Reluctant Habits

“Save the Blogs!” Progress Report

Posted by in Uncategorized

On April 23, the Save the Blogs Campaign turned a new corner. It decided to jump the shark and then jump it again. It decided that there were no limits to the number of times that a shark could be jumped over. Because, quite frankly, in Terre Haute, sharks were hard to find, while maggots were in plentiful supply. Here is a list of notable developments over the past few weeks: *I’m in Terre Haute, Motherfucker posted a disturbing JPEG of Richard Schickel in the nude. Geeks are currently attempting…read more

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“Office Space” Origins

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The “Waiting for the Phone Guy” Roundup

Posted by in Uncategorized

Wi-fi is in rather abundant supply in the new pad. Alas, I dare not leave for coffee. Phone guys are rather finicky. They give you a three hour block. You leave for two minutes. They never come back. Haggis is excerpting A.M. Homes. On a similar note (and capsule still forthcoming), don’t miss this revealing A.M. Homes interview on Segundo. While it’s certainly true that writing sometimes pays at sweatshop levels, was there any need to turn it into an export processing zone? As Bill Peschel reveals, this selfsame exploiter…read more

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Before He Won an Oscar, Philip Seymour Hoffman Was “That Guy”

Posted by in Film

The 20 Best “That Guys” of All Time. Alas, no Elisha Cook, Vincent Schiavelli, or Woody Strode. But it will do for your next cocktail party conversation.

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A Disturbing New Trend!

Posted by in Uncategorized

You can always count on the evening news to be on top of these things. [NOTE: The original ABC 4 news clip has since been taken down. I have replaced the video with a similar one from the past.]

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Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

If cursory glances at MSNBC headline tickers on the flight over are anything to go by, the Judeo-Christian world seems to be up in arms with Rosie O’Donnell and Cindy Sheehan. Given the relatively ridiculous nature of both figures, I hope you’ll pardon my own similarly pedantic concerns with Giants pitcher Armando Benitez, who deserves a serious reaming for last night’s abysmal performance. The man blew a potential twelfth inning victory over the Mets by serving up not one, but two balks. I watched this game, wondering if I might…read more

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Attention BEA Bloggers!

Posted by in Uncategorized

I am currently watching a child in Park Slope cry over his Boggle board, while his mother stares into her laptop. Presumably, she’s searching for L. Ron Hubbard. The boy, as far as I can tell, is looking for someone to play Boggle and he’s surrounded by austere and humorless adults, all of them looking into laptops with similar degrees of intensity. (And just as I was preparing to engage the kid, he ran outside, presumably because he’ll have a better response from various automobiles crawling up and down 7th…read more

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Have Arrived in NYC Safely

Posted by in Uncategorized

More to come. Thanks to all who were able to attend last minute’s soiree.

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New Review

Posted by in Uncategorized

My review of Richard Flanagan’s The Unknown Terrorist appears in today’s Philly Inquirer.

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Howard Junker’s Streetcred

Posted by in Uncategorized

Ladies and gentlemen. I finally met Howard Junker. My last night in San Francisco. Two men. Pabst Blue Ribbon. It doesn’t get any sillier than that. I am here to tell you that Mr. Junker imbibed Pabst Blue Ribbon with me. How many editors of literary journals would drink PBR? Would Wendy Lesser drink PBR? Or David Remnick? No! But Howard Junker did! The only reason I was imbibing the stuff was because I am trying to acclimatize to Manhattan cocktail prices. Although it would appear that certain establishments in…read more

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Bookcases for Sale!

Posted by in Uncategorized

There remain some bookcases here that need to be picked up by Monday. Contact here for details. Let’s make a deal! Everyone’s a winner!

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“It is actually a very serious matter for finch lovers.”

Posted by in Animals, Audio, Biology, Language, Science, Sports

One more finch tweeting post before I go – thanks for having me, Ed!

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Okay, I’m Done

Posted by in Uncategorized

Those two posts below are my last for Return of the Reluctant. I’ve really, really enjoyed this. Thanks Ed for the opportunity! If any of you liked my contributions, I have a blog of my own at http://www.patrickstephenson.net Now I’m off to Rochester, MN for Memorial Day.

