How This Will Help Neutered Dogs Looking for a One Night Stand in a Bar with the Neighborhood Tramp is Anyone’s Guess

dogbeer.jpgNewsvine: “After a long day hunting, there’s nothing like wrapping your paw around a cold bottle of beer. So Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in the southern Dutch town of Zelhem, created a beer for her Weimaraners made from beef extract and malt.”

The question is whether Berenden has accounted for those innocent dogs who will no doubt fall off the wagon, demanding harder liquor when the toilet water simply won’t cut it anymore. While one can discern slurred speech from alcoholics, with a dog’s vernacular reduced to a select group of barks, this does not bode well for future human-assisted intervention. I hope the pet experts have prepared a litany of twelve-bark programs to assist man’s best friends as they barge their way into convenience stores, a bag of pennies and dimes dangling from their incisors, yelping for forty ouncers.


  • Apparently, there’s a nutbar trying to off writers in Turkey. He killed Armenian journalist Hrant Dink and threatened Orhan Pamuk in a courtroom. Perhaps the only way to calm this guy is to get him a blog so he can type out his snarky aggressions like the rest of us.
  • You know, I’ve been text-messaging “That’s totally book!” well ahead of the hipsters, which is to say as of fifteen minutes ago. I’m just too lazy to hit the number keys one additional time for C and L.
  • The Brits, it seems, are prevaricators when it comes to literature. 40% of Brits lie about reading classics. 10% of men fibbed to their dates about reading a heavyweight novel. Even more criminally, The Da Vinci Code is the book that these folks are lying about reading. If you’re going to lie about literature, the least you could do is up the auctorial standard. I’m happy to tell you in all candor that I’ve never read Dan Brown, have no intention of reading Dan Brown, and would sooner be stabbed in the chest with a sharp icepick than read Dan Brown. (That last sentence alone should demonstrate that one can find a conversational starter within truth.) (RELATED: Maxine has uncovered the full list.)
  • “Neck and shoulder massage!” Really, there’s no need for delicacy on this point. We’re all adults here. Should I now refer to other activities as “horizontal biological engineering tests?” Orwell would have had a field day with these euphemisms.
  • Valerie Trueblood is in the houuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse!
  • New letters from Anne Frank’s father have been discovered. The letters were written shortly before the Franks went into hiding. (via Michelle Richmond)
  • HST for Sheriff. (via Jeff)
  • Why, oh why books like this? What next? A sex manual penned by Ron Howard? A new Showtime television series called Joanie REALLY Loves Chachi, featuring a bukkake-flecked Erin Moran satisfying everyone at the Leopard Lodge? (via Rarely Likable)

Rage Against the Machine to Reform for Coachella?

It seems that this year’s Coachella lineup has been leaked, with Rage Against the Machine headlining Sunday.

Rage Against the Machine. Who disbanded seven years ago.

If this means that the whiny Chris Cornell is permanently out of a job and Zack de la Rocha has finally come to his senses, then, as we say here in California, hell yeah!

[UPDATE: It’s up at the Coachella site. Rage closing on Sunday.]

This Might Explain Why So Many Scientologists Smoke or Why Tom Cruise is So Intense

New York Times: “Magical thinking is most evident precisely when people feel most helpless. Giora Keinan, a professor at Tel Aviv University, sent questionnaires to 174 Israelis after the Iraqi Scud missile attacks of the 1991 gulf war. Those who reported the highest level of stress were also the most likely to endorse magical beliefs, like ‘I have the feeling that the chances of being hit during a missile attack are greater if a person whose house was attacked is present in the sealed room,’ or ‘To be on the safe side, it is best to step into the sealed room right foot first.'”

Southwest: Thank You for Nearly Dying

Consumerist: “Richard Brown nearly died on Sunday, January 21st, thanks to reckless indifference by a Southwest Airlines ticket agent. A dying hep-C patient, Richard, secured an appointment at the Mayo Clinic. After getting turned down, he was referred to the University of San Francisco. When he went to board in Scottsdale for California, the ticket agent refused to let Richard fly unless he bought another ticket, due to his weight. The weight gain is due to water retention because of his failing liver. Richard lives on California Disability Pay and had no funds to pay for the extra ticket. The flight was not sold out. The ticket agent didn’t care when shown Richard’s medical papers, saying, ‘each airport has their own rules and these are ours, no extra seat, no boarding.'”

Garrison Keillor: Spokesman for Sexist Hunter-Gathering Revival Movement?

