Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Dizzies Newsfeeds for HALLOWEEN!

Quick links — Dizzyhead Celebrity Talking Head Matt Singer on some childhood webwork, starring your favorite neighborhood arachno-humanoid...Halloween issue of The New-York Ghost is still on (virtual) newsstands...the folks at the admirable PDF literary magazine Essays & Fictions have also included the super-rare debut number of the Ghost in their new (second) issue (got that?)...speaking of Halloween, check out...Thought for memoir: The Internet is good for funny lists—this is the Onion AV Club's take on the most ridiculous monster-movie menaces...Over at I've Been Reading at Lately, Levi's been musing on ghosts and ghost stories (with a bonus: some sporadic lively discussion with Jenny D!)...

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

"Twin Cinema"

This is what an Oulipian musical project might sound like:

Performing a song by one artist in the style of another—in this case, New Pornographers by way of Michael McDonald!

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Will the circle be unbroken?

Astral Weeks subject John Crowley reads Dizzyhead Rachel!

(Coming soon: Part 2 of my trip through Crowley's Aegypt.)

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Topic for an allegorical painting

They were later transferred to an old box that sat atop her garage refrigerator for years, “with a sleeping bag on top of that,” Mrs. Dunievitz said. “And sometimes the cat slept out there on top of it all.” —NYT

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Spaniels vs. camping!

The "Washingtonienne" (Jessica Cutler) gets in on the j'aime meme—here's an excerpt:

I like: spaniels, Art Deco, Miami, palm trees, Las Vegas, going topless, tiki, rare meat, pencil skirts, wiggle dresses, orchids, calacas, "red sauce" Italian restaurants, disco fries, Chinatown, Coney Island, Baltimore...

I don't like: camping, drinks made from mixes, not having a reservation somewhere, bistro menus, taxes, pale skin, long engagements, charity events, high-maintenance relationships of any kind, sunflowers, "country" decor...

Isn't it time you sent me yours? Address: thedizziesATgmailDOTcom.


My rebuttal!

Still thinking about this previous post, excerpt from the article on Buffalo's decline.

1. Isn't it unfair to compare Buffalo's college-degree-holder percentage with...Manhattan's (surely the highest in the country)? Better to compare it to the national average?
2. "Buffalo wasn't a university town like Boston"—no, but is any town a university town like Boston?
3. The "Scandinavian passion" strikes me as weird and unproveable?


Friday, October 26, 2007

Wide right

This has come to me from various Dizzyheads: "Can Buffalo Ever Come Back," an article in the latest City Journal.

Buffalo wasn’t a particularly skilled city in 1970, and it isn’t one now. Fewer than 19 percent of the city’s adults boast a college degree; the number in Manhattan is 57.5 percent. Whereas New York always had some industries, such as finance, that required brainpower, Buffalo’s industries were invariably brawn-based. Buffalo wasn’t a university town like Boston, and it didn’t have Minneapolis’s Scandinavian passion for good lower education. It had the right skill mix for making steel or flour, not for flourishing in the information age.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The rice is right

Dizzyhead Fhyll directs us to this addictive and slightly nerve-wracking vocabulary game—the more words you get right, the more rice you donate.

Unexpected honesty

Over at the NYRB blog, some likes/dislikes, minus the dislikes:

"Silence, the company of friends, unexpected honesty, reading, going to the pictures, dreams..."

Who is the author?

(Via Levi, who has tons of Halloween posts up at his blog.)

* * *

New creepy New-York Ghost is out, featuring seasonally appropriate work from Erica Lee, Derek McCormack, and Aimee Kelley.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Keep on truckin'

“I also grew up in a remote town,” she said, “and it was the same system that distributed drugs to pharmacies overnight. The books came with the drugs on the same trucks.” —Michael Kimmelman, "German Border Threat: Cheap Books," NYT

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Yer out!

Levi Stahl, proprietor of I've Been Reading Lately, has a piece on poetry and baseball up at the PF site...a warm-up for tonight's World Series opener.

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Poetry tonight — Vicious circles

Join me tonight at 7 at Housing Works Used Book Café, where the Poetry Foundation and McSweeney's present a reading with poets Kwame Dawes, Patricia Smith, and Rachel Zucker (erstwhile Harriet bloggers), and Mary Karr and Yusef Komunyakaa (I just misspelled that three times). It's to celebrate McSweeney's book of poetry chains and PF website bloggery...

