Saturday, June 30, 2007

Summer reading


You can read more of my novel in progress, The Dizzies, in the summer issue of BOMB (not available online) and—right now!—at The Fanzine, where bits of my artwork are also viewable.

"I've always thought film festivals were vacations."
"Not when they're in Bosnia they're not."
"You were in Bosnia?"
"I only stayed for two days,” I admitted. "The projectors were in poor shape. Mostly we watched unsubtitled videos in someone’s basement, with an old ex-diplomat or possibly chauffeur giving an approximate narration. Lots of scenes with the wind blowing briskly through fields. I'm just saying. These film festivals aren't all fun and games."

(Thanks to Brian, Ben, and Casey.)

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Another one of mine

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Pure Powell

William Boyd writes on Alasdair Gray's "Lanark"—a great literature and life piece (via Jenny D):

I was working as a kitchen porter in the Tontine hotel in Peebles trying to earn some money to pay for a trip to Munich (where my German girlfriend lived). Not owning a car or a bicycle, I used to hitchhike to and from work. I was quite often given a lift by a young woman who drove a battered Land Rover (she often drove in bare feet, I noticed, a fact that added immeasurably to her unselfconscious, somewhat louche glamour). This was Stephanie Wolfe-Murray, and she lived further up the valley in which my parents' house was situated. In the course of our conversations during the various lifts she gave me, I must have told her about my dreams of becoming a writer. She told me in turn that she had just started up (or was in the process of starting up) a publishing house in Edinburgh, called Canongate. I have never met or seen Stephanie Wolfe-Murray since that summer of 1972 (I did get to Munich, though, in time for the Olympics and the Black September terrorist events), and I'm wholly convinced she has no memories at all of the Tontine hotel's temporary kitchen porter to whom she was giving occasional lifts that summer, but for me it was a strange moment to see "Canongate Publishing" on the title page of Lanark and to realise the unlikely connection - and stranger now to think that Lanark was the book that put Canongate squarely and indelibly on the literary map.

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Rubble 2

I'm downloading the camera...

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Last call...

The dust clears...a few final entries are visible...Here's Carla's final (?) sally, a narrative of enclosure and release:



[We Have Always Lived in the Castle; Housekeeping; The Long Loneliness; My Most Secret Desire; The Stranger; The Body; Possession; The Varieties of Religious Experience; Aureole; Second Skin; Actual Air]

But Poundstone's not taking it lying down. He writes: "Over lunch, I became obsessed with using my paperback copies of Gerald Kersh's On an Odd Note and Peter Rabe's The Spy Who Was 3 Feet Tall (a 1966 James Bond rip off featuring a Mbuti spy named 'Baby').

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That's me in the corner...


...hiding in the other room at Dizzyhead Saira's book party for her new novel, Chambermaid.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

The gilded age

William Poundstone—who declares "Title Bouts" the "most irresistible meme of 2007!"— pounds the competition with a one-two punch. The first is a nostalgic look at childhood both idyllic and cloistered—


And the second is a semester in the school of "hard knocks"!


Come on, people! You have till midnight tonight to enter. Send an image to thedizziesATgmailDOTcom.

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Dept. of I Can't Resist

Here's The Nation on the LA Weekly, with some material relevant to the PTSNBN:

What, then, drove [former OC Weekly editor Will] Swaim to quit? "Two problems," he said. "First, they gravely underestimate the value of writers. They have a kind of faux populism--they say they are against articles that say, 'Look how smart I am.' They have an insecurity about good writing, a combination of arrogance and ineptitude. Everything smart is ridiculed as pointy-headed." The New Times business model, he said, was the second problem. The company has imposed a "fat layer of middle management," to which editors are required to report. "Our covers have to be approved by a guy in Oakland. The film reviews are assigned by somebody in Denver. Five people oversee the marketing manager. They say it's a sophisticated business system. My sense is that it's lard. People who've never edited a newspaper tell editors how to edit." Another LA Weekly employee familiar with New Times's corporate strategy said the chain runs "the most Stalinist operation imaginable," with "commissars in Phoenix" overseeing every phase of the seventeen newspapers, "from graphics to the web."

Best line:

Like many mediocre newspaper chains, New Times has imposed productivity standards for writers: "Basically, they count words," Swaim said. "But you can't measure quality by the number of words you write. That would make the phone book the greatest publication of all time. For them, a 2,500-word investigative piece is worth only twice as much as a 1,200-word food review. It's grotesque. It really is bean counting." So Swaim quit. Now he's started a new alt weekly in Long Beach that competes directly with his old paper--and he took half a dozen of his top staff from the OC Weekly with him to the new paper, called the District. It began publishing in April and distributes 30,000 copies weekly at 1,100 locations.

Friday weirdness

Your weekly dose, via Electricity and Fruit:

A Hilton Head Island man confused bales of pine straw with a dead woman, and tried to resuscitate them early Tuesday morning, according to a sheriff's report.

The 39-year-old called deputies to the parking lot of Hilton Head Cabanas, 32 South Forest Beach Drive, at 1:49 a.m., saying he had just tried to perform CPR on a dead woman, according to the sheriff's report.

They arrived to find him talking to a large bale of pine straw.

When asked where the woman was, he pointed to the straw, the report stated.

The man told deputies five people knocked on his door and wanted to party. A woman asked him to come outside, and told him there was a dead woman laying in the parking lot, the report stated.

Deputies think the man had been drinking. The report says he thought Tuesday was Halloween and he had two empty bottles of bourbon inside his home.

The strokes

Life, death, swimming:

To earn the approval of a magically good teacher by hard work rather than by talent is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world.

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What's yr take on...title bouts?

Competition is coming to an end!

Our Canadian correspondent Jason—cinephile and bon vivant—tells us to disregard the subtitles in his latest entry, giving us the indispensible "I remember John Cassavetes, American genius. Young men, lost girls, stories in the worst way."

Come on, America!

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First paragraph as short story

The first paragraph of the fourth chapter of Annie Dillard's latest novel is like a Lydia Davis–y storyette unto itself (via Erasing.org):

After they married she learned to feel their skin as double-sided. They felt a pause. Theirs was too much feeling to push through the crack that led down to the dim world of time and stuff. That world was gone. They held themselves alert only in those few million cells where they touched. She learned from those cells his awareness and his courtesy. Love so sprang at her, she honestly thought no one had ever looked into it. Where was it in literature? Someone would have written something. She must not have recognized it. Time to read everything again.

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Thursday, June 28, 2007

No olive branch in sight

This is just too much.

