Reluctant Habits

Taking It All In

Posted by in Film

Emily Gordon has found an avalanche of Pauline Kael reviews.


RIP Glenn Ford

Posted by in Obits

Obit. Words from Carolyn.


The Golden Gate Bridge: Where Would You Like to Leap to Your Death Today?

Posted by in Death, San Francisco

Bizarre location-based infograph. (via SF Metro)


Well, At Least They Weren’t Urged to Buy Pet Medications Or Click On a Fabricated PayPal Link

Posted by in Uncategorized

New York Times: “The RadioShack Corporation, the electronics retailer, has followed through on plans to cut about 400 jobs, but it has been put on the defensive because of its decision to notify laid-off employees by e-mail….’The work force reduction notification is currently in progress,’ the notice stated. ‘Unfortunately your position is one that has been eliminated.’” Cold bastards.


Meeting of the Minds

Posted by in Uncategorized

If ever there was an interviewer more perfectly complemented to talk with Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie about Lost Girls, it’s Susie Bright. This interview, located by those cute and cuddly folks at Spike Magazine, gets into Lost Girls‘ long-form creation, the scandalous reception, and was conducted, in part, with Melinda in a hot tub — apparently, Bright’s “favorite interview technique.”


Taking the Fun Out of Fundraiser

Posted by in Uncategorized

An unfortunate event occurred at an n+1 fundraiser. The gang managed to raise $3,000, only to wake up the next morning with the loot gone. Editor Keith Gessen noted, “We’ve been much drunker than this, but the party was so nice that we were lulled into a false sense of security.” Unfortunately, there are no leads on who ran off with the cash. But hopefully, the gang will host another party, with a sober cashmaster, as well as a keymaster. (via Bookninja)



Posted by in Uncategorized

When I was five, there was a gigantic map of Santa Clara County that hung on my bedroom wall. I can’t recall the precise circumstances in which it was placed there – whether I begged or did any number of puerile things to ensure its placement, I cannot say. What I can tell you is that I had a keen interest in the magical clover-leaf intersections, downtown San Jose’s rectilinear makeup (I particularly enjoyed the way West Santa Clara Street turned into the Alameda[1]), and the patterns which shuttled traffic[2]…read more



Posted by in danielewski-mark

It goes without saying that when an online punkass posts an extravagant claim about a major writer[1], he must be prepared to, in the parlance of 1999, back up his shit, yo.[2] Well, I am here to tell you that I have discovered a man who can write David Foster Wallace under the table, if indeed a comparative summation between writing and drinking can be consummated. A writer who, in fact, can fit quite neatly into Tom LeClair’s prodigious fiction category. I speak of Mark Z.[3] Danielewski. I am taking…read more


It Took Three Days of Staring at an Inert Storefront Before Anything Exciting Happened

Posted by in Technology

The Register: “An attempted burglary of a Liverpool sports store was foiled after a vulture-eyed viewer of a Beatles-related webcam alerted police.”


So Long and Thanks for Everything But the Fish?

Posted by in Animals

New York Times: “Far from being slow learners, manatees, it turns out, are as adept at experimental tasks as dolphins, though they are slower-moving and, having no taste for fish, more difficult to motivate. They have a highly developed sense of touch, mediated by thick hairs called vibrissae that adorn not just the face, as in other mammals, but the entire body, according to the researchers’ recent work. And where earlier scientists saw in the manatee’s brain the evidence of deficient intelligence, Dr. Reep sees evolution’s shaping of an animal…read more


Blue Goes Blue for Chron

Posted by in Blogging, Journalism

Violet Blue doesn’t like me very much, but I’m happy to learn that she’s landed a gig as the Chron‘s sex columnist. Kudos to Phil Bronstein for recognizing Violet Blue as a grand blogging voice and for taking her on as a columnist. This isn’t just a great boon for Violet. It’s a great sign, I suspect, of things to come.


Ad Hominem Fiesta!

