Friday, September 29, 2006


This, from, my favorite site for when I want a webpage backgrond gif to explode my eyes, made me jst wet my pants, metaphorically(1), with glee.
John Krasinski (“The Office”) is writing and directing an adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s “Brief Interviews with Hideous Men,” reports Production Weekly.

“Hideos Men” features twenty-two stories that intertwine hilarity with an escalating disquiet to create almost unbearable tensions. The series of stories from which the book takes its title is a tour de force sequence of imagined interviews with men on the subject of their relations with women. These portraits of men at their most self-justifying, loquacious, and benighted explore poignantly and hilariously the agonies of sexual connection.

Five weeks of principal photography begins November in locations around the Northeast.

This: John Krasinski!
Plus this: David Foster Wallace!
Plus this: A misspelling of “hideous”!(2)
Equals: My worlds are colliding!

And I love how it comes preblurbed:



(1) Special Note to Jessi: I’m sorry if I am always writing about pee.

(2) The u on my keyboard at work doesn’t always work consistently. (a)

(3) I missed Stdio 60 on Monday but I just watched episode 2 for free on the internet (b) and while I have to admire the amount of energy going into a show that has to include in every episode featring the writers both a bunch of sketch ideas that are sort of funny but don’t really work, and then a bnch of sketch ideas that do (i.e., every episode has to be both SNL and MadTV, (c)), this show isn’t like, working? Like, at all? For me? Yet?

It is DISHEARTENING. There’s a slickness and familiarity to it that makes me feel like everyone’s phoning it in (d) -- a slickness in spite of the clunky, embarrassing stillborn promotional websites (the all-links-are-dead as of this posting Studio 60 on NSS and the not-apparently-even-up-anymore defamer parody/tribute/salute/ripoff defaker (still viewable via google cache. [Update: I can't find it in the cache anymore, but this proves I didn't dream it]

I guess I’ll still watch, because I don’t have cable, but, but, but bt bt bt bt bt bt bt bt bt (2)
I'm only giving you eleven more chances.

(a) which scks (i)

(b) (!)

(c) not that I’m particularly worried Sorkin will run out of steam; no one has had this many throw-away lines at his disposal since the Epstein twins. Oh. Wait, wait. I thought of someone.

(d) the big finale of ep.2 where we see the cold opening that does work and that allegedly proves the genius of Chandler and Lyman (I mean, ha ha, oops), is a Gilbert and Sllivan(b) parody? Really? Didn’t The Simpsons kind of already cover that in “Carpe Feare”? And again in “Deep Space Homer”? And again in “Bart’s Inner Child”? And you you you I'm looking at you Aaron Sorkin, didn’t you go to this particular well in the “And It’s Surely To Their Credit” episode of West Wing? And wasn’t that in November 2000?(ii)

(i) especially for typing in .r.l.'s.

(ii) Um, this post was supposed to be about John Krasinski. John Krasinski, call me.
I love yo.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Letter to Robert Burns from William Creech, Publisher, 23 April 1788


In response to your keen and frosty letter, I feel the need to reiterate the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement, signed at Mackenzie’s: you were to receive 100 guineas in addition to the subscription money for the property of the poems. I have the poems you sent. I now await the poems I might actually be able to publish.

As you know, I am an admirer of much of your work: To a Mouse (On Turning Her up in her Nest with the Plough) is a fine poem, as, of course, is To a Louse (On Seeing One on a Lady’s Bonnet at Church), but these new ones... You may be in a bit of a rut, is all I’m saying.

Take To a Blouse (On Finding Said Claithing on the Half-Off Rack at Haggis Republic). The half-off rack is indeed a good place to save the odd bawbee, but “Sin’ your sporran’s but a purse / For ta’en orr’ duddies aught o’ house / An’ sin’ your kilt be but a skirt / Transvetie, why not buy a blouse?” is just silly, and insensitive to the culture of the highlander. You have your opinion on this and I have mine, and yes, I’ve read Deuteronomy 22:5, so don’t bring that up again. Also, in stanza four, your rhyme for “tartan” is inappropriate, as I’m sure you know.

