dnabsuH enizagaM

"If you aren't certain about things, if your mind is still open enough to question what you are seeing, you tend to look at the world with great care, and out of that watchfulness comes the possibility of seeing something that no one else has seen before. You have to be willing to admit that you don't have all the answers. If you think you do, you will never have anything important to say." - Paul Auster

Thursday, September 29

The Postman Rings Twice.

this book ) has some interesting thoughts on culture, language, and the inclusionary/exclusionary nature of catchphrases pulled from movies and television.

On the subject of too-short excerpts.

Excerpt from from Black Swan Green:

Picked-on kids act invisible to reduce the chances of being noticed and picked on. Stammerers act invisible to reduce the chances of being made to say something we can't. Kids whose parents argue act invisible in case we trigger another skirmish. The Triple Invisible Boy, that's Jason Taylor. Even I don't see the real Jason Taylor much these days, 'cept for when we're writing a poem, or occasionally in a mirror, or just before sleep. But he comes out in woods. Ankley branches, knuckly roots, paths that only might be, earthworks by badgers or Romans, a pond that'll ice over come January, a wooden cigar box nailed behind the ear of a secret sycamore where we once planned a treehouse, birdstuffedtwigsnapped silence, toothy bracken, and places you can't find if you're not alone. Time in woods's older than time in clocks, and truer.

From the Hardcover edition.


Praise for David Mitchell:

"David Mitchell entices his readers on to a rollercoaster. . . . Then – at least in my case – they can't bear the journey to end. . .a complete narrative pleasure that is rare. . . .Powerful and elegant. . . . He isn't afraid to jerk tears or ratchet up suspense – he understands that's what we make stories for. . . . He plays delicious games with other people's voices, ideas and characters."
–A. S. Byatt, The Guardian (UK)

"Audacious, exhilarating. . . . A formidable creation. . . . [Mitchell's] brilliance takes one's breath away in a manner not unlike a first experience of Chartres or the Duomo. It is a pleasure to sit inside such an edifice, and to marvel. Repeat visits are in order. Each time, a little more structure is revealed. Each time, the space grows less intimidating. Until, finally, it is just a book, one that you are reading with amazement and delight."
The Globe and Mail

In response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, The Humane Society of the United States has launched
a massive relief effort to rescue animals and assist their caregivers in the disaster areas.

Their entire relief effort is funded by donations from people like you and me, and they desperately need your support. Please
make an emergency contribution to the HSUS Disaster Relief Fund today. Your tax-deductible gift will be used exclusively for
their disaster animal relief work. Click the link below to make your donation now.


You really like me. You really, really like me.

Wow - apparently, I do have readers. 
OK, contest one.  First person to secure me an advance copy of "Black Swan Green" gets a free Neil Young masterpiece in their mailbox.  mwft521 at gmail dotttttttttt com.

Neil Young month continues.

Time weighs in.
The new album is excellent.  If I had any sort of sizable audience here, I'd run some sort of contest for the won copy. 

Protecting animals from the next hurricane.

Dear Friends,

Don't you think it's terrible that people were forced to leave
their pets behind during Hurricane Katrina?

Please ask your U.S. Representative to support the PETS Act,
H.R. 3858, which would require state and local authorities to
plan for evacuating people with pets the next time a disaster
like Hurricane Katrina strikes.

It's quick and easy to do. Just click here:

Wednesday, September 28

All about the shovel hitting the bag.

He was driving down the off-ramp the other day, eating animal cookies that his daughter liked.  A beautiful day, he was looking out the windows at the sunshine and how the dry air made everything sharp after the humid summer.  He left the highway and went up the hill into the city.


Looking out the window, he saw a teenager, a boy, hitting something small with a shovel.  He was hitting something that was in a bag.   The ground around the bag was discolored in some way, maybe wet; it was hard to tell, he was driving and there were some shrubs between his car and the parking lot that the boy was in.  He was driving fast and the only thought he had time for before the boy disappeared from view was to ask himself if the bag was moving.  "Is the bag still moving," is a good approximation.   Or has it stopped.


He had nightmares about kittens in bags, shovels, and stillness for two nights.

Tuesday, September 27

We clean our mugs in the bathroom.

- You didn't clean out your mug again, she says.  I look at her.  A little tendril of strawberry yogurt is peeking over the rim.  I don't correct her grammar.  I'm not sure and I only strike when my aim is true.
- I didn't have a free hand to carry it back, I tell her.  I shrug a friendly, "we're all in this together because we all have only two hands" kind of shrug.  The way her mouth drops open would, in another context, indicate rage and trigger my flight or flight mechanism.  I want to make fun of her denim capri pants but I do not, because technically, the mug is in fact dirty. 
She gives me that mouth.
- If you didn't have a free hand, how did you get it there?
She's got me now. 

Time for bed, part 2.

1)  Summoned to Portland Police Station for "leaving the scene of the crime".  Matter cleared up.
2)  Put on a pot of much-needed coffee only to find that it clogged, leaving grinds and sweet dark brew all over the counter.


Time for bed.

1) I start backing up to let someone out into traffic and bump a car that was trying to sneak in behind me.  "Bump" is too strong a word.  My bumper is black; hers is silver, and so my 1/2 mile/hour collision leaves a black mark on her bumper.  So of course she goes apoplectic.
2) I buy the new Neil Young album - the special edition, with the DVD making-of included. 
3) They are playing the album on CLZ's Album at Noon (or whatever it's called) and are giving away copies and - of course - I win one, because: A) some cosmic karmic force has granted me never-fail CLZ Album Winning Powers (I think this is the 7th cd I win from them), and B) I just spent $22 on it.  And opened it, rendering it unreturnable.

Sunday, September 25

#1 for #2.

What to read while sitting down for some necessary bodily function time. Many true stories, each a page or two long, that will stick in your head. Like Paul Harvey without the fascism. Editor: Paul Auster!

Thursday, September 22

Got the fever now.



I can't bring myself to listen to much of it - I want the album
experience, while we can still buy music in entire album form - but
the parts of "Prairie Wind" that I've previewed are dynamite. Neil
gets it done, yet again.

Neil Young Opens Vaults; I Go Completely Broke.

"Neil Young Opens Vaults"

Rocker to release series of eight-disc rarities sets

After nearly fifteen years of promises, Neil Young is now confident
that a slew of material from his vaults will begin to see the light of
day in 2006. With his latest album, Prairie Wind, out next week, the
rock legend is planning several eight-disc sets packed with outtakes,
home recordings, album tracks, live cuts and DVDs.

"It starts with my earliest recordings in 1963," says Young. "Then
several recordings with a group called the Squires, into the earliest
Buffalo Springfield stuff. Then there's a live record culled from a
week's worth of performances at the Riverboat in Toronto."

Fans can expect a 1970 show at Toronto's Massey Hall, featuring
material from Harvest a year before its release, as well as Crazy
Horse live at the Fillmore East. "It's got a sixteen-minute 'Cowgirl
in the Sand,'" Young says of the Fillmore gig, "and a super-long 'Down
by the River.'"

One live performance, the rock vet is convinced, trumps the original
recording: the entirety of Tonight's the Night, recorded live at
London's Rainbow Theatre. Says Young, "It's better than the record."

More Neil.

Part one of an interview on Fresh Air about "Greendale"; part two is here.

Google Alerts pays off.

Waiting for me in my inbox this morning, a link to this interview from last weekend's All Things Considered with Mr. Neil Young.  This page also offers a listen to the entire album.  I'm at work, so I can't tune in to any of it right now, but I'm eagerly awaiting this release. 

Wednesday, September 21

Foster or Adopt Animals.

How May I Foster or Adopt Animals Affected by Hurricane Katrina?

Thank you for your generous offer to foster or adopt animals affected by Hurricane Katrina. Please visit Petfinder.com to register as a potential foster or permanent home.

Murakami story in New Yorker.

