Friday, December 21, 2007

No Damn Cat, No Damn Cradle

Look, I made a dumb Vonnegut reference, and it got posted.

For all of you who were scared off by the fact that someone is supposedly moderating the comments on the NYTimes Opinion pages, do not be scared:

It is just like the rest of the Internet.

If you are one of the 4% of all English-speaking people that hasn't already read this very long thing by Errol Morris, and you are interested in things that are "fascinating as hell", and you're all, "Why does everyone love Susan Sontag so much?" and something something Breeders song, then please read it?

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (links provided here because the link to Part 3 on the Times site is wrong).

I wish my brain was more Errol Morrisy. I think it had a chance about 10 years ago, but then I got a "real job".
Errol Morris, I'll be your whatever you want: The bong in this reggae song.

Friday, December 14, 2007

$4 Million Dollar "Tales of Beedle the Bard" Thing


I sort of wanted to post a new discussion that says "AMAZON PLEASE TELL US IF ANYONE ELSE IS GAY SO WE CAN PROTECT OUR CHILDREN" but reading the comments that are in there so far, I think I'll just wait for someone else to do it.
You rule, Internet Community, you make me more proud of you every day.

Maybe the book contains magic that can save the Kindle..?

Reducto DRM!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Find Patrick

Chicago - Schuba's 2
Originally uploaded by
Hint: he is blurry.
This was a good show, although going into it I sort of imagined a couple things that didn't pan out; viz.--
(1) I fully expected "Podsafe Christmas" with Coulton, Paul, Storm, and several helium balloons (it is only OK to abuse helium if you are a professional entertainer, my mother taught me); and
(2) When I talked to Coulton after the show and said I had just moved here from Brooklyn, the correct answer from him was not to disparage the South Slope, but to say, "Oh, hey, shortly after you left, we devised a technology that will allow you to afford to live in Brooklyn with adequate space and spare money at the end of every month for trips to the cheese store on 7th and the entire Criterion Collection and providing for your kids &c.; so, you can come back."
Since this did not happen: everyone in this picture, please hang out with me and/or babysit so I can do more things like this, only this time with my lady friend.

Except that one drunk girl who was sitting in front of me.
I am sorry: you are a mean drunk.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

"V" Apparently Not Only for "Vendetta"

Defamer linked to a [disputed] story on Rated M announcing that Larry Wachowski has completed his sexual reassignment surgery but will not speak about it or do any publicity for Speed Racer until after it comes out, since it could "hurt the family image the Speed Racer film is going for."

But let's think about this:
(1) Sexual Reassignment Surgery.
(2) Reluctance to speak.

Might there be another explanation?

Friends of Samantha Moss, even if she never writes anymore, see specifically [and please note that these seemed funny at the time]:
Jacques Chirac Arrives to Consult the Oracle.
The Oracle Arrives to Consult the Oracle
Dave Eggers Arrives to Consult the Oracle
This Actually Happened Last Tuesday

Friday, December 07, 2007

Free Money

Someone should write like a murder mystery? That takes place at the Yankee Candle Flagship Store? And they could call it "Means, Votive and Opportunity (An Inspector Niles Mystery*)".

* or whoever

The victim could be like current CEO Craig Rydin and he could be offed in the Dip-Your-Own-Candle area maybe. The murderer could be someone from Madison Dearborn and be all, "I am sorry you must die, current CEO Craig Rydin, but it is nice that the last thing you smelled was Pumpkin Spice," and then Inspector Niles solves the case. He could be all, "It was the Madison Dearborn guy, in the flagship store, with the candlestick."
I'm pretty sure this is what Poe had in mind when he invented detective fiction.


Actually, I sort of just wrote this to see if it would show up on the "Blog Post" section of the Google Finance page for YCC. If you are reading this there, sell all of your stocks and write this book; it is a license to print money. This is not some microcap stock fraud thing; you will make so much money! Do this! Also please do not murder anyone.

I made this half prom date half monkey monster to please you

Maybe I used too many monkeys..?

if you don't know what I'm talking about, and care for some reason: here.
I'm totally seeing him tomorrow night he's playing in Chicago and I am excited THIS IS ME EXCITED TO SEE A REPRESENTATIVE FROM BROOKLYN COME TO CHICAGO, MY EXCITEMENT DEMONSTRATED BY ALL CAPIALS AND NO PUNCTUATION AND NOT BOTHERING TO CORRECT THE SPELLING OF "CAPITALS". I may wear my "neighborhoodie". Actually, I think it's going to be like 28 degrees, so never mind.
Also, First of May fans: this-alarming-in-the-wrong-context poster was spotted at the Museum of Science and Industry this weekend. (Note: it is neither science nor industry.) I hope Coulton's show will not be a "John Robinson"!!!111.......dvzsdsfsddddddddd
ALSO: the Museum of Science and Industry? in the men's "doniker"? has a DYSON AIRBLADE.
You thought I was going to say urinal cakes made of self-replicating nanobots, but trust me THIS IS BETTER, because: THIS IS BOTH SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY (here is a video of a PopSci editor testing one; it is just like that, only obviously more awesome in person, and also it didn't occur to me to stick a newspaper in it). I saw this on a commercial for something I was watching a week or so ago and I thought, "Why am I even seeing this? How am I the target demographic for this?" But now having used one, I WANT ONE IN MY HOUSE I WOULD NOT USE IT FOR EVIL OR NEWSPAPER MANGLING THIS IS ME EXCITED AT THE PROSPECT OF HAVING A DYSON AIRBLADE IN MY HOME IT DOES NOT MATTER IF I EXPERIENCE G-LOC THE RISK WOULD BE WORTH IT

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy 105th Anniversary of the Death of the Monocle

Someone on AskMetaFilter asked What's up with monocles? and someone else pointed him to this NYT article from 1902: The Rise and Fall of the Monocle.

1902! 23 years before Eustace Tilley!
(I kind of hate Eustace Tilley)

This article and the entire Times archive being online for free is such a victory for awesomeness that it totally just fixed a bad day I was having. I apologize to everyone I pissed off today. I didn't know there was an available article about the rise and fall of the monocle that I could access and read and then have fun imagining a bunch of dandies walking around turn of the century London without binocular depth cues.

I know that now. I am really sorry everyone.
Everyone? Christmas is uncancelled.

I wonder if the kids in that weird subculture of Victorian Steampunk Goths in Japan know the monocle is OUT.
I'm not fucking telling them. Those kids freak me out.

Update, 1/23/08: OK with Eustace Tilley again.
Most Updated Post Ever? Sources say PERHAPS, 1/25/08:
Dinosaur Comics (everyone is reading this, right??) drops some monocle awesomeness today.
The email-subject-line-joke for this one is "hey, who's that guy talking in the first panel? thanks for setting events in motion, guy talking in the first panel, WHEREVER YOU NOW MAY BE" which makes one posit: "Whoa, what if they guy talking in the first panel is the monocle guy? This might be some kind of scam to get people to pay for circus tickets. And the kangaroo might be in on it?"

also: "What if the author of this New York Times article is also the monocle guy?" is a question that I think now has to be asked.

Friday, November 30, 2007

I had a dream last night that..

..January Jones from Mad Men was the same actress that played Woody's girlfriend on Cheers.

Just in case this is some Jungian Collective Unconscious Archetypical Domestic Circuit Oversoul Weltanschauung Dream or something, I looked it up and they are different people, so hey everyone: you don't have to look it up. I took care of it.