Garrison Keillor: “It’s a guy thing, shoveling snow. It’s a form of marking. You shovel the walk to show other males that you’re on the scene and operating at full capacity lest they think about stealing your woman, though ironically your shoveling has made it easier for them to reach your house.”

You know, the last time I checked, chicks shoveled show too.

AMS: “Disproportionate” is the Key Word Here; Does This Apply to Indies?

More info on the Perseus-PGW offer: “Perseus CEO David Steinberger said that the company’s standard offer will be 70%, and that the only exceptions will be if a publisher’s fourth-quarter sales seem disproportionate to the rest of the year. ‘We have to give ourselves some flexibility,’ he said. He expects that only in rare cases will the offer to a publisher be less than 70 cents. Steinberger said both Perseus and AMS will move forward with the bid for PGW only if publishers comprising 65% of pre-petition claims agree to move their contracts to Perseus.”


  • Now that the Little House books have hit their 75th anniversary, the publisher has seen fit to replace Garth Williams’ illustrations with photos. And who will be in these photos? It appears that waif-like anorexic teens now represent the great American frontier, although I’m unclear of the association between binge eating and hunting and fishing. “We wanted to convey the fact that these are action-packed,” says Tara Weikum, who is shepherding this preposterous overhaul. Should not the action be self-evident in the text? (via Haggis
  • The Rake hosts an interview with Carl Shuker.
  • Hugh Grant, novelist? Hugh Grant, father? I suspect someone’s having a midlife crisis. Well, at least he can draw from personal experience on the first point.
  • Seattle Times: “That was appropriate, because her songwriting made the show feel as much like a literary event as a musical one.” You say this like it’s a bad thing!
  • Jay McInerney: “Well, there was a time when I would have said, “my work.” But now the kids are first; my work is second.” Actually, let’s be honest here: wasn’t there a time in which cocaine came first?
  • Michael Chabon will be serializing “Gentlemen of the Road” in the Sunday New York Times Magazine. Let’s hope this doesn’t turn out to be as disastrous as other serials.
  • Zoe Heller is having none of the “misogynistic” accusations directed towards Notes on a Scandal: book and movie.
  • RIP Mary Stolz.
  • Scott has some good advice for writers who also blog: slow down. I agree. If you’re blogging and writing more big league things, then it’s of great help to have a regular routine in which you take a great deal of time to craft your sentences. There’s often a misconception, promulgated by some of the dinosaurs who work on West 43rd Street, that bloggers can only write fast. Speaking for myself (and not accounting for revisions I do), it takes me anywhere from two to six hours to turn out 1,000 words of fiction or a review, whereas a blog post of the same length often takes me as little as 20 minutes. There are advantages and disadvantages with the two speeds. There are times when it’s necessary to labor over a sentence (and this process is often akin to watching ketchup pour slowly onto a patty). But there are other times when I’m probably fussing too much over it. I agree with Scott that if you want to be a serious writer, you need to stay in shape. Blogging alone doesn’t necessarily cut the mustard.
  • Thom Yorke’s iTunes playlist. (via Quiddity)
  • Also passed on: Ryszard Kapuscinski, who I haven’t read but who Megan vouches for.
  • 3AM talks with Richard Nash.
  • From the Sexy Scott: “However, I do wonder what my reading experience would have been like had I not consumed so much extra information before, during, and after my reading of the book. What would it have been like had I just plucked the paperback off the shelf and began on my own, unencumbered either by the massive hype that still surrounds the book or the copious exegetical efforts that exist online in their more lovable and amateur forms or in the more codified, professionally respectable versions available through either your seriously stocked research library or a good handy access to Jstor or Academic Search Elite or whathaveyou.” I don’t know if this is as much as a problem as Scott suggests it is, because a reader can willingly ostracize himself from all hype and reviews if she really wants to, but it is an issue worth thinking about.
  • A week ago, I started to write an elaborate parody of Zadie Smith’s essay that, due to tenuous Wi-Fi conditions, was lost to the ether, but thankfully Dan Green expresses some of my feelings about Smith’s opinions on style. There’s a great difference between style that reflects a writer’s consciousness and style that reflects a character’s (or a world’s) consciousness (or, as Dan puts it, a “writer’s particular way of living with language”). Are we so immersed within the cult of personality that even smart writers like Smith can no longer discern the difference?
  • John Mellencamp insists that he didn’t sell out. Right. Next thing you know, he’ll be telling us that Phil Collins-era Genesis and Huey Lewis and the News were the edgiest bands to came out of the 80s. (via Silliman)
  • Man, another death. Burmese poet Tin Moe has passed on.


