Thursday, March 25, 2010


Writers Writing: (You eat, you sleep. Coffee somewhere. Is this how stories are made?)

I don't know why, but it feels right to pick at this question now. Is it because spring is abounding? Maybe. The midges hatching? Okay. The puppies playing? Perhaps. Or is it the masses of writers escaping the figurative belly of the winter whale for inspired walks through landscapes which might dredge back some of that sensorial nature we lose during The Wet? I do not know. I think it's that sort of question that you can boil with for a long time -- how writers write, I mean -- but I also think that it's one of those things that if left untended to, will either boil over or steam out into nothing.

And enough of that. More Getting Into This:

I like reading about different writers methods. They always say very funny things when writing about themselves and their work, and almost always it is unintentional and more earnestly funny than they could ever purposely be. They are always talking about the morning, as well. Everyone seems to be waking up around 4, 5, 6 am at the latest and writing till 4 or 5 at night. Heptathletes do not work this hard. And what are they doing anyway? Is there music? Are husbands and wives allowed in, allowed to take a look, dab and smear at the lines -- no honey, he must say "..." not "..."? To what alien's distance do they travel when looking at us or into themselves? Is everything from or of the past? How much can you steal from others? Is it all like this
HELP US: Opinions? Quotes? Recipes? Jokes? Invitations? Used Cars?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Saint Patrick

It was at somewhere in the second half of the 5th century when Saint Patrick died. 470 AD, maybe later, maybe sooner -- it's just not known. To be sure, though, it was a blast. Guinness fountains, Flogging Molly singalongs crooned in DiCaprio's Departed accent, Boondock Saints viewings, Bono without his glasses on reading Yeats, Joyce making 'chamber music' with assorteds. Whole tons of great stuff. Really. It's all on wikipedia. This was just a copy-paste.

In the spirit of Ireland's patron saint's day, we've compiled a little IRISH THEMED BEEROK to bolster the spirit. So it's all loric Irish wisdom and multitudinous Irish flavors from here on out for us: accept them, we say; swill them, get stupid on them.
First up: Finnegan's Wake by Jim Joyce (Penguin Classics, 16.80) and Whatever Shitty Terrible God-Hating Whiskey You Can Find. (Suggestions: Mohgul Monarch, Edradour Tokaji, Canadian Hunter, etc.) -- Now not just the enemy of viagra, we've actually found some some positive purpose for world's most awesome beverage. For once it doesn't involve firearms, chewing tobacco, or dead animals. Actually, its feat is that it's the only thing around that'll get drunk enough to get seriously involved with Joyce's nonsensical 'novel.' Can't Remember A Fucking Thing (C.R.A.F.T. Club)? Switters? White linen suits? Anyone? Try the pair only while blackout, says this redfaced beeroker. And if for some reason that's not working, then devote 50 years of your life to it.
Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Penguin, 12.00) and Harpoon Brewery's Celtic Ale (Boston, MA) -- A slimy, looping book -- and good for it too -- Doyle's most famous novel is written in a child's voice about his memories, his incidents, his changing world, and so on, beginning with a fire. In it, Paddy is funny, his thoughts are always poignant, and his tribulations, to our amusement and embarassment, are the same as ours once were. And yet his private world is also a brilliantly real and singular place, too as Doyle captures his homeland sweetly: accents, anxieties, all of it. Harpoon's Celtic works, I think, because despite its mild flavor (it is a drinking man's beer) it still does work on the palate. Tasty. Etc.

