Saturday, August 29, 2009

Roman Poetry: Not For Pussies

While looking up Pompeii graffiti online, I found out about a poem called "Catullus 16," written by, um, Catullus. According to Wikipedia, it was so dirty that it wasn't translated until the late 20th century. How dirty can this Roman poem be? Observe:

"I'm gonna fuck you guys up the ass and shove my cock down your throats,
yes, you, Aurelius--you fucking cocksucker--and you too, Furius, you faggot!
Just because my verses are tender doesn't mean
that I've gone all soft. Sure, a poet should focus
on writing poetry and not on sex; but does that
mean they can't write about sex? If a poem is
in good taste, well-written and erotic,
it can give massive boners to hairy old men,
not just to horny teenagers. You think I'm a sissy
just because I write about thousands of kisses?
I'm gonna fuck you guys up the ass and shove my cock down your throats!"

If you're wondering who the unfortunate Aurelius and Furius are, Wikipedia also offers the following handy info: "Apparently, Furius and Aurelius find Catullus's verses to be mollici (soft, perhaps "wussy" in modern slang). Catullus responds with intense abuse and invective." Obviously, these two had no idea who they were fucking with. Also, I am very interested in reading poetry with the power to "give massive boners to hairy old men." If anyone can direct me to these poems, please don't hesitate to e-mail that shit to me ASAP.

After reading this, I have also decided that I will never, ever judge another person for writing about "thousands of kisses" ever again. I don't think I'm strong enough to withstand this kind of verbal abuse.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Shittiest Fucking Audiobook I've Ever Listened To

I'm a sucker for audiobooks, since they allow me to listen to books while I'm driving and give me the feeling that I'm pumping knowledge into my head without having to do much work. After listening to a ton of them over the past few years, I've begun to have some favorite readers (oh how I love that snide-sounding Frederick Davidson), and I know what to look for when hunting down audio versions of books that I want to "read." Some audiobooks that I've stumbled into blind have been fantastic, such as Jeremy Irons' reading of Lolita, while others have been annoying, like the jerk-off who did that new unabridged reading of Catch 22. Anyhow, there have rarely been audiobooks that actually anger me, but I did come across one last year that I feel I should talk about. It's a big, expensive, unabridged reading of a book that I've been meaning to read for several years now: Patrick Healey's shit reading of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake.

A simple diagram of the plot and characters

Now, before I start, let me just tell anyone who doesn't know: Finnegans Wake is the most difficult book to read in the English language. Joyce basically made up a language of puns and plays on words, chucked in a ton of foreign vocabulary, and shit out a plot that nobody can agree actually exists. In a way, the plot to Finnegans Wake is similar to Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster: small groups of people swear it exists, but the vast majority laugh at them and tell them to get a life. Needless to say, anyone even attempting to read this book in general should be commended, and one would think that someone with the balls to do an unabridged reading of it deserves to be heaped with praise. Well, yeah. In a way, they are. BUT, if you're going to do a recording and charge 275 fucking Euros for it, you better damn well be a professional. Unfortunately, Patrick Healey just seems like someone who did this as a bar bet, and it really shows in the recording.

A little common sense: if you're charging 275 euros for an audiobook, don't approach the material like a fucking Librivox recording. Healey takes a book that needs, nay, DEMANDS a slow, careful reading, and speeds through it like he only has a day to finish. To put this in perspective, the fantastic unabridged audiobook of Joyce's Ulysses spanned 40 CDs, with the book being around 600 pages long. Finnegans Wake is a longer book, a thousand times more dense, and Healey gets the fucker read on 17 discs. This makes it fucking impossible to reflect on anything that he says in the book, because once you think you understand what one sentence meant, he's already five pages ahead of you, laughing in your face.

The speed of his reading is the cause of another major issue with this audiobook: he frequently stutters, trips up on words, and has to start over. Are you fucking kidding me? Look, I know that with any reading of Finnegans Wake there's going to be issues with the words, but a professional would have that shit worked out before walking into the recording booth. If you're going so fast that you're fucking up the text, slow the fuck down. Finally, he reads every goddamn sentence with nary a change in tone, and when he does change his tone, its into some mumbling, slow bullshit that sounds like he hired one of the Kids of Widney High to take over for a few minutes. I have never, ever, ever in my life had a more annoying experience with an audiobook. It almost made me want to fly to Ireland so I can kick this guy in the nuts, even though I don't know if he even lives there.

