Davids

Exhibit 1.9.5

Rider

 

A friend is coming to visit so we can collaborate on a project, and I asked him if he wanted anything. He sent me back his rider.

 

DM Rider

 

It’s my favorite thing in the world.

Comment / Posted in Davids, Riders, Writing

Exhibit 1.6.23

Teaching Stories of the Week

 

 

* A.M. Homes – “Do Not Disturb” – Which I wrote about (at length) here. A great story for talking about structure, character, and narration, one that rarely lets the reader or itself have it easy. And it, like the Moore, is a perfect example of showing how what is often used for melodrama can be refreshed. Here, cancer.

* Lorrie Moore – “Terrific Mother” – And here, baby killing. Well, maybe that’s not so often gone to, but it is melodramatic. Also serves as sort of a companion piece to the Homes as they’re both, at least in part, about being in flawed relationships while feeling sad and stuck in Europe. Really though, just another great realist character study which is tragic and funny. Dialogue, is, of course, top notch here, too.

* David Foster Wallace – “The Depressed Person” – Which I re-read while listening to this old pilot for a show where Jon Brion just plays music with a shy but game Elliott Smith. This, maybe, is the saddest thing I’ve ever done. No idea what I was thinking, but I like this story for the literature class I’m teaching coming on the heels of some Poe. It’s a particularly modern terror.

 

Comment / Posted in Davids, Fiction, Weeks

Exhibit 1.3.19

The Authentic Animal


Dave Madden’s The Authentic Animal is available today, and you should pick it up even if he did refuse to name the chapter about pet taxidermy “Stay” (or did I want “Play Dead”? I can’t even remember). In any case, it’s one of many delightful ruminations on animals, death, and our relationship with both to be found underneath that beautiful cover. I’ve been lucky enough to watch this manuscript grow up and the time, effort, and viscera-witnessing that went into it makes it well worth the wait. You want this book. Buy it today and make Dave’s book the number one rated Zoology book on Amazon. Together, we can do this.

(The current number one is a book about animals being friends with each other. Come on, America.)

It’s not, of course, a Zoology book, not really. The chapters here are smart and often personal explorations of why we choose to preserve dead animals (but not–or at least not typically–dead humans) and how, beyond that, we’ve turned it into an art. The best thing about the book is how it isn’t for the taxidermy enthusiast or even taxidermy-inclined but for the curious, the sort of reader who wants to understand. Dave’s book seems to begin there, with a question over who we are and why we do what we do, and over the next 90,000 words moves toward explaining what compels us. It’s not a book stupid enough to turn taxidermy into a metaphor for everything, but it is a book smart enough to acknowledge that even the tiniest subcultures, even taxidermists, are simply one more attempt to know and control our world.

And, on a more personal note, Dave’s been my writing best friend, Cupboard co-editor, and title decliner for almost as long as he’s been working on this book. He’s a brilliant writer, and I’m thrilled to see this book get the publication and attention it deserves. I would consider you helping him out by purchasing it, reading it, loving it, and spreading the word a favor.

Do it.

4 Comments / Posted in Animals, Books, Davids

Exhibit 1.3.1

The Blossom Possum

Takes it to another level.

Just for you, Dave.

Comment / Posted in Bad Ideas, Blossoms, Davids

Exhibit 21.23

On Editing A Novel #16/17

USING YOUR NOVEL TO START A RELIGION/MAKING YOUR NOVEL A NOVELIZATION OF MEGADETH’S 1990 ALBUM RUST IN PEACE. Because, really, they’re the same thing.

First, you’re going to need a copy of Rust in Peace or at least a track listing (Note: this step does not apply to you if you have ever been in Megadeth and/or have ever seen Dave Mustaine in person). Also, substituting Megadeth’s other pun-titled album Youthanasia is possible but not recommended. Using a different band or album is prohibited unless you want your religion/novel to be all wussy (Bon Iver).

Next, it’s important that you own a Megadeth t-shirt from their Clash of the Titans world tour. People at your church camps/book signings are going to need to be able to recognize you. If you’re having trouble locating a shirt, maybe see if you can find someone from Slayer who has an extra sitting around (one-time drummer Paul Bostaph?).

