Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Divine Love

Quote of the Day

"God rains his love down on us every day. But we don't feel that love, because our ego is like a giant umbrella that we hold over our heads. What we need to do is put that umbrella away in the ego's umbrella stand--then we will feel God's love. Ego's umbrella stand, in black walnut or mahogany: $7,500."
--from Red Boldface

Monday, February 27, 2006

Best 20th Century Fiction?

And the Winner Is...

I guess the 20th century is finally over, as we're starting to see more and more "best of" lists. Here's a literary critic's ranking of The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction. I've read a lot of these authors, if not a lot of the specific books cited. I'm suspicious of this type of numeric approach--who's to say that Pale Fire is "better" than A Passage to India? But lists are fun. "It's also an opportunity to argue, share enthusiasms, exchange information, and a challenge to anyone who cares passionately about fiction to comprise their own lists and share them with the steadily-shrinking audience of other people who love books," says the compiler, Larry McCaffery, who is a professor of English at San Diego State University.

(via Red Elephant)

Sunday, February 26, 2006

David Lynch, Still Disturbing After 20 Years - New York Times

It's a strange world, isn't it?

Why are there movies like Blue Velvet? Film critic Terrence Rafferty explains the strange appeal of David Lynch's masterpiece here.

Film Forum in New York is reviving BV for its 20th anniversary.

This just in: Spend a weekend meditating with David Lynch! More at: Lynch Weekend

No hay banda

Word of the Day: fissiparous

Word of the Day

fissiparous (adj)

tending to break apart; divisive

"Carr: Is there anything of interest?
Bennett: There is a revolution in Russia, sir.
Carr: Really? What sort of revolution?
Bennett: A social revolution, sir.
Carr: A social revolution? Unaccompanied women smoking at the Opera, that sort of thing?...
Bennett: Not precisely that, sir. It is more in the nature of a revolution of classes contraposed by the fissiparous disequilibrium of Russian society.
Carr: What do you mean, classes?
Bennett: Masters and servants. As it were. Sir."
--Tom Stoppard, from Travesties

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry


He imagines himself
crawling, buglike, dragging
each instant up the Sheetrock,
slowly in the moist funk
of a suffocating August.

Something is collapsing inside.
Quibbles, concepts drop away
like the petals of a dead rose---
little blood spots on the carpet,
a constellation of old qualms.

This is what it is like to shrivel
to a black dot, subhuman,
one goal replacing every thought:
Rise in the warm dark.
All you need is a greasy spot.

The world is a white wall.
Six legs will conquer it.


Sorry for the ickyness. Just my attempt to write something Kafkaesque.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Introverts of the World, Unite!

A Different Kind of Normal

Let's skip the small talk, shall we?

Introverts of the World, Unite!

(via Yet Another Damn Blog)

Rusty Tin Can Armadillo

Sorry to Disappoint

Today's weirdest search-engine query that brought someone to this site:

rusty tin can armadillo

Now, I don't recall ever writing anything about an armadillo, let alone one made of rusty tin cans. But I checked, and all of those words do appear on this page, in various places. That's one mystery solved. But what would inspire someone to search for such an item? Anyway, gentle seeker, if you're still here or come back -- sorry I couldn't be more helpful.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Pure Drivel

Quote of the Day

"Writing is one of the most easy, pain-free, and happy ways to pass the time in all the arts. For example, right now I am sitting in my rose garden and typing on my new computer. Each rose represents a story, so I'm never at a loss for what to write. I just look deep into the heart of the rose and read its story and write it down through typing, which I enjoy anyway. I could be typing "kjfiu joewmv jiw" and would enjoy it as much as typing words that actually make sense. I simply relish the movement of my fingers on the keys. Sometimes, it is true, agony visits the head of a writer. At these moments, I stop writing and relax with a coffee at my favorite restaurant, knowing that words can be changed, rethought, fiddled with, and, of course, ultimately denied. Painters don't have that luxury. If they go to a coffee shop, their paint dries into a hard mass."
--Steve Martin, from Pure Drivel

Postscript: Whoops, I think I quoted this before. It came to me via Whiskey River, I think.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Word of the Day: Frigorific

Word of the Day

frigorific (adj)

Causing cold, chilling

"When speaking on a hot day, he rubs one hand over a cake of ice on a table beside him, and clasps its frigorific palm over the opposite wrist."
--American Mercury Magazine, 1924, author unknown (but the magazine was edited by H.L. Mencken)

Hmm. Say "What a frigorific day," and people will probably think you're ecstatic about something.

