Horns

So, I wanted to say a little bit more about it, because we ended up talking again last night about how much we enjoyed it. I just wanted to expound on how visually funny it is. I know Joe Hill only wrote the story, but there were so many sight-gags that it kind of made me wonder if they weren’t also paying a little homage to his comic book background.

The diner is “Eve’s.” The guy who gets horns has a brother who plays the horn. One of the characters gets two of his fingers blown off so his hand is permanently giving devil horns. Ig is turning into a demon at the same time he drives a gremlin.

I mean, they’re cheesy, but they’re cheesy visual puns in a really fun way.

Daniel Radcliffe’s accent is hilarious. I mean, it’s definitely an “American” accent, but I don’t know where in the United States someone has an accent like that. And this movie contains more peeing than most movies. Also Ig spends a great deal of time with his pants undone. It’s really interesting just because he has a body on-screen in a way men normally aren’t embodied.

Anyway, I liked it. But I was confused how Heather Graham has ended up doing bit parts.

The Best Way Out is Always Through

I have been thinking to myself a lot “the way out is through,” and I got to wondering who said it originally. And there, in a pile of inspirational quotes, was “The best way out is always through” attributed to motherfucking Robert Frost.

If you know Robert Frost, you know why I say “motherfucking Robert Frost.”

Robert Frost is like king of the pithy quotes that, when taken out of context, seem, yes, inspirational and wise. You know Robert Frost only two lines at a time, you think Robert Frost is some sweet old New England farmer handing out gentle wisdom while leaning on his hoe, overlooking his lovingly tended garden.

“Oh, Mr. Frost, I seem to be tangled up in your blackberries, which also may be a metaphor for my life!”

“I see that, girl. But just keep coming toward the sound of my voice. ‘The best way out is always through.'”

“I’m free! Oh, thank you, thank you, Mr. Frost.”

“I don’t have time for gratitude. I have to help this person trying to make a big life decision decide which path in a metaphorical woods he should take.”

That’s never how a Robert Frost poem goes in real life, though. They’re always sad, someone is always missing a connection with another person or about to.

And thus it is with “A Servant to Servants.”

I’m still going to think of that phrase, but it feels maybe a lot more honest and a little less inspirational to know that the speaker of the poem feels rather ambiguous about it. As you do, when you’re thinking about your crazy uncle locked in a cage in the barn.

I Make No Promises

But I feel like a book that describes itself like this is going to be awesome:

You know all about Son House and Muddy Waters, but have you ever heard of Eraserhead Morgan? Lester “Proudfoot” Jackson? Hootin’ Jack Wilson? Probably not, because technically they never existed. The fact that they’re imaginary does not mean that their stories aren’t worth sharing. Obscure Early Bluesmen (Who Never Existed) helps to fill in the gaps left by music historians who refuse to acknowledge the important role played by fictional performers. Inside this book, you’ll find accounts of seventeen entertainers who, had they existed, may very well have had some impact on modern music.

Lake Mungo

So, they have it on HBO right now and the description calls it a mockumentary, which meant that I spent the first twenty minutes waiting for it to be funny. Happily, it was weird and creepy, so even though it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, I kept watching. And wow. I don’t say this lightly. I think this is one of the best ghost stories I’ve ever seen/read. At least among the most satisfying. It’s not a typical horror movie. There’s no brutal murders (on-screen or off). There’s no inexplicable malevolent forces of evil. There’s not even anything that jumps out at you. It’s just a whole movie’s worth of dread and horror.

It is filmed like a documentary, which means that there’s a lot of reminiscing about what happened, and a lot of pretending like these events would have been so well-known to you, but here’s the real story. This leads to this wonderful moment about a third of the way into the film, when a handful of really creep things have happened and you’ve convinced yourself that it’s okay, because they’ve–in real life–just done it with mirrors and trick camera work, when they “reveal” in the movie that they’ve just done it with mirrors and trick camera work. I can’t tell you how delicious this moment is, when you feel like you’ve drifted off into a “not real, but close to real” realm so there’s some distance, some ability to sit back and just enjoy, and the film makers reground you hard in the real world.

