Reluctant Habits

The Half-Blind Roundup

Posted by in Uncategorized

First off, a hearty congratulations to Mr. Sarvas, who just sold his book to Bloombury. Rest assured, in winter 2008, he shall not escape Bat Segundo. Oh no! Straight people are moving into the Castro! It’s the end of civilization as we know it! Pinky’s Paperhaus serves up a new podcast with Jami Attenberg. An AWP report, as filtered through one of Mr. Bryant’s friends. Tod Goldberg on jury duty. John Updike on Venetian candy. Amazingly, he didn’t find anything sexual about it. (via Freeman) You mean I’m not censored…read more

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This Week in Literalism

Posted by in Uncategorized

CNN: “Today’s college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society.” Well, let’s examine this, shall we? I’m not sure if self-centered college kids are especially damaging to American society. After all, the minute they leave college, unless they’re sitting on a savings account, they’ll have to get jobs and the student loan collectors will be on their asses in about nine months demanding payment. Faced…read more

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Kissing Lessons

Posted by in Uncategorized

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A New Poster for “Reno 911: Miami”

Posted by in Film

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The “Wow, Where Did All These Deadlines Come From? Cool!” Roundup

Posted by in Uncategorized

Martin Amis: “I did have [a midlife crisis]. Sorry to inform you that you’re going to get one every decade after you’re forty, and it’s a different kind of crisis every time. You can read every novel ever written and they won’t prepare you for it. My midlife crisis was bang on schedule: mid-forties, divorce, terrible realizations about death.” Should authors respond to wrong-headed reviews? (via Maud) Podcasts, Haggis? The 2006 Nebula ballot. (via Gwenda) Jodi Picoult visits the school were her book was banned. Has Jonathan Littell scandalized France?…read more

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Not I

Posted by in Uncategorized

It was somewhere in the middle of the broadcast: a muted melange of cultural snippets that I apparently didn’t pay attention to, but that partisan puppets and closet conformists salivated over. I didn’t know. I was probably pouring scotch. Now it’s spread across the YouTube. And I won’t mention it. Because I have a twitchy baseline phone that takes shitty pictures and does more or less what it sets out to do. Even when it cuts out. Even when it fails. What kind of spoilsports are we to declare more…read more

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Daft Punk: Artists or Mere Loopers?

Posted by in Music

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Roundup

Posted by in Uncategorized

Inside the NYTBR: “Before McGrath, there was Rebecca Sinclair—she didn’t even last seven years, and told Gewen at the end of her term: ‘I took this job because of my love of books, but all I’m doing everyday is dealing with crap.’ Tanenhaus, apparently, is now going through the same thing. ‘He has a pretty thick skin,’ Gewen said, ‘but I would anticipate that after five or six years, he too will have been worn down by it all.’” Well, this explains a lot of things. I don’t see how…read more

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Titanic 2?

Posted by in Uncategorized

Time: “In a new documentary, Producer Cameron and his director, Simcha Jacobovici, make the starting claim that Jesus wasn’t resurrected –the cornerstone of Christian faith– and that his burial cave was discovered near Jerusalem. And, get this, Jesus sired a son with Mary Magdelene…film-makers Cameron and Jacobovici claim to have amassed evidence through DNA tests, archeological [sic] evidence and Biblical studies, that the 10 coffins belong to Jesus and his family.”

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Journalistic Oppression in Russia

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Guardian: “Despite the fact that Politkovskaya was articulate, attractive and accomplished, she was barred from appearing on television, which is the only way the vast majority of Russians get news. To the degree that a living woman could be airbrushed out of post-Soviet history, she had been. ‘People call the newspaper,’ she wrote, ‘and send letters with one and the same question: “Why are you writing about this? Why are you scaring us? Why do we need to know this?”‘ She provided an answer as much for herself as for…read more

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Occupied

Posted by in Uncategorized

Nothing here until Monday. This weekend, I’m busy shepherding the Oscar 2007 blog (with concomitant canape preparation), conducting two more podcast interviews (and that’s just this weekend; there’s two more next week), and trying to make freelancing deadlines. (Which has meant no new podcasts for a while, I know. But I hope to atone for this soon. I’m juggling as fast and as skillfully as I can.)

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LATBR in Danger of Being Marginalized?

Posted by in Uncategorized

LA Observed reports that drastic change is in store for the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Top brass is planning to take the stand-alone Sunday Book Review section and fold it in with a new opinion section that will appear in Saturday papers. Even more preposterous, the plan is to print this new section so that the reader will have to flip the section 180 degrees around to read each side of the foldout: with one section devoted to books and the other section devoted to op-ed pieces. This is…read more

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

Terry Teachout fell hard for San Francisco. Still believe that comics are trivial? PW reports that graphic novel sales increased 12% from 2006 to 2005. Comics aren’t going away anytime soon. And if you haven’t embraced them, or at least investigated them, by now, you may as well be using a Telex instead of a fax machine. Several early Hitchcock films have been released to DVD. RIP Fons Rademakers. RIP Lothar-Guenther Buchheim. RIP Sham Lal. In a recent “state of the union” address, Random House CEO Gail Rebuck declares just…read more

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What You Didn’t Know is That the Bloggies Are As Worthless as Bloated Ceremonies Hosted by Ellen DeGeneres

Posted by in Uncategorized

Max on the Bloggies: “The omission of ‘literary bloggers’ from this long list of nominees naturally seemed glaring to me, having had a front row seat for the last four or so years as an amorphous and very loosely affiliated movement of bloggers has greatly expanded the realm of literary discourse in the U.S. and elsewhere. And though there has sometimes been an unhealthy ‘us against them’ mentality between bloggers and professional critics, in many ways this friction has melted away as critics have become bloggers themselves and as a…read more

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Who Knew That Carbs Were So Controversial?

