Reluctant Habits

MP3s Removed

Posted by in Racism

Because of bandwidth I cannot afford, I have had to remove all MP3 files. If you’re looking for the Star & Buc Wild file (or any of the other MP3s generated), you’ll have to go elsewhere. This site itself may have to disappear for several months. Thank you, India Times.


Keep The Dream Alive

Posted by in Holidays


Ain’t No Room for Culture in the New I-Rack

Posted by in War

The United States is now rivaling those who burned the Great Library of Alexandria as cultural destroyers. Having deliberately built a base upon Babylon, a new report from the British Museum notes: damage to the dragons decorating the Ishtar Gate, one of the world’s most famous monuments, from attempts to prise out the relief-moulded bricks broken bricks inscribed with the name of Nebuchadnezzar lying in spoil heaps the original brick surface of the great processional route through the gate crushed by military vehicles fuel seeping from tanks into archaeological layers…read more


In Defense of Conversational Adverbs

Posted by in Language

Apparently, some folks are taking offense to using “actually” in conversation. Actually, there’s something very nice about using adverbs in regular conversation. Realistically, it beats the tongue-tied swagger or the awkward pauses because, actually, the brain gets an extra second as the beads of sweat form hideous spoors on your forehead while hot lights, cameras and an audience are upon you and you hope to hell that you’re coming across as articulately as the perfectionist producers demand (yes, even on CSPAN!). Actually, it’s not quite like that at all. But…read more


You Should Be Dancing

Posted by in Dancing

Gwenda has a highly accurate account of dance lessons, complete with clumsy bald guys, sad middle aged couples and tittering dwarfs. I want to assure everyone that ballroom dance lessons are really like this, particularly the ones that involve neophytes getting to a dance hall two hours before everyone else to pick up a few moves from an instructor barking over an inaudible PA system (or, even worse, with one of those damn headsets). [8/11/05 UPDATE: Nearly eighteen months after I made a New Year’s resolution to thoroughly learn ballroom…read more


Product Placement in Fiction

Posted by in Advertising, Literary Motifs, Yates, Richard

I’m not completely against describing products and cultural minutiae in fiction, but I have a distinct problem with the way Tricia Sullivan does it in Maul. This fascinating novel, an interesting cross between hard science fiction, riot grrls gone wild and cyberpunk which has yet to pick up a U.S. publisher, deals with a two-strand narrative. In the distant future, a Y-virus has wiped out nearly every male on the planet, leaving male clones (taken from existing tissue) to carry out a simulated program that involves teenage girls battling in…read more


First Image from Titan

Posted by in Astronomy

(Thanks, D__________!)


Y Tu Tanenhaus Tambien

Posted by in Book Babes, Tanenhaus, Sam

For those interested in speculation upon Tanenhaus’s NYTBR, check out Juana Libedinsky’s “Un cambio polemico,” where we were delighted to see that declining book coverage is of international concern, and that our thoughts were happily preserved in Spanish. Interestingly enough, the Book Babes are there too.


FCC Responds to Star Complaint

Posted by in Racism, Radio

Econ Junkie has posted the response he received from the FCC. As I have tried to point out, unless Star & Buc Wild are sexually explicit (see 182 U.S. Code Section 1461), the First Amendment permits them to broadcast whatever they want, provided they fall within broadcast requirements. Your efforts are best directed towards the radio station, Clear Channel, and the advertisers. The advertisers may consider withdrawing their commercials if they are informed of the content they are supporting. Particularly if you write thoughtful (not abusive or inflammatory, but thoughtful!)…read more


Love for Three Miévilles

Posted by in Miéville, China

For those who are as devoted to China Miéville ‘s Bas-Lag books as I am, there’s a lively debate on The Iron Council over at Crooked Timber. One thing I didn’t realize was how close Miéville (along with Louise Welsh) was to being named one of the Granta 20. In fact, Miéville himself has even popped in. He has some very interesting things to say about Tolkien, why he dwells upon the bleak, his struggles to present nuanced sociopolitics, and his indebtedness to page-turning storytelling.