You might also get lucky and find a good used book. Look at what Dizzyhead Ed has unearthed—circular serpents!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Eleven holes

Great nugget in the NYT:

The seller, Lawrence Cohen of Plymouth, N.H., is a graphic artist who works in printing and packaging. He has devoted his collecting energies to the Harding memorial stamp because his color blindness makes it hard for him to specialize in more colorful issues. His collection exceeds 200 volumes, all related to the Harding stamp and its varieties.

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La Dulcinea vita

Love this quote, via Dizzyhead Rob:

What shall we do with our fantasies? Love them, believe them--to the point where we have to deface, to destroy them (that is perhaps the meaning of the films of Orson Welles). But when they prove in the end to be empty and unfulfilled, when they show the void from which they were made, then it is time to pay the price for their truth, to understand that Dulcinea—whom we saved—cannot love us."
—Giorgio Agamben, Profanations

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Red actions

But Ms. Wilson and her publisher, Simon & Schuster, contend that much of the censored information is in the public domain — and that the suppression of information is itself part of Ms. Wilson’s story. So “Fair Game” has been published with the censor’s marks visible as blacked-out words, lines, paragraphs or pages. The publisher amplifies the book with an 80-page afterword by Laura Rozen, a reporter, who uses matters of public record to fill in some of the gaps. —NYT

Most of the work I’m doing on the book [An Ordinary Spy] right now isn’t exactly writing, though, it’s measuring. In addition to material in the novel that the PRB redacted (blacked out because it was classified), I redacted a lot of material myself for various reasons. That means the book is full of black redaction bars. By the time the manuscript went from my word processor to the typesetter’s computers to the printed page, the formatting on the bars had gotten messed up. Since each bar has to precisely cover the information it’s blacking out, I’ve spent the last several months bent over the book with a tape measure, comparing the length of the bars to the length of what was supposed to be under them. —Joseph Weisberg, in the NYT's Paper Cuts

Those black bars, those black bars... —Nicholson Baker, U & I

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Pop culture fever dream

Dizzyhead Dennis Lim talks to Richard Kelly at the Apple Store...Dizzies Team Member (and IFC/Salon celeb) Matt Singer is there! (I think they should become the new Siskel & Ebert.)

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Chairman of the board

In Los Angeles magazine, Dizzyhead Robert writes about skateboard deity Christian Hosoi.

Notes from the Forum on Aesthetic Diversity

From Ange at Harriet:

2. Robert Pinsky cited an early science fiction story by James Blish , “Surface Tension.” This story in which a stranded colony of space travelers use their genetic material to create tiny puppet colonies of people who live in water was, for Pinsky, “the birth of thought.”

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Western promises

The latest Believer gets a nice notice from Sharon Eberson in the
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Did you know that one of the most popular German authors ever was Karl "Old Shatterhand" May, an ex-con who perpetrated made-up tales of the Old West on gullible European readers? And that one of his biggest fans, who drew inspiration from him throughout his life, was Adolf Hitler?

The tale of Old Shatterhand, the fascinating lead story in the October issue of The Believer magazine, shares cover status with Panda Bear of the band Animal Collective, playwright George Tabori, short-story writer Amy Hempel and Nick Hornby's "Not Boring Awards."

What sold me was the centerfold: Chris Bachelder's chart, titled "When Basketball Imitates Melville," about how the NBA Western Conference Semifinal Game 4, a brawl-game between the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs, mirrored Herman Melville's "Billy Budd."

* * *

Best last line in today's NYT:

"The poor will pluck from her figure whatever they can recycle and sell."
—Somini Sengupta, "A 10-Armed Goddess Charms a Frenetic Megalopolis"

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Time for...

...some Awesome Tapes from Africa:

Ata Tak, "Adagya"
Boubacar Traore

* * *

Via Ed: Watch the pilot for Atkinson's Babylon Fields!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sweet thing — Five alive — My new outfit

In 1981 Mr. Bishop returned to the spotlight to replace Mickey Rooney for four weeks in “Sugar Babies,” a Broadway production. He could not sing well, as Mr. Rooney could, so he played the mandolin instead. –NYT

* * *

I kind of want to try this: Read five books of poetry a week.

Not now. Maybe later.

* * *

This has got to be a joke—?

Deftly, Ms. Tsukioka, a 29-year-old experimental fashion designer, lifted a flap on her skirt to reveal a large sheet of cloth printed in bright red with a soft drink logo partly visible. By holding the sheet open and stepping to the side of the road, she showed how a woman walking alone could elude pursuers — by disguising herself as a vending machine.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Expressway to yr 'Skull'

First, read Harry Stephen Keeler's The Riddle of the Traveling Skull...(you can buy it here if you can't find it in stores...)

