Reluctant Habits

Troy Tulowitzki

Posted by in Baseball

Chipper Jones pops the ball. It looks like it’s going to be your garden-variety line drive. But Tulowitzki’s on it, rushing to second base before you can comprehend that he’s about to make the thirteenth unassisted triple play in baseball history. It’s that great leap of the arms to Edgar Renteria that gets me, flying forward like the dangling entrails of a muskrat punctured by an interstate semi. A balletic burst, the flicker of tendrils, just to get that improvised third out. It all goes down in a blink. It’s…read more

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Roundup (David Lean’s Brief Encounter Version)

Posted by in Roundup

China Miéville wants more opinionated children’s literature. (via Sarah) Kate Bollock talks with Lydia Davis. (via Maud) Linked elsewhere but worth your time: Chabon’s rewriting adventures. Wait a sec. Henry Alford wrote a somewhat funny piece? (via Bookninja) Francine Prose on Jim Crace. Apparently, the only way translators can get any acknowledgment or respect is when they spill their love lives to journalists. Marvel goes literary. Cutting the life out of literary culture. Paul Di Filippo on the Jamie Bishop memorial service.

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An Old “American Idol” Episode from 1985

Posted by in Uncategorized

Years later, there’s little in the way of vocal improvement (in fact, there is a marked decline), and there’s a troubling reliance upon stage presence of dancers. At the same show, you can look no further than this guy for lessons on how to sign and perform at the old Wembley Stadium.

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We Can End This Destructive Conflict and Bring Order to the Galaxy

Posted by in Uncategorized

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And I Thought Pirates Were Welcome Near Pittsburgh

Posted by in Uncategorized

Smoking Gun: “A Pennsylvania woman claims that her teaching career has been derailed by college administrators who unfairly disciplined her over a MySpace photo that shows her wearing a pirate hat and drinking from a plastic cup. In a federal lawsuit, Stacy Snyder charges that Millersville University brass accused her of promoting underage drinking after they discovered her MySpace photo, which was captioned ‘Drunken Pirate.’” (via MeFi)

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Thoughts from the Playground

Posted by in Uncategorized

There are more arguments against the current NBCC approach from Colleen, Jeff and Marydell. Michael Dirda and I have emailed. He’s a reasonable guy and he confessed to me that it was likely that he was having a bad day. Like any of us, Dirda is concerned about the future of literary discussion. (And it should also be noted that Dirda maintains an online weekly book chat for the Washington Post.) In an effort to keep the discussion constructive, I have offered him some ideas on where print and online…read more

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Uncited Studies

Posted by in Uncategorized

Stephen Elliott: “Studies have consistently shown that people with more screens open get less done. Multitasking slows down productivity.” Uncited studies have also shown that relying upon uncited studies to make generalizations is a poor way to make an argument for something that should be taken on a case-by-case basis. I have eight windows now open on my LCD monitor. I have tweaked about ten minutes of audio, revised a review that I need to turn in, replied to about twenty emails, gone for a walk to get my blood…read more

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The Most Popular Segundo Shows of the Past Month

Posted by in Uncategorized

Here are the most popular Segundo podcasts from the last month. 10. Dana Spiotta 9. Amy Sedaris 8. Nina Hartley 7. Jennifer Weiner 6. The May Queen Panel 5. Paula Kamen 4. Rupert Thomson, Edward Falco, Megan Sullivan & Scott Esposito (because of Virginia Tech?) 3. Amanda Filipacchi & Kevin Smokler 2. Erica Jong 1. Lydia Millet (big Japanese audience, apparently, probably due to the nuclear bomb themes in Oh Pure and Radiant Heart) Either there’s something off with my stats or it seems that there are a lot of…read more

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Bizarre Contextual Paragraph of the Week

Posted by in Uncategorized

BBC: “He asked for the ‘media circus’ to end and hoped it would not detract from the message of preventing AIDS.”

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Segundo #113

Posted by in Bat Segundo

If you hit the Litblog Co-Op site this morning, you may be wondering what happened to Shows #110-112. Well, have no fear. They haven’t disappeared. Mr. Segundo has recorded his intros, and they are in post-production as we speak. Alas, I’ve been too busy beating deadlines to finish them up. In the meantime, you can listen to Show #113, the first of three podcasts, produced in tandem with the LBC and Pinky’s Paperhaus. Carolyn talks with Jessica Stockton and I talk with Mark Binelli.

