Re: Epic wars between good and evil

1

I thought that all of his best work was from the years when his coke addiction was out of control. Misery was interesting.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:02 AM
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Misery is certainly a great premise for a book. And I loved it when I read it, which...apparently it came out in 1988, so I probably read it at age 11-13ish with the rest of them.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:08 AM
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Decades ago, when he was in that car crash, SNL reported the news with the note that the computer that has been writing all his recent books was unharmed.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:13 AM
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During my King phase I had read up to the third book of the Dark Tower (that was as far as it got to back then) and loved it. I picked the series up again just now (at the Con, actually!), still really liked the first three and was very disappointed in the rest.


Posted by: Awl | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:20 AM
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I've always felt that King's novels were massively inferior to his short stories and novellas. On almost every level. Given that he has long since stopped needing the money, I wish he would just start cranking out short stories and leave the doorstop business to George R.R. Martin and Neal Stephenson.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:21 AM
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That is true. The Bachmann Books and in particular "The Long Walk" gave me serious, memorable nightmares.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:23 AM
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I liked The Dead Pool, but I've never read many of his books. I don't like horror much.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:24 AM
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Even King's better books tends to be a good novel trapped in a novel-and-a-half's worth of flab, which is one of the reasons for the superior novellas NP is talking about. (Possible exception: The Dead Zone, which I haven't read in several years.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:24 AM
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I loved Lois Duncan books, too.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:26 AM
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Hey Heebie, Jezebel's Lizzie Skurnick just got her own book imprint and is reprinting a bunch of YA books from the '70s and '80s. Relevant to your interests!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:29 AM
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Neat! I never actually read Debutante Hill.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:36 AM
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Once, in an effort to broaden my horizons, I stood around in the Borders (RIP) by Penn Station auditioning Stephen King novels for the position of My First Horror Novel. I give books a page or two, and if I'm not interested then, I'm not going to be able to make it through the book.* I really wanted to like one of them enough to read, and I just hated the writing so much I couldn't do it.

But I do love a kitteh sidekick!! Play them off, Prescient Cat!

*Hence the many years of people saying to me "Oh, The Brothers Karamazon gets really great 200 pages in, but you've gotta stick with it" and me shooting them.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:44 AM
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When I think YA books from the '70s and '80s, I think utterly inscrutable titles. That series needs more "The Bumblebee Flies Anyway", "Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack", "There's A Girl In My Hammerlock", "Pardon Me, You're Stepping On My Eyeball", etc.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:44 AM
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12: I can't remember which brother did the murder, but I think maybe that wasn't the main point.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:48 AM
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13 - After the First Death! Skurnick is apparently checking out the rights to Anna to the Infinite Power.

12 - Just go with The Haunting of Hill House. Boom, you're done.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:48 AM
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The Brothers Karamazon, by Dostoluski.

I probably shouldn't read horror anyway. My cousin used to tell me isolated gross things that happened in horror movies/novels and I'd lose a night of sleep. The only scary movies I like are toothless ones like The Others and I have to watch those in daylight, on my computer, pausing a lot.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:48 AM
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15: Oh, I love The Haunting of Hill House.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:50 AM
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14: Which Karamazon brother killed Borders?

And The Powellsessed is more politically correct.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:07 AM
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Without The Haunting of Hill House, there would be no Scary Movie 2.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:07 AM
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Did everyone see that there's a new edition of Chocolates for Breakfast coming out? One of the first edition hardcovers has a place of honor on my Decadent Literature shelf.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:25 AM
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re: 12

I tend to give books a bit longer than a few pages, but yeah. When people recommend Book X, with the caveat that it it might take a while to get into it, I have learned to take that with a grain of salt.* Do I trust this person's taste in literature enough to persevere? Experience suggests, generally that I shouldn't. A lot of people have really low standards.

* although I've made exactly that same recommendation more than once myself.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:36 AM
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I really detest our current book club book, Life after Life, so far. But reading a book you hate is much more fun when you know you'll get to rant and bitch about it in public.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:45 AM
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22 is so very true. Even if I am getting a bit of a reputation.

(Also: The two novels for which everyone was on the same side and ranted together produced the best club meetings.)


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:48 AM
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I should say "22.last", I guess; I don't think I know of Life After Life.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:49 AM
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12, 21: The first time I tried to read Dune, when I was 10-ish, I found the first couple chapters impossibly boring and gave up. People kept telling me that it starts slow but gets good after the first couple hundred pages, but I felt I had better things to do than read something that made me miserable for the second time.

