Little Lit Crit....

Sex and death are inherent in our conceptions of war. Everything about modern warfare is riddled with sexual imagery. We’re constantly shoving, thrusting, or otherwise forcefully inserting dick-shaped objects into places where they’re not wanted, then triggering them to explode. War is such a homoerotic enterprise, so laden with the language and imagery of rape, that Pynchon couldn’t avoid it if he wanted to. And one thing that’s clear to everyone who reads Gravity’s Rainbow: he doesn’t want to avoid this. The novel is many things. Among these things, it’s a 760-page-long dick joke.

OMG Bananas!!!

“But it is a curve each of them feels, unmistakably. It is the parabola. They must have guessed, once or twice — guessed and refused to believe — that everything, always, collectively, had been moving toward that purified shape latent in the sky, that shape of no surprise, no second chances, no return. Yet they do move forever under it, reserved for its own black-and-white bad news certainly as if it were the Rainbow, and they its children….”

Cams, Faulklor, and Ionie regroup at the Inn after the riot. Ionie discovers that her gem is missing. Faulklor tries to make sense of Gravitys Rainbow. The next morning, they go to the castle to see if they can bail out Bellows and Bailey. Bellows is charged w conspiracy to murder Bernie and Hillary, Bailey w accessory. Bail is denied for Bellows, since it is a capital offense, and 1200 gp for Bailey. Necromantic bails bondsmen will get him out for 120 gp. As the party walks back to the inn, Donald Trump tries to assassinate Faulklor. Many see him on the roof, and a wild chase ensues. Cams follows him a long way but he slips away in the alley.

Faulklor recruits allies among the peasants, including a costermonger with a thing for bananas. He meets Teddy Bloat, Pirate Prentice, Osbie Feel, and a few other fellas who live in a maisonette and grow amazing bananas.

His giant bananas cluster, radiant yellow, humid green. His companions below dream drooling of a Banana Breakfast" 6
“Time to gather your arse up off the floor,
(have a bana-na)
Brush your teeth and go toddling off to war.
Wave your hand to sleepy land,
Kiss those dreams away,
Tell Miss Grable you’re not able,
Not till V-E Day, oh,
Ev’rything’ll be grand in Civvie Street
(have a bana-na)
Bubbly wine and girls wiv lips so sweet—
But there’s still the German or two to fight,
So show us a smile that’s shiny bright,
And then, as we may have suggested once before—
Gather yer blooming arse up off the floor!” 8-9

At the beginning of Thomas Pynchon’s massive tome Gravity‘s Rainbow, Captain Geoffrey “Pirate” Prentice cooks up a bodacious banana breakfast for a bunch of hung over army officers—

Routine: plug in American blending machine won from some Yank last summer, some poker game, table stakes, B.O.Q. somewhere in the north, never remember now….Chop several bananas into pieces. Make coffee in urn. Get can of milk from cooler. Puree ‘nanas in milk. Lovely. I would coat all the booze-corroded stomachs of England. . . . Bit of marge, still smells all right, melt in the skillet. Peel more bananas, slice lengthwise. Marge sizzling, in go long slices. Light oven whoomp blow us all up someday oh, ha, ha, yes. Peeled whole bananas to go on broiler grill soon as it heats. Find marshmallows. . . .

Here’s how it all turns out–

With a clattering of chairs, upended shell cases, benches, and ottomans, Pirate’s mob gather at the shores of the great refectory table, a southern island well across a tropic or two from chill Corydon Throsp’s mediaeval fantasies, crowded now over the swirling dark grain of its walnut uplands with banana omelets, banana sandwiches, banana casseroles, mashed bananas molded into the shape of a British lion rampant, blended with eggs into batter for French toast, squeezed out a pastry nozzle across the quivering creamy reaches of a banana blancmange to spell out the words C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas la guerre (attributed to a French observer during the Charge of the Light Brigade) which Pirate has appropriated as his motto . . . tall cruets of pale banana syrup to pour oozing over banana waffles, a giant glazed crock where diced bananas have been fermenting since the summer with wild honey and muscat raisins, up out of which, this winter morning, one now dips foam mugsfull of banana mead . . . banana croissants and banana kreplach, and banana oatmeal and banana jam and banana bread, and bananas flamed in ancient brandy Pirate brought back last year from a cellar in the Pyrenees also containing a clandestine radio transmitter. . . .

Faulklor keeps reading GR and discovers that the publishers mark is from Oxford UP, not the typical mark of the penguin.

Trans-Bellflower Celebration
It's a riot

Faulklor squints through the revellers on Jesus Green and sees White Boognishes, frolicking in the ether. They climb trees and touch some on the shoulders, leaving patches of green.