You’re also going to need gothic cover art that makes a vague statement about nuclear annihilation, worldwide political conspiracy, and environmental destruction. Also, this cover art is going to have to have a skeleton guy but not one of those happy dancing skeleton guys like wussier bands use (Okkervil River). A menacing skeleton guy but, you know, one with a bit of a sense of humor about it. This is the most important step of editing your novel.

Your chapters should then be named after song titles from the album and the prose replaced with guitar tablature (Note: it is not important for you to be able to play the songs yourself [further note: as long as you are wearing a 7-string Ibanez shaped like a lightning bolt over your Clash of the Titans t-shirt). Once that is done, you will need to register your novel/songbook/primary religious text and apply for non-profit status with the government. This will be the most bureaucratic step of editing your novel (LCD Soundsystem).

Then you wait until someone asks you what your book says about getting a divorce or if it has any techno-thriller elements. Make them listen to “Hangar 18” until they know the answer.

Comment / Posted in Davids, Editing, Importantly

Exhibit 21.2

Things I don’t think I ever linked to here

Dave Madden’s Book Deal – Just awesome. Even if I didn’t get to title the book–or should I say, haven’t gotten to title the book yet–it’s still going to be the first non-fiction book I’ve purchased since…um…I’m going to keep thinking about it. In the meantime, why don’t you all go buy Dave some dirty taxidermy-based gifts. This is the best thing that’s happened to taxidermy since that museum in Cleveland opened their animal stars of Hollywood exhibit. Who knew that Mr. Ed was so short?

Zach Schomburg’s Scary, No Scary – It’s the truth. That last thing I said about Mr. Ed may not have been.

Dave of Dave Madden’s Book Deal and I Talk about The Cupboard – It could just be the move, but I feel like we did this eight years ago. Anyway, I never mentioned it here. Good questions with the occasional good answer.

Comment / Posted in Davids, Links, Truth

Exhibit 19.22

So The Cupboard–which is about to release its next volume–has a blog, but nobody ever updates it because Dave has his fancy new site where he writes about odd things he sees and I have this one full of disclaimer-laden posts disproving my magical abilities. So we’re sort of at an impasse. Naturally it’s Dave’s fault.

Dave: The Cupboard needs a blog.
Me: Great, I’ve been too embarrassed to write about fantasy football on my blog.
Dave: No. It will be about writing and books and The Cupboard.
Me: Can I write about He’s Just Not That Into You? It was a book. I didn’t read it, but in the movie…
Dave: No.
Me: Sometimes I play old video games and maybe…
Dave: No.

Shockingly, I have never posted on The Cupboard’s blog. If it can’t be a dumping ground for all the humiliating thoughts I have just enough dignity to refrain from posting here–and you can imagine how bad that stuff must be to somehow not make the cut–I really don’t see the point. Okay, I do. I love the idea of having a blog for The Cupboard, but I think we’re going to try something new: a podcast.

Why? Because when one thing isn’t getting enough attention the best thing to do is add another project. It’s still a ways away from coming together, but I think we’re going to feature both our authors and other writers, publishers, romantic comedy cast members, etc. Okay, Dave’s telling me we won’t feature that last one. But otherwise I think we’re on the same page and are excited about having a forum to let writers give readings and talk about their work.

Look for it, um, soon? Sure, why not. Soon.

2 Comments / Posted in Davids, Podcasts, The Cupboard

Exhibit 18.2

Black Swan Green

I finally picked this up after I mentioned Cloud Atlas the other day and remembered that one of my favorite writers has a book out that I hadn’t read. Like Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell’s two previous novels–Ghostwritten and number9dream–aren’t bound to the conventional yet are highly readable, mostly because for all of the oddity in narration and plot, they’re intensely structured and beautifully written. Now there’s Black Swan Green which seems to be a conscious attempt to do the opposite. In that sense, sadly, it’s a success.

Part of the attraction of Mitchell’s books has always been how easily he moves not only between narrator but worlds. It’s difficult to imagine two books that travel quite as far as Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten do in their 300 or so pages, but Black Swan Green only twice leaves its titular English village and even then it’s only for a brief vacation to the coast. While Mitchell still shows some willingness to play around with the narrative, it’s clear that the anything fanciful here is strictly in the imagination of the 13-year-old narrator. It’s brave in a way to do such a conventional coming-of-age story for a writer like Mitchell, but that’s all external to the book itself which, despite a lot of good qualities, is fairly dull.