I went back and tried it again about a year ago, and it turns out that it's awesome, now that I'm a better and more mature reader. I loved it from the page one. I feel completely vindicated in not bothering with it when I found it boring. Sometimes you're just not ready to read a book, and there's no point in forcing it.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:53 AM
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Yay, snarkout! Anna to the Infinite Power would make me so happy, though I already have my own copy. But I can finally read Happy Endings Are All Alike, which I've been trying to find for decades now! I also never read Debutante Hill, though I was quite a Lois Duncan fan and knew that was going to be the debut Skurnick book.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:55 AM
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And then there are the books you outgrow. I just read the first Lensman book, and while I think I would have loved it when I was ten, right now I just find it kind of shoddy and boring.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:56 AM
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You should keep reading the Dune books until they get really good with The Ghosts of Dune: House of Sandworm Cookery and the 2,055th Reincarnation of Duncan.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:58 AM
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24 - Atkinson's first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, is excellent. I haven't read LaL, so I can't say about that one.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:58 AM
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The Haunting of Hill House

I haven't read the book but I have positive associations with the (1963) film. I watched it a couple years after I had taken a film class in college and it was a memorable experience of getting into a specific "reading" of a movie and finding it much more interesting because of that. About a third of the way through the movie I became convinced that the daughter of the man who built the house* had been abused as a child, and that much of the horror was a reflection of that abuse.

I'm somewhat curious to watch it again and see if that reading holds up but it seemed very convincing at the time.

* According to wikipedia:

Hill House was constructed by Hugh Crain as a home for his wife. She died in an accident as she approached the house for the first time. Crain remarried. His second wife died after falling down the stairs. Crain's daughter, Abigail, lived in the house the rest of her life, never moving out of the nursery.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:35 AM
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Anna to the Infinite Power fans should watch Orphan Black on BBC America. Delightfully cheezy, with a really bravura performance by its star. Also, so much Toronto!


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:38 AM
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The 1963 movie was quite good.

One issue: I kept having weird feelings that everyone disliked or distrusted the Theodora character for no apparent reason except that she was sort of a mod hipster type. Reading about the movie later, I discovered that it's supposed to be screamingly obvious that she's homosexual, based on the clues you were allowed to put in a movie at that time. So, that's useful information.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:39 AM
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I thought there was a good 300 page book in The Stand. But it was just way too long, even the first 800+ page edition. Extremely hard to read standing up in a bookstore.


Posted by: bill | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:48 AM
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31: It's got some lesbian content too, right? I'm pretty sure at this point that I'm never going to get around to watching anything again, but it's on some far-off back burner.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:57 AM
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What could have been cut from The Stand to make it a shorter book? I suppose the ending adventure story might be cut (Stu's return from Las Vegas), but I don't remember how long/short it was...


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:57 AM
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31 Guilty pleasures always feel less guilty for having been shared. Delightfully cheezy indeed.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:09 AM
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35: Every alternate page. You could have made it half the length without taking out any of the plot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:11 AM
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And I think Natilio is right about King's short stories: if he'd been writing in a period in which short stories were a viable means of paying the rent, I think there's a good chance he'd be thought of as a much better writer than he is now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:15 AM
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I never read Stephen King when I was young and I guess I just feel "too late now." The movie of The Shining is neither the most popular movie nor the best movie, but might be in the running for the most impressive combination of popular and good of existing American movies, especially since it still seems genuinely popular and hasn't ossified into a "classic."

You know who has excellent taste in (surprisingly non-impenetrable) literature? Nosflow. I think that L. Rust Hills book is the best thing I've read in the past 2-3 years, except for Independent People, and both were 100% puro Nosflow selections.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:23 AM
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At what point can you describe an author as writing his own fan-fiction? Or is there a better word for it in that case?


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:27 AM
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40: I'm not exactly sure what that would mean.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:28 AM
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"Self-parody"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:29 AM
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28: nice.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:32 AM
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@42 That works if it's terrible, but what if it isn't?

(I was last wondering this about Elmore Leonard's Raylan, which wasn't bad, but read like Justified fan fic).


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:32 AM
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I'm working on that L. Rust Hill book too! He thought it might appeal to me, but the fussiness is just a little outside my thresholds. I think it fits my sister just right. I'm requesting a copy from the library for her.

(I have her library card number and password, so whenever I read something good, I request it for her. Then it shows up at her library, just like magic.)


