Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the 100 greatest challenge

I've always been a huge fan of lists. Little did I know, but shortly after I met Croftie I found she was very found of a particular list. She had been steadily marching through the 100 greatest novels of all time, but I have made up some ground. Together we are unstoppable.

A code for below. The books I am certain that just I have read are in blue. Those I know Croftie has read are in red. Books we've both read are in green.

  1. ULYSSES by James Joyce
  2. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  6. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
  7. CATCH-22 (not entirely sure C has read this...)
  8. DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler
  9. SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence
  10. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  11. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
  12. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler
  13. 1984 by George Orwell
  14. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
  15. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
  16. AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
  17. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  18. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
  19. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
  20. NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
  21. HENDERSON THE RAIN KING by Saul Bellow
  23. U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos (I've read the first volume)
  24. WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
  25. A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
  26. THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James
  27. THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James
  28. TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  29. THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY by James T. Farrell (again, read bk1)
  30. THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford
  31. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  32. THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James
  33. SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser
  34. A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
  35. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
  36. ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren (began this but couldn't stomach it)
  37. THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
  38. HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster
  39. GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
  40. THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene
  41. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
  42. DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
  43. A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
  44. POINT COUNTER POINT by Aldous Huxley
  45. THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
  46. THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad
  47. NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad
  48. THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence
  49. WOMEN IN LOVE by D.H. Lawrence
  50. TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
  51. THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer
  52. PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth
  53. PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
  54. LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
  55. ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac (hated it!)
  56. THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett
  57. PARADE'S END by Ford Madox Ford
  58. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton
  59. ZULEIKA DOBSON by Max Beerbohm
  60. THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
  62. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones
  63. THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES by John Cheever
  64. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
  65. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
  66. OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
  67. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
  68. MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis
  69. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton
  70. THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durell
  71. A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes
  72. A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul
  73. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
  74. A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
  75. SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh
  77. FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce
  78. KIM by Rudyard Kipling
  79. A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster
  80. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
  82. ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner
  83. A BEND IN THE RIVER by V.S. Naipaul
  84. THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
  85. LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad
  86. RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
  87. THE OLD WIVES' TALE by Arnold Bennett
  88. THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
  89. LOVING by Henry Green
  90. MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie
  91. TOBACCO ROAD by Erskine Caldwell
  92. IRONWEED by William Kennedy
  93. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
  94. WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
  95. UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
  96. SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron
  97. THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
  99. THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy (think C started but never finished)
  100. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington


Tuesday, December 09, 2008

That Barack Obama Sure Is One Nice Guy

If indeed the power's that be monitor blogs, suffice to say I'm likely to be whisked away to some sort of detention center for the story I am about to tell.

Last night, to the surprise of nobody, least of all me, I was cruising around Hyde Park with Barack Obama in his black SUV with the bullet proof tinted windows. It was just me and Obama, 'chewing the fat' as they say, until the driver was forced to pull down the wrong alley and all hell broke loose. Suddenly, the other black SUVs that had been flanking us were nowhere to be found and it was like some scene out of a Harrison Ford as President movie. The windows around us began to crackle with the 'pack-pack-pack' of bullets being refused entry until enough got through and the driver was scagged. 'oh no!,' I yelled as I turned to the side to take any incoming fire that our good president might receive from my side of the truck. But this was all unnecessary as Barack had a plan.

Before escaping I went to help the driver and was told not to worry, he was merely a highly convincing robot. Obama and I then made our getaway, ducking and rolling out all action hero style before some sort of explosion destroyed the vehicle in a riotous orange fireball. The entire time our president elect was one cool customer, and all I could lament as we used a top secret path back to his home was the utter ruination of my shoes, befouled by oil and blood from the inexplicably bleedy robot driver.

Inside Mr Obama's home I found spacious, comfortably furnished rooms, fancy yes, but not the kind of fancy where you don't sit on the sofa. The kind of fancy where you maybe even put your feet up on the ottomans. For some reason the Obamas hadn't switched over DVD or Blu-ray yet and had a vast collection of VHS movies. I'm pretty sure Barack told me to pick one out that I could borrow while he went and got me a new pair of shoes from upstairs, you see, we're the same size.

Of course this was an incredibly lucid dream and not reality. I realized this when Obama and I left his place after some time and both transformed into vigilante werewolves, saving the Hyde Park populace from a plague of rogue timberwolves that had wandered down from Canada because of the severe cold. Unfortunately, I ended up losing the VHS copy of Big Trouble in Little China to the ravenous maw of a wolf.

However I'm left with the impression that Barack Obama sure is one nice guy.

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Thursday, December 04, 2008


This post will likely win me TMI of the year. In fact, TMI is probably a little too cutesy a way of warning that the following might be, cue the italics and scary local news threatening music, too much information. Also, in fine Thunderclap tradition, we return to a scene detailed all too frequently in this blog. I'm talking about, of course, the men's bathroom at my work.

Yesterday was new urinal cake day. Where before there was nothing but a hollow white porcelain bowl, more and more musty with each passing day, now there is a cake, brilliantly pink, a color not found anywhere else in nature, sanitzing and perfuming the entire bathroom from its quiet resting place. And I know you girly readers will have no frame of reference here, but it is a powerful feeling that sweeps over a man, er, possibly just this man, whereby I am encouraged, nay, compelled, to try as hard as I possibly can to destroy said dainty pink cake with my urine.

It becomes a target, a beacon too attractive to ignore, a bullseye, but that bitch is tough. After several days worth of visits I'll manage to make a slight dent in its center, while the whole cake is diminished by countless others disgracefully directionless micturation. Gradually the days will pass, eventually I will be able to move the shrunken cake around with carefully placed stream, and I'll be honest with you, it's kind of fun. But back to the point, I am forced to destroy that damn cake from the center of my being, and nothing less than its complete eradication will do.

At least until the janitor decides to place another in an apparently endless supply of cakes back in the urninal.

A man's work is never done.

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