Furthermore, look at To a Spouse (On Finding Oneself Married to Jean Armour for the First or Possibly the Second Time; Historians Disagree). Why you would want to bring this mess up again, especially after the Holy Willie Debacle, is beyond me; regardless, this is territory already well-trod with Of A’ The Airts The Wind Can Blaw not to mention Henpecked Husband -- I’m sure we can all agree that the drollery of the last line there: “I’d kiss her maids, and kick the perverse bitch” exceeds the new “’S a sma’ brattle; gie’ tho’ willie to’cher nae’ was s’ae grozit wi’fie.” In fact, I’ll be honest. I’m not even sure what that means.

Still, it scans well, unlike another submission, To a Gauss (On the Invention of the Theory of Congruences). While Carl Friedrich Gauss is no doubt a giant among mathematicians, and the value of his work in electromagnetism is not to be denied, he will not be born for another 150 years, I’m personally weirded out by the plan to deforest a giant triangle in the Siberian pine forest for the aliens to see, and if there is any poetry to be wrung from his life, “It wad frae monie daimen whid spean / Calculait mauth non-Euclidean” is probably not it.

Lastly, To a Kraus (On Viewing an Episode of “Benson” in which Some Humanity in the Acerbic German Housekeeper is Glimpsed) is simply dumbfounding. Although the early stanzas of the narrator being chased by Dobermans have promise, the following lines are forced and contrived, and the conclusion is mawkish. Your contention that she deserved her own spin-off, à la the Polly Holliday vehicle Flo is frankly short-sighted and betrays a complete lack of understanding about the role of a supporting character. Also you reference Tracey Gold. It was Missy Gold, who played the Governor’s daughter (Tracey’s sister).

I feel confident if you put a little more thought into your work, we could have another winner on our hands. As it stands,

All best to Jean,

William Creech,

Monday, September 25, 2006

Early Draft of Text Automatically Attached to the End of Outgoing Emails from Horizon Securities Ltd.

This message is intended only for the addressee. The addressee should print it out, and color it with Mr. Sketch Scented Markers. The result should be shredded and the shreds of colored paper should be used to make a piñata. In the piñata, you should place candy, preferably Chiclets. The following should never be placed inside the piñata: angry bees, infants, cigarettes, needles, glass, a second slightly smaller antimatter piñata, or uranium target rings (i.e., if the bat used to hit the piñata is also made of uranium; otherwise, this is OK).

Horizon Securities Ltd. (“HSL”) can melt things by looking at them. There are vending machines here that sell kittens. They are 45 cents and come in a small shoebox. You will not know if the kitten is alive until you open the shoebox, and the kitten’s fate is tied to the wave function of the atom, which is itself in a superposition of decayed and undecayed states until observed. The shoebox is beautiful.

HSL misses you. HSL has been staying up late reading old letters you wrote it a long time ago. HSL likes the way you make the loops in your L’s. HSL does not like your current “partner” because that person is “churchy.” HSL almost called you last night when it had had too many Maker’s Mark & Sodas (we are trying to make this our “signature drink”. HSL does not really think a new relationship with you would actually be viable, but can’t help but remember the one time when you were both trying to stay up all night because you had a final in Film History, and you didn’t say anything, you just looked at each other for hours and hours and hours.