I was telling the Butcher, too, that it’s a little like watching a Penn & Teller act as a horror movie. They show you how they did everything. I still found the last frame of the film to be fucking terrifying.

I don’t know how this didn’t make a bigger splash when it was released. I mean, yes, it’s a low-budget Australian ghost story, but it’s so well-done. I was really hoping I could talk the Butcher into rewatching it last night, but he didn’t seem that game. But he eventually conceded I had been right about Trollhunters, so I think I can get him on-board with this eventually.

Edited to add: I ran across this, by the guy responsible for making it look the way it does. It makes me want to watch it again.

It’s a Big Pine Forest, With Room for Lots of Sleeping People

You guys, I spent a lot of last night listening to different versions of “In the Pines/Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” and I feel a little like my mind is blown. This is the best thing. Not best song. But I am completely enamored by the song’s ability to completely transform meanings just based on what gets left out or added. In some versions, the singer is a man whose woman is being unfaithful in the pines and he’s heartbroken and calling her on it. In other versions, she appears to be a woman who has to prostitute herself because her husband has died in a train accident and the singer is just someone observing her plight. But in other versions, it’s the woman who loses her head in the train accident and her body has never been found and it is her loved one who is desperately asking her to reveal the location of her body.

I want to write a story like that. I’m not sure how or what it will look like, but, oh, damn, that’s some good shit.

Today is Good

Some days, mere minutes after wishing you’d ever heard the version of “In the Pines” where a dude gets decapitated, you learn that the most recent prominent version is that version:

You Got Something I Need

I heard these back to back on accident yesterday and decided they followed each other pretty well. I think it’s something about the rhythm that fits together nicely. I’ll also say that my opinion of Kings of Leon is not that great. But this song is so good! And I was so disappointed to learn that they’d done it, since now I’m going to have to think at least a little fondly of them for this.

Also, that first song… not until yesterday did I realize “brand new pair of roller skates” was a euphemism for her vagina. And I think we sung that song in elementary school! Was there no one to say “he has a key! A brand new key! Don’t let the children near it!!!!”?

Also on my endless drive home yesterday, I realized you can always tell a Metallica song, even if you come in during an instrumental part, because those guys love random, nonsensical key-changes.

Brave

Today my hair is totally doing… I don’t even know what. It’s huge and curly and has, so far, been caught in the seatbelt, caught in the door, and had some leafy bits caught in it.

Thus leading me to wonder how the little girl in Brave manages to run around with loose hair on horseback and not have a brambly mess.

Everything Takes a Really Long Time

That’s what they try to tell you about writing. I wrote a story. My first one after turning 40. I think it’s good. It needs some polishing, but it amuses me. I’m mulling over what’s next. I have this thing niggling at the back of my brain, a Midwestern thing. A story with a big sky and bugs thick on your windshield. But I’m not sure yet.

I need, also, to figure out what I’m doing for October. And I need to try to run into a bunch of people to see if I can keep all the various things that are supposed to be in the works moving forward.

Yesterday, there was a blind item on the internet about a back-in-the-day A list country singer and his tv star wife who throw the most spectacular swingers parties in Nashville. This morning, on our way to work, the Butcher and I decided that, if Clint Black made no comment, but “leaked” a cover of him doing John Anderson’s “Swingin’,” he could have all our money.

Game of WTF?

I don’t watch “Game of Thrones,” but I just want to say this. If you run a show and you say something like “the scene wasn’t rape, because by the end of the sex, she wanted it,” you, sir, are a dumbass. The idea that you can fuck your way into a yes is really, really disturbing. And probably something you should think long and hard about.

Not a Cover Song

So, hey, listen, I’m going to talk about the Hozier song “Take Me to Church” and I’m including the video because I’m assuming not all of us have heard it. But the video is really affecting. Like you’re going to watch it and then you’re not going to feel like talking about what I want to talk about. You may want to cry. So, fair warning.

Anyway, so Lightning 100 has been playing this song:

And I have been insisting to the Butcher that it’s a cover of a Rihanna song. He insists I’m nuts. So, today at lunch I found the Rihanna song and they aren’t the same song, at all.

But, my people, they are the same song. You’ll probably be asked to sit through a commercial on the Rihanna one, but as soon as it finishes, hit play on the Hozier song. Just let them play together. See if I’m not right.

Here We Go Oh-oh-oh

Tomorrow is my official first day, but my boss said she’d see me about eleven today, so… yeah…. I think today is it. The new me doesn’t start until May 1, so there will just be a lot to do. And I don’t know if or how I’ll get it all done. I tell everyone I’m excited because it seems so ungrateful to just be stressed. But, honestly, I’m just stressed. I think I’ll feel excited later. But this month? I’m expecting long hours and just feeling like crying most of the time.

So, my dad wants us all to go down to my brother’s for Easter because my brother doesn’t yet feel like traveling with the baby–which I think really means that the car seat only fits in his girlfriend’s car and his girlfriend’s car isn’t sound enough to make the trip to our house. Which is fine. Except that this somehow translates from Mom and Dad going to my brother’s for Easter to my dad trying to figure out how we can all go. And I’m feeling a little unheard. Like all my talk about how busy and stressed I am must just be bullshit. Can’t we drive down there after work on Friday and drive back late Sunday and the Butcher and I could still get to work? And these questions come up and I just feel this kind of split reality where my brain is rushing ahead thinking “You haven’t listened to or taken seriously a damn thing either I or the Butcher has said to you about how crazy this month is for me.” and my mouth is just exasperatedly saying “And what about the dog?” which is supposed to mean, “Have you at all considered the logistics of this from our end?” Because, frankly, I feel like he hasn’t. The only logistics to be considered, always and forever, are my brother’s. He’s the one constantly in crisis, so let’s all constantly rearrange our lives to meet his needs.

I mean, for sure, let’s go down on Friday so that he can ignore us all of Saturday like he did at Thanksgiving.

Anyway, I finished David Cantwells Merle Haggard: The Running Kind, which is pretty breathtaking on quite a few levels. But the thing that stuck with me and seems of a theme to this post is how Haggard would find these really talented women singers and then marry them and then hoist himself up on top of their talent and they would find their careers as anything other than duet partners with him stalling out. And then we find out that he’s in hot pursuit of Dolly Parton and I swear, it’s just about as harrowing as anything in a thriller. Will he get her and thus stall her career out?

And it’s not like he’s purposefully doing that. He’s not some intentional career serial killer. It just seems like he has an idea about how the world works–that he should get to have a great career and a great partner both singing and romantic and that he should also get to do whatever the fuck he wants while they raise kids and tolerate it–which is an idea about how the world works that the record companies are glad to go along with. And there’s no point at which Haggard seems to step back and say “Wow, the way I am in the world really curtails the lives of these artists I really admire. In fact, I couldn’t be how I am in the world without curtailing these artists I admire.”

Which is understandable. Holy shit. Who wants to look in the mirror and wonder if they’re some inadvertent Madame Bathory career-wise to the women you love?

What was my point? Oh, right. I sometimes think that my family expects from me a certain stalling out. Like I’m cheating the family if I have a job or ambitions that take me away from whatever drama we’re all supposed to be giving a shit about at the moment. But what can I do except feel hurt and keep on keeping on?

Which, ha ha, also, joke’s on them. Because I am terrified of stalling out. Afraid I have. Afraid all the writer I’ll ever be is “Frank.” But stalling out in that way doesn’t benefit them in the least.

But man, Dolly Parton and Merle Haggard.

There are many couplings I like to imagine (not in a lewd way, but…). I mean, my god, when you read about Loretta Lynn’s life with her shit-stain husband, don’t you hope that she and Conway Twitty were getting it on? And looking at Merle Haggard in his prime? Shoot, I hope Parton took him for a couple of test drives before deciding he wasn’t right for her.

Songs for Belting Out

Both of these songs are the kinds of songs you have to sing, loudly, in your car with the windows down. But I’m not quite sure why. It’s something in the musical arrangements, where there’s a kind of swelling grandeousness.

But, if I knew more about music, I’d wonder if they’re not in the same key and, if so, if this key, for some reason, just screams to me “Sing this, loudly.”

Also, the beginning of the Miranda song is “Norwegian Wood,” isn’t it? Tell me I’m not hearing things.

Me and Venus

It was so dark on my walk this morning. And yet, somehow I still missed it when the stars faded and only Venus was left.

So, that was the end of True Detective. I liked it but I didn’t love it. The hallucination could not have been cheesier. And I feel pretty sure that those injuries were life-ending. But the maze was creepy as fuck and so sad.

I don’t know. I just really felt like, in part, we were being lead toward Hart’s daughter being at least tangentially involved–girls from school talking about it and upsetting her, at least.

But I was glad to have my walk. It’s very dark out there, but noisy. Someone was snorting in the bushes when I walked by.

Songs for Sewing

So, I think I’ve come across a weak spot in the world wide web. I’m still working on my story and the main character sings, a lot. In the beginning of the story, he’s moping around singing “Ohio” by CSN&Y and then some “This Land is Your Land” and the whole family sings “The Rock Island Line” and one baby gets the Dead’s “Casey Jones” as a lullaby and another baby gets that Everlast song “What It’s Like” sung to her and then there’s a whole part in which the main character is singing a stream of American music at his granddaughter. Anyway, we’re just now at the point where the villain gives the narrator Betsy Ross’s thimble (did I mention how much I love this world?!), which she heretofore has been unable to make work.

And the main character sings a sewing song. So, I’m all, “refresh my memory, internet! What are some good songs to sing while sewing?” And all I could really find was “O Can Ye Sew Cushions?” that sounded like a song someone might actually sing while sewing, which is also about sewing.

This is weird to me. I feel pretty confident in saying that any task, like sewing or weaving or spinning or doing the dishes or whatever, would be greatly improved by singing. So, where are those work songs?

I modified “O Can Ye Sew Cushions?” for my purposes, but come on! Betsy Ross’s mom did not sing her a Scottish song. So, that sucks. I don’t know if the songs just don’t exist or if my Google skills have failed me in finding them.

I did learn that there’s some doubt that “Sarasponda” is an actual spinning song, though, so that’s cool/depressing.

True Detective

Are y’all watching this? We watch it with the Red-Headed Kid on Mondays or Tuesdays, but I swear, I am about to tell him he needs to get over here on Sunday nights or lose the right to watch along. This waiting is killing me. Luckily, we got to watch it last night and, damn. I sometimes have a hard time believing this is even a real TV show. It’s just so smart and beautiful. I can’t remember the last time I sat around theorizing about what was going on in a show and I felt confident that the show creators had given as much thought to the clues in the show as we were. I’m convinced that every show I loved for having an overarching mythology was ruined by the fact that the writers, even though they promised to have carefully thought shit through, actually never had. They weren’t writing a grand conspiracy theory but a great game of improv. Tell me, honestly, that X-Files or Lost couldn’t have been mightily improved if they were given, say, four seasons right off the bat and allowed no more. Knowing the length of your story when your story is a conspiracy is important.

Anyway, let’s speculate:

We’re all of the opinion that Cohle is deep undercover in the present and that Hart is probably in on it. Something, we think, comes out about Hart’s daughters (maybe the visibly troubled one, maybe not) and Hart, though prone to violence against people who hurt children, can’t get at the guy who did it (perhaps his father-in-law molested them?) or he can get at that guy, but can’t get at all his friends, so Cohle, having nothing to lose and wanting to finally end this whole Yellow King (in other words, what’s going on with Hart’s family ties into the Yellow King) goes after them.

We’re all sure that Cohle would not be being interviewed if he didn’t want to be.

Our outlier possibility is that Hart is the Yellow King and Cohle figures that out.

I would love if we got some honest-to-god supernatural shit. But it fucks with my brain the way we don’t. So, I like it.

Wayne White

I finally got the Butcher to watch the Wayne White documentary on Netflix, which was even better than I’d hoped it would be and, of course, he loved it.

But the most important thing we realized is that, if ever someone makes a fictional movie about Wayne White, we have the perfect actor: Timothy Omundson. Yes, Lassiter from Psych.