Posted by in Roundup, Sinclair, Upton

Nadine Gordimer is shepherding a short story collection, Telling Tales. The book’s proceeds will go to fighting AIDS. Some of the heavyweights involved: Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Gunter Grass, Salman Rushdie, John Updike, Margaret Atwood and Woody Allen. Because the hardback wasn’t turgid enough, the paperback release of Bill Clinton’s My Life will be published in two paperback formats: one that describes his presidential achievements and the other describing the linguistical disadvantages of referring to people as “that woman.” A rare set of George Washington letters is being auctioned. The letters…read more


It’s Good to Know the Experts Are Pooling Their Resources Together for the Hard Issues

Posted by in Celebrities, Journalism

Press Telegram: “The online ‘Onion’ once reported that Brad Pitt was bored with Jennifer Aniston’s naked body, a claim that virtually every male of any age and almost any species recognized to be insane or an underhanded insult directed at Pitt. The notion now has been debunked by Peter Castro, executive editor of People magazine the publication that broke the story of the Pitt-Anistan separation.”


The Dirty Art of Author Publicity Photos, Part 1: Jennifer Haigh

Posted by in Author Publicity

PHOTO DESCRIPTION: Ms. Haigh doesn’t smile. She wears an austere “we mean business” look on the safe side of the nihilism fence, provenance enough for the Barnes & Noble crowd. She wears a black dress that reveals a bit of leg. The bench has been positioned so that we don’t really see it. In fact, factoring in the cleavage pushed forward into an expanse of black, the overall effect appears to be an author ready to mount the table. And then there are the positions of her hands. Her right…read more


He’d Blog Us If He Had the Chance

Posted by in Blogging

Some truly fantastic folks have set up The Conversation, which serves almost as an antidote to Charles Taylor’s hubris and A.O. Scott’s neuroses. Do check them out.


Star & Buc Wild Suspended

Posted by in Racism, Radio

It’s a small achivement that doesn’t mean as much in light of the move to New York. But it’s an achievement nonetheless. The outcry has resulted in Star & Buc Wild being suspended for a day. Thanks in part to your efforts, Power 99 FM received more email and phone calls in the entire station’s history. But this is only the beginning of the fight. Since the two DJs have been repeatedly hateful and since the one day suspension amounts to a consolation prize (Star & Buc Wild were moving…read more


Mitchell on the Shore

Posted by in Mitchell, David

I don’t know how I missed it, but Mitchell takes on Murakami’s latest. Which makes perfect sense, given how much of a fanboy Mitchell in turn is of Murakami! But to be fair, Mitchell quibbles over the homogeneity of Murakami’s tone, pointing the reader to other great Murakami tomes in place of this one. Even so, “respect is due.” (via Tingle Alley)


Shuffle is Apple Lingo for “Flash Drive”

Posted by in Technology

Using stunning new technology available on nearly every MP3 freeware program and flash drive, Steve Jobs has announced a very silly product called the iPod Shuffle, which (get this) actually plays your songs at random. And I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn that you will never cross the same way because your feet will always hit different parts of the surface. That shuffling you hear is the sound of Steve Jobs cashing in the chips of Mac zealots. I guess Mac users have never heard of MuVos…read more


No Reading Statistic Left Behind

Posted by in Politics, Reading

South Florida Sun-Sentinel: “Gov. Jeb Bush wants to increase spending on reading by $43 million this year and make reading money a permanent part of Florida’s public school budget.” Hey, Jeb, give $43 million to me and I’ll give you all the reading you need. And then some. I don’t know what bothers me more: the notion that $43 million given to “reading” without a specific spending plan sounds more like the cocaine tab hidden within blockbuster movie budgets under the heading “accessories” or the idea that money would somehow…read more


I Hear Voices Too

Posted by in Reading

Sarah’s put up a thoughtful post regarding hearing voices when she reads. I can relate to this because, although my own inner ear parses text differently, I sympathize with the notion of those voices inside the book that tell me to do things. Whole chapters of Ian McEwan, Alex Garland and David Peace have encouraged me to wash my hands more. Because when I’m reading a farrago of brisk one-to-two word sentences (“Fuck,” “Noon,” “My arse.”), I feel as if I’m channeling the spirit of Howard Hughes. If I’m, say,…read more


RIP Mr. Monitor

Posted by in Blogging, Boyle, T.C., Racism, Radio, Roundup

Our monitor is at death’s door, we won’t be able to replace it for a few days, and we’re overwhelmed by the stunning response regarding the Star & Buc Wild post. Factor in the other things we’re doing, and this has resulted in an uphill battle in email responses and regular bloggin. But for now, here are some highlights from the literary world: As noted widely elsewhere (and kept under wraps with great glee here), many congratulations to Laila. Birnbaum interviews T.C. Boyle. It starts off with the question, “Do…read more


