Catching up – Quips!

I am alive!  Who would have guessed it?  Not anyone reading this blog.  You would have thought I had finally nailed myself into a coffin with my worsted weight noose, but NO!  I am still here!  I am still knitting and reading, but with this PhD program, suddenly writing isn’t something I really want to do in my spare time anymore.  Which is a pity.  So we’ll have ourselves a little catch-up post here, and then maybe I can keep a little better track of things after that.

So last you heard, I had read The Beautiful and the Damned and it was a stirring experience.  After that, I figured it was time for some comfort food…book style.  So I used the power of my Kindle to find all those wonderful little Arthurian romance/legend novels I loved so much.  I read Persia Woolley’s Guinevere Trilogy, which is a long time favorite of mine.  I found the third book at a library book sale back in late middle school.  The cover was SUPER romance novelly — Guinevere sitting on a throne with billowing red hair, an look of defiance, and full, painted lips with a brilliant velvet dress spilling onto the floor around her.  It was definitely a cover I was embarrassed to be seen with — I think I read most of it at home.  But you know the old saying…regardless of the crazy artwork, the third book is fantastic — the fall of Camelot, with relate-able characters who I really grew to love.   Eventually, I went back to the library and found the first two books, which were fun, too, but the third one takes the cake.  Rereading them again after so many years was comforting and provided a fantastic escape from the stress of starting my graduate education.

I also struck out on new Arthurian territory, with a book called Gawain and Lady Green by Anne Eliot Crompton.  The author has also written an excellent and unique Arthurian legend called Merlin’s Harp, which I devoured in high school.  Merlin’s Harp is a feminist retelling through the eyes of Nimue, but it isn’t easily recognizable as the Arthurian tale.  Not at first.  The main character only hops in on the tale we’re all familiar with every now and then.  Gawain and Lady Green is, as you English majors out there might expect, a retelling of Gawain and the Green Knight.  It’s cute, and also comfort-foody, and unique again — if you don’t know the story of Gawain, you might not recognize the novel for what it is.  But I’m not sure you can only enjoy it if you know the story…I could see many a young adult enjoying this book simply for itself.

I also received a book from meine Mutti-in-law, called Bringing Up Bebe — One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman.  HIGHLY recommend!  Especially if you’ve ever been weirded out by the stress American culture brings into parenting.  If you’ve ever stumbled upon the kind of crazy that only we Americans can come up with on Facebook or blogs — fatwa on [insert trend here], why aren’t you afraid of this?  don’t you realize how your child’s life will be RUINED if they do thing x? — then you know what I mean.  This book is the perfect remedy.  It helped me breath a sigh of relief, that we weren’t raising Patrick like a weirdo — we were kind of raising him like a little Frenchman.  Which he is, to a certain percentage point.  The section on food is fantastic.  I wish I could enroll in a creche and eat like that — amazing.  A really fun read that helped me feel like I wasn’t the only one who thought our society’s expectation that being a mother = living in a constant state of freak-out is a bogus expectation.

Devil’s Advocate: Obviously, if you’re not freaking out, you’re not paying attention.  Am I right, America?!?  Who’s with me?!?  Let’s be sure to stress ourselves out about every feature of our child’s life, because if we don’t, then mass ax-murdering is CERTAINLY in their future.  (Did I conjugate that correctly?)

Then, Christmas rolled around, and I got a couple books for the jolly holiday!  The first one I read was from Drew, a T.C. Boyle novel that took place in our new home.  It’s called When the Killing’s Done and it was excellent.  By far the best of his novels I’ve read.  Subtle themes that progressed as the plot unfolded, characters who were true to themselves throughout, and realistic to boot.  Really excellent.  A literary treat, after all my Arthur comfort diving.  It also takes place in …drumroll… the Channel Islands National Park!  Right across the ocean from us!  And parts of it take place in our HOME — Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Barbara, Ojai — so fun!  Nothing like a book based on where you live to make you feel special.  Of course, almost all the boats in it sink to the bottom of the sea, and it does live up to it’s title, but…it’s still kind of a trip.

Let’s start with that for now.  I’ve got three more books to add, plus the one I am currently reading.  But I think if I don’t publish this post now, it may be the end of poor little Knitquip: the blog.  And I can’t have that.  PUBLISH!