It’s a beautiful day of hackey-sack and sack in the warm spring sun, and friends are made. Three halflings, an elf, and an Asian. That night, at the Bellflower gathering, the ghost of Joe Hill is summoned and Bernie gives speeches. As Hillary sings “This Land is Your Land,” the Bulls go on parade, smashing halfling heads. A line of cops surrounds the stage while another sweeps across the park from the other end. People scamper to the woods and it’s Madness. Beatle Bailey runs away to a nearby cliff, where he sees two elves. As he is deciding what to do and watching, they draw snakes like Conan arrows and shoot Bernie and Hillary. Beatle attacks, they attack back. Meanwhile, previously of course, Faulklor had climbed a tree, where he can see the battle on the cliff. He chucks his javelin at the green elf but comes up short, plugging Baily in the back. He falls off the cliff dramatically and is knocking on heavens door, but Ioni saves him with that loving touch. In the chaos, Bellows is nearly killed by the Bulls on parade. Bailey goes back out on the green to try to save him but ends up getting arrested, too. Cams, who has been sniping from a tree, gets chased by a guard but escapes. As Ioni and Faulklor search behind the cliff for signs of the elf assassins, Faulklor finds….something.

A dog-eared paperback of Gravity’s Rainbow. Handwritten on the inside cover = Sunset Strip. 1968.

Death and dying

So now that we’re first level and prob want character death less regular than it can be in DCC, I was thinking we could try something like this.

Zero isn’t automatic death but the character is dying. If he doesn’t get first aid in a number of rounds = stamina score, he dies. Could still make a luck check though. Like that rule.

I keep running into stuff like spot etc where I kinda miss skills. I’d like to simulate healing kinda like RQ did, so a character who is hurt real bad needs long term care instead of just insta healing. That should be a rare and miraculous thing.

Anyhow, we can rules chat later. Just wanted to get it down before I forget.

Legend of the Throbbing Nutsack of Chi Chi Rodriguez

A story over heard in the bar:

In the Mountains of Superstition, there was once a legendary tournament of sticks and orbs. The great wizards set before the players a great challenge, to break a mere target of glass set at suitable distance, a challenge as much finesse as power with the stick and orb. None could meet it until the mighty Chi Chi stepped up. His shot was low and firm, flying deftly toward the target. The crowd held its breath in anticipation, eager for the shatter and wondering what further pyrotechnics the Wizards had planned when it did. But alas, the glass did not shatter, and seemed to spring back with greater force than it had been struck. The orb came flying back to poor Chi-Chi, whose throbbing nutsack would become the subject of legends, such as this.


What Cam finds in his pocket the next morning

You wake up a bit groggy from your night on the town with Faulklor, and find a crumpled piece of paper in your pocket with this symbol on it:


Printed on one side is:

Joe Hill’s last words before his execution, Nov. 19, 1915

“Tomorrow I expect to make a trip to the planet Mars and, if so, will immediately commence to organize the Mars canal workers into the B.F.N. and we will sing the good old songs so loud that the learned star-gazers will once and for all get positive proof that the planet Mars is really inhabited….I have nothing to say for myself, only that I have always tried to make this earth a little bit better….Don’t mourn for me — Organize!”

On the other, there is a handwritten note:

Join, us brother. Jesus Green @ midnight

Somethings fishy

Clyde is buried with few words. No one knew him.

By noon, the party makes it to Rogers, the last port before the delta makes the river difficult to navigate. In the tavern, they hear the tale of Job and the pooka.

They book passage aboard a barge headed to Cambridge. Faulklor and Cam pass the morning fishing. Faulklor catches a small catfish and starts talking to it. He calls it “Bob Dobbs” and the superstitious oarsman whacks him in the head. “Blasphemy!!!” Don’t speak that name aloud. Do ye want us all to die?" An argument ensues, in which the party members do not understand the oarsman’s superstitions and he is horrified by their open references to he who shall not be named.

Faulklor decides to just break the fish in half and use it as bait, against the oarsmans warning. He is attacked by a giant gar and loses his pinky, nearly bleeding to death. Iomie sticks it with her pitchfork, struggling with it a few rounds before it jerks her pitchfork away and swims off. Later in the day as he gazes blearily off the back of the boat, Faulklor insists he sees the beast trailing them in the water

Late in the afternoon, several party members hear moaning and spot cages hanging from trees on the bank, with bones littering the floor and some sort of pigman doing the moaning in one. The oarsman tells them that’s what the town of Cambridge does with its outlaws.

Soon they arrive at Cambridge and unload on the docks. Cam looks around and asks a fellow who seems to be reputable about a boat to Oxford for hire. Old dude mistakes him for a child and starts yelling loudly for his mother. Iomie walks up and he berates her for not better taking care of her child. As the scene unfolds, a gang of halflings seems to materialize from the shadows and visciously attacks the fellow. They swarm him and push him to the ground. The leader of the gang holds a dagger to his throat. “Does this look like child’s play?” And slits his throat.

