Our short story La Coniche d'Or is out now, on the pages of Temptation Magazine (yes, click), about the visit of friends from Sydney (true-true story)

Oct 23, 2014

Gallery (17) (Ron Kibble)

"Cropped," Ron Kibble

(There's no Kibble link---we got his permission to post this picture, since then he has disappeared from the web. More art on the gallery page)

Oct 21, 2014

No, we don't post cat & dog pictures...

...but we do post pictures of masturbating Pandas, of course:

(Hat tip: Tim Basset, who has this on his Facebook page, and who comments: "Exhibitionist Pandas, that's what comes from all that rock star treatment. How long before one is found hanging naked in a 5 star hotel wearing stockings with an orange it its mouth?")

Purity pledge (2)

Recall this picture from the first purity pledge post:

They look the part, don't they?

So, we were wondering about a purity pledge for boys. So we asked Bob Bienpensant. That's how it looks like, the purity pledge for boys, he writes, and sends this picture:

Oct 16, 2014

Gallery (16) Mel Odom

"First Eyes," Mel Odom (1982)

(More art on the gallery page)

Vanilla sex

(Hat tip: Joelle Casteels)

Purity pledge (1)

Our alter ego Bob Bienpensant had just finished optimizing this picture in Photoshop for its posting on Fine Art America...

"Say ho"

...when we receive a message from the Urban Dictionary, a message that brought to mind the picture of...

Grace and Gary Kruse, Black Forrest, Colorado

...of a so-called Purity Pledge, depicting a father and a daughter whose virginity he vows to protect until her marriage...here's a closeup...

A picture speaks a thousand words, doesn't it?

The failed engineer in us always wonders how these things are actually done, how Mr. Kruse will go about preserving the cherry of his female offspring in this Hobbesian world out there---and how about the male offspring, isn't there a notion of equality out there, if the girls are not allowed to have fun, how about the boys then? And how about heavy petting, that's okay? THAT'S OK? Anyhow, that's where the Urban Dictionary comes in. 

Let's adumbrate this with a quote from Pope Francis (see "mot," right column): "Let us think of when slavery was accepted or the death penalty was allowed without any problem. So we grow in the understanding of the truth."

Purity coverage continues here

In the meantime, have a look at this:

Oct 15, 2014

"Why this hunting of deer in the rainy forest of the Puget sound?" --- This is heaven (teaser)

We're in the thick of this soap opera and there's not way turning back.  So let's jump right into this pool of foregone lust and ... and what? ... good question. We don't know yet. There will be a happy ending, though, promise.

(In a previous teaser John related an anecdote about an exchange with a certain high school teacher about the construction principles of classical drama. Here are the last lines of the post:) 

 I have him by his nose hair, I really do, and then I go too far and spoil everything---I forgot what I said but I totally miss the Perry Mason moment until it’s too late to say ‘I rest my case.’ Hold on, I remember what I said, I said: “The classical drama depends crucially on people not having cell phones.”

And here's the continuation (recall that we've accompanied Juliette's body to the morgue, that Alex moved out, etc):

Have you ever met a person like Alex? Well, you did, you’re reading this now. A dieu du stade (French), plus frat boy with pedantical features, plus facile drunk---okay, that’s recursive; (b) big brother without clothes, somebody who knows everything and nothing, (c) somebody who owns the room, effortlessly; (d) but if he does make an effort it’s like MTV, especially the head-rolling, especially since we told him---which is sort of ironic since nobody watches MTV anymore;

"Latino boy," Joe Phillips (The model for Alex)

 (e) the boozed-up Alex has no qualms about threesomes with Godehart (up to the point of practically manhandling me), but the sober Alex cites Ben and withdraws to his private cloud bank; (f) he’s profoundly more arrogant than your average frat boy, if I hadn’t compared him to demigods I’d compare him to the pope now---his apologies are as careless as papal blessings; (g) and his talk about heaven; (h) worst of all, it is/was his excuse for “loving” me, this “heaven;” (b-bis) but the big brother is not fake, Alex has a sense of responsibility, his murmurs about ‘day two, day two,’ and ‘day three,’ or his occasional arm on my shoulder, or his fidgeting with my hair; (i) okay, the hair fidgeting is a bit incestuous big-brother-wise, but it is/was the best part; (j) Alice will always love him; (k) you can trust Alice; (l) well, no, she’s got it terribly wrong with Eleanor; (m) yes, but Eleanor was based on sexual attraction, her view of Alex is unbiased; (n) you can’t call Alice now, you went to complain about Alex on Sunday already, she’s busy; (o) and how to explain about Ben? To her? (p) and how about the “Dr. Watson” thing?

Oct 13, 2014

Gallery (15) Steve Walker

"David and me," Steve Walker (1961-2012)
This is a follow up to our last "This Is Heaven" teaser, A virginal handkerchief, where we failed to place this picture in the vicinity of a few lines about David Leavitt and this very young boyfriend entering the hall of the Accademia Galleria in Florence.

