Where literature goes to die.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

If Only There Was A Code For This

You know to whom the world has been too kind ? Dan Brown. Not that I've read his books. I just judge them vicariously through other people. This saves both time and money. The whole “Da Vinci Code” thing never really interested me (although I do have a soft spot for albino priests who kill). In all honesty, there are far too few sharks in the Dan Brown books to hold my interest. But let’s not focus on that. Not everyone wishes they were in a shark-filled dreamland with Peter O’Toole and Carl Sagan. Instead, let’s focus on some fun sentences that other people have found in Dan Brown novels! Hooray! Special thanks to The Telegraph for showcasing some of these gems.

Deception Point: Overhanging her precarious body was a jaundiced face whose skin resembled a sheet of parchment paper punctured by two emotionless eyes.

I think this book is about a succubus and a teen girl who fall in love.

The Da Vinci Code: A voice spoke, chillingly close. "Do not move." On his hands and knees, the curator froze, turning his head slowly. Only fifteen feet away, outside the sealed gate, the mountainous silhouette of his attacker stared through the iron bars. He was broad and tall, with ghost-pale skin and thinning white hair. His irises were pink with dark red pupils.

Some people have personal space bubbles of fifteen feet. This scene is terrifying to those people. Also, the definition of “silhouette” was changed just before this book was published.

Angels and Demons: Bernini's Fountain of the Four Rivers glorified the four major rivers of the Old World - The Nile, Ganges, Danube, and Rio Plata.

I’ll give you guys a second to figure this one out. Hint: Think about where the Rio Plata is. Extra hint: Not the Old World.

The Da Vinci Code: Only those with a keen eye would notice his 14-karat gold bishop's ring with purple amethyst, large diamonds, and hand-tooled mitre-crozier appliqué.

Rings are invisible to most people.

The Da Vinci Code: The vehicle was easily the smallest car Langdon had ever seen. "SmartCar," she said. "A hundred kilometers to the liter."

Really? Smaller than a Hot Wheels? Oh, and for those of you who don’t believe a SmartCar can go one hundred kilometers to the liter, let me just tell you that they can. Especially if those one hundred kilometers are downhill and the car is in neutral. And the brakes don’t work.

Angels and Demons: Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.

Odd how the smell was what brought him to that realization.

The Lost Symbol: The OS director’s voice was unmistakable – like gravel grating on a chalkboard.

Do we normally associate chalkboards with gravel?

The Lost Symbol: The only wrinkle was the bloody black-clad heap in the foyer with a screwdriver protruding from his neck.

I have no idea what’s going on here. Whoever stabbed this person did a very sloppy job.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Canada's Worst Poet

Every once in a while a poet comes along who is so eye-twitchingly monstrous that they're kind of amazing. James McIntyre is one of these poets. Born in Scotland (there seems to be a pattern here) in 1827, McIntyre immigrated to Canada at the age of 14. He is best known for his poems about cheese and other dairy products. Seriously, I think I might love this man. He may even rival McGonagall for the title of worst poet ever.

Prophecy of a Ten Ton Cheese
In presenting this delicate, dainty morsel to the imagination of the people, I believed that it could be realized. I viewed the machine that turned and raised the mamoth cheese, and saw the powerful machine invented by James Ireland at the West Oxford companies factory to turn the great and fine cheese he was making there. This company with but little assistance could produce a ten ton cheese.

Who hath prophetic vision sees
In future times a ten ton cheese,
Several companies could join
To furnish curd for great combine
More honor far than making gun
Of mighty size and many a ton.

Machine it could be made with ease
That could turn this monster cheese,
The greatest honour to our land
Would be this orb of finest brand,
Three hundred curd they would need squeeze
For to make this mammoth cheese.

So British lands could confederate
Three hundred provinces in one state,
When all in harmony agrees
To be pressed in one like this cheese,
Then one skillful hand could acquire
Power to move British empire.

But various curds must be combined
And each factory their curd must grind,
To blend harmonious in one
This great cheese of mighty span,
And uniform in quality
A glorious reality.