I am still drawn to reading Murakami from the various accounts of his writing style and comparisons to David Lynch.  Despite the deeply unfortunate cat-decapitation scene(s), mentioned previously at this site.
Here's a story from the newest New Yorker.

Powells now selling DVDs.

An interesting move - Powell's Books is now selling DVDs.  I admire Powells and am surprised by this - I would hate to see them fragment a la Amazon.  At the same time, I won't shop Amazon (see their rating on www.buyblue.org) so I'm glad to see another option for DVD purchasing.  Apparently, shipping is free on some/all DVD purchases.  I still recommend spending the $20 for a year of free shipping on all purchases from them - we've easily saved money on that one. 

Tuesday, September 20

File under: Life stories; New Orleans; Oral Histories.

Click here, please.

What is an orkut?

I'm on record as distrustful and dismissive of online-community type friend-networking.  However, for those of you that are not, Google has swallowed https://www.orkut.com/GLogin.aspx  to compete with the other services, which all seem to be moving to a pay-for-use format.  Orkut is, and apparently will remain, free. 

Stop Bush's Assault on Katrina Victims' Wages

Instead of embracing good jobs for the recently displaced, President Bush's first major act in the Gulf Coast recovery effort was to suspend a law that requires federal contractors to pay workers a decent wage.

Please take a moment to demand that this recovery effort put people first – and reject efforts to exploit this tragedy to line the pockets of corporate elites. Please, write your member of Congress and insist that decent family wages and employing the victims of Katrina be the bedrock of the Gulf Coast rebuilding efforts.

Send a letter from here to your representatives - it takes less than a minute.

Dying for A Drink of Clean Water.

What the world needs now.

Monday, September 19

Netflix? Try Peerflix.

Here's the skinny.

In response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina, The Humane Society of the United States has launched
a massive relief effort to rescue animals and assist their caregivers in the disaster areas.

Their entire relief effort is funded by donations from people like you and me, and they desperately need your support. Please
make an emergency contribution to the HSUS Disaster Relief Fund today. Your tax-deductible gift will be used exclusively for
their disaster animal relief work. Click the link below to make your donation now.


This looks interesting.

Free trial, anyone?

Friday, September 16

Sit right back.

Review and analyze...

Strange but true for Friday.

Static-electricity fire.

George Bush press conference.

Excerpt from George Bush press conference...

Reporter:  What is  your position on Roe vs. Wade?

It really makes no difference on how people get out of New Orleans.

God Loves.

God Loves The 1974 VW Dasher.

Thursday, September 15


Click "WTF"in this article (I link to this page so much now, you might as well just go there before coming here) to get the story.  Bizarre.

Literary magazines and such.

I don't know if I already posted a link to this interesting article, but here it is.

Wednesday, September 14

Novelist Orhan Pamuk.

International PEN urges everyone to write letters to Turkish leaders and ambassadors, protesting the upcoming prosecution of novelist Orhan Pamuk. (From the homepage, scroll down to the "Writers in Prison" section and click on the link next to "Turkey.") Here's some contact information:

Prime Minister Racep Tayyip Erdogan
TC Easbaskanlik
Fax: +90 312 417 0476

Cemil Cicek
Minister of Justice
TC Adalet Bakanligi
Fax: + 90 312 417 3954

Ambassador O. Faruk Logoglu
Turkish Embassy
2525 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008
Phone: (202) 612-6700
Fax: (202) 612-6744
E-mail: contact@turkishembassy.org

HE Akin Alptuna
Turkish Embassy
43 Belgrave Square
London SW1X 8PA
Phone: 020 7201 7043/44
Fax: 020 7393 9213
Email: turkish.emb@btclick.com

Ambassador Aydemir Erman
Turkish Embassy
197 Wurtemburg Street
Ottawa ON K1N 8L9
Phone: (613) 789-4044
Fax:(613) 789-3442
Email: turkishottawa@mfa.gov.tr

Thanks very much to Paul for help with this. If you know of any other way people can register their protest against the unethical prosecution of Pamuk, please let me know.

Posted by Michael Schaub | link

Tuesday, September 13

Funny editing humor.

To be found upon a click of this here link.

Literary journals v Literary blogs.

Interesting discussion - follow both the links Scott puts up. 


Tomorrow, the Benton County Daily Record was supposed to print an open letter to Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's CEO, from WakeUpWalMart.com. The letter asks Wal-Mart to work with our campaign to help address the economic and health care crisis facing its 1.3 million workers, all working families, our communities, and our country by agreeing to "six demands for change."

Today, the Benton County Daily Record, in a stunning move, refused to print our letter, really YOUR letter, declaring it "defamatory."

Last week, Lee Scott said, "When you do the right thing, good things accrue to you." We agree. Our letter, which was written in the spirit of the Hurricane Katrina aftermath, states, "Just imagine the good Wal-Mart can do if it works with us to become a better company by doing the right thing - everyday. We hope you will view our 'six demands for change' as a sincere effort to form a new partnership for change."

Please help us change Wal-Mart today by signing our "six demands for change." Your free speech still matters despite the Benton County Daily Records' refusal to print our ad.


Our genuine hope with this open letter was to offer Lee Scott an olive branch, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, to build a new working relationship to improve the lives of millions of Americans everyday. Evidently, the Benton County Daily Record believes asking Wal-Mart to do the right thing every day is 'defamatory.'

Please forward this link on to your friends and family, and ask them to add their name to our letter, asking Wal-Mart to agree to "six demands for change:"


Together we are going to change Wal-Mart and build a better America. Thank you.

Paul Blank


Mr. Lee Scott, CEO
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611

Dear Mr. Scott,

In the wake of the terrible tragedies caused by Hurricane Katrina, Wal-Mart helped ease the suffering of many Americans. This crisis brought out the best in Wal-Mart and we applaud your hurricane relief efforts. We hope Wal-Mart's response to Hurricane Katrina represents a turning point.

Wal-Mart has a great opportunity to work with us to help improve the lives of so many Americans who face an economic and health care crisis everyday, everywhere in America. The American people want to know, will Wal-Mart do what is right for America or will Wal-Mart lead a race to the bottom.

We believe now is the time for Wal-Mart to address the serious issues facing its 1.3 million workers, their families, our communities and our country by agreeing to the following "six demands for change."

  • Living Wage. Pay all Wal-Mart workers a fair living wage so they can support their families.
  • Affordable Health Care. Provide all workers comprehensive, affordable health insurance coverage so they can care for their families and no longer be forced to rely on taxpayer-funded public health care.
  • End Discrimination. Ensure equal opportunity and equal pay for women and people of color in your workforce at all levels through a stringent and independent monitoring process.
  • Zero Tolerance on Child Labor. Adopt a zero tolerance policy and institute an independent monitoring program to stop the exploitation of child labor in the United States and abroad.
  • Buy American. Establish a "Buy America" program that annually increases the percentage of "Made in America" goods purchased by Wal-Mart so as to help protect American jobs.
  • Respect Communities. Work with local communities to effectively address Wal-Mart's negative impact on issues like traffic, sprawl, the environment, and local businesses.
As you stated recently, "When you do the right thing, good things accrue to you." We agree. Just imagine the good Wal-Mart can do if it works with us to become a better company by doing the right thing - everyday. We hope you will view our "six demands for change" as a sincere effort to form a new partnership for change.

In the end, we are not your enemy. Our goal is to be your partner in making Wal-Mart a better business. We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how we can help Wal-Mart grow and prosper in new ways. But, make no mistake about it, if Wal-Mart refuses to change for the better, we will continue to build this broad-based social movement into one of the most powerful forces for change the nation has ever seen.

Wal-Mart has an incredible opportunity - right now - to work with us to better the lives of all your workers, to set a new standard for corporate America, to be a better business, and to build a better nation. We hope you will and look forward to your response.

WakeUpWalMart.com - America's Campaign to Change Wal-Mart.