(Okay, here they are again (the few lines, John speaking): "There’s a passage in David Leavitt’s “The lost language of Cranes” that comes back to me once a year or so, one of the characters relating a story of him and a very young boyfriend visiting Florence, and as they enter the hall of Michelangelo’s David, the eyes of the crowd are drawn away from the statue and to the magnetic beauty of this very young boyfriend. It doesn't read as if Leavitt made this up, this somehow really happened to him. Anyhow, the boyfriend must have looked like Romeo---by analogy, I mean.")

(More art on the gallery page)

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot --- Chapter III (not a review)

We're not good at reviews unless we can complain about Hollywood producers not understanding what "ion propulsion" means, or not knowing about the ambient temperature on Titan, the Saturn moon, or/and so on.

So this is not a review but a post about the third chapter of Dave Shafer's debut novel "Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot." We're jealous of the success of his book, of course, but that doesn't keep us from really loving the third chapter. The book is about a global conspiracy (data, computers, etc) but we have no clear idea of the conspiracy yet in Chapter III where we meet the main protagonist of the story, Mark Devreaux. Mark graduated from Harvard, like his ex-friend Leo, another important protagonist---amazing how many people graduate from Harvard in American novels (although Shafer graduated from Harvard himself, so he holds some poetic license).

Dave Shafer
Mark is/was a copy writer at some internet upstart---amazing how low Harvard graduates can fall in American novels---but then he has a creative night with OxyContin (the drug), Pouilly-Fuissé (the chardonnay, usually overpriced in our opinion---St. Veran, also a white Beaujolais, has a much better quality-price quotient) and with an IBM selectric (that was/is a typewriter, a technology not quite up to the tricks of ion-propulsion). So Mark pulls an all-nighter and writes a piece about "Motivation in an Unjust World." The piece is discovered by James Shaw, the quasillionaire and godfather of the conspiracy we don't know of yet, so Mark is duly booked for Margo!, a talk show hosted by Margo, the Oprah Winfrey look-alike.

Oct 11, 2014

Oct 3, 2014

A virginal handkerchief --- This is heaven (teaser)

If this sounds like a soap opera, it's because it is one: Richard  Roper, Romeo's sugar daddy, was found dead in his trailer parked on the festival field---a victim of gasper sex, apparently. John is dealing with the police while Alex is talking to Juliette. Spoiler alert: at the end of this teaser, we're accompanying Juliette's body to the morgue.

(The artwork is mostly from Pre-Raphaelite British artists. We have two Ophelias but no Juliet; apologies)

“I know you,” the cop who knows me says again. “I’m John Lee.” I say. It doesn’t ring a bell. The ambulance arrives. Pictures are taken. There is some back and forth on the cell phone but this corpse won’t survive the heat and needs to be shipped immediately. It’s gasper sex anyhow. We watch silently as the two paramedics abandon the idea to roll a gurney into the caravan, then haul the body onto a stretcher and carry it to the meat wagon. “Couple of hours,” the paramedic flicks back over his shoulder, “couple of hours he’s dead.”
“This is him, okay?” the cop asks again, pointing at Roper's body.

"Ophelia," Arthur Hughes

Sep 30, 2014

...and grammar (Glenn)

Yesterday ---- Part II: Sex on the Eames chair (really)

Finally, folks, the second part of our true-true short story about the visit of our friends from Australia. A third (and last part) will follow. (For the first part go here)

Josh and Jason slept well. They brought good winter weather, a light mistral with dry clear air and steely blue sky. We’ll go visit Saint Tropez. It would be me, today, who would have to make the move, but it’s easier to talk about the corniche or the Forêt Domanial de l’Esterel, the natural park of marais and pine trees that surrounds Le Trayas and protects us from over-development, we’ve recently met a fox up there. I point to a villa on the cliff which supposedly belonged to Greta Garbo (everything is a rumor here, and they are always false). We’ve reached St. Maxime when I finally muster the chutzpah to say: “Chang tells me you’ve sucked his dick last night.”
“Yes,” they say.
“It’s unfair,” I say. They laugh.

We arrive in St. Tropez and walk along the quay where Brigitte Bardot lived in Dieu créa la femme (the next house accomodated La cage aux folles, Birdcage was the remake). We take turns taking pictures of us and the sea. I ask Jason to zoom in on the northern horizon with his Canon EOS 70D and point to the tip of Miramar, a stone throw away from our house in Le Trayas. “It’s unfair,” I say, “they can see us, but we can’t see them.” We laugh.