(I don’t know for certain about these things, but based on the quotes on my paperback, this seems to be Mitchell’s most acclaimed book. That’s disappointing but understandable. It’s well-written and readily accessible, offering Chuck Taylor’s full of nostalgia to anyone who came of age in the early 1980s which I imagine includes a fair number of book critics).

We’ve all read this story before. Only the music references and current events change. A boy lives an upper-middle-class life somewhere away from the city. His parents might or might not be happy but he doesn’t really understand their relationship (hint: they aren’t happy), he thinks his older sister hates him (she doesn’t, of course), girls don’t like him and he might not like them (somewhat surprisingly, he does like them), he’s obsessed with his own social status at school (the rising and falling of his popularity passes for tension here), and he has one flaw which he believes to be fatal (a fairly mild stutter). Even if this isn’t your life, it’s the life of hundreds of sensitive male narrators throughout time. There’s even an entire genre of music aimed at this particular demographic (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can come over and we’ll listen to my copy of Pinkerton).

Mitchell handles it which loads more style and a touch more magic than most, but it doesn’t make the stakes any higher. As in most bildingsroman–or I suppose this is really a künstlerroman, whatever–we know that for all the tortures of youth, the protagonist will emerge on the other side as an adult with different and presumably more important problems. The thing that itches most about books like this is seeing our moody narrator bemoaning his own small problems (he broke his grandfather’s watch!) while interacting with a host of actually interesting characters who are supposed to be our antagonists. I’d much rather see what the hated bully is up to with his abusive father than wait for our narrator to discover his father’s very obvious affair. Here’s the difference: the narrator’s problems can be definitively answered by saying, “You’ll be fine.” But I haven’t kissed a girl! “You’ll be fine.” But I worry about nuclear war! “You’ll be fine.” The bully, on the other hand, doesn’t have easy answers. He’ll probably come to a bad end, he’ll probably do nothing of note, but what he won’t do is look back at when he was 13 and think about all the great music he used to listen to around the time his dad nearly killed his mom.

(Contemporary books of this sort really do have soundtracks as if they were movies. Especially now that Cameron Crowe and Wes Anderson have almost created a language out of pop songs, it’s really the easiest [laziest? whitest?] way to define a time period, mood, and character all in one reference).

That we get the middlebrow story isn’t unusual–it’s really the point–but Mitchell’s never been one to settle for the expected before. At times even he seems bored as he peppers in dreams, imagined ghosts, and, most tellingly, references and characters from Cloud Atlas, as if names alone can add a layer to the very simple reality he’s limited himself to. But the most daring thing he does is free himself from structure just as he limits his scope. At the beginning we meet the narrator’s speech therapist and she’s set up to be a major character but we never see her again and only get one late reference to her near the end. Until then, it’s unclear if he’s even still in therapy or if he’s quit. There are a lot of loose ends like this and together they’re my favorite part of the Black Swan Green. It makes the book broad and untidy but it’s also the most realistic part of a novel that sometimes seems forced into unrealistic realism (I’m not giving anything away if I tell you the climax is an overdue divorce).

To be honest, I think I’d decided to feel this way about the book before I read it so you shouldn’t let my bitterness over not getting to read another Cloud Atlas stop you from picking it up. Mitchell’s writing is as good as ever, even in the service of a precocious 13-year-old who might hit a little too close to home.

4 Comments / Posted in Books, Davids, Fiction

Exhibit 17.6

Plot Synopsis Of A Showtime Action Movie That Captivated Dave, Tyrone, And I As Remembered One Month Later

The movie opens with a team of poorly concealed soldiers rappelling down a hill they could probably walk down, but the rappelling lets us know they are highly trained in all of the military arts (except concealment). Our team forms a perimeter around a terrorist base camp oddly appropriately located in Southern California Afghanistan where a stripper/spy has been taken hostage. A fake closeup/computer simulation let’s us know her captor is unimaginatively called The Bombmaker. I don’t know how else to describe the computer thing. Just know there is a lot of beeping and, I think, some faux-night vision. Still, it’s day. That’s why you can see those 15 to 20 soldiers spending the better part of an hour disconnecting their rappelling cables over by the hill where the Afghan kids go sledding.

