Order of Odd-Fish. Revisited.

04/28/2009 § 3 Comments

Thanks to James Kennedy and Christian Moerk for their readings at Hopleaf this evening.

Gemma and I shared the CB&J and some good beer while watching James Kennedy read from his book and leap about the room with spectacular energy. Though personally I’m not one for book readings, Gemma and I thoroughly enjoyed the theatricality and humor Mr. Kennedy brought to the table.

Should have brought my copy with, and not Lair of the White Worm, so I could have struck up some conversation.

Shyness is nice, but shyness can stop you….

Thanks to the lovely Gemma for escorting me and the good folks at bookslut and hopleaf…and of course the authors James Kennedy and Christian Moerk.


Hopleaf. Tuesday.

04/26/2009 § 1 Comment

If any of the twenty folks who read this blog have any interest, Gemma and I will be heading to Hopleaf on Tuesday for the bookslut reading with James Kennedy. He wrote a lovely little book that you should read if you haven’t.

Hopleaf has a wonderful selection of beer and some of the best brisket I’ve had in Chicago. Their CB&J is also delectable. Belgian beer and the Belgian Prankster for all who attend.

Info on James Kennedy and his book can be found here.

Come out and support Chicago writers.

Event starts at 7:30.

Norse Mythology….lol

04/24/2009 § 1 Comment

“The yeasty venom in them thickened and congealed like slag, and the rivers turned into ice.”

So I have about twelve or so nice editions of Fairy Tales and Folk Tales and I made a pact with myself to read one tale from one book every night/day and just work my way through them in that fashion. I made this pact on Monday or so. I think I’ve read four. One French. One Swedish. One American and one Norse.

I have broken my pact with myself. But that’s okay I guess because who cares really? I’m bad at pacts with myself. Like, “I’m going to write 2,000 words a week.” That’s a reasonable amount. Maybe even on the short side. Then I don’t even write 100. Then out of nowhere I write 5,000. I’m like that old inconsistent moon. But, like I said, who cares. It’s only my self development! >:o

But I guess as long as I keep plugging away in a reasonable fashion.

In any event. The Norse myth I read was titled The Creation. I was a little hesitant because a few months ago, when I got this edition, I read a story called Hyndla’s Poem to Gemma and it was an utter disaster. I couldn’t say any of the names right, and there was literally no story. This Hyndla was a giantess and she was always doing bogus stuff to other giants….or something. But then it ended with the words “Ottar will prosper.”

Yeah. On second thought I guess that’s pretty good, but not to read aloud.

So needless to say I was worried that the next tale I read would be equally disappointing. Boy was I wrong.

Like all creation stories it chronicles creation, but this story does so with quite a bit more style than most. People are begetting people and whatnot, but with panache. So it starts by listing a bunch of names and places I can’t even begin to pronounce. Then the ice and the molten earth quickens in drops and form a giant.

He was called Ymir.

Then he ends up being evil from the get-go. And the sweat coming from his left armpit oozes into a mess called man and a woman….I guess that’s similar to ribs. Same vicinity anyways. Then his leg ends up fathering a son by his other leg. Certainly a case of one hand (or leg) not knowing what the other one is doing.

That body is certainly a wonderland! Maybe Ymir is who the song is really about.

Then a cow is formed from some fluid. The cow is named Audumla. Ymir drinks from the four rivers that course from Audumla’s tears. Why she is crying we may never know. Cows certainly always look sad to me.

Then some folks start to hate the frost giants and kill them. All but two die and they embark in a boat made out of a tree and float down all the blood and gore to safety.

Odin shows up with a buddy and makes the world from Ymir’s body. Then there is some more chronicling of names and places. Very old testamenty or Lord Dunsany. It’s kind of like reading Lord Dunsany for that matter. Kind of boring but with what-the-F-word-bombs dropped every other page or so to keep you interested.

Here’s the best part though. My cat is named Hattie. Here she is.



