What The Fuck Wednesday – 02/24/16

Have you ever reached a point in a book where the author clearly just said “fuck it” and called it a day? Ever read something so brilliant or absurd that your brain does a double-take? We’ve dedicated Wednesday to capturing these moments when you just have to ask yourself, “What the fuck?”

VonG:

One of my goals for this year was to read a non-fiction book every month. I wasn’t too excited about this goal, it was more of one of those goals directed towards making me more of a well-rounded reader (and hopefully person). But that didn’t mean I was going to enjoy it.

My selection for February is Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies, which has turned out to be one of the most hysterically true stories I have ever learned in my life.

When we think of spies, we think of the sexy image that James Bond represents: confidence, expensive cars, action sequences of drawn out chases, secret messages, and, of course, the Bond Girl–espionage at its finest

It turns out the reality of the spy life, at least during World War II, had almost all of those things except the sexy part. Instead everyone is a goddamn mess (which I have sympathy for, because this would be me if I was a spy.)

The entire Double Cross operation is one big WTF moment as in, how the hell did they ever pull anything off?

The spies, at the very least, had some of the appearance of the James Bond lifestyle, especially agent “Scoot,” also known as “Tricycle” also known as Serbian playboy Dusko Popov.

“Dusko and Johnny were friends. Their friendship was founded on a shared appreciation of money, cars, parties, and women, in no particular order and preferably all at the same time.”

Sure, Dusko sounds like James Bond material. But this is a man who will later write a letter to British intelligence demanding that they buy him….chocolate. Because we all know that having your chocolate funded by a top secret spy agency is how espionage works.

“My heart is in a very bad condition. My doctor who is my biggest friend says it is too much alcohol, tobacco and sin. The only remedy which I found efficient until now was milk and chocolates. Please send $100 worth of any kind of chocolate you can think of. I don’t mind what they are. I am taking them as medicine.”

You and me both, Popov.

What about “high” speed chases? The double cross spies had those as well, but they looked a little more like this:

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You can’t make this stuff up. Even if you made this stuff up, people would say you weren’t being realistic. This is beautiful.

And thanks to one spy’s obsession with her dog (girl I feel you), you get gems like this:

“Britain was preparing for battle on an epic scale, and MI5 was seriously considering whether to deploy a navy submarine to fetch a small dog, illegally, in order to placate a volatile double agent.”

Freaking INCREDIBLE.

And the Bond girl? Popov spent a lot of time sleeping around and sending pictures of his girlfriends to MI5 (I’m sure they really cared), but shout out to Double Cross agent Bronx, who was both a lady Bond and slept with women and men. I’m going to say it, she had Bond Boys.

Also shout out to the records about the Double Cross agents, who referred to Bronx’s “Lesbian tendencies” with a capital L. The only other thing to be reliably given a capital letter in attention were, of course, the all important double agent Pigeons. (Like actual bird pigeons. There were pigeons in the Double Cross department who were going to infiltrate the German pigeon houses. Send help.)

Maggie:

So I stopped at a department store on my way home from work to pick up some paper plates and beef jerky – I lead a sophisticated life – and just happened to sneak a glance at the bargain book box only to spot this little gem:

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Excuse me, but what godforsaken planet do I live on in which a publisher allowed the men of Duck Dynasty to write a book about their beards?

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Apparently one with a beard, if you manage to make it about half way through this book.

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I just can’t stop imagining the creative team for this book and how painful it must have been to sell their souls to pay off their MFA debt. The writer sobbing bitterly into his frappuccino as he types out rhyming beard couplets. The graphic designer looking through pages and pages of old men’s beards to photoshop onto children, sunflowers, and ducks – wondering where he went wrong in life, what he did to deserve this. I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, but Jesus…

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Sweet, sweet Jesus.

 

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What The Fuck Wednesday – 02/10/16

Have you ever reached a point in a book where the author clearly just said “fuck it” and called it a day? We’ve dedicated Wednesday to capturing these moments when you have to ask yourself, “What the fuck?”

Maggie:

After five years of being lost in the Amazon, archaeologist Chaz Vincent has finally come home to his wife, Kelly, only to learn that she has had him declared dead. When he attends his own funeral, Chaz finds out that Kelly married another man just that morning. Now she has to choose between them. Who will be her favorite husband?

— My Favorite Husband, Pam McCutcheon

Excuse me. But. What is this? You’re going to get married on the day of your husband‘s funeral? Are you a goddamn sociopath? Who is the man who’s okay marrying you before you’ve even buried your first husband?  Where is your family? Your father, mother, siblings, and friends were all told to attend a wedding in the morning and a funeral in the afternoon and they said nothing? Also, there’s some weird overlap in time frames here. When did you have him legally declared dead because you had the wedding before the funeral? Did you declare your first husband dead while he was stranded in the Amazon rainforest so you could bone another dude? Why was your new husband okay banging a grieving married woman? Is he a goddamn sociopath? I have so many questions. Stay tuned for the answers as I delve neck-deep into this shitpit next week.

The traffic on the stairs lightened as they reached the IT floors. Here were the most sparsely populated levels of the silo, where less than two dozen men and women – but mostly men – operated within their own little kingdom.