P.S. This November we, along with a broad coalition of community organizations, will be launching Wal-Mart Week, November 13th - 19th, to highlight Wal-Mart's negative impact on America. You can go to www.walmartweek.com and learn more about the actions we will be taking and the movie being released. Our hope is that by then, instead of highlighting Wal-Mart's failures, we can stand together and celebrate a new day at Wal-Mart - a day when real change improved the lives of millions of Americans.

Monday, September 12

Updated, many new features.

A useful resource before shopping.

Thursday, September 8

Are computers bad for kids?

A thought-provoking article, at Orion.


On and On has a new post.

Wednesday, September 7

This American Life Update, 9/6/05.

This American Life Update
September 6, 2005
The "Endless Packing" Edition

After the Flood.  Surprising stories from survivors in New Orleans.
And, insiders at FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, tell
the story of how their agency has changed over the last four years,
and how its ability to respond to national emergencies has been

NEXT WEEKEND, 9/16-18:
Getting and Spending.  We all think we'd do anything for love. But
really, what we'd do anything for, is money. Stories about the things
people will do for cash.

Fwd: I realise...

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Allison Lau
Date: 07-Sep-2005 10:15
Subject: I realise...
I realise this is getting mighty annoying but I changed the blog address again. Forever! I swear!

More Good Poems.

The other book of Good Poems is available in paperback; this new one is still hardcover only. 

Tuesday, September 6

Help dogs, cats of Katrina.

Family dynamics.

Far more interesting than anything I've posted here in a long time are the events unfolding at the On and On blog. 


Saturday, September 3

Starcraft again.

Have any of my readers actually played this game? E-mail me...

Court KOs Online Game Bypass Program - Yahoo! News

Direct from New Orleans.

Stephen Elliott has gone down to the area and posted this article at Salon.com - and will have further coverage at his own site.

Mr.Sun's Gas Shortage Tips.

To be found here.

Friday, September 2

The post where I vomit my life onto the internet, stroking my ego, for your very mild enjoyment.

  1. The first CD I bought, long ago, was The Black Crowes' "Southern Harmony and Musical Companion". It was a damn long time ago and my recent mis-storage while in transit has rendered it unlistenable during the good part of "Black Moon Creeping". So, the rotation of old CD albums into some landfill has begun, as I purchased a new (apparently digitally remastered) copy of it tonight at Newbury Comics with a new hat.
  2. I am eating B&J New York Super Fudge Chunk. White chocolate is not really chocolate, you know. It tastes good right here, though.
  3. I am on pager tonight. I keep hearing beeping coming from somewhere, but it is not an appliance, a smoke alarm, or the pager, so I guess I need to increase my dosage.
  4. My daughter is no longer using a crib, which slingshots me into a permanent state of ever-recycling nostalgia.
  5. UMF wants my donation. They won't get it unless they promise not to bulldoze the Campus Security building.
  6. Listening to live jazz. Mmmmmmmmmm.
  7. Home alone with no one to talk to (hence ice cream, live jazz, and vomit post), as my loves are visiting Nana tonight.
  8. You look like a man-o'-lantern.
  9. Bought Auster's "Collected Prose" and "The Book of Illusions" today - the latter, used - based on my fair enjoyment of "Oracle Night" and my very thorough and complete enjoyment of "The New York Trilogy".
  10. I promised myself I'd stop at ten. Off to read.

Finding humor.

Check out the track list.

Thursday, September 1

Available in ME?

The Vermont Coffee Company, known for their organic and fairtraded coffee, has just upgraded its coffee roasting machine to run on biodiesel fuel. The bio-roaster can roast the same amount of beans in four hours as the company's two older machines roasted in 10-12 hours running simultaneously. A local distributor, Jackman's, has agreed to supply the biodiesel to the Vermont Coffee Company. The company currently distributes just over one ton of fresh-roasted beans per week.

Wednesday, August 31

Very curious.

Does anyone know someone that uses one of these, with the idea from here?  It looks like a dynamite little project.  Ask around, I'd love to hear stories about use, construction, problems, etc.  Thanks.

Conversation re: Google.

Sorry for the formatting, I'm still sick as anything.
From: A
To: M
it's the same deal with microsoft tho, isn't it (or any beta version
that becomes the hottest thing)? google is now the monopolising head
honcho of the internet game. a few years ago there was another webpage
that filed grievances with what they were starting to do with the ad
bar. they had just started doing it..it literally happened overnight.

i still use 'em. not sure how i feel about google talk yet. i really
love trillian.

On 8/25/05, M wrote:
> interesting article.  hard to know what to think.  i can't imagine
> that hotmail/msn, yahoo, etc. are any less involved; google probably
> just gets the "big brother" attention because they're popular,
> efficient, easy target.  i figure if i'm using the internet, i'm
> holding hands with big brother anyway, regardless of how many security
> protocols i set up.
> don't get blown away.
> did you see the "dear leader" blog I linked to from
> maghus.blogspot.com?  funny stuff.
> m
> On 25/08/05, A wrote:
> > i don't know, i used to be pro for their search engine when it was all
> > the rage in '99. but that was before they started this:
> > http://www.google-watch.org/bigbro.html
> >
> > hey, there's a huge ass typhoon/hurricane going on right now and it's
> > pretty cool. i think i just saw a tea bush unroot!
> >

Tuesday, August 30

Mitchell stuff.

Working my way through Ghostwritten now.  Here's a post about his three released books.

Sven is on to something.

In Thrall To Data

Sunday, August 28

I apparently have no chance of ever getting cancer.

This study is just what the doctor ordered. Make mine a double.

Friday, August 26

An expensive gift.

Too bad it's only through Amazon... and I'm not a millionaire


Thursday, August 25

Libraries offering audiobook borrowing.


Wednesday, August 24

Dear Leader.


DM interview re: BSG.


Google Talk

Go ahead - download it. You know I am. Bye-bye AOL IM.

Google Talk

Tuesday, August 23

Oh my head.

Galleys are now being sent here and there (sadly, not actually here, but there) for David Mitchell's new book, out next April. Anyone reading this that I don't know about that has a copy they'd like to send my way will get this blog renamed after them.

Black Swan Green

Monday, August 22

Anchors and Life-jackets

Posted elsewhere by me:

I think articles like this
are valuable uses of newspaper space in that they get us thinking
about our own lives, our own connections with the books we've read and
the fictions that have influenced who we are now – fictions both on
the page and in our lives. I am also always curious about other
people's bookshelves – I've left my wife stuck holding a conversation
up with a host while I wander off to their bookshelf. Judgments
inevitably follow.

And I think, unfortunately, that my expectation of others similarly
judging me by my books has, at times, had strong influence on what I
purchase. I've read none of Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I'm probably
even misspelling his name – but I own almost everything he's written.

I think we are, unfortunately, defined to some degree by what we own,
what we choose to spend our time on/with. I debated with myself
openly at my blog for a while on the pros and cons of getting an iPod,
eventually deciding against it largely because it would insulate me
more than I wanted to be insulated. I feel that the books I keep are
foundational blocks, at times – it feels supportive to know that the
copy of such-and-such that I've read every year in the fall for a
decade now is still there.

However, having said all that, I still own some books that, if I'm
seeking the hard, honest truth - No, I'll probably never read them.
So maybe I need to postpone my own morning cup of coffee sometime this

Tap tap on your shoulder.

I'd be interested in what the tech-savvy folks out there think about
this, just released today and pulling down one of the top-headline
spaces on my news page. I'd e-mail you all individually, but hell,
here's a blog.


Thursday, August 18

Never moving to Kansas.

First "intelligent design", and now this.

Schools drop two disputed books

Associated Press

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - Two of the 14 books that a group of suburban
Kansas City parents found objectionable have been removed from the
high school curriculum in the Blue Valley School District.

Officials insist "This Boy's Life" by Tobias Wolff and "Fallen Angels"
by Walter Dean Myers - along with three other titles - were removed
Monday because a review committee decided they were no longer the best
fit for the curriculum. The books will remain in the library.