Dizzyheads. I realize I've been endangering your health with these "title bouts," but what can I do? I'm just a conduit. You are the ones doing this to yourselves.

Check it out: The level of play has reached dizzying heights. Here comes Dizzyhead Jessica, back for a second round, with a spinal cracker (cf. "Come Together"?) entitled "The Young and the Restless."



But wait! Idalia sends in her second-round entry—let's call it "Fight Back and Win"!


* * *

New New-York Ghost is out...

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Theories and solutions

Romance gets held up by theory in my former student Crystal's debut offering—


...and Dizzyhead Hua—a/k/a "birthday boy"!—takes the saucy route to the limit, and teaches us a little bit about an entire continent in the process.

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Weekend read?

Via Ed: A PDF of the hard-to-find Pinball 1973, one of my favorite Murakami novels, maybe a tie with Norwegian Wood.

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Tall vs. Short

Competition heats up on the penultimate day of the "title bout" challenge. Gautam returns with what we believe is the highest stack to date, entitled "Divorce":



Dizzyhead Daren sends us this acoustic version:

Here's what I'm staring at on my bookcase...the titles on the right of the shelf second from top seem, weirdly, to work as narrative): Great Expectations, Duet for Cannibals, A Sad Affair, The Loser, Please Kill Me, Extinction. I think I'm going
rearrange all my books tomorrow.

And a coda:
Something Happened, Watt.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I've been reading...

...the spine-tingling narrative of Levi's entry:



[Here's the syllabus: Little Girl Lost, by Richard Aleas; The Good Son, by Craig Nova; The Sacred and Profane Love Machine, by Iris Murdoch; The Pledge, by Friedrich Durrenmatt; The Chill, by Ross Macdonald; Boredom and Contempt by Alberto Moravia; The Thirty Years War, by C. V. Wedgwood; The Pistol, by James Jones; The Murder Room, by P. D. James; The Confession, by Domenic Stansberry; Can You Forgive Her?, by Anthony Trollope; The Trial, by Franz Kafka; Kiss Her Goodbye, by Allan Guthrie; The Executioner's Song, by Norman Mailer; and The Afterlife, by Penelope Fitzgerald]

But he shouldn't rest on his laurels—here comes Idalia, pioneering the use of SER (same-edition repetition) for her latest entry:

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Thick writing!

Dizzyhead Robert informs us: The Believer heads the list of the Chicago Tribune's "50 Favorite Magazines"! (Thanks to alphaetical order, Believer comes first in the Books/Literary/Writing category...sorry, New Yorker!) Here is the tidbit:

The Believer. A monthly magazine in which length is no object, it vows to focus "on writers and books we like. We will give people and books the benefit of the doubt." The design is remarkable; the paper stock is thick and satisfying, and so is the writing.


UPDATE: And we get some second-hand lovin' from...CBS:

Then you move inside the newspaper to a list about "Our Favorite Magazines," as the Chicago Tribune did today. (Though it's nearly impossible to have a problem with any list that gives props to "The Believer.")

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Between the Bibles, and Any Witch Way You Can

Our Molls lashes back with a spiritual drama that is also a palindrome of sorts....



...but is it enough to fend off this playful assault from Idalia?

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The kind they used on "Penny Lane"?


At Stereogum, Dizzyhead Brandon explains the post horn to Sir Paul:

He was curious about my tattoos and wanted to know the stories behind them. I gave brief explanations, trying not to cut into our time. Listening back to the tape, I basically rushed him ("Um, Pynchon… and that's from this other book."). Sorry, Paul.

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Hey Joe

Joe Hagan is on Marfa public radio, talking about Bill Fox, right now!

Misreadings

"With money in hand, North Korea to close nuclear facility" — I read that as "family"!

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The remains of the day

Oof! It's becoming the battle of the ex-interns, as Dizzyhead Gautam unleashes this stack of visual/daylight resonators!



But wait—the Thomas/Ed H. counterattack is more forceful than any of us could have guessed!

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Where the day takes you

Dizzyhead Carla is up next...

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The recognitions

Today's entries have a title in common. The first, "American Purgatorio," comes to us from Dizzyhead Laird...



...and the second, "Brief Encounter," is the handiwork of Dizzyhead Jessica:


More in a bit...stay tuned!

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Spinal tap

The Light Reader—who first suggested this spinal contest—has two mini-narratives up at her home base, which I am posting here by kind permission!





(Didn't Nabokov say to read with the spine, not the skull?)

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On jeeps, trucks, donkeys

Today is the 57th anniversary of the start of the Korean War. My dad remembers the North attacking: "They marched down quickly to the south with tanks, machine guns, riding on jeeps,
trucks, donkeys, and marching on foot."

Two days later, the (corrupt) South Korean government retreated further south from Seoul, destroying the bridge over the Han River so that the North couldn't follow—at the same time trapping millions of Seoulites, whom they had told to stay put.

Now Seoul is the third most expensive city to live in, after Moscow and London. But the Korean War hasn't ended, in more ways than one.

Monday morning quarterbook

Dizzyhead Jason, our Canadian correspondent, has devised this dazzlingly lustmordant spinal narrative:

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Sunday, June 24, 2007

American dreams

The Dizzies is proud to present the first entry in the title bout challenge—Dizzyhead Mollie's epic narrative of striving and ignominy:

"I used my fiancé's library—with its many books about finance and religion, as well as lots of great literature in paperback—for this (and another one I'm still perfecting), and what I came up with reminds me of those "cinquains" I used to write in grade school... except it's more than 5 lines. I am the epic novelist of bookstacking, apparently."



If you can't see the titles: An American Dream, How to Make Money in Stocks, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, The Virtue of Selfishness, An Area of Darkness, Losing Ground, Harvest of Sorrow, Interrogations at Noon, The Defense, Crime and Punishment, An American Tragedy

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Bad trend?

Lots of bear attacks lately (though in this last one, the bear gets hit by a log).

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No country for old Mice

Joe Hagan, author of the great "Transit Byzantium" piece in the current Believer, will be appearing on Marfa, Texas's 93.5 FM to talk about it on Tuesday, June 26 at 11 a.m.—you can tune in online. More info here.

(Also via Joe's site, listen to The Mice!)

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The very best of Asia

At the NYT, the Limster on Asia Argento: Ms. Argento referred to [director Catherine] Breillat variously as “a tough cookie,” “a great intellectual,” “a control freak,” “like my mother” and “a crazy bitch.”

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Powell fleuve!

Via Jenny D: "I wanted to write a rolling narrative in which 'high' history jostles with 'low', in which significant events and themes are viewed as much as possible through the prism of the individual witness or participant."

