Reluctant Habits

Dem Darkies Not Be Photogarfin, Why Can’t Y’All Undahstand?

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Arizona Daily Star: “President Bush’s re-election campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Dick Cheney. The Star refused to provide the information.” Great way to unify the votnig blocs, George! Now pass us all some of dem white trash sweetmeats!

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From Whitewater to Whitewash

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In response to a request from Edith Wharton to produce a poem for her 1916 anthology, The Book of the Homeless, WB Yeats took the opportunity to issue a general put down to poets who get involved in politics. In On Being Asked For a War Poem, he advocates a policy of conscientious inaction, suggesting that “a poet’s mouth [should] be silent”, and claiming, rather bombastically, that “We have no gift to set a statesman right”. While there is scope for a charge of hypocrisy – a performance of Yeats’s…read more

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A Supposedly Fun Lobster I’ll Never Eat Again

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The Rake has the scoop on the DFW essay in this month’s Gourmet. Apprently, it deals substantially with animal rights. And Rake says it kicketh ass. [UPDATE: We somehow managed to pick it up while running from one meeting to another. We read it last night at some ungodly hour, shortly after watching a grainy feed of John Kerry’s speech (feels like 1956 again!), and laughed ourselves silly over Mr. Wallace’s solid thinking on the animal rights question (in part, because we too have avoided eating lobsters for the same…read more

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Eggers Remixed

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So Uncle Tony’s seen that pipsqueak’s latest column. Tony figures he can cut the column in half. So here’s the column without the bullshit: Life. Shit happens. Something we’ve known for a while. Been meaning to write about Big Country. Today is Thursday. Caught the band back in the ’80s, don’t know when. Loved the clip of ‘em chasing chicks in Scotland. So I got me their first album. Distinctive sound. Guitars as bagpipes. Serious shit. The lead singer Stuart Adamson wrote about Old Scotland, paying attention to old values….read more

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Birnbaum Watch

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Good stuff with Zoe Heller.

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A Fury of Accord?

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Since Fahrenheit 9/11 came out—and even before—critics and fans alike have wondered whether it’s simply preaching to the converted. But it isn’t just the left who are packing the pews to hear their thoughts echoed back from the pulpit. As self-described Republican Party reptile P.J. O’Rourke asks in the latest Atlantic Monthly, when was the last time a conservative talk show changed a mind?

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Good Thing The Democrats Didn’t Demand a Monorail

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NPR reports that Boston business is sagging because of the DNC. Revenue has dipped dramatically. Even The International, a restaurant in the financial district, hung a sign reading, “Closed due to lack of business because of the DNC.”

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Last night I went to bed with John P. Marquand and boy, were some of his sentences stiff

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CAAF darting through, in her orange muumuu and some superhero underoos. Lately I’ve been reading and relishing The Late George Apley by John P. Marquand. It seems appropriate to post that here as I picked up the book after reading Ed’s (and Terry’s) many effusions on the topic of all things Marquand. In a short but interesting May 2004 Atlantic Monthly appreciation, Martha Spaulding reports that Upton Sinclair (Jungle Love) received the proofs for Apley in 1936. (It went on to win the Pulitzer in 1938.) Sinclair wrote the publisher:…read more

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AudBlog #18 — Come On, DNC Bloggers!

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audio post powered by audblog

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Wait Until You Hear What Romantic Poetry Will Do

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From the abstract of the article “Oscillations of heart rate and respiration synchronize during poetry recitation” in American Journal of Physiology—Heart and Circulatory Physiology: The objective of this study was to investigate the synchronization between low-frequency breathing patterns and respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) of heart rate during guided recitation of poetry, i.e., recitation of hexameter verse from ancient Greek literature performed in a therapeutic setting. Twenty healthy volunteers performed three different types of exercises with respect to a cross-sectional comparison: 1) recitation of hexameter verse, 2) controlled breathing, and 3)…read more