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:37 AM
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45 -- at a point he reveals that the fussiness is also outside his own threshold.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:42 AM
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39: Credit where due: redfoxtailshrub recommended the Hills book to me, and I wouldn't have read Independent People but for Emerson's praise of it.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:47 AM
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at a point he reveals that the fussiness is also outside his own threshold.

Lamest spoiler ever.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:51 AM
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I finished that book this weekend and I think the high point is really "How to Retire at 41". "How to Be Good" is really frustrating, though there are some good bits there too.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:53 AM
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"How to Retire at 41"

Are there specific steps? I've only got a few weeks to act.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:58 AM
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I haven't read any King since I was a teenager, but my memory of The Stand was that the parts about the logistics of a mass extinction event were interesting reading, and the supernatural battle of good and evil parts (more or less the entire 2nd half) were eye-rollers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:00 AM
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31: a really bravura performance by its star

I watched the premiere episode and enjoyed the premise, but I was really, really put off by her English accent. It was so ... weird, and for me detracted from the performance. However, loads of people I trust have said she's fantastic. Should I persevere nonetheless?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:31 AM
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31: a really bravura performance by its star

I watched the premiere episode and enjoyed the premise, but I was really, really put off by her English accent. It was so ... weird, and for me detracted from the performance. However, loads of people I trust have said she's fantastic. Should I persevere nonetheless?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:31 AM
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Oops.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:33 AM
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Steps 1 and 2 are to be 41 and have a job to retire from.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:33 AM
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Done and done.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:34 AM
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Now I just need a whole bunch of money. Kickstarter?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:35 AM
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I was really, really put off by her English accent. It was so ... weird

If it makes you feel any better, it turns out that the character is supposed to have moved to Canada when she was in her early teens, so it's plausible that her accent would be a bit wonky by now.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:39 AM
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Reading about the movie later, I discovered that it's supposed to be screamingly obvious that she's homosexual, based on the clues you were allowed to put in a movie at that time.

I was similarly ignorant last night watching Rope, until watching the DVD interviews. I think I fleetingly wondered at one point, "So do these two guys share the apartment or what?"


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:43 AM
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I have been to the ophthalmologist. I am typing from very far away from the computer.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:45 AM
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Is anyone else watching Family Tree? It's very funny but marred a bit by the fact that Chris O'Dowd, who is great, is supposed to be an English guy who is investigating the history of his English family (also shown on the show) yet has such a strong Irish accent that even I, non-master of the accents of the British Isles, can tell he's Irish. It's sort of explained and maybe is itself part of the joke but I still find it distracting.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:53 AM
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I understood Rope, both because I knew about Leopold and Loeb and because I watched it later in high school, but The Big Sleep puzzled me. "Gunsel" is one of American literature's great Easter eggs.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 10:58 AM
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Family Tree is very, very funny.

It's sort of explained

It's totally explained. His (character's) mother moved to Ireland when he was a kid and he grew up there.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:05 AM
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Gunsel and Hetl is my favorite fairy tale.

Sorta on-topic with coded homosexuality, only outside the frame, I am reading Hollywood Lesbians and it is quite a fascinating document of the closet.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:12 AM
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Sorry, "gunsel" was dropped into The Maltese Falcon. Same gag, though.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:14 AM
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Did anyone see the movie version of King's "The Mist"? Incredibly effective, surely one of the all time nastiest monster movies.

I remember being totally hooked on The Stand when I was a teenager. There was just something really flat-out effective about early Stephen King. Effective isn't exactly the same as great, but it's close enough when you're on the beach.

They look harmless--mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal,

If I was quasi-immortal I would have a great art collection and a chateau in the south of France. Screw polyester.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:14 AM
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Is "quasi-immortal" just "long-lived" or what?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:25 AM
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67: They die from accidents, starvation, but not old age?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:29 AM
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I was unaware that there is a movie version of "The Mist". That is a story which scared me so much as a child that even now I don't like to think about it - even on a clear sunny day in full confidence that scientists are not yet capable of opening up some kind of dimensional rift and accidentally releasing the Mist Full Of Giant Predators, I find myself getting the creeps and looking over my shoulder if I think about that story.

Also, the various aspects of It and bathroom drains. It is possibly the most anxiety-producing book I've ever read that wasn't about terrible medical conditions and dying alone in poverty. I am perfectly capable of becoming anxious over whether I would be able to accelerate up whatever hill I'm biking up fast enough to escape the It-As-Scary-Hobo the way the Normal Boy Protagonist does. Also, seriously, one could do without the homophobic murder part at the beginning. (I don't think King actually intends to be homophobic - it reads like it was written by someone who conceives of non-homophobia as Being Sympathetic To The Tragic Childlike Freaks.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:30 AM
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I loved the Stand when I was a kid too, perhaps because I read it when I was home sick with pneumonia and hacking my lungs out. I could pretend that I had Captain Trips! It was awesome.