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Are you gonna eat my way?

Like many Dizzyheads, I try to restrict my dining experiences to places approved by popular rock musicians—so imagine my delight when I read Dizzyhead Hua's post on a Berlin eatery that has Lenny Kravitz's seal of approval!

* * *

Issue #22 of McSweeney's contains three magnetized volumes in an attractive slipcase. One volume is entitled From the Notebook, containing contemporary writers' takes on "the unwritten stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald," extrapolated from scraps (sometimes just a couple of words) that he jotted down. Some excellent writers here—I was happy (and surprised!) to see Rachel Ingalls among them. Her story, "A Gift of the Gods," comes from the FSF tidbit: "The Dancer Who Found She Could Fly."

* * *
Also: Send in your "title bout" entries—

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Sit down

Yesterday I heard Genesis's "Invisible Touch" at a bank or somewhere and thought: I don't need to hear this song again!

Right now I'm in a café and I just heard it again! And now they're playing the rest of the album! The café is called DT UT and it has lost its lease and is closing in two days! I don't think it's because of the Genesis!

Friday Dizzyhead Challenge

Via Dizzyhead Jenny and the blog Bookshelves of Doom: Can you arrange titles of a few books so that they form a mini-narrative?

This is originally from the artist Nina Katchadourian's site (go there to see more):


Send your entries to thedizziesATgmailDOTcom! Cineastes can do the same thing with DVD/VHS boxes.

(Incidentally, I love these photos of Levi's bookcases.)

* * *

Also, new New-York Ghost is available . . .

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Swell maps

I like these Strange Maps (via $3.60)...




...which somehow remind me of Chris Jordan's statistical photos (via VSL):


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Stern warning

Richard Stern writes on his late friend Saul Bellow in the Chicago Tribune:

In the books, there are portraits. The day after Bellow's Nobel Prize had been announced, a professor he knew said, "I see that you've just been added to the ranks of Grazia Deledda and Sully Prudhomme" (two of the least-distinguished winners of the literature prize). More than 20 years later, Bellow's anger at this rude remark generated a magnificent portrait. It appears in his last published novel, "Ravelstein":

"Rakhmiel was neither a large man nor a healthy one, but he was physically conspicuous just the same -- compact and dense, high-handed, tyrannically fixated, opinionated. His mind was made up once and for all in hundreds of subjects and maybe this was the sign that he had completed his course. . . . [He] was, or had been once, a redhead, but the red hair had worn away and what remained was a reddish complexion -- in medieval physiology, sanguine: hot and dry. Or better yet, choleric. His face wore a polite expression and he often looked, walking fast, as if he were on a case -- on his way to serve a warrant or make a pinch. . . . He looked like a tyrant with the tyranny baked into his face. . . . My belief is that on the side he grew a little herb garden of good, generous feelings. He hoped, especially when he was wooing a new friend, that he could pass for a very decent man."


If you knew the portrait's original, as I did, you felt as Michelangelo's friends must have felt when they recognized a mutual acquaintance dangling from a devil's claws in the artist's "Last Judgment": "Thank God it's not me up there." Even in my abbreviation of the portrait, one can see how complex it is, the physical details, olfactory and gustatory, as well as visual, interspersed with general remarks from medieval physiology or English police work, and then its concession that Rakhmiel also "grew a little herb garden of good, generous feelings." Years ago, Bellow told me that writing fiction forced you into being open-minded, tolerant and just. Rakhmiel is not a simple expression of Bellow's anger or revenge. He's a complex portrait by the writer who may be the greatest portraitist in our literature.
I know some people actually prefer Stern to Bellow. Those people include Dizzyhead Jason and Dizzyhed ME. Not that it's a competition!

Which reminds me, I have two unread Sterns on the bookshelf...

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Reed only

Dizzyhead Jen sent this link to a small New York mag item about Rex Reed, which (alas) repeats as truth part of a satire perpetrated by Dizzyhead Dennis and myself, in the wake of his racist Oldboy review. The item says that Reed unleashes whoppers...

...Like panning Oldboy by positing, "What else can you expect from a nation weaned on kimchi." Or Spirited Away by proclaiming, "No surprise coming from a people raised on chicken katsudon."

(The first one is real, the second our version. Read the whole thing over at the PTSNBN.)

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Today's soundtrack

Listen to a special edition of Dizzyhead David's Inner Ear Detour.

Read Dizzyhead Dennis on the latest (and best) adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover, Dizzyhead Rachel on the Lambda Awards, and Mr. Devin McKinney on Paul McCartney, et al.: "[T]he other tracks hustle up behind ['Dance Tonight'] like clever public-school lads: each a scruffy jostler in loose tie and flapping shirt-tail, bright, fashionably deshabille, destined for a high-paying job and a home in the suburbs."

Y Can't I B U?



Norah: Had great times I won't forget—
Elmo: That's good!
Norah: Spelling words, like "yarn" and "yet"...

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Inland umpire

Check out my former student L.'s blog for some great writing on the recent "David Lynch Weekend" that she attended.

The woman to my right wore her long silver hair in a sort of anime chignon held up by chopsticks. Wavy tendrils fell down her long neck, on which balanced a smooth walnut head. I watched her large “transitioning” glasses fade clear from a warm, rosy brown. Her coral silk dress fell in generous folds around her yoga-toned body. Stopping before the bleachers at the back of the room, she took a cushion made of saffron fabric from her bag and placed it on the bench. She sat and removed a thin journal from her bag. The book had flowers printed on the front, and a word in black print that I couldn’t make out, but it looked like it said “dreams.”

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...and the swimming is queasy

Lede of the day: "With the arrival of summer, it's time for fun in the sand and sun—and for the occasional beach closing because of pathogens that can cause gastrointestinal illness." —NYT

Culturebox


We took Lefty up on his suggestion to visit the ICP, where we caught the Stephen Shore exhibit.

$12 seemed a little steep for a ticket but it was good stuff—in the aforementioned road trip journal, he recorded the TV shows he watched every night. Some titles are still familiar (60 Minutes), but others are deeply mysterious: What was, e.g., Room 222?

Also it made us start taking a lot of pictures—here is a skateboarder about to jump off some steps and narrowly avoid passersby on the sidewalk!

This reminded us of Little Children, how Patrick Wilson's character gets hypnotized en route to the library by the teens skateboarding. He had a very dopey look on his face but now we understand why!