'The Sea' by John Banville (Vintage, 11.16) and Rogue's (Newport, OR) Dry Hopped St. Rogue Red -- Finally, John Banville's The Sea. It is a beautiful book. The story is predicable and yet the characters are not; how is it that that works? And prose. The prose is some of the best I've read. It rises and falls with consummate lyricism and explorative subleties. You will love it, guaranteed. As for what goes on: the novel introduces Max Morden, who is between two places, yet not totally lost in his life, as he copes with a number of painful traumas -- some recent, others ancient. To deal he goes to a seaside town where he spent a memorable holiday as a child. A novel ensues. THE BEER: Rogue hasn't always been my favorite purveyor of spirits, but recently I've had a few outstanding beers of theirs and changed my mind. St. Rogue Red was one of them. It's a feisty beer (just look at it!), but remains so so drinkable in comparison to other Red Ales of its caliber (and Red Ale is a traditional Irish beer); how is it that that works? Never shocking, always satisfying, St. Rogue Red evokes all the mysteries of its making without eschewing any quality or fundamental goodness.
OTHERS TO CONSIDER!: Edna O'Brien's Wild Decembers, JP Dunleavy's The Gingerman, Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels, anything by Beckett, Heaney or Yeats...etc. And as always SUGGEST YOUR OWN OR TRY THESE ONES OUT!

Um, yep, green shits, green piss, it's all coming.

Saturday, March 6, 2010


It's here! The race is on! Today! In just hours, minutes, lists of seconds!

You know what I'm talking about. The blue people. Stewardesses. Tragic, mystic, violent nazi hunters, flying houses, the alien camp, and all the other great ones.

Yep. The Oscars. (Is it fitting to now ask who is this Oscar and whether or not he should have some sort of fingerling moostache with a name like that? Or how he is so fit? Or, for even as far as androgyny goes, why he wears no pants, no shirt, no smile or face? Meh. The questions that keep sane men up late.)

Anyways. As we all celebrate Hollywood's entertainment superbowl -- which really is the same as the bowl except for the makeup, the flat jokes, and that a large group of very old white men decide on its outcome -- it's good to remember that so many of our favorite films of the year were born firstly on the page. Check it out! Read them! And even though none can ever be as faithful or brilliant as McCarthy/The Coens No Country for Old Men, Read them, See them, and Decide which is better!

Push by Sapphire (Vintage, $13.00) -- A sorrow-filled but vitally inspiring novel, Sapphire's first is conveyed deftly through abused, obese, 16 year old Precious's stream of consciousness narration. Up for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress Best Director, and others.

An Education by Lynn Barber (Atlas, $13.00) -- Candid, funny, honest, heartfelt -- you name it and Lynn Barber's memoir has got it. Written for the screen by Nick Hornby and up for Best Picture, Best Actress, as well as Best Adapted Screenplay .

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis (Norton, $13.95)-- You've probably read it already, haven't you? Inspiration story of a homeless teen (African-American) taken in by a wealthy, well-to-do family (Caucasian). Football stardom/ Sandra-Bullock-Oscardom ensue. Best Picture and Best Actress.

The Last Station: A novel of Tolstoy's Final Year by Jay Parini (Anchor, $15.00) -- A New York Times' Notable of the year which pieces together the last years of Tolstoy's long life. Great book and a memorable movie. Best Actress.

Up in the Air by Walter Kirn (Anchor, $14.95) -- Poignant corporate satire about people, goals, society, and secret lounges for the very highest mileage flyers. Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress (x2), Best Director, etc.

Crazy Heart by Thomas Cobb (Harper Perennial, $13.99) -- Cob convinces us of both Bad Blake's character and (true) country music's fading, rambling, beaten yet brilliant old soul in good style. And the best commendation: he writes a character encompassing enough for The Dude, Jeff Bridges's, near-endless gift for acting in the way of Bad Blake. See the film, hear the songs, read the book! Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Song.

Invictus by John Carlin (Penguin, $16.00) -- A perspective-wielding book about Mandela's first years in office and the struggle he faced to keep a fracturing country together. Starring Matt Damon, Rugby, and Morgan Freeman in his long-inevitable starring as the great Nelson Mandela. Yup another beautiful film by Clint Eastwood and a pretty damn good book too, from what I hear. Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor. (And btw, invictus means 'unconquered' in latin. I wondered too)

Others: THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX by Roald Dahl (Best Animated Picture), CORALINE by Neil Gaiman (Best Animated Picture), JULIE & JULIA by Julie Powell (Best Actress) ... etc