Archive for raymond chandler

Things I’ve Read

Posted in reading list with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2014 by cueball

A weekly listing of things I’ve read or seen on internet.

  • These Employees Won’t Have To Go To Work On Thanksgiving – As a former retail worker this hits close to home.  Companies are going to find out that opening on Thanksgiving is a bad idea.  One, it doesn’t increase sales for that week because it just lets the people who are going to shop first thing on the morning on Black Friday sleep in and do the rest of their shopping later.  Second, its just going to piss other potential shoppers off because you are invading your workers and your shoppers holiday.
  • The inside story of how new MLS team LAFC went from dream to reality – As a soccer purist, I would love promotion and relegation to be a part of the MLS.  As someone who just missed out on the NASL glory days, lived through the years in the wilderness with no top flight soccer league, watched as a MLS contracted wonderful to watch teams that were horribly business manged, what Henry Nguyen says here (“They were like, ‘Wait a second: First of all, there’s no relegation? All right, you got me!'” Nguyen, 41, said with a laugh.) should not be forgotten.  The people putting up the money to buy a team and build stadiums want as much of ROI guarantee as they can get and the possibility of going from hosting the LA Galaxy to the Carolina Rail Hawks is not something they want in the equation.
  • The 100 Best Beers in the World – Judging beer is a completely subjective concept and I usually look at lists like this with a cringe, but the sheer size of this list and the number and breadth of the contributors from the craft beer world makes it a good one.
  • FIFA: Qatar 2022 winter World Cup likely, Jan-Feb or Nov-Dec ‘options’ – I can’t decide if I think the World Cup will be in Qatar in 2022 or not. On one hand you have the heat, the slave labor, and the sense that the whole way it was chosen was one of the dirtiest processes in the history of international sport.  On the other hand, FIFA and its leaders are full of DGAF.
  • Finding Marlowe – How many interesting stories like this are out there?  So much of history is obscured or lost simply because of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.  I don’t want political correctness in history, I just want truth.  I want to know the full history no matter how ugly it may be.  Also, the history of Los Angeles seems to be filled with fixer guys like this through out its history and more then any other city in the United States.
  • Are You Genetically Programmed to Hate Hoppy Beer? – Its amazing how much of our genetic code was written when humans were hunter-gatherers trying to survive to the age or 35.  This is the most plausible explanation as to why we like the taste of things we do and how much of that comes not from our genetic affinity for something, but because of how we learn from others around us.
  • What Is An Ending? ‘Serial’ And The Ongoing Story Of Wanting Too Much – One of the more interesting things I read this week, but the link on NPR is broken.  In this blog post on Monkey See, Linda Holmes writes about our expectations of fiction is that it will always find “closure.”  She is writing about a new true crime podcast from This American LIfe called “Serial” and how some people have voiced the idea that they will be disappointed if there is not some type of satisfying ending. That is what people mean when they say closure and they want closure out of their fiction and their stories because it is a concept that doesn’t exist in real life.  In real life relationships and situations stop with no warning and often with little to any satisfaction.  If the link worked you would love reading it.
  • How Your Brain Decides Without You – This is a really interesting read on how two people can watch the same event, read the same book, see the same facts, and come away with diametrically opposed views on what they just experienced.
  • ‘Sports Night’: An oral history, starring Aaron Sorkin and his cast – an oral history of one of my favorite shows of all time  I love Aaron Sorkin and I even have a soft spot for Newsroom, which is not anywhere close to peak Sorkin.
  • Sea of Crises – Speaking of closure, I think I like this because it doesn’t resolve anything at the end.  It just kind of ends with the anticipation of something ending or beginning, you don’t know which.  This is the most interesting article on Sumo wrestling you will read all year.  It also touches on Japanese literature and a little post World War II history.
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Ode To The Brass Rail

Posted in life with tags , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2013 by cueball

“A good smelly saloon, my favorite place in the world.” – Paden, Silverado

What is it about writers and bars?  There seems to be an inordinate amount of writers writing about bars in literature.  Not just things happening in a bar in a piece of fiction, but writers just writing about being in bars, going to bars, ordering drinks in bars.

It is more than just the “street cred” of being in a bar and getting drunk and getting in fights.  When Hemingway and other particularly American male writers of the 20th century wrote about bars it was like they were writing about the last bastion of manliness.  Bars were the last bit of unpolite society that sat just on the fringes of a changing world where women expected to be allowed to participate fully and openly.

To writers like Hemingway and Raymond Chandler bars were the original Las Vegas.  What happened there stayed there.  They could get drunk, get into fights, talk loud and say very little.  For these writers, the bar was the last place on earth outside of hunting and fishing where they could be fully men in what the meant in a 19th century way.

This was across the board for male American writers white or black.  They all held a reverence for the bar where the women were either the owners, prostitutes, or hardened to almost manliness through suffering, drink, and time.

After saying that, it wasn’t just about men staking their final claim on manliness, there is something beautiful about a bar:

“I like bars just after they open in the evening. When the air inside is still cool and clean and everything is shiny. The first quiet drink of the evening in a quiet bar — that’s wonderful.” – Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye.

I love a good bar.  A good bar has just the right amount of darkness.  Music plays just loud enough to add a counterpoint to whatever is happening at the moment.  In a good bar people aren’t there to start any crap.  It is a happy place or a place a person can come to find solace.  In a good bar you can be as alone as you want to be.  A good bar isn’t like a coffee shop with its hipster folk music playing to loud and forced coolness with its pastels, stainless steel, and big bright windows so people on the street can see how cool you are.  Bars are dark.  They have oak, brass, and brick.  Bars don’t have to try to be cool.  They are or they aren’t and if they aren’t your probably not there anyway.

Maybe I’m wrong or just over-romanticizing bars, but I do know this:  No one has ever written a song this good about Starbucks.  The bar is a beautiful place.