But it will need a powerful press
This cheese queen to caress,
And a large extent of charms
Hoop will encircle in its arms,
And we do not now despair,
But we shall see it at world's fair.

And view the people all agog, so
Excited o'er it in Chicago,
To seek fresh conquests queen of cheese
She may sail across the seas,
Where she would meet reception grand
From the warm hearts in old England.

That's right, you just read a poem about a futuristic giant wheel of cheese. You're welcome. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Because Abuse is Sexy Now

Case in point: all of the Twilight books. I know they get a lot of crap, but they deserve a lot of crap, so let the poo flinging begin!

First of all, let me warn you I am only going to discuss one of the idiocies crammed into the Twilight "Saga" in this post. The rest will have to be saved for another time. Like whenever eternity starts. This entry will be dedicated to pointing out the dangerously obsessive relationship being spoon fed to young girls as the pinnacle of love. Huzzah!

Here are some not-at-all creepy things Edward says to Bella, taken straight from a stalkers' handbook:

"It makes me… anxious… to be away from you."
(Because no one should ever be separated from their girlfriend, even when she has to pee. Especially when she has to pee. She might find a really cute mythological creature to fall in love with in the bathroom.)
"They don’t understand why I can’t leave you alone."
("They" being your family, my family, and the police.)
"I couldn't let you walk away from me. It hurt just to imagine it."
"I thought I’d explained it clearly before. Bella, I can’t live in a world where you don’t exist." (You know, Edward, I heard suicide is painless. I'm pretty sure M.A.S.H. taught me that.)
"I don’t seem to be strong enough to stay away from you, so I suppose that you’ll get your way… whether it kills you or not." (Well shit, I guess it would totally be Bella's fault if he ended up murdering her and completely draining her body of blood. Totally her fault. She got her way.)
"I wrestled all night, while watching you sleep, with the chasm between what I knew was right, moral, ethical, and what I wanted. I knew that if I continued to ignore you as I should, or if I left for a few years, till you were gone, that someday you would say yes to Mike, or someone like him. It made me angry." (Angry? Or ENRAGED WITH ANGER? Also, who uses the word "chasm" in everyday conversation? Besides me...when I use it incorrectly to describe something else.)
"I’ll be back so soon you won’t have time to miss me. Look after my heart — I’ve left it with you." (Anyone who says something this cheesy deserves to be bludgeoned to death with a Louisville Slugger covered in rusty nails.)
"It gets easier. After a few decades, everyone you know is dead. Problem solved."
(Yes, let's look forward to the time when everyone who loved you is dead so that I can completely monopolize your time. He is also a time vampire.)

In addition to the above quotes, Edward also watches Bella sleep (without her knowing it), sneaks into her room when she isn't there, and breaks her car's engine so she won't get away and ... hurt herself or something. And Bella's reaction to when Edward "dumps" her? She hides in her room for three months and then binges on reckless behavior. Yeah. This book is beloved by teen girls everywhere. Isn't it romantic? America, we let this happen. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

When Good Writers Go Bad

Some people should stick to writing prose. Herman Melville is part of this group.  

Old Age in His Ailing
Old Age in his ailing
At youth will be railing
It scorns youth’s regaling
Pooh-pooh it does, silly dream;
But me, the fool, save
From waxing so grave
As, reduced to skimmed milk, to slander the cream.
-Herman Melville

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Love and Insults

Romance novels have a reputation for bad writing. This reputation has been diligently and systematically earned thanks to the hard work of certain authors. The following quotes can serve as wonderful examples of the kind of cheese that gets published: 

"Do you think I'd buy a whole case of beans and no protection in preperation for taking you with me into the mountains?" From Skin Tight, by Ava Gray

Maybe it's just me, but beans and romance don't really go well together in my head.

"Certainly no one would guess that this giant bald man with thighs that resembled tree trunks and fists the size of hams was as gentle as a kitten and baked the most delicious scones in the kingdom." From Touch Me, by Jacquie D'Alessandro. 

I actually feel sorry for the bald baker here. This is in no way a complimentary description of anyone. I hope he poisons those scones. 

"The sight of him caused Jane's pulse to speed up and her stomach to lurch. Kind of like scallops. She was allergic to scallops." From Dance of the Plain Jane, by Lillian Feisty. 