Then, maybe read this (warning! massive spoiler!)...and join the Harry Stephen Keeler Society, to get a copy of the latest issue of Keeler News—devoted entirely to The Riddle of the Traveling Skull!


Multimedia Friday

For a Nosey Parker it's an interesting job: Ukuleles vs. recorders!

(Via Jenny D)

* * *

"I drove down to Buffalo just to see it." —David Cronenberg, 1982

(Via Alterna-Ed)

* * *

Seduction theory: Dizzyhead Rachel looks at Oliver Sacks's Musicophilia:
For others, music means nothing. William James called music totally "useless," a collection of "plinking noises," and Vladimir Nabokov wrote that concerts affected him "merely as an arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds." Sacks labels these two, as well as Darwin, Freud and Ulysses Grant, potential victims of "amusia." When discussing Freud's case, Sacks suggests that perhaps Freud, who wrote that he cannot be "moved by anything without knowing why I am thus affected," is "resisting" music's seduction.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Circular logic

Via Dizzies Linkmaster General Thomas: news of a video work by Gabriela Fridriksdóttir called Ouroboros: "The artist describes the Ouroboros video as a journey through the seven vetebras of the snake, that together creates a universe of souls."



Supposedly not in response to Radiohead's decision to release their latest album online and have listeners pay what they wish, Psychic Envelopes have announced that their album Cryspace will be available as a perpetual free download. (More here.)


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Czech, please!

Atkinson is on fire with these capsules:

We Own the Night (2007) James Gray makes the same movie a third time, but these are interiors, crowds, real city homes and working-class environments we haven’t seen since Forman’s Czech days. Moral: don’t run a nightclub?


Four thousand dollars a day

"He was more than a little crazy."
—Nicholson Baker on the Schulz bio

(Via Light Reading)


Light-hearted English cousin

Jenny D: "Imagine if Sebald had a light-hearted English cousin with a passion for natural history, and this is the book that cousin would have written!"


Toward a cultural history of mirrors

1. From the NYT:
Why a buck would want to crash through a school window remains a mystery, at least to the students who are usually pushing in the other direction. But James Armstrong, a professor of wildlife science at Auburn University in Alabama, said the buck might have confused the image in the window with a rival.

“It may be seeing its reflection somehow,” Mr. Armstrong said. “It’s getting toward breeding season, and bucks can become a lot more aggressive and they’re trying to compete for does out there. They’re trying to establish their dominance. Or it just wants to go to school.”

2. H.P. Lovecraft, "The Outsider"

3. The Claude glass ("black mirror")

4. Borges, "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius":

Then Bioy Casares recalled that one of the heresiarchs of Uqbar had declared that mirrors and copulation are abominable, because they increase the number or men. I asked him the origin of this memorable observation and he answered that it was reproduced in The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia, in its article on Uqbar. The house (which we had rented furnished) had a set of this work.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pony up

Photographs based on scenes in Le Grand Meaulnes (incidentally, a favorite book of David Mitchell's).

From the Beinecke Library's blog. (Courtesy Dizzyhead Thomas)

* * *

Song of the day: Modern Lovers, "Someone I Care About" (via Moistworks/Ben Greenman)

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The zombies — Every which way but Lucy

A few clips from the pilot of Babylon Fields (co-created by Mike Atkinson)...

UPDATE: Like what you see? Sign the petition!

* * *

Bill Watterson on the new Schulz biography:

"It would have been interesting to learn how Schulz's conception of the strip changed over the years and what Peppermint Patty, Spike and Rerun offered him in the way of new expressive possibilities."

And—I never thought of it this way before:

"Lucy, for all her domineering and insensitivity, is ultimately a tragic, vulnerable figure in her pursuit of Schroeder. Schroeder's commitment to Beethoven makes her love irrelevant to his life. Schroeder is oblivious not only to her attentions but also to the fact that his musical genius is performed on a child's toy (not unlike a serious artist drawing a comic strip)...."

(Via Other Ed)

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The gram-ies

Burt on anagrams at Harriet:

The most famous acrostic in contemporary poetry is probably Paul Muldoon's "Capercaillies," a stanzaic poem about a romance gone bitter whose stanzas spell out "IS THIS A NEW YORKER POEM OR WHAT?" It's a prank, but it's not just a prank, since (as often with Muldoon from that period) the intricate games are a sign of frustration, even exhaustion, with simpler attempts at sincerity, collaboration, or connection of a kind that other people will understand.