Also, in case it was not me dreaming that January Jones played Woody's girlfriend, but instead was January Jones as Woody's girlfriend dreaming she was me, then I guess that's cool too, but only if January Jones is wearing a nightgown and is firing a BB gun at her nextdoor neighbor's homing pigeons, with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, while My Special Angel plays.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Irony mark؟؟؟؟

I just ran across this entry for the irony mark (؟); I like it, because it saves me the time it takes to type "!?!?!?!?!!?111!ZOMG111!!!!1".

Which is a long time؟؟؟

However, I notice that there is no option for upside-down irony marks. Therefore, Spanish-speaking people can only achieve half-irony.

Everyone: Duh, that's why The Spanish Tragedy is written in English.
Patrick: Right. That makes sense.
Everyone: And it explains Borges.
Patrick: You're right. Thanks. Maybe I can get into him now.

Oh, hey and get this: the "sarcasm mark" (¡) has its origins in Ethiopia.

So like in seventh grade when the kids in the back of the bus were saying, "What do you call an Ethiopian with a pickle on his head?" the correct response was neither "a quarter pounder" nor “While your insensitivity to the famine, the causes of which are largely due to the drought but also partially due to the civil war being fueled by US-backed insurgents, N.B., is perhaps an appropriately distancing response to the shelf-life the story will likely have in the US Media, it pretty callously ignores the actual terribleness of what is actually going on in one of the oldest, most multifaceted and diverse countries in the world, and if you’ll let me sit in the back of the bus I’ll tell you more, in particular about how I just ate injera for the first time the other day? And it was good?” but rather, "Funny ¡¡".


You know how it seemed like Europe was on board with helping everyone in Ethiopia and the US had to scramble to find people to pay attention and do anything about it and the paucity of giving a shit was why Dan Aykroyd and Kenny Rogers were both in the same video? I think I know the answer. The above joke at least works in America, but check this out:

Q: What do you call an Ethiopian with a pickle on his head?
A: Royale with Cheese.


Although I think we can all agree a better title of the BandAid song would be:
“Do They Know It's Christmas!?!?!?!?!!?111!ZOMG111!!!!1”.

Think it through next time, Geldof, you mononippled bleedingheart.
(J/K! Keep up the good work!?!?!?!?!!?111!ZOMG111!!!!1)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Patrick is Stupid, Part XXIV

I only just realized like right this second that the AoME book cover (the first one, not the dragon one)* was a riff on a Dr. Bronner's soap label.

Sam Potts, you devil!

* which is also awesome. I would buy more of that soap if it had a dragon on it.
Although, according to this (which frankly could use about nineteen "citation needed"s), that dragon is a "true friend to all", so I'm not sure why exactly its rescue and/or lunch is being overseen by the bitter glare of the ever-uncaring Triple Suns Plus, a very flattering portrait of the Author appearing within the Main Sun.

Maybe the Writer's Strike is stressing him out..?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Oh, OK...

I guess this explains that hastily typed press release from Redmond I saw about how the Zune will be "garlic-and-Shasta-powered" by second quarter 2008.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

this guy has a goatee, which should not surprise you

Someone a few cubes over from me was just talking loudly about something, and he said, "I know how to move a donkey, so..."

It was said, like, "Don't tempt me, because I WILL DO IT."

(maybe it was something he saw on TV, because prior to this, he was talking about how stupid the people on Wheel of Fortune were last night)

What's sort of also funny is the person he was talking to went, "What, you just hit it?" and the guy answered, "Well... there's a couple of other options too," in this totally I-know-something-you-don't kind of tone, which meant that his way of moving a donkey was going to be to hit it.

I don't have a broader point. I just hate it when people threaten to hit donkeys.

btw: no disrespect to goatees (mostly); all I meant was that he looked like he was reeeeeeally into Mythbusters.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Skin Disease: A Survey

Caused by stress, so it's only contagious if you think it is: THIS APPEALS TO OUR SENSE OF IRONY! Nice work, Shingles!

Hot Tub Folliculitis
Tip o' the hat to the 1970s!

Behçet's Disease
"Well? Shall we have mouth ulcers?"
"Yes, let's have mouth ulcers."
They do not move.

Paget's Disease of the Nipple
(1) We couldn't say the word "nipple" without thinking of the cover of Exile in Guyville for about nine years after that album came out; (2) Is this really named that for real?

A classic.

Is this different from boils? We're not sure, but it's the most inherently funny word we can think of right now, except for maybe "schmarbunkles".

My dad died from this.

A major subplot from the "Rip Van Winkle" story in early drafts of The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon by Washington Irving, it was suppressed by the publisher, who, wait, that book was called "The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon"? Really? WTF?

Kind of looks like you were trying to eat Fruity Pebbles, and not succeeding..? It is also known as "the kissing disease... maybe if you are blind?!?!?"

Fifth Disease
Laaaaaame. Please try harder, Integumentary Disease Taxonomists.

Cherry Angioma
If you can say this three times in a row and have it not be to the tune of "Gary, Indiana" from The Music Man then maybe we weren't meant to go steady, Brian.

"Shipoopi" is actually a song from The Music Man and you didn't know that. Strike two, Brian.

Marjolin's Ulcer
You have this. Strike three.

Bullous Pemphigoid
We were just thinking that this sounds like a character in a Douglas Adams book, and then we remembered Douglas Adams was dead, and we all got really sad. Fuck you, Bullous Pemphigoid.

Seriously. Just, fuck you.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I am your fodder

I was sending someone an email and in it I wanted to make a reference to the Star Wars line about "millions of voices suddenly [crying] out in terror and . . . suddenly [being totally] silenced", and to make sure I got the line right I googled "voices cried out silenced" and result #5 was a verse from The Bible:

"When he saw Jesus, he cried and fell down"


I found that to be:

Related to this, I guess: Yoda is on stamps now..?

Remember in the early 90s when all of America had to vote on whether we wanted the Young Elvis or the Old Elvis on our stamps? I am happy that the Post Office is just making our decisions for us again, but I am reasonably confident that America would have picked old, creaky Yoda and not young, bouncing off the damn walls Yoda.

Therefore: Yoda is the inverse of Elvis.

When I saw young Yoda, I cried and fell down. Young Yoda sucked so hard, all that kinetic bouncing around and Space Parkour. The only thing preventing young Yoda from being 100% Total Suck was that at the end of all the bouncing he didn't go, "Parents are lame!" and then dip some Dunkaroos into green frosting while a heavy metal riff played. Also, if he had been a Space Jamaican, that would have sucked pretty hard too.

OK, so after typing "Space Jamaican" just now, I looked up Jar Jar Binks' entry on Wikipedia, and saw that he was "born c. 50 BBY" and I was all, "He was born in 50 Best Buys? That's like using a parsec to measure time! How do you plan to retcon that one, Nerd Apologists??" but that's not true, because read this on what "BBY" means; no, don't, I'll just tell you: it means "Before the Battle of Yavin". Now you are saying, "What the hell is Yavin?" I agree. Or, I guess, I too ask that. And so, I have done the work for you. And this was difficult work, as it required that I leave Wikipedia, and go to the Wookieepedia (I am being serious) for the entry on the Galactic Standard Calendar, which you should definitely click on that link because you will see what is either the funniest thing in the world or the most terrible thing in the world: because the "Battle of Yavin" is when the Death Star blew up in "A New Hope", so the Galactic Standard Calendar entry is one where the authors are struggling simultaneously to maintain Plausible In-Universe Chronological Continuity, but are still forced to recognize that the first time the Death Star exploded was the high point of their childhoods; hence: the article reads like someone trying mightily to justify a space station blowing up as a calendar reset moment, as opposed to, I don't know, a war (of Clones!) or even a virgin birth). How great! And sad! And how, like everything else post-original trilogy, it serves to make the "universe" smaller! But anyway the best part of it is throughout the entry, someone has put in wiki-style citation requests:
The Old Republic dated years from the Ruusan Reformation of 1,000 BBY.[source?] Prior to that, the Republic had presumably dated events from its founding in 25,000 BBY. [source?] The galactic standard for dating was once YY:MM:DD, which refers to years after the Great ReSynchronization, which took place on 00:1:1. [source?]
I am not 100%, but I think there may actually be some "weasel words".
Possible also a "peacock term"..?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hagrid: bi-curious?