I don't think King is phoning it in so much as working way too hard to invent new monsters that just don't really quite work in the end. I wonder if his older stuff seems better just because he used to stick to the classics (ghosts, vampires, aliens, the Devil, the criminally insane, etc.), but his more recent books have been all about inventing these elaborate back stories and rule sets for monsters you don't even understand how they are dangerous or why they exist until he explains it for another hundred pages or so. Like, The Cell is a perfectly good iteration of the zombie myth until suddenly he gives them a hive mind and has them coordinate to do, um, some weird thing or that other that I can't remember because it seemed kind of arbitrary and not very scary and went on too long.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:31 AM
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I suppose the opposite would also be quasi-immortal


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:31 AM
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68: Like classroom pets?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:32 AM
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69

The filmmaker gave The Mist an even more horrifying ending than the book (which King admired I understand). It's well worth seeing. (If you like that sort of thing).


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:33 AM
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just because he used to stick to the classics (ghosts, vampires, aliens, the Devil, the criminally insane, etc.),

But he didn't! Cars, rabid dogs, competitions to the death, haunted glamorous hotels, the Nazi next door, the nurse who finds you after your car crash, the dude who is left handcuffed to a bed, etc. His premises were great.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:38 AM
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Also, seriously, one could do without the homophobic murder part at the beginning.

Don't a bunch of creeps throw a gay guy off a bridge, signaling the reawakening of IT? That was based on a real gaybashing incident in Maine where (IIRC) some high school students killed a guy coming out of a gay bar.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:42 AM
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And then there's the one - the third synopsis in this list - where the deus ex machina is a pterodactyl.

(I'm taking the blogger's word on that. I've read one or two Bachman books and haven't gotten around to anything else.)


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:42 AM
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i.e., This list.


Posted by: joyslinger | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:43 AM
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The overcomplicated ruleset thing is something he does, though, and it's awful. The only reason I read The Tommyknockers to the end was that I was in Samoa, and had a limited supply of books, and I still don't know what was going at all. There was an alien spacecraft? that gave off radiation? that made people's teeth fall out and made them good at tinkering with stuff, gradually turning into some other kind of being? but not like the aliens who built the ship, something else?

His early stuff, and his short stories, were absolutely good enough to amuse me, but when he gets complicated he's a mess.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:49 AM
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69.1: I would actually recommend skipping the movie version. Horrifying.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:50 AM
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Don't a bunch of creeps throw a gay guy off a bridge, signaling the reawakening of IT? That was based on a real gaybashing incident in Maine where (IIRC) some high school students killed a guy coming out of a gay bar.

A bunch of creeps do - but the way it's set up and described is pretty bad and struck me as bad even when I was 13. Lots of stuff about how the guy looks "childlike" and really isn't quite all there, some physical description of the gay men that is gross. (Gay men - who knew? - are pretty much uniformly effeminate, wear really, really David-Bowie-in-Labyrinth-tight-pants, often wear eyeliner, prefer bright sparkly fabrics....and while I know some gay dudes who pretty much do wear tight pants in bright sparkly fabrics, King's description is pretty clearly not informed by, like, actual experience of being around gay people.)

Also there's something weird about how the rest of the victims are children (except for one hobo with syphilis) and then this gay guy. Now, you can argue that this is sort of a "people victimized by It are also society's marginalized victims and thus this book is all about pointing out oppression", but as a queer-type person, I am ill-at-ease with that writerly approach. Not least because it presupposes (just as some of the in-text comments about homosexuality do) an audience of people so straight that gay people naturally seem all weird and stuff.

I don't think this is because King is (or even was back then!) some kind of giant homophobe - my impression then was more that he was trying not to be homophobic but had not worked through his own issues and lack of knowledge.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:51 AM
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80 - King was writing in 1985; I think it speaks rather well about him that his example of a particularly horrible -- literally monstrous -- ritualized killing was an incident of gay-bashing that the police dismissed in a shitty and quite-realistic-for-1985 way. (The description of the victim and his boyfriend seems to be strongly influenced by the real-life Charlie Howard, although I would certainly agree that it's a pretty click&eacut;d description of gay men. I'm not sure how many out gay men Stephen King knew in 1985, though.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:00 PM
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my impression then was more that he was trying not to be homophobic but had not worked through his own issues and lack of knowledge.