For those saying that maybe this book can't be read well, I say bullshit. There's an abridged reading done by Jim Norton that, from what I've heard, sounds fantastic and professional. He actually takes his time with the text and doesn't marathon it. I would literally let this man take a shot in my mouth and fiddle with his taint if he would just record the entire goddamn book unabridged at this pace, but chances are I'm just going to be stuck with Healey's bullshit recording.

The only possible thing that could be worse than this reading would be War & Peace read by Rosie Perez, or Les Miserables by Chris Tucker. Other than that, this recording is crap, and if you love Joyce, do yourself a favor and just record yourself reading it to listen to. It's pretty much the same thing.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Some Thoughts at Work

A patron walked by and was shocked that I shaved my beard, and said that he didn't recognize me without it. I actually shaved it a few months ago, so I guess he hasn't been here for awhile. He then stopped and walked back and said that I looked so baby-faced without it, then went to walk away again. He then stopped, for a third time, and said that I looked a lot younger, like his baby brother. Ordinarily this would just be friendly patron banter, but the fact that he commented on it three times, and even made it a point to come back to the desk solely for the purpose of mentioning it, made it seem a bit strange.

Driving to work I saw a group of young, presumably teenage girls in short shorts and bikini tops holding up signs for a car wash. A few blocks down I see another group of people advertising a car wash, only this time they were overweight Hispanic men in dirty T-shirts and baseball caps. I'd like to know how much business each car wash did.

A man came up and asked for books on Farrah Fawcett, and I told him that we didn't have any, and that none of our libraries had any that I could order. He got upset and said that it was ridiculous, since she was a big star. To reiterate this, he stated that she was as big as David Hasselhoff. The patron was not German.

I know that it's not the patron's fault that I have seven people simultaneously asking me questions, but it's still damn frustrating to have someone's problem being that "the internet doesn't work," and finding out that, upon inspection, the problem was that the person doesn't know how to double click on an icon.

Every single person I've ever talked to about it tells me that they use very little if anything that they've learned from their Library Science classes. Some of my coworkers are just adamant that once you get your degree you pretty much forget everything you learned. This leads me to the conclusion that Library Science is currently the world's most worthless degree, since the important stuff you can learn on the job. The only thing possibly most useless than library science is getting that MA in Robin Hood Studies offered at Nottingham University.

I used to want to change my name to Fritz Fitzgerald, but now I'm thinking that if I ever did change my name, it would be to Batman bin Suparman, like that one guy from Singapore. It would be great to have people forced to address me politely as "Mr. Suparman." Then again, it would probably be an embarrassment to be a slightly overweight, out of shape guy called "Batman."

Chocolate-covered bacon isn't as bad as you'd think. If you've ever eaten chocolate-covered pretzels, the taste is initially similar, but leaves a bacon-y aftertaste. I've also eaten bacon-filled waffles, which also taste good but are probably a reason why I get occasional excruciating chest pains.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Meat Slurry

I read about this, and the idea of liquid meat is repulsive to me. In general, even though I love the taste of it, the idea of meat makes me want to vomit. But liquid meat? I didn't read the entire process of meat slurry, but my over-active imagination created images of flesh being ripped from chickens, dumped into some kind of metal tub filled with rotating blades, and churned over and over until some kind of meat-oatmeal concoction remained. I can see it vividly in my head, and I want to puke.

I forced myself to eat some chicken mcnuggets today for lunch, and I think the reason they didn't taste so good this time around was because I could not get the idea of meat slurry out of my head. The last time I had them, they tasted great. Now, there was something off about them. I've eaten canned pork and haven't had a problem with it. I love Spam and think that it's delicious and gets bad-mouthed too often. But meat slurry just sickens me.

Even the name of it, especially the name of it, makes it unappetizing. When I hear "slurry" I immediately think of cold, summer beverages, akin to Icees. Now imagine a meat Icee, filling up one of those cups to it's clear funnel lid. It's just wrong.

All meat-based food production is vile. Have you ever seen what a McRib looks like when you wash that sauce off of it? If you ever want to eat a McRib again, you won't look it up.

And not just fast food. If you stop and just look at a bunch of meat just lying around, it looks gross. Even "good" meat looks gross when you consider it for a while. Which is why I try my damnedest not to sit around considering meat. I just want to continue eating it because it tastes incredible.

Please scientists, continue working on meat substitutes that taste like meat. I love steak. I love chicken. I love bacon. I just don't want to think about meat slurry anymore. Maybe make a nerf-like meat structure that can be easily shaped and tastes exactly like meat. It can be done. It must be done. Hopefully, my children will eat genetically created Frankenfoods that don't look vile and taste delicious. And hopefully they'll never know the horror that is meat slurry.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Art of Cinema

A collection of some of the greatest film scenes of all time.