

I never thought 70’s and late 60’s sentimental pop music would fit in with a sci-fi flick, but fit it did. The plot was simplistic enough for the type of movie it was. Bad guy(s) with power pursue an object that will get them more power – a ragtag collection of galactic misfits with repressed hearts of gold try to stop them. Darth Vader wants the stolen plans to the Death Star, a motley collection of supposed misfits attempts to thwart the evil Empire’s plans (and save the space princess).

Guardians is a lot lighter fare than Star Wars ever was. Planets are threatened with destruction but the bad guys really only create a lot of havoc… and a few deaths.

Even though I prefer my science fiction pretty stark and moody (Dark City being the finest science fiction so far made) there are several parts of the movie that I thought shined through. I loved the walking tree, Groot, who could only say, “I am Groot”; and you knew he was going to be the sacrificial character (the Obi Wan). And you knew through his actions, no portends through dialogue.

I was a little disappointed in the Raccoon character, Rocket. Raccoons are my favorite wild animal and I imaged one that was given intelligence to have a different sort of personality than a wise-cracking cynical criminal. The criminal part I get, but I was expecting a gentler touch.

Anyway, none of those things really matter. But I do have a significant complaint about the movie. I call it the  “George Lucas gets addicted to CGI” problem, or, “Michael Bay is the God of Action scenes” problem.

Let me turn the readers attention to, yep, you guessed it, the original Continue reading


You will now be dealing with Shakespeare!

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I finally took the time to change my avatar (and, yes, to figure out how to do it). Now, when you address me, you will be talking to none other than SHAKESPEARE! the finger puppet. As you can tell, he is not amused at all by anything you say. 

But that’s his fault, not mine. I am easily amused. 


Showing Off

Photo on 8-15-14 at 3.53 AM


Little Toodads

I just noticed my receipt from Half-Priced Books from last weekend. I have always thought the Bellevue location at least had a little personal skew when organizing some of their books. Skewed in such a way that I thought it safe to assume it was of a liberal bent.

Before I had always noticed that all of Ayn Rand’s non-fiction philosophy books were shelved in the fiction section. Whether one thinks her philosophy is wrong or just so much sewage, it has as much right in the philosophy section as much of the muck that makes up a modern philosophy section.

My assumptions, it still seems, are usually quite on the mark.

The huge NAB family Bible I bought last week (everything else on the receipt (all used) was by title) had this for its title “Nostalgia”.

How is that for a post-Christian declaration? “This is a book people sometimes buy when they want to Continue reading


Old Style Bible Find and Streamers Over St. Joseph

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I love books. I have more books than I can ever hope to read and will buy more anyway so there will never be hope of reading them all. I do e-books as well, and there it is mainly convenience but no art, no tangibles, no love. You can’t smell it, hold it, praise it: you merely get done with it and then push the button that takes you back to your main library.

I have about 350 e-books and I can say one thing about them. They are a lot easier to move than the other 700 or whatever number of real books I have!

Anyway when I was growing up my mother had (probably still has) one of those giant family bibles that used to be popular through I guess the 70’s. There was a declaration page where you filled out your name and dated it. It had the family record of marriages, births, baptisms, grand colorful photos of the famous religious paintings. The gilded pages, the leather cover, the fancy writing at the opening of each book, etc. They were beautiful works of art. Heavy enough to be a bludgeon, yes, but beautiful.

Nowadays the best you can hope for is something in imitation leather. They just don’t make them like that anymore – at least not that I have been able to find.

And I’ve been looking, periodically, for years. Even wanted one as a committed atheist simply on esthetic grounds alone.

Today I found one, and it’s a keeper.

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It is a Continue reading