Friday, September 22, 2006

An Arthritic Ray Harryhausen Lets His Dog Go Free

Arnaut Daniel - he dead

So, feet jerking through St. Augustine, the one-headed dog
First strained, now freed from the leash, runs, eyes
Three blocks ahead, each vertebrae
Moving like Fleischer cartoons: repetitive, cells half-melted, skipped,
A bad print. But, still, digging deep into his toenails
The soft earth is molded and deliberate

And fills the hollows until as if by a deliberate
Preference for the shrinking of things, the dog
Thumps its paw a second time and from its toenail
A smaller tooth-shaped, toenail-shaped clod of mud ejects. He eyes
The afterimage of that bony dog. It has skipped
Past, the image shrinking. Four months moving vertebrae

For three minutes of film! A hydra's teeth becomes vertebrae
Becomes seven skeletons: four died by sword, three in deliberate
And vain endeavor plunged seaward, lemmingly skipped
To briny death after the Argonauts. They will dog
The Argonauts no more. Grinning teeth and sockets for eyes:
What is a skeleton but teeth grinding like concrete scraping the hallux toenail,

That one backwards toenail
Of dogs and birds and hydras? Animals have vertebrae
For moving. And to see, they have eyes.
Persistence of Vision is a deliberate
Gift from God. Had he skipped
That class? Is that why now his spine is dog-

Legged? Hunched over, he watches the dog
In stop motion. The mud from the hollow of the toenail
Expelled in stop motion. The dog skipped
Past hedges, past where he can see. His thoratic vertebrae
Shrink and crack. His lumber vertebrae deliberate
Until they form five question marks. His eyes

Shudder (it's the only way his eyes
Can see now). And the after-image of the dog
Like a Muybridge negative, burns deliberate
And hard: dog head, dog tongue, dog toenail.
Dog having now skipped
Six blocks. He hunches up his B-Movie vertebrae.

His aging has been as deliberate as the twentieth toenail
On Dioskilos, or the fourteen eyes on the hydra (he'd vainly skipped
Heads 8 & 9). His vertebrae: stop motion stop, the collapse of a two-headed dog

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Answers to Last Thursday’s Pop Quiz in Early Romantics

(1) “Love is Eternal,” he tells her. And that he is coming to see her.
(2) The lover has been untrue, so when the narrator picks a rose it is a symbol of love for him, he pretends to take it, leaving her with the thorn, which to him, [crossed out] [*]
(3) Because none of them were Mary
(4) The first and last stanzas are almost identicle [sic] which brings a sense of unity to the song. The third stanza also contains the line “Flow Gently Sweet Afton…” The other stanzas are set up as if he has come upon her, with his flock of sheep, he at first envisions past encounters, but as he gets closer, he is able to give specifics (her feet dangling in the water, etc.) [**]
(5) He is in love with Mary and, seeing her asleep by the Afton, wishes for [“piece” crossed out] peace and serenity around her [*]
* Marked incorrect.
** Half credit.

Open Letter to William Blake

“Symmetry” and “eye” don't rhyme, dick*.
What are you, Emily Dickinson, now?


* Unless this is some obscure joke about Shannon Doherty. Is it? She has Crohn’s disease. Did you know that?
Don’t you think she’s been through enough?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Studio Sixty

When I was watching this last night, I thought the actor playing the Davey Wilson character (“Cal Shanley”) was Andy Dick, and I thought, “Andy Dick has really let himself go.”
But I just checked, and I see that that character was played by Timothy Busfield, which makes me think that Timothy Busfield has let himself go.

Our hearts go out to the families of Andy Dick and Timothy Busfield.

P.S. the show kind of sucked, but it takes place in Los Angeles, so maybe it’s supposed to.

Reviews of “Special Topics in Calamity Physics” and the Bottle of Açaí Juice I Bought for Lunch Cleverly Masked as SAT Test Questions

(a) Special Topics in Calamity Physics
(b) The bottle of açaí juice I bought for lunch
(c) Both a and b
(d) Neither a nor b

(1) __ I had heard good things about it
(2) __ I bought it on a whim
(3) __ If feeling extremely charitable, I might call it “frothy”
(4) __ It seemed sort of good in the beginning, but by the end I was like, “Blaahahhgajh. End, end, end.”
(5) __ Contains metaphors that go down like a junebug having lion sex in a bourbon mood
(6) __ Blue things totally dissed
(7) __ Nabokov rolling in his grave
(8) __ Authoritative blurb raises questions about agenda of blurber
(9) __ Handy pronunciation key for difficult-to-pronounce words like “açaí” or “pessl”
(10) __ “I’m confused about what editors, like, do?”
(11) __ “Maybe I don’t need this many antioxidants and/or self-indulgence.”
(12) __ “Post-BBC Office is anyone allowed to be named Gareth? Really? Really?