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stop, you’re scaring me

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Abebooks.com has released the results of a Student Survey of 2,000 students aged 16 to 30 in which females said they’d be more likely to buy books recommended by John Kerry, while their male counterparts said they’d go for Bush’s recommendations. (Does that mean the guys just don’t want to read or they only want to read about baseball?) Among the other illuminating (read: terrifying, perplexing, obvious) findings: – 60% of students surveyed believe their life would make a better novel than reality TV show; – The most popular choice…read more

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Editor reads first draft of Penn-penned novel, tells author to put a sock in it

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In choosing to tell a police procedural from an attitudinal sock monkey‘s POV, Penn Jillette makes novel’s promise disappear: On some level, the story has potential. Sock isn’t a standard police procedural, because the Little Fool isn’t a cop; he’s an obsessive, unhealthy outsider, redefining his relationship with a dead woman in order to give his life meaning, and in the process, reconstructing his perspective on the world in potentially revelatory ways. But the sock-monkey-protagonist gimmick twists his perspective from intriguingly off-kilter to disturbingly off-kilter, and throws almost as much…read more

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But Is the Third Novel Done?

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Frank Bascombe is back.

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“Britney Spears was NEVER a Lolita!”*

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Japanese novelist Novala Takemoto writes “Lolita” novels. Lolita in Japan — like Lolita here — has taken on a different meaning than the traditional Nabokovian one. As this Asahi Shimbun story explains, in Japan, Takemoto is worshipped by the Lolita crowd, “girls and women who favor lace and bonnets and ribbons and frills.” The piece goes on and on about his outlandish apartment and person, but finally talks about his work. (It’s not unlike pieces about horror writers are usually set up, only the focus here is on how outrageous…read more

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Challenge of the Guest Bloggers

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Howard Dean Points Proudly to Parallel Universe at DNC

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Johnny Knoxville

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Hey kids! It’s your pal the Rake here to disrupt this delightful huggermugger with yet another Cormac McCarthy-themed post. (Thank me later.) In my experience, your college profs and blogger types seem to favor McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, but down-home Southern writers go for Suttree or Child of God. Here’s an article about the relationship between Mr. McCarthy and East Tennessee (Knoxville in particular): The trick shop is gone now, its charlatan’s props and trinkets and frivolous parlor games long removed, half-witted relics given over to vulgar oblivion. So too are…read more

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like an old hippie’s bumper sticker

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You’re not paranoid, they really are coming to get you. Well, not really, they’re more out to usurp all political and financial power and rule the world. They don’t care so much about you. So says Joel Achenbach in a meditation in the Washington Post on just what shit screenwriters have to come up with these days to sell paranoia and America’s paranoid past. (It’ll be interesting to see whether The Manchurian Candidate remake is more than a blip on the screen. Especially, as the piece says, when Fahrenheit 9/11…read more

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Love In The Time of Metallica

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The documentary was Some Kind of Monster and the audience reaction was alternations between nonplussed silence and nervous titters of disbelief. There were two truly “angry” bands of my teen years that I clucked with. Two that carried me through thick and thin in the thick of it: Nirvana and Metallica. While Nirvana was more angst than anger, it was arguably the freshest sound of rebellion to come out of the factory of echoes that is American entertainment in quite some time. Unique even. Timeless? Dunno, but in the here…read more

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Hemon’s Dope

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Hey, Hemon, you think you’re hot shit, sweetheart? First off, there’s one thing you should know about Tony Clifton. Dale Peck kisses my ring. Not only does he kiss it, but he polishes it with his tongue. And that’s AFTER he’s said a few catechisms. So if you think you’re doing the world a special favor by tearing some Swiss snowboarder a new one, if you think you’re being…ORIGINAL or something, then you got another thing coming. Hemon, you’re nothing. You’re pond scum. You’re the kind of guy who slams…read more

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Ed’s Not Dead

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I’ve just returned, without reluctance, from a funeral in Atlanta, to find an email from Ed asking if I would mind posting a thing or two on his site. Would I? Ed’s site has been a favorite of mine for months now. I think I found it while doing a google search for jejune and I’ve been coming back daily. It was a proud day when Syntax of Things was added to the RotR blogroll, topped only by the granting of the password and username in that email this afternoon….read more

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is this thing on?