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The Cult of the Polemicist, Part One

Posted by in Uncategorized

(This is the first in a series of posts addressing Andrew Keen’s book, The Cult of the Amateur.) It won’t hit bookstores until June 5, but Andrew Keen’s The Cult of the Amateur needs to be thoroughly addressed, at the risk of drawing attention to Mr. Keen’s rapacious craving for attention. Mr. Keen, a one-time “leading visionary in the audio business with almost ten years of experience as an entrepreneur, salesman and writer in the industry”, will be appearing on a panel with several other bloggers at The Los Angeles…read more

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John Freeman Stuck in 1999

Posted by in Uncategorized

Print is Dead: “In talking about the drawbacks to having the Book Review now appear mostly online, instead of in the actual newspaper, John Freeman from the NBCC states that ‘you can’t bring an online book page into the bath.’ This seems to me even more silly than Atwood’s claim simply because most book reviews aren’t immersive experiences. Instead, they’re created expressly for the purpose of consumption in one sitting. In fact, most reviews are tailor-made for digital delivery since short pieces are easily consumed on handheld screens or laptops….read more

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Tanenhaus Embraces Genre?

Posted by in Uncategorized

There are reports surfacing that Sam Tanenhaus has attended tonight’s Edgar Awards ceremony. Also, it would appear that there are some rebels working against the live-blogging ban.

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Jack Valenti, 1921-2007

Posted by in Uncategorized

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Aimee Semple McPherson: Early Evangelist

Posted by in Uncategorized

Ever since discovering radio evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson in Kevin Starr’s invaluable California history books years ago, I’ve long been fascinated by her. McPherson is often a forgotten historical figure: a woman who built up a mass audience by preaching her gospel through the radio, but who didn’t entirely hold herself to the same standards, which involved a decidedly less pure “kidnapping” that had troubling evidential contradictions. She created the Angelus Temple, a $1.5 million edifice financed entirely by donations and still existing today. She proved so charismatic that she…read more

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Clipped Roundup

Posted by in Uncategorized

Amy Finnerty: “Martin Amis excels at descriptions of creepy men–sweaty misogynists, soused lowlifes, and thugs.” Ms. Finnerty says this like it’s a bad thing! A reminder: fireworks on Sunday, if you’re in Los Angeles. Colleen illustrates the history of the science fiction label, as kick-started by this Jason Silverman piece. William Gibson on Borges (Thanks, Keith!) Churches are now slamming the doors on sex offenders. (via The Other) Over at the LBC, I’ve put up a guide to cultural references in Sacco & Vanzetti Are Dead. A podcast with Mr….read more

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Savage Reviewing

Posted by in Uncategorized

Scott Esposito, who before moving to Mexico was once referred to in certain quarters as the Sexiest Man in Oakland and who remains, at least according to certain reports, a polite decliner of French kisses, has made his debut in the Philly Inquirer. He reviews Robert Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives.

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Roundup (Tape Delayed Blogging)

Posted by in Roundup

It looks like the Mystery Writers of America share the SFWA’s troubling inability to understand that we’re now in the 21st century. Sarah has distressing news about the Edgars. The MWA, perhaps jittery because of Stephen King’s appearance, has pronounced that “cell phones, cameras and all other electronic devices” must be turned off in order to prevent certain attendees from live blogging the proceedings. I’ve never heard of such a preposterous embargo, which runs counter to the spirit of celebrating mystery writers, who I’m sure must be miffed to here…read more

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“No Buzz Marketing”

Posted by in Uncategorized

John Freeman on blogs: “It’s one thing to accept advertising money: that’s what has kept papers afloat for years. It’s quite another to make a commission off the very object you are purporting to criticize.” (Emphasis in original) John Freeman while criticizing newspapers: “#4) Join the NBCC. If you’re a working critic and have published three reviews (online or in print) over the past five years, join us — the more voices we have behind us, the greater our chances will be at preserving the cultural dialogue in this country.”…read more

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Audio Illusions

Posted by in Audio

Musicians and podcasters might find these links of interest (and I certainly plan to employ some of these tricks, now that I’ve discovered some open source toys): Three audio paradoxes: Shepard’s ascending tones, falling bells, and a “quickening” beat. Shepard’s pitch circularity in detail. (It’s worth noting that you can hear Shepard’s illusion at the beginning of Queen’s A Day at the Races album.) More audio illusions. The tritone paradox. The tritone paradox’s effect on linguistics. A list of demonstration CDs.