"This Boy's Life," a memoir that focuses on the experiences of a boy,
was challenged because of foul language and references to alcohol and
sexual activity. "Fallen Angels" is a story about the Vietnam War.

No titles were removed because of violence, language or sexual
content, said Verneda Edwards, director of curriculum and instruction.

The district also plans to start posting information on the Internet
alerting parents to any sensitive or objectionable material contained
in books on classroom reading lists.

The district started the review of all titles used in communication
arts classes after parent Janet Harmon and her husband challenged
"This Boy's Life" two years ago. Harmon and other parents expanded the
challenge to 14 titles in January.

"It's a small step in the right direction, and we hope that there will
be many more steps like this made," said Janet Harmon, who delivered
the petition against the books to the school board.

Kerry McGuire, a junior at Blue Valley North High School, organized a
counterpetition supporting the books.

"I guess I have to say if they were truly taken off because they no
longer fit the curriculum, that's their prerogative," McGuire said.

But she said she would be disappointed if district officials made the
changes because parents pressured them.

New goodnews.

New posts up at Asym Motion, On and On, A in J. Linkas at the right.

Tuesday, August 16

Blog dislikers take note.

Monday, August 15

Literary Friendships

"JOIN GARRISON KEILLOR as he hosts a brand new series: he's invited an outstanding group of American writers to talk about their friendships with one another—and with one another's work—in front of a live audience. The series promises to be sparkling, enlightening, and possibly contentious.

What really happens when two writers become friends? Literary Friendships features poets, mystery writers, and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists exploring the solitude of writing and the company of friendship."


Viva la Chabon!

Friday, August 12

The Abridged Guide to Successfully Enjoying Writing a Stunningly Obnoxiously Self-Referential Resarch Paper.

Breathtakingly (adverbs!!!!!!!!) near the completion of my graduate studies, I now deign to share these nuggets of wisdom with those of you who are considering the life of academia, or are currently enjoying the examined life.  The research paper(s): the lynchpin of your studies, the Everest you must climb, whether you have a thesis to complete or not.  These honed-in-fires-to-hot-to-explain tips will ensure accolades-a-go-go.  Strap on your crampons and let's go.
1) Work in the word "doppelganger".  This is not optional; it must appear in the paper.  Every paper.
2) When writing in the feared APA format, or whatever corset your institution demands you squeeze your original ideas into, relax!  Who (besides Charlie B, now living far away from all of you, unless I suddenly have national readership, in which case Hi Charlie) is actually going to get out a ruler and measure the margins?  Nobody!  Tighten those suckers up 0.25 inches and watch the extra pages appear!  (Note: if e-mailing the paper to your professor as an attachment, disregard this nugget, because if s/he's smart enough to request it be sent that way, s/he knows how to check Page Setup, and there goes that grade A.  Goodbye, A.  Bye.)
3)  References?  Not if they aren't on paper.  Web/internet references are a bad idea.  It's playing with fire.  Do you want to play with fire, little boy?  Do you want to play with Bob?  Do... you... want... to... play... with... Bob?  (Answer: No.)
4)  Don't use snappy bullets.  You aren't in marketing for Krispy Kreme.  Just use the regular friggin' bullets.
5)  Use your Gmail account as your word processor.  It's functional, it goes where you go, drafts are easy to save, oh god damn it just sign up for a Gmail account already
6)  Try to work in "botard", "flapgas", and "Khan".  Not mandatory, for experts only.  It can be done.
7)  Disconnect the internet while you're working.

OK, but what does the name mean?


Thursday, August 11

The Thank-You Card

It's passed around at the office.  I get it and scribble something, thanks for your help, you've been great, what a job.  Then it's a rope.  The rope's around your neck.  How do you get out of the rope?  There's a list attached to the front, you check off your name after you've written your message.  Who hasn't signed it yet?  If you get the card last, you're stuck with it.  But Mary hasn't gotten it yet so I go to her office and even better she isn't there, so it gets tossed onto her desk and I wipe my hands clean of the damned thing.  I actually do the little hand wiping motion.  I do a little jig.  Someone else will be last with the card, the hot potato, the noose, the musical chair-less-ness. 

Friday, July 15

Assorted sort-of-bon mots.

... Abandoning ship with "Life of Pi" (get it?? yeeeeeaaaaargrrrgh!) as it just doesn't seem to be sticking to my ribs.  It is competently written but the author's note at the beginning, lengthy and apparently harvested directly out of his belly-button, threw me off my stride and I just haven't been able to whip enough interest to continue.  Back to the library it goes.
... Finished the Oates story in the fiction Atlantic.  WTF?  Great stuff, moving along well, and then I'm watching "The Island" without Scarlett Johansson.  She tied it up at the end pretty well but even that felt a little bit like I'd been lead on.  Does not encourage me to read "We Were The Mulvaneys" (Goodwill, $2.95).  The Englander story is decent thus far.
... Speaking of Goodwill, passed on Sue Monk Kidd's "Secret Life of Bees" today.  Did I make a mistake?  I carried it around for a bit but when I read the back... no.
... Secured a copy of "Mediated" from the library, arriving this afternoon.  I'm hoping for new insights and new ideas, and not just affirmations of what I already believe.  That, and/or "The Giant's House", and The Atlantic are what's happening.
... http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/040920fa_fact3 has a great article about Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.  It's not a new one but it's new for me, so I'm pinning it up here, along with this: http://downloads.fastatmosphere.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=FASTATMOSPHERE&Category_Code=GW-MP3-WIN   ...that Time (the Revelator) is mighty fine.

Wednesday, July 13

Why buy batteries?

This is the best.

"A compact wind up radio for travel and emergencies

The Freeplay Summit is the first, true alternative power radio with an attractive, modern look. This unique digital travel radio is a showcase of Freeplay's unsurpassed understanding of dynamo powered electronics. Either wind it up or let the solar panel soak up power from the sun. The Summit stores power in its built-in rechargeable battery pack. Small buttons run all the operations on this advanced, AM/FM radio with SW coverage of 5.95-15.6MHz. The feature-packed, compact design makes it ideal for a global trek or a trip to the beach.

Features snooze alarm clock and 30 station presets. Includes short wave antenna, carry pouch, and world travel power adapters."

I have a cheapy $20 non-digital version that I bought five years ago and the batteries have never been replaced, and we use it every day to listen to news. It's been dropped one too many times and this is its replacement. Better. Stronger. Faster.

Drooling? Well, check it out anyway.

Chekhov's Mistress: Two Perspectives on Blogging

You might have noticed that I enjoy articles about blogs. Here's a goodun', very thoughtful.

Chekhov's Mistress: Two Perspectives on Blogging

EB Superfan!

Blogs for Books.

Someone get me a coffee.

The New York Times > Technology > Dear Blog: Today I Worked on My Book

Tuesday, July 12

History of Netscape.

Interesting article on the one that started it all. Sort of.

I Turn My Camera On.

Photojournalism at its most dry! The order's all messed up, but give me a break.

Weekend project. New coop, one board at a time.

We need hats because we are without hair. Mine was cooler, but only temperature-wise.

Today's breakfast! Exciting!

With today's breakfast!


Mediated and the iPod.

Great article about the books and the device.  My indecision has been snapped.

Next stop: close contact with multiple clients.

Today's dining plan includes lentil salad (lentils, garlic, onions, butter, oil, rice, spices, etc), one or two everything bagels, assorted Clig Bars, pretzels, and lots of coffee. Let's get to work!

"Let's take a look at your employment plan. ...Why are you on fire?"

Monday, July 11

Indeed, one WOULD think that short fiction would be more popular.

