Dispatches from the press room: Magnes’s Mailbag: And In The End Part 2/3/5: Sunday Mailbag Coming Down


Howdy folks. Elton here.

In the words of Bigfoot: “I not dead” [sic].

I was minding my own business down in the press room, trying to get this issue printed up after weeks and weeks of delays from those dopes upstairs. The editors–an incompetent bunch if I ever saw one–left Magnes to run the place while they all went gallivanting off into the sunset. And if the editors don’t know how to lick a stamp, then Magnes doesn’t even know what a stamp is. Which is funny, since he gets the mail more or less every week. And then wastes your time answering questions no one asked and clutters up your MyFace page and Twatter feeds with his inanity.

Anywhom, I was running the presses–because the magazine’s finally ready to go–when I heard this obscene ringing in my ear like a drill bit whirring into bone. My vision went black and I saw in my mind a red telephone on a rain-battered Ikea table (those Swedes can make anything, can’t they?). The receiver jumped with each ring and with each ring the drill bored deeper into my skull. On the third ring the black went white and the telephone vanished and when I could see again I saw the flesh melting off my own skull in the garbage-filled office of the Portland Review, an office that shuddered with each breath it drew.

What sorcery was this? I touch my face. My skin was still there, but it was my skull, unmistakeably bubbling in the corner, the rest of my body evidently incinerated into a pile of ash at my chin. But I was here. Was that body a creation of the Review or the occupiers or Magnes himself? And what of poor Patty, the tortured assistant to whom I never screwed up the courage to reveal my love? She was even more unrecognizable, reduced to rubble in the fray, just a scrap of her hair to reveal the body’s identity. Scraps of the occupiers decorated the walls and Magnes was locked in conflict with himself and the sentient office. The red telephone was there.

“Don’t answer it!” I yelled.

Magnes reached out his hand and I jumped for the wall and the phone line. Magnes’s hand shot back. His eyes were wild with terror and confusion. I pulled the cord from the wall and creaked my way upright. There was a full minute of silence save the sounds of the Portland Review’s labored breathing.

The phone rang.

The cord was still in my hand.

The phone rang again.

The drill worked deeper into my brain and I fell to my knees.

The phone rang again.

Magnes reached out his hand.

_ _ _

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD

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Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Howdy folks. Elton here.

I’m sure you’re all wondering where I’ve been. Me too. One minute I’m changing my earplugs in the press room, the next I’m sitting cross-legged in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa. I think there may have been a writers’ workshop of some kind or another nearby, because I heard a bunch of idiots hooting and hollering about POETRY! And they were all wondering what was at steak and whether or not some asshole earned his cliche or not. And there I was, scratching my ass and wondering how in the hell I got there. It wasn’t even sweet corn, just that nasty starchy field corn that’ll make ethanol and feed cattle.

Anyway, I was just sitting in the dirt and the shade, watching aphids crawl all over everything, when an incredible sense of calm washed over me and I knew I was on corncation. I never liked Magnes, that squirrely turd of an administrative assistant, but he got the corncation thing right.

Here’s what I think happened: Patty, the idiots’ long-suffering secretary, got tired of Magnes eating her yogurt (Patty’s yogurt, DON’T EAT!), so she set up on a corncation. I was mistaken for Magnes and sent on corncation instead. And I spent six weeks in the dirt and the mud and the rain and the sun and the corn. I found myself steadily coming to peace with the fact that the editors of the Portland Review are incompetent slobs.

And now the issue is on its way to me. And maybe those kids running the show upstairs are damn dummies, but at least they’ve managed to churn out a product. Look for it in the middle of Novemeber.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD

TV Shows Better Than The Movies They Were Based On

1) Smoke on the Lanes

So everyone loves the Big Lebowski. What can we say about it? Go ahead. Quote from it for the next couple of minutes. Think about your favorite scenes. We’ll wait. You’re doing it anyway. Welcome back. So, remember Smokey? You know, the guy who was entering a world of pain when John Goodman accused him of stepping over the line?