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Aah, the comfort-food book.  I never read this one as a kid, but it is such a down-pillow of a book.  I didn’t feel any need to rush through it, because it seemed pretty clear what was eventually going to happen to poor little Sara Crewe.  I could take my time, one chapter, then a night off, straight to sleep, then maybe just half a chapter, and so on.  But while I was reading this book, it just gave me that comforting feeling — the kind you can only get from a story that is predictable, sweet, and still interesting or home cooked mac and cheese.

I loved The Secret Garden when I was younger, and this book is much the same — childhood in India, loving parent, suddenly orphaned, a girl in search of mystery and family connections — it’s sweet.  Sweet is the best word.

This was another of my read-it-or-lose-it books as we prepare for our move.  After finishing it, I think we’ll keep it around.  It will be a great read with Patrick when he’s older — perfect bedtime reading.

I had a moment in the book, when Sara befriends a rat who lives in her room, when I thought something horrible was going to happen to either the rat or her sparrow friend — but there was no need to fear.  It’s not that kind of book, and I’d just been watching too much Luther.

 

Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett

Ah, dreams.  The kind of things that keep you up nights, wondering about the future, fantasizing about the excellent romanticism that awaits you, and of course, panicking about what possible eventualities you may not have planned for.  With the boat now purchased and ready to move on to soon, it seemed a good time to finally read this book — Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett.  My mom gave it to me years ago, and Drew read it right then.  I’ve been kind of waiting for the right moment, and this was definitely it

A couple bought a castle for like a nickel and a wish in Wales.  The castle, Gwydir Castle, was falling apart, roofs caving in, gardens in disarray, bats inhabiting — but they set about fixing it up to restore it to its former glory.  The book takes us through their first year or so of work on the castle as they live in it while trying to repair it.  It’s a very sweet retelling of their story, filled with lots of luck and love — kind of a romantic and Romantic tale.  They run a little bed and breakfast out of it now, along with hosting weddings, which you can check out on their website here.

I’d classify this as a great summer read, or a wonderful “beach read.”  SO, since this book was passed along to me with the intention that I would pass it on when I was done reading it, I’ll put it up for grabs right now.  First to put forth their nickel and a wish gets it!

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

As we’re trying to think ahead to the future of a small space, I’m combing through all of our books (of which there are many) and reading as many of them as I can rather than branching out too much right now.  It’s possible that many of my little literary friends, which have for so long sat and watched from a shelf will be stored in a box for four years, and so I’m going to give as many of them as I can one last good read (or, in some cases, a first good read) before packing them away for the forseeable future.  Gosh — Debbie Downer all of a sudden.

I feel like I read The Hobbit at some point in my young life.  I feel like it, but now having read it either again or for the first time, I’m not sure I ever did.  Perhaps my maternal unit will read this post and can let me know if we ever actually read it together — we read books together at bedtime until I was in late middle school.  It was the best way to end the day — me and Mom, squashed together on my little twin bed, taking turns reading chapters of Lizard Music or maybe Buffalo Brenda.  Patrick and Drew and I end each day the same way now, and it’s so fun — books and bedtime just go together.

I knew the story — well, at least the basics.  I VIVIDLY remember the amazing adaptation at the Children’s Theater in MN when I was younger.  Smaug took up half the stage, but it was so dark, he was only a shimmering outline of jewels.  And I remembered the dwarves and all their wonderful rhyming names.  But as I read it, there were so many parts to the story that I feel certain I would have remembered if I had read it before.  Beorn?  How could I have forgotten a character like Beorn?

I do love Tolkien’s way of understated drama, making it seem only as treacherous as you, the reader, are willing to make it in your own imagination.  He has a gift for touching scenes of brevity as well.  When Bilbo and Thorin speak for the last time, it did tear me up a bit — he’s got a knack for really making you feel the sorrow in a moment with very few words.  I read back over the section a few times, but couldn’t really pinpoint exactly what he said that made me so emotional — it was just there somehow, in the words.

Whether a read or a reread, I really enjoyed it.  At this stressful time, when so many things are changing for us (albeit for the positive!), it was soothing to read just a chapter a night — just like with Mom — and think about Bilbo and his adventure that was only an adventure after it was finished.  So much more calming to think about someone else’s difficulties and tribulations than to consider your own right before sleep. And I do love the hobbits.  Their world view is one to strive for.

