The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber Review

“If a four-letter man marries a five-letter woman, he was thinking, what number of letters would their children be?”

 

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The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber is of Ernest Hemingway’s most celebrated short stories. It uses thematic elements better than almost any story I’ve ever found jealousy, fear, courage, and contempt are all present in this fine work. With his visceral simplicity, Hemingway examines what makes a man and the constraints of the individual from their social structure.

This story follows the titular character on his first safari. He is put in a dangerous situation and proves himself a coward. After facing the scorn of his guide and the fellow hunters, he resends whilst on another hunt. He rises to the occasion and grows as a person saving one of his peer’s life. His wife feels her power over him leaving and then kills him. The relationship between the guide, Wilson and Francis is examined in detail. The victim is painted as neither the wife nor Francis, but as the Francis.

The depths of the interpersonal relationships in this story are fabulous. The tangled net that is the Francis, his wife and Wilson shows the growth of the main character and the flaws of the others involved. The author poured himself into the story and it provides another example of the intensity with which Hemingway writes.

 

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“Macomber opened the breech of his rifle and saw had metal-cased bullets, shut the bolt and put the rifle on safety. He saw his hand was trembling”

 

 

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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D.H. Lawrence was a novelist, playwright, and poet known for his novels Lady Chatterley’s Lover The Rainbow.  His work often centered around the themes of nature, vitality, sex, and instinct. His writing style was so controversial that he was often the persecuted by censors. At the time of his death, he was a rumored pornographer who was thought to have wasted his considerable talents.  Highly influential, his work has been honored at a yearly festival in Eastwood.

 

Piano

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

So now it is vain for the singer to burst into clamour
With the great black piano appassionato. The glamour
Of childish days is upon me, my manhood is cast
Down in the flood of remembrance, I weep like a child for the past. 

 

The above work is one of the best examples of a writer showing their appreciation for another art form. The tender way he describes the music heard is wonderful. I find this to be some of his strongest work and love how his passion drips into the meter of the words.  If you need more D.H. Lawrence in your life I suggest you enjoy more of it here.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. 

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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Jackson Dean Chase is an award winning author and number one best selling author. Mostly known for his work in the genre of the young adult science fiction and horror. Chase’s signature mixture of fantasy and pulp magazines has led to a fervent following amongst his readers.  This week we present the following work to showcase the poetic stylings of Mr. Chase.

 

Replaced

The world changes

too fast to keep up.

Just when you think

you understand it,

they pull the rug out:

technology,

music, 

fashion,

morality.

All dead, replaced by newer models-

as you have been, as we all must be

until the bombs drop,

the plague hits,

and the last light goes out

forever.

 

The above work is from Chase’s first poetry book Bukowski’s Ghost.  By the author’s own admission he fell in love with poetry because of Charles Bukowski. Much of this book is a tribute to the writing style and influence of Bukowski. Jackson Dean Chase does a great job of channeling a fantastic poet without of ever losing his own voice. The desperation and nihilism expressed within the above poem show how the writer is dealing with the passage of time and his connection with society as a whole.  It transcends being an accolade to Bukowski and forces the reader to take stock of their own place in the world. Truly an excellent piece from an excellent poet. I suggest you see more of the fine work of Mr. Chase here.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Old Man at the Bridge Review

“‘Did you leave the dove cage unlocked?’” I asked.
‘Yes.’
‘Then they’ll fly.’
‘Yes, certainly, they’ll fly.’”

 

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Old Man at the Bridge is one of shortest works by Ernest Hemingway. Originally published in 1938 in Ken Magazine and republished in the collection The First Forty Nine Stories.  Often noted for the economical use of character development and the overall theme of what constitutes duty.

Written during his coverage of the Spanish Civil War, it tells the story of an old man fleeing his home town during artillery fire. Upon seeing the old man laying on a bridge the author asks about his well being. The exasperated old man tells about how he was responsible for the taking care of the animals after the town is evacuated.  He feels guilty about abandoning his duties and fleeing the twelve kilometers that have left him in his current state. The author encourages him to relocate to where the buses can take him to safety and the man reluctantly contemplates this. In the end, the writer observes that the animals may have survived, but the old man probably will not.

Sad irony and humanizing the victims of war reverberate throughout this text. You can feel Hemingway’s empathy for the old man. He doesn’t wish poorly upon him, but he cannot help seeing the situation as it is. A dark, humorous tale of survival and duty. Hemingway signature candor carries a depressing story and forces the reader to think.

 

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“It was Easter Sunday and the fascists were advancing towards Ebro.”

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. 

Weekly Poetry Pick

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Jimmy Stewart is not the first name thought of when poetry comes to mind. Known for his distinctive speech pattern and easy going persona. His acting work included such classics as Vertigo, Rear Window,  The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, and It’s a Wonderful Life.  The beloved actor was known for his philanthropy work and political activism, but far less known was his dabbling in the world of poetry and writing. This week’s selection offers us a rare opportunity to hear the author reading their work.  Go here to see Mr. Stewart reading this selection.