* * *

It was a good day for gallery hopping as well—I really wanted to see Andy Goldsworthy's White Walls, which was ending its run. In my latest Astral Weeks column, I mention the reference to Goldsworthy in Kim Stanley Robinson's climate-change fiction Sixty Days and Counting. It didn't occur to me that White Walls in particular could be seen as a representation of the destruction of the polar ice sheets until reading Jerry Saltz's description in New York.


That's enough culture for today.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Also TBA (To Be Avoided)

"Summertime, and the x is y...," where x is a gerund and y is "easy" or something rhyming with "easy." This construction has been seen most recently at the Telegraph.

Just My Bill

Visitors to the Believer website might have noticed that one article isn't available online at all—not even the first couple paragraphs, as is usually the case. The piece, entitled "Transit Byzantium," by Joe Hagan, is a stunner—and you can only read it by picking up a copy of the actual magazine!

This piece alone is worth the $10 cover price, I assure you. It's a perfect example of one of my favorite kinds of pieces: The search for the reclusive genius, the creator gone mute for years, an artist of the missing. The inquisitive reporter begins with a myth and winds up with something more human—and sadder—than previously imagined.

What makes "Transit Byzantium" even more poignant is that the character in question (who I won't name here, for reasons you'll learn by the end of this sentence) told someone, who told Joe, that he doesn't want to be on the Internet. Traces can be found, of course, and I'll provide some links below, but to respect his wishes as much as possible, this story is only readable between the covers of the magazine.

Two other things:

1) A member of Team Dizzies mentioned nearly crying after reading the piece, and soon thereafter buying the album (a track of which appears on the Believer CD) and savoring it. (It's iTunes-able.)

2) A few days ago a friend mentioned she'd been listening to the Bill Fox track "from approximately ten in the morning to three in the afternoon."

Further links:

More info (and more listening) over at Joe's blog, The Driftwood Singers Present.

Here's an appearance on KCRW (mentioned in the piece) by the artist in question, found by Dizzyhead Arlo.

And just for kicks, here's some rare footage of the musician's potent power-pop band, The Mice (very different from the material on Transit Byzantium, but a kick to watch)...

* * *

And the Blvr. CD, by the way, is great. I'm From Barcelona's "The Painter" is a "Ballad of El Goodo" for the late aughts. (You can quote me.) "Don't give up on your dreams, boy/Don't give up on your dreams now, buddy," over and over again...

* * *

Also, unrelated: Many thanks to everyone who came out last week for the LIT reading—that was fun!

(And note to Eugene H.—drop me a line via the address in my Blogger profile...the address you gave didn't work!)

* * *

This weekend, picked up the new Esopus at Labyrinth. That's a dangerous magazine, because if you happen to glimpse it, you have to buy it. This issue has the usual wide-ranging smorgasbord...so far I've been particularly fond of the articulate and sublimely boring six-page found letter by a revolutionary (Kathy) to whom one imagines is her would-be swain, explaining why they can't get involved (all in massively thought-out political terms) . . . and the letter from Japan that artist James Lee Byars sent to MOMA curator Dorothy C. Miller. Actually it's not technically a "letter" . . . Ah, you'll just have to get the issue to see what it is.

But first—get the new Believer!

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Paper bag writer

Team Dizzies member Matt declares a moratorium on the phrase "can't act his/her way out of a paper bag" (vis-à-vis a review of the new Fantastic Four movie).

One critical commonplace I've tried to stomp out of my writing over the years is "It's like [another artist/artwork] on [drug]." But I'll use it if I can come up with a funny version. And I just read a description of a sky as "Turner-on-crack," that was pretty good.

Same with "It's like [someone]-meets-[someone]"—I'll use it if I can think of something surprising enough...wait, I did it in this week's Astral Weeks column! (Under review: Kim Stanley Robinson's inconvenient-truth-telling "Science in the Capitol" trilogy.)

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The Epicure's Dilemma

Seen Reading is a nifty Toronto-based blog that records what people have been...seen reading...on public transportation. (Via Dizzyhead Levi)

Two days ago I was on public transportation (in New York) five times, and saw:

Two people (different times of day) reading Angela's Ashes
One person reading The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
One person reading The Omnivore's Dilemma (which at first I registered as The Epicure's Lament!)

* * *

Other treats: Via Dizzyhead Paul—the Modern Mechanix blog. Up at Slate, Paul has a piece on radioactive eBay items (!), and Believer contributor Jana Prikryl has a fun Culturebox piece on "What the First Moviegoers Saw." (Question: Why is it called "Culturebox"?) And via Levi, the Annandale Dream Gazette.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saw you on the moving sidewalk

Dizzyhead Ed sends us this video update to the Future Shock post—a rarely seen Orson Welles–narrated whatsit!




* * *

And this is inexplicable.

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Amusing ourselves to death

Jane sends us this brain scrambler—the diction is Richmanesque, the voice Waitsian:

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Shock jock


Dizzyhead Thomas mentioned he'd picked up a copy of Alvin Toffler's Future Shock (with a hot pink cover). I asked what it was about, and he replied:

"Future Shock is about the present.

"Future Shock is about what is happening today to people and groups who are overwhelmed by change. Change affects our products, communities, organizations—even our patterns of friendship and love.

"Future Shock vividly describes the emerging super-industrial world—tomorrow’s family life, the rise of new businesses, subcultures, life-styles and human relationships—all of them temporary.

"Future Shock illuminates the world of tomorrow by exploding countless cliches about today.

"Future Shock will intrigue, provoke, frighten, encourage and, above all, change everyone who reads it."

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Setting free the bears

File under: Unintentional Puns (from Dizzyhead Sarah)—

Bulgaria's Last 3 Dancing Bears Freed

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) - After a lifetime of brutal
treatment, including walking on burning embers,
Bulgaria's last three dancing bears will get to rest
their paws at a mountain sanctuary, in an apparent end
to the centuries-old performance tradition in the
Balkans.

"Our aim is to make their life more bearable in their
remaining years," Ioana Tomescu of the Austria-based
Four Paws Foundation, which created the sanctuary,
told The Associated Press.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Endings

To continue with today's sermon: I just read, in the current Artforum (Summer 2007), Lynne Tillman's piece on Stephen Shore's 1973 roadtrip journal/artwork, in which he just entered the facts of the trip—photos with brief descriptions, credit card receipts, meals, etc.

More curious than Shore's goal of an objective diary is his last entry on the last page.

AUG 11 1973
MIL[E]AGE: 8268
BREAKFAST: GABRIELLE'S PANCAKE HOUSE,

Shore stopped after a comma. He stopped midthought. He just gave it up. [...] [H]is abruptness or falling away, his refusal to follow his routine to the last, is a mystery that recasts the entire project.