Posted by in Uncategorized

Heya kids. It’s time to tear Edward Champion a new one! If you have any choice words that you’d like to offer me, I will happily display them on the sidebar for all to see! Feel free to tell me how lame-brained and mentally challenged I am and I’ll proudly add you to the list of luminaries on the sidebar. Go for it, folks. Knock yourself out!


Fewer Readers or Shorter Hours?

Posted by in Libraries

Mercury News: “The number of books threatened with removal from library shelves dropped last year to its lowest total on record, with 405 challenges reported to the American Library Association.” (via Literary Gas)


RIP Joseph Stefano

Posted by in Obits

Joseph Stefano, the man behind some of the great episodes of the original Outer Limits and, of course, the script for Psycho, has passed away.


Katrina: One Year Later

Posted by in Katrina

Telling demographics.


All-England Summarize Snicket

Posted by in Uncategorized

12 Lemony Snickets summarized in two minutes. Wonder if Handler (or the marketing people) got the idea from here. (via Magnificent Octopus)


Screw the Hometown — How About a URL, You Elitist Schmucks?

Posted by in New York Times, Uncategorized

New York Times Corrections: “An article in Weekend on Friday about free online audiobooks of works in the public domain referred incorrectly to Arlene Goldbard, a writer who discussed on her blog her first experience with such recordings. She is based in Richmond, Calif., not New York.”


Dietrich Poem Found

Posted by in Poetry

A long lost love poem from Marlene Dietrich to Ronald Reagan has been found. Even more interestingly, the poem was typed on Noel Coward’s typewriter. The poem reads: Gipper skipper You’ve never been a big tipper But Adolf’s hair And yours compare I type this After a night of drinks



Posted by in Roundup

Arab Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz has died. He was 94. Laila promises to have more. Levi Asher serves up five comic books you may not have heard about. Unless, of course, you have heard about them — in which case, I’m sure Levi would like you to hear about them again. The hope here is that somewhere along the line, a person who least expects it hears you hearing about them. Unless, of course, you have no ears — in which case, I’ll provide the cornball humor. Jan Underwood wrote…read more


Milwaukee — A Drunken Port In a Storm

Posted by in Alcohol

Milwaukee has been named “America’s Drunken City” — by no less an eminence than Forbes. San Francisco isn’t on the list. Neither is Los Angeles nor New York. Which suggests that, outside of Boston, Providencem and Pitt, the antipodean ends of the nation simply don’t have what it takes to get soused. Or the Forbes money men (or the employees of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) were too busy with their mergers and acquisitions to hit the pubs. The announcement caused the Milwaukee Visitors and Convention Bureau…read more


Harlan Ellison Responds

Posted by in Ellison, Harlan

At the Harlan Ellison message board, Ellison has posted the following (which he gives permission to disseminate): Would you believe that, having left the Hugo ceremonies immediately after my part in it, while it was still in progress … and having left the hall entirely … yet having been around later that night for Kieth Kato’s traditional chili party … and having taken off next morning for return home … and not having the internet facility to open “journalfen” (or whatever it is), I was unaware of any problem proceeding…read more


The Discomfort Zone

Posted by in Franzen, Jonathan

There’s a good deal of commotion over Michiko Kaukutani’s review of Jonathan Franzen’s The Discomfort Zone. Has Michiko gone too far? Having read most of the contents of this disgraceful essay collection, I don’t think so at all. Where Franzen’s previous essay collection, How to Be Alone, presented Franzen’s interests in a thoughtful and benign (if whiny) tone (the postal system, an almost nostalgic concern for mechanics, etc.), The Discomfort Zone presents Franzen as a middle-aged enfant terrible, a spineless yuppie who hasn’t grown up and who clings to narcissistic…read more


