Reluctant Habits

Sign of the Times

Posted by in Uncategorized

PC World has listed “100 Blogs We Love.” Under the misleading nomen “Arts & Culture,” not a single arts blog, litblog, or theatre blog is listed. Instead, we get Nick Denton-style gossip, video games, and television. Last I heard, “Arts & Culture” covered a considerably broader range of topics than what is readily available through digital cable and the Wii. (Hat tip: Maxine)

3

RIP Joel Siegel

Posted by in Film

The film critic Joel Siegel died on Friday. Roger Ebert has a valiant tribute to him, pointing out how Siegel persevered as a critic for ten years despite being diagnosed with colon cancer and that he was a better writer than his television appearances gave him credit for. One of the last times Siegel made it into the headlines was when he walked out of a screening of Clerks II, causing the filmmaker Kevin Smith to don him “a dick with a mustache” and go into over-the-top histrionics on a…read more

4

I Want to Come Together Like an Animal

Posted by in Uncategorized

1

That Lengthy Part About Being a Rich Writer Should Be the Tip Off

Posted by in Uncategorized

How to tell when someone’s lying to you, or how to tell a convincing lie — depending upon your inclination. (via Bill Peschel)

1

The Place Where Everyone’s a Failure

Posted by in Uncategorized

Literary Rejections on Display. (via Bluestalking Reader)

1

Personally, I’m Happy Enough to Be Booked on Public Access

Posted by in Uncategorized

Chronicle of Higher Education: “But after a dozen years in the industry, the whining and whingeing of authors had worn me down: The conspiracy theories about how a publisher set out to ruin an author’s career by not sending his 15-year-old book to a small regional conference; the notion that a publisher sullied an author’s reputation by giving her a red cover; the complaint that there were not enough ads promoting the book (there were never enough ads); the indignation that we didn’t get the author reviewed in The New…read more

0

Lev and Austin

Posted by in Uncategorized

From an interview with Austin Grossman: “Practically speaking my brother Lev helped see the thing to publication – he saw it in its early stages and told me it was worth finishing in the first place, which helped enormously; and he introduced me to his agent, who encouraged me and helped me find my agent. So I was enormously lucky in having someone to show the book.”

0

Doug Frantz Resigns from the L.A. Times

Posted by in Journalism

Editor & Publisher: “Los Angeles Times Managing Editor Doug Frantz has quit the paper, the newspaper announced today. In a short Web story, the paper revealed that Frantz, a former New York Times staffer, would leave July 6 after 20 months on the job.” L.A. Observed has the memo, which reveals that Frantz will be heading to Istanbul to do more reporting. Was this a case of Frantz trying to bring more hard journalism to the L.A. Times and being denied by top brass or Frantz simply wanting to get…read more

0

Available in Stores Today: the iDildo!

Posted by in Uncategorized

Utilizing groundbreaking iTechnology, you too can get in touch with your inner narcissist with technological options that you don’t really need. The iDildo is now available in several sizes, wherever iProducts are sold! The iDildo comes with several adjustable settings: Slow and Bored (an ideal mode for chronic time wasters), Medium Rare, and Fast and Frenetic. Optional audio settings provide you with an experience that you will never forget, better than a Sybian. Our EULA will ensure that the only orgasms you are legally entitled to experience are those effected…read more

1

Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

The Bay Area Intellect, a website that I was regrettably unfamiliar with when fog-drenched weather was a regular part of my daily life (as opposed to a Somerset Maugham-like tropical humidity), offers a report on the Katherine Taylor reading. Howard Junker, however, is surprisingly absent from this report. I do not know if last week’s controversy was ever resolved. Did Junker and Taylor submit to pistols at dawn and resolve this issue with the appropriate satisfaction? And can we believe that the Howard Junker now blogging at ZYZZYVA Speaks is…read more

2

Back in Action (Sort of)

Posted by in Uncategorized

After spending hours carefully going through my laptop hard drive through an enclosure and hacking files through a command prompt (since Windows did not want to recognize the files), I was able to retrieve 95% of my data. Which includes about five podcasts and several lengthy pieces of writing I had feared lost. I’m now on the laptop with an image of the factory default, stealing wireless from a kind neighbor. The moral of the story, folks, is this: No matter how healthy your drive appears to be, be sure…read more

1

Cablevision Pulls the Plug

Posted by in Uncategorized

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but it seems that Cablevision, perhaps because they didn’t take too kindly to me reporting their incompetence, have cut off my broadband service without notice. I am currently working on restoring my laptop, including all of the data that I lost, so that I can steal wireless from the many networks in my neighborhood and therefore carry on blogging. But for the moment, my online access is extremely limited. So bear with me while I work out the kinks. Thank you for your patience.