Closeted headmaster inspires complete devotion from a select group of students who over the course of their schooling become more and more like him to the puzzlement/anger of others.

These books can now be read as a roman à clef about the choir teacher at my high school.

With the emphasis on "roman".
I guess.

Here is how my brain processed this news:
(1) That's awesome!
(2) Oh, wait, I forgot, I don't give a shit.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Mr. Wong 925-8880

Rebecca says, “Miranda July doesn’t live in Brooklyn, does she?” I say I do not think so. She says: “Then I’m taking her off Brooklyn Authors.” Which I did not realize we had a Brooklyn Authors shelf, but great, that makes sense.

We are six months into being parents and have been forced deeper into the borough due to space and money (i.e., the not having of these things) and are reshelving all the books from all the boxes that have been stacked last-moments-of-Jenga-like in the living room, waiting to topple over and crush our whole raison d’être who has just learned to crawl, N.B.

I was trying to figure out if all the Lethems should be lodged between the Hammetts and the Philip K. Dicks, or just the early Lethems or what (too: they’re all different sizes, these Lethems, so when they’re together it’s less than what one wants aesthetically – this is the room where the Good Books are to go, after all, but I just hate to separate them all since they came from the same brain), so if there’s a Brooklyn shelf, then great; I don’t have to think about it. The cell rings.

We are still waiting for Time Warner to come out and enable our phone, internet and cable service (the “triple play”), so we have been hurtling toward the maximum allotted minutes on the cell with no way to check how close we’re getting. Stay strong, asymptote! (I say “we” but this has been a Secret Fight Rebecca and I have been having, that I have not taken care of this yet.) I drop the Lethems on the couch and say hello.

The voice on the other end says, “Is Wing there?” I say no, I do not think so. Below the shelf for Books About Wizards that are Probably Too Big for Their Own Good, The Books Not the Wizards (e.g., Jonathan Strange; Harry Potter; some Lord of the Rings; some Oz reprints from Books of Wonder), Rebecca has put the Dave Eggerses and the Zadie Smiths next to each other (“So they can kiss”) and I have Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings next to the Bible, a nice touch, I think. I have so much Borges, pulled off of stoops from our old neighborhood; I haven’t read one.

The voice says, “Is Wong there?” I realize what is happening. All of the Peter De Vries from my Peter De Vries kick last year are lined up together, in the order in which I read them and, not coincidentally I would submit, the order in which they appear in my estimation. Blood of the Lamb is first. The Cat’s Pajamas and Witch’s Milk is second: when I got that one from Alibris and opened it up, a piece of paper fell out: “Thank you,” it read, “You are right, I did enjoy his style. The ending of the first one will haunt me forever.” Both of those books are about a child dying, I am now sort of shocked to realize. Next to them is Mordecai Richler’s St. Urbain’s Horseman and Monkeys by Susan Minot, due to their having been purchased around the same time and the fact that they are of a similar height and are similarly Mylared. Monkeys had moments before been on Physically Small Volumes with Beautiful Covers that Make Up for the Contents (Lives of the Monster Dogs; Edison’s Eve; The Cheese Monkeys), but the cover isn’t all that damned beautiful and I kind of love that book. It is what’s inside that matters. As I said, I realize what is happening, but just say Nope.

The voice says, “Oh, I must have Winged the Wong number.” This is the first prank call I’ve gotten on my cell, ever, I realize. The phone lights up suddenly to let me know the call has been disconnected, a strange inversion. “Who was that?” Rebecca says. I pick up a Paul Auster (fucking Paul Auster!) and start to put him on the shelf reserved for Dostoyevsky if I ever decide I’m going to read Dostoyevsky, but then remember the Brooklyn Authors shelf. How many more minutes did I just lose on that call? It has spiraled my mood into someplace dark. We will never be done unpacking. We will never sleep for more than three straight hours again. We are not getting along. I can fit all the Austers next to the Lethems if I keep This Shape We’re In with the McSweeney’s Consortium, whose compositional uniformity is already null, so it doesn’t matter that I’m adding something else to it. But I don’t really want to give them more credit than they deserve (I’m over them). “Who was on the phone?” Rebecca asks. I have an idea. I start to tear out the pages of the Paul Austers and stuff them in between the spines of the other Brooklyn authors. This makes sense. “What are you doing?” Rebecca asks, “Who was that on the phone?” Fuck you, Paul Auster, I think. Fuck you New York Trilogy. Fuck you in particular, Timbuktu. Fuck you, Music of Chance, even if you allegedly inspired some of the books on the David Mitchell shelf, fuck you. As I’m tearing the pages out, I see a piece of paper with writing on it flutter to the ground. Rebecca picks it up and says, “Mr. Wong 925-8880?” This is my cell number (but my name is not “Mr. Wong” (see above phone conversation)). She hands the paper to me. I give up right there. The fact that a Paul Auster caliber plot twist occurs while I’m dismantling a Paul Auster book pretty much reduces me, as if by boiling. I do not know if this will work out.

But then I do something about it; I pull down the books on the shelves of Literary Geniuses Who Abandoned Their First Wives (which Auster could belong to, N.B.) and I hold them all in my arms, and I stand there, while the whole time Rebecca is asking what I’m doing, and for nine straight minutes I hold all 53 books in my arms and have you tried this? Because this is hard to do, and when I finally put them down, I do it on my terms and I tell her: I am ready to make this work. The phone is ringing again, but I turn it off and I do not know if this will work out but I say instead I want to make this work, I love our daughter, I love you, I am ready to make this work now, please help me make this work.

[orig. submitted in haste for this thing but just posting it now. It's really old! I'll back-date it, but sorry to anyone who hates old stuff that has to read this because of an RSS feed. Booo, old stuff.]

Monday, October 15, 2007

Presidential Quotes Reconsidered

Presidential quotes. Who doesn't love them? (Answer: Communists and whores.) But who does love them? We do, you and I.

...but: what was the original context for some of these inspirational mouth-steeds (that's a kenning!)?
See below...

Woodrow Wilson: "America lives in the heart of every man everywhere who wishes to find a region where he will be free to work out his destiny as he chooses."
Vexillographer: So... sorry, how many stars do you want on this thing?
Woodrow Wilson: 1.8 billion.
Vexillographer: Um.
Woodrow Wilson: Oh, and add another one for Puerto Rico.

Andrew Jackson: "One man with courage makes a majority."
(Runs out onto the court and gets creamed by dodgeballs)
Van Buren: Ha! Right in the jewels!