Thursday nights at 1:37 A.M. on ESPN4 you could, for a brief period of time in August of 1999, find Smokey teaching you how to bowl. A brief episode guide is as follows: Episode one: Rolling for Dummies, Episode Two: Seven-ten Your Splits, Episode Three: Grinding Out Winners, Episode Four: Bogarting Other Lanes, Episode Five: Freak Out (The Art of Psychological Bowling), Episode Six: (Untitled #4). The show was a bizarre cross of Fishing with John and Aqua Teen Hunger Force, in that each episode was nothing but a series of non-sequiturs and inaction. It was the poster child for ennui–the show some, no one, called a harbinger of the Bush administration. The last episode was the least watched, but had John Goodman and Jeff Bridges reprising their roles–mostly arguing if bowler hats had anything to do with bowling. Sam Elliott even showed up to make some cryptic comment:

John Goodman

It was the hat Dude. The hat

Jeff Bridges

Man, Watler, you know you can’t, like, bowl with a hat on. You couldn’t see. The brim gets in the fucking way man. I mean, you see all the trouble I have with my hair. I just, it wouldn’t work.

John Goodman

It was designed by the Dutch in the 1800’s to make the game more combatative. Kings had started using it as a mean of warefare.

Smokey

So, as you can see, you must, MUST, wear shoes or else you’ll slip on the floor.

John Goodman

You’re out of your element Smokey. What do you know about hats?

Sam Elliott

Well, the Dude, Walter, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the dude what acted out Smokey’s lines, were sure in some sort of bad place, you know.

Smokey died violently at the end of each episode being crushed by balls, sucked into the ball return, food poisoning from the wings, and of cancer on one very special episode. But the best part? Well, you can guess from the title, but for those of you who couldn’t tell, its theme song was Smoke on the Water.

2) McCabe and Mrs. Miller’s Place

John McCabe is a traveling hobo in the old west who won just won the lottery in L.A. He moves because up the coast to Portland because it is suffering from a lack of hardware stores, and his cousin Sol Star made a killing in South Dakota, so he hitches his wagon and is off! He gets to town but finds out that representatives from the Harrison Shaughnessy Mining and Drug Store Ccompany have taken over town! The only place he can rent in town is owned by Mr. Furley and he’ll only rent to John if he pretends to be gay but still live with a sexy lady (Mrs. Miller), who happens to be addicted to Spanish peanuts. So they live together. After that they try to keep up the ruse but regrettably fall in love with each other. There are many missteps along the way, such as when Mr. Furley’s cat comes to visit, and John quickly forgets about the drug store business when Rock N’ Roll is invented. He becomes a record produces so a mob kills him in the series finale. Mrs. Miller stays on, addicted to Spanish peanuts. Here’s a scene!

McCabe

So. Is that cat coming by today to check on us?

Mrs. Miller.

Probably. I just

(Hears a knock on the door)

Oh no! Quick. Pretend to be gay.

McCabe

(Clears throat)

Mr. Furley

(Poking his head through the window)

Hey! You kids decent!?

McCabe

Sure am. Come in.

Mr. Furley

I am in.

(Pause)

Oh. Right.

(Comes in)

So you’re gay, right?

McCabe

Boy, this sure is wacky.

Mr. Furley

Yeah

EPISODE ENDS AS THEY ALL DO. THEY ARE ALL KNIFED TO DEATH.

3) Dr. Gonzo: Lawyer at Law

Benicio Del Toro reprises his role as Dr. Gonzo in this reality spin-off from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but there’s a catch: Raoul Duke is nowhere to be found and Dr. Gonzo spends his time charging by the hour for legal advice. Despite the fact that he hasn’t earned a J.D. and is currently not licensed to practice law in any American states or territories, Del Toro, as Dr. Gonzo, actually litigates real cases for this show, often high-profile divorces of the super-rich. The running logic so far is this: He’s not a lawyer, but he plays one on TV, which is good enough for the justice system as it stands today.

Just before entering the courtroom.

Two of our favorite episodes are described below:

1) Del Toro represents T. Denny Sanford (a billionaire who made his fortune by issuing predatory credit cards and makes his home in South Dakota in order to avoid paying income taxes in Arizona and Colorado, where he actually lives) in his divorce case against now-ex-wife Colleen Anderson Sanford. Their prenup stated that Denny could skip out on alimony, but Colleen’s legal team beats it somehow (Del Toro, even while playing Dr. Gonzo, still isn’t sure how), and Denny ends up paying alimony anyway. “Well, that’s what you get when you hire Dr. Gonzo,” says Del Toro at the end of the episode before chewing up a handful of bennies.

