Sunday Potpourri: Blood, Sal Mineo, and Green Pajamas Edition

I had an urge to change my scenery this afternoon, so instead of sitting in my den with my feet up, I’m sitting in my office with my feet up. Apparently the Bengals are making like a squashed possum,  so I thought I’d take a little time to blog…

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While Mrs. M and were watching TV this morning (our usual Sunday mix of true crime and HGTV), it occurred to me that I was about due to donate blood. I checked online, and found out that not only was I eligible this very day, but that the bloodmobile (in this instance, a bus called “The Blood Vessel”) would be in Mondoville this afternoon. And then, as I ate my lunch, I got an e-mail telling me that I was in fact eligible to hoist a pint. Clearly the Magic 8-ball was telling me that signs pointed to Yes, so after lunch, I headed over to the WalMart parking lot, which was approaching a state my mom used to describe as “lipping full.”

The bloodmobile, however, was not full, and I zipped through the preliminaries in short order. I stretched out on one of the couches and was regaled by about 20 minutes of a movie based on a video game I used to play on a regular basis. From what I saw of the movie, I suspect the game was far more entertaining.

A snack and a drink later, here I am, and I just learned that my next visit will put me at the two-gallon mark, so I’m closing in on my second average person’s worth. And people do continue to need blood this time of year, so if you’re eligible, might I recommend that you make a donation? It’s an easy way to feel good this time of year.

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A week or two before the term’s end, my friend Justin and I were talking to another friend and colleague, and the subject of James Ellroy came up. Justin’s a big fan, and I’ve read my share of Ellroy’s work as well, as you might expect given a lot of what I write. We were talking about the idiosyncratic prose style Ellroy has developed in the last few decades — a telegrammatic voice heavy on alliteration, choppiness, and a cross between hipster patois and 1950s scandal sheet text. I mentioned that I find Ellroy an arduous read, but agreed with Justin that there’s a weird sort of momentum that can pull the reader along even as it exhausts.

Our other friend asked what pleasure there is in plowing through the stuff, and I freely admitted that it wasn’t something I’d recommend that other writers try, and that it could all too easily veer into self-parody. But somehow, it works for Ellroy — at least often enough to make me turn the page. And there’s no other voice quite  like it. Thank God.

Well, as it happens, I found out this morning that Ellroy has a decent sized article in The Hollywood Reporter, looking at the investigation of Sal Mineo’s murder. So after I read it, I passed it along to Justin and my friend, and now I’m passing it along to you as well. It’s not Ellroy at his speedfreak weirdest, but it definitely has the flavor. Consider it the equivalent of those “fun-size” candy bars you give out at Halloween. Complete with little bitty razor blades.

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In other reading, I got an advance look at At Home in the Dark, Lawrence Block’s forthcoming antho, including work from Your Genial Host. Friends, this one’s a corker. Although I may not be the best judge of my own contribution, I can tell you that the other stories run the gamut from Western (by James Reasoner) to fantastic horror, courtesy of Joe Hill. As you may have noticed on Twitter, I thought Joe R. Lansdale’s “The Senior Girls’ Bayonet Team” was a stunner as well, but honestly, every story I read was worthy of praise — I mean really, do you think Joyce Carol Oates is going to shoot blanks? The book comes out at the end of April in a collector’s edition and e-format, and a trade paperback version will show up in mid-summer.

It’s always an honor to be included in these anthologies, but I feel even more overwhelmed to have my little slice of the rock and roll world tucked in here. You can order the collector’s edition here, and I’ll keep you posted as the others become available.

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And before I close, a bit of music for the season. In the past, I’ve talked about my affection for Seattle-based psychsters The Green Pajamas. However, chief Pajama Jeff Kelly engages in other musical projects as well, and one of them is an outfit called The Goblin Market. The duo’s name, of course, is derived from Christina Rosetti’s darkly fantastic poem of that title, and the musicians have done settings of poems by Ms. Rosetti, Poe, Emily Bronte, and Elizabeth Siddal, while another album was inspired by stories from the abovementioned Ms. Oates.

The group is described as “folk-Goth”, which makes a certain sense to me (and can be applied to some of the PJs’ other work as well), but even folk-Goth types can celebrate Christmas, right? So here they are, with their setting of Ms. Rosetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter.”

See you soon!

About profmondo

Dad, husband, mostly free individual, medievalist, writer, and drummer. "Gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche."
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