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Show yourselves, guest compadres! Here at Casa BondGirl we are under attack from little brown birds (small but there a lot of them, see) with striped white wings. They have some sort of vendetta against our elderly golden retriever George Rowe the Dog, Poster Boy for American Values, My Attorney. Throwing rocks at the branches under where the beaked menaces wait to perform their swooping does not seem to sway their hateful mission at all. Especially when you’re reenacting The Birds, it’s never a bad idea to come into someone…read more

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The Doctor is a Chickenhead

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That’s right, muthaz! Now that Mabuse is gone, the real fucking party can begin. I want to coat babies in barbeque sauce and throw them into volcanoes! I want to kick a few grannies in the shins and call it spontaneous therapy! That Mabuse guy was too nice. And this place was getting too fucking comfortable. Let it be known that Tony “I will use your skull to open my brew” Clifton is in the house. How could an asshole like me get on here? Well, let’s just say that…read more

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Status

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The deal is this: Nearly all of our time is accounted for; thus, updates will be scanter than a pair of transparent panties. If anyone would like to step in and pick up the slack, drop us a line. [UPDATE: We now have some surprise guest stars lined up for the next week or two, whose capable and mischevious hands should make this place very interesting. Thanks go out to these kindred souls.]

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Mad Props

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Sarah‘s unleashed a new edition of Plots With Guns. Among some of the highlights: an excerpt from Ian Rankin’s next Rebus novel, Sarah’s interview with John Williams, and several stories. Joe Bob says check it out.

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The Blind Robber: Implied Subtext?

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Lately, I’ve been reading Margaret Atwood’s The Robber Bride — as usual, a gloriously devious book. This column suggests that Zenia is a grotesque version of Canadian journalist Barbara Amiel, who went to the University of Toronto with Atwood. Amiel, of course, was fired by the Telegraph this year after she was implicated in a lawsuit against her husband (the lawsuit having been launched by Hollinger International, which owns the telegraph). Before that, Amiel built a career writing free market tirades. Of course, Atwood’s novel (published in 1993) came long…read more

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The Thick-Ass Books List

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Okay, folks, since these book lists are a lot of fun, here’s a new list I actually have a chance on. (My score here is 21.) Books that fit this criteria are long, cerebral, or epic in nature. Downright voluminous. (And to be fair, I’ve included a few “easy” long reads among the bunch, along with some speculative fiction.) For a book to count, you should have read the whole thing. And if I had to predict scores, my suspicion here is that Brian, who actually read A Suitable Boy,…read more

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Cloud9Atlas

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The Rake points to an excerpt of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas. Memo to world: Buy this book immediately. You won’t be sorry. It’s intricate, emotional, cerebral, funny, satirical, worldly, and will have you sifting through your reference books with glee.

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To Do List of Desirable Online Tasks (Though Some of Them Are Unlikely to Happen Anytime Soon)

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What the loss of Jerry Goldsmith means (in depth) The State of Books & the NYTBR, Part 2 Continued updates on pertinent backlogged posts for 2004 (I was doing it long before Kottke, thank you) A public response to what lit blogs are all about (corralling and finally addressing a number of points I was exchanging with Mark months ago), what they have done so far, and where we can go from here. A redesign of this place. Launch of the Wrestling an Alligator enhanced site. A photographic explanation of…read more

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The Pile-Up

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I’ve started reading Kevin Starr’s Coast of Dreams (due for publication in September 2004 by Knopf), the latest volume in Starr’s underrated California Dream series. While I remain a fan of Kevin Starr, the big surprise here is not the volume’s 700 page length, but the less scholarly tone than its predecessors. The chapters are surprisingly short and snappy, without the ambition or all-encompassing portraits we’ve come to expect. This time around, Starr’s opted for a more anecdotal flavor. This isn’t as disappointing as it sounds. But given Starr’s ebullience…read more

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