2) Del Toro spends a day as a Wikipedia vigilante, cruising through the United States v. [Somebody] pages, making corrections based on what he remembers from the single course in constitutional law that he took in college. It was a 200-level course and Del Toro informs the audience that he made it to class “like a third of the time, so my memory of it is still pretty solid.”

The series was cancelled after a single season. In the final episode, Del Toro, as himself rather than Dr. Gonzo, buys an LSAT test-preparation book and sits down at his kitchen table for a long night of studying. He says he hopes to enter UCLA Law the next fall, even if he has to get in through the “summer bummer” program.

-Yer ever lovin’ staff

Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Howdy folks. Elton here.

Well, seems I’m a bit late to get Magnes out of the sewers. I tell you, that kid is sure annoying–and he’s never put in a day of work in his life. Regular Chicken Little, that one, sky’s falling every day. First, he thinks he’s fired, so he runs away into the sewers with his tail between his legs rather than coming to me–the union president–to see if there’s a way to rectify the problems he caused with that insensitive post. Then, when he gets into the sewers the idiot gets himself stuck in a pipe. And then he thinks he’s the center of the goddamn universe when he can’t grease his way out of there. Like his problem is everyone’s problem. So when I found him while getting rid of some hazardous…I mean…GREEN, SUSTAINABLE waste down there, he thinks I’ve got to drop everything and get him out. Like I don’t have enough to do.

So I left him my bag of Combos (the pepperoni pizza kind) and went over to the Pipe Cutters’ shop out on 82nd and got this saw that’s supposed to detect soft tissue and automatically shut down. I wanted to be able to cut through the pipe without sawing the kid in half. The saw’s still in development, though, and the engineer was on his lunch break–which the union stipulates has to be at least an hour, but can last for as long as three weeks. So I decided to take my lunch break too. Hell, even though I didn’t leave Magnes the butter he asked for, at least he had the Combos. He wasn’t gonna starve.

Anyway, I finally got the saw–it’s pretty nifty–and I went down into the sewers today to set the whiny kid free. What a mess. You’d think he’d been trapped in a pipe for FOUR weeks or something. Somehow he had a black eye (I suspect he punched himself), and any kind of muscle mass the little alien ever had was gone. He looked like a wet grocery bag full of pizza crusts. When he saw me trekking knee-deep through sewage up to his sorry ass, he didn’t thank me. He didn’t ask how my weekend had been. He didn’t apologize for the inconvenience. He just looked up at me, tears and blood and mucous streaming down his face.

“Did you bring any butter?” he asked, his voice cracked and rasping.

I was butter-free at the moment, and I told him so. But I had the saw, and I was ready to cut him out. I started it up. The saw’s motor is a perpetual motion machine, very complicated stuff, and it takes a little while to warm.

“Butter?” Magnes said again.

“No butter,” I told him. The saw was ready. I started cutting, and Magnes screamed through the whole ordeal. It took the better part of four hours to saw through that pipe and he cried and cried and cried. Hell of a way to spend a Sunday off.

Well, turns out the saw isn’t has spectacular as those pipe cutters think it is, and when I pulled him free of the sawed-off pipe, Magnes’s midsection was banded with a nearly complete deep cut, oozing blood and iron grit. Seems the saw has to make a few rounds into soft tissue before it recognizes the change and turns itself off. Oh well, it’s nothing 360 degrees of stitches and a few nights in intensive care won’t fix. At least he’s out of the pipe.

When I dragged him up the the surface, into the blinding light of the subbasement of Smith, he looked around the Portland Review office as if for the first time. Marshall, Michael Magnes (the original), and Mollet were all there, huddled over something on the desk. Something real interesting by the greedy looks on their faces. Magnes crawled off my shoulders and zombie-hobbled over to the three idiots around the desk. He pushed himself between his doppleganger and that oaf Mollet. He reached a hand down toward the desk, palm-down and open. When he brought it back up to eye level, it was covered in creamy yellow goo. Magnes licked his fingers and smiled with satisfaction.

“Butter,” he said, putting his entire fist in his mouth.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD

Albums We’re Glad Were Never Made Public

Oh! Hey! It’s another list. The internet loves lists so here’s another one: ALBUMS WE’RE (THE PORTLAND REVIEW STAFF) ARE GLAD WERE NEVER MADE

*DISCLAIMER. NONE OF THESE ALBUMS ARE ACTUALLY REAL. I THINK. BETTER WIKI THAT FOR US THOUGH.