Fabio (cropped) = PSM V49 D563 Scallop shell

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Tiptoe Through the Tulips" as played by the USMC band

Sometimes good poets write bad things. It happens. We can't be on our A-game all the time. Today's entry showcases a low moment for the otherwise well-respected poet, Edgar A Guest. What sets Guest apart from our previous poet,  William McGonagall, is the fact that Guest had the capacity to also write good poems, while McGonagall did not. Ever.

But let's take a look at the following poem, shall we? I'm going to be completely honest, and say that this poem speaks to me on a subconscious level. You see, like the soldier described below, I too am driven to unfathomable blood-lust at the mere sight of peonies or pansies. In fact, the more manicured the garden the more likely I am to join in the battle, bathe in the blood of my enemies, and inhale their wisdom as I crack their bones for marrow. It's nice to see that I'm not alone in this peculiar floral fetish. Although I have a sneaking suspicion tha the soldier mentioned below fights to defend these flower patches. For me, they serve as a catalyst to my unquenchable thirst for domination. With that in mind, enjoy this poem.

The Things That Make A Soldier Great, by Edgar A. Guest

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,
To face the flaming cannon's mouth nor ever question why,
Are lilacs by a little porch, the row of tulips red,
The peonies and pansies, too, the old petunia bed,
The grass plot where his children play, the roses on the wall:
'Tis these that make a soldier great. He's fighting for them all.
'Tis not the pomp and pride of kings that make a soldier brave;
'Tis not allegiance to the flag that over him may wave;
For soldiers never fight so well on land or on the foam
As when behind the cause they see the little place called home.
Endanger but that humble street whereon his children run,
You make a soldier of the man who never bore a gun.
What is it through the battle smoke the valiant solider sees?
The little garden far away, the budding apple trees,
The little patch of ground back there, the children at their play,
Perhaps a tiny mound behind the simple church of gray.
The golden thread of courage isn't linked to castle dome
But to the spot, where'er it be -- the humblest spot called home.
And now the lilacs bud again and all is lovely there
And homesick soldiers far away know spring is in the air;
The tulips come to bloom again, the grass once more is green,
And every man can see the spot where all his joys have been.
He sees his children smile at him, he hears the bugle call,
And only death can stop him now -- he's fighting for them all.
If only those millions and millions of WWI and WWII soldiers had just thought about tulips and lilac buds when they heard the bugle call, it would have made those wars go by so much more pleasantly! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Immortal McGonagall

This blog will start off with a tribute to the worst poet in British literature, William Topaz McGonagall. That's right, his middle name was Topaz. He was doomed to failure at birth. Below is an example of one of his poetic gems* that describes the Tay Bridge disaster (a large bridge in Scotland collapsed over the river Tay while a train was crossing it). Enjoy.

The Tay Bridge Disaster

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That ninety lives have been taken away
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
'Twas about seven o'clock at night,
And the wind it blew with all its might,
And the rain came pouring down,
And the dark clouds seem'd to frown,
And the Demon of the air seem'd to say-
"I'll blow down the Bridge of Tay."
When the train left Edinburgh
The passengers' hearts were light and felt no sorrow,
But Boreas blew a terrific gale,
Which made their hearts for to quail,
And many of the passengers with fear did say-
"I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay."
But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,
Boreas he did loud and angry bray,
And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
So the train sped on with all its might,
And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,
And the passengers' hearts felt light,
Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,
With their friends at home they lov'd most dear,
And wish them all a happy New Year.
So the train mov'd slowly along the Bridge of Tay,
Until it was about midway,
Then the central girders with a crash gave way,
And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!
The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,
Because ninety lives had been taken away,
On the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o'er the town,
Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,
And a passenger train from Edinburgh,
Which fill'd all the peoples hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the passengers were sav'd to tell the tale
How the disaster happen'd on the last Sabbath day of 1879,
Which will be remember'd for a very long time.
It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv'ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.

I appreciate how he ends it by giving us some subtle advice. Remember to build strong houses, or you might die.

*raging hot pieces of crap