Turns out that the sun, who is pulled by two horses, Arvark (so called because he rises so early, obviously) and Alsvid. They are following behind a wolf….named HATTIE! Hattie turns out to be chasing the moon. And they just go round and round. Round and round.

Round and round.

Orlando Furioso: Canto 2, 16-30

04/20/2009 § Leave a comment

Sprite fools Rinaldo and Sacripante

Sprite fools Rinaldo and Sacripante

In pops the sprite (a sprite!) telling tales out of school and Rinaldo and Sacripante eat the cafeteria food right up! The two knights believe the sprite without question, disengage from their battle and head to the land of Love; France.

Rinaldo hops on Baiardo, who gladly accepts his master on his back. The next few stanzas give us an explanation of Baiardo (Horse with man-brain) and why he has been acting so queerly. It turns out he was smarter than his master and had a better idea of where old girl Angelica was headed. He didn’t want Rinaldo to force him in a direction he knew was wrong. Crazy smart horse!

So it went, as we know, Angelica followed by Baiardo, followed by Rinaldo and the rest of the knights.

Unfortunately, the sprite who duped Rinaldo, also duped Baiardo. He has, after all, only man intelligence, and not superman intelligence. Rinaldo and Baiardo take off after Angelica. Rinaldo swears an oath that he will “have Orlando’s heart,” when next they meet. Remember, Orlando is his cousin! He wants to kill family! over a woman!

I guess it’s not a huge deal, after all.

So in Rinaldo’s quest for the Francebound Angelica he runs into Charlemagne’s forces. Blast! Rinaldo is ordered to England and though conflicted, his loyalties lie with his King. Then, when Rinaldo and Baiardo are crossing the English channel there is a mighty storm and the winds are fierce and the gale grows stronger and stronger!

The narrator abandons the thread of Rinaldo heading to Brittain to talk of Bradamante.

Swedish Rumplestiltskin

04/20/2009 § 1 Comment

“…and if she really could spin gold out of mud

and straw, he would take her for his queen.”

It must be nice to be a king and have the luxury of such high standards.

The Girl Who Wouldn’t Spin is a tale like Rumplestiltskin….only Swedish. It is basically the same. Except here, the troll who does the trick for the little lady, who is of course a beautiful peasant (is it me or are all peasants unbelievably beautiful? Or ugly? There is no average peasant), is named Tittelliture (the troll, not the lady. Sorry it’s such a bad sentence but I’m feeling lazy). Wikipedia says it’s something else, but it’s wrong.

Instead of wanting the first born child (as in the German tale) he wants to marry the beautiful peasant girl. I must admit, this seems a much better deal than getting someones baby. What is old boy Rumple, who lives in a tree (if memory serves), going to do with a baby? Maybe he’s just going to turn it into a stew or something, or he’s been trying to adopt. Who knows really?

Baby’s are work. So it’s probably the stew option.

So anyways, the king randomly discovers the funny little man singing a little song about his name, which is a funny thing to do. Singing about oneself in general is kind of strange.

Then the troll is so upset he explodes, which is awesome.

Orlando Furioso: Canto 2, 1-15

04/15/2009 § 1 Comment

So my brother doesn’t like my ongoing retelling of Orlando Furioso. He said, and I quote, “Not everyone likes the junk you like. It’d be like me starting a blog about P.G. Wodehouse. Who would read that?”

Well, in answer to your question, brother, a lot of people would read that. People love that dude. And why not? He’s funny.

But in an attempt to keep my brother reading, since he makes up about 1/30 of my reading group (and that’s being generous), I’m going to spice up the posts with images taken from childhood. And, if you are hovering around thirty like I am, you will appreciate it. *wink*


Rinaldo Fights Sacripante

Rinaldo Fights Sacripante

Canto 2

The beginning of Canto 2, like Canto 1, starts with the narrator discussing how cruel love is. ‘Tis true. But I never really enjoy these asides. We can tell how cruel love is because of the fountain that make Angelica hate Rinaldo and vice versa. And also how everyone is in love with Angelica and she could give a flip about any of the knights thus far.

