Pittsburgh, PA (aka Thunderdome)

From the NY Times, on the filming locations for the adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, “The Road”:

“The Road” began filming in late February, mostly in and around Pittsburgh, with a later stop in New Orleans and a postproduction visit planned to Mount St. Helens. The producers chose Pennsylvania, one of them, Nick Wechsler, explained, because it’s one of the many states that give tax breaks and rebates to film companies and, not incidentally, because it offered such a pleasing array of post-apocalyptic scenery: deserted coalfields, run-down parts of Pittsburgh, windswept dunes.

Now I understand why every sports bar in California on NFL Sundays is filled with Steeler fans: they’ve all moved to escape the post-apocalyptic landscapes.

(Full disclosure: I’m a Seahawks fan. Yes. Still bitter.)

(Photographs by Macall Polay/Dimension Film)

Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

Buy it at Amazon.com

The 150-word Review: Cormac McCarthy has become a big deal. The domination of the Coen Brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” at the Oscars highlights his most recent blip in the collective conscious. Before that, McCarthy’s grimly sublime “The Road” won a Pulitzer. The media-shy author even (shockingly) appeared on Oprah’s “Pimp My Book.” Long before all of this, he wrote arguably his best work, “Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West.”

“The Road” unfurled across a post-apocalyptic landscape. In “Blood Meridian,” the primordial volcanic hell of the Texas-Mexico badlands serves as the canvas for a story about the Kid, who joins a gang of scalp hunters and is baptized into the world of violence and suffering. Tennyson once wrote, “Nature (is) red in tooth and claw,” a notion McCarthy personifies best with the seductively fearsome Judge Holden, a seven-foot tall hairless albino, who exists outside of humanity, time, and morality.

You would like this book if you’re a fan of: coming-of-age stories gone awry, long walks in the desert, heroic journeys featuring no heroes, dialogue sans quotations, southern gothic westerns, and every speech by Satan in “Paradise Lost.”

This book would go great with: rotgut whiskey, sunstroke, or mescal.

Cliff Clavinism (stuff that will not make you look cool in a bar): Hey Norm, did you know that… noted literary critic, Harold Bloom, listed Cormac McCarthy as one of the four greatest living American authors, along with Don DeLillo, Thomas Pynchon, and Philip Roth?

Reading this book would impress: Sam Peckinpah, Dante Alighieri, Gnostics, and Oprah viewers.