And who can possibly wait until December for the movie?!?  Martin Freeman?  Yes!  Ian McKellan, back again?  Double yes!

And of course!  I did remember the trolls!

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

After reading The Run Diary earlier this fall, I knew I needed to revisit this one.  I’ve lived in Vegas for almost 7 years now…wait, fact check.  For real?  It’s been 7 years already?  Yep — 7 years.  And now that I’ve lived here, I feel like I know the kinds of things about this city that only “locals” can know.  So it was time to recheck out Thompson’s book — you know, the one from that movie with Johnny Depp.  He’s the old guy who plays Jack Sparrow.

Anyway.

It’s spot on.  I mean, all the drug culture stuff and the crazed stupors are still hysterical and gritty, but what I wanted to see this time is how well does Thompson paint this town?  Does he nail it?  Answer?  Yes.  What’s difficult is that the Vegas Thompson describes is still the Vegas of today — even though Vegas would rather die than admit it.  But it’s true.  The kind of depraved negligence he shows is the way this city runs.  The confusion between whether it’s a city or just a tourist dump is the lifeblood of conversation here.  The city just built a beautiful Arts Center — really, very gorgeous — for shows and for the symphony to play in.  But all the town can talk about is whether it will attract any tourists.  It’s like the entire point of an Arts Center is missed — who cares about the tourists?  That building is for YOU, locals.  Or — Drew’s favorite example — NPR ran a spot for weeks about the possible smoking ban that went something like this: “New York, LA, Paris…what do all these cities have that Las Vegas doesn’t?  A smoking ban.”  Well, I guess that’s true.  Of course they also have a ton of OTHER, more IMPORTANT things that draw the line between actual “city” and…here.

Fair warning.  I know I’m hating.  But this town can’t keep ignoring this stuff.  How much cultural or educational growth can a place have when the best a school can hope for in a partnership is with a casino that has a restaurant called “The Pink Taco?”

But the moments of clarity in between drugged fantasies are worth anyone’s time.  And it is still true that Circus Circus is exactly what the entire hep world would be doing on a Saturday night if the Nazis had won the war.  Again, spot on.

I hope to read this book in another 10 years or so and say, “Wow, Las Vegas is a lot different than it used to be!”  But if it’s already been 40 years….well, I’m not going to slow down through bat country.

Walking to Canterbury by John Ellis

Way back when, or, as Spinal Tap would say, “before the dawn of history,” I fulfilled the author study component of my English degree with an Interim class on Chaucer.  I had read bits and pieces of The Canterbury Tales in my survey courses, but I was unprepared for the diligence required when reading in Middle English, but that was tempered by the bawdy, hidden humor of Chaucer’s poetry.  The professor was extremely influential to me, academically and otherwise — she was the kind of woman I continue to aspire to be.  There were only 9 of us in the class, all girls, and our fearless leader helped us to understand Chaucer through the lens of a medievalist.

So a few months after the class, I was spending a lazy moment perusing through the St. Olaf Bookstore, when I came upon this book, Walking to Canterbury by Jerry Ellis.  I didn’t know the author’s name, but after being captivated by the ideals of pilgrimage, I was curious to see what kind of person would try this — a walk from London to Canterbury — in our modern times.

For those of you that don’t know, Canterbury Cathedral is the location where Saint Thomas Becket was murdered by four knights, mistakenly sent by the king, his old friend, Henry II.  After the knights killed Becket, he was declared a martyr and many (thousands? millions, maybe?) made pilgrimages to the place of his martyrdom.  This eventually led to Geoffrey Chaucer writing The Canterbury Tales, a story in which a group of pilgrims are traveling to Canterbury from London, and they each tell a tale along the way.  Enter our intrepid author who decided to make this pilgrimage himself in 1999.

Apparently, I wasn’t as curious as I thought.  I bought the book.  It waited on my shelf through graduation, through my wedding, through two years of teaching in MN, made the move in a cardboard box to Las Vegas, waited on a bookshelf in first one apartment, then a house, where it languished gathering dust for 5 more years, never touched.  I couldn’t ever bring myself to give it away, thinking, “But I AM going to read it someday…” so it would travel with us, making its own mini-pilgrimages from state to state, abode to abode, just biding its time.

