Reluctant Habits

I Don’t Care If It’s Godwin’s Law.

Posted by in Politics, War

I’m pretty goddam appalled to be an American right now. See these yahoos for yourself.

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Nader Prepares for Football Hike; Team Nowhere to Be Found

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The Condition

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Taking up Stephany’s challenge: In this condition: stirred by the twain into a soupçon of solicitude; by pinching pennies and damning dollars; by sending purty li’l packages for a pittance; by denying lucre and limning love; by considering clauses to clear in two months and deposits and Type A tyros; by maintaining a half-true smile and sending a courteous note when they offer declarations that seal a sunny door shut; by pounding on these doors and feeling the bruised impact of brick walls; by not giving up and planning pirouettes…read more

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The Saddest Bachelor Meal

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Tom and I have concluded that the saddest bachelor meal is this: An open, leftover can of Spaghetti-Os, unheated and eaten out of the can with a dirty fork, eaten alone and washed down with a bottle of white Zinfiandel (or perhaps one of those boxed versions) that’s been in the fridge for at least a week. Neither of us would ever stoop this low. But someone in this universe has probably consumed just this. The real question is: Can anyone top this? I urge readers to offer their thoughts…read more

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He Would Have Stayed If Someone Had Muzzled a Great Dane

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The Guardian: “Actor John C Reilly has reportedly quit Lars Von Trier’s Manderlay in protest over the killing of a donkey.” (via Liz Penn)

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Must Be a UK Thang

Posted by in Uncategorized

In one of the silliest articles I’ve ever seen at the Guardian, Natasha Walter claims that sex and porn are difficult to write about. But I would suspect that this is one of those first person confessionals secretly disguised as a generalization-laden argument. For one thing, there’s nary a mention of the following words in Walter’s article: “penis,” “bukkake,” “vagina,” “ass,” “naughty bits,” “sperm” and “condom.” The article also makes the following claims: “Pornography may not quite be part of mainstream culture, but it certainly makes its presence felt.” Hey,…read more

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Lessig Audio Chapter Sample

Posted by in Uncategorized

So here’s the deal. Lawrence Lessig writes a book. He issues a Creative Commons license and puts his book online. A few people get the legit idea that it’s okay to create audio versions of chapters. So, acting on some strange whim and without further ado: Listen to Chapter 12. It runs 52:47. I’ve tried to keep the energy up by introducing pseudo-Scottish brogues, maintaining a fast-paced delivery, and conjecturing about how aggro Lessig might have been as he penned his chapter.

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Quickies

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British libraries are failing, but there’s a plan in the works. Congratulations, Maud. Now you can go home again. Nadine Gordimer has been honored by Cuba. And here’s my nomination for the cheesiest book of 2004: The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood and Freedom. There’s even an excerpt available.

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Pre-Madonna?

Posted by in Uncategorized

Courtney Love: “She grabs a suitcase and drags it doggedly to the center of the room. She turns to me and barks, ‘Go through my lyrics. They’re great. I’m the best writer of this generation. And if you don’t believe me, fine. But I dare you to find a bad one in there.’” The whiff of self-delusion’s overwhelming. And there’s more. Hypodermic needles, mammary scars, the works. Hope Strauss got paid extra for writing the piece. (via Syntax)

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A Man’s Man

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SUGAR LAND, Tex. — This is the home of Britton Stein — oh, not this sentence, but Sugar Land itself. Stein describes George W. Bush as “a man’s man’s man’s man’s man, a manly man, manning the men manning the best man’s man,” and Al Gore (not a man’s man and not a 2004 presidential candidate) as a “ranting and raving and roving and reeming little chihuahua who needs an Elizabethan collar.” Forty-nine years old, Stein is a man subject to interesting, yet extremely odd Post reporting. He is a…read more

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Blog O’ Sphere

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I don’t know what sort of power struggle is going over at the Hag’s, but it really must be seen to be believed. First off, Beck is back. And finishing up a project seems to have thrown Lizzie over the edge, to the point where she can no longer spell “falafel.” Beyond that, it’s about as coherent as an athletic piglet leaving an unauthorized orgy, and I couldn’t describe it in any reasonable terms. Go check the frenetic duo out. Also, Rake‘s been written into the will.

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Internecine

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THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: You better work your stuff. Deadline’s quick and coming. THE PLAYWRIGHT: I’ve got it! THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: We’re in this together, kid, I know. THE PLAYWRIGHT: No, no, this illiterate tendency of yours, with regards to the whole Faust thing. THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: Careful there. Sounds as if you might be groping. THE PLAYWRIGHT: You deny the new books under your arm? THE VOICE OF EXPERIENCE: I deny them until I have read them. Then I will acknowledge that they exist. THE PLAYWRIGHT: I’ve…read more

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Free Cone Day

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Jen Chung reminded me that today is Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day.