Anyway, our hero infiltrates the camp, frees the girl, and spends 20 seconds turning around while a suspiciously Anglo terrorist fumbles with his kalishnikov. I think I actually went to the bathroom and came back during our exceedingly un-agile hero’s maneuver. Still, Worthington P. Terrorist III gets a knife to the chest in the end. Our hero grabs the girl and oddly leaves The Bombmaker alive. We never see him again. Na, I’m kidding. We totally see him again.

The hero and the girl begin to kiss in what I think is the back of the truck they’re driving away in (I assume this truck is where they kept the rappelling gear which is really looking less necessary than ever). We learn our hero is Australian. This seems surprising but whatever. So they’re making out when the hero opens a briefcase he stole and finds that it’s full of money. Cut to a black screen with our Aussie hero’s voiceover:

That’s when I moved to Las Vegas and founded…

…The Crazy Girls!

I think Dave and I actually high-fived here. We were that excited. Turns out America’s greatest spy is actually an Australian and has gotten out of the game in order to manage a strip club. Yep. Anyway, despite being out of the game he’s training his strippers to break into houses and steal information. Also, his strip club has a high-tech lair where he can run operations. Otherwise he’s completely out of the game. He says this a lot. If there’s a game, he’s not at it.

Until the CIA asks him to go to a poker game. He’s in that one. It’s hosted by the guy who finances all of the world’s terrorists. I think we get more beeping and green screen, but this time it’s okay because it’s actually night. So our hero is winning (naturally) when a girl bursts out of the other room. Apparently our financier friend had another poker game earlier and ordered this girl killed because she won. Except they then waited until our financier had yet another poker game to actually do it. Then she escaped. Everyone with me? Good.

So, our financier is going to kill both of them because he hates losing. Or he loves murder. All we know is that he sucks at poker and uses it as an excuse to satisfy his bloodlust. Needless to say, his henchman botches the job. Our very, very slow Aussie hero and the girl go back to his place where she tries to seduce him but fails because he’s looking at a picture of his dead family while sitting at a piano and playing wistfully. (!) The girl goes away sad. Then comes back thirty seconds later to try again. His family’s angry, Australian ghosts placated by some John Tesh, this time it works.

This is about when Ty comes back. Dave and I excitedly recap the plot. Ty seems dubious. One of us expresses hope that the Aussie beefcake gets naked even though he probably shouldn’t. The rest of us express desperate anti-hope. No one thinks about changing the channel.

Also, from this point forward imagine that whenever the scene changes there is an establishing shot of the Riviera hotel and casino. They apparently financed the movie and therefore get about 5 minutes of total airtime. These shots happen whether or not the following scene actually takes place in the casino. It’s very odd.

I haven’t said much about the actual Crazy Girls. Basically, they all have stripper names and a singular talent that may or may not prove useful. One steals cars. One can make computers do whatever she wants after some very stilted typing. One doesn’t talk. I’m serious, one’s power is that she doesn’t talk. They decide to use their skills (or, in one case, handicap) to infiltrate the financier’s hotel room where he is having…wait for it…another poker game. Oh! And he still has the same (white) goon. To recap, our Middle Eastern terrorist financier’s goon is able to keep his job despite:

A) Somehow botching the murder of an unarmed stripper locked in a room
B) Then botching killing her again after her first escape
C) Not killing America’s greatest Australian spy (this one is sort of understandable)
D) Failing to prevent the stripper from breaking into a poker game she wasn’t invited to
E) Not killing her AGAIN when ordered
F) Not sharing an ethnicity or religion with his boss while doing the one job in the world (Terrorist Goon) where this would be listed as a requirement on the Monster.com posting

So our goon (who is presumably in the process of converting to Islam) is 0/5 in successfully executing direct orders. Now, I’m not saying you have to kill him (maybe he’s Yusef’s adopted brother) but at least hire a second goon. This one is clearly overmatched. If what the beeping green screen thing told us is correct, the financier should have the money.

So the Crazy Girls all retreat to their lair (to what end was this stuff going to be used if our hero didn’t get back in the game? I really, really want to know). And…

I fall asleep. I wake up at one point and Dave and Tyrone are still watching as The Bombmaker is doing something. I’m guessing it involved bombs.