0

Physics Was Never Wes Craven’s Specialty

Posted by in Film

1

Riding Toward Everywhere

Posted by in Vollmann, William

Mark Brawner alerts me to a pub date for Vollmann’s trade-hopping book. Riding Toward Everywhere is set to be issued by Ecco on January 1, 2008. To get a small taste of the book, you can check out this excerpt from the January 2007 issue of Harper’s. Or if you don’t have a Harper’s subscription (which, with full access to the archives, is worth every penny incidentally), here’s an alternate link.

1

Ethical Transparency

Posted by in Uncategorized

An author who I will not name sent me his book, along with a cash amount intended as a donation to this site. I’m happy to accept donations for anyone who considers this site to be of value to them. And I’m sure that this author meant well. But because this donation came with a book, I do not feel that it would be ethical for me to accept the cash. It implies that I must take a look at his book without a honest and scrupulous eye. Therefore, I…read more

9

Yippie Kayee

Posted by in Film

0

The Big-Ass Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

Michael Cunningham talks with Boston Now about how books are adapted for the screen. Alas, Cunningham offers no answers on why music from Philip Glass is the only reason why film critics take bloated literary adaptations so seriously. R.U. Sirius talks with a post-prison Josh Wolf. Tod Goldberg pens a love letter to US Airways. Early video of Indiana Jones 4. I can think of a better use of bandwidth than disseminating a large video file of Lucas and Spielberg drinking champagne and sitting in an old car. What next?…read more

1

Dana Gioia, Poster Boy for Obsolescence

Posted by in Uncategorized

As can be expected of such predictable speeches, NEA Chairman Dana Gioia outlines the kind of death knell against cultural conversation that one would expect of an embittered elder priding himself on walking uphill to school and back (both ways, meh!) in the snow. Without citing any specific studies and relying only on his suspicions, Gioia claims that today’s Americans “live in a culture that barely acknowledges and rarely celebrates the arts or artists.” He condemns the mass media for not placing as great an emphasis on “presenting a broad…read more

6

When In Doubt, Cast Generalizations in the Name of Journalism

Posted by in Journalism

Sometimes, in the course of feature journalism, it becomes necessary to write about a problem without pondering how truly disturbing it is or considering that there may indeed be another side to the coin. Nowhere in Wall Street Journal reporter Alexandra Alter’s article does she talk with parents who, damn the marketing trends and the groupthink, name their children “Zoe Rose,” despite a porn star sharing the name. (Notable names, as even the most indolent of cultural observers knows, can disappear swifter than a sitcom star’s cachet with the American…read more

0

Broadband Update

Posted by in Uncategorized

I cannot count the number of sleazeballs, both small-time and corporate, that I’ve talked with today. But I’m pleased to report that I’ve found a broadband provider who will offer a dry loop DSL line with VOIP that will also give me a static IP. All this with minimal setup fees and without a yearly contract. The guy I spoke with was professional, friendly, and crystal-clear about technical details, answering every question I asked of him. It was a clear case of one geek talking with another — a conversation…read more

1

Another Endorsement for City Jerk

Posted by in Brooklyn, Food

As I’ve begun to settle into my delightful new neighborhood, I’ve become addicted to the PLG-based blog Across the Park. Some weeks ago, I conducted an elaborate independent canvassing campaign along Flatbush Avenue to determine the lay of the land and apply my own personal Google Maps “street view” to my temporal lobe for later processing. (I apologize if such terminology is perceived as ostentatious, but I can only report the way that my twisted little brain operates. If it’s any consolation, the sickness has caused much of the machinery…read more

