Reluctant Habits

The Bat Segundo Show: Mike Edison

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Mike Edison appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #226. Edison is the author of I Have Fun Everywhere I Go. Condition of the Show: Reinvestigating the purported death of Bat Segundo. (See also Show #199.) Author: Mike Edison Subjects Discussed: Writing a memoir predicated upon shit-talking, sticking with the details, the lack of composite characters, compressed chronology, Heeb editor Josh Neuman vs. Screw art director Kevin Hein, Tom Cruise’s ass, The Passion of the Christ, the ground rules for satire, Martha Stewart, being married to ideas, High Times‘s Steven Hager,…read more


The Bat Segundo Show: Peter David

Posted by in Bat Segundo, Comics

Peter David appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #225. He is most recently the author of Tigerheart and the Incredible Hulk novelization. Condition of the Show: Investigating claimed nemeses of Goliath. Author: Peter David Subjects Discussed: On being prolific, producing work quickly, writing stories set in expansive universe, reacting to a universal construct, working with mythos, the Fallen Angel universe, the Star Trek: New Frontier books, Joseph Campbell and Star Wars, Willow, fundamental tropes in storytelling, whether or not all stories are derivative, retinkering the Peter Pan formula for Tigerheart,…read more


Racism and Copyright Games: The Fallacious Position of William Sanders

Posted by in Copyright, Magazines, Racism, sanders-william

Transcriptease offers a very helpful summation on the racist shenanigans of Helix editor William Sanders. For those who missed out on this piece of news, writer Luke Jackson sent Sanders a story. The story featured Muslim characters. Sanders rejected it, noting in his rejection letter, “You did a good job of explaining the worm-brained mentality of those people.” The email then made the rounds on several science fiction sites. And several Helix contributors asked for their stories to be removed from the Helix archives. Rather than perform the gentlemanly act…read more

Interviewing the Interviewer

Posted by in Literary Journalism

Rick Kleffel, the prolific podcaster behind the Agony Column, gets the interview treatment from Jeff VanderMeer.


NYPD Police Brutality

Posted by in New York, NYPD, Police Brutality

WCBS: “Cephus said he was bringing ice into a park, when he encountered two police officers checking for liquor. He dropped his bag, and says he was hit 10 to 12 times on the shoulder and upper arms, before a bystander’s camera even started.” Amazingly, Police Union President Patrick Lynch claims this to be an appropriate amount of force. And while the officer involved has not been suspended, he has been confined to desk duty. This violence comes only a day after a NYPD officer assaulted a Critical Mass cyclist,…read more


Patchett Up Your Pity Party, Ann

Posted by in Book Touring, Hubris, patchett-ann

Proving once again that its editorial team now prefers thoughtless and narcissistic essays over writing that chronicles the human condition, the Atlantic has commissioned Ann Patchett to throw a pity party about book tours. Look, if you’re an author and you can’t be bothered to have a bit of fun with a book tour, then you should either (a) insist on no book tours (as Denis Johnson and John Twelve Hawks have) or (b) stop bitching and moaning. Unless you suffer from Asperger’s or a Napoleon-like hubris, it takes exceptionally…read more

The Future of Newspapers and Litblogs: A Thought Experiment

Posted by in Advertising, Book Reviewing, Journalism, Litblogs, Newspapers

In yesterday’s Huffington Post, publicist Lissa Warren expressed her dismay in “the seemingly widely-held notion that these book sections are being adequately replaced by blogs.” She complained that blogs “don’t actually review books” (emphasis in original) and that bloggers are nothing more than helpful cherry pickers ferreting out the best content. This, of course, is poppycock. Scott Esposito continues to turn out issues of The Quarterly Conversation and is now making efforts to pay his contributors. Aside from the almost two hundred hours of podcasts available at The Bat Segundo…read more


Saul Bass, What If?

Posted by in Film

(Thanks, Josh!)