Some new pangrams for you to try! The estimable Richard Polt adds a few of his own (in the comments), including the timeless "J.Q. Vandz struck my big fox whelp."

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Much more meaning

“We want to speak to people about more than just laundry,” said Kevin Crociata, Tide’s associate marketing director. “We provide benefits to the fabrics she wears on daily basis. They have much more meaning.”

Sunday, October 14, 2007

From the Parkives

Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran became a surprise hit in 2003....It’s a book-club favorite that is itself about a sort of book club: a group of women in mid-’90s Iran who met to discuss forbidden books, including Nabokov’s novel.

Now publishers want to capitalize on the formula. As the celebration of the original Lolita’s 50th anniversary gets underway, the following releases were spotted in the spring catalogs of 10 imprints. Which ones will you read?

Reading Pale Fire in Waukegan
Reading King, Queen, Knave in suburban Denver
Reading Invitation to a Beheading in Oslo
Reading Look at the Harlequins! in beautiful Boca Raton
Reading The Real Life of Sebastian Knight in Guadalajara
Reading The Defense in Irvine
Reading Transparent Things in Ottawa
Reading The Nabokov-Wilson Letters off New South Wales
Reading Speak, Memory just outside Albany
Reading Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse, Vol. II, Commentary and Index in Dar Es Salaam
(Circa Sept. 2005)

The football is always pulled away

"Just before he was put on the respirator, Vernon Bellecourt [opponent of 'Indian' sports mascots] joked that the CIA had finally gotten him, his brother said"...Levi's been reading Edmund Wilson lately...Dizzyhead straw poll: Who's your favorite "EW"—Edmund Wilson, Evelyn Waugh, or Edith Wharton?...A tiny New-York Ghost emerged last week, with an Aimee Kelley poem and thoughts on "Hotel California"...Scott Esposito looks at Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading..."Good Grief!" is such a strange phrase...I wonder when Charles Schulz said this—a bleak poke at Garrison Keillor's Wobegon?: “All the loves in the strip are unrequited; all the baseball games are lost; all the test scores are D-minuses; the Great Pumpkin never comes; and the football is always pulled away.”

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

'Snake mackerel'

Sort of an Ouroboros?

(Via Jenny D.)


The girl who works next to me

From Dizzyhead Chrita:

I like: prime numbers, hope, time travel, puns, cooking, baseball, driving, dogs, Mega Man 2, ironing, irony, new haircuts, neckties, coffee and cigarettes, "filibuster," watching others watch my favorite movie for the first time, the fact that it was easier to find items for this list than for the next, Grant Morrison, newly washed old bedsheets, Stop Making Sense, being made to laugh, my niece, onions, etymology, goldfish, the girl that works next to me, the present.

I don't like geometry, guilt, Hemingway, shoes, cooking, hippies, chocolate, cute, clever, the Doors, how everyone who likes the Doors loves the Doors, awkward amounts of time, 6 P.M. Sunday, optimism, cats, snow, shaving, cold feet, marijuana, thinking about it, August, cops, touching, "irregardless," eyeglasses, not knowing, the past and the future.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

A Dizzies Exclusive — Dennis Lim tour dates announced!

Catch the Limster this month at a variety of events:

Tomorrow at 6:30, he'll introduce The Elephant and the Sea, a film from his native Malaysia, at MoMA.

On Friday, October 19, D.L. talks to Donnie Darko director Richard Kelly about his latest film, Southland Tales, at the Apple Store (?!) on Prince Street.

And on Friday, October 26, after a screening of Je t' non plus: Critics and artists at BAM, The eLiminator will be on a panel with Melissa Anderson, Dave Kehr, and Kent Jones.


From the desk of...Levi

Levi's instant desert island books:

American Poetry: The Twentieth Century, Volume I
Lillian Morrison, Editor/At the Crack of the Bat: Baseball Poems Compiled by Lillian Morrison
Lee Bennett Hopkins, Editor/Extra Innings: Baseball Poems
Nicholas Dawidoff, Editor/Baseball: A Literary Anthology
Cor van den Heuvel and Nanae Tamura, Editors/Baseball Haiku: The Best Haiku Ever Written about the Game
Gail Mazur/Zeppo's First Wife: New and Selected Poems
James Schuyler/Collected Poems
Marianne Moore/Complete Poems
Anthony Powell/From a View to a Death
Donald Hall/White Apples and the Taste of Stone: Selected Poems, 1946-2006
The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Third Edition
Donald Hall/Fathers Playing Catch with Sons: Essays on Sports (Mostly Baseball)
Jim Moore and Natalie Vermilyea/Ernest Thayer's "Casey at the Bat": Background and Characters of Baseball's Most Famous Poem
Vic Gattrell/City of Laughter: Sex and Satire in Eighteenth-Century London
Robert Alter, Translator/The Book of Psalms
Guy Davenport/The Geography of the Imagination: Forty Essays by Guy Davenport

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It's like Brooklyn when they hold panels outdoors

Chuck Klosterman makes a controversial statement about the Eagles, as Rob Sheffield and the guy from The Dizzies prepare their responses—Brooklyn Book Festival, 2007.