1) Wu-Tang Clan presents: The Hip-Hop Hippie Hippie Shake

-The Wu-Tang clan have pretty much the best rappers in the world in the group and have recorded some ten millions albums altogether. In fact, every rapper from Peter Rock to the Portland Review staff have worked with Wu-Tang members. After their fifth studio album as a group, 8 Diagrams, Ghostface and Raekwon famously grumbled about the RZA’s production that utilized a hole helluva lotta guitar samples. They complained about the RZA’s production (we really like typing “the RZA”) being too “Hip-hop hippie” with the production. We mean he sampled a Beatles song for god’s sake (We don’t capitalize God here are the Revi…aw….goddammit). Yeah. We don’t know who they are either. We guess a band named after the car? This can all probably be blamed on Jim Jarmusch for getting RZA to produce the soundtrack for Ghost Dog and then burning him a copy of Marquee Moon as an example of the sound he wanted.

(What was I holding?)

So RZA came right back at them and used a bunch of jam band samples to produce a new album with vocal out-takes from the 8 Diagrams sessions. The result was twelve eight minutes tracks that has been scientifically proven to make people fall asleep in anger. Twelve died, in a case study printed in the Journal of Medicine of Music of the United State. In fact, the end result was so bad RZA himself has blackmailed everyone else in the Wu-tang clan to record another album with him or he’ll release The Hip-Hop Hippie Hippie Shake. Let me put it this way: Trey Anastasio played the vacuum cleaner on every track. And if you look at Trey he doesn’t know that a vacuum cleaner is used for cleaning, despite cleaner being on the box. Probably. Man. Hippies are dumb.

2) Songs in the Key of Scarlett: Tom Waits Sings the Songs of Scarlett Johansson

Tom Waits is often confused. One day, while rummaging around in a pile of dirt, Tom came across the cover album Scarlett made, as well as that dumb album with Pete Yorn she made. Tom was so impressed that he covered songs that Scarlett sang on both of those albums. It’s not really his fault though, do you think he remembers what the hell the words to “Falling Down” were, let alone writing it? Can you? (We bet you’re sitting there making the joke “Tom had to record the album. He waits for no man.” Dick.) Tom’s written twenty million songs and has junkyards to visit. And cigarettes to dislodge from his throat. Tom thought Scarlett Johansson was a pop singer from Johannesburg. I guess he can do whatever he wants even something terrible, but the album led to the first Tom Waits/David Bowie collaboration so all was not lost.

(YOU’RE WELCOME WORLD! STEP OUT OF MY DREAMS! AND INTO MY CAR!)

And speaking of Legends:

3) Legends: The Legendary Pink Dots Sing Songs with Legend/s in the Title

This one is pretty self explanatory, we guess. The Legendary Pink Dots are a legendary (haw haw haw) post-punk band that have made some forty million albums and I defy you to differentiate them. They are a great band (they are legendary after all) it’s just hard to describe an experimental band, who combines pretty much any kind of music imaginable (except rap!) and have had over three million members! The band formed after they bathed in glue and rolled around in a pile of pink dots that then stuck to their persons after, or something.

(Wait a minute! Not all of those are pink! LIIEEEEESSSS.)

Somewhere around 1997, lead singer Edward Ka-Spel (Magica De Spell’s cousin) went off the deep end and decided to record an album with himself on keyboards, and nothing else, singing songs with legend in the title. Just imagine. The Legends of the Fall theme. The Legend of Bagger Vance theme. Legends of the Hidden Temple them. Legend of Zelda theme. These songs don’t even have lyrics! He just sort of hums and goes “de de do” over random keyboard sounds. Read the review on Allmusic. It got a 4/5. It’s a pretty good album. HIRE US ALLMUSIC!