The Bat Segundo Show: Sen. Mike Gravel & Joe Lauria

Posted by in Politics

Senator Mike Gravel and Joe Lauria appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #224. Gravel and Lauria are the co-authors of A Political Odyssey. Gravel was a candidate for the 2008 U.S. presidential race. Lauria is an investigative journalist who writes for The Sunday Times. Condition of the Show: Delving into the complexities of the military industrial complex. Authors: Senator Mike Gravel and Joe Lauria. Subjects Discussed: Whether Sen. Gravel and Joe Lauria share the same brain, The National Initiative for Democracy, Article VII of the Constitution, rules that prevent people…read more


The Bat Segundo Show: Faye Flam

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Faye Flam appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #223. Flam is most recently the author of The Score. Condition of the Show: Attempting to contend with gender generalizations. Author: Faye Flam Subjects Discussed: Boot Seduction Camp as the prism with which to approach evolutionary science, the Mystery Method, crude philosophical rules vs. scientific rules, the SRY gene, masculinity’s backup gene, genetics and the delineation between gender, Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex, bonobos and bisexuality, biological pair bonding, Alan Alda and testosterone poisoning, the decline of macho actors, oxytocin, Andrew Sullivan’s testosterone injections,…read more


George Orwell’s Diaries Remixed as Blog

Posted by in orwell-george

The Diary Junction reports that, as of tomorrow, George Orwell’s diaries will be available to the public. With the exception of a few diary entries contained in the four volume Collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters of George Orwell published in 2000 by David R. Godine, Orwell’s diaries as a whole have not been published in collected form. Like Samuel Pepys’s diary, Orwell’s diaries will be published as a daily blog. It remains unknown whether The Orwell Trust will see fit to introduce an Andrew Keen or Sven Birkerts-like antagonist who…read more

Bat Segundo: Technical Issues & Some Developments

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Because IE and Safari users were having difficulty accessing the Bat Segundo site, I’ve temporarily disabled podPress. I’ve tested the site on Firefox, Seamonkey, IE, Safari, and Opera, and you should be able to stream the files during this transition. The podPress developer had pledged that he would fix the “Operation Aborted” problem by Sunday, but, sadly, he still has not offered an update. And regrettably, due to my failure to backup the database when caught up in the geeky excitement of upgrading, I cannot downgrade from WordPress 2.6 to…read more


Booker Longlist

Posted by in Booker

The Booker longlist has been announced. There are many predictable names, but a few surprises, including Steve Toltz and Tom Rob Smith. Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger Gaynor Arnold, Girl in a Blue Dress Sebastian Barry, The Secret Sculpture John Berger, From A to X Michelle de Kretser, The Lost Dog Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies Linda Grant, The Clothes on Their Backs Mohammed Hanif, A Case of Expanding Mangoes Philip Hensher, The Northern Clemency Joseph O’Neill, Netherland Salman Rushdie, The Enchantress of Florence Tom Rob Smith, Child 44 Steve…read more



Posted by in Roundup

Hitotoki, which merges fiction with a Google Maps-like interface, has unveiled a Paris version. This website seems to me a more purposeful use of location than the steady stream of middling noir books (Wichita Noir! Peoria Noir!) from Akashic, where rough and tough regional voices who have gritty things to say about the cities they know have been overlooked by “literary” names who not only lack a feel and understanding for these locations, but who are not familiar with the most elementary components of genre. Then again, when one considers…read more


The History of Verizon, Part Two (August 2000)

Posted by in Business, History, jones-james-earl, Labor, NorthPoint, OnePoint, Unions, Verizon

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a continuation of my ongoing history of Verizon. Part One, which covers the months of April through August 2000, can be found here. Part Three, which covers the months of September through October 2000, can be found here.] James Earl Jones, the voice of Darth Vader, became the voice of Verizon. Jones had proved popular as the voice of Bell Atlantic and his services were extended to talking up this new brand with his instantly recognizable baritone. But the Baltimore City Paper‘s Joe MacLeod was having…read more

A Special Four-Part Series for New York Times Readers

Posted by in New York Times

The Big Question! R U Really Reading?

Clarification at the Los Angeles Times

Posted by in Book Reviewing, Los Angeles Times

David Ulin has offered some clarifications about recent changes at the Los Angeles Times. In addition to talking with the decidedly more trustworthy Sara Nelson at Publishers Weekly, he also specified the changes that are in store in Sunday’s Los Angeles Times. [UPDATE: Ulin has appeared on KPCC. Meanwhile, the books coverage at Not the L.A. Times appears pretty dire and Kassia Krozser


RIP Rosie

Posted by in Birnbaum, Robert

It is with great sadness that I report that Rosie, the great labrador who accompanied Robert Birnbaum on his interviews, passed away last week. I was lucky enough to meet Rosie a few years ago. A gallery of Rosie in action can be found here. (via Matthew Tiffany)


