Monthly Archives: February 2007

Aeschylus and small lumps of green putty

I’ve often said that Victor Hugo and Douglas Adams were my two favorite authors.

Here’s a rather interesting comparison between the two:

Victor Hugo on Æschylus:

Æschylus excites you to the very brink of convulsion. His tragical effects are like blows struck at the spectators. When the furies of Æschylus make their appearance, pregnant women miscarry. Pollux, the lexicographer, affirms that there were children taken with epilepsy and who died, on looking at those faces of serpents and at those torches violently tossed about.

— Victor Hugo, William Shakespeare, p. 88.

Douglas Adams on the poetry of the Azgoths of Kria

Vogon poetry is of course, the third worst in the universe. The second worst is that of the Azgoths of Kria. During a recitation by their poet master Grunthos the Flatulent of his poem “Ode to a Small Lump of Green Putty I Found in My Armpit One Midsummer Morning” four of his audience died of internal hemorrhaging and the president of the Mid-Galactic Arts Nobbling Council survived by gnawing one of his own legs off. Grunthos was reported to have been “disappointed” by the poem’s reception, and was about to embark on a reading of his 12-book epic entitled “My Favourite Bathtime Gurgles” when his own major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save humanity, leapt straight up through his neck and throttled his brain.

Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

If forced to choose between watching Aeschylus, or listening to Grunthos, I think I would have a difficult decision to make, based on these reviews, especially if I were a pregnant woman.

MovieGeek Special

Elizabeth Donald is a local sf/fantasy author. She recently began writing a Culture blog for the Belleville News Democrat.

Today there’s a post with the title: MovieGeek Special: Ben Newmark. It pretty much covers everything. West Bank Story, The Wilton, Will and Grace, and in true (greater) St. Louis fashion, even mentions what high school he went to.

You’ll find out why my cousin won’t be at the Academy Awards, the name of the camel, and why the 2005 St. Louis Film Festival was so important. None of this information has appeared in any other news article I’ve read.

Purely Altruistic Motives

drewpose.jpg

What do Arthur Schopenhauer,George Washington and Drew Barrymore have in common?

All born on February 22nd!

And since the philosophyof Schopenhauer has been compared to Buddhism, Washington was our first President, and Drew is Drew…

Let me suggest that my chapbook would make a most appropriate purchase in celebration of the day.

Weekend Wrap-up

Mardi Gras was different this year. It was quite chilly in St. Louis, chillier than usual. So those I annually partake of the Soulard Festivities with decided to take a radical change in plans. We brought Mardi Gras indoors. We brought the alcohol. We brought New Orleans syle music CDs, and They Might Be Giants cds. We had a fun time inside a heated home. I’m told the real They Might Be Giants concert only lasted half an hour. Our concert lasted longer.

But I arrived at this indoors-Mardi Gras at approximately 2:30 pm. From noon until 2 I watched Ghost Rider at the Theater of the Broken Heart. (aka Creve Coeur Cine) I’ve not read much of the comic series, so I didn’t have that to compare it to, but I was told that it compared well, though some attributes of two different Ghost Riders were combined into one.

As some of you know I am a leader of a local group of science fiction fans who refer to ourselves as the USS Discovery. The group’s been around since the 1980s. It is this group that went rafting earlier this year. It is also this group that goes wine tasting all over Missouri and Illinois. So we have other interests besides SciFi.

I have been their “Commanding Officer” for 2 years, and was re-elected to a second two-year term on Sunday. I told them they were all insane, but I worry what that makes me.

Sunday evening a few of us rented Little Miss Sunshine from a local Blockbusters. It’s up for Best Picture, and Alan Arkin is up for Best Supporting Actor, and Abigail Breslin is up for Best Supporting Actress. She’s only 10 years old, or I’d have predicted she’d win it. One ten-year-old winner of an Oscar in the history of the Oscars is probably more than one can expect, and Tatum ONeal already did it.

But I think the movie is well-deserving. I like comedies in general. As Victor Hugo said, “Laughter is the sunshine that wipes winter from the human face.” This wasn’t gag-comedy in the tradition of Airplane or National Lampoon’s Vacation. However, I think there were a couple homages to Vacation, and there was definitely riotous laughter in the room in a handful of scenes.

I worry if Breslin wins the award (or perhaps even if she doesn’t) that someone will blow a key scene for those who haven’t seen the film yet. The movie does build up to a climax, and the viewer knows something is coming. Often in these circumstances the scene is a let-down; and I was fearing it would be. I couldn’t imagine how they could provide a satisfying conclusion to the build-up. They did. But if I knew in advance a key part of that finale, I don’t think I would have received the same amount of enjoyment.