Theodore Roosevelt: "Speak softly and carry a big stick... of delicious MacSemple's Pure Spruce Gum." (He smiles and holds out the gum. John Singer Sargent quickly paints this.)
Director: OK, next one.
Theodore Roosevelt: "I'm as strong as a bull moose and you can use me to the limit... provided you bring the MacSemple's Pure Spruce Prophylactics."
(he stands, unzips his pants) I am a star. I'm a star, I'm a star, I'm a star. I am a big, bright, shining star. That's right.

Abraham Lincoln: "You can fool some of the people all the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time."
Mary Todd Lincoln: What about some of the people some of the time?
Abraham Lincoln: What?
Mary Todd Lincoln: You're not being thorough in your definition, and I just want to point that out.
Abraham Lincoln: (flustered) Yes, of course, you can fool some of the people... Look, you're-- (Mary Todd Lincoln pulls off her mask to reveal she is really Stephen A. Douglas)
Steven A. Douglas: Lincoln doesn't know what he's talking about. This concludes my Second Affirmative Rebuttal. In closing, I want to thank Coach Timmons, the National Forensics League and the Hockaday caf for having such awesome Frito pie. Shizaaahhh! (runs off with trophy)
Abraham Lincoln: Aw, tits.

John F. Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country."
Secretary Lincoln: Nooo, that's an antimetabole. I need an aposiopesis here.
John F. Kennedy: What about "Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate."
Secretary Lincoln: Um, no that's another antimetabole.
John F. Kennedy: How about: "Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to..."
Secretary Lincoln: No. I need an aposiopesis.
John F. Kennedy: Oh, right. How about: "Quos ego—!"
Secretary Lincoln: Perfect. OK, here we go. (holds up completed MadLib) "Quos ego—! he said, as he jumped into his convertible lampshade and drove off with his stinky wife."
All: Ha, ha.
John F. Kennedy: (sotto voce) I have a secretary named Lincoln?

Franklin Roosevelt: "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
Reporter: What about polio?
Franklin Roosevelt: Why, what did I say?
Reporter: Something about "fear"..?
Franklin Roosevelt: Let me start over. "The only thing we have to fear is polio."

Get this man an agent!

What an unbelievable talent!

My only complaint is the typeface is too small.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

And we spill some blood on the ashes / Of the bones of the Jones and the Cashes

My current best thing ever is the Internet Archive page for Jon Langford of The Mekons. I’d heard Langford do a (much shortened) version of this performance at the Magnet Theatre at a Little Gray Book Lecture a few years ago, and was blown away by it.

It’s a history of the Mekons and Langford and 1970s art schools in Leeds and early punk and the death of country music and letters from the (non-fictional??) Anne Bourbon-Levinsky to her (fictional???) mother Sophie Bourbon expressing disdain at the whole thing: “Your ship is sinking, mother, because there is a hole in it; and that hole is Jesus-shaped.”

This is a crappy recording, but it captures some of the ability-to-hold-your-attention-ness of the (totally Dashiell Hammett-looking) Langford’s reading, the most striking moment of which, I will transcribe below, thereby likely ruining it.

The Mekons have fallen in with The Sundowners, a trio of minimalist country (while it still had its vestigial tail “& western”) musicians who were the house band at the Bar R-R Ranch in Chicago for 30 years. Langford holds them in reverence:

The Sundowners said they’d play our wedding, sort of, but we never knew if they were coming till they came. As the dark clouds gathered in the June sky, they rolled up the driveway in a big gleaming station wagon, all decked out in their matching silk bomber jackets with the Sundowners logo on the back. They played a set and my friends and family from Wales and London and New York danced around and yelled until the temperature dropped and the band retreated into the house to stuff their weathered faces and schmooze with people their own age. They were very popular with the Welsh ladies.

Hours later, I prized them back outside for a short set, and of course, they didn’t want paying, so I gave them three matching bolo ties I’d picked up at Alcalas Western Wear and they went away, and one by one over the years they got older, and sick, and The Ranch closed down. The mayor, Mayor Daley, made December the fourth Sundowners Day, and we celebrated it with a couple of big parties. Then Don had a stroke and lost the use of his picking hand. And Curt died. Bob Boyd came and sang on the Pine Valley Cosmonauts tribute to Bob Wills. We recorded at King Size, a punk rock studio in hipster Wicker Park. He walked right in, took off his Stetson,
spiked up what little hair he had left, and stuck a metal ring in his nose, saying, “Just thought I’d try and fit in.”

But he was already sick, and he died the following year. We went to his wake and we sat with the families, and looked at pictures, and drank and smoked by the Coke machine in the back of the grim, suburban funeral parlor.
And told old stories, and somehow felt at home; my three-year old staring, unafraid, at the open casket, asking:
“Daddy, who is that cowboy?”

Friday, September 21, 2007


This is a total cliché, but I didn't really understand bagels until I came to NY; I had only had them in Texas and Chicago, so I thought, "This is just round bread; what's the big deal?"

When I finally had a good bagel it was a real scales-fell-from-my-eyes kind of moment (I had trouble with the lox). Shortly followed by the thought: "It is a shame someone can't figure out a way to export this new 'boiling' technology to the central time zone. I guess it's too groundbreaking and advanced. Or maybe the convection oven lobby has something to do with it." And then I imagine I got sleepy and/or watched TV.

Regardless, we just moved back to Chicago, so so long to you, decent bagels.

And so long, as well, foie gras, sort of, since the city-wide band on duck-flavored butter just passed its one year anniversary. Another reminder, as if I needed one, that Chicago is not New York: Norma's at Le Parker Meridien has Foie Gras Brioche French Toast. In Chicago, you have to settle for French Toast with something called "syrup". Step up to the plate, Chicago.*

But I am not one to fret overmuch, and I am thankful that no such ban exists on the ortolan, that tiny, crunchy songbird, which you may remember from the book William S. Burroughs' Cooking for Beginners.

If not, you could do worse than learn about it from this article from The Stranger that came out around the time the foie gras ban went into effect, viz--

You catch the ortolan with a net spread up in the forest canopy. Take it alive. Take it home. Poke out its eyes and put it in a small cage. Force-feed it oats and millet and figs until it has swollen to four times its normal size. Drown it in brandy. Roast it whole, in an oven at high heat, for six to eight minutes. Bring it to the table. Place a cloth—a napkin will do—over your head to hide your cruelty from the sight of God. Put the whole bird into your mouth, with only the beak protruding from your lips. Bite. Put the beak on your plate and begin chewing, gently. You will taste three things: First, the sweetness of the flesh and fat. This is God. Then, the bitterness of the guts will begin to overwhelm you. This is the suffering of Jesus. Finally, as your teeth break the small, delicate bones and they begin to lacerate your gums, you will taste the salt of your own blood, mingling with the richness of the fat and the bitterness of the organs. This is the Holy Spirit, the mystery of the Trinity—three united as one. It is cruel. And beautiful.

And now the sockdolager:

According to Claude Souvenir, chewing the ortolan takes approximately 15 minutes.

Let the word go out: I will not rest until I have watched someone else eat one.

* related: I was always vaguely annoyed whenever I had to go to SoHo for something, but yesterday, sitting in my crappy cubicle in the Chicago office of my place of employ, I had a wave of sadness that I won't have to go to SoHo for something maybe ever again. If you are reading this, and you have the ability to do so, maybe you can go be annoyed at SoHo for me? Thanks, man.