Not pictured: Mysterious head-patting woman.

* * *

Speaking of Brooklyn—I'll be making another visit to that fair borough for an exciting event in February—more details soon!

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's like Brooklyn when they stop all the trains

"Berlin Wall," the new Psychic Envelopes single, is available now...a ukulele-driven technopop duet just in time for your own private Oktoberfest!

(Berlin photos: C. Lagorio.)


Monday, October 08, 2007

Burt offerings

The mighty Steve Burt weighs in on j'aime/je n'aime pas over at Harriet.

J'aime (partial list): Game Theory (the band); white stripes (not the band); Jenny Toomey; basketball (even the men's game), baseball, when discussed by ardent fans; the feijoa (still my favorite fruit), and more recently the mamey sapote, the monstera, and the Honeycrisp apple, invented in Minnesota...

Je n'aime pas: game theory (not the band); White Stripes (the band); Pat Toomey; American football; baseball, when I am expected to watch a whole game; bananas, mashed potatoes and nectarines; small yappy dogs...


How to Curse


Heaven make me thy Jack Ketch!
Whipster, Gorgon, Pug-nose, Dog-face,
Hair-brained Trull, Grimalkin, Flirt,
Demirep, Lacedmutton, Gadder;
Do give over flinging dirt.

(Via Weekend Stubble)

Haddockian: Diplodocus! Dogs! Doryphore! Doryphores! Duck-billed platypus! Dunderheaded coconuts! Dynamiter!

Mr. Crowley

Side note to my latest Astral Weeks column on John Crowley's Ægypt books: The epigraph comes from In Other Words, a collection of Crowley's published by Subterranean Press (and now, alas, sold out). Delightful cover, eh?

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Read this!

Via erasing: The Greatest Book in the World—literally!


From the desk of...Jenny Davidson

From Jenny: "My desk does not actually have books on it, just papers, I have gathered up one from top of scanner and 4 from bedside, I think this will count, eh?"

Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling
T.A. Pratt, Blood Engines
Richard Askwith, Feet in the Clouds: A Tale of Fell-Running and Obsession
Roger Deakin, Waterlog: A Swimmer's Journey Through Britain
Joe Friel and Gordon Byrn, Going Long: Training for Ironman-Distance Triathlons

"Funny—it really is a good sampling of my reading habits!"

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From the desk of...

...Dizzyhead JMcB:

The New New Journalism, Robert Boynton
What Am I Doing Here, Bruce Chatwin
The Girls Who Saw Everything, Sean Dixon
The Tunnel, William Gass
The Quick and the Dead, Joy Williams
Almonds to Zhoof, Richard Stern
Guide, Dennis Cooper
A Partial List of People to Bleach, Gary Lutz

"I have a big desk--and some of these books seem to be always on it.
Perpetual inspiration!"

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Instant Desert Island Books

What books are on your desk right now? These are your desert island books!

To my left I have:

The Case of the Persevering Maltese, Harry Mathews
The Beatles. The Beatles. The Beatles. 100 Hits for All Keyboards (sheet music; this is a book I bought in Korea about 14 years ago; the phoneticized Korean title is "Beatles Memory 100.")
Aubrey's Brief Lives, ed. Oliver Lawson Dick, foreword by Edmund Wilson
Beowulf: An Illustrated Edition, transl. Seamus Heaney

A strange batch! (Send your list right now to thedizziesATgmailDOTcom.)

* * *

Dizzyhead Susan sends in this short list:

Likes: ferns, geese, telepathy

Dislikes: the news, telephony

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

When the other team attacks

Like Perec, the author of this NYT article on zambonis likes to quote Peanuts. (He also has an amazing name: Hary Hurt III!)