Finally, this summer, when we sold the house and moved into another apartment, I had to decide.  Was I actually going to read this book?  Ever?  Or should I pass it along to another reader at my local library?  I decided to give it ONE MORE shot, and moved with the book again, this time promising myself (and the poor book) that I would read it before the next adventure.

And I did!  Promise fulfilled!  It’s probably best, actually, that I waited, because Ellis spends quite a substantial amount of his musing time musing about what life was like in Chaucer’s England.  Lots and lots and LOTS of paragraphs begin with something like this… “Handguns did not exist in the middle ages…” and then he goes on for a few pages on the types of weaponry used in the middle ages, and how the pilgrims might have protected themselves on the journey.  His transitions from narrative to history are weak and nascent — which I didn’t appreciatee now, but would have appreciated FAR less just coming off an extensive month-long study of an author from the time period.

However, what he lacked in eloquent weaving of prose, he made up for in philosophical ruminations.  Part Cherokee, Ellis is constantly discussing his Native American teachings and finding connections with all the people he meets on his trip.  It gets a little “bubble-gum” at times — too much about how we are all brothers, and the past pilgrims on this journey are just like his ancestors, which is true, but he never quite says it honestly enough for me to really FEEL it — but then he has moments of clarity about the time we live in that really strike home:

Often in debt up to our necks and working at jobs that we don’t truly love, we have become modern-day serfs, bowing to a lord whose face we can’t quite see there in the shadows between paychecks.  we just know down in our guts and hearts that something isn’t right, and we dare not talk about it too openly for fear it will become more real than we can dare bear.

That gets to the heart of it, doesn’t it?  Honesty — dark and brutal like that — is what makes me feel a connection to the medieval soul — we have not come as far as we’d like to think.  There is so much beauty in the world, in our lives, and STILL, we are not given enough opportunities to worship, to contemplate, to consider what our lives really mean.

Okay — I’ll back off now.  It was a good read, but I think now its next journey is upon it.  Time for a new adventure, book!  Off to your next reader!  Hopefully they won’t keep you waiting as long as I did.

The Stranger by Albert Camus

This year I am teaching an Honors English class for the first time, and it is really fun.  It’s not always that different from my Regular classes, honestly, for myriad reasons, but when it is/can be different, I really enjoy it.

The Stranger by Albert Camus is a book I would never have considered doing with my regular classes.  I really wasn’t sure it would be a good choice with my Honors kids, either.  I read The Plauge by Camus in my senior English class in high school, and it was one of my favorites reads that year.  So much going on, so unlike any other book I had ever read — it was fascinating. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure my students were really up to what this author had to offer.  But everyone deserves a chance, right?

Right.

So we read it anyway.  It’s a short read — I barrelled through it in three nights — and my students trudged through it in 2 weeks.  I can’t really speak to how much they got out of it — it was obvious from some of their essays that some understood better than others, but isn’t that always the case? — but I can speak to how interesting I found it.  I haven’t read a book like this in a long time…a book that makes me wonder exactly what the author intended for his reader as they read.  The imagery was stark and chosen with care, the main character was confusing — at one moment, I would think I had him figured out, and in the next phrase, he would confound me with his actions.  I love a book that can get my attention so thoroughly in the middle of a busy school year, one that can make me feel as though I’m in an English class of one.

Not a read for everyone, because the “uplifting” part of this book is quite dark, but the truths in it were undeniable.  All in all, it made me want to revisit The Plague, because I bet there were just a few things my own little high school brain wasn’t quite ready for yet.  Time for another shot in the dark.

When I began teaching the

Three Men in a Boat by Jerome K. Jerome and To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

Years ago, I read To Say Nothing of the Dog and loved it.  I knew there were references flying past me at every page turn that I had no knowledge of, but it didn’t matter.  The book was just fun.  A romantic blend of sci-fi with all the Victorian era aplomb one could every want or need — no need for reference catching.  I just enjoyed this story of two historians trapped in time, the man dashing in his boater, the woman described as a naiad out of a Waterhouse painting. I’m a little in love with both of them.