... On some days, the amount of pleasure I get from reading about writing completely overshadows any actual writing I do.  Rushed out today to get the just-released first fiction issue of The Atlantic, which will no longer be publishing fiction in each issue, opting instead to put it all in one yearly installment.  Why?  Grunt: http://www.mediabistro.com/articles/cache/a4183.asp
There's a Rick Moody essay on writing that is decent, so far (one can only read so much at work).  Many people dislike Rick Moody, not just those listed on Maud's site today but, it seems, everywhere.  Purple America, The Ice Storm, Demonology.  I picked through Demonology one time and don't remember anything except feeling let down that what was inside did not match up with the Smarties on the cover.  The Ice Storm was a good movie.  Other than that, I don't think I know anything about him.  Any thoughts?

Saturday, July 9

This might explain why I was up half the night downloading from Audible.

Today's Dose is recommended by Seamus from Las Vegas, Nevada

Take today's Dose in HTML at:

"The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less"
by Barry Schwartz

As Americans, we assume that more choice means better options
and greater satisfaction. But beware of excessive choice: choice
overload can make you question the decisions you make before you
even make them, it can set you up for unrealistically high expectations,
and it can make you blame yourself for any and all failures. In
the long run, this can lead to decision-making paralysis, anxiety,
and perpetual stress. And, in a culture that tells us that there
is no excuse for falling short of perfection when your options
are limitless, too much choice can lead to clinical depression.

In "The Paradox of Choice," Barry Schwartz explains at what point
choice -- the hallmark of individual freedom and self-determination
that we so cherish -- becomes detrimental to our psychological
and emotional well-being. In accessible, engaging, and anecdotal
prose, Schwartz shows how the dramatic explosion in choice --
from the mundane to the profound challenges of balancing career,
family, and individual needs -- has paradoxically become a problem
instead of a solution. Schwartz also shows how our obsession with
choice encourages us to seek that which makes us feel worse.

Friday, July 8


Prompted by T.W.'s recent list of enthusiasms, and comments directed at me regarding my fixations, a short list.

1) I love TAL as much as the next person ...or at least, I thought I did. I haven't been able to listen in recent times, because apparently TAL is a hoot-n-holler trigger for my daughter. Ira's voice can't compete. I have been throughly researching Audible.com (along with enthusiasm #2) and find much to be enthused about, including audiobook versions of Cloud Atlas, Disgrace, a good number of Hemingway shorts, and of course the previously mentioned TAL, both in complete archive and subscription form. I am planning to download the "Neighbors" episode tonight.

2) iPods. mP3 players. I have been going back and forth about iPods for a month or two now, gripped by profound indecisiveness. I have a cd player in the truck; I have a tape deck in the car, and our next car will have a cd player; I have music at home. This leaves work, where I cannot access fine audio content through my computer network and simmer with envy at M's iPod-fueled paperwork time. She listens to it all and the day flies. I listen to the air conditioner and wish I had "Good Poems", "TAL", "The Hustle", "Tonight's the Night", and so on. But is such a small window worth shelling out between $200 and $400? Can't I make it through part of the day with environmental sounds instead of listening to "Gimme Fiction" for the 900th time? Do I need a gadget? Will it make me happy? Simplify? Amplify?

3) A free, non-trial PC version of Audio Hijack. It must exist. I must find it.

The "death" of letter writing.

I go through enthusiasms of letter writing that usually die before I manage to write a single letter to anyone. The modern age (such a phrase! so laden!) doesn't allow me to take the time, and I'm so comfortable with typing, with e-mail; it would be so much better, the writing of letters, but I'm just not enough a go-getter.

This article has strengthed my resolve again. I also found some nice postcard-paper at Staples that I bought so that I can print my own postcards and then send them to friends. (So please send me your mailing addresses - again - so I can add them to my book. Again.) It's a good article, makes all the good points.

Wednesday, July 6


The house that Maxwell built.

...Battery acid.
Today is LT's first day of day care.  We have been lucky to this point in being able to keep her in the care of family and close friends.  With me working full time again, Monday through Friday, and L working full time, we are now needing day care.  She is at a nice place not too far from home, quiet, clean, an invested provider who is willing to accomodate our germ phobias, vegetarianism, anti-TV stance, etc.  L will get exposure to more kids, which is good, and to girls; so far, all of her little friends have been boys, so it will be good for her to be around little ladies also.  When I called earlier, she was painting.  She's never painted before.
It is very difficult.  I wish I was at home with her now, taking her on a bike ride or reading "Daddy Cuddles". 
How do parents deal with it when they don't hear from their children every single day?  I know it must come about gradually, you get used to it in increments. 
...Bought Kafka's "Complete Stories" and "A Farewell to Arms" (not by Kafka) for $1 each.  The list grows.  A partial list, in no particular order:
-The Corrections
-A Garlic Testament
-Children Playing Before...
-In Pharoh's Army
-Back in the World
-Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
-The Hours
-Complete Stories (Kafka)
-Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
-Slow Man
-This Boy's Life
-Life of Pi
-Three Junes
...and so on. 
...Battery acid.

Commercial Alert relaunched.

This belongs on another site, but it's already there and I wanted to mention it here as well - Commercial Alert has relaunched their website (http://commercialalert.org/) and it's worth visiting.  I know W.S. will be excited about the new site.
It's astonishing to me that so many studies are needed to conclude that watching television is bad for kids. 

Tuesday, July 5


Google Toolbar for Firefox Coming This Week:

Independence Day leftovers.

...As ready-made falafel was unavailable to us, we had a pasta with an improvised thyme and toasted bread crumb topping that I enjoyed (thyme and sage are favorites, which is part of why I hunger for sweet potato and butternut squash soup, even in the midst of a heat wave) but that no one else cared for.  Having been up from 1AM to 4AM the night before with a sick little girl, we decided to stay home for the day.  She was doing a lot better and spent some time in her pool and her sandbox, had a good nap, a few rides around the yard in her wagon.  We celebrated Nora's seventh birthday with some special wet food (she usually only eats dry) and festive singing.  L did some reading in "Dry" by Augusten Burroughs, I closed in on the end of "Disgrace" by J.M. Coetzee, and LT looked briefly at a Ranger Rick magazine. 
...We did not go see fireworks.  We heard some nearby, after LT had gone to bed and we were out sitting in front of the chiminea.  It was great to sit near a blazing fire and look up to see the firelight on the leaves and then the stars.  Saw some fireworks in the bug zapper.
...Have been mulling over going to the Animal Refuge League and adopting another cat.  They have a surplus right now and could use some open homes for the little furry friends.  I have always opposed another cat - Nora is a treasure and I didn't want her to feel displaced or get less attention.  But, in a way, that has already happened with LT joining us, and Nora has adapted well to that.  We also worry about feline leukemia.  Still undecided.
...Our team nurse has given her notice.  It's difficult to react to surprises like that when the polite response is sorrow and gratitude, but when you really don't care for the person and won't give her a second thought.  Your response isn't prepared and so you're feeling around for the right words and facial expression, and you just end up smiling and making noises of disappointment instead of offering up platitudes about her service here.  Oops.
...Took a picture with the digital camera in which I look suspiciously like Roger Daltrey.  Google Images will tell you what I mean.  Note his hair.  I may post it here if I get time. 
...Bought G. Love's latest album "The Hustle" this weekend.  I enjoyed his first album and when I was getting into that he was just releasing the second, which I habve written about here and is his finest.  "Yeah, It's That Easy" followed that and was a new direction for him with more studio-produced "effects" and less "three guys with instruments".  Still a good album, but following that came "Philadelphonic" with a few goodies and a bunch of duds, and sampling, which continued the removal of originality from his style.  I previewed a bit of the next album, "The Electric Mile", and heard more of the same uninspired nonsense.  After previewing a bit of this album, I liked what I heard and decided to give him another chance.  He had put on a dynamite show back in the day at the Stone Coast Brewery, owning the audience from the first song.  I liked him.  This album is, so far, good.  It isn't a return to the wholesome goodness of "Coast to Coast Motel", and there's some filler, but the strong tracks are vintage and stick in my head.  The title track is good stuff, as is the track that features Jack Johnson.  Worth checking out, but preview it before you buy it.  Or, just buy "Coast to Coast Motel."
...Google Earth is great.  Only download-able at certain times of day; they are limiting downloads.  See http://google.weblogsinc.com/ - the Chicago Real Estate article - for an interesting use of the software.
... Happy Independence Day.