Apart from the inventor, few people did more to transform the Zamboni into a pop cultural icon than the cartoonist Charles M. Schultz. A Minnesota native and hockey fan, Schultz made over 50 references to Zambonis in his comic strips and films. Schultz provided a miniature Zamboni for the tiny bird Woodstock to use when his birdbath iced over. But he awarded the honor of driving most of his imaginary Zambonis to Snoopy, the ice skating beagle.

“As the world famous hockey coach, what do you do when the other team attacks?” asked Charlie Brown.

“Circle the Zambonis!” Snoopy replied.

(Thanks to Jane.) Required listening here.

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From A to B and back again

The Citizen always strikes in twos—here he is at the New York Sun (reviewing the memoir Foreskin's Lament) and at Salon, on sneakers and videogames: “[T]he NES controller had an A and a B button. Confusing! I wanted to play vids, not pilot jets. Give me one joystick, one button, and line up them ‘Space Invaders.’”

I second that emotion!

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Aegyptian cream

My latest Astral Weeks is up—part one of a two-parter on John Crowley's Aegypt sequence. This month, I focus on his amazing novel The Solitudes (originally published in 1987 as Aegypt).

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"Let's go out into the nature"

Besides "making lists," Dizzyhead Andrea (wife of Team Dizzies Member Rob!) likes:

Feeding people, fat kids, monkeys, ice cream, the Staten Island Ferry, bourbon, dogs, especially the ones who look big and fierce (but are invariably gentle and sweet), the countryside, snow, laughing (possibly at monkeys), beer, beaches, sunlight on water, boats, Martha's Vineyard, Martha Stewart, the way Rob watches movies with so much enthusiasm and excitement, Nelly Bly, Amy Sedaris, Mabel Normand, hash browns with bacon and coffee (optimally followed by a day of playing the snow), amoral Czech fairy tales, mermaids, Simpsons Halloween specials, obscure NYC history, Dracula (the novel), Coke (the beverage), the New York Public Library, John Barrymore, The Golden Girls, Absolutely Fabulous, House MD (Seasons 1 & 2), cheesy ghost tours, the haunted house ride at Disneyworld, strong hot tea, a hot bath, my mother's expressions of disgust ("Phooey!"), her insults ("Space-cadet schmuck!") and her little turns of phrase ("Let's go out into the nature"), Dorothy Shaw and Lorelei Lee, and any friendship where you would split your last dime/cup of coffee with your girlfriend when stranded penniless in Paris.

...and dislikes:

Pantyhose, never having enough time, global-warming-deniers, shopping, air conditioning, cars, bad lighting, House MD (Season 3), spots (I'm a grown woman, dammit!), people who look at your computer monitor over your shoulder, pigeons, the sound of styrofoam being crushed/ripped, Times Square, Upper East Side bars, weak water pressure, and American cheese, unless it's in a grill-cheese on white bread and served with lots of ketchup

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Howard Hawks vs. the phrase "tone poem"!

Dizzies Team Member and Termite Artist Rob has submitted his list; isn't it time you sent in yours? (E-mail to thedizziesATgmailDOTcom, include your blog address if I don't know you!)

I Like:
Fart jokes, Hollywood musicals, skepticism, morning smiles, Andrea's eyes, awkward silences, Westerns, Nietzsche, genital herpes commercials, tailgating before Bills games, BBQ, Proust, ridiculously long David Bordwell blog posts, Howard Hawks, sleeping in, movies over 7 hours long, crime fiction, fantasy sports, concerts in the park, cigar smoking, joking with dad, Carl Dreyer, polemics, scotch, high-fives, falling leaves, jazz clubs, drunken arguments, the Best of Christopher Walken on SNL DVD, stand-up bass, country music, Will Ferrell, snowstorms, jukeboxes, tracking shots, cable TV, Dairy Queen Oreo blizzards.

I Don't Like:
Self-righteousness, Broadway musicals, indie rock, ’60s music nostalgia, ’70s movie nostalgia, olives, the phrase "tone poem", whining, the Miami Dolphins, loud neighbors, cults of personality, organic food stores, Noam Chomsky, humidity, rudeness, Dane Cook, rum, fake smiles, hangovers, Bluetooth headsets, idealism, iPods, cultural studies, moving out, self-pity, quick zooms, the WNBA, dictators, weak coffee, ideologues, plugged toilets.

In other news, the New-York Ghost has emerged...

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It's a wonderful list

Poundstone delivers!

