Tuesday, January 15, 2019

‘Of Fear and Night’

James LaFond's Impressions of The Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard


Reading from pages 83-254 of The Bloody Crown of Conan, 2003, Del Rey, NY, illustrated by Gary Gianni, whose work will also be considered, as the book is being examined as a cultural-mythic artifact.

This work was unusual for Howard in that it was a commissioned novel, his only one and was supported by an extensive untitled synopsis, reproduced on pages 335-7, and also extensive day-by-day notes on events in the novel reproduced on pages 339-42, with the latter only concerned with the second chapter of the novel and the former the first half of the novel.  Howard wrote the work from chapter three on by the seat of his pants and completed the bulk of it with a bare shadow of an outline.

The arch villain of this thriller, which is stalked by so many more villains than heroes, is Xaltotun, arguably Howard’s best in a long line of sorcerers.  Xaltotun has been dead for 3,000 years, after having been poisoned and curiously embalmed by the rival sorcerers of Stygia.  He is raised from the dead by a cabal of geopolitical movers who wish to unseat the barbarian usurper king Conan from the throne of the flower of the western realms, Aquilonia.

As with Howard’s best Conan tales, a brief verse leads off before the first chapter 23:

The Hour of the Dragon

A lion banner sways and falls in the horror haunted gloom;
A scarlet dragon rustles by, borne on winds of doom.
In heaps the shining horsemen lie, where the thrusting lances break,
And deep in the haunted mountains the lost, black gods awake.
Dead hands grope in the shadows, the stars turn pale with fright,
For this is the Dragon’s Hour, the Triumph of Fear and Night.

The story itself, serialized in the December 1935 and the January, February, March and April 1936 issues of Weird Tales magazine marked both the height and end phase of Robert E. Howard’s life and career and stands itself as a triumph of the storytelling arts.  It is a rare worker of fiction who sets out without a road map and retains the courage to title his every chapter.  Howard not only crafted one of the ten best fantasy novels ever written, he sold this story in Britain where some of its elements would influence British fantasy writers from J.R.R. Tolkien to George R. R. Martin. As a master work, and as Howard’s single novel completed by his own hand, The Hour of the Dragon deserves to be examined a chapter at a time as an example of the best of a literary kind.

Gary Gianni’s illustration depicts a dragon turning to snarl over its back at the outsized crown that encircles his reptilian waist like a jeweled jester’s hoop.

(c) 2019 James LaFond

Sunday, January 13, 2019

TOXIC - Crackpot Podcast 50

In Episode 50 of the Crackpot Podcast we learn about James' new business venture and hear about what he has been reading lately, before his recent train trip across country, during which, I happen to know he read at least six books.

The Crackpot Podcast features hermit-for-hire James LaFond and Lynn Lockhart.


Audio:



YouTube:



01:40  Harm City updates, Christmas lights
07:45  TOXIC.  A MASCULINE SCENT.  FOR MEN.
11:30  Room full of phaggits
13:44  McCain 2.0?
19:40  Contemporary public art in America
24:45  What is on James' bookshelf?
Carnival of Fury by William Ivy Hair
Dreamland by Sam Quinones
Dark Valley Destiny by L. Sprague de Camp
Food and History by Reay Tannahill
30:20  The struggle against biological reality
38:55  The sin of disliking school, Howard
47:27  Like Water by David Bryan Lumsden
49:03  Prometheus and Atlas, Soldiers and Ghosts

(c) 2019 Lynn Lockhart

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Lockhart's Top LaFonds Volume 56

The Crackpot has been on the road and is now enjoying new digs on the Left Coast.  Looking forward to his takes on aged hippies, neotenous soyboys, tall trees and rocky coasts.


Check out three new videos from In These Goings Down:
Comic book review
Umbrellas
Pens in the seated position

Rogues and criminals beat civilized soldiers like wolves eating sheep.

James reviews Vox Day's SJWs book.

Learn more about The Violence Project and some great questions from Lucas.

A summer snapshot of fluctuating prowess. 



You can see James' books in the BOOKSTOREbut they are rapidly falling to the censor's hammer.  Now some -banking- troubles have held up his royalty payments.  


Many fine titles are available as pdf books through his main website.


Support James in his Plantation America work by becoming a Patron, or donate straight to the man through Paypal, because you love James and his work.


(c) 2019 Lynn Lockhart


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

‘Alicious’

A Weekend Being Pop Pop


My greatest pleasure in life is being allowed to be a grandfather to a girl who has none and whose father is a ward of the state. Her name is Emma and she turned three while I was in the Windswept West. I had heard stories from her grandmother Megan about what “a handful” she was, that she was “too much for her mother” and had her mother “at wit’s end.” Emma had missed me quite a bit, to the point where I was being used as a carrot when I walked through the front door into three generations of estrogen mist and heard, “If you aren’t good you won’t be able to go to the store with Jim.”

