Reluctant Habits

Tom Snyder vs. Charles Manson

Posted by in Uncategorized

And here’s Part Two and Part Three. They don’t make television like this anymore. Name a single interviewer today who would openly call a mass murderer as dangerous as Manson a “coward” or invite him to beat the shit out of him on national television. If anything, this incredible interview again demonstrates what we have lost in television journalism and why it is necessary for journalists of all stripes to up their game, remaining as fearless as possible in their pursuit of the truth.

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Light Tuesday

Posted by in Uncategorized

Well, I thought I’d get the third and final Alternative Press Expo podcast up today, but other things — namely, lower back pain caused by accidentally throwing my back out of alignment last night — prevent me from industrious blogging. But I hope to return tomorrow.

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RIP Michelangelo Antonioni

Posted by in Film, Obits

“Bergman still lives!” What a horrible two days for cinema.

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BSS #125: Alternative Press Expo 2007, Part Two

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Comics

CONDITION OF MR. SEGUNDO: Longing for phone numbers and fistfights. GUESTS: Julia Wertz, Julie Walker, Levni R. Yilmaz, Bill Morse, Neil Fitzpatrick, Brandon Bird, Ming Doyle, John Rivera, Steve Fuson, Zack Corzine, Christopher Perguidi and Keith Knight SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: Comics inspired from Craig’s List Missed Connections, unusual underwear, tactile animation, web comics vs. minicomics, an update on the Neil Jam universe, the practice of appropriating every known cultural construct, mullets, a comic book adaptation of a rock opera, family-friendly gnomes, using all five senses to experience a narrative, cannibal cooks,…read more

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Live Interview with Rupert Thomson

Posted by in Uncategorized

Rupert Thomson is coming to New York and Maud will be interviewing him at McNally Robinson on Friday, August 17, at 7:00 PM. I’ve expressed my considerable enthusiasm for The Book of Revelation before. And Maud is a fantastic interviewer. So be sure to make it on August 17 to McNally Robinson, located, as all book enthusiasts know, on 52 Prince Street.

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Tod Goldberg vs. Parade Magazine

Posted by in Uncategorized

A saner man would simply throw his issue of Parade into the dustbin, pretending that the dreaded Sunday supplement simply wasn’t a part of the newspaper and taking a complacent munch from his lightly jellied English muffin. But not Tod Goldberg. His ongoing commitment to not only reading, but reporting upon the horrors of Parade has caused him to become desperately obsessed in an Ahabesque sense. And the results have, from my comfortable Brooklyn nook, been hilarious to watch. Goldberg’s become so desperate that he’s now penned an open letter…read more

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RIP Tom Snyder

Posted by in Obits

I have also learned from a reader that Tom Snyder died on Sunday — a day after I wrote at length about him. This too is a major loss and, even though I know I had nothing to do with it, I’m trying to shake off the horrible conviction that I might have killed the man in writing about him. Horrible. [UPDATE: It appears that Manhattan Ed suffers the same problem I do. The minute he talks about an older artist, the artist dies. If there are other Eds out…read more

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RIP Ingmar Bergman

Posted by in Film

Ingmar Bergman is dead. My first Bergman experience involved seeing a 16mm print of Persona as a teenager and becoming thoroughly lost in its dreamlike world, my heart fully pulverized by the great pain and sorrow, my mind recoiling at the fragmentary images that I didn’t quite understand, and the other Sacramento kids around me simply not understanding that they were in the presence of a master. I wondered then if Bergman was cinema’s great manic depressive and sought out his other films. The rolling tank in The Silence, the…read more

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New Segundo Torrent Pack Available

Posted by in Bat Segundo

The sixth Torrent pack of The Bat Segundo Show, containing Shows #101-120 and featuring interviews with Martin Amis, Ron Jeremy, Lionel Shriver, Berkeley Breathed, and many more fabulous people is now available at The Pirate Bay for your downloading pleasure.

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New George Romero Zombie Movie in the Can

Posted by in Film

The IMDB reports that Diary of the Dead, written and directed by George A. Romero, has been completed and has European distributors lined up. The film was shot last year and has a budget of around $10 million — a tad less than the $15 million Romero had for Land of the Dead. Here’s an audio interview with Romero about the new zombie film, which reveals the following: Diary goes back to the first night when the zombies rose. Some college kids are filming a horror movie, only to run…read more

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How Walkable is Your Community?