This most tentative of conclusions reminded me of Henry Darger's journal, which ended with "What will it be?—" "Darger's terminal dash now seems fraught with drama—as if he knew, all along, that his time would come," wrote someone in the PTSNBN.

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Tony Soprano-Powell

Powell loses his way in a sort of pallid drizzle of New Age babble, picke up at third hand along with his other impressions of 'the Sixties', and allows even his most robust characters to succumb to runes, horoscopes, and the sickly blandishments of Aleister Crowley. To invert, in fact, what has been so often and unfairly said against Powell, the verdict here must be that events are random and unstrung rather than intricately coincidental. The series does not end or conclude, still less achieve a resolution. It just stops.
That's Christopher Hitchens in 1998, on the last volume of Powell's A Dance to the Music of Time. (The piece, "Powell's Way," is in his book Unacknowledged Legislation.) His parting shot is damning: "I first began to read Dance when it was incomplete and there was something to look forward to. The pleasure then afforded was rather greater than that which is offered by a long look back."

Oof!

I read Hitchens's assessment when I was not quite done with the Dance, but maybe this was good—my expectations for the ending were sufficiently depressed that I found it (and the last volume in general) very much to my liking.

I've been thinking about the way the Dance ends recently, thanks to all the pieces regarding the Sopranos conclusion—the multi-year series "just stops," apparently, on a (seemingly?) mundane note. (I saw a few of the early episodes years ago, but haven't kept up.) But maybe that's the best way? Better than, say, a shootout or explosion?

Dizzyhead Levi has some more in-depth musings on these lines (though alas, he isn't a Sopranos aficionado, either!)—and I see that he discusses another Crowley (who I'm currently reading, hopefully to write about)...very intriguing...

UPDATE: Levi's second Powell installment.

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Books Do Furnish a Room

Dizzyhead Thomas writes, "The awesomest art blog [VVORK] seems to be quite bookish these days":


Top: “The Décor Project: BILLY” (North View) by Hadley Howes & Maxwell Stephens. Below: »Untiteld«, 2005 by Job Koelewijn.





Also: Washingtonienne is a fan of Jenny D's novel Heredity!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sour grapes?!

From the Daily Cartoonist (via the Reluctant Ed), on a new Asian American comic strip:

“Asian Americans have been an integral part of American society for centuries but have only recently begun making inroads into our popular culture,” said Ted Rall, Acquisitions and Development Editor for United Feature Syndicate. “What Margaret Cho did for stand-up comedy and ‘Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle’ did for the movies, Secret Asian Man—the first Asian-themed strip—does for the comics page. A brilliant artist and wonderfully succinct writer, Tak Toyoshima opens a window on topics that the comics have ignored until now. Most importantly, you don’t have to be Asian to love Secret Asian Man!”

Wait, remind me—what did Margaret Cho do for stand-up comedy...?

My other question is, why are the guy's eyebrows so huge?

* * *

Check out the new New-York Ghost!

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A ruler and a calculator, baby

Song of the day???

Later: I think I have found the new LOREN GOODMAN.

"It's unusual to find old things like that in whales"

This is rich with metaphorical possibility!

Suite 16

From Lacunae:

I've been waking up the last few mornings with Bob Dylan's "Changing of the Guards" stuck in my head. Yesterday, I thought "I wonder if that's a signal of something? Let's see: that bit where he sings 'sixteen years' at the very beginning of the song is supposed to be a reference to its having been sixteen years since his first record came out. What happened to me sixteen years ag... ah, yes--almost to the day: I graduated from college."

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Ambieneral

You can only get away with this stuff once in a blue moon . . . and since we just had a blue moon, Virginia Heffernan gets away with it hilariously (re Frederick Wiseman's "two-part, billion-minute program" anatomizing the Idaho state legislature):

From there, watching the movie begins to feel like being in a giant, well-organized meeting that never ends, where you never get to talk and where the issues — unless you live in Idaho — don't have anything directly to do with you. After video voyeurism, subjects move to matters educational, agricultural, jurisdictional, procedural, soporifical, sleeperal, ambieneral, losttrainofthoughteral. ...What, huh? No, I'm awake. I'm just dozing.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

You and your reading

Via Moistworks, This Mortal Coil's cover of Chris Bell's "You and Your Sister."

(For previous/additional musings, click the "Vulgar Boatmen" tag.)

* * *

Tonight: LIT mag reading, with Stephanie Anderson, Rebecca Wolff, Ishmael Beah, Sampson Starkweather, and myself!

(It's from 6-10 at the New School's Wollman Hall, with the actual readings beginning around 7.)

* * *

Team Dizzies Cannes correspondent Matt Singer: overrated?

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Cormac Oprah livebloggery

Last week, Cormac McCarthy was on Oprah; I happened to catch the interview and in my excitement found myself liveblogging it. Since some blogs are still linking here for that reason, I'm organizing all of those posts for easy reading. Just click here.

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New joke for my standup routine

"So the other day I was at a job interview and the HR guy was looking at my résumé suspiciously. I asked if there was a problem. He pointed to the 'Awards and Honors' section. Oh?? Was I wrong to have put down 'Person of the Year, Time Magazine, 2006'?"

Thank you—you've been a great audience—good night!

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Contractual obligation


The dizzies...

By the way—tomorrow I'll be reading at the LIT magazine launch party...and I think I'll be reading yet another section of that novel-in-progress, The Dizzies...

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Rock on


From Dizzyhead Alan—a photo of the grave of Buffalo native Rick James.

Also: An interview from the Believer archives—Richard Rorty, RIP.

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Auction!

From McSweeney's:

NOW WOULD BE
A GOOD TIME.

- - - -

As you may know, it's been tough going for many independent publishers, McSweeney's included, since our distributor filed for bankruptcy last December 29. We lost about $130,000—actual earnings that were simply erased. Due to the intricacies of the settlement, the real hurt didn't hit right away, but it's hitting now. Like most small publishers, our business is basically a break-even proposition in the best of times, so there's really no way to absorb a loss that big.

We are committed to getting through and past this difficult time, and we're hoping you, the readers, who have from the start made McSweeney's possible, will help us.

Over the next week or so, we'll be holding an inventory sell-off and rare-item auction, which we hope will make a dent in the losses we sustained. A few years ago, the indispensable comics publisher Fantagraphics, in similarly dire straits, held a similar sale, and it helped them greatly. We're hoping to do the same.

So if you've had your eye on anything we've produced, now would be a great time to take the plunge. For the next week or so, subscriptions are $5 off, new books are 30 percent off, and the entire backlist is 50 percent off. Please check out the store and enjoy the astounding savings, while knowing every purchase will help dig us out of a big hole.

