Reluctant Habits

For the Record…

Posted by in Uncategorized

I am having fun in Wisconsin. Or am I? You make the call.

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Enemy Combatants

Posted by in Uncategorized

Because I am a loyal American, I took the following pictures of individuals who I believe are “enemy combatants.” While I have no proof as to their terrorist potential, I did observe these shady characters squawking by a lake, and I believe that they intend to fly south and take down America during migration season. One can never be too sure of terrorists in this climate, even though it is relatively calm here in Wisconsin and the people are nice. (Why are they so nice here in Madison? Could it…read more

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How to Meet Laura Lippman

Posted by in Uncategorized

One would think that flying out 2,000 miles would have been good for at least a little more than hello. However, having a Y chormosome and somehow being in attendance at Laura Lippman‘s bachelorette party (along with other men), I’m sure there were extenuating circumstances. Upon entering the party, several ellipitical layers of people were seated and standing around a circle of couches. I was, I suppose, an unexpected mosquito planting himself on the outer epidermis, with Ms. Lippman herself protected by a group of loyal queen bees quaffing swank…read more

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Bouchercon Panel: Reviewer Ethics: The Reviewer’s Responsibility

Posted by in Bouchercon

Deeper questions about Bouchercon’s troubling insular nature will have to wait. I’ll just say for now that, more than BEA, APE, WorldCon and nearly every other writers or readers conference I have ever attended, you will be a conversational pariah if you haven’t read the latest sixty hot mystery titles. I’m sure these folks are perfectly nice, but, given how fixed and unwavering they are on this subject (it is as if that creep who assaulted those kids in Colorado never happened), I’d rather head down State Street and have…read more

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Bouchercon/Madison Photos

Posted by in Uncategorized

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Well, This IS Close to Milwaukee

Posted by in Uncategorized

Sarah Weinman stars in a Miller Lite commercial.

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Madison

Posted by in Uncategorized

I am in Madison, Wisconsin. I will have more to say later, which will likely ruffle a few feathers. Nevertheless, the truth must be reported. It is safe to say that there is more here than cheese. Madison is a pleasant place. The people, however, tend to drive within the speed limit rather than with the flow of traffic. Or, rather, they are more committed to being good citizens instead of being good drivers. This is problematic if you happen to be a California driver and you are used to…read more

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Bouchercon

Posted by in Bouchercon

Future dispatches will arrive here from Wisconsin. I remain confident that there is more than cheese there and will report my findings.

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A Tale of Two Critics

Posted by in Uncategorized

There was a needless post here that has since been removed.

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The Problem with MUNI

Posted by in San Francisco

For those looking for fresh content, I have a guest editorial at the SFist today. I assure all readers that I have considerably fewer follicles than the photo Eve dug up.

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Ed Jones

Posted by in Birnbaum, Robert, jones-edward

Robert Birnbaum talks (a second time) with Edward P. Jones.

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Wayne Shannon: A Case Study for the Internet’s Failings?

Posted by in Uncategorized

While working on something tonight, some synaptic associative charge kicked in and I recalled a commentator named Wayne Shannon. The name probably means nothing to you if you didn’t grow up in the Bay Area twenty some odd years ago, but Shannon was a smug, wry, and roly-poly guy in his late forties with a graying moptop who appeared frequently on KRON Evening News in the 1980s, offering commentaries at the tail end of the program laced with acid barbs that questioned everything and everybody. Shannon was one of those…read more

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Thank You, Keith Olbermann

Posted by in Uncategorized

Words to consider.

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Given That the Bidding Crowd is Composed of Existentialists, One Wonders Whether A Final Bid Truly IS A Final Bid!

Posted by in Uncategorized

USA Today: “A rare copy of Danish philosopher Soeren Kierkegaard’s famed book, Either/Or, will be sold at auction later this year, a Copenhagen auction house said Tuesday.”

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If By “Everyone,” You Mean Someone With Endless Spare Time and Millions in the Bank Account, Sure.

Posted by in Uncategorized

New York Times: “When filming of ‘Tennessee’ was pushed back indefinitely, she began a regimen of exercise and healthy diet to loose the weight. ‘People think it’s impossible to lose this much weight, but it’s not,’ she said. ‘Everyone can do it; you just have to be really disciplined and want it.’ She’s now working on a weight loss book and DVD.”

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Tricia Sullivan: Try Out the Samples

Posted by in Uncategorized

Tricia Sullivan, the author of the fascinating and underrated novel Maul (which I read a year and a half ago in its UK edition and which Night Shade Books, bless its heart, picked up for American release), has a LiveJournal.