The end.

2 Comments / Posted in Davids, Movies, Tyrones

Exhibit 17.1

I’m leaving on another trip this afternoon, this time to Las Vegas to do these things:

1) See my friend Brant who lives in Los Angeles. That, I suppose, is the impetus for the trip, but what’s odd about that is I see Brant fairly regularly and–AND–every time I do see him, Brant and I end up going to a casino anyway. So basically we’re just taking the experience on the road. It’ll be like spring training for Thanksgiving.

2) Have fun with my friend Dave. Dave’s graduating from medical school soon. Dave’s getting married. Dave once fell asleep and locked me out of a hostel in Switzerland yet I’m still going to trust him to fix my cancer, cancer Dave will probably give me if I bum cigarettes off of him.

3) Entertain my friend Justin. He seems very excited for this trip which, possibly, is the only reason I’m still going. We got to have a conversation on the phone today where I explained how to check into a flight and why he should consider only taking a carry-on bag. I felt like that guy who writes those books on traveling. You know, the one. With the cargo shorts. And his glasses on one of those neon floating things. Yeah, that one.

4) Sleep. But this one’s really just for me. The rest of the guys are free to make their own decisions. I’m going to be like that guy who doesn’t exist who has a really good time and facilitates everyone else’s good time while never leaving the hotel room. Wait…

Actually, you know what, scratch that. It sounds sort of dirty. And by sort of, I mean John Irving.

5) Edit. This one’s also just for me. Here, look what I made today when I should have been doing other things:

That’s about 8 hours worth of other things I missed out on today. Weird as I wasn’t even home for 8 hours today. Huh. Well, best not to spend a lot of time thinking about it.

Yeah, so I’m making a sire line chart and then writing entries for it. It actually only took me about an hour or two this evening. My friends Dave and Neal have one in their bathroom. It’s the coolest thing in the world. Theirs is for thoroughbreds. Mine is for Americans. It’s going to be a chapbook as I’m not going to do anything else with the pieces and AWP got me all excited about having a chapbook again.

If nothing else, it got me through this week+ stretch of being home and not wanting to work on a bigger project just to get interrupted again.

While I’m gone, my sister will be staying at my place and watching the dog. So if you stop by to see me (or, more likely, the dog) and there is someone who looks like me but slightly tougher, that’s my sister. Maybe take her on a date, why not?

I’m back Monday. Things I’m going to do Monday:

1) Stop writing blog posts with the word ‘I’
2) Stop trying to fix up my sister

Great, so we’re agreed. You’re going to marry my sister.

This way I’ll see you at Thanksgiving. I’ll be the one in game shape.

I’m just kidding. No one marry my sister while I’m gone. That’s my one rule.

2 Comments / Posted in Brants, Davids, Travel

Exhibit 16.2

Speaking of Dave, he decided to involve me in his discussion of a book written by a self-hating gay satanist about how homosexual men should stop being nancies and start calling themselves androphiles.

So…um…thanks?

I’ll give the writer this: being a satanist is pretty hardcore. Is it Danzig hardcore? No, but maybe Dave Mustaine-level hardcore.

Not speaking of Danzig, Dave brings me into this here:

“I was going to do the work of coming up with some great zingers to try to answer what ‘male-oriented’ music and hobbies might be, but I’m rushed and busy right now. A. Peterson, I’m looking in your direction.”

That Dave thinks I am a source of information when it comes to manly things makes me wonder if Dave has ever really seen or listened to me at all. Nothing about my being straight offsets my desire to talk to you about which G.I. Joe’s would make up the most effective strike force or the fact that I, by myself and with no outside prompting, watched The Devil Wears Prada.*

* This isn’t true. As far as you know. Don’t dig to deeply here, people. I swear if you wait until I’m distracted and then say, “What was the name of Simon Baker’s character in that movie with Meryl Streep?” and I respond out of instinct with, “You mean dashing journalist Christian Thompson!” you need to leave slowly and never interact with me again. In fact, this might be a good idea for all seven people reading this. Great. So it’s decided. I needed the extra time to watch 27 Dresses anyway.