After Emma cried, “No, Mo-om-mee-ee-y,” as I took off my boots and dropped my pack her eyes lit up in defiance at the site of her aged co-conspirator and she growled, “Me find a way!”

Then I was horrified to see that her mother had resorted to a cruel stick, picked up her phone and said, “Yes, Officer, Emma is being bad again. Yes, I will give her one more chance.”

Mommy then said down to the little rebel, “if you don’t listen the police man is going to come and take you away” to which Emma said, in a pose of knuckle-on-hip insurrection, “I don’t think so—Yim is here en Yim no like da police!”

I bit my lip to hold back the smile as Emma batted her eye lashes up at me and her mother said, “Oh, so you think you’re cute?”

Emma counter-synced her hip roll with a waggle of her elbows and little shoulders and said, “But I am cute.”

That cracked my smile and her mother switched her plea to me, “Don’t get her anything unless she behaves.”

Emma and I exchanged subversive winks and she chirped “Unx Yim, I a bal, bal…a-rina! Let’s do it, Baby,” and she ran a circle around the apartment and came to stand beneath me—curtsied, as her grandmother pointed to her ballet outfit hanging from the closet door—and she launched into what I gathered immediately was not the Nutcracker’s Suite:

Done in exaggerated pantomime

“Baker, baker, baker man

Bake me a cake as fast as you can…

Rollllllllll it!

Paaaaaaat it!

Put it a pan—

En make a cake fer ma brudder en me!”

Emma then asked that her favorite YouTube song, in which some gay dudes play guitar and sing at LA weddings and she danced and sang to that, the title and beginning of each chorus, being SUGAR!

After the entertainment Emma got to see my broken and sprained toes as her grandmother applied some ointment and came over in a parental way, opened her eyes wide and said, “Ats a-sgusting—you running ou’side wit no shoes on, bad Yim. Yo gonna go see Docta Chang en he gonna give you da needle! Dats right, Baby—da big needle!”

MawMaw Megan was tired, so she soon nodded off as Mommy did her conference call in the other room, so we got down to school work, me reading Jason Jorjani’s Prometheus and Atlas and Emma taking my bookmark, using it for a phone for her conference call with her friends at daycare, taking my backup bookmark—a picture of a friend—claiming “Dis me Mommy. You no keep me Mommy in book,” taking my pen and improving the Arktos book cover and then decided my bald head needed hair drawn on it and inking up the old cranium until Mommy emerged from her less important conference call to interrupt Emma’s tattooing, Mommy-rescuing, book cover design, conference call multitasking.

It was now Mommy versus MawMaw, “Ma, I thought you were off your period—my pads are almost gone.”

MawMaw: “Are you kidding me? If I still went on the rag I’d be in jail for murder.”

Emma to the rescue, hands waving up at the giantesses like a referee, “Mommy, I use you diapers fer me baby, look.” She then uncovered her baby doll from under the little pink blanket Ishmael’s wife made for her and said, “Look,” as she unpeeled a mini-pad and demonstrated, “me unpeel it, me cover her suzy, den between da legs en cover her butt!”

Mommy: “Emma, those are mine!”

Emma than leaned forward, shaking her head and wagging her finger, “You get diapers fer you baby butt, me get diapers fer me baby butt.”

Mommy groaned and went back to her conference call and Emma looked at me, “Let’s do it, Baby!”

The shopping expedition was quite enjoyable, with Emma stacking hand baskets, racking up shopping carts, loading the register belt, imitating my use of the ATM and holding the flashlight as we returned through the dark woods, walking at my knee as I hauled the bags of groceries on the muddy path.

“Yim, me afraid gampires, wankenstien en clowns—me scared a clowns! You no scared a clowns?”

“No, clowns are afraid of me.”

“Where clowns, Yim?”

As we emerged from the woods I said, “Up to the right, in that parked car,” indicating an ebony and ivory pair of crackheads sucking on a foil wrapped soda bottle.

“Dem clowns in dare?”

“Yes, Baby, the worst kind of clowns, Hoodrats.”

When we were inside and I handed her one of the mini Three Musketeer bars I bought her she said, “Mommy—me no like hoodrats.”

Her mother laughed, “That’s a relief!”

Emma said, holding the half-eaten candy bar as she reclined on MawMaw’s lap, “Dis alicious! Tank ya, Yim.”

(c) 2019 James LaFond

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Post Plantation Child Rearing - Crackpot Podcast 049

Welcome to this short episode of the Crackpot Podcast.  As a follow up to my appearance with the Myth of the 20th Century, James wanted to give his thoughts and experiences on corporal punishment for children.  Spoiler: the Crackpot Podcast is ANTI-corporal punishment for children.  Maybe another time we can talk about the use of corporal punishment in criminal justice systems.