Many of our contributors have stepped up and given us original artwork and limited editions to auction off. We've got original artwork from Chris Ware, Marcel Dzama, David Byrne, and Tony Millionaire; a limited-edition music mix from Nick Hornby; rare early issues of the quarterly, direct from Sean Wilsey's closet; and more. We're even auctioning off Dave Eggers's painting of George W. Bush as a double-amputee, from the cover of Issue 14. More special items will be appearing as we go, so check back often.

This is the bulk of our groundbreaking business-saving plan: to continue to sell the things we've made, albeit at a greatly accelerated pace for a brief period of time. We are not business masterminds, but we are optimistic that this will work. If you've liked what we've done up to now, this is the time to ensure we'll be able to keep on doing more.

Plenty of excellent presses are in similar straits these days; two top-notch peers of ours, Soft Skull and Counterpoint, were just acquired by Winton, Shoemaker & Co. in the last few weeks. It's an unsteady time for everybody, and we know we don't have any special claim to your book-buying budget. We owe all of you a lot for everything you've allowed us to do over the last nine years, for all the time and freedom we've been given.

Once this calamity is averted, we'll get back to our bread and butter—the Believer Music Issue is already creeping into mailboxes everywhere; Issue 24 of our quarterly is in the midst of a really pretty silkscreening process; and in July the fourth issue of Wholphin, our DVD magazine, will slip over the border from Canada, bringing with it some very good footage of Maggie Gyllenhaal and a Moroccan drummer who messes up a wedding in an entertaining way. And then, a couple of months after that, we'll publish a debut novel from a writer named Millard Kaufman. This book is exactly the kind of thing McSweeney's was created to do: it came through the mail, without an agent's imprimatur, and it was written by a first-time novelist. This first-time novelist is 90 years old. His novel was pulled from the submissions pile and it knocked the socks off of everyone who read it. Millard may well be the best extant epic-comedic writer of his generation, and he stands at equal height with the best of several generations since.

Please do whatever you can to help. We thank you a thousand times. We'll keep updating everybody on how this is going over the next few weeks; for now, pick up a few things for yourself, your friends, for Barack Obama. More news soon—thanks for reading.

* * *

I must say some of these items are very tempting...original Tony Millionaire drawings from The Believer!

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Writers revealed — Translating Maugham — In his shoes

Haven't had a chance to listen yet, but Felicia Sullivan's Writers Revealed show has just started—you can download it as a podcast.

My iPod doesn't work!

* * *

Random recent Netflix connexions: Both Pan's Labyrinth and The Painted Veil feature deliberately obscured patrimony!

Anyone know why The Painted Veil was called The Painted Veil? The movie gave no explanation—and that's OK!

(In other Somerset M. news, Maud's recent posts had me dusting off Cakes and Ale...)


* * *

Via Ed, I found Jennifer Weiner's thoughts on the Cormac interview pretty interesting:

I just wonder whether McCarthy's first wife, and first son, were as happy burnishing the myth of the struggling, starving, lecture-fee-spurning artiste as McCarthy himself was. You want to be all stinky-breathed and starving in a forty-dollar-a-week flophouse, do it on your lonesome. You've got a wife and kids? Get over yourself and take a paying lecture gig every once in a while.

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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Animusic collective

Dizzyheads, are you ready to take a ride on...

STARSHIP GROOVE?

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Things We Said Today — Three is the magic number

Some last notes on the McCartney kerfuffle from Brooklyn Ed and West Coast Mike. And for good measure, Our Molls weighs in a final time.

And there's a classic Jenny D post up, on the power of threes in exercise, professoring, and music:
My great pleasure in those years was sightreading chamber music in some farfetched variant--you know, like reading the viola part in a string quartet on the clarinet--or else having a maniacal week of rehearsals in the small orchestra for a school musical, when my genius music teacher Al Clayton realized that he could rent me an instrument at the beginning of the week & I would be able to play it by the end of the week & it was both cheaper and more educationally valuable than paying a pro! So I had those funny little stands where you can rest your clarinet and your English horn or whatever funny combination of instruments you need depending on the orchestration of the particular show. And in general the work you do on each instrument is specific to that instrument and yet also has some cumulative benefit for your playing in general. And triathlon is just like this, it's a threesome of activities each of which has different sub-challenges (climbing versus sprinting on the bike, different sorts of running at different distance, working on the transitions between) and all of which go wonderfully well together, and it is what I am most excited about doing in future!

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A/k/a a scene from every Korean movie made since the mid '90s

An evening out with colleagues here follows a predictable, alcohol-centered pattern: dinner, usually some grilled pork, washed down with soju, Korea’s national vodkalike drink; then a second round at a beer hall; then whiskey and singing at a “norae bang,” a Korean karaoke club. Exhorted by their bosses to drink, the corporate warriors bond, literally, so that the sight of dark-suited men holding hands, leaning on one another, staggering toward taxis, is part of this city’s nighttime streetscape. —NYT

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Embracing the Zot

From the NYT (via Jane):

College baseball is typically ruled by all the usual
characters: Longhorns, Tigers, Seminoles, Hurricanes and
Bulldogs. They gather every June in Omaha to crown a
national champion. Somehow, Anteaters do not seem to fit
into the club.

“I was definitely skeptical about that, too,” said Cody
Cipriano, a senior infielder. “But you have to embrace the
Anteater. You have to embrace the Zot.”

The Zot, as Cipriano explained, is the low-pitched sound
made by an excitable anteater. Before Irvine takes the
field, players in the dugout chant “Zot! Zot! Zot!” To
complement the rally cry, they make a hand gesture in the
shape of an anteater head. As a demonstration, Cipriano
raised his pinkie and index fingers, while pressing his
thumb to the bottom of his middle and ring fingers, forming
the nose.

Last weekend, when Irvine played Texas in the regional,
thousands of Texas fans were flashing their patented
hook-’em-Horns sign. About 50 Irvine fans were making their anteater heads, which looked a lot like the horns. In a startling upset, Irvine beat Texas twice to advance.

Two momentary stays against confusion

Chicago Dizzyheads—

Today, June 9 at 4:30, there's a poetry reading at the Printers Row Book Festival, featuring A Public Space contributors Robyn Schiff, Nick Twemlow, Srikanth Reddy, and more. They'll be at the Lucille Clifton Poetry Tent. This is on "historic Printers Row," around Dearborn and Polk.

