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Wicked (2004-08-15 - 7:32 a.m.)

We were driving back from Granbury (a visit with my father-in-law and his wife) when we noticed a new building up on the side of Loop 820. As we approached, I could clearly see the word "College" on the front, but the other name had two letters burned out (already??). Finally, I could see that it said "Everest College."

"Everest College??"

What the heck is "Everest College?"

We decided it must be a college for mountain climbers.

They didn't exactly pick the best location, though. Somebody should go tell them there aren't any mountains in North Central Texas. In fact, there aren't any mountains in Texas at all, until you get waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay out in West Texas, say around Fort Davis and on out to El Paso. For those of you in really tiny states like Vermont and Rhode Island, and even New York *snark*, El Paso is a full day's drive from Fort Worth, I'm talking like close to 10 hours and that's if you don't slow down for the little towns in between. Of course, once you get west of, say, Mineral Wells, even the little towns are 100 miles apart. Anyone who seriously thinks the world is overpopulated needs to drive through West Texas sometime. You'll cry tears of joy when you finally see a building. Any building. Especially a gas station.

Anyway, back to the mountain climbing college. We decided that it must be for beginners and that they have to climb up the embankment to the freeway for their final exam.

"Everest College." Sheesh. Probably some scam business school or something. I bet it costs $30,000 and "promises" you a job somewhere.

In other news, I finally finished Wicked. Kipp was almost right. She said it was the "worst book ever." I don't know about that, but it certainly wasn't anywhere close to the best on my list of almost 1000 books that I've read since 1974.

Written by Gregory Maguire (whom I had never heard of before purchasing this book), it boasts a subtitle that says, "The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West."

It begins with a brief prelude of the Witch watching Dorothy and her entourage traveling on the famed Yellow Brick Road. The story then goes way back to when the Witch was first born. Everyone was pretty well horrified when this baby turned out, well, you know, green! And there's a good chance that her father wasn't really her father, if you get my drift. Turns out her mother couldn't control her passions very well. And her husband was a missionary for some kind of strange religion (they kept talking about the Unnamed God) that they called "unionists." So he was never around. The girl was named "Elphaba." You might not notice this, but if you take the initials of the author of The Wizard of Oz, L. F. B. and kind of pronounce them...TADA!! El-Pha-Ba! Whee!

Later on, Elphaba has a little sister with no arms. Nessarose is certainly not the daughter of their "father," but pretty assuredly the daughter of Turtle Heart, a "Quadling" glass blower who just kind of shows up one day. The mother takes advantage of him in a major way and begins satisfying her passions with him.

When Elphaba goes off to the university, she winds up being "roomies" with a young lady named (are you ready?) "Galinda." Uh-huh. They become "friends" in a weird kind of way. Not that kind of way, you pervert! And later, when a professor that Galinda had taken to is murdered, she shortens her name to (guess what!!) "Glinda," because that's how the professor kept mispronouncing her name.

By that time, Nessarose is also at the same University, and they all three kind of pal around together. By many strange coincidences, they wind up each being rather influential in separate geographical locations in Oz. Nessarose becomes known as the Wicked Witch of the East, Elphaba, the West, of course, and Glinda, though more of a sorceress than a witch, the North.

And of course, a tornado comes along and drops a house on Nessarose. The red shoes had been made by their "father," and Nessarose had promised to give them to Elphaba upon her death. So imagine Elphaba's consternation when Glinda gave the shoes to Dorothy!! You see, that's the real reason she was chasing Dorothy. Not to mention some contrived political reasons having to do with Munchkinland seceding from Oz and the Wizard needing political power to achieve reunification...

Anyway, in Maguire's story, the whole bucket of water thing was all a big misunderstanding. It seems that Elphaba had picked up her broom and lit the end on fire. A strand fell on her black robe, setting it on fire, and Dorothy, meaning well, pitched a bucket of water on Elphaba, who for reasons never explained, had this allergy to water...

I never could decide if Maguire was using this story to push political agendas or not. Sometimes it seemed like he was and other times not. There was the whole "animal/Animal" thing. I don't know. I finally quit trying to find stuff like that and just tried to enjoy the story and finish the book. It did make me laugh a few times, and I did eventually finish it. I don't think I'll read anything else by this author, though. Moving on to other things.

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