Reluctant Habits

Statement of Intent

Posted by in Uncategorized

1. No matter what happens in the present or the future, I will not remove a name or a reference from any past blog post. If there are significant changes to past content, I will be forthright about why the content has been adjusted or removed and offer a public explanation. 2. Even when I have mixed or negative feelings towards a blogger, if I have found a link from that blogger’s site, I will properly credit them. 3. Critical comments that take to task the posts here are welcome….read more


The Bat Segundo Show: Fiona Maazel

Posted by in Bat Segundo, maazel-fiona

Fiona Maazel appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #212. Maazel is the author of Last, Last Chance. [LISTENING NOTE! Please note that this show contains numerous grinding noises. We have endeavored to remove as many of these as possible, and reduce the noise where possible. Alas, SOME aural residue remains.] Condition of the Show: Considering the niceties of superplagues. Author: Fiona Maazel Subjects Discussed: Being under observation, the relationship between kosher chickens and superplagues, rich WASPy girls, individual vs. societal ironies, keeping the protagonist’s name somewhat secret, Mary Shelley’s The…read more



Posted by in Roundup

Based on the steady onslaught (or is that recent onset?) of dumb feature articles within the Atlantic‘s pages these days, it would seem to me that the magazine lacks even the gooiest scrap of albumin these days. Fortunately, this video clip, featuring Atlantic editor and National Review film critic Ross Douthat attempting to explain his “working sociological theory” on the superhero archetype to the whip-smart Dana Stevens, may offer some context and unintentional hilarity. Because the discussion is executed in split-screen (although, oddly enough, nobody mentions Brian De Palma), one…read more

The Bat Segundo Show: Ed Park

Posted by in Bat Segundo, park-ed

Ed Park appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #211. Park is most recently the author of Personal Days. His book was reviewed today in the NYTBR by Mark Sarvas. Condition of the Show: Plagued by brutal downsizing. Author: Ed Park Subjects Discussed: Literary people named Ed, writing Personal Days and using vacation days while employed at the Voice, counting words written per day, B.S. Johnson, Jonathan Coe’s Like a Fiery Elephant, Harry Stephen Keeler, staying productive as a writer, the other Ed Park novels (The Dizzies, Chinese Whispers, The Diet…read more


Russell T. Davies: The Hack Who Cried “Bad Wolf”

Posted by in davies-russell, doctor who, Uncategorized

This season’s penultimate episode of Doctor Who, “The Stolen Earth,” was a big fuck you to the fans, giving them everything they seemed to want, or that writer Russell T. Davies seemed to think that they wanted. It featured cheeky nods to Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, the return of Davros (with a ridiculous explanation for how he escaped death), a Richard Dawkins cameo, more holes than a porous street neglected for a decade by a bankrupt city maintenance department, Rose running around Earth with a preposterously gargantuan gun…read more

Are You Lonesome Tonight?

Posted by in Comedy


Gossipmongering from Publishers Weekly Accepted as True Writ

Posted by in Book Reviewing

This morning’s Publishers Weekly features an alarmist “report” from Rachel Deahl that is more fixated upon rumors and conjecture than actual reporting. Deahl, without citing any particular source other than an unnamed “freelance critic” and Tribune communications manager Michael Dizon, has reported that the Tribune Company is planning to slash overall page counts and that the results will go into effect sometime in September. Of course, without specific quotes from book editors, none of whom returned Deahl’s emails (hasn’t Deahl heard of the telephone?), this is about as credible as…read more



Posted by in Roundup

The time has come to pity the rich. $10 million doesn’t go nearly as far as it once did in New York. And the situation appears so dire that the rich can afford nothing more than a futon and IKEA accessories for living room furniture. Perhaps the children can be entrusted to lodge the appropriate protests against these oppressive conditions. (Second link via Books, Inq.) The Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday didn’t particularly surprise me. The Second Amendment will always be valued and upheld more vigorously than the Fourth Amendment….read more


Under Lock and Chromakey

Posted by in Music


The Bat Segundo Show: Cynthia Ozick

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Ozick, Cynthia

Cynthia Ozick appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #210. Ozick is most recently the author of Dictation. Condition of the Show: Overtaken by a tyrannical dictator. Author: Cynthia Ozick Subjects Discussed: Balancing two authors, two secretaries and other stylistic repetitions that evoke typewriters in “Dictation,” purloining language from Henry James and Joseph Conrad’s letters, Henry James’s “forgotten umbrella,” “Literary Entrails,” parallels between the last two turns of the century, feeling like Queen Victoria, the language GNU within “What Happened to the Baby?” and open source GNU, crosswords in “Actors,” agonizing…read more


