Saturday, January 17, 2015

To Snack on a Tub of Roasted Grasshoppers at the Movies

Had a date with Earthgirl last night. That's the view from a table of Abol Ethiopian Restaurant through their front window and across the street to AFI Theater in Silver Spring where we saw the movie adaptation of Pynchon's Inherent Vice. The restaurant was excellent - of all the Ethiopian restaurants in Maryland/DC we've eaten, the food as good as any but with more generous portions at the same prices. Pink pee! Earthgirl didn't care for the grilled beets, best fucking grilled beets ever, I ate them all.

Disclaimer: I don't like watching movies. I'd rather read. This is not a moral stance, just a preference. The only reason I asked Earthgirl on this particular date was out of curiosity how a Pynchon novel would translate to film. This was stupid - there has never been a movie as good as the novel it interprets, why would I think a film of a novel by one of my favorite authors would be anything but unfaithful to the novel (how could it not be, how could a film, even in a plodding two and a half hours, capture the multiple universes of even a Pynchon Light novel?) and shitty to boot (was the horrible sound production on purpose? to name just one gripe)?

I tweeted last night If you've never read Pynchon you can skip Inherent Vice. If you read and love Pynchon you should NOT see Inherent Vice and Jim tweeted this response just saw it. Wild ride, close to the novel. More for the experience than plot, char., or meaning. Contact high and Alex the Desest Ox tweeted Oh? I love Pynchon, and enjoyed the novel Inherent Vice. Avoid the film? Hmm. Go see the movie, do not let me dissuade you. Mine was a tweet upon getting home, I am not a reliable judge on movies, I was feeling dumb to be disappointed to be disappointed in an experience I knew would disappoint me. But... shitty movie.

So, confirmed: I don't like watching movies, I don't like going to theaters, a movie can never be as good as its novel, downtown Silver Spring is creepy and dangerous after dark, I like beets, I love grilled beets, we discovered a great Ethiopian restaurant, I love going on dates with Earthgirl.


Linh Dinh

Mudman in earth cafeteria,
I eat aardwolf. I eat ant bear.
I eat mimosa, platypus, ermine.
“White meat is tasteless, dark meat stinks.”
(The other white meat is pork, triple X.)
Rice people vs. bread people.
White bread vs. wheat bread.
White rice vs. brown rice.
Manhattan vs. New England.
Kosher sub-gum vs. knuckle kabob.
“What is patriotism but love of the foods one had as a child?”*
To eat stinky food
is a sign of savagery, humility,
identification with the earth.
“It was believed that after cleaning, tripe still contained ten percent
excrement which was therefore eaten with the rest of the meal.”**
Today I’ll eat Colby cheese.
Tomorrow I’ll eat sparrows.
Chew bones, suck fat,
bite heads off, gnaw on a broken wing.
Anise-flavored beef soup smells like sweat.
A large sweaty head bent over
a large bowl of sweat soup.
A Pekinese is ideal, will feed six,
but an unscrupulous butcher
will fudge a German sheperd,
chopping it up to look like a Pekinese.
Toothless man sucking
a pureed porterhouse steak
with a straw.
Parboiled placenta.
To skewer and burn meat is barbaric.
To boil, requiring a vessel, is a step up.
To microwave.
People who eat phalli, hot dogs, kielbasas
vs. people who eat balls.
To eat with a three-pronged spear and a knife.
To eat with two wooden sticks.
To eat with the hands.
Boiling vs. broiling.
To snack on a tub of roasted grasshoppers at the movies.

*Lin Yutang
**Mikhail Bakhtin



  1. It's true that the purest source of the Word is the page, aside from thought and oratory. There was a period in my life when I attended the church's sight & sound interpretations religiously, as in often, and in holy reverence. Of course, a lot of what they produced was original, or at least of a source no parishioner had read before it was projected over the heads of the flock.

    I still irregularly attend service, but nowadays mostly makeshift chapels and the like, if occasionally a basilica co-opted by apostates. The super-churches offer things that would seem to resonate with a larger congregation – as, indeed, the term itself implies justification of whatever has been delivered – but that secular shit leaves me even colder than the traditional aesthetic eventually would, once I got a taste of the cult life.

    To the notion that no such ceremony can reproduce the beauty of the Word? Certainly not for the devout. Conversely, as one familiar with the divine potential of the ritual wherein such is sought, in whatever box that holds it, I sincerely doubt what's being observed by those schlepped in & out of the multi-temples would do anything but disappoint and annoy me.

    To my way of thinking, your warning makes this particular rendering worthy of only maybe a look of last resort when soaring over the Atlantic for what could always be a default ceremony of last rites. How sad that would be, not because it would be my final observance as much as it would be the last thing I saw.

  2. Sorry if my tweet came off as skeptical, that wasn't my intention.(And I shouldn't post so late at night.) In my typically clumsy fashion I completely managed to not ask if you cared to elaborate on what marred it. I definitely wonder, as you put it, "how could a film, even in a plodding two and a half hours, capture the multiple universes of even a Pynchon Light novel".

    Of course, the last movie I saw was Captain America 2 (which was way better than it had any right to be) so I will not claim to be any kind of film connoisseur.

  3. kurt vonnegut liked the 1972 film of his novel slaughterhouse five

    Vonnegut wrote about the film soon after its release, in his preface to Between Time and Timbuktu:

    "I love George Roy Hill and Universal Pictures, who made a flawless translation of my novel Slaughterhouse-Five to the silver screen ... I drool and cackle every time I watch that film, because it is so harmonious with what I felt when I wrote the book."

    i see guillermo del toro plans to do a remake - who knows if it's good or bad