A Supplemental Lexicon to Ross Raisin’s Fiction

Posted by in Language, Northern England, raisin-ross, Slang, Yorkshire

Between reading Sarah Hall’s three novels earlier this year and Ross Raisin’s debut novel, I’ve found to my astonishment that I’ve become more than a bit obsessed with the Northern English dialect. One striking quality of Ross Raisin’s quite disturbing debut novel, God’s Own Country (known in the U.S. as Out Backward), is its reliance on very specific slang to advance the novel and to occlude the reality of what’s happening before us. I became so wonderfully caught up in the words that Raisin pulled a fast one on me,…read more

The History of Verizon, Part One (April to August 2000)

Posted by in Corporations, Labor, Telecoms, Unions, Verizon

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This is an experiment to see how blogging might be used to make sense of a rather enormous series of events. In an effort to understand why Verizon (formerly Bell Atlantic) became such a dominant force in the telecommunications industry, I am initiating the first in an open-ended series of inquiries that will be relying upon newspaper articles, public records, interviews, and any additional information I can get my hands on. My first step is to assemble a timeline with the available information. From here, I will more

New Review

Posted by in Uncategorized

My review of David Deans’s The Defenestration of Bob T. Hash, III appears in this morning’s Sun-Times. It also appears that my byline has been mysteriously reduced from “Edward” to “Ed.” I presume that my name has become too long for ever-shrinking books sections.


Viva La Guerra de Guerillas

Posted by in Uncategorized


Bombings in India

Posted by in India, Terrorism

BBC: “At least 29 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded after a series of explosions struck the western Indian city of Ahmedabad, officials have said.” This comes a day after seven blasts in Bangalore. Are these homemade bombs from SIMI? Or is SIMI being implicated by another terrorist group?


Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish

Posted by in donadio-rachel

Rachel Donadio: “James Joyce was forever hard up for cash. Too bad he never thought of touring Europe to promote Plumtree’s potted meat or lemon-scented soap, notable items in ‘Ulysses.’” If someone kicked Rachel Donadio in the teeth just on these two sentences alone, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. Thankfully, Donadio is leaving the New York Times Book Review. Hopefully, for good.


Bat Segundo and IE/Safari Users

Posted by in Bat Segundo

A few listeners have informed me that they are having difficulties accessing The Bat Segundo Show site using Internet Explorer and Safari. Unfortunately, the podPress plugin used to stream the programs has proven to be incompatible with WordPress 2.6. (And had I known this, I never would have upgraded.) I would downgrade to WP 2.5 to solve this, but then that would mean using an old backup of the database and losing entries. And the gentleman behind this plugin has yet to release a new version, although he has promised…read more



Posted by in Roundup

Giles Coren is an angry man. And his fury is focused on the elision of an indefinite article in one of his articles. I do not know whether or not Coren is currently enrolled in an anger management program, but I certainly trust this man to drive a cab in Manhattan. Burroughs: the early days. (via Spike) I’m skeptical about the two guys replacing Ebert and The Spastic Chipmunk Who Was Never One Tenth As Good as Siskel But Who Cannot Be Named Here. Jenny Diski on sleep. I can…read more


Misheard Lyrics — The New York Times Edition

Posted by in Music, New York Times

New York Times Corrections: “Because of an editing error, the TV Watch Column on Wednesday, comparing coverage of Senator Barack Obama’s trip overseas with coverage of Senator John McCain, gave an incorrect title in some copies for a Frankie Valli song used in a video by the McCain campaign to mock reporters’ coverage of Mr. Obama’s trip. The song is ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’ — not ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.’” One can only imagine the 20-minute conversation that occurred because of this slip-up. A poor…read more



Posted by in Roundup

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of men? The Shadow knows! So if I understand Sarah’s post correctly, James Wood and sheepshagging jokes represent a new kind of nonoverlapping magisteria, and someone needs to start uploading racy photos of James Wood in lewd positions at Cabo San Lucas damn pronto. Also, Mark Sarvas has read How Fiction Works six times. And that was just in the last week. It remains unknown just how many times James Wood has read himself. But all this talk of how one should…read more


More on McCain and the “Liberal Media”

Posted by in 2008 Election, mccain-john


Rush Knows Changes Aren’t Permanent, But Change Is

Posted by in Music, Video Games