The Crackpot Podcast features prolific writer and self-professed psychopath James LaFond, and his unlicensed therapist, Lynn Lockhart.

Audio:



YouTube:



00:40  Lynn Lockhart on Myth of the 20th Century
01:15  James' views on striking children
02:10  As a coach, in women
08:32  What you might say to your children
10:40  Corporal punishment in school
13:40  James' experiences at home
19:05  Don't miss James on Spingola  (Hour 1Hour 2)
19:42  High school and junior high, teachers and hazing
31:30  Teach your children phonics!!!
33:20  Classical trivium, see this Susan Wise Bauer essay 
36:24  Message to Nick @NMM20

(c) 2019 Lynn Lockhart

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Lockhart's Top LaFonds Volume 55

Happy New Year!  May 2019 bring us more earthquakes, tsunamis, blizzards, droughts, wildfires and much more well deserved vengeance from a wrathful God.


New posts will be a bit scarce at the main site for a little while.

Two minutes of a contemporary film is about my limit, but it is instructive.

I scoff at your FBI crime statistics!  If he didn't die on the scene, he wasn't murdered??!!

Belloc, Chesterton, hol' up--HOL' UP - Is Carbon Mike Catholic?

The mythology of human domestication.

Murderbowl final tally is 307!

Fight review: Mayweather vs. Nasukawa

The call goes out to readers around the world: tell us about weapons customs in your area.

James reviews a book about the modern-day American opium war (as a person who is sometimes mistaken for a Mexican -- ouch!).

Learn about heroes in last stands

The history of human habitation and migration has more missing pieces than known pieces, by orders of magnitude. 

Musing on mortality, thanks for the question, Vlad.  I do have some thoughts and experiences on the subject but I'm glad James carried the load on this one.  Look for our discussion in an upcoming podcast. 



You can see James' books in the BOOKSTOREbut they are rapidly falling to the censor's hammer.  Now some -banking- troubles have held up his royalty payments.  


Many fine titles are available as pdf books through his main website.


Support James in his Plantation America work by becoming a Patron, or donate straight to the man through Paypal, because you love James and his work.


(c) 2019 Lynn Lockhart


Thursday, January 3, 2019

‘A Tocsin of Alarm’

James LaFond's Impressions of Conan Loses His Axe by Robert E. Howard


Reading from Beyond the Black River, pages 45-53 of The Conquering Sword of Conan by Del Rey, 2005

Beyond the Black River has often been cited, by myself and others, as a “leather-stocking tale” as a Conan story, indicating the cycle of Natty Bumpo or Hawkeye stories about the fictional white Indian’s adventures in the time of the French and Indian wars in New England and New York. However, Howard’s history was clearly vested in his reading of his own family history, which, in the U.S. occurred mostly in the trans-Appalachian forests of the Tennessee, Cumberland and Mississippi watersheds. I have written, I think convincingly, that the campaigns of Nathan Bedford Forrest in this region, which involved some of Howard’s blood relatives, inspired his heroic vision most memorably imbedded in the Conan character.

With this in mind, one should consider the geography of Beyond the Black River in Howard’s Hyborean World, which was not a forest banking up into a mountain fastness like New York and New England, but a transalpine forest, between hill county beyond and spanning rivers, including the Black River, and there was a Black River across which Forrest campaigned in western Tennessee. In the unsold sequel to Beyond the Black River, The Black Stranger, which was rewritten as a Black Vulmea pirate yarn, the geography is also one of forests sweeping down from foothills to a great body of water, the Pacific, set in north or central California. In both the early modern and prehistoric fantasy version, the river riven forest is bordered on the west by an impassible body of water from where enemies attack, making it keenly congruent with the Mississippi from a Confederate perspective.

Finally, the use of Conan as a guerilla fighter by his commander mirrors the use of Forrest by his commanders and also the pleas of frontier women from Conan to save their husbands from the enemy [a white race prone to committing atrocities] is perfectly in line with Forrest's career in combating Yankee atrocities, often at the behest of nagging women. Also, the use of the Bowie knife, being a common occurrence in the forested American southwest is mirrored by the common armament of Howard’s frontiersmen being the short sword.

For an idea of Howard’s narrative texture, some quotes from the first chapter, in which Conan is introduced through the eyes of a novice frontiersmen, are cited below, as well as the very North American frontier feel. The speaker is Conan:

“Tiberius gave one scream, then his throat was torn open and he was selling his otter skins in hell…

“We’ll carry the body into the fort. It isn’t more than three miles. I never liked the fat bastard, but we can’t have Pictish devils making so cursed free with white men’s heads.”

Many of Howard's works can be read online at Gutenberg Australia.

Audiobooks:




(c) 2019 James LaFond