The Bat Segundo Show: Sloane Crosley

Posted by in Bat Segundo, crosley-sloane

Sloane Crosley appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #209. She is the author of I Was Told There’d Be Cake, which was recently sold to HBO for series development. Condition of the Show: Placing the authors and book titles under too much scrutiny. Author: Sloane Crosley Subjects Discussed: Marie Antoinette, caring about perception, Veganism, the personal essay as a series of impersonations and observations, on being perceived as “nice,” the text as a prism between author and reader, negotiating the balance between writer and publicist, putting on the “nice face,”…read more



Posted by in Roundup, Uncategorized

Within blocks of my apartment, there is a dumpster serving as a veritable buffet for vermin. Last night, while walking home, I observed the most corpulent rat I have ever seen. It was nearly the size of a medium-sized cat with a swirling tail nearly a foot long. Its belly was so large that it could not even scamper properly. It was reduced to a slight kangaroo hop on its hind legs. Its gait reminded me of Leroy Anderson’s “Plink, Plank, Plunk.” A typical New York sight. But what amused…read more


Kanye West Balances His Checkbook

Posted by in Uncategorized

I am sick of negative people who just sit around trying 2 plot my downfall… Why???? I understand if people don’t worship me because I worship me or if people think balancing my checkbook look gay or people say I carry my 1s to much, But this Bank of America checkbook is the worst insult I’ve ever had in my life. Who make this thing? Its the 21st century! This is the most offended I’ve ever been… this is the maddest I ever will be. I thought my accountants were…read more


Segundo Status

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Since there has been some emails from a few folks, let me clear up some confusion. I should point out that there are now fifteen shows in various states of completion and undress. Those that are lacking the full summary capsules — that is, those shows that were finished sometime in the last month — can be listened to at the main Segundo site. I have been cross-posting the full shows (with capsules) here at the rate of one new show per day, so as not to overwhelm with content….read more


The Bat Segundo Show: Tobias Wolff

Posted by in Bat Segundo, wolff-tobias

Tobias Wolff appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #208. Wolff is most recently the author of Our Story Begins. Condition of the Show: Speculating upon Mr. Wolff’s unknown powers. Author: Tobias Wolff Subjects Discussed: Writing first-person stories that don’t seem like first-person stories, the use of the word “I,” contemporary short stories and therapy sessions, fiction and narcissism, William Trevor, knowing the lay of the land, the symbols of the everyday universe, tulle fog, writing endings before the endings, Tolstoy vs. Chekhov, whether “Bullet to the Brain” had any specific…read more



Posted by in Uncategorized

Dwight Garner and Sam Tanenhaus, the two spineless editors who insult the intelligence of their audience every Sunday at the New York Times Book Review, seem to think that Jay McInerney is somehow a big name. Which is a bit like believing that Robert Palmer is not only still alive, but remains a major fixture on the pop music circuit. Perhaps this strange assignment represents the duo’s dormant adolescent longing to raise spoons to noses and make up for the lost time in which they failed to live. Whatever their…read more


Where Munich At

Posted by in Uncategorized


America is In Trouble

Posted by in Satire

With Vonnegut and now Carlin gone, the time has come for truthful lacerations. Words that crackle the delicate hides of prissy and solipsistic dispositions and galvanize the collective funny bone. Sentences that radiate the cancer now coruscating within bright neon corporate hellfire. Paragraphs that crack the knees of those fond of calcified postures and unlived lives. I cannot think of a single American satirist under the age of 50 who is willing to go to jail for his words. Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are bought by Viacom and look…read more


The Bat Segundo Show: David Hajdu

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Censorship, Comics, hajdu-david

David Hajdu appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #207. Hajdu is most recently the author of The Ten-Cent Plague. Condition of the Show: Dabbling into hidden threats. Author: David Hajdu Subjects Discussed: Hajdu’s approach to journalism, primary sources vs. secondary sources, categories of people to talk with when preparing a book, tracking down people who disappeared, grassroots methods of finding people, changing names, the untold story of women in comics, Irvin Kersener’s early career as an agitprop documentary filmmaker*, corroborating facts against shifting memory, telling history without a fully documented…read more


The Great George Carlin is Dead

Posted by in Carlin, George, Comedy, Obits

No words. The man was a genius, a major inspiration for me, a cunning linguist and iconoclast, and he will be sorely missed. There isn’t a single YouTube clip that sums the man up. So start here: George Carlin: On Location at USC (1977): (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three) (Part Four) (Part Five) (Part Six) (Part Seven) (Part Eight) Carlin at Carnegie (1982): (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three) (Part Four) (Part Five) (Part Six) Carlin on Campus (1984): (Part One) (Part Two) (Part Three) (Part Four) (Part Five)…read more