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I’d Buy That For a Dollar

Posted by in Uncategorized

[To understand this entry, you must first read this entry. I originally posted this on my own blog, so keep in mind that it's written from that perspective.] My dad—briefly discussed in my entry I’m Not Counterculture beneath an excellent photo of Allen Ginsberg—happened to visit my blog Thursday afternoon. He mentioned this when he called at 7pm Thursday night and criticized the entry. He felt it was too personal for the Internet, and that by the end it became muddled and confusing. I thought about what he said all…read more

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The Outlaw Vern

Posted by in Uncategorized

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Since there has been some confusion on the subject, and I feel embarrassed that Patrick's hard work is being attributed to me, please note that this post was authored by the fantastic Patrick Stephenson and NOT, repeat NOT, Edward Champion, who is a literary interloper of the first order. Thank you.] I feel I should let you in on The Outlaw Vern, an ex-convict film-reviewing genius whose site is here, whose reviews are here. Vern’s site is called THEN FUCK YOU JACK: THE LIFE & ART OF VERN….read more

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Excerpts from a 30-year-old diary: Bread Loaf 1977 Part Two

Posted by in Uncategorized

It’s pathetic how little encouragement I need to keep going on. Of course that is also the secret of how modestly-talented writers keep at it in a world where discouragement is far more common. (Por ejemplo, not three hours ago a certain octogenarian of my acquaintance finished reading A.M. Homes’ recent memoir and felt the need to ask why I could never write a book that good, and I had to bite my tongue rather than attribute my failure to the unfortunate circumstance that I had never been given up…read more

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…and now, the end is near…

Posted by in Everyday World, War

…and so we face the final curtain, ha ha ha… Thanks, Ed, for having us over. Send my people the clean-up bill. Everyone else: Have a nice Memorial Day weekend, take a moment to remember the military dead, and why and how they got that way, and for what. “In these bones you see what war is like. I know war now. I’ll tell you what it is. War is young men killing other young men they do not know on the orders of old men who know one another…read more

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Preparation

Posted by in Uncategorized

In the middle of two wars and coming up on Memorial Day, here is Milosz’s great poem. PREPARATION Still one more year of preparation. Tomorrow at the latest I’ll start working on a great book In which my century will appear as it really was. The sun will rise over the righteous and the wicked. Srpings and autumns will unerringly return, In a wet thicket a thrush will build his nest lined with clay And foxes will learn their foxy natures. And that will be the subject, with addenda. Thus:…read more

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And so it ends

Posted by in Uncategorized

Or does it begin? Yeah, I have no idea what that means. I want to thank Ed for giving me the chance to play around here. I didn’t piss anyone off, too much, I don’t think. But I hope you all enjoyed it. Be sure to check me out here. And remember the old adage of sports talk radio, it doesn’t matter the logic of your argument. Only how loud and stubborn you are. Loud enough and stubborn enough means you’re always right.

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Get Stewed

Posted by in Uncategorized

I’m not quite done yet, so this isn’t my closing post, but I—like Tao—will post a poem. Okay, two poems, one of which you’ve read a thousand times before but that I [heart]. Deal with it! First poem: A STUDY OF READING HABITS When getting my nose in a book Cured most things short of school, It was worth ruining my eyes To know I could still keep cool, And deal out the old right hook To dirty dogs twice my size. Later, with inch-thick specs, Evil was just my…read more

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The party’s over

Posted by in Academy Awards, Breasts

But what a party it was, Ed. After a blow-out like that, I’m sure everyone’s ready for a laid back weekend. I know I am. Why not read a book? This one is pretty good. This gentleman thought so. And so did this fellow. A bunch of others did I too, but let’s not get redundant. Hey! I just jumped over to that Amazon page! You’d better hurry up and order! There’s only one left in stock! Oh … wait a minute … there’s more on the way. Everyone can…read more

