Reluctant Habits

Happy New Year

Posted by in Uncategorized

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BSS #89: Nina Hartley

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Harried and henpecked. Author: Nina Hartley Subjects Discussed: The meaning of “total sex,” vanilla vs. “alternative” sex, basics vs. options, self-acceptance, foreplay, the relationship between sexual realities and porn film fantasies, the “three position” proclivity, swinging, sexual alienation, responding to Naomi Wolf’s 2003 article, Hooters, extreme porn, porn as education, Jocelyn Elders, Caitlin Flanagan, “death and babies ay-yi-yi!,” spontaneous sex vs. technical know-how, intrapersonal relationships, acceptance, insecurity, and polyamory. EXCERPT FROM SHOW: Hartley: I call it “total sex” because it encompasses the mainstay of most sexual…read more

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BSS #88: Amy Sedaris

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Ready to party in the Biblical sense. Author: Amy Sedaris Subjects Discussed: The lost art of hospitality, Martha Stewart, party theme taxonomy, entertaining old people, profiting from party guests, having a first date in your apartment, how to manage shy people, unexpected guests, remembering guests and logging menus, working with artists, Sedaris’s fear of computers, homemade art, children’s books, opposition to brunch, observing party hosts, the safety of counters, hosting vs. guesting, hosting vs. performing, Jonathan Rauch’s “Caring for Your Introvert,” ruminating vs. writing, communication difficulties,…read more

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Power Litblogger of the Year?

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Kevin Sampsell writes: “Ron Hogan at Beatrice.com may have helped sink Judith Regan, but Ed Champion at Edrants.com gets this year’s award. His acidic-yet-informative style is cushioned by an effacing honesty that makes him a joy to scan every day.” Well, thanks very much, Kevin, but I really don’t know what the hell a “power litblogger” is. Then again, I haven’t yet had a power lunch (at least I think I haven’t), I resort to PowerBars only when Red Bull and coffee aren’t available, and I never really understood Mighty…read more

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No Surprise: NYTBR Slacks Off on Popular Fiction Too

Posted by in Tanenhaus, Sam

Michael Blowhard observes that the NYTBR is a failure on the popular fiction front as well: “To use an analogy: imagine a movie magazine. It doesn’t announce itself as avant-garde, or as niche in any way. It’s just The New York Review of Movies. It purports, in other words, to be covering movies. You’d expect this magazine to have a point of view — who would even want a publication that’s indiscriminate, after all? But I think it’s fair to say that you’d be surprised if all the movies this…read more

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

The 50 Greatest Cartoons, with video. (via Kevin Smokler) The Times: “Educated people are not supposed to believe in ghosts. This has done nothing to diminish their popularity, at least in fiction.” (via Kenyon Review) Children of Men: the book vs. the film. The next generation’s vocabulary is, like, diminishing. (via Maud) The San Francisco Chronicle offers a list of 2006 deaths, with many authors and journalists. Conspicuously absent are the great talents Octavia Butler and Gilbert Sorrentino, demonstrating that you can win a MacArthur Genius Grant or radically influence…read more

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The Top Ten Books of 2006

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It was a good year. It was very good year. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was the age of Britney’s crotch, it was the age of needlessly angry atheists. It was the epoch of Democratic victory in the two houses, it was the epoch of weak-kneed Democrats and other assorted chucklehead politicians. I’m not sure if any of the above dualisms have to do with the books that rocked my world this year. But I figure that any end of the year…read more

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HTML Tomfoolery

Posted by in Games

Another web-based riddle game.

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Grindhouse Trailer

Posted by in Film

Trailer. (via The Reverse Cowgirl)

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So Much for Mental Health Days

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The Daily Mail: “British scientists are on the verge of producing a revolutionary flu vaccine that works against all major types of the disease. Described as the ‘holy grail’ of flu vaccines, it would protect against all strains of influenza A – the virus behind both bird flu and the nastiest outbreaks of winter flu.” (via MeFi)

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No Solstice Craving Here, I Assure You

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Bad romance covers unearthed at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

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Wanna Make Money? Take No Chances

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Catoosa County News: “Catoosa author Marnie Pehrson was just honored as one of Barnes and Noble’s top 100 best-selling authors….Pehrson adds that her books are also a clean alternative to most romance novels and that they won’t offend someone’s morals.”

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Ben, Don’t Oversell It

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Ben Macintyre: “Take a look at Tintin’s eyebrows. They are two, single-line half circles, above eyes that are no more than blank holes in a round face. Yet these are some of the most expressive eyebrows ever drawn. Mostly they are raised in permanently enthusiastic expectation; when Tintin is on a mission, they rise and flatten very slightly; when he is amused, one lifts a little higher than the other. The same breadth of expression is true of Captain Haddock’s beard, Snowy’s tail and Professor Calculus’s hat. Even Tintin’s tuft…read more

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Madison Avenue’s Answer to the Forbes 500

Posted by in Advertising

The most recognizable brand names in 2006, as ranked by BusinessWeek.

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Pledge from Yours Truly

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I’ll be less surly tomorrow. It’s one of those days.

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Mommy, He Stole My Google Ranking!

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Oh, quit your bitchy whining, you goddam blogging prima donnas. Boing Boing, Jason Kottke, Jeffrey Zeldman, Matt Haughey, and the so-called “A-list bloggers” have never once linked to me and you don’t hear me complaining. In fact, I could care less, because placating a solipsist like Jason Kottke is not why I blog. If you’re in the blogging for the hits and influence and you can’t be troubled to read the goddam information that Google provides which explains in extensive detail how Google indexes its pages, then cry me a…read more

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Guess It Will Be Grays Papaya for Me Then Too

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Head implodes.

