Friday, December 30, 2005

Word of the Day: ishkabibble

Word of the Day

ishkabibble (n? adj?)

Various meanings: "don't worry," "a silly person," "nonsense" or an expression of surprise.

"How narrow a plank our daily talk walks, between normalized syntax and mad entropy; and how painfully hilarious to us are those ishkabibble comedians who mimic the fluent sound of patterns of colloquial language, while refusing any--or almost any--sense to it!"
--Frederic Will, Shamans in Turtlenecks

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

None of this is true

None of this is true

A couple of days ago my parents were watching a TV show about sex in the Dark Ages. They were very disturbed by the whole thing, so they asked my friend Miguel about it, and he said:

"Whoa!... Shut up! I was just learning about the Dark Ages in class!"

But when my parents got to the part about the sex, Miguel suddenly got this dangerous look in his eyes. Then, just now, Miguel's uncle told me that the reason Miguel was so freaked out was because he found this weird page about sex. Occasionally Miguel can be very unpredictable like that.

Stuck for a subject? Try Instant Blog Post.

This Is the title of my post

This is the title of my blog post

This is the first sentence of my blog post about David Moser's self-referential short story. This is the second sentence. This is the sentence that suggests you read Moser's story if you like experimental writing and mind games. This is the last sentence of my blog post.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

What I really want for Christmas

According to Google

What I really want for Christmas is...

"Brian Wilson's ninth official solo album"
"Peace in the Universe and all Parallel dimensions"
"a Big Mouth Billy Bass or a Travis the Singing Trout"
"an apartment close to my university"
"to NEVER leave your lap"
"to see my daughter have a great one!"
"nothing at all. You may ask why. The reason is I have not been good at all the hole [sic] year"
"peace, and since that ain't happ-nin, I wonder if anyone might track me down a copy of Herotodous" [sic]
"to have my book indexed by Google Print and Yahoo!'s Open Content Alliance"
"(shhhh. . .) a couple truckloads of aged manure. That's my most heartfelt desire"
"a new banjo, an apple iBook, a boyfriend, a personal chiropracter, and for my X-friend to stop being a bitch"
"a telepathic computer"
"my Master, a dungeon and being tortured/beaten"
"respect. Well, and attention. Should I wear the see-through dress again?"
"a good old fashion pick ax" [sic]
"Star Trek technology"
"A Palace Like That One, Daddy!"
"a pet reindeer, especially Rudolph"
"a Tivo that can capture multiple, simultaneous programs from the incoming cable feed (for 'trainwreck nights')"
"a Nietzsche plushie, although I wouldn't turn down a Soctrates [sic] or a Van Gogh (with detachable ear)"

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Word of the Day: Ninnyhammer

Word of the Day

ninnyhammer (n)

A fool, simpleton or silly person

"You silly, awkward, illbred, country sow...have you no more manners than to rail at Hocus, that has saved that clodpated numskull'd ninnyhammer of yours from ruin, and all his family?"
--Jonathan Swift, "The History of John Bull"

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Jim Earl and His Big Page of Crap

Big Page of Crap

I can't wait, Jim. I wanted to name my page this, but I chickened.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Present for the Paranoid

Gift Idea

For that paranoiac on your Xmas shopping list:

The 'Safe Bedside Table' has a removable leg that acts as a club and a top that doubles as a shield for self-defence. This is for people who are willing to take on an intruder, providing an extra sense of security whilst in bed.

Of course you'd have to dump everything--lamp, alarm clock, water glass and sleeping pills, etc.--on the floor first. The noise might even scare the intruder away before you got around to clubbing him...Somehow, I doubt this will sell too well in the trigger-happy U.S. People here who worry about this sort of thing tend to sleep with pistols under their pillows.

(via Yet Another Damn Blog)

The Terminator

Tookie Terminated

Let's see. Who has the official power of life and death in this country?

Mr. Freeze

Conan the Barbarian

And of course...

The Terminator

Only in America, folks.

Monday, December 12, 2005

George Plimpton : Man of Letters. Man of Action

Paper Lion

Here is a groovy* site about the late writer, editor and professional dilettante George Plimpton. I remember my father, a sports fan, reading Paper Lion, a book about Plimpton's experiences as a pro football player for a day. (It was later made into an Alan Alda movie.) And several years ago, I read Plimpton's Edie, a weird book, assembled entirely from quotations, about a forgotten Warhol "superstar." It said a lot about the sixties, if not its blank-slate subject.

