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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife
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It’s about TIME I got a fake TIME cover
Posted 12 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / General News

It has been 10 years since a living novelist has appeared on the cover of Time (since Stephen King in 2000). So why does Jonathan Franzen get to right this wrong? Why not me? “Because you’ve never had a novel published,” you say. True. Though smell on the street is that travesty will soon to be rectified….more to come on that lovely bit of teasery a bit later.

Until then, come on, you be the judge. I make a damn good counterpoint.

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Peter Griffin does porn and literature
Posted 11 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Unexpected Literary References

(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

In my continuing hunt for literary references in cartoons, I sometimes forget those that have been with me for years. I’ve long been a fan of Family Guy, and the episode “Peterotica” features some delightfully tacky parodies of contemporary classic novels used as the titles for Peter Griffin’s erotica writings. Enjoy. If you feel so inclined, watch the full episode here.

Angela’s Asses by Peter Griffin Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Shaved New World by Peter Griffin Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Harry Potter and the Half Black Chick

by Peter Griffin

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

by J.K Rowling

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Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” mentioned in The Simpsons
Posted 8 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Unexpected Literary References

(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

Ever since I made my first “Great Unexpected Literary References” post, I seem to have grown keen to book mentions in cartoons. And to be honestly, none has surprised me more than Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery,” a short story that I assumed was only known among the academic literary cliques. But no. Unless of course Matt Groening, Trey Parker, and Matt Stone were all at one time part of a literary clique. I wouldn’t doubt this; those guys are smart.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone I mentioned regarding “The Lottery,” in my first “Great Unexpected Literary References” post. Today, I bring you a brief mention in Matt Groening’s “The Simpsons,” this one from an older episode called “Dog of Death.”

The Simpsons | “Dog of Death” (the image above is a bit fuzzy. To watch the entire episode, click here)

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1
Mind effed: Jose Saramago hates on wisdom nuggets, bitches
Posted 5 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Mind Effed

Authoritarian, paralyzing, circular, occasionally elliptical stock phrases, also jocularly referred to as nuggets of wisdom, are a malignant plague, one of the very worst ever to ravage the earth. We say to the confused, Know thyself, as if knowing yourself was not the fifth and most difficult of human arithmetical operations, we say to the apathetic, Where there’s a will, there’s a way, as if the brute realities of the world did not amuse themselves each day by turning that phrase on its head, we say to the indecisive, Begin at the beginning, as if beginning were the clearly visible point of a loosely wound thread and all we had to do was to keep pulling until we reached the other end, and as if, between the former and the latter, we had held in our hands a smooth, continuous thread with no knots to untie, no snarls to untangle, a complete impossibility in the life of a skein, or indeed, if we may be permitted one more stock phrase, in the skein of life.

-from The Cave (pg 56)

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The Velvet Podcast, Episode 007: INTERVIEW with Blake Butler
Posted 2 August 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Media

Episode #007 of The Velvet Podcast is now live!

“If I made it I might as well destroy it by eating it” – Blake Butler

In this interview episode of The Velvet Podcast, I interview Blake Butler, author of Ever (Calamari Press), Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books) and the forthcoming There is no Year (Harper Perennial). Blake and Caleb discuss the impact of eReaders on visual-dependent literature, the novels vs. movies fallacy, and the importance of humility in a predominantly stuffy industry.

Please, give it a listen. Subscribe via Feedburner, Podcast Alley, or iTunes.

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Episode 007: INTERVIEW with Blake Butler
Posted 30 July 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / The Velvet Podcast

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“If I made it I might as well destroy it by eating it” – Blake Butler

In this interview episode of The Velvet Podcast, Caleb J Ross interviews Blake Butler, author of Ever (Calamari Press), Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books) and the forthcoming There is no Year (Harper Perennial). Blake and Caleb discuss the impact of eReaders on visual-dependent literature, the novels vs. movies fallacy, and the importance of humility in a predominantly stuffy industry. Read More

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Many Clockwork Oranges
Posted 30 July 2010 / By Caleb J. Ross / Unexpected Literary References

(part of my ongoing Unexpected Literary References series)

I was watching an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force the other day (yes, I spend my time wisely), and for the first time I made the connection between the data-injection scene in the “Super Trivia” the infamous video scene in Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation of Anthony Burgess’s novel A Clockwork Orange (yes, I said “for the first time” implying that I’ve seen this episode many times. Like I said, I spend my time wisely). The infamous scene portrays Alex (played by Malcolm McDowell) strapped to a chair, forced to watch morally positive images in order to cure his devilishness. This got me thinking, there has got to be more references out there, sprinkled throughout cartoon-dom. And there are. And surprisingly, the entire gamut from adult-intended cartoons to those created specifically for children, honor this disturbing scene.

Though these references may not technically be a direct homage to the book, I’ll allow them considering that the book spawned the movie, which spawned the necessary cultural awareness to appreciate these various references.

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