This sort of thing is a real problem for people fumblingly trying to be supportive on issues they don't know much about.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:15 PM
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I imagine the clown community felt he could have been more understanding of them.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:16 PM
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Cars, rabid dogs, competitions to the death, haunted glamorous hotels, the Nazi next door, the nurse who finds you after your car crash, the dude who is left handcuffed to a bed,

But those really are, in order, ghost/demon, the wild (the very oldest horror trope, really), human evil, ghosts, human evil (I'm guessing, I don't think I'm familiar with the Nazi one), and the criminally insane. My point is that you basically know what the monster is, have some notion how it works and what can believably (within the contraints of the genre) be done by it and to it, so that King is free to build up interesting settings and suspenseful plot structures and whatnot without having to spend the whole time in the weeds explaining what should be basic story elements to you.


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:17 PM
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Would it be naive to ask where Stephen King got all that cocaine in Maine?* I'm not even cool enough to know where to obtain cocaine in Manhattan, but whenever I try to imagine a Mainer cocaine-shopping I get flashbacks to the Flip-Pater and Flip-Uncle doing their Maine-lobsterman-accent routine at Christmas.

* Stays mainly in the plain.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:21 PM
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Yeah, The Tommyknockers was really striking for the way it fell prey to the "hold on, let me explain the complex thing you should be super afraid of" problem -- I think it was probably the first one to go over that cliff, though there are hints of the issue in earlier books.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:22 PM
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King's description is pretty clearly not informed by, like, actual experience of being around gay people.

Or probably, the gay people King knew weren't willing to come out to him.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:22 PM
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For all his faults, King is unbelievably prolific.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:24 PM
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85 Several years ago I was browsing through the Craigslist ads, and there sure were a lot of people who were into skiing and rock climbing.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:26 PM
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The movie of The Shining is neither the most popular movie nor the best movie, but might be in the running for the most impressive combination of popular and good of existing American movies,

The winner of this competition is obviously The Godfather but, sure, The Shining is in the running.


Posted by: Yawnoc | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:26 PM
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88 - Also true of Captain von Trapp.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:28 PM
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Based on a few of the MOVIES (or TV specials), my impression of the basic Stephen King plot is that there isn't obviously anything supernatural or monstrous going on until about 80% of the story is over, at which point all possible rational explanations are ruled out and it turns out to be some sort of thing that can't be fought or reasoned with in any way. NOTE: "The Mist" is the opposite.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:28 PM
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89: I feel stupid for always needing additional seconds to get those references. Can't people just say "snort snort wheeze '80s reference nosebleed" or something?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:30 PM
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Wait. In personal ads, rock climbing and skiing are codewords for cocaine?! Those aren't just codewords for outdoorsy and aspirationally wealthy? Are they selling, or looking for a cocaine companion?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:32 PM
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94: I had no idea either.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:37 PM
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And I still have my doubts. I mean, Maine is full of rocks and snow of the non-stimulant sort.


Posted by: MH | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:39 PM
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Presumably some of them really were into climbing and skiing. But many very obviously were into the version you can do in the comfort of your own home. If they're saying they like spending the evening rock climbing and skiing they're not talking about going to Vermont. If they have those activities in a comma list along with '420' I'm also rather skeptical about their rope skills.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:39 PM
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Also, why 420? Is that some bus route in Amsterdam or something?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:41 PM
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There was an alien spacecraft? that gave off radiation? that made people's teeth fall out and made them good at tinkering with stuff, gradually turning into some other kind of being? but not like the aliens who built the ship, something else?

That's mostly the plot of Quatermass and the Pit.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:46 PM
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I would think Craigslist would be like buying on the street corner, high risk of being poisoned or robbed. If you're a user, you socialize with other users, some of whom are also occasional dealers. As your needs become more demanding, your social contacts will include people who can help you, because you ask to meet them at some point. Nobody likes to rely on strangers.

The whole business is actually pretty similar to trying to buy organic meat-- word of mouth names contacts, telephone calls to check availability....


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:48 PM
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I got a grass-fed monkey on my back! It's a sickness!


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:50 PM
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Nobody likes to rely on strangers.

They've been better to me than in-laws.


Posted by: Opinionated Blanche Dubois | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:51 PM
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I wonder if lw has ever bought organic grass-fed meat, or if he lives in some kind of fantasy police state. I either go to the local supermarket, a stand at the farmer's market, or sometimes order online from a direct source. I despise cocaine, but I'm pretty sure the cocaine buying process doesn't work that way.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:52 PM
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What about organic cocaine?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:53 PM
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I do not like paying extortionate prices for healthy food, which means dealing with producers rather than retailers. The producers will sell at a reasonable price for 1/4 cow, not less. Small producers are not that stable.

