August 12th, 2007

  • lizhand

Rocket Men

This post should probably come with a warning for women of childbearing age and sensitive individuals in general. There are some things scarier than William Shatner "singing" "Rocket Man" (Leonard Nimoy "singing" about Bilbo Baggins is one of them), but I really can't decide if there's anything weirder than Kate Bush's cover of the same song.

I know, I know. There's a war going on, the world is going to hell in a clutch purse, etc. etc. I still think we should take time to stop and smell the, uh, whatever.
  • pgdf

Sixties Novels, Part 33

JESUS CHRISTS, A. J. Langguth, Harper & Row, 1968
[Click to enlarge]

I was unable to find an image of the original 1968 hardcover, so you'll have to admire the cover of my 1969 paperback reprint.

I believe this novel to be fairly well known. (It was recently reprinted in 2003.) Yet the author has no entry in Wikipedia or either of the fabled Clute ENCYCLOPEDIAS (fantasy and SF).

But he's alive and flourishing nonetheless, as you can observe at his home page.

Here's a synopsis of JESUS CHRISTS and one reader's reaction:

This book will represent for us in our series how the Sixties sought to re-evaluate religion--specifically, Christianity. Alongside the trendy popularity of established Eastern religions and various young cults, such impulses would lead directly into the New Age.

Of course, just a couple of years prior to this book, TIME magazine had run its famous IS GOD DEAD? cover story:,16641,19660408,00.html

That trouble all started with Nietzsche, of course, as we learn here:

And the whole urge for a revitalization of Christ would lead straight into the Jesus Movement, the Jesus Freaks, and abominations like the Children of God:

Posted by Paul DiFi.

Finishing Kick

I'll be traveling the next three days, heading out on the final leg of my six week sojourn, with a few pit-stops. Be home the evening of the sixteenth.

Nantucket has a tradition of strong women engaging in what are thought of as traditionally male roles. When I was first here, there was Madaket Millie (who I wrote up as Sconset Sally in an old story, How the Wind Spoke At Madaket)--she singlehandly saved many a sailor who was being blown to kingdom come off the banks and once pitchforked a 400 pound bluenosed shark to death from her dory, the struggle lasting well over an hour. Last night I had drinks with another such woman, Sheila Lucie, who retired as head of the local Coast Guard unit and now serves as Nantucket's asst. harbormaster. I'm doing research for a novel set here and Ms. Lucie has been very helpful, giving me info about drug-running, salvage work, etc. Ms. Lucie likes her beer and we had a rare old time discussing the vagaries of life on the island. She participated in a good many Homeland Secuity ops as well as doing countless rescues at sea and is a really terrific lady. I'm sure she'll be showing up in a story soon, probably one she told me only much changed.

It was interesting coming back here. I found that a lot of my old friends have retreated into a kind of clenched tight-assed-ness and are defensive about their lives, though I never sought to challenge them. They seem to have perceived my presence as a goad, in that I am relatively footloose and unconstrained. I guess that's to be expected--people ae naturally paranoid and judgmental--but still it caught me by surprise. One of my old barfly friends has become so fanatical about the house he built, I made him nervous just being inside it--his family said he barely lets them live there and only has done so after a probationary period during which they inhabited the basement. Fucking weird. When they get into their forties and fifties, many people seem to harden in the posture they happen to have been in when they entered that period of their lives. This produces some surreal results. Hell, for all I know, I've hardened too, just I never gave a damn about owning shit and having a home and so on.

See ya in a few, maybe before...
  • pgdf

Todd Schorr: The Clash of Holidays

Today was little Jimmy Maynard's favorite day of the year.

The one day of the year that wasn't a stinkin' holiday.

Sleepless for most of the night, Jimmy got up extra early because he was so excited. Today he could go to school and do his chores! He could eat the plainest of foods! He could dress in simple clothes! He could skip any kind of holiday craft-making!

What a glorious prospect!

His house would be undecorated for a wonderful twenty-four hours, free of any holiday regalia. No Christmas tree, no Easter eggs, no Thanksgiving papier-mache turkeys, no Secretary Day's steno-pad napkins. No visitors would pop in bearing holiday greetings or traditional gifts, such as the candy pistols of NRA Day. The mail would bring no cards, the television would show no specials.

What more could a kid want?

Jimmy took his time dressing, savoring the feel of his non-holiday clothes. He went downstairs, gratified not to smell Kwanzaa cookies or matzoh balls. Maybe he'd have just some dry toast for breakfast, or cereal eaten by the handful straight from the box. He anticipated the easy smiles his mother and father would wear as they were spared for just one uniquely un-special day from church-going or shopping or parading.

Bursting into the kitchen, Jimmy was suddenly distraught to see his parents' crestfallen faces.

"Mom! Dad! What's the matter?"

"Jimmy," said his Dad, "you'd better sit down. I don't know how to tell you this, but the government has just declared a new holiday--"

Jimmy screamed, as visions of sugarplums danced in his head.