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Howard Hendrix: The Great Uniter

Posted by in Uncategorized

Howard Hendrix: “I’m also opposed to the increasing presence in our organization of webscabs, who post their creations on the net for free. A scab is someone who works for less than union wages or on non-union terms; more broadly, a scab is someone who feathers his own nest and advances his own career by undercutting the efforts of his fellow workers to gain better pay and working conditions for all. Webscabs claim they’re just posting their books for free in an attempt to market and publicize them, but to…read more

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Spoken Like a True Journalist

Posted by in Uncategorized

Roger Ebert: “We spend too much time hiding illness. There is an assumption that I must always look the same. I hope to look better than I look now. But I’m not going to miss my festival.”

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Mike Daisey Update

Posted by in Theatre

The Boston Globe‘s Geoff Edgers has done some reporting on the Mike Daisey walkout mentioned here on Saturday. It seems that, contrary to Daisey’s claims, there was no religious affiliation with the group. As Edgers reports (in a message received from Principal John Johnson of Norco High School): It is a choir made up of 15-to-17 year-old students who were in town singing at a festival. As for the chaperone who poured water on Daisey’s notes… Johnson flat out apologizes. “I agree with Mike Daisey,” says Johnson. “With everything that’s…read more

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Pequeño Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

No Fear for the Future has collected movie moments in which authors show up for no reason. (via Bookslut) Joshua Ferris hunts classic fiction for office situations. William Gass has won the Truman Capote Award for A Temple of Texts. Raymond Carver’s screenwriting career. (via Maud) It’s apparently TV Turnoff Week. I’d like to propose Ignoring Your Appliance Because Everybody Else is Doing It Week. More bad news for book coverage at the Chicago Tribune. James Franco has turned to writing. His first novel has the working title Who’s Your…read more

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Challenge of the Superfriends

Posted by in Uncategorized

(via Sarah)

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“Anybody Who Knows Cockney Slang Will Know the Term!”

Posted by in Burgess, Anthony

A 1972 documentary with Anthony Burgess, Malcolm McDowell, and critic William Everson (who appears to be reading off cue cards) on A Clockwork Orange. Highlights include McDowell discussing how “Singin’ in the Rain” came to be and a bored-looking Burgess barely tolerating Everson’s inane questions. Incredibly, at the 24 minute mark, Everson actually asks Burgess to comment on the additional scenes that Kubrick wrote in to simplify the plot, which Everson reveals helped him to understand the film better and provided “Hitchcockian suspense.” To add insult to injury, Everson presses…read more

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RIP David Halberstam

Posted by in Uncategorized

Jesus. Journalist-popular historian David Halberstam has died in a car crash. Halberstam was the author of The Best and the Brightest, one of the first books I ever read about Vietnam, as well as a great overview of the Eisenhower era, The Fifties, and a very compelling history of journalism called The Powers That Be. Halberstam had a remarkable gift of explaining intricate bureaucratic behavior and its effect upon cultural events in a clear and concise way. Sometimes, this meant substituting “us” and “our” for the United States (as he…read more

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Litbloggers and the NBCC: “Separate But Equal”

Posted by in Uncategorized

Haggis informs me that the NBCC has initiated a new campaign to save book reviews. There’s even a handy-dandy graphic, which you can pilfer on the right, should you be so inclined. I was prepared to jump on board completely for this project — that is, until I read John Freeman’s words on the subject: Elsewhere at the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, Newsday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Dallas Morning News, the Sun Sentinel, the New Mexican, the Village Voice,…read more

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The Ten Strangest Mainstream Sex Scenes

Posted by in Film, Sex

In my view, one of the greatest cinematic sex scenes of all time was in Michael Mak’s 1992 film Sex and Zen (alas, YouTube fails me!), where the actors commit carnal activity while traveling through the air on wires (in trapeze delicto?). While that indelible movie moment isn’t on this handy list, there are plenty others that are. And since it’s a Monday, I think it’s safe to say that a little NSFW interspecies erotica is in order. (via Quiddity) Also, for your consideration:

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

The Eisner Award nominations have been announced, and one of the delightful surprises is Bob Burden’s extremely surreal work for the Gumby comic, which includes (in Issue #2) the spirit of Johnny Cash as a deus ex machina. I talked with the Gumby people during my APE coverage, following up on my conversation with them last year. Do stay tuned for more. Let’s just say that Mr. Burden is quite a loose cannon. The Complete Review tracks literary coverage in The New Republic, and the results are not good for…read more

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