THE Brian Jones

Feb 11 2013

The Good Soldier

This week I read Ford Madox Ford’s “The Good Soldier,” a book I’d long heard described as an overlooked classic. I have to agree — it’s amazing that this book isn’t as widely known as books by Ford’s jazz age contemporaries. But maybe that’s also better, as you can approach it without preconception and expectation. This book is a shocker with quotable phrases on every page.

Once I got past a seemingly slow start, this soapy story of love and loss (and loss and loss) among the seemingly genteel continental crowd drew me in like any horror thriller or mystery novel. The body count certainly rivals a mystery novel, and some of the incidents of casual cruelty and other seemingly innocuous yet hazardous interactions evoked a sick feeling in my stomach. Ford does a really great job of making these people seem real, and all of them are hurting…that is to say, they’re all in pain, and they’re all hurting each other.

We start with a quick few brush strokes of introduction of the narrator Dowell, his wife Florence, and the Ashburnhams, Edward and Leonora. The relationships and interactions spin out from there to create a small solar system of people all orbiting Edward, the supposed “Good Soldier” of the title (although the title is ambiguous.) The brush strokes grow finer and finer until you’re feeling life along with these people. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced anything like it. It helps that the narrator seems to be losing his grip on sanity (or at the very least, getting angrier and angrier or maybe drunker and drunker) as he tells it.

This is a book that deserves to be read at least twice, even though it’s painful to read at times. Between its famous opening sentence (“This is the saddest story I have ever heard.”) to its gut punch final sentence, which seems innocent but in context is one of the most horrifying things I have ever read, it delivers thrills, chills, and even a few laughs.


Note: the Amazon description of this book is way off. It’s not an anthology nor is it an introduction to classic literature. It’s just a great novel well worth reading.

UPDATE: The Amazon description is fixed!

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Nov 09 2012
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NIGHTMARE FODDER: Exactly what is this turkey about to do?

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Well, *I* thought it was funny…

But maybe you have to be 200 pages into the book to “get” it:

And after that you have minded you of this, you shall consider how that the memory of all my life held dread thoughts of the monstrousness of that House; and now was I anigh unto it. And it did seem to my soul that the very Night about it, held an anguish of quiet terror. And always my mind did come back to the sheer matter that I was so anigh. And this thing I do say unto you once and again; for truly, as you do see, it hath imprinted itself deep into my spirit. Yet shall I now cease from saying further in this manner; for, surely, you shall never know all that was in mine heart; and if I cease not, I do but be like to weary you.

William Hope Hodgson, “The Night Land”

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Oct 22 2012

I Am Not The Man who Rescued You from Szczrezloth, the 3-Headed Vomit Lizard

I Am Not The Man who Rescued You from Szczrezloth, the 3-Headed Vomit Lizard
By Tad Wexler

Dear Amy,

        This letter is very difficult for me to write. Not as difficult as slaying an acid-vomiting, triply non-decapitatable lizard monster, of course, but very difficult nonetheless. You are a wonderful girl, cute and funny and charming, and any guy would dream of earning your admiration, gratitude, trust, and, eventually, love. That I earned all these things and more in a few moments of horror-stricken battle, mired in the spilled guts of our friends at Lake Winnesku, only enhances the poignancy of leaving them all behind. I will never forget our tearful embrace after that bloodstained encounter, and I confess that right at that moment I thought that we would be together forever.


        I also confess that I had gone to Lake Winnesku with the full intention of winning your love. I was jealous of that stupid jock Brad and hoping you would see that you were too good for him. However, it’s important to me that you know that the fact that most of his flesh was melted by acid and he was eaten alive, still screaming for help while we all looked on, was completely beyond the scope of any plan I had for winning you.


        I should mention the day Brad attacked me at the swimming hole. Amy, that was the true me: perched pathetically on the bank, my swimsuit waistband pulled up around my armpits, afraid to jump, afraid to turn around. If I had attacked Brad with an improvised flamethrower and pitchfork, such as I used on Szczrezloth, then our story would have ended quite differently: I would be in jail, Brad would still be dead (I guess). But maybe without Brad’s loud honking nasal voice, the lizard-giant might have remained dormant and so maybe some of our friends would still be alive.


        So this is goodbye. I am sad that I will never again feel your kiss, your warm embrace, your soft skin next to mine. But it’s what I need to do right now. Of course, if you ever need a friend, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to talk to, or especially if you ever again need rescuing from a raging lizard beast from beyond the final dimension of Hell, give me a call. I will always be there for you.

Love, Tad

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Feb 09 2012

Well, poo.

I just noticed, on my archives page, that I’m getting “Notes” activity on several of my posts. However my template doesn’t show notes! I’m going to have to figure this out and fix it. I want to see my notes!

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Jan 25 2012

Be At Peace (St. Francis de Sales)

Be At Peace.

Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life; rather look to them with full hope as they arise. God, whose very own you are, will deliver you from out of them. He has kept you hitherto, and He will lead you safely through all things; and when you cannot stand it, God will bury you in His arms.

Do not fear what may happen tomorrow; the same everlasting Father who cares for you today will take care of you then and every day. He will either shield you from suffering, or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.

Be at Peace and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

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Dec 19 2011

Radio commercials

One aspect of my life as a performer and writer is that I get really caught up in the shortcomings of radio and television commercials.

Television commercial shortcomings actually are far fewer and more forgivable than those for radio. It’s rare for a TV commercial to reach the air with some of the demented (to me) amateurism I hear on radio in the few minutes per day that I listen. I think this is because everybody thinks they can go for huge effects in a radio commercial using the people in the office, whereas for TV the pitfalls of this approach quickly become evident. Then they either give up and just do voices over a shot of the product, or go the other way and make it seem like they purposely did a cheesy awful commercial.