New York Dizzyheads—

On Monday, June 11 at 7, Poetry Magazine and McSweeney's co-sponsor a night at the Reader's Room at Mo Pitkin's House of Satisfaction (34 Avenue A btw. 2nd and 3rd) featuring John Ashbery, Lynn Emanuel, and Charles Bernstein, to celebrate The McSweeney's Book of Poets Picking Poets.

Some press release info about The McSweeney's Book of Poets Picking Poets:
The first McSweeney's foray into contemporary poetry brings together one hundred poems by fifty poets in ten poet-chains, and makes us wonder why we waited so long to try this. How it works: Ten poets choose a poem of their own and a poem by another poet, who then does the same, and so on unto the fifth generation. Thus DC Berman leads to Charles Simic by way of James Tate, and other chains run through Mary Karr, Denis Johnson, C.D. Wright, Michael Ondaatje, John Ashbery, Mark Doty, Dean Young, Yusef Komunyakaa, and dozens more.

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Friday, June 08, 2007

Twin peak

It's former-intern day here at The Dizzies: Check out Twin Thousands' "Like You a Lot," featuring the ethereal vocals of my favorite cellist (sorry, Yo-Yo), Gretta Cohn...I like it a lot!

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The Unsinkable Mollie Wilson

Dizzyhead Mollie didn't care for the New Yorker's piece on Paul McCartney, and her reasons were sound and stylishly put. (I would expect nothing less! M. wrote the inaugural "Essay" for me, over at the PTSNBN, a delicious skewering of Madonna's shouldn't-have-been-a-book, Mr. Peabody's Apples.) Mollie's so good her post made me rethink my own enthusiasm. (That's probably too strong a word—I wrote here that I found the repetition of hoary Beatles chronology comforting, like an origin myth. OK, I'm a sap.)

I linked to her post yesterday. This morning, Dizzyhead Devin mentioned some sort of kerfuffle over at Restricted View...lo and behold, there is time for fussing and fighting, my friend: The author of the piece has posted several miffed comments on Mollie's blog, and the whole thing was picked up by the Huffington Post. Mollie responds as civilly as she can...but the New Yorker writer continues to get massively worked up; he throws in plenty of generalized "zingers" about blogging, which are juvenile in a way Mollie's criticisms never are. ("If only bloggers ran the actual publishing world!" "Damn, this blogging stuff is fun! You just kind of type away...") Most irksome is his sense of superiority; of course he's a better writer than our Molls; he writes for the New Yorker! She's just a blogger...

Mollie's headline today: "I could make it longer, if you like the style..."

Game, set, match: Wilson!

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Thursday notes






















1. The new New-York Ghost is out, featuring beautifully numbing extracts from the decades-spanning diary of a reclusive farmer. Visit the site to subscribe (it's free!).

2. From D.T. Max's New Yorker piece on the UT archive: Working titles for DeLillo's End Zone included "The Self-Erasing Word" and "Modes of Disaster Technology." (Everyone knows White Noise's original title, right?)

3. More summer tunes already? YES. New Psychic Envelopes song is up—"Providence #3."

4. I really need to get with the program and keep reading Darren Wershler-Henry's The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting (just reviewed in the TLS). And also on the hyphenated-name list: Daniel Heller-Roazen's The Inner Touch, which gets an early vote for cover of the year.

5. The Beatlemaniac over at Restricted View didn't care for the New Yorker's McCartney piece: "I would also be too embarrassed to write this sentence: 'I suggested to McCartney that it's difficult to know whom to blame for Ono's presence at the [Let It Be] sessions—Lennon, who brought her along, or Ono, who stayed when she was obviously unwelcome.' Did you now. I am sure Paul thanked you for that insight." Ha!

6. I've Been Reading Lately—rapidly becoming one of my favorite lit-blogs—looks at Simenon, who "comes across as a sort of unholy mix of Julian McLaren-Ross, Anthony Powell, William Roughead, and Michael Lesy. Which, now that I think about it, would also serve as a good description of Luc Sante..." What a good mix of referents, eh?

7. Remind me to return my library books today.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

"I" Tunes


Last week, Dizzyhead Hua invited me to write about my songs of summer—and in a strange fit of compositional productivity I banged out some thoughts in roughly an hour. Visit his blog to listen and read more...As Charlie Rose would say, "I am honored to call him my friend..."

[UPDATE: Realized today that the Robyn Hitchcock song I love so much isn't called "Element of Light," but "Airscape"! Thanks to the other Robyn fan, Jenny D, for helping me figure this out...]



Photo: The historic ukulele-vase exchange between Arlo Ogg and me

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Some notes...

...on yesterday's impromptu "liveblogging": All quotes are definitely approximate. I was typing as fast as I could...I didn't even realize I was blogging till I was blogging, if that makes sense.

Here's one slip-up:

"It's just full of bright interesting people with interest." [He didn't just stop there, he probably said "with interesting thoughts."]

Some clarifications:

Oprah said The Road was a "perfect Father's Day gift."

Cormac said the line about food and shoes.

* * *

All in all–a fascinating look at two people working their respective sides of the street, in CMcC's words.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Apocalypse and audience

O: Are we to ever know what actually happens?

[C. is mellow, smiling, cheek always on fist...congenial but evasive! Agrees with most of what she's saying...but elaborates just a touch....]

C: You should be thankful for what you have.

O: You haven't worked out the "God" thing?
C: Depends what day you ask me. [Smiles]
O: Do you care that now millions of people are reading your books
C: In all honest, I have to say I don't, I just don't. [Smile-laughs]....So what? It's OK, there's nothing wrong with it.
O: You are a different kind of author, let me tell you...
C: [No apparent response]
O: "Read it if you want to..."

FINIS

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Two things

"You gotta have food and shoes."

[applause/commercial break]

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Poverty

O: Are you just not interested in material [things]?

They take a distant second place to living your life and doing what you want to do...

I always knew I didn't want to work....It was my number one priority.


O: So you have worked at...not working.
C: Absolutely.

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On women

I find them very mysterious

Still you do...three wives later...?

[Yes]

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Science

On this Santa Fe place where they're meeting: "It's just full of bright interesting people with interest."

"I don't know any writers...I would much prefer to hang out with scientists."

He's 73 years old!

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It's a—

"Perfect Father's Day gift"

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Wrench

To have a child when you're older, it wrenches you up out of your nap...it forces the world on you, and I think it's a good (great?) thing...

[break for commercial, O. says it's his "first television interview evah"]

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All quotes approximate

Q: Is this a love story to your son?
A: Hmm...[in a way I guess]...it's embarrassing...
Q: I just saw you blush—

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Origins

I just had this image of what this town [El Paso] might look like in 50 or 100 years...fires on a hill...

