Culture vulture

Still thankful
With the official Thanksgiving holiday so recently behind us, we think it appropriate to compose a list of things for which we continue to be grateful even when a holiday isn’t forcing us to articulate our gratitude. Siphoned directly from the synapses in no consciously chosen order, here is a smattering of items that would have to be included in the Culture Vulture list: dreams, television, music, pomegranates, dogs, cats, science fiction, books, health, friends, family and—very consciously chosen to top the list—the lovely I. Daphne St. Brie.

One has only to begin “randomly” jotting down the things for which one is grateful to enter a quagmire of self-consciousness and self-editing. And to really throw a kink into the process, try sorting your mental top-10 list from the bottom up as you compose it. Suddenly the mind, which is basically designed to function as an assignor of priorities, is thrown into disarray. Every choice is called into question. Pomegranates? Would this most wondrous of fruits have even entered the picture if it wasn’t late autumn and I happened to have a constantly diminishing box load of the finest specimens chilling on a shelf in my garage? Dogs before cats, or cats before dogs? No mention of the fact that Hawkwind, the greatest band on Earth, is on the verge of releasing its first studio album in far too many years?

Health, friends, family and beloved partner: Those are easy, obvious and true, but anything beyond is a catalog caught in a whirlwind, and for that I am thankful everyday of the year.

C. Owsley Rainland
Anyone attempting to construct a planet-sized theme park based on the literary influences of Culture Vulture, if such a thing were possible or desirable, would have to depict J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings as a labyrinthine pyramid rising above all other things at the center of the universe. Directly adjacent would be a dazzling and fun-filled annex dedicated to Bertie, Jeeves, Blandings Castle, the Earl of Emsworth and all the other inhabitants of the P. G. Wodehouse cosmos. And somehow intersecting and blending with that would be a shadowy realm populated by the empathic simulacra and megalomaniacal industrialists and blue-collar artisans and hallucinated deities that poured forth from the brain of the late Philip K. Dick. Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty would be on the road connecting the realms, sipping electric Kool-Aid to slake their thirst as they crossed the desert connecting William Gibson’s Nueromancer and Neil Gaiman’s Sandman.

The above paragraph is dedicated to Danny West, whose copy of The Fellowship of the Ring has endowed me with the power to read this epic once again with untrammeled imagination, deep wonder and fervent hope for the possibility of goodness to exist in this world.