Posted by in Uncategorized

Walkscore. My neighborhood scores a 78. My old neighborhood in San Francisco scores a 98.

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More Egregious Than a Balk

Posted by in Baseball

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And for More on Book Reviewing

Posted by in Book Reviewing

Jerome Weeks cracks open the spine of Gail Pool’s Faint Praise: The Plight of Book Reviewing in America — that book that Orthofer mentioned a few weeks ago.

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Sven Birkerts and “Literary Life”

Posted by in Book Reviewing

The reputedly intelligent Sven Birkerts has entered into the print vs. online fray in today’s Boston Globe. He very kindly cites me, as well as Mark Sarvas, as a litblog that he has investigated. I can’t speak for Mark, but in the interests of conveying to Mr. Birkerts that litbloggers and print journalists are not necessarily on opposite sides of the coin, I should also observe — and this is quite important in responding to Birkerts’s argument — that Mark and I also write regularly for print, and that Mark…read more

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Hello, Is It Mace You’re Looking For?

Posted by in Music

The Hello Project (via Pinky’s Paperhaus)

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The End of Raucous Late Night Television

Posted by in Music, Television

And here’s Part 2 of the John Lydon vs. Tom Snyder exchange. RELATED: Wendy O. Williams smashing a television set and Snyder interview. More on Williams’s Milwaukee charges here. Also, Williams vs. Mrs. Fields. TANGENTIALLY RELATED: Weird Al Yankovic’s first national television appearance — on The Tomorrow Show — performing “Another One Rides the Bus.” It’s also worth noting that Tom Snyder’s The Tomorrow Show originally had the 12:30 AM time slot that NBC than gave to a rising standup comedian named David Letterman, who replaced Snyder’s thoughtful and often…read more

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BSS #124: Alternative Press Expo 2007, Part One

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Comics

[This is the first in a series of podcasts devoted to Alternative Press Expo 2007.] GUESTS: Carmen Ogden, Heather Morgan, Jess from CW, Sacha Arnold, Stephen Notley, Sarah Weinman, Jacquelyn Mentz, Tammy Stellanova and booth babe, Gabriel Martinez, Brian Andersen and Preston (cheerleader), Alex Cahill and Jad Ziade the laconic writer, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Tessa Brunton, Melina Mena, DJ Bryant, Travis Fox, two guys talking about waffles, Argel Brown and Michael Galande, Hope & Nicolette Davenport, Jeff Zugale, and Kristian Horn. SUBJECTS DISCUSSED: The glut of autobiographical comics, Fat Camille,…read more

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The Future of Television

Posted by in Television

Listen for the scream near the end when she gets the network wrong.

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Tribbles “Very Similar and Very Akin to the Pet Rocks Floating Around Now”

Posted by in Uncategorized

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But Will Barnabas End Up Being a Gay Keith Richards?

Posted by in Film

Variety: “Johnny Depp is getting in touch with his inner vampire. Warner Bros. is teaming with Depp’s Infinitum-Nihil and Graham King’s GK Films to develop a feature based on the ’60s daytime supernatural sudser ‘Dark Shadows.’ Depp has said in interviews that he has always been obsessed with ‘Dark Shadows’ and had, as a child, wanted to be Barnabas Collins, the vampire patriarch of the series. The role was originated by Jonathan Frid.”

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Dave Itzkoff on How to Write for the NYTBR

Posted by in Tanenhaus, Sam

The first dirty little secret of writing a review for Sam Tanenhaus is to come across like an ill-informed wanker who knows nothing of the genre he is writing about. The second is that everyone who reads the NYTBR are — dare I say it? — intended to be treated as idiots. It’s important to state a very obvious observation about a genre and then back it up with even more obvious examples — the kind of thing that just about any remote geek would have long since talked about,…read more

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Hell Hath No Fury Like a Boxer Scorned

Posted by in Uncategorized

Craig Davidson offers this lengthy account of Tuesday night’s boxing match, observing, “Jonathan’s dating the singer Fiona Apple. So that’s pretty cool. I’m thinking, hell, even if he loses, he goes home with Fiona Apple. That’s got to go a long ways towards healing any hurts. Me, I got to go home to the hotel minibar.” You know, if it’s any consolation to Craig, I was at the Rebar after-party and I happen to know that a few single women were there swooning for Mr. Davidson, with at least one…read more