Posted by in Uncategorized

It’s not even Friday and already the Oscar blog has generated controversy over the oddest of subjects.

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What a Fucking Flick

Posted by in Film

(via Sarah)

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

My attentions have been diverted towards this year’s Oscar blog, but I’ll do my best at playing double-duty. (Triple, if I count deadlines.) Graham Greene noir. Apparently, Andrea Levy has conquered America. I knew the Brits would retaliate back for the Boston Tea Party sooner or later. Normally, I’m a big fan of lists. (Hence, these roundups, which are presented to you in lists.) But this may be going a bit overboard. As an aside, does the phrase “reading challenge” sound like a game from The Price is Right? The…read more

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The Secret Project Revealed!

Posted by in Uncategorized

The skeletal site is up, along with an initial list of participants. More to come in the forthcoming days.

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Keep You Doped on Religion, Sex and the Internet

Posted by in Television

13 Places to Watch TV for Free Online.

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JetBlue’s “Customer Bill of Rights” is Chump Change

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JetBlue CEO David Neeleman is very sorry indeed about the recent inconveniences. And to show you how much he cares, he’s offered a personal video message and a “Customer Bill of Rights”. Never mind that he’s also collecting your personal information. But let’s give this guy the benefit of the doubt and take a look at this so-called “Bill of Rights.” Neeleman values your time so much that he’s willing to pay you about as much as an assistant manager at Taco Bell: a little more than $10 an hour…read more

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Broadway’s Racial Divide

Posted by in Racism, Theatre

New York Times: “Urban theater — or what has been called over the years inspirational theater, black Broadway, gospel theater and the chitlin circuit — has been thriving for decades, selling out some of the biggest theaters across the country and grossing millions of dollars a year….The word in the industry is that urban theater is about to go mainstream.” So let me get this straight. Theater that has proven consistently popular among audiences and that has consistently sold out theaters is not considered mainstream? Simply because of the race…read more

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Hillary More Concerned with Camera Profile Than Potential Voter; Father Pleads for Return of Stunned Infant

Posted by in Photo Headlines

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

Yesterday, I felt a man’s bicep in a hotel room. I’m not lying about this. This man, who will appear very soon on The Bat Segundo Show insisted that I do this, and who was I to turn him down? When a man makes a convincing case for why you should feel his bicep, my position is to throw caution to the wind and live dangerously. Speaking of which, Chris Lehmann talks with Martin Amis and asks him the real questions, such as what it was like to sleep with…read more

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Burn Your Pooh Books! Burn Them Now!

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“I like that too,” said Christopher Robin, “but what I like doing best is Nothing.” “How do you do Nothing?” asked Pooh, after he had wondered for a long time. “Well, it’s when people call out at you just as you’re going of to do it, What are you going to do, Christopher Robin, and you say, Oh nothing, and then you go and do it.” “Oh, I see,” said Pooh. “This is the sort of thing that we’re doing right now.”… This excerpt is from Chapter X of A.A….read more

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Meme Time

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From Anne (and, goodness, Anne, you haven’t read Hitchhiker’s?): Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, put a cross (+) in front of the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk (*) the ones you’ve never heard of. (Now I should note that my italicized choices involve those books that strike my fancy at the current instance — in other words, books that could have me…read more

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Whimsical, My Ass; Graham Greene Was On to Something!

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Lydia Millet: “Yes, there’s a whimsical colon use, certainly. I will check as you suggest. Society has moved, I feel, too far away from both the colon and the semi-colon. I do what I can to correct the trend. I did not use to feel this way. Writing culture teaches avoidance of both these days.”

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Hipster Provenance?

Posted by in Eggers, Dave

Downsyn: “Anyway, I am sure you are much cooler than I am so you will love this book so don’t pay any attention to this review and go out and buy the book and be fascinated by stories of warehouses and starting magazines and excrement coming out of backed up toilets and meeting Bill Clinton and wanting to kill people because they don’t treat you and your brother like the horrible tragic victims of the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone because God knows that no one has…read more

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Nardwuar: The Great Vancouver Interviewer

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I’ve been having some difficulties with the portable locker now holding my brain. You see, I checked it in on Friday, with the hopes of reclaiming it on Tuesday — it being a three-day weekend and all. But the locker is now busted and I’m now thinking at half-mast while trying to raise hell at the incompetents who promised me a “smart and secure locker room.” So if you have time to kill as my brain crawls across locker, I direct you to the Vancouver-based Nardwuar the Human Serviette and…read more

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What If They Threw a Zombie Mob and Nobody Came?

Posted by in Uncategorized

This man speaks the truth. On Saturday at noon, my girl Friday and I went to Justin Herman Plaza to investigate an alleged zombie flashmob. The zombie “mob” was composed of three people dressed up as zombies (one of them, with impressive laziness, had merely applied a piece of duct tape to his blazer; presumably, he was the “ironic” zombie) and at least thirty photographers looking to photograph various zombie types stumbling around the Ferry Building. It was not to be. In other words, when it comes to zombies, San…read more

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And You Folks Were Complaining About Vollmann A Few Weeks Ago

Posted by in Uncategorized

The London Times: “Hall really wants to be the new David Mitchell, a writer who can give an unforgettable voice to, say, a floating quantum thought particle, but has neither his searing intelligence nor his ability. We are left with only stratospheric pretentious-ness, where the writer’s barely assimilated reading and capacity to invent empty tricks stalk the pages like ghosts….Nevertheless, this is an important cultural marker – of the triumph of the PR machine over that poor, passé little thing called writing.” Ouch.

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