Four years later, I was in Ireland [woke up and realized it was a book] —

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I'm liveblogging this I guess?

"Today I'm going to do something better than I've ever done"—how's that for hubris? [appealing laugh]

Faulkner said: I only write when I'm inspired, but I'm inspired every day

You can't [clock?] things out, you just have to trust where it comes from....

* * *

I had no idea where [The Road] was going...

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The Passion of the Writing

O: Are you passionate about writing?

C: I don't know...passionate sounds like a pretty fancy word...I like what I do...Some writers have said that [writing is] a chore and a burden...[but I don't feel that way]

This interior image of something that's perfect....

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CMcC sez

"You work your side of the street, I'll work mine"!

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Cormac McCarthy on OPRAH right now!

"A warning...a fable...a love story..."

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Blowing your mind — Origin myth — Download this song

I liked Aimee Mann's piece in the Times on Sgt. Pepper—appealingly written:

My ignorance extended to the opening song, which I took at face value as a real live introduction of the singer Billy Shears, who, whoever he was, became my favorite, with his dopey baritone, in humble gratitude for his pals — bless them, it all was so innocent, those marmalade skies and winking meter maids (whatever they were). The darkest moments were with the runaway girl — although a throwaway line in “Getting Better” (“I was cruel to my woman, I beat her...”) gave me pause. He beat her? What the heck? But hey — things were getting better all the time, so ... I shrugged and let it go.
And then things took a weird turn: a nightmare cacophony of strings, someone blowing his mind out in a car — what was that? Did he get shot in the head? What were the holes in Albert Hall? Things had gotten creepy and dark, and it lost me. I started skipping that last song.

(I remember being mystified at that line in "A Day in the Life"...and about Billy Shears!) Last night I read the recent New Yorker piece on Paul McCartney, not thinking I'd be too interested ...but it was pretty good, and I got a little choked up reading about how the Beatles formed, etc., a story I've read dozens of times, maybe a tiny bit of new info (a new quote or something) each time round—it's like an origin myth...it is worthy of our continued attention!

* * *

REALIZED: I've been doing a lot of Beatles posts lately—just wanted to alert readers to this incredible artifact on Dizzies Team Member Hua's blog: Gilberto Gil covering "Sgt. Pepper"!

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"Beach" read

My first Salon piece ever is up—a review of Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach.

Doesn't "Chesil" sound Korean?

Another thought (I couldn't figure out how to work this in): It's like the anti–Love in the Time of Cholera.

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Framing the face of the umpire

Our baseball correspondent Jane sends us some more odd news:

The Mississippi Braves manager [Wellman] went wild Friday during his team's 7-6 loss at Chattanooga. His tirade took him on a tour of the diamond as he covered home plate with dirt, threw a base and crawled on his belly...Wellman came storming out of the dugout after the plate umpire ejected pitcher Kelvin Villa for apparently using a foreign substance.

Wellman threw his hat, then began shouting and framing the face of the umpire with his hands about 6 inches apart.

After that, he got down on one knee, piled dirt on home plate and used a finger to outline the shape of the plate. He stalked to third base, pulled up the bag and walked toward second, then tossed third base into the outfield.

Then he dropped on his belly and pantomimed a military crawl to the edge of pitcher's mound, where he picked up the rosin bag. He pretended it was a grenade, pulled an imaginary pin with his teeth and launched it toward the plate umpire, hitting his left foot.

Wellman motioned that he was ejecting the umpire, picked up second base, walked into the outfield and picked up the bag he'd tossed. He walked toward the outfield gate with both bases.


(The YouTube clip is pretty entertaining...)

Coming soon—an extract from a "baseballers behaving badly" book I wrote some years back!

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Post post

Over at Conversational Reading, Scott Esposito's conducting a multi-part interview with one of my favorite good-book-hounds, Chad Post (formerly of Dalkey Archive, and now spearheading the University of Rochester's translation program).

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The ginger ban

This has us "seeing red"!

A Newcastle family claim they have been forced from two homes by thugs who have targeted them over their ginger hair.

Even the name of the club is evocative

Beatles vs. Stones:

On July 26, 1968, Mick Jagger flew from Los Angeles to London for a birthday party thrown in his honor at a hip new Moroccan-style bar called the Vesuvio Club—“one of the best clubs London has ever seen,” remembered proprietor Tony Sanchez. Under black lights and beautiful tapestries, some of London’s trendiest models, artists, and pop singers lounged on huge cushions and took pulls from Turkish hookahs, while a decorative, helium-filled dirigible floated aimlessly about the room. As a special treat, Mick brought along an advance pressing of the Stones’ forthcoming album, Beggars Banquet, to play over the club’s speakers. Just as the crowd was “leaping around” and celebrating the record—which would soon win accolades as the best Stones album to date—Paul McCartney strolled in, and passed Sanchez a copy of the forthcoming Beatles single “Hey Jude/Revolution,” which had never before been heard by anyone outside of Abbey Road Studios. Sanchez recalled how the “slow, thundering buildup of ‘Hey Jude’ shook the club”; the crowd demanded that the seven-minute song be played again and again. Finally, the club’s disc jockey played the flip side, and everyone heard “John Lennon’s nasal voice pumping out ‘Revolution.’” “When it was over,” Sanchez said, “Mick looked peeved. The Beatles had upstaged him.” —John McMillian, in the new Believer

* * *

Great to see so many Dizzyheads last night! (What I read was a trimmed version of the second half of the excerpt that appears in the brand new BOMB.)

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Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Future

Jane sends this news:


"When the Koreans start something, they have dedication and discipline so they get very good results," said Monica "Krazee Grandma" Masuda, a 67-year-old from Sweden who has been a B-girl for eight years — and pulled off a headspin of her own during an exhibition at Friday's group performance battle. "Korean breakers are top level in the world."

* * *

Extra value for readers of Dizzyhead Paul's Birotron piece in The Believer: More photos of "what The Future looked like in 1977."

* * *

Tonight's the night—I'll be at KGB with Rivka Galchen and Jill Bialosky, reading from . . . The Dizzies!

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pen pal

NYT story of the week?

Another challenge is that Livescribe is being introduced into a world where young people are spending more time typing text messages on cellphone keypads and writing less in longhand.

Paul Saffo, a longtime technology forecaster who teaches at Stanford’s School of Engineering, said, “Ironically, the big behavior change may be to get this younger generation to pick up this unfamiliar instrument called the pen.”


(On the nomen/omen front, I like that the inventor of this computerrific pen is named "Marggraff"—the "graph" being "marg"-inalized??)


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