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Presidential Memoir

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Apparently, everybody’s been hopping about for the Bill Clinton memoir. 1.5 million copies will be printed in June. The release is timed to avoid competing with John Kerry. But I have to ask: What’s to get excited about? Here are some reasons why I probably won’t read the Clinton memoir: A LAMEASS TITLE: My Life? Jesus, Bill, why not call it What I Did Last Summer (And A Few Things I Did During My Eight Years in the White House)? CLINTON DOESN’T SUFFER FROM HYPERGRAPHIA: Apparently, Clinton now works “late…read more

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Here’s Maud In Your Eye

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Like Mark, I can’t pass a plug, particularly one that involves a bad pun. If you’re in New York City tonight, go hear Maud read.

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NYTBR Meets Maxim

Posted by in Uncategorized

From Publisher’s Lunch: Though he stepped carefully around specifics, Tannenhaus confirmed that the process of changing the review has already begun and will build to a full “relaunch” and redesign this fall. He confidently declared, “You’ll see a much different book review.” Most potential changes were positioned as things “we are looking at,” but the roster included turning more full-page 1,400-word reviews into more 600 to 700-word reviews, pushing reviewers to do their work more quickly, finding new and regular ways of covering commercial fiction (by “taking it own its…read more

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Lawrence Block — Bitchier Than Second Place to Prom Queen

Posted by in Uncategorized

What’s the greatest problem of our age? The stripping of civil liberties? No. The troubling situation in Iraq? No again. The unilateral atmosphere? No, no, no! No kewpie doll for you! You ain’t connected, babe. The heavy issue, which involves the writing of 1,000 word essays for the Voice, is book signing, dammit! To which one can only reply, if you don’t want to put out, don’t spread ‘em!

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AudBlog #12 — Musings on Light and the Mind

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audio post powered by audblog

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Hubert Selby, Jr. RIP

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Dammit.

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The Latest Meme

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From Scibbling Woman (via The Little Professor), and at the risk of revealing how illiterate I am, bold the titles you’ve read. Nope, I’ve never read Beowulf, Dante, or Goethe. Been meaning to. Really. 71 out of 100. That’s a C-, right?

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Perspective

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More than one million women (or 500,000 from the more conservative media outlets) marched on Washington yesterday. But apparently it wasn’t enough to dominate the news. The Mobilization March on November 15, 1969, the largest antiwar protest in U.S. history, had a crowd estimated between 250,000 and 500,000 and it caused Nixon to announce two months later that ending the war would be “a major goal of United States policy.” Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be getting anything like that from Bush (with twice the turnout of Mobilization) in June….read more

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There Isn’t Any Narrative Value in “Only a Northern Song”

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I mean, George wrote the thing in an hour and all. But that hasn’t stopped “Yellow Submarine” from being turned into a book.

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I Thought He Was Sharing the Taxi to Forget-Me-Land With Anthony Burgess

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Apparently, in Rochester, NY, the late John Gardner still has groupies. It’s been twenty-two years since Gardner died in a motorcycle accident, but that hasn’t stopped folks from festooning leather jackets.

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Voices from the Dead

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Either The Magic 7 has spent years in development or someone really knew how to plan for a 2004 release in the early 1990s. Or there’s some digital weirdness. Or…well, you make the call. Two dead talents, John Candy and Madeline Kahn, are involved with this animated production. Candy himself has been dead for a decade. Now it’s worth noting that writer-director Roger Holzberg hasn’t helmed a film since 1995. But I’m seriously creeped out by the idea of taking voices from the past and putting them down to contemporary…read more

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Half-Assed Color Theory

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Carrie A.A. Frye’s over at Maud’s this week, “primed in her tangerine muumuu.” This makes a good deal of sense to me, largely because I’ve always associated prime numbers with the color orange. Other immediate color associations which come to mind: sepia tones and oddball diner to-go cartons, goldenrod mimeographs, and the wild chartreuse decor of mid-1990s urban splendor. What happened to tie-dye camoflauge or Wired’s early chromatic schemes? When did pink and emerald green (the color that the eye perceives the strongest; hence, night vision goggles) become so dreaded?…read more

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AudBlog #11 — If You’re Going to Fulminate…

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If Donna Tartt Described The Current Status

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Edward Champion, the proprietor of this blog, was a remote and occupied figure. Edward, a chronic expression of being caught up in some peripheral project on his face, stared at the screen which would lead to a seemingly enigmatic but altogether obvious conclusion. He was too busy. The sun had dappled down on his shoulders as he scribbled pages outside a cafe, the steam of the coffee drifting upwards, creeping up his nostrils, causing the gears inside his head to stir. There was no pied-a-tierre, no book advance, no expendable…read more

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AudBlog #10 — Where Do We Go From Here?

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audio post powered by audblog

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The Future of Litblogging

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I have seen the future and it is George. I’ve had my doubts about the Virtual Book Tour for some time (it seemed more of a glorified publicity stunt more than anything else), but this use of audio blogging illustrates how to do it right. Plus, it helps that George is a good interviewer.

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Too Many Westlakes

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In a screwup worthy of Dortmunder himself, a few days ago, I posted some erroneous news about Donald E. Westlake reading a poem over a short film entitled “A Life of Death”. Whether it had something to do with enjoying the hell out of Thieves’ Dozen or just having Dortmunder on the mind, I was wrong (as many of you kind enough to write in informed me) and I removed the item. Well, I’ve now heard from filmmaker Dawn Westlake herself. Her film has apparently won two awards and was…read more

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