jim thompson classics

Have started reading Jim Thompson novels in earnest, after a false start many years back (not sure why I stopped reading). This Crime Time post has a good rundown on Thompson's life, and recommendations of what it considers the best books:

Nothing More Than Murder (1949)
The Killer Inside Me (1952)
Savage Night (1953)
A Swell-Looking Babe (1954)
A Hell Of A Woman (1954)
After Dark, My Sweet (1955)
Wildtown (1957)
The Getaway (1959)
The Grifters (1963)
Pop.1280 (1964)

Never had any interest in seeing the "iconic" film version of The Getaway -- Ali McGraw, yuck -- so was able to read the book without imagining Steve McQueen in the role of "Doc." It's an astounding work -- but to film the hard-boiled action scenes minus Thompson's under-the-radar left-wing subversion and the surreal ending is to gut the work. Make no mistake, this is one of the tightest, meanest critiques of the world Ayn Rand made.

Thompson's politics peek out more abruptly in a scene in Pop. 1280 where the town's early 20th Century small town sheriff "kids" a Pinkerton detective (changed to "Talkington" in the novel):

"So you're with the Talkington Agency," I said. "Why, god-dang if I ain't heard a lot about you people! Let's see now, you broke up that big railroad strike, didn't you?"
"That's right." He showed me the tooth again. "The railroad strike was one of our jobs."
"Now, by golly, that really took nerve," I said. "Them railroad workers throwin' chunks of coal at you an' splashin' you with water, and you fellas without nothin' to defend yourself with except shotguns and automatic rifles! Yes, sir, god-dang it, I really gotta hand it to you!"
"Now, just a moment, Sheriff!" His mouth came together like a buttonhole. "We have never -- "

This passage from Savage Night shows Thompson's skill at tossing off humorous one-liners:

I met Mr. Kendall, the other boarder, on the way down to dinner. He was a dignified, little old guy -- the kind who'd remain dignified if he got locked in a nickel toilet and had to crawl under the door.

Or this one, from the same book:

Ruth served breakfast to us, and the way she kept trying to catch my eye I had a notion to take it out and hand it to her.



Exploded views of Roland TR series drum machines, loosely interpreted into quasi-Constructivist compositions, done with gouache and acrylic on watercolor paper.
Dataisnature says the artist is "Roid" but the Flickr page says "O'Really (harvey human) (ian cognito)" so whatever -- get it straight, people. Mark Zuckerberg wants a unitary identity and you better do it. Roid's graffiti is nice, too, but I saw at least one "sponsored by Vans" in there so am having a Wooster Collective moment of not knowing what's "ad" and what's "criminal mischief in the fourth degree," sorry.

untitled head arrangement


from the tumblr of ckcker

At the risk of spoiling a good joke by analyzing it, this sequence of five found photos encapsulates the tragedy and stupidity of our silicon valley-made, plato's caveman world. The randomness of image search meets clickbait buttonpushing mechanics, hollowing out the already hollowed out. There is a kind of algebra, or set theory, at work here: three images of cheapened sadness (the abashed celebrity at the moment of crisis), fear (the bloody hollywood FX head), and yuks (the parked domain meme reenactment), forming an emotional triad that must be offset by not one, but two, creepy goalie masks in order for layout feng shui to be achieved.