4) What is in Your Pills? Ted Leo Dispenses Pharmaceutical Advice

Well no good can come from this. Ted Leo is a famous indie rock musician (wait, what does that mean? Famous indie rock? Like the rocks on Rushmore?) and his band is called the Pharmacists, so in a delicous twist of fate his albums are attributed to TED LEO AND THE PHARMACISTS. OR TED LEO AMPERSAND PHARMACISTS. He tried to release a spoken word album in 2005. When word first hit, the internet went abuzz (they couldn’t go aTwitter yet!) that Ted would be releasing a political ranty album ala Jello Biafra and ambient musician Henry Rollins. You see, under the Bush administration, you pinko commies wanted to take down the Bush Administration but lacked the gumption, so you turned to your aging punk musicians. Ted tried to hop on that train but he doesn’t like to get political. So he figured that since his band is called The Pharmacists (and he is with them) that he could dispense pharmaceutical advice.

(Who stole all the Xanax? Ms. Falco!)

What followed was a perplexing oddity, bordering on those old celebrity vanity albums, where Ted tells you what not to mix with Propecia (Advil. It kills. According to Ted). Fearing lawsuits, his band urged Ted to not put the album out citing the fact that they didn’t want to kill people. Not even the drummer! Drummers are the crazy ones! Just google Ted Leo’s drummer! Ted wouldn’t relent so the band beat the shit out of him, putting Ted into a coma. Eventually Ted got better but he had amnesia. The band never got around to mentioning what he had recored, so if you see Ted please don’t mention it to him. It could…. upset him….

5) A Very Nixon Christmas: Nixon Sings His Favorite Christmas Songs

Well! Speaking of celebrity vanity projects… oh … man….

(Hello….you….)

After leaving office in disgrace, Nixon went back to his first love: singing! Little known Nixon fact #448: as a child he won the national Richard Nixon Singing Contest, officiated by his mother when he was five. So he got Phil Spector to produce this at least until Phil left after Richard pulled a gun on him. He did not care for the wall of sound. Frank Zappa came in and took over and they both bonded over their love of Doo Wop. Things got even stranger when this hit number one on all of the charts for seventeen years. In a row. On the eighteenth year everyone burned their copy of the album, pictures of Nixon, and Zappa’s terrible guitar albums so everyone forgot. This is a prime example of cultural amnesia. We mean, if you ask anyone about this they’ll just give you blank looks but we swear this came out. We saved our copies. We have it. We’re going to upload some… oh… nooo…..ooooowww….

6) Steve Perry Sings Songs From the Time He Bought a T-Shirt in Urban Outfitters

Steve Perry sings all of your favorites! Songs from Interpol, the Strokes, Arcade Fire, and other boring bands!

(What? You idiots bought it.)

Steve wanted to capitalize on the Indie Rock boom, of boring bands, from the first half of last century. Or decade. Or whatever it was. So he picked a bunch of songs and sort of sang through them. Sort of. He warbled. It sold twenty million copies, but the real coup was that Steve discovered the Arcade Fire. While on an expedition, trying to bring hand soap to Canada, he discovered the world’s most boring band playing in a garage. The band was so boring Steve brought them to America to exact his revenge on the other members of Journey for kicking him out. Little did he know the consequences of his actions.

7) An Evening with Kevin Smith: The Audio Version

Kevin Smith, scourge of Southwest Airlines, has been making moving picture for most of his life much to the chagrin of people everywhere. Over the last, who knows how many, decades he’s had his act on the road offering people an Evening with Kevin Smith where he talks about whatever made him giggle when he realized he charged forty bucks for you to listen to him in person. Now, when you hear the words “An Evening With” Kevin Smith is probably the last name that comes to mind. We mean, you probably think of “An Evening With… oh I don’t know let’s say David Sedaris.” The point is that the evening is usually with some person who represents some kind of culture–an Evening with Glenn Gould–and not this guy:

(Imagine waking up next to that.)

So Kevin’s “Evening withs” got to be so popular he was going to release an audio version of an evening in his hometown of XXXXXXXX (name has been removed to protect the good, kindly people of New Jersey who get enough garbage hurled their way). These evenings were marathons, or rather endurance tests, but for some reason his fans loved it (probably because well…. we don’t know to say it). The audio turned out to unusable as it was simply Kevin smoking a bowl, and who really needs to hear what a bong sounds like for four hours? After that he proceeded to eat a stick of butter. Kevin would occasionally smack his lips, in typical grotesque Smith fashion, that sounded like two giant slabs of wet sponges rubbing against each other while someone was scratching his fingernails against a chalkboard. (Or just a fat guy being fat and disgusting) That awful sloshing sound will haunt you until the end of you days until it finally overwhelms you, forcing you to take a dull and rusty blade to your arm when you will carefully sink the blade into your flesh. You’ll move the blade down, slowly at first, and then faster and faster as the blood begins to eek out of your flesh, which will look as if it were made out of paper. You will wonder how humanity could be so kind, cruel, smart, dumb, profane, all in one single instant. The galactic swirls of the universe will swim throughout your mind, eddying out from the vast inky depth of cosmic knowledge. Finally, you will die with a look of peace and it will feel like peace but at just the last second you will realize that everything has been a sham, and Kevin, in all of his disingenuous glory, will be laughing. And probably farting. The evening went go like this:

Kevin Smith

So, as you can see…

(Pause. Smack. Smack.)

Mmm. This is good butter.

(Smack. Smack.)

I made Cop Out for my fans…

(Smack. Smack.)

And not the critics.

Bullshit. He made Cop Out for no one. Except maybe the butter. *Note. The copy the Review obtain was covered in goo.

We have to go now. Someone uploaded hidden camera footage of Morrissey eating veal. It’s really funny. He pretends to torture it before eating it. WE SMELL A NEW ALBUM!

-Yer Ever Lovin’ Staff

Sequels Nobody Asked For: Book Edition.

We love sequels so much here at the Portland Review that we decided to make a sequel list to our award winning movie sequel list, but this time sequels to books. Enjoy our award winning comedy! *Note: we gave ourselves the award.

1) Philip Roth’s Operation Shylock

Operation Shylock was the second of the “Roth” novels concerning Philip Roth being overly concerned with Philip Roth. Fans called this a high point of postmodernism while non-fans called this a high point of postmodernism. The novel was about Philip Roth trying to be Jewish while hunting down a fake Philip Roth. Now, before we get into it, the staff at the Portland Review is at least eighty percent Jewish (when you add up all of the percentages) so we are allowed to make these jokes. You might be able to but we are! After all, if you can’t laugh at the horrible things that have been done to the Chosen People (our people) then there’s something wrong with you. Plus all of the best people in the world are at least half Jewish (see Paul Newman). So this book naturally needs a sequel titled:

Operation Shylock Two: Philip Roth: Operation Shylock Two: Philip Roth: Operation Shylock Two: Philip Roth: Operation Shylock Two: Philip Roth: etc.

The plot concerns Philip Roth sitting in a waiting room, while waiting for his latest prostate exam, as he comes upon a new book by Philip Roth (a Roth who turns out to be an impostor) about Philip Roth writing a book about Philip Roth writing a book about gay Nazi’s trying to put on a musical written by a teenaged Philip Roth who really really liked Berlin Stories and the band Bauhaus. Philip Roth, the one in the waiting room, must track down each Philip Roth to stop them from writing such a cliche ridden novel so he can win the Nobel Prize in Philip Roth but…. his doctor won’t wait for him because he’s the best proctologist in Manhattan. Roth must decide between his prostate or his career.

*Note: This book will finally end his career.

(Bela Lugosi’s deeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaddddd)

2) John Irving’s The Cider House Rules

So, the Cider House Rules (if memory serves us correctly) was about Michael Caine performing abortions (presumably to stop another Jaws movie from being made) and has a young guy writing stories about a circus with bears and also probably has lesbians in it.

(Pfff. A good writer only needs three ideas. I call them themes. Dick.)

At the end of the novel Homer Wells becomes Michael Caine’s replacement until….

The Cider House Totally Rules

As Homer approaches middle age he wants to relive his glory years, so like any other middle aged dude trying to relive his glory years he starts his own fraternity! First Homer calls up his old buddy, Wally, to get rid of the orphans from the orphanage. Once they finish killing the orphans Homer and Wally throw the keger to end all kegers until the police come and arrest Homer for impersonating a doctor for the last decade. Or two.

3) Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom

(Since the book is fifty pounds you can use it to kill the bird that symbolizes freedom.)

Freedom follows the Berglund family as they embark on a journey to the end of the twentieth century and to the start of the twenty-first. Since there’s a bird on the cover I’m going to assume that he’s the narrator and all he really wants is a cracker. Anyhow, we all know the sequel to Freedom:

Slavery!

(What?)