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POETRY

Posted by in Uncategorized

I am going to blog about poetry and then post a poem. There is some poetry that I like. I like poetry by Matthew Rohrer, Michael Earl Craig, Ben Lerner, and Ellen Kennedy. All those people have poetry on BEAR PARADE except Ben Lerner. Gene Morgan and I solicited Ben Lerner for BEAR PARADE before he was nominated for the National Book Award for ANGLE OF YAW, his second poetry book, but he said he did not have anything for BEAR PARADE. ORGANIC COLD-PRESSED VIRGIN COCONUT OIL Coconut oil is…read more

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Excerpts from a 30-year-old diary: Bread Loaf 1977

Posted by in Uncategorized

I’ve kept a daily diary since the summer of 1969, just before I started college, and I haven’t missed a day in almost 38 years. I thought, to totally humiliate myself, I’d present some excerpts from my diary from about 30 years ago when I went to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. I generally wrote 700-1200 words a day, so this is just sections, which hopefully will not be too boring. I’m trying to present material that I think might be of at least minimal interest to others because it…read more

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About Time

Posted by in Journalism, Literary Magazines, Magazines

Annalee reports that The Baffler has returned after a number of years in magazine limbo. Former contributor Joshua Glenn has various thoughts about the new issue. (via Underwire)

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Facing our troubles head on

Posted by in Breasts, Money

Size matters.

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New Authors Guild alert for members on Simon & Schuster power grab

Posted by in Uncategorized

I just got this email from The Authors Guild regarding the Simon & Schuster rights imbroglio: Simon & Schuster is irked that we went public with our information about their unannounced new contract language. They’ve sent a release (you can read it below) accusing us of “perpetrat[ing] serious misinformation.” That’s a heavy charge, so we went back and double-checked. We stand by every word of our statement. Simon & Schuster’s release pretends that the argument concerns “print on demand.” That isn’t the issue. We like print on demand: we encourage…read more

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AUTHORS: Do You Have What It Takes?

Posted by in Allen, Woody, Allende, Isabel, Ames, Jonathan, Amis, Kingsley, Amis, Martin, Atwood, Margaret, Austen, Jane, Auster, Paul, Baker, Nicholson, Banville, John, Barnes, Julian, Barth, John, Baum, L. Frank, Beckett, Samuel, Bellow, Saul, Faulkner, William, fitzgerald-f-scott, Foer, Jonathan Safran, Ford, Richard, Oates, Joyce Carol, Ozick, Cynthia, Peck, Dale, Roth, Philip, Rushdie, Salman, Updike, John, Vidal, Gore, Vollmann, William, Wallace, David Foster, Wolfe, Tom, Woolf, Virginia, Yates, Richard

It’s the ultimate reality series, the ultimate game show and the ultimate half-hour of intriguing storylines. The Ultimate Author is an awesome television program packed with entertaining, engaging and interesting events. Each week, contestants go toe-to-toe in a writing competition that tests their ability to develop attention-grabbing content. Casting Call: June 16, 2007. Fort Lauderdale, FL. [via gawker.]

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Ames et Manson

Posted by in Ames, Jonathan

Jonathan Ames, favorite author of P.S. and writer of such novels as THE EXTRA MAN, I PASS LIKE NIGHT and WAKE UP, SIR!, plus three collections of comedic essays, has interviewed Marilyn Manson for the newest issue of Spin! There’s a preview available on Spin’s website, with the full article available only in print. A preview of the preview: The door swings open and Manson lopes in, carrying his own goblet of absinthe. He’s wearing a black T-shirt, black leather pants, and gigantic Frankenstein boots. He’s six-foot-three and looks to…read more

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If You Need Bookcases…

Posted by in Uncategorized

Please contact me.

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Close Encounters of the Erin Kind or Steven Spielberg walk with me

Posted by in Breasts, Conspiracy Theories

Most people watch “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and see a pretty good movie about a guy who really wants to get on a space ship. They are wrong. This movie is about me. Every day, I see Devil’s Tower in my mind. I see it and I must create it. So I go to my keyboard and start to form it up. The first attempt is a rough sketch, a shape. It is something, but it is not right. I print it out and study it, decide what…read more

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