In the case of his latest work, which reportedly surrounds Dante in a matrix of intrigue much as DaVinci Code did with DaVinci, apparently Dan Brown didn't bother to read Inferno before starting on his own book. To put it charitably, then, according to the reviewer the resulting work has suffered.
What makes Dan Brown's work so popular, then, is this process:
1. Dan Brown writes something which is openly heretical with regards to Christianity.By the way, having re-read my discussion of DaVinci Code from the first year of the Fungus I have to admit that I did like the book. It was entertaining, and since I know that Dan Brown was making a bunch of shit up for the sake of his story I was able to put aside whatever offense I might have taken from it and just enjoy it.
2. Atheists and other anti-Christians (ie the media mavens and critics) read it and praise it as a really great read, primarily because they like the way it insults Christianity.
3. People who uncritically trust the critics buy the books, thus catapulting them onto the best-seller lists.
4. People who think any best-seller has to be a good read buy the books, pushing it higher on the list.
5. Dan Brown writes another book, even more sloppily than the first.
I can do that in exactly the same way I managed to enjoy Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter...and for much the same reason.
* * *
The Onion, for once, manages a really, really fine bit of satire. The story claims that the entirety of ancient Greek culture--"long thought to be the intellectual basis of Western civilization"--was simply made up out of whole cloth by graduate students from 1971 through 1974.
This is, in its own way, a subtle bit of satire aimed at Baby Boomers who apparently believe they invented sex, intoxicant use, democracy, swearing, and leftist politics.
* * *
Damn it, you are supposed to be safe from lightning when indoors. Guy is sitting at his desk watching a thunderstorm, when the storm reaches out with a mighty fist and pounds him right in the chest. He's lucky to be alive. WTF.
* * *
My brother is at it again.
...yesterday he told me about what happened with his Corvette. Apparently he blew the clutch in the thing.
See, back when my brother drove a Camaro with a 305 V8, he got perhaps 30,000 miles out of a clutch before it needed replacement. Seeing how he drove then (and still drives now) I am not terribly surprised; and since the Corvette has perhaps 2.5 times as much power--from a mere 45 additional cubic inches--as his Camaro did I doubt he's any easier on clutches now. (The 1980 Camaro made perhaps 130 horsepower. For reference, my Fiero makes 135 from a V6 with a bit more than half the displacement. Carburated smog control FTW!) (The Camaro's 5.0 V8 made gobs more torque than the Fiero's 2.8 V6 does, though.)
Dealer wanted $2,700 to replace the clutch. No, that's not a typo. He found a speed shop that would do it for $1,000 installed, which is more like it, and then he proceeded to have the guy also add a snappier camshaft and a set of exhaust headers and do a little tuning on the dyno.
The car managed to rip off a pass on the dynamometer which indicated the engine was now making over three times as much power as the one in his 1980 Camaro had made...before the engine spun a bearing.
Engine out, new rings, new bearings, etc, etc. No report yet on how much the final tally is, nor how much actual power the car will make with upgrades and such, but I'm really not all that surprised the thing had a problem. The LS series engines are pretty robust but my brother is very hard on his machines.
The Corvette was new in 2001, so it's 12 years old, but still....
* * *
The latest home-brewed Garfield Without Garfield that I did was #195, and I now have enough raw strips to get me past the #200 mark.
I remember doing this as a lark, but it's turned into something a little more sinister. I think I may have an orange tabby monkey on my back.
* * *
I still can't get over how clean the house is. I mean, I'm the one who did it and I still can't believe it.
The hard part--the truly hard part--is maintaining that clean state.
* * *
Yesterday was emotionally exhausting, so I don't intend to do anything strenuous today. My biggest plan is to bake my belated birthday cake and a batch of pigs-in-blankets for dinner tonight. But I don't have to bake the cake until after 6 PM and the piglets can wait until after 10, so as soon as I finish this post i'm going to go collapse for a few hours.
I did not, in fact, end up napping yesterday. Once my brother et al had left I was restless and hungry, so I ended up going to Little Caesar's for a deep-dish pizza. I can't remember what else I did but I hit WoW for the first time since Wednesday and did a little fiddling around, then chatted with my niece about setting up a D&D night this coming week while they're still in the area.
Then Mrs. Fungus was home and we sat down to watch Behind the Candelabra, the HBO movie about the relationship between Liberace and one of his lovers.
...how the hell did people not know Liberace was gay? I mean, come on.
Anyway, Michael Douglas nailed the part, and Mrs. Fungus and I kept seeing actors we recognized. "Scott Bacula! Dan Ackroyd! Paul Reiser!" But one guy, the plastic surgeon, we knew that we knew him but couldn't quite place the face...until the end credits rolled:
"Rob Lowe!" We both shouted at the same time in the same tone of voice: That's who that was! To be fair, his own mother wouldn't have recognized him with all the makeup they'd put on him to make his face look like he'd had too much "work" done.
The previews for the movie had made it look like it'd be interesting, and it certainly did turn out to be, even though the story it told is a very, very old one. Old, that is, in the sense that it's been played out many times before with very little variation.
Rich older men can (and do) find new, younger lovers all the time; the current one that's "old and busted" is almost always cast aside in the same way. The fact that all the players in this instance were male does not significantly change the dynamic.
Bonus points for Scott Bacula's porn star mustache. That was hilarious.
* * *
Well, them Zs ain't gonna catch themselves. I'd better get cracking.