New Design for Five Dollar Bill Announced

[Here it is]

I like this quote from the AP article about it:

"We wanted to put a giant purple five on the back," Larry Felix, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, said in an interview with The Associated Press, "Like, really huge. So we used a powerful new design tool that we recently learned about called 'Microsoft Word Art'. You just go Insert>Picture and then choose Word Art, and you get like 30 options, some of which are sort of 3D and some have like rainbow colors in them? Like, all the colors of the rainbow? And then a shadow effect, so it looks like it's standing up? We may use some of those when we redo the ten. We might also add clipart of a unicorn or something; we're looking into the options on the Office site. So far, nothing as Lisa Frank-y as we would like, but we're still poking around. Oh, hey, and also? We are complete fucking retards."

Hamilton riding a unicorn? That would be awesome, actually. I'd totally use that in exchange for goods and services, if you know what I mean.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bad dates

Karen Allen will reprise her role as Marion Ravenwood in the new Indiana Jones.

This is the only thing I've wanted for the past 26 years, and now that it's actually happening, I realize it will just make the inevitable disapointment hurt that much more.

This is my own personal Britney-at-the-VMAs.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


On NPR this morning, I heard this thing about crazy bazillionaire Richard Branson trying to help find crazy bazillionaire Steve Fossett via Google Earth (what are the odds that two crazy bazillionaires would meet and become friends? they must be astronomical!): Google convinced the companies it buys the satellite images from to give them updated images of Nevada, and then they turned the images over to Amazon who put them all into a tool (link) that allows volunteers to search 300-square-foot patches for planes, or plane wreckage, or a scattered pile of "I Hold Five World Records For Circumnavigating the Globe Via Varying Means And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt" t-shirts.

I *guess* this raises questions about why we're helping bazillionaires or what it means that this kind of surveillance is even possible, so I'll just say: (1) I don't want anyone to die (least of all, our crazy bazillionaires) and (2) who cares when Google Earth now comes with a flight simulator, because what I was most excited about was that the tool, which NPR didn't name (racist-sounding? would derail the story because you'd have to explain it?), is the Mechanical Turk! I love the Mechanical Turk (even when it's not being used for good, especially)! Also, I am a pedantic know-it-all!

So here!
The Mechanical Turk is called "The Mechanical Turk" because in the late 1700s, illusionist gadabout and frequent baron Wolfgang von Kempelen created a real live automaton (geddit?) called "The Turk" which traveled around Europe and America kicking butt at chess. The Turk was a wooden, beturbaned mannequin that was connected to some cabinetry, which Kempelen would open up to reveal a mass of elaborate clockwork and gears. Then he would close the cabinet, light a candle, and the automaton would, using its elaborate clockpunk proto-A.I., play chess, and much more often than not win, against such latter-day Kasparovs as Ben Franklin and Napoleon. It could also do a Knight's Tour, and ouija it up.

I will pause while you bask in the awesomeness of all of that before I add that it should come as only the gentlest of surprises that "elaborate clockpunk proto-A.I." is late-1700s code for "there was not really any elaborate clockpunk proto-A.I., it was just that there was a (short!) chess master hidden inside the machine". (I am sorry to let you down.)

(But hence the name: people doing things that computers are not able to do quite yet. And moreover: doing it twice, since most Mechanical Turk HITs involves responding to CAPTCHAs.)

As usual, Wikipedia will tell you more than I care to type right now about the whole thing, but if you've been tolerant enough to read this far, you also might be interested in:
  • Edison's Eve by Gaby Wood, which has a chapter on The Turk, and which I just reviewed on GoodReads because I am lame.
  • this Sound of Young America interview with Ricky Jay where Jesse Thorn totally nerds out because he can't believe he's interviewing Ricky Jay.
  • this hobo drawing I did of Replicant Wemberly Plastiskin and his Clockwork Squrrel [sic], Toothy.
  • all forty-three short stories that Steven Millhauser has written about German automaton makers who take their obsession too far, causing their public to turn away. Or you can read this sentence and save yourself time and money: Steven Millhauser reuses the same ideas over and over all the time and so I think he sucks.
At any rate, good luck being alive, crazy bazillionaire Steve Fossett!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle Dies: ))<>((

According to the obit, she leaves behind a "philandering husband".

Note that although Madeleine L'Engle did die, the character who bears her name in this post is a complete fiction, as is the character of her husband.

Next Year: Deep-Fried Acrylamide

(on a stick)

Hot on the heels of last year's Deep Fried Coke, this fall's Texas State Fair is offering up Deep Fried Latte. (via, via)

Interestingly, the mixing of "Deep Fried" and "Latte" does not create particle annihilation yielding high energy gamma rays equal to the difference of the rest mass of the products of the annihilation and the rest mass of the original ingredients.

See also: Snook, TX Favorite Son Frank Sodolak's chicken fried bacon (with cream gravy!).

You know, I was going to say if next year's fair has deep fried Charles Portis novels, I would move back to Texas (I could buy, like, three houses there!).

But: Texas is a trick; if you read too many stories about it (I'm not (necessarily) speaking of the deep fried comestibles stories), it starts to feel like Dostoevsky is in charge of event planning down there, but the allure of Aggressively Eccentric Mythic Existential Outlaw Texas is only actualized if you move way the fuck off the Grid, and even then I don't know if it really exists.

I lived there for twenty years, and I only got to see Townes Van Zandt once before he died and I've never seen the Marfa lights; the Cadillac Ranch is just kind of silly and the "Largest Cross in the Western Hemisphere" isn't exactly the good kind of eccentric.
On the other hand, it's totally possible that the main problem is that I'm lame (evidence supporting this might be: I didn't learn to pronounce "museum" correctly until I moved out-of-state; I probably have to take some of the blame there).

In conclusion, I would describe my attitude toward the new Coen Brothers movie as "guardedly excited".
Please don't let me down, Aggressively Eccentric Mythic Existential Outlaw Texas!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Dismal Science

With the meeting of the European Central Bank coming up tomorrow, we thought it might be useful to go over some of the “code words” that ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet (full disclosure: we’re in the same BDSM community) uses to telegraph the bank’s intentions.
  • Acting in a “firm and timely manner” - “Rates moving closer to estimated neutral rate.”
  • “Accommodative” policy - “Rates likely to rise in coming months.”
  • “Monitoring risks closely” - “Rate hike in three months’ time.”
  • “Monitoring risks very closely” - “Rate hike in two months’ time.”
  • “Vigilance” - “Rate move soon, possibly at next meeting.”
  • “Strong vigilance” - “Rate hike extremely probable — likely at the next meeting.”
  • “Aardvark” - “OK, that’s starting to hurt. Let’s stop a minute.”
  • “Vigilent aardvark, aardvark, strong aardvark” - “Please? I mean it, seriously. Please stop. Oh God. I'm being serious. Stop. Oh God, oh God, please stop. I can’t breathe.”
  • “Aardvarkaardvarkaardvark, seriously, please, aardvark” - “I keep blacking out. You have to stop. Oh God, oh Christ, please, please. I need this to stop now. Oh Christ please help me, please stop, please.”
  • “Aardvargh, aardvargh” (followed by vomiting, then soft weeping, usually in fetal position, though not always) - “Rates likely to fall by next meeting.”
That’s everything I know! Good luck making money!

Victory Over Typographitardedness

This is old news, but I just found out that the fifteenth edition of the Chicago Manual of Style reverses ("abandons", actually) its previous stance on the use of a sans-serif typeface for letters representing shapes:

Rule 7.67: Letters representing shapes. The rule about using sans serif type for letters representing shapes has been abandoned (e.g., "an L-shaped room").

