F. Brett Cox
Nov. 2nd, 2009
Not Far to Go Before I Die
by F. Brett Cox
The woods were ugly, shallow, and well-lit by the full moon; nonetheless, Keene was apprehensive as he stumbled towards the wretched grove, having been warned by the Trustees that doom awaited within, a warning he blithely ignored even as he routinely ignored all advice from all organizations that falsely claimed power over him, a warning that, despite what common sense and a shrewd reading of the history of the organization told him, still gave rise to a flicker of dread, a spasm of suspicion as he entered the wood, pushing aside the deformed and hideous branches, not able to bear even the thought of the warped vegetation touching his face, gnarled like the claws of an arthritic demon, or perhaps the hands of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, spreading incompetence across the land like a shroud—and yet, despite his best efforts, the very tip of a withered branch scratched his cheek, drawing blood that proceeded to flow as if from a much deeper wound, blood that turned black as it dripped down his face, his chin, eroding his flesh as it flowed, expelling his life force like the ancient, ash-heavy breath of a bellows from a hearth long abandoned, and as he fell to the ground, scattering the brittle leaves and sticks, he took thin comfort in knowing that, in his absence, the Trustees would lack a quorum, a final thought that brought the faintest hint of a smile to his rotting, bleeding face as he fell to the ground, dead.
[As a memorial to Mr. Keene, consider making a donation in support of the Shirley Jackson Awards.]
Oct. 31st, 2009
11:20 am - Happy Halloween
Spent an afternoon and evening in Salem, Massachusetts, on Thursday, the first time I’ve ever been there during their big holiday season. It's striking how much of the hype is not exploiting the witchcraft trials (although some of it certainly is) as much as it's using Salem’s tragic history as an excuse to make the town headquarters for all things pagan/Wiccan/black clothing required.
Closer to home, here are some images from a few years ago of the pumpkin display at Ellie’s Farmer’s Market (yes, the same one where the guy was singing "Ode to Billie Joe"). Every Halloween, they cover a hillside with hundreds of individually carved and lit jack o’lanterns. Always impressive.
And finally, Martin Scorcese’s favorite horror movies.
Oct. 29th, 2009
09:34 am - Song of the Week
Florence and the Machine, "Kiss with a Fist" (2009). When problematic lyrics happen to great tunes. Romanticizing domestic violence? Grrrl power? You be the judge.
Oct. 28th, 2009
...you go to the local farmer's market, and there are half a dozen people out front carving pumpkins, including one older gentleman singing "Ode to Billie Joe" while he carves. [Cross-posted from Facebook.]
Oct. 26th, 2009
Oct. 25th, 2009
03:04 pm - Zombieland
As part of the slow march to Halloween, we finally saw Zombieland last night. Now, Woody Harrelson + zombies = I'm already (to cite the great contemporary philosopher Tracy Morgan) down like four flat tires. So I'm happy to report that everybody else in the movie is good, too, highlighted by a gaspingly funny unannounced cameo by a big-time movie star. Gross zombie stuff throughout, but much more funny than scary. And it is very funny. Two detatched and rotting thumbs up.
Oct. 16th, 2009
12:10 pm - Interfictions Update
Oct. 15th, 2009
10:47 am - Musical passings
From opposite ends of the spectrum, but both familiar figures from my childhood:
Al Martino, 82, post-Sinatra crooner best-known for his role in The Godfather playing a singer who was sortakinda like Sinatra. Biggest hit: "Spanish Eyes" (1965).
Dickie Peterson, 63, bass player and lead singer for Blue Cheer, a strong contender for the perpetually floating title of Inventors of Heavy Metal. Biggest hit: ”Summertime Blues" (1968).
Oct. 14th, 2009
05:21 pm - My New Favorite TV Show
The Ion Network has just finished running the first six-episode season of Durham County, a Canadian crime drama that’s the best thing I’ve seen on TV in a while. Dark, brooding, elegant. Did I mention dark? Try anxiety-ridden from start to finish. First-rate performances all around, with special mention to Justin Louis’s astonishing portrayal of Ray Prager, one of the most unnerving sociopaths ever. All hail series creators Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik, Janis Lundman, and Adrienne Mitchell, who also wrote and (with Holly Dale) directed all episodes. Season 2 begins on Ion in January. Season 1 is available on DVD at amazon.ca. Highly recommended.
Oct. 8th, 2009
10:26 am - Literary stuff
A new story is up at the Interfictions Annex: "The Chipper Dialogues" by Ron Pasquariello.
Congratulations to Herta Mueller, the winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Literature. Mueller is a native of Romania who writes in German and "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed." Fun fact: “After completing her [university] studies, she worked as a translator at a machine factory from 1977 to 1979. She was dismissed when she refused to be an informant for the secret police.”