 

Beau

He never came to me when I would call

Unless I had a tennis ball,

Or he felt like it,

But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young

He never learned to heel

Or sit or stay,

He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag

But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.

He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,

And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,

The delivery boy was his favorite prey.

The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,

He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire

But the story’s long to tell.

Suffice it to say that he survived

And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,

He was always first out the door.

The Old One and I brought up the rear

Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,

What a beautiful pair they were!

And if it was still light and the tourists were out,

They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks

And with a frown on his face look around.

It was just to make sure that the Old One was there

And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house — I guess I’m the first to retire.

And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me

And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,

And I’d give him one for a while.

He would push it under the bed with his nose

And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long He’d tire of the ball

And be asleep in his corner In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him Climb upon our bed

And lie between us,

And I’d pat his head.

And there were nights when I’d feel this stare

And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there

And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.

And sometimes I’d feel him sigh and I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night

And he would have this fear

Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,

And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead.

And there are nights when I think I feel him

Climb upon our bed and lie between us,

And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think I feel that stare

And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,

But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,

I’ll always love a dog named Beau.

 

The selected writing is from the book Jimmy Stewart and His Poems.  He reminisces over losing a beloved pet in a way that is both relatable and heartbreaking. Taking the reader on a journey, you get to know the dog and can feel the writer’s affection for the animal. His pacing and meter are excellent and I really enjoy reading the verse of Jimmy Stewart, I highly recommend that you hunt down some more of his work.

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Weekly Poetry Pick

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Garrison Keillor is a champion of literature, hosting both the Prairie Home Companion and the Writer’s Almanac on NPR. He has written over a dozen books, two poetry anthologies and starred in a 2006 film based upon the aforementioned Prairie Home Companion.  As a member of the American Association of Arts & Letters and The Poetry Foundation he strives to bring the written word to the masses.

 

Thong Song

To people raised in a railroad shack
It is known as your butt crack.
To people who are more verbally deft
It is known as the gluteal cleft.
Either way, it’s at the bottom of your back
Between the one on the right and the one on the left.

Some ladies’ swimwear of slender heft
Displays freely the gluteal cleft.
On this matter, my mind is shut:
Don’t walk around showing off your butt
Please desist at least
Until I am deceased.

Your gluteal cleft, I must insist,
Should be seen by your dermatologist
When treating a rash, or cyst,
And nobody else. No daughter of mine
Wears thongs. That’s the bottom line.

 

The selected work is from Keillor’s book Verses Lyrical, Vulgar, Pathetic & Profound.  In his signature dry and witty tone, he analyzes a fashion trend that he doesn’t understand. His reflective opinion is sprinkled with his own moral values in a really enjoyable way. Without being high handed or overly negative he draws criticism to a concept he disapproves of. To hear a live version of the above poem go here. Or to see more of Keillor’s spectacular writings, go here.

 

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Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.

 

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Reviewing The Watchmen

“Once you realize what a joke everything is, being the Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.”

 

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The Watchmen is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the comic book art form. Alan Moore writes and Dave Gibbons illustrates this dark and dynamic story following a group of retired superheroes. Taking place in an alternate time line, this story highlights and amplifies the cold war paranoia of America in the mid-eighties as World War Three seems to be growing ever closer. This comic examines the lives and moral struggles of a group of former superheroes when one of their own dies.

Full disclosure, I think this is one of the greatest books ever written. I have read it a number of times and find the somber subject matter fascinating. It is superheroes that are not the paragons of justice. It is masked heroes at their most human, their most selfish,most inconsiderate and most violent. It is a character study of those looked upon when the villains rise to challenge the helpless. This book has no clear cut protagonist, as it is written it show highlights the ambiguity that exists within us all.

Moore’s creation has been represented in a number other mediums. A 2009 Film, that was met with mixed reviews,a pretty stellar motion comic and a long rumored animated series and/or movie. This work has been universally praised as one of the greatest of all time. Gibbons’ art is highly regarded as it works so well with the ominous nature of the text. It blends and flows so well, it is marvelous. The Watchmen has the best implementation of the ‘story within a story’ concept I’ve ever read, with The Tales of The Black Freighter being smooth and easy to follow.

This book is well worth your time. Over and over again it is worth the effort. Even if you’re not a comic reader or if you weren’t wowed by Zach Snyder’s Film adaptation, I recommend it. This is truly one of the great pieces of American art. With a diverse cast of characters and a intriguing plot, I cannot encourage you strongly enough to give it a read.  See a sample of the graphic novel here or go here to watch the motion comic.

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“It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us.”

 

 

 

Cody Jemes is the co-host of the recently revived Bored Shenanigans podcast. Our newest series “Story Time” is available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry by downloading his latest e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook. 

 

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