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Wait Until This Judge Gets Around to Dylan and the Stones

Posted by in Music

The August issue of Harper’s contains, in its Readings section, a fantastic sentencing memorandum offered by Judge Gregory R. Todd, in the case of Montana vs. Andrew McCormack: Mr. McCormack, to the question of “Give your recommendation as to what you think the Court should do in this case,” you said, “Like the Beatles say, ‘Let it be.’” If I were to overlook your actions and let it be, I would have to ignore that day in the life on April 21, 2006. Evidently, you said to yourself, “I feel…read more

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Roy Den Hollander: A Man of Limitations, A Man of Principle

Posted by in Sexism

Several groups of men have, at long last, discovered the true evil that lurks beneath the nightlife underbelly and have initiated the appropriate legislation to exact justice for the greatest threat to equality since they bussed in those dark-skinned kids into schools some decades ago. It turns out that those goddam women, who continue to complain about the apparent injustice of a woman making two thirds the annual income that a man makes, have now spawned a grand plan in collusion with nightclub owners to disrupt the natural patriarchal order….read more

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In Defense of Sitting in Bookstores

Posted by in Bookstores

This Baltimore Sun item describes how the big box bookstores are no longer placing the nooks, crannies, and chairs that were once de rigueur a few decades ago. In the case of Borders, the chain has cut back their soft seating by 30%. The complaints are the usual ones: the homeless, necking lovers, people leaving trash behind, and other assorted riff-raff. (Of course, it’s not as if these prohibitive factors didn’t exist when the bookstores did provide more seating.) Customers seem to be lounging in the bookstores anyway, sitting on…read more

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BSS #123: Steven Hall

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Revisiting his flipbook-authoring hobby. Author: Steven Hall Subjects Discussed: The relationship between narrative and text design, textual malapropisms, speculating upon “wooden” dialogue, multiple Eric Sandersons and the Matrix trilogy, narrative onslaughts against institutions, on balancing postmodernism with an adventure story, B.S. Johnson, hooking up with David Mitchell and Scarlett Thomas, junk science, devising the QWERTY codes, first-person vs. omniscient narration, misleading toenail tattoos, and the many ways of reading the shark flipbook. EXCERPT FROM SHOW: Hall: I started off as an artist. So I had been…read more

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Next Up for Disney: Covering Up Goofy’s Drinking Problem

Posted by in Film

Hollywood Reporter: “Mickey Mouse went cold turkey Wednesday when the Walt Disney Co. told influential Congressman Ed Markey that it will ban smoking from the films it releases.” I’m sure that Uncle Walt, a man quite fond of cigarettes, would approve of Disney’s move towards presenting humans in a foolishly flawless and unrealistic light.

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BSS #122: Richard Flanagan

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Attempting to understand Tasmanians. Author: Richard Flanagan Subjects Discussed: The novel as a warning, interviews with overly serious journalists, the novel as a mirror to the world, the inspiration of Heinrich Böll’s The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum, the tradition of using other people’s plots, Jonathan Lethem’s essay on copyright, the obsession with intellectual property, heightened metaphors, people living without land and love, the remarkable disconnect between the author’s intentions and the reader’s perception, the amount of noise in the world, using brand names in language,…read more

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BSS #121: Gary Shteyngart

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Condition of Mr. Segundo: Contemplating an ethnic switch to Russian. Author: Gary Shteyngart Subjects Discussed: Prince Myshkin and Misha Vainberg, Doestoevsky as a muse, fat man fiction, getting inside a corpulent character, Biggie Smalls, hip-hop traditions in other countries, technological references in satire, the apocalyptic novel vogue, the paucity of satire in contemporary fiction, the metafictional elements of Absurdistan, the 19th century plotting techniques for Absurdistan, the importance of notebooks, literary fiction as entertainment, linguistic slumming and lowbrow metaphors, kissing the back of testicles, going up against Cormac McCarthy in…read more

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Putting the Mash Into Mash Ups

Posted by in Comics

Peanuts by Charles Bukowski. (via Fimoculous)

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