Monday, February 20, 2006

The Human Clock

What time is it?

A different photo every minute. And you can set your watch by it.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

How to: French Twist

french twist

Public Service Announcement

Since I get many, many search-engine hits from people looking for information on "twists" (a hairstyle, I gather), I present the following link as a public service:

How to: French Twist

Go to it, girls. Don't forget to "finish with a good holding spray."

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Random Acts of Poetry

Random Acts of Poetry

Crank Calls

I never see them
but they keep calling:

My dead grandmother,
the old girlfriend,

lost roommates and
hometown kids.

How they have my number now
I can't quite fathom.

The phone rings and rings,
a nagging toothache,

and I know it's them again,
wanting to reminisce

about the way the grass smelled
sharp after a Saturday mowing,

about pot haze and sitars,
the night in the cabin

with the creaky bed
and the thin walls

and the time I fell
out of the tree.

Falling, falling.
Why are they calling me?

Now when none of it matters,
when I'm half dead already?

Operator, I'd like to report
a series of harassing phone calls.

Somebody whispering on the line,
people mumbling

about cracked mirrors,
spent tickets and lists of wishes.

I think your wires are crossed,
or my phone is bugged, operator.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Mug Shots

Least Wanted

Bad boys and tough cookies: a collection of mug shots from several decades. Many of these crooks (?) seem to be having an odd moment of clarity.

I've never been arrested. I did get a ticket once for running a stop sign--in Manhattan. I think it was the only stop sign on the entire island.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Collection of Tongue Twisters

Say what?

To sit in solemn silence in a dull dark dock
In a pestilential prison with a life long lock
Awaiting the sensation of a short sharp shock
From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block.

Say that ten times fast. Then visit a huge collection of tongue twisters. The quote above, by the way, is from Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Snow (pic)

From a window

My backyard. We've had hardly any snow at all this winter, but suddenly we're all living in a Xmas card.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Alice In Wonderland with Multiple Illustrators Featuared

Go Ask Alice

Curiouser and curiouser: An online Alice In Wonderland features illustrations by nine historical and two contemporary artists.

It would be so nice if something made sense for a change...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A gallery of walls with stuff written on

On the Wall

Someone has assembled an online gallery of walls, most adorned with some interesting graffiti ("Invade Washington!"). There's something about a blank wall that brings out the scribbler in people -- and that was just as true thousands of years ago, apparently. Ancient Graffiti on the walls of Pompeii translates some interesting examples, including:

Suspirium puellarum Celadus thraex
Celadus the Thracier makes the girls moan!

Virgula Tertio suo: indecens es
Virgula to her Tertius: you are one horny lad!

Miximus in lecto. Fateor, peccavimus, hospes
Si dices: Quare? Nulla fuit matella.

We have pissed in our beds. Host, I admit that we shouldn't have done this.
If you ask: Why? There was no potty.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Word of the Day: Tufthunter

Word of the Day

tufthunter (n)

A sycophant or toady

"Mr. Brandon was a tufthunter of the genteel sort; his pride being quite as slavish, and his haughtiness as mean and cringing, in fact, as poor Mrs. Gann's stupid wonder and respect for all the persons whose names are written with titles before them."
--William Makepeace Thackeray, A Shabby Genteel Story

One of my professors in college -- who was also a famous novelist -- was highly susceptible to tufthunters. It was interesting to watch someone so esteemed and seemingly brilliant be manipulated by the flattery of mere students. Interesting and...nauseating.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Star Wars in Chinese-English

Lost in Translation

Revenge of the closed captioner? Star Wars translated back into English from Chinese: Episode III, The Backstroke of the West.