Monday, May 15, 2017


Skintight gold pants and men's mesh shirts are "business-wear" in Ubik. That is my favorite part of this book. Ubik is a part serious, part goofy sci-fi book. Everyone is writing "serious" sci-fi these days. Some of it has math problems. C'mon!  Many of the modern day writers are consulting with real astrophysicists so that their plots seem believable. Listen, writers of the are "world building" do whatever you want!  That's the whole point of being a professional writer.  If you care about what other people think go back to selling insurance with co-workers that think that Dylan's second place result in the semi-regional baseball tournament is news. Oh and did I tell you, I think Dylan's over his strawberry allergy. He ate some strawberry ice cream and only one eye closed up. I mean, if that's not progress I don't know what is.

I really think Philip K. Dick did not consult any astrophysicists.  I doubt PKD cared about anyone else's opinion, he had some mental problems, was married 5 times, but he was also one of those people who think that our existence is based on human perception.  He don't need no stinkin' laws of physics!  Also, in the 60's he didn't have to worry about some comic book guy dude tweeting about how one cannot suspend death by living in a deep freeze half-life. Not a care was given! He should have cared when he spontaneously lost his eyesight....yeah, that didn't end well.  

If you think suspended animation, men wearing chaps and see-though shirts is all you are getting with Ubik, well I have some news for you, that is just one many things going on, I'm not even sure there is a decent linear plot. There is also some quirky predictions about the future that are kind of apropos.  Everything is a fee based, you have to pay your refrigerator to open it and pay your door to leave your apartment. That door is a little smart aleck too.  

Note, I would not read this as your first introduction to PKD. If you like his stuff this book is almost a sample of his weird cogitations.

There is a little joke in here about beer made in Cleveland. And in 1969 that would have seemed strange but Cleveland, technically Stongsville, has one fabulous brewery called Brew Kettle. I love their West Coast style IPA called White Rajah but I'm thinking that they make some other fine beers, if that's not your thing. They have a beer called the Four C's that uses four types of hops, two of which are on my WARNING MAY SMELL LIKE CAT PEE PROCEED WITH CAUTION so I'll skip that one, maybe just a sample.  Anyway, Brew Kettle is super delicious so that joke no longer holds up. The smart aleck door--still funny.  

Sunday, May 7, 2017

House of Mirth

You would think with a title like House of Mirth there would be some laughs in this book. I know this was published in 1905 and some contemporary cultural references would not translate.  You know, like watching the really old MST3K episodes. Huh, a Jessica Hahn reference.....ok, ok that takes me back. No, if there is humor in this, it's lost on me.  No one even slips on a banana peel.  That is a timeless gag. Australopithecus was laughing about banana peels.

House of Mirth is a Victorian type novel about a young pretty lady who is kind of broke.  Her main option, what she was brought up to do, was marry rich.  Now she could just become a pharmaceutical rep. Even if you don't marry--it's good money! No problem. Back then, less of an option.

There is some weird things in here about men that are still relevant. Any gift given by a man always has strings attached. Sex strings. Sex Strings would make a good name for a punk band album. The Concrete Pacifier's seminal album Sex Strings.

Edith Wharton grew up crazy rich so she knows what she is talking about with her fancy parties.  She also married rich but the husband had severe depression.  They didn't have Prozac in the olden times so that would have stunk. I guess you could have hired one of those Freudian psychologists that would have blamed his mother and too many phallic references in his childhood nursery.  A lot of good that would have done. Now you're lucky if you get a therapist to text you: eggplant, eggplant, sad face. 🍆🍆😢

This book is well written and not as long as some Victorian novels but this one is only for Dickens-type fans interested in turn of the century sexual politics and high society's complicated milieu.  I know that is all of you so don't rush the bookstore all at once.

Let's pretend we are rich even if we are eating peanut butter on spoons.  A cucumber, basil, lime gimlet seems like it would hit the spot this time of year.  1&1/2 ounces of vodka, 2 slices of cucumber, 2 small basil leaves, 1 ounce of lemonade and 1/4 ounce lime juice. Muddle the basil and cucumber add the rest of the ingredients with ice.  Shake well and strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge or cucumber wheel. I'm planting my basil in batches this year so it doesn't come in all at once.  I call that the pestolence. (forgive my pun--I hate myself).