1

Mini-Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

Is Michael Chabon the first author to credit his writing software in the acknowledgments section? I’d like to thank WordPress and Firefox for permitting me to write this sentence. I’m absolutely positive that there was no other way I could have blogged in quite the same way or quite the same circumstances, had it not been for these two stunning programs. If someone gets me drunk enough this weekend, I will be sure to tattoo that silly Firefox logo into my upper arm. After all, I pride myself on my…read more

2

Do Not Under ANY Circumstances Order from Optimum/Cablevision

Posted by in Uncategorized

To: Doug ________ From: Edward Champion Re: Lies, Incompetence & Rudeness Doug: Never in my history of dealing with telecommunications companies have I lost more man hours, borne such a burden for your company’s failure to communicate and organize action among its remarkably Kafkaesque branches, and experienced more outright incompetence. Let us review the history: I ordered your Triple Play package last month. I was told that I would be given a static IP. It was under this specific condition that I ordered your service. When the technician arrived on…read more

24

Update on San Diego Union Tribune

Posted by in Book Reviewing

Arthur Salm informs me that yesterday’s Books section was indeed the last one. The books coverage will now be “two pages inside Sunday Arts, plus daily reviews once or twice a week inside the Currents section.” Salm also indicates that a Books website will be launching on July 1. John Freeman offers suggestions on what can be done about this. Meanwhile, Ron Hogan is more skeptical, noting, “Might I humbly suggest that preserving the legacy of serious literary criticism in American letters, if that’s what the ‘battle for the book…read more

3

Roundup

Posted by in Uncategorized

Rumors, put forth by San Diego literary agent Sandra Dijkstra, are now making the rounds that the San Diego Union-Tribune books section is dead. I have no wish to perpetuate a false rumor and I plan to make several calls tomorrow to confirm if this is indeed the case. (In the meantime, an email has been sent to Books Editor Arthur Salm to determine information.) But if this is true, this is very sad news, as Salm ran one of the more underrated book sections in the country. (Don’t believe…read more

0

The Public Works Workers Will Appreciate Lukewarm Water After a Hard Day of Construction

Posted by in Uncategorized

San Francisco Chronicle: “San Francisco city government will no longer be allowed to use city money to buy bottled water for its employees under an executive order Mayor Gavin Newsom is expected to sign today.”

1

It’s Only a High-Five or Two Before the Kids Start Shooting Up the Cafeteria

Posted by in Uncategorized

Washington Post: “‘You get into shades of gray,’ Hernandez said. ‘The kids say, “If he can high-five, then I can do this.”‘

0

Katherine Taylor Disses Howard Junker!

Posted by in Uncategorized

Howard Junker reports: “Chapter Nine, ‘Traveling with Mother,’ appeared in ZYZZYVA Fall 2001, in somewhat different form; in fact, it was considered her ‘first nonfiction in print.’ It was also included in our anthology AutoBioDiversity (Heyday Books, 2005). The copyright page of Rules does not acknowledge either appearance.” Now to be fair to Taylor, the copyright page of Rules for Saying Goodbye doesn’t list any previous appearances that this material appeared in. But when you snub the only literary editor in America brave enough to imbibe Pabst Blue Ribbon, while…read more

6

Needless Quasi-Mandarin Acrobatics

Posted by in Uncategorized

Scott McLemee offers an excellent column in response to the Encyclopedia Brittanica brouhaha, pointing out: But no such ambiguity colors the scenario we find in Gorman’s commentary.For the digital boosters, the problems will all repair themselves over time. For the neo-Luddite quasi-Mandarins, by contrast, the new-media matrix is a catastrophic force so devastating that its effects may well contaminate human consciousness for centuries to come.

0

The Laryngitis Roundup

Posted by in Roundup

I have lost my voice. And while the coughing still irritates (but shows definite signs of abating), this has made me feel delightfully anonymous and humble. I have become more attuned to verbal and visual cues, in part because I cannot respond to them. Socializing feels like facing an incomplete Jumble puzzle in the newspaper, and I do my best to quell these impulses to fill in the blanks. If I had my voice and if I was operating anywhere close to my full energy, I’d do it. I am…read more

3