Reluctant Habits

The Bat Segundo Show: Laurel Snyder

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Laurel Snyder recently appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #313. Laurel Snyder is most recently the author of Any Which Wall. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Concerned about walls and their failed sentience throughout the years. Author: Laurel Snyder Subjects Discussed: The extraordinary conditions in which Any Which Wall was written, the flexibility that comes from being a small fish, a writing identity tied to poetry and waitressing, the tendency for books to come quicker in the children’s market, financial experiments that involve finishing novels, YA authors and creating a backlist,…read more

Review: The Road (2009)

Posted by in Film

In 2006, an incalculable number of retroussĂ©-nosed snobs — most possessing little understanding or appreciation of speculative fiction — were justly charmed by Cormac McCarthy’s YA novel, The Road. It was a common weakness for such ostensibly erudite essayists as James Wood to not comprehend that McCarthy, like nearly every other speculative fiction author, was extrapolating his own values of fatherhood and manhood onto his fantastical canvas. Functional illiterates, without even an elementary knowledge of the exciting New Weird and steampunk movements then in full bloom, raved that The Road…read more

Review: The Missing Person (2009)

Posted by in Film

Noah Buschel’s The Missing Person (opening in New York today) is, as the title intimates, yet another entry from the Hey, I’ve Got a Clever Twist! school of filmmaking. Now several clever twists, nestled within a narrative at unpredictable points, are perfectly wonderful. Some American independent filmmakers, such as Darren Aronofsky and Shane Carruth (the latter regrettably absent from filmmaking since his low-budget breakthrough Primer), have fulfilled this grandiose requisite of complex storytelling, which shares some qualities with the “prodigious fiction” identified by literary critic Tom LeClair in 1996. But…read more

The Bat Segundo Show: Rebecca Solnit

Posted by in Bat Segundo

Rebecca Solnit appeared on The Bat Segundo Show #312. Solnit is most recently the author of A Paradise Built in Hell. Condition of Mr. Segundo: Finding hostility within legitimate clarification. Author: Rebecca Solnit Subjects Discussed: William James’s second treatise on pragmatism, the alternative notion which means the same as a preexisting notion, General Funston’s martial response to the 1906 earthquake vs. Pauline Jacobson’s push for camaraderie, beliefs conditioned by response, the psychological reset position, assumptions about human nature, innate helpfulness, responses to the Blitz bombings, the minority option of panic,…read more

White Men Sweep 2009 National Book Awards

Posted by in National Book Awards

Tonight, the National Book Awards gave every major award to a white man, demonstrating that snubbing women writers isn’t limited to Publishers Weekly. Even the honorary awards were given to Dave Eggers and Gore Vidal, proving that even in the 21st century, white men are still capable of winning everything. The only woman who won an award was Flannery O’Connor for Best of the National Book Awards Fiction. Alas, she’s been dead for over forty-five years. Here are the winners: FICTION: Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin (Random House)…read more

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Thoughts on the Mime

Posted by in Mimes, Philosophy

1. The difference between the theatrical and the theoretical mime. — In the one the performance is palpable, but removed from pragmatic use, so that the mime is widely reviled out of habit, even when his actions beckon a half-hearted attention. Some wish to beat the mime to a pulp. More uncivilized spectators, containing their feral thoughts within the imagination, ruminate over whether or not the mime’s hypothetical gush of blood will be as invisible as the box that he is “trapping” himself in. One sees the mime’s principles within…read more

Pigeon Impossible

Posted by in Animation

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The Death of Ken Ober

Posted by in Obits, Television

Ken Ober is dead at 52. For all I know, Ken Ober was a nice guy. I truthfully hadn’t even thought about him for more than a decade until people fired the news my way. But since he is dead, his legacy — limited as it was to a somewhat forgotten and not terribly revered television show (well, that, and apparently writing and producing installments of Mind of Mencia) — will be framed around the talent he brought to said program. Like many who grew up during a particular era,…read more

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The Return of Bat Segundo

Posted by in Bat Segundo

After spending several weeks away from Bat Segundo, I’m happy to announce that I’ve figured out a way to carry on doing the podcast without going insane. There will be five more podcasts released in 2009, with the first new show released on November 20, 2009. This quintet represents three conversations I’ve been sitting on — one of which may prove to be one of the most controversial episodes in the show’s history — and two new interviews which I have scheduled. (Indeed, I actually broke my hiatus for one…read more

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A Significant Object!

Posted by in fiction

I was invited by Josh Glenn to contribute to his marvelous Significant Objects project, which has writers creating stories around objects, thereby enhancing the object’s significance with the written word. I was initially sent a list of objects to pick from, but did not look at any them. I felt that it was my moral imperative to live up to the project’s credo and write solely around one object, randomly selected by the proprietor. Josh kindly obliged, and assigned me the object pictured on the right. I then set out…read more

Review: 2012 (2009)

Posted by in Film

Roland Emmerich’s 2012 is slightly better than Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow — the hack director’s two previous opuses involving mass devastation. But that’s a bit like saying that imbibing a thimble of urine is better than eating a shit sandwich or employing an embalmed corpse as a surrogate dining table. That one must pay ten George Washingtons for the privilege of drinking a soupçon of pee is hardly a recommendation. But the piss remains compelling. For it has become every dutiful American’s duty to sit through vile…read more

The Possibilities of Small

Posted by in Business

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Ben Macintyre: The Latest Sourpuss to Run Away From Possibilities

Posted by in Reading

The Times‘s Ben Macintyre has mangled his mind in a senseless shower of his own hysteria. The Internet, he writes, is killing storytelling. I could respond to Mr. Macintyre’s foolish article with a vigorous list of items, pointing to such recent projects as Significant Objects, which has featured notable writers creating stories around eBay items, and Electric Literature, recently the subject of a New York Times article. But I think the more important question to ask is how such a yutz could write such an uninformed article. Reading, last I…read more

Untapped Currency

Posted by in Uncategorized

Headspace hijacked by entirely unanticipated events. A slight reconfiguration of the brain, a sudden impulse to stop here and start there. Whittling down distractions. The very thing keeping so many others mired in pathetic fixations and unhealthy obsessions and desperate gropes at credibility as the whole operation burns into oblivion, with the remaining gaunt wolves sniping about at the remaining scraps. One need not be a depressive to survive, although miserable people sure do love their company. They are already starting to turn on each other, and it’s sad to…read more

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Reminder: Live Conversation with Sarah Hall on Tuesday!

Posted by in hall-sarah

This is a quick reminder that Sarah Hall and I will be in conversation tomorrow night (i.e., the evening of the week commonly referred to as Tuesday) at McNally Jackson at 7:00 PM. Since there is a good deal of weather within Hall’s most recent novel and weather forms the bedrock of all good small talk, it is very likely that we will be introducing meteorological patterns, either literally or figuratively, into the conversation at some point. Hall’s fourth novel, How to Paint a Dead Man, was the subject of…read more