Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Originally uploaded by mrbikferd

(I love how this picture of Max turned out so I am posting it on my personal weblog, or "blog", for people to see.)

Best kaijū ever!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I don't feel like I have to explain to you why I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Doodles Weaver

but I was reading the Wikipedia entry on Doodles Weaver and this struck me:
Appearing on The Colgate Comedy Hour, Weaver did an Ajax cleanser commercial with a pig, and the audience reaction prompted the network to give him his own series.

I emailed my co-worker and said, "I wish television still worked like this!" and he wrote back and said, "No, now we only use that method to select our Vice Presidential candidates."


note: I am remaining flexible and trying not to be too derogatory, but I am still allowed to post Zings.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Instead of typing all of that, I should have just typed:

1. Remain flexible
2. Don't be too derogatory

benefit of the doubt

Chip's post about a DFW signing reminded me of something I did that was stupid w/r/t book signings. (CHIP: THANKS FOR REMINDING ME I AM STUPID)

I went to a Dave Eggers book signing a while back when Dave Eggers lived near me (and when Dave Eggers lived near Chip, for that matter; now none of us live there in that place, not one): right after AHWOSG came out.

I was in a line to get my copy of the book signed, and the further I moved up the line, the stupider I felt, because he was (/is) sort of like my age, and I felt at the time that if I had written so personal a book, I would feel weird that people wanted me to sign it? And I kept moving up the line and feeling increasingly awkward, like in Zeno's paradox about the arrow never reaching its target because it keeps getting stupider?

And then there was just one person in front of me and that person went to get her book signed, but her book was not AHWOSG; it was Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus.

Which I think her strategy was: He will see I am whimsical yet deep and therefore sleep with me.

And he signed her copy of Myth of Sisyphus without commenting on it, and then it was my turn, and whim took over (or maybe antiwhim, as I was trying to cancel out the previously established whim), and when Eggers looked up at me, instead of just telling him my name, I instead asked Eggers to forge Camus' signature on my copy of AHWOSG (since the only signed DFW book I have is Everything and More, I'll just add that what I was going for is f–1(f(x)) = x where x = attempted whimsy). And Eggers (again, without any comment) wrote:

Oh the horror.
~ Albert Camus

..and I thought, "That's not Camus, that's Conrad," and I walked away feeling stupider and stupider.

But: To my knowledge, he did not sleep with the whimsical and deep girl!

Because after this signing, we all got on a bus and went to see a gallery in lower Manhattan that was displaying paintings by elephants. Because, and this almost doesn't seem like it could have actually happened, apparently during this period in Thailand's history, all of the elephants were being captured and loaded up on methamphetamine and put to work in the circus or as black market laborers. And so these two Russian expats, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid, were rescuing the elephants and having them paint things (like literally they held the paint brushes with their trunks) and then they (the Russians) were selling the paintings and then the money from the sale would go to house and feed the elephants. Which, that plan doesn't seem scalable, but it really was a real thing (unless it's not) -- there were actual paintings in the gallery; there were peanut shells littering the floor. And I did not see that girl there.

And anyway: now it's seven years later and I just did a Google book search; this is from The Plague:
Among the heaps of corpses, the clanging bells of ambulances, the warnings of what goes by the name of fate, among unremitting waves of fear and agonized revolt, the horror that such things could be, always a great voice had been ringing in the ears of these forlorn panicked people, a voice calling them back to the land of their desire, a homeland.

At the elephant painting exhibition, Eggers was taking questions ("How long does it take an elephant to paint something?" "Is this real?" "Really?" "Really is it real, though?") and someone asked how many paintings an elephant could do in one day if it was still on Elephant Meth.

This is funny! But also cynical! (RECALL: This was about eight months before we were attacked, and everyone in New York was nice to everyone else for a while.) Eggers said, "I'm not going to answer that."

I don't know the context of that Camus passage, but here is what I'm going to do: I'm going to give Eggers the benefit of the doubt.

In fact, I'm going to try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, even though (it is said) we ultimately have no control and even though (to paraphrase) everything in life entropies toward irrationality; Zadie Smith said recently on DFW (and let's just state it outright: the only reason I'm thinking about any of this (= cynism vs. sincerity) at all and not just spending my day reading, like, Gawker is because of DFW) Zadie Smith summarized at least one aspect of his aesthetic thusly: If we must say something, let's at least only say true things.

I am agreeing for the foreseeable future. Let's see how long it lasts.

the horror
Dave Eggers forges Albert Camus' signature because why not?
Originally uploaded by mrbikferd

(though now that I think about it maybe I shouldn't start this plan until
after November 4.)

Update, 9/24: Roger Ebert on board with giving people the benefit of the doubt. Alex Balk has the money quote.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I always imagined that when the end days came I would be taken by surprise, but I guess not

World's Most Powerful Magnet Under Construction

Something of a buzzkill on paragraph 3: "it won't even be the world's most powerful magnet."

but I still think the question has to be asked:
What if the World's Most Powerful Magnet somehow crashed into the Large Hadron Collider and Jesus appears?

I'll bet he'd be pissed!
(And forgiving.)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Liveblogging the RNC

9:23: if I didn't have to pick my sister up at the airport, I would be getting so wasted right now.

9:31: OK! Have to head out to pick her up. Someone tell me what happened.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

I've been watching The Wire

on DVD, and although I'm about to start Season 4, I spent all of Season 3 failing to get over the events that befell the Frank Sobotka character in Season 2.

Spoiler Alert: things don't turn out so well for good old Frank Sobotka in Season 2.

And like I was sort of haunted by it (it also doesn't help that my 1.5 year old hasn't had his hair cut yet and so his hair is long and wispy and when he's been running around all day and has gotten all sweaty, he resembles Frank Sobotka more than he resembles anyone in his nuclear family)?

And it was almost to the point where I was going to write a letter to the actor, saying: "Look, I know you are an actor, and you are not actually Frank Sobotka, but I don't know who else to address this to" even as I am aware that Larry Linville used to get letters all the time addressed to Frank Burns telling him what an asshole he had been to Hawkeye. And even as I am aware of the uneasiness I felt with the mail lady at my first job when she would stop at my desk to talk about the previous night's The X Files and she would use "David Duchovny" and "Fox Mulder" interchangeably, and sometimes discus Mulder's wife, Tea Leoni or wondered if Duchovny and Agent Scully would ever get together and the porousness of certain borders was made evident.

But I fixed it!
And if you are suffering from something similar, here is how you can fix it too:
(1) Look up the actor who played Frank Sobotka (Chris Bauer)
(2) Go to his IMDB page
(3) Look at the pictures that accompany his profile
(4) Note that in the pictures Chris Bauer is tan, has a shaved head, and is wearing an unbutton shirt+suit combo.
(5) Done. If you never look at a picture of Bauer portraying Frank Sobotka again, you will be cured of empathy.

Which, who needs it?

It is probable that the Secretary Treasurer for the International Brotherhood of Stevedores in Baltimore does not require a running-mate, but if it did, then just as Obama chose Biden to fill in the [perceived] foreign policy gap and McCain chose Palin to fill in the creationist / not-a-man/ drilling-in-Alaska gap, Sobotka could do worse than picking Bauer whose IMDB profile pictures imply a chance to fill the LA douchebag gap.