The Last Days of Russell T. Davies

Posted by in davies-russell, doctor who

“Turn Left” isn’t quite as appalling as last year’s “This didn’t really happen” two-part Doctor Who finale. But it’s still filled with Russell T. Davies’s insufferable complacency. There doesn’t appear to be much of a purpose to this episode, other than for Davies to remind the Who fans just what he’s given them. It reminded me of the childish “Dimensions in Time” promotional nonsense that John Nathan-Turner was once deservedly ridiculed for, but that Who fans now accept without question. (I also don’t think it was an accident that we…read more

Obama Begins the Sellout Phase of His Campaign

Posted by in 2008 Election, Obama, Politics, Telecom Immunity

It started earlier this week when Barack Obama became the first presidential candidate to forgo public money. It continued yesterday when Barack Obama pledged support for the FISA “compromise” bill, which grants telecom companies immunity for past offenses of illegal wiretapping, and issued this appalling statement. With Senator Harry Reid flip-flopping over his “total opposition to immunity” to save Obama’s ass, it is becoming quite apparent that the Democrats are once again content to take on the instincts of frightened little animals. And it’s a pity that all this comes…read more


The Bat Segundo Show: Sarah Hall

Posted by in Bat Segundo, hall-sarah

Sarah Hall appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #206. Hall is most recently the author of Daughters of the North (published in the UK as The Carhullan Army). My essay on Sarah Hall can be found at the B&N Review. Condition of the Show: Remaining optimistic about a dystopian future. Author: Sarah Hall Subjects Discussed: Daughters of the North vs. The Carhullan Army, writing books that aren’t set in the present day, concern for environmental details, the comforts of familiar territory, catastrophe knocking everything to the past, the wandering impulse…read more


Why There Will Be No Roundup at the Stroke of Midnight

Posted by in Uncategorized

The roundup could have occurred. But since I have become reliant upon Bloglines for my influx of information and since I have attempted to be somewhat neat in the way I organize my many feeds through this process, this attempt at organization has resulted in my downfall. I intended to merely click the boxed plus box to expand the Books section of my feeds, but I somehow clicked the word “Books” instead, resulting in Bloglines opening every single goddam one of the hundred or so feeds that I rely upon…read more


Associated Press Negotiates With Sock Puppet Organization

Posted by in Associated Press, Censorship, Journalism

Teresa Nielsen Hayden has done some investigation, and it appears that the so-called Media Bloggers Association, which purports to represent bloggers in the AP nonsense (and sure as hell doesn’t represent this website), appears to have been conjured out of thin air.


The Bat Segundo Show: Errol Morris

Posted by in Abu Ghraib, Bat Segundo, Film, Iraq, Journalism

Errol Morris appeared on The Bat Segundo Show (#205). Morris is most recently the director of Standard Operating Procedure. (There is also an accompanying book written by Philip Gourevitch.) Guest: Errol Morris Subjects Discussed: Susan Sontag’s “Regarding the Torture of Others,” the American cycle of photographing physical abuse, finding out what we’re looking at before drawing conclusions, the differences between a still image and a moving image, reenactments, guiding the viewer’s ability to map reality, Comte de Lautréamont, misinterpreting Crimean War photographs, the milkshake toss in The Thin Blue Line,…read more


In Praise of Blah Blah Blah

Posted by in Music, Uncategorized

Despite constant MySpace page deletions, Blah Blah Blah, not to be confused with the Iggy Pop album, is the real deal. As far as I can tell, this East London trio has been kicking around for the past three years, busking by day and playing gigs by night. (The video above sees the band performing a funny song called “Christmas Caravan” as part of a 2006 acoustic set.) Blah Blah Blah has a policy of never turning down a gig, which has led to a deranged touring schedule that has…read more


Borderline Irresponsible Publicists

Posted by in Publicity

Paul Constant: “One publicist in the Macmillan booth spots my name tag and yells at me for a negative review of a memoir by Mike Edison—the former editor in chief of High Times and publisher of Swank —called I Have Fun Everywhere I Go, that Ari Spool posted on The Stranger‘s music blog, Line Out. ‘You really hurt Mike’s feelings,’ she exclaims, and continues, ‘And I think it’s borderline irresponsible journalism for you to be running things like that.’ A couple other publicists step in and try to defuse the…read more


Your Myopia’s No Good Here

Posted by in Elitism

The American Scholar: “But it isn’t just a matter of class. My education taught me to believe that people who didn’t go to an Ivy League or equivalent school weren’t worth talking to, regardless of their class. I was given the unmistakable message that such people were beneath me. We were ‘the best and the brightest,’ as these places love to say, and everyone else was, well, something else: less good, less bright. I learned to give that little nod of understanding, that slightly sympathetic ‘Oh,’ when people told me…read more


Covering War

Posted by in Iraq, Journalism, War