How much do you pay, sports-car boy?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 12:55 PM
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I dunno, it depends. I'm not a preening cheapskate, but sometimes I've gotten a good deal at under $8/pound through buying in bulk, though mostly it's much more. It's easy to buy a 1/4 cow online though, and not very much like buying cocaine.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:04 PM
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Swm, into cow-tipping and leather...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:06 PM
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I pay $4/lb for the "beef bones (meaty)", which are essentially thick slices of shank, from Marin Sun Farms, all of whose stuff is grass-fed yadda yadda. Prices are also low for tongue and heart! And their lamb prices are within $1/lb of what I'd get just going to the Regular Store anyway.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:07 PM
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I buy organic meat by the fraction of a gram in little glassine envelopes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:11 PM
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That sounds uncomfortable.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:12 PM
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For a standing rib roast, the reassembly at home is a bear.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:13 PM
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Or a raccoon, if you do it wrong.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:16 PM
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Anna to the Infinite Power would make me so happy, though I already have my own copy. But I can finally read Happy Endings Are All Alike...

Surely I can't be the only one who read this and thought of Anna Karenina to the Infinite Power.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:16 PM
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Maybe things have changed here since I found the places I use and it's now easy. But yes, word of mouth to find possible sources, which I now have a list of, leads to a round of telephoning to see who has 1/4 beef in stock. I started buying beef that way maybe 6 years ago.

To me the hassle, one or two hours spread over a week, is worth the ~$1000/yearly for beef I'm happy with. My knowledge of the retail drug trade is decades out of date, but the discreet word of mouth and supply checks sure seemed familiar when I started looking for beef in bulk.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:16 PM
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I had to Google "420."

If anything happens to my current partner, I'm just going to get some more cats. Their coded messages all mean "feed me."


Posted by: Sheila | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:18 PM
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114.2 works perfectly well as a description of buying illegal Viagra.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:21 PM
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This thread just made me order $300 of online bison, so it's value-added for the economy.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:26 PM
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117: Was it advertised as bi$0n ?


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:44 PM
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118: "M. Bison."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:45 PM
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We want to acquire a large freezer so we can start ordering beef (and probably bison nom nom nom.)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:51 PM
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120: We have an unused large freezer in our basement, but that doesn't do you any good. Maybe you can at least envy me! Oh, and I guess the cats use it as a bed while they're banished to the basement at night.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 1:58 PM
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Nothing says food storage quite so well as "touched by paws that dig in kitty litter."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:05 PM
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122: Roughage.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:07 PM
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122: They have a basement toilet! And the freezer remains closed at all times, other than the time right after we bought the house when we opened it to make sure there was nothing scary in there. But unless there's an unfogged long-haul trucker with some spare room, I don't think Cala has to worry about getting our freezer anyhow.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:08 PM
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120. Again with stock-checking-- for me, ordering from Amazon, even with shipping, was so much better than dealing with local retailers, where "what do you have in stock under x cu. ft?" and "what can you order?" each took 10 minutes and required the single guy who was telephone available for an unpredictable 2 hours weekly.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:10 PM
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85: What else is there to do out in the sticks? Of course, the hard drug of choice in Maine has been OxyContin for some time now, but I heard a story once about a wandering Japanese poet who, when asked what he'd like to eat at a restaurant in a bucolic Maine college town, quipped "Peyote." By the end of the week, 3 different people had offered him some. After all, most of the population lives within an easy drive up from Boston, that morass of vice and depravity on the Charles.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:11 PM
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122: Your cats use the toilet?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:13 PM
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127: It's a toilet for cats. Because they didn't use the litter box. And they do use it, mostly.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:15 PM
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124: As long as it is closed and corpseless, I guess I wouldn't worry.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:19 PM
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"And now, performing their latest hit, 'Toilet for Cats,' ladies and gentlemen, please welcome ... The Commenters!"


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:19 PM
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127 has added to the mystery, not clarified it. Your cats are toilet trained, but only use the toilet in the basement of horrors?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:20 PM
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It's a toilet for cats.