Friday, July 1

The only picture I have left.

Tasty summer listening.

Although not as commercially successful as their self-titled debut, Coast to Coast Motel is a definite improvement. The band keeps their hip-hop influence (much more prevalent on the debut) in check here, concentrating more on creating a mighty instrumental groove. It's also more of a traditional rock & roll approach for the band, with the results quite often being successful. The opening "Sweet Sugar Mama" is bass-driven and funky; other highlights include the smooth "Nancy," the uplifting "Chains #3," and the startling Led Zeppelin attack (musically, anyway) of "Small Fish." "Kiss and Tell" is an obvious attempt at a hit single, while some may consider the lyrics to "Soda Pop" a bit too foolish. As mentioned earlier, however, the group achieves some great, groovy interplay which can easily suck the listener in. Jimmy Prescott's upright bass playing and Jeff Clemens' drumming are tight and locked together, as G. Love adds his scratchy blues guitar on top. These guys have found the groove.

Review by Greg Prato

July 2005 issue available

America F'd as Democrats Flop Around on Dock, Gasping Last Breaths


Books as tattoos

I've mentioned this before, briefly, in a previous post (or maybe in my head) - something related to this, anyway. An interesting project in which a story, apparently written nowhere else, is being tattoo'd one word at a time on over 2,000 people. It will only exist in this form. Weirdo arty stuff, but interesting nonetheless.

Read this article about it.

Thursday, June 30

If she's truly that far gone, should we try to save her?

No, I am not breaking confidentiality and speaking of a client. I am talking about Katie Holmes. There's been enough witty commentary about Tom and Katie to distract us from things even remotely important (which "TomKat" is, most assuredly, not), but the whole creepy-ass Scientology business, and Tom Cruise's arrogance about it, does stir interest, no?

Here's an article about where Scientology begins.

I confess to reading a number of books in Hubbard's "Mission Earth" series when reading science fiction was the popular fad among early-teen boys wearing rose-tinted glasses, bad sweaters, spiky hair and dating their former babysitters. This series of books is largely responsible for my realization that there may, in fact, be such a thing as a bad science fiction book, and that there may, in fact, be better books to be reading than just science fiction books. (Dr. Who held me in his grip for years afterward.) The "Mission Earth" books are, to be generous, horrible. I think I read three or four of them before I realized my mistake. Ugh! And I had been planning on reading "Battlefield Earth" once I had developed enough reading skill to tackle such a monumental piece of fiction. Now I can just watch it on video... or, not.


Quote from W. Somerset Maugham, lifted intact from MaudNewton.com:
This is a very long novel and I am ashamed to make it longer by writing a preface to it. An author is probably the last person who can write fitly of his own work. In this connexion an instructive story is told by Roger Martin du Gard, a distinguished French novelist, about Marcel Proust. Proust wanted a certain French periodical to publish an important article on his great novel and thinking that no one could write it better than he, sat down and wrote it himself. Then he asked a young friend of his, a man of letters, to put his name to it and take it to the editor. This the young man did, but after a few days the editor sent for him. 'I must refuse your article,' he told him. 'Marcel Proust would never forgive me if I printed a criticism of his work that was so perfunctory and so unsympathetic.' Though authors are touchy about their productions and inclined to resent unfavourable criticism they are seldom self-satisfied. They are conscious how far the work on which they have spent much time and trouble comes short of their conception, and when they consider it are much more vexed with their failure to express this in its completeness than pleased with the passages here and there that they can regard with complacency. Their aim is perfection and they are wretchedly aware that they have not attained it.
Check this out, also: http://www.vintagefutureclassics.co.uk/ (sorry about lack of click here) - I've read four or five of these, sadly enough one of them being the inexplicably-included "Fight Club" (a top-notch movie but, for my money - and I got it from the library - a painfully bad read).

Tuesday, June 28


Who TF is Sean Paajanen, and how did he get ahold of my patented process?

Nevertheless, good call. I'm going to stick with the tblsp/cup, especially after the disappointing (to me) show at work today.

I have no entertaining photos to post.

Make Coffee in a Drip Coffee Maker


This site offers a whole lot of everything. Like this, which looks pretty great.

A proper brew.

My coffee-brewing skills have been called out, challenged, slapped with the white glove. "Too strong" was the consensus between our psychiatrist and a fellow support worker. A CCSW, complaining about coffee-too-strong! I have staunchly defended my patented process:
1) Measure out the ice-cold water.
2) Flatten the filter against the walls of the filter-place. This works best if you have recently rinsed the filter-place; the filter sticks well to the sides. This discourages rebellious grinds from jumping the walls.
3) Use a good blend. You may refer to my previous post about beer if you wish to join in the unwarranted assault on my patented process, but I assure you that you will be comparing apples and oranges. Will I drink Folgers, etc. in a pinch? Yes, despite their horrid record(s) on fair trade coffee, I will stoop. However, if you have a choice, get a fine blend from a local producer. I enjoy Coffee By Design. Green Mountain makes a number of outstanding coffees, many of them organic and fair trade and reasonably priced.
4) While you're at it, use a filter that isn't bleached. I used to use the brown, natural kind but have moved to Green Mountain's bleach/dioxin free filters, as they claim that the natural ones slightly alter the flavor of the coffee in a negative way. I understand that filters in general help to limit the acidity of the coffee (hence my general avoidance of the gold mesh "permanent filters", which while ecologically best will kick your stomach in the ass, so to speak) but I prefer the least intrusive kind possible.
5) Use a tablespoon measure. If you are making 11 cups of coffee (not mugs, but cups, the measurement on the coffee maker itself), you will put in 10 level scoops of coffee. Making 8 cups? 7 level scoops. I sometimes vary the level of the last scoop, depending on the general blend of the coffee itself; if it's a dark blend, I make that last scoop just as level as can be; usually same with a medium blend; if it's one of those limited batch seasonal blends that are light, I might add a little extra on that last scoop. Flavored coffees get a level last scoop and often succeed best when blended beforehand with a generic medium blend, to cut the flavor a little bit; some flavored coffees, such as hazelnut, can be overpowering otherwise.
6) You know I like the Silk Creamer. You know I do. I'll use the dairy kind, the cream, half and half, even milk. Under no circumstances should anyone use powdered non-dairy creamer. It is harder for one person to find anything that holds so many bad-for-you (in so many ways) ingredients in one place. Non-hydrogenated oils, corn syrup solids, artificial colors and flavors - you are cheating yourself not only of treasured retirement years with your family: you are cheating yourself out of a decent tasting cup of coffee.
Even as I type, my "challenge pot" is coming to its golden completion. Stay tuned for updates on consumer reaction.

UPDATE: Citing "a dusty cup", comment was withheld on my brew. The psychiatrist was unavailable to take the challenge. Dusty cup? This is not a person to hold back with constructive criticism, and so I am guessing she was unwilling to accept my fine technique. Which means I am unproven. (I thought it was a bit weak, and so bought a iced mocha with two shots on the way home, which provided sufficient nausea to make me unable to finish it. What gives?)

3D maps and such.

Looking forward to downloading this and trying it out.  Take the product tour, found on the right.

Monday, June 27

It worked for Ross Perot!!! No it didn't!!!

As part of my ongoing effort to provide an entertaining blog experience, I now present to you the first batch of photos chronicling my completely-unlike-a-superhero life experience.

Look! Driving to work!

Get to work, you slob! (note: open bag of kettle chips, completely non-ergonomic chair, proximity to coffee pot (peering from behind monitor), and general disarray.)

Time for a break! Let's go buy books!
"Dress your Family..."