No word yet if the previous opinion on using medical illustrations to represent body parts is still in place (e.g., "a à-shaped pool").

(that's supposed to look like a kidney. for laughs.)

I love the Chicago Manual of Style. Maybe more than Fowlers.
Back in 1997, I would have asked Table 6.1 (from the thirteenth edition) to marry me if I thought she would have said yes.

Now: if we can get the New Yorker to coöperate and reëvaluate the use of the phonological diaeresis, I can stop complaining inside my head.

(I admit to being on the fence about "naïve" though, but only because it isn't in the dictionary).
(I'm looking at you, Malaysia.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

How is a pun possible?

Just fyi, the ghost of Jacques Derrida is vandalizing Wikipedia entries to make dumb Foucault jokes.

Get him back Foucault!
Scientia potentia est!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Samantha Moss Let Down by the Second Half of a Book, Part CMLXXXII

Oh! I didn't realize this was a LitBlog now! Awesome idea to turn this into that. Totally great, seriously, because now I can talk about this: I know everyone on Earth has read this book but urrrhrghrghrhghrghr, Wind Up Bird Chronicles, UgGUGHHIhrhrhhrrrggffg
And now that this is a LitBlog, I can review it!
Here we go:

  • The first half was charmingly Lynchian. :) *

  • But I found the second half to be annoyingly Lynchian. :( **

*e.g., interesting mysterious women; strange occurrences leading a mostly reactive protagonist into a seedy underworld

**i.e., the second half kept me interested and entertained well enough, I guess, and periodically brought up some thematic connections to the first half, but I felt like it had kind of strayed so far from the original plot/characters from the first part that it made me wonder why I had invested time/empathy into them if they were only going to be discarded. And there were a lot of little details whose reasons to exist were suspect. Liiiike they were jarringly non-sequitury or just throw-away surrealities or improbable coincidences and while sometimes that works, some other times, in 600 page books, for instance, it's really annoying. Like the bat and the lemon drops and the two sisters, one of whom had a conspicuous red hat that conspicuously failed to fire in the third act, and the cat and the assistant of the brother and pages 23-72. and why can't cinnamon talk? and wasn't it weird how he used western brand names so often? Oh wait, I've just been handed a note that says this is not a LitBlog.
OK, um, not a LitBlog, not a LitBlog, OK, quick, here is something not related to literature that I thought about today:

Problems at the 42nd street transfer probably never get resolved because on the work forms where it says: "Subway lines affected" the workers put "N/A".

Now go out there and be so swell that you'll make me hate you!

Save Ferris

From the comments, moonlight ambulette intones...

listen, this has nothing to do with your post, really, but i've been thinking that you should read Then We Came to the End because it is about people in offices and you work in an office and so do i and i think this book is really really funny and maybe you will too? you still live in new york?

..And my response to that was getting too long, so here it is here:


I do still live in New York for something like two more weeks, and when I move, that book will be boxed among my other items because verily: I totally read that book and I liked it a lot.

In particular:

  • How funny it was;
  • The first-person-plural voice;
  • The guy who quotes Emerson;
  • The Catch-22ishness (though it wasn't slavishly Catch-22esque, which you might initially think);
  • The very last line, which maybe could be considered gimmicky, but worked for me and which I read with what I guess I would call a satisfyingly pleasant shock (that almost never happens to me in a novel -- the last time it came close was Dave Eggers' You Shall Know Our Velocity, where the last line suddenly made me remember the first line of the book (conveniently printed on the cover) and I went back to the first line to make sure I understood the implication of the last line, and I had, and wow, that got me, but then the rest of the book wasn't so consistently great, and so I'm not going to count that one);
  • The fun promotional website, which I wisely did not look at until after I read the book, not that it gives anything away, but because we all know what happens when you look at a debut novelist's fun promotional website and then read her stupid, sucky book. (A clever thing about the website is that only the characters that would have myspace pages do have myspace pages.)
  • It seems utterly implausible to me that a large percentage of a group of people in a cubefarm would (a) know and (b) embrace a Tom Waits song;
  • The "end" the title references, which I take to mean "the end of August and first few weeks of September" thing toward the close of the book, which I read with unpleasant shock (it seemed like a calculatedly throwaway line, and I'm not ready for that to be a throw away line yet; maybe you have a different opinion -- I felt the same way about DFW's "The Suffering Chanel", and I pretty much love DFW);
  • I kind of lost track of some of the characters, although I'm happy to blame myself for this
  • The resolution to the central maguffin conceit ("Design a funny cancer awareness campaign") wasn't that great, but maybe the point was it couldn't be; but I was looking for it to be like The Cheese Monkeys, where the students get a design challenge and you get a chance to figure out what you would do and then you find out what the students did and you're all like, "Chip Kidd, you madman!"
  • The book is set in and spends a lot of time dealing with the great city of Chicago and specifically an ad agency in Chicago, and a week or so ago I spent a whole day in Austin with someone who works in an ad agency in Chicago (!) (we were both there for a wedding), and I asked if he had read this book which I had assumed everyone in the world knew about, and if it had taken the Chicago ad agency community by storm and whatnot, and he said he had never heard of it.
  • From reading the book, you would think "this remarkable debut novelist must live in Chicago!" and when you finish the book and read the author description it says something like, "Ferris currently lives in Brooklyn" and I think that's probably the darkest joke in the whole book.


That gigantic hole in the universe is the result of God making a hand shadow of a dog to entertain Jesus.

GOD: Look, it's a dog. There's his ears...
JESUS: Ha, ha!
GOD: And that's his mouth: "Bow wow, Jesus! Don't forget to walk me!"
JESUS: Do another one!
GOD: OK, here's a rabbit.
GOD: Here's a scary spider!
GOD: OK, Sport, time for bed.
JESUS: One more!
GOD: Here's the Board of Trade hand gesture for "I will sell at 1/4." And now it's time for bed.
JESUS: One more! One more!
GOD: OK, last one. Here's a Klein Bottle.
JESUS: WTF? How did you do that?
GOD: It's easy when you're God, LOL.

The Best Thing I Learned From Wikipedia Today

[the day is early but I don't think I'll top this]

Jonathan Katz* ...
...was the New York ping pong champion in 1964. He is a close personal friend of renowned playwright David Mamet, with whom he attended Goddard College. Katz co-wrote "House of Games" and appeared in a small role in Mamet's 2000 film "State and Main." They used to travel around college to college hustling people over games of ping pong. Katz would let Mamet beat him. They would pretend to play for money then Mamet would say "If you want to play me, you have to beat my friend first." To keep the game moderately close, [Katz] would sometimes spot his opponents 15 points for a game up to 21 and during every point, recall a painful experience from his childhood.


* I refer to the American actor named Jonathan Katz as opposed to the technology writer named Jonathan Katz, the queer studies professor named Jonathan Katz or the historian named Jonathan Katz, who also have wiki entries, if you're one of those Jonathan Katz Completists.

The reason I was reading about him is because the TSOYA blog pointed me to Katz's podcast, of which two exist: they are each about six and a half minutes long, but each have about eighteen minutes of funny in them, so they are like little comedy sausages. I should know, as I did a book report on The Jungle in summer school.

(The "jungle" is not an actual jungle. It is Symbolic.)

Not to pat myself on the back too much, but if I may quote my teacher, "A++".