New rollover text.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:23 PM
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It's a long story, but yes, they have a cat toilet and I should probably be even more ashamed than I am about that. (A cat toilet! That costs $300! WTF??)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:23 PM
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This intrigues me, as someone who just got assigned clean out the litter box duties. How well does it work?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:30 PM
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I was curious about one but this review made me not bother: http://gizmodo.com/5306837/catgenie-litter-box-the-clean-fresh-smell-of-civilizations-discontents


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:38 PM
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I recently lived with a couple of cats who used the bathroom toilet, but only for peeing and often after pooping in their box, so the toilet seat typically had cat litter on it. They also liked to pee at the bottom of the stairwell, and their human didn't clean their box very often, so the place reeked. In short, cats suck.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:45 PM
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They are disgusting little fuckers, to be sure, but at least they're cute and disdainful. They're sort of like the hottest girl in high school, if she threw up all over the place all the time, and you had to clean up her poop and urine routinely.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:47 PM
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And she was totally into letting you feel her up until you touched her someplace that made her bite and scratch furiously. Yep, pretty much like that girl.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:50 PM
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That reminds me: I should ask the Flip-Pater for more pics of the stepmother's new kitten. Apparently she has progressed to jumping off the furniture without landing headfirst.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:53 PM
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83 Fuck them.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:55 PM
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Apparently she has progressed to jumping off the furniture without landing headfirst.

Sad. I trust they'll trade her in for a newer model posthaste.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 2:57 PM
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135: There's a setting where it runs itself after the cats use it or else you can program the number of times a day it goes off. There's a wall and cover you can get that keep them from kicking out the pellets and I assume that helps with any smell issues. Our smell problems have been nothing like that, though if you get the scented solution you can definitely notice an aroma in the basement after it's been run. Having it in a bathroom would probably be very frustrating. For our setup, I know it's a horrible waste of energy and water and yet I was clearly unable to keep up with raising three kids within a 15-month age range with essentially no help AND stay on top of the litter situation and it absolutely solved the tiniest part of that problem, for which I'll be forever grateful. It is enough of a help for our neurotic cat and for the good of the relationship that I stick with it. Having it in the basement draining into the floor drain, out of sight and mind and whatnot, is wonderful.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 3:05 PM
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137: "if"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 3:17 PM
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140: Well, John Wayne Gacy isn't helping their case.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 3:17 PM
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At first I read 142 as saying that the toilet has a setting where it runs after (i.e. chases) the cats. That would be awesome and terrifying.


Posted by: Benquo | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 3:21 PM
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145 Same. I was having images of a big maw filled with antiseptic green fluid lumbering behind the nimble but increasingly terrified sneeze and itch dispensers.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 4:29 PM
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Protip: You can get a freezer on CL for less than a $100 if you are patient. I managed to get my last 1/4 of grass-fed organic beef for approx. $5.75/lb, so I was pretty stoked about that. My only problem now is that the damn freezer is too full with the beef and the pork to fit the lamb I want to get.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 4:33 PM
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If you just take all the other bullshit out of your freezer there's probably enough room for a lot of meat, IMO (though not really a 1/4 cow).


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 4:38 PM
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Pro-tip. Corn fed or corn-finished cattle tend to taste a lot better than grass fed, at least when it comes to steak. The only really good grass fed stuff I had was during the brief period when Argentinian beef was allowed into the US. It was cheaper than generic supermarket stuff. Then it got banned. Thank you Big Cattle for looking out for my health. Back when the Argentinian stuff was around I'd eat steak two or three times a month. Now I shell out for the really good dry aged stuff a few times a year. And as everyone knows, red meat is bad for you.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 4:49 PM
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||

A growing poverty industry: rent-to-own tires.

But what the fuck is up with this bit?

Tire rental contracts are so ironclad that even a bankruptcy filing can't make them go away.

Surely you can't just make debts nondischargable by making someone sign something to that effect. Everyone would do it.

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 5:02 PM
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I don't get the whole grass-fed fad either. Dry aging is the main secret to a good steak, but it needs some fat for that.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 5:02 PM
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150: For any loan secured against property, you can't discharge it without losing the property.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 5:06 PM
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152: Sure, but the quoted part seems a lot broader than that. With cars according to my reading, and I presume with tires, the collateral often doesn't cover the value of the loan, which lives on after seizure. Surely that part can be discharged.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 5:21 PM
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And as everyone knows, red meat is bad for you.

Oh, bullshit. As to your flavor point, I tend to agree for very high end steaks that are marbled. But otherwise a good grassfed cut tastes better than your regular supermarket cut. And the main reason to eat grassfed is for health, especially if you're eating a ton of beef, though also for ecological/production reasons.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 5:35 PM
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154 Too easy.