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Accept the Unfamiliar

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Philip K. Dick, “How to Build a Universe That Doesn’t Fall Apart”: “Do not believe — and I am dead serious when I say this — do not assume that order and stability are always good, in a society or in a universe. The old, the ossified, must always give way to new life and the birth of new things. Before the new things can be born the old must perish. This is a dangerous realization, because it tells us that we must eventually part with much of what is…read more

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What is Russell T. Davies Doing to Chase These Great Actors Away?

Posted by in Television, Uncategorized

BBC: “David Tennant is ‘committed’ to Doctor Who, the BBC insists, despite a report that he is leaving the sci-fi drama. The Sun claimed the actor, 35, planned to depart next year, in the middle of the fourth series of the hit programme. But he was currently filming the third series, a BBC spokeswoman said, adding that any episodes beyond that had yet to receive the go-ahead.”

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Goodbye Afternoon

Posted by in Uncategorized

The Top Ten Video Moments from 2006, although it seems a major oversight not to include this one.

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The Slate Audio Book Club Strikes Again!

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2006 wouldn’t be complete without another inept appearance from those dimwitted trendsetters at the Slate Audio Book Club! When last we checked in with the gang, they had moved on from racist generalizations and had declared Michael Pollan’s investigations into how food is prepared and distributed as “yuppie fussiness.” Not to be outdone, these infamous Three Amigos look into Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children. Meghan O’Rourke is sometimes a good critic and the smartest of the bunch (although being smarter than Roiphe and Metcalf is as seminal an achievement as…read more

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BSS #87: Simon Winchester

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Ready to drink geologists under the table. Author: Simon Winchester Subjects Discussed: San Francisco’s edgy impermanence, San Francisco vs. Venice and the North Sea cities, humankind’s geological privilege, New Orleans & Katrina, the hubris of California residents, anonymous threatening letters, denial vs. geology, Japan and disaster preparation, West Coast subliminal fear, editorial input into Winchester’s work, San Francisco vs. Daly City reactions to the earthquake centenary, Bruce Bolt, the true epicenter of the 1906 earthquake, Jim Tanner, Loma Prieta, subparallel faults, the Parkfield drilling, operating in…read more

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Top O’ The Heap

Posted by in Uncategorized

One thing I love about year’s end is the funky list. 10 Zen Monkeys serves up another: The Worst Vlogs of 2006. (Thanks, David Cassel.) And speaking of top ten, now that Xmas is past and we’re all paying off our credit cards, my own top ten books list will appear in the next few days. And now that I’ve conquered the cold, you’ll also be getting some more podcasts that I had hoped to offer before Xmas, as well as the beginnings of the Pynchon roundtable, very soon. Never…read more

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New Rupert Thomson Novel

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I had been holding off on the news until I had more details, but since Megan popped the cherry on this goodness, I’ll simply point you over to Bookdwarf and let you get the skinny yourself: Rupert Thomson’s got a brand new bag in 2007. It’s safe to say that if you haven’t read Rupert Thomson, you’re missing out big time. Get thee to a bookstore immediately and start with The Book of Revelation. The man’s got the chops and more. You can also listen to his appearance earlier this…read more

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

Justine Larbaleister has some good suggestions for oversensitive writers. Time Out London lists the top ten children’s books of 2006. This morning, when I woke up and heard that Gerald Ford had died and the wind was pattering against my window like something out of a TV disaster movie done on the cheap, I had to call my girlfriend to determine if I was, in fact, operating in reality and not living out some phantasmagorical dream. For several hours, I believed this. But now that I’ve read this item about…read more

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BSS #86: Claire Messud

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Trying to locate his voice. Author: Claire Messud Subjects Discussed: Richard Yates’ Revolutionary Road, references to revolution in The Emperor’s Children, Russian literature, Chauncey Gardner in Being There, Dostoevsky, the influences that spawned Bootie, on Messud writing novels outside her generational milieu, responding to Meghan O’Rourke’s review, why Messud didn’t present contrasting ideologies in The Emperor’s Children, hermetic atmosphere, Deborah Solomon and New York media types, Tingle Alley and Infinite Jest, Fort Greene and getting New York neighborhoods right, the influence of decor on character action,…read more

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Return to Recipient

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If you sent me an email yesterday, please try again. I may not have received it. I’ve just rectified some email issues.

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RIP Gerald Ford

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¡Roundup Dos!

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Finally, a “Home & Garden” article I can concur with: “An anti-anticlutter movement is afoot, one that says yes to mess and urges you to embrace your disorder. Studies are piling up that show that messy desks are the vivid signatures of people with creative, limber minds (who reap higher salaries than those with neat “office landscapes”) and that messy closet owners are probably better parents and nicer and cooler than their tidier counterparts. It’s a movement that confirms what you have known, deep down, all along: really neat people…read more

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The “Shake Your Money Maker” Roundup

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Dean Koontz writing Xmas books? Wrong on multiple levels. Ngugi wa Thoing’o believes the death sentence handed to his assailants was too harsh. I’ll have more to say about The Wizard of the Crow sooner than you think. (via Critical Mass, which is currently buffeting a train wreck of colossal proportions) J.K. Rowling is a domain squatter. Darwin’s letters have been auctioned off for a cool £33 million. Unfortunately, the letters in question involve an uninteresting exchange between Darwin and a brash cook harassing Darwin for a recipe for Galapogos…read more

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