But the whole book — including the title — was written in homage to the Victorian book, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome.  First of all — awesome name.  Second of all — I had to finally read the mother of all references.  Nancy Pearl, who I used to follow with regularity before she quasi-retired, is always going on and on about what a funny book it is.  And it is funny.  Allow me to illustrate:

The narrator when trying to decide whether to partake of a trip down(up?) the Thames with his two other natty friends: It is a curious fact, but nobody ever is sea-sick on land.  At sea, you come across plenty of people very bad indeed, whole boat-loads of them; but I never met a man yet, on land, who had ever known at all what it was to be sea-sick.  Where the thousands upon thousands of bad sailors that swarm in every ship hide themselves when they are on land is a mystery.

The narrator when his friend has slept in too late on their first morning of travel: There was George, throwing away in hideous sloth the inestimable gift of time; his valuable life, every second of which he would have to account for hereafter, passing away from him, unused.  He might have been up stuffing himself with eggs and bacon, irritating the dog, or flirting with the slavey, instead sprawling there, sunk in soul-clogging oblivion.

Simple observation: But who wants to be foretold the weather?  It is bad enough when it comes, without our having the misery of knowing about it beforehand.

And, our narrator on a lunch gone wrong: It cast a gloom over the boat, there being no mustard.  We ate our beef in silence.  Existence seemed hollow and uninteresting.  we thought of the happy days of childhood, and sighed.

The whole book was just a wonderful daydream into a time where gentlemen of a certain destiny did not work, did not worry, just boated with friends and reflected thereupon — like a Jeeves and Wooster novel, without all the hijinks.

So as soon as I finished the book, I knew I had to reread To Say Nothing of the Dog.  And it was not a disappointment — all the more funny, now that I understood most of the references.  And now, with teh interweb in full swing, any reference I didn’t know, I could just google.  Or Lougle (your own reference to check).  Ned Henry, our hero, was all the more dashing because I now knew about his favorite book.  Verity Kindle, our heroine, was all the more lovely and serene now that I knew who she was constantly being compared to.

Always good to reread.  Always good to revisit.  Placet.

 

Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi

When I was eighteen, I was embarking on the biggest adventure of my life thus far, heading to college, which was about an hour from where I had grown up.

When she was eighteen Tania Aebi began a circumnavigation of the world, embarking on an adventure that would take her 2 and a half years, and segue her into her adult life.

Whoa.

I just finished reading her book about the trip, called Maiden Voyage.  Whether you are into sailing or not, it is worth a read, just to see the power of adventure and feel the vastness of our world.  Ever since Drew and I have been together, we’ve talked about sailing…always in little increments.  First it was learning how to sail — which we’ve done in Marina del Rey, CA with a fantastic class from the Blue Pacific Boating folks.  Then, it was to charter a boat — just the two of us — which we’ve done in the BVI.  If that little adventure was just a taste of what we could have cruising, then sign me up.

Now, Tania did this all on her own.  She single-handed the whole trip, from New York down through the Caribbean, transiting the Panama canal, making the “puddle jump” across the Pacific to the Marquesas and the rest of the South Pacific, down to Australia, back up to Sri Lanka, then through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal into the Med, making her final landfall in Gibraltar and then crossing the Atlantic amid storms and squalls back to New York.  All by herself.  Well, with the help of a cat, named Tarzoon.

Whether you’re interested in sailing of any kind or not, this is a cool book.  It starts a little slow, because, like many books by journalists, she peppers the first few chapters with flashbacks to how she ended up in this place.  Her familial relations are sympathetic for anyone, and her father is a character himself.  (It’s his idea to have her do this, and every time she makes landfall somewhere, his first question when she calls is, “When do you leave?”)

But especially if you like sailing, this is probably a required read.  It’s the kind of book that makes you all that more determined to cruise someday, and to realize that unless you just DO it, it won’t ever happen.  Conditions will never be perfect, you’ll never have “enough” money — you just have to go.  I have yet to visit a cruising blog that doesn’t state that.