Posted by: teraz kurwa my | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 5:44 PM
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153: I don't know for certain, but the quoted bit immediately follows talk about repossession of the tires, so that is what I figure they must be talking about. I could be wrong. It isn't a business I used myself.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 5:52 PM
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Anyway, I was surprised enough when I found out about rental rims. Moving on to tires is just horrible.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:06 PM
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OT: Wow. A bygone era.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:07 PM
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Epic wars between good and evil; good is losing.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 6:55 PM
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159: those stories still make my skin crawl.


Posted by: torrey pine (YK) | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:08 PM
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I read Stephen King when I was in high school, and I think I stopped after that, but I still have affection for him as an unpretentious, "working-class" kind of writer. Firestarter and Dolores Claiborne were interesting, and some of his short stories from Skeleton Crew really stuck with me.


Posted by: torrey pine (YK) | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:23 PM
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159: Thanks for sharing that. I got a call earlier today about a child whose story is absolutely haunting me. There was another home ready beforer I was able to give an answer about whether we had room, but I hope this little one has at least some of the hope of the younger kids and their scary stories. The kids in the story are all adults now, the ones who made it. I hope there have been some happier endings.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 7:27 PM
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||

This doesn't fit in any particular thread, but: my parents called today to tell me the family dog probably won't make it through the week. At fourteen, he's had a good long life for a dog, and this wasn't completely unexpected, but I still feel kind of like I've been punched in the gut and then run over by a truck. Visiting my parents just isn't going to be the same; the dog predates their current house, and I can't really imagine it without him.

|>


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:28 PM
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Sorry to hear that.


Posted by: Robert Hford | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:46 PM
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159 - A classic! (Seriously, that article is great stuff.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 8:57 PM
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That sucks, essear. Sorry to hear it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 9:04 PM
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You don't live where I live, I guess. Sounds good to me. Like, Steven King is right on!


Posted by: Hattie | Link to this comment | 06-10-13 11:09 PM
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If they're saying they like spending the evening rock climbing and skiing they're not talking about going to Vermont.

"Tina" is a code word for meth out here, and I assume it's not unique to this locale.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 12:53 AM
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There was a cat thread and I missed it! "They are disgusting little fuckers, to be sure, but at least they're cute and disdainful" is about right. So cute! So disdainful! And really only as disgusting as everything else. Actually I think what people don't like about them is that they are capable of disdain, unlike dogs, who ALWAYS LIKE YOU, which sounds a little bit tiring to me.

In short: I really want a cat toilet.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 8:07 AM
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DogBreath was reliably disdainful. She never liked tobacco smoke, and would do a little ladylike sniff/snort at anyone who lit up a cigarette around her. Only a few weeks before she died, when she was sleeping almost all day and it was a serious effort for her to lift herself up, my mother came over and was smoking in our kitchen, blowing smoke out the window. Dogbreath cracked an eye open, spotted Mom, who she generally loved, hauled herself laboriously to her feet, shuffled slowly across the apartment to get to her, sniffed disdainfully at the offensive tobacco smoke, and shuffled back to her spot to lie back down. It was the funniest interaction ever.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 8:19 AM
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Well, I suspect the other big thing people find disconcerting about cats is that, unlike dogs, they genuinely don't seem to experience remorse. If you yell at them for doing something bad, they look scared, but never do that doggy "I'm wild with self-reproach and will do anything to make it up to you" thing. They can be just as affectionate as dogs, but they're never sorry.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 8:43 AM
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That doggy-self-reproachment face is one of evolution's greatest tricks.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 8:50 AM
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Why Darwin was so fixated on beaks, I'll never know.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 8:56 AM
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"Tina" is a code word for meth

"There Is No Alternative"?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 9:09 AM
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That doggy-self-reproachment face is one of evolution's greatest tricks.

Not as good as the child-self-reproachment face.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 9:15 AM
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Not as good as sex.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 11:10 AM
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I spent some time in a country where there was absolutely no printed English except for the discarded airport bestsellers of the white people who had been there before me. Primarily Dean Koontz, Danielle Steel, and Stephen King.

That experience made me incredibly grateful to Stephen King.


Posted by: dz | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:33 PM
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176 to 177.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 1:45 PM
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When I was about 18, I bought a book called Replica in the airport that was so bad that I decided at that point not to consider pursuing writing, professionally (which I'd been vaguely considering). My thinking went "If this utter slop can get published, then there is no merit system whatsoever, and I'll go nuts." I kept the book as a reminder to myself of the very important lesson I'd learned. I'm pretty sure I have it somewhere.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06-11-13 2:33 PM
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