But on the radio, you can go and do lots of things right but still come up with a debacle. For instance, there’s a commercial for Autobell auto wash with two utterly disjointed narrative threads — “precociously cliched arguing kids” and “smooth-voiced pitch  man.” The commercial actually has decent production values and rns smoothly. the main travesty is in the copy — it never occurred to anyone that the narrator should at least mention how getting your car cleaned by Autobell could make you forget the two bickering brats in the back seat, or something — justify their existence somehow, Autobell! Plus the kids are THE ABSOLUTE WORST of the breed.

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Breeze Card

I added $40 on my Breeze card the other day (in the morning) and got a convoluted stupid email:

NOTE: Please remember that online purchases are available to load by tapping your Breeze card on a MARTA bus, rail station gate or vending machine 3 hours after the completion of your purchase; Allow a minimum of 12 hours for fare upload for Mobility service.

Actually, I got two copies because you can’t load $40 all at once — so I did two $20’s.

As the afternoon wore on and my credits didn’t appear online, I weighed my confidence in the system* vs. my desire to get home that night, and decided to go to the MARTA rail station vending machine and tap my breeze card. There was *no* selection on the screen for “load an online purchase” so I selected “check breeze card balance.” I tapped my card and the screen blinked & flashed like it was about to reboot and then displayed a message: “$20 has been automatically added to your account.”

Christ.

So I checked my balance again and the $40 was there. I guess it can only send one message at a time so the final $20 message was what I saw. Maybe during that blinking it sent the first message?

But.

Plus, I hope you caught that: “Automatically?” What the hell? I actually had to reread it several times to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. Really, they might as well have said “magically” for all the word added to my experience.

I mean, it worked and I should STFU right?

No. The designers of this system are idiots.

*Previously, I had loaded the card online and ignored the non-communicative e-mail. I mean I read it but it didn’t really tell me anything about what I needed to do, and the credits appeared on my card almost immediately so I didn’t worry. I was curious about what would happen when I “loaded” the purchase by “tapping” it on the fare box, but when I tapped the card on the fare box that evening, it just subtracted my fare and I went home. I guess I’m lucky I didn’t take the import of the e-mail to mean, I was supposed to do a tap to load. I can easily see scenarios where if I was a slightly more neurotic [HA! — ed.] I would have wound up inadvertently having a fare subtracted as I tried to “load” my purchase by “tapping.”

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Oct 27 2011

Limerick Battle the Latest (UPDATED!) (FINAL UPDATE)

FINAL UPDATE at bottom. “Milk?”

UPDATE! Scroll down — the first part is in top posted mode, but the rest is bottom posted.

This will take a sec to unwind:

Brother Steve has lunch with his work friends every Friday. I call it his “gay lunch” although in fairness, there’s no reason to suspect gayness on anyone’s part and in fact, Steve has roundly denied it.

Meanwhile, I’ve made my lustful admiration of the adorable Martha Plimpton clear, but he’s not into her (apparently, for some reason other than gayness.)


She's tight

The “Doody” theme to our ongoing battles is already known…

Hence:


From: Brian Jones
Date: Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 10:16 AM
Subject: Re: You ALL are…
To: Steve

The Doody Lunch Club was aflutter
As Steve was sometimes heard to mutter,
"My brother, the simpleton
Just loves Martha Plimpton:
A *woman,* so pardon my shudder.”

B

On Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 9:57 AM, Steve Meckleburg wrote:
> Subject: You *all* are

>Message Body:

> …doody heads. You, Lee, and Kevin, the Doody Lunch Club.
>
> Not bitter, just sayin’.
>
> S


UPDATED!

Steve responded with two desperate attempts at smackdown:

Au contraire, mon frer,
To the drawing board thou must repair.
You say she’s a woman
But if closer you zoom in,
You’ll see nads dangling there.

I, on the other hand, know
A woman from a hag on a show.
A woman has heft
And naught in her cleft
But a slot where my peepee can go.

(The last of which, ew.)

My response, a desperate attempt to make peace and why can’t we both be right:

Is there room in that flint of a heart
For more forms of womanly art?
While Martha lacks girth
She’s real down-to-earth
And her teats, though scanty, are tart.

Alas, peace was not to be found, as Steve responded:

Aye, some room I can make
For things in the form of pancake.
But I like mine best
Not served on a chest,
But hot and buttery, on a plate.

Well, so be it:

Steve, you odious twat
You can see for yourself, she’s not flat.
So your favorite hookers
Are all sporting bazookas.
Those’re nice! So are her snub-nose gats.


FINAL UPDATE

I’ll give Steve the final word. Well, maybe.

Good luck getting some milk
From wizened founts of that ilk.
If I wanted erasers
I’d buy Eberhard-Fabers
Not grope within Martha’s silk.

(“Milk?”)

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Oct 20 2011

Calling Card II

Oh, and another thing, I mentioned to Tasha, she should limit how much she’s going to spend on calling cards, so that he can call her or his scumbag friends, but you’ll only be paying so much for that. She shot back, “He can only call one number on the calling card, and that’s mine.”

I find that difficult to believe. I need to look into it.

Last night we were watching “Damages” Season 3 and Ellen confronted her addict sister about the drugs Ellen found in the sister’s purse. The sister immediately and without appearing to think about it gave Ellen the smoothest line of obvious bullshit you ever saw. Boy did that look familiar.

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