Morels, pear butter, hush puppies (fried batter!), coconut ice cream, crème brulée, cold sesame noodles, Noah's Bagels (faux-New York bagel chain found only outside of NY), the smell of gasoline, the smell of calamine lotion, the odd euphoria you sometimes feel when entering a tunnel, early risque comedy albums (Rusty Warren, Blowfly, etc.), New York tabloid headlines, Bizarro (newspaper cartoon), Mark Twain, Cyprian Ekwensi, Robert Benchley, Ludacris, Jane Austen, Chick Austin, Richard Dadd, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Disney Concert Hall, Euler's equation, Gödel's proof, Moebius strips, iPhone, contrails, cumulonimbus clouds, drug stores (to browse, not to buy anything), foreign candy bars (just to look at the packaging), junk mail, case histories of "abnormal psychology," Edgar Allan Poe on gardening and interior design, chihuahuas,

Je n'aime pas:
Chocolate-chocolate chip, buffalo wings, the portrait drawings-from-photographs the Wall Street Journal runs, the abbreviation "IMHO," Don Quixote, The Tale of Genji, Charles Dickens, impressionism, Leger, Damien Hirst, country music, torture porn, Microsoft Windows, William Faulkner, Ernie Kovacs, It's a Wonderful Life

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A condo made of stone-a!

Hats off to the Idiosynratic Sarah for her blogaversary! This is also an excuse to embed...

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Wag the dog

Earlier I wondered about the spelling of "Jaime" Sommers, the main character in the Bionic Woman. Is "Jaime" a new twist (post–Jaime Pressly) on the more phonetically clear "Jamie," or was it ever thus? (Our "j'aime/je n'aime pas" contest got me thinking about it in the first place.) Check out what Dizzies chief of research Hannah dug up:

According to the Immediate Past President of the American Name Society, Lindsay Wagner's Bionic Woman was indeed a J-A-I-M-E. Ms. Pressly was born in the middle of the show's run. He adds, "Some people have speculated that the spelling Jaime was a deliberate alteration so that the name looks like the French phrase 'J'aime,' which means 'I love.' But it may just be an arbitary [sic] respelling of Jamie. Though not quite as common a practice as it is today, there were plenty of people back in the 1970s who would respell names to make them more 'unique.'"

Hannah wonders: "Might all this qualify as a ouroboros? Or is it more akin to a puppy chasing its own tail?"

(Image taken from here.)

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Slate blue vs. bread!

From Dizzyhead Gautam:

I Like:

DVDs, cheese, right angles, pillows, T-shirts, clocks, magnets, posters, cats, chocolate, books, Dr Pepper, milk, rubber bands, photography, garlic, avocados, my iPod, Jack Daniels, paperbacks, the Criterion Collection, slate blue, pushpins, postcards, sandals, hardwood floors, rugs, fire escapes, the subway, coffee, mint, Gmail, roller ball pens, cracking my knuckles

I Dislike:

being bored at work, bread, waiting for the subway, tucking my shirt in, bad wireless connections, spam, loud talking, smoking, messiness, dogs, people who talk to me on the street, bad perfume, arrogance, conservatism, ketchup, people who stand still on both sides of the escalator, bugs, eyelashes that get stuck in my eye, dust, people who just don't get it, Ayn Rand, oily skin, blisters, unnecessary


"Some of the references were almost too perfect"

"It was as if they had a list of keywords." Dizzyhead Hua talks about the Top Shelf 8/8/88 vintage hip-hop album/hoax (which he wrote about for the NYT)...his segment starts about 3/8 of the way in.

"They had forgotten there was a hoax to perpetrate." —Hua


In the company of j'aime

Dizzyhead Bill writes:

Shirley Jackson (who'd be in my J'aime list) did a like/don't like passage in her unfinished novel "Come Along With Me":

"...I like everything about big department stores except shopping in them. I do not like salesgirls and their manners, and having to buy my dresses in a special behemoths department, and I do not like the stupid mockery of people who enjoy keeping you waiting; I do not like credit offices, but I enjoy quarreling over a bill."
* * *
Shirley J. brings to mind Shelley Jackson, who'll be reading with Samantha Hunt, Kelly Link, and Lucy Corin this Friday—what a lineup! It's for Tin House's Fantastic Women issue.

* * *

False Etymology of the Day: the word gem comes from a corruption of j'aime.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Word of the day

"though"—inadvertently double-clicked in a Times article.

I love this example, which is perfect for time-travelers to the 1950s:
  1. Informal. Used as an intensive: Wouldn't that beat all, though?