It comes from Terry Teachout, who reports that Ace in the Hole aka The Big Carnival is airing this Thursday at 2:30 AM EST, Wednesday 11:30 PM PST. This film is unavailable on DVD, unavailable on VHS. In short, there are RARE OPPORTUNITIES to see it! You know this if you are a film geek — even in a small way.

I have not seen it. I have been wanting to see it for years. I have spent much time trying to track this down unsuccessfully.

I do not have cable. While I have a few feelers out to pals, is there any kind soul out there who might be able to tape this for me? I will reimburse you with nifty books!

[UPDATE: Good on multiple fronts. Thank you very much, those of you who wrote in! You’re too kind!]

PM Roundup

The Latest in AMS

  • At Galleycat, Sarah has enlisted the help of Scrivener’s Error author C.E. Petit to explain what the possible Perseus deal means. Petit compares the speculative merger quite rightly to the vertical integration once practiced by the movie studios. Back in 1945, the Justice Department cracked down on the Big Eight studios, who not only made the movies but also owned the theatres in which their films were distributed. This, of course, left independent producers in the lurch. Because Paramount and company had a vested interest in keeping their product circulating, it was clear that independent producers who weren’t operating under the Big Eight umbrella were placed on a second-tier. Since Perseus is also a huge publishing outfit, one wonders whether Perseus will do something similar, should a PGW buyout go down. After all, if Perseus is laying down a sizable chunk of change, the company is going to want to protect its investment. It’s quite possible that this means giving the minority of table placement to the indies, if any at all.
  • The usually sharp Sara Nelson has a remarkably obtuse editorial about AMS. Nelson is mystified by why everyone is talking about AMS, concluding that the “economy of scale” “may help editors stop worrying about how to get books out, and go back to what they do best: focusing on how to get them in.” Soft Skull publisher Richard Nash responds , observing that Perseus “up until three years ago, knew little about distribution” and observing that “[t]he Perseus catalog is going to be the size of a telephone directory–that is not going to help retailers and it is not going to help publishers.”
  • In today’s PW, Jim Milliot reports that Simon & Schuster lost a bid on $5 million in inventory. He also offers a second story, with sparse reactions on the potential Perseus buyout. In the latter article, Black Classics Press head Paul Coates says that the 70 cents on the dollar offer would only work with current PGW staff in place.
  • What does Radio Free PGW think of all this? Holograms of PGW employees are the only option.
  • The story has finally hit the AP, with Grove/Atlantic publisher Morgan Entrekin opining that the Perseus deal could give indies more leverage, and The Wall Street Journal (the story is behind a paywall).

We Pause for a Moment of Geek

The new workstation went operational at 2 AM. Three bottles of beer were consumed during the course of its construction.

asus.jpgMy previous motherboard, whom I had referred to occasionally as “Fred,” had fried. And the reason it took so long for me to replace it was because I discovered that SATA had replaced IDE, PCI-Express had replaced AGP, LGA775 had become the standard Intel configuration (with the pins now on the mobo, instead of the CPU), DDR2 had replaced DDR (and more pins had been added to the memory sticks). Even the needs of the motherboard had changed. Not content to merely process bits of data, there was even a voice recognition jumper just behind the DIMM banks that allowed me to order Thai food.

All this over a matter of three years.

In short, after a fruitless search for a replacement motherboard (“Out of stock,” “You’re still using that chipset?,” et al.), I was forced to start pretty much from scratch. The good news is that this new system will probably last me about eighteen months before it goes completely obsolete.

The new box I built is equipped with a snazzy Asus P5B Deluxe, a 3.4 GHz PentiumD*, and 2 gigs of 800 MHz memory. This probably means nothing to you, but it means a good deal to me. I can’t be content to have someone else assemble a system for me. My tactile contact with the insides might allow the computer to understand me and not crap out on me so much. I took Fred’s death very personally. Who knew that our love affair would end in his suicide? I treated Fred very well. I even sang to Fred. And he decided to fizzle out. Perhaps he couldn’t handle my MP3 collection.

But the new box is much faster. It accesses the Internets. I need to tweak a few things, but it currently recognizes two of my three hard drives (and there’s room for six more). I still miss Fred, who now sits collecting dust in my closet with other obsolete computer parts, but I’m hoping that Natasha (the name I have applied to the motherboard) will provide me with a few years of comfort in the late night hours.

The upshot is that podcast production will begin anew very soon because of these developments.

* — If you think I’m shelling out more than $200 for a Core 2 Duo when the price will bifurcate in a matter of six months, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me.