Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Theory of Moe Howard and Iggy Pop

Sometimes I wish I had a theory. I mean a BIG THEORY like the Theory of Relativity or …. uh… that I think about it, I can’t really come up with another famous theory. I know there are others but I just can’t bring one to mind at the moment. Hmmm… It seems unlikely that I have what it takes to develop a BIG THEORY if I can only think of the name of one such theory. Ah well, maybe it’s best to leave the really important thinking to someone else.

I have to admit that I’m at a bit of a disadvantage today. I’m on vacation in Myrtle Beach and spent most of the day lying around in the sun reading a book. Now I’m sitting on the balcony of my hotel, listening to kids scream in the pool (why do kids always scream when they’re in the water?) and writing this on my laptop. This, as I have often said to my wife, is the life.

In actuality, the screaming kids aren’t in a swimming pool at all. They’re in something called a “lazy river” which, if you’ve never seen one, is something to see. Basically it’s a swimming pool that is about three feet deep and, instead of being a circle or rectangle is actually a “river” that’s about eight feet wide and usually travels around the pool area in a meandering oval. The water is somehow propelled and usually heated and the idea is to lie in an inner tube with your butt in the water while you float ‘round and ‘round. At any given time, there are several adults, usually with cocktails in hand, doing just this. There also seems to always be at least ten, often as many as twenty, kids sort of running around in the water, hitting each other with inner tubes and, of course screaming. These activities, in my opinion, make the term “Lazy River” a bit of a misnomer.

As you wonder whether I ever plan to get back to my BIG THEORY, I’ll move on to something else entirely. As was often said on Monty Python’s Flying Circus: “And now for something completely different”.

Today I finished reading a book titled “Koko”, written by Peter Straub. If you’re not familiar with him he is sort of a horror, fantasy, thriller, mainstream fiction writer who also occasionally writes poetry (I guess he’s tough to categorize).“Koko” is about a group of Vietnam vets who band together to find a member of their unit who is apparently killing people. They also share a dark secret about some events that happened in a small village during the war.

The thing that I find fascinating about Straub is that his characters are so vivid and his writing often has a poetic, literary quality that you don’t often get from a genre fiction writers. I call him that because he’s probably most famous for his horror novels - “Ghost Story” being the most famous – and for a couple of books he co-authored with Stephen King. However, Peter Straub, much like Elmore Leonard has done in crime fiction, has brought an entirely different level of artistry to his particular genre. I don’t mean this as a criticism of Stephen King – I find King’s best novels to be excellent – more as praise for Peter Straub. Anyway, if you stumble on “Koko” it is an “excellent read”, as people often say.

So I started out this post to write about my desire to have a BIG THEORY and I haven’t really made any progress toward laying one out have I? I don’t think I’ve even really approached a BIG IDEA but I will say this: I like when Moe Howard of the Three Stooges says to one of the other Stooges “What’s the big idea?” And speaking of the Stooges, were they also in the legendary Detroit band, Iggy and the Stooges, with Iggy Pop? Does that count as a theory?

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