[Pencils down.]

(1) c
(2) c
(3) c
(4) c
(5) c (“A Cadillac-sized smile drove away with his face as if I’d just agreed to pay him ‘in cayash,’ as Dad would say, for a Sedona Beige Metallic Pontiac Grand Prix, fully loaded, two grand over sticker price, driving it off the lot right then and there.”; “Stop the radicals! Join the antioxidant revolution!”)
(6) c (~bloods plotline disappear halfway through; ~berries have 61 fewer ORAC units than açaí)
(7) d (This is against policy at Cimitière de Clarens.)
(8) c (Jonathan Franzen: “A masterpiece of sorts.”; Brunswick Laboratories, MA: ORAC Unit analysis, presented as bar chart)
(9) b (“say ‘ah-sci-ee’”)
(10) a
(11) c
(12) a (No, unless a boy is born that can swim faster than a shark.)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Open Letter/Valentine for Maria


I was a baron and a widower, and I ran my Salzburg home like a ship! (Specifically, the one I commanded.) That all changed when you, an ineffectual postulant nun given to panoramic hill-prancing and something that translates from the German as “pleasure imping”, arrived from the convent to be the new governess of my seven children, Liesel, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Gretel, Germaine, and Tito. Your romps through the hills inspired us all to sing and to find joy in the little things in life, such as raindrops on schnitzel and whiskers on additional schnitzel. We married. Austria’s new German rulers wanted me back in military service. Hijinx. Max was all, “The VonTrapp Family Singers!” like eleven times. More hijinx. Momentary happiness. Then you left me when it occurred to you that my whistle for you was the same as my whistle for Rolfe. Fox produced several “Millionaire” shows. People started calling me Captain VonCrapp. “Hey, how’s it goin’, Von Crapp?” they would say. And variations on this.
Later, with the advent of the “internet”, it became no longer appropriate to pronounce my first name “”
If you read this, know that nothing comes from nothing.
No, nothing ever could.
[this is your part]
Or childhood.
[you again]
Something goooooooood.

Holla back.

~ Baron George* VonTrapp
Rhymes with Porr’dge, LOL

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Knotable Knots

1. Gordian Knot
2. Clove Hitch Knot
3. Granny Knot
4. Bowline Knot
5. Fisherman’s Bend Knot
6. Half Hitch Knot
7. Square Knot
8. Slip Knot
9. Surgeon’s Knot
10. Turk’s Head Knot
11. Don Knotts
12. Knott’s Berry Farms
13. Knott’s Scary Farms*
14. Knot if you were the last man on Earth, Brian.
15. Knot Me**

* During Halloween only.
** Tip o’ the hat to Bil Keane!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Answers to Last Tuesday’s Pop Quiz in Early Romantics

(1) Ghengis’s son
(2) Because that guy woke him up [**]
(3) The fountain is like the creative inspiration and the river Alph is the creative force. The water is [crossed out] [**]
(4) Because he saw the poem in it’s [sic] entirety, word for word and image for image based not only on his dream but on what he was reading, which was itself a fragment so there could not have been more than what we have, because the source itself is limited. [*]
(5) The voices were [“prophicizing” crossed out] prophesying war.
(6) Because if you just say the vowels of the first line it’s sort of like a Vowel Palindrome: Ih Ah Ah Oo Ih Oo Ah Ah [**]
(7) The fountain and the sunless seathe sunny pleasure dome and caves of icethe peaceful valley and the voices prophesying war
(8) [*]

* Marked incorrect.
** Half credit.