A General named Dissatisfaction takes over America and the Berglunds are forced to deal with the petty annoyances of modern life. There is an exquisite three hundred page sequence of a man putting together a medium black Expedit bookcase from Ikea. General Dissatisfaction is mentioned by name on page one and on page five hundred ninety-nine. The novel ends with Jennifer Egan running Franzen over with her car. The book will be emotionally satisifying  but not well written.

4) J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye

(The preferred book of hitmen)

Catcher in the Rye is the classic novel about a snotty rich kid from New York who doesn’t have any real problems but is just kind of sad. If he had been born a few decades later he would have gone to the Pratt Institute and got caught doing heroin in the school newspaper office. But I digress. People like this book. Holden just wants to get away from it all. He wants to get away from all of the phonies who are presumably full of baloney. Well, after a brief stint in a mental institution:

Catcher in the Rye Two: The Tet Offensive

Holden joins the army and gets sent to Vietnam where he becomes a part of the Tet Offensive. Holden finally comes around and realizes that America isn’t full of phonies but the best people in all possible worlds. And because of his personality traits, the army trains him to be a super secret spy! Holden enjoys raping and killing and after the war retires to Hollywood to start Miramax until he is hit by a car, while crossing the street to eat at a Carl’s Junior (not affiliated with Carl’s Jr.). The car was being driven by a middle class family who all grew up identifying with the character of Holden but couldn’t afford to live in the city any longer.

(Thank god for the gentrification on Manhattan Island!)

5) Italo Calvino’s The Path to the Nest of Spiders

Calvino’s novel is a coming of age story set in World War II about a kid who steals a pistol from a Nazi sailor (one of the Nazis from Operation Shylock Two?) and struggles to identify with the adult world. Also he has a secret hiding space that the spider from Lord of the Rings lives in. You thought the story ended there but…

The Path to the Giant Flesh Eating Spider’s Nest

Told from the Spider’s point of view, a boy befriends a giant flesh eating spider after taking a pin out of his middle right leg. The two then eat Hitler and the spider is declared president of Europe. A new age of peace is ushered into the world that is never broken as long as the president gets all of the flies, and people, he can eat. *He needs to eat two people a day to live.

(All hail President Spider!)

-Yer Ever Lovin’ Staff

Dispatches from the press room

A weekly series in which I, Elton Deacon, master printer, union leader, and PhD in comparative literature, fill you in on the REAL goings on at this sweltering dung pile of a literary magazine.

Howdy folks. Elton here.

Doesn’t look like those dopes upstairs are any closer to publishing a new issue than they were last week. Earlier today Magnes and Mollet were sitting in the office—Mollet stuffing his stupid face, of course—talking about what they were going to do “to really turn this magazine around.” For all of their talk about groundbreaking policies like “office hours” and “weekly schedules” and “deadlines,” neither of them even mentioned the one thing they could do that would really help The Portland Review—quit.

If they really want to turn this thing around, turn it into a top-tier literary publication, the whole editorial staff ought to hand in their office keys (Mollet finally figured out how to get his. Still no luck getting that computer turned on, though.) and hand the magazine over to me. I’ll appoint competent editors who know something about literature and who pay their union dues on time—Marshall, Magnes, and Mollet are all way past notice and accumulating daily late fees. We’ll see what happens when they’re not dues-current and they need an IBLPOHHIWT lawyer to get them off the hook in a slander case. But those three think they’re above union rules, above the law, and most erroneously, above the minimum literacy standards required to edit a literary journal.

Half the damn time I don’t think they even know I’m down here. I’m pretty sure they’re all under the impression that Santa Claus takes time out of his busy schedule to deliver the issue, perfectly printed and bound, three times a year. Certainly couldn’t come from the printing press in the sub-sub-basement of Smith, where Local 442 works tirelessly to keep this city in literature. Well, I guess last year it’s possible Santa brought the magazine, since, like Christmas, The Portland Review only came once. But I happen to know he didn’t–half my shop couldn’t afford Christmas because they only worked a few days a month. No issues means no work for my union. No work means no wages. No wages means no Santa Claus.

The new crew is always talking about how they’re going to print all three issues, add new subscribers, and generally improve the quality and prominence of the journal. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Until next time,

Elton Deacon: Portland Review Master Printer, President Local 442: IBLPOHHIWT, PhD