But I can do straight music, I suppose. The satanist says that listening to female vocalists is what makes gay men so, as he puts it, “Fabulousssss [limp-wristed gesture].” Okay, I only wish he put it that way. I desperately want to imagine this person as a flamboyant, campy John Waters clone who occasionally puts down his appletini long enough to say, “You know, our dark lord really can give you the answers you need to put your life back together. Oh, Lucifer, look at those Jimmy Chan’s. I’d sell my soul to Christ for a pair of those!”

Is Jimmy Chan a real designer? Well, screw it, I’m not looking it up.

So here’s your straight music, Dave. These are the first five songs that come up on shuffle in my iTunes. And I’m not going to cheat as much as I might like to do so:

1. “Hi-Definition” by Lupe Fiasco. (Yes, rap! That’s pretty hardcore. This is going well).
2. “The Modern Leper” by Frightened Rabbit. (Yes, indie rock! I am pretty cool).
3. “Hearts of Oak” by Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. (Uh oh, I hope something comes up to mix things up).
4. “What Was It You Wanted” by Bob Dylan. (Suddenly this is going so well it’s going badly. This song, by the way, is off Oh Mercy. Not really a standout).
5. “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” by Spoon. (Noooo!!!!).

Damn it. Don’t you see what’s happened here? Instead of finding all of the embarrassing music on my computer, I’ve found exactly what you would expect on the computer of a 25-year-old poseur which is far more embarrassing. I’m a zombie who purchased my identity wholesale along with this Twin Peaks box set and these Richard Brautigan books I think I love.

You know what might make me stand out:

Adam Peterson, Satanist.

2 Comments / Posted in Davids, Hardcore, Music

Exhibit 15.18

A Plot Synopsis of the Movie Adaptation of Dave’s Book on Taxidermy

In a world with only one salaried taxidermist at an American museum, that taxidermist is about to uncover a conspiracy for the ages and discover just how alone he really is…

The story centers on Carl Akeley the Fourth, a taxidermist with a taxidermy degree from MIT and an advanced taxidermy degree from Oxford who comes from a long line of taxidermists that believe in the legend of a fantastic treasure trove of artifacts and gold, hidden by the founders of the American Museum of Natural History, and forgotten to all but a few. The first clue was given to Carl’s great-great grandfather Carl Akeley the First by Theodore Roosevelt, former president and noted naturalist, saying simply, “The secret lies with Charlotte.” At this point it’s important to know that Charlotte is the name of an elephant Roosevelt shot and had stuffed.

Using sophisticated computer arctic weather models, Carl, with his friend Steve and financier Harold, finds the wreckage of a ship from an African hunting expedition, the Africana, containing Charlotte’s body on which they find a tusk engraved with a riddle. It’s a very big tusk, but they figure they have to take it with them and that if this whole treasure thing doesn’t work out, they can sell it on the black market. After examining the riddle, Carl deduces that the next clue is on the back of the American Bald Eagle under heavy security in the American Museum of Natural History. While Carl sees gaining access to such a highly guarded artifact as an obstacle, Steve finds no problem in stealing it. In the standoff, Steve escapes and the Africana explodes with Carl and Harold inside, nearly killing them.

They attempt to warn the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and Dr. Susan Cotter at the American Museum of Natural History, but no one takes them seriously, believing the eagle to be too heavily guarded to be under any threat. Carl thinks otherwise, however, and decides to steal it to keep it from Steve. Carl and Harold manage to steal the Eagle during a 70th anniversary-gala, just before Steve arrives. Dr. Cotter, who is holding a replica eagle, is kidnapped by Steve who thinks she has the real one, and Carl has to engage in a car chase to rescue her. As she will not leave without the eagle, and Carl will not let her leave with it, she is forced to go along with them to protect the eagle. The eagle is so big it barely fits in the backseat of the cab. Not to mention the tusk which Carl estimates is probably worth about a $1,000 bucks. There is a lot of discussion on how to fit it all. In the end, they manage.