Which one to read first?! Who cares! We've got pictures!

Friday, June 24

ScentHighlights? Smells like someone died.

How the Web changes your reading habits

By Gregory M. Lamb Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

PALO ALTO, CALIF. – When Ed Chi wants to read, he turns to two of the six computer screens that surround his desk. One is devoted exclusively to e-mail; the other, to the rest of his reading material.

The senior researcher is testing a theory: What if your "virtual desk" was as just big as your real desk? How would that change your behavior? Dr. Chi, of the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in California, has found out one thing already. Almost all his reading - text messages, e-mails, journal articles, even books - is done on-screen.

Computers and the Internet are changing the way people read. Thus far, search engines and hyperlinks, those underlined words or phrases that when clicked take you to a new Web page, have turned the online literary voyage into a kind of U-pick island-hop. Far more is in store.

...read the rest here.


Wow, look! Nearly every blog I wrote about in that recent post has a new entry! (Nearly.) (no pressure.) Does this mean I wield internet control? Do people go to sites I recommend? Am I all powerful? These are important questions that I will ponder.

Meanwhile, I am going to try the picture tool.

Here is another fine literary effort from the mighty Bruce Campbell. For those of you who do not understand fine filmmaking, despite years of graduate school in film, this man is the star of Evil Dead II, a movie of no small enjoyment. In other news, I recommend that everyone turn off their instant messengers when not in use; don't even think about leaving it on overnight (as I did) or leaving it for any length of time with your user listed as "away" (as I did), or your computer will, as someone said to me today, get "a code in its node" - i.e., a virus and/or adware. (As mine did.) What is adware? This: "Adware or advertising-supported software is any computer program or software package in which advertisements or other marketing material are included with or automatically loaded by the software and displayed or played back after installation or in which information about the computer or its users activities is uploaded automatically when the user has not requested it. These applications often present banner ads in pop-up windows or through a bar that appears on a computer screen. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adware ) More succinctly: a big pain in the ass!

"It's so easy"

Now Blogger (blogspot) supports posting pictures to the blogs without downloading the useful but cumbersome "Hello" program. Check it out at http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=324

Wednesday, June 22

Blogs are so much fun for me and you and everyone.

Blogs are a great way to pass the time, sharing yourself, your interests, and your thoughts with the world. It's part of the interactive future! (for those equally distrustful of my B.S., check out Franzen's "The Reader in Exile" essay, in his book "How to Be Alone". You might be able to find a copy of it online somewhere... ya cheap bastard.)

What's going on in my list of bookmarks? Marvin Gaye wants to know.

Asymptotic Motion, formally known as "Lost in Korean Translation" (I've actually forgotten the former title, ha ha, ha.), has great potential. What could be a better use for a blog than the exploits of a handsome man winding his way through the misbegotten alleys and trails of South Korea? Not to mention the public transport. I visit daily to reread his one new post. (Sorry.)

Starbucks Gossip is entertaining. You know they need to serve more FT brew.

25 Stoned Avenue is the newest effort from our contact in Boston. Boston is a great city. I enjoy thinking about the recent trip there, looking out of the hotel room window at the city spread out below. As much as I appreciate the great green outdoors, there's something to be said for forays into the city.

On and On is also sporting a brand new look. "Cloud Atlas" - great idea! I hope for more posting soon.

What great blogs do you visit? Share!

Sunday, June 19

Assorted bon-bons

- Happy Father's Day, all.

- Highly recommended: A Dyson vacuum. Our old Hoover bit the dust and we found a good deal on the mighty Dyson (check out the website). It is a new universe of clean.

- Highly not recommended: having a clog somewhere between your septic tank and your washing machine that results in liquid feces being splattered in a big way across your basement floor.

- Settled on re-organizing My Yahoo! for news.

- Reading Franzen and enjoying it quite a bit, so far.

- Links section updated; new area for blogs now. All blogs listed now sporting new content.

Friday, June 17


I'd be interested in input from readers about what websites they sue for news.  I'm a longtime "My Yahoo" user and have been toying with the new Google homepage, but find some stories missing.  I hesitate to sign on with corporate congloms like CNN...  what websites do people use for one-stop news, weather, etc?

I did not message you with "Tell me this isn't you!"

I received an IM last night from JH saying "Tell me this isn't you!" with "this" as a link.  We clicked on it and this apparently set loose a whole bunch of spyware-type programs in our system.  We then received the same message from our own account, and I've gotten one e-mail already today asking what this was about, so I'm guessing many people on our AOL-IM Buddy List received the same IM.  If you clicked on it, you very likely have something bad installed on your computer now (unless, like TW, you are a Mac user).  I had to run Microsoft Antispyware twice and reset my Internet Explorer security levels (Firefox seems unaffected... of course) to High manually (Antispyware kept telling me that something was trying to reset it). 
E-mail me if you have any questions.

Thursday, June 16


Today is Bloomsday, the day on which the action in James Joyce's novel Ulysses takes place in 1904. Leopold Bloom, the main character of Ulysses, does not have much work to do, so he spends most of his day wandering around Dublin doing some errands. He leaves his house on Eccles Street, walks south across the River Liffey, picks up a letter, buys a bar of soap, and goes to the funeral of a man he didn't know very well. In the afternoon, he has a cheese sandwich, he feeds the gulls in the river, helps a blind man cross the street, and visits a couple of pubs. He thinks about his job, his wife, his daughter, his stillborn son. He muses about life and death and reincarnation. He knows that his wife is going to cheat on him that afternoon at his house. In the evening, he wanders around the red light district of Dublin and meets up with a young writer named Stephen Dedalus, who is drunk. Leopold Bloom takes him home with him and offers to let him spend the night. And they stand outside, looking at the stars for a while. And then Bloom goes inside and climbs into bed with his wife.

Full text



Wednesday, June 15

This is great.

From the site host's description:

"Thursday, December 23, 2004
I'm going to try to read a new short story every day.

And I will log them all on this page.

I will try not to read the same author twice, but I'm making no promises. I love some authors (like Alice Munro) and cannot be expected to forsake them because of some project — especially when i make the rules. More rules: Some stories will be really short, because I just want to get one read. Some stories will be ones I have read before, possibly while in school."

Have at it, my friend! I am jealous and wish to emulate you in some small way.

I Read A Short Story Today

Ten things

Ten things I mean/t to do and/or should have done (in no particular
order) (I know the original question was specifically for things I
meant to do – past tense, things I wish I had done before this point –
but I'm expanding it a bit into things I hope to do. I've seen
variations on this theme at different sites (Edrants.com, for
example). I'll leave it to you to decide which is which in this

Ten things I meant to do:

1) Go North with _____ when he asked me to, right after his father died
2) Get a short story published
3) Get a book (short stories or novel) published and go on a book
tour in a VW van (either a very well maintained Vanagon or a Eurovan,
or since they poorly decided to stop making them, something similar)
across the country with ultra-literate beverage-enjoying companions
and a carefully chosen selection of great music
4) Live more simply
5) Record the life stories of my immediate family members and
transcribe them (and finishing transcribing already recorded ones)
6) Write every day
7) Finish this list sooner
8) Apologize to S.P. for how I treated him
9) Own a cabin in the woods beside a lake
10) Adopt more cats


From Terry Teachout, a list that cuts to the quick. Let's see yours.
I'm working on mine.


TT: Ten things I always meant to do

(1) Learn French.

(2) Write a biography of Peter Drucker.

(3) Play bass in a piano-guitar-bass trio.

(4) Ride a tandem bicycle through Central Park on a beautiful spring
day (with an appropriate person, of course).

(5) Join the Mile High Club.

(6) Take a trip on the American Orient Express.

(7) Take a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon.

(8) Watch an opera from the prompter's box.

(9) Walk on my hands without breaking anything important in the process.

(10) This.

O.K., eleven:

(11) Visit the Museo Morandi.