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I ran across this looking for clips of Bill Murray and Christopher Guest on Howard Cosell's Saturday Night Live (I'd heard Murray talk about it briefly on one of the Times Talks podcasts (mp3).
This is not (I don't think..?) that (but it seems like it just has to be related somehow); it's a TVTV production: Bill Murray and Christopher Guest at the 1976 Superbowl.
Here's some context for TVTV: Fascinating?
Yes, I deem it: Fascinating.

Christopher Guest had nice hair!
Tune in tomorrow when I blather on and on about Z Channel.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A "Hand-out" is not a "Foot... In"

I love Dirk Bennedict's essays on his website.
Here he is on the reimagining of Starbuck...
What I am sure of is this… Women are from Venus. Men are from Mars. Hamlet does not scan as Hamletta. Nor does Han Solo as Han Sally. Faceman is not the same as Facewoman. Nor does a Stardoe a Starbuck make. Men hand out cigars. Women 'hand out' babies. And thus the world, for thousands of years, has gone round.
His writing always seems to end in a big mashup of puns on clichés like that (it's always good to be reminded of what not to do(*)), and it's totally great to be reading something and thinking, Oh, OK, here's the bottom of the Crazy Well, and then have the author go Nuh-uh, motherfucker, here's a trap door! Shizahh!

I first realized I was in the presence of greatness when I read this excerpt from one of his books:

The funny thing about flesh is, once you get it off the hoof, or paw, and put it on the shelf in a cellophane wrapper, or into a stew in the center of the table, it all looks pretty much the same. You forget that it was once a cow or sheep or horse or monkey or calf. Or puppy. Ashes to ashes. Flesh to flesh. Blood becomes blood. Only the hypocrites in line at McDonald's or Carl Jr's, or the meat counter at Safeway, point their fingers. Let he who has not gnawed, cast the first bone. And it's a short throw from the tar paper shack of dog to the burger stand of cow. And so I discovered that one man's feast is another's famine. One man's joy is another's pain. One man's pet is another's pot roast. I learned that taste, like all sensorial experience, is relative. Or, as the Trapeze Artist said to the actor..."If there's more than one way to skin a cat, there's certainly more than one way to cook a dog."

Dirk Bennedict buys his meat by the pound.
If you know what I mean.


I'm going to buy a ticket for that Pets or Meat woman from Roger & Me.

On the acknowledgement page of that book, it just says "peyote".

JK! I love you Dirk Bennedict!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I can't believe she killed off Hermione!

Just kidding, I haven't read it yet.

Jesus Christ, don't look at me like that.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

This is old..

..but the champagneok site still manages to make me lol if not rotflmao. Actually, to be specific, it makes me estmn,* but I think that's a subset of lol, so I'll stick with lol.

I think Mark Frauenfelder basically figured out the secret to this page when he said, "Interesting that someone would go to the trouble of registering"

That's it exactly: If this were a ytmnd, I would have already forgotten about it,** but the fact that it has its own url makes it more.. perfecty..? Maybe..? Or maybe because registering a useless url*** seems more like Proto-web, when Carl Steadman roamed the earth and**** seemed like about as perfectly zen an online experience as you could hope for and therefore champagneok is a callback to my younger, more innocent self?

So, anyway, this is old, and but yet so
If you need me, I'll be in the wayback machine.

* exhale sharply through my nose
** although maybe not: I just ran across this again: ESTMN!!!11!
I realize now that I did not use my Casio SK-1 to its full potential.
I suggest a new strategy. Let the Wookiee carol.

*** back when it still felt like you could find the end of the internet (black text over battleship gray tiled background of an embossed photograph), the "Useless Pages" index (exploding whale, sea monkeys, animations achieved by using the Netscape scrollbar) was basically my favorite thing in the world, obviously back before Search killed Index. Maybe that's why Miranda July's site seems so Web 1.0: because it's invisible to Search. Hm.
**** don't bother clicking; it's now just a domain-for-sale site, but in case you're wondering, it's probably not Friday.

Don't Break the Chain!

I just printed this blog post off and faxed it to a friend.

Hopefully that person can Twitter it or something.

(I'm pretty sure Twitter is stupid and it's not just that I'm old.

I saw Corn Mo last night at the TMBG show. He's like if Meatloaf and Del Close had a baby and then entrusted the secret of how they were able to conceive to him when he was bar mitzvahed.

Craig Holiday is my new favorite song. I mean, Robert Holiday? I mean, wait.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Good Night, Nurse

[The views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the Board Members or Advisory Panel of The Center for Nursing Advocacy.]

More reviews of music featuring nurses here. (Sonic Youth wins overall! Yay!)

But where's Happy Nurse by The Sugarcubes?
What up, nurses? Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do music criticism more harm than any exertion.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

I'm reading The March

It is totally sad!

Because you know even if they survive the Civil War, the starvation, the March itself, Reconstruction, &c., &c., a lot of them still have to live in Atlanta.

No disrespect. Your airport is top notch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


(a poem)
by Sam

there was a
in the grass
for mom
and dad
and sam
and max
and mom

(a song)
by Sam

Maaaaaaaaaxwell Henryyyyyyy
I will give you some teeeeeeeeth
Then I will give you a treeeeeeat
Because I loooooove youuuuuuuu

Goofy I Love You: The Play***
by Patrick, but he's just transcribing, so really by Sam

(Patrick comes home from work and is talking to Megan. Sam, already in bed, hears him and calls out to him)
SAM: Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!
PATRICK: (Opens door, peeks in) Hey, kid, what's up?
SAM: I want to give you one of my "Goofy I Love Yous".
PATRICK: (Confused) You want to give me a "Goofy I Love You"?
SAM: Yeah!
SAM: I love you.... door!
PATRICK: (laughs)
SAM: I love you.... dresser!
PATRICK: That's pretty goofy, all right.
SAM: I love you.... walls!
PATRICK: Good night, Sam.
(Closes the door)
SAM: (from his room) I love you.... dragon!


* Suck on it, Apps!
** Sam was slightly alarmed three months ago (three months! Happy 25% Birthday, Max!) when he learned his brother did not have any teeth.
*** Note that there is a dragon marionette (one of those multi-headed slavic versions) hanging from Sam's ceiling. Dragons are not real (but don't tell Sam yet).

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Pedestrian

BoingBoing had a post last week about how Stephan Orsak's tasering mirrors the Ray Bradbury story The Pedestrian.

But BoingBoing! You are being silly and misguided again! As we all know, and as Bradbury has repeatedly said, The Pedestrian was not intended to be about police intimidation and brutality, but was meant as a critique of the newly fashionable "automatic transmission".

Of course, Bradbury lost that battle; maybe his beef with television will have fared better when Future Peoples look back at all this nonsense.

Fingers crossed!

Seriously, though: Dandelion Wine was so important to me growing up that my first born son's middle name is taken from the main character.

Therefore, I think I am allowed to say: Ray Bradbury, please stop being idiotic and stupid and sucking so much and acting like such a stupid, sucking idiot.
I am serious: I will fight you if it comes to that. I don't want it to, but I will fight you. Or at least send a robot to fight you.*

* This was one of the first stories of his I ever read, and I remembered that story was called something like Usher II but I had forgotten that the full title was April 2005: Usher II.

April 2005 used to be THE FUTURE!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

(Speaking of Danish Things)

Employees of International Business Machines with the Last Name “Mortensen” Who Were Working in the Denmark Office During the Summer of 1992, When I was Working at Said Company (in the U.S.)— Because, I Now Imagine/Realize, my Dad Pulled Some Strings—According to the “Callup” Function on a Company-Wide System Called “PROFS” (i.e., “PRofessional OFfice System”), Ranked in Order of the Increasing Amusement I Felt Upon Reading Each Name

1. Kim
2. Jan
3. Jon
4. Karina
5. Henrik
6. Lars
7. Kai
8. Inger (9)
9. Jìrgen (10)
10. Lis (11)
11. Mogens (12)
12. Per (13)
13. Uffe (14)
14. Bent (8)
15. Bent T.