A few stanzas worth of verbose poetry and we return to the action that finds Rinaldo serving Sacripante with insults. Sacripante responds by treating Rinaldo with insults of his own.

They decide to duel.

Remember, Sacripante is atop Baiardo, who happens to be Rinaldo’s horse. And though Sacripante has the advantage over Rinaldo (who is on foot), Baiardo does not allow Sacripante to tell him what to do. Baiardo does not want to hurt his master.

They fight on foot. Rinaldo, with his sword Fusberta, splits Sacripante’s sheild of bone. Angelica rides off, the color from her cheek now gone. She had no desire to be the prize of one she abhors! We follow her into the woods.

Wouldn’t you know it, in about twenty feet, she finds a kind old hermit who  desiring to help the maiden, sends a sprite (like Dobby from Harry Potter) to delay the fight and allow Angelica greater time to escape.

Helpful Hermit

Helpful Hermit

In this section:

Fusberta: Rinaldo’s sword.

Hermit: Mysterious. Helps Angelica.

Epic Evening

04/11/2009 § 4 Comments

“Water before love, my girl.”

“Does it take the whole Nile to quench your thirst?”

-Joshua and Lilia

I’m all alone this holiday weekend. Sure, sure, there are options. Things to do. Friends to see. &tc. But Gemma is out of town and I’m lazy without her. In an attempt to inject some epic into my life (something it’s been sorely lacking lately) I was planning on getting drunk by myself and and then blasting music and making my cat Hattie dance with me…all the while pretending that she was the size of a brown bear.

Luckily….or providentially perhaps(?)….I turned the tv on while I was eating my pizza– made from the dough I made the other night– and I caught the very beginning of The Ten Commandments! Thank you, thank you, thank you Cecile B. Demille.

…on top of that! old girl upstairs was tickling them ivories as if a frenzy had overtaken her. Sometimes things just work out.

I don’t really have much to say about the film, so I’ll just list some things; some awesome things. I like lists.

Firstly. Yul Brynner must be from a distant planet filled with crazy awesome people. That guy’s crazy awesome. Though his acting in The Ten Commandments is no different from  his acting in Westworld, (it’s funny to juxtapose those characters he played in my minds eye) it is still somehow spot on. Imagine that crazy robot running around Egypt claiming he was Ramses (probably by writing it in the sand….since, if memory serves me right, that wild west robot is a mute.

Secondly. What a funny time in which to live when folks thought that Gods would want grain…. and people would fill up silos full of it, just for the Gods. Isn’t that funny? If God has been around forever, and he made you, and you’ve never seen him/her, how on earth could you be presumptuous enough to think that God wants your lousy grain. Not even like bread or beer or prepared food….grain. haha. cracks me up. Eat it. Eat the grain. You grew it.

Thirdly. When old boy Seti and his daughter are playing Anubis cribbage or whatever, the dice they use is three round sticks that they rub between their hands and drop. …..are they always rolling threes?

Fourthly. Yul Brynner’s right hand man, perhaps some vizier(?), sounds like the Brain from Pinky and the Brain on Animaniacs.

Fifthly. Why’s he gotta chuck the commandments. I know he’s mad, but should Moses still be in too much awe of God to chuck them at the Baal worshipers? (It was Baal, right? Could have been Hermes for all I know)

Haven’t read my old testament in a while but I’m pretty sure Demille and company took some liberties. Still. It’s worth watching . Don’t know if Easter is the right occasion though. What’s Moses got to do with Jesus? I mean, I guess he foretold the coming and all that(?), right?

Any ideas. (Jer)

Added a few hours later.

God opens the sea with the blast of his nostrils.

-The Blind One

Haha. Blast of his nostrils. I’m sure there is a better, less comical way to say this. Perhaps “With his mighty breath,” or “with slight exhalation.” Anything other than blast of his nostrils. Say it aloud sometime.

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