Carl and Harold agree that the only place to hide from the police would be Jon Voight’s house. Despite Jon Voight’s disbelief in the treasure, Carl manages to reveal an Ottendorf cipher on the eagle’s back stitching, referring to characters in the (original) Carl Akeley’s Fundamentals of Taxonomy. The coded message in the letters leads them to the Field Museum in Chicago, where they find special deer taxidermied by Carl Akeley inside of an exhibit in the building. Carl examines the back of the deer with his glasses, to find another clue. After a short chase, Steve gets the eagle from Harold and Susan, and the FBI arrests Carl, who has the tusk (which he offers the FBI as a bribe, slightly exaggerating its value to $1,500 bucks to make it a more attractive bribe). Carl is actually a little relieved he’s arrested as by now he has an eagle, a tusk, a deer, and his rather cumbersome aviator glasses to carry.

When the FBI attempts to use Carl as bait to get the eagle back, Steve arranges to have him escape by jumping from the deck of the USS Intrepid into the Hudson River, a feat not too difficult for Carl as a graduate of the Navy Diving and Salvage Training Center. Did we mention that? Well, he is. Using Jon Voight, Harold, and Susan as leverage, Steve forces Carl to interpret the clue on the back of the eagle, a reference to a secret chamber under the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. When they arrive at a seemingly dead end, Jon Voight makes up another clue to keep Steve going, telling him a wood mouse is the clue to the Natural History Museum in Wisconsin. Steve goes to Wisconsin with his men, leaving everyone else to die in the caverns. Carl is a little bummed the men are gone as they were carrying his animals and animal pieces and it’s like no one else is even helping.

After Steve leaves, Carl reveals there is another exit that must be through the treasure room. They find a secret passage into another chamber. To their disappointment, they find it empty, and assume that the treasure was already moved. However, they realize a secondary exit must have been created in case of cave-ins. Carl examines the walls of the room, to find a hole the shape of the tusk from Charlotte (the elephant). This lock opens a door into the true treasure room, containing artifacts from all periods of taxidermy. But it also consumes the tusk, totally costing Carl like at least $1,800 bucks.

When they leave through the second exit and the FBI arrives, Carl discovers that the chief investigator, Special agent Chip Kind, is a taxidermist. Carl proposes to give the treasure to various museums around the world, with credit being given to the entire Akeley family and Harold, with Dr. Cotter not being penalized for the theft of the eagle. However, Kind says that someone has to go to prison for the theft of the eagle, so they fly to Wisconsin, where Steve and his men are breaking the lock to gain entry to Wisconsin Natural History Museum. FBI agents emerge from hiding and arrest them under charges of “kidnapping, attempted murder, and trespassing on government property.” The U.S. government offers Carl and his friends 10% of the taxidermy, but Carl only takes 1% and splits it with Harold. This amounts to approximately one turtle. With his share, Carl and Susan buy a mansion once owned by a man who knew Carl Akeley, and Harold buys a red Ferrari 360 Spider. Oh, it should be mentioned that both Carl and Harold are independently wealthy.

The end.

1 Comment / Posted in Davids, Movies, Synergy

Exhibit 14.26

…it is hard to imagine what America would look like without the small and shrinking number of people who engage in painstaking, firsthand research in order to separate the truth from the body of supposed facts, and who keep the rest of us honest. A corollary of this insight, of course, is that much of what we think we know is wrong.

This New Yorker article about a truck driver who has become the world’s authority on the first nuclear bombs is interesting.

Also interesting:

1) The entire article I had to keep reminding myself to sub-vocalize the word nuclear as “nu-clee-ar” as opposed to my more natural “nu-cu-lur.” It’s a mispronunciation I’m trying desperately to drop and it’s one issue on which I have complete sympathy for our current president. I grew up in western Nebraska, for god’s sake, everyone pronounces it “nu-cu-lur” there.

I’ve actually considered whether or not I should just live with it as a nod to authenticity. Possibly I should even use the word more, especially in rarefied company likely to call me on it. “This is some nuculur brie, California’s 46th District Congressman Dana Rohrabacher!” or “Our only hope is that when the nuculur bombs drop we still got good water in our cricks, Maya Angelou.”

This, however, is the road that leads to me becoming a James Carville-like caricature of Midwesterness. You’ll know this is the life I’ve chosen if you see me drinking pop and taking the ACT.

It’s okay if you don’t want to be my friend anymore.

2) Speaking of western Nebraska, at one point the article makes a reference to Scottsbluff only they call it “Scott’s Bluff.” Now, the county is Scotts Bluff, County, but, even giving them that one, that apostrophe is all New Yorker.