Deborah Solomon: Under Pressure

Posted by in New York Times, Solomon, Deborah

Is Deborah Solomon trying to confess to us that she’s a closet meth addict? From today’s interview with Christine Gregoire: As a veteran politician who has served as state attorney general for more than a decade, did you find it difficult to sit out the seven weeks during which the voting machines pegged you a loser? It was very, very difficult. Did you take up smoking? Me, take up smoking? No. It’s not an option. I was the lead negotiator in the tobacco-company settlement that brought in $242 billion, the…read more


Memo to Film Producers: Please Leave Old Science Fiction Television Series Alone

Posted by in Literary Adaptations, Speculative Fiction

The latest potential cash cow to be dug up is The Tripods. (via Quiddity)


Talk in a Time of War

Posted by in Tanenhaus, Sam, War

With escamotage that seems outside Tanenhaus’s grasp, Sunday’s Washington Post features a retrospective on David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest — pointing out that the book is not only a masterful study of foreign policy but elucidating a few potential comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam. Warren Bass and David Halberstam will discuss The Best and the Brightest online on Thursday, January 27 at 3:00 p.m.


So Is Tom Hayden Saying Hitch Drinks White Russians?

Posted by in Hitchens, Christopher

Tom Hayden: “In the film ‘The Big Lebowski,’ several decades later, the stoned ‘dude’ played by Jeff Bridges claims to have written the Port Huron statement. Perhaps that is where Hitchens took his cue, for it certainly didn’t come from reading the document.”


We Can’t Say “Fuck” on American Television, and Tiny Glimpses of Nipples Are a Problem, But Network Executives Are Assured a Long Life Here

Posted by in Television

The Scotsman: “It is believed Roly Keating, the controller of BBC2, and Jana Bennett, the director of television, are among those who have been given security guard protection. “


Indecent Proposal 2: No Dollar Left Behind

Posted by in Film, Satire

Director Adrian Lyne announced that he would be directing a followup to his 1993 film, Indecent Proposal. Robert Redford and Demi Moore have agreed to reappear. Set ten years later, Redford will reappear as the millionaire — this time, having moved to Pennsylvania Avenue. Moore’s character has divorced Woody Harrelson, changed her name to Armstrong Williams, and become a journalist. REDFORD: There are some rumors on the Internets that ten years ago, I offered you $1,000,000 to sleep with me. MOORE: Well, you did. REDFORD: Christ, Karl did all he…read more



Posted by in Saunders, George

YPTR has discovered George Saunders Land. No amount of money or persuasion, however, will get the Walt Disney Corporation to add this onto Disneyland. Which is a pity, because Disneyland could always use a Saunders short short.


The Drunk

Posted by in Alcohol, Personal, Police Brutality

“I can’t breathe, motherfucker! I can’t breathe!” The drunk had only his voice left, but he was determined to fight. A neighbor and I called from the window. We begged the police not to harm the man, to give him oxygen, and the fuzz knew they were being watched. So they didn’t beat him. The drunk had only blurred stamina and a voice that alerted every adjacent domicile that there was a skirmish in the premises. His limbs were pinned down by seven of San Francisco’s finest in the alley…read more


Coffee-Deprived Roundup

Posted by in Author Publicity, Roundup, Sex

Good Reports has unveiled its second end-of-the-year panel, with Robert “Not a Jejune Fan” Birnbaum, Jessa Crispin, Alex “Johnny B.” Good, Maud “Will Most Certainly Finish Her Novel” Newton and Michael “Coolest Initials in the World” Orthofer. Scott Esposito has stumbled upon what may be the TBR photo to end all photos. The metadata reminds me of the moment in Fight Club where Edward Norton’s apartment turns into IKEA catalog items. Was Lincoln bisexual? Leave it to Gore Vidal to explore the theory. (via Moby) Sara Nelson files her last…read more


Whitbread Winners

Posted by in Awards

The Whitbreads go to: Novel Award: Andrea Levy, Small Island (She also won the Orange Prize.) First Novel Award: Susan Fletcher, Eve Green Biography: John Guy, My Heart is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of the Scots Poetry: Michael Symmons Roberts, Corpus Children’s Book: Geraldine McCaughrean, Not the End of the World