“Well, sure enough, I wound the coils on ten pumps that week. The whole time, I’m waiting for her to break. Hoping for it. My fingers were sore. No way should could move them all.” Marck shook his head. “No way. But I kept winding them, she kept hauling them off, and a while later she’d bring another. Got all ten of them done in six days.”
“So she got someone to help her,” Marnes said. “Somebody probably just felt sorry for her.”

“Smart girl,” Jahns said, smiling.
“Too smart,” Marck said.

Wool, Hugh Howey

Do you want know the publication date of Wool? 20-fucking-12. Why add all these interjections, especially the first one? Are we still insisting that women can’t be intelligent or mechanically-inclined? Oh, the IT department? Mostly men, of course! A girl is set an impossible task and she accomplishes it? Must have gotten help from the menfolk, the poor waif! A girl uses some ingenuity? She’s too smart – what’s she doing with all them brain learnings! Can you just fucking not? It’s too early and I’m too grumpy.
VonG
I’ve been talking about Leaves of Grass a lot because it’s been two months and I feel like I should have finished this book a long time ago. It’s so long. So, so long. Maggie came up with a theory that the book is a literary asymptote and that I was never going to finish it. I didn’t believe her.
This week my Kindle told me I only had 30 minutes left in Leaves of Grass. I totally was going to finish it. Then I read it for another HOUR and it says 6 minutes remaining.
What if Maggie is right. What if I never finish it.
On the other hand, I now no longer remember who I was before Leaves of Grass because my memory spans only about two months. So if I finish it, who will I be?
Both possibilities are terrifying.
For this WTF Wednesday I present something I learned about the language Breton from the book Lingo. This is less WTF in the sense of horrifying and more WTF in the good way, which is where you lose all sense of how life can possibly be the way it is. Languages are weird and while French’s strange counting ways are pretty well known, Breton wins this category handily.
“If you really want to torment a Breton, ask them to calculate 78+59.”
In a decision of logic that I totally follow, if you had to do this in Breton you would be calculating the following equation:
(3*6+3*20)+(9+1/2*100)
Breton has no word for 18! INCREDIBLE! And people think doing Math in English can be ineffective.
Since I’m already talking about Lingo, I’ll throw out my favorite word from the book.
vrtíčkar– strictly speaking no more than a hobby gardener, but the word also suggests that the person is more interested in drinking beer with other vrtíčkars than in growing vegetables and flowers. (Slovene)

What The Fuck Wednesday – 01/27/16

Have you ever reached a point in a book where the author clearly just said “fuck it” and called it a day? We’ve dedicated Wednesday to capturing these moments when you have to ask yourself, “What the fuck?”

Maggie:

Ever since it had decided to have Wernher von Braun write space-related articles for it, the publication had become the envy of the industry – copies were “rocketing” off the shelves.

Did you just put quotation marks around your own joke? Shit, man – thanks. In a book titled Rocket Girl and a sentence involving the father of rocket science, I might have missed that one. I feel like this is the literary equivalent of retelling a joke to your friends who didn’t laugh because you think they didn’t get it. No. They got it. It just wasn’t funny.

… impregnated by the sperm cells of deception.

I have heard unexpected pregnancies describe many ways, but this… this is a new one. I have so many questions. How exactly does a sperm cell deceive? Do you know what a sperm cell is? Do you know what pregnancy is? Have you met a woman? What’s happening here? I’m baffled. Fucking baffled.

Like throwing a baby shower for a girl who had been gang-raped, the whole circus would turn a blind eye to what got them there in the first place.

Of all the things that exist in the world, gang rape is what you decide to use as your simile? And then you imply that it is something we should turn a blind eye to?

VonG:

I’ve been reading Leaves of Grass for what feels like ten years now (it’s been nearly two months, that’s basically the same thing). So for this What the Fuck Wednesday, I’m presenting a record of some of my thoughts from the beginning two-thirds of the book.

holy shit why are so many of these poems about boats

i like when walt whitman decides to take us on a visual tour of america. especially because it takes 200 fucking pages because America is huge. nice one whitman.

the good news is that if you want to fuck walt whitman, there’s p much a 99% chance he’d want to fuck you too (i don’t know what that 1% would account for, considering whitman would also fuck inanimate objects like rocks and the ocean)

i’d develop a drinking game for reading Leaves of Grass but idk how to do it in a way that wouldn’t lead to alcohol poisoning. even if there was only one rule: 1. drink when whitman mentions boats

other drinking rules that would kill you: when whitman mentions someone doing physical labor, lists state names, salivates over lumber, screams democracy as loud as he can thru the pages at you

i’d do a count on how many times whitman uses the word ‘boat’ but it would make me want to find a boat to set fire to

i lied i checked, he uses the word boat 51 times and boats an additional 16 times so basically every ten pages you’ve probably read about a boat

i don’t want ppl to think i don’t like whitman. i do, my favorite poems so far are “i really like boats” and “america, **** yeah”

my bonus What the Fuck comes from Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris, for this gem:

“That’s fascinating,” Eric said, sounding fascinated.

Wow, how descriptive. I’m really glad that you followed the #1 rule of writing that’s taught in 101 classes at the middle school level, show don’t tell. This really paints a vivid picture for me of this character’s reaction, so artful, so clever. Thanks for giving me the faith that I will one day too be a best-selling author, if this is the level of writing needed to cut it :’)