It’s true of any adventure, though, isn’t it?  You just have to do it.  You can’t wait for things to happen to you.  Oh yes, readers — the wheels are turning, and soon, very soon, I will make my adventure happen too.  And if I don’t, it will be no one’s fault but my own.   But I’ll settle for less that a complete circumnavigation — maybe just Mexico someday, or Mexico to the South Pacific and back via Hawaii and Seattle. Or maybe even just living on a boat for awhile, do some small cruising on the weekends, just try it out.

Whatever I do, I don’t wish to just envy the adventures of others  — I want to have them as well.  And I’d like my little man to grow up with adventures already behind him, not just waiting on the horizon.  Other people are doing it — why not me?  If you’d like to see some of those other people, check out the blogs listed on the right under “Blogs I Read.” There’s also a great website, where most of these pictures came from, http://www.womenandcruising.com, which has tons of information and testimonials from the ladies who have been there or are there right now.

But, of course, the expert (which I am not) sums up everything I want to say about her book and about any kind of adventures, big or small, when she’s contemplating her return to “civilization” in the Atlantic.

I remembered back to the days before leaving New York, when I worried if I would ever adapt to life at sea on my own.  Having done it, I realized now how much more is possible.  But I could never have known had I not tried.

Now, in the same spot as I had been as a an eighteen-year-old setting off on her maiden voyage, scared and apprehensive of the future, I realized that the future wasn’t something to worry about.  If living at sea had taught me anything, it had revealed the importance of taking each new dawn in stride and doing the best that I could with whatever was presented.

And now, two last pictures that inspire me, and that I aspire to:

Tania now, during a circumnavigation with her two sons -- just the three of them.

Lin Pardey, a total hardcore cruiser, points to land from the boom. I daydream about being her in the picture at least once a day.

The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

This book is the most “noir-y” book I’ve ever read.  The little prologue is a tight description of a little backyard bar in Puerto Rico, a bar that will be the safe haven of the characters in the book.  But during the whole description, I could hear the muted trumpet music and see the descending crane shot into the smoky, black-and-white bar with newspapermen drinking rum like water as they sit blankly at their tables.  And in the epilogue, we’re back in the bar, the crane now zooming out on two broken men, the muted trumpet growing louder as we wonder exactly what will happen to our anti-hero next.

My favorite part of this book was the ending — it left just the right amount of unanswered questions.  I felt uncertain of any happiness in the end, just knew that the main character would continue on his way.

But as a whole, I can see how die-hard fans of Gonzo journalism wouldn’t like this novel.  It was previously unpublished, and you can see why.  It definitely lacks the bombastic, robust style of Thompson’s other works.  For me, though, a definitively “slight” fan, it was a nice fit.  There’s no hiding the terrible events that happen, no flowery language to decode, no violence portrayed romantically.  It’s journalistic in a novel way — observant, but opinionated.  As the reader, I don’t particularly like any of the characters, but I don’t particularly hate them either.  They just exist, and that camera from the prologue and epilogue decides who’s important at the moment. All of the elements I enjoy from Thompson’s other works are here — the stark honesty, the delicious extremes, the unapologetic scenes of mayhem — but most of all, the continual sifting for the perfect explanation of a place.  Why Puerto Rico?  Why now?  What’s happening in this place at this time that makes it a story?  That delicate edge of his description, the introspective bent that brings us moments like this:

…you can go up a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes, you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Of course, that’s from Fear and Loathing, but Rum Diary had its moments like this too.  Moments where I feel like Thompson’s somehow found the exact words to “get at” a place:

Those were the good mornings, when the sun was hot and the air was quick and promising, when the Real Business seemed right on the verge of happening and I felt that if I went just a little faster I might overtake that bright and fleeting thing that was always just ahead.

Then came noon, and morning withered like a lost dream.  The sweat was torture and the rest of the day was littered with the dead remains of all those things that might have happened, but couldn’t stand the heat.

Pales when compared to later stuff, but still pretty accurate.

They’re making a movie of this, coming out in October, and I’m curious to see how it is.  Besides the perfect “noir-ness” of the prologue and epilogue, the rest of the book doesn’t have any kind of intense plot to follow…just following Paul Kemp through his time there.  Johnny Depp is playing Paul Kemp, and I’m sure he’ll be great, but it’s a little like old men playing Hamlet…oh well.  I’m sure it’ll be good with Strong Drink before The Fear sets in.  Make mine with rum.

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