Tuesday, June 14

Consumer reports - Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Abandoning ship on this one, about 1/3 of the way through. Not bad - a bit slow in places, but some great passages. What sank it for me is the decapitated cats. Actually, I read on from there, but when Johnny Walker (I don't know) starts slicing apart a cat that can't move but is conscious and can feel pain, I literally tossed it across the room. "There is some shit I will not eat" - E.E. Cummings

Not recommended.

Powell's Books - Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

I may still read "Wind-Up Bird Chronicle", but am significantly less hot-to-trot.

Men. Prostates.

Read it. You're not getting younger.

From www.drweil.com :

Prostate Health, Part 1

As part of Men's Health Week in the United States (June 12-18), the
Daily Tip today and tomorrow will address prostate health - a subject
all men should address with their physicians.

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is a common, noncancerous
enlargement of the prostate gland, common in American and European men
over the age of 50. While the actual cause is not completely
understood, experts believe it is closely linked to hormone levels.
Try the following to help reduce the risk of BPH:
Eat a diet low in saturated and trans-fats, focusing instead on the
healthier monounsaturated and omega-3 fats.
Eat more soy. Asian men have a lower risk of BPH and some researchers
believe it is related to their intake of soy foods.
Avoid symptom triggers such as caffeine and alcohol, which increase
the need to urinate and may irritate the bladder. Avoid constipation
by increasing fiber in your diet. The pressure from constipation may
make the symptoms of BPH worse.
Have regular check-ups. The National Institute on Aging recommends
that men get regular medical checkups with a complete prostate exam.

Prostate Health, Part II

Yesterday's Daily Tip discussed diet and benign prostatic hyperplasia
(BPH) as part of Men's Health Week; today's Daily Tip discusses
nutritional supplements for prostate health.

For a healthy prostate, the following have been shown to have a
positive effect, and may help to prevent or lessen the risk of BPH and
other prostate-related conditions:
Saw palmetto (Serenoa repens). If symptoms of BPH do occur, try
managing them with saw palmetto. The best form to use is a standard
extract of 160 mg twice a day. Although saw palmetto does not shrink
the size of the prostate, it often helps promote healthy function.
Herbs and nutrients such as green tea extract, stinging nettle root,
ginger, rosemary, zinc, lycopene, and selenium have been shown to help
maintain and promote normal prostate health.
Keep in mind that it may take at least eight weeks of using these
supplements before you see improvement of your symptoms. Be sure to
consult your physician and discuss any medications you are taking -
including supplements - to avoid interactions.

For more prostate health information visit the Men's Health Center on

So many varieties of nonsense.

1) You cannot be happy/successful if you cannot maintain your fame?
2) The man is on the brink of financial ruin. Please. He owns the friggin' Beatles catalog. The Beatles. I think he's all set.
3) "Vindicated for all time"? That's not exactly how it works. It's not like divorce(s).
4) Dressed in white, hugged, cried, threw confetti and freed white doves? "Billie Jean" is a good tune, but come on.

Pundits ponder Jackson's future as he recovers - Yahoo! News

Monday, June 13

The potential of the internet

is limitless!

More with a Google homepage

We here at MH enjoy our Google.

Google adds more bells and whistles

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Google Inc. has introduced a new option that
will enable visitors to display more information on the online search
engine leader's bare-bones home page, a departure that pushes the
company a step closer to operating an Internet portal in the mold of
rivals Yahoo and MSN.com.
The feature, available at labs.google.com, allows the millions of
Google users worldwide to select components tools located underneath
the search engine's hood and display them on the main page.

For instance, a user could choose to have the weather, an e-mailbox,
movie listings, top news stories, stock market quotes, and driving
directions displayed whenever they visit Google's home page and sign
in using a personalized account. The company unveiled the feature
during a media day hosted at its Mountain View headquarters.

Displaying a potpourri of information on the home page marks a
significant change for Google, which has always greeted its visitors
with little more than a box to process a search request, along with a
few tabs to navigate to other features, such as news and shopping.

Sunday, June 12

A blog returns

After a long retreat from blogging, he's back. Seoul man. Check it out.

After you do, click at the link on his blog that leads to Postsecret. The explanation about the site is all the way at the bottom of the page. Interesting.

Asymptotic Motion

Put down that micro

Michelob Light has experienced a MH renaissance in recent weeks, as the warm summer months beckon with the siren call of booze. (Wine still plays an ongoing part, but the heat makes one want a Cold Brew on hand.)

I enjoy the "finer" beers as well, on occasion, but the price is prohibitive and the simpler days of college, MGD and throwing up everywhere remind me that it is best not to turn one's back on the old standards.

I haven't even heard of most of the beers in this story, probably because I live in rural New England, not the big city.

Old Brews Become Cool to Young Drinkers - Yahoo! News

Friday, June 10

Whoa nelly

Kudos to the anon MH reader who sent this link. Check out the narrator.

The Dive From Clausen's Pier

Music Reviews: White Stripes

I agree. It's a great album.
"The White Stripes, 'Get Behind Me Satan' (Third Man/V2)

Jack White, the frontman and brainchild of the blues rock duo The White Stripes, seems to have entered a new phase: Call it 'the mustache years.'

No longer sporting the signature red and white of years past, White now dons a country-goth look of long, straight black hair and a thin (and slightly creepy) stache. He recently wed model Karen Elson in your standard, Shaman-conducted, Amazon River ceremony aboard a canoe. In a long, grandiloquent message among the liner notes of 'Get Behind Me Satan,' he writes, 'Do yourself a favor and breathe real, get it?'

If White has found fresh perspective and new air to suck, it shows on the group's fifth album. Though the Stripes were already a rare, color-coded combination of retro and new, White has moved beyond previous roots to the band's Detroit garage rock days.

At its peaks, 'Get Behind Me Satan' is a euphoric rush of a new, unheard sound. Not stocked in White's typical ripping guitar licks, 'Satan' is instead mostly centered on piano stomp and gypsy tambourine.

The album, however, begins with more typical Stripes bombast. On 'Blue Orchid,' the first single, White shrieks over power chords, his falsetto reaching Robert Plant heights as he chases demons away: 'Get behind me now, anyway.'

But the third track, 'Doorbell,' is a glorious, just-try-to-stop-your-toes-from-tapping anthem of invitation: 'I've been thinking about ma' doorbell — when you gonna ring it?' Instead of thrashing on his guitar, White is banging out similar, on-the-beat piano chords, mirrored by a pulsing bass.

The effect is only topped by 'The Denial Twist' — a song so good that stereos and iPods will simply be unable to play it loud enough.

Throughout it, White spews a torrent of tell-it-how-it-is leveling. He sings, "You need to spit it out in the telephone booth while you call everyone that you know." The way he groans "spit it out" is comparable to a Buddy Guy note bend, stretching high to get to that grimace-enducing soul that's the heart of the blues.

As a guitar and drums duo, the White Stripes have always kept their music raw and minimal — after all, two people can do only so much — especially when one, Meg White, plays as simple a drums as possible.

What's exciting is that White's country roots (last year he produced Loretta Lynn's Grammy-winning "Van Lear Rose,") have not only yielded backporch twang, but down-and-dirty dancehall classics.

"Satan" otherwise oscillates between bluegrass ("Little Ghost"), more Zeppelin-style rockers ("Instinct Blues") and soft songs, including the late-night closer "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)" and "Passive Manipulation," sung by the normally mute Meg.

White verges close to cliche sometimes, including an uninspired line to Rita Hayworth: "Oh Rita, Oh Rita, if you lived in Mosquita."

But a song like "Forever for Her (Is Over for Me)" exemplifies that the Stripes are a long way past "Fell in Love with a Girl." It sounds right off The Rolling Stones' "Exile on Main Street."

"Get Behind Me Satan" isn't consistent enough to be in the same league as "Exile," but the new Jack White has taken a step forward — just enough to leave the devil in the dust.

• Jake Coyle, AP Writer