Friday, May 15, 2009

Great Literature

I just finished what may possibly the best book ever written.

Yes, the classic British novel of the husband-hungry Bennet sisters has been infused with zombie mayhem.

You may not know it, but I love Pride and Prejudice. I didn't read it until I saw the BBC miniseries version, but I've been hooked ever since. I love the language, the characters, the way everyone seems to fit so neatly into his or her own little mold. One thing that I always felt was lacking, though, was martial arts action and grisly scenes of undead slaughter. I'm so happy to see what these additions have brought to this Austen classic.

The key to its success, of course, lies in the writing. Austen's original is there, "spiced" with the additional details that blend seamlessly in with the text we know and love. In fact, I can no longer remember whether Mr. Darcy was initially attracted to Elizabeth because of her "fine eyes" or her skill with the Chinese throwing star.

Of course, this has me thinking. To which of the books I've previously laughed, cried, or even snored my way through could zombies be added? The possibilities are limitless:

  • To Kill a Zombie: Harper Lee's classic novel, with the rabid dog scene replaced with a zombie.
  • Of Mice and Men and Zombies: I confess, in my version the zombies eat everyone on page 14. I hate this book.
  • Ethan Frome: No changes needed.
  • A Scarlett Letter (With Zombies!): Wouldn't Hester Prynne as a pre-feminist zombie hunter have played better?

If adding zombies to classic literature is popcorn, adulterating Pride and Prejudice with modern pop culture themes is the chemically generated "butter." I have a few ideas, based on my childhood loves...

  • Pride and Prejudice and Mrs. King: Elizabeth teams up with a 40-ish divorcee to catch the bad guys...and maybe a husband! (Special guest star: Gary Coleman)
  • Darcy & Hutch: When a drug dealer takes Starsky out of commission, Hutch finds his new partner, a stuffy Etonian with an overblown sense of social class. (Special guest star: Charo)
  • Gimme a Mate: The Bennets welcome their sassy new housekeeper, who teaches them a few things about life...and love! (Special guest star: Ray Parker, Jr.)
  • Longbourn: Things are quiet in this sleepy British village, until a Texas oilman with a large fortune and a love for the ladies makes an appearance. (Special guest star: Linda Evans)
  • The Bennet Bunch: After Mrs. Bennet's untimely demise, Mr. Bennet forms an alliance with a new widow named Carol with six children of her own! Fortunately, Alice helps keep them all in line. (Special guest star: Davy Jones)

It's gold, I tell you. Gold.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Get Lost!

I am a Lost-phile.

  • Lost-phile, n. One who watches the television show Lost and obsesses over the meaning of each frame, hoping to unlock the secrets of the show, but also knows that successfully guessing would ruin everything, so secretly hopes that he/she doesn't actually know anything. (Source: Sir Mix-A-Lot's Guide To Future Irrelevance)

If you're not a Lostie, never fear. I won't bore you with a recap of anything. I just thought I'd take some space and explain what I find so fascinating about the show.

Although, since the season 5 finale (which aired last night) concluded with the words "Lost: 2010," should you want to catch up and get on board for the final season, you've got a chance now.

Things I love about Lost:

1. Impossible to Follow Plotlines: Nothing ruins a drama faster than predictability. The challenge in a show like Lost, though, is answering one question while asking five new ones, all without making the audience hurl a brick through the TV. The X-Files managed to do this for a while, until Scully became exposed to some alien form of Lifetime: Television for Women and began suffering from cancer, spontaneous pregnancy, acne, vertigo, Epstein-Barr, and cheerleader murders. Lost is still doing it, and it is awesome.

2. Delicious Eye Candy -or- Superb Characters, whichever makes me classier: Lost has some truly yummy examples of good acting. The example I'll use is bad boy Sawyer, whom I would have cheerfully dismembered in Season 1, but now would clasp to my bosom and hum gently. It is a credit to writers and actors that this transformation made perfect sense, and my feelings (minus the bosom humming, probably) are shared by many Lost fans.

3. Sven likes it. It is rare indeed when we share the same taste in TV fare. Lost became a Wednesday night ritual in our house, one of the few rituals to survive the birth of our children.

4. References. Lost is a candy store of "Easter egg" references. ("Easter eggs" are small details that are later revealed to be very significant.) For example, the books characters are reading could be clues to the secrets of the island. The books won't be mentioned, or even shown 100% clearly, but we Lost-philes are all over Wikipedia the next day, trying to figure out what Paradise Lost, Star Trek, Star Wars, Stephen King, Faulkner, Egyptian mythology, and Volkswagen mini-vans have to do with each other.

I love this show. I think the smartest thing they did was set and end date seasons in advance, so it will play out like an extended miniseries. We don't know where they're going, but we know the end is in sight.

Who is the man in black? What does Jacob's touch do to those he touches? Is John Locke really dead? Did Ben tell the truth? Was the ship on the horizon the Black Rock? Is that how Richard got to the island, or was he already there? Is the statue of Anubis, or someone more obscure? Did they change history?


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kerfuffle No. 1

I love the word "kerfuffle." It's fun to say, it's fun to write, and it means something fun to contemplate.

Kerfuffle, basically, is a commotion, a disturbance, or some other form of mild chaos.

My favorite current kerfuffles, in no particular order:

1. Miss California 2009 vs. the Gay Media Elite

The players:

Carrie Prejean, Miss California 2009, pictured below in less complicated times.

Perez Hilton, gossip columnist and member of the Gay Media Elite:

And Donald Trump, celebrity mogul and owner of the Miss USA pageant contestants:

(Boy, looking over those pictures, I'm glad I thought to add captions. Otherwise, you might not be able to tell them apart!)

The kerfuffle in this case began at this year's widely viewed Miss USA pageant. Miss California drew Perez Hilton, one of the "celebrity" judges, as her questioner for the infamous "interview" portion, in which the contestants must prove that they are carbon-based life forms that can blink more than once per minute. Hilton asked Miss California if she felt other states should follow the four states who (at that time) currently allowed same-sex marriage.

Prejean: I think it's great that Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage and, you know what, in my country and my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anyone out there but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be between a man and a woman.

Perez Hilton: You dumb -----. That's why I voted against you and you lost, ha ha.

Fox News: No! The Gay Media Elite robbed us of our rightful Miss USA!

Prejean: [becomes a celebrity spokesmodel for traditional marriage]

Gay Media Elite: No! A beauty queen is speaking out against us! That can't be allowed!

Prejean: [appears on several news programs]

Fox News: Yay! A conservative beauty queen who likes traditional marriage!

Prejean: [courageously makes more appearances]

Gay Media Elite: Yay! She posed in naked pictures!

Prejean: No, they were modeling shots. And I was 17. And it was only one picture.

Gay Media Elite: What about these?

Topless Photos: Hello!

Prejean: The wind blew my top off. (she really said this)

Fox News: [facepalm]

Trump: It's my decision whether or not this woman should remain Miss California.

Pageant Folk: Well, she lied on her application about nude/semi-nude photos, she's been ignoring her duties as Miss California to do work for this political organization, we've had to create a title for her runner-up so she can make the appearances instead...

Trump: You had me at nude photos. She stays.

Gay Media Elite: No!

Fox News: Yay?

Prejean: [signs more deals]

Miss California First Runner Up: Hey!

Now that's good kerfuffle.