Plimpton loved fireworks (of the literal 4th-of-July kind), and the site's design and Java pyrotechnics reflect that.

*I'm tired of the word cool, so I went retro.

(via growabrain)

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry


It's yoga time upstairs
the creaking floor announces.
The fish wander in their glass prison.
I scribble in a notebook
making vague pictures, pinched faces.
My hand cramps
over ballpoint eyes and mouths.

There is a strange appliance
in the cupboard,
a thing that chops and grinds.
Why is it never used?
Silence. Someone's assumed
the lotus position.
It's not good to think so much.

These inky people look like maniacs.
"How do you spell relief?"
the radio asks.
I flip the page and find a snow field
ready to be populated.
Little people living in boxes,
their words floating off in balloons.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Create a Band Online

You Rock

You can assemble your own virtual rock band at I named my band Digital Dan and the Ringtones. It includes Adam on percussion, Hardcore Paul on rhythm guitar, Rachel on bass and Tommy on keyboards. They really rock, but their sound is a bit, uh, repetitive. A one-hit wonder I'm afraid.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Top 10 bookshops

Best Sellers

Author Jeremy Mercer lists his ten favorite bookshops from around the world. "I love all booksellers," he says. "Anybody who helps spread the word is doing noble work."

I'm not so sure. The only bookshop in my neighborhood isn't much of a bookshop at all--it's a "news" store that sells newspapers, magazines, knick-knacks and greeting cards in addition to books. Many of the dusty paperbacks on its shelves look, to put it kindly, well thumbed. I asked the proprietor once how much she charged for the "used books." She seemed insulted by the question and informed me that the books weren't used, just abused by her customers who, she claimed, read them but don't buy--and that whatever it said on the cover was the price. That's why I don't buy books there, but I do stop in every day to pick up the newspaper and, occasionally, a magazine. And I've never seen anyone reading books in the store.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Quote of the Day

Quote of the Day

"First of all, I am a real Minimalist, because I don't do very much. I know some minimalists who call themselves minimalist, but they do loads of minimalism. That is cheating. I really don't do very much."
--Robert Wyatt

Monday, December 05, 2005

19th-century and early 20th audio recordings

Oldies. Real Oldies

At the Cylinders of the Month Archive you can hear mp3s of pop songs recorded on wax or tinfoil cylinders in the 1890s through the early 1900s. I suppose the artists, nearly all forgotten now, were the Kelly Clarksons and Rob Thomases of their day. Sophie Tucker was the only name I (vaguely) recognized.

Happy Holidlays

Happy Holidays!

This is just wrong.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A visit from the FBI

Special Agent

We had the first snow of the year here this morning (Sunday), and I was almost enjoying my sidewalk shoveling. I was nearly finished when a long, black Mercedes pulled up in front of the apartment house next door. A rather shabbily dressed guy who looked like a skinny Santa Claus (he had a white beard anyway) stepped out with a big shovel and began to push snow from in front of the house into the street. Must be the landlord, I thought, although his grizzled appearance didn't match the role or the car. I smiled, but he ignored me, or maybe didn't notice me as he plowed the sidewalk.

I was about to speak to him when my young neighbor pulled up on his motorcycle. He's Asian--perhaps Japanese or Korean--and doesn't speak much English. "Hello, how are you?" he said. I was going to answer, but then I realized he was talking to the shoveler next door. "Hey how are you," said the landlord. It wasn't a question. "Do you have the rent for me?" "Tomorrow," said the neighbor. "I work tomorrow," Mr. Shoveler said, in what I thought was an unnecessarily nasty tone. "But I'm here today." "Tomorrow--no problem," said the neighbor. They went back and forth this way several times, saying the same things over and over.

While this ping pong was going on, I took a closer look at the Mercedes. There was a round sticker on the back window, and I squinted to read it: Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"What time tomorrow?" the landlord finally said, and the standoff collapsed. The neighbor went into the house and Scrooge finished his shoveling.

"How-ya-doin'." he finally said to me. "Pretty good," I said, but he wasn't listening. He got back in his car and drove away.

For some reason, I kept thinking of that memorable quote from Hitchcock's North by Northwest: "Seems to me you fellows could stand a little less training from the FBI and a little more from the Actor's Studio."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Word of the day: spondulicks

Word of the Day

spondulicks (n)

money; cash

"I haven't got enough spondulicks to take a street-car ride."
--Alice Hegan Rice, Calvary Alley