Note: Number in parentheses indicates ranking before the discovery of "Bent T."

Monday, June 18, 2007

It is no wonder..

..that McSweeney's is experiencing such financial calamity: They have a Feedback Score of 0!!! That doesn't exactly fill me with the comfort level I need from my post-post-post-irony lit journals.

Apparently, they are not, as I am, a "lightning fast payment, friendly, appreciative, A 12 ON A 1-10 SCALE! Excellent Ebayer! Super! Totally recommended. A+A+A+A+"

Please be more like me, McSweeney's.

As a start, please publish everything I send you forever.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

It is totally weird to me.. see my name show up on someone else's blog when I'm not expecting it (and especially to see "Sugar Land, TX" right next to it (even though this is a line from an email I sent Maud, and she asked me if I would mind if she posted it, and I said, sure, but then I kind of forgot about it)).

The last time I saw my name via Internettical means when I wasn't expecting it was when an email I sent to Harpers Weekly last year was included in the subsequent week. It was in response to a line in the 2/28 edition:

Sudanese villagers forced a man to marry a goat after he was found having sex with it; the man also was required to pay the goat's owner 15,000 Sudanese dinars as dowry.

I shot off a note, and when the next week's edition came out, I was scrolling down and saw:

TO: Harper's Weekly
FROM: Patrick Mortensen

I hope the Sudanese man and the goat stay together for the kids.
Thank you! Good night!


End Aside.

In the above-linked post, Maud refers to me as a "fellow Brooklyn transplant", and this will soon be an inaccuracy, as we have these two kids now who demand/deserve more space than our apartment can give them, and we can't afford the Next Size Up in Park Slope, and we can't find exactly what we're looking for anywhere else around here, so we've put our place on the market, and assuming it sells, we're moving to Chicago, my previous town of residence, and where my wife grew up.
This is both exciting and cool and also totally destroys me every time I think about it (how can I leave Brooklyn? all of my favorite bloggers are here*).

Anyway, anyway:
in the email I sent Maud, I referenced "pretty faces"; a while ago, I did a "memory map" (a fun, flawed game where you annotate a Google Map screenshot of your hometown on Flickr) for Sugar Land, which I had forgotten about until recently. I was just reminded of it again, because I mention the pulchritude in there, too.

you can't go home again.

maybe you can go to Chicago again.

Thank you! Good night!

* seriously, though, do I have to stop reading Maud and start reading Bookslut? I don't want to fucking read Bookslut. Please do not make me read Bookslut.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I'm reading What is the What

It is totally sad!

Because you know even if he survives the civil war, the starvation, the lion/crocodile/helicopter attacks, the murahaleen, &c., &c., he still has to live in Atlanta.

No disrespect. Your airport is top notch.

(see also: previous eggersalitiness)
(from 2004, holy cow, that was a long time ago)

Tsunami Quelled

Joey Chestnut ate 59 1/2 hotdogs at the Southwest Regional Hot Dog Eating Championship at the Arizona Mills Mall, beating Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi's old record of 53 3/4.

All eyes will be on Kobayashi at Coney Island this 4th of July:

That's all. I just wanted to make that joke.

Update, 6/26/07: Kobayashi may be down for the count. I'm sorry I was joking about this. Kobayashi, if you're reading this, please call me.
All is forgiven.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Starbucks closing

All of the guys I work with are bummed out by the announcement that the next season of Battlestar Galactica is the last one.

But good news, Guys I Work With:
I hear Katee Sackhoff will play "Face" in Spike TV's reimagining of The A-Team.

And Edward James Olmos is all set to die of pneumonia in Santa Monica, only weeks after agreeing to be in a Bonanza remake.


Friday, May 25, 2007

Comma Police, Arrest this Man

I like this power-sentence excerpt from the Times review of the new Newt Gingrich novel:

James nodded his thanks, opened the wax paper and looked a bit suspiciously at the offering, it looked to be a day or two old and suddenly he had a real longing for the faculty dining room on campus, always a good selection of Western and Asian food to choose from, darn good conversations to be found, and here he now sat with a disheveled captain who, with the added realization, due to the direction of the wind, was in serious need of a good shower.

I tried to diagram this sentence, but the diagram collapsed upon itself and turned into a black hole, which sucked the paper inward, folding it into an origami crane (to honor the memory of Sadako Sasaki).

No disrespect, though: it is hard to write when you are having an affair (they say), and anyway this will have to do until the next DFW novel comes out in probably never.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Perhaps Even More Surprising Than..

..the ottoman-humping gigolos showing up on The Daily Show?

No one seems to have registered yet..


Update: Duh: Andy Baio, who is better at the Internet than I am, points out that yes: of course it was, by Comedy Central.
Guess I'll go back to shutting up.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Second Life

Assuming we don't find ourselves there before tomorrow, we're going to the hospital in the morning, and we're not leaving until we have a small infant in our hands.

Here is a short play about the last time this happened, two and a half years ago:

MEG: (in, like, labor) I can't do this!
PATRICK'S BRAIN: "'Can't'? Well! That's one contraction I didn't expect to see today!"
A DIFFERENT PART OF PATRICK'S BRAIN: Do not say that out loud.
PATRICK'S BRAIN: Right. Good tip.
MEG: (eventually has a baby)


Anyway, that's going on.

Time to move, I guess.


Update, 3/27/07, 12:18pm: Meg eventually had a baby.
(Maxwell Henry Mortensen; 8 pounds 3 ounces; 21 3/4"; everyone doing fine. Also: Wet Swiffers and Baby Wipes? Not analagous. Repeat: NOT analagous.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Post Production

They have those R2D2 mailboxes outside my office (one on 5th ave and 50th and another on 5th and 52nd), and I was walking by and a woman was putting a letter in and then she did that thing that people who don't trust simple machines do where after she closed the little door she opened it again to make sure the letter had actually gone inside, and the move was so eerily similar to the one Carrie Fisher does after she says, "You're my only hope" in episode iv, that it felt like my brain was swallowing something.

Her hair was different though.
Happy Belated Life Day, by the way.

It was a bad idea

to have this contest open for ten days.

She misunderstood
When I said she was “Grotesque”
Akzidenz happen

Stupid McSweeney’s!
Now I can’t see Garamond
Without thinking: “twee”

Best actor ever:
Henry Winkler, as “The Fontz”?

Mind your q and p
Futura’s not ours to see
Que Serif, Serif

Post-Soon-Yi Previn,
Windsor EF Light Condensed
Somehow seems dirty

Designers face off
On new reality show:
“Last Comic Sans-ing”

“Sun”, “Square”, “X”, “Carrot”..?
Is this whole thing in Dingbats?
Carson, you devil!

Kristen ITC,
We will always have Juarez.
(Age of consent’s twelve.)

Do not be confused!
I did not write on your screen:
I used Vivaldi.

I thought I’d make an
“Ode to a Grecian Kern” joke
Here. (Lipsum culpa.)

Update, 3/28: I got an honorable mention for two of them.
Q: (1) Did I not win outright because I split the vote? (2) Am I my own Perot?
A: (1) No and (2) yes, probably.