What I learned this week, March 14, 2014

10 underrated novels from great authors

I have always loved “The Crossing” by McCarthy more than some of his more ballyhooed works.

“The second chapter in McCarthy’s Border Trilogy is also, at least in our eyes, the finest. More poetic if less acclaimed than spiritual precursor All The Pretty Horses, The Crossing is bleakly brilliant as McCarthy describes a young cowboy’s savage journey from New Mexico to Mexico during the WW2 period: surviving gun fights, wolf attacks and a cracked, scorching terrain that save for arguably Blood Meridian, has never been as violently and mercilessly described by McCarthy.”


From Deadspin:

Above is a video taken Saturday night at an ECHL Idaho Steelheads game. It shows fans pouring a $7 large beer into a $4 small cup, and discovering that each holds exactly the same amount of liquid. Now the arena is facing a lawsuit, because rule number one in sports is that you don’t shortchange hockey fans on beer.

CenturyLink Arena in Boise, also home to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA’s D-League, is facing a potential class-action lawsuit from four fans, alleging that the arena management company defrauded fans by offering taller-but-thinner large-size cups that hold the same 16 ounces as the shorter, wider small.
….
“It was recently brought to our attention that the amount of beer that fits in our large (20-oz) cups also fits in our regular (16-oz) cups. The differentiation in the size of the two cups is too small. To correct that problem, we’re purchasing new cups for the large beers that will hold 24 ounces, instead of 20, for the remainder of this season to provide better value to our fans.”

That acknowledgement wasn’t enough to head off a lawsuit, and, as noted by the Idaho Statesman, even with 24-ounce cups, it’ll still be cheaper per ounce to buy the small.


He once went on vacation to The Virgin Islands ..Now they are just called The Islands.

He once went on vacation to The Virgin Islands ..Now they are just called The Islands.

7 ways to be the most interesting person in any room


6 Shocking Authors I Seek to Syncretize

I linked to the above article not so much for the exact authors mentioned, but for the general idea/technique of reading a number of wildly variant (though all provocative) books (would this work with fiction also?) while consciously looking for hidden connections. Interesting idea.


10 Inconspicuous Flasks For Covert Operators


I always thought that I had a certain knowledge of geography and history. Until I visited this site, however, I never realized how little I knew of the fascinating country of Zubrowka.

budapest

Academie Zubrowka


I have always been fascinated by Trilobites

Trilobites

Trilobites

When Trilobites Ruled the World


Why don’t I get invited to parties that have a Sriracha Fountain?


These weapons cutaways are so damn cool


Holy Shit! Looking through this list, I really think I have seen all these movies. I pretty much agree with the order of the list (especially concur with which is THE WORST Godzilla movie of all) although I would put Godzilla vs. Destoroyah a bit higher to #2 and maybe slide Destroy all Monsters to the top slot. That film was an eleven-year-old’s dream

Rank All Monsters! Every Godzilla Movie, from Worst to Best


Michael Peticolas on the Building of a “True Craft Beer Movement” and What’s in His Fridge


Japan Breeding Army of Godzillas!

All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling.
—-Oscar Wilde
Strip for Violence

Gratuitous Pulp Paperback Cover - this has nothing to do with the rest of the entry.

One of my favorite writing techniques is what I call “Bad Poetry.”
It is what it sounds like. Write some bad poetry – and then see if you can use it as a basis for prose. Most of the time, you can’t. But every now and then it works.
It works because of the fact that it forces you to abandon your inner editor in the initial creative, first draft part of the process. After all, you are writing bad poetry… the badder the better.
It works for me in particular because bad poetry is the only kind of poetry I write.
Another, related source of inspiration is a collection of stupid tabloid headlines. Examples of a few from this web site:
  • DRUNKS FALL OFF ROOF AFTER BARTENDER DECLARES DRINKS ARE ON THE HOUSE!
  • FIRED ARCHITECT BURNS HIS BRIDGES
  • THE WAY TO A MAN’S HEART IS NOT THROUGH HIS STOMACH! SURGEON’S LICENSE REVOKED
  • Cat found with hoard of over 200 TONGUES! (What’s the matter? Cat got your …)
  • MAN POSES AS CPR DUMMY FOR WOMEN’S TRAINING CLASS
  • CAVE PAINTINGS REVEAL EXISTENCE OF PREHISTORIC INSURANCE SALESMAN!
  • EXORCISM CURES MONSTROUS ZIT!
  • GENEROUS KIDS SHIP THEIR UNEATEN PEAS TO STARVING CHILDREN IN APPALACHIA
  • I WAS ATTACKED BY MONGOLIAN DEATHWORM!
  • MAN CAN SEE ONE SECOND INTO FUTURE
  • HONESTY FALLS TO THIRD AS ‘BEST POLICY’
  • STUDY FINDS MOST STUDIES ARE STUPID
It's Only a Rabbit

Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!

COWARDLY MATADOR ONLY FIGHTS RABBITS

  • GUY DIALS PHONE # ON TOILET WALL — & FINDS HIS MISSING MOM!
  • PIZZA WAS SERVED AT THE LAST SUPPER . . . and the pies were delivered
  • SPANISH ARMADA WAS SUNK BY UFOs
  • BLUES SINGER SUES SHRINK FOR MAKING HIM FEEL BETTER
  • AREA 51 IS REALLY STRIP CLUB FOR BIGWIGS
  • THE MOON IS HATCHING . . . and whatever’s coming out has big teeth, NASA says!
  • Couple sells everything to clone their dying cat
  • Hole in ozone layer is sucking world’s penguins into space, say scientists!
  • TERROR TOADS INVADING AMERICA’S TOILETS!
  • CONCRETE ENEMAS A BAD IDEA, DOCS WARN
  • GOTCHA! JEWELER INVENTS WEDDING RING THAT CHANGES COLOR IF YOU CHEAT!
  • MAN FALLS OFF ROOF – MOUNTING LUCKY HORSESHOES
  • WOMAN, 79, DIES IN MEATLOAF EXPLOSION!
  • HAGGIS HORROR!
  • ATTACKS BY GIANT SQUIDS SKYROCKET
  • HAITI SELLING OF ZOMBIES BUY ONE GET ONE FREE!
  • 7 CONGRESSMAN ARE ZOMBIES! (that can’t be right… only Seven?)
  • BELGIUM DESTROYED BY ROGUE ASTEROID & NO ONE NOTICES!
  • PEOPLE BLINDED BY ECLIPSE CAN SEE THE FUTURE!
  • JUST SAY NO TO AARDVARK MEAT
  • ALIEN SITCOMS ARE WORSE THAN OURS!
  • GIANT SPACE SPIDERS WILL SAVE THE EARTH! Webs can deflect killer asteroids, says NASA
  • My daughter is pregnant by her invisible friend!
  • HOUSEWIFE EXPERIENCES HALF-RAPTURE . . . & gets stuck in the dining room ceiling!
  • MULTIPLE PERSONALITY MAN CHARGED TRIPLE ROOM RATE!
  • RESEARCHER CALCULATES A SNOWBALL’S CHANCE IN HELL TO BE .000000000134%
  • MICROSCOPIC SPACE ALIENS INFESTING CARPETS
  • UFO ALIENS ABDUCTED MY CAT! Now frisky Felix is home safe — and has a gift of ESP, says amazed owner
  • WIFE USED HUBBY’S TOOTHBRUSH – TO CLEAN THE COMMODE!
I learned this technique at a poetry writing seminar years ago. We all pulled  little slips of paper with these headlines written on them from a box the teacher passed around.
My paper said, “Japan Breeding Army of Godzillas!” We were given twenty minues to write something. I wrote:

34. JAPAN BREEDING ARMY OF GODZILLAS!

The water boils
off the coast
as the men in Rubber
lizard suits
wash ashore and creep
up the slopes of Mount Fuji

They eat tender bamboo and strings
of seaweed
and their ragged
backbones glow with special
blue electricity

At sunset they dance
to ominous trumpet music
stomping in unison
and sing their monster song

And then they sleep
their giant growling snores
echo back across the ocean
like cinema earthquakes