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The Literary Hipster’s Handbook, 2006 Q4 Edition

Posted by in Literary Hipsters

“bad beef”: A literary prize ostensibly designed to assist struggling writers that goes instead to writers who don’t need the cash or the praise. Recent examples of bad beef include Haruki Murakami winning the O’Connor Short Story Award and John Updike winning the Rea Award. The phrase “bad beef” has begun to shift to writers who have secured a considerable windfall and who feel the need to remind more impoverished writers of their affluence. (Ex. He got him the Park Slope digs, the nubile wife, and he can write any…read more

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A Special Message from Albert Yonklas, Respected Author

Posted by in Uncategorized

Damn readers! Damn them all to hell! They want me to sign their books and throw my wrist out of alignment. They expect me to add an extra horizontal whoosh when I cross my T. They want to compare the signature that I offer in one book to that of another. Well, don’t they know that I apply my creative acumen to my work? It’s there in my National Book Award-winning novel, Butterflies in Toledo. The groupies may have been smelly, but they were just competent in bed. Even so,…read more

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

Lydia Millet questions Alice Munro’s status among contemporary readers. More from Dan Green. Tod Goldberg on Banned Books Week. What I’d like to know is why nobody has started a Banned Blogs Week. Given my regular assaults on fundy fruitloops, it remains my fervent hope that those who are offended will print off copies of my posts (and those of others) and throw them into a large conflagration, perhaps belting out an uplifting ballad in praise of National Socialism. Rebecca Skloot is curious if any writers or critics have been…read more

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The Stepford Jonathans

Posted by in Uncategorized

Well, if this is the kind of goodness that inspires people, then I’m supremely honored and astonished to be your muse, Patricia. (Thanks for the tip, Lauren!)

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup, Uncategorized

John Updike is interviewed about golf. (Thanks, DT!) I haven’t listened to it yet, but StarShipSofa looks like an interesting new podcast. It’s largely about Philip K. Dick right now, but promises to discuss Alfred Bester and Alien. (via Locus) Frank Wilson responds to the experimental fiction controversy, noting that he doesn’t find Ulysses to be experimental. I think Frank has a point. I had an opportunity to put forth this question to Danielewski himself last week and he explicitly told me that he didn’t consider himself an experimental writer….read more

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Other NIE Conclusions: The White House is Located at 1600 Penn

Posted by in War

Washington Post: “The conclusion of U.S. intelligence analysts that the Iraq war has increased the threat from terrorism is only ‘a fraction of judgments’ in a newly disclosed National Intelligence Estimate, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte said yesterday.” Y’think?

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BSS #67: Pamela Ribon

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Author: Pamela Ribon Condition of Mr. Segundo: Ruminating upon a misinterpreted act of politeness. Subjects Discussed: The Weird books as a franchise, chick lit, unusual stabbings, Oryx & Crake, Downtown Press, Zane, heady and passionate men, managing narrative threads, remembering a time without blogs, the origin of pamie.com, selling Why Moms Are Weird, writing fiction vs. writing television, Harold Pinter, compartmentalized needs in relationships, polyamory, on being galvanized by the deadly mochas at Caffe Strada, technology, online dating vs. face-to-face contact, nervousness, shyness, inner introverts, women and clothing sizes, how…read more

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BSS #66: Daniel Handler

Posted by in Bat Segundo, handler-daniel

Author: Daniel Handler Condition of Mr. Segundo: Petulant about people who use alter egos. Subjects Discussed: Aub Zam Zam and the legendary bartender Bruno Mooshei, writing in public places, Adverbs as a novel, Nicholas Monsarrat’s Depends What You Mean By Love, how dwelling upon the thematic use of love turned into a 1,000 page first draft, connections between The Basic Eight and Adverbs, Jonathan Lethem’s binder collection, the nondescript nature of “Joe” as a character name, on writing characters within a certain age bracket, on repeating words in dialogue, bad…read more

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Jasper and Julian

Posted by in Barnes, Julian

The Telegraph‘s Jasper Rees talks with Julian Barnes.

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BSS #65: Julia Glass

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Author: Julia Glass Condition of Mr. Segundo: Concerned with economic developments at the Segundo Studio. Subjects Discussed: Hinging a narrative on a piece of cake, conversations in moving vehicles, the unintended continuation of the Bank Street universe, an urban Yoknapatawpha, family and pregnancies in narrative, whether The Whole World Over is female-centric, Jane Austen, omniscient narrators, Al Green, the virtues of the color green, generational commentary, midlife essay collections, multiples in imagery, on not doing everything in life, how to talk with a politics-obsessed blowhard, 9/11 in literature, Tom Perrotta’s…read more

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Bloggers, Voices, and Sales

Posted by in Uncategorized

While we’re on the subject of blog importance, however inflated, I agree in the main with Lauren Beckham Falcone’s article. Blogs provide fresh and original voices online, but it takes something truly special and distinguished to connect a blogger-turned-author with a broader readership. I think Ana Marie Cox’s book tanked because there simply wasn’t a market for Animal House-style political satire. It was the book, stupid. But I also believe Cox’s hype kinda killed it. Nobody cared about how cute or charismatic Cox was (just as they didn’t when Jay…read more

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The Original Freelance Literary Journalist

Posted by in freeman-john

While doing research to improve my ability to write about literature (because let’s face the facts: professional or not, humility is good for the evolving writer), I stumbled across an impressive and really informative critic — some guy named Edmund Wilson. Wilson covered a broad range of books and actually thought things out to prevent himself from stating foolish declarations in his reviews. He didn’t feel the need to dismiss anyone else who wrote about books. He actually analyzed their arguments and responded in a fair and amicable manner. He…read more

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Comedy of Embarassment

Posted by in Television

David Bowie’s hilarious appearance on Extras. This may even outdo Patrick Stewart’s appearance, and it’s a catchy tune to boot.

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Dennis Miller: How Far You’ve Fallen

Posted by in Uncategorized

[Video.] [Summary.] Sad.

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