Bellows jumps on top of a pile of cargo in the middle. “What’s going on here? Summon the guard.” The gang leader says, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, bub.” More halflings materialize from the shadows, several whirling slings. Kenneth runs for the guard and gets dropped. “Omygod. They killed Kenny. You bastards!!!”

Bellows and Bailey drag their gear from the docks while Cam tries to calm everyone down. The halflings let them pass and then disappear back into the shadows. When the party gets to the city gates, Bellows makes a full report to the guard, who reluctantly takes their story. He knows it’s no use. He tells them the particular gang they’re dealing with is called The Little Rascals and they own the docks. They all look the same, and even if you could pick the right one from a line-up, the others would just lie for him. Too bad you can’t just arrest them all.

They take Kenny’s body to the local cathedral where he is buried in a paupers cemetery. That night Cam and Faulklor go out drinking and find a weird smoky underground club where the band performs a strange song about Bob Dobbs and they hear weird stories about the legend of the throbbing nutsack of Chi Chi Rodriguez. Sometime near midnight, Camz, Faulklor, and several others in the club are overcome by an intense dizzy sensation, feeling as if the whole world were spinning very fast in a counter clockwise direction. Faulklor has to steady himself against a wall and Camz passes out. Everyone they talked to later said the same thing, that they felt like they were spinning very fast with counter clockwise rotation. Perhaps it was just the smoke, booze, and music.

The number was 73.

Here’s a cool map of Cambridge:


And I just remembered the part about Joe buying a map to the Lost Dutchman mine. Found an even better one than we did last night:



Tree, bear, house, dragon

Village elders perform rituals to preserve the dwarfs body for his journey to the afterlife and task the adventurers with taking him to his family in the dwarven city of Galatia in the northern mountains. As the final witnesses to his bravery, the halfling, Druid, and Treeclimbing wizard can help his family grieve and soul rest in Valhalla by recounting his final brave moments in the dwarven hall.

Joining them are:

Bellows Mudpot, dwarven blacksmith

Kenneth of Roger, a gambler

Clyde and Bailey. One’s an outlaw fleeing some kind of justice and one a soldier in the local militia.

First stop = the sacred tree where the faithful tie stick puppets, quartz crystals, dreamcatchers, etc. Bellows spots it first and yells something about damn witches, crosses himself and tosses salt around. As part of her training, the druidess Eloise or whatever her damn name be tied a gods eye, which is still there. A bit of slapstick with one of the new guys losing a bet about climbing the tree and then throwing stones at a shiny object in the trees, despite the Druid’s warning it would be bad luck. It was.

Later along the trail they see a mother bear feeding on salmon running upstream (so it must be spring, when everything is mud luscious and puddle wonderful and the goat legged Pan man goes piping far and wee.) They hang back, hoping not to disturb her, looking for another way around. Cameltoe the halfling and one of the new guys try climbing some rocks that seem to go in the right direction. The new guy doesn’t realize how light Camz is, so when he tries giving him a boost, he accidentally tosses the halfling really high and he falls very hard, possibly giving himself a concussion. Meanwhile, the bear wanders off to the woods to sleep, someone notices, and the journey continues.

The group stops to rest near a very cute cottage and enclosed garden. Clyde pretends to take a piss behind a tree and sneaks off toward the garden. Hannah Montana the druidess of many names spots him and discretely follows As he sneaks through the garden, he accidentally steps on a skunk, gets sprayed, loses his temper and curses loudly. This disturbs the dog behind the cottage (who was playing with a couple of kids) and granny inside. Clyde whistles and pretends, rather badly, that there’s nothing happening here, just looking at flowers. Granny yells at him to leave, and he is overtaken by a powerful wave of Id better damn well do what she says. In need of tomato juice to clean the smell and unable to persuade Annabelle Lee to cast a summon tomato spell, poor Clyde just smells awful.

They make camp. About 1:30 am, Bellows is on guard duty and sees a large creature fly over with the distinct shape of dragon wings, so he wakes everyone. Soon there is a blood curdling death neigh and a powerful dragons roar. Poor Clyde was forced to sleep with the mule and dwarf corpse because he stank. Shocked into wakefulness by such horrid sounds, he tries to roll away from the dragon and over the river bank to relative safety. No such luck. The dragon slices his throat with a wing and flies off with the mule carcass. Beyoncé druidissimo sees it all and is absolutely horrified by such a cruel, unnatural creature. A terrified party loots the corpse and then sleeps soundly save Faulklore, who is both upset with himself for not getting out of his tent to see it and feverish at the thought of such a magnificent magical creature. He wished they could have talked all night about magic.

And the evening and the morning were the first day of the journey. Appendix gamma litry extra = As I Lay Dying.



The name of the city

Thinis was the name of an ancient capitol in Egypt. might be a good name for our town. perhaps our little town will grow up to be the first capitol of Egypt.


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