Jason takes this picture, Josh (or I) hold him in place

Sep 29, 2014

Five is logic

(Let's post this before we post anything else:) If you're a writer, you're getting five daily emails from The Writer's Digest, all titled "X rules for leveraging your epic lack of talent." Along those lines, we read on the pages of Longform Reprints about Mike Caren, the president of Warner: 

Mike Caren
"His second discovery was that he could encourage the writing of hits by urging songwriters to follow his nine rules of hit songwriting. While Caren’s rules are not comprehensive or exclusive, it is easy to measure their value by a glance at the dozens of gold and platinum records hanging in his office. He is happy to run down his rules for me. “First, it starts with an expression of ‘Hey,’ ‘Oops,’ ‘Excuse me,’” he begins. “Second is a personal statement: ‘I’m a hustler, baby,’ ‘I wanna love you,’ ‘I need you tonight.’ Third is telling you what to do: ‘Put your hands up,’ ‘Give me all your love,’ ‘Jump.’ Fourth is asking a question: ‘Will you love me tomorrow,’ ‘Where have you been all my life,’ ‘Will the real Slim Shady please stand up.’”

Sep 24, 2014

Gallery (13) (George Quaintance)

"Bathers," George Quaintance (1902-1957)
(For more art, see our Gallery Page)

Spot the difference

We had this interview on The Way She Writes about "linguistically challenged" writers like us, where we were saying typical &t-things like...
I am (and have always been) fairly absent-minded. Absentmindedness is a strength, I think, not a weakness, in general it’s a good thing to be somewhere else with your mind.
...and there was this author picture...

...and people responded with nervous emails along the lines of...what's your secret, what's your secret...?

Here it is (the secret):

Spot the difference.

PS: Cathy Ulrich from Hollywood Hates Me writes: "What difference? I can see no difference."

Wednesday matinée

The view from Chang's room this morning

Sep 21, 2014

Monday matinée

("I had been thinking about recontextualizing news as art for some time...":) 

Gasper sex --- This is heaven (teaser)

If this sounds like a soap opera, it's because it is one: Alex has just told John that he's going back to his own apartment because of Ben and sent John off to the festival venue. And, yes, Juliette and Romeo spent their their first night together ... but then Romeo went back to fetch his belongings from Richard Roper's trailer, which is parked on the far side of the festival field:

"Gasper sex," Bob Bienpensant (2014)

... if I’d be in better shape I’d give you a rundown of Juliette’s morning-after performance---the knowing shadow under her eyes, the new body language, the virgin transformed---but I can’t, I’m too nervous and Juliette is too nervous too. Whether I’ve seen Ben she asks (Ben?).

(There’s also a less subtle change, a kinky on the lower side of her neck---dark-purple, ripe, sized like Romeo’s lips---which she’s trying to hide with the semblance of a silky shawl.)

“Yes,” I say.
“At home, at my place. He’s sleeping.”
“He went to your place? Why?”
“He’s staying with me during the festival.”
“Sorry,” she says. She means Romeo, not Ben. Whether I’ve seen Romeo. No, I haven’t.

Sep 19, 2014

Sep 14, 2014

Sunday matinée

"After Auschwitz---no more poetry!"

"Alles hängt mit allem zusammen," (everything is connected with everything) would Norbert Elias say, the German sociologist and first recipent of the Theodor W. Adorno Price. It wouldn't be an Adorno saying however, because the man himself, the heavy thinker of "Critical Theory" and its Frankfurter Schule, would never say (or think) things as simple as this.

Theodor W. Adorno

But there you have it. We wake up, tumble upon a link to The New Yorker and read an article on Theodor W. Adorno and his Frankfurter Schule and learn that "he died of a heart attack in the shadow of the Matterhorn."

The Matterhorn

That's us here in Switzerland, folks, the Matterhorn is right around the corner. And yes, alles hängt mit allem zusammen, Adorno suffered his attack, was brought to the nearest hospital and died there, an unassuming Spital located in Visp, Valais, Switzerland, unassuming except that yours truly spent a whole week in the same hospital, his first time ever as a hospital patient, waiting for his foot to unswell so that Dr. Ursprung could repair his broken fibula.

Sep 6, 2014

"I've been a good mouse" --- This is heaven (teaser)

Finally a new teaser (we're still handicapped by a torn retina). John and Alex are heading back to the field for the third day of the festival when Alex begins asking questions about his past.

“I was a paramedic, right?” Alex says as I’m driving us up the ramp behind the condo to get on Route One.
“Paramedics earn money.”
“Enough to own a car.”
“You have an idea where it could be, my car?”
“It was at your place last time I saw it.”
“Which was…?”
“Yes,” I say.
“I mean, would be easier if you don’t have to chauffeur me around all the time.”
“The idea was that you shouldn’t go back to your place for a while. That’s what the psychologist said.”
“Her replacement.”
“Her replacement.”
“Okay. Let’s compromise. I’ll pick up the car, is all. Where do I live?”

Gallery (11) (Michel Plaisir)

"Le coeur tout zébré d'amour" Michel Plaisir (oil on canvas)
(All rights reserved; reproduction in whichever form only with the permission of the artist)

(More artwork in our gallery