I wonder, did the town name not satisfy their archaic style guide? Perhaps Remnick and company should coördinate a fact finding mission among their most élite proof readers.

2 Comments / Posted in Davids, Issues, Nebraska

Exhibit 12.27

So I’m reading my copy of Love in the Time of Cholera for the company book club, and it’s an old hardcover that I picked up for $2 at a used bookstore a while back. In all ways it seems not to have been read at all. Perfect spine. Perfect dust jacket. Unmarked pages…or so I thought. On page 154 there is one passage underlined in perfect pencil strokes done with the aid of a ruler or bookmark. Nothing before that. Nothing after that.

The passage:

“…he convinced her that one comes into the world with a predetermined allotment of lays, and whoever does not use them for whatever reason, one’s own or someone else’s, willingly or unwillingly, loses them forever.”

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I bought David Duchovny’s copy of Love in the Time of Cholera.

Topical!

Comment / Posted in Books, Davids, Fiction

Exhibit 12.26

There are some fantastic readings in Lincoln this week although there aren’t any before Thursday. Until then you’re stuck reading to yourself. Or call me. We can read each other random web pages until they become pornographic or anti-semitic or both simultaneously. At that point we’ll close the computer and repeat the word blog to each other until Thursday happens.

Neither of these readings appear to have posters so I’ll just give them the posters I think they’d want.

1. The Clean Part Reading Series


Peter Gizzi and Julie Carr
Thursday, October 9th
7:00pm
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery

2. The No Name Reading Series


Dave Madden and Michelle Menting
Friday, October 10th
4:00pm
Sur Tango Bar

2 Comments / Posted in Davids, Or Both, Readings

Exhibit 11.21

I haven’t written about it on here, but a friend recently passed away after a battle with leukemia. Sarah was remarkable, touching a lot people’s lives as a teacher and as a debate coach (who surely would have considered mooning appropriate if the circumstances were right).

Dave is currently raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk which funds research for blood cancers. Whether or not you knew Sarah, you should consider kicking them a few dollars since, among many other harrowing lessons, this entire experience has made clear to me how random (and relentless) these cancers can be.

Sarah was 32.

Donate here.

Comment / Posted in Davids, Debate, Do

Exhibit 11.2

This post probably won’t be about cake or crullers or any baked good, really. So that’s an improvement already.

I just wanted to point out some things.

Carlin has started his eighth and greatest blog, Fake Interviews With Reputedly Famous People, which, as you may have guessed, features fake interviews with reputedly famous people. They continue to get better. I fear the day when this blog is abandoned like so many others and leaves only a disturbing picture of David Duchovony left for future generations.

I don’t care if that’s not how you spell his name. I’m not about to look it up.

Joe Posnanski’s blog features a poll on who is the lesser actor between Tom Cruise and Kevin Costner. As I type this, they are exactly tied with over 2,100 votes cast. My opinion: Costner is the far inferior actor. Now, if the question was which guy I would rather have a beer with or have a catch with or have show me how great he is at baseball, then sure, Costner all the way. But we’ve been given a question, and that’s the question we have to answer. Ignoring the question at hand in favor of choosing the better-honed public persona is how we ended up in this mess.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go back to trying to convince myself that the Batman I’ll see four months from now on DVD will be just as good as seeing Batman at midnight tonight in a theater. It’s an argument I’m losing.

3 Comments / Posted in Carlins, Davids, Links

Exhibit 6.14

I’m not sure when The New Yorker got all smutty, but in addition to the topless photograph of Lee Miller in the most current issue, there have also been quite a few Playboy-esque comics featuring topless line drawings and some joke about sex recently. Also, a year or so ago, there was an entirely gratuitous nude picture of a show girl. You may think that have these moments catalogued a little too well, but it’s really just the shock of seeing a drawing that looks like a topless Mrs. Keane from Family Circus wedged into an article about Rudy Giuliani that makes me remember.

I mean, my grandmother subscribes to this magazine for god’s sake. If John Updike were alive, this would never be happening (or, actually, it would be happening a lot more often with much more depressing results).

We’re about six months away from David Remnick launching New Yorker Forum. I’m going to start submitting letters now just in case. I’ll just go ahead and address them to David Denby for now.

Comment / Posted in Davids, Decay, Updikes