A Clockwork Temperament

Posted by in Burgess, Anthony

The Paris Review‘s DNA of Literature is now up to the 1970s. There appears to be no set schedule for when the good folks over there will make the interviews from 1980 on available, but in the meantime, there is this interview with Anthony Burgess. I will confess that 2006, reading-wise, has been the Year of Burgess for me. He’s the author I’ve read the most of. I cannot stop reading his books as I find them in used bookstores (most are out-of-print), even though his novel batting average was…read more


archy rocks

Posted by in Poetry

Holy frijole! An enormous Don Marquis resource online! (via MeFi)


Hitch Curses Audience, Forgets to Order Drinks

Posted by in Hitchens, Christopher

Crooks & Liars: “During a segment on Bill Maher’s show–he flipped the audience off and cursed them out. I’ve seen Maher ask the audience to calm down before, but never have I seen a guest react like that.”


Stephen Thompson: Racist Reviewer?

Posted by in Book Reviewing, Racism

GalleyCat reports on this Stephen Thompson review of Vikram Chandra’s Sacred Games. The opening paragraph reads: There are certain books that are so similar to one another they almost beg to be grouped together. This is largely true of Indian novels. Look closely at the ones published in the past, say, 25 years, and you’ll see that they’re virtually identical, in theme if not in style and content. Aside from the racist assertion here that Indian novels are “identical,” Thompson also suggests that Midnight’s Children and A Fine Balance are…read more


Harlan Ellison: The Norman Mailer of Speculative Fiction

Posted by in Sexism

[Photo removed at the request of Keith Stokes. Offending image available here.] [UPDATE: Keith Stokes continues to play a game of cultural revisionism, regularly changing the filenames of his photographs to prevent people from seeing what happened for themselves. The photo, as of Tuesday, can be found on this page.] Unpardonable. This is not just a matter of “Harlan being Harlan,” as Ellison’s defenders will likely phrase it. This is not a matter of being politically correct. These are the actions of a boorish pig. It is unacceptable for anyone…read more


Harlan Ellison at WorldCon

Posted by in Ellison, Harlan

Rick Kleffel has Harlan Ellison’s one-man WorldCon panel on tape. Kleffel assures that it will offend everyone, but it seems rather tame and a bit sad and solipsistic to this listener’s ears. If desperate screaming into the mike is the height of hilarity, then I’m sure you’ll dig it. But the pathetic nature of Mr. Saturday Night comes to mind. [UPDATE: Gwenda notes that Ellison groped Connie Willis without her permission at the Hugos. More here. A class act, Harlan, if this is true.]


The Bat Segundo Show #60: Robert Birnbaum

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Birnbaum, Robert

Author: Robert Birnbaum Condition of Mr. Segundo: Detached but amused by the pair-up. Subjects Discussed: The value of conducting interviews at a cemetery, Ed Champion’s arrest, the current state of the literary world, literary feuds, Richard Ford and Colson Whitehead, Stanley Crouch, Nicholson Baker, Leon Wieseltier, Anthony Burgess, US vs. UK journalism, Cynthia Ozick, the literary blogosphere, Birnbaum’s participation at the Oscar blog, West Coast vs. East Coast weather, reading and page limits, the “importance” of the New York Times Book Review, Gilbert Sorrentino, Sam Tanenhaus, Thomas McGuane‘s Nothing But…read more


The Bat Segundo Show #59: Jeff VanderMeer

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Author: Jeff VanderMeer Condition of Mr. Segundo: Coming to terms with troubling generalizations. Subjects Discussed: Mushrooms as inspiration, writing “Dradin in Love” while suffering from mono, Steve Erickson, the writer as sadistic god, on being perceived as “difficult,” genre as revitilization device, the New Weird, China Miéville, the value of taxonomies, the use of parentheses for voice, reinventing the Ambergris mythology, scholarly discourse in fiction, underground scholars, Gormenghast, Nabokov, cities, Beirut, Albumeth Boulevard’s inspirations, ephemera, balancing experimentalism and absurdism, objections to playful prose, the Dan Green dust-up, Shriek: the movie,…read more