I would sooner a writer were vulgar than mincing; for life is vulgar, and it is life he seeks. ~ W. Somerset Maugham #ofthejournals Continue reading Literary Zen IX
So, I was thinking (yes, I understand the risks)… But, I was thinking, just imagine if each of the 25,109 and growing followers of this humble site were to donate just $1.00 to help me fund my film LEAVE… Just imagine how much that would be! Keep in mind that I am a product of the United States public school system, and that, by design, my higher level degrees have absolutely nothing to do with math, so my calculations may be a bit suspect… But I believe that if every one of the 25,109 followers were to donate $1.00 to … Continue reading BELIEVE IN LEAVE
I am not one who dwells on the past, or, at least I try not to; for, unless one is fondly recalling, perhaps in a prayerful moment of divine gratitude, all the wonders and blessings the Begetter On High has begotten one, it is mostly a futile and potentially harmful self-flagellating exercise of ego worship in the negative. However, as hard as I try to stay securely in the now and out of the then, I still do find myself unconsciously lost back yonder from time to time reflecting on my life, and I am highly skeptical of anyone who … Continue reading I Am Resolved
I suppose the easiest, and quickest, way to sum up Maugham’s Of Human Bondage would be to write something along the lines of “most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them,” which appears to be the case for the story’s protagonist Phillip Carey. Continue reading Summing Up Maugham's OF HUMAN BONDAGE
I suppose the easiest, and quickest, way to sum up Maugham’s Of Human Bondage would be to write something along the lines of “most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them,” which appears to be the case for the story’s protagonist Phillip Carey. Continue reading Summing Up Maugham’s OF HUMAN BONDAGE
Most of what little refinement I have can be attributed to my lovely and loving wife. I would say all of it could be attributed to her, but I do have a pretty good three-object juggling technique that I’ve worked hard on over the years to perfect. Metaphorically speaking, the wife can juggle just about anything thrown her way; non-metaphorically speaking, however, she’s not a juggler by any stretch of the imagination. But other than my juggling skills, just about anything else refined about me — especially anything artistic or intellectual — more than likely has its … Continue reading You know, sometimes it’s okay to meet your hero…
I will say, though, that THE WIND-UP BIRD CHRONICLES is surreal, sophisticated, and a bit weird (The word weird is used so many times in the book I nearly went bloody mad. It was weird.). Continue reading He Ain't No Oe But That Ain't So Bad
BOOK | FICTION | LITERATURE
CRIME AND PUNISHMENT
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
RATING: ★ ★ ★
Posing myself as a Fyodor Dostoevsky fanboy for just about all my adult life.
Why is this a crime?
Because, in all honesty, I never really read Dostoevsky…until recently.
Well, I did pass my eyes over all the words of his NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND (some editions translate it as LETTERS FROM THE UNDERWORLD) back in my early twenties.
But as an early twenty-something, I didn’t stand a chance with Dostoevsky seeing that research has proven at that age brains aren’t yet fully developed. For all intents and purposes, according to science, someone in their early to mid twenties is still an adolescent. Which, in retrospect, explains many things about my life. And which begs the question, how can someone without a fully developed prefrontal cortex truly appreciate or fully comprehend something as complex and nuanced as Dostoevsky’s writing?
As I’ve come to find out, even with a fully developed prefrontal cortex Dostoevsky is still rather overwhelming and abstruse.
Unlike Franz Kafka, who I also first read in my early twenties, I never went back to Dostoevsky over the years. I don’t know why. Perhaps my adolescent twenty-something self did understand more of what he read than I now give him credit for. But over the years, I did revisit Kafka’s work – often – and his writing has been, and continues to be, what I consider a foundational pillar of my intellectual being (for better or worse). There are other writers, too, whom I consider foundational to my being. Writers such as Vonnegut, Hemingway, Kerouac, Camus (yes, all the stereotypical white male authors one would expect a stereotypical white male dude like me would admire), among others.
But even though I never went back to Dostoevsky, and even though I am quite sure my twenty-something adolescent self had no clue what the NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND was about, all throughout the years in my mind I regarded him to be just as fundamental to my core as the writers whom I just listed.
Again, I do not know why. Probably because, like I already confessed, I was just a poser who enjoyed thinking that he knew what the hell Dostoevsky was about.
In my defense, I don’t think I ever made a public spectacle of myself with any obnoxious proclamations of deep knowledge of his writings; nor did I ever engage in any self-righteous debates or arguments with someone who did know and understand Dostoevsky’s works.
No, I believe my fanboy-dom was not a public lie, it was more a self lie. Somehow, somewhere deep down in my subconsciousness I came to believe that Dostoevsky was important to me when in fact he wasn’t.
Only the idea of Dostoevsky was important to me.
That is my crime.
So what, then, is my punishment?
I feel tremendous guilt. For, after a lifetime of self-deception in believing that Dostoevsky’s work was deeply meaningful to me, I find that after rereading NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND (twice now) and finally reading CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, perhaps Dostoevsky’s most acclaimed work, I really do not enjoy his writing as much as I thought I did…or should.
What is wrong with me?
Is it just me, or does anyone else feel a bit like Neville Chamberlain lately? Continue reading Power To The Putin
FILM | TELEVISION | DRAMA | ACTION SONS OF ANARCHY RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, and since I am American I must, like all Americans are doing across the nation and all over facebook, offer my thanks. There are many things for which I am thankful: my family, my health, my freedom, football (football, the real kind, not soccer), you know, all the standard things a standard American is standardly thankful for. But in addition to those standards, I am also thankful for the miracle of technology, for it allows me to … Continue reading Sons of Anarchy: Hollywood’s Shakespearean Expression of the American Way of Life
I love all kinds of music. I especially love Rock music—particularly of the Indie variety—and Bluegrass music—particularly of the Traditional variety—and Classical music—particularly of the Baroque variety—and Rap—particularly of the Gangster variety. I prefer my music new as opposed to old and live as opposed to recorded. And I’m always a sucker for musical street performers… Continue reading About a Fanboy
BOOK | FICTION | LITERATURE SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY by Gary Shteyngart RATING: ★ ★ ★ In Gary Shteyngart’s SUPER SAD TRUE LOVE STORY, the state of the union is dire. The country is bankrupt and so are its morals and values. It is at war both abroad and at home with itself. Its fall from grace and global dominance is near complete. Its citizens are vacuous, intellectually dead, and have ceded their free will and persona’s to ubiquitous technological devices and the killer apps that power them. While this may sound like a description of the America of … Continue reading A Super Sad True Look at What May Lie Ahead
BOOK | FICTION | LITERATURE THE CORRECTIONS by Jonathan Franzen RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ In 2001, after reading all the hype and controversy, as well as the fawning reviews of Jonathan Franzen’s THE CORRECTIONS, I thought to myself that I need to read this new It Author and made plans to rush out and buy the book. But for some reason I never did and I soon forgot about both the book and the author. I must confess, I’ve always had a hard time keeping up with literature’s contemporary writers. Heck, I have a hard enough time just trying … Continue reading A Late Take On THE CORRECTIONS
BOOK | NON-FICTION | GRAPHIC NOVEL | HEALTH OUR CANCER YEAR by Harvey Pekar RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I have been neck-high into the medical establishment since my leukemia diagnosis in November 2009. Consequently, while I do not consider myself an expert of the establishment by any stretch of the imagination, I do believe that I am far too acutely aware of it. But, I guess that is to be expected from someone as critically dependent upon it as I am. In addition to my practical experiences with hospitals and doctors and examinations and extremely long needles, I … Continue reading Our Cancer Year