Freudian slip

From Dizzyhead Brent (whose two-part Rivette epic concludes in the latest Cinema Scope):

Coffee, cigarettes, pasta, pizza, De Quincey, Bresson, Astaire, Kinks, cats, the first and middle fingers

Most other food, Kieslowski, Updike, The Doors, insects, Freud, the ring finger

Nabokov, Beatles, dogs, people, thumb

* * *

Bonus post—etymology of the day: "A 'rival,' for instance, is someone you are bickering with over river water rights." (A.E. Stallings at Harriet)

And: Over at the PEN America blog, David Haglund digs up a great George Plimpton memory, a name-dropper's delight in which a bit of advice from Steinbeck compels GP to address Jean Seberg while writing about going to a baseball game with Marianne Moore.

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I've been liking lately...

Dizzyhead Levi contributes a dazzling list to the j'aime/je n'aime pas contest—here's a sample:

Likes: Rocketlass, baseball, distance running, Anthony Powell, cooking, gin martinis, Wodehouse, well-written history, Don Knotts, Jim Edmonds, film noir, crime novels, pizza, my bicycle, vintage suits, penguins, Chicago, New York, London, Murakami, public transit, steaming bowls of chunky vegetable soup, fake-meat bratwursts, sudden downpours on city streets, birds, Emmylou Harris, Melville, singing along at the top of my range to Sam Cooke's Live at the Harlem Square Club, Johnny Mercer songs, chili, James Kochalka, Iris Murdoch, Spider-man, Peter O'Toole, Yi Yi...

Dislikes: telephones, pre-packaged food, gardening, The Old Man and the Sea, Sting, the Olympics, The Corrections, the Yankees, the Green Goblin, Bush, Cheney, sophistry, cars, anise, absinthe, tattered used books, The Science of Sleep, non-gin martinis, the fact that Idaho and Illinois have the same number of senators, Finnegans Wake, prog rock, smoky bars, mass-market paperbacks...

Make sure you check out the rest at his superior blog, I've Been Reading Lately.

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Jamie's crying

Dizzyhead Hannah finds a likes/dislikes list...

Take a look at ELOISE. She's got those lists galore....For instance, from an early edition: "Here's what I like to do Make things up. Here's what I hate Peter Rabbit." [sic] and stuff, although I don't know if it is the website or the girl herself.

...and offers some insights into the Jaime/Jamie controversy:

[Here are] the relevant entries in THE OXFORD NAMES COMPANION, reordered for dramatic purposes --

Jamie (m.), occasionally (f.) 1. (m.) Scottish: pet form of JAMES, used especially among Lowland Scots, in contrast to the Highland form HAMISH, which is derived from a Gaelic form. 2. (f.) English (esp. U.S.): recent adoption as a feminine equivalent of JAMES, influenced by the fact that -ie has come to be regarded as a characteristically feminine ending, except in Scotland.

Jaime (m., f..) 1. (m.) Spanish form of JAMES. 2. (f.) English (esp. Canadian): apparently a respelling of the female name JAMIE.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Upside-down and scrambled

Wasn't there already a Times piece on odd names? This one might be even better:

Hatred has its own story. Mr. Zenenga is one of seven children born to hard-working parents who were determined to educate their brood. The family’s rising status made the father’s illiterate brothers jealous. So except for the first child, who died as an infant, all the children were named to address the jealousy and other emotions that raged among the adults: Norest, Hatred, Praise, Confess, Raised-on and Abide.

Also in today's NYT, though oddly unavailable online: "Google's Name Attracts Lawsuits."

A Pennsylvania resident sued Google last month in federal court, claiming that his Social Security number turned upside down and scrambled spells the name Google. [The plaintiff] asked for $5 billion in damages.


Dizzies Newsfeeds™ for Monday, October 1

Time to pick up the October Believer, which features an interview with the great Adrian Tomine (whose graphic novel Shortcomings is just out; he'll be signing at that store in Brooklyn on Wednesday I think?), a conversation between Dizzyhead/Psychic E. singer/Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape author Sarah Manguso and short-short story wizard Amy Hempel, and Dizzyhead Rachel's fascinating piece on dream researcher Allan Hobson...oh and also a short review by me! (on Selah Saterstrom's The Meat and Spirit Plan)...and much, much more™...Levi on The Eustace Diamonds...No Image Available: my novel, Personal Days, has popped up on Amazon (it's not out till May)...For Beatles fans: Let it Be...Dissected! (via Mike Gerber)...Paul Hornschemeier has a blog...DizzyhEd Halter went to the Housing Works sale and unearthed a "gem from 1955: Keen Teens: 101 Ways to Make Money by Stookie Allen (including an early glimpse of SF writer Joanna Russ)...Keep those likes/dislikes coming...

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