Monthly Archives: December 2012

Tenth of December

Getting excited for this. I’ve read most of these stories in the New Yorker, but I stopped before reading the last two so I’d have something new to read in the book.

Already, it contains two of my favorite Saunders stories: “Al Roosten” and “Victory Lap.”

If you’ve read “Roosten,” make sure to check out this Justin Taylor essay comparing him to Flannery O’Connor. The essay has stood out in my mind longer than most for how jarring it was to see an article about something I was already actively thinking about, having just read “Roosten.” Namely:

Flannery O’Connor : Catholicism :: George Saunders : Buddhism

But of course that’s a little too tidy.

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Django Unchained

Django Unchained interests me most as a Christoph Waltz vehicle.

It’s the second Tarantino movie where the very best thing about it is the emphatic, excitable German who cannot wait to show how his command of multiple languages allows him to dominate everyone else. In one of Django’s funniest moments, Waltz is told that the powerful Leonardo DiCaprio is a Francophile and Waltz delightedly begins speaking French fluently, and then is told that Leo doesn’t actually speak French. And so he sadly puts his trick away.

In the first movie, Waltz’s presence made sense. The guy was a Nazi. In this movie, the German is shoehorned into a plot that does not readily accommodate a Roving German Dentist Assassin, but he has to be in the movie because hearing Christoph Waltz speak Tarantino’s words is one of the greatest things to behold in a movie, and Tarantino knows it.

Unfortunately for this Slave Revenge Western, there is only one truly compelling black character in this movie–Samuel L. Jackson–and that’s one less than Pulp Fiction had. Jamie Foxx is at his best when he’s playing roles Waltz created for him, but when he’s back to being himself, he’s a blank badass slate.

That I was wildly entertained throughout is barely worth mentioning. Every frame ached to please, and did, and did, and did.

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Charles Burns – “X’ed Out” and “The Hive”

Charles Burns (The Believer’s house cover artist) is two books into his X’ed Out trilogy, and I’m pretty excited for the conclusion.

Because Burns is playing the long game in this series, the first book (which ended abruptly, seemingly at random) left me unsure of whether he knew where he was going. But this blend of realistic and surreal threads is starting to coalesce and take on some real emotional weight.

Burns pushes his reptilian hive-world past the breaking point: In one panel, a woman births a pig via c-section. But the cartoony style makes it closer to palatable and flattens even the most extreme moments so they fit with the rest.

A general observation about the surreal: With exceptions, it’s a visual genre. I’d rather see it than have it described to me.

A hint about how to read the series comes in “The Hive”: A woman reads her way through a series of romance comics, but her collection is incomplete. When she returns to her characters a few issues later, she’s disoriented by their new problems and new relationships to one another.

We readers are too, but it becomes increasingly clear that unlike the woman, we’re being led.

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Boehnerized Self-Portrait (OR: What if The Huffington Post Decided I Was a Monster?)

2012 has been the year Liz and I have attempted to act our age and learn the basics of Photoshop. The only way to do this is to make up projects for yourself.  Today’s project is inspired by the glowering Boehner of this morning’s  HuffPo frontpage.

I can’t tell if I prefer despondent:

durham to gop

Or maniacal:

durham to gop2

In either case, the photo makes clear that (1) I do not have the best interests of the American people at heart, (2) I am the enemy of Christmas, and (3) I have a dark secret that I think I hide better than I do.

Here’s the screen grab of the original:

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 12.07.59 PM

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why did the farmer sleep on his bed

because all the animals took his pants off

And Understand This


by Gabe Durham

Pool Shark  Maury Postal

Kids, there are two kinds of people: Those who naturally love sports and those who learn to love sports. And if there is a third kind of person, nobody worth chatting up wants to hear about it.

Read More

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The First and Best Way to Secure Your Copy of FUN CAMP Has Arrived

Officially available today! Show your love for Mud Luscious Press by becoming a subscriber to our 2013 Novel(la) Series! Subscribers will receive the following four 2013 novel(la) titles, delivered quarterly to their doorsteps:

Michael Kimball Writes Your Life Story (on a postcard) by Michael Kimball

Fun Camp by Gabe Durham

American Homes by Ryan Ridge

PLAN/K by Kristi Maxwell

Subscribers will also receive a bunch of bonus items / incentives, including:

free shipping on all four titles (regularly $12)
a thank you note from one of our 2013 novel(la) authors
a free submission during our open reading period in summer 2013 (regularly $15)
a free Nephew title shipped to you at random during the 2013 season (regularly $10)

Need more convincing? Head on over to the subscription page to find out more about each of our 2013 Novel(la) Series authors and